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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Christmas chaos as snow snarls European travel

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:33 am

Thousands of angry travellers struggled Monday to get home for Christmas as snow and ice caused fresh chaos at European airports and paralysed roads and railways across the frozen continent.

International hubs London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Brussels tried to clear a backlog of passengers forced to sleep on terminal floors for up to three days as they sought to reach their destinations by the end of the week.

Authorities in Frankfurt sent in clowns in a bid to cheer up travellers, but fury mounted in Britain, especially at Heathrow where severe disruption reigned despite the last major snowfall having been on Saturday.

Pedestrians walk on a snow-covered Pont des Arts towards the Louvre Museum in Paris, as heavy snow disrupts the Christmas holiday getaway in Europe, forcing the continent’s biggest airports to close

“I am ashamed to be British,” Marian Perkins, 65, who was hoping to fly to Australia to see her new grandson for the first time, told AFP.

“It’s disgusting. We are here in the cold with the same clothes since Friday, because we don’t carry winter clothes when we go to Australia,” she said.

Heathrow’s Terminal 3 had been turned into a makeshift camp with exhausted passengers crashed out on temporary mattresses as money and patience wore thin at the world’s busiest international airport.

American musician Giovanni Bet, 22, who was trying to get back to Chicago after a tour, said: “We were here last night. It was like a shanty camp with people sleeping on the floor.”

The airport warned travellers to anticipate chaos “potentially beyond Christmas Day”. It cut flights to a third until 0600 GMT Wednesday in a bid to get diverted jets and crew back to their normal positions.

British Airways meanwhile asked passengers travelling to or from Heathrow up until December 24 to switch their flight to another date or cancel it in return for a refund.

As Britain was hit by more heavy snow and temperatures plummeted again, London’s Gatwick airport announced it was grounding all flights until early Tuesday.

“Sorry. No outbound flights from Gatwick until 6am [0600 GMT] Tuesday 21st December because of heavy snow,” the airport said on microblogging site Twitter.

Amid mounting criticism of the travel chaos, British airport operator BAA defended its handling of the crisis.

Chief executive Colin Matthews said Heathrow had to bring in earthmoving equipment and 50 trucks to remove the snow. “I cannot remember in my lifetime any episode of cold and snow remotely like today,” he said.

Eurostar, which operates high-speed passenger trains linking London with Paris and Brussels, also faced chaos.

Five-hour queues stretched around the block in freezing weather from London’s St Pancras station as Eurostar cancelled some services and operated speed restrictions on trains that did run, nearly doubling some journey times.

“We started queuing yesterday, we were here until seven o’clock and then… we took a hotel and now we have been waiting for an hour already today,” Anne-Sophie Prevost, a 24-year-old bank worker from France, told AFP.

A brass band played at the station in an attempt to provide some Christmas spirit inside the imposing Gothic station.

Temperatures reached a record low in Northern Ireland, hitting minus 17.6 degrees Celsius (0.3 degrees Fahrenheit).

There were fresh snowfalls in France, hitting both Paris international airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, where three out of 10 flights were cancelled Monday.

Air traffic at all airports in the Paris region is very disrupted,” the civil aviation authority said.

At Charles de Gaulle, 3,000 people were forced to spend Sunday night in the terminals after 40 percent of flights were scrapped.

Late Monday, 100 soldiers were sent to the airport with 300 beds and 2,500 blankets as stranded travellers faced another night camped in terminals, local authorities said.

Authorities banned heavy trucks from the roads around Paris and many buses were cancelled in the region, the RATP Paris transport network said.

French railway operator SNCF handed out 12,000 ready meals and booked 500 hotel rooms in Paris for stranded passengers but said services were expected to be mostly back to normal for Christmas.

Frankfurt airport, Germany’s busiest, resorted to clowns to keep stranded children entertained — after the police were sent in, according to press reports, to calm some angry passengers.

The airport scrapped around 340 flights Monday — mainly because others airports around Europe were closed — after more than a thousand travellers spent the night on camp beds.

There was also disruption at Amsterdam-Schiphol airport and Brussels airport Monday.

In Italy, the bodies of two homeless people were found Monday, likely victims of the cold.

Source: SGGP

Citibank Vietnam launches travel credit card

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:03 am

Citibank N.A. Vietnam Friday announced the launch of the Citibank PremierMiles Credit Card targeted at elite and affluent consumers in the country, where the American bank has been present since 1993.

“We think the card market here is just beginning. We see real opportunities to come in,” Brett Krause, managing director, Citi country officer for Vietnam, said at a press conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday.

