International tourism hits highest mark in seven years

first_img Travelweek Group Posted by Monday, January 15, 2018 Share Tags: Trend Watch, UNTWOcenter_img MADRID — International tourist arrivals grew by 7% in 2017 for a total of 1.322 billion and the strong momentum is expected to continue in 2018 at a rate of 4%-5%, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.The 7% increase in international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) worldwide in 2017 is “well above” the sustained and consistent trend of 4% or higher growth since 2010 and represents the strongest results in seven years, says the UNWTO.Europe and in particular the Med recorded “extraordinary results” for such a large and rather mature region, with 8% more international arrivals than in 2016. International tourist arrivals in Europe reached 671 million in 2017. Growth was driven by Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+13%). Western Europe (+7%), Northern Europe and Central and Eastern Europe (both +5%) also recorded robust growth.Africa consolidated its 2016 rebound with an 8% increase. Asia and the Pacific recorded 6% growth, the Middle East 5% and the Americas 3%.Results were partly shaped by the global economic upswing and the robust outbound demand from many traditional and emerging source markets, particularly a rebound in tourism spending from Brazil and the Russian Federation after a few years of declines, according to the report.More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the team“International travel continues to grow strongly, consolidating the tourism sector as a key driver in economic development. As the third export sector in the world, tourism is essential for job creation and the prosperity of communities around the world,” says UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “Yet as we continue to grow we must work closer together to ensure this growth benefits every member of every host community, and is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.”The current strong momentum is expected to continue in 2018, though at a more sustainable pace after eight years of steady expansion following the 2009 economic and financial crisis.The UNWTO’s projected growth rate for international tourist arrivals worldwide, pegged at 4%-5% in 2018, is slightly above the 3.8% average increase projected for the period 2010-2020 by UNWTO in its Tourism Towards 2030 long-term forecast.Europe and the Americas are both expected to grow by 3.5%-4.5%, Asia and the Pacific by 5%-6%, Africa by 5%-7% and the Middle East by 4%-6%.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsThe Americas (+3%) welcomed 207 million international tourist arrivals in 2017, with most destinations enjoying positive results. South America (+7%) led growth, followed by Central America and the Caribbean (both +4%), with the latter showing clear signs of recovery in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria.In North America (+2%), robust results in Mexico and Canada contrasted with a decrease in the U.S.Based on available data for Africa, growth in 2017 is estimated at 8%. The region consolidated its 2016 rebound and reached a record 62 million international arrivals. North Africa enjoyed a strong recovery with arrivals growing by 13%, while in Sub-Saharan Africa arrivals increased by 5%.The Middle East (+5%) received 58 million international tourist arrivals in 2017 with sustained growth in some destinations and a strong recovery in others. International tourism hits highest mark in seven years << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

ACV adds new Area Sales Managers to Ontario Western Sales teams

first_img MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations has added three new Area Sales Managers to its team, effective immediately.Juan Contreras Aragon, who most recently worked as a flight attendant for Air Canada Rouge, will cover the regions from Toronto East to Kingston. He can be reached at jcontrerasaragon@vacv.com.Covering the regions from Southwestern Ontario to Windsor will be Aaron Crawford, who previously served as Sales Consultant & Destination Expert for Royal Caribbean/Celebrity Cruises as well as Guest Service Ambassador for WestJet. He can be reached at acrawford@vacv.com.Lastly, Crystal Cornthwaite, who recently served as Business Development Manager for Tucan Travel, will cover the regions of West and Downtown Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Northern B.C., Richmond, Ladner, North Shore and the Yukon. She can be reached at ccornthwaite@vacv.com.Crawford and Aragon join ACV’s Ontario Sales team, which consists of Krista Cardona representing North Toronto, Central & Northern Ontario, and Dianna Pedroso representing the regions from Toronto West to Niagara. The Ontario Sales team is led by Monique Lalonde.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJCornthwaite joins ACV’s Western Canada Sales team, which consists of Lindsay Sande representing Southern Alberta and Grande Prairie, and Martha De la Torre representing East Vancouver, Burnaby, New West, Surrey, Delta, Fraser Valley, Tri-Cities, and Okanagan. The Western Sales team is led by Marigold Frontuna. Travelweek Group Posted by Thursday, April 19, 2018 ACV adds new Area Sales Managers to Ontario & Western Sales teamscenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Air Canada Vacations Sharelast_img read more

Good week allaround for Costa Rica fishing

first_imgNo related posts. Good fishing all around this week, which pleased both operators and anglers.There was a fantastic bite still going on in Guanacaste, espescially off the Catalinas, where sailfish and marlin are keeping anglers busy, while a little further north – just outside Santa Rosa park – wahoo are being taken in big numbers. Inshore anglers are taking amberjack on both bait and jigs. Roosterfish as well as a few grouper have been reported.The fish returned to the Los Sueños area, with some boats raising four to eight sails a day. Fishing had been a little slow lately, so this is good news. An occasional marlin is also popping up in the spread. One charter company in Quepos reported the recent appearance of a few sails and some tuna.The marlin finally made the annual show in the Southern zone. Most of the fish are coming near floating logs. Tuna are also still present, and anglers are finding them almost daily. Jerry Sabino and Ron Wilson hit it just right, landing seven marlin in three days offshore. On their top day, they had 10 in the spread. Another day they caught and released 20 yellow fin tuna in the 30- to 60-pound range.The ocean finally flattened out on the Caribbean side, and boats working outside are hooking tarpon. Inside, the snook bite is really strong a result of better patrolling against netters.    Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Jacó Happenings

first_imgNo related posts. This weekend, Punta Leona is hosting SUP clinics with a recreational race and chica reef. Clinics take place Saturday from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m.; and on Sunday from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. The clinics are open to the public. For more information, contact the Federation of Surf at 2235-6400. Also, don’t miss Tsunami’s 10-year anniversary party tomorrow night. The fun starts at 7 p.m. withSasha Campbell singing live. The third leg of the Copa Kolbi is being presented by Wipeout Films and has been announced for Nov. 3 in Playa Hermosa, just five minutes South of Jacó. Inscriptions are being held on Friday, Nov 2. at the Backyard Bar. The cost is $50.Congratulations to Jacó’s own Jason Torres, who took Costa Rican surfing to the next level by winning the ALAS PRO Venezuela.–Christina Truittchristina_truitt@yahoo.com Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Yet another bridge fiasco

