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Leading European tour operator City Wonders is thrilled to announce that its Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica tour has been voted as the Number One Experience globally by Trip Advisor.
The Travelers Choice Award is the highest honor possible from Trip Advisor and is based on the reviews and opinions of millions of travelers worldwide.
“We’re delighted that our tour of the Vatican has been recognized as the number one experience globally by Trip Advisor” says CEO Simone Gozzi. “We strive to give our guests unforgettable experiences by focusing on exceptional quality, excitement and insights when visiting the top sites in Europe. Being voted number one Traveler’s Choice is recognition from our guests that our focus is paying off.”
As well as being rated the Number One Experience globally, the City Wonders tour won three other categories; Top Cultural Experience in the World, Top Experience in Europe and Top Experience in Italy.
City Wonders is the only tour operator that has the highest partnership status with the Vatican, giving guests exclusive benefits for a truly exceptional experience. Exclusive benefits include entering the Vatican before opening hours, access to restricted areas, skip-the-line and highly-trained expert guides.
For more information, additional tours and booking details visit citywonders.com.
About City Wonders
Created for travel enthusiasts with inquisitive minds, City Wonders is a tour operator specializing in exclusive and expert tours throughout Italy, France, Spain and the UK. Its intimate tours and day trips invite travelers to go beyond sightseeing, bringing the wonders of each destination to life through behind-the-scene experiences. Founded by an entrepreneurial and charismatic Italian-born tour guide, the City Wonders mission is to offer unprecedented access and unexpected insight into the most popular cities, museums, monuments and landmarks around the world. For more information, visit www.citywonders.com.
Other awards City Wonders has received from Trip Advisor in 2019 include Hall of Fame status for receiving the Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years.
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Jetwing Hotels, the largest resort brand in the island has once again received Certificates of Excellence from the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor. Having been the regular recipient of these awards for the past few years running, this time around 25 properties; Calamansi Cove Villas by Jetwing, Galle Heritage Villa by Jetwing, Hotel J Ambalangoda, Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilions, Jetwing Beach, Jetwing Colombo Seven, Jetwing Jaffna, Jetwing Kaduruketha, Jetwing Kurulubedda, Jetwing Lagoon, Jetwing Lake, Jetwing Lighthouse, Jetwing Lighthouse Club, Jetwing Sea, Jetwing Surf, Jetwing Vil Uyana, Jetwing Warwick Gardens, Jetwing Yala, Kottukal Beach House by Jetwing, Mermaid Hotel & Club, North Gate by Jetwing, Oatlands by Jetwing, Saman Villas, Underneath The Mango Tree by Jetwing, Yathra Houseboat by Jetwing have been recognized for their exceptional service by TripAdvisor. Now in its ninth year, the achievement celebrates businesses that are consistently excellent – having earned great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include restaurants, accommodations and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience.
With over 4 decades of experience in the hospitality industry, Jetwing Hotels continues to choose rare and exceptionally unique destinations so guests from around the world get the opportunity to immerse themselves in local culture. While each resort and villa will take you to a world of its own coupled with luxurious offerings, unique design and architecture and stunning views of the natural surroundings, the impeccable service offered at Jetwing Hotels is unmatched. Designed by world renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa, the iconic Jetwing Lighthouse – which embodies the best of tropical modernism, elegance and old-world charm is currently undergoing a transformation in its interior design and overall experience with the objective of being positioned as the ultimate luxury boutique resort in Galle. Jetwing Hotels is also set to mark its presence in Kandy later this year with a new contemporary boutique hotel. Spanning 1.9 acres, the hotel will feature 26 plush rooms and suites with private butler service, exemplary amenities and elegant design with a local touch.
“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 25 out of our 40 properties across the island is a true testament to our associates who are deeply committed to delivering the most genuine and personalized guest experience each and every day. We would like to thank all our guests for taking a moment of their valuable time to share the experiences on TripAdvisor. There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by our guests” said Shiromal Cooray, Chairman, Jetwing Hotels.
The Certificate of Excellence accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.
To book your stay with a personalized service at Jetwing Hotels call on +94 (0)11 4 709 400 or log on to www.jetwinghotels.com.
Family owned and in the tourism industry for the past 46 years, Jetwing Hotels has surpassed expectation at every aspect. Building on their foundation of being passionate, as well as the experience of true, traditional Sri Lankan hospitality, constantly pioneering discoveries captures the essence of the brand. Such a strong statement and direction have enabled Jetwing Hotels to imagine, create and manage marvels and masterpieces, where distinctive design and elegant comfort complement each other and the environment. In line with the Jetwing Hotels Sustainable Strategy, across all properties sustainable and responsible practices are given precedence with resource efficiency, community upliftment and education, and awareness being some of our key focus areas.
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The Aruba Tourism Authority announced today a year-long partnership with all-star shortstop and native Aruban, Xander Bogaerts. Serving as a brand ambassador for the Caribbean island, Bogaerts will star in a content series promoting travel to Aruba and encouraging visitors to experience the island the “Xander Way.”
