Diamonds Athuruga Beach & Water Villas features newly built exclusive water villas set in the crystal clear lagoon where the fish dance and where the wind sings a song. Indulge under the palms in front of a restful beach bungalow, listen to the music of the waves and the sound of the breeze.
Stroll through the open architecture of the resort with its natural wood and white curtains, gaze across the open lagoon and white powdery sand, soon the cool breeze will caress your skin and your imagination will float into a world of divine comfort.
Diamonds Athuruga Beach & Water Villas offers:
Filitheyo Island Resort located in one of the most beautiful atolls in Maldives and is only 120 km from Male International Airport. The resort is a breath-taking island paradise of leafy jungle foliage and sparkling white sand, encased by turquoise waters which can be packed with coral and marine life.
Pune-based real estate company, Panchshil Realty will develop two high-end luxury hotels in Maldives and Sri Lanka. The company has already tied up with Marriott International, Inc. for their luxury brand, Bvlgari, for the 82-room high-end resort property in Maldives. According to Atul Chordia, Chairman & CEO, Panchshil Realty, the resort hotel would be ready for operations in the next two years. “We have taken the land on lease from the government and are building a luxury resort. The work has already started and our target for launching the same is 2017,” he said.
Earlier, participating at the HIFI Q&A session, Chordia said that the company would be venturing into more resort developments, rather than city hotel developments, because the “rates are higher” in resort hotels compared to city business hotels. Explaining the reasons for foraying into overseas destinations, the “ease of doing” business is much better in other destinations. Construction-related approvals and operating licences are a nightmare in India, according to Chordia. He said that every government agency feels they have a stake in the development.
Chordia said that 2015 will be a “make or break” year for the hotel industry depending on whether rates go up. If room rates do not increase, it will be difficult for owners to sustain business.
The Kuala Lumpur Tourism Master Plan 2015-2025 aims to attract 16 million tourists and RM79 billion in revenue by 2025. Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said the target was set based on the increasing number of tourist arrivals and receipts for the past 10 years.
“In 2004, there were 7 million tourists visiting Kuala Lumpur and the number kept increasing with 9 million tourist arrivals recorded in 2013. As for tourist receipts, there is a gradual increase from RM7.3 billion in 2004 to RM18.6 billion in 2013. “Kuala Lumpur has also received international accolades, among others, 4th shopping destination in 2013 and is one of the seven wonders cities in the world.
“As a local government, City Hall was given the mandate of monitoring and promoting the various tourist attractions including art galleries, museums, parks and this master plan serves as a strategic blueprint to achieve these targets,” said Phesal.
Officiating the plan, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor urged both the public and private sectors to cooperate in achieving the targets set for the master plan.
The plan is implemented based on the five key growth opportunities, namely, to fully capture demand for distinct multi-cultural experiences; strengthen premier shopping destination position; establish Kuala Lumpur as a nature and adventure tourism destination; enhance position as the preferred destination for MICE, education and medical tourism; and ensure provision of world-class infrastructure and tourism products that are well maintained.
While ranking in the ‘top five tour operators’ in Europe, Kuoni group has put its tour operating business up for sale, covering operations in Switzerland, UK, Benelux, Hong Kong/China, India and Scandinavia. New owners are expected to be found in 2015.
The move affects 3, 800 employees in total. Holidays booked will not be impacted, with Kuoni saying ‘all units will continue to deliver their expert services to the accustomed standards of quality and reliability’.
Kuoni Travel UK said it is ‘very much business as usual’ at the company and its current management team will remain with the firm.
Kuoni Group said: “Kuoni ranks among the top five tour operators in Europe and has a well-established presence in Hong Kong and India. In spite of this position, Kuoni’s outbound business faces increasing challenges from changing market conditions. In consideration of the fundamental changes in the industry and the unique position of Kuoni Group as a leading service provider to the global travel industry, the board of directors and group executive board have decided to focus the company’s resources on those core activities in which Kuoni already enjoys a leading market position with attractive prospects. Kuoni has therefore decided to exit the tour operating businesses.”
The Swiss group has announced it will have a new set-up structured under its core business of Global Travel Distribution (GTD), Global Travel Services (GTS) and VFS Global moving forward, which represents 60% of its consolidated turnover.
To maximise growth the firm will focus on markets with long-term growth potential such as Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Preliminary numbers show Kuoni saw a 2.8% drop in consolidated turnover in its 2014 financial year to CHF5.5 billion. Its outbound business in the Nordics declined by 14.1% to CHF844m, while the outbound Europe/Asia sector fell 5% to CHF1.3bn. Turnover in DMS fell 12.6%, while the VFS Global arm grew 11.3%.
Kuoni Group employs approximately 8,000 people and generated CHF3.4 billion turnover in 2014. Its full year results expect GBP85m in EBIT with a net result of CHF66m.
The Indian government is expected to announce a program to attract Chinese tourists to India in ‘Visit India Year 2015′ in China, said a senior official. “The ministry of tourism will soon make a detailed announcement in this regard. In China the promotion would be called ‘Visit India Year 2015′. In India it will be called ‘Visit China Year 2016′,” Shoeb Samad, regional director (south) India Tourism said.
