Recent economic and diplomatic issues within South Korea has resulted in a significant drop in tourist arrivals from Japan, according to new research data.Approximately 689,000 Japanese travellers visited South Korea during the first three months of 2013, a 22 percent decline in visitors compared with the same period last year, Channel News Asia reported.These figures stem from data collected by The Korea Culture and Tourism Institute and while research revealed South Korea is welcoming more tourists from countries like China, the drop-off in tourists from Japan has raised concerns for the nation’s tourism industry.“Many travel agencies that cater to Japanese tourists are making their employees take unpaid leave, and many guides are moving elsewhere,” Korea Association of Travel Agents official Seo Dae Hoon said.“There are even one or two travel agencies that have gone bankrupt.”More than half a million Chinese tourists visited South Korea in the first quarter of 2013, up 71 percent from the same period last year.Tour guides that originally catered specifically for Japanese visitors are now learning Chinese in order to become guides for this new wave of visitors.However, the recent influx of Chinese hasn’t been enough to drastically improve South Korea’s struggling tourism industry.Travel agencies in South Korea fear that if this trend continues, it will be difficult for the government to reach its target of attracting 16 million foreign tourists in 2013.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. Rise in Chinese visitors not enoughto stabilise tourism industry.
The Philippines has extended its visa-free privileges from 21 to 30 days.Foreign nationals from 151 countries can now enter the Philippines without a visa and remain in the country for a maximum of 30 days, according to a new Executive Order.The extended visa-free initiative was conceived through inter-agency coordination among the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Tourism, Department of Justice, Bureau of Immigration and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.Australia is among the multitude of countries affected by this new policy, which came into effect on 1 August 2013.Visa-free entrants to the Philippines must have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the contemplated stay dates and possess a return ticket to their country of origin or onward destination.For the full list of eligible countries visit Consular Services on the Philippine Embassy website.Source = ETB News: P.T. These days it is not only more fun in the Philippines. The fun lasts longer!
Vivid Sydney 2016 www.vividsydney.comPlan ahead for Vivid Sydney opening nightThe opening night of Vivid coincides with AFL and Super Rugby matches at the SCG and Allianz Stadium, as well as a concert at the Hordern Pavilion, with up to 65,000 people expected in the Moore Park precinct.Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said this year’s Vivid is set to be the biggest in the festival’s eight-year history.“We are delighted Vivid Sydney is finally here again! It’s one of Australia’s must-see festivals that is now recognised as the largest event of its kind in the world combining light, music and ideas,” Mr Ayres said.“Last year a record 1.7 million attendees experienced the joy of Vivid Sydney, and this year the festival will run for an additional five nights, providing visitors with even more time to experience the spectacular light, music and ideas that illuminate the Harbour City each winter.”Additional public transport services will be in place throughout Vivid Sydney to move people around, however the CBD and surrounding Moore Park area will be congested from the early afternoon on Friday with major delays expected.Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said visitors coming into or near the CBD on Friday night should leave the car at home, with more than 60,000 fans expected to attend the two football games at Moore Park.“We want fans and visitors to enjoy these fantastic events but everyone needs to plan ahead as there will be road closures and clearways, and we expect there will be significant delays on our roads,” Mr Constance said.“If you’re coming into town, use the 4,500 extra public transport services running in addition to the regular timetable during Vivid Sydney.”Vivid Sydney – 27 May until 18 JuneVivid Sydney is the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, which for 23 days – from 27 May to 18 June 2016 – transforms the Harbour City with its colourful creative canvas. In 2015 Vivid Sydney attracted a record 1.7 million attendees.Now in its eighth year, Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency.Vivid Sydney features large scale light installations and projections (Vivid Light), with lights on between 6pm-11pm at most precincts; music performances and collaborations (Vivid Music including Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House); and creative ideas, discussion and debate (Vivid Ideas), all celebrating Sydney as the creative hub of the Asia-Pacific. For more information visit www.vividsydney.com.Events at Moore Park on Friday May 27: Swans vs North Melbourne at the SCG (Start 7:50pm – finish 10:20pm) – Estimated crowd of up to 40,000;Waratahs vs Chiefs at Allianz Stadium (Start 7:40pm – finish 9.20pm) – Estimated crowd of up to 20,000;This is Hip-Hop Tour, Hordern Pavilion, (Start 6:15pm – finish approx. midnight) – Estimated crowd of up to 2,000.TransportFor information about road closures and extra public transport services to and from Vivid Sydney, visit www.vividsydney.com/transport.For information on extra services, timetables, maps and trip planning visit www.transportnsw.info, download a train or bus app from the App Store or Google Play.For the latest traffic information, visit www.livetraffic.com, download a real-time traffic app from the App Store or Google Play, or call 132 701 Vivid Sydneydiscover more here Source = Destination NSW
