Taiwan’s president wants dialogue with China

Taipei, Oct. 26 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) called on the Communist Party of China (CPC) Thursday to begin dialogue with her administration to bring an end to hostilities between the two sides and the fear of war.

In her first response to the just-concluded CPC’s 19th Party Congress that saw Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), also general secretary of the CPC, emerging as a formidable leader, Tsai said that China’s ruling party has entered into “a whole new era of ruling.”

Tsai said that when she was inaugurated May 20 last year, she urged the ruling parties on each side of the strait to begin dialogue. After the CPC’s party congress, she said that “now is the turning point” to change cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

Tsai again urged the two sides of the strait to display the wisdom that has carried both sides over 30 years to work for a breakthrough in cross-strait relations and long-lasting benefits for the people on both sides.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)

US-China ties will not come at expense of Taiwan: ex-U.S. official

Taipei, Oct. 24 (CNA) The United States will not sacrifice Taiwan’s interests in exchange for improved ties with China, a visiting former senior U.S. official said Tuesday in Taipei.

Daniel Russel, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs made the comments amid the ongoing 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress in Beijing and an upcoming first ever trip to China by U.S. President Donald Trump. The remarks were also directed at continued speculation that Beijing’s increased importance to U.S. foreign policy could pose a problem for Taipei.

Russel said that China has undergone major changes over the past five years under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, underscored by the country’s growing economic strength and more active role in regional and global affairs.

Against this backdrop it is not surprising that China has become more important to U.S. foreign policy, he added.

“But should that be a problem for Taiwan? The common interests, the shared values, the institutional linkages, and the strong people-to-people ties and all the things I just described are like anchors, bonds that help ensure that improvements in U.S-China relations will never come at Taiwan’s expense,” he stressed.

Although the occupants of the White House and the Presidential Office have changed in recent years, what has not changed is the deep-rooted friendship between American and Taiwanese people, he said.

“What has not changed is U.S. policy, which is based on the Taiwan Relations Act and the Three Joint Communiques. What has not changed is America’s enduring interest in the continued success, prosperity and self-determination of the people of Taiwan,” he added.

Having said that, Russel also reiterated that the U.S. will not serve as an intermediary between Beijing and Taipei.

“One of my predecessors, Ambassador Winston Lord once said, ‘Americans aren’t smart enough to mediate between Chinese.'”

“At the end of the day it falls to the people of Taiwan and to those on the mainland to muster patience, creativity, flexibility and effective communications necessary to manage relations and to resolve your differences,” he concluded.

Russel made the comments during a speech at National Chengchi University during his first-ever trip to Taiwan. He arrived on Sunday and is scheduled to leave on Wednesday.

During his stay, Russel will also visit government departments where he will learn about Taiwan’s political and economic development and government policies in the areas of diplomacy, national defense cross-strait relations, and exchange views on U.S-Taiwan links and future cooperation, according to Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry.

A career senior diplomat, Russel served as assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs from July 2013 to March 2017. Before that, he served at the White House as special assistant to the president and National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs.

In April, he joined the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI), a think tank that tackles major policy challenges confronting the Asia-Pacific, where he serves as diplomat-in-residence and a senior fellow.

(By Joseph Yeh)

Lonely Planet names Kaohsiung 5th best city to visit in 2018

Taipei, Oct. 25 (CNA) Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan has been named as the fifth best city in the world to visit in 2018 by travel guide book publisher Lonely Planet.

Kaohsiung, a port city and the third most populous city in Taiwan after New Taipei and Taichung, was among Lonely Planet’s list of 10 top cities in the world that its experts recommend travelers visit in 2018.

The list was published Tuesday as part of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 package that also identified the world’s 10 top countries and 10 top regions to visit and 10 best travel values.

In the “Top Cities” list, Spain’s Seville was ranked at the top, followed by Detroit in the United States, Canberra in Australia, and Hamburg in Germany.

From sixth to 10th were Antwerp in Belgium, Matera in Italy, San Juan in Puerto Rico, Guanajuato in Mexico and Oslo in Norway.

“Kaohsiung is surging with possibilities: visit before the world gets wind of it,” Lonely Planet said in the description of the city accompanying the list that particularly highlighted the city’s transition from an industrial port to a cultural hub.

