NordVPN’s tips for online security while travelling

Posted by - September 29, 2018

According to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), international tourist arrivals in 2017 reached a total of 1.32 million worldwide. However, with the increasing number of people traveling abroad, tourists are getting more and more attention from various fraudsters – especially online.
One of the biggest online threats for travellers is free public WiFi. Hackers often position themselves as free WiFi hot spots to steal personal information, credit card details or other data. In addition, identity thieves have lately been using wireless ‘sniffers’, a type of software designed to intercept and decode data when it is transmitted over a network.
“Hotels…typically put little to no effort in protecting their guest network”
“WiFi today is indispensable for travellers. We need it to book hotels, trips, experiences, and stay in contact with our family and friends. Even maps or travel itineraries are mostly online these days,” said Daniel Markuson, digital privacy expert at NordVPN. “By the way, if you think your hotel’s WiFi is more secure, it’s probably not. Their job is to offer you comfort, not cyber security, so they typically put little to no effort in protecting their guest network.”
But here’s the good news. Here are some tips to stay safe on public WiFi when traveling:
Never join a new network ‘blindly’ If a network is left unprotected, chances are a cyber criminal may lurking there to steal your private data. On the other hand, hackers themselves often create rogue hot spots to trick users into thinking they are legitimate.
If you see two similar WiFi names, ask the hotel’s staff which is the real one. Finally, always avoid logging into work or banking accounts while on public WiFi.
Use a VPN on public WiFi A VPN is a preferred tool for travellers as it encrypts all the traffic flow between the Internet and a user’s device and helps hide the IP address. If you are a beginner, it’s best to choose a VPN that’s user-friendly, for example, NordVPN.
Beware of free VPN service providers that typically rely on third-party advertisers to cover the costs. Often they are free proxy services marketed as VPNs, which is not accurate: they only change your IP address but do not encrypt your Internet traffic.
Check if the website address includes ‘https’ You should only use the websites that have URLs starting with ‘https’ – the s means that it is a secure protocol and your data is encrypted properly. Using ‘https’ sites is especially important if you are shopping online, paying for hotels, trips or experiences using your credit card details.
Enable your firewall Most operating systems have a built-in firewall these days, which keeps outsiders from going through your computer’s data. A firewall is easy to enable – simply check your system preferences or control panel instructions.
The firewall won’t completely protect from hacks, but it’s a useful tool if used in combination with other security-enhancing services.
Don’t forget antivirus Antivirus software is highly recommended to use at all times to protect your network from malware. However, using an antivirus only is not enough to keep your system secure.
A hacker can check whether antivirus will detect malware and if so, they can easily modify the malicious code and try again.

Queen Elizabeth 2 to attend WTM

Posted by - September 28, 2018

Dubai’s recently opened hotel, the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), will attend London’s World Travel Market, November 5-7, 2018 on stand ME362 (opposite the International Media Centre).
Senior executives and members of the sales and marketing team will introduce the world-famous ocean liner as a hotel concept to the travel industry at the event. Holiday packages can be booked through a selection of UK tour operator partners including Gold Medal, Fleetway, Utravel, Broadway Travel UK and Found Travel UK.
The QE2, which has a history spanning five decades, is now docked permanently in Mina Rashid, Dubai’s maritime district and is open as a hotel, dining, heritage and events destination.
Passengers can check-in to one of the cabin-like rooms and suites, or enjoy dine in one of 10 restaurants and bars. Daily heritage tours are also available and take members of the public on an educational journey from when she was first built in 1969, to today.
Following a summer soft-opening period, the QE2 is officially launching on 26 October 2018. The hotel offers 224 rooms and suites across 13 room categories; 10 dining and nightlife venues; a boutique spa; a private beach; a heritage centre; an original ballroom, a theatre and cabaret style lounge.
PCFC Hotels – which forms part of the Dubai government’s Ports, Customs and Free Zones Corporation – is the company behind the Queen Elizabeth 2 restoration and aims to make the vessel one of Dubai’s top ten tourist destinations During their visit to WTM, the QE2 is looking to expand their travel network in the UK. Appointments can be made at [email protected]

