WestJet flew record 18 million passengers in October

first_img Travelweek Group Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: WestJet Posted bycenter_img Thursday, November 10, 2016 WestJet flew record 1.8 million passengers in October CALGARY — October proved to be a very busy month for WestJet, which flew a record 1.8 million guests, representing a year-over-year increase of 14.2%.The airline’s October 2016 traffic results showed a load factor of 79.7%, an increase of 2.6 percentage points year over year. Revenue passenger miles (RPMs), or traffic, increased 18.7% year over year, while capacity (measured in available seat miles, or ASMs, grew 14.8% over the same period.“We are pleased with our sixth consecutive month of double-digit traffic growth as we achieved our second-highest October load factor and flew a record number of guests,” said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky. “My sincere thanks go out to our almost 12,000 WestJetters for their continuing passion and commitment as we transition into the busy winter season.”last_img read more

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Sunwing to offer Antigua for the first time arrives in the Cayos

first_img The Canadian Press Share Tags: Antigua & Barbuda, Cuba, Sunwing Sunwing to offer Antigua for the first time; arrives in the Cayos to assess storm damage Tuesday, October 17, 2017 center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by TORONTO — Sunwing has announced that it will be offering vacation packages to the island of Antigua for the first time, with direct weekly flights departing year-round from Toronto.Flights run between Nov. 10, 2017 and Oct. 26, 2018 inclusive, with an additional seasonal flight from Montreal running between Nov. 26, 2017 and March 18, 2018 inclusive.“The beautiful island of Antigua is a great addition to our wide range of sun destinations. We are pleased with the wide range of resorts that we have partnered with on the island and feel that we have something to suit vacationers of all tastes and budgets,” said Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations.Colin Skerritt, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Director-Canada, also welcomed the news, adding, “With direct Sunwing service from Toronto and Montreal to Antigua, Canadians finally have an exciting new option for their perfect winter getaway.”Accommodations on the island include the new Starfish Jolly Beach Resort, the first hotel from the popular chain to open outside of Cuba. Families can also choose The Verandah Resort and Spa, featuring villa-style accommodations and three refreshing pools, including the largest freshwater pool in Antigua.For adults, Pineapple Beach Club Resort is an ideal choice, with a world-class spa, varied dining experiences and a wide range of water sports. Alternatively, guests of all ages will love St. James Club and Villas, known for its relaxing ambience and lush surroundings.More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaA week’s vacation in Antigua with departures from Toronto is priced from $1,045 to $3,055 per person, including taxes, double occupancy, between Nov. 10, 2017 and Jan. 31, 2018. From Montreal, prices start from $1,045 to $2,635 per person, including taxes, double occupancy, between Nov. 26, 2017 and Jan. 28, 2018.Elsewhere in the Caribbean, Sunwing continues to relay the message that much of the region remains open for business following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. On Oct. 13, Dawson, along with Executive Vice President for Partner Development Eric Rodriguez, and Product Director Ana Maria Lopez, were invited to accompany the Minister of Tourism for Cuba Manuel Marrero Cruz on a tour of the Cayos region, which includes Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Ensenachos, Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo.The intention of their visit – the first by any Canadian travel company to date – was to assess the region’s recovery. What they found was that the Cayos have recuperated well and will be ready to receive guests once flights resume early next month.Power and telecommunications are fully restored, water supply was never interrupted, and roads and sidewalks are clear. Further landscaping work is currently being done.The causeways from the mainland to Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria are both operational. The Cayo Coco causeway is completely restored, with ongoing maintenance taking place this month to further improve the structure of the Cayo Santa Maria causeway.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaThe team was also informed that all commercial areas, including marinas and dolphinariums, will be fully restored by Nov. 1.As for airports, damage to Santa Clara Abel Santamaria Airport (SNU), which serves the Cayo Santa Maria region, was negligible and the airport is already operational, servicing several domestic and Florida flights daily. Jardines Del Rey Airport in Cayo Coco (CCC) suffered significant damage and no commercial flights have operated since Irma made landfall. Rebuilding is now in its final stages, with all major structural work completed.Sunwing flights to Cayo Coco will be available once more from Nov. 7. Flights to Cayo Santa Maria will recommence from Nov. 10 onwards from Montreal, while services from Toronto and Quebec City have been rescheduled from Nov. 11. Flights to all other Cuban destinations are already operating as normal, with the exception of services to Camaguey, which will resume from Nov. 1 onwards.All flights updates are posted at sunwing.ca/arrdepinfo.asp.A detailed update of individual hotel openings will be released tomorrow.last_img read more

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Transat named one of Canadas Top 15 Employer Brands

first_img MONTREAL – Transat A.T. has been named one of Canada’s most attractive employer brands, earning a 12th place finish on the annual Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) survey.The winners were determined by an impartial survey that evaluated the attractiveness of the 150 largest employers in the country. Employers and job-seekers aged 18-65 were asked which companies they would prefer to work for based on 10 factors: salary and benefits; career progression; financial health; contributions to society; interesting job content; job security; work atmosphere; use of the latest technology; reputation; and work-life balance.“We are very happy to be named among the 15 top employer brands in Canada,” said Christophe Hennebelle, Vice-President, Human Resources and Corporate Affairs, Transat. “Our positive image as an employer is conveyed by our impassioned employees who are enthusiastic about the company because we ascribe such importance to their aspirations as well as the values that speak to them. The strength of our employer brand is further confirmed by our excellent showing in ‘Forbes’ magazine’s annual ranking of Canada’s Best Employers’.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongTransat has accumulated an impressive list of awards and distinctions in recent months, in addition to this top 15 win. These include the world’s second-best leisure airline and best in North America at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, and one of the world’s Top 20 airlines for energy efficiency by Atmosfair. Posted by Tuesday, May 22, 2018 Share Transat named one of Canada’s Top 15 Employer Brandscenter_img Tags: Air Transat Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Delicious takeaways from the Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival

first_imgConfirming what we already knew, last weekend’s Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival proved that chocolate goes well with everything.Despite the cancellation of the main event due to health permit issues – the Health Ministry has not yet responded to The Tico Times’ requests for comment – cacao growers and chocolate makers from around the country still turned out to show off their finest creations. Festival attendees were able to get their fill without violating Health Ministry restrictions, and even if you couldn’t make it out to Puerto Viejo, you can sample the region’s chocolate delights. Here are some of the chocolate highlights that you can still catch year-round. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico TimesChocolate pairingsTaking chocolate tasting to a new level, the festival featured a chocolate pairing lounge. Chocolatiers from around the country gave attendees mini-seminars on pairing alcohol and chocolate, providing plenty of samples. Playa Cocles-based chocolate farm Xocolat paired their 70 percent cacao bar with a port wine, creating a taste similar to a liquidy chocolate jam. Caribeans, also based in Talamanca, paired their award-winning Black Beach Espresso Chocolate with aged rum, creating what owner Paul Johnson referred to as a “rum-based chocolate martini that you mix in your mouth.” The top pick came from Puerto Viejo restaurant Bread and Chocolate, which paired its orange truffle with sparkling white wine for a blast of citrus.Costa Rican chocolate craft beerThanks to the burst in popularity of craft beer bars throughout Costa Rica, you can pick up a chocolate brew from the festival throughout the year at bars or retailers. Despite their burst of chocolate flavor, many of the beers served at the chocolate festival did not actually contain any cacao. In the case of Perrovida’s Massive Mastiff, the flavor actually comes out during the roasting process of malted barley. Others, like BriBri Spring’s Big Choco actually uses local cacao in the beer. Puerto Viejo Restaurant Koki Beach served chocolate bean dip. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico TimesRestaurant dishesWhile most of the chocolate dishes on the menus at Puerto Viejo restaurants were only featured for the festival, at least one restaurant owner says he plans to keep chocolate on the menu. Andrew Bacon, the owner of Asian fusion restaurant Chile Rojo, says he plans to make regular menu items of grilled chicken with organic mole, tenderloin in a dark chocolate and wine sauce, and chocolate martinis made with homemade cacao nib vodka.“I feel like we have a whole chocolate movement here,” he said. “We should keep it going all year round.”See also: Costa Rica’s chocolate comeback Facebook Comments Related posts:Health Ministry shuts down Chocolate Festival Comedy homage, massive DJ party and other happenings around Costa Rica Transsexual aliens, Halloween parties, and other happenings around Costa Rica Puerto Viejo to host third annual chocolate festivallast_img read more

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Costa Ricas Heredia triumphs 30 over América closing in on Concacaf final

first_imgCosta Rica’s Heredia soccer club trounced Mexico’s América club 3-0 Tuesday night in a victory that gave the Ticos an advantage in the 2014-2015Concacaf Champions League.Heredia’s red and yellow won with goals from Esteban Ramírez at minute 52, Yendrick Ruiz at 69 and Jonathan Hansen al 81. The game was hard fought and América was left with one player down after Michael Arroyo was kicked out of the match in the first half for sending a Costa Rican player to the hospital.Both goalies, Heredia’s Cambronero and América’s González, were hard pressed to guard the goal.The match’s intensity almost erupted in a brawl, especially after Mexico’s Arroyo kicked Heredia striker Cristhian Lagos in the head at minute 27. The violent foul landed Arroyo a red card after both sides rushed the field.Check out a Vine of the foul:https://vine.co/v/OVIuJ79vmFUThe Costa Ricans re-doubled their attack in the second half with the arrival of midfielder Elías Aguilar, who lead the offensive charge. After he hit the pitch, the Ticos were able to score their first goal with a shot from midfielder Ramírez.América tried to come back but the ball hit the goal post.The Mexicans’ efforts fell short after Ruiz headed in Heredia’s second goal with an assist from Verny Scott.The packed stadium went crazy at minute 81 when Hansen headed in the third and final goal with a clear shot from Aguilar.In the final minutes of the match, Heredia fans sang out the América team with the popular Mexican song “Cielito Lindo.”Costa Rica’s Alajuela club is set to play Canadian team Montreal Impact Wednesday. Facebook Comments Related posts:CONCACAF to review refs after Gold Cup furor VIDEO: Costa Rica head coach Paulo Wanchope brawls with security guard at Panama football stadium Mexico fires men’s football coach Miguel Herrera after he allegedly hit a reporter Guatemala shocks US with 2-0 win in World Cup qualifierlast_img read more

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Local businesses swat at new regulations fees for drones

