UNWTO at WTTC SUMMIT: We Are Your Voice at Global Governance Level

UNWTO at WTTC SUMMIT We Are Your Voice at Global Governance Level - TRAVELINDEXRiyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 30, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO has returned to Riyadh to serve as a bridge between public and private leaders as tourism faces up to big challenges of today: high inflation, geopolitical insecurity and the climate emergency.

At the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit, taking place this week in the Saudi capital, UNWTO stressed the vital importance of education and investments as twin factors in ensuring tourism fulfils its enormous potential as a driver of sustainable and inclusive development. The high-level participation of UNWTO in this leading private sector forum further highlighted the Organization’s unique and natural ability to connect political ambitions and private sector capacity.

Education: An Investment in Tourism’s Future

This year, we brought tourism to the UN General Assembly for the first time and we have also put tourism on the G20 agenda

Speaking before the Summit’s two main events, the Global Leaders’ Dialogue and the Summit’s Opening Panel, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “This year, we brought tourism to the UN General Assembly for the first time and we have also put tourism on the G20 agenda”, adding “that is why I am here: UNWTO can be your voice at the global governance level”.

Carrying forward the momentum of key events held during 2022, including World Tourism Day in Bali, the Ministers’ Summit at World Travel Market in London and, most recently, the UNWTO Executive Council meeting in Marrakesh, the WTTC Summit provided the latest high-level platform for UNWTO to advance its priorities of growing investments in tourism and promoting tourism education and training. As Mr Pololikasvili told participants, skills development is “an investment in the future, to build the tourism sector we need.”

A Vision for Tourism

Against the backdrop of the WTTC Summit, UNWTO invited all high-level delegates to return to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2023 for the official World Tourism Day celebrations (27 September), to be held around the theme of ‘Green Investments’. The hosting of the international day for the sector will further advance the Kingdom’s ambition to become a top emerging destination.

The Kingdom is a strong supporter of UNWTO’s mission to make tourism a driver of sustainable and inclusive development. UNWTO opened its first Regional Office for the Middle East in May 2021 in Riyadh. Built in record time and during a pandemic, the office is set to become a regional and global hub of tourism education and training as well as of tourism for rural development.

Signature Restaurant Bangkok Awarded One Michelin Star

Signature Restaurant Bangkok Awarded One Michelin Star - TOP25RESTAURANTS-BANGKOK-TRAVELINDEXBangkok, Thailand, November 29, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Signature Bangkok announced its 1-Michelin Star, awarded by Michelin Guide. Lead by former 2-Michelin star Chef Thierry Drapeau, Signature Bangkok presents innovative modern French and “floral cuisine”. Delicate flowers, herbs and exceptionally fresh, seasonal ingredients from land and sea are hallmarks of Chef Thierry’s floral tasting menu.

Discover gastronomy destination Bangkok and World’s Best Restaurants for Fine Dining at TOP25Restaurants.com

Signature Bangkok is located on the 11th floor of VIE Hotel Bangkok – MGallery, a cosmopolitan 5-star luxury hotel in the heart of the city. The dining room soars above Bangkok skyline, offering panoramic views of one of Asia’s most exciting cities. Art deco interiors, plush velvet textiles, luxe carpets and a bold colour palette evoke classic elegance, while the floor to ceiling glass windows and burnished bronze fittings keep the mood hip and modern.

Signature Bangkok’s current Winter Menu features 5- and 8-course options, and a 5-course vegetarian menu is available. Serves dinner from Tuesday to Sunday and is limited to 30 guests per evening.

Signature Bangkok is the only modern French and “floral cuisine” restaurant in Bangkok. Edible flowers and herbs are used both artistically and to add flavour dimensions. Floral cuisine is a creative extension of Chef Thierry’s “cuisine of the soil” approach, wherein each ingredient is sourced with integrity and reflects “terroir”, or a sense of place.

Chef Thierry follows a jus-based approach which highlights the natural flavours of poultry, meats and fish. Preferring to avoid excessive use of butter and spices, Chef Thierry relies on Thailand’s bounty of rare, beautiful edible flowers and delicate herbs to enhance flavour. The result is creative, beautiful French cuisine that is light, expressive and approachable.

Chef Thierry is deeply committed to sourcing from farmers, fishermen and purveyors he knows and who share his philosophy. For instance, guests will consistently see mention of Laurent Daniel, a long-time friend of the Chef and a trusted source for the freshest fish and langoustines from the Atlantic.

Signature Bangkok and Chef Thierry are committed to demystifying the formality of French and Michelin dining by keeping the experience approachable and in-step with Thai culture of enjoying relaxed meals in beautiful settings.

Taking cue from the theatre, where stories are told before a live audience, Signature Bangkok’s kitchen opens out to the dining room, much like a stage in a theatre. Guests are encouraged to engage with the culinary team and to witness epicurean craftsmanship taking shape.

Guests begin their culinary journey in Signature Bangkok’s plush, velvet draped, live piano lounge where they are greeted with appetisers paired with aperitifs, champagne and sparkling wines. The main meal unfolds in the restaurant’s dining room overlooking the Bangkok skyline, with a choice of a 5- or 8-course Chef’s Menu.

Signature Bangkok’s cellar features wines from around the world, including Bangkok’s best collection of biodynamic wines handpicked from boutique vintners.

