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Turkey’s tourism income increases in second quarter

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Turkey’s total tourism income increased by 30.1 percent, year-on-year, reaching $7.04 billion in the second quarter of 2018, according to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat)’s report on Tuesday.

“While 84.7 percent of this income [excluding GSM roaming and marina service expenditures] was obtained from foreign visitors, 15.3 percent was obtained from citizens resident abroad,” TurkStat said in a statement.

Turkey welcomed more than 11 million tourists in the second quarter of this year, an increase of 24.9 percent from the same quarter in 2017.

The report showed 89 percent of visitors were foreigners with 9.85 million persons, 11 percent of them were Turkish citizens resident abroad with 1.21 million persons, TurkStat said.

According to TurkStat, the number of Turkish citizens traveling abroad in the second quarter fell by 4.4 percent over the same period and reached almost 2.2 million.

The number of foreigners visiting Turkey rose by 28.5 percent, year-on-year, in June, reaching 5.1 million persons, the Culture and Tourism Ministry revealed Tuesday. Russians made up almost 22 percent of foreign visitors, followed by Germans at around 10 percent, and British citizens at nearly 7 percent.

Number of foreigners visiting Turkey during January to June period climbed by 28.92 percent, compared to the same period last year, the data showed.

The total number of Turkish citizens resident abroad visiting the country also went up by 21.64 percent during first six month, year-on-year.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey expected 40 million tourists by end of 2018.

“We expect $32 billion tourism revenue, and we are proceeding quickly towards this target,” Erdogan added.

Mehmet Ersoy, minister of culture and tourism, also said nearly 16 million foreigners visited Turkey in the first six-month period of the current year. While Turkey hosted 36.8 million foreigners in 2014 and 36.3 million in 2015, the figure decreased sharply to 25.3 million in 2016 but rose again to 32.4 million last year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. Turkey targets 50 million tourists and $50 billion in income by 2023, according to private sector representatives and officials.

The next quarterly data of TurkStat on tourism statistics is due on Oct. 31.

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Passengers’ shares disturbing picture of bed bug bites from Air India Business Class

Monitoring Desk

NEW DELHI: Air India temporarily grounded flights between Newark and Mumbai this week after passengers complained of bed bug bites.

Business class passengers aboard an Air India flight from Newark to Mumbai said on Twitter that their seats were infested with bed bugs and that they had “bites all over their body” after the flight.

“We alerted the crew who sprayed a repellent,” passenger Kashmira Tonsekar told The Hindustan Times. “After a while, more bugs started coming out from that and other seats.”

Passengers who complained of the bug bites were moved back to the main cabin, but they had already been bitten.

“Air India is deeply concerned with a few reports of ‘bugs’ causing inconvenience to its esteemed passengers,” a statement from the airline said. “The issue has been viewed seriously and every possible step is being taken to closely inspect and further strengthen our system at every level to ensure that such isolated incidents of passenger discomfiture do not affect our consistent performance.”

The airline offered a partial refund to passengers affected by the bed bugs.

“Experienced experts have carried out extensive service on the aircraft from fumigation to overhaul of the upholstery/seat covers/carpets etc to ensure that passengers keep enjoying their in-flight experience with us as always without any complaint of inconvenience,” Air India told NBC News.

A spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told that there have been no other reports of bed bugs in the terminal or other areas of Newark International Airport.

Air India is India’s national airline. It has not turned a profit since 2007 and is currently up for sale. The new owner would take on $5 billion in debt. No prospective buyers have stepped forward so far.




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Air traffic controllers’ strikes break EU laws

LONDON (BBC News): Four European airlines are claiming France is breaking EU law because strikes by its air traffic controllers are restricting freedom of movement.

Ryanair, Easyjet, Wizz Air and IAG, the owner of BA and Iberia, are submitting their complaint to the EU Commission.

French air traffic controllers have staged a series of strikes this year over the government’s economic reforms. IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: “The right to strike needs to be balanced against freedom of movement.”

