Qatar Airways adds new flights to Kathmandu, Nepal

Qatar Airways adds new flights to Kathmandu, Nepal

Qatar Airways adds new flights to Kathmandu, Nepal

Qatar Airways will add an additional daily flight on its Doha-Kathmandu route from September 1st, to meet high demand during Nepal’s festival season, which takes place every year in September and October.

The additional frequency will be served by an Airbus A320, departing Doha at 01:25 and arriving in Kathmandu at 08:55.

The added flight will accommodate passengers travelling to Nepal for its annual festival season, which features many large parades and outdoor fairs offering traditional Nepalese music and a colourful atmosphere.

Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is an expanding metropolis filled with ancient temples, beautiful walled gardens and many markets offering an assortment of local crafts, pieces of jewellery and traditional clothing.

Visitors to Kathmandu can spend the day wandering among the famed temples and relics of this ancient city, soaking up its atmosphere and enjoying an exhilarating feast for the senses.

Qatar Airways chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are delighted to add an additional frequency to Kathmandu, in anticipation of increased demand for passengers travelling to Nepal for the festival season.

“This additional daily flight will allow our passengers even more opportunity to experience Kathmandu, a captivating city that draws travellers from all over the globe.”

With the additional daily flight starting on September 1st, Qatar Airways will offer four daily flights between Doha and Kathmandu, providing its passengers even more flexibility when travelling to Nepal.

The award-winning airline recently added additional flights to Colombo and Dhaka, to accommodate increased demand to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Final touches put in place for World Travel Awards Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony

Final touches put in place for World Travel Awards Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony

Final touches put in place for World Travel Awards Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony

World Travel Awards Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony is almost here, with the final preparations being put in place.

Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa will welcome hospitality leaders from across the region on Saturday, September 16th, as they gather to see who among them has been voted the pinnacle of the travel industry.

This will be the fifth time World Travel Awards has visited Turks & Caicos, following dazzling ceremonies at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa back in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012.

The highly anticipated WTA Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony will kick off with a cocktail reception at 19:00 while the gala ceremony and dinner commences at 20:00 and will, this year, be compered by Anastagia Pierre.

An international model, actress and television host, Anastagia has graced the pages of esteemed publications such as Sports Illustrated and GQ and walked the catwalk for designers including Chloe, Roberto Cavalli and Herve Leger.

Her television credits include co-hosting The Morning Show for NBC Miami, in addition to featuring on major television networks such as HBO, MTV and TLC.

Delegates attending the World Travel Awards event will also be dazzled by a collection of island entertainment including the “We Funk” junkanoo group, delivering a traditional parade of masks, costumes and instruments led by Kitchener Penn, and a live sampling of Beaches Turks & Caicos’ new cinematic entertainment series, Voilà, which will showcase excerpts from its Dolce Vita and Treasure Island.

Looking ahead to the glittering event, World Travel Awards president Graham Cooke, said: “It will be an absolute pleasure for us to return to Turks & Caicos for our annual Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony.

“We have had a long and fruitful relationship with Sandals Resorts International and I can think of no better partner for this event.

“I can’t wait to welcome all of our nominees to Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa in just a couple of weeks.”

World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.

Today, the World Travel Awards brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.

Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, said: “We are delighted to once again play host to the World Travel Awards Caribbean & North American Gala and to welcome the region’s hospitality stars to Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa.”

Stewart continued: “It is an honour and privilege, especially during Beaches’ 20th anniversary year, to celebrate this industry which brings joy to our guests and is so critical to the success and well-being of the Caribbean and its people.”

Each year, World Travel Awards covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region.

World Travel Awards Gala Ceremonies are widely regarded as the best networking opportunities in the travel industry, attended by government and industry leaders, luminaries and international print and broadcast media.

Finnair to launch flights to Nanjing, China, from May 2018

Finnair to launch flights to Nanjing, China, from May 2018

Finnair to launch flights to Nanjing, China, from May 2018

In line with its growth strategy, Finnair is opening a new year-round route to Nanjing, China.

In addition the airline is also increasing capacity to several of its popular short haul destinations and to many long haul destinations such as Tokyo, Bangkok and Delhi during the summer 2018 season.

Further strengthening its solid presence in China, Finnair will commence a new year-round route between Helsinki and Nanjing, China.

Located along Yangtze River, Nanjing is one of the four ancient capitals of China, and a vibrant centre for culture and economy.

With a population of over eight million people, Nanjing is an important commercial hub and leisure destination with growing passenger and cargo demand.

Offering convenient transfers to Finnair’s network of over 100 destinations via its hub, Helsinki Airport, the new route between Helsinki and Nanjing will be operated three times per week during the summer season and two times per week during the winter season.

