Why are cruise retailers optimistic Sales are up and 40000 bookings are

first_img TORONTO — More consumers are using travel agents to book their vacations, and especially for cruise vacations they’re reporting higher levels of satisfaction with their travel experience versus travellers who book on their own, according to the latest findings from CLIA.Not only was consumer use of travel agents up nearly 80% year-over-year in 2016, according to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, the outlook for cruise bookings in 2017 is smooth sailing with an estimated 25.3 million passengers expected to cruise this year, up from 15.8 million 10 years ago, says CLIA.There’s an abundance of choice when it comes to ships: 26 new ocean, river and specialty ships will come on line in 2017, worth US$6.8 billion. And in 10 years from now, by 2026, there will be 97 new ships, an investment of US$53 billion), according to CLIA’s 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook.Even now in 2017 there’s a lot of capacity but that’s not a bad thing, says Nathalie Tanious, Vice-President, Cruise for TravelBrands, overseeing Encore Cruises. “There’s so much capacity in the marketplace but that’s not a concern,” she said. New ships create buzz, and the cruise lines are doing a great job marketing cruise product and the cruise experience, she notes. And with all the ships sailing now, “there’s an offer out there for everyone, whether it’s a $50 onboard credit for a mainstream cruise line, or a category upgrade for a higher end line.”The incentives are so plentiful that while Wave Season “will give us a bit of a push” there’s not as much of a need for clients to wait for the traditional savings season that kicks off this month and runs through March, adds Tanious. “The deals are good year-round now. And we start earlier and go later” with Wave Season.MSC Cruises got a jump on Wave Season in December with inaugural season deals offering up to US$600 in added value on MSC Seaside, one of the new ships coming in 2017. MSC Seaside is scheduled to make its debut in Miami at the end of this year.Through March 31 clients interested in securing a stateroom on MSC Seaside can get up to $600 of additional value including free shipboard credit, free WiFi and free mealtime drinks depending on the category of stateroom booked. Passengers will also benefit from reduced deposits of only $49 per person. Kids 11 and under sail free.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTAnother early Wave Season promotion sees Crystal Cruises adding more than a dozen sailings to its Crystal Clear Choices deal, along with a new March 31 booking deadline. The deal applies to select river cruises as well as ocean cruises.More than two-thirds (67%) of CLIA-member travel agents see growth or significant growth for river cruise lines, and 57% report high growth rates for mass market cruise lines. Sandra McLeod of RedDoorTravel in LaSalle, ON says many of her clients are looking at smaller ships “for more intimacy, less children, no lines and more flexibility. We promote the deluxe and luxury brands and also the suites on the larger ships where more amenities are included.”CLIA-member agents are reporting higher projected sales volumes, with more than 75% of agents predicting a year-end increase for 2016 over 2015, and a third of agents predicting a gain of 10% or more. About 8% of agents said they expected lower volumes than 2015.Agents are also seeing higher cruise spend. Nearly three-quarters of CLIA-member agents say they’re seeing an increase in cruise booking spend, including 22% who say spend is up 10% or more. And 43% say clients are booking nine months to a year in advance, with a further 37% saying they’re seeing cruise bookings as far as one year to 18 months out.Pat Probert of the Bob Family Travel Team at TravelOnly says he’s seeing much higher cruise spend than in past years, coming off a record year with the average cruise sale much higher than in the past few years. “Clients are spending more and more on cruises to get to more exotic places like Alaska, South America, Cape Horn, Europe, Russia and in 2015 we already started booking Australia for 2018,” says Probert. “We are also finding more and more clients doing back-to-back cruises and spending upwards of 15-30 days on cruises if they are retired.  Where people only thought of a five to seven day cruise in the past, it is not uncommon to see people taking nine to 14 day cruises on a regular basis as the cruise lines are really mixing it up now.”More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Never judge where a client will go or how much a client will spend to be on a cruise ship, says Probert, who adds his team rarely sells an outside or even an inside cabin nowadays “as people want to feel the wind and hear the ocean from a balcony”.Just a few years ago Probert’s team had “tire kickers looking at cruises for $10,000 to $20,000” and now they are selling these more than ever, and he says it’s not uncommon for him to see people to spend $40,000 to $50,000 on a cruise, something he has rarely seen before.  “Cruising has no limits and for quality it has no barriers because people will spend the money.”And while the mood for 2017 is good, Probert feels it’s important to still be mindful of client sensitivities when it comes to safety. “People want to travel and if someone brings something negative up, we bring up four things that are positive. We like to talk about everything positive and never negative. If there are problems with cruise ship incidents or other things related to cruising we never post these on social media as we want people to think of all the benefits and positive things in cruising.”Among 2016’s highlights for Expedia CruiseShipCenters was a 1-Day Sale for Princess Cruises, creating a windfall $13 million in Princess bookings for the retailer on a single day.Heading into 2017, Matthew Eichhorst, President of Expedia CruiseShipCenters & Head of Global Cruise for Expedia, Inc., said he’s feeling optimistic. After opening 34 new retail locations across North America in 2016, and adding more than 1,200 new vacation consultants to create a team of 4,200, on the sales side Expedia CruiseShipCenters and Expedia online brands have been seen “encouraging growth” for destinations ranging from Hawaii to Panama, he said.This article originally ran as the lead in the January 12th, 2017 issue of Travelweek magazine.Travel agents can subscribe for free to the magazine here. Share Why are cruise retailers optimistic? Sales are up, and $40,000 bookings ‘are not unheard of’ << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group center_img Posted by Tags: CLIA, Expedia CruiseShipCenters, TravelOnly Friday, January 13, 2017 last_img read more

