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Clients can save up to 1000 with ACVs Top Picks EBB

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tags: Air Canada Vacations Clients can save up to $1,000 with ACV’s Top Picks EBB Sharecenter_img MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations’ new Top Picks brochure, highlighting top-selling resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, comes with an early booking bonus worth up to $1,000 per family.The promotion runs through June 30 and includes value-adds like ACV’s new CareFree Plan, offering free seat selection, year-round Price Drop Guarantee, StormGuard protection and a $50 waiver on administration change fees. ACV pegs the value of the CareFree Plan at about $339 in savings. For a limited-time CareFree costs $49 per person, plus it’s commissionable at 5%.With ACV’s Price Drop Guarantee clients get up to $800 cash back per couple if the price of a package drops after booking. The Price Drop Guarantee offer ends Oct. 31 and is applicable to Groups.With the ACV&ME loyalty program, travel agents who book hotels, cruises and groups will receive 600 points per room for packages of 7+ nights; 400 points per room for packages of 3-6 nights; 600 points per stateroom for Air & Cruise packages; and 300 points per passenger for Group bookings. ACV&ME Points can be redeemed for Aeroplan Miles, travel vouchers or Visa gift cards. Travelweek Group Wednesday, June 14, 2017 last_img read more

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TravelBrands awards Markhambased agent 1000000 Loyalty Rewards points

first_img Travelweek Group MISSISSAUGA — A Markham, Ontario-based travel agent has been named the grand prize winner of TravelBrands’ nine-month-long contest.Cindy Li of One’s Travel has won 1,000,000 Loyalty Rewards points after participating in the contest, which ran between April and December 2017. For every online booking made through Access during this period, Canadian travel agents were automatically entered for a chance to win the grand prize and subsidiary prizes.“We were blown away from the participation in this giveaway. From the staggering number of entries to the positive feedback we’ve heard about Access, it is safe to say this contest was a success,” said Frank DeMarinis, President & CEO, TravelBrands. “Our goal was to showcase all that Access has to offer and help agents work smarter, not harder. Now it is many agents’ go-to platform and we can’t wait for all that 2018 has to bring for Access.”TravelBrands’ Loyalty Rewards program allows agents to collect points and redeem them for a multitude of rewards, including merchandise, travel, gift cards and the chance to donate to multiple foundations and charities. The value of 1 million Loyalty Rewards points is equivalent to $10,000.More news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyLi plans on using her points for travel and hopes for the opportunity to experience new cruise ship offerings.“I was so shocked and excited when TravelBrands surprised me with this news,” said Li. “I am multi-tasking all of the time on Access. With so many different product offerings, I am able to get what I need and have it all there at once. I find it very useful for searching last-minute deals as well. Thank you TravelBrands!”The news follows a similar announcement from TravelBrands earlier this week of Edmonton-based agent Deanna Webster of Sell Off Vacations winning 100,000 Loyalty Rewards points.Agents can visit travelbrandsaccess.com to learn more. Share Tags: TravelBrands Thursday, January 18, 2018 center_img TravelBrands awards Markham-based agent 1,000,000 Loyalty Rewards points Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Walt Disney Worlds Toy Story Land opens June 30

first_img Posted by Walt Disney World’s Toy Story Land opens June 30 Travelweek Group Tags: Disney Tuesday, February 20, 2018 Share  Toy Story Land is part of a multi-year reimagining of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the largest expansion in the theme park’s history. Next year will see the premiere of the all-new, 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This new land will allow guests to visit a remote trading port on the edge of wild space, where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life – and where guests will find themselves in the middle of the action. Also coming in 2019 is Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, billed as the first ever Mickey-themed ride-through attraction and taking visitors into the world of a Mickey Mouse cartoon short. LAKE BUENA VISTA — The all-new Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is set to open June 30 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.Inspired by Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story films, Toy Story Land will surround guests with giant building blocks and game board pieces in a larger-than-life outdoor setting of Andy’s backyard, as Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Slinky Dog, the Aliens, Green Army Men and other Toy Story characters come to life in the new 11-acre land.Toy Story Land will also celebrate what once defined entertainment for a generation, says Disney, with Crayons, Rubik’s Cubes, Cooties, Green Army Men and other toys and games amping up the nostalgia for park-goers. Even the lampposts will be shaped like Tinkertoys.“With set pieces, staging, attractions and experiences Toy Story Land represents the best of Walt Disney Imagineering’s collaboration with our storytelling partners at Pixar Animation Studios,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “This new land will place guests inside the wondrous world of Woody, Buzz and their pals – and invite everyone to experience the joy of being a toy.”Toy Story Land will include two all-new attractions and one expanded favourite, says Disney. Here are the highlights:Slinky Dog DashAndy has assembled his roller coaster kit for maximum family fun. Tracks and supports in bright colors of red, orange, yellow and blue are put together according to Andy’s hand-drawn plans, with Rex and Jessie lending a hand. To complete his creation, Andy picked up everyone’s favorite floppy-eared dachshund with a strrrrretch-ing slinky coil belly and dropped it on to the coaster track. Slinky Dog Dash is inspired by the pooch spinoff of Slinky, the 1950s American toy classic. Riders will zip around and above Toy Story Land, serving up panoramic views of all that the new land has to offer.Alien Swirling SaucersLittle Toy Story green Aliens swirl about in their flying saucers with guests in tow in their rocket-ship toys, while ‘The Claw’ hangs overhead. This space adventure “is bathed in music reimagined for intergalactic fun, dappled with multi-color lighting and sound effects from throughout galaxies”.Toy Story Mania!While Andy’s away, the toys will play. One of the most popular attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Mania!, gets an all-new colourful toy carnival game box entrance when the new land opens. Recently updated with a third track, the attraction will put even more guests in the carnival playset action taking aim at 3D objects, using everything from baseballs to cream pies.Woody’s Lunch BoxWoody’s Lunch Box will serve up tasty meals and old-fashioned soda floats from a walk-up window in a setting surrounded by Andy’s favourite toys and a giant vintage thermos.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager Canada << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Discover Floridas Destination Diversity