first_imgNo related posts. A temporary Bailey bridge that collapsed this week on one of Costa Rica’s most-transited highways will cost some $1.5 million a day in losses to public and private sectors.The bridge is located on the General Cañas Highway, which connects downtown San José with Alajuela and the Juan Santamaría International Airport. It collapsed Tuesday afternoon when a privately owned 50-ton crane crossed the bridge in southbound traffic. The bridge and crane crashed down on the site where government workers are repairing a large section of the highway that washed out in June during a storm.  On Thursday, workers from a private Colombian company worked to extract the crane. Experts from the University of Costa Rica’s Structural Materials and Models National Laboratory held the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) responsible for the collapsed bridge, saying Bailey bridges “are a temporary solution for two months maximum, and this one has been functioning for four.”On Wednesday, Communications Minister Francisco Chacón announced a series of emergency measures including the suspension Friday and Monday of school classes in several cantons in the provinces of Alajuela, Heredia and San José. Chacón said repairs would be carried out 24 hours a day to re-establish transit through the area by next Tuesday.Meanwhile, traffic in the area turned to chaos, and some 150 Traffic Police officers were assigned to the highway and on alternate routes to deal with the mess. The highway is one of the busiest in Costa Rica, and traffic heading in the direction of San José from the province of Alajuela is being rerouted. The opposite lane, from San José to Alajuela, remains open. The maximum weight a Bailey bridge can hold is 40 tons, according to reports from the National Roadway Council. The council is denying responsibility for the collapse, saying the crane should never have been on that highway in the first place due to its weight.Photos of the bridge show the large red crane, with the company’s name Grúas Quirós emblazoned on the vehicle, stuck in the middle of the sunken bridge. The driver of the crane was uninjured in the accident. A construction vehicle under the bridge was crushed by the collapse. That construction vehicle held up part of the bridge and prevented the structure from collapsing completely. By Thursday afternoon, workers had successfully removed the fallen crane, and were assessing the damage to a newly constructed tunnel below the highway. Workers likely will have to add more concrete to support the structure, then determine whether the bridge is salvageable, or a new structure must be put in place.“We hope that the owner of the [crane] company will pay for this. The state will not cover it,” MOPT Minister Pedro Castro told local Radio Reloj. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

DEA tip leads to seizure of 710 kilos of cocaine in Guanacaste

first_imgCourtesy Public Security MinistryActing on a tip from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Costa Rican Drug Control Police (PCD) seized over 700 kilograms of cocaine Thursday and arrested four suspects.Authorities raided two homes in the Carrillo canton of Guanacaste and found at least 710 kilos of cocaine hidden in two vehicles. The PCD also confiscated a shotgun and ₡3 million, about $5,500. Police found U.S. dollars in the second residence but have yet to announce how much.The amount of drugs confiscated could increase. Police found 451 kilos of cocaine in a Mitsubishi and another 212 kilos hidden in a false floor in the bed of a truck. Police had yet to search additional secret chambers in the truck’s container.Public Security Minister Celso Gamboa declined to give specifics about the DEA’s role in the seizure. Gamboa said that Costa Rica has seized at least 15 metric tons of cocaine so far this year, in remarks on Thursday.The PCD arrested four suspects – two Costa Ricans and two Colombians – aged 35 to 51. One suspect, a 35-year-old Costa Rican woman with the last names Porras Arce, jumped out of a second story window in an attempt to flee. Police gave chase and apprehended her. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica fishermen once again arrested as US Coast Guard seizes 2.3 tons of cocaine 4 suspects in historic cocaine seizure finally remanded to local authorities Costa Rica cocaine seizures top 23 metric tons in 2014 Costa Rica seized record-breaking 26 metric tons of cocaine in 2014last_img read more

Victims in fatal bus crash in southern Costa Rica were local health

first_imgResidents in southern Costa Rica are mourning the deaths of three people – two of them health care workers – killed in a Friday evening bus crash that left several others seriously injured in Limoncito de Coto Brus, Puntarenas.Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) reported that the victims were a 16-year-old girl with the last name Vargas, a 44-year-old woman with the last name Arguedas and a 53-year-old man with the last name Espinoza, who police believe was driving the bus. Ten others were injured.The OIJ said the vehicle plunged approximately 100 meters over the edge of a cliff after leaving the road. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.Seven of the injured passengers were transported to hospitals, while three others were treated with minor injuries and released, the OIJ said.According to the Red Cross in Coto Brus, many of the victims worked at a local hospital in the town of San Vito in Coto Brus. A Tico Times reader wrote in shock following the accident, saying she previously had been cared for by victims of the crash. Related posts:Police crack million-dollar scheme to defraud people in United States Costa Rica press freedoms ‘enviable,’ says Reporters Without Borders Costa Rica Holy Week deadliest in 10 years US expat Ann Patton faces third murder trial in Costa Rica Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Small but vocal turnout in Costa Rica for global climate march

first_imgRelated posts:The Guardian names Costa Rican journalist among ‘young climate campaigners to watch’ ahead of Paris 2015 Hundreds of thousands rally worldwide over climate change China surpasses EU on per-capita pollution, pushes CO2 to record Obama to pledge $3 billion for new UN climate change fund Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Facebook Comments Méndez said she is bothered by Costa Rica’s plans to build a new oil refinery on the Caribbean coast.“We should be thinking more about clean fuels, and less about continuing with the same things we’ve been doing in the past,” Méndez said.Salvatore Coppola, an environmental activist, professor and organizer of Sunday’s demonstration, said it’s time to “move from words to action by adopting clean energy production and reversing the devastating advance of climate change.”He also called on the leaders of the countries that produce the most emissions to reach a binding agreement on reducing those emissions and securing funding for the countries that are most affected.But Costa Ricans also have to take part in the effort, Méndez said. “I think we’re continuing to develop in the same way without alternatives. We’re continuing with our high levels of consumption and an irrational use of resources. While it’s true we’re trying to become carbon-neutral and recycle, we’re still in diapers,” she said.Retiree Luis Hernández, 63, who has dual nationality and is a member of Democrats Abroad, said he was protesting against both Costa Rica and the United States.“Right now there are ways to eliminate carbon emissions, but the problem is big industry doesn’t want to change because they would be losing a lot money,” he said. “It’s all about money.” Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times See video below and photo gallery at end of story.A small group of demonstrators, mostly from the United States, gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy in San José on Sunday afternoon to join a global rally to promote action on climate change.Shouting “There’s no Planet B” and other slogans, the demonstrators urged action from governments, multinational companies and politicians worldwide to fight climate change. Most of those gathered in the Costa Rican capital were young students and retired expats.San Pedro resident Liliana Méndez, 45, told The Tico Times, “Right now they’re marching in New York, where North Americans are urging their government to promote clean energy sources and reduce CO2 emissions.”Méndez, a Costa Rican, added that, “I think it’s important that in Costa Rica we come to the embassy to urge the United States to lower its emissions, because it’s one of the most polluting countries in the world.”The People’s Climate March, which drew hundreds of thousands of demonstrators across the world, was scheduled ahead of Tuesday’s U.N. Climate Summit in New York, to be attended by world leaders including Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, scientists and members of civil society.last_img read more

