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AMAZING STATIONS OF THE WORLD SCHENGEN VISA REFORM FEW PLACES TO NEVER TAKE A SELFIE A CORNER OF JAPAN YOU MUST DISCOVER…OTARU An Interview with… MRS. RAMUNE BALNIONYTE, EVENTAS, LITHUANIA SUCCESS AT 7th B2B TRAVEL EVENT THESSALONIKI SPOTLIGHT ANDROS THE PERFECT GREEK RETREAT ECUADOR CUTS TOURISM BUDGET

vol. 21, issue 4, April 2018


MICE & TOURISM Around The World the global monthly e-magazine for m.i.c.e., tourism, business travel, exhibitions, luxury travel & aviation Founded in 1997

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MICE & TOURISM Around The World e-Magazine Since 1997 Volume 21, Issue 4, April 2018 edition

Contents 7-12 Amazing stations of the world

14 Schengen visa reform

T he Ac ro p o l i s me t ro st a t io n, At h e ns , G re e c e

15 Few places to never take a selfie

17-21 A corner of Japan you must discover… Otaru

23 Vietnam’s tourism needs urgent reform to take off

25 Kerala to open several bars to boost tourism

29-Success at 7th B2B Travel Event Thessaloniki

26-27 An Interview with… MRS. RAMUNE BALNIONYTE

Mrs. Ra mune Balnionyte, c over Page: London, UK 2018 © www. miceandtourismaroundthe world.co m


the global monthly e-magazine for m.i.c.e., tourism, business travel, exhibitions, luxury travel & aviation

www.miceandtourismaroundtheworld.com 30 The new MICE event in London; MeetGB 2018

31 Japan NTO offers ‘matchmaking’ service for……

Ind i a

33-35 Spotlight Andros the perfect Greek retreat

37 Air India… lands in Israel… via Saudi airspace

38-10th Anniversary of 1st A380 flight to London

40-42 ONE Great George Street, London, UK

49-51 2018…The Year Of Greece News

Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece

44 Ecuador cuts tourism budget

Cover Photo, Mrs. Ra mune , Eventas, Lithuania 2018 © www. miceandtourismaroundtheworld.co m


Message from Caroline-Artemis… It’s Spring and that gets many people thinking about summer being just around the corner. It also means that if they have not already booked their summer vacation, then now is the time to do it! However, here in the UK, there continues to be the dilemma for parents as to whether they should take their children out of school during term time for the family holiday? This comes following recent data showing, that despite the rules of imposing financial fines on parents for taking their children out of school during school time for a holiday, more and more parents are doing it and budgeting into the cost of the holiday the fine they are likely to receive from their child’s school. Statistics show term time absence for holidays is at its highest level since state school records in England began. This increase in ‘unauthorised absence’ is due to an increase in absence due to ‘family holidays’ that were ‘not agreed’ by the school. Under the current government guidelines, head teachers could grant leave of absence of up to 10 days for the purposes of a family holiday during term time in ‘special or exceptional circumstances’. Schools are allowed to fine parents UK£60, (EU€68.5) for the unauthorised absence of a child. In the worst case scenario you could be prosecuted and fined UK£2,500, (EU€2,854) and sent to prison for 3 months. Some parents argue that with a lack of finance to fund a holiday during the school holidays they therefore book one in term time. Such parents feel their circumstances should be seen as ‘special or exceptional circumstances’, as otherwise they would not go away at all. To give you an idea of the staggering cost difference, a trip from the UK to a European theme park for a long weekend in February, during school time would cost UK£752, (EU€859). If the same trip was made during the February school break, it would cost UK£2,500, (EU€2,854) making it completely unaffordable for many.

Parents have also argued that taking their children on holiday during school time can be more of an education that anything they will do in class, especially if they go on a once in a lifetime holiday or for example, visit NASA in the USA, attend museums and meet a wide variety of people from all over the world; No school can provide that type of education. Will children remember the chemical reactions in booster rockets at NASA or their textbook exercise from the science teacher? The majority of parents do not wish for their children to miss out on learning, but they feel ‘penalised’ and ‘victimised’ when holiday costs double, or even triple, on the exact afternoon that the school term ends. It is a far cheaper option to accept a school fine of UK£60, (EU€68.5) than pay the huge extra cost for flights or packages if booked a day later after the close of school. The tourism industry takes huge advantage of the supply and demand situation relating to the school academic calendar, while many would call it ‘greed’ being a driving force for them in school holiday time. It is now such a growing issue that there are calls for the UK government to intervene and force a cap on the price of a school period holiday. This issue has led to discussions of reducing the summer vacation period from the standard 6 weeks to just 4 weeks and to try to get schools within an area to take holidays at different times; therefore spreading the demand and forcing the tourism providers to reduce the cost as the demand will not so high and will be more evenly spread if the holiday period is spread over a longer period of time. This is also thought to help parents cope with the constant battle of expensive child care and holiday camps during the holidays. What has the world come to when you get fined for going on holiday! Καλό Πάσχα (Kalo Pascha)/Happy Easter and enjoy the April edition of MICE & TOURISM around the World e-Magazine Caroline-Artemis Laspas co-founder and editor


MICE & TOURISM Around The World e-Magazine the global monthly e-magazine for m.i.c.e., tourism, business travel, exhibitions, luxury travel & aviation

Founded in 1997

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AMAZING STATIONS OF THE WORLD by Caroline-Artemis Laspas


As travellers exploring the world, or attending events and business exhibitions, we have all, at one time or another, taken the local rail or metro network to get ourselves from the airport to the city centre, or elsewhere. Across the world there are 160 metro and subway systems which are new, old and being expanded and renovated to meet the ever growing need of increased passenger numbers. For years the Tokyo subway was the world’s busiest with 8.7 million people riding the network daily, but over the years, China has well and truly overtaken the top position with the Beijing metro network seeing almost 10 million riders per day, while Shanghai caters for over 9 million passengers per day. Most of us will not have taken any notice of the decoration of the station we pass through, but that is about to change! In this article we look at some of the most beautiful metro stations around the world, highlighted for their striking decoration and use of light and design features. Never again will you just pass through a station without taking a look at its decoration! Your visit to the metro will be a reason to travel on the local metro line!

Moscow, Russia Kievskaya Metro Station Moscow’s underground is over 80 years old, and carries up to 9 million passengers through its 200 or more stations every day. Many stations highlight the architecture and decor which until now showcases Soviet artists, ideals, and icons. We will be amazed at the fabulous frescoes and imposing grandness of the decoration which makes it one of the most elaborate and extravagant underground stations, dedicated to the friendship between the Russian and Ukrainian people.

Visit Armenia

T he Se va na va nk Mo na s t e r y Se va n , Ar me ni a

Stockholm, Sweden Solna Station Over 90 of the 100 stations in the 110km network are works of art, giving the network the title of ‘the world’s longest art gallery’. Each station has been decorated with paintings, installations, mosaics and sculptures by 150 artists since the 1950s.


Paris, France Arts et Métiers Station

Art s e t Mé t i e rs St a t io n , Pa ri s , F ra nc e

This station has been inspired by the author Jules Verne. The 800 studded copper panels covering the walls are reminiscent of the Nautilus, the vessel in Jules Verne’s classic novels 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1869) and The Mysterious Island (1874). From station signs to furnishings, everything was specially designed to blend. Exhibits from the Museum of Arts and Crafts can be seen via the 11 brass-framed portholes along the platform.

Shanghai, China Bund Sightseeing Tunnel The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel takes you under the Huangpu River connecting the Bund and Lujiazui Area of Pudong District. It is a virtual facility under the ground and offers a memorable ride with special multimedia effects. The compartments of the maglev train are transparent, allowing for a 360° view.

St. Petersburg, Russia Avtovo Metro Station St. Petersburg’s network dates from the 1950s, and is full of ornate decoration, crystal chandeliers and decadent marble; it is a stunning example of the Soviet era. However, Avtovo Station is the most elegant, which carries over 2.5 million passengers a day across its 67 stations. Bund Si g ht s e e i ng T unne l , Sha ng ha i , Chi na

Naples, Italy University Of Naples Subway Station The new ‘Università’ subway station is the first of 5 new stations and is part of the ‘Art Stations’ designed by internationally renowned architects.

The station offers spaces that embody the knowledge and language of the new digital age, that transmit the ideas of simultaneous communication, innovation and mobility, ideas which characterise the 3rd Technical Revolution.

Avt o vo Me t ro St a t i o n, St . Pe t e rs b urg , Rus s i a


AMAZING STATIONS OF THE WORLD

Athens, Greece Acropolis Station After exploring the magnificence of the Parthenon, heading underground at Acropolis Metro Station gives you a further insight into the splendour of the sculptures that once adorned this ancient monument. The ticket halls have detailed reproductions of the Elgin Marbles, among other beautiful items found during the excavation of the site.

Budapest, Hungary Tilework In Szent Gellért Square The Szent Gellért Tér station is located on the Buda side of the Danube and is the deepest station on the M4 line. Artist Tamás Komoróczky was commissioned to design the mosaic interior decoration of the inner platform below the University of Technology and Economics.

T i l e w o rk In Sze nt G e l l é rt Sq ua re , Bud a p e s t , Hung a ry

Lisbon, Portugal Olaias Station On Lisbon Metro’s Red Line you will find the Olaias Station. Almost unassuming from the outside, once underground, you feel you are inside a giant kaleidoscope. The huge, multi-level concourse is decorated with an abundance of coloured glass panels, which are lit from behind so that they glow.

O l a i a s St at i o n , Li s bo n, Po rt ug a l

www.bmlinternational.co.uk


Kaohsiung, Taiwan Formosa Boulevard Station This station is ranked the 2nd most beautiful metro station in the world and definitely has to be seen! The station is known for its ‘Dome of Light’, the largest glass work in the world at 30m in diameter and covering an area of 2,180sq.m, made up of 4,500 glass panels Me t ro Sta t i o n Pl a c Wi l so na, Wa rs a w , Po l a nd

Warsaw, Poland Metro Station Plac Wilsona This modern, clean, network has won an architecture award. Its looks like a giant oyster shell or the inside of an UFO and easily is one of the most impressive metro stations in Europe.

