A new $7 million Best Western hotel opened in Dilijan, Armenia. The Best Western Paradise hotel features 58 rooms, a restaurant, an outdoor café, conference hall for 120 seats, a swimming pool and children’s playground.
Armenia has begun to reach for its travel and tourism potential and hopes to attract leading hotel operators. In 2012, a new-build hotel, to be managed by Hyatt, will open. In 2013, in the center of Yerevan, a five-star Kempinski will open with 150 rooms. A Wyndham property is also planned also planned in the Noy region of the Armenian capital. It will be the first hotel of Wyndham Hotel Group hospitality chain in Armenia.
Compagnie du Ponant is offering savings of up to 30 percent on its 13-day Hong Kong-Ho Chi Minh City cruise. The itinerary has three departures – Dec. 4, 2011, Feb. 15 and April 2, 2012 — aboard the 226-passenger Le Diamant. Highlights include traditional temples and pagodas in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hue in Chang May, the Duong Long towers of Quy Nhon and a cruise down the Saigon River.
Discounted fares range from $2,495 to $6,709 per person double. In addition, a $400 shipboard credit per stateroom, based on double occupancy, is being offered for new bookings on any cruise if booked by Sept. 31, 2011. For more information, call 888-400-1082, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ponant.com
Mega Maldives Airlines is proud to announce the successful first flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) to Male’ International Airport (MLE) on the 16th of July 2011. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Shanghai Airport check-in counter before the historic first flight of the international flag carrier of the Maldives.
The flight landed into Male’ at 12:50 pm on Saturday carrying 200 passengers from Shanghai to the Maldives non-stop, the only such service currently available to arrive in the Maldives during day-time. The schedule allows for more convenient connections to resorts by domestic air transfers, seaplane and boat, not to mention allowing another sunset and dinner in the Maldives to arriving tourists thus giving a boost to the local tourism industry.
Mega Maldives Airlines would like to express our deep appreciation to all who have been involved from the beginning for the support, guidance, and oversight to facilitate the success we have achieved in such a short time. We currently employ more than 100 staff in highly skilled jobs with a majority of Maldivians at all levels of the operation and growing every day.
Our operations has opened world class employment opportunities to local Maldivians in the global aviation industry with the first batch of cabin crews trained in 2010 and the second batch trained this year. New professions for Maldivians have been introduced and business opportunities made possible to Maldivian entrepreneurs with the opening of Chinese markets to the Maldives. For example, Mega Maldives Airlines now carries Maldivian cargo on every flight from Male’ to Hong Kong non-stop, saving time for perishable cargo, and money for the traders.
Our growth continues with a third international route connecting the capital cities of Beijing and Male’ non-stop launching on July 22nd, to be followed by a forth route to Seoul, Korea non-stop in September. Mega Maldives Airlines is also currently in the process of bringing in a second aircraft into service and exploring additional markets leading to a third aircraft.
Mega Maldives Airlines is a source of great pride to the island Republic of Maldives, as we carry the national flag and the Maldivian brand globally, leading the drive in the on-going development of Maldivian aviation, tourism and trade.
Langham Hospitality Group has expanded its 1865 guest loyalty program to capture new members earlier and build on their loyalty. For guests booking club level rooms or above at any property in the group, they can also earn double frequent flyer points with selected airlines until Aug. 31.
The newly expanded program now contains four tiers instead of three with the creation of a new entry-level tier to generate more repeat stays and commence the recognition process of potentially loyal guests from their first stay. The new tier offers the key benefits of an express check-in and check-out as well use of 1865 Ambassador reception service. It also offers complimentary newspaper, frequent flyer mileage accrual and, from time to time, member-only special offers. As the guest stays more frequently, additional rewards will eventually include priority and personalized services, upgrades and even complimentary limousine transfers at the Destiny invitation-only level.
The 1865 program consists of four tiers with increasing levels of benefits — the entry level tier (at least one stay required), Gateway (three stays required), Voyager (five stays required) and Destiny (by invitation only). The 16 participating frequent flyer programs are Air China Phoenix Miles, Air New Zealand Airpoints, American Airlines AAdvantage, Asian Club, British Airways Executive Club, China Eastern Miles, China Southern Sky Pearl Club, Delta Skymiles, Emirates Skywards, Eva Air Evergreen Club, Jet Airways JetPrivilege, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, Singapore KrisFlyer, Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus and United Airlines Mileage Plus. For reservations at either Langham or Eaton properties, or more information, visit www.langhamhospitalitygroup.com
Caravan-Serai Tours still has openings for its 18-day Armenia, Georgia and Eastern Turkey Tour, which is taking place Oct. 11 to 28. The price is $4,582 per person double occupancy. The program includes Yerevan, Armenia’s capital; the Roman Fortress and Temple of Garni; North Armenia; Mount Ararat; the spa town of Dilijan, called the Little Switzerland of Armenia; the medieval city of Ani; Selima Pass, once a major junction on the Great Silk Route; Erzrum; Mackal; Trabzon; and the Ayder Plateau.
