Mesut Ozil is a “luxury player”, admits Paul Merson, with Arsenal considered to be doing themselves few favours in freezing him out and edging him ever closer to the exits.Speculation regarding a January move away from north London for the World Cup winner is building.That is because he has slipped out of favour under Unai Emery and is struggling to earn a place in matchday squads, never mind starting lineups. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career Merson is puzzled as to why a proven performer is being ostracised, with the 30-year-old still the most talented option that the Gunners have at their disposal.The former Arsenal star told the Daily Star of goings on at Emirates Stadium: “Mesut Ozil should be starting Arsenal ’s next few games so they can take advantage of how badly Tottenham and Manchester United are struggling.“Arsenal have to make hay while the sun shines and their rivals are struggling, so they have got to put some points together in these games and go on a run.“It’s a big few weeks for them – and that’s why I would play Ozil. I personally think he’s their best player. In terms of ability and talent he’s the best player at the club.“He’s a luxury player, and the manager has obviously decided he can’t carry a player like that in a team that’s already one of the worst around without the ball.“But with these games coming up, Arsenal are going to have 70% of the possession. He thrives in those situations.“Unai Emery should bring him in from the cold. But he won’t. If he plays Ozil and they win, he has to keep playing him, and the manager doesn’t want that. The manager wants him out.“And if that’s the plan then they are going to have to swallow a pill and get rid of him in January come what may. He’s on £350,000-a-week and he’s not playing and doesn’t look like having any chance of playing. I think that’s a mistake.“But if Emery has made his mind up, Arsenal are going to have to find him a move – and they will have to subsidise his wages to do it because no-one else is playing him that.”Merson added on Ozil, who has taken in just two appearances this season: “I thought Ozil was Arsenal’s best player against Watford and he hasn’t played since. That shocked me to be honest.“If he’s showing it in training, he will be embarrassing a lot of the other players there, trust me. But he’s not getting picked.“I’ve had plenty of arguments about this with people who say: ‘Oh, he doesn’t work hard enough’ – and that’s the way the game’s gone these days.“But I would still play him in these games. It was madness giving him the money they did. And they won’t be able to sign a lot of players until his wages are off the books. But I still think he’s a proper player.“Will we ever see Mesut Ozil ripping it up somewhere else? It’s hard to say because you’re only as good as your team-mates and it depends where he goes.“But he’s not finished just because he’s hit 30. He still has more to give for me and could be a success somewhere else.”
Interview By: Andy Ogg – Editor for Travel Professional NEWSInterviewing: John Ische, President, Trisept Solutions Thank you for taking the time today John and we really appreciate your willingness to interact with our great community of Travel Professionals! Can you give us a brief history of your career and how you came to arrive at Trisept Solutions? I started as a software developer (a long time ago, 1985!), right when we re-architected our system. It was a great learning experience since it required that I learn the business from top to bottom to rebuild the system. Since that time, I’ve been able to take this experience and develop an exceptional team. Together we’ve been able to deliver some of the largest innovations in leisure travel distribution. What is your current role at Trisept Solutions? I’m the president of Trisept and it’s my privilege to lead the team of 185 travel technology professionals we have in our Milwaukee and Dallas offices. How long has Xcelerator been available for Travel Professionals? Xcelerator released in the market in December of 2015 as a free beta test for agents. It was great to receive agent feedback about our product. We then fully launched Xcelerator in December 2016 and so we just came up on our first complete year in the market. Can you tell us about the CRM function that Xcelerator has to offer Travel Professionals? The Client Relationship Management feature of Xcelerator is one of its the many highly- valued capabilities of Xcelerator. From seamless integration with VAX VacationAccess to creating agency-branded travel itineraries, the CRM function is a one-stop solution for end-to-end client management. A Travel Professional can capture everything they need to help provide the most superior level of consultation for their clients. The platform provides real-time updates regarding activities