Colors: Blue Color

In the presence of visiting French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Airbus has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Development and Reform Commission of China (NDRC) on the further development of industrial cooperation in Tianjin. The agreement was signed by He Lifeng, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus COO and President Commercial Aircraft in Beijing today. Both sides agree to further enhance their industrial partnership in Tianjin and strengthen the cooperation with regards to technical innovation, engineering capabilities and supply chain expansion.

On the same day, Airbus and its Chinese partners have also signed a framework agreement on ramping-up its A320 production rate at its Final Assembly Line in Tianjin to six aircraft per month.

This industrial ramp-up targets five aircraft by early 2019 and six per month by early 2020. Since its inauguration in 2008 the Final Assembly Line in Tianjin has assembled a total of 354 A320 Family aircraft (by 31st December, 2017). Deliveries to Chinese customers and to operators throughout the Asia-Pacific region have included the first A320neo in the second half of 2017.

“The industrial cooperation between Airbus and China and its continued success are a true role-model of a winning partnership between China and Europe. Together with our Chinese partners we are proud to lift our cooperation to new heights”, says Fabrice Brégier, Airbus COO and President of Commercial Aircraft.

Airbus’ industrial footprint in China dates back to 1985, when the first product sub-contracting agreement was signed with Xi’an Aircraft Company. The total value of industrial cooperation between Airbus and Chinese aviation industry in 2017 amounts to nearly 600 million US dollars.

Tropic Breeze is offering an exclusive holiday to the charming island of Nevis where visitors can work on their swimming technique in the warm waters of the Caribbean…

A week-long swim retreat will run from 21 – 28 March 2018 at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, allowing participants to learn how to become a more efficient swimmer with the help of Olympic swimmers. The retreat is perfect for swimmers of all abilities, from beginners who wish to learn how to swim front crawl to those who are more experienced and are looking to hone their skills in open water swimming.

The swim retreat is run by Keri-anne Payne, an Olympic silver medallist in open water swimming, and her husband David Carry who has also represented Great Britain in the Olympics in freestyle swimming events. Included in the excellent value package are 5 hours of group swimming lessons in the pool and in the sea, a one-to-one lesson, two talks focusing on nutrition and planning, optional beach workouts, a sea swim safari, a welcome dinner, a pre/post retreat call with Keri-anne and a goodie bag.

Participants in the swimming retreat stay for 7 nights at the Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, an elegant hotel in an idyllic location with outstanding service.

The retreat coincides with the Nevis to St Kitts cross-channel swim. Taking place on Sunday 25 March 2018, this is an excellent challenge for open water swimmers, covering a distance of 2.5 miles. While some of the world's best open water swimmers have taken part in the race, an 'assisted' category also allows less confident swimmers to take part with a snorkel and flippers.

Sparked by the need to assist Caribbean tourism industry workers impacted by last fall's hurricanes, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has created a "jobs bank" to match candidates with tourism-related employment opportunities.

The jobs bank, which was launched last month, has already assisted a number of individuals from hurricane impacted destinations find new employment opportunities in the region and the United States. The initiative is made possible by the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund, a partnership between CHTA and the Tourism Cares organization.

CHTA's CEO and Director General Frank Comito explained the new platform is open to all CHTA member hotel industry professionals at all levels across the hospitality sector. While the focus is on assisting the temporarily or permanently unemployed from the affected destinations, it is a Caribbean-wide initiative.

"While the jobs bank has been created to serve an immediate and urgent need, our intention is for it to become the permanent go-to resource for career opportunities at every level in Caribbean hospitality - from line cook to general manager," stated Comito as he urged hotels throughout the region and elsewhere to post vacancies.

He explained that in the near term it is CHTA's hope that those displaced employees from the region's six destinations most impacted by the hurricanes will be able to take advantage of the time to keep their skills fresh and that employers will utilize the service. "We are confident that those employers, who contract with an impacted employee for the season or while their home hotel is under refurbishment, will realize tremendous value in their expertise while helping to mitigate the hardship employees are experiencing."

