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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Coral Crusaders to help Great Barrier Reef


A Coral Crusaders campaign has been launched to expand an Australian-first program on the Great Barrier Reef that helps accelerate the recovery of high-value reefs damaged by coral bleaching.

The not-for-profit Reef Restoration Foundation has established Australia's first ocean-based coral nursery and successfully completed the inaugural cycle of harvesting, growing and planting coral at Fitzroy Island near Cairns.

Chief Executive Officer Stewart Christie invited the public to join the Coral Crusaders campaign and be the first generation to adopt coral grown on the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.

"Reef Restoration has worked with scientists to establish the Fitzroy Island nursery where corals harvested from reefs that survived two years of high water temperatures are attached to underwater coral trees and grown for around eight months before being transplanted on a nearby degraded reef," he said.

"Most Australians have a deep affinity for the Great Barrier Reef and are seeking tangible actions to make a difference so the Foundation is inviting individuals, community groups and the corporate sector to adopt the coral we grow.

"Your tax deductible investment will combine with those of other Coral Crusaders to create a multiplier effect and allow ocean-based coral nurseries to be established on high-value reefs throughout the Great Barrier Reef.

"It could be $50 to Care for a Coral, $500 to Build a Branch or $10,000 to Tend a Tree, while some may consider investing in a new nursery, regenerating a reef, or making a smaller donation.

"Coral trees already have been sponsored by Oris watches, Cairns education tour company Small World Journeys, Japanese travel agency JTB and marine tourism consultant Gempearl.

"We have a small army of experienced divers who volunteer their time to care for the Fitzroy Island coral nursery, but only experienced divers can assist in this process.

"Allowing coral adoption will give more people the opportunity to be part of the generation of action and restoration on the Great Barrier Reef demonstrating that many small actions can combine to create tangible positive impacts.

"The survival and future of coral reefs are reliant on taking action to address climate change, improve water quality and to regenerate damaged reefs to give them the best chance of survival.

"Reef Restoration Foundation's goal is to grow 25,000 new corals on the Great Barrier Reef by 2021 as part of our vision to accelerate the recovery of damaged high-value reefs and strengthen the Reef's resilience."

The Coral Crusaders initiative coincides with a NAB social media brand campaign launched this week to raise awareness of how NAB is "Working with the people who make a better Australia" through their community partnerships. Reef Restoration Foundation is a proud recipient of a NAB Foundation Sustainable Regions grant and part of the social media campaign at www.nab.com.au/workingtogether.

Become a Coral Crusader at www.reefrestorationfoundation.org and follow Reef Restoration Foundation on its journey at www.facebook.com/reefrestorationfoundation/ and www.instagram.com/reef_restoration_foundation.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Dusit enters luxury villa rental market with acquisition of Elite Havens




Dusit Thani Public Company Limited (DTC), one of Thailand's foremost hotel and property development companies, has expanded into the high-end vacation rental market through the full acquisition of Elite Havens, the leading provider of high-end vacation rentals in Asia.

DTC made the acquisition through its wholly owned Hong Kong-incorporated subsidiary, Dusit Overseas Company Limited, which has bought all shares in LVM Holdings Pte Ltd. (LVMH), a Singapore-incorporated company and the ultimate holding company of Elite Havens, for approximately USD 15,000,000 (THB 495,000,000).

Established in 1998, LVMH directly and indirectly holds shares in nine companies in Southeast Asian countries. The largest company of its kind in Asia, it performs integrated marketing, reservations, concierge and management services for luxury villas and currently maintains a network of more than 200 fully staffed properties across Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.

DTC's acquisition of Elite Havens follows the company's three-pronged strategy for sustainable and profitable growth, which includes balance, diversification, and expansion, particularly into new market segments, which will enhance DTC's capacity to provide integrated services and drive revenue growth.

"Our investment in Elite Havens marks another important milestone in our strategic journey, particularly our two-pronged plan for expansion, which includes doubling our number of hotels in operation, and providing broadened experiences for our customers." said Ms Suphajee Suthumpun, Group CEO, DTC. "Our current brand line up covers the midscale through to luxury hotel segments. Now, with the addition of Elite Havens, we are delighted to cover the luxury villa rental segment too.

