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Florida still bringing in record numbers despite Zika hurricanes

first_imgFlorida still bringing in record numbers despite Zika, hurricanes Posted by Share Tags: Florida Monday, November 21, 2016 center_img JACKSONVILLE — Tourists continue to visit Florida in record numbers during a year that saw two hurricanes hit the state and federal officials warn away pregnant women from Miami due to the Zika virus.Florida Gov. Rick Scott will announce Monday that 85 million tourists visited the state during the first nine months of 2016.State officials say that’s the highest nine-month total ever and a 5.5 per cent increase over last year.Scott in a statement said the record numbers show how well Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing arm, is doing its job. Incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran has questioned continued funding of the organization.The governor noted that record numbers of tourists visited the state despite the Zika outbreak, hurricanes and the tragic attack at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando that left 49 dead. The Canadian Press << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Nassau Paradise Island dishes out hotel updates says Baha Mar will hopefully

first_imgNassau Paradise Island dishes out hotel updates, says Baha Mar will hopefully open late 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — If you’re worried about Nassau Paradise Island not having enough variety in terms of accommodations, rest assured – the luxury destination truly does offer a wide range of properties that caters to all budgets.This was the main message conveyed at an industry lunch in Toronto yesterday hosted by the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board and the Paradise Island Tourism Development Association. Said Fred Lounsberry, CEO of the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, which represents some 15 hotels and resorts on the island: “Everyone knows it’s an expensive destination, but you’ll find that with the variety of hotels available, there’s something for everyone.”Lounsberry also noted that Canada is a very important market for the destination, and that although it’s been a difficult couple years due to the exchange rate and Hurricane Matthew, business is still good.“From Canada, airport arrivals are off about 3% year to year, which isn’t bad considering the recent challenges we’ve faced. Obviously we’d like it to be better, but we also know it’ll swing back around,” he said.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaWhen it does, Paradise Island and its bevy of accommodations will be ready to welcome an influx of tourists. At the top of the list is the brand new Warwick Paradise Island, a four-star, adults-only, all-inclusive resort featuring 250 rooms, four dining options, two bars, fitness centre and tour desk. The first new hotel product to hit Paradise Island since 2007, the resort also boasts the 10,000 square-foot Warwick Sea Terrace featuring an arrivals dock and expansive boardwalk.Bay View Suites Paradise Island opens today (Dec. 1) after completing a rebrand that includes a new name (formerly the Best Western Bay View Suites) as well as an updated marketing strategy and logo.The destination’s powerhouse property – Atlantis Paradise Island – has commenced a major US$20 million renovation of its Coral Towers, one of the most centrally located accommodations at the resort. Slated for completion in summer 2017, the refresh will also include a new pool concept featuring Bahamian-influenced and family-style programming.Ultra-luxe One&Only Ocean Club, which suffered property damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew, will reopen on Feb. 14. On the other end of the spectrum, Lounsberry reminded guests of the perks available at Comfort Suites, which thanks to a deal brokered years ago, allows guests to enjoy all the benefits of nearby Atlantis Paradise Island.More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionBob Marley Resort & Spa is also a unique option for guests looking for an alternative to big-chain resorts. The former Marley Family home offers just 17 rooms and a honeymoon suite that used to be the bedroom of the iconic singer.And as for Baha Mar, Lounsberry said there’s been “a lot of movement” and promised that it will open “sooner rather than later.” He noted that there are active buyers, is not sure whether current brands will remain, and anticipates more news to come within the next 30-60 days. “Hopefully, it will open next year at this time in some shape, way or form.” Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Thursday, December 1, 2016 Tags: Baha Mar Sharelast_img read more

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New perks with ACTA Membership Card program

first_img Monday, March 19, 2018 Travelweek Group Posted by New perks with ACTA Membership Card program << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img MISSISSAUGA — Upgrades to ACTA’s Membership Card program now offer ACTA members access to 2,000+ perks from brand name and local vendors.With MemberPerks ACTA members can now save on everything from travel, entertainment and dining to electronics, fitness, insurance and apparel. The MemberPerks program also includes over 400 health and wellness offers.The perks come with ACTA’s new Member Card Program partnership with Venngo.“Our members have indicated that placing more value on the Membership Card and enhancing the card program is important to them,” says Doreen Lynch, Director of Membership, ACTA. “By including MemberPerks we are adding new savings to the Membership Card program that our members could not receive on their own.”“Given the diversity of our membership, the wider range of MemberPerks we offer, the better we are at addressing the needs of our diverse membership.”To participate in the program, ACTA members can visit acta.ca/membership-card and click ‘Start Saving’.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaAgents will be asked to enter their Membership Card Number and register their profile. Once enrolled in the program Members will be able to redeem savings by printing a coupon, using an online promo code or downloading the mobile app.“ACTA has researched what members want from a Member Card program and is focused on delivering the best program based on member feedback,” added Lynch. “We believe that the diversity of products and savings will be appealing to both current and future members.” Tags: ACTA, Promotions Sharelast_img read more