Comito predicted that in the not too distant future, destinations in the region that were impacted by the recent hurricanes will emerge with a new, fresh and exciting tourism product matched by a motivated, energized and highly professional workforce. He said CHTA, the local industry and the local hotel and tourism associations will roll out training initiatives in the months ahead to help sharpen the skills of Caribbean hospitality professionals.

The tourism chief affirmed that most of the Caribbean was not impacted by the recent hurricanes and is, in fact, experiencing a strong tourism season and outlook, providing an incentive for hoteliers to draw on qualified professionals from within the region.

CHTA continues to advocate for the unfettered movement of qualified tourism industry professionals throughout the entire region. Comito pointed to facilities in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States where nationals are able move and work freely, and in the U.S. territories where most residents of the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, for example, can work within each jurisdiction and the United States without a visa or work permit requirements.

H&M have used an image of a young black child wearing a green hoodie emblazoned with "Coolest Monkey In The Jungle", causing worldwide outrage at the Swedish retailer.

This obviously distateful statement has caused them more damage than first anticipated, with a calls for a boycott against the brand, as well as high profile artists G-Eazy and The Weeknd who has a clothing line with H&M, tweeting that they will be cutting ties with the retailer.

H&M issued a statement: "We're deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we've not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our offering."

In 2018, when this image alone would have to have been seen and vetted by a large number of people before it was released, how did it even leave the studio?

What kind of message are H&M trying to send? Whatever it was, the response has been one of shock and disappointment from people worldwide.

Launched by the Institut français in 2017, the NIGHT OF IDEAS is a project staged simultaneously in Paris, London and worldwide.

For this year’s edition, the Institut français du Royaume-Uni has put together a thought-provoking programme of debates, performances, gigs and screenings exploring the latest ideas behind issues central to our times, taking place on Thursday 25 January 2018, from 5.30pm to the heart of the night.

Inspired by the Power to the Imagination slogan of the Paris May 1968 protests and crossing French, British and European perspectives with leading experts, artists and researchers, the NIGHT OF IDEAS will look into the major aspirations of our times, around five main strands:

- BRAVE NEW WORLDS: This strand will take us to the new territories of artificial intelligence and to the outer space with special appearances of spationauts Timothy Peake and Thomas Pesquet.

- NEW FUTURES: We’ll explore the ability of artists to reinvent and change the world and invite the youngest to have their say on how they imagine the future.

- WOMEN SHAPING THE WORLD: As we are entering the centenary year of women’s suffrage in the UK, we’ll reflect on where we stand with women’s rights and gender equality.

- IMAGINATION AND CREATION: We’ll explore the line where fiction and reality meet in political TV drama and the crossroads between art and science.

- BACK TO THE FUTURE: On the 50th anniversary of May 1968, we’ll look at the political hopes and aspirations that have risen and fallen throughout the last five decades and the meaning of revolutions.

In the run-up to the NIGHT OF IDEAS, a film season, BEFORE THE NIGHT, will echo the different themes and the LITTLE NIGHT will invite pupils from London schools to reflect on the main topics. The NIGHT OF IDEAS is organised by the Institut français, the Scientific Department and the Cultural Department of the French Embassy, in partnership with Imperial College London, Kings College London, the Maison française d’Oxford, the V&A and the University of York, and with the support of the European Commission Representation in the UK.

