Annual list of most family-friendly beaches in US released

June 17, 2013

Beaches

PENNINGTON, N.J. – According to a recent survey from an online family travel planning guide, nearly half of all families reported that the most important factor in choosing a beach to visit with kids is the cleanliness of the beach and its waters. The second most important factor is safe waters with a lifeguard on duty, followed closely by accommodations within walking distance.

“Families want to know that the beaches they’re visiting are safe for their kids – they’re looking for clean beaches to play on, and safe waters for young swimmers,” says Lissa Poirot, executive editor of Family Vacation Critic. “At the same time, convenience also plays a big role in the decision-making process – over a third of respondents said that they look for beaches that are close to where they’re staying and have nearby facilities and entertainment options.”

With those factors in mind, Family Vacation Critic has named the 10 Best Beaches for Families. The beaches were chosen by the site’s editors, based on the features most important to families — cleanliness, safe waters, and nearby restrooms, restaurants and entertainment.

Family Vacation Critic’s 2013 list of the 10 Best Beaches for Families includes:

Beach Haven – Beach Haven, NJ

Bethany Beach – Bethany Beach, DE

Coquina Beach – Nags Head, NC

Coronado Central Beach – Coronado, CA

Fort De Soto Park – St. Petersburg, FL

Poipu Beach Park – Koloa, HI

Sand Harbor Beach – Incline Village, NV

Siesta Beach – Siesta Key, FL

Skaket Beach – Orleans, MA. For all your travel need  please visit http://www.admastravel.com

 


Ethiopian Airlines CEO Elected to IATA Board of Governors

June 13, 2013

EAL pilots

Tewolde-Gebremariam EAL CEO

Tewolde-Gebremariam EAL CEO

Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Africa, is pleased to announce that its CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, has been elected to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Board of Governors.

IATA is a trade association for the world’s airlines. Its 240 airline members comprise 84 percent of the world’s total air traffic and its Board of Governors consists of top executives from 31 airlines from around the world. Mr. Gebremariam will join Presidents, Chairmen and CEOs of some of the world’s largest airlines, further placing Ethiopian Airlines at the forefront of the airline industry.
“I am delighted to join my distinguished colleagues on the IATA Board of Directors,” said Gebremariam. This appointment is recognition of not only Gebremariam, but also of Ethiopian Airlines. With more than 7,000 staff members, one of the industry’s most up-to-date fleets, and service to 72 international destinations, Ethiopian is quickly becoming Africa’s premier carrier.
About Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Africa, made its maiden international flight to Cairo in1946 and now provides dependable services to 72 international destinations spanning four continents.
Ethiopian Airlines is proud to be a Star Alliance member. The Star Alliance network is the leading global airline network offering customers convenient worldwide reach and a smoother travel experience. The Star Alliance network offers more than 21,555 daily flights to 1,356 airports in 193 countries.
Ethiopian is a multi-award winner for its commitment and contributions toward the development and growth of the African aviation industry and in recognition of its distinguished long-haul operations enhanced by the introduction of new routes and products. Recently, Ethiopian won the “Airline Reliability Performance Award” from Bombardier Aerospace; “African Airline of the Year Award” from Air Transport Quarterly Magazine; “Transformation Award 2012” from Planet Africa Network; and the “International Diamond Prize for Excellence in Quality” from the European Society for Quality Research (ESQR). Also Captain Desta Zeru, Vice President of Flight Operations for Ethiopian, won an “Africa Legend of Travel” award from African Travel Quarterly (ATQ) magazine and Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam won “African CEO of the Year” from the African CEO Forum as well as “African Business Leader of the Year” from the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).
With its acquisition of and firm orders for several new modern fleet, the airline is well positioned to pursue aggressively the implementation of its 2025 strategic plan to become the leading aviation group in Africa. for more info contact www.admastravel.com

Traveling with the lions

May 10, 2013

lion-feeding

Zambia is fully engaged in the rehabilitation and subsequent release of lions back into the wild. This is not just an opportunity for the country to lend a hand to Mother Nature by helping to preserve these majestic animals, it is also a tourism opportunity for visitors to have an up-close and personal experience with the lions.

Lion Encounter operates stage one of the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust’s four stage Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Program. The first stage of the program involves the young lions being taken out into the Bush, allowing them to build confidence in their natural habitat and practice their hunting techniques before being released into stage two of the program.

Joining the lions walks, participants are actively assisting in the pre-release training for the cubs as well as giving funding for ALERT to develop all stages of the release program, implement conservation and research programs to protect Africa’s precious habitat and wildlife, and engage in a variety of community development and empowerment schemes for those living in and around wildlife conservation areas.

