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LONDON–()– #GlobalInteractiveKioskMarket–The interactive kiosk market is poised to grow by 6.88 bn during 2020-2024, according to Technavio
Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is playing host to the 29th edition of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair that kicked off on Wednesday with more than 500,000 titles on display.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the UAE Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan inaugurated the event, according to the state-run WAM news agency.
He emphasized the importance of the fair in supporting the UAE’s status in the publishing industry, being one of the most important book fairs in the region that attracts Arab and international publishers.
Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi, the fair features more than 1,000 exhibitors from 50 countries.
Running until April 30, the fair also includes several daily events for visitors such as seminars, workshops, author signings and entertainment activities.
With India as the event’s guest of honour, at least 30 Indian publishing companies are taking part.
This year’s book fair also sees the introduction of three new interactive zones: the E-Zone, Comic Corner and the Entertainment Zone.
Each of the three zones features unique experiences for learning, innovation and entertainment.
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, the latest addition to Yas Island’s series of world-class attractions, is stepping up to host the World Travel Awards (WTA) Middle East Gala Ceremony 2019 on Thursday 25 April.
The gala ceremony will be the premier gathering of the Arabian hospitality industry, with the key players and VIPs from across the region attending.
Opened last summer, Warner Bros. World is the world’s first-ever Warner Bros. branded indoor theme park, and represents another milestone in Abu Dhabi’s remarkable journey to establish itself as one of the world’s leading tourist destinations.
Located on Yas Island, the 1.65 million sq. ft. indoor theme park features six immersive lands with 29 state-of-the-art rides, interactive family-friendly attractions and unique live entertainment shows, as well as a variety of themed dining and retail outlets.
The park is the latest addition to Yas Island’s award-winning theme parks, joining Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld.
The red-carpet evening will form the second leg of the WTA Grand Tour 2019 – a global search for the finest travel and tourism brands in the world.
Graham Cooke, Founder, WTA, said: “We are deeply honoured to host our Middle East Gala Ceremony at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, an enthralling new addition to Abu Dhabi’s incredible roster of tourist offerings.
He added: “WTA has maintained its position as the industry leader for the past 26 years, consistently proving its value as the global benchmark for acknowledging excellence in travel and tourism. I greatly look forward to welcoming the most senior decision-makers of the Arabian travel industry for what promises to be a most memorable evening at this phenomenal new attraction.”
Don Strickler, General Manager, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, said: “We are delighted and honored to welcome the prestigious World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony at Warner Bros. World for the first time this year. The choice of our Park as host for this coveted industry event is a testament to the growing appeal of theme parks within the leisure and entertainment sector in the region. We look forward to bringing together some of the world’s leading travel industry professionals and organizations for an evening full of many successes and celebrations.”
As part of the Grand Tour 2019, WTA is also hosting ceremonies in Montego Bay (Jamaica), Mauritius, Madeira, La Paz (Bolivia) and Phu Quoc (Vietnam), with the winners progressing to the Grand Final in Muscat (Oman).
With a collection of new initiatives, Disney Cruise Line is aiming to inspire the next generation of female leaders in the maritime industry. The debut of Captain Minnie Mouse, new youth programs and the funding of scholarships are designed to empower girls and young women to pursue careers in the cruise industry and chart a course for success.
Inspiring Youth through the Magic of Captain Minnie Mouse
Disney characters delight and inspire children around the globe, and Disney Cruise Line is counting on the power of the mouse – Minnie Mouse – to spread the message of exploring new horizons, both by land and by sea.
Captain Minnie Mouse, in her crisp new uniform with smart white trousers or skirt and a bold red jacket emblazoned with captain’s insignia, will make the rounds on all Disney ships starting in April.
Empowering Women through Maritime Scholarships
In 2019, Disney Cruise Line will sponsor four scholarships at the LJM Maritime Academy in The Bahamas for female cadets who aspire to be ship captains and shipboard leaders. The scholarships, one for each of the ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, will include tuition to the three-year program. The scholarships will include two years of study at the academy and one year of service aboard a Disney ship.
“Our Disney characters have a unique ability to inspire and connect with children, and we know Captain Minnie will encourage young girls around the world to consider a career in the maritime industry,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Cruise Line. “We are excited to work with LJM Maritime Academy to offer scholarships for young women who are pursuing their passions and following their dreams in our industry.”