The opening of the Nanjing route will increase Finnair’s growing footprint in north-east Asia, with the Finnish carrier flying to seven destinations in China during the 2018 summer season.

Altogether, Finnair will fly 38 weekly flights to Greater China, flying daily flights to both Beijing and Shanghai, four weekly flights to both Chongqing and Guangzhou, three weekly flights to both Nanjing and Xi’an as well as ten weekly flights to Hong Kong.

“We are very pleased to be expanding our growing network in China with the addition of Nanjing, our seventh destination in Greater China,” said Juha Järvinen, chief commercial officer at Finnair.

“Finnair is fast becoming one of the biggest and most preferred European carriers operating between Europe and China.

“Next year will also mark a very important milestone in our history as we will celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Finnair’s inaugural flight to Beijing and China.”

The inaugural flight to Nanjing will take place on May 13th, 2018 and the new route will be operated by an Airbus A330 aircraft.

Antigua & Barbuda reports uptick in UK bookings following campaign

Antigua & Barbuda reports uptick in UK bookings following campaign

Antigua & Barbuda reports uptick in UK bookings following campaign

The Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority’s recent marketing campaign has contributed to the growth in revenue being reported by UK tour operators, despite Brexit.

Luxury tour operator, the Inspiring Travel Company (part of the ITC Travel Group, which also owns the Western & Oriental brand) has reported growth in Antigua bookings with the island becoming one of its strongest destinations in the Caribbean.

The revenue for Antigua bookings for 2017 is up three per cent year on year, despite a drop in room nights.

This shows that the destination can earn more income with lower numbers.
Revenue for 2018 is soaring.

Jean-Marc Flambert, vice president sales and marketing UK & Europe, at the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority said: “The idea behind the campaign in June 2017 was to increase awareness of the destination beyond the beach, proactively push last minute summer and autumn sales to Antigua as well as bookings for 2018.

“We are delighted to see that tour operators are reporting not only strong bookings, but increased revenue.

“It showcases the strength of brand marketing and how despite the economic challenges in the UK, there is an appetite for exclusive destinations like Antigua and Barbuda.

“We look forward to continuing to support our tour operator partners by engaging with the UK consumer.”

More Information

Breaking Travel News recently caught up with Antiguan cricketing legends Andy Roberts, Curtly Ambrose, and Viv Richards as they dropped into the UK to promote tourism in the destination Antigua & Barbuda.

Cathay Pacific expands Europe connections for summer 2018

Cathay Pacific expands Europe connections for summer 2018

Cathay Pacific expands Europe connections for summer 2018

Cathay Pacific continues to grow Hong Kong’s connections to the world.

From summer 2018, the airline will launch pioneering non-stop routes linking Hong Kong with Brussels, Dublin and Copenhagen, further strengthening the airline’s network and providing new trade and tourism opportunities between Asia and Europe.

Cathay Pacific chief executive, Rupert Hogg, said that the announced services will meet customer demand for non-stop travel to these vibrant cities, while at the same time providing Europe-based passengers with more convenient access to key destinations in Asia and south-west Pacific through the airline’s home in Hong Kong.

He added: “We’re excited to offer the only direct flights between Hong Kong and Brussels, Dublin and Copenhagen.

“These are all fantastic destinations and attract business and leisure travellers from the world over.

“We listened to our customers’ demands for more options and greater flexibility and have responded by building direct air links with these great cities.”

Following the recent launch of services to Gatwick, Madrid and Barcelona, Cathay Pacific’s European expansion continues.

With the commencement of the new routes, the airline’s network will cover 15 European destinations served direct from Hong Kong.

James Ginns, Cathay Pacific regional general manager, Europe, added: “These three fantastic additions to our ever-expanding European network are as a result of our response to growing customer demand for more travel choices and greater flexibility.

“European-based business and leisure travellers will now be able to enjoy an even more seamless connection via Hong Kong to other key destinations in Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

“The vibrant cites of Brussels, Dublin, and Copenhagen enable Cathay Pacific to tap into some of the largest unserved markets between Europe and Hong Kong.

“No doubt these new destinations will attract customers from the world over, who will soon be able to experience Cathay Pacific’s signature heartfelt service on-board our state-of-the-art A350 aircraft.”

Okerstrom to lead Expedia as Khosrowshahi bows out

Okerstrom to lead Expedia as Khosrowshahi bows out

Okerstrom to lead Expedia as Khosrowshahi bows out

Expedia has announced that its board of directors has approved the appointment of Mark Okerstrom, currently chief financial officer and executive vice president of operations, to succeed Dara Khosrowshahi as president and chief executive of the company.

