Colors: Blue Color

A former foreign minister from Ghana, Hanna Tetteh, will lead a team of Commonwealth election observers to The Bahamas for the country’s general election later this month.

This is the first time the Commonwealth will observe elections to The Bahaman parliament. The general election is scheduled for 10 May 2017.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland announced the make up of the observer group after receiving an invitation from the Government of The Bahamas.

“I’m delighted that former foreign minister, Hanna Tetteh, has accepted my invitation to lead the Commonwealth Observer Group. Her experience will be a real asset in this important assignment,” said Secretary-General Scotland. “In offering their assessment on the conduct of the election and the overall credibility of the process, the Group will be contributing to enhancing democracy in The Bahamas.”

The observers will consider all aspects of the electoral process and assess whether the election has been conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which the Commonwealth of The Bahamas has committed itself.

The Group will be in The Bahamas between 4 and 13 May 2017 inclusive. The last general election was held in May 2012.

Turneffe Flats has long been recognized as one of Belize’s premier saltwater fly fishing, SCUBA diving and marine eco-tourism destinations. Located on the incredibly beautiful Turneffe Atoll, Turneffe Flats provides visitors access to the most biologically diverse atoll in the Caribbean.

Green Globe first certified Turneffe Flats for its sustainable operations in 2013 and again this year the eco-tourism resort has proven its environmental credentials with a notable compliance score of 89%.

Turneffe Atoll – home to this remarkable eco-tourism resort – provides pristine habitat for 260 fish species, 77 plant species and 5 spawning aggregation sites. The marine eco-system is a combination of healthy coral reef, both fringing reef and patch corals, expansive backreef flats, large lagoon systems, seagrass beds, and extensive mangrove forest. Turneffe Atoll is of significant economic and sociological importance to Belize as a major commercial fishery and ecotourism center, while also providing Belize City and the mainland coast with essential protection from hurricanes.

For the past three decades, Turneffe Flats has actively supported the sustainable environmental, economic and social use of Turneffe Atoll through a variety of efforts. The eco-tourism resort has worked to be a model off-the-grid green enterprise and has developed many innovative ways to combine top-notch service with minimal environmental effects.

Approximately 17 years ago, Turneffe Flats wanted to make a more formal commitment to conservation efforts so became a charter member of 1% For The Planet. Wanting to concentrate conservation efforts locally, the resort then formed an NGO named Turneffe Atoll Trust to focus efforts on the surrounding reef environment.

Since then the Turneffe Atoll Trust has worked with government in Belize to deliver legislation instituting landmark protection for important game fish – bonefish, permit and tarpon. Belize’s “Catch and Release Law”, as it is known, has now been emulated in several countries.

In 2012, the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve was established offering a new level of environmental protection for Turneffe. Turneffe Atoll Trust drove this process, which included more than 10,000 hours of consultation with stakeholders – mostly commercial fishermen. The consultative process, and the Management Plan for the new reserve, were together funded by Turneffe Atoll Trust and substantial donations from Turneffe Flats.

Pike Place Market, for many the heart and soul of Seattle, opens a £57 million extension of three quarters of an acre on 29 June this year. Extending this world famous farmers market will broaden the attraction of Seattle's beautiful seafront to visitors and sightseers.

Pike Place Market opened in August 1907 and is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers markets in the United States with more than 10 million visitors annually. The construction started in June 2015 and when it opens, visitors will enjoy:

  • 30,000 square foot open public space encompassing a new extended modern market and viewing deck overlooking Elliott Bay
  • 47 new day stalls
  • 12,000 square feet of commercial and retail space for artisan purveyors
  • Multiple public art installations
  • Over 300 covered parking spaces, plus 33 bicycle spaces.
Pike Place Market is home to over 225 small independent businesses and more than 85 local farmers, all providing stalls ranging from arts and crafts to fishmongers, groceries and sweet treats. The market offers a diverse range of restaurants, seasonal produce, local hand crafted gifts and Washington made goods. The diversity of produce and upbeat tempo of Pike Place Market creates a memorable experience for all.