6 things you need to know about Joon Air Frances new airline

first_imgTags: Air France, Low-Cost Carriers Travelweek Group Share Tuesday, September 26, 2017 6 things you need to know about Joon, Air France’s new airlinecenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by PARIS — Air France has launched a brand new airline designed to meet the needs of a new generation of travellers. Bearing the hip and happy-sounding moniker Joon, the airline will toe the line between a “traditional and low-cost airline”, said Franck Terner, CEO of Air France.“Joon is one of our major projects as part of the strategic plan Trust Together, and will be one of Air France’s priorities in its offensive to win back market share,” he said.Jean-Michel Mathieu, CEO of Joon, added: “Joon is Air France’s little sister who breaks with tradition and takes inspiration from the new expectations of travellers to offer an experience that goes beyond the aircraft doors.”Starting Dec. 1 in Europe, with prices starting from €39 including tax, are: Barcelona (51 weekly flights); Berlin (37 weekly flights); Lisbon (28 weekly flights); and Porto (three weekly flights).Starting in Summer 2018 in Brazil and the Seychelles are: Fortaleza, Brazil, starting at €249 including tax with two weekly flights; and Mahé, Seychelles, starting at €299 including tax with three weekly flights.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsHere are 6 things you need to know about Joon:1. Foodies will love itThere’ll be a free catering offer in Business and a new paid option in Economy. There’ll be around 60 tasty treats sold onboard, 20% of which are organic, as well as high-energy fruit juice and free drinks at all times (water, orange juice, organic Segafredo coffee and tea).2. Fliers will never be boredYouJoon will give passengers access to in-flight streaming on their smartphones, tablets of laptops. Once onboard, they’ll be able to connect directly to the Joon login portal and choose from a wide range of programs. In the event batteries die, passengers can recharge them with their individual USB port.3. Joon has lots of friendsThe airline already has a network of innovative partnerships that can also be deployed at Air France. These include TravelCar, which will take care of clients’ vehicles at Paris-CDG while they’re away, Le BHV Marais, which conducts Paris tours, and Waynabox, offering weekend packages from Paris.More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programs4. Joon looks super coolThere’s no way you’ll miss a Joon aircraft in the sky – it’s electric blue! Plus, Joon’s 140 flight attendants all sport classic and modern garments, all of which have been designed with recycled fabrics made from plastic bottles.5. Joon is more tech-savvy than most millennialsThe AlloSky Virtual Reality Headset, available in Business class on long-haul flights, is a new generation headset that provides a high-definition screen and a diopter correction to adapt to eyes. Also, Paper Plane, which will soon be available on flyjoon.com, allows friends and families to raise money in order to send clients on a trip to the destination of their choice.6. Joon has a big sisterJoon benefits from all of Air France’s perks, including easier connections at Paris-CDG, Flying Blue Miles, SkyPriority and Air France assistance.For more details, watch this video:last_img read more

Carsharing company Turo enters BC market for the first time

first_img Thursday, October 5, 2017 VANCOUVER — Turo, a car sharing marketplace where local car owners provide travellers with vehicles for their adventures, has announced that it has expanded to British Columbia since its launch in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec in April 2016.The launch of Turo in B.C. marks an important step in realizing the company’s mission to put Canada’s 23 million cars to better use, and to capture a growing share of the Canadian travel market. It currently has over four million users around the world, including 220,000 users in Canada alone.“British Columbia is one of the top travel destinations in Canada and around the world. With its great outdoor culture, high penetration of car sharing and high levels of cross-border travel, British Columbia is a natural market for Turo. It is worth noting that 7% of Turo members in Canada are actually residents of British Columbia, using the Turo platform in other provinces and in the U.S.,” said Cedric Mathieu, Director of Turo in Canada.More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?To address the unique insurance regulations of BC, Turo has structured this first stage of its expansion to British Columbia by partnering with local, independent car rental entrepreneurs who will make their unique fleets of cars available to the Turo community and will be providing their own commercial rental insurance to travellers.“We’re very excited to bring Turo to the people of British Columbia and provide them with a local, convenient, more personal alternative to big car rental companies through our local network of amazing car rental entrepreneurs,” said Mathieu. “Independent car rental companies are natural partners for Turo; most are family-run small businesses who offer great service, and great cars, at great prices. Using the Turo platform, they can easily reach our fast growing community of trusted travelers and be able to more effectively compete with the larger car rental chains. We’re thrilled to empower car entrepreneurs across beautiful British Columbia.”More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?A number of preferred partners such as hotels, independent car rental companies and individual car entrepreneurs have already listed their vehicles on the Turo platform. Some unique cars already available include makes and models like Tesla Model S, Mercedes-Benz CLA and Porsche Panamera, with many more to come in the coming weeks. All partners are required to carry adequate commercial rental insurance as well as provide best in class service in order to participate.Turo is actively marketing towards travellers and suppliers across the province to raise awareness of the Turo brand in preparation of the future launch of its full peer-to-peer service.“We remain committed to launching our peer-to-peer marketplace in the near future, and will be working with insurance regulators and legislators to bring Turo to all individual car owners in B.C. soon, added Mathieu. Travelweek Group Share Car-sharing company Turo enters B.C. market for the first timecenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: British Columbia Posted bylast_img read more

