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First Ship In Branson’s New Fleet Arrives In UK To ‘Shake Up’ The Booming Cruise Industry

  • Scarlet Lady,  first of new fleet of 4 Virgin Voyages cruise ships arrives in Dover
  • Aims to bring ‘Rock Star’ cruising’ to a booming sector
  • No kids on board as Branson targets an adults-only younger cruising audience
  • On-board formal dinners and dances replaced by gigs, tattoo parlours & vinyl stores
  • Massive Rockstar suites include mini music studios
  • Cruise passenger numbers have doubled in a decade and sector now worth $150 billion

At Sea, 20th February 2020 –  The first of Sir Richard Branson’s brand new fleet of cruise ships which aims to shake up the cruise industry arrives in the UK. Scarlet Lady is the first of four Virgin Voyages ships that will come into service each year for the next four years.

Virgin Voyages aims to do to the booming cruise industry what it did to the airline industry when Virgin Atlantic launched. Its fleet of four ships known as the ‘Lady ships’ will offer adults only, rock ‘n roll cruising to a new audience.

Globally the cruise industry is booming with passenger numbers almost doubling in the past decade from 17.8 million in 2009 to a forecast 32 million this year.

The latest cruise industry report reveals there are now 55 cruise lines globally with a total of 278 ocean ships and another 19 scheduled to debut in 2020 including Scarlet Lady. According to the same report the cruise industry is worth $150 billion worldwide and sustains 1,177,000 jobs.

Branson has spotted an opportunity in this growing sector. The average age of cruise passengers is getting younger and Virgin Voyages believe this new generation of sailors want a different kind of cruise holiday.

Virgin Voyages believes couples in their twenties, thirties and forties want a cruise experience that isn’t either high end formal or family friendly with theme park style rides.

The cruise line, set to make its maiden voyages in April, boasts state-of-the-art technology and opulent features, including a champagne delivery service, to ensure the ultimate passenger experience. 

Other features include:

– 1,330 cabins and 78 Rockstar suites, two of which offer the full rock star treatment with their own music rooms with their own guitars and amplifiers

– No buffets and big dining halls; Scarlet Lady has over 20 eateries ranging from brunch bars to restaurants run by Michelin-starred chefs

– Traditional tourist excursions at local ports will be replaced with visits to exclusive beach clubs

– Entertainment on board will be more festival-like in its offering with gigs, nightclubs, comedians, drag artists, and a variety of unusual shows

– Scarlet Lady has its own vinyl record shop and the first ever tattoo studio on board a cruise ship

– A major focus on wellness with spas, gyms, yoga, wellness pools and even a mud room

Virgin Voyages are also keen to emphasise the fleet’s green credentials; the company has banned single use plastics on board, is converting engine waste heat into clean electricity and exploring turning on-board waste into energy.

And as you’d expect from Virgin the crew will be dressed in unique uniforms.

Scarlet Lady will arrive in the UK after her five-day inaugural voyage undergoing sea trials from Genoa in Italy where she was built at the Fincantieri shipyard.

From Dover, she will head to Liverpool for two days before heading across the Atlantic for a star-studded reception in New York and then on to Miami where she will based and make her inaugural passenger voyage around the Caribbean in April.

Routes on offer include a five-day sailing to Costa Maya in Mexico, Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, and a quick getaway to Key West and Bahamas.

The ship will later be joined by sister liner Valiant Lady which features seven-night Mediterranean itineraries out of Barcelona, Spain when she debuts in May 2021.

Microsoft Announces Plan To Go Carbon Negative By Year 2030

On January 16, 2020, Microsoft announced its commitment to be carbon negative by 2030 and that it will remove all the carbon it has emitted either directly or via electricity consumption since it was founded in 1975 by 2050. Additionally, it will create a $1 billion climate innovation fund to accelerate the development of carbon reduction and removal technologies. As a part of this goal, Microsoft will reduce its emissions by more than half by 2030 , extending across its entire business and supply chain

Microsoft also announced that it will:

– Work with customers and partners to help them track and reduce their own carbon footprints

– Use its voice to advocate for public policies that support a gloabal, low-carbon economy.

