December 2014 Travel News & Alerts

01 December 2014
Embassy Closures for the Month of December

Please be informed that the following embassies will be closed in December on the specified dates:


All or most Embassies: 25th December 2014 – Christmas Day

26th December 2014 – Boxing Day

31st December 2014 – New Year’s Eve 


1. Bangladesh Embassy: 16th December 2014

2. Cambodia Embassy: 10th December 2014

3. Japan Embassy: 29th - 30th December  2014

4. Mexico Embassy: 1st December 2014

5. Netherlands Embassy: 26th December 2014 – 2nd January 2015

6. New Zealand Embassy: 24th - 31st December 2014

7. Philippines Embassy: 30th – 31st December 2014

8. Portugal Embassy: 1st December 2014

                                8th December 2014

9. Spain Embassy: 8th December 2014

10. United Arab Emirates Embassy: 2nd December 2014

                                                  7th December 2014

                                                  14th December 2014


No visa applications will be processed during this period.


For further information please contact your travel manager.

Hilton Updates Cancellation Policy

Effective from 1st January 2015, Hilton Worldwide will be adopting an updated cancellation policy which will apply to all their brands globally.

Cancellation deadline is now 11:59pm local hotel time, day prior to arrival


• Late cancellation charge of 1 night plus tax will apply

• Prepayment of the booking will requires a full amount of deposit

• Applies to ALL non-contracted rates includes BAR, FCI, SmartSTAY

• Applies to all guests including Hhonors Gold and Diamond members

• Applies to OTA agency bookings

• DOES NOT apply to contracted/negotiated rates for specific clients Bookings made before the policy is implemented will be subject to the applicable conditions


For further information please contact your travel manager.

Shangri-La’s latest entry in Nanjing, China’s Ancient Capital

Shangri-La opened its 88th property, first luxury hotel in Nanjing, the capital of eastern China’s Jiangsu province.

Located in the Gulou district of the city, the 450-room Shangri-La Hotel Nanjing overlooks Xuanwu Lake, which is surrounded by pagodas, pavilions, teahouses and other attractions. 

Inside the 45-storey hotel, rooms and suites range from 45-260m², all with complimentary Wi-Fi. There is also a collection of 21 serviced apartments, while a 40th floor club lounge offers views of the city through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Facilities at the hotel include four food and beverage outlets, including a specialist hot pot restaurant, plus a spa with nine treatment rooms, an indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms.

Within the hotel are flexible meeting spaces including a 2,100-square-metre, pillar-free Grand Ballroom capable of accommodating up to 1,910 guests for a reception, and a smaller ballroom that can hold 550 guests. Eight further function rooms, some of which provide natural daylight, and a VIP room are available.


For further information please contact your travel manager.

AirAsia introduces Asean Pass for easier travelling within the region

Low-cost airline AirAsia recently announced that an Asean Pass will be launched in 2015.

The 10-flight regional air pass grants travellers flights to 10 different destinations in Southeast Asia in a month for SGD 193. A 20-flight regional pass for 20 destinations within a 45 day window will cost SGD 350*. Prices not inclusive of airport taxes.

The pass will operate on a credit or prepaid pass. After purchase, travellers can take their pick of 10 or 20 routes from the 137 available within the region. Flights have to be within a specific time frame from the first date of travel, with no repeat in routes.

Sales will begin January 15, and the pass can be activated one year from the date of purchase.


For further information please contact your travel manager.

Etihad Connects to DFW

Starting 3 December 2014, Etihad Airways will connect to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport. The airport is the 9th busiest in terms of passenger traffic in 2014 and has a busy schedule with nonstop service to 55 international destinations.

The new service from Dallas-Fort Worth to Abu Dhabi will commence in time for the holidays. The service will initially begin with three flights per week and increase to daily service from April 2015. It will depart and arrive out of DFW’s Terminal D which showcases key amenities such as shopping, dining, massages and lounges among others. 

The new route will operate on a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, offering eight seats in first class, 40 in business class, and 177 in economy.


For further information please contact your travel manager.

Special Immigration lane for ASEAN visitors at KLIA in 2015

An Asean lane will be set up at the KL International Airport (KLIA) starting Jan 1 next year when Malaysia officially takes the chairmanship of the regional body.

The Asean lane would facilitate the entry of visitors from member countries in conjunction with Malaysia’s chairmanship of the regional body.

With the facility, visitors from Asean countries can queue for immigration clearance at a dedicated lane upon arriving at KLIA.


For further information please contact your travel manager.

Cathay Pacific adds more destinations to UK Network

Cathay Pacific Airways has announced that it has entered into a new code-share agreement with the Flybe Group that will connect passengers travelling from Hong Kong to seven destinations in the United Kingdom via Manchester.

