Global Travel News

Qatar Airways Announces Flights to Tashkent Uzbekistan

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Qatar Airways Announces Flights to Tashkent Uzbekistan - TOP25AIRLINES.comDoha, Qatar, February 8, 2024 / TRAVELINDEX / Qatar Airways welcomes the new route to its global network of over 170 destinations and connects travellers looking for an exciting destination in Central Asia, Qatar Airways announces the latest addition to its summer schedule, launching four weekly flights to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, starting 2 June 2024 and bookable now. Tashkent is located at the heart of Central Asia, a region known for its rich history and diverse cultures shared with the neighbouring countries of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

The destination is the second city served by the national carrier of the State of Qatar in the Central Asian market following Almaty, Kazakhstan. With the new service operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, passengers can enjoy seamless global connectivity to Tashkent through the Best Airport in the Middle East, Hamad International Airport, to over 170 destinations worldwide.

Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Thierry Antinori, said: “The launch of the new route to Tashkent is a testament to our commitment to continuously growing our network and expanding to new corners of the world. Tashkent provides our passengers travelling from Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas, with the opportunity to visit Uzbekistan and the Central Asian region, and explore the cultural wonders these destinations offer. Travellers flying with Qatar Airways can now avail the option to fly to Tashkent as their gateway to the region, and we look forward to future opportunities of growth in Central Asia.”

Uzbekistan offers a unique travel experience with its historical sites, stunning architecture and vibrant cultural experiences. Famous for its historical cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, travellers can explore and marvel at the Uzbek landscapes. This beautiful destination offers an authentic taste of hearty Uzbek cuisine, warm and welcoming local hospitality, and a unique blend of modern and traditional experiences.

Tashkent’s connectivity to Central Asia plays a vital role in strengthening cultural and economic ties between countries in the region and beyond. This expansion further solidifies Qatar Airways’ commitment to offering passengers as many seamless direct connections as possible.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club members will collect Avios on flights and can benefit from greater savings when paying for flights with a combination of cash and Avios, or Avios Max, when paying 100 per cent of the fare using Avios. Members can also spend Avios on shopping and dining at Qatar Duty Free, packages with Qatar Airways Holidays, cabin upgrades, and more.


First published at – Global Travel News

Emirates Boosts Flights to Osaka Introducing A380 Premium Economy

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Emirates Boosts Flights to Osaka Introducing A380 Premium Economy - TOP25AIRLINES.comDubai, UAE, February 8, 2024 / TRAVELINDEX / Emirates will be boosting its services to Osaka with the introduction of the A380 starting from 1 June 2024. The A380 to be deployed to Osaka will be retrofitted with the airline’s latest product, Premium Economy, making it the second Japanese gateway to operate with the newly upgraded aircraft. The upgraded service will offer increased seat capacity on flights to and from Japan’s second largest city, in addition to introducing the highly sought-after Premium Economy Class for customers, as well as refreshed interiors across First, Business and Economy Class cabins.

From 1 June, Emirates’ four-class A380 will replace the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft currently operating the EK316/EK317 service to and from Osaka’s Kansai International Airport (KIX). With upgraded A380 operations, Emirates will offer 910 additional weekly seats between Dubai and Osaka, offering more opportunities to connect to and beyond Dubai to popular destinations for travelers including Milan, Madrid, Brazil, Paris and London. Emirates celebrated the 20th anniversary of its services between Dubai and Osaka last year and during that time, the airline carried more than 220,000 passengers on more than 360 flights between the two gateways in 2023.