first_img By: VISIT FLORIDA Discover Florida’s Destination Diversity Tags: VISIT FLORIDA Adventure awaits in Florida, where the water is always cool and the sun is always shining. Outside and inside adventure are our specialties and for good reason too. If you’re looking for an action-packed, exhilarating vacation, look no further than the Sunshine State. We’ve got every level and type of thrill-seeker covered.Water Adventure:With over 1,000 miles of coastline, water adventure isn’t hard to find in Florida. From airboat rides to swimming alongside the endangered Florida manatee, water exploration is our specialty.In north Florida, Jackson County is home to over 70 springs that include Spring Creek and the Chipola River, a fantastic place to search for sharks teeth and arrowheads from centuries past. Bring the whole family to take a relaxing kayak, canoe or even tubing trip at Spring Creek Park.Let your workout take you somewhere at RUN/SUP in Santa Rosa Beach. Founded by runners and paddlers in search of a way to combine the two, RUN/SUP offers a cross-training interval style workout that brings about a new and exciting way to exercise.On the Gulf Coast, Bradenton visitors can fulfill their vacation fantasies by riding horseback along the shores. You can even try out the area’s creation of Horsesurfing. This interesting activity invites visitors to test their balance while riding the waves on top of a horse all while gliding through the Gulf waters.From the end of May to early September, Ichetucknee Springs in Fort White is the perfect place to experience Florida’s natural wetlands. Float down six miles of crystalline water with shaded hammocks and wildlife viewing opportunities. In addition to tubing, the springs also offer picnic areas as well as snorkeling, canoeing and hiking opportunities.Home to the United States’ only natural living coral reef, The Florida Keys has an underwater adventure all its own. The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park has over 200 miles of underwater paradise that has been protected since 1960. From shallow reefs for snorkeling to deep dives and ship-wrecks for the more experienced diver, Florida’s Dive Capital of the World offers a tropical aquatic adventure that will provide vacation memories that last a lifetime.Speaking of Capitals, Florida is the proud home to yet another one. Known as the Manatee Capital of the World, Crystal River was deemed this title due to the large number of manatee populations that concentrate in the area from January to March each year. Experience an up-close animal encounter in their natural habitat at locations such as The Plantation on Crystal River.Land Adventure:If you don’t have your sea legs and still want to explore all that Florida has to offer, there’s more than enough adventure to go around. These unique and exciting land adventure opportunities are guaranteed to create lasting memories.Jackson County offers something no other place is Florida does, guided dry-cave tours. Starting 60 feet underground, the Florida Caverns State Park takes visitors on a fascinating trip through its well preserved formations.Ranging from 350 to 750 feet, Empower Adventures in Oldsmar features five different ziplines to take the ride of your life. Riders will fly as high as 70 feet over mangrove swamps, salt marsh, oak hammocks and open water, all while enjoying Florida’s natural beauty.Combining scenic Florida landscapes and challenges for all skill levels, The Santos Mountain Bike Trail in Ocala/Marion County is one of only six bike trail systems in the United States that offers more than 60 miles of off-road adventure. This trail is filled with five miles of paved multi-use trails, featuring two-and-a-half miles of unpaved mountain biking paths complete with vertical drops of about 20 feet.Challenge yourself and friends to a test fit for a true Navy SEAL at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce. Jump, climb and race against the clock as you test your mental and physical abilities on this daring obstacle course. Including a rope climb, wall traverse and even a belly crawl, this course is free to try at your own pace with museum admission.Unleash your inner cowboy at Central Florida’s Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo. This resort is located on the same land that Florida’s first cowboys roamed on and is situated on approximately 400,000 acres of state and federally protected wetlands. From glamping tents fit with nighttime bonfires to a 1,200 seat rodeo arena that is home to the longest-running Saturday night championship rodeo in the state, this resort is an experience that you don’t want to miss out on.At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, an experience not known by many awaits in the Safi River Valley. Guests can pay to take an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour and view wild animals in their natural habitat during this three-hour Wild Africa Trek. Walk along grassland paths, cross rope bridges and ride in a rugged safari vehicle over an open savannah to see native African animals such as giraffes, hippos, crocodiles and more.center_img Tuesday, February 12, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Protecting global water sources

first_imgA report released this week finds that more countries are turning to environmental services programs to protect sensitive water sources.Facing increasing water scarcity, many countries are turning to environmental service payments to help mitigate the effects of climate change and pollution. A study released this week by research group Ecosystem Marketplace, titled “State of Water Resource Protection 2012,” noted that 80 percent of the world’s countries are facing issues related to threatened water security. “We are witnessing the first stages of a global response that could transform the ways in which we value and manage the world’s hydrologic resources,” said Michael Jenkins, CEO of Forest Trends, a conservation group that manages Ecosystem Marketplace. According to Marta Echavarría, a member of Ecosystem Marketplace’s advisory committee, Costa Rica is a pioneer of environmental service payment programs, established in the 1990s with the creation of the National Forestry Financing Fund, which provides landowners with financial incentives to protect forested areas. Other countries in the region, including Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia, have created similar programs, sometimes offering non-financial incentives. In Bolivia, for example, more than 500 families receive bee farms, fruit trees or other productive input in exchange for efforts to protect water sources. Ecuador pays farmers and indigenous communities to protect their hydrologic resources. From 2008 to 2011, initiatives to protect and restore forests, wetlands and other important ecosystems have doubled in number. The report covers 205 programs around the world, 21 of them in Latin America. Globally, the number of programs has increased by 100 in three years, totaling $8.2 billion in investment, a significantly greater amount than in 2008. Ecosystem Marketplace analysts noted that investing in programs to protect water at the source, rather than spending on treatment, could result in considerable savings for governments. It also helps to guarantee water security and provide environmental and social benefits to communities. “[These programs] definitely curb costs. If we don’t look for natural alternatives, eventually we’re going to have to invest heavily in building large water treatment plants or in transporting potable water long distances,” Echavarría told The Tico Times.Another problem Latin Americans face is a general lack of water treatment infrastructure. Coupled with the effects of pollution and climate change, the lack of treatment facilities is converting a region rich in hydrologic resources into one that is highly vulnerable to problems with accessing potable water. The study notes that China is a global leader in investing in programs to protect hydrologic resources at the source. The Asian giant accounts for 91 percent of global investments in environmental services programs protecting water. Chinese officials, for example, offer new health service benefits for residents in mountainous communities in exchange for better groundwater management, which they say will help improve potable water access.“The lack of secure water sources likely represents the greatest threat for continued economic growth [in China],” the report noted. In the United States, officials in New York chose not to invest heavily in new water treatment facilities, opting instead to implement compensation programs for farmers in the Catskills who agreed to work to reduce pollution in regional lakes, rivers and streams that provide New York City with potable water. Thanks to these efforts, New York had enough drinking water to make it through the recent Hurricane Sandy.The study also notes that 68 other environmental services programs operate in all of North America. “The benefits of these hydrologic programs extend well beyond water; they support biodiversity, reduce emissions and provide income to rural families,” said Genevieve Bennett, the report’s lead author.But private-sector participation in these types of programs remains limited, despite the fact that many companies have reported problems related to water availability. Most of these types of programs are operated by nongovernmental organizations or by governments. “It could very well be that many companies are taking a wait-and-see approach to see if these programs can be improved upon,” Bennett said. But Bennett believes that the market for hydrologic services investment is on the verge of considerable growth, particularly if the global economy begins to improve.  “The best part of this report is that it tells us that these types of investments are real, they’re growing, and they don’t follow ideological lines. Countries with a neoliberal philosophy are implementing them along with capitalist countries and communist countries like China. We all have to protect our water sources,” Echavarría said. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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Pope vows to embrace worlds poor at grand inauguration

