Malta Launches the Global SUNx Centre for Climate Friendly Travel

Malta Launches the Global SUNx Centre for Climate Friendly Travel

Malta (Valletta) – June 24, 2019 (travelindex.com) – The Government of Malta, through the Ministry for Tourism has just agreed with SUNx (Strong Universal Network) to take the lead in a global effort aimed at converting the threat of global climate change. The Global Centre for Climate Friendly Travel will launch a set of actions and opportunities to address this threat from the travel industry perspective.

Minister for Tourism Konrad Mizzi said that, “There is growing international consensus for a strong shift from talk to action. This is amply evidenced by the political action of the EU in raising the stakes these past few weeks by announcing the allocation of 1 in every 4 euro of the next budget to climate resilience.

This initiative will put Malta in the forefront of this change in creating more climate-friendly travel. We will become the home of SUNx – the Strong Universal Network – a global centre for Climate Friendly Travel following the targets of the Paris Agreement set in 2015.”

In collaboration with SUNx, and co-founder of SUNx, Professor Geoffrey Lipman, Malta will aim to deliver a number of initiatives designed to support the sector in its transformation.

These include:
– An Annual State of the Sector “Climate Friendly Travel” Review which will be published within the context of the United Nations General Assembly alongside the UN Secretary
General’s Climate Action Summit in September and will be circulated widely amongst industry players.
– An Annual Malta Think Tank and Climate Friendly Travel Summit.
– A Plan for Our Kids to put 100,000 STRONG Climate Champions across all UN States by 2030. This is a public/private collaboration to engage graduate trainees to help deliver transformation in the front line.

Professor Geoffrey Lipman said:
“The reality is that we have a Climate Crisis and that the scientists, the governments, and the next generation are demanding an increased ambition. Travel & Tourism is a pivotal part of human activity and has to be at the leading edge of change.

Our collaboration with the Government of Malta will provide a new impetus through Climate Friendly Travel ~ Measured, Green, and 2050-proof: a pathway to the New Climate Economy and 100,000 STRONG Climate Champions by 2030 to help the transformation. This is carrying on the vision of Maurice Strong, the father of Sustainable Development, who believed that Travel & Tourism could be a catalyst for positive change.”

Hospitality Superstars to be Lauded at Haute Grandeur Global Awards Gala Ceremony

Hospitality Superstars to be Lauded at Haute Grandeur Global Awards Gala Ceremony

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) – June 21, 2019 (travelindex.com) – The prestigious Haute Grandeur Global Awards is a red-carpet event without compare, seen as one of the most coveted invitations on the luxury hospitality calendar. Each year, this prestigious Gala Ceremony brings together the industry’s elite, joining key VIPs, influencers and decision-makers in celebration of the most exceptional hospitality experiences across 7 continents, 60 countries and 3 industries.

Top luxury hospitality brands from around the world compete year after year in pursuit of the ultimate accolade in overall excellence. Leading brands represented include Anantara, Banyan Tree, Marriott, Fairmont, Hilton, Mandarin Oriental, Sofitel, St Regis, The Four Seasons, The Peninsula, Rosewood, The Ritz Carlton, Alila Hotels & Resorts and Westin, among others. 2018 saw the Awards hosted at Palazzo Versace Dubai, with the magnificent Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai announced as overall winner. The 2019 Awards Gala promises to be yet another spectacular occasion, with the line-up including world-class entertainment and finest cuisine, and a celebrity presenter as host.

Contenders for the sought-after Haute Grandeur Excellence Awards are seen as the benchmark in the industry. These supreme accolades award participating establishments status and prestige by association. Participating hotels, spas and restaurants set the example and emphasise the importance of striving for excellence on every level, and
doing so relentlessly. “Haute Grandeur Global Awards is proud to be a force of change and inspiration for hospitality establishments worldwide, encouraging them to continuously excel,” says Haute Grandeur Founder and Managing Director, Marinique de Wet. “Hospitality is one of the greatest and fastest-growing industries, and healthy competition is vital to the sustainability of an industry that creates countless jobs worldwide.”

Among the many awards systems, the Haute Grandeur Global Awards concept is absolutely unique. Its fair and transparent process ensures unbiased results, recognising exceptional experiences through quality feedback from guests, as opposed to a number of votes by the general public or a panel of judges. This approach to measuring excellence is exclusive to Haute Grandeur, and the reason why these Awards are among the most respected in the world.

Every year, Haute Grandeur Global Awards takes care to select a leading destination to host the high-status Awards Gala Ceremony. “A key element to the success of the event is choosing the ideal host destination,” says De Wet. “Malaysian hospitality is famed worldwide, so we are delighted to bring the 2019 Haute Grandeur Global Awards Gala Ceremony to this beautiful country.” Kuala Lumpur is described as the sparkling heart of Malaysia, and won the bid to host because it is a miraculous city. With its gleaming skyscrapers, impressive architecture, ancient landmarks, and a myriad of natural attractions and food experiences, the city lures visitors from all around the globe.
“The Haute Grandeur Global Awards Gala Ceremony is not just a valuable networking opportunity,” says De Wet.

“We want to inspire guests to explore Malaysia, and discover what makes it one of the world’s most thriving hospitality regions.” Haute Grandeur partners with the host property to offer members special rates, encouraging dignitaries to spend time in the host city. St. Regis Malaysia makes for the perfect host venue, because it represents the ultimate in service excellence, and continues to raise the bar in a fiercely competitive industry. The hotel represents modern luxury in the Malaysian capital, combining vibrant contemporary art with travel heritage, authentic Asian dining and eclectic design – the embodiment of true urban glamour. “It is an absolute pleasure to host the Haute Grandeur Global Awards Ceremony this year at The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur.