Flying fish you say? Correct! - only in Seattle.  Join the local fishmongers who celebrate a sale by tossing a fish through the air to one another.

UBL, Pakistan’s Best Bank 2016, inaugurated its state-of-the-art Contact Center in Islamabad recently.

Located in G6, Islamabad, this contact center is UBL’s third and offers multiple banking service options to the customers of the Bank. With a capacity of 130 seats, the center offers Inbound, Telesales, Callback Mailroom and Social Media Services.

Mr. Wajahat Husain, President and CEO UBL inaugurated the Contact Center. He was accompanied by Ms. Sima Kamil, Deputy CEO UBL and other senior executives of the Bank. The visiting group was given a detailed overview on the Contact Center’s services and how it has now emerged as one of the leading Banking contact centers in Pakistan. Later, the group was given an extensive tour of the center where they observed the contact center team’s operations.

There is much excitement and exuberance in the Indian tourism industry and among official stakeholder circles, as the 2022 Lions Clubs International convention will be held in India for the first time in the over 100-year history of the club.

A record number of 35,000 delegates are expected from 120 countries to come to Delhi for the four-day event. Dr Naresh Aggarwal, who will take over as President of Lions Clubs International in July of this year said in Delhi, India, on April 20 that after the event, he expects the Indian share of world tourism to rise to 3 percent, from the present under one percent.

Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said that the Lions meeting will be a good opportunity to showcase India to the world. Also, 2022 is important as it will be the 75th year of independence for India.

The usual parade on the occasion will be held in the evening in Delhi, as July is a hot month; generally, it is held in the mornings.

The club, which is very active in India, has pledged to scan the eyes of five crore children for eyesight problems.

Lions leadership has sought help from the government to ease visa rules for the convention.

India won the bid to host the Lions meeting against stiff competition from several other countries.

Over 6,000 rooms have already been booked in five-star hotels in Delhi, and more accommodation will be lined up in due course.

Top hotel managers and agents were present during the media meeting.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) welcomes the focus of Earth Day 2017 on Environmental and Climate Literacy, especially at a time when the very existence or impact of climate change is being challenged by some, if not outrightly denied and dismissed.
The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio was "our last chance to save the Earth". Twenty-five years later, we must take stock of where we are and unite to face the realities of climate change, especially in a region and an industry as vulnerable as ours. Most importantly, we must take action.
Our association is committed to ensuring our members and our destinations are fully conversant with the need to be climatically responsible. We know that being aware of the dangers of climate-changing activities not only helps to protect the environment but is also good for business.
In a sense, the Caribbean region is the world's lungs. People come to our shores for fresh air and clean seas in which to relax.
Individually our islands may be small, but collectively we can make a significant statement to the world about our care and concern for protecting our fragile natural resources. We do not have room for waste, nor can we afford to muddy our own pool when we are inviting the world to come and splash in its pristine clarity.
Looking after our environment is not just good for the planet, it is good for our livelihoods as well. It is not only economically efficient, but many of our guests want to know that their presence is preserving the region rather than polluting it.
The governments of the Caribbean played an instrumental role in the adoption of the 2015 agreement at the Paris climate conference. CHTA is calling on the region's public and private sector stakeholders to renew our support for the Caribbean Community's call for a cap on the world's temperature rise at 1.5 degrees Centigrade made to the United Nations conference in Paris. Anything less than a full commitment to the accords reached in Paris would have devastating consequences for the region.
Furthermore, we should increase our climate knowledge by supporting research and mitigation measures to counter losses.
CHTA is working on several fronts to create a more sustainable tourism industry by adopting measures to reduce the carbon footprints of our members. With the support of the Inter-American Development Bank, detailed energy efficiency audits have been conducted on more than 150 regional hotels. Additional energy conservation work in the tourism sector is being done with the support of the United States Agency for International Development.
Through these and other initiatives, many of the region's hotels have put energy efficiency measures in place, and our sector has advanced training, policies and incentives that support greater efficiencies and lower carbon footprints. Many of the region's governments have put in place policies to promote energy efficiency, water conservation and waste management. These efforts need to continue.
The Earth Day focus this year on Environmental and Climate Change Literacy fits well with the UN's declaration of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development because controlling the release of climate-changing emissions is a key element in advancing the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability - economic, social and environmental.
Such continuing education will raise awareness of the true dimensions of a sector that is often undervalued because of a lack of literacy on its real contributions across all areas of society.
In the Caribbean, we benefit enormously from our region's biggest money earner and CHTA unreservedly embraces our responsibility to ensure that tourism is sustainable so it can be an even greater contributor to the socioeconomic development of the region, supporting our schools, our hospitals, our businesses and our culture while preserving the environment, which is our biggest asset.
Let's Save the Earth - and Keep the Caribbean Clean!