Khosrowshahi was appointed chief executive of Uber earlier this week.

Okerstrom will also join Expedia’s board of directors, while Khosrowshahi will continue to be a member of Expedia’s board.

Expedia chairman, Barry Diller, said: “We all wish Dara Khosrowshahi the best good fortune as Uber’s chief executive.

“I think we are both proud that he leaves behind such a talented organisation.

“Our leadership team, over 12 strong, is as substantial a group of executives as I’ve ever worked with.

“Prior to Dara leaving, Mark Okerstrom was his principal partner in operating the company – and therefore this transition is as natural as water flowing down a snow-packed mountain.

“There was no other candidate that the board considered.

“Under Mark’s leadership, surrounded by his excellent and tenured executive team, I’m confident we’ll continue to grow and prosper.”

Okerstrom has served as Expedia’s executive vice president, operations, and chief financial officer since September 2011, previously serving as its secretary from October 2011 until April 2012.

In his role as chief financial officer, he held responsibility for all aspects of finance, including planning & analysis, accounting, tax, treasury, internal audit, procurement, real estate and investor relations, as well as corporate strategy for Expedia.

Khosrowshahi said: “Mark has been by my side through every major milestone in this company for much of the last 11 years and I’m passing these reins into the best hands.

“He is a tireless, strategic, and steadfast leader who has pushed me to be my best self while having Expedia’s best interest front and centre at every step.

“I am incredibly excited to watch Expedia continue to flourish with his leadership.”

ITB Asia sells out ahead of October show

ITB Asia sells out ahead of October show

ITB Asia sells out ahead of October show

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, ITB Asia 2017 has completely sold out ahead of its October staging.

The show holds its strong Asian support with 60 per cent of exhibiting companies from the continent.

ITB Asia 2017 will feature many firsts for the show.

For the first time this year, ITB Asia will host Brazil’s Rio Convention & Visitor Bureau, the Moscow City Government, Promote Iceland, as well as an African Pavilion, among many others.

The strong growth performance at ITB Asia 2017 is led by BRICS economies that show exceeding exhibitor stand booking growth rates, with South Africa (200 per cent), Russia (183 per cent) and Brazil (100 per cent) illustrating the trend.

China is also growing its presence at ITB Asia by 31 per cent this year with Ctrip, Wuzhen Tourism, Hua Min Tourism & Reservation, Shanghai Toptown International Travel Agency and many more set to feature during the show.

Tunisia and Rwanda will make their debut at ITB Asia this year, joining Kenya Tourism Board and other African exhibitors from Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Sudan.

This comes as no surprise given that the African market has shown growth of 25 per cent at this year’s show.

Europe is a close second having recorded a 23 per cent growth which is led by the Greek National Tourism Organisation and Spain Tourism Board.

This growth is also substantiated by a growing number of exhibitors from the Balkans, including countries such as Romania and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Earlier this year, ITB Asia had signed a partnership with Korea Tourism Organisation to boost Korea’s appeal as a key destination in Southeast Asia.

“As we celebrate our tenth anniversary this year, the substantial growth in exhibitors underlines how ITB Asia has firmly established itself as the leading industry event in the region.

“The Asian outbound market continues to attract huge interest and we are delighted to see such levels of growth from various key markets at the show this year.

“As early as now, we are accepting bookings for the 2018 show,” said Katrina Leung, executive director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), organiser of ITB Asia.

The show will take place from October 25th-27th, at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands.

Qantas extends Emirates partnership for further five years

Qantas extends Emirates partnership for further five years

Qantas extends Emirates partnership for further five years

Qantas and Emirates will apply to extend their cornerstone partnership for another five years, making changes to reflect customer demand, new aircraft technology and each airline’s respective network strengths.

These changes will deliver additional benefits to the eight million passengers who have travelled more than 65 billion kilometres on the combined network since 2013, increasing customer choice as well as frequent flyer earn and redeem opportunities.

The adjustments announced today will also deliver financial upside to both airlines, with Qantas annualised net benefit estimated at more than AU$80 million from financial 2019 onwards.

Meeting in Sydney to finalise the extension, both airlines agreed the first five years of the partnership had lived up to the promise of serving their customers better, together.

Changes to the joint network are designed to reinforce this for the next five years.

The key change will see the airlines better leveraging each other’s networks, by providing three options to Australia from Europe – via Dubai and Singapore, and direct to Perth.

Qantas will re-route its daily London–Sydney A380 service via Singapore rather than Dubai and upgrade its existing daily Singapore-Melbourne flight from an A330 to an A380.

