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New chapter in the development of Soneva


A Chinese private equity company called Sailing Capital has concluded an agreement to become a “significant investor” in Soneva, in a move intended to support the expansion of the company’s portfolio in the Maldives. This deal represents the largest Chinese private investment in the Maldives to date.

“The investment by Sailing Capital marks a new chapter in the development of Soneva,” said Sonu Shivdasani, chairman & CEO of Soneva. “Soneva pioneered luxury hospitality in the region almost 20 years ago and our brand is now synonymous with the Maldives. “We have exciting plans to develop new resorts in the area, and the scale of this investment demonstrates our confidence in thefuture of the Maldivian economy. Our relationship with Sailing Capital will allow us to accelerate these plans for growth’ he said.

“The Maldives is one of the most beautiful places in the world and it has become a significant destination for Chinese tourists and investors,” he said. “These issues are of increasing importance to the Chinese government and our people. We are committed to strengthening and expanding Soneva’s presence in the Maldives and beyond” said James Liu, president & CEO of Sailing Capital. Since its split from Six Senses, Soneva now operates just two resorts, including the luxury Soneva Fushi in the Maldives.

“Meet in Sri Lanka”

Sri Lanka Tourists

The Sri Lanka Convention Bureau and SriLankan Airlines in coordination with the Sri Lanka Consulate General in Dubai organized a Road Show “Meet in Sri Lanka” at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Dubai to promote the country as a Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) destination. More than 80 tour operators in UAE attended the promotion event.

Sri Lanka is now being promoted abroad as one of the major attractive travel destinations for foreign visitors. In 2013, more than one million tourists visited Sri Lanka. In 2014, it is anticipated that the target figure will reach 1.5 million by December and it will grow to 2.5 million in 2016. Around 15% of foreigners visit Sri Lanka as a MICE destination.

Sri Lanka is a hub in airline traffic with many airlines operating to Sri Lanka. When compared to other competing destinations, foreigners prefer visiting Sri Lanka, as the destination is regarded as good for value for money, in addition to the ease of obtaining entry visa online.

Sri Lanka offers all modern facilities to host Conferences, Exhibitions and Events with state of the art conference and exhibition centers. Moreover, Sri Lanka is a unique destination which offers diversity of attractions from beaches, mountains, wild life to ancient cities.

M.M. Abdul Raheem, Consul General of Sri Lanka in Dubai inaugurated the event and speaking on the occasion, remarked that Sri Lanka is now the safest destination for MICE tourism. He invited all UAE tour operators to work with the Sri Lanka Consulate General in Dubai, the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau and SriLankan Airlines, which would facilitate the requirements of corporate sectors and individual clients.

Being a financial and trading hub, many multinational companies are housed in Dubai and it would be quite cost effective for these companies to organize Meetings and Conferences in Sri Lanka, as Colombo is only four hours flight time from Dubai.




German travel and tourism giant TUI said over the weekend it will start offering mobile phone services enabling customers to place calls and surf the web while on holiday.
“Mobile communications have become a crucial component of the travel experience. International roaming costs are perceived as a major element of uncertainty by our customers,” said Kai Czeschlik, head of TUI’s new mobile communications provider TUI Connect. “TUI Connect will open up the opportunity for holidaymakers to use their tablets and smartphones abroad just as they would do at home,” he said.
TUI said customers would be able to subscribe to the new services either via a fixed-term contract or a pre-paid variant.
“With TUI Connect, we are aiming to offer our customers additional services that are also available at their holiday destinations, considerably reduce the associated costs and make them predictable. At the same time, we are seeking to tap new turnover sources for TUI,” said TUI chief operating officer Sebastian Ebel.

London borrows Aussie tourism campaign


Inspired by Australia’s “Best Job in the World” tourism campaigns, London has come up with its own “Guest of Honour” competition to promote the English capital. People from six countries, including Australia, will compete to be feted with a friend in February 2015. Some of London’s most famous residents will roll out the red carpet at locations including Tower Bridge, Westminster, Lord’s and the Royal Opera House.

Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton will also cook the prize-winner a six-course meal at his renowned restaurant Pollen Street Social. “We’re going to do an amazing tasting menu showcasing the great British seasons at that time of year,We’ll give them a good time and show them that restaurants in Britain are no longer over-cooked roast beef and soggy veg and fish’n’chips.” Atherton said. Other celebrities who’ll show off London’s landmarks include physicist Stephen Hawking, singer Jessie J, former tennis ace Tim Henman, Commons Speaker John Bercow and opera star Placido Domingo.

