ACV announces new Saturday sailings and Western Sales Managers

first_img Friday, October 14, 2016 Posted by ACV announces new Saturday sailings and Western Sales Managers Travelweek Group MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations is now offering weekly Saturday sailings out of Miami onboard the MSC Divina, giving travellers more opportunity to sail away and agents a greater chance to earn 12% commission.The packages, available through Sirev, include roundtrip air, transfers, a seven-night cruise, plus all taxes and fees. A total of 12 beverage vouchers that can be used towards beer, non-premium spirits, soft drinks and bottled water are also included, as well as 50% off all fitness classes and personal training. Clients will also receive complimentary delivery fee for room service, and complimentary continental breakfast in bed.Clients who book by Oct. 31 will save $175, and will only pay a $100 deposit. Prices start at $1,429 for April 2, 2017 sailings.For agents, they’ll earn 12% commission and get the chance to win a seven-night Caribbean cruise for two for all-in-one cruise packages booked online. Roundtrip airfare is included in the prize. Contest ends April 15, 2017.More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemIn other ACV news, the company has appointed Joyce Simbulan and Lindsay Sande as its new Area Sales Managers in Western Canada, effective immediately.Simbulan, who’ll cover the regions of Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Northern BC. Richmond, Ladner, North Shore and the Yukon, brings with her five years of experience in leisure travel. She most recently held the position of Agency Sales Representative at WestJet.Sande will serve as Area Sales Manager of Alberta and has close to 10 years of experience in the travel industry, most recently holding the position of Destination Sales Manager at the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies in Calgary.Simbulan and Sande can be reached at jsimbulan@vacv.com and lsande@vacv.com, respectively.Simbulan and Sande join ACV’s Western Canada Sales team, which consists of Julie Gilfillan – representing Burnaby, New West, Surrey, Delta, Fraser Valley, the Tri-Cities and Okanagan – and Susan Neufeld representing Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The Western Sales team is led by Marigold Frontuna.center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Tags: Air Canada Vacations, MSC Cruises, Peoplelast_img read more

Airline to teach staff selfdefense against unruly passengers

first_img Share Travelweek Group MOSCOW — With news of drunken brawls, racial slurs and aggressive behaviour on flights popping up across social media in recent months, one can only conclude that flying has become an increasingly hazardous experience, especially for airline employees who often find themselves the target of unruly passengers. But one airline is going above and beyond to keep their staff safe at all times – by teaching them self-defense.Low-cost carrier Podeba Airlines has announced plans to teach its ground staff martial arts sambo and judo following an incident last month during which an airline manager was attacked by a passenger who was denied boarding at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow.According to the Daily Mail, the airline first considered hiring a private security firm to protect airline staff but later found this would increase the cost of plane tickets by as much as 2%. So Podeba did the next best thing, by offering self-defense classes to their team.More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?Now, passengers better think twice about going on the attack. Sambo, a Soviet martial art and combat sport – includes moves like strikes, chokes, throws and ground fighting. Judo, an unarmed combat sport, involves using holds and leverage to knock and opponent down. The two together, we imagine, equals a deadly combination. Posted by Wednesday, March 8, 2017 Airline to teach staff self-defense against unruly passengers << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Small Luxury Hotels of the World showcases collection in Toronto

first_img Travelweek Group Posted by Tags: Luxury Travel, Small Luxury Hotels of the World Share << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Small Luxury Hotels of the World showcases collection in Toronto TORONTO — Small Luxury Hotels of the World presented some of its top properties at an industry event in Toronto last night.CEO and Chairman Filip Boyen told travel agents and members of the media that “the quality requirements are much higher than they were before” and that when it comes to the definition of success, “it’s all about quality and not quantity.” As such, Boyen confirmed that SLH’s total number of hotels has dropped to 489 from 520.“We only sign what we are absolutely comfortable with in terms of luxury standards,” he said.SLH hotels must have the highest quality of services and amenities to become a member, and are continuously monitored by inspectors. To ensure each property meets company standards, inspectors are former guests and travellers themselves who are accustomed to luxury accommodations.Participating hotels last night included Pacific Resort Rarotonga, part of Pacific Resort Hotel Group in Cook Islands. The boutique hotel offers 64 rooms on one of the most sought after locations of Muri Beach. The hotel also welcomes families with a complimentary kids’ club and wedding packages with a suggested Polynesian twist. Special offers for agents are available. Visit pacificresort.com.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureAlso in attendance was Palé Hall Hotel and Restaurant in Wales, the U.K.’s newest five-star hotel. With only 18 rooms, the hotel is not only a refurbished Victorian country house but is also home to owners Alan and Angela Harper. The hotel is furnished with the Harpers’ personal antiques, including items used by Queen Victoria herself. Visit palehall.co.uk.As a modern hotel in historical Naples, the Romeo Hotel offers clients a Wellness Suite, which is equipped with a whirlpool tub, steam room, shower and exercise machines inside the spacious bathroom. The Garden and Pool Suite, with a 19th-century French marble fireplace, includes a private garden with a jasmine scented gazebo and hot tub. Visit romeohotel.it.Only steps away from Buckingham Palace, DUKES LONDON is a mix of quintessential British charm and cosmopolitan luxury. It’s mostly known for DUKES Bar, a favourite of James Bond creator Ian Fleming back in the day, where guests can enjoy personalized cocktails and famous martinis. Visit dukeshotel.com.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoSLH will be adding eight new hotels in 2017, with more hopefully in Canada, said Boyen, as well as a new loyalty club that will be launched in June. For more information, visit SLH.com.Antonella Graziano, Sales, Marketing & Communications Manager for Romeo HotelGreg Stanaway, Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Resort Hotel GroupPalé Hall Hotel and Restaurant owners Alan and Angela HarperRobert Swoboda, Sales Manager for DUKES LODON Hotel Tuesday, March 21, 2017 last_img read more