Win a trip to Fort Myers including airfare and hotel

first_img Share Posted by Wednesday, April 24, 2019 TORONTO — Fort Myers & Sanibel has gained a sizeable Canadian following with some 250,000 Canadian visitors each year, drawn to the destination’s ‘Old Florida’ charm, its 80 kilometres of coastline and its incredible natural scenery and wildlife.Now thanks to a new contest with Fort Myers & Sanibel, Travelweek and Air Canada Vacations, one lucky agent and travelling companion will get to experience the destination for themselves.The prize includes airfare for two with Air Canada, a two-night stay at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa and a two-night stay at Wyndham Garden.Located across 13 beaches-to-backbay acres on Captiva Island, ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa is billed as the perfect destination for families, couples, meetings and weddings. The 137-key property includes 19 uniquely themed cottages, one, two and three bedroom suites, and comfortable contemporary guest rooms and efficiencies.Wyndham Garden Fort Myers Beach meanwhile is situated on the most expansive part of Fort Myers Beach, and offers the comforts of a large resort with boutique-like ambiance.More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsEnter the contest now for your chance to win. Visit travelweek.ca/contests/visit-fort-myers-with-air-canada-vacations/. << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Travelweek Group Win a trip to Fort Myers including airfare and hotel Tags: Fort Myerslast_img read more

TravelBrands latest promos include agent perks client savings

first_img Wednesday, June 5, 2019 MISSISSAUGA — Travel agents can earn rewards points and a gas card, plus save clients on their next family vacation with TravelBrands’ latest promotions.A free $50 gas card is available to agents for every five car rentals they book between June 1-30, 2019. This offer is applicable to new online bookings made during the promotional period, and is valid for travel at any time for any destination serviced by the following suppliers: Avis; Budget; Hertz; Dollar Rent A Car; Thrifty Car Rental; Enterprise; Alamo, and National.In addition, TravelBrands has launched a family-focused promotion that also runs until June 30. The offer allows those booking a qualifying resort to receive a $250 discount, based on a family of four.Clients can choose from a wide range of resorts located in the Riviera Maya, Cancun, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit, with each property offering varying savings and deals in addition to the $250 discount.Participating resorts include:More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamRIVIERA MAYABarceló Maya Grand Resort; Barceló Maya Palace; Catalonia Playa Maroma; Sandos Caracol Eco Resort; Sandos Playacar Beach Resort; Ocean Coral and Turquesa; Iberostar Selection Paraíso Maya; Iberostar Paraíso BeachCANCUNSandos Cancun Lifestyle Resort; Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & SpaLOS CABOSSandos Finisterra Los CabosPUERTO VALLARTAHilton Puerto Vallarta Resort; The Hacienda at Hilton Puerto Vallarta ResortRIVIERA NAYARITIberostar Selection Playa MitaPUNTA CANAGrand Palladium Bavaro Suites Resort & Spa; and VIK Hotel ARENA BLANCAPlus, travel agents who book their clients in the qualifying period will earn 10,000 Loyalty Rewards points. The TravelBrands Loyalty Rewards program allows agents to collect points and redeem them for a multitude of rewards, including merchandise, travel, gift cars and the chance to donate to multiple foundations and charities.For more information go to travelbrandsaccess.com. Travelweek Group Tags: TravelBrands TravelBrands’ latest promos include agent perks & client savingscenter_img Share Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Thousands of Invisibles march for equal rights in Costa Rica