Munich, Germany Westfriedhof (Munich U-Bahn) This station sees 11 large lamps measuring 3.80m in diameter bathe the station in blue, red and yellow light. This constracts spectacularly with the rough surfaces of the tunnel walls. So, next time you take a trip to anywhere, make sure you include a trip underground to the local metro, you may be surprised by what you find!

www.bmlinternational.co.uk


T ourism N ews…


SCHENGEN VISA REFORM Proposals from the European Commission on changes to the Schengen Visa process in light of increasing tourists arriving from China and India as well as other Asian visarequiring countries, are hoped to be approved and implemented quickly. The proposals are: Faster and more flexible procedures: A visa application decision time to be reduced from 15 to 10 days. Also travellers can submit their applications up to 6 months in advance of their trip, instead of the current 3 months. Applications will be completed electronically. Multiple entry visas with longer validity: These visas will be issued to trusted regular travellers with a good visa history for validity increasing from 1-5 years. Travellers will still have to meet entry conditions and have frequent verification. Short-term visas at external borders: To facilitate short-term tourism, Member States will be allowed to issue single-entry visas directly at external land and sea borders under temporary, seasonal schemes subject to strict conditions. These visas will be valid for 7 days max. for a stay in the issuing Member State only. The visa fee will increase from UK£52, (EU€60) to UK£70, (EU€80) with additional funding going towards reinforcing security. The increase will allow Member States to maintain consular staff worldwide, provide stronger security screenings, as well as upgrade IT equipment and software. BRITISH TOURISM READY FOR BOOMING 2018 2017 saw a record year for tourism in the UK with international arrivals rising by 4.6% from 38.5 million in 2016 to 40.3 million in 2017. One reason for this is the fall in the value of the UK pound making the UK a more affordable destination. European travellers increased with arrivals from France, Germany, Spain, Ireland and Romania increasing, as well as from further afield from the US and Australia. Across the UK tourism business and tourism boards have launched enticing campaigns to attract even more arrivals. Visit Scotland is promoting the ‘Year of young people for 2018’. Tourism Ireland has launched a new campaign called ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ promoting the longest coastal drive in the world. The Wales Tourism Board celebrate the ‘Year of the Sea’, promoting 3 new national coastal routes. And more promotion to come!

TOURISM ACCOUNTS FOR 1 IN 5 NEW JOBS In 2017, jobs in the travel and tourism sector accounted for 7 million new jobs around the world; or one in 5 jobs, a World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) study shows. The Tourism sector grew by 4.6%, 50% faster than the world economy in 2017. Europe’s performance in the sector saw 4.8% growth due to increased long-haul demand, strong intra-regional travel and a tough European economy. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) confirmed that European airlines recorded passenger growth of 8.1% and over 1 billion passengers for the 1st time. In 2017 the sector directly or indirectly contributed UK£5.90, (EU€6.75) trillion to global GDP (10.4%), accounted for 313 million jobs or one in 10 worldwide, and generated UK£1.07, (EU€1.22) trillion in exports (6.5% of total exports and 28.8% of global services exports). Travel and tourism accounted for UK£627, (EU€716) billion worth of investment, which was 4.5% of total investment. The 2018 forecast is for continued growth but at a slower pace. Tourism is set to grow by 3.8% per year over the next 10 years and by 2028 to support over 400 million jobs globally; 1 in 9 of all jobs worldwide, representing 25% of new job creation over the next decade.


THE PRINCIPAL LONDON OPENS THIS MONTH!

The Principal London Hotel is to open on 16 April following an UK£85 (EU€97) million refurbishment to restore it to its former glory (it was the former Hotel Russell). It is a Grade II listed building located in Russell Square in London. This historic hotel first opened in 1898, where visitors are met by statues 4 iconic British Queens – Elizabeth I, Mary II, Anne and Victoria. Combining the striking original features with elegant contemporary interiors the hotel provides stylish luxury and functionality for guests. The hotel’s also offer impressive events space, well-equipped for both business and leisure. The ballroom has capacity for 450 and has been beautifully restored. There are also 8 meeting and events spaces ranging in capacity from 6-90; each finished to high standards and incorporates the latest AV technology, supported by the company’s innovative Smart Space meetings concept. Guests can enjoy a range of dining and entertaining options. At the heart of The Principal London is the Palm Court, a 'living room' for Londoners and hotel guests alike. Burr & Co., a coffeehouse, will be open for breakfast and throughout the day, whilst Fitz’s bar is the perfect backdrop for glamorous evening drinks. Neptune restaurant, in partnership with Brett Redman and Margaret Crow, will appeal to foodies and fashionistas alike; quirky and full of theatre. FEW PLACES TO NEVER TAKE A SELFIE Trying to take a selfie on the move usually involves knocking into someone because you are not look where you are going or paying attention to the real world around you. Here is where to be careful: • Beaches with Nudity; whether topless or totally nude, travellers have the right to do so on designated beaches, and you have the right to take selfies, but do not assume other travellers are happy to be in your photos. Find a stunning spot for your photo by respecting other beacher-goers. • Religious sites; many are simply stunning in décor or architecture, but these places are sacred and many do not allow photos to be taken. Be it a church, mosque, temple or other sacred site taking a photo is fine, but not a selfie. Respect the site, it might not be sacred to you but to others it is and your snapping selfies will disturb those praying or sitting in peace. Photograph the interior and take a selfie outside. • If take a selfie with an animal, make sure you are far away from it or there is glass betwe en you and it! Due to increasing incidents, there are more bans on taking selfies with animals. Selfie-mad tourists increasingly endangering animals and themselves just for a vacation memento. • This has to be an obvious one; keep away from the edges of mountains, cliffs and other potential death localities. Pay attention to where you are in relation to the edge of the cliff. It may have been a long journey to this stunning place, but if you are tired, you may not be concentrating; just stay away from the edge! ROYAL CARIBBEAN TAKES DELIVERY OF WORLD'S LARGEST CRUISE SHIP Cruise liner, Royal Caribbean will soon break its own record of owning the world’s largest cruise ship, when it takes delivery of the Symphony of the Seas, being bigger than the current Harmony of the Seas. The ships measures 72m tall, 362m long and 66m wide, offering 16 decks. The Symphony of the Seas took 3 years to build and can carry 5,518 guests at double occupancy (surpassing the capacity of 5,479 on Harmony of the Seas), with 2,759 staterooms. It offers 10-storey Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea, an additional 28 balcony rooms that overlook the ocean or signature Boardwalk neighbourhood and a multi-storey Ultimate Family Suite (complete with a slide connecting the kids' room to the family room). There is also a Perfect Storm waterslide trio and 20 on -board restaurants, as well as 7 ‘neighbourhoods’ include a central park, with living trees. It 1st year will be based in Europe with ports of call at Ba rcelona, Provence, Florence, Rome and Naples, before sailing to Miami's new cruise terminal in Port Miami.


EGYPT’S HURGHADA SEES RETURN OF BRITISH TOURISTS Official figures from Egypt’s Tourist Authority confirm that 61,481 travellers from the UK visit Egypt in the first 2 months of 2018, a rise of nearly 40% compared to the 2017 figures. This is the general trend with an upturn in more arrivals from many nations, but significantly from the UK. During 2017, UK tourists to Egypt reached 319,388, an increase of 38% on the previous year. Arrivals rose in all inbound markets by 53% year-on-year, following a difficult time for Egypt in recent years. The increase in arrivals is also due to increase flights into Egypt. Egypt as a whole has much to offer, but for winter sun, the Red Sea coastal town of Hurghada, a state-of-the-art beach destination catering to sun and sea seekers, with bustling markets and buzzing nightlife alongside world-class resorts and unique diving experiences has caught the eye of many UK travellers. It is slowly becoming the new Sharm El Sheikh, which saw a suspension of flights from the UK in October 2015 following the crash of a Russian Metrojet aircraft. Other than the Red Sea, the city of Luxor remains a popular UK tourist destination. It would seem that Egypt’s comeback is now due st with major hotel openings this year; the 1 Waldorf Astoria in West Africa, Egypt’s 1st St. Regis property to open in 2019 and the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum due at the end of 2018 proves that Egypt is ready to welcome back global tourists and continue its rise as a top tourist destination in North Africa. NOBU HOTELS TARGETING TO OPEN 20 HOTELS BY 2020 With 7 hotels currently open and 8 new hotels opening this year and next, Nobu Hospitality is on track to have 20 Nobu Hotels globally by 2020. Nobu Hotels was founded in 2009 after extending the Nobu Restaurant brand into a global lifestyle hospitality brand. Nobu Hotels was founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper - who are currently celebrating 25 years in the hospitality industry after the opening of the 1st Nobu restaurant in 1994. Nobu Hotel Shoreditch City, London, UK

Fundamental to the brand is customer content. Content creates memorable experiences and Nobu’s intention is nothing less than to stir the industry with new and exciting product but more so it’s what our customer says about it that matters. Nobu is not a carbon copy of the 1st and each hotel is fully engaged with locality. Every property mirrors the personality of that given destination, bringing in visitors whilst simultaneously tapping into the local market. Newly opened, Nobu Ryokan Malibu and Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay have already been named as some of the world’s best new hotels. Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace Las Vegas was the 1st Nobu Hotel followed by Nobu Hotel City of Dreams Manila. Both are breakthrough hotels and form part of mega casino and entertainment destinations. Joining the portfolio in 2018 will be Nobu Hotel Palo Alto, Nobu Hotel Marbella, Nobu Hotel Riyadh, Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, Nobu Hotel Chicago and Nobu Hotel Barcelona. The two years following will see Nobu Hotel openings in Toronto, São Paulo and Atlanta. Looking ahead, Nobu Hotels will also introduce Nobu Residences in Toronto, São Paulo and Los Cabos to further exemplify the spirit of bringing in locals to the Nobu destination. Nobu has come to stand for: a place to relax, to live, and to savour an experience– all in an atmosphere charged with a sense of being a part of something rather extraordinary. KENYA’S TOURISM ARRIVAL RISE FROM EAST AFRICA Thanks in part to the open visa scheme, visitor arrivals to Kenya from East Africa has grown over the past few years. The top source market was Uganda, with growth of 20.6% to 61,542 arrivals. In 2017, Kenya saw a Tanzanian arrivals grew by an impressive 21.8% in 2017 to 21,110 compared to combined arrival of 95,845 2016. Visitors from Rwanda rose to 12,193 in 2017 from 11,658 in 2016. visitors from Uganda, The multi-entry visa scheme has been in place since 2014 and enables visitors Tanzania and Rwanda, up travelling in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda to travel across all the 3 regions using from 80,841 in 2016. a single permit that can be obtained in any of these countries.


A CORNER OF JAPAN YOU MUST DISCOVER…

OTARU by Dimitri Laspas

T he Otaru Ca nal, Hokkaido, Japan


T he Otaru Ca nal, Hokkaido, Japan

A visit to Japan is a trip of a lifetime for many people and it will mostly include a vis it to Tokyo and maybe include an adventure further afield to Osaka or Kyoto, perhaps to Okinawa but one place you must also include on your list is the wonderful city of Otaru, located on the west of Hokkaido island, in the north of Japan. You may not have heard much about it, if at all, but Otaru was the financial capital of Hokkaido Island with a wealthy trading port conducting business with Russia and China in the early 20th century. Such was its importance that it was chosen as the terminal station of Hokkaido's 1st railway line and connected with the capital, Sapporo, which today, is just half an hour by train.

Commonly known as the ‘Venice of Japan’ Otaru has preserved its historic and picturesque canals allowing its past history to be seen and enjoyed today via a glimpse into the past as you walk among the old warehouses and port buildings, giving a very different charm from other Japanese towns. Once a bustling trading and fishing port, the beautiful canal area, which once served for the docking and loading of supplies onto boats, is now wonderfully presevered and gives Otaru a great atmosphere unlike anywhere else in Japan. It is a top domestic tourist destination and increasingly for ‘those in the know’, internationally, who want to see a deeper Japan than the standard tourist hot spots.