relevant to trips and payments for different date ranges. That is fantastic! Can you share with us what new features were just released with Xcelerator 1.1? Xcelerator 1.1 was the fifth release of enhancements this year and one with some significant design, usability and functionality improvements. The biggest functional improvement was with the integration of the automatic reservation import from major cruise and tour suppliers. Xcelerator has always had the capability to import VAX reservations, but with this release, we have opened up our system to more suppliers. Agents can now import their agent invoice PDFs from leading suppliers and have the pertinent details automatically feed right into Xcelerator. We started with five major suppliers and will continue to add others. Another major enhancement with Xcelerator 1.1 includes a new workflow for more efficient customer management. We have also improved the usability for daily tasks, to-dos and agent productivity. In regards to Travel Professionals that are already working with Xcelerator, can you tell us how it is affecting their business so far? With any new tool, it takes a little getting used to before it becomes a daily staple. That’s what Xcelerator has become to many of our agents, their go-to business manager. Agents who have been using Xcelerator anywhere from a few years to a few weeks see an immediate improvement in their business performance and client retention. Most consistently, we hear about how Xcelerator is a huge time saver in that it’s really helped travel agencies automate daily tasks and humanize client relationships. Agents who supplement their business with Xcelerator have more time to sell superior travel experiences. Here’s a direct quote from an Xcelerator user, Stacy Billhartz with Total Access Travel Co: “Using technology day to day keeps a business person organized with daily tasks, appointments, reminders. It is easy to lose a to-do list, but if it is right there every time you log in, it makes it easy. It is important to utilize the technology that is provided because it makes the job easier. Xcelerator tracks the travel and payments due, one look at the task manager and you know what needs to be completed today, this week and next week. Xcelerator is a great help to the daily workload, and it keeps my business organized.” What do you feel is the best tool that Xcelerator offers a Travel Professional? Modern technology tools come in different forms to help Travel Professionals stay productive and competitive. However, even some of the most tech savvy individuals find themselves juggling multiple tools to help run their entire business. These individuals still rely on spreadsheets, email inboxes, multiple websites and word processors to manage just one client’s trip with one supplier. That’s a lot of time and effort wasted on managing a workspace, especially if an agent is still using notepads and filing cabinets to stay organized. The best tool that Xcelerator offers is the overall functionality to manage the entirety of a Travel Professional’s workflow on one secure platform. Agents who use Xcelerator as a complete toolkit reap the most success, whether it’s measured in more return customers or their improved quality of sales. Xcelerator allows any Travel Professional with any level of technical expertise to quickly master the art of providing expert travel consultation while being a smart entrepreneur. What’s next for the Xcelerator program? We have a lot of great new enhancements rolling out in the coming months for Xcelerator. We continue to interact with agents who use Xcelerator and those still shopping in the travel tech marketplace. With all the feedback we have gotten, we will be taking huge strides to make sure Xcelerator users will need fewer tools outside of our platform to do everything they need with their travel business. This includes client engagement features, a re-designed itinerary function and more reporting capabilities. We will stay consistent with our usability and design enhancements throughout the app, and will be adding more suppliers to the reservation import feature. Are there any current promotions or specials for Travel Professionals looking to sign up with Xcelerator? Absolutely! By signing up today, the first month is on us, completely risk free. After that it’s only $20 per month, per user. Where can our readers register and start using Xcelerator? Readers can register by visiting http://triseptsolutions.com/Xcelerator/ When you subscribe and start your free trial, be sure to indicate that you heard about Xcelerator through your trusted travel publication, Travel Professional NEWS! Thank you so much for the time today John, as well as the very valuable information that you have shared and we look forward to the what’s next for Trisept Solutions and Xcelerator!
