New UK representation for Cayman Islands | News

As the Cayman Islands enters phase three of its re-opening to international tourism, the London office has appointed White Tiger PR as its UK & European PR agency. 

The appointment comes as the Cayman Islands gets ready to safely welcome back double-vaccinated visitors following the closure of its borders in March last year and a highly successful vaccination programme.

The islands have now been community transmission Covid-19-free for over a year.

White Tiger gas a remit is to provide input from a European perspective to the global PR strategy and implement agreed activity in market as the British Caribbean islands work towards returning visitation figures to the levels achieved pre-pandemic in 2019 of 500,000.

The positioning of the Cayman Islands as a leader in the travel and tourism industry will be an important part of the strategy, as well as highlighting the full support and training available for the travel trade. 

Key activity will focus on raising awareness of the British Overseas Territory as a premier luxury destination and showcasing the heritage, culture and values of the Cayman Islands as well as the advancement of its sustainable tourism programme. 

UK visitors can expect first-rate dive locations, a diverse international culinary scene, thrilling sports, as well as spectacular wildlife, nature and beach life.

As British Airways re-introduces its Heathrow to George Town service this autumn with up to four direct flights a week, pent up demand for luxury winter holidays will be a strong market driver.

Rosa Harris, director of tourism, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) commented: “With the successful roll-out of our on-island vaccination programme and exceptionally low cases of Covid-19, we have a strategy in place so that we can safely welcome back visitors to our beautiful islands.

“As the UK and Europe market will play a vital role in our return to international tourism, we are delighted to engage the specialist services of White Tiger PR to help us highlight our unique offering of exceptional barefoot luxury beach holidays. We look forward to working with the team to develop our core market as well as new ones.”

The three-year contract with White Tiger PR starts with immediate effect as the team will work alongside the UK-based CIDOT led by UK & Europe regional manager, Adrian White. 

The five-phased plan for a safe return to tourism aims to see the destination fully reopen by January 2022.

Cass Helstrip, managing director at White Tiger PR, commented: “We are delighted to have been appointed by CIDOT since the White Tiger team really enjoyed developing creative recommendations that clearly hit the mark in understanding the destination and its aspirations post-Covid-19.

“We can’t wait to start work in putting the Cayman Islands firmly on the radar as the British Caribbean destination of choice for UK travellers.”

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Seera Group signs on for Saudi tourism resort | News

The Saudi Arabia Tourism Development Fund (TDF) and Seera Group have signed a financing agreement to establish and operate the Raghadan Tourist Resort.

Authorities hope it will become the first sustainable tourism project in the Al Baha region, one of the main investment destinations identified under a local tourism strategy.

The agreement was signed by Qusai Al-Fakhri, chief executive of TDF, and Majed Al Nefaie, chief executive of Seera Group.

Al-Fakhri expressed his happiness with the support that the project, located in the famous Raghadan park, has received from Hussam bin Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, governor of Al Baha Region, and the ministry of municipal, rural affairs and housing, represented by the Al Baha Municipality.

Al-Fakhri also expressed his confidence in Seera Group and its capabilities to develop the project – which aims to attract domestic and international tourists – to the highest engineering and environmental standards.

Al Nefaie said: “Developing tourist destinations based on unique experiences will be an important priority for the Saudi tourism sector over the coming years.

“We believe that this project will make Al Baha an attractive destination for holidays, recreational activities, meetings, exhibitions and conferences.”

Under the partnership, Seera Group will develop a “world-class sustainable tourism development” stretching across an area of 50,000 square meters that aims to ensure the preservation of the Al Baha region and its social, environmental, and economic sustainability.

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Domes of Corfu joins Autograph Collection | News

Autograph Collection has welcomed Domes of Corfu to its growing portfolio.

Located on the sun-kissed shores of the turquoise Ionian Sea, the stunning hotel offers an exclusive, bohemian experience, bringing together world-class dining, serene wellness facilities and family adventures.