"While the integrated luxury villa management business is new to us, Elite Havens has an impressive track record in this segment, successfully expanding from a small enterprise to the leading company of its kind in Asia. And we are confident that our 70 years of experience in operating upper-upscale and luxury hotels will only enhance these operations further, allowing the dynamic Elite Havens team to leverage our own capabilities to continue providing exceptional services for luxury consumers, while simultaneously expanding the brand's reach in more dream destinations throughout Asia and other key regions."

Mr Jon Stonham, CEO, Elite Havens, said, "With our strong focus on people and exceeding expectations with our services, Elite Havens shares the same values as Dusit, so there is already a strong synergy for us to build on. We look forward to a very bright future of sustainable and profitable growth as we expand our operations as part of the Dusit family."

Following its strategy for balance, diversification and expansion, DTC has been actively enhancing its operations with investments in new market segments. The company made moves into the shared economy last year with an investment in Favstay, a Thai hospitality startup offering condos and villas for rent in Thailand's top destinations, and in April this year DTC announced it would also enter the affordable lifestyle segment with the launch of ASAI Hotels.

A distinctive new brand designed to link curious, millennial-minded travellers with authentic local experiences in vibrant cities and resort destinations worldwide, ASAI Hotels now has five properties in the pipeline across Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines.

For more information, please visit www.elitehavens.com

Saturday, September 8, 2018

First photos of Air Tahiti Nui Tahitian Dreamliner

Released by Boeing, the images show the striking livery being added to Air Tahiti Nui's first B787-9 aircraft.


With a design and colours inspired by the beauty and richness of the Polynesian islands, the livery features Air Tahiti Nui’s trademark tiare flower, a tattoo pattern representing a story of Tahiti and its people, and the blue hues that the islands are synonymous with.

Australians and New Zealanders are set to be among the first to be carried to their dream destination on the wings of the Tahitian Dreamliner with the new aircraft commencing service on the Auckland to Papeete route on November 8, 2018.


To coincide with Air Tahiti Nui’s 20th anniversary this year, the flag carrier for French Polynesia is phasing out its current Airbus A340-300 fleet and replacing it with four 787-9 Dreamliners including two purchased and two leased through the Air Lease Corporation.

When the airline has received all four Dreamliners by September 2019, their registration codes will join together to say ‘the warrior (TOA) going forward (MUA) in the great (NUI) canoe (VAA)’.



For more information on the Dreamliner visit
www.tahitiandreamliner.airtahitinui.com/en/

Tourism Solomons pays tribute to WWII historian John Innes

Image: ABC

Tourism Solomons board chairman, Wilson Ne'e has led the board and staff in paying tribute to WWII historian John Innes who passed away on 01 September 2018 aged 77.

Acknowledging Mr Innes as the world's foremost expert on military history in the Solomon Islands, a published author on the Guadalcanal campaign of 1942 and 'keeper' of the Guadalcanal story, Mr Ne'e said Mr Innes himself by his actions had become a treasured part of Solomon Islands history.

"Thanks to John's efforts the story of the Guadalcanal campaign and the brave men from both sides who fought and died in those terrible battles will live on forever and all of us are indebted to him for that," Mr Ne'e said.

"While John may not have been there himself during those times, his wealth of knowledge and detailing of those events even today plays a key role in letting the world remember that these Solomon Islands were the very place that freedom for the Pacific was born.

"And for that we will always be eternally grateful to John.

"May he rest in peace."

 Image: ABC

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

New coral replanted on Great Barrier Reef


Australia's first corals to be grown in an ocean-based nursery have been successfully planted on the Great Barrier Reef in a bid to help high-value coral reefs within the World Heritage area recover from recent bleaching events.

Reef Restoration Foundation Chief Executive Officer Stewart Christie said 100 corals were planted on a reef at Fitzroy Island over the weekend after the not-for-profit organisation was given Australia's first permit to take coral cuttings and grow them in an ocean-based nursery for transplanting on degraded reefs.