Delays expected next week in Belén during meeting of Latin American presidents

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:CELAC should be seen as an ally of the region’s social movements, says indigenous leader CELAC should become an extreme poverty-free zone, says Ecuador’s foreign minister Puerto Rican independence front and center at CELAC US not in attendance but very present at 2015 CELAC summit in Costa Rica Residents and workers in Belén, take note. Next week, leaders from across Latin America and the Caribbean will converge on the Centro de Eventos Pedregal for the third meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), motorcades and all.The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) and the City of Belén have both said there will not be any road closures during the pan-Latin American event, which starts on Sunday, Jan. 25 and goes through Thursday, Jan. 29. Horacio Alvarado, mayor of Belén, asked for drivers to be patient on Wednesday and Thursday as Traffic Police briefly block roads between Juan Santamaría International Airport outside of San José and the Centro de Eventos Pedregal for five minutes at a time so that presidential motorcades can pass.The city recommended drivers avoid Route 111 and Route 122/Pollos del Monte in San Antonio, Belén, on Jan. 28 and 29. Authorities suggested Route 129, between Iglesia la Fátima and the Intel campus to cross east-west.Bus routes will operate on their normal schedules except when delayed by the motorcades, Alvarado said during a press conference Thursday.Area businesses can call the municipality at 2239-4660 or 2587-0295 with any questions regarding traffic.President Luis Guillermo Solís said that the government would not block demonstrators if they arrived at the event, but he asked Ticos to avoid “opportunistic” protests during the summit. Alvarado said that Costa Ricans have the right to free expression, but also the right to freely transit the city, and he asked demonstrators not to block streets.Founded in 2010, CELAC is a loose organization of leaders from across Latin America and the Caribbean. Delegations from 33 countries will attend the annual meeting, including presidents from across the hemisphere. Only Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has said she will not attend, citing a recent surgery.last_img read more

Slain Mexico mayor sacrificed herself to save family

first_imgTEMIXCO, Mexico – When gunmen burst into her home, the freshly-installed mayor of Temixco, south of Mexico City, told them to leave her family alone and surrendered to them, witnesses recalled.Gisela Mota, who lived with her parents, was still in her pajamas on Saturday morning when the masked commando jumped a wall and stormed the house.The 33-year-old single woman’s parents were home along with her newborn nephew, whose grandmother was preparing to give him a bottle.The assailants beat up her relatives until Mota “gave herself up so that they would let the others go,” said the mayor’s mother, Juanita Ocampo.“I told them that if they wanted to kill me, they should kill me first,” Ocampo told reporters. “But she told them, ‘I am Gisela.’ They took her because she was very brave.” Newly elected Mayor Gisela Mota speaks Jan. 1, 2016. Miguel Rojas/AFPBut the triggermen pulled Mota from her bedroom, took her to the living room and killed her in front of her parents. Her desperate father ran after the killers.Mota’s murder has become a tragic symbol of the threats mayors face across Mexico and the violence that has engulfed Morelos, where drug cartels fight turf wars while kidnapping and extorting citizens.Mota was killed just one day after taking the oath of office amid hopes among supporters that she would fulfill her promise to curb crime in the city of 100,000, known for resorts and water slides, just two hours from Mexico City.But the left-of-center mayor became one of the victims of the gangland violence that has plagued the city, as authorities blamed Los Rojos drug gang for her murder.Her home stands out among the other houses in the humble neighborhood. It has a rustic wooden door and a brick oven in the patio.Neighbors recalled that on the eve of her murder, Mota had celebrated her new job with music and dancing.“The next morning, six shots were heard. We thought it was firecrackers. But we heard them scream that they killed Gisela,” said Pablo Ortega, a 48-year-old neighbor, who said seven armed men had arrived in a car.Shortly after the murder, the police killed two suspects in a shootout and arrested three others, including a 17-year-old boy and a 32-year-old woman.Gangland strifeMorelos Governor Graco Ramírez said Los Rojos killed Mota as a warning to other mayors who back his controversial plan to place state and municipal police under a “unified command.”Ramírez praised his late colleague from the Democratic Revolution Party as “independent and combative.”Los Rojos are engaged in brutal conflicts with the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel in Morelos and the neighboring state of Guerrero.The Guerreros Unidos became notorious when they were identified as the suspected killers of 43 students who disappeared in Guerrero in September 2014, with prosecutors saying the gang had confused them with Los Rojos.In Morelos, authorities say Los Rojos are the main gang in Temixco while the Guerreros Unidos dominate in the neighboring city of Cuernavaca, a famous weekend getaway for Mexico City residents that is also infested with crime.It was in Temixco that the 24-year-old son of renowned poet Javier Sicilia was found dead along with four friends in 2011. A woman walks by an electoral campaign mural of Gisela Mota, the mayor who was gunned down a day after taking office, in Temixco, Morelos State, Mexico, on Jan 4, 2016. Omar Torres/AFP100 mayors attackedNow the city and the state are mourning Mota, with the nation’s flag flying at half-staff outside the municipal office, whose walls were adorned with two large black ribbons and two wreaths.At the dusty cemetery, some 20 large wreaths, some with the words “you were my hope,” and an assortment of flowers were placed on Mota’s tomb.“She was very determined to make things different” in Temixco, said Miriam Martínez, the Workers Union secretary general.Martínez said that Mota’s predecessor, Miguel Ángel Colín, had left the municipality in disarray, with debts and unpaid wages. The governor said that Colín is under investigation, but he did specify for what.Mota didn’t have time to do much, as she was killed just hours after taking office.Nearly 100 mayors and more than 1,000 municipal workers have been victims of attacks across Mexico in the past decade, according to the Association of Local Authorities of Mexico.“It is dangerous to work as a politician when you want to do things right and you face people who don’t share the same ideas,” Martínez said. Facebook Comments Related posts:Yet another Veracruz journalist is kidnapped, tortured and killed in Mexico Mexican authorities to confirm if missing students among the dead in a recently discovered mass grave Mexico mayor accused of ordering attack on missing students How $500,000 check that sat uncashed adds to Mexico scandallast_img read more

