No other epic in the Hindu mythology continues to capture public imagination as much as the Mahabharata, and especially the role of Lord Krishna, as both the creator and the destroyer of the universe. Focusing on some of the lesser known aspects of Krishna’s life, both as a child and during the great war of Mahabharata, Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra (SBKK) is presenting its annual dance-drama ‘Krishna’ on the occasion of Janmashtami at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi from August 11 till 15 at 6:30 pm. Tickets are priced between Rs 300 to Rs 2500 and are available at the SBKK. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfShobha Deepak Singh, Director of the ballet and Vice Chairperson, SBKK, said, “The first Krishna ballet was presented in 1977 to a full house and we have seen the same interest in Krishna’s life year after year. This is the 41st edition of the ballet and the passionate zeal to present Krishna every year arises out of the paradox of his dual personality. His leela consisting of his dallying with the gopis, butter stealing his romance with Radha – all have risen from the Bhakti movement. In today’s times, where wars are still fought over land, property and materialism all the time, it is Krishna’s message that continues to evoke righteousness in all of us.” Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveFour decades ago, the ballet commenced mainly with Raasleela, devoting much time to Krishna’s childhood and youth. Since then, the ballet has travelled to a thoroughly researched and artistically gratifying experience for the viewer. Each year, with a view to broaden the spectrum of the production, larger time is devoted to the lesser known aspects of Krishna’s life. For instance, in this production, a new dimension has been added to the status of women.
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday hailed the Indian Air Force (IAF) for carrying out air strikes in Pakistan. “IAF also means India’s Amazing Fighters. Jai Hind,” Banerjee tweeted. India carried ou t air strikes inside Pakistan early Tuesday and targeted terror camps, official sources said. Several fighter jets of the Indian Air Force successfully destroyed camps belonging to Pakistan-basedterror outfits in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, they said.
Tags: ALG, AMResorts, St. Maarten This story originally ran in the September 6, 2018 issue of Travelweek magazine. To get Travelweek delivered to your agency for free, subscribe here.TORONTO — A new resort in the Caribbean may seem like run-of-the-mill news at first. But for AMResorts’ new all-inclusive property in French-speaking St. Martin, three interesting tidbits give this opening far more weight: it marks AMResorts’ entry into the island; it gives the destination (which has a limited number of all-inclusive properties) a new player in the all-inclusive market; and it’s coming at a time when the island needs it most, post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria.Owned by Sole Resorts, a longstanding partner of AMResorts’ parent company Apple Leisure Group (ALG), the yet-to-be-named resort (formerly the Riu Palace St. Martin) will undergo a US$20 million renovation prior to its reopening in 2019 under the Secrets brand. It will reemerge as adults-only, with 350 rooms, a rooftop pool with direct views of Anguilla, luxury swimout suites and the largest pool in the Caribbean, all situated on a private and protected enclave.Considering the timing of the announcement, travel agents, vacationers and local tourism officials have all welcomed the news. Less than one year ago, the island was devastated by Irma and Maria, with damage and losses reaching upwards to $3 billion, reports The New Yorker. And although much of the destination has mostly recovered – 75% of airlift is currently servicing the island, 65% of nightlife attractions and restaurants are open, and 26 accommodations representing just under 2,000 rooms are also open, with an additional 1,000 opening in Q4 2018 – the new Secrets resort is being regarded as the start of a new era.“Every cloud has a silver lining, which is exactly what the Secrets resort brand means to the island,” says St. Maarten Minister of Tourism Stuart Johnson, adding that the new resort will help further target wedding couples and honeymooners. “The arrival of the new Secrets resort will help change the trend for the island and attract other luxury push resorts and amenities that are expected with this niche market.”AMResorts’ entry is exactly the kind of tourism boost that the destination is working towards. In fact, just this past July, the governments of the French and Dutch sides of the island signed a one-island agreement to redevelop cooperative tourism and marketing initiatives. And it’s high-profile developments like Secrets that will reiterate the message to travellers and the world at large that St. Maarten/St. Martin is open for business.