Insight celebrates with 50 agent incentive for all bookings to any destination

first_img Posted by Share Tags: Insight Vacations << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — Insight Vacations is marking 35 years in Canada with an incentive for its valued partners: travel agents.Agents can receive $50 per booking on all bookings made to any destination Insight goes to for bookings Aug. 8 – 19. In an additional incentive for clients, travellers can save an extra $35 per person on all tours booked within the same period, combinable with Club Bon Voyage savings and the Early Payment Discount.“Throughout our 35 years in Canada, Insight Vacations has worked with the agent community to provide exceptional touring vacations reflecting our signature qualities of style, quality and value,” said Cris David, president, Insight Vacations Canada. “We are delighted to share our 35th anniversary with our loyal trade partners who have embraced and supported us over the years, enabling Insight to thrive and grow in the Canadian market.”The promotion applies to all Insight Vacations Escorted Journeys with the exception of City Breaks, Eastern Mediterranean, tours that include cruise components and Red Hot Deals. A $200 deposit is required within three days of booking and full payment is due by the designated date and not less than 45 days before the tour departs. Promo code is PPIVANN35.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaFor more information contact your local Sales Manager, visit, or contact an Insight Specialist at the National Sales Centre at 1-800-387-8490.center_img Travelweek Group Insight celebrates with $50 agent incentive for all bookings, to any destination Tuesday, August 9, 2016 last_img read more


Korean Air ups frequency of Toronto route as part of 2018 summer

first_img Travelweek Group SEOUL — Several changes have been made to Korean Air’s 2018 summer season, including its Toronto frequency.Commencing March 25, increased service frequency has been announced for key long-haul routes between Korean Air’s hub at Incheon International Airport, Seoul and Europe and North America. Toronto will see a boost in service, going up from five times a week to daily.In the U.S., flights between Incheon and Dallas, Texas will increase on March 25 from four times a week to five times a week (Mon/Wed/Thu/Sat/Sun), while Incheon-Seattle will increase from five times a week to daily as of May 1.In addition, the airline will boost frequency of some European routes, including Incheon-Rome, which will go daily, as well as Incheon-Prague, increasing to four times a week (Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat). The Incheon to Madrid service will be operated four days a week (Tue/Thu/Sat/Sun), while flights between Incheon and Istanbul will also be increased to four times a week (Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun).Meanwhile, starting April 19, Korean Air will resume operating its direct flight to St. Petersburg, and from April 23 to Irkutsk. These Russian routes do not operate in the winter season due to low demand.More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesKorean Air will deploy recently introduced aircraft such as B787-9 and B747-8i on the main American and European long-haul routes, where the demand is expected to grow during the summer season.The summer schedule will begin on the last Sunday of March, with the winter schedule commencing on the last Sunday of October. The official summer schedule for 2018 will therefore run from March 25 until Oct. 27. Tags: Korean Air, New Routes Monday, March 26, 2018 Korean Air ups frequency of Toronto route as part of 2018 summer revampcenter_img Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more


Is the wonder of travel lost Trafalgar wants to bring it back

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Share Tags: Trafalgar Wednesday, October 17, 2018 center_img TORONTO — Trafalgar is aiming to re-inspire vacationers with the wonder of travel with the launch of its 2019 Europe & Britain Program.Brett Tollman, Chief Executive of The Travel Corporation, hosted an industry lunch yesterday at The Guild Inn to kick off the program’s official debut in Canada, with a lineup that includes new guided vacations across seven continents.The 2019 Europe & Britain program offers 116 handcrafted journeys to 220+ cities, with eight different trip styles: Country Explorer, Regional Explorer, Discoveries, City Explorer, Cruise or Rail, At Leisure, Family Experiences and Special Interest.Part and parcel with Trafalgar’s mission to innovate, and bring clients real travel experiences, Trafalgar has released new research that uncovers what guests are truly seeking from their holidays – and what ‘The Good Life’ really means to them. More than 1,400 participants around the world took part in the independent third-party research.The results were surprising – even a bit disconcerting, says Trafalgar. Rather than travel evoking wanderlust, the wonder of travel is getting lost.A staggering 89% of respondents say travel is enjoyable but stressful and difficult to plan, and 49% of those surveyed claimed that ‘real’ travel experiences didn’t actually feel that real – that travel is in fact becoming a common tourist trail.More than a third (37%) said they felt they didn’t see any ‘real culture’ on their last trip and almost half of participants said if they did, these experiences were not unique. And 61% of guests are feeling the negative effects of overtourism.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesGood travel is an opportunity to step away from daily life and pressures, be surprised and challenged, learn, appreciate and experience something new, says Trafalgar.These findings of ‘wonder-lost’ – combined with the research of what people are seeking when they travel – has driven Trafalgar’s innovation across the new Europe & Britain 2019 program, which provides loyal Canadian agents and their clients with:REAL EASEWith 72 years of expertise encompassing seven continents, Trafalgar says it knows that good travel still exists – if it’s done right. The stress of planning is taken care of. The logistics of formulating the perfect itinerary such as quality accommodation, comfortable transport, plenty of meals, VIP admission to the sites and unique Trafalgar highlights are all included so clients don’t have to worry about a thing.Trafalgar offers unique experiences clients couldn’t do independently, such as a visit to the Pope’s gardens at Castel Gandolfo via the shortest national railway system in the world – just 300 metres.“What if clients were taken to get their iconic photo of the Eiffel tower, but also got to go somewhere else incredible without the crowd, such as the catacombs of Notre Dame and walk the spectacular Latin Quarter? This formula is what allows guests the freedom to just be; be in the moment, be happy and be inspired,” says the company.More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesREAL CONNECTIONSNo matter what trip clients choose, they know each carefully crafted itinerary is packed with real experiences “that will connect them to the soul of the places Trafalgar goes.” They’ll break bread with locals who are proud to bring them into their homes, share their cultures and tell their tales on Trafalgar’s exclusive ‘Be My Guest’ experiences, which also help sustain their communities.Clients can also stay somewhere that’s more than just a bed for the night, on one of Trafalgar’s ‘Stays with Stories’ including the Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg dating back to 1736, where some of the most romantic scenes from the Sound of Music were filmed.REAL JOYWhen the elements of ease and connections come together, allowing guests to really be in the moment, really connect to each destination and help to sustain the people, places and planet along the way – that’s when real joy is experienced, perspective felt on what’s important and one’s core values are uncovered. “This is ‘The Good Life’ – what travel is all about,” says Trafalgar.To learn more about Trafalgar, visit the article here. Is the wonder of travel lost? Trafalgar wants to bring it back with ‘The Good Life’ Posted bylast_img read more