Throughout the day next Saturday dozens of boats from across Florida and the Southeast will assemble in Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park to test their mettle as part of Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Races.

Organizers Pan American Dragon Boat Association, in partnership with The Junior League of Tampa, expect 8,000 spectators to watch more than 50 local, national and international teams race. Each boat holds 20 paddlers backed up by a drummer to keep them on time, as they dig hard with each stroke in a sprint toward the finish.

Grab a waterfront seat in the park, observation deck or along the Tampa Riverwalk to catch the action and cheer for your favorite team.

The following weekend, thousands more will gather for the Tampa Riverfest, Tampa's annual Riverwalk celebration. This year's family-friendly event, presented by Friends of the Riverwalk and the City of Tampa, will introduce a Hot Dog Festival on Saturday. Thanks to a new partnership with Nathan's Hot Dogs, the hot dog eating contest will send Tampa winners to The Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, New York.

“These two major events confirm why visitors have lately come to expect year-round excitement in Tampa Bay” said Santiago Corrada, President & CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. “Week after week our partners and locals show their love for Tampa by organizing high-quality events that have transformed our city into one of the hottest destinations in the country.  Our new Riverwalk is the latest star of our dynamic evolution.”

The Junior League of Tampa President Nicole Hubbard added: “More than ever, the Tampa Bay community has been working towards improved health and wellness with our children and our environment. This event draws spectators to the Tampa Riverwalk and allows the community to enjoy one of its greatest assets-the waterfront,“ Hubbard said.

The Jamaica Ministry of Tourism has vowed to use Carnival in Jamaica as the overarching brand to promote the carnival experience to visitors and locals alike through the aggressive marketing support from its agency, the Jamaica Tourist Board.

Preparations are in top gear ahead of the inaugural staging of Carnival in Jamaica, which was recently launched at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston. The initiative is a project of the Sports and Entertainment Network of the Ministry of Tourism’s Linkages Network and has facilitated the developers and organizers of many of the biggest local carnival bands, brands and events to provide a well-packaged entertainment offering.

“It is our intention to make Carnival in Jamaica a national product that our visitors can look forward to experiencing each year. So, this will become an annual undertaking which will transform the carnival experience locally. It is our aim to have Carnival in Jamaica become on par with or even better than carnival in our sister Caribbean island of Trinidad, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Notting Hill in London or any of the other big carnivals in major capitals of the world,” said Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.

While the Ministry of Tourism is leading the initiative in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, the Chairman of the Sports and Entertainment Network, Kamal Bankay, was quick to highlight that the event has received much support from key partners to ensure its success.

“I truly believe that Carnival in Jamaica is a powerful initiative as it has brought together all the Carnival bands for the first time to work together to create the biggest and best carnival experience Jamaica has ever seen. We are very grateful for the support received from all our partners, such as the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, the Mayor of Kingston and the NSWMA to facilitate City Branding reflective of the personality and identity of Kingston for promotional activities,” said Bankay.

