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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Great Keppel Island Resort is one step closer

GKI Resort tourism proposal now open for public comment

The Great Keppel Island Revitalisation plan is now one BIG step closer to achieving its end goal of building a world class eco-tourism resort on the island just off Queensland's Capricorn Coast. Queensland's Coordinator General, has today released the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), of the proposed development, for public comment.

The proposed development is a $600 million low-rise, eco-tourism resort to be constructed over a 12 year period. This project would supply the region with more than 400 building jobs annualised over the 12 year construction and 1,000 additional jobs for the operation of a resort.

Chairman of Capricorn Enterprise (The Region's peak Tourism and Development Organisation), Grant Cassidy, said, "Great Keppel Island is an iconic Australian destination and this development is a critical step in helping to achieve the goals set by state government and the tourism industry at its recent DestinationQ forum. When the original resort on Great Keppel Island closed over 4 years ago, the Capricorn region's visitation dropped by approximately 200,000 visitors per year. Local business operators want to see the island returned to its former glory and it is critical that this happens not only from a local tourism perspective but also for the whole of state Tourism portfolio".

The first stage of the development is the establishment of a new 250 suite hotel on the old resort site, with accompanying restaurants and conference facilities. This resort proposal will ensure about 40 per cent of the island (575 hectares), would be an environmental protection area to be rehabilitated and protected in perpetuity.

Mary Carroll, CEO of Capricorn Enterprise said, "This is an extremely exciting day for tourism, not just in our Capricorn Coast and Southern Great Barrier Reef region, but the entire state. The Great Keppel Island revitalization has been one of our organisation's seven priority projects for the past two years and I say bravo to Tower Holdings for having the commitment and perseverance to get this major project to this point".

Mary Carroll said, "I urge anyone who wants to see this development happen to submit their views during the next 30 days because it is critical that if we and the broader business community want a resort on Great Keppel Island, they must voice their support".

The GKI Revitalisation Plan will only go ahead if the current Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is approved. This could be 30 of the most important days that the Capricorn region will ever see!

To find out more information and to support the plan visit www.gkiresort.com.au

   http://www.capricornenterprise.com.au

Sheraton on the Park wins at AHA (NSW) Awards for Excellence 2012

Sheraton on the Park has again been recognised for their consistently outstanding achievements, by winning two awards at the 2012 AHA (NSW) Awards for Excellence, on Thursday 26th July. Sheraton on the Park took home 'Brasserie / Café of the Year' and 'Workplace Health & Safety Hotel of the Year'.

Renowned for its popular seafood buffet and five star service, Sheraton on the Park's Botanica Brasserie was named "Café / Brasserie of the Year".  This is the third time that Botanica has won this award previously winning in 2008 and 2010; further acknowledges its reputation as the best seafood buffet in Sydney.  With its central location and sweeping view of Hyde Park, Botanica Brasserie is the perfect place to enjoy a meal with colleagues or loved ones.

Sheraton on the Park was also awarded "Workplace Health and Safety Hotel of the Year" and as an industry leader, this award reinforces that Sheraton on the Park is committed to looking after the safety, health and wellbeing of associates, guests and visitors. All associates are committed to safe work practices and this is reflected in the success at these awards. This is the fourth year that the hotel has won this award previously winning in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

The Australian Hotels Association (NSW) Awards for Excellence are recognised as the most prestigious awards in the hospitality industry, honouring the achievement of excellence in service. According to Mr. Sean Hunt Managing Director, Sheraton on the Park and Regional Vice President Starwood Pacific Hotels, the award recognises the Hotels commitment to taking care of both all guests and associates.

"Winning these prestigious awards is the culmination of many years of hard work and constant investment in our facilities and our people. Through an unprecedented string of awards, Sheraton on the Park has firmly positioned itself as the hotel of choice in the highly competitive 5-star Sydney market. All kudos to our talented team of associates, who go above and beyond to deliver exceptional services to our guests", he said.


SHERATON ON THE PARK 
161 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Is Australia’s Gold Coast ready for Megaliners. Mayor says ‘yes’.



Compiled from news sources by Roderick Eime

Gold Coast (Queensland, Australia) mayor, Tom Tate, is in Florida on a self-funded tour of inspiration which included cruise ship mega-port, Miami, and gambling metropolis, Las Vegas.

While his city development plans include the slightly oxymoronic-sounding Gold Coast culture precinct that would require another casino to underwrite it, the most interesting point to come out of his pilgrimage was further visions for a super terminal, one with three cruise ship berths, a superyacht marina, casino, surf club and underwater observatory.

Tate says that one suggestion involves a AU$200 million complex at Tugun, commissioned by billionaire developer and chairman of Leda Group, Bob Ell.

Mr Ell proposes to finance the project through a public-private partnership arrangement.

Another proposal uses Broadwater Parklands as a site for a $35 million cruise ship facility, while two other locations are along the Spit: one north of Sea World and the other at the Seaway entrance.

"We'll narrow it right down and you know what?" Tate said on local ABC radio, "Why not let the Gold Coast people also give an input and when I start hearing about the preferred option for our residents, I'll be listening and I'll say why don't we go this way?"

