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VOL 001 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

In Brief Cruising

INNER MALDIVES TO INTRODUCE CRUISE LINERS FOR MALDIVIANS

Inner Maldives is set to introduce the first cruise line vacation designed especially for Maldivians. Set to sail on December 16, 2016 the 7-day trip, vacationers will be able to spend a week on Costa Neoclassica, a cruise liner of the world famous Costa Cruise line. Events

IRU FUSHI HOSTS THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL TOURISM FILM FESTIVAL IN MALDIVES

The three-day festival saw the most breath-taking sceneries of nature and tourism from around the world. New Opening

COCOON MALDIVES SET TO OPEN IN DECEMBER 2016

Cocoon Investment Pvt. Ltd is getting ready to introduce a new concept of Maldivian hospitality with opening its first resort in Maldives. Cocoon Maldives located in Ookolhufinolhu Island in Lhaviyani Atoll is set to open in December. Technlogy

BANK OF MALDIVES LAUNCHES “BML MOBILEPAY” - A NEW AND FASTER WAY OF MAKING PAYMENTS

Bank of Maldives has introduced a revolutionary product to make cash transfer faster and easier for its customers.

The first travel Tabloid of Maldives released as “The IslandChief”

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he Island Chief” the first travel tabloid of Maldives has been released today on August 4, 2016 at the vacation expo event held at National Art Gallery. The monthly printed paper will feature travel and hospitality industry news from Maldives and around the world. Managed by Maldives Publication pvt ltd, the Island Chief is the outcome of the company’s desire to reach out to travel management companies and travellers in choosing the best business and travel opportunities. “We are proud to launch the first ever Monthly travel tabloid to the travel and

hospitality community, our strategy is to reach out to travel management decision makers, bring the latest updates in travel and hospitality industry in Maldives and abroad. Island Chief would be a platform for connecting and engaging business travelers with more opportunities”. Said Mr.Mashhood Abdulla ,CEO of Maldives Publication Pvt Ltd, the publisher of the Tabloid. The idea of an industry tabloid by the name Island Chief was raised between a group of people with years of industry experience. The managing editor has over

14 years of experience in the industry having worked with international high-end brands established in Maldives. As Mr. Mash-hood puts it, The Island Chief would be a true reflection of the industry for those who are interested in understanding the Maldivian travel market. Island Chief will be made available at local and international exhibitions, hotels, resorts, guest houses, liveaboards, luxury ferries, airline offices, travel agencies, cafes and restaurants, government offices and offices of the diplomats.

Scarif, one of the new environments that will appear in Rogue One

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nother new planet featured for the first time in Rogue One is Scarif, a tropical world which was shot in the Maldives. “Sometimes you’ve got to take one for the team,” joked Edwards. “We tried to use real-world locations and it just so happened that Rogue One was partly set in this paradise world, so we had to go to paradise to film it.” Continuation page 07

Ozen is Born

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he first tourist resort to be developed in capital Male atoll in over thirty years has been opened July 15, 2016. Maadhoo Finolhu, previously used as a picnic island, has been developed as a fivestar resort after thirty years since their first resort, the then Kandooma Resort (now Holiday Inn Kandooma) opened in 1985. Named “OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo”, the resort is a 35-minute boat ride away from Male. It features 90 villas, 41 of which

are beach villas and the other 49 water villas. One of the key features of the resort is its underwater restaurant, the first of its kind in Kaafu atoll. OZEN is the third property to be managed by local brand Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts. Other resorts by Atmosphere are; Atmosphere Kanifushi in Lhaviyani atoll and OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli island in Kaafu atoll. MMPRC announced that Atmosphere plans to unveil two more resorts within this year.


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VOL 001 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

Editors note

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i Readers,

Welcome to the 1st Edition of “The Island Chief” As we are delighted to introduce you the first edition of The Island Chief, Maldives’ first monthly English language media dedicated to the travel and tourism community. We at The Island Chief primarily focus on Maldives including Asia Region and aim to be an excellent resource for those wishing to be up-to-date on industry related news, events and advertorials. We will be featuring news on economic sector and tourism related materials focused to enhance the knowledge of our readers. Our strategy is to reach decision makers and consumers in the travel and tourism industry to make us their preferred partner as the industry related information provider. With a circulation of over 5000 copies on our first series, we ensure high visibility for our partners. We assure The Island Chief as an ideal platform for industry related adverts, advertorials, employment opportunities and press releases through this medium. Enjoy going through and we Hope that you will find this very first one interesting, comprehensive and enjoyable.

Thank you Mashhood Abdulla CEO Maldives Publications Pvt Ltd

Lux* south ari atoll maldives receives prestigious international travelife gold certification

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UX* South Ari Atoll in the Maldives has received international recognition for its sustainable tourism ef-forts by being awarded prestigious Travelife Gold Certification. Travelife – the international sustainability certification scheme – assesses a hotel’s performance in managing its social, environmental and economic impacts, and in sup-porting sustainability as part of its hotel marketing and operational strategies. Travelife’s sustainability certification is a nonprofit flagship programme that supports tourism destinations, business-es and travellers in implementing innovative solutions for the continuous development of sustainable tourism. To gain Travelife Gold Certification, a resort must meet 150 sustainability criteria. This includes environmental issues, such as minimising waste and the use of energy, water and chemicals, as well as the taking of positive action on social issues, employee welfare, the protection of wildlife and in the support of the local community and local busi-nesses. In the process of this sustainability certification, all of the island-resort operations were assessed, including opera-tional practices and procedures, guest communications and environmental management policies. The strong points in the assessment included the LUX* Resorts & Hotels

efforts, report on results and plan improvements to continuously help protect the unique natural and cultural characteristics of their resorts and the surrounding areas. A B O U T T R AV E L I F E

carbon offsetting programme and the whale shark and marine protection programme, as well as the Resort’s energy, waste reduction and water saving measures. The Resort goes further in protecting the environment by hosting its own on-site marine biologist, who works closely with the Maldives Wildlife Protection Authority. LUX* South Ari Atoll also encourages its guests to get involved in conserva-tion activities, such as sponsoring the wildlife protection programme and joining in the volunteer treeplanting pro-gramme.

As Glenn Daniels, the Resort’s General Manager, says, “This certification rewards the dedication of the team at LUX* South Ari Atoll, who put all their energy and passion into daily tasks on the island. Being a oneisland resort, we can operate as a family community here at LUX* South Ari Atoll and this award is testament to the team’s continued commitment to sustainability. By collaborating with an organisation such as Travelife, LUX* South Ari Atoll continues to focus on helping people celebrate life

and making each moment matter during their stay.” Travelife Gold Certification is an operational standard that reflects the values and convictions of LUX* Resorts & Ho-tels with regards to sustainability. Last year, all LUX*resorts operating in Mauritius (LUX* Belle Mare, LUX* Le Morne, LUX* Grand Gaube, as well Tamassa and Merville Beach which are Managed by LUX* hotels) also received Travelife Gold Certification. They continue to monitor the impact of their sustainability

Inner Maldives to introduce cruise liners for Maldivians

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nner Maldives is set to introduce the first cruise line vacation designed especially for Maldivians. Set to sail on December 16, 2016 the 7-day trip, vacationers will be able to spend a week on Costa Neoclassica, a cruise liner of the world famous Costa Cruise line. The ship will make a stopover at Colombo and then head to Mormugoa in India and finally dock in Mumbai. The full board package includes 5-star

cabin, all meals, usage of pool, Jacuzzis, gyms and saunas and other entertainment available on board. Mr. Mohamed Firaq the Managing Director of Inner Maldives speaking exclusively to The Island Chief said that the response has been overwhelming, with 50% of the booking already full. The bookings will close at the end of September. Mr. Firaq said that their idea is to provide

Maldivians with a vacation experience.

Mr. Firaq said that their idea is to provide Maldivians with a new vacation experience.

new

Since it is the holiday season, the company aims to make it more flexible for families and couples wishing to spend a unique holiday away from home. He said that the package is designed keeping in mind the Maldivian travel as well as culinary preferences. Costa Neoclassica has a capacity of 1680 passengers.

Travelife is an international certification system promoting sustainability within the tourism industry. It helps tour oper-ators, hotels and accommodations to manage and monitor their social and environmental impacts, as well as communicate their achievements to stakeholders. Travelife for Hotels and Accommodations is the only certification scheme that works in partnership with tour operators, both in the UK and internationally, for these purposes. It is an easyto-use sustainability system which provides members with a practical framework to improve their businesses. Travelife also provides a range of supports to help its members prepare for their independent audits. Hotel and accommodation members whose on-site audit shows they fulfil the requirements of the Travelife sustainability criteria will achieve a Gold award. For more information about Travelife for Hotels and Accommodations please visit www.travelifecollection.com


VOL 002 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

Pulse Hotels & Resorts brings Kandima to Maldives

anything but ordinary, and cater for guests of all ages; couples, groups of friends and of course honeymooners. Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, wellbeing, sport, spa experiences or just family time, Kandima Maldives will have something for everyone. Kandima Maldives is perfect for those searching for quality, value and a contemporary and intelligent holiday experience. The goal at this resort is to help guests get the most out of their holiday, by making each stay unique, enjoyable and memorable. Kandima Maldives’ promise is that all guests will leave feeling energised, relaxed, inspired and above all, happy.

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contemporary new lifestyle resort opening December 2016 under new hospitality group, Pulse Hotels & Resorts

island in the Dhaalu Atoll, Kandima Maldives will offer guests the opportunity to experience the Maldives in a new way.

Located on a lush tropical

This contemporary lifestyle

resort will embody all the positive values of the Maldives, while adding its own innovative, vibrant and playful style. Kandima will be the first lifestyle resort in the country,

offering more than just a beach holiday; instead it will offer an experience, giving guests the opportunity to get involved and create memories. This resort is set to be

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In addition, the island offers one of the largest selection of food outlets in the country, with an incredible choice of ten delicious restaurants and bars, all featuring unique and individual menus offering flavours of the world from Chinese and Japanese to authentic Maldivian and Mediterranean. So whether it be tropical or traditional, Kandima has something to suit everyone’s tastes. The resort offers a choice of 274 stylishly designed studios and villas, with eleven different categories to choose from, all of which have a private terrace and endless tropical views to enjoy.

To enhance the experience, Kandima Maldives has a first class infrastructure on the island, boasting the longest pool in
the Maldives, tennis courts, an art studio, marine biology school, kids club, games room, library, gym, yoga studio and spa.

Cocoon Maldives set to open in december 2016

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ocoonMaldives – Cocoon Investment Pvt. Ltd is getting ready to introduce a new concept of Maldivian hospitality with opening its first resort in Maldives. Cocoon Maldives located in Ookolhufinolhu Island in Lhaviyani Atoll is set to open in December. Cocoon Maldives offers 145 guest rooms divided into six categories from Beach Villas to Beach Suites and the exclusive Lagoon Villa and Suites designed by innovative Italian designers LAGO, who have dreamed up and designed something exceptional. At the boundary between land and sea, Cocoon Maldives offers four exclusive sartorially conceived COCOON MALDIVES moods, imagining an experience that matches the extraordinary nature of the incredible place surrounding them.