The Network is also working closely with the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) and VIP Attractions to curate an exciting Carnival in Jamaica display inside the Arrivals/Immigration Hall to increase visitor interest in Carnival upon arrival at the NMIA and Sangster International Airport. Partnerships have also been forged with the Ministry of National Security to ensure a heightened security presence for traffic control and protecting pedestrians.

“As an island destination, we must unearth and develop the various musical experiences that make the visitors want to travel to the island to enjoy themselves and spend while doing so. That is why the Ministry of Tourism has been supporting events such as Reggae Sumfest, Rebel Salute and other reggae productions…that is also the reason why we have developed Carnival in Jamaica,” said Bartlett.

Carnival in Jamaica will be used as the umbrella brand for all carnival activities during the peak period of April 14 to 24, this year, making it a national product.

For globetrotters looking for a dose of authentic culture and an inspiring burst of art this summer, Philadelphia is offering something for all artistic tastes to get excited about. Home to three of the greatest museums of art in America – the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation and Pennsylvania Academy Of The Fine Arts – the city has long been established as a cultural hub.

What is more, Mural Arts Philadelphia has just relaunched its programme of tours in time for the summer, so visitors can marvel at some of the city's 4,000 murals between more traditional museum visits.

Mural Arts Tour Summer Programme Offering a taste of the unique and fascinating stories behind the art that has connected communities throughout the city for over 30 years, arts fans should look no further than a Philadelphia Mural Arts Tour for their summer holiday itinerary. The programme brings art to life with its offerings of trolley jaunts, guided walks and even Segway excursions, each showcasing public artworks instilled with the notion that art ignites change and encourages learning. Each year, the professionally-trained guides lead 12,000 residents and visitors through the striking outdoor gallery that has become an intrinsic part of the city's landscape and is renowned globally.

North East India is home to some of the most diverse and culturally-vivid terrain and communities in the world. Abundant with rare wildlife, towering mountains, far-reaching lakes and mesmerising caves, its states are a paradise for bold and inquisitive travellers.

For an eye-opening and unique holiday this summer, UK travellers should take advantage of the new extended e-visa visit period - whereby tourists can stay in the country for up to 60 days - and book a trip to North East India, which boasts endless activities to keep the most eager appetites for adventure satiated. To help plan your trip, India Tourism has put together a guide to some of the area's best attractions.

Trek Through Nature's Finest Land In Arunachal Pradesh Aptly-named 'The land of the dawn-lit mountains', Arunachal Pradesh is the richest biogeographical province of the Himalayan zone. With a wonderfully complex hill system, its terrain lends itself to some of the greatest trekking in India. Visitors should head for high-altitude mountain pass Se La Pass, from which some of the state's 500 bird species can be spotted and hiking trails are found at every turn. From a height of almost 14,000 feet, visitors will be rewarded with fantastic views of the surrounding rivers and villages while on their nature trek.

Delve Deep Into The Caves of Meghalaya Some of the longest caves in the world can be found in Meghalaya, where around 500 limestone grottos snake through the terrain. While many of these caves remain unexplored, visitors can embark on underground adventures galore in the region to explore a truly hidden India.

Be Spell-Bound By Loktak Lake In Manipur It is no wonder that Manipur is referred to as the 'land of the jewels'. Here, visitors are greeted by breath-taking emerald lakes, blue mountains, foaming waterfalls and exotic wildlife. What is more, the region is home to the only floating National Park in the world, which takes form of a series of circular swamps that hover on the surface of Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India. In addition to these fascinating little islands, the lake also plays host to 233 species of aquatic plants, over 100 species of birds and 425 different types of animals. For a truly spell-binding experience, travellers should add a hike around the endangered lake to their North East Indian itinerary.

