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Hungary slotmachine ban bucks regional trend

first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis The government announced the ban Monday morning, after an extraordinary Cabinet meeting called by Prime Minister Viktor Orban. It justified the surprise move by saying that tens of thousands of Hungarian families had been ruined by slot machines.“Our objective is to ensure that our poorest, most disadvantaged and defenseless citizens … be prevented from having the opportunity of spending their money on gambling activities,” said State Secretary Janos Lazar.The law, which is expected to take effect in a few days, forces slot machine operators to immediately surrender their licenses. Slot machines will have to be removed from pubs and gambling halls and will be allowed only in Hungary’s three casinos _ two in Budapest, the capital, and one in Sopron, a city on the border with Austria.The government had already been cracking down on slot machine addiction.Tamas Huszar used to own eight slot machines, including four in a small pub he runs in north Budapest. After the government last year raised the monthly tax on each machine five-fold, from 100,000 forints ($450) to 500,000 forints ($2,250), Huszar decided to keep just one. Now he’ll have to give up that one, too. “The government has changed the law from one day to the next,” said Schreiber, who also feared that the ban could strengthen illegal gambling. “Evidently, there is a business decision behind it. We’ll see what is going to happen.”Schreiber said the association was considering filing class suits in European courts against the ban. Another trade group, the E-Casino Association, appealed to President Janos Ader to ask the Constitutional Court to review the law before he signs it.The Ministry of Economic Affairs rejected the argument that the ban would cost up to 40,000 jobs as claimed by Schreiber’s group.“In fact, the sad reality is that one slot machine can ruin the lives of at least 10 families,” the ministry said in a statement.Tamas Boros, a political analyst at Policy Solutions in Budapest, said the changes would likely increase state control over gambling in Hungary, putting it under the auspices of Szerencsejatek, the state-owned gambling company which has a monopoly on lotteries, scratch-off tickets and sports betting.“The state is trying to centralize gambling activities and make all gambling revenues flow in to Szerencsejatek,” Boros said. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   “Not only is my income going to fall, but I will be forced to lay off employees,” Huszar said.The Hungarian move bucks gambling trends elsewhere in the region. Casinos and betting parlors have been proliferating in Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia and the Czech Republic. In Serbia, a boom in football betting has led to wagers even on games in the Finnish lower divisions.On Tuesday, just over 24 hours after Lazar’s announcement, lawmakers in the Hungarian Parliament voted 238-1 in favor of the bill, with eight abstentions. Experts estimate that there are some 100,000 gambling addicts in Hungary, a country of 10 million people, while another 500,000 are at risk of developing a gambling habit.Istvan Schreiber, president of the Hungarian Gaming Association, said the industry has been blindsided by the government’s change of heart, especially because a law passed in 2011 allowed for new, server-based slot machines due to be introduced early next year. Under the new system, slot machines would have been replaced by video terminals connected to a central computer, which would keep track of all gambling activities and could be monitored by state authorities.But that has been replaced by a blanket ban. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Lazar said the government was also planning to implement tougher conditions for opening a casino in Hungary. Boros charges that the plan could lead to the establishment of state-owned casinos.To compensate for the 30 billion forints ($135 million) in lost tax revenues due to the slot machine ban, Lazar said the government was planning to regulate and tax Internet-based gambling activities.Although it would be difficult to implement, Boros said it was also possible that the government could seek to prohibit access in Hungary to foreign Internet gambling sites and give Szerencsejatek a monopoly on such activities in the country.Taking a break from feeding the machines at a Budapest gambling hall, Antal Lato said he sometimes got “totally wrapped up” in his gambling and welcomed the ban.“It will be good because at least you won’t lose your money,” said the 63-yer-old Lato, acknowledging that he sometimes spends up to 20,000 forints ($90) in one session. “The truth is, you have to struggle to win your money back.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Associated PressBUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) – The government says it’s trying to cure poor Hungarians of a gambling addiction. The gambling industry says that authorities are trying to seize control of a lucrative pastime.Whatever the case, Hungary’s decision to ban the ubiquitous slot machines seen in pubs, bars and parlors across the country goes against a gambling boom seen elsewhere in Eastern Europe, even as economic times get tougher.last_img read more

