Colors: Blue Color

A new range of limited edition amenity kits from luxury luggage brands BRIC’S and Nappa Dori have made their debut on board Qatar Airways flights for passengers flying in First Class and Business Class.

BRIC’S limited edition luxury amenity kits come in a selection of four colours for autumn – yellow, navy blue, blush and tan – and will be presented to passengers flying long-haul in First Class and Business Class.

First and Business Class passengers travelling on Qatar Airways’ medium-haul routes will be offered amenity kits from leading fashion brand Nappa Dori featuring a new series of destination images printed on the kits canvas exterior, including Thailand, the Netherlands, China and Doha. Frequent travellers can add the new keepsake designs from both brands to their collections, which combine vintage and contemporary styles and contain a range of must-have handy travel accessories.

First Class and Business Class long-haul passengers can enjoy a luxury amenity bag created exclusively for Qatar Airways by stylish Italian luggage brand BRIC’S. The miniature versions of the Bellagio and Sintesis suitcase features a hard-shell with a Tuscan leather trim. Each bag contains exclusive products from Italy’s Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio, the environmentally friendly olive oil company. The skin care range includes lip balm, hydrating facial mist, and anti-ageing moisturiser in Business Class, with added Night Recovery Cream for First Class kits. Socks, eyeshades and ear plugs complete the range with the addition of a BRIC’S signature luggage tag for First Class.

Medium-haul customers flying in First Class and Business Class enjoy bespoke luxury amenity kits developed by artisan brand, Nappa Dori, which has gained global recognition for its luxury handcrafted travel and fashion accessories. The kits feature select images from destinations around the world served by Qatar Airways, and contain socks, eyeshades and lip balm from Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio.

This is just the latest initiative taken by Qatar Airways to enhance its service for passengers. Last month, the airline announced the launch of a new Pre-Select Dining service, allowing First and Business Class passengers to pre-select one main course from the à la carte on-board menu as far as 14 days in advance and up to 24 hours before take-off.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is backing calls by Caribbean leaders for the international community to keep the devastating impact of climate change on the global development agenda.
As the region's prime ministers and presidents gather in New York for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, CHTA President Karolin Troubetzkoy said: "We must continue to let the world know how parts of the Caribbean are beginning to be devastated by the effects of climate change and the urgent need to strengthen our resilience to such assaults."
Together with CHTA's Director General and CEO Frank Comito, Troubetzkoy expressed continued sympathy for the hardship following the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and urged everyone in the projected path of Maria to take serious precautions. The tourism officials want to see a united front to bring immediate aid, calling on regional organizations, governments, relief organizations and multilateral organizations to pursue a more coordinated effort in responding to the needs of the region's people following these devastating weather events.
Addressing the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on some of the islands in the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico and now the eastern part of the Dominican Republic, the CHTA President observed that "these are the very real consequences of humankind's inattention to climate changing excesses and it's time for the industrialized wealthier countries, which are major contributors to climate change, to recognize the need to help the region to strengthen our defenses against future disasters, including not only hurricanes but extreme weather events which bring flooding and landslides."
Let us not forget the fact, she said, "that we in our small island nations contribute the least to climate change - yet we suffer the most from it."
Building a more resilient Caribbean will require an assembly of the international community, but also the Caribbean countries themselves, she added. "We keep talking about the importance of public and private sector collaboration, but we need to do more, together, to address this momentous task. We need to be respectful of our ecosystem and find ways to strengthen the marine environment. We need to educate. We need to look at how and where we build and how we protect our people and their livelihoods."
Effective action is often hampered by lack of funds, she says. "Whilst it appears that there are various international funds to draw from," she continued, "there always is a lot of red tape attached and this has been a hindrance to move forward with many aspects of creating a more resilient environment, and this has also impeded the private sector from proceeding more effectively."
She echoed strong support for comments made by philanthropist and businessman Sir Richard Branson, who stated this week that "the world and its leaders can no longer pretend that increasingly shattering catastrophes like Hurricane Irma are some kind of accident or coincidence. There is absolutely no doubt that climate change is real and it's triggering the full extent of nature's fury. How much more destruction do we need to act? Rising ocean temperatures are likely to result in hurricanes with greater intensity."
The United Nations General Assembly this year, she asserted, "is an important time for our political leaders to issue consolidated messages to the rest of the world on the urgent need to help our region buttress our defenses against the very real threat of climate change."
The travel and tourism industry has launched the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund, uniting CHTA with the noted Tourism Cares organization, which has helped to lead private sector efforts globally following crises.
The fund allows tourism industry stakeholders and friends of the region throughout the world to pool their resources in support of vulnerable, devastated areas of the Caribbean that welcome millions of visitors in a region that supports 2.4 million tourism-related jobs. For further information, visit
Additionally, CHTA is encouraging members to support the Recovery Fund through its One Caribbean Family initiative, pledging a portion of proceeds from bookings to the fund and making it easy for travelers to contribute as well.

The Government of the United States Virgin Islands is working to assess damage to the Territory following the passage of Hurricane Maria.

The eye of the Category 5 storm passed south of St. Croix overnight (Tuesday into early Wednesday morning), bringing with it hurricane-force winds, heavy rainfall and flooding. The islands of St. John, St. Thomas and Water Island, which are still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Irma, endured tropical storm conditions.

The Department of Tourism continues to encourage travelers to postpone trips to the islands at this time as it further evaluates the damage caused by the hurricanes and coordinates evacuation efforts.

Communication throughout the Territory is limited, and the Department of Tourism is in the process of collecting information from tourism stakeholders.

