Goway offers savings with 2017 Europe EBB

first_imgGoway offers savings with 2017 Europe EBB Travelweek Group Tags: Goway Travel << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bycenter_img TORONTO — Goway is taking 10% off many of its most popular Europe tours for departures next year.“This is a great offer. These tours sell out quickly, especially in Ireland, so booking in advance is key,” says Goway’s Europe Product Manager, Nadya Phelan.Featured destinations include Provence, the Loire Valley, the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, Andalusia, the Cotswolds, the Dalmatian Coast, Bavaria and the Ionian Islands.The average group size is 12, with a maximum of 18, says Phelan. Travellers dine in authentic restaurants and have the opportunity to meet traditional producers and mingle with locals. The deal is valid for new bookings and tours must be paid in full by Sept. 30, 2016. See goway.com. Friday, August 19, 2016 Sharelast_img read more

Turkey and TIFF How destinations promote themselves behind the scenes

first_img Monday, September 12, 2016 Share To buy tickets, go to tiff.net. Posted by Michael Smith TORONTO — Agents and industry representatives were partying last night on the TIFF Bell Lightbox rooftop in celebration of Turkish cinema.Turkey has two movies showing at the Toronto International Film Festival this year – ‘Kor’ and ‘Tereddüt.’ The Turkish Consulate General Culture and Information Office hopes the films will showcase the beauty and culture of the destination, and in-turn, inspire more tourists to visit.Taking into account how much the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy impacted tourism in New Zealand, it’s easy to see why destinations are keen to have movies promoting their landscapes and culture.Turkey is one of 40+ destinations that are being promoted at TIFF this year, almost double from the previous year. As part of the Industry Centre at TIFF, destinations will promote themselves to producers, directors, and media with exhibition style booths. Country representatives are in Toronto to not only sell their movies to distributors, but also scout for possible filming locations.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyPart of film promotion also includes VIP parties like the one last night. These soirees bring producers and distributors together to try and make a sale and to help promote the movies to media. Parties are also a chance to thank industry partners, as was the case last night with representatives from the Turkish Consulate General, Turkish Airlines, WestJet, The Travel Corporation, New Wave Travel, Able Travel, and Travel Savers. Over 300 guests were in attendance last night, all of which were treated to a special performance by Turkish psychedelic rock band BaBaZula.The travel industry was out enjoying the nights festivities. Credit: Darlene Paolucci.‘Kor’ will be showing at TIFF on Sept. 17 while ‘Tereddüt’ will be showing on Sept. 13, 15 and 16. Turkey and TIFF: How destinations promote themselves behind the scenes Tags: Toronto, Turkey << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Tropical Storm Pilar skirts Mexicos western shore

first_img MEXICO CITY — Tropical Storm Pilar is moving northward in the Pacific just off Mexico’s western shore, raking coastal areas with rain and high winds after passing close to the resort city of Puerto Vallarta.Pilar had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) Monday morning and its centre was about 70 miles (115 kilometres) south of Mazatlan. It was moving north-northwest at about 9 mph (15 kph).The storm was projected to stay close to land over the next few days while dropping rain on Nayarit and Sinaloa states while beginning to weaken. Tropical storm force winds extended out as far as 60 miles (95 kilometres).The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Pilar could to drop 3 to 7 inches (7.5 to 17.5 centimetres) of rain on coastal areas.In the Atlantic, two hurricanes were far off the U.S. East Coast and didn’t pose any major threat to land, though Hurricane Maria was expected to whip up heavy surf and swells for the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckMaria, which battered Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane last week, was down to a Category 1 storm early Monday and its maximum sustained winds had weakened to 80 mph (130 kph). It was moving north near 7 mph (11 kph).Its centre was about 350 miles (560 kilometres) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.Farther out at sea, Hurricane Lee had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kph). It was about 910 miles (1,460 kilometres) east of Bermuda and was stationary. It was projected to move in a rough circle over the coming days. Share Monday, September 25, 2017 Source: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Mexico, Travel Alert Tropical Storm Pilar skirts Mexico’s western shorelast_img read more

Canadian agents crowd the winners circle at Karismas 2018 GIVC gala

first_imgCanadian agents crowd the winners’ circle at Karisma’s 2018 GIVC gala Share Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Awards, GIVC, Karisma Hotels & Resorts CANCUN — With pomp, circumstance and a blast from the glitter cannon, Karisma Hotels feted their top selling travel agents in style at the 11th annual Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant (GIVC) Awards at the El Dorado Royale Resort in Cancun.Hosted by Sabrina Filatow, National Sales Director of Karisma Hotels & Resorts, the GIVC Awards began with highlighting the successful year for the company, with awards from AAA, Green Globe Certification and having the resort’s own Le Chique Restaurant named to Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018.Canadian agents did their country proud, recognized as top producers of Karisma Hotel brands including El Dorado Spa Resorts, Azul Beach Resorts, Generations Resorts and Nickleodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana as well as being named in every level of the GIVC Diamond Awards. And it was the ladies who stole the spotlight in the top growth by region and top selling agents categories.Elicia Jump of Uniglobe LGI Travel Alberta was awarded Top Growth by Region for Western Canada, Mandy Delve of Beyond Travel Designers was awarded Top Growth by Region for Central Canada and Martine Phaneuf of Vacances Le Faubourg was awarded Top Growth by Region for Eastern Canada.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTKim Crosby of Sun Lovers Travel was honoured with the Top Selling home-based agent for Canada and Carolyn Menard of Flight Centre was awarded with Top Selling Storefront Agent for Canada. Pamela Walker of Escapes.ca and Sandra Lombardi of RedTag.ca were recognized as Diamond Elite award winners.Kim Crosby of Sunlovers Travel – Mayan WeddingsMultiple award winners of the night were Kim Crosby, Pamela Walker, Martine Phaneuf, Mandy Delve, Brittney Struck of Flight Centre and Cindy Almond of Romance and Foodie Travel, recognized for their top selling status, especially in destination weddings.Since 2014 Senor Jose Luiz Martinez and Senora Delores Lopez Lira, owners of El Dorado Spa Resorts, Generations Resorts and Hidden Beach Resort by Karisma have given away US$250,000 in cash to agents as an incentive for increasing their sales, as well as giving away diamonds through a lottery at the annual GIVC Awards.It was especially poignant this year for attendees to have the owners present, as Senor Martinez had suffered a stroke earlier this year. Despite his health challenges, he had vowed to attend this year’s GIVC Awards and was on hand to give out the cheques, which included Crosby, Phaneuf and Menard, lucky recipients of the cash awards this year. Monday, December 17, 2018 Waheeda Harris About Latest Posts Waheeda HarrisA traveller from a young age, Travelweek contributor Waheeda Harris is pop culture obsessed, loves spicy food and is happy to wander around our planet with her camera in hand. Latest posts by Waheeda Harris (see all) Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Edge stars of JetSet3 fam – April 23, 2019 Unleash the power of cross-company digital transformation to revolutionize your CX – February 8, 2019 On location: Cabo San Lucas welcomes the stylish Riu Palace Baja California – December 20, 2018last_img read more

