• Africa is among the fastest growing regions in the world and strengthened engagement presents major growth opportunities for trade and investment by South African firms, as well as firms that want to use the country as a gateway to the continent.• According to the recently released Africa Investment Report 2015 compiled by fDiIntelligence “FDI into Africa [in 2014] increased by 64% to US$87 billion [which represents] 660 projects.” This amounts to 13% of global FDI which has increased from 0.6% in 2000. The 464 multinational companies which have invested in the continent are saying without equivocation that Africa is open for business and is a safe and reliable investment destination.• The most attractive sectors for investors are: financial services with 133 projects; the coal, oil & natural gas sector with 25 projects and a combined capital investment value of US$33 billion; the real estate sector with 23 projects and a capital investment of US$12 billion; the industrial machinery sector with 33 projects. The auto components sector reflected an improved performance of 133% while the value of projects in the business machines as well as software & IT services sectors increased by 378% and 72%, respectively; FDI projects in the chemicals sector amounted to US$7 billion indicating an increase of almost 2000% from 2013; and the alternative & renewable energy sector saw US$10 billion being invested across the continent. This is supported by the WEF Africa Competitiveness Report as well as the EY Africa Attractiveness Survey 2015.• South Africa’s foreign direct investment into and trade with the SADC region has grown more rapidly in recent years than any other. SADC currently absorbs 26% of our exports – more than any other region. Unlike exports to other regions, exports to SADC are dominated by manufactured goods.• South Africa is already a major and growing source of FDI on the continent, accounting for 53% of FDI into Southern Africa in 2014 (UNCTAD 2015). Outward investments are especially encouraged where these crowd in South African value-chains, expertise and financial resources.• Future growth of the continent will be supported by a number of on-going initiatives that will address existing challenges to doing business in the region.• Efforts towards market integration through SADC, and the Tripartite Free Trade Area will address the challenges of small and fragmented markets in the region. The Tripartite Free Trade Area is expected to create a market of US$2.6 trillion, with a combined population of over 600 million.• South Africa is also working with SADC to support regional value chains to enhance the region’s competitiveness and promote inclusive growth and development in the region. In April 2015, SADC heads of states approved the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.• South Africa is championing infrastructure development in Africa through the continental north-south rail and road links, as part of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.• In order to fast-track key projects, South Africa has recently introduced a Project Preparation and Development Facility for the SADC, managed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
A country’s symbols – seal, motto, flag, anthem, coat of arms and natural symbols – tell its story and play a crucial role in building pride and a sense of belonging. South Africa’s national symbols are rich in heritage, and tell the stories of the country’s abundant natural and cultural diversity.South Africa’s national symbols are rich in heritage. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterThe Department of Arts and Culture is the custodian of all our national symbols and is tasked with educating all South Africans in their meaning and history, especially during the annual national Heritage Month, held during September.|Decoding the coat of armsA coat of arms of any country is the highest visual symbol of that country, and is part of the great seal, which confers absolute authority on all documents bearing it. South Africa’s new coat of arms was launched on Freedom Day, 27 April 2000, during former president Thabo Mbeki’s administration. It was created by designer Iaan Bekker and replaced the former coat of arms which had been in use since 1932.South Africa’s motto, !ke e: /xarra //ke, in the Khoisan language of the /Xam people is included on the coat of arms. It means “diverse people unite”. (Image: Wikipedia)The coat of arms is elegant and contemporary in design and distinctly egg-shaped. In the lower portion, known as the oval shape of foundation, the first element is the motto in a green curve, which is completed by two symmetrically placed pairs of elephant tusks pointing upwards. Within the oval shape formed by the tusks are two symmetrical ears of wheat symbolising fertility, which in turn frame a centrally placed gold shield, reminiscent of a drum.The shield contains two human figures from the famous Linton panel of Khoisan rock art, facing one another in greeting and in unity. The Linton panel resides in the Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town.Above the shield are a spear and a knobkierie, crossed in