Rising Demand for Agricultural Products Pressure on Tropical Forest

Rising Demand for Agricultural Products Pressure on Tropical Forest

Geneva, Switzerland, September 19, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Annual consumption of food and agriculture products rose by 48% between 2001 and 2018 – more than twice the rate of increase in human population – as reported in a new analysis published by the Tropical Forest Alliance at the World Economic Forum entitled Forests, food systems and livelihoods: Trends, forecasts and solutions to reframe approaches to protecting forests.

The report, which tracks the relationship between the rising demand for food and agricultural products and deforestation, paints a picture of increasing competing demands on tropical forest landscapes. Since 2001, 160 million people have been lifted out of poverty and undernourishment increasing the per capita food consumption, particularly protein which has risen 45% since 2000.

In producer countries, these trends are often linked to economic development and rural livelihoods that creates a set of complex trade-offs for decision makers. For example, soybeans are now the most valuable export product for Brazil, and around 16.3 million people (12% of the total workforce) are employed in the palm oil industry in Indonesia.

The report also highlights the significant loss of primary forests, which are rich stores of carbon and biodiversity. An area exceeding 60 million hectares of primary tropical forests have been lost since 2002 – almost the size of France. The loss was 12% higher in 2020 than the previous year, despite all the efforts by governments, businesses and civil society. More than 80% of this deforestation happened in landscapes where agriculture is the dominant driver and much of this is linked to the production of globally traded commodities including soy, palm oil, cattle, cocoa, coffee and wood pulp.

In the face of this reality, the report concludes that those working to reverse deforestation need to deploy systemic solutions that take into account the multiple competing demands on these landscapes. For example, incentives can be provided for farmers to conserve more while producing food, with potential sources coming from both carbon finance and domestic finance for rural credit. More effort needs to be applied to boost productivity sustainably, particularly for smallholder farmers in the face of greater climatic stress. Improved technical assistance and new plant material to help increase yields, as well as support with the diversification of income streams, are essential.

Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Ghana says: “The time for action is now. We will pursue progressive policies with the overarching view to restoring the forest cover of Ghana, thereby contributing to the global effort against climate change.”

Justin Adams, Executive Director, Tropical Forest Alliance, says: “No single policy or solution can resolve this. Commodity-driven deforestation must not be treated in isolation – either as a purely environmental issue or a supply-chain problem. Keeping forests standing is linked directly to sustaining rural livelihoods, ensuring food security for a growing global population and supporting economic development. Crucially, the community of action working on this issue must broaden beyond those engaged at the forest frontier and environmental issues to include actors in the food system more broadly, such as farmers, local communities, local businesses and local governments.”

There is some evidence that private sector supply-chain strategies are helping to reduce deforestation. For example, Nestlé has assessed that 90% of key ingredients – including palm oil, sugar, soy and meat – are deforestation-free as of last year, and has committed to 100% deforestation-free products by 2025. Magdi Batato, the Executive Vice President and Head of Operations of Nestlé says: “A forest positive future is possible if the private sector collectively moves its focus on achieving a positive impact in the critical landscapes that underpin our food systems, and if we work hand-in-hand with farmers and local communities, and governments to form wider solutions across local, regional and global levels. The benefits are numerous: more resilient communities and livelihoods, more sustainable food systems, and a healthier planet.”

While many companies are committing to ambitious efforts in their own supply chains, it is also critical that this is done in conjunction with a broader sector-wide transformation to reduce net deforestation. Landscape-scale or jurisdictional approaches, which promote sustainable practices by rooting them in local governance systems, offer a practical way for both companies and governments to collaborate.

Christine Montenegro McGrath, Vice President and Chief Global Impact and Sustainability, Mondelēz International and Co-Chair, Consumer Goods Forum Forest Positive Coalition of Action says: “Important shifts are taking place – and as we look ahead to the UN Food Systems Summit and COP26 this year – we need to integrate food production as a critical part of the collective action required to meet both the Paris Agreement and goals on biodiversity. This report shows that landscape-scale initiatives provide a crucial piece of that puzzle for businesses who are on the journey to becoming forest-positive.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last month provided alarming evidence about the irreversible changes to the climate including for forests, and has also established that climate change is already having an adverse impact on food security and terrestrial ecosystems, with the tropics among the most vulnerable regions in terms of crop yields. This report predicts a shrinking agricultural labour force, posing even further risks for agricultural production.

President of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende says: “This combination of risks from climate change and demographic shifts suggests that the rural development models that have underpinned the expansion of tropical agriculture in the first two decades of the century are coming under increasing pressure from several angles. This underpins the need for a multistakeholder approach to find systemic solutions exemplified by the work of the Tropical Forest Alliance and the FACT Dialogue that will be presenting its findings at COP26 in Glasgow.”