Costa Ricas best coffee is from Naranjo

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s best coffee comes from this hillside in Alajuela Starbucks opens second Costa Rica location on Thursday First Starbucks in Costa Rica opens in Escazú The first Starbucks in Costa Rica will open in May Twenty international judges evaluated more than 30 Tico coffee samples and determined that Costa Rica’s best coffee is produced in Naranjo, Alajuela, at 1,650 meters above sea level, and in San Marcos de Tarrazú, south of the capital.Two coffee processing centers, or beneficios, located in these cantons took the top spots in the “2013 Costa Rica Cup of Excellence” Friday evening.Of the 30 samples tested, 22 surpassed the minimum qualification of 85, needed to participate in a worldwide online auction that will take place on June 19.Oldermar Arrieta and his wife, Marlene Brenes, are the owners of “Beneficio Vista al Valle” in Naranjo, where they sell their coffee. Now they expect to sell it across the country.They were extremely happy for the win, especially since the company is 100-percent family-run. The couple operates the farm and beneficio with only the help of three children.Last year’s Cup of Excellence was won by Beneficio Brumas del Zurquí, from Heredia. Representatives of Costa Rica in the global auction were able to obtain up to $45 a pound for their coffee.Judges said they were impressed with the quality on display at this year’s competition, especially since a decrease in international coffee prices and losses caused by coffee rust fungus have affected many coffee farms in Costa Rica. It is estimated that more than 90 of the farms affected are run by small farmers. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Slothy Sunday The pause of relief

first_imgWe all know that wonderful feeling when we arrive at our destination and find the nearest bathroom. Many times, we throw our heads back and give a sigh of relief. Imagine, then, only being able to go to the bathroom once a week, or even less frequently. This is the life of a sloth.  Via Toucan Rescue Ranch.As many of you know, sloths are solitary creatures and prefer to stay high in the forest canopy, undetected. They accomplish this by having amazing ways to camouflage themselves and with certain adaptations that help them take this inconspicuous lifestyle to the extreme. One major adaptation is having a large multi-chambered stomach. This makes up a large portion of their body, and when full, can account for up to two-thirds of a sloth’s weight. The stomach is full of many types of bacteria which break down the leaves and other foods eaten by the sloth. Digestion of the fibrous food sloths consume is very slow, allowing these animals to remain high in the trees for long periods of time, without expending a lot of energy.When their stomach is full, sloths slowly descend down the trees by hugging the trunk, performing a sort of bouncy dance that I can only describe as twerking or belly dancing. After this, they look skyward and slowly close their eyes, which indicates that they have started urinating. This can last several minutes and produces up to two liters of urine. This is why sloths don’t drink water, but derive the liquid in their diet from the food they eat. Via Toucan Rescue Ranch.Once they are finished urinating, they open their eyes and start the process of defecating. They defecate pellets that look somewhat like coffee beans in a clump. This stage of their elimination is critical to the life cycle of the many insects which live in the algae-rich sloth fur. As the sloth leaves fecal matter at the base of the tree, the bugs living in its fur lay their eggs in the pile of fresh dung, leaving their larvae to develop in the nutrient-rich environment. The adult insects that emerge crawl or fly back up to the sloth to live and mate, completing their life cycle.There are many schools of thought as to whether this relationship between sloth, bugs and algae benefits the sloth, but it definitely benefits many types of other organisms. Once the sloths finish eliminating, they climb back up into the tree canopy to remain there another week or two, eating and sleeping, until they repeat the process.  Via Toucan Rescue RanchWhile adult sloths only go to the bathroom once every week or two, the orphaned baby sloths in our care must be taken out on a daily basis to try to get them to eliminate. We first take them outside to the grass and either place them with a stuffed animal, with another sloth buddy, or stand them up, mimicking a tree trunk. One usually successful way to convince them to potty is to have a paper towel soaked with sloth pee that we place in front of their nose. They have a very fine sense of smell and usually respond to the odor, by active sniffing. We hold our breath, hoping this will stimulate their little bodies to follow suit.We watch for the little nose twitch, and if they start bouncing or wiggling their bottoms, we can figure that our efforts will be met with some success. Once their eyes shut tightly, we know we’re home free! At this point, we hope we’re in a comfortable position, as they can take several minutes to relieve themselves! The baby will eventually open its eyes once it starts defecating and will, many times, start crawling away, leaving a trail of poo pellets in its wake. Once a baby has defecated, we always weigh them to keep accurate records.Fortunately, once the babies are a bit older, we can place them on a wooden climbing structure, where they will complete the tasks on their own. As they grow older, their instincts kick in, and our assistance is unnecessary — which is living proof that we have done our job!It’s amazing how many strategies the various Sloth Team members come up with to get our little challenging babies to potty, inspiring awe and determination amongst the rest of us. “Potty” cool … don’t you think?— Denise Gillen is a Sloth Nanny at Toucan Rescue Ranch.This article was produced by The Toucan Rescue Ranch. The Toucan Rescue Ranch specializes in helping wild animals recover so that they can be reintroduced into the wild. For more information or to donate, visit the Toucan Rescue Ranch website. Facebook Comments Related posts:Slothy Sunday: Saving sloths together Slothy Sunday: The Rescue of Volcano Girl (AKA Anise) a two-fingered sloth Slothy Sunday: Just hanging out Slothy Sunday: Overcoming adversitylast_img read more