Otaru ha rbour, Hokkaido, Japan

Many of the buildings in Otaru are western in design rather than Japanese, due to the huge prospering of the town with much investment from international traders. Many of these buildings can be seen along the town's central canal. With the installation of larger dock facilities over time, the canal area was no longer used and so it was renovated and became a top tourist spot for the city, with warehouses made into museums, cafes, restaurants and shops.

Just along the coast at Shukutsu are the elegant ‘Herring Mansions’ and ‘Herring Villas’ which were once the homes of the wealthy fish company owners tapping into the abundant herring fish shouls fished off the coast and who helped make Otaru the prosperous city it was during the 1880s and onwards.


Sakaimachi Street is a preserved merchant street in the centre of town. Again the western style of architecture can be found here with old warehouses now serving tourists in the form of restaurants, shops and boutiques, all of which were once the bustling offices of big shipping and trade companies. The street is home to a number of wonderful museums too; including a very unique Glass Workshop. Once the producers of glass buoys for local boats, following the decline in the 1950’s of the Herring fishing industry, the glass makers decided to continue using their skills but for the production of refined glassware. Today, Otaru is very famous for its glassware and attracts many tourists to its shops and workshops. There are also opportunities for visitors to try making their own glassware too. The Music Box Museum consists of several buildings, one with all kinds of music boxes on display, while another is a large shop full of all kinds of music boxes for sale.

T he Museum of Ve netian Art, Otaru, Japa n

The Museum of Venetian Art occupies a 5 storey buidling dedicated to all the arts of Venice from displays of venitian glass, clothes and furniture. The highlight has to be the full size Italian Gondola! The Bank of Japan Museum dates back to 1912, but became a museum on 2003. Here you can see the history of the branch and learn all about Japanese money. Any visit must also include a visit to an old vault where visitors can feel the weight of a hundred million yen! T he Bank of Japan Muse um, ceil ing, Otatu, Japan


T he Stained Glass Museum, Ot aru, Japa n


A CORNER OF JAPAN YOU MUST DISCOVER… OTARU

T he Nikka Whisk y Yoic hi Distille ry, Yoichi, Hokkaido, Japan

In a restored warehouse is the ‘Otaru Museum’ which dates back to 1893 and has displays of Hokkaido's indigenous Ainu, natural history and the herring fishing industry. Close to Otaru at Yoichi is the ‘Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery’. The museum tells the story of how whisk ey came to Japan thanks to Mr. Masataka Taketsuru, who studied whisky making in Scotland before returning to Hokkaido Island with his Scottish wife, and setting up the distillery in 1934. The couple are considered the founders of Japanese whisky and today, Nikka produces some of the world's best whisky.

T he Nitori Otaru Art Base , Otaru, Ja pan

Otaru also has several interesting venues to host incentives and events, like the Nitori Otaru Art Base, a consisting of 4 historical buildings with a versatile garden. The ‘Stained Glass Museum’ (former Takahashi Warehouse), sees displays of actually stained glass parts from church fixtures in England, crafted between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Purely due to fate, these rescued works of art have found their way to Japan. Some pieces are inscribed with words and pictures that tell the history from the flourishing reign of Queen Victoria, through the Edwardian Period, and into the era after WW1.

The Former Mitsui Bank Otaru Branch, one of the 25 banks that ran the wealth of the city during its peak, offers a Renaissance exterior made of bold stonework, while inside you find hallways that encircle the vaulted ceiling and beautiful plaster sculp tures that adorn the ceiling. It offers an elegant and dignified atmosphere of an old bank building for an unusual event setting. Nitori Museum of Art (Former Hokkaido Takushoku Bank Otaru Branch) has a beautiful vaulted ceiling in the foyer that reaches up to the 2nd floor and is supported by 6 impressive th ancient columns. The 4 floor displays rd Japanese paintings, while the 3 floor displays Western art by Japanese and other artists. Host your event in this most stunning setting. The Old Aoyama Villa was home to the Aoyama family, who made their money during the herring fishing boom. An event here allows you to feel the history of Otaru’s prosperity. The city also offers a good selection of high quality hotels with various meeting facilities to host events. So, whether an incentive excursion from Sapporo or the destination for your next event, Otaru offers beautiful surroundings, full of history and charm mixing an atmosphere of western and Japanese cultures. It is a must!


A sia N ews‌

T he rice field, Vietna m


VIETNAM’S TOURISM NEEDS URGENT REFORM TO TAKE OFF The rapid increase in the number of visitors to Vietnam in the short term has put the industry under great pressure in terms of transport infrastructure, human resources and destination management capacity. Vietnam’s tourism industry is booming, but in order to keep up with high international standards, it needs to reform the sector to continue its growth as it becomes a leading economic pillar of the economy. In 2017, almost 13 million foreign tourists came to Vietnam, earning the country over UK£15.70, (EU€17.85) billion, up 30% and 20% respectively from 2016 figures. Over the past 10 years, international visitors have tripled with revenue increasing by 9 times. Vietnam’s tourism is ranked 6th in the top 10 fastest growing tourism destinations globally and was awarded the best performer in Asia in 2017. Tourism contributed 7.5% to the nation’s GDP in 2017. It hopes to welcome 17-20 million foreign arrivals and 82 million domestic tourists by 2020. Tourism revenue is predicted to reach UK£25, (EU€28.40) billion, contributing 10% to GDP, while creating 4 million jobs, including 1.6 million direct jobs. If Vietnam is going to cater for predicted growth it needs to solve various problems, like overloaded airports, lack of adequate human resource and public management capacity in destinations. If these are not amended, it will affect service quality. Half the foreign arrivals of 2017 flew into Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Min City. Built to accommodate 25 million passengers per year, 32 million travelled through it in 2016! T he Pa g od a T ra n Q uo c . Ha no i - Vi e t na m

The World Economic Forum ranks Vietnam’s tourist service infrastructure at 113th out of 136 economies, airport infrastructure 61st, ground traffic 71st, IT platform 80th, clean and safe environment 82nd and international openness 73rd. Visas are another area for improvement. It currently has visa waivers for visitors from 24 countries, but electronic visas requests are waivered for citizens of 46 countries. This is a low number compared to neighbouring Thailand (67 countries visa waiver) and Indonesia waives visa for citizens of 169 countries. The system is also not user friendly. The private and public sectors of tourism need to work together more collectively for a more dedicated international promotion. There have been some successful regional tourism brands like the connection of the 8 Northwestern provinces and cluster of the 3 central provinces (Thua Thien-Hue, Da Nang and Quang Nam). Vietnam aims to welcome approximately 16 million foreign visitors, 80 million domestic arrivals and UK£19, (EU€22) billion in total tourism revenue in 2018. ISRAEL FOCUS ON NEGEV DESERT A media campaign has been launched to promote the spectacular Negev Desert in Israel. Israel's Ministry of Tourism #PopUpOasis campaign was presented in 22 in countries including Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Finland, under the slogan ‘Negev: Pure Desert Magic’. As part of a plan to increase visitors to the Negev from 5% of all tourists to 20% over the next few years, as well as the number of rooms rising from the current 2,000 to around 5,000 in 6-7 years.

T he Ne g e v d e se rt , Is ra e l

Investment in the regions tourism infrastructure is also underway to include tourist attractions, walking and biking trails, and more. The Negev offers a value for money winter holiday for Europeans with only a short flight thanks to increased connectivity to Ovdah by low cost airlines. STB & CLIA AGREE 3-YEAR PARTNERSHIP Si ng a po re Crui s e t e rmi na l TO FOCUS ON ASEAN CRUISING The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) are to work together to over the next 3 years with the aim of developing the fast-growing cruising industry in Singapore and South-east Asia. This is the global cruise association’s 1st collaboration with a NTO in Asia-Pacific. Both STB and CLIA will tap their complementary strengths to undertake travel agent training, increase destination marketing efforts, encourage regional port development and exchange technical and regulatory best practices. Travel agent training is a priority in cruise markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia and India as the majority of cruise bookings are made through travel agents, such training sessions aim to enhance travel agents’ cruise sales skills and knowledge of South -east Asia cruises. The collaboration will ship will make use of CLIA’s professional training capabilities and STB’s travel trade networks in the region. Cruising in South-east Asia is growing fast with CLIA’s most recent Asia Cruise Trends, showing that Sou th-east Asia contributed close to 15% of Asia’s passengers.


WAT PHRA DHAMMAKAYA A TEMPLE OUT OF SPACE? Wat Phra Dhammakaya is a vast temple covering 1,000 acres in Bangkok, Thailand. Despite its size, it is little known of around the world. Dhammakaya is famous for its huge ceremonies that can include the attendance of hundreds of thousands or even over a million people. Dhammakaya differs from the smaller more cosy temples found all over Thailand as its famous for its emphasis on orderliness, and the discipline of Dhammakaya monastics, who even walk in formation. Attendees to the temple should wear white to represent purity and to keep things orderly. Wat Phra Dhammakaya Temple holds the ritual of the twilight sunset, attended by all the monks, who all hold candles and wait for the light of each candle to shine. The circular gates of the monastery incorporate 30,000 fine Buddha statues, and in the middle of the pagoda, there are 70,000 statues of Buddha. One ritual is called ‘Manichean’, which sees over 3,000 Tan Tan dressed in white uniforms line up in military fashion, creating a line of people. From the bright lights and other devices placed above the top of their heads, they make t he crane. Then the Tan Tan will in turn bring gifts to their own home. Wat Phra Dhammakaya Monastery was built in 1970 with the aim to spread their religious ideas to the local people. Until now, for the people of Bangkok in particular and the Buddhists across the world in general, this is a very popular Buddhist place of worship. POTENTIAL TOURIST HUB: SIHANOUKVILLE CAMBODIA

The coastal town of Sihanoukville could become the next Cancun (the Mexican resort hub). Before it was developed, it was a poor region and unsafe; now it’s an international best-seller destination. The same can be true for Sihanoukville with the right development. It could be a destination for travellers from East Asia seeking a temperate climate on holiday. It could become the major growth factor for Cambodia. With the Chinese outbound tourism market dominating arrivals in places like Thailand, Hong Kong and Macau, Sihanoukville can become a magnet for Chinese tourists too. Huge amounts of infrastructure would be needed, but the land is there and the workforce to do it is there too. Other places have successfully developed from nothing to become tourism hotspots like Da Nang in Vietnam, which is now a tourism hub. It seems that connectivity is underway with the building of a 4-lane highway that connects Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. In addition, private investment is beginning to be developed in the area with property and casinos opening. With the new Sihanoukville International Airport a significant rise in foreign arrivals from China, Vietnam, Russia and the West are being noted. So, watch this space, watch Sihanoukville – the next top destination by 2020!


CHINESE TO DEVELOP KHONEPHAPHENG AREA, CHAMPASACK PROVINCE, LAOS A large Chinese development project around the famous Khonephapheng waterfall in Champasack Province, Laos, is being planned. Called the Khonephapheng Special Economic Zone (SEZ), would see the construction of hotels and restaurants, a shopping centre, and other peripheral tourism businesses. Plans include the building to be constructed in the shape of the ‘khaen’, a traditional Lao mouth organ, that has UNESCO status for world heritage. An alternative plan would see the building in the shape of a tip ‘khao’, or sticky rice container, which is another iconic piece of Lao cultural heritage. The project has been approved by provincial authorities, who have allocated over 7,000 hectares of land for the project. The project will help improve the livelihoods of local people and would boost tourism in the region. Phase 1 would be from 2018 to 2025, and include infrastructure like roads, water systems and drainage. Phase 2 would include an airport to facilitate the expected number of tourists and business people.