From every point in the room guests are treated to views that maintain a constant visual relationship with the landscape. Materials and colours change in tune with the various sensations. Spaces are designed to transmit JOY, with twohundred-year-old Wildwood acting as a “trait d’union” between the present and the past: from the headboard of a suspended bed, it transforms into a wash basin in the bathroom and then into benches and tables in the common areas. In the reception area, a forest of swings will bring out the inner child, leaving the world behind and treating guests to a break in an unimaginable setting. With a selection of three restaurants and bars, guests will be spoilt for choice with food and beverage offerings. In the restaurant area,

surrounded by vegetation, a twenty-metre-long COMMUNITY TABLE breaks down cultural barriers. Designed for exclusive events, for creating ‘relationships’ between international guests of all cultures and experiences. This is the culture of excellence, of quality of life, of authentic materials, of attention to details. The culture of design. The mood for Cocoon Maldives is exclusive. Every element, from the complementary pieces and the fabrics for the curtains to the greenery, makes the perception of this space, sartorially designed, unique. The resort can be reached by a 30 minutes scenic seaplane journey from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in Malé. Via : www.cocoonmaldives. wordpress.com


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VOL 001 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

Iru Fushi hosts the first International Tourism Film Festival in Maldives

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T O U R I S T S I T E : “Colour your christmas with Zagreb” by Marko Vrdoliak from Croatia

The winners at the ITFFM were:

C AT E G O R Y O F

C AT E G O R Y O F T O U R I S M :

“Back to your own time. Holidays in Austria” by Johannes Grebert from the Austrian National Tourist Office from Austria

“One Wheel Cappadocia” by Sergey Gudzlovenkofrom Kirghizia

C AT E G O R Y O F C L I P :

C AT E G O R Y O F

“Treasrute Island” by Yangirova Anastasia Valeryevna from Russia PILGRIMAGE:

C AT E G O R Y O F A D V E N T U R E : “Heraklion Where the Thread of History Begins” by Indigo View from Greece

in the Maldives, it aims to gather representatives of different ages, interests and backgrounds at one place and unite them by a common love of the arts, tourism and sports.

C AT E G O R Y O F

he three-day festival saw the most breathtaking sceneries of nature and tourism from around the world. Hosted by the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Maldives, “Following the Equator”, the first international tourism film festival was a grand success that saw stunning travel chronicles from across the world. The grand finale was held on July 12, 2016 with prizes being awarded to winners in various categories.

E N V I R O N M E N T : “Vandal

Tribe” by Serghey Shutyi from Russia

C AT E G O R Y O F S P O R T S :

“Home of Turquoise” by Daghan Celayir, Ministry of Culture and Tourism Turkey from Turkey

C AT E G O R Y O F U N I Q U E

“Dubrovnik and Time” by Hervé Tirmarche, Dubrovnik Tourist Board form Croatia

COGNITIVE:

C AT E G O R Y O F ETHNOGR APHIC:

“Danube in Serbia” by Srdjan Stankovic, Aleksandar Simic, Supernatural from Serbia

C AT E G O R Y O F U N I Q U E T O U R I S T S I T E : “SaintPetersburg Fantasy” by Saint Petersburg Tourist Information Bureau from Russia Special Awards went to:

from Spain “The Path to Autumn” by Vitaliy Shmatchenko from Russian

CLIP:

“Norte Region of Portugal - a Unique Region” by José Lemos - CCDR-N/ Farol de Ideias from Portugal

TOURISM:

“Poland’s Riviera” by Agnieszka Pajak and Georg van der Weyden from Poland Tourism: “5 moments” by

TOURISM: A N I M AT I O N : “Dolly Doctor” by Jose Manuel Garcia Alvarez - Asociacion Casa de Rusia a Catalunya

Singapore firm to develop second resort in Thaa atoll

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sland Aviation Services awarded the project to develop a tourist resort in the island of Ruhthibirah in Thaa atoll to a Singapore firm contracted to be completed within two years.

Mr. Ali Nashaath stated that the winning bid for the island was proposed by MSN Reality. IAS signed a sublease agreement with the company to lease the Ruhthibirah for 49 years.

IAS’ head of administration

Ruhthibirah was handed over

Jesper Aeroe from Denmark was taken home by “Home of Turquoise”: Sports: Daghan Celayir Ministry of Culture and Tourism Turkey

THE GR AND PRIX

The grand prize ‘Why I deserve the free holiday in Maldives’ went to Mr. Skero from Montenegro for his video ‘Don’t let this be our destiny’. This category was open for entry on social media

to IAS as a subsidy when the company had finished developed of Thimarafushi airport. According to the agreement, the resort will feature 150 villas. Mihaaru

M Maldives Boating Award 2016 to be held in November

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given to Safaris and Liveaboards in Maldives, the Maldives Boating awards will have 25 categories of awards and has closed the nomination at the end of July. “The Maldives

The International Film Festival “Following the Equator” was labeled as a great success in the world of cinema. The prestigious event is the first of its kind

M I C R O S O F T P R OV I D E S S O F T WA R E LI CE NSING TO MALDIVIAN GOVE RNME NT

icrosoft has provided with software license to all the software used by government offices.

aldives Boating Award has been scheduled to be held in November 2016. The most prestigious award to be

and received strong response. The winner received a fully paid 5 night stay at The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Maldives, on all-inclusive for two people including seaplane transfers and international flight, which is valued at USD 20,000.

Festival entries entailed movies about interesting and unique places all over the world. Shedding light into the different cultures and histories of countries and their events: lasting from 1 to 13 minutes. Submissions across the globe involved professional, amateur and student films, programs and video-films about tourism, mountains, adventures, pilgrimage, water, ethnographic, cognitive, environmental, the unique tourist site, science, nature, and sports set in different countries. The main sponsors include Mega Maldives and Qatar Airways, Spa by Thalgo, and TMA. The hotel chain still celebrating the success of the event is planning to host the 2nd International Tourism Film Festival in November 2017, at The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Maldives.

Boating Award 2016” event is being managed by Unica Pvt. Ltd and co-sponsored by Fuel Supply Maldives and MTCC.

An agreement was signed between the Maldivian government and Microsoft today at a ceremony held at Kurumbaa Maldives. State Minister of Finance Mohamed Ashmalee signed on behalf of the Maldivian government. Pujith Rajapakse signed on behalf Microsoft.

Speaking to the press after the ceremony Ashmalee said that Microsoft has provided the government with a governmental license which will allow them to use the software for 5 years. This license will allow upgrades at a very little cost. Ashmalee said that this will also allow government to access other Microsoft based software. Previously government offices purchase Microsoft software from third parties

and also individually. But now all the offices will be provided with the softwares centrally. In addition, because of this agreement. Microsoft will provide 24 hours’ live support. As part of this program. the government is also upgrading the national ICT network to ISO standards. NCIT is planning to train at least 3000 individuals under this program.


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VOL 002 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

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Bank of Maldives Launches “Bml Mobilepay” A New and Faster Way of Making Payments

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ank of Maldives has introduced a revolutionary product to make cash transfer faster and easier for its customers. The BML mobile pay allows faster checkout from shops and easy money transfer to family and friends. The product was launched at a special function held at Champa Central Hotel on July 19, 2016. Leading retailers and members of the technology community attended the event. BML MobilePay uses cutting edge technology to facilitate payments by simply tapping mobile phones on POS terminals and through

the use of mobile phone numbers. Person to person transactions can also be made through BML MobilePay. All BML cardholders are eligible for this service which can be obtained by downloading the BML MobilePay app from the App Store or Google Play Store. Speaking at the event, BML CEO and MD Andrew Healy said that introducing MobilePay is a huge achievement in their promise to make a banking easier and fast payments at fingertips especially since they introduced the country’s first mobile banking app in July 2015.

MALDIVIAN’S EIGHTH SEAPL ANE ARRIVES IN MALDIVES

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aldives’ national carrier Maldivian’s eighth addition to its seaplane fleet arrived in Maldives on Saturday. The seaplane was acquired from Canada and took five days to reach the Maldives. The airline’s operator Island Aviation Services (IAS)’s head of administration Ali Nashaath stated that the aircraft will be in operation within this month.

Bank of Maldives Delivers Strong First Half Results – BML

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ank of Maldives’ financial performance has continued its positive trajectory with first half Profit. After Tax up 152% on the same period last year to MVR 571 million. The Bank’s Quarterly Update, released on July 21, 2016, reported that healthy business volumes across most lines were supported by further improvements in the quality of its loan book, leading to one of its best ever half year performances. Capital and liquidity ratios finished

the period well in excess of regulatory requirements. Bank of Maldives has been continuing its policy of reinvesting profits to support communities across the country through its MVR 300 million investment program. Commenting on the Bank’s performance, BML CEO and Managing Director Andrew Healy said, that the results give a good platform to continue to invest in supporting individuals, families and businesses across the country.

He added that IAS plans to procure two more seaplanes within this year. The newest addition to Maldivian’s seaplane fleet is an aircraft that was first used 17 years ago in 1999 by the then Maldivian Air Taxi (now Trans Maldivian Airways). The seaplane had been in use again in the Maldives in 2004 after a Canadian firm had acquired it.

Maldivian’s seaplanes mainly operate from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport to various resorts across the archipelago. Maldivian is one of two local companies that provide seaplane services in the Maldives.-Mihaaru

The newest addition to Maldivian’s

seaplane fleet is an aircraft that was first used 17 years ago in 1999 by the then Maldivian Air Taxi

Guesthouse development up for bid in Meemu atoll islands

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he island council of Muli in Meemu atoll announced a second bid to develop a guesthouse in the island. In a notice, the council disclosed that a land plot of

4000 square feet has been allocated for the project. According to the council, the first bid to lease the plot for guesthouse construction did not attract any bidders. Muli island council announced

a second bid invitation during July. The allocated land plot is situated close to the oceanfront and, according to the council, very ideal to manage a guesthouse.

The council also revealed that several residential houses in the island have already been registered as guesthouses but have not housed any guests as of yet.


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VOL 001 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

Verado INTELLIGENCE MEETS TESTOSTERONE. 225Hp - 250Hp - 300Hp

Verado outboards have created a whole new set of standards for performance. No matter how you define it. Low noise and vibration? Check. Lower fuel consumption? Check. Supercharged four-stroke power and torque? Check. Everything. And then some. Verado

Mercury Diesel REDEFINING THE STANDARD 6.7L - 280Hp

The mechanically fuel injected 6.7L Mercury Diesel sets a new benchmark for durability and reliability. Delivering excellent performance in a robust and functional layout, all components have been designed and engineered to withstand the toughest enginee conditions on the water.

HASSAN MARINE Izzudheen Magu, 20327 Male’, Republic of Maldives T: +960 300 7044 F: +960 300 7045 E: sales@hassanmarine.com W: hassanmarine.com

HEAD OFFICE +960 331 2733 info@hassanmarine.com SERVICE CENTER +960 334 1533 service@hassanmarine.com /hmesolutions


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VOL 002 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

Boduberu – the local entertainment recipe

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S C A R I F, O N E O F T H E N E W E N V I R O N M E N T S T H AT W I L L A P P E A R IN ROGUE ONE

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ndeniably the most popular of traditional music, Boduberu has taken its place in the hearts of not only Maldivians but also tourists from around the world. Almost every resort in the Maldives reserves boduberu items on their weekly entertainment menu due to its popularity and demand from guests.