Under the new code-share agreement, Cathay Pacific’s "CX" code will be placed on selected Flybe domestic flights between Manchester International Airport and seven UK destinations, namely Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Exeter, Inverness, the Isle of Man and Southampton. The arrangement will provide more choice, greater convenience and improved connectivity for passengers travelling through the Hong Kong hub to the UK.

Tickets for the new code-share services commences 11 December 2014.

From 8 December, Cathay Pacific will operate 75 flights a week between Hong Kong and a number of European cities, including London, Manchester, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Rome, Milan and Moscow. The airline will commence operations to Zurich in March 2015.


For further information please contact your travel manager.

New Crowne Plaza in Christchurch

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a management agreement to develop the 200-room Crowne Plaza Christchurch. 

Located in the central business district (CBD) and across from the planned new Christchurch Convention Centre due to open in 2017, the upscale hotel will be a conversion of a current commercial building owned by a consortium of local Christchurch investors. The hotel will be one of the tallest buildings in the city, presenting guests with unrivalled views of Mt Hutt and the New Zealand Ski fields.

The hotel will feature up to five suites and 195 guest rooms and food and beverage options including an all-day dining restaurant, a specialty restaurant and lobby lounge and bar.

Catering to both business and leisure travellers, Crowne Plaza Christchurch will also have a business centre and function space for meetings and events, as well as a fitness centre.

Crowne Plaza is one of the fastest growing hotel brands in the world with nearly 400 hotels in more than 65 countries worldwide, including 68 hotels across AMEA. Crowne Plaza Christchurch will be the third Crowne Plaza in New Zealand, joining Crowne Plaza Queenstown and Crowne Plaza Auckland. IHG currently has 38 hotels open across six countries in Australasia, with an additional five hotels in the pipeline including an InterContinental and four Holiday Inn Express hotels.


For further information please contact your travel manager.

Japan Airlines Lounge at Changi Temporary Relocation Due to Renovation

From 9th December 2014 to 19th January 2015, there is a temporary change of Airport Lounge due to SATS Premium lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 1 undergoing renovation.

During this period, please proceed to Rainforest Lounge at Level 3 opposite Gate C1, Terminal 1, to enjoy the lounge services and facilities while waiting for your flight.

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Bangkok Airways Codeshare with Garuda

BANGKOK Airways and Garuda Indonesia enters into a codeshare agreement yesterday, December 15, 2014, with the codeshare routes already open for sale.

The new partnership will enable passengers of Garuda Indonesia a smooth transit in the Thai capital to connect to Bangkok Airways’ destinations including Samui, Lampang, Phuket, Udon Thani, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phnom Penh, Luang Prabang and Dhaka

At the same time, Bangkok Airways passengers will be able to make reservation on Garuda Indonesia’s network which include Bangkok-Jakarta, Singapore-Jakarta, Jakarta-Denpasar Bali, Jakarta-Yogyakarta, Jakarta-Semarang, Jakarta-Surabaya and Jakarta-Ujung Pandang.

The agreement is expected to boost trade and tourism activities by making Indonesia much more accessible for Thai visitors.


For further information please contact your travel manager.

Hilton Garden Inn Opens at Heathrow

On 10 December 2014, Hilton Garden Inn opened at Heathrow, rebranded from the Jury Hotel. It is the third property to rebrand following a franchise agreement between Hilton Worldwide and Jurys Inn, which owns and manages the hotel.

Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow Airport hotel is ideal for guests traveling to or from all Heathrow terminals and is also the perfect springboard for those visiting the capital.

The 364-bedroom hotel is Hilton’s first mid-market Garden Inn branded property to launch in the London area and is situated around two kilometres from Heathrow Terminal 4. It is also close to Wembley Stadium and Twickenham, making it easy to attend a concert or sports event. Only three minutes’ walk away, Hatton Cross Underground Tube Station is just one stop from Terminals 1, 2 and 3, and two stops from Terminals 4 and 5 of Heathrow Airport.

The hotel offers seven meeting rooms with more than 176sqm of meeting space for up to 60 people, complimentary Wi-Fi and a 24-hours business centre.

For further information please contact your travel manager.

SIA goes trans-Pacific with EVA

Singapore Airlines has expanded its codeshare agreement with EVA Air, to offer more connections to North America.

Under the new deal, SIA will place its ‘SQ’ code on EVA’s flights from Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport to Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, New York (JFK), Toronto and Vancouver.

The agreement commences on 12 December 2014, coinciding with the first anniversary of the initial codeshare agreement between SIA and its Star Alliance partner EVA.

SIA and EVA already codeshare on the two carriers’ 21 weekly flights between Singapore and Taipei.


For further information please contact your travel manager.

Cathay Pacific Opens Lounge at Haneda Airport

Cathay Pacific is unveiling a brand-new lounge experience for passengers travelling out of Tokyo International Airport Haneda starting 9 December 2014.