first_imgVATICAN CITY – Pope Francis knelt at the tomb of St. Peter and donned the symbols of papal power at a sumptuous inauguration on Tuesday, vowing to embrace the “poorest, the weakest” of humanity.Nearly 200,000 pilgrims cheered Latin America’s first pontiff in St. Peter’s Square, waving flags from around the world as the newly elected pope promised that his would be a “lowly, concrete and faithful” papacy.“He is a man of great warmth and closeness, like a friend you met to talk over coffee after a long time,” Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said.In an address strongly influenced by the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, the saint he has chosen as his inspiration, he urged world economic and political leaders not to “allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world.”His voice raised in emotion, the 76-year-old Francis said a pope must “embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important.”“Amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope,” said the Argentinian, after touring a sun-drenched St. Peter’s Square in an open-top car to cries of “Long live the pope!”The Vatican said there were between 150,000 and 200,000 people present at the ceremony.Besides Chinchilla, Latin America was heavily represented at the inauguration of the first non-European pope in nearly 1,300 years, with the presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay all in attendance. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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Starbucks to open two more coffee shops in Costa Rica

first_imgU.S. coffee giant Starbucks will open two more coffee shops in Costa Rica by the end of the year, one east and one west of the Greater Metropolitan Area. The total number of Starbucks stores in Costa Rica by the end of 2013 will be four.Monica Bianchini, Starbucks local brand manager, told the weekly El Financiero that one of the shops will open in early October, but company policy forbids her from disclosing the location. A second store is still under negotiation, but it likely will open by the end of this year, too.Bianchini said expansion plans will continue in 2014, and the main factor for a new location is high customer traffic.Starbucks began operations in Costa Rica on June 20 last year and currently employs 40 people in its two cafes in Escazú, southwest of San José, and Moravia, north of the capital. Each store serves an average of 300-400 customers daily, according to Bianchini.The Seattle-based company expanded its presence in Costa Rica in March these year with the purchase of a 240-hectare farm in the foothills of the Poás Volcano in Alajuela, which will be converted into a coffee research center. Facebook Comments Related posts:Starbucks to sell Tico brand in Costa Rica store Starbucks opens second Costa Rica location on Thursday Residents split on Starbucks announcement Starbucks buys coffee farm in Costa Ricalast_img read more

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Costa Rican police arrest two suspected members of Mexicos Los Caballeros Templarios

first_imgNo related posts. Costa Rican authorities on Friday arrested two suspected members of the Mexican drug cartel “Los Caballeros Templarios” (Knights Templar), who are suspected of killing a Guatemalan man and a Costa Rican model last November in an alleged murder of retribution, officials said.Following a six-month investigation, the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) arrested two Mexican brothers with the last names Alvarado Carrillo, who allegedly are directly linked to the cartel, along with four Costa Ricans.“Today we moved forward with the arrest of members of the group, as we had information that the Mexican men and leaders of this organization were in Costa Rica,” interim OIJ Assistant Director Gustavo Mata told TV’s Channel 7.The arrests were coordinated with eight police raids in four locations across the country, in which 80 kilograms of cocaine, several firearms and luxury vehicles were seized.“Apparently the homicide was payback for the Guatemalan man, and the young model with him was likely at the wrong place and the wrong time, for which she too was killed,” Mata said.Authorities identified the victims as Sigifredo Fernández, 52, from Guatemala, and Pamela Céspedes, 29. They were killed on Nov. 8, 2012, when the vehicle they were traveling in was fired upon while driving on the San José-Caldera Highway, west of the capital.Los Caballeros Templarios is a violent drug cartel that also participates in other extremely violent criminal operations including kidnapping, extortion and robbery, on Mexico’s Pacific coast.Mexican drug cartels have increased their presence throughout Central America, which serves as a bridge for 90 percent of the cocaine that is trafficked to the United States from South America, according to the United Nations. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Documentary on Costa Ricas battle over IVF airs Saturday

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica to regulate IVF after long row After legislative inaction, Costa Rican President Solís’ IVF pledge will be put to the test Costa Rican president presents draft decree to legalize in vitro fertilization Costa Rica’s IVF ban: Why does Supreme Court have jurisdiction over president’s recent decree? Quirós, a Costa Rican filmmaker and TV producer living in San Francisco, has been following three such families for more than 10 years as they fight for the right to have a child via IVF in Costa Rica.Her one-hour documentary about them, “El Deseo Más Grande” (“A Beautiful Sin,” in English), airs this Saturday, Aug. 22 at 9 p.m. on University of Costa Rica’s Channel 15 and will be rebroadcast on Sunday at 1 p.m.In vitro fertilization is a process by which a mother’s eggs are fertilized with sperm in a laboratory, and the resulting embryo is implanted in a woman’s uterus.Fertilized eggs are sometimes destroyed during the process, which the Catholic Church believes is akin to abortion.Still, Quirós said she was struck when filming the documentary by how close parties on both sides of the IVF debate really were in their moral outlook.“They both want to protect those embryos,” she said. “The couples look in that petri dish and see the children they could have and the activists have a desire to protect life from an early age.”Costa Rica is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that bans IVF, a distinction that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ordered it to lose. On Sept. 3, the government must appear before the San José-based court and give an update on its efforts to comply with the court’s 2012 order to legalize the fertility procedure and make it universally available.President Luis Guillermo Solís said earlier this week that if lawmakers didn’t act to legalize IVF before then, he would do it via executive decree.Quirós hopes her documentary will give Costa Ricans a glimpse of the human impact of the IVF ban and help them better understand all sides of the issue.“The film opens a window to other young couples who could benefit” from IVF, Quirós said. Facebook Comments UPDATE: Monday, Aug. 31, 2015This story has been updated to reflect new air dates for the documentary “El Deseo Más Grande” on Channel 15. The documentary will be rebroadcast Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 10 p.m.; Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 2 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 4 at 10 p.m.; and Saturday, Sept. 5 at 2 p.m.The following air dates and times have been cancelled: Saturday, Sept. 5 at 9 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 6 at 1 p.m.Original story continues belowThe opening quote in the teaser for filmmaker Gabriela Quirós’ documentary about in vitro fertilization perfectly explains why the government has still not reversed a ban on the fertility practice, despite an international court order to do so.“In vitro fertilization is completely unacceptable to the Catholic Church,” former San José Archbishop Román Arrieta Villalobos tells the interviewer, stone-faced.In the face of such powerful opposition, and subsequent legislative inertia, some families have uprooted their lives and spent tens of thousands of dollars to have the procedure done elsewhere. Others have simply given up on having children of their own.last_img read more

