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México - Festival in the Centre for Fine Arts Brussels
1st green meeting place in Luxembourg

What better way to start the new year than by marking the bicentenary of Mexico’s independence and the centenary of its revolution?

From the 16th of January till the 25th of April BOZAR presents an extensive multidisciplinary Mexico Festival that includes no fewer than five exhibitions. Highlights are Imágenes del mexicano and Frida Kahlo y su mundo.


Sofitel Legend

Sofitel Hotels has launched its exclusive Sofitel Legend Brand and the Métropole Hanoi is the first hotel to be included in this brand. Sofitel Legend will regroup hotels located in old historical buildings or locations.

Once their renovation will be finished following hotels will also join the brand: The Grand Amsterdam (Netherlands), the Old Cataract Assouan (Egypt), the Santa Clara (Colombia), the Winter Palace Luxor (Egypt), the Palais Jamaï (Morocco), the Cecil Alexandria (Egypt).

On 24 September the first ‘green’ meeting place of Luxemburg opened: ‘37° in Luxembourg’. German architect Stephan Braunfels calls it is first masterpiece in the Grand Duchy. Modern architecture and design furniture is matched by state-of-the-art meeting technology, and yet the venue feels comfortable and cosy. Right in the heart of the Cloche d’Or business park the new venue offers 4,000m² of conference and banqueting facilities, with an imposing view of green surroundings.

An open deck is quite inviting for coffee breaks or after-work parties. At night, the large facades of the two adjacent buildings offer great projection opportunities for your advertisements.
And, not unimportant, the venue is managed by an enthusiastic group of well-experienced professionals.

37° in Luxembourg is perfectly suited for:
• Conference facilities for up to 400 delegates;
• Seminars for 15 to 120 people (theatre setup);
• Product launches (cars can be brought into the mail hall or on to the open deck);
• Cocktails and walking dinners for up to 450 guests in one and the same hall, and for up to 700 guests when the open deck is also used;
• Sit-down dinners and after-work parties for up to 300 guests in oneand the same hall.


Great interest for IMEX America
Amsterdam & Cologne
1h45 from Brussels by Thalys!

IMEX America, which will be held from 11 till 13 October 2011 in Las Vegas, has already been able to generate a lot of interest. In total 1.500 buyers both from the US and abroad are expected.

Prior to the fair the ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) organize their educational events, there will also be the IMEX America Association Evening. MPI will also be present during the IMEX fair with a number of educational events. And to top it all off SITE organizes its yearly meeting immediately after IMEX.

Watch the Imex video, click here.

Since December 13th 2009, Thalys inaugurated the new highspeed connections with Amsterdam & Cologne form Brussels. At a top speed of 300 Km per hour, Amsterdam (1h53) and Cologne (1h47) are now on Brussels’ doorstep and within 3h15 from the centre of Paris!

By making a return in 1 day possible and by increasing the frequencies by introducing a 7th return leg to Amsterdam which in 2010 will still be increased to 10 return trips, Thalys has redefined the European geography. Passengers gain 49 minutes on the Brussels – Amsterdam leg and 29 minutes to Cologne.

One night in Bangkok…

…is not enough writes
Anja De Haen, BCD Travel, Head of MICE Benelux, who was part of the small group of Belgian Incentive Buyers invited by BBT Online on behalf of IT&CMA to attend the 17th edition of the MICE Travel trade show in Bangkok which took place from October 6th through 8th.
Click here
to read the adventures of 5 Incentive Planners in Bangkok.

XV MITM Americas in Havana

The 15th edition of MITM Americas (18 – 19 November), was held in Havana by invitation of Mintur and the Cuban Convention Bureau, born out of their interest to attract to the city of Havana the maximum possible of congresses, conferences, events and incentive travel groups’ business.

It is difficult not to associate Havana with superb architecture, colourful vintage cars, joyful music and – most importantly - with friendly and always cheerful people. In the coming years the authorities wish to promote ecotourism.

