Travel Weeklys Asia-Pacific E-letter: March 14, 2005

VICTORIA CRUISES plans to realign its fleet in preparation for the addition of its seventh ship in April 2006, the Victoria Anna. The Anna will have the largest passenger capacity (308) and most suites of Victorias Yangtze River cruisers, according to the company. Anna will have 154 cabins, including 16 junior suites, four deluxe suites and two Shangri-La suites. Anna will replace the Victoria Star on the Three Gorges Highlights program, which travels from Chongqing to Yichang and back. The Star will be moved to the Chongqing-Shanghai route. The smaller Victoria Rose, which has been on the Chongqing-Shanghai route, will be moved to the Chongqing-Yichang route.

ALSO, Victoria Cruises renewed its exclusive arrangement to provide Yangtze cruises for Uniworld. Uniworld was sold last year to the Travel Corp., which also owns Trafalgar Tours, Contiki Holidays, Insight Vacations and Red Carnation Hotels. A major operator of European river cruises, Uniworld has operated its Yangtze river program through Victoria for nearly a decade, according to Uniworlds vice president of sales and marketing, Scott Franey.

THE AUSTRALIAN STATE OF VICTORIA (home of Melbourne) composed a steering committee to begin creating a 10-year program for the development of tourism in the state. The steering committee is comprised of people with tourism knowledge from around the country, said Victorias minister for tourism and major events John Pandazopoulos. Were going to pick their brains about where we need to be in the next 10 years and well be working with government to achieve that. The plan will include specifics on building the infrastructure, protecting the environment, attracting and encouraging investment and making tourism a larger part of the economy. The ministry is also increasing its efforts to market Victoria in the U.S. 

ACCORDING TO A STUDY completed by Visa Asia Pacific for the World Tourism Organization (WTO) Emergency Task Force, there has been a significant drop in international travel to the areas affected by Decembers tsunami in Asia.  According to the report, 30% of travelers who were planning to visit Asia said they were deterred by the disaster. The majority said they lacked sufficient information about health and sanitation issues.

OBEROI HOTELS & RESORTS is trying to boost business in its Indonesia properties with an Unforgettable Experiences package for the Oberoi, Bali and the Oberoi, Lombok that includes a 20% discount on the room rate, plus airport transfers, daily continental breakfast and fresh fruit delivered to the room daily. The discounted prices range from $199 per night for a gardenview room to $655 per night for the Royal Villa with private pool. Rates are subject to an 11% government tax and 10% service charge. The package is valid through July 20. For information or to book, call (800) 6-OBEROI;  e-mail [email protected] or visit the Web site at www.oberoihotels.com.

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