Regional News - Asia / Pacific.

 
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New York (AirGuide - Regional News Asia / Pacific) Jan 8, 2012

Mauritius resorts and hotels express satisfaction with 2011 By the end of November of last year 852,347 visitors had arrived in Mauritius, confirming that by the end of the year [ETH] data are not yet available [ETH] the island will have an anticipated overall arrival summary of around 940,000 visitors for 2011. This will represent an increase of about 4 percent compared to 2010 and put the goal of 1 million visitors within reach for 2012, subject to favorable economic conditions around the world, of course, and subject to getting more airlines to fly to the island or increase either frequencies or size of their aircraft used on the route. According to the Chairman of one of the islandOs hotel associations, quoted in the information sent to this correspondent, "tourist arrivals have increased," before, however, cautioning that "it still does not fill the hotels with the number of rooms available." The Mauritius tourism sector has been vocally advocating for the government to review their aviation policy vis-a-vis access to the island by more airlines, but it was learned that the events in neighbouing Seychelles, where the national airline is presently being gutted as part of a massive restructuring, has scared the Mauritius government, fearing apparently that opening the skies, as the Seychelles did, would equally result in a demise of Air Mauritus, once foreign carriers had gained the upper hand and cornered the islandOs source markets with fares Air Mauritius would not be able to match. Jan 6, 2012

China's development plan bodes well for wind industries China set a goal of 100 gigawatts of wind power capacity by 2015 in its 12th five-year development plan, and it also has hopes of making wind power meet 17% of its electricity demands by 2050. Those ambitious goals are generating opportunities for wind power industries in the country and giving companies a chance to rebound from a decline in earnings this year. Jan 6, 2012

China turns Soviet aircraft carrier into luxury hotel nternational luxury hotels are popping up on the horizon in China faster than ever, but affluent Chinese travelers have indicated a new desire for accommodation -- somewhere more historic, alternative and E communist. A former Soviet aircraft carrier under renovation in Tianjin is set to become China's first ex-naval hotel in 2012. Running dogs rejoice! USD15 million for an aircraft carrier hotel The future luxury hotel is part of Binhai Aircraft, an 80,000-square-meter military theme park opened in 2004 in east Tianjin. The government-supported park is built on and around a retired Kiev-class Soviet aircraft carrier, named Kiev ( ), which was sold to China in 1996. The parkOs parent company is reported to have spent an estimated USD15 million on the transformation and finished the refitting of three presidential suites last August. The largest suite occupies 400 square meters. Although Chinese and international media have reported the opening of the hotel, according to Binhai AircraftOs vice marketing manager, Liu, the majority of the 148 hotel rooms aren't finished. The company plans to open the hotel to the public sometime in 2012. Liu noted that the company receives requests every year from visitors hoping to stay overnight on the Kiev, especially in the cabins in which sailors and officers once slept. OThe hotel will serve as a unique experience for a high-end clientele,O Liu told us. OIt will not be ranked by stars, nor will it have a swimming pool or a gym.O Aircraft carrier restaurant While the aircraft carrier hotel has yet to welcome guests, Binhai Aircraft soft-opened the hotelOs restaurant on December 22, 2011, calling it Othe worldOs first Western restaurant on an aircraft carrier.O Decked out in black, green and white, the 30-seat restaurant pays tribute to the KievOs heritage by serving mostly Russian dishes. The aircraft carrier restaurant is now receiving guests by appointment. More Soviet aircraft carriers in China Two decades after the crumbling of the Soviet Union, China has managed to transform its neighborOs once-formidable military machinery into popular tourist attractions. China has purchased three of the ex-Soviet UnionOs most powerful aircraft carriers. One of them nearly became a casino near Macau. The other two have been repurposed as military theme parks, one in Shenzhen and the other, Kiev, in Tianjin. Jan 5, 2012

Report: China is planning to implement carbon tax by 2015 China is planning to introduce a carbon tax by 2015, according to a Chinese media report. The tax will focus on major consumers of coal, natural gas and oil, and comes as China works to reduce carbon dioxide emissions relative to gross domestic product. Jan 5, 2012