Signature Bangkok is currently offering its seasonal winter menu. Available in 5- and 8-course options, the Winter Menu is inspired by the season’s festive spirit. Cosy, chilling nights around the fire, nostalgic memories and the gathering of families and friends inform the choice of ingredients.

Presentations feature fresh flowers and herbs from the restaurant’s on-site garden, as well as seasonal delicacies imported from artisanal suppliers in France’s Loire Valley and Chiang Mai contribute seasonal flavours and dimension. Flowers and herbs like marguerite or the daisy, coriander, fennel and cosmos make unexpected and charming appearances throughout the meal.

A native of the Loire Valley, Chef Thierry has established strong relationships with farmers, fishermen and vineyards in the region. Additionally, he works closely with Jacques Cavin, an organic farmer in Chiang Mai northern hills. The high elevation and low temperatures at Jacques Cavin’s farm are ideal for growing winter vegetables and flowers, many of which are cultivated specially for Signature Bangkok.

Highlights include ‘La Mer’, wherein Chef Thierry serves fresh Loire River fish from Laurent Daniel, his preferred fishing supplier in northern France. Steamed “en papillote”, the fish is incredibly moist and flavourful. Fennel flowers contribute mild anise and licorice notes. The course is presented tableside, where it is unwrapped like a Christmas present.

In ‘Le Pigeon’, Chef Thierry showcases young squab roasted en jus with spelt and black sesame sauce. The preparation is finished with ‘red shiso’ leaves which contribute mild citrusy flavour, with hints of cinnamon, cloves, and mint.

‘Le Fromage’ includes an array of goat cheeses like Crottin de Chavignol Les, Pouligny Saint Pierre, Valencay, each with distinctive terroirs and AOC appellations. The cheeses are sourced from Les Freres Marchand, one the Loire Valley’s most respected artisanal cheesemakers.

For the dessert course, Chef Thierry presents Mille Feuille, a classic French dessert. Served warm, it is made from a recipe Chef Thierry learned 30+ years ago at Restaurant Gilles. Chef Thierry will adjust the dessert course each evening, to suit the mood and availability of herbs and spices. Surprise and playfulness are integral to the Chef’s approach!

The 8-course menu begins with an Amuse Bouche, followed by Le Ferme, La Mer (fish), Le Pigeon), Le Fromage (cheese) & Plaisairs Sucré (dessert), along with amuse bouche and palette cleansing courses. The 5-course menu is similar, although guests can select either the La Mer or Le Pigeon course. Vegetarian options are available

Discover gastronomy destination Bangkok and World’s Best Restaurants for Fine Dining at TOP25Restaurants.com

About Signature Bangkok
Signature Bangkok presents the city’s first modern French and floral cuisine. Under the direction of Executive Chef former 2-Michelin star Chef Thierry Drapeau, Signature Bangkok elevates French and Michelin-calibre gastronomy while keeping it approachable and in-step with Thai culinary culture of enjoying relaxed meals in beautiful settings. The meal unfolds in an open kitchen, where guests can interact with the Chef as he prepares the meal, adding an element of theatre to the experience. Signature Bangkok is located on the 11th floor of 5-star VIE Hotel Bangkok next to the BTS SkyTrain Ratchathewi station.

About Executive Chef Thierry Drapeau
Prior to opening Signature Bangkok, Chef Thierry helmed the 2-Michelin star Thierry Drapeau Logis de la Chabotterie in Saint-Sulpice-le-Verdon, Loire Valley. Presenting “cuisine of the soil” with floral elements, the restaurant held on to its 2-Michelin star status for nine consecutive years, an outstanding achievement that is claimed by only a few chefs in the world. After 15 years of perfecting and evolving his craft, Chef Thierry set his eyes east towards Asia for his next culinary undertaking.

Originally from Nantes in the Loire Valley, a region renowned for its cuisine and its wines, Chef Thierry was inspired by the French tradition of home-cooked Sunday meals. Chef Thierry understood early on that the best meals are built around the art and joy of cooking, selecting the finest ingredients and sharing a meal with family and friends. This understanding guides Signature Bangkok’s dining experience, at once rare and beautiful yet absolutely relaxed and approachable.

About MGallery Hotel Collection
The MGallery Hotel Collection brand thoughtfully selects and curates unique properties around the world, forming a storied collection of boutique hotels with true soul where captivating stories are lived and shared. With more than 100 properties, each MGallery tells a unique story inspired by its own remarkable past or the destination it calls home. From bespoke design and sensorial mixology to well-being dedicated to everyday self-care, MGallery hotels are places where guests can enjoy an exquisite travel experience. MGallery Hotel Collection guests live a distinctive story through their delightful visits to these stylish, thoughtful and decidedly singular hotels. Well-known properties in the MGallery Hotel Collection include Hotel Molitor Paris, INK Hotel Amsterdam, Santa Teresa Hotel Rio de Janeiro, Hotel Lindrum Melbourne in Australia, Muse Bangkok Langsuan in Thailand, and Hotel des Arts Saigon in Vietnam. MGallery Hotel Collection is part of Accor, a world leading hospitality group counting over 5,300 properties throughout more than 110 countries, and a participating brand in ALL – Accor Live Limitless – a lifestyle loyalty program providing access to a wide variety of rewards, services and experiences.

UNWTO and Madrid First Experts Meeting on Cultural Tourism

UNWTO and Madrid First Experts Meeting on Cultural Tourism - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, November 29, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO and the Comunidad de Madrid have teamed up to bring together the world’s leading experts in cultural tourism.