AVANI HOTELS AND RESORTS 3RD PROPERTY AVANI Hotels & Resorts is to open its 3rd Bangkok hotel; the newly-built 382-room AVANI Sukhumvit Bangkok, is schedule to open at the end of the year. AVANI Sukhumvit Bangkok Hotel addresses every detail that matter for guests, starting with the AVANI designed Living Spaces, to an all-day dining restaurant, modern event spaces, or spacious meeting rooms, to an inviting AVANISPA, as well as flexible AVANIFIT gym. This new upscale Bangkok hotel will offer stylishly designed rooms and suites with sweeping views of the city. Each room and suite will be fitted with the latest amenities for guest comfort an ease. The hotel will be part of the Century The Movie Plaza 2 retail complex and in an area with much to offer. For guests looking for adventure a short walk to a boat ride along the Phra Khanong Canal, will allow them to discover local Buddhist temples, Chinese shrines and Muslim mosques rarely visited by outsiders. MAKING KYRGYZSTAN A TOURIST HUB THROUGH WILDLIFE PROTECTION The Kyrgyz Republic can further develop its tourism T he O p e ra ho us e , Bi s hk e k , Kyrg yzs t a n along the lines that Nepal did by promoting the preservation of native animals, like the snow leopard. As a result Nepal saw a great influx of tourists from all over the world who want to catch a glimpse of these rare creatures. Kyrgyzstan is in a good geographical position, but currently has little connectivity with the rest of the world. Again a comparison to the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu is now a big hub, and therefore there is no reason for Bishkek not to become the hub. KERALA TO OPEN SEVERAL BARS TO BOOST TOURISM A new law now means that 3* hotels in the panchayats region with 10,000 population can get a liquor licence to open a bar. This could mean up to 150 new bars opening soon. In addition, places that have been decla red as tourism centres by the Tourism Department, can also now gain a licence to open a bar. This new law comes after many bars had closed in April last year when the Supreme Court banned liquor outlets within 500m of national and state highways. This was then partly reversed in June 2017, claiming it caused job losses and a decline in the tourism industry. It allowed the sale of Indian -made foreign liquor in hotels with 3 and 4*ratings, which led to about 200 bars to open. Now with the new law in place a f urther 150 bars are expected to reopen.


An Interview with… MRS. RAMUNE BALNIONYTE Managing Director & Owner of Eventas UAB Mrs. Ramune Balnionyte, the Managing Director and Owner of Eventas UAB , a successful PCO&AMC agency in Kaunas, Lithuania, tells us about her success, the agency history, her plans and the present state of Lithuania’s tourism and M.I.C.E sector and where the country’s tourism industry stands! Lithuania is now developing strategies to position itself on the international tourism and M.I.C.E destination map and Kaunas, the second largest City of the country, is playing a big role in the MICE industry. This interview has been presented by Dimitri Laspas, founder of the MICE & TOURISM Around The World e-Magazine, London, UK

But Scientific Medical Conferences are my passion. They are totally different if comparing to festive events or so called pop-up culture events. I love the audience we are working with, I believe we are doing a very important job by creating a platform where important decisions can be made; sometimes, even changing someone’s life. So, these two moments, (the audience and the importance) make us be creative, professional, precise and concentrated.

Can you please tell us, how you got into the MICE industry? My first experience as an event and marketing manager was at the biggest hotel in the city, which let me learn a lot about the subtleties of the hospitality industry. My speciality is marketing and advertising, so after the hotel I worked for five years as the head of marketing for one of the biggest pharmaceutical trading companies in Europe. After gaining the experience, skills and knowledge I decided to combine everything together and that’s how something courageous and amazing was born. Starting in late 2014 we had already organised more than 70 conferences – it’s a large number for a young and small company. And yes, I am very proud of the job we’ve managed to do so far. What is it about the industry that attracted you the most and led you to continue your career path? As I’ve mentioned before, I was an experienced event and marketing manager, so I had many different types of events in my career.

What can Eventas offer more than any other PCO company in Kaunas and the rest of Lithuania? I think, the main reason why clients choose us is our work attitude. We plan, coordinate, manage and take care of events from the beginning till the end. We love what we do, so we try to implement every event in an impeccable, unique and easy flowing way. We are flexible and able to hear our clients’ needs and so we strive to give them the outstanding service and to surprise every time. At Eventas, our main goal is to be better tomorrow than we are today!

www. eventas.lt


After organising many successful events, can you tell us how you see the Lithuanian MICE industry and how you believe it could be improved. The MICE industry in Lithuania over the past few years has been growing and I think that this is only the beginning. I feel that Lithuania at the moment is a very interesting country for Europeans and the rest of the world.

The participants will all gather in one place and later they will visit different meeting areas. It means they will have great possibilities for networking as well as exploring our wonderful city.

We have a lot to offer, I can guarantee fine services, quality at lower costs than in Western Europe. Being the geographical centre of Europe – it is never more than three hours away from any European destination by air. We have a big choice of hotels and well known hotel chains at reasonable prices, twenty more hotels are opening this year. Lithuania is one of the safest countries in the world; there is less than 3% risk of being harmed by an earthquake, storm, flood or drought here. Our country is very green and with the cleanest air of all major EU cities; drinking water is among the cleanest in Europe. And so on. If you like, I can give you a few words about us just to have an impression: fresh – green – modern – professional – fine quality – lower costs – centre of Europe – ready! If we are talking about improvements, there is always something to do to be better. For example, I would be more than happy if we could have our own national airline company in order to have more directs flights to and from Lithuania, but it is not an easy task. Or we could do better in communicating about our country into the worldwide market, which is actually getting better and better every year. But in the end, it looks like we have to be patient and all do our best for the country every day. Can you tell us about your latest and forthcoming events that you are handling in Kaunas? We are looking forward and are very proud about the 7th Baltic Congress of Radiology, which will take place in Kaunas, 4-6 October, 2018. The first Baltic Congress of Radiology supported by the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Associations of Radiology took place in 2006 in Kaunas. So it is great it is coming back to the city. The Congress will bring around 700 radiology specialists from the Baltic Sea Region and other parts of Europe. Regular meetings are valuable platforms to share scientific and clinical achievements, as well as to establish necessary contacts for cooperation, and solving mutual general questions. We’ve designed a unique social programme for the Congress delegates so they can get to know more about Kaunas and its role as the historic capital of Lithuania that developed its modernist architecture in parallel with other European cities during the interwar period.

Last but not least, can you tell us about Kaunas as a destination for business leisure and for MICE; about the city, its attractions and facilities, so our readers can consider Kaunas as their next destination for events or business leisure. Kaunas is the second largest city in Lithuania which in 2015 was granted the sign of European heritage and included into the list of UNESCO design cities. Nowadays – this is an exceptional inheritance, witnessing the golden period of flourishment of the city, when Kaunas as a historical capital of Lithuania developed its modernistic architecture in parallel with other European cities. In Lithuania, modernistic architecture developed into its own specific form and is therefore called the Kaunas school of architecture. Also Kaunas is a very green and compact city, where you can reach any object in 15–20 minutes. We are proud of a huge variety of interesting museums and romantic parks. Do not miss a chance to visit the confluence of two rivers and our wonderful Pazaislis Monastery and Church situated on the coast of Kaunas reservoir.

www.miceandtourismaroundtheworld.com


M ICE & E vents N ews‌

Tokyo Metropolitan Go ve rnme nt Buil ding, Japan


Tokyo and the Imperial Palace, Japa n

BESTCITIES GLOBAL FORUM HELPS ASSOCIATIONS BUILD ‘GLOBAL CONNECTIONS ACROSS CULTURES’.

Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau (TCVB) successfully hosted the 4 day BestCities Global Forum in Tokyo recently. 95% of delegates reported that the Forum met or exceeded their expectations, while 100% of delegates surveyed agreed that they would recommend attending BestCities’ 2018 event to other international association delegates. Jointly hosted by the BestCities Global Alliance and its partner TCVB, the theme of the Forum was ‘Building Global Connections Across Cultures’. Led by a range of internationally respected consultants and industry leaders, the packed programme combined engaging educational lectures with interactive workshops. Visiting delegates were hosted at the luxury Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, where they enjoyed the very best of Japanese efficient service and warm hospitality. Delegates also learned about the exciting opportunities for the meeting industry presented by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. BestCities Global Forum 2018 will take place in Bogotá, Columbia in December, with the theme ‘Power of People’. It is open to senior executives of associations (or AMCs representing associations) that are considering hosting international business events whose location will rotate among the 12 BestCities Global Alliance partner cities: Berlin, Bogotá, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Houston, Madrid, Melbourne, Singapore, Tokyo and Vancouver. ICCA UK & IRELAND CHAPTER LAUNCHES MILLENNIALS COMPETITION The UK and Ireland Chapter of ICCA welcomed more than 100 people to its annual debate recently in Belfast hosted by VisitBelfast and BelfastWaterfront. Delegates gathered to discuss ongoing changes in the international association market. Titled ‘The business environment is changing – are you?’, debate included the launch of a competition to engage more closely with the industry’s millennials, who will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. The competition has been launched in partnership with Emirates airlines who are offering return flights to the 2018 ICCA Congress in Dubai, registration for which will be provided by the UK & Ireland Chapter. SUCCESS AT 7TH B2B TRAVEL EVENT THESSALONIKI For the 7th consecutive year, B2B Travel Event Thessaloniki 2018 was hosted by Respond On Demand, a tourism marketing company. More than 30 representatives from travel agencies, associations and MICE organisers from 12 countries chose to travel to Thessaloniki to participate in B2B meetings with Greek tourism companies. For 2 days, in a highly professional environment, at the Mediterranean Palace Hotel, a member of The Luxury Hotels, the guest buyers explored the possibilities of cooperation and expansion of their activities in Greece. More than 700 personal meetings were held where Greek tourism companies presented their infrastructure and services to potential buyers. "B2B Travel Event Thessaloniki has been established to promote not only the city but also Greece in general to the target audience of tourist offices. This gives us strength and vision to try for an even bigger event, "said Maria Athanasopoulou, President of Respond On Demand Ltd. Preparations for B2B Travel Event Thessaloniki 2019 have already begun with the aim of attracting more buyers and applying innovations to the event.

www.miceandtourismaroundtheworld.com


HELSINKI ATTRACTS RECORD CONGRESS VISITORS Helsinki succeeded in attracting more congress visitors in 2017 than in any previous year. The number of international association meetings increased by almost a third compared to 2016. Helsinki is currently the most popular congress city in the entire Nordic Region. Helsinki hosted a total of 367 international association meetings that were attended by almost 72,000 congress visitors last year. Helsinki is a forerunner in the congress industry also in terms of sustainable development. The Global Destination Sustainability Index measures the environmental deeds of cities and the performance of their local convention bureaus. According to the latest GDS rankings Helsinki is ranked in 6th position. Helsinki is working hard to stand out from the competition by developing digital tourism services. A new MyHelsinki.fi website now serves visitors in 6 languages. In addition, a new mini programme for Chinese visitors is now available and Helsinki will continue to work closely with Chinese internet service giant Tencent to further develop the application. T he Finlandia Hall Congress Cent er, Hel nsink i, Finla nd

