Colors: Blue Color

Qatar welcomed some of football’s greatest as German champions, Bayern Munich visited Hamad International Airport for a special fan meet and greet event, as part of the unique partnership that pairs aviation’s newest, most advanced international hub with the Bundesliga’s most successful club ever.

12 months to celebrate and promote the contribution of the tourism sector to building a better world. This is the major goal of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development recalling the potential of tourism to advance the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On behalf of the dedicated team at the Department of Tourism, may I wish you all a happy and productive 2017, the year the World Tourism Organization has dedicated to the advancement of sustainable tourism.  In the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), we gladly endorse this global initiative as we know full well the importance of developing tourism sustainably: we all know tourism drives our economy and contributes enormously to our infrastructure and basic services.  

Forecasts from VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, indicate that 2017 is set to be another record year for inbound tourism to the UK.  Spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach £24.1 billion in 2017, an 8% increase on spending this year which is expected to top out at £22.3 billion. The number of overseas visitors to the UK is expected to rise next year to 38.1 million visits, up 4% on 2016 which is likely to see about 36.7 million visits by year end.

The Non-Teaching Staff Association of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore organised a ceremony for its Christian employees in connection with Christmas Day. Vice-Chancellor Meritorious Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha presided over the Christmas cake-cutting ceremony while Pastor Yousaf Nawab, NTSA President Muhammad Arif, Prof Dr Habib-ur- Rehman, Dr Muhammad Afzal and many Christian employees of the UVAS and a large number of university staff attended the function.

In a magnificent reception held by Global Traveller magazine, Qatar Airways was awarded three honours: Best Airline for International First Class, Best First-Class Seat Design and, for the third time, Best Airline in the Middle East. The event, held in The Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel, was attended by over 25 other industry representatives and also marked the start of the Global Traveller’s charitable initiative for The Leukaemia & Lymphoma Society.

Greece received approximately 2.4 million UK visitors between January and September 2016, an increase of 15.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2015, according to the latest figures from the Bank of Greece. According to GFK, bookings made between January and November 2016 saw an increase of 4 per cent compared to the same period in 2015, while there was a 21 per cent year-on-year increase in forward bookings for 2017 during the same period.

The world-famous Alaska Highway, one of North America's most scenic drives, will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2017. Canada's Yukon Territory is preparing to welcome UK road trippers for this iconic driving holiday. The historic Alaska Highway winds through eight Yukon communities, including the capital city of Whitehorse, and travels from Watson Lake, gateway to the Yukon and home to the world-famous Sign Post Forest to Beaver Creek, Canada's most westerly community.

The first quarter of 2017 will see the opening of highly anticipated lifestyle resort, The Address Boulevard Dubai, in the heart of the prestigious Downtown Dubai area. The new exclusive urban resort, comprising 196 hotel rooms, is the latest in The Address Hotels + Resorts portfolio.  The hotel is complemented by 533 serviced apartments in the Address Residences Boulevard Dubai, a premium collection of branded serviced residences.

Costa Rica is fast increasing in popularity with Europeans, in large part because of new direct flights from Germany and France, and with BA from Gatwick, all introduced in 2016. Most of the wildlife visitors see in Costa Rica are of the mammalian and avian kinds, but now Reef & Rainforest (specialists in Costa Rica for over 25 years) are offering a group tour led by the BBC's favourite avuncular entomologist, Dr George McGavin.

Following much anticipation, Saturday 10 December saw the Grand Opening Party of Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife as it officially launched in the Canary Islands. Bringing the spirit of the 80s to Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife's open-air stage located next to a new stunning freshwater lagoon, the glam Grand Opening Party injected a dose of glitter, fluorescent colour, and disco classics to Tenerife's coastline in celebration of Europe's second Hard Rock Hotel.

Waterloo continues to top the list of Britain’s busiest stations with almost 100 million journeys in 2015/16. London dominates in the top 10 busiest stations. Birmingham New Street is the exception, ranking as the country’s seventh busiest station.  There has been one ‘new entry’ to the most used stations this year, with Clapham Junction replacing Charing Cross at number 10.

“He outmatched the achievements of all kings who came before him” wrote Ramses II about himself in an inscription at the famous Amun Temple in Luxor. He went down in the history of ancient Egypt with the name “Ramses the Great”. The Badisches Landesmuseum in Karlsruhe has created a large cultural and historical special exhibition dedicated to the famous pharaoh – the first comprehensive exhibition since the Ramses Exhibition in Paris 40 years ago. From 17th December 2016 through to 18th June 2017 visitors can view around 250 exhibits from museums all over the world.           

After announcing its long-term commitment to tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions, Hamad International Airport in Qatar is celebrated its successful renewal of the ACI (Airports Council International) Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme, which includes a target to improve carbon efficiency by 30% by 2030 along with a series of initiatives to help save energy and optimize the consumption of vehicle fuel.

While most of us in the Northern Hemisphere associate Christmas with wrapping up warm, hanging up stockings on the fireplace, roasting chestnuts and drinking mulled wine, those Down-Under are in peak summer and Christmas cheer is more sunshine celebrations than frosty festivities.

Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has told an audience at the Transparency International-UK Anti-Corruption Lecture 2016 in London that corruption ‘is a scourge which holds in thrall millions of our Commonwealth sisters and brothers, condemning them to servitude, poverty, disease, indignity and misery’. Secretary-General Scotland said that she has worked with Transparency International formally and informally over the years and that she would continue to do so ‘as long as corruption continues to spread its poison’.