Shanghais latest cachet a fictional cop

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Qiu even has a fleeting connection to the man at the center of the latest convulsion in Chinese politics, Communist princeling Bo Xilai, who was ousted in an affair that includes a suspected murder. The two were graduate students at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in the late 1970s, though their only interaction, Qiu says, was when Bo borrowed his favorite pingpong paddle. He never returned it.“One thing good about writing about China is that so many things are happening, you don’t have to worry about writers’ block,” he remarked as he sat in a favorite Shanghai restaurant, “Laobanzhai,” or the “Boss’s Place.”Here, a dish described on the menu as “vegetable rice” sells for as little as 3 yuan (about 50 cents) a bowl, and penny-pinching seniors sometimes bring cheap cuts of meat in their pockets to slip into their noodles.The very rich, on the other hand, can flaunt it on “knife fish,” or Yangtze saury, an endangered species advertised by the restaurant for 4,400 yuan a kilogram (more than $300 a pound).Coming back to the Bo Xilai case, Qiu is forgiving about the missing pingpong paddle, but he has qualms about Bo’s style during his time as party chief in the sprawling Yangtze River metropolis of Chongqing, when he championed mass sing-alongs that harked back to the Cultural Revolution days. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like “I remembered that place from when I was a child because at that time it was very mysterious to me,” Qiu recalled.There were plenty of rooms, so he stayed a few days.“Maybe because of the pollution of the lake, not too many senior officials want to stay there. It stinks,” he said.“You smell it all day, so you ask questions, and very naturally the story comes to you.”Though Qiu’s version includes plenty of fictional elements, including an attractive young lady, it is based on fact: excessive pollution did leave the lake’s water undrinkable for a time, and an activist who disclosed the problem was jailed.Woven through the narrative is “Don’t Cry, Jade River,” a poem he wrote 25 years ago, lamenting the despoliation of his country:“the dead fish afloat, shining“with the mercury bellies trembling,“their glassy eyes still flashing,“with the last horror and fascination…”Qiu says he expects the Chongqing intrigue also will eventually find its way into his storytelling _ “Maybe change the background a bit. Change the details. I still want to come back to China.”He often returns to Shanghai and always tries to visit the family home, downtown near Shanghai’s riverfront, along a leafy street of shoe shops and hole-in-the wall diners. Old calendars on the walls and an antique dresser with inlaid art deco white and blue glass recall an era when such modest possessions were cherished, before H&M, Ikea, Best Buy and cross-town expressways arrived. Even now, there are no modern amenities _ no bath, toilet or TV.Walking to a neighboring alley, its narrow walls draped with electrical wires and washing, Qiu is greeted with shouts by old friends. They banter in the Shanghainese dialect. A one-time Red Guard leader turns up, complaining. Others chime in. The old neighborhood needs to be torn down, they say, and better housing built. “The people still living there are the ones who cannot afford to buy new apartments,” Qiu explains.It’s a crowded way of living, and after many years away, Qiu can see both good and bad in it.“It’s dark. This neighbor puts a stove here. That neighbor puts a box there. It’s common property, so you often have fights about this kind of thing,” he says.“People can fight, but at the same time, it’s much closer,” Qiu said. “Maybe sometimes we have no choice; we have to help each other.”Qiu is well settled in St. Louis, living off the proceeds of book sales. His wife is a part-time accountant and his daughter recently graduated from college. Living with them is his mother-in-law, for whom he catches catfish, bass and other fish for her to cook. Sponsored Stories But for a city to fully secure its place in the global culture these days, it helps to have a fictional detective taking foreign readers where the guidebooks don’t go, and that’s where Qiu comes in with his brainchild, Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai police.In China, the communist authorities still impose boundaries on all things creative, and an author must be careful how much of the recent past to insert into a work of fiction. That particularly applies to Qiu, a Shanghai native transplanted to St. Louis, Missouri.His seven mysteries published in English often are based on real-life corruption scandals, political intrigues and murders, and at 59, this mild-mannered poet and literary scholar has lived through tumultuous times himself.In his teens came the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, when aged revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, maneuvering against his rivals, unleashed ultra-leftist “Red Guards” to wage a reign of terror on teachers, artists and others of “bourgeois” backgrounds. Only Qiu’s bronchitis spared him a stint, along with millions of others, at “re-education” camps in the countryside.In 1989, when the military crushed the pro-democracy movement massed in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, he was on a fellowship in St. Louis, and decided it was best not to come home. Top Stories Comments   Share   He considers his outsider status to be an advantage, and worries that if he moved back to Shanghai, he’d be sucked into the property-buying, stock-investing culture. But he does like to visit that loft and gaze out the window.“If you get lonely,” he says, “you can see the cats come to visit.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements It “speaks of the real danger of the Cultural Revolution staging a comeback,” Qiu said.The Shanghai that Qiu grew up had once been known as the “Paris of the Orient,” but became a grimy shadow of its pre-communist glory _ a city of workers’ fatigues and shoppers lining up with ration tickets.Qiu worked at a textile factory and buried himself in books. His translations of T.S. Eliot’s work into Chinese eventually led him to a Ford Foundation fellowship and St. Louis.His Inspector Chen series began in 2000 with “Death of a Red Heroine,” in which the investigation into the murder of a young woman, a model worker, leads to high places in the Communist Party.Although his books are sold in China, the classic “whodunnit” remains an alien genre here, outgunned by zombie tales, he says.Those are safer in a society where the police and the party are presumed to be infallible, Qiu explains.“The focus is not on who did it. In the Chinese crime novel, you know who did it,” he says. “A lot of people know who is the bad guy, but what can you do about it?”Qiu came across the plot for his latest Chen novel, “‘Don’t Cry, Tai Lake,” by accident. Walking in a park near the scenic but horribly polluted lake in Wuxi, outside Shanghai, he happened upon a spa for Communist Party cadres. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Associated PressSHANGHAI (AP) – To climb into Qiu Xiaolong’s childhood home, down a narrow alley where women chop and fry lunch in shared kitchens, is to step on creaking floorboards into Shanghai’s past.But at the top of a steep, worn wooden ladder is a loft with a window revealing the silvery crown of an office tower, part of the glass-and-steel skyscape that heralds Shanghai’s leap into the future. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familylast_img read more