first_imgOne of the directors of the march, from a megaphone, shouted “Costa Rica is one of the last confessional states in the world. What an anachronism – I demand a secular state.”While common in the Middle East, countries with an official state religion almost have disappeared from the western hemisphere, although Costa Rica remains a Catholic country.“We are here so that they know that we exist, that we deserve the same rights,” said marcher Ester Molina. “In the country, there is a decline in human rights.”Lawmakers Carlos Gómgora, Carmen Muñoz and Manuel Monestel joined the movement. They helped scrub the walls of the Legislative Assembly with sponges and soap as marchers chanted about the alleged dirtiness and corruption taking place inside the assembly.Online social networks sparked the movement, almost 15,000 people signed a petition online called FueraJustoOrozco.com. Protesters want Orozco to resign after he referred to homosexuality as a “strange practice” and called it “a sin that has a cure.”Sexual Diversity Movement President Marco Castillo announced that his organization will report Costa Rica to the international human rights commission for what he considers an “insult” to the rights of the gay community.Orozco also said that he opposes in vitro fertilization – Costa Rica is the only western hemisphere country to prohibit the practice. The legislator said that only high-income individuals would benefit from the technique because infertility is a problem “suffered by the upper class.”The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, with its headquarters in San José, will analyze a complaint in September about the prohibition of in vitro fertilization. Costa Rica could face fines for not legalizing the in vitro, which is considered a human rights violation.Who are the Invisibles? Learn more about the people asking for change in Costa Rica in this Friday’s edition of The Tico Times. Facebook Comments A couple thousand people in San José demanded equal rights in Costa Rica for issues such as homosexual rights, the establishment of a secular state, the approval of in vitro fertilization and immigrant rights – in a movement called “Marcha de los Invisibles” (“March of the Invisibles”).A diverse crowd, which included LGBT community members, heterosexual couples, and indigenous rights supporters – marched through the capital Saturday morning to the Legislative Assembly. Two weeks ago, a human rights committee in the assembly rejected a bill that guaranteed economic rights to heterosexual couples. Protesters waved signs calling for respect. Leaders of the march shouted chants through megaphones.“Morality is personal, human rights are universal.” read a colorful banner carried by the demonstrators. Local police monitoring the event said some 2,000 people attended the rally, although organizers said the number was closer to 5,000.The protest was called in retaliation for the Human Rights Commission vote. Marchers called for the ouster of evangelical legislator Justo Orozco, the head of the commission, whose statements against homosexual rights have caused a stir in the country.“INJusto [Unfair] Orozco, caveman,” “The problem is not God, it’s Justo.”  “Invisible no, here I am,” “I am visible, I have rights.” “We are happy lesbians, and we are here. “Gay, 100 percent human,” read some of the signs. Gabe Dinsmoor Thousands attended a Saturday morning protest in downtown San José demanding equal rights for homosexual couples, the establishment of a secular state and the approval of in vitro fertilization. No related posts.last_img read more

El Niño likely to return say experts

first_imgThe Central American Agricultural Council on Tuesday alerted regional authorities about a possible El Niño weather phenomenon in the area and its potential effects on agriculture and livestock.The World Meteorological Organization also warned of the increased likelihood that El Niño would occur between July and September.The El Niño phenomenon is generally associated with a lack of rainfall, leading to drier conditions, especially on the central Pacific coast.“The Pacific regions of Costa Rica will have less rain and sometimes more heat, but in other regions, such as the Caribbean, it will be the exact opposite,” meteorologist Berny Fallas said.According to Erick Quirós, an expert at the Costa Rican Agriculture Ministry, the change in weather conditions could cause economic problems for the sector, and ministry officials are developing a contingency plan to minimize damage. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Island collective to recycle garbage into gift items

first_img“There are many sources where you can find the money,” said Dekking. “Banks, private investors. But we’re very proud of this project, and it’s really cool that people from all over the world can be part of it.”What’s striking about the RCCC is that Chira’s residents devised the concept themselves and then asked A-01 for support. (The company has been involved in all kinds of philanthropic projects, including the ride-share program BicipúblicCartago). Once the innovative structure is built, a staff of approximately ten women will operate the facility, create the crafts, and earn an income from sales. Their purses and necklaces, all made from recycled materials, will be available in stores across Costa Rica.As for Dekking, the RCCC project is a chance for him to help a local initiative as he and his girlfriend Lotte Amelink travel around Latin America. After finishing university, the couple began their journey in Buenos Aires and have been working their way northward. They spent some time developing a similar project in Peru: Sumaq Qara, a collective of 800 craftswomen, most of them ethnically indigenous.Dekking had already earned a job with A-01, and he and Amelink decided to spend some time helping to cultivate RCCC.“We had read a lot about [Costa Rica],” Dekking said. “We thought, if we’re going to be away awhile, we would go there. We knew it would be beautiful and the people would be nice. I think we can still contribute a lot to this project before we go back to Holland. I think it’s a positive thing. It’s proof that sustainable development can earn money.” Facebook Comments Isla Chira may be Costa Rica’s largest island, but most people overlook it. Located in the Gulf of Nicoya, Chira is home to about 4,000 people, most of them fishermen and farmers, and nearly all of them low-income.Until recently, the island’s biggest problem was garbage. Because there is no trash collection at all, locals have long resorted to burying or burning their rubbish.“The people on the island don’t have a clue what to do with their waste,” said Gustaaf Dekking, a communications officer for Dutch sustainability company A-01. “The waste is a hotbed for diseases like dengue, and it’s terrible for the environment.”But the islanders have come up with a homegrown solution: recycle the trash as jewelry and other accoutrements. The result is the Recycle and Community Center on Chira Island (RCCC), a brand-new facility and crafting collective run entirely by local women. The brunt of the glass, paper, cardboard, plastic, and aluminum will be collected at RCCC, shipped off the island, and sold to larger facilities on the mainland. Meanwhile, the cooperative will also sort out usable materials for fashioning original products.“It’s not only that the island gets cleaner,” said Dekking, “but it will also generate a structural income for people who now solely rely on fishing.”The RCCC structure is slated to be finished early next year, but in order to attract the necessary capital, the collective is running an IndieGogo campaign with a €15,000 ($18,575) goal. While RCCC could have taken many other avenues to raise funds, their hope is to involve a broader community through crowdsourcing. Related posts:Bagging bat myths with conservation education The best and worst of Costa Rica in 2014, according to everyone else VIDEO: Couple brews mead in Alajuela How Buttercup the sloth became a brand ambassador for American Apparellast_img read more

