Monday, October 20, 2014

South African Tourism launches Mahatma Gandhi Inspired Tourist Attractions and Gandhi website

South African Tourism announces the launch of a Ghandi Inspired Tourist Attractions that identifies 13 places that were seminal in Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s journey in South Africa.

Identifying these places and including them on the Gandhi Inspired Tourist Attractions enables the global travel trade to package yet another fascinating aspect of South African history and culture. It makes the Gandhi sites accessible to people from all over the world who want to come and walk in his footsteps, and experience Gandhi’s South Africa.

Mahatma Gandhi inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. He led India to independence from colonial British rule in 1947. He spent the formative years of his life in South Africa, having come to this country in 1893 at the age of 24, and leaving 21 years later in 1914. Central to his immense contribution to human rights was his Satyagraha movement of passive resistance whose enduring impact continues to shape the world today and whose principles he developed whilst living in South Africa.

The Gandhi Inspired Tourist Attractions was launched in Orchards, Johannesburg on October 16, 2014. The launch was attended by Indian Acting High Commissioner to South Africa, Mr T Armstrong Changsan; Acting Director: Arts, Culture and Heritage, City of Johannesburg and author of Gandhi's Johannesburg: Birthplace of Satyagraha, Mr Eric Itzkin; and South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr Thulani Nzima.

South African Tourism’s Gandhi webpage also be launched on October 16, provides a comprehensive list of Gandhi-related sites across the country, information on them, and best ways for the global travel trade to package these itinerary highlights for tourists who seek to explore South Africa’s rich cultural heritage and history. It also tells the life story of this remarkable statesman, family man, politician and human being.

Gandhi’s granddaughter, Ms Ela Gandhi says: “South Africa transformed Gandhi’s life. It can transform your life too. Many tours of South Africa show the beauty of this country. But by walking in the footsteps of Gandhi, you do not only experience the beauty of this land, you experience and understand the real meaning of love. I would say this is the most important tour in anybody’s life. People come to the Gandhi sites for inspiration, and to hear the stories about peace, love and unity that remain as deeply relevant all over the world today as they were when he walked on earth.”

South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr Thulani Nzima says: “We extend a sincere and warm invitation to tourists from across the world to come and experience the South Africa that shaped and influenced Gandhi. The Gandhi Inspired Tourist Attractions makes Mahatma’s South Africa accessible to people who want to understand how this country shaped his conscience, his service to humanity and his great contribution to world history.

“We encourage the global travel trade and tour operators to visit the website and include Gandhi Inspired Tourist Attractions in their itinerary planning. This will greatly enhance tourists’ enjoyment of present-day South Africa through an understanding of this land’s fascinating history.”

QATAR AIRWAYS TO LAUNCH FRANKFURT AS FIRST A350 ROUTE

Qatar Airways has announced Frankfurt as the first route for its highly anticipated A350 Xtra Wide Body (XWB) aircraft.
As the Global Launch operator of the A350 XWB, the programme will achieve another major milestone once the airline receives its first aircraft before the end of this year.
Upon delivery, following several weeks of induction preparation, Qatar Airways will then be set to introduce its first commercial service to the German business hub city of Frankfurt.
Frankfurt will be operated non-stop daily with an A350 starting from January next year.
The airline has chosen the European city for its first route for the Extra Wide Body service because of the significant capacity the aircraft provides for the comfort of its business and leisure travellers.
 Qatar Airways A350 XWB

Qatar Airways currently flies twice-daily to Frankfurt, and the double pairings will both be operated by an A350 on the route.
Initially QR067/068 will be the first pairing with the A350, followed shortly by QR069/70.
The 283 seats are divided across a dual cabin layout, configured in Business Class and Economy Class; 36 seats and 247 seats respectively.
Qatar Airways has 80 Airbus A350s on order, and expects to induct the first eight production aircraft into its fleet before 2015 year-end.
His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive of Qatar Airways remarked: “This year has truly been a Year of the Fleet for Qatar Airways. The airline has demonstrated its commitment to quality and comfort offered onboard and to providing passengers with the leading technology available in the aviation industry.
“Qatar Airways looks forward to inaugurating our first A350 on the Doha – Frankfurt route, and to very soon introducing this next-generation aircraft on many other cities offered on the airline’s extensive network.”
Before the end of this year the airline will reach 146 destinations, launching new services to Djibouti, in the Republic of Djibouti, on October 26 and Asmara, in Eritrea on December 4.
Qatar Airways presently flies to 144 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America, and operates a modern mixed fleet of narrow and wide-body aircraft.
Qatar Airways took delivery of its first double-decker A380 aircraft in September this year and it is currently operated daily on the Doha – London Heathrow route.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