Around 20 international professionals will meet in Madrid between 30 November-2 December to share ideas, debate and explore the challenges and trends to boost cultural tourism. They will also draw up conclusions and set out their recommendations for cultural and tourism destination managers, all of which will be presented in a report next January at the International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR).

The rise of cultural tourism has led to a number of challenges for destinations, all of which will be addressed in the Madrid meeting. Experts will also examine the growing importance of a holistic tourist-cultural experience, recognizing that a visit to a museum, monument or show does not begin at the entrance door, but is the responsibility of a destination’s entire tourism system. The role of tourism promotion, cooperation with the private sector, the appropriation of cultural resources and the fragility of the intangible will also be discussed.

Recognizing tangible and intangible values

Ion Vilcu, Director of the UNWTO Affiliate Members Department, stresses the importance of this conversation because “the focus is often placed on tangible cultural heritage, and intangible cultural values remain in the background, even when they inherent to the tangible ones. However, the intangible is an important attraction for visitors, precisely because of its unique, exotic, intangible and, in many cases, ephemeral nature.”

As such, aspects such as gastronomy, handicrafts, forms of production, folklore, linguistic heritage, among others, are important cultural resources for destinations, which, without sustainable management, can easily become blurred or even distorted.

Madrid tourism returns

The Comunidad de Madrid formalized its accession to the UNWTO as an Affiliate Member in 2021, through the public entity for the management and promotion of Madrid’s tourism sector Madrid Cultura y Turismo SAU. This global meeting, in addition to deepening the needs of cultural tourism, will help to project the region internationally as a tourist destination, recognizing the specific weight that Madrid’s culture represents in attracting tourists from all corners of the planet. It will also strengthen the image of the Community of Madrid and contribute to consolidating the recovery of the tourism sector which, according to the latest official data, by July of this year had recovered 100% of international visitors compared to the same period in 2019.

Le Bernardin New York Named Top Restaurant in the World

Le Bernardin New York Named Top Restaurant in the World - TOP25RESTAURANTS.com - TRAVELINDEXNew York, United States, November 28, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Le Bernardin was named the number one restaurant in the world by La Liste, the global restaurant guide and ranking system of the world’s top 1,000 restaurants.

Discover the World’s Best Restaurants for Fine Dining at TOP25Restaurants.com

The top ranking, which Le Bernardin shares with Paris’ Restaurant Guy Savoy and Frantzén of Stockholm, comes on the heels of the New York seafood temple’s 50th anniversary this fall.

Le Bernardin is the only New York City restaurant among the top 10, and one of 101 United States restaurants, including San Francisco’s Atelier Crenn, Addison in San Diego and New York’s Atomix, featured throughout the entire list.

“To see our team’s dedication recognized by La Liste is incredibly rewarding,” said chef and co-owner, Eric Ripert. “It pushes us to keep striving for excellence everyday, even 50 years in.”

This is the sixth consecutive year La Liste has named Le Bernardin the number one restaurant in the U.S., and the third time it has placed it at the top spot globally. Le Bernardin continues to hold three stars from the Michelin Guide and a four-star rating from The New York Times, which it has maintained across each of its five reviews since opening in New York in 1986. Le Bernardin is also ranked number 44 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List.

La Liste debuted in Paris in 2015, providing an objective and democratic ranking of the world’s most outstanding restaurants powered by a proprietary algorithm that gathers information from hundreds of reviews from such global publications as The New York Times, Michelin Guide and TripAdvisor, and thousands of consumer ratings from all over the world.

Discover the World’s Best Restaurants for Fine Dining at TOP25Restaurants.com

About Le Bernardin
A fine dining icon for 50 years, Le Bernardin is the internationally acclaimed seafood restaurant from chef Eric Ripert and co-owner Maguy Le Coze. Opened in 1986 in New York by Maguy and her brother Gilbert after the siblings helmed its beloved Paris location for 14 years, the restaurant has held three Michelin stars since the guide’s 2005 New York launch, five consecutive four-star reviews from The New York Times, and is currently ranked number 44 on World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, a testament to its timeless appeal.

UNWTO: Rethink and Transform Tourism by Supporting Talent and SMEs

UNWTO Rethink and Transform Tourism by Supporting Talent and SMEs -TRAVELINDEXMarrakesh, Morocco, November 26, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is stressing SMEs and talent development as key transformers of global tourism. The two areas were the theme for a thematic session at the ongoing 117th Executive Council Meeting in Marrakech, Morocco.

Tourism has been one the sector’s most affected by COVID-19. The impact has been particularly acute among Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSEMs) which are the backbone of the sector and have seen existing challenges in the areas of liquidity and financing, human resources or digitalization accelerated by the pandemic.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said at the opening of the session that the organization recognized the need to help tourism SMES in order to withstand the shocks of COPVID-19.

“As you know, the pandemic hit our sector hard. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are the backbone of our sector, and they were hit hardest of all. It is these businesses we need to make agents of transformation. But we recognize that not all of them have the tools or the knowledge to adapt to changed circumstances.

“In fact, the pandemic was a reality check for our sector, it showed us just how many small enterprises had not made the shift to digital. It is not because the interest isn’t there. The opposite is true – the vast majority of tourism businesses want to adapt, evolve and innovate. But too many lack the resources to do so. This is where we come in. Through the UNWTO Digital Futures Programme, we offer a platform that aims to reach 2 million SMEs,” he maintained.

