News: Qatar Airways rolls-out Inmarsat GX Aviation technology

News: Qatar Airways rolls-out Inmarsat GX Aviation technology

Qatar Airways passengers can now experience high-speed broadband connectivity using Inmarsat’s GX Aviation technology.

The service is being progressively rolled out on all Boeing 777 aircraft and Airbus A350 aircraft in Qatar Airways’ fleet.

Qatar Airways is the first airline in the MENA region to have invested in the technology to provide this quality of service for passengers.

Passengers on flights fitted with GX Aviation can receive one-hour free access to the ‘Super Wi-Fi’.

If more time is needed, passengers can purchase full-flight access to the service selecting from a range of affordable options.

Qatar Airways chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “In another first for the MENA region, Qatar Airways passengers can now enjoy high-speed broadband connectivity, providing rich content without restriction, whether using the internet for work or relaxation during their journey.

“Business travellers in particular will be able to maximise their ‘office in the sky’ with seamless continuity.”

Inmarsat are the same high-tech provider selected by Qatar Airways for its space-based tracking system used to track all its flights worldwide.

Inmarsat use a network of satellites to detect signals transmitted from aircraft and relay this information reporting speed, location and direction, to ground-based receivers.

President of Inmarsat aviation, Philip Balaam, said: “Qatar Airways is renowned as one of the greatest innovators in global aviation with passengers being at the centre of everything they do.

“We are delighted that they are now pioneering our game-changing GX Aviation inflight broadband across the globe.”


via Breaking Travel News

May 1, 2018 at 10:02AM

News: American Constitution joins American Cruise Lines fleet

News: American Constitution joins American Cruise Lines fleet

American Cruise Lines’ brand-new cruise ship, American Constitution, just completed its successful inaugural sailing on Chesapeake Bay.

The cruise departed from Baltimore and passengers were thrilled with both the gorgeous new 175-passenger ship and the fantastic new 11-day, ten-night American Revolution itinerary.

“American Constitution has been exceptionally well received and all the spring American Revolution cruises are already sold out,” a company official said.

During the inaugural sailing last week, American Constitution made additional news as it docked inside the District of Columbia at The Wharf.

This was the first time a cruise ship has called on DC’s south-west waterfront in over 60 years.

With the cherry blossoms in full bloom, guests aboard enjoyed spectacular scenic views, guided shore tours, and world class onboard entertainment.

American Constitution is the newest ship in American Cruise Lines’ expanding fleet of ten coastal and river ships.

When the spring American Revolution itineraries conclude late May, the new ship will head north to do the line’s popular Grand New England Lobsterbake cruises over the summer and Hudson River Fall Foliage cruises in the fall.

American Constitution will return to Chesapeake Bay in late October.


via Breaking Travel News

May 1, 2018 at 10:02AM

News: Accra Marriott Hotel takes company into west Africa

News: Accra Marriott Hotel takes company into west Africa

Marriott Hotels has announced its debut in west Africa, with the opening of Accra Marriott Hotel.

Owned by African Hospitality, the hotel is strategically located opposite the Kotoka International Airport.

Set in the heart of Airport City, a burgeoning urban development, the Accra Marriott Hotel is just a few kilometres outside of the central business district providing easy access to major corporate businesses, government entities and well-known city landmarks.

“We are thrilled to open the Accra Marriott Hotel, a highly anticipated addition to our Africa portfolio and a significant milestone in our journey,” said Alex Kyriakidis, president, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International.

“Accra is the heartbeat of Ghana, a dynamic city bustling with energy.

“A commercial, manufacturing, and communications centre with great shopping and excellent nightlife, it makes an interesting travel destination both for business and for leisure.

“The Accra Marriott Hotel will add to the city’s maturing hospitality scene, inspiring guests with more forward-thinking experiences and aesthetically inspiring spaces that speak to their inventive nature.”

With 208 well-appointed rooms, three = dining venues, 800 square meters of meeting space, a pool and a fully equipped fitness centre, Accra Marriott Hotel offers state-of-the-art business facilities.


via Breaking Travel News

May 1, 2018 at 09:21AM

Getting Drinks in Tokyo

Getting Drinks in Tokyo

Passport 360 Special from Tokyo

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I made three cool 360 videos on my most recent trip to Tokyo. The first one of them is Very Passive! It’s just me and my son getting off the subway and walking around Shibuya. I tried not to talk during it just so you could see the sights and hear the sounds of Tokyo. The second you will see tomorrow!