BRITISH AIRWAYS EXPANDS BIG IN CHENNAI



Announces the launch of Boeing 787 Dreamliner and daily direct service
 Take a taste of luxury and relax all the way to your dream destination in comfort and style as British Airways brings its ultra-modern Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Chennai!

British Airways is delighted to announce Chennai as its latest route to benefit from Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft commencing from Monday, October 27, 2014.  The city will also see an increase in service to daily direct flights between Chennai and London from six weekly flights, as per the current schedule.

Come October 27, 2014, British Airways will start its daily service between Chennai and London to cater to the growing customer demand from the market and provide more convenient options to business and leisure travellers from the city.

Christopher Fordyce, Regional Commercial Manager, British Airways, South Asia, said “Expanding our service from Chennai and bringing our Boeing 787 Dreamliner is fantastic news for British Airways’ customers, offering them even greater choice, along with our range of highly competitive fares, and great on board service.

“This year marks British Airways’ 90 years of service to India and the increase in services from Chennai reiterates our commitment to the market. The daily service will give business and leisure customers the opportunity to connect with British Airways' extensive global network from Heathrow. We welcome the customers to experience our luxurious Boeing 787 Dreamliner, now flying daily between Chennai and London from 27 October.”

2014 marks a milestone year for British Airways as the premium international airline completes 90 glorious years of flying and servicing to India. As part of this momentous occasion, British Airways has announced further expansion plans in India with added focus on the southern markets. With this launch, Chennai will become the second market in India to benefit from the new aircraft.

Adding to the celebrations, British Airways has introduced an exciting offer for its customers travelling from Chennai to London.  The all-inclusive fares start at just INR 49,230 for tickets booked by October 31, 2014, for outbound travel until March 31, 2015. Offering convenient connections globally, British Airways will provide a choice of three cabins, Club World (business class), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and World Traveller (economy class) to its customers from Chennai.

Throughout the flight customers will enjoy warm and attentive service from cabin crew. From ergonomically designed seats, unlimited in-flight entertainment to a variety of delectable refreshments to choose from, customers travelling from Chennai are certain to enhance their travel experience with British Airways. Customers from Chennai will also benefit from much larger windows, giving views of the horizon no matter where they sit, latest in-flight entertainment system, quieter, lighter and more fuel efficient British Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner, adding much more comfort to their experience.

The new Dreamliner will feature the elegant cabin designs fitted on British Airways’ new Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft, which have proved very popular with customers. All 787s will feature a new Club World 2:3:2 layout, the latest generation World Traveller and World Traveller Plus seats. The aircraft features major environmental advances and will contribute toward British Airways’ ambitious targets for noise and carbon reduction.

The increase in the service and announcement of British Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner forms the centerpiece of the £5bn investment British Airways is making in new aircraft, smarter cabins, superb lounges and new technologies to make travel more comfortable in the air and on the ground.

British Airways had increased its service from Chennai to six flights per-week from five flights per-week in October 2013. With this development, British Airways will be operating 49 flights a week from five key cities in India, which include – Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

STARWOOD ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF SPG PRO



From IMEX America in Las Vegas, Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®), the award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., announces the live launch of SPG Pro, the all-new, comprehensive loyalty program for meeting and travel professionals.  Starting today, registered professionals, accredited travel agents and SPG members who influence group, event and corporate travel will earn SPG elite status, upgrades and Starpoints for B2B business booked at any of Starwood’s nearly 1,200 properties around the world through www.spg.com/pro.

“We are thrilled to announce that SPG Pro has gone live, allowing us to provide even  more personalized service for our global customers and members and to reward them for the business that they influence, whether it is business or leisure,” said Christie Hicks, Senior Vice President, Starwood Sales Organization. “Now any SPG member, travel professional or meeting planner will earn Starpoints for the business they influence including corporate off sites, office holiday parties or even personal events like weddings or anniversaries.”  