Is Google wrecking our memory

first_imgNo related posts. Excerpted from “Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better,” by Clive Thompson. Reprinted by arrangement with The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright (c) Clive Thompson, 2013.Is the Internet ruining our ability to remember facts? If you’ve ever lunged for your smartphone during a bar argument (“one-hit father of twerking pop star” — Billy Ray Cyrus!), then you’ve no doubt felt the nagging fear that your in-brain memory is slowly draining away. As even more fiendishly powerful search tools emerge — from IBM’s Jeopardy!-playing Watson to the “predictive search” of Google Now — these worries are, let’s face it, only going to grow.So what’s going on? Each time we reach for the mouse pad when we space out on the ingredients for a Tom Collins or the capital of Arkansas, are we losing the power to retain knowledge?The short answer is: No. Machines aren’t ruining our memory.The longer answer: It’s much, much weirder than that!What’s really happening is that we’ve begun to fit the machines into an age-old technique we evolved thousands of years ago — “transactive memory.” That’s the art of storing information in the people around us. We have begun to treat search engines, Evernote and smartphones the way we’ve long treated our spouses, friends and workmates. They’re the handy devices we use to compensate for our feeble ability to remember details.And frankly, our brains have always been terrible at remembering details. We’re good at retaining the gist of the information we encounter. But the niggly, specific facts? Not so much. In a 1990 study, long before the Interwebs supposedly corroded our minds, the psychologist Walter Kintsch ran an experiment in which subjects read several sentences. When he tested them 40 minutes later, they could generally remember the sentences word for word. Four days later, though, they were useless at recalling the specific phrasing of the sentences — but still very good at describing the meaning of them.The exception is when you’re obsessed with a subject. If you’re deeply into something — football, the Civil War, Pokémon — then you’re usually great at hoovering up and retaining details. When you’re an expert in a subject, you can retain new factoids on your favorite topic easily. This only works for the subjects you’re truly passionate about, though. Baseball fans can reel off stats for their favorite players, then space out on their own birthday.So humanity has always relied on coping devices to handle the details for us. We’ve long stored knowledge in books, paper, Post-it notes.But when it comes to quickly retrieving information on the fly, all day long, quickly? We don’t rely on documents for the details as much as you’d think. No, we rely on something much more immediate: other people.Harvard psychologist Daniel Wegner — and his colleagues Ralph Erber and Paula Raymond — first began to systematically explore “transactive memory” back in the 1980s. Wegner noticed that spouses often divide up memory tasks. The husband knows the in-laws’ birthdays and where the spare light bulbs are kept; the wife knows the bank account numbers and how to program the TiVo. If you ask the husband for his bank account number, he’ll shrug. If you ask the wife for her sister-in-law’s birthday, she can never remember it. Together, they know a lot. Separately, less so.Wegner suspected this division of labor takes place because we have pretty good “metamemory.” We’re aware of our mental strengths and limits, and we’re good at intuiting the memory abilities of others. Hang around a workmate or a romantic partner long enough and you discover that while you’re terrible at remembering your corporate meeting schedule, or current affairs in Europe, or how big a kilometer is relative to a mile, they’re great at it. They’re passionate about subject X; you’re passionate about subject Y. So you each begin to subconsciously delegate the task of remembering that stuff to the other, treating one’s partners like a notepad or encyclopedia, and they do the reverse. In many respects, Wegner noted, people are superior to notepads and encyclopedias, because we’re much quicker to query: Just yell a fuzzily phrased question across to the next cubicle (where do we keep the thing that we use for that thing?) and you’ll get an answer in seconds. We share the work of remembering, Wegner argued, because it makes us collectively smarter.Experiments have borne out Wegner’s theory. One group of researchers studied older couples who’d been together for decades. When separated and questioned individually about the events of years ago, they’d sometimes stumble on details. But questioned together, they could retrieve them. How? They’d engage in “cross-cuing,” tossing clues back and forth until they triggered each other. This is how a couple remembered a show they saw on their honeymoon 40 years previously:F: And we went to two shows, can you remember what they were called? M: We did. One was a musical, or were they both? I don’t . . . no . . . one . . .F: John Hanson was in it.M: Desert Song.F: Desert Song, that’s it, I couldn’t remember what it was called, but yes, I knew John Hanson was in it.M: Yes.They were, in a sense, Googling each other. Other experiments have produced similar findings. In one, people were trained in a complex task — assembling an AM/FM radio — and tested a week later. Those who’d been trained in a group and tested with that same group performed far better than individuals who worked alone; together, they recalled more steps and made fewer mistakes. In 2009 researchers followed 209 undergraduates in a business course as they assembled into small groups to work on a semester-long project. The groups that scored highest on a test of their transactive memory — in other words, the groups where members most relied on each other to recall information — performed better than those who didn’t use transactive memory. Transactive groups don’t just remember better: They also analyze problems more deeply, too, developing a better grasp of underlying principles.We don’t remember in isolation — and that’s a good thing. “Quite simply, we seem to record as much outside our minds as within them,” as Wegner has written. “Couples who are able to remember things transactively offer their constituent individuals storage for and access to a far wider array of information than they would otherwise command.” These are, as Wegner describes it in a lovely phrase, “the thinking processes of the intimate dyad.”And as it turns out, this is what we’re doing with Google and Evernote and our other digital tools. We’re treating them like crazily memorious friends who are usually ready at hand. Our “intimate dyad” now includes a silicon brain.Recently, a student of Wegner’s — the Columbia University scientist Betsy Sparrow — ran some of the first experiments that document this trend. She gave subjects sentences of random trivia (like “An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain” and “The space shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry over Texas in Feb. 2003.”) and had them type the sentences into a computer. With some facts, the students were explicitly told the information wouldn’t be saved. With others, the screen would tell them that the fact had been saved, in one of five blandly named folders, such as FACTS, ITEMS or POINTS. When Sparrow tested the students, the people who knew the computer had saved the information were less likely to personally recall the info than the ones who were told the trivia wouldn’t be saved. In other words, if we know a digital tool is going to remember a fact, we’re slightly less likely to remember it ourselves.We are, however, confident of where in the machine we can refind it. When Sparrow asked the students simply to recall whether a fact had been saved or erased, they were better at recalling the instances where a fact had been stored in a folder. As she wrote in a Science paper, “believing that one won’t have access to the information in the future enhances memory for the information itself, whereas believing the information was saved externally enhances memory for the fact that the information could be accessed.” Each situation strengthens a different type of memory. Another experiment found that subjects were really good at remembering the specific folder names containing the right factoid, even though the folders had extremely unremarkable names.“Just as we learn through transactive memory who knows what in our families and offices, we are learning what the computer ‘knows’ and when we should attend to where we have stored information in our computer-based memories,” Sparrow wrote.You could say this is precisely what we most fear: Our mental capacity is shrinking! But as Sparrow pointed out to me when we spoke about her work, that panic is misplaced. We’ve stored a huge chunk of what we “know” in people around us for eons. But we rarely recognize this because, well, we prefer our false self-image as isolated, Cartesian brains. Novelists in particular love to rhapsodize about the glory of the solitary mind; this is natural, because their job requires them to sit in a room by themselves for years on end. But for most of the rest of us, we think and remember socially. We’re dumber and less cognitively nimble if we’re not around other people — and, now, other machines.In fact, as transactive partners, machines have several advantages over humans. For example, if you ask them a question you can wind up getting way more than you’d expected. If I’m trying to recall which part of Pakistan has experienced tons of U.S. drone strikes and I ask a colleague who follows foreign affairs, he’ll tell me “Waziristan.” But when I queried this online, I got the Wikipedia page on “Drone attacks in Pakistan.” I wound up reading about the astonishing increase of drone attacks (from one a year to 122 a year) and some interesting reports about the surprisingly divided views of Waziristan residents. Obviously, I was procrastinating — I spent about 15 minutes idly poking around related Wikipedia articles — but I was also learning more, reinforcing my generalized, “schematic” understanding of Pakistan.Now imagine if my colleague behaved like a search engine — if, upon being queried, he delivered a five-minute lecture on Waziristan. Odds are I’d have brusquely cut him off. “Dude. Seriously! I have to get back to work.” When humans spew information at us unbidden, it’s boorish. When machines do it, it’s enticing. And there are a lot of opportunities for these encounters. Though you might assume search engines are mostly used to answer questions, some research has found that up to 40 percent of all queries are acts of remembering. We’re trying to refresh the details of something we’ve previously encountered.If there’s a big danger in using machines for transactive memory, it’s not about making us stupider or less memorious. It’s in the inscrutability of their mechanics. Transactive memory works best when you have a sense of how your partners’ minds work — where they’re strong, where they’re weak, where their biases lie. I can judge that for people close to me. But it’s harder with digital tools, particularly search engines. They’re for-profit firms that guard their algorithms like crown jewels. And this makes them different from previous forms of transactive machine memory. A public library — or your notebook or sheaf of papers — keeps no intentional secrets about its mechanisms. A search engine keeps many. We need to develop literacy in these tools the way we teach kids how to spell and write; we need to be skeptical about search firms’ claims of being “impartial” referees of information.What’s more, transactive memory isn’t some sort of cognitive Get Out of Jail Free card. High school students, I’m sorry to tell you: You still need to memorize tons of knowledge. That’s for reasons that are civic and cultural and practical; a society requires shared bodies of knowledge. And on an individual level, it’s still important to slowly study and deeply retain things, not least because creative thought — those breakthrough ahas — come from deep and often unconscious rumination, your brain mulling over the stuff it has onboard.But you can stop worrying about your iPhone moving your memory outside your head. It moved out a long time ago — yet it’s still all around you.Clive Thompson is a longtime contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired.© 2013, Slate Facebook Commentslast_img read more


