Business News first on FIR:
MELVILLE, N.Y.–()– #authentication–Intellicheck launches a new logo and website as the company continues to grow its authentication technology offerings and North American presence.
“Since our inception last July, we hit the ground running to accelerate the tourism economy,” said Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico. “This brand campaign follows a strong publicity effort that set up Puerto Rico as the top place to visit in 2019 and a recently revamped website, DiscoverPuertoRico.com.
“The creative highlights our two strongest assets – our culture and our people – and will help us strengthen traveler’s familiarity with what makes our Island one-of-a-kind.” The campaign officially launches today across digital channels via digital banners, social, pre-roll and a follow-up TV spot that will launch in coming weeks in key markets. Additional marketing support is expected throughout the rest of 2019, to attract visitors to the Island during the summer travel season.”
Discover Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico’s newly-established Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), announced today the rollout of Puerto Rico’s brand campaign called “Have We Met Yet?” which draws inspiration from Puerto Rico’s cultural and natural offerings and at its essence, focuses on the hospitable and welcoming nature of its people. By posing the question “Have We Met Yet?” the creative re-introduces the Island to the world and brings to life the exotic yet familiar essence of Puerto Rico. As the U.S. mainland’s “neighbor to the south,” the new campaign showcases through Puerto Rico’s iconic doors how the Island welcomes visitors with open arms.
Following extensive research that showed that Puerto Rico’s brand identity was neutral in the minds of travelers, this new campaign is this next phase of Discover Puerto Rico’s brand repositioning process, enabling the Island to fully capitalize on its rich tourism product offerings and emerge as a leading Caribbean destination. The creative repositions the island as that neighbor that one dreams of – with the festive flair, the ocean view, the incredible art collection, the delicious food. Puerto Rico is the neighbor you’ll laugh with, celebrate with, and maybe even fall in love with.
“Puerto Rico’s people, its rich culture and unparalleled natural offerings, combined with the fact that it’s a U.S. territory and easily accessible, were key factors that led to this creative. We’re excited to debut this brand campaign as it opens the door, literally, to endless possibilities that showcase the spirit of the Puerto Rican people and everything the Island has to offer,” said Leah Chandler, CMO of Discover Puerto Rico.
Travelers exposed to the new brand campaign will be immediately drawn by the colorful vibrant doors and stunning imagery found throughout the Island. The creative highlights many aspects that make Puerto Rico a unique destination—ranging from its people, its cuisine, its festive spirit, its natural attractions, and much more.
“The campaign invites travelers to visit Puerto Rico and meet us, the neighbor that you can’t live without,” said Chandler. “Puerto Rico was named the #1 Place to Visit in 2019 by the New York Times and has topped over 20 other notable lists of places to visit this year,” she added. “We want to send a message to all travelers that this is THE year to visit Puerto Rico. The entire island is eager to welcome them.”
The creative was ideated and produced by Beautiful Destinations, with support from local production crews who traveled throughout the Island to capture the beautiful scenery, thousands of colorful doors, and welcoming faces of the Puerto Rican people.
To view the “Have We Met Yet?” creative online, visit YouTube.com/DiscoverPuertoRico and be on the lookout for additional campaign creative coming soon.
Earlier this year Pure Africa Destination Management announced its latest restaurant management partnership with Afro-Chic destination venue Zambezi House Restaurant, which was voted as one of the ‘Most Beautiful Restaurants in the World’ by Condé Nast Traveller.
The team at Pure Africa have since then been busy with the reimagination of designing culinary journeys in Victoria Falls for the menu relaunch of Zambezi House, which has taken much of its inspiration from the meandering journey of the venue’s key feature, the Zambezi River.
Pure Africa recently appointed head chef Mike van Rooyen for the development of the latest tasting menu at Zambezi House, forming part of the greater Pure Africa culinary art initiatives aiming to raise the benchmark for food tourism in Victoria Falls.
Our passion is rooted in travel, innovation, design, culinary art and impact, which form our company’s philosophy in looking to awaken this new African spirit together with local talent, international culinary techniques served with the key ingredient, which is warm Zimbabwean hospitality.