Israeli draft pits secular Jews vs ultraOrthodox

first_img How men can have a healthy 2019 Many ultra-Orthodox sects aren’t even Zionist and refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state until the coming of the Messiah. Some tiny extreme sects even side with the Palestinians and Israel’s archenemy Iran.Most object to change on much simpler grounds. In Hebrew, the ultra-Orthodox are known as “Haredim,” or “those who fear” God. But it’s not death they fear in the military _ it’s immersion in what they see as a secular and hedonistic society.“The main reason that we can’t serve is that the military simply doesn’t suit us. The military is a secular melting pot,” said Chaim Walder, a well-known ultra-Orthodox author and activist.It’s not clear how much the military even wants Haredi conscripts. While it formally calls for everyone to serve, military officials acknowledge it will be extremely difficult to incorporate them into the army.Many Haredi men lack basic skills, like rudimentary math, because their independent school systems barely teach them. Their aversion to direct contact with women would require segregation and could undercut the military’s record of giving female soldiers equal opportunities. Sponsored Stories Last week, the deep divisions between religious and secular parties inside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government led to the collapse of a special committee formed to draft new legislation.Netanyahu’s largest governing partner, the centrist Kadima Party, is now threatening to quit the government, just two months after joining the coalition with the goal of reforming the draft. Netanyahu has vowed to find a compromise.Dan Halutz, a former Israeli military chief turned Kadima politician, visited the reservists’ protest tent in Tel Aviv Saturday and announced that he was leaving the party.A glimpse into the world of the ultra-Orthodox shows just how intractable the issue has become. The draft exemptions date back to the time of Israel’s independence in 1948, when founding father David Ben-Gurion exempted 400 exemplary seminary students to help rebuild great schools of Jewish learning destroyed in the Holocaust, when 6 million Jews were murdered.As ultra-Orthodox parties became power brokers, the numbers mounted. Ultra-Orthodox officials now estimate there are about 100,000 full-time Torah learners of draft age.The pattern has lasting ramifications. The heavy emphasis on religious study, begun early on in a separate system of elementary schools, has pushed many ultra-Orthodox men to shun the work world, relying on welfare as they spend their days immersed in holy texts. The ultra-Orthodox make up about 10 percent of Israel’s 8 million citizens. But polls show the vast majority of Israelis, who risk their lives and put their careers on hold while serving in the military, object strongly to the arrangement, and many see it as the essence of everything that is wrong with their country.This resentment has fueled a broader high-decibel culture war. In recent months, secular activists have rebelled against what they consider growing religious coercion by the ultra-Orthodox, such as attempts to enforce gender segregation on buses and public places, and a religious backlash by ultra-Orthodox who feel unfairly persecuted.“It is something so ethical, so basic, that we have all grown up upon: service, giving to the state. Everyone here has to give something to society because we are one society,” said Boaz Nol, a reserve officer who was among those planning a massive protest in Tel Aviv against the continued exemptions.More than 10,000 reservists and their supporters turned out for the rally Saturday night, many of them carrying placards reading “everybody serves.”The Supreme Court earlier this year ruled the draft exemptions illegal and gave the government until Aug. 1 to figure out a new, fairer system. That is proving far more difficult than expected. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Associated PressJERUSALEM (AP) – Deep in the heart of Mea Shearim, a Jerusalem bastion of hardline ultra-Orthodox Jews, hundreds of bearded young men in black suits have their noses burrowed into books, immersed in biblical study and oblivious to their surroundings.They are the creme de la creme of a cloistered community, the Harvard of the ultra-Orthodox world, who are expected neither to work for a living nor serve in the military with other Israelis. But it’s not just the students at the prestigious Mir Yeshiva for whom prayer and study of scripture is a full-time job. Nearly the entire community has been granted sweeping exemptions that have infuriated the general public. Insubordination could also grow if ultra-Orthodox men found themselves forced to choose between religious beliefs and commanders’ orders. No one can predict what could happen if armed soldiers took their orders from rabbis.The costs would also be high: Drafting this community would require special arrangements, such as kitchens conforming to the strictest interpretation of Jewish dietary law and a large chunk of the day set aside for bible study. And as those who are married and with children are entitled to higher salaries _ the military would face another financial burden.Inclusion has been successful in some areas however. The army has designed a number of roles specifically for the needs of ultra-Orthodox soldiers, including a segregated infantry unit as well as computer, technology and intelligence units.A military official involved in the effort said 85 percent of discharged ultra-Orthodox soldiers went on to find jobs in civilian life.But altogether, the numbers remain small. Fewer than 1,300 conscripts participated in these programs over the past year, military figures show.Some leading rabbis have ruled that those not cut out for intensive seminary life or those who were already married _ and perhaps less susceptible to the lure of the secular world _ could be eligible to serve or take part in a range of civil service options being considered. 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help With the clock ticking, Netanyahu now faces a near-impossible task as he tries to satisfy the demands of the secular masses, the Supreme Court and various coalition partners all while preventing sectarian unrest.Before the parliamentary committee collapse, ultra-Orthodox parties boycotted the panel. And in a sign of what may lie ahead, thousands of black-clad ultra-Orthodox took to the streets of Jerusalem last week to protest the committee’s work. Some wore sacks in a sign of mourning over the prospect of being forced into service.Einat Wilf, a lawmaker with the secular Independence party, said the ultra-Orthodox have no right to complain, adding that Israelis are fed up with a system in which they take and give nothing back in return.“I, for one, do not believe that their prayers are protecting soldiers and they can’t force their ways upon me,” she said. “If they want to pray, fine, but not at my expense.”She said that despite ultra-Orthodox intransigence, the doomed committee she was a member of had sought a compromise _ even if it was not to the liking of secularists like her.“Will it be better than the current situation? Yes,” she said. “Will it be fair and just? Absolutely not.” Steep unemployment, believed to hover around 50 percent, coupled with a high birthrate has fueled deep poverty in the ultra-Orthodox sector. With families of eight to 10 children commonplace, more than a quarter of all Israeli first graders today are ultra-Orthodox. Experts say if these trends continue, Israel’s long-term economic prospects are in danger.But changing the ways of the ultra-Orthodox will not be easy. Leaders speak proudly of centuries-old traditions of prayer and learning that they believe has allowed the Jewish people to survive such tragedies as the Spanish Inquisition, European pogroms and the Holocaust. Study in Yeshiva seminaries, they say, is no less important than military strength in protecting the country from modern threats in a hostile region.“You have to understand, we are part of the Jewish army,” said Aharon Grossman, a 30-year-old student at Mir Yeshiva. “Some people serve in tanks. We serve in yeshiva.”Ultra-Orthodox leaders insist they will never be forced to serve in the military.For decades, a string of secular-led Israeli governments have maintained the status quo, either because of their dependence on ultra-Orthodox political kingmakers or out of fear of an angry backlash from a sector that hasn’t hesitated to block roads, clash with police or mobilize tens of thousands of activists into the streets when ordered by their rabbis. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) A day after Netanyahu disbanded the committee, its chairman nonetheless released his recommendations. Among the proposals: that no more than 20 percent of ultra-Orthodox males, roughly 1,500 people a year, be granted exemptions, while others be permitted to defer service for no more than five years. A national service option was also introduced for those who didn’t fit into the military.The details of the debate have dominated political discussion in Israel, handing Netanyahu his biggest challenge yet since he formed a 94-member coalition in early May. His office says he will meet quietly with political leaders in the coming days in order to formulate a fair draft law.The ultra-Orthodox reject the idea that they are leeching off the state. They say employment numbers are skewed, and that they contribute to public coffers through sales tax on purchases they make for large families. They also note that the government subsidizes areas that they have no interest in, such as culture, sports and the arts.Unlike other Israelis, who mark graduations, military promotions, and professional accomplishments, the ultra-Orthodox only celebrate study. Later this month, for instance, thousands of believers are scheduled to pack a basketball arena to mark the completion of a full study of the Talmud _ a seven-year odyssey in which 2,700 pages of rabbinical debates over Jewish law are meticulously dissected at a pace of one page a day. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths These young men, and their sheltered lifestyle, are at the heart of a battle that is tearing Israel apart in a clash between tradition and modernity, religion and democracy. The fight centers on whether ultra-Orthodox males should be drafted into the military along with other Jews, but it really is about a much deeper issue: the place of Judaism in the Jewish state.The question has come to the fore as the government races to meet a Supreme Court-ordered deadline to revamp the nation’s draft law. In its current form, secular males must perform three years of compulsory service when they turn 18. Ultra-Orthodox men, like the young scholars at the Mir Yeshiva, have special exemptions that allow them to continue studying in their isolated enclaves while collecting government subsidies.For their supporters, seminary students are preserving a tradition that has served as the very bedrock of Judaism for thousands of years.“Jews need to study the Bible. That is what makes us unique as a people,” Yerach Tucker, a 30-year-old spokesman for the ultra-Orthodox community, said proudly as he guided a visitor through the Mir Yeshiva. “It is the essence of our lives.” Still, any arrangement would likely involve inducting thousands of unwilling men over the objection of their rabbis.Walder, the activist, insists Jewish study is sacrosanct and non-negotiable, saying that state must continue to fund it.“The only thing that is truly keeping us safe here is bible study,” he said. “We are protecting the country with our prayer. We are making sure that there is something here to protect.”____Follow Aron Heller at http://www.twitter.com/aronhelleraplast_img read more