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Bill on benefits for samesex couples could be discussed Thursday

first_imgCosta Rica’s Legislative Assembly could discuss on Thursday a bill to extend economic benefits to same-sex couples.Lawmakers in the Human Rights Commission voted against the bill, called “Coexistence Partnerships Law,” or Bill 17,668, last June. But some lawmakers, such as Carmen Muñoz from the Citizen Action Party, hope her colleagues will “give the bill a second chance.”Lawmakers could discuss the bill in a first-round debate during Thursday’s session.Muñoz said that if she cannot generate enough interest, she will file a motion to postpone discussion.Backers of the bill say it “is a human rights issue,” according to Geovanny Delgado, from the Diversity Movement.Another bill on same-sex partnerships (Bill 18,481) exists, but is in last place on the agenda sent by the executive branch. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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US agency donates 1 million to Tico NGOs

first_imgNo related posts. The U.S. Central America Regional Security Initiative on Monday made ​​a donation of $1 million to five nongovernmental organizations operating in Costa Rica.Fundavida, Acción Joven, World Vision, MarViva and Boy with a Ball, received funds for their work with at-risk youth.The donation will be used to develop programs to combat violence, illicit drug use and school dropout rates.The NGOs must use the funds on programs that benefit at-risk youth and to fight poverty across the country.U.S. Ambassador Anne S. Andrew stressed the importance of the work performed by these agencies: “As an embassy, our goal is to partner with innovative organizations that are achieving a sustainable impact. By offering opportunities for at-risk youth and to support activities that create economic opportunities for communities, you are sowing the seeds of a more prosperous and secure future for Costa Rica.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Injured Uruguay star Suárez in camp England crushes Peru key Italian player

first_imgA look at the three teams that Costa Rica will face in Group D at the World Cup:MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Liverpool striker Luis Suárez arrived at Uruguay’s World Cup training camp on Monday 11 days after undergoing surgery on an injured knee.The English Premier League’s player of the year is hopeful of winning his race against time to be fit for Uruguay’s opening game against Costa Rica on June 14.And his chances have been boosted after Uruguay team doctor Alberto Pan declared the striker was “on track” to recovery after his training session.Pan added however that Suárez’s recovery was being monitored “on a day-to-day basis” by team officials and that no time frame had been put on his rejoining the team.The 27-year-old — who is set to clash with Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard as Uruguay has been drawn with England, Italy and Costa Rica — had surgery after injuring his knee in training on May 22.He arrived back at Uruguay’s training camp outside Montevideo on Monday driven by his wife Sofía, according to media reports.Suárez enjoyed a phenomenal season in becoming the first Liverpool player to score 30 league goals in a season since Ian Rush 27 years ago, as the club finished runners-up in the Premier League behind Manchester City.Uruguay won their first World Cup warm-up match against Northern Ireland 1-0 and will next play Slovenia on Wednesday in Montevideo.Sturridge stars in England’s shutout of PeruLONDON — England forward Daniel Sturridge admits he can’t wait to get started at the World Cup after cementing his place with a majestic goal in the 3-0 win over Peru.Sturridge produced a strike good enough to grace the World Cup final, let alone a low-key friendly, as his sublime curler into the top corner ended Peru’s stubborn resistance late in the first half of Friday’s clash at Wembley.It was the Liverpool striker’s fourth goal in 11 appearances for England and his third in his last five starts, making it almost certain he will feature in the starting line-up when Roy Hodgson’s team begin their World Cup campaign against Italy in the sweltering tropical heat of Manaus on June 14.Before the big kick-off in Brazil, Hodgson’s squad head to Miami for a training camp and two more friendlies against Honduras and Ecuador, but Sturridge is already thinking about how it will feel to take part in his first World Cup.“It’s within touching distance. Everybody is looking forward to it,” Sturridge said. “It’s going to be a great time for everybody. It’s my first World Cup and I’m looking forward to embracing everything that it brings.Italy in low spirits after major injury, draw with IrelandLONDON – Italy manager Cesare Prandelli admits he faces a huge task to lift his shattered players in time for the World Cup after Riccardo Montolivo was ruled out of the tournament with a devastating broken leg.AC Milan midfielder Montolivo suffered a fractured left leg in a challenge with Republic of Ireland defender Alex Pearce early in the first half of Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Fulham’s Craven Cottage.The 29-year-old was rushed to hospital for scans that confirmed he would play no part in Brazil and he is expected to be flown to Milan for surgery on Sunday.Prandelli’s players were visibly shocked by their teammate’s cruel exit and struggled to establish any momentum for long periods of a stalemate that extended their winless run to six matches.There were emotional scenes in the dressing room after the final whistle as they came to terms with the extent of Montolivo’s injury and Prandelli knows it is essential to try to heal the psychological wounds as soon as possible.“First all our thoughts are with Riccardo. We have to be rational. After what happened everyone got distracted. It is too emotional now,” he said. “We saw the players inside. Everyone is broken and really sad about what happened.”To make matters worse, Prandelli also saw midfielder Alberto Aquilani, who had come on for Montolivo, forced off with an injury before halftime. Facebook Comments Related posts:How did Costa Rica’s Group D rivals fare today? Uruguay star Luis Suarez could miss Costa Rica match after knee operation Do or die for England, Uruguay on Thursday Italy coach Prandelli resigns immediately after group stage eliminationlast_img read more

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Brazilian police arrest member of ruling Citizen Action Party for allegedly having

first_imgRelated posts:Brazilian Police release Tico accused of allegedly paying a minor for sex Suspected US serial child predator taught at American Nicaraguan School FIFA partner executive flees ticket sales arrest in Brazil Police arrest man mugging a woman with a plastic gun Ólger Ulate Ulate, 55, a Tico who traveled to Brazil to attend the FIFA World Cup, was arrested Wednesday by Brazilian police in the city of Natal for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old transvestite prostitute, several local media reported.Ulate was arrested after he filed a police report with local Tourism Police claiming that two prostitutes had stolen his passport, $1,500 in cash and a smartphone from his hotel room.The police investigation led to the arrest of a sex worker named Mônica Lopes da Rocha, 32, who admitted she had been with Ulate, but said she was not involved in a robbery. Lopes said she and another sex worker provided sexual services to Ulate. When officers located the second suspect, they determined he was a minor.Both Ulate and Lopes were taken into custody. Ulate was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, a crime that has no bail, and the woman was charged with facilitating a sexual encounter. At the woman’s apartment, Brazilian police found Ulate’s passport, the phone and $1,000.The minor was charged with theft but was released after giving a deposition at the police station. She admitted taking the Tico’s belongings, but claimed Ulate had refused to pay 400 reals ($180) for sexual services.Ulate, a resident of Tilarán in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, is a provincial delegate in the National Assembly of the ruling Citizen Action Party. He does not currently hold a public post, PAC President Olivier Pérez González said.“The only information we have is what we saw on the Brazil Police’s website. I can confirm that the man in the photograph looks like Ólger, but we must respect the police investigation and judicial process being carried out in Brazil. We also respect the principle of innocence, but we think it is a very serious and despicable act. If these facts are proven, we will begin an investigation that could end with his expulsion from the party,” Pérez told The Tico Times.Officials from Casa Presidencial’s press office said President Luis Guillermo Solís would not comment on the issue. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Thanksgiving in Costa Rica was a long time coming