During a panel for the upcoming stand-alone Star Wars movie at Star Wars Celebration in London, Edwards said they flew to Maldives to shoot some of the movie’s new battle sequences. The new environment, which can be seen in the original trailer, is called Scarif, and Edwards said it took them traveling quite a bit to film it. “It does look incredible, though, those storm troopers wading through the most beautiful water,” said actress Gwendoline Christie, who plays Captain Phasma in Star Wars (and Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones), the panel’s emcee. “I think that’s what I found so arresting. It’s a new image for us.”

Believed to have been introduced to the locals in the 11th century by African settlers, boduberu also known as “baburu lava” (negroid song) is an evolution if African bongo drums. These drums have double heads and resemble tambora drums. A boduberu group normally comprises of fifteen men. A lead singer, three drummers and another set of percussionists. An instrument made of bamboo sticks, grooved horizontally called onugandi is also played along. Drummers are seated on low level stools. The three stages in a boduberu item are the prelude, accelerando and the cadence. It starts with slow music, drums are beaten to a slow tempo and dancers too, sway to the slow beat. As the song proceeds to reach accelerando, the singers too get absorbed and increase their tempo. With every additional song, the dancers with their accelerated movements become more and more frantic and end up in

trance. Harubee, a variation of boduberu where drummers wear the drum around their neck was played in the olden days when the king visited important landmarks on the island. These days, boduberu players belt their drums to the hips. They style and modify local songs to the drum beats.

Quite varied from the original format, the contemporary boduberu has no set rules except one – entertainment. Even the dress codes has changed. Where once boduberu participants wore traditional attire, today each group has its own styled sets of outfits with traditional

Maldivian touches. Today’s boduberu players are young, energetic and fashionable and have busy schedules with scores of performances to give every week not only throughout the Maldives, but several international platforms as well.

The three stages in a boduberu item are the prelude, accelerando and the cadence. It starts with slow music, drums are beaten to a slow tempo and dancers too, sway to the slow beat.

Stormtroopers in the film were played by the Maldivian army, and a behind-thescenes sizzle reel previewed shots of the Imperial forces

wading through knee-deep, green-blue water on a silver beach. The new environment can be seen in the image above. Star Wars Celebration will be happening all weekend. Star Wars shootings in Maldives was handled by a local company named Blue & White and the team accommodation was arranged by one of the local travel agency named “Maldives Holiday Collections”, which involved lots of Liveaboards, Guest Houses and some resorts for the stay of film crew and management team. Shooting of Star Wars in Maldives has made the destination popular among the Hollywood film makers. Star Wars Rogue One is scheduled to premiere during December 2016.


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VOL 001 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

MALDIVES: Soul Cruising in Paradise on the Sea Jaguar By Muhammad Mubarak

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s we approached the fringes of what looked like the perfect garland of peacock feathers arranged strewn across the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean as far as the eye can see, any doubts I had about travelling long haul over the serene Arabian Sea for an unforgettable honeymoon were completely laid to rest. Here was the Maldives, the earthly paradise where we could immerse for a soul searching start to a lifetime partnership of wedded bliss. The scattered nature of the famed islands meant that I and my wife, Sherin, had arrived at the right choice: the ultra-luxury yacht ‘Sea Jaguar’ where mobility through this surreal haven could best be navigated – at our own whimsical advantage. The 31 meter (105 feet) yacht, bound in Italy, attests to the highest fancies of the discerning luxury traveler. With 12 passengers and four crew, the cruise ensures any couple can enjoy total privacy at anytime, anywhere in the immense coral archipelago.

Wading through swaths of endless reefs that embraced the one thousand islands in twenty atolls, we colossally enjoyed the high seas adventure, with adrenaline rushing fun such as me jetting through the surfs on the liner’s own jetski – or a quite solitude for Sherin snorkeling into the azure underwater gardens of multicolored tropical fish darting through the pristine shallow lagoons of crystal clear water. It was most surreal as I felt the lingering contrast of the urbane with its polar opposite: the sight of an infinite turquoise horizon, with the golden caress of the morning sun’s soothing rays clinching through our cabin porthole - in stark comparison to the dusty rusty mirages of our concrete desert home back in the Middle East.

WA K I N G U P E V E RY M O R N I N G TO A RO U N D O F CO FFE E A N D I N T E R N AT I O N A L C U I S I N E O N T H E S E A J A G U A R M E A N T T H AT W E W E R E U N D E N I A B LY C R U I S I N G T H R O U G H N I R V A N A O N A V I R T U A L LY F L O AT I N G P E N T H O U S E .

Sea Jaguar, indeed offered more than value for money. Not been confined to just one upmarket resort during our two-week stay meant all our dreams could fit just one bill. Travelling at a speed of 24 knots, it ensured that our wildest fantasies of spontaneous resort hopping were met almost instantaneously. We enjoyed a lavish breakfast at Taj Exotica, then were whisked away for a lunch rendezvous at the One & Only Reethi

Rah – before dashing off to Jumeirah vittaveli for evening tea, and finally, fine dining at Banyantree Vabbinfaru. Back on board the cruise, I and Sherin enjoyed a sort of peace and tranquility that hitherto eluded all our lives, and it was not just only the luxury furnishings of one of the five double en-suite cabins where we whiled away the hours on the ‘sunny side of life’ – as the Maldives tourism promotion slogan enjoins. Our holiday neighbors, who also took up the other four triple en-suite rooms, were friendly, under the warm care of the Captain and a cheerful Hostess, Chef and two deckhands, and In Maldives pvt ltd for whom we sincerely convey our eternal gratitude and fathomless appreciation. Waking up every morning to a round of coffee and international cuisine on the Sea Jaguar meant that we were undeniably cruising through nirvana on a virtually floating penthouse. The interior luxury could match only the amazing offers tended by Nature itself – whether it is sun bathing or getting lost into a dazzling placid sunset on the Sea Jaguar’s fly bridge, where you can take an evening dip, for a relaxing retreat before snoozing off into the calm pristine nomore-lonely nights.


VOL 002 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

Leonhard to lead Amari Havodda Maldives

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hailand-based ONYX Hospitality Group has appointed Christoph Leonhard to the position of general manager at Amari Havodda Maldives. With 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Leonhard started his career with ONYX Hospitality Group in 2000 as executive assistant manager at Amari Watergate Bangkok. He returned in December 2009 to take on the role of general manager of Amari Koh Samui. He then joined Amari Hua Hin in 2013 as general

manager, where he continued the success of the resort, following its opening in 2012.

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Lazing on a sunny beach listening to the swaying palms and tiny waves breaking ashore is not your daily life. Use your once in a life time visit in Maldives as your opportunity to sport a perfect natural tan. We present you some general advice to help you achieve a perfect tan before you leave the island with ‘golden’ memories. - your skin needs a good scrub to remove the oil and flaky skin so that the tan is even.

E X F O L I AT E

SUNSCREEN

AND

ACCESSORIES - Never forget your sunscreen, a wide brim hat and a UV protection sunglass when you come to Maldives. Apply the lotion at least half an hour before heading out as your body needs time to absorb it. Choose a sunscreen that matches your skin tone, SPF 15 with UVA and UVB protection is usually ideal. Extra care should be taken if you are going swimming. Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen lotion when you come out of the water even if it says waterproof on the

9

China - Maldives Friendship Bridge Connecting the Capital to the world

In his new role, Leonhard will bring his expertise to the Amari Havodda Maldives resort which opened in February of this year. ONYX Hospitality Group operates several diverse yet complementary brands – Amari, Shama and OZO – each catering to the distinctive requirements of today’s business and leisure travellers. ONYX reaches beyond its Thai roots to offer innovative management solutions across the Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf and Asia-Pacific regions.

Getting a perfect Maldivian tan

rom December through January Maldives experiences throngs of tourists visiting it’s many resorts. Maldives, being the “sunny side of life” is undoubtedly the best escapade for travelers during the wintery Christmas and New year eve.

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bottle. TRY

TO

GET

AN

EVEN

- Spending 30 minutes on your back and five minutes on your front just won’t work. Patience is the key. Take your favorite book so that you can make good use of the time. Build your tan gradually. If not, there is no point of trying to soak the sun, you may as well use the spray tan.

TA N

P O S T TA N C A R E - Avoid going out into the sun between noon and three pm as this is the time when it is the hottest. You also want to avoid tan lines, after all, it’s

not every day you get to sport a tropical tan. Cover your face and body from the sun. - Drink lots of water to keep yourself from dehydrating and take a cool bath or shower when you are done tanning.

H Y D R AT E

We are all different with different sensitivities. Always know what is best for your skin as someone’s ideal sun time can be too much for you. There is the possibility of getting a sunburn. If you do, then put on some cocoa butter, calamine lotion or cold cream on the affected area after taking a cool bath.

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he last day of 2015 (31st December) was celebrated with the happy and long waited news. President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom and Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Yan inaugurated the landmark “China-Maldives Friendship Bridge” project at a special function following the signing of a contract with the CCCC Second Harbour Engineering Company. “Today you have made our impossible dream a reality,” Yameen said at the commencement ceremony, expressing “profound gratitude” to Chinese President Xi Jinping. As 2015 is the 43rd year since the establishment of SinoMaldives diplomatic relations, “it is indeed symbolic that the most important and the most historic landmark of the Maldives will be named the

China-Maldives Friendship Bridge,” he added. The Chinese government agreed to finance the bridge project during President Xi Jinping’s historic visit to the Maldives in September 2014. Yameen said the US$210 million bridge is essential for developing a ‘Youth City’ in the capital’s suburb Hulhumalé – both key pledges made during the 2013 presidential campaign. “The biggest challenge in our developmental process has always been the smallness and the difficulty in achieving economies of scale,” he suggested. The government plans to relocate 70 percent of the Maldives population, to the new city. The bridge along with the expansion of the international airport will “change the

Maldives’ landscape,” President Yameen said. The 1.39km-long and 20.3km-wide bridge will have two lanes for fourwheeled vehicles as well as separate lanes for bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians. The bridge will span from Malé’s eastern edge to the western corner of the island of Hulhulé, where the airport is located. In his remarks at the ceremony, Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muiz said: The foundation will be 70 meters or 230 feet deep, he noted, adding that the underwater work will be completed by September 8. Work on the “superstructure” of the bridge will begin on April 23, 2017. The government estimates the bridge will be completed by mid-2018.