Located on Level 6 near Gate 114, the lounge will be the first to be operated by a non-Japanese carrier in the Haneda Airport International Passenger Terminal.

The Haneda lounge measures 990 square metres, making it one of the largest Cathay Pacific lounges outside Hong Kong, with seating for approximately 190 people. The lounge offers a supremely comfortable environment of understated luxury in which First and Business Class passengers can relax before their flight.


For further information please contact your travel manager.

ANA increase International Free Baggage Allowance

Effective 8 January 2015, ANA will increase free baggage allowance for passengers travelling in economy on international NH flights.

Passengers are able to check ion 2 pieces of free baggage as opposed to the one piece under current rules. The free allowance for weight and size will remain unchanged, as will the free baggage allowance rule for first and business class passengers.

ANA will also introduce new excess baggage charges mainly paid by Japanese yen. For more details on this, you can visit their official website at


For further information please contact your travel manager.

New Vietnam Visa Application Law

Effective 1 Jan 2015, passport holders from the countries stated below that are currently exempted visa will only be allowed to visit Vietnam once every 15 or 30 days without applying for a visa. Should the traveller visit Vietnam a second time within a month from the date of their first travel, they are required to apply for a Vietnam visa.

The new rule will affect the following passport holders:













South Korea




For further information please contact your travel manager.

Visa Free Travel to Phu Quoc

With immediate effect all travellers regardless of nationality travelling to Phu Quoc are not required to apply for Vietnam Visa.

Please be advised that visa free stay at Phu Quoc is subjected to the following stipulations: 

  • Passport must be valid for more than 6 months from date of travel
  • Stay at Phu Quoc must be less than 30 days
  • Possess onward or return air tickets to their next destination
  • A visa is however required if traveller wishes to visit other cities within Vietnam

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Hyatt’s Expansion in Brazil

Hyatt Hotels Corporation and FSA Group have entered into agreements to purchase two sites in Brazil to develop Hyatt Place Sorocaba and Hyatt Place Macaé. Hyatt affiliates will provide management services in connection with the operation of the hotels upon opening, which is expected in the first quarter of 2017.

These two hotels are part of a larger master development agreement between Hyatt affiliates and FSA Group to develop a total of nine Hyatt Place hotels across Brazil. The first hotel as part of this agreement, Hyatt Place São José do Rio Preto, was announced in April 2014 and is expected to open in mid-2016.

Hyatt Place Sorocaba

Located approximately 100 kilometers from the city of Sao Paulo, Sorocaba is one of the region’s most important industrial cities, serving as headquarters for numerous multinational companies across diverse industry sectors. Hyatt Place Sorocaba will be a component of a mixed-use project known as Iguatemi Esplanada owned by Iguatemi Empresa de Shopping Centers S.A. (Iguatemi), one of Brazil’s largest retail developers and the owner of many high-end retail malls throughout Brazil. The Iguatemi Esplanada completed a large expansion of its retail component in November 2013, and plans to add two office towers and a luxury residential component in phases over the next several years. The 176-room Hyatt Place hotel will feature a lobby lounge and restaurant, a fitness center, and approximately 200 square meters of flexible meeting space.

Hyatt Place Macaé

Macaé, located approximately 180 kilometers northeast from the city of Rio de Janeiro, has a large multinational presence and is an economic center for tourism, fishing and most notably, petroleum as it is the main center for offshore oil exploration in Brazil. Hyatt Place Macaé will be located on a beachfront site in the neighborhood of Cavaleiros. The area boasts a large selection of seafront restaurants and nightlife entertainment. The 142-room hotel will feature a roof-top pool, a lobby lounge and restaurant, a fitness center, and approximately 160 square meters of flexible meeting space.


Hyatt’s Brand Representation and Growth in Brazil

Hyatt is currently represented in Brazil by Grand Hyatt São Paulo, a 466-room full-service, luxury hotel. Currently under construction is the 436-room Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro, which is scheduled to open in late 2015 in Rio de Janeiro’s Barra da Tijuca borough. In September 2014, Hyatt announced Brazil’s first Park Hyatt hotel, Park Hyatt Foz do Iguaçu, which is expected to open in 2017. In April 2014, Hyatt Place São José do Rio Preto was the first Hyatt Place hotel to be announced under the landmark master development agreement between a Hyatt affiliate and FSA Group for nine Hyatt Place hotels throughout Brazil. Currently under design and scheduled to begin construction in December 2014, the 150-room hotel will be the third Hyatt-branded hotel in the country when it opens in 2016. Hyatt Place São José do Rio Preto and Hyatt Place Sorocaba are both being developed as part of a strategic relationship with Iguatemi.= For further information please contact your travel manager.