Nautical Fun for Children at Sea
Onboard Disney Cruise Line ships later this year, Captain Minnie Mouse will appear in an all-new youth activity where young captain hopefuls practice STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills in a fun maritime-themed activity. Children will hone their STEM and problem-solving abilities – skills that play an important role in the maritime industry – in a series of engaging, hands-on activities.
The interactive experience will be a journey of discovery, exploration and imagination that will be offered in Disney’s Oceaneer Lab aboard all Disney ships.
Why Knot – Taking Nautical Fun Ashore
As part of a commitment to encourage future generations to pursue careers in the maritime industry, Captain Minnie Mouse will visit children in some of Disney Cruise Line’s homeports and ports of call.
Children will have an opportunity to meet Captain Minnie Mouse and be inspired by her “can do” qualities and ability to tackle any goal she sets her mind to.
As part of these local community visits, Captain Minnie Mouse will be accompanied by a female Disney Cruise Line officer or crew member to showcase their roles in the maritime industry and raise awareness about career choices for women aboard a cruise ship.
Holograms, robots, magic, music and art are among the surprises set to inspire and delight attendees at IMEX in Frankfurt, taking place 21- 23 May.
The show’s new Discovery Zone is packed with education and experiences to fire up the imagination of event planners and exhibitors alike. It’s designed to help them to question the conventional and explore fresh approaches to business events, with a strong emphasis on ‘experiential’.
Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, explains: “There are some surprises in store for attendees this year! We don’t believe in ‘business as usual’ and are always evolving and looking for new and engaging ways to encourage innovation in the industry – our new Discovery Zone is the perfect way to do this.”
Robots and holograms
Many innovations at the Discovery Zone turn conventional thinking on its head. Think a piano is played using hands? Think again! ‘Mister Piano’ is a walking piano played using the feet and attendees can put their fancy footwork to the test to hit the right notes. Attendees can also go hands-on and tap into their inner artist at a painting party, craft their own bespoke luggage tags and even take part in fire-infused magic tricks. A talking robot, holographic show and 360degree photography booth are also among the engaging experiences this year.
Practical applications of event tech, diversity and a firm focus on future-thinking all form part of a packed program of sessions at The ZEUS Innovators Club. Attendees will also find the Inspiration Hub – the show’s learning powerhouse – in the Discovery Zone, with sessions covering hot topics such as sustainability and diversity to business skills and creative learning.
Fresh green grass and a swing
Prepare for sensory overload and explore the great outdoors while dining indoors at the show’s food court – this has been transformed into Central Park, complete with trees, grass and even a swing! Attendees can also kick back with table football, table tennis and other games for some purposeful rest and relaxation.
Carina Bauer continues: “We know our show delivers significant business benefit to buyers and exhibitors. We also know it’s important for them to have the time and space to experiment, discover new experiences and gather fuel for fresh, innovative ideas. Our new Discovery Zone is set to deliver a huge dose of creativity, with a few surprises along the way. Inspired by this year’s Imagination Talking Point, we asked….what if we wove more experiential and fun elements into the show? What if that translated into more business benefit for everyone attending?”
As well as exploring the new corners of the show, attendees can explore new corners of host city, Frankfurt, thanks to a new interactive accommodation booking map. The map on the IMEX website, powered by Stay 22, provides a simple and efficient overview of many of the independent accommodation options in and around the German city.
Some of the IMEX team took an extended day trip to Frankfurt earlier this year to sample hidden coffee shops, bars, museums and parks in the city. They share memories and tips here.
IMEX in Frankfurt takes place 21 -23 May 2019. Registration for the show is free of charge and open to all who work in the meetings, events and incentive travel industry. EduMonday, its pre-show day of learning and development, is on 20 May (no charge to attend) at Kap Europa next to Messe Frankfurt.
Through a strategic partnership between Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, and Volara, the voice hub for the hospitality industry, visitors to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center are finding their way around the facility and hosted events easier than ever before through an ever-familiar voice.
The new voice-based wayfinding solution atop Amazon Alexa is powered by Volara’s market-leading enterprise-grade conversation management technology. Inside the 2.3 million-square-foot building sits wayfinding kiosks that host the voice assistant. Visitors are encouraged to ask Alexa about happenings within the convention center and ask where to find meeting spaces, food-and-beverage outlets, the closest shoe shine, the business center and more. More than 50 kiosks featuring the Volara-powered solution on Amazon Alexa will greet visitors, and voice commands will extend outside the facility to local businesses, services and attractions.