Finally, the report points to the need to tackle data gaps that can enhance transparency in supply chains. There have been a number of promising innovations in recent years in improving transparency and data quality, especially the use of satellite imagery. However, despite this progress, gaps remain, including concession boundary maps, trade and export data, distinguishing between tree cover loss and deforestation, spatial data on crop production, incorporating information on time lags (between deforestation and associated production) and improving the rigour by which drivers of deforestation are understood.

Restore Body and Soul at Italy’s Argentario Golf Resort

Restore Body and Soul at Italy’s Argentario Golf Resort

Tuscany, Italy, September 19, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / With a degree of normality and the opportunity to travel again returning, Italy’s Argentario Resort is the ideal place to enjoy a restorative holiday in the unspoiled outdoors of south west Tuscany whilst at the same time offering excellent working conditions away from home.

So for anyone who needs to keep working but doesn’t want to give up a much-needed break, Argentario can provide a ‘work smart’ option in a luxurious suite with a workstation, a coffee station, plenty of desk space and all the necessary business services at your fingertips.

Then when the working day is over, it’s time to relax and recharge the batteries by taking part in your preferred sporting activity in the 77 hectares of nature reserve that surround this tranquil private resort. And with Autumn temperatures still in the 20s and the Tuscan sun still shining, it’s a glorious time to visit the Maremma.

As part of Argentario’s ‘Smart Working & Wellness’ package, there is the choice of a one-hour fitness session with a Personal Trainer or a Pirellli e-Bike rental or, if you prefer, a round of golf over the Resort’s PGA National Italy championship golf course overlooking the picturesque Orbetello Lagoon and the Tyrrenhian Sea.

Whilst this exclusive, five star retreat is probably best known for its golf course, the property also boasts two tennis courts, two padel courts, a mini football pitch as well as jogging paths that are all available for guests to use throughout their stay. A brand new outdoor fitness station has also just been created for those who like to work out in the fresh air surrounded by nature.

Argentario also boasts a 2,700 sq m² Espace Wellness Centre  that houses a fitness centre with Technogym equipment, bio-sauna, Kneipp circuit, heated indoor swimming pool, massage cabins and tanning beds and a host of beauty and wellness treatments.

Meanwhile for those who would prefer to wander further afield, there are the peninsula’s charming fishing ports, local villages and the Tuscan terrain to explore on foot as well as the nearby Monte Argentario hills to trek up to and take in the panoramic views over the Tyrrhenian Sea and beyond.

In all, the ‘Smart Working & Wellness’ package offers a great work/life balance for a week or so now that travel is back on the agenda and we seek to restore our minds and bodies after months of lockdown.

Argentario Golf Resort & Spa, one of Italy’s most luxurious destinations, is easily accessed from Rome Fiumicino airport in just 90 minutes by car.

The ‘Smart Working & Wellness’ package includes:

  • Stay in a Suite with terrace and panoramic view
  • Served daily buffet breakfast
  • Workstation equipped with Wi-Fi printer
  • Coffee station in the room with a selection of energy snacks
  • Daily sports activity: one hour of your choice between Fitness with a Personal Trainer or E-Bike rental or a Green Fee per person
  • Use of tennis and padel courts, jogging paths and golf driving range
  • Early check-in
  • Late check-out
  • Garage and outdoor parking
  • Internet wi-fi

About Argentario Golf Resort & Spa
The luxurious Argentario Golf Resort & Spa, located in the Maremma region of Tuscany, is an ideal destination for those looking for relaxing holiday that combines golf, wellness and gastronomy. Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Monte Argentario promontory, the resort is home to an eco-friendly golf course that meanders through cork-oak woods and olive groves. In 2019, it was awarded the status of PGA National Italy by The PGA.

The five-star hotel is a triumph of design and comfort throughout; a majestic entrance, a dramatic central stairway and huge windows are in stunning contrast to the intense blue Tuscan sky and Mediterranean landscapes whilst the 73 rooms and suites offer sleek, modern interiors that are beautifully appointed, all with private decked terraces. The Resort also offers a comprehensive spa and wellness centre and a range of sporting activities whilst the Dama Dama Restaurant and Club House serve delicious, healthy local cuisine prepared from locally-sourced produce.

Nearby the Argentario Golf Villas, an exclusive collection of bespoke luxury villas, boast ground-breaking design and views of the lagoon, sea and golf course that blend seamlessly into the landscape. Owners benefit from a range of amenities and services offered by Argentario Golf Resort & Spa, including 24-hour security, property management and a rental programme. Outside the Resort, the Monte Argentario promontory offers a variety of outdoor spaces and services that guarantee social distancing with its 50km of coast with wide, sandy beaches of the Silver Coast, nature trails that can be explored on foot or by bike and extremely-safe yacht and boat rental services.