In addition to this, the Executive Council has approved the “Marrakech Call to Action” to commit to supporting MSMEs in all of UNWTO’s Members States and be a key part of the sector’s digital transformation.

The Call to Action will target investment in three ways: Digitalization of SMEs to benefit people – this includes through organizing competitions and challenges in specific countries and then helping enterprises to benefit from existing technology as well as emerging tech and deep tech.

Digitalization of SMEs for prosperity: To increase investments and ensure money is targeted where it will make a real difference in accelerating change.

Representing around 80% of all businesses in tourism worldwide, and in some G20 economies as much as 98%, MSMEs are vital for the sector’s competitiveness, job creation and transition to a more sustainable model. Supporting SMEs as agents of transformation in tourism will lead the way towards a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable sector. The importance of digitalization for SMEs needs to be accelerated for economic recovery of the tourism sector by supporting SMEs to unleash digital technologies to create jobs and enhance future resilience in the linkages of the tourism value chain post COVID-19.

At the same time, as recovery consolidates workforce challenges have become more evident as the pandemic also accelerated a series of shifts happening in the world of work, adequate new skills, education, and training. Tourism businesses previously faced some challenges filling jobs that were sometimes perceived as being low-wage and low-skilled, with little chance of career advancement or steady employment; with pandemic shutdowns, laid-off employees in the tourism appear to be moving into other sectors, leaving many tourism jobs unfilled. Indeed, the increasing challenges related to the attraction and retention of talent in tourism mean the sector needs to promote value-added jobs, improve job-related conditions, including life-work balance, tackle inequalities and focus on career development especially for women, youth and people in vulnerable situations.

Challenges identified by G20 economies, which relate as well to overall countries, include

For SMEs
− Lack of access to finance
− Lack of access to market intelligence
− Market uncertainty
− The volatility of the working force
− Changing consumer trends and needs
− Low level of innovation
− Need to strengthen sustainability-orientation and developing new sustainable product

For talent development
− Need to review national policies and strategies to ensure adequate human capital in tourism
− Increase level of skills and qualification
− Improve the attractiveness of the tourism sector
− Support labour and skills upgrades through digitization
− Improve business adoption of new technologies and leveraging of new trends and meeting new consumer needs
− Up-skill workers and incentivize employers to hire and retain workers.

The digitalization of SMEs for the planet – with sustainable practices and the SDGs as our guides. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili is of the firm belief that “the effort will be worth it” and that “innovation can help small businesses cut costs and become more efficient. It will help them become more competitive in a truly global market.”

“It will also be essential if we are serious about making tourism more inclusive and sustainable,” he emphasized.

Marrakesh Call to Action: Marrakesh Digital Futures Pledge: Enabling the diffusion of digital technologies for SMEs to accelerate economic recovery of the tourism sector H.E. Fatim-Zahra Ammor, Minister Ministry of Tourism, Kingdom of Morocco and H.E. Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The pledge will encourage to contribute to the closing of the technology skill gap in the tourism SMEs by identifying 10.000 SMEs per respective country to take the digital diagnostic tool and implement specific training programs fostering partnerships with the large technology companies to accelerate digital transformation, and innovative solutions for SMEs and the tourism Sector.

Anantara Angkor Resort Launches Private Temple Dining Experience

Anantara Angkor Resort Launches Private Temple Dining Experience - TRAVELINDEX - VISITCAMBODIA.netSiem Reap, Cambodia, November 25, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Anantara Angkor Resort, a part of Minor Hotels and a peaceful sanctuary at the crossroads of Cambodia’s past and present, offers travellers a rare and captivating Temple Dining experience that marries exquisite dining and historic discovery for a bucket list experience like no other. By inviting guests to dine, in full privacy, on site of a heritage temple set within landscapes rich in thousands of years of history, Anantara Angkor Resort places travellers at the heart of an ancient civilisation while parting the curtain on the lesser known sites of Angkor.

Taking Anantara’s signature Dining by Design concept to new heights, the exclusive dinner takes place at the central sanctuary of a heritage Angkor Wat temple hidden among a lush jungle, with nothing but stars and carefully restored ancient statuary for company. Dramatically illuminated with candles and ambient spotlights and draped in fresh flowers specially for the occasion, the ancient structure takes on an especially romantic air, making the package a perfect proposal or anniversary celebration experience.

With two striking venues to choose from – Prasat Kravan, a 10th-century temple dedicated to Vishnu, and elegant Thommanon temple that is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site – travellers have additional freedom when designing their private temple dining experience with Anantara Angkor Resort.

While guests dine on delectable Khmer or Western fare at the temple grounds, stories of the ancient Angkor civilisation are brought to life by either graceful Apsara dancers or an intricately-costumed, high-energy theatrical performance. In addition to customising their five-course menu, guests can pick their preferred background music and chic table décor, with everything from luxury transportation to five-star catering taken care of by a dedicated team comprising a private butler, private chef and a full housekeeping team.

Anantara Angkor Resort’s Temple Dining package is priced at USD 7,450++ for two persons and includes:

• Five-course set menu, choice of Khmer or Western cuisine with soft drinks and juices
• Private butler, chef and catering services
• 30-minute pre-dinner cocktail with free-flow soft drinks, chilled juices and canapés
• Traditional welcome from a drum-dance troupe and guard with a monkey on arrival
• Live performances by Cambodian dancers or a theatre troupe throughout dinner
• Candle- and torch-lit pathway, fresh flowers and ambient lighting
• Theme decoration for the table
• Professional sound system and choice of background music
• Portable toilet and housekeeping attendance
• Transportation
• Temple entry fees.