(L-R) Hoang Thanh Ha, public affairs officer, Citibank Vietnam, Brett Krause, Citi country officer, and Surath Chatterjee, regional head for credit cards and personal loans, Citibank Asia Pacific, introduce the Citibank PremierMiles Credit Card in Ho Chi Minh City Dec 10, 2010 (Photo: Tuong Thuy)

The Citibank PremierMiles Credit Card leverages Citibank’s partnerships with major airlines in the region to offer best in class features and benefits to customers in Vietnam, he added.

Customers earn 1 Premier Mile for every VND20,000 (US$1) of spend and cash advances on the card, 1000 Bonus PremierMiles upon renewal and 5000 Bonus PremierMiles for spend over VND500 million (US$25,000) in one year.

Premier Miles can be redeemed for free flight awards on most airlines flying out of Vietnam, including Vietnam Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways (and Asia Miles partner airlines), Thai Airways and Delta Airlines to destinations around the world.

The Premier Miles that customers earn never expire, said Mr. Krause.

“The Citibank PremierMiles Card introduces a new and unique concept in credit cards to the Vietnamese market.

“It is the most prestigious and rewarding card ever introduced to
Vietnam, and at the same time it offers comprehensive protection backed by best-in-class technology and service.

“The Citibank PremierMiles Card is a reiteration of our commitment to bring world-class products and services to Vietnam.”

Citibank and MasterCard have collaborated to launch the card, Mr. Antonio Corró, country head and chief representative for Indochina, MasterCard, told the press meeting.

“MasterCard’s latest travel survey revealed that one in four consumers across Asia/Pacific is looking to travel. Catering to the needs of avid Vietnamese travelers, MasterCard is pleased to work with Citibank to launch the card.”

Vietnam is the 8th market in Asia where Citibank has launched the card, said Mr. Surath Chatterjee, regional head – credit cards and personal loans, Citibank Asia Pacific.

“We are very confident of good results here,” he said.

“We will continue to leverage our global and regional resources to bring class-leading products and services to our local customers in Vietnam.

“Vietnam is a priority market for us and we will invest in products and strive to pioneer many such innovations in Vietnam in the future.”

He added that no cash collateral was required to apply for this card. Further, while a bank account with Citibank is recommended, it is not required, giving the customers the ability to choose to pay for the card from their existing bank account.

Citibank says the card includes such benefits as an EMV chip for additional security for your transactions, complimentary membership to Priority Pass (worth US$99) which gives customers access to 600 VIP airport lounges around the world, travel insurance benefits, discounts and privileges at over 6,000 merchants across Asia with Citibank World Privileges.

The travel insurance benefits including personal air travel accident insurance coverage of VND20 billion, luggage loss cover of up to VND20 million, delayed luggage cover of up to VND10 Million and flight delayed cover of up to VND10 million.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam tops travel polls

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Vietnam tops travel polls

QĐND – Friday, November 26, 2010, 20:41 (GMT+7)

Vietnam has emerged as one of the top destinations for travellers from Thailand , Australia , Japan , and Singapore , a recent survey compiled by Visa and the Pacific Asia Travel Association found.

The survey polled 6,714 respondents in 13 countries and territories and found that among travellers most likely to visit Vietnam in the next two years, 17 percent are from Thailand , 16 percent are from Australia , and 11 percent are from Japan and Singapore.

Most of the potential tourists listed natural scenery, new places, and affordability as their main motivation for visiting Vietnam .

They plan to budget more than 1,200 USD for their next vacation and pay more for good food and opportunities to experience a new culture.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Travel agencies gear up for Tet holidays

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Travel agencies gear up for Tet holidays

QĐND – Friday, October 29, 2010, 23:22 (GMT+7)

Travel agencies nationwide have prepared tours for overseas Vietnamese, who are expected to return home at the end of this year for the Lunar New Year Festival.

Mr. Tran The Dung, Deputy Director of the Young Generation Travel Agency, revealed that this month saw a 50% increase in the number of tourists to Da Nang, Hue, Hai Phong and Hanoi compared to last month’s figure.

Other travel agencies share similar increases as they all launched special tours and attractive promotions on the occasion of the 1,000th Anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi.

At present, travel agencies are focusing on tailoring new promotion programs and tours with the focus on overseas Vietnamese people during the Tet holidays.

Source: NLD

Translated by Duy Minh

Source: QDND

Air travel surges 20 percent in 9 months

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Air travel surges 20 percent in 9 months

QĐND – Thursday, October 14, 2010, 21:19 (GMT+7)

The aviation market in the first nine months saw a year-on-year increase of more than 20 percent in the number of passengers, estimated the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam.

The administration estimated that roughly 15 million passengers went through the country’s airports in the first nine months of this year, of which Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific and Vietnam Air Service Co (Vasco) accounted for more than 11 million.

