Saturday, February 21, 2015

RCI Names Mark Tamis To Senior Vice President Post

            Mark Tamis has been named senior vice president,  Hotel Operations for Royal Caribbean International. Tamis will further the  global cruise line’s commitment to deliver outstanding vacations to almost  four million guests per year. He will have oversight of the line’s hotel  services, food, beverage, entertainment and private destinations, and will  report directly to Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean  International.             

            “Mark has extensive knowledge and a proven track record of  success in the hospitality industry and I look forward to welcoming him to  the Royal family,” said Bayley. “In his role, Mark will lead the dedicated  men and women who work every day to deliver the best vacation adventures to  our guests from around the world. And I am confident that he can help us  take our award-winning experience to even greater heights.”    
            A 25-year travel industry veteran, Tamis most recently served as  senior vice president, Guest Operations with Carnival Cruise Lines. Prior  to that, Tamis was the chief operating officer of The Setai Hotels and  Resorts. He also held a variety of management positions with hotel  organization, Ian Schrager Company. Tamis began his career with Four  Seasons Hotels after earning a Bachelor of Science degree at Cornell  University, School of Hotel Administration.  He is active in various civic  and community service organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters and  Special Olympics, and founded, an organization that  encourages fathers to volunteer with their children to benefit their  communities.   
            Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand  with a 45-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never  before seen at sea.  The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched  array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including,  jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed  programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike.      
            Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSE: RCL), the cruise line sails 22 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most  popular destinations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, South  America, the Far East, and Australia and New Zealand. World renowned for  its friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service, delivered by every staff and  crew member, Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 12 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards.       

            On the heels of the much lauded debut of the cruise line’s newest  ship Quantum of the Sea - sailing out of the New York area, sister ship,  Anthem of the Seas, will be launched in April 2015 offering Mediterranean  cruises from Southampton, UK. She will be followed in April 2016 by Ovation  of the Seas and a third of the Oasis class of ships, the largest ships in  the world. Their itineraries will be announced in the coming weeks.

Friday, February 13, 2015

South African Airways Resumes Daily Round-Trip Nonstop Service Between New York & Johannesburg

Flights Conveniently Timed For Travel Between
The Big Apple & Africa’s Big Five

South African Airways (SAA), South Africa’s national flag carrier and the continent’s most awarded airline, will resume its daily nonstop flights between Johannesburg, South Africa, and New York-JFK International Airport, on March 7th. The resumption of the nonstop service on the northbound flight from Johannesburg to New York-JFK will reduce the overall travel time on the route by nearly 90 minutes.
While SAA’s flight from New York-JFK to Johannesburg is operating daily on a nonstop year-round basis, the northbound flight has been temporarily making a one-hour refuelling stop in Dakar, Senegal, due in part to lower travel demand during the winter months. The nonstop flights in each direction are timed conveniently to connect in Johannesburg with SAA’s extensive route network in Southern Africa of over 55 destinations and in New York with flights to over 35 cities in the U.S. and Canada through our code share partners JetBlue Airways, United Airlines and Air Canada. 

“We are excited to bring back our popular daily nonstop flight from Johannesburg to New York,” said Marc Cavaliere, Executive Vice President, North America for South African Airways. “We see strong demand from both business and leisure travellers for nonstop service in this market and our flight schedules will offer greater convenience for our customers.”