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How to vote in the 2018 midterm elections from Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Still time to cast an absentee ballot for US midterm elections Costa Rican lawmakers approve 35 bills in first 6 months of term, but few are substantive US expats in Costa Rica can vote in person for presidential primary Bernie Sanders ‘wins’ Costa Rica in Democrats Global Primary This article was sponsored by www.votefromabroad.org. Facebook Comments The 2018 midterm elections in the United States are right around the corner. Hundreds of state and congressional seats are up for grabs Nov. 6 and even if you’re relaxing on a hammock at a beach in Costa Rica, you can still vote.Here’s how:If you are a U.S. citizen living outside the U.S., and at least 18 years old, you can register to vote as an overseas absentee voter. Your voting state is the last state you lived in before you left the U.S. All US citizens may vote in Federal Elections, that is, President, US Senator and US House of Representatives.The Congressional Midterm Elections occur every two years and include all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives along with 33 to 34 seats in the US Senate.As a US citizen, if you never resided in the US, you can submit a Federal Post Card Application to register to vote and request your ballot. On the form, you can choose “I have never lived in the United States” as your voter category.For your “voting address,” use the last residence of your US citizen parent. If both of your parents are US citizens, you may use the last US address of either US parent.There are 14 states that do not allow US citizens who have never resided in the US to register to vote: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois (non-military), Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.Please note, the website votefromabroad.org does not list the “never lived” option for the 14 states that exclude these voters. If you are a US citizen who has never lived in the US and are registering to vote in one of these states, then as a non-military overseas voter, you should choose as your voter type that your “return is uncertain.”HOW DO I REGISTER TO VOTE OR REQUEST A BALLOT AS A US CITIZEN LIVING ABROAD?As an overseas voter, you need to send in a form to request your ballot for every election year in which you wish to vote. The form, the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) is only one page and qualifies you for all elections in the calendar year: Primary, General and Special Elections that you may otherwise not be aware of.Here’s what to do:1. Go to www.votefromabroad.org, click on “Start Here” and follow the prompts to fill out the form.You will be asked if you “intend to return” or that “my return is uncertain.” Un some states checking intend to return could have state tax consequences. Check if you have any doubt.If you chose “return is uncertain”, you will receive a Federal ballot and more than half of the states (31) will also allow overseas voters who indicate their “return is uncertain” to vote in State elections.As a US citizen living abroad, your voting address is usually the address of the last place you lived in the US. This applies even if your family no longer owns the property or you no longer have ties to the state or that you don’t intend to return to that state.We strongly recommend that voters opt to receive their blank ballot via email/online or fax rather than mail.2. Print out and SIGN the completed form.3. Submit the completed and signed form to your US Local Election Official by Mail, Email or Fax–the contact information is in the Instructions. Submission methods and deadlines vary by state, but please note that you do not need a foreign postmark or a consular stamp.If you have any questions filling out the form, the website has an online chat box (the orange square in the lower right corner of the screen) or you can send an email to votefromabroadcr@gmail.com and request help by phone or email.4. After you send in your form, be sure to email or call your Local Election Official to verify they received it and will be sending a ballot to you. The contact information is in the printed instructions from VoteFromAbroad.org included with your completed form.5. What is the difference between a FPCA form and an in-state absentee ballot request?The FPCA acts like an address update and it also provides significant advantages that are only available to overseas voters such as:It protects your ballot at the federal level in case of a recount. (A ballot that doesn’t have a corresponding FPCA form may be subject to challenge in a close election).You will receive a ballot for every election in that calendar year, including primaries, special elections and runoff elections.You can use the form to request that your ballot be sent to you via email, fax or online instead of postal mail.Your state will send your ballot at least 45 days before the election (If you don’t receive your ballot by the deadline, you can use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) to vote.) Please note: many states allow overseas voters additional time to submit their ballots and/or allow overseas voters to submit ballots via electronic means.Please send in your FPCA form right away to get your ballot for the 2018 elections.Even though you may vote in a state that typically sends out a ballot without an annual request, we still urge all overseas voters to send in their form to request a ballot every year to make sure you will be able to vote. And remember, an FPCA form, sent in the calendar year of an election, protects your ballot at the federal level in case of a recount.WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO RETURN MY VOTED BALLOT?There are strict requirements for filling out and returning your ballot to ensure your vote is valid and counted accurately. Each state has its own rules and procedures that you must follow for your vote to be counted. Your ballot will come with instructions and deadlines specific to your voting state.Please be sure to read and follow the instructions completely to fill out your ballot and return by the deadline. If you have any questions, contact your Local Election Official for clarification. Don’t make guesses. If your ballot is rejected, you won’t get a second chance.MY STATE ALLOWS ME TO RETURN MY VOTED BALLOT ELECTRONICALLY –SHOULD I USE THAT OPTION?About 30 states now allow overseas voters to return their ballots electronically — that is, by Email, Fax or Online. This can be a huge boon to overseas voters who live in areas where the postal system is unreliable or non-existent or who otherwise may not be able to meet the deadline for returning their ballots.It’s your choice whether to send in your ballot electronically. There are security and confidentiality concerns, but those risks could be worthwhile if the alternative is not having your ballot counted at all.If your state has online submission, the connection should be secure at both ends and your ballot should remain secret. This may even be more secure than Mail as you don’t have to worry about your ballot being delayed or lost in the Mail.If you submit your ballot by Email or Fax, you will need to sign a waiver of your right to a secret ballot as your ballot will not be sealed when you send in. Your Local Election Official will separate your identifying information from your vote as soon as possible and no one should be able to see how you personally voted, but it will be open when submitted.WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO MAIL IN MY VOTED BALLOT?If your state requires you to return your voted ballot by mail–or if you chose to mail in your ballot, here are a few suggestions to help you get your ballot in by the deadline:Request your state send your blank ballot to you by Email/Online or Fax so that there’s no delay in getting it. Remember, this is your blank ballot, so there are no privacy concerns. Overseas ballots must go out by September 22 (45 days before the election)Send back your ballot as soon as you can. Or, if the time required for mailing is a big concern, you can have your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) ready to mail in on Sept 22.If you are attending a Vote from Abroad event – bring it and an official from the US Consulate will collect them.If you are near the US Embassy or Consulate, during weekday working hours you may drop it off. The mailing is free if you use the postage-paid mailing template (www.fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Forms/fwab_envelopeC4.pdf). Be aware that you will only have up to 14 days before the deadline.I’M CONCERNED I WON’T GET MY BLANK BALLOT IN TIME, WHAT SHOULD I DO?Before Sept 22:States are required to send out ballots to overseas voters 45 days before a scheduled election. If you’ve requested a ballot in 2018, your Nov 6th General Election ballot should be sent out by Sept 22, 2018.If you’re concerned you may not receive your blank ballot in time to meet the deadline to return your voted ballot, you can send in your vote using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB or “back-up ballot”).The FWAB is only available to overseas voters who have requested their ballot this calendar year. Some states allow overseas voters to use the FWAB to also register to vote and/or request a ballot and the FWAB instructions will let you know.However, other states require that you have already submitted your form to request a ballot before you may use the FWAB. If you vote in one of these states, be sure to email or call your Local Election Official to verify they received your form and are sending you a ballot. If your Local Election Official doesn’t have you registered as an overseas voter or if they haven’t received your form to request your ballot, you’ll need to send in form again. And don’t delay–deadlines apply.The FWAB is a ballot, so please follow the instructions carefully and be aware of the deadline to submit your ballot. The deadline information for your state will be in the Instructions that print out with your completed FWAB. Please be sure to allow enough time for your FWAB to get back to the US by the deadline.Submitting a FWAB (or back-up ballot) can be confusing, so we’ve set up a helpdesk at:Votefromabroadcr@gmail.com Send in your questions and help will be on its wayIn person help will be available on September 29th at Tin Ho from 10 am – noon and 2:30 – 4:30. There you’ll be able to:You can register & request a ballot.Fill out a FWAB (back-up ballot) if you haven’t received yours.You can drop off your ballot for the Embassy pouch.You can receive on the spot help to email or fax your ballot to your Local Election Office.last_img read more

