Monday, May 21, 2012

Forecast Optimistic For Upcoming Summer Travel - Press Release - Digital Journal

Forecast Optimistic For Upcoming Summer Travel

SpringHill Suites Annual Survey reveals how Americans are gearing up for travel
PR Newswire
BETHESDA, Md., May 10, 2012

BETHESDA, Md., May 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Summer is around the corner, and Americans are busy researching destinations, booking hotels and looking forward to that big annual getaway. Optimism is high, and according to SpringHill Suites Third Annual Vacation Attitude Survey conducted by TNS, 92 percent of Americans will hop into cars, planes, buses and boats in the upcoming months to spend quality time with loved ones.

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Although the tradition of summer vacation remains a constant, planning methods and timing have evolved, aided by social networks and new booking websites that make travel faster, easier and more entertaining. In today's fast-paced society, people have transformed the way they plan and how they take vacation.

"The American traveler is resilient, and people need their cherished summer break, whether they are going near or far," said Callette Nielsen, vice president and global brand manager for SpringHill Suites. "People's expectations are the same, yet how and when they book has changed tremendously." 
Among the Key Findings (more details follow):

62 percent of vacationers will book their summer vacation in two months or less
36 percent will spend two hours or less planning their summer vacation
Nearly 3 in 4 (74 percent) of social media users continue to use social media on vacation, with about one-fourth (27 percent) using it the same amount or more than at home
78 percent say it is important to maintain a healthy routine on vacation
Only 23 percent have used a sick day as a vacation day

Traveling Today's Information Superhighway
When it comes to planning a trip, 58 percent reported they will use at least one online travel site to read reviews, book accommodations, find deals or scan guidebooks. Thanks to familiar and emerging digital services, more than one-third of people (36 percent) expect to spend just two hours or less researching their summer vacation, with a national average of five hours' planning. Travelers with children are most likely to plan their vacations quickly, with 48 percent making plans in one month or less, compared to those without kids, of whom 60 percent will take two months or more to prepare.
Smartphones are another technology transforming our trips. In addition to telephoning friends and family, travelers will use their devices to take pictures and video, wake up on-time, find restaurants, make their way to local attractions, access social media, play games, calculate tips, check out online reviews, book travel and translate languages. 
Nearly one-half of employed vacationers (47 percent) will check work email when on the road, with 53 percent completely unplugging. Employed men (53 percent) are also significantly more likely to check work email than women (41 percent). However, women log on for other reasons, and 69 percent use social media on vacation versus just 53 percent of men. The top states where residents check email on vacation include Illinois, New York, California, Florida, the District of Columbia and Texas.
Grown-ups are not the only ones who take advantage of tech tools. Approximately 1 in 3 households will be taking vacations with children under 12 years of age. Pre-teens will also be treated to electronic devices during vacations this year, and 83 percent will be enjoying electronics—including TVs, video games, iPods, smart phones and tablets—for both entertainment and distraction.
When Americans hit the road this year, it will be to visit a new destination (37 percent), hold a family reunion (27 percent), relax alone (23 percent), visit a new culture (11 percent) or take a getaway with friends (10 percent). Others will take a cruise (10 percent), attend a sports event (6 percent) or seek out an environmental trip (4 percent).
Despite higher gas prices, 84 percent of Americans report that they are not changing their vacation plans for this summer. Gas prices would need to reach $4.80 per gallon before they would reconsider summer vacation plans, with 64 percent of Americans expecting to travel by car this season. And optimism remains high, as 89 percent of respondents expect their vacations to go off without a hitch.

Wellness Away From Home

According to the study, 78 percent of Americans believe it is important to maintain a healthy routine while traveling on vacation. Among those who believe being healthy on vacation is essential, walking or jogging (62 percent), sleeping (59 percent), watching what they eat (51 percent), taking vitamins (41 percent) and swimming (30 percent) are preferred ways to stay fit.   
And when it comes to wellness, 84 percent of all travelers will pack items for their and their families' health and safety. In addition to medications, people rank sunscreen, vitamins, healthy snacks, running shoes, hand sanitizer and insect repellent among the items important to bring along for their wellbeing.
The number one benefit from a week-long vacation cited by 59 percent of respondents is coming home feeling refreshed about their life. Other advantages include feeling more connected to family (24 percent), being refreshed for work (14 percent) and being motivated to change their life (3 percent). Top activities that help travelers recharge on vacation include (in order) sightseeing (77 percent), eating and drinking (71 percent), getting extra sleep (59 percent), sun bathing (47 percent), reading (46 percent), running or swimming (42 percent) and working out (24 percent). Prayer was named as the number one routine that Americans could not go without on vacation (19 percent).
"Our research shows that people need a break from everyday routines, from doing dishes to driving carpool. We also learned how dedicated people are to work and why they need to get away," said Nielsen.

According to the SpringHill Suites study, 77 percent of Americans report never using a sick day as vacation. One-third have had to cancel or postpone a vacation day, with more than half doing so due to a work related reason. When asked which one person people need a break from the most, bosses and co-workers ranked number one and two, respectively.  New Yorkers overwhelmingly need a break from their boss on vacation (28 percent) compared to the national average (14 percent).
When asked what one hotel luxury they wish they could bring back from vacation, the number one answer was housekeeping (46 percent), followed by their hotel view (20 percent), free breakfast (15 percent), free Wi-Fi (6 percent) and 24/7 food service (5 percent). What's the first thing most people do when they first walk into a hotel room?  Surprisingly, Americans check out the view (32 percent). The first thing Floridians are likely to do is lock the door.
The online survey polled 1,000 consumers between March 13 and March 18, 2012 and was conducted by TNS, an independent research company, and commissioned by SpringHill Suites by Marriott, an all-suites brand.
The online panel comprised U.S. individuals ages 18 and older. Surveyed respondents were balanced to be nationally representative of the U.S. population ages 18 and older. Using the online panel as the full population projection, the margin of error calculated is plus or minus 2.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. For more information and findings on the SpringHill Suites traveler attitude survey, please visit   
About SpringHill Suites
SpringHill Suites is ideal for business and leisure travelers who look for style and inspiration in their stay.  Featuring suites larger than traditional hotel rooms, SpringHill Suites makes it easy for guests to spread out and fully enjoy their space. Launched in November 1998, the brand currently has more than 290 locations in the United States and Canada.  SpringHill Suites participate in Marriott Rewards, the guest reward program that allows members to earn points or airline miles for each dollar spent during their stay at over 3,600 Marriott-affiliated hotels worldwide. For more information, visit

