Cairns meetings website wins award

first_imgSource = The Business Events The Business Events website for Cairns & Great Barrier Reef has won a Queensland Multi Media Award for Best Website with more than 51 pages.Director of Business Events Rosie Douglas said the award reflected the careful work which had gone into the site’s redesign to deliver ensured it delivered for meeting planners who are the main users of the site.“Cairns website designer Precedence took on board the feedback we sought from meeting planners by creating time-saving search functionality and an easy to navigate design,” she said.“The key features of www.businesseventscairns.org.au are enhanced product search functions, improved destination information and a comprehensive resource centre with an online version of the region’s Meeting Planner Guide, image library and case studies.“Since redesigning the website we have recorded more than a 100 per cent increase in unique site visits.”last_img read more

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Qantas decision to cutout TA creates real opportunity Kenne

first_imgThe Australian flag carrier has created a “real opportunity” to trying something new, according to The Hon Jeff Kennett, Following the carrier’s announcement to suspend marketing ties with Tourism Australia over suspected sabotage, Mr Kennett told delegates at the Australian Tourism Export Council’s annual conference in Sydney last week, the airline now had the chance to utilise its marketing funds in something new and out of the norm.Although withdrawing its share of the joint three-year $44 million marketing agreement with Tourism Australia, Qantas assured it will not take one dollar out of marketing or the promotion of Australia.   Mr Kennett said the decision had the potential to create flexibility in the industry, opening up an avenue for another body to promote the destination on an international scale.“What we’ve done in past is not simply going to work in the future,” he explained. “And whatever the reason for Qantas to come to this point, now is the time to reflect and think whether we can’t do more as an industry group and whether we can’t do more in terms of more specific and targeted marketing.”Meanwhile, last week the Tourism Australia board convened to discuss Qantas’ decision. According to the board, the bureau’s chairman and former Qantas chief executive, Mr Dixon has and will continue to “absent himself from all matters relating to the Qantas Group”.Although Qantas is yet to respond, Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti said the airline has had talks with the tourist bureau since the announcement to help “fill the gaps” left by the Australian flag carrier.Mr Borghetti said Virgin was looking to double its funding to $12 million over three years for marketing campaigns, The Brisbane Times reported. “It is good that Australia now has a second carrier [because] we can step in and fill the gaps if any gaps arise,” he added. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

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Mobiles WiFi adding stress to your holidays

first_imgTaking a break from work is important as it allows a person to rejuvenate their minds and bodies, however with today’s smartphones and easily accessible Wi-Fi, it seems like travellers are packing their work along with their toothpaste when going on holidays.A Best Western Vacation Survey recently conducted by Wakefield Research found that even though 64 percent of respondents took a holiday to get away from their work, 29 percent continued to check their work emails and voicemails whilst away.55 percent of respondents admitted that they cannot go a full week without checking their emails and voicemails, with 45 percent saying that they could only last five days before checking up on work.Women were more likely to not be interrupted by work whilst on their break (53 percent), as opposed to the 46 percent of men who reported being interrupted. Moreover, 52 percent of business travellers said that work was more likely to ruin their holiday than bad weather and that 21 percent had skipped exciting plans during holidays, because they were doing work.Those that do however work on their island resorts seem to have better luck than the 16 percent of respondents who said that they couldn’t travel because they had “too much work” to do and 68 percent of those 35 years or older said that although their job was the number one reason for needing to go on a holiday, they would not be making plans any time to go away.Another reason for not travelling was the concern of over-spending; however 22 percent of women seemed happy to take up the risk as they stated that they mainly needed a holiday to get away from their spouse or significant other.Will you be able to keep your next holiday work free?Source = e-Travel Blackboard:A.N. Relax don’t text on your next holiday! Image: commons.wikimedia.comlast_img read more

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Travellers told to Do the NT

first_img“This consultation with industry and consumer focus groups showed a creative shift was required to increase visitation to the Territory by positioning the NT as adventurous, fun loving and uncomplicated,” he explained. “Our new brand position will open the door to more opportunities as it shows that the NT is a place you do things – not just a place you see things.” The Northern Territory has adopted teenage slang as part of a new brand strategy to boost tourism. Rolling out the ‘Do the NT’ brand across the east coast of Australia from August/September this year, Minister for Tourism and Major Events Matt Conlan said the new direction is “deliberately edgy” and is designed to tackle the ‘Don’t’ stopping people from visiting the Territory by provoking them with reasons to ‘Do the NT’. The strategy will be supported by a multi-million dollar marketing consumer and trade campaign to drive sales and help the region meet its Tourism Vision 2020 Strategy to deliver $2.2 billion in annual visitor spending to the Northern Territory’s economy by 2020. Source = ETB News: NJ According to Mr Conlan, research found that although people associate the NT with spectacular sights and places, they still classify it as a ‘passive’ or ‘all look, but don’t touch’ destination.last_img read more

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Borghetti dumps on government deal for Qantas

first_imgBorghetti, who is incredulous that Qantas would seek a guarantee because it is no longer a government entity, said that Virgin would seek the same guarantee in 24 hours, he told ABC Radio.  Source = ETB News, T.N. The Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Australia, John Borghetti, has slated Qantas’ request for a government debt guarantee.  Borghetti reasserted his belief that Qantas should be unshackled from the requirements of the Qantas Sales Act. center_img “It is really quite bizarre that a government would even consider such a move to the largest player in that particular industry – a player that is anything from going under, by the way.” Virgin Australia chief executive officer, John Borghetti said.  Many commentators have criticised Qantas’ management for letting its business decrease to the point where it needs government assistance. last_img read more

