Cyprus holiday villas

Cyprus holiday villas (mostly with pools) are offered by http://www.rentvillacyprus.net/ for a fantastic vacation in Cyprus. All villas are inspected by our qualified service team, giving you peace of mind and making sure your holidays will be unique! Our luxurious villas have unique designs, offering outstanding build quality.

Rent Villa Cyprus is a part of the Cyprus Holiday Group Ltd. Our ultimate desire is to offer you holiday accommodations that perfectly match your lifestyle and budget, making your holidays the best you’ve ever had.

We are here to make sure that you will find the right villa to spend a fantastic holiday, vacation or short break for you and your family. Please use the knowledge of our reservations staff if you have specific requirements as they can guide you to the right rental property. If you have any question or comment, do not hesitate to communicate with us. We are here to help!

Specialist security provider The Marshals Group PLC continues expansion.

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Uk based security group The Marshals Group PLC (“TMG”) continues their expansion with the purchase of a specialist maritime security provider, Sea Marshals Risk Management Ltd.

SeaMarshals is a UK based maritime security specialist that provides armed guards in the hostile waters off the Somalia coast for protection of commercial ships.

TMG was formed only a few months back with the aim of building up a diverse range of security solutions under one umbrella says Chief Business Developer, Joakim Jacobsson from TMG. He continues, “It’s a perfect match for us, we can use much of the knowledge SeaMarshals bring with it and it already services many of the clients we target with our other products and solutions”.

SeaMarshals Risk Management Ltd is one of the oldest maritime security providers in the industry, an industry that saw exceptional growths in 2009-2011 when Somali pirates were as most active.

The development of modern piracy, mainly of the Somalia coast, was the main story behind the 2013 American biographical survival thriller film Captain Phillips directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks.

MMBF Trust 2015 Annual Review

International charity MMBF Trust has gone through its first year of running international operations and the UK based charity isn’t showing signs of slowing down as their 2015 Annual Review has been released.

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The MMBF (Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund) is a UK based international charity that supports  filmmakers, actors and individuals studying or working in performing arts worldwide through training grants and scholarships, funding for first time filmmakers  and provides sponsorship for film related events such as film festivals and film award ceremonies.

A record number of total grants and scholarships awarded was 297 this includes MMBF award recipients, competition winners and funding awarded through partner organisations.

The grant breakdown was as follows: 113 – film & drama scholarships, 38 – MMBF Awards in partnership with film festivals, 9 – film festivals funded, 27 –  film grants, 49 – Africa arts grants, 61 – Arts grants (to organisations & individuals) –TOTAL to date: 297

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MMBF which is the charitable brainchild of Essex Young Person Of The Year Matthew C. Martino was launched in late 2013 and in October 2015 branched out into supporting enterprise through their enterprise scheme the MM Enterprise Award which offers start-up funding, mentoring and free business courses to 16-25year olds interested in business.

 

Links:

www.mmbf.co.uk

 

How to Find the Perfect Venue for a Corporate Event in Vancouver

Plan your next event on or close to the water in Vancouver, and treat your guests to stunning views

When planning an office function, networking event or client appreciation party, the main goal is to try and find a unique venue, concept, and location for your guests to enjoy time away from the office. If you are planning a trip to Vancouver for a conference or convention, you want your fellow associates to see the best of Vancouver in a short period of time. This is sometimes challenging, as hotel banquet facilities, restaurants or bars are overused as venues for these types of special events. It can be quite difficult to think of new ideas and exciting options for your event or visit.

Vancouver is known as being one of the top destinations worldwide for meetings, conventions, and special functions. It is also known for having some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Canada, and luckily for some of us, we can call this city home. The downtown core of Vancouver is also home to many top 100 businesses in Canada, and there is a constant need for new and exciting venue ideas for their corporate events and meetings. Most businesses in that caliber look for something luxurious, private, and gravitate to an option that can provide top of the line services to their VIP clients, associates or staff members. Here are some ideas when planning your next event in Vancouver:

1. Plan ahead. Make sure that you start looking into your venue at least 3 months or more before your meeting or event (if you are from out of town) as most of the great event spaces are booked up months in advance. Take advantage of online meeting services from companies like Tourism Vancouver that specialize in providing venue and city information.