Situated on the Greek island’s western coast, along the famous blue flag-awarded Glyfada beach, the hotel is enclosed by a magical landscape at the roots of the pine-covered cliffs above.

Only a 20-minute drive from Corfu International Airport and Old Town Corfu, a UNESCO World heritage site, guests have prime access to explore the very best of the island.

“We are thrilled to expand our offering of one-of-a-kind hotels in Greece and to debut Autograph Collection on the paradisical island of Corfu,” said Jennifer Connell, vice president and global brand leader, Autograph Collection.

“Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and we are confident that the combination of Corfu’s natural beauty with Autograph Collection Hotels’ passion for design, will make Domes of Corfu one of the country’s leading leisure resorts.”

Elegantly designed with domed architecture, Domes of Corfu features 233 guestrooms and suites each with its own private patio or veranda that reveal lightly scented gardens of blue jacaranda flower trees throughout.

The hotel’s modern design aesthetic and stone-hued earthy interiors feature natural materials found in local surroundings.

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Schroeder confirmed as Kempinski chief executive | News

Bernold Schroeder has seen his roles as chairman of the management board and chief executive of Kempinski made permanent.

He has been acting in the positions since December last year.

Abdulla Saif, chairman of the supervisory board of Kempinski, said: “Bernold Schroeder has demonstrated his leadership qualities by successfully steering our company through a global pandemic and setting it on a course of sustained long-term growth and profitability as international travel resumes.

“Bernold is deeply dedicated to the art of carefully crafted guest experiences and firmly committed to our company’s heritage and values.

“We are convinced that he will drive the company’s future success based on his close relationships with hotel owners as well as his proven capability of adding substantial asset and shareholder value.”

Schroeder joined Kempinski in 2017 as vice chairman of the management board and chief operating officer, Europe.

Previously, he held senior management positions in key growth markets with Pan Pacific Hotels (Singapore), Jin Jiang International (Shanghai) and Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts.

Schroeder added: “I am delighted to continue working with our distinguished owners and the fantastic Kempinski team on seizing sustainable growth opportunities.

“Together with my colleagues on the management board and our employees, I want to further enhance the delivery of Kempinski’s brand promise to guests, property owners and shareholders in a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable manner.

“Despite the challenging times for our industry, we will pursue our plans with optimism and concentrate on executing our strategy in an overall strong and robust sector.”

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Serenia Residences signs US$140m Palm property deal | News

Serenia Residences has announced the purchase of the most expensive plot by a private investor in Dubai this year in one of the biggest land deals in the United Arab Emirates.

The deal is worth a reported AED508 million ($140 million) on the crescent of the Palm Jumeirah.

The plot will be used to develop a new beachfront development, after the successful completion and sales of Serenia Residences — the most exclusive beachfront residences at the crescent of the Palm, said the developer.

The new project, worth AED2.5 billion, has a built-up area of approximately 1.2 million square foot, and will be developed by Palma Holding.

A prestigious name in the real estate industry, the company previously completed iconic residential projects, such as Silverene Towers and Olivara Residences, as well as the renowned Serenia Residences, the Palm.

Hassan H Nia, chief executive of Banian, the owner of Serenia Residences, said: “Following the completion and near sell-out of Serenia Residences, we are excited to purchase this landmark plot to build another masterpiece on one of the most unique locations in Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah. 

“Dubai is one of the world’s safest havens for investors, made evident by the transactions that have surpassed pre-pandemic levels as well as by the number of international investors who are choosing Dubai’s real estate market to purchase property.

“The vision and long-term strategy of the emirate’s leadership encourages us to keep building and investing in a city that never fails to amaze and exceed expectations.”

The new project will be launched in 2022, and more details will be announced in due course.

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Sandals Holiday Assurance seeks to encourage bookings | News

Sandals Resorts International (SRI) has announced the introduction of Sandals Holiday Assurance.