“Seasonal ingredients and traditional dishes reimagined, prepared with local knowledge, global culinary techniques and eventually served with the key ingredient, which is warm Zimbabwean hospitality.”
Pure Africa has coincided the latest Zambezi House menu offering, launching in early May 2019 with full day culinary packages for those travellers looking to experience the local food scene in Victoria Falls;
Pure Africa Culinary Journeys in Victoria Falls:
Historic Tram & Bridge Tour + Zambezi House Dinne
What to expect:
A guided tram tour of Victoria Falls Bridge paired up with freshly baked gourmet sandwiches to start, followed by a craft gin pop-up bar and gourmet snack table overlooking the spray of the Falls from the Zambian border and ending off with a three-course dinner tasting menu to be enjoyed later that evening at Zambezi House Restaurant.
Artisanal Sandwiches, Pimm’s Train Station Bar, Craft Gin & Tonic Pop Up Bar, Gourmet Scenic Snacks and a three-course Zambezi House dinner experience.
Luxury Deck Sunset River Cruise + Zambezi House Dinner
What to expect:
A sunset river cruise down the Zambezi paired up with a relaxing three-course dinner experience perched on the edge of the river.
Gourmet sunset tasting boards, craft selection of premium beverages onboard the sunset river cruise followed by a three-course Zambezi House tasting menu prepared by head chef Mike Viljoen.
Russia’s Aeroflot has been once again named the Favorite International Airline in China. The award was given to Aeroflot for the third consecutive year at the Flyer Award Ceremony 2019. The award ceremony was held today in Shanghai, the economic capital of China.
The awards are supported by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Winners are selected by the jury and by votes from frequent flyers and travelers.
The awards recognize outstanding participants in China’s dynamically developing tourism market. Previous winners include leading global airlines, including carriers that hold Skytrax 5-Star Airline status.
Aeroflot retained the title of Favorite International Airline at the competitive Flyer Awards due to its key competitive advantages: high service quality and flexible fare policy.
“The recognition of Aeroflot as the Favorite International Airline in China is confirmation of the effectiveness of our strategic efforts in China,” Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Saveliev said. “We offer our customers a wide route network and one of the youngest fleets in the world. Millions of Chinese passengers choose our airline for affordable ticket prices, convenient transit via our hub airport Sheremetyevo and high-quality service. Further development of service on Europe-Asia transit routes – one of the most competitive aviation markets globally – is one of Aeroflot’s key goals, along with the active expansion of the domestic route network.”
Aeroflot’s convenient routes encompass four key locations in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Aeroflot continuously adds new services oriented at the Chinese market. Earlier Aeroflot signed a partnership agreement with Alipay, China’s most popular payment system.
Aeroflot’s official website has a Chinese-language interface. Passengers receive menus in Chinese, and the in-flight entertainment system is available in Chinese. Onboard announcements are made in Chinese and the menu offers a special Asian set.
Aeroflot consistently enjoys wide recognition and popularity among consumers in the Chinese market. In January, Aeroflot was named Best China – Europe Transit Airline at the 2019 Stars Awards in China.
Taking its environmental responsibilities seriously and championing wildlife conservation across different corners of the planet, the Emirates Group is playing its part to support and preserve biodiversity.
The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in Australia both illustrate the Group’s long-standing focus on protecting fragile ecosystems and support for sustainable tourism in very different parts of the world. Both conservation reserves protect valuable ecosystems and at the same time provide unique and sustainable experiences for visitors from around the world.
The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
The Emirates Group funds the operations of the 225 square kilometre Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR), an inland desert habitat that has been protected by government mandate since 2003. This is the largest piece of land that Dubai has dedicated to a single project and aims to preserve Dubai’s unique desert environment for future generations. The DDCR plays an important role in ecological research, actively collaborating with both local and international universities. The findings and results of the research studies help to enhance knowledge of the desert ecosystem, gather scientific data around rare and endangered desert species, monitor its balance and preserve its natural environment.