Costa Rica experiments with aquaponics to fight drought

first_imgThe Costa Rican government is launching a pilot aquaponics program in hopes of offering an alternative to farmers hit by drought.Agriculture and Livestock Ministry (MAG) officials are looking at possible implementation in the provinces of Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Alajuela, the most affected by severe drought conditions in recent years.Aquaponics is a production method that combines aquaculture — raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks or ponds — with hydroponics — cultivating plants in water — in a symbiotic environment.Water from the process is rich in minerals, especially ammonium widely found in fish waste, and it works as an effective fertilizer that reduces crops’ growing time by up to 50 percent.The process also reduces water use by up to 90 percent, according to research from MAG’s National Animal Health Service (SENASA).When done in ponds, the water can be used to irrigate large crop fields. Farm animals can drink it. And the fish can be sold as well as eaten by the farmers.Last month SENASA’s experts installed the first aquaponics system at a public high school in Sardinal, Guanacaste in order to start evaluating the results.The experimental module was built in Costa Rica, but program coordinator Luis Molina Carvajal said another nine systems will be imported from abroad and will be installed at high schools and other locations in those three provinces in the coming weeks.SENASA experts say results from the first system show it is both sustainable and efficient.“The system at Sardinal contains 3 cubic meters of water, started with 10 tilapia and is now capable of producing 18 kilograms of forage a day,” Molina told The Tico Times.Ministry officials have started informing farmer groups and chambers about the project, hoping they’ll be interested in promoting aquaponic projects among their members.Leaders of Guanacaste’s Federation of Cattle Farmer Chambers have already expressed interest in the program and SENASA will install one of the modules at the group’s facilities in Liberia.“We are also contacting other regional chambers and informing them about their options for obtaining loans and social assistance so that even small farmers can implement a module on their farms,” Molina said.The project is also being proposed as a way to produce forage at farms in the higher elevation areas of Cartago province, where grass has been affected by ash from the Turrialba volcano since last year.The exact cost of implementing an aquaponics system is one of the variables that ministry officials are trying to determine. So far they haven’t been able to find a local company able to supply the materials for a full system.“Currently we are finishing negotiations with a company in Mexico that offers the manufacture, installation and required training for maintaining the remaining nine systems,” Molina said. The experimental modules will be installed over the next three weeks.In addition to financing options, ministry officials are engaging in “persuasion efforts,” as Molina calls them. He said farmers can be reluctant to try new production techniques.“Weather conditions in Costa Rica traditionally have been mostly favorable for agriculture,” Molina said. “So our farmers are, for example, not used to storing fodder and feed for various months as farmers must do in countries where snow covers fields for up to six months, or who must grow all of their crops in greenhouses, like in Israel or Saudi Arabia. Our farmers usually want simple solutions.”Severe drought conditions in 2014 caused an approximately 75 percent reduction in pasture growth, Agriculture Minister Luis Felipe Arauz reported earlier this year.The reduced feed affected production — mostly in Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Alajuela —  with losses totaling some 5.8 million liters of milk, 2.5 million kilograms of meat and 2,400 kilograms of honey.Costa Rica’s agricultural sector lost at least $25.6 million last year due to drought, according to government data. Facebook Comments Related posts:National Emergency Commission lifts drought warning for Pacific provinces Government approves $1 million in aid to farmers affected by unusual weather conditions Costa Rica starts aid distribution to Guanacaste farmers stricken by drought Severe drought in Guanacaste causing millions of dollars in losseslast_img read more

