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Friday, May 17, 2019

SeaLink Launches Kangaroo Island Self-Drive Packages

There is no better way to explore magnificent Kangaroo Island than with one of SeaLink's self-drive KI short break packages. Discover the island at your own leisurely pace, its amazing sights, food and wine, beaches, wildlife and landscapes and soak up experiences of a lifetime.

Switzerland Tourism Asks Visitors to Take A Hike

Go Classic, Go Wild or Go Soft

Switzerland Tourism has launched their 2019 Summer Campaign, which encourages visitors to take a hike. Literally.

A continuation of the tourism boards' overarching 'Nature Wants You Back' campaign, which kicked off in 2017, this year's hiking theme aims to showcase the 65,000km of trails on offer around the country.

Known for its pristine natural assets of majestic snow-capped mountains, glassy lakes, waterfalls, verdant valleys and moors, Switzerland also has the densest network of hiking trails, all of which are clearly marked by 50,000 signposts and way-markers, thanks to the work of 1,500 volunteers who help to set up and maintain these signage.

With about half of Aussie visitors to Switzerland embarking on at least one hike during their stay, the tourism board reports that 85% of these hikes are independently arranged.

The three key hiking trails in this year's campaign, where travellers and hikers can go classic, go wild or go soft are the Via Alpina, the Alpine Passes Trail and the Jura Crest Trail.

The Via Alpina is the classic among the long-distance hikes in Switzerland. Crossing 14 of the most beautiful alpine passes, it leads through the northern Alps of Switzerland (Vaduz – Montreux, via six cantons), where hikers can experience the picture-postcard scenery first hand.

The Alpine Passes Trail is challenging and wild, with a promise to deliver an amazing experience in the great outdoors. Connecting Chur with Lake Geneva via some of the most stunning passes in the Graub├╝nden and Valais Alps, this trail is ideal for long-distance hikers, where they will enjoy endless pristine nature, views of 4,000m peaks and classic mountain huts,

Gentle and relatively unknown to non-Swiss hikers, the Jura Crest Trail is the oldest long-distance trail in Switzerland. Connecting Zurich and Geneva via the Jura mountains, the untouched landscape and tranquil appeal of the remoteness and glorious views make this easy graded hike a local favourite.

For more information on hiking in Switzerland, visit

Help UTracks Build a Forest

UTracks, Australia's leading active European specialist is planting a tree for every booking on its Austrian Lakes and Dachstein Circuit walking itineraries.

"With World Environment Day happening on 05 June and National Tree Day on 28 July, it is a timely reminder that travellers can painlessly contribute to the greening of our planet," UTracks General Manager, Kate Baker said. "It's a great way for our travellers to make a positive impact on the region."

UTracks, in partnership with the Salzkammergut Tourism body and the Austrian Federal Forest Authority, will plant a tree in the stunning Wei├čenbachtal Valley for each booking on the Austrian Lakes Walk and Dachstein Circuit  walks.

Each planted tree will be tagged with the booking number, photographed and the photo included in the clients documents.

"We're also encouraging travellers on the Austrian Lakes Walk trip to visit their tree during their hike," Ms Baker continued.

The self guided eight day walks in the UNESCO World Heritage listed area of Salzkammergut are available daily until mid October.

Austrian Lakes Walk - departs daily from Bad Ischl, priced from $1150 per person.

The Salzkammergut alpine region of Austria encompasses 76 crystal clear lakes, the Dachstein Glacier, lush summer meadows and impressive rock faces up to 3000 vertical metres high. During this inspiring walk, there is ample time to appreciate the natural beauty of the region and the alpine villages of wooden chalets decorated with colourful window boxes while at night you will enjoy the warm hospitality of your hosts.

Dachstein Circuit - departs daily from 1 July to 30 September from Gosau, priced from $2290 per person.

South east of Salzburg is the Dachstein massif, a lime stone mountain containing some of the largest caves in Austria. The walk is typified by its series of peaks over 2500m, glaciers and sharp descents to the valley floor. Take in the awesome views of ice fields and alpine meadows, limestone peaks and dramatic lakes as you trek this exhilarating circuit. At night you stay in atmospheric mountain hotels interspersed with nights in mountain huts high up on the central massif.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Why Aussie travellers dislike group touring

A national survey of 1,000 travellers has revealed what puts Aussies off when it comes to large group tours abroad.