The reserve is also a focal point for conservation programmes aimed at restoring populations of some of the UAE’s wildlife, such as the Arabian gazelle, sand gazelle and Arabian oryx. Since their reintroduction into the DDCR, the antelope species have thrived, and their populations have significantly increased, triggering the process of looking into relocating some oryx and gazelle species to other protected areas within the region. Over 250 endangered Macqueen’s bustard (houbara) were also released this year with 25 of them fitted with tracking devices to monitor their movement and breeding progress.
In 2018, the DDCR was visited by more than 285,000 tourists, through Arabian Adventures, various Emirates partner tour operators, and the Al Maha Desert Resort. The DDCR offers low-impact desert experiences in addition to desert clean-up activities in coordination with Arabian Adventures. During 2018 the DDCR was accepted as a candidate for the IUCN Green List for Protected and Conserved Areas, a global standard for the world’s most effectively managed Protected Areas.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
Emirates has been supporting the protection of Australia’s extraordinary wildlife and plant life for over 10 years, through the conservation-based Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in New South Wales. The property was the first luxury resort in the world to receive an internationally-recognised carbon neutral certification from New Zealand based CarboNZero, undergoing a comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions assessment. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley also conducts regular research to identify opportunities and challenges for endangered species conservation. Efforts have also been underway to help restore vital vegetation and tree planting activities, which have helped to re-establish habitats for vital bird populations, essential for their long term survival.
Emirates and Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley jointly funded the development of the WomSAT app and website in collaboration the University of Western Sydney to help researchers identify opportunities for wombat conservation. Wombats are threatened by sarcoptic mange, an unpleasant and often fatal skin disease that afflicts Australia’s largest burrow builder. The tool is used to record wombat sightings and track population health to help treat wombats afflicted by sarcoptic mange. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is also spearheading a number of other conservation projects, such as the Wolgan River Restoration Project, an ongoing weed management programme, and supporting research projects with Western Sydney University.
United for Wildlife and The Buenos Aires Declaration
Since 2015, Emirates has continued its strong support for actions to stem the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products, which is having devastating consequences for endangered animals and the environment in many parts of the world. In 2018, the Emirates Group also signed the Buenos Aires Declaration on Travel and Tourism and Illegal Wildlife Trade, an effort led by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) to reach a billion travellers with messages to fight the illegal wildlife trade and work with communities to develop sustainable tourism that provides livelihoods and protects wildlife. The WTTC and World Wildlife Fund are developing guidelines to eliminate illegal wildlife trafficking from the travel and tourism supply chains.
The Emirates Group has also adopted a zero-tolerance policy to wildlife trafficking and has set up training for its employees to identify and look out for warning signs of smuggled wildlife products during cargo transportation and screening. Emirates will not carry banned species, hunting trophies or any products associated with illegal wildlife activities.
Using its brand power to raise awareness around the illegal trafficking of endangered wildlife, Emirates emblazoned four of its A380s with special wildlife decals. Since then the aircraft have flown millions of kilometres across 48 cities in 29 countries on close to 6,000 flights taking this important message around the world and spurring conversation around wildlife preservation.
dnata Wildlife Conservation and Nature
dnata recently signed an MOU with the University of Pretoria in South Africa to support their research and rehabilitation projects. Under dnata4good, the partnership aims to safeguard wildlife and the environment by strengthening and enhancing research, veterinary training and awareness, increasing involvement through volunteer opportunities and ensuring needed measures are taken to care for injured animals and rehabilitate them to go back into the wild. The initiative will be partially driven by employee participation to protect fragile biodiversity in South Africa and to maintain balanced ecosystems.
Give a Ghaf
Emirates Group employees living in Meydan Heights (UAE) will be taking part in a Ghaf Tree planting event on 27 April in partnership with Goumbook. The event aims to raise awareness about the importance of conserving the living desert, with a specific focus on the Ghaf tree. The Ghaf is a drought tolerant, evergreen tree which can withstand harsh desert environments, and can be used for greening purposes whilst saving water.
