Regional News - Asia / Pacific.

 
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New York (AirGuide - Regional News Asia / Pacific) Jan 15, 2012

Forecast: Lower prices, mobile popularity to drive SSD growth Solid-state drives should remain on a strong growth path because of lower prices, a shortage of spinning hard disk drives and the growing popularity of mobile devices, according to research firm IDC. Worldwide SSD revenue increased by 105% in 2011, hitting USD5 billion in revenue, compared with USD2.4 billion in 2010. Jan 13, 2012

Western tourists in Bangkok warned of possible terror attacks British tourists were warned today to beware of possible attacks targeting westerners in Thailand after police thwarted a terror plot in Bangkok. The US Embassy revealed a Oreal and credibleO threat against Americans and western holidaymakers in the Thai capital. The alert [ETH] the first of its kind in Bangkok in recent memory [ETH] followed the arrest of a Lebanese man with suspected links to Iran-backed Hezbollah militants. He was seized following a tip-off that helped foil a planned attack on New YearOs Eve. A second plotter was still at large last night. US officials urged Americans to Okeep a low profileO in public and to exercise caution in areas where western tourists gather. OForeign terrorists may be currently looking to conduct attacks against tourist areas in Bangkok in the near future,O they added. The warning in Bangkok comes at a time of heightened tension between the West and Iran over TehranOs nuclear ambitions. Thousands of mourners chanted anti-US and Israeli slogans at the funeral in Tehran yesterday of slain nuclear expert Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan. Jan 13, 2012

Ten Indonesia hotels received ASEAN Green Hotel Recognition Award 2012 Acknowledged for implementing eco-friendly principles in its operation, 10 hotels were honored with the ASEAN Green Hotel Recognition Award 2012. The awards were presented during the ASEAN Tourism Forum on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 held at Grand the Kawanua Convention Center, Manado, North Sulawesi. The 10 Indonesian hotels are: Matahari Beach Resort & Spa (Bali), Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel (Bali), Holiday Inn Resort (Batam), Angsana (Bintan), Melia Benoa (Bali), Losari Spa Retreat & Coffee Plantation (Magelang, Central Java), St. Regis Bali Resort(Bali), Melia Bali Villa & Spa Resort, Dharmawangsa Jakarta, and Hotel Gran Melia Jakarta. The awards were presented by the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia, Mari Elka Pangestu, who attended the ceremony together with all Tourism Ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries. OASEAN Green Hotel Award is held every two years. Manado and Indonesia are the third hosts after Thailand in 2008 and Brunei Darussalam in 2010,O said Minister Mari Pangestu. Other ASEAN hotels awarded were given to 71 hotels in other ASEAN countries, which are: Brunei Darussalam (1 hotel), Cambodia (10 hotels), Laos (8 hotels), Malaysia (10 hotels), Myanmar (10 hotels), Philippines (2 hotels), Singapore (10 hotels), Thailand (10 hotels), and Vietnam (10 hotels). The ASEAN Green Hotel Award is an appreciation and recognition of tourism stakeholders for adopting the ASEAN Green Hotel Standards into their services. Environmental issues are the main aspects for the assessment, as stipulated in the ASEAN Green Hotel Standard document. Criteria and essential requirements include: environmental policy and hotel operation activities, utilization of green products, cooperation with local community and organizations, human resources development, solid waste management, energy efficiency, water efficiency, water quality management (indoor and outdoor), noise pollution control, waste water treatment and management, and toxic and chemical substance disposal management. The close competition in the hotel industry and the growing awareness of environmental conditions such as climate change and global warming issues become the driving factors for the establishment of the Green Hotel Standards which were first initiated among ASEAN countries in 2007. With the awards, it is expected that the hotel industry will increase its competitive values in the number of visitors and the improvement of the service quality in all hotels within the ASEAN region, which ultimately support the vision of ASEAN as a single destination. Jan 13, 2012