VIDEO Costa Ricas Shirley Cruz helps put Paris into Champions League semifinals

first_imgRelated posts:WATCH: Raquel Rodríguez’s first professional score is a beauty Costa Rica scores key victory over Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup Qualifying Trio of Tico stars face off in suspenseful Champions League battle Costa Rica’s La Sele stays on World Cup track with 1-1 tie against Honduras Shirley Cruz could well be on her way to a impressive third Champions League title.Her club Paris Saint-Germain beat Bayern Munich 4-0 in Wednesday’s decisive quarterfinal game thanks in part to a beautiful goal from Cruz in the 42nd minute. The Costa Rican midfielder stole the ball straight from a Bayern defender right in front of the opponent’s box before lofting the ball over the goalie and into the net.https://twitter.com/alonso_chg7/status/847192145970843652Despite losing in the first of two legs 1-0, PSG was able to wipe away the single goal differential at home to win 4-1 on aggregate and advance easily to the women’s Champions League semifinals. The goal marks Cruz’s second in Paris’ last three Champions League games.Cruz has already won a Champions League title twice – in 2011 and 2012 – with former French club Lyon. The only other Costa Rican footballer with a Champions League title to his or her name is Keylor Navas, who lifted the trophy last year as the starting goalkeeper for Real Madrid.Cruz’s club had to work in the Round of 32 to reach this point as it was down a 3-1 score following the initial leg against Norway’s LSK Kvinner Fotballklubb. In the second game back in front of the home crowd at Parc des Princes in Paris, Cruz and company mounted a four-goal assault to top the Norwegians in aggregate and move on. The first leg of the women’s semifinals are set to begin April 22 and PSG will take on Barcelona.In the meantime, the 31-year-old captain of the Costa Rican women’s national team is expected back with La Sele for an April 9 friendly with Japan, the 2011 Women’s World Cup champions and the 2015 runner-up. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

PHOTOS Costa Ricas political dogs on Election Day

first_imgRelated posts:New poll in Costa Rica: another small Fabricio lead, another statistical dead heat Presidential candidates in Costa Rica close campaigns with San José rallies PHOTOS: Final pre-election activities for Costa Rica’s candidates Costa Rica’s Election Day: They all thought they’d win, and so did I Costa Ricans voted in droves during yesterday’s presidential elections. A total of 67.03 percent of the electorate turned out to vote, the first time that turnout has increased for a second round election. But voters weren’t the only ones that showed up to the polls.A World Animal Protection study estimates that half of Costa Rica’s households have a dog, and several of the country’s canines turned up with their owners yesterday. While none of the dogs were of voting age or species, they still flew their political colors while their owners voted for Costa Rica’s next president. Luna the French poodle enjoying Election Day. Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times A happy National Restoration supporter and her dog at night at the Paseo Colón in San José. Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times Macha supporting the Citizen Action Party (PAC). Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times Another dog supporting the Citizen Action Party (PAC). Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times Carolina Vargas and her dog Dino spreading the love. Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Our favorite photos from the Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center

first_imgRelated posts:Inside Costa Rica’s Sloth Sanctuary: Horror show or a solution to a complicated issue? Katja Bader and the animals of Jacó Slothy Sunday: A lazy, sunny afternoon Facebook Comments The Tico Times recently visited the Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center, a non-profit with a mission to rescue, rehabilitate and release animals back into their natural habitat.Of course, we took pictures. Check out our favorites in the gallery.Learn more about the Animal Rescue Center here.last_img

Spain Supreme Court judge resigns over beach trips

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family MADRID (AP) – The chief justice of Spain’s Supreme Court has resigned amid allegations he billed the government for dozens of private trips to seaside resorts.Carlos Divar, 70, announced his resignation Thursday at a meeting of a 20-member judicial oversight board of which he is also the chairman.A board official who attended said Divar denied any wrongdoing, and said was stepping down after a month of headline-grabbing pressure to avert further damage to the image of Spain’s judicial branch. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img The complaint was filed by another member of the oversight board. It asserted Divar filed for reimbursement for trips to resorts like Marbella when they were personal in nature. Divar says they were work-related.The board official said the body’s practice is that judges don’t need to justify their travel expenses.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Patients with chronic pain give advice 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories last_img read more

Gazans thank Iran for help in battling Israel

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Associated PressGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Residents of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday plastered large billboards in key locations thanking Iran for its help during a recent eight-day battle against Israel.The posters reflected the strong ties between Iran and the Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups in Gaza. Israel considers Iran to be its most dangerous enemy, citing Iran’s support for the militants and its suspect nuclear program. During the fighting, Gaza militants groups fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, including Iranian-made “Fajr” missiles reaching as far as Tel Aviv and the outskirts of Jerusalem.Israel has long accused Iran of funneling weapons into the Gaza Strip, but only recently have the militant groups openly acknowledged the origins of their arsenal.The posters, displayed at busy intersections through Gaza, show the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, surrounded by Iranian and Palestinian flags, two hands in a handshake with the words, “Thanks and Gratitude to Iran” in Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi.The posters were not signed, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives said their groups had nothing to do with them. But their prominent location, at busy intersections and next to a destroyed Hamas security compound, as well as the fact that they were not removed, indicated that the militants were involved in the effort. Hamas has ruled Gaza with a firm hand since overrunning the territory in 2007.Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders have also publicly thanked Iran.Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev accused the Hamas leadership of putting its interests above those of the people of the Gaza Strip. “I don’t think anyone should be surprised by the connection between Hamas and Iran, because they share the same extremists and hateful ideology,” he said.Israel launched the offensive in Gaza on Nov. 14 in response to months of intensifying Palestinian rocket fire. Israel launched roughly 1,500 airstrikes at Palestinian rocket launchers and storage sites. While Israel claims to have inflicted heavy damage, the militants continued to fire rockets until a cease-fire was declared on Nov. 21.In eight days of fighting, more than 160 Palestinians, including dozens of civilians, were killed, according to Palestinian medical officials. Six Israelis were killed.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous oflast_img read more

