Month:

August 2019

Princess Cays added to select Carnival itineraries starting in May

first_imgTags: Carnival Cruise Line Princess Cays added to select Carnival itineraries starting in May Posted by Wednesday, January 11, 2017 MIAMI — Carnival Cruise Line ships is adding Princess Cays to six different itineraries beginning in May 2017. The private Bahamian island is expected to receive 40 calls in 2017 and 98 the following year.Operated by Carnival’s sister company, Princess Cruises, Princess Cays is located on the southern tip of the island Eleuthera in the Bahamas. It includes a 40-acre complex with a panoramic observation tower, bars, restaurants, clothing shops, souvenirs and artwork. A complimentary barbeque lunch is also served. A variety of shore excursions including dune buggies, glass bottom boat tours, and kayaking are available plus private bungalows and beach clamshells are for rent.Carnival says it’s adding larger and more efficient tenders to get guests ashore quickly and comfortably.Princess Cays will be featured on the following Carnival itineraries in 2017: select seven-day cruises aboard Carnival Pride from Baltimore; five-day voyages aboard Carnival Ecstasy from Charleston, S.C.; eight-day sailings on Carnival Conquest from Fort Lauderdale; five-day voyages on Carnival Elation from Jacksonville; four- day voyages aboard Carnival Liberty from Port Canaveral; and four-day cruises aboard Carnival Sensation from Miami.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truck“At Carnival, we’re always looking for new and exciting destinations for our guests and Princess Cays is a beautiful island paradise with gorgeous beaches and an array of ‘fun-in-the-sun’ activities that our guests will really enjoy experiencing on their vacation,” said Christine Duffy, President, Carnival Cruise Line. For details see carnival.com. center_img Share The Canadian Press << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

AA adds more YEGPHX flights with longer season double daily service

first_img Posted by EDMONTON — American Airlines has brought back its winter service between Edmonton International Airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, with an extended season running until May 3 and increasing to two daily flights between Dec. 16 and March 3.Flights are operated on Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft with nine Business Class seats and 67 Main Cabin seats, 34 of which are ‘Main Cabin Extra’ seats with an extra three inches of pitch. WiFi is available for every passenger.“We are delighted to be returning to Edmonton once more and offer more connectivity to and from Alberta,” said Rolando Guerra, American’s General Manager of YEG. “Phoenix is a large and well placed hub and offers Canadian travellers great onward connections throughout the U.S., Mexico and Costa Rica.”From PHX American operates over 260 daily flights to nearly 90 destinations. Popular connections from PHX include Aspen (ASE), Austin (AUS), Cancun (CUN), Mazatlán (MZT), Mexico City (MEX), Orlando (MCO), Palm Springs (PSP), Puerto Vallarta (PVR), and San Jose Del Cabo (SJD). American Airlines has three Admirals Club lounges located at PHX.More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerAmerican also offers year-round service from Calgary International Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.American is in the midst of a US$3 billion reno, with new investments including fully lie-flat seats, international WiFi, more in-flight entertainment options and power outlets and a new, modern design for lounges worldwide including in PHX. << Previous PostNext Post >> AA adds more YEG-PHX flights with longer season, double daily service Travelweek Group center_img Share Tags: American Airlines, Edmonton, New Routes, Phoenix Tuesday, November 14, 2017 last_img read more