On behalf of our Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), let me wish all of you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year. Above all, I hope for our Caribbean region to be blessed with mild weather patterns throughout the new year.
It is difficult to reflect upon a year which many of us would rather forget and, in particular, would wish for the month of September never to have happened. But happen it did. As if our regional challenges with Zika had not been enough, two Category 5 storms put us to the test as never before - a test for our region, our governments, our people and, also, for CHTA.
As we came together to deal with these challenges and their consequences, we embraced our oneness and were inspired to create the One Caribbean Family initiative, encouraging international and regional tourism communities to pledge their support.
It was heartening to see some of our global partners and members from the many parts of our region untouched by the storms rally to help damaged destinations heal. The road to recovery will take some time and I hope that the One Caribbean Family spirit will live on as there is plenty left to do.
We are thankful for the partnership with Tourism Cares and look forward to strengthening our One Caribbean Family initiative as we restore confidence in the region, not only among potential travelers, but also for future generations who wish to live and work in the Caribbean. And for these generations, we need to create jobs as well as educational and training opportunities.
We need to build resilience into our infrastructure and communities in the months ahead. Indeed, adaptation to climate change is no longer an option, but an urgent necessity. We will use the knowledge gained from dealing with these unprecedented storms and flooding to make us better prepared for whatever weather-related events the future holds.
Speaking of the future, let's bring back the linemen, construction workers, engineers and other relief workers who were central to the recovery efforts - and their families - to show them our gratitude.
We saw how unified approaches enable us to recover and to become more resilient - so now, let's use that knowledge and experience and make our sector more resilient and find strengthened and unified approaches to marketing, branding and promotion.
In this regard, we are resolved to strengthen our regional marketing efforts as we continue to appreciate that a rising tide lifts all boats. Our previous failure to act on this front was evident when we saw the damage caused when some members of the international media were unable to recognize how much of the Caribbean was not affected by the September storms.
The hurricanes spared most of our tourism destinations, but a number of reports, some of which continue to gain publicity, unfortunately conveyed the impression the entire Caribbean was shut down. But, as we know, even the minority of destinations hit by the storms are now welcoming visitors for the winter season. And many travelers understand the best way to help the affected destinations is to visit them and allow their tourism dollars to go straight to the local populations who are working hard to restore services.
Not everyone in our industry, including tourism authorities and governments in the Caribbean, is convinced that a regional marketing initiative is needed. Some are unaware that a Caribbean brand exists. I feel compelled to note that the press coverage after the hurricanes has shown us that we are being identified as a brand whether we believe in such a brand or not. Therefore, we must be able to act and, more important, react when that brand is threatened.
We have been talking about public-private partnerships to promote tourism and make it the main economic driver for years, but it is time to put some sustained funding behind these well-meaning words and finally make it happen. And whilst the discussion is currently centered on CARICOM (Caribbean Community) jurisdictions, we at the CHTA call for this to become a pan-Caribbean effort.
As I took on the presidency of this association two years ago, I created a number of goals for myself, not unlike the resolutions we often create at the beginning of each new year. Little did I know that so much of my time as president would be spent learning everything there is to know about types of mosquitoes and their breeding and flying behaviors, mosquito prevention strategies and, alas, the intricacies of disaster relief, crisis communications and climate change.
As I begin the last five months of my presidency of this incredible group of professionals that are part of our association, I look forward to welcoming the exceptional leadership of Patricia Affonso-Dass of the Ocean Hotels group in Barbados as she assumes the presidency of CHTA in June for the next two years. To her I say, may your presidency coincide with some calm after these storms.
Our collective work ahead includes:
  • Raising our voice and our readiness to mitigate the impact of the effects of hurricanes, climate change, mosquito-borne diseases, political uncertainty, and other challenges facing our region;
  • Focusing on the development of our people, including formally integrating the voice of the region's youth through a new CHTA governance mechanism;
  • Putting in place a regional tourism communications and marketing initiative, which by example will convince more of our public and private sector stakeholders of the value of a sustained regional tourism marketing and development initiative;
  • Unveiling our new strategic outline, which focuses on concerted action in the years ahead.
There is so much to be optimistic about in our beautiful region as we enter a new year after rising above such massive assaults.
Our weathering of these catastrophes enables us to welcome 2018 with the hope which survival often generates. Given the disruption we experienced in 2017, there is some irony in welcoming 2018 as the Year of Wellness and Rejuvenation, as designated by the Caribbean Tourism Organization. It is true that parts of our region are still dealing with the aftermath of historic storms and we have many challenges to address, but at the same time there is much to celebrate and be thankful for. Indeed, the Caribbean offers to the world the perfect environment to embrace wellness and respite.
Let's also celebrate our accomplishments to show the world how we have, like the mythical phoenix, risen from the very real ashes of last year's disasters to fly boldly and proudly into the golden promise of the new. Thanks again to CHTA's Director General and CEO Frank Comito and his stellar team, our members across the region, our international partners, colleagues and bloggers in the media, our committee and task force volunteers, and the Executives and Presidents of the National Hotel and Tourism Associations, for your efforts to keep the Caribbean top of mind and our tourism experience second to none in the world.
Happy New Year, everyone!
"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow."
- Albert Einstein
Karolin Troubetzkoy
President
Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association