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Azerbaijan seeks more scrutiny over BPled project

first_img Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Top Stories The frustration has also been sharpened by the discrepancy between production and BP’s own forecasts.“We see large numbers that are significantly different from those planned, which means either that the project was conceived improperly or that activities carried out to stabilize oil production are insufficient,” Aliyev said at an energy conference in the capital, Baku.BP Azerbaijan says it’s working with state oil company SOCAR to address production issues.In 2011, Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli produced around 717,600 barrels a day, which amounted to 35.4 million tons over the entire year. The average daily output peaked at 823,100 barrels in 2010.Aliyev said upward revisions to the total reserve estimate, which currently stands at around 930 million tons of oil, had raised hopes of higher output.“There had even been plans that annual output could reach 65 million tons, so it is necessary that new wells be put in place,” he saidThe production drop has been attributed to repair work on drilling platforms and changes in BP security measures implemented after the Gulf of Mexico spill in 2010.Azerbaijan’s economy is strongly dependent on its energy exports and falls in production impact significantly on the country’s growth. Patients with chronic pain give advice BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) – Azerbaijan’s top energy official urged further scrutiny of the international consortium developing the Caspian Sea nation’s main oil field amid mounting irritation at a slump in output.Industry and Energy Minister Natiq Aliyev said Monday that the drop-off in production over recent years at the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli project was “abnormal.”President Ilham Aliyev said last week that errors by AIOC, the field development consortium led by BP, had cost the oil-dependent country $8 billion in lost revenue. The sharp tone of that statement stoked speculation of increasingly punitive conditions for international investors, as the government seeks to maintain state expenditures despite stagnating energy revenues. Aliyev downplayed concerns that the criticism was a sign of a souring investment climate.BP controls a 35.8 percent stake in the project, while SOCAR has 11.6 percent and Chevron has 11.3 percent. The other current shareholders are ExxonMobil, Norwegian state-controlled oil company Statoil, Inpex and ITOCHU of Japan, Turkey’s TPAO, and New York-based Hess Corp.The production sharing agreement to develop the project, dubbed the “Contract of the Century,” was signed in 1994.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homelast_img read more

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UN Sex exploitation by peacekeepers strongly underreported