Up to 800 per couple in added value credit with Rocky Mountaineers

first_imgUp to $800 per couple in added value credit with Rocky Mountaineer’s ‘Peaks and Perks’ Share Posted by Monday, September 18, 2017 Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Rocky Mountaineer << Previous PostNext Post >> VANCOUVER — Rocky Mountaineer is hoping Canadians vacation at home next year with the luxury train’s Peaks and Perks offer, available now through Oct. 27.Following a busy year of Canada 150 celebrations, Rocky Mountaineer says Canadians deterred from ‘backyard travel’ can reclaim their favourite local vacation spots with up to $800 per couple in added value credit on qualifying 2018 packages.Canada’s 150th celebrations made 2017 an attractive year for overseas travellers with free admission to national parks and historic sites, and ongoing community celebrations. In June alone, Canada saw an 8% overall increase in international arrivals, a total of 2,583,823 visitors, as reported by Destination Canada.In addition, the country is on track to see a 5.3% increase in U.S. visitors over the year.Canadian who have avoided travelling among the steady influx of tourists over 2017 can use Rocky Mountaineer’s 2018 Peaks and Perks offer to reconnect to Canada without the crowds, says the company.More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthThe offer can be applied toward add-ons including more Rocky Mountaineer routes, extra hotel nights, activities and tours, car rentals, or an Alaskan cruise.Guests booking qualifying packages of eight days or more in GoldLeaf or SilverLeaf Service will receive $400 per adult, and those booking packages of five to seven days will receive $250 per adult.Travellers can select from a variety of desirable packages such as the Grand Rail Circle, which includes the First Passage to the West and Rainforest to Gold Rush routes.Clients can redeem the offer until Oct. 27. The Peaks and Perks offer is applicable on select travel dates and must be requested at the time of booking. Other restrictions may apply.last_img read more

Sunwing lands on PROFIT 500 list for 13th straight year

first_imgSunwing lands on PROFIT 500 list for 13th straight year Share Friday, January 19, 2018 TORONTO — Sunwing Travel Group is celebrating lucky #13, as in its 13th consecutive year on PROFIT Magazine’s list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies.The company has reported a five-year growth rate of 156%, which puts it among Canada’s most profitable businesses in terms of revenue growth. It has over 18,000 employees internationally, and is considered the largest integrated travel company in North America.“Much of our growth across the lines of business can be attributed to the innovation and value we’ve been able to create through vertical integration,” said Stephen Hunter, President and CEO of Sunwing Travel Group. “We’ve been re-investing in our employees, retail partners and our customers, all of whom have been critical to our success.As the only vertically-integrated travel company included on the list, Sunwing Travel Group operates a leisure charter airline with a fleet of 40 planes, a luxury charter service with access to private jets, three major North American tour operators, two travel retailers, a hotel division with a portfolio exceeding 14,000 rooms, a vacation club and a destination management company.More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsSunwing continues to increase its capacity across many of its gateways, reaching 50 different vacation hotspots from over 35 airports across Canada. It offers more top-rated TripAdvisor resorts than any other Canadian travel company. Moreover, its hotel division continues to expand and has risen to become the Caribbean’s fastest-growing resort chain, with a portfolio that will represent 35 properties in eight countries by end of the year. << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Tags: Profit Report, Sunwing Travelweek Group Posted bylast_img read more

Hotelier bans all bloggers after one asked for a free hotel stay

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> DUBLIN — Bloggers have been known to wield their influence far and wide – but are they powerful enough to get a free room at a hotel?One hotelier in Dublin says absolutely not. Paul Stenson, owner of the Charleville Lodge and White Moose Cafe in Dublin, has enforced a ban on all social media influencers after UK-based influencer Elle Darby reached out for a free stay.Darby, who boasts 87,000 YouTube subscribers and 76,000 Instagram followers, had reached out to the Lodge for a complimentary four-night stay just before Valentine’s Day in exchange for YouTube videos/dedicated Instagram stories/posts that she said would bring traffic to the hotel.Perhaps miffed by Darby’s entitled request, Stenson shared her request on the hotel’s Facebook page, and asked her how he was expected to pay his staff if she were to get the room for free.Although Stenson blacked our her name on the post, Darby’s ‘influence’ is so far reaching that it didn’t take long for other bloggers and influencers to publicly out her.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backDarby, in response, posted a video accusing Stenson of being malicious, and that as a result she was being labelled as a “freeloader”.The riff continued with Stenson posting on Facebook that he was now banning all bloggers. He wrote: “Following the backlash received after asking an unidentified blogger to pay for a hotel room, I have taken the decision to ban all bloggers from our hotel and café.”He also admonished the “sense of entitlement” that runs rampant in the blogging community, blaming the “hissy fits and general hate” displayed by Darby for giving the whole industry a bad name. He also questioned in another post the authenticity of ‘influencer marketing’.Surprisingly, the blogger community has rushed to applaud Stenson’s move. One social media follower wrote on the hotel’s Facebook page: “Take care and know that there are more people for you and your stance on this matter than against you.” Tags: LOL Tuesday, January 23, 2018 Posted bycenter_img Hotelier bans all bloggers after one asked for a free hotel stay Travelweek Group Sharelast_img read more