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Daily Photo – Getting Drinks in Tokyo

This is one of those hundred tiny bars in Golden Gai. I think one reason we came in here is because the bartender was pretty cute. It’s a shallow reason, I know, but it’s as good as any. She didn’t speak a lick of English, but she seemed to know the name of every cocktail, which was more than suitable for the evening. I went in here with my 17 year old son Ethan and our friend Nemo (pictured above).

Getting Drinks in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-02-02 02:46:30
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture4
  • ISO12800
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias


via Stuck in Customs

May 1, 2018 at 09:12AM

News: airBaltic launches new flights to Almaty, Kazakhstan

News: airBaltic launches new flights to Almaty, Kazakhstan

airBaltic has launched a new route from Riga International Airport to Almaty in Kazakhstan.

The new service offers convenient travel between the two cities, and beyond to destinations in the Baltics, Scandinavia, Russia, and the CIS.

Wolfgang Reuss, senior vice president of network management at airBaltic, said: “We are delighted to launch flights between Riga and Almaty for the summer season of 2018.

“Thanks to our modernised fleet with CS300 aircraft we now can reach further destinations and offer an improved flying experience for travellers on the world’s most modern aircraft.

“The new route from Riga to Almaty is the second longest flight on our network.”
airBaltic flies from Riga to Almaty three flights weekly.

Passengers will board a Bombardier CS300 aircraft for a flight that will last approximately five hours and 15 minutes.

airBaltic serves over 70 routes from Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius, offering the largest variety of destinations and convenient connections via Riga to its network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, the CIS and the Middle East.

For summer 2018, airBaltic has introduced eight new destinations from Riga to Malaga, Lisbon, Split, Bordeaux, Gdansk, Almaty as well as Sochi and Kaliningrad.

In addition, airBaltic launched a new direct route connecting Tallinn and London.


via Breaking Travel News

May 1, 2018 at 09:01AM

News: Ryan to fill newly created regional sales manager role at Saga

News: Ryan to fill newly created regional sales manager role at Saga

Saga Travel has announced the appointment of Liz Ryan to the tole of senior regional sales manager, responsible for managing the trade-facing regional sales team.

Ryan returns to Saga Travel after a spell at Wendy Wu, managing the north-west region.

In her previous time with Saga, Ryan was responsible for the north-west Region in a field sales role. 

Ryan has also previously worked for, Travel Supermarket and Global Travel Group. 

She joined Saga in the newly created role earlier this week.

Iain Powell, head of trade sales, Saga, said: “I am delighted that Liz has joined us in this newly created role. 

“She has a wealth of experience across the industry, as well as knowing Saga incredibly well.

“I have talked at length about our significant growth plans for the trade; Liz will be pivotal in us realising these goals.

“This further investment in our Trade support shows Saga Travel’s commitment to making this channel successful.”


via Breaking Travel News

May 1, 2018 at 09:01AM

News: Radisson Red Glasgow welcomes first guests to Scottish hotspot

News: Radisson Red Glasgow welcomes first guests to Scottish hotspot

Radisson Red Glasgow has opened its doors in Scotland’s largest city, ready to shake up the UK’s hotel scene.

Radisson Red is Radisson Hotel Group’s upscale, select service hotel brand that aims to inject new life into hospitality through a focus on informal services, the latest technology, and bold design.

The 174-room Radisson Red Glasgow is also the first new-build Radisson Red property to open in Europe.

Located in the heart of the city’s music and art scene, Red Glasgow provides travellers with an ideal base from which to explore the city and is only minutes away from some of the best music venues in Scotland, including the world-renowned SSE Hydro.

From keyless entry to self-check-in and check-out, technology features heavily throughout the hotel.

Managed through the Red app, guests can do everything from requesting extra pillows to arranging a group ride to airport.

They can even chat to other guests and find out where the best gigs are in town that night.

Responsible for all operations at the hotel, curator Michael Weston commented: “We’re all so excited to open and introduce Red to Glasgow and the wider UK.

“The Red experience is different – we encourage laughter, playfulness and even a little mischief with guests, and we use our spaces as a showcase for some of the best local talent in art, design, music and fashion. 