THE HAGUE CONVENTION BUREAU TAKES SILVER AWARDS FOR BEST OVERSEAS CONVENTION BUREAU The Hague Convention Bureau (THCB), has won the Silver Award by M&IT securing prestigious recognition as an excellent Overseas Convention Bureau. THCB has the goal of strengthening The Hague’s presence internationally, making the city one of the top 50 event destinations worldwide. Winning the Silver M&IT Award is, therefore, a highly valued international recognition of the efforts in this direction. 9,000 ATTEND BUSINESS TRAVEL SHOW 2018 Over 9,000 business travel professionals from all over Europe gathered to do business at Olympia for the 24th Business Travel Show. Attendance increased by 6% year on year and the 5th consecutive annual rise. There was also a record hosted buyer attendance, up at least 4% on last year’s 429. Around 260 companies exhibited at the show, many with a bigger presence and showcasing some amazingly creative stands. The Launchpad returned for a 3rd year, providing a valuable springboard for 8 exciting start-ups, and this year’s Business Travel Disrupt Award was won in a fiercely contested sixway battle by TroopTravel, which optimises travel to a common location for groups of friends or colleagues. FlightSayer, which analyses data to forecast flight delays, came a close 2nd. The conference programme saw over 60 sessions and 150 speakers. MeetGB 2018 The new flagship MICE event taking place in London from 19-20 April 2018. After a successful launch of the Business Events networking programme at ExploreGB 2017, Visit Britain and Visit England launched MeetGB. MeetGB will provide an exclusive opportunity for British tourism suppliers and destinations to meet and do business with 100+ hand-picked meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibition (MICE) buyers from North America and Europe (France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Scandinavia). Buyers will be pre-qualified to ensure that they can provide a significant amount of business to participating UK suppliers. MeetGB is open to all British conference suppliers on a first come first served basis including: DMOs/Tourist Boards, Venues/Hotels, DMCs, Events agencies, other conference product suppliers. Following the event will be a selection of fam trips to UK destinations for buyers.

www.bmlinternational.co.uk


MEKONG TOURISM FORUM 2018 Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) 2018 continues its objective from MTF 2017 to be inclusive and experiential. Similar as in Luang Prabang, where almost 50 travel operators took part to make the destination the venue, in Nakhon Phanom at MTF 2018, the destination will again be the venue. MTF 2018 will introduce the theme ‘Transforming Travel - Transforming Lives’ to open participants’ and hosts’ minds alike by connecting and learning from each other. Tourism can be an important catalyst in changing people’s lives for the better through mutual understanding. By visiting each other’s communities and exchanging ideas, the world can be a better place, and travel can be a force for good. The theme of ‘Transforming Travel - Transforming Lives’ will kick-off discussions with a halfday Conference on ‘Transformative Travel’, with a focus on Buddhist Tourism, as well as the launch of the Mekong Trends Report on Responsible Travel. By visiting and engaging with the local communities in the 8 ethnic tribal villages, the delegates will be able to interact with the local people, while the local people will be able to interact with visitors from all over the world. Normally, these engagements are staged for tourist purposes; however we would like to engage in true cultural interaction, by experimenting with a new conference theme of hosting the actual sessions together with the local communities in their ethnic villages, and have the local people participate and be part of the experience. That way, we believe the discussions can be enriched, and the experience a memorable one. In the morning, inspiring keynotes from different sectors in the tourism eco-system explore the theme of Transformative Travel in 15-min creative and engaging speeches followed by the 2nd edition of Mekong Opportunities & Threats, From Nakhon Phnom University, delegates dressed in the respective traditional shirts of each village will be transported by van to their respective ethnic village for the afternoon of eight thematic sessions, from food tourism, adventure tourism, wellness tourism, luxury tourism, religious tourism, community-based tourism, heritage & culture tourism, and meetings & events. After the session, the delegates will explore the ethnic village and immerse themselves in activities from farming to silk weaving. The Mekong Tourism Village Experience promises to be an exciting and pioneering MICE model. Delegates pay Thai Baht 1,200 to participate in the Village Experience, and all proceeds go directly to the villages to support specific projects. MTF takes place from 26-29 June in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand JAPAN NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATION OFFERS ‘MATCHMAKING’ SERVICE FOR ASSOCIATIONS A new campaign and English-language website will be leading Japan National Tourism Organization’s (JNTO) push to attract more association events. A new campaign for the ‘New ideas start here’ initiative launched last December to drive branding recognition both nationally and internationally.

Ms. Ets uko Kawasaki, Executi ve directo r Japan Conve ntion Bureau.

In April a new English-language website and promotional videos targeted at the associations market, details why organisations should bring their meetings to Japan. Etsuko Kawasaki, Executive Director of the Japan Convention Bureau said “We have conducted our own research and it is clear that Japan is able to attract a large number of events involving the medical, scientific and industrial sectors, so we are focusing on these areas for our associations campaign”. 12 cities across Japan have been designated Global Cities for meeting the requirements to host association events. A further 40 cities with international convention capability will cater to smaller events and associations. LONDON’S BARBICAN ACHIEVES GOLD AT LONDON’S CLEAN CITY AWARDS The Barbican has been recognised for its continued environmental efforts with a ‘Gold Clean City Award’. It is not the 1st time the Barbican has received awards for its green credentials. Some of the eco-friendly practices highlighted by judges were: Having consistent recycling opportunities in all public spaces, conference areas and staff back-of-house areas; A comprehensive food recycling programme meaning that 100% of food waste gets composted. The award recognises exceptional responsibility in the management of waste and recycling amongst organisations in the City of London. Since 1994 the Clean City Awards Scheme has incentivised raising the standards of environmental performance by businesses across the City.


SPOTLIGHT ANDROS THE PERFECT GREEK RETREAT by Dimitri Laspas

Churc h of Agia Va rvara, Andros, Gre ece


With its close proximity to Athens, the Cycladic island of Andros has, over the years, become a top holiday destination for both long and short vacations. Being close to the neighbouring islands of Tinos, Mykonos and Syros, it is also a great base for island hopping.

PERFECT FOR NATURE LOVERS & WALKERS Andros is the greenest and most fertile island in the Cyclades and has many rivers, streams, springs and waterfalls. Almost half of the island is protected by Natura, IBA sites for birds or wildlife sanctuaries where many rare or endemic species of flora and fauna can be found. HIKING TRAILS TO EXPLORE With many ancient paths once used as the main communication axis between castles, settlements and villages as well as the coasts, this network of tracks is the backbone of the rural land, and has given Andros the European Certification Hiking Trail ‘Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe’ and is the 1st island in Europe to be given this certification.

PREFECT BEACHES

Lying on a soft sandy beach, cooling off in the crystal clear waters, snorkelling or taking up some water sports, Andros has a beach to suit everyone.

T he Achla beach, Andros, G reece

T he T ower of Agios Petros , Andros , Greece

ARCHAEOLOGY SITES Andros offers several important ancient sites. Paleopoli: the Ancient City of Andros and the Geometric Settlement of Zagora, where visitors can see the remains of various structures, like houses, walls, and gates. Paleopoli also has an archaeological museum. The Tower of Agios Petros in Gavrio, is one of the best preserved ancient th towers in Greece and dates back to the 11 century. Its indoor area contains a spiral staircase that connects 5 levels. And do not miss the Medieval Upper Castle in Korthi.


A CULTURAL DESTINATION The island, surprisingly has a wealth of cultural art including the Museum of Modern Art, which houses unique collections of paintings and sculptures from Greece and abroad, including Fassianos, Tsarouchis, Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky and Chagall. The archaeological museums in the Chora and Paleopolis highlight the ancient history of the island through their exhibits, while the Cyclades Olive Museum is a fine example of a small pre-industrial, animal powered, olive oil producing unit; well worth visiting. INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL Well known on the international arts scene Andros welcomes thousands of visitors each year for its International Andros Festival, with performances of ancient drama and concerts of major Greek singers all in the ancient amphitheatre on the island.

T he Muse um of Modern Art, And ros, Greece

TASTE ANDROS To get a real ‘taste’ of Andros, not only should you go, but also sample the local cuisine. Try the island’s specialty ‘froutalia’; an omelette with sausage and potatoes, or the local cheese ‘volaki’ or the sweet cheese pastries called ‘amigdalota’ and ‘kaltsounia’.

T he Amigdalota dessert

T he Panachra ndos Monaste ry, Andros, Greece

ISLAND TRADITION With dancing, music and eating and drinking all part of the big 15th August annual festival, there is no better time to go to Andros. Either side of this festival is ‘Gavriotika’ with cultural performances or the festival of the Monastery of Zoodochou Pigis or the ‘Korthiana’ fair and the festival of Agios Fanourios at the end of August in the bay of Korthi.

