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Thursday, November 18, 2010

WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS WINNERS SPEARHEAD TRAVEL RECOVERY



World Travel Awards capped its year-long search for travel and tourism’s finest with its glittering Grand Final 2010 Ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House hotel.

After a challenging year for the industry, organisations including American Express, Kuoni, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Europcar and Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority all demonstrated their world-class pedigree as they spearheaded the global travel and tourism recovery.

Hailed as “The Oscars of the Travel Industry” by the Wall Street Journal, the World Travel Awards is recognised worldwide as the ultimate travel accolade.

London beat off the likes of New York, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro and Sydney to win “World’s Leading Destination” in a year that saw tourist arrivals in the capital rise to 27 million as the excitement builds ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

Etihad Airways continued its meteoric rise by picking up “World’s Leading Airline” for the second year in succession, following a year that saw the UAE flag carrier launch five new routes and play a leading role in a resurgent year for aviation.

A host of VIPs attended the gala ceremony, including His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia, who collected “Leading Personality of the Year” for his development of religious tourism in the Holy City of Makkah, and his pioneering philanthropic work for the King Faisal Foundation.

Meanwhile, German businesswoman Regine Sixt, President of Sixt, was voted “Woman of the Year” for her pivotal role within the organisation that has navigated its way through the downturn.

Other VIP attendees included David Scowscill, President & CEO, WTTC; Sally Chatterjee, CEO, VisitLondon; H.E. Chumpol Silapa-Archa, Minister of Tourism & Sports, Thailand; Fiona Jeffery, Chairman, World Travel Market & Just a Drop; Alec Sanguinetti, CEO & Director General, CHTA; Josef Forstmayr, President, CHA; Tan Sri Dr.Mohd Munir bin Abdul Majid, Chairman, Malaysia Airlines; Dato' Lee Choong Yan, President & COO, Resorts World Genting; Hon. Ed Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica and Adam Stewart, CEO, Sandals Resorts International.

The WTA Grand Final marked the climax of a year-long search to find the very best travel companies in the world, and follows heats in Dubai, Johannesburg, Antalya, Delhi and Jamaica.

WTA 2010 nominations featured 5,000 companies in 1,000 categories across 162 countries. The winners were selected by thousands of industry professionals and consumers worldwide who have been voting online.

Graham Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards, said: “This year, like the last, continues to challenge every strata of travel and tourism. However tonight’s World Travel Awards winners see struggle not as sign of weakness or failure, but as an opportunity for growth and renewal, and a chance to put their business model through the ultimate test.”

He added: “By combining flair and ambition with savvy business acumen, these organisations are spearheading the worldwide recovery of travel and tourism. In doing so they are also reinforcing our industry’s role as one of the mainstays of the global economy.”

Established 17 years ago, World Travel Awards is committed to raising the standards of customer service and overall business performance throughout the international industry.

Consumers are increasingly using the list of winners as a reliable guide and means of reassurance when choosing their holiday. Companies and destinations that make it on to the winners’ podium receive global coverage and commercial benefits.

Log on to www.worldtravelawards.com for a complete list of World winners.


About World Travel Awards
 
The World Travel Awards was launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognise excellence in the world's travel and tourism industry.

Now celebrating its 17th Anniversary, the awards is regarded as the very highest achievement that a travel product could ever hope to receive.


Votes are cast by 183,000 travel professionals, including travel agencies, tour and transport companies and tourism organizations in over 160 countries across the globe.


Votes are cast globally by fellow industry professionals in over 1,000 different categories.


Attended by senior executives from major travel companies, operators and destinations, WTA events are universally respected as providing established, top level networking opportunities, regionally and globally.