first_img Top Stories In their response to the report’s findings, which is included in the draft, U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous and field support chief Atul Khare point out that while the number of peacekeepers has increased dramatically over the past decade, the number of allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation have gone down.The U.N. prohibits “exchange of money, employment, goods or services for sex,” and it strongly discourages sexual relationships between U.N. staff and people who receive their assistance, saying they are “based on inherently unequal power dynamics” and undermine the world body’s credibility.But that has led to some confusion on the ground, the new report says, with some members of peacekeeping missions seeing that guidance as a ban on all sexual relationships with local people. The report says the guidelines need to be clarified.“Staff with long mission experience states that was a ‘general view that people should have romantic rights’ and raised the issue of sexuality as a human right,” the report says.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The report, expected to be released this month, says major challenges remain a decade after a groundbreaking U.N. report first tackled the issue.Among its findings: About a third of alleged sexual abuse involves minors under 18. Assistance to victims is “severely deficient.” The average investigation by OIOS, which says it prioritizes cases involving minors or rape, takes more than a year.And widespread confusion remains on the ground about consensual sex and exploitation. To help demonstrate that, investigators headed to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.A year ago, the report says, investigators interviewed 231 people in Haiti who said they’d had transactional sexual relationships with U.N. peacekeepers. “For rural women, hunger, lack of shelter, baby care items, medication and household items were frequently cited as the ‘triggering need,’” the report says. Urban and suburban women received “church shoes,’ cell phones, laptops and perfume, as well as money.“In cases of non-payment, some women withheld the badges of peacekeepers and threatened to reveal their infidelity via social media,” the report says. “Only seven interviewees knew about the United Nations policy prohibiting sexual exploitation and abuse.” None knew about the mission’s hotline to report it. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Each of those instances of transactional sex, the report says, would be considered prohibited conduct, “thus demonstrating significant underreporting.” It was not clear how many peacekeepers were involved.For all of last year, the total number of allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation against members of all U.N. peacekeeping missions was 51, down from 66 the year before, according to the secretary-general’s latest annual report on the issue.The draft report doesn’t say over what time frame the “transactional sex” in Haiti occurred. The peacekeeping mission there was first authorized in 2004 and, as of the end of March, had more than 7,000 uniformed troops. It is one of four peacekeeping missions that have accounted for the most allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in recent years, along with those in Congo, Liberia and South Sudan.One of the U.N. staffers who produced the report would not comment Tuesday, saying it was better to wait until it was released publicly. A spokesman for the peacekeeping office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.The U.N. doesn’t have a standing army and relies on troops contributed by member states. The states are responsible for investigating alleged misconduct by their troops, though the U.N. can step in if there’s no action. UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Members of a U.N. peacekeeping mission engaged in “transactional sex” with more than 225 Haitian women who said they needed to do so to obtain things like food and medication, a sign that sexual exploitation remains significantly underreported in such missions, according to a new report obtained by The Associated Press.The draft by the Office of Internal Oversight Services looks at the way U.N. peacekeeping, which has about 125,000 people in some of the world’s most troubled areas, deals with the persistent problem of sexual abuse and exploitation. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top holiday drink recipes Men’s health affects baby’s health too Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Comments   Share   last_img read more

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Prosecutor Germanwings copilot feared going blind

first_imgInvestigators were going over Lubitz’s remains to determine whether he had taken any medications the day of the flight.Germanwings and parent company Lufthansa have said that Lubitz had passed all medical tests and was cleared by doctors as fit to fly. Robin said he had no evidence that the carrier knew of the co-pilot’s alleged visual ailment.In Germany, doctors risk prison if they disclose information about their patients to anyone unless there is evidence they intend to commit a serious crime or harm themselves. Lubitz had told his doctors not to share information among each other about his condition, Robin said.Four days after the crash, German prosecutors said there was no evidence that Lubitz had any physical ailment affecting his sight. Robin said Lubitz had complained of seeing flashing lights but that there was no apparent “organic” reason for Lubitz’s apparent vision troubles.Families of the victims were focusing on the return of the remains and belongings of their loved ones, and possible redress. German lawyer Peter Kortas, whose firm represents relatives of 34 victims, said negotiations with Germanwings on compensation began several days ago. Robin said that Lubitz sent an email to one doctor just two weeks before the crash, saying he had doubled his dose of an antidepressant he was taking in a failed attempt to end near-sleepless nights as a result of worries about his vision. Robin said it wasn’t yet clear if the vision woes were real or imagined, but Lubitz clearly felt it was threatening his beloved career.“He even said to some of those close to him that given this vision loss, life no longer had meaning,” Robin said. Lubitz’s girlfriend appeared to be aware of his vision woes, and his family to a lesser extent: Both she and his mother took him to some of his medical appointments, he added.Robin’s comments also exposed the long-term nature of Lubitz’s troubles. He feared his vision troubles would spark a return of his depression that he once suffered, the prosecutor said.In the last five years, Robin said Lubitz consulted with 41 different doctors.In a March 10 e-mail to a doctor, Lubitz had indicated he could only sleep two hours a night and wanted urgent help, Robin said. Lubitz specified he was taking Mirtazapine, an antidepressant, and had even doubled the dosage from 15 to 30 milligrams in a failed bid to improve his sleep, and his fear of going blind continued, the prosecutor added. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories ___Associated Press writers Masha Macpherson in Paris, Geir Moulson and Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin, and Alan Clendenning in Madrid contributed to this report.___This story corrects an earlier version to show that Lubitz had seven medical appointments in the month before the crash, not that he had seen seven doctors.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation “In this moment everything else is not as important as the fact that the bodies, (the) remains be returned to their families,” Kortas said. “It’s already more than two and a half months since the crash happened, so it’s finally necessary to get to closure.“The loss of the relatives should be compensated with also a suitable amount of money,” he added.While Kortas said Thursday’s meeting with the prosecutors was “informative and interesting,” he regretted that some questions remained. Relatives were told what the procedure was for returning remains and personal belongings, but not all got an exact date for the handover of remains, and no timeframe was given for the return of the personal belongings.Nearly half of the victims were German, 47 were Spanish and there were 17 nationalities among the rest.Stephane Gicquel, who heads a French accident victims association and was at the families’ meeting with Robin, said the relatives saw video reconstitutions of the last minute of the flight, with cockpit audio taken from the Airbus 320.“So very concretely, the families had the proof of what happened by hearing the sound recordings, hearing the alarms, hearing the bangs on the door,” he said. “I think that the families appreciated this frank and direct communication.” PARIS (AP) — Fearing he was going blind, the co-pilot who slammed a Germanwings jet into the Alps took sick days at work, upped his dosage of an antidepressant, and reached out to doctors, but they didn’t tell his employer they thought he was unfit to fly because of German privacy laws, a French prosecutor said Thursday.Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin presented new details of his criminal investigation into the case after meeting in Paris with many grieving relatives of the 150 people who died on the Germanwings flight co-piloted by Andreas Lubitz. The March 24 crash, blamed on Lubitz, has put a spotlight on possible mental health issues involving flight crews.Robin announced he was handing over his initial inquiry to three investigating magistrates who will try to determine who — if anyone — can be brought to trial in an involuntary manslaughter case in which the main culprit died in the crash.The news came as families have just started to receive the remains of their loved ones for burials in the coming days and weeks.The investigation so far “has enabled us to confirm without a shadow of a doubt … Mr. Andreas Lubitz deliberately destroyed the plane and deliberately killed 150 people, including himself,” Robin told reporters.Investigators say Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit and flew the plane into a French mountainside after having researched suicide methods and cockpit door rules and practiced an unusual descent.In a new development, Robin said information from Lubitz’s tablet PC showed he had also investigated vision problems, and “feared going blind,” which would have ended the 27-year-old’s aviation career.Lubitz, who had a history of depression, had seven medical appointments in the month before the crash, including three with a psychiatrist, and had taken eight sick days off work, Robin said. Some of the doctors felt Lubitz was psychologically unstable, and some felt he was unfit to fly, but “unfortunately that information was not reported because of medical secrecy requirements,” the prosecutor said. Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 A painting is put up in a terminal of the airport commemorating the people who died in the Germanwings plane crash in France in Duesseldorf, Germany, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. 150 people died in the plane crash on March 24. AP Photo/Michael Probst) Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