¡Vamos Ticos Costa Rican fans from around the world show their La

first_imgFrom Las Vegas, Nevada (Gerardo, David and Gilbert)From Peterborough, Ontario (The Fernández Family and pug):From Las Vegas, Nevada (Garth and Seth)From Providence, Rhode Island (The Slaiger Family):From Bielefeld, Germany (Roberto):From Vitoria, Spain (Brooke with Tico fans):From Montreal, Canada (Henry and Bruce):From Alabama: From Israel (Natalie Margules and family): From Portland, Oregon (Natalie): Facebook Comments From Hamburg, Germany (Sven & Margarete):From Copenhagen, Denmark (Francisco): From Frankfurt, Germany (Silvia and Chris):From Charlotte, North Carolina (Guiselle and Anthony): Saludos desde Alabama, United States @TheTicoTimes @CostaRicanProbs #VamosTicos #PuraVida— Parra (@JustinParra11) June 14, 2014 From Miami, Florida (Luna with family and friends):From Olympia, Washington (Jonathan, Maricela and Neona): UPDATE: Costa Rica shocks Uruguay, 3-1 in its first World Cup match since 2006. Thanks so much for your photos La Sele fans!From Boston, Massachusetts (Boston Marathon hero Carlos Arredondo with Luz, Alexander and Melida; and some Uruguayan fans):From Amsterdam, the Netherlands (José Salazar and Mariette Salazar-Pepping):From Norwich, England (Rachel): From Hawaii (Enrique): From Atlanta, Georgia (Elvira Bolaños and family): Related posts:Costa Rica unveils preliminary 30-man roster for the World Cup World Cup notebook: President Solís to dine with Costa Rica’s national team Wednesday Costa Rica great Paulo Wanchope insists Ticos will ‘keep surprising the world’ Costa Rica humiliates the United States 4-0 in World Cup qualifierlast_img read more


Versatile superfood thrives in tropical climate

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Not a gardener? No space? Try this simple at-home salad bar The most Earth-friendly way to supercharge your soil The secret of the world’s most delicious chile jar Cassava: tropical staple, drought-friendly… cancer-busting? Many years ago we made a surprising discovery while we were testing different crops in our tropical garden. To our delight, we found that buckwheat grows remarkably well as a new food crop for Costa Rica.Northerners are familiar with buckwheat as an ingredient in pancakes and multigrain breads, or as a cereal known as groats or kasha.  Buckwheat lettuce sprouts are also popular as a salad green, much like alfalfa sprouts.  This versatile food crop is a nutritional superfood that has more protein than rice, wheat, millet or corn, and is high in the essential amino acids lysine and arginine, in which major cereal crops are deficient. Buckwheat also contains no gluten, and is therefore safe for people with gluten allergy or celiac disease; it’s high in iron, zinc, selenium, manganese, magnesium copper and phosphorus; and it contains a phytochemical called rutin, which is beneficial for the cardiovascular system and prevents free-radical oxidation into potentially harmful cholesterol oxides. Buckwheat flowers (Fagopyrum esculentum). Courtesy Ed BernhardtOn top of it all, buckwheat is easy to grow and has no serious pest problems.  Despite its name, it is not related to wheat, but rather to sorrel and rhubarb.  Its pyramid-shaped seeds are easily sown and harvested in garden beds or fields.  We till the soil to eliminate weeds, then plant the seeds two inches apart and one inch deep, and mulch the bed with a two-inch layer of grass clippings to control the weeds.  In two months the broadleaf plants will begin to bloom in white flowers, and a month later the brown seeds are ready to harvest.  We put the seeds through a corn mill to make flour and then sift out the outer husks.  The flour can be used to make pancakes, bread, cereal or blended drinks mixed with milk and bananas.Although growing buckwheat is easy, finding seeds to plant is often difficult.  Fortunately, we’ve had a bumper crop of buckwheat seeds and we’ll offer them on our June website newsletter.For more information on tropical gardening – naturally – visit or contact Ed at last_img read more