Activists Kuwait UAE sentences for tweets

first_imgKUWAIT CITY (AP) – Twitter users in two Gulf Arab countries received prison terms Monday, rights activist said, in the latest sign of widening crackdowns in the region on social media for posts considered offensive or against state security.The court decisions in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are likely to bring renewed protests from international rights groups accusing Gulf authorities of using codes against dissent to try to muzzle open expression on the Internet. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone In Kuwait, a court sentenced a Twitter user, Musaab Shamsah, to five years in prison after he was convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad, said activist Nawaf al-Hendal.Sahmsah was arrested following a Twitter post he allegedly made in May that made references to the descendants of Islam’s prophet. The post, since taken down, could be taken as endorsing Shiite beliefs in the Sunni-ruled country.In the UAE, a state worker, Waleed al-Shehhi, received a two-year sentence and a fine of 500,000 dirhams ($137,000) after conviction on state security charges for Twitter posts in May about the trial of 94 people suspected of ties to an Islamist faction, which authorities claim seeks to undermine the country’s ruling system, said prominent UAE activist Ahmed Mansoor.In July, 69 of the defendants were convicted of trying to overthrow the state.There was no immediate comment from authorities in either country on the cases.In Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, three lawyers are facing trial over social media posts allegedly criticizing authorities.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Patients with chronic pain give advice 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Sponsored Stories last_img read more

French bid to disarm African militias a challenge

first_img Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairycenter_img PARIS (AP) – Military analysts say French forces trying to disarm fighters in Central African Republic must be smart, careful and quick about handing the lead to multinational African peacekeepers.It’s a particularly dangerous and complex mission in a capital that remains on edge after hundreds died in an eruption of sectarian violence.With French troops patrolling parts of the capital, some families started venturing out Wednesday to bury their dead. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The perils of the French mission came clear when two French soldiers were killed in a nighttime foot patrol Monday. A former colonial power, France beefed up its military presence last week, and a major aim of the mission is disarming fighters involved in recent interreligious strife between the majority Christians and a Muslim minority.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

AP NewsBreak Russia US close on Iran snapback sanctions

first_imgThat would be at variance with the usual rule of consensus. Still, it could ease Russian and Chinese opposition to the “snap-back” principle.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. VIENNA (AP) — Moscow and Washington are close to agreement on a formula that bridges differences over U.S. demands to quickly re-impose U.N. sanctions on Iran if Tehran violates its commitments under a nuclear deal, officials told The Associated Press Tuesday.Such an understanding would resolve a U.S.-Russian dispute that threatened to scuttle an agreement meant to impose long term cuts on Iran’s nuclear programs in exchange for sanctions relief. Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Washington sees a “snap-back” mechanism that allows previously lifted sanctions to be quickly reinstated as a cornerstone of any deal. Ben Rhodes, U.S. President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, told reporters last week that such a concept remained “the basic premise of our approach to sanctions.”But Russia opposes any automatic triggers.A permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, it has vetoed attempts by the U.S. and other Western council members to introduce such measures on other issues in the past. Opposed to such a precedent, it also rejects such a mechanism as part of the Iran nuclear deal now being worked on.The two officials demanded anonymity because they were not allowed to discuss the confidential negotiations. They declined to go into details on the eve of a new round of Iran-six power talks on the expert level in Vienna and ahead of a June deadline for a deal.But comments by France’s ambassador to Washington Tuesday hinted at the possible compromise being worked on.Gerard Araud said no structure was yet in place for snapping back sanctions but the basic premise would entail a majority vote of the five permanent Security Council members — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

