Globus announces new Italy offerings winter escapes program to Europe

first_img TORONTO — There’s nothing like a family-style feast to bring people together and get them talking about travel, which was exactly what Globus family of brands was hoping for at its latest industry luncheon.Taking place at La Veranda Osteria Ristorante in Toronto, the lunch included all of Italy’s classic dishes to highlight the many Italian cities the company’s brands (Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon) will travel to next year. Stéphanie Bishop, Managing Director of Globus, said that in 2018, the company is putting much of its focus on Italy, “one of our primary destinations”.As such, there will be a sweeping array of options for clients to choose from, including 15 itineraries with Globus, 11 with Cosmos, as well as City Getaways and countless combinations ranging from four to 16 days with Monograms. Moreover, both Globus and Cosmos are offering 10% off tours for children ages 8-17, while Monograms is offering the same discount for kids 2-17 (children under two are free of charge).Bishop also highlighted the “three ways of touring in Italy” that’s available to clients through its brands. While coach touring is available with both premium brand Globus and cost-effective brand Cosmos, Monograms offers packaged tours for independent travellers, by which clients can tour on their own while having all the logistics like accommodation and transport taken care of.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesBishop, who’s taken several Monograms trips with her husband, admitted to preferring this more flexible touring style over the company’s other brands. She noted several of Monograms’ selling points, including meet-and-greet service, central hotels, half-day sightseeing in each city and first-class rail between cities. “A Monograms escort will even take you to train stations to make sure you don’t get on the wrong train,” she said.Special guest Marco Sorbara, executive director, Europe for Globus family of brands, noted another major advantage to booking with Monograms. Next year, clients can choose from what he calls “the big 5” cities – Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris and London – and select how many nights they want to stay in each (minimum two-night stay in each). “They can choose any or all of the five cities,” he said, also noting that there will be more cities added to the program in 2019.Also new in 2018 is Cosmos’ eight-day ‘Apulia: The Heel of Italy’ tour, and eight-day ‘Gourmet Tuscany’, which uses Montecatini as a homebase from which to travel to neighbouring towns like Lucca and Greve. In addition, Globus has added a new component to its ‘Highlights of Sicily and Southern Italy’ tour: an exclusive visit to the town of Castel Gandolfo. Globus is the only tour operator to gain access to the small town, which had been previously closed to tourists until 2016.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Although next summer will be a busy one indeed for all of Globus’ brands, the company is pushing for travel in the off-season, which Sorbara said is an ideal time to visit Europe. As a result, ‘Escapes by Globus’ has just been launched, featuring winter escapes from November to March at prices 40% cheaper than summer offerings. “It is the exact same product, just a lot cheaper,” said Sorbara, “with the same hotels, same inclusions, and no single supplement.” The first departures of ‘Escapes by Globus’ left two weeks ago.For more information on ‘Escapes by Globus’, go to learn more about Italy offerings, go to Posted by Share Monday, November 27, 2017 Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Avalon Waterways, Britain & Europe, Cosmos, Globus, Italy, Monograms Globus announces new Italy offerings & winter escapes program to Europe << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Memories Trinidad Del Mar Cuba completes first phase of renos

first_imgBlue Diamond Resorts took over the property management last December 2018 and have already made significant improvements to the property, including room renovations and an exclusive vacation experience featuring an upgrade to Diamond Club. This premium level of service features exclusive à la carte restaurants and bar areas as well as a pool and beach areas for the sole use of Diamond Club Guests. << Previous PostNext Post >> Monday, June 3, 2019 Travelweek Group TRINIDAD, CUBA — The newly branded Memories Trinidad Del Mar, Cuba has completed phase one of its extensive renovation project.Enhancements have been made to the lobby, restaurants, rooms, pool and beach area and meeting/banquet spaces, while three new culinary experiences that focus on Cuba, Italian and Asian cuisine have been added.Forget musical chairs. We’re all about blue-sical chairs at #MemoriesTrinidadDelMar— Memories Resorts (@MemoriesResorts) May 27, 2019The new design incorporates all of Memories Resorts’ amenities and services offered throughout the Caribbean. Sharecenter_img Memories Trinidad Del Mar offers 241 spacious suites that come with spacious balconies, plasma TVs, mini bar with premium drinks, coffee maker, ironers and plank tables. Guests also enjoy lively entertainment, yet another Memories signature addition to the hotel. Memories Trinidad Del Mar, Cuba completes first phase of renos Tags: Trinidad and Tobago Posted bylast_img read more

