NO. 054/55 WINTER 2016
NEW HORIZONS IN ASIA
ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS NOW FLIES DIRECT FROM BRUSSELS TO TOKYO NEW GM FOR AIR FRANCE KLM BELUX HIGHLIGHTS AIRLINE’S NEW SERVICES THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER BEST HOTEL AWARDS 2015: THE WINNERS
THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER IN THE BENELUX
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CONTENT THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER IN THE BENELUX WWW.THECORPORATETRAVELLER.BE CIRCULATION 26.000 DIFFUSION Belgium, France, Luxemburg and The Netherlands
PUBLICATION FREQUENCY 4 issues per year
005 The Journal
036 Brussels Airport: a look at the achievements
PUBLISHED BY LEO bvba 1, rue des Ixellois, 4000 Liège, Belgium Tel: 0032 (0) 4 224 7871 Fax: 0032 (0) 4 226 9484 E-mail: email@example.com PUBLISHER Erik De Ridder – E-mail: edr@eventbox. be MANAGING EDITOR Jean Paul Talbot – E-mail: jp@ eventbox.be EDITORIAL TEAM Joanna Pays, Angela Antrobus, Jeroen Coteur, Jacques Legros ART DIRECTOR Bert Wagemans SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscriptions to The Corporate Traveller cost € 150 per year (excluding VAT). Costs of delivery to destinations outside of Benelux and France are in addition to this price. Student subscriptions cost € 90 per year (including VAT). A student card is necessary to obtain a student subscription. Subscription requests can be made in writing, mentioning your name, job, title, company name and delivery address. Subscriptions are for a period of one year, and are automatically renewed until revocation. Revocation of subscriptions must be made in writing two months prior to the end of the subscription period. ADVERTISING ERIK DE RIDDER Tel: 0032 486 13 13 13 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org TRAFFIC HILDE DE RIDDER E-mail: Traffic.email@example.com DESIGN LEO BVBA PRINTING Lowyck - Oostende COVER Brussels Airport - the new Connector COPYRIGHT No extracts from this publication may be used, repeated or copied without express authorisation from the editor. Except The Corporate Traveller, LEO bvba also edits Experience Magazine, My Land Rover Travel Magazine and Kids Universe. ISSN 1387-2400
News from the travel industry
016 The broadest choice of relevant content In the constant effort to offer full content in the broadest sense of the term, Amadeus regularly introduces new and relevant services for business travellers around the clock. A number of recent partnerships with Cabforce, Book2Meet and Quick Parking are perfect examples.
018 Voyages and inspirations – interview with artist Jean-Pierre Roc-Roussey Painter Jean-Pierre Roc-Roussey regularly journeys to cosmopolitan capitals for exhibition openings and to remote exotic locations. He shared with us how his travels, core to his work, are both inspiration and necessity.
023 250 Reasons to attend the Business Travel Show in 2016 The Business Travel Show returns to London on 24-25 February 2016 for its 22nd outing. The leading corporate travel event in Europe, it features a must-attend event for senior business travel buyers and managers.
HOTELS 025 Winners of the Corporate Traveller Best Hotel Awards 2015 The quest to find Belgium’s Best Hotels for Corporate Travellers culminated in an awards giving ceremony on 29 September. The winners of The Corporate Traveller Best Hotel Awards 2015, sponsored by Amadeus, are the Hotel Heritage Relais & Château Bruges and the Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof in Ghent.
030 Overnighting as a YUP The Young Urban Professional, YUP for short, is a typical phenomenon of the eighties. The brand new YUP Hotel in Hasselt, certainly wants to pamper travellers and citytrippers with luxury, comfort, and 24/7 service at a democratic price.
034 A Stylish Place to Stay in the City of Light Eindhoven has a rather trendy image owing to the presence of the Design Academy and the annual Dutch Design Week. Business travellers as well as lovers of design have high expectations when it comes to the hotels they stay in. We’ve found a wonderful place for them.
It is almost two years since Brussels Airport relaunched and rebranded itself with a fresh new image and the mission to become ‘The Heart of Europe’. The Corporate Traveller reviews some of the highlights.
AIR WAYS 038 Meet Boris Darceaux - New General Manager Belgium and Luxembourg for AIR FRANCE KLM Boris Darceaux talked to the Corporate Traveller Magazine about his role and some of the services for passengers travelling from the BeLux.
041 Brussels Airlines – one of the fastest growing airlines in Europe Brussels Airlines achieved double digit growth again in 2015, with passenger numbers now over 30% higher than in 2013.
042 Finnair has presented its new Airbus A350 In early October, there was excitement on the tarmac at Brussels Airport. Members of the airport staff, but also the Press, the merely curious and passengers were massed in front of the large airport bay windows to await the arrival of the first Airbus A350 onto Belgian soil.
044 All Nippon Airways - now direct from Brussels Airport to Tokyo! On 25 October, ANA, Japan’s leading airline, celebrated the launch of its new daily service between Brussels and Tokyo Narita Airport.
DESTINATIONS 046 New horizons in Asia In this special Asian edition, we look at some of the travel destinations that are deservedly growing in importance, whether for business, pleasure or ‘bleisure’. From India’s Bangalore and Jaipur and the Chinese cities of Hangzhou and Guilin, through to South Korea’s Seoul and the north and southern tips of Japan with Hokkaido and Okinawa, follow us on a voyage of inspiration for your next trip to Asia.
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YOUR TIME IS PRECIOUS. That’s why you’ll want to choose itself to your business needs. • •
, the economy class that adapts
Flex: your ticket is fully changeable and refundable with no additional fees. Fast: skip the queues with a dedicated check-in, security Fast Lane and priority boarding.
brusselsairlines.com or your travel agency.
The Traveller Journal NEWS FROM THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY
SIA to restart nonstop Singapore-US flights with new A350 variant Singapore Airlines has signed an agreement to be the launch customer for a new ultra-long-range variant of the Airbus A350 aircraft, enabling the resumption of non-stop flights between Singapore and the United States. Singapore Airlines has 63 A350-900s on firm order and the new agreement with Airbus will see seven of these upgraded to orders for the A350-900ULR, which will have a range of up to 8,700nm. The Airline also has 20 purchase options, four of which will be converted into firm A350-900 orders. This will lift to 67 the total number of A350s on firm order with Airbus, plus 16 options. Deliveries of the A350-900ULR aircraft are scheduled to take place in 2018, enabling the re-launch of the world’s longest nonstop flights, between Singapore and both Los Angeles and New York. The aircraft will be fitted with all-new cabin products which are currently under development. Non-stop flights between Singapore and additional points in the US are also under consideration. “Our customers have been asking us to restart non-stop Singapore-US flights and we are pleased that Airbus was able to offer the right aircraft to do so in a commercially viable manner,” said Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong. Singapore Airlines operated non-stop flights between Singapore and both Los Angeles and New York until 2013, when the A340500s that were used for the services were retired.
Van der Valk Hotel Brussels Airport opens new sushi restaurant To complement its existing Restaurant Catharina, the Van der Valk Hotel Brussels Airport has opened a second restaurant, the Pink Ginger sushi bar. The Van der Valk has opened the second restaurant to offer more choice to its guests, many of whom are regular clientele. “Many guests are visiting us on a weekly basis. With our Catharina restaurant we offer them a modern fine dining experience, while with Pink Ginger we offer them a choice for something truly different, in taste but also in the feel of the place” explained the hotel’s director, Ruud de Bruijn.
The Pink Ginger has over 30 seats. The interior of the bar is based on the impression of a late night tattoo shop with rough materials and dark colours with bright highlights. Waiters wearing fluorescent shoes, jeans and shirts create a relax atmosphere. The eye catcher is a huge picture of a water nymph from the famous Antwerp-based photographer Giel Doomen. Due to the lights the nymph will draw your attention! During its startup phase the sushi bar will be open 18.00 to 23.00, from Monday through to Thursday. In a later phase the opening hours will increase and a take away option will be installed.
Brussels Airlines to head for 5 new destinations next summer Brussels Airlines will be continuing to add new routes and frequencies for its summer schedule 2016. The five new destinations for next summer’s timetable, already available for booking, are Crete, Jerez, Belfast, Tenerife and Las Palmas, the last two of which are routes launched this winter season.
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The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry
Hilton Antwerp Old Town unveils refurbishment of Belle Epoque Ballroom The Hilton Antwerp Old Town has unveiled its newly refurbished Belle Époque Ballroom. The unique 1209m² venue now has a state of the art lighting system and new look, while preserving its historic heritage with the spectacular cupola and an impressive crystal chandelier. The new lighting system in the Belle Epoque Ballroom includes 246 LED lights, the latest and most exciting technological advancement in the lighting industry. The LED illumination systems can achieve fantastic lighting effects, not only for the eye but also for the mood and the mind. And of course, these 100% recyclable lights also mean a big step towards a greener future… which fits right into Hilton’s sustainability project, LightStay. Following the excellent response to the refurbishment of the Lobby Lounge, the meeting rooms and the recent opening of Brasserie Flo Antwerp, the hotel is now starting a new chapter in the city center of Antwerp. Ideally located in the historic heart of the city overlooking the iconic Cathedral of Our Lady, Hilton Antwerp Old Town is a great starting point to discover the city and organise inspiring events and incentive activities. The 13 flexible meetings rooms and the stylish Belle Epoque Ballroom host a myriad of meetings and events up to 1200 people. All spaces have been renovated and newly decorated, offering contemporary technology, WIFI and natural light. The Hilton Antwerp Old Town’s dedicated events team is always on hand to advise and help. Together with hotel’s gastronomic proposals, inspired by the best of the French and Belgian cuisine, event planners can be sure of a successful, 100% personalized event.
Hotel Amigo appoints Edward J.J. Leenders as new General Manager Edward J.J. Leenders has joined the Hotel Amigo in Brussels as its new General Manager, replacing Philippe Spagnol. Edward J.J. Leenders is of Dutch origin. Before taking up his new position at Hotel Amigo, at the beginning of October, he was the Managing Director
of the Hotel Savoy in Florence (another property in the Rocco Forte Hotels group), for four and a half years. He has a long history of management positions within the Rocco Forte Hotel group and, previously, with Hyatt International with roles in the US, Jordan and Germany.
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The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry
Opening of NH Collection Brussels Centre, first NH Collection hotel in the Benelux
Geert Behets president of BATM
BATM surveyed corporate travel professionals on Lufthansa Group surcharge BATM, the Belgian Association of Travel Management, has surveyed its members concerning the new commercial strategy of Lufthansa Group. In June, the Lufthansa Group announced that it was to introduce a surcharge for bookings through GDS (Global Distribution Systems - reservation and management systems that are linked to major airlines). BATM’s recent study shows that the travel managers are very critical of this new strategy by the Lufthansa Group. Members of the BATM completed the survey between September 22 and October 8th. The survey’s main objective was to measure the opinion of travel managers on the new strategy of Lufthansa and its impact on the market, business and costs. The results show that 88% of customers do not find Lufthansa’s distribution innovative. In addition, 93% believe that using a direct booking system is not a good option for business trips, due to the high risk of fragmentation of travel programmes. Moreover, 85% of those surveyed said that the offer is not well adapted to the specific needs of business travellers. The survey also shows that 90% of respondents believe that the Lufthansa Group does not understand the basics of corporate travel management. They also deplore the lack of consultation over this decision which has had a major impact on the market. According to 88% of travel managers, the new strategy of the Lufthansa Group will lead to an increase in costs for businesses. Finally, 78% of respondents said the decision will affect the aviation programme within their organization. Earlier this year, the BATM expressed concern about the unilateral decision of the Lufthansa Group. “This study reinforces our position and once again makes it clear that the BATM does not feel positive about Lufthansa’s strategy, which is nevertheless presented as innovative and beneficial to the traveller” said Geert Behets, chairman of the BATM. “For the travel managers concerned, there is a risk of fragmentation of travel programmes and an increase in the cost of business travel.”
The 24 September saw the opening of the first NH Collection hotel in the Benelux region, with the new NH Collection Brussels Centre. In the presence of the Flemish Minister of Tourism Ben Weyts and the Spanish Ambassador to Brussels, Ignacio Jesus Matellanes Martinez, Hotel Director Alain Bouchat symbolically opened the doors of the renewed NH Collection Brussels Centre hotel. The fully refurbished hotel is situated in an iconic building dating back to 1929. With 241 comfortable rooms, five meeting and event spaces with natural daylight and a panoramic roof top restaurant and terrace on the ninth floor, NH Hotel Group is proud to have transformed one of its seven hotels in Brussels into the NH Collection brand. This brings the total number of NH Collection hotels to 47 worldwide, with many more to come. NH Hotel Group is investing in the refurbishments of its hotels worldwide, as part of its strategic five-year-plan. Belgium and particularly Brussels have been defined as key destinations for the company. Besides the NH Collection Brussels Centre, NH Hotel Group is also investing in other NH Hotels in the city.
