Wednesday, 30 September 2015

NASSAU: $250 Million Hotel Project Breaks Ground In Nassau

A new $250 million dollar development has broken ground in Nassau.

Pointe, as it is known, is slated to include 200 guest rooms, world-class shopping, fine dining options, and a 1,000-car garage.

China’s state-owned China Construction America will be the primary investor, developer and contractor on the project.

The company has been in the news of late as the contractor on the now-troubled Baha Mar project.

“The Pointe represents another substantial milestone for us in that, different from our other project in the Bahamas, China Construction America will be the sole investor, developer and contractor for The Pointe Project,” Pointe President Daniel Liu.

Its parent company, the state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation, purchased the project lot and the adjacent British Colonial Hilton hotel in 2014.

“I would like to thank the Developer, China State Construction and Engineering Corporation, and Mr. Ning Yuan, its chairman, for the investment of $250 million in this harbour-front project, the 250 construction jobs being undertaken by Bahamians and the future employment prospects for 500 Bahamians in the operation and management of the hotel and residential units,” said Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie. “This does not include the number of Bahamians who I expect will be employed by retail owners when the facility is fully subscribed and stores are operational.”

Pointe has announced a planned completion date of 2017.

CURACAO: Upgrade Project At Curaçao’s Kontiki Beach Resort

Curaçao’s Kontiki Beach Resort has embarked on a major upgrade project, according to the country’s tourist board.

The 80-room property has announced a full room product upgrade.

The project includes changes to a variety of in-room amenities, including flat-screen TVs, walk-in rain showers and new colors.

The upgrade project is slated for completion by the end of the summer.

The hotel first opened in 2010.

MARTIINIQUE: A Coconut Rhum You Need to Try Right Now

If you’ve been to the French Caribbean, it’s likely you’ve encountered a very nice after-dinner tradition: the homemade punch.

It’s usually free, a gift of the proprietor for choosing his or her restaurant, and it’s usually delicious — a blend of rhum agricole and some combination of fruits and spices.

We always prefer the coconut kind, typically called Punch Coco, a creamy, rummy delight that takes any dinner of Marlin or magret de canard to a different level.

So we were delighted when we saw that Martinique’s Rhum Clement had launched its own coconut product in the wider US market.

It’s called Mahina Coco, and it’s technically a “Coconut Liqueur,” with an alcohol by volume of around 18 percent. That means something closer to coconut “rums” like Malibu.

The different from those sorts of drinks is that Mahina Coco is, well, superb.

It’s based in rhum blanc agricole, giving it a complexity and authenticity with which larger, industrial flavored rums simply can’t compete.

And it’s simple: white rhum and, as Clement describes, “luscious pieces of young coconut.”

This is a wonderful drink, equally at home neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail with something like pineapple juice.

What Clement has achieved is taken the after-dinner French Caribbean drink and brought it right into your home.

And that’s what’s so terrific about it — it may appear in a slick, beautiful bottle, but it feels like something else: homemade.

ST MAARTEN: At St Maarten’s Sonesta Ocean Point, A New Kind of All-Inclusive

ST MAARTEN — The hotel room.

There are so many, big and small, in the Caribbean, and to this day no one really seems to be able to define what a “Caribbean” hotel room should look like.

At the end of the day, though, does it really matter? What a traveler wants is good design, functional design and the little things that make him or her feel special. That and a spectacular view, of course.

That brings us to the new Sonesta Ocean Point, the high-end all inclusive that opened just a few months ago in the Maho corner of St Maarten.

And this 129-suite hotel, located in a cliffside behind the famous Sonesta Maho, is a stunner — and it all begins with a new take on the all-inclusive bracelet — instead of irritating paper, it’s a soft cloth. But it also doubles as the room key.

Because, here, it’s all about design — from the high-backed chairs in the lobby to the modern, striking cliff-side restaurant called Azul to one of the coolest pools in the Caribbean: a sloping, flat pool edged with sand that just nigh replicates the feeling of a beach.

And then there are the suites, which are, by far, this hotel’s party piece: large, modern, crisp, but with all the little touches that take things the extra mile.

That means a Nespresso machine in every room; Molton Brown toiletries; a slick flat screen; a wine cooler that, if you stay more than five nights, is stocked with a different bottle each night; four full bottles of top-shelf liquor like Appleton VX; a large, beautiful soaking tub. And instead of a table and chairs, a big clamshell cushion that feels like your own private cabana.

The rooms have an immense build quality, whether you’re in a rooftop butler suite or the rather clever swim up suites on the first floor.

And then there’s the view – a shot of the teal waters of Maho and the always entertaining landings at Princess Juliana International Airport.

This is a well designed hotel, which comes with a jaw-droppingly cool sunset bar and some unexpectedly great food like snapper cooked in coconut milk.

The verdict? This is a very cool all inclusive, and makes a big statement about what the all inclusive category should look and feel like.

Best Rum Bar in the British Virgin Islands

A great little rum bar on Cooper Island

It’s a trend to like.

More and more hotels are starting to celebrate the glory of rum by creating bars tailored around the spirit. That means rums not just from local distilleries but from across the wider Caribbean.

And one of the best to come on the scene in the last few years is on the tiny private island of Cooper Island in the British Virgin Islands.

It’s simply called the Rum Bar, and it’s now a favorite of locals, guests and, naturally, the many sailors and charterers who moor at Cooper Island.

With a terrific, passionate staff, the Rum Bar also serves some seriously good rum cocktails, along with some Cuban cigars for a perfect puff pairing.

But the star is, naturally, a rum selection simply unparalleled in the British Virgin Islands, from J. Bally to Gosling’s Old Rum to Angostura, among others.

And that’s worth raising a glass to.

NASSAU: New $40 Million Luxury Residences Project in Nassau

A new $40 million luxury residences project has broken ground in Nassau.

The ONE Cable Beach project is the brainchild of developer ARISTO Development.

The 69-unit project has a 20-24 month timeframe for completion once construction begins, according to the developers.

“We are grateful for the efforts and dedication of all who supported this project and we look forward to being a part of the Bahamian works and urban community development for years to come,” said Jason Kinsale, principal at ARISTO Development.

ONE Cable Beach is Kinsale’s latest project, with a portfolio including the Hampton Ridge and Balmoral residence projects

“We are dedicated to enhancing the lives of Bahamian people through the production and success of our construction projects,” he said.

ST VINCENT & GRENADINES: St Vincent Getting $5 Million Loan From Taiwan to Complete International Airport

St Vincent and the Grenadines is getting some additional help to fund the construction of its long-awaited international airport.

The country is securing a loan of $5 million from the government of Taiwan to “assist in the financing of the construction of the Argyle International Airport,” according to a statement.

The project, when completed, will allow larger passenger jets to fly into the country for the first time.

St Vincent’s existing airport, ET Joshua, can only receive regional flights from neighbouring islands.

In a presentation on the loan, St Vincent and the Grenadines Foreign Minister Camillo Gonsalves said the international airport was a “basic requirement for the development of a modern society.”

What Artisans Mean To Caribbean Tourism

The Tourism industry has long been regarded as one of the primary vehicles contributing to the social and economic development of the countries of the Greater Caribbean. Tourism generates income, investment, employment and provides opportunities for diversifying local economies.

The industry has also driven the growth and development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), many of which are skill-based service enterprises that are serviced primarily by women and youth in indigenous and rural communities.

These range from entertainment services related to cultural art-forms and expressions, to the production of arts and crafts, local cuisine and traditional skills such as hair braiding and basket weaving, among others.

The local culture in its myriad forms and expressions is an important element of a destination’s uniqueness and appeal, often differentiating one destination from another, and thus contributing to destination competitiveness.

This differentiation is increasingly more important for destinations seeking to maintain and grow their market share, given the increase in competition globally, as well as the changing consumer partners impacting tourism supply and demand.

Among the most direct and tangible expressions of culture are the local patrimonies of Arts and Crafts which are often specific to a particular country, community or social grouping.

‘Craft’ is evocative of the local history, culture and tradition, and thus is inextricably linked to the tourism product and experience of the locality from which it originates.

