HILTON WORLDWIDE EXPANDS | Gorilla trekking in volcano Rwanda

Coffee and tea drinkers, rejoice. Today, Hilton Worldwide announced an expanded partnership with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, the oldest and largest privately held specialty coffee and tea retailer in the United States. Guests at Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton and Embassy Suites by Hilton properties in the United States can select and discover brewed beverage flavors they love. Together, Hilton Worldwide and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf will deliver high-quality beverages through a partnership grounded in shared values of community, environmental responsibility and support of developing countries.

Now, guests can enjoy specialty drink combinations in participating properties’ lobbies, restaurants, lounges and gourmet markets – including Herb N’ Kitchen, Made Market and E’Terie serving stations – as well as through brewed-to-order room service and at banquets, meetings and events.

Additionally, when patrons purchase a beverage, they will also be contributing to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s “Caring Cup” initiatives, which support charities, foundations and schools around the world.

“Our team travels far and wide to select only the top one percent of Arabica beans and the finest hand-picked, whole leaf teas from international estates,” said John Fuller, President and CEO for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. “We are proud to share our rich heritage and the world’s most vibrant flavors with Hilton’s guests.”

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf currently operates several family-friendly cafes inside Hilton Worldwide U.S. properties. The four-year partnership provides Hilton’s full-service properties an opportunity to offer guests quality beverage options while driving business value.

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WESTIN SAN FRANCISCO AIRPORT | Gorilla treks Bwndi Uganda

The Westin San Francisco Airport, owned and operated by Ultima Hospitality, has completed an extensive $10 million dollar renovation. The new design combines relaxing yet invigorating elements creating an environment ideal for business and leisure travelers alike. The arrival experience is welcoming and efficient with the hotel’s public space, restaurant and lounge flowing seamlessly into the meeting room layout.

The renovated lobby integrates numerous natural elements including a soothing water feature which subtly directs traffic flow as well as a new stone fireplace helping to delineate space and add a beautiful focal point for gatherings. The botanical themed carpet and living wall complement the surroundings and maintain an organic feel throughout the space. The Westin San Francisco Airport evokes a resort atmosphere balanced with convenience and connectivity designed for the savvy traveler.

“Our guests really love the new lobby. I watch them enjoying the beautiful surroundings all the time,” commented Tom Scaramellino, General Manager. “The setting is perfect for gathering, to catch up on work, or just to relax. Use has greatly increased because people are immediately drawn to the space. There is a natural ease throughout the lobby that speaks directly to the Westin philosophy of living well. ”

The hotel features a variety of dining options. The upgraded Runway Cafe is ideal for families on their way out to enjoy the sights as well as the business traveler on the go. The Cafe is a full service coffee bar offering both items prepared to order and freshly packaged meals for expedited service. The Grill & Vine Restaurant serves three meals daily. The restaurant menu features delicious, locally sourced and sustainable meat and produce. The lounge is active and welcoming and feels very much part of the lobby ambiance. The renovation added a private dining room to Grill & Vine creating a perfect spot for parties or dinner meetings.

The new Westin San Francisco Airport guest rooms have a wonderful richness that is noticed the moment you arrive. Expanded doorways open the entries to natural light. The warm woods, textured fabrics, contemporary sconces and mixed metal finishes, used in the 397 rooms, welcome and delight. Knauer Inc. the designers, led by Warren Stetson, blended two Westin color palettes to layer a clean, fresh and inviting aesthetic throughout the guest rooms. Neutral tones are mixed with environmental greens and blues, creating a serene surrounding. The Heavenly Bed and Heavenly Shower complete the transforming experience.

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2015 ARUBA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL | Gorilla treks Bwndi Uganda

The island of Aruba will once again host filmmakers and film enthusiasts from around the world during the fifth annual Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF), October 7-11.

Kicking off with a short film and Q&A session with actor Tyrese Gibson (from the Fast & Furious and Transformers franchises) and sponsored by the Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA), this world-class event is filled with international and regional premieres of feature-length and short films from around the world, special tributes, master classes, panel discussions and more.

For the past four years, local and global audiences were abuzz as AIFF welcomed film luminaries such as Academy Award-nominated actor Richard Gere; multiple Academy Award-winning editor and long-time Martin Scorsese collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker; Academy Award-nominated actress and repeat visitor Virginia Madsen and others.

This year, a jury of industry professionals and acclaimed filmmakers will be presenting awards to competition films in the following categories: International Features, DoxNfocus, Caribbean Spotlight Series, Aruba Flavor and International Shorts. The line-up of feature films and festival events includes:

SHAME, screening before the Opening Night film The Driftless Area. This 23-minute exploration of a man who wants to do the right thing for his family was written by and stars Tyrese Gibson in addition to Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, and was produced by Academy Award winner Denzel Washington. Following the screening, Gibson will conduct an audience Q&A session.