“With seven properties in and around the city centre of Brussels, NH Hotel Group is optimising and enlarging its presence here” said Maarten Markus, Managing Director for NH Hotel Group in the Benelux, UK, France, USA and Africa. “Our guests love to explore the city from our hotels, whether they stay with us for business or pleasure. After the acquisition of the four-star hotel NH Brussels Carrefour De L’Europe in March 2015, NH Collection Brussels Centre is yet another proof of our ambitions in this city,” The NH Collection Brussels Centre, formerly known as NH Atlanta Brussels, is located within walking distance of Brussels’ main touristic sites. The hotel is a popular destination for both business and leisure travellers. The hotel’s Brasserie Atlanta, at street level, is a cosy and stylish restaurant where hotel guests and passers-by can enjoy a variety of dishes, snacks and a good glass of wine. Hotel guests benefit from use of the fully equipped fitness centre, as well as the panoramic roof top breakfast restaurant and terrace on the ninth floor.
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• • • • • • • • • • •
The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry
Marriott International to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide The boards of directors of Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement which will create the world’s largest hotel company. The transaction combines Starwood’s leading lifestyle brands and international footprint with Marriott’s strong presence in the luxury and select-service tiers, as well as the convention and resort segment, creating a more comprehensive portfolio. Combined, the companies operate or franchise more than 5,500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms worldwide and 30 brands. The main aims of the transaction are to create growth and economies of scale. “We have competed with Starwood for decades and we have also admired
Transavia announces new route from Brussels to Munich
them” said J.W. Marriott, Jr., Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Marriott International. “I’m excited we will add great new hotels to our system and for the incredible opportunities for Starwood and Marriott associates. I’m delighted to welcome Starwood to the Marriott family.” Arne Sorenson will remain President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International following the merger and Marriott’s headquarters will remain in Bethesda, Maryland. Marriott’s Board of Directors following the closing will increase from 11 to 14 members, with the expected addition of three members of the Starwood Board of Directors. The transaction, subject to necessary approvals and conditions, is expected to close in mid-2016.
Air Canada boarding from new cities and expanding in the US In 2016, Air Canada will launch long haul services from Toronto to London-Gatwick and Prague in May; Toronto to Budapest, Glasgow, Warsaw and Seoul in June, as well as services from Montreal to Casablanca and Lyon, and flights from Vancouver to Brisbane.
Transavia, the low cost airline of the Air France KLM Group, is to introduce direct flights between Brussels and Munich. The Brussels – Munich services will be operated 12 times a week, as from 25 March 2016. Munich Airport will then become a new home base for Transavia, which will station four Boeing 737-800 jets there. With a total of 18 destinations to Italy, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Croatia, Morocco,
Belgium, France and the Netherlands, the subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group will enter the German market and offers more than 89 weekly flights from the Bavarian state capital for the 2016 summer flight schedule. Transavia is the first low-cost airline to build a home base at Munich Airport. Flights from Brussels to Munich can already booked through Transavia or via travel agents.
Expanding its network to the US, this summer the airline will also introduce non-stop flights between Toronto and the US cities of Salt Lake City, Portland, Washington Dulles and Jacksonville. Montreal will be linked with flights to Denver, Houston and Philadelphia, while Vancouver will see new Air Canada flights to Chicago and San José. Finally services from Calgary to San Francisco will also be launched. Meanwhile, Air Canada rouge continues to grow, with new nonstop flights from San Diego to Vancouver to be served for the summer season only, and Phoenix to Calgary, which will now be year-round. In 2015, new nonstop routes introduced by Air Canada included Montreal to Venice and Mexico City; Toronto to Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Seoul, Dubai and Delhi; and Vancouver to Osaka and Hong Kong.
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WE FLY TO MORE COUNTRIES THAN ANY OTHER AIRLINE EKATERINBURG
COLOGNE FRANKFURT STUTTGART PRAGUE
BRUSSELS NUREMBERG BASEL MUNICH
BARCELONA MARSEILLE MALAGA
MOGADISHU NAIROBI MOMBASA
BANGKOK HO-CHI-MINH MALE
COLOMBO KUALA LUMPUR
DAR ES SALAAM
turkishairlines.com Voted Europe's Best Airline at the 2014 Skytrax Passengers Choice Awards
ABU DHABI MUSCAT
ADEN TAIF SANA’A
DAMMAM DOHA BAHRAIN AL QASSIM RIYADH MADINAH
MISRATA SEBHA ALEXANDRIA CAIRO
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
MADRID LISBON VALENCIA
GENOA BILBAO NICE TOULOUSE
WIDEN YOUR WORLD
The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry
Collinson Group launches card-based Brussels solution to help corporates address Airlines to fly duty of care for business travellers to Nuremberg As from 15 February, Brussels Airlines will operate six flights a week between Nuremberg and Brussels. Nuremberg is Bavaria’s second largest city, an economic metropolis and an important culturalhistorical destination. Until now, it was not connected to Brussels Airport.
Corporate membership provides business travellers with global medical, security and financial assistance.
information on over 200 countries and a real-time incident alert service to keep travellers updated while on the move.
Collinson Group has launched 360 Assistance, a unique assistance solution to help employers proactively manage their duty of care towards employees who undertake international business travel.
Collinson Group believes that the corporate market remains significantly underserved by the corporate assistance industry. The firm notes the findings of the latest GBTA European Business Traveller Well-being Study which found that almost half (46%) of travellers had concerns regarding the coverage of their traditional business travel insurance, and 44% had concerns about the quality and access to overseas medical facilities.
360 Assistance is a fully integrated medical and security advice and emergency response service for corporates employing frequent business travellers, short-term assignees or expatriate workers. It has been designed to help users in any situation, in any time zone around the world through Collinson Group’s extensive global network. Central to the offering is a Chip & PIN enabled membership card which can be remote-loaded with emergency cash or with day-to-day travel expenses to provide peace of mind for staff who may need funds urgently. It is also a cost-effective alternative to corporate credit cards as the employer controls the allocation of funds and all costs can be tracked for the purpose of expense management. 360 Assistance cardholders have direct access to a range of services addressing medical and security risks including globally indemnified evacuation, repatriation and emergency response, alongside additional travel enhancement services and benefits. The service features a 24/7/365 helpline, where business travellers can obtain bespoke pre-travel advice from qualified medical staff or security experts. It also includes a customised web portal, providing up-to-date medical and security
David Evans, Managing Director, Insurance & Assistance at Collinson Group, said: “Business travel has always carried inherent risks; from falling ill in an unfamiliar location to being caught up in civil unrest. As staff travel to more diverse and far-flung destinations these risks are becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable – so the need for employers to deliver appropriate support is greater than ever. “Having the 360 Assistance card in their wallets will give travellers greater peace of mind while allowing employers to more actively manage their duty of care requirements in a simple and costeffective manner.”
With the addition of Nuremberg, Brussels Airlines is continuing to expand its network to Germany, just a couple of months after successfully launching flights to Bremen. With the Nuremberg route, Brussels Airlines will offer no less than 8 destinations in Germany. The Belgian airline connects the European capital with Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Nuremberg and Bremen, while Lufthansa links Brussels Airport to Frankfurt and Munich, and Germanwings operates direct flights to Stuttgart. “The new route is very good news for the large number of businessmen, EU-officials and lobbyists who so far could not travel between Nuremberg and the European capital” said Brussels Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Lars Redeligx. “As from 15 February we will offer them direct flights and smooth connections to other European destinations on all weekdays and on Sundays.” Flights are scheduled in the late afternoon, making it possible to travel between Nuremberg and numerous other Brussels Airlines destinations in Spain, the UK and Scandinavia, via Brussels Airport. Passengers can choose between four travel options (Bizz&Class, Flex&Fast, Light&Relax and Check&Go) and can collect miles with Miles & More, or with Brussels Airlines’ new loyalty program LOOP. At Brussels Airport frequent flyers can use the lounge, The Loft.
To meet their ‘duty of care’ obligations employers need to ensure that they have taken all reasonable measures to protect workers’ health and safety. This covers both mental and physical wellbeing and practically means employers must comply with relevant employment law, health & safety regulations and minimise employees’ exposure to risk.
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The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry
SWISS brings more options to passengers for personalized travel services To meet the growing expectations of its customers, SWISS is bringing in additional options for passengers to personalize their travel experiences. Amongst the many individualized services, SWISS customers can book the seat of their choice on any SWISS-operated flight, up to 48 hours before departure. They can also reserve onboard surprises in advance, such as champagne, truffles and pralines, as well as order their duty free purchases from the comfort of their own home. They can book special rates at swiss.com or through the airline’s Service Center and take up to 2 additional items of baggage, each weighing 23kg, with them. The “Hold the booking” feature gives passengers the right to purchase a fixed number of tickets, at a specific price, within a certain period of time, while SWISS Mobile is an international prepaid SIM card to make calls and surf, while avoiding astronomical roaming charges. These services and more can easily be booked on swiss.com, or through SWISS direct channels.
CWT helps clients better understand travel costs and expenses Carlson Wagonlit Travel is launching a strategic fit that customers a better insight into all travelrelated expenses, with the T & E Decision Tree.
For many companies, travel-related expenditure represents considerable costs which need to be controlled for their business. The huge amount of related data often makes it difficult to get a single view of these costs, in order to manage and understand them. The T & E Decision Tree simplifies these tasks, helping businesses reduce their travel spend, by using algorithms to convert travel expenses into patterns. The analysis looks at what, how and why services and products are purchased. It covers services booked through the travel agents, such as flights, hotel stays and car rentals, as well as additional expenses, such as excess baggage charges or a GPS navigation system in car. It also includes reservations made without travel agents and other additional travel-related expenses such as meals, taxi and parking costs. Non-travel related expenses, such as office supplies, public transport and private transport are also covered.
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Thalys trains to Dortmund beginning March 2016 As from 21 March 2016, the red high speed train will link Brussels and Liège to Dortmund, 3 times a day. The new destination will extend Thalys’ network in Germany, where it already serves Aix-la-Chapelle, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Duisbourg and Essen. Travellers on Thalys will be able to reach Dortmund in 3h08 from Brussels, with a choice of Comfort 2 and Comfort 1 classes. Since 13 December, rail transport in the Ruhr region has been reduced, due to a fire at a signalling station. Traffic has been gradually returning to normal and is expected to be completely restored by 21 March. Tickets to Dortmund are now available for sale.
The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry
SkyTeam airline alliance appoints new executive leadership
SkyTeam has appointed a new leadership team. Perry Cantarutti has been named as Chief Executive Officer, while Michael Wisbrun is taking over as Chairman of the Governing Board. The appointments were during a meeting of the alliance’s Governing Board, which is composed of CEOs and Chairmen of the 20 member airlines. Former Chairman of the alliance, Leo van Wijk, has retired after more than 8 years. Cantarutti joins SkyTeam from Delta Air Lines, where he held the position of Senior Vice President Europe, Middle East and Africa. During his five years in this role, Cantarutti was instrumental in maximizing the profitability of the airline’s transAtlantic operations and identifying growth opportunities for its joint venture with Air France, KLM and Alitalia – the industry’s largest trans-Atlantic alliance. “Perry brings with him a wealth of experience gained throughout 23 years in the aviation industry which, combined with his track record of forging successful airline partnerships and driving customer-focused results, will make him a dynamic leader of the SkyTeam alliance” said Michael Wisbrun, SkyTeam’s new Chairman of the Governing Board.
Hainan Airlines adding second Chinese city from Brussels, with Shanghai Ten years after the launch of its first route from Belgium - from Brussels to Beijing Hainan Airlines has applied for the launch a second air service, from Brussels to Shanghai Pudong Airport. Initially to be operated 3 times a week from 2 September 2016, the Brussels route will be the third international service that Beijing-based Hainan Airlines has launched over the last 12 months from Shanghai-Pudong. In June 2015 the carrier already introduced services to Boston and Seattle in the USA. The Shanghai flights will be operated by either Airbus A330 or Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, offering both Business and Economy classes on board. Passengers in Business class are provided with a 180-degrees flat-bed seat and a home-like bedding service, including pyjamas, slippers and Bvlgari amenity kits. Most fares in Business class will also give access to a free-of-charge limousine service from Belgium and the Netherlands to Brussels Airport. Hainan Airlines, for the 5th year in a row nominated 5-Star Airline by Skytrax, is China’s 4th largest airline, operating a young fleet of Airbus A330, Boeing 737NG and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, to 90 destinations in China, Asia, Europe, Israel and North America.