We are honored to be selected as the host property by one of the world’s leading Awards bodies that celebrate the pinnacle of achievement in global hospitality as we make everyday exquisite, says General Manager Mr Renato de Oliveira.” “We pride ourselves in delivering bespoke, exemplary and anticipatory service that promises each of our guest an unforgettable experience long after their visit” The Haute Grandeur Global Awards Gala Ceremony is one of the highlights of the year, and prominently showcased in the media. For the 2019 event, global event partners include Emirates Airlines, the Tourism Authority of Malaysia & St Regis Hotels & Resorts.

“Providing a platform to celebrate our dignitaries’ achievements is just a part of what we aim to achieve with the Awards,” says De Wet. “Above all, the Awards acknowledge hard work, commitment, determination, leadership, and success. Haute Grandeur Awards recognise only the most remarkable hotels, spas and restaurants, inspiring superb hospitality establishments to reach even greater heights, and so continually raise the standards of service excellence in the industry.” Haute Grandeur Global Award winners, and participating establishments, are perceived as superlative. The Awards are world-renowned as the highest accolade a property can receive, recognised is a golden stamp of excellence, guaranteed. Honored guests from around of the world can expect the most magnificent celebration of the year, a night of opulence, salutation and acclamation.

For booking enquiries to attend this illustrious black-tie event, email info@hautegrandeur.com

Special Cooking Activity at Blue Elephant for EduDee Exchange Students

Special Cooking Activity at Blue Elephant for EduDee Exchange Students

Bangkok (Thailand) – June 21, 2019 (travelindex.com) – Exchange students from EduDee recently participated in a special cooking course at Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant under the guidance of founder Master Chef Nooror Somany Steppe (front row fifth from left) where they learnt about Thai food, witnessed a cooking demonstration, and actually cooked Pad Thai Noodles and Tom Kha Kai Soup at a hands-on session and tasted their own ‘creations’.

The class was held to help prepare EduDee’s exchange students and enable them to promote Thai culture and cuisine during their one academic year abroad through well-known Thai food, which coincides with the intentions of Blue Elephant. Also pictured in the photo are Mrs. Sujitra Laornua (front row fourth from left), EduDee President, and Mr. Yodsawat Siriditsayapong (front row far right), EduDee General Manager.

For Bangkok’s most respected dining guide and the best restaurants visit Top25Restaurants.com by Travelindex and the trusted Restaurant Rating Index.

Sarawak’s Third Rainforest Fringe Festival to Celebrate Culture, History

Sarawak’s Third Rainforest Fringe Festival to Celebrate Culture, History

Kuching, Sarawak (Malaysia) – June 21, 2019 (travelindex.com) – The 3rd Rainforest Fringe Festival is on from 5th to 12th July 2019 and will showcase all-inclusive programming that is aimed to encourage both locals and visitors, of all ages, to immerse in Sarawak’s rich culture and heritage.

Once again the exciting event is hosted by Ministry of Tourism, Art, Culture, Youth & Sports Sarawak (MTACYS) and is being held as a prelude to the annual Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) with Joe Sidek Productions Sdn Bhd (JSPSB) as the appointed organisers.

The announcement of the RFF dates and its list of programme was made by Minister of Tourism, Art, Culture, Youth & Sports Sarawak, YB Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah recently.

“We are proud to host the Rainforest Fringe Festival once again and we felt that the people of Sarawak deserve to celebrate their richness in culture and history” YB Datuk Haji Abdul Karim said during the press conference.

“This year’s additional flavours will include programmes that showcase another major community’s history and culture is a great expansion of the festival,” YB Datuk Karim enthused.

Meanwhile, festival director Joe Sidek has said “Sarawak is also the proud home to another major community, the Malays, and this time we will be presenting ASAS MELAYU, produced in collaboration with Amanah Khairat Yayasan Budaya Melayu Sarawak as the programme sponsor. This series will include talks, film, food, and music.”

A series of events which will showcase the history, culture and foundation of the Malay community in Sarawak, ASAS MELAYU will feature Lembaran Emas – Songket and Keringkam of Sarawak in a fashion show as an opening highlight of the festival featuring designs by the acclaimed “Malaysia’s King of Fashion”, Dato’ Sri Bernard Chandran; Sarawak’s own Datuk Tom Abang Saufi; and Tanoti House of Kuching.

The programme will be launched at the festival’s opening day on 5th July. The public will have access to this event via live streaming of the event, to be held at the old State DUN Building in Petra Jaya.

Another opening weekend highlight will include a show entitle Primates featuring UK-born Iranian Ghaffar Pourazar of the Beijing Opera; award-winning Thai choreographer Jitti Chompee, Korean-based Penang dancer/choreographer Liu Yong Sean, Lim Pei Ern from Sabah and locally cast dancers.

Continuing to showcase Sarawak’s indigenous culture of Sarawak, RFF 2019 will present several highlights including Indigenous Film Festival Kuching, Connecting the Indigenous Dots, INK Kuching and Song to the Earth featuring Kayan Parap.

Other highlights which will present the splendour of the state’s vast rainforest and the city of Kuching itself include the Borneo Laboratory with a series of events – Plating the Wild, Museum of Scent, Borneo Laboratory book launch and exhibition, and another festival commissioned bamboo pavilion (also serving as the performance stage for Primates). Exhibitions include Rainforests of the World by Ch’ien Lee, Over Sarawak by David S.T. Loh, Jungle Fever by Marie Dargent and the launching of Brooke Heritage Trust’s Museum of Kuching.

The Market will feature a variety of programmes, including showcasing and selling creative design brands from Taiwan and also Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Singapore and Thailand – opening up the world of creative designs, for the people of Sarawak.

We will also bring back the popular Big Bad Wolf, and performances will include Amazing Drumming Monkeys from Australia, which has toured the world and wowed audiences young and old alike.

As part of our community project, the festival has included the staging of The White Rajah of Sarawak (reworked), to be presented by the St Joseph’s Private School, and The Amazing Drumming Monkeys, a children-centric performance aimed at kids aged 1-8 but which is a performance which has wowed audiences worldwide and which has proven to be entertainment for the entire family.