first_imgNo related posts. For Thanksgiving 2018 we’re looking back on a 2005 piece that, in turn, looked back on Thanksgivings past in Costa Rica. This year, even fresh cranberries were spotted at Automercado, so these days of creative packing are gone in San José’s Central Valley. These days when people pack for a holiday in Costa Rica, they’re not likely to shove a frozen turkey in between the surfboard and camera. But 15 years ago, people coming from the United States in November or December may very well have had frozen turkeys hidden in their suitcases, evading the customs authorities who could make or break a traditional Thanksgiving meal.Nearly every U.S. native who has lived here more than a couple decades has at least one story about a Butterball smuggling gone awry: missed or delayed flights resulting in the bird’s arrival outside of its best condition, or turkeys forgotten overnight in bags and not unpacked until the mess had already been made.“One year, my friend’s daughter decided to raise turkeys in her backyard, but it turned out to be even more expensive than the really expensive imported turkeys you could sometimes find,” recalled Mindi Barbee, who has lived in Costa Rica with her husband for more than 30 years.But the thrills and horrors of turkey smuggling are long gone. The decline of the pastime started more than a decade ago, when El Salvador began exporting affordable turkeys, Barbee said.As more U.S. citizens have made Costa Rica their permanent home, the Thanksgiving celebration has grown: now, little is missing from the holiday feasts cooked here, although yams and fresh cranberries continue to be rare commodities. Today, restaurants throughout the Central Valley and in some beach areas offer Thanksgiving dinners as good as any that can be found in their U.S. counterparts.“Things have certainly changed; you can get almost anything now,” said Mavis Biesanz, 86, who first came to Costa Rica in 1942 and moved here permanently with her husband in 1971. Biesanz recently came across old letters she wrote, in which she asked people coming here to bring a shopping list’s worth of ingredients for holiday feasts – cranberries, pecans, “all the goodies you couldn’t get at the time,” she said.What Biesanz, Barbee and others couldn’t find, they improvised, using squash for pumpkin pie or blackberries for cranberry sauce.Regardless of the recipe, they gave thanks just the same.“We try to maintain the tradition…when my children were little, it was a way to remind them a little bit of American customs.We didn’t get back there too often when they were growing up, so it was a really nice way to remind them, and of course a nice holiday to say thank you for everything,” Barbee said.The early celebrations of Thanksgiving in Costa Rica may have been closer to the original feast on which the more than- 300-year-old holiday is based. Pilgrims in 1621 likely didn’t have sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, corn on the cob or cranberry sauce, either.However, the first feast probably included wild turkey, goose, lobster, clams, walnuts, acorns and carrots, all seasoned with olive oil, leeks and parsnips, according to historians at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts.Historians have tried for ages to distinguish between fact and fiction regarding what is considered the first Thanksgiving in 1621. As the story goes, after the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock on Dec. 11, 1620, they were devastated during their first winter. By the following fall, more than 40 of the original 102 passengers on the Mayflower had died. That season’s harvest was bountiful, and the Pilgrims celebrated with a feast, inviting dozens of natives who had taught them farming techniques.The holiday was not repeated annually right away, although similar feasts of thanks were held periodically. In October 1777, all 13 colonies joined in a thanksgiving celebration for the first time, but it was a one-time event. Since then, various U.S.Presidents declared days of thanksgiving, but it was not until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November, that it began to be celebrated every year.Prior to the mid-1800s, Thanksgiving had nothing to do with the 1621 harvest celebration, Pilgrims or native people, according to historians at Plimoth Plantation.Thanksgiving was a holiday to celebrate family and community based on Puritan days of fasting and rejoicing, declared by the governor of each colony every autumn. The notion that Pilgrims and natives feasted together in 1621 stood in sharp contrast to the battles between pioneers and indigenous groups that raged across the frontier, resulting in the slaughter of masses of indigenous people.“The association between Pilgrims, natives and Thanksgiving became stronger after 1890, when the census revealed the western frontier to be closed, and the ‘Indian Wars’ ended,” according to the Plimoth Plantation Web site.In 1939, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared Thanksgiving to be the next-to-last Thursday of November, rather than the last, in order to give merchants a longer time to sell goods before Christmas and help the country, which was suffering during the Depression, according to online encyclopedia Wikipedia.com. The change was not popular among everyone, and in 1941 the U.S. Congress resolved the problem by establishing that the holiday would be the fourth Thursday in November, making it sometimes the last and sometimes the second-to-last Thursday.Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years. Support the Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Tunisias judges strike protesting firings