2. Take advantage of the surrounding waterways. Downtown Vancouver is central to impressive harbours like the Burrard Inlet, Coal Harbour, the Indian Arm, and English Bay to name a few. Look for a venue that is on, or near the water as corporate employees usually do not have time to sit and enjoy the fabulous views and beautiful shorelines of Vancouver very often, especially the ones from out of town.

3. Decide what style of venue you need- and what services your group requires according to your budget. Do you want a restaurant style venue that provides sit down dinner service? Are you looking for a laid back, casual environment or something with a higher end feel? Do you want to reserve an entire space for your group or are you a smaller group that only needs a small space? Vancouver has many options for small to large groups, including parks, restaurants and charter companies all with different environments for every style of event.

4. Pick your venue according to your event needs and budget. Choose a venue close to the water if you want to stay on dry land. Some options would be to choose a venue with a view like those in English Bay, Coal Harbour, or Granville Island. If you would rather tour around Vancouver from the water, choose a yacht charter company leaving from around your hotel- in Coal Harbour or Granville Island. This is a great option if you have guests that would like to see Vancouver from a new perspective in a short period of time. Charter companies in Vancouver range in terms of service, style and price so make sure that you pick the right one according to your event needs, group size, and budget. From ticket sales to high end private charters, there is one in Vancouver that will suit your event.

5. Leave the details to the pros. Many venues in Vancouver have their own sales staff and Event Planners that work with clients to ensure the best possible services and standards for each event. There are also a variety of corporate event planning companies in Vancouver that can take care of the details for your event- this is especially handy when you are coming from another city. Choosing a company that knows Vancouver and is experienced in providing quality service for higher end clients is always a great option to prevent headaches.

When planning your next company event, or if you are coming to Vancouver from out of town for a conference or convention, provide your guests with a unique venue option that takes advantage of Vancouver’s natural beauty!

The Importance Of Ecotourism

Ecotourism is increasing in popularity across the world, but has significant practical value in developing countries where the needs of impoverished communities may conflict directly with the need to capitalise on the growing tourism industry. In many cases developers move in and designate certain areas as tourism hotspots without giving much thought to the impact that this will have on local communities. These communities may depend on the area for food and shelter, but their concerns are buried beneath the potential for financial revenue.

Ecotourism is a move to counter this. It aims to create viable and sustainable tourism opportunities, and limit the impact that all related activities will have on the environment, while improving the lives of the local people living in the area. According to Ecotourism.org, the concept consists of a number of core principles, including:

o Minimising industrial impact on the environment

o Building environmental and cultural awareness

o Empowering local communities

o Raising awareness of the political, environmental and social issues of the country concerned, and

o Ensuring that the experience is positive for all parties, including visitors and hosts

The aim is to achieve sustainable and responsible tourism practices to the benefit of all and the detriment of none. One of the most important factors in the success of any ecotourism venture is knowledge. Those proposing the project must gain intimate knowledge of the area, the fauna, the flora and the communities living there. They must understand how they impact on each other and how a change in one will affect the rest. They must understand the culture governing the people’s relationship with the environment, and how they view concepts such as territory, hunting, farming and gathering materials for personal use.

It’s vital to include the local communities in the project, not merely as grateful beneficiaries of charity, but as empowered and informed team members. Their input is to be valued, as chances are that they understand the area and complex ecosystems better than anyone else involved in the project.

The ultimate goal is to create a sustainable resource that protects both the people and the nature involved. Over 20 years ago, in 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development stated that sustained development implied, “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This sentiment is just as applicable now as it was then.

Equally important is that within in all this concern for sustainability and empowerment, we don’t forget the tourism aspect of ecotourism. In 2002, the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism stated that responsible tourism should provide a more enjoyable experience for tourists through meaningful interaction with local people, and a greater understanding of cultural, social and environmental issues. It is the tourist-dollar (or Pound) that we are after, and to get it we have to ensure that what we offer is worthwhile. What’s important is that with a little planning and a little compassion, all of this can be achieved.

Volunteer Tourism: Good, Bad or Ugly?

People usually go on holiday to get away from it all and relax and do as little as possible. This is why lazing on a sunny beach is so popular. But there is a growing trend among tourists, young and old, to make their holidays more meaningful. This has led to a rapidly growing niche travel industry called volunteer tourism, or voluntourism if you want to be cute.

