Hong Kongs a bargain these days with lower than usual airfares hotel

first_imgHong Kong’s a bargain these days with lower than usual airfares, hotel rates Share Tuesday, June 6, 2017 Travelweek Group Tags: Hong Kong, Taiwancenter_img TORONTO — The number of Canadians visiting Hong Kong is up 3% year to date and more air capacity coming later in 2017 will boost that result even higher, says the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Executive Director Anthony Lau.Lau is happy with all the competition in the skies, with more than a dozen airlines offering Hong Kong flights out of Vancouver and several operating the route out of Toronto. There are also a ton of flights operating to Hong Kong out of the U.S. “We are very confident with the North American market. Good airfares, good hotel rates – to me that means good growth.”Lau says Hong Kong’s favourable hotel rates should stick around for a few years, with more inventory on the way. Currently there are 78,000 hotel rooms in Hong Kong; in a few years, that number will hit 82,000.Hong Kong is a tourism powerhouse and lately it’s been bringing other destinations large and small along for the ride. After successful joint marketing endeavours with mainland China and Thailand, in March 2016 the Hong Kong Tourism Board announced it was teaming up with Taiwan to promote multi-destination travel to Asia. With all three add-on destinations, packages skew to city/beach, city/culture and city/heritage.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochure“When you take the time to come to Asia, as a long-haul traveller you want to stay a while. You need a secondary destination,” said Lau.A year later, the HKTB says the campaign has achieved “remarkable results”, with the number of Canadians visiting Taiwan and Hong Kong during the same trip recording double-digit growth in 2016.The Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB) and the HKTB will continue the partnership in 2017. There are now 19 Canadian tour operators offering joint Hong Kong – Taiwan packages, says HKTB Canada Director Michael Lim, who adds that the HKTB has been busy promoting the two-destination packages with trade fams and workshops.There are currently over 70 direct flights a week connecting Canada to Taiwan and Hong Kong, and this is expected to increase by 21% in 2017. Taiwan and Hong Kong are linked by over 60 flights a day and are 80 minutes apart by plane. For Canadian visitors, there’s no need for a Taiwan visa for visits less than 72 hours.Developing new product is crucial for any destination, and the Taiwan partnership is just one of many ways Hong Kong is looking to re-package itself to visitors. The city gets a 50/50 mix of first-timers and repeat arrivals. For many years now Hong Kong has promoted its shopping, and while the retail product is impressive, Lau says it will take more than Hong Kong’s famous markets and retail shops to lure modern travellers, especially younger travellers. “Shopping is a key activity but it shouldn’t be the only thing,” he says. “We need to talk more about our living culture and green tourism.” Other core strengths for the city include its unique vibe of East meets West, and dining.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongHong Kong has also rebranded a section of the Central business district as Old Town Central, with self-directed walking tour maps available for travellers looking to walk the footsteps of Hong Kong’s history. “Central is our business centre but it’s also where Hong Kong’s history started,” said Lau. “There are a lot of stories here.”Similar efforts are underway to reimagine another half dozen areas around the city, “to create new stories”.And what destinations could be next for joint tourism marketing initiatives? Lau said the HKTB is happy with mainland China, Thailand and Taiwan for now but down the line might look at Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia or Myanmar. Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Trump expected to announce new Cuba policy on Friday

first_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> BRANCHBURG, N.J. — President Donald Trump is expected to outline his new policy with Cuba this week, announcing steps that could reverse some of the changes made by former President Barack Obama to open commerce and travel after a half-century standoff with the communist island.The Trump administration has been discussing policy changes that include prohibiting business with the Cuban military while maintaining the full diplomatic relations restored by Obama. The White House has also been debating new restrictions on American leisure travel to Cuba, which has more than tripled since Obama’s 2014 announcement.Trump is expected to announce the policy on Friday in Miami, according to a person familiar with the plan. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning. The White House said the timing of the announcement had not yet been finalized.Obama’s policy moves have led to extensive corporate investment on the island, including new, daily commercial flights, licenses for U.S. hotel operators and agricultural investment by U.S. companies. Trump will be under pressure from lawmakers and corporate interests to continue the U.S. engagement with Havana.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesTourism to Cuba remains illegal under U.S. law, but has become allowable under many circumstances. American travellers to the island must fall into one of 12 categories of justification for their travel, ranging from religious to educational activities meant to bring the traveller into contact with Cuban people.But Obama eliminated restrictions on “people to people” travel, opening the door for tens of thousands of travellers to book their own independent trips to Cuba. Opponents of Obama’s changes said that allowed many Americans to engage in prohibited tourism on an island where the Castro government has driven exiles from their homes and businesses for decades.The president, who was spending the weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, has been developing the policy changes in consultation with members of Congress, including Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.Rubio said in a statement he was confident Trump would “keep his commitment on Cuba policy by making changes that are targeted and strategic and advance the Cuban people’s aspirations for economic and political liberty.” By: Ken ThomasSource: The Associated Press Trump expected to announce new Cuba policy on Friday Tags: Cuba, Donald Trump Monday, June 12, 2017 last_img read more