“At the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, we aim to provide our customers with a memorable experience,” said Samuel Thomas, senior vice president and general manager of Events DC. “Most people are tech savvy, and they want to have real-time access to the information they need in a format they are most accustomed to using. We partnered with Volara to provide wayfinding on voice command. Now event goers can get their questions answered quickly without having to seek out staff; it’s quick and efficient. We aren’t replacing face-to-face employee interaction – customer service is our core value and the reason we engaged in this project. This voice technology enables us to scale personal service and gives our customers the option to get information their way. It’s exciting.”
Wayfinding is just the first step. Thomas said his team is working with Volara to add more commands to the voice assistant with the goal of personalizing experiences for visitors. Show organizers can customize or brand kiosks strategically placed in their event locations. Volara’s conversation management engine will then be leveraged to respond to voice prompts for each event. The convention center is considering selling kiosk sponsorships as a value-added service. An automobile manufacturer, for example, may want to sponsor all kiosks in the Convention Center during The Auto Show, providing a good revenue stream for the facility and making the event more interactive, informative and fun.
“When we tell customers about this voice initiative, they get really excited,” Thomas said. “We are always trying to find ways to reinvent ourselves and provide better services for customers, and technology is at the core. Recently we added smart furniture to the public areas that contain USB ports or standardized plugs to keep people connected. We are one of the first convention centers to offer free WiFi. And, through our strategic partnership with Digital Conventions, we now have the most robust digital signage program in the country. This voice project with Volara is yet another added service that we are providing to our customers. With the flexibility of Volara’s software, the sky is the limit.”
Lasan Coger, general manager of Digital Conventions, said he was intrigued when Thomas approached him about the wayfinding by voice command initiative. “A collaborative team from Events DC, Digital Conventions and Volara met and put our minds together to see how we could launch this program. It was challenging to get to where we are today, but everyone involved loved the challenge, and more importantly, we love the product. When we see the responses from attendees at our events, it validates what we are doing, and we can’t wait to expand this program.”
Volara provides platform agnostic voice-based conversation management software and a secure integrations hub to the hospitality venues. Its software turns the leading consumer voice assistants (Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IBM Watson) into a business tool that drives more efficient customer service, influences visitors’ behaviors, and improves net promoter scores. Volara is a launch partner for both Google Assistant Interpreter Mode and Alexa for Hospitality.
“We are thrilled to bring wayfinding on voice command to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center,” said David Berger, Volara CEO. “We see Convention Centers, Casinos, Malls, Stadiums, Amusement Parks or any venue that can benefit from wayfinding as an exciting vertical for Volara. This successful deployment is proof that Volara-powered voice assistants can make a venue more visitor friendly, easier to navigate and more efficiently operated. Today we have a waiting list of convention centers that are eager to deploy our solution. The interest is overwhelming.”
To learn more about Volara-powered voice assistant programs, visit volara.io.
Israel’s Ministry of Tourism launched an interactive map that displays thousands of items of information including attractions, hotels, restaurants, hiking routes, other accommodation options, and much more.
The map allows users to filter and search items, and even navigate to them from their location.
In addition, the Israel Ministry of Tourism website itself provides a wide variety of information for tourists, including attractions, routes, accommodation options, and more.
The site has tens of thousands of items translated into 11 languages and integrates an artificial intelligence robot and a powerful search engine that enable every traveler to locate the information he or she needs.
In 2018, the site attracted about 1.45 million users from around the world, and since the beginning of 2019 the site has already attracted nearly 450,000 users.
To see the map, click on this link.
In an effort to promote the Sunshine State as a top destination for special needs travel, VISIT FLORIDA launched a travel hub that features a range of resources for travelers with different special needs. Visitors can easily find information spanning from accessible attractions, beaches, parks, events and more.
VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young said, “Florida is known for its exhilarating theme parks, serene state parks and beautiful beaches, but what our visitors may not know is that many are accessible to travelers with special needs. We want to take the stress out of planning a Florida vacation and ensure that all travelers know the Sunshine State is a destination that anyone of any ability can enjoy.”
Florida’s theme parks and attractions provide guest services which contain information and assistance including wheelchairs, sign-language interpreters, listening devices, etc. Disabled travelers can even experience the thrills of riding many of the rides which are accessible to those in wheelchairs.