a single unit, but lying down in a gesture of peace. These elements are arranged harmoniously to give focus to the shield and complete the lower oval shape of foundation.Above the foundation is a stylised protea, whose petals are rendered in a triangular pattern often found in African crafts, and in popular colours associated with the continent – green, gold, red and black.A secretary bird hovers above the protea and the flower forms its lower body and chest – this part also looks like a diamond, one of the South African success stories. The secretary bird, known for its ability fight off its enemies, usually snakes, stands with its wings regally uplifted, while its distinctive head feathers crown a strong and vigilant head. Its legs are formed by the spear and knobkierie below.The sun rising above the horizon is placed between the wings of the secretary bird and completes the oval shape of ascendance.South Africa’s motto is !ke e: /xarra //ke, written in the Khoisan language of the /Xam people. Literally translated it means “diverse people unite” and replaces the former Ex unitate vires, Latin for “unity is strength”.Pronunciation of !ke e: /xarra //ke:!: Place the tip of the tongue against the gum root in the middle of the mouth and click hard. This is similar to the q sound in Zulu, for example in iqanda (egg).k: Not pronounced and followed by a short ê sound, as in nest.e: A very long ê which is pronounced with a dip in the voice, like a sheep bleating; similar to ê-hê-hê-hê/: Place the tongue softly against the root of the teeth in the middle front of the mouth. Then click with the middle of the tongue. The sound is similar to the c sound in Zulu, for example in ucingo (telephone).x: Similar to a prolonged gggg sound in Afrikaans, leading to gggarra.//: Another click, this time with the side of the tongue against the palate, similar to the x sound in the word Xhosa. The k is not pronounced.|National flagThe new national flag of the Republic of South Africa was designed by former state herald Fred Brownell. It was adopted on Freedom Day, 27 April 1994, and first flown on 10 May 1994 – the day of former president Nelson Mandela’s inauguration. It’s the only six-coloured flag in the world.The central design of the flag, beginning at the flag-pole in a V form and flowing into a single horizontal band to the outer edge of the fly, can be interpreted as the convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity.When the flag is displayed vertically against a wall, the red band should be on the viewer’s left, with the hoist or the cord seam at the top. When it is displayed horizontally, the hoist should be on the viewer’s left and the red band at the top. When the flag is displayed next to or behind the speaker at a meeting, it must be placed to the speaker’s right. When it is placed elsewhere in the meeting place, it should be to the right of the audience.National anthemThe current national anthem is a combination of two well-known pieces of music – Enoch Sontonga’s Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, and The Call of South Africa (Die Stem van Suid Afrika), written in 1918 by author and poet CJ Langenhoven.The music to The Call, which had been South Africa’s official national anthem since 1952 (and the Afrikaans version since 1957), was composed by Rev ML de Villiers in 1921.Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika was composed by Sontonga, a Methodist mission schoolteacher, in 1897. The words of the first stanza were originally written in isiXhosa as a hymn. Seven additional stanzas in isiXhosa were later added by the poet Samuel Mqhayi. It became a symbol of African freedom and defiance during the years of apartheid, and has been translated into most of South Africa’s official languages.This is the official version of the national anthem, with a translation in English given in brackets:Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika(God Bless Africa)Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo,(Raise high Her glory)Yizwa imithandazo yethu,(Hear our Prayers)Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo(God bless us, we her children)isiXhosa and isiZuluMorena boloka setjhaba sa heso,(God protect our nation)O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho,(End all wars and tribulations)O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso,(Protect us, protect our nation)Setjhaba sa South Afrika – South Afrika.