“I don’t know if they think this is a multi-million dollar business, but these regulations are driving up our costs and they’re not viable for us or our clients,” Echeverría said. “We’ll have to raise our prices ridiculously high and unnecessarily.”Echeverría’s company focuses on aerial photography and video for architectural clients and entertainment events, but he said that many companies use drones to supplement their core business. He said that he is consulting lawyers to challenge the regulations. Echeverría said he agreed that UAVs should be regulated, but he opposes the directive. “This is going to kill the market,” he said.Firefighters, police, and scientific research are among the categories exempt from the certification fee.Even if the rules as they are written go into effect, enforcement will be a challenge for the government. Federico Chavarría of the Civil Aviation Technical Commission said that the Civil Aviation Authority does not have the resources to actively police drone use in Costa Rica. He mentioned the possibility of a radar system that could track drones but authorities would depend on the public to report unauthorized UAVs.Chavarría said the rules could be changed going forward.“This is a totally new area for us,” he told reporters during a news conference on Thursday.Costa Rica’s rules follow other regulations in Guatemala, Chile and Argentina, among other Latin American countries. The Federal Aviation Administration is mulling over UAV regulations for the United States. Facebook Comments The rules extended to drones are based on those for model airplanes that were released on May 8. The directive bans flying:Within 8 kilometers of an airportHigher than 400 feetAny UAV that weighs more than 25 kgOut of eyesight of the operatorIn restricted airspace, including protected land, Casa Presidencial, penitentiariesIn a way that violates someone’s privacyDrawing a parallel with legal requirements for driving a car, the Civil Aviation Authority said that both private citizens and business would need:A $94 UAV license obtained after completing 40 hours of training, including 10 hours of flight time, at a flight school, UAV vendor or fabricator accredited by the Civil Aviation Authority.To request permission to fly via the Civil Aviation Authority website (www.dgac.go.cr, in Spanish). Permission would be granted based on a risk assessment of the area and the number of people present.A plate identifying the aircraft.Insurance.Any business that uses a drone for commercial purposes would need to pay an additional $1,874.02 certification fee. The fee would have to be paid once per individual or business. There is no limit for the number of drones that can be operated under the certification. The certification fee is hefty considering that drones can be bought for less than $100.That nearly $2,000 fee has some businesses that use drones concerned that these regulations will drive up their costs. Andres Echeverría, one of the founders of The Drone Xperience — the Costa Rican-Mexican company that accompanied Matt Damon at the beach last July — said the fees are exorbitant. When Matt Damon vacationed in Costa Rica last July, aselfie from a drone-mounted camera appeared on the Facebook page of “The Martian” on the beach in Santa Teresa. But after the Civil Aviation Authority announced its new regulations for unmanned aerial vehicles in Costa Rica, some businesses that use drones here are worried that only a visiting Hollywood star will have the money for their services.The Civil Aviation Authority announced that it would start regulating unmanned aerial vehicles here by the end of the year. The new rules might have trouble getting off the ground though, including one provision that would require businesses to pay more than $1,800 to use them here. Related posts:Drone hits small plane over Costa Rica park Costa Rica unveils $35 million program to improve small business competitiveness US businesses love Costa Rican workers, there’s just not enough of them Uber says it will support drivers fined by police in Costa Rica read more

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Guatemala volcano roars back to life

first_imgA volcano near the Guatemalan capital roared back to life on Wednesday, spewing ash high into the air, disaster safety officials said.The Fuego volcano, which is just 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Guatemala City and its population of one million people, coughed out gas and ash 4,800 meters above sea level.Despite at least two lava flows, Alejandro Maldonado, secretary of the disaster reduction office CONRAD, said the so-called “Fire Volcano” was not yet sufficiently dangerous to justify the evacuation of nearby villages.Experts say the volcano — one of the most active in Central America — may become increasingly violent in the coming hours and could affect air traffic.In February, a powerful eruption at Fuego forced authorities to declare an alert and close the airport in the capital. Facebook Comments #AMPLIACIÓN: #CONRED realiza monitoreo y evaluación de comunidades cercanas al volcán de Fuego-► pic.twitter.com/nC7OE4NB0d— TELEDIARIO GUATEMALA (@TelediarioGT) October 7, 2015 Related posts:Turrialba Volcano eruption in Costa Rica: Photos from the web Turrialba Volcano erupts again, raining ash over San José UPDATE: Costa Rica’s Turrialba Volcano erupts incandescent material Possible lava rocks indicate Turrialba Volcano may have entered more dangerous phaselast_img read more

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Former Senegalese interior minister arrested

first_img Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Parents, stop beating yourself up Wade categorically denied newspaper reports saying he and members of his administration had transferred 400 billion francs ($800 million) into foreign bank accounts.The new government of Senegal issued a communique in April, giving 72 hours to former members of his administration to return the cars, or face having them seized.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths DAKAR, Senegal (AP) – An official in Senegal says police have arrested the former regime’s interior minister.Serigne Mbacke Ndiaye, who was a spokesman for former President Abdoulaye Wade, said police arrested Ousmane Ngom on Wednesday.Ndiaye did not say why Ngom was arrested, but accusations have surfaced that Wade and his inner circle made off with nearly all the cars in the government’s garage, as well as art, furniture and other assets belonging to the state. Wade has denied accusations of theft, saying many of the goods were personal property. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Men’s health affects baby’s health too Sponsored Stories last_img read more

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Editor Judge throws the book at UK media

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Comments   Share   LONDON (AP) – The editor of a U.K. newspaper says he fears that the senior judge tasked with investigating Britain’s scandal-tarred press is preparing to deliver a scathing indictment of the industry.The Independent’s Chris Blackhurst told BBC radio that documents he’d recently received from Lord Justice Brian Leveson were so harshly worded he was shocked.Leveson was charged with investigating Britain’s media in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, which exposed widespread illegal behavior across the industry. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img The judge has promised to give confidential warnings to anyone he might criticize in his final report. Leveson’s recommendations aren’t binding but will likely have a major impact on Britain’s media landscape.No date is set for the report’s release, but Blackhurst said Wednesday the warning he’d seen “throws the book at the industry.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Top holiday drink recipes Top Stories last_img read more