Turkey in recovery mode looks for 50 million visitors by 2023

first_imgTags: Turkey Tuesday, August 8, 2017 Share Posted by Travelweek Group center_img NEW YORK — The new Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey has set a target of 50 million international visitors to Turkey by 2023.Dr. Numan Kurtulmus, Turkey’s Minister of Culture and TourismThe Hon. Professor Dr. Numan Kurtulmus, speaking in New York City about his strategic vision for increasing travel and tourism as the engine for improving relationships between countries and cultures, said tourism to Turkey has started to recover.While the 50 million visitors goal is expected to generate US$50 billion in economic impact, Kurtulmus said the most valuable result of increasing tourism is forming the foundation for a stronger global community through the better sharing of ideas and values between cultures.“Few countries have as wide a variety of tourism and cultural attractions as Turkey, including – and, perhaps most importantly – its figurative and physical position as a bridge between East and West that embraces visitors from across the globe,” he said.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is back“We see this strength as vital to our vision for bringing communities together, and we will invest heavily in public and private partnerships to ensure we are developing these tourism products to diversify our markets and audiences.”Turkey has already made progress towards its goals this year, with tourism to the country up 14.05% during the first six months of 2017, and up by 36.53% in June this year compared to June 2016.The country’s tourism assets are also being recognized in 2017 with the UNESCO World Heritage Committee adding the Ancient Ruins of Aphrodisias to the World Heritage List in 2017, The New York Times’ naming the remote Aegean island of Bozcaada as one of its ‘Top 52 Places to Visit’ this year, and Newsweek naming the 13th Istanbul Biennial on of the world’s top five exhibitions worth travelling for.“Turkey is one of the most diverse destinations in the world, with a richness of history, archeology, gastronomy and geography from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, combined with art and culture that spans the ages yet is at the forefront modern innovation,” Kurtulmus said.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in July“I invite travellers from all over the world to discover the beauty of our country, whether the new UNESCO World Heritage site Aphrodisias, or the remote island of Bozcaada … with so many varied characteristics, combined with Turkey’s history of hospitality from millennia of civilizations making the land their home, we have the potential to enrich our global community through cultural diplomacy.” Turkey in recovery mode, looks for 50 million visitors by 2023 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

New NCL cruises Bolivia itineraries free Galapagos cruise more in Goways 2018

first_imgTags: Brochures, Goway Travel, Latin America, Norwegian Cruise Line Travelweek Group TORONTO — Goway’s new 2018 Central and South America Travel Planner, featuring new destinations, products and competitive pricing, is being hailed as a comprehensive selling tool for South and Central America as well as the Polar regions.New additions this year include Norwegian Cruises in South America, which offer travellers increased flexibility. With NCL Freestyle Cruising, they can travel from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina, or from Miami to LAX via the Panama Canal. Cruising with Norwegian means no fixed dining times, relaxed attire, several distinct dining options, relaxed disembarkation and more lounges, bars and entertainment.Goway’s Holidays of a Lifetime have also been streamlined. The popular ‘Cradle of the Incas’ tour, which covers the highlights of Peru, has been reduced in price by $1,100, now starting at $4,499. This tour can be combined with the nine-day ‘Tango and Waterfalls’ tour in Brazil and Argentina, creating the 17-day ‘Signature South America’ program priced from $11,599.Next year will seethe introduction of some truly unique departures in the Amazon during which clients can join famed conservationist Jean-Michel Cousteau and join in interactive Q&A sessions. There are also VIP itineraries to Peru, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil that cater to upscale clientele featuring top-level service.More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthIntroduced in 2017 and proving popular among clients is the Belmond Andean Explorer train, South America’s only luxury sleeper train. A sister train to the celebrated Andean Explorer, it takes explorers to and from Machu Picchu and boasts refined Andean cuisine, an Observation Lounge and spa cars.The luxury market continues to grow for Goway, and noting this trend, it’s offering a new luxury offering to Bolivia. The eight- or nine-day ‘Deluxe Chile and Bolivia’ allows guests to see the sights onboard customized Air Stream RVs.On the other end of the spectrum, budget-minded travellers will be pleased to learn that Goway has expanded its offerings in the Wonders series. The addition of the eight-day ‘Natural Highlights of Costa Rica’ and the nine-day ‘Wonders of Rio, Iguassu Falls and Buenos Aires’ add to the range of small group, budget trips on set dates.In the Galapagos, Goway has added the Galapagos Royal Palm Resort and Pikaia Lodge to its accommodation offerings. Four- to eight-day luxury land-based itineraries are available, alongside the more adventurous six-day ‘Galapagos Island Hopping’ itinerary during which clients move from one island to the other.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backA new Galapagos vessel on offer is the M/V Majestic, featuring nine air-conditioned double cabins, each with a private bathroom and hot shower. Other amenities include a sundeck with a Jacuzzi, a panoramic dining room and lounge, and modern furnishings. Four-, five- and eight-day itineraries are available.Last year, Goway introduced the only all-inclusive offering in the Galapagos with the ‘Silversea Silver Galapagos’ cruise. Due to its popularity, the all-inclusive model has now been extended to Antarctica onboard the Silver Cloud, considered the most spacious ice class vessel in expedition cruising. A limited number of guests onboard the vessel ensures the highest space-to-guest and crew-to-guest rations in expedition cruising.To celebrate the launch of the new 2018 brochure, Goway is offering a free three-night Galapagos cruise for any bookings, for any product in the 2018 Central, South America and the Polar Region Travel Planner, between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. Each booking equals one ballot to enter the draw.For more information email info@goway.com. Posted by New NCL cruises, Bolivia itineraries, free Galapagos cruise & more in Goway’s 2018 Travel Plannercenter_img Share Wednesday, October 11, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