Travellers don’t need to be staying at Anantara Angkor Resort to enjoy the new Temple Dining experience. For more information or to make a reservation, please visit www.anantara.com/en/angkor-siem-reap, Call +855 63 966 788 or email angkor@anantara.com

About Anantara Hotels
Anantara is a luxury hospitality brand for modern travellers, connecting them to genuine places, people and stories through personal experiences, and providing heartfelt hospitality in the world’s most exciting destinations. The collection of distinct, thoughtfully designed luxury hotels and resorts provides a window through which to journey into invigorating new territory, curating personal travel experiences.

From cosmopolitan cities to desert sands to lush islands, Anantara connects travellers to the indigenous, grounds them in authentic luxury, and hosts them with passionate expertise. The portfolio currently boasts over 40 stunning hotels and resorts located in Thailand, Maldives, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Seychelles, Mozambique, Zambia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Tunisia, Portugal, Spain, Hungary and Italy, with a pipeline of future properties across Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

UNWTO: Education and Investments are Cornerstones to Transform Tourism

UNWTO Education and Investments are Cornerstones to Transform Tourism - TRAVELINDEXMarrakesh, Morocco, November 26, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Tourism leaders from every global region have met to advance plans to transform the sector against a backdrop of challenges old and new.

UNWTO convened its Executive Council in Marrakesh, Morocco, as the sector’s recovery continues to gather pace. According to UNWTO data released this week, international arrivals are on track to reach 65% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year. However, building on its year-long call for both public and private sector leaders to “rethink tourism”, UNWTO placed innovation, investments and education and youth empowerment at the centre of discussions, while also emphasizing heightened interest for transformation through Climate Action and the sector’s importance for rural development everywhere.

Welcoming 16 Ministers of Tourism and delegations from 36 countries, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili underscored that “the window of opportunity to transform our sector will not stay open for long”. He emphasized that “now is the time to fast-track building a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable sector”, and reminded this leading UNWTO governing body that tourism’s success cannot longer be measured based on numbers alone, “but rather on the impact our sector has on lives, on livelihoods and the wellbeing of both people and planet”.

UN recognition as UNWTO delivers

Now is the time to fast-track building a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable sector

On the eve of the Marrakesh meeting, the United Nations General Assembly was presented with a draft resolution calling on all parts of the UN system to promote tourism in their work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The resolution, which so far has the support of 104 countries, is the culmination of UNWTO’s enhanced presence at the highest political level. It is also a reflection of the unprecedented recognition of tourism’s importance to economic and social wellbeing and integrates the key strategic work streams of UNWTO. In particular, it draws attention to tourism’s power to help build inclusive societies and protect ecosystems.

Alongside sharing this landmark moment for the sector, in his report to Members on its achievements since the previous Council meeting, Secretary-General Pololikashvili illustrated how UNWTO is leading the transformation of the tourism. Central to this is a stepping up of education and training programmes, promoting investments in tourism for growth and sustainability, and through providing technical assistance for Member States in every region. Executive Council Members also heard how UNWTO has delivered in advocating for tourism at the very highest level.

His Excellency Fatim-Zahra Ammor, Minister of Tourism, Handicraft, and Social and Solidarity Economy of the Kingdom of Morocco warmly welcomed the UNWTO leadership and his fellow Ministers to Marrakesh. She added: “This important session of the UNWTO Executive Council provides us with the opportunity to reaffirm priority orientations to promote the prosperity and development of our sector. I am looking forward to a more resilient tourism in the African continent thanks to an inclusive continental approach that will increase the awareness of Africa’s assets thus improving the attractiveness of Africa as a destination.”

SMEs, Digitalisation and rural development

Within the framework of the 117th Session of the Executive Council, UNWTO also held  a special Thematic Session focused on empowering small businesses to be agents of transformation, inspired by the G20 Guidelines for Tourism SMEs and Communities as agent for transformation. The Session brought together Ministers of Tourism alongside leading figures from the private sector to address the biggest challenges standing in the way of smaller enterprises fulfilling their potential to drive change. These include access to investment and financing, a lack of market intelligence and an inability to adapt to meet changing consumer trends.

Also underlining discussions in Marrakesh was a shared recognition of the importance of tourism for rural development and opportunity. In his report to the Executive Council, Secretary-General Pololikashvili provided an update on the new Programme for Tourism and Rural Development, hosted by the Regional Office for the Middle East in Riyadh, including of its flagship initiative, Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO.

Council makes decisions to guide sector forward

The Executive Council is the top governing body of UNWTO and meets twice a year. Made up of 34 Members following the Russian Federation’s suspension from the Organization, it works with the Secretary-General to implement both its own decisions and the recommendations of the Assembly. The 118th Session of the Executive Council will be held in the Dominican Republic and the next hosts sent a message to all fellow Members looking forward to welcoming them in 2023.

Michelin Guide Thailand with Five New One Michelin Star Restaurants

Michelin Guide Thailand with Five New One Michelin Star Restaurants - TOP25RESTAURANTS.com - TRAVELINDEXBangkok, Thailand, November 25, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / At the MICHELIN Star Revelation Ceremony, which also marks the official release of the MICHELIN Guide Thailand 2023 edition, Michelin unveiled recipients of the prestigious MICHELIN Star, the MICHELIN Green Star, the MICHELIN Young Chef Award, the MICHELIN Service Award, plus two special awards introduced for the first time in this newest edition of Thailand’s guide: the MICHELIN Opening of the Year Award, and the MICHELIN Sommelier Award.