The craft tells the story of the place and its people, thereby generating interest and potentially repeat visits. It is the article or ‘memory’ exported from the ‘destination’ following a visit, and should therefore be representative of the uniqueness of place and cultural heritage.

Tourist’s appetite for local and hand-made ethnologies is well-documented and provides a means of channelling revenues from tourism back into national and local economies. For many Member Countries of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), the vast and multi-faceted tourism industry provides a frequent influx of cultural enthusiasts, adventure-seekers, history buffs and world-heritage aficionados eager for “local” culturally-linked and indigenous products. For small entrepreneurs including cultural performers, vendors and producers of handcrafts, furnishings, soaps, specialty foods and many other hand-made products, the tourist market offers unlimited sales opportunities, with a diverse range of sales venues.

Research indicates that despite this potential, the region has been largely unable to capitalize on the economic growth opportunities created by tourism and thus the full socio-economic potential of the industry in generating linkages which leads to growth in ancillary sectors, remains under-utilised.

This is most prevalent in the market for arts and crafts and souvenirs, where currently, the majority of products available for purchase are sourced from foreign nations. In many vendor’s stalls across the region, it is common to find souvenirs, trinkets and other ‘local’ paraphernalia personalised with the country’s name, flag or other insignia, which are not made in the country of origin.

This ability of international suppliers to provide inexpensive, generic product have severely impacted and diminished business opportunities for local craftsmen, both threatening the livelihoods of the Region’s Artisans and the viability of the sector. More importantly this practise, if it is allowed to continue unheeded, has the capacity to undermine the sustainability, value and relevance of local arts and craft, as well as inherent skills and art forms, contributing to an eventual loss of heritage and traditions.

Research produced by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, indicate that a large percentage of the local businesses found within the tourism industry are classified as SMEs, also that the Craft or Artisan sector comprises the vast majority of the region’s SMEs, and these enterprises are both generated from and serviced by tourism business activity.

As tourism continues to grow throughout the Region, the connectivity between Artisans/SME development and Tourism becomes even more important in order to construct wide reaching and enduring inter-sectoral linkages supported by a tourism industry bridge.

Recognising this vital role of the craft sector as a conduit for social and economic growth and its contribution to Tourism product development; and seeking to leverage the opportunities for trade and entrepreneurship generated by the Tourism industry for the Artisan sector, the ACS has partnered with the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to support the establishment of a Regional Network of Artisans in Tourism of the Greater Caribbean.

The network has been conceived as a private-public partnership forum for ongoing networking, co-operation and dialogue among the Artisans and other stakeholders related to the sector, and will support training and the exchange of knowledge and best practises to contribute to business skills development and the professionalisation of the Artisan sector in the Greater Caribbean.

The initiative to establish the Regional Network of Artisans of the Greater Caribbean stems from a 2 day Regional workshop and symposium which was organised by the ACS and held on October 23-24, 2014 in Cartagena, Republic of Colombia.

This workshop was targeted to women Artisans and Entrepreneurs operating in the Tourism sector, and was attended by twenty-one (21) participants, representing a cross-section of 15 countries across the region. The workshop entailed an exercise to document the needs and challenges affecting the growth and productivity of Artisans in the region, which revealed inter-alia, that there was need for more hands-on training in business management and product development; that the Artisans were constrained by limited information about buyer interests, consumer standards and purchasing practices; they faced challenges to obtain financing to grow and/or improve their business; and desired more direct access to sales opportunities particularly regional and international craft fairs. The desire to increase linkages with other Artisans from the Region for the trade of goods, for the purchase of raw materials and for joint manufacturing and/or promotion efforts was listed among the top priorities. Towards this end, the participating Artisans appealed to the ACS and its partners to provide the necessary technical assistance and support.

The First Meeting of the Regional Network of Artisans of the Greater Caribbean was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on March 23rd, 2015 with a pilot group of 9 participants representing each of the four geographic sub-regions, identified as leading Artisan Entrepreneurs based on nomination by their countries.

The participation and advancement of SMEs are incorporated as part of the Development Agenda of International Organisations working in the region.

It is recognised that SMEs are a significant element in the business economy, but also suffer from the lack of business skills and opportunities for training and market access needed to improve and expand their business. Within this group, the Craft or Artisan sector comprises a substantial number.

For the countries of the Greater Caribbean, sales of locally made products to tourists and tourism businesses offer an important source of international exchange and a means of channelling revenues from tourism back into national and local economies. Additionally, a successful handcraft sector leverages business growth in a variety of related sectors, ranging from raw material supply, manufacturing, and agricultural production to transportation, retail outlets and export management. It also strengthens cultural traditions and entertainment offerings, which in turn contribute to the diversity and authenticity of a country’s overall tourism product. However, the region has yet to fully capitalize on the economic growth opportunities created by the tourism industry as the Region’s Artisans lack capital and the assistance needed particularly for innovation in product design and development, to expand production, and market effectively to a fragmented and globalized distribution chain.

The ACS and its partners have been working to address these limitations in order to bridge the gaps in the contribution of tourism to local economies, as a strategy for job creation and poverty reduction.

The establishment of the Regional Network of Artisans in Tourism of the Greater Caribbean offers an opportunity to access and therefore enhance cooperation and linkages with the Arts and Craft sector in the Region, fostering cross-sectoral collaboration to ensure that Artisans, who, while responsible for producing an integral part of a territory’s artistic culture, and are very often citizens of meagre financial resources, receive the necessary support to enhance their productivity and improve the viability of their business enterprises.

A significant objective and expected benefit of this initiative is to generate market opportunities for regional culturally linked products, and contribute to increased business for ‘small’ entrepreneurs, particularly women from indigenous and rural communities who predominate the production chain.

BAHAMAS: Caribbean Airlines Expands Trinidad-Nassau Service

Caribbean Airlines has increased its flight service between Trinidad and Nassau, the company announced.

The Port-of-Spain-Nassau flights will operate three times per week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays as flight BW 414.

The expanded service launched last week.

“The Bahamas welcomes Caribbean Airlines increased service to Nassau,” said Bahamas Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe. “As we move into our high season for tourism, we warmly welcome more visitors from our region to come and see all that the Bahamas has to offer. The three flights weekly will cause for more flexible stays.”

Wilchcombe said “the new route would also allow a fruitful exchange of intra-regional travel and facilitate attendance at various sporting, business and cultural events by business and leisure travellers alike.”

JAMAICA: Jamaica Secures 60,000 New Airline Seats

Jamaica’s set for a major airlift boost this tourist season.

The island has secured more than 60,000 new airline seats, according to Tourism Director Paul Pennicook.

The director announced the news during the JAPEX conference in Montego Bay.

Of the new seats, about 50,000 are coming out of the United States.

“Some of those (flights) will be new to Jamaica and we are very excited about them,” Pennicook said. “Come Dec. 18, American Airlines introduces a non-stop service from Los Angeles into Montego Bay on weekends. Come November 1, South West Airlines introduces daily service from Houston into Montego Bay and come Dec. 1, Frontier Airlines comes into Montego Bay for days per week from Philadelphia.”

Some of the flights include increased service out of Minneapolis on Delta and flights from Gothenburg, Sweden, Oslo, Norway and potentially one out of Dublin next summer.

“We are very excited about the future, because we are having new rooms built, we are having rooms refurbished, products are being upgraded, there are attractions…and we have the airline seats to go with it, so we are looking forward to a wonderful 2016,” Pennicook said.

JAMAICA: This Top Caribbean Airport Lounge Just Got Even Better

Club MoBay, the lounge at Montego Bay, Jamaica’s Sangster International Airport, just got even better.

This July, a concourse-level annex was added opposite gate 12, offering a welcome sanctuary exclusively for adults.

Dominated by a Red Stripe-branded bar, the space is light and airy, with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer expansive views of the runway beyond.

Comfortable seating is arranged in conversational groups, with a few window-facing chaises perfectly placed for quiet contemplation and plane watching. And snacks (including the island’s much-loved patties and banana chips) are available all day.

Flyers traveling with children in tow may use the facilities on the Club’s three other lounges on the basement level, which include a kids’ playroom, business center, showers, and a small spa.