Taj signs second property in Kathmandu

Posted by - September 28, 2018

The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has announced the signing of a new Vivanta hotel in Kathmandu, marking the entry of the brand in the city. This will be IHCL’s second hotel in Nepal after Meghauli Serai in Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
“This hotel will help us complete a tourist circuit “
Commenting on the signing of this agreement, Puneet Chhatwal, managing director and CEO at IHCL said: “We are honored to partner with R&R Hotels and Resorts for this new hotel. Kathmandu is an extremely popular destination and this hotel will help us complete a tourist circuit with Meghauli Serai, our Taj Safari Lodge in Chitwan National Park.”
The hotel will have 111 rooms and suites with a selection of rooms offering panoramic views of Kathmandu. The hotel will also include all-day dining and specialty restaurants, a bar, banqueting facilities and a spa.
Commenting on the partnership, Rahul Chaudhary, managing director of CG Hospitality and director at R&R Hotels and Resorts, said: “We are delighted to partner with The Indian Hotels Company Limited. We have had a long standing association with them for a range of hotels in multiple destinations. We are extremely proud to carry this relationship forward with the new Vivanta in Kathmandu.”
Kathmandu has been at the center of Nepal’s history, art, culture and economy. Some of the most popular attractions include the sacred and famous temple Pashupatinath, one of the biggest stupas in the world Boudhanath Stupa and Narayanhiti Palace Museum among others. Kathmandu also continues to be a popular destination for day trips to Dhulikel and Nagarkot from where Mt. Annapurna can be seen.
R&R Hotels and Resorts is established with a motive to add a milestone in the hospitality sector in Nepal; with a major shareholding of CG Hospitality, a group owned and controlled by Binod Chaudhary, the only Forbes-listed billionaire in Nepal.
CG Hospitality owns and operates over 95 hotels, resorts, lodges and spas in over 12 countries and 70 destinations with over 5,700 keys. By 2020, the portfolio is expected to grow to over 200 hotels in over 20 countries and 100 destinations with 10,000 keys.

Silversea Expedition guests witness the Aurora Borealis

Posted by - September 28, 2018

Guests aboard the Silver Cloud sailed off the southwest coast of Greenland to witness the otherworldly green lights dancing across the night’s sky.
Crossing of the northern lights off their bucket list, guests on Silversea’s Silver Cloud were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle on 4 September 2018. It was a spellbinding finale to a day spent exploring Qeqertarsuaq, a small town on scenic Disko Island.
They had hiked through scenic trails to reach cascading waterfalls, and a bay of icebergs, before seeing the northern lights — which are formed by electrons interacting with gases in the magnetosphere.

Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s senior vice president of strategic development for expeditions and experiences, commented on the event: “It’s a real privilege for us to enable travellers to unlock such thrilling experiences as witnessing the northern lights.
“Silver Cloud was in the right place at the right time”
“Using our expert knowledge and our collective experience, we create the conditions for our guests to enjoy remarkable travel experiences across the world; we’re delighted that on this occasion Silver Cloud was in the right place at the right time for our guests to witness a once-in-a-lifetime display. Moments like these are what travelling deeper is all about.”

This year, Silversea Expeditions celebrates its 10th anniversary of luxury expedition cruising. Over the past decade, the cruise line has brought travellers to some of the most coveted, and often times, hard to reach places in the world. Silversea sails to over 900 destinations, taking guests closer to fascinating cultures and unworldly landscapes.
Silver Cloud can host 254 guests and carries a fleet of 16 Zodiac crafts and 10 kayaks. It will return to Greenland on several expeditions in 2019, including voyages departing from Kangerlussuaq on 26 August and 11 September – during the optimal time period for spotting the northern lights.