“Passengers on routes that overfly France, especially the large airspace that covers Marseille and the Mediterranean, are also subject to delays and massive disruptions,”

The airlines argue France is breaking EU law by not allowing flights over the country during strikes, meaning passengers flying between member states not affected by the action are being denied their freedom to travel.

IAG said that the strikes also raised fuel costs because of the need to take longer routes to bypass French airspace. Easyjet said its costs for the full year would rise about 3% due to the disruption, which has so far been greater than during the whole of 2017.

Earlier this month, Ryanair said 1,100 flights were cancelled in May due to the strikes, although its own staff shortages in the UK, Germany and France had also contributed to cancellations.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “We call on Europe’s governments and the EU Commission to take urgent and decisive action to ensure that ATC providers are fully staffed and that overflights are not affected when national strikes take place.”



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How not to be the worst passenger on the plane

Monitoring Desk

NEW YORK: Summer is the busiest time of year for travelers across the globe, and this year an estimated 246 million passengers are taking to the skies, according to the Airlines for America.

Travelers are eager to get to their destinations, potentially leading to some unpleasant interactions — and even a rethinking of the state of society. These days, a fear of flying can be caused simply by anxiety about what might happen during your flight, whether that’s encountering a sick passenger, losing your luggage, being surrounded by intoxicated seatmates, fighting with flight attendants, or encountering the dreaded seat-kicker.

The news is riddled with people losing their minds and manners on planes, and we really need to get it together. Here are some basic plane etiquette guidelines to at least ensure that you aren’t the problem on your next flight.

Pay attention.

Being aware of your surroundings can help speed up the security and boarding process. Put down your phone, and stay alert so the security lines and boarding areas keep moving. This also means knowing when to chug your water bottle before security and taking out all electronic devices and liquids.

TSA Agents Are Going After Snacks More Than Ever and Travelers Are Not Happy

Your checklist of things to remove and put in separate plastic bins in the airport security line just keeps getting longer.

As seats get smaller, it’s easy to feel territorial of what little space you’re allotted — and to even try to claim just a bit more. But remember that everyone else on the plane probably feels the same, and doesn’t need you encroaching on their own little plane world.

On airlines with open seating policies (like Southwest) it may not always be practical to save seats for your travel buddies. Families with young children should be seated together for everyone’s sake. And if flight attendants ask you to move to accommodate a family or passenger with specific needs, try to be considerate.

If you’re lucky enough to be in an aisle or window seat, you do not get two armrests. Those two middle armrests are for the middle seat, period.

To recline or not recline, is this still a question? Yes, and rightfully so. There’s a lot to debate here, but here’s a general rule. On short flights of four hours or less, keep your seat upright. On longer or overnight flights, reclining is part of the deal — but always do so smoothly and don’t just throw your seat back into the face of the person behind you. And put that seat up for meal service, it’s just common courtesy.

Flying as a family? Always try to keep the kids close. Sit next to kids under the age of 10 to keep an eye on any bad behavior — like kicking the back of the seat.

No one likes a seat-kicker. And no one likes the parent who won’t do anything about their seat-kicking kid, either.

Know what not to do.

In confined spaces, any irritant to the senses can spiral quickly into chaos. Smells are a huge cause for commotion.

If the flight occurs during a mealtime considering adjusting to eat prior or post flight or bring food that is low on the odor scale. A juicy fast food burger and fries can seem enticing to you, but smelly food — even the delicious kind — is rarely enjoyed by your fellow passengers. Bringing odorless or low-odor foods won’t cause people to roll their eyes or worse GAG around you.

Don’t be chatty to an unwilling listener. Pay attention to cues like monosyllabic responses or never asking any questions in return. And if your seatmate puts their headphones on, don’t take it personally — consider it an opportunity to get in some reading or catch a movie on the in-flight entertainment system.

If you have an early morning or late night flight, try to be considerate of talking and noise to those who may want to sleep around you.

Hygiene is huge.