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Former Haiti PM Smarck Michel dies at age 75

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Michel attended college in New York, then returned to Haiti in the 1950s to help run the bakery his father had started. He later ran a grocery store in downtown Port-au-Prince.Michel became prime minister in 1994, one month after a U.S.-led multinational military force restored Aristide to the presidency after three years in exile. Aristide’s first term was cut short in 1991 when the army ousted him in a coup.The choice of Michel was seen as an effort to placate business leaders and many in Haiti’s small middle and upper classes who felt threatened by the return of Aristide, a populist left-leaning former Roman Catholic priest. Michel resigned almost a year later over opposition to his economic reforms, which advocated a privatization plan that was unpopular with Haiti’s poor majority.Before he became prime minister, Michel served as commerce and industry minister for nearly four months in Aristide’s first government, in 1991. He also financed several of Aristide’s endeavors, including an orphanage for street kids.Michel was dismissed from the post by Aristide amid criticism that the government was unable to lower prices for food and other basic goods. Michel had instituted price controls, but they were widely ignored. Comments   Share   After his brief stint in politics, Michel returned full-time to the family grocery store until he closed it in 2010 and retired, his son said.In addition to Kenneth, Michel’s survivors include his wife of 53 years, Victoire Marie-Rose Sterlin, and daughters Patricia and Marjorie Michel.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Associated PressPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – Smarck Michel, a businessman who served for almost a year as Haiti’s prime minister after the United States restored President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power in the mid-1990s, died Saturday, his son said. He was 75.Kenneth Michel said his father died in the family home in a neighborhood above the capital of Port-au-Prince following a brain tumor.Smarck Michel was born March 29, 1937, in St. Marc, a port city north of the capital, and moved around the country during his childhood because his father was serving in the Haitian armed forces. Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

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EU receives Nobel Peace Prize

first_imgPrize committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland cited the 27-nation bloc for helping “a continent of war to becoming a continent of peace. In this process the European Union has figured most prominently.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Associated PressOSLO, Norway (AP) – The European Union has received this year’s Nobel Peace Prize in the Norwegian capital for promoting peace and human rights in Europe for six decades following the devastation of World War II.EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and president of the EU Parliament Martin Schulz collected their Nobel diplomas and medals at a ceremony in Oslo’s City Hall. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likecenter_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Top Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health toolast_img read more

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US job openings fall hiring rises in mostly positive report

first_imgAnd there were other positive signs in the report. Increased hiring is welcome because even as companies have advertised more jobs, they have not been filling them as quickly. That has raised concerns that employers are having trouble finding the workers with the right skills, or that they aren’t willing to pay enough find the workers they need.The number of people quitting their jobs rose to 2.78 million, roughly matching February’s total, which was the highest in nearly seven years. More quits are a good sign because workers typically quit when they have a new job, usually at higher pay. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has said that she considers the quits data an important barometer of the job market’s health.“The broader trends in the data still look pretty upbeat,” Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan Chase, said in a note to clients.The figures also underscore that lackluster job gains overall in March reflected a temporary slowdown. Employers during the month added the fewest jobs since June 2012, and the economy likely contracted in the first three months of the year. That data has raised concerns that the economy was slipping into a new phase of sluggish growth. Instead, businesses ramped up hiring in April and added 223,000 jobs, according to last week’s jobs report. The unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent, the lowest in nearly seven years.The figures reported Friday are a net figure: Jobs gained minus jobs lost. The data reported Tuesday, in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, are more detailed. They calculate total hires, as well as quits and layoffs. Tuesday’s numbers also reflect data for March, and are a month behind last week’s jobs report.The JOLTs report provides some clues about what happened in March when net hiring fell so sharply. Overall hiring increased that month, but layoffs soared 6.2 percent to nearly 1.8 million. That increase in job cuts is a major reason that net hiring fell.The biggest jump in layoffs occurred in the Midwest, where the oil and gas industry have shed thousands of jobs. A slowdown in manufacturing has also increased layoffs. Factory production has fallen because of the strong dollar, which makes U.S. exports more expensive.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of available jobs in the U.S. fell in March, though companies filled more of their open positions in a sign they are still confident enough to hire.The Labor Department said Tuesday that job postings dropped 2.9 percent to just under a seasonally adjusted 5 million in March. Meanwhile, total hiring ticked up 1.1 percent to 5.1 million, the most since December.Despite the drop in job openings in March, there are still many more open positions than a year ago: That figure has increased 18.6 percent in the past 12 months. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Check your body, save your life Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

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AP PHOTOS Indigenous beauty queen chosen in Ecuador

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — There was no bathing suit or modern evening gown competition in this beauty contest.Instead, the young Ecuadorean women competing in the event for indigenous beauties wore native costumes and headwear. Black high-heeled pumps were the only truly Western clothing on display.Contestants for the Miss Indigenous Ecuador beauty contest on Friday had to belong to one of the country’s many Indian groups and speak a native language. Eleven women from around the country participated. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober In this Friday, May 22, 2015 photo, beauty contestants rehearse the presentation parade for the Miss Indigenous Ecuador beauty contest, in a waiting area backstage at the Casa de la Cultura theater, in Quito, Ecuador. Contestants for the beauty contest have to belong to one of the country’s many Indian groups and speak a native language. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa) Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona The women nervously prepared backstage beforehand. Helen Matugo, a member of the Otavalo people, looked into her compact mirror while Patricia Grefa, representing Pastaza province, arranged her hair. Nancy Maliza, of the Chibuleo indigenous group, stood still while her mother helped her arrange her dress with a safety pin.The winner was 19-year-old Jenny Guillin of the Puruha people. Organizers say she now gets the right to participate in the Miss Ecuador contest.Amid cheers and tears, Guillin was crowned with a specially designed tiara that included a “chacana,” or indigenous cross, and an aboriginal symbol for the sun.___Follow AP photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