About TNS
TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world's consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviors and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world.
TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups. Please visit for more information.
Click here for Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) company information.
SOURCE Marriott International
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South Korea Group of Springhill |

China has been quietly and gently pressuring North Korea to scrap plans for a third nuclear test, said two sources with knowledge of closed-door discussions between the countries, but there is no indication how Pyongyang will react.

If North Korea goes ahead with the test, China would consider taking some retaliatory steps, but they would not be substantive, a source with ties to Pyongyang and Beijing said.

North Korea has almost completed preparations for the test, Reuters had reported in late April, a step that would further isolate the impoverished state after last month’s failed rocket launch that the United States says was a ballistic missile test.

“China is unhappy … and urged North Korea not to conduct a nuclear test near Changbai Mountain,” said the source, who declined to be identified.

China feared a radiation leak and damage to the environment from a blast, the source added. “China also complained about the environmental damage to the area after the first two tests.”

When North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, it caused environmental damage to the mountain straddling the border with China. North Korea ceded part of the mountain to China in 1963.

It was unclear if the secretive North Korean government, typically unwilling to bow to outside pressure, would defer or drop the plans. China is the closest thing to an ally that North Korea has.

“The impact on China’s northeast would be huge,” the source said of a third test.

Chinese officials have discussed whether threats of diplomatic action would be effective, but any action might be restricted to some economic measures to signal China’s displeasure and would not affect vital food aid for North Korea, the source said.

A Western diplomat, who also asked not to be identified, confirmed that China has put pressure on North Korea to abandon the test.

Major diplomatic repercussions were unlikely, however, said Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University in Beijing. Instead, Jin, who has knowledge of how China deals with North Korea, said China may use financial levers to influence its neighbour.

“If closed-door negotiations fail to produce results, economic aid could be cut,” Jin said, adding that imports of mineral resources and unspecified “special local products” could also be reduced.

China condemned North Korea’s first nuclear test in October 2006, carried out in defiance of China’s public pleas, and it supported a UN resolution that authorised sanctions. It backed sanctions again after the North’s second test in May 2009.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Titanic James Cameron's subversive masterpiece - Alan Nothnagle - Open Salon | South Korea Springhill Group

Titanic - James Cameron's subversive masterpiece
How a Hollywood blockbuster blasted a century’s worth of reactionary pieties straight out of the water

JAMES CAMERON’S TITANIC IS back in cinemas this month, now in a 3D makeover, to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the mighty ship’s sinking on April 15, 1912. The rerelease, unlike the lingering memory of the collision and the resulting 1,514 lost lives, has been something of a non-story, aside from the inevitable debate over the quality or necessity of the 3D conversion, with the only visible debate arising from a Huffington Post article that decries the Twitter generation’s alleged confusion over whether “the story is true or not.” Huffpost became typically huffy, suggesting that it is a disgrace for millennials to be unaware of the sinking as an historical fact and of the “lessons” the event contains for us all.
I have not written on the ensuing debate myself (although I did add my two cents worth to Scott Mendelson’s thoughtful blog entry a few days ago), but I would like to cut the kids some slack – not over whether or not Rose and Jack were real (there have been stranger love stories, after all, as most readers of this essay can probably attest from personal experience), but rather over the “lessons” the tragedy has supposedly bequeathed to us. In fact, young filmgoers are facing a real dilemma, for even though the film recreates the disaster with remarkable historical accuracy, it systematically trashes nearly everything the Titanic has ever stood for in popular culture. And if you ask me, Cameron is about a century overdue. 

Titanic as grand cinema

What of the film itself? Let me state for the record that I adore it and have watched it at least a dozen times, including no fewer than five times in the cinema. Not for me the typical response I regularly hear in my own pseudo-intellectual milieu, namely that “it’s horrible Hollywood schlock, sickly and superficial, and I absolutely refuse to watch it!” Okay, I’ll concede that there may well be people out there who are simply too intelligent to watch Titanic, but I love it –the whole thing: Trite plot, bland dialogue, “king of the world” and all the rest of the usual complaints. I actually like the love story, driven as it is by the sheer charisma of the two youthful leads – I can even identify with them a little for my own obscure personal reasons, and who doesn’t long to be swept off his or her feet like that at a decisive moment in their lives? – and the dialogue doesn’t bother me. Instead, I have long been impressed at the film’s narrative economy, the way it squeezes a personal drama, a major maritime disaster, and a modern treasure hunt into a mere three hours and fourteen minutes. And the story is undeniably effective – at a cinema in Stockholm where I was watching it back in 1998 a teenage girl started sobbing during the raft scene, and her friends practically had to carry her out of the theater at the end of the credits. Anyway, when I’m in the mood for complex relationships and mind-blowing dialogue I’m more likely to reach for Kenneth Branagh’s production of Hamlet . . . .   READ MORE