CHOICE welcomes ACCC action against MeritonCHOICE welcomes ACCC action against MeritonConsumer group CHOICE welcomes the ACCC’s decision to initiate proceedings against Meriton for misleading or deceptive conduct over reviews of its properties on the TripAdvisor website.“If Meriton is found to have taken steps to prevent unhappy customers from posting their experiences online, we’d like to see the Federal Court issue the maximum penalty,” says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.The regulator claims Meriton took steps to prevent guests from providing negative reviews about the chain on TripAdvisor.“When consumers are booking the holiday of a lifetime, they need to be confident that the reviews they’re reading tell the whole story about a property and don’t simply reflect what a business wants them to see,” Mr Godfrey says.“User reviews only work when positive and negative reviews are posted so consumers can form a balanced view.“A one-way tide of positive reviews could be a sign something is amiss.”Last year a CHOICE investigation into fake online reviews found that 20 short-form reviews can be purchased for as little as US$5 and 2500 Facebook likes can be bought for just $70.“The staggering popularity of user reviews, as consumers share and rate their experiences, has unfortunately also given rise to the practice of companies faking reviews to promote their own business,” says Mr Godfrey.“Section 29 of Australian Consumer Law prevents businesses from making or inducing false or misleading representations through testimonials or reviews.“Businesses that pay people to write reviews who have never used their products or services are clearly misleading consumers but those same considerations also apply to editing or deleting less favourable ratings.”For further information please Click Here CHOICElearn more hereCHOICE tips for spotting fake reviewsCheck reviews about the same business from different sourcesKeep an eye out for tell-tale signs of fakery such as a sudden increase in positive or negative reviews over a short timeframe that are out of sync with earlier reviewsBeware of reviews that are allegedly from different people but are suspiciously similar in tone and style http://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/accc-takes-action-against-meriton-over-online-reviews https://www.choice.com.au/shopping/consumer-rights-and-advice/your-rights/articles/product-reviews-fake-or-realSource = CHOICE
From Left to Right> Mr. Walter Cho, President and COO of Korean Air, Mr. Yang Ho Cho, Chairman and CEO of Korean Air, Mr. Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, Mr. Steve Sear, President – International and Executive Vice President – Global Sales, Delta Air Lines.Korean Air and Delta Air Lines to deepen partnershipKorean Air and Delta Air Lines, founding members of SkyTeam have reached an agreement to deepen their historic partnership with an expanded cooperation in the trans-Pacific network that will increase travel choices and boost competition between the Asia and U.S.The airlines signed a memorandum of understanding to implement a joint venture, which will offer customers access to the most comprehensive route network in the trans-Pacific market, industry-leading airline products, world-class airport facilities and a seamless customer experience. Present at the ceremony were Mr. Yang Ho Cho, Chairman and CEO of Korean Air, Mr. Walter Cho, President and COO of Korean Air, Mr. Ed Bastian CEO of Delta Air Lines and others.Highlights of the agreement, subject to regulatory approvals and signing of definitive contracts, include:· The intent to create a fully integrated trans-Pacific joint venture with both airlines sharing the costs and revenues on flights and coordinating schedules for seamless, convenient connections.· A combined network serving more than 290 destinations in the Americas and more than 80 in Asia, providing customers of both airlines with more travel choices than ever before.· Enhanced frequent flyer benefits, providing customers of both airlines the ability to earn and redeem miles on Delta’s Sky Miles and Korean Air’s SKYPASS programs.“This Joint Venture will benefit our customers by providing more convenient connection schedules and widen their opportunities in earning mileages.” Said Korean Air’s Chairman and CEO, Yang Ho Cho. “With this agreement, we will reinforce Incheon airport’s position as a major international hub in North East Asia and support the growth of Korea’s aviation industry.” He added.“This agreement deepens our longstanding partnership with Korean Air and will provide the global access and seamless service our customers demand,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “We look forward to providing customers of both carriers with industry-leading service between the U.S. and Asia.”Upon the signing of the final joint venture agreement and subject to regulatory approval, Delta and Korean Air will work together to implement all aspects of the enhanced co-operation including expanded codesharing, frequent flyer programs and joint growth in the trans-Pacific market, with co-location at key hubs with seamless passenger and baggage transit experience.Source = Korean Air