Behind this link you find a small report on the fair, and especially a great selection of pictures on Cuba. Click here.

The 2010 Michelin Guide is in the Stores!
Flirt your way to success
The 2010 Michelin Guide for Belgium & Luxembourg is in the stores. This year nothing has changed at the top, there are 8 new star restaurants and the total of restaurants has gone up from 104 to 114.

Also the BIB gourmand category has gone up to 125. Tasty reading!

There is more to flirting than just trying to attract the opposite sex. Flirting for success is a series of workshops and trainings were participants are taught how to use their “charm” in a business environment and that in a positive manner.

Universal Flirting Academy organizes a series of sessions for all or will make a made-to-measure program for your company. www.universalflirtingacademy.com
EFAPCO Congress - Sustainability and Competitiveness in the Meetings Industry

Sustainability and Competitiveness in the Meetings Industry“ is the main theme of the 4th EFAPCO (European Federation of the Associations of Professional Congress Organisers) which will take place in the Square convention centre in Brussels on 7-9 January 2010.

EFAPCO invites you to gather for two days around the topic ‘Sustainability and competitiveness in the Meetings Industry’. This theme comes precisely within the remit of the European Union’s DG Enterprise and Industry. A wide range of topics will be tackled by an impressive line-up of keynote speakers who will definitely prompt stimulating interactive debates with delegates including some foremost industry personalities.

Media Plaza – Utrecht – new meeting facility

New Media Plaza is a facility with 8 meeting rooms and a 700-capacity congress hall in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The aim of the design is to give the client more freedom regarding the setting they want to have their meetings in.

An important part of the design is playing with different projection methods and light sources. Two tunnels give access to the new Media Plaza. This transition is emphasized with interactive projection on the floor. Moving images respond to the movement of people. The main congress hall is designed with a 100% transparent EFTE roof to provide the experience of having a congress meeting under the open sky. More info, click here.

Wish you were here…..!

This time we fly you to another continent, another world: The Mexican city of Veracruz, located on the Gulf of Mexico and founded by Hernán Cortés, was once used as a port for the treasure ships carrying the local riches to Spain. Today Veracruz is a popular tourist destination and has good scuba diving opportunities, especially along the Veracruz Coral Reef System.

In Veracruz we find the hotel Azucar, named for the sugar cane grown in its home state of Veracruz, it was conceived by hotelier Carlos Couturier, founder of some of Mexico’s hippest resort properties. For the Acuzar he decided on an almost anti-design back-to-basics theme that finds its expression in an airy, breezy feeling. The hotel’s 20 low-slung bungalows, all in an intense white-on-white colour scheme, inspire visions of loose cotton clothing, sandals and the easiest of schedules.

“I wanted to recuperate a lifestyle gone by…and give guests the pleasures of simple things”, said Couturier. It’s a simple recipe for luxury, but it works wonders on world-weary souls. www.hotelazucar.com

2 new hotels in Brussels
As always: we selected 1 B&B for you!

Vintage Hotel: A prime location uptown at 50 meter from the fashionable Avenue Louise and 10 min from Grand Place.
29 Vintage style bedrooms in a majestic urban mansion from the beginning of the 20th century.

Each bedroom is unique and decorated with ultimate pieces of design from the last century. All contemporary high tech amenities such as wifi a cosmopolitan traveller deserve. www.vintagehotel.be

Chez Odette
: once a private residence built in the 1920’s , Odette en Ville is situated in the fashionable Chatelain Quarter just off Avenue Louise. The hotel is a private place where it is good relaxing after a day’s work or visiting, this is a hotel with a difference, intimate and exclusive like a boutique hotel, yet with the first class service of a classic establishment. 8 elegant and contemporary bedrooms are all styled with impeccable style and flair; each room is unique and invites to an agreeable stay.

Networking on your business trip
Are you a frequent traveller?
You have enough of eating alone in the hotel restaurant or the usual room service?

Why not take advantage of your time to network with other interesting professionals on business trip?
Meet potential clients or suppliers?
Meet a potential future employer or headhunter?