“We really hope people come to the hotel, love what they see, and come back again and again.”

Radisson Red Glasgow is the brand’s fifth hotel to open around the world, joining Red hotels in Brussels, Campinas, Cape Town, and Minneapolis.

For anyone looking to watch the sunset over the River Clyde, the hotel’s stunning new Red Sky Bar, Glasgow’s first rooftop bar, will be the place to be.

Glasgow, famed for its cutting-edge music, fashion and arts scene, is one of the UK’s hottest city-break destinations, with over two million tourists now visiting the city on an annual basis. 

Venues like the Hydro and SECC make Glasgow one of the biggest event and conference destinations in Europe. 

The international airport, and strong rail and road transport links, provide easy access to Glasgow and surrounding areas for business and leisure guests alike.


via Breaking Travel News

May 1, 2018 at 08:49AM

News: Marriott seeks Chinese travellers with new digital solutions

News: Marriott seeks Chinese travellers with new digital solutions

Marriott International has redesigned its storefront on Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel service platform, and revealed the rollout of Post Post Pay functionality across more than 1,000 Marriott hotels globally.

Through the digital solutions, Marriott International elevates both the online and offline travel experience for Chinese consumers.

As part of Marriott’s first phase of service enhancements, its new storefront on Fliggy will elevate the digital experience for Chinese consumers.

The new storefront will feature approximately 6,000 hotels from across Marriott International’s global inventory of 30 brands, presented in a Chinese traveller-friendly layout.

Through the storefront, Fliggy’s innovative PPP functionality will be offered to qualified Fliggy users at more than 1,000 hotels globally, including more than 270 hotels in the Greater China region, where the service is already available, and in high-demand locations throughout the Asia Pacific region, such as Australia, Japan, the Maldives, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

To complement these enhancements, Marriott expects to certify over 1,000 hotels globally in its “Li Yu” program, designed to provide travellers from China a warm welcome and the comforts of home anywhere in the world they may go.

In August 2017, Marriott International and Alibaba Group formed a joint venture aimed at redefining the travel experience for the hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers traveling domestically and abroad every year.

It utilises industry expertise, local customer insights and technology to empower travel companies to foster an innovative customer experience for Chinese travellers.

The global rollout of PPP, an innovative credit-based hotel payment service developed by Fliggy, reaffirms Marriott’s commitment to enhancing the travel experience of Chinese consumers.

It enables qualified Fliggy users to book hotels without paying a deposit, have a comprehensive wallet-free experience during their stay and enjoy an express check-out service.

Room charges and incidental expenses are automatically settled afterwards, providing a seamless, wallet-free payment experience for both customers and hotels.

The PPP program was introduced in March 2015 as part of Fliggy’s strategy to reshape the hospitality industry through internet-based innovation.

More than 100,000 hotels across mainland China have joined the program since its launch.

Marriott International is the pioneer in rolling out this innovative experience on a global scale.

“China is the leading market for mobile payments.

“Sixty-five per cent of Chinese tourists have used mobile payments on their most recent trips overseas,” said Peggy Fang Roe, chief sales and marketing officer, Asia Pacific, Marriott International.

“Offering PPP will be a key competitive advantage for Marriott International hotels, connecting our global portfolio of brands with Chinese travellers.”


via Breaking Travel News

May 1, 2018 at 08:36AM

How Europe Came Back From the Brink: Read the New Magazine

How Europe Came Back From the Brink: Read the New Magazine

Read the Skift Forum Europe 2018 digital magazine.

Last week, we examined the trends that are shaping travel in Europe at Skift Forum Europe in Berlin. Executives from Airbnb, AccorHotels, Google,, and others discussed strategy, changing consumer behavior, and, at times, each other.

In tandem with the event, we released a magazine exploring how Europe roared back after a difficult 2016. Despite terror attacks, Brexit-related uncertainty, and nationalist political rhetoric across the continent, Europe saw tourism arrivals soar 8 percent in 2017.

In a series of stories, analyses, and data-rich charts from Skift’s editorial and research teams, we look at the big picture of European tourism as well as the ramifications for meetings, the cruise industry, airlines, homesharing, venture capital, and more.

Read the digital magazine for insight into how Europe is moving forward, what that means to various sectors of travel, and which destinations are making the biggest gains.