 

Global Tourism Forum Hears of Africa and Need for Visibility in New Normal

Global Tourism Forum Hears of Africa and Need for Visibility in New Normal

Jakarta, Indonesia, September 18, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles former Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine Minister was recently addressing the Global Tourism Forum that was being held in Jakarta in Indonesia.

Addressing the global challenges faced by the travel and tourism industry.

The St.Ange address as part of a discussion panel was much awaited in Africa as he was known to have been championing the increasing of trade and tourism ties between Africa and the ASEAN Block. Alain St.Ange, a Tourism Consultant who was based in Indonesia for a while, has been working through FORSEAA (Forum of Small Medium Economics AFRICA ASEAN) to push trade and tourism to Africa from the ASEAN Countries. St.Ange is also working to increase visibility of tourism destinations and to give a long-overdue voice of small and medium-size travel and tourism businesses right around the world which was not surprising to hear the interest from the continent about his address.

St.Ange started by emphasising that tourism needs political support as that remains key for the industry’s success as he congratulated the Vice President and the Tourism Minister for both being present at this edition of the World Tourism Forum. He went on to push as he reminded the Indonesian Government of the many tourism potentials Indonesia has been blessed with, but he said “such potentials and investments in developing them would be wasted if Indonesia does not use everything at its disposal to increase visibility of the country”. Alain St.Ange also pointed out that in the new normal and as post covid is being discussed it was important to appreciate that every tourism destination would be fishing from the same lake for their discerning visitors and that the most innovative and prepared destination would be better placed to embrace post covid trade.

The former Seychelles Minister also spoke about niche markets from the traditional one to Agro-tourism, religious-tourism, sports-tourism, halal-tourism etc saying that every stone must be turned in the search for new tourism markets. He spent time elaborating on the need to set the course for the country and to then deliver on price matching service bearing in mind that the country is the destination and that the country needed to be prepared before someone from the panel reinforced that ‘walk the talk’ was now more important than ever. The former Minister, now a Tourism Consultant also spoke about joining forces with neighbours and friends and cited Africa as the example of a continent needing its tourism industry and going all out to make it work.

Addressing the global challenges faced by the travel and tourism industry.

The Global Tourism Forum 2021 saw the Vice Presidents of Indonesia and former Prime Minister of the UK as well as Dr Taleb Rifai, the former SG of the UNWTO , the current and former Tourism Minister of Indonesia all listed alongside the President of the Global Tourism Forum.

Suites by David Beckham Win Best Hotel Suite in Asia Pacific

Suites by David Beckham Win Best Hotel Suite in Asia Pacific

Cotai, Macao SAR, September 18, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Suites by David Beckham at newly-opened The Londoner Hotel in Macao have been named ‘Best Hotel Suite in Asia Pacific’ at The International Hotel & Property Awards 2021.

Discover Macao and the World’s Best Luxury Hotels and Prestigious Hotel Awards at Top25Hotels.com

Occupying the top two floors of The Londoner Hotel, the 14 bespoke Suites by David Beckham were launched earlier in 2021 in collaboration with the Sands Resorts Macao global ambassador, David Beckham, and leading London interior design firm David Collins Studio. At Suites by David Beckham, the British star shares his authentic design aesthetic and invites guests to enjoy a luxurious stay with a range of exclusive experiences.

Dr. Wilfred Wong, President, Sands China Ltd. said: “We are very grateful to have been recognised with this prestigious design award. We were fortunate to have the benefit of David’s impeccable style and taste in designing the suites. Guests will be able to literally step into his luxurious lifestyle, immersing themselves in the celebrity experience. This acknowledgement confirms our efforts, attention to detail and quality of craftsmanship.”

David Beckham commented: “We are delighted that that Suites by David Beckham at The Londoner Hotel have received this award. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to create the suites with luxury and comfort as a priority as well as to collaborate with such incredible teams. It has been a great project to work on and something I feel very proud of. I can’t wait to be able to visit and see them for myself.”

Ranging from 113 to 298 square metres, the suites reflect the best of the British star’s discerning style and sophistication and feature all the home comforts he enjoys when travelling. Divided into two distinct schemes of navy blue and British racing green, Beckham’s favourite colours, they contain subtle references to his renowned sporting career, personal style and interests – football, photography, tailoring and male grooming.