The survey, commissioned as part of Intrepid's Adventure Travel Index, asked consumers to rank what deters them about large group tours from a list of common complaints. At the top of the list was feeling like they're part of mass tourism - proving travellers are seeking out more personal and bespoke experiences. The second biggest concern with group touring was only visiting places where the leaders get a commission, followed by a fear of having a lack of free time.

Travellers also said group tours wouldn't allow them to experience a destination like a local and they were deterred by 'cookie cutter' experiences with nothing unique on the itinerary.

Luckily for Intrepid Travel, these concerns don't translate to their small group tours. To answer why size matters so much, CEO James Thornton said: "Small group tours are based around 16 or less people guided by a local and visiting places on and off the tourist trail. The itineraries take the guesswork and lengthy planning out of it, but allow for free time to explore a place. In small groups, the tour leader has the opportunity to ad lib and share what's unique about his or her home country."

He went on to say that Intrepid would hate for sceptics of touring to lump us in the same category as all group tours.

"Small group tours address what's wrong with mass tourism by minimising the impact on the local environment. At Intrepid, we use only local tour leaders meaning out travellers can immerse themselves completely in their chosen destination, and our specially designed itineraries go to places that large groups, and cruise ships, simply can't access."

Art Macao - five month festival kicks off in June

MACAO is set to stage its largest array of art exhibitions as part of its year-long 20th-anniversary celebrations as a Special Administrative Region of China (SAR).

The five-month festival - Art Macao – will officially begin in June with a host of public venues and integrated resorts unveiling internationally recognised exhibits.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Vital travel trends revealed in Intrepid's second Adventure Travel Index

  • Intrepid claim ‘undertourism is the new overtourism’ releasing new density ratios and a ‘health check’ for destinations
  • Emerging destinations predicted as Tajikistan, Papua New Guinea and Iran
  • Australia’s first ‘Travel Wellness Index’ revealed as active trips captivate travellers

PNG children welcome visitors (R Eime)

Intrepid Travel has released their second annual Adventure Travel Index sharing new research, expert opinions and industry insight with all Australians.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Tsunami of cancellations for Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan jets

Analysis by ForwardKeys, which forecasts future travel patterns by analysing over 17 million flight booking transactions a day, reveals that a tidal wave of cancellations has hit Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the horrendous terror attacks of Easter Sunday.

In the three days immediately after the bombings, cancellations of existing bookings surged 86.2% whilst new bookings fell away. In Sri Lanka’s most important source markets, more people cancelled existing flights than made bookings on the equivalent day last year. In order of size, that comprises India, China, the UK, Australia, Germany and France. Forward bookings for July and August, which had been running 2.6% ahead of last year, as of 20th April, fell to 0.3% behind as of 23rd April.

Prior to the Easter Sunday atrocities, Sri Lanka’s tourism industry was showing healthy growth. Flight bookings to Sri Lanka in 2019 (1st Jan to 20th April) were 3.4% up on the same period in 2018. The tourism highlights were Russia, Australia and China, which showed visitor increases of 45.7%, 19.0% and 16.8% respectively.

Jameson Wong, Director, Business Development, APAC, ForwardKeys
Jameson Wong, Director,
Business Development,
APAC, ForwardKeys
Jameson Wong, Director, Business Development, APAC, ForwardKeys, said: “What Sri Lanka has suffered is just horrendous and our hearts go out to all the victims, their families and the people of Sri Lanka.” He continued: “At the moment, it is really too early to predict what the effect on tourism to Sri Lanka will be, as the initial wave of cancellations affects trips planned in the very near term. If we look back at past terrorist atrocities, it is interesting to note how different the impacts can be. In the wake of the bloody siege at the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi, bookings suffered a similar collapse in the immediate aftermath; however, within less than two weeks, international arrivals returned to growth. By comparison, it has taken more than three years to see a Tunisian tourism recovery following the massacre on the beach in Sousse in 2015. We will keep the situation under review."

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