(Our nation South Africa – South Africa)SesothoUit die blou van onse hemel,(Ringing out from our blue heavens)Uit die diepte van ons see,(From the depth of our seas)Oor ons ewige gebergtes,(Over our everlasting mountains)Waar die kranse antwoord gee,(Where the echoing crags resound)AfrikaansSounds the call to come together,And united we shall stand,Let us live and strive for freedom,In South Africa our land.EnglishDownload the sheet music (PDF, 175KB)Watch the Soweto Gospel Choir singing the national anthem:National OrdersNational orders are the highest awards that a country, through its president, bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals. The president is assisted by the director-general in the Presidency, who is the chancellor of national orders.South Africa’s current national orders were issued for the first time in 2002. They feature indigenous designs and reflect hanged to reflect a country that is committed to human rights, non-racism and non-sexism.Who can receive National Orders?Anyone is eligible for nomination, and nominees don’t have to be famous, but must have performed an act of bravery or rendered exceptional service to the country.Nominations are considered by the National Orders Advisory Council, which recommends qualifying candidates, and from there successful nominees are notified and invited to attend an awards ceremony.You can obtain a copy of the nomination form from, or return completed nominations to:The Chancery of OrdersPrivate Bag X1000Pretoria, 0001The form may also be downloaded from the website of the Presidency.The Order of Mapungubwe is awarded to South African citizens for achievements that have impacted internationally and served the interests of the Republic of South Africa.The Order of the Baobab is awarded for distinguished service in business and the economy; science, medicine, technological innovation; and community service. The service recignised goes well above and beyond the ordinary call of duty.The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo is awarded in three categories to eminent foreign nationals and other foreign dignitaries for friendship shown to South Africa. It is therefore concerned primarily with matters of peace, co-operation, international solidarity and support and is integral to the execution of South Africa’s international and multilateral relations.The Order of Luthuli is awarded to South Africans who have made a meaningful contribution to the struggle for democracy, human rights, nation-building, justice and peace, and conflict resolution.The Order of Ikhamanga is awarded to South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism or sport. This award is made in three categories. For exceptional achievement the Order is awarded in gold It is awarded in sliver for excellent achievement, and in bronze for outstanding achievement.The Order of the Mendi Decoration for Bravery is awarded to South African citizens who have performed an extraordinary act of bravery that placed their lives in great danger, or who lost their own lives including in trying to save the life of another person, or by saving property, in or outside the Republic of South Africa.National animalThe springbok stands 75cm high and weighs about 40kg and is South Africa’s national animal. (Image: Wikipedia)The country’s national animal is the springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis), which gets its common name from its characteristic pronking or leaping display – from the Afrikaans word pronk. The beloved animal has lent its name to the South African national rugby team, fondly known as “the Boks” or “die Bokke”.The springbok stands 75cm high and weighs about 40kg. It has adapted to dry, barren areas and open grass plains and is thus found especially in the Free State, North West province and in the Karoo up to the west coast. Springbok move in small herds during winter, but often crowd together in bigger herds in summer. They breed throughout the year and lambs are born after a six-month gestation period.Both sexes have horns, but those of the ram are thicker and rougher.National birdThe blue crane can emit a distinctive high-pitched and rattling croak. It is South Africa’s national bird. (Image: Wikipedia)The national bird of South Africa is the blue crane (Anthropoides paradisia), the distribution of which is almost entirely restricted to the country. Standing about a metre tall, the bird is a light blue-grey, with a long neck supporting a rather bulbous head, long legs and elegant wing plumes which sweep to the ground.Blue cranes lay their eggs in the bare veld, often close to water. They are common in the Karoo, but are also seen in the grasslands of KwaZulu-Natal and the highveld, usually in pairs or small family parties. They eat seeds, insects and reptiles.Although usually quiet, the blue crane can emit a distinctive high-pitched and rattling croak which can be heard from some distance.With only some 25 000 individuals left in the country, the blue crane is listed as vulnerable on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.National flowerSouth Africa’s national flower is the largest of the proteas. (Image: Winfried Bruenken, CC BY-SA 2.5, Wikipedia)The giant or king protea (Protea cynaroides) is found in the south-western and southern areas of the Western Cape, from the Cedarberg up to just east of Grahamstown. The artichoke-like appearance of the flower heads of the king protea leads to the specific name cynaroides, which means “like cynara” (the artichoke). A number of varieties in colour and leaf shapes are found, but the pink flower is the most striking and well-known.South Africa’s national flower is the largest of the proteas, which make up an important part of the Cape Floral Region, a major global biodiversity hotspot and a Unesco World Heritage site. The proteas also give their name to South Africa’s national cricket team.National fishThe