Indian man escapes from militants in Philippines

first_imgMANILA, Philippines (AP) – An Indian man escaped from al-Qaida-linked militants Friday after being held captive in the southern Philippines for nearly 14 months.Bijo Kolara Veetil escaped before dawn Friday as his Abu Sayyaf captors were preparing breakfast, said Sulu provincial police chief Antonio Freyra.A heavily bearded Veetil, 37, later told reporters at a hospital that after he slipped out of the militants’ encampment in the hinterlands of Patikul township, a villager brought him to a provincial official, who handed him to police. He was then taken to the hospital. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories How men can have a healthy 2019 Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img Sponsored Stories Veetil, who worked as an operations manager for a garment company in Kuwait, said he was kidnapped in June 2011 while visiting his wife’s family in Patikul.The kidnappers demanded about 300,000 pesos ($7,100) in ransom, but his family refused to pay. He said he wasn’t harmed because he is a Muslim.The Abu Sayyaf is notorious for kidnappings, beheadings and bombings, and is on the U.S. list of terrorist groups. The group is believed to currently be holding Australian, Malaysian and Japanese nationals in their jungle hideouts in the south.A veteran Jordanian TV reporter, Baker Atyani, and his two Filipino crew members are still in the custody of the militants they had gone to interview two months ago.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona 0 Comments   Share   last_img read more

