Travel Business News - Asia / Pacific.

New York (AirGuideBusiness - Travel Business News Asia / Pacific) Feb 3, 2013

Seychelles and South Africa create strategic partnership Minister Nkoana-Mashabane conveyed the warm greetings for the New Year to the President and the people of Seychelles from the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, who was last in Seychelles on a working visit in August this year. OPresident Zuma remembers warmly his visits to Seychelles and is encouraged by the leadership of President Michel in the work to resolve the crisis in Madagascar. We have come a long way together in our joint efforts in SADC to bring stability to the country,O said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane. President Michel also conveyed New Year wishes to the President of South Africa and expressed his gratitude for the support of South Africa, and in particular the personal efforts of President Zuma, for working closely with Seychelles to develop programs of cooperation, which Mr. Michel said is a Ostrategic partnership for the prosperity of the peoples of the two countries.O OWe have a common view of development in Africa, and South Africa has a special perspective on the needs of Small Island Developing States, and has supported us in our efforts to bring regional peace and stability. We have discussed a number of socio-economic issues which will enable us to work towards strengthening our bilateral cooperation,O said President Michel. Minister Nkoana-Mashabane also met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Paul Adam, yesterday, where they discussed expanding cooperation in the health sector, tourism trade, and investments, as well as in culture and sports, through the sharing of expertise, training for personnel, and deepening dialogue to maximize potential partnerships. Other areas of cooperation discussed include educational support through the provision of further scholarships and possible collaboration with the University of Seychelles, and closer collaboration in the area of maritime security in the Indian Ocean, as well as the support of maritime-related industry in the region.O Seychelles is a founding member of theEInternational Coalition of Tourism Partners(ICTP). Jan 31, 2013

Inbound tourism rises in several Asian markets Initial data released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association indicate that overall foreign visitation in Asia increased 5.5.% year over year between January and September 2012. Tourism growth in South Asia was modest compared with last year, while other Asian markets such as South Korea, Taipei and Japan recorded double-digit increases. Jan 30, 2013

Chinese tourists conned by rogue Auckland tour operator A group of Chinese tourists say a rogue tour operator in Auckland promised them visits to farms, geyser parks and buffet dinners - but instead took them to free public facilities and charitable events, including the City Mission's annual Christmas dinner. Ming Xi, a visitor from Wuhan, said he and 10 other Chinese tourists were taken to the City Mission lunch by the tour leader, who told them the event was an annual "buffet treat" the New Zealand Government organised for citizens and visitors. Their presence at the dinner - intended for people unable to afford a Christmas meal - caused widespread outrage when it was revealed. Mr Xi, who is in his 50s, arrived last month as part of a tour group on a four-day North Island tour. He decided to extend his visit to "experience how Christmas was celebrated in a Western country". He was approached by the Mandarin-speaking tour leader as he left the i-Site Visitor Information Centre in Quay St, Auckland, the week before Christmas and offered a discounted daily rate of $88 a person for the tour, which included meals and all activities and entry charges. Mr Xi had other tour brochures, but this operator said he could do the same tours for less than half the price. The itinerary would include visits to a wildlife reserve, a farm park, gardens and a geyser park, and meals would include a Kiwi barbecue, a cultural dinner and a grand Christmas buffet. "I thought it was a real bargain, but the main reason we decided to go with him was because we thought it would be handy to have a local guide who spoke Mandarin," he said. "I was shocked to find out later from media reports that the Christmas lunch was a charity lunch for the poor and homeless, and that most of the places we had been taken to were free and were not meant for tourists." A TVNZ Christmas Day news report said Chinese tourists on organised tours were among the 2800 people at the Viaduct Events Centre for the annual charity lunch. The Kiwi barbecue was a sausage sizzle at a public barbecue pit, and the cultural dinner was a vegetarian meal at an "Indian" spiritual gathering where the group were asked to chant, sing and dance before eating, Mr Xi said. He could not remember the names of the...

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