Go big or go home Fairmonts newest hotel towers above the rest

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Wednesday, April 18, 2018 Share TORONTO — What’s the largest Fairmont Hotels & Resorts property in the U.S. – and the second biggest in the world?As of this spring it’s the Fairmont Austin, newly opened with no fewer than 1,048 rooms and 140,000 square feet of event space, making it the biggest in the U.S. – and second largest for the hotel company globally – based on both number of rooms and total meeting and event space.The towering 37-storey icon opened its doors last month with amenities including the largest outdoor pool and full service spa in the Texas capital, as well as five restaurants and bars, fitness centre, all that event space plus direct access to the Austin Convention Center via the Red River Canopy Walk.A strategic opening for AccorHotels, Fairmont Austin is the first in a series of high-profile luxury developments marking a time of significant growth for the Group and its brands in North and Central America, says Kevin Frid, Chief Operating Officer, North & Central America, AccorHotels.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthOther notable openings anticipated in the next 18 to 24 months include the iconic Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles, Sofitel Mexico Reforma in Mexico City, Fairmont Costa Canuva in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit and Fairmont Saint Lucia at Sunset Bay in the Caribbean, as well as “several soon-to-be-announced projects with the potential to introduce new brands into the region.”Fairmont Austin has a central location in the city’s booming Central Business District. Debuting as the second tallest building in the city, the hotel adds a new dimension to the downtown skyline, with a ‘lighted crown’ programmed with an array of colour options and a 170-foot tall architectural spire that lights up every night, making the building visible from throughout Central Texas.Fairmont Gold, the brand’s exclusive lifestyle hotel experience, features 131 rooms and suites located on the 32nd through 35th floors, and offers private check-in and checkout; complimentary deluxe breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres in the Gold lounge; and dedicated concierge team.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaThe opening of Fairmont Austin changes the economic structure of the Texas capital, added Frid. With events such as South by Southwest and Austin City Limits growing in attendance year-over-year, new events popping up monthly, and groups targeting the burgeoning city for conferences and private events, Austin has a high demand for additional hotel rooms and event spaces.With more than 75 hotels worldwide, Fairmont continues to expand globally with recent openings including Fairmont Quasar Istanbul, Fairmont Amman in Jordan and Fairmont Fujairah in the Middle East. New luxury hotels currently in development include Fairmont Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Fairmont Abu Dhabi Marina Resort, Fairmont Citystars Sharm El Sheikh, Fairmont Wuhan in China and Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi.center_img Go big or go home: Fairmont’s newest hotel towers above the rest Tags: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Texas Posted bylast_img read more

YVR passengers can connect with Hong Kong Airlines new Manila service

first_img Posted by Friday, April 20, 2018 HONG KONG — Hong Kong Airlines has announced new service to Manila starting June 1, which will allow for easy connections in cities like Vancouver, Los Angeles and San Francisco in North America.Hong Kong-Manila and Manila-Hong Kong services depart daily, as do Vancouver-Hong Kong and Hong-Kong Vancouver. Hong Kong Airlines will deploy an Airbus A320 on the new route, which will be outfitted with a single-class configuration and offer 174 seats in Economy.According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, visitor arrivals from the Philippines reached 894,489 in 2017, a 13% increase from 2016. Michael Ma, Director of Commercial at Hong Kong Airlines said that the new service will meet the increasing travel demand between the two countries and beyond.“Demand for flights between the Philippines and Hong Kong has been growing steadily, and we are pleased to offer customers more travel options than ever,” he said. “Our entry into a new market marks and exciting milestone for us, and we look forward to developing this even further.”More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamFor more details go to hongkongairlines.com. Share Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Hong Kong Airlines YVR passengers can connect with Hong Kong Airlines’ new Manila service << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Sunwing on a roll with yet another new destination this winter