SAA’s flights between New York-JFK and Johannesburg are operated on the state-of-the-art wide-body Airbus A340-600 aircraft, featuring 42 full-flat 180° beds in Premium Business Class and 275 seats in Economy Class, ergonomically designed with adjustable headrests and industry-leading legroom of up to 34” for long-haul travel. Customers traveling in both Premium Business Class and Economy Class enjoy an extensive menu of on-demand audio and visual entertainment options, freshly prepared meals and complimentary bar service featuring award-winning South African wines.
South African Airways offers the most non-stop daily service between the U.S. and South Africa, with flights from New York-JFK and Washington, DC-Dulles. In early 2015, the airline further strengthened its position as a leading carrier in the aviation world by being awarded a Skytrax 4-Star rating for 13 consecutive years.
For reservations and information, customers should visit or contact South African Airways’ North America Reservations Center at 1-(800) 722-9675.
About South African Airways
South African Airways (SAA), South Africa’s national flag carrier and the continent’s most awarded airline, serves 67 destinations worldwide in partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low cost carrier Mango. In North America, SAA operates daily nonstop flights from New York-JFK and direct flights from Washington D.C.-IAD (via Dakar, Senegal) to Johannesburg. SAA has codes share agreements with United Airlines, Air Canada and JetBlue Airways, which offer convenient connections from more than 30 cities to SAA’s flights. SAA is a Star Alliance member and the recipient of the Skytrax 4-Star rating for 13 consecutive years.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

10th Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show Schedule


10th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show
to Offer New Activities and Live Entertainment

SoCal Travelers are Invited to Enjoy a Weekend Full of Discovery and Fun
(Long Beach, CA) – The 10th annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show is about one week away, and the show’s activity schedule is packed to the brim with live entertainment, heart pumping activities, informative travel seminars, flavorful cooking demonstrations and much more.

The Taste of Travel Stage at the Los Angeles Travel & Adventure ShowTM is designed to give foodies, on the hunt for exciting cuisine, a chance to taste and learn recipes from global cooking professionals. Learn new recipes first-hand from expert chefs and even sample a bite of the dishes they demonstrate on stage.

  • 10:30 a.m., Chefs Mike Lofaro, Riko Bartolome and Kyle Kawakami, Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau: Get a fresh taste of Maui as these three chefs create a recipe that represents the true essence of the ingredients and dishes that visitors can always look forward to enjoying during their visits.
          Recipe: Onaga: Snow Peas, Black Truffle, Cannellini Beans and Yuz
          *They will also be a cooking demonstration on Sunday at 1 p.m.
  • 11:45 a.m., Wonderful Indonesia
           Recipe: A traditional Indonesian Favorite
           *They will also be hosting a cooking demonstration on Sunday at 2:15 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m., Chef Percy Whatley, Executive Chef, The Ahwahnee: Chef Percy Whatley demonstrates how to prepare a cool carrot soup that brings together a vadouvan spice blend, tangy yogurt and crispy popped wild rice in a harmonious and palate-pleasing dish.
          Recipe: Vadouvan-Spiced Carrot Soup
  • 2:15 p.m., Chef Lisako Horimoto, Japan National Tourism Organization: Discover the beauty of Japanese cuisine as Chef Lisako Horimoto creates meals using everyday supermarket ingredients.
          Recipe: Okinawa Tofu Chapuru and Kyoto Uzumi Tofu
  • 3:30 p.m., Chef Bruce Chen, Taiwan Tourism Bureau: Chef Bruce Chen grew up in Taiwan and watched his relatives prepare popcorn chicken countless times. Learn to prepare this favorite Taiwanese snack from scratch.
          Recipe: Taiwan Popcorn Chicken

  • 10:30 a.m., Chef Giovanni Brassea, Baja California: Discover the cuisine of beautiful Baja California. Every year, thousands of travelers from around the world visit this famous peninsula to enjoy the people, culture and food that Baja California has to offer.
          Recipe: Love Baja Baja
  • 11:45 a.m., Tomas Kalina, Hotel Yasmin: Enjoy a delicious presentation by Chef Tomas Kalina and learn to make his Carlsbad Pudding, a comforting recipe that palates long for.
          Recipe: Carlsbad Pudding
  • 3:30 p.m., Vanda Asapahu, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Ayara Thai Cuisine: Learn about the history of Thailand’s favorite dish. Vanda will show the audience just how easy it is to make this flavorful meal that is enjoyed by many around the world.
          Recipe: The Original Pad Thai

In between cooking demonstrations, guests of all ages can choose from a variety of show activities and entertainment including a chance to take Instagram selfies with Mammoth Lakes’ Big Fish, a rock climbing wall, with experienced professionals to ensure a safe climbing experience, opportunities to learn to ride and play on Segways, the popular Bubble Roller Land Orbs and a heated diving pool where attendees ages 10 or older can discover the exciting sport of scuba diving. Remember to bring a wetsuit/swimsuit and towel!