Regional Shanghai airline To further increase its foothold in the Shanghai passenger market, a sister company of Hainan Airlines within the HNA Group, cargo carrier Yangtze River Express, set up a passenger division in 2015 in Shanghai-Pudong, Yangtze River Airlines, to operate domestic passenger services. Yangtze River Airlines launched services on 15 December 2015 with 2 Boeing 737-800’s, with flights from Shanghai to Sanya, Guiyang and Zhuhai. A further 4 aircraft will be delivered during 2016 for expansion to additional cities.
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The broadest choice of relevant content In the constant effort to offer full content in the broadest sense of the term, Amadeus regularly introduces new and relevant services for business travellers around the clock. A number of recent partnerships with Cabforce, Book2Meet and Quick Parking are perfect examples. René Schukkink and Jolanda Scholten from Amadeus gladly explain how they seek to exceed the expectations of the contemporary business traveller with the constant addition of new content.
½½ JOLANDA SCHOLTEN
MADEUS, THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY’S TECHNOLOGY PARTNER, IS CONSTANTLY ON THE LOOKOUT FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN THE TOURIST INDUSTRY SO THAT IT CAN DIVERSIFY THE CONTENT IT OFFERS. “By
entering into strategic partnerships with relevant service providers like Cabforce, Book2Meet and Quick Parking, we want to prove the added value of the solutions we bring to our users such as Amadeus e-Travel Management. This is just what the modern business traveller is looking for: a broad choice of relevant solutions with reliable partners whose services can be reserved with a simple mouse click,” explains René Schukkink, commercial director at Amadeus Benelux.
Cabforce is an originally Finnish company that provides taxi and transfer services in over 61 countries and 200 locations. Jolanda Scholten, product manager at Amadeus elaborates: “Cabforce is the service par excellence for travellers who are looking for a “door-to-door” solution when travelling to the airport and/or needing a transfer to the hotel at the destination. You can easily reserve the transfers beforehand in Amadeus e-Travel Management and also pay for them beforehand. This way you as a traveller can avoid hassles with foreign exchange when you get to the destination. Queuing for a taxi or being hit with hidden costs are now a thing of the past, thanks to the integration of Cabforce into Amadeus solutions.” 16 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE
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½½ RENÉ SCHUKKINK
Book2Meet is the leading player when it comes to reserving meeting rooms in hotels. Indeed, this Belgian company offers over 32,000 meeting spaces in 7,000 venues spread out over 26 countries. Jolanda Scholten points out: “Book2Meet is an extremely practical solution for business travellers who are looking for a meeting room for just a couple of hours. The location is always rented out at an hourly rate and the reservation of extra amenities such as catering is possible. Because meetings can sometimes run over time, the payment occurs afterwards at the hotel. In addition to being a practical solution, Book2Meet is a very transparent service without any hidden costs and has a very flexible cancellation scheme.”
Quick Parking is a private parking provider with no less than 3,000 parking spots available at Schiphol Airport, all within vicinity of the airport. In addition to Schiphol, Quick Parking is also operational in Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Zaventem, Charleroi and Orly. Jolanda Scholten says: “We understand that parking is an important service for our business customers. That is why we want to significantly increase the opportunities for parking arrangements in Amadeus e-Travel Management. It is perfect for the business traveller who wants to plan every single aspect of his or her trip. Thanks to the services offered by Quick Parking, customers can not only leave
Integrated Partners Relevant travel content and services
Integrated Partners brings you the missing links in the end-to-end travel chain: taxis, airport shuttles, minicabs, parking...
The information is saved in the PNR and displayed with the other segments
1 Acces an external provider’s booking tool from an Amadeus front-office solution
2 Complete the booking on the integrated external booking tool
Benefits for travel agencies and TMCs
The booking is recorded in the external provider’s system
Benefits for corporations P
Increase revenues with value added commissionable content
Optimise workflows and cut costs through automation
Improve visibility of traveller bookings and post booking requests
Deliver relevant content to travellers
Enforce policies and negotiated rates
Reduce time to book a full itinerary
Save traveller time at the destination
Provide financial and traveller security with preferred partner selection
Drive self-booking tool adoption
Enhance traveller experience
Improve management of provider costs
Enhance customer service
their car in a secured area, but also request extra services such as a car wash, for example. A shuttle bus brings them to the terminal and they can depart without having to worry about their vehicle. The biggest advantages here are the 24/7 service and the fact that there are no hidden costs.”
“Full content in the broadest sense”
Content is and remains one of the most important pillars that technology partner Amadeus rests upon. The company is thus committed to add new and additional content to keep the distribution platform offers broad and deep. “We strive every day to achieve full content in the broadest sense of the term,” explains René Schukkink. “Our partners expect that when they use our solutions, they have access to the richest and most complete content. It’s not just about the fares or the products offered by the airlines, but also a wide range of travel-related services such as hotels, airport services, rail, insurance coverage, payment solutions, et cetera. The new partnerships with innovative industry partners such as Cabforce, Book2Meet and Quick Parking fit perfectly into the vision of diversification of our content in order to increase the added value to our customers and our users.”
For further information please contact your travel agency or Inge Van Dooren, Corporate IT Manager Amadeus Benelux, via email inge.vandooren@ benelux.amadeus.com or via phone +32 2 257 99 11
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Voyages and inspirations
interview with artist Jean-Pierre Roc-Roussey The paintings of renowned contemporary artist Jean-Pierre Roc-Roussey grace the walls of museums, galleries and royal residences around the world. Although most at home when working in his studios in Montmartre and the South of France, he regularly journeys to cosmopolitan capitals for exhibition openings and to remote exotic locations, for research trips. Just returned from Beirut, he shared with us how his travels, core to his work, are both inspiration and necessity.
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Where do you find the inspirations for your work?
¾¾ TURBAN AND KIMONOS EXHIBITION, PAINTING KIMONO ENLACÉES, 2015 CREDIT: THE ARTIST AND OPERA GALLERY
DRAW INSPIRATION FROM THE REALMS THAT FASCINATE ME - FROM THE GREAT THEMES, SUCH AS CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY, NORDIC MYTHOLOGY AND THE RENAISSANCE, TO ANCIENT, ORIENTAL CIVILIZATIONS. I am also a collector of art
books from every era and a regular visitor to museums – particularly the Guimet Museum of Asian Arts and the Quai Branly Museum of Arts and Civilisations. As exotic tribal cultures, costumes and adornments are key elements in my work, my research travels are an important source of ideas for new themes. China and India are particularly inspiring, with their intricate costumes and the beauty of the women.
What have been your most recent exhibitions?
My latest exhibition opening, in September, was in Beirut. Entitled ‘Turbans and Kimonos’, it was inspired by my voyages to Asia. I find the Japanese kimono is an incredible work of art itself, with its layers of colours and textures – as well as its vast size. Another recent exhibition was ‘Les Messagères’, a series of 18 paintings I showed at the Opera Gallery in Singapore. In this series messengers, on horseback or elephant, traverse vast natural landscapes. The message they bring with them is the message of freedom, symbolised not only by their solitary journeys but also in some of the paintings by a rare, blue-feathered bird.
Tell us more about your travels
There are two very distinct types of travel in my life. Firstly there are the exhibition openings, which take place in the art capitals of the Far East, Middle East, US and Europe. During these trips I attend exhibition opening ‘vernissages’, give press conferences and interviews and meet with some of my patrons. I am fortunate in that some of my clients are really great admirers of my work and invite me to their homes to see my paintings in situ. Sometimes these homes are wonderful palaces, belonging to members of royal families. My trips for research and inspiration are in a totally different realm. These have taken me to several countries in Asia, including India, Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as South America. These are much longer voyages, to remote locations, where tourists rarely venture. Local culture and traditions are still intact, which is what I need for my research. My latest was to the Great Plains of the US, where we stayed with the Navajo Indian tribes for three weeks. This will be the subject of the new theme that I am going to explore. | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE
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»» JEAN-PIERRE ROC-ROUSSEY IN HIS STUDIO
CREDIT PHOTO: CHRISTIAN BARAJA
¼¼ CAVALIÈRE AU CHEVAL PÉTRIFIÉ, 2007
CREDIT: JEAN-PIERRE ROC-ROUSSEY AND OPERA GALLERY
My next research trip will be to India, to the mountains in the north and some of the less well-travelled destinations in the region. The hotel we will be staying in is a former palace - an inspiration in itself, as the designs of these hotels are really sublime.
What do you like most and least about travelling?
Although I love the experiences and inspirations that travelling brings me, I have to say that it is the physical aspect of getting from A to B that I really dislike. Airport queues, long flights and traffic jams – it’s all just time in limbo. What I do enjoy when travelling, is experiencing new tastes, flavours and local gastronomy.
ABOUT JEAN-PIERRE ROCROUSSEY For the last 25 years, award winning French artist Jean-Pierre Roc Roussey has been exhibiting his work in museums and galleries around the world, including with the Opera Gallery group - one of the leading dealers in modern and contemporary American, European and Asian art. Jean-Pierre Roc-Roussey’s art is influenced by the worlds of myths, legends and ancient civilisations. The highly distinctive figures in his paintings are amazons, horsewomen and female warriers – bold, yet dreamlike and mysterious. Vibrant hues, with touches of precious metals, adorn his characters with magnificently embellished costumes. For more information about Jean-Pierre RocRoussey visit www.roc-roussey.fr or www.operagallery.com/ang/artist/jeanpierre-roc-roussey
What do you appreciate in a good hotel?
My travel style is blend of luxury and economy. While I tend to fly in economy class, when I am travelling for exhibition openings, I am hosted in some of the finest 5 star hotels. Whether contemporary or historic, it’s important for me that a hotel is aesthetically pleasing. Hotels I have stayed in and particularly appreciated over the last few months are the Hotel Le Gray in Beirut with its elegant, modern design and, in contrast the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore – an old hotel with a neo-classical face and an amazing view of the city’s skyline. Large, clean and comfortable bedrooms and bathrooms are a must. And please let the bathroom be totally separate from the bedroom, not with glass walls and certainly not with a bath in the middle of the bedroom – I really dislike this trend and find it totally unaesthetic. I prefer to have a room with an outside area, such as a terrace or balcony – or at the very least a room with windows that open out properly. I also like to see a varied and interesting breakfast buffet.
How does your creative process take shape?
As it is difficult to set up a studio when I am on the move, especially with the size of canvasses I use, I rarely paint when I am travelling. I start rather by making sketches and notes, before drafting out an idea and the proportions. I love the process - the journey - of creation, from the beginnings of research on a theme, to the moment when I have a clear vision of what the next piece of work will be. I work intensely on one painting at a time, until it is finished, which is normally about 2 weeks. Then I store it ready for exhibition. I don’t work on it further at a later date and it’s rare that I give up on a painting.
What do you love about your work?
On a personal level, I am deeply involved in my work and I paint without distraction on each piece until it is completed - but I love the particular kind of solitude that this brings with it. From a wider perspective, I have seen myself how art really brings different cultures together. I really believe that art has the power to unite people and break down barriers. That is something that is really magical. | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE
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250 Reasons to attend the Business Travel Show in 2016 The Business Travel Show returns to London on 24-25 February 2016 for its 22nd outing. The leading corporate travel event in Europe, it features the industry’s largest fully hosted buyer programme and is a must-attend event for senior business travel buyers and managers.
N 2015, 7,424 CORPORATE TRAVEL PROFESSIONALS ATTENDED THE EVENT, AN ANNUAL INCREASE OF 15 PER
CENT. Hosted buyers attended from companies including Amazon, ArcelorMittal, Bacardi, BBC, Barclays, Bloomberg, Capgemini, Credit Suisse, Deloite, Dyson, Google, Kimberly Clark, LEGO, Ministry of Defence Finland, Primark, Ricoh Europe, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, UBS and Zurich Insurance, as well as AB InBev, IBA – Ion Beam Applications, MasterCard Worldwide and Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium.
98 per cent of hosted buyers attending the Business Travel Conference in 2015 rated their overall experience as good or excellent and 83 per cent rated the conference sessions the same. In return for committing to a minimum of five pre-scheduled appointments per day with exhibitors of their choice, hosted buyers enjoy the following benefits: • A three day conference programme including the preshow conference stream on Tuesday 23rd February, which is exclusively for hosted buyers • Invitation to the buyer-only masterclass sessions at the show • A personal online diary system, accessible via any 4G device, to help manage and maximise time at the show • Up to two nights complimentary accommodation at a minimum four star hotel on a bed and breakfast basis including ground transfers to and from the event if required • Complimentary travel to London including ground transfers to and from the event. (if required) • Access to the exclusive hosted buyer lounge, including complimentary refreshments and a networking lunch
Sourcing from world class suppliers
250 market leading, groundbreaking, world-class suppliers will be exhibiting; that’s 250 opportunities for hosted buyers to benchmark the value and performance of their current suppliers against potential new ones, and 250 opportunities for them to cut costs, budget better, save smarter and raise their ROI. Exhibitors include airlines, accommodation providers, ground transportation, technology providers and TMCs. American Airlines, easyJet, Star Alliance, Belmond, Qatar Airways, American Express Global Business Travel, Avis, Hertz, Sixt and Enterprise Rent A Car are among those already confirmed.
