Shivani DDPPL

GNTB now accepts Crypto currencies as payment method

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Starting immediately, services of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) can be paid in Crypto currencies such as bitcoin. The GNTB wants to test the underlying blockchain technology of Crypto currencies in their finance department to use it for their international payment traffic. Petra Hedorfer, Chair of the Board, GNTB, explains, “Within our digitalisation strategy, we continuously test newest technologies and trends to see if they could be useful for our company. Through accepting Crypto currencies as a payment method and the possible medium term implementation of the blockchain technology in our finance sector, our international company wishes to set ourselves apart as an innovator and instigator within the tourism industry.” The blockchain technology offers interesting perspectives in regards to speed, transparency and security. Experts are expecting enormous improvements and saving potentials with, for example, international transactions.

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VFS Global to take over full ownership of VFS TasHeel

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VFS Global has agreed to take over 100 per cent ownership of its joint venture with the TasHeel Group – VFS TasHeel and Vasco, as per a binding agreement signed between both parties. As the outsourced visa services partner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, VFS TasHeel manages Saudi Arabia visa application services across 30 countries since 2013. VFS TasHeel is currently a joint venture between the TasHeel Group and VFS Global. The transaction will enable VFS TasHeel and Vasco to benefit from operational efficiencies and synergies with VFS Global in terms of further development of services and solutions, and improve the overall service it provides to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and Saudi Arabia visa applicants around the world. Subject to customary approval from the competition and regulatory authorities, the transaction is expected to complete later in 2018. There will be no change in the management core team or processes of VFS Tasheel and Vasco. The company will continue to fulfill all its obligations in accordance with its MoFA service contract. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global Group said, “We are pleased to take over complete ownership of VFS TasHeel and Vasco. It will enable us to accelerate the further development of the business and improve overall performance through greater synergies.”  

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Cebu Pacific to cancel Caticlan and Kalibo flights from April 26

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After the Philippine government ordered to close Boracay Island for tourist activities, Cebu Pacific (CEB) is set to cancel flights to and from Caticlan and Kalibo from April 26 to October 27, 2018. To ensure continuity of commerce in Northern Panay Island and support local residents, CEB will still operate flights for Kalibo and Caticlan during the same period, stated a spokesperson for the carrier. Affected passengers will be compensated either by getting a full refund, rebooking the flight, or a rerouting to any domestic destination.

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Travelport and Priceline extend technology and content partnership

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Travelport and Priceline.com have signed a long-term renewal agreement for Travelport to continue providing pricing, booking and ticketing technology and content to Priceline. The renewal comes approximately 20 years after the two companies signed their first agreement for Priceline to process reservations through Travelport’s GDS. Throughout the past two decades, Travelport and Priceline have worked together to make the process of buying and selling travel easier for customers seeking great travel deals. “Travelport has proven to be a valued partner over the last 20 years in helping Priceline customers find and book the best deals,” said Brigit Zimmerman, Senior Vice President of Flight, Hotel and Packages, Priceline.com. Jason Clarke, Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Agency Commerce, Travelport, added, “We are committed to supporting Priceline with our industry-leading search and pricing capabilities, as well as offering Priceline new technologies that offer faster connections, greater content and more relevant choices.”  

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Dusit International to launch ASAI Hotels for millennial travellers in 2019

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Dusit International has introduced ASAI Hotels for the curious, millennial-minded travellers with authentic local experiences in vibrant cities and resort destinations worldwide. Set to launch in Q1 2019 with its first hotel in Bangkok’s renowned Chatuchak Market, ASAI Hotels embraces a sustainable, community-focused concept, with each property designed to reflect the culture and heritage of its location through collaborations with local artisans. In line with the four core pillars of the brand – Thoughtful Essentials, Common Areas, Locally Inspired and Connected Community – each hotel will feature compact rooms, whose contemporary design will emphasise on key features like superior quality beds and high pressure rain showers. A large mixed-use space, meanwhile, will include a cosy and efficient work space, a leisure area, and a restaurant concept curated by local chefs who champion sustainability. The Chatuchak hotel includes an eatery developed by Bangkok-based chefs and restaurateurs, Jarrett Wrisley and Paolo Vitaletti, whose own restaurants, Soul Food Mahanakorn and Appia, are renowned for their sustainable approach to cooking. Their menu at ASAI Chatuchak will highlight produce from Thailand’s Royal Projects. Each ASAI hotel worldwide will leverage technology to streamline the booking and stay experience. This includes the implementation of self check-in kiosks, and exclusive online guides that link guests with authentic local experiences and lesser-known.