How to find affordable last-minute Chinese New Year hotel deals online The annual Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday is now about much more than just staying with friends and family these days. Chinese, especially young affluent ones, are looking to travel overseas rather than just return home for the holidays. Another important travel demographic, the event culture vulture, is also keen to combine this auspicious holiday with an exotic overseas sojourn. According to HotelTravel.com Chief Information Officer, Olivier Dombey, more Chinese travelers are waiting till the last minute to bargain hunt while booking CNY hotels on mobile platforms. OThere has been a seismic shift in travel behavior since I left Beijing in 2008. Once travel restrictions were lifted, Chinese started to look at the CNY period as a prime opportunity to travel outside the country. OWe are seeing more last-minute hotel bookings by Chinese travelers on mobile platforms. And there is also considerable interest from other nationalities to travel to key destinations to experience and take part in CNY festivities. OThere are still available rooms and good hotel deals in popular destinations, but selecting the right city to spend CNY is key to finding online deals. HotelTravel.com has a few simple suggestions that we think will help travelers get the best value for hotel stays.O Look beyond Hong Kong and Macau Both former colonial enclaves are traditionally fully booked during CNY. More importantly, hoteliers are only too aware that they can leverage peak demand period as an excuse to jack room rates sky high. Since it is a three-day public holiday (starting Monday, January 23), a large part of both cities close up shop for the week leaving available restaurants, shops, and malls packed to the gills. Book in Bangkok Almost everyone knows that Bangkok hotels offer some of the best value for money deals on the planet. But did you know that the Thai capital has almost as many rooms as there are in all of India? BangkokOs Chinatown is also fun, safe, and vibrant during CNY. Plus it is not an official government holiday so for the rest of the city its business as usual. Stay in Singapore Staying in Singapore is not cheap any time of year, but CNY deals can still be found during this peak season, especially if visitors stay away from prime Orchard Road, Marina, and ScottOs Road hotels. Singapore remains the safest, most family-friendly destination in Asia. Both January 23 and 24 are public holidays, but SingaporeOs ethnically-mixed population means much of the city state is open per usual. Play in Phuket Hotels in Phuket, like in Bangkok, are overbuilt, so there are many last-minute deals available even during the high season. Obviously, the key to availability and affordable rates is to move away from the beach (and larger international chains) to find smaller independently-run lodging. That also means avoiding Patong and looking around Phuket International Airport in the north or Rawai Beach in the south. For safetyOs sake, it is best to avoid renting motorbikes for any reason - instead spend a little more and hire a car. Bay Watch in San Francisco San FranciscoOs Chinatown is the closest thing to the real deal this side of Shanghai, and it comes alive during CNY. Avoid pricey downtown San Francisco hotels and look south of Market if you want to remain closer to Chinatown, however, you need to know the city, as this trendy enclave borders a couple of tough areas. Safer options include out near Golden Gate Park in either the Richmond or Sunset districts - both are served by excellent public transportation links. Jan 13, 2012

Top film festivals around the world With the beloved Sundance Film Festival starting Jan. 19 and the Oscars not too far off, the film buffs have ranked their favorite film festivals across the globe. A one-of-a-kind experience, film festivals offer the opportunity to explore the art of filmmaking with other enthusiasts, listen to the creators talk about their work, visit an exciting destination and so much more. Find out what makes each festival unique with our list of the top film festivals around the world. Sundance Film Festival - Park City, Utah, United States Sundance Film Festival started out in 1978 as an event designed to attract more filmmakers to Utah while staying away from the overpowering Hollywood scene. Thirty-four years later, Sundance is the largest independent film festival in the United States, exhibiting feature-length films, documentaries, shorts, and animation while fostering dialogues among film enthusiasts. This year, the festival will run from Jan 19-29 in Park City, Utah, showcasing 200 films whittled down from nearly 9,000 submissions. CanOt make it to the big event? On Jan 26, nine movie theaters across the United States will be hosting a filmmaker and his or her work as part of Sundance Film Festival USA, so you may be able to participate in the festivities wherever you are. International Film Festival Rotterdam - Rotterdam, the Netherlands Though it receives less tourist traffic than its neighboring city, Amsterdam, Rotterdam is a modern representation of Dutch culture, and its annual film festival is constantly paving the way for all genres of innovative and thought-provoking cinema. This yearOs event will run from Jan 25 to Feb 5, and will encompass 19 screening venues [ETH] upwards of 350,000 viewers are expected to attend. Rotterdam attendees are passionate movie-goers, so program directors make a point of stripping down the superfluous aspects of film, like commercials and trailers, for an untarnished viewing experience. Cannes International Film Festival - Cannes, France...

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