First class educational programme
The Business Travel Show conference programme features high end content delivered by prestige speakers and is cre-
ated by buyers for buyers. With 60 sessions to choose from, hosted buyers can be sure to leave up to date, on trend and with all the tools they need to create a best practice travel policy when they get back to the office. Hot topics that will feature heavily include distribution in the wake of air and hotel suppliers working hard on finding new channels to make their inventory available, travel risk management and, of course, the sharing economy. Other issues that will be addressed are travel technology, supplier negotiation, duty of care and managing a global programme. In addition to panel debates, masterclasses, round-table discussions and the fundamentals stream for new buyers, visitors will also enjoy a new stream called Inside Track where travel managers interview each other on the challenges and successes of running their multinational programmes.
Networking for now and the future
The Business Travel Show provides buyers with a unique opportunity to meet 7,500 professionals from across Europe. From peer-to-peer and supplier networking sessions, to informal social events, buyers will build new relationships at the show and be given a chance to share knowledge and best practice. Jef Robinson, Category Manager (Meetings & Travel), Indirect Procurement, Citrix, commented: “The Business Travel Show is at the forefront of providing opportunities for buyers to understand, and often experience first-hand, the latest developments, supply-base and changes to the industry. As such, the show is a “must attend” for everyone responsible for travel within their organisations that wants to keep up to date with the very latest solutions, news and technology. Of course, the opportunity to meet face-to-face with many current and potentially future suppliers, as well as industry peers, under one roof is a great incentive.”
Feature areas at the 2016 show including the brand new Launch Pad, which showcases young business with innovative business travel products and services; the popular International Hotel Village; Airline Pavilion; Responsible Travel Management Zone; ASAP Pavilion of Serviced Apartment Providers; International Serviced Apartment Pavilion; Business Travel Technology Zone and Cellars in the Sky Wine Tastings. Hosted buyers attending the Business Travel Show can also access Travel Technology Europe, Europe’s only event dedicated to providing innovative and integral technology solutions to buyers in the travel industry.
The Business Travel Show takes place 24-25 February at Olympia Grand, London. Please visit www.businesstravelshow.com for more information, and http://www.businesstravelshow.com/ hostedbuyers/hosted-buyers-programme to view the hosted buyer programme or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
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LIFE DOESNâ€™T COME TO YOU
TO IT Find out more at virginatlantic.com
THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER BEST HOTEL AWARD FOR CORPORATE TRAVELLERS 2015
Winners of the Corporate Traveller
Best Hotel Awards 2015 The quest to find Belgium’s Best Hotels for Corporate Travellers 2015, culminated in an awards giving ceremony on 29 September. The winners of The Corporate Traveller Best Hotel Awards 2015, sponsored by Amadeus, are the Hotel Heritage Relais & Château Bruges and the Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof in Ghent.
About the awards
HE CORPORATE TRAVELLER BEST HOTEL AWARDS WERE CREATED IN 2013, TO RECOGNISE BELGIUM’S OUTSTANDING HOTELS FOR BUSINESS TRAVELLERS. Each year, throughout the months
of the competition, updates on the awards and the competing hotels regularly feature in the Corporate Traveller Magazine, the Corporate Traveller newsletter and in communications to local and national media. Then, in September, the competition judges, experts in hotel design, technology and marketing, travel around Belgium to visit and review the hotels. This year’s judges were Olaf Leenders, Director Operations at Amadeus Benelux, Bart Canini, CEO Creneau International and Joanna Pays, Senior Editor of the Corporate Traveller Magazine. The hotels were rated by each judge on a points system, which scored them on criteria including design, quality, comfort, features, services, technology and originality.
This year, hotels were able to compete in two separate categories - for Best Hotel Room or Best Hotel Lobby. The first placed hotel, in each of the classes, is the winner of the prize of an advertising campaign with a value of 10,000 euros. The Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof, in Ghent, was awarded the premier position in the newly created category of Best Hotel Lobby, followed in second place by the Pentahotel Brussels City Centre, which won many points from the judges for originality and design. The Hotel Heritage Relais & Château Bruges was selected as the winner of the class of Best Hotel Room for Corporate Travellers, for the second year in a row. The second place was awarded to the Radisson Blu Royal Brussels, which impressed the judges with the quality of its interior furnishings and newly designed Urban Style rooms. | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE
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BEST BY L LOB HOTE D AWAR
¼¼ THE SANDTON GRAND HOTEL REYLOF, GHENT
The calibre of the competing hotels meant that the results for the leading places were close. “This year the high quality of the participating hotels made it a pleasure to judge but at the same time also challenging. My congratulations go to winning hotels who definitely know how to please the corporate traveller” said Olaf Leenders, awards judge and Operations Director of Amadeus Benelux.”
The Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof, Ghent – Best Hotel Lobby Award
Located in the heart of historic Ghent, the Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof combines an 18th century château with modern additions, grouped around an attractive private garden and terrace. The 4 star hotel features 158 rooms and suites. The château’s former coach house is home to a state of the art spa, complete with fitness centre and wellness pool. Other facilities include 9 meeting rooms, the Lof gastronomic restaurant, two bars including a champagne bar and various public areas in the lobby. The Sandton’s lobby spaces, spread over the ground floor of the château, combines antique features such as marble staircases and open fireplaces, with contemporary and dynamic design elements. In addition, the judges particularly admired how these spaces had been created to give guests a good choice of different areas to work privately, meet or network. Highlights include the two living rooms and library, where guests can relax while overlooking the courtyard, the large outdoor terrace and the original ‘pop-up’ area, which currently showcases a tailor’s workshop.
»» SANDTON’S DUCO HEIJBROEK AND NANCY VANDEN BERGHE RECEIVE THE AWARD FROM OLAF LEENDERS OF AMADEUS
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BEST EL RO AWAR OM D
»» THE HOTEL HERITAGE RELAIS AND CHÂTEAU, BRUGES
The Hotel Heritage Relais and Château, Bruges – Best Hotel Room Award
The Hotel Heritage Relais and Château is a 4 star boutique hotel in the centre of Bruges. Thanks to the dedication of its owners Isabelle and Johan Creytens, along with their General Manager Vincent Labrosse, the hotel has won a number of awards over the years – including two times winner of the Corporate Traveller Award. The Heritage features 22 rooms and suites, a meeting room, fitness room, sauna, bar, library and a Michelin guide restaurant, Le Mystique. In the design of the Heritage’s rooms, the awards’ judges particularly admired the quality of the furnishings, the spaciousness and comfort of the rooms and the exceptional level of in-room technologies and equipment. Ideal for the business traveller, the rooms include working desks with international power sockets, the fastest Wifi in Belgium, in room iPads, iPhone docking stations, Bose sound systems and Nespresso coffee machines. The spacious rooms have separate bedroom and living areas, walk-in dressing rooms and large marble bathrooms with underfloor heating. Guests are made to feel at home with personal touches such as fruit baskets, chocolates from the hotel’s pastry chef and hand-written welcome notes. All rooms are individually decorated, with original paintings and antiques used throughout.
¼¼ HOTEL HERITAGE RECEIVES AWARD
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The only difference from home is waking up in a different continent. KLMâ€™s World Business Class, with Dutch Design at its heart, offers the perfect mix of comfort, individuality and personal space. The fullflat seats with smart privacy screens provide 207 centimeters of horizontal space. Together with the personal attention of our crew, the World Business Class has all the comforts of home. Except home doesnâ€™t bring you to the other side of the world. www.klm.be
The awards ceremony
The 2015 awards-giving ceremony fittingly took place in the winning lobby of the Sandton Reylof. The managers of the winning hotels, the awards judges and journalists from the local press and TV station AVS, were all in attendance. After enjoying a tempting array of cocktails and dishes served in the Sandton’s Lof Champagne Bar, the official handing over of the awards certificates took place in the lobby’s library and living room. Receiving the award for the Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof were Duco Heijbroek, Sandton’s Regional Manager, Jaap Blijleven, Hotel Manager and Nancy Vanden Berghe, Director of Sales and Marketing. “This award recognition is a real motivation for us… and certainly as we are a small player amongst all these well-known brands” commented Nancy Vanden Berghe of the Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof, winner of the lobby category. “After 4 years walking into this hotel each morning, we still always think ‘what a great and beautiful hotel this is to work for’.” The award for Best Hotel Room for Corporate Travellers 2015 was then presented to Johan and Isabelle Creytens, owners of the Heritage Hotel. “Winning this award for Best Corporate Hotel, for the second time in a row, is an unbelievably beautiful reward for our dedicated hotel and restaurant team” commented Johan Creytens. “This award gives us at the Heritage an extra oxygen boost to surpass our boundaries of personal service! “ The awards ceremony was the subject of articles in De Gentenaar and de Streetkrant, as well as a TV news broadcast on regional channel AVS. The coverage, as well as more information about the Corporate Traveller Hotel Awards, can be found at www.belgiumsbesthotelroom.be and www.thecorporatetraveller.be
AMADEUS BENELUX – PREMIUM SPONSOR OF THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER BEST HOTEL AWARDS Amadeus Benelux is the premium sponsor of The Corporate Traveller Best Hotel Awards. The world’s leading technology supplier to the travel and aviation sectors, Amadeus has been working with many of the world’s leading hotel chains for many years, providing them with a range of solutions which include sales and reservations management, Property Management Systems, and systems for managing group content and meetings. In distribution, Amadeus connects some 300 of the world’s leading hotel providers with a global community of travel agencies with 235,000+ unique hotel properties and with 800,000+ hotel shopping options distributed through custom-built reservation applications. Through Amadeus LinkHotel, Amadeus connects independent and small-chain hotels to the multi-GDS and online travel community. For more information, visit the dedicated Amadeus Hotel website which can be found via the homepage of www.amadeus.com.
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Overnighting as a YUP T
The Young Urban Professional, YUP for short, is a typical phenomenon of the eighties. The brand new YUP Hotel in Hasselt, with its trendy looks, certainly wants to pamper travellers and citytrippers who relish a sideways glance at the YUP period, with luxury, comfort, and 24/7 service at a democratic price.
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ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PLANE. Wake up refreshed in our forward-facing, flat-bed seats with direct aisle access, available in our Delta Oneâ„˘ cabin on all nonstop flights to the USA.
The only embellishments on the opulent black façade of the brand new YUP Hotel in Hasselt are the letters YUP in gleaming gold. It is abundantly clear: this is unquestionably unlike any other hotel. Inside it is cosy and sophisticated, with a 24/7 food corner flanked by a reading area where the YUP inspired visitor can browse through the latest magazines. Just like real YUPs, guests can do what they want when they want. Tap a few keys on the piano that has been placed in the relaxation / bar area, or put a record on one of the vintage gramophones, although with a flashy headset so as not to disturb other guests, … it’s all possible/allowed. This address is clearly aimed at guests who enjoy the comfort and style of a boutique hotel but who nevertheless go for an affordable and surprising alternative.
Every centimetre put to use
The lift carries us in no time to one of the 59 similar YUP Cabins, every one a cleverly furnished room of twelve square metres. This is not all that large, but the architectural approach ensures that everything is neatly in its place. The high quality bed serves as a flexible area for enjoying the multifunctional LCD screen, doing some work, or, of course, having a good sleep. A rain shower, air conditioning, and free WiFi ensure that the Young Urban Professional will feel perfectly at home. Info: www.yuphotel.com | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE
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Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne
A Stylish Place to Stay in the City of Light
In the south of the Netherlands, we find a city with a rich industrial history. Indeed, Eindhoven is the cradle of the motor vehicle manufacturer DAF, as well as the electronics company Philips. Today, the city is primarily known for being an important centre of technology and thus a leading economic centre. Eindhoven also has a rather trendy image owing to the presence of the Design Academy and the annual Dutch Design Week. Business travellers, as well as lovers of design, have high expectations when it comes to the hotels they stay in. We’ve found a wonderful place for them.
OUGHLY ONE-THIRD OF THE BUDGET THAT GOES TOWARD TECHNOLOGICAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE NETHERLANDS IS SITUATED IN THE EINDHOVEN REGION. In 2011 it was
awarded by the Intelligent Community Forum with the distinction of being the “Smartest Region in the World” – a title that proves the city is a leader on the highest commercial level. This makes for a significant number of business travellers coming to the City of Light every year. The Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne is an ideal base for them while in the city. This four-star hotel is very easy to reach, with the Central Station lying within walking distance. The airport is also only 12 km away, and for those who come to Eindhoven in their own car, there is a convenient parking garage under the hotel.