"We are thankful for life today - let's continue to support each other as we recover from these weather events," said Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Commissioner of Tourism.

The Department of Tourism will continue to provide updates once received, and thanks everyone for their thoughts, prayers and assistance as the Territory works on its recovery efforts. To assist with the recovery and reconstruction, visit

With just over 37,000 human inhabitants in an area the size of California, the Yukon has a lot of space for wildlife. From broad uninhabited valleys to crystal-clear rivers and endless mountain peaks, more than 80 percent of the Yukon landmass is wilderness. Its home to more than 250,000 caribou, 70,000 moose, 22,000 mountain sheep, 6,000 grizzly bears, 10,000 black bears, 1,500 polar bears and 284 species of birds.

It's no surprise then that seeing wildlife is a highlight of a visit to the Yukon. And on just about any road, anywhere in the Yukon, it is not at all uncommon to see wildlife.

More than a quarter of Canada's grizzly bears live here, making it one of the best places anywhere to see one. Sightings of both grizzly and black bears from the side of the road, while hiking and paddling, or even from the air are common.

Shorter summers in the North mean that grizzlies must be as efficient as possible in preparing for their long winter hibernation. They depend on thick crops of berries and seasonal runs of salmon to fatten up. In an autumn feeding frenzy, a grizzly can eat 200,000 berries in a single day!

One of the most unique bear viewing opportunities takes place at Bear Cave Mountain. In a remote location near the Arctic Circle, thermal springs create a turbulent effect in the river water, preventing it from freezing, creating the perfect habitat for salmon. Grizzly bears are attracted to this bounty and are able to fish much later than elsewhere. Long after the snow starts falling, grizzlies congregate here to feast, which has earned them the moniker “Ice Bears” due to water that freezes in their long winter fur. Visitors tell stories of the ice 'tinkling like a chandelier” while the bears walk along the waters' edge. With only a handful of guests permitted at any one time, and exceptional photographic opportunities, it's a remarkable experience.

It's not all about the bears though. The Yukon is witness every year to many spectacular wildlife migrations. Watch as thousands of salmon make their way up the longest wooden fish ladder in the world in Whitehorse. On land the Porcupine Caribou Herd, the fifth largest herd in North America, ranges over its vast territory in northern Yukon. The herd can be seen in spring and fall as it migrates along the Dempster Highway corridor from south to north, and back again, often in groups of hundreds or even thousands.

And during spring and fall the skies over the Yukon come alive with thousands upon thousands of migratory birds as they make their way along the Pacific Flyway. Several of these migrations are celebrated in festivals throughout the Yukon. During the Celebration of Swans at Marsh Lake near Whitehorse, approximately 3,000 swans and thousands of other waterfowl stopover on their spring migration north. At the Crane and Sheep Viewing Festival in Faro an estimated quarter of a million Sandhill Cranes pass through on their spring migration to summer nesting grounds. Tombstone Territorial Park provides habitat to 148 species and the annual birding festival Weekend on the Wing offers an opportunity to see many migratory birds. Environment Yukon offers these as well as other wildlife and bird viewing programs.

Guests from abroad often name Heidelberg as their favorite destination in Germany. Around 12 million guests a year make their way to explore the flair of the historic university town in a picturesque location. The city on the Neckar not only offers magnificent history, but also advanced modernity, culture, entertainment, diverse shopping possibilities and a varied gastronomy for all requirements.

In addition to the Heidelberg Castle, Schwetzingen is particularly well worth seeing, as is the world-famous Speyer cathedral. The wine and asparagus region of Kraichgau, attractive golf courses, the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena and the bathing area in Sinsheim offer a great experience in the surroundings.

And who would have thought that the first “gas station” in the world could be found in the neighboring wine-growing city of Wiesloch! In August 1888, Bertha Benz, the wife of the Baden-based automobile inventor Carl Benz, was driving from Mannheim to Pforzheim with her two sons with her car, the Benz Patent Motor Car No. 3. On this first long-distance journey of world history, the three automakers south of Heidelberg, however, ran out of fuel. The light-weight Ligroin, which was offered as a cleaning agent at that time, was fortunately on purchase in the Wiesloch City Pharmacy. Thus Bertha Benz was able to continue her journey with a full tank. The City Pharmacy became the first gas station in the world, its pharmacist Ockel the first gas station attendant ever! The pharmacy still exists today and can be visited. There is also a specially designed Bertha Benz Memorial Tour for interested tourists.