We’d like to thank our many programme sponsors and partners including Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), the office of Sarawak State Secretary, Amanah Khairat Yayasan Budaya Melayu Sarawak (AKYBMS), Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Malaysia and other embassies and high commissions, and venue partners including Food Journal Sdn Bhd, Borneo 744, The Marian Boutique Lodging House and U.O.B. Properties Bhd.

We would also like to acknowledge our programmes partners who include Borneo Art Collective, Brooke Heritage Trust, Ranu Welum Foundation, Sarawak Museum Department, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, St Joseph’s Private School, Sarawak Body Art Association, Gebriel Padan Artistry Studio, The Tuyang Initiative, Book Xcess, IDC Architects, CENDANA, Borneo Native, SukaSeni and Sarawak Culinary Heritage and Arts Committee, and media partners KINO, Asa Esa Films and Karuna (Sarawak) Enterprise Sdn Bhd.

We are still hoping to engage with many more sponsors and partners. Please contact us for details as we are keen to collaborate and move forward together.

The list of programmes and highlights in this year’s RFF are as follows:

PRIMATES
Commissioned by Rainforest Fringe Festival 2019, PRIMATES reinterprets the identity and movements of primate mammals, which include apes, monkeys and humans.

A festival main highlight, the show features UK-born Iranian Ghaffar Pourazar, the first foreigner to play the role of Monkey King in the famous Beijing Opera, award-winning Thai choreographer Jitti Chompee, Korean-based Penang dancer Liu Yong Sean, Lee Pei Ern from Sabah and locally cast dancers.

The show will be performed on a specially constructed bamboo and wooden structure designed by Wendy Teo, architect of Wendy Teo Atelier and curator of Borneo Art Collective. PRIMATES is also performed to live music by the critically acclaimed Orang-Orang Drum Theatre. The show is free and open for all to watch.

INK KUCHING
An international tattoo showcase to present 5 days of the art of tattoo where visitors are welcome to get themselves inked by modern, traditional and indigenous artists from Sarawak and the region. This programme is presented in collaboration with Sarawak Body Art Association.

INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS FILM FESTIVAL
Started in 2018 by Emmanuela Dewi Shinta and David Metcalf in Bali, the Indigenous Film Festival has travelled to Bhubaneswar in India and Kalimantan before making a stop in Kuching as part of RFF2019.

With the theme of “stories that matter”, the film festival serves as a platform for regional and international indigenous filmmakers to showcase their work, to form collaborations and networks, and to be able to reach out to a wider audience.

Using film as a medium to promote and tell the stories of indigenous communities, the festival is a series of screenings, workshops for young filmmakers, dialogues with prominent indigenous filmmakers and networking sessions running throughout RFF2019.

RAINFORESTS OF THE WORLD
In this photographic exhibition, comprising work from the rainforests of Borneo, Madagascar, New Guinea, and the Amazon Basin, Ch’ien Lee aims to inspire a deeper understanding of these magical places, their incredible diversity, and how their continued existence is vital for the health of the entire planet.

OVER SARAWAK
This is a festival-commissioned photography project by David ST Loh, an acclaimed photojournalist. The exhibition will feature 30 prints of photos taken by David Loh in various parts of Sarawak using drone photography and technology. Over Sarawak is part of David’s Over Malaysia series, and his previous exhibition Over Penang has received widespread acclaim.

SONG TO THE EARTH FEATURING KAYAN PARAP
Adrian Jo Milang is currently the youngest practitioner of the ancient and dying Kayan oral tradition of the Parap and Takna’. Alongside Dr Corrina Bonshek, an award-winning Australian composer, who was trained in western art music by composers with deep and enduring connection to Asia, both share a deep appreciation of nature and desire to create music that is deeply moving and places the audience in a trance-like state. They will be working together over one week, in order to learn about each other’s unique styles and then present a shared collaborative performance for audiences to experience.

JUNGLE FEVER
This is a new series of works by French artist Marie Dargent. Inspired by the vivid tropical vegetation of Malaysia’s rainforest , Jungle Fever comprises of over 50 loose-hanging pieces of cloth that have been painted with striking acrylic colours using stencilled cut-outs that she had made of jungle motifs.

These long, narrow strips of antique cotton cloth are over a hundred years old, taken from the Dargent family collection, originally made by her seamstress great-grandmother, together with other pieces hunted down in European flea markets.

About Rainforest Fringe Festival 2019
Taking place from 5 – 12 July 2019, the 3rd edition of Rainforest Fringe Festival (RFF), will showcase the very best of Sarawak’s music, art, craft, film, photography, food, and culture/heritage. Hosted by the Sarawak Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth & Sports, and in collaboration with the Sarawak Tourism Board, Rainforest Fringe Festival (RFF) is held as a prelude to the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF).

For more information, contact:
Joe Sidek
joe@joesidek.net
+6016 417 3456

Lisa Case/Tan David
info@joesidek.net
+604 261 6308

Air Passengers to Governments; Focus on Sustainable Fuels, Not Carbon Taxes

Air Passengers to Governments; Focus on Sustainable Fuels, Not Carbon Taxes

Geneva (Switzerland) – June 20, 2019 (travelindex.com) – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on European governments considering a Dutch proposal for an EU-wide tax on air tickets to listen to what their citizens want. IATA-commissioned research shows that air passengers want governments to encourage the development of new technologies and sustainable aviation fuels to reduce aviation carbon emissions, rather than impose ineffective “environmental” taxes.

According to the survey, the most preferred actions for governments to prioritize for managing aviation’s climate change impacts are to:

– Support the development of sustainable aviation fuels (64%)
– Support research and development of new technology and better operations (62%)
– In contrast, environmental taxes were one of the least popular options, with just 22% support.

“Aviation takes the climate change challenge very seriously. For more than a decade we have set and exceeded tough targets for carbon emissions, and we plan to achieve much more. Public opinion has a clear message to governments: work with aviation to encourage investment in clean fuels, and new hybrid and electric technology. This will help airlines cut emissions in half by 2050,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Commercial aviation is responsible for around 2% of annual global carbon emissions. The industry has a target to cap CO2 through carbon-neutral growth from 2020, and to cut emissions in half by 2050, compared to a 2005 benchmark. Achievement of this target ensures aviation’s compatibility with the goals of the Paris climate agreement, to limit global warming to between 1.5-2 degrees.