In the first nine months, the administration also estimated that roughly 340,000 tonnes of goods were transported via air, an increase of 36 percent over the same period last year.

Industry insiders forecast the country’s aviation market in the last quarter will continue to surge due to an increased number of flights licensed by the aviation authorities for foreign airlines including Turkish Airlines, Poland ‘s LOT and Qatar Airways.

Vo Huy Cuong, director of the administration’s Air Transport Department, attributed the steady growth to the continuing strong expansion of the domestic segment backed by flagship carrier Vietnam Airlines.

Cuong said that Vietnam Airlines and its subsidiary Vasco still account for the lion’s share of around 80 percent of the domestic market while the rest is covered by Jetstar Pacific.

With the introduction of Air Mekong and Blue Sky Air recently, which lifts the number of operational airlines in the country to nine, it is expected that the competition in the domestic aviation market will increase.

The administration expects that the country’s overall aviation market will grow roughly 20 percent in 2010, higher than the 14 percent figure it projected earlier this year, thanks to more domestic services and a significant increase in the number of international visitors.

The administration’s statistics showed that roughly 26.2 million passengers and 445,800 tonnes of cargo were transported by air last year, four times higher than in 2000.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Travel magazine names Bangkok world’s top city

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2010 at 7:18 am

Bangkok city officials say they are humbled and inspired after receiving Travel + Leisure magazine’s “Top City” award, despite recent street riots that sent tourists packing.

Bangkok Gov. Sukhumbhand Paribatra told a news conference that the award offers a morale boost to the battered capital and called on political protesters to behave themselves. The recent political upheaval prompted dozens of international travel advisories and emptied hotels.

“What we have in our hands is very precious,” said Sukhumbhand. “We must prevent troubles and any more losses from happening in our beloved city. We should not damage it any further.”

A grenade explosion Sunday in a central Bangkok shopping area killed one person and wounded 10. Authorities have declined to speculate if it was politically related.

Thai students tour Marble temple in Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The No. 1 ranking in the magazine’s top 10 cities list appears in the August edition of Travel + Leisure, which was based on a poll of readers who cast votes from December to March to rate their favorite cities, islands, hotels, airlines and other categories. Nearly 16,000 readers participated. The polling stopped a few days before civil disorder erupted in Bangkok that lasted 10 weeks and ended May 19 with nearly 90 dead and 1,400 hurt.

During the chaos, several top hotels and upscale department stores closed because they were surrounded by thousands of anti-government protesters. Dozens of buildings were damaged or burned as the protests were broken up in a military crackdown.

Nationwide hotel occupancy in May — the end of tourism’s high season — was 32 percent, down 10 percent from the same period last year, said Prakit Chinamornpong, president of Thai Hotels Association.

The Bangkok governor visited New York last week to pick up the award from the magazine’s publishers and said he met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and asked for advice about New York’s post 9-11 recovery.

“‘Bad things happened, but we must move forward. We can’t stop. We must keep up the morale.’ That’s what Mayor Bloomberg told me,” he said.

New York City ranked 10th among favorite cities in the poll. Second was the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, followed by Florence, Italy; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; and Rome.

Bangkok also was the top city in 2008.

Source: SGGP

Travel firms call for wharf to boost river tourism

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Travel firms call for wharf to boost river tourism

QĐND – Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 21:22 (GMT+7)

Ho Chi Minh City tourism authorities are considering a plan to develop river tourism between HCMC, the Mekong Delta, and Cambodia but travel companies first want them to build a wharf exclusively for tourism.

The city Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism is planning to do a survey on a new river tour from next month that will allow visitors to cruise from HCMC through the Mekong Delta province of An Giang to Cambodia.

The department sees considerable potential in this after surveying two intra-city routes from BachDangWharf to the Nha Be Confluence and Tau Hu Canal.

The tour operators hailed the proposal but pointed to the lack of a wharf for tourist boats.

There are 20 tourist boats, floating restaurants, and canoes operating from Bach Dang, which is not a tourist wharf, in District 1, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon Online (Saigon Economic Times Online) reported.

They can dock there to pick up passengers but cannot anchor there for long due to the limited space.

The wharf also lacks tourist services and parking space for tourists’ vehicles.

Chiem Thanh Long, director of the BinhQuoiTouristVillage in Binh Thanh District, said his company had to cancel a plan to build a large floating restaurant due to the lack of docking space.

“I think the most important aspect of the river tourism development plan is to build a tourist wharf in the city,” he said.

Around 188,000 foreign travelers visited HCMC in July, the tourism low season, up 20 percent year on year but down by 12,000 from June, according to the department.