Countries from across the world are spotlighted in this year’s International Features program, and current news-gripping stories are brought to the screen in DoxNfocus. The jury members for these categories include, among others, Belize International Film Festival director Suzette Zayden and American film producer Steve Stabler (Dumb & Dumber).

The Caribbean premiere of the Cannes Film Festival award-winning (Jury Prize) sci-fi-comedy The Lobster, starring Colin Farrell and Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz.

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JAPAN AIRLINES WINS 2015 GOOD DESIGN AWARD | Gorilla trekking in volcano Rwanda

Japan Airlines (JAL) today received Good Design award 2015 from the Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP) for its latest Economy Class seat – JAL SKY WIDER II. JAL has been arranging this new seat on its Boeing 787 aircraft since December 2014, as the second installment of “New Spacious Economy” project for international service.

In 2013, JAL SKY WIDER seats (the previous version of JAL SKY WIDER II), installed on JAL’s Boeing 777-300ERs and 767-300ERs also won Good Design Award.

The products are selected for Good Design Award through the comprehensive examinations which require not only beautiful appearance but also good quality, user-friendliness as well as functionality or innovativeness etc.

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JAMBOJET REPORTS FIRST YEAR LOSS | how to book gorilla permit

News from Nairobi confirmed lingering speculation that Kenya Airways’ low-cost subsidiary Jambojet has posted a loss for their first full year of operation.

Operating a fleet of mixed jets and turboprops, B737-300s and Bombardier Q400s, Jambojet presently flies from Nairobi to Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu, and also to Lamu, Malindi, and Ukunda.

The number of passengers carried during the first year reached just over 480,000, contributing to revenues of over 2.6 billion Kenya shillings. No information could be obtained in regard of load factors, however, which for a low-cost airline constitute a crucial element in reaching the breakeven point and eventually turning a profit.

It is generally expected that the financial results of the second financial year will be better now that the airline has established itself on key routes as a low-cost alternative to full-service airlines and with the potential to launch extra flights to key regional destinations.

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PAINSTAKING TOURISM EXPO | Gorilla treks Bwndi Uganda

The second edition of Tanzania’s ambitious Swahili International Tourism Expo (SITE) will be taking place Thursday to Saturday this week to attract a hundred-plus tourists and travel trade companies from several countries across the world.

Expected to attract 100 exhibiting companies from some European, American, Asian, and African nations to showcase their tourist products and services offered to holidaymakers, the SITE exhibition is the first ever institutional and national tourism business gathering in Tanzania, according to organizers, the Tanzania Tourist Board.

The second edition of SITE had attracted more exhibitors, hosted buyers, and other participants compared to the first edition of the event, said the Tanzania Tourist Board’s Acting Chief Executive Officer. Devota Mdachi.

She said among participating companies, some are from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Seychelles, Uganda, and Kenya, apart from the host, Tanzania. In its first edition last year, SITE had attracted 40 exhibitors.

This year’s SITE had so far, attracted 43 International Hosted Buyers made up of tour operators, package safari makers and planners, and travel agents rated as wholesalers.

Over 2,000 visitors from Tanzania, Seychelles, the United States, the UK, India, Russia, South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Germany are as well, expected to visit the SITE exhibition between October 1 to 3.

Visitors have already registered to visit SITE, including media professionals, diplomats, and travel trade executives, organizers said.

Some 41 companies have sponsored this year’s SITE in 3 categories classified as Platinum, Gold, and Silver. Ethiopian Airlines has sponsored the event under the platinum category through 25 return air tickets to hosted buyers from different countries.

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A terror strike in the planning, or just another prank call. Mumbai airport in the Indian State Maharashtra is under high alert.

Both the domestic and international airports were put on high alert following a bomb threat after the airport manager reportedly received a call.

The caller also reportedly said that the Luxury, waterfront Taj Mahal Palace Hotel hotel, opened in 1903 is on the list of a planned attack.

According to CNN-IBN, the caller said he overheard someone planning a terror strike in Mumbai.

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was one of the prime targets of the 10 Pakistani perpetrators during the 26/11 terror attacks in 2008.

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NEW CULTURE CENTER | Gorilla treks Bwndi Uganda

In Rwanda, things are not done by half measure, and well-planned tourism developments provide good examples of how and why the country, fondly known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” has over the past decade increased tourist numbers in leaps and bounds and raked in big money through visitors coming from around the world.

The recent creation of the new Gishwati-Mukura Forest National Park is but one example of how the country has diversified tourism attractions and offerings and at the same time advanced the goal to increase the national forest cover to 30 percent by the year 2020.