Airline results strong despite rising costs says IATA

first_imgAirline results strong despite rising costs, says IATA Tags: IATA, Statistics Monday, June 4, 2018 Latin America7.4%6.5%5.5%6.0%81.8%82.2%          Demand Capacity Pax Load Factors Posted by Share SYDNEY – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced its expectation for airlines to achieve a collective net profit of $33.8 billion USD in 2018, which implies a net margin of 4.1%. This is a solid performance despite rising costs, primarily fuel and labor, but also the upturn in the interest rate cycle. These rising costs are the main driver behind the downward revision from the previous forecast of $38.4 billion in December 2017.In 2017 airlines earned a record $38.0 billion (revised from the previously estimate of $34.5 billion). Comparisons to this, however, are severely distorted by special accounting items such as one-off tax credits which boosted 2017 profits.Profits at the operating level, though still high by past standards, have been trending slowly downwards since early 2016, as a result of accelerating costs.“Solid profitability is holding up in 2018, despite rising costs. The industry’s financial foundations are strong with a nine-year run in the black that began in 2010. And the return on invested capital will exceed the cost of capital for a fourth consecutive year. At long last, normal profits are becoming normal for airlines. This enables airlines to fund growth, expand employment, strengthen balance sheets and reward our investors,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.For more information, please see detailed analysis below.Outlook DriversCosts:Inflation pressures are starting to emerge at this late stage of the economic cycle and airlines are facing significant pressures from rising fuel and labor costs in particular.We expect the full-year average cost of Brent Crude to be $70/barrel. This is up from $54.9/barrel in 2017 (+27.5%) and our previous 2018 expectation of $60/barrel. Jet fuel prices are expected to rise to $84/barrel (+25.9%). Fuel costs will account for 24.2% of total operating costs (up from a revised 21.4% in 2017).Overall unit costs are forecast to rise 5.2% this year, after a 1.2% increase in 2017; a significant acceleration.Revenues:Providing some offset to accelerating costs is a strong revenue environment, as demand from passengers and shippers continues to expand well above trend, and pricing has turned positive.Overall revenues are expected to rise to $834 billion (up 10.7% from $754 billion in 2017).Unit revenues are expected to rise by 4.2% in 2018, lagging the 5.2% rise in unit costs. This will squeeze profit margins.Demand:Passenger air travel is forecast to expand by 7.0% in 2018. This is slower than the 8.1% growth recorded for 2017 but still faster than the 20-year average (of 5.5%) for the sixth consecutive year. Demand is getting a boost from stronger economic growth and the stimulus from new city-pair direct services. Capacity is expected to grow by 6.7% (the same pace as in 2017).The passenger load factor is expected to be 81.7%, up a little on 2017 (81.5%). Total passenger numbers are expected to rise to 4.36 billion (up 6.5% from 4.1 billion in 2017). Passenger yields are expected to grow by 3.2% in 2018 after a 0.8% decline in 2017. This will be the first year for strengthening yields since 2011, driven upwards by the 5.2% rise in unit costs.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongRisk factors:Growing uncertainty in the direction by which global affairs will evolve could present risks to the industry’s outlook. These include the advancement of political forces pushing a protectionist agenda, uncertainty following the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, lack of clarity on the impact of Brexit, numerous ongoing trade discussions and continuing geopolitical conflicts.Regional RoundupNorth American airlines are expected to post a net profit of $15.0 billion (down from $18.4 billion in 2017) accounting for 44% of global profits (down from a peak share of 60% in 2015). Average profit per passenger is expected to be $15.67. The region continues to generate the highest margins, returns on capital and US dollar amounts of profit. However, margins are being gradually reduced by rising costs from peak levels in 2015.European airlines are slowly moving towards North American performance (some individual airlines already match). The region’s airlines are forecast to generate the second highest net post-tax profits of $8.6 billion in 2018 (up from $8.1 billion in 2017) and a per passenger profit of $7.58 ($7.53 in 2017). Extensive hedging by European carriers is helping to improve performance by delaying the impact of higher fuel prices (while North American airlines with lower hedging positions are more immediately exposed). The gap in profitability with North American carriers is largely driven by breakeven load factors which are higher than in North America due to industry fragmentation and higher regulatory costs in Europe.Asia-Pacific airlines benefitted from the strong growth in cargo revenues last year, since the region is the manufacturing center of the world. In 2017 the region generated the second largest profit at $10.1 billion. This year the region slips just behind Europe with net post-tax profits of $8.2 billion, as the end of the business inventory restocking cycle slows cargo, particularly relative to travel. On a per passenger basis, airlines generated a profit of $5.10 ($6.82 in 2017). The region is now the largest in both cargo and passenger markets, with 37% and 33% shares of these global markets.Latin American airlines have achieved a strong recovery in financial performance to achieve a net profit of $0.9 billion (up from $0.5 billion in 2017). On a per passenger basis, airlines earned $2.95 ($1.57 in 2017). This is a healthy turnaround from the 2015 loss of $1.6 billion when the region’s economies suffered from the fall in commodity prices. Restructuring, stronger commodity prices and the economic recovery in Brazil all helped to improve the situation. There are still problems with some of the region’s economies and airlines continue to struggle with inadequate infrastructure, onerous regulation and high costs in some countries.Middle East airlines are generating a recovery, though more muted than in Latin America.  The rise of oil prices is helping revenues and the oil-based economies in the region, aero-political relations with the US have improved, while the Gulf airlines have substantially curbed growth. Net profits are forecast to rise to $1.3 billion in 2018 (up from $1.0 billion in 2017) or $5.89 per passenger ($4.81 in 2017).African airlines continue their very slow emergence from the 2014 low point ($900 million loss) of financial performance, with losses continuing at the $100 million level. This is unchanged from 2017 when losses were cut as traffic, particularly cargo to Asia, grew in excess of capacity raising load factors from previously low levels. Net loss per passenger improved to $1.55 ($1.66 in 2017).More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthPassenger Demand by Region Some key indicators of the strength of global connectivity include: The 2018 average return airfare (before surcharges and tax) is expected to be $380 (2018 dollars), which is 59% below 1998 levels after adjusting for inflationAverage air freight rates in 2018 are expected to be $1.80/kg (2018 dollars) which is a 63% fall on 1998 levelsThe number of routes served by aviation is forecast to grow to over 58,000 in 2018, up from 52,000 in 2014.The global spend on tourism enabled by air transport is expected to grow by 10.4% in 2018 to $794 billionAirlines are expected to take delivery of more than 1,900 new aircraft in 2018, many of which will replace older and less fuel-efficient aircraft. This will expand the global commercial fleet by 4.2% to 29,600 aircraft. Travelweek Group Europe9.1%7.0%6.7%7.3%83.9%83.7% Asia Pacific10.9%9.5%9.1%8.8%81.0%81.5% 20172018          2017201820172018 North America3.9%4.0%3.8%4.4%83.6%83.2% Middle East6.8%5.9%6.7%4.0%75.1%76.5% Africa7.0%4.5%3.5%4.3%83.6%83.2% << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

