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Friday, December 15, 2017

A New Roadmap for Responsible Indigenous Tourism

G Adventures, Planeterra Foundation and the International Institute of Tourism Studies Publish Pioneering Guidelines to Improve Tourism's Impacts on Local Communities




Global, small-group tour operator G Adventures, The George Washington University's International Institute of Tourism Studies and the Planeterra Foundation have announced the release of a comprehensive set of ground-breaking guidelines for companies working or travelling with Indigenous groups.

The guidelines are intended to educate travel companies that work or intend to work with Indigenous people, while helping communities more directly benefit from responsible and culturally sensitive tourism.

Speaking before event hosts from the World Bank Group, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Government of Jamaica, as well as leading representatives from 150 different countries, G Adventures' Vice President of Social Enterprise and Sustainability, Jamie Sweeting, delivered a message of inclusion and change when unveiling the guidelines earlier this month.

"For far too long, governments and businesses have prioritised rapid growth over respect for Indigenous peoples. Their ancestral lands, traditional culture and legacies have been threatened, and in many cases undermined, by the impatient pursuit of profit," said Sweeting.

"As more travellers seek immersive, experiential, off-the-beaten path holidays, I regret to say that the tourism sector has also contributed to this problem.

"We have an opportunity to rewrite that story; to lead from within, and make tourism a greater force for Indigenous well-being."

Published in an online PDF available for free download now, Indigenous People and The Travel Industry: Global Good Practice Guidelines is a 23-page, open-source booklet intended to be a learning tool for anyone working in travel and tourism.

Its 17 guidelines were developed after a thorough review of existing literature and primary surveys with communities and travellers, and then finalized after input from an expert panel including the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, Community Based Tourism Institute, and Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda.

The guidelines are organised into three categories to be of maximum relevance to the variety of organizations that interact with or affect Indigenous people through tourism: (1) developing tourism experiences, (2) operating tourism experiences, and (3) marketing tourism experiences

Their release is a key, first step toward G Adventures' plans to fully audit its 700+ tours, 1000+ vendors, thousands of tour experiences, and its digital, print and video marketing materials, toward the development of a governing Indigenous Tourism Policy that will go into effect later in 2018.

"From the Maasai in East Africa, to the Quechua in Peru, our partnership with Indigenous communities is what makes our tours truly special for our customers and life-changing for local people," explained G Adventures founder and owner Bruce Poon Tip.

"I have always admired the way traditional communities continue to practise their culture, and consider myself fortunate to have learned from some wise, Indigenous teachers along the way. If we can give back, by bringing the travel and tourism industry along to collectively do more help than harm for these people, it will be a sea change in in our industry."

Seleni Matus, Executive Director for The International Institute of Tourism Studies (IITS), said, "I'm confident that this tool, which is primarily intended for use by travel companies, will ultimately support the many Indigenous groups that depend on visitors for their economic well-being and for their cultural survival. The guidelines can facilitate a mutually beneficial relationship—one that's in the best interest of businesses, communities and travellers."

G Adventures today partners and/or contracts the services of 94 different Indigenous communities in 44 different countries. Its social enterprise model – which seeks to earn profit while delivering social impact -- is built around a strategy of identifying the unique, but often excluded communities who have so often been left out of the tourism economy, then bringing them into the company's supply chain. That way, communities like the San Bushmen in South Africa, the Wiwa people of Colombia's Lost City, and the Red and Black Lahu and Karen people of Northern Thailand's hill tribes, for example, directly benefit from sharing their lands, talents and stories with paying customers. Their accommodations, transportation, food and handicrafts become part of customers' travel experiences.