The inauguration ceremony of the Coca-Cola sponsored, international standard Aquatic Center at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) took place. Mr. Brian Smith, President Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Group and Mr. Zoran Vucinic, President Middle East and North Africa (MENA) of Coca-Cola Company, the chief guests at the event, along with other members of the organisation’s team, were welcomed at LUMS by Syed Babar Ali, Pro-Chancellor, Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi, Vice Chancellor, and Abdul Razak Dawood, Rector of LUMS.

After the inaugural ceremony, the attendees visited the grand Aquatic Center, a first ever FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur) approved indoor swimming facility, with an eight lane, 25-meter length, in a Pakistan based university.

Speaking at the occasion, Rizwan Ullah Khan, General Manager, The Coca-Cola Export Corporation, Pakistan and Afghanistan, said, “One of the most important pillars of Coca-Cola’s brand values includes the inculcation of an active lifestyle for our local communities. The establishment of Coca-Cola LUMS Aquatic Center is an example of how Corporate Partnerships like these can provide exponential benefits for the sustainability of our society.”

“We are proud that the Coca-Cola Aquatic Center will become certified for national and international water sports competitions and will serve as a centre stage for the University to develop teams for swimming, water polo and other aquatic sports. We are thankful to Coca-Cola for their support in establishing this facility,” commented Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi. The Aquatic Center will be operational this week and opening its doors to LUMS students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Coca-Cola has previously supported LUMS in a variety of ways which have included an Endowment Fund for the National Outreach Programme, to sponsor financially disadvantaged students. One such student, Sikander Wattoo, has gone on to graduate from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University in USA, with the support of this Programme. The Coca-Cola Empower Lecture Series is also an initiative that has taken place at LUMS, aimed at empowering the youth of Pakistan through a series of lectures by inspiring speakers.

India's Ministry of Tourism has announced that foreign tourists visiting India on the e-Tourist Visa (eTV) will now be entitled to stay in the country for up to two months and enjoy double-entry benefits.

Rolled out by the government beginning 1 April 2017, the new e-Visa guidelines will permit a traveller to stay in the country for up to 60 days, with double entry for those holding valid business and tourist e-Visas, and triple entry for those holding medical e-Visas. This entitles visitors to explore neighbouring countries before returning to India within a specified time. What is more, the window for application to the e-Visa scheme has increased from 30 days to 120 days.

The eTV was introduced in August 2015 and thanks to the successful promotional efforts of India Tourism Office London, 90,000 e-Tourist Visas were issued within the scheme's first year. This accounted for nearly a quarter of all e-Visas issued worldwide and more applications were made by UK citizens for an eTV to India than any other nation.

The e-Visa for India has been sub-divided into three categories: e-Tourist Visa, e-Business Visa and e-Medical Visa. On arrival, the visitor must present the authorisation to immigration officials, in order to enter the country.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris has redeployed some senior officers, which includes the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 2 Command, comprising Lagos and Ogun states, Kayode Cornelius Aderanti; Imo State Commissioner of Police (CP), Taiwo Frederick Lakanu and the Commandant at Police College, Ikeja, CP Chris Okey Ezike.

New AIG, Aderanti, takes up duty as the 19th Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 1, Kano.

Before, he was the AIG in charge of Zone 2, Lagos and takes over from AIG Adamu Ibrahim, who has since been redeployed to Zone 2, Lagos.

With his new appointment, AIG Aderanti, mni supervises activities of the Nigeria Police in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa States.

Hailing from Odo-Otin Local Government Area of Osun State, AIG Aderanti, mni studied Sociology at the University of Ibadan after which he joined the Nigeria Police Force as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police in 1984.

A member of Senior Executive Course 38, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos his previous postings include: Deputy Defence Adviser (Police) Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, Head Interpol Abuja; Director of Peace Keeping Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja, CP Ports Authority Police (PAP) Western Ports and CP Lagos Command amongst others.

AIG Aderanti, mni is married with children.