Whether you are visiting for the first time or are already familiar with Japan's culture, there is always plenty to discover about this fascinating country. To celebrate the launch of its new trips to Japan, including Hiroshima, Takayama, Nara and Kyoto, Rickshaw Travel has put together its top fun facts to help you plan your next trip.
  1. KFC is the traditional meal on Christmas Eve 
The festive food in Japan isn't what you might expect. Instead of a traditional turkey roast, most will head to their nearest KFC branch on Christmas Eve. Around 3.6 million Japanese people feast on the KFC Christmas Dinner, despite hours of queuing and even ordering weeks in advance.
  1. Mountains, mountains everywhere 
Japan has extremely densely populated cities, but surprisingly around 70% of the county is uninhabited forest and mountains that aren't suitable for farming. 
  1. It's good manners to slurp your noodles 
Good manners are highly important in Japan, but when it comes to eating noodles, there's only one way to eat: LOUDLY. Slurping is a sign you're loving your noodles, as well as cooling down them as you eat. Bibs are sometimes provided in restaurants, however, by the time you leave Japan, you'll be able to polish off a whole bowl in a white shirt and walk out spotless.
  1. There's a Rabbit Island in Japan 
Japan has nearly 7,000 islands, and the island of Okunoshima in the Inland Sea is best-known for its floppy-eared population. Okunoshima was used to test weapons during World War II, but apparently, some of the test subjects escaped after the war. Regardless of how they got there, the numbers of bunnies flourished on this predator-free island and both dogs and cats are banned from entering.
  1. The number four is unlucky 
The number four ('shi') is widely avoided in Japan, since it sounds too similar to the Japanese word for death. You'll notice while in Japan that buildings don't have a fourth floor, products are generally sold in sets of five or three and particular care is taken to avoid finding the number in daily life.
  1. There's a naked festival Japan 
Japan is well-known for festivals; however, Hadaka Matsuri is one of the strangest. Japanese men in their thousands strip naked in a bid to secure a fortune-filled year.
  1. Japan's trains are some of the worlds most punctual 
The average delay of Japanese trains is 18 seconds - Southern Rail customers won't believe their luck!
  1. The Japanese love wacky flavours 
Eel-flavoured ice cream and baked potato Kit Kats are just two of the crazy flavours you can find during your time in Japan. Kit Kats are the incredibly popular sweets (as 'Kit Kat' sounds like 'kitto katsu', a 'good luck' saying). There are also edamame, wasabi and ginger ale flavoured Kit Kats, too.
  1. Everyone has their own family seal 
People don't have signatures in Japan – they have their own family seal instead (very Game of Thrones). These are called Hanko, and the seal is your name made into Kanji characters. They are made from silk, or plant-based paste and adults will often have three variations of Hanko; one for signing off letters or personal matters, a bank seal and an identity seal.
  1. Anti-ninja floors 
In Feudal Japan, wealthy lords built homes with intentionally squeaky floors (called Nightingale Floors) as a defence measure against ninjas. Pure genius.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has activated its "CTO Relief Fund" through GoFundMe to help families and countries rebuild after hurricanes, particularly in the wake of the massive category 5 Hurricane Irma, which has impacted a number of member countries.

All of the money raised through the CTO's Relief Fund will be sent directly to CTO-member destinations affected by the catastrophic storm, which hit some countries with winds up to 185 mph.

"The damage caused by the force of Hurricane Irma is an important example of why we must do whatever is possible to provide financial relief to those who need it most. It's through this fund that the CTO channels monetary assistance to our impacted member states," CTO secretary general Hugh Riley said. "The CTO appreciates all donations to assist in the recovery efforts in these countries."

For more information on CTO's Relief Fund or to make a donation, visit

In March 2018, a bold Secret Compass team of 12 will leave life's responsibilities and excesses at the desert's edge, to undertake a tough traverse of Sudan's Bayuda desert by foot and camel. Bound on three sides by a giant 600km bend in the meandering River Nile, the Bayuda Desert route has been crossed by desert nomads for centuries, connecting the north and south of the ancient Kingdom of Kush.

A new venture for 2018, this 280km journey will follow a route steeped in history, a shortcut between Nile communities and the route taken by the Gordon Relief Expedition – a desperate military march across Egypt and Sudan to relieve General Gordon and the siege of Khartoum. The historic significance of this lifeline route combined with the parched landscape of sand sheets, acacia forests and yellow, ochre and brown rocky outcrops provides a grand sense of perspective to complement a back-to-basics desert adventure; top and tailed by the mesmerising ruins of the Meroë and Nuri pyramids and temples still standing at each end.

“Secret Compass is no stranger to this remote eastern region of the Sahara,” explains Tom McShane, Operations Director at Secret Compass. “We led the first commercial expedition across the Bayuda in 2013, before planning and leading the Sudan phase of Levison Wood's trademark adventure; Walking the Nile.”

On his epic journey, Levison walked over 4,000 miles from the source of the Nile in Rwanda to the Nile delta in Egypt where it flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Part of this journey saw him make a testing crossing of the Bayuda Desert in blistering summer heat. Making the crossing in March rather than July, this Secret Compass team can expect much cooler temperatures than those experienced by Levison.

However, the team mates will undoubtedly face the harsh realities of desert life on this testing expedition, connecting wadis and wells to water their camels and preparing for the possibility of sandstorms on the way. But with great challenges come even greater rewards, and Project Manager, Amy Bibby, explains that this is no regularly-trodden tourist trail: “To our knowledge, no other commercial teams have made this crossing, which will put the individuals in this 2018 team in the select company of a few privileged explorers to have ever made this journey.”

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) continue to receive updates from their members in the northern Leeward Islands and the northern Caribbean following the passage of Hurricane Irma.

Following is an update regarding Irma’s impact on Caribbean destinations, as well as reports from CHTA-member hotels.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua was not impacted minimally by Hurricane Irma with electricity being restored to the capital, St. John’s and most parts of the island. The V.C. Bird International Airport opened for all flights on Thursday, 7 September.

On the other hand, Barbuda, with its approximately 1,800 residents, was severely impacted by the hurricane which passed directly over the small island, resulting in one fatality. The prime minister, Gaston Browne said 90 per cent of homes were destroyed. Barbuda’s hotel infrastructure was also damaged, but with less than 100 hotel rooms the overall effect on tourism as a whole is minimal.

Updates from individual hotels on Antigua are as follows:

          Curtain Bluff: The property emerged from the storm without any damage, and all staff and their families are unharmed. The clean up of the property has begun and communications will soon be restored.

·         Cocos Hotel: No long term damage

·                     Galley Bay: Guests are safe. An in-depth assessment of the property will take place on September 21.