The World Travel Award’s official list of worldwide media partners includes: ABTA Magazine, ASTA Network Magazine, BBC World News, eTurboNews, Breaking Travel News, CNBC Arabiya, Khaleej Times, L’Agenzia di Viaggi, Trav Talk, Trade Arabia, TTN, Travel Daily News International, Focus on Travel News, New Focus Travel Magazine, Tourism Review, JAX FAX, Travel & Leisure China, Travel & Leisure Golf China, Xenios & Xenios World.


www.worldtravelawards.com

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ACCOR AND TRIPADVISOR PARTNER TO PUT SPOTLIGHT ON TRANSPARENCY FOR HOTELS


Accor is the first major hotel group to partner with Tripadvisor to post recent customer opinions about its hotels online and feature the Tripadvisor widget on its own site so that guests can automatically see what previous guests have said about the hotel before making a booking.

With a direct link to Tripadvisor on www.accorhotels.com the Accor group delivers real transparency to its guests while making hotels more accountable for the quality of services and facilities they offer. The project was launched in recognition that today's guest is more likely to turn to online forums to make their travel decisions. The project shows Accor's commitment to quality product and to adapting to customer expectations.

Since launching in Australia, over 52% of Accor hotels have improved their ranking against their geographic competitor set and more than 11.5% of hotels increased their Trip Advisor '5 star' ratings.

The new service is available for Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure, Adagio, ibis, all seasons, Etap Hotel and Formule 1 hotels in all of the Group's host countries.

To support and expand the process, e-mail messages are sent to travelers one week after their stay encouraging them to provide feedback. Opinions and comments appear on the traveler rating form for each hotel that is posted on both accorhotels.com and the TripAdvisor website.

"Through this partnership, accorhotels.com is demonstrating its commitment to quality by transparently providing hotel ratings posted by customers via TripAdvisor," said Romain Roulleau, Accor's Deputy Director of Direct Sales in charge of e-commerce. "In this way, the portal is improving service for Web users by supplying them with more information before they book their hotel and enabling them to share their impressions with other travelers after their stay."

Rooms in Accor hotels around the world can be reserved at accorhotels.com, the Group's multi-brand worldwide online booking portal.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quest Serviced Apartment award winners announced


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Quest Serviced Apartments has announced the winners of its 2010 Quest Franchise of the Year Awards at a gala dinner on Saturday 13 November. This includes State Franchise of the Year awards, National Franchise of the Year, employee awards and the innaugural Chairman's Award for Outstanding Service.

Quest Serviced Apartments celebrated a successful 2010 by announcing Quest Glen Waverley in Victoria as its National Franchise of the Year.
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Quest Glen Waverley also picked up the award for Regional Franchise of the Year for Victoria against five other State finalists.

The announcement was made at the 2010 Quest Franchise of the Year Gala Awards on Saturday 13 November. The winners of a further 10 awards were announced including:

* Regional Franchise of the Year, NSW/ACT - Quest Maitland (NSW)
* Regional Franchise of the Year, QLD - Quest Spring Hill
* Regional Franchise of the Year, SA/NT/Tas - Quest Darwin (NT)
* Regional Franchise of the Year, WA - Quest Bunbury
* Inaugural Chairman's Award for Outstanding Service - Charlene Ackland, Quest Mansions (SA)
* Excellence through Commitment - Quest North Ryde (NSW)
* Employee of the Year, front of house - Karen Watson, Quest Narre Warren and Quest Frankston (VIC)
* Employee of the year, back of house - Rosa Smyth, Quest on Doncaster (VIC)
* New Zealand Franchise of the Year - Quest Invercargill
* Supplier of the Year - TRAVELCLICK

The annual awards recognise outstanding achievements and commitment to the Quest brand, serviced apartment industry and most importantly guest service. Finalists and winners are chosen from more than 2,000 employees and more than 125 properties across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

Paul Constantinou, Chairman Quest Serviced Apartments said Quest had enjoyed a successful year thanks to a strong business model and the unwavering commitment of Quest's franchisees and employees.

"Without the commitment and drive of our network of franchisees and their employees, we would not be the industry leader we are today," he said.

"From property management to housekeeping, all of our employees play a vital role in delivering exceptional guest service day in and day out.

"The annual Quest awards formally recognise these employees, the best of the best in business leadership across the Quest network and also the future leaders of the Quest Group.

"Our award winners and extended network should be very proud of their achievements this year," said Mr Constantinou.

