Travel Weekly's Asia-Pacific E-letter: June 20, 2005

CONTINENTAL Airlines launched a nonstop service between Beijing and Newark. The route will be operated with a 283-seat Boeing 777 aircraft with 48 first-class seats and 235 in economy. According to Continental, its the only nonstop service between a New York-area airport and Beijing operated by an American carrier.

HILTON International is opening two properties in Beijing. The Conrad Beijing will be the first Conrad hotel in China, and the Scandic by Hilton will be the first of its kind outside of Europe. The Conrad Beijing will have 200 guest rooms and 100 serviced apartments, as well as restaurants, meeting facilities, a spa and a health club. The Scandic by Hilton Beijing will house 400 guest rooms and 100 serviced apartments, as well as two restaurants, a lounge, meeting rooms, a ballroom, a health club and a swimming pool.

MALAYSIAS minister of tourism, Leo Michael Toyad, is leading a mission to the U.S. and Canada June 14 to 22 to promote tourism to Malaysia. The ministers tour will visit Vancouver, New York and Los Angeles. Toyad intends to increase awareness of Malaysia and to inform the U.S. tourism industry about recent tourism developments in his country. The presentation will include a fashion show that will feature batik (a method of dyeing fabric by covering parts of the cloth with a wax design) by Malaysian designer Nazleen Noor. For information, call Abd Talib Long at (213) 689-9702 or e-mail [email protected].

GATE 1 TRAVEL offers a five-night tour of Beijing during Thanksgiving week that starts at $749 per person, double. The trip includes roundtrip air from Los Angeles to Beijing, a five-night hotel stay, arrival transfer and daily breakfast. Optional land tours are offered to fill out the itinerary or the trip can be independent. See www.gate1travel.com or call (800) 682-3333.

CHINA SOUTHERN took delivery on its fourth Airbus A330 aircraft, which will be used on domestic routes between Guangzhou and both Beijing and Shanghai. The major commercial aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing, are riding a boom in orders from Asian airlines, including Indias Kingfisher Airlines, which ordered 15 Airbus planes; Indias Jet Airways, which ordered 20 Boeing planes, and Qatar Airways, which ordered ordered 60 Airbus A350s and 20 Boeing 777s at the recent Paris Air Show. Industry insiders predict that the growth of the middle class in India and China will fuel a boom in air travel for several years. Indias economy grew at a rate of 6.9% in the first quarter over the previous years first quarter. Chinas economy grew by 9.4%.

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