Chain coffee shop Starbucks has partnered with local lifestyle brand GOD and renowned artist Stanley Wong to launch a brand new concept store in busy Sai Yee Street, Mong Kok.
The two-storey store spread over 557 square metres celebrates the artistic spirit of Hong Kong, and is decorates with photos of local people taken on the streets showing their day-to-day stories. A mini movie theatre is also featured in the coffee shop. It’s currently running a yearlong exhibition of “The Wheel of Time: 100 Years of Light & Shadow”.
Accor eyes Asia for future expansion
French hotel giant Accor said Tuesday it had sold its US budget hotel division to the Blackstone investment fund for $1.9 billion and would use the funds to tap into growth in Asia. The sale of 1,102 hotels with 107,347 rooms in the United States and Canada includes the Motel 6 chain and Studio 6, an extended-stay economy chain. Accor, one of the world's biggest hotel groups, said last year it plans to open more than 200 new properties in Asia within three years as it looks to cash in on the region's increasing affluence. – AFP
Flirtation and other fancies
From July 8 to 15, the Spanish city of Valencia will be Europe’s capital of lonely hearts. For eight days, singles will descend on the city for flirtations and maybe something more. In what will be the second such European singles’ meet, visitors will also be invited to see the city’s attractions and head to the beach, the Spanish Tourism Office said. Dancing competitions and theme parties are also planned. Visit www.EncuentroSingle.com.
Disappointing tourist growth for Laos
Lao Tourism reports that it has missed its target as the total number of tourists increased by only 8 per cent over 2010, going from 2.5 million in 2010 to 2.7 million in 2011, well below the target of 2.8 million. The reason could be related to the global economic downturn and flooding in Thailand, as that country is traditionally a transit point for visitors to Laos. Overall, the number of tourist arrivals has risen consistently from 1993 to 2011, with an average annual growth rate of 20.36 per cent. The Lao government is expecting 2.9 millions of tourists this year.
TAP-ping into the Internet
Portuguese airline TAP Portugal is set to become one of the first carriers this year to introduce wireless internet connections on all its trans-Atlantic flights. The Internet OnAirsystem will initially be installed in the super jumbo-jet A380, the airline announced. The cost of the service will be charged via passengers’ credit cards. In the following two years further TAP planes will be equipped with Wi-Fi technology.
Singapore tops Asian convention ranking
Singapore does it again, maintaining its as Asia’s Top Convention City for 10 years running. The latest Global Rankings by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) reveal Singapore as the only Asian city in the Top Five Convention Cities in the World alongside Vienna, Barcelona, Paris and Berlin, since 2006. With international events and conferences taking place year around, the city-state draws 13.2 million of visitors – of which 3.2 millions are business travellers.