Minor Vargas guilty of fraud

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionWASHINGTON, D.C. – A 15-member jury convicted Costa Rican businessman Minor Vargas, 60, on Monday of one count of conspiracy and three counts each of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering to the tune of more than $600 million in a federal case tried in the U.S. city of Richmond, Virginia. Vargas could face up to 182 years in prison. He will be sentenced in October. Vargas’ company, Provident Capital Indemnity Ltd., sold bonds guaranteeing funding for life-settlement companies, whichbuy life insurance policies from insured people at less-than-face value and collect benefits when those people die. Jury members found that Provident selected victims who were older or who were likely close to death. The jury also believed that Vargas lied to his clients and investors, and was aware of the actions of his employees, including the company’s accountant, who defrauded clients with false company information and non-existent bonds. Vargas spent more than a year behind bars in a Virginia jail while awaiting a trial that was delayed twice because of the magnitude of the financial losses and the enormous amount of evidence in the case. The trial lasted more than a week, but the jury took only three hours to render a guilty verdict.Throughout the trial, Vargas maintained his innocence, saying he inherited the troubled company and tried to fix its  problems by enlisting accountant Jorge Castillo. In January, Castillo pled guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. Prosecutors had originally asked for a 28-year sentence for Castillo, who testified against his former boss on Tuesday.For a year, U.S. federal prosecutors waded through a mountain of documents, copies of financial statements from several banks, and hundreds of emails that required translation from Spanish to English.Key witnesses in the case include IRS agents and U.S. postal employees, whose testimonies helped bring a conviction. The case has drawn significant attention both in Costa Rica and the U.S. Thousands of victims in numerous countries were defrauded, some losing their entire life savings.Prosecutors described in detail and with the help of several visual aids the true amount of funds the company had to backup the bonds they offered clients, a number that was miniscule compared to what the company told its customers. Some of the most incriminating evidence included emails that showed that Vargas was aware of false company statements to victims in order to collect on fake bonds. Vargas not only misrepresented the company’s assets but also lied when he told clients, investors and regulators that Provident was protected by reinsurance agreements with major companies,the jury found.In total, 21 witnesses testified against the Costa Rican businessman, including several of the company’s clients. Attorney Michael Dry, who declined to comment on the case, headed the U.S. government’s team of prosecutors. Vargas’ attorney, Jeffrey Everhart, did not indicate if he would appeal the conviction. Castillo and Vargas are being held in the Pamunkey Regional Jail outside of Richmond awaiting sentencing. Castillo will be sentenced in September, and Vargas will likely be transferred to an unnamed federal prison.In Costa Rica, Vargas became a publicly prominent person by founding magazines and newspapers. He was also involved in professional soccer as president of Saprissa, one of the top teams in the country. He later bought two soccer franchisesand began a synthetic turf business that won several contracts for replacing soccer fields for local professional teams. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Two passengers injured during forced beach landing of private airplane

first_imgNo related posts. The forced landing of a small airplane in the Pacific province of Puntarenas resulted in two injured crew members Tuesday evening.Nayuribe Vargas, spokeswoman for Civil Aviation Authority, told Channel 6 Repretel that the crew: Alexandro Borja, a Spanish national and Ronald Ray a U.S. citizen, were taken to local hospital Monseñor Sanabría for a physical evaluation. Red Cross responders who attended the injured crew members at site reported the patients’ condition “as stable.”The aircraft, a Cessna 421, took off Tuesday afternoon in Liberia, capital of the northwestern province of Guanacaste, and was headed towards the Tobias Bolaños Airport in San José.Civil Aviation reports stated that the pilot reported a malfunction of the plane’s navigation equipment, and he asked for help from the radar crew at the Juan Santamaría International Airport to reach a local airport in Chacarita, Puntarenas. However, the pilot was forced to land at a beach in the small community of Cocal at around 6 p.m.On Wednesday the foreigners were discharged from the hospital. The plane’s owner decided not to recover the aircraft and to donate it to the community. A neighbor’s association will sell the aircraft as scrap and the funds will be invested in community projects. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Guatemala fights to retain favored trade status with Europe