galjoen is unique to South Africa’s coastline, extending to Namibia. (Image: Wikipedia)South Africa’s national fish is the galjoen (Dichistius capensis) or black bream. The galjoen is found along the South African coast from Namibia in the west to Durban in the east, and in no other area on earth. It keeps to mostly shallow water and is often found in rough surf, sometimes right next to the shore. The galjoen is a familiar sight to every keen angler. The diet of the galjoen consists mainly of red bait (ascidians), small mussels and barnacles.The record size is over 55cm and 7kg, however the average is much smaller.National treeThe real yellowwood, the national tree, is found across the country. (Image: Wikipedia)The real yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius), a member of an ancient family of trees, is found all across South Africa, from Table Mountain, along the southern and eastern Cape coast, in the ravines of the Drakensberg up to the Soutpansberg and the Blouberg in Limpopo. The bark of the real yellowwood is khaki-coloured to grey when it is old, deeply split and peels off in strips. The crown is relatively small in relation to its height and is often covered with grey lichen. Male and female cones resemble pine cones and are white, light green or pink.Source: Department of Arts and Culture, South African Government OnlineReviewed 14 September 2016Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Your standard as a leader is not what you believe to be your standard. Instead, your standard is what you allow, what you accept, what occurs without your objection or consequences. Over time, you can be lulled into expecting less from the people you lead. The result of low expectations is not reaching your full potential and not helping others achieve theirs.Expecting Too LittleWhile this post isn’t about sales, there may not be a better example than a sales floor with an activity quota. The leader of the team requires forty outbound calls a day, even though most of the calls result in a voice mail. Although anyone is capable of making five calls an hour, the average number of calls ends up being something like thirty-two calls, with a few reps making more, and others making so few calls as to pull down the average.Assume the leader is thoughtful and cares about the outcomes of those calls as much or more than they care about the activity. The standard is not really forty outbound calls. The real standard is what the leader allows, not what the leader suggests. When there is no accountability or consequences, you do not have a standard; you have what amounts to “suggestions.”When you allow your expectations to chase the average performance you can achieve, you both expect and receive something less than the best performance of the people in your charge are capable of producing.Seeing Too LittleThe best leader you ever had believed you were something more than you recognized and pushed you to become that person. They didn’t coddle you or accept something less than your best performance. They weren’t apathetic about your effort, and they didn’t neglect you. Instead, they coached and encouraged you.Most people already underestimate their real potential. They don’t recognize their gifts and their capacities, and many (most) haven’t had the experience of working for someone who cares enough about them to see something in them that they can’t see themselves, or something they can see but haven’t had the courage to become.As a leader, your results are not only limited by your exceptions, but also by the limit of your ability to help people grow and improve their capacities to generate results. What you see in each individual is the performance you can expect from them. If you want to see something different, you have to help them see what they might become.Believing Too LittleThere is a word that you don’t hear enough in business. Perhaps it isn’t heard much outside of business anymore. The word is “encouragement.” The word “encourage” means to support and provide confidence. Without researching the word’s etymology, it isn’t difficult to recognize the idea of providing someone with the courage to act.Most people have no idea what they are capable of, and many (if not most) haven’t been encouraged to become something more than they are now. Most don’t possess enough belief in themselves and are not helped by leaders who don’t have a greater belief in them they have in themselves. Accepting and allowing people to turn in mediocre or poor results because you believe that is all they are capable of is to hold too little belief in them.As a leader, it’s difficult to accept that the person who didn’t perform for you thrives under another leader. The person did not change, nor did their role. The expectations of the person changed when their leader changed.Pushing Too LittleThe person who cares about you will push you to become the better version of yourself that is presently locked up inside you. They will continuously remind you that you are not doing the work, not putting forth the necessary effort and that you are capable of more. They won’t accept anything less than your best, and they’ll keep