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Most Asian markets fall after Greek results but China rises

first_img Comments   Share   New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Wall Street looked likely to have a rough start after the Independence Day weekend, with both Dow and S&P futures down 1.0 percent. The Dow fell 0.2 percent on Thursday to 17,730.11 while the Standard & Poors index was little changed at 2,076.78.The win of the “no” vote Greece increases the risks of the country falling out of the 19-country euro currency union if it must issue its own currency to alleviate a cash crunch.“It’s going to be an ugly day for the markets,” predicted Kathy Lien, managing director of FX Strategy for BK Asset Management. “This means more weakness for the euro and major demand for safe haven currencies.”In Asia, the euro was trading at $1.1059, down from its Friday close of $1.1114. The dollar was little changed, slipping to 122.53 yen from 122.88 yen on Friday.Oil prices fell, with benchmark U.S. crude tumbling $2.19 to $54.74 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 3 cents to close at $56.93 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 73 cents to $59.59 a barrel in London.___AP Writer Mae Anderson in New York contributed to this report. “The result was clearly a more decisive ‘no’ than the polls had suggested,” said Pavel Molchanov, equity research analyst at Raymond James. “This couldn’t be more bearish for equities and commodities alike.”“The ‘Greferendum’ has turned out to be a ‘Grief-erendum’ at many levels,” analysts at Japan’s Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.The scope for compromise in future negotiations on a financial rescue package for Greece remains unclear.A Greek exit from the eurozone would shake markets, but the scale of its economic impact overall would be limited by the relatively small size of its $242 billion economy — less than 2 percent of the 19-nation eurozone — and its population of 11 million.The European economy and European banks are in much stronger shape than they were when the debt crisis flared in 2010, said Paul Christopher, global market strategist for Wells Fargo in St. Louis, Missouri.“We think the market reaction is likely to be sharp at first but then reverse higher in the coming weeks, as long as Eurozone policymakers respond in a proactive way,” he said.Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, Australia’s ASX S&P 200 fell 1.1 percent to 5,476.20 and New Zealand’s benchmark also slipped 1.1 percent to 5,776.62. Shares also were lower in Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Check your body, save your life 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories center_img A woman looks at an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, July 6, 2015.Greece’s foray into the unknown with its rejection of terms set by its international creditors is jolting markets as investors react to looming uncertainties. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index dropped 2.1 percent to 20,212.12, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank 4.4 percent to 24,916.16. South Korea’s Kospi fell 2.3 percent to 2,056.88. By late afternoon the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.5 percent at 3,705.16.Mainland Chinese shares are somewhat isolated from world markets thanks to capital controls limiting the scope of foreign investment. The Shanghai Composite index surged nearly 6 percent after the market opened after the central bank pledged support for market investments; 28 companies agreed to postpone planned initial public offerings, and major brokerages pledged more than $19 billion for a fund to stabilize the free-falling markets.The Chinese securities companies say they will continue to invest in the market as long the Shanghai Composite remains below 4,500. It closed at 3,686 on Friday.Greek referendum results Sunday showed 61 percent of voters opted to reject demands for added austerity measures in exchange for further bailout funding, while 39 percent said “yes.”Economists said the markets were not expecting such an emphatic “no” vote and that could send stocks downward on Monday and propel investors toward so-called “safe havens” such as U.S. Treasuries or other government bonds that are viewed as largely protected from market turbulence. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares tumbled Monday after Greece’s voters vehemently rejected conditions set by its international creditors, deepening doubts over their future in the 19-nation eurozone.China’s benchmark initially rebounded from last week’s heavy losses after regulators and the securities industry intervened to prop up the markets, but gave up those gains as the day wore on.Greece’s debt problem has long overshadowed the market and with a European summit expected Tuesday, the implications of Sunday’s “no” vote remain unclear. So the initial response to Sunday’s Greek referendum was negative but not panicked.last_img read more

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JAL and Jetstar expand codeshare agreement

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/26360/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Japan Airlines announced yesterday it would expand its codeshare agreement with low cost carrier Jetstar Airways on the Kansai, Osaka-Cairns route.From 1 April this year, JAL will codeshare on once-daily flights between Kansai and Cairns operated by Jetstar on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.Fares issued by JAL for JQ-operated codeshare flights will be for economy class only, inclusive of meals and soft drinks. Reservations and ticket sales of the new codeshare flight start today. JAL and Jetstar have been bilateral partners since May 2007 and currently codeshare on flights between Tokyo (Narita) and Cairns. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.Llast_img read more

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Agents Support Systems launches new website for the Travel and Tourism

first_imgWith close to twenty-five years experience and knowledge within the travel industry, as well as publishing Australia’s number one online industry newsletter [e-Travel Blackboard], Agents Support Systems brings you OBrochure.OBrochure is a new, unique and exciting website dedicated to providing users the ability to search and download online brochures at no cost, from major travel and tourism organizations.The website is equipped with a comprehensive and easy-to-use search engine, as well as a plethora of criteria to choose from. Consumers are able to save, print and email brochures while searching specific categories, companies or destinations, OBrochure will have it covered. Travel and tourism organisations are offered the opportunity to present and promote their brochures to an extensive online audience. OBrochure aims to provide companies the ability to post brochures online in a simple, safe and secure manner. OBrochure takes an innovative, niche approach to the product management, distribution and consumption of travel brochures with travellers in mind. Therefore, travel companies are afforded a vast audience and unrivaled scope when posting their products with OBrochure.OBrochure is a principal supporter of the ever-growing travel industry and highly recommends users consult a travel agent before making any bookings.To start searching, visit OBrochure today.www.OBrochure.com  For any further enquiries please contact:Obrochure Phone +61 2 8208 8866 Fax +61 2 9233 5159 Email: sales@OBrochure.com Source = Agents Support Systemslast_img read more