first_imgSunwing on a roll with yet another new destination this winter Tags: Grenada, Sunwing Friday, October 26, 2018 TORONTO — Just one week after announcing Tobago as its latest winter destination, Sunwing has revealed another addition to its Sun portfolio.For the first time ever, the company will be offering seasonal flight service from Toronto to the Caribbean island of Grenada. Direct flights will operate on Sundays starting Dec. 16, 2018 until April 21, 2018 inclusive.Known as the island of spice, Grenada is home to lush mountains, rainforests and waterfalls. With Grand Anse Beach and Morne Rouge Beach as star attractions, the island has become popular among beachgoers and divers alike.On the overall appeal of Grenada, Andrew Dawson, President of tour Operations, said: “We pride ourselves on seeking out the best destinations for our customers to experience each year. The island of Grenada is a welcome addition to our ever-expanding roster as it offers travellers access to one of the Caribbean’s hidden gems. We’re sure our customers will appreciate discovering its white-sand beaches, lush spice gardens and laidback island vibe.”More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJAccommodations on the island include the newly renovated Starfish Grenada, a seaside resort situated on two pristine beaches, as well as Coyaba Beach Resort on world-famous Grand Anse Beach.All Sunwing packages to Grenada include return airfare and airport transfers, accommodations and the services of a Sunwing representative. Ten adults travelling together can receive special prices, added values and reduced deposits. Posted bycenter_img Travelweek Group Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Air FranceKLM given green light to invest in Virgin Atlantic

first_img Share Tags: Air France, Delta Air Lines, Investment, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Group Posted by Air France-KLM given green light to invest in Virgin Atlantic BRUSSELS — The European Commission has given Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Group the go-ahead to acquire joint control over Virgin Atlantic.The Commission previously approved the acquisition of joint control of Virgin Atlantic by just Delta and Virgin Group in June 2013. Yesterday’s ruling approves the acquisition of joint control by Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines Inc., and Virgin Group over Virgin Atlantic Limited by way of purchase of shares.The deal, which has been approved under the EU Merger Regulation, was found by EU antitrust regulators as raising no competition concerns in the European Economic Area. It’s valued at approximately £220 million and includes a 31% stake to Air France-KLM (first announced in 2017), a 49% stake to Delta (first bought in 2012), and the remaining 20% of shares going to Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. Branson himself would become chairman of the airline.The Commission’s investigation found that none of the overlapping routes raises competition concerns despite a small number of routes with high combined market shares because: 1) the overlapping routes are direct/indirect overlaps; b) Virgin Atlantic, Delta and Air France-KLM are not close competitors and continue to face competition from other carriers on the routes where the activities of both airlines overlap.center_img Wednesday, February 13, 2019 Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Air Transat ups its game with Bluebox Wow inflight entertainment

first_img MONTREAL — Passengers on board Air Transat flights will soon be able to access free in-flight entertainment (IFE) delivered by Bluebox Wow thanks to an agreement between the airline and Bluebox Aviation Systems. The Bluebox Wow portable wireless streaming platform will be deployed on Air Transat’s fleet in an arrangement designed to meet both seasonal demands on the airline’s fleet and the additional temporary aircraft it brings in to meet that demand, ensuring both flexibility and consistency of IFE services, says the airline. The deployment, which is awaiting final Transport Canada approvals, will see Bluebox Wow in service on a range of both narrow- and wide-body aircraft in Air Transat’s fleet, including A310s, A321ceos, A321neos, and B737s. The deployment is expected to include 17 aircraft during the summer 2019 season but will expand to 38 aircraft for the winter season.“Offering a seamless IFE experience across a fleet like ours, with different aircraft types and some only joining our fleet for seasonal deployment, is a challenge,” said Dave Bourdages, VP In-Flight Services and Customer Experience, Air Transat. “Introducing Bluebox Wow across all of these aircraft resolves that challenge and will deliver the same high-quality experience to all. Bluebox Wow offers a powerful range of capabilities and we are excited to deploy a system upon which we can further develop our in-cabin experience”Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content. Travelweek Group Air Transat ups its game with Bluebox Wow inflight entertainment Share Thursday, April 4, 2019 center_img Posted by Tags: Air Transat, Bluebox Wow << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Air Canada named one of the 50 Most Engaged Workplaces for 4th

first_img MONTREAL — For the fourth year in a row Air Canada has been recognized by Achievers, an employee social recognition company, as one of the 50 Most Engaged Workplaces.The Achievers award is the most recent recognition Air Canada has received for human resources, corporate culture and employee engagement. Other awards received this year include the following:The inaugural award for Diversity in Leadership at the 2019 Airline Strategy Awards. Presented in London, England, this prize recognizes an airline organization that promotes diversity among its senior leadership team.One of Canada’s Top 100 Employers in Canada (2019) by Mediacorp Canada Inc. for its unique employee support and engagement programs, for the sixth consecutive yearOne of Montreal’s Top Employers for 2019 for the sixth consecutive year by Mediacorp CanadaOne of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2019 for the fourth consecutive year by Mediacorp Canada Inc. Air Canada was recognized for its partnerships to create inclusive workplaces for employeesAmong the 20 most attractive Company brands that Canadians want to work for and actively seek out when looking for work in Canada, according to the Randstad Employer Brand Research independent surveyMore news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?“We have continued to further evolve our culture to provide our 33,000 employees the opportunity to act as entrepreneurs and take responsibility as they deliver excellent service to customers. Our employees’ engagement is a significant reason why Air Canada was recently rated the Best Airline Staff in Canada in addition to Best Airline in North America by the widely-respected Skytrax World Airline Awards,” said Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Senior Vice President, People, Culture and Communications at Air Canada.More information about Air Canada’s People and Human Resources can be found in the ‘Employees’ section of the 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report: aircanada.com/citizensoftheworld. Tags: Achievers, Air Canada Share Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Friday, July 19, 2019 Air Canada named one of the 50 Most Engaged Workplaces for 4th consecutive time << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