Daughters of slain Honduran activist want intl commission to investigate mothers death

first_imgThe daughters of slain Honduran environmental and indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres were in Costa Rica last week to speak at the University of Costa Rica about their mother’s fight against the Agua Zarca dam and their struggle to bring their mother’s killers to justice.Cáceres, who co-founded the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), was shot to death on March 3 at a home in the western town of La Esperanza. Just a year earlier, she had won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her work in trying to stop construction of the Agua Zarca dam, which would displace hundreds of indigenous Lenca people.She had received dozens of death threats for her work.Five people were arrested in May in connection with her death, including an employee of Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA), the company in charge of the dam project, an active duty soldier and a retired soldier.The Tico Times sat down last week with Cáceres’ daughters, Laura Zúñiga Cáceres and Berta Zúñiga Cáceres, to talk about the case. Excerpts from the interview follow:Why did you decide to come to Costa Rica?Laura — We came to Costa Rica as part of a series of international visits to continue raising awareness about my mom’s case, to demand justice, to stop hydroelectric projects on indigenous land and to continue calling for an independent international commission to investigate my mother’s death.What is the status of the investigation?Berta — The prosecutor is part of MACCIH [Support Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras, an investigative body backed by the Organization of American States], which was developed specifically to address corruption. But that’s not what we’re asking for.What we want is an independent, interdisciplinary commission of international members overseen by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. [The IACHR] presented this proposal two months ago to the government of Honduras. We still have not gotten a response.It would be an international commission with a similar mandate to the one investigating the disappearance of the 43 students in Ayotzinapa [Mexico]. It would independently verify the objectivity of the investigation at all levels of the crime.Five suspects have been arrested for allegedly killing your mother. Are you confident that these are the people behind the crime?Laura — They’ve arrested five people connected to the act of the crime, two of them accused of perpetrating the crime. One [of those arrested] is from the armed forces, a trainer with the military police.Berta — The other was the chief environmental operations officer for the company DESA, Sergio Rodríguez, who we blamed from the beginning. Also, the former security chief of the same company.In spite of the arrests, we’ve seen a series of irregularities in the investigation, including a rush to arrest these suspects when there is insufficient evidence to convict them. They are acting like this is already resolved, that it’s all done.But there’s no looking into the masterminds behind the crime. The operations chief didn’t make this call on his own. There were other people who ordered this who are not being investigated.The fact that someone in the military was involved in this suggests that the government was complicit in the crime. We don’t think the government will investigate these people and that’s why we’re asking for an independent commission.Is there someone in particular you suspect?Laura — We believe that there are powerful economic interests behind the order [to kill my mother]. Beyond individuals, I think it has to do with the businesses and how they operate. We’re very concerned about the general manager of the company [DESA], David Castillo. He’s ex-military who was trained at West Point and has been linked to military intelligence.What role could the U.S. play to encourage the Honduran government to accept an independent commission?Berta — There has been contradictory responses to this case from the U.S. We were very surprised at the high level of interest in the case from some U.S. congressional representatives. But we believe there is support for the Honduran government’s position from the U.S. State Department.Also, the U.S. government needs to wash its hands of any responsibility it may have had in this case, including financing the military units who operate where the project is, USAID’s involvement with the company, and U.S. military policy towards Honduras, which my mother was critical of when she was still alive.We’ve had meetings with memebers of the State Department and they insist we look at other options outside of an independent commission. The U.S. has strong influence with the Honduran government and we think if they would have supported us in [forming an independent commission], it would have already happened.It leaves much to be desired by us as victims, family members and as an organization [COPINH]. We believe the U.S. could do much more.We think that the bill on military cooperation presented by U.S. Representative [Hank] Johnson is very interesting. We believe it’s obvious that the military operates with impunity.Is there an alternative you’d be open to besides this independent commission?Berta — There have also been numerous calls for an independent commission to investigate the case from groups across Europe. The Honduran government says that it’s doing everything it needs to and does not need international participation, but we believe that the commission would benefit the investigation.There are other groups that could lend support, like the United Nations, but we believe the commission would be the best. We’re going to continue fighting for it and, meanwhile, continue fighting for access to information in the investigation. It’s something very basic that is in the law that we’ve been denied.What is the status of COPINH and the movement against the Agua Zarca project?Berta — The company remains in control of the concession. We have an ongoing complaint to cancel it. However, the project continues. Neither the death of my mom nor the death of Nelson García has ended it.There has been a delay in the project but we’re concerned it will be only temporary and it’ll start up again after attention to the case has died down.There are 51 concessions for hydroelectric projects in the area and COPINH has complaints against 49 of them, including the Aguas Zarcas project, for violating laws requiring prior consultation [with affected communities] and access to information.One of the positive things that has come out of all of this is that charges have been filed against the former vice-minister of the Secretariat of Natural Resources and the Environment, Marco Jonathan Laínez, for abuse of authority for granting an environmental license [for Agua Zarca] without an environmental impact study.There’s also a case against the former mayor of Intibucá for abuse of authority for falsifying signatures from the community in support of the project.We will continue to demand the govenment definitively and permanently nullify the concession held by the company.Laura — We remain steadfast in our fight for justice for Honduras and the world. A case like this cannot end in impunity. We all deserve justice. Facebook Comments Related posts:Environmental leader killed in Honduras Honduran environmentalist Berta Cáceres murdered, family says Four arrested over murder of Honduras activist Berta Cáceres Another activist killed in Honduraslast_img read more

