Month: June 2020

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MGTO: The Londoner Macao to be ready in September: Dr Wilfred Wong

MGTO: The Londoner Macao to be ready in September: Dr Wilfred Wong

The first phase of Sands China’s US$2 billion transformation of Sands Cotai Central into The Londoner Macao will be complete by September, according to the company’s President Dr Wilfred Wong.

Speaking to media, including Inside Asian Gaming, on Monday at the launch of a three-day Sands China “Shopping Carnival,” Dr Wong said the hotel and casino renovations were tracking ahead of schedule with construction on the ambitious project having continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our construction progress was not postponed, but has been even faster than expectations since there have been no tourists,” he said. “The Londoner Macao will open in phases in 2020 and 2021 but the majority of construction has been completed. Only the façade is still waiting for the government’s approval.”

As previously revealed by Sands China, the external transformation of The Londoner Macao will see the property’s main façade recreate the architecture of the Houses of Parliament, including a replica of the Big Ben clock.


Internally, the property will feature a new 6,000-seat arena, rebranded Shoppes at The Londoner retail mall, street shows, a VR experience plus a new Dongbei and Sichuan cuisine restaurant, a Thai restaurant, a British styled restaurant named Churchill’s Table and a gastropub by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

The project also broadens the current MICE capabilities and intends to bring West End shows to the theater. A Piccadilly Circus Eros statue, double-decker buses, pubs, telephone booths, pop culture, the Changing of the Guards and many of the icons that make London famous will all be part of The Londoner Macao.

The gaming space itself won’t change but Sands China has hinted it may feature more gaming options, with capacity for up to 450 tables and 2,000 slot machines. There will also be more than 6,000 hotel rooms across four hotels. Around 600 of those will be in the form of luxury suites in the hotel formerly known as Holiday Inn Macau.

While Dr Wong has highlighted September as the month to watch, he noted an exact opening date is yet to be determined and will depend on border restrictions at the time.

“We hope the pace (of The Londoner Macao’s opening) will have consistency with the government’s border reopening policies. Once we have enough visitors, we could open the Londoner Macao at any time,” he said.

Wong revealed that work on luxury suites at The Four Seasons has also been completed but opening has again been delayed until visitors start to return.

Meanwhile, Sands China’s three-day Shopping Carnival, announced Monday, will be held from 7 to 9 August 2020 at Cotai Expo.

Offering 500 booths, both local SMEs and Sands retailers can register to join the carnival as a free business platform targeting local residents and tourists.


Visit Maldives: For Lovers Of Marine Life

Visit Maldives: For Lovers Of Marine Life

For lovers of marine life, Maldives is undoubtedly a slice of heaven. For one thing, the country is made up of hundreds of islands which offer an enormous playground for divers to explore. There are channels connecting the ocean to the lagoons and the water coming from the ocean is full of planktons and nutrients which, in turn, attract an incredible amount of marine life. If you plan your next adventure right, you may find yourself swimming among manta rays, whale sharks, sea turtles and so much more. This is precisely what makes Maldives such a hotspot for diving.

We have compiled a list of some of the best places for this.

South Ari Atoll is one of the best places for spotting whale sharks. The sightings are excellent all year round, with a peak time from August to November. Manta rays can also be found during the northeast monsoon from around October to May.

Dhigurah in South Ari Atoll is one of the best places where you can enjoy a snorkeling or diving trip with whale sharks. Coincidentally, The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme, a research-based conservation charity dedicated to studying whale sharks and fostering community-focused conservation initiatives, is also based here.

Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll is a feeding hotspot for manta rays. The best time to visit Hanifaru Bay is between June and early October. Scuba diving is no longer permitted here but you can always go swimming or snorkeling amidst these gentle giants and get up close and personal with whale sharks.

Addu Atoll is an exceptional scuba diving spot where you can spot almost everything from manta rays to eagle rays to turtles and more.
In North Male’ Atoll, Meeru Island Resort & Spa’s Turtle Reef, is one of the best locations to spot turtles.
Seabourn Announces Carnival Corp. Exec Josh Leibowitz As President

Seabourn Announces Carnival Corp. Exec Josh Leibowitz As President

Josh Leibowitz, President of Seabourn

 Seabourn, the world’s finest ultra-luxury travel experience, announced today that Josh Leibowitz has been named president, effective immediately.

Reporting to Stein Kruse, Group CEO of Holland America Group and Carnival UK, Leibowitz’s responsibilities will include oversight of all aspects of the ultra-luxury brand’s operations, including revenue management, deployment and itinerary planning, hotel operations, and sales and marketing. 