·                     Hermitage Bay: A little waterlogged from the swells, otherwise all is well.

·                     Jumby Bay Island: There is no structural damage to any of the resort or homes. A landscaping clean-up will be needed, however. Jumby Bay Island is currently closed as part of its annual maintenance programme and therefore no guests were on the island when Hurricane Irma passed. The reopening remains on schedule for 9 October, 2017.

·                     Keyonna Beach Resort: No long term damage.

·                     Pineapple Beach Club: Guests are safe. Scheduled to welcome guests starting 14 September .

·                     St. James Club: Guests are safe. Scheduled to welcome guests starting 14 September .

·                     Verandah: Guests are safe. Will reopen as scheduled on 14 October after renovations.


Anguillians are breathing a sigh of relief as Hurricane Jose largely bypassed the island, which was under a tropical storm watch on Saturday, 9 September. Islanders are moving swiftly to rebuild. The Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA) is now open from sunrise to sunset for charters and emergency flights. The Road Bay Port at Sandy Ground has also reopened and can now receive cargo.

The governor and chief minister are continuing to assess the damage, identify priorities, and coordinate the response through the National Emergency Operations Centre. Aid from the United Kingdom in the form of food, water, medical supplies and technical support has begun to arrive on the island. Community volunteers are fully engaged in the massive clean-up campaign, with centres for the collection of debris from the storm established in key areas around the island.

Many properties are still conducting assessments, but following is a brief update from select stakeholders on island. Additional property updates will be issued as they are made available.

Anguilla Resort Hotels

Carimar Beach Club Management and staff are safe and Carimar is standing strong. The garden looks a little worse for the wear and a few doors and windows were damaged. The clean-up has begun and management will advise of the reopening date, now that Jose has passed.

CeBlue Villas & Beach Resort - Staff are safe and the resort had no guests as it was already closed for the season. The villas and resort buildings held up well against the hurricane and they are all structurally sound. The resort has begun the clean up process, and looks forward to welcoming guests for the season.

Fountain Anguilla The Fountain buildings and grounds are structurally intact. A few of the units suffered some damage from debris. Assessment and clean up are under way and the resort is expected to open for the season.

CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa and The Reef by CuisinArt This property was significantly affected, and engineers are currently assessing the full extent of the damage. The ownership and management have said they are steadfastly committed to restoring, rebuilding and reopening, as well as doing everything possible to help and support their employees through this most difficult time.

Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort Upon preliminary review there appears to be no major structural damage to the resort. The team is now assessing the extent of the clean up required and will advise on their proposed reopening date.

Quintessence Boutique Resort The property sustained a fair amount of damage, but nothing that can’t be repaired. However, the proposed 1 November opening will be delayed.

Zemi Beach House Zemi Beach had closed to guests in advance of the hurricane. The property held strong during the storm and will be able to welcome guests k before long, although the timing is still uncertain.  .

Anguilla Villas

Neveah Villa This property suffered only cosmetic damage. A clean up of the grounds is under way.

Sunset Homes Properties Spyglass Hill will be ready for reopening on 1 November; Little Butterfly survived intact.

Bird of Paradise Bird of Paradise was designed to withstand r 200 mph winds. There was no structural damage to the buildings or to the roof, nor was there any damage to the contents of the villa.

Anguilla Restaurants

Blanchards received moderate damage and Blanchards Beach Shack is in great shape, requiring just a little clean-up. The owners expect to be able to open both restaurants as soon as the major resorts are open.

daVida Restaurant & Bayside The main restaurant is still intact. However, the canape on the second floor of the loft was lost. The Bar at the Bayside is still intact, but the dining area will be rebuilt. The staff are all safe.

Garveys, Pumphouse and Mango’s were devastated, while Dune Preserve, Elvis’ Beach Bar, Dolce Vita and Ripples also suffered severe damage. Jacala, Geraud’s Patisserie and Grands Vins de France all survived. Johnno’s, Dads, and Picante are still standing, but will require some repairs.

The Islands of The Bahamas

The Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau is open and international flights are beginning to return to The Bahamas. The remaining airports will resume operations once they have been assessed and cleared for opening by aviation officials.

Additionally, the Port of Nassau reopened on Sunday,10 September. However, no vessels are expected to arrive until Wednesday, 13 September. All other ports remain closed at this time. Cruise reservation holders should check directly with their cruise provider for updates on departures and itineraries.

There are currently no reports of severe damage to the tourism product throughout the islands.

Below is information on hotel status at this time. Reservation holders should contact properties directly for complete information.

Nassau and Paradise Island

·                     Atlantis, Paradise Island – open

·                     Sandals Royal Bahamian – open

·                     Warwick Paradise Island – Bahamas – open

·                     Breezes Resort & Spa – Bahamas - Open

·                     Baha Mar Resort and Casino – open Tuesday, 12 September

·                     Melia Nassau Beach Resort – open Wednesday, 13 September

The Exumas

·                       Sandals Emerald Bay – open

British Virgin Islands

The destruction caused by Hurricane Irma in the British Virgin Islands has been devastating, according to a statement from Sharon Flax-Brutus, the director of tourism. With cell phone towers down and power outages, communication to, from and within, the territory has been difficult, impacting the ability to fully assess the damage. The destination has lost entire structures and many homes are without roofs, or have been diminished to mere foundations.

The Government has begun to coordinate humanitarian relief efforts and an initial clean-up operation. The United Kingdom government has sent relief and support.

Updates from individual hotels in the British Virgin Islands are as follows:

·                     Anegada Reef: Anegada is fine.