40 Spanish rescuers helping injured climber in deep cave

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The difference between men and women when it comes to pain MADRID (AP) — Emergency services in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia say they have deployed 40 rescue experts to extricate an injured caver from deep underground.A phone call Saturday alerted firefighters to the emergency inside the Cuberes cave in the municipality of Conca de Dalt. Preliminary information from the call indicated a caver had fallen six meters (20 feet) in an area about a three-hour hike from the cave entrance. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywallcenter_img A team including 19 rescue specialists, a doctor and nurse, seven underground climbers from the Catalan Speleology Federation and 12 police have been flown to the cave.Another emergency medical group arrived Sunday to wait for the rescuers to surface with the injured caver and the three other cave climbers who had been with him.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Four benefits of having a wireless security system Top Stories Comments   Share   last_img read more

Mumbai horse carriage ban leaves working families in fear

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Stable groom Kumar Sukhraj is also worried about what he’ll do next. He’s lived and worked with horses for 35 years, massaging and bathing the animals in the stables amid hanging laundry, overturned wheelbarrows and discarded shoes. For his work, he receives 150 rupees (about $2.40) a day. “I don’t know any other way of making a living.”Some vowed to fight the ban, and noted that horse carriages produced none of the toxic emissions put out by vehicles.“Because of vehicular pollution so many people get sick and even die, but no NGO or government authority is going after the car manufacturers,” says carriage owner Osman Qureshi, whose stable dates back to the days when Queen Victoria ruled over the British colonial empire in India.“We will fight for our cause, we will go to the Supreme Court,” Qureshi says. “It might be hard, but we will fight.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes To carriage owner Varma Ramnarayan, it makes no sense. In the days before cars existed, “it was not considered an atrocity for people to use horses as transportation,” he says. “Even today when the Indian president takes a ride in a horse carriage for ceremonial purposes, no one questions it.”He says losing the trade will devastate the 700 or so families that rely on it for their livelihoods. On a good day they can earn up to 3,000 rupees (about $47), charging anywhere from 200 to 1,000 rupees ($3 to $16) a ride. But most days are not so good. In the end, they make just enough to pay their families’ apartment rental fees and cover the 500-rupee-a-day costs of feeding and caring for each of their beasts of burden.The single-horse carriages — decorated in bright, flashy lights, plastic flower garlands and tinsel ornaments — have long been a draw for visitors to Mumbai’s cramped and cobblestoned streets. Known as Victoria carriages, they were once popular with wealthy families in 19th century England, and are recognizable for their large wheels and for allowing passengers to sit face-to face.“But when we are using these horses and horse carriages as a means of livelihood, we become evil,” Ramnarayan says. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   MUMBAI, India (AP) — Drivers of Mumbai’s iconic horse-drawn carriages can’t imagine not plying the roads pulling photo-snapping tourists atop their kitsch-covered chariots.Yet that time is coming, thanks to a court order calling such superfluous “joyrides” a form of animal cruelty and banning them in India’s financial capital from June 2016. Carts pulled by horses, oxen or camels and used for transportation or labor are exempt. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories In this June 15, 2015 photo, coachman Aslam lights a cigarette as he stands near his horses before leaving for work at a stable in Mumbai, India. Drivers of Mumbai’s iconic horse-drawn carriages can’t imagine not plying the roads pulling photo-snapping tourists atop their kitsch-covered chariots. Yet that time is coming, thanks to a court order calling such superfluous “joyrides” a form of animal cruelty and banning them in India’s financial capital from June 2016. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) Animal rights activists have argued that the carriages are illegally operating without permits, and were subjecting the animals to abuse by forcing them to work overtime. They alleged dozens of cases in which horses were injured or went lame. Earlier this month, the Mumbai High Court agreed: “The activity of using horse-driven carriages only for joyrides solely for human pleasure is an avoidable activity” and “is in violation” of India’s 2001 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, it said in June 8 ruling.It cites previous court rulings in stating that the “right to dignity and fair treatment is not confined to human beings alone, but it applies to animals as well,” and that the “right not to be beaten, kicked or overriden is also a right recognized” by the law.The court has asked the Maharashtra state government to organize new means of work for carriage working families, and also want the city’s centuries’ old stables shut down and the animals cared for elsewhere.Many of the drivers fear they’ll be left jobless and will lose both their homes and their horses.“We treat our horses as our family,” Ramnarayan says, breaking into sobs. “If we can’t keep our Victorias where will we go? How can I afford to educate my kids? Where will we live? We will become homeless on the streets of Mumbai.” Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homelast_img read more