For Lion Encounter Zambia, guests are collected from their lodges and comfortably transported a short distance to the Boma – a hospitality suite overlooking the Zambezi River within the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park – where a friendly hospitality team is waiting to greet participants with a welcome soft-drink or teas and coffees for the early risers, after which they are shown to their seats.

Guests enjoy a short film to give them information on the lion release program, and the film explains why it is necessary to facilitate such a project. It also shows guests some behind the scenes footage regarding ALERT’s others efforts, which benefit communities bordering conservation areas run by the ALERT Communities Trust (ACT) and its other wildlife conservation and research programs through the Conservation Centre for Wild Africa (CCWA).

All participants of the walk then receive the all-important dos and don’ts in a safety talk delivered by their guide. Guests are then ready to meet the lions who are already waiting for them in the Bush.

During the walk itself, guests will be accompanied by experienced guides, handlers, and scouts that ensure rigorous safety procedures are upheld, allowing guests to enjoy watching the lions play, hunt, and enjoy their natural habitat. At times, the lions may rest, allowing guests for some close encounters and opportunities to get a photo with the lions. Guests’ experiences will be enhanced by hearing about the lion as a species as well as receiving the latest updates on the progress of the release program.

For more information, visit the Zambia Tourism Board website: www.zambiatourism.com .


11 million tourists visit UAE in 2012

May 7, 2013

Dubai-UAE

International arrivals to the UAE increased healthily in 2012, reaching an estimated 11 million tourists delegates heard today at the latest WTM Vision Conference – Dubai held at Reed Travel Exhibition’s event Arabian Travel Market.

Overall performance of inbound trips to the Middle East region were down 5% last year mainly due to the decline of arrivals to those countries hit by the Arab Spring, which took place in 2011 effecting countries such as Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Syria.

However, the UAE witnessed a substantial increase with an estimated 11 million tourist arrivals visiting the Emirates; over 8 million visiting Dubai, 2 million to Abu Dhabi and the rest to the other 5 emirates. All states continuing to show the best hotel occupancy rates due their strong leisure appeal and strong MICE sector.

Of the 11 million arrivals to the UAE, neighboring country Saudi Arabia made up the top source market for inbound tourism, with 1,500,000 tourists coming from Saudi Arabia alone. Visitor numbers from the largest Arab state to the UAE are predicated to double over the next 5 years to more than 3,000,000 arrivals.

Speaking at the WTM Vision Conference – Dubai, Euromonitor International’s Senior Research Analyst Sana Toukan explained that the UAE offers a culturally similar but more relaxed tourist destination for Saudis and is particularly popular among the growing young population.

Toukan explained: “The UAE promotes itself as a luxury shoppers’ paradise, with elaborate destination malls, shopping festivals, no sales tax and lower prices than in many surrounding countries. Luxury brands are a huge focus for incoming tourists from all over the globe.”

Another Middle Eastern country to prosper since the 2011 Arab Spring was Egypt, recording a strong 18% growth in 2012, although arrival numbers are still far from the 14 million recorded in 2010.

Also, as highlighted in the World Travel Market 2012 Industry Report, Libya has vast tourism potential with its long Mediterranean coast and Roman antiquities, but it has yet to achieve much progress since the revolution finished in 2011.

WTM Vision Conferences were also held in Moscow, Beijing and Sao Paulo earlier this year, with Rimini Italy (October 17) also confirmed.

Reed Travel Exhibitions Director World Travel Market Simon Press said: “It is great to hear that recovery has been seen in a number of Middle Eastern and North African countries such as the UAE, Egypt and Tunisia. However the danger still remains with the unrest and on-going violence in Syria which could affect neighboring countries.

“The content delegates have heard today confirms the growing importance of the Middle Eastern market, particularly the UAE, taking into consideration the pressures and conflicts that countries have witnessed over the last few years.  I’m sure the research revealed to delegates at WTM Vision Conference – Dubai will enable them to get a head start of their competitors in maximizing their future potential.”

Source: wtmlondon.com

Etihad-Jet Airways deal likely to change business dynamics of Indian aviation

May 4, 2013

Ethad Airways

MUMBAI, India – The recent decision of UAE’s flag carrier, Etihad Airways, to buy 24% stake in Indian carrier Jet Airways Ltd, according to aviation experts, is likely to change the business dynamics of the aviation industry in India. This partnership will result in greater dominance of Middle East-based carriers in Indian skies especially on Westbound routes (see box on number of destinations and flights operated per week in India by leading carriers on pg 10) and could also result in Etihad-Jet combine grabbing the numero uno position in the Indian market, with a significant global impact.