·                     Bitter End Yacht Club: The hotel was not operational due to annual closure.

·                     Guana Island: Closed at the time  All guests and on-island staff are safe  .

·                     Rosewood Little Dix Bay: Rosewood Little Dix Bay is currently closed for renovation and therefore no guests were present at the resort.

·                     Scrub Island: All guests and associates are safe.

·                     Sugar Mill Hotel: The hotel has suffered some damage but so far it appears manageable. The restaurant is expected to open as planned on 12 October, 2017 and 14 October for the hotel.


Hurricane Irma passed over the northern portion of Cuba. It has been reported that Havana has experienced major flooding, power has been knocked and widespread wind damage has impacted the area. Ten people have died in Cuba, according to state television reports issued on 11 Septemer.

Dominican Republic

Punta Cana International Airport has resumed normal operations following the passage of Hurricane Irmat. The area’s hotel sector is reporting no major damage. Damaged homes and flooded streets in Cabarete and Sosua have been reported.

Barceló Resorts: Barceló Hotel Group confirmed that all of the brand’s resorts in the Dominican Republic are fully operational.

Viva Wyndham Playa Dorada: The hotel is open and operating.


Haiti was relatively unscathed. All services remain in operation and the country continues to welcome visitors. Travellers are advised to contact their local travel or booking agent for detailed arrangements about their bookings.

Moulin Sur Mer has advised it was not affected by Hurricane Irma.

Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) is reporting that major tourism infrastructure and attractions are operational and the island can continue to welcome new visitors. The PRTC said while there have been power outages, many hotels, as well as essential services such as hospitals, have generators and are operational. The majority of hotels throughout mainland Puerto Rico are ready to welcome new guests. Attractions such as parks and beaches are currently being assessed to ensure a committed focus on quick clean up in the coming days.

Flights to and from Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport have resumed. Puerto Rico’s port is operational and started receiving ships on 9 September.

Updates from individual hotels in Puerto Rico are as follows:

·                        Condado Plaza Hilton: Minor damage.

·                        El Conquistador Resort: El Conquistador Resort is operational. Las Casitas Village will reopen when electricity is restored.

·                        El San Juan Hotel: The hotel received minimal damage and will reopen as soon as  power is restored.

·                        Hotel El Convento: The hotel escaped damage. Operations were due to resume on 11 September.

·                        Hyatt House San Juan: The hotel is open and operating.

·                        Hyatt Place Bayamon: Open and operating.

·                        Hyatt Place Manati:  Open and operating.

·                        Hyatt Place San Juan City Center: Open and operating.

·                        Hyatt Residence Club Dorado: Open and operating.

·                        InterContinental San Juan: Business as usual.

·                        Rincon Beach: Open for business.

·                        San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel: Sustained no damage, have full power, and open for business.

·                        Wyndham Garden at Palmas del Mar:  Open and operating.

·                        Wyndham Grand Rio Mar: Sustained minimal damage and is currently open.


St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts & Nevis sustained minimal damage overall and both St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport and Nevis’ Vance W. Amory International Airport have reopened.

Hotels in St. Kitts reported no structural damage while Nevis’ hotel updates include:

·                     Four Seasons Resort Nevis  - The resort is in fine shape

·                     Hermitage Inn General debris, but no structural damage

·                     The Great House and Cottages at Nisbett Plantation Beach Club  in excellent condition. However, there was damage to the Sea Breeze Beach Bar, the decking and the beach.

St. Barthelemy

It has been reported that St. Barth’s was heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma which destroyed government buildings and badly damaged private homes The French government has sent people and supplies to the country to assist with recovery efforts.

St. Maarten (Dutch) / St. Martin (French)

The recovery effort continues. Director of tourism for Dutch St. Maarten Rolando Brison is reporting that Sun Wing has evacuated some visitors to Montreal, Canada, while other guests have also been evacuated. The Princess Juliana International Airport has been receiving flights that are bringing in relief supplies, and evacuating guests. No passengers, including media, are being allowed in at the moment due to a shortage of staff to man the airport. The airport reopened on Sunday 10 September for relief flights after the passage of Hurricane Jose in the region.

Updates from St. Maarten / St. Martin hotels are as follows:


·                     Beach Plaza: Badly damaged

·                     Belair Beach Hotel: Sustained damage and it will take time to repair. Phone service and internet down.   .

·                     Esmeralda Resort: Hotel 70 per cent destroyed.

·                     Hotel Mercure : Damaged

·                     La Vista Hotel: The Beach building is relatively in decent shape. The roof tiles came off but the roof itself in still there. Some water damage and missing doors and windows.

·                     Oyster Bay Beach Resort: Significant damage.

·                     Princess Heights: Minor damage.

·                     Riu Palace St. Martin: Infrastructures severely affected. All guests and employees are fine.  .

·                     Summit Resort Hotel: Due to extensive damages, the Summit Resort will remain closed.

·                     Westin Dawn Beach: Suffered significant damage.·

·                     Sonesta: Resort damage is severe. All further reservations from now through the end of 2017 have been cancelled.


Both the French and Dutch governments have sent people to the country along with supplies and vital aid.

St. Eustatius

Director of Tourism Charles Lindo says St. Eustatius was spared the worst by Hurricane Irma. Telephone, electricity and internet are back up and both the airport and seaport are open.

Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) has announced the reopening of the Providenciales International Airport (PLS) for scheduled flights as of 11 a.m. on, Monday, 11 September

The department of disaster management and emergencies is currently conducting assessments throughout the islands. Initial reports indicate localized flooding, and damage to roofs and some property but no reports of loss of life.  fe.