Stylish and modern
The Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne features 320 guest rooms in total, which are divided into Classic and Superior rooms, Studios (28 in total), and three types of Suites. Our Superior Room looked very stylish and modern. This was no dime-a-dozen, soul-less hotel room, but instead a space with its own identity. The Philips (how could it be anything else?) Ambilight television and the Philips Living Colors lighting makes the unique atmosphere complete. In the bathroom, we found the high-quality products of C.O. Bigelow, and while working on the laptop we were able to enjoy a fabulous cup of Nespresso 34 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE
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PHILIPS MUSEUM Many people of course associate Eindhoven with Philips. In the centre of the city you can find the Philips Museum, where you have an insight into the rich history of the Dutch electronics giant. Through April 2016, the museum is running the exhibition ‘Celebrating 90 years of design at Philips.’ It explains the history with a selection of products and stories on how design at Philips through the years has contributed to meaningful and long-lasting innovations. Using products, models, photos and presentations via Augmented Reality, the visitor experiences a fascinating glimpse of the changing role of design at Philips. In addition to items such as radios, TVs, vacuum cleaners, razors, and medical devices, you can also see futuristic concept models such as the rare ‘Evoluon radio’ as well as two unique 3-D models of the Philips Pavilion in Brussels from 1958. www.philips-museum.com
which we could make in the room ourselves. Throughout the entire hotel we had access to free and at the same time high-quality Wi-Fi connection. These are things that should be standard in the year 2015, but we often still find hotels where at least one of these amenities is lacking.
Meeting & Events
The Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne is in fact an ideal venue for organising meetings and events. All-in all, the hotel has no less than 18 fully equipped rooms for this purpose. The general, classic meeting rooms (from 18 to a maximum of 60 people) are located on two meetingspecific floors. They each have a central room where the guests of the meetings can come together with one another. The two highlights of the meeting halls are the Cocagnezaal (Cocagne Hall) and the Wintertuin (Winter Garden). The stylish Cocagne ballroom has the capacity to hold 400 guests in theatre-style layout or 220 guests for a seated dinner. You also have the same capacity in the impressive, modern Winter Garden which has a beautiful contemporary done.
Superb wellness environment
At the Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne, you’re also at the right place for relaxation. The fitness and wellness offerings of this hotel are indeed very extensive. The fitness area was completely renovated
in 2013 and is equipped with the latest machines. For those who like to take things easier, you can choose to visit the sauna or the solarium, whether or not followed by a refreshing dip in the pool. Finally there is also the beauty salon with an expansive menu of treatments such as massages and facials. It’s ideal for recharging your batteries after a hectic day full of meetings.
Top in-house culinary spot
Eindhoven has its share of very fine restaurants, but for fantastic dining you don’t even have to leave the hotel. With Vestdijk 47, the Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne has a top restaurant within its very own walls. There, you can savour selections from an à la carte menu with mainly French accents, but we also were able to enjoy the Chef’s Table concept. This is a full evening programme for 6 to 14 persons. The guests are taken, so to speak, on a culinary journey with no less than 8 delicious courses. While you watch the dishes being prepared in the open kitchen, the chef provides you with explanations, while appropriate wine is served. To finish it all off, you can then enjoy the creations of pastry chef Tom van Woerkum, which are based on the hotel’s own chocolate, the Cocagne Noir.
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Brussels Airport – The Heart of Europe
Nearly two years on from the airport’s rebranding, a look at the achievements It is almost two years since Brussels Airport relaunched and rebranded itself with a fresh new image and the mission to become ‘The Heart of Europe’. Huge achievements have been made in terms of infrastructure and customer services, attracting new airlines and record passenger numbers. The Corporate Traveller reviews some of the highlights…
Connector brings jump in customer satisfaction rates
HE AIRPORT’S HEART OF EUROPE STRATEGY PUTS THE EMPHASIS ON CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND A MULTI-MILLION EURO TRANSFORMATION PROGRAMME TO MODERNISE ITS INFRASTRUCTURES. The star highlight has
been the opening of the new Connector in March. “As soon as we opened the Connector, we immediately saw our customer satisfaction rates jump dramatically” says Leon Verhallen, Head of Aviation Marketing at Brussels Airport Company. “Passenger surveys show that they find walking distances reduced, comfortable seating, better shopping and greater overall comfort.”
At the beginning of 2016, the Connector will also be opened up to the airport’s Pier B travellers. “This will give a smooth flow through the airport to all our passengers, from wherever they are arriving, departing or transferring to” adds Leon Verhallen. Effectively, the Connector is a significant factor in Brussels Airport’s ambitions to increase its share of transfer passengers. The number of passengers connecting onto other flights at Brussels Airport is already on a growth track, forecast to reach 18% by the end of this year. This is expected to rise further next year, when the Connector hooks up to Pier B, giving faster and seamless transfers between European and intercontinental flights.
More new construction projects
Other construction projects have included a new Business Class lounge with Brussels Airlines, ‘the Loft’, and a new Airport Operations Centre, which centralises all the operational partners of the airport together, including airlines, for greater efficiency. “Although this is behind the scenes, passengers will benefit, as any changes and problems will be resolved much quicker” says Leon Verhallen. 36 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE
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As well as the link up of the Connector to Pier B, the other major architectural project for early 2016 will be the complete remodelling of the airport’s Arrivals Hall. Not just passengers but ‘meeters and greeters’ at the airport will be able to enjoy a completely new experience. There will be more space and light, improved signage and plenty of new food and beverage outlets.
Bringing customer service back into the terminal
A visible service initiative has been to bring more airport staff into the terminal, for more face to face interaction with passengers. The new ‘Airport Crew’ team are easily identifiable by their flashy green shirts. On hand to assist passengers with any questions, they also help improve flows around the airport, including at security. “Another example is the new interactive cleaning system we have installed in the washroom areas” adds Leon Verhallen. “Passengers really appreciate this. Using touchscreen technology, passengers can comment on the cleanliness of the washrooms and even call a cleaner through the monitoring systems. These actions may be basic but they are important. We are visibly bringing customer service back into the terminal, rather just having an information desk.”
Record growth in passengers and airlines
The improvements are paying dividends, attracting more airlines – and passengers - to the modernised airport. 2014 saw 21.9 million passengers at Brussels Airport – a growth rate of almost 15%. “This is the fastest rise of any central or western European national airport” comments Leon Verhallen. “Though passenger growth is slower in 2015, it has still risen by a further 7.4% in the first three-quarters of the year. Airlines are starting to realise that the Belgian market is significant for them. We are gaining more traction on our local market thanks to the Connector and of course there is the growing inbound segment.”
½½ LEON VERHALLEN, BRUSSELS AIRPORT
Brussels Airport is now served by around 65 airlines, including 15 long haul carriers, the newest being All Nippon Airways (ANA). The arrival of ANA is significant. “We are now connecting the capital of Europe with the capital of Japan” says Leon Verhallen. “The route is going so well that a larger aircraft is already being considered, so it’s a good sign for the future. On a larger scale, it is important for the growth of Star Alliance airlines at Brussels Airport and it boosts our network to Asia. Now we have the confidence of Thai, ANA and Hainan Airlines, we hope it will send a good signal to the most important Asian cities we are missing in terms of direct destinations – namely Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Globally, we now have many of the key international destinations, but when we look at our wishlist for the rest of the world, they would include, for example, Sao Paolo, Boston, Houston, San Francisco and Johannesburg.”
A new Master Plan
Despite Brussels Airport’s successes, there is no time for complacency in the business of aviation. The management team is fine tuning a new Master Strategy Plan, to be published this year, which will map out its ambitions for the next 25 years. “Although we can’t give more details about this just yet, there will be plenty of exciting new projects and I can share that environmental initiatives will continue to play a big role in our future, as they already do. We have already achieved Stage 3 of the Airport Carbon Accreditation Scheme, just one step away from the carbon neutral accreditation level, Stage 4. We are one of the forerunners and think we are really making a difference here. In every respect, the Brussels Airport of today is so much different to the Brussels Airport of 5 years ago.”
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Air France grows in strength New services and new seats
At the beginning of this autumn, Air France met the press in Brussels to present the four new cabins on its longhaul routes as well as a significant improvement on the Brussels-Paris route.
ROM A PRACTICAL SIDE, AIR FRANCE NOW OFFERS TWO NEW FREE AND OPTIONAL SERVICES TO ITS CUSTOMERS TRAVELLING WITH DEPARTURE FROM BRUSSELS-MIDI STATION AND CONNECTING WITH AN AIR FRANCE FLIGHT FROM PARIS CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT.
Checking-in of luggage in Brussels
The first of these services concerns the checkingin of luggage, which can now be carried out at Brussels-Midi station to be routed directly to the destination. The second, quite similar, service allows clients of the company to pre-check their luggage on the eve of their departure in order to travel light and hassle-free the next day. Check-in of this luggage is carried out between 8 am and 3 pm. In effect, this service creates a substantial gain in comfort for all Air France passengers, and in particular groups travelling in the context of an incentive, congress, etc. It is actually possible now for organisers of this type of travel to offer additional and unique comfort to travellers who are often very demanding.
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Four new cabins
At the Arsenal, where the presentation was held, it was impossible to miss out on the presentation of the new seats of the company. Since last year, Air France has invested €500 million in the improvement of its products and services, in order to increase passenger comfort and to reposition Air France in the airline sector. These efforts have not gone unnoticed since the company has recently been elected ‘the most improved airline in the world’ by Skytrax. Let us pass First Class ( ‘First’) reserved for the elite in order to concentrate on the Air France Business Class which, like all the other classes, has been in the process of renovation since June 2014 and should have 44 of its 62 B777s equipped by the end of the year 2016. Aircraft which will not be equipped with these new seats will be essentially those which serve destinations with a more ‘leisure’ character, such as Cuba, Madagascar, Martinique, French Guiana, and so on.
The criterion which is immediately noticeable is that now it is a case of ‘ 3F’-type seats: Full flat, Full access and Full privacy. In their cocoon, travellers will discover a level of comfort here worthy of Gulf carriers. These seats are accompanied by new accessories, such as a new duvet and a real pillow, but also with a 16-inch touch screen broadcasting almost 1,000 hours of programmes. The Economy and Premium-Economy classes are also upscaled. In Economy, the presence of more ergonomic seats and an increase in legroom will be particularly noticeable.
The Premium Economy cabin features 40% additional space compared to Economy, as well as seats that recline within a fixed shell, ensuring excellent privacy. Boris Darceaux, General Manager of Air France - KLM Belgium/Luxembourg, explains that “these investments demonstrate the attention that Air France brings to the level of comfort and services offered to its customers. To this is added a touch of French-style art of living which offers a travel experience where quality, attention and pleasure are the key words.” | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE
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Restaurant Le Mystique
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one of the fastest growing airlines in Europe
Brussels Airlines saw major increases in its passenger numbers for both 2015 and 2014, now more than 30% higher than in 2013. With these results, Brussels Airlines is one of the fastest growing airlines in Europe. Keeping the momentum, the carrier is strengthening its network and leveraging synergies with shareholder and partner Lufthansa.
½½ WATER CANNON SALUTE FOR FIRST BRUSSELS AIRLINES FLIGHT FROM ACCRA
RUSSELS AIRLINES ATTRIBUTES ITS RECORD PASSENGER NUMBERS TO ITS NEW, MORE COMPETITIVE OFFERING.
“We have repositioned ourselves in the market, to give our intra-European passengers a choice of four different travel solutions that better meet today’s traveller needs in terms of service, choice and price” explains Geert Sciort, Brussels Airline’s Head of Communications. “This, along with our network expansion, has given a new dynamic to Brussels Airlines.” Effectively Brussels Airlines is growing its network, based on a well-defined strategy, enhanced by the destinations offered by the Lufthansa group of airlines. With its winter timetable, Brussels Airlines has added seven new airports and increased flight frequencies to others.
Five of the winter additions are in Europe. “With Zagreb we link to the capital of a new EU member state, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Faro fit will in our leisure flight ambitions, while Bremen is a good example of our strategy to connect important business cities” explains Geert Sciot. Bremen is the fourth German city for Brussels Airlines, following Berlin, Hamburg and Hannover. “We do indeed have a strong focus on Germany” says Geert Sciot. “There is a big demand for convenient air travel to and from various regions of the country and with our partner and shareholder Lufthansa, we also provide direct flights from Brussels to Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart.”
