Travel Weeklys Asia-Pacific E-letter: March 21, 2005

TOURISM NEW ZEALAND and Qantas Vacations launched a seven-week road trip across North America in a 32-foot Winnebago. The purpose of the trip is to conduct seminars in 46 cities to train travel agents on selling New Zealand as a destination. The trip started in Las Vegas, will move through Arizona and north through California to Canada. The representatives will educate agents on what is available in New Zealand, inform them about available sales tools, sign them up for monthly product updates and induct them into the Kiwi Specialist Program. To reach Tourism New Zealand, call (310) 857-2207 or log on to www.newzealand.com.

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL is adding properties in Asia in 2005. The chain will expand in Bali with a new, 116-room property called the Renaissance Bali Resort & Spa, which will open in fall. Two Renaissance hotels are scheduled to open in Kazakhstan: the 120-room Renaissance Aktau Hotel and the 202-room Renaissance Atyrau Hotel. Marriott will expand its presence in China with two new properties: the 450-room Shenzhen Marriott Hotel and the 289-room Renaissance Wuhan Hotel. In addition, Marriott is opening a development office in Delhi, India, in preparation for further expansion in India.

MARLON BRANDOS private island, the French Polynesian atoll of Tetiaroa, is slated to be the site of a hotel called -- what else? -- The Brando. It will be the only hotel on the island. Its scheduled to open in 2008 with 30 deluxe villas. The project is in the hands of Tahiti Beachcomber S.A., which owns several resorts in French Polynesia and whose CEO, Richard Bailey, was reportedly in contact with the late Brando for years over plans to create an environmentally friendly hotel that will make use of renewable-energy technologies. Purchased by Brando in 1965 after encountering it during the filming of Mutiny on the Bounty, the atoll is 26 miles north of Tahiti in the Society Islands.

PARTIALLY OPENED in December 2004, the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai, is offering introductory rates starting from $295 per villa, per night through Sept. 30. The property is on a 60-acre plot, 10 minutes from Chiang Mais airport and its city center. It incorporates 64 villas of varying styles and price ranges, as well as a spa, a fitness center and a culinary academy.

CATHAY PACIFIC will add a third daily nonstop between Hong Kong and Los Angeles, seven more Beijing flights a week and additional flights to Amsterdam; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Johannesburg, South Africa; Nagoya, Japan; and Perth, Australia. 

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