Access to Club Mobay, which includes fast-track service through outbound Security, costs $30 per person and is complimentary to American Express Platinum and Priority Pass cardholders, as well as first class passengers on select airlines.

DOMINICA: Seaborne Relaunching Daily Flights To Dominica

Regional airline Seaborne is relaunching service to storm-ravaged Dominica on Wednesday, the company announced.

The daily flights will depart from Dominica each morning at 7 AM, with flights from San Juan to Dominica at 3:25 PM.

Seaborne had canceled all flights to Dominica after damage to the island’s Douglas-Charles International Airport.

“We want to thank Ross University for their massive efforts to move students, faculty and relief workers into and out of the country as well as providing additional ferry service from Guadeloupe to Dominica during this challenging time,” said Seaborne President and CEO Gary Foss. “We also would like to recognize and thank The Dominica Air and Sea Ports Authority, for their round-the-clock work to restore the airport’s infrastructure, allowing the country to be re-linked to the global transportation grid. Their efforts have been nothing less than heroic.”

LIAT’s Newest Hire

Regional air carrier LIAT has named Captain Arthur Senhouse its new Director, Flight Operations.

The appointment, which took effect Sept. 1, includes responsibility for “all aspects of the airline’s flight operations.”

Senhouse has been with the company since 1987, having held a number of senior positions including chairman of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association.

“We are pleased to announce the appointment of Captain Senhouse in the role of Director Flight Operations, overseeing one of the most important aspects of our airline’s operations,” said LIAT Chief Executive Officer David Evans. “His extensive experience within the airline will certainly add strength and depth to our senior management team.”

In a statement, Senhouse said he was “humbled” by the decision.

“I have joined the management team of LIAT when the airline is at the crossroads of completing its fleet renewal programme and totally reinventing itself into a Caribbean entity we can be proud of,” he said.

DOMINICA: LIAT Returning To Dominica

LIAT will resume flights to and from Dominica’s Douglas-Charles Airport beginning Friday, September 18, the airline said in a statement.

LIAT was forced to suspend its services to Dominica on August 27 following the passage of Tropical Storm Erika, which resulted in widespread damage to the island and the closure of the airport.

The airline will operate one flight to Dominica on Friday, and then increase its services to two daily flights beginning Saturday.

“We are extremely happy to be returning to Dominica,” said Chief Executive Officer David Evans. “This would not have been possible without the spirit of community and resilience for which Dominica is well known.”

LI 581 will depart V.C. Bird International Airport in Antigua at 7:10 a.m. daily and arrive at the Douglas-Charles Airport at 7:50 a.m., while the return service, LI 580, will depart Dominica at 8:30 a.m. and arrive in Antigua at 9:10 a.m.

Beginning Saturday, LI 364 will depart Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados at 2:20 p.m. daily, and arrive in Dominica at 3:20 p.m.

LIAT’s service to Guadeloupe and Antigua will continue on Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and its non=stop service to Antigua will continue on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The airline recommends that customers traveling from Dominica arrive at the airport at least three hours prior to the scheduled departure time to account for the increased security and baggage checks at the Douglas-Charles Airport.

ST KITTS & NEVIS: Head To Nevis In Style

Four Seasons Resort Nevis has launched a new strategic partnership with YU Lounge, offering guests the option to bookend their stay with a private, personalized arrival and departure experience at Robert L Bradshaw Airport in St Kitts.

As soon as guests step off the plane, they will be taken via luxury vehicle directly to the lounge, where they will enjoy drinks and culinary delicacies created by the YU Lounge’s own chef while their luggage, customs, and immigration are taken care of by the lounge’s service team.

The lounge comes equipped with flat-screen TVs, computers, free Wi-Fi, a variety of magazines, and a seating area for guests to enjoy until the formalities are complete, at which point they will board transfer to Port Zante to embark on the Four Seasons’ private launch.

During the 40-minute crossing to the resort’s on-property dock in Nevis, guests can indulge in complimentary local beers, fruit punch, and Four Seasons’ signature rum punch, until they arrive at the resort to find their luggage waiting in their rooms.

“With our new YU Lounge relationship, Four Seasons Resort Nevis guests can enjoy personalized service and unprecedented convenience from the jet way to the fairways,” said Ed Gannon, General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Nevis. “We’re very glad to partner with the YU Lounge to further elevate the guest experience between St. Kitts Airport and Four Seasons Resort Nevis. ”

USA: American Airlines Reports Improvement in Latin America, Caribbean

After months of decline, American Airlines Group reported positive growth in revenue passenger miles to Latin America and the Caribbean last month.

The carrier reported 2.773 billion revenue passenger miles, up 0.2 percent from August 2014.

The carrier’s revenue passenger miles to the region remain down 4.7 percent year over year, however.

Available seat miles to the region fell by 4.4 percent last month, and is down 6.4 percent for the year.

Load factor rose, however, improving by 3.8 percent to 84 percent last month.

COSTA RICA: British Airways Launching Flights to Costa Rica

British Airways is adding flights to Costa Rica.

The carrier announced plans to launch nonstop flights between London Gatwick and San Jose, Costa Rica beginning May 4, 2016.

The flights will initially operate twice a week (Wednesday and Saturday), rising to three times a week in the winter (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday).

British Airways will be operating the flights on Boeing 777 aircraft.

“With everything from its incredible wildlife, rugged rainforests and volcanic peaks, as well as stunning beaches and – of course – world-famous coffee – Costa Rica offers an incredible array of places to visit and experience,” said Colm Lacy, British Airways’ head of commercial Gatwick. “Adding Costa Rica to our wide range of flights from Gatwick boosts our network and gives customers an even greater choice of diverse destinations. We’re very excited to have the opportunity to fly nonstop between London and San Jose and we’re sure this route will prove very popular with those looking for a holiday that’s definitely out of the ordinary.”

In a statement, Costa Rica Tourism Minister Mauricio Ventura said the new service “demonstrates the success of our strategy to attract premium airlines to our country.”

Costa Rica has seen a 12.9 percent increase in tourists from the UK in the last year, averaging two weeks per visit, he said.

ARUBA: InselAir Launching Flights To Quito

Dutch Caribbean carrier InselAir is launching another new destination: Ecuador.

The carrier will be launching nonstop flights from Aruba to Quito, beginning Oct. 29.

The three-hour flights will operate on Thursdays and Sundays.

“Quito has proven to be a popular destination in past, but InselAir also expects to transport many passengers from other destinations to Quito and vice versa,” the company said in a statement.

InselAir will be operating the service on Fokker 70 aircraft.

The return flights will operate on Fridays and Mondays from Quito to Aruba.

GRAND CAYMAN: Coffee Bar at Grand Cayman Airport

YOU MIGHT pass by it on the way home, or rush by on your way to the beach after arrival.

But hidden in plain sight at Grand Cayman’s Owen Roberts International is a rather good coffee bar called the Brew Hut.

The bar-cafe, which debuted in November 2014, is home to top-notch Segafredo espresso, making it the perfect place for a little lift before lift off.

It’s joined by some cafe fare from panini to pastries, and filled out by a small souvenir shop specializing in Cay Brew apparel named after one of the island’s famous beers.

And if you check in early, it’s the perfect departure lounge. yes, there’s Wi-Fi, too.

ST MAARTEN; Air France Expanding St Maarten Flights

Air France is expanding its flights to St Maarten, the company announced this week.

The new service will mean an additional flight on Saturdays between Paris and SXM Airport, increasing its offer to eight weekly flights in winter 2015.

The additional flight will be operated on an Airbus A340 with 275 seats.

Air France and partner KLM will be operating a total of 11 weekly flights between Europe and St Maarten this winter. (KLM Royal Dutch Airlines serves St Maarten from Amsterdam three times a week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays).

GUADELOUPE: Winair Increasing Service to Dominica, Guadeloupe

Regional air carrier Winair has announced the launch of additional schedule service to Dominica and Guadeloupe, the company announced.

The twice-weekly service, which will begin Oct. 3, will feature a flight originating in Guadeloupe, stopping in Dominica and returning to the carrier’s hub in St Maarten.

