Travel Weekly's Asia-Pacific E-letter: May 30, 2005

ADVENTURE CENTER is offering a 19-night bicycle adventure through Tibet, including visits to Kathmandu, Lhasa and a base camp for the northern face of Mount Everest. Its a trip for serious bicyclists and explorers with a high level of physical fitness. Accommodations are in the guests houses for 11 nights and hotels for eight nights. The group size is minimum six, maximum 16, plus the tour leader, driver and a Chinese guide. Departures are July 27 to Aug. 15 and Sept. 7 to 26. The land price is $3,030 per person, double. Bike rental is $320. Adventure Centers Web site is www.adventurecenter.com. Its reservations line is (800) 228-8747.

RITZ TOURS expanded its series of Summer Saver tours of China with a 12-night Affordable Yangtze program that is priced from $1,699 per person, plus tax, double. The package includes air from Los Angeles or San Francisco, hotel, sightseeing, land transportation on air-conditioned motorcoaches, and a river cruise on a Victoria Cruises vessel. The trip begins in Shanghai, continues with a nine-day Yangtze cruise from Zhenjiang to Chongqing. Then continues with a sightseeing tour of Beijing. Departures are available on select dates in July, August and September. Fares are available from other U.S. gateways. Call (800) 900-2446 or visit www.ritztours.com.

INDIA-BASED TAJ HOTELS is entering the Southeast Asia market with its signing of a contract to manage the Rebak Marina Resort in Langkawi, a cluster of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Malaysia. The 106-room resort is on a 390-acre island off the Langkawi mainland. Taj will rebrand the property as a Taj premium leisure hotel, take over the operations and work with the owners on a $5.26 million upgrade.  

STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE signed an agreement to manage the Sheraton Urumqi Hotel in Urumqi, China, the capital of Xianjiang Province. The hotel is scheduled to open in early 2007. It will have 410 guest rooms, 18,500 square feet of meetings and function space, three restaurants, a health club and spa, and an indoor swimming pool. The expansion brings Starwoods China portfolio to 19 operating hotels and 14 under development.

AIR CHINA and CATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS established frequent-flyer program reciprocity. The partnership goes into effect in the third quarter of 2005.

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