Nicaraguan legislature approves Russian satellite bases

first_imgRelated posts:Nicaragua’s Ortega defends military ties with Russia Russia’s Putin in Cuba, Nicaragua to rekindle Latin America ties Central American leaders concerned over rekindling of Nicaragua-Russia military ties Secrecy still prevails as Nicaragua gets set to break ground on $50 billion interoceanic canal MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Nicaragua’s legislature approved an agreement with Russia on Tuesday that would allow Russia to place satellite bases for civilian purposes in the Central American country.Opposition legislators decried the agreement and described it as a “white elephant,” according to congressional sources.The decree, presented as urgent last week by President Daniel Ortega, was backed by 63 congress members from the ruling party and two allies, and was voted against by 23 opposition legislators.The agreement allows Moscow to set up land stations in the country for its satellite system known as Glonass. The agreement was signed in 2012 by the governments of Nicaragua and Russia.Glonass, which is managed by Russia’s Federal Space Agency, is equivalent to the United States’ Global Positioning System.Nicaragua is one of more than 30 countries Moscow is negotiating with to set up satellite stations to be managed by the Russian space agency, according to Russian Ambassador in Managua Nicolay Vladimir.Independent Liberal Party Congresswoman María Sequeira, who voted against the agreement, said Russia should focus its cooperation with the country on developing a real democracy, “and not going around with white elephants that don’t do anything for the people and rather make them afraid and wary.”The legislator criticized the urgency assigned to the draft bill from the executive branch.On the other side, Edwin Castro, head of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front bloc, said satellites would help the country exchange scientific and cultural information on climate change and agricultural production, among other benefits.“If we think of climate change and natural disasters, we must back the agreement,” Castro said.Russia provides aid to Nicaragua in many forms, including economic, military, natural disaster response, anti-drug trafficking, public buses and wheat.Managua and Moscow restored relations after Ortega’s return to power in 2007, and strengthened them after the Nicaraguan leader recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Earthquake app launched for Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Live photo-sharing app Heygo has roots in Costa Rica Startup wants to make navigating Costa Rica’s public transportation an easy ride China monitoring animals to predict earthquakes Costa Rica to host UN meeting on space technology The next time your smartphone shakes it might be because the earth did too. The University of Costa Rica’sNational Seismological Network (RSN) released a free smartphone app this month to alert people about earthquakes and volcanic activity in Costa Rica. Screen shot of RSN’s new earthquake app for iOS and Android. The Tico TimesRSN’S app provides confirmed magnitude, depth and location information about earthquakes. The app is available for download at Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Besides basic information about place and intensity, the app also provides access to news alerts from the National Seismological Network.The app’s streamlined design makes it easy to use, customizing the earthquake map for temblors that have happened today or during the last week.The RSN app also allows users to customize alerts — an advantage over other currently-available earthquake alerts. Getting Twitter alerts from RSN or OVSICORI, Costa Rica’s other earthquake and volcano authority, can be overwhelming as bells ring throughout the day signalling tiny tremors.RSN’s app sends push notifications if there are earthquakes above a certain magnitud, ranging in increasing strength from magnitud 3 to 7.Recent volcanic activity at Turrialba Volcano during the last year has made social media a go-to source for information about seismological activity in Costa Rica. RSN and OVSICORI, among others, have built strong followings on Facebook and Twitter.Read The Tico Times recent volcano coverage“People have been coming to our social media looking for fast, accurate information,” RSN geologist María Cristina Araya said. “This way they don’t have to look for it,” it comes straight to their smartphone.Araya said that the popularity of social networks has reinforced the public mission of the seismology institute. People were contacting them after reports of earthquakes looking for information about its strength and location.“It’s a way to put people at ease,” Araya said.Social networks have also helped RSN better do its job, Araya said. The public receives information about earthquakes through Facebook or Twitter and can then report back to RSN whether or not they felt it, crowdsourcing intensity maps of the seismic event.The app has been a long time coming. It has been in development since late 2012 and RSN’s servers had to be updated to handle the additional traffic and location data, Araya said.The app uses public information, Araya said, and will remain free. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Cuban migrants trip to US will be monitored by human rights ombudsmen

first_imgCuban migrants in Costa Rica are nearly set to make a notoriously dangerous trek north to the United States, but officials from the region’s human rights agencies say they are coordinating to provide a safe chain of travel for the estimated 8,000 Cubans with temporary visas here.The Central American Council of Human Rights Ombudsmen released a statement Tuesday saying it will oversee the migrants’ trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, after a Dec. 28 agreement mapped out a path for eligible Cubans to get there — with assistance from the region’s governments.National institutions that oversee human rights, including Costa Rica’s Ombudsman’s Office, will keep tabs on the treatment given to the Cubans by each country along the planned route, according to the council’s statement.Migrants are expected to have a police escort on their way north and will be given temporary visas at their first stop in El Salvador.Thousands of Cubans have been stuck in Costa Rica since Nicaragua refused them entrance on Nov. 15. The Costa Rican government granted nearly 8,000 temporary visas to the migrants, who have been put up at dozens of makeshift refugee camps in the country, mainly near the border with Nicaragua.Recommended: Cuban migrants spend a month in camps as regional leaders fail to reach solutionThanks to last week’s regional accord, any Cuban that was issued a temporary visa will be allowed to fly from Costa Rica to El Salvador in the coming weeks, although no concrete timetable has been set for the first planned flight. From El Salvador, migrants are to be bussed through Guatemala and Mexico to the border with Texas, according to Costa Rica’s Foreign Exchange Minister Manuel González.González announced Monday that migrants traveling with children will leave first, and that around 180 Cubans could be aboard the initial flight.“The aim is that sometime next week, or before if possible, the first departure of a group can take place,” he told reporters Monday.Once on U.S. soil, Cubans can claim refugee status and gain permanent residency.The latest Cuban migrant crisis began in early November after Costa Rican authorities broke up a smuggling ring in the country. The underground network was charging Cuban migrants up to $15,000 per person to bring them through Central America and to the United States.After granting temporary transit visas to Cubans for a month, the Costa Rican government decided to stop issuing the visas on Dec. 18, 2015. Officials announced at the time that they would begin deporting any undocumented Cubans entering the country.The United Nations International Organization for Migration is overseeing the operation to transport the some 8,000 visa-holding Cuban migrants from Costa Rica to the U.S.-Mexico border.Tuesday’s statement from the ombudsmen’s group read, “The council celebrates this agreement but it’s necessary to continue efforts to find a solution for the hundreds of Cuban migrants that are also in Panama.“We want to reiterate that the issue of migration requires a regional approach. Central American countries have to make every effort necessary to safeguard the human rights of any person from any nation.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Panama drops off Cuban migrants on Costa Rica’s doorstep Pope asks Central American nations to help resolve Cuban humanitarian drama Cuban migrants with children to be among first out in Costa Rica airlift  Former U.S. convict Dan Fowlie speaks out against being barred entry to Costa Rica againlast_img read more