first_img(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) – Tunisia’s judiciary went on open-ended strike Wednesday to protest the government’s removal of 82 judges for corruption and ties to the previous regime.The judges called for the Justice Ministry to revoke its decision, describing the move as unjust and not giving those targeted a chance to defend themselves.“The firing of the judges is contrary to the fundamentals of transitional justice which calls for revealing the truth about people and judging those who have violated (people’s) rights, while guaranteeing equitable decisions and above all the right to defense,” said Raoudha Laabidi, head of the Tunisian Judges’ Union in a statement. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Top Stories Justice Ministry spokesman Mondher Bendhiafi said Sunday in an interview that the judges targeted were “beyond the shadow of a doubt” involved in passing judgments to enrich family members of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown last year.Ben Ali ruled Tunisia for 23 years during which he and his relatives came to control large sectors of the economy, aided by a compliant legal system.Tunisia’s teachers and health workers have also announced they are going on a two-day strike calling for higher wages, while in the impoverished interior there are general strikes expected in the coming days.Since the uprising, which partly took place over high unemployment, the economy has only worsened and the country has been plagued by strikes for improved living conditions, especially in the interior.Tourism, one of the country’s main earners of hard currency, also suffered and there was a negative economic growth in 2011.According to the state news agency, the head of the General Union of Tunisian Workers, Houcine Abbasi said some strikes were actually canceled after negotiations with the government for salary increases and keep from exacerbating the fragile situation.last_img read more

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Suu Kyi got pilots view on historic trip abroad

first_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories The city is a stark contrast to Yangon, where rolling blackouts due to electricity shortages have spurred protests for more than a week.She drew laughter from the audience by adding, “What went through my mind was, ‘We need an energy policy!’”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img Patients with chronic pain give advice More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 5 ways to recognize low testosterone BANGKOK (AP) – Aung San Suu Kyi delighted the World Economic Forum by sharing an anecdote about her arrival into Bangkok after 24 years of isolation in Myanmar.Suu Kyi said Friday that the captain of her Thai Airways flight was “so very kind as to invite me to sit in the cockpit.”The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who this year made the journey from political prisoner to parliamentarian, said was “completely fascinated by the light” of Bangkok. The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

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Israeli Druze alarmed by plight of their brethren in Syria

first_imgIn this photo taken on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, a young member of the Druze minority watches the fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels in the Druze village of Khader in Syria, from the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Members of Israel’s Druze minority are concerned about their brethren in Syria. Now, they are asking Israel to help the Druze in Syria, even offering to go fight there if needed. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Patients with chronic pain give advice But after al-Qaida-linked militants earlier this month brutally killed as many as 20 Druze in what amounted to the deadliest violence against members of the small Arab sect since the Syrian conflict started in March 2011, Israel finds itself under increasing internal pressure to act. That would have the extraordinary outcome of having Israel intervene on behalf of a group perceived as loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.The plight of Syria’s Druze — and Israel’s dilemma over possible involvement — adds another complicated layer to the mayhem of rapidly disintegrating Syria.It also casts a light on the Druze, a mysterious sect that began as an offshoot of Shiite Islam and that managed to survive in a turbulent region by showing allegiance to their country of residence — sometimes at the cost of fighting other Druze on the battlefield.And though Israeli Druze have been fiercely loyal Israelis — to a striking degree, considered the century-long conflict between Israel and the Arabs — and often rise in military ranks and in politics, they also worry about their brethren elsewhere.“We are loyal to our country and we are loyal to our brothers,” said Amir Wahabi, a 38-year-old Druze from Daliyat al-Karmel, a village in northern Israel where traffic circles are named after fallen Druze soldiers in the Israeli military. Village streets are lined with blue-and-white Israeli flags, alongside the five-colored Druze flag. 0 Comments   Share   “If … someone hurts the Druze in Syria, that person becomes my enemy. I am willing to die to protect my brothers there,” he added.Israel’s about 130,000 Druze live mostly in the north of the country, where some have taken to the streets, demanding action to help the Syrian Druze. They are also asking that Israel stop treating wounded Syrian rebels in its hospitals, and instead offer medical aid to Syrian Druze and provide them with weapons and air support against the advances of al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, the Nusra Front.Some have even asked that the Syrian Druze be allowed into Israel by the thousands, should that become necessary.The Israeli government insists it will not allow the Druze to be massacred but has stopped short of any action.Since the uprising against Assad began, Israel’s strategy appears to have been that it’s better to hold off as rivals next door butcher each other rather than notice Israel — a common enemy to nearly all warring factions in Syria.But that rationale may change.Ayoob Kara, deputy minister for regional cooperation and the highest ranking Druze in the Israeli government, said Israel has broadcast behind-the-scenes messages that the Druze are not to be harmed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Many Israeli Jews have shown solidarity with the Druze, although most have stopped short of calling for military intervention.The liberal Haaretz daily, urged the government in an editorial to “save the Druze in Syria.”Moti Yogev, a hawkish coalition lawmaker from the Jewish Home party, said Israel’s “mutual commitment” to the Druze supersedes the complexity of engaging in Syria and the emotional difficulty of aiding those who have been loyal to Assad and who cooperated with Israel’s arch-enemy Hezbollah. The Lebanese militant group is backing Assad in Syria’s civil war.Israeli columnist Ron Ben-Yishai said Hezbollah and its Iranian backers are using the Druze to tug on Israeli heartstrings and drag the country into the bloody battlefields of Syria.“It’s an absurd only the Middle East could produce,” Ben-Yishai wrote.Meanwhile, Walid Jumblatt, Lebanon’s powerful Druze leader who has sided with Syrian rebels against Assad, warned last week on his Twitter feed against any Israeli intervention.Perhaps those in the most complex situation are the 22,000 Druze residents of the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. They have continued to identify themselves as Syrians — even after years of Israeli rule that has seen them become fluent in Hebrew an integrated in Israeli society. Sponsored Stories DALIYAT AL-KARMEL, Israel (AP) — Members of Israel’s Druze minority, long among the Jewish state’s most loyal citizens, have become increasingly concerned about the plight of their beleaguered brethren in neighboring Syria. Now, they are asking the state of Israel to help their fellow Druze next door — and some are even offering to go fight in Syria if needed.Israel has been careful to stay out of the four-year-old Syrian civil war and the Syrian Druze have themselves mostly avoided involvement.center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies “The Druze are a small people,” he said. “We will not leave our people behind to be slaughtered.”____Follow Aron Heller on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aronhellerap .Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Kara said he believes the Nusra Front’s official distancing itself from the killing of Druze villagers in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib two weeks ago was a sign the warning has been received.A member of the ruling Likud Party, Kara insisted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is listening to him in the matter. The 60-year-old Kara, who lost two brothers in battle serving in the Israeli military, insists the Druze “alliance doesn’t end at the border” with Syria.“If the Druze are harmed, hundreds of thousands of others will be harmed as well. And if I have to take up arms and fight there like I did as an Israeli officer I will,” said Kara, speaking at his home in Daliyat al-Karmel, the largest Druze village in Israel.“I want to see who won’t join me, particularly Jews, when I march to the (Syrian) border with thousands of supporters and they know that there is genocide taking place on the other side,” he said.Israeli Druze leaders say their alliance with Jews dates back long before they helped them win independence in 1948. The Druze revere Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, whose tomb in northern Israel is one of their most sacred sites. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help They still have relatives in Syria, and the now shuttered Quneitra border crossing had served as a gateway for students attending university in the Syrian capital of Damascus, brides crossing over to marry fellow Druze — even a route for the annual apple exports.But few of the Golan Druze have taken Israeli citizenship — an option they were offered after Israel annexed the territory in 1981 — and have mostly backed Assad’s government, at least in public.Separated relatives have traditionally congregated at the “Shouting Valley” between Israel and Syria, where they talk to each other through megaphones. An old joke says those on the Israeli side complain to their cousins about how awful life is in Israel, while those in Syria tout how great it is with Assad — and both sides know they are both lying.But the recent Syrian Druze deaths have stirred anger mixed with concern and a new realization that their future looks better with Israel.Hail Safadi, a 45-year-old Druze from the border town of Magdal Shams, said it was in Israel’s strategic interest to support the 700,000 Syrian Druze. And just as Israel has a moral obligation to aid Jews in distress around the world, it has the same responsibility toward the kin of its own loyal Druze population. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

