■ TourismInternational arrivals soar
The lucrative tourism sector enjoyed double digit growth almost across the board from January to August, according to the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization (WTO), which released its barometer report last week in Monaco. "All regions saw a surge in international arrivals," said the report, which was unveiled by WTO Secretary-General Francesco Fran-gialli. Asia and the Pacific led the way with 37 percent volume growth while North America ended three nega-tive years to record a 12 percent rise, in line with the global average. However, the International Air Trans-port Association (IATA) has which forecast crippling losses for airlines. IATA Director-General Giovanni Bisignani said losses for global airlines may well exceed a US$3 billion to US$4 billion dollar forecast this year unless the price of a barrel descends from current record highs above US$50.
HK Disneyland hiring
Hong Kong Disneyland has launched its recruitment drive, with more than 1,000 people vying for 500 per-former positions at the theme park, newspapers reported yesterday. The park kicked off auditions on Saturday to fill about 200 dancer slots, while audi-tions for actors, singers and musicians are being held this month and January, the Sing Tao Daily reported. The Apple Daily quoted a park official as saying the park will hire a total of 500 performers and has already received over 1,000 appli-cations. The theme park is a joint venture between the Hong Kong government and The Walt Disney Co.
Halliburton inks Oman deals
Halliburton Co the world's largest oilfield-services company, won contracts worth at least US$400 million over five years to help Oman, the Middle East's largest non-OPEC crude exporter, to produce more oil, the company said. Halliburton will assist Petroleum Development Oman with oil well drilling, monitoring and production to help it increase output by almost a quarter to 800,000 barrels a day of crude by 2007, the firm said in a press release. State-controlled Petroleum Development Oman, which is 34 percent owned by Royal Dutch/Shell Group, produces 95 percent of Oman's total oil output of about 700,000 barrels a day, according to government figures. The company plans to reduce operating costs by US$2 billion over the next five years, partly by out-sourcing work to oilfield-service companies.
AT&T settlement approved
A judge in Colorado has approved a US$3.75 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit challenging billing practices at AT&T Wireless. The settlement affects up to 3 million current and former subscribers, most of whom will have to file a claim to receive an average value of US$3. Consumers could also get up to US$25 in benefits like calling cards, free air time or discount coupons for phone accessories from the settlement. AT&T Wire-less Services has denied any wrongdoing involving so-called out-of-cycle bills for calls that subscribers made on other carrier's networks. Customers alleged that AT&T Wireless cheated them by using a delayed billing pro-cess, which charged cus-tomers for roaming calls they wouldn't have incurred if the calls had been billed in the month they were placed. The settlement applies to customers who had cell-phone service before December 1999.