Not only is the legacy of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism coming to an end, but also the term of UNWTO Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai.

Dr. Rifai changed the UNWTO and what it is during his term, and many say he raised the bar of the UN agency very high and has built a legacy for himself like none of his predecessors had.

In his final speech, he addressed not his legacy, but the legacy of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

This is Mr. Rifai’s final address as UNWTO Secretary General:

Dear Friends,

We have come to the end of a very special year for UNWTO and for the global tourism community.

In late 2015, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2017 as the ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’. This was, without doubt, a global recognition of tourism as an important contributor to the development agenda through economic growth, social inclusion, as well as cultural and environmental enrichment and preservation.

UNWTO was designated by the UN General Assembly to coordinate the activities and the celebrations of the International Year. With your support and the great support of our partners, we have promoted the value and contribution of sustainable tourism to development, to inclusive economic growth, social empowerment cultural and environmental enrichment and protection as well as mutual understanding, peace and justice. This was in many ways a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come together and work closer in making travel and tourism a catalyst for positive change.

The launch of the Measuring Sustainable Tourism last June in the Philippines, the adoption by Members States during the Chengdu General Assembly of the ‘Tourism and Sustainable Development Goals’ Declaration, the Montego Bay Declaration and the Lusaka Declaration, our 14 official events held in all regions of the world, our first consumer campaign – ‘Travel.Enjoy.Respect’ and our online space for sharing stories, knowledge and actions which gathered over 1000 initiatives, were just some of the initiatives of this Year. All my thanks go to each and every one of the 65 partners who joined us in making this possible as well as the 12 Special Ambassadors for the International Year.

Dear Friends,

This International Year will not end in December 2017. All the work we have done together during this year needs to be sustained and expanded if we are to ensure tourism’s effective contribution to the 17 SDGs. We were, therefore, very pleased to have been able to launch the findings of the ‘Tourism and SDGs’ report at the Closing Ceremony of the Year in Geneva on 19 December. The Report, which was developed in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), looks into the links between tourism and the SDGs in national policies, in private sector strategies and sets recommendations for our common journey towards 2030.

2017 was also a momentous year for me personally, as it was the last year of my mandate as UNWTO Secretary-General. Over 12 years at UNWTO I have seen tourism become one of the world’s most important and impactful socio-economic transformative forces of our times. I have seen its growing relevance to the lives of millions of people around the world, to the preservation of our common values and to the greater understanding among people of all walks of life. I have been touched by every person I have met throughout my humbling, rewarding yet challenging journey and deeply moved by many of the tourism stories I have come across around the world.

I want to thank all those who make our work meaningful every day. I also wish to thank all our Member States, Affiliate Members, sister UN Organizations, industry leaders and their teams, associations and global bodies for their support to me and to the mandate of UNWTO throughout these years. It has been a truly humbling experience. I wish to say a very special thanks to the UNWTO staff that made possible every success that the Organization has enjoyed over the past years. I am extremely grateful to everyone I have worked with. It has been a privilege to serve as Secretary-General, not the least because of the diverse breadth of exceptional colleagues I have had the pleasure of working with.

I wish Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, the incoming Secretary-General, every success in continuing to drive our sector forward to a better future.

Dear Friends,

Whatever our business in life may be, let us always remember that our core business is, and will always be, to make this world a better place.

