Archive | September, 2011

Abacus as the preferred Distribution Partner of Virgin Australia

29 Sep

Virgin Australia has signed a landmark partnership with Abacus International as its preferred distribution partner. This will allow Virgin Australia to leverage and promote Abacus as its preferred global distribution system (GDS) through joint sales and marketing activities throughout Asia.

As part of the agreement, Virgin Australia has also upgraded its connectivity with Abacus, thus tapping into Abacus’ highly productive network of travel agents to drive new revenue and higher yield. Abacus agents will now have full access to Virgin Australia’s fares and inventory so that customers can now conveniently book Virgin Australia as well as its interline and code-share partners including Singapore Airlines on Abacus channels.

“The agreement with Virgin Australia is an excellent match for Abacus, whereby we will connect our extensive Asia Pacific network with Virgin’s wide range of Australian and Pacific destinations.  We are committed to strengthen our position in the region and deliver additional value to our customers,” said Mr Ho Hoong Mau, Division Head, Airline Distribution, of Abacus International.

“Choosing the right partner for the region is instrumental to underpinning the expansion and growth plans of our growing international alliance network, and that is why we chose Abacus,” said Mr Justin Montgomery, General Manager – Sales, Virgin Australia group of airlines.

Source: Abacus International

Opening of the new Holiday Inn Red Deer South

29 Sep

IHG announces the opening of the new Holiday Inn Red Deer South on October 3, 2011.

The hotel offers a variety of amenities for business and leisure travellers like fitness centre, an open concept ballroom and 6,996 square feet of meeting space. The hotel includes 114 bedrooms, 24 of which are suites featuring one bedroom and a separate living room.

The hotel will showcase all of the elements of the recently completed $1 billion Holiday Inn global brand relaunch, the biggest ever project of its kind in the history of the hospitality industry. “We are thrilled to welcome this property to the Holiday Inn family of hotels with the brand new sign and everything it represents. Holiday Inn hotels are specifically designed for business and family oriented leisure travelers in need of a full-service lodging experience, and this property fits well within that offering,” said Gina LaBarre, senior vice president, Brand Delivery, the Americas, IHG. “Development in Alberta is important in expanding our Holiday Inn consumer base and growing an even stronger presence across the Americas.”

“We are very excited to be opening this brand new Holiday Inn,” said Shazma Charania, owner of Holiday Inn Red Deer South. “We have invested in this property with the goal of providing visitors of the area with a hotel that is convenient while maintaining a relaxed atmosphere with all the latest in comfort, and we are thrilled with the end result.”

Source – Holiday Inn

'ITB Asia Stickman' To Raise Funds For Charity

29 Sep

Attendees at ITB Asia 2011 will now be able to contribute to a good social cause while doing what they do best, travelling around the world. Messe Berlin (Singapore), organiser of ITB Asia, ‘The Trade Show for the Asian Travel Market’, has launched a special social media project to help raise funds for its adopted charity – Operation Smile Singapore.

The star of the project is known as the ‘ITB Asia Stickman’ – a smiling, bendable rubber figurine in the signature ITB orange. The ‘ITB Asia Stickman’ and 499 other custom-made fellowmen will be available for adoption at this year’s show at a donation sum of choice. All proceeds from the donation drive will go to Operation Smile Singapore.

ITB Asia will then pledge US$10 for each of the first 250 photographs uploaded, to Operation Smile, a not-for-profit, volunteer medical services organisation that provides reconstructive facial surgery to indigent children and young adults. The total sum raised will go towards funding approximately seven life-changing operations.

This idea is the brainchild of Nino Gruettke, the Executive Director of ITB Asia. “Social media has significantly enhanced the way we share our travel experiences, stories and photos. Our travel photos not only capture memorable moments, but also celebrate local cultures, communities and inspire future generations of globetrotters,” explained Gruettke.

The ‘ITB Asia Stickman’ project will take place over a year, starting from 19 October 2011 until ITB Asia 2012 – or when the target of 250 photographs has been reached.