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VOL 001 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

Abdulla Nasheed changing the Tourism concept to “Affordable Maldives”

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asn’t long enough since he began with his newly introduced Kaani Beach Hotel in Maafushi Island (local inhabited island) just about 30 minutes by speed boat from the Capital City and International Airport in Maldives. Soon with increasing demand, guest house tourism expanded in the Maldives like wild fire in a Forrest. Everyone seems opening a guest house as the gateway to own a property in the tourism sector. Specially as an entry as a hotelier which majority of economy is dependent on its beautiful tourism. Mr.Abdulla an enthusiast who has delivered innovative ideas since beginning of his career in introducing satellite TV to the island nation has accomplished his new venture in the guest house tourism setting him as a role model for others to follow, and an inspiration to beginners

ensuring the demand and future of guest house tourism in Maldives. Kaani Beach Hotel is the Ideal destination for those looking for a honeymoon or just something a little more out of the way and slower paced. With Sea View rooms and private balcony just in front of the beach and a wide variety of relaxing recreational activities such as fishing, snorkeling, sailing, and diving right at the hotel itself. Kaani Beach Hotel features 18 beautiful Maldivian style Sea View rooms with a rooftop sundeck surrounded by coconut palm trees where you can experience contemporary luxury in an ideal setting for a soothing and memorable vacation. With the demand and requests from many repeaters , Mr.Abdulla settled in the island Maafushi himself with his wife Mrs.Asima and opened up the second

Maldives Airports Company Limited - Development of New International Passenger Terminal at Ibrahim Nasir International

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special function was held to award the development of the New International Passenger Terminal project at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA)on 21st May 2016. The function was attended by cabinet ministers, parliament members, state dignitaries and airport stakeholders. The chief guest of the function was the President of the Republic of Maldives His Excellency President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

At the function the contract signing for the development of the New International Passenger Terminal took place between Maldives Airports Company Ltd’s (MACL) Managing Director Mr. Adil Moosa and Saudi Bin Ladin Group’s (SBG) representative Mr. Abdul Azeez B Bin Ladin. The Managing Director of MACL Mr. Adil Moosa in his speech stated that this airport will give a new face to the Maldives as the new

Terminal will be a modern landmark. Saudi Bin Ladin Group’s representative Mr. Abdul Azeez B Bin Ladin stated in his speech that with the vast variety of expertise and knowledge in airport development he has confidence that his company can develop a magnificent terminal building at INIA. Minister of Economic Development Mr. Mohamed Saeed also stated in his speech that bold decision of the government to develop the airport is praise worthy and

that he salutes the president of the Maldives for taking such steps to develop the whole nation. At the function a short video was shown about future of INIA and the development of greater Male city area. At the function President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom inaugurated a special monument representing the development of the new Terminal. The New International Passenger Terminal will be developed

to cater for 7.5 million passengers which will be 3 times the size of the present terminal. The New Terminal will host a variety of commercial spaces and will be equipped with aero bridges and state of the art baggage handling system. About MACL: Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) is a 100% government owned limited liability company incorporated under the Companies Act of the Rep of

Maldives. MACL is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the Privatisation and Corporatisation Board of the Maldives. The Corporate Office of MACL is on the island of Hulhule’, Republic of Maldives. For more information : Hassan Areef, A General Manager – Corporate Communication, Email: hassan.areef@macl.aero, Website: www.macl.aero


VOL 002 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

property namely Village & Spa.

Kaani

The 2nd property Kaani Village and Spa, with Swimming Pool, offers 20 deluxe air-conditioned rooms with attached bathrooms which bring together contemporary and modern style to the travelers looking for an easy going budget alternative to the Maldives resort experience. All the rooms feature tropical decor, a Queen size bed and also equipped with individually controlled airconditions with overhead ceiling fans and modern furniture. LCD Tv with 37 channels, Mini bar, Digital Safe with complementary tea and coffee making facilities. Each room has attached bath room with quality amenities such as water heater, Hair Dryer and rain shower. Now with again growing interest and Maldives re introduced as affordable destination, travelers who came early in 80’s has started coming back to Guest Houses. This made him expand more with choices to offer. Sampa Spa with the idea of Mr.Abdulla’s wife Mrs. Asima to rejuvenate the body

and mind while enjoying a perfect holiday in Kaani Village, through a splendid spa treatment. Kaani Princess as the newest edition to the brand will provide a unique experience onboard the luxury cruiser consisting of 7 fully air conditioned cabins , lounge, sun deck and a bar which will cater to in house guests of Kaani Brand and others who wish to experience something different. Right now building a 130 bed capacity as the 3rd property of Kaani Hotels brand in Maafushi as Kaani Grand Sea View sets as a magnificent example of successful hospitality brand. The third property is on the way and scheduled to launch during November 2016 adding conference and meeting facilities. Mr.Abdulla’s vision to enhance his venture is endless. The next version to come up in his plan consists of a 10 Storey hotel complex right on the beach with infinity pool and state of the art facilities. Apart for increasing hotel beds, he also owns and

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operates a fleet of Speedboats providing transport between Airport and Maafushi. Adding water sports and recreational services to tourists on excursion vessels with scheduled island hopping trips, scuba diving and endless water based activities. His team of nearly 100 members consists of 80% locals and provide great opportunity for the youth of Maafushi and near by islands to earn by being resided in their own island. However he does have multi national professionals in the team who are dedicated in delivering what Kaani Hotels promises to their valuable guests. What Mr.Abdulla believes is that nothing is impossible, and that personal interest with dedication can reach where you set your goal. Nothing in his brand came on its own, it’s been hard earned and achieved. Kaani Hotels has made its footprint strong and proved that Maldives is affordable to everyone with Guest House, Hotels, Transport, Sports Activities, Cruise and many more under one roof.


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VOL 001 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

South Asian Travel Benefit of Yoga Awards (SATA 2016) and Meditation in - This October in Maldives Colombo. By Paramjot Singh Khalsa www.touchofsoul.eu

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S

outh Asian Travel Awards (SATA) a regional recognition brand endorsed by Federation of Chambers of Commerce in Sri Lanka (FCCISL), Colombo Chamber of Commerce (CCC), Association of Travel Agents (ATA) Maldives, Liveaboard Association of Maldives (LAM), Confederation of Accredited Tour Operators CATO) India and Association of Trade and Tourism Organizations of India (ATTOI).

The event consists of 10 segments falling into 39 categories:

The brand is the first of its kind with affiliations from regional associations ensuring the process within a smooth and transparent procedure. Having a panel of 2 senior representatives from each destination with firm knowledge and background of the industry making it unique and rich when honored.

3.

“Association of Travel Agents”, Maldives, ATA, is proud to announce its affiliations with regard to South Asian Travel Awards (SATA 2016). ATA would be the focal point for all participants from Maldives with regard to SATA 2016.

1.

A V I AT I O N A N D

TR ANSPORT

• Leading International Airline • Leading International Airport • Leading Airport / City Hotel • Leading Transport Provider 2.

GUEST HOUSE &

TOURIST INN

• Leading Guest house / Tourist Inn HOTELS & RESORTS

• Most Romantic Hotel / Resort • Leading Beach Hotel / Resort • Leading Luxury Hotel / Resort • Leading Dive Hotel / Resort • Leading Surf Hotel / Resort • Leading Eco Hotel / Resort • Leading Family Hotel / Resort •Leading Designer Hotel / Resort • Leading F & B Hotel / Resort • Leading All Inclusive Resort • Leading Dive School / Center • Leading Activity / Water Sports Center 4.

BUSINESS

• Leading Meeting & Conference Hotel / Resort • Leading Business Hotel • Leading Convention Center

5.

WELLNESS

• Leading Wellness & Spa Brand / Chain • Leading Wellness & Spa Hotel / Resort 6.

H O U S E B O AT &

LIVEABOARDS

• Leading Liveaboard brand • Leading House Boat Brand • Leading Liveaboard • Leading House Boat 7.

T R AV E L

TECHNOLOGY & CSR

•Leading Travel Technology Provider • Leading CSR Program 8.

T O U R O P E R AT O R S ,

T R AV E L & H A N D L I N G AGENTS

• Leading Travel Agent • Leading Tour Operator • Leading PSA – GSA Partner / Handling Agent 9.

D E S T I N AT I O N S

• Leading Honeymoon Destination • Leading Surfing Destination • Leading Beach Destination • Leading Diving Destination • Leading Heritage Destination • Leading Mice Destination • Leading Cruise Destination 10.

INDIVIDUAL

PERSONALITY

•South Asian Tourism Personality of the Year Gala Event of South Asian Travel Awards (SATA) is scheduled for October 2016 in Colombo. Hosting country for this year is Sri Lanka More info : Association of Travel Agents (ATA), Maldives info@atamaldives. org

hen we came to Maldives first time, we were totally fascinated by the pure energy and nature of this paradise island. As a yoga teacher , holistic healer and trainer we knew right away this island has special energy and has potential to be a ground for mankind inner development. During our stay we met many guest from different countries and background. We wanted to know why they are here in Maldives. Most of them said that they are here with family to relax , reducing stress, enjoying time here and basically wanted to forget the busy life back home. Stress was the main topic! So what is stress doing to us? It has been estimated that two-thirds of all visits to physicians are for stressrelated problems. Recent evidence indicates that the physical changes associated with stress may contribute to the leading causes of death heart disease and cancer. The effects of stress include the following: • Stress can cause chronic fatigue, digestive upsets, headaches, and back pain. • Stress can affect the blood cells that help you fight off infection, so you are more likely to get colds and other diseases. • Constant stress can increase

blood pressure and can increase the risk for stroke.

• Stress can increase the danger of heart attacks, particularly if you are often angry and mistrustful. • Stress can make an asthma attack worse.

• Stress triggers behaviours that contribute to death and disability, such as smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse, and overeating. • Stress can lead to diminished sexual desire and an inability to achieve orgasm. • Stress makes it harder to take other steps to improve health, such as giving up smoking or making changes in diet. As a yogi we know that yoga and meditation works perfectly in this case plus if you are in a paradise island like Maldives then it makes things much easier. Dating back over 5000 years, yoga is the oldest defined practice of self development. The meth-ods of classical yoga include ethical disciplines, physical postures, breathing control and meditation. Traditionally an Eastern practice, it’s now becoming popular in the West. In fact, many companies, especially in Britain, are seeing the benefit of yoga, recognising that relaxed workers are healthier and more creative, and are sponsoring yoga programs for their staff. Meditation is another key. The question is how to meditate? If you

are here in Maldives away from all the happening and distracting lifestyle then using the sound and nature will be a very effective tools. There are mediation

4

stages

of

1 . S E T TI N G YO U R S E LF T O M E D I TAT E .

It’s a good idea to do some pranayama (breathing exercises such as alternate nostril breathing) and yoga exercises first to get your body stretched out, relaxed and energized so that your body doesn’t distract you during your meditation, plus, the energy that is stimulated by the yoga will help you medi-tate much better. All the energy in the central nervous system moves through the spinal cord, so you have to sit with a straight spine – all the vertebrae lined up without tension, but straight. Shoulders relaxed. That way you will not get sleepy, and will have a much more powerful experience. Meditation can be done with eyes closed and gazing at the third eye point (ajna) right in between the eyebrows, or with the eyes 9/10 closed but very slightly open (“sleepy eyes”) gazing at the tip of the nose. The fixed gaze stimulates the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland and brings the brain into the alpha rhythm (relaxed but alert state) to allow yourself to let go and become absorbed into concentration. You can even


VOL 002 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

meditate with your eyes open, staring at a single point such as a candle or a mandala. This is called yantra meditation. I would highly suggest a good amount of stretching time before getting into meditation ( Minimum 10 mins ) 2 . S ECO N D, YO U FI X Y O U R AT T E N T I O N O N THE MANTR A OR SOUND CURRENT AND THE B R E AT H .