Long haul network – US and Africa
Brussels Airlines flies to two gateways in the US. The New York JFK link, served throughout the year, has become one of the most popular transatlantic routes from Brussels. Flights to Washington are offered in the summer schedule only. Furthermore, just announced is the fact that Brussels Airlines will be introducing flights to Toronto this spring. Thanks to Brussels Airline’s cooperation with its Star Alliance partner, United, passengers can connect on to a multitude of other destinations in the US, Canada and South America. Africa, has always been a cornerstone of Brussels Airlines network, and the aim is to offer more and more links to the continent. This winter sees new direct flights to Kigali in Rwanda and to the Ghanian capital Accra, in a ‘flight swap’ with Lufthansa who will now take over services to Nairobi. Flight frequencies to Lome, capital of Togo, have been doubled to four times per week. Brussels Airlines now offers a total of 19 destinations in Africa. “The goal of Brussels Airlines is to offer a 360-degree short and medium haul network, direct from our hub to the most important European capitals and regions” summarises Geert Sciot. “Over the years, we have also added a focus on popular seasonal leisure destinations. Our long haul ambition is to be a leading airline between Europe and Africa and to serve selected destinations in the US. Thanks to our attractive new commercial positioning we can now develop our network with more destinations, season after season.” | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE
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Finnair has presented its new Airbus A350
In early October, there was excitement on the tarmac at Brussels Airport. Members of the airport staff, but also the Press, the merely curious and passengers were massed in front of the large airport bay windows to await the arrival of the first Airbus A350 onto Belgian soil.
IS ARRIVAL WITH GREAT POMP MARKED THE TAKING POSSESSION BY FINNAIR OF THE FIRST 19 AIRBUS A350-900. Finnair has configured
its A350-900 XWB into two travel classes to carry 297 passengers, including 46 in Business Class in rows of 1-2-1 to allow direct access to the aisle from each seat. These seats - Cirrus Model III Zodiac are transformed into perfectly-flat beds, and offer a 16-inch touch screen for the entertainment system as well as an electrical outlet and a USB port.
In Economy class, the 251 Zodiac Z300 ultra-thin seats are arranged in rows of 3-3-3 with a 78 centimetre space. At the front of this cabin, an Economy Comfort space provides seats offering 10 centimetres of additional legroom space, more comfortable headrests and high-quality headphones. All the ¼¼ A350 WINGLET FITTING
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seats in Economy class enjoy an 11-inch touch screen and a USB socket. On board, only travellers in business class have the right to access free WiFi (as well as the members of the Finnair Plus loyalty programme Gold and Platinum levels, and those of Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald), since access is paid for by other passengers. Finnair has put in service three other A350-900s at the end of the year 2015, and will put another seven in service in 2016 and 2017, the last delivery being expected in 2023. “This moment heralds a new and exciting chapter in Finnair’s 92-year history. The A350 is the
future of flying and will give our passengers a completely new and enhanced travel experience,” said Finnair CEO, Pekka Vauramo. “This is also a proud moment for all Finnair employees who have worked tirelessly on the Finnair A350 programme. From route planning to pilots and cabin crew, from technical services to marketing, this is the moment we have worked for. With the A350, we get the fleet that our strategy requires, and we can start building on our growth,” Vauramo continued.
left in 2008, will receive three flights per week from 4 May 2016. Its A330-300 aircraft will depart Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 5 pm (arrival the following day at 7.30 am), the return flights leaving China on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 10 am (arrival 3 pm). No competition for Finnair on this route, which has already been proposed to code share with Air China via Beijing or Dragonair (Cathay Pacific) via Hong Kong; it also lands in Shanghai, Chongqing, and Xi’an.
“At Airbus, we’re proud and delighted to see Finnair, one of the world’s longest-standing and most respected airlines, become the first European carrier to fly the A350,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. “The A350’s unrivalled fuel efficiency and passenger comfort make it the perfect aircraft to spearhead Finnair’s Asian expansion.”
A similar aircraft will fly on 7 May to Fukuoka, with rotations Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 4.30 pm (arrival the following day at 8 am) and returns from Japan Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 9.30 am (arrival 1.55 pm). No competition there either, especially since KLM abandoned Fukuoka at the beginning of January, Finnair is sharing its codes with Japan Airlines to Japan where it already serves Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.
Finnair has announced two new destinations in Asia: Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, which it had
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All Nippon Airways
now direct from Brussels Airport to Tokyo! On 25 October, ANA, Japan’s leading airline, celebrated the launch of its new daily service between Brussels and Tokyo Narita Airport. Operated with the latest Dreamliner aircraft, the route plays an important role in ANA’s strategy to expand its international network and increase its brand awareness in Europe.
A VIP arrival
HE FIRST ANA PLANE TO TOUCH DOWN AT BRUSSELS AIRPORT WAS GREETED IN VIP STYLE BY AN ESCORT OF AIRSIDE VEHICLES WHICH LED THE AIRCRAFT THROUGH THE TRADITIONAL WATER CANNON SALUTE. Dignitaries from both nations
attended the ceremony, including Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters, Transport Minister Jacqueline Galant, the chairman and CEO of ANA Holdings Shinya Katanozaka, the Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Belgium Masafumi Ishii and CEO of Brussels Airport Arnaud Feist. “This new flight is great news for Belgium and the business community of both countries” commented Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters, during his opening speech. “Japan is a key partner for us and the second largest direct investor after the UnitedStates, excluding the EU.”
ANA’s sixth European destination
ANA, Japan’s only 5-Star airline, is expanding its international fleet and route network. Brussels is ANA’s sixth destination in Europe, following on from London, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich and Düsseldorf. By 2025 the airline expects its international business to account for the majority of its growth. Boeing Dreamliners are being used for much of this expansion and ANA is the largest customer, as well as the launch airline, for the aircraft. ANA already has over 40 Dreamliners in its fleet, with nearly as many again on order (including the next generation 787-10 variant, to arrive from 2020). The
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Dreamliner’s capacity and superior levels of comfort make it ideal for ANA’s network between Japan and Europe. Inside passengers benefit from larger windows, cleaner cabin air and lower noise levels.
Services and connections
The Dreamliner 787-9 operating on the Brussels route is configured with 46 seats in Business Class, 23 seats in Premium Economy, and 102 seats in Economy Class. All business class passengers have aisle-access, fully lie-flat seats. They can make use of the Brussels Airlines lounge at Brussels Airport’s Pier B and any of ANA’s own lounges at Tokyo Narita Airport. Passengers in Premium Economy gain larger seats with more personal space, laptop power points and USB ports, and access to Business Class lounges at selected airports, including Brussels Airport. All passengers can enjoy their own advanced audio visual entertainment system, with over 400 entertainment channels. Flights depart from Brussels at 20.50 to arrive in Tokyo at 16.10 the next day. Return services leave daily from Tokyo Narita at 11.15 to arrive the same day in Brussels at 15.15. The flights have been scheduled to optimise European connections with ANA’s joint venture partners Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines, as well as fellow Star Alliance member, Brussels Airlines. For passengers connecting in Tokyo, ANA serves 51 destinations throughout Japan, as well as a further 23 destinations across Asia. Passengers can travel onto any of the airline’s Japanese destinations on its discounted ‘ANA Experience Japan’ fare of 74 euros.
½½ ANA DREAMLINER ARRIVES IN BRUSSELS
90,000 passengers expected on new route each year
The new Brussels service is the only non-stop route between Japan and Belgium, and ANA believes that it presents great opportunities. In 2014, on average, nearly 10,000 travellers from Japan visited Belgium each month. With the new direct flights, ANA aims to capture a large percentage of this traffic and to further stimulate tourism between the two countries. At the opening ceremony, Shinya Katanozaka, President and CEO of ANA Holdings, stated that with the new service, ANA expects to carry around 90,000 passengers on an annual basis. According to ANA’s research, 56% of international passengers to Japan are travelling for business reasons. With Belgium the home of many international and European organisations, as well as to over 240 Japanese companies, passenger traffic is expected to be driven by robust business demand. “As a major economic, commercial and political centre, Brussels is an increasingly important market for ANA” explained Mr Moriyuki Tanemura, ANA Vice President and General Manager, France & Benelux. “More and more passengers are flying between Tokyo and Brussels but they previously had to do so by transiting through other cities. We can clearly see the demand from both business and leisure passengers. Currently many of our passengers begin their journey in Japan as, of course, we are already well known there. However the figures show that Japan, as a destination, is increasing in popularity and there are more and more travellers from Europe each year. Now we are busy raising awareness of our brand in Belgium.”
150 years of Belgian-Japanese diplomatic relations
The new route to Brussels was only announced a couple of months before its opening, but its planning has been underway for some time. There are several reasons that make the launch of the new services, now, auspicious. “Our strategy of international expansion, the availability of our new Dreamliner fleet and the positive economic conditions, meant that the timing was right to introduce the service” says Mr Tanemura. “Even more so as 2016 will be a particularly important year, as it marks the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Belgian and Japanese diplomatic relations.” Numerous anniversary events, projects and exchanges will take place in both countries throughout the year in both countries, starting with the opening ceremony, in Belgium, in January 2016. “This new route has been very much welcomed by companies and travel agencies alike, and we have seen general enthusiasm from the media” added Moriyuki Tanemura. “We have already reached full bookings on many of the first flights.”
About All Nippon Airways
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is the largest airline in Japan by revenues and passenger numbers. Founded in 1952, ANA flies today on 73 international routes and 117 domestic routes. The ANA group has 35,000 employees and a fleet of 245 aircraft. In FY2014, it carried 50.4 million passengers. ANA has been a member of Star Alliance since 1999, and has joint-ventures with United Airlines on trans-Pacific and Asian routes. | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE
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New horizons in Asia In this special Asian edition, we look at some of the travel destinations that are deservedly growing in importance, whether for business, pleasure or ‘bleisure’. From India’s Bangalore and Jaipur and the Chinese cities of Hangzhou and Guilin, through to South Korea’s Seoul and the north and southern tips of Japan with Hokkaido and Okinawa, follow us on a voyage of inspiration for your next trip to Asia.
INDIA A COLOURFUL BLEND OF ANCIENT PALACES AND HI TECHNOLOGY HARDLY A MONTH GOES BY WITHOUT ONE OF THE MAJOR HOTEL GROUPS ANNOUNCING THE OPENING OF A NEW LUXURY OR UPSCALE HOTEL IN INDIA. BANGALORE AND JAIPUR ARE AMONGST THE KEY CITIES WHICH SUPPORTED THE GROWTH OF INTERNATIONAL TOURISM TO THE COUNTRY BY OVER 10% IN 2014.
Bangalore is far from being just about the past though. A thriving entrepreneurial hub, it is home to nearly 40% of India’s IT industry. This, together with the quality of its academic institutions, means that Bangalore has a youthful, affluent population. As such, Bangalore offers a lively round-the-clock lifestyle of restaurants, bars and modern shopping malls. Mahatma Gandhi Road is the best place to catch the scene with its many cafés, bars, pubs and nightclubs. Local markets are also a big part of Bangalore’s identity, selling every imaginable consumer commodity, craft and computer gadget.
Upscale and luxury hotels
Bangalore’s rapid growth and affluent population have supported a huge boom in hotel rooms, with several luxury and upscale brands arriving in the city over the last 4 years. ¼¼ BANGALORE COMMERCIAL STREET
BANGALORE – A CITY OF MANY FACES Vibrant, cosmopolitan and multifaceted, Bangalore is known by many labels - The Garden City, India’s Silicon Valley, Mall City and even Pub City. The city’s rich historical past and its international importance in the IT sector, means that it has much to offer travellers mixing business and leisure trips.
Some of Bangalore’s visitor attractions date back to the times of noble Indian dynasties and the rule of the British Raj. Remnants of the grand colonial days are present, with state buildings that were designed to impress. The vast Vidhana Soudha, known as the Legislative Assembly, rivals the Maharajas’ palaces, with its white domes and colonnades and is the largest government building in India. The Lal Bagh Botannical Gardens is also a nod to the city’s colonial past. Here 240 acres of exotic gardens showcase rare and beautiful plants. The grandeur and craftsmanship of the former Mysore Kings is showcased at the Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace. This elegant summer residence, with its intricate pillars, arches and balconies, is carved almost entire of teak wood. Inside rare and treasured possessions of the royal family can be seen. Bangalore Palace, the residence of the current Maharaja, is a more recent, but magnificent, Europeanstyle castle, complete with battlements, towers and stained glass windows. Its lavish interiors include art galleries and hunting memorabilia. 46 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE
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Amongst the newcomers are the Ritz Carlton Bangalore - a luxury hotel with a contemporary design that blends with elements of classic Indian architecture - and the Shangri-La Hotel Bengaluru, which opened at the end of September. The Shangri-La is setting its sights on becoming the city’s leading ‘bleisure’ hotel, with no less than eight wining and dining venues and two floors of function rooms. Features include a health club which offers time-deprived executives the option to hold conference calls during training sessions and a ‘Run Well’ programme for running tours of the city sights. Not new, but certainly one of the most prestigious 5 star hotels is The Taj West End. The hotel has a definite colonial flavour and most of its rooms and suites have their own private verandah overlooking magnificent landscaped gardens. Its Blue Ginger restaurant and chic open-air Blue Bar lounge offer a relaxed oasis of calm in the heart of the bustling city.
Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport has an excellent network of domestic and Asian flights. Air France and Lufthansa serve direct flights to Bangalore from Paris and Frankfurt respectively. Jet Airways and Etihad offer codeshare flights to Bangalore from Abu Dhabi.
»» BANGALORE - TAJ WEST END’S BLUE GINGER RESTAURANT
High above, along the hills over Jaipur, are three breathtaking ancient forts that once formed the city’s defence ring. Of these, arguably the most beautiful is the Amber Fort, which is regarded as one of the finest in India. Its red sandstone and white marble palaces and battlements are a testament to the skills of India’s ancient craftsmen, added to, over the centuries by the Rajput Maharajas.
JAIPUR – THE PINK CITY Rajasthan’s beautiful ‘Pink City’ Jaipur, is famed for the splendour of its forts and palaces. This colourful gem of a city has much to offer visitors, especially those who would like to experience a taste of the opulent lifestyles of Maharajas past. Jaipur was founded by King Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727, but it was only some 150 years later that it assumed its famous pink hue, to welcome the visit of King Edward VII. The city is a labyrinth of fascinating bazaars and colourful streets – a veritable Aladdin’s cave of arts, jewellery and other treasures waiting to be discovered. Jaipur’s biggest draw though, is its collection of elaborate palaces and forts. One the key monuments in the heart of Jaipur is City Palace, which is still a royal residence today. More than a palace, it is a citadel of palaces, gardens and temples occupying a large portion of the old city. Amongst these is the Maharani’s Palace, which was originally the residence of the royal queens. Now a museum, it showcases the royal armoury, including jewel-encrusted weapons dating back to the 15th century. Next to the City Palace is Hawa Mahal, home to the museum of Jaipur Past and Present. Known as the Palace of Winds, its pyramid form and hundreds of ornate windows, give it a unique honeycomb-like appearance. It was from these windows that women of the royal households would watch the activities on the streets and bazaars below.
For those hoping to catch a glimpse of Rajastan’s tigers, Ranthambore National Park, within 3 hours reach of Jaipur, is one of the finest areas to view India’s wildlife. Over nearly 400 square kilometres, the landscape leads from savannahs and watering holes, to jungles and ancient ruins. Ranthambore is a wildlife enthusiast and photographer’s dream. A huge variety of animals can be seen here in their natural habitat including tigers, leopards, deer and crocodiles. The park is open from 1 October to 30 June only, and advanced bookings are strongly advised.
Jaipur has an excellent hotel park, with over 50 hotels in the four and five star categories. These include international brands and, for the ultimate in luxury accommodation, palace hotels. One of the most exclusive is the Rambagh Palace, where guests can experience some of the luxuries that were formerly reserved for monarchs. Guests can enjoy a regal feast in the ballroom, admire the peacocks in the palace gardens, play polo and relax in the opulent furnishings of their royal bedrooms. Just added to Jaipur’s hotel park in 2014 is the new Hilton Jaipur, an upscale, full-service hotel located in the heart of the city. The hotel features meetings and events spaces, a spa and restaurants including Chaandi, the exquisite Indian specialty restaurant that features an open kitchen.
Travel to Jaipur
Jaipur rail station is connected with every major Indian city, as is Jaipur International Airport. Jet Airways and Etihad offer codeshare flights to Jaipur from Abu Dhabi.
JAPAN NORTH AND SOUTH TO HOKKAIDO AND OKINAWA JAPAN’S TOURISM INDUSTRY IS FLOURISHING AND THE NEW FLIGHTS INTRODUCED BY ANA FROM BRUSSELS TO TOKYO OPEN UP MANY MORE POSSIBILITIES FOR TRAVELLERS. BESIDES THE BETTER KNOWN LOCATIONS, HOKKAIDO TO THE NORTH AND OKINAWA TO THE SOUTH PERFECTLY ILLUSTRATE THE DIVERSITY THAT THIS FASCINATING COUNTRY HAS TO OFFER – AND BOTH OFFER FABULOUS LUXURY EXPERIENCES.
OKINAWA’S SUBTROPICAL ISLANDS The Okinawa region is a group of over 160 islands in Japan’s subtropical south. Its status as an independent kingdom for four centuries and its close links with China, have given Okinawa a cultural and gastronomic identity all of its own. Okinawa is best known as a luxury beach destination, thanks to its crystal blue-green waters, white sands and year-round sunny temperatures. The islands offer a variety of dive sites that rival some of the world’s best, with one of the largest coral habitats. Giant mantras, hammerhead
»» OKINAWA SHURI CASTLE sharks and humpback whales are among the hundreds of species that can be seen in the beautifully preserved waters, while numerous underwater caves and shipwrecks can be explored. | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE
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www.LH.com Lufthansa offers you 2 daily flights from Brussels via Frankfurt or Munich (*) to Seoul. Be it for business or for pleasure, after a 13 hour flight you can enjoy one of the biggest shopping paradises in the Far East. (*) except Tuesday
First Class, Five Stars, Seventh Heaven. Travelling First Class means always being able to expect the exceptional. We want to do justice to this claim on every flight in Lufthansa First Class.
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The Lufthansa Premium Economy Class A new travel experience between Business Class and Economy Class on long-haul flights: enjoy more comfortable seats, more service and more extras in Lufthansa Premium Economy Class.
Sites not to be missed
Okinawa’s capital, Naha, is the place for siteseeing, shopping and fine dining. The city’s lively Kokusai Street area is lined by restaurants, cafes, bars, boutiques and galleries. Many shops are open until 11pm, while the nightlife is always busy in the clubs and bars until the early hours. Shuri Castle has been standing guard over the city of Naha, from its hill top perch, since its construction in the middle ages. A UNESCO world heritage site, it was the residence of kings until Okinawa became a Japanese prefecture in 1879. The main hall, with its red pagoda design, is a splendid reminder of Okinawa’s links with China, while the castle plays host to ceremonial reenactments and festivals, as well as traditional Ryukyo dance performances, throughout the year. For another view of Okinawa’s culture, Okinawa World is a traditional Ryukyu village with workshops for visitors to try their hand at local Okinawan crafts – ranging from making musical instruments to glass blowing.
New upscale and luxury hotels
Okinawa is one of Japan’s fastest-growing tourism destinations and the last three years have seen the arrival of several upscale and luxury international hotel brands. The first was the Ritz-Carlton Okinawa, which is surrounded by an 18-hole Championship course overlooking the ocean. The Hilton Okinawa Chatan Resort celebrated its opening in the summer of 2014. Many of its rooms have their own private balconies with sea views. Facilities include a 24 hour business centre, meeting rooms and three swimming pools. New for 2015 is the 294 room Hyatt Regency Naha, in the city centre. The hotel offers meeting facilities and a multilingual events team, as well as full fitness facilities, a pool and four restaurants.
Travel to Okinawa
Okinawa’s Naha Airport has a large national and Asian network. ANA flies to Tokyo for connections onto its direct services to Brussels.
HOKKAIDO – HOT SPRINGS AND SNOWY FORESTS IN THE NORTH Hokkaido, a large island in the northern most part of Japan, is the favourite destination for Japanese travellers – and it’s easy to see why. It draws visitors to its many natural wonders - from forests and snowy mountain peaks, to thermal hot springs, as well as to its lively cultural cities, the quality of its gastronomy and its boutique design hotels.
Niseko and skiing
Any time is a good time to visit Hokkaido as the island’s four distinctive seasons are celebrated with festivals throughout the year – from the first flowering of its thousands of cherry blossm trees in spring, to the winter wonderland of the annual snow festival. Hokkaido’s Niseko ski resort, on Mount Annupuri, is recognised as one of the best in Asia. The terrain is varied with powder fields, tree runs, slaloms and beautifully groomed slopes for beginners. Niseko is also blessed with a system of natural hot springs, known as ‘onsen’. Over the last year Niseko has welcomed three new luxury hotel facilities in the Japanese ‘ryokan’ style. This summer saw the opening of the Zaborin, a beautiful Japanesedesigner boutique hotel with just 15 villas, nestled in the quiet of a private forest. Privacy and tranquility are the order of the day, and each villa has its own private indoor and outdoor onsen baths. For larger hotels, this month sees the arrival of the hotel Kiroro, one of Starwood’s new Tribute Portfolio brand, just a few kilometres away. It features 282 guest rooms and suites, as well as full meetings and incentives facilities.
»» HOKKAIDO AUTUMN Hakodate blends city life with the great outdoors. One of the two best viewing points of the city is from the peak of Mount Hakodate, which can be reached by the Mount Hakodate Ropeway - an aerial cable car. The other, on the opposite side of the city, is Goryokaku, Hakkodate’s huge star-shaped fortress. Goryokaku, with its moat surrounded by over 1,600 cherry trees, is one of Japan’s top visiting spots for viewing the spring cherry blossoms. Visit Hakodate’s waterfront for a cruise around the bay and to see the city’s attractive red brick warehouses from past trading days. Many of these have been redeveloped into atmospheric shopping, dining and entertainment complexes. For foodies, seafood is Hakodate’s specialty. The Hakodate morning market is one of the largest in Japan, where visitors can fish for their own fresh squid.
For the best of après-ski, visit The Niseko Village which was opened at the end of last year. Inspired by traditional Japanese architecture, the village offers premium alpine shopping, bars and restaurants in an authentic setting. Finally for ultimate fine dining, Niseko’s newest Michelin star restaurant is the Asperges Hanazono, headed by star chef Hiroshi Nakamichi.
Port of Hakodate
Hokkaido’s port city of Hakodate could almost be a Japanese version of San Francisco, with its hilly streets and tramways, converted bayside warehouses and crab restaurants. Surrounded by the ocean on three sides, the architecture is a charming blend of east and west thanks to the many Western, Chinese and Russian traders that moved to the city in the 19th century.
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Travel to Hokkaido
Hokkaido’s New Chitose Airport is served by regional and international airlines. JAL and ANA offer services to Hakodate from Tokyo Haneda, with ANA flying direct from Tokyo to Brussels. An underwater rail tunnel connects Hokkaido to the main Japanese island of Honshu. As of 26 March 2016, a new bullet train service, travelling at 318kmph will connect to Tokyo.
¼¼ ZABORIN HOTEL IN HOKKAIDO’S NISEKO Many of Hakodate’s hotels and traditional Japanese-style inns, known as ryokan, have their own hot spring baths. Kappou Ryokan Wakamatsu boasts open-air hot spring baths with oceans views and serves delicately prepared Japanese meals. Bourou Noguchi Hakodate is a larger Japanese hotel, built in the style of a tea pavilion. Those who brave the large open-air bath on the top floor can enjoy superb views of Hakodate city and the sea.
“It’s been a revolutionary year for Japan tourism with global visitor numbers up 49% year-on-year for JanuarySeptember 2015” says Kylie Clark of the Japan National Tourism Organisation. “Behind the sharp rise in foreign visitors has been the cheaper yen, cheaper airfares and a new tax-free shopping system, which together enable people to travel, stay and shop in Japan at lower prices. In fact there has never been a better time to book a trip to Japan!”
CHINA THE ‘NEW DELIGHTS’ OF HANGZHOU AND GUILIN THE WORLD TOURISM ORGANIZATION PREDICTS THAT CHINA WILL BECOME THE LARGEST TRAVEL DESTINATION BY 2020. HAINAN AIRLINES IS SEEING ANNUAL PASSENGER CAPACITY ON ITS BRUSSELS-BEIJING FLIGHTS INCREASE EVERY YEAR. WITH THE SUCCESS OF THIS ROUTE, THE 5 STAR-AWARDED CHINESE CARRIER IS TO BEGIN FLIGHTS TO A SECOND CITY FROM BRUSSELS AIRPORT, WITH THE LAUNCH OF DIRECT BRUSSELS TO SHANGHAI SERVICES, 3 TIMES A WEEK, AS FROM SEPTEMBER 2016. FOR VISITORS WITH AN APPETITE TO GO BEYOND THE WELLTRODDEN PATHS OF BEIJING, SHANGHAI AND XI’AN, CHINA HAS OTHER AMAZING CULTURAL CAPITALS WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED, SUCH AS HANGZHOU AND GUILIN, WITH THEIR BREATHTAKING ATTRACTIONS AND HIGH QUALITY HOTELS.
train. Benefitting from its ‘special economic zone’ status, the city’s districts blend the ultra-modern architecture of its booming industries, with a rich cultural heritage and iconic scenery. As such, both business and leisure tourism to the city are flourishing.