For more information, visit www.caravan-serai.com
ZUJI gives travellers in Asia Pacific online access to real-time travel bookings for thousands of hotels and hundreds of airlines, as well as bringing cruises, car hire, attraction bookings, package tours and other inspirational travel offers, products and tools online.
ZUJI operates travel websites in: Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Korea (‘Nextour’), New Zealand (‘Travelocity’), and India (‘Travelocity India’ and ‘Travelguru’), as well as many ‘Travel Partner Network’ sites throughout Asia Pacific.
ZUJI’s ‘Travel Partner Network’ division allows third-party travel suppliers, agents and web sites to harness the travel booking functionality of ZUJI for flight, hotel, packages, activities and other travel content and products. ZUJI’s B2B partners include:
Virgin Blue (Blue Holidays: Australia & New Zealand).
ZUJI is owned by Travelocity®, an international leader in online travel. Travelocity is owned by Sabre Holdings Corporation, a world leader in travel commerce.
ZUJI has an online member base exceeding 1 million travellers. ZUJI’s Chief Executive Officer is Mr Roshan Mendis.
KUALA LUMPUR – Tune Hotels.com –Tune Hotels.com, the limited service hotel brand providing a “5-star sleeping experience at a 1-star price”, has entered into a strategic partnership with Evolution Capital Public Company Limited to franchise a roll-out of 44 Tune Hotels.com hotels across Thailand, China, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
Evolution Capital, listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, is a real estate investment advisory and management firm focused on the hospitality and branded residential sectors, with ownership interests in resorts currently under development in Thailand.
Under the terms of the strategic partnership, the first 24 Tune Hotels.com hotels are targeted to be in development by early 2010 and operational by 2012 with staggered roll-out of the subsequent 20 hotels to be completed by 2013.
Mark Lankester, Group CEO of Tune Hotels.com said, “This expansion affirms our confidence in Thailand’s tourism and strong commitment to the Thai market. Despite its recent troubles, Thailand remains a great prospect for both leisure and business travelers. With its combination of lower living costs together with an increase in the number of flight deals, it is no surprise it is consistently ranked ‘Best Value for Money’ by the Country Brand Index (CBI).
Thailand has become the globally leading tourism destination for those seeking to stretch their hard-earned income, and it’s a natural fit for Tune Hotels.com to expand our limited-service brand of hotels here. An investment in building hotels is never to be made with a short term view, and while there have been challenges, we believe the Thai government is committed to promoting tourism as one of the most important sectors within the Thai economy and we’re delighted to have found the right local partner in Evolution Capital to work with Tune Hotels.com in assisting the government in that effort. “
Simon Gerovich, Managing Director & President of Evolution Capital, said, “With the proliferation of low-cost air carriers such as AirAsia, passengers are now able to travel, in many cases for the first time, between Asia’s major cities at incredibly competitive prices, but they are challenged by having to pay ‘full service’ prices for hotel accommodation when they arrive.
Travellers these days are more savvy and inquisitive – they want to get out and about, and see as much as they can and because they are spending less of their time in their rooms, they are understandably opting to spend less of their budget within the hotel itself and more on and at the destination’s attractions.
The economy sector of the market in Thailand, and indeed in most parts of Asia, is largely dominated by domestic chains and individual hotels that have variable standards, lacking the consistency of service and facilities that all travelers demand.
The Tune Hotels.com limited service model has proven itself to cater very well to this demand and we are very excited to partner with TuneHotels.com in spreading this fresh concept throughout a growing number of destinations in Asia.”
Gerovich continued, “Evolution Capital has always sought out unique investment opportunities in the hospitality industry. The Tune Hotels.com model really stands out in many ways, but particularly in how it gives consumers far greater right over the management of their resources, not just financially but also environmentally. With the spread of environmental conscientiousness there is a corresponding interest in ecologically-responsible consumption.
The Tune Hotels.com pay-as-you-use system for air-conditioning, laundered towels, and other energy-consuming amenities allows travelers to opt in or out of services which have an impact on the environment.
These add-ons are available for a small fee, and should guests choose not to take these options, not only do they save money but also contribute to preserving mother earth’s resources. This directly encourages a less wasteful, more conscientious lifestyle, which an increasing number of travelers and consumers are keen to adopt. TuneHotels.com is an extremely exciting hospitality model and we are delighted to be rolling out this new experience across the region.”
Mr. Gerovich concluded, “Tune Hotels.com’s branded limited service concept presents a great opportunity for Evolution Capital to tap into the value-based travel boom.