Discover Thailand and the World’s Best Fine Dining Restaurants at TOP25Restaurants.com

Featured in this sixth local edition are 441 dining venues – with 6 two MICHELIN Stars (all retained their status), 29 one MICHELIN Star, 189 Bib Gourmand, and 217 other recommended entries. New additions to the MICHELIN Guide consist of 5 in the one MICHELIN Star (4 newcomers, and 1 promotion), and 59 in the Bib Gourmand list (53 newcomers, and 6 promotions), together with another 54 in the Guide’s recommended selection. Out of 111 new entries, 69 are from four representative cities of Thailand’s Northeast or “Isan” region (Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, and Udon Thani), newly covered in the 2023 edition.

“After struggling with the pandemic for a couple years, Thailand’s culinary and hospitality landscapes have seen new openings around the country. In the restaurant sector, many new fine-dining restaurants have opened – not only by local chefs that focus more on their culinary roots and thus offer a variety of cuisine: Northern Thai, Sourthern Thai, Isan, authentic Thai, modern Thai, and so on; but also by big investors and world-famous chefs. Our MICHELIN Guide inspectors are very much excited to see such a development in Thailand’s culinary sector,” said Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the MICHELIN Guides.

“The increased number of entries in the newest edition of The MICHELIN Guide Thailand is partly a testament of restaurateurs’ achievement in striving to rise above challenges, and partly a result of our coverage expansion to Northeastern Thailand – or ‘Isan’ – the largest region of Thailand, rich in history, combined with beautiful geography and natural resources. We believe that extending the scope of the MICHELIN Guide to this region will make people know and understand more about Isan cuisine, as well as help stimulate travelling to this region. With this newest MICHELIN Guide Thailand edition, we hope to contribute to the post-pandemic recovery of both culinary and hospitality industries.”

5 New Entries (4 Newcomers & 1 Promotion) Joining the ‘One MICHELIN Star’ List
In the 2023 MICHELIN Guide Thailand edition, two MICHELIN Stars listing remains the same with 6 entries – namely, Chef’s Table, Le Normandie by Alain Roux, Mezzaluna, R-Haan, Sorn, and Sühring. The one MICHELIN Star selection welcomes 5 new entries, all located in Bangkok, namely: Baan Tepa, a Thai contemporary restaurant offering beautifully presented tasting menu, made with seasonal ingredients sourced from sustainably minded producers and its backyard; Haoma, an Indian restaurant using sustainable, seasonal, local ingredients sourced from farmers, breeders, fisherfolk, and its own garden, to create delicious, beautifully plated Indian dishes in à la carte and seasonal tasting menus (including a vegetarian one); Maison Dunand, a French contemporary restaurant offering tasting menu inspired by the chef’s Alpine origins, childhood trips to Brittany, and glittering international culinary journey; Potong, a Thai-Chinese restaurant where traditional and novel converge, offering progressive 20-course set menu that is infused with storytelling and hits its peak with aged duck breast; and Signature, a French restaurant promoted from the previous MICHELIN Guide Thailand edition’s recommended selection, offering classic French flavors using imported herbs and edible flowers that evoke their terroir, through the Flower Bouquet set menus that rotate with the seasons.

2 New Additions Bringing the Total of MICHELIN Green Star Venues to 3
Joining PRU, the one MICHELIN Star restaurant in Phuket, that retains the MICHELIN Green Star for the third consecutive years, are Haoma – an Indian restaurant in Bangkok that enters the one MICHELIN Star list for the first time this year – growing fish in rainwater conserved throughout the year for its own aquaponics farm and for recycling using Nordaq water systems for guests to consume and, during the pandemic, starting a farm in Bangkok to raise chicken, goats, and cows for use in its ever-evolving menus; and Jampa, a newcomer on the MICHELIN Guide’s recommended list for Phuket that strives to educate guests on the benefits of eating fresh and local – serving European contemporary dishes using herbs and vegetables from its own organic farm, seafood sourced from the island fishermen, as well as nutritious and balanced ingredients that contribute to better eating.

2023 MICHELIN Thailand Young Chef Award:
Mr. Davide Garavaglia from Côte by Mauro Colagreco. Italian Chef Davide Garavaglia brings the cooking philosophy of Chef Mauro Colagreco from the Mediterranean to the Chao Phraya, working hand-in-hand with Chef Marc Vasseur. After working at D’O – a two MICHELIN Stars restaurant under Chef Davide Oldani in Milan, and later on at Sketch – a three MICHELIN Stars restaurant under Chef Pierre Gagnaire in London, Mr. Garavaglia then joined Mauro Colagreco’s Mirazur in 2015 where he played a major part in the restaurant’s three MICHELIN Stars achievement.

2023 MICHELIN Thailand Service Award:
Mr. Uthit Songtho from Baan Phraya. Uthit Songtho, the restaurant manager, provided an impressive Thai-style hospitality with high standard of The Mandarin Oriental. During the service, he was friendly, polite, and sincere. Mr. Songtho himself warmly welcomed the guests as they stepped down from the boat, and bid them farewell at the pier when they left. He also provided detailed information regarding the restaurant’s history, chef’s background, information about the dishes and Thai food in general, and always asked for feedback about the dishes.