SBC Travel Group, a technology company, has officially appointed Chief Digital Officer Anthoney Jayasekera. He steps into this role with more than 18 years of experience within the hospitality sector, having worked in digital marketing and online distribution for several leading global brands including Minor Hotels, Crown Melbourne and Aitken Spence Hotels where he was in charge of driving digital strategies.
“SBC Travel excites me as they have a passion for embracing new technology and building solutions for travel,” Mr. Jayasekera says. “Being with hospitality and travel for the last 18 years, I’ve been able to see the paradigm shift from traditional to digital platforms. It’s exciting to see the transformation from then to now. However, there’s still more opportunity to improve and disrupt current processes so they can be secure, faster, novel, and cost-effective with the use of new advancements in technology.”
In his new role with SBC Travel Group, Mr. Jayasekera will direct the overall digital strategy for all business units within SBC Travel, manage the website and social presence and manage all digital marketing initiatives.
For more information on SBC Travel, please visit sbctravel.io.
Global hospitality is at a crossroads. In the last 20 years, technology has transformed every aspect of the guest journey, from online bookings to in-room services to post-stay feedback. But as technology continues to evolve and advance, what will the hotel industry look like 10 years in the future?
In the past, digitalization was largely driven by companies, as new solutions were introduced to enhance efficiency and target customers more effectively. In the modern era however, it is customers who are demanding greater connectivity. This is especially true in the hotel industry, which is driven by modern lifestyle trends and the “always-on” mindset of millennial travelers.
In light of these trends, Markland Blaiklock, Centara’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, explains his vision for the future of the hospitality industry in the next decade:
“Ten years from now, I’m sure we will look back and see that the hospitality industry changed much more than predicted, and Asia will continue to be a major catalyst for change. This evolution will be part social and part technological, but the overall goal will be the same: to meet and exceed guests’ expectations,” he commented.
According to Mr. Blaiklock, Centara foresees three significant trends shaping its business, and the entire industry, going forward:
Travel and work life will become inseparable thanks to improved technology and faster connectivity. This trend will occur in all countries but will be led by China and the rest of Asia, which are currently driving the growth in overseas travel. The launch of Centara’s new “Meetings Redesigned” MICE initiative will help to accommodate this shift, by allowing companies to be more flexible and creative with their event agendas.
Robotics and artificial intelligence will create hyper-connected hotel experiences. The Internet of Things (IoT) will seamlessly connect every hotel touchpoint, which will be personalized to the unique preferences every guest. In addition, big data insights will enable hotel staff to improve service quality in real time.
Delivering emotional experiences will be the ultimate goal of hotels. As technology takes over, many guests will go in search of authenticity, human interaction and genuine hospitality. The ability to predict and identify human emotions will be key to the success of hotels in the coming decades.
The big question for hoteliers now and in the future will be: how do we successfully integrate technology to improve the guest’s entire journey, whilst also retaining our distinct personality and brand loyalty?
For Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand’s leading hotel operator, this balance is at the core of its strategic vision. In the coming years decades, the group will focus delivering warm Thai hospitality in line with the latest social and technological trends to create exceptional customer experiences.
Centara has proven adept at developing new brands that embrace innovation. The most recent example is COSI, which caters for young-minded and tech-savvy travelers with friendly, simple and affordable accommodation and state-of-the-art amenities like smartphone integration, self-service check-in and a 24-hour lifestyle café concept. It is no surprise that this contemporary concept, which made its debut in Koh Samui in 2017, is now a key driving force behind Centara’s expansion strategy.
In many ways, COSI represents the future of hospitality. Its combination of connectivity, comfort and convenience enables guests to blend business and leisure travel, a key trend identified by Mr. Blaiklock. Across all of Centara’s six brands however, the group continues to roll out innovative new digital experiences.
Recent initiatives range from revamping the Centara website and mobile app for a seamless online experience, to launching a new central reservation system and revenue management system for global coordination. The new Chinese language, China-hosted website, social media pages and payment solutions are also positioning Centara to compete successfully in the world’s largest travel market.