Emirates’ four-class A380 deployed to Osaka will feature 14 First Class suites, 76 lie-flat seats in Business Class, 56 seats in Premium Economy Class and 338 ergonomically designed seats in Economy Class. On a four-class Emirates A380, the Premium Economy cabin is located at the front of the main deck with the 56 seats laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration. In the cabin, every inch of space anticipates customer needs with a generous seat pitch and width for working and relaxing, and customised features that offer function and convenience like in-seat charging points and a side cocktail table. The experience is rounded off with expertly curated in-flight amenities, an inventive menu and extensive beverage options. Emirates’ “ice” in-flight entertainment includes up to 6,500 channels of movies, TV programs, and music. Customers flying in both Business and First Class will enjoy access to Emirates’ onboard lounge, while First Class passengers will have exclusive access to the airline’s luxurious shower spa. In addition, passengers can enjoy Emirates’ award-winning signature hospitality, and meals prepared using carefully selected ingredients from around the world.

In December 2023, Emirates launched its Premium Economy product on the Dubai-Narita route and it has so far garnered great interest from customers. The airline’s distinctive product is currently available on flights to 14 other destinations globally, including New York JFK, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, London Heathrow, Sydney, Auckland, Christchurch, Melbourne, Singapore, Mumbai, Bangalore, Sao Paulo and Dubai.

The airline’s A380 operations to Kansai International Airport (KIX) come as Japan expects an increase in tourism through the unique attractions nestled within the Kansai region, such as Osaka and Kyoto, in addition to a packed schedule of events including the Osaka-Kansai Expo planned for 2025. Emirates also operates a daily four-class A380 service to Tokyo Narita, and a daily Boeing 777-300ER service to Tokyo Haneda. Through its scheduled operations to Japan’s three largest international travel hubs, Emirates provides convenient air connectivity to serve the growing demand.

As part of its commitment to travellers, Emirates last year announced the resumption of its Chauffeur-drive service in Tokyo Haneda for the airline’s First and Business Class customers. Emirates had also introduced a complimentary shuttle bus service for the airline’s Economy class customers from Tokyo Haneda airport to major train stations – Tokyo (TYO) and Shinagawa (SGW).


First published at – Global Travel News

TAT Joins Hands with TRUE-DTAC and National Parks to Launch Amazing Thailand Expat Privilege

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TAT Joins hands with TRUE-DTAC and National Parks to launch Amazing Thailand Expat Privilege - Tourism Authority of Thailand - TRAVELINDEXTourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) joins hands with TRUE-DTAC and Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant to launch a campaign named “Amazing Thailand Expat Privilege”, offering a free pass to national parks and up to 80% discounts for establishment over Thailand.

Amazing Thailand Expat Privilege” has collaborated with True Corporation Public Company Limited or TRUE – DTAC to directly communicate with the campaign target, by focusing on TRUE-DTAC expat users which amount to 1.2 million people (54%). Most of them come from China, Hong Kong, South Korea, India, and Southeast Asia; all of which are considered countries with high purchasing power.

The campaign offers up to 80% discount from more than 200 establishments over Thailand. The privileges cover a variety of categories, for example, River Kwai Jungle Rafts Resort, Cocoa Valley Resort, Centara Koh Chang Tropicana Resort for accommodation; Somtum Villa, Chaophraya Cruise, De riva Ayothaya for restaurant; Oasis Spa, Abhaibhubejhr Dayspa, Kiri Tara Spa & Massage for health & wellness; Treasure Hill Golf & Country Club, Black Mountain Water Park, Siam Niramit Phuket for activity; Central Department Store, Robinson Department Store for shopping, etc.

Moreover, the campaign has collaborated with the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant to gift a special privilege of free-entry coupons for 133 national parks over Thailand. Notably examples are Erawan National Park in Kanchanaburi, Khao Leam Ya – Mu Ko Samet National Park in Rayong, Phu Kradueng National Park in Loei, Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi, Namtok Phlio National Park in Chanthaburi, Sri Nan National Park in Nan, Mu Ko Lanta National Park in Krabi, etc.

For expats and foreign tourists who are interested in the special privileges, redeem the coupons now on the website: Enjoy safe and worthwhile trips during the period of the end of 2023 to the beginning of 2024. Exclusive privileges are available for redeeming from today to 29 February 2024, by registering on the website and choosing your desired special deals. Then, show the promotional codes along with your passport at the establishment to use the privileges. The conditions of the privileges are as the establishment designated.