Minister Ferguson outlines new direction for tourism

Source: www.etravelblackboard.com


Australia’s tourism industry is heading in a new direction, according to Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP.

In his opening address at the inaugural Tourism Directions conference at Parliament House in Canberra yesterday, Minister Ferguson said that the Australian tourism industry had managed to establish an edge against international competitors.

This was achieved because of the country’s strong performance in the tourism sector during the global financial crisis.

"Australia has successfully negotiated a difficult trading environment, and now emerges in a stronger position than many of our rival destinations," Minister Ferguson said.

"With global travel down by four per cent, Australia has been able to maintain the number of international inbound visitors, and secure the half a million jobs and $33 billion economic contribution of tourism in Australia.

Minister Ferguson said Australian tourism's success over the past three years was mainly thanks to timely government intervention in the form of the stimulus package, and subsequent investment in vital transport and community infrastructure.

"Australia's tourism industry is well-placed to meet the needs of the growing Asian market, provided it can increase productivity and provide consumers with a better value for money experience.

"The Australian Government is committed to working with the industry and state and territory tourism governments to drive this transformation.

"Our agenda is set out in the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy work program where we are pursuing a number of reforms to unlock productivity, remove unnecessary or duplicated regulation between the states and territories, assist with labour force planning in the sector, and encourage investment in areas like hotels, motels and conference centres.

"A focus on the supply-side of our industry will deliver long-lasting reform which increases the competitiveness and productivity of the sector, while our significant investments in marketing will ensure Australia maintains its status as a world-leading tourism destination."

The Tourism Directions Conference was hosted by the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism and Tourism Australia.

Strong August result takes Fiji’s AU 2010 visitor arrivals past 178,000 mark

Helping to keep Fiji well on track for a record breaking year, more than 21,000 Australians visited the destination across August according to statistics released this week by the Fiji department of information.

The 21,451 total recorded for the month takes Fiji's January-August Australian visitor total to 178,171, a 31 per cent increase over the 135,726 recorded for the same period in 2009.

With Australian business for August constituting 44.7 per cent of total traffic, the result has again helped push Fiji's international January-August visitor arrivals to a record-breaking 398,395.

This represents an 18 per cent increase over the 337,554 achieved for the eight month period in 2009.

The positive Australian result was reflected across the board with all major international source markets showing growth across the eight month period.

This included New Zealand numbers which have shown an overall increase of 10.07 per cent to reach 63,665 for the year.

The US also experienced a 7.97 per cent increase to reach 37,262 for the year while the UK/Europe again remained in positive mode with January-August figures having increased overall by 2.07 per cent to reach 49,924.

The national tourist office's ongoing efforts in its key emerging markets were once again rewarded with visitor arrivals from China and India increasing by 31.7 per cent and 33.7 per cent, respectively, for the eight month period.

Taiwan business also increased by 31.4 percent across the eight month period.

Visit: www.fijime.com

Friday, November 12, 2010

Eight-storey, 4.5 star hotel planned for Victor Harbour's historic Crown Hotel

Source: news.com.au

A NEW eight-storey $80 million hotel on the historic Crown Hotel site in Victor Harbor, South Australia, is expected to boost tourism in the area.

Tourism Minister John Rau said the Gunn Group of Companies, who own the Crown Hotel, have received approval from the local council to expand the site to encompass a 4.5 star hotel.

It will include consisting of 160 rooms, retail shops, restaurant and bar facilities, plus extensive conferencing facilities.

Mr Rau said South Australia's appeal as a tourism destination is dependent on the development of new tourism products and experiences.

"We've identified further development of upmarket accommodation and attractions as essential to help us lure more high-yielding visitors from our target domestic and international markets," he said.

"The redevelopment will greatly add to the region's accommodation capacity and provide further quality tourism infrastructure in the region, providing tourists the opportunity to stay in luxury while enjoying some of Australia's best wine and coastal experiences."