Whats left for Costa Rica at disappointing Copa América

first_imgHOUSTON, Texas – In its most important international tournament in two years, Costa Rica has shrunken back down to size after its giant slayer role in the 2014 World Cup.Absent a miracle, its nightmarish and short-lived Copa América experience is about to come to an end Saturday against Colombia, and La Sele will have to wait another two years before it’s back on the world stage.The results here, especially the 4-0 drubbing by the United States, will leave a bitter taste until then, and most certainly bring up questions about the direction of the national team under head coach Óscar Ramírez. Though it is doing well against lesser CONCACAF foes in World Cup qualifying play so far, this latest tournament performance will not inspire anyone to expect another great run through the 2018 World Cup if Ramírez’s system remains static.The last match of Group A may seem like a pointless affair, as La Sele technically has to beat Colombia by four goals and Paraguay would have to beat the U.S. 1-0. The way they’re playing, it’s hard to imagine Costa Rica scoring a single goal, let alone four goals. Even still, this is an important match for Ramírez and his group to prove what they’ve been saying: that the blowout loss to the home team U.S. was an aberration and not representative of this selection’s true style.Put pressure on Colombia’s defenseThe Colombians are as talented as any team in this tournament and what they do so well is control the ball and mitigate the risk of turnovers with decisive moves. Though James Rodríguez gets most of the goals and recognition, midfielder Juan Cuadrado is the key piece for Colombia coach José Pékerman’s attack.The team slowly applies pressure the way a python does, by slowly strangling control of everything and not allowing its prey the strength to attack back.What the U.S. did so well against Costa Rica was to sit back and wait for the Tico attack to come to it, then outplay a ball for a turnover and counter with a quick break down the field. Against Colombia, who is far more disciplined than the U.S. on both sides, Costa Rica cannot afford lackadaisical possessions.Midfielders Celso Borges and Bryan Ruíz are La Sele’s two leaders, and they have to be present for their team for a full 90 minutes. Too often in this tournament they’ve disappeared with passive, wait-and-see play that has failed to challenge a pair of respectable defenses.This match comes down to how those two are able to cut off opportunities for Colombia in the middle and string together valuable offensive possessions that apply constant pressure on goal.Prove you do one thing wellThe world knows by now that this team’s best asset is injured goalkeeper Keylor Navas. What Costa Rica hasn’t been able to prove to the world, though, is that it can win without the Real Madrid star in net.Of course, his presence in this tournament wouldn’t have prevented Costa Rica from being last in its group (maybe the U.S. would have scored two goals instead of four), and that’s largely because Ramírez’s defense has lost any luster it once had.As it stands, La Sele is mediocre on all three levels, but it’s the five-man backline that has been most disappointing. In its first game against Paraguay the defense allowed a few first half opportunities that could have easily been goals. In its second game, the U.S. took advantage of all those equivalent opportunities that Paraguay had failed to convert on, wrecking through the center of Costa Rica’s porous-looking backline.If this team isn’t going to get it done on the attack, where it lacks consistent pacesetters, then it better be disciplined and stout on the back end. This task becomes harder against Colombia’s fleet of playmakers due to the injury of wing defender Cristian Gamboa, La Sele’s most reliable defenseman. However, Premier League player Bryan Oviedo is more than capable of taking on Colombia.With Oviedo and Kendall Waston back in the lineup, it will be up to the defense to play smarter and more aggressively than it did against the U.S., where it was caught sleeping on multiple breakaways. Colombia will provide an even bigger test to measure where Ramírez’s defense really is.Keep it competitiveIt sounds self-apparent that you would hope to stay competitive against Colombia, the world’s third-ranked team. But for a team coming off a crippling loss like Costa Rica’s, it’s necessary to avoid another embarrassing result on the world stage.“We’re not going to quit just because of one bad game,” midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda told reporters Thursday.This celebratory edition of the Copa América doesn’t count for anything in a football sense; It’s more about fighting for international respect than anything.South American teams are known for playing chippy and physical football. Costa Rica needs to assume that style itself and morph into a tougher team.Ramírez and players maintain that they’re not going to change their style of play, but it has become increasingly apparent that this team no longer has a cohesive identity to lean on.Long gone is the brilliant defensive-based strategy that led to opportune counters on offense. Ramírez has attempted to revive that World Cup defense implemented by then-coach Jorge Luís Pinto, but execution and positioning have yet to form.On Saturday, it’s about churning out a respectable product against a world-class Colombian side. Another blowout on a big stage is only going to lead to more questions and doubts surrounding this team’s future. Facebook Comments Related posts:Copa America in the U.S.: Gaffes expose rushed planning, draw ire Costa Rica heads into must-win game against United States Costa Rica’s Sele out of Korea U-20 World Cup 2017 Gold Cup: Costa Rica’s La Sele draws Canada 1-1last_img read more


5 questions for a Costa Rican fire performer

first_imgRelated posts:5 questions for a Costa Rican musician and artisan 5 questions for Costa Rican artist Luciano Goizueta 5 questions for a Costa Rican musician: blind artist Gerardo Mora 5 questions for a Costa Rican painter Dancing through flames and walking barefoot through the sand at Playa Sámara: That’s the life of Allan Barboza.Barboza, 27, has been working as a fire performer for four years now, after beginning as a juggler and moving on to acrobatics. He has traveled around Latin America performing, learning, and supporting social projects, such as social circuses.The Tico Times visited the Nicoyan beach town where Barboza is now living and, with a beautiful view of the blue ocean stretched out before us, talked to the artist about his decision to choose fire arts and his experience with the circus. Excerpts follow.How did you start performing with fire?I wanted to find a profession that would allow me to be free, and travel. I wanted something that I liked and would give me self-discipline. This art form has educated me a lot. It has allowed me to flow because of the discipline it involves and the love I have for it.I’ve practiced many other disciplines besides fire. Five-ball juggling is like my hobby… but fire performances are better paid. That’s why I dedicate a lot time to training with fire, also because I like it a lot too, of course, but if I found something else I could start training, no problem.You said it has educated you. How is that?Through work schedules, training schedules, meal schedules, eating well, sleeping well, exercisingn constantly… All that means education, you know, educating my body in order to be stable at the moment of a show. I have to have my body at 100% in order to do a good performance. (Courtesy of Allan Barboza)What was it like to be a part of social circuses?It’s a very broad experience. Sometimes they are created by entire communities, but in general they are created with children. It offers them something to do, gets them out of the streets, out of drugs and the problems they may have at home. It’s not just to go and teach them how to do something, it’s also about listening to them. Like how they are: if they are hungry, if they are happy, how is school going.I participated in one social circus in Nicaragua, and the “Circo Fantástico” in Pérez Zeledón, here in Costa Rica. And there are many others I’d like to go to in Africa and Europe. Artist Allan Barboza training under the sunset at the beach, what he says is his inspirantion. (Courtesy of Allan Barboza)How did you get into this kind of art?Because of of my brother and his friends; he has always liked it. I started learning with them, and then I started to buy my own stuff. I had a stable job, so with that money I bought things. Those are not cheap, you know, so it was also because of love of art.How did you go from doing it as a hobby, to doing it professionally?It was the desire to work for myself and find something that would really make me happy. It was difficult at first. The first two years were really rough, many regrets. I traveled for about a year and a half, and that was my school. You always find nice people wanting to help artists. You find really nice experiences out there.You can contact Allan Barboza at his Facebook page or throug his email allan22sbv@gmail.comOur “Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Why were marching for a secular state