“Warehouses by the harbor are morphing into galleries and theaters. World-class architecture is sprouting along the shore, from a beautiful public library to a spectacular concert venue that, when ready, should be among the best in Asia,” Lonely Planet wrote.

“The cultural calendar is packed full of exciting new festivals, and young chefs are injecting fresh ideas into southern Taiwanese cooking,” it said.

Other Kaohsiung highlights mentioned were the “spectacular” cruise terminal and light-rail system that are taking shape, and a new 88-meter “Eye of the Mountain” skywalk in the Xiaogangshan Recreation Area, from which hikers can view the Taiwan Strait.

In a statement previewing the article, Lonely Planet writer Piera Chen, who prepared the section on Kaohsiung, described the city this way: “Wherever you go, whether by metro or the city’s burgeoning fleet of public bikes, Kaohsiung greets with a laid-back maritime charm.”

(By Christie Chen)

Taiwan urges new model for cross-strait ties

Taipei, Oct. 18 (CNA) Leaders on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait should show wisdom, determination and patience to forge a new model for bilateral ties and lay a solid and long-lasting foundation for perpetual peace in the region, the Presidential Office urged Wednesday.

“We are keeping a close tap on the development in cross-strait relations and all situations in the region,” the Presidential Office said in a statement responding to remarks by Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier in the day.

Speaking at the opening of the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi stressed Beijing’s intent to safeguard its “one China principle” and the “1992 consensus” in handling cross-Taiwan Strait ties.

He also said China will deal appropriately with changes in Taiwan’s situation and spare no effort to oppose Taiwan’s independence movement while maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Xi’s comments offered little that was new, and the Presidential Office’s response essentially echoed remarks made on previous occasions by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), including during her National Day address on Oct. 10.

In terms of cross-strait ties, the Presidential Office stressed that “we are fully committed to building peace in the region and across the strait.”

The government has done its best to stabilize two-way relations, “extending maximum goodwill to the other side hoping to mend hostilities and differences step by step,” it said, noting that “the international community should have seen efforts made by Taiwan in this regard.”

Maintaining cross-strait peace and stability and creating benefits for the people are common goals of the leaders on both sides, the Presidential Office reiterated.

It also repeated a previous Tsai pledge: “We will not revert to the old path of confrontation, and we will not bow to pressure.”

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the agency responsible for charting Taiwan’s policy toward China, said in a statement that the Chinese Communist Party’s advocacy of the “one China principle” and the “one country, two systems” formula will have trouble winning over the hearts of the Taiwanese people.

It called on Beijing to think of a new model in its dealings with Taiwan.

The MAC also expressed regret that Xi’s talk demonstrated Beijing’s longstanding stance of wanting to contain Taiwan, saying that long-term political disputes across the strait can be resolved, but man-made barriers and hostilities have led to confrontation and stalemate.

The MAC urged Beijing to engage in implementing policies conducive to “democracy, peace, fairness and justice,” and adopt new thinking to face a new relationship across the strait and become a genuine peacemaker and protector in the region.

(By C.H. Liao and Flor Wang)

Admiralty Arch Appoints and Welcomes Waldorf Astoria to London

The opening of Admiralty Arch Waldorf Astoria is due to make a significant impact on the London Luxury Hotel Market

MCLEAN, Va. – Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts has been appointed by Prime Investors Capital Ltd to operate the luxury hotel within one of the capital’s best-known and most prestigious monuments. Admiralty Arch Waldorf Astoria, London will open in 2022, following an extensive on-going refurbishment programme which will restore and protect the iconic landmark’s architectural and historical features.

Admiralty Arch was commissioned by King Edward VII in memory of Queen Victoria, and was designed by Sir Aston Webb, who was also responsible for The Mall and main facade at Buckingham Palace. In addition to housing the official residences of the First Sea Lords, Admiralty Arch has served as a centre for clandestine wartime intelligence efforts, a Royal Navy outpost, and latterly as a centre for the UK Government’s Cabinet Office. Following a rigorous and thorough official tender process Prime Investors Capital Ltd outbid 28 institutional bidders from all over the world in order to acquire the 250-year lease of the property in 2015.

Since construction of the building was completed in 1910, Admiralty Arch has hosted leading figures of state and society, from Sir Winston Churchill –  whose office was based within the arch when he was First Sea Lord of the Admiralty – to author of the James Bond spy novels Ian Fleming. Situated in one of London’s most prestigious addresses, Admiralty Arch offers unmatched views down The Mall to Buckingham Palace, and commanding vistas across Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column.