A wild night out with the King of San José

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionOn a flight to San José, good buddy and world traveler Don Pulley was seated by a twisted-up little American who called himself Marcus.  Over a couple of beers, Pulley asked about Marcus’ travel plan. “Oh I live in San José,” said the man. “I’m quite well known there actually. They call me the King.”He didn’t look like a king. He looked like an accident victim you might find on the side of the road in Winnemucca, Nevada. His neck seemed to be missing and his oversized head sat lopsided on uneven shoulders. He had a humpback, and when he excused himself to the bathroom it appeared that one leg was shorter than the other. His teeth were bad, but for a solid gold one, and he had a lazy eye. But the two men took to each other, and when the flight landed late in San José, Marcus insisted Pulley be his guest that night. With an open mind, and Quasimodo by his side, Pulley exited the airport into the crush of excited taxi drivers. When the crowd saw little Marcus, it hushed and parted like the Red Sea to reveal a shiny, black, block-long limousine. A spotless chauffeur held up a gold sign that simply said, “MARCUS. The King.”The little man hobbled to the rear door and waved Pulley into the immense car as the driver fussed about “The King” as if he were just that. As the limo pulled slowly into traffic Marcus popped the cork on a chilled bottle of Dom Pérignon, pouring Pulley a silver flute full. “This is MY town!” toasted the twisted little king.They arrived downtown, pulling up to a steel and glass high-rise. The doorman sprinted towards the limo door, opened it with a flourish, bowed low and gushed:“YOUR HIGHNESS! Welcome back!”Marcus exited the cab, slipping the doorman $50, and the driver $50, and the front desk, and the elevator guy. It had cost Marcus $200 just to cross the room. The elevator  man welcomed his highness and pushed the top button: “Penthouse.”The door opened on a golden room, the floors in white gold flecked marble, the walls in gold leaf held an assortment of erotic paintings. One entire wall was a mural of Venus on the half shell, but on closer inspection it was not Venus at all emerging from the clam, but a naked Marcus, sporting little more than a well-positioned fig leaf and a long golden staff in his hand. On both sides of the naked king, two blonde, topless mermaids bowed their heads in reverence to his holiness.Seated about the room, champagne glasses in hand, were seven of the most stunning Latin women Pulley had ever seen. In a combined squeal, they leaped up and rushed to greet Marcus, showering him with kisses, pinches and licks like the sugar daddy of them all had arrived.Pulley was stunned but happy that he had taken this odd little fellow up on his offer. The girls hardly threw him a glance, so enthralled with the King they were. “And Now My Little Pets!” yelled Marcus, “Let’s show our new friend San José! Everybody get dressed!” Again the girls squealed with delight and headed to the bedrooms, but not before Pulley noticed that on each of their lower backs was a large, Old English-lettered tattoo of the same thing: “Marcus.”This was getting a little strange, thought Pulley. However, being a curious man he promised himself to see the evening out. He settled in, showered, and returned to the living room to find the girls in long black gowns and spangled miniskirts. Made up like only Latinas be, they carried it off.Suddenly the double doors to Marcus’ bedroom flew open and there stood the King, except this time he was dressed the part. Long flowing red cape, fringed in white fur, open to reveal skin hugging white tights. A jewel-encrusted gold crown on his lopsided head, and an impressive golden staff gripped in a white-gloved hand.Who was this strange little troll?Marcus led the way across the elegant lobby, passing out bills like business cards.Oh great, it suddenly dawned on Pulley. What if the guys a counterfeiter, passing out bogus bills all over San José? Pulley was starting to wonder what a Costa Rican prison looked like from the inside. He wondered if he would become a conspirator on his very first night in Costa Rica.Pulley, the seven gorgeous women and Marcus filed into the limo and off they sped into the night. “Now, if you need anything, wherever we go tonight, just tell them you’re with the King!” Smiled Marcus “You don’t pay when you’re with me.”The limo pulled in front of one of San José’ huge discos. A line of eager customers stretched around the block. Again the doormen sprinted to the limo, again Marcus emerged to, “Welcome your Highness.”The crowd parted in awe as Marcus the King, with a girl on each arm, and Pulley and the five other women filed past. The place was huge. A disco ball the size of a Volkswagon hung from the ceiling. Two or three balconies laden with partying people looked down on a crowded dance floor. A head-throbbing beat bounced the crowd, which Pulley estimated to be around 600 people. Maybe more.Marcus led the way, gimping to the bar, the crowd again parting in his regal presence. The bartenders all ran to help him, leaning in close to hear over the pounding salsa.“DRINKS ON ME,” yelled the King. “FOR EVERYONE!” A great cheer went up from the bar, as Marcus and his entourage were led upstairs to a glass box overlooking the scene.The DJ stopped the music with a deafening scratch and announced that Marcus the King was in the house, drinks on him. A huge roar went up; 700 voices screamed in unison, “MARCUS, MARCUS, MARCUS! THE KING! EL REY!”Pulley was speechless. Who was this guy? Who would drop somewhere in the neighborhood of $6,000 on a round of drinks to a bunch of strangers? Well, then again, not really strangers thought, Pulley. They all seemed to know Marcus.And so it went, from bar to bar that night, Pulley followed in awe as Marcus, the King, made his rounds. In each establishment a huge roar of adoration went up from the crowd, to each bartender a pile of bills was passed, and drinks flowed freely with Marcus in the house. Pulley estimated that Marcus had covered over $35,000 or more in bar tabs before they finally called it quits at 4 a.m. and returned to the palatial penthouse.Pulley arose early the next day to a still slumbering apartment. He wrote a thank you, left it on the table and tiptoed out.On the bus to Jacó Beach he mulled over the night’s events. Out of respect, Pulley had never asked Marcus what his story was. He had assumed the little man would offer it up if he was of the mind to do so, but Marcus had chosen to be a king cloaked in royal secrets.Pulley could only speculate and his mind ran the gamut. Drug kingpin? Nah. Human trafficker, or on the lam from the IRS? Impossible. Marcus was hiding from no one. At last Pulley was left to his own imagination.Marcus had been maimed in an accident, possibly an on the job accident, or a victim of a car crash. He had been paid an ungodly settlement and told he had a year to live. With no immediate family and a short time left, Marcus had decided to live out a fantasy. He would reinvent himself, in a third-world city where respect, loyalty and even his subjects themselves could be bought for a price. And so where other men might just dream, where others could only conjure fantasies, Marcus had become the King of San José. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Arenal Report

