Travel Weeklys Asia-Pacific E-letter: January 12, 2006

CELADON INTERNATIONAL HOTELS, a new hotel management company, recently launched in Vietnam. The group, which claims to be Vietnams first international hotel management company, is led by German hotelier Paul Stoll, former general manager of the Furama Resort Danang, one of Vietnams leading five-star resorts. The company will offer three brands: a luxury brand called Celadon; a budget brand called Waves and a themed brand called Exotica. At press time, resorts were planned for Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Hue, Hoi An, Phan Thiet, Vung Tau, Dong Nai and Phu Quoc. For information, e-mail [email protected].

AVALON WATERWAYS, the Globus brand of river cruises, is offering an 11-night cruise-tour featuring Chinas Yangtze River in 2006. The Magical China & the Yangtze River itinerary includes a four-night Yangtze cruise that boards in Yichang and heads upstream through the Three Gorges to Chongqing, with a stop at the Three Gorges Dam. After disembarkation, the tour moves on to Xian and to Beijing, with two days sightseeing in each. The land price starts at $2,639 while air-inclusive rates are priced from $3,583. Prices are per person, double occupancy. Departures are April to October. For more information or to book, see www.avalonwaterways.com or call (877) 380-1544.

WHATS IN A NAME? For 2006, Sita World Travel changed its name to Sita World Tours. According to CEO Roger Mahal, although Sita is a U.S. corporation dating back 70 years, there was still some confusion in peoples minds whether it is a tour operator or a travel agent. So the company opted to rebrand itself to make it obvious that its a tour operator, Mahal said. For 2006, Sita has revamped its sales force and added new properties and destinations around the world. The operator is also partnering with Qantas Airways to introduce a new promotion called Points Beyond Australia, which offers packages that combine Australia with other destinations, including India, South Africa and Bali. For details on Sita World Tours, call (800) 421-5643 or visit www.sitatours.com.

ALEXA, an Internet traffic research company, reported that the Korea Tourism Organizations Web site [www.tour2korea.com] recorded more traffic than any other tourism organizations Web site in 2005. The achievement is more remarkable in light of the fact that earlier in 2005, the site ranked near 9,000 of national tourism organizations Web sites. Through intense marketing efforts, the site increased its traffic through the year and finally on Dec. 28, surpassed the Hong Kong Tourism Boards site [www.discoverhongkong.com] as the worlds most heavily visited tourism organization Web site. The site reached a daily toll of 52,000 visitors and was on track to reach 6 million foreign visitors by years end.

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