How Costa Ricas Design Festival became an educational platform

first_img5 questions for Chilean innovator Stiven Kerestegian “When I was at Denmark at the Creative Business Cup about three years ago, when we won the Yo Emprendedor prize from Mesoamerica, one of the judges was Stiven Kerestegian, LEGO’s Innovation Director [at the time]… I invited him to come here. And he came,” Cervilla told The Tico Times. “It was fantastic. We became very good friends. We began thinking throughout the year about what we could do.”After various conversations, more stakeholders began joining the project. These include the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE), the Inter-American Development Bank (BID), the Public Education Ministry (MEP), the BAC bank, Mesoamérica, and the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), providing scholarships for students to attend the first CIID Summer School held this year in Costa Rica. The essence of this new face for the FID with the CIID is to empower others through education for the country’s development and improvement.“What the FID has taught me is that when you give people access to education and global-level education, things change. The key to any transformational change in society resides in education… making it [possible] for people to get inspired to take actions and to improve the context they’re in,” Cervilla told The Tico Times. Some of the FID + CIID’s Summer School attendees at the Prototyping as a Process course given by Luke Sturgeon and Shamik Ray at the Fundación Omar Dengo on April 9. Roberto Delgaod Webb / The Tico TimesTo all this, Cervilla’s main motivation to continue working hard on creating innovative educational options for the country is as simple as making a better place for his children and the deep love for Costa Rica.“I have a very profound love for my country. I feel very proud of what we are, what we represent and the enormous potential we have,” Cervilla said. “I have to create exchange, inspiration and knowledge spaces for educational accessibility.” The Fab Lab at the FID + CIID Summer School. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico TimesThe CIID Summer School began on April 9 and will end on April 27. It is currently taking place at the Omar Dengo Foundation in San Pedro, east of San José. As part of the Summer School, the CIID is providing Lightning Talks, a format in which the CIID professors share a free 10-minute conference every Tuesday in April. For more information visit the FID’s Facebook or webpage. Facebook Comments How the International Design Festival boosts San Jose’s economy “The stakeholders share a same common vision of how design really can transform a region, how it can be a tool and not necessarily an end… For quite a while, I’d been asking myself why the FID is important,” Cervilla said.That question led Cervilla to think about how the FID could support innovation throughout the year rather than at one annual event. Creative minds in action at the Introduction to Interaction Design class given by Matt Nish-Lapidus and Blair Johnsrude thinking on ways to develop a simple prototype of a device or service to define street addresses in Costa Rica. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico Times“All the people who have been involved, we’ve rolled up our sleeves, because we’re basically prototyping. No one knows how this is done,” says Cervilla. “It’s the first time in which the people from the CIID step out of Denmark to get into the Latin American context.”According to Cervilla, the team from Copenhagen was drawn to Costa Rica because of the energy and potential they observed in this country in terms of innovation.Everyone involved in the creation of this new Summer School program are seeking to experiment with new problem-solving approaches that have not yet been explored. Creative minds in action at the Introduction to Interaction Design class given by Matt Nish-Lapidus and Blair Johnsrude at the Fundación Omar Dengo on April 9. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico TimesThe event’s sponsors have joined forces to offer scholarships for teachers, 20 public high school students, startups, and NGOs to participate in the course, taking place at the Omar Dengo Foundation in San José through April 27.“I believe that any thing that’s designed in this moment must solve problems, and must adapt to the context under the topics of sustainability. Definitely the CIID is the future of thinking for design… [including] for businesses and governments,” Cervilla told The Tico Times. “What would happen if we can have [design thinking] processes inside of [public] institutions is that they’re required to be well designed to improve mobility, the environment, education.” One of the FID + CIID’s Summer School attendees presenting a Food Waste Management idea of a project at the Prototyping as a Process course given by Luke Sturgeon and Shamik Ray at the Fundación Omar Dengo on April 9. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico TimesThe CIID methodologies to be applied in Costa Rica are focused on design, technology and biodiversity. Some of the FID + CIID’s Summer School attendees presenting a Lunchbox Builder idea of a project at the Prototyping as a Process course given by Luke Sturgeon and Shamik Ray at the Fundación Omar Dengo on April 9. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico Timescenter_img International Design Festival: How to organize a massive, successful event in Costa Rica It has been eight years since the first edition of the International Design Festival (FID), created by designers Paco Cervilla and Alfredo Enciso to position Costa Rica as an international creative hub, opened its doors.Yesterday, however, the festival morphed into something new: the traditional three-day event became an educational platform offered throughout the month of April in partnership with the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID).The FID’s partnership with the Copenhagen Institute began with a conversation between Cervilla and Stiven Kerestegian, head of innovation and strategy at the CIID. They started by talking about their children playing together at the beach, and ended up discussing the generation of an educational platform that provides students with tools to create solutions for complex problems through creative processes. Related posts:Costa Rican organization seeks fresh approach to teenage pregnancy prevention This week in the Peace Corps: Cacao in Talamanca This week in the Peace Corps: Celebrating English learning Nosara Animal Care raises funds for animals in needlast_img read more

Through adaptive surfing disabled athletes conquer Costa Ricas waves

first_img Facebook Comments Part I of III.Costa Rica already maintains a stellar reputation as a surfing destination. According to Carlos Brenes of the Costa Rica Federation of Surf (FSC), between 22 to 25 percent of this country’s tourists come here especially for the surfing. However, there is also a new segment of the sport that is gaining attention: Adaptive Surfing, which focuses on athletes with disabilities who still want to enjoy all that surfing has to offer.Four years ago, inspired by a dear friend who was disabled in a car accident, pastor and surf coach Gustavo Corrales – from Jacó, on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast – organized the Adaptive Surf Association of Costa Rica, inviting amputees and people with developmental brain issues or visual or auditory challenges to be instructed in the sport. In addition, these surfers get the opportunity to compete on the national Adaptive Surf team, which takes on other adaptive surfers at International Surfing Association (ISA) games outside the country.“They are called ‘Children of the Impossible,’” Corrales said of his group. “Our association is not just for competing. It’s also a fun way to engage in therapy. We adapt the surfing, not the person.”These special athletes can either surf lying flat on the board, or on specially designed boards, or with assistance from coaches. On the current national team, there are members who are amputees, members with spinal cord injuries, a blind surfer, and a man with a disease that diminishes the power and mobility of his muscles as he grows. That man is Mateo Banderhoogth, a Tico who won a bronze medal in 2016 at the ISA Adaptive World Surfing Championships in La Jolla, California. His category was Assisted Surfing, with a coach in the water and another near the shore.Last year, in a return to La Jolla, Natalia Vindas received the bronze medal for her 3rd place finish in the A4 category. With a spinal cord injury, she surfed to the win on her belly. As a team, the 2017 surfers placed 7th among the 28 countries that participated in these championships. Surfer Dean Bushby, right, learned how to surf in Guanacaste. Courtesy of Eric Atkinson / Salty Sols SurfCurrently, the FSC is running an Adaptive Surfing National Circuit around the country.Why does Corrales dedicate his free time to the unpaid training of adaptive surfers?“I have people with disabilities in my family, and to me they are just normal,” he said. “They inspire me, and this keeps me happy to help them enjoy their lives. They are happy. Everybody has a purpose in life, and this project is my purpose. “Gustavo Corrales is not the only surf instructor in Costa Rica to make lessons available to those with physical and mental challenges. The goodwill is spreading. Recently, two men with disabilities visited the northwestern province of Guanacaste, got in the water and surfed, overcoming their perceived limitations.Stay tuned as our series looks at how a British athlete and Virginia family took to the waves of Guanacaste. Disclaimer: The Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA) and Amigos of Costa Rica sponsor the Tico Times Changemakers Section to provide a space for stories and information about philanthropic work in Costa Rica. CRUSA and Amigos do not endorse any of the organizations, individuals, fundraising solicitations or opinions shared in this space unless otherwise stated. Related posts:Surfing in Costa Rica: Secrets from a local surfer World Surfing League arrives in Jacó Costa Rica steps up safety measures ahead of World Surfing Games in Jacó Anthony Fillingim crowned 2018 Costa Rican surf champion, Rubiana Brownell scores historic triple winlast_img read more