Mayor Tate hopes to have one of the terminals in operation for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and be large enough to accommodate the world’s biggest cruise liners, like QM2.

Sources: Gold Coast Bulletin, ABC Radio




Outback Survival



OUTBACK SURVIVAL is a timeless practical run down on everything you need to know to survive in the outback.

Bob Cooper's incredible bushcraft skills have been developed through more than 25 years of experience in the outback. He has picked up tools of survival from the experiences of living with traditional Aboriginal communities, instructing with Special Forces Units, lecturing with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service on desert survival in the Mexican Desert, delivering wilderness lessons in the UK and learning the skills of the bushmen of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana.

Bob has put his own lessons to the test, dropping himself off in the 42C heat of the Australian desert with only a map and soap box sized survival kit, no food, water or sleeping gear, and a 10 day walk across 160km of rough terrain back to safety. He did this alone and showed that with the right knowledge of the land, you can survive.

The outback of Australia is one of the most unforgiving regions of the world, but Bob is committed to protecting and enhancing the experience people have when venturing out into the bush.

About the Author
Bob Cooper - 25 years
surviving in the outback

Bob Cooper is the go-to survival man for ABC radio and TV. He has delivered outback safety and survival courses since 1990 and is considered the leading desert survival instructor in Australia. He has also featured in several major television documentaries produced for National Geographic America, the BBC, Discover Channel, The World Around Us and 60 Minutes.

He is now based in Perth, Western Australia, and conducts a variety of bush survival skills courses.

For more information visit: http://www.bobcoopersurvival.com/index.asp
Other titles by Bob Cooper || Read a chapter

Hachette Australia
9780733628313
$24.99 Paperback - B Format
August 2012 256 pages

New Adelaide hotel to showcase "premium economy" accommodation


City to get first purpose-built economy hotel for two decades

Accor will launch its pioneering economy hotel brand, Ibis, in Adelaide following the signing of an agreement with hotel developer and investor, Hines Property, who will develop a new hotel in the heart of the Adelaide CBD.

The $65 million hotel development, which received planning approval in March this year, will be located in a prime location on Grenfell Street which houses many of the major corporate institutions and also enjoys immediate access to the shopping precinct of Rundle Mall and leisure based attractions in the city. The new hotel will reach 17 levels to the Adelaide skyline with panoramic views over Hindmarsh Square and to the Adelaide Hills.

Timing of the development will coincide with the opening of the expanded Adelaide Convention Centre and redevelopment of Adelaide Oval with construction planned to commence later this year with a scheduled opening early in 2014.

With 307 guest rooms, Ibis Adelaide will be the largest Ibis Hotel in Australia and will be a major boost for Adelaide's tourism sector which is dominated by 4 and 5 star hotels. The hotel will also be the first purpose-built economy hotel in the CBD for over two decades and the first internationally branded hotel of its type to open its doors in Adelaide.

The Ibis Adelaide will join a network of Ibis Hotels across every other mainland state capital in Australia and will join a network of over 900 Ibis hotels worldwide. The announcement of the new Ibis in Adelaide follows Accor's decision earlier this year to give its Ibis brand "megabrand" status, creating three tiers for the brand – Ibis Budget, Ibis Hotels and Ibis Styles.

The Ibis brand is the biggest economy hotel brand in the world, with Ibis Adelaide joining a global network that includes cities like London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Dubai, Bangkok, Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta and Auckland.

"This will be a key development for Adelaide," said Chief Operating Officer Accor Pacific, Simon McGrath.

"The economy hotel sector is the fastest growing market in global travel, and is set to grow even faster with the rapid expansion of low-cost carriers. Many other hotel groups have talked about developing economy hotels in Australia, but only Accor has delivered the product. We expect to announce another major new Ibis project later in the year.

"What is different about Ibis is that it has invested extensively in giving a premium economy experience. Ibis hotels are quite different from 3-star hotels of just a decade ago, with the brand offering premium bedding, very contemporary design and outstanding use of space, so that we can offer a quality product but at a genuine 3-star price.

"The hotel's launch will stimulate travel from a range of sectors, but particularly business and leisure travel. The brand is known around the world and particularly in Australia's key Asian markets such as China, Indonesia, Singapore and India. A state of the art Ibis will open in a few months in Hong Kong and this will give the brand even greater visibility in the burgeoning Asian market, added Mr. McGrath.

Hines Property is no stranger to hotel development having recently completed the award winning $100m Crowne Plaza Adelaide hotel. The company has also developed numerous other apartment projects and hotel projects in Adelaide.

"The Adelaide Hotel market has a predominance of older style properties operated at the four and five star level and there is an evident gap in the market for both new hotels and those which are operated at the premium economy level. Traditional hotels have so many underutilised guest services and facilities which ultimately increase room rates charged to guests. At Ibis Adelaide we won't be offering shoe shine services and room turn downs but we will be offering a hotel of high quality and design. By limiting services to those which are essential to our guests we will be able to offer extremely competitive and compelling room rates in an excellent location which is ideal