first_imgNo related posts. After arriving in Nuevo Arenal Saturday night, members of the service mission Led-2-Serve (directed by Vanessa Puleo) briefly rested before launching into pre-planned projects. The action started with a children’s program at the Arenal Community Church Sunday morning. Forty-five children enjoyed music, crafts and a puppet show of Bible stories, followed by a bountiful lunch of típico food prepared by the church ladies.The group split up Monday under the direction of local coordinators Jeff and Allison Spencer. Members installed 600 meters of new barbed-wire fencing at Asentamiento de Arenal school. Parents at the school worked with Led-2-Serve on the project.Pastor John Bradley and his wife, Lyn, assisted by Sandy Nipper, took a group into the back country around Tenorio volcano and to schools in Aguas Caliente and Paraiso to share music, crafts and the Biblical puppet show. The children were delighted.A third group began a major effort to clean and paint a multi-story home located on the road to Parcelas. The property, abandoned after foreclosure, is being converted into a safe house for abused women. Maria Fejervary is working with several government agencies to get the program underway.Work by Led-2-Serve also included construction alterations to bring buildings into compliance with the requirements of Costa Rica’s Law of Equal Opportunities. The safehouse required the participation of an initial group of sixteen Led-2-Serve volunteers, and then 30 more arrived later. A heartfelt thanks to Rick, Lucee, Ciera and Ryanna Price, Maria and Tyler Hibbard, Ann Sanders, Brenda Davison, Keith, Debbie, Benjamin and Abigail Longstaff, Jeff and Becky Juniet and Jacqueline Hurley.–William & Jean Priestjean_pri@msn.com Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Hotel debts to Costa Rican Social Security System total 2 million

first_imgA total of 428 hotel companies in Costa Rica owe​​ the Social Security System, or Caja, some ₡942 million ($1.8 million), the Caja reported.The hotel with the biggest debt is La Condesa, located in the province of Heredia, north of the capital, with ₡94.5 million (some $187,000) in debt. Grecem MRJ is the second-largest debtor, owing the public health care system ₡89 million ($177,000), followed by Hotelería Corporativa Morazán, which owes ₡48 million ($95,000).Luis Diego Calderón, head of collections at the Caja, said some companies received collection notices. A judicial process to collect on outstanding debts exceeding three months is also underway, he said.Tourism is one of the main activities generating income for Costa Rica, and the country receives an estimated 2 million tourists annually, mostly from the United States and Canada.Costa Rica’s public health care system, which provides universal coverage, is funded in large part by contributions from businesses and workers. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Puntarenas ferry to close for seven days on Wednesday

first_imgThe ferry shuttling passengers between the Pacific port of Puntarenas and the Nicoya Peninsula will be closed for seven days (through Sept. 18) while workers dredge near the docks, the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) said in a press release.Some 15,000 cubic meters of sand sediment has accumulated in the area of the Puntarenas ferry terminal, the statement said.According to MOPT’s Maritime Division, some 10,000 passengers and 2,500 vehicles will be affected by suspension of service, and while the interruption of the ferry service comes during low season for the tourism sector, local businesses – which already have been affected by strong earthquake activity since Sept. 5 – could see a drop in activity.Motorists traveling in the region are advised to use alternate routes including the Friendship Bridge over the Tempisque River, and routes 18 (Pueblo Viejo-Limonal), 21 (Nicoya-Jicaral) and 160, which runs along the Nicoya Peninsula. Facebook Comments Related posts:Tambor ferry back on schedule Nicoya Ferry Fees Raised Again Paquera ferry adjusts schedule Ramp collapse causes closure of Nicoya ferrylast_img read more