The operational synergy between the two airlines will also enhance connectivity. Competition for Westbound traffic from India is also likely to heat up and a resultant fare war may break out with passengers enjoying lower fares, which could lead to increase in the number of passengers and overall may boost travel and tourism to and from India.

What has suprised many in the aviation industry is that while the deal was in the air for some time, the official announcement was made the same day when India and UAE signed a new air travel bilateral agreement raising the existing weekly seats of 13,300 each side to 50,000 over the next three years.

While the deal with the cash-rich Etihad will see Jet Airways slip out of the debt trap, the Middle East carrier will be eyeing the expansive domestic network of the Indian partner and leverage on it to feed its network of destinations through its hub Abu Dhabi. It is estimated that an additional half million to one million passengers will be flying through the new hub using the Jet and Etihad combined networks. Jet is also looking at setting up a hub in Abu Dhabi. Industry observers feel that the while the benefit out of this partnership for Jet Airways will be short-term, Etihad will be the long-term beneficiary.

“The strategic alliance will have a short-term benefit for Jet helping the airline to clear its debts by having secured access to world’s fastest growing markets. On the other hand, Etihad will use Jet’s domestic network to compete with other Gulf carriers. In the long-run Etihad will be benefited with this partnership and will strengthen its share in the Indian market,” stated a top official of a Middle East carrier.

“The merger is expected to help Jet Airways retire its debt and save on interest cost that goes straight to its bottomline. Besides that the deal will help Jet expand its route network in India and abroad through self-operated and code-share flights. Jet and Etihad will gain against their competitors by way of incremental passengers and some cannibalisation from other airlines. The strategic alliance could bring considerable  synergy benefits to the partners including joint procurement of aircrafts; fuel; personnel; Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and other goods and services; cross-utilisation of aircraft; joint training of pilots and cabin crew; shared sales forces in common destinations. All this is likely to show its impact on bottomlines of both airlines in the next 12-24 months,” observed Amber Dubey, Partner and Head-Aviation at Global Consultancy, KPMG.

The two airlines that are likely to be adversely impacted because of this deal will be Emirates and Air India. According to Dubey, increasing competition for Westbound traffic from India will force other regional carriers from the Gulf to work out counter strategies. “With Jet-Etihad deal, Westbound traffic out of India to Europe and the USA is going to be impacted considerably. Etihad’s other competitors in the Gulf may have to counter that through collaboration with other Indian carriers. There could be similar thoughts in the minds of other leading carriers in South East Asia after the landmark Tata-AirAsia deal,” he informed. Dubey also foresees intense fare wars between competitors to lure traffic on these routes. He further added, “We are sure other Indian carriers will have drawn up their war strategy. The intense competition may lead to sporadic fare wars during the upcoming summer season. Unless the vexatious Aviation Turbine Fuel and MRO taxes and airport levies are rationalised, we may see some consolidation or alliances in the domestic market in the next 12-18 months.”

However, the increasing competition among carriers will work in favour of passengers, feel industry observers. “The deal will have an extremely positive impact on passengers. They can expect more competition, better regional connectivity, higher efficiency, more choices, better services and lower fares. People in Tier-II and III cities will see enhanced global connect and that may give a fillip to the trade and tourism in those locations,” said Dubey.

Etihad Airways has agreed to subscribe for 27,263,372 new shares in Jet Airways Ltd at a price of Rs 754.74 per share. The value of this equity investment is USD 379 million and will result in Etihad Airways holding 24% of the enlarged share capital of Jet Airways Ltd.

Source: travelbizmonitor.com

Hilton Worldwide hits key milestone in Asia Pacific with opening of 100th property

April 30, 2013

Addis Ababa Hilton

SINGAPORE and McLean, VA – Hilton Worldwide celebrated a key milestone today in Asia Pacific with the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, its 100th property in the region. It also has more than 170 hotels with more than 50,000 rooms in its pipeline and expects to triple its current portfolio in the next five years.

“Asia Pacific is a high-priority market for Hilton Worldwide, and the opening of our 100th property and our extensive pipeline are clear signs of our strong commitment to this area,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton Worldwide. “Our history in Asia Pacific has deep roots and dates back more than a half century. Together with the local expertise of our hotel owners and team members, Hilton Worldwide uniquely understands the distinct heritages and cultures of our many locations in this diverse region.”

