Archive by Category "News from around the World"

Half of business travel staff could lose their jobs next month, warns BTA

Business travel association BTA has warned the latest coronavirus restrictions will be a ‘fatal blow’ for the business travel sector without government support.

CEO Clive Wratten said the industry needs financial help ‘well into 2021’, adding that half its employees face redundancy at the end of October when the Government’s furlough scheme is due to end.

Wratten also called for Covid-19 testing on departure to get people flying again.

“Business travel powers our economy and Britain’s reputation for trade,” he said. “Today, 50% of our industry stand to lose their jobs at the end of October and that figure is quickly rising. There is no time to delay if we want to keep Britain open for business.”


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The tragic explosion in Beirut affected local businesses from essential services to restaurants, fashion and even the arts – shattering buildings and centres. British auction house, Christie’s has just announced it will support Beirut’s throbbing art community with a charity auction.

Dubbed We Are All Beirut – Art for Beirut: A Charity Auction, the online auction will take place from late October to the first half of November.

“Seeing the images of devastation on Tuesday 4 August will always remain in all our collective memory and our thoughts are with all families, friends and artists who have lost so much. We hope to raise enough funds with this initiative to make a significant difference,”CEO at Christie’s, Guillaume Cerutti, commented, continuing “we are committed to help and hope that many of our international clients, friends and collectors will follow our call to action.”

According to Caroline Louca-Kirkland, Managing Director at Christie’s Middle East, the initiative will include approximately 40 to 50 lots of international and regional art, jewellery, design and watches. Funds will be allocated to restore the city’s art and cultural community, including the Sursock museum – Beirut’s modern and contemporary art museum.


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Stay Informed, Customers Responsibilities during Covid-19 Pandemic

Covid-19: Pre-Flight Instructions at Airport & Post-Flight & Confinement upon Arrival:

Due to the continuous updates and procedural revisions imposed by the Health Authorities of countries, Airlines Websites are constantly updated to reflect such ongoing resulting changes; in addition to Countries’ “Ministry of Foreign Affairs” and/or “Health Authorities” Websites.

Some destinations require quarantine upon arrival, while others may require a negative RT-PCR test taken within 96 or 72 hours; Or special travel certificates and/or other health documentation may also be required for your trip.

Visa Procedures and amendments (inclusive of “Transiting through capitals”) are changing Daily.

Hence, customers have the ownness to check All and Any Online Relevant Sources to travel e.g.

  • PCR testing;
  • 14-Day Confinement obligation if any;
  • Insurance covering the Covid-19 if any;
  • Health Declaration Form, if any (link: – if when applicable;
  • Quarantine Undertaking Form, if any;
  • Precautionary Measures apply e.g. Mandatory Masks wearing during the entire flight and must be replaced every 4 hours and this depending on Airlines; bring your own hand sanitizers (if any);
  • Passengers with fever or illness symptoms including covid-19 may not be allowed to board the aircraft;
  • In addition to Countries’ specific requirements e.g. Alhosn Covid-19 App (UAE) etc – if and when applicable.



The information gathered is correct to the best of our knowledge at the date/time of reply/query/publication and is being reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis by the Relevant Sources, given the rapidly evolving nature of the international response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
IATA, Airlines and Health Authorities reserve the right to add or change information at any time.
Hence, we cannot guarantee the data’s accuracy and we shall NOT accept any liability / responsibility for any errors or omissions.
You should make your own independent inquiries before relying on any information or materials handed to you.

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Lebanon Blast

Dear Friends & Partners,
Our hearts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones in the apocalyptic blast of Beirut… and with all those Injured and Missing, our thoughts are with all those Shattered Lives and shuttered businesses…
We must proclaim an end to our grievances….
We must re-write our History as we deserve a better living, New Hopes, New Beginnings.

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Wizz Air Looks to Middle East for Further Expansion

by Patrick Whyte, Skift, – Jan 29, 2020 8:15 am

Wizz Air is looking east rather than west for further expansion in the wake of an ambitious move to establish a Middle East subsidiary.

The airline is partnering with the state-owned Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company to create a joint venture that will start operating sometime in the second half of 2020. The announcement was somewhat surprising given that Etihad Airways is setting up its own low-cost carrier in partnership with Air Arabia.

It doesn’t necessarily mean more joint ventures will follow but it does seem to be part of a shift in perspective for the airline, which has risen to become a dominant player across much of Central and Eastern Europe.