“Airlines have spent billions on new planes that have helped to cut emissions per passenger in half since 1990. From next year we will cap emissions in a global offsetting scheme that will generate $40 billion of climate financing. And airlines have bought up all the sustainable aviation fuel that is available. Governments should listen to their citizens. The way forward for aviation and the environment is sustainable aviation fuels. Promoting their commercialization will do more than any tax,” said de Juniac.

The public has little faith in government’s spending environmental taxes on environmental action. When asked “do you trust governments to spend money from environment taxes specifically on environmental protection programs?” the survey results were uniformly skeptical across several key EU markets.

“The research shows that the public’s feelings are very clear. People want to travel. They value the freedom to fly. And they want to see the industry and governments taking action on emissions. Making it more expensive for people to fly is not the answer. Rather, action to encourage new technology and sustainable fuels is the solution. Airlines are taking bold steps to cut emissions. Sensible governments should take practical measures to help, not hinder investment through weakening the industry and trying to make flying a preserve of the rich,” said de Juniac.

IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic.

The research on air travelers’ preferred policy options for tackling aviation carbon emissions was undertaken by TRUE Global Intelligence, FleishmanHillard’s in-house research, and analytics team. Results are based on an online survey, among 1,400 members of the flying public in Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the USA. The survey was conducted in May 2019.

The research on public trust in government use of environmental tax revenues was undertaken by Ipsos MORI. Results based on 5000 air travelers in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom, surveyed in November-December 2018.
For more information, see this factsheet on the economic impact of passenger taxes in the Netherlands and Republic of Ireland.

Best Western’s SureStay Hotel Group Continues Rapid Growth with Philippines Debut

Best Western’s SureStay Hotel Group Continues Rapid Growth with Philippines Debut

Angeles City (Philippines) – June 21, 2019 (travelindex) – Best Western Hotels and Resorts announced today that the rapidly-growing SureStay Hotel Group has reached yet another milestone with the opening of the first SureStay property in the Philippines: the SureStay Plus by Best Western AC LUXE Angeles City. SureStay Hotel Group launched in 2016 and is already celebrating over 220 properties globally, making it one of the fastest growing brands in the hotel industry today.

SureStay Hotel Group’s accelerated growth can be attributed to a number of factors. The brand has become known as a trusted and respected lodging option among travelers – offering travelers consistent and quality levels of comfort, cleanliness, and a service guarantee, all at an affordable price. The brand has also garnered significant interest among developers in the upper-economy/lower-midscale market because of its competitive fee structure and access to Best Western’s powerhouse brand.

“SureStay Hotel Group is one of fastest growing brands in the industry,” said Ron Pohl, Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Best Western Hotels & Resorts. “While the brand has certainly captured the attention of today’s travelers and developers, it’s also proved its ability to deliver impressive results in a short period of time – meeting and exceeding developer expectations, delivering an unprecedented RevPAR index, and achieving remarkable scale. We are proud to have surpassed 220 hotels globally, and entering key markets such as the Philippines is yet another an impressive milestone for the brand.”

Properties must maintain a minimum 3.5 TripAdvisor® rating, agree to a satisfaction guarantee and unannounced inspections. The brand’s focus is to create consumer relevance and confidence through unprecedented quality and care. The SureStay Plus by Best Western AC LUXE Angeles City provides guests with 56 well-appointed guest rooms, an outdoor pool, a restaurant and business services. In line with SureStay Hotel Group’s global brand standards, all guests will be offered complimentary daily breakfast and Wi-Fi, promising comfortable, convenient and fully-connected stays in the heart of the city.

Located on Surla Street, one of the main thoroughfares in downtown Angeles City, the hotel is surrounded by popular attractions including the SM City Clark mega-mall, PAGCOR casino and Fields Avenue “walking street.” Clark International Airport is just a short drive away, offering direct connections to major cities including Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Dubai, Seoul and Taipei, and Manila can be reached in less than two hours by car.

Developed by Tambayan Hospitality Group Inc., SureStay Plus by Best Western AC LUXE Angeles City will be operated under a franchise agreement with SureStay Hotel Group and Best Western.

“Angeles City is becoming a new Asian tourism hotspot, with a wealth of visitor attractions and excellent accessibility,” said Olivier Berrivin, Managing Director of International Operations – Asia, Best Western Hotels & Resorts. “We look forward to welcoming guests to SureStay Plus by Best Western AC LUXE Angeles City and introducing the first internationally-branded upper-economy hotel to this dynamic destination.”

Tourism in the Philippines reached record levels in 2018, with an all-time-high of 7.1 million overseas visitors – up 7.7 percent year-on-year. Domestic tourism is also thriving, boosted by a buoyant economy and rising affluence. This is creating opportunities for major hotel brands to launch innovative new brand concepts all across the Philippines, including established and emerging destinations nationwide.

Best Western is already one of the country’s leading operators; following the opening of SureStay Plus by Best Western AC LUXE Angeles City, the company now operates seven hotels in the Philippines under three distinct brands: Best Western, Best Western Plus® and SureStay Plus®. This new opening also marks the group’s second hotel in Angeles City and its third in Pampanga province.