Any SPG member who books a group stay, event or corporate business meeting, regardless of if they are a travel professional or not, will earn Starpoints and status for the business they influence. The more members book the more they earn, which means access to everything SPG has to offer and reaching elite status even faster through combined B2B and personal bookings.

Today, B2B accounts for nearly 70% of Starwood’s overall room revenue and is comprised of corporate travel, meetings and events and leisure and wholesale travel. With a salesforce of more than 5,000 globally, Starwood’s Sales Offices manage 1,200 global accounts from more than 30 offices around the world.

As the B2B landscape is shifting toward small meetings, which already accounts for 80% of Starwood’s group business, Starwood is targeting this untapped source of B2B potential with the knowledge that SPG members are small business owners, business consultants and senior executives who influence business and yearn to be recognized and rewarded in a currency they already adore – SPG elite status and Starpoints.

QATAR AIRWAYS WINS MULTIPLE DISTINCTIONS AT THE 2014 SAVEUR CULINARY TRAVEL AWARDS

Qatar Airways, the world’s five-star airline, won four honours, including a top Readers’ Choice award in SAVEUR Magazine’s annual Culinary Travel Awards.
Winners of the Culinary Travel Awards, one of the industry’s premier recognition events, were presented recently in New York City and represent “the world's best cities, markets, restaurants, bars, hotels, airlines, and other experiences”.
Qatar Airways, the world’s five-star airline, collected four honours in three categories:
• Readers' Choice: Airport Lounge for Qatar Airways at London Heathrow Airport
• Notable Airport Lounge for Qatar Airways Premium Terminal, Doha International Airport
• Notable In-Flight Beverages
• Notable In-Flight Dining (First & Business Class)
“At Qatar Airways, we are always seeking new ways to exceed expectations and provide unforgettable passenger experiences, both onboard our aircraft, in our Premium Lounges around the world, and at our home base in the new state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker. “It is an honour to be recognized for the work we do, providing our customers with an unmatched level of luxury and comfort while they travel.”
Both of Qatar Airways’ Premium Lounges were recognized in the Best Airport Lounge category including the former Premium Terminal at the old Doha International Airport. The airline’s lounge at London Heathrow is one of the most highly regarded in the world. It appeals to SAVEUR readers with features like a gourmet restaurant with an open theater-style kitchen, a delicatessen with organic and international lighter fare, luxurious private showers, and a business centre with WiFi, PCs, and printers.
The airline’s new ground-breaking premium traveller lounge was unveiled in August at the newly operational Hamad International Airport and is already garnering widespread praise. Named the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, it occupies a space the size of 10 Olympic-sized pools and can accommodate up to 1,000 people.
“We never compromise on quality and the new Al Mourjan Business Lounge is proof of this,” said Mr. Al Baker. “From the many dining options, through the workstations, the family spaces, the games rooms, and the private quiet rooms, we have set a new standard for luxury and comfort in an airport lounge.”
Qatar Airways was also recognized for its service in the sky. Besides offering fully lie-flat seats with built-in back massagers in its Premium Class, and more than 1,000 forms of entertainment through the 17” personal touch-screen TVs, the airline provides one of the best dining experiences available at 30,000 feet. The First and Business Class menus are designed by an all-star roster of celebrity chefs from around the world: Nobu Matsuhisa, Tom Aikens, Vineet Bhatia, and Ramzi Choueiri, who have a combined five Michelin Stars between them.
“Qatar Airways has always been committed to combining cutting edge aviation technology with services and amenities that harken back to the golden age of luxury travel,” said Mr. Al Baker. “We are grateful to the readers and editors of Saveur for recognizing all the work we do to make flying with us a five-star experience.”
Qatar Airways has won multiple awards for its superior service since re-launching in 1997. The airline was named World’s Best Business Class, Best Middle East Airline, and Best Business Class Lounge at the recent Skytrax Awards 2014. It also won Best Business Class and Best Airline for International Travel at the 2014 Business Travel Awards and has previously been named Airline of the Year by Skytrax, Air Transport News, and Business Aviation.
Qatar Airways currently flies to more than 140 destinations across the globe, including eight destinations in North America: Washington, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Montreal.
About the SAVEUR Culinary Travel Awards

Now in its second year, the SAVEUR Culinary Travel Awards recognize those who put cuisine and culture at the forefront of the travel experience. Readers' Choice winners are a coveted list of the very best destinations and travel providers in 21 categories, as chosen by its audience of travel enthusiasts. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