Kuwait promotes unity in wake of bombing designed to divide

first_img Top Stories Like its Gulf Arab neighbors, this small but oil-rich nation is ruled by a U.S.-allied Sunni monarchy. Religious conservatives within the Sunni majority are deeply suspicious of Shiites, and by extension, non-Arab Shiite powerhouse Iran.But within 24 hours of the attack, billboards across Kuwait went up showing an image of the Kuwaiti flag wrapped around a hand, with the slogan: “We stand as one.” One of the landmark Kuwait Towers was graced with an illuminated message of condolence that referred to those killed as martyrs.Sunni activists have taken to social media urging Sunnis to pray at Shiite mosques. Kuwaiti celebrities appear in television commercials speaking about unity, while four of the country’s best-known singers recorded and released a song within hours of the blast praising Kuwait’s history of coexistence.The ruling emir, Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, surprised many by arriving at the scene of the blast within an hour of the explosion. A YouTube video of him touring the site soon went viral.“They are my children,” he told officials when they warned him against visiting the site. That phrase too — highlighting the notion that this was an attack against the nation, not a particular sect — now graces billboards along major highways. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home The vital role family plays in society KUWAIT CITY (AP) — An Islamic State sympathizer’s deadly bombing in a packed Kuwaiti mosque last week was designed to fit an all-too-familiar pattern: extremists attack Shiites to stoke sectarian hatred and then proclaim themselves the defenders of Sunnis against those they denounce as heretics.This time the attack seems to have backfired, at least for now. Instead of fueling the kind of sectarian animosity that has devastated Iraq and Syria, the Kuwait attack has reawakened a sense of national solidarity not seen since Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion. But a history of Sunni-Shiite cooperation and the shared experience of living through the Iraqi invasion help temper sectarian passions at home, said Sami al-Faraj, director of the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies.“We will always identify with the victims of attacks,” he said. “We can feel for our Sunni or Shiite brothers (abroad) but we should not be torn inside Kuwait.”Kholoud al-Feeli, who lost her uncle in Friday’s attack, is the daughter of a Shiite father and Sunni mother who were married decades ago at the home of the current emir, who was minister of foreign affairs at the time and knew the family.She recalled being raised not to see sectarian differences, and hopes her country hangs on to the newfound spirit of unity.“There is a realization that we are in danger. I hope this isn’t a temporary honeymoon between Shiites and Sunnis,” she said.___Schreck reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.___Follow Adam Schreck on Twitter at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Sponsored Stories center_img Even more remarkably, the Sunni emir lent a private jet to fly the bodies of several of those killed to the Shiite shrine city of Najaf, Iraq, for burial in line with their families’ wishes.Kuwaiti lawyer Kawther al-Jouan says the mood is reminiscent of the days following the Iraqi invasion, when volunteers like her banded together in neighborhood civil resistance groups.“All differences melted away and everyone was fighting against a single enemy, for a single cause. This is the same scenario, only we are fighting an ideology,” she said.Friday’s blast in one of Kuwait City’s oldest Shiite mosques killed 27 people and wounded more than 200. An affiliate of the Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility.Authorities identified the bomber as Fahad Suleiman Abdulmohsen al-Gabbaa, a Saudi man in his early twenties who left Riyadh the night before the attack, changed flights in Bahrain, and arrived in Kuwait just hours before detonating his explosives. Gulf Air, the airline he flew, said he traveled on a one-way ticket and had no checked baggage, and went through standard security screening before his flights.Government officials have squarely denounced the bombing and called for unity. Interior Minister Mohammed Al Khaled Al Sabah said this week his government is in “a state of war” with extremists and would not hesitate to target other terrorist cells. Minister of Education Bader al-Essa was quoted by Al-Jarida newspaper as saying he intends to re-examine Islamic educational materials to ensure they don’t promote sectarianism.The response reflects the degree to which Shiites, who are believed to make up roughly 30 percent of the country’s 1.3 million citizens, are integrated into Kuwaiti society.Bedrocks of the country’s influential merchant class, Shiites have traditionally had good relations with the ruling Al Sabah dynasty. They are active in the country’s parliament, the most free-wheeling in the Gulf, and serve in the police and military.In nearby Sunni-ruled Bahrain, by contrast, Shiites make up the majority but have long complained of discrimination and a lack of political freedoms. Saudi Arabia’s minority Shiites voice similar concerns, with sectarian tensions exacerbated by the kingdom’s ongoing duel with regional rival Iran and its war against Iranian-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen.The sectarian-charged conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Iraq threaten to polarize Kuwait too. Private Sunni donors in the country have provided significant financial support to militant groups in Syria. Two Kuwaitis were sanctioned as terrorist supporters by the U.S. last year for collecting funds for the Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria. Comments   Share   In this Wednesday, June 1, 2015 photo, a billboard in Kuwait City shows the Kuwaiti flag wrapped around a hand, with the slogan: “We stand as one,” as part of a billboard campaign launched up 24 hours after a suicide attack on a Shiite mosque on Friday. An Islamic State sympathizer’s deadly bombing in a packed Kuwaiti mosque last week was designed to fit an all-too-familiar pattern: extremists attack Shiites to stoke sectarian hatred and then proclaim themselves the defenders of Sunnis against those they denounce as heretics. This time the attack seems to have backfired, at least for now. Instead of fueling the kind of sectarian animosity that has devastated Iraq and Syria, the Kuwait attack has reawakened a sense of national solidarity not seen since Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion. (AP Photo) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