This is called “Dharana.” Meditation must begin with a focal point. That does not mean that you “stop thinking.” No, it means that you begin focusing on the mantra and just let your thoughts happen. The mind will produce thousands of thoughts every second. That’s what it does! You can’t stop it. Don’t fight with your mind you can never win. But you can use the mantra as a filter to clean the mind and the breath to gain control over it. The word Mantra is amazing. “Man” means mind and “Tra”

is the wave. So mantra has nothing to do with a religion, in fact it is just a technology - The wave of the mind - to alter the mind in coming into focus. Lets face it we live in such a fast and pressure full society that we get totally out of touch with our inner self. Thats why this was one of a very deep Tibetan practice. And it works! So pick any mantra you like and focus on the sound and the breath. If fact you could simply listen to sound of the wave, a very natural sound. Do this about 5 mins and you will notice the change.

3 . A LLOW YO U R S E LF T O C O N C E N T R AT E , “ D H YA N A . ”

You must relax, let go and allow your-self to be drawn into the sound of the mantra and the rhythm of the breath. How? By listening deeply. You must listen to the sound of your own voice as if it were

a sound coming from outside yourself. Pay attention. Really hear the sound you are making. Listen deeply. Even the sound around you. Listen deeply. Let your thoughts come and let your thoughts go. Watch them as they arise and fall away. Do not follow a thought. Observe it. As you begin this process, your ego will try to dis-tract you: “My leg is falling asleep.” “My nose is itching – should I scratch it, or just sit still?” “Did I remember to lock the door?” “Oh, I forgot to call my boss!” etc. etc. This is where many people fail. People just give up too soon and say, “Well I can’t get into it. I’m not any good at meditating.” Just let the thoughts come and then let them go. Although you cannot stop thinking, you can observe your own mind at work instead of letting it get you. Don’t let your thoughts ‘grab’ you. If you find yourself following a thought and forgetting the mantra, just let the sound bring your

concentration back to the sound. If you keep going, you will get through this stage of distraction and enter a deeper stage of ab-sorption. It is like magnets. Have you played with magnets? As they get closer you feel the pull and then they pull harder until they finally come together. Let the man-tra pull you in. Go deeper… relax and let go. Allow yourself to be absorbed in the sound-current. Remember, the mind makes a wonderful servant, but a lousy master. Master your own mind. The tragedy of life is when the subconscious mind releases garbage into the conscious mind and you allow yourself to indulge in it. Keep going and clean out the garbage. 4 . L A S T LY C O M E S T H E S TA G E O F “ S A M A D H I . ”

In this stage of meditation you lose all track of time and space and become completely absorbed in your meditation.

The breath becomes naturally very slow and deep and the thoughts of the mind fall away into the “background”. Remember, if you do not have mental garbage come up while you are meditating, then you are doing it wrong. When you meditate, you will see your own dirt. You will see it very clearly, but the mantra will filter it and clean it for you. It is a gradual process. That’s why we must meditate every day. We are exposed to negativity, perversity, corruption and other people’s garbage every day and the garbage in our own subconscious mind builds up. So, first we need to clean out the past accumulated garbage, which takes a concerted effort, and then we need to meditate daily to keep the mind clean on an ongoing basis. You brush your teeth, wash your body and comb your hairs every day, right? You like to look neat and clean. So why not take care of your inside as well as you do

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of your outside? It is useless to look good on the outside and have a mind full of garbage which you then proceed to dump on oth-ers. Ugh! So how do people survive in a world full of negativity perversity, corruption and other people’s garbage, well, it’s either medicate or meditate! Some people try to get by escaping from the garbage with drugs or alcohol. But then it is very tempo-rary and the garbage is still there and keeps accumulating. So learn to meditate, sit in nature, clean out the rubbish and let your mind be your servant and not your master. For more information about meditation and yoga, zplease write to us at touchofsoul.eu@gmail.com

Cheapflights unveils world’s first emoji based flight search

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heapflights is poised to launch the world’s first emoji flight search function. From Sunday mobile users will be able to insert emojis instead of words for their flight origin and destination as they begin their search. To build the functionality Cheapflights mapped 40 destinations across the world with popular emojis based on common associations. Users can search using a koala emoji and a sushi emoji to bring up flights from Sydney to Tokyo, or a union jack

flag and bike for London to Amsterdam. Launching initially as a prototype, the release follows the launch last month of Cheapflights Chat – a Facebook Messenger bot configured to provide flight, hotel and weather-related results. The function has seen more than 15,900 interactions globally and has today also been updated to include the emoji search functionality as well. Samantha Otter, Cheapflights’ marketing director, said:

“We want to make travel search as intuitive as possible, and delivering this new functionality furthers our brand promise to make search smart and simple. “Personalisation is the future of travel search, and this is a further step in that direction, allowing our users to communicate with us in a way they’re comfortable. “It encourages frictionless dialogue in whichever setting and communication medium they prefer. “With World Emoji Day upon us, it felt like the ideal

time to press the button on a function with which our team has had a lot of fun in the last few weeks. “We hope our users do now as well.” Emoji search is available on the Cheapflights mobile site in select markets globally including the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. It will be available on the Cheapflights app before the end of 2016.

Emoji search is available on the Cheapflights mobile site in select markets globally including the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand.


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VOL 001 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

ABTA STATEMENT ON BREXIT AND QUESTIONS FOR HOLIDAYMAKERS

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he Prime Minister has stated that there will be no initial change in the way people travel. Travellers are as free to move between the UK and the EU as they were until now, European Health Insurance cards remain valid and regulations such as Air Passenger Rights remain in place.

The result of the referendum on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union has been announced, and the British people have voted to leave the EU. The Prime Minister has stated that there will be no initial change in the way people travel. Travellers are as free to move between the UK and the EU as they were until now, European Health Insurance cards remain valid and regulations such as Air Passenger Rights remain in place. People due to travel this summer will see little changes to their holiday. Once the UK formally notifies the EU of its intention to leave, the remaining Member States will have up to two years to offer the UK a deal for a future trading relationship and during this period holidaymakers will not see any immediate changes. However, the fall in value of the pound will have an immediate impact on holidaymakers and their spending power overseas.

Q&As

PA S S P O RT S O R A LL

BRING GOODS HOME?

W H AT D O E S T H I S M E A N

OTHERS?

FOR THE PRICE OF MY

HOW WILL BREXIT

The same queue as you did before the vote. Until the UK officially leaves the EU, not sooner than two years’ time, there will no change to passport arrangements.

You can still bring home unlimited goods until we officially leave the EU. The free movement of goods will be part of a negotiated settlement with the EU.

A F F E C T M Y H O L I D AY ?

Until the UK officially leaves the EU, not sooner than two years’ time, there will be no changes to holiday arrangements. Travellers are as free to move between the UK and the EU as they were before the vote, European Health Insurance cards remain valid and regulations such as Air Passenger Rights remain in place.

DO I NEED A VISA TO G O TO S PA I N?

No. Until the UK officially leaves the EU, not sooner than two years’ time, there will be no change to passport arrangements.

I’M GOING TO EUROPE THIS SUMMER, IS MY

W H AT A B O U T M Y

PA S S P O R T S T I L L VA L I D?

E U R O P E A N H E A LT H

Yes. Until the UK officially leaves the EU, not sooner than two years’ time, there will be no changes to passports. I’VE BOOKED A H O L I D AY F O R N E X T YEAR – DO I NEED TO DO ANYTHING?

No. Until the UK officially leaves the EU, not sooner than two years’ time, there will be no changes to holiday arrangements. DO I NEED TO GET A N E W PA S S P O RT ?

No. Until the UK officially leaves the EU, not sooner than two years’ time, there will be no change to passport arrangements.

INSURANCE CARD (EHIC)?

You can still use your EHIC card abroad. There will be no immediate changes to using your EHIC card abroad. Arrangements between the UK and other EU countries will have to be reached once the UK officially leaves the EU.

W H AT A B O U T U S I N G MY MOBILE PHONE AB ROAD? WILL ROAMING CHARGES INCREASE?

There will be no immediate changes to using your phone abroad, and there won’t be an immediate impact on charges. The UK Government will need to implement a new law on roaming charges after we leave the EU, otherwise the service providers will be free to set roaming charges. C A N I S T I L L TA K E MONEY OUT FROM C A S HPO INTS AB ROAD?

Yes, you can continue to take out cash, as normal.

H O L I D AY A B R O A D ?

If you are travelling abroad and you have already paid for all of your travel arrangements, as part of a package holiday for example, then you will be protected to a large degree from a drop in the value of the pound. People paying for overseas accommodation in other currencies (e.g. in euros or dollars) can expect to pay more in the event of a weaker pound. WILL THE COST OF FLIGHTS INCREASE?

A weaker pound may impact the cost of flights in the short term, in the longer term the UK Government will seek to negotiate full access to the EU’s common aviation market, which has delivered the open skies arrangements we have today. M Y T R AV E L C O M PA N Y

WILL IT BE MORE

CAN I STILL GET

H A S A S K E D M E T O P AY

EXPENSIVE TO GO ON

C O M P E N S AT I O N I F M Y

M O R E F O R M Y H O L I D AY

H O L I D AY A B R O A D ?

DUE TO THE CURRENCY

F L I G H T I S D E L AY E D O R C ANCE LLE D?

Yes. There will be no immediate changes to claiming compensation if your flight is delayed or cancelled. The UK Government will need to implement a new law on compensation for flight delays and compensation after we leave the EU.

WHICH QUEUE W I L L I G O I N T O AT

W H AT A B O U T D U T Y

THE AIRPORT – EU

FREE? CAN I STILL

Not necessarily. If you are travelling abroad and you have already paid for all of your travel arrangements, as part of a package holiday for example, then you will be protected to a large degree from a drop in the value of the pound. However, your spending power while abroad will be impacted in the event of a weaker pound, making it more expensive to buy things like meals and drinks.

F L U C T U AT I O N S . I S T H AT OK?

Check the terms and conditions of the organiser that you’ve booked with. If you’ve booked a package holiday this is covered by certain rules: the maximum surcharge by law is up to 10% of the original cost of the holiday. If you haven’t booked a package, you should check the terms and conditions of your travel arrangement.


VOL 002 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

British Airways launches meditation channel on long-haul routes

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ritish Airways customers can now meditate their way to a more relaxing flight, thanks to a new in-flight entertainment channel on the airline’s longhaul routes. The Headspace video channel is packed with content designed to help travellers unwind in the air, by practicing simple meditation and mindfulness exercises. Guided by Headspace cofounder, and former monk, Andy Puddicombe, each exercise focuses on a different topic, such as enabling stressed parents and anxious travellers to feel happier and more relaxed, overcoming jet lag or just helping them to get the most from every minute of their journey. Troy Warfield, British Airways’ director of customer experience, said: “We know our customers really value making the most of their time on our aircraft and the

new Headspace channel on our in-flight entertainment system offers them a fantastic way to make their flight more fulfilling and relaxed. “Our new partnership with Headspace means their specially curated content offers customers a range of guided meditations to unwind, de-stress and feel happier and more relaxed, all from the comfort of their aircraft seat, at 35,000 ft.” The new channel features nine specially-designed guided meditation programmes, each no more than ten minutes long, to cater to every type of customer’s needs.

help passengers feel relaxed, refreshed and recharged. “It is also an opportunity to learn a beneficial new skill, something you can use at your destination and beyond, for a healthier and happier life.” The new channel adds to British Airways’ existing and extensive well-being content on its High Life in-flight entertainment system. This includes videos offering general well-being advice, Flying With Confidence to help nervous flyers, and Dawn Chorus: Sounds of Spring, which features the sound of sunrise birdsong in all its uninterrupted glory.