OVER A MILLION PASSENGERS USED REMODELLED LAGOS DOMESTIC TERMINAL 1 IN EIGHT MONTHS


By Yakubu Dati
A total of 1, 007, 823 passengers passed through Domestic Terminal 1 of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, between January and August 2014. The terminal has become passenger’s choice after its remodelling.
This figure is expected to rise in the last quarter of 2014 as three new domestic airlines have concluded plans to commence operations at the terminal in October 2014.
Air Peace Airlines and Azman Airline will soon commence scheduled operations while Discovery Airline has already commenced operations at the terminal.
A breakdown of the figure shows that a total number of 507,542 passengers arrived at the terminal while 500,281 departed from the terminal during the period under review.
During the first quarter of 2014, a total of 265,142 passengers at the Domestic terminal while 258,845 passengers departed from it.
The second quarter of 2014 witnessed a total number of 241,436 departing passengers and 242,400 arriving passengers.
The attraction of airlines to the terminal cannot be over emphasized as a total number of 12,564 aircraft movements were recorded at the terminal between January and August 2014.
A breakdown of the figure shows that a total of 6,198 aircraft arrived at the terminal while 6,366 departed from it.
During the first quarter, the terminal recorded a total number of 6,508 aircraft movements.
During the second quarter of the period under review, the terminal recorded a total of 6,056 aircraft movements.
The quantum of economic activities generated has translated into more jobs and wealth creation not only at the Lagos airport but also at other remodelled airports under the President Goodluck Aviation Transformation programme.

InterContinental Hotel Lagos Supports Breast Cancer Awareness with GoPink Charity Event

Lagos, Nigeria, 09 October 2014: InterContinental Lagos marked the beginning of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month with the GO Pink Charity Event in partnership with Optimal Cancer Care Foundation. The opulent surroundings of The Grand Ball Room, with its pink crystal decoration created the perfect backdrop for the glitzy event.

Nollywood actress and icon, Ireti Doyle was the hostess for the evening, accompanied by the delectable Mofe Duncan. Guests at the star studded event enjoyed a phenomenal evening of great entertainment and superb food with the incomparable Omawunmi, delighting the audience with her energetic live performance.

Along with the dinner, the evening included a fundraising event, conducted by celebrated Nollywood Actress, Funke Akindele. The fundraiser raised money for the purchase of medical equipment to aid the early detection of breast cancer. Funds were also raised to provide women with free screening services at their local Optimal Cancer centers.

‘’We are absolutely honoured to have been asked by Optimal Cancer Foundation to support this very worthy cause.” said Karl Hala, Regional General Manager, InterContinental Africa.

The event has provided increased awareness about cancer screening, early detection and treatment. The evening has also provided us with the opportunity to celebrate the remarkable survivors of this disease who were extremely brave in sharing their stories with us” Hala continued.

Meetings Africa celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2015

Meetings Africa celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2015 by taking stock of a united industry; excellent growth; consolidation of efforts; and renewed vigour for future success
 
STAND BY FOR an extra special Meetings Africa business events trade show in 2015. It’s an occasion that will be marked by looking back on how far the South African business events sector has come in that time, and how well-equipped it is to take growth and success to the next level.
 
Thulani Nzima, CEO of South African Tourism, says this tenth anniversary is a momentous milestone.
 
“Meetings Africa has grown from a small and insignificant show into the continent’s premier and best represented business event exhibition. It is now recognised, and heralded around the world as the place to do business with a continent that’s capable, competent and absolutely committed to service excellence and delivery.
 
“Our achievements, through Meetings Africa, have been great. Today, South Africa holds 34th place on the global ICCA rankings. Our advance up the rankings has been steady and sustainable and it’s this industry’s ambition to see South Africa occupy a place in the top 20 ICCA destinations by 2017.
 
“With growing support for Meetings Africa, we are confident we will achieve our goal because we have solidarity in our industry. We have a united determination that extends across numerous areas of interest: bidding for events, marketing the destination; working on skills and capability; and coming together at Meetings Africa to offer buyers from around the world the very best of our continent under one roof.”
 
Meetings Africa, he says, has been an excellent platform for marketing South Africa as a business event host. It will continue serving this purpose well into the future… as the premier such show on the continent.
 