IATA criticises lack of progress at EU Transport Ministers Meeting

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed frustration that EU Transport Ministers made no progress to resolve key aviation issues during a meeting in Geneva last week. Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO said, “In April, Europe’s over-reaction to the Icelandic volcano cost the European economy EUR 5 billion. “This embarrassment of global proportions was a wake-up call for two key areas. Europe needs to develop a system in line with international practices on dealing with volcanic ash. “Second, it must review its compensation regulations for flight cancellations and delays which were applied in a way never intended by the original legislation. “It is unacceptable that a month after the volcano went dormant, the EU transport ministers have lost the sense of urgency to address these issues. “We are eager to work with the European leadership to develop the solutions needed. But yesterday’s meeting was a frustrating disappointment.” Bisignani criticised the EU Transport Ministers for failing to adequately address the costs, which resulted from the mismanagement of the ash crisis. “The unnecessary closure of airspace cost airlines at least $1.8 billion in lost revenues as well as compensation to passengers. “It is critical that the EU follow-up with guidance to its member states on compensating airlines for these losses,” said Bisignani. Bisignani has also called on Europe to address distortions to measurements of airline carbon emissions , which were made because of the airspace closures. “As 2010 is a baseline year for determining allocations under Europe’s emissions trading scheme due to take effect in 2012, accuracy is critical. “We continue to oppose regional ETS schemes like that which is being proposed by Europe. But if Europe’s transport ministers are determined to implement it in 2012, they must address this extra-ordinary distortion,” said Bisignani. IATA reiterated the need for a real European Single European Sky (SES), “We have been waiting decades for Europe to unite its skies,” said Bisignani. “The volcano resulted in tiny promises of incremental progress on some elements of the SES. As the transport ministers are not able to take leadership on this issue, I call on heads of State to end the decades of embarrassment caused by this European failure and set a date for the Transport Ministers to deliver the EUR5 billion ($6.5 billion) savings that a real SES will bring.”last_img read more

Wellington attracting Australian tourists

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H The number of Australians visiting Wellington last year was up 5.5 per cent on the year before, comparing favourably to the national increase of 3.4 per cent, Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) has announced. 2010 was rounded out by a record 17,980 Aussies arriving in the New Zealand capital in December. The growth in Australian visitor numbers comes on the back of the There’s No Place Like Wellington advertising campaign, which last year specifically targeted the Sydney market.   “Wellington is proving attractive and There’s No Place Like Wellington campaign is proving effective,” PWT chief executive David Perks said. “By combining tactical offers with the region’s culinary and cultural stories, we are both driving short-term visitation and building the brand long-term.” Last year Wellington’s visitor numbers surpassed those of rival cities Auckland and Christchurch, with June, July and November all recording double-digit growth.The number of Aussie visitors to surged a whopping 90 per cent to almost 150,000 Mr Perks said. There’s No Place Like Wellington last_img read more

Quickbeds strips the sheets on Facebook

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Engaging with customers is a key aspect of business according to general manager John Feenaghty, who described social media as an interactive vehicle to drive feedback. Mr Feenaghty told e-Travel Blackboard that the online booking site focuses on its Facebook account to interact with holiday makers in a professional yet fun environment. “We use Facebook and Twitter not to push the product on them but to have some fun with the customers and talk about what they want to talk about,” he said. With over 11,000 Facebook fans, Mr Feenaghty added that the key to successful interaction with followers involves constant communication. “You can’t really hide from your customers and once you choose to start talking to them you have to always start talking to them,” he stated. “We’ve been able to be light, happy, friendly and not too corporate and that’s what the brand is about.” hopes to take its interaction with customers to the next level, aiming to incorporate customer reviews to its system. Mr Feenaghty described the users’ opinion as “valuable” and as an important system that offers users options. “When you look car magazine reviews they highlight the good and bad of the car,” he said. “It is just a consolidating thing for them and they feel better about their purchase.” recently relaunched its brand hiring former AFL player Warwick Capper to promote the agencies’ ‘cheap and easy’ image. “Once we decided what end we wanted to target with the brand, the marketing campaign kind of evolved from it,” Mr Feenaghty said. “We were aware that we were going to need to quirky to be able to stand out and we were starting from scratch even though the company started nine years ago.“Last October was the dawn of the campaign and we are really happy with what’s happened over four or five months and how it has evolved.”last_img read more