The largest of the suites boasts a small whisky and karaoke bar, inspired by Beckham’s interest in whisky and cut crystal glasses, and incorporates features of some of David Collins Studio’s most renowned London hospitality projects, including The Connaught Bar and Claridge’s Bar.

Discover Macao and the World’s Best Luxury Hotels and Prestigious Hotel Awards at Top25Hotels.com

The International Hotel & Property Awards are held to identify and highlight global design excellence. Hosted by design et al, the leading UK interior design magazine, voting is open to industry professionals as well as design et al readers, clients and customers.

About The Londoner Macao
The Londoner Macao is an integrated resort that invites visitors on a journey through the best of British history and culture. It incorporates five celebrated hotel brands – the new The Londoner Hotel and Londoner Court, alongside existing Conrad Macao, Sheraton Grand Macao and The St. Regis Macao. The Londoner Macao will present visitors to Cotai with an expanded offering of affordable luxury available nowhere else in Macao, with over 6,000 hotel rooms and suites, and 1.2 million square feet (111,000 square metres) of retail, entertainment, dining and meetings and convention space. With over 150 retail outlets, Shoppes at Londoner joins Shoppes at Venetian and Shoppes at Four Seasons, alongside Shoppes at Parisian. Together they offer a selection of approximately 850 luxury duty free stores – the most in any one single location in Macao. With three spas, four health clubs and over 365,000 square feet (34,000 square metres) of uniquely themed gaming space, The Londoner Macao provides a new level of luxury and accessibility to the Cotai Strip.

Seychelles Getting Ready for Upcoming COP Meeting

Seychelles Getting Ready for Upcoming COP Meeting

Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles, September 17, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / With the environment high now on everyone’s agenda and as climate change is making itself felt in the four corners of the globe the Seychelles is gearing itself for sensitizing the world on safeguarding what the islands have been blessed with in a hope that everyone follows suit. A full series of books all based on what Seychelles has as unique treasures in the area of environment has been issued by Steen N. Hansen, a Dutch National living in Seychelles and he is being assisted by his Seychellois wife Marie France is pushing for recognition of their long and difficult task.

Steen G. Hansen is a Danish national who was born in 1951. It was in 2015 that he moved to Seychelles and got married a year after to a Seychellois, and was granted a permanent residency in the Republic of Seychelles in 2019.

Hansen holds a master in biology and a bachelor in geography and in geology as well (all from the university of Copenhagen) and in German language and culture (from the University of Odense, Denmark). Prior to the arrival in Seychelles, Mr. Hansen served as a consultant biologist and as a senior lecturer at college level. He was particularly interested in environmental conservation, and has written a number of discussion papers, views and feature articles about nature, nature management and even of genetic manipulated foods items.

In the Seychelles he continued his passion for nature and nature management by writing the first illustrated and comprehensive Flora of the Seychelles from 2016 (725 pages) plus a number of smaller and easy-to-read books featuring nature treasures in the Seychelles of which can be mentioned ‘Striking Plants of Aride Island’ (2016); ‘Vallée de Mai – a Primeval Palm Forest, a Nature Reserve and a UNESCO Heritage Site’ (2017); ‘Striking Nature of Curieuse Island (2017); ‘The National Botanical Garden of Seychelles’ (2018); ‘The Tea Factory, its Nature Trail and Morne Blanc’ (2018; ‘Le Jardin du Roi Spice Garden’ (2018); ‘The National Biodiversity Centre of Seychelles’ (2019) and latest ‘Le Ravin de Fond Ferdinand – a Special Reserve on Praslin’ (2021), and where he focuses on nature management and conservation efforts next to presenting a selection of plants and animals.

Mr. Hansen’s dedication for nature and nature management is fueled by the fact that the global environment is under pressure like never before. Scaring three plant or animal species are becoming extinct every hour round the clock, for which reason ‘we are on the edge to be the first species to be able to document our own eradication if no action is taken now’ (Dr. Christiana Pasca Palmer, UN Executive for Biodiversity). And the only way out, following Mr. Hansen, is to sensitize the public and thus the grass roots as much as possible by getting to know about our precious world and its critical state by self-examination, and to which Mr. Hansen’s work – with his own words – is just a small and humble contribution.

COP will bring many influential personalities together to discuss what needs to be done and Hansen is saying start by knowing what exists and then protect what has been seen to exist.

GSTC Formally Joins ISEAL as Community Member

GSTC Formally Joins ISEAL as Community Member

London, United Kingdom, September 17, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has formally became an ISEAL Community Member. The ISEAL is the global membership organisation for ambitious, collaborative and transparent sustainability systems. ISEAL advocates for the development and adoption of credible, effective sustainability systems, and works to promote the conditions for their uptake. ISEAL members are sustainability systems and accreditation bodies dedicated to delivering benefits for people and the planet. They are committed to continually improving their systems and impacts through learning and innovation; collaborating with stakeholders and peers; and are transparent and truthful about how their systems work and how they measure their impacts.