WestJet Vacations bumping up change fees as of Nov 1

first_img Share Posted by Travelweek Group CALGARY — WestJet Vacations is increasing its change fee, from $75 to $100 per passenger starting Nov. 1. The cancellation fee will remain unchanged at $250 per passenger.Changes will be accepted 21 or more days before the passenger’s departure, at the new rate of $100. One name change is also permitted per booking, with 21 or more days’ notice before departure, also at the new rate of $100.Passengers flying on Plus Flexible fares are not subject to change or cancellation fees.Commission rates for WestJet Vacations bookings are unchanged with the new fee rates. WestJet Vacations pays commission on the full base package price (excluding taxes and fees) with no hidden surcharges. WestJet Vacations bumping up change fees as of Nov. 1center_img Tags: WestJet Vacations Friday, October 20, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Chicago has a strong start to 2018 with record visitors

first_imgTags: Chicago, Trend Watch << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Source: The Associated Press Chicago has a strong start to 2018 with record visitors CHICAGO — Continuing last year’s record-setting growth, Chicago set new tourism records in the first months of 2018.Mayor Rahm Emanuel says hotel demand increased by 12.5 per cent in January and February alone. He attributes the bulk of the growth to the business sector. The city held more meetings and conventions in the first months of 2018 than it did during the same time period in previous years.The leisure sector also set records for this period.This comes on the heels of unprecedented tourism numbers in 2017, when an estimated 55 million people visited the city. The high number of visitors led to an 11.3 per cent increase in hotel revenue per room.Emanuel says tourism creates more jobs and “injects billions of dollars” into the local economy. Monday, March 26, 2018 last_img read more

Disney outdoes itself again with new Pandora walking suit

first_img Monday, April 9, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Posted by LAKE BUENA VISTA — You think you’ve seen it all at Disney World? Think again.A 4.2-ton, towering mechanical suit is sure to stop guests in their tracks when it debuts at Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on April 22. The new ‘Pandora Utility Suit’ is inspired by the iconic Amplified Mobility Platform (AMP) suits of power armor from the epic film ‘Avatar’.Perched 10 feet high, a human pilot straps into the cockpit of this exo-carrier and controls its powerful, yet agile movements. The giant walking suit was designed with articulated hands and a shoulder span of more than five feet, and also bears claw marks and battle scars from a ‘Thanator’ (an alpha predator on Pandora).As the suit traverses the land daily, its pilot will interact with guests, share details about the land’s otherworldly landscape, and highlight the importance of preserving nature.The Pandora Utility Suit continues the collaboration between Disney and Lightstorm Entertainment that first brought Pandora – The World of Avatar to life nearly a year ago. The suit will debut April 22 as part of the 20th anniversary celebration of Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort.center_img Travelweek Group Disney outdoes itself (again) with new Pandora walking suit Tags: Disney, Theme Parks & Attractionslast_img read more