Its four from four wins for Seashells

first_imgSS property from beach Each of Seashells Hospitality Group’s properties – located in Broome, Scarborough, Yallingup and Mandurah – have been awarded a 2012 Certificate of Excellence from international travel website TripAdvisor, an online source of accommodation and travel reviews and recommendations. The prestigious award commends the properties’ rating of four as an exceptional achievement. Seashells Mandurah is also ranked number one in hotel accommodation in Mandurah on TripAdvisor and Seashells Scarborough is ranked number one in specialty lodging in Scarborough.  Past guests have commented favourably on the modern, stylish apartments, excellent locations, family friendly and spacious surrounds and stunning views.  The majority of reviewers have rated their stay as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ for each property.Seashells Mandurah offers spacious, self-contained apartments with modern facilities, outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, conference facilities and spectacular beachfront views.The recently refurbished two and three bedroom Seashells Scarborough offers spacious, self-contained apartments with modern facilities, two outdoor swimming pools (one heated), spas, secure parking, barbecues, free on-house movies and spectacular beachfront views.The 4.5 star Seashells Broome comprises one and two bedroom apartments and three-bedroom bungalows with modern facilities, an outdoor swimming pool and spa, parking, barbecues, playground, and free in-house movies and Foxtel.Seashells Yallingup is uniquely located in stunning heritage gardens a short walk to the famous Yallingup surf break.  It is perfectly situated for award-winning winery visits, beach escapes and country drives. Seashells Broome – property Seashells Mandurah propertycenter_img Seashells Yallingup 2-bed kitchen Source = Seashells Hospitality Grouplast_img read more

Virgin Australia employee engagement critical

first_imgVirgin Australia COO Sean Donohue addresses the airline’s expansion. Virgin Australia is not interested in chasing market share and stresses employee alignment as the key to its current and future success, according to the airline’s chief operating officer Sean Donohue.Speaking to delegates at the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) Australia Pacific Aviation Summit 2013 in Sydney, Mr Donohue discussed Virgin Australia’s rapid transformation over the past three years.While training and recognition are vital when growing business, Mr Donohue highlighted comprehension and perception as the most significant attribute of employee engagement.“The most valuable aspect, in terms of engagement with our employees, is what I would call alignment… what I mean by that is every single member of staff is excited about our strategy and are absolutely clear about what we’re doing and where we are going as a company,” Mr Donohue said.In January 2013, Virgin Australia transitioned to the Sabre Global Distribution System (GDS), consolidating its previous reservations platforms, Navitaire (domestic) and Amadeus (international).Virgin Australia is progressively introducing its new wireless in-flight entertainment option, allowing passengers to directly stream over 300 hours of content through their own devices at no cost.The airline has also heavily invested in developing its lounge product across the country, quadrupling the size of lounges, in terms of capacity, in Melbourne and Brisbane over the past three to four years.“Coming from the United States to Australia, one of the things that really struck me was just how important lounges were to business and government customers here – not only in providing the sufficient capacity but providing the right type of product,” Mr Donohue said.In terms of investment outside of its own airline, Virgin Australia acquired full ownership of Skywest Airlines and secured a 60 percent stake in budget carrier Tigerair Australia earlier this year.Through continued investment and the development of strategic partnerships and codeshares, Virgin Australia has expanded its network to reach over 400 destinations worldwide.“We will continue to make the right fleet decisions, we will continue to grow intelligently, but we are not an airline chasing market share,” Mr Donohue said.Source = ETB News: P.T.last_img read more

