Gbenga Oluboye

Gbenga Oluboye

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Thursday, 14 December 2017 00:00

Medellín takes lead in Colombian tourism

The city of Medellín has received the largest increase in foreign visitors for 2016 in Colombia.

Visitor numbers from the UK grew by 14 per cent for the country as a whole and 38 per cent for the city of Medellín from 2015 to 2016.

Contributing to this phenomenal growth is the cultural transformation that has taken place in the city over the last ten years.

Winner of South America’s Leading City Break Destination in the 2016 World Travel Awards, Medellín is now recognised as a leading destination for holidays that combine culture, good weather, gastronomy and entertainment.

Next year and 2019 will see international hotels Hilton and Marriott open new build properties in Medellín.



Hilton will open two properties; the Hotel Hampton by Hilton and Hotel Hilton Plaza Gracia.

Marriott also intends to build two hotels in the city with one including a convention centre, which will open at the end of the year.

With UK citizens aged 25-34 travelling an average of 3.7 times annually, Medellín meets this demand with ease.

A number of events take place throughout the year, offering experiences that appeal to every traveller type.

The International Tango Festival that takes place in June, the famous Flower Festival in August, and the Lights Festival and Christmas Fair in December are all propitious moments to live the cultural heart of the city.

Clemencia Botero, destination promoting director of the Medellín Convention & Visitors Bureau, said: “With UK visitor numbers increasing by almost 40 per cent, it’s clear that the compelling cultural offerings and adventure tourism activities make Medellín a bucket list city break destination, and we look forward to welcoming many more visitors from the UK.”

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas will debut its authentic luxury in Brazil in mid-2018 with the launch of Anantara Maraú Bahia Resort.

The resort will offer an exciting new gateway to South America when it joins the brand’s luxury portfolio in July, following an investment of R$4 million in the renovation of the former Kiaroa Eco-Luxury Resort.

It will be the first Asian hotel flag to come to Brazil.

Poised to be a flagship hideaway, Anantara Maraú Bahia Resort will boast a beach setting next to the Bay of Camamu on the Maraú Peninsula in Bahia, along a stunning stretch of Atlantic coastline.

Proudly showcasing the country’s rich cultural and ethnic diversity, Bahia in northeast Brazil is renowned for its remarkable blend of African, indigenous and European influences.

Bringing five-star luxury with a sense of adventure to this extraordinary destination, guests of Anantara Maraú will arrive in style, jetting in by plane to the resort’s private landing strip.

Lush forest surrounds create a natural haven of tranquillity and the area basks in a year-round tropical climate, with pleasant temperatures ranging from 23°C to 32°C.

Celebrating Bahia’s ecotourism, the resort’s natural design and thatched roofing blends seamlessly with exotically landscaped gardens. 

Extensive manicured lawns are dotted with palm trees, leading to a pristine white sand beach. 

Anantara Maraú will initially offer a choice of 30 guest rooms, suites and bungalows.

This will be followed by the resort’s expansion which will add new suites and bungalows in beachfront and garden settings, some with a private pool.

World-class resort facilities will include an expansive swimming pool, with guests able to relax on loungers set out on the central pool island, with a gym, tennis and beach volleyball available for the more energetic.

The Anantara Spa will offer pampering journeys to beauty and wellness.

Dillip Rajakarier, chief executive, Minor Hotels, parent company of Anantara, commented: “We are really thrilled to be announcing our first Anantara in South America in Bahia in Brazil.

“The boutique 30-room resort will be the perfect addition to the luxury Anantara portfolio and represents Anantara’s first footprint over the Atlantic Ocean as the first property in the Americas.

“We are excited to see this property launch in mid-2018 and bring the brand’s authentic luxury to Brazil.”

Anantara currently operates 39 hotels and resorts in 13 countries in Asia, the Indian Ocean, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, with new properties to launch in 2018 in Brazil, Tunisia, Vietnam and China.