The present and future of sustainable agriculture

first_imgFrom the print editionFood matters. It’s as  essential as the air we breathe and the water we drink. Your health is also a reflection of what you eat. Eating industrially processed food that’s missing nutrients and full of chemical residues will eventually cause chronic health problems.  Many people today are still unaware of this cause and effect principle. Industrialized food corporations use the media to sell food for taste and pleasure, instead of health and vitality. Children are one of the biggest advertising markets for processed, unnatural food products. They are lured by seductive television programming, which “educates” them to choose the wrong foods for their diet. Adults aren’t excluded from the hypnotic advertising that tricks them into making unhealthy dietary choices.  Fortunately, there are a growing number of people in Costa Rica who are concerned about eating healthy foods grown naturally in harmony with the environment. Some people, like me, have decided to grow a garden to ensure a healthy food source. There are also a growing number of farmers who no longer want to use dangerous chemicals, which directly threaten their lives, and contaminate the soil and water on their farms.  Universities in Costa Rica have also made advances in studies, which open up new methods for growing food without harmful chemicals. The National Training Institute (INA) also offers farmers courses in sustainable and organic agriculture, and the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry has a department dedicated to technical assistance for organic production.  I’ve been part of the sustainable agriculture movement for more than 30 years in Costa Rica, and it’s good to see the progress that’s been made. But why is sustainable agriculture still growing so slowly? I believe the following are some of the reasons: • Sustainable agriculture receives so little airtime on television, radio or in newspapers.  • When only a small portion of the population is consuming organic food produced in a sustainable way, there is little demand for expanding the market.  • Farmers still find modern high-tech methods convenient and labor saving, compared to the organic methods.  • Organic food usually costs more due to increased labor costs in the production of natural fertilizers and the cultivation of crops without herbicides. During these days of inflation and high unemployment, families try to cut costs whenever possible. Little do they realize that cheaper food may eventually lead to chronic health problems and increased medical bills.  Most likely the rhythm of sustainable development will pick up its pace as our volatile and uncertain economy continues to falter. A continuing rise in petroleum prices linked to dwindling reserves and growing global demand will be directly related to increased food costs. Researchers have estimated that our modern food- production methods consume 10 calories of fossil fuels to produce 1 calorie of food energy. This astounding and revealing statistic shows how dependent we are on fossil fuels in agriculture. Due to our highly developed global trade network, food often travels between 1,500 to 3,000 miles before it reaches the dinner table. Sooner or later we’ll be obligated to take the course of sustainable development.Perhaps it’s worth mentioning the case of Cuba. Due to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990, Cuba was faced with a dramatic decline of half of the imported petroleum that was used to run the island. The economy fell apart, and people were faced with learning how to survive the crisis. After three to four years of difficult adjustments, Cuba began to come alive with sustainable agriculture. Home gardens sprouted up everywhere, and small organic farms and cooperatives appeared as the Cubans learned how to grow food naturally.  As the soils became rich and fertile, people gained food security without a heavy dependence on fossil fuels. This poignant example of how a society can readjust to living with less fossil fuel may help us face the inevitable chapter that lies ahead of us on our planet. Costa Rica has many similarities to Cuba. We are a small country dependent on imported oil and we have a tropical climate that permits year-round agriculture. Costa Rica also has a political climate that favors cooperatives and community development, a neutral political foreign policy, no army and an educated population with a well-developed social infrastructure, all factors which favor sustainable development. We can all begin to support sustainable agriculture by making healthy choices when we buy the foods we eat. It’s a win-win situation. You also may want to try your hand at growing some of your own food at home or in local community gardens. Working with nature can be a very rewarding experience on many levels.If you’re looking for an investment project, why not look into sustainable agriculture? There are appropriate technologies already available that can be utilized to create highly productive hydroponic-aquaculture systems that have shown high returns in successful models now in operation in Europe, North  America and Asia.And finally, give a hand by educating others. Pass the word about healthy foods that will help families improve their health – the greatest wealth of all.  Life’s a garden. Ed Bernhardt, N.D. writes the Home Gardening column for The Tico Times. He owns a small herb farm where he teaches courses on medicinal plants, permaculture and natural health care.  He is the author of  “The Costa Rican Organic Home Gardening Guide, Medicinal Plants of Costa Rica’s and Natural Health Care Therapies for Tropical Living.” For more details contact: www.thenewdawncenter.info. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Fishing slows in Guanacaste off Pacific coast

first_imgThe wind has hampered most of the fishing off the Guanacaste area. Still, those who put up with the bouncy ocean off Playa del Coco are getting a marlin once in a while. Most of the fishing has been restricted to the inshore areas protected from the wind, and lots of snapper and roosterfish have been keeping inside anglers happy.The fishing has slowed some off Los Sueños, and anglers are having to run far offshore to find much action. Again, inshore has become an option and reports of a few nicely sized grouper have been phoned in. Roosterfish and jacks have been active around the shoreline.Down south, captains have been scratching their heads because the action is so different from day to day. Two days ago, it was tough to raise a half-dozen sails and then the action turned on yesterday with boats raising 18 to 30 sails apiece. Only a couple marlin have made an appearance lately.The big story down south was Oscar Villalobos’s photo of a hundred-pound roosterfish. The owner of Las Isles Lodge reports that they have had several big roosters this week at Matapalo but it has been a long time since anyone has seen a monster of this size. The world record is 114 pounds.Over on the Caribbean, the tarpon action is hot on the days you get outside and a few snook are still hitting jigs and trolled Rapalas on the inside.Fishing was much slower on the second leg of the Club Amateur de Pesca National Sailfish Tournament. Doming Dominquéz came from behind to win the second leg followed by Luciano Beeche and Alberto Laurenchic. There is one leg left before a National Champion will be declared.Current Standings: 400 SAMBA 1200 Pinto Fernando 2000 GALLO PINTO Alonso Guillermo Ortiz Henri Paul Saborio Alvaro 200 Molina Jaime Estrada Gustavo II Round 800 Dominguez Domingo Laurencich Alberto Poma Claudio PARTICIPANT 900 BOAT Liberman Luis TOTAL 400 300 Schifter Jose 400 Soto Orlando 100 2400 300 Seevers Ricardo 1200 400 Gutiérrez Carlos Edo. 200 400 Pinchanski Johnny 300 300 300 1100 1100 400 400 400 Rudelman Melvin 1000 200 TOTAL 100 Carvajal Rodolfo Guzman Adrian MARTINI 12000 200 600 400 100 0 400 900 200 2000 200 TOTAL 200 IV Round 300 100 TOTAL 300 0 III Round SIRENA Gutiérrez Jorge N. 400 700 200 100 I Round 1200 400 Sesin Orlando 100 Chacon Luis Ml. 1200 200 III Round 400 TRITON Beeche O. Luciano 100 200 REEL KNOGHTY 600 Durman Arhtur 500 200 Carvajal Manfred 200 200 Perez Juan Ignacio 800 700 0 200 Durman George Saborio Manolo 200center_img 200 200 100 100 200 100 200 300 0 I Round 200 600 100 100 Matera Rafael 200 II Round Montealegre Sergio 1000 14000 200 0 Schifter Addy 200 Saenz Mario 0 200 800 800 0 IV Round Garro Mauricio 0 0 500 12000 2000 400 XIPHIAS 1200 800 1600 100 BOATSNATIONAL SAILFISH TOURNAMENT 200 I Round 200 NATIONAL MARLIN TOURNAMENT IV Round 100 TROCADERO 1800 TOTAL 1000 0 Montealegre Javier 300 Fernandez C. Manuel NATIONAL SAILFISH TOURNAMENT Paez Soto Carlos R. 800 500 BOREAS EL DORADO 100 III Round 200 100 1600 CERO S TRES 400 1200 II Round Estrada Arnold 500 400 200 200 200 Gomez Mario 200 200 700 Gutiérrez Nils TOTAL Gonzalez Enrique 600 Durman Francis 1200 200 Facebook Comments BOAT 200 200 400 400 300 Juan Ignacio Perez TRITON 100 0 100 Gurdian Ricardo NATIONAL MARLIN TOURNAMENT Laurencich Federico 100 1400 No related posts.last_img read more