The West Lake – natural beauty and ancient masterpieces
Hangzhou’s star attraction is its West Lake area. The lake’s islands, mountains and gardens are home to fascinating cultural sites, restaurants and other entertainments including a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.
¼¼ HANGZHOU SKYLINE
HANGZHOU – A TRUE BUSINESS AND LEISURE DESTINATION Hangzhou, one of the seven ancient capitals of China, has been a thriving cultural and economic hub for more than a millennium. The city is best known for its beautiful scenery and the vast West Lake which it overlooks. Over the centuries it has been immortalized by poets and travellers including Marco Polo, who described it as the ‘the most beautiful and elegant city in the world’. »» HANGZHOU - MEIJIAWU TEA CEREMONY
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FASCINATION myAustrian flies me to Shanghai. I cant help but marvel when a colourful way of life meets exciting economic events.
the charming way to fly
The Lingyin Temple, on the lake’s north bank, is one of the largest Buddhist sites in China. Constructed in 326 AD, the complex houses ancient temples and pagodas, as well as giant Buddhas carved into the mountain rocks. Guests can also try a meal at the Buddhist Lingyin Vegetarian Restaurant, known for its ‘food for the gods’. On the south side, the Six Harmonies Pagoda, is one of Hangzhou’s most photographed sites and a masterpiece of ancient Chinese architecture. The 60 metre high pagoda sits on a high hilltop, giving those who make the effort to climb its spiral staircase excellent views over the lake and the city. While in the area, a visit to the picturesque village of Meijiawu is also a must. Its hillside tea plantations are famous for their production of precious Longjing Green Tea, while the authentic tea houses are the place to learn about China’s tea culture and experience traditional tea ceremonies. Hangzhou is known for its Zhejiang cuisine and there are no shortage of restaurants for discovering creative local dishes. Many of the area’s upscale hotels have excellent restaurants, such as Hubin 28 at the Hyatt Regency Hangzhou, with its refined local cuisine and fusion concepts. Lou Wai Lou, one of the best local restaurants, specializes in traditional regional dishes such as West Lake Fish. Hangzhou is also the city of opera and theatre entertainment. Operas and shows themed around the history and culture of Hangzhou, such as Impression West Lake and the Romance of the Song Dynasty, are large scale spectaculars not to be missed.
New hotels for Hangzhou
New hotels in Hangzhou include the Midtown Shangri-La Hotel, opened at the end of 2015. Catering to business and leisure guests, the hotel’s guestrooms and suites include two floors of Club rooms with complimentary access to a
GUILIN – THE IMAGE OF ANCIENT CHINA
»» HANGZHOU WEST LAKE Club Lounge. Features include comprehensive meetings and events spaces, as well as a luxury spa. Spring 2016 will see the new Sheraton Hangzhou Binjiang Hotel, in Hangzhou’s business district, overlooking the Qiantang River. The hotel will benefit from 310 guest rooms and suites, multiple function rooms and a state of the art fitness centre.
Travel to Hangzhou
Direct trains link Hangzhou with over 50 cities, including high speed services to Shanghai. Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport is a modern new terminal serving nearly 200 domestic, regional and international routes. Hainan Airlines flies from Hangzhou to Brussels via Beijing and operates direct links between Hangzhou and Paris, in addition to serving 19 domestic routes from the airport. KLM flies to Hangzhou from Amsterdam, while ANA links Hangzhou to Tokyo Narita, to connect with its new services to Brussels.
beauty. Worthwhile are the longer cruises which travel along the 160 kilometres from Guilin to Yangshao. The Li weaves its way through the city and out into a unique landscape of Karst mountains which soar up almost vertically from paddy fields and tea plantations. Fishing villages and bamboo groves are dotted along the route, while fisherman on rafts practice their traditional technique of fishing with cormorant birds.
Guilin’s unmistakable Karst landscape is formed of limestone which nature has carved out over the millennia into unique mountain formations and a dramatic subterranean
Like a Chinese ink painting, the city of Guilin and its lush scenery of needlelike mountains and rivers are the image of ancient China. The region is a window into the old Middle Kingdom, where many local cultures and traditions have remained unchanged for centuries. On arriving in Guilin, a boat trip along the jade-green waters of the River Li is the best way to appreciate the city’s
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Private Limousine Service Door-to-door service with your convenience in mind
Hainan Airlines is offering Business Class passengers in Belgium, travelling on our direct Brussels to Beijing service, a complimentary, pre-arranged private limousine service to Brussels Airport. The limo service can be booked at your travel agency, through the Hainan Airlines Call Center (0086-898-95339), or at the Hainan Airlines ticket office at Brussels Airport, up to 3 working days before departure. The service is offered, on a return basis, from any location in Belgium to Brussels Airport. Certain air fare conditions apply. In case your final destination is Beijing, a second limo service is offered, also free-of-charge, between Beijing Capital Airport and Beijing, creating a true door-to-door service between Belgium and the Chinese capital city.
hainanairlines.com I +86-898-95339 I
Hainan Airlines Global
Guilin and the surrounding Guangxi Province are home to 13 different ethnicities of Chinese and The Guilin Shangrila Park, between Guilin and Yangshuo, is a great way to experience some of these different local cultures. The traditional-style village is set in dazzling scenery on the banks of the river and framed by mountains. Here visitors can step back in time to enjoy musical and cultural performances and watch demonstrations of local artisans.
Upscale and luxury hotels
Guilin has several four and five star hotels. The Four Points by Sheraton Guilin Lingui, well located in the city’s business and retail areas, opened at the end of December 2014. The Four Points features a meetings and banqueting centre, restaurants and a pool located on the 5th floor with views over the city.
¼¼ GUILIN REED FLUTE CAVE kingdom of cave systems. The region attracts rock climbers and speleologists from around the world but many of the cave systems are easily accessible. If you visit just one, visit the Reed Flute Cave which is often compared to an underground palace with its strikingly colourful stalagmites and stone pillars, reflected in its lakes and pools.
Guilin’s Forbidden City
Guilin’s historical sites offer a glimpse into its rich imperial past. The city rose to prominence during the Ming Dynasty, when the Jingjiang Prince’s Palace was constructed for the nephew of Empereur Zhu Yuanzhang. The palace complex is at the very heart of old city and has been called Guilin’s own ‘Forbidden City’. At its centre, a single mountain rises above - the Solitary Beauty Peak. From its 216 metre crest, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views across Guilin and beyond.
The Shangri-La Guilin, with its pagoda style architecture and landscaped gardens, is one of the city’s premier luxury hotels. All of its elegantly designed rooms enjoy views over the Li River, while facilities include large indoor and outdoor pools, a spa and a conference centre. For upscale dining, its Shang Palace restaurant offers four varieties of Chinese cuisine in an elegant environment looking out over the river.
Travel to Guilin
This summer saw the introduction of high speed rail services to Guilin, while Liangjiang International Airport links to most of the major Chinese cities. HNA Group’s new subsidiary, Guilin Airlines, which is expected to launch in January 2016, will be adding more routes to the airport, to be announced.
FINNAIR – THE SHORTEST GEOGRAPHICAL ROUTE BETWEEN EUROPE AND ASIA Finnair flies to 14 destinations in Asia, currently in China, India, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Korea and Thailand, with up to 4 links to and from Brussels Airport with fast and convenient same terminal connections in Helsinki. May 2016 will see the addition of two more Asian cities, with China’s Guangzhou and Fukuoka in Japan.
AUSTRIAN TO FLY TO SHANGHAI AS FROM APRIL Austrian will begin new, year round, direct services between Vienna and Shanghai, as from 4 April 2016. This is the airline’s second destination in China, following Beijing. With the new flights to Shanghai, the Lufthansa Group’s network to the Chinese metropolis will include nonstop flights from Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Zurich.
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is ready to receive European MICE customers Our daily lives have been getting a Korean flavour during the past several decades... Our smartphones, our TVs, our cars... There is a big chance that at least one of those three was manufactured in Korea. Despite this strong bond, European business travellers and MICE organizers have still not found their way to Korea in large numbers, unlike their American and Asian colleagues. Nevertheless, Seoul has everything that could be expected of a top MICE location. We had the opportunity to experience this first-hand...
ITH ITS MORE THAN 10 MILLION RESIDENTS – 25 MILLION IF YOU ALSO COUNT THE ENTIRE CONURBATION – SEOUL IS TRULY A WORLD-CLASS CITY. It is a place where
tradition – Seoul’s history goes back to 1394 – and modernity live together side by side and which also feels very western, without denying its own roots.
Hospitable and exceptionally well looked after
From the moment you arrive in Seoul, you feel like you’re in a seven-star hotel. Everyone you meet is sincerely friendly and incredibly helpful, from the passport inspector at the airport to the people on the street. It is a mentality that is part of the Korean culture. It is a country that was occupied a number of times during its history, but it managed to recover each time. The people are very proud and values like respect and discipline are very important in Korean society. A striking example of this is the fact that the streets are very clean, any hour of the day. In addition, Seoul is also a safe city, with a low crime rate. Our guide, for example, had forgotten her purse at a busy restaurant, but half an hour later it was still there, untouched.
Technological world leader
When you drive around the city, you see updated buildings everywhere, with many high-technical elements. You can see this literally everywhere, including in the bathrooms, where you will find toilets that are equipped with heated seats and automatic flushers. This technological sophistication can also be found in the cars the Koreans drive. We have been familiar with Korean cars, such as Hyundai, Kia and SsangYong for some time, but in Seoul, the number of hybrid models is much greater than in Europe. The city of Seoul simply breathes technological advancement, spurred on partially by companies like LG, Samsung, Hyundai and Kia.
Mixture of eastern and western
It is striking that – unlike in the big Chinese cities – when you are in Seoul, you feel like you are in a western city. But that does not mean there are not still a lot of authentic eastern accents. What comes to mind first are the Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung palace complexes, but also the many temples in the city, with their often lush gardens. There are many sites in and around the city that are recognized
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as UNESCO world heritages. Modern tourist attractions are the Seoul Tower, the Cheonggyecheon creek that runs through the city centre and amusement park Lotte World.
Seoul has everything you would expect from a big city. There are modern shopping malls, but it is also worth the effort to take a look at the traditional markets, where you can taste local specialties. A lot of fun activities are also organized in Seoul. While we were there, for example, there was a lantern festival, with illuminated images stretching out for several kilometres. In the summer there is a series of water activities on the Han, the river that runs through the city. If you have a few days, be sure to explore the region around the city. Just one hour’s drive can get you into the mountains – with an amazing view of the city – between the vast rice fields or on the shore of the ocean.
A rich MICE offer
The MICE provision in Seoul is very extensive and you get strong support. The city has a series of congress buildings, which were built by the government, but are operated privately. An absolute eye-catcher in this regard is undoubtedly the Coex site, with a convention and exhibition centre with a total surface of 430,000 m². We also want to mention the
63 Convention Center, the aT Center, the AW Convention Center and SETEC here. The hotel industry in Seoul is also very extensive, with virtually all the important chains represented. In addition, there are dozens of other unique locations that can be used for MICE activities. For example, the newly opened Dongdaemun Design Plaza, an impressive meeting place for innovation and development. Other iconic places include: the National Theatre of Korea, the ON River Station, the Seoul Post Office and the Seoul Arts Centre, just to name a few.
Seoul MICE Alliance
In the international MICE ranking, Seoul is in about the fifth place. The city is very popular with Japanese and Chinese customers, and Americans and Brits are slowly finding their way to South Korea. The rest of Europe is still lagging behind a bit through. But this is expected to change soon. Two hundred MICE partners have united in the Seoul MICE Alliance. This organisation, which consists of hotels, convention centres, transport companies and other service providers is very active and doing everything to make the work of domestic and foreign companies as attractive as possible, with, for example, special terms and conditions and rates. They hope to convince European organisers to bring their events to South Korea too.
TRAVELLING TO SEOUL Korean Air offers direct flights from Amsterdam to Seoul. The connections to Seoul are also very good from Brussels. Via China Eastern Airlines, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, Lufthansa, as well as other airlines, you can be in the hyper-modern Incheon Airport within 15 to 18 hours, from where you’ll be taken to and from the right terminals and gates by shuttles and underground trains. From the airport you are still a 45-minute drive from the centre of Seoul. We flew to Seoul with Alitalia, with a very quick transfer in Rome. In addition, in Business Class we got to try out the fantastic, brand-new seats. On the culinary level the trip was an excellent experience too. With a luxurious care-kit, excellent service and on-board Wi-Fi, this flight left nothing to be desired.
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