The concept is not new. For decades people have been taking sabbaticals and time-outs from their stressful lives to travel to remote countries and use their skills to help others. These “holidays” usually lasted several months, perhaps even years depending on the dedication of the people involved. As a result, the option to volunteer on vacation was limited to only a few people who had the resources and time to be away from home for extended periods.

These days, tour operators have latched onto the idea, realised that it is tremendously popular and created shorter holiday packages to suit a range of tourists. According to a report, Volunteer Tourism: A global analysis, the voluntourism has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. A survey of over 300 international volunteer organisations revealed that approximately 1.6 million people per year embark on volunteer holidays and that the industry garners between $1.7 billion and $2.6 billion annually.

The report also cited a 2007 survey of 8500 people, which revealed that the majority of volunteer tourists are women. Volunteers are also quite young, between 20 and 25 years old. However, there has been a steady increase in older age groups as jaded professionals take extended breaks to find out what they really want to do with their lives. Retrenchments and early retirement have also left some middle-aged people with a lot of time on their hands and valuable skill-sets that they still want to put to good use.

Africa, Asia and Latin America are the most popular destinations. This has as much to with the global perception of these areas as in desperate need of first-world aid, as it does with the exotic locations available. Both of these motivations have received criticism from those who think that volunteer tourism hurts more than it heals.

Critics say that well-meaning “voluntourists” lack the skills and the know-how necessary to provide adequate assistance in whatever field they have chosen, be it working with children or those affected by HIV, or animals and conservation. Organisations that offer opportunities for working with children have been particularly criticised because it’s possible that all the good done is undone when volunteers leave; the last thing children living in deprived conditions need is to have to deal with abandonment issues.

In an article for the International Institute for Environment and Development, Kate Lee delves into some of the more serious problems associated with volunteer tourism, such as the fact that it has become commercially driven and organisers are more focused on meeting their clients’ needs than the needs of the host community. The result is that communities have very little input into the nature of projects (where they take place, what are the objectives, etc) and are often not asked for any feedback.

According to Lee, the industry also feeds stereotypes (the rich helping the poor) and rather than working with communities, volunteers and organisations think of themselves as working for communities; help is doled out rather effort put into empowerment.

Lee would like to see greater regulation of the volunteer tourism industry, to ensure that unskilled volunteers don’t end up working in delicate environments that require certain basic qualifications. This would also have to entail comprehensive pre-acceptance interviews and post-departure training to ensure that volunteers are not only correctly placed but also know what to expect.

When all is said and done, volunteer tourism is not a bad thing and people with good intentions and who are committed to making a difference should not be deterred simply because they lack higher qualifications. But as Lee says, more regulation is needed. When people’s lives and the conservation of endangered species are at stake, it’s not enough to blunder along as best as one can.

Travel and Leisure Vacations – What is Your Ideal Vacation Supposed to Be?

When you hear about travel and leisure vacations what thought or imagination gets into your head? Most people tend to think of travel and leisure vacations as eating to your maximum, filling up with as much alcohol as you can take, sandy beaches and fancy hotels. Others usually take travel and leisure vacations to be expensive dining, drinking yourself crazy, Broadway theatre, or hi-rise buildings. All these imaginations are good and valid. Nonetheless, whatever thought, picture or imagination that one may have be it, a tropical Caribbean getaway to a relaxed bed and breakfast in a secluded five star hotel, only few people put into consideration deep adventure and travelling.

Although the idea of overseas travel and leisure vacations is relatively a new thing in town, they have been accepted very well and they are gaining quick publicity and popularity. Many groups are now organizing hiking vacations where they sleep in tents, eco-lodges or in sleeping bags under the stars of night. Travelling is usually through road or on a horseback. Similarly, if the distance is not too far, you can also go on foot. During these types of travel and leisure vacations, you are supposed to carry your food as you will be getting to areas where there are no shops or supermarkets available. Although such an idea may not look possible, it is already in place in most parts of America and Africa.

According to my past experience, travel and leisure vacations should not be a time to always lie down from dawn to dusk. Take for example a person who is trying to cut weight and off he or she leaves for an overseas vacation. This should not be the time to regain all the weight he or she had lost earlier on. Your vacation should most definitely be a time to relax from the normal hustles and bustles of each day at work or school. However, as much as you relax you should never forget about tomorrow.