Being clean and fresh for a flight is an underrated but polite service to your fellow passengers. But hygiene should be done before a flight, not during: Clipping your nails or toenails on the tray table in front of you is not acceptable. Painting your nails is also a big no for in-flight entertainment. In fact, just plan to keep your feet covered for the duration of the flight. Your seat is not your personal salon chair.

Be courteous of time spent in the lavatory. When you’ll have to get up from a middle or window seat, consider your seatmates and try to plan around meal service and sleeping. Get up and stretch your legs and use the restroom when it’s not a hassle to everyone around you.

There is no worse place to get in a fight than on an airplane. Even in a bad situation, it’s important to try to remain calm and rational.

Say the person behind you keeps jabbing at the seatback screen while you’re trying to sleep. Will it help to turn around and tell them off? It won’t. If there’s an incident during your flight, first stay calm. Second keep out of it if you can, and let the flight crew handle the situation. Whether it’s an argument or physical altercation, the first answer is not to whip out your phone and record the moment.

And because it apparently needs to be said, don’t have sex or perform any sexual acts while in the air.



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Best way to explore France is floating down rural rivers 

Monitoring Desk

PARIS: Belmond Afloat in France, the hospitality company’s fleet of intimate luxury river barges, will have two new additions to its fleet this year — all the more reason to book a leisurely spin around the country’s rural rivers and canals.

The Belmond Pivoine, launched in May, cruises the outskirts of Paris along the Marne, a tributary of the Seine once beloved by Impressionist painters. The boat stops at medieval towns and gardens, the site of a World War I battle, covered produce markets, and for tastings at the legendary champagne houses J. de Telmont and Moët et Chandon.

Starting in August, the Belmond Lilas will sail past the vineyards of the Alsace. Its route takes in the ruins of a castle, dinner at the acclaimed Villa René Lalique, a visit to a 17th century brewery, and a day touring Strasbourg.

Both barges have interiors inspired by the waters they call home — the Pivoine’s yellow-and-white palette mirrors the peonies of Champagne, while the Lilas pays tribute to Alsace’s lilacs — with four spacious spacious cabins and private marble bathrooms.

It produces some of the greatest vintages of all time, but it’s never taken very kindly to visitors – until now.

Each barge has a heated outdoor swimming pool surrounded by greenery, bicycles for on-the-ground excursions, l’Occitane toiletries, and a full staff. Also onboard is a private chef, who prepares candlelit dinners and al fresco breakfasts with regional ingredients from local markets.

Both the Pivoine and Lilas are available for private charter only, which will cost you about what an average U.S. citizen makes in one year. But when you think about lounging on the sun-dappled deck, watching the rolling vineyards and bucolic French countryside pass you by, the price tag makes a little more sense.





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Frontier Airlines offers cheap flights around US

Monitoring Desk

ORLANDO: Frontier Airlines is having a sale on flights around the U.S., with deals starting at $20.

The cheapest flights include $20 fares between Atlanta and Cincinnati, Greenville and Orlando, Oklahoma City and San Antonio, and more. For $24, book a flight between Austin and Tampa, Jacksonville and Austin, or to Orlando from several different cities.

Depending on where you’re flying from, there are flights starting at $29 to Frontier’s homebase in Denver. Once there, you can enjoy one of the longest periods of fall colors in the U.S. thanks to Colorado’s five different climate zones. You can not only enjoy the city but also the nearby national parks, like Rocky Mountain National Park, which is great to visit in September, October, or November.

There are tons of other cheap flights so check Frontier to see what’s available from your home airport. The sale runs through Friday, July 20; travel dates go from mid-August to mid-November.

Looking for fun things to do in Vegas? You don’t need to stick to that four-mile Strip to have a wild time in Sin City. Check out this short video for more Vegas highlights.

Frontier is a budget airline, with extra fees for things like seat selection and checked bags. Check what fees you may incur for the service you want before booking to make sure you get the deal you expect.

And if you’re feeling like what you really want to book is a trip to the Caribbean, JetBlue is also having a sale through Friday with flights to Aruba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Barbados and many, many more starting at $59.