The flights out of St Maarten will stop in Dominica then Guadeloupe.

Winair will operate the flights on ATR 500 aircraft.

The company is also operating DHC 600 Twin Otter flights to Canefield in Dominica five times a week until Oct. 25.

PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico’s Newest Agritourism Spot

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company has presented Hacienda Don Carmelo with certification in the Agritourism Program.

The initiative is primarily aimed at breeding and training the farm’s 50 horses for equestrian riding.

“The PRTC enthusiastically welcomes this new aspect of the Agritourism Program, which we know offers a new alternative both to locals and tourists to enjoy the farmhouse within the framework of the prevailing nature at Hacienda Don Carmelo,” said Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort, Executive Director of the PRTC, who presented the certification. ”

The horses are bred and trained on agricultural land, for which regulated standards are followed with regard to grazing area, training area, feeding, bathing, and stable space.

Hacienda Don Carmelo specializes in the equestrian activity of exhibition under the Puerto Rican School of Equestrian Art.

The activities are aimed at a public audience on the farm, which is holding special events, including tours for children called “The Horse World,” in which the different aspects of the lives of the horses are presented in an educational way.

“This certification provides great opportunities for our city to expand the tourism locally and internationally. Our city has great natural resources as the Tortuguero Lagoon and our beautiful beach harbor and other unique resources that distinguish us as a people. This certification gives us the opportunity to strengthen our projection as the world tourist city,” said the mayor of the Municipality of Vega Baja, Marcos Cruz Molina.


Diving, sailing, snorkeling, hiking and island hopping.

The British Virgin Islands is full of adventures big and small, whether you’re snorkeling at The Indians or exploring the caves of The Baths.

Virgin Gorda’s North Sound is an adventure in itself — led by its Bitter End Yacht Club (above), the best hotel in the Caribbean for watersports.

US GRAND CAYMAN: Where To Visit For Fall 2015

There’s a Caribbean island for every travel desire. But every Caribbean island is different, and each one has a diverse range of experiences on offer, whether you’re looking for food, beaches, art or adventure. This year’s Fall List highlights some of the best (and, in some cases, under the radar) attributes of a host of Caribbean destinations. Here are our staff picks for Fall 2015.

You may not realize it, but Grand Cayman is one of the region’s culinary capitals. From Eric Ripert’s Blue to Ortanique, it’s full of more than 200 top-level restaurants featuring both local and international cuisine. In other words, a foodie’s dream. And when you’re finished eating, you can retire to the luxury of the Ritz-Carlton or the Westin on Seven Mile Beach.

VIRGIN ISLANDS: The US Virgin Islands Is Suing Hess for $1.5 Billion

The US Virgin Islands government is suing the Hess Corporation for shuttering the HOVENSA refinery in 2012, Governor Kenneth Mapp announced Monday.

According to a complaint filed in Superior Court, the USVI is alleging that Hess committed “serious violations of the law” in closing what was the Caribbean’s largest refinery.

The lawsuit is seeking at least $1.5 billion in damages, a figure it says covers at least $150 million per year in benefits to the people of the territory from 2012 to 2022. The latter date was the time through which Hess “was obligated under the law to continue operating the refinery,” the government said.

The damages triple under Virgin Islands law.

“The is not about a business disagreement. It is about Hess breaking the law,” Mapp said. “The Territory of the Virgin Islands expect that the law is followed by every entity that does business here. Hess violated the law and its obligations to the people.”

The closure of the refinery was devastating to the Virgin Islands’ economy, as HOVENSA had been the USVI’s single-largest private employer.

But while Hess shuttered operations in 2012, then-US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh helped broker a deal under which a new company, Atlantic Basin Refining, would have purchased the refinery.

Under the terms of that proposed deal, which was later rejected by the USVI Senate, the government would have received $1.6 billion in fixed payments, with at least 700 jobs created.

HOVENSA was first launched in the mid 1960s on St Croix.

In its complaint, the USVI said that the Hess Corporation violated “the law that dictated operations through 2022.”

“This is about one thing: Hess breaking the law and the resulting hardship to the Territory of the Virgin Islands,” Mapp said. “There are consequences to breaking the law and Hess must fulfill its legal obligations to the Territory.”

The suite alleges that Hess violated the Criminally Influenced Corrupt Organization Act and other laws.

Hess has not yet released a statement on the lawsuit.

BRAZIL: Visit Central And South America Without Rio

In 2014, all eyes were on Brazil for the World Cup and come 2016, it will again sit in the spotlight with the Summer Olympics taking place in Rio de Janiero. In any year, travelers heading to Peru typically plan on visiting Machu Picchu, while in Argentina, lovers seek out Buenos Aires for a romantic vacation. So what do these destinations have in common? They are some of South America's most sought-after cities and are in turn, flooded with tourists from all over the world.

But what about those under-the-radar areas scattered across the rest of the continent? Many of you have either already visited the world's best attractions or find yourself more attracted to discovering the unknown. For our curious nomads, we searched for some of the best off-the-beaten path destinations in South America and unearthed these five cities worth exploring:

Mancora, Peru

The coastal city of Máncora was once known as a quaint fishing town, but over the last few years has risen as a go-to destination for surfers and well-to-do Peruvians. Resting north of Lima along the Pan-American Highway, this is (quietly) a place to see and be seen. The city has seen an influx of in-the-know travelers due to its plethora of restaurants, warm waters, sandy beaches, consistent surf and luxury resorts. Here, the jet set crowd is offered a luxe experience while at the same time benefiting from its small-town roots. South Americans consider Máncora as one of the best places to laze beachside all day before enjoying a sizzling nightlife in the evenings. Visit The Birdhouse for shops, open-air bars and restaurants near the city's main street. Surfers should check out Soledad Surf Shop while sport enthusiasts should arrange for a kite-surfing session at Máncora Kite Club. Otherwise, sit back, relax and settle into the easy-going, beach lifestyle locals enjoy daily.

Where to Stay: La Casa de Sofia
When to Go: December to March

Banos de Agua Santa, Ecuador

The Ecuadorian city of Baños de Agua Santa (the holy water baths) is a South American gem surrounded by green forests, beautiful waterfalls and active volcanoes. Its streets are lined with souvenir shops, hotels, restaurants and tour operators. Along with the high-energy activities, spa lovers are offered plenty of ways to relax within the area's many thermal baths. Although its outdated architecture leaves much to be desired, travelers don't go to sit in their hotel rooms all day. Known as the adventure capital of the country, Baños is popular for hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting and soaking in the hot thermal springs. Calling it a safe and friendly town, President David Capaldi of Discover Latin America said it offers a "spectacular geographical setting [with] easy access to both the Andes and the Amazon jungle." Don't miss Nuestra Señora del Agua Santa (Church of the Virgin of the Holy Water), a neo-Gothic church and place of pilgrimage for those seeking the blessings of the Virgin Mary.

Where to Stay: Samari Spa Resort
When to Go: July to August; December to January

León, Nicaragua

In June of this year, Condé Nast Traveler called Nicaragua the new Costa Rica, a bold statement for sure. And we can't help but agree, at least to the point of calling it one of the most up-and-coming destinations in South America right now. Once a war-torn country known for being dangerous, the region is now considered one of the safest countries in Latin America. Because of its previous status, much of the area is unknown, especially the town of León. The city is filled with stunning churches, historical murals, impressive colonial architecture, new luxury hotels and a bustling nightlife. Only a 15-minute drive away are also uncrowded beaches such as Poneloy and Las Peñitas, known for its surfing and chill vibe. Just outside of León travelers are experiencing one of the newest travel crazes: volcano surfing. On the 40-degree slope of Cerro Negro, brave souls can zip down the side of the live, black volcanic mound dressed in a jumpsuit, goggles, gloves and kneepads. If you'd rather forgo the risky activity, you can venture around the city to explore attractions such as Iglesia de la Recolección, Museo de Arte Fundación Ortiz-Guardián, Colegio de San Ramón and Parque Central where a weekly fiesta is held. At night, head to Oxygene, the city's hottest dance club and mingle with locals over cocktails and Latin music.