First published at – Global Travel News

Wander Wednesdays at Burapa Eastern Thai Cuisine

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Wander Wednesdays at Burapa Eastern Thai Cuisine - TOP25RESTAURANTS.comBangkok, Thailand, February 6, 2024 / TRAVELINDEX / Burapa Eastern Thai Cuisine & Bar, the avant-garde and opulent Orient-express-themed dining destination nestled at 26 Soi Sukhumvit 11, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, is set to redefine the culinary landscape with the launch of its exceptional New WanderEast Menu, debuting on Valentine’s Day (14th February 2024) and every Wednesday thereafter for “Wander Wednesdays”.

The WanderEast Tasting Menu, a sequel to the first WanderEast launch series, takes the dining experience to unprecedented heights, embodying more refinement, elevation, and a deeper exploration of Thailand’s diverse ingredients and flavors. Culinary Director and Co-founder Ack Wongwich Sripinyo has expanded his already wide imagination to the corners of the country, creating a menu that not only satiates but also opens the imaginations of travelers through taste, with a particular focus on the vibrant flavors of Eastern Thailand.

Begin with the enticing starter, featuring double layers of fermented melon complemented by the rich essence of sun-dried catfish, or savor the succulence of sea prawns soaked in sweet fish sauce, paired with fresh mango and a touch of spicy shrimp sauce. Indulge in the succulent flavors of braised pork belly, encased in Cha-mung leaf croquettes.

The journey continues with a dish which boasts the perfect harmony of grilled scallops and a sour cauliflower sauce. Surely to be a guest and Instagram favorite is the Eastern Consommé soup, where sliced Orange Seville peel infuses the beef dumplings with deep aromatic notes.

The pre-main courses showcase a symphony of tastes, from the savory crab rice to the comforting milky rice porridge adorned with Thai wild almond and the star, the stewed pork belly, enriched with Eastern herbs and spices.

A fizzy grape granita serves as a refreshing palate cleanser, paving the way for the main course—a tantalizing blend of spicy squid ink rice, Cha-mung leaf, Trat’s chili curry sauce, Wagyu beef tenderloin, and sweet grilled tomato.

Conclude this epicurean journey with a dessert masterpiece—Three Ways of Tomato and Pandan rice pudding paired with sea salt Woffia ice cream.

The WanderEast Tasting Menu promises an exploration of taste that transcends boundaries and unveils the diverse flavors of Thailand’s Eastern region.

Burapa Eastern Thai Cuisine continues to serve their signature A La Carte menu daily, except Mondays they are closed and Wednesdays which is especially for the tasting menu, however, a small selection of the new WanderEast dishes will be available so that diners may still delight!

Available from 14th February – Valentine’s Day and every Wednesday thereafter.

  • Tasting Menu: 2,900 THB ++ (Mineral and Sparkling Water included)
  • Wine pairing: 1,300 THB ++ (Five selected glasses of wine to pair with our tasting menu)
  • Mocktails pairing: 700 THB ++ (Four selected Burapa signature mocktails to pair with our tasting menu.)
  • Cocktails pairing: 1,200 THB ++ (four selected Burapa signature cocktails to pair with our tasting menu.)


First published at – Global Travel News

IGCAT Top Websites for Foodie Travelers

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Lappeeranta, Finland, February 5, 2024 / TRAVELINDEX / Hungry for an exceptionally tasty adventure across borders? IGCAT has just announced the Top 10 Websites for Foodie Travelers 2024 so that you can be tempted to embark on a unique journey and discover fascinating food cultures!

Unveiled at a gala event held on 2 February in Lappeeranta (Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy 2024, Finland), IGCAT’s Top 10 Websites for Foodie Travelers 2024 offer unique, creative, cultural and gastronomic experiences from across the globe. Food and wine tastings, farm or factory visits, cookery classes, craft-related experience, food and/or wine routes, food and/or wine markets or fairs, museums or heritage sites related to food etc. These are only some of the experiences that can be found on the awarded websites that strive to promote local gastronomy, producers and distinctive food cultures.