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Mantra Group set for Outrigger acquisition in Queensland

first_imgMantra Group set for Outrigger acquisition in QueenslandMantra Group is set to take over management of four Outrigger Resorts in Queensland next month, increasing its network to 52 hotels and over 8,000 rooms and securing its place as the largest accommodation provider in the Sunshine State.The four resorts are based in popular tourism destinations and will rebrand on 1 July 2015 as Peppers and Mantra hotels as follows:Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa, Noosa – to rebrand as Peppers Noosa Resort & VillasOutrigger Surfers Paradise – to be rebranded Mantra on View Hotel Surfers ParadiseOutrigger Twin Towns Resort – to be rebranded Mantra Twin TownsBoathouse Apartments by Outrigger – to be rebranded Boathouse Apartments Airlie BeachMantra Group CEO, Bob East, said: “The Outrigger Acquisition is a natural fit for Mantra Group, extending the Group’s footprint in key leisure destinations.  The properties are complementary to our existing portfolio and we look forward to working with the owners, guests and team members to make the transition as smooth as possible” The Mantra GroupSource = Mantra Grouplast_img read more

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Solo stints set to soar

first_img Travel Solo DaySource = Justine Waddington Solo stints set to soarAn Australian solo travel aficionado is stamping her mark on the travel industry, announcing the inaugural National Travel Solo Day on 15 July.The awareness day is set to shine an overdue spotlight on solo travellers and deflect from the traditional focus on couples and families portrayed in holiday offers.Justine Waddington, author of The Solo Traveller’s Compass, How To Travel Solo But Not Alone hopes the day will shift the attention to solo travellers.“Not everyone adopts an ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ approach to solo travel, wanting to travel independently. There is no reason for ‘solo’ to mean travelling alone,” said Ms Waddington, founder of solo travel specialist company, Encounter Travel.Before starting her travel business, Ms Waddington escorted two tour groups across South America and found only a few singles in each group. “The lack of single travellers got me thinking about why there weren’t more on the tour,” said Ms Waddington.“Anyone worried about not having a travel buddy should be encouraged to seek out a tour or cruise group,” said the Aussie entrepreneur. Latest statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the number of one-person households increased from 15.7% of the population in 1976 to 24.4% in 2006.It’s predicted to jump a further 30% or more, excluding single parent households, by 2026. “Solo travellers represent a significant potential market share, yet beliefs and attitudes towards solo travel have a long way to go,” said Ms Waddington.“Advertising images of family travel scenes and couples touring, could be enough to alienate anyone without a travel buddy, from joining a group.”Clinical psychologist Tracey Feltham said solo travel and meeting new people as an adult, can provoke anxiety, especially if you’ve spent many years on your own.“For a lot of people there can be a real sadness that they’ve reached a point in their life where they have the opportunity to travel, but they don’t have someone like a partner to share that experience with,” said Ms Feltham.Ms Waddington said, dining alone, the cost of the single supplement, and not having a friend to share their journey are just some of the mental roadblocks holding people back.“A lot of people don’t even consider solo travel an option. Some encouragement and support, armed with savvy travel tips can go a long way towards shifting the mindset around solo travel.” said Ms Waddington.No snoring partners, no cranky jet lagged partners, shop when you like, drop when you like, see what you want to see and visit places you actually want to see. Just some of the reasons to give solo travel a road test.An awareness campaign on social media marks National Travel Solo Day. Solo travellers are sharing their favourite snaps, and adding the hashtag #NationalTravelSoloDay.last_img read more

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Ethiopian wins SkyTrax World Airline Award

first_imgEthiopian wins SkyTrax World Airline Award for Best Airline Staff in AfricaEthiopian wins SkyTrax World Airline Award for Best Airline Staff in AfricaEthiopian Airlines, the fastest growing, most profitable and a technology pioneer African airline, is pleased to announce that it has won SKYTRAX World Airline Award for Best Airline Staff in Africa, for the second time, on July 12, 2016 at Farnborough Airshow event held in Hampshire, England.SkyTrax awards are solely based on customer survey and customer satisfaction measurement for their experience; from check-in to boarding, onboard comfort, cabin cleanness, food, beverages, inflight entertainment, staff service and associated travel items.While receiving the award, Ethiopian Group CEO Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, remarked, “We are proud that SKYTRAX, the most reputed customer-service tracking organization in the airline industry, has recognized our service delivery for the second time. We thank SkyTrax for this recognition and make the pledge to our customers to work even harder to meet their high expectations. We also thank our valued customers for the strong vote of confidence in our services and for choosing ETHIOPIAN as their preferred travel partner. I also take this opportunity to thank and appreciate the hard work of my 12,000 strong men and women at The ETHIOPIAN family who have made the airline a global winner.”It is to be recalled that, Ethiopian has received in the past an accolade in the same category from SkyTrax. Ethiopian is above all a customer-focused Airline with global standard service and superior delivery through its hallmark Ethiopian flavored African hospitality.Ethiopian is implementing a 15-year strategic plan, Vision 2025 that will see it become the leading Aviation Group in Africa offering its passengers’ international standard product with five star service delivery and which has a strong mission of ensuring being an airline of choice to its employees.About Ethiopian Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) is the fastest growing Airline in Africa. In its seven decades of operation, Ethiopian has become one of the continent’s leading carriers, unrivalled in efficiency and operational success.Ethiopian commands the lion’s share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to 93 international destinations across five continents. Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as Airbus A350, Boeing 787, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter, Bombardier Q-400 double cabin with an average fleet age of five years. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft.Ethiopian is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will see it become the leading aviation group in Africa with seven business centers: Ethiopian Domestic and Regional Airline; Ethiopian International Passenger Airline; Ethiopian Cargo; Ethiopian MRO; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; Ethiopian In-flight Catering Services; and Ethiopian Ground Service. Ethiopian is a multi-award winning airline registering an average growth of 25% in the past seven years. Ethiopian Airlinesbook your flights here Source = Ethiopian Airlineslast_img read more