Thank you! Taleb Rifai

Speaking in Victoria, Seychelles, at the Conference on Sustainable Tourism in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Seychelles Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine announced a partnership with SUNx to build a climate resilience center for the Seychelles and Vanilla Islands.

He also made provision for Maurice Strong Legacy Scholarships, formally launched at this year’s World Travel Market in London and of special interest to the Seychelles because they provide access to a high-profile scholarship for outstanding Seychellois students to further their education in Sustainable Tourism. The long-term aim is to empower tens of thousands of likeminded, connected, committed, graduate trainees and lifetime learners for progressive change.

SUNx is a program of the EU based, not for profit Green Growth and Travelism Institute, and a legacy to the late Maurice Strong – sustainable development pioneer. Its goal is to promote Climate Resilient, Impact-Travel with good & bad effects measured and managed coherently: with Green Growth at the core and, 2050-proof in line with the Paris Accords and the W.E.F. 4th Industrial Revolution. At its heart are SUNx Centers: prefabricated, solar powered climate research and innovation centers for climate resilience learning and capacity building.

Minister Loustau-Lalanne said:

“We believe that this center will become a valuable focal point for subsequent research and action to link issues like coastal protection, greenhouse gas reduction and Impact-Travel, with access to world class experts in encouraging long-term Green Growth and Travelism as well as Tourism and Natural Capital Assessment.”

Professor Geoffrey Lipman, SUNx Co-founder said:

“We are proud to be working in partnership with the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism who are taking a lead in the fight against eXistential climate change. Small Island Developing States, (SIDS), like the Seychelles will feel the effects of climate change first and we applaud the progressive attitude towards developing climate resilience before it’s too late.”

The Spa by Corinthia Hotel Lisbon was awarded “Portugal’s Best Hotel Spa” at the 3rd annual World Spa Awards 2017, which took place at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay alongside the World Travel Awards Grand Final.

The Spa by Corinthia Hotel Lisbon was nominated “Portugal’s Best Hotel Spa” with the votes of leading spa and wellness professionals alongside the votes of hundreds of thousands of spa and wellness consumers from around the world.

Roderick Micallef, the General Manager of Corinthia Hotel Lisbon, said, “We are incredibly proud having won this important and most prestigious award in the Spa industry. This award reconfirms our commitment to deliver guests the very best service and outstanding experiences”.

The Spa also gained recognition earlier this year when it was named “Best Luxury Urban Escape Spa” by World Luxury Spa Awards 2017.

Spread over a generous 37,673 square feet, The Spa presents an exclusive collection from world-renowned spa and skincare brand, ESPA. Recently revamped, The Spa features 13 treatment rooms including two spa-capsule rooms, two couple’s suites with Jacuzzi, steam bath and bathtub, one Vichy Shower room, indoor heated swimming pool, natural solarium, plus the Acqua Therapy Facilities. This latter, one-of-a-kind sanctuary is dedicated to wellbeing and rejuvenation with exceptional heat and sensory experiences such as sensory showers, dynamic pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam bath, bucket shower, cold plunge, ice fountain and cooling walk.

The Spa is complemented with a state-of-the-art gym offering a full range of high-end equipment from Technogym’s most advanced range, ARTIS.

Working with an expert team of therapists, personal trainers with extensive knowledge in both health and fitness, nutritionists, and beauty professionals, the spa offers a fully integrated approach to wellbeing creating bespoke therapeutic and results-driven experiences.

Claudia Santos, Spa Director, said, “This is the end of a very exciting year for us, winning two of the most prestigious spa awards and launching our signature treatments inspired by our spectacular coastline and the Portuguese culture and history.”

In 2017, the LATA Foundation has donated £50,000 to a range of grassroots social and environmental initiatives in Latin America making it the most successful donor year to date for the charity.

Created by the Latin America travel industry in the UK, the LATA Foundation's mission is to support grassroots projects throughout Latin America to help to transform lives, supply clean water, dental or medical support and offer practical training and skills to empower local communities.

Since it was formed, The LATA Foundation has donated in excess of £223,000 to a wide range of projects in Latin America.

