APTN National NewsThe Assembly of First Nations electoral officer has yet to release any nomination documents yet but that isn’t stopping potential candidates from declaring that they’re running for the top job at the Assembly of First Nations.And Wednesday night the Chiefs of Ontario got together to talk about what qualities they want in the next national chief.APTN’s Delaney Windigo reports.
Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce dominated the rest of the field to win the World Championships 100-meter title in Moscow Monday.The sprinter improved on her world leading time, finishing in 10.71 seconds, ahead by .22 seconds from silver medalist Muriel Ahoure of the Ivory Coast.Fraser-Pryce was in the clear lead by the 50-meter mark and none of her competitors were able to make up any ground on the Jamaican in the latter half of the race.The 26-year-old has established herself as the top sprinter in the world in recent years. She won the same title in Berlin in 2009, as well as the Olympic gold in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.“I had my obstacles – I was starting to feel pain under my left butt cheek,” Fraser-Pryce said. “It was really hurting but I knew what I worked for.”“I am surrounded by great people, I came here and did my best and actually won,” she said.Defending world champion Carmelita Jeter of the United States settled for the bronze medal.
Shokaler KhoborThe print edition of daily Shokaler Khobor was shut down ‘temporarily’ on Thursday.Mehnaj Kabir, chief marketing and communication officer of Rangkan Holdings Limited which owns the daily, said, “We had decided to publish the newspaper in 2009. But, the media house has failed to make profit. Thus, we have decided to shut down the print edition of the newspaper.”“Despite the loss, we continued running the project with subsidy. We even tried to sell the ownership, but to no avail.”He also said a committee, formed in this regard, has started working to look into what can be done with the newspaper.The daily’s journalists and other employees will be given their dues as per 8th Wage Board within 25 September, he added.A journalist, on condition of anonymity, said there were more than 300 journalists and employees in the media house.The authorities said their jobs will remain effective till 30 September.
Kolkata: With prompt action following the direction of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the state Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and Textiles department has decided to organise as many as eight synergies for districts in cluster form to give a further boost to the sector.Moreover, a calendar containing the schedule of the synergies, visit of officials at the district level and single-window video conference will also be prepared and it will be strictly followed to extend support to entrepreneurs for further growth of Bengal’s MSME sector. This comes following the directions given by the Chief Minister in the recently held State MSME Conclave to prepare a roadmap for further intervention in the grassroots level to extend support to entrepreneurs from the sector. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAlapan Bandyopadhyay, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) of the department, held a high-level meeting with top officials of the department and directorates on Friday, sources said. There was detailed discussion on all the points that the Chief Minister had mentioned during her address at the inaugural session of the two-day-long conclave and a set of decisions have also been taken up with a stress on the issues including district visit by officials, synergies and setting up of more clusters in the rural areas. According to an official, around 10 to 12 plans of action have been taken up. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedAccording to sources, there will be synergies in districts every three months in cluster mode. The Chief Minister had directed to hold synergies by bringing three to four districts under one cluster.Following the direction, it has been decided that eight synergies will be held in which senior officials starting from ACS of the department to the Industrial Development Officers (IDOs) of the area will be present to discuss various issues related to the MSME. If everything goes as planned, there will be two synergies for North Bengal districts and one for entrepreneurs from Malda, North and South Dinajpur.Another one will be organised for entrepreneurs from Murshidabad, Nadia and North 24-Parganas. There will be a separate synergy for Jangalmahal districts — Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore. Another similar programme will be hosted by bringing Hooghly, Howrah and South 24-Parganas districts, which are very close to Kolkata, under one cluster for the synergy. East Midnapore is the only district for which exclusively a synergy will be organised at Haldia.A district visit proposal is also getting prepared and if everything goes as planned, a joint director of the Directorate of MSME will be visiting at least one district every month, while the director of the directorate will be visiting two districts in a month. A joint director will supervise four districts.The date of the single window video conference has also been finalised besides talking up necessary measures for the export promotion of the MSME products.