2 New Special Awards for the First Time in Thailand

2023 MICHELIN Thailand Opening of the Year Award:
Ms. Pichaya “Pam” Soontornyanakij from Potong. The MICHELIN Opening of the Year Award is given to a chef, host, or restaurant manager, for the successful opening of a dining venue over the past 12 months, with creative degustation concept and cuisine approach, which has had an impact on the local gastronomic scene.

Being the first recipient of this special award in Thailand, Chef Pam is recognized for her successful opening of the restaurant, Potong, in the heart of Chinatown. She has renovated her family’s ancestral building that used to be a pharmacy, in spite of trying times during the Covid-19 period. It was the first restaurant of its kind to serve innovative/progressive Thai-Chinese cuisine in Thailand, with a 20-course Tasting Menu, whereby each dish embodies the 5-Element philosophy of “Salt, Acid, Spice, Texture, and Millard Reaction”.

2023 MICHELIN Thailand Sommelier Award:
Mr. Guillaume Perdigues from Mezzaluna. The MICHELIN Sommelier Award is granted in recognition for the sommelier’s expertise in recommending a food and wine pairing to enhance the customer experience.

Mr. Perdigues, Thailand’s first winner of the award, is very passionate and knowledgeable about wine. He is a professional sommelier, who takes great pleasure in advising guests – based on their personal tastes and food choices – on wine selection and food pairing. With a gentle but welcoming attitude in serving wine, he engaged well with his guests, and loved to share wine knowledge during his service.

The full restaurant selection for Thailand is available free of charge on the MICHELIN Guide website and app. They join the MICHELIN Guide selection of hotels, which features the most unique and exciting places to stay in Thailand and throughout the world.

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Every hotel in the Guide is chosen for its extraordinary style, service, and personality — with options for all budgets — and each hotel can be booked directly through the MICHELIN Guide website and app. The selection for Thailand features the country’s most spectacular hotels, including luxury boutique trailblazers like Amanpuri, sustainability pioneers like Rayavadee, standouts from our “Plus” collection like The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon, and treetop pool villa wonderlands like Keemala.

The MICHELIN Guide Thailand 2023 at a Glance:
– 6 Two MICHELIN Stars
– 29 One MICHELIN Star (4 new, 1 promoted)
– 3 MICHELIN Green Star (2 new)
– 189 Bib Gourmand (53 new, 6 promoted)

Eswatini Welcomes Tourists Again

Eswatini Welcomes Tourists Again - TOURISMAFRICA.org - TRAVELINDEXMbabane, Eswatini, November 24, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / In a move that will give a great boost to the Kingdom’s tourism in the run up to the festive season, the Eswatini government has announced the removal of ALL remaining COVID-related entry regulations. International visitors can now enter The Kingdom of Eswatini without the need for any vaccination certificates or test results.

For the African Tourism portal , Connecting Africa to the World, go to TourismAfrica.org

This brings the country in line with its larger neighbour, South Africa, and a number of other countries across southern Africa as the region returns to its pre-pandemic position.

For the Kingdom of Eswatini this is particularly significant as the closures associated with COVID-19 had stalled the impressive momentum the country had been establishing as a tourist destination.

In 2020, just before the pandemic emerged and borders started to close, Lonely Planet had named Eswatini as one of its ‘Best in Travel’ Top Destinations for 2020, highlighting the remarkable diversity found within its small borders: “Petite, pleasant and packed with culture, adventure and legendary wildlife, the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) is one of Southern Africa’s most underrated destinations.”

Southern Africa has suffered a few false dawns of travel returning but as the world started to open up tentatively again, Eswatini also received the accolade in 2021 of being one of just 5 countries named by Forbes as Little-Known Nations that Deserve to Become Tourism Hotspots. Forbes similarly highlighted the “abundant natural beauty, fascinating culture, and rich history that will turn any visitor into a lifelong fan.”

With many post-lockdown travellers looking for nature-focussed trips with plenty of outdoor activities, but also safe, welcoming and relatively unexplored destinations and an opportunity to re-connect with different cultures around the world, Eswatini ticks plenty of the right boxes now that it is fully open again!

Thankfully, Eswatini is already well prepared for the return of tourism. It was the first full country in southern Africa to be awarded the WTTC Safe Travels Stamp back in 2020 based on its robust set of COVID-prevention protocols established quickly by the Eswatini Tourism Authority in conjunction with the Eswatini Ministry of Health, the World Health Organisation and the UN. The country also subsequently obtained the Safer Tourism Seal. Thankfully, COVID cases in Eswatini have remained below 100 for some time now.

Eswatini Tourism Authority CEO, Linda Nxumalo was excited about what this final step will mean for the future, stating: “ETA welcomes Government decision to ease the prevailing entry requirements for Eswatini. The Authority believes this latest move will help towards the goal of increasing the number of tourists into Eswatini to 2 million by 2025 and further encourage tourists to increase the nights they spend in the kingdom to at least three. Tourism remains the strategic economic recovery pillar for Eswatini and this move will help create and sustain more jobs and further increase tourism contributions to GDP. The authority would like to thank the tourism sector for the cooperative and positive spirit throughout the Covid-19 challenging time. We urge everyone to remain vigilant so that we can maintain Eswatini as a safe destination. Eswatini is now inviting all tourists from around the world to come and have a Royal experience in the Kingdom!”