European Summer 2015 more affordable than 2014

first_imgEurope is the place to go this summer according to TripAdvisor who last month released their TripIndex Europe report.The report found that a strong dollar and weak euro has made traveling to Europe cheaper than in recent years.Istanbul topped the list as the cheapest European city to visit, costing a average of $AU2,445 for a one week trip (including seven nights hotel stay and airfares); 25% cheaper than in 2014.On average there has been a decline in costs for a one week trip to the continent by 11%.Zurich, London, Reykjavik, Edinburgh and Dubrovnik were found to be the most expensive cities to visit.Although the cost to travel to these cities has also decrease since 2014 to as much as 17%.Moscow is the only city to see an increase in costs, which have been caused by rising airfares.Bucharest, Romania and Krakow, Poland have also been rated as some of the most inexpensive cities, costing travellers $AU2,468 and $AU2,525 respectively.The chart below contains a list of the European cities that were assessed. All figures are in US dollars.Source = ETB Travel News: Peter Gollagherlast_img read more

Melbourne welcomes inaugural Air China flight

first_imgMelbourne Airport has welcomed the inaugural direct Air China service from Beijing to Melbourne.Melbourne Airport CEO, Mr Chris Woodruff, said it was an exciting milestone.“As the first airline to provide Victorians with a direct service to Beijing, I am delighted Air China has chosen to commence this service,” said Mr Woodruff.“China continues to be our most important and number one long haul market, growing more than 20 per cent in the last quarter alone. I thank Air China for their continued support in improving connections to this important market.”“Chinese visitors account for more than a quarter of visitor spending by international visitors in Victoria and inject more than $1 billion a year into Victoria’s economy. And this figure is growing, averaging nearly 20 per cent growth a year since 2010.”“This new non-stop service will further strengthen our tourism, education and business ties with Beijing and the growing number of Chinese people travelling to our great state.”“Victorians travelling to Beijing will also benefit with more choice and more convenience as they no longer need to travel through other airports. Connectivity will also be improved through access to Air China’s extensive network of global destinations.”The four times weekly service is operated on an A330-200 and provides 28 business class seats and 199 economy class seats.Source = Melbourne Airportlast_img read more

Beards and Passion Fire up in Bavaria in 2020

first_imgBeards and Passion Fire up in Bavaria in 2020Beards and Passion Fire up in Bavaria in 2020History and culture buffs will be thrilled at the chance to experience one of Germany’s oldest cultural treasures, the Oberammergau Passion Play, featured as part of Collette’s 2020 tour program.Tourists from all over the world clamour for tickets to see this historic event which takes place once every decade in the small Bavarian hamlet of Oberammergau. Securing seats to the world’s most famous passion play is akin to booking for a World Cup. Capacity is strictly limited which is why Collette is accepting expressions of interest for this extraordinary performance.Oberammergau’s devout villagers first performed this play in 1634 in the hope that they would be spared the devastating effects of the Black Death plague which was decimating Europe. Miraculously, the villagers survived the pandemic and as a token of their thanks to God, they have continued to perform their passion play ever since.The 16-act play follows the final period of the Messiah’s life, ending with the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Tradition dictates that the play is performed in years ending in zero with a cast chosen from the villagers who have either resided in Oberammergau for more than 20 years or who were born there.Locals vie for the 2000 roles as performers, technicians and musicians in this seminal work which is performed in German. Language barriers are clearly not an issue for audiences as more than half a million spectators viewed the production when it last took place in 2010.Bavarian beards are however, “de rigueur” with male artists growing their facial hair for a year prior to the event. Profits from the show are reinvested in the village enabling it to provide the services and infrastructure necessary for future generations to experience the marvels of this colourful show.Bavaria itself is well worth a visit with its charming villages, distinctive food, beer gardens and striking architecture. Whilst the full details of the 2020 tour have yet to be finalised, Collette is planning to make the most of the breath-taking Alpine scenery.Italy’s spectacular Lago Maggiore is the setting for the start of the tour which then crosses into Italian Switzerland to visit the beautiful resort town of Lugano.  The contrast between the three Switzerland’s (French, German and Italian) comes to the fore with a visit to the legendary ski resort town of Zermatt in German-speaking Switzerland.With haunting vistas of the Matterhorn in the background, visitors will board the famous Glacier Express which winds through cragged tunnels, verdant valleys and over rugged mountains to the jetset town of St Moritz.Chic and glamorous St Moritz is the departure point for another prized ski resort, Innsbruck in Austria. The pleasures of the Tyrol continue with a walk around the musical paradise of Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace.  Bavaria is the final stage of this itinerary taking in music, mountains and the magic of the world’s most renowned passion play, the Oberammergau Passion Play. Colletteto join the renaissance magic, enquire here For details of the full tours or to book a trip:Contact your local travel agentCall Collette on 1300 792 195 or visit www.gocollette.comAbout ColletteEstablished in 1918, Collette is a third-generation, family-owned worldwide tour operator. With headquarters in Rhode Island, Collette’s recently- opened Sydney office adds to the company’s global presence which includes offices in Vancouver, Toronto and London.On offer is an extensive collection of four-star escorted tours, river and ocean cruises, rail journeys, small group tours, family tours and garden holidays. Renowned for connecting guests with cultural experiences which go far beyond those of an ordinary holiday, Collette prides itself on providing real value to its guests and agent partners. Knowledgeable tour managers, an industry-leading travel protection plan and inclusive touring are just part of the top-quality Collette experience. Just sit back, relax and be guided on your Collette adventure!center_img Source = Collettlast_img read more