“I think Abu Dhabi is a unique opportunity for Wizz. I mean, structurally, we are very excited about opportunities going further east and we are more excited going further east than going west,” CEO József Váradi, said on Wizz Air’s third quarter earnings call on Wednesday.


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Hotels Are Confused by Rise of Legal Marijuana: Opportunity or Liability?

By Nancy Trejos, Skift – Jan 28, 2020 2:30 am

The legalization of marijuana in many states is becoming an increasingly perplexing challenge for one key part of the travel industry: hotels.

They’re confronted with figuring out how to let guests partake in it on-property, training and drug testing employees, and dealing with confusing and ever-changing laws. In short, hotels have much to figure out.

“This is an emerging trend that’s not going away,” said Michael Blank, principal of Woodmont Lodging. “In many ways, it’s akin to the casinos when they were trying to make their push nationally.”

Marijuana is now legal for medical use in 33 states. It is legal in 11 states for both medical and recreational use for adults over 21. Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana as of Jan. 1.

Yet under federal law, it’s still a drug listed on Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, which makes it a federal crime to own, sell, or possess it. Other drugs listed on Schedule 1 include heroin, LSD, peyote, and ecstasy.

Under President Barack Obama’s administration, then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole issued a directive to federal prosecutors in 2013 that effectively told them not to interfere with marijuana-friendly state laws. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions under President Donald Trump attempted to reverse that decision before his ouster in November 2018.



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Airlines slashing flights to China

Hong Kong (CNN Business)Airlines based in North America, Europe and Asia are canceling flights to China as authorities there seek to contain the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.

British Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines, Air Asia, Cathay Pacific, Air India, IndiGo, Lufthansa and Finnair have announced plans to slash the number of flights they are operating to China or stop flying to the country entirely. Other airlines are offering customers refunds.
Airlines are taking action as the deadly coronavirus continues to spread. The virus has killed 132 people and infected over 6,000 people in China so far, with dozens more cases confirmed in places such as the United States, Japan, Germany and France.
British Airways, which is owned by International Airlines Group (ICAGY), said Wednesday that it has suspended all direct flights between Britain and China with immediate effect after the UK Foreign Office warned against all but essential travel to China.
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The Dawn of Pilotless Planes

The concept of pilotless commercial jet flight has been bandied about for years.
But while the technology has been there, there’s been little concrete evidence to suggest autonomous flying could ever really get off the ground — until now.
Airbus has confirmed one of its test aircraft took off automatically at Toulouse-Blagnac airport in France last December.
The European aerospace company conducted a series of successful tests on autopilot last month, with two pilots on standby.
According to Airbus, the A350-1000 achieved eight automatic takeoffs over a period of four and a half hours.
“While completing alignment on the runway, waiting for clearance from air traffic control, we engaged the autopilot,” Airbus test pilot Captain Yann Beaufils explained in a statement.
“We moved the throttle levers to the takeoff setting and we monitored the aircraft. It started to move and accelerate automatically maintaining the runway center line, at the exact rotation speed as entered in the system.”
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The most ambitious infrastructure plan in world history – China will change tourism for ever

I personally believe that it is a very interesting Article that goes deeper than Tourism. Please read & be in the know.

China’s tourism route to massive global economic power and political influence. Great New Silk Roads trillions already committed
Just imagine that you’ve woken up on the first of October 2049 – the hundredth anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. How do you see the world?
Well, for a start, the world of tourism has dramatically changed. China has seen to that. By now the massive economic area free trade zone envisaged by the ‘Belt and Road’ scheme – has come into full operation as forecast. Extending all the way from inner China to the heart of Europe, Chinese high speed trains are bringing avid travellers to stay in Chinese branded hotels, to buy Chinese manufactured goods and souvenirs and to eat Chinese foods.
Today in 2020 China is number 1 in outbound tourism with around 200million international travellers a year. By 2049 at the present rate of growth the figure is likely to be more like 600 million even maybe a billion. All of these travellers will have billions to spend and you can be sure that China’s centrally-managed tourism will make sure that it is spent where China wants it to be spent.
The Chinese government calls the massive Belt and Road initiative “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future”. Cultural and economic initiatives are merged in tourism and the Silk Road tourism initiatives will certainly be geared to Chinese tastes. There have already been plans for major Las Vegas style casino cities and winter sports centres in and around Kazakhstan and there will certainly be more.