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,,27923197-2682,00.html#ixzz150no8GBw

Boeing 787 Dreamliner programme grounded by electrical fire



Dreamliner ZA002 was involved in the incident
Boeing has halted its much delayed Dreamliner programme following an electrical fire onboard a test aircraft.

Dreamliner ZA002 lost primary electrical power as a result of the fire during approach to Laredo, Texas, yesterday.

Pilots deployed backup systems – including the Ram Air Turbine (RAT) - which functioned as expected and allowed a safe landing.

The incident is under investigation by Boeing. However, while it is still not known what caused the fire, Boeing has restricted the programme to ground test operations only.

The aircraft manufacturer has already suggested the incident may further delay the project.

“We cannot determine the impact of this event on the overall program schedule until we have worked our way through the investigation data,” the company said in a statement.

News of the fire and the test program hiatus hit Boeing hard on Wall Street. The company’s shares were down 3.15 per cent, or $2.18 earlier today.

All Nippon

Boeing recently pushed the launch of the Dreamliner back to 2011, the latest in a series of delays for the troubled aircraft.

Dreamliner has now suffered almost two-years of delays since the project was launched.

Japan’s All Nippon Airways, the first carrier to place an order, was scheduled to take delivery of the first aircraft by the end of this year.

This has already been pushed back to February next year before the latest incident.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Engine room fire leaves Carnival ship dead in the water

One of Carnival Cruise Lines’ largest ships, the 113,000-ton, two-year-old Carnival Splendor, was floating “dead in the water” – without power or propulsion – yesterday after fire broke out in the engine room of the Mexican coast.

Carnival said 4466 people were aboard when the fire started: 3299 passengers and 1167 crew. No injuries to passengers or crew were reported but the ship was left without flushing toilets, air conditioning, hot meals or telephone services.

The fire started yesterday in the vessel’s aft (rear) engine room. It was extinguished, but only after flames triggered the shutdown of the ship’s main generators.

Carnival was trying to restore power last night. If successful, the ship would return to its home port of Long Beach, California, under its own power, the company said. “However, arrangements for tugboats have been made so that, in the event power is not restored, the ship will be returned to a port with tugboat assistance.”

Carnival Splendor was on the first leg of a seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise that began in Long Beach. The cruise will be cancelled. President and chief executive of Carnival Cruise Lines, Gerry Cahill, was quoted as saying that all guests would get a full refund, an extra complimentary cruise and reimbursement of their travel expenses. The ship’s normal itinerary includes stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Written by : William Sykes

Singapore Airlines suspends A380 flights

SINGAPORE Airlines this morning cancelled the departure of one of its A380 flights from London, telling pax that engine maker Rolls Royce had placed an “embargo” on A380 aircraft using its Trent 900 engines, as exclusively revealed to the world in TD’s breaking news.

Several reports say the crew refused to fly the superjumbo flagship after oil was found in one of the turbines - a symptom which is believed to have led to the explosion of the QF engine.

It’s understood that SIA A380s are also currently grounded in Sydney and Melbourne, although the carrier hasn’t responded to requests for comment before TD’s deadline today.

Engine maker Rolls Royce yesterday issued a special service bulletin after saying it had “made progress in understanding the cause of the engine failure” on QF32 out of SIN five days ago.

Rolls Royce Trent 900 engine (www.leemawdsley.co.uk)
“As a result, a series of checks and inspections have been agreed with Airbus, with operators of the Trent 900 powered A380 and with the airworthiness authorities,” Rolls Royce said in a statement.

“These are being progressively completed which is allowing a resumption of operation of aircraft in full compliance with all safety standards”.

The Qantas A380 fleet remains grounded and isn’t expected to resume service until Fri at the earliest, with further details emerging from QF32 incl damage to wiring and hydraulic systems.

Earlier this week SQ said it was continuing to operate its A380s after inspections found no problems with the fleet.

Hotel business recovers in Australia

Hotel business is picking up, according to a survey by Best Western, proving that the global financial crisis may well and truly be over for the accommodation sector. Corporate clients and families were among the top market segments returning to hotels and motels in the past six months.

Not only are more Australians returning to travel, they have increased their length of stay by 3% on last year, and increased their average daily spend on accommodation by almost 5%.