Kelly Galaski, the Planeterra Foundation Project Manager overseeing the guidelines project, added her hopes for the guidelines' impact: "As the world hyper-connects, the cultural survival of the world's 370 million Indigenous people hangs in the balance. So, it's our great hope that others in the travel and tourism sector join G Adventures in putting these guidelines to positive, expedient use."

information, please visit the International Institute of Tourism Studies website: https://business.gwu.edu/research/international-institute-tourism-studies'


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

MSC Seaside Welcomed by a Star-Studded Line-Up in Port Miami


MSC Cruises Announces Ricky Martin, Andrea Bocelli and More for MSC Seaside Naming Ceremony Celebration



Today MSC Cruises announced the line-up for the official launch and Naming Ceremony of MSC Seaside, which will be held on December 21st in PortMiami. As part of the traditional Naming Ceremony that is held for every new ship, MSC will welcome special guests and entertainment, Miami authorities, global media, and key partners from across the travel industry. For this very special Miami launch, MSC Cruises is proud to reveal an international list of celebrated invitees that reflects the Company’s European heritage and global presence.

Headlining entertainment for the event will be the international superstar, Ricky Martin, who will perform some of his most popular hits. Renowned for bringing Latin music to the forefront of popular music, Ricky Martin is a worldwide star who has recorded in many languages and truly encompasses the international spirit of MSC Cruises and the city of Miami.

Also taking to the stage will be the world-famous tenor, Andrea Bocelli, whose dazzling classical career has taken him all over the world – including performances for four U.S. presidents, three Popes, the British Royal Family, and several Prime Ministers, to name just a few.

Making a guest appearance at the event will be Miami football legend and Hall of Fame quarterback, Dan Marino, who played for the Miami Dolphins for 17 years. MSC Cruises signed a partnership with the Miami Dolphins in October of this year, becoming the official cruise line for the team and further strengthening its relationship with the South Florida community. Fans and guests will have the chance to experience the Miami Dolphins at sea and meet team alumni on a themed cruise aboard MSC Seaside in 2018.

In charge of it all will be actor and popular American TV host, Mario Lopez, who will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Lopez will welcome guests to the star-lit festivities on MSC’s “Blue Carpet,” where celebrities will give interviews, take photographs, and meet the crowds. Lopez will then take to the stage to host the evening’s entertainment.

An MSC Cruises’ Naming Ceremony would not be complete without the ship’s Godmother, Sophia Loren, who has played the leading role in this time-honoured tradition since 2003. As one of the most celebrated Italian actresses of our time, the glamorous Sophia Loren will christen the ship with a ribbon-cutting and officially name the spectacular vessel, MSC Seaside.

But the main star of the show will be none other than MSC Seaside. Quite unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will shine among Miami’s skyline – commanding attention with its revolutionary design. Inspired by the architecture and lifestyle of Miami, the ship will be right at home in warm South Florida waters. The state-of-the-art ship will offer world-class entertainment, a range of international dining concepts, a gorgeous spa, outstanding facilities for families, a private yacht club (MSC Yacht Club), and expansive outdoor spaces. The striking MSC Seaside is just one more reason for guests all over the world to join MSC Cruises on an unforgettable trip that follows the sun.

For more information about MSC Cruises and MSC Seaside visit here


A New Era of Wellness for Chiva-Som



Chiva-Som International Health Resort in Hua Hin, Thailand, which enjoys a reputation as a pioneer in global wellness, is proud to unveil the first images of a mock-up renovated Thai Pavilion room and new Thai Pavilion Suite which will open in November 2018.
 
Along with the accommodation, renovations to the Fitness area, Emerald Room and Orchid Lounge will also be unveiled next November.
 
This enhancement to the resort's offering follows the launch of the new Ocean Rooms and Suites in January 2017 and is part of the resort-wide renovation plan which, after short periods of closure from 1 May to 31 October 2018 and the same period in 2019, will see the resort relaunched into a new era of wellness.
 
The style of the new interior is contemporary Thai and is realised with materials including local teak, silk and bamboo.
 
With an outdoor terrace, the aesthetic of the Thai Pavilion Suite is light and serene, creating a calming effect and reflecting the tranquility of the resort.
 
The enlarged space makes the surrounding greenery much more relevant to the guest experience.
 
The Thai Pavilion Suite comprises a bedroom and en suite bathroom spread across 76 sq m.
 
Space has been maximised to give guests an expanded bedroom and living area, including an additional long sofa and study desk; a larger bathroom, now with two vanity counters, a new make-up counter and more connecting space for shower room and bathtub; and a larger dressing room with two luggage racks and floor to ceiling wall mirrors to reflect even more light.
 