Where to Stay: Hotel El Convento
When to Go: December to February

Olinda, Brazil

"When most people think of Brazil they think automatically of Rio, Copacabana beach, the giant statue of Christ [the Redeemer], the Maracana stadium, Rio Carnival, the checklist rolls on... But of course there's much more to Brazil than this," shared Dan Clarke, co-founder of RealWorld, a UK-based South America travel specialist. "To get a little slice of Brazil's history and traditional culture, you need to head to the north-east of Brazil [...] to the town of Olinda." Sitting north of Recife, Olinda is an artist colony which is home to many museums, galleries, artisans' workshops and grand churches. Declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1982, many of the cobblestone streets boast Portugese-styled homes with red-tiled roofs set against tropical trees and ocean below. It is one of the best-preserved colonial towns in Brazil and its historic center offers plenty of great restaurants and bars. The iconic church of São Pedro, Mamulengo Puppet Museum, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Pernambuco (Museum of Contemporary Art) and Mercado Eufrasio Barbosa (a large crafts market), are among the many attractions you'll come across in Olinda.

Where to Stay: Amoaras Resort
When to Go: December to February

Valparaíso, Chile

Valparaíso is possibly Chile's most diverse city, offering a dramatic topography dotted with angular architecture. Long immortalized by poets, painters and philosophers, this colorful destination is a hodge-podge of captivating landscapes, quirky shops and historical landmarks. For centuries, the city served as Santiago's port before the Panama Canal opened, and while it is no longer the bustling dock it once was, it still remains one of Chile's principal ports. Though much of the area is in the midst of a rebirth, its becoming clear that Valparaíso is well on its way to becoming one of South America's premier destinations. Similar to San Francisco, its streets wind up steep hills and multi-colored abodes and Victorian mansions rest cliffside. The irregular terrain provides a stadium-seating view of the Atlantic from just about every home. Because of its aristocratic past, many artists such as Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda found inspiration here. It is a coastal Bohemian getaway filled with cafés, imaginative bars, boutique hotels, local shops and gourmet restaurants sitting along the streets in the El Plan (flat lands) area.

Where to Stay: Casa Higueras
When to Go: December to February

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

UNITED NATIONS: “One billion tourists, one billion opportunities”, UN message on World Tourism Day

“As a leading employment sector, tourism provides important livelihood opportunities helping to alleviate poverty and inclusive development”, said Ban

Marking the observance of World Tourism Day, senior United Nations officials are spotlighting the transformative potential of one billion tourists and their increasing capacity to help boost socio-economic and environmental development.

“The potential of tourism for sustainable development is considerable,” stressed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a message on the World Day.

“As one of the world’s leading employment sectors, tourism provides important livelihood opportunities, helping to alleviate poverty and drive inclusive development,” said Mr. Ban.

The tourism sector plays an important role in fostering multicultural understanding and raising awareness on the need to preserve cultural and natural heritage.

As the world ramps up a new Sustainable Development Agenda, said the UN chief, tourism should be recognized for its ability to create jobs, promote local culture and products and champion the conservation and sustainable use of marine and terrestrial habitats.

In his remarks highlighting this year’s theme ‘One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities,’ Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), said that these big numbers represent more than just economic strength as they help to “address some of the world´s most pressing challenges, including socio-economic growth, inclusive development and environmental preservation.”

“These billion tourists have made tourism a leading economic sector contributing 10% of global GDP and 6% of the world´s total exports,” said Mr. Rifai.

Not only is tourism a valuable source of livelihood for millions of people, but it is also a getaway to great understanding of the world beyond our borders, according to Mr. Rifai.

“Let us celebrate the value of the ‘One Billion Tourists’ and work together in making tourism a true instrument of opportunity and inclusion,” urged Mr. Rifai.

Celebrated annually on 27 September, World Tourism Day serves to raise awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and the contributions it can make in the economic, political and social sectors.

CANADA: Polar Tour Operators hold first Antarctic/Arctic field guide conference

The poles are combining forces in Toronto next week at a unique conference for polar field staff organized by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) in collaboration with its sister organization in the Arctic, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO).

The conference, which runs from 27-29 September, will provide a lively and interactive forum for sharing knowledge and best practice in polar guiding.

This is the first time that a field staff conference has focused on the challenges facing staff and member operators working in both Antarctica and the Arctic. Around the central mission of practicing safe and environmentally responsible travel in both regions, the agenda will focus on education, operational procedures, safety and risk management, conservation, heritage, communications and science support.

Susan Adie, Chair of IAATO’s Field Operations Committee and Expedition Operations Manager for Toronto based, G Adventures said, ‘Field staff are at the front line of our polar operations so not only are they often the first to identify issues, opportunities and future challenges, but can offer potential solutions to those as well. The outcomes from a conference like this will benefit the industry tremendously across all sectors.’

The series of talks and workshops has also attracted representatives from other organizations who work closely with AECO and IAATO including government agencies, science institutes and conservation organizations such as the WWF, Environment Canada, the Antarctic Southern Ocean Coalition and the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. IAATO and AECO’s current contributions to citizen science will be presented and future collaborations discussed.

Bill Davis, AECO Executive Committee member and VP Operations for Quark Expeditions said, ‘In addition to covering the day to day opportunities and challenges of running of polar operations, the conference will also focus on how tourism is part of a wider global solution to protecting these great wildernesses for future generations.’

Canadian based IAATO/AECO members, G Adventures, Quark Expeditions, One Ocean Expeditions and Students on Ice (The Maple Leaf Group) are hosting the conference dinner on Monday 28th September.

IAATO is a member organization founded in 1991 to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic. IAATO currently has 112 members. IAATO Members work together to develop, adopt and implement operational standards that mitigate potential environmental impacts. Numerous guidelines have been adopted over the last 25 years that have proven to be successful methods in avoiding such impacts.

AECO is a member organization founded in 2003 to ensure that expedition cruises and tourism in the Arctic is carried out with the utmost consideration for the Arctic natural environment, local cultures and cultural remains, as well as for safety hazards at sea and on land. The organization has 50 international members, 26 of which operate approximately 32 vessels in the Arctic. AECO’s backbone is a number of guidelines that members and their guest are obliged to follow to ensure environmentally friendly, safe and considerate behavior.

CHILE: Punta Arenas Low-cost Fares Competition Between Lan And Sky Airlines

Following on Chilean low cost carrier, Sky Airlines, announcement of twelve destinations with cheap flight tickets, including the Santiago/Punta Arenas leg, Lan Chile made a similar presentation on Tuesday of a new set of promotions.

Such promotions can be checked at the site, but beginning October, and November, this means the round trip Punta Arenas/Santiago can be acquired as low as 65.000 Chilean Pesos plus boarding tax of 13.984 Pesos.

Sky Airlines promotion is only a one way ticket, if purchased this week, until 25 September, and in the case of Punta Arenas passengers must fly between first November and 13 December.

The Sky Airlines low cost ticket works out at prices beginning at 27.500 Chilean pesos, one way, plus the 6.992, boarding tax, which adds up to 34.492 Pesos.

CHILE: Sky Airlines Begins Operating In Chile As A Low-cost Carrier

Chile's Sky Airlines becomes a budget or low cost airline with no food served on board, and at the most a soft drink. This is part of the changes to be implemented during the next 12 months by Holger Paulmann CEO and owner of the airline which was started by his father Jürgen Paulmann.

“We are implementing a business model, sustainable, economically viable and resilient to outside factors such as the price of fuel and the money exchange rate”, said CEP Holger Paulmann in an interview with El Mercurio.

Sky Airlines has a fleet of fifteen Airbus 320 and 319, which among other places flies to Punta Arenas, extreme south of Chile.

“Beginning next year both in domestic and international flights meals on board will be charged, and we are also considering charging for luggage, and even for booking seats in the first rows or near the emergency doors”, pointed out CEO Paulmann.

However there are other interesting changes: the sale of one way tickets, at prices which are competitive even when bus rates are considered. In effect the one way 'cheap' option for short flights (10.000 Chilean Pesos, approx 18 dollars) or longer flights (30.000 Pesos, approx 54 dollars) plus boarding fees, as long as they are booked before hand, and be cheaper than taking coaches, explained Paulmann.