Paris Auto Show opens doors amid decline in sales

first_img Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories How men can have a healthy 2019 PARIS (AP) – Carmakers are sure to turn on the charm as the Paris Auto Show prepares to open, in hopes of convincing buyers despite a steady decline in sales around Europe.The country’s carmakers will be aiming for the mass market with their launches at the auto show, which has its media preview Thursday. The show opens to the public this weekend.France’s Peugeot, Citroen and Renault see the event as a chance to show off their latest models to a hometown crowd. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img France produced 2.2 million cars last year, compared to 3.5 million in 2005. The industry employs 30 percent fewer people in France than it did 10 years ago.European data show new passenger car registrations dropped 8.9 percent in August, the 11th consecutive monthly decline.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

Chinese police rescue 92 abducted children

first_img Top Stories It said the group targeted children in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in China’s southwest and transported them to other provinces for sale.Child abduction is a major problem in China, where such police operations have become regular occurrences as authorities crack down on child trafficking. Strict family planning laws, a traditional preference for boys, ignorance of the law, poverty and illicit profits drive a thriving market in babies and children.China also plans to introduce laws to punish buyers of children and parents selling their own children.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober BEIJING (AP) – Chinese police rescued 92 abducted children and detained 301 suspects in the latest operation to crack down on the country’s chronic problem of child trafficking, the Ministry of Public Security said.Police forces from 11 provinces were involved in the operation to break up a massive network that stole, bought and sold children in Henan province in central China and other provinces, the ministry said late Friday. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Sponsored Stories center_img 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Check your body, save your life Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

Sudan swears in President alBashir as he shifts alliances

first_imgRelations deteriorated between Sudan and Gulf countries in 1990s, when Sudan along with Yemen allied with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein after the invasion of Kuwait.Ties with Iran complicated relations. In August 2013, Saudi Arabia banned the plane of al-Bashir from crossing its airspace on its way to Iran.Iran helped supply weapons to al-Bashir in his 1989 coup and has invested in Sudanese water and engineering projects. Though China is Sudan’s main arms source, Iran is also a supplier and signed a military relations deal with Khartoum in 2008.Israel routinely accuses Iran of smuggling weapons to Hamas in Gaza through Sudan, which has a long desert border with Egypt. In October 2012, a suspected Israeli airstrike against a weapons factory in Khartoum, killing four people.In March, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti insisted Khartoum has only diplomatic relations with Tehran, denying it had ever had any alliance with Iran. “This is mere lie against Sudan,” he said.___AP correspondent Mohamed Osman in Khartoum, Sudan, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Despite the absences, “there is a real transformation of relations,” said Hussein Shobokshi, a prominent Saudi newspaper political columnist. He pointed to a large advertising section in the prominent Saudi-owned Al-Sharq Alawsat newspaper promoting investment in Sudan. Chambers of commerce in Riyadh organized workshops on investment in Sudan.“Saudi Arabia wanted to bring Sudan to the Arab square,” he said, noting the kingdom was concerned over Khartoum’s ties to Iran.But Sudanese journalist Faisal Mohammed Saleh said the low-level Gulf representation Tuesday sent a message of “don’t expect much.”He said that al-Bashir may get some relative financial rewards from warming ties. “The price will be to stop using Sudan to supply weapons to armed groups in the region,” he said. But, he added, it is unrealistic to think the Gulf will help him restore relations with the West.Al-Bashir, who took power in a 1989 coup, is the only sitting head of state facing genocide charges at the International Criminal Court. The charges stem from reported atrocities in the conflict in Darfur, in which 300,000 people were killed and 2 million displaced in the government’s campaign, according to United Nations figures. CAIRO (AP) — Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Tuesday was sworn in for another five-year term extending his 25-year autocratic rule, a testament to his ability to survive civil wars, sanctions and an international war crimes indictment.In his latest maneuver to survive, al-Bashir has switched alliances, joining ranks with Saudi Arabia, the region’s biggest bankroller, after nearly two decades of strained ties. That means moving away from close relations with the kingdom’s rival Iran, which has long used Sudan as a transit route for weapons shipments to armed groups in the region, particularly Hamas. He added a gesture to the opposition, saying “the arms of the nation are open to everyone” and promising amnesty to any armed groups who are “genuine” in entering negotiations.During al-Bashir’s quarter-century in power, Sudan has been plagued by rebel movements, and it lost a third of its territory as South Sudan became independent in 2011. International sanctions over support of terrorism and over the Darfur conflict have battered Sudan’s economy, which was also hit hard after the break with the south gutted oil revenues.Local papers hailed the foreign policy shift toward Saudi Arabia. A Sudanese daily, Al-Tayar, described the move as “correcting the political position” of Khartoum. The Saudi news site Sabq praised as a breakthrough a visit by al-Bashir to the kingdom in March to meet with Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman.Still, Gulf rulers appear to be keeping some public distance. They sent only envoys to attend al-Bashir’s inauguration, a lower level than even foreign minister. The only senior figures to attend were Egypt’s president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, and a handful of African leaders, including Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Shortly before his re-election, al-Bashir threw his support to the Saudi-led coalition waging an air campaign against Shiite rebels in Yemen who are allied to Iran. The Sudanese contribution to the campaign is largely symbolic — but al-Bashir is likely hoping for Gulf financial support that could keep his beleaguered economy afloat.“Our relations with Arab brothers have witnessed very positive developments lately, by the grace of God,” al-Bashir declared Tuesday in a speech in Omdurman, neighboring the capital Khartoum, after his swearing-in. By building on the Arab ties, he expressed hopes of eventually normalizing relations with Western nations as well.Al-Bashir won re-election in April, though opposition parties boycotted the vote. After his victory with an official landslide of 94 percent of the vote, the opposition said in a joint statement that it will not recognize the results and called on the people to join ranks to “topple” al-Bashir.In his speech Tuesday, al-Bashir pledged to draft a permanent constitution, combat corruption, improve the economy and end conflicts in at least three war-torn regions — Darfur in the west, and Kordofan and the Blue Nile in the south and southwest, all of which have armed uprisings against his rule. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