Meriton heading to hotel topspot in Australia

first_imgMeriton heading to hotel topspot in AustraliaMeriton heading to hotel topspot in AustraliaDeveloper Harry Triguboff AO, last month ranked Australia’s richest man, is racing toward another pinnacle – becoming the nation’s biggest owner of hotel rooms.Mr Triguboff’s Meriton Serviced Apartments arm, sitting at No.2 for two years, is expected to assume the top spot later this year when a raft of new projects will take its hotel suite numbers to 4621.That figure will grow to 5296 in 2017.The burgeoning portfolio, the result of a decision 12 years ago to diversify the Meriton business, will see it overtake the Abu Dubai Investment Authority as Australia’s biggest accommodation owner.The Abu Dubai sovereign wealth fund bought the 4352-room hotel portfolio of Tourism Asset Holdings in 2013.Mr Triguboff, who last month topped the BRW rich list with a $10.62 billion fortune, yesterday said that his move into serviced apartments had been a resounding success.“I’ve got my foot on the accelerator.“It didn’t take me long to learn that if you own the buildings and run them properly yourself rather than lease them out, the serviced apartment hotel business can be very lucrative.“So we’re taking every opportunity, when the location’s right, to build more serviced apartments.”The Meriton hotel portfolio is spread through 16 buildings in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.Matthew Thomas, national manager of Meriton Serviced Apartments, yesterday said that the group expected to end this year with 4621 suites in the wake of new suites coming on stream in Mascot, North Sydney, Parramatta and at Southport on the Gold Coast.“We’ll be adding even more suites in 2017 that will take our portfolio to nearly 5300.“We are bullish because the market is truly embracing the Meriton Serviced Apartments brand and because Tourism Australia is very positive about the future.“We are able to offer buildings that are all less than 10 years old, afford great views, provide people with space options and the chance to be fully independent through having full-sized kitchens and laundries.”Mr Thomas said Meriton was running a very professional, five-star business and was unrelenting in polishing its brand.“Our staff recruitment system, induction process and training has really paid dividends in terms of customer feedback.“Our staff all are immaculately uniformed, wear name badges and know the value of a smile.“The reward is that we’re ranked extremely highly on Trip Advisor, often No.1 in all locations.”At Meriton the suites range from one-bedroom apartments through to three-bedroom penthouses such as the one that caps the 74-level Infinity tower in Brisbane.Mr Thomas said that the Meriton Serviced Apartments were in most cases up to 10 per cent cheaper than hotels in equivalent locations.“The bonus is, of course, that you can get a two-bedroom suite far cheaper than taking two hotel rooms.” MeritonSource = Meritonlast_img read more