Guaro sales up 40 percent in December

first_imgNo related posts. The holidays meant a great deal for the state-owned National Liquor Factory (FANAL), which reported a 40 percent increase in sales in December.The president of the National Production Council, William Barrantes, told local Radio Reloj that preliminary numbers indicated Costa Rica’s popular “guaro” sales rose 40 percent in December when compared to the same month of 2011.Barrantes said these numbers were achieved with special positioning of the brand during the year-end Zapote fiestas.FANAL representatives also said that after two years of being absent, their liquor brands will return to Palmares fiestas, the country’s second biggest celebrations.Palmares fiestas, held in the coffee town of the same name – a 45-minute drive northwest of San José – are scheduled for Jan. 9-21.Barrantes said they will be watching for counterfeit liquor, which has affected the company’s sales in recent years. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Polemic news report at Venezuelan TV station prompts formal complaint from Costa

first_imgRelated posts:Venezuelan, Cuban youth ready to lash out at their governments during youth summit in Panama Cuban-born ex-CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles hospitalized after crash Venezuela opposition leader Leopoldo López gets nearly 14 years prison Oil-rich Venezuela votes amid tense economic crisis A news report aired Feb. 2 by Venezuela-based TV station Telesur stirred the political climate in Costa Rica and prompted official complaints from President Laura Chinchilla and other government officials.Telesur’s story on Sunday announced the existence of a U.S. Southern Command military base in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province.The story was aired as part of the station’s coverage of Costa Rica’s presidential election, and stated that in 2010 the government allowed the installation of a military base in the city of Liberia.“It is only part of the influence that the U.S. government has on Costa Rica,” the report alleged, claiming there are 46 warships, 200 armed helicopters, 6 Harrier aircraft, an aircraft carrier and 13,000 Marines in Costa Rica.On Wednesday Communications Minister Carlos Roverssi sent a formal protest letter to Telesur stating “In a crude, unexplained and unjustified way you published fake facts without any verification.”The letter also added that (Costa Rica’s) government wants to believe “it is just a reporter’s mistake and not an aggressive policy against Costa Rica or an attempt to influence the electoral process in our country.”President Laura Chinchilla said the report was disrespectful to Costa Rica, which is an unarmed democracy.“Telesur’s information is completely false, and their excessive accusations throughout the story do not cite a single source of information. I will not speculate on their intentions, but they are evidently unfair, and since they receive public funds we will file a complaint with their government,” Chinchilla said.A similar response came from Casa Presidencial spokesman Jorge Protti who said officials telephoned Telesur asking for clarification.The U.S. Embassy in San José on Thursday also rejected the story’s statements. Embassy’s Information Officer Eric Turner described the information as completely inaccurate:“There are no U.S. military troops or military vessels stationed in Costa Rica nor are there any future plans to do so.  U.S. aircraft conducting counter-trafficking operations in the area do on occasion refuel and depart from Liberia Airport; however, no U.S. government aircraft are permanently based there.”Turner added that at Costa Rica’s request, the U.S. provides training, equipment and infrastructure to the Costa Rican Coast Guard and the Public Security Ministry to support efforts to secure the country’s borders and protect Ticos from international criminal organizations, “as well as strengthen the capacity to combat illegal fishing operations and improve search and rescue operations.”Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo on Thursday met with Venezuela’s Charge d’Affaires Nabil Mora Emboy to express Costa Rica’s “consternation and profound unease” with the report.Castillo asked the Venezuelan diplomat to open an investigation of Telesur and to confirm whether the Venezuelan government supports the channel’s statements.Later on Thursday, Telesur President Patricia Villegas replied to Roverssi’s letter and called the incident a regrettable mistake and offered apologies to the Costa Rican people.The New Television Station of the South is a Latin American network headquartered in Caracas. It was launched in January 2005 and approved by a government council of ministers “with the objective of providing information to promote the integration of the continent’s southern countries,” according to the channel’s website.Telesur is described as a public company sponsored by Latin American governments including Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Uruguay.Tico Times reporter Zach Dyer contributed to this story.TeleSur story (Spanish only) Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Government tourism entrepreneurs seek to resolve differences on recent controversial laws

first_imgRelated posts:Solís blocks added sales tax on national park entrance fees, a decree passed days before he took office Costa Rica tourism minister calls cruise ship industry a ‘cornerstone’ for economic recovery Beach, mountain hotels report 88 percent occupancy for the holidays Upbeat outlook for Costa Rica tourism, as visitors, revenue up in 2014 In an ongoing row between tourism business chambers and the administration of President Luis Guillermo Solís, tourism sector leaders on Tuesday evening had the opportunity to voice their complaints in a meeting at Casa Presidencial.Chambers representatives and business owners accepted an invitation from the government and used the opportunity to criticize what they called a lack of dialogue during the drafting of official decrees that affected the industry. They said they learned about some of those decisions from the news media or after receiving notifications from the Finance Ministry stating that new regulations had entered into effect.Gustavo Araya, president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels, on Wednesday told The Tico Times that the administration had listened to their complaints and offered to consider legal options to resolve them. But no decisions were made about any of the ongoing issues at the meeting.Araya said tourism entrepreneurs opened the dialogue by expressing their disapproval of a decree requiring them to charge a 13 percent sales tax on several recreational activities that previously were not taxed.They also expressed opposition to a Planning Ministry decree that places tourism under the Economy Ministry’s authority, which they said “sidelined” the tourism sector.Also attending were National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) President Pablo Abarca, vice presidents Helio Fallas and Ana Helena Chacón, Presidency Minister Melvin Jiménez, Tourism Minister Wilhelm Von Breyman, Tax Administration Director Carlos Vargas and several representatives from tourism chambers and organizations.Jiménez said recent changes were the product of “issues regarding legal terminology.” He said previous administrations had ranked the tourism industry at a ministry level, but the sector’s top official is actually an executive president. The Solís administration, therefore, had made changes to the executive branch’s organizational chart.Recent administrations had appointed an executive president for the National Tourism Board (ICT), but they also granted that official a minister’s rank.Sector leaders are in favor of continuing this trend, saying it gives their sector the importance it deserves. They asked Jiménez to reconsider changes to the reorganization made by the decree.Araya said the group also expressed its opposition to orders by the Health Ministry’s Legal Department that they consider “abusive.”He is referring to interpretations of the Accessibility Law, or Law 7,600, which requires business owners to meet accessibility specifications at all of their facilities, including restaurants, bars, offices, conference rooms, bathrooms, spas and gyms, among others.“They even want us to modify all swimming pools to make them wheelchair accesible,” Araya said. “I don’t think people want to put their wheelchairs in the water. Law [7600] states that tourism businesses must comply with accessibility requirements, but it does not say that it has to be at every single facility.”Regional tourism chamber leaders confirmed that those measures are being enforced. CANATUR reported that 20 hotels in San José, Puntarenas and Guanacaste have received Health Ministry notifications ordering them to make the necessary infrastructure changes to ensure accesibility at every facility at their businesses.Hotel owners also oppose an interpretation of the Anti-Smoking Law that prompted the ministry’s Legal Department to begin issuing notifications claiming parking lots are considered part of the hotels’ facilities and therefore cannot be used as smoking areas.“We’ve been receiving complaints from business that were fined or received closure notifications because ministry inspectors found people smoking in their parking lots, and in some cases those people were not even customers or hotel staffers, they just happened to be there at the time,” Araya said.One case involves a hotel in the province of Guanacaste whose facilities are located within a 1,600-hectare property.“Enforcing such a regulation in a hotel this big means guests will be forced to move some three kilometers outside the facility’s perimeter to smoke a cigarette. This does not happen anywhere in the world, only in Costa Rica,” he said.The meeting ended at about 9 p.m. with a government promise to consider the chamber’s requests. The only conclusive decision was to meet again next Tuesday at Casa Presidencial to discuss progress on possible  solutions. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

A key week for Costa Rica in border dispute with Nicaragua

first_imgRelated posts:Nicaragua government praises ‘balanced’ ruling in border dispute with Costa Rica At The Hague: Nicaragua says Costa Rica’s border road dumps “massive amounts of sediment” into San Juan River Costa Rica asks international court to prevent further occupations from Nicaragua Damaged wetlands recovering along Costa Rica-Nicaragua border Costa Rican officials on Monday appeared before The Hague-based International Court of Justice to file a final written response in the ongoing territorial dispute with Nicaragua, the Foreign Ministry confirmed.The case, one of two that the countries have been arguing before the world court since 2010, relates to a complaint the Nicaraguan government filed against Costa Rica in 2011 for alleged environmental damage to the Río San Juan — a natural border between both countries — during the construction in Costa Rica of a 160-kilometer road that runs parallel to the river. Nicaragua filed final arguments last August.The river belongs entirely to Nicaragua, but the Costa Rican government has reported that Nicaraguan workers and military personnel have violated Costa Rica’s sovereignty. These “invasions,” as Costa Rica calls them, also caused environmental damage on the right bank of the river where Costa Rican territory begins, according to the complaint.The 2,500 pages of evidence and documents filed Monday closes the written evidence stage, and oral hearings will be held from April 14 to May 1, as scheduled by the court.Costa Rica in October 2010 denounced its northern neighbor for the alleged seizure of Isla Portillo, also known by Costa Rica as Isla Calero and by Nicaragua as Harbour Head, a small 3-square-kilometer territory along their shared border.Nicaragua responded in 2011 with the accusation of environmental damage against Costa Rica, and currently both are being resolved in the world court as a single case.Tuesday is the deadline for Costa Rican legal advisers to file all documents and final arguments in another conflict between the two countries regarding maritime delimitation in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.In July 2013, Costa Rica claimed that an important number of blocks offered by Nicaragua for oil concessions in both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean actually were located in Costa Rican waters.Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has said that Costa Rica’s allegations lack substance and the territories offered for concession by his government are clearly defined in a November 2012 ruling from the world court on maritime borders between Nicaragua and Colombia. Facebook Commentslast_img read more