T he Chora, Andros, G reec e


A viation N ews…


DIRECT FLIGHT FROM UK-AUSTRALIA Flying from the UK / Europe to Australia has just changed! Qantas has begun its non-stop flights between Australia and the UK. The 17hour flight is a far cry from the 27 hrs and 7 stopovers needed in 1959 to travel from London to Sydney. The inaugural flight left Perth in Western Australia and travelled 14,498km (9,000 miles) to London Heathrow; the 1st nonstop link between the two nations. However, this amazing event happened thanks to the Russian Aviation Authority allowing the use of their air space corridors to shorten the distance and time between the United Kingdom and Australia. It is the longest single route in the world. During the time of the Soviets Union, the only passage was the southern air corridor going through Europe, Asia and the Far East. The flight was with a Boeing Dreamliner, which had made considerable interior adjustments to offer more comfort, increasing the cabin pressure to be closer to that found at ground level, made the air more humid, helping passengers feel less dehydrated and the cabin atmosphere adapting to the changes of day outside by incorporating mood lighting and temperature changes. As a new kind of aircraft, the plane is quieter too, especially for those sitting at the rear of the aircraft. The next challenege is a non-stop direct flight to New Zealand but the aircraft for that does not yet exist! AIRPORTS, CARGO AND AIR TRAFFIC AN IDEAL MATCH Three Co-located Aerospace Events to Take Place in Dubai in October The Middle East airports and airline industry will be able to meet operators, suppliers and partners at three co-located events taking place in Dubai in October 2018. Airport Solutions Dubai, which launched as part of the Dubai Airshow in 2017, will be joined at the Roda Al Bustan hotel by Cargo Connect, a larger version of the Cargo Zone from Dubai Airshow 2017 and newly launched Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) from the 8-9 October 2018. Organised by Tarsus F&E LLC Middle East, Airport Solutions Dubai, Cargo Connect and GATM will bring the leading industry players together to discuss opportunities and share knowledge across two days of sector specific conferences. Airport Solutions Dubai is unique in attracting the entire airports buying chain from manufacturers, airport operators, developers, regulators and investors, through to end users. The UAE is one of the fastest growing aviation hubs in the world, home to several airports undergoing massive infrastructure development to cater for predicted growth in passenger traffic. IATA has projected Middle East passengers will double by 2035 and the GCC is fuelling UK£71.20, (EU€81.20) billion in airport expansion and construction projects across the region. According to regional airport body ACI Asia-Pacific, airfreight tonnages at Middle East airports grew 2.1% in December; while airfreight growth for the year 2017 in the Middle East grew by 6.0%. Dubai International airport (DXB) has posted a record 2,654,494 tonnes of cargo for 2017, up 2.4% on the previous year. The GATM will bring together the regions key stakeholders to focus on both strategic and technical challenges facing the Middle East air traffic management community. The Middle East has experienced 9% annual growth in air passenger traffic, with the UAE’s airspace movements expected to double over the next 5 years. This vast growth in air traffic across the region plus the airlines need to constantly streamline expenses, means air traffic management is an issue that urgently needs addressing in order to cut costs and enable airlines to expand efficiently. The conference will present a comprehensive and interactive discussion on Air Traffic Control in the UAE, the GCC and how the region fits in on a global scale. Airport Solutions Dubai, GATM and Cargo Connect will open with a combined keynote plenary which will bring C-Level speakers from around the globe to discuss the future of the aerospace sector, featuring discussions and presentations that will be relevant to delegates attending all three conferences. Each event will then host its own sector specific conference sessions bringing together each sectors key players to provide unparalleled focused insights. AIR INDIA… LANDS IN ISRAEL… VIA SAUDI AIRSPACE Saudi Arabia decided that Air India could utilise its airspace to fly a shorter route to Israel. Many Arab and Islamic nations do not recognise Israel and do not allow airlines from using their airspace for flight routes to the country. This was the first time that Saudi Arabia allowed a commercial flight to use its airspace. This is also seen as a new beginning for diplomatic ties between India and Israel. Air India has begun a direct 3 times a week flight from New Delhi to Tel Aviv. By using Saudi airspace, the length of the journey was cut by just over 2hours. Increased numbers of tourists between the two nations are now expected, together with the prospect for lower fares and a boost to investment and tourism for both India and Israel.


LAO AIRLINES FLIGHT ATTENDANTS 7 SURPRISING FACTS! The lifestyle of a flight attendant has long been seen as glamorous, but it involves a strict training and many retraining sessions for new emergencies or possibilities. Indeed there is much more to this job as they may be required to be any number of things. Every airline has strict training, but flight attendants for Lao Airlines seem to be trained beyond their post and are expected to be any one of the following: A small emergency response team and to have a comprehensive understanding of each aeroplane on which they operate, including where every piece of emergency equipment is. They need to know how to use fire extinguishers, oxygen units, life rafts, external defibrillators, and emergency locater transmission equipment. A doctor ready and able to deal with medical emergencies. With training including first aid and CPR, as well as being able to diagnose a patient’s medical emergency. They are backup pilots with knowledge on who to work the basics of the cockpit and the equipment. They need to know the basics of how the plane works, with respect to following flight statistics, measure engine power, and have a good understanding of what is happening in the cockpit and the outside atmosphere. They are always calm and collected having gone through all the necessary checklists necessary to keep everything safe throughout the flight. They are diplomats and considered as cultural ambassadors for their country. They need to have a good knowledge of Lao history and always be faultlessly well-turned out according to local traditions. They have special privileges, like travelling without a visa, free flights and accommodation and skipping the queue. With all this combined, they deserve the respect of us all to help make their jobs as pleasant as possible. 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF 1st A380 FLIGHT TO LONDON Heathrow Airport and Airbus celebrated recently the 10th anniversary of the 1st operation of the A380 at the airport, back in March 2008! The 1st flight was with an A380 Singapore Airlines flight. Heathrow is the world’s busiest A380 airport by number of A380 operators, serving 78 million passengers a year. Every day, 50 A380 flights use the airport and carry 10% of Heathrow’s daily passenger traffic on 9 airlines (British Airways, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Thai airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar) serving 15 global destinations. With air traffic demand growing, it is the A380 that provides the solution for more capacity in an efficiently and eco-friendly way. Over 200 million passengers have taken the A380 experience, with many making an effort to choose a flight on an A380 to their destination. The aircraft currently flies on over 120 routes and 60 destinations. HUAWEI PARTNERS WITH IATA Huawei has signed as a partner of the Strategic Partnerships Programme of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Huawei will use its advanced ICT innovations and expertise to help develop airports and airlines, enhance passenger experiences and optimise air cargo operations. A country’s aviation industry development is vital for its economic, technical and social progress. It also depends on the development of global industry standards and the implementation of new technologies which are critical for transforming the industry. As a member of the IATA Strategic Partnerships Programme offers an ideal opportunity for Huawei to extend its commitment to developing the aviation industry. The IATA Programme is open to companies that add value and bring benefits to the air transport industry directly and indirectly by means of their services, products and solutions. Together they can seek solutions that are critical to the future of the aviation industry. FIRST OMAN AIR FLIGHTS AT NEW MUSCAT INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT Oman Air has begun operations from the new Muscat International Airport. It is operating up to 200 flights per day from the new state-of-the-art terminal. The airport will be a big boost to Oman’s already booming travel industry, with capacity to handle 12 million passengers per year and its runway will be able accommodate the world’s largest aircraft; the Airbus A380, and independent parallel operation. As a major stakeholder in the new terminal Oman Air has already begun 2018 on a high with the arrival of new aircraft, routes to North Africa, Russia and Europe, and an expansion of existing services. From the new terminal Oman Air will continue its fleet and network expansion with the aim of operating 62 aircraft to 60 destinations by 2022.


FAILED AIRCRAFT DOOR SCATTERS GOLD BARS OVER RUSSIA As a Soviet-era Antonov AN-12 was taking off recently from Yakutsk airport in Siberia, the doors opened and the plane’s cargo, worth UK£111, (EU€127) million of real gold bars and diamonds fell onto the runway. The cargo was recovered but some pieces were found as far away as 26kms from the airport. The treasure belongs to the Canadian company Kinross Gold. The aircraft lost 72 bars weighing around 3.4 tonnes! Despite everybody calling it gold, the cargo was in fact ‘doré’, an alloy naturally made out of silver and gold. It is still extremely extensive! AEROMÉXICO INCREASES QUITO- MEXICO CITY ROUTE

From this month Aeromexico will increase its flights on the Mexico City and Quito, Ecuador route. A daily flight will now leave from the International Airport of Mexico City. There will also be 3 departures on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Mexico. The flights will use a Boeing 737-800 aircraft with capacity for 160 passengers. These additional flights will increase the offer of seats to Ecuador by 43%. The new flights help meet demand between both countries and offer greater connectivity to domestic destinations such as Guadalajara, Cancun, and Monterrey. In addition, Ecuadorian travellers will have easier access to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas and Miami, as well as reducing connection times to Canada and Asian destinations. CASABLANCA WILL DEBUT NEW AIR TERMINAL Due to open this June, the new terminal-1 of the Mohamed V International Airport, in Casablanca, will allow it to double its passenger capacity, which reached 9,500,000 in 2017, an increase of 8.6% from the previous year. Also from June, the airport will be capable to handle the A380 aircraft which Emirates intends to operate on its route between Dubai and Casablanca. This will further help Casablanca become an African hub as it is already in the top 5 airports with the largest number of passengers in Africa.

AIR FRANCE PARIS - CORK (IRELAND) NOW A YEAR-ROUND SERVICE Air France is to extend its route from Cork to Paris Charles de Gaulle for the winter 2018/2019 season. The Cork to Paris service is a new route for Air France to begin at the end of May 2018. Original just a summer route, booking have proved it is worth making it a year round service. The airlines continued investment in the Irish market will create stronger links between Ireland and France and increase tourism opportunities. The route will operate by Air France Hop! using Embraer 170 aircraft, carrying up to 76 passengers. HAINAN AIRLINES NEW ROUTE DUBLIN-BEIJING Hainan Airlines begins from June a new year-round service between Dublin and Beijing, operating 4 times a week. Twice a week the flight will be direct, while the other two flights will stopover in Edinburgh. This is Hainan’s 1st direct route from mainland China and the 1st Irish destination. Hainan Airlines also has news routes from Shenzhen and Changsha in China to Europe; Shenzhen – Madrid; Shenzhen – Brussels and Changsha – London.


ONE Great George Street IS the No.1 ‘World’s Most Prestigious Meeting Venue’ by Caroline-Artemis Laspas


Located in the heart of Westminster, One Great George Street is a jewel of the city of London being a magnificent Grade II listed, 4-domed, Edwardian building with rich neo-Palladian and Baroque interior offering conference, event and wedding facilities very close to the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and St James’s Park. This stunning building is home to the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), the world's 1st professional engineering body and makes for an extremely interesting visit in itself. However, the biggest delight of our recently visit there was the magnificent building.

It is therefore not surprising to that One Great George Street has won the title of ‘The World’s Most Prestigious Meeting Venue’ and was also highly commended as a ‘Press Conference Venue’ at the Prestigious Star Awards recently. From a shortlist of over 2,000 global venues, 200 were nominated in the awards and only 30 were crowned as winners. Nominated venues were voted for by event bookers, when 3 finalists were shortlisted in each category. An in-depth review by Prestigious Venues global ambassadors, venue specialists and event planners led to the 30 winners being selected. There were 8 runners up for The World's Most Prestigious Meeting Venue’ including the Conrad Bali which became a finalist and Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam which was ‘Highly Commended’. Other winners on the night included The Natural History Museum (UK), Atlantis The Palm Dubai (UAE), Vila Monte (Portugal), Ritz Carlton Bali (Indonesia), Nobu Eden Roc (USA) and The Langham, Melbourne (Australia). Now in their 9th year, the Prestigious Star Awards celebrate the quality, performance and reputation of the world’s best venues qualified to host the most memorable events. One Great George Street offers 21 function rooms with flexible space for a range of events. Able to host a maximum of up to 400 guests for a reception or 240 for an event in one of its individual meeting spaces. The building is already a major draw as a film set and a backdrop for various fashion events. You can also hire the building for exclusive use. The event spaces can be linked with sound and vision to connect delegates around the building attending the same event. Therefore increasing its normal 400 capacity in an innovative way. The main highlights of the venue are the magnificent ‘Great Hall’ with its 43ft high ceiling; being the largest single function room offering up to 400sq.m of space. It is free of obstructive pillars and full of natural light. The Great Hall foyer area has a stunning glass domed ceiling bathing the area in natural light and offering a great place for registration or networking receptions. The Telford Theatre, is a fabulous plush purpose-built conference and lecture space with fixed racked seating for up to 240 people. There is an ornate stage with speaker lectern and a top table for 7 people. Its unique feature is the stunning domed roof containing glass believed to have been saved from the Institution’s former building (pre-1900). The dome creates a feeling of space and light across the whole theatre.


The theatre is named after Thomas Telford who is considered the father of engineering and was the Institution of Civil Engineer’s 1st president. The Brunel Room is one of our most striking function rooms, with high ceilings and large windows. The walls are covered with rich, dark French walnut panelling and the ceilings adorned by beautifully embellished plaster and lit by a large chandelier. The soft furnishings create a warm, luxurious feel.