The company with these changes and savings should be able to make better use of the aircraft. Nowadays the A320 and A319, spend on average eight hours a day in the air, but with the changes they should be in the air ten hours a day, helping to 'dilute' costs such as those of fuel.

To this must be added the drastic cut in several-stops flights in the country: if last year 80% of its flights made a stop, that is no longer the case. Only Santiago Punta Arenas and Santiago Balmaceda, have a stop at Puerto Montt.

Paulmann announced the end of the Santiago-La Paz (Bolivian capital) regular flight since the average occupation of seats was below 50% and anticipated that cabin space will become another source of income with publicity.

Finally asked what the reaction of all powerful Latam (Lan plus TAM) could be, Paulmann said it was only natural a reaction had to be, but it will stimulate the market and besides, “since Chile has an open skies policy, if we didn't do it somebody from outside could have moved in, with an aggressive prices policy, so before that happens, we did it”.

“We're convinced this is the real business model for airlines, and this is proven by the fact that it is growing at double the rate of other companies”.

CHILE: Thousands Of Passengers Stranded As Strike Grounds All Civil Flights

A 24-hour strike by civil aviation workers in Chile grounded dozens of departing flights and affected thousands of passengers, officials said on Tuesday. The strike began at midnight with nearly 4,000 workers demanding improved labor conditions and came just days before a September 18 national holiday celebrating the country's independence, a time when many people travel.

Hundreds of Chileans and tourists were stranded at the international airport in the capital, Santiago, and hundreds more stayed at home because they knew the strike was coming.

Director of Civil Aviation Maximiliano Larraechea said Tuesday the strike is affecting all of Chile's airports and airfields and flights will not take off during the stoppage.

Airline companies began rescheduling flights ahead of the strike, and only landings and emergency flights were being allowed.

Economy Minister Felipe Cespedes said the strike is illegal and called on workers to begin talks.

Workers “have all the opportunities to strike a constructive, positive dialogue, that doesn't affect the functioning of a critical service affecting thousands of tourists and Chileans who were unable fly today.”

ST.HELENA: History Made As First Ever Plane Lands At St Helena

History was made on St Helena at 13.50hrs GMT Tuesday 15 September 2015, as a Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft arrived from Angola and touched down at St Helena’s new Airport, prior to conducting a series of calibration flights.

The aircraft flew from Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg, to Namibia, then to Angola and on to St Helena, taking approximately four hours for the final leg of the journey to the Island.

For the volcanic origin tropical island in the middle of the Atlantic the airport and air link will mean a radical change for its people and economy. Currently the only contact is by sea and with a vessel that makes several trips a year from South Africa. St Helena is famous since Napoleon spent his last years in the island after he was captured by the British in 1815. His death occurred 5 May 1821.

Stepping out of the aircraft, Captain Grant Brighton said: “It feels fantastic and we’re privileged to have flown the first plane to land on St Helena and to be part of your wonderful project. “The trip over was good. It was interesting landing here, a bit windy on the threshold but a terrific runway, surface, Airport and facility.”

Watching the landing – together with numerous residents at various vantage points – St Helena Councilor Lawson Henry commented: “First of all this is quite emotional – we’ve waited so long for this moment and it has finally happened. This is history in the making and we’re a part of it.”

Basil Read Island Director Deon de Jager added: “It’s brilliant – all the hard work has paid off. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved – we’ve actually done it.”

Airport Project Director Janet Lawrence said of the day: “I honestly can’t describe today. Years of planning and thousands of man hours have gone into this moment and to actually see it happen is an immense feeling.

“There are so many people we should be thanking, including people who can’t be here with us today. It’s not over yet – there’s still a great deal more to be done – but this event clearly shows that we’re going in the right direction.”

Greeting the crew on the Airport Apron, Governor Mark Capes remarked: “Today we witnessed an event that will feature prominently in the history of this Island. For the Airport project another important piece of the jigsaw has slotted firmly into place. There are a few more vital pieces to be added before the picture is complete, but we are nearly there and I warmly congratulate everyone who has played a part in this extraordinary project.

“When we launched this work almost four years ago, such were the many obstacles to overcome that there were those who doubted that it would succeed and yet, behold, a plane has landed at St Helena Airport.”

The aircraft is expected to remain in the island for several weeks as calibration tests commence. Several flights each day – weather permitting – will be undertaken.

FALKLANDS: Falklands Stall At The Prado Rural Show “a great surprise and greater success”

“We are very satisfied, it has been a great surprise and greater success, and a very good initiative to participate in Uruguay's main rural show. Hopefully we will be back next year”, said Falklands lawmaker Gavin Short who underlined the interest shown by the Uruguayan people and media in the Islands.

“People were wonderful, very supportive, they wanted to know about our economy, agriculture, way of life, how to get to the Falklands, and some of the members of the delegation also established promising business contacts”, added MLA Gavin Short. “They managed to visit some excellent sheep farms and wool processing plants, top of the line technology, very competitive, very efficient, it was really an experience”.

The Falklands stall was set up in one of the corners of the UK pavilion, which was awarded the top prize in the category of Chambers of Commerce and Embassies, and received a constant flow of “people interested in finding out about the Islands, trade tourism, and talking since quite a few, to my surprise, knew quite a lot about the Falklands”, added MLA Short.

Somehow success of the Falklands presence in the Expo-Prado was confirmed by the Argentine embassy in Montevideo which complained about a poster at the stall which read “Falkland Islands Government” next to a map of the Islands, demanding its removal, since Uruguay backs Argentine sovereignty claim over the Islands.

According to Uruguayan, Falklands and UK sources the whole incident was blown out of all proportion by the Argentine media, since the poster was changed for an even more iconic representation of the Falklands, penguins, and the stall remained, and probably attracted even more visitors.

“We received the visit of Argentine representatives, clearly identified, very polite and civilized who took as many brochures as they could, and that was all”, pointed out MLA Short.

Alejandro Carvalho, manager of the Expo-Prado show which is organized by Uruguay's Rural Association downplayed the incident and said that “contrary to some reports, the stall will continue open and operating, promoting trade and tourism with the South Atlantic archipelago”

British ambassador in Uruguay Ben Lyster-Binns also brushed aside the situation and underlined that the Expo-Prado is a rural show, for promoting trade, tourism, culture between Uruguay, the Falklands and UK, “it's no place to talk about politics”.

“The rural show is a commercial event and we set up the Falklands stall to promote relations with Uruguay, because there is an interesting trade relation, and because we are interested in explaining the reality of the Falklands”, said Lyster-Binns, and “Uruguayans are more than intelligent to understand this because culture and education links with the Islands are longstanding”.

Speaking with the local media MLA Short had no problem in addressing the sovereignty claim issue. “We will never willingly become Argentines. We are hopeful that in the long run the Argentine government will understand this”

However despite the fact that the current Argentine government travels the world with their false history facts, “we want good relations with Argentina, like in the time of president Carlos Menem: we had agreements of mutual interest in fisheries conservation, scientific research an even hydrocarbons. But the governments that followed destroyed all this, which is bad for both of us”.

Anyhow, looking ahead (to the Argentine presidential elections), “it can't get worse than what it is”.

Dr. Barry Elsby another Falklands member of the Legislative Assembly and fluent in Spanish was also surprised at the interest shown by visitors to the stall and the positive and supportive attitude of Uruguayans.

“It's a beautiful country, wonderful people, I would like to have more time when I come again to visit the countryside and farms. Our purpose in coming to the show was to get our message across, our truth and reality as wide as possible”, said MLA Elsby, who will be travelling to Panama and Mexico to formalize a cultural exchange.

“Panama wants all their people to be bilingual, we also are on the same track, we want young generations to be fluent in Spanish, so there is the possibility of reaching some exchange understanding. It's not political, it's common sense”.

Other members of the Falklands delegation included Eugene Hurley, from the South America Atalntic Service Ltd; Paul Robertson, from the Falkland Islands Rural Business Association, Ian Campbell, Senior Agriculture Advisor and John Ferguson, manager of the Falkland Islands Meat Company.