What You’ll Find Inside

Executives Weigh In on European Performance

European Tourism Takes a Step Forward (and Back From the Brink)

European Meetings Destinations Capitalize on Travel Boom

The Blockchain Buzzword

North American Cruisers Make an Enthusiastic Return to Europe

Spain’s Tourism Success Continues Despite Roadblocks

European Airlines and the New Normal

European Tourism Growth Moves East

Total Nights Spend at Tourism Accommodations

European Tourism Had One of Its Best Years While U.S. Had One of Its Worst

Homesharing European-Style

European Travel Startup Funding Leaders by Country 2017

The Foreign Exchange Tourism Bump

Read the digital magazine here.

Skift Forum Europe was made possible by our sponsors: AirbusAccorHotels, Accenture, Accenture Amadeus Alliance, Jordan Tourism Board, Movable Ink, PiaboSimilarWebSojern, Travelsify, and visitBerlin.


via Skift

May 1, 2018 at 07:32AM

First Unified Tourism Voice for Africa Faces Challenges

First Unified Tourism Voice for Africa Faces Challenges

Editor’s Note: Gateway is a Skift series featuring first-hand, original stories from our correspondents embedded in cities around the world. The logo reflects where the correspondent is based and not necessarily the article’s focus. Read about the series here.

Africa recorded just 62 million international arrivals in 2017, an 8 percent increase from the year before. But that was still less than one-tenth of Europe’s 672 million visitors last year, according to the World Tourism Organization,

While there’s good marketing work being done to grow that figure, particularly by the private sector, the launch of the African Tourism Board later this year by the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) aims to create a unified voice for marketing the continent abroad. And, ultimately, drive up visitor numbers.

“We want to bring the various established players in the industry together, and to help them work together,” explained Juergen Steinmetz, chairman of the ICTP. “In Africa you have a lot of organizations doing good work, but there’s no structure to what they’re doing.”

Going forward, Steinmetz sees the members of the African Tourism Board collaborating on international road shows and marketing initiatives, and giving tourism bodies and industry players a voice at events where they may otherwise be drowned out.

“At (trade show) ITB everyone is there, at WTM (World Travel Market) everyone is there. But if you look at shows like IMEX in Las Vegas, an individual country would just disappear, or not be present at all. We think there is opportunity for our future members to participate,” said Steinmetz, who is adamant that the ATB won’t overlap with the work being done by existing tourism organizations. “We don’t want to compete, we want to complement.”

While a united front sounds good in theory, any new structure will also need to recognize the enormous diversity in both tourism product and infrastructure across the continent.

“If its role is to promote inbound travel to Africa … this would not be an easy task because each country has different source markets, levels of development and tourism experiences,” added Natalia Rosa, director of Cape Town-based tourism marketing agency Big Ambitions.

Though Steinmetz declines to name which countries have indicated their support, “there has been a positive response from both government ministries and private industry. There are a number of tourism boards in all parts of Africa that want to be part of it.”

However, a number of regional and national tourism bodies contacted by Skift had no knowledge of the initiative, and highlighted the cost of inclusion as a key consideration to future membership.

“There is certainly merit in being part of a bigger agenda,” said Thembi Kunene-Msimang, acting chief executive officer of the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA), which represents 14 national tourism organizations in sub-Saharan Africa. “The issue would be about cost, and what the benefits are of that membership.”

Right now the approach seems to be a means-based membership fee to cover basic administration, with ongoing stand-alone projects that members can choose to participate in according to their own financial situation; a ‘pay-to-play’ for road shows, international trade exhibitions and targeted lobbying.

In the end, it’ll come down to numbers, and ensuring the African Tourism Board is a truly pan-African organization. If the tortuous process of achieving “open skies” in Africa is anything to go by, protectionism and self-interest may stymie any plans, however well-intentioned, to bring the African tourism industry together.

“If just a few African countries are willing to sign on the dotted line, and put their money where their mouth is, it’s dead in the water,” said Rosa. “There has to be a collective willingness to work together, and getting 54 countries to sing off the same hymn sheet, as history has shown, takes a long time.”

There’s an old is a saying in southern Africa: “umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu.” A person is a person through persons. We are who we are because of others. Will that sense of collectivism ring true for the fledgling African Tourism Board? The jury’s still out.


via Skift

May 1, 2018 at 07:04AM