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Obama Greece must undertake reforms in bailout standoff

first_img The vital role family plays in society ELMAU, Germany (AP) — President Barack Obama says the Greek government must undertake economic reforms that will require tough political choices to resolve a standoff over an international bailout and protect global financial markets.He also said that international community needs to recognize “the extraordinary challenges” that Greece faces.Greece is facing a crushing debt and has been negotiating with creditors to release the remaining funds in its international bailout. The International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission are overseeing Greece’s bailout. The country’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras (TSEE’-prahs) said Friday that proposals put forth by its creditors were an unpleasant surprise.Obama said Greece needs to satisfy creditors and help revive the Greek economy.Obama comments Monday in Germany came at the close of a two-day international summit.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility US President Barack Obama speaks to media during a bilateral meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi during the G-7 summit in Schloss Elmau hotel near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, southern Germany, Monday, June 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories last_img read more

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Caught in the middle War in Ukraine creates no mans lands

first_img Comments   Share   Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home “We have passports. We are citizens of Ukraine,” he said. “That should be enough to get through.”A previous version of this story identified Pyotr Vladimorovich on second reference as Vladimirovich, which is not his surname.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. With fighting surging again near the main separatist stronghold, only one of the corridors has been left open in the two separatism-plagued regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Things are arguably harder in the Luhansk region, where the irascible governor, Hennadiy Moskal, has decreed that no civilians are any longer allowed to travel between government and rebel-controlled areas.“Why should I let people go through, just so they can get fired at with grenade-launchers and machine guns?” Moskal said. “I have responsibilities before the president, the government and the people of Ukraine to preserve lives.”As the eponymous regional capital of Luhansk is held by separatists, Moskal is forced to run his office out of the relative backwater of Severodonetsk, where livelihoods have revolved since Soviet times around the local chemical factories. Only 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the front line, the town is blissfully somnolent and thoughts of war appear distant.Children tug at the branches of mulberry trees whose fruit otherwise drops to the ground to stain the sidewalks layered in fluffy poplar seeds. A pedestrian area along Lenin Street is a magnet for young mothers pushing buggies. In the early summer midday sunshine, few stay outside for long though. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies FOR STORY UKRAINE NO MAN’S LANDS – In this photo taken on Thursday, June 11, 2015, a boy rides a bicycle past the sign reading “Severodonetsk” in the town of Severodonetsk, Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine. Pro-Russian sympathies have historically been strong in a region where Ukrainian identity has tended to be much weaker than elsewhere in the country. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)n “Katerynivka is nominally the territory of Ukraine, but for the time being it is just a buffer zone where there could be bandits and separatist militants,” said Pavlo Petrovich, known to fellow soldiers by the code-name Papa, a border guard service volunteer from the western region of Chernivtsi. Like others in the town, he declined give his surname, using only his first name and patronymic.What Ukrainian troops call a buffer zone is a village of a few hundred people stretched along a corrugated dead-end country lane hemmed in by heaving trees. Most of the young, fit and able have long left, as one nervous resident explained.“I lived here with a son, a daughter-in-law and their child,” said Pyotr Vladimirovich, dabbing sweat from his sun-roasted brow. “I am the only one left. I can’t just abandon everything.”For groceries, residents venture to the village shop, which remains open only until lunch.After then, few dare to brave the outdoors.“I just take care of the property, there’s nothing else to do,” said Pyotr, who worked as a bus driver before the war broke out.Water is drawn from wells, while electricity is still provided without interruption. Sponsored Stories Top Stories center_img KATERYNIVKA, Ukraine (AP) — A single crack of an automatic rifle shattered the tomb-like silence of this no-man’s-land village in east Ukraine. The gunshot, fired in error by a jumpy soldier, sent government border guard troops on patrol this week scrambling to brace against the ambush they expect every time they venture into Katerynivka.The men said that four of their fellow soldiers were killed in a recent clash with separatist rebels. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center But if formal control over Severodonetsk is more clearly defined, uncertain popular loyalties make it no less an ambiguous quantity than Katerynivka.The town came under the sway of armed rebels for a brief period last year — long enough to ensure presidential elections in May could not be held there.On the face of it, things have changed. Severodonetsk sports hallmarks of a more fervently patriotic new order. In front of the imposing, colonnaded House of Culture building, a plinth once topped by the statue of Vladimir Lenin, the Bolshevik leader reviled by Ukrainian nationalists, stands empty save for the national blue-and-yellow flag. A craze has swept through Ukraine for the removal of Lenin monuments, regardless of abiding fondness among many elderly people for the communist era.The ties that bind the region with Russia — whose strong role in organizing and supporting the separatist movement is widely accepted — are still readily apparent. Advertising notices glued to lampposts and noticeboards almost all offer holiday packages to Russia’s south.Economic ties are being made into a formal reality in rebel areas, where pensions have started to be paid in Russian rubles. The currencies of Ukraine and Russia are used interchangeably in the separatist fiefdoms, with the latter said to prevail where militiamen from Russia have gathered in large numbers. Pro-Russian sympathies have historically been strong in a region where Ukrainian identity has tended to be much weaker than elsewhere in the country. Russian is spoken almost universally and if Ukrainian is heard in towns like Severodonetsk, it is now more likely to be coming from the mouths of troops garrisoned there.Soldiers are viewed with resentment, not least for their not infrequent propensity for aggressive boozing, which has led to a blanket ban on the sale of alcohol to troops. A trio of disappointed and empty-handed men in military fatigues observed Wednesday trudging from one shop to another in Severodonetsk suggested liquor vendor are holding up their end of the bargain.Residents of Severodonetsk whose lives have been disturbed by the unrest are less interested in the politics behind their predicament than understanding how to negotiate their plight.There is resentment at the arrival of those fleeing their homes because of the upward pressure they have applied to apartment rental prices and groceries bills already inflated by a depreciating currency.Meanwhile, the displaced feel as trapped as anybody in Katerynivka.The blockade championed by Moskal does not go down well with people like Vladimir Nikolayevich, a 56-year old doctor, who was compelled by shelling to abandon his hometown of Pervomaisk, now in rebel territory. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Patients with chronic pain give advice Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The sound of shelling begins as dusk nears. Katerynivka has been spared much direct damage and the projectiles largely whistle over to fall closer to Ukrainian positions a few minutes up the road.Still, venturing around the village is fraught with risks and any false step is potentially life-threatening. Over the weekend, a local 54-year old cowherd was hospitalized with grievous shrapnel wounds after setting off a tripwire while leading his animals to graze. The homemade explosive device was made with a coil from a spring mattress.Ukrainian soldiers say it was laid by rebels, some of whom they say are likely from the village.“Most of the healthy male population is fighting on the side of the LPR,” said Papa, using the initials of the self-styled breakaway Luhansk People’s Republic movement. “They remain in communication with their families and sometimes carry out attacks on our checkpoints.”Until a few weeks ago, people could travel to and from separatist areas by driving along a road running past the turnoff to Katerynivka. Soldiers guarding the way now turn back all traffic.As the 450-kilometer (280-mile) line separating government and rebel territory began to evolve into a fixed feature last year, Ukrainian authorities created an unwieldy system of permits for movement from one zone into the other.last_img read more