Conservationists concerned about tourism boom in Canada’s parks EDMONTON — Parks Canada is preparing for an increase in visitors this year as people across the country and around the world request free annual passes to explore the nation’s natural treasures as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebration.Conservationists say it is important for people to connect with nature, but there are concerns about how more tourists may affect the ecological integrity of some of the more popular parks.Ben Gadd, a retired nature guide and author of “Handbook of the Canadian Rockies,” said he is worried about increased vehicle traffic.“Clearly the highway system in the mountain parks — it is going to be terrible next summer all summer long,” said Gadd, who has been hiking in the region since 1968.“When you have that situation and animals trying to cross there are going to be more accidents, more animals killed.”Gadd said he is also concerned about crowded attractions, trash and people feeding or getting too close to wildlife.He hopes there are enough staff to properly maintain the parks and to explain the rules to visitors, especially newbies.According to Parks Canada, more than 900,000 people ordered a free Discovery Pass in the first two weeks after they became available last month.The government predicts visits to national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas will top last year’s attendance of about 24.5 million.More news: Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckEric Hebert-Daly, national executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, said the Parks Canada plan is a good idea in principle, but there are some dangers.Some parks such as Banff, Jasper and the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario are already very busy. Adding more people could take away from their grandeur, he said.Hebert-Daly said the government should consider better ways to handle traffic in busy parks, including the increased use of shuttle buses.There are also not enough wardens and scientists to monitor the health of the parks, he said.“This may be the year where we realize just how overstretched some of these places are,” Hebert-Daly said.Canada’s national parks have a long history of attracting tourists eager to view wildlife and wilderness. Increased media attention is expected to draw even more visitors.National Geographic Traveler magazine has put the Banff area on its “Best of the World” list of 21 must-see places in 2017 and Parks Canada has been busy promoting on social media as part of the Canada 150 campaign.On Dec. 1 so many people jumped online to get a free annual pass that the department’s computer system slowed to a crawl.Ed Jager with Parks Canada said staff know they are in for a busy year.The number of cleaning and maintenance crews has been increased to ensure facilities will be kept in shape and that garbage doesn’t attract wildlife, he said.More news: Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsJager said online orders for annual passes are being tracked to get a sense of which parks will see more traffic. Information about park rules is being sent to visitors.Parks Canada is also trying to take some heat off of more popular parks by promoting other, less-visited destinations.The department has released a list of “ten hidden gems” across Canada for people to explore including the Mingan Archipelago National Park reserve in Quebec, L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site in Newfoundland and Labrador and Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan.“We can’t actually love our parks to death — I think the death of our parks is when nobody wants to come to them and when they don’t care about them anymore,” he said.“We would much rather be in this place then in a place where nobody is showing up.”Parks Canada plans to open its online reservation system (www.pc.gc.ca/eng/voyage-travel/reserve.aspx) for campsites starting with some parks in British Columbia on Jan. 3 and adding more parks across the country throughout the month.While annual park passes are free in 2017, there are still fees for campsites, firewood and backcountry passes. Share Tags: Sunwing Tuesday, January 3, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> By: John Cotter
Jean Sorensen VANCOUVER — Martial artist and film star Jackie Chan tells everyone that Vancouver is the city that made him famous in North America. As Hong Kong Airlines (HKA) kicks into its first North American stop in its long-haul strategy, it is hopeful that its new brand ambassador Chan will work the same charm for it.HKA touched down its inaugural nonstop daily flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver on June 30 and scheduled its first Vancouver departure to coincide with Canada Day, the nation’s 150th birthday and also the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong leaving British rule.With Chan as a member of the arrival team on board, the A330-200 (with 264 seats including 18 business class) received the traditional water cannon salute on landing and was met by dignitaries and YVR fanfare, including YVR airport chief executive officer Craig Richmond, who spoofed a fight video ‘Rumble at YVR’ promoting the star’s arrival.The airline is looking to garner all the publicity it can get as it enters the highly competitive Vancouver-Hong Kong market where it is sparring off against two heavyweights – Cathay Pacific and Air Canada – for direct flight traffic. There’s no doubt Chan was a draw. He participated at various Canada Day celebrations in downtown Vancouver at Canada Place, did a meet and greet for departing Vancouver passengers and met with the press and industry members at an evening function.“We are honored to be in Canada,” said George Liu, Chief Marketing Officer for Hong Kong Airlines, speaking at the evening session where industry and press members met with Chan at the upscale Fairmont Pacific Rim.