It’s significant that Meetings Africa celebrates its tenth anniversary a year after South Africa celebrates 20 years of freedom. The destination’s stature as a business event host has grown enormously these last 20 years. This growth had,as a highlight the very first Meetings Africa ever at the Sandton Convention Centre in 2005.
 
Since then, the East London International Convention Centre and the Boardwalk International Convention Centre (in Port Elizabeth) have opened for business. The South Africa National Convention Bureau was launched in 2012 with its call to the South African industry to ‘Win as One’. This has been a rallying cry that has endured in both strategy and practice, and has seen South Africa become a significant contender as a globally competitive business event destination.
 
Says Nzima: “Our first ten years have given us an excellent and firm foundation. We  have seen ambitious growth plans come to fruition. Now Meetings Africa offers exhibitors from across our continent the single best platform to meet quality buyers. It offers buyers the cream of our continent under one roof. The show’s value as a business platform for the industry is solid and celebrated. With Meetings Africa as the flagship for the continent, global competitiveness is assured; Africa’s share of market is growing; and Africa is advancing. There is much to celebrate.”

Dead Sea, Jordan Attempts to Break the Guinness World Record

Dead Sea, Jordan Attempts to Break the Guinness World Record with the Largest Floating Image at the Lowest Spot on Earth

Amman Jordan Monaco Business Development announced today that the Dead Sea in Jordan will be the destination to attempting to break the Guinness World Record of the largest floating image on Thursday October 30th, 2014 at 10am.
Employees and management from the Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort and Spa, Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea, Jordan Valley Marriott Dead Sea and Spa, ,Movenpick Resort and Spa Dead Sea,  Hotel, Kempinski, Hotel Ishtar, WinterValley, Warwick Resort and Spa,  Dead Sea Spa Hotel, Hilton Dead Sea Resort and Spa, and the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Center  will join forces and come together to attempt to break  the world record of  the largest floating image along the shorelines of the Dead Sea Jordan.  
 The employees who are a mix of both expats and Jordanians will be wearing the same colors  while floating to form the largest floating image. 
The Dead Sea Jordan is lowest point on the face of the earth, 412 meters below sea level. Known worldwide as one of the worlds most beautiful places with dramatic and breathtaking landscape and terrain. The Dead Sea Jordan is flanked by mountains to the east and the rolling hills of Jerusalem to the west.  The area is believed to have been home to five Biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar (Bela).
An official Guinness world record representative will be present the morning of October 30th to witness and document the world record breaking event for Jordan. The public is invited to the Dead Sea shoreline to witness the largest floating image and the attempt to break the world record.
Modern Jordan was founded by King Abdullah I after World War I.  It was then ruled by his grandson the late King Hussein for 46 years until his death in 1999.  King Abdullah II assumed the throne in 1999 and the country has grown to a peaceful and stable nation.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Starwood Hotels in Nigeria celebrate Eid al-Adha with sallah brunch for guests



Starwood Hotels in Nigeria has concluded arrangements to join the Muslim faithful to celebrate Eid al Adha in the coming weeks.
Starwood facilities in Nigeria include: The Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Four Points by Sheraton Lagos, Le Meridien Ogeyi Place- Portharcourt and Le Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resorts- Akwa Ibom.
In each of the hotels the Feast of sacrifice will be specially commemorated with a Sallah Brunch where families can come together to enjoy Roast Lamb and other delicacies prepared by renowned Chefs of the hotels.
According to Ms Nanji Tyem, the Public Relations Manager for Starwood in Nigeria, the Hotel teams have equally extended their goodwill to families and friends with bountiful offers on room rates starting from thirty five thousand naira only commencing from the 1st of October till the 7th of October 2014.
“The package will include breakfast as well as access to the hotel pools, gyms and high speed internet as well as unlimited access to the Golf course of le Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resorts.
“The food & Beverage teams are geared to provide professional outdoor catering services to customers who will wish to dine at home,” she said.
The long weekend will unfold with a myriad of holiday centred activities in each of the hotels ranging from social hour at the lobbies to jazz and African hit favourites in the evenings.
“Guests are guaranteed a restful stay, considerable savings and a lineup of memorable experiences for the months to come,” Nanji assured.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,200 properties in 100 countries and 171,000 employees at its owned and managed properties.