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Emirates wins world’s best inflight entertainment award for 14th consecutive

Monitoring Desk

DUBAI: Emirates has won world’s best inflight entertainment award for the 14th year in a row at the prestigious Skytrax World Airline Awards 2018. The airline also secured a service excellence award for best airline staff service in the Middle East this year.

The Awards are considered a global benchmark of airline excellence. This year’s results were decided by more than 20 million customers across 100 countries. The survey reviewed over 335 airlines from August 2017 to May 2018.

“It’s an honour to be recognised by Skytrax for our commitment to innovation and service excellence. We always work hard to stay creative, relevant, and continue to build content that appeals to our multi-national and multi-cultural passengers. The fact that these awards are based on the direct feedback from passengers is gratifying and wonderful recognition for all of the hard work that’s gone into creating the Emirates experience,” said Patrick Brannelly, Emirates’ Divisional Vice President, and Customer Experience (IFEC).

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Bodrum town on Aegean shore attracts tourists

Monitoring Desk

MUGLA: Turkey’s popular resort town on the Aegean shore, Bodrum, attracts tourists from all over the world with its unique landscape, white summer houses and local hospitality, the town’s mayor said.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Bodrum Mayor Mehmet Kocadon said families love varied attractions in Bodrum in southwestern Mugla province and many of them visit the town more than once during the year.

Kocadon said some foreign families are addicted to Bodrum as they have been visiting the town for more than 30 years, adding that it is so nice to satisfy the tourists for many years.

“Bodrum continues to grow every passing year. When we ask the tourists ‘How did you choose here?’, they say ‘after a friend’s recommendation’,” he said.

He said being recommended by the foreign guests is such an effective advertisement for the town. “The hotels in Bodrum also welcome their guests very well,” the mayor added.

Turkey expects 40 million tourists from abroad this year, according to private sector representatives and officials.

The country’s Culture and

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Sichuan Airlines to purchase 10 more Airbus A350 XWBs

Monitoring Desk

BEIJING: Airbus confirmed at the Farnborough Airshow a deal agreed earlier in 2018 that Sichuan Airlines, based in the Southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu, has selected the A350 XWB to become the latest aircraft in its fleet.

Sichuan Airlines operates the largest all-Airbus fleet in China with over 130 Airbus family aircraft. In addition to its domestic network, Sichuan Airlines now operates on over 30 international routes, including routes from Chengdu to Moscow, Sidney, Dubai and Vancouver. The airline also leased four A350 XWBs, with the first one to be delivered by this year.

The newly introduced A350 XWBs, which is a strong supplement to Sichuan Airlines’ Airbus fleet, will be deployed on its non-stop long haul international routes, such as Chengdu to North America and Europe.

The A350 XWB is an all new family of widebody long-haul airliners shaping the future of air travel. The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. The A350 XWB features an Airspace by Airbus cabin offering absolute well-being on board with the quietest twin-aisle cabin and new air systems.

By the end of June 2018, Airbus has recorded a total of 882 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 46 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful wide-body aircraft ever.


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Heathrow to be the world’s biggest Airport

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: A controversial decision by British lawmakers will make Heathrow Airport the world’s biggest airport in terms of traffic, CNN reported. At the moment, the world’s largest airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, with a capacity of 104 million.

The new proposal would increase passenger capacity from 80 million to 110 million by 2030 with the addition of a third runway. But not everyone is excited about the new plans.

The construction of the new runway, according to the proposal, would extend directly over an extremely busy freeway, the M25 motorway. Many opponents of the plan say the runway and increased air traffic could become an environmental hazard. On top of this, about 750 homes in the area would be demolished, according to CNN.

House of Commons votes 415 to 119 to approve the National Policy Statement on new runway capacity infrastructure at airports in the South East of England.

MPs have approved plans to build a third runway at Heathrow. #HeathrowExpansion

The new construction is expected to cost about £14.3 billion ($20 billion USD). However, without the expansion, Heathrow will reach capacity by 2034. So, the new plans will definitely make it easier for travelers to visit London in the future.