Microsoft’s AI for Earth Initiative

This announcemnet represents Microsoft’s expanded emphasis on and commitment to environmental sustainability.

It’s existing AI for Earth represents one piece of Microsoft’s overall sustainability efforts. The initiative encompasses a five-year, $50-million program that brings the full advantage of Microsoft technology to those working to solve global environmental challenges in the key focus areas of climate, agriculture, water and biodiversity conservation.

Microsoft Sustainability Calculator

Microsoft is empowering its customers and partners with new product features to track and reduce carbon. One of these new product features is the now-available Microsoft Sustainability Calculator. This tool is a new Power BI dashboard that shows emissions performance from cloud and Azure services. This enables customers to understand the carbon impacts of their cloud workloads, discover the potential benefits from fully migrating to Azure, and assists them in reporting their carbon footprint for IT services in the often hard-to-track Scope 3 category of emissions.

In this video you will see a demonstration of how the Microsoft Sustainability Calculator works to track carbon emissions for Microsoft customers. 

Microsoft Datacenters

As part of Microsoft’s commitment to achieve net-zero carbon in its business operations, the company is shifting to 100 percent renewable energy in its datacenters by 2025. 

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AEDAS Homes Demonstrate Strong Sales Pace And Offer Attractive High-Quality Units In Spain

MADRID, December 2019.- AEDAS Homes, a leading homebuilder in Spain, continues to consolidate its Business Plan with high sales coverage rates for deliveries scheduled for the coming years, giving it a strong level of visibility on cash generation. The company’s order book now stands at 2,884 units, representing a total value of close to €1 […] Read more

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UAE Launches Tech Conglomerate EDGE To Transform Defence Capabilities

– Leveraging advanced technologies, EDGE will evolve national security solutions and industries beyond defence – Phase 1 integrates 25+ entities from Emirates Defence Industries Company, Emirates Advanced Investments Group and Tawazun Holding Story: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces […] Read more

Nov, 05, 2019

 

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DHL Opens First American High Tech Innovation Center

DHL OPENS NEW AMERCIAS INNOVATION CENTER IN CHICAGO TO ACCELERATE THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW LOGISTICS SOLUTIONS

Chicago, USA – DHL is expanding its global innovation footprint to the Americas region with the grand opening today of its Americas Innovation Center in Chicago. Joining the DHL Innovation Center in Cologne, Germany, and the Asia Pacific Innovation Center in Singapore, the Americas Innovation Center will exhibit technologies that DHL is already implementing across the region as well as investigate and test future solutions that can provide significant productivity and efficiency gains.

Companies exploring new logistics and supply chain technologies have become the focus for venture capital investors. The trend is expected to continue in coming years. DHL’s new state-of-the-art 28,000 square foot facility provides a collaborative space for DHL to work with its customers and its technology partners. The new center showcases technologies that are being tested as well as innovations that have already provided significant productivity increases, especially in peak volume times such as the holiday season, by using various robotic solutions including automated guided vehicles that can ferry goods through warehouses, mobile robots that can facilitate order fulfillment in e-commerce operations and collaborative robots designed to help with repetitive tasks, such as picking and packing.

Establishing the new center in the Americas is a high point in the celebration of DHL’s 50th anniversary this year.

The four DHL business units operating in the Americas are committed to investing in coming years in the development and adoption of new technologies that can improve operations, better the customer experience, lower costs and facilitate better workplace processes for its employees.

As a global leader in logistics, DHL continuously evaluates innovative customer-centric solutions, already implementing a variety of advanced technologies to boost productivity, lower costs and better serve evolving customer needs. For instance, DHL Supply Chain, the contract logistics specialist within Deutsche Post DHL Group, has already seen significant productivity increases, especially in peak season, by using various robotic solutions including automated guided vehicles that can ferry goods through warehouses, mobile robots that can facilitate order fulfillment in e-commerce operations and collaborative robots designed to help with repetitive tasks, such as picking and packing.

As part of its commitment to invest in new technologies, DSC said last November it would be investing $300 million in 2018 and through this year to deploy emerging technologies to 350 of its 430 North American facilities and transportation control towers. The company is also investing in the development of a new digital platform to manage its transportations operations.