“While the hurricanes may have devastated the island, it also presented us with the chance to rebuild better and stronger and allow for new opportunities such as attracting the Secrets brand to our island,” says Johnson.More news: AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsAs a highly regarded four-star brand that caters to adults, Secrets’ arrival also puts the spotlight back on the island’s reputation for being a luxury destination and, more importantly, away from the hurricanes’ aftermath. Its high-end hotels, on both sides of the island, have long attracted discerning travellers in search of first-class guest experiences. And though Secrets will certainly fall in line with other nearby luxury properties, it will easily stand out for the simple fact that it’s an all-inclusive.Upon opening next year, the new Secrets resort will join a handful of other all-inclusives on St. Martin/St. Maarten, including Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, which has been offered as an all-inclusive option through Canadian tour operators for a couple years now; Sonesta Ocean Point and sister property Sonesta Maho Beach Resort; and the upcoming Planet Hollywood (formerly Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort) opening in 2019 under new owner Sunwing Travel Group.You may think a handful of all-inclusive properties sounds paltry in comparison to other Caribbean islands like Cuba and Jamaica, but the truth is it’s a good amount for a destination that’s only 37 square miles from end to end.That said, any new all-inclusive to arrive on the island, especially on the French side, will create major buzz in the industry, as the new Secrets has clearly done.“St. Martin has a limited all-inclusive offer as it stands now, so the addition of our five-star Secrets Resort & Spa property will truly be a standout,” says Jan LaPointe, Vice President, Strategic Planning Retail Sales North America, AMRewards, Sales & Marketing Canada. “There is nothing like it on the island, creating a great opportunity for agents with clientele seeking a true luxury, all-inclusive resort in St. Martin.”Noting how St. Martin has long been a favourite destination for the Canadian market, LaPointe adds that the company is “happy to be able to provide Canadian travel agents with one of our award-winning brands to offer to their clients on the island”, and that its Unlimited-Luxury offering coupled with its location “are sure to make it a favourite upon opening.”Pauline Blacoe, Destination Wedding Specialist at Shinetravel.ca in Keswick, ON, is one of many agents counting down the days until Secrets’ opening. Already well versed in the brand’s offerings (“I sell it a lot to my clients”), and a fan of AMResorts properties herself (“I love AM properties, they have wonderful agent perks”), Blacoe says that despite a dip in bookings to St. Martin immediately after last year’s hurricanes, she’s not at all concerned about selling the new Secrets.More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA Sales“It will be an easy sell; great product, great destination,” she tells Travelweek. “There are not a lot of all-inclusive options in St. Martin, and even less since the hurricanes, so this will be a welcome addition.”For now, details about the new resort are scarce but Javier Coll, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Apple Leisure Group, tells Travelweek that its official name will be unveiled soon. He also notes that the renovation of the property will be “significant” to meet the Secrets’ brand standards.As for why St. Martin, and why now? Coll says that it makes perfect sense for the brand.“St. Martin has always been on our radar, and we identified the right opportunity to expand there,” he says. “ALG always has its fingertips on the pulse of the Caribbean tourism industry and is constantly monitoring for unique opportunities to grow AMResorts portfolio.”The potential for growth in the Caribbean is limitless, with the World Travel & Tourism Council reporting that international visitation has tripled from approximately 6.7 million to 20.1 million between 1980 and 2010. Moreover, it’s estimated to reach 26.5 million in 2018, and 39.0 million by 2028. “As such, we will continue to place our bets on this market, along with Latin America and, of course, on Mexico where we have deep roots,” Coll adds.And although there’s no such thing as a ‘sure thing’ in the travel industry, St. Martin, with its blissful beaches, beautiful resorts and array of fine dining restaurants, comes pretty close. Says Coll, “We believe in the island’s potential to become a top high-end destination that is the perfect fit for our Secrets brand.” Thursday, September 20, 2018 Posted by About Latest Posts Cindy SosroutomoDeputy Editor at TravelweekCindy is Deputy Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 2007. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Kenya, Morocco, Thailand and Turkey among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Cindy Sosroutomo (see all) Frustrations mount over elusive consumer-pay model: Will it ever happen? – July 16, 2019 “It’s in everyone’s best interest to stay open”: Beaches Turks & Caicos will not close in 2021 – May 15, 2019 Putting “Partners First”: NCL’s CEO lauds agents and the new Norwegian Joy – April 29, 2019 New Secrets resort in St. Martin will be significant in more ways than one Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Cindy Sosroutomo