Many of Florida’s world-class beaches and state parks are also wheelchair friendly, offering wheelchair accessible beach paths and wheelchair rentals. Crandon Park Beach on Key Biscayne and Haulover Beach in Miami provide free beach wheelchair rentals. Many Florida State Parks also offer accessible camp sites, trails and playgrounds. Oscar Scherer State Park in Sarasota County offers accessible kayak and canoe launches and beach wheelchairs.
Families with children with special needs will also have a multitude of options when planning their vacations to Florida, including a section for traveling with children with Autism. An interactive map and detailed articles make vacation planning for families easy and reliable. Visit family-friendly attractions like the Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville, which fuels the imagination with its planetarium and interactive science exhibits.
To explore more about Florida’s special needs travel, visit VISITFLORIDA.com/Accessible.
The 2nd edition of the Africa Business and MICE Master Class will be held in Johannesburg at the BDO South Africa offices from June 10-12, 2019. The African Tourism Board is a supporting partner for this event. This program will grant industry professionals and practitioners from across Africa an opportunity to learn from renowned industry experts, connect with like-minded individuals and benefit from first-hand advice on how to advance growth in their organisations, businesses and destinations. This class will be presented by Africa Tourism Partners and its lead strategic partners, BDO South Africa and South Africa Conference Association Industry (SAACI). “Collaboration is integral to the growth of the MICE industry across Africa. BDO is proud to be associated with the Africa MICE Masterclass program where not only newcomers benefit from the expertise of established industry players, but the experts also learn from each other,” highlights Christelle Grohmann, Director, BDO Advisory. “We look forward to hosting you from June 10-12 at our office in Johannesburg,” she adds.
This year’s program has been designed in response to the high interest and recognition that the 2018 Africa Business and MICE Master Class received, making it a sought-after Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Capacity Building program among practitioners and professionals. The inaugural course was held at the same time last year and featured illustrious industry experts and attendees from 14 African countries including Botswana, Ghana, Madagascar, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Swaziland, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. “Many attendees at the Africa MICE Masterclass 2018 voiced their satisfaction with the event indicating that the intimate and interactive format and the depth and range of knowledge of the speakers kept them absorbed throughout. Even the speakers commented on it being a well-rounded learning experience that also benefited them. This is industry learning from industry from real working examples,” states Lee-Anne Bac, Director, BDO Advisory & Masterclass 2018 Attendee.
Considering the increased number of African exhibitors and buyers who participated at the 2019 Meetings Africa held in February this year, it is apparent that more countries, tourism boards, convention bureaus, conference facilities, professional conference organizers and the entire African Business and MICE Tourism community now appreciate the significance of the sector. Speaking at the 2019 Meetings Africa, South Africa Minister of Tourism, Mr. Derek Hanekom stated that Business Tourism has earned its place at the economic table. He also revealed that the sector earned R71 billion revenue and contributed R115 billion to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This buttresses the sector’s relevance in African economies.
The Master Class is a two-and-a-half day CPD program designed with a variety of theory and practical sessions and the opportunity for further engagement in the form of business-to-business meetings. It will be conducted in conjunction with BDO South Africa, and key industry associations, including SAACI. The course is delivered by faculty experts through a practical and interactive Action-Learning methodology. This approach allows attendees to gain fresh industry insights and global best practices, learn from industry experts and connect with executives from across the continent.
To register, for Business-to-Business or sponsorship opportunities please contact: Ms. Aretha Nozipho Bohlela at: email@example.com or +27 81 303 7030.
Princess Cruises and Fincantieri announced today the signing of the final contracts for the construction of two next-generation 175,000-ton cruise ships, which will be the largest ships ever built so far in Italy, with deliveries scheduled in Monfalcone in late 2023 and in spring 2025. This announcement follows the initial signing of a memorandum of agreement between the two parties in July 2018.
The vessels will each accommodate approximately 4,300 guests and will be based on a next-generation platform design, being the first Princess Cruises ships to be dual-fuel powered primarily by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). LNG is the marine industry’s most environmentally friendly advanced fuel technology and the world’s cleanest fossil fuel, which will significantly reduce air emissions and marine gasoil usage.
“Princess Cruises continues to grow globally — adding new ships to our fleet built by our long-time trusted ship building partner, Fincantieri, who brings decades of expertise to these next-generation cruise ships,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises President. “Even more exciting is that these two ships are being designed to include our MedallionClass platform, powered by OceanMedallion, the most advanced wearable device available within the global hospitality industry.”
Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, commented on the announcement: “This result proves, once again, the trust we receive from the market, which allows us to look to the future with ambition. It honors our great work focused on innovation thanks to which we have been able to offer to the client a record-breaking proposal not only in terms of size. Besides we firmly believe that a new class of Princess Cruises’ ships, one of Carnival Group’s top brands, can stem from this promising project. In fact, for Princess Cruises, we have received orders for 21 ships, another unprecedented result in this industry.”
Considered a breakthrough in the vacation industry and recently honored with a CES® 2019 Innovation Award, the OceanMedallion is leading-edge technology that delivers personalized service on a large scale through enhanced guest-crew interaction, as well as enabling interactive entertainment. Guests are currently experiencing Princess MedallionClass vacations onboard Caribbean Princess and Regal Princess. By the end of the year, MedallionClass vacations will be activated on three additional ships, Royal Princess, Crown Princess and Sky Princess.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and United Nations reported that growth in the number of people cruising between 2004 and 2014 outpaced land-based vacations by over 20 percent, and CLIA projects 30 million people will take an ocean cruise in 2019, an all-time record. These stats signal a bright future for the cruise industry, as well as for professional travel advisor partners enthusiastic for more inventory to meet the growing demands for cruising.
With five ships being built over the next six years, Princess Cruises is the fastest growing premium cruise line in the world.
One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises is the fastest growing international premium cruise line and tour company operating a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships, carrying two million guests each year to 380 destinations around the globe, including the Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera, Europe, South America, Australia/New Zealand, the South Pacific, Hawaii, Asia, Canada/New England, Antarctica and World Cruises. A team of professional destination experts have curated 170 itineraries, ranging in length from three to 111 days and Princess Cruises is continuously recognized as “Best Cruise Line for Itineraries.”
In 2017 Princess Cruises, with parent company Carnival Corporation, introduced MedallionClass Vacations enabled by the OceanMedallion, the vacation industry’s most advanced wearable device, provided free to each guest sailing on a MedallionClass ship. The award-winning innovation offers the fastest way to a hassle-free, personalized vacation giving guests more time to do the things they love most. MedallionClass Vacations will be activated on five ships by the end of 2019. An activation plan will continue across the global fleet in 2020 and beyond.
Princess Cruises continues its multi-year, “Come Back New Promise” – a $450 million-dollar product innovation and cruise ship renovation campaign that will continue to enhance the line’s onboard guest experience. These enhancements result in more moments of awe, lifetime memories and meaningful stories for guests to share from their cruise vacation. The product innovations include partnerships with award-winning Chef Curtis Stone; engaging entertainment inspired shows with Broadway-legend Stephen Schwartz; immersive activities for the whole family from Discovery and Animal Planet that include exclusive shore excursions to onboard activities; the ultimate sleep at sea with the award-winning Princess Luxury Bed and more.
Three new Royal-class ships are currently on order with the next new ship under construction, Sky Princess, scheduled for delivery in October 2019, followed by Enchanted Princess in June 2020. Princess has announced two new (LNG) ships which will be the largest ships in the Princess fleet, accommodating approximately 4,300 guests are planned for delivery in 2023 and 2025. Princess now has five ships arriving over the next six years between 2019 and 2025. The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE:CUK).
Fincantieri is one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and number one for diversification and innovation. It is leader in cruise ship design and construction and a reference player in all high-tech shipbuilding industry sectors, from naval to offshore vessels, from high-complexity special vessels and ferries to mega yachts, as well as in ship repairs and conversions, production of systems and mechanical and electrical component equipment and after-sales services.
With over 230 years of history and more than 7,000 vessels built, Fincantieri has always kept its management offices, as well as all the engineering and production skills, in Italy. With over 8,600 employees in Italy and a supplier network that employs nearly 50,000 people, Fincantieri has enhanced a fragmented production capacity over several shipyards into a strength, acquiring the widest portfolio of clients and products in the cruise segment. To hold its own in relation to competition and assert itself at global level, Fincantieri has broadened its product portfolio becoming world leader in the sectors in which it operates.
With globalization, the Group has around 20 shipyards in 4 continents, over 19,000 employees and is the leading Western shipbuilder. It has among its clients the world’s major cruise operators, the Italian and the US Navy, in addition to several foreign navies, and it is partner of some of the main European defense companies within supranational programs.
Fincantieri’s business is widely diversified by end markets, geographical exposure and by client base, with revenue mainly generated from cruise ship, naval and offshore vessel construction. Compared with less diversified players, such diversification allows it to mitigate the effects of any fluctuations in demand on the end markets served.