German Parliament to wipe part of IT system amid hack attack

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall A ship passes by the Reichstag building which is reflected in the windows of another building of the German parliamentary complex in Berlin, Thursday, June 11, 2015. German lawmakers are mulling whether to replace their entire computer system after a sophisticated hacking attack against the Parliament’s IT network. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop) BERLIN (AP) — The speaker of Germany’s Parliament said Thursday that parts of its information technology system will need to be wiped and reinstalled to deal with an ongoing hacking attack on the network used by thousands of lawmakers and aides.Norbert Lammert announced the move after meeting with lawmakers to discuss the extent of the attack that was first discovered in early May.Lammert said there was no indication that computers would need to be replaced. In a letter to lawmakers he also said that, contrary to German media reports, no data appeared to have been syphoned out of Parliament’s IT system in the past two weeks. Comments   Share   Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How do cataracts affect your vision? But a parliamentary official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly, told The Associated Press that hackers could have gained access to administrator passwords that would allow them to intercept sensitive communication.The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said the attack may have been the work of foreign spies. German news agency dpa reported that Hans-Georg Maassen didn’t indicate which country he suspected, but said that his agency had repeatedly warned in the past of the sophisticated cyberattacks carried out by Russia’s intelligence agencies.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

Jetstar passengers fall ill on smelly flight

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/17829/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L A mysterious smell which wafted through a Jetstar plane yesterday caused several flight attendants and six passengers to become ill.Flight JQ882 was carrying 128 passengers and flying from Brisbane and Mackay on Thursday morning when a chemical-like smell drifted into the cabin.Jetstar spokesman Simon Westaway told the Herald some cabin crew and six passengers reported feeling nauseous and light-headed about an hour into the flight.”Two doctors onboard the flight looked after the sick and the plane continued to Mackay” Westaway said.”The captain was alerted and he radioed ahead to request medical and fire services to be on hand when the flight arrived.”There was a view that there could have been some fumes in the plane’s cabin.”The plane was met with paramedics and fire crews on the tarmac at Mackay Airport and passengers disembarked without their onboard luggage.A Department of Community Safety spokeswoman said the sick were assessed and cleared.”They didn’t need to be taken to hospital for further treatment” she said.Westaway said the plane was grounded for five hours while fire crews and an engineer checked the aircraft. The plane has since been cleared and is back in service.”We’re satisfied the flight is right to continue services,” he said.last_img read more

Windstar wins Top Luxury Cruise honour

first_imgSource = Travel the World (TTW) Windstar Cruises receives multiple cruising accolades in 2010Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbours and secluded coves of the world’s most treasured destinations, has been recognised by Islands magazine in the United States as having the “Top Luxury Cruise” for its Rome to Rome itinerary on Wind Surf.Islands magazine ranked the best cruises based on unique island itineraries focused on local culture, following recommendations from editors, contributors, local experts and readers.  The full top 10 list of cruises is featured in the December 2010 issue of Islands magazine and on the magazine’s.Wind Surf’s 7-day Rome to Rome itinerary visits the picturesque islands off the coast of Italy. Guests can partake in the lush beauty of the volcanic island of Ischia, journey to the famous Blue Grotto on the island of Capri, view the stunning Amalfi Coast, discover the ancient city of Pompeii, explore charming Ajaccio on the French island of Corsica, see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and visit Florence just outside of Livorno. The 312-guest Wind Surf sails the Rome to Rome itinerary on 15 May 2011, with cruise rates starting at AU$3,359 per person, double occupancy. Wind Spirit sails a similar 7-day Rome to Rome itinerary departing 1 October 2011, with cruise rates from AU$3,078 per person, double occupancy. In addition to Islands magazine’s honour, Windstar Cruises has been recognised by some of the most notable names in the travel and lifestyle world in 2010. Celebrated Living, American Airlines’ prestigious publication for first class passengers,named Windstar Cruises “Best Small-Ship/Mid-Ship Cruise Line” on their Platinum Listfor the fourth time in a row. Windstar Cruises was also recognised by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the “Top Small Ship Cruise Lines”listed on theirannual Gold List of “Best Cruise Lines” and all three Windstar yachts were honoured in the “Best Small Ships” Reader’s Poll. Windstar was recently named “Most Romantic Cruise Line” by Porthole Cruise Magazine and was also selected by Travel + Leisure as one of the top five “World’s Best Small-Ship Cruise Lines”. Wind Surflast_img read more

Theyll be back Philippine Tourism Secretary on Chinese tourist pul

first_imgNews that Chinese travel agencies are suspending tours to the Philippines amid territorial disputes over Scarborough Shoal has not ruffled the feathers of Philippine Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr, who maintains the move will “not have a major impact” on the country’s tourism.e-Travel Blackboard was on location in Los Angeles where Mr Jimenez admitted the Department of Tourism was saddened by events but claimed that, “from a business stand point, it’s far from disastrous”.“The Philippines has at least ten primary markets, China is only one of them and not even in the top three,” Mr Jimenez said.“Last year, the Philippines welcomed 243,000 visitors from China – nothing to write your mother about.”Mr Jimenez assured media the actions of the Chinese travel agencies will likely be temporary and until the return of the Chinese tourists, the Philippine Department of Tourism will look to its “traditionally stronger markets” to make up the numbers.“There is so much interest to go to the Philippines in Japan. So maybe this is as good a time as any to strengthen our efforts there,” Mr Jimenez said, adding that now may be the time to reallocate resources accordingly.Mr Jimenez was clear that the Chinese will always be very welcome in the Philippines and hopes the dispute will be resolved quickly. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A Mr Jimenez is saddened but not worriedlast_img read more