first_imgYo si quiero un estado laico Costa Rica is a Costa Rican collective that seeks a secular state in which religion is separated from the government. The author of the piece is one of the collective’s spokespeople. For more information visit the collective’s Facebook page or go to the march’s Facebook event page. Facebook Comments Related posts:Osa Peninsula organization promotes human development, conservation Why we celebrate International Women’s Day Hurricane Otto: Two myths swept aside in a single night The dark side of Nicaragua Yo sí quiero un estado laico (I do want a secular state) is a collective that deeply believes that religion and the state should be separated so that the decisions made in the country as administered and executed only by the state – a state that guarantees human rights for all without the intervention of fundamentalist groups and the Catholic church.Why? In order to ensure diversity of creed, religion, culture, ethnic groups, sexual orientation and identity, and many more that manifest themselves within this society.When we say “secular,” we’re not talking about atheism or an anti-religious state, nor do we disrespect the freedom of worship. We don’t seek to deny God or any religion. We see in secularity the power to defend the freedom to choose over our bodies, education and much more. A poster that says, “I want a secular state now!” Courtesy of Yo sí quiero un Estado Laico Costa RicaA secular state would allow us to curtail hate speech from political parties that bring religion into the political decisions – parties that impede access to human rights, sex education, women’s right to decide over their bodies, transgender people’s right to have the name they choose, and the right to same-sex marriage. The poster reads: “Do you really believe that a 10- or 11-year-old girl wants to be a mother? We need sex ed now!” Courtesy of Yo sí quiero un Estado Laico Costa RicaWe also raise our voices to point out the importance of sex education in the country, which deals with the topics of sexual diversity, the right to decide, and violence towards women. We use this as a medium for young people to create a more equal society to reduce violence towards women, femicide, homo-lesbo-bi-trans phobia, and other forms of violence.At the same time, we denounce the fundamentalist groups that dangerously speak in name of God to attain political power, promote hatred and impede access to secular and scientific education.For this reason, this Saturday, Jan. 20, at 12:00 pm, we invite all those who believe in the separation of church and state to march with us. The activity will begin at the Parque Central and end outside of the Legislative Assembly.last_img read more


Six Costa Rican students receive AFSCRUSA scholarships for year in US

first_imgSix students from Costa Rica’s public Scientific High School System learned yesterday that they are the recipients of scholarships to study for a year in the United States.The students received scholarships from the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA) and AFS Costa Rica, with the support of the U.S. Embassy.Emerson González (Alajuela), Geovanny García (Liberia), Daniela Lai and Ximena Quesada (both from Limón), and Amanda Valdez and Diana Mejías (both from Pérez Zeledón), demonstrated academic excellence and English language mastery as part of the application process for the scholarships. They will depart for the United States in August; the scholarship covers their transportation, room and board, and personal expenses for one academic year.“You will be ambassadors of Costa Rica who will share with your new families and classmates… and have the opportunity to improve your knowledge of English,” U.S. Ambassador Sharon Day told the recipients at a ceremony, according to a statement from the CRUSA Foundation.Michelle Coffey, the executive delegate of the CRUSA Foundatoin, said in the statement that the scholarships are part of the foundation’s efforts to “generate joint efforts that meet the country’s human capital needs and are relevant to the needs of the productive sector.” The AFS-Scientific High School program was created by the U.S. Embassy in 2012 to support students with limited economic resources who demonstrated academic excellence, leadership ability and interest in science and technology. In December 2016, AFS Costa Rica and the CRUSA Foundation signed an agreement to continue the program.AFS selects the students, coordinates their academic and homestay placement, and supports them throughout their stay, the statement said.Since 2012, 20 Scientific High School students have participated in the program.This content is brought to you by the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA) and Amigos of Costa Rica. Two nonprofits have created a space for inspiring stories about change and giving back in Costa Rica. Courtesy of CRUSA Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Costa Rican third graders ace international technology championship CRUSA, Amigos of Costa Rica launch Tico Times philanthropy news section New grant program seeks to boost Costa Rican nonprofits Third-graders represent Costa Rica at international technology championshiplast_img read more


2 South Africans freed from Somali pirates

first_img“We are very happy to get our freedom again,” Calitz said, speaking haltingly. “We are so happy today and to join our families again.”The two were kidnapped in October 2010 from a yacht off the southeastern coast of Africa. Their pirate captors originally demanded a ransom of $10 million.Kerri-Ann Cross, Calitz’s 21-year-old daughter, said: “All I know is that she is safe. I am so happy.” Cross, speaking by phone from Pretoria, South Africa, said she hadn’t yet spoken to her mother by mid-day Thursday and didn’t have any additional information.The couple’s 20-month captivity is among the longest periods hostages have been held by pirates. When Somali pirates first began attacking ships off East Africa in about 2005, they attacked large container ships. But as those vessels improved their on-board defenses, pirates began attacking more vulnerable private yachts. An international flotilla of warships patrols waters off Somalia, leading to a decrease in pirate attacks over the last year.Somali Defense Minister Hussein Arab Isse credited Somali security forces with helping with the couple’s release, but he did not say that the pair had been rescued. He also declined to say if a ransom was paid. Most pirate hostage cases end with payment of multi-million dollar ransoms. How men can have a healthy 2019 More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Check your body, save your life Comments   Share   South Africa’s government said it is gratified at the couple’s release and expressed its gratitude to Somalia’s government for helping with the release. South Africa also thanked the government of Italy for its role.“Arrangements are being made for the return of the couple to South Africa,” the South African statement said.The European Union Naval Force says Somali pirates currently hold seven ships and 213 hostages. The EU force says 25 ships were hijacked last year, down from 47 in 2010. Only five ships have been hijacked in 2012, an indication that on-board defenses and the international patrols are succeeding against pirate attacks.The EU Naval Force saw its mandate expand earlier this year and is now allowed to carry out attacks on the Somali coast against suspected pirates.___Associated Press reporter Kim Chakanetsa in Johannesburg, South Africa contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Associated PressMOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – A South African and Italian couple held hostage for 20 months after being kidnapped by Somali pirates have been freed, Somalia’s defense minister said Thursday. The couple was among the longest-held by Somali pirates.South African Deborah Calitz and Italian Bruno Pelizzari smiled but appeared exhausted at a news conference at the presidential palace in Mogadishu. Sponsored Stories Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more