As previously announced, Qantas’ existing London-Dubai-Melbourne service will be replaced with its direct Dreamliner service flying London–Perth–Melbourne.

This change will also see Qantas boost its network across Asia, providing UK customers more options to travel to destinations in Southeast Asia serviced by the broader Qantas Group network.

Customer demand for flights from London to Australia via Dubai with Emirates will remain well-served. Emirates will continue to operate 77 weekly services from Dubai to five cities – Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney – including seven daily A380 flights.

Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said the changes represented an evolution of the partnership to deliver additional benefits for customers, including the millions of frequent flyer members of both airlines.

“The first five years of the Qantas-Emirates alliance has been a great success.

“Emirates has given Qantas customers an unbeatable network into Europe that is still growing.

“We want to keep leveraging this strength and offer additional travel options on Qantas, particularly through Asia.

“Our partnership has evolved to a point where Qantas no longer needs to fly its own aircraft through Dubai, and that means we can redirect some of our A380 flying into Singapore and meet the strong demand we’re seeing in Asia.

“Improvements in aircraft technology means the Qantas network will eventually feature a handful of direct routes between Europe and Australia, but this will never overtake the sheer number of destinations served by Emirates and that’s why Dubai will remain an important hub for our customers.”

The airlines will shortly seek re-authorisation from relevant regulators, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, to continue coordination of pricing, schedules, sales and tourism marketing, under an expanded partnership.

Tim Clark, president, Emirates Airline, said: “The Emirates-Qantas partnership has been, and continues to be, a success story.

“Together we deliver choice and value to consumers, mutual benefit to both businesses, and expanded tourism and trade opportunities for the markets served by both airlines.

“We remain committed to the partnership.

“Emirates has worked with Qantas on these network changes.

“We see an opportunity to offer customers an even stronger product proposition for travel to Dubai, and onward connectivity to our extensive network in Europe, Middle East and Africa. We will announce updates in the coming weeks.

“Customers of both airlines will continue to benefit from the power of our joint network, from our respective products, and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.”

Ryanair joins trade body Airlines UK

Ryanair joins trade body Airlines UK

Ryanair joins trade body Airlines UK

Ryanair has joined Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered carriers.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “As Europe’s largest airline carrying over 131 million customers, we are pleased to join Airlines UK.

“We remain concerned at the uncertainty which surrounds the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU in March 2019 and we understand how critical it is that all airlines come together as an industry to lobby for an effective solution for air travel that allows UK-EU flights to operate after April 2019.

“We look forward to working closely with Airlines UK on Brexit and the many other common issues we face including air traffic control delays, air passenger duty and airport charges.”

The low-cost airline will carry over 44 million customers to and from the UK this year, and joins AUK as an “international airline member,” a new tier of membership that allows non-UK carriers to join the association.

Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade said: “Ryanair is the largest airline in Europe with a substantial presence in the UK.

“With so much happening on the policy and regulatory front currently we’re delighted to be able to work more closely with them on issues of mutual interest, including the impact of Brexit on the aviation market access across Europe, campaigning against the damaging and counterproductive air passenger duty, and engaging with industry and government to resolve the growing problem of disruptive behaviour caused by excessive consumption of alcohol.

“Their membership will further strengthen our ability to advocate on behalf of a sector that is such a vital UK and European success story and we look forward to working with them.”

World Travel Awards reveals headline sponsors for Caribbean & North America event

World Travel Awards reveals headline sponsors for Caribbean & North America event

World Travel Awards reveals headline sponsors for Caribbean & North America event

World Travel Awards has welcomed a host of leading sponsors on board for its upcoming Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony 2017.

Joining the event are Scotia Bank, Flow, Bordier Bank and Caicos Express, all of whom have been selected as official sponsors.

Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa will welcome hospitality leaders from across the region on Saturday, September 16th, as they gather to see who among them has been voted the pinnacle of the travel industry.

This will be the fifth time World Travel Awards has visited Turks & Caicos, following dazzling ceremonies at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa back in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012.

World Travel Awards president, Graham Cooke, said: “It will be an absolute pleasure for us to return to Turks & Caicos for our annual Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony and with Scotia Bank, Flow, Bordier Bank and Caicos Express coming on board, it’s shaping up to be our most successful Caribbean and North America Gala Ceremony yet.”

He added: “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Scotia Bank, Flow, Bordier Bank and Caicos Express and we will work together to take WTA to new heights and audiences.”

World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.

Today, the World Travel Awards brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.

Each year, World Travel Awards covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region.

World Travel Awards Gala Ceremonies are widely regarded as the best networking opportunities in the travel industry, attended by government and industry leaders, luminaries and international print and broadcast media.