first_imgGUATEMALA CITY – There’s not a cocktail bar in Central London that doesn’t stock Guatemala’s famous Ron Zacapa, an English Starbucks that hasn’t launched a “Guatemala Cappuccino,” or a high-end British supermarket that doesn’t sell petit pois straight from the country’s highlands, according to Guatemalan Embassy staff in London.Outside the United States, Guatemala’s biggest export market is Europe, and within that: Great Britain. Trade between the two countries has been steadily increasing over the past few years, and with the recently introduced free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Central America, commerce from Guatemala to the U.K, and vice versa, is set to grow even further.Acisclo Valladares has been the Guatemalan ambassador to the U.K. for three years.“In 2010 we didn’t have any economic investment sections,” says Valladares, who ran for president twice before taking up his current position in London.Valladares and his team recently chaperoned a group of British businessmen to Guatemala, as part of Explore Guatemala, and helped give them an insight into the commercial opportunities that exist in the country. Investment missions like these led the health insurance giant BUPA to begin operating in Guatemala and Pollo Campero to set up shop in southern England.After more than a year in planning, the EU free trade agreement with Central America entered into full effect earlier this month, giving the region access to a market of more than 500 million Europeans.The benefits of the agreement include the elimination of the majority of import tariffs, an improvement in international relations between the two areas and more easily accessible investment markets. However, it’s not just about trade clauses. Central American countries must also abide by development policies such as introducing programs to fund the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, which include universal elementary education and the eradication of poverty, among others, and complying with international conventions relating to human and labor rights.The Guatemalan government was recently warned by an international delegation of labor activists that if conditions in the country for trade unionists failed to improve, it could face losing its favored trade status with the EU.Guatemalan Labor Minister Carlos Contreras Solórzano says the possibility of Europe closing its borders to Guatemala is a concern for the government.“Of course it worries us that if the European Union, or whatever other business partner of ours, limits our exportations it will affect our workers because it will be the workers who will be left without jobs. We need jobs and we need to participate in the global market. We’ve made efforts to demonstrate that we want to comply with international labor rules and have a place in the global market,” he says.The Guatemalan government is currently working with the International Labor Organization to improve working conditions in the country for workers and trade unionists in an effort to remain part of the free trade agreement between the EU and Central America. Facebook Comments Related posts:Guatemala’s Pacaya Volcano spits ash, gases A landmark genocide case comes to unexpected and dramatic end As trade unionist attacks continue, Guatemala faces tough decisions Business helps empower Guatemalan women and preserve an ancient tradelast_img read more

Costa Ricas rising inequality outpaces other Latin American countries

first_imgNo related posts. The success enjoyed by Costa Rica’s high productivity, export-driven sector isn’t likely to trickle down to the rest of the economy anytime soon, according to the 19th State of the Nation report released Tuesday.The annual comprehensive assessment of social, economic and environmental issues in Costa Rica observed that the growing high-productivity, export-driven sectors of the economy have concentrated the country’s economic success in a few elite groups, both socially and territorially, contributing to the country’s widening inequality gap.The report noted with concern that Costa Rica was the only country out of several Latin American countries whose GINI coefficient increased between 2001 and 2011.According to the report, Costa Rica is entering a period of high-income inequality after reporting a 0.518 GINI coefficient, a measure of national income distribution, in 2012 – the highest since 1987.The top 10 percent of Costa Ricans make 24.8 times as much as the poorest 10 percent.However, the report also said that the average quality of life for Ticos has increased during the same period.Jorge Vargas Cullell, temporary director of National Council of University Rectors’ (CONARE) State of the Nation Program, said, however, that improvements in the average Tico’s quality of life were not enough to offset the negative effects of widening inequality.“If we only worry about the average level of quality of life for the average person then we’d be fine, no problem, but inequality generates problems of internal social cohesion and lower levels of political participation because people feel like they belong to different countries, so they’re not interested in participating in the decision making process,” Cullell told The Tico Times.“For a small country like us, that has few other resources besides people, controlling the problem of inequality is extremely important,” added the program director. Cullell said that a lack of labor policy and low high school graduation rates reinforce the gap between the “new” export-oriented economy and the “old” one focused on agriculture and domestic industrial production.“If you look at a graph of exports from free-trade zones, the story of the country is a success. But if you get rid of the free-trade zones the export history of Costa Rica is much less successful,” observed Cullell.Only 46.3 percent of Ticos between 17 and 21 have completed high school, according to the 4th States of Education report, released earlier this year, preventing them from applying to many of the best-paid jobs.View the full State of the Nation report from CONARE online here.  According to data from the World Bank, Costa Rica is one of the only countries in the region that has seen a growing inequality gap during the last 20 years, despite enjoying a growing economy. The graph shows data from 1990 to 2010. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Sloth Kong Reigns Costa Rica conquers Group of Champions