All you have to do is indicate where and when you will be available. You then receive a list of other professionals on business trip: At the same moment as you. In the same neighbourhood.

Surf to www.trip2B.com for more details.

Finca Naranja, owned and managed by Mrs Conchita Kien from the Netherlands, is a luxury B&B 15 minutes from Ronda and 1 hr from Sevilla in the South of Spain.

Country style on the outside, but trendy modern & cool on the inside, it is the perfect getaway. A swimming pool, private kitchenette and the central location in a beautiful countryside make it a great place from where to discover a great corner of Spain. www.fincanaranja.com

Jethopper-Antwerp: a world premiere

The Aviation Factory, market leader in the Benelux for the organization of made to measure charter flights announces a first in the world. From now on one can rent a private plane via www.jethopper.net , the sort of plane usually only used by CEOs, bankers and ministers.

Via the userfriendly Jethopper-database you can get an instantaneous review of all available flights in Europe. Booking a private jet becomes child play: you indicate your preferences and Jethopper will advise you of the existing possibilities. Rates and the use of private jets become much more accessible this way.
Zinneke’s theme for 2010: a table/aan tafel

Every two-years, Zinneke builds intense collaborations between residents, organisations, collectives, schools and artists from different neighbourhoods of Brussels and beyond. It’s a social and artistic project where people develop their creativity and explore imagination with others. The Zinneke Parade is the result of this collaboration and was first created in the framework of Brussels 2000, European Capital of Culture. In 2010 the Zinneke Parade will celebrate its 10th anniversary!

Zinneke called on to vote for the Parade’s new theme. "A table/Aan tafel" is now yours for 2010.

While for many of us "A table/Aan tafel" evokes the words calling us to the table, we cannot deny the fact that this is not the case for much of humanity. Reaching the table also brings to mind production and waste models, raising questions about their effects and the way we treat our planet. By consequence, eating becomes a political act.


A speaker who can lighten up your conference or meeting: Erik Van Vooren

Watch out for this enterTRainer! You are looking for an enterTRaining keynote speaker to lighten up your Conference or Meeting? Erik Van Vooren can inspire your colleagues or customers with the following topics:

The magic power of your enthusiasm. Personal leadership in challenging times. We can work it out: what can your team learn form the success of the Beatles? Hurray I have stress: turn your shit stress into kick stress. Unchain their brain: how to get your message across with a whole brain presentation.

Altembrouck Estate in Limburg
Style and grandeur
Hotel Heritage Brugge - Relais & Chateaux Newest hotel in Belgium

Amidst its own private estate with a 14th-century castle, this impressive hotel offers style and grandeur. All of the rooms have a great view. The country estate of Altembrouck is located in spectacular grounds with ponds, gardens and fields. Spot deer, badgers and wild boars. Official international supplier of Kobe beef, the Altembrouck estate serves this rare and tasty meat from the Japanese Wagyu cattle of the on-site farm. In addition to this unique culinary experience, you can also enjoy dishes of special Kurohitsu lamb.

Altembrouck makes use of an advanced ecological heating system, where the residual wood from the on-site forests and orchards is processed. Even the waste water is biologically purified. With its large conservatory, historical rooms, coach house and underground reception in vaulted cellars, this hotel is truly one of a kind.


After an absence of more than 10 years in Bruges, Relais & Chateaux finally have a property again in Bruges.

Hotel Heritage, a 24 room property with its fine dining restaurant Le Mystique, in the heart of Bruges, proudly figures in the 2010 guide of Relais & Chateaux. The guide was officially introduced by the President Mr Jaume Tapiès.
www.hotel-heritage.com - www.relaischateaux.com

Hotel Julien
Contemporary design in Antwerp
With 11 spacious rooms in a contemporary design and situated in the very heart of the city, Hotel Julien is a great luxury boutique hotel in Antwerp. Two old & historic townhouses surround a quiet patio and invite guests into a heaven of peace nearby all the major sightseeing places and shopping in Antwerp.