Kimi Anderson, General Manager of Sales and Marketing for Best Western Australasia said, "Corporate clients and families are still finding travel achievable and affordable, which is a great sign for the industry. It's also heartening to see that holidays are being extended for families, and people are feeling more relaxed about taking time away from work to explore the beauty of Australia".

Online bookings for Best Western spiked by 65% in the last month alone, demonstrating that more and more Australians are purchasing travel online.

"With business booming, and the summer school holidays around the corner, it's a wise idea to book in advance. Early bookings guarantee availability and in many cases, you can save money with an early-bird discount" she said.

This research was carried out by Best Western Australasia and was based on bookings from May-October 2010 compared to the same period last year.

For more information on Best Western in Australia visit www.bestwestern.com.au


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Accor to launch two new London hotels in time for the Olympics

Accor announced today that they would open two new London hotels in time for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Construction of the four-star Novotel London Blackfriars and the Ibis London Blackfriars would begin immediately.

The 182 bedroom Novotel, located at 46-49 Blackfriars Road, will comprise twelve business suites, six meeting rooms (approximately 250 square metres of conference space), bar, restaurant and full leisure facilities, including swimming pool. The 297 room Ibis hotel will offer its guests bar and restaurant facilities, including 24 hour snack and drink service.

Located on London's Southbank, the new hotels will provide an ideal location for both business and leisure visitors to Central London, being close to the City and within a stone's throw of some of the capital's key attractions, as well as the Olympic Games.

Accor will open a new hotel – Mercure Bloomsbury – next month. It will increase Accor's portfolio in the UK & Ireland to 145 hotels and over 18,000 rooms, represented by six brands: Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure, Ibis, All Seasons and ETAP..

Jean-Jacques Dessors, chief operating officer of Accor UK and Ireland, said the developments marked the company's ongoing ambitious expansion of the Novotel and Ibis brands in the UK. "The new hotels represent a strong endorsement of Accor's prominence as one of the world's leading hotel groups," he said.

www.accor.com

Friday, November 5, 2010

SOFITEL SYDNEY WENTWORTH WELCOME FOR ACCOR'S 'TOURISM FOR TOMORROW' AWARD

Sofitel Sydney Wentworth General Manager Marc Cherrier (left)
with members of the Accor hotels team and the Tourism For Tomorrow Award

After a long journey across the globe, the World Travel & Tourism Council's (WTTC)'Tourism For Tomorrow' award – presented to Accor on the 27th May at the 10th Global Travel & Tourism Summit held in Beijing – arrived in Australia this week, before its onward journey to Switzerland.
The award officially 'checked in' for a brief stay at the group's flagship hotel, the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth as part of a whistlestop world tour initiated by Accor and WTTC to showcase the prestigious award on an international scale and promote responsible tourism practices.

Accor was awarded the Tourism for Tomorrow award for demonstrating effective, environmentally sensitive operations and management, educating guests and employees about sustainable tourism practices, supporting cultural and natural heritage preservation, and collaborating with other private and public stakeholders to promote best practices in sustainable tourism.

The group won in the highly competitive Global Tourism Business Award category for spearheading sustainable tourism projects across its network of more than 4,000 hotels and diverse portfolio of brands which include Sofitel Luxury Hotels, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Mercure, All Seasons, Ibis and Formule 1.

Sofitel Sydney Wentworth General Manager Marc Cherrier says, "After its incredible journey from Asia, we are very excited to welcome the award to Australia for display before its onward trip to Europe.

"The idea of course is to share the accolade not only with our own staff but to all of our industry partners and associates who have been very supportive and encouraging of our sustainable tourism initiatives in recent times.

"As a group we are immensely proud of the commitment that Accor, its hotel brands and people have demonstrated in regards to sustainable tourism and practices. This visit provides a perfect opportunity to highlight Accor's outstanding efforts as a group in regards to pioneering responsible and progressive initiatives in this area."

The award has been on display at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth's Club Lounge while in transit from Beijing to Switzerland.