The GSTC establishes and manages the GSTC Criteria, global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism.

GSTC Chairman Luigi Cabrini said, “As a tourism-related scheme, we are proud that GSTC meets ISEAL’s eligibility criteria to become an ISEAL Community Member, be part of the important group of organizations that form the alliance. The GSTC has been dedicating years of effort to adhere to the concepts inherent in ISEAL and to apply them to the travel and tourism industry. From our inception our Bylaws have continuously referenced doing so, and as an ISEAL Community Member, GSTC will continue to improve its system.”

GSTC Assurance Manager Claudia Bustinza said, “One of the key activities of the GSTC is Providing Assurance for Sustainable Tourism, which includes Accreditation of Certification Bodies and Recognition of Standards and Systems.”

GSTC Accreditation: GSTC partners with ASI (Assurance Services International) to provide accreditation services for Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations and tour operators as sustainable. GSTC also provides accreditation services for Certification Bodies that certify destinations as sustainable. This provides the marketplace a credible means of selecting Certification Bodies that have been verified by an impartial, credible assurance provider.*

GSTC Recognition: GSTC provides a formal indication of other standards that align with the GSTC Criteria. GSTC-Recognized means that a sustainable tourism standard has been deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. This designation is made by GSTC’s expert, independent Assurance Panel. GSTC-Recognized refers to a standard or a system and does not mean that the Certification Body using the standard is accredited.

ISEAL Executive Director Karin Kreider stated she is delighted to be able to welcome GSTC to the ISEAL community. “I applaud the Global Sustainable Tourism Council on becoming an ISEAL Community Member. This step reflects their commitment to credible and effective practices. I look forward to GSTC sharing their experience as a well-established sustainability system and becoming a valuable part of the ISEAL learning community.”

* The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for Accreditation for Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators/transport providers, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services; but provides an accreditation program through its partner ASI (Assurance Services International) to accredit Certification Bodies.

About the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. They are the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism. The Criteria are arranged in four pillars: (A) Sustainable management; (B) Socioeconomic impacts; (C) Cultural impacts; and (D) Environmental impacts (including consumption of resources, reducing pollution, and conserving biodiversity and landscapes). Since tourism destinations each have their own culture, environment, customs, and laws, the Criteria are designed to be adapted to local conditions and supplemented by additional criteria for the specific location and activity.

The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for Accreditation of Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services; but it accredits those that do. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGO’s, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

About ISEAL
ISEAL is the global membership organisation for ambitious, collaborative and transparent sustainability systems. We’re driving collective efforts to tackle the most pressing sustainability issues and create a world where markets are a force for good. Joining ISEAL’s learning community helps sustainability systems and their partners to deliver real, lasting, positive change. Our Community Members are sustainability standards and similar systems that collaborate to scale and demonstrate positive impact. Our Code Compliant members go further, adhering to our Codes of Good Practice – a globally recognised framework for best practice.

PATA Launches Virtual PATA Wellness and Luxury Travel Conference

PATA Launches Virtual PATA Wellness and Luxury Travel Conference

Bangkok, Thailand, September 16, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is pleased to announce the launch of the Virtual PATA Wellness and Luxury Travel Conference and Mart 2021, taking place from October 20-22.

The event is organised in partnership with Platinum Sponsor, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and Official Virtual Platform Partner, Zipevent Co., Ltd. This niche-themed event offers a deeper look at specialised product offerings and forum topics to share key trends in the global wellness and luxury tourism industry emerging from pandemic recovery.

“Shaped by new consumer priorities since the pandemic, wellness and sustainable luxury tourism are on the rise. These two segments of leisure travel overlap in a number of ways, which can be seen in the growing demand for boutique travel experiences offered by high-end hospitality brands,” said PATA CEO Liz Ortiguera. “While not every wellness story comes with a luxury angle, personal well-being has never been more central to consumer behaviour. We can also expect the demand for personal well-being and environmental well-being to be viewed as one. Guests will value travel experiences that don’t have a negative impact on the planet, just as they don’t want it to have a negative impact on their own health.”

This two-day niche event, comprising a one-day conference and one-day mart, brings together various tourism professionals in the wellness and sustainable luxury travel sector, offering a deeper look at specialised product offerings from around the region. The conference is designed to support PATA’s vision for the responsible development of tourism, while the one-day travel mart helps promote, build, and strengthen business and networks for delegates.