Doing the abnormal

Travel and leisure vacations are guided by one concept of getting away from the normal routine. This concept draws knowledge from simple ideas such as, venting, relaxing and enjoying nature and avoiding anything that might bring back the normal stress of each working day. With the latest dimension on travel and leisure vacations, you should also expand your view to include other activities such as walking, jogging, biking or going to the gym in the morning.

Earlier concepts that were there from centuries ago and still find importance and massive support from many people include; meeting and interacting with new people, adventure travelling, visiting historic sites and tourist destination cities, and exploring other realities that have just heard over the media.

Eco-tourism has been the heart of travel and leisure vacations because of its uniqueness and the dynamic environment. It incorporates very amazing facts and ways of manipulating most traditional theories behind vacation. This has led to the inception of many tour companies all over the world.

Looking Back: Tourism in Kenya

Mzungu!” This oft-heard cry directed at travellers comes from colonial times when the British were travelling from Mombasa port to Nairobi and back. To the Kenyans at the time, all the British looked the same and so they thought it was the same person going around in circles. Mzungu means something that rotates! Tourism in Kenya has come a long way since then and this article will look at its development from early traders to the growing industry of today.

Foreign invasions

Around 800AD, Arab traders arrived under the command of the Sultan of Zanzibar. Mostly slave traders, these visitors were not the most welcome in Kenya’s history. The Portuguese took control of the coastal area in the 16th and 17th centuries, but the Arabs soon took it back.

In 1895, Kenya became a British protectorate. Tourism began with the colonial settlers in the early 1900s. The settlers enjoyed going “on safari” to hunt The Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo). Luxury camping with numerous servants was the standard, and they either travelled by motor car or on horseback. The movie Out of Africa has some excellent scenes of a typical safari during this time.

Independence

In the 1960s and 70s tourism throughout the continent was hit by independence struggles, but the hunting safari remained popular.

Shortly after independence, the Kenyan government realised the tourism potential of the country and the impact on the nation’s economy if the industry were to be developed. The main obstacle however was the lack of qualified people. So the government, together with the Swiss Confederation, established a training program which produced the first Hotel Management students at Kenya Polytechnic in 1969. In 1975, the Kenya Utalii College was founded as a dedicated hospitality and tourism training institute.

Promotion Abroad

Also in 1975, the Africa Travel Association (ATA) was established to assist the new African nations develop their tourism infrastructure. In 1980, the Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa (APTA) was born out of the ATA. It seems to have much the same objectives, namely to promote education of tourism to African business and to promote Africa as a destination to the rest of the world.

Election Disaster

In the wake of the 2007 elections, inter-tribal violence caused upheaval in Kenya. Although none of the violence was directed towards foreigners (it was tribes fighting to have their man in the presidency) it impacted the industry significantly. Tourism slumped by about 50%.

Onward and Upward

Despite the violence early in the year, April 2008 saw Kenya win the Best Leisure Destination award at the World Travel Fair in Shanghai. In 2010 Kenya received over one million arrivals, a record number to that time.

Last year, both President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto pledged their commitment to growing Kenya’s tourism industry during their inauguration speeches. Currently Kenya is receiving approximately 1.5 million tourists a year. But Ruto stated that this government is committed to growing that number to 3-5 million in order to turn around the economy and increase jobs for young people.

At the 2013 World Travel Awards (Africa), Kenya was well-represented among the winners. The Kenya Tourist Board won Africa’s leading tourist board award. Nine accommodation categories were taken by Kenyan lodgings in categories such as eco, green, meetings and conferences, spa, and tented safari camp. The Maasai Mara was named Africa’s leading national park.

On the world stage, Kenya was also well-represented in the nominations in the categories: golf destination, tourist board, eco-lodge, green hotel, new hotel, resort, spa resort, and private game reserve. Kenya won the World’s Leading Safari Destination.

Kenyan tourism is growing from strength to strength. Long gone are the hunting safaris; now the only shots taken are with a camera. Despite the terror attack and airport fire last year, Kenya has been recognised globally as a leading destination. Security remains an issue for many travellers coming to Kenya but, with the government’s renewed commitment to developing the industry, it is a safe place to holiday. And as the general population recognises and profits from the economic benefits of tourism, the support of the nation will only increase Kenya’s attractiveness as a destination.