President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd PhD reported that “the Jury applauded all participating websites for their commitment to nurturing more meaningful relationships between locals and international visitors, by giving international visibility to niche food and culture experiences and moreover, supporting micro-businesses – especially in rural areas where the economic impact can make a real difference. Their contribution to sustainable territorial development is just part of their appeal but the creativity of food experiences never ceases to amaze us.”

In the presence of international guests and local stakeholders involved in Saimaa’s title year, the top 10 websites selected from global submissions were announced, providing a most tantalising list. The jury noted that nine of the ten submissions selected come from World and European Regions of Gastronomy and justified this, as these websites stood apart for their exceptional values related to supporting circular economies and their creativity. The winning websites are:

  • NJOY Catalonia from Catalonia, World Region of Gastronomy awarded 2025;
  • Äksyt Ämmät from Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2024;
  • RhodeTrip from South Aegean, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2019;
  • from Slovenia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2021;
  • Sawa Taste of Tunisia from Tunisia;
  • Winery Tasting Sicily from Sicily, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2025;
  • Kos Locally Grown from South Aegean, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2019;
  • Norway Food Region from Trondheim-Trøndelag, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022;
  • D.O. Saimaa from Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2024;
  • Cómete Menorca from Menorca, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022.

IGCAT’s international jury and criteria

The websites submitted to the 3rd edition of the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers competition were evaluated by an international jury of experts from IGCAT who assessed them according to a series of criteria such as usability, sustainability and creativity of the experiences offered, as well as their connection with the regions they promote.

The jury included: Dr. Edith M. Szivas (Switzerland/UK), Vice-President of IGCAT and expert in sustainable tourism; Levan Kharatishvili (Georgia), CEO and founder of the Creative Strategies Lab, and expert in cultural strategies, cultural heritage, and creative industries; Dr. Lidia Varbanova (Bulgaria/Canada), senior consultant, lecturer and researcher in arts, culture and the creative industries; Prof. Dezső Kovács (Hungary), expert and researcher in rural development, tourism development in rural areas, world heritage, wine tourism and beekeeping; Marina Simião (Brazil), Chief of Staff at Emater-Minas Gerais and expert in creative tourism; and Jorge Bernárdez (Spain), lecturer at EU Business School and expert in business, arts and tourism management, food and gastronomic networks.

A gala night to crown the winning websites

Attended by representatives of candidate and awarded World and European Regions of Gastronomy and local stakeholders, the gala event was hosted as part of the celebrations of Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy 2024 that officially kicked-off their title year with an opening weekend full of events and surprises (2-4-February).

Held at Kehruuhuone restaurant in the Lappeenranta fortress, the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers 2024 award ceremony was moderated by Saimi Hoyer, Ambassador of Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy 2024, and counted with the presence of Regional Mayor of South Karelia, Satu Sikanen; Director of Tourism and Marketing at the City of Lappeenranta, Mirka Rahman; Director for goSaimaa, Regional tourism development and marketing company, Katja Vehviläinen; and President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd PhD.

The ceremony culminated with a Taste Saimaa dinner specially designed for the occasion and hosted by CEO of goSaimaa, Katja Vehviläinen and Taste Saimaa Ambassador, Ulla Liukkonen, inspired by the local producers and nature.

Earlier in the day, a seminar was held with national and international speakers on the significance of the European Region of Gastronomy 2024 title for Saimaa and opportunities for international cooperation with other regions holding the award. Alongside, a food market was organised with producers from the Taste Saimaa Partner network exhibiting their products.

About IGCAT’s Top Websites for Foodie Travelers

By publishing an annual list of Top Websites for Foodie Travelers, IGCAT aims to: increase international visitors access to quality food and cultural experiences; give international visibility to niche food and culture experiences; and reward portals and apps that support micro-businesses and contribute to sustainable territorial development.