World Expeditions is marking next month's two-year anniversary of the catastrophic 2015 earthquake in Nepal with the announcement of a brand new 'Re-Build Nepal' project: taking place in November, it will concentrate on assisting in the building of three new classrooms at the Shree Manjushree School at the village of Kashi Goan in the Gorkha region, near Langtang, which was at the epicentre of the earthquake.

The worst natural disaster to strike the mountainous landlocked country for more than 80 years, the 2015 earthquake killed more than 8,000 people, left two million homeless and destroyed around 6,000 schools – but it also had a major impact on tourism, the nation's single largest industry.

The adventure travel specialist, which has been operating in Nepal for more than 40 years and had over 200 trekkers and staff in the region when the earthquake struck, was immediately keen to provide opportunities to anyone eager to help in a real and meaningful way by physically contributing to the rebuilding effort.

Through seven 'Re-Build Nepal' projects World Expeditions has already helped rebuild classrooms at three schools across Nepal, in the Solu Khumbu, Dolakha and Rasuwa districts, and continues to urge travellers to return and provide a much-needed boost to the country's economy.

The new project is complemented by a remote, off the beaten track trek that follows at parts sections of the Great Himalaya Trail, crossing true wilderness and visiting untouched traditional villages rich in Tamang and Gurung culture.

Gordon Steer, UK Manager for World Expeditions, said:

“Nepal is home to the world's highest peak, clusters of Himalayan ranges and hardworking people who live amongst them. Collectively, they have inspired, challenged and brought positive change for travellers who seek to experience its majesty and the warmth of the mountain villagers”.

“Nepal is 'open for business' and now, more than ever, its people need something back from us. Tourism is a major contributor to the country's economy so the downturn in tourists has had a huge impact”.

To celebrate the release of the new Pirates of the Caribbean film, Salazar's Revenge, Cap Maison, the luxury boutique villa resort in Saint Lucia has rounded up the best pirate- themed adventure trips that the Caribbean has to offer. Parents can spend quality time with their children in five star paradise whilst giving them an experience they won't forget. The activities provide an opportunity to explore the real history of pirates in the region and provide youngsters with some great pirate themed action of their own.

Pirates Day Adventure on 'Black Magic'

On the 16th century replica of the square-rigged galleon pirate ship, 'Black Magic' parents can sit back and take in the breath-taking scenery whilst the kids can get in on the action and experience what it would be like to be a real Pirate of the Caribbean; dress up as a pirate, fire the black powder cannons, swing from the yardarms and walk the plank. The crew are on hand to entertain, outlining fascinating facts along the way. Stops include the Diamond Botanical Gardens and the Sulphur Springs, St. Lucia's iconic drive-in volcano. There is a swim stop and on board activities for both adults and children to enjoy.

Pigeon Island Treasure Hunt

Spend a day at 'Pigeon Island' one of Saint Lucia's most famous national landmarks, and embark on an exhilarating treasure hunt. On the island, you will be greeted by a 'spirited' resident pirate - who is alleged to have been abandoned back in the days of Jame De Bois, the infamous pirate captain. A truly memorable activity which takes you around the whole island, with the chance of winning the grand prize: a return trip to Saint Lucia for two, or the cash equivalent is up for grabs along with many other goodies! The day ends with a well-deserved swim on the beach where refreshments are available.

Visit Blackbeard at Black Bay in Vieux Fort

In the second half of the 18th century, Vieux Fort was the centre of Saint Lucia's sugar industry. Legend has it that Blackbeard, the infamous pirate used to store his treasure in a hidden cove in a place called Black Bay. If you are interested in wildlife, about a mile off Vieux Fort's coast, and worth a day trip, are two turtle-shaped islands called the Maria Islands. These are protected nature reserves serving as refuge for two perilously endangered reptiles: the Zandoli Te, a colourful ground lizard with the males displaying a brilliant blue tail; and the harmless Kouwes snake, the rarest snake in the world. The islands are also nesting grounds for leatherback turtles and numerous species of sea birds.