"We are excited to welcome Josh into this new role on our senior leadership team, where he will bring extensive experience and knowledge that will further strengthen Seabourn’s position in the market,” said Kruse. "I am confident that Josh will help carry Seabourn through the challenges currently facing the travel industry to build on its longstanding reputation as an ultra-luxury travel brand unlike any other, supported by a team of people whose everyday focus is on delivering the best.”

“I’m excited to join the community of loyal Seabourn guests, our passionate crew, and the travel advisors that come together to deliver extraordinary Seabourn experiences,” Leibowitz said. “Our main priority will be working together as we develop plans to resume operations and welcome our past and future guests onboard to create lasting travel memories.”

Leibowitz joined Carnival Corporation & plc in 2013 as chief strategy officer and was also named senior vice president, Cunard North America in December 2016.

Prior to joining Carnival Corporation & plc, he served as managing partner of the Miami office of the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., and as a leader in the firm’s work in advanced analytics and sales and marketing.

Seabourn represents the pinnacle of ultra-luxury travel with intimate ships offering key elements that set the line apart: spacious, thoughtfully appointed oceanfront suites; world-class dining in a choice of venues; complimentary premium spirits and fine wines available on board at all times; award-winning service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere that makes guests feel at home on board. The ships travel the globe to many of the world’s most desirable destinations including marquee cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and lesser-known ports and hideaways. The line is also the official cruise partner of UNESCO World Heritage.


Stimulate your senses on a French river cruise

Stimulate your senses on a French river cruise

Experience the delights of Southern France 

Few countries inspire travelers quite like France. Immerse yourself in the culture and fine cuisine amidst a dramatic backdrop of rolling countryside, rustic villages and riverside vineyards. It’s no surprise that France has inspired some of the world’s most famous artists, sculptors, fashion designers and more.

In the South of France, a journey on the picturesque Saône and Rhône rivers takes you through sites of the French Revolution, Roman ruins, historic Avignon and the gastronomic city of Lyon.

One of the most relaxing ways to explore the region is by river. Be inspired with our guide to some of the highlights. Bienvenue - You’re welcome!

Sail on the elegant Emerald Liberté
Specially designed to sail through Southern France, our Emerald Liberté Star-Ship mirrors the effortless sophistication of the region. Travel in ultimate comfort, soaking up the views from the Sun Deck, pool or your own private balcony.

Savor an exclusive Provençal dinner

An undoubted highlight of our French river cruises is an extra-special Provençal dinner on board Emerald Liberté, hosted by renowned Top Chef finalist, Fabien Morreale who created a wonderful menu.

Savor the cheeses of France
France is a paradise for foodies, especially cheese lovers. Slice, dip, dunk and taste your way through the iconic cheeses of France – from Camembert de Normandie to Bleu d’Auvergne. 
The best things to see and do in Lyoné 
Explore Lyon, France's second largest city, known as the gastronomic capital. With more than 2,000 years of history, Lyon boasts an array of fascinating places to visit. 
Savor the cheeses of France
France is a paradise for foodies, especially cheese lovers. Slice, dip, dunk and taste your way through the iconic cheeses of France – from Camembert de Normandie to Bleu d’Auvergne. 
Maldives will re-open for international tourists on 15th July 2020

Maldives will re-open for international tourists on 15th July 2020

His Excellency President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Republic of Maldives announced that Maldives will re-open its borders for international tourists on 15th July 2020. Resorts, Liveaboards and hotels located at uninhabited islands will be open from 15th of July 2020. Guest Houses and hotels located at inhabited islands will be open from 1st August 2020.

Mr. Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) shared this good news and welcome Malaysian to visit the sunny side of life during his interview with BERNAMA TV today at noon in Mid – Day Update Segment.

Maldives relies heavily on the tourism industry as it accounts for the largest foreign exchange earnings, making it the biggest economic contributor in the country. However, it has come to a standstill due to the stringent public health measures taken to curb COVID-19. The tourism industry has been gearing up to restart; it is set to resume in compliance to protective measures, taking into account the safety of tourists and staff working in the industry.

The guidelines for re-opening the tourism sector, “Public Health Interventions to Prevent COVID-19 Transmission in the Tourism Sector”, was also released by the Ministry of Tourism giving comprehensive information for all sectors across the tourism industry on their standard operating procedures, as well as important information to tourists.

According to the guidelines, tourists are not required to pay an additional fee, produce a certificate or test result indicative of negative status for COVID-19 prior to entry into Maldives. For tourists without symptoms, there is no requirement for quarantine either. The guideline will be periodically reviewed based on further developments.