pushing until you succeed.There are many reasons we fail to push people for their best performance. First, it takes a lot of time and energy. Second, it means having the same conversation over and over again without seeing much of an improvement, if any. Third, it’s easy to be busy with other things, none of which are likely to outweigh developing your people and improving your overall results. But mostly, we may not push because we didn’t have a model of how to drive performance and because we don’t believe it will make a difference (i.e., we see too little, and we believe too little).A considerable measure of your results as a leader is going to come from your ability to encourage the best possible performance from the people on your team. You have to see, believe, and push for their growth and their performance.Failing Those in Your ChargeIf there is a way to fail your people, allowing them to lower their standards has to top the list. You can easily rationalize lowering your expectations, something that will be debilitating to producing better results.You can believe that it isn’t your responsibility to see something in your people they can’t see, and that it isn’t your responsibility to encourage their growth. You are paying them for their work, and you shouldn’t have to push them for their best results. To hold these beliefs is to fail the people in your charge, and in return, you can expect them to fail you.Raise your standards and expect more. Recognize that everyone on your team is capable of more than what they are doing now. Believe and encourage their growth, their development, and their best performance. And push them to start moving towards these things.
The workers of the CPI(M) and the BJP are coming together in Purba Medinipur, Malda and Nadia districts of West Bengal to form gram panchayat boards. The CPI(M) leadership admitted that it was not possible for them to “control the actions” of party workers at the village level. However, they made it clear that the CPI(M)’s stand was to neither support the BJP nor the TMC.In Talga Chaari gram panchayat in Purba Medinipur’s Ramnagar block and Srirampur gram panchayat in Tamluk block, one elected gram panchayat member of the CPI(M) and five Independent candidates supported by the party have supported the BJP to form gram panchayat boards.‘Sever all ties’ Confirming the development, CPI(M) district secretary in Purba Medinipur Niranjan Sihi told The Hindu: “We will expel the party members concerned and will sever all ties with the Independent candidates who supported the BJP.”At two gram panchayats in Nadia — Chanderghat gram panchayat of Tehatta I block and Paulsunda gram panchayat of Tehatta II block — two CPI(M) candidates and some Independents supported by the party have joined forces with the BJP to form the gram panchayat boards.“We will expel the party members who supported the BJP. As for the Independent candidates supported by us, we cannot take any responsibility as it is not always possible for us to control their actions,” said Sumit Dey, CPI(M) district secretary in Nadia.In Malda, the CPI(M) candidates have supported the BJP in the Dhumpur gram panchayat in the district’s Habibpur block. However, the CPI(M) district leadership is yet to find out how many among the three party candidates there have supported the BJP.“The CPI-M will oppose both the BJP and the TMC. Any violation of the party’s official stand in this regard will be firmly dealt with and stern action will be taken,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said. ‘No hesitation’ However, BJP’s State president Dilip Ghosh made it clear that they will “not hesitate” in taking ‘the CPI(M) candidates’ support to counter the TMC. “Our key aim is to keep TMC out of gram panchayat boards and we will not hesitate in joining forces with any Opposition party including the CPI(M) for the purpose.”
From mostly near and occasionally far, new farmers and growers keep flocking to the Vancouver Farmers Market, which opened for the season March 17.“We’re seeing a lot of new interest,” said executive director Jordan Boldt. “We don’t usually see a ton of that every year. This is probably the most active we’ve been in a number of years.” There are 14 new produce and food vendors on the scene in 2018, he said.Thanks to the hot economy? Rising foodie fascination? All that and more, Boldt said.“We have at least two new farms from younger, more professional-background people who are coming from other industries and choosing to pivot into agriculture or the food industry,” he said. “I think we’re seeing people looking for secondary or supplementary careers where they can be creative and follow up their passions.“Starting a restaurant is so hard and expensive and risky,” he said, but launching a booth at the Vancouver Farmers Market “is a lower barrier to entry.”For example, there’s new mushroom maven Ash Tree Farms of Vancouver, which rents warehouse space in the city and grows its fungal delights indoors in bags of sawdust or on moldering old logs.“If you’re not a wild mushroom forager, this is a common way to cultivate mushrooms commercially,” Boldt said. (“It’s a crazy world,” he added.)