A taste of Malaysia in Sydney

first_imgA country rich in agricultural resources, Malaysia offers an abundance of such experiences to be discovered at orchards, animal and fish farms, fisheries, botanical gardens, estates and homestays. Following a successful durian sampling campaign in Sydney supermarkets earlier this week, Tourism Malaysia hosted a presentation on agro-tourism accompanied by a durian tasting at the Grace Hotel in Sydney yesterday afternoon. As visitor arrivals from Australia to Malaysia continue to grow year on year, (with over half a million Australians travelling to Malaysia last year alone), more tourists are looking for diversity, authenticity and culture, away from the usual tourist hot spots of shops, cities and beaches. Source = ETB News: L.B. “Agro-tourism is a concept that is rapidly gaining popularity in Malaysia as it offers visitors an assortment of authentic, culturally enriching and unique experiences relating to the agriculture sector,” Tourism Malaysia marketing manager Peter Power said. So it seems fitting then that the notorious and exotic “king of fruit” durian is the chosen ambassador to represent Malaysian agro-tourism, with Malaysia the first country in the world to export chilled, fresh durians and Australia the first foreign market to receive them. Agro-tourism offers visitors authentic, culturally enriching and unique experiences Malaysia. Malaysia agro-tourism stimulates Aussie appetites for authentic experiences and durians. With most visits structured around a tour offering insight into the cultivation, care, processing and manufacturing, agro-tourism aims to encourage Malaysia’s traditional, cultural and natural heritage.last_img read more

Fiji Airways appoints two new GMs

first_imgThe Fiji Airways Group have announced the hiring of two new general managers, both of whom have worked locally in previous roles.Shaenaz Voss has been appointed general manager industry, international and government affairs, and she will report directly to the managing director and chief executive officer.Ms Voss was previously the general manager for Fiji Link, the domestic and regional subsidiary of Fiji Airways.In her new role, Ms Voss will be accountable for all aero-political and public affairs priorities, memberships and relationship with the industry, the trade and Government bodies for the Fiji Airways Group.Thomas Robinson will take over the role as general manager for Fiji Link from Ms Voss and will also report directly to the managing director and CEO.Prior to his new role Mr Robinson was general manager maintenance and engineering, Mr Robinson will move into this new role working to further embed the fleet transition process at Fiji Link.He will aim to leverage the additional capacity from the new aircrafts into a significantly higher profitability of the regional subsidiary.Fiji Airways managing director and chief executive officer Stefan Pichler, said that 2014 was a good year and these new staff changes will help the airline grow in 2015.“A key part of our growth plan has been to develop local management talent in various areas of our business. The appointments of Shaenaz and Thomas is testament to the great potential of local Fijians who have grown in their experience and leadership,” Mr Pichler said. Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Worldhotels latest edition from Shanghai

first_imgThe Evergreen Laurel Hotel Shanghai has become the eighth luxury hotel in Shanghai to join the Worldhotels global network.Evergreen Laurel Shanghai is located within Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park area that is home to large numbers of multinational companies and a host of first-rate shopping, dining and entertainment venues.The hotel sits directly adjacent to Jinke Road Station of Metro Line 2, a subway line that crosses central downtown Shanghai to connect Pudong International Airport to Hongqiao Airport.Boasting 269 guest rooms and 11 function rooms ranging from 40 to 900 square metres, Evergreen Laurel Shanghai offers comprehensive solutions for events in central Pudong of any size or kind.With a five-metre ceiling and 900-square-metre floor area, the pillar-less Laurel Banquet Hall provides sufficient space for a cocktail party of up to 1,200 persons or a buffet of up to 560.It is the first function hall in Shanghai that is equipped with an advanced surround screen wrapping around the entire circumference, a feature that can add excitement to events as well as heighten the effectiveness of presentationsTwo smaller Laurel Halls each have floor areas of 336 square metres, and a third one is sized at 252 square metres. These three spaces also share the Laurel Banquet Hall’s impressive ceiling height of five metres.Worldhotels executive vice president Asia Pacific Roland Jegge, said Evergreen Laurel Hotel Shanghai helps fill a void in the central Pudong market.“This is a hotel with great growth potential given its top-notch facilities and ideal location, and we are committed to helping the property realise that potential through our all-encompassing global sales, marketing and distribution strategies,” Mr Jegge said.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

The video fighting back against webjet

first_imgThe video fighting back against webjetSome companies focus their marketing on raising the profile of their own brand; others assist to grow the business of their customers.It’s not the first time roomsXML have tried something different in efforts to support the travel agent, Mark Luckey explains.“My team delivers awesome customer service and support. Over time that message became “roomsXML supports travel agents”.  This is next level.”The Australian travel industry is frustrated with Webjet who have specifically targeted smaller travel agents. As Mark explains, it’s challenging to fight a brand who can advertise on television.“The large OTA’s spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce cheap shots at travel agents on prime-time television. But media is evolving you can get hits elsewhere. People power can create momentum.“We’ve produced a cute little video highlighting why travellers should use a travel agent instead of a big online travel agency. Travel is about people and experiences. Secondly, travel agents are professionals and know what they are doing.” In a world that regularly complains about distribution of wealth and the growing chasm between rich and poor, the third point is salient. “We learnt from the “Milk Wars” in Australia that once people realise getting a cheap price is ripping off people in their community, attitudes change.“You can buy with a big OTA and help an individual earn millions or spend the same dollar for a better experience with a travel agent who uses it to buy a latte, something at a market, towards school fees. “We are saying to travel agents share this video. Put it on your website, put it on your Facebook page, show it to your customers, share the message. It’s about promoting travel agents. Promote yourself.”“We made this video so it can be customised with a  travel agents logo and URL for their own promotion. If an agency wants it customised, show us a receipt for a $25 donation they have made at www.projectkarma.org.au, send us a high-resolution logo and upload the video to YouTube page or somewhere you can count hits.”The guys at roomsXML know the risqué language won’t appeal to every demographic, so more videos embracing different themes and styles are under production and will be released soon.“We don’t have anywhere near the budget or the resources to produce adverts the way companies like Webjet can. But we can rally an industry to share a simple message that we need to put people back into booking a holiday with their local travel agent.”Who loses?  This time, not the travel agent.For a customised video, email au.support@roomsxml.com roomsXML connect today here www.roomsxml.comSource = roomsXML.com learn more about roomsXML.com herelast_img read more