Several of the hotel properties were scheduled for annual closure PRIOR to Irma; some properties have now elected to remain closed, to assess any damage to their properties and looking to reopen by the beginning to middle of October 2017.

Updates from individual properties in the Turks & Caicos Islands are as follows:

CURRENTLY OPEN The Palms Resort Shore Club Seven Stars

CLOSED One to Two Weeks Windsong The Regent Grand Villa Community

CLOSED FOR TWO Months as of 1 September, 2017 Property Gansevoort TCI West Bay Club Somerset Point Grace Royal West Indies Club Med Beaches TCI Parrot Cay (scheduled closer August 26th to November 18th, 2017)

CLOSED FOR ONE Month The Alexandra Resort Beach House TCI Blue Haven La Vele Seven Stars Tuscany The Sands

United States Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas)

The Virgin Islands Port Authority’s Executive Director, David Mapp, provided the following updates regarding the airports and seaports in the US Virgin Islands.

The Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix is open and fully operational. American Airlines is expected to resume flights to HERA tomorrow, 12 September. The Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas received extensive damage during Hurricane Irma. CEKA is only open to emergency relief flights. VIPA is currently conducting assessments and cleanup, with a tentative date of 16 September, 2017 to resume daily commercial flights to St. Thomas.

All seaports on St. Croix are open and fully operational. There is currently no seaplane service available. VIPA will announce when service resumes. All seaports in the St. Thomas/St. John district are open. However, service between Cruz Bay, St. John and Red Hook, St. Thomas is limited to daylight hours only.

The following updates have been shared by individual properties in the U.S. Virgin Islands:

St. Croix

·         The Buccaneer: Open for business. Facilities are in good shape, but there may be some limitation of services over the next few days.

·         Club Comanche Hotel St. Croix: Open and accepting guests as of Friday, 8 September

·         Hotel Caravelle: The hotel is open and accepting guests.

·         Hotel on the Cay: The resort will be accepting guests beginning Tuesday, 12 September

St. John

·         Caneel Bay: Complete power outage at the resort. Team assessing the damage.

·         Westin St. John Resort Villas: The resort and the surrounding areas experienced some damage and overall impact is being assessed.

St. Thomas

·         Bluebeard's Castle Resort: Sustained major damage,  .

·         Marriott Frenchman’s Reef: Those planning to visit the hotel should check the news for the most current information The resort is waiving hotel cancellation and change fees for specific arrival dates. Customers should call 1-800-228-9290 (US) for more information about their reservations. Those in countries outside of the United States seeking information about their reservations should call the Marriott toll-free number in their country.

·         Margaritaville Vacation Club:. Recovery efforts to begin

·         Point Pleasant Resort: Currently  assessing damage, and will share new information when available.

·         Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas:. Those planning to visit the hotel should check the news for the most current information and amend their travel plans accordingly. The resort is waiving hotel cancellation and change fees for specific arrival dates. Customers should call 1-800-228-9290 (US) for more information about their reservations. Those in countries outside of the United States seeking information about their reservations should call the Marriott toll-free number in their country.

·         Secret Harbour Beach Resort: No major structural damage to the buildings. The generator is still working.

·         Sugar Bay Resort & Spa: The damage is being assessed and an update will be provided when available.

·         Windward Passage: Will close for six months.

Palm Springs, California's famous desert playground, is set to host two vibrant and diverse LGBT events this autumn; Cinema Diverse and Greater Palm Springs Pride will be taking place in September and November respectively and celebrate the diversity, equality and solidarity of the LGBT community.

Movie enthusiasts are invited to experience Cinema Diverse, a unique silver screen celebration, which is solely dedicated to showcasing the leaders in LGBT cinema. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Cinema Diverse will take place from 21st to 24th September 2017 in the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs.

To open the festival, Cinema Diverse will be airing a new documentary called 'The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin', which tells the story of gay pioneer and beloved author, Armistead Maupin. Armistead, who wrote a series of novels called 'Tales of the City', will be attending the opening night to participate in a Q&A session, receive a coveted lifetime achievement award, as well as sign copies of his upcoming memoir 'Logical Family: A Memoir', which is due to be published in October.

Greater Palm Springs Pride has been running for 31 years and is the largest LGBT gathering in the Coachella Valley. Located in the city's beautiful downtown, the festival will take place on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th November 2017. With live bands, cutting edge DJ sets, dancing in the streets, as well as delicious street food stands, Greater Palm Springs Pride will bring the city's downtown to life.

Elite Havens has announced that the seven villas of the sensational Sava Beach Villas estate are now part of their exclusive Phuket holiday rental collection.

Sava Beach Villas comprises seven designer villas set in a beachfront estate, just 25 minutes from Phuket international airport in peaceful Phang Nga province. These Natai Beach rentals offer a choice of seven bedrooms with Villa Tievoli, six bedrooms at Villa Amarelo, Villa Cielo, Villa Malee Sai and Villa Essenza, and four-bedroom escapes at Villa Roxo and Villa Aqua. Each villa has a distinct personality reflecting its individual owner's design tastes, while all offer a modern haven with sea and sunset views.

An immersion into complete tranquillity and care awaits at Sava Beach Villas, with large private pools of 18 or 25 metres, stylish indoor and outdoor living areas, private dining rooms, ample entertainment and sports facilities and a professional team of staff including Thai chefs and villa managers to cater to every guest whim – all just steps away from the soft sands of Natai, a quiet beach that extends 10 kilometres up the glorious Andaman coast. And for those in search of a fantasy beachfront Phuket wedding venue, Sava is a dream destination.