With connecting rooms these rooms can be used together and allow for much flexibility. The room is named after Isambard Kingdom Brunel (and his father Marc) who together designed and built the very first subaqueous tunnel underneath the Thames amongst other spectacular and world-renowned constructions. Many of venues rooms interconnect so that you can combine business meeting with social entertaining. In addition, for a small meeting room, lower levels of the offer a variety of cost effective options. The venue has in-house catering to cater to bespoke needs, while there are also expertly-trained sommeliers who can suggest suitable wines to complement each dish. Finally, one of the most impressive features of this venue is that as a graded historic building, it is the most accessible venue I have seen. The building is fully accessible and has a unique platform lift with integrated steps allowing access via the main entrance. Lifts, disabled toilets, wide corridors, induction hearing loops, are among many other accessible facilities.

If you are looking for a central London historic venue with modern facilities in a luxurious environment, without exception you should make One Great George Street your No.1 choice.


L atin A merica N ews…


Galapagos island, Ecuador

FOUR SEASONS LUXURY RESORT IN BELIZE

ECUADOR CUTS TOURISM BUDGET The Government's target is for tourism to be the main source of non-oil income and by 2020 it will double non-oil revenues. This goal must now be achieved with less tourism promotion budget. Having seen a ‘great vision’ of tourism, adjustments will have to be made to accommodate the inevitable decrease in tourist income. The reduced budget must cover advertising campaigns, both inside and outside the country, as well as other programmes to enhance tourist activity in the country, like the 'Playas Limpias'. The budget will also have to support the campaign 'Travel First Ecuador', directed at national tourists, and 'Feel Again', for foreigners. In addition, work for investment in tourism infrastructure, training for tour operators, implementation of awareness campaigns and controls to ensure compliance with current regulations are covered under this limited budget.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, is to develop the Caye Chapel, a private island in Belize offering magnificent oceanfront estates, private residences and overwater bungalows. To open in 2021, the project involves 3 leading Mexican real estate development groups. Four Seasons Resort and Residences Caye Chapel, Belize will transform the intimate private island into a luxury destination for residence owners and leisure travellers, with approx. 50 private estate plots, 35 private residences, and 100 guest rooms and suites. Caye Chapel is in the Belize archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, close to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Belize Barrier Reef System; the largest reef system in the northern hemisphere. The island will also have an 18-hole golf course, as well as a nature and conservation institute, a marina and private airstrip. The 280-acre (113 hectare) island has 6 miles (9.7kms) of white sand beaches and turquoise waters. It will be a destination in its own right, but ideal as a base to explore the nearby cultural and natural sites of mainland Belize and surrounding cayes. The resort will have health and wellness facilities, two beach clubs, multiple dining and bar options with sea views, retail outlets, a young residents club, and tennis courts. The exceptional natural aquatic environment around the island can be experienced through boat expeditions, snorkelling, paddle boarding, diving. At the nature and conservation institute, research and education initiatives that guests and residents can participate in, will include a 3D coral reef printing programme. Four Seasons Resort and Residences Caye Chapel, Belize will be an addition to the growing Four Seasons Resort collection in Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico, which has properties in Costa Rica, the Bahamas, Anguilla, Nevis and Punta Mita, Mexico. URUGUAY FOREIGN TOURIST TAX BENEFITS Aiming to give benefits for tourists and improve tourism competitiveness the Ministry of Tourism of Uruguay is to renew the current tax benefits giving the return of 9% VAT on the payment for tourist services, a perk that adds to the Tax Free regime already in place. Tourism has reached new records of visitors with a total of 3,940,790 foreign tourists in 2017, up 18.4% from 2016 figures. TOURISTS STAY LONGER IN NICARAGUA The average daily per capita expenditure by non-residents visiting Nicaragua was UK£32, (EU€36.5) a growth of 0.2% compared to 2016 data. The biggest tourist spenders were from North and South America. The average stay of the inbound tourists 10.5 days, a rise of 10.5% compared to 2016 data. In terms of outbound tourism, the average stay was 13.4 days, 17.8% lower than in the 4th quarter of 2016. However, the average daily expenditure of this group was UK£28, (EU€32), an increase of 66.9% year-on-year. Our Lady Cat hedral, Gra nada, Nic aragua

www.bmlinternational.co.uk


ROYAL CARIBBEAN WILL TRANSFORM A PRIVATE ISLAND IN THE BAHAMAS

Royal Caribbean International is to renovate its small Bahamas island, CocoCay. Well known as a relaxing getaway, for Royal Caribbean cruise passengers to disembark in order to snorkel and swim with large stingrays, the new project will transform the island into the 1st Perfect Day Island Collection, a series of exclusive private island destinations set in iconic locations around the world. The project will be complete by the spring of 2019, with a full CocoCay experience ready by November 2019. Attractions to come include a ‘Thrill Waterpark’, with 13 waterslides; one of which is a 135-foot-tall Daredevil's Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America. There will be the Caribbean's largest wave pool and the Caribbean's largest freshwater pool, Oasis Lagoon. In addition there will be a 1,600ft zip line crisscrossing the island from 50ft high. A helium balloon that floats 45 0ft above CocoCay, will offer stunning views. Two beaches; ‘Chill Island’, a pristine, relaxing escape, and ‘South Beach’, a high-energy beach with beach activities like basketball, paddle boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and inflatable zorb balls. For those wishing to relax, the Coco Beach Club, and CocoCay’s VIP zone, will offer a more luxury island experience, including the 1st over-water cabanas in the Bahamas, each with its own dedicated staff member at your service. With modern cruise ships offering the world onboard, why would the addition of an island destination be needed? Perfect Day Island Collection will deliver a memorable vacation for adventure seekers on land and on board the Royal Caribbean ships. Other destinations for Perfect Day Islands include Asia, Australia and the Caribbean. Royal Caribbean is also re-imagining its fleet with investment in onboard technology. It is also fitting new features on the ships including virtual reality, bungee jumping, and glow-in-the-dark laser tag. MORE CRUISES TO EL SALVADOR Following efforts of the international strategy of promotion and commercialisation of the destination during the recent Seatrade Cruise Global the Salvador Ministry of Tourism, has said the 3 new cruise brands will berth in the country for 2019-2020. The cruise MS Regatta and the Seven Seas Mariner have confirmed for 2019 and the MS Insignia for 2020, supporting the growth of cruising in El Salvador. MS Regatta will dock twice in October 2019, which belongs to the Oceania Cruises shipping line, and has capacity for 684 guests and 400 crew members. The Seven Seas Mariner cruises operated by Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The MS Insignia will dock in February 2020 at the Port of Acajutla. Salvadorean Tours will be responsible for providing excursions to cruise passengers. Over the past few years, El Salvador has been working to gain a place in the cruise market and in 2017 saw 8 ships dock in the country, with over 4,000 cruise passengers going to different tourist destinations as, for the 1st time the MS Serenissima stayed overnight for 2 nights, touching 2 of the country's ports. 1st TIME PARAGUAY HOSTS INTERNATIONAL TOURISM CONGRESS The 25th edition of the Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High Tourism Authorities for the year 2021 is to be held in Paraguay for the 1st time. ‘Unanimously’, Paraguay won the bid, thanks to its leadership in favour of regional tourism integration. The work of the country was highlighted around the generation of Multi-Destination Tourist Routes, connectivity, local development, the promotion of tourist circuits, the empowerment of women and young people, as well as encouraging the protection of children and T he Presidential Palace, As uncio n – Parag uay young people in tourism. The tri-annual congress is the main hemispheric forum for dialogue and policy formulation to promote the sustainable development of tourism in the Americas, through meetings to address relevant technical issues and promote cooperation in the field.


E xhibitions N ews…


25 YEARS OF ARABIAN TRAVEL MARKET Arabian Travel Market (ATM), is the leading global event for the Middle East inbound and outbound travel industry and this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. The event generates over UK£1.78, (EU€2.03) billions of travel industry deals. The annual business-to-business (B2B) exhibition showcases over 2,800 products and destinations from around the world to over 28,000 buyers and travel trade visitors across 4 days at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC). Over 39,000 travel professionals, government ministers and international press, visit ATM every April to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at Arabian Travel Market. Beyond the event we continue to help professionals in the Arabian travel industry to drive commercial success with all year round opportunities to make connections and access to industry news and developments, trends and technologies from around the world. Through our industry networks, global reach and regional focus, ATM creates personal and business opportunities providing our customers with quality contacts, content and communities. As part of the continuing expansion for the event to meet the region’s growing needs, this year sees the introduction of ‘Career in Travel’ at ATM 2018. This exclusive student programme is designed to increase student opportunities within the travel and tourism industry. Whether studying travel and tourism or hospitality, or even if a business student looking to branch out, ‘Career in Travel’ will uncover the possibilities that the travel industry brings. A special conference session, will allow student visitors to listen to key travel speakers and hear their stories about building a career in the travel industry plus, gain expert career advice on how to launch a career in the travel industry. POSIDONIA GAMES SCALE NEW HEIGHTS IN CORPORATE SPORTS EVENTS WORLD Thousands have already registered for a weekend of multi-sports; Sailing, Golf, Running and Football tournaments. A total of 2,500 shipping executives are expected to participate at the 2018 Posidonia Games, a series of 4 popular sporting events to be held at different venues across Athens, a few days before the opening of Posidonia 2018 exhibition, the world’s most prestigious shipping event. On Friday 1st June some 600 yachtsmen will sail their yachts from the azure waters of Faliron Bay in the picturesque Athens waterfront for the Posidonia Cup regatta; on Sunday 3rd June, a total of 1,500 runners will participate in the 5km Posidonia Running Event starting in Piraeus; on the same day a further 100 will take part in the Posidonia Golf Tournament on the serene green tees of the Glyfada Golf Club for the 18-hole game; and also on the same day, 280 soccer fanatics will kick off the 5-a-side Posidonia Shipsoccer Tournament. Participants will represent a total of over 150 maritime corporate teams who will compete for trophies, medals or just the joy of participation in an international sports event, prior to a busy week of business, networking and deal signing ceremonies at the Posidonia exhibition from 4-8 June at the Athens Metropolitan Expo. Revenues generated from the events go to a good cause and support the educational and humanitarian efforts of associated organisations and NGOs. A beneficiary of the Posidonia Games is the Public Benefit Municipal Corporation of Piraeus, as the proceeds from the participation fees of the Posidonia Running Event will be used to support their work. Proceeds from the Posidonia Cup sailing race will be utilised to further support the educational activities of the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club and to promote sailing in Greece. Thousands of friends, relatives, colleagues or just genuine sports fans are expected to attend the events in order to cheer their favourite teams and athletes in their effort to achieve Posidonia glory. Registrations are still open on the Posidonia website THE PERU TRAVEL MART 2018 The National Chamber of Tourism, Canatur, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have launched the next edition of the Peru Travel Mart which will take place from 27-30 April in Lima, the Peruvian capital. Peru Travel Mart is considered the most important international

not yet associated with Peru, facilitating the diversification of these, which is a unique opportunity to increase the number of foreign tourists coming to the country. event of the tourist industry of Peru. It is a platform that promotes the tourist offering of the country to the rest of the world. It also allows for new partnerships with tourist destinations

At the 2017 edition of Peru Travel Mart, a record 73% of new buyers attended the show out of 135 companies.