Puddicombe added: “We’re really excited to be launching the Headspace in-flight channel with British Airways. “The content has been designed to enhance every stage of the journey, before, during and after the flight, with specific exercises to

CLIA: Cruise industry stronger than ever

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ruise Lines International Association has announced the cruise industry has surpassed 2015 ocean cruise passenger projections and has increased passenger expectations for 2016 – a sign the industry is stronger than ever.

million travellers will set sail on ocean cruises around the world.

CLIA unveiled the new insights at the 2016 Cruise360 Conference in Vancouver, the largest conference of the cruise industry.

“This is a direct result of the amazing work and commitment of our community of Cruise Lines, Executive Partners and Travel Agencies and Agents.

The industry reported a total of 23.2 million passengers on ocean cruises globally in 2015, up from a projection of the 23 million, and a four per cent increase over 2014. As a result of steady yearover-year increases, CLIA has modified 2016 expectations and is now predicting 24.2

“The success in 2015 demonstrates the cruise industry’s continued strength in the overall travel sector,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president, CLIA

“Plus, with the highest satisfaction rates among all leisure travel segments, it reflects that a cruise holiday is the holiday of choice for travellers around the world.” Much of the industry’s growth can be attributed to emerging

regions of the world. In 2015, Asia experienced the most growth year-over-year in ocean cruise passengers with another impressive 24 per cent increase from 2014 to 2015, with a total of more than two million ocean cruise passengers in 2015. While Asia continues to see record growth in the cruise industry, Australia is not far behind. The region, which includes Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, experienced an incredible 14 per cent increase in ocean cruise passengers from 2014 to 2015. Last year, a total of more than 1.1 million ocean cruise travellers originated in Australia

The success in 2015 demonstrates the cruise industry’s continued strength in the overall travel sector

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VOL 002 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

Samsung Hospitality Solutions Helping Deliver Personalized, Connected Guest Experiences While Elevating Staff Service Levels

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ummer is coming, and with it a surge in travel and tourism. Samsung is helping the hospitality industry welcome travelers and ensure comfort and customer loyalty through a new, personalized guest experience. Enabled by technology, hotels and resorts can be more inviting and responsive than ever. Today’s travelers are more tech-savvy than those from previous generations, and they have high expectations for the level of technology and services offered during their hotel and resort stays. As noted in Ernst & Young’s 2015 Global Hospitality Insights report, “Innovations include mobile keys, check-in kiosks and mobile-enabled property management systems, which allow hotel employees to interact more with guests. Moreover, recent advances in wearable technology, such as smart watches and glasses, are expected to revolutionize the way customers access the web and contribute personal content.” To provide guests with the amenities and superior levels of service that they are looking for, hospitality providers are always seeking new technologies to help deliver the highest quality of service. New connected technologies, such as mobile check-in, can deliver the seamless experience that guests desire. In addition, hotels prioritize solutions that can optimize operations to enhance productivity and reduce costs. End-to-end hospitality solutions give travelers greater control, from booking to check-out. Samsung offers its hospitality solutions as part of the new

Samsung Business brand, which unifies Samsung’s end-to-end business solution portfolio. It brings together mobile devices, Samsung KNOX for security and mobile device management, Samsung SMART Signage Platform, Samsung printing solutions and more into one enterprise-ready portfolio. S A M S U N G ’ S I N T E G R AT E D S O L U T I O N S C R E AT E A DISTINCTIVE, ENHANCED GUEST EXPERIENCE

Hotel guests can enjoy an exceptional stay, using Samsung products, services and solutions developed for the hospitality industry. A R R I VA L :

Guests’ first encounters with the new, connected hospitality environment begin with Self Check-In via mobile app. When guests enter the hotel lobby, they will see a Samsung video wall, which creates a welcoming ambience, and promotes special limitedtime offers. They will also see relevant messages and real-time information on a nearby touchscreen Samsung Interactive Information Bulletin, where they can access a variety of hotel services without the need of a phone or a computer.

with in-room technology comes immediately in the entryway, where a mobile key allows them to unlock the door using Samsung mobile devices. In the future, Samsung solutions will enable guests to set the room’s air conditioning and lighting to their preferred settings, and use the in-room controller to adjust room temperature, lighting and atmosphere through the TV or a mobile device. The room features Samsung UHD premium display with LYNK SINC/REACH to deliver personalized welcome messages and information on the hotel’s services and promotions. Guests can also view an extensive suite of entertainment offerings and personal content as well as sync their own devices with the TV. Throughout the Stay: Wherever guests go in the hotel, the Samsung Smart WLAN Solution ensures that they will have seamless, connected Wi-Fi, no matter what device they use. When dining at the hotel, a fully digitized dining menu with mobile point-of-sale for secure payment will be offered on a Samsung tablet. AT C H E C K O U T:

Hotel staff use Samsung mobile devices and Samsung Gear with Smart WLAN to optimize hotel operations through unified communication, real-time schedule updates, guest request push and task completion notifications to provide hotel management with an overview of service performance.

A Samsung Hospitality Display offers digital bill reviews and check-out notifications. Alternatively, the guest may choose to receive a printed bill request via Samsung Cloud Printer with PrinterOn Solution. Privacy is protected through guest authentication at the printing station.

IN THE ROOM:

Samsung Hospitality Solution

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First 3G connected Airbus A350 takes to the skies

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he “first 3G connected Airbus A350” has taken flight. Inflight connectivity provider AeroMobile, which is behind the 3G connectivity for a Singapore Airlines A350, is claiming a world first. The inaugural long-haul flight took place from Singapore to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Singapore Airlines customers will be able to use their own mobile devices inflight.

Further A350s entering the airline’s fleet will be fitted with the 3G inflight connectivity service. Singapore Airlines already offers inflight mobile connectivity on selected A380s and Boeing 777300ERs. “Asia is a key area of growth for us and we’re pleased Singapore Airlines continues to see the value of facilitating inflight connectivity for its customers,” said Kevin Rogers, chief executive of

AeroMobile. AeroMobile has roaming agreements with more than 335 network operators globally in more than 145 countries. Passengers simply turn on their mobile device to connect to the network and are billed directly by their mobile operator in the same way as roaming abroad.

TripAdvisor unveils flight reviews as consumers struggle to compare options

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irline reviews are being introduced by TripAdvisor at a time when consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to make direct comparisons between flight options. A survey of more than 4,000 people in the UK found that more than a third (37%)

amenities information is not very accessible. Airline reviews from the millions of flyers on TripAdvisor will better communicate the total value of a flight beyond the price, the reviews site claims. The

company

has

also

The guests’ first interaction

and general manager, Bryan Saltzburg, said: “The time has come for a better way to research, compare and shop for flights. “TripAdvisor is excited to innovate and lead with the launch of airline reviews in 48 markets in 29 languages. ‘Additionally, we’ve introduced a set of new features within our search experience to help consumers better understand the true value of air travel beyond price, “Over the years, the in-flight experience has changed dramatically – in some ways for the better, in some ways for the worse. “We know our users tell us it is not always easy for travellers to find the best options by just looking at the baseline price of a flight.

believe airlines are making it harder to find the total cost of a flight. The poll also discovered that 38% of UK consumers also believe airlines’ in-flight

redesigned its flights search service in an effort to bring greater transparency to the sector. TripAdvisor global flights business senior vice president

“We’re uniquely solving that problem by surfacing candid traveller reviews and photos, detailed amenities information and tools to find the lowest fares all on one site empowering flyers to pick the best itinerary for their trip.”


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Holidaymakers’ smartphone habits revealed by Hotels.com research

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olidaymakers spend 50% more time on their smartphone than they do sunbathing, according a global study by Hotels.com. The Mobile Travel Tracker - a study of 9,200 travellers across 31 countries – shows that holidaymakers spend on average two hours a day topping up their tan, compared to three hours a day on their mobile devices. Almost 10% of travellers will spend more than seven hours a day with their smartphone in their hand. Globally, 40% of travellers are using social media to post on social media about their holidays, but only 22.33% of Britons. While 27% of global respondents admitted to ‘checking-in’ to show off their holiday, only 13% of Brits admitted to doing this. While 75% of Brits list WiFi access in hotels as being

an important deciding factor when booking hotels, 20% claim their mobile devices are their most valuable source of information while away. Mobile devices are most often used for: • Restaurants and food markets (40.33%) • Sights / tourist attractions to go and see (37.67%) •Local public transport information (19.67%) • Maps and directions (38.67%) Although social media access plays a huge part in Britons’ use of the smartphone, messaging and music also play a huge role. Top five mobile uses for Brits abroad (when given access to Wi-Fi): • Social Media (42%) • Messaging (31%) • Mapping (23%) •News Service (22%) •Travel (21%) The research also shows that 46% of people globally use their smartphone to get

around thanks to map apps, and a further 20% use them to translate local words or phrases. Around the world, 14% of travellers have used their mobile device to check into their hotel and another 5% have used their device as a room key. Checking the weather forecast in their destination also seems to be very popular for Brits abroad with almost 32% checking this.

Mobile devices are most often used for

Dan Craig, senior director of mobile at Hotels.com, said: “For travellers the mobile effect begins with booking, as 42% of people in our study have booked a hotel on mobile. “It’s therefore no surprise that today’s modern tourist is so reliant on their smartphone, and as technology is advancing it’s becoming a more indispensable travel companion.”

Top five mobile uses for Brits abroad (when given access to Wi-Fi)

S M A R T P H O N E T R AV E L R E S E R VAT I O N S I N C R E A S E T O 5 0 %

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n Germany, 50 percent of vacations and 32 percent of travel packages are booked online. This emerged from a study by Google, TNS, GfK and TUI Deutschland about mobile travel reservations in the country. In Germany, the use of smartphones is becoming increasingly important. As much as five out of ten trips are booked on smartphones. When planning holidays, the Internet is now indispensable for most Germans. Nine out of ten trips are planned online, five of which on smartphones. When it comes to travel reservations the vacationers combine onlinemedia and advice from travel agencies. 42 percent of Germans book their trips at travel agencies only after having gone through various reviews. According to the study “The Mobile Traveller”, 50 percent of travel bookings are currently completed on the Internet. For package holidays, the rate is 32 percent (2012: 22 percent).

The so called ROPO booking (Research Online, Purchase Offline) is indeed a popular form of travel reservations (42 percent use this method). This form is even more popular when it comes to package holidays, with 58 percent of bookings done this way.

The study concludes that travelers do not only change between different online and offline channels back and forth. They also use different devices. During the research, an Internet user switches between different devices on average 26 times. They always use the device that appears to be most appropriate and time-saving. Here the winner is the smartphone, which plays the biggest role in the research phase as well as in the destination itself.

When planning holidays, the Internet is now indispensable for most Germans. Nine out of ten trips are planned online, five of which on smartphones.

Additionally, every second person booking the holiday ends up using the smartphone for research. It is also striking that mobile devices are used spontaneously. 69 percent of smartphone searches happen unplanned and are often short

search moments. Market researchers from GfK and TNS investigated holiday trips (holiday packages, hotel and flight bookings) that have been booked online or offline (travel agency, e-mail, mobile phone) on behalf of Google and TUI Deutschland. The results are representative for the German onlinepopulation over 18 with Desktop research. In the Mobile Traveller study they asked travelers online, taking both desktop and smartphone research into account.