Accorhotels appoints two of the”best talents in our industry”

Posted by - September 28, 2018

Following Accor’s purchase of Mövenpick earlier this year, there has been unsurprising shuffling off the deck in the management structure of the both organisations, including the transfer of Mark Willis – Mövenpick’s 2018 marquee signing for president for Asia – to Dubai as CEO of AccorHotels Middle East and Africa.
Now Accor has unveiled two more appointments as it forges ahead with its avaricious growth strategy. Jeff Tisdall has been appointed as SVP development residential and extended stay, while Andrew Langdon will take on the role of senior vice president of development in Asia, responsible for Souteast Asia, Japan and Korea. They will be members of the Global Development Co-Dir.
Tisdall, whose current role is VP of international residential development, who came with the acquisition of FHRI in 2016, has been instrumental in integrating the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel (FRS) pipeline and leveraging Accorhotels’ brand’s potential. Langdon joins from the Swiss firm where he was global chief development officer.
In addition to his new responsibility, Langdon will continue to coordinate the development of the Mövenpick brand for the coming months.
“We access the best talents in our industry”
Gaurav Bhutan, global chief development officer for AccorHotels, said: “We have very ambitious development targets and the appointment of both Jeff and Andrew will allow us to grow in new segments and ensure that we maintain our leadership position globally.
“One of the key aspects of our acquisition strategy has been to ensure we access the best talents in our industry and these men are two of the best in the business.”
AccorHotels’ global residential portfolio pipeline has seen tremendous growth since the acquisition of the FRS brands, from 24 projects in 2016 to over 50 projects today. Residential is also a key lever to driving luxury development and hence plays an important role in the Group’s overall development strategy.