Watch world cultures come to life through music and dance at the Global Beats Stage. Learn about the artistic and cultural significance of each performance and even step out of the comfort zone for a moment to learn a few new dance moves!

·         Indonesian Dances, 10:15 a.m.
·         Bollywood Dances, 10:35 a.m.
·         Dances from Guam, 10:40 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
·         Middle Eastern Dances, 11:00 a.m.
·         Bollywood Dances, 11:20 a.m.
·         Dances from Malaysia, 11:30 a.m.
·         Folk Dances, Martial Arts Costume Show & Demo of Falun Gong, 12:00    
          p.m. and 12:30
·         Dances of Belize, 12:40 p.m.
·         Panamanian Traditional and Folk Dances, 1:20 p.m.
·         Belly Dance, 2:00 p.m.
·         Turkish Music and Dance, 2:30 p.m.
·         American Light Rock and Pop Music, 3:00 p.m.
·         Dances From Taiwan, 3:50 p.m.
·         Raks Sharqu Belly Dance, Contemporary and Folk Dance, 4:10 p.m.

·         Indonesian Dances, 10:30 a.m.
·         Dances from Guam, 11:00 a.m., 2:40 p.m. and 4:20 p.m.
·         Panamanian Traditional and Folk Dances, 11:30 a.m.
·         Dances from Malaysia, 12:00 p.m.
·         Turkish Music and Dance, 12:30 p.m.
·         Dances of Belize, 12:50 p.m.
·         Folkloric Lebanese, Egyptian Oriental, Tahitian and Hula Dance, 1:10 p.m.
·         Flamenco with live Guitar Music, 2:10 p.m.
·         Focus on Spain: Flamenco, Hip-hop, Folklorico, 3:00 p.m.
·         Raks Sharqi Belly Dance, Contemporary and Folk Dance, 3:45 p.m.

The event’s National TV Media Sponsor is Travel Channel. Supporting sponsors include Rick Steves’ Europe; Taiwan Tourism Bureau; Indonesia; Tourism Authority of Thailand and Yosemite Experience Pavilion. Contributing sponsor is the Japan National Tourism Organization. Official airline sponsor is Ethiopian Airlines. Cookware is sponsored by Anolon Gourmet Cookware.

The 2015 Los Angeles Travel & Adventure ShowTM will take place February 21 and 22 from 10 am to 5 pm at the Long Beach Convention Center, located at 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802.  Tickets are available online for $11 for one day or $17 for two days (use promo code: LAPR). Children 16 and under are free.  At the door, tickets will be available, cash only, for $16 for one day and $25 for two days. For tickets and information please visit, email or call (203)878-2577.

UNICOMM LLC is an independent business-to-business communications company specializing in originating and managing world-class trade shows and conferences. Unicomm’s properties include the nation’s largest and longest running series of travel events, Travel & Adventure Show® in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., San Diego, and Philadelphia

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Las Casitas Village Named Top Caribbean Hotel For Families In TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Awards