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Greek prime minister puts bailout deal to referendum July 5

first_imgThe move radically raises the stakes in Greece’s confrontation with its increasingly irate creditors, whom Tsipras accused of seeking to “humiliate the country,” demanding new pension cuts, sales tax hikes and labor market reforms.Worried Greeks have been pulling their money out of banks for months, and an estimated 4 billion euro left Greek banks last week. Queues were seen forming outside several Athens cash machines and fuel stations late Friday and early Saturday.Giorgos Pistevos, a retired bank employee, was in a queue withdrawing money at 3 am in the northern suburb Vrilissia, where many cash machines had 5 to 25 people waiting.“I withdrew the (daily) limit, 700 euros, and then I went for a second try, but it won’t give me any more,” he told The Associated Press. “I’ll try again tomorrow.”Pistevos said he went home after midnight and switched on the TV. “As soon as I saw (the news), I went straight to the bank because we don’t know what will happen,” he said.Tsipras said he would ask creditors Saturday for an extension “of a few days” to Greece’s bailout program, which expires on Tuesday. In theory, without an extension, the country will lose access to any remaining bailout funds. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home The referendum announcement also raises severe questions over whether the debt-crippled country will be able to remain solvent and in the 19-state eurozone. Greece desperately needs a deal with its creditors. Without a 7.2 billion euro ($8.07 billion) bailout loan installment — which would only be available if there is a deal — the country will be unable to make a 1.55 billion euro payment to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday, and even bigger payments later July.A Greek official close to the bailout negotiations said the country was unlikely to pay the IMF on Tuesday, adding that IMF rules allow a certain period during which a country is considered to be in arrears.By essentially defaulting on its debt mountain, Greece would likely see its banks collapse, as they depend on emergency European Central Bank funding. The government could soon run out of cash, face huge difficulties in paying pensions and civil servant salaries — and that could force it to leave the eurozone and adopt a weak national currency. But the country imports most key consumer goods, whose cost would rocket beyond most Greeks’ reach under a new currency.Teneo Intelligence analyst Wolfgango Piccoli said Tsipras’ move places Greece in “entirely uncharted waters.” In a note, he said it also raises the risk of the country leaving the euro to “at least 50 percent,” more than double the previous level. How do cataracts affect your vision? Top Stories Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, center, leaves after an EU summit in Brussels on Friday, June 26, 2015. European leaders have tasked finance ministers from the euro countries with concluding a debt financing agreement with Greece over the weekend, just days before Athens has to meet a crucial debt deadline. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) The European Central Bank has been supporting the Greek banks — and frequently increased that aid this week as they struggled to cope with the drain of deposits. But it would be under pressure to pull the plug on the banks if Greece’s bailout program expired and there was no prospect of a financial rescue for the country.Government officials early Saturday dismissed fears of a bank meltdown or imposition of capital controls.It remains unclear whether the referendum would be legitimate, as Greece’s constitution bans such votes on fiscal matters, and how the government would handle the result.“It is at this point difficult to see how this situation could end well for Athens,” Piccoli said. “Even if a majority were to back the proposal, the question is whether a government now openly opposed to the agreement would be able and willing to implement the attached reform conditions. Equally, if the “No” camp wins, it is entirely unclear at this point what the government’s plan B would look like.”Greece has survived on bailouts, conditional on deep reforms and spending cuts, since it lost the confidence of money markets in 2010. But the austerity measures worsened a punishing recession, pushed unemployment well over 25 percent and cost the average Greek at least a third of their income. Men’s health affects baby’s health toocenter_img Sponsored Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Later on Saturday, finance ministers from the 19-member eurozone were expected to meet in Brussels for what had been billed as a last attempt to reach a mutually agreed deal. Athens said its senior bailout negotiators will meet Saturday with ECB head Mario Draghi.Development Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis urged Greeks after the late-night cabinet meeting to vote against the creditors’ proposal.“The answer of the Greek people will be a resounding no,” he told reporters. “All Greeks will vote no.”State Minister Nikos Pappas echoed the sentiment. “Our people will vote no, you will see,” he said. “This is a very good night … the Greek people will soon be able to decide” for themselves.The surprise announcement follows days of frantic negotiations with the EC, ECB and IMF in Brussels. On Friday, officials in Brussels said Athens had agreed to key reforms that are close to what creditors have demanded.The creditors in return offered Greece a five-month extension to its bailout program.According to the text of the creditors’ proposals seen by The Associated Press, Athens was offered an extension to its bailout program through November, with loans worth 15.5 billion euros. That includes the 7.2 billion euros from the existing rescue program and money left over from a bank rescue fund. ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s fraught bailout talks with its creditors took a dramatic turn early Saturday, with the radical left government announcing a referendum in just over a week on the latest proposed deal — and urging voters to reject it.Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced the July 5 referendum in a televised address to the nation, following an emergency meeting of his cabinet.“The Greek government has been asked to accept a proposal that places new unbearable burdens on the Greek people,” Tsipras said. “Right now, we bear an historic responsibility concerning … the future of our country. And this responsibility obliges us to answer (the bailout creditors’) ultimatum based on the sovereign will of the Greek people.” Elected in January, Tsipras’ government has long been adamant it would not impose any new austerity measures, after cuts made in previous years put the country through years of recession and caused mass unemployment and poverty.His concessions to creditors have mainly consisted of tax increases, mainly on businesses. Creditors worried that, while such taxes might spare the poor in the short-term, it would hurt the overall economy too much.Pistevos, at the northern Athens bank queue, said he expected the referendum to be “very divisive.”“I think the results will be unpredictable and in the end, the referendum will end up being a yes or no to Europe,” he said. “The question isn’t whether we stay in the euro. We’re already out of that. We could end up out of Europe.”___Thanassis Stavrakis and Elena Becatoros in Athens contributedCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Greek opposition parties — except for the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn — expressed horror at the referendum.Conservative main opposition leader Antonis Samaras accused Tsipras’ radical left government of advocating an exit from the eurozone and the European Union.“Mr Tsipras has led the country to an absolute impasse,” he said. “Between an unacceptable agreement and leaving Europe.”But government officials insisted that the referendum would not be about currency change.“It’s not a question of yes or no to the euro … euro or drachma,” Defense Minister Panos Kammenos told state ERT TV, referring to the old Greek currency. “There is no process for Greece to leave the euro,” he added, referring to eurozone rules which contain no provision on a country being forced out of the currency club.An emergency session of Parliament will be called at noon Saturday to ratify the decision. The government has enough lawmakers to carry the vote.“The question will be acceptance or rejection of (the bailout creditors’) proposal” for a new deal, Tsipras said. His government had already said it rejected the latest proposals from representatives of the European Commission, ECB and IMF.last_img read more