PERU — G Adventures’ first-ever Change Makers Summit, held earlier this month in Peru, was no ordinary FAM.Agents had to earn a spot on the trip based on their sales, as well as ‘social good’ entry submissions. They knew the week-long summit would take place in June, but they didn’t know where. Nor did they have advance details about the itinerary, except that they’d see first-hand the impact of responsible travel on local communities.Ultimately more than 100 travel agents from around the world took part in the Change Makers Summit. Travelweek attended the FAM as well.Bruce Poon Tip speaks to travel agents at the first-ever Change Makers Summit (all photos courtesy Vawn Himmelsbach)G Adventures’ novel approach is meant to inspire change in the way FAMs are run. “I’ve been extremely angry for years about the traditional FAM policy of this industry,” Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, told Travelweek during the summit.“I know it’s super controversial when I talk about these FAMs,” he says. “Travel agents don’t get paid a lot so they’re in the travel industry to travel, and the head offices are taking advantage of that by not paying them more and offering these FAMs as their incentives to retain employees.”As a result, many agents pick FAMs based on the date or destination, but “there’s no connection to the operator or why they’re choosing it,” he says. “They’re the face of our company when they’re delivering our brand promise to their customers, and there’s a huge disconnect with this traditional FAM and a lack of innovation in this accepted behaviour of FAMs.”That was the inspiration behind the brand-new Change Makers Summit, which involved 147 attendees from 17 countries, including 15 Canadian travel agents. The FAM included stays in Lima, Cusco and the Sacred Valley, as well as a day trip to Machu Picchu and a ‘Big Night Out’ bash on the last night of the summit.More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Poon Tip says previously G wasn’t always getting the right type of agent on its FAMs. But with Change Makers, agents had to earn a coveted spot on the FAM.“The travel agent becomes an instrumental part of delivering our really aggressive brand promise,” says Poon Tip. “Our product is just not commoditized like it is when you’re selling capacity on ships or in resorts.” People don’t know what to expect when they book a trek in Nepal, a bike trip across Vietnam or a river boat cruise up the Amazon. “They have tons of questions, and that’s the role of the agent.”While the summit was a chance to connect with agents, it was also a chance to showcase G’s social enterprise projects. Rather than offering volunteer experiences for travellers (a concept Poon Tip feels can’t be done in a meaningful way on organized group trips), G created the Planeterra Foundation in 2003. This non-profit organization supports social enterprise projects connected to G’s tours.“Planeterra was created because we believe that travel is the biggest form of wealth distribution the world has ever seen and we want to make sure the communities and local people that we visit benefit from travel,” says Victoria Houle, Planeterra’ director of development.Locals can earn income from tourism by providing accommodations, meals, transportation and cultural experiences. So far, Planeterra’s projects around the world have received more than 500,000 travellers.Travel agents visit the Ccaccaccollo Women’s Weaving Cooperative in PeruPlaneterra lives under the ‘G For Good’ umbrella, which also encompasses the Ripple Score (the percentage of money G spends locally on trip services), Responsible Travel Policies and G Values Fund. “We do this because it’s estimated that out of every $100 that somebody spends in a country on a trip, only about $10 of that actually stays in that community,” says Houle.During the summit, Planeterra announced the next phase in its evolution. The foundation started out with 25 projects, and in 2015 launched ‘50 in 5,’ with 50 additional projects to be completed within five years.More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA Sales“We’re so happy to say that we just met our goal of 75 projects in total around the world,” says Houle. “We decided we wanted to up the game, so now we’re going to launch ‘Project 100.’ We are going to be adding 25 more projects by the end of 2020.”Travel agents visit the Ccaccaccollo Women’s Weaving CooperativeWhile in Peru, agents visited the Ccaccaccollo Women’s Weaving Co-op in the Sacred Valley. The Planeterra-supported co-op provides an economic alternative for women who previously didn’t benefit from the tourism industry. Today, 60 women are directly employed by the co-op — which uses traditional weaving methods to produce textiles from llama and alpaca wool — but the impact extends to 440 community members, with 10,000 travellers visiting each year.Agents also visited Parwa Community Restaurant in Huchuy Qosco, also in the Sacred Valley. All income earned by the restaurant is used for investment in social projects for the community. The project directly impacts 65 people, but also benefits 1,000 community members (the ingredients used in the restaurant, for example, are purchased from local farmers).“My a-ha moment [on this trip] was when we visited Parwa Restaurant,” says Vicky Young, an international travel consultant with Flight Centre in Calgary, one of the Canadian agents who earned a spot on the FAM. “I’ve talked about this project for a very long time with clients.” So seeing it for the first time is something she won’t soon forget.“Seeing how Planeterra has changed that community is incredible — it’s given new life to them and they continue to pay it forward,” says Young. “I feel blessed to be a change maker and come here this week. I know we love changing lives, but I truly feel that all of our lives have been changed by being here as well.” Share Friday, June 28, 2019 Tags: FAMs, G Adventures, Peru “Huge disconnect” with typical FAMS spurs G Adventures to create Change Makers Summit By: Vawn Himmelsbach << Previous PostNext Post >>