Save 100 per person on Bahia Principe group bookings with ACV

first_img Travelweek Group Tags: Air Canada Vacations, Deals Save $100 per person on Bahia Principe group bookings with ACV Thursday, August 9, 2018 MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations is giving groups a major break with an exclusive new offer for all Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean.Running until Aug. 31, the group promotion includes a $100 price reduction per person. This offer applies to adults only and is valid for new reservations made between July 30 and Aug. 31, 2018, for departures from Nov. 1 and onwards.Plus, groups can take advantage of additional perks like Price Drop Guarantee, free flights and stays, reduced rates on seat selection, group block seat selection on flights, private transfers, dedicated group coordinators and flexible stays (3-29 nights).Groups must have a minimum of eight people (ages two and up) to receive group perks with Air Canada Vacations.And new this year, Air Canada Vacations will honour the original contract price for any additional passengers if the group size increases by up to 20%. In addition, groups of eight adults only pay a $300 deposit while enjoying $2,000 in savings. This offer is valid for packages made by Oct. 31, 2018, for departures between Nov. 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterFor weddings, groups will receive a $500 flight credit for bookings made by Oct. 31, 2018. Newlyweds also enjoy additional perks like a complimentary site inspection, free seat selection, two free upgrades (including access to the Maple Leaf lounge), and a $500 future travel credit for their next vacation.For more information go to aircanadavacations.com.center_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bylast_img read more

Etsy comes to La Carpio

first_imgNo related posts. Browse the La Carpio Etsy store hereA group of U.S. college students from Long Island University (LIU) are helping a women’s craft cooperative in La Carpio, a low income community northwest of San José, to ship their products throughout Costa Rica and beyond. Composed predominantly of Nicaraguan immigrants to Costa Rica, the women’s cooperative is learning to use Etsy (www.etsy.com), an online store that features handmade and vintage clothes, crafts and other items. By selling their goods on Etsy, the women of La Carpio hope to be able to increase their revenue exponentially. The cooperative aims to help its artisans achieve economic independence. Many of them don’t have the necessary papers to get an official job, and others are single mothers. For those with husbands, a steady paycheck means more control of the household’s finances. The women create sling bags, cloth angels from recycled materials, picture frames from old newspapers and other crafts, but since their store is located in La Carpio, the only people who encounter the products are volunteers working with the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation (www.crhf.org). In  selling the crafts on Etsy, though, anyone who searches “sling bags”, for example, could discover the coooperative’s page. “It will be really interesting to see how the store translates to the Internet,” says Emilie Clark, a student in the LIU Global program and one of the creators of the Etsy project. “The women’s inspiration for the cloth angels is the love they have for the many angels in their lives, and the idea is that people will buy the dolls to express gratitude for one of their own angels. On Etsy, though, people will also buy the angels simply if they think they’re cute.” Also for sale on the Etsy account is a quilt the women made. Each square tells a story of immigration, abuse, poverty and self-trust. “They’re selling it for a thousand dollars,” says Clark. “If they’re going to part with it, at least the money will support them for a long time.” For the women, though, selling their crafts is about much more than money. It gives them respect in their community and it teaches their daughters that women can control their own fate.  -Sydney Boles  Facebook Commentslast_img read more

China approves Costa Rican beef exports

first_imgNo related posts. Chinese officials reported Tuesday that Costa Rica is officially included in the list of countries authorized to export beef to that country.During an August tour of Asia by Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, officials from both countries announced the forthcoming opening of the market for Costa Rican beef, pending delivery to the Asian country of health certificates.Foreign Trade Minister Anabel González said that China’s approval “is a win for the agricultural export sector, because that market offers great potential for our businesses, and we will continue working on the identification of potential niche markets for Costa Rican products.”Costa Rica already has approval for entry into China of bananas and cattle hides, and is working on the approval for pork, chicken, seafood, pineapple and melon. Permission for dairy products is in its final stage, according to PROCOMER.During the first year of entry into force of the China-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement, exports from Costa Rica to China increased 70 percent compared to the same period the previous year, before the trade agreement was implemented. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