Rafael Serrano, Chief Executive Officer, Prime Investors Capital Ltd said:

“Since 2015 when we acquired Admiralty Arch from the British Government, we have made many decisions that will impact not only the future of the building and the local area, but also the profile of the very heart of London. We have appointed a team of talented experts with the experience and knowledge to capture the spirit of this magnificent building.  We have created a detailed plan to transform Admiralty Arch into an extraordinary Hotel, Residences and Private Members Club. And one of the most important decisions we have made is to select and appoint the operator to whom we will entrust the management and running of this hotel. Further to interest and discussions with 12 top luxury hotel brands, we are delighted to announce the creation of Admiralty Arch Waldorf Astoria, London.

“The Management of Prime Investors Capital Ltd and Waldorf Astoria hold many things in common:  a commitment to enhance the heritage of this remarkable, elegant building; a determination to preserve its sense of place; and the experience needed to provide superb hospitality to discerning guests from London and around the world.  As the proud owners of Admiralty Arch, we have every confidence that, together with Waldorf Astoria, we will ensure that this London landmark enters the next chapter of its life in safe hands and maintains its iconic standing in the capital.”

Christopher J. Nassetta, President & Chief Executive Officer, Hilton said:

“This agreement marries the timeless elegance of Waldorf Astoria with the historic grandeur of one of London’s great monuments. Projects of this calibre are rare, and Admiralty Arch Waldorf Astoria will provide a truly unforgettable hospitality experience when it opens to guests.

“Waldorf Astoria has a legacy of protecting and enhancing historical buildings, from our flagship hotel in New York, which is currently undergoing a comprehensive refurbishment to protect the art deco building for future generations, to this incredible property in London. This partnership brings our iconic luxury brand to London’s finest address, and we’re proud to partner with Prime Investors Capital Ltd to introduce Waldorf Astoria to London.”

Admiralty Arch Waldorf Astoria will include 96 spacious and luxurious hotel rooms and suites, and three world class restaurants. Plans include a rooftop bar with sweeping views across London’s skyline, private meetings and event spaces, as well as a state of the art spa. Luxury private residences and an exclusive Private Members Club and other exclusive Food and Beverage components will join the hotel within Admiralty Arch.

Councillor Robert Davis MBE DL, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Business, Culture and Heritage, Westminster City Council said:

“I have worked with Prime Investors Capital for a number of years.  First on the creation of the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge and more recently on their extensive plans to restore and refurbish Admiralty Arch into a luxury hotel. This extraordinary project is going to make a huge impact on Central London by opening up to the public an iconic building standing at the end of The Mall and adjacent to Trafalgar Square.

The outstanding team that Prime Investors Capital has assembled – together with a variety of expert advisers – make me confident that Prime Investors Capital has shown the commitment and the vision to ensure that this project will be an enormous success. The hotel will be an important addition to the City of Westminster as well as to London as a whole – at a time when tourism and travel is so important for our country.”

Work is already underway to sensitively restore the building’s original features, and an internationally celebrated design team is in place, led by Michael Blair and David Mlinaric.  Michael Blair’s work includes the restoration and extension of The Ritz, The Connaught and Claridge’s hotels. David Mlinaric’s body of work includes The Royal Opera House, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The National Gallery and the British Residences in London and Paris.

Historical interiors expert Andrew Damonte completes the design team. Andrew Damonte has worked alongside David Mlinaric on the restoration of Dumfries House in Scotland for HRH The Prince of Wales.

Admiralty Arch Waldorf Astoria, London joins 26 Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts in the world’s most sought after destinations.

About Prime Investors Capital Ltd
Prime Investors Capital Ltd (PIC), is a London-based investment management company that is dedicated to producing superior returns, by advising and financing investments in the areas of finance, private equity and property. PIC is the advisor of Admiralty Arch Holdings Limited. PIC was advised by Avington Financial Limited on the transaction with Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. For further information please visit www.admiraltyarch.co.uk or www.primeinvestors.com and follow Admiralty Arch on Instagram.

About Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts is a portfolio of nearly 30 iconic properties in the world’s most sought-after destinations. Unified by their inspirational environments and True Waldorf Service, Waldorf Astoria hotels deliver unparalleled, bespoke service from the moment a guest books through check out. Waldorf Astoria is a part of Hilton, a leading global hospitality company. Experience Waldorf Astoria by booking atwww.waldorfastoria.com. Learn about the brand by visiting news.waldorfastoria.com and follow Waldorf Astoria on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Antwerpen in Lonely Planets to 10 van te bezoeken wereldsteden

Antwerpen is opgenomen in de top 10 ‘Best in Travel 2018’ van Lonely Planet. Het expertenpanel van de toonaangevende reisgids roept de stad uit tot een van de must visits voor reizigers en toeristen. Deze plaats in de top 10 zal heel wat aandacht voor Antwerpen opleveren en zal ongetwijfeld veel reizigers inspireren om een citytrip te plannen naar de stad.

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 heeft veel lof voor Antwerpen: Once northern Europe’s greatest city, today Antwerp is one of its best-kept secrets.”

Lonely Planet geeft ook aan waarom bezoekers in 2018 een trip naar Antwerpen moeten plannen: “Flanders’ unofficial capital is laden with historic riches and home to world-class arts and design, and this year it’s showing its cultural chops with a celebration of its Baroque heyday. Inspired by the city’s most famous resident, Rubens, Antwerp Baroque 2018 will feature Flemish Masters rubbing shoulders with modern talent in a calendar that spans parades, concerts, street art, multimedia shows and workshops.”

Meer informatie op www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel en www.visitantwerpen.be.

First Boeing 767 Equipped with Premium Economy Seats

Copyright: Austrian Airlines
  • Altogether 252 Premium Economy seats will be installed in twelve long-haul aircraft
  • High traveling comfort due to more legroom, additional service and extra baggage allowance
  • Complete refitting of the Austrian Airlines long-haul fleet to be concluded by the spring of 2018

Following the successful installation and the approval granted by the responsible authorities, the first Austrian Airlines long-haul jet – a Boeing 767 with the aircraft registration OE-LAT – took off today on its official maiden flight from Vienna to Chicago featuring the new Premium Economy Class seats. The Premium Economy Class will provide room for a total of 18 passengers in the first refitted jet. Starting in the spring of 2018, passengers can enjoy the benefits of the new travel class. A total of 252 new Premium Economy seats will be installed in all of the airline’s twelve long-haul aircraft up until then.

Core element of the new travel class is the new type of seat which offers passengers greater comfort during their journeys compared to conventional Economy Class. Austrian Airlines passengers can already take advantage of the more comfortable seat starting at EUR 99 per route before the completion of the entire conversion of the aircraft and the start of the Premium Economy Class with all its benefits. At present, Austrian Airlines flight attendants are being successively trained for the new Premium Economy Class product.

The new Premium Economy Class at a glance:

  • New seat with a broader seat surface and generous seat spacing
  • Footrest starting in the second row or leg support with integrated footrest in the first row
  • Always a separate central armrest with fold-out table and cocktail table
  • 12-inch screen with remote control for the in-flight entertainment system
  • Own power outlet and USB port on the seat
  • 2 x 23 kg free baggage
  • High-quality food selection with menu card
  • Welcome drink
  • Amenity kit with useful travel accessor

Fitur Festival, a new section at the International Tourism Trade Fair

Organised in collaboration with Spain Live Music with the aim of providing organisers, festival promoters and destinations with a professional and promotional tourism channel
FITUR 2018 will be staged from 17 to 21 January at Feria de Madrid, organised by IFEMA

The International Tourism Trade Fair is adding to its comprehensive content offering with the new monographic section FITUR Festivals, organised in collaboration with Spain Live Music, the Spanish Music Tourism Association, for the purpose of creating new tourist networks through the opportunities opened up by the world of live music and to promote and advance the festivals and destinations that host it.

The creation of this space, which launches at the upcoming staging of FITUR, from 17 to 21 January in Hall 3 of Feria de Madrid, is driven by FITUR’s segmentation and professionalisation dynamic, which seeks to meet the demand of an increasingly specialised and professionalised tourism. FITUR Festivals will combine the industry’s professional offering with the offer available to the general public.