Likely service disruption affects Facebook users

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. – A “likely service disruption” struck Facebook on Monday, preventing its 1.15 billion members from updating their status on the social media website.Facebook reported that it has addressed a glitch that left users around the world reporting problems updating their status on the site.“Earlier this morning, while performing some network maintenance, we experienced an issue that prevented some users from posting to Facebook for a brief period of time,” a Facebook spokesman told FoxNews.com. “We resolved the issue quickly, and we are now back to 100 percent. We’re sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused.”The “issue” had left millions of users temporarily unable to like posts, post comments or upload photos.Users trying to do so were met with an error message that stated: “There was a problem updating your status. Please try again in a few minutes.”“Facebook status update issues are not uncommon, but this one seems global – we’ve tested it from several IPs and received the same message,” technology website Mashable.com reported.Downrightnow.com, which monitors service outages on major websites, reported at 9:30 a.m. that Facebook had encountered a “likely service disruption.”The problem was sufficiently widespread for #facebookdown to become a trending hashtag on Twitter. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Jungle Jam and 8 more things to do in Costa Rica this

first_imgRelated posts:G. Love performs at Jungle Jam Saturday in Costa Rica Here’s why you shouldn’t miss Costa Rica’s International Book Fair Bob Marley-branded marijuana will soon be available thanks to legalization International Book Fair, theater galore, and other happening around Costa Rica When you’re a rock star, life is far out. When you’re not quite a rock star, you may be freezing, homeless and miserable on the streets of New York City. “Being Llewyn Davis” is the Coen brothers’ latest dark-comic masterpiece, playing through next Wednsesday at Cine Magaly, Costa Rica’s most beloved and oldest art-house cinema.“Inside Llewyn Davis” plays through Jan. 22 at Cine Magaly, Barrio California, San José. Fri. & Sat. 4:30, 6:30 & 8:30 p.m.; Sun. 3:30, 5:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Mon.-Wed. 4, 6:30 & 8:30 p.m. ₡2,300 ($4.50). Info: Cine Magaly Facebook page.>Lecture by Dr. Vendana ShivaAuthor-scientist Vendana Shiva describes the dangers of genetically modified foods at the University of Costa Rica. Learn just how treacherous pesticides and agribusiness can be at this day-long symposium.Presentations take place Jan. 21, University of Costa Rica campus, San Pedro. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Free. Info: Event Facebook page.Photo ExhibitionBefore he died in 1965 , photographer Manuel Gómez Miralles was considered “the visual chronicler” of Costa Rica. View his historic photographs of San José at the Center for Cultural Heritage, curated by architect Rosa Malavassi.“San José Through the Lens of Manuel Gómez Miralles” continues through Jan. 30 on the first floor of the Center for Cultural Heritage, Central Avenue, San José. Free. Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Info: Heritage Center website.La Sele vs. ChileCosta Rica faces off with Chile on Wednesday for a World Cup pre-match. Visit your favorite sports bar and cheer with fellow fans as La Sele dukes it out in the Chilean city of Coquimbo.The game kicks off Jan. 22, 6 p.m. Costa Rica time.Recycling at the MultiplazaJust when you gave up on recycling in Costa Rica, the Multiplaza pulls through. Bring your reusable paper, cans, and plastic bottles to the Escazú shopping complex, any Wednesday you like.Collection takes place Wednesdays in front of Cinemark movie theater, Multiplaza, Escazú.Free Cardio Dance and Tae Bo ClassesTone that beach body — it’s the Costa Rican summer, after all. The Aranjuez Sports Center offers free morning classes in aerobics. Families welcome.Classes take place at Aranjuez Sports Center, Barrio Aranjuez. 9:30-10:30 a.m. Free. Info: Sports Center Facebook page. Facebook Comments Jungle JamLike a tropical Bonnaroo, Jungle Jam continues to rock the rainforest this weekend, overtaking Jacó beach with bands and fans from all over the world. If you haven’t caught the first couple days, you can still hightail it to DoceLunas hotel for a wild weekend. On Saturday you can catch Slightly Stoopid, with special guest Don Carlos, and the weekend includes Max Creek, G Love, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, The Expendibles, Dumpstaphunk, and more. Camping passes are available, and you can even wake up early for a morning yoga session. For big concerts, you can’t beat this rumble in the jungle.Jungle Jam continues through Jan. 19. DoceLunas hotel, Jacó. Through Sun., 11 a.m.-late evening. $50-199. Info: Jungle Jam website.“Soy Cuba” ScreeningSoviet propaganda never looked so human: 1964 film “Soy Cuba” receives a screening at TEOR/éTica, where viewers can relive the plight of pre-revolutionary Cuba. Although the pro-Castro regime movie didn’t receive a U.S. release until 1995, critics have heaped praise onto the propaganda film, notably for its stunning technical achievements. One critic wrote for the San Francisco Chroncile called the movie “one of the most visually hypnotic films ever — and that’s not hyperbole.” “Soy Cuba” shows Jan. 22, TEOR/éTica Gallery, Barrio Amón, San José. 7 p.m. Free. Info: Event Facebook page.Palmares Festival ContinuesRides! Churros! Cowboy hats! The colossal Palmares Festival continues throughout the week,attracting hordes of people from across the country.The Palmares Festival continues through Jan. 27. Palmares, Alajuela Province. Free. Info: fiestaspalmares.com.“Inside Llewyn Davis” Screens at Cine Magalylast_img read more