OIJ arrests 3 doctors and pizzeria owner in organ trafficking sting in

first_imgEarlier this summer, Israeli customs agents alerted Costa Rica were alerted to suspicious travel by two Ticos. The interim attorney general did not expand on the connection with Israel, noting that the case was one of many. Jiménez said that the investigation currently focused domestically but if the evidence suggested that the ring had international reach they would pursue it. While OIJ said that there was no evidence yet suggesting that the management of the private clinics where some of the illicit surgeries took place were aware of the trafficking.In June, OIJ reported that some of the surgeries took place at the public Calderón Guardia Hospital and the private Clínica Bíblica hospital, both in San José.This story is developing. Follow updates at ticotimes.net. Facebook Comments Costa Rican Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) arrested three doctors this morning and the owner of a pizzeria in the latest phase of an investigation into organ trafficking in the Central American country.OIJ Director Francisco Segura estimated the number of victims at roughly 20, but said that the investigation was ongoing and encouraged others to come forward. The ring specialized in extracting and implanting kidneys. These are the latest arrests in a three-month investigation into the kidney trafficking network allegedly headed by Dr. Francisco José Mora Palma, arrested in June, who authorities said had been operating the illegal network since 2009. Thursday morning authorities arrested 48-year-old urologist Fabian Fonseca Guzmán; Massimiliano Anunzia Mauro Stamati, 41, urologist; Victor Hugo Monge Monge, 58, peripheral vascular doctor; and Dimosthenis Katsigiannis Karkasi, 55, owner of the Akropolis pizzeria. The ring used the pizzeria near the Calerdón Guardia Hospital to recruit their victims. “Donors” would meet with Karkasi who would take them to another nearby location where they would be put in touch with the surgeons and exchange money.Segura said that the arrests took place at the Calderón Guardia Hospital, in San José and another in Hacienda Pinilla, Santa Ana, Guanacaste. OIJ arrested Karkasi at his restaurant following the OIJ’s press conference Thursday morning.Authorities also raided homes and offices for evidence, including documents and electronic equipment.Acting Attorney General Carlos María said that those arrested played various roles in the ring, from its mastermind to recruiters to those “who bloodied their hands,” the surgeons. The acting attorney general described the victims as people in dire straights or those with little economic means, but not necessarily indigent. He added that the victims identified so far came from various locations across Costa Rica.Reportedly, “donors” were paid between $6,000 and $20,000 for a kidney. Jiménez said that the organs were likely sold for between $80,000 and $100,000 each. Selling an organ is illegal in Costa Rica. Living organ donations are legal but only without monetary or other compensation or under duress. Jiménez said that the traffic of persons for the purpose of organ harvesting is punishable in Costa Rica with six to 10 years in prison under Article 172 of the Penal Code.The investigation into the nationalities of those who received the organs is ongoing, according to law enforcement.The OIJ director added that they would pursue recipients of the organs only if the practice of purchasing an organ was legal in their country of origin and they were brought to Costa Rica to receive the illicit transplant under false pretenses. Calderón Guardia hospital in San José served as the scene of numerous illegal kidney operations for pay since 2009, according to the OIJ. Dr. Francisco José Mora Palma, arrested in June 2013, allegedly masterminded the black market organ trade. Alberto Font No related posts.last_img read more

Haunted tree holds sway in San Ramón

first_imgThere are haunted houses and haunted caves – but San Ramón has a haunted tree.It’s not sprouting ghosts or sheltering goblins, but some very strange things have happened to people walking past it in the Central Park of this pleasant town in the province of Alajuela.Residents have reported getting lost in the park, which is the size of one square city block, or of getting so disoriented that they needed help to leave. Others claim that they felt cold but sweated heavily, or simply felt strange. And it’s an ordinary alcornoque tree, commonly known as a cork tree because of the crumbly texture of its bark, standing right in the center of the park next to the kiosk.These happenings have been going on since the early 1900s, maybe earlier, although no written accounts exist. Olga Echeverría, a retired history professor whose family has lived in San Ramón for generations, has written about legends and traditions in the area and says that she has heard of many weird experiences with the infamous tree.“People become disoriented or confused and find that they cannot find their way out of the park. It could be the spirit of the original owner of the land, or it could be a magnetic field,” she says. Her own grandmother got lost and spent hours in the tiny park until someone came and helped her find her way out.According to Echeverría, a university student walking near the tree became so confused that she felt lost, and another person reported “walking and walking and returning the same place.” The stories could be attributed to a kind of mass hysteria, she says, but many people have reported such effects. The tree has gained a reputation by now, and everyone in San Ramón knows about it.Another written account of this phenomenon is found in the book “Voices in the Basement,” a collection of scary stories by William D.J. Suárez, a San Ramonense who claims that the stories about this tree are “true” and “proven.” When his grandmother was young back in the 1920s, San Ramón was an outlying community with no electricity or paved roads, surrounded by woods and coffee farms. In other words, it was a breeding ground for spooky stories. During this period, a young woman went out to shop and, crossing the park, became so disoriented that she entered a kind of trance. She wandered around the park for hours trying to find her way out. Finally, she collapsed on a bench and cried until someone noticed her distress and helped her out of the park.According to Suárez, the cause of all these mysterious events could be witches, trolls or a hex put on the tree by someone.Meanwhile, schoolchildren have their own ritual involving the tree: they believe that by circling it three times in one direction and three times in the opposite direction your wishes come true. In the spirit of investigative journalism, The Tico Times put the theory to the test, inspecting the tree thoroughly and then walking around it in the recommended manner. The only immediate effect after six circles of the tree was a slight dizziness, but only time will tell.San Ramón, known as the City of Poets, is also a city of legends and traditions – and, on Halloween and all year round, the home of a haunted and mysterious tree. Facebook Comments Related posts:Haunted tree holds sway in San Ramón Alajuela’s neighborhood petroglyphs offer window to the past It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… the giant armadillo of San Ramón! Storytelling fest returns to Alajuelalast_img read more