In doing so, IGCAT hopes to encourage the development of new and unique food experiences initiatives or start-ups, and provide inspiration to build innovative, creative and positive food experiences.

The Top 10 Websites for Foodie Travelers 2024 will be given international visibility and will be permanently promoted on IGCAT’s website and social media.

About the World/European Regions of Gastronomy
World/European Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together to strengthen food security through the celebration of distinctive food cultures; create employment by stimulating creativity and gastronomic innovation; nourish children and adults through culinary and cultural education; driving environmental sustainability in tourism, hospitality and agricultural sectors; supporting balance and sustainable tourism practices; highlighting and supporting expertise from within rural and urban communities, creating connections and sharing good practices; and contributing to community health and well-being.

IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance of protecting and promoting distinct regional food, culture, arts and natural assets as part of sustainable and balanced tourism and development strategies. This is essential to safeguarding our planet, health, wellness and local economies.

IGCAT is a non-profit institute established in 2012, working with regional stakeholder consortiums in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. It counts on the expertise of a worldwide network of experts and works in partnership with specialised intergovernmental organisations.

IGCAT founded the World/European Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the World/European Regions of Gastronomy Platforms. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award, the World Food Gift Challenge, the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers Award and the international Food Film Menu.


First published at – Global Travel News

Celebrate the Joy of Chinese New Year at Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong

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Celebrate the Joy of Chinese New Year at Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong - TOP25RESTAURANTS.comRenaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel is thrilled to announce an array of enticing promotions in celebration of the upcoming Chinese New Year 2024. Immerse yourself in the festive spirit with our specially curated Chinese New Year offerings at Fei Ya, award-wining restaurant.

Indulge in our culinary delights of our Chinese New Year Set Menus, expertly crafted by Chef Cheung Chin Choi. Highlights include Highlights include shredded abalones, fish maw with conpoy and bamboo pith soup, FeiYa’s lychee wood-roasted Peking duck, wok-fried Boston lobster with ginger and coriander in supreme broth, and to finish, sesame dumpling in ginger tea with Osmanthus and smiling sesame balls.

Choose from a selection of sumptuous dishes designed for groups of varying sizes:

  • Harmony Set Menu, priced at THB 16,888++ for 6 people
  • Abundance Set Menu, priced at THB 24,888++ for 8 people
  • Eternal Bliss Set Menu, priced at THB 33,888++ for 10 people

Each set menu promises a gastronomic journey filled with traditions, ensuring a memorable dining experience. Our “All-You-Can-Eat Dim Sum” is available at just THB 1,888++ for those who crave variety. Don’t miss the opportunity to partake in the auspicious tradition of tossing Yu Sheng for good luck and prosperity. Priced at THB 1,388++, this symbolic dish is a must-have for ushering in the New Year with positivity and good fortune.

To welcome the Year of the Dragon and to bring in good fortune, good health, and happiness to guests and their families, a traditional lion and dragon dance, featuring Chinese drumming and 

cymbal clashes, will commence at Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong entrance, Lobby and restaurants on Saturday, 10 February from 9:49 am onwards.

This year, dine in and stand a chance to win special prizes from our Angpao for your next visit!

Our Chinese New Year 2024 dining promotions are available from 8 – 11 February 2024 at Fei Ya Restaurant, from 11.30 am to 3.00 pm and 6.00 pm to 10.30 pm.

About Renaissance Hotels
With over 170 hotels in nearly 40 countries around the world, Renaissance Hotels is doubling down on its commitment to design with dramatic renovations and dynamic global growth on the horizon. Around the world, Renaissance Hotels connects travelers to the spirit of the neighborhood through its unexpected design, entertaining evening bar rituals and engaging Navigators, extending an open invitation to experience the unexpected both inside and out of the hotel. Renaissance Hotels is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy™, the global travel program from Marriott International.