A great little place to make your base for your next visit to the town on the river where shopping is glorious and the choice of restaurants great!
BBT Online readers share their top favorite restaurants, hotels, destinations, personalities, and so much more ....

What do you get when you bring a French lady to Belgium who loves good food & travel? A lot of interesting tips and definitely some interesting views on the world in general. Isabelle Deniaud, Event Manager at MCI, tells us about her favorites, likes & dislikes. Click here.

Wessel Nieuwenweg, Head of Congress Unit at ECCO, the European Cancer Organisation, also enjoys his life in Brussels and has a number of great tips to share with us. He is equally at home in Asia & Denmark and brings some interesting and original addresses to the table. Let yourself be taken on a trip around the(ir) world and take pen & paper to note a couple of places we are sure that tickled your fancy and will be on your list of places to visit! Click here.

Hip Hotels in the sunshine!

Hotel Hillside Su – Antalya, Turkey

15 minutes from Antalya airport. Hillside Su is a dynamic, inspirational haven.
Talk, meet, imagine and live. Simply be.

Casa Angelina – Amalfi Coast, Italy

This 5-star boutique hotel offers 39 rooms and suites, gourmet dining and wellness facilities and views to die for! An ideal romantic getaway.

Mykonos Grace - Mykonos, Greece

The Mykonos Grace is an intimate, exclusive boutique hotel located just north of Mykonos town above the sandy and protected beach of Agios Stefanos. The graceful coexistence of traditional architectural elements and local craftsmanship with modern facilities and simple but elegant design touches is apparent throughout the property.

Really short news

Logeren bij Belgen in het Buitenland 2010” the very popular travel guide is out and is bigger and better than previous years. 24,95 euro. Lannoo.
The hot New Years Eve bash can be found in Tignes with DJ Laurent Wolf.
Click here for more info.
Want to know who & what most influenced the Dutch travel sector in 2009, click here to read an interesting article from the Dutch magazine Zakenreis.
Fit4Business offers a selection of sporting activities for companies under professional supervision. www.fit4business.be
Reed Travel Exhibitions Meetings and Incentives Events announced further developments on the companys newest event, AIBTM in Baltimore – tailor made specifically for the North American market, 21 – 23 June 2011. AIBTM joins the company´s international meetings portfolio of EIBTM in Barcelona, GIBTM in Abu Dhabi, CIBTM in Beijing and AIME in Melbourne - www.aibtm.com.
South Tirol is proud of its 16 Michelin stars and confirms itself as a top gastronomic region!
Tom Dice will represent Belgium on the 55th Eurovision Songcontest in Oslo. If you want to encourage Tom, you can book your trip via www.travel2eurovision.com
Somewhere in the wilds of northern Sweden lurks the biggest elk in the world. See what’s inside possibly the most impressive wooden animal since the Trojan horse: http://www.thelocal.se/blog/20071127/252/
Barely 6 months after its opening the Magritte Museum in Brussels is a resounding success and has by now received over 260.000 visitors! www.musee-magritte-museum.be .To avoid long waiting times, book your tickets up front!
World Cup Packages Football: corporate sales are expected to be weak, according to Fifa.
The 55th Brussels Antique Fair will take place at Tour & Taxis, Brussels January 21ts to 31st, 2010.
Consult BBT Online’s Agenda, and don’t miss any MICE event – www.bbtonline.eu/agenda.php
A good resolution for 2010? Join BBT Online’s Club 100, the green way to stay updated on the latest news. We can safely say that the carbon footprint of our newsletters are negligible. It’s only with your support we can continue. More info, click here.

The Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Brussels organizes a traditional brunch on December 25th and January 1st at € 60 per person. Reservation: restaurant.brussels@radissonblu.com
The former President Nord hotel Brussels has changed its name to Max Hotel, by 3 Stars Hotels and will open its doors in the Spring of 2010 - www.3starshotels.be
Have you always dreamed of spending the night in a cabana in a tree? Now you can, go to www.hotelcabane.be and find out how.
Hotel Le Grand in Amsterdam will reopen in April 2010 after a 40 million euro refurbishment. It will also feature a new restaurant concept Bridges! www.bridgesrestaurant.nl
1001 Nights: Hotel Bazaar in Rotterdam: a mixture of styles, cultures, guests and activities www.hotelbazar.nl
Is it a hotel or a B&B, a gallery or a museum? In fact it is all in one: an exclusive guest residence on Ameland (Holland) for groups of maximum 10 people. www.diteiland.nl
The Townhouse Hotel in Maastricht Holland, has won an award for the best new & innovative hotel concept: www.townhousehotels.nl
A totally new trend in hotels & restaurants: the pop-up hotels! The crisis makes people inventive, in the UK this concept is well on its way to fill a niche in the market! www.themovablekitchen.co.uk
Hotels in Dubai are slashing rates in a bid to boost occupancy levels following news of the Dubai World debt default. Some five-star hotels are offering rooms for well below 110 euro a night, and four-star for less than 35 euro per night.

British billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson unveiled his plan to allow any one of us regular folks with dreams of space travel and to experience the thrill of weightlessness to do so. Tickets are not cheap; they are expected to cost $200,000 each. Watch the YouTube video
BMI Brussels is closing offices as the route connecting Brussels to London is stopping on January 9th 2010. All staff are made redundant at the end of December.
The European Parliament has requested the EU to take precautions for passengers who are stranded by the failure of an airlines. There are rumors of a compensation fund and a mutual responsibility to get passengers to their destination.
The trade unions of the transportation workers in the aviation industry have planned actions as recently in Brussels Airport to attract attention for the situation of the too heavy luggage pieces. The unions ask for a maximum weight of 23 Kg and want to further reduce this to 15 Kg in the foreseeable future.
Finnair has come up with original items for their frequent flyers points: plastic surgery but nobody has claimed this service yet!
Singapore Airlines offers its passengers to Sydney and Melbourne to stop over in Bali.
Lufthansa has announced wanting to make more of an effort on the lowcost market.
Delta Airlines and Sky Team partners have made an offer for the purchase of JAL.
Air France/KLM announce the loss of a further 1700 jobs as a result of the ongoing crisis.
As of April 27th, Hainan Airlines will fly daily between Brussels and Bejing.

On December 15th, the SITE Belgium members elected 2 new members for the new board 2010. The 2 new board members are Sophie Coumont - Dorint Spa and Marco Nagels - Rezidor. Congratulations! www.site-belux.org
Paul Kennedy MBE, Director of Kennedy Consulting, has been appointed Strategic Advisor to the Slovenian Convention Bureau and its flagship – the Conventa trade show.
After many, many years Beatrice De Smet has unexpectedly left Starwood Hotels. Her position will not be replaced. Beatrice can be reached on Beatrice.de.smet@skynet.be
Marianne Impens is now fully operational with her new agency MI Agency and can be reached on marianne@mi-agency.be
Yolanda Logt, Commercial Director CWT Meetings & Incentives in Holland, leaves CWT as per December 18th, no new challenge as yet is known.
Dion Maes left the conference centre Dolce La Hulpe and started a new challenge as Director of Sales at Crowne Plaza Antwerp – dion.maes@cpantwerp.com.

Ana Escarpenter – Turisme de Catalunya Benelux office - Brussels
Thanks BBT Online for such an inspiring, fresh ideas filled, Newsletter!
In addition it has helped me finding the place for our office team X-mas lunch!

No funny film this time - but a golden oldie instead. After all, it is christmas. We are the world - a 24 year old song. A few of the old faces have disappeared, but sadly, the world hasn't changed much. There's still terrible poverty in Africa and other parts of the world. Something we should remember not just at christmas.

Karin de Graauw – Editor BBT Online
Rue Van Eyckstraat 29 – 1050 Brussels – Belgium