About Best Western Hotels and Resorts:
Best Western Hotels & Resorts headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, is a privately held hotel brand with a global network of approximately 4,500 hotels in nearly 100 countries and territories worldwide*. Best Western offers 16 hotel brands to suit the needs of developers and guests in every market. Best Western branded hotels include Best Western®, Best Western Plus®, Best Western Premier®, Executive Residency by Best Western®, Vīb®, GLō®, Aiden®, Sadie®, BW Premier Collection®, and BW Signature Collection®. Through recent acquisition, Best Western now also offers WorldHotels® Luxury, WorldHotels Elite and WorldHotels Distinctive brands. Completing its portfolio, Best Western offers SureStay®, SureStay Plus®, and SureStay Collection® franchises**. Now celebrating more than 70 years of hospitality, Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales and marketing support, and award-winning online and mobile booking capabilities. Best Western continues to set industry records regarding awards and accolades, including 66 percent of the brand’s North American hotels earning a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award in 2018, Business Travel News® ranking Best Western Plus and Best Western number one in upper-midscale and midscale hotel brands respectively for two consecutive years, and Fast Company honoring Best Western Hotels & Resorts with a spot in the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in the Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality category. Best Western has also won 10 consecutive AAA®/CAA® Lodging Partner of the Year awards, recognizing the brand’s commitment to providing exceptional service and great value to AAA/CAA’s nearly 60 million members in the U.S. and Canada. Best Western-branded hotels were top ranked in breakfast (food and beverage category) by J.D. Power’s 2018 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study – ranking first for midscale; and second for upper midscale. Nearly 40 million travelers are members of the brand’s award-winning loyalty program Best Western Rewards®, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western-branded hotel worldwide. Best Western’s partnerships with AAA/CAA and Google® Street View provide travelers with exciting ways to interact with the brand. Through its partnership with Google Street View, Best Western is the first major company of its size and scale to launch a virtual reality experience for customers, setting a new industry standard and reinventing how guests view hotels.
* Numbers are approximate, may fluctuate, and include hotels currently in the development pipeline.
**All Best Western, WorldHotels and SureStay branded hotels are independently owned and operated.

Contact information:
Sirimanas Maungrod (Cake) | Senior Regional Marketing Communications Manager | Asia
Email: sirimanas.maungrod@bestwestern.com

Phanintorn Tangtrongjit (Dream) | Assistant Marketing Communications Manager | Asia
Email: phanintorn.tangtrongjit@bestwestern.com

Best Western Hotels and Resorts
BWI (Thailand) Co., Ltd.|Unit 5A-2 | 5th Floor Gaysorn Place Office Building
999 Ploenchit Road Lumpini Phatumwan | Bangkok | 10330 | Thailand
Phone: +662.656.1260 | Fax +662.656.1252| www.bestwesternasia.com

Best Western and Habitat Group Sign Contract for Asia’s First Newly-Built BW Premier Collection Hotel

Best Western and Habitat Group Sign Contract for Asia’s First Newly-Built BW Premier Collection Hotel

Na Jomtien, Pattaya (Thailand) – June 19, 2019 (travelindex) – Best Western Hotels and Resorts celebrates the signing of a full management contract for Bluphere, BW Premier Collection by Best Western, which will become the first newly-built BW Premier Collection hotel in Asia.

On June 13th, 2019, the famous hotel group concluded a Professional Service Agreement (PSA) with Habitat Group, Thailand’s leading property-for-investment developer, for this striking new hotel, which is located in Na Jomtien, Pattaya, a peaceful beachfront destination on Thailand’s popular Eastern Seaboard.

As a result of the PSA, Bluphere, BW Premier Collection by Best Western will now benefit from Best Western’s 70+ years of hospitality experience and expertise, with full operational support. This will include day-to-day management, global sales, marketing and distribution, revenue management, state-of-the-art technology, human resources, training and much more. The hotel will also join the network of Best Western Rewards®, the company’s industry-leading loyalty program.

Bluphere, BW Premier Collection by Best Western is located just 100 meters from the beach, a few minutes from the attractions of downtown Pattaya, and about 1.5 hours’ drive from Bangkok. Scheduled to open in Q2 2020, the hotel will feature 195 contemporary suites, ideal for family getaways, weekend breaks and couples retreats. The eight-story property will also offer an array of upscale facilities, including a stylish rooftop swimming pool.

This exciting project has already won a series of awards, including “Best Low-Rise Architectural Design (Resort)” at the 2017 Thailand Property Awards and the “New Hotel Construction & Design – Thailand” title at the 2018 Asia Pacific Property Awards.

“The signing of a PSA for Bluphere, BW Premier Collection by Best Western represents a significant milestone in our development strategy. At Best Western, we are striving to create an exceptional portfolio of hotels and resorts all across Asia, and we believe that the best way to achieve the highest standards of hospitality is through full management contracts,” said Olivier Berrivin, Best Western’s Managing Director of International Operations – Asia.

“Habitat Group is a fantastic, forward-thinking partner, and their team has demonstrated amazing skills and vision to create such an outstanding project. We are honored that they have entrusted us with the management of Bluphere, BW Premier Collection by Best Western, and I look forward to introducing guests to an exciting new era of upscale hospitality in 2020,” Olivier added.

Habitat Hospitality, a subsidiary of Habitat Group, oversees the group’s portfolio of resort developments. With a strong focus on Thailand’s East Coast and a desire to work with the best brands in hospitality, Bluphere, BW Premier Collection by Best Western is the first Habitat Hospitality property to be managed by Best Western.

“We’re very excited to be working with the professional team at Best Western. I’m confident Bluphere, BW Premier Collection by Best Western will set a new standard for hospitality in the area and will be a valuable addition to Thailand’s East Coast leisure industry,” added Chanin Vanijwongse, Chief Executive Officer, Habitat Group Co., Ltd.

The signing of the PSA continues the successful partnership between Best Western and Habitat Group; the two companies are also working together at Best Western Premier Bayphere Pattaya – another upscale development on Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard, scheduled to open in Q1 2020.

Best Western’s rapidly-expanding Thai portfolio now covers a series of established and emerging business and leisure destinations all across the kingdom, including Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Buriram and Prachinburi.