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Hawaiian Airlines commemorates 88 years of service

first_imgHawaiian Airlines commemorates 88 years of serviceHawaiian Airlines commemorates 88 years of serviceHawaiian Airlines, one of the nation’s longest-serving carriers, today celebrated its 88th anniversary at a dedication ceremony for the new Charles I. Elliott Maintenance and Cargo Facility, named in honor of the man who piloted the company’s maiden flight from Honolulu to Hilo on this day in 1929. The 21-acre site includes a 95,800 square-foot aircraft hangar that can accommodate up to five Boeing 717 aircraft at the same time, indoor maintenance and cargo operations, a two-level office building and 143-stall parking lot.Hawaiian’s previous open-air maintenance hangar and cargo facilities have been in use since 1962, when what is now Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) was first built. Following more than half a century of operations in the now outgrown and outdated facilities, the next chapter of the airline’s history began this week as employees started moving in to the new building.“It is fitting that we name our new maintenance and cargo facility after the man who laid the foundation stone of the airline’s first hangar, and then led our flight and maintenance operations at the very start of Hawaiian Airlines, 88 years ago today,” said Mark Dunkerley, president and chief executive officer. “Over nearly nine decades, we have evolved from a two-airplane operator flying between the islands into a world-class carrier with more than 50 aircraft and 30 local, mainland and international destinations served. This hangar opening marks a new chapter for Hawaiian Airlines of growth, local employment and further economic contributionsto our community.”Capt. Charles Irving “Sam” Elliott also served as Director of Operations at Inter-Island Airways and his first job at the airline was as inspector of Hangar No. 1. When the company dug the hole for the foundation, he ensured it was deep enough to hit solid coral, inspected the steel work, and hammered the first rivets. Soon after, he piloted the first scheduled flight: a one hour and 40-minute flight on a Sikorsky S-38 amphibious aircraft from Honolulu to Hilo on the Island of Hawaii, via Kahului, Maui.Capt. Elliott was an aviation pioneer and a man of many firsts, having also flown the first inter-island air mail flight on Oct. 8, 1934. The following year, he took delivery of the first Sikorsky S-43 ever built and flew it cross-country from Bridgeport, Conn, to San Francisco, from where it was shipped on a Matson freighter to Hawai‘i. He was at the controls for the S-43’s inaugural inter-island flight in December 1935, and he later became the first Hawaiian pilot to fly a Douglas DC-3. He retired in 1951 after 22 years of service.Today, the Charles I. Elliott Maintenance and Cargo Facility is a state-of-the-art, 281,000 square-foot space that will house more than 1,100 employees from cargo, maintenance, engineering, supply, fleet service, claims, and safety and security.HAL, The Hawaiian Airlines Time CapsuleTo preserve its past as it looks toward the future, Hawaiian also marked today’s special occasion by enshrining “HAL,” a Hawaiian Airlines Time Capsule, beneath a stairwell in the new facility. A miniaturized reproduction of an LD3 cargo container, HAL was imagined by Hawaiian’s Archivist, Capt. Rick Rogers.Capt. Rogers joined Hawaiian in 1987 as a De Havilland Dash 7 pilot and went on to fly the Douglas DC-8  and DC-9 aircraft, then the Boeing 717s and 767s before leaving the cockpit in 2010 to launch and managean archive rich with 88 years of memorabilia.HAL encases historical documents, publications, plaques and awards, posters and photographs along with a complete digital copy of the airline’s archives, including approximately 100 oral history interviews gathered over the past few years. Throughout 2017, the Time Capsule made appearances in the airline’s break rooms and Premier Club lounges across Hawai‘i, the State Capitol, and the U.S. Senate building in Washington D.C. The intent is to re-open HAL on Nov. 11, 2079, the airline’s 150th Anniversary.Hawaiian currently operates a fleet of 24 Airbus A330s, 20 Boeing 717s and eight Boeing 767s. It also provides turbo-prop flights using three ATR-42 aircraft via its ‘Ohana by Hawaiian service, which will soon commence an all-cargo operation via ATR-72 aircraft. The airline last month took delivery of the first of its 18 new A321neo aircraft that will start service in early 2018, expanding flight offerings between the U.S. West Coast and Neighbor Islands.The Charles I. Elliott Cargo and Maintenance Facility and the A321neo aircraft are the next steps in a series of major investments Hawaiian has made in recent years to aircraft cabins, lounges, and other aspects of the customer experience to elevate the carrier’s position as the preferred airline for travelers flying to and within Hawai‘i for the next century to come.About Hawaiian AirlinesHawaiian®, the world’s most punctual airline as reported by OAG, has led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past 13 years (2004-2016) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer surveys by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure have ranked Hawaiian the highest of all domestic airlines serving Hawai‘i.Now in its 89th year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawai‘i’s biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service from its primary visitor markets on the U.S. Mainland.Hawaiian offers non-stop service to Hawai‘i from more U.S. gateway cities (11) than any other airline, along with service from Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides approximately 170 jet flights daily between the Hawaiian Islands, with a total of more than 250 daily flights system-wide.Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HA). Additional information is available at HawaiianAirlines.com. Follow updates on Twitter about Hawaiian (@HawaiianAir) and its special fare offers (@HawaiianFares), and become a fan on its Facebook page. For career postings and updates, follow Hawaiian’s LinkedIn page.Source = Hawaiian Airlineslast_img read more