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts launches global campaignMövenpick Hotels & Resorts has launched its global ‘It’s your Summer’ campaign, inviting guests to take advantage of discounts of up to 30 per cent on room rates at more than 80 hotels and resorts globally.The Swiss hospitality firm’s Summer 2017 promotion, which applies to bookings of two nights or more, also offers guests who book their stay online a complimentary US$20 voucher to spend at any participating hotel restaurant.With a vast selection of upscale properties spanning Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is encouraging travellers to make the most of their summer and the 30 per cent savings offer by booking multiple stays.“Our portfolio spoils guests for choice, with properties ranging from chic city hotels to beachside resorts in destinations that cover four exciting and diverse continents,” said Paul Mulcahy, Senior Vice President Commercial of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts.“We operate multiple hotels in many countries and with our Summer 2017 campaign offering value-for-money room rates, it provides travellers with the perfect excuse to book more than one property or holiday to experience all that a destination – or even a region – has to offer.”The ‘It’s your Summer’ campaign is valid for stays between 1st June and 31st August, 2017.Guests staying with Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts this summer will also have the chance to sample two new initiatives launched by the hospitality firm this year – its global family programme and, at some European properties, an innovative sleep concept.The ‘Mövenpick Family’ programme offers guests travelling with youngsters a range of complimentary benefits including ‘on demand’ baby essentials such as strollers, change tables and bottle warmers; healthy children’s menus; family-friendly services; local activities; and special room discounts. These added extras are available at Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts globally.Guests staying at properties in Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland, can opt for a pioneering personalized sleep experience by booking a new ‘SLEEP individually different’ room.The new rooms feature Mövenpick’s YouBed – hailed as the world’s first spring-system bed with adjustable firmness to suit personal comfort preferences – as well as complimentary amenities including sleep masks, ear plugs, lavender pads and black-out stickers that cover lights on electronic devices. Movenpick SummerSource = Movenpick Hotels & Resorts
Source = Lufthansa Group APEX EXPO for the first time ever opens with an exclusive event above the cloudsAPEX EXPO for the first time ever opens with an exclusive event above the cloudsThe upcoming APEX EXPO, the world’s largest event on the passenger experience in the aviation industry, will be held from 24 to 27 September in Boston. This year, for the first time in the history of the event, the kick-off will take place above the clouds. On 22 September, Lufthansa will treat guests to the Lufthansa FlyingLab APEX EXPO on an Airbus A350, an exclusive pre-conference on board Flight LH424 from Munich to Boston. A special gate event in Munich will set the mood for the passengers. Lufthansa is organizing this FlyingLab in cooperation with APEX and Lufthansa Systems. The IT subsidiary of Lufthansa is a pioneer in aviation digitalization and is providing the technical basis for the conference, among other things.“What better place to present and test new trends for passengers than in a plane?” said Joe Leader, CEO of APEX. “We are delighted to kick off our conference this year with the Lufthansa FlyingLab. In addition to exclusive presentations by renowned industry experts, we will give APEX participants and all passengers the opportunity to try out innovative products on board and discuss new trends.”Expert presentations and innovative test gadgetsDuring the conference 10,000 meters over the Atlantic, passengers will enjoy six short presentations on the passenger experience of the future. The topics will range from innovative lighting concepts – which can already be experienced first-hand on Lufthansa flights – through modern cabin designs, to new seating and communication options. Videos of each 15-minute presentation on board will be streamed live via WiFi to the passengers’ own smartphones, tablets or laptops – regardless of where they are sitting in the plane. During the presentations, passengers can use their devices to send questions to the speakers, which will be answered live afterwards.To ensure that all of the technology runs smoothly, Lufthansa Systems has installed a WiFi network on board. This is based on the multi-award-winning BoardConnect digital platform, the new features of which Lufthansa Systems will unveil at the APEX EXPO in Boston.Along with presentations, the Lufthansa FlyingLab APEX EXPO will offer the opportunity to test new passenger experience products on the eight-hour flight to Boston. There will be innovative in-flight entertainment (IFE) with stylish VR glasses from Skylights as well as a smart temperature regulating blanket with an integrated neck pillow from feel.flight, among other things. Participation in the Lufthansa FlyingLab APEX EXPO is free. Passengers simply need a ticket for Flight LH424 on 22 September 2018, from Munich to Boston.More information about the speakers and the technical devices can be found at LH.com/FlyingLab-APEX2018Digitalization above the cloudsThe Lufthansa FlyingLab is a component of the Group’s digitalization strategy. With this unique in-flight conference, Lufthansa is once again positioning itself as a leader in the field of digitalization, where it is pursuing a strategy of what is called “fast prototyping”. Relevant digitalization topics are implemented in FlyingLabs in order to get direct feedback from the participants. Lufthansa FlyingLabs have already been held on the topics of virtual reality as well as fashion & technology.“We are pleased to be able to hold this special event together with APEX and other partners. The Lufthansa FlyingLab enables us to make efficient use of flying time and offer informative added value. The digital BoardConnect platform from Lufthansa Systems is the key technology for making an aircraft part of a digital journey, enabling us to create extraordinary experiences. BoardConnect is being used by many airlines inside and outside of the Lufthansa Group,” explained Olivier Krüger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems.