First published at – Global Travel News

Experience 14 Years of Timeless Elegance at Renaissance Bangkok

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Bangkok, Thailand, January 31, 2024 / TRAVELINDEX / Celebrate the 14th anniversary of Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong with our special offers! Join us at our exquisite downtown hotel and indulge in a range of exciting promotions. From exclusive Anniversary Packages to delectable lunch and dinner experiences at restaurants and rejuvenating spa treatments at Quan Spa, these enticing specials invite guests to immerse themselves in the splendor of our spectacular property. Join us in commemorating this milestone and enjoy the luxurious offerings we have prepared for you.

Welcome, all in-house guests, to embark on a captivating journey with our ‘Nearby Things To Do‘ program. Immerse in Bangkok’s culture with a spiritual session at Erawan Shrine at 3:00 pm, followed by a Punch Bowl Ritual Workshop featuring “Lap Land” by mixologist James at R bar, part of our ‘Evening at Renaissance’ program. As night falls, savor the diverse and vibrant flavors of Ban Tad Thong street food at your own pace, facilitated effortlessly by your BTS card. This curated experience promises a blend of spirituality, entertainment, and culinary delights, inviting you to create lasting memories in the heart of this dynamic city.

Indulge in an array of enticing perks with our exclusive offer priced at just THB 1,414 net. Experience a world of delights and spa lovers, including:

  • THB 1,414 net for Flavors Buffet Lunch for 2 persons 
  • THB 1,414 net for Flavors Dinner Buffet for 1 person 
  • THB 1,414 net for La Tavola Executive Luncheon for 2 persons 
  • THB 1,414 net for Fei Ya Peking Duck 
  • THB 1,414 net for a 60-minute Thai Herbal Retreat or Aroma Massage at Quan Spa

Buy now until 14 February 2024, Valid from now until April 30, 2024. Don’t miss out!

Whether you’re a food enthusiast, spa lover, or seeking an exclusive dining experience, our THB 1,414 net offer ensures a memorable journey of culinary and wellness indulgence. Don’t miss out on this extraordinary package designed for your ultimate pleasure. 

Join our social media campaign from Feb 1-14 and stand a chance to win daily lucky draw prizes, including room stays, dining vouchers, and spa experiences! 

Click here:

Cheers to many more years of luxury and memorable moments at Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong! We cherish the memories made and eagerly anticipate continuing this extraordinary journey with you. Thank you for being a part of our story.


First published at – Global Travel News


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Montreal Saint-Hubert Airport (YUH) has revealed a new brand identity, reflecting its transformation into commercial aviation as construction of its new terminal, in partnership with Porter Airlines, progresses. Located in Saint-Hubert since 1927, the airport will now be known as MET – Montreal Metropolitan Airport.

The abbreviation MET will be used to enhance brand recognition and accessibility, according to designers. The green line incorporated into its logo symbolizes the movement of the Saint Lawrence River, reflecting connectivity, mobility, and the dynamism of its new purpose.

At the same time, its electric green colour builds upon the previously used forest green and is meant to highlight the organization’s commitment to the development of green and innovative technologies.

“With this substantial development, we are changing the very nature of the airport. Our ambition is to revolutionize the airport model, making it a source of collective pride and inspiring the world to view air transport differently. This is what the new identity of the airport represents,” says MET CEO Yanic Roy.

He adds, “Upon the opening of the new terminal in the summer of 2025, airlines will serve the entire country. Consequently, MET will be propelled among the largest airports in Canada. In doing so, Montreal will join the trend of major world metropolises that benefit from multiple interconnected airports to meet their air transport needs.”

More than just a name change, the new identity of MET – Montreal Metropolitan Airport is the promise of an innovative and different airport experience that listens to communities and industry stakeholders, initiates the latest advancements to build a leading, innovative, and sustainable airport model, says Roy, who adds, “We are not seeking growth at any cost. We are developing an airport in harmony with its environment, in consultation with communities, and utilizing its facilities to promote innovation and green transition… We aim to surpass the traditional model of air transport and contribute more to society.”