Technology, however, is only one element of a successful strategy. Hotel guests will always be human beings, and the majority of humans visit a destination to experience its charm and culture, not to look at a screen. For Centara, the ability to deliver authentic Thai hospitality is something that can never be replaced by technology. By harnessing big data and personalization tools however, hoteliers can enhance every human interaction. Intuitive and rewarding loyalty programs like CentaraThe1 will play a major part in anticipating and delivering tailored experiences.
So digitalization really is the key; by using smart technology to identify and satisfy guest preferences, the hoteliers of the future will be able to create truly bespoke experiences for every guest.
Centara Hotels & Resorts is Thailand’s leading hotel operator. Its 68 properties span all major Thai destinations plus the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Laos, China, Oman, Qatar and the UAE. Centara’s portfolio comprises six brands -Centara Grand Hotels & Resorts, Centara Hotels & Resorts, Centara Boutique Collection, Centra by Centara, Centara Residences & Suites and COSI Hotels – ranging from 5-star city hotels and luxurious island retreats to family resorts and affordable lifestyle concepts supported by innovative technology. It also operates state-of-the-art convention centers and has its own award-winning spa brand, Cenvaree. Throughout the collection, Centara delivers and celebrates the hospitality and values Thailand is famous for including gracious service, exceptional food, pampering spas and the importance of families. Centara’s distinctive culture and diversity of formats allow it to serve and satisfy travelers of nearly every age and lifestyle.
Over the next five years Centara aims to double its size with additional properties in Thailand and new international markets, while spreading its footprint into new continents and market niches. As Centara continues to expand, a growing base of loyal customers will find the company’s unique style of hospitality in more locations. Centara’s global loyalty program, Centara The1, reinforces their loyalty with rewards, privileges and special member pricing.
One of India’s major airlines, Jet Airways, has announced it is temporarily halting flight operations on Wednesday after the carrier failed to secure the “critical interim funding” necessary for the company to remain afloat.
Jet Airways will operate the last flight on Wednesday as it cancels all its international and domestic flights, the airline said in a statement. It explained that it cannot afford to pay for fuel or other critical services to keep the operations going, as all its months-long attempts to seek both interim and long-term funding were in vain.
“Unfortunately, despite its very best efforts, the airline has been left with no other choice today but to go ahead with a temporary suspension of flight operations,” the statement reads.
Earlier this month, the airline’s fleet was significantly reduced to just five aircraft and it was forced to suspend international operations. On Wednesday, the Jet Airways website listed only 37 domestic flights and had an additional nine-page list of canceled flights, saying that the schedule was impacted by “operational reasons.”
The troubled company failed to receive a stop-gap loan of about $217 million from its lenders as part of a rescue deal agreed in late March, Reuters earlier reported.
“Bankers did not want to go for a piecemeal approach which would keep the carrier flying for a few days and then again risk having Jet come back for more interim funding,” an unnamed bank source in the negotiations on the debt resolution process told the agency.
The uncertainty over the crucial funding crashed Jet Airways stock on Tuesday, with shares plunging around 20 percent.
Employees have been hit hardest by the crisis in the company and have reportedly not been paid in months. The pilots even called on the State Bank of India (SBI) to release the necessary funds and appealed to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to save 20,000 jobs which may be lost in the shutdown.
The Tourism Department proudly released the second edition of its Beach and Sea Safety guide during a Launch ceremony Officiated by Minister Didier Dogley, Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine on Monday April 15, 2019 at Botanical House.
The launch of the publication saw the presence of Principal Secretary for Tourism Mrs. Anne Lafortune and Ms. Philomena Hollanda, Director for Risk Management at the Ministry for Tourism.
During his address to the press, Minister Dogley commended the efforts of the Tourism department for the initiative.
He also extended his compliments to the Seychelles Police, Seychelles Lifeguard, Seychelles Maritime and Safety Administration and the Seychelles Tourism Board who have contributed towards the publication the for their assistance.
“As a destination it is our obligation to provide our visitors with correct and concise information, more often than not our guests feel like they are in paradise and there are no risks. They forget that anywhere they go around the world they need to take precautionary measures to keep themselves safe,” said Minister Dogley.
The Beach and Sea Safety guide is an updated version of a similar publication released in 2014 by the department.