The campaign, organisers admit, is based on Tourism Queensland’s 2009 global search for a caretaker to help look after the Great Barrier Reef and Tourism Australia’s 2013 nation-wide follow-up. “London is ready to welcome our guest of honour in style,” London mayor Boris Johnson said.

People can enter the “guest of honour” competition by describing their perfect London day at

100% Solar Powered Luxury Eco-Villas


Visitors to South Australia’s Kangaroo Island can now venture completely off grid, with the unveiling on Wednesday of luxury accommodation that is 100 per cent solar powered. Two new 6-star energy rated eco-villas have been built by the Sea Dragon Lodge as part of a $318,000 expansion project co-funded by the federal government’s T-QUAL Grants programme and by the South Australian Tourism Commission’s Tourism Development Support Program ($28,000).

The lodge’s owner, Stephen Lane, said the choice was made to take the new villas off-grid due, partly, to the notoriously unreliable nature of the island’s grid-connected power supply. Another motivation, says Lane, was the rapidly growing market of tourists who are concerned about the environment.

The villas sit on a 250 acre seafront estate with views of the island’s north-east shores, a private beach and extensive walking trails. As well as offering 5-star luxury, they also boast a 6 star energy rating and feature rainwater supply, enviro-septic and grey water treatment.

South Australia’s Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell said the project was in keeping with the government’s Kangaroo Island Destination Action Plan.


UN agency sees strength in tourism numbers

Tourism remained a strong industry worldwide as international arrivals grew by 5 percent in the first eight months of 2014 amid geopolitical challenges and lingering concerns over the recovery of the global economy, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The growth figure remained well above the long-term projection of the World Tourism Organization, which expected tourist arrivals to grow by at least 3.8 percent yearly from 2010 to 2020. Based on the latest UN agency’s World Tourism Barometer, international tourists traveling from January to August 2014 reached 781 million—36 million more than that recorded in the same period of 2013.

During the peak months of June, July and August, which accounted for about a third of the total for the entire year, the UN agency reported an increase of 4 percent compared with that of the same period in 2013. “International tourism continues to grow above expectations, despite rising global challenges,” UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai said in a statement. By region, the strongest growth was registered in the Americas, which recorded an 8-percent growth in international tourist arrivals. It was followed by Asia and the Pacific with 5 percent, and Europe with 4 percent. Growth in arrivals, however, slowed down in Southeast Asia to 2 percent.

Capital investments in the travel and tourism sector are expected to increase by 3.8 percent in 2014, from the P81.3 billion recorded last year. Also, an increase of 3.9 percent is expected year-on-year over the next decade to P123.9 billion by 2024, the report showed.



World Travel Fair 2015

World Travel Fair

World Travel Fair is an annual gathering held in Shanghai and co-hosted by Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration and VNU Exhibitions Asia. 570 exhibitors from more than 50 countries and regions in 2014, World Travel Fair attracted more than 10,000 professional visitors, and close to 40,000 consumers.
In 2015, Shanghai World Travel Fair will continue to support the exponential growth of Chinese outbound tourism, at the heart of China’s most dynamic market. While the organizer will be providing a premium platform for business meetings, the show will also be a fantastic place to market your destination and meet middle and upper class consumers.
Extended to 4 days in 2015 and 25% bigger, World Travel Fair is growing steadily and now covers most important destinations and tourism segments (leisure, luxury, MICE, health), and comes with a series of associated events, conferences, and special marketing incentives for new travel products.
Whether you’re a destination, hotel, travel technologies provider, transportation company, or even a gourmet restaurant, if you are looking for opportunities to work with professionals and attract tourists from China, an over $100 billion market, you want to make sure that you understand the particular needs of newly wealthy and middle-class people who have gained the financial power to explore the world.
In the age of digital communication and social networks, the need to meet face-to-face to conduct business is evidence. Face-to-face meetings can be facilitated but not replaced by technology: nothing compares with the experience of seeing, touching, testing and discussing new products and solutions in person — especially in Asia, fundamentally in China.
As a comprehensive platform for professional networking and consumers marketing, the 12th Shanghai World Travel Fair will be held from May 7 to 10, 2015 at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. For all tourism industry professionals around the world, it is a unique opportunity to understand the market and find local partners, as well as the best way to offer potential customers a first glimpse at offers they would not otherwise consider.

Dusit Thani Maldives launches Three-Bedroom Beach Residence

dusit thani maldives

Located on breathtaking Mudhdhoo Island a mere thirty five minutes away from capital Malé, Dust Thani resort opened in 2012 and offers twenty six Beach Villas, ten Beach Villas with Pool, twenty nine Water Villas with Pool, twenty Ocean Villas with Pool, two Ocean Pavilions, two Beach Residences and five Family Beach Villas with Pool. And now Thani Maldives takes pride in announcing the launch of its brand new Three-Bedroom Beach Residence. Being one-of-its kind on the resort, this lavish masterpiece, measuring 690 square metres, presents a world of opulence amidst the tranquility of Mudhdhoo Island.