ARGENTINA: Tourism in Córdoba

Tourism in Córdoba surprises visitors with its countless attractions, framed by the various mountain systems from the West and North of its territory. Its rivers and creeks, its endless green areas and woodlands, its mild weather and its unique natural scenes lure visitors to this privileged site year round.

Traditional and modern, cultural and historical from every point of view, its Spanish and Jesuit legacy is evident in estancias and churches. Córdoba features one of the most significant hotel offers in the country, along with a remarkable service infrastructure and expert vendors that meet the recreation, adventure, gastronomic and show demands of all visitors who come along to enjoy several options that have become classics at this landlocked province in Argentina.

Its cities are equally captivating and offer varied alternatives and new experiences. Starting of course with the capital of Córdoba, the city bearing the same name as the province, which is its political center, where the idiosyncrasy and philosophy of the people of Córdoba are breathed everyday.

Villa Carlos Paz is the magnet of the summer and one of the most significant receptive centers in the country during this season, not only due to its incredible natural attractions but also due to the wide range of plays staged at this location.

Every year in October, the eyes of all visitors rest on Villa General Belgrano, whose National Beer Festival attracts enthusiasts from all over Argentina and the world. At the very typical City of Cosquín, Argentinian folklore capital, its music festival and traditional dancing stand out.

Córdoba boasts dazzling roads that go across various mountain ranges, such as the famous Sierras Chicas, Sierras Grandes, Traslasierra and Camino de las Altas Cumbres, all of them ideal to discover other must visit cities like La Cumbre, Nono, Cura Brochero, Jesús María, La Falda, Alta Gracia, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, Cura Brochero and Río Ceballos.

Believers of paranormal phenomena have their own space at Mount Uritorco, close to Capilla del Monte, famous for its rarities and for having the first roofed street in the country.

Dams and reservoirs, natural and historical-cultural attractions, in addition to a prodigious climate, turn the Province of Córdoba into one of the most extraordinary as far as tourism is concerned. Maybe because it has it all, and because it unveils something new at its endless nooks day after day.

Four Seasons Schedules 12 New Openings In Late 2015 And 2016

Four Seasons continues to expand its global footprint with 12 new openings currently scheduled in late 2015 and 2016, including several first-time entries in new countries.

In 2015, the opening of Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay marked the first Four Seasons in that country, and the company added a second hotel in France with the re-branding of the storied Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat. By year’s end, the company will add three more destinations to the global traveller’s wish list with Four Seasons Hotel Seoul, Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca, and Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogotá, the first of two in the city.

Planned Four Seasons openings in 2016
Abu Dhabi, UAE – The first Four Seasons in the Emirati capital will be 200-room Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island, in the heart of the new Central Business District. The striking new building is on a prime stretch of waterfront adjacent to the new ADGM Square complex, home of the new Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. A retro-modern Chicago steakhouse, a cocktail bar, and a poolside restaurant with sweeping views overlooking the sea are among an array of dining options planned. The building will also house 124 private and serviced residences.

Bogota, Colombia – The second of two additions to the brand’s South American portfolio, the modern, 64-room Four Seasons Hotel Bogotá will also introduce an exciting new Japanese concept restaurant to a city that is receiving growing international attention as a destination for gourmands. Bogota is also attracting a new generation of cultural explorers interested in its rich history and colourful contemporary art scene, not to mention its 5,200 parks and the surrounding mountains.

Dubai, UAE – Four Seasons entered the UAE with its beachfront resort in Dubai less than a year ago, and will opens its second location in the city next year – this time in the heart of the 100 acre (45 hectare) downtown business district with the 106-room Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre. An 8th floor sky bar boasting Burj Khalifa views with a cigar room on the mezzanine is among the food and beverage options, while the rooftop pool and garden will provide a welcome oasis in this fast-paced city. Interiors by Tihany Design.

Kuwait City, Kuwait –The first Four Seasons in Kuwait will be the 263-room Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya in the central business district. An Italian dining concept created around three wood-burning ovens as well as a pan-Asian restaurant – both with outdoor terraces on the penthouse level – will be among five food and beverage options. Interiors by Yabu Pushelberg will include a spectacular indoor pool in the beautifully designed spa and fitness complex.

Kyoto, Japan – The 124-room Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto will be the company’s second destination in Japan, in the city’s historic Higashiyama-ku district, close to the Kyoto National Museum and myriad heritage sites such as the Toyokuni Shrine and Kiyomizu Temple. Local artists will be featured throughout the traditionally-inspired modern décor characterised by an understated Japanese aesthetic. The Hotel will have a spa and fitness centre with a pool, and four food and beverage concepts. There will also be 57 Four Seasons Private Residences.

New York, New York, USA – Located in the heart of Lower Manhattan in the Tribeca district and just a short city stroll from the new World Trade Center, Wall Street and the trendy Soho neighbourhood, the 185-room Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown joins its renowned sister hotel in Midtown, offering travellers two excellent options in the city. The Robert AM Stern Architects building with interiors by Yabu Pushelberg will be home to an exclusive spa and fitness facility, naturally-lit event spaces, and soon-to-be-revealed street level restaurant and bar concept, as well as 157 Private Residences.

Oahu, Hawaii, USA – The highly anticipated fifth resort in the award-winning Four Seasons Hawaiian Collection and its first on Oahu, the 358-room Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu at Ko Olina is located beachfront on the island’s sunset coast, with easy access to recreational pursuits, historic sites and shopping. Resort features include multiple beaches and pools – several reserved for adults only – a multi-level spa and wellness centre plus on-site tennis and watersports, and preferred access at the Ko Olina golf club. Event spaces can host up to 900 guests. New design by Philpotts Interiors will enhance the original building by architect Edward Killingsworth.

Surfside, Florida, USA – The exclusive 77-room Four Seasons Hotel The Surf Club revives the celebrated Surf Club in Four Seasons style, and will be the company’s fourth location in the Sunshine State. The 9-acre (3.6-hectare) complex with 965 feet (300 metres) of Atlantic beachfront will offer more than 40 beach cabanas among landscaped gardens and four pools. Design architects for the Hotel and 150 Private Residences are Richard Meier & Partners.

Tianjin, China – Underscoring the continued strategic importance of China as both an inbound and outbound travel market, the 259-room Four Seasons Hotel Tianjin will be the brand’s 9th hotel in the country. Part of a mixed complex with an office tower and retail stores, the Hotel is in a pedestrian-friendly area near Nanjing Road, the city’s main east-west thoroughfare and Bingjiang Avenue, the city’s major shopping area. With three food and beverage options and a spa and fitness facility with a pool, the hotel will be the first Four Seasons in China’s 4th most populous city.

PERU: Lima Hotels Receive High Acclaim

Lima hotels demonstrated a “positive change” in the first half of 2015 according to a report published by HVS/HotelInvestment, reports Andina news agency.

The Peruvian capital was the only South American city given this recognition in the study entitled, “Market Pulse: South America.” The study publishes data on hotel performance in the region’s metropoli.

Lima achieved a “positive change” in the Revenue Per Available Room (RevPar) category, in other words, it reached high occupancy.

“Lima and Quito [are] leaders in occupancy. Both cities achieved levels close to 70% during the first quarter of 2015,” the report pointed out.

The report displayed positive rate variations for Lima, unlike any other South American city.

“With a slight upturn in the Peruvian economy, demand continued to grow, albeit at a more moderate pace, managing to surpass the growth in supply,” it reads.

The report listed the South American RevPar results as follows:
Lima: 1.6%
Bogota: -15.8%
Quito: -5.3%
Santiago: -9.8%
Rio de Janeiro: -40.7%
Sao Paulo: -27.9%
Montevideo: -6.2%
Buenos Aires: -2.7%

As demonstrated, HVS reported a decline “in occupancy in the rest of the analyzed markets.”

The results for the report are based on an extensive database composed by STR Global data internal records of HVS, HotelInvest and by third parties.

PERU: Cusco Celebrates The Day Of Pachamama And Andean New Year

The first of August we celebraste the Day of the Pachamama. In the city of Cusco it is a custom every year. Families receive this day by cleaning their homes, scattering yellow confetti in every corner as a symbol of harmony and of renewing the energies of the home and family. On the other hand this day is considered as the beginning of the Andean New Year.