Emirates introduces new range of comforts in First and Business Class

first_imgEmirates introduces new range of comforts in First and Business ClassEmirates introduces new range of comforts in First and Business ClassEmirates has enhanced comfort in the air with a host of exclusive, new products introduced to its First and Business Class cabins. Customers will travel in luxury with new additions including First Class lounge wear, luxury blankets, skincare from VOYA and a new range of amenity kits from Bulgari.Emirates’ ongoing investment in product reinforces its emphasis on comfort, enhancing the travel experience. The airline has partnered with experts in their respective fields and no attention to detail has been spared in the luxury product overhaul.First Class BlanketSleep wellFor a comfortable night’s sleep on board the aircraft, Emirates has introduced the world’s first moisturising lounge wear designed for an airline. It will be available in the First Class cabin on overnight long haul flights. In partnership with Matrix, the suits use Hydra Active Microcapsule Technology designed to keep skin hydrated during the flight. The patented technology uses billions of capsules applied to the fabric which gently releases naturally-moisturising Sea Kelp during movement.Sea Kelp, a brown sea algae or seaweed normally found in the Antarctic Ocean, is known to be rich in nutrients that hydrate skin while retaining moisture, especially useful in an aircraft environment.The Microcapsule Technology of the lounge wear locks in the moisturiser for up to 10 washes so customers can re-use them. The suits include matching slippers and eye mask and come in a stylish felt pouch.For added comfort, Emirates offers a plush, faux sheep-skin blanket in First Class. The soft and luxurious comforter is on board and also sold at the Emirates Official Store. Business Class customers can also look forward to newly-introduced soft duvets in charcoal grey on their next flight.Wake up refreshedTo complete the relaxing travel experience, a new range of luxury spa products are now available both on board and on the ground from award-winning Irish brand VOYA. Created exclusively for Emirates, this skincare line includes shampoo, conditioner, body wash, cleanser, body moisturiser, hand wash, soap and hand cream.  It will be available in the signature A380 shower spa on board and selected products in Emirates’ airport lounges. The hand and body cream can also be found in the First and Business Class washrooms.The range for Emirates includes three different fragrances: rosemary & mint (Revitalise range), lavender & rosemary (Tranquility range) and  lime & mandarin (Soothing range). VOYA’s line of skincare is made from sustainable organic seaweed which has been hand harvested in Sligo, Ireland. The brand is a mainstay in luxury boutique spas worldwide and is now available in the skies on Emirates.Emirates has also partnered with luxury Italian brand Bulgari for its latest designs of the airline’s exclusive kit bags. The new set of amenity kits for both First and Business Class feature Bulgari’s woody floral fragrance – Eau Parfumée au thé noir – and contain skincare essentials to keep customers feeling fresh and pampered throughout the flight.The First Class kit bags, made from fine leather, come in eight designs in charcoal grey for men and pale grey for women. Eight additional designs are available in Business Class – four for men and four for women. The amenity kits are available on long-haul overnight flights.Emirates was named “World’s Best Airline” at the prestigious Skytrax World Airline Awards earlier this year, a testament to its continuous investment in products and services.Customers can enjoy gourmet, regionally inspired menus on board, paired with Emirates’ world class wine programme featuring the finest champagnes and wines from around the world.Passengers in all classes can enjoy Emirates’ multi-award winning ‘ice’ Digital Widescreen with more than 2,500 channels of on demand entertainment including movies, TV programs, music and podcasts.Emirates’ premium onboard experience is complemented by on ground comfort with a network of 40 dedicated Emirates Lounges located within major airports around the globe – all designed with the same attention to detail and exceptional service. First and Business Class passengers can also travel to and from the airport via Emirates’ complimentary Chauffeur-drive service.Source = Emirateslast_img read more

Cheapflights reveals how to plan the ultimate business trip

first_imgCheapflights reveals how to plan the ultimate business tripBleisure, the practice of mixing business and leisure travel, is a popular global trend now taking off with savvy Aussie professionals. The prospect of a holiday just after you’ve attended a gruelling series of meetings, seeing a place you might not have had the opportunity to before, and gaining cultural insights to share in the workplace is a win-win.Nathan Graham, Regional Sales Manager at Cheapflights ANZ, said: “Work trips are being extended to take advantage of paid return airfares to explore cities like New York, London and Hong Kong for longer. Done right, you’ll save precious travelling time as you’ll already be there once your holiday begins.”To help professionals who fly for work, the experts at have shared their guide to mixing business with pleasure.Plan ahead – See if your company has a policy regarding combining work with play. If you’re worried about blurring the lines, talk to your manager. Getting their approval may instill more confidence in your trip planning and avoid any last-minute requests to return to the office.Timing is everything – Tack on a weekend getaway with ease when booking your meetings on Mondays and Fridays. It gives you a reason to be at the destination and you’ll nab extra days without asking for time off.Pack Wisely – Avoid overpacking by wearing the same outfits twice if a casual dress code is appropriate, so you can swap between work and play. If you’ll be on the road for a while, bring clothes that are easy to wash and dry quickly to get multiple wears.Accommodation – Ask if the hotel offers discounts such as a group meeting rates or the third night free, giving you yet another reason to extend your stay. Also consider booking serviced apartments, which provide housekeeping and the comforts of home like access to a washer, dryer and kitchen.Alternatives if extra time is not possible – Spend a few hours before or after work commitments going to a concert or show, visiting a museum or taking a walking tour of the city. Skip fancy hotel meals and sample traditional cuisines at night markets or local hotspots. Source = Cheapflights.comlast_img read more