The landscaping around this residential marvel has been designed in true harmony with nature. Lush bougainvillea and palm-fringed trees surround this two-level residential masterpiece. This, combined with the powdery white sands that reach the doorstep, gives a new meaning to the term barefoot luxury.

Each living quarter of the beach residence shares a spacious tropical garden and a pavilion overlooking the breathtaking horizon of Indian Ocean. Here, luxury takes on a distinct dimension with a personal butler or maid’s room on the premises, for service at a moment’s notice if required. The Three Bedroom Beach Residence is designed to be your private address where peace, beauty and magnificence prevail.

According to Thanos Lionsatos, Director of Sales and Marketing, “This premium, high end product is an incredible addition to the resort which now presents a more diversified lodging proposition. Catering to a more affluent segment, including Ultra High-Net-Worth Individuals (UHNWI), we are pleased to provide more versatility and choice of accommodation at the resort. This is a step in the same direction.”



Top 25 all-inclusive resorts around the world

kurumba Maldives

The travel website TripAdvisor’s recently announced the top 25 all-inclusive resorts around the world. The travel website’s award winners were based on its members’ reviews and opinions of all-inclusive resorts around the world over a period from August 1, 2013, through July 31, 2014.

Most of the winners are clustered in Mexico and the Caribbean, with a few exceptions such as the Third-place winner  Kurumba Maldives resort, located in the Maldives’ Kaafu Atoll, offers the beauty of island resort vacation without the isolation. The resort is a quick speedboat ride from the airport.

TripAdvisor’s top 25 all-inclusive resorts around the world:

1. Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, Villa Clara Province, Cuba
2. Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, Playa Paraiso, Mexico
3. Kurumba Maldives, the Maldives
4. Le Blanc Spa Resort, Cancun, Mexico
5. Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, Playa Maroma, Mexico
6. Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection, Samana Province, Dominican Republic
7. Iberostar Grand Bavaro Hotel, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
8. Galley Bay Resort, St. John’s, Antigua
9. Rixos Sharm El Sheikh Resort, Nabq Bay, Egypt
10. Excellence Playa Mujeres, Playa Mujeres, Mexico
11. Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall, Rose Hall, Jamaica
12. Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Mexico
13. The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
14. Sultan Gardens Resort, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
15. Salinas do Maragogi All Inclusive Resort, Maragogi, Brazil
16. Andilana Beach Resort, Nosy Be, Antsiranana Province, Madagascar
17. Live Aqua Cancun All Inclusive, Cancun, Mexico
18. Sandals Whitehouse European Village and Spa, White House, Jamaica
19. Cozumel Palace, Cozumel, Mexico
20. Melia Cayo Coco, Jardines del Rey, Cuba
21. Oceania Club, Nea Moudania, Greece
22. The Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
23. Secrets the Vine Cancun Resort & Spa, Cancun, Mexico
24. Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
25. Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus, Bayahibe, Dominican Republic

New beachfront restaurant named Thila opens at Kurumba Maldives


Renowned luxury resort Kurumba Maldives, which has played host to world leaders including Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan, has announced the opening of a new seafront signature restaurant named Thila,on the private island. Thila means ‘reef’ in the local Dhivehi dialect and the restaurant’s interiors are designed to reflect its natural surroundings, with cool blue and light furnishings and materials such as lava stone, ceramic, travertine tiles and natural woods. The creative menu has quality seafood and prime meat cuts at its core complemented by fresh local produce.

Combining a fine dining experience with an airy and relaxed island setting, the new two-storey Thila restaurant features high ceilings under a traditional thatched Maldivian roof. The restaurant also boasts private dining areas, a bar with sea views and an ornamental pond with a glass bridge. According to the resort, it’s “the perfect venue for a truly romantic dinner under the stars, a refreshing and luxurious breakfast, or for savouring fresh cocktails and fiery Maldivian sunsets by the sea.”

It is one of eight restaurants in the resort, which was the Maldives’ very first private island resort when it opened more than 40 years ago. Since then the resort has grown to include nine distinct styles of accommodation, as well a rich variety of recreation and entertainment activities suitable for honeymooners and families alike.

Kurumba resort has received numerous awards, including Maldives Leading Hotel at the World Travel Awards in 2010 and 2011, and the 2013 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award for Best Service and Luxury.