In 2017, LATA has donated to 13 initiatives. Examples include:

The Condor Trust, Ecuador An educational initiative enabling young Ecuadorians from low income families to attend secondary school and/ or have access to higher education. The LATA Foundation has provided funds for the provision of uniforms, books and school materials. Now some of the first students taken on during the early years of the project have graduated from university and flourish in professional jobs, demonstrating how successful the whole cycle of support can be.

Vidarte Space, Brazil Vidarte Space has several projects to help underprivileged children from the favelas of Rio de Janerio. Their main project, the Vidanca Dance School, is located in the Complexo do Alemao favela. It began in 2009 as an initiative to offer children from the favelas the opportunity to express themselves through the art of ballet. The school also provides other activities that these children wouldn't normally have access to. The LATA Foundation is currently supporting the dance and football projects at Vidarte Space and thanks to the support of LATA Foundation donor Las Iguanas, has been able to install a new dance floor, mirrors and ballet barres.

Picaflor House, Peru Picalor House is an educational charity working in the small town of Oropesa and other villages in the surrounding rural area 25km outside of Cusco, Peru, to provide after-school support to students and families. Picaflor also supports the local community through hygiene programmes, taps for teeth washing and stoves for local families, having a far-reaching positive impact on the wider community. The LATA Foundation supports Picaflor House with English teaching resources such as text books and audio materials as well as financing an English language coordinator to help implement a new English teaching plan. The English teaching programme is core to Picaflor's strategy as it one of the key skills needed by students in their state education and in the local employment market.

Essque Zalu Zanzibar, already a culinary hotspot on the island, is proud to announce the launch of their Swahili cook school, the Mosha Cookery Studio. Built in the traditional style, with a rustic thatched roof but state-of-the-art cooking facilities, the studio has been dedicated to native Tanzanian Sous-chef Rose Mosha, who has been developing the cooking classes over her six years with the resort.  They are now a much in-demand signature fixture, teaching eager students from around the world how to prepare mouthwatering traditional dishes and sample the best that the 'Spice Island' has to offer. Chef Rose says “I am delighted to be able to showcase the best of Swahili cuisine at the Mosha Cookery School and inspire guests with my personal favourites and treasured family dishes which have been passed down from generation to generation”.

After picking fresh herbs and vegetables in the kitchen garden heaving with sage, basil, mint, coriander and thyme, Chef Rose - a gifted and eternally patient teacher - guides guests through the method of creating a three course meal, peppering practical tips and advice with insights into ingredients and stories about her own family recipes. The rich culinary heritage and history of Zanzibar combines Swahili, Persian, Portuguese, Arab and Indian influences, introducing guests to a heady mix of fragrant cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, green and black pepper and vanilla as well as an exotic tropical array of fruits and vegetables, from  gleaming chillies, aubergines and tomatoes, to okra, lychees, star fruit  and baobabs to name a few.

The studio has five live cooking stations centred around communal learning, meaning those with a competitive edge can even challenge friends and family, MasterChef style!  Tantalizing dishes on the menu include pweza wa nazi, an octopus curry prepared with fresh coconut; authentic lamb samosas; chicken biryani or pan fried fish with coconut sambal.  Afterwards guests can reward themselves with a seat at the Mosha Cookery Studio Dining Table to taste the fruits of their labour paired with wines chosen by the sommelier.

Avid fishermen – or gourmands looking for 'line to fork' eating – have the opportunity to head out in a local fishing boat and try their luck with traditional fishing materials and methods before returning to the resort to grill their catch. Budding pastry chefs will enjoy the Just Desserts class, in which sweet creations such as kaimati (a crunchy dumpling in a sugar syrup) or kashata (caramelized, candied nuts) are delicately perfumed with aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg, whilst early birds can create a brunch menu, enjoyed with a glass of chilled bubbly.

Perfect for individual foodies or groups travelling together, the school caters for amateurs, enthusiasts and accomplished cooks alike. Available for all age groups, the studio even offers fun kids' cooking classes for budding young gastronomes from the age of four and above.