A new Chinese duty free zone in Kazakhstan
All along the central Silk Road, through China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan all the way to Hungary and Europe, to the US via the North Silk Road and Africa via the south will be interconnected in economically-protected tax haven free trade zones. This is also likely to bring to the fore historic Silk Road Cities (of which there are hundreds) such as Samarkand, Kabul, Shiraz, Almaty, and many more. Add to these the destinations in South East Asia and this equals massive economic power.


The initiative calls for the integration of the region into a cohesive economic area through building infrastructure, increasing cultural exchanges, and broadening trade. Apart from this zone, another area that is said to be included in the extension of this ‘belt’ is South Asia and Southeast Asia. Many of the countries that are part of this belt are also members of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). North, central and south belts are proposed. The North belt would go through Central Asia, Russia to Europe. The Central belt goes through Central Asia, West Asia to the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. The South belt starts from China to Southeast Asia, South Asia, to the Indian Ocean through Pakistan. The Chinese One Belt strategy will integrate with Central Asia through Kazakhstan’s Nurly Zhol infrastructure program.

The Silk Road Land Corridors:

Chinese high speed trains await

The New Eurasian Land Bridge runs from Western China to Western Russia through Kazakhstan, and includes the Silk Road Railway through China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany.
The China-Mongolia-Russia Corridor will run from Northern China to the Russian Far East. The Russian government established the Russian Direct Investment Fund and China Investment Corporation, a Chinese government investment agency, partnered in 2012 to create the Sino-Russian Investment Fund, which concentrates on opportunities in bilateral integration.
The China-Central Asia-West Asia Corridor will run from Western China to Turkey.
The China-Indochina Peninsula Corridor will run from Southern China to Singapore.
The Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor, runs from southern China to Myanmar and is officially classified as “closely related to the Belt and Road Initiative”.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (also known by the acronym CPEC), also classified as “closely related to the Belt and Road Initiative is a US$62 billion collection of infrastructure projects throughout Pakistan that aims to rapidly modernize Pakistan’s transportation networks, energy infrastructure, and economy. On November 13, 2016, CPEC became partly operational when Chinese cargo was transported overland to Gwadar Port for onward maritime shipment to Africa and West Asia.

Maritime Silk Road
The Maritime Silk Road, also known as the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” is a complementary initiative aimed at investing and fostering collaboration in Southeast Asia, Oceania, and North Africa, through several contiguous bodies of water:  South China Sea, the South Pacific Ocean, and the wider Indian Ocean area.
Like its sister initiative the Silk Road Economic Belt, most countries in this area have joined the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Ice Silk Road
In addition to the Maritime Silk Road, Xi Jinping also urged the close cooperation between Russia and China to carry out the Northern Sea Route cooperation to realize an “Ice Silk Road” to foster development in the Arctic region. China COSCO Shipping Corp. has completed several trial trips on Arctic shipping routes, the Transport departments from both countries are constantly improving policies and laws related to development in the Arctic, and Chinese and Russian companies are seeking cooperation on oil and gas exploration in the area and to advance comprehensive collaboration on infrastructure construction, tourism and scientific expeditions.

East Africa
In May 2014, Premier Li Keqiang visited Kenya to sign a cooperation agreement with the Kenyan government. Under this agreement, the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway was constructed connecting Mombasa to Nairobi. After completion, the railroad stretches approximately 300 miles (480 km) costing around $250 million USD.
In September 2015, China’s Sinomach signed a strategic, cooperative memorandum of understanding with General Electric. The memorandum of understanding set goals to build wind turbines, to promote clean energy programs and to increase the number of energy consumers in sub-Saharan Africa.

Hong Kong
During his 2016 policy address, Hong Kong chief executive CY Leung’s announced his intention of setting up a Maritime Authority aimed at strengthening Hong Kong’s maritime logistics in line with Beijing’s economic policy. Leung mentioned “One Belt, One Road” no fewer than 48 times during the policy address, but details were scant.
These are just a few of the hundreds of mega-million dollar initiatives. There will certainly be more.
China is already no1 world tourism source market, it is unlikely that this position will change for the foreseeable future particularly given the fact that it is forecast that up to 3billion Asian residents will become middle class by 2050.