Natai Beach is less than an hour's drive from the busy tourist areas of Phuket, yet it offers a sense of seclusion and exclusivity with only a handful of luxury villas and boutique resorts lining its sandy shore. From relaxing on the sands of Natai and kayaking or standup paddle boarding along the shore to venturing out for a yacht charter cruise of majestic Phang Nga Bay or snorkelling the pristine waters of the Similan islands, Sava Beach Villas offer the ultimate tropical beach getaway.

The Italian National Tourist Board will be the Premier Partner at WTM London 2017 – the leading global event for the travel industry – as Italy takes a “fundamental step” towards a new marketing strategy. Known as ENIT, the tourism body has signed the Premier Partnership deal to ensure widespread media coverage; to offer maximum support its tourism industry; and to highlight Italy's diverse range of holidays.

ENIT will have two main stands at WTM London (EU2000, EU2070) and will share its exhibition space with around 230 Italian travel trade partners, including regional tourism bodies, hotels, travel agencies, resorts and operators.

Through its Premier Partnership status, Italy aims to “reposition and widen the Italian tourist offer” beyond the traditional tourist destinations. ENIT will also shine a spotlight on its themed years, with Italian villages being the focus for 2017, and food and wine in 2018. Both themes promote the Italian way of life, which can be experienced by tourists across the whole country – from its mountains to the coast, lakes and cities. Indeed, the country's cuisine is already a major draw, and it is regarded as the number one destination for food and wine tourism, according to the Food Travel Monitor.

Italy will also use WTM London to highlight its cultural attractions and the fact it has more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country, with 53. According to FutureBrand's Country Brand Index, it is ranked top for Tourism & Culture – and it is the most photographed country on Instagram, with 64 million tags and counting.

Its varied attractions mean Italy is the fifth most popular destination worldwide for international arrivals, with 52 million visitors in 2016 – up 3.2% on 2015. These visitors generated more than €36 billion euros last year for the Italian economy, with Germans accounting for the highest amount at €5.7 billion. The US was the second biggest market (€4.6bn), followed by France (€3.6bn), the UK (€2.9bn) and Switzerland (€2.4bn). Cities famed for their art and culture – such as Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Naples and Turin – are the most popular option for overseas tourists, who spend about €14 billion in this sector. Overseas tourists visiting for seaside holidays, meanwhile, generate almost €5 billion.

Dario Franceschini, Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, said the special themed years mean that regional tourist boards and cities can work together with the trade to create itineraries which enable overseas visitors to experience Italian lifestyles.

“In the tourism sector, where competition is so fierce, it is fundamental for Italy to diversify its attractions and spread tourist flows over the entire national territory,” he said.

“Tourism, this extraordinary engine of economic development, is a medium of peaceful encounters between cultures and a fundamental antidote to the fear of the different.”

WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “WTM London is thrilled to welcome Italy as its Premier Partner for 2017.

“Italy has long been a key exhibitor at WTM London and we're delighted that this Premier Partnership will help the country to take its tourism marketing to the next level.

“Being WTM London's Premier Partner means Italy has the perfect platform promote the extensive range of Italian holidays to buyers and media from across the globe.”

The official signing ceremony of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) Photography Ambassador Program took place at Visit Maldives Head Office in Male..

The MMPRC Photography Ambassador Program was created to provide a new platform for established and upcoming local photographers with an opportunity to be recognised on an international level and therefore venture into new international tourism domains. It is an initiative designed to enhance the local photography industry and to help create future job opportunities for local photographers within the Maldives tourism industry.

The photographers who take part in the ambassador programme will work closely with MMPRC to promote the destination “Maldives…the sunny side of life”, enhancing the official social media channels of MMPRC as well as recording events such as World Travel Market and ITB Berlin.

The ceremony was attended by Mr Hussain Lirar, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Mr Haris Mohamed, Acting Managing Director of MMPRC, senior representatives of MMPRC and the Ministry of Tourism as well as the MMPRC Photography Ambassadors.

Jamaica Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has disclosed that the country earned a record US$2 Billion during the first eight months of this calendar year from 2.8 million visitors.

The figure represents an increase of 8.3 percent in gross foreign exchange earnings than the US$1.83 billion earned last year over the same period. In addition, cruise passenger arrivals were up 5.1 percent for the same period.

“My mission is to enhance the retention of the dollar from this US$2 billion. In fact, the latest report from the World Travel & Tourism Council indicates that the retention of the dollar, from the consumption side has risen to 70 percent. The Tourism Linkages Council is going to drive that value added that is needed to take the retention levels in Jamaica from 30 cents to at least 50 cents, for the total dollar that is spent,” said Minister Bartlett.

He also highlighted that direct contribution from tourism to the GDP at the moment is 8.4 percent but the induced and indirect contribution is now 27.2 percent. So, tourism remains one of the few labor-intensive sectors and directly employs 106,000 Jamaicans while generating indirect jobs for one in four persons, linked to sectors such as agriculture, creative and cultural industries, manufacturing, and construction.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (second left) engages Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF)/National Export Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM) Small Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTE) Loan Facility beneficiaries Danville Davidson, Director of Irie Safari Tours Ltd (second right) and Patria Kaye Aarons, Director Sweetie Confectionary Ltd (center) in dialogue. The occasion was a press briefing to report on the loan facility at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on August 30, 2017. Sharing in the moment are TEF Chairman Godfrey Dyer (left) and EXIM Bank’s Managing Director Lisa Bell. While there, Minister Bartlett disclosed that the country has earned a record US$2 billion during the first eight months of this calendar year, from a total of 2.8 million visitors. The figure represents an increase of 8.3 percent in gross foreign exchange earnings over the US$1.83 billion earned last year for the same period.