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Grand procession ushers in Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018

first_imgGrand procession ushers in Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018Grand procession ushers in Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) today kicked off the ambitious “Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018” campaign with a spectacular procession through the heart of Bangkok. The opening ceremony, held at Siam Discovery, was presided over by H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, and brought to life the campaign’s focus on sustainable, quality tourism in line with the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy.H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports, said: “Today marks the beginning of the “Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018”, which is at the heart of the Royal Thai Government’s ongoing efforts to foster the success of the tourism industry, as a key economic driver. Our outstanding programme of major events throughout the year will once again put Thailand in the spotlight as a preferred destination for international travellers.”The procession featured six parades, which joined a 3.5-km route from the National Stadium to Lumphini Park. Each parade represented a treasured aspect of Thai tourism, with the first showcasing the Lotus Goddess, a symbol of the “Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018”, signifying harmony and happiness.The second parade highlighted amazing architecture and sculpture from each region of Thailand, including miniatures of Wat Phra That Sri Chom Thong, Chiang Mai (Northern Region), Wat Phra Mahathat, Nakhon Si Thammarat (Southern Region), Chon Buri’s Kong Kao – or rice mould – Festival (Eastern Region), Phrathat Phanom Chedi, Nakhon Phanom (Northeastern Region), and the Mon Songkran Festival in Sangklaburi, Kanchanaburi (Central Region).The third parade presented a taste of Thailand’s wide variety of distinctive foods, desserts, and ingredients, while the fourth and fifth parades showcased the various outstanding festivals and major sporting events set to be hosted in the Kingdom in 2018. The procession was capped off by the sixth parade, which exemplified Thailand’s role as a gracious host.The “Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018” aims to boost Thailand’s reputation as a preferred destination, while increasing visitors’ average length of stay, expenditure and repeat visitation. The campaign places the spotlight on activities in 13 categories: sports, gastronomy, maritime tourism, weddings and honeymoons, medical and wellness, community-based tourism, leisure, green tourism, night tourism, MICE, trade fairs, B2B marketing activities and logistics. Each of these categories has a packed schedule of local and international events.Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor added that “Today’s procession offers a glimpse of what each and every visitor to Thailand can look forward to as part of the “Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018”. And one point to be emphasised is expressed in the last procession, which features the many occupations in the tourism industry, and reiterates that Thailand is a very hospitable country and has welcomed international visitors with open arms throughout its history.See more at TAT NewsroomSource = Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)last_img read more

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Windstar Cruises announces new Signature Expeditions Program