The new initiative offers the guarantee of a free replacement stay should a holiday be impacted by Covid-19 while on resort.

It also provides guests with complimentary on resort Covid-19 testing.

Clients who have holidays booked before December, including those made through third parties, can rest assured that if they should test positive for Covid-19 whilst in resort and are required to quarantine, they will be provided with an accommodation credit voucher for the value of their room cost.

This can be redeemed against a replacement stay within 12-months of the issue date.

Agents can book their clients’ holidays with complete confidence, knowing that their holiday is fully assured with Sandals Resorts.

Certain restrictions, terms and conditions do, however, apply.

According to SRI executive chairman, Adam Stewart, the new Sandals Holiday Assurance programme is designed to take the worry out of travel, giving guests certainty that their investment in an all-inclusive luxury holiday is safeguarded from interruptions outside of their control.

“We want to put the fun and joy of planning and anticipating a great holiday back into travel. While we recognise the real concerns that may weigh on our guests’ minds, we’re taking extraordinary measures to remove worry from the equation, so travellers’ can delight in the entire travel journey – from booking to departure,” said Stewart.

In addition, UK guests travelling to any Sandals or Beaches Resort will benefit from complimentary on-resort Covid-19 PCR or antigen testing, based on the requirements of the local governments in the islands where Sandals and Beaches Resorts operate.

This also includes the required antigen test for British guests to return into the UK, which is carried out at all Sandals and Beaches resorts within 72 hours prior to guests’ departure.

Results are usually received from within 24-hours.

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Sandals Resorts International is the parent company of the leading luxury all-inclusive resort brands Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts.

Sandals is recognised as the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company by voters at the World Travel Awards.

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Wyndham Hotels to expand Microtel brand in China | News

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts will continue to expand its portfolio in China with 20 new Microtel by Wyndham hotels planned by the end of 2022.

The properties will be located in key cities and emerging destinations across the country.

Designed to provide travellers with modern conveniences, Microtel by Wyndham made its debut in China in late 2019 as a midscale brand, with the launch of Microtel by Wyndham Guiyang Nanming in the Guizhou province.

The brand has since grown to a collection of six hotels, including locations in Hangzhou, Hefei, Kunming, Lijiang and Tianjin.

The most recent additions to this nationwide portfolio were Microtel by Wyndham Tianjin and Microtel by Wyndham Kunming City Center, which made its debut last month.

Looking ahead, the brand will further extend its presence with new openings in destinations including Huangshan, Changsha, Qingdao, Fuzhou and more.

Joon Aun Ooi, president, Asia Pacific, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, commented: “The accelerated expansion of our Microtel by Wyndham portfolio in Greater China is a strong demonstration of the power and recognition of our brands in the market.

“Our Microtel by Wyndham hotels offer comfortable rooms, thoughtful amenities and warm hospitality, appealing to travellers who are looking for an efficient and streamlined experience,” he added.

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Six Senses Belize to open to guests | News

Within just a few hours of the US, Belize is known for its warm and turquoise water, incredible snorkelling and diving, and active and vibrant culture.

Guests and residents at Six Senses Belize will experience something out of this world as the team has worked tirelessly to strike the perfect balance between vivacious beach life and small-scale, secluded island bliss so that residents can enjoy either or both, any time they wish.

The resort and residences are uniquely set across two areas.

The sun-drenched stretch of secret beachfront on Ambergris Caye, the most sought-after destination in Belize, offers an abundance of watersports, adventure and wild nights in equal measure.

A five-minute boat ride away, or swim for the sporty, offers private island bliss for the secluded overwater villas, spa and wellness facilities.

This means, after hopping on a short flight, guests can check in to their desert island abode, enjoy a swim or massage in paradise and sundowners on the deck and then get dressed up to head over the water for a fun night out with family and friends all on their first day.