The Tourism Minister was speaking at the press briefing to report on the year-old TEF/EXIM Bank Small Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTE) Loan Facility, at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on August 30, 2017.

According to reports received from the EXIM Bank, as at August 29, 2017, they have received twenty-eight completed loan applications, totaling J$509.9 million, under the SMTE loan program.

“The excellent response of SMTEs to the loan facility is proof that it is welcomed and well needed. Operators of SMTEs, who access up to $25 million dollars at 5 percent interest, over 5 years, will now be able to better respond to the demands of our thriving tourism sector,” said the Minister.

With the West End and Broadway blockbuster, Miss Saigon, currently thrilling audiences at Birmingham Hippodrome until Sat 23 Sept, principal cast members Sooha Kim and Ashley Gilmour took time out from their busy performance schedule for an up-close encounter with an original Vietnam UH-1 HUEY helicopter, the only working model of its kind to exist in the UK today.

Widely used to transport troops and equipment during the Vietnam War, as well as support and attack missions, the UH-IH model ‘Huey’ helicopter first arrived in Vietnam in 1963 and was the most common utility helicopter used in the conflict between 1965-1973.

The Huey 509, was contracted by the US army in 1972. The aircraft saw active service in the Vietnam conflict between 1972-1973, where it flew over 500 combat missions with the 129 Helicopter Assault Company.

Winner of a record-breaking nine Whatsonstage awards including Best show, Miss Saigon tells the story of the last days of the Vietnam War, in which a 17 year-old Kim is forced to work in a Saigon bar run by a notorious character known as the Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American GI named Chris but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. For 3 years Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he's fathered a son.

Ashley Gilmour, who plays Chris in the UK Tour of Miss Saigon, said: “It’s incredible to see a machine of such power and scale in the flesh. I fly on stage in a replica ‘Huey’ every night on UK Tour so coming face-to-face with the vehicle which inspired it is just incredible. As a cast, the research that goes into this production is something that we take really seriously. At the start of the rehearsal process, we watched countless documentaries and films from the height of the Vietnam conflict to really get to grips with the world we were representing on stage. So to see something like this in person gives you a real sense of what those soldiers were experiencing. And the noise! It’s just mind-blowing, like nothing I’ve heard before…”

Phil Connolly, Owner of the Huey 509 added “I’ve seen Miss Saigon several times before so when we got the call from Birmingham Hippodrome, we jumped at the chance to be involved. It’s a real honour to meet Sooha and Ashley and introduce them to this iconic piece of military history.”

“I first got into flying in the early 90s as a fixed-wing pilot. I eventually got so fed up of the English weather that I moved into helicopters. My first purchase was an ex-military gazelle helicopter which I flew for two or three years. As my enthusiasm grew, there was only one helicopter that I wanted to own and fly and that every other pilot I knew wanted to fly too and that’s the ‘Huey’. I think I was the first one in the UK to achieve it and still am. The ‘Huey’ is one of the most versatile models of military helicopter. It can carry up to ten troops and comes equipped with three stretchers that can be fitted onto its sides. In Vietnam, it doubled-up as a battlefield taxi, medi-vac vehicle and as an invaluable source for transporting and carrying equipment. It’s a truly amazing piece of engineering”.

Since its London premiere in 1989, Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon has become one of the most successful musicals in history.

The original Broadway production of Miss Saigon opened on April 11, 1991 with what was the largest advance sale in Broadway history ($37 million).  The show went on to play for nearly ten years and 4,063 performances seen by more than 5.9 million people.

Miss Saigon has been performed in 28 countries, over 300 cities in 15 different languages, has won over 40 awards including 2 Olivier Awards, 3 Tony Awards, and 4 Drama Desk Awards and been seen by over 35 million people worldwide.

In March, this production of Miss Saigon opened on Broadway where it plays to nightly ovations and has just been nominated for the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

When the smash-hit run of this production opened in London in May 2014 to record-breaking advance sales and critical acclaim, Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph wrote, “This thrilling new production spills out beyond the theatre and speaks directly to the times we live in”. The show swept the board at the 2015 awards winning a record breaking nine awards, the most awards ever won by a single show in the 15-year history of the awards including: Best West End Show and Best Revival of a Musical.

Neil Buchan-Grant, winner of the 2013 British Travel Press Photographer of the Year, will be leading an exclusive photography tour to Vietnam and Cambodia with travel holiday experts Kuoni UK.

Touring Hanoi, Halong Bay and Hoi An in Vietnam and Siem Reap in Cambodia, the focus will be on capturing memorable scenes under the expert guidance of Neil who has over 30 years' experience.

All of the main sights are covered on the tour, capturing Angkor Wat temple at sunrise in Siem Reap and taking an overnight Halong Bay cruise in Vietnam, which is a photographer's paradise with its incredible natural scenery.

There is also an authentic taste of village life and food experiences, from a cyclo tour of Cam Thanh Village, a small fishing community and eco-village in Hoi An where traditional scenes of village life can be explored, to a traditional local meal with a contemporary twist at the renowned Home Restaurant in Hanoi.

In Siem Reap there is an opportunity to photograph Apsara dancers wearing traditional dress and ornate jewellery during a photo shoot.

Suitable for all levels, whether a complete beginner equipped with just a smart phone or an experienced photographer with a top of the range camera, Neil offers expert tuition and is available beforehand for any pre-departure advice.