first_imgStar Legend AlaskaWindstar Cruises announces new Signature Expeditions ProgramWindstar Cruises is serving up intimate adventures and active enrichment with a luxurious twist announcing the launch of Windstar’s Signature Expeditions which will offer high touch experiences both onboard ship and in the marine and wildlife environments where the award-winning boutique line sails.The new Signature Expeditions program kicks off in May 2018 with Windstar’s greatly anticipated return to the Great Land of Alaska.“We are offering travellers the chance to slow down and truly enjoy scenic immersion cruising amongst the glaciers and wildlife, and we have the perfect size ships for Alaska, period,” said Windstar Cruises President, John Delaney.“With the addition of our brand-new Signature Expeditions, our comprehensive land tours and exciting roster of shore excursions, each guest will get to experience the best of adventure, breathtaking nature, and completely personalised service in an incredibly immersive yet completely uncrowded cruise.”“Our experienced team has created the most intensive Alaska experience available in small ship cruising today and we can’t wait to proudly welcome guests to Windstar’s Alaska. It’s all about our unique style of casual yet luxurious adventure.”Windstar’s Signature Expeditions program is designed to provide guests with dual opportunities for immersive and instructive enrichment onboard and Alaska offers the perfect waterways and rugged grounds to do so. At the outset, guests can participate in complimentary classes, one-to-one discussions and topical presentations with industry-leading outdoor experts. There will also an expedition team of five on every Alaskan cruise.Guests will also be able to pair their learnings with optional off-the-ship, personalised small group excursions on the ship’s fleet of kayaks and zodiacs or on intimate small group hikes.All Signature Expeditions will be launched and led by these biologists, glaciologists and more. This two-fold concept will allow Windstar guests to put their new knowledge of the region into immediate action with up-close explorations of Alaska’s magical realms like the Misty Fjords where few (mass-market) cruisers ever visit, let alone kayak the verdant and rugged natural coastline.The 212-passenger Star Legend will arrive in Alaska after spending the northern Winter and early Spring in Asia and will have recently completed an extensive dry-dock installation of the expedition hardware that will support the expedition team and new program.Hand-picked Signature Expedition Team to Lead Classes and ExcursionsWindstar has engaged a team of expedition specialists to assist with the creation of Windstar’s new Signature Expeditions in Alaska, as well as operate the program on board. These geologists, glaciologists, marine biologists and other experts will give commentary, interact with guests and be available to answer guest questions throughout the cruise. Combining insight with exploration, the skilled and knowledgeable team of expedition specialists will also lead outings aboard a new fleet of six inflatable Zodiacs and expedition kayaks, as well as take guests on hikes. A star attraction will be the whale-watching season in Alaska which coincides with Windstar’s time sailing in the region.For the Alaskan debut of Windstar’s new Signature Expeditions, which the company plans to expand to other cruising regions in the future, travellers can choose from morning and afternoon watercraft tours that will leave directly from the ship’s tender and/or Watersports Platform, which means less time travelling and more time making the most out of the holiday. These special places are nearly impossible to reach without access directly from the ship. Zodiac excursions will bring guests close to the shoreline for wildlife viewing and kayaks will allow exploration of fascinating intertidal zones on the Alaskan coastlines, getting up close and personal with magnificent glaciers and, perhaps, sea lions and whales.Expeditions will be led in Kenai Fjord, Misty Fjords, Tracy Arm/Endicott Arm and the Inian Islands, dependent upon weather. Like shore excursions, the Windstar Signature Expeditions tours are optional for guests and available at a per person price of USD40 for hikes, USD170 for kayak tours, and USD150 for zodiac tours, all led by the onboard Expedition Team experts.Scenic Immersion Cruising to Highlight Windstar’s Signature ExpeditionsWindstar Signature Expeditions get guests closer, show them more, and bring them home with once-in-a-lifetime memories. Windstar’s cruises in Alaska feature six expert guides with a deep understanding of geology, marine biology, botany and more who travel on board for the entire cruise. These experts provide insight, education and commentary so guests can truly immerse themselves and absorb the Great Land.Some examples of these new expeditions include:Misty Fjords Kayaking: On a two-and-a-half-hour kayak expedition through Misty Fjords National Monument, guests will see 3000-foot glacier-sculpted cliffs with numerous waterfalls cascading down the cliffs, wildlife like bald eagles, and perhaps brown and/or black bears and mountain goats. Throughout the forest, participants will find western hemlock, Sitka spruce and western red cedar.Kenai Zodiac Tour: On a Zodiac tour around Kenai Fjords National Park area, guests will ride by tidewater glaciers that flow from the Harding Ice Field, possibly seeing a glacier calving while riding among ice that has calved. Taking in the spectacular scenery of the area, participants may see harbor seals, black bears on the beach, bald eagles, and puffins.Wrangell Interpretive Walk: This intimate tour will be led by two experienced Expedition Staff members on board. John Muir hiked here while using Wrangell as headquarters for his Stikine delta explorations. Participants are assured of wonderful views and a true immersive forest experience with an elevation gain of about 400 feet. The hike will present good views of the surrounding mountains and the town and waterways below.Land Tours to Denali Round-out the Complete Alaska PackageWindstar’s just-announced pre-and post-cruise Alaska land tours are available to be added to many of Windstar’s Alaska sailings in 2018. The five-day/four-night journey from Seward to Fairbanks, and the reverse, will captivate guests with the unspoiled beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.If beginning in Seward, a Windstar guide will greet travellers after they disembark and then journey to Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage. Time will be spent exploring the Anchorage Museum before continuing onward for an overnight in the hidden gem of Talkeetna, a unique Alaskan aviation, mining, and climbing town.On day two, the voyage continues via rail with a guided tour into Denali National Park and includes a fun musical dining experience and an orientation about the park, prepping all on the big adventure that awaits them the next day.Day three will delve into the magnificence of Denali with a roughly seven-hour tour, encompassing the park’s history and catching glimpses of a few local friends like caribou, moose, and grizzly bears. On day four, guests will board a motor coach to Fairbanks, Alaska’s Golden Heart. Here, highlights include a cruise down the Chena River, taking in the history of this pioneering community and a farewell dinner that captures the frontier spirit.Adventures Never End with Exceptional Shoe Excursions, Tailored for Skilled TravellersWindstar has crafted a new collection of unparallelled shore excursions highlighting the very best that Alaska has to offer with travellers are able to choose from the following highlights, amongst numerous other exclusive outings:Kroschel Wildlife Sanctuary: This wildlife sanctuary near Haines sprawls over 60 acres and will provide incredible photo opportunities of orphaned Alaskan animals living in their natural habitat. The venue is overseen by caregiver Steve Kroschel, a real life Alaskan Dr. Doolittle. Kroschel was born and raised on a farm in Northern Minnesota and has worked with wild animals since childhood in a variety of ways, including producing his own wildlife documentaries and working on films for Disney and National Geographic.Taku Lodge Feast & 5 Glacier Seaplane: For those looking for an authentic, one-of-a-kind Alaskan experience, the seaplane-only-access to Alaska’s famous Taku Glacier combines true wilderness with glacier-view dining. From Juneau, a classic DeHavilland seaplane will ascend over five breathtaking glaciers surrounded by the majestic Tongass National Forest and land on the Taku River at the elegantly rustic and historic Taku Lodge where travellers will savour a menu of fresh and homemade local fare. All participants get to enjoy a window seat and headset for continuous narration.Fishing the Inside Passage: This scenic outing in Wrangell offers a chance to catch a variety of fish from halibut to salmon in the abundant waters of the Pacific along the famed Inside Passage of Alaska. A quick boat ride ensures that the most time is spent fishing rather than just getting there. With ‘captain’s choice-style’ fishing there is also a higher likelihood of catching a specific species for that given day. To top it all off, any catch can be professionally processed and shipped home for an additional fee.Windstar announced its plans to return to Alaska after being away from the region for more than two decades. The inaugural 2018 sailing in the region begins in May aboard the 212-passenger, all-suite Star Legend, with the sailing season continuing through to 10 September 2018. The itineraries include less-visited ports like Metlakatla and Wrangell, as well as feature longer 14-day cruises to slow down and truly enjoy scenic cruising amongst the glaciers, including Tracy Arm and Misty Fjord.Bookings to be directed to Windstar Australia on 1300 749 875 or reservations@windstar.com.auSource = Windstar Cruiseslast_img read more

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ChinaIndia Tourism Year 2016 launched in New Delhi

first_imgThe China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) recently held a press conference at Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi, to announce the launch of the ‘China-India Tourism Year’ 2016.At the press meet, Li Yaying, Director Deputy General, Marketing and International Cooperation Department of CNTA pointed out that the number of mutual tourism visits was expected to exceed one million this year. Yaying introduced the ‘China-India Tourism Year’ and the tourism exchanges between the countries to their respective media. Like ‘India Tourism Year’ held in China in 2015, ‘China Tourism Year’ in India in 2016 aims at building cultural ties, promoting emotional communication, reinforcing the foundation of mutual goodwill among the general public, and enriching the connotations of developmental partnership between the countries.The CNTA has designed nearly a hundred tourism promotion and exchange activities during the ‘China-India Tourism Year’, including promotional films and ads released through major media and web portals in India, and also tourism promotional activities themed with the Silk Road. In addition, a dedicated page for ‘China-India Tourism Year’ will also be launched in English on the overseas promotion website of Chinese tourism for Indians to have better access to relevant information.India has emerged as a major source of tourists to China which itself is one of the source markets of India with the largest growth potential. Seizing the opportunity of holding the ‘Tourism Year’, tourism authorities and professionals from both China and India will strive to improve the mechanism for mutual tourism communication, enlarge the scale of bilateral tourism exchange, and carry out extensive cooperation in promoting mutual tourism visits, upholding market order, and providing better tourism services.last_img read more