DHL Express, the world’s leading international express delivery company, expects to invest about more than $300 million over the next three years to add more automation at its regional hubs, gateways and service centers, introduce robotics to help with shipment loading/unloading, expand the use of AI and machine learning for better route optimization, apply repetitive process automation for billing tasks as well as continue the addition of chatbots and voice recognition tools for bookings, order tracking and improved customer service.

DHL Global Forwarding, the top specialist in air and ocean transport, is working with improved technology to track packages and handle temperature-sensitive shipments as well as implementing warehouse automation with RFID tracking to track cargo location, shipment consolidation and shipping schedules. DGF unveiled yesterday a new advanced data analytics tool designed for clients with highly sensitive cargo such as the life sciences and healthcare sector. It provides quick analysis and insights for better decision-making such as the optimal trade lanes to utilize, verification of temperature controls in transit, and the ability to analyze and reduce risks Like DHL Express, DGF is using virtual reality for employee training programs in several countries in the Americas.

DHL eCommerce Solutions, a major provider of domestic and cross-border delivery services for online retailers, is also using automation and robotics to improve productivity in its distribution centers. It’s utilizing new software solutions to optimize inventory management for its merchants and improve the last-mile delivery experience for consumers.

Sep, 12, 2019

 

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“Visa For Venice” – New Campaign To Preserve City For The Future

Venice, Italy – Venice’s idyllic canals and quaint alleys make it a dream destination for many travelers but with over 20 million visitors each year, the unique charm of the city is under threat.

On June 13, Visa and the City of Venice hosted a ceremony at Venice City Hall to announce the launch of “Visa for Venice”, a three year programme that will help Italian merchants showcase their businesses to international visitors, while helping protect their city’s most treasured sites.

The new programme encourages locals and visitors alike to pay with Visa at businesses throughout Venice. The incremental revenue generated from this campaign will be contributed to a newly established fund that will be used to safeguard the city for the future.

Donation kiosks are now set up around the city where both locals and tourists can choose to make a contribution directly to the fund.

For those outside the city who would like to make a difference, donations will soon also be accepted through a web-based donation page.

New Survey Results

In a recent survey of international travelers, Visa found 68% think about their impact on the local community when planning a trip outside the U.S. and 77% agree that travelers have more of an impact today than five years ago.

Not only is there a strong awareness, an astounding percentage of international travelers surveyed want to make difference and are willing to use their spending power to lessen their impact and support the local community. This willingness includes:

– Purchasing items from local artists and eating local food (92%)

– Spending money at businesses that support sustainability locally (90%)

– Making a donation to ensure historic monuments are preserved (84%)

– Forgo a specific activity that has a negative impact on the environment or community (83%)

– Spending a little more on something if it means having less of an impact on the local community (83%)

– Spending more time in less touristy attractions to lessen impact (78%)

– Forgoing ground transportation in favor of biking or using mass transit systems (73%)

– Volunteering while in the local area (66%)

International travelers showed a very strong desire to support local businesses and indicated they are most likely to choose local, independent businesses for dining and shopping if the:

– Location was easy to find (50%)

– Business had great online reviews (44%)

– Business accepted credit or debit cards (44%)

Methodology: Visa commissioned a survey of 500 adults 18-65 years old in the U.S. who had traveled outside the U.S. in the past two years. The survey was conducted by Logica Research on behalf of Visa in May 2019.

Additional Messaging

The global appetite for international travel has never been stronger. In fact, according to the WTTC, international arrivals reached 1.3 billion last year, on pace to grow to 1.8 billion border crossings by 2030.

Visa is the most widely accepted payment network – enabling safe, secure, seamless cross-border transactions, all over the world. It starts when consumers plan and book their journey, and more importantly, continues through all phases of travels.

Travelers deserve the same payment benefits and conveniences they enjoy in their home country when traveling abroad and Visa is making that a reality.

By removing the barriers to how, where, and when you can pay abroad, travelers have peace-of-mind knowing they can use Visa virtually anywhere in the world, securely and at any time, while focusing on enjoying the experiences in front of them.

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device, for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce.

Photo Image: Candre Mandawe

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