Havanas historic quarter begins smallbiz rentals

first_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Sponsored Stories “There has been a certain deceleration in the rhythm of the implementation of the guidelines in the first half of 2012, but that doesn’t mean things are paralyzed,” Omar Everleny Perez, the head of Havana University’s Center for Cuban Economic Studies, told The Associated Press.Those like Perez who see the glass half-full point to projects like Leal’s, and other pilot programs launched in other regions of the country, as potential blueprints for the future _ even if they are barely mentioned in the local press and rarely talked about by high-ranking government officials.With zero fanfare, Leal’s office has recently leased five storefronts in 5- to 10-year deals renewable by mutual consent, with an initial three-month rent holiday while tenants are still getting off the ground. For up to a year, business owners can deduct whatever they spend on improving the space from their rent payments, said David Viciedo, an economist who works for the Historian’s Office.“We’re giving them the space, not just the legal but the physical space,” Viciedo said. “The office made the decision to do this experiment with five trials even when it was not being done in the rest of the country. We will do it with five, and propose to extend it later.” What were an estimated 60,000 retail outlets islandwide at the time of the revolution hit a low of 4,000 in 1993, the great majority state-owned, said Joseph L. Scarpaci, executive director of the Blacksburg, Virginia-based Center for the Study of Cuban Culture and Economy. That number has since crept back up to just under 10,000.“Everything that the island knew about retailing, generations of that information, was lost or buried because the revolution nationalized everything and almost everyone fell under state control,” Scarpaci said. “So the human capital loss has been great.”The state has been renting out stall space in vacant lots to people selling handicrafts, clothing and trinkets for a while, and a longtime artisans’ market in an Old Havana port warehouse is a must-visit on any tourist’s itinerary.Cuban media reports also say retail rentals have recently begun elsewhere in Havana and in cities such as Pinar del Rio and the beach resort of Varadero. However, most appear to be shared spaces for small-time outfits such as jewelers, cobblers, barbers and watch repairmen trading in the weaker national peso as opposed to the more valuable convertible peso. So far there has been no public bidding process or published rental rates during the program’s pilot phase. The first five Old Havana renters have long ties to the Historian’s Office and the government, and the office will have to avoid favoritism, real or perceived, if regular Cubans are to be included.Hernandez, for one, has been chef to Fidel Castro and visitors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he founded several prominent state restaurants. His monthly rent of about $700 far undercuts the $1,500-$2,000 that other independent restaurateurs say they pay to rent space in private homes elsewhere in the city.Viciedo acknowledged that Leal’s office picked people it already knew, but he said that was because it wanted people with an established record of success for the program’s trial phase.He said pricing will be made public as the project expands to ensure everyone has a fair shot, not just the well-connected.“We intend the process to be not just for people we know, because it has to be much more participative,” Viciedo said. “It shouldn’t be like that. It won’t be.”The project would seem to fly in the face of Communist Party ideals that have reigned in Cuba since shortly after the 1959 revolution, after which nearly all private businesses and retail space passed into state hands. Comments   Share   Associated PressHAVANA (AP) – At first blush, Mama Ines seems to be just the latest in a long line of private restaurants that have opened in Havana as part of President Raul Castro’s fledgling free-market reforms.But a tiny sign on the facade, easily overlooked, tells the tale: “Tenant of the Office of the Historian.”The government’s Havana historian, Eusebio Leal, has long overseen the capital’s colonial core with unusually wide latitude to call his own shots. Now he’s out in front of other state agencies again _ this time by leasing government-owned buildings as retail space to Mama Ines and a handful of other private small businesses: here a beauty salon, there a massage parlor, down the street a nursery specializing in bonsai. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) “It is more than the vanguard. It is somewhat unique,” said economist Rafael Romeu of the Washington-based Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy. “Retail space in Old Havana would be extremely valuable for reaching tourism.”The bold project lies in stark contrast to a general slowing of the pace of reforms since a flurry of activity at the end of 2011, when the government legalized the sale of real estate and used cars. Promises of other major reforms like the creation of mid-sized cooperative companies, the lifting of travel restrictions and the broadening of the number of jobs that can be privately held have yet to be fulfilled. The number of people taking out new private licenses has fallen this year, and many have turned them back in.Many businesses have failed to catch on precisely because of a lack of prime real estate, forcing the vast majority to base themselves out of their homes or in makeshift setups on porches and front gardens. Cuba’s National Assembly is due to meet July 23 in one of two yearly sessions, though there is no indication whether it is ready to approve more changes under guidelines approved by the Communist Party last year. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Until now, most independent restaurateurs have been operating out of their own homes, restricting their access to good locations and forcing them to cannibalize their living space.“I’ve never wanted to do a restaurant in my own house,” said Tomas Erasmo Hernandez, owner of Mama Ines. “You know why? Because in my house it would throw everything out of whack. I couldn’t be with my family. You lose privacy.”Many Cubans essentially lease their homes from the state at nominal rents. Other government entities are beginning to let small, shared spaces for the likes of craftspeople and repair technicians. But Leal’s initiative is blazing a new trail in this communist-run country by directly renting prime, indoor real estate to private small-business people so they can set up long-term, compete with government shops and joint ventures between the state and foreign companies _ and truly stand to make a buck.For the entrepreneurs in the Old Havana trial, it’s a chance to tap into the hard-currency economy of the thriving tourism district. It’s also potentially a daring pilot program that, if expanded and rolled out on a larger scale, could create a new revenue stream for the cash-strapped government and upend five decades of Marxist dogma about the use of state-owned property while giving a boost to small businesses. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Patients with chronic pain give advice Top Stories Details on the Old Havana project are scarce as is public awareness of the program, which is still so much in its infancy that none of Leal’s tenants have yet signed a contract.Viciedo said rents will vary depending on location and type of real estate, from $1 to $13 per square foot per year. Mama Ines, set on a quaint cobblestone street a half-block off a well-trafficked tourist drag, will be paying around $6.60, he said.The rates are far less than in prime U.S. retail markets such as Manhattan ($50.32) or Miami ($27.41), though the high end is in the ballpark of cities such as Oklahoma City ($11.11), according to figures from the Washington-based CoStar Group, which tracks and analyzes commercial real estate.Scarpaci said the entrepreneurs may be getting a raw deal once you factor in licensing fees, taxes, scarcity of resources and lack of startup capital in a country where government salaries average $20 a month.“You’re nickel-and-diming those who can least afford to be nickeled-and-dimed,” said Scarpaci, who is also chairman of marketing at West Liberty University in West Virginia and has written a history of retailing in Cuba.But Hernandez is optimistic his 40-seat restaurant, which he occupied in April after the Historian’s Office finished restoring the building, will be able to cover the estimated $700 in monthly rent once the tourism high season kicks in. “That’s a joke, for a place like this in the historic quarter,” he said, while cautioning that the state must do more for private businesses, including giving access to supplies at wholesale prices.“I think next year is going to be a very good year if they keep expanding and if they give us the tools,” Hernandez said.Besides the five businesses already up and running in Old Havana, four other properties are being rehabilitated for rental in the near future and dozens more could potentially follow, Viciedo said.The first to open was the modest but well-kept Salon de Belleza, where customers pay $5 for a shampoo, cut and styling. Later came the plant shop next door, with offerings from $1.50 unpotted African violets to a $60 flowering Adenium bonsai.“I’m very pleased so far,” said Alejandro Gonzalez Aguiar, the proprietor of the nursery. “The advantage of this place is its location. There’s a lot of traffic. The location alone sells.”___Associated Press writer Andrea Rodriguez contributed to this report.___Peter Orsi on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Peter(underscore)Orsi Quick workouts for men 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more