Passengers planning to fly with low-cost carrier Ryanair face potential disruption in the build-up to Christmas after staff announce plans for industrial action in a bid to win union recognition and better conditions.

Pilots and crew announced a series of plans across Europe.

In Ireland, a total of 79 pilots based in Dublin will strike for one day on December 20th.

The figure represents nearly a third of Ryanair’s Dublin-based captains.

At the same time, Ryanair pilots and cabin crew in Italy plan to strike for four hours on December 15th.

Pilots based in Portugal and Germany also plan industrial action, while Cockpit, the German pilots’ union, said its Ryanair members would strike for better pay and conditions if the airline refused to begin talks.

However, staff in Germany vowed not to disrupt flights over Christmas.

In a typically bullish statement Ryanair said it would deal with any such disruptions if, or when, they arise.

The carrier, however, said it apologised to customers for any upset or worry the threatened action by Dublin-based pilots may cause.

A statement from the carrier said: “Ryanair is surprised that Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association has threatened to disrupt Christmas week travel when IALPA’s own numbers confirm that it has the support of less than 28 per cent of Ryanair’s over 300 Dublin pilots and when Ryanair’s Belfast, Cork and Shannon bases have already agreed these 20 per cent pay deals.

“While some disruption may occur, Ryanair believes this will largely be confined to a small group of pilots who are working their notice and will shortly leave Ryanair, so they don’t care how much upset they cause colleagues or customers.”

Unions have long argued that their airline fails to offer pilots the same pay and conditions as rival low-cost carriers.

In September Ryanair said more than 2,000 flights would be cancelled this winter after it rearranged pilots’ rosters to comply with new aviation rules.

Later that month it announced 18,000 further flights would be cancelled over the winter season, affecting more than 700,000 passengers.

The cancellations have led to concerns over a shortage of pilots at the carrier.

Ryanair has already confirmed that any Dublin pilots who participate in this industrial action will be in breach of the Dublin base agreement and they will lose those agreed benefits which arise from dealing directly with Ryanair.

Thursday, 14 December 2017 00:00

TUI reports positive financial figures for 2017

This year was another “very good” period for TUI Group, the travel group said in a release detailing financial results for 2017.

In the period under review, TUI increased its underlying EBITA by 12 per cent, with turnover up 11.7 per cent.

Despite a challenging market environment, TUI again outperformed its guidance of delivering at least ten per cent growth in underlying EBITA.

“For the third consecutive year, we have delivered double-digit growth in our operating result.

“More than half of our earnings are delivered by TUI’s hotel and cruise companies.

“Our successful strategic realignment is also clearly reflected in our set of results.

“Thanks to the strong growth of our hotel and cruise brands, TUI now delivers stronger margins and is less seasonal, said” TUI chief executive, Fritz Joussen.

In the period under review, from October 1st, 2016, to September 30th this year, TUI Group delivered turnover growth of 11.7 per cent to €19.2 billion, up from €17.2 billion at constant currency.

Including foreign exchange effects, turnover also rose substantially by 8.1 per cent to €18.5 billion.

Underlying EBITA at constant currency climbed by 12 per cent to €1.12 billion (previous year €1 billion).

Including foreign exchange effects, it grew by 10.2 per cent to €1.10 billion.

“Our business profile is now much more evenly structured across the entire year.

“The clear focus on investments in high-margin hotels and ships was the core of the strategy for the new TUI following the merger in 2014,” said Joussen.

“We are investing in new hotels and modern cruise ships.

“And we pay an attractive dividend to our shareholders.

“We are seeking to continue this path.”

TUI has south to transform itself and has become a completely different organisation over the past five years.

“TUI 2017 is not comparable with TUI 2012,” said Joussen.

“While the group in essence was a tour operator, TUI is now a developer, investor and operator of hotel and cruise businesses.

“We will continue to invest in our own hotel and cruise companies to generate further growth.”

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