For more relaxation and well-being, the ceiling has been raised to give an airy feel.  
 
The Thai Pavilion Suite is approximately 107 sq m. and includes an outdoor pantry and its own outdoor private sala.
 
This glass-walled private space for around six guests is set amidst the tranquil gardens and is suitable for private breakfast, lunch and dinner, meditation or just for relaxing.
 
Glass doors, automatic blinds and insect screens in the sala can be kept open or closed, in either case offering beautiful views of the surrounding lake and gardens.
 
The wellness resort's multifaceted renovation will be implemented under the direction of Mr. Krip Rojanastien, Chairman and CEO of Chiva-Som International Health Resort, together with Designrealization Siam Co., Ltd, a distinguished design company, allowing for innovations in Chiva-Som's offering and a unique wellness experience for guests throughout their stay.
 
Chiva-Som is Asia's first comprehensive wellness resort, providing proven transformations towards optimal wellness.
 
Nestled in seven acres of tranquil grounds, it is a beachfront resort dedicated to revitalising the mind, body and spirit (represented by its tri-part logo).
 
Western practices and Eastern philosophies are brought together in a wellness resort which provides services for guests to develop healthy habits and lifestyle transformation; it has been given recognition by readers and industry experts alike as one of the outstanding wellness resorts in the world for since its launch 22 years ago.
 
The resort is dedicated to operating as ethically and sustainably as possible and has received the prestigious Green Globe certification which recognises its commitment to the world's highest environmental standards in all levels of operation.



A dedicated CSR team has implemented many initiatives, policies and practices at Chiva-Som for energy efficiency and conservation, waste water treatment and reuse, fresh water conservation, waste minimisation and recycling, air quality management and environmentally friendly product usage.

Chiva-Som is located in the town of Hua Hin, which lies 185 km south of the capital of Bangkok. It can be reached by car in under three hours, private plane in 25 minutes from Bangkok and chartered helicopter in 40 minutes from Bangkok.

For Chiva-Som bookings contact your travel agent or a Chiva-Som Specialist on 1300 857 437.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Silversea's ultimate Cuban adventure


VOYAGE OF THE WEEK - 12 DECEMBER 2017

THE ULTIMATE CUBAN ADVENTURE

"The most beautiful land that eyes have ever seen" – Christopher Columbus


Join Silver Cloud on a journey of indefinable magic, departing Nassau, Bahamas on 3 October 2018 for a spectacular 12 day expedition to Colon, Panama, taking in the incredible sites of Cuba, Colombia and Jamaica.  Fares start at AU$7,830 per person in a Vista Suite, based on double occupancy and includes Early Booking Bonus savings if paying in full before 28 December 2017.

Guests will discover the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Cuba and Colombia, sample local Cuban and Caribbean food and drink, relax on sandy white beaches and admire a dazzling array of tropical fish and colourful coral on this expedition beyond the beaches.

A particular highlight of this voyage is a two day stopover in La Habana, the largest city in Cuba, where a guided tour will take in the sights of Metropolitan and Modern Havana, Revolution Square and the Historical Centre of Old Havana.  Guests will experience the luxurious and spectacular Havana Tropicana Show before being driven to the 'Cigar Factory' in vintage American cars to learn about the history of cigars and discover how Cuban cigars are hand-rolled.

On-board and ashore, between 20 and 22 Expedition Team members conduct immersive destination experiences, aided by an on-board fleet of 16 Zodiacs and 10 kayaks – all of which are complimentary.  The enchanting island of Punta Frances provides the opportunity to join an on-board Marine Biologist for a snorkel tour to discover damselfish, jacks, surgeonfish, trumpet fish, parrot fish, triggerfish and turtles, whilst a Zodiac tour will transport guests to one of the 365 uninhabited islets and islands of Guna Yala.

A number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites will also be encountered on this voyage including: the city of Trinidad, complete with cobble-stoned streets, tiled roofs, ornamental grilles and inner patios dating to colonial times; Morro Castle, a fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay; and Cartegena de Indias, one of the most important ports of Spanish South America.