While celebrating World Tourism Day yesterday, another new facility was formally launched, the Rulindo Cultural Center along the main road from Kigali to Musanze.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Rwanda Development Board’s (RDB) newly-appointed Chief Tourism Officer, Ms. Belise Kariza, revealed why the Rulindo Cultural Centre was selected as the venue for this year’s celebration of World Tourism Day when she said, “This newly-launched cultural center is a display of local heritage and traditional Rwandan arts and culture, aligning with the government’s vision to improve tourism product diversification to enhance the sector contribution to Rwanda’s economy.”

Rwanda has set ambitious targets of annual tourism receipts of $860 million by 2017, up from $305 million earned by the sector in 2014. This anticipated boost in tourism revenue shows the urgent need for the development of new and innovative tourism products. The Rulindo Cultural Center’s launch, therefore, is in line with the Rwanda Development Board’s mission of connecting various parts of the country through tourism product diversification in order to increase the length of stay of visitors.

An exhibition showcasing art pieces, handicrafts, and tourism beneficiaries’ achievements will bring together 50 regular exhibitors. While opening the center, the RDB also used the opportunity to launch Rwanda’s first cultural documentation – a comprehensive 325-page book retracing the unique and rich Rwanda cultural heritage.

United Nations’ World Tourism Day, celebrated globally, is a reminder to the international community that sustainable tourism has the potential to be the driving force to promote social and economic development and job creation. This year’s theme, as set by the United Nations, is “One billion tourists, one billion opportunities,” pointing to the global collective effort to grow tourism’s potential to generate more opportunities that benefit the world’s population in significant ways. The government of Rwanda readily embraced the theme as it stepped up efforts to develop and diversify the country’s offering, including cultural tourism. The sector remains Rwanda’s leading export, reporting an annual growth rate of 4%.

The Rulindo Cultural Center is located on the Kigali-Musanze road, only a 25-kilometer drive from the capital. Rulindo is home to historic sites, mining, and farmland, and has become a highly-successful, community-based tourism model. Rulindo Cultural Center is a remarkable showcase and preservation of Rwandan culture and tradition through arts.

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Hilton Worldwide today announced four new appointments in its Asia Pacific leadership team, signaling the high growth potential of this dynamic region. The promotions and appointments, all of which internal, are:

“Talent is the driving force behind our success in Asia Pacific. Our human capital development efforts have successfully translated into the hiring of top talent and providing them with avenues of career growth, helping them to realize their personal and professional goals from within the company. These recent promotions and internal appointments are testimonial of Hilton Worldwide’s employee value proposition of great rewards and great careers. Congratulations to Ben George, Michael Slaton, Rupert Hallam and Stephen Russell,” said Martin Rinck, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide.

Ben George was promoted to senior vice president, sales and revenue management, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide, on July 23, 2015. He is a member of the Asia Pacific Executive Committee. Ben’s new role reflects the integration of the leadership of sales and revenue management in Asia Pacific as part of global alignment of the two key functions to drive greater synergy. Ben was most recently vice president, revenue management, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide. He has been credited with building a world-class revenue management team in Asia Pacific and deploying a best-in-class revenue management service for hotels, which has enabled Hilton Worldwide to consistently deliver market-leading performance.

Michael Slaton joins the Asia Pacific leadership team from the United States, where he was most recently vice president, finance, global brands and commercial services (GBCS), Hilton Worldwide. His appointment as vice president, finance, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide and as a member of the Asia Pacific Executive Committee took effect on August 1, 2015. In his new role, Michael is responsible for all finance and accounting operations and for ensuring financial compliance throughout the region. He also provides strategic input on business improvement projects and talent development initiatives, as well as supports the execution of key strategic priorities across the region. Michael is a member of the inaugural class

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The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is pleased to announce that SriLankan Airlines has joined PATA as its newest Aviation member.

SriLankan Airlines, the National Airline of Sri Lanka, is an award-winning carrier with a firm reputation as a global leader in service, comfort, safety, reliability, and punctuality. Launched in 1979, SriLankan is currently expanding and further diversifying its wide range of products and services in order to drive the country’s ongoing boom in tourism and economic development. The airline’s hub is located at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, providing convenient connections to its global route network of 99 destinations in 47 countries (including codeshare operations) in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Far East, North America, Australia and Africa.

PATA CEO Mario Hardy said, “We are extremely pleased to welcome SriLankan Airlines to the PATA family, as our newest aviation member. As a PATA member, we look forward to working with them to help build their business and brand through our extensive networks and our in-depth research and insights into the Asia Pacific region. We will also have the extra benefit of close cooperation, when we hold our PATA Annual Summit 2017 in Negombo, Sri Lanka.”

According to PATA, international visitor arrivals (IVAs) to Sri Lanka are forecast to reach above the 2 million mark by 2019, with tourism expenditures expected to reach US$8 billion.

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