Guests will depart Essque Zalu with a 'Taste of Zanzibar' spice gift bag, a collection of Chef Rose's recipe cards, personalized aprons and Chef hats, and all the inspiration to continue their Swahili culinary odyssey back at home.  Duarte Correia, General Manager at Essque Zalu, said of the new facilities “I am proud of the vast array of cultural activities we offer at the resort, which enable us to cater to guests' desire for immersive experiences which complement their enjoyment of activities around the island”.

It’s official: Basel’s Fasnacht has been recognised by UNESCO as an element of
intangible cultural heritage. With this decision, the International Committee has
paid tribute to the rich traditions and uniqueness of Basel’s Fasnacht, which is only the second-ever element of Swiss heritage to be awarded the UNESCO label for intangible cultural heritage.
At its meeting on 7 December 2017 on Jeju Island (South Korea), the Intergovernmental Committee decided to include Basel’s Carnival in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The list comprises cultural forms of artistic expression such as dance, theatre and music, as well as oral heritage and traditions, and handicrafts. After the Winegrowers’ Festival in Vevey, the Basel Carnival is the second element of Swiss cultural heritage to be included in the list.
Daniel Egloff, Director of Basel Tourism, is clear: "As well as its significance locally and
nationally, this recognition is also extremely important from the perspective of international tourism. We are really proud, and see considerable potential for making
Basel’s Carnival an even stronger feature on the tourist map"
Basel Carnival is part of the city’s identity – culturally speaking, it is at the heart of its creative energies and represents three days when the city goes wild. And it’s not only local people who keep the tradition of the carnival alive: every year, thousands of tourists come especially to Basel to be part of the festivities.
Whether local or tourist, everyone is amazed by the uniqueness, quality and sheer diversity of the event.

With the Arctic Circle a far cry from most peoples' reach of places to visit, it may come as a surprise that another great place to catch nature's very own theatrical performance is along the northern reaches of Scotland. Bunk Campers, Scotland's largest campervan rental company, offer a practical and budget alternative for enthusiasts wanting to experience the Northern Lights.

With transport and accommodation in one, a campervan is an alternative to car hire & B&B and gives customers freedom to move around and photograph the Northern Lights as they appear from one location to the next. All Bunk Campers campervans & motorhomes for hire can be taken on ferries to the Scottish Islands, meaning enthusiasts are within easy reach of even the most isolated locations and the best views of the Aurora Borealis.

With on-board camper heating, customers can stay warm even in the coldest winter nights and enjoy all the perks of home; including comfortable beds, cooking facilities, dining area and electric hook up (shower and toilet in larger models).

Bunk Campers offer a wide range of 2-6 berth vehicles to suit all tastes and budgets from their Scotland depot located close to Edinburgh airport. Rental rates during the winter period start from only £45 per day with additional long rental discounts of up to 10% available for those wishing to take an extended trip.

To inspire enthusiasts, Bunk Campers have put together 5 tips to chase the Northern Lights in Scotland on a budget.

The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association announced today that Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York, will be among the keynote speakers at the association’s 35th anniversary convention at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto (9-12 May 2018).

Houdart works on the Free & Equal campaign, an unprecedented United Nations global public education campaign for LGBTQ equality. He also leads the UN global Standards of Conduct for Business, which were launched in September and address LGBTI discrimination.

“In his role with the UN, Fabrice calls upon companies worldwide to stand up against discrimination in the workplace and respect the human rights of LGBTI employees, customers and community members,” said John Tanzella IGLTA President/CEO. “This aligns perfectly with IGLTA’s membership of global tourism businesses, which are committed to providing a welcoming experience for all travelers.”

IGLTA’s Annual Global Convention is the premier educational and networking event for the LGBTQ tourism industry, and includes an appointment-driven buyer/supplier marketplace with hosted buyer program, a networking session with global media outlets, and a roundtable for small business owners. The educational programming focuses on the latest LGBTQ travel trends and marketing strategies, as well as issues impacting tourism businesses. All general session content will be presented in Spanish as well as English.