Mr Christie said growth rates at the Fitzroy Island nursery had exceeded expectations allowing the full cycle of collecting, growing and planting the coral to be completed in eight months.

"This 'reeforestation' process mimics nature and accelerates growth to enable reefs to recover from bleaching and cyclone damage faster," he said.

"Last December Reef Restoration's volunteer divers collected 24 corals which had survived two years of high water temperatures from a reef near Fitzroy Island and cut them into 246 pieces of coral.

"These were attached to coral tree frames in the underwater nursery and monitored weekly with many of the corals growing two and a half times their original size in just six months.

"Over the weekend Nursery Operations Director Gary McKenna and a team of divers harvested the first batch of 100 corals from the nursery to begin regenerating damaged areas of fringing reef around Fitzroy Island."

Mr McKenna said six areas, each 16 square metres in size, were marked out to give three transplant areas and three control areas with two pieces of coral attached per square metre.

"A baseline survey of the existing coral and a fish survey of the area were carried out so we can compare coral cover in the transplant and control areas," he said.

"Three species of coral, Acropora digitifera, Acropora nobilis and Acropora muricata, were attached to degraded coral using underwater glue and we will monitor both the effectiveness of this method and the placement of the coral.

"We are working to expand the program at other high-value reef sites and are looking at options for the public, community groups and businesses to be involved in helping this amazing environmental, economic and cultural asset.

"Reef Restoration Foundation's goal is to grow 25,000 new corals on the Great Barrier Reef by 2021 as part of our vision to accelerate the recovery of damaged high-value reefs and strengthen the Reef's resilience."

The Reef Restoration Foundation pilot ocean-based nursery is monitored by James Cook University's TropWATER and Reef Ecologic with the support of the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program.

Find out more at www.reefrestorationfoundation.org and follow Reef Restoration Foundation on its journey at https://www.facebook.com/reefrestoration foundation

Image: A moon wrasse swims past the newly planted coral from Australia's first ocean-based coral nursery.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

InterContinental Koh Samui Air Bar flies


Koh Samui's Air Bar:  Breathtaking Sunsets, Unforgettable Moments

InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort

The Air Bar, situated on the romantic west side of Koh Samui, is the perfect destination to meet with friends, share a cocktail and relax into deep sofas to enjoy explosive orange and deep red hue sunsets across 360-degree views of the Gulf of Thailand and offshore islands. It was recently recognised in the World Travel Awards (WTA) 2018 as Asia's Most Romantic Resort, Asia's Leading Beach Resort, and Thailand's Leading Beach Resort.

It just got better: refreshed, edgy and more laid-back.  A well-crafted bar menu managed by friendly staff features international wines, beers and wicked cocktails like a Metropolitan Martini Finlandia - lime vodka, triple sec lime, cranberry juice and raspberry with a complementary second cocktail usually on offer.  The gracious hospitality complements the Resort's breathtaking views, which are ranked in the New York Times bestseller 1000 Places to See Before You Die.

But it is the sensational Air Bar where you really taste the sky.  Here, relaxing in luxury,  you can embrace panoramic sea views, the Ang Thong Marine National Park, and the sunken pool – views you won't forget for a long time.

It's little wonder the Air Bar attracts international patrons seeking a hip place on Koh Samui to unwind after a long playful day in paradise.  Evening entertainment is soft grooves - cool vibes, layback jazz, Bossa nova, Soul or R&B every day with the sunset on the horizon.

The five-star multi-award-winning InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort spans nine hectares (22 acres) with a one-hour flight from Bangkok and a 45-minute drive from the airport.  The Resort is a self-contained, easy going holiday paradise surrounded by five islands offering tranquillity and romance. It is a haven for families, couples, honeymooners as well as weddings and corporate functions.