By placing branded limited service hotels in strategic locations, we shall cater not only to international long-haul travelers but also to the short-haul Asian travel markets.
This is part of the travel market which is underserved by hotel developers, even though this particular market sector is less susceptible to unforeseen adverse global events and economic volatility.
This under-investment creates an opportunity for Evolution Capital to deliver a branded, demand-driven, quality product to the public while also generating attractive financial returns. By leveraging Tune Hotels.com’s proven brand, team expertise, and operational model, Evolution Capital expects that such investment will present significant growth in the near future.”
Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Deputy Governor Marketing Communications, Tourism Authority of Thailand, applauded the strategic partnership between Tune Hotels.com and Evolution Capital PCL to bring the limited service hotel brand Tune Hotels.com into Thailand.
Mrs. Rerngronasa said, “The TAT believes that Tune Hotels.com’s arrival into Thailand will do much to grow the pie of tourism dollars in total, non-Thai as well as Thai. With the Tune Hotels.com limited service concept encouraging guests to spend less within the hotel itself, more spending power will be activated outside the hotel, within the local business ecosystem.
With more consumers opting to have a ‘5-star sleeping experience at a 1-star price’ so that they can spend their hard-earned income on shopping, dining and recreational pursuits outside the hotel, I can only imagine that this partnership will be lauded not only by consumers, but also Thai companies catering to both the leisure and business tourism markets.”
Mrs. Rerngronasa continued, “We have studied the Tune Hotels.com model, and its optimised use of all resources, right from its space-efficient building design, to the omission of costly, underutilized full service facilities, all the way through to Tune Hotels.com’s innovative pay-per-use concept for energy consuming amenities like air-conditioning and laundered towels.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand commends Tune Hotels.com in-built commitment to responsible tourism, welcomes Tune Hotels.com’s new pay-per-use concept and hopes the propagation of such conscientious consumerism will further develop Thailand’s responsible tourism strategy. ‘’
Similar to low-cost carrier airlines, Tune Hotels.com employs a self-service online booking system that encourages guests to book as far in advance as possible on www.tunehotels.com to enjoy exceptionally low prices.
Tune Hotels.com’s rates are kept low by employing a ‘limited service’ concept where underutilized hotel-operated facilities like swimming pools and gyms are omitted and cost savings are passed on to the guest.
If the latest wave of Beatlemania has got you harking after the days of your misspent youth, or perhaps rueing the lack of them, then the time has arrived to hang up your suit and jump on board the Hippie Trail bus – the latest epic travel adventure from the beautiful people at Oz-Bus.
Ready for a Ticket to Ride? If the latest wave of Beatlemania has got you harking after the days of your misspent youth, or perhaps rueing the lack of them, then the time has arrived to hang up your suit and jump on board the Hippie Trail bus – the latest epic travel adventure from the beautiful people at Oz-Bus.
Half a century on since the formation of the Beatles and the birth of the hippie subculture, the 21st Century Hippie Trail will depart Istanbul and follow in the footsteps of the free-spirited westerners who set off in search of spiritual enlightenment and a better world.
The first Hippie Trail of 2010 gets underway on 8th March with up to 15 re-born hippies boarding a bus to head east over 7 weeks. Together, staying in simple, authentic accommodation and enjoying adventures along the way, the intrepid travellers will relive the legendary overland journey through the cradle of civilisation, crossing Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal, finally arriving in Kathmandu.
Departing Istanbul, the bus heads to Ankara and onto the spectacular terrain of Cappadocia, where possible tours include the underground cities, or a hot air balloon flight, followed by a sun-downer in the cave bars in Goreme; The next stop is Mt Nemrut, famed for its giant statues built before Christ, and well worth the hike to the summit to greet the sunrise;
The bus crosses the border into Iran to Tabriz, where people still inhabit 3000 year old caves, followed by Tehran, Qom and Esfahan, once the capital of Persia, before arriving in Shiraz, the city of poets, wine and flowers.
The Hippie Trail heads north to Lahore, ‘heart of Pakistan’, and onto the hustle, bustle and culture shock of Delhi, sharply contrasted by the ‘pink city’ of Jaipur, the wondrous Taj Mahal, and the Ganges. Nepal is the hotly anticipated highlight on this Hippie Trail, and especially a visit to Dharamsala, the abandoned colonial hill station in the foot of the Himalayas, and the nearby village of McLeod Ganj, the Tibetan leader’s exile home.
This is without doubt the greatest opportunity to experience Tibetan culture firsthand in all its vibrancy. The Royal Chitwan National Park will blow the minds of even the most world-weary hippie.
This World Heritage listed site is testimony to successful nature conservation in South Asia, with 43 species of mammals to be found in the park including the endangered one horn rhino, tiger and crocodile, and over 450 species of bird.
Kathmandu is the final and much vaunted resting place for the Hippie Trail bus.