The booklet, which will be shared with all tourism establishments and visitors through the STB Visitors Office on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, seeks to educate the visitors on safety measures that they should undertake whilst on their holiday.
Taking about the guide, Ms. Philomena Hollanda mentioned that the content has been updated in view of the developments that have occurred in the past 5 years in Seychelles.
She also pointed out the new features of the booklet including indications of warning signs, additional information on marine fauna.
“In view of the sudden increase of visitor’s arrivals there is a pressing need for our department to find a way to inform our visitors about safety for their own good. The booklet is a user-friendly publication, which has been designed with beautiful pictures of the Seychelles. It provides information and can also be kept as a souvenir,” Said Ms. Hollanda.
Some 10,000 copies of the booklet has been printed and a digital copy of the same is available on the department’s website.
The excitement was palpable at Beau Vallon Beach on Saturday, April 13, 2019, almost a month before the Seychelles hosts for the second consecutive year the FINA CNSG Open Water World Series 2019.
This year’s event is being held in collaboration with Chinese based company CNSG and Seychelles is once again the second leg in the series of eight.
The organizing committee’s partners including the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), officials and local swimmers gathered at Beau Vallon Beach where a trial run was organized to test out the facilities, the technical requirements and of course, the local swimming talents.
Principal Secretary for Sports, Fabien Palmyre present at the trial run mentioned his satisfaction to see that the FINA CNSG Open Water World Series 2019 is materializing with the support of all local partners.
“I am excited to again, be part of such an event. I am proud of all our young swimmers who have made an effort to be present today. I am grateful to all the partners and volunteers and I am definitely looking forward to this year’s event,” said PS Palmyre.
15 swimmers competed in the Beau Vallon waters in three main races, 2.5 km, 5 km and 7.5 km. According to the Seychelles Swimming Association (SSA) officials, the reasoning behind the distances selected is to enable the swimmers to test out their abilities to see which category would suit them best for the May 11, 2019 event, which will be opened for the public and other swimming enthusiasts.
The 2019 Mass Open Water event will take place on Saturday May 11, one day prior to the Elite event.
The May 11 Mass event will comprise of four distances, Group A (500 m), Group B (1 km), Group C (3 km) and Group D (5 km). The only age restriction will be for Group A where students aged 13 years and under can participate. The others will be open to all ages and there will be two races, a male and a female race for each distance.
“Mass participation is crucial in making the Mass event a success and the Seychelles Swimming Association is calling on all swimmers to register for the event,” said David Vidot, SSA Chairperson.
Mr. Vidot indicated that the forms for registration are available on the SSA Facebook page and website. The deadline to return the registration form to the Swimming Association is May 1, 2019.
The Seychelles is honored this year to have four Seychellois swimmers qualified to take part in the Elite 10 km race, which will take place on Sunday May 12, 2019.
Joining the 2018 swimmers, brothers Bertrand and Damien Payet, will be Matthew Bachmann and Alain Vidot, both of whom completed the 7.5 km race finishing second and third consecutively behind Damien who crossed the finishing line on Saturday first.
The Elite event which is broadcast to a global audience via the FINA network, exposes Seychelles in another light, similar to that of the annual Eco-Marathon event, which strengthens Seychelles’ potential as a Sports Tourism destination.
“It is such a privilege to be hosting the event again on our shores; as announced earlier this year, STB is committed to promote Seychelles as an ideal sports destination. Our collaboration with Seychelles Swimming Association and other partners for FINA CNSG Open Water World Series 2019 is an ideal platform for us to showcase our beautiful destination and its pristine waters,” said Mrs. Sherin Francis, Seychelles Tourism Board Chief Executive.
In May 2018, open water swimming made its debut in Seychelles, as the small island nation became the second host in the FINA World Cup Series 2018. The iconic Beau Vallon beach was the chosen venue to launch Seychelles in the open water swimming world, making it the first country in Africa to host an event of this caliber.
As part of the FINA mandate, the host country is required to host a mass event alongside the elite 10k m event, in order to encourage and mobilize the local community to appreciate and take part in the sport.