Costa Rica juggles jaguars and dam construction with matching grant

first_imgHydroelectric dam construction and conservation have historically been at odds worldwide. But Costa Rica thinks it can do both. The government announced a one-of-a-kind matching grant program Tuesday designed to protect a jaguar migration corridor near the site of what will be the largest hydroelectric dam in Central America.By encouraging farmers and landowners to maintain their forests, the National Fund for Financing Forestry (FONAFIFO) and the Environment Ministry hope that the corridor will contribute to stronger genetic diversity of the big cats and other wildlife, while mitigating the environmental impact of the dam’s construction. The first 18 contracts covering a total of 325 hectares are to be signed on Thursday.The state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced it would match up to $1.6 million in environmental service payments made by FONAFIFO within a 804-hectare biological corridor at the tail end of the Reventazón hydroelectric dam reservoir in Siquirres. ICE estimates that the Reventazón hydroelectric dam will begin supplying electricity in time for the dry season in 2016. (Courtesy of ICE)Along with the matching grant, ICE agreed to plant 34,000 trees in the area.FONAFIFO uses payment for environmental services to incentivize private landholders to maintain or reforest their land in exchange for modest annual payments. But FONAFIFO Director Jorge Mario Rodríguez said the fund’s $30 million annual budget for the entire country is not enough to involve all those who want to participate.Plus, payment for environmental services often doesn’t pay landowners enough to make it worth their while, said Irene Cañas, vice minister of energy.“Participation from ICE should help make this option more attractive,” Cañas said.Mitigating the environmental impact of the dam will not be easy. The 130-meter-high dam will contain 9 million cubic meters of material and handle up to 118 million cubic meters of water from the Reventazón river.The 305.5-megawatt plant will provide electricity to an estimated 525,000 homes. When complete, it will be the largest dam in Central America.Over 80 percent of Costa Rica’s electrical generation comes from dams.Recommended: Costa Rica’s renewable energy streak is still going, but what does that really mean?Allan Retana, chief environmental manager for the Reventazón hydroelectric project, said that the corridor slated for conservation was identified as the shortest distance between two important ecosystems. Besides encouraging landowners to maintain their forests, ICE is supporting environmental education and conflict resolution for ranchers who lose livestock to jaguars, Retana said.“We see this as a unique opportunity to show that development and wildlife can go together hand in hand,” Retana said. Facebook Comments Related posts:Delays, excuses and gripes mark approaching deadline for distributed electricity generation in Costa Rica Biodiverse Costa Rica announces policy to protect fragile ecosystems Drones could help spot illegal fishing around Costa Rica’s Cocos Island Nicaragua canal threatens jaguars, other endangered species, study findslast_img read more

Go Jason go

first_imgRelated posts:On the ice and Florida-bound Costa Rica’s Castillo Knights on the road Deadly beauty It’s not a proper Costa Rican outdoors adventure unless you’re teetering on a bridge That blur of the tricolor passing by at top speed in Bergen, Norway? It’s Costa Rican cyclist Jason Andrey Huertas Araya, competing during the men’s under-23 individual time trial at the UCI Cycling Road World Championships on Sept. 18. He finished 45th with a time of 52:24.42, according to the UCI website.Would you like to submit a photo to our #TTPicOfTheDay series? Please send horizontal photos at least 1100 pixels wide to kstanley@ticotimes.net. We’d love to see the sights with you. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Fire on bus of Muslim pilgrims kills 16 in India

first_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments   Share   Patients with chronic pain give advice Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Some passengers escaped through the back door of the bus and others through a window. Those injured with burns, including nine in serious condition, were being treated at a nearby hospital.The bus operators are being investigated for illegally allowing flammable cooking items aboard instead of preparing food themselves, as is customary on Indian tours, state Labor Minister Waqar Ahmad said.“The permit of the tour operator has been canceled,” Ahmad said.The pilgrims from three villages in Sultanpur district were traveling overnight to a shrine in Ajmer when the accident took place in Bahraich, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) southeast of Lucknow.Ajmer has the tomb of Moinuddin Chishti, a Sufi teacher who in the 13th century helped establish a religious order that is prevalent in India and Pakistan.Bus accidents due to reckless driving, bad roads and poorly maintained vehicles are common in India.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img LUCKNOW, India (AP) – An overloaded bus carrying pilgrims to a Muslim shrine rammed into a parked truck and burst into flames, killing 16 and injuring more than two dozen others in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, police said Saturday.Some of the 78 passengers aboard the 54-seat bus had kerosene and cooking gas cylinders that helped turn the bus “into a ball of fire,” officer Iqbal Mallik said. Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