In a nod to 21st century ideals, Oz-Bus implements its strong belief in a responsible and sustainable travel ethos to ensure that local services, guides and meals are provided. Hippie Trailers stay in authentic roofed accommodation with breakfast provided each morning, and some evening meals.
Local guides, drivers and adventurers work hand in glove with the tour leader to give Hippie Trailers the best experience possible. Thanks to their local knowledge, the Hippie Trail can visit the lesser known gems and interact more with the local communities. The cost of the 46 day Hippie Trail is £2750 per person, exclusive of international flights.
Quick facts about Oz-Bus
The 92 day London to Sydney journey costs £4399 per person.
From February 2010 it will be a regular ‘hop on hop off’ service running eight times per annum.
The New Year’s Eve Special takes one week longer, and arrives on Sydney on 31 December, costing £4799.
The first ever Sydney to London departure will run in 2010 with two departures planned in April and May.
The Oz-Bus price is inclusive of all travel, accommodation, breakfast, some meals, tour leader, local guides and national park entry fees.
Any addition flights taken by Oz-Bus due to unforeseen circumstances will not be charged for.
Perhaps you’re a vegetarian and want to avoid ordering a goat curry in Nepal?
Intrepid Travel in conjunction with their friends at World Nomads, today launched free language guides for travellers.
Travellers can visit the Intrepid website from today and download the portable mp3 guides for their travels around the world.
The unique guides are available in 20 languages ranging from Arabic to Indonesian, Portuguese, French, Hindi and more.
Intrepid Travel CEO and Co-founder Darrell Wade said, “Intrepid are passionate about educating our travellers before they arrive in a country. These portable language guides are another way that Intrepid demonstrates its commitment to responsible travel.”
“We are dedicated to offering extraordinary travel experiences from the initial purchase of an Intrepid trip right through to the last day of their trip. We’ve always said to our travellers not to be afraid of using the language – simple pleasantries will help break the ice – so keep practicing!” he said.
“I only wish the technology was available when we began our business 20 years ago!” he continued.
The files can be stored on a portable mp3 device and take up less space than a full CD.
What: Intrepid launches free language guides for travellers
Range: 20 languages including Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Lao, Malay, Mandarin, Nepali, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese.
In its first foray out of the United Kingdom, hospitality giant Thistle Hotels will be making its presence felt in Asia through two key hotel properties in Malaysia – Thistle Johor Bahru and Thistle Port Dickson Resort.
The Thistle brand is part of Guoman Hotel Management (UK) Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GuocoLeisure Limited. Both companies are members of the Hong Leong Group whose hospitality and leisure business is spread across the globe. In Malaysia, Thistle will be managing properties owned by GuocoLand Malaysia, also a member of the Hong Leong Group of companies. The two properties are slated to open middle of 2009.
“Investing MYR 50 million in the refurbishment of both properties, Thistle’s expansion into Malaysia is part of the hospitality brand’s two-year strategy to expand its business to an international scale. The hotels will be the first properties opened under the Thistle name outside of the UK,” said Ian Jones, Regional Director of Guoman Hotels Asia.
For his part, GuocoLand Malaysia Managing Director Paul Poh said, “We are very pleased to welcome Thistle to Asia and are especially proud to have the first two properties right here on Malaysian shores.
This endeavor demonstrates GuocoLand Malaysia’s commitment to the Malaysian hospitality industry. This partnership with Thistle proves our commitment to continue to enhance the value of our properties. ”
Delivering an informal upmarket environment of comfort, relaxation and style, the two Malaysian properties are designed to cater to both business and leisure travelers providing an atmosphere of true Asian hospitality with classic British touches.
Thistle Port Dickson Resort opening in June 2009 will have 251 bedrooms set upon 90 acres of stunning green resort space. The beach hotel boasts a nine-hole golf course, two tennis courts, three restaurants, two bars and three outdoor swimming pools, with views out over the beach and sea.
In July 2009, Thistle Johor Bahru will open its doors as the second Asian Thistle property. Located in one of Malaysia’s most important commercial cities, just across the border from Singapore, this high end yet affordable hotel will cater primarily to business visitors.
The hotel offers 381 bedrooms including 125 luxury rooms, two restaurants, two bars, large events space with a capacity for 650 persons and an outdoor “resort style” swimming pool.
For its long-term guests, the hotel also has 19 units of apartment for rent.
“The two hotels provide different offerings, but one thing is clear: both will contribute to the regeneration of the localities. Thistle Port Dickson which will be of international standard is sure to attract leisure and MICE audience from around the world. Thistle Johor Bahru, capitalizing on its prime location at the gateway to Singapore, will cater primarily to the business community supporting inward investment to the area and offering a hotel standard that the city of JB has never seen before,” concluded Jones.
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