Airbnb changes name in China

March 23, 2017 by  
Filed under News, North Asia

SHANGHAI, 23 March 2017: Airbnb, the home rentals website, said on Wednesday it would double its investment in China, triple its workforce there and change its name to “Aibiying” in Chinese.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the name, which translates to “Welcome each other with love”, reflected the company’s commitment to succeeding in the country.

“There’s a whole new generation of Chinese travellers who want to see the world in a different way,” Chesky said at a launch event in Shanghai. Read more

Routes Asia opens in Japan

March 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, News, North Asia

OKINAWA, 20 March 2017: Routes Asia opened at the weekend here Okinawa attracting over 930 route development professionals from 110 airlines, 170 airports and 20 tourism authorities.

The event is being held at the Okinawa Convention Centre through to 21 March.

“Routes Asia 2017 highlights Okinawa airline’s access from Asian cities, such as Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Bangkok,” said Takeshi Onaga, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture at the opening ceremony. Read more

China’s Nuke bunker a tourist draw

March 20, 2017 by  
Filed under News, North Asia

FULING, CHINA, 20 March 2017: It was a top-secret Chinese nuclear facility with a deadly Cold War mission — to make plutonium for an atomic bomb — but these days its doors are wide open as a tourist attraction.

The cavernous “816 Nuclear Military Engineering” installation was burrowed into lush green mountains in southwest China over a 17-year span by 60,000 soldiers toiling day and night in dangerous conditions.

Construction on the vast site began in 1967, three years after China successfully tested its first atomic weapon, as China hurried to catch its nuclear programme up with that of Cold War rivals the United States and Soviet Union. Read more

Bets are back on in Macau

March 20, 2017 by  
Filed under News, North Asia

MACAU, 20 March 2017: The mood in Macau is buoyant once again. Gaming figures that tanked for more than two years after being hit by an ongoing Beijing corruption crackdown are up again, and the move towards mass market gamblers seems to have worked.

Semi-autonomous Macau is the only part of China where casino gambling is legal and a favourite haunt of mainland big spenders.

But after President Xi Jinping announced his war on graft in 2014, many stayed away from the enclave, which had gained a reputation as a money laundering centre for illicit cashflows out of China, with the crisis compounded by a growth slowdown on the mainland. Read more

Disney characters join springtime carnival

March 16, 2017 by  
Filed under News, North Asia

HONG KONG, 16 March 2017: Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is launching its first-ever character-themed springtime celebrations, the Disney Friends Springtime Carnival to attract family travel from around Asia.

From today 16 March to 28 May, more than 100  Disney Friends will appear across the resort in various forms, ensuring this spring has a carnival spirit.

Visitors and Disney Friends will gather to celebrate this first-of-its-kind Disney Friends Springtime Carnival. Read more

CX posts first loss in eight years

March 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, News, North Asia

HONG KONG, 16 March 2017: Hong Kong’s troubled flagship airline Cathay Pacific on Wednesday posted its first annual loss since the height of the financial crisis as it was hit by “intense competition” and a drop in demand from business travellers.

The firm is struggling despite an expansion of international air travel in the region as lower-cost carriers, particularly from mainland China, eat into its market share.

Companies like China Eastern and China Southern Airlines are offering direct services to Europe and the United States from the mainland, while budget carriers like Spring Airlines offer regional routes, undermining Cathay’s once critical Hong Kong hub. Read more

Shark fin still on Hong Kong menu

March 8, 2017 by  
Filed under News, North Asia

HONG KONG, 8 March 2017: Hong Kong authorities have seized more than a ton of shark fins as activists warn traders are sneaking the sought-after delicacy into the city by mislabelling shipments to get around bans by major transporters.

The city is one of the world’s biggest markets for shark fin — often served as a soup at expensive Chinese banquets — but it prohibits the trade in products taken from endangered species.

Companies including airlines Cathay Pacific and Virgin and shipping company Maersk have barred the transportation of shark fins following public outcry over the trade, which is blamed for the deaths of tens of millions of sharks every year. Read more

China trims GDP growth

March 6, 2017 by  
Filed under News, North Asia

BEIJING, 6 March 2017: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang warned Sunday the world’s second-largest economy faces severe challenges, signalling a further deceleration as he announced a trimmed 2017 GDP growth target of “around 6.5%”.

The economy is already growing at its slowest rate in more than a quarter of a century and the latest target unveiled at the opening of China’s rubber-stamp parliament is lower than a 6.5% to 7.0% range he set last year.

Full-year growth in 2016 came in at 6.7%, the weakest since 1990. Read more

Are Chinese travellers minding their manners?

March 1, 2017 by  
Filed under News, North Asia

BANGKOK, 1 March 2017: There are signs that Chinese travellers maybe mending their manners according to latest China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) survey.

The CNTA survey, released last week, interviewed 3,650 people in 10 major tourist destinations popular with Chinese tourists.

It concluded that Chinese overseas travellers were bettered mannered than five years ago, but there was still plenty room for improvement. Read more

US extends its social media checks

February 27, 2017 by  
Filed under News, North Asia

BANGKOK, 27 February 2017: Social media is now the latest tool to vet travellers applying for a visa to visit the US.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a notice, last week, confirming the Department of Homeland Security would extend its social-media vetting to include for the first time Chinese visitors.

Chinese US visa applicants will be asked to provide the names of their social-media accounts in their visa application. Read more

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