“Vancouver made me famous,” said Chan, referring to Vancouver as his favorite Canadian city. In 1995 Chan filmed ‘Rumble in the Bronx’, a film that established his presence in the North American film industry. Chan, who was already a star in Asia, now has 150 films to his credit.More news: Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaChan is also known for this charity work, having founded several charitable organizations in Hong Kong. Meanwhile Hong Kong Airlines is known for its student program providing free airline tickets to groups of deserving students. At the Vancouver event, the airline and Chan linked up with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and presented 20 free airline tickets to the foundation’s students, enabling them to travel to Hong Kong to study.Hong Kong Airlines is pushing to break out from its traditional regional role and that’s not surprising as many regional carriers in the Asian and Middle Eastern countries are struggling against a shrinking market. Regional carriers in Asia and the Middle East are also seeing their market erode as new rapid transit rail services are being introduced. As well, governments are limiting new routes. In order to survive, the regional carriers are looking to larger markets and eyeing long-hauls.But regional carriers have a challenge: growing pains. Founded in 2006, HKA is a regional, low-cost carrier that, as a regional, has earned good Skytrax votes, landing it a second place standing in the world ratings. But its name is lacking in Skytrax’s international rankings, lead by giants such as Cathay Pacific. Regional carriers may find that metrics like their reputations for onboard wine and dining can lag as well.HKA says it has pulled out all the stops to upgrade its food and bar service on the Vancouver-Hong Kong route. At the Vancouver function, the airline introduced foods and a special drink it created for business class passengers travelling on the route.“Vancouver is world-renowned for having some of the best Cantonese food outside of Hong Kong,” said Christopher Birt, HKA’s general manager of inflight services. Business class passengers on the route out of Vancouver enjoy dishes prepared by award-winning Dynasty Seafood Restaurant. Fairmont hotel mixologist David Wolowidnyk created a signature drink, the Bauhinia (the flower on the HKA logo), available at the bar in business class and served during the Friday evening function.More news: AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsHong Kong Airlines says it hasn’t forgotten economy class travellers, with treats including gourmet popcorn complimenting the four preloaded movies available in-flight. HKA is a full-service airline with free inflight meals. It allows passengers up to two 23 kg checked bags (or two 32 kg bags in business class).The airline is seeing Vancouver as a major gateway – and starting point – and is planning more North American expansions over the next few years. It faces two hurdles: a fleet realignment to accommodate more long-haul traffic, and a shortage of pilots. In June HKA (which has Mainland China ownership) announced it was launching its own pilot training program based in New Zealand. HKA is seeing a shortage of pilots and has planned, according to its press information, to increase its fleet size to 50 aircraft by 2019, a one-third expansion.Hong Kong Airlines will take delivery of its first A350-900s this year, with new A330-300s arriving next year to help boost capacity on regional services. In early June HKA signed a codeshare agreement with Virgin Airways for 11 Australian destinations and is looking to enter the London market in the near future, but airline analysts predict it will seek out a codeshare partner to help on the highly competitive long-haul route out of Hong Kong. << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Posted by Tags: Hong Kong Airlines Film star Jackie Chan kick-starts Hong Kong Airlines’ Vancouver route Thursday, July 6, 2017
<< Previous PostNext Post >> WTM London taps into rapidly expanding tours and activities sector Share Travelweek Group Thursday, October 4, 2018 Tags: London, WTM Posted by LONDON — Organizers for WTM London say they will highlight the “huge potential and rapid growth” for tours and activities product with a special area dedicated to tours and activities exhibitors at the Nov. 5 – 7 conference.Major names in the sector such as Merlin Entertainments, City Sightseeing and Leisure Pass Group have signed up for the new zone, along with regional specialists.A study by travel industry research specialist Phocuswright found that the tours and activities sector reached US$135 billion globally in 2016, accounting for 10% of global travel revenue – more than rail, car rental or cruise.Start-ups and major brands – including Expedia, Airbnb and TripAdvisor – have moved into the sector to fuel “astonishing” growth, said Phocuswright, which forecasts the market will reach $183 billion by 2020.iVenture Card will exhibit at WTM London to promote its city attraction passes to a global audience. Headquartered in Sydney, iVenture Card operates across five continents, offering its passes to consumers and the trade, enabling visitors to explore destinations in a convenient and cost-effective way.More news: Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongJoost Timmer, Managing Director, said being at WTM London will generate opportunities to extend the firm’s footprint in new destinations.“We can also connect with existing trade partners and meet new distributors keen to capitalise on this rapidly expanding segment,” he added.He said attraction passes are popular with many in the trade, including online travel agents, traditional travel agents, airlines, loyalty programmes and other closed-user groups – and they also increase exposure for the providers of tours and activities.Other exhibitors in WTM’s new tours and activities zone include Merlin Entertainments, Europe’s number one and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator. Merlin operates more than 100 attractions, 13 hotels and six holiday villages in 24 countries and across four continents.In September, it opened a new attraction for thrill-seekers, created with adventurer Bear Grylls.The £20 million Bear Grylls Adventure launched at the NEC in Birmingham and is designed to test adrenaline junkies both physically and mentally.More news: Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyAnother exhibitor, City Sightseeing Worldwide Ltd, is the world’s leading open-top bus tour operator with more than 100 tours across five continents including key destinations such as London, New York, Dubai, Cape Town, Moscow and Singapore.It will be joined at WTM by City Sightseeing sister brands from Rome, Barcelona, London, Dubai, Amsterdam Bus & Boat and New York.More tours and activities companies heading to WTM London include Gray Line, Cirque du Soleil, Leisure Pass Group and Big Bus Tours.