Destination News - Asia / Pacific.
Asian airports, used to looking for H5N1 bird flu and SARS sufferers earlier in the decade, have dusted off their scanners for this latest crisis. But experts say these cannot help until the person has a fever, and an infected person can spread the virus around by coughing and sneezing a full day before the onset of symptoms. "Flu is infectious one day before the onset of symptoms, which means you may not have symptoms but you are already infectious while you are coming back to Hong Kong (on a plane)," said Yuen Kwok-yung, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong. "You are incubating and infecting others without knowing it." Being cooped up in a plane may spell trouble too. "A person with flu becomes infectious within 12 to 24 hours of infection. If he is traveling from Europe to Australia, a person can develop contagious capability while on the plane," Itzstein said. "It is an incubation spot, it is like a big incubator. People who are not infected can get infected in the plane." Yuen urged people to practice "self-quarantine." "For those coming back from risky areas, you should do some form of self-quarantine and wear a mask for seven days." Apr 30, 2009
Investors fled investments in air, land and sea on Monday as fears of a flu pandemic rekindled memories of the Asian SARS crisis that caused widespread industry turmoil six years ago. From Sydney to New York, selling hit the world's leading airline brands, hotels and cruise operators and the cost of insuring airline debt rose following the outbreak of swine flu. The United States declared a public health emergency and Americans and Europeans were urged to avoid non-essential travel to Mexico, where more than 100 people have died from the outbreak. US airlines most heavily exposed to Mexico racked up double-digit losses in trading. The AMEX airlines index was off about 10.9 percent in late afternoon. Continental Airlines, which offers more seats than any foreign airline into and out of Mexico, according to data provided airline schedules consultancy Innovata, saw its stock fall 16.5 percent. American Airlines parent AMR and US Airways, the second and third foreign airlines in terms of passenger capacity to Mexico, also suffered double-digit percentage falls. Apr 27, 2009
Azamara Cruises offers pre-packaged shore excursions on select sailings in Europe and Asia. The packages offer a 5 percent savings over the retail value of the tours. As both 694-guest Azamara ships make their way to Europe for the 2009 season, the company has opened shore excursion packages for sale, including a new two-day port package option. This season, Azamara will offer excursion packages on 19 sailings throughout the Baltic, Western and Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea. Each sailing offers two variations on the packages: an OOmega CollectionO and an OAlpha Collection.O www.azamaracruises.com. May 1, 2009
Hyatt plans to open 13 more properties this year, including the much-anticipated Andaz Wall Street in August with a further 22 hotels opening in 2010. The first to open will be the Park Hyatt Jeddah in May, followed by the Andaz Wall Street and Hyatt Regency hotels in Hong Kong, Phuket and Pune in the summer. Autumn and winter openings include the Hyatt Abu Dhabi at Capital Centre, Grand Hyatt Macau, Hyatt Regency Beijing, Grand Hyatt Goa, the Andaz Fifth Avenue and the Hyatt Regency Beijing. The hotel group has already opened six properties this year, the latest being the Hyatt Regency Ekaterinburg. Andrew Ashmore, vp sales and marketing Hyatt International, EMEA, said Hyatt was looking to introduce its "select service" brand of Hyatt Place hotels to the UK. www.hyatt.com Apr 30, 2009
"Hi Seoul Festival 2009," celebrating its 7th anniversary this year, will be held from May 2-10 in Seoul, the capital of Korea. This year's festival will take place at Seoul Plaza, the lawn-covered public square located in front of Seoul City Hall, and the Cheonggyecheon, a stream which runs through the heart of Seoul, as well as five royal palaces in this modern city with an ancient history. Initiated in 2003 to sustain the festive mood of the previous year that swept the entire country during the 2002 World Cup Korea/Japan, Hi Seoul Festival has since become Seoul's most representative festival, adding various cultural elements to the festive atmosphere that has prompted eager participation from citizens and mesmerized international visitors. Last spring, 1.45 million people visited the festival, including 180,000 international visitors. Apr 29, 2009
China has reopened its land border to tourists traveling to North Korea after a three-year break, with a group of 71 tourists visiting the isolated country, state media reported Thursday. The Chinese tourists left the city of Dandong in northeastern Liaoning province this week for a one-day tour of Sinuiju, on the other side of the Yalu river that marks the frontier, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. It was the first tour group to cross the border since February 2006, when crossings were suspended following rampant gambling by Chinese tourists, the report said. The report did not say where the tourists had been gambling or what had changed to allow the border to reopen. Apr 30, 2009
Shanghai will issue discount vouchers worth about 900 million yuan (131.8 million U.S. dollars) to boost local tourism that were affected by the global economic downturn, a tourism official said here Sunday. The Pudong New District will give out 310,000 pamphlets of consumption coupons between Tuesday and mid May to residents of Shanghai and two neighboring provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, said Li Zhengming, vice director with the tourism and exhibition department of the economic committee of Pudong. Domestic tourists can enjoy up to 40 percent price off in 12 scenic spots, 32 restaurants, 29 hotels and 9 travel agencies while traveling in Pudong between May to August, saving more than 3,000 yuan, Li said. The vouchers are expected to incur up to 5 billion yuan in domestic consumption and attract more visitors to the main venues of the Shanghai Expo, which is set to be held in Pudong between May 1 to Oct. 30 next year, Li added. Apr 28, 2009
The conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a separatist group also known as the Tamil Tigers, which has affected the north of the country for over two decades, is rapidly nearing its end. When the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse assumed office in 2005, the LTTE had over 16,000 square kilometers under its control. Within two and a half years since the recommencement of the conflict in mid-2006, the government has managed to take control of the LTTE strongholds in the northeast of Sri Lanka, restricting them to a narrow 8-kilometer strip in the northeast of the country. Apr 27, 2009
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