Source: tuoitrenews

Source: QDND

International Travel Expo 2010 to take place in HCMC

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2010 at 7:18 pm

International Travel Expo 2010 to take place in HCMC

QĐND – Thursday, July 22, 2010, 21:16 (GMT+7)

The International Travel Expo 2010, entitled “Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam – Three Countries, One Destination”, will be held from September 30th to October 2nd in Ho Chi Minh City, according to the Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Introduction of tourism products and services, golf tournaments, networking tours to build networks with media and businesses and the ASEAN Tourism Investment Forum, will be among several activities during the upcoming event.

This year’s forum will extend tourism cooperation, said the Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism. In addition to Laos, Cambodia and the host country Vietnam, Myanmar was also invited to take part in the forum.

If the four ASEAN countries reach an agreement on tourism cooperation, the theme of the next year’s forum will be “Four Countries – One Destination.”

Source: HNM

Translated by Duy Minh

Source: QDND

Asian air travel demand boosts Boeing, Airbus at Farnborough

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2010 at 11:23 am

FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom, July 20, 2010 (AFP) – Aircraft manufacturers awaited more orders Tuesday at the Farnborough Airshow, a day after it took off with rivals Boeing and Airbus netting 23 billion dollars in new contracts.

A rush of orders for 192 short- and long-haul passenger jets worth a total of 23.3 billion dollars (18 billion euros) marked the start of the show, as airlines and leasing firms sought to meet soaring Asian demand for air travel.

The biggest single order came from Dubai airline Emirates for 30 Boeing long-range 777 aircraft worth a combined 9.1 billion dollars.

General Electric’s aircraft leasing unit agreed to buy 40 single-aisle 737-800 planes worth 3.0 billion dollars from US aerospace giant Boeing.

GE Capital Aviation Services also bought 60 A320 single-aisle planes with a catalogue price of 4.5 billion dollars from Boeing’s fierce European rival, Airbus.

Airbus won a 4.4-billion-dollar order from new US group Air Lease Corporation (ALC) for 51 A320 jets while Russian airline Aeroflot confirmed it was buying 11 long-haul Airbus A330-300 carriers worth 2.3 billion dollars.

An Airbus Military A400M aircraft lands following an air display during the Farnborough International Airshow on July 19, 2010. AFP

“The leasing companies are looking, to not only an upturn in Western European and US markets, but they are also seeing the opportunity in emerging markets,” independent aviation analyst John Strickland told AFP.

“There’s strong demand for aircraft coming through from not only the Middle East but other parts of Asia and in particular China so getting those aircraft on the books now… really is placing them in a strong position to take advantage of that upturn and the growing economies in the years to come.”

Although the 192 planes ordered Monday are together worth more than 23 billion dollars, customers traditionally receive large discounts on the list price of each plane when the orders are of a certain size.

Emirates’ huge order came only a month after the airline agreed to spend 11.5 billion dollars on 32 Airbus A380 superjumbos — the biggest single contract in civil aviation history.

The Farnborough International Airshow near London is one of the aviation world’s biggest trade events and renowned for being an arena for major deal announcements.

Defence will also be in focus Tuesday at the event, which traditionally sees the announcement of orders for military jets. But with governments set to slash defence budgets to help reduce huge public deficits, major deals may be scarce.

Boeing will be hoping to secure more orders here for its mid-sized 787 Dreamliner — a fuel-efficient jet which will be on display in Farnborough after making its first flight outside of the United States on Sunday.

The plane, which can fly very long distances and seat up to 330 passengers, has been beset by production delays.

Jim Albaugh, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said on Sunday the company hoped to deliver the first Dreamliner to launch client All Nippon Airways no later than January.

Airbus is working on a new long-haul plane of its own — the A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body).

Source: SGGP

Leading travel businesses honored with Vietnam Tourism Awards

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2010 at 2:33 pm

The Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism gave Vietnam Tourism Awards 2010 to more than 60 leading hotels and travel companies at a ceremony at the Hanoi Opera House on June 29.

More than 60 hotels, travel and tourist service companies receive Vietnam Tourism Awards 2010 in Hanoi on June 29.

The Vietnam Tourism Award was given to 30 3-5 star-hotels; 20 local and international travel companies; and 15 firms who supply tourism services, including transportation and shopping.

Among the 2010 winners are the Saigontourist Travel Service Company, Rex Hotel, Majestic Hotel, Hanoitourist Company, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Hanoi Melia Hotel, Exotissimo-Cesais Tourism Joint-Venture, Peace Tour Company and others.

The award follows in the tradition of a previous series of awards entitled, “Top Ten International Tour Operators and Hotels in Vietnam,” which launched in 1999.

The aim of such awards is to encourage hotels and travel businesses to improve the quality of their products, services and professional skills, as well as to develop new products.

Source: SGGP