Honduran seizures raise fear of wider conflicts

first_imgAssociated PressLA CONFIANZA, Honduras (AP) – As La Confianza stirs to life at daybreak, farmers ride bicycles or buses to lush green fields of African palm trees, where they harvest high-hanging fruit using poles tipped with hooked knives.On the way, they cross paths with neighbors carrying automatic rifles to an entrance checkpoint set up under a red banner emblazoned with the face of communist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and the words “Land Liberated by the Unified Farmworkers Movement.” The movement is a rich source of potential support for Zelaya, who returned to his country last year and has launched his own political party, appealing to a coalition ranging from public school teachers to nurses to farmworkers.Zelaya’s wife, Xiomara Castro, is set to be the party’s presidential candidate in the 2013 elections, while he wants to become a member of Congress.Meanwhile, at La Confianza, the farmers are building “a socialist model without mentioning the word socialism,” Flores said.Residents helped build the community’s nine dirt streets and 10 avenues, along with the health center and other facilities. They live in simple homes on equal-sized lots.Jonny Rivas, another movement leader, said all residents of La Confianza are equal partners in cooperatives that sell palm oil. Movement leaders say they earned about $3 million from the business last year.“The waiting list to be part of the movement is endless,” Rivas said. “We can’t take them because we don’t have enough land.”Alvarez noted that the situation remains dangerous. Any eviction, he said, “could lead to a conflict that no one wants because it could be impossible to stop.” Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system The farmworkers, meanwhile, have seized more land, and are inspiring takeovers by other poor Hondurans, who have occupied thousands of acres (hectares) elsewhere.“We will comply with the agreement to avoid more violence,” Alvarez said. “We will pay the government for the land, but our struggle continues and we will occupy more land.”The conflicts already have led international banks to cancel large loans while businesspeople worry the strife could further damage an economy that relies heavily on agricultural exports.“Sugar and the African palm are the backbone of the Honduran productive system, so those attacks against them involve a political and symbolic confrontation,” said Guillermo Matamoros, president of the Honduran College of Economists, a professional association.He said the government, still scarred by international condemnation of the coup, is too timid to halt the takeovers “for fear of unleashing an armed confrontation. President Lobo does not want the international community jumping on him, accusing him of being an oppressor.”But he said restraint could lead to bloodshed as well: “If the farmers keep taking lands, applying the law of the strongest, and the government does not defend private property, the resulting scenario foments violence.” Guns have often come into play in the struggle over the land owned by billionaire Miguel Facusse. More than 60 people, most of them farmers, some of them Facusse employees, have been killed over the past three years in the conflict over the Bajo Aguan Valley, according to activists, police and Facusse’s company.Zelaya, the son of a wealthy timber and ranching family, alarmed powerful Hondurans by veering left after becoming president in 2006 and allying himself with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. He was deposed by armed soldiers on June 28, 2009, after ignoring a Supreme Court order to cancel a referendum seeking approval to change the constitution.The coup was widely seen as an attempt to protect the interests of Honduras’ political and business elite and outraged domestic leftists, including the long-established farmworkers movements, while isolating the country internationally.Amid the turmoil after Zelaya’s ouster, thousands of farmworkers seized about 27,000 acres (11,000 hectares) owned by Facusse’s Corporacion Dinant, and demanded ownership of the property, which holds lucrative plantations of African palm trees.In fact, the land itself once was owned by many of the families now trying to take it back. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society This collection of tin-and-wood shacks boasts a health center, a school, a meeting hall and a store for 380 poor families, who are among thousands of once-landless workers now holding about 12,000 acres (5,000 hectares) of plantations they seized from one of Honduras’ richest men.The settlement, whose name translates as “trust,” has no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing, but residents call it a model settlement of complete equality, and they want to replicate it throughout a country where almost half the population lives on less than $1.25 a day.The land seizures have inspired similar takeovers elsewhere in Honduras, alarming the nation’s business class and raising fears of spreading political violence. They also have become a rallying point for a broad leftist coalition that has grown around ex-President Manuel Zelaya since he was ousted in a coup that bitterly divided the country three years ago.“This is a project about land for farmworkers, a political project in which we have invested everything, a life project which must triumph not only here but in all of Honduras,” said Angel Flores, a 54-year-old former bricklayer who is now a leader of the occupation, as a pair of young men nearby practiced their marksmanship with semiautomatic pistols.center_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The government gave the land to farmers who cleared and settled it in the 1970s, but did not let them sell the property. They formed cooperatives that raised food and other crops, but went bankrupt after Honduras opened its economy to freer trade.A 1992 law erased the ban on selling the land and Facusse joined other wealthy Hondurans in buying up large tracts. Pro-farmworker activists complain about the way the land was sold and say the change aggravated inequality in a nation where 72 percent of the poorest landowners hold just 11.6 percent of cultivated land.Facusse, a Notre Dame graduate in his 80s who has long been part of the country’s business elite, ordered the planting of the palms, which take more than a decade to reach full production, and promoted them as an environmentally friendly development that could fight global warming and produce biofuels. A World Bank agency provided loans to back the project.After the initial seizures, Facusse won court orders to evict the farmers. Hundreds of soldiers and police raided the territory and wrested back more than half of it, frequently after violent confrontations.“Facusse’s guards have been hunting us like rabbits. That’s why we decided to defend ourselves,” said Vitalino Alvarez, spokesman for the farmworkers movement near the Caribbean coast. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Dinant spokesman Roger Pineda blamed the deaths on clashes between farmworkers themselves competing for seized land.When five soldiers were wounded in an April ambush, armed forces chief Rene Osorio blamed “armed peasants trained by Venezuela and Nicaragua.”Alvarez, who wears a licensed pistol when out in public, denied any role in the ambush or any backing from those leftist governments.But he said his supporters were armed for self-protection, and added, “We’ll defend this land with all the means at our disposal.”The government eventually backed off the evictions, saying it would be too difficult to dislodge the 5,000 farmers in the Aguan Valley. Instead it offered last year to buy the land and sell it back to the workers.That deal seemed complete last month when leaders of Alvarez’s Unified Farmworkers Movement of Aguan signed an agreement with Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, with the farmers due to receive most of the land they still hold and repay the government $16 million through a long-term, low-interest loan.But the eviction orders remain in force because the government failed to pay Dinant for the property by the Feb. 8 deadline set in last year’s offer, said Pineda, the company’s spokesman. He said the occupied territory represents about a quarter of all the company’s Honduran farmland, and “if we don’t collect the money that we’re owed, we’ll go out of business.”last_img read more