By Saqsayhuaman, behind the white Christ,a ceremony was carried out for the day of our Mother Earth. People arrived to be part of the ceremony beginning at 10 AM. Those responsible began by preparing the space where the ceremony was to be carried out. There you found the altar of offerings. It was a big hole they had dug in the earth surrounded by a line of yellow confetti and also a pile of wood to burn the offerings.


On the ground were two large cloths in multiple colors which they called the altar of offerings. There, thèy began accumulating he products that people brought on thanksgiving to the Mother Earth. The goods that arrived were from different regions. From the coast you could see wine, grapes, and sea shells. from the jungle there was much fruit and from the highland you could see potatoes, corn, chute bread, and coca leaves that drew people together with the Earth in the ceremony.

There also were a great variety of sweets, cookies. Chocolates, cigarettes, and more in different brands. people also brought incense,flowers of many different colors, and varieties of scotch broom, kantu flowers, and rue. There was also drink: chic have, beer, juice, wine and more. Finally there was coca all over the cloth.

Kintu! Connection with the Earth

The main act was performed at 12,midday, to the sound of putouts, native horns. People gathered around the area to enjoy the ceremony of payment to the earth. All of the offerings that people brought in pay enters la commodities on then wood, along with incense, flower water, and palo santo, holy wood.

After sharing yellow confetti with everyone, and handfuls of coca leaves, the offerings were fired. Everything was burned as an offering to the Pacha Mama.

People then made a line to make their individual offerings within the hole. Everyone odor de a k’intu of three coca leaves to thank the earth, make their petitions, and then they left the hole.

Once all the offerings were within the hole, they covered it with earth to end the payment to the Pacha Mama. That is how we experienced this important ritual to our Mother Earth.


What Is Culinary Tourism?

Food and wine enthusiasts that enjoy exploring new destinations can indulge in the best of both worlds with a culinary tourism travel package. Culinary tours, food and wine events, and foodie competitions give travelers a chance to visit a new destination and sample local or regional cuisine. Whether the trip involves an opportunity to learn new cooking techniques or attend food and wine tastings, a culinary adventure can be a welcome change from the standard travel itinerary.

As an emerging travel trend, culinary tourism became prominent in 2001 when Erik Wolf, President of the International Culinary Tourism Association (ICTA), presented a white paper about culinary tourism to his organization. The paper evolved into a book that documented the growing interest in food and wine tourism and how requests for culinary tours could drive local businesses and restaurateurs to meet the growing demand.

The goal of culinary tourism is to educate and inspire food and wine enthusiasts while giving the traveler a chance to explore the local area and learn about local food trends, cooking techniques and food history. Travelers can do so by participating in a cultural immersion experience at select destinations around the globe.

Culinary tours and travel packages can include a wide range of activities related to cooking, food sampling, food trends, wine making and baking. In addition to restaurant weeks in different cities, dining events and cooking competitions, culinary tourism encompasses culinary experiences, such as winery and brewery tours, tours of restaurants and food manufacturing plants, conferences and events with culinary professionals and cookbook authors, and ethnic food tastings.

Travelers interested in eating, sampling wine and beer, cooking, baking and learning about the history of certain foods can choose from a variety of culinary tourism packages at renowned destinations and sites around the globe.

French food lovers may consider cooking classes in Paris or attending a French cooking school as a guest. Italy, Spain and other countries in the Mediterranean offer farmhouse cooking vacations, where visitors can live in a farmhouse or villa for an extended period of time and learn about local and regional cuisine.

Some destinations offer culinary tours and specialty dining experiences, where travelers visit various restaurants, cafes and bistros, meet with chefs and take part in food seminars or events.

Culinary institutes and chef training schools, such as The Culinary Institute of America, the United States' premier culinary college, also offer programs and events for food lovers who want to learn about the local restaurant industry, emerging food trends and food preparation techniques.

According to the International Culinary Tourism Association, culinary tourism is growing exponentially every year. With the steady increase in interest of food channels, travel shows featuring local and regional cuisine, food documentaries and online culinary travel shows, more consumers are traveling to various destinations just to enjoy a new food and wine experience.

Consumers interested in booking a culinary tour or culinary vacation can work with a travel agent that specializes in specialty travel. They can also turn to the Internet to research local cooking schools and cooking vacation packages in their preferred destination.

Travel agents and tour operators that specialize in culinary tourism may offer insider tips and recommendations for creating a custom itinerary based on the traveler's goals and budget. Travelers can choose from self-guided tours, food demonstration events and cooking-lesson packages based on their budget and destination.

PERU: Culinary Tourism In Peru

Culinary tourism in Peru continues to expand as the country's cuisine garners increasing international attention. According to an article by Andrei Khalip of Reuters news service, Peru's overall tourism industry has seen steady annual growth over the past decade, thanks in part to the emerging culinary scene. Peruvian cuisine features diverse ingredients and a wide variety of cultural influences developed over the centuries by the Incas as well as the Spanish colonizers and Asian and African immigrants. Peru's three distinct regions of coast, highlands and jungle also make for a complex array of national delicacies for visitors to enjoy.

Ceviche in Lima and Along the Pacific Coast
Ceviche is one of the most recognizable dishes in Peru. It consists of raw seafood cooked in lime juice, onion, tomato and hot peppers served with sweet potato and corn on the cob. Ceviche has a refreshing and spicy taste, making it an incredibly popular choice for tourists and Peruvians alike. The best ceviche can be found in the capital city of Lima and along the coast of the Pacific Ocean to the north.

Frommer's recommends Lima's Astrid y Gaston restaurant as one of the best places to try ceviche and other coastal cuisine. Celebrity chef Gaston and his wife run this hip establishment in the upscale neighborhood of Miraflores. In addition to excellent ceviche, the restaurant offers an extensive wine and liquor menu.

Astrid y Gaston
Cantuarias 175, Miraflores
Lima, Peru

Alpaca and Cuy in Cusco and the Andes
Cusco and the Andes highlands of Peru feature more traditional cuisine dating back to the time of the Inca Empire. The large indigenous population uses a broad variety of potatoes and other homegrown ingredients to prepare dishes like pachamanca, a combination of meat and vegetables wrapped and cooked over coals or hot stones in a pit. Andean chefs also prepare roasted cuy and alpaca, meat dishes from guinea pig and alpaca-llamas, respectively. These exotic meats may seem strange to foreigners, but they are local delicacies reserved for special occasions in the highlands of Peru.

Fodor's recommends the Pacha Papa restaurant in Cusco for typical Andean cuisine. The restaurant has an open-air design with a patio where guests can watch pachamanca being prepared in an underground oven or try other items off the lengthy menu.

Pacha Papa
Plazoleta San Blas 120
Cusco, Peru

Tacacho and Juanes in Iquitos and the Amazon
The Peruvian Amazon boasts diversity in its flora and fauna as well as in its cuisine. Unique fruits and vegetables grow here, and it shows in the food. Tacacho con cecina is one of the classic dishes of the jungle. It's made from fried bananas mashed with butter and served alongside a spicy beef jerky. Juanes is the other primary entree of the Peruvian Amazon. It's basically a rice tamale wrapped in plantain leaves and filled with minced meat, black olives and eggs.

Frommer's recommends the Gran Maloca restaurant in the city of Iquitos. This traditional restaurant is located in a tile-covered 19th-century house. Gran Maloca serves all the top Amazonian specialties as well as a tasty combination of locally produced fruit liqueurs.

Gran Maloca
Sargento Lores 170
Iquitos, Peru

Pisco Wherever You Go
Pisco sours are the cocktail of choice wherever you go in Peru. Pisco is a Peruvian liquor distilled from grapes. This liquor is combined with lime juice, egg whites, syrup, bitters, ice and cinnamon to make a delicious alcoholic beverage. Peru established a National Pisco Sour Day in 2003 which is celebrated annually during the first week of February. Even if you can't visit Peru for this holiday, you'll still find pisco sours served in almost every bar and restaurant around the country.