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Funding to boost WA tourism development

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Western Australia’s tourism leaders said that $1.2 million over the next two years in additional funding would help the region develop its aviation industry through marketing in growing countries and new routes. Announced late last week, Tourism Minister Kim Hames said it was crucial the region continued to promote itself during a time with low airfares and a strong dollar.“This boost will build on the success we had with this program during 2011, which contributed to a 57.5 per cent increase in visitors from China,” Dr Hames said.According to Dr Hames, the Chinese market is one of the region’s biggest potential in tourism and was pushed further by direct flights launched late last year through China Southern Airlines. “Many Chinese visitors to WA come for business reasons,” he added.“Our target will be to build on the relationships we already have, and bring more leisure visitors to the State to enjoy our extraordinary leisure activities, wildlife and landscapes.”last_img read more

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Bahrain Air staff credit cards frozen

first_imgCredit company suspends all Bahrain Air cards. Image: GulfBusiness.com A credit card company in Bahrain, CrediMax, has confirmed it has frozen credit cards of some Gulf Air and all Bahrain Air employees after both carriers announced staff cuts.This month, Bahrain Air announced it had entered voluntary liquidation and suspended all operations as a result of ‘considerable financial losses’ acrued during 2011’s State of National Emergency.Last month, Gulf Air announced it would restructure its network and reduce its workforce to meet the operational needs of the revised network. According to the airline’s union, up to 1,200 employees are at risk of losing their jobs, Emirates 24/7 reported.Following the announcement, the credit card company has issued a statement explaining it had ‘suspended’ employee cards to ‘limit their own losses’. According to a CrediMax spokesperson, there could be a risk of people running up massive last minute bills before leaving the country. Staff who can present the credit company with a salary certificate or confirm that their job is secure are able to have their card reactivated.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.last_img read more