"For years, WTTC's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have recognized achievements in responsible and sustainable tourism and profiled best practices that the industry can learn from," said Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Committee. "Independently judged from hundreds of applications, four awards are presented every year at WTTC's Global Travel & Tourism Summit to organizations that lead the way in helping to secure a sustainable future for travel and Tourism around the world."

Prior to awarding Accor the award, WTTC judges evaluated the depth of Accor's commitment both in terms of social and environmental sustainability initiatives tested the level of awareness among employees and verified that action plans are widely shared across the Group and adapted to local situations.

"Many global companies focus more on their environmental ambitions when it comes to sustainability, but Accor has surpassed this with a number of environmental and social sustainability initiatives," said Costas Christ, who chaired the panel of judges for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. "Its Earth Guest program plays a truly global role in minimizing the environmental impact of Accor's operations. It also helps to share best environmental practices through effective tracking, with data that can be accessed by any hotel at any time."

 The judges were also very impressed with Accor's strong social outreach, including its willingness to address fundamental global health issues like HIV/AIDS prevention and to Lead the fight against illegal exploitation of children for sex in certain tourist destinations.

www.sofitel.com

Aussie travellers $1,500 better off on the back of soaring dollar

Australians travelling to the United States, Europe or Great Britain have, on average, AU$1,500 more in their travel wallet than at the peak of the Global Financial Crisis.

This is according to American Express, the latest entrant to the pre-paid travel card market, which compared the buying power of the super-charged Australian dollar against the US Dollar, Euro and British Pound over the past two years.

American Express has also reported a significant spike in the number of Australians locking in record high exchange rates by purchasing foreign cash or prepaid currency products – even among people not intending to travel overseas in the foreseeable future.

"It was only 24 months ago that the Aussie dollar was buying less than US$0.70. Now we are teetering on parity," said Lawrence Chan, Vice President and General Manager of American Express Global Prepaid, Japan and Asia Pacific.

"With the Aussie dollar also buying €0.67, up from €0.50 two years ago, and £0.60, up from £0.39 over the same period, it's not surprising people are rushing to lock in these attractive exchange rates ahead of any change in the dollar's value," he said.

"Up until now, when the dollar has been strong, it has been common for travellers to stock up on travellers cheques, but now Australians are also turning to our new pre-paid currency card which has no time limit on when the currency needs to be spent.

"The card allows an attractive exchange rate to be locked and loaded so travellers don't need to worry about exchange rate volatility," Mr Chan said.

Unlike other pre-paid currency cards, the American Express GlobalTravel Card has no inactivity fees or expiry period, meaning funds (in US Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros) can be left on the card indefinitely and the funds will still be there in full the next time the card holder wants to use them.

The new American Express GlobalTravel Card, a first for American Express globally, sets a new benchmark in travel cards and provides added peace of mind for Australians travelling overseas.

A unique built-in feature of the card is Global Assist which entitles the card holder to 24/7 emergency assistance including: lost passport replacement assistance; translation services; lost luggage assistance; emergency legal and medical referrals.

If the card is lost or stolen, American Express will organised to have it replaced and the card holder provided with access to emergency funds – at no additional cost.

"As many travellers know all too well, it is very easy to lose track of the exchange rate while travelling, miscalculate currency conversions or underestimate travel budgets. This is where travel cards come to the fore," Mr Chan added.

"Not only do prepaid travel cards give travellers' greater control over their finances, they provide the certainty of global acceptance and an enhanced level of security and fraud protection."The American Express GlobalTravel Card is accepted at millions of locations outside of Australia where American Express Cards are welcomed.

It can also be used online and to withdraw funds from overseas ATMs.American Express has partnered with Australia Post as its major distribution partner for the American Express GlobalTravel Card. The card will be distributed at more than 3,200 of Australia Post's 4,400 outlets nationwide from 1 November, 2010, in addition to American Express' own foreign exchange services offices.

"The American Express GlobalTravel Card adds to a range of travel products and services available through our outlets making Australia Post a one-stop-shop for people preparing for the Christmas holiday season," said Executive General Manager, Retail Services, Christine Corbett.