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Aid ship arrives in wartorn south Yemen port carrying food

first_imgOn Monday, local militias patrolling the Crater neighborhood in Aden came under fire as they attempted to storm a house. A member of the militia said a rebel sniper shot and killed one his colleagues from inside.The militia member said his force stormed the house and seized seven rebel fighters, wounding three of them. He said the rebels were dragged to a local cemetery, shot and buried in one hole. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was afraid of retribution.Militia fighters in Dar Saad said a number of rebel fighters were taken hostage and handed over to Islamist fighters, who ultimately killed them. In pictures posted on Twitter accounts of Islamic State supporters, a purported local affiliate of the group claimed Friday to have killed a number of Houthi fighters in Crater, showing pictures of nearly a dozen men blindfolded and handcuffed on the floor.In March, just before a Saudi-led coalition began its airstrike campaign, the Islamic State affiliate in Yemen claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings in Sanaa targeting Shiites. American officials initially expressed skepticism that the affiliate existed, as Yemen is also home to the world’s most dangerous al-Qaida offshoot. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches “This is a major breakthrough for our humanitarian response,” WFP regional director Muhannad Hadi said. “While we have been able to reach several southern areas by land, docking at the port of Aden allows us to accelerate our response to meet urgent needs.”The group had tried repeatedly to send ships to Aden, but all had been previously blocked by severe fighting in the port area.Vessels landed in another nearby port, and aid was delivered by road. The last such road delivery arrived in July 14 for around 27,000 people. The new shipment can feed up to 180,000 people, and more vessels carrying much-needed fuel and food are planned in the coming days.“If conditions remain safe enough, as they are now, we will be able to have other ships arrive safely and offload,” said Dina el-Kassaby, also of WFP.Coordination is also needed with the Saudi-led coalition, which has imposed a sea and air blockade on Yemen since it began its airstrikes.The fighting in Yemen pits the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants and loyalists of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is now based in Saudi Arabia. The rebels seized Sanaa in September. Fierce fighting in Aden broke out in March, sparking the Saudi-led airstrikes. More than 1,690 civilians have been killed since then, the United Nations said Tuesday.On the ground, fighting continues. Security officials and witnesses said that battles just east of Aden killed some 20 rebels and around 10 of their adversaries. Coalition aircraft launched dozens of raids north of the city, destroying tanks and Katyusha rocket launchers.In the northern Aden neighborhood of Dar Saad, rebels have indiscriminately shelled it for days, killing over 100. On Tuesday, a shell landed on a shack in Dar Saad, killing a family of seven and a woman in her 70s who was near the house, medical officials and an eyewitness said.The governor of Aden, Nayef al-Bakri, said pro-Hadi army units and local allies had managed to take full control of the city, adding that authorities were working to restore basic utilities. Al-Bakri also said in a statement that Aden was now preparing to absorb the incoming aid ships, and that a technical team from the United Arab Emirates was working to repair and reopen its international airport.Although fighting has subsided in Aden, there were some reports of summary killings of rivals at the hands of local fighters. How men can have a healthy 2019 New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywallcenter_img Ground operations to push the rebels further north from Aden continued Tuesday, the officials said, with missiles, ground forces and airstrikes blasting rebel strongholds.Another aid ship, from UAE, also arrived in Aden later in the day, carrying 2,315 tons (2,100 metric tons) of medical and food aid, security and shipping officials said, adding that oil had arrived at the port for the city’s refinery.Also Tuesday, the UAE’s military said that a non-commissioned officer, Saif Youssef Ahmed al-Falasi, was killed while taking part in the Saudi-led operation in Yemen. The announcement, carried by state news agency WAM, did not disclose the cause of death or provide further details.The Gulf nation last week announced the death of another soldier participating in the operation, 1st Lt. Abdulaziz Sarhan Saleh al-Kaabi.___Associated Press writers Sarah El Deeb in Cairo and Adam Schreck in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A World Food Program ship carrying badly needed aid arrived in Yemen’s war-torn southern city of Aden on Tuesday, the first vessel chartered by the U.N. agency to be able to berth there since Saudi-led airstrikes on Shiite rebels in the country began in March.In a statement, the WFP said the ship that arrived Tuesday carries 3,000 metric tons (3,300 tons) of food for people in contested southern governorates. Top Stories Sponsored Stories A Yemeni man looks at a World Food Program ship at the port of Aden, Yemen, Tuesday, July 21, 2015. The WFP ship carrying badly needed aid arrived in Yemen’s war-torn southern city of Aden on Tuesday, the first vessel chartered by the U.N. agency to berth there since Saudi-led airstrikes on Shiite rebels in the country began in March. (AP Photo/Ahmed Sameer)last_img read more