“Thailand has now initiated the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus Model to reopen the country to fully vaccinated international tourists without quarantine. In considering the Wellness and Luxury sector as an important part when tourists plan their trips, after a long pause from travelling, tourists might need to heal themselves, both body and soul, as well as isolate themselves in a luxury pool villa,” said Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor. “This coming October, Thailand plans to reopen several destinations for international travellers, which means we have to be ready for welcoming our guests from all over the world. Therefore, the Virtual PATA Wellness and Luxury Travel Conference and Mart 2021 would be an important channel for Thailand to tell the world that we are ready to welcome everyone back with safety and hygiene measures.”

The travel mart will offer 1-1 business meeting appointments, which will be supported by video calls, text, and voice chat. Furthermore, there will be networking opportunities at the interactive networking breaks which will include various games and quizzes.

Virtual PATA Wellness and Luxury Travel Conference and Mart 2021 highlights include:

Interactive Exhibition Experience – Exhibitor listing to browse sellers, submit appointment requests, view seller profile, products, and exchange contact information.
Video Meets – Set up time slots and request meetings supported by video calls, text, and voice chat.
High-Quality Live Forums – Gain insights on travel recovery with live presentations and panels
Games & Giveaways – Join one of the virtual social games and get the chance to win some awesome travel giveaways and prizes from our sponsors and partners.

The event offers complimentary exhibitor space to all PATA International Members in good standing. For PATA Chapter Members and Non-Members, PATA offers cost-effective booth fees at a significantly below market rate. The exhibitor space fee for PATA Chapter Members is USD300 and USD500 for Non-Members.

For more details on the Virtual PATA Wellness and Luxury Travel Conference and Mart 2021, please email at Events@PATA.org or visit

About PATA
Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a not-for-profit membership association that acts as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research and innovative events to its more than 650 member organisations, including 82 government, state and city tourism bodies, 14 international airlines and airports, 71 hospitality organisations and 75 educational institutions, as well as thousands of young tourism professional (YTP) members across the world. The PATA network also embraces the grassroots activism the PATA Chapters and Student Chapters, who organise numerous travel industry training programmes and business development events across the world. Thousands of travel professionals belong to the 32 local PATA Chapters worldwide, while hundreds of students are members of the 28 PATA Student Chapters globally. The PATAmPOWER platform delivers unrivalled data, forecasts and insights from the PATA Strategic Intelligence Centre to members’ desktops and mobile devices anywhere in the world. PATA’s Head Office has been in Bangkok since 1998. The Association also has official offices or representation in Beijing and London.

UNWTO Members Plan Coordinated Restart of Tourism in Asia and Pacific

UNWTO Members Plan Coordinated Restart of Tourism in Asia and Pacific

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, September 16, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Tourism leaders from across Asia and the Pacific have met to plan the sector’s restart and recovery even as borders remain closed throughout the region.

The 33rd Joint meeting of the World Tourism Organization’s Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and its Commission for South Asia (14 September 2021) came on the back of a challenging year for the region. The first to feel the impacts of the pandemic, the tourism sector of Asia and the Pacific has also been the hardest hit, recording a 95% fall in international arrivals in the first five months of 2021.

Coordinated restart and recovery

With the right policy measures and strong coordination, destinations can start safely welcoming back international visitors, thereby allowing tourism to deliver on its potential as a driver of recovery and inclusive growth

With UNWTO data also showing that this region continues to have the largest proportion of destinations closed to tourists, the Member States taking part in the virtual meetings focused on the coordination of policy measures and strategies to accelerate the recovery of tourism activities in the region. These include the phased lifting on travel restrictions and the introduction of travel corridors. Looking ahead, Members also agreed on the importance of upgrading the skills of the tourism labour force, as well as embracing innovation and digital transformation.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The Asia and Pacific region has a proven record as a dynamic tourism destination. With the right policy measures and strong coordination, destinations can start safely welcoming back international visitors, thereby allowing tourism to deliver on its potential as a driver of recovery and inclusive growth.”

Elections for the Future

The meetings attracted  around 120 participants from 25 of UNWTO’s 29 Member States in the region under the chairmanship of Malaysia and the Maldives. Ahead of the 24th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly (30 November – 3 December 2021, Marrakesh, Morocco) the meeting concluded with elections and nominations for positions within key UNWTO bodies.

India and Iran were nominated to represent South Asia on the UNWTO Executive Council; Cambodia and Maldives were nominated to represent the region as Vice-Presidents of the 24th General Assembly, while Samoa and Bhutan will serve the members on the Credentials Committee.