1 killed 1 missing in South Africa boat accident

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona JOHANNESBURG (AP) – A rescue official says one man is dead and a local tour guide is missing after a boat capsized off Hout Bay near the western city of Cape Town.Craig Lambinon of the National Sea Rescue Institute said there were 38 people onboard the charter boat Miroshga on Saturday, not 41 as previously assumed, and that there was one fatality. At least 24 of the survivors were hospitalized with serious or minor injuries. Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day It remains unclear what caused the boat to capsize near Duiker Island, which is popular with tourists hoping to see seals. Lambinon said maritime officials in South Africa were already investigating.Most of the people on the boat were foreign nationals, and the deceased man was from the United Kingdom.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img read more


Tourism businesses still wary of future survey

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A Hospitality and tourism business owners enter the new financial year with a more cautious outlook than other business groups, revealed a survey. Research released by St George Bank reported 59 per cent of business owners in the tourism industry believed the 2010/11 financial year would be better than 2009/10, this compares to an average of 78.7 per cent in other industries. <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>center_img “As the Government stimulus fades, and interest rates rise, some businesses (in particular, those in…tourism) may feel they are experiencing softer demand than they might have expected given the recovering economy,” St George Bank Head of Leisure and Hospitality Paul Cook said. The hotels, hospitality and tourism sector ranked second to last when forecasting growth in revenue at 7.7 per cent, the average across other industries was 8.3 per cent. Results from the survey suggest that businesses in the tourism industry are among the most subdued in outlook, 64 per cent believing the economy is recovering from the recent economic downturn – well beneath the 75 per cent average of other industries. A shortage of quality staff, high turn over and unrealistic staff wage expectations were also high on the list of concerns for business owners in the hotels, hospitality and tourism sector. “The hotels, hospitality and tourism industry are relatively in line with the nation in terms of optimism for the future. As conditions continue to improve, hopefully, so too will their outlook and opportunities for growth,” Mr Cook said. The study was conducted online among 1,000 Australians business owners and executives.last_img read more


Queen to name new Cunard ship after herself

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A “The Queen launched Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1967 and named our current flagship, Queen Mary 2, in 2004. “We are both honoured and proud that Her Majesty will name our new liner Queen Elizabeth.” The Queen Elizabeth (the ocean liner, not the person) will be the second largest ever built and will be the third Cunard Queen to bear the name Elizabeth.The newly names ship will set sail on her maiden voyage on 12 October 2010. Queen Elizabeth Cunard Line has announced that Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth will name their new Cunard, Queen Elizabeth, in a ceremony on 11 October 2010.According to the company, the naming of the cruise liner is “a milestone in British maritime history” and “a major event of worldwide interest”.“The naming of a Cunard Queen is a very special occasion and this will be an historic event in the true sense of the word,” Cunard President and Managing Director Peter Shanks said. Her Majestylast_img read more


Aeroplan and Air Canada Win Program of the Year Award for Second

first_imgProgram also takes top honours in Best Earning Promotion, Best Redemption Ability and Best Customer Service Aeroplan, Canada’s premier loyalty coalition program and Air Canada, Canada’s largest full-service airline have jointly received four major honours for the Americas region  as voted by the public in the annual Frequent Traveler Awards.  At a ceremony on April 28th in New York, Aeroplan and Air Canada won the “2011 Program of the Year” title for airlines in the Americas and were also recognized for “Best Airline Promotion for Earning,” “Best Airline Redemption Ability,” and “Best Customer Service.”“This is the second year in a row in which we have been recognized with Best Program of the Year and we are truly thrilled to receive this acknowledgment alongside our partner Air Canada.  Together, we’ve built a partnership that engages our members and delivers some of the best flight rewards out there,” said Vince Timpano, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aeroplan Canada.  “The Frequent Traveler Awards celebrate the best frequent flyer and frequent guest programs and we’re pleased to see our ongoing efforts to continually strengthen our program and our leadership in the loyalty space recognized by not only the Canadian and international loyalty industry and business communities, but most importantly by our own members.” “Our customers have long known that through our partnership with Aeroplan, Air Canada offers the best loyalty program in the industry and the Annual Frequent Traveler Awards have confirmed this once again. Aeroplan Members have many options for redemption but we are pleased that flight rewards remain the most popular choice. These awards also recognize that Air Canada’s loyalty program offers the best redemption ability, best promotion for earning, and best customer service by frequent travellers worldwide,” said Craig Landry, Vice President of Marketing at Air Canada. The Frequent Traveler Awards represent excellence in frequent travel programs worldwide, rating the best frequent flyer and frequent guest programs. Frequent flyer and frequent guest programs from around the world compete in seven categories including: Program of the Year, Best Redemption Promotion, Best Earning Promotion, Best Redemption Ability, Best Elite-Level Program, Best Customer Service and Best Loyalty Credit Card. Voters select programs in one of three global regions: Americas, Europe/Africa, and the Middle East/Asia and Oceania.  This year, over one million people from nearly every country worldwide participated in the Frequent Traveler Awards, casting online votes to choose their favourite programs and campaigns for 2010.  Source = Air Canada & Aeroplanlast_img read more


Global Traveler readers crown American Airlines as best domestic first

first_imgSource = American Airlines American Airlines took home the top prize once again in Global Traveler magazine’s GT Tested readers survey. For the fifth year in a row, the readers of Global Traveler magazine have named American “Best Domestic First Class Airline.” oneworld also earned top honors as “Best Airline Alliance” for the second consecutive year. The annual GT Tested Awards program surveyed more than 35,000 business and leisure travelers with an open-ended reader survey to determine the best in business and luxury travel for 2011. The GT Tested Awards were presented on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles and are featured in the December issue of Global Traveler. American was also honored in August in Global Traveler’s annual “Wines on the Wing” awards, taking the top award for Best North American Wines on the Wing, Best North American Sparkling Wine and Best North American Red Wine. Global Traveler’s panel of wine experts and consultants selected American as serving the Best Sparkling Wine in the North American Premium Class category for its Gloria Ferrer Brut Sonoma, while the California Pellegrini Family Blend won among red wines. American provided tastings of its award-winning wine to attendees at the GT Tested Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Dec. 1.last_img read more