"With a retail footprint extending to cities, towns and regional communities throughout Australia, our outlets are the perfect vehicle for American Express to make its new product available to customers," she said.

To find the nearest American Express foreign exchange services office visit: www.americanexpress.com.au/globaltravel

To find the nearest Australia Post outlet visit: www.auspost.com.au.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Asia Pacific spurs Sofitel expansion with eight new hotels planned for opening in next 2010-11

Sofitel Shanghai Jing’an (impression) will open in 2011

Sofitel Luxury Hotels Announces Large Network Expansion in Asia Pacific


EIGHT new properties to be opened within 12 months

Global luxury hospitality leader, Sofitel Luxury Hotels announced today the expansion of its network across Asia Pacific, with the addition of eight new properties, including key openings in Phnom Penh and Mumbai, and a new signature Sofitel for Shanghai. The new openings will also feature the debut of Sofitel's boutique off-shoot 'So' in Bangkok. The expansion of Accor's luxury brand comes at a time of major recovery in Asia's 5-star market.

All new Sofitel Hotels will showcase the new standards of the Sofitel Luxury brand, which boasts a strong link between its French heritage and the local cultures of the countries in which the brand operates.

The new Sofitel hotels are:

·         Sofitel Dongguan Humen Oriental (China – opened August 2010)

·         Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra (Cambodia – December 2010)

·         Sofitel Guangzhou Sunrich (China - Spring 2011)

·         Sofitel Qingdao (China - Spring 2011)

·         Sofitel Mumbai BKC (India – Spring 2011)

·         Sofitel Shanghai Jing'an (China – Fall 2011)

·         Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit (Thailand – Fall 2011)

·         Sofitel So Bangkok (Thailand – Fall 2011)

Commenting on the rapid expansion of Sofitel Luxury Hotels in China, Michel Molliet, Vice President of Sofitel Luxury Hotels Greater China said, "Sofitel Luxury Hotels has gained momentum and recognition in the China market with our existing network across first and second-tier cities.  With four new hotels between 2010-2011, as well as three more under development between 2013-14, (in Sanya Haitang Bay, Haikou and Lianyungang), Sofitel Luxury Hotels will further reinforce its strong positioning for both leisure and business travelers."

Since the heralded announcement three years ago of its move upscale, more than 80 hotels have left the Sofitel Luxury Hotels network from the original count of over 200 hotels.  Together with the introduction of two sister brands, Sofitel Legend in 2009 and Sofitel So in 2010, Sofitel Luxury Hotels is now in a strong position to offer unique sensations and pleasures of luxury that will forever leave an impression on those who stay in its hotels.

Sofitel's new positioning centres around the idea that human relations lie at the heart of luxury.  The French brand strongly believes the interpretation of "luxury" is firmly based on the guest's experience.

"The French origin is in our brand DNA," explained Markland Blaiklock, Senior Vice President of Sofitel Luxury Hotels Asia Pacific. "We enhance the experience with our know-how complimented by our French connections and the best of local culture. This is apparent in the importance we place on design, working with world renowned designers and integrating elements of the local culture."

While continuously pursuing strategic management opportunities in Asia Pacific, in 2011, Sofitel Luxury Hotels will introduce a series of arts, cultural and gastronomic events always connecting France to the region, including FĂȘte de la Musique (music events on the date of summer arrival in Sofitel from around the world), Polka Exhibition (fashion still-shot exhibition by famous Parisian Polka Gallery) and La Cellule (poetic & surreal installation and performance by 2 famous French artists).

"Together with our "InspiredMeetings" innovation created for all MICE planners, the network of Sofitel Luxury Hotels in Asia Pacific provides increasingly diverse destinations, state-of-the-art facilities, and an authentic French offering," added Markland Blaiklock. "We strongly believe 'Life is Magnifique' in Sofitel Luxury Hotels."



Discover Sofitel on www.sofitel.com

Discover A|Club at Sofitel, the new worldwide Accor loyalty program on www.a-club.com

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