Giving visibility and reinforcing the product 

The international outreach of FITUR 2018 will provide an excellent showcase in which festival organisers, promoters, destinations, the industry’s supplier and ancillary companies, specialised travel agencies, ticketing companies and festival sponsors, among others, can display their offering and create business.
FITUR will thus provide an exhibition area integrating an auditorium for live presentations and round tables. It will also feature demonstrations by exhibitors and will fit out a chillout zone to favour networking among attendees.
Right now, festivals have become a growing attraction for an important population segment that schedules their holidays and chooses a destination on the basis of such events. According to the SGAE, almost 22 million people attended music events this year. This has led promoters, organisers and tourist companies to increasingly work together to provide the best shows, services and experiences for millions of travellers from around the world, and FITUR Festivals will be the perfect stage for giving them the tools that will help them boost this growing tourist niche.

The trade fair in figures

FITUR 2018 will be the global meeting point for tourism professionals and will this coming year once more become the leading trade fair for Latin American inbound and outbound markets. The last staging saw the participation of 9,893 exhibitor companies from 165 countries/regions, with a total of 135,838 trade visitors and 109,134 visitors from the general public.
Together with the new FITUR Festivals, FITUR 2018 will feature the regular sections FITURTECH Y, the forum for Sustainability, Innovation, Technology and Business organised by the Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero (ITH); Fitur Know-how & Export, organised by SEGITTUR in collaboration with ICEX and FITUR;  FITUR Shopping; FITUR Health together with Spaincares; and FITUR Gay (LGBT) organised by Diversity Consulting International. In addition to this, the Trade Fair will also include the staging of Investour, the Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa organised jointly by the UNWTO, Casa África and FITUR.


Tendances de rentrée : Thalys confirme son dynamisme

Lundi 23 octobre 2017 — Thalys a enregistré en septembre son 12e mois de croissance consécutif. Cet anniversaire souligne la bonne santé des échanges interculturels entre la Belgique, la France, l’Allemagne et les Pays-Bas. Depuis le début de l’année, Thalys et son petit-frère low-cost Izy enregistrent ainsi au total 7,5% de voyageurs à leur bord au global.En termes de chiffre d’affaires, soutenu notamment par la vigueur des échanges économiques sur la route hollandaise, Thalys enregistre une croissance de 11%.

Les marqueurs restent donc au vert pour Thalys, après le lancement réussi, le 12 septembre dernier, de sa nouvelle offre en trois catégories(Standard, Comfort, Premium – premières circulations le 10 décembre). La recette du dynamisme : des efforts portés aussi bien vers la clientèle loisirs en attente du meilleur rapport qualité-prix, que vers les voyageurs d’affaires demandeurs de valeur ajoutée, de fréquence et de choix.

Ce faisant, Thalys a franchi le cap de -37% d’émissions de COdans les conditions définies par le programme Science Based Targets. (*)

« Nous devons poursuivre sans relâche nos efforts pour une société à la fois décarbonée et plus mobile, plus ouverte aux autres cultures, plus dynamique sur le plan des échanges économiques. Chaque objectif est inter-corrélé : c’est en optimisant nos espaces, nos services et nos prix que nous convaincrons le plus grand nombre de voyager en Thalys et que nous créerons le plus de valeur, tant humaine qu’économique et environnementale » explique Agnès Ogier, directrice générale de Thalys.

(*) ​ En 2015, en parallèle des accords de Paris (COP21), Thalys a fait partie des 10 premières entreprises au niveau mondial à rejoindre le programme Science Based Targets, en se fixant un objectif validé par la science climatique : -40% de ses émissions de CO2 d’ici 2020. Pour relever ce défi, Thalys a élaboré un plan d’actions qui portait sur l’ensemble de son périmètre d’activité et qui impliquait l’ensemble de ses métiers, de sa restauration à bord jusque dans l’électricité utilisée pour la traction de ses trains. Au total, les efforts de Thalys dans tous ces domaines ont porté leurs fruits : entre 2008 et 2016, les émissions de CO2 ont été réduites de 19 000 tonnes de CO(répartition totale : 30907t traction / 3947t services aux passagers / 571t siège / 49t communication = Total 36509t). Rapporté au nombre de voyageurs, les émissions de CO2 ont ainsi été ramenées, au périmètre validé par les Science Based Targets, de 23,6 g CO2 /voy.km à 14,8, soit -37%.