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South African tourism weighs up BRICS

first_imgMiller Matola and Kingsley Makhubela Moderator Richard Quest of CNN grills the panel Kingsley Makhubela and Thandiwe January-McLean Emerging markets and diversification were among the topics discussed at this year’s global media face-off at INDABA in Durban. With the rise of BRICS nations under the spotlight, South African Tourism chief executive Thandiwe January-McLean said the country must continue to diversify its tourism offerings and experiences, as well as its market focus, in order to achieve further success. “We have to think very creatively,” Ms January-McLean said, adding that tourism in South Africa was “evolving constantly”. “This new focus, supported by SA Tourism’s marketing strategies and campaigns for the next year, is of particular importance to the markets that showed exponential growth throughout 2010 – Brazil, India, China and African countries.” According to the International Marketing Council chief executive, Miller Matola, a burgeoning middle class in BRICS nations, as well as African countries, presented huge opportunities for the local leisure and business tourism industries. “Given South Africa’s prominence in the emerging global economy, following our recent integration into BRICS, the rise of the developing world’s share of global economic power is particularly relevant to future growth of the tourism industry,” said Matola. However, when asked whether South Africa was sufficiently ready to handle an anticipated influx of Chinese visitors in particular, National Department of Tourism director-general Kingsley Makhubela bluntly said the country was not, although it was beginning to address the issue by educating tour guides in Mandarin and Cantonese. Question marks were also raised over the affordability of South Africa as a long haul destination, with Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa chief executive Allan Moore saying flying to the republic was “absolutely” still expensive, thanks largely to increased labour costs.Defending the country’s affordability, Ms January-McLean said that when people arrived in the country “there was still a sense of value for money”. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

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New commission aims to revitalise NT Tourism

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W. Legislation for a Tourism Commission in the Territory has been steered through parliament in an effort to revitalise the industry for the Territory’s 700 tourism related businesses.Minister for Tourism and Major Events Matt Conlan said the legislation will see Tourism NT reconstituted as a Commission.Stating that the Commission will grow the tourism sector by bringing a new depth of expertise, Mr Conlan said the Government is determined to see the Territory marketed as one product, ‘The Northern Territory’.Appointed Commission chair is Air North chief executive officer Michael Bridge, while long-time Territory tourism administrator Tony Mayell will join the board as chief executive officer in December.“This is the first step in returning tourism to the powerhouse industry in the Territory that it once was.” A tourism commission for the NT is set to help revitalise the industry for the Territory’s 700 tourism related businesses.last_img read more

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Fernandes denies interest in Indian LCC

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J AirAsia’s boss has dismissed reports that the Malaysian carrier was looking to purchase an Indian budget carrier.  The carrier’s chief executive Tony Fernandes said speculations were “completely incorrect”. “AirAsia has not submitted a bid for the Indian budget carrier, and has no intention of doing so,” he explained.Meanwhile, UAE carrier, Etihad Airways is said to be close to buying nearly 24 percent in Indian carrier, Jet Airways, Arabian Business reported. Although a Jet Airways spokesperson said the carrier was not able to comment, Etihad chief executive James Hogan said in October this year the carrier was actively looking to expand globally and saw opportunity in India and Asia.last_img read more

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Worldhotels invites guests to share their travelstories

first_imgHidden aquamarine river in PhilppinesFollowing the recent success of the “Hug an Agent” Instagram campaign, Worldhotels, the leading group of independent luxury and upscale hotels, has launched its new social media campaign “#travelstories”.Aligned with Worldhotels’ overarching concept for 2016, this contest encourages guests to defy the limits of ordinary travel and to share photos that reflect their own exceptional travel stories.Three winners will be picked to score exclusive experiences in Asia Pacific, Europe and The Americas.The contest runs from now until 29 April and its prizes have been carefully curated to meet the anticipated desires and expectations of wanderlust travellers, and revolve around the campaign’s theme: 1st prize: Drive through the stunning city of Vienna in a Maserati for an entire day and enjoy a five-night stay at the stylish Grand Ferdinand Hotel, including breakfast.2nd prize: Experience the eclectic city of Kuala Lumpur with a four-night stay at The Saujana Hotel, which is set amidst the verdant green foliage of Malaysia, plus 10,000 Peakpoints (Worldhotels loyalty programme)3rd prize: Witness firsthand the best that the Windy city has to offer with a two-night stay at the boutique hotel, ACME Hotel Company Chicago.Tent in the middle of a Snow Storm in ArgentinaSocial media followers can upload their photos based on their unrivalled travel experiences, along with a fitting caption, on the contest’s landing page.Upon image pre-approval by Worldhotels, participants can start rallying votes for their submitted entries. Winners will be selected based on their pictures that garner the highest number of votes, and will be announced in early May 2016.Other outstanding photo entries will also be published alongside the new Worldhotels travel blog, titled “Travel Stories”.  Through this blog, Worldhotels inspires travellers with unique travel stories by revealing hidden retreats or off-the-beaten-path adventures.Social media followers are also encouraged to share their personal travel moments, thus creating user-generated content for social media channels. This initiative serves as part of Worldhotels’ focus and efforts towards content marketing to help elevate its online presence. Share your #travelstoriesSource = Worldhotelslast_img read more