Ovolo goes top of the pops as Trip Advisor’s #1 HotelOvolo goes top of the pops as Trip Advisor’s #1 HotelIndependent, design-led hotel collection, Ovolo, picks up the highly contested accolade and guest-voted award for #1 Hotel in Australia and South Pacific, for their unique Ovolo Woolloomooloo property in this years’ TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards for Hotels, 2019.Working hard to rise through the competitive ranks of the hospitality industry, Ovolo Woolloomooloo was first recognised as one of the top 25 hotels in Australia, was then voted #3 in the 2018 Travellers Choice Awards with consistent feedback from guests resulting in the recent announcement of being voted #1 in Australia and South Pacific. Ovolo Woolloomooloo has won over the nation, with guests from all over the world voting for the hotel to take home this first class award, enabling the brand to continue to strive to exceed customers’ expectations and surprise and delight across their entire collection of properties.With all six of the brand’s Australian based hotels ranking in the top 20 of their respective cities and three of those hotels in the top three (including the second Sydney hotel, Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour which was awarded #3 in all of South Pacific!) – it seems that Ovolo is definitely doing something right. Each Ovolo offers a unique yet personable stay for each and every guest who visits. Known for its funky décor, quirky attributes and second to none customer service, Ovolo puts its success down to its faithful staff and generous visitors, as it is them who they continue to learn from and aspire to amaze, throughout the day to day running’s of each hotel within the collection.Ovolo CEO and Founder Girish Jhunjhnuwala said “I’m all shook up! …A great start to the year being named Trip Advisor’s No.1 hotel in Australia and in all of South Pacific! It’s YOU, our Shiny, Happy guests that has made this possible! Thank you!”Ovolo Woolloomooloo is where stunning design, fashion and playful art filled interiors collide. Much of the playful personality of the hotel reflects that of its founder, Girish Jhunjhnuwala, especially his love of ’80s music. Expect to ride in the lifts to the sound of Talking Heads, book a stay in an AC/DC or INXS-themed Rockstar suites and stream Radio Ovolo on Spotify, for some Duran Duran and Terence Trent D’Arby.Within the award-winning property is Alibi Restaurant and Bar, located adjacent to the foyer of Ovolo Woolloomoolo and is Australia’s first hotel restaurant to serve a 100% plant-based menu. Alibi’s philosophy is simple; clean eating need never compromise on taste and they are indeed true to their word.Like all Ovolo properties globally, every detail has been carefully considered at Ovolo Woolloomooloo so guests always feel special and wake up happier and more optimistic whenever they stay.While design is a big part of the Ovolo philosophy, so is its overall experience and signature freebies. Ovolo believe that all visitors are to be treated as the Rockstar’s they are, and so for every guest who books directly through Ovolo, they can expect to receive free continental breakfast, free WiFi, free in-room mini bar, free laundry and free happy hour drinks – which is just the start of Ovolo’s offerings.The brand’s moto of ‘Shiny Happy People’, is aimed at both their employees and guests, because in their eyes happy staff = happy guests = loyal guests.To ensure all staff remain empowered with the best tools for the job, Ovolo has launched a new R.O.C.K solid learning and development program, specifically designed to fit perfectly into the overarching brand model: Fabulous. Unconventional and Never Boring. From O’Boarding to ROCKING as a Leader, Ovolo make sure their people feel supported and offers them the most effervescent learning experience to meet their professional needs.“Ovolo Woolloomooloo – We Need You Tonight! That’s the message from our guests. Without you guys, we wouldn’t be here! A huge high five to all those who took the time to vote and review us on Trip Advisor. Now let’s smash 2019 and stay as No.1 into 2020!” said Ovolo Woolloomooloo General Manager, David Sude.Ovolo work hard to achieve the very best for both employees and guests across their entire portfolio of hotels. The brand continues to grow from strength to strength, but not without the constant practice of trial and error, persistent learning and development and endless hard work. Winning the #1 Hotel in Australia and South Pacific in the 2019 TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards is just the beginning for Ovolo, as they continue to strive to exceed their customer and hotel experience throughout Australia and beyond. Source = Ovolo Hotels