Costa Rica extradites Liberty Reserve defendant Maxim Chukharev to US

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican arrested in Spain for alleged financial crimes Spain court approves extradition of Liberty Reserve founder to US Founder of Costa Rica-based Liberty Reserve extradited to face US charges Liberty Reserve founder Arthur Budovsky pleads guilty to money laundering charges See below for story updatesAt 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, Costa Rican authorities escorted a handcuffed Maxim Chukharev on to United flight 1081, bound for Newark, New Jersey. Chukharev, 27, will face trial in the United States along with four other co-defendants for his alleged role in what U.S. prosecutors say is the largest money laundering scandal in history.U.S. prosecutors accuse executives at the Costa Rica-based online currency company Liberty Reserve, shuttered in May 2013, of helping launder $6 billion over seven years. They said Liberty Reserve served as “the bank of choice for the criminal underworld” since it started up in Costa Rica in 2006. Chukharev is a Russian expat and does not have citizenship here. Two co-defendants named in the indictment, Ahmed Yassine Abdelghani and Allan Esteban Hidalgo, are Costa Rican citizens and have not been arrested in the case.Vladimir Kats, 41, was arrested in New York and pled guilty in October. Chukharev’s lawyers had appealed a judge’s ruling to grant the extradition, and his attorney said she had not been notified of the judge’s decision to extradite her client. Chukharev was awoken early this morning in his jail cell and taken to the Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside San José, by Costa Rican officials. His lawyer, his parents and the Russian ambassador to Costa Rica were denied access to him. Dina and Igor Chukharev at the Juan Santamaría International Airport outside of San José on Thursday, March 27, 2014. The Chukharevs arrived at the airport to talk to their son, Maxim, who was extradited to the U.S. Thursday morning. They were unsuccessful. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesUpdate, Thursday, March 27, 4:40 p.m.: Following are comments from Chukharev’s parents, Russian Ambassador to Costa Rica Alexander Dogadin, and U.S. Embassy spokesman Eric TurnerHuddled near a wall at the Juan Santamaría International Airport Thursday morning, Chukharev’s parents, Igor and Dina, his attorney, and Russian Ambassador to Costa Rica Alexander Dogadin, expressed frustration and outrage that Costa Rican officials had not informed them of the pending extradition. Nor were any of them allowed to speak with Chukharev before the United Airlines flight departed shortly before noon.“We were awakened early this morning by a call from Max’s cellmates, who told us, ‘They took Max,’” Chukharev’s father, Igor, told The Tico Times. “We couldn’t believe it, because the Russian Embassy had promised us that he wouldn’t be extradited without our knowledge.”Dina, Chukharev’s mother, added: “If his cellmates hadn’t called us, we wouldn’t have even known Maxim was out of the country. How could Costa Rica do this?”Dressed in a gray suit, Ambassador Dogadin also sped to the airport when he received the news, and tried to meet with Chukharev, but was prevented by the United Airlines pilot from boarding the plane.“My reaction, as a human being, is that this is a deplorable situation,” Dogadin said. “What worries me most is that the decision to carry out the extradition completely ignored our embassy, because we weren’t notified. This is not how things are done. There are legal rules and obligations that govern bilateral relations. And it is very sad that Maxim didn’t have the opportunity to at least say goodbye to his parents, and we who represent his country were unable to gain access to him. We will certainly be releasing an official statement regarding this incident.”Chukharev’s attorney, who asked that her name not be published, said she was prevented from seeing her client by Costa Rican authorities, and never received official notification that his extradition had been granted.The Tico Times contacted a spokeswoman for Costa Rica’s judicial branch, who was unaware that Chukharev had been extradited. The spokeswoman said she would return our call with more information later in the day. We will publish those comments as soon as we receive them.U.S. Embassy Information Officer Eric Turner told The Tico Times, “We followed all of our normal rules and procedures for extraditions. He [Chukharev] was sent to the States to face the charges against him. We handle these sorts of cases regularly.”The original story continues here:Liberty Reserve founder Arthur Budovsky, 40, also awaits extradition from Spain.The seven defendants are accused of three felony charges of conspiracy to commit money-laundering, conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. Although the last two charges do not exist in Costa Rica’s Penal Code, together the three charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in U.S. federal prison. According to Costa Rican legal experts, Chukharev only can be extradited on the first count, conspiracy to commit money laundering, which is a crime in Costa Rica. Russian Ambassador to Costa Rica Alexander Dogadin, left, talks to Maxim Chukharev’s parents, Dina and Igor, on Thursday, March 27, 2014, shortly after Maxim was extradited to the United States to face money laundering conspiracy charges in the Liberty Reserve online currency case. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesUpdates continue here:Chukharev does not have an attorney in the U.S., and likely will be assigned a public defender, his Costa Rica-based attorney said.Last weekend, in what he said was an “act of protest against the violations of my human rights committed by Costa Rica,” Chukharev took a string of dental floss and a needle and sewed his lips shut. He then took a blade and sliced open his stomach. The injuries were not life-threatening, and Chukharev refused to be transported to a hospital.In a conversation with The Tico Times last Saturday, Chukharev said he was preparing several documents to “tell the press” his rights “had been violated,” a reference both to prison conditions and to the judicial proceedings against him. He did not describe those specific allegations, and The Tico Times was in the process of arranging a visit to Chukarev in prison this week.Meanwhile, standing in the airport parking lot with a bundle of his son’s possessions wrapped in a blue prison sheet, Igor shrugged his shoulders and asked, “What can we do?”Recommended: A Russian patsy or high-tech criminal?Read all of our stories on the Liberty Reserve case at hashtag #LibertyReserve Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Why San Josés epic traffic jams are also an opportunity

