Off the beaten track
The Russians are coming...Papua New Guinea is to be promoted in Russia as a potential tourist destination. A Russian Television crew is currently visiting the country, making a film that will be shown to more than 90 per cent of the population who have access to television. As a result more than 150-million people in Russia will have the opportunity to learn about Papua New Guinea's culture, history and nature. Restaurant wins award LONDON: The Carlton Tower Hotel's Rib Room and Oyster Lounge, located in the heart of Knightsbridge, has been voted the 'Best Chophouse in London' in the 7th edition of the Zagat 2003 London Restaurant Survey. The restaurant, praised by voters for the 'great rib roasts from the trolley' and 'attentive service', scored excellent ratings for its food, service and decor, making it as 'good an experience as ever' for the 5,489 reviewers that took part in the survey. A master stroke AMSTERDAM: Schiphol airport has come up with a novel, if highbrow, idea to keep transit passengers occupied during those waits for connecting flights. The airport is holding an exhibition of 'old masters' in the waiting lounge. The exhibition, due to open this month, features works by Dutch Golden Age artists Rembrandt, Pieter de Hooch and Jan Steen, and will be punctuated with temporary exhibitions of other works from Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum. Virgin to fly to Port Harcourt LONDON: Virgin Atlantic Airways announced that it would become the first airline to operate direct services between London and Port Harcourt. Nigeria. The services, to commence in January 2003 are a result of an agreement that Virgin Atlantic has concluded with the Nigerian authorities and Nigeria Airways. Virgin Atlantic will operate two services per week using an Airbus A34Q-3D0. Accor slams labour relations GUADELOPE: The struggling tourism sector in the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique has been hit by the planned pull out of Accor, the French hotel chain, and by reports that other companies, including Club Med, could leave, unless there is an improvement in labour relations. Accor's decision is a blow to the two French departments in the eastern Caribbean. Tourism is central to the islands' economies. Guadeloupe receives about 1.3 million visitors and Martinique about 650,000 per year. Blase Britons head for Thailand BANGKOK: British tourists continued to travel to Thailand despite Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice warning of an increased terrorist threat to British nationals in tourist areas including the popular island of Phuket. Tour operators are allowing clients booked to Phuket to switch their holiday to other parts of Thailand at no extra charge. A spokesperson for Kuoni said: "We are continuing to operate holidays to Phuket. We have contacted all clients and passed on the latest FCO advice. Few are choosing to change." Hotels sign agreement LONDON: Simon Cooper, president and chief operating officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and Giles Shepard deputy chairman of The Ritz London, announced the signing of a marketing agreement between the award-winning Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the independently owned, world-renowned luxury hotel, The Ritz London. Under the terms of the agreement, reservations at The Ritz London can now be made using The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company global reservation system.