Pictured at the PSA signing ceremony: Mr. Chanin Vanijwongse, Chief Executive Officer, Habitat Group (3rd left); Ms. Sasivimol Sutthibut, Chief Operating Officer, Habitat Group (2nd left); Ms. Vimolsiri Sutthibut, Marketing Communications Director, Habitat Group (left), Olivier Berrivin, Managing Director of International Operations – Asia, Best Western (3rd right); Rodney Simpson, Senior Regional Director of Operations – Asia (2nd right); and Cyrill Czerwonka, Regional Director of Development – Asia, Best Western (right)

About Habitat Group:
Habitat Group was founded in 2012 and is a leading premium property-for-investment developer in Thailand with extensive experience in developing hotel branded residences and a track record of delivering award-winning resorts with strong ROI for investors. Habitat Group’s portfolio includes upscale branded resort residences in prime locations in Pattaya as well as high-end low rise condominiums in Bangkok’s Central Business District. For more information, please visit www.habitatgroup.co.th.

About Best Western Hotels and Resorts:
Best Western Hotels & Resorts headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, is a privately held hotel brand with a global network of approximately 4,500 hotels in nearly 100 countries and territories worldwide*. Best Western offers 16 hotel brands to suit the needs of developers and guests in every market. Best Western branded hotels include Best Western®, Best Western Plus®, Best Western Premier®, Executive Residency by Best Western®, Vīb®, GLō®, AidenSM, SadieSM, BW Premier Collection®, and BW Signature Collection®. Through recent acquisition, Best Western now also offers WorldHotels® Luxury, WorldHotels Elite and WorldHotels Distinctive brands. Completing its portfolio, Best Western offers SureStay®, SureStay Plus®, and SureStay Collection® franchises**. Now celebrating more than 70 years of hospitality, Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales and marketing support, and award-winning online and mobile booking capabilities. Best Western continues to set industry records regarding awards and accolades, including 66 percent of the brand’s North American hotels earning a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award in 2018, Business Travel News® ranking Best Western Plus and Best Western number one in upper-midscale and midscale hotel brands respectively for two consecutive years, and Fast Company honoring Best Western Hotels & Resorts with a spot in the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in the Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality category. Best Western has also won 10 consecutive AAA®/CAA® Lodging Partner of the Year awards, recognizing the brand’s commitment to providing exceptional service and great value to AAA/CAA’s nearly 60 million members in the U.S. and Canada. Best Western-branded hotels were top ranked in breakfast (food and beverage category) by J.D. Power’s 2018 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study – ranking first for midscale; and second for upper midscale. Nearly 40 million travelers are members of the brand’s award-winning loyalty program Best Western Rewards®, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western-branded hotel worldwide. Best Western’s partnerships with AAA/CAA and Google® Street View provide travelers with exciting ways to interact with the brand. Through its partnership with Google Street View, Best Western is the first major company of its size and scale to launch a virtual reality experience for customers, setting a new industry standard and reinventing how guests view hotels.
* Numbers are approximate, may fluctuate, and include hotels currently in the development pipeline.
**All Best Western, WorldHotels and SureStay branded hotels are independently owned and operated.

Contact information:
Sirimanas Maungrod (Cake) | Senior Regional Marketing Communications Manager | Asia
Email: sirimanas.maungrod@bestwestern.com

Phanintorn Tangtrongjit (Dream) | Assistant Marketing Communications Manager | Asia
Email: phanintorn.tangtrongjit@bestwestern.com

Best Western Hotels and Resorts
BWI (Thailand) Co., Ltd.|Unit 5A-2 | 5th Floor Gaysorn Place Office Building
999 Ploenchit Road Lumpini Phatumwan | Bangkok | 10330 | Thailand
Phone: +662.656.1260 | Fax +662.656.1252| www.bestwesternasia.com

Jazz up your Golf Holiday in St. Moritz this Summer

Jazz up your Golf Holiday in St. Moritz this Summer

St. Moritz (Switzerland) – June 20, 2019 (travelindex.com) – The Kulm Hotel St. Moritz is offering golfers who love music a perfect holiday combination this summer with a range of stay and play packages that coincide with the annual Festival da Jazz, which takes place in St. Moritz from July 4 to August 4.

During the day, golfers can take to the fairways of the Engadine Valley, one of the most spectacular places to play golf thanks to stunning Alpine panoramas of verdant valleys and dramatic mountain backdrops, whilst in the evening they can enjoy a wide spectrum of performances to suit all tastes at the Festival da Jazz.

The two or three-night golf packages offer unlimited access to the 9-hole Kulm Golf St. Moritz within the hotel’s grounds and one complimentary green fee either at Samedan, which recently celebrated its 125th anniversary or at the nearby course at Zuoz. Daily breakfast buffet and Gourmet Dine Around (halfboard) are also included, whilst all Kulm guests have unlimited access to the hotel’s extensive spa facilities and tennis courts as well.

The highlights of this year’s Festival da Jazz include a free concert by a capella choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo (who gained worldwide recognition through Paul Simon’s Graceland album), Latin sounds from Gilberto Gil, American jazz pianist Chick Corea and eclectic violin pieces from Britain’s Nigel Kennedy.

As one of the official hosts of the Festival, the Kulm Hotel is staging many of the shows within its grounds at the legendary Dracula Club and free intimate after-show sessions at its Sunny Bar, Switzerland’s oldest sports bar, which is the perfect spot for a nightcap while listening to great live music.

The Kulm Golf St. Moritz, established back in 1891 as the first 9-hole course in Switzerland, weaves its way in and out of pine forests and along a section of the Olympic Bobsleigh, run whilst several tees give breathtaking vistas over Lake St. Moritz and beyond.

Standing at 1,860 meters above sea level, the Kulm Golf St. Moritz’s mountainous location ensures a few elevation changes making it physically challenging, though refreshment is close at hand at the hotel’s Chesa al Parc restaurant, located just a few meters from the 9th green.

Samedan, opened in 1893, is a classic parkland course with a touch of links that in the main runs along the valley floor, although the course does offer some gently undulating holes. It is characterized by broad fairways flanked by ancient, giant larch trees, some of which are over 700 years old, whilst numerous water hazards made up of ponds and streams ensure it is a testing challenge of golf. Samedan is just a 10-minute drive from the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz.