At Mexicos narco cemetery graves await the inevitable

first_img Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Workmen on Wednesday were laying bricks and pouring concrete on one sleek, two-story modern-style crypt. Such tombs are sometimes built in advance, according to those familiar with the cemetery’s patrons.In front of the cemetery’s gates, municipal police set up a check point and searched cars. But it wasn’t to look for Guzman; it was to check for traffic infractions and stolen vehicles.Top drug cartel lieutenants sometimes buy dozens of burial plots in advance at the Jardines de Humaya, to make sure there is space for their people when they meet their end.But many of the top drug lords’ tombs have space that could hold dozens of graves. Some are outfitted with air conditioning, alarm systems — even living rooms with furniture. Many are decorated with sculptures or paintings of saints, Jesus or the Virgin of Guadalupe, despite their violent lifestyles.Juan Carlos Ayala, a professor at the state University of Sinaloa who studies the philosophy of the narco culture, said the drug traffickers’ lives are often “ephemeral,” with ten or 15 years at the trade, at most.“It is a desire to show the power they had, and the need to carry that on,” he said. “They feel that the opulence of the crypt could be a way to keep their memory alive among the people.” How do cataracts affect your vision? 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility CULIACAN, Mexico (AP) — Palatial tombs mark the final resting spots of top narcotics traffickers in the Jardines de Humaya cemetery in the Sinaloa state capital of Culiacan.The cemetery is known for the extravagant tombs built for deceased drug lords like Ignacio Coronel and Arturo Beltran Leyva.Drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman hails from this region and there had been fears he would seek revenge against those who turned against him while he was prison. But his escape doesn’t seem to have sparked additional violence in this area, apparently with few new burials here in the nearly two weeks since he slipped out of Mexico’s highest-security prison. Some tombs are meticulously well kept, but other burial sites are strewn with trash or streaked by rust and peeling paint.“The problem is that after the drug trafficker dies and they build them this monumental tomb, their families, widows, children, often wind up in poverty, and the tombs decay,” Ayala noted.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Record increase in South African tourist figures

first_imgSouth Africa is hailing 2010 as a bumper year in tourism, when numbers of foreign arrivals increased by a record 15.1 per cent.South Africa tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk made the announcement on Thursday, stating the country had received more than eight million arrivals last year, compared to seven million the previous year.“This compares very well in international terms,” he said.“Figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) show that global tourism arrivals [are] estimated to have grown by 6.7 per cent in 2010, which means that South Africa outperformed the global market by more than eight per cent.”Mr van Schalkwyk attributed last year’s FIFA World Cup as a major reason for the record increase, saying more than 309,000 tourists arrived in the country specifically for the tournament – about four per cent of the total arrivals figure for 2010.“South Africa in fact recorded a peak in tourist arrivals in June and July 2010, which is traditionally our low season,” he said.”The World Cup was not only a particular highlight for our country, but also a victory for the entire tourism industry.“The tourism sector did an excellent job of hosting hundreds of thousands of guests and contributed to ensuring unprecedented global exposure for our beautiful destination and its hospitable people.”During last month’s Meetings Africa 2011 conferences, Mr van Schalkwyk said the World Cup had given South African business tourism “a new sense of energy and direction” and proved the country’s ability to host major international events. Mr van Schalkwyk reaffirmed this on Thursday, and called on the industry to capitalise on the benefits sown from the World Cup into the future.“I would like to call on the entire industry to continue to build on this positive affirmation of our country and to aggressively entrench our core tourism markets and attract exciting emerging markets,” he said.”The 15.1 per cent growth in tourist arrivals to South Africa outperformed that of every other region in the world, including arrivals growth of 13.9 per cent for the Middle East, 12.6 per cent for Asia and the Pacific, 7.7 per cent for the Americas, 6.4 per cent for Africa and 3.2 per cent for Europe.”Mr van Schalkwyk said arrivals from the Americas grew the fastest last year with a 37.4 per cent increase from 2009, followed by Asia and Australasia at 34.6 per cent.“Long haul markets grew the fastest in 2010, showing an increase of 21%, and the strong growth of 14% from air markets within our continent is also particularly encouraging,” he said.”The UK, USA, Germany, the Netherlands and France remain the top five overseas source markets. Notable countries where considerable tourism growth to South Africa was recorded in 2010 include India with growth of 29.7 per cent, China with an increase of 62.3 per cent, Brazil with growth of 66.7 per cent and Nigeria with an increase of nearly 10 per cent, albeit from relatively low bases.“We are delighted with these strong growth figures, particularly as it comes so soon after a global economic recession,” he said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: V.Vlast_img read more

RCI Pacific Awarded Industry Gong At ATHOC Awards

first_imgRCI, the global leader in vacation exchange, todayannounced that RCI Pacific was recognised at the 21st annual Australian Timeshare andHoliday Ownership Council (ATHOC) industry awards. The awards were presented on July 20 at the Gold Coast Arts Centre, where more than280 industry heavyweights enthusiastically cheered on winners and celebrated yetanother successful year for the industry. RCI Strategic Data Analyst Roland Porst beat out some tough competition to take homethe distinguished newcomerof the year award. Commenting on the win, Charisse Cox, managing director of RCI Pacific, said:“Identifying opportunities for change and implementing processes to improve businessefficiency are areas that successful organisations recognise as imperative for growth andcontinued success. Roland is a shining example of why we invest heavily in staffengagement. We have found that our employees are more productive and forthcomingwith innovative suggestions regardless ofhow long they have worked at RCI.” Roland Porst & Charisse Cox, RCI Pacific, Managing Director Source = RCIlast_img read more