first_imgRelated posts:Can Costa Rica defy the odds and conquer Group D (or at least score a goal)? Despite upset, Costa Rica still getting no respect from oddsmakers against Italy The Sloth Kong dance Underdogs no more: Costa Rica seen as favorites against Greece Sloth Kong and Costa Rica conquer Group D, and the three former World Cup champions they faced in Brazil. The Ticos’ next goal: Reach the quarterfinals for the first time in their history. Time for a brief moment of relaxation — with a special product from Uruguay (legal marijuana), Italy (pizza) and England (the Queen’s crown) — before Sloth Kong prepares to scale Mount Olympus.See our full Sloth Kong series:Costa Rica vs. UruguayCosta Rica vs. ItalyCosta Rica vs. EnglandCosta Rica vs. GreeceCosta Rica vs. the Netherlands 1Costa Rica vs. the Netherlands 2Sloth Kong says, “Thank you, La Sele” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Lawmakers elect Montserrat Solano as Costa Ricas new ombudswoman

first_imgRelated posts:Lawmakers announce top three candidates to lead Ombudsman’s Office Naming a new ombudsman could take weeks, Costa Rica Assembly president says Legislative Assembly delays announcement of top candidates for Ombudsman’s Office New ombudswoman will prioritize complaints against hikes in utility rates, fuel prices After three rounds of voting, Costa Rican lawmakers on Tuesday night elected journalist Montserrat Solano Carboni as the country’s new ombudswoman for the next four years.Solano was one of three top candidates recommended by the Legislative Assembly’s Appointments Commission after 98 people were interviewed beginning on July 14.It took lawmakers three rounds of voting to finally reach the 29 votes necessary to elect Solano. Those votes came from the ruling Citizen Action Party and the National Liberation Party. Attorney Román Navarro – not originally among the top three candidates – came in second with 28 votes.The two other candidates proposed by the Appointments Commission – attorney Ricardo Valverde and educator Yanis Quesada – captured no votes in the final round.Waiting for Solano, a journalist who also holds a master’s degree in law with a focus on human rights, are more than 500 complaints that have accumulated since the resignation of former Ombudswoman Ofelia Taitelbaum on July 7, following an announcement by lawmakers and Judicial Investigation Police that they would investigate allegations she had committed tax fraud and identity theft. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Casa Presidencial flies provincial flags

first_imgPresident Luis Guillermo Solís really likes flags. Casa Presidencial announced that alongside the Costa Rican national tricolor, the seven flags of the country’s provinces also will fly over the president’s offices in Zapote, a southeastern district of the capital. Casa Presidencial said the provincial flags would stay up for the entirety of his four-year term.“After having the flags of the Central American nations to honor our independence and that of the region, it is now time to place the flags that represent the territories that make up the Costa Rican homeland, since attending to the needs of these territories is the end goal, our principle cause as the government,” Solís said.In addition to the Central American flags, Solís also raised the LGBT rainbow flag at Casa Presidencial in May, in what was likely the first time such an event has happened in Latin America. Facebook Comments Related posts:Obama announces members of US delegation who will attend Luis Guillermo Solís inauguration Pope Francis tells bishops that clergy abuse must not be repeated Chile court orders Pablo Neruda’s remains returned to his tomb Costa Rica ‘cautiously’ rejoins SICAlast_img read more