The 79-luxury room and villa InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort nestles onto the side of a forested cliff, an architectural masterpiece featuring world-class hospitality from every room, suite, villa and restaurant. There are two restaurants, Amber and Flames serving Thai, Asian and modern European cuisine, open-air cocktail lounges Air Bar and Club InterContinental Lounge, lobby bar and café.

The InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort is the most Instgrammable location in Koh Samui. Ideal for pre-dinner drinks with small 'bites' and canapes, sunset celebrations and your special wedding reception.

The Air Bar is open from 5.00pm until midnight. For more information, please call +66 (0) 77 429 100 EXT.5503 or e-mail fb@ickohsamui.com

Further information: samui.intercontinental.com

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Travel Leaders Gather to Honour Khiri Travel’s 25th Anniversary

Travel industry leaders in Thailand gathered 24 August in Bangkok to honour the 25th anniversary of Khiri Travel.



Khiri Travel was founded by Willem Niemeijer in Bangkok in 1993 to arrange travel to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia at a time when the Mekong region was opening to tourists. From a one-room office, the start-up has grown into an award-winning responsible tourism destination management company with 230 employees and 17 offices across eight Asian countries.

For the anniversary event, Khiri Travel arranged a travel leaders panel discussion entitled, "The Next 25 Years in Travel." Pacific Asia Travel Association CEO Mario Hardy told the 150 gathered travel industry leaders that the next 25 years would likely see exponential tourism growth, which must be underpinned by better tourism dispersal and more respect for host communities and the natural environment.

Randy Durband the CEO of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council told the audience that travel technology will become better and more widely applied to product information and distribution. He called for improvements to destination management. He said governments were only now awaking to the need to manage tourism better and not just apply budget to promotions.

"An increasing number of travellers will also seek less crowded and more 'authentic' places to visit – so better traveller dispersion through improved visitor management will be vital," said Mr Durband.

Co-panellist, CEO of QUO, David Keen, a tourism branding expert, said that Asia's future would "depend on sustainable policies to control mass tourism that has massively degraded some destinations and now threatens the livelihood of other resort destinations across the continent."

He said it was time for governments to stop defining tourism success by arrival numbers.

The Khiri Travel CEO Willem Niemeijer admitted to the audience that it was almost impossible to predict the next quarter century in travel due to the increasing speed of technological change.

However, Niemeijer said that tourism dispersion would remain central to Khiri Travel's product development. "Khiri Travel will continue to support the sustainable development of travel beyond Asia's hubs." He added that that values such as integrity, inclusion and respect for local culture would continue to define Khiri's commitment to responsible travel.

"As a CEO, the joy for me is when we work with local people at grass roots to help them realise their hopes for their families and communities. For me, this will not change in the next 25 years," said Niemeijer.

Khiri Travel's 25th anniversary celebration at the Glass House at Nai Lert Park Heritage Home in Bangkok featured a display of Khiri Travel images and memorabilia from the last 25 years.

The anniversary event featured a traditional Thai puppetry show. Guests were greeted by Khiri Travel staff dressed in traditional attire from Khiri's countries of operation: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

"The event was a celebration. But it also gave guests real food for thought on issues such as corporate social responsibility, overtourism and travel industry challenges ahead," said Keen.

In 2007  Niemeijer launched Khiri Reach, the charitable arm of Khiri Travel. Khiri Reach now supports 25 projects in seven countries. Khiri Travel pays all overheads. One hundred per cent of donations to Khiri Reach go to the projects.

Guests to the anniversary event were encouraged to give donations to three projects: help for the victims of the recent Lombok earthquakes, clean water wells in Myanmar, and a children's foundation in Vietnam. Khiri Travel vowed to match donations received during the event.

On Khiri Travel's future, Niemeijer said the company would expand further. "We're always looking at sustainable long-term growth for Khiri."

About Khiri Travel

Since 1993, Khiri Travel has won awards and earned a reputation as a destination management company dedicated to working with select tour operators to provide quality leisure travel experiences across Asia. With 17 offices in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Khiri Travel's entrepreneurial associates craft innovative itineraries that reflect their passion for authentic, local and sustainable experiences. Visit khiri.com.

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