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican motorists soon won’t have to wait for police to clear minor car accidents Giving birth through Costa Rica’s public health care system Waze now gives Costa Rica drivers advice on skirting vehicle restrictions 10 ways life in Costa Rica has been transformed, and you didn’t even notice Josefinos and the rest of the Central Valley’s commuters lament the morning and evening standstill traffic. Cars are suddenly turned into turtles, inching forward slowly but surely. Theautopista is no more. It’s merely a glorified concrete trail.Ticos who take their coffee with the cup half empty might see this as a nuisance that comes with life in the Central Valley. The cup half full? It’s actually an opportunity. After all, no law exists saying that this needs to be the reality forever. There can be alternatives to this mind-numbing lifestyle that keeps us hunkered down behind the wheel for hours on end in any given week. Alternatives that keep us moving, taking pollutants out of the air we breathe, and allowing us to spend more time with our families – already a priority in the Costa Rican lifestyle. As commuting in a car because less and less attractive, the door opens wider and wider for improved public transportation.We’re already seeing alternatives take hold. Cartago recently opened Central America’s first bikeshare program to complement their bikeway. The Association of Athletes Against Road Rage and Disrespect (ACONVIVIR) are busy advocating for another bikeway that will connect La Sabana with the University of Costa Rica in 20 minutes, or 15 minutes for cyclists with a little extra fire in their engine. Finally, the Costa Rican Institute of Railways (INCOFER) is actively bringing back train transportation to Costa Rica.Lest we get too glossy-eyed with visions of hopping from bike to train, there is still the risk of taking unnecessary steps backward. The $485 million highway-expansion project of Ruta 32 comes to mind, which calls for expanding the two-lane highway into four lanes for 105 kilometers.Don’t Be PhoenixWidening Ruta 32, we’re told, will ease congestion. It makes perfect sense, if you don’t think about it too much. More concrete means more space for more cars. That, however, is precisely the problem: It will bring more cars, negating the point of widening the highway in the first place. Unless you’re Phoenix, Arizona, with endless vistas of beautiful land to soil with ever-widening slabs of concrete, it’s not a particularly feasible solution. Plus, it’s ugly. Just take a look at Phoenix.Professors Gilles Duranton and Matthew Turner studied this phenomenon of road widening in 2011 at the University of Toronto. I can spare you the academia and summarize their conclusion: more roads cause more traffic. It turns out that widening highways to relieve congestion is akin to loosening your belt in order to lose weight.Sadly for U.S. citizens, this has been the infrastructure development strategy of the United States. We built highways, and cars came to those highways. Suddenly too many cars were driving on the highways, so we expanded them. Then we did it again, and again, and again. Suddenly, historic neighborhoods were sliced in half so Mr. Jones could get home to the wife and kids without activating those muscles in the left ankle for braking. Many were fine with this system, so long as they weren’t the ones getting the raw deal. Now the United States is in an infrastructure crisis, unable to maintain overbuilt roads and highways, or raise taxes to pay for them. Bridges are crumbling across the country while some states continue with attempts to move boldly and blindly ahead with multi-billion dollar highway projects. Bucking the status quo isn’t easy.A Chance to Change CourseSome Ticos and longtime expats might think Costa Rica is truly experiencing the infrastructure crisis. Tico roads are legendary among just about everyone who has had the pleasure of bouncing along on them. That said, at least Costa Rica doesn’t have concrete pouring out of every corner of the country.This is an opportunity. Costa Rica can take a look at countries that have become the car’s best friend, namely North America – especially the United States – and see what that wormhole has led to. Obesity, asthma, poverty, segregation, abandoned neighborhoods, and far less opportunity than what Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty promised.At least the United States can’t afford to keep mowing down the highway. Change is inevitable and has been happening. But we are at an extreme disadvantage compared to a country like Costa Rica, because we’ve already devoted so much space to auto-oriented infrastructure. We have created cities based entirely around the automobile. Cities around before the car were, in many cases, simply gutted to make room.Costa Ricans can make a choice. They can look at clogged Ruta 27 or 32 and see an opportunity to move Ticos differently. Rail trafficked goods just fine until President José María Figueres Olsen pulled the plug on the national network, allegedly in an attempt to boost the trucking industry. Now INCOFER’s annual budget is but a fraction of just one road project at $17.3 million. These mixed-up spending priorities became a rallying cry of the university student activist group Nuestro Nombre Es Costa Rica during the last presidential election.Look AroundYoung people the world over, especially in Costa Rica, are increasingly environmentally conscious and prefer to move around on foot and bike. Good thing we recently found out that a whopping 98 percent of Ticos believe in climate change, so it shouldn’t be difficult to show the country that bringing more cars onto the roads through highway expansion is a bad idea.Look at countries that have invested in alternative transportation. This is the Switzerland of Central America, eh? Well, Switzerland has 5,063 kilometers of rail compared to Costa Rica’s 278 and not coincidentally ranks first in Yale’s 2014 Environmental Performance Index. Costa Rica ranked 54th. Or how about the Dutch, our friends who helped make the bikeshare in Cartago a reality? The Netherlands boasts over 35,000 kilometers of bicycle paths with more on the way. Looking at Latin America, Colombia in particular has taken a very progressive approach to providing alternative transportation infrastructure. Their Ciclorutas de Bogotá is one of the most extensive systems in the world.With the recent anniversary of Costa Rica abolishing the military, it’s a good time to reflect on some of the benefits that decision has had for human development in this country. One was the government’s ability spend those funds on education and healthcare. Smart spending choices are a national tradition. So it’s not only sensible, but very Costa Rican, to ask whether spending $485 million on expanding a highway for a system of travel only accessible to the only 18.8 percent of Costa Ricans who own a car is money well spent.Costa Rica is a jaw-droppingly beautiful country. The highways and the congestion they demand offer a contrarian image. Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate transportation spending priorities to keep this country beautiful, and invest in alternative forms of transportation that all Ticos can enjoy for generations to come.See also: Four ways San José excels at urbanism – no, that’s not a typoJoe Baur is an author, writer and filmmaker who has worked for a variety of publications, including Matador Network, Yahoo! Travel, National Geographic and BBC Travel. He lives in Ciudad Colón. Follow him at @BaurJoe and joebaur.com. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica Coast Guard rescues injured US tourist in Las Catalinas

first_imgRelated posts:Life jackets not distributed before Costa Rica catamaran began sinking, killing 3, says president’s office US tourist rescued at sea in southern Pacific Crime against tourists down, says Costa Rica’s Tourism Police director Fishermen, locals are the ‘real heroes’ in Costa Rica catamaran accident, says survivor Facebook Comments The Costa Rican Coast Guard on Tuesday morning rescued a 52-year-old U.S. tourist who fell into a rock formation while vacationing in Las Catalinas, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.The traveler, identified by his last name, Rosenberg, was taking a walk when he apparently lost his balance and fell into a rock formation in the water below where he sustained several injuries across his body, according to a statement from the Public Security Ministry. Rosenberg had his cellphone with him and was able to call relatives living in Costa Rica, who then informed the Coast Guard.Another tourist passing by on a jet ski helped Rosenberg out of the rocks before authorities arrived to transport him to a hospital in Flamingo on the other side of Potrero Bay, where a Red Cross team awaited. The 7.5 kilometer trip across the bay in a Coast Guard fast boat lasted over an hour as strong winds and large waves complicated the crossing.According to the National Police, Rosenberg was conscious after his fall, but police did not specify the nature of his injuries.last_img read more