In 2003, these two courses were joined by the Zuoz-Madulain layout – or simply Zuoz – just a  20-minute drive from St. Moritz. Despite being a relatively young course, the combination of testy undulating fairways, multiple elevation changes, receptive greens and its attractive setting within alpine meadows and thick pine forests have made it extremely popular with golfers.

The Kulm Hotel golf package options, where prices for a two-night stay start from CHF580 per person and for three nights from CHF810 per person (available until September 1), include: · 2 or 3 nights, including sumptuous breakfast buffet and daily Gourmet Dine Around (half-board) · Complimentary green fees at the 9-hole Kulm Golf St. Moritz

· 1 complimentary green fee at Samedan or Zuoz golf course
· From the 4th night, green fees at Samedan or Zuoz are complimentary
· unlimited access to the Kulm Spa St. Moritz
· unlimited use of the hotel tennis courts
· unlimited use of all open mountain railways in the Engadine/St. Moritz region and public transportation in the valley (bus and Rhaetian Railway)

*valid on request and subject to availability; additional nights can be booked with price on request; a surcharge of CHF25 will apply over the weekend (Friday and Saturday).

Kulm Golf St Moritz
The nine-hole Kulm Golf St. Moritz course, first laid out in 1891, meanders harmoniously through the town, past the St. Moritz bobsleigh run and the former Olympic Stadium (two winter Olympics have been held on the course, in 1928 and 1948), while enjoying spectacular views over Lake St. Moritz. Lying at a height of 1,860 metres, this demanding par 27 course is among the highest in Europe and was re-laid in 2001 to bring it up to date for the needs of today’s golfers.

In addition to the course, the Club has a practice putting green and a driving range, as well as its own Club restaurant “Chesa al Parc”. An integral part of the offering at the Kulm Golf St. Moritz is the Academy, where beginners can discover the fascination of golf and seasoned players can improve their technique. Our experienced pros are on hand to provide individual instruction to guests, making use of state-of-the-art technical and audiovisual aids.

Kulm Hotel St. Moritz was the first hotel to be built in St. Moritz. The Kulm Hotel opened its doors in 1856 and immediately became popular for summer spa and painting holidays, particularly among the British who comprised around 75% of the hotel guests. The then owner of the Kulm Hotel, Johannes Badrutt, initiated winter holidays to St. Moritz from 1864 and, as a result, the hotel, resort and Switzerland itself celebrated 150 years of winter tourism in the 2014/15 season.

Since the 19th century, the Kulm Hotel has changed considerably through expansion and renovation, but the fabulous location at the heart of St. Moritz with views over the Lake remains the same. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Kulm Hotel St. Moritz has 164 rooms, five restaurants (including formal dining in the Grand Restaurant, the Italian Pizzeria with 13 Gault Millau points and local Engadine specialities at Chesa al Parc), the extensive  Kulm Spa St. Moritz (with a 20 m indoor pool with underwater music, various saunas and steam room, a Jacuzzi, a fully-equipped gym and treatment rooms, all with stunning views over Lake St. Moritz) and six conference rooms, with capacities ranging from 50 to 500 people.

Entertainment and summer sports facilities include the 9-hole Kulm Golf Course St. Moritz (the oldest golf course in the country), three tennis courts and the Marmotta Kids’ Club for younger guests.

Saint Ange Tourism Report – 17th June 2019

Saint Ange Tourism Report – 17th June 2019

Victoria, Mahe (Seychelles) – June 18, 2019 (travelindex.com) – The Seychelles overseas Tour Operator partners are talking more openly at applicable rates today and do not shy away from reminding everyone that at WTM in London over a year ago they echoed words of caution that fell on deaf ears. Seychelles say a weak May and June in its tourism industry. Rates is an area where every operator leads his own ship. But the question is whether operating costs on the ground continues to push up prices which at the end of the day will no only affect Government coffers but also every islander picking up business from tourists on holiday in Seychelles.

Today it is known that cuts in spending at Foreign Affairs and Tourism Board are being proposed. For Tourism are we not removing the much needed ingredient for growth of the industry?

Guest Speaker and Moderator at IATA Regional Aviation Forum, Accra Ghana

This week I leave Seychelles for the IATA Regional Aviation Forum – Ghana 2019 in Accra, Ghana.. This regional event will be convened under the theme “Aviation: Business for Regional Prosperity” and will bring together more than 150 distinguished aviation experts, decision makers and influencers from airlines, airports, civil aviation authorities, air navigation service providers, travel agency associations, and government agencies from across the West and Central African region.

As the President of the African Tourism Board I have been invited to this special annual event and to participate as Moderator of a Panel Discussion on the topic “West and Central Africa as Preferred Tourism Destination: The Need for Greater Industry Synergy”.
Discussions within the panel are expected to examine steps West and Central African countries need to take to become preferred tourism destinations, including inducing synergy between sectors such as tourism, air transport, travel management and hotels.

The forum will highlight the socio-economic prosperity that aviation can generate if properly adopted by West and Central African countries. The panel comprises the Ministers of Tourism of Ghana and Cote D’ Ivoire, CEO of Africa World Airlines, Country Manager of South African Airways, President of National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents and the Managing Director of Marriott Hotels.

One Seychelles, political party presents its official registration documents to Electoral commission

The ‘One Seychelles’ political party has been launched to offer a choice to the electorate. Seychelles is a country that says it embraces the basic democratic principles of right to Association and the right to participate in the political affairs of the islands and Leaders in the country often repeat such a message.

The Leaders of the “One Seychelles” have committed themselves to put Seychellois first and to work to disseminate what their party is proposing for Seychelles. They will not entertain insulting and denigrating opponents, but will stick to explaining their party manifesto. “We have a lot in our party manifesto to tell our people. If we just attacked our opponents it would only mean we had no ideas for Seychelles and only needed to concentrate on personal attacks. We have so much to propose for real change for Seychelles and will concentrate on this” I said after the registration formalities at the Electoral Commission.
One Seychelles, island nation’s newest political party, files registration papers with Electoral Commission (Seychelles News Agency)

A new political party — One Seychelles — headed by Seychelles’ former tourism minister, Alain St Ange, presented documents of registration to the Electoral Commission Wednesday.