Travelers interested in exploring the rich cultural history of the French-Creole Caribbean nation of Haiti are being wooed by one of its distinguished hotels.

Located in the capital, Port-au-Prince, the 60 year-old Le Plaza Hotel, a boutique 95-room property, wants travelers in North America, Europe and beyond to experience the diverse offerings of the country which, along with the Dominican Republic, is part of the island of Hispaniola.

"We are increasing our marketing activity to show travelers what makes us unique and special in the Caribbean," said Marc Pierre-Louis, General Manager of Le Plaza Hotel.

At Le Plaza Hotel, guests can bask in warm Haitian hospitality, exceptionally high levels of guest service and organic ambience. The family-run hotel offers comfort and convenience with an outdoor pool, fitness room, business center and internet access in all rooms and public areas.

The property, which hosts a live twoubadou band on Sunday nights, is gearing up for a strong winter season with special offers to celebrate the holidays, including entertainment and festivities for everyone.

"Le Plaza is continually revitalizing our hospitality product and experience to showcase our rich history and culture, including the incredible artistic repertoire of the Haitian people," Pierre-Louis reported, noting that today's discerning travelers are looking for more than sun, sand and sea.

The hotel is just a few minutes' drive from the iconic Mupanah (Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien), the National Museum of Art and Marché de Fer (a public market dating back to 1889), which guests are encouraged to visit.

In addition to learning about Haiti's history, visitors can get a taste of authentic Haitian Creole cuisine at Le Plaza. "We offer a holistic travel experience and we look forward to welcoming many more travelers from around the world, including members of our vast Haitian Diaspora," Pierre-Louis stated.

Ludde Ingvall's Australian Maxi CQS finished the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race on Wednesday 6th December taking Monohull Line Honours in an elapsed time of 11 days 00 hrs 03 mins 08 secs. CQS committed to a southerly route for the 3,000 nautical mile race and despite sustaining sail damage in a vicious 40 knot squall, the canting keel 98ft Maxi led from start to finish. Ingvall is no stranger to taking line honours in prestigious offshore races, twice taking the honour in both the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. This was Ludde Ingvall's 16th transatlantic.
Once dockside at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Ingvall was full of enthusiasm for the RORC Transatlantic Race and his team:
"We have had a fantastic trip, even though the slow start meant we didn't have a fast race, but I love it. It is great to be back in the Atlantic and especially nice to be first. Much more fun than being last! We have a young crew on board and it is especially rewarding to give them this chance and 'pass it on'. Sailing is an amazing sport, but big boat opportunities for young sailors are few and they did really well. Just think, we have eight nationalities on one boat and everybody was focused on the same finish line. We worked as a team, looked after each other and it was tough at times."
CQS Crew: Skipper Ludde Ingvall; Co-Skipper Kenneth Thelen; Logan Andresen; Martyn Baker; Philip Barnard; Hans-Christoph Brumberg; Charles Egerton-Warburton; Robin Elsey; James Espey; Liam Gardner; Paul Heyrman; David Kenefick; Rokas Milevicius; James Oxenham; Malcolm Paine and James Tomlinson.
After the Australian Maxi had safely moored at the impressive Superyacht Dock, CQS received a warm welcome from RORC Race Officer Steve Cole and Glynn Thomas, General Manager at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. Patricia Maher, Chief Executive Officer at Grenada Tourism Authority presented Ludde Ingvall and his team with a basket of Grenadian produce.
CQS has now set the bar for the best corrected time under IRC for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. The defending champion, Marten 72 Aragon, skippered by Jochen Bovenkamp and Canadian Southern Wind 96 Sorceress, skippered by Daniel Stump are likely to be the next yachts to finish. The Maxis have close company from two high-performance offshore racing yachts, Tilmar Hansen's German Elliott 52 Outsider and the provisional overall leader, Eric de Turckheim's French Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine. All four yachts are expected to finish the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race on Friday 8th December.