Vaccination against influenza starts next month in Costa Rica

first_imgThe Social Security System, or Caja, will conduct a campaign to vaccinate some 550,000 people against influenza viruses between March and April.The campaign represents an investment of $3.7 million and is aimed primarily at reducing health complications due to respiratory viruses. Costa Rica usually sees a spike in these diseases during the rainy season that runs from May to November.The campaign will focus mainly on vaccinating high-risk people, mostly pregnant women, children under 24 months and people from 60 to 64 years old, explained Caja’s Director of Immunization, Vicenta Machado Cruz.Since 2004, Caja has used the vaccine produced for inhabitants of the northern hemisphere. But Machado said this year the Caja would use the vaccine for the southern hemisphere. A recent investigation by the Costa Rican Nutrition and Health Research Institute indicated that viruses circulating in Costa Rica have greater similarity to those circulating in the southern hemisphere.Authorities hope the change will protect more Costa Ricans against getting the flu. Facebook Comments Related posts:Annual vaccination against influenza begins early Caja distributes influenza vaccine Caja to distribute flu vaccines next week Cartago hospital confirms death from AH1N1 viruslast_img read more

Five dead in Costa Rica rafting accident

first_imgFour U.S. tourists and a fifth Costa Rican were killed after a river rafting accident on Saturday, the Red Cross said.The alarm was raised Saturday afternoon following the accident in a swollen river on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, Alexander Morales of the Red Cross told AFP.“Fourteen tourists and three guides on board three rafts, and a kayaker, were on the Naranjito river in Quepos, Puntarenas when the accident occurred,” Alexander Morales told AFP.Another spokesman, Johnny Zamora, confirmed the victims had yet to be identified.Costa Rica’s President Carlos Alvarado expressed his “dismay” at the incident and said in a statement that he had instructed authorities to provide all necessary support to the victims’ families.The statement added that Costa Rica’s foreign ministry has been in communication with the U.S. consulate in the capital San José.Rafting is hugely popular with tourists in Costa Rica, which is currently in its wet season, causing waterways to flood. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rican Coast Guard rescues U.S. tourists adrift at sea near Quepos Bad rainy season leaves dozens dead in Central America Various INCOFER routes suspended after two trains collide head on Costa Rican journalist named as Columbia’s first-ever Knight Chair in Data Journalismlast_img read more

Argentina makes sexchange surgery a legal right

first_imgSenators approved the Gender Identity law by a vote of 55-0, with one abstention and more than a dozen senators declaring themselves absent _ the same margin that approved a “death with dignity” law earlier in the day.President Cristina Fernandez threw her support behind the law and is expected to sign it. She has often said how proud she is that Argentina became Latin America’s first nation to legalize gay marriage two years ago, enabling thousands of same-sex couples to wed and enjoy the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples.For many, gender rights were the next step.Any adult will now be able to officially change his or her gender, image and birth name without having to get approval from doctors or judges _ and without having to undergo physical changes beforehand, as many U.S. jurisdictions require.“It’s saying you can change your gender legally without having to change your body at all. That’s unheard of,” said Katrina Karkazis, a Stanford University medical anthropologist and bioethicst who wrote a book, “Fixing Sex,” about the medical and legal treatment of people whose physical characteristics don’t fully match their gender identity. How do cataracts affect your vision? Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Associated PressBUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – Adults who want sex-change surgery or hormone therapy in Argentina will be able to get it as part of their public or private health care plans under a gender rights law approved Wednesday.The measure also gives people the right to specify how their gender is listed at the civil registry when their physical characteristics don’t match how they see themselves. “There’s a whole set of medical criteria that people have to meet to change their gender in the U.S., and meanwhile this gives the individual an extraordinary amount of authority for how they want to live. It’s really incredible,” she said.When Argentines want to change their bodies, health care companies will have to provide them with surgery or hormone therapy on demand. Such treatments will be included in the “Obligatory Medical Plan,” which means both private and public providers will not be able to charge extra for the services.“This law is going to enable many of us to have light, to come out of the darkness, to appear,” said Sen. Osvaldo Lopez of Tierra del Fuego, the only openly gay national lawmaker in Argentina.“There are many people in our country who also deserve the power to exist,” Lopez said.Children also get a voice under the law: Youths under 18 who want to change their genders gain the right to do so with the approval of their legal guardians. But if parents or guardians want a gender identity change and don’t have the child’s consent, then a judge must intervene to ensure the child’s rights are protected. 0 Comments   Share   More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementscenter_img The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Sponsored Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice Argentina need not worry about vast numbers of people demanding sex changes, Karkazis predicted.“This isn’t going to create a huge demand on the national health system for these procedures. They’re difficult, painful, irreversible. And this is why many people don’t do it,” she said.But because the law says people can legally change their identities without having to undergo genital surgery or hormone therapy, these changes can be more benign and even reversible, if some day the person’s self-image changes.Other countries, including neighboring Uruguay, have passed gender rights laws, but Argentina’s “is in the forefront of the world” because of these benefits it guarantees, said Cesar Cigliutti, president of the Homosexual Community of Argentina.“This is truly a human right: the right to happiness,” Sen. Miguel Pichetto said during the debate.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familylast_img read more

Polling station in Athens attacked during election

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Riding motorcycles and wearing helmets and balaclavas, the men fled the scene after smashing the ballot box and setting fire to it. Police say the two wounded officers were hospitalized.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Police say about 10 men armed with sledgehammers and wooden bats have attacked a polling station during Greece’s election, wounding two policemen guarding it and setting fire to the ballot box.No voters were hurt during the attack Sunday, which occurred half an hour before polls closed in the crucial election, which could determine whether Greece remains a member of the Eurozone.The attack _ the only one reported so far at a voting station during the balloting _ took place in the Athens neighborhood of Exarhia, a traditional haven for leftists and anarchists near the city center. Comments   Share   More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breachescenter_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Men’s health affects baby’s health too Top Stories Sponsored Stories last_img read more

18 die as bus plunges into gorge in India

first_img Quick workouts for men The injured have been taken to a nearby hospital, Sangliana told The Associated Press.India has the world’s deadliest roads, with more than 110,000 people killed every year. Most crashes are blamed on reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and aging vehicles.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) GAUHATI, India (AP) – A government official in India says 18 people are dead after a bus fell into a deep gorge after being hit by hurtling boulders during a landslide in the mountainous northeast. Another 17 people are injured.Arunachal Pradesh state Transport Minister Zoram Sangliana says the bus plunged about 45 meters (150 feet) into the gorge early Saturday near Keifang, a village 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Aizawl, the state capital. Monsoon rains triggered the landslide in the region. Top Stories Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   center_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