A year ago, the airport, located 15 km from downtown Montreal, announced its partnership with Porter for the construction of a commercial terminal with a capacity of 4 million passengers annually.

At the time, Porter said it would continue expanding its existing operations at Montréal’s Trudeau Airport (YUL), while also introducing a Canada-wide network at the convenient YHU airport, giving it two Montreal hubs to parallel its two facilities in Toronto.

First published at Travel Industry Today


First published at – Global Travel News


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Starting April 1, the Travel Industry Council of Ontario will introduce a new fee structure that it says is more equitable for registrants across the board, but which will see rates for members increase 3.4 percent on average (based on 2019-20 sales). Notably, the new funding model for TICO and the provincial Compensation Fund will not include a consumer pay option.

The province’s regulator has been conducting a framework and fee review for the past year with the aim, it says, of developing “a fair and modern funding model that reflects cost recovery, delivers value to stakeholders, and continues to keep consumer protection at the forefront.”

In October, TICO shared five proposals with industry and conducted a five-week consultation process, which it acknowledges produced both positive and negative feedback.

However, it points out that the final outcome was also predicted on the provincial Auditor General’s recommendation that TICO revise the fee structure to ensure operating costs are sufficiently funded through registration and other fees charged to registrants (i.e. not consumers, which industry organizations like ACTA and CATO are seeking).

To that end, TICO reports the following fee changes will take place:

  • Decreased Compensation Fund payments to $0.05/$1,000 from $0.25/$1,000 of Ontario Gross Sales (proposal #1 from consultation). As a burden reduction measure, Compensation Fund assessments will only be due one time per year, payable within 90 days of year-end. Mid-year filings will no longer be required.
  • Recalibrated fee bands and a new method for calculating renewal fees (shown below). Ontario Gross Sales (OGS) continues to be the basis for calculating fees (proposal #4 from consultation).

New late filing fees (proposal #5 from consultation)

When will fees change?

If your year-end is on or after April 1, 2024, you will calculate your renewal fee and Compensation Fund assessment based on the new fee model.

  • Compensation Fund assessment – $0.05/$1,000 OGS, calculated using the last 12 months of sales.
  • Renewal fee based on the new fee bands, calculated using OGS reported on your last financial filing.
  • You can estimate your fees using TICO’s fee estimate calculator(note: renewal fees and Compensation Fund assessments are calculated using sales levels from different years). You will continue to receive an invoice for renewal fees approximately 60 days prior to your payment due date.
  • Payments are due to TICO within 90 days of year-end and must be accompanied with a Form 1 submission.

If your year-end is on or before March 31, 2024, you will calculate your renewal fee and Compensation Fund assessment based on the existing fee model. You will switch to the new fee model for your 2024/2025 renewal cycle.

  • Compensation Fund assessment – $0.25/$1,000 OGS
  • Renewal fee based on existing fee bands
  • Payments are due to TICO within 90 days of year-end and must be accompanied with a Form 1 submission.

Status of other proposals

As part of the consultation process, TICO made two additional proposals that require government consideration and decision-making:

  • Proposal #2 – Remove end-supplier coverage from the Compensation Fund; and
  • Proposal #3 – Double the maximum per person Compensation Fund limit to $10,000.

These proposals have been brought forward to government with a request for consideration.

Voluntary consumer pay model

TICO says it understands that industry is looking for added flexibility to recover regulatory costs. As part of the consultation, TICO asked registrants if there was an interest in a voluntary consumer pay model, where regulatory fees would be disclosed and passed through to consumers at the point of sale. The “overwhelming” answer was “no,” says TICO, with registrants stating that any fees passed to consumers would be a competitive disadvantage, an added burden, and potentially cause consumer confusion.

The bottom line

TICO notes that it hasn’t increased its renewal fees since 2011, in spite of a travel environment that has become more complex with the evolution of technology, the post-pandemic environment and the prevalence of fraud.