Source: ITB Asia

Industry Committed to Emissions Reductions – IATA

29 Sep

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reiterated the air transport industry’s commitment to its ambitious agenda to reduce CO2 emissions and urged the European Union (EU) to abandon its misguided plans to include aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) commencing in 2012. IATA invited governments to join industry as committed partners in a global approach to reducing aviation’s carbon emissions that could also include a global ETS or other compensation measures.

“The industry’s value chain is united around ambitious targets and a clear strategy to reduce its carbon footprint. To achieve the positive economic measures, technology improvements, more efficient infrastructure and better operations necessary to meet our targets, governments need to be much more proactive stakeholders and real partners,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO in a speech at the Greener Skies conference in Hong Kong.

Airlines, airports, air navigation service providers and manufacturers are committed to improving fuel efficiency by 1.5% annually to 2020, capping net carbon emissions from 2020 with carbon-neutral growth and cutting net emissions in half by 2050, compared to 2005.

“These are challenging targets. Airlines represent 2% of global manmade CO2 emissions. This year that is estimated to be some 650 million tonnes of CO2 emitted while carrying 2.8 billion passengers and 46 million tonnes of cargo. By 2050, the industry aspires to carry 16 billion passengers and 400 million tones of cargo with some 320 million tonnes of CO2 emissions,” said Tyler.

Source: IATA

Network Rail All Set With The Plans For New Public Square At King's Cross

29 Sep

The transformation of King’s Cross station has taken another step forward after detailed plans for a new public square were submitted.

The application by Network Rail for a new public space in front of the station comes at the end of a four year design process which ended in July when more than 4,500 people took part in a public consultation on the proposals.

The new design by architects Stanton Williams incorporates more trees than the original and a combination of traditional Yorkstone and granite paving. To complement the University of the Arts London moving into King’s Cross, an area suitable for displaying large-scale art installations has also been identified.

Ian Fry, Network Rail’s programme director at King’s Cross said: “When designing a square which will be used by 140,000 people every day, it was vital to get as much public input as possible.”
The completion of the square in 2013 will reveal the Victorian grade I listed station façade for the first time in 150 years. At more than 7,000 square metres the square will be 50% bigger than Leicester Square and will open up the space currently occupied by the 1970s concourse extension.

Source: Network Rail

Princess Cruises 2012 Europe Program, Largest Ever

29 Sep

Princess Cruises passengers may have a hard time choosing from among next summer’s array of Europe sailings. In 2012, the line will offer more itineraries and capacity than ever before.

The season features seven ships sailing on 57 itineraries to 116 destinations, with more than 125 departures between April and December. Highlights of the program include the European debut of Caribbean Princess, which brings additional capacity to the region, and a new 14-day Baltic Heritage itinerary offering more time to explore the fascinating ports of Scandinavia and Russia.

In addition, Princess sailings continue to give passengers extra time in fascinating ports throughout Europe, with 2-day experiences in Istanbul, St. Petersburg, Egypt, and Israel. Especially popular are the overnight stays in one of the continent’s most sought-after destinations — Venice — on all 12-day Mediterranean and Greek Isles cruises.

“The vast diversity of attractions in Europe — from the ancient ruins of Rome, to the imperial splendor of Russia, fascinating modern cities and a variety of important UNESCO World Heritage sites — has inspired our growing collection of intriguing cruise options,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “And our passengers have the opportunity to choose from a variety of ships, from our intimate small ships to the largest amenity-filled vessels.”

Source: Princess Cruise

Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

29 Sep

This November join the wave of epicureans taking over America’s Finest City for a week of scrumptious Wine & Food, your taste buds will never forget.

The five-day festival will continue from November 16 – 20 in Downtown San Diego. The festival will feature wine-tasting seminars, cooking classes taught by celebrity chefs, a Wine Rave, the elegant Reserve & New Release Tasting, wine dinners, the Celebrity Chef Luncheon & AIWF Big Bottle Auction, VIP party, and the unforgettable star-studded Grand Tasting event.