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Emirates is voted the World’s Best Airline by air travellers in the 2016 World Airline Awards

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n a gala ceremony held at Farnborough Airshow. The leaders and top management from over 40 airlines from across the globe attended the event, where Emirates was voted the World’s Best Airline by air travellers. At the awards event, Edward Plaisted of Skytrax commented: “we are honoured to have so many airlines travel here today and receive their accolades after being voted as Best Airlines in many different categories. For many years we have been dedicated to providing a survey and awards process that remains independent, and delivering an event that is aptly known as the Passenger’s Choice Awards. We have seen many familiar names here today appearing as repeat winners, which I guess reflects that in many cases ‘once a winner, always a winner’ in many customers eyes. Emirates was voted the World’s Best Airline by customers at the 2016 Skytrax World Airline Awards held at Farnborough Airshow. This is the fourth time Emirates has won this top prize in the awards history. The airline also won the World’s Best Inflight Entertainment award. Emirates improved its position across a range of awards categories performing well in First, Business and Economy Class survey sections and achieving a top10 finish in the World’s Best Cabin Staff category. Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates said: “We are honoured to be The World’s Top 10 Airlines of 2016 1. Emirates 2. Qatar Airways 3. Singapore Airlines 4. Cathay Pacific 5. ANA All Nippon Airways 6. Etihad Airways 7. Turkish Airlines 8. EVA Air 9. Qantas Airways 10. Lufthansa

recognised by the prestigious Skytrax awards. Emirates has always put our customers at the heart of what we do, and we work hard to deliver the very best experience possible to our customers at every touchpoint, every day, all around the world. We constantly invest in our product and services, both on the ground and in the air. We listen carefully our customers, and then relentlessly challenge ourselves to deliver and exceed expectations. The fact that these awards are based on the direct feedback from passengers is gratifying and wonderful recognition for all of the hard work that’s gone into creating the Emirates

testament to the dedication of our global teams. The airline’s renowned service, modern aircraft and luxurious cabins, combined with an expanding global network, continue to set Qatar Airways apart from the competition.” Third placed Singapore Airlines achieved top success winning the award for Best Airline in Asia, as well as the title for the Best Business Class Airline Seat. Commenting on the awards. Singapore Airlines said: “We are honoured to receive these prestigious awards, which are a validation of the hard work and dedication of our staff around the world who ensure

service, and we’ll continue to ensure we deliver the very best to enable them to live a life well travelled.” ANA All Nippon Airways achieved repeat success, ranked No 5 in the world in the global results and also securing the awards for World’s Best Airport Services and Best Airline Staff in Asia for the second successive year. Mr. Osamu Shinobe, President and CEO of ANA, commented on the awards: “ANA is committed to becoming the world’s leading airline and providing all passengers with a superior air travel experience. We are focused on providing a

travelers again recognize Turkish Airlines as the Best Airline in Europe. The airline continues to be renowned for its seamless services, including our dining and in-flight entertainment experiences. The award marks a continued period of success for us.” The world’s newest 5-Star airline EVA Air ranked No 8 in the world and named as the Best Transpacific Airline. The Taiwanese carrier was also considered to have the Best Business Class Comfort Amenities. Mr Steve Lin, EVA Air’s Chairman, said: “We appreciate passengers’ support for EVA Air and, with steady growth in the

/ Pacific for the fourth successive year and also taking the award for Best Airline Staff in Australia & Pacific and Best Premium Economy Catering. Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce commented : “Qantas is really pleased to be so well-represented with three Skytrax awards and a place in the top 10 overall best airlines globally. These awards and our improved ranking in the top ten match up nicely with the really strong customer satisfaction we’re seeing through our own passenger surveys. We often say that our people are our best asset and the win for Best Airline Staff in AustraliaPacific is a testament to what

This is the fourth time Emirates has won this top prize in the awards hitstory. The airline also won the World’s Best Inflight Entertainment award. Emirates improved its position across a range of awards categories performing well in First, Business and Economy Class survey sections and achieving a top-10 finish in the World’s Best Cabin Staff category.

experience.” Qatar Airways was second in the global ranking and won a range of top awards being named the World’s Best Business Class, the World’s Best Business Class lounge and Best Airline Staff in the Middle East. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Mr Akbar Al Baker, said: “It is a very proud moment for Qatar Airways to be named World’s Best Business Class, Best Business Class Airline Lounge and Best in the Middle East by the prestigious Skytrax Airline Awards, not only for myself, but for every individual at Qatar Airways who creates the passengers’ experience – from our on-board Cabin Crew to the chefs overseeing our catering, to the technicians who ensure the cabin is in perfect working order. Our commitment to continued success is unwavering and a

that Singapore Airlines remains competitive on a global level.” Cathay Pacific Airways was ranked No 4, with the airline also declared the World’s Best for Cabin Cleanliness. It was a double celebration as Cathay also picked up the award for Best First Class Lounge for its recently renovated facility at its home base airport in Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific Director Service Delivery James Ginns said: “At Cathay Pacific we take pride in providing our customers with premium products and services, both in the air and on the ground. We’re delighted that they’ve recognized the quality of our signature lounges and inflight cabins. We know how much they enjoy comfortable seats, diverse inflight entertainment, excellent food, fine wines, and luxury amenities along with great

personalized, high-quality service which ensures the comfort and safety of all our customers.” Etihad Airways was ranked No 6 worldwide and won three awards. The airline was named as having the World’s Best First Class cabin, Best First Class seat and Best First Class catering. Turkish Airlines ranked No 7 in the world were yet again named as the Best Airline in Europe. The Istanbul based carrier was also acknowledged for its Business Class catering with top prizes for both onboard and lounge dining standards. Mr İlker Aycı, Chairman of Turkish Airlines said: “the Skytrax World Airline Awards are the result of the largest airline passenger satisfaction survey in the world. Every year it delights us that millions of

future, EVA will further expand its global network. Take the North America market for example, EVA will launch Taipei to Chicago route on 2nd November and, by the end of 2016, we will operate 77 weekly flights in this market; providing passengers from Southeast Asia with more convenient options to fly back and forth. EVA’s cabin service items are also worth mentioning, our Royal Laurel Class provides Rimowa overnight kits, noise-cancelling headphones, comfortable sleepwear and Fiji Water. Passengers seem to respond with positive feedback, and we will be sure to keep improving our offering to fit every passenger’s needs.” In ninth place, Qantas was dominant in the Australia & Pacific region winning the Best Airline in Australia

a great job they do on the ground and in the air. It’s also great to see Jetstar recognised as the Best Low Cost carrier in the region for yet another year.” Completing the world’s Top 10 airlines, Lufthansa was again successful being named as the Best Transatlantic Airline for the fifth time and also winning the Best Airline in Western Europe award. Dr Reinhold Huber, Lufthansa Vice President Passenger Experience Design commented: “We are happy and honored to be awarded best Airline in Western Europe and best Transatlantic Airline by over 18 million passengers for the 4th time in a row. This underlines our efforts to create the perfect experience for every passenger on every journey on a Lufthansa flight.”


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Technology Trends That Are Changing Hospitality

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n the evolution of the hotel business, the guest is the driver and the dominant change in guest behavior in recent years has undoubtedly been in the realm of technology. Guests are increasingly tech-savvy leading them to demand higher and higher standards. These fast-changing standards are increasingly difficult for hotels to reach. But they are a key factor in guest choice. It was a truism in the restaurant business that a customer would be disappointed if presented with food inferior to what they could reproduce at home. The analogous problem for hotels now is that guests often have far superior levels of networking and technology at home, leading to a disappointment factor with the hotel.

commonplace, but often it is restricted to one or two simultaneous logins per room. This is crazy in the modern age. It’s not just business travelers who need connectivity. Most of your guests will have two or more wifi devices. It’s not uncommon for one person to have a laptop, iPad and smart phone all on the go at the same time and with a couple or a family in a room, the number of devices required to be connected can quickly mushroom. Even cameras can now use wifi to transfer

increasingly ignored. A guest with an iPhone likely has their entire music collection with them, or can access it from the cloud. With a tablet or phone, it is likely your guest has movies with them, or access to a cloud movie store with far greater choice than you can offer. Ensuring that your wifi can handle this traffic is therefore critical. But you can go further and ensure the guests’ experience can be enhanced by what you provide.

photos to computers and iPads. Expect guests’ smart watches to be adding to the connectivity list by this time next year. If you are aiming to deliver an experience that is even better than “home away from home”, then your network architecture is an area that

already problematic since Apple’s devices have multiple connectors and many guests are not Apple users. But both Apple and Google have cheap wifi devices that connect to HDMI flat screens and sound systems and allow content to be “beamed” wirelessly to them from smartphones,

should facilitate it.

needs to be seriously and quickly addressed.

tablets and laptops. The AppleTV device is a small wifi device that also shows the iTunes store, and Netflix, for renting movies with a choice that would be unrealistic and impractical for a hotel to attempt to provide. Google’s new Chromecast similarly allows any smart device

for guests, loaded with local info and hotel information, but the cost of this service and the speed at which these devices are superceded would indicate that this is not a trend to follow. With guests bringing their own technology, connectivity is the key focus area.

Docks for iPhone/iPod are

running the Google’s Chrome web browser to feed its screen wirelessly to an equipped TV. Guests may indeed increasingly be bringing these devices with them. Beyond accessing online movie content, another major advantage of these inexpensive connectivity devices is that they allow for large screen gaming. As family vacationers know, gaming is a critical time filler for the kids much appreciated by their parents. But gaming is also strongly embraced by adults of all ages. Connectivity

Here are just some of the areas that we see as crucial to hotels today, based on customer searches we monitor, customer reviews we collect, and general industry commentary. GUESTS EXPECT SPEED

Guests are now traveling with their own technology, and prefer to choose and consume their own media. This has a number of immediate implications. Wireless broadband connections in rooms and throughout the hotel must now be fast, easily accessible and preferably free. On the speed end, many hotel customers would now routinely have 50Mb or 100Mb fibre connections to their homes, so inferior speeds at hotels leads to frustration. It is not an exaggeration to say that the lack of quality high speed wifi is an inhibitor to your business. At Bookassist, we see “wifi” and “free wifi” to be a dominant search term for our hotels online. As recently noted on Tnooz, some estimates put the amount of lost revenue across the industry from lost bookings due to poor wifi at close to $5 billion a year. Read more M U LT I - D E V I C E G U E S T S ARE THE NORM

A mistake that many hotels make is “rationing” of wifi connections. Providing access to wifi based on guest name and room number log-in is

A R E YO U I N V E S TI N G I N POINTLESS PROVISION?