Canada to strip citizenship of dualnational terror convicts

first_img Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been ramping up anti-terrorism measures ahead of a federal election in October.The new law has met with strong public criticism, and two Ontario lawyers have already launched a court case arguing it is unconstitutional.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Patients with chronic pain give advice Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Parents, stop beating yourself up TORONTO (AP) — Canada can revoke the Canadian citizenship of dual nationals convicted of terrorism or other high crimes under a controversial new law.The law, which went into effect Friday, would revoke citizenship for anyone found guilty of terrorism, treason and spying for a foreign government.The rules would also apply to dual citizens who take up arms against Canada by fighting in a foreign army or joining an international terrorist organization. The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

Thai tourist ferry sinks

first_imgA packed tourist ferry has sunk off the coast of Pattaya in Thailand, killing at least six passengers. The double-decker boat – carrying approximately 150 passengers – sank on Sunday afternoon near the island of Koh Larn, the Australia News Network reported. The Australian Embassy in Bangkok has said that they are communicating and working with local authorities to find out if there were any Australians on-board the ferry during the incident. At least half the passengers on-board the ship were Russian tourists, according to news reports. Fifteen passengers were injured and six people were reportedly killed during the accident, including three Thai nationals, a Chinese traveller and two as-yet unidentified foreigners. Local police and media have speculated that engine problems on the overcrowded vessel forced passengers to one side of the boat, causing it to list and take on water. Source = ETB News: P.T.last_img read more

European confidence in Aussie business events industry growing

first_imgAustralia has experienced one of its strongest representations at IMEX Frankfurt, reaffirming its focus on the United Kingdom and Europe markets and indicating that the region’s business confidence is showing signs of recovery. The latest Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) reports have shown that five of the major business travel markets; UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, will increase their business travel spending for the first time since 2010, indicating that the market is on the rise. Together with Tourism Australia, 14 delegates will be representing Australia’s business events industry at IMEX Frankfurt, in showcasing the country’s best offerings in the MICE market. “These are just a few of the reasons why Australia consistently ranks as a preferred business events destination and we are continually investing in our world-class business events capabilities to uphold our reputation for excellence, and we are proud to showcase this at IMEX Frankfurt,” Business Events Australia general manager Penny Lion said. Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovichcenter_img “The UK and Europe have traditionally been strong markets for Australia’s business events sector, so it is pleasing to see the region’s key confidence indicators starting to improve.” Australia will host some of the largest incentive events this year, from industries including health, pharmaceutical and insurance, and a number of significant group incentive bookings are confirmed for 2015 and beyond.   Showing strong performance against other destinations in terms of safety, security, quality of event facilities, accommodation and dining, recent research has also confirmed Australia’s global reputation as a business destination is becoming increasingly important.last_img read more

Fivestar cruises begin on Nha Trang Bay

first_imgEmperor Cruises has launched the first five-star all-inclusive cruise on Nha Trang Bay and plans to begin overnight cruises on the bay by the end of the year.The cruise ships have eight all-inclusive suites, butlers on board, and limousine services to and from the port, with plans to grow to 18 suites next year.Emperor Cruises spokesman Allister Esguerra said the cruise is a fantastic five-star experience. “Emperor Cruises plans to bring tourists to the bay to gaze at the sunset, sip on cocktails, and enjoy romantic dinners while cruising on one of the 29 most beautiful bays in the world,” Mr Esguerra said.“The first cruise was a success and marks an important milestone not only for the company but also for Nha Trang’s tourism industry.”Guests can also enjoy a set seafood dinner with unlimited wine and romantic music, while taking in the stunning views of Nha Trang Bay. The cruise was inspired by the luxurious life of Emperor Bao Dai, as he often chose to spend his leisure time in Nha Trang, and fishing on a beautiful dragon boat.The cruise takes 40 minutes along the coastal road from Cam Ranh International Airport to reach downtown Nha Trang and another 15 minutes to reach the port.Destinations on its Day Cruises include a visit to Hon Mieu, snorkeling and diving at Hon Mun, cruising around Hon Mot and Hon Tam, and dropping in at Dam Bay for lunch, before continuing on to Tru Beach for trekking, beach activities, and kayaking.The cruise ends with views of the Bao Dai villas, which is nestled on a small headland near the city.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Three NZ properties score a Perfect 10

first_imgBooking.com, the world’s leading online accommodation site, has recognised the efforts of three New Zealand property owners as part of its annual Guest Review Awards.The three New Zealand winners were Kereru Cottage Bed and Breakfast in Russell, Rathlin Cottage in Twizel and Bay Vista in Kaiteriteri.The three properties have received the prodigious Perfect 10 award in recognition of consistently achieving a 10 out of 10 score based on guest reviews.Globally only 262 properties have received the award from a possible 855,000. Owners of the Kereru Cottage Bed and Breakfast are Jacky and Doug Henderson.The couple have run the intimate one bedroom luxury accommodation since 2014 and have welcomed guests from all over the world.“Winning the award is fantastic and a great reward for the hard work we’ve put into setting up Kereru Cottage,” says Jacky, who previously owned a holiday property management company.“We’re not as young as we used to be but we love what we do and know how to keep our guests happy.”Keeping guests happy has meant that nearly every guest that has stayed at the cottage has left a perfect review on Booking.com, which verifies all reviews to ensure they are from genuine guests.On the secret of their success Jacky added; “When guests arrive it’s important to make them feel like they’re the only people in the world that matter.“We make sure they know all the benefits of their stay with us, where everything is, that the fire is roaring if it’s cold and what to see and do when staying in the Bay of Islands.“It’s also important to give guests their privacy when needed but also be on hand to help with any questions they have or information they require.”There are more than 3,400 New Zealand properties listed on the OTA site, which acts as a global marketing platform to help accommodations know matter their size attract guests from all over the world.Tracey Foxall, Area Manager New Zealand for Booking.com, says; “To win a Perfect 10 award is no mean feat and a huge achievement considering how few properties around the world won the award.“The best thing about the Perfect 10 awards is that they’re based entirely on genuine guest reviews so it’s open to any accommodation listed on Booking.com. You don’t have to be five-star luxury hotel to win one.” Booking.comSource = Booking.comlast_img read more