Malaysia and the Maldives were nominated as Chairpersons to serve their Commissions for a second term, with Fiji and Japan appointed to play the role of Vice-Chairs for the Commission for East Asia and the Pacific, while Bangladesh and Iran will serve as Vice-Chairs for the Commission for South Asia. Finally, Maldives was nominated as the venue for the next Joint Meeting of the two Commissions (CAP and CSA) in 2022, and Indonesia was endorsed as the host of World Tourism Day 2022.

Russian Tour Operators Gear Up for Phuket High Season with Sandbox Breaks

Russian Tour Operators Gear Up for Phuket High Season with Sandbox Breaks

Phuket, Thailand, September 15, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Phuket’s tourism industry can look forward to a stronger high season, as Russian travellers prepare to swap their cold winter weather for a sun-soaked Sandbox escape, a recent webinar has learned. In the “Phuket Sandbox: Russia’s Winter Wonderland” event, Russian outbound tour operators expressed their belief that many of their clients are longing to return to Phuket. They warned however, that some key factors were still restricting the destination’s full potential.

Discover gastronomy destination Phuket and the Asia’s Best Fine Dining Restaurants at Top25Restaurants.com

Held on Thursday 9th September 2021, the webinar was organised by C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications (DAC), and hosted by Laguna Resorts & Hotels. It was attended by a wide range of industry experts, including top tour operators, leading hoteliers, airline executives and representatives from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), and there was a general feeling of optimism about the upcoming peak season in Phuket.

Prior to the global pandemic, Russia was one of Phuket’s biggest source markets. In 2019, over 700,000 visitors arrived direct from Russia, and while that level is unlikely to be matched in the near future, hoteliers and tour operators are confident that the coming months will see the start of a recovery.

This belief is driven by the fact that, effective 1st September 2021, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health added Russia’s Sputnik to its list of approved vaccines, which will enable thousands of Russian citizens to take part in the Phuket Sandbox programme. Ravi Chandran, CEO of Laguna Resorts & Hotels, called this move a “huge boost to the Sandbox”.

“It adds stability and continuity to the Sandbox concept and it will give a lot of the other European countries – and other countries around the world – confidence in the concept, when they see a big player like Russia participating,” Mr. Chandran told the webinar. He added that arrival numbers would probably start slowly, before “building up in November and December, once more airlines launch flights”. The first Aeroflot flight is due to depart on 4th October 2021.

To drive Phuket’s rebound, Khanittha Phanworawat, Director of the TAT’s Moscow Office, revealed that her team is now ramping up its promotional efforts in Russia.

“The Phuket Sandbox is our main agenda for the travel trade,” Ms. Khanittha stated. “We explained the concept to Russian tour operators at an event in Moscow in September. B2B online workshops have also connected Thai hoteliers and suppliers with Russian agents, and we have set up a dedicated Russian language website to provide the latest information for travel to Thailand.”

Tour operators said they were hopeful that Russian ‘snow birds’ would flock back to Phuket this winter. Salim Akbas, Product Purchasing Manager (Southern Thailand) for ODEON Tourism, said that Russia was a “really good fit for the Sandbox” due to the 14-day length-of-stay requirement, which is similar to the usual vacation duration preferred by Russian travellers, and their strong appetite for Thailand’s beaches and food. The “7+7” extension of the Sandbox will also enable visitors to experience more parts of the Kingdom, with the option of combining Phuket with destinations such as Khao Lak, Koh Samui and Koh Phi Phi.

Mr. Akbas stressed however, that rates need to remain moderate to make sure that potential customers do not head elsewhere. “It’s recovery season, so [hoteliers need to] make the price point right. Everyone wants to make profit, but this might not be the right time. If we miss one more high season, the competition might become too strong. Dubai for example, will be an alternative destination,” he warned.

Olga Na Takuatoong, Deputy Managing Director of Exotic Voyage, a luxury Russian tour operator, agreed that suppliers need to use promotional rates to drive the revival. “Sun, sand and sea are still the priority for Russian travellers. They need to be in a warm place in the winter and Phuket has everything they need. During the pandemic, a lot of Russian customers went to the Maldives, Dubai, the Seychelles or other countries. To attract customers back, I would recommend that Phuket’s hospitality sector needs to maintain their promotional rates, and not try to increase them,” she commented.

With the launch of the Phuket Sandbox 7+7 programme and the acceptance of the Sputnik vaccine as a condition of entry, it seems that Phuket is taking the right steps to regaining the Russian market. What also seems clear however, is that a price-led return will be critical to restoring confidence, and that some travel restrictions may have to be lifted in order to entice travellers away from rival destinations.