FIJI: 13 June 2018: Visitors to Fiji can now enjoy Friday evenings at Fiji’s Malamala Beach Club with the launch of the ‘Sunsets and Seafood’ dining experience beginning Friday 29 June 2018. Available on Friday nights until 26 October 2018, visitors can enjoy those warm Fiji nights at the Malamala Beach Club – from 5.15pm with a glass of champagne in hand, sit back and relax as you cruise out from Port Denarau to the world’s first island beach club. On arrival, walk down our famous jetty, enjoy one of the many famous cocktails with a round of canapes. Experience that famous Fiji sunset overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. (don’t forget to tag us; #malamalabeachclub #malamalamoments The culinary team led by Executive Chef Lance Seeto will be cooking a fresh seafood and meat selection on the open grill, along with a buffet of sides dishes to select from. Don’t forget our dessert station before you enjoy one last cocktail prior to boarding your high speed catamaran back to Port Denarau. Malamala Beach General Manager Club Tish Mete says we’ve been waiting for the right time to launch our evening opportunities. ‘Adding another event to Malamala Beach Club has always been part of our overall plan and we are excited to make Fridays part of our new offering’. South Sea Cruises Director of Sales and Marketing Wayne Deed says, “It’s great to offer guests a new dining event, with a cruise component. Malamala Beach Club has been a great place to visit during the day, and now we can introduce guests to what we can offer in the evening”. During the day, Malamala Beach Club is a unique island day trip with an infinity pool, beachside cabanas – with butler service – white sandy beaches, handcrafted cocktails and a contemporary menu inspired by local Fijian flavours and produce – and only 25 minutes from Port Denarau. New features include day beds by the pool, which are for hire and a new ocean-side beach deck with additional loungers and beanbag seating. Enjoy complimentary non-motorised water sports equipment so there is plenty to do. Or guests can relax and book one of the private beachside cabanas dotted around the island, and soak up the sunshine and cuisine. Malamala Beach Club is also available for exclusive charter hire and is the perfect venue for a corporate incentive, family celebration or wedding.To book your Friday night spot for ‘Sunsets and Seafood’ visit malamalabeachclub.com About South Sea Cruises GroupThe multi award winning ‘South Sea Cruises Group™www.ssc.com.fj is Fiji’s leading maritime operator, providing a range of day cruises to explore Fiji’s iconic islands and an inter-island resort connection (ferry) service for the Mamanuca and Yasawa group of islands. Also part of the South Sea Cruises portfolio is Fiji’s premier small ship cruising experience, Blue Lagoon Cruises www.bluelagooncruises.com offering three, four and seven night cruises; Awesome Adventures Fiji www.awesomefiji.com, catering to backpackers and independent travellers; Yasawa Islands Holidays www.yasawaislandsholidays.com specialising in couples and family holiday experiences in the Yasawa Islands; and Vinaka Fiji, vinakafiji.org.fj a voluntourism experience focused on building sustainable communities, education and marine conservation and Malamala Beach Club malamalabeachclub.com the world’s first island beach club which opened in August 2017.
Towards the end of the brief ceremony the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake made a surprise visit to the location and extended his best wishes to the new Chief of Staff. Major General K. A. D. A Karunasekara RWP RSP VSV USP ndu psc, popularly known as ‘Amal Karunasekara’ was the Commandant of the Defence Services Command and Staff College, Sapugaskanda and the 15th Colonel of the Regiment in the Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment.Major General Amal Karunasekara joined the Sri Lanka Army as an Officer Cadet in the year 1981, and after the completion of his initial Officer Cadet training in the prestigious Sri Lanka Military Academy, Diyathalawa, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army in 1984. Being a professional military officer with an excellent record of conduct, he has an outstanding career record spanning more than 35 years to-date.Major General Amal Karunasekara has followed numerous local and overseas courses in various fields of studies to enhance his knowledge and continuous professional advancement. Among them the advanced courses he followed in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, United States of America and the United Kingdom, to his credit. He has received a Masters Degree in Defence and Strategic Studies from the University of Madras, India and also a Master of Science Degree in Defence Management from the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka. In addition he has also followed the course on ‘Defence and Stretegic Studies’ in National Defence University, China.He is a double staff qualified Military Officer at the Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) and Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India. Director General General Staff (DGGS), Military Secretary (MS), Master General Ordnance (MGO) and several Senior Officers were present during the brief inauguration of office. In his extended military career, he has served in many Command, Instructional and Staff appointments from the elementary level up to the higher level to-date. Among several key appointments that he held were Director Military Intelligence, Director Infantry, Master General of Ordnance Branch (MGO Br) and Military Secretary of the Sri Lanka Army. The 51st Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army, Major General Amal Karunasekara assumed office this morning during a simple ceremony at his office in the Army Headquarters.Members of the Maha Sangha performed religious observances and invoked blessings on the new appointment as the new Chief of Staff Major General Amal Karunasekara began signing a formal document to signify the acceptance of his new office. He has the honour of being the Commander of the first-ever Sri Lankan contingent of troops for the United Nations Peace Keeping Operations that was sent to Haiti in 2004.He has also commanded an infantry Battalion and an infantry Brigade during many military operations conducted against LTTE terrorists. (Colombo Gazette)