Traditional in-house entertainment is rapidly fading as a service. Ondemand TV movies are

It may not be necessary to equip all TVs with these gizmos, but having a stock of them available and advertised at check-in is something you should consider. Some hotels have gone further, with the provision of in-house iPads

MOBILE AND SOCIAL FEED EACH OTHER

Of course you can capitalise on all this connectivity you are providing too. Ask guests to share pictures online of their happy moments in your hotel. Post signs and have your check-out staff remind them to request their positive comments online if they are enjoying their stay. Give rewards for the best meal photo of the week shared on your Facebook page. Be creative in encouraging social media in a positive way. Most of all, ensure it is being monitored on the major channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, TripAdvisor so that you can fix issues arising instantly. Remember that the impact of social media on hotels is not just all about Trip Advisor. Private social media is even larger, where people checkin or comment on Facebook or Google+ or other such services. When guests post pictures and comments about your hotel to their friends, you do not have the opportunity to interact at all. But the influence of a friend’s comments on you are far more persuasive than those of hundreds of anonymous TripAdvisors. D I G I TA L G U E S T INTER ACTION

Evaluating an in-house internet channel, or in-house app service, specifically for guest interaction and information provision is something well worth considering. Digital concierge is a fast growing area, and is a natural but powerful evolution of the old TVdriven in-room information system. For example, having multilingual room service menus on such a channel, as well as ordering capability, is something that is trending well in larger hotels and has a place in smaller ones too. Couple this with clear and regularlyupdated information on services available in the hotel (like your stock of AppleTVs or Chromecasts available on request) and you are providing information right where your guests expect it. Your app could even suggest services based on the type of device the guest is using, or the usage pattern in the hotel. This is a strong area for the future. There is a popular trend

towards automated checkin and check-out, which is desirable in larger properties and business properties to avoid queues. Such services are probably far less necessary in boutique and family hotels with the personal touch, but are nevertheless worth watching. It is also the point at which services can be advertised and upsold in simple touch-screen format. BOTTOM LINE

Guests are highly connected and multi-device dependent. They are increasingly bringing and consuming their own media. Hotels must deliver high speed connectivity, online services, and allow guests to optimise their own digital experience. It is no longer just the business guest that requires technology, though the requirements for business and conference capabilities have just as seriously grown in recent years. The question for you is, is guest-facing technology a true priority for your hotel? Bron: Dr Des O’Mahony is CEO and founder at Bookassist (bookassist.org), the awardwinning technology and online strategy partner for hotels worldwide


VOL 002 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

AL SHALI MARINE AD

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VOL 001 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

Holiday internet access ‘an expectation’, Webloyalty research finds

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ood internet access on holiday “is now an expectation” according to e-commerce firm Webloyalty. New research into online holiday habits, commissioned by the company, has revealed that four out of five Britons do not go away without their online devices, and once they arrive, they are using them more than ever. The research shows that 84% of Britons now stay connected to the internet when they go on holiday, with 51% using a smartphone or tablet abroad. More than 35% of people take a laptop away, 24% of people buy extra data and only 16% turn off all their devices. The TNS-compiled ‘Digital Destinations’ report, which surveyed 1,000 UK consumers, reveals the scale of the challenges for travel and leisure brands as consumer behaviour shifts. However, while issues such as a lack of free Wi-Fi cause gripes for customers, greater online engagement on holiday presents an opportunity for brands to engage with

consumers channels.

through

new

The research revealed that 39% of Britons abroad upload photos from their destination, 23% use the internet to read restaurant reviews and 33% now plan or book holiday activities online after arriving. Guy Chiswick, managing director of Webloyalty Northern Europe, said: “Constant access to the web is a feature of our daily lives and we no longer expect this to change just because we are in a different country. “Accessing free Wi-Fi, buying tickets online, checking-in on devices, and interacting with brands on social media is now an expectation when we’re on holiday. “The travel and leisure industry must keep up with consumer demand for constant connectivity. “Brands need to understand the digital channels their customers are using, and evolve their marketing strategies accordingly to deliver coordinated and consistent experiences on and offline.”

International tourism continues to grow above average in the first four months of 2016 - UNWTO

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e s t i n a t i o n s worldwide received 348 million international tourists (overnight visitors) between January and April 2016, some 18 million more than the same period last year (+5.3%). This follows an increase of 4.6% in 2015, and could make 2016 the seventh consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year following the crisis in 2009.

increase in international arrivals, with all Asian subregions enjoying growth of 7% or above. By subregion, Subsaharan Africa (+13%) led growth, strongly rebounding from previous years’ modest results. UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals to increase by 3.5% to 4.5% over the full year 2016, in line with UNWTO’s long-term projection of 3.8% growth a year for the period 2010 to 2020.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said that the results show a strong desire to travel and that continues to drive tourism growth. Despite ongoing challenges, destinations keep benefitting from solid demand across all world regions showing that tourism is a dynamic and resilient economic sector.

UNWTO estimates that some 500 million tourists will travel internationally between May and August 2016, the Northern Hemisphere summer holiday peak season, accounting for about 41% of the year’s total international tourist arrivals.

By region, Asia and the Pacific (+9%) recorded the highest

According to the UNWTO Tourism Confidence Index, prospects for May-August 2016 remain positive and in

line with the performance of January-April. The Index shows confidence is highest in Europe, followed by the Americas.

Travel suppliers failing female business travellers

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and government. Just under half of the 200+ respondents spend four nights or more per month away from their UK homes on business.

otels need to provide better in-room facilities. Airlines should provide more assistance with luggage. Both airlines and train operators should offer more flexible seating arrangements and car rental providers should review safety at vehicle collection and drop-off points.

Today, according to Skift, 47% of women who travel, travel on business and 80% of travel spend is managed by women, making them the fastest growing segment of business travellers. Meanwhile Duty of Care legislation has demanded that employers take a more personal approach to business travel, and travel suppliers have reacted similarly.

These are just some of the findings from a new report looking at female business travellers’ needs, the degree to which these needs are met and whether gender should play any part in corporate travel management. The Women in Business Travel Report was commissioned by MaidenVoyage, the world’s specialist resource for female business travellers, from Travel Intelligence Network, specialists in creating unique content for the travel and hospitality sectors. Unique research carried out for the Women in Business Travel Report also revealed that:• 68% of female business travellers prefer to

stay in hotel chains • 52% of female business travellers do not have airport lounge access, mainly due to cost. • 2% of female business travellers travel on business by rail compared to private car (67%), air (57.8%) or car share (34.1%) The research, amongst female

company managers, directors, CEOs and owners, was supported by leading travel brands Avis Budget, CTI, International SOS, Priority Pass & Virgin Trains. Those surveyed came come from a wide variety of industry sectors including professional services, healthcare, technology, retail, education

“We live in a risk-filled world where corporates must remain ever-mindful of their duty of care to travelling employees” says Carolyn Pearson, Founder and CEO of Maiden-Voyage. “More women are in senior corporate positions, and more are travelling on business too, often alone.” “Travel management has changed too. Personalising the traveller experience is essential to maintain the policy compliance that drives maximum value from

corporates’ travel spend, so travel managers are engaging with a more diverse range of stakeholders than ever before in a bid to create travel programmes that meet the personal needs of every business traveller.” “There are significant business opportunities available to smart brands who cater to the needs of this female business traveller market segment. To help savvy travel brands capitalise on the opportunity this demographic represents, they must focus on the needs of female business travellers in the key areas of security, assistance/guides/ information, dedicated services and social amenities.” The Women in Business Travel Report shows that it is far from unanimous amongst female business travellers that they should be treated any differently to their male counterparts – precisely the reverse. The issue, however is whether they are treated appropriately. And although travel providers are succeeding on many levels, there is a gap between the needs of the female business

traveller and delivery to meet those needs. “The question facing travel suppliers is whether they would recoup the required investment if they were to develop products and services for female business travellers as some have already done” says Carolyn Pearson. “Our research suggests that on the levels of usage, compliance and brand loyalty, they would. The real issue here is that travel providers should not need to make specific arrangements for female business travellers.”


VOL 002 | August 2016 | www.islandchief.com

MAJOR UPCOMING TOURISM EVENTS GUEST HOUSES CONFERENCE SEPTEMBER 2016:

“Guesthouses Conference” is a one day event scheduled to take place annually with pre-scheduled business meetings, education sessions, networking events and interactive evening functions held exclusively for the guesthouse industry. The event is organized by Maldives Gateways who is also the publisher of exclusive magazine for Guest Houses in the Maldives. The Guest Houses Confernece is an invitation only event with participants carefully selected, personally invited and verified against strict qualification criteria. By the end of the conference, the organizer assures that every participant will walk away feeling satisfied after one day of networking and making new business connections.

IFTM TOP RESA

WTM LONDON

20th - 23rd Sept 2016 Porte De Versailles, Hall 1, Paris , France

7th - 9th November 2016 ExCel London, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock , London Docklands, E16 1XL, United Kingdom

France’s Leading B2B Travel Show IFTM Top Resa is France’s leading international B2B tourism exhibition, attended by over 31,000 trade professionals (2015). IFTM Top Resa 2016 will again be held at Paris Porte de Versailles from September 20 to 23.

Exhibiting at WTM London will provide your organisation with a unique opportunity to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business with more than 50,000 international travel professionals, from more than 38 sectors of the travel industry.

Guest Houses Conference has been partnered with many industry stake holders and businesses including : Sea-Doo : Jetski Partner MATATO : Associate Partner PSM : TV Partner MIRA : Endorsement Partner MMRC : Endorsement Partner M7 : Printing Partner Avas: Online News Partner Hassan Marine: Marine Partner Al Shali Marine : Boat Building Partner Allied Insurance : Insurance Partner The Guest Houses Conference scheduled to take place on 24th September in the Capital ,Male’ already has over 120 properties confirmed in taking part.

TTG INCONTR

13th - 15th October 2016 TTG Italia SPA Rimini Feria, Via Emilia ,155-47900, Rimini , Italy Italy’s Leading B2B Travel Event TTG Incontri, with over 63,000 trade visitors (2015), is Italy’s leading B2B-only international travel and tourism trade show, bringing tour operators, travel and incentive buyers, travel agents, and travel retail distributors from around Italy and the world to Rimini to meet with U.S. exhibitors.

World Travel Market London is the leading global event for the travel industry to meet industry professionals and conduct business deals. Through its industry networks, unrivalled global reach, WTM London creates personal and business opportunities, providing customers with quality contacts, content and communities.

DRT HONG KONG

9th - 11th December 2016 Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) , Hong Kong Hong Kong is consider the most suitable business trading HUB in Asia Pacific with friendly and high educated residents, large populations of ocean sport lovers, high quality of financial service and distributor. The DRT Show is considered to be the largest gathering for diving enthusiasts, marine conservationists and anyone with a passion for the underwater world. The DRT Show has been met with an overwhelming response as an important regional event. We truly promote branding and are supported by top-level exhibitors and leading dive equipment manufacturers, water sport equipment manufacturers, dive resorts, tourism boards, marine conservation and diving organizations. DRT Show greatly promote trading and export business and has become the most important and ‘MUST

J ATA T O U R I S M E X P O

22nd - 25th September Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo , Japan JATA Tourism EXPO Japan is an integrated leading tourism event by the Tabi Fair Japan and the JATA “TABIHAKU” Travel Showcase. This is a well-organized event inclusive of International tourism forums, business meetings, travel showcase, award commendation and ceremonies. JATA Tourism EXPO Japan is the world’s largest tourism event to take place in Japan. With such diverse industries focusing on tourism, this platform provides various promotional opportunities for all those involved in tourism and the world’s travel professionals. JATA Tourism EXPO Japan continues to grow as a leading international event, helping to promote domestic, overseas and inbound tourism.

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The Islandchief - Travel Tabloid 01| August 2016