The chairperson of the Commission, Danny Lucas, told reporters that they will have to go over the documents and certify them.

“If we find that all is in order, we will give a date to formally register the party. But if some documents are not in order we will contact the party leader to see if they can be put into order according to the requirements needed to register a political party,” said Lucas.

He added that usually, the Commission has within one month to give a date to register any political party.

For the party to be registered some documents such as the logo, colour of the party, a manifesto, and at least 100 signatures from eligible voters endorsing the party need to be in order.

The Electoral Commission of Seychelles is the body that organises, oversees and regulates political elections in the island nation. It is also in charge of registering political parties in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.

To date, there are 11 registered political parties, according to the Electoral Commission.

“Today is an important moment for Seychelles as a new political party has handed over its necessary documents to the Electoral Commission. As a group of people, we have taken article 23 of our Constitution that gives the right to every Seychellois to be affiliated with any political party. We want to give a choice to every Seychellois,” said St Ange.

He added that the Party will present its programme on what it has to offer to the people of Seychelles.

St Ange said that he has been asked what immediate thing the party will bring to the island nation and his respond is that it will focus on the welfare of the Seychellois people.

In the official launching of the party in April, St Ange said One Seychelles has a five-point action plan which focuses on reviving the island’s economy, help create job opportunities and transform the lives of the people.

Presidential and legislative elections in Seychelles are held every five years. The next presidential election is due in 2020.

The last presidential election was held in December 2015 and the candidate of the ruling Parti Lepep — James Michel — won with 50.15 percent of the vote.

On a working visit to Reunion last weekend I held discussions with the island’s President Didier Robert

President Didier Robert of Reunion, the President of the island’s Regional Council made time to meet me as I was in Reunion for a working visit. As a former Seychelles Minister and one of the founding Presidents of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands this meeting was an opportunity to again look at the region tourism industry especially now that I hold the position of President of African Tourism Board (ATB) Region and the Continent’s cooperation opportunities in tourism was looked at.

Reunion Island is known as “Europe of the Indian Ocean” as they fly the French Flag and enjoy their unique position off the coast of mainland Africa. They also remain a leading proactive member of the region’s Vanilla Islands Group.

Reunion’s Airline, Air Austral is one of the region’s flourishing airline with routes touching Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros, Mayotte and South Africa. The airline is also in partnership with Air Madagascar giving it the largest route network on the Big Island. With the affiliate airline EWA they also touch Tanzania and Mozambique.

President Didier Robert remains very much a leader who believes in cooperation and he was instrumental working with me as the then Seychelles Minister of Tourism in the creation of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands. Together we discussed strengthening the region’s tourism source markets and the opening of new potential markets such as Israel for the region.

President Didier Robert’s vision for his island shows his belief in tourism as an industry for wealth creation. He leads in sustainable tourism approach pushing forward renewable energy concept at the same time.

As the President of thee African Tourism Board (ATB) I believe that Reunion should work with ATB and consolidate its tourism development further as they look at the Continent for further growth for Air Austral. Reunion Island is today enjoying real successes in Cruise Tourism, a tourism market targeted by the island’s President when he took over the Indian Ocean Vanilla Island’s Presidency.

With President we discussed the availability to participate as a resource person and speaker at coming tourism and environment conferences being planned in Reunion.

Historical Flight Around the World by Solar Impulse Presented in Bangkok

Historical Flight Around the World by Solar Impulse Presented in Bangkok

Bangkok (Thailand) – June 18, 2019 (travelindex.com) – The Swiss Thai Chamber of Commerce (STCC) together with support of the Swiss Society Bangkok, Beluthai and Solvay organised a Luncheon presentation by Raphaëlle NICOLET on the historical flight around the world by Solar Impulse at Arnoma Grand Ballroom, Arnoma Grand Bangkok Hotel.

About Solar Impulse
Solar Impulse is a Swiss long-range experimental solar-powered aircraft project, and also the name of the project’s two operational aircraft.The privately financed project is led by Swiss engineer and businessman André Borschberg and Swiss psychiatrist and balloonist Bertrand Piccard, who co-piloted Breitling Orbiter 3, the first balloon to circle the world non-stop.

On 9 March 2015, Piccard and Borschberg began to circumnavigate the globe with Solar Impulse 2, departing from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.The aircraft was scheduled to return to Abu Dhabi in August 2015 after a multi-stage journey around the world. By June 2015, the plane had traversed Asia, and in July 2015, it completed the longest leg of its journey, from Japan to Hawaii. During that leg, the aircraft’s batteries sustained thermal damage that took months to repair. Solar Impulse 2 resumed the circumnavigation in April 2016, when it flew to California. It continued across the US until it reached New York City in June 2016. Later that month, the aircraft crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Spain. It stopped in Egypt before returning to Abu Dhabi on 26 July 2016, more than 16 months after it had left, completing the approximately 42,000-kilometre (26,000-mile) first circumnavigation of the Earth by a piloted fixed-wing aircraft using only solar power.

About Arnoma Grand Bangkok
Arnoma Grand Bangkok is part of the Arnoma Hotels and Resorts Group and a sister property of the The Felix Kanchanaburi which will eventually be rebranded as Arnoma Resort in Kanchanaburi. With its unrivalled location close to many of Bangkok’s premier office towers, within walking distance of some of Bangkok’s best shopping choices, with 369 Rooms and suites and state of the art meeting facilities suitable for meetings and functions of all types, Arnoma Grand is one of Ratchaprasong’s iconic properties.

Contact information:
Arnoma Grand Bangkok
99 Ratchadamri Road, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10330
T : + 662 655 5555
F : +662 655 7888
E : mc@arnoma.com
W : www.arnoma.com