In 2012, Hilton Worldwide signed a total of 55 new properties in key Asia Pacific markets including Greater China, Australia, Japan, Korea, India, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. With these new signings, over 14,600 rooms will be included into the company’s portfolio across six brands – Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton.

“Asia Pacific is a major growth engine in the world, and our powerful portfolio of brands allows us to serve a wide range of guests across this dynamic and exciting region,” said Martin Rinck, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide. “Our in-depth knowledge of each of the 19 countries where we operate enables us to identify the greatest growth opportunities while working closely with and supporting the local communities and delivering the best experiences for our guests.”

In the first quarter of 2013, Hilton Worldwide announced a key signing of the first internationally-branded hotel in Yangon, Myanmar. The 300-room Hilton Yangon is scheduled to open in 2014. It also announced the introduction of its luxury brand Conrad Hotels & Resorts in the Philippines with the signing of the 350-room Conrad Manila, scheduled to open in 2015. Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi, the award-winning, mid-market brand’s first property in Southeast Asia also opened its doors on April 2, 2013 in Vietnam.

In India, the company opened the unique leisure property Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa, in the serene and unspoiled landscape of the Sahyadri mountain range in the Western Ghats, and Hilton Garden Inn Gurgaon Baani Square, the second Hilton Garden Inn-branded hotel in the country. With that opening, Hilton Worldwide now manages seven hotels in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) alone.

Come May 1, 2013, Hilton Worldwide will also debut its fastest growing full-service brand, DoubleTree by Hilton in Australia, with the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin, DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin, DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs, along with Hilton Darwin in the country’s Northern Territory.

Other key milestones for the company in the Asia Pacific region this year include commemorating its 50th anniversary of operations in Japan as well as its 25th anniversary of operations in China.

 


Boeing 787 Dreamliner returns to service in Ethiopia flight

April 27, 2013

Addis-13 months in Ethiopia.docx-2
An Ethiopian Airlines 787 Dreamliner has flown from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, the first commercial flight by the Boeing aircraft since all 787s were grounded in January.

The 50 planes around the world were grounded due to battery malfunctions that saw one 787 catch fire in the US.

Over the past week teams of Boeing engineers have been fitting new batteries to the aircraft.

This was after aviation authorities approved the revamped battery design.

The Ethiopian Airlines plane took off at 09:45 local time (07:45 GMT) and landed in Nairobi, Kenya, some two hours later.

Engineering team

Each 787 has two of the lithium-ion batteries which caused problems.

In addition to new versions of the batteries which run at a much cooler temperature, the batteries are now enclosed in stainless steel boxes.

These boxes have a ventilation pipe that goes directly to the outside of the plane. Boeing says this means than in the unlikely event of any future fire or smoke, it would not affect the rest of the aircraft.

Boeing said it put 200,000 engineer hours into fixing the problem, with staff working round the clock.

On Thursday, the US Federal Aviation Administration issued a formal “air worthiness” directive allowing revamped 787s to fly.

Japanese airlines, which have been the biggest customers for the new-generation aircraft, are expected to begin test flights on Sunday.

A total of 300 Boeing engineers, pooled into 10 teams, have in the past week been fitting the new batteries and their containment systems around the world.

Boeing is expected to complete repairs on all 50 of the grounded Dreamliners by the middle of May.

In addition to the Dreamliners in service with airlines, Boeing has upgraded the 787s it has continued to make at its factory in Seattle since January.

The Dreamliner entered service in 2011. Half of the plane is made from lightweight composite materials, making it more fuel efficient than other planes of the same size.

The two lithium-ion batteries are not used when the 787 is in flight.

They are operational when the plane is on the ground and its engines are not turned on, and are used to power the aircraft’s brakes and lights
Flight ETH 801 between Addis Ababa and Nairobi wasn’t exactly a run-of-the-mill flight.

For starters, it was full of Boeing executives and the boss of Ethiopian Airlines. Several passengers on board asked me what was going on, why was the BBC on a routine flight in Africa?

Many didn’t realise that they were the first passengers to fly in a Dreamliner since it was dramatically grounded in January. There were plenty who knew about the safety scare surrounding the plane, although only a couple that we spoke to said it had made them a little more tentative about flying.

Boeing still has a huge job on its hands, convincing passengers that its most high-profile, most hi-tech airliner is safe.

Two senior Boeing executives went out of their way this week to tell me that they’d happily put their family on the plane. It’s the kind of quote that sounds good.

Still, Boeing will be desperately hoping that its Dreamliner nightmare doesn’t come back to haunt it

Source BBC


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