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Etihad commences luxurious Dreamliner flights to Perth

first_imgA state-of-the-art Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will touch down in Perth today after its inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi.Etihad Airways flight EY486 took off from Abu Dhabi at 10.30pm yesterday and is scheduled to arrive in the Western Australian capital at 1:50pm today where it will be welcomed by a water cannon salute. The return flight EY487 will depart Perth this evening at 5pm and arrive in Abu Dhabi at 12:25am on 3 June.The B787-9 Dreamliner features Etihad Airways’ next-generation Business and Economy Class cabins. With 299 seats, it delivers 14 per cent more capacity than the Airbus A330-200 it replaces. In the high-demand Business Class cabin, it offers 27 per cent more seats.Etihad Airways Senior Vice President of Marketing, Shane O’Hare, said the decision to upgrade to the Dreamliner reflected the importance of Western Australia to Etihad Airways.“Since launching flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi two years ago we have enjoyed strong two-way demand from business and leisure travellers on the route,” Mr O’Hare said.“The Dreamliner, which adds 518 weekly seats to the route, gives us the extra capacity needed to meet this ever-increasing demand. It also enables our guests to experience the luxury, comfort and hospitality for which Etihad Airways is world-renowned.“Our Dreamliners, with ground-breaking innovations in all cabins, have raised the passenger experience bar, setting the benchmark in world aviation for superior comfort, entertainment, inflight connectivity, and service.”Mr O’Hare also highlighted the contribution the new Dreamliner services would make to inbound tourism to Western Australia.“The additional weekly seats to Perth will bolster Etihad Airways’ existing support for Western Australia’s tourism industry by bringing more international visitors from across our global network to experience the delights of a Western Australian holiday,” he said.“Together with our partner airlines, we offer travellers from Europe, the Middle East and east coast USA, the comfort and convenience of one-stop flights to Perth with seamless transfers at the Abu Dhabi hub.”The Etihad Airways B787-9 Dreamliner features the airline’s highly acclaimed next-generation interiors with 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats.The onboard décor and lighting have been inspired by contemporary modern Arabian design, complementing the airline’s eye-catching ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ livery.Etihad Airways uniquely offers travellers from Western Australia the convenience of US Customs and Border Protection at Abu Dhabi Airport. This facility, exclusive to Etihad Airways in the Gulf region, allows guests to complete immigration, customs and security clearance procedures for the USA while in transit at Abu Dhabi – avoiding lengthy queues upon arrival at US airports.Etihad Airways launched daily two-class Airbus A330-200 services to Perth in July 2014.Beyond Perth, Etihad Airways offers connections to eight towns and cities in Western Australia in conjunction with codeshare partner Virgin Australia. The partnership enables guests to seamlessly connect to Etihad Airways’ global network from Broome, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Kununurra, Karratha, Paraburdoo, Port Hedland and Newman. Etihad AirwaysSource = Etihad Airwayslast_img read more

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THAI Catering receives Outstanding Catering Performance Awards

first_imgTHAI Catering receives Outstanding Catering Performance AwardsTHAI Catering receives Outstanding Catering Performance Awards 2016 from Air MacauMrs.Varangkana Luerojvong (Fourth from left), THAI Managing Director of Catering, represented the Company to receive the Outstanding Catering Performance Awards 2016 from Mr.Wu Xiaoming (Fifth from left), Vice President of Air Macau. THAI Catering received this award due to its high quality and food safety standards, in addition to meal production and inflight meal delivery standards to its customer Air Macau at Suvarnabhumi Airport. The award was presented to THAI Catering at Air Macau’s headquarters in Macau, the People’s Republic of China. Thai Airways Internationalbook your flights hereSource = THAI – Thai Airways Internationallast_img read more

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Mantra Southbank Melbourne gets a 2m artsinspired makeover