Silver Cloud is positioned as the premier luxury expedition vessel and almost all of her all-suite accommodations feature generous private verandas along with luxury touches that include a choice of European bath amenities, butler service for all guests, sumptuous Pratesi bedding and a nine-option pillow menu.

For more information contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on 1300 306 872 or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand).


Monday, December 11, 2017

Finnair brings Nordic flavours to business and economy class


Finnair brings Nordic flavours to business and economy class passengers in cooperation with top chefs

Finnair is investing in its food offering as part of the acclaimed carrier's drive to present customers with  a unique Nordic experience.

Finnair General Manager – Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, Geoff Stone said food was one of the items that frequently comes up in airline customer satisfaction surveys, especially on long-haul flights, where dining has a strong impact on the overall customer experience.

Finnair has been delighting its business class customers with signature menus designed by top Finnish chefs since 2013, and is now introducing its first Nordic cooperation with top Swedish chef, Tommy Myllymäki, a nominee for Chef of the Year in Sweden and Creative Director for five Stockholm restaurants who has also represented Sweden, enjoying great success in the prestigious Bocuse d'Or competition.

Tommy Myllymäki's Signature European Winter menu will be served on all Finnair long-haul flights departing Helsinki from 7 February 2018 and feature Nordic flavours including Jerusalem artichoke with cep mushrooms and pear, and braised ox with celeriac and kale.

The European Summer menu will have more emphasis on seasonal, crisp fresh vegetables to celebrate the freshness of the Nordic Summer.

"It was exciting to translate my food philosophy into the airline environment. In the end, the restrictions are also opportunities," said Tommy Myllymäki

"Seasonality is key for me, and I want to bring more vegetables, freshness and different textures to the meals on board."

Finnair has also teamed up with the Culinary Team of Finland, who represent Finland in international culinary competitions, to design a menu for the economy class of Finnair's long-haul flights departing Helsinki.

"We want to showcase the best of Finnish cuisine to the world and created a menu that celebrates Finnish traditions and specialties, so that everyone traveling between Europe and Asia with Finnair get a taste of modern Finnish cuisine," said Finnair's 2017 Signature Menu Chef,  Eero Vottonen, who is also a member of the Culinary Team of Finland.

The European Winter menu will be offered for economy class passengers on long-haul flights departing Helsinki from 7 February 7, 2018 and feature a marinated potato salad, lamb with oven baked turnips, and a cheese curd cake. Seasonal menus will follow in the European Summer and Autumn.  

"Our new chef co-operations bring the best of Nordic flavours to our customers," said Maarit Keränen, who oversees Finnair's on-board food concepts.

"Food plays a key role in the customer experience, and we are delighted to offer a little piece of the Nordics to the thousands of customers, who fly with us every day from Helsinki to Asia and the Americas."

Finnair will also introduce a classic Finnish tradition in the business class of its long-haul flights departing Asia in the morning - a coffee serving with seven different treats.

This exclusive coffee service will allow customers to spend some quality time enjoying traditional Finnish treats including Carelian pies, cinnamon buns, coffee cake and traditional Finnish chocolates between the two meal services.

Finnair offers excellent connections from Australia with oneworld partners and flies between Asia/North America and Europe with an emphasis on fast connections via Helsinki.

Finnair carries more than nine million passengers annually and connects 17 cities in Asia and 3 cities in North America with more than 60 destinations in Europe.  Finnair offers excellent connections from Australia with oneworld partners.

Finnair has been named Best International Airline – Offline in the prestigious 2017 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards for the fifth consecutive year.

www.finnair.com/au


Monday, December 4, 2017

Intrepid opens Costa Rica base as sustainable travel grows in Americas


Intrepid has this morning announced a new addition to the group, a new DMC in Costa Rica with a satellite office in Mexico City. PEAK Central America is the nineteenth destination management company in the global network and the next logical step for the company to grow sustainable tourism in the Americas.
 