The city of OZ was scheduled to have no less than 48 casinos in Kazakhstan

Already the power of Chinese tourism is having a major effect on the Silk Road countries, for instance around Lake Baikal in Siberia there is local agitation as Chinese people buy property; near Almaty in Kazakhstan a major tourism development is taking place to attract Chinese to gamble and relax, also in Kazakhstan a mass tourism ski development is taking place to attract Chinese skiers.
It is a short step to Chinese branded hotels, restaurants, shops and other Chinese-run businesses all along the Silk Road even to Germany and Italy. It is an even shorter step to China centrally-organised tourism taking place from China to the Mediterranean.
Furthermore, China will own land, railways, ports and duty free shopping centres all along their road. The fact is that they already do.
The benefit to China? Wielding economic and political power through outbound tourism.

Bournemouth University’s tourism school has been seeking to gather a wide range of knowledge and study. They say “While there has been considerable scholarly work on soft power and the Belt and Road initiative (BRI), the political and economic investment in Chinese outbound tourism deserves greater attention. Whereas the number of trips abroad taken by Chinese citizens was in the tens of thousands in the 1980s, the current figure is well over 130m per year. While it may remain a marginal phenomenon in demographic or trade terms, tourism is a crucial issue in contemporary China, a major object of governmentality and a means to push soft power initiatives to receptive countries. As China exercises soft power using outbound tourism (and arts and culture more broadly), the growth of Chinese tourism has on the surface benefited the economies of Southeast Asian countries, who were traditionally reliant on long-haul, seasonal travellers from the west.”

“Tourism has been used by the Chinese authorities to enforce the construction of borders and boundaries in the South China Sea, leading to rising tensions. Just as many countries have eased their visa requirements for Chinese tourists, China has increasingly sought to police ‘low-end’ tourists who might undermine the Chinese authorities as they attempt to boost their influence on the international stage. The authorities have sought to attract members of the overseas Chinese community to Chinese through Root-Seeking Tour Summer Camps, organized by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, so as to teach the Chinese language and culture.”
“Questions have emerged about the linkages between tourism and politics, tourism and human rights, tourism and international migration patterns, and the impact of returning Chinese tourists on Chinese society.”
“These questions place the landscapes of Chinese tourists into a broader context. Chinese media increasingly highlight the growth of outbound tourism to particular counties, potential revenue and links to the Belt and Road Initiative.”

“While pitched as tourism projects, China has been accused of hiding its search for political, economic and military influence through tourism. As tourism projects embed infrastructure that supports the development of trade routes (global network of rail, roads, ports, pipelines, fibre-optic cables), does Chinese investment bring wealth, or will it be mainly kept within a closed loop of overseas Chinese communities and state linked businesses?”
“In Forest City, Johor Bahru (Malaysia), Chinese tourists are encouraged to buy Chinese-built apartments in a US$100 billion development mean to boast international schools, shopping malls, hotels and an immigration centre for approximately 700,000 Chinese residents.”
“The construction of the $1.4bn (£1.1bn) Port City project in Sri Lanka by the state-owned Chinese engineering firm China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) on 665 acres (2.6 sq km) of land is been marketed as a new Dubai, with luxury hotels, shopping malls and a marina.”

While China pledges that the New Silk Road will be open, transparent and environmentally friendly, many of these projects appear to lack transparency and accountability. There are concerns that the standard 99-year leases for these projects will lead to social, economic and environmental challenges, such as opaque funding, exorbitant claims of their tourism potential, corruption, and population displacement. Questions are emerging as the differences between these projects and the past/current ones dominated by the West.”
“While the New Silk Road spans 65 different countries, Chinese tourism, more broadly, holds the potential to redefine tourism, infrastructure, economies and even the governance of many more countries, as Beijing establishes its own norms, rules and institutions.

A full report on the New Silk Road, it’s challenges and opportunities will be in Sustainable Tourism 2020.
Independent, Incisive, Iconoclastic, the annual Sustainable Tourism Report has been published since 2003.


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Volcanic ash cloud causes flight disruption

Manila’s main airport was forced to close temporarily earlier today due to an ash cloud from a volcano, which authorities in the Philippines believe could erupt within hours or days.
More than 240 international and domestic flights were cancelled, and although Ninoy Aquino international airport has since partially re-opened, flight disruption is continuing.
Philippine Airlines has cancelled, delayed and diverted some domestic and international flights and warned further changes are expected as the situation develops.
The Taal volcano has also begun spewing lava since yesterday’s eruption of ash, which has spread across more than 60 miles.
The government volcano-monitoring agency has raised the danger level around Taal three notches to level 4, indicating ‘an imminent hazardous eruption’.
The last time Taal showed similar activity, in the 1970s, it lasted for about four months.


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