Before your travel to Maldives
• Travellers who have a history of contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID- 19 within the past 14 days and persons who have fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, shortness of breath within the past 14 days are advised not to travel to Maldives.
• Regular official updates on travel to the Maldives re provided on the websites of the Ministry of Tourism ( ) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ( ) of the Maldives.
• A confirmed booking in a tourist establishment registered with the Ministry of Tourism, prior to travelling is mandatory.
• Tourist resorts, liveaboard vessels and hotels located on uninhabited islands are open for bookings starting from July 15th, 2020.
• Guest houses and hotels located on inhabited islands will open for bookings starting from 1st August, 2020.

•However, guest houses and hotels located on inhabited islands will be allowed to accommodate transiting passengers waiting for domestic transfers under special permits. Transit arrangements can be made through the primary facility where the stay is booked.
• Tourists are advised to directly check offers and operational status with the preferred tourist establishments on their websites and mobile applications.
• Tourists who are visiting Maldives during phase 1 of opening shall book their entire stay in one registered establishment. Stays at multiple resorts and hotels are not permitted during this period. However, exemptions will be made for transit arrangements.

During your flight
• All passengers should submit a health declaration card upon arrival, completed onboard the aircraft.
• As per border health and aviation procedure, if a passenger has fever, cough or shortness of breath on board the flight it should be informed to the Health Protection Agency.

Arrival at the airport
• Tourists travelling to Maldives will be provided a free 30-day tourist visa on arrival.
• A health declaration card will be required as part of the on-arrival procedure.
• All arriving passengers should wear masks
• Physical distancing should be ensured.
• Hand sanitization at entry to the arrival terminal.
• All arriving passengers must undergo thermal screening at entry.
• Tourists will not be subject to any quarantine measures upon arrival to the Maldives.
• Tourists will not be required to submit any medical test results for entry to the Maldives.
However, travellers presenting with symptoms of Covid-19 upon arrival will be subject to a PCR test at the traveller’s cost. The tourist will be sent to a designated facility for isolation. Isolation will be done at a designated transit facility or at the tourists’ destination resort (depending on the resort policy). If the result of the PCR test is positive, the tourist may continue isolation at the resort or will be transferred to a designated state-run isolation facility. If the result of the PCR test is negative, the tourist will be released from isolation. In the case of negative PCR test in a tourist who is isolated temporarily at a transit facility, he/she will be released from isolation and may travel to the destination resort. Although released from isolation, a symptomatic tourist will have to follow restrictions on attending public places such as restaurants until the symptoms resolve.
• Contact tracing should be done for the symptomatic patient to identify passengers who were close contacts during the flight and during the journey. Contacts who are tourists can be quarantined in their destination resorts until the PCR test result of the patient is known.  Contacts will be released from quarantine if the patients’ PCR test is negative.
• On arrival, if any tourist gives history of contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within 14 days prior to arrival (as per passenger health declaration card), the tourist must be examined by the doctor at the airport clinic.

If the person is asymptomatic, he/she will require to be quarantined. If the person is symptomatic, a sample should be taken for PCR for COVID-19 and the patient should be sent to a designated facility for isolation.
• Installing the contact tracing app “TraceEkee” is encouraged for all tourists.
• Additionally, local health authorities may conduct random testing at no cost to travellers.
• Mandatory restrictions on travel within Maldives for tourists during the COVID-19 pandemic: Tourists should observe the existing Health Protection Agency (HPA) rules and regulations on restrictions on inter island travel. The Ministry of Tourism should continuously update and inform the tourist establishments regarding the travel restrictions imposed by HPA.
• Requirement for tourists to inform the resort if he/she tests positive for COVID-19 upon return from Maldives: All tourists should inform the resort if they test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of departure from the resort.

At departure from your place of stay
• Tourists will have to undergo an exit screening prior to departure from the place of stay.
• The exit screening questionnaire should document any history of fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath within the prior 14 days. It should be ensured that the guest is not under quarantine or isolation. Temperature should be checked to exclude fever.
• Routine testing for COVID-19 is not required prior to departure, however during exit screening if any tourist is found to have fever or symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 within the prior 14 days, they should undergo PCR testing for COVID-19.
• Testing services are available in the Maldives for tourists who require Covid-19 test results to return to their countries of origin or another destination.

Maldives is an island nation made up of 1,190 coral islands strewn across the equator. It is a world-class holiday destination well-known for its unique one-island-one-resort concept. Only tourists and staff are accommodated on these resorts, far away from the hustle and bustle of other islands. Along with the pristine natural beauty surrounding the resorts, privacy and seclusion are the epitome of what makes it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world. We look forward to welcoming you to the sunny side of life once again.