Swiss bank named in FIFA indictment opens investigation

first_img Four benefits of having a wireless security system The Justice Department says the account was held by FPT Sports, a subsidiary of Argentina-based Torneos y Competencias.Torneos president Alejandro Burzaco was indicted and turned himself in to Italian police last week. He faces extradition to the United States.Julius Baer says it was among “several banks mentioned in the FIFA indictment (and) launched an internal investigation.”The bank did not specify which authorities it cooperated with.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies ZURICH (AP) — Swiss private bank Julius Baer says it is investigating its involvement in a FIFA corruption case and is cooperating with authorities.The Zurich-based bank was named in a U.S. Department of Justice indictment three weeks ago which alleged a racketeering conspiracy.An account in Zurich received $6.67 million in 2013 from agencies implicated in a $110 million bribe scheme linked to Copa America broadcasting rights. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Top Stories En esta imagen de archivo, tomada el 27 de mayo de 2015, dos personas se ven reflejadas en el logo de la FIFA en la sede del ente en Zúrich, Suiza. (Foto AP/Michael Probst, archivo)n Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img read more

TIC Warns NSW economy under threat

first_imgA Federal and NSW government study into Aviation capacity for the Sydney region indicates the potential damage the Australian economy could endure without action from the government. Tourism Industry Council NSW General Manager Andrew Jefferies warms without the urgent action and agreement of the government, “billions would be lost across all industries resulting in a contraction in these economies”. Some of the report’s key finding state Australia is set to lose $6billion in GDP by 2035, 2.3billion in NSW, by 2060, $60billion will be lost in forgone expenditure, $30billion in NSW alone. Without additional capacity, demand will exceed capacity by 54 million passenger movements and 760,000 tonnes of freight.  Current slot restrictions at Sydney Airport mean no new flight can be allocated by 2027. Mr Jefferies said a joint report has been put together by experts from Federal and State Government, business and tourism leaders detailing options available to government to resolve these concerns.Lifting the statutory movement cap of the Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997 from 80 to 85 movements per hour between the hours of 6am-10am and 3pm-8pm each weekday A commitment by the New South Wales Government to upgrade all surface links to Sydney Airport Whilst Canberra Airport is capable of handing some of the region’s capacity, it is not located close enough to Sydney to fulfill the role of Sydney’s second airport A joint strategy to identify the aviation needs of the Hunter and Central Coast regions with safeguards in place for Newcastle Airport to continue to grow and operate successfully With a modest investment, demand could easily be met by Low Cost Carriers for one million passengers a year at RAAF Richmond. Its future as a standalone military base is questionable and the RAAF support opening up Richmond to civil flights. Badgery’s Creek still considered the best option for a type 1 full service airport capable of handling international long haul flights Wilton seen as the next best option to reduce noise impacts due to lack of nearby industry and housing. “This is a time for Government at all levels to display leadership.  It is so easy to take the politically easy option on Sydney Airport given that so many careers have been established on the back of anti-airport campaigns,” Mr Jefferies said. “This report provides all the necessary data and all the relevant evidence to base a sound decision for local communities, the tourism industry and the state of Federal and New South Wales economies.” NSW economy threatened without urgent action from governments Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

Ships ahoy Aussies cruising up 34 per cent

first_imgThe number of Australians taking a cruise holiday has reached a record 623,294 passengers for the 2011 season, an increase of 34 per cent from the previous year.The International Cruise Council Australasia (ICCA) revealed the extraordinary growth at the 2011 Australian Cruise Industry Report luncheon yesterday onboard the Pacific Jewel as it docked in Sydney.Over the past five years the number of Australians taking a cruise has almost tripled and in 2011 the Australian market dominated over the US (recording a four per cent rise) and the UK market (reporting a five per cent increase), according to the reportOf the 623,294 cruise passengers, 40 per cent came from New South Wales with Queensland accounting for 24 per cent, Victoria 16 per cent and Western Australia 9 per cent.Accounting for 70 per cent of Australian cruise passenger numbers, local cruising to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific remains the top destinations.  However, river cruising continues to grow in popularity as passenger numbers increased by 22 per cent to almost 35,000, accounting for six per cent of Australian cruise passenger numbers.ICCA Chairman Gavin Smith launched the 2011 report by saying the latest figures cemented the cruising status as a shining star of the tourism industry.Attributing the growth to increased awareness, great value and accessibility of cruising, Mr Smith said the profile of cruising is being taken to new heights.“Every year we are seeing more cruise ships based in Australia and more ships visiting our shores, prompting an unprecedented number of Australians to take to the seas for their holidays,” Mr Smith commented.Mr Smith said the cruise industry was well on target to reach its goal of one million passengers by 2020.CEO of Carnival Australia Ann Sherry agrees with the ability to reach the target, saying they are merely scratching the surface of the Australian cruise industry’s growth potential.”The industry is well and truly on course to surpass its goal of carrying a million passengers a year by 2020 with market penetration levels also rivalling or surpassing that of mature markets in North America and Europe,” Ms Sherry said. PO Pacific Sun off the coast of Mystery Island, South Pacific Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.Wlast_img read more