Throughout the Major League Happiness campaign and via a series of videos, Bogaerts shows sports fans and tourists alike around his “Dushi Tera” (Papiamento for “Sweet Land”). Take a tour with Xander through his colorful and artistic hometown of San Nicolas, also known as the Sunrise City where visitors can explore street art and get a sense of authentic Aruban culture.
“Aruba to me, is more than my birthplace and my home, it’s where I’m able to relax, reconnect with family, go fishing with friends, and enjoy the beautiful waters,” noted Bogaerts. “I’m excited to partner with the Aruba Tourism Authority to show my fans in Boston and around the country my favorite hot spots in Aruba.”
The series showcases Xander’s favorite spots around Aruba that appeal to all types of travelers, including Eagle Beach for beach lovers, which was recently rated third in the 2019 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice ® awards for Beaches. Intrepid explorers will be inspired by Xander’s trip to Seroe Colorado, the island’s southernmost tip that provides sweeping views of Aruba’s rugged coastline. Xander also visits Baby Beach, a picturesque half-moon beach with beautiful turquoise waters in a calm lagoon and some of Aruba’s best restaurants that highlight the diverse culinary offerings available across the island.
“We are thrilled to have one of our native sons and popular baseball player, Xander Bogaerts join us in promoting Aruba to the American traveler. Aruba’s beautiful waters, pristine beaches and desert-like terrain hold a special place in the hearts of all native Arubans, and we can’t wait to welcome Xander fans from Boston and around the world to experience our One Happy Island,” said Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, CEO of Aruba Tourism Authority.
Fans of Aruba and Bogaerts can follow the campaign on social media using @arubatourism on Instagram and @aruba on Twitter and with the hashtag #XandersAruba throughout the baseball season for opportunities to win a trip to Xander’s Happy Island.
For more information or to see Xander’s Aruba, visit aruba.com/xander.
Jamaica has been listed in the Top 25 Best Destinations in the World for 2019 on renowned travel website TripAdvisor. The island is the only country in the Caribbean to do so, and ranks among destinations such as London, Rome and Paris.
Jamaica was ranked #14 on the TripAdvisor® Travelers’ Choice Awards’ “World’s Best Destinations” list and is also listed as the best destination in the Caribbean.
Negril’s Seven Mile Beach was also named the 10th Best Beach in the world and fifth Best Beach in the Caribbean on the 2019 TripAdvisor® Travelers’ Choice Awards’ for Beaches. TripAdvisor recognized 352 beaches around the world.
Award winners for the Best Destinations awards were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and attractions in destinations worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period, as well as traveler booking interest on TripAdvisor.
While winners for the Beaches awards were determined based on the quantity and quality of traveler reviews and ratings for beaches on TripAdvisor, gathered over a 12-month period.
Tourism Minister, Hon Edmund Bartlett says, “Jamaica is very pleased to once again receive these incredible accolades from the acclaimed travel website TripAdvisor. We have been increasing our efforts to better meet the needs of our visitors, by focusing on securing meaningful investments and improving on the variety of quality offerings in the destination. We want to thank all of our visitors for choosing Jamaica and we are always ready to welcome them to our shores.”
TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site, with over 730 million reviews and opinions covering the world’s largest selection of travel listings worldwide. It covers approximately 8.1 million accommodations, airlines, experiences, and restaurants.
For all of the 2019 Travelers’ Choice Top 25 Destinations, go to tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Destinations.
TripAdvisor is the largest travel site in the world, with 456 million people visiting the site every month to search for accommodation and other hospitality sites ranked according user reviews.
Two women alleged they were raped by staff employed by businesses currently promoted on TripAdvisor and said the company is failing its “duty to public safety” in the way it handles such complaints. They said they fear others are at risk without information about prior alleged incidents being made visible on the business page. These hotels are continuing to be promoted on TripAdvisor.
One woman said she was raped by a tour guide whose business was being promoted on the TripAdvisor. After contacting the hotel where he worked and reporting him to the police, she wanted to warn other tourists.
TripAdvisor’s response was to tell her to leave a first person review detailing her sexual assault on the website.
“I was in disbelief. Am I seriously being asked to recall the humiliating details of my own sexual assault? Was this global company pushing me to relive my trauma on their forum for everyone to see and comment, or worse of all for the perpetrator who is still out there, to respond to me, troll me?,” she said. “It left me feeling shattered, hopeless and alone.”
TripAdvisor told her that they do not remove a business from their site if a staff member was accused of sexual assault or rape, even temporarily to conduct an internal review. The company then shared 5 links with her of reviews detailing sexual assault and rape, allegedly committed by staff at different hotels, as examples of how she might write her own review.
In one review that TripAdvisor shared with her in an email dated November 2018, an 18-year-old woman said she had her drink spiked and was raped at a resort in Jamaica. She claimed the hotel hired lawyers to mount a case against her, even after undergoing a rape test at a local hospital.
The resort currently has a 4.5-star rating out of 5. There is no flag on the hotel’s TripAdvisor page to suggest any such attack has ever occurred. The only way to know would be to scroll through and read more than 5,000 reviews.