BURLINGTON, MA — Last Wednesday, Reading Cooperative Bank hosted a Multi-Chamber Networking/Fundraising event at Jack’s Coal Fired Pizza that displayed an amazing partnership between area businesses and our community. Over 120 local Chamber members joined forces to raise $1,300 for People Helping People, which was generously matched by the Reading Cooperative Charitable Foundation. Thank you Reading Coop and Jack’s Coal Fired Pizza for a meaningful and delicious summer evening! Business owners interested in learning more about the Wilmington/Tewksbury Chamber of Commerce should contact the Chamber at 978-657-7211.View photos from the event below. Click on images to enlarge. (NOTE: The above information and photos are from the Wilmington/Tewksbury Chamber of Commerce.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWilmington-Tewksbury Chamber Of Commerce Helps Raise Funds For NuPath By ‘Networking With A Purpose’In “Business”Wilmington-Tewksbury Chamber Of Commerce Invites Local Business Owners To Woburn Networking EventIn “Business”Wilmington-Tewksbury Chamber Of Commerce To Co-Host ‘Women In Business’ Event On July 22In “Business”
Bangladesh Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader. File PhotoRoad transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader on Sunday said there is no possibility to bring any change to the Road Transport Act right now.Referring to the eight-point demand of the transport workers, Quader said, “We can’t change the Road Transport Act now. If there is any logical demand, then we’ll consider it after discussion and they have to wait until the next parliament session.”The minister came up with remarks while talking to reporters at the Shetu Bhaban.Earlier, transport workers went on a 48-hour work abstention from 6:00am on Sunday to press home their eight-point demand.Talking about the seven-point demand of Kamal Hossain-led Jatiya Oikya Front, Quader said, “There is no chance to meet the seven-point demand made by Kamal and BNP now because if we want to meet the seven-point demand, we’ll have to change the constitution.”
Google has just open-sourced Filament, their physically based rendering (PBR) engine for Android. It can also be used in Windows, Linux, and macOS. Filament provides a set of tools and APIs for Android developers to help them easily create high-quality 2D and 3D rendering. Filament is currently being used in the Sceneform library both at runtime on Android devices and as the renderer inside the Android Studio plugin. Apart from Filament, Google has also open sourced Materials, the full reference documentation for their material system. They have also made available Material Properties which is a reference sheet for the standard material model. Google’s Filament comes packed with the following features: The rendering system is able to perform efficiently on mobile platforms. The primary target is OpenGL ES 3.x class GPUs. The rendering system emphasizes overall picture quality. Artists are able to iterate often and quickly on their assets and the rendering system allows them to do so instinctively. The physically based approach of the system also allows developers to create visually believable materials even if they don’t understand the theory behind the implementation. The system relies on as few parameters as possible to reduce trial and error and allows users to quickly master the material model. The system uses physical units everywhere possible: distances in meters or centimeters, color temperatures in Kelvin, light units in lumens or candelas, etc. The rendering library is as small as possible so any application can bundle it without increasing the binary to unwanted sizes. Filament APIs There are two major APIs used. Native C++ API for Android, Linux, macOS, and Windows Java/JNI API for Android, Linux, macOS, and Windows Backends OpenGL 4.1+ for Linux, macOS, and Windows OpenGL ES 3.0+ for Android Vulkan 1.0 for Android, Linux, macOS (with MoltenVk) and Windows A sample material rendered with Filament. Source: Github You can check out the Filament Documentation, for an in-depth explanation of real-time PBR, the graphics capabilities and implementation of Filament. Read Next Google open sources Seurat to bring high precision graphics to Mobile VRGoogle releases Android Things library for Google Cloud IoT CoreGoogle updates biometric authentication for Android P, introduces BiometricPrompt API