New Marine Reserve Could Bolster Queensland Tourist Numbers, Say DialAFlight After news emerged in late November that the Australian government is planning to establish the world's largest marine reserve in the Coral Sea, DialAFlight, one of the UK's leading travel operators, believes the planned development shows a positive step towards protecting a fragile area from degradation and could even strengthen tourism along Australia's Queensland coastline. With pristine oceans, magnificent coral and numerous historical relics submerged along the sea-floor, Queensland's exquisite coastline often provides the perfect attraction for cruise holidays in Australia. However as reported by the BBC in November, the marine wildlife in the Coral Sea is under threat from illicit commercial and recreational fishing as well as oil and gas exploration. The proposed plans, currently subject to a 90-day consultation before any possible implementation can take place, would see an area one-and-a-half times the size of France protected under environmental law. However, as well as the environmental benefits, DialAFlight believes the new marine reserve could continue to bolster tourism in the area, with many more millions of tourists hopefully visiting the Queensland coastline as a result of the marine reserve. Commenting on the proposed plans, a spokesman for the company said today: "The planned proposals for environmental protection in the Coral Sea are welcome steps towards preserving such a beautiful part of Australia and of course a world tourist attraction (Coral Reefs). Queensland's abundant marine wildlife means millions of tourists visit the Queensland coastline each year, with many partaking in snorkelling and diving tours in the Coral Sea. If the plans are given the go-ahead, we'd expect tourist numbers in the area to increase. Our customers, who enquire about travelling in Australia, always express an interest in seeing the countries rich wildlife- especially those with young children." The Coral Sea reserve, if approved, would cover an area approximately 989,842 sq km in size, with the closest point to shore 37 miles out to sea. Jan 5, 2012

Iran issues warning over U.S. aircraft carrier Iran has issued a warning to the U.S. over an American aircraft carrier that had traveled the waters of the Persian Gulf. "We recommend to the American warship that passed through the Strait of Hormuz and went to Gulf of Oman not to return to the Persian Gulf," said Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi, commander in chief of Iran's army. The U.S. Navy said it was operating "under international maritime conventions." Jan 4, 2012

Some Indian Ocean tourist destinations in for a troubled 2012 The world of tourism was shocked to read last week that Maldives had decided to close the spas in all its resorts. This is not the publicity the most sought-after tourism Indian Ocean islands region wants and expects. But 2012 has seen the Islamic Republic of the Maldives make such news. Mauritius, on the other hand, has seen Mr. Paul Beranger, the islandOs leader of the Opposition, move to stop the ethnic division that makes up the Mauritius Parliament. Mauritius has a division of its Parliament based on ethnic background and this call by the Mauritius Opposition could bring political instability to the island. Madagascar, the big island of the Indian Ocean, on its part is still trying to clean up its political act, following their coup dOetat that brought their current President to power. The islandOs tourism industry has been stagnant since the political turmoil resurfaced and is desperately waiting for a return to normality. Maldives, Mauritius, and Madagascar all need their tourism industry, and they all know that turmoil in their politics and religion life remain ingredients not needed for the continued development of this volatile and fragile industry. The Indian Ocean islands that are cruising along without any turmoil on their horizons are the Seychelles, La Reunion, Mayotte, and Comoros. All four are part of the Vanilla Islands Tourism Promotion Campaign, along with Mauritius and Madagascar. The move by the government of Maldives to close down the essential spa and wellness facilities in its resorts as a cover for immoral behavior has left tourism industry players in Maldives and in the Indian Ocean shocked. The island already has restrictions on the selling of alcohol and pork, and now spa and wellness has joined that list. This activity is today considered an essential part of the holiday package, and tour operators have started receiving queries on this latest ban. Tourists will not travel to destinations where confrontations are looming or where restrictive guidelines will have an adverse effect on their holiday of a lifetime. Many are today calling on the government of Maldives to reconsider this ban, because many locals will lose their jobs, and the Maldives will lose tourists to more liberal tourist-orientated resorts. Others are appealing to the politicians in Mauritius to look at the question of ethnic groups in the parliament with utmost care. Jan 3, 2012

IATA: Air transport markets weaken in November The International Air Transport...

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