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Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum opens for GCC with expanded offerings

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Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum has recently opened for GCC for the summer season with an expanded offering for guests. New villas and suites overlooking the Paradise Bay will be available, and more butlers will be on hand to maintain the resort’s reputation for excellent service. Guests can savour new menus at the resort’s award-winning restaurants and book its new Flavours of Bodrum accommodation package. Guests staying at Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum now have three new villas and the Bougainvillea and Royal Suites to choose from in addition to the existing selection of guest rooms, apartments, suites and villas. The Bougainvillea Suite, also known as the honeymoon suite, is in a secluded spot at the far end of resort. The 95-square metre retreat features a single bedroom and private swimming pool overlooking the Aegean Sea. The sea-view Royal Suite, with seven rooms, private garden and swimming pool is the largest on the Bodrum Peninsula with 533 square metres of space. Including its existing seven-room villa, the resort now offers large-scale family accommodation on the Peninsula. All suites and villas at the resort have infinity pools and private terraces overlooking the sea.

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VisitBritain launches exclusive holidays for GCC

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For the first time, VisitBritain aims to promote the luxury horse racing itineraries to horse racing enthusiasts in the region and inspire them to book these experiences. Their recent ‘I Travel For…’ digital marketing campaign uses short-films and story-telling to market unexplored destinations in Britain, alongside its globally renowned landmarks and attractions. For centuries, horse racing has been linked with the English monarchy. It is called the sport of kings because of its strong association with royalty and nobility. The history of England is the history of horse racing, from its humble beginnings to today’s Royal family’s continuing passion and patronage of the sport. A day at the races is an opportunity to experience English history and tradition at its best.

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Oman Air exhibits offerings at Philippines Travel Expo

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Oman Air recently showcased its products at the Philippines Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) Travel Tour Expo and the Thai International Travel Fair (TITF). Both events provided a platform for the airline to showcase its latest news and products. Some 335 companies exhibited at the SMX Convention Centre in Pasay City, where more than 140,000 people attended over the course of the three day PTAA event. The exhibition hosted key representatives from airlines, travel agencies, tour operators, hotels, food concessionaires, government agencies and tourist organisations from across the world. The event allowed Oman Air officials the opportunity to promote Oman as a world-class destination to the growing Filipino travel market. ‎The airline was able to educate its fellow industry officials and new guests on the airline’s aircraft, upcoming routes, flight networks and frequency in general.  

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Four Seasons to offer ‘Latin Escapes’ jet excursion by 2019

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The latest offering by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is the unique 16-day adventure private jet itineraries to come to effect by 2019. This new journey is shorter than the 24-day around-the-world journeys, and takes travellers to Miami, Costa Rica, Buenos Aires, Bogotá and even includes an escape to the Galápagos Islands, all in the care of Four Seasons. The Four Seasons Private Jet allows travellers to fulfil their most extraordinary travel dreams aboard a custom designed aircraft, while enjoying personalised Four Seasons service. Guests can opt for a wide range of experiences in each destination and tailor their trip to their interests, discovering authentic flavours and connecting with local cultures and communities without the added stress of planning. The dedicated team on each Private Jet journey takes care of everything, including all air travel, ground transportation, planned excursions, all meals and beverages and luxurious accommodations at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. While visiting the remote Galápagos Islands during the Latin Escape itinerary, guests will stay at accommodations carefully selected by Four Seasons.

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Arab states look to expanding trade ties with Brazil

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The Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) hosted the Brazil-Arab Countries Economic Forum on April 2, 2018 in São Paulo, Brazil in an effort to expand trade relations between the South American nation and the Arab world. The forum was held on the theme ‘Building the Future’ at Hotel Unique in partnership with the Union of Arab Chambers and the League of Arab States. High-level authorities, representatives from development agencies and specialists joined six thematic panels to talk about incentives, investment policies and opportunities that can be taken advantage of by both Brazilian and Arab companies, and organisations. Rubens Hannun, President, ABCC, said, “There are synergies still to be explored and plenty of room to grow in the flourishing relations between Brazilian and Arab organizations. The forum provided an ideal platform to discuss key avenues that would enable us to bring our ties to the next level of development. Bringing major stakeholders under one roof is definitely a step closer to our goal of strengthening further our cooperation to achieve mutually beneficial results.” Many leading sectors provide numerous collaborative opportunities for both Brazil and the Arab region, including construction, finance, renewable energy, food security, logistics, innovation, tourism, technology and investments. The panel discussions highlighted the growth potentials of some of these key areas.

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