Posted by Michael Smith Gay hotspot Gran Canaria leaves unsuspecting tourist feeling “uncomfortable” Share Friday, September 23, 2016 GRAN CANARIA, CANARY ISLANDS — Gran Canaria in Spain’s Canary Islands is considered one of the most gay-friendly places in the world, but it seems that one recent visitor failed to read the memo.According to the Gay Times, a traveller known as ‘MooSmith21’ posted a review on TripAdvisor to alert others of the destination’s plethora of gay-friendly attractions.The review states: “I’m not homophobic however there was a definite feeling of them and us and the gay couple[s] outnumbered the straight couples by two to one at least. Because of this we never spent too much time at the hotel or relaxing around the pool as I felt very uncomfortable.”The reviewer also wrote about how a fellow guest, who he hadn’t spoken to, sent him a drink to his room. He commented that it was “a bit perverted.”Trip advisor review from someone who apparently isn’t homophobic about the hotel Neil and I are staying at Gran Canaria pic.twitter.com/V3dS951oAm— Lee (@LeeJnes) September 20, 2016Despite his discomfort, the reviewer still gave the hotel four stars out of five, with the food being the highlight. The location of the hotel was also applauded, however the surrounding “gay bars, gay hotels, [and] gay wrestling shows” left him feeling uncomfortable.More news: Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?The review ended with: “All in all a great trip but I wouldn’t stay in that resort again if returning.”Clearly, MooSmith21 didn’t use a travel agent. << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: LGBT Travel, LOL, Spain
Travelweek Group WASHINGTON — Low water levels on Europe’s rivers made 2018 a challenging year for river cruising but that hasn’t stopped this one-time cruise niche, and now a cruise industry phenomenon, from posting double-digit growth.River cruises in Europe have seen a 53% year-over-year growth to eastern waterways (Rhine, Moselle, Danube, Elbe) and a 30% growth to western channels (Soane, Seine, Loire) as well as a 24% growth to the south (Douro, Rhone, Dordogne, Garonne, Po), according to CLIA’s 2019 Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report.River cruises remain one of the top trends in the cruise industry, says CLIA. And close to four out of five travel agents (79%) say a river cruise is a good way to introduce ‘new to cruise’ travellers to cruising. Agents surveyed in CLIA’s report also say river cruises are ideal for clients looking for new or different experiences, smaller ships, destination immersion and a relaxed way to see Europe.“The results of last quarter’s survey were no surprise,” says Rob Huffman, Vice President Sales, USA, Scenic Group. “We’ve seen tremendous growth for both of our river cruise brands – Scenic and Emerald Waterways – on the traditional European routes like the Danube, as well as on newer routes like the Douro.”More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Here are some of the CLIA report’s top findings:Cruise bookings, spending upFour out of five travel agents (84%) say bookings are up when compared to last year. Additionally, 83% reported spending is up, as well. More than a quarter of agents (28%) reported clients are spending greater than 10% more than one year agoAlaska still strongAlaska has been consistently the top growth destination for the last three years of the report. More than two-thirds of travel agents (67%) reported seeing increased interest in the Northern-most U.S. state. Alaska has gained an even wider margin than in the past.Destination interest up double digitsSome cruise destinations have seen a double-digit spike in interest from just a year ago. In Mediterranean Europe increased interest has jumped from 25 percent to 42% (up 17%) over the past year. South America has seen growth in interest from just 9% last year to 20%.Travel Agent Knowledge and AdvocacyMore news: Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTOverwhelmingly, travel agents stated the most beneficial attribute for travel clients is the ability to providing valuable experience and product knowledge (86%). Agents also reported another travel agent benefit is the ability to leverage relationships and expertise if something goes wrong (81%).For the full report see: https://cruising.org/-/media/ta-outlook/travel-agent-cruise-industry-outlook-december-2018.pdf 83% of agents say clients are investing more dollars in their cruise vacation Share Wednesday, January 23, 2019 Tags: CLIA, Statistics Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>