Trains vs Planes: 5 reasons why you should hit the tracks

Posted by - September 28, 2018

With all the news telling us of planes downsizing its passenger spaces, and not to mention those nasty hidden fees, it’s time to look at other modes of transportation, specifically, getting on the tracks (thanks to high speed rails that match air timing). So, what are the advantages of taking trains over planes? That is the question we answered in this feature with David Ashton, CEO of Loco2 — the Pan-European train comparison and booking platform.
Get there faster Perhaps like most people, I tend to favour the mode of transport that will get me to my destination the quickest/most directly. And planes travel faster than trains. So planes seem better, right?
Many of us are now realising that the total trip time is a lot different than travel speed. For example, after landing at Gatwick from Paris, it takes longer to get to Central London (i.e. 90 plus minutes) than the flight itself. And that’s when you’ve already “arrived”. On the way there, airport security lines can be long and stressful, and that recommended (if not ridiculous) two-hour pre-flight arrival adds significant travel time; not to mention the journey to the airport via bus, train or car and airport parking fees!
“Train travel often wins the speed prize in the race”
Train travel often wins the speed prize in the race. For most internal UK rail services, such as Edinburgh to London, there’s no need to arrive at the station more than five minutes before departure. Eurostar check-in for passengers with Standard Class and Standard Premier tickets closes 30 minutes before departure, whilst Business Premier passengers only need to check in 10 minutes early.
Plus, once you land you have to wait to get off the plane, collect your checked luggage, and then travel from the airport to the city centre again. Airports are often located far outside the city centre. For example, travelling from Stansted Airport to Central London takes well over an hour and can cost up to GBP 20 on the train, or anywhere between GBP 50 to GBP 100 via cab.
On the other hand, train stations are centrally located. Take the rail journey from London to Edinburgh as an example; it’s 4 hours and 30 minutes from Kings Cross station to Edinburgh Waverley station, both located in their respective city centres. If you add in travel to and from London and Edinburgh airport, flying isn’t any faster than taking the train.
No hidden costs
Ryanair will charge you a fee if you fail to check in online and print the entire ticket, including the advertisement. Don’t have a printer at home? Figure it out or pay. We all know about luggage costs (sometimes GBP 50 or more per bag), but there are plenty of other less known fees designed to make life harder for you unless you pay a lot, e.g. checking an additional bag, weighing baggage, using the WiFi, changing passenger details, and paying extra for more legroom if you’re taller than the average man or woman.
“Train tickets rarely necessitate paying additional costs”
Train tickets rarely necessitate paying additional costs – you just pay for the ticket. Loco2 doesn’t charge booking fees and there are no hidden costs. Your suitcase can be as big or as small as you like – there are no weight restrictions or extra fees for having XL luggage.
The fee to change your ticket is much lower on trains (between 0 and GBP 10, depending on the ticket, vs up to GBP 120 on a flight, if it’s changeable at all), and you can change until midnight the day before travel. When available, WiFi is usually free and the seats have lots of legroom in Standard Class. On several trains, Second Class feels like First Class on an airline, and First Class on a train is often little more expensive than the class below.
Most train companies let children under the age of four travel free, whereas tots over the age of two must have their own ticket for flying. What’s more, booking a train has never been easier and more convenient (especially for families) – and with advanced booking tools, travellers can take advantage of the cheapest train tickets.
And this doesn’t include the most obvious added costs of flying. A flight from London Gatwick to Paris might cost GBP 60 if you find a great price. But a taxi from Central London to Gatwick airport could easily cost up to GBP 70 – and you pay that four times over with a return journey i.e. taxi from Central London to Gatwick Airport, then another taxi from Charles De Gaulle airport to Paris, and vice versa. You can easily end up paying GBP 100 – GBP 200 for airport transfers, whereas trains take you directly into the city centre.
“But why in the world would you take a taxi to London from Gatwick?”, you might ask. “Just take the train, it’s cheaper and faster.” Yeah, exactly.
More flexibility
Unless you pay exorbitant fees for a flexible airline ticket, once you buy, you’re locked in. You can’t swap your flight or catch a later one if you’re running late, whereas you can do this with many train tickets. If you’re not on your outbound or connecting flight, most airlines will cancel your return. And the costs for changing flight details are up to GBP 120, although some airlines don’t allow any changes or refunds at all.
For domestic train trips, you can show up to the train station and buy a ticket 15 minutes before departure, or arrive at the station 30 minutes in advance for international journeys. If you like the look of a city on your way somewhere, you can hop off the train and then just buy another ticket again the next day to complete your trip.
“Train travel is way more flexible than plane travel”
The fee to change your ticket is much lower on trains – around GBP 10 (depending on the type of ticket and the train company) – and you can do it until midnight the day before you travel. In short, train travel is way more flexible than plane travel, which will save you money if you have to (or want to) change plans at the last minute.
If you book your train tickets for the UK or Europe with Loco2, we offer a new Cancellation Protection service, which lets you apply for reimbursement of non-refundable, multi-leg journeys, in the occurrence of rail strikes or other unforeseen cancellations. We’re the first train booking site to provide this feature for international rail trips!
More environmentally-friendly
Air travel is now one of the fastest-growing contributors to climate change. The aviation industry is said to contribute between 4% and 9% of the total climate change impact of humans. This means that choosing not to fly is a powerful pro-environmental action that helps you shrink your carbon footprint. Europeans do a large chunk of total global flights, imagine if Europe started taking the train a whole lot more by taking no-fly holidays.
“Choosing the train over flying cuts CO2 emissions per passenger by 90%”
Eurostar commissioned independent research in 2006 that assessed the CO2 per passenger produced by a London to Paris Eurostar journey compared to a London to Paris flight. The research looked at Eurostar passenger loading and power consumption, and how Eurostar’s electricity is generated. The researchers then compared these with aircraft loading and fuel consumption. The conclusion was that choosing the train over flying cuts CO2 emissions per passenger by 90%.
When booking your train trip, Loco2 will tell you how many kilograms of carbon emissions you will save by choosing the train instead of a flight.
More comfy, relaxing and incredible views
Loco2’s own research has revealed that taking the train gives passengers more space on an average than other common forms of transport including, of course, planes. Plane cabins are already cramped and – as Telegraph Travel reported recently, new aircraft currently being built look set to further narrow the margins. Unless you’re riding a budget service in the developing world, you’ll have far more space on a train and unlimited opportunities to stretch your legs.
When travelling by train you are privy to learn more about your destination through experiencing not only the city but also the surrounding landscape. Trains wind their way across the countryside, along the coast, around mountains and through small towns, so you can gaze out your window upon varied landscapes and culture. Castles, vineyards, villages, the Alps, Rhine falls: there’s so much to see, and trains traverse all of it. You don’t get to encounter any of this when flying thousands of feet above the ground.
My conclusion…
The world is more interlinked than ever before, and will no doubt be increasingly so in the coming years. There are so many places that require a flight, that sometimes we can lose track of the reality.
For the vast majority of the trips we need to take, whether for business or leisure, whether across town or across the continent, trains aren’t just more comfortable than planes, they’re often both cheaper and surprise, surprise, faster too.
That adds up to often just being better. Especially if you’re thinking how many others do these days – that it’s just as much about the journey as it is about the destination!