TripAdvisor ranks hotels based on the star rating given by users, but individual reviews are presented chronologically on listing page for the hotel. A review which detailed allegations of sexual assault could easily be overtaken by more recent reviews and be harder to find.
There are 40 examples of reviews describing sexual assault, rape, and groping committed by staff members of highly-rated hotels and other travel businesses on TripAdvisor. In only 14 of those cases, the hotel or travel business – such as tour guides – had replied to the review, with just one review indicating whether disciplinary action had been taken against the staff member in question.
TripAdvisor left this woman’s review as pending, because she did not write it as a first person account and it remains unpublished. She told the company she did not want to publish “first hand experiences” in fear of being contacted and identified by people whose attention she did not want to attract, including the alleged perpetrator. TripAdvisor suggested she created a burner account under an anonymous name to leave the review.
TripAdvisor has previously attempted to grapple with complaints of sexual assault. In November 2017, it said it would add a warning tags to hotels where “health, discrimination, and safety” issues have been reported – but would not explicitly say what the business has been flagged for. The decision came after the company deleted a review detailing a rape case in a hotel in Mexico because the language used breached its guidelines.
The amount of time a badge remains on a business listing is determined on a case-by-case basis, but the company uses a period of 3 months as a guideline for re-evaluation. TripAdvisor said there are currently 4 flags up on business listing pages. None of the flagged hotels or travel businesses have any warning on the business page of prior allegations made about staff.
Complainants believe a red flag on a business for 3 months to evaluate the ongoing safety of the listing is not enough, especially when little to no action is taken against the alleged attackers still employed at hotels and businesses.
Another woman, Christine, 44, from Toronto, Canada, alleged she was raped in a hotel in the Caribbean while on holiday with her family. She said the process of leaving the complaint of sexual assault as a review was futile as reviews were routinely “buried” by other reviews, making it difficult for users to find.
She added that the reviews detailing sexual assault attacks should not be lumped alongside other 1-star reviews complaining about “bed sheets.”
“They definitely should have a different kind of review system, for these types of incidences so they’re not buried in with everyone’s reviews about you know, the quality of the towels or the sheets. Especially if it’s a safety issue, particularly for women.”
Christine decided to go public with her story because, she says, “TripAdvisor has a major platform and really they have a duty for public safety, because it is a big problem. I’m not overstating it when I say it’s widespread.
“Many women contacted me and said this has happened to them, too, by a different staff member at another hotel. And we need to be aware of it.”
TripAdvisor said while the company was unsure if the reviews complaining of rape would have an impact on a business, it believed reviews were “very helpful” to travelers to inform them about where to stay or visit.
TripAdvisor added it had a team of hundreds of people working on content moderation focused on “maintaining the integrity” of the site, and that thousands of reviews on the website described health and safety issues, including sexual assault and other crimes.
The company said it took into account a number of issues before giving a business a flag, including whether a staff member of a business listed was implicated in the review complaint. The company adds a flag to listings where there are media reports of the issue or when a first-hand review is not “readily accessible.”
It said its notifications are not confirmation of the events but were there to “encourage consumers to do additional research outside of TripAdvisor” of the safety of the businesses. However, the company claimed most businesses that had received a flag had taken steps to address the issue that caused the media coverage.
In a statement to the Guardian, TripAdvisor said: “It is terrible that some travelers endure serious issues such as assault or rape, and we hope our platform can be used by them to help warn and protect others. It is important that reviewers follow our publishing guidelines to ensure the accuracy of our reviews, and when these reviews are not readily available and news reports exist that detail recent and pervasive health and safety matters, TripAdvisor’s notification process helps alert travelers about potential issues at a location.”
Ranking fifth out of 25 for the Best Beach in the Caribbean and tenth out of 25 in the World, TripAdvisor recognized 352 beaches around the world. Winners were determined based on the quantity and quality of traveller reviews and ratings for beaches on TripAdvisor, gathered over a 12-month period.
“We’re so pleased that Negril’s Seven Mile Beach has been recognized by TripAdvisor’s travel community as one of the top beaches in the world,” said Donovan White, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “These accolades are a testament to Jamaica’s appeal as a sought-after destination in the Caribbean and in the world. Our gratitude goes to our loyal guests for their continued positive feedback.”
eTN Chatroom: Discuss with readers from around the world:
“Congratulations to Negril’s Seven Mile Beach for being named a Travellers’ Choice Beaches winner this year. Our Traveller’s Choice awards are even more special than other editorially selected awards because these winners are determined through review data by our global community. From beautiful crystalline waters and golden sand, to stunning rugged coastlines where you can spot exotic wildlife, this list has something for everyone,” said Desirée Fish, vice president of global communications for TripAdvisor.
To see TripAdvisor traveller reviews and opinions of Negril’s Seven Mile Beach go to https://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Beaches-cTop-g147237.
For the complete list of Travelers’ Choice award-winning beaches for 2019, visit: https://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Beaches.