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A look at TripAdvisors number one hotel in the world

first_imgA hotel in Jodhpur, Rajasthan has won the traveller’s choice award for 2015 from TripAdvisor. Umaid Bhawan Palace, an imposing, art-deco inspired structure built between 1928 and 1943, is still in part the main home to the Maharaja of Jodhpur and his family.Source: CNNlast_img

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Financial Security On the Uptick in January

first_img The “”Bankrate.com””:www.bankrate.com/ “”Financial Security Index””:www.bankrate.com/finance/…index/financial-security-poll-0112.aspx made a leap in its recent release in January, from measuring a 95.8 in December to a 97.3, which is reported to be the highest score since June measured a 97.8. [IMAGE]However, despite the seemingly positive outlook, consumers continue to feel uneasy with their financial security. Any reading below 100 signifies a lower level of financial security in comparison to the previous year. Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate.com’s senior financial analyst, says, “”Each of the components — job security, savings, debt, net worth and overall financial security — improved over the past months.”” McBride continued by saying that the “”overall Financial Security Index is still showing a decline versus one year ago, so ample room for improvement remains. The negative sentiment is highest among retirees and lower-income households.”” [COLUMN_BREAK]Bankrate.com reported that job security received a 20 percent of Americans feeling more secure than last year, with 17 percent feeling less secure. When it came to savings, Bankrate.com described it to be “”the Achilles’ heel of financial security.”” Those under the age of 30, normally college graduates and households making an annual income of $75,000 continue to be the most comfortable with their savings versus households who earned under $30,000, including the unemployed. Nearly 41 percent of Americans percent felt more comfortable, outweighing the 14 percent who felt less comfortable. Debt was a neutral issue; 23 percent said they were more comfortable than they were last year, while 23 percent also said they were less comfortable. Net worth, for the first time since June, reflected positively. With 24 percent reporting much higher net worth than a year ago versus the 22 percent that reported lower net worth. Bankrate.com claimed typically those under the age of 50 are the more likely to report high net worth, rather than those below. Households boasting an income of $75,000 and more are most likely to have higher net worth and those with an annual income of $30,000 less.Overall, Americans are reporting feeling negatively towards their financial situation. With 28 percent saying it is worse than the year prior and 23 percent reporting it has improved. However, the gap continues to narrow each month since October between those reporting a worse situation and those reporting better. January 27, 2012 415 Views Financial Security On the Uptick in January in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technologycenter_img Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-01-27 Abby Gregorylast_img read more

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Wells Fargo Ramps Up Legislative Lobbying

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Politics Processing Service Providers Wells Fargo 2012-10-09 Krista Franks Brock “”Wells Fargo””:https://www.wellsfargo.com/ has been ramping up its lobbying activities over the past several years. After spending just $620,000 on lobbying in 2002, a decade later the bank’s spending is in the millions, according to data from the “”Center for Responsive Politics.””:http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000019743&cycle=2012 [IMAGE]Last year, Wells Fargo spent nearly $8 million on government lobbying. This year, the bank has invested a total of about $3.8 million in lobbying, according to the Center. Not only has the bank increased its spending, it has also increased its number of lobbyists registered in various states. This year, 150 lobbyists are working in 31 state capitals on behalf of Wells Fargo, according to research by a “”_Charlotte Observer_””:http://www.kansascity.com/2012/10/08/3857280/wells-fargo-increases-its-lobbying.html reporter. Five years ago, the bank recorded 47 lobbyists working in 10 states, according to the _Observer._ [COLUMN_BREAK]Wells Fargo attributes the increase in its number of registered lobbyists to changing rules regarding government contracts. In many states, individuals vying for government contracts are required to register as lobbyists, even though they may not be attempting to sway regulation. “”There’s been an increase in procurement lobbying laws over the past few years, and Wells Fargo strives to comply with applicable laws and regulations,”” a Wells Fargo spokesman told the _Observer._ However, according to the _Observer_, Wells Fargo “”has put legislative lobbyists in state capitals where none had been before”” in at least 11 states. Wells Fargo’s actions are not all that surprising, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which notes on its site that “”a special interest’s lobbying activity may go up or down over time, depending on how much attention the federal government is giving their issues.””With banking├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øand housing finance in particular├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øfacing increased scrutiny from the government, it might seem natural Wells is ramping up its lobbying. Housing followed finance as the second-most lobbied issue by Wells this year. In fact, the “”Housing Finance Reform Act of 2011″”:http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr1859 continues to be one of the top lobbied bills by the bank: Wells mentioned the bill in four issues reports throughout 2011, making the bank one of the more active clients for that piece of legislation. in Government, Origination, Servicing Wells Fargo Ramps Up Legislative Lobbyingcenter_img October 9, 2012 408 Views Sharelast_img read more

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Where Oh Where did all the Refinancers go