Naturally heart-shaped destinations in Asia-Pacific you have to visit

Posted by - September 28, 2018

These places in Asia-Pacific are great reminders for you to look after your heart. Source: Shutterstock.
EVERY YEAR on Sept 29, the World Heart Federation celebrates World Heart Day, a global campaign which focuses on looking after our own hearts and the hearts of our loved ones.
It is the world’s biggest platform for raising awareness about cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke.
World Heart Day resonates with the professional cardiology and healthcare audiences who dedicate themselves to looking after all of our hearts.
And in recent years, more and more of the world’s iconic landmarks, monuments, and buildings have illuminated red in support of it.
In 2017, illuminations were held at iconic venues across the world, including Table Mountain in South Africa, the Nasdaq screen in Times Square, the Singapore Flyer, and the Sky Tower in New Zealand, to name a few.
But in some spots on the planet, Mother Nature has already secretly scattered a couple of reminders for you to look after your heart.
Halfway across the world, there is the X Canyon in Arizona, the US which looks like a heart was dug through a zen garden of sand, and closer to Asia-Pacific, there is the aptly named Lake of Love in Russia.
Each place is unique in their own way, each with a different story – you only need to know where to look.
So in conjunction with World Heart Day, here are some heart-shaped destinations in Asia-Pacific.
Russia: Hamar-Daban Source: Shutterstock.
Australia: Coffin Bay Source: Pinterest.
Japan: Chichijima Island Source: Shutterstock.
French Polynesia: Tupai Source: Flickr.
Japan: Miyako-jima Source: Pinterest
Kazakhstan: Aral Sea Source: Google Maps.
Fiji: Tavarua Island Source: Pinterest.
Australia: Great Barrier Reef Source: Shutterstock.
Taiwan: Penghu Islands Source: Shutterstock.

Let this new luxurious beachfront resort be your reason to visit Lombok

Posted by - September 28, 2018

Wouldn’t you like to spend a night or two at this dreamy 5-star Indonesian resort? Source: Wyndham Sundancer Resort Lombok.
AS LOMBOK recovers from a series of earthquakes in July and August, the opening of a new five-star resort is a clear signal that the island continues to be recognized as a world-class destination by global hospitality powerhouses.
With stunning natural beauty, beautiful beaches, outstanding diving, and surfing locations and clean water, it is easy to understand why Lombok is a tourism hot spot.
And in a show of confidence in the long-term viability of Lombok’s tourism industry, Wyndham Sundancer Resort Lombok has opened its doors on the spectacular island.
“Lombok is a wonderful destination – recent relief efforts perfectly demonstrate the warmth and kindness of the Indonesian people – and I have no doubt it will make a total recovery,” Wyndham Hotels & Resorts South East Asia and Pacific Rim President and Managing Director Mr Joon Aun Ooi.
Wyndham Sundancer Lombok is located on the doorstep of the southern Gilis, a collection of 13 beautiful islands perfect for diving and snorkeling, with pristine white sand, crystal clear water and amazing reefs featuring arguably some of the best-preserved coral in Indonesia.
Source: Wyndham Sundancer Resort Lombok.
An all-suite resort, it offers one and two-bedroom suites, each with complimentary WiFi, air conditioning, kitchen facilities and generous bathroom with shower and oversized bath.
All rooms at the resort have large balconies, and the ocean view suites offer breathtaking views of Lombok Straits and the spectacular southern Gili islands. And on a clear day, you can marvel at the sight of both Mount Rinjani in Lombok and Mount Agung in Bali.
Source: Wyndham Sundancer Resort Lombok.
Guests can take advantage of a large lagoon-style pool with swim-up bar, three dining options, a day spa, and wellness center with its own juice bar, and an onsite dive center to book diving excursions.
Food and beverage options include the all-day dining Sunrise Café and Sundancer Beach Club, along with the à la carte dinner restaurant, The Bukit.
Source: Wyndham Sundancer Resort Lombok.
The Bukit can be converted to a 200 square meter events space that is well-suited to events of up to 150 people or weddings with 100 seated guests.
Guests can also grab refreshing cocktails by the pool from the swim-up pool bar or pick up a healthy juice after a massage at the spa’s juice bar.
Source: Wyndham Sundancer Resort Lombok.
International airlines offer direct routes from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to Lombok’s airport, which is located 60 minutes from the resort.
For a limited time during its soft-opening phase, Wyndham Sundancer Resort Lombok is offering an opening special with 40 percent off Best Available Rates. Book at www.wyndhamhotels.com.