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Participants selected for the AlitaliaEtihad Cadet Pilot Program

first_imgParticipants selected for the Alitalia-Etihad Cadet Pilot ProgramAlitalia today announced that it had selected 24 young participants aged between 18 and 27 years, to attend the joint Alitalia-Etihad Airways Cadet Pilot program.More than 550 candidates applied to join the two-year training course, which will take place at Alitalia’s training centres in Italy and at Etihad Airways’ training facilities in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.Upon successful completion of the course, cadets will receive necessary licenses to become pilots at CityLiner, Alitalia’s regional airline, which operates a fleet of 20 aircraft including five Embraer 190 and 15 Embraer 175 regional jets. New pilots will commit to flying for Alitalia for a minimum period of 36 months.Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Alitalia’s Chairman, said: “Today is an important day for Alitalia and the Italian civil aviation sector as a whole, whose track record for the training of airline pilots is recognised around the globe.“Training and investing in young people is a commitment which Etihad Airways shares with Alitalia, right from the very first day of this unique partnership, adding value to the commercial relationship between the two companies.”James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “By ensuring that these talented cadets are exposed to the best pilot training at our world-class facilities in Italy and in the UAE, we guarantee our continued access to a pool of highly skilled aviators well into the future.”The Alitalia Training Centre for Pilots, which in its 60-year history has trained thousands of Italian pilots, has resumed operations after a ten-year suspension of activities. Historically, the centre has been globally recognised as being a pillar of commercial aviation in Italy.The first eight cadet pilots left for Abu Dhabi last week, where their initial training will take place. They were accompanied by Alitalia captain Giuseppe Borgna, who is in charge of the project.The group of 24 participants was selected by Alitalia after completing an extensive set of aptitude, psychological and physical tests.The start of each training course will be staggered over the coming weeks, and by the end of 2015, all 24 cadet pilots will have commenced their training.The first part of the course is dedicated to theoretical and practical classwork, followed by the first training test flights at the Etihad Flight College in Al Ain, an hour’s drive from Abu Dhabi.The second part the course will be held at the Alitalia Training Academy at Rome Fiumicino, which is equipped with seven flight simulators, and managed by a dedicated team of the airline’s pilot instructors.Upon successful completion of the course, scheduled for summer 2017, Alitalia will employ the new pilots under long-term contract.To assist cadets with the cost of pilot training, Alitalia is making a contribution to each trainee, investing a total of over one million Euros. Previously, pilot trainees were expected to shoulder the cost of training without sponsored assistance. The airline has also entered into an agreement with UniCredit to offer cadets a bespoke loan scheme.In preparation for the addition of new wide-body aircraft to the Alitalia fleet, the airline, together with Etihad Airways, is currently in the process of planning more Cadet Pilot programs to meet future growth and demand.The re-opening of the Alitalia Training Centre for Pilots, and the associated Cadet Pilot program, has been made possible due to the involvement of the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC), which reviewed and endorsed the training course.In addition to the Cadet Pilot program, Alitalia and Etihad Airways also promote similar training initiatives for graduates and engineers, which to date have welcomed 47 participants in both Italy and the UAE.Source = Etihad Airwayslast_img read more

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40th CINZ Conference heading to Hamilton

first_imgSource = CINZ 40th CINZ Conference heading to HamiltonThe Hamilton Waikato region is on show in October when the Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) 40th annual conference comes to town.CINZ Chief Executive Sue Sullivan says the 40th conference promises a jam-packed programme of education and networking. The theme is the Art of Collaboration and includes presentations from several international speakers.“As an industry we need to understand what is happening overseas, and learn how we can continue to grow. Workshops from our keynote speakers will provide CINZ members with the opportunity to dive deeply into relevant topics, and take real learnings back to their businesses,” she says.Claudelands is the host venue for the conference on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 October, with social functions planned for some of the region’s key attractions.Delegates can select from a range of workshop options for practical educational sessions on a series of trending topics. They include everything from the latest on international competitive advantage, to crisis management and social media engagement.Keynote speaker Gary Grimmer, CEO of international consultancy Gaining Edge will be discussing how New Zealand can deliver competitive advantage in the convention space. He will be focusing on the key trends and challenges emerging in the Asian market, and how New Zealand can respond.Issue and crisis management specialist, Dr Tony Jaques will run a participative workshop on how to create a crisis management plan.Closer to home, delegates will have the chance to hear from the driving force behind the New Zealand Story, Rebecca Smith. She will focus on the competitive advantage gained by sharing a strong, consistent story about what New Zealand has to offer beyond its natural beauty.The conference will include key industry updates from Hamilton City Council, Tourism New Zealand, CINZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).Sue Sullivan says the social programme is always a highlight of the CINZ conference.“This year promises to be very special for our 40th CINZ conference, with a Lord of the Rings themed gala dinner at Hobbiton Movie Set on 13 October.”The conference starts with a welcome cocktail event at the Zealong Tea Estate, a chance to check out their new conference facility. A casual evening at Novotel Tainui follows day one.The 40th CINZ Annual General Meeting and CINZ board member voting will also take place at Claudelands on Thursday 13 October.Click here for the full conference programme and register here.About Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ)CINZ www.conventionsnz.co.nz is the official, membership based association of New Zealand’s conference and business travel industry with more than 380 members across a broad range of sectors.CINZ takes a leadership role in increasing meetings, incentives, conference and events business for the benefit of its members, principal stakeholders and the New Zealand economy.CINZ works to actively promote the sector, providing advocacy with central government, and offering assistance, information, professional development and real business opportunities to its members.CINZ manages New Zealand’s only national annual trade show MEETINGS.Multi-day convention/conference delegates spent an estimated $472 million in the New Zealand economy during 2015 (MBIE CDS Dec 2015).Domestic delegates accounted for $246 million (52 per cent of the total amount),Local delegates spent $96 million (20 per cent) inside their regionsInternational visitors spent a total of $130 million (28 per cent). Of the international spend;$77 million was generated from Australian visitors$53 million from other international visitors.last_img read more

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