Launched on 1st July 2021, the Phuket Sandbox allows fully-vaccinated international travellers from 60+ countries and territories worldwide to enjoy quarantine-free stays in the “Pearl of the Andaman”, if they fly direct to the island, stay in approved accommodation, and take regular PCR tests during the stay.

Discover gastronomy destination Phuket and the Asia’s Best Fine Dining Restaurants at Top25Restaurants.com

A dedicated PCR test centre now has been set up within Laguna Phuket, the integrated resort that features seven world-class, SHA Plus-certified resorts, plus a wide range of restaurants, bars, spas, boutique shopping, private yachting and water sports, all nestled within 1,000 acres of sparkling lagoons and verdant parkland, with a 3km stretch of pristine beach at Bangtao Bay. Golfers can tee-off at the 18-hole Laguna Golf Phuket, which was named as “Thailand’s Best Golf Course” at the World Golf Awards. This means that international guests, including Russian nationals, can enjoy safe, serene and secluded Sandbox stays at Laguna Phuket.

Rediscover the Beauty of Oman at Al Jabal Al Akhdar

Rediscover the Beauty of Oman at Al Jabal Al Akhdar

Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Oman, September 15, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas look forward to welcoming international travellers back to the luxurious comfort of Oman. Following the recent announcements of the Sultanate of Oman’s Supreme Committee for dealing with Covid-19 and Civil Aviation Authority, passengers who arrive in the country no longer need to quarantine if they have proof of full vaccination and can provide a negative test result for Covid-19 taken before they travel. All travellers must register on the Tarassud + platform before travelling and upload the relevant documents, including a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival, for flights lasting less than eight hours; or a negative PCR test taken no more than 96 hours before arrival, for flights of eight hours or more.

Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar is a Nominee at the World’s Best Luxury Hotels and Prestigious Hotel Awards, go to Top25Hotels.com

Dramatic Vistas from North to South

Anantara Resorts in Oman extend an invitation to new and returning guests to immerse themselves in the many treasures that the country offers. From the awe-inspiring canyons of Al Jabal Al Akhdar to rich cultural experiences across the country, travellers will find many diversions to rouse their curiosity. Delve into this intriguing destination while experiencing the heartfelt hospitality that Anantara is famous for. Coupled with the fantastic news that border restrictions have eased, both Anantara properties in Oman are pleased to offer guests great savings on longer stays to enjoy more of the many spoils of this country.

Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara – A Blend of Beach and Lagoon Luxury

Retreat to the lush Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara for a stay that promises refreshment and relaxation. Every room offers a soothing view, whether it’s the tranquil gardens, the turquoise of the ocean or the languid lagoon. Save between 25% – 40% on our luxurious accommodation with breakfast when you stay four nights or more. Enjoy sunset walks on the white sands of our private beach, or explore the coastal fortresses steeped in history. Lazy days can be spent by the infinity pool, while pure pampering awaits with exotic rituals at Anantara Spa. Every meal is infused with local flair and our kind staff will make your stay in Salalah one that you will never forget.

Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort – A Majestic Mountain Paradise

Escape to Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort to experience supreme hospitality at one of the highest resorts on earth. Book for three nights or longer and save between 20% – 30% on canyon rooms with breathtaking views or villas with verdant gardens and pools. Get your adrenalin pumping with cliff edge sports or wander down into ancient villages to learn more about the culture. Whether you fancy a cookery class mastering the intricacies of Omani cuisine, or practicing your asanas on the mountaintop, there’s an activity to engage you on your holiday. Spa journeys using local rosewater and pomegranate will sooth you gently, while dining at our restaurants is an indulgent pleasure.

Every member of the team at both resorts is dedicated to delivering elevated service and luxury for every guest and a warm welcome awaits. Simply ensure you have all the correct documentation to upload to the Tarrasud+ platform and embark on your long-awaited holiday. Treat yourself to an unforgettable journey in an enchanting destination.

Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar is a Nominee at the World’s Best Luxury Hotels and Prestigious Hotel Awards, go to Top25Hotels.com

About Anantara Hotels & Resorts
Anantara is a luxury hospitality brand for modern travellers, connecting them to genuine places, people and stories through personal experiences, and providing heartfelt hospitality in the world’s most exciting destinations. The collection of distinct, thoughtfully designed luxury hotels and resorts provides a window through which to journey into invigorating new territory, curating personal travel experiences.

From cosmopolitan cities to desert sands to lush islands, Anantara connects travellers to the indigenous, grounds them in authentic luxury, and hosts them with passionate expertise. The portfolio currently boasts over 40 stunning properties located in Thailand, the Maldives, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Mozambique, Zambia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Tunisia, Portugal and Spain, with a pipeline of future properties across Asia, the Indian Ocean, Middle East and Africa.