Wizz Air increases flights from Aberdeen International Airport to Gdansk

Posted by - September 28, 2018

The number of weekly flights to one of Aberdeen International Airport’s most popular destinations is set to be expanded. From 31 March next year, Wizz Air will increase the number of weekly flights to Gdansk from two to three, adding in an extra Thursday flight to its Tuesday and Saturday rota.
The Hungarian airline has announced that it will operate a new aircraft from its Gdansk base, which will facilitate the additional weekly flight to Aberdeen International Airport.
“Perfect mix of history, great food and beautiful architecture”
Lynn Harwood, Aberdeen International Airport’s route development manager, said: “Gdansk is the perfect mix of history, great food and beautiful architecture – these elements combine to make a great city break. In addition, the city is well-connected to Poland’s other hubs, and is within easy reach of energy projects currently under development.”
Tamara Vallois, head of communications at Wizz Air, added: “The expansion of our fleet in Gdansk means new routes and more flights on existing routes for our customers. With the extra flights now starting from as low as £26.99, we expect to see even more happy customers on our Gdansk route.
“We are also expecting more and more Polish travellers to visit and explore Aberdeen. We are grateful for our smooth cooperation with Aberdeen International Airport and are looking forward to meeting happy customers on board of our new Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft.”

RBH to manage first Hilton-branded hotel in Stoke

Posted by - September 28, 2018

UK-based hotel management company RBH has announced it will manage the brand new Hilton Garden Inn Stoke-on-Trent – the first ever Hilton-branded hotel in Stoke.
Scheduled to open in late 2019, the GBP 20 million (USD 26 million) hotel is part of the landmark Smithfield development brought to Stoke in a partnership between developers Genr8 and Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Pochin Ltd has been appointed as the property’s contractor and Genr8 will retain ownership of the hotel.
Andrew Robb, the chief development officer for RBH, commented on the new property: “As our first Hilton Garden Inn, this new hotel represents a landmark addition to our growing portfolio.”
“A positive impact on the city”
“We already have an excellent partnership with Hilton which is going from strength to strength.The exciting addition of Hilton Garden Inn Stoke-on-Trent also gives us the opportunity to work with owners Genr8 and the local council – we look forward to seeing this project develop and to the hotel having a positive impact on the city.”
Andrew Robb, chief development officer for RBHHilton Garden Inn Stoke-on-Trent will provide 140 bedrooms, state-of-the-art meeting and conference facilities and a fully equipped gym. Additionally, a bar and full-service restaurant will feature locally-sourced produce.
The new hotel will be part of RBH’s portfolio of more than 70 hotels across the UK, which includes seven properties under fellow Hilton brands, DoubleTree by Hilton and Hampton by Hilton.
“A ground-breaking development for Stoke-on-Trent”
Richard Ingham, partner at Genr8 Developments, said: “Smithfield is a ground-breaking development for Stoke-on-Trent, so it makes sense that Hilton – one of the most iconic hotel brands in the world – is being welcomed to the city as part of it. As a management company with decades of experience, we have absolute faith that RBH is the right choice to operate it. We look forward to working with them for many years to come.”