Pic: Intrepid Group's CEO James Thornton and General Manager of PEAK Central America, Bradley John-Davis 


Virus-free. www.avg.com

Friday, December 1, 2017

MSC SEASIDE New flagship prepares to set sail to become the new star of Miami

#cruise #travel

MSC Seaside will be officially named in Miami on December 21st

Today (Italy time) in the port of Trieste, MSC Cruises celebrated the coming into service of MSC Seaside, the new flagship for MSC Cruises, as she prepares to welcome the first guests and cross the Atlantic for her new home in Miami. MSC Seaside is the Company's 14th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet and the second MSC Cruises ship to come into service in 2017 under the Company's industry-unprecedented investment plan.

MSC Seaside is a brand new prototype, designed specifically for sun lovers and to bring MSC Cruises guests closer to the ocean than ever before. The ship boasts generous outdoor public spaces so that guests can make the most of the sunshine but the design also brings guests closer to the navigational moments, which are the highlights of a cruise holiday. This is now the fifth new prototype from MSC Cruises and each and every new ship is designed to further enhance the cruise experience, bringing something unique and different every time.

Quite unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will be the new star of Miami, truly recognisable and with a distinctive design inspired by a Miami beach condo. But it is not just the design of this ship that sets her apart but also the onboard experience that distinguishes an MSC Cruises holiday. MSC Seaside will offer world-class entertainment, a whole host of new international dining concepts, outstanding facilities for families, the MSC Yacht Club, which has become MSC Cruises' signature luxury offering and much more. It is this that will differentiate the MSC Cruises brand and cruise experience in the North American market and provide yet another reason for international guests to opt for a fly & cruise holiday in the Caribbean. Some of the main highlights of MSC Seaside include:

Unique design features - Inspired by the beach condos that have made Miami famous, MSC Seaside has a number of distinctive and innovative design features unlike any other ship. Two unique glass-floored catwalks and a 40m high 'Bridge of Sighs' give guests a view of the ocean like never before. A waterfront boardwalk, the widest on any ship ever built, wraps around the ship, while panoramic lifts connect everything together.

A connected cruise experience -MSC for Me is the digital innovation program that uses the latest cutting-edge technology to connect holidaymakers seamlessly with the experiences that matter to them, whether at sea or on land.

Variety of accommodation -Developed to offer the perfect accommodation for every type of guest, the ship offers flexible modular cabins for groups of up to ten guests, exclusive aft corner suites with stunning sea views, terraced balcony cabins with extended private terraces overlooking the waterfront boardwalk and luxurious suites with their own outdoor whirlpool bath.

Rich and varied entertainment -  MSC Seaside doesn't just feature a full-sized bowling alley, XD cinema and the longest zip line at sea, but also the most interactive aqua park at sea with five water attractions: the first cruise ship Slideboarding™ attraction, 160 metre long duelling body slides and two spray areas for kids. There is never a dull moment on board!

Extensive dining options -MSC Seaside will offer an extensive choice of indoor and outdoor dining venues with a tempting range of international restaurants. One of the highlights is Asian Market Kitchen from renowned Pan-Asian chef Roy Yamaguchi. Other highlights include a luxury seafood restaurant, Ocean Cay, an authentic American-style steakhouse, the Butcher's Cut and a new French bistro, La Bohème.

Outstanding facilities and services for families and kids of all ages -MSC Seaside features brand new entertainment on top of everything families have already come to expect from MSC Cruises. As well as all-day kids' entertainment and six dedicated areas for babies and kids of all ages, guests can also take part in the brand new DOREMI Family Cinema and a new exciting buzzer game.

MSC Seaside will depart Trieste on December 1st, making a 21 day trans-Atlantic crossing, arriving in Port Miami, her new home on December 21st. That evening, the new MSC Cruises flagship will be officially named in a glittering ceremony and no MSC Cruises naming ceremony would be complete without the Godmother, Sophia Loren, who has played the leading role in this time honoured tradition since 2003.

MSC Seaside will sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean offering 7-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries starting December 23rd 2017.

Website: www.msccruises.com.au
Discover the MSC Voyagers Club: www.mscvoyagersclub.com.au

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