Jubilee stewards left out in cold after mix up

first_img 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society Tomorrow’s People on Tuesday apologized for a “big error” after no-one was on hand to meet the workers when they arrived.The government has been criticized over the work experience programs, as some who refuse to take part can lose welfare payments.(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 pathscenter_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates LONDON (AP) – A company that provided unpaid workers for Diamond Jubilee celebrations says it has apologized after some staff complained they were forced to camp out in the open air.Tomorrow’s People, contracted by the government to provide unemployed people with work experience, said those involved had volunteered to help with crowd control, hoping to win temporary jobs at the 2012 London Olympics.The Guardian newspaper reported that some complained they were sent by bus to London in the early hours of Sunday and forced to camp before beginning work. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

UN urges protection for elderly as world grays

first_imgThe report urges governments to summon the political will to protect the elderly and ensure they can age with good health and dignity. Discrimination toward and poverty among the aged are still far too prevalent in many countries, it says, even in the relatively wealthy industrialized nations.The problem is worse for women, whose access to jobs and health care is often limited throughout their lives, along with their rights to own and inherit property.“More must be done to expose, investigate and prevent discrimination, abuse and violence against older persons, especially women who are more vulnerable,” the report says, calling on countries to “ensure that aging is a time of opportunity for all.”“We need bold political leadership,” said Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the Population Fund. “Aging is manageable, but first it must be managed.”In some countries, such as Latvia and Cyprus, about half of those over 60 are living in poverty. And even in highly industrialized countries such as Japan the elderly struggle to get some services.Hisako Tsukida, a 77-year-old retired elementary school teacher in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, is living what sounds like a dream retirement life, taking tai chi and flower arrangement lessons and visiting a fitness center for spa treatments and muscle training. Associated PressTOKYO (AP) – The fast aging of Japanese society is evident as soon as one lands at Tokyo’s Narita airport and sees who is doing the cleaning. Young people tend to take such menial jobs in other countries, but here they are often held by workers obviously in the second half-century of their lives.Having the world’s highest percentage of older people is creating unique challenges for Japan, but a report released Monday by the U.N. Population Fund warns that they will not be unique for long. Japan is the only country with 30 percent of its population over 60, but by 2050 more than 60 other countries, from China to Canada to Albania, will be in the same boat. One in nine people _ 810 million _ are 60 or older, a figure projected to rise to one in five _ or more than 2 billion _ by 2050.Even Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, offers only meager social benefits, though government-subsidized services provide affordable household help and daycare in some areas.Neighbors and religious groups often help older people, and public facilities have been vastly improved from a few decades ago, with elevators and other handicapped access now the norm.The discovery earlier this year, though, that an aged couple and their son apparently had starved to death in their home in a Tokyo suburb highlighted Japan’s own growing problems with poverty and unemployment.Growing numbers of people suffering from dementia pose another challenge. About 35.6 million people around the world were afflicted with the disease in 2010, a number growing about 7.7 million a year and costing about $604 billion worldwide.Provisions must be made for the infirm to ensure their basic human rights, the U.N. report says.In many countries, including the United States, India, Brazil and Mexico, statistics show the elderly often pay more into pension systems over their lifetimes than they receive in return. Meanwhile, as retirement ages are raised and benefits cut due to ballooning deficits, the elderly are paying proportionately more in taxes. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day But her current leisure followed many years of caring for her ailing husband and then for her mother. Japan’s elderly often take on enormous burdens in caring for older relatives at home.Tsukida spent years trying to find a nursing home for her mother, now 100, and finally succeeded about six months ago after a rare vacancy opened up. But now she wonders about the time when she’ll have to go through the same struggle for herself.“I wonder if I could do this again when I’m even older and need to find myself a place to go,” she said.The U.N. report said that policy discussions of all kinds must include a consideration of problems facing the aging if mankind is to reap a “longevity benefit” from people’s longer life expectancies.Governments should build safety nets to ensure older people have income security and access to essential health and social services, it said. The report cited data from the International Labor Organization showing that only about a fifth of all workers get comprehensive social insurance.Aging is no longer solely an issue for rich countries. About two-thirds of people over 60 years old live in developing countries such as China, and by 2050 that figure is expected to rise to about 80 percent. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist The report blamed a bias toward youth in mass media, which stereotype aging as a time of decline, for lowering expectations about life for older people. It noted that older people often live highly productive, enjoyable lives if they have good health and reasonable levels of income.The report’s authors also argued against a prevalent belief that older workers should make way for younger job seekers, saying that way of thinking is based on the mistaken idea that there is a finite number of jobs and that workers are perfectly interchangeable.“More jobs for older people do not mean fewer jobs for younger people,” it says.___Associated Press Writer Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.___U.N. Population Fund: http://www.unfpa.orglast_img read more