For the African Tourism portal , Connecting Africa to the World, go to TourismAfrica.org

Marc Ward, Chair of Eswatini tourist industry association HOTAES added “We would like to thank the wisdom of the Government in doing away with the COVID restrictions as we come into the Christmas season.”

Now that all barriers stalling the great momentum for Eswatini’s tourism have gone, with health & safety well managed, and with a perfect set of post-lockdown attributes, Eswatini is all set to welcome more and more visitors, and grow rapidly again. Now that’s worth shouting about!

InterContinental Danang Helps the World and Wildlife Stay Connected

InterContinental Danang Helps the World and Wildlife Stay Connected - TOP5HOTELS.com - TRAVELINDEXDanang, Vietnam, November 24, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Five-star sanctuary on Vietnam’s Son Tra Peninsula invites couples, families and groups to learn about the conservation of red-shanked douc langurs and support the preservation of indigenous flora and fauna InterContinental Danang creates bridges to allow red-shanked douc langurs to access their feeding grounds. InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, the five-star resort nestled in 39 hectares of nature on Vietnam’s Son Tra Peninsula, is a destination that helps travellers to connect with the environment, authentic local culture and each other. This commitment to building bridges is not only metaphorical, however; as part of the resort’s dedication to conservation, it has also helped to create a network of natural bridges to accommodate its most precious residents: the local community of red-shanked douc langurs.

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Classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), red-shanked douc langurs are one of the world’s rarest species of primate. These beautiful creatures only live in central parts of Vietnam and Laos, and the largest numbers are found on the Son Tra Peninsula, the 3,000-square kilometre nature reserve on Vietnam’s central coast. According to the latest count, there are approximately 150 families with a total of 1,100 adults and 450 juveniles living in and around resort’s estate.

To ensure the survival of this important species, InterContinental Danang has developed a network of natural bridges and rope ladders to allow the red-shanked douc langurs to move freely around the forest and access their feeding grounds without coming into contact with the ground, where potential dangers such as poachers and predators may lie.

The hotel’s work is also woven into the guest experience with a regular series of wildlife workshops and guided tours to raise awareness about the resort’s activities and the importance of conservation. In recent weeks, InterContinental Danang has introduced a new experience for corporate groups: the planting of “feed trees” and new “monkey bridges” for the red-shanked douc langurs. With CSR now at the top of the agenda for many businesses, these meaningful initiatives help to create closer bonds between team members and have a lasting positive impact on the planet.

“At InterContinental Danang, we have always strived to connect our guests with the natural and cultural heritage of Central Vietnam. The creation of our monkey bridges is wonderfully symbolic; not only do they help our resident community of red-shanked douc langurs to move around the jungle; they also help to foster stronger bonds between loved ones, team members and the environment,” said Mr. Seif Hamdy, the resort’s General Manager.

The development of these natural bridges is just one of the ways that InterContinental Danang is helping to conserve wildlife. Sadly, poaching and trafficking are still the biggest threats to native species in Vietnam, so the resort has created a stricter security zone within the reserve. Dedicated staff also conduct regular perimeter walks to ensure that no paths have been made or traps laid by poachers.

Now, as part of a major transformation to mark its 10th anniversary in 2022, InterContinental Danang is preparing to launch a new Discovery Center. Set to open in mid-2023, this dedicated onsite conservation hub will allow visitors, staff and community groups to learn about the area’s wildlife and the resort’s latest environmental projects.

Alternatively, guests can immerse themselves in the tropical landscape with a two- to three-hour hike to an 800-year-old banyan tree, or even hike all the way to the peak of Son Tra Mountain, where they will be rewarded with sweeping 360-degree views. To discover the offshore ecosystems, travellers can go snorkelling in the pristine waters of Bai Bac Bay, or even learn how to steer a traditional Vietnamese basket boat. For younger explorers, Planet Trekkers Kids’ Club offers nature trails, outdoor games, sandcastle building and more, and all ages can discover local vegetables, herbs and spices at the resort’s organic garden.

So, whether you’re seeking a rewarding couple’s retreat, an educational and engaging family escape, or a meaningful group CSR activity, InterContinental Danang is the perfect destination to build bridges, forge close connections and make lasting memories.

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About InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
The InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand makes travel alluring, with insights from 75 years of experience. Each of our properties provides a gateway to the glamour of the InterContinental Life. As a brand, we aim to embody global sophistication through our superior, understated service and exceptional amenities. What makes us truly different is the genuine interest we show our guests through personalised and attentive services. We offer our most valued guests signature VIP services through a dedicated InterContinental Ambassador programme and an exclusive Club InterContinental experience. We connect our well-travelled guests to what’s special about a destination, so they enjoy authentic local experiences that will enrich their lives.

About InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort
InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is a 39-hectare paradise that blends personalised service and unparalleled amenities across four levels – Heaven, Sky, Earth and Sea – all linked by a funicular railway that rises up the forested hillside. Nestled on the spectacular natural preserve of the Son Tra Peninsula, north of Danang City, Vietnam, guests can enjoy culinary artistry at four restaurants and bars, including La Maison 1888, which is helmed by three Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire, soothe their senses at The Lagoon Spa, or simply unwind on the 700-metre-long beach. The Summit sets the stage for the world’s grandest gatherings and one-of-a-kind weddings, with a purpose-built auditorium, ballroom and multiple meeting spaces.