Costa Rica grants first gay commonlaw marriage in Central America

first_imgA Costa Rican judge has granted the first openly gay common-law marriage in Central America, said Francisco Madrigal, political affairs director for the Center for Research and Promotion of Human Rights in Central America (CIPAC).On Tuesday morning, news broke that Gerald Castro and Cristian Zamora, a gay couple in the city of Goicoechea, north of San José, were granted a common-law marriage by the Family Court there. Along with being the first legal recognition of a same-sex relationship in Central America, the decision could set an example for judges elsewhere in the country to recognize gay relationships and even adoption. But both supporters and opponents of the decision expect a forthcoming legal battle over the landmark ruling.Common-law marriage grants all the same benefits of a traditional marriage in Costa Rica, but requires the approval of a judge after the couple has been together – but not necessarily lived together – for at least three years. It guarantees partners the rights to inheritance, to social security and public insurance benefits and to visit the other person in the hospital.Costa Rica does not currently recognize gay marriage but a bill is pending in the Legislative Assembly that would approve civil unions here.Un golazo The judge in Goicoechea granted the common-law marriage in part through an interpretation of an amendment to the Youth Code in July 2013 that its sponsor, then-lawmaker José María Villalta of the Broad Front Party, a former presidential candidate, claimed would legalize gay marriage. The amended code said that common-law marriages should be granted regardless of gender and “without discrimination against their human dignity.” Supporters of the move are calling it a “golazo” (in football terminology, roughly, a stunning goal) by Villalta who slipped the language into the amendment without Evangelical lawmakers – who staunchly oppose gay rights – even noticing.After then-President Laura Chinchilla signed the bill, a flurry of gay couples applied for legal recognition but none were granted until now. There is a catch: The Youth Code only applies to Costa Ricans between the ages of 12 and 35. That could lead to legal challenges, some analysts predict. One argument is that it’s discriminatory, because it doesn’t apply to Costa Ricans of all ages. Others speculate that Costa Rica’s Family Code could supplant the Youth Code. Either way, the judge’s ruling may prompt a case before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV.Still, the ruling has brought jubilation to Costa Rica’s LGBT community.“This is a big step forward. This is the first time that the law has been recognized as such,” said Marco Castillo, president of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization Diversity Movement.“I know of nine other cases presented that would have to be approved too,” he said. The cases were in Heredia, San José, Guadalupe, Cañas and Desamparados.Both Castillo and Madrigal said that they were hopeful that the Goicoechea decision would encourage judges elsewhere to recognize same-sex common-law marriages now that the precedent has been set. Family court judges, however, retain autonomy in their power to grant common-law marriages regardless of the sex of the couple so there is no guarantee that other applications elsewhere would be successful.Adoption rightsFrancisco Madrigal told The Tico Times that there is no law banning LGBT individuals from adopting children but gay couples have not been allowed to because their relationship was not recognized by the state. The CIPAC representative said that now that a gay couple have been recognized by the government it could open a new pathway for LGBT families to adopt.“This is an important accomplishment but it gives us a panorama of how much more we need to do,” Madrigal said.The CIPAC representative said that there is still much work to be done in the Legislative Assembly. Advocates were hopeful that the recent decision could bolster the bill to legalize same-sex civil unions in Costa Rica, which would allow gay and lesbian couples to enjoy the benefits of marriage without applying to a judge.Castillo acknowledged that opposition was strong, especially with conservative Evangelical parties. The current gay civil union bill is grinding though the Legal Affairs Commission with 1,300 amendments proposed by former Christian conservative lawmaker Justo Orozco, the daily La Nación reported. Some critics – including at least one lawmaker from the Evangelical National Restoration Party – have threatened to go after the judge on charges of breach of public duty.Nevertheless, the first gay common-law marriage in Central America is one of several LGBT accolades Costa Rica has won in the last several years. Same-sex couples can insure their partners with the Costa Rican Social Security System and visit their partners in the hospital, and Casa Presidencial raised that rainbow flag over the president’s office. The Solís administration also issued an executive order banning discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity in public services.Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the judge had interpreted an amendment to the Family Code in July 2013. It was actually the Youth Code. We regret the error. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rican court upholds gay rights in professional associations Casa Presidencial presents gay common-law marriage bill President of Costa Rica raises LGBT flag over Casa Presidencial Taboo on LGBT blood donation lingers, according to surveylast_img read more