“Throughout, the emphasis has been placed on sensitive integration of landscaping to connect guests with nature and allow for greater privacy and coveted ‘desert island’ appeal,” said Neil Jacobs, chief executive of Six Senses.

“We’ve drawn inspiration from local craft and Belizean life, capturing the spirit and history of Mayan architecture and local heritage.

“Everything has been done to embody a new generation of travellers, eager to make memories, while preserving the island for future generations.”

Secret Beach is the main activities hub for Six Senses Belize.

This 18-acre (seven-hectare) part of the resort boasts a pristine stretch of private beachfront and is just up the coast from lively San Pedro on desirable Ambergris Caye.

It offers an eclectic mix of daytime and night-time amenities, anchored by the Experience Center.

There are plans for organic gardens complemented by a labyrinth, mushroom hut, cooking school, food market and teens’ club.

Another outdoor pool, ice cream parlour, overwater restaurant and Cinema Paradiso offer nightlife, socialising and Belizean culture galore.

Secret Beach will also be the main location for watersports with a dive centre, Marine Discovery and a wide range of activities on offer.

The beach is home to 24 residences, ranging from two-bedroom to seven-bedroom, available to purchase.

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Mandarin Oriental signs up for Beverly Hills property | News

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced an agreement to brand and manage 54 luxurious residences located on the prestigious Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.

The location is scheduled to open in 2022.

Mandarin Oriental Residences, Beverly Hills, at 9200 Wilshire Boulevard is the first residential-only project on the United States West Coast from the company.

The sleek mid-rise property will encompass 54 residences, all with outdoor space, and impeccably crafted interiors and furnishings curated by the acclaimed 1508 London design studio.

Residents will enjoy a range of private facilities, including a fitness and wellness centre with a variety of spa and beauty treatments, a high-end beauty salon, library and lounge plus a rooftop swimming pool complete with poolside cabanas and adjacent bar and lounge.

Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud will also make his West Coast debut, taking the helm of the property’s ground floor restaurant and rooftop lounge and bar, while also offering an array of exclusive in-home dining experiences.

The owners and developers of Mandarin Oriental Residences, Beverly Hills, at 9200 Wilshire Boulevard is a joint venture between SHVO and Deutsche Finance America.

SHVO is also developing the group’s Mandarin Oriental Residences at 685 Fifth Avenue in New York.

“We are delighted to partner again with SHVO on our first residences project on the West Coast and look forward to extending Mandarin Oriental’s brand and exemplary service to this desirable destination.

“The residences will offer owners an exceptional lifestyle in a prestigious location, close to Rodeo Drive’s renowned shopping and entertainment choices,” said James Riley, group chief executive of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.

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Turespaña appoints new leadership in the UK | News

Turespaña has welcomed a new director in the UK, Manuel Butler Halter.

The Spanish tourism board also confirmed a new deputy director, Pedro Asensio.

They will take over from Javier Piñanes and Carlos Ruiz, respectively.

Halter, who will be taking the reigns as director of Turespaña’s London offices, has participated in the highest levels of Spanish tourism promotion for over 25 years.

He previously spent time in London, having served as tourism counsellor from 1999 to 2004.

His illustrious career also includes time as counsellor for the Spanish embassy in Berlin, head of the Spanish tourism office in both Miami and Frankfurt, and working as the director general in the central offices of Turespaña in Madrid.

Moreover, Butler re-joins Turespaña in London having completed a three-year stint as executive director of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), beginning in 2018.

Asensio has extensive legal and international experience.

He is a Spanish official, who after more than ten years of service in the ministry of foreign affairs and cooperation with a range of responsibilities, held the position of deputy-director general for international relations and cooperation in the ministry of industry, trade and tourism.

Here he had experience in transposing numerous community directives and in following up the memorandum of understanding signed by Spain in the field of tourism.

Under their new leadership, Turespaña in London has set out its strategy to re-establish Spain as a favourite tourism destination after a year of limited international travel.

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