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Usain to Bolt down under after Olympics

first_imgUsain BoltImage Source: ABC Olympic champion Usain Bolt has expressed his desire to visit Australia this September. The four-time Olympic gold medallist told Channel Nine, “I want to say to the Australian people I’m coming to vacation in September. Look out!” after his victory in the 100m at London. Australian states have begun vying for the Jamaican sprinter to visit their respective capital cities. Fiona Telford, a spokesperson for Victorian sports minister Hugh Delahunty’s said the state would welcome Bolt if he decided to travel south.“It would be great to have him here and Melbourne is amazing at that time of year with the Grand Final. It’s the best time of the year so I am sure he would really enjoy it,” Ms Telford said.“Obviously (the win) has just happened so we haven’t had any contact with him, but if he wants to come we would welcome him with open arms.” Collingwood president and Melbourne Stars president Eddie McGuire tried to lure Bolt to Australia to play in the Big Bash during an interview in recent months. Bolt, a talented junior cricketer said he would like to play with Aussie cricket legend Shane Warne at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Olympic silver medallist, Yohan Blake said he may join his training partner in Australia next month.“Yeah, he wants to come to Australia to play cricket with Ricky Ponting and those guys,” he said.“My vacation is different. I don’t know what I am going to do, but I will probably come with him. I am a big fan (of Australian cricket). I think he wants to watch the cricket and footy too.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

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Travellers checking TripAdvisor content offsite

first_img53 percent of travellers won’t book without a TripAdvisor review. Image: TripAdvisor TripAdvisor has announced that over 300 million people per month view TripAdvisor content on sites other than TripAdvisor itself, which is double the amount of viewers registered in 2011. This growth can be attributed to more companies using TripAdvisor widgets on their own sites, as well as taking advantage of other TripAdvisor services.More than 500 companies, including hotel chains such as the Wyndham Hotel Group and airlines like AirAsiaGo.com, are featuring user-generated, TripAdvisor, content on their websites. 50 of those organisations, including Langham Hospitality Group, use TripAdvisor’s Review Collection Services, which power their review collection process.TripAdvisor president for business Christine Peterson stated, “according to a recent study, 53 percent of travellers won’t book a hotel if it doesn’t have TripAdvisor reviews”, which is perhaps why so many companies are choosing to display TripAdvisor content openly on their websites. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: A.Nlast_img read more

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Thai tourists loosening the wallet in 2013

first_imgTravel review sites are the most important sources of information to researching travellers. Image: TripAdvisor Travellers from the Asian region are looking forward to travelling this year, with 49 percent wanting to spend more money on their trips in 2013.According to a recent study, Thai’s have an even bigger year ahead with 83 percent intending to increase their travel spending budgets. TripAdvisor has revealed that out of the 1,600 accommodations surveyed in Asia, 79 percent reported 2012 to have been economically successful, with 24 percent even saying that the past year was “very profitable”.Unsurprisingly, 72 percent were optimistic that 2013 would also be a profitable year.This optimism in a successful year seems to also be encouraging Asian accommodations to increase the hiring of staff with 19 percent of respondents planning to add new jobs in 2013, whilst 42 percent intend to increase room rates.Travel review websites are having a significant impact on travellers with 62 percent of respondents from Asia, including 68 percent of Thai’s, looking at the websites.Travellers named travel review websites to be the most useful source of information, with web based travel agencies and travel operator websites coming in second and third place respectively.Moreover, 95 percent of Asian travellers said that people’s opinions and reviews on travel review websites influenced their trip and 97 percent of accommodations thus believe that online reviews were of crucial importance in generating bookings.Furthermore, 31 percent of Asian travellers were writing reviews after their trips and 91 percent of Asian accommodations were actively monitoring those reviews and controlling their product’s online reputation, with 71 percent responding to positive reviews and 78 percent responding to negative reviews.On the other hand, 28 percent of accommodations reported that their own websites generated the majority of bookings, followed by online travel agencies at 24 percent.13 percent of booking were generated through the accommodation’s own mobile app, however 79 percent of Asian travellers said that they thought it was beneficial for such a booking channel to be available with 74 percent of accommodation providers agreeing.Nevertheless, only 39 percent of accommodation providers had mobile friendly websites and a mere 25 percent had special offers for mobile device users.If you are an accommodation provider, will you be improving your online networking habits?Source = e-Travel Blackboard:A.N.last_img read more

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Growing portfolio means a growing team for Centara

first_imgCentara Hotels & Resorts www.centarahotelsresorts.comGrowing portfolio means a growing team for CentaraAs part of the growing sales team, Centara Hotels & Resorts would like to welcome Popo Hartopo as Group Director of Sales for Pacific Region (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Indonesia & Bed Banks) and Bradley Taylor as the Director of Sales for the Maldives and Sri Lanka.Popo Hartopo brings with him a wealth of knowledge about the Centara product from his previous experience as Product Manager with Flight Centre Travel Group in Sydney, Australia. Hartopo also held the position of Product Manager at The Travel Spirit Group in Sydney, Australia. Previously to joining Centara, Hartopo worked in Bangkok as the Director of Sales & Marketing for Phuket Graceland Resorts & Spa and SENTIDO Graceland Khao Lak Resort & Spa. “It is a pleasure to have Popo join our team here at the corporate office as I have worked with him for many years while he was at Flight Centre.  He is a true ambassador for the Centara brand who is passionate about our destinations and our product as well as is highly regarded by his peers,” shares Chris Bailey, Chief Operating Officer for Centara Hotels & Resorts.Bradley Taylor, Director of Sales for the Maldives and Sri Lanka started his career in 2007 at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Sri Lanka as the Sales & Marketing Manager.  He then moved to GoVacation Sri Lanka where he was the Head of Product and Sales from 2013 to 2015 before joining the corporate sales team at Centara.“Brad brings a solid background in sales as well as his knowledge of the key feeder markets.  We see opportunities for growth in both The Maldives and Sri Lanka where tourism is strong and gaining more awareness and momentum,” comments Chris Bailey, Chief Operating Officer for Centara Hotels & Resorts.As Centara continues grow, the need for greater attention in key markets has spurred the expansion of the sales team in the corporate office as well as in the international offices. About Centarafind out more Centara Hotels & Resortsbook your stay here Source = Centara Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

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