The new funding model, it says, represents a 3.4% aggregate increase in total fees paid by registrants, based on sales from 2019/2020, adding that while some registrants will see fee increases higher than this rate, the new fee bands are more equitable at distributing fees across all registrants. Additionally, there is a minimum cost to regulating a registrant of any size, which the new minimum fee of $750 addresses.

TICO says it is open to revisiting the lowest fee band within 1-2 years of implementation to better understand the impact on registrants; to consider the transition to an enhanced risk-based model; and the broader recommendations contained in the Auditor General’s report.

More information contact or call 1-888-451-TICO (8426).

First published at Travel Industry Today


First published at – Global Travel News

AI Set to Revolutionise Travel and Tourism, WTTC Report

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London, United Kingdom, February 2, 2024 / TRAVELINDEX / Major new reports from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Microsoft highlight the transformative power of AI (Artificial Intelligence) for Travel & Tourism, marking a commitment to a digital future with unparalleled customer experiences.

The first in a series of AI reports, announced during the global tourism body’s event at FITUR and in collaboration with WTTC’s Industry Partner, Microsoft, is poised to redefine Travel & Tourism standards and call on the sector for greater integration of such technologies.

As the global leader in Travel & Tourism, WTTC is committed to driving innovation and supporting the sector to embrace AI and other cutting-edge technologies. To promote sustainability and excellent customer experiences, WTTC acknowledges the crucial importance of AI in revolutionising the sector.

Throughout the traveller’s journey, WTTC believes AI can play a pivotal role in delivering a tailored and enhanced experience now and in the future.

This technology can empower personalised recommendations and marketing strategies by analysing traveller data, optimising pricing strategies through real-time adjustments, and offering instant responses and fine-tuned interactions via sophisticated AI powered chatbots.

The report also highlights AI’s capabilities extend to predicting future demand patterns, efficiently allocating resources, and providing valuable insights for governments and Travel & Tourism stakeholders.

This contribution can be pivotal in promoting sustainability with efficient resource management by monitoring and minimising environmental impacts, ensuring a more responsible and sustainable sector.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of Travel & Tourism, AI emerges as a catalyst for positive change.

“The transformative capabilities highlighted in this report demonstrate that AI is not just a technological advancement, it is a strategic tool that can personalise the customer experience, drive sustainable improvements, and create real time pricing models.”

Julie Shainock, Microsoft Managing Director Travel, Transport & Logistics, said: “Using Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Models across the travel sector allows greater productivity for companies and drive a more personalised consumer experience.

“For travellers, the ability to drive more inspiration and personalized offers at booking to providing tools to consumers to proactively assist them while in destination to anticipate their needs with relevant information to improve their journey. For travel companies, GenAI is there to increase productivity, automate the predictable, and allow our human centric approach to the high value moments in travel to shine more.”

Despite the increasing examples of AI applications in Travel & Tourism, the report reveals the sector lags other consumer-facing industries in AI adoption. AI’s surge across various sector’s last year is now a relevant force, and the Travel & Tourism sector must act now to leverage its impact.

Challenges that must be overcome by Travel & Tourism businesses include a shortage of AI-skilled workers, limited AI infrastructure, and the absence of a formal ‘AI strategy’ in many business plans.

Travel & Tourism businesses are urged to embrace AI as a strategic priority, investing heavily in talent to foster collaboration between humans and AI.

Amidst concerns about AI’s impact on jobs, the report addresses the potential for job creation, recognising that although AI will be disruptive, it will in turn generate new opportunities.

In the quest for sustainable AI practices within the Travel & Tourism sector, responsible data management emerges as a crucial strategy.

Implementing measures such as data minimisation, efficient storage, and responsible data disposal, becomes pivotal for organisations seeking to minimise their carbon emissions when using new digital technologies, and reduce their AI environmental footprint significantly.

The report explores AI applications in society and business, emphasising the need for safe and responsible AI system design in Travel & Tourism, signifying a milestone in the sector’s commitment to innovation and sustainability, and showcasing AI’s potential to shape a bright future for Travel & Tourism.



First published at – Global Travel News