first_img Mortgage lenders stand to gain more business from 30-year mortgage holders who qualify and could benefit from refinancing, but the refinancing population is shrinking at a rapid rate.So where are all the eligible refinancers?Black Knight Financial Services’ Data and Analytics division reported in their latest Mortgage Monitor Report that as of November 2015, approximately 5.2 million borrowers could likely both qualify for and benefit from refinancing at today’s interest rates.Although the number of refinancers may appear to be large, it is actually down from over 7 million in April 2015. Black Knight reports that interest rates were under 3.7 percent during this time, and the 20-year rate was 3.96.Black Knight Data & Analytics SVP Ben Graboske explained, “This population is diminishing, and as mortgage interest rates rise, it will only continue to shrink further.”“If rates go up 50 basis points from where they are now, 2.1 million [41 percent] borrowers will fall out of the running; a 100-basis-point increase would eliminate another million, leaving only 2 million potential refinance candidates, the lowest population of refinance candidates in recent history,” Graboske noted.Black Knight found that about 2.4 million could stand to save about $200 or more on their monthly mortgage payments after refinancing in today’s interest rate environment.Graboske adds that since we currently live among “a very rate-sensitive population,” and if rates were to rise 50 basis points 1.4 million borrowers or 42 percent would miss those savings.The report showed that 1 million potential refinance candidates would likely only save less than $100 by refinancing, but Black Knight says that a savings is still a saving and “may still have significant impact to some borrowers’ budgets.”In addition, the data found that 1.9 million borrowers, the largest share of borrowers could be saving $100 to $200 every month on their mortgage payment.All in all, the 5.2 million potential 30-year refinancers could be saving a total of about $1.2 billion on their monthly mortgage payment.California holds the most refinance candidates at 670,000, with average savings of $317 each month on their mortgage payment. Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Georgia, Washington, Oho, and Virginia wrap up the top ten states with the most refinance candidates.The states that will provide potential refinancers with the most savings include: Hawaii, District of Columbia, California, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Virginia.Click here to view the full report. in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News January 11, 2016 664 Views Where, Oh Where did all the Refinancers go?center_img Share Black Knight Financial Services Interest rates Refinance 2016-01-11 Staff Writerlast_img read more

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The Evolution of the Mortgage Servicing Industry

first_img in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Servicing Attorney Five Star Institute Legal League 100 Servicer Spring Servicer Summit 2016-04-14 Seth Welborn Share April 14, 2016 746 Views center_img The theme ringing throughout the Five Star Institute’s 7th Annual Legal League 100 Spring Servicer Summit Thursday in Dallas, Texas, was this: The default servicing industry is rapidly changing.Several of the keynote speakers and roundtable discussions focused on the changes that have taken place in the mortgage servicing industry since the crisis, and in many cases, in the last year or two.Five Star Institute President and CEO Ed Delgado opened the event by telling the audience of default servicing attorneys, servicing providers, officials from government agencies, and mortgage servicers that the Legal League 100, which was created in April 2007 in collaboration with Five Star to provide the mortgage banking and default servicing industries with a reliable, results-driven resource, has experienced a shift in strategy. Delgado announced that the Legal League’s focus is now on advocacy and in helping default servicing law firms to be sustainable in today’s landscape, whereas in the past it has been focused on marketing.”Advocacy is supposed to influence the arc of an industry and become a powerful voice of representation for decisions,” Delgado said. “That is the primary objective of what Legal League is currently about.”The shift in strategy has resulted in a 20 percent increase in Legal League membership in the last year and representation in as many as 85 percent of states for the first time in the Legal League’s nine-year history, Delgado said.With the shift in strategy came a change in leadership. Neil Sherman, managing attorney at Detroit-based Schneiderman & Sherman, P.C., is the Legal League’s newly elected chairperson. He replaces outgoing chairperson Glen Rubin, managing partner at Rubin Lublin, LLC.Other leadership changes include Michelle Garcia Gilbert, managing partner of Gilbert Garcia Group, P.A., taking on the role of vice chairperson, and Roy Diaz, Shareholder, SHD Legal Group, P.A., and David G. Marowske, Senior Litigation Attorney, Potestivo & Associates, P.C., newly elected to Advisory Council general positions. Stephen M. Hladik
, Partner, Hladik, Onorato & Federman, LLP, was elected (uncontested) as the Government Affairs Subcommittee Chairperson.Jeffrey B. Fisher,
 EVP, BP Fisher Law Group; Erin M. Laurito
, Managing Member, Laurito & Laurito, LLC; and Richard Nielson,
 Managing Partner of Nielson & Sherry, PSC, were all re-elected to Advisory Council general positions. The newly-elected and re-elected members will join current Advisory Council members Adam Codilis, Codilis and Associates, P.C., and J. Anthony Van Ness, Van Ness Law Firm, PLC.Breakfast keynote speakers at the Summit were the Honorable Joseph J. Murin, chairman of JJAM Financial Services, co-chairman of Chrysalis Financial Holdings, and former president of Ginnie Mae, and Tod Edel, deputy general counsel and managing director, Fannie Mae.”Much harm is being done right now in the form of unintended consequences all in the name of protecting the consumer.”Joe MurinMurin told the audience that those in the mortgage industry are “fighting a negative perception that is only growing” because of their perceived role in precipitating the financial crisis. The result of this perception is a wave of new regulations to govern the mortgage industry; but this has not necessarily been a good thing. The new regulations are “efforts being made to fix the problem we are perceived to have. But as we know, the road to hell is usually paved with good intentions,” Murin said.”Much harm is being done right now in the form of unintended consequences all in the name of protecting the consumer,” Murin said. He cited as examples fewer mortgage options, slower closing, tighter credit, and higher costs to originate a mortgage.Edel spoke about the FHFA’s efforts to fight the growing number of so-called “super-priority lien” cases in which HOAs that foreclose on homes delinquent on HOA dues are attempting to extinguish mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Several states have made super-priority liens legal, notably in Nevada in 2014. Edel said a class action suit was initiated against an HOA in Massachusetts because there were so many cases it was impossible to litigate on a property-by-property basis.The afternoon keynotes included two representatives from the government: Christopher Dove, Director of Operations, Homeowners Preservation Office. U.S. Department of Treasury; and Diane Thompson, Managing Counsel, Office of Regulations, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Dove spoke about the government’s Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP), which was created in response to the crisis to help struggling borrowers avoid foreclosure. The program, which has helped 1.8 million borrowers, will expire at the end of the year. Thompson spoke about the CFPB’s history and said that from the Bureau’s inception through the present, regulating mortgage servicing to prevent predatory practices has been a top priority.The concluding lunch keynote speaker was Edward Pinto, co-director, International Center on Housing Risk, American Enterprise Institute. Pinto noted that there has been a huge shift in the market from banks to nonbanks, with nonbanks how taking 70 percent of the market. Just four years ago, banks had a 70 percnet market share. The shift from banks to nonbanks in the mortgage space has made mortgage loans considerably more risky, particularly among first-time buyers, Pinto said.The subjects of the roundtables were centered around adapting to changes in the industry. Subjects included “Letter of the Law: Using New Case Law and Legislation to Find Your Footing,” “Changing Tides: The Evolution of Foreclosure and Loss Mitigation Processes,” “Limiting Liability: The Rising Tide of Litigation in Mortgage Servicing,” “Assessing the Assessment: Charting the Path to a Successful Audit,” “Shifting Perspectives: Alternative Routes and Strategies in Bankruptcy,” “Treading Water: Assessing Law Firm Sustainability,” “Staying the Course: How Not to Run Afoul of the Most Recent Rule Changes,” and “Partners in the Journey: Creating Strong Client-Attorney Relationships.”Editor’s note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of MReport and TheMReport.com. The Evolution of the Mortgage Servicing Industrylast_img read more