first_imgSource = Mantra Southbank Mantra Southbank, MelbourneMantra Southbank, Melbourne gets a $2m arts-inspired makeoverMantra Southbank, Melbourne has received a multi-million dollar refurbishment which has transformed the hotel’s spacious apartment-style guest rooms into a sophisticated arts-inspired urban oasis.Award-winning architecture and interior design firm Arkhefield, who was at the helm of the makeover, drew inspiration for the new design from Mantra Southbank’s premier location in Melbourne’s vibrant arts and entertainment district.118 one and two bedroom apartments have been rejuvenated, combining the ultimate in guest comfort with a contemporary elegant design. A custom-designed wallpaper featuring some of Melbourne’s iconic city locations juxtaposed with an ethereal prima ballerina acts as a focal point in the refurbished one and two bedroom apartments and a sophisticated monochromatic colour scheme with tasteful bursts of colour adds theatrics. All apartments now include stylish new soft furnishings throughout, including the supreme plushness of brand new mattresses and bedding packages, new window furnishings and bespoke joinery specific to each apartment to maximise functionality for both families and corporates alike. Mantra Southbank General Manager Adrian Lampe said the hotel’s new design takes cues from the hotel’s surrounding arts and dance precinct.“When you have neighbours like the Arts Centre Melbourne, Australian Ballet, Melbourne Theatre Company and Centre for Contemporary Arts, it was imperative we reinterpreted the space, modernised our features and added some theatrical fun for our guests,” said Mr Lampe.Mantra Southbank is ideally located at 31 City Road, Southbank in Melbourne’s vibrant arts and entertainment district and within close proximity to Crown Casino and the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. Superbly styled and fully self-contained, the hotel’s air-conditioned apartments feature full kitchen and laundry facilities, Foxtel, free to air television, and internet access, while those on the upper floors also offer spectacular views of the city and nearby Melbourne Botanical Gardens.Be among the first to experience Mantra Southbank’s new and improved guest rooms.  To book, call 1300 987 603 or visit MantraHotels.comAbout Mantra GroupMantra Group is the leading Australian-based hotel and resort operator. Mantra Group’s portfolio consists of 128 properties with more than 21,000 rooms in properties under management, across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Hawaii. Operating three well-known and trusted brands – Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree – Mantra Group operates the second largest network of accommodation properties in Australia (by room number). The Group is positioned to offer both leisure and business style accommodation ranging from full-service city hotels and self-contained apartments to luxury resorts and retreats. The Group successfully listed on the ASX in June 2014 and in its first year as a public company was elevated to the ASX 200:www.mantragroup.com.au; www.peppers.com.au; www.mantra.com.au; www.breakfree.com.au*Conditions apply, subject to availability. Valid for sale and travel until 30 September, 2017. Block out dates and other restrictions may apply.last_img read more

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AK launch new roundtheworld Journey

first_imgA&K launch new round-the-world JourneyA&K launch new round-the-world JourneyThe earliest travellers were traders who set off on expeditions to faraway places, pioneering routes that live on today. Following in their footsteps, luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) has curated ‘Cultural Treasures: Around the World by Private Jet’ to allow 50 privileged guests to discover some of the world’s most fascinating peoples, places and celebrations, in intimate and enriching ways.This epic journey features such timeless destinations as Kyoto, Kathmandu and Abu Dhabi, where enduring history blends seamlessly with a bustling modern culture. Travel back in time with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and a private geisha performance; then there’s a taste of the nomadic life in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. Nepal offers incomparable views of Mt Everest by helicopter, while Bhutan affords a glimpse into a fiercely-protected traditional culture, as well as an opportunity to make the pilgrimage to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. After stopping in Agra for a royal banquet and a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal, guests jet off to Abu Dhabi, a city transformed, in contrast to the Bedouin encampments found in the otherworldly desert of Wadi Rum and the Treasury of Petra. The journey ends with a taste of Sicilian dolce vita in Taormina, where guests can explore picturesque villages from a unique perspective behind the wheel of a vintage Italian sports car.Private jet travel with A&K is filled with invitation-only events, including a tshechu ceremony, a longstanding Bhutanese tradition with masked dancers; traditional contests of archery, wrestling and horsemanship at Mongolia’s Naadam Games; and an exclusive Sicilian welcome party styled after a traditional wedding, with celebratory dancing, music and food –arranged exclusively for A&K guests. Thoughtful curation makes it possible for guests to personalise their experience with a choice of Design Your Day® options, from relaxing spa treatments to active outdoor excursions. In Kyoto, it may be meeting a master swordsman for a hands-on samurai experience; sake tasting or learning about traditional indigo dyeing from a famous artisan.One of A&K’s most experienced Tour Directors orchestrates the journey from start to finish. On the ground, guests travel in small groups of no more than 16, each led by a Tour Manager, assisted by expert local guides who share their personal stories and lend insights beyond any guidebook. New for 2019 is an onboard physician who travels with the group. A&K’s Travelling Bell Boy® service insures luggage is waiting in rooms when guests arrive.Accommodations reflect the distinctive character of each destination and offer authentic hospitality. Highlights include a comfortable ger camp in Mongolia, exclusively reserved for A&K; Dwarika’s in Kathmandu, recognised by UNESCO for its extraordinary native woodwork; and five star comfort just steps from Petra. Guests may also take advantage of A&K’s complimentary laundry service, Traveller’s Valet® midway through the journey.Meals are thoughtfully choreographed with local entertainment and stunning natural backdrops such as dinner in a 17th century Japanese castle, with a welcome by samurai warriors; sampling the flavours of India at a Mughal-themed banquet in Agra; and a romantic candlelit desert feast at “Little Petra”.Guests travel on A&K’s privately-chartered Boeing 757-200ER where 50 custom-designed Italian leather seats are equipped with a personal massage system, 4-way adjustable headrests and lumbar support, that open to fully lie-flat beds. Additional seating enables guests to socialise in comfort with their travelling companions, while a full privacy screen and extra-high seat back provide undisturbed rest. A fully stocked, open bar featuring top-shelf wine and spirits is a feature, in addition to the first-class meal service. The dedicated cabin crew offers a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:7 and amenities on board include Bose noise- cancelling headphones and pre-loaded iPads.A&K is a pioneer in private jet touring, having introduced the first Royal Air Tour in 1989. Today it is one of the most experienced companies in the business, having designed and operated dozens of programmes on a variety of luxury aircraft to destinations all over the world, as well as custom-designed jet itineraries for families and private groups.A&K’s 23-day ‘Cultural Treasures: Around the World by Private Jet’Tour dates: 12 October-3 November 2019Double occupancy: US$129,000 per personSingle Supplement: US$16,500Source = Abercrombie & Kent (A&K)last_img read more

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