Etihad A380 service to Sydney boarding June 2015

first_imgEtihad Airways has confirmed that it new service from Abu Dhabi to Sydney will be operated using and Airbus A380.The new  EY454 (Abu Dhabi to Sydney) and EY455 (Sydney to Abu Dhabi) will be replace the current Boeing 777-300 running on the route. A 777 will in turn replace the airline’s four times weekly Abu Dhabi to Sydney service.Partner airline Virgin Australia’s will also service the route with a three times weekly 777 service.The changes on the Sydney route will ensure that there are 4784 total seats in each direction.Etihad president and chief executive officer James Hogan said that the changes will offer people a new level of customer service.“The new living spaces on our A380s will raise inflight product and service standards to the highest level ever in commercial aviation and change forever travellers’ expectations of air travel,” Mr Hogan said.“Ours are not only the most advanced aircraft cabins in the industry, they meet all weight, range and cost targets at our desired seat count.”Reservations for the new service will begin on 1 June 2015.The A380 will contain the new airline’s new accommodation offerings including the  The Residence by Etihad™ as well as space for nine guests in the First Apartments, 70 in Business Class Studios, and 415 in Economy Class.Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more

Air China announces new service

first_imgAir China has announced it will begin offering a nonstop Beijing-Melbourne service four times per week from 1 June 2015.This new route makes Air China the only airline to offer a nonstop Beijing-Melbourne service.The flights will operate on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; with plans to increase to a daily service on 25 October this year.The service will be operated by Airbus A330-200 aircraft and, onboard, all classes will include AVOD systems and power outlets.Flights will depart Beijing at 02:00 and arrive in Melbourne at 15:30 local time. The return flights depart Melbourne at 20:40 local time and arrive in Beijing at 06:30.The nonstop Beijing-Melbourne service aims to further promote and expand the existing trade ties between Australia and China.Air China’s existing Shanghai-Melbourne nonstop route will continue to operate, increasing the airline’s total number of flights from Shanghai and Beijing to Australia to 23 per week.By utilising the network of the Star Alliance, passengers are now able to access over 1,300 airports across 195 countries.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more

Actions to supercharge tourism success in New Zealand

first_imgActions to supercharge tourism success in New ZealandPriority actions for the incoming Government to supercharge the tourism industry’s success have been unveiled today by Tourism Industry Aotearoa.Tourism for Tomorrow, the 2017 Tourism Election Manifesto, was released at TRENZ 2017, the industry’s most important international trade show being held in Auckland.TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says the 29 priority actions for the incoming Government have been grouped under three themes:A sustainable industry, for New Zealand’s tomorrowInvest in infrastructure, for New Zealand’s tomorrowSupport tourism, for New Zealand’s tomorrow.“These themes are closely interlinked, and build on the work that TIA and the current Government have undertaken to grow the value of our tourism industry,” Mr Roberts says.“We will look to make further progress with whoever is in charge of the Treasury benches post the election.“Our Tourism 2025 goal is to build an industry that is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. We can do this with political and policy recognition, backed by a supportive environment for infrastructure investment.”Tourism for Tomorrow includes valuable new insight into the value tourism contributes to each electorate. TIA worked with business intelligence provider Marketview to calculate how much international and domestic visitors spent in each electorate in 2016.“The figures, drawn from electronic card spend, offer fascinating insights into how widely the tourism dollar is distributed around the entire country. While we recognise that the current tourism boom is placing pressure on some places, this insight clearly demonstrates the value our visitors bring,” Mr Roberts says.TIA will use the Manifesto to promote the value of tourism to MPs, election candidates and the voting public in the run-up to the 23 September election. Tourism operators will be encouraged to discuss the Manifesto priorities with their local candidates.The 29 actions TIA is seeking from the incoming Government are:Support the tourism sustainability goal through positive policy and regulatory settings, and funding.Continue support for the post-earthquake recovery of both Kaikoura and Christchurch as key regions for the industry’s economic sustainability.Demonstrate a serious commitment to protecting the environment, recognising its importance to tourism.Commit to enhancing our fresh water resources and make measurable progress on Predator Free New Zealand.Work with the tourism industry to establish a sustainable funding model to address medium and longer term local and mixed use infrastructure needs.Make a commitment to removing barriers to infrastructure investment.Provide for a sustainable funding model to ensure DOC remains a significant contributor and enabler of the visitor experience without compromising its core role of growing conservation.Recognise that tourism concessionaires provide income to DOC as well as enhancing visitors’ enjoyment of the public conservation estate. Reduce barriers to private sector investment in new attractions and activities on the public conservation estate, and promote opportunities for concessionaires. Concession costs and cost review systems need to be transparent and predictable.Create policy and regulatory settings that are supportive of sustainable tourism growth and give tourism greater visibility as a leading and innovative sector.Recognise the continually evolving nature of tourism and provide policy settings that create a level playing field for all industry participants.Continue and support the Public Service CEOs’ Tourism Group.Examine the regulatory environment applied to businesses serving visitors and assess where the compliance burden can be reduced to support increased productivity. Any regulatory change should lead to improved business outcomes and better government services.Ensure the Tourism portfolio continues to be held by a senior front bench Minister, to reflect the industry’s importance to growing New Zealand’s economy.Recognise tourism’s importance to the overall trade and export growth agenda.Support and work with the industry as it keeps updating its Growth Framework in order to address the most pressing industry issues.Encourage and incentivise tourism through regional development plans, and support destination management and development.Invest more of the tourism dividend received by the Government back into infrastructure to support tourism’s future growth.Maintain support for Tourism New Zealand’s marketing efforts and use TNZ to encourage regional dispersal and seasonality, and support new product development.Give more resourcing to tourism policy capabilities within government.Align government tourism data and insight with the industry’s Tourism 2025 aspirations, insight strategy and plans.Recognise tourism within government research and innovation initiatives such as the Science and Innovation programme.Continue enabling international air services, especially those which encourage growth from high quality segments and emerging markets.Continue liberalising visitor visa processes to support growth from key visitor markets. Advance consideration of initiatives to establish common border facilitation with Australia.Support Customs, the Ministry for Primary Industries and Immigration NZ to work in genuine partnership with the tourism industry on continuous improvement to the border experience.Continue support for visitor safety initiatives, including the visiting driver project, and adventure and outdoor tourism safety.Commit to enabling a roading network that delivers a safe and enjoyable driving experience and promotes regional dispersal.Continue support for the industry’s freedom camping actions.Commit to working in partnership with us to attract New Zealanders to work in tourism.Ensure immigration settings allow employers to secure quality staff when no New Zealanders are unavailable. Tourism Industry Association NZSource = Tourism Industry Associationlast_img read more