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Falling Leaves and Further Inventory

first_imgTo see the full report, including regional data, click here. September 26, 2017 693 Views Starter Home 2017-09-26 Brianna Gilpin Share Falling Leaves and Further Inventory Though many believe spring is the optimum time for home buying, a report by Trulia said starter-home buyers should think again.According to the report, starter home inventory increases by approximately 7 percent in the fall months compared to the spring, which leads to listing prices that are about 4.8 percent to 3.1 percent lower in the winter and spring than in the summer, respectively.Trulia found that 70 of the largest 100 metros experienced peak annual starter home inventory between October and December, based on their Inventory and Price Watch data from 2012 to 2017. It also found that listing prices of starter homes dip between January and March annually as a result of the spike in inventory that happens at the end of each year.“Nationally, the number of starter and trade-up homes on the market has decreased substantially, falling 20.4 percent and 12.5 percent respectively, during the past year, while inventory of premium homes has fallen just 2.3 percent,” Trulia reported.The share of starter homes dropped to 20.5 percent from 23 percent year-over-year and homebuyers will have to spend 2.3 percent more of their income in 2017 than they did in 2016.Trulia reported that inventory is at the lowest it has recorded since they began keeping track in 2012, but starter homebuyers should be able to find consolation at the end of the year.“That seasonal spike in inventory also tends be followed by lower listing prices at the beginning of the year,” Trulia reported. “As a result, fall and winter is prime hunting time for starter homebuyers to think about trying to bag that all elusive starter home, rather than packing it in for the season.” in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, Newslast_img read more

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hotelMyanmarYangon

first_imghotelMyanmarYangon Fire has ripped through the luxury Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar, killing one person. Around 150 guests, mostly tourists, were evacuated from the iconic property, a traditional Burmese-style hotel that used a large amount of teak in its construction.Authorities say the blaze started around 3 am yesterday [local time] and may have been caused by an electrical fault or exploding gas cylinders. Guests have reported being woken by staff banging on their doors in the absence of fire alarm warnings.Htay Lwin, a spokesman from the Htoo Group which owns the hotel, told AFP news agency: “It’s hard to say why the fire broke out, the cause is under investigation.”last_img

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The Amazing Thailand Roadshow is an annual event f

first_imgThe Amazing Thailand Roadshow is an annual event for Australian and New Zealand travel professionals to network and update their knowledge on Thailand’s tourism. Over 50 Thai hotel and tourism operators from various parts of Thailand, alongside airlines such as Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways, are expected to be present at each city. Operators from well-known destinations such as Phuket, Koh Samui and Bangkok will be joined by upcoming destinations such as Khaolak, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. AucklandMonday, 30 April 2018 from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM (NZST)Hilton Auckland Hotel, Princes Wharf, 147 Quay St, Auckland Guest speakers Karena & Kasey Bird, Winners of the MasterChef New Zealand 2014 and Hosts of TV show ‘Karena and Kasey’s Kitchen Diplomacy’, recently travelled to Thailand, where they met local chefs and artisans to explore the diversity of Thai cuisine and culture.MelbourneWednesday, 2 May 2018 from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM (AEST)Showtime Events Centre and Cargo Hall, Showtime South Wharf, 39 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf, MelbourneDelegates will be entertained with an amazing Thai contemporary performance.SydneyThursday, 3 May 2018 from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM (AEST)Doltone House, Hyde Park – Level 3, 181 Elizabeth Street, SydneyDelegates will be treated to a cooking demonstration by Sydney’s most talented Thai Chef Sujet Saenkham – Founder of Spice I am Restaurant.PerthMonday, 7 May 2018 from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM (AWST)Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre Level 3, BelleVue Ballroom 1, 21 Mounts Bay Rd, PerthAustralian ultra-endurance cyclist and guide, Jack Thompson, will present to delegates about his recent cycling trip in Thailand.For more information, please email: info@thailand.net.auTOP IMAGE: Melbourne 2017 Roadshow agentseventsroadshowTourism Authority of Thailand Tourism Authority of Thailand, Australia (TAT) will host the annual “Amazing Thailand Roadshow” between 30 April and 7 May 2018.The Roadshow will showcase TAT’s new global marketing concept, “Open to the New Shades of Thailand” and highlight activities based on 13 core niche products: SportsGastronomyMaritime tourismWedding and HoneymoonMedical and WellnessCommunity-based TourismLeisureGreen TourismNight TourismMICETrade FairsB2B Marketing ActivityLogisticsCommunication strategies for the Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 can be categorised into four ‘S’s’: Saneh or Charm (as reflected in the Thai people), Sanook or Joy (sports), Sabai or Relaxing (Thai massage), and Sut Saep or Delicious (fine street food and fine dining).last_img read more

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