* The Croatian National Tourist Office in the U.S. has announced that Croatia will no longer require entry visas for visitors from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel. There has been a 33 percent increase in tourism over the past 12 months, with U.S. tourism accounting for a big part of that increase. This new ruling aims to make it easier for planners to book meetings in Croatia.
* In conjunction with the Tourism Association of Thailand, Accor Asia Pacific (AAPC), which manages 131 hotels in the Asia-Pacific region, has launched a new meeting and incentive guide for planners, containing comprehensive information on destinations and venues in Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Laos. For a copy, call Accor in Bangkok at (66) (2) 267-0810 or fax (66) (2) 237-1308.
* Benchmark Hospitality International has joined with the San Miguel Company of the Philippines to develop the conference center concept in that country. Benchmark will evaluate existing facilities for expansion. Headquartered in Woodlands, TX, Benchmark has a roster of a dozen conference centers in the U.S. and has assumed pre-opening management of the U-Thong Inn and Executive Conference Center in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
* After a five-year absence, the Netherlands Board of Tourism resumed membership in the European Travel Commission (ETC) in October. The return of the Netherlands brings the total number of national tourism organizations to 28. Croatia became the 27th member earlier this year. ETC was created in 1948. Visit the organization's Web site at www.visiteurope.com.
* Concerned about the state of your attendees after a long flight to Asia? If you're meeting at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo, you might consider putting them through the Jet Lag Plan.
This recovery method, developed with a consultant to NASA, focuses on exercise, relaxation, and nutrition. In-room relaxation sessions include the use of a light box, soothing videotapes, and a special napping pillow; exercise may take the form of a swim in the health club pool or a series of stretches; and a carefully planned meal emphasizes either protein (for an energy boost) or carbohydrates (to let you sleep). There is a fee--$82, which may be negotiable for groups. For more information, call The Leading Hotels of the World at (800) 223-6800.
* Starting in January, conferees at the Adelaide Convention Centre and Exhibition Hall will be able to smoke in designated areas outside, but not in any of the buildings. The decision was made in response to the fact that more than 90 percent of event organizers request a nonsmoking policy during their events, reports Convention Centre General Manager Pieter van der Hoeven.