Luxury Puerto Rico Resort with Villas, Private Butler Service and Exciting Activities
Wins Elite Honor from World’s Largest Travel Site 
FAJARDO, Puerto Rico – February 11, 2015 – An exclusive enclave of villas on Puerto Rico’s eastern tip, Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, is named one of the top hotels for families in the Caribbean in TripAdvisor’s 2015 Travelers’ Choice Awards. Based on the reviews and opinions of millions of international users over the past year, this coveted award from the world’s largest online travel site is a direct reflection of guest opinion and sentiment.
“We are honored to be recognized globally as one of the very best hotels in the area where families can travel for remarkable service and quality travel experiences,” said Dermot Connolly, managing director, Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort.  “Our staff dedicates itself to providing unforgettable vacation time for each guest, and we are incredibly thrilled to be recognized of that by our past guests.”
Boasting exclusive villas with stunning ocean views and 24-hour resort butler service, the luxurious Las Casitas Village is the ideal getaway for families with its own 100-acre private island offering horseback riding, snorkeling, water sports and more; a state-of-the-art Coqui Water Park, the only of its kind in the Caribbean; a Waldorf Astoria Spa; an Arthur Hills designed championship 18-hole golf course; seven pools; and an array of 23 restaurants, bars, and lounges.
From arrival to departure, guests are not only embraced by Las Casitas Village’s inspirational environments, but also welcomed by True Waldorf Service. The hotel’s Personal Concierges will ensure that each guest receives anticipatory and personalized service before, during and after their stay.
Las Casitas Village participates in Hilton HHonors®, the only guest loyalty program that allows members to earn Points & Miles® for the same stay and redeem points for free nights with No Blackout Dates at more than 4,100 hotels worldwide.

To learn more about or experience Las Casitas Village, please call +1 888 579 2701 or visit  For more information on Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, please visit or

About Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts is a portfolio of 29 landmark destinations, each being a true reflection of their surroundings in the world’s most sought after locations.  Unified by their inspirational environments and unparalleled guest service, Waldorf Astoria creates unique authentic moments through the delivery of True Waldorf Service.  Personal concierges deliver unparalleled, bespoke service from the moment a guest books through check out.  From signature culinary excellence, 12 world-class golf courses and 23 rejuvenating spas, Waldorf Astoria offers luxuriously appointed accommodations and unforgettable experiences.  Waldorf Astoria is a part of Hilton Worldwide, a leading global hospitality company.  Experience Waldorf Astoria by booking at or Learn more about this expanding portfolio by visiting

Monday, February 2, 2015

ACI Re-Launches Airport Service Quality Programme

Montreal, 2 February 2015 – Airports Council International (ACI) announces the re-launch of the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) programme, ACI's customer service benchmarking tool for airports worldwide. To date, ASQ has helped over 300 airports from around the world benchmark and improve their customer service initiatives. This exciting new phase of the programme will see ACI cooperate with a new service provider, TNS Canada, one of the country's preeminent marketing and social research firms. TNS Canada is part of the Kantar Group, one of the world's biggest market research providers.

To make the ASQ programme fully responsive to member needs, ACI has formed an ASQ Steering Group to guide the rollout and an Advisory Group to generate new ideas and best practices for customer service research and benchmarking. The revamped programme now features new interactive online deliverables, including a sample plan management tool; quarterly sample plans; an online reporting portal to deliver tailored and dynamic analyses; enhanced static reports; better data quality control and audit processes; and increased programme transparency and reliability.

The backbone of the programme is the ASQ Survey. Each year, some 550,000 passengers worldwide participate in the survey. Passengers at ACI member airports participating in the ASQ programme are surveyed about their on-the-day experience for a minimum of 1,400 customer surveys per year.

The ASQ Survey covers 34 key service areas and includes 8 major categories such as access, check-in, security, airport facilities, food and beverage, retail and more. All participating airports use the same survey questions, creating an industry standard set of responses that allows participants to track and analyze their performance, as well as benchmark results against airports across the globe. All participating airports can view the ASQ survey results of all other participating airports on a confidential basis.

"ACI's commitment to representing our members' best interests underscores everything we do, and the new ASQ programme is an excellent example," said Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World. "More than ever, this is a programme designed with member and passenger needs in mind. I'm looking forward to seeing the positive change the initiative continues to make in the passenger experience over the coming months."

The enhanced ASQ programme has already been rolled out at airports around the world, with more expected to participate in the weeks and months ahead.