BEYOND LUXURY MEDIA LAUNCHES FURTHER EAST IN SEMINYAK, BALI Beyond Luxury Media Ltd, organisers of some of the world’s most acclaimed travel events (PURE Life Experiences, Marrakech; LE Miami, Miami and We Are Africa, Cape Town) is proud to announce their latest innovative travel trade show - Further East which will take place in Seminyak, Bali from the 12-15 of November 2018. 5 reasons why Further East will differ from existing regional trade shows: 1. It will exclusively showcase top-end Asian travel products and organisations that are committed to elevate the Asian travel experience. The core proposition of the event is to sell Asia to the world and bring a larger share of the luxury travel business to Asia. 2. Focus on independently minded brands (small or big), rather than conventional cookie cutter products from hotel chains. Market research clearly demonstrates that top-end international travel agents are looking for unique, tailored experiences to satisfy an increasingly demanding and discerning wealthy clientele. 3. Buyers attending the event will be split between international private travel designers, focused on the Asian region (65%) and the very best luxury travel agents that the Asian market has to offer (35%). 4. Beyond Luxury Media will continue to provide the extremely efficient and productive pre-scheduled appointments and hosted buyer programme, whilst adding to the magic by following the ‘festivalisation’ of all other Beyond Luxury Media travel events. Creating a unique immersive platform where fun collaboration will be celebrated in the quest to enhance the business and the lives of all participants. 5. Further East will not take place in a purpose built convention centre in one of the traditional regional hubs of Asia, but have a large footprint across the beach of paradisiac and bohemian chic Seminyak, in Bali. Official hotel partners, Alila Seminyak, Potato Head Beach Club, Katamama and W Bali - Seminyak will host the marketplace, lunches and parties over the 4 days. Further East aims to feature 200 independently minded native suppliers with global appeal and established global players with an authentic presence. In addition to an elite list of international press, they should expect to meet 210 meticulously chosen Asia specialists, international buyers passionate about Asia as well the very best travel agents that Asia has to offer. Further East has received overwhelming support from leading industry names, with partnerships with Design Hotels; Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates, Leading Hotels of the World; Preferred Hotels & Resorts; Secret Retreats; Small Luxury Hotels of the World;. With st the help of these influential associations, the 1 annual event will showcase a diverse blend of independently minded luxury brands with celebrated iconic hotels, building a powerful foundation for future events. It is no surprise that Further East is creating such huge momentum across Asia. Not only will it become the region’s only event to exclusively focus on inbound luxury travel, it will also offer key top-end travel brands a truly relevant context to share their story with the world. The unstoppable momentum is growing due to the credibility of Beyond Luxury Media’s portfolio of ground-breaking events, which have reached global cult status with their capacity to disrupt the conventional travel trade show model. Further East delegates will benefit from a state-of-the art appointment system, have access to AWAKEN the creative un-conference, a festival of enlightening cultural programmes, and a social diary of exciting evening events. It is set to become a unique platform where connection and collaboration are encouraged and celebrated, as part Further East’s quest to enhance the business and personal lives of all delegates. EXPERIENCE LATIN AMERICA (ela) CONFIRMS 29 NEW EXHIBITORS FOR 2018 th The Latin American Travel Association is delighted to announce 29 first time exhibitors to the 5 edition of Experience Latin America (ela) – Europe’s only travel trade event dedicated to Latin America .

Returning to CCT Venues in Canary Wharf, London, from 11-13 June, ela 2018 will feature over 130 exhibitors for a three day by-invitation-only event offering the Latin American travel community the opportunity to present their products to the UK and European tourism industry during scheduled meetings, seminars and networking events. New exhibitors for 2018 include local tour operators such as Camino Travel, Careli Tours Nicaragua and Cuba Private Travel, and hoteliers such as Hotel B in Lima, Hotel Carlota in Ecuador, Hotel Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa in Colombia and Jashita Hotel in Mexico. Returning to ela 2018 are the tourist boards from Peru, Belize, Quito, Mexico and Brazil, airlines such as Air Europa, Copa Airlines and Gol Airlines, LATAM Airlines and United Airlines, as well as hotels and DMCs from across the region such as Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa, Argentina Travel Partners, Araras Eco Lodge, Belmond, Crillon Tours, Inkaterra, and Hacienda Hotel Vira Vira & Sol y Luna . MEDITERRANEAN YACHT SHOW 2018 th The 5 Mediterranean Yacht Show is a targeted trade show for professionals. It is the main yachting event that will display in the best possible way the ‘crème de la crème’ of the licensed and legally operating highly professional yachts and crews in this part of the World. The top qualified professionals reacted in light speeds altering the course and meeting the new challenge. We are here to safeguard a bigger and better than ever Charter Show. The site location was carefully studied, the element of repetitive boredom was taken into consideration and frankly for a country as Greece the options were numerous; a fact that you will be discovering year after year with diverse locations all of which fall within your Charterers must visit list. With the State realising the essential growth new reality and the Yachting Professionals ready to embrace the new liberal legal status Greece is more than ever ready to make the passage; for power needs control and seasoned sea people on the helm. The show will take place from 28 April – 1 May in the beautiful city of Nafplion, which was the 1st capital of Greek state from 1823 - 1834.


2018… The Year Of Greece News

The Brilliance of the Seas, Piraeus, Greece


Santo rini , Greece

GREECE 2nd FAVOURITE CRUISE DESTINATION IN THE WORLD During the recent Wave Awards 2018 in the UK, the leading awards event for the cruise sector, Greece was awarded 2nd place as a ‘Favourite Cruise Destination in the world’. Jamaica came 1st and 3rd place was Singapore. The awards are a benchmark standard and recognise, reward and celebrate innovation and excellence within the sector. As a cruising in Greece and it seas, it gets the passengers closer to the Hellenist ancient world and its fascinating history that has shaped the world since then, along with a touch of romance, love and the freshness of the Greek seas.

DEVELOPING WINTER TOURISM IN GREECE Globally, Greece is still seen as a top summer destination; however, the potential for all round tourism including dedicated winter tourism activities is huge. A ministerial delegation recently attended the 10th World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism, in Andorra, which was organised by the UNWTO and the Government of Andorra. Greece aims to establish a balance of tourism development between winter destinations and popular summer destinations, leading to further growth of arrivals and revenue. In addition, the Greek thematic tourism products were highlighted for development, especially mountain-related activities such as skiing, mountain climbing and hiking. The 10th World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism brought together tourism professionals, ranging from managers of mountain tourism destinations to entrepreneurs in the accommodation sector. Over 3 days, international experts discussed a variety of topic relating to developments in accommodation and hospitality, quality and knowledge management, innovation in product development, booking technologies and state-of-the-art marketing. The event allowed the exchange of expertise and best practises in the sector. CRETE - 1st DIVING PARK The Greek island of Crete is to open a ‘dive park’ which will feature shipwrecks and 38 artificial reefs. The 15-acre marine park will open in the coastal area of Bros Gialos Bay, outside the protected Natura 2000 area. Capable to accommodate large groups or individual divers on three 20m deep routes, will be on offer from the ports of Georgioupoli, Almirida, Kalives, Marathi and Bros Gialos. It is hoped that this centre will be the first on many across the island and the rest of Greece, which would boost the growing ‘dive tourism’ sector and ensure safety and sustainable practices are maintained. CHINESE TOURISTS KEEP COMING TO GREECE The number of Chinese tourists arriving in Greece show little sign of reducing with the number of tourist visas issued in the first 2 months of 2018 increasing by a huge 53.5%. In 2017 the number of tourist visas issued grew by 35% from the previous year. The Greek National Tourism Board are keen for more Chinese tourists and have attended recently the Guangzhou International Tourism Expo, where they were the ‘Honoured’ country of the show and awarded the title of ‘Most Popular Tourist Destination’ of the year. Chinese tour operators have seen a rise in demand for Greek holidays with a rise of approximately 30-40%. Increased arrivals have also st been helped by the 1 direct flight between Athens and Beijing by China Airlines.


MODERN TRANSPORT IN ATHENS If it’s been a while since you have travelled around Athens public transport system, you will now find big changes for better travel. A new electronic ticketing system has been introduced, which is now fully operational. The new system replaces the older paper tickets and cards and means passengers must pass through a turnstile to enter. There are 3 new types of Athens Transport tickets: The Ath.ena Ticket, The personalised Ath.ena Card and The anonymous Ath.ena Card. These are reusable and rechargable with various ticket amounts and make for a very cost effective way to travel all over the city! ATHENS GOURMET TOUR ‘Athens Gourmet’ is much more than a cooking lesson or a food tour. It is a unique opportunity to explore the secrets of the Mediterranean diet and experience Greek cuisine as an insider. This 5-hour-long experience will give you the opportunity to discover what cooking like an Athenian chef is like and to learn about local culinary traditions. You will participate in every stage, from market to plate, involved in preparing a perfect Greek meal and get to enjoy the fruits of your efforts in a welcoming and comfortable setting. Do not miss this relaxed and informative experience that engages all the senses! Highlights: Discover Greek cuisine and its treasures; Visit the central food market;

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Learn about local gastronomy and the Greek cuisine; Enjoy a cooking course covering a full menu (appetizers, main course, dessert); Indulge in a delicious meal made from top end ingredients; Private and relaxed setting in the heart of the city centre. CAVO SPADA LUXURY RESORT & SPA, CRETE Located on the Island of Crete, the Cavo Spada Resort & Spa have a new range of educational and exciting activities for guests to enjoy. Dive into the Cool & Clear: in partnership with Blue Adventures Diving, an environmentally conscious diving group, takes Cavo Spada guests to experience the thrills of the underwater world, where dolphins and sea turtles can be spotted. Master Mediterranean Cooking: guests can discover Cretan cooking and become a culinary genius in the world’s most colourful and healthy cuisine. The talented head chef at the resort will take guests on a Cretan gastronomic journey using delicious, fresh, local ingredients. Taste Olive Oil: Undoubtedly the most useful cooking ingredient in Europe. Flavours of olive oil are determined by a variety of factors including type and ripeness of olives, growing conditions and the oil storage. Become a certified expert in this field with this offering. Become a Connoisseur of Cretan Wine: Known for its quality wine production due to the mild climate, temperature and fertile soil, Cretan wine is sure to awaken your taste buds! Guests have the chance to taste some of the finest local wines available.

Visit Greece


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2018 mtatwm 4 april edition  

AMAZING STATIONS OF THE WORLD SCHENGEN VISA REFORM FEW PLACES TO NEVER TAKE A SELFIE A CORNER OF JAPAN YOU MUST DISCOVER…OTARU An Interview...

2018 mtatwm 4 april edition  

AMAZING STATIONS OF THE WORLD SCHENGEN VISA REFORM FEW PLACES TO NEVER TAKE A SELFIE A CORNER OF JAPAN YOU MUST DISCOVER…OTARU An Interview...

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