Sri Lanka arrests asylum seekers in boat hijacking

first_imgThe asylum seekers sailed the fishing boat to Australian waters, where it was seized by authorities.The Sri Lankan navy has arrested hundreds of people trying to migrate to Australia in boats over the past months. They are mostly ethnic Tamils who survived a quarter-century civil war between government troops and and the now-defeated separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.Australia is struggling to stop a surge of would-be refugees from poor or war-torn countries including Afghanistan, Iran and Sri Lanka. Hundreds have died while attempting the voyage over the past year.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – Authorities in Sri Lanka on Saturday arrested 14 asylum seekers accused of hijacking a fishing boat and throwing its crew into the sea to die, police said.The 12 men, a woman and a girl were deported by Australian authorities and were immediately arrested after arriving in Sri Lanka on Saturday, police spokesman Prishantha Jayakody said.Two of the abandoned fishermen were rescued by other ships hours after their boat was hijacked last week. Three other crew members have not been found. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Parents, stop beating yourself up 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

Final Word Obama not wrong for snapping selfie

first_img Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Bunk.The memorial for Nelson Mandela has been treated as a celebration by most South Africans. Rightfully, the people Mandela governed are celebrating his life instead of mourning him. They sing and dance. They wear traditional African garments. They probably even take selfies.And what would YOU do if a fellow world leader asked to take a photo with you? Are you going to play President Buzzkill and say no? No, you wouldn’t.Denmark’s prime minister probably was a little starstruck sitting next to Obama. You know, prime ministers are people too.Just like rock stars and athletes, big names are often wowed by OTHER big names. Remember Jennifer Lawrence with Jeff Bridges? Yeah. It’s kind of like that.It’s not like they put Mandela in the picture too. Now that would have been too much. Top Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober How do cataracts affect your vision? Wednesday’s outrage centers on the “selfie” photo that President Barack Obama took at the Nelson Mandela Memorial Tuesday, along with the leader of Denmark.The image of the two, along with Britain’s’ Prime Minister David Cameron, has been seen now around the world. Why? Because someone took a photo while the selfie was being taken. And of course, the president is being criticized for being selfish, disrespectful and not statesmanlike. Parents, stop beating yourself uplast_img read more

AP PHOTOS Migrants arrive in Indonesia after ordeal at sea

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober LANGSA, Indonesia (AP) — More than 2,000 desperate members of Myanmar’s ethnic Rohingya community fleeing persecution and Bangladeshis trying to escape poverty have landed on the shores of Indonesia’s Aceh province in recent weeks, as well as in neighboring Malaysia.Thousands more are still believed to be stranded at sea, with Southeast Asian nations unwilling to accept them amid an escalating humanitarian crisis. FILE – In this Friday, May 15, 2015, file photo, a newly arrived ethnic Rohingya youth, who said he was injured in the eye during a brawl on the boat, sits inside a temporary shelter at Kuala Langsa Port in Langsa, Aceh province, Indonesia. More than 2,000 desperate Rohingya refugees have landed on the shores of Indonesia’s Aceh province, as well as in neighboring Malaysia. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara, File) 0 Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Sponsored Stories Many of the migrants have described killings, extortion and near-starvation after a long, harrowing journey.Most of those reaching Indonesia were crammed onto three boats that Indonesian fishermen towed ashore in the Aceh city of Langsa.“If I had known that the boat journey would be so horrendous, I would rather have just died in Myanmar,” said Manu Abudul Salam, 19, a Rohingya from Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where three years of attacks against the long-persecuted Muslim minority have sparked the region’s largest exodus of boat people since the Vietnam War.The vessel was at sea when authorities around the region began cracking down on human trafficking two weeks ago.Aid groups and rights workers have warned that the crackdown prompted some captains and smugglers to abandon their ships and leave the migrants to fend for themselves — a claim that was corroborated by survivors who came ashore Friday.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more