As part of the tourism promotion program between the two countries, a team of Chinese television crews would soon visit Chennai, Pondicherry and Kerala to shoot interesting travel spots, he said.
During his Indian visit last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced 2015 as the “Visit India year” in China and 2016 as “Visit China Year” in India.
According to Samad, Chinese are upmarket tourists and high spenders. He said India is an interesting destination for Chinese as there are several Buddhist pilgrimage centers as well as other places of tourist interest. Samad said plans were there to train travel and tour agents in Chinese language so that business can be done with ease.
The program will give a big push to the tourist flow between the two countries. Around 750,000 Indians travel to China every year while around 250,000 Chinese travel to India.
Australia’s national airline has been named the safest on the planet after a year when the world was captivated by a series of air tragedies and mysteries. With a ‘fatality free record’ in the jet era, Qantas scored top marks out of nearly 450 carriers monitored by aviation safety review website AirlineRatings.com.
The Australian-based website ranked the rest of its top ten in alphabetical order, with British Airways, Gulf carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways, and Lufthansa finding a place on the list.Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific Airways, Taiwan’s EVA Air, Finnair and Singapore Airlines rounded out the top ten.No major US legacy carrier managed to break into the top ten. However Alaska Airlines and JetBlue were included in a ranking of the world’s safest budget carriers.
AirlineRatings.com singled out Qantas as the world’s safest airline because it ‘has amassed an extraordinary record of firsts in aviation safety and operations’ over its 94-year history and ‘is now accepted as the world’s most experienced airline’.
It said Qantas has been a leader in a number of areas, including the development of the flight data recorder and using satellite technology for automatic landings and real-time monitoring of its aircraft engines
AirlineRatings.com also identified its ten safest budget airlines, with two British carriers – Luton-based Monarch Airlines and Manchester-based Thomas Cook – cracking the list. Of 449 airlines which were included in the study, 149 achieved the website’s seven-star safety ranking and almost 50 had just three stars or less. Five airlines – Agni Air, Kam Air, Nepal Airlines, Scat and Tara Air- found themselves at the bottom of the list with just one star each.
Despite high-profile incidents in 2014 the report insists air travel is the safest method of transportation. The world’s airlines carried a record 3.3 billion passengers on 27 million flights.
Both in numbers and spending, the number one source of international tourists is China, whose people spent $165 billion on travel in 2013. In the league tables of the continents, Europe holds the number one spot with 563 million visitors, 29 million more than in 2012.
The most attractive region was Southern and Mediterranean Europe, which welcomed 201 million international visitors in 2013. The world’s number one destination was France, the world’s favorite holiday spot for most of the post-war period, drawing 85 million international visitors in 2013.
In second place, and a long way behind, is the United States , with 69.8 million visitors, followed by Spain, China and Italy. After China, Thailand is Asia’s best performer, with 26.5 million arrivals in 2013, an increase of almost 20 percent on the previous year, making it the meteor of world tourism that year.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, in 2013 the global tourism industry accounted for 9 percent of world GDP and one in every 11 jobs. In that year international tourism numbers grew by 6 percent to 1.087 billion, predicted to increase to 1.8 billion by 2030.
In 2013, Asia and the Pacific recorded 6 percent growth in tourism numbers, the strongest of any continent, followed by Europe and Africa. Visitor numbers to the Americas grew by 3 percent, with no growth in the Middle East.
Over the next two decades international tourism to emerging destinations is predicted to increase at twice the rate of well-established destinations.
The Indian government has set a target of welcoming 1% of global tourist arrivals by next year. Speaking at a workshop in New Delhi, the country’s Minister of Tourism & Culture, Dr Mahesh Sharma, said that a “multi-pronged strategy is being worked out” to achieve this goal.
This will include the government’s previous-stated aims of improving the “cleanliness, hospitality and safety aspects” of India’s tourism industry, as well as driving greater cooperation between the tourism, culture and aviation sectors.
In addition, five themed tourism circuits will be developed by the Ministry, based on religions or regions. A total investment of INR5 billion (US$79 million) has been earmarked for the development of the Buddhist, Ganga, Krishna, Northeast and Kerala circuits, while Dr Sharma added that plans to develop India’s cruise and wildlife tourism sectors are also being prepared.
In 2013, India welcomed 6.97 million international tourists, representing 0.64% of the global total. But India’s rate of growth (+7.1% in the first 11 months of 2014) is outpacing the global average of approximately +4.7%.
German national carrier Deutsche Lufthansa AG is to start scheduled flights to the Maldives from December 2015.
Plans to start the flights by Europe’s largest airline were revealed at a ceremony held at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport by Maldives Airports Company Limited’s Managing Director Ibrahim Saleem. He said that Lufthansa will be operating flights to the Maldives starting from December 9 this year.
Aviation website ch-aviation.com reported that the flights are part of a “jump” network project by Lufthansa, with the Maldives, Mauritius, and Mexico the initial destinations.
Lufthansa airline is one of the top airlines in Europe. They have previously operated some charter flights to the Maldives, but this is the first time they will be starting scheduled flights, local media reported.
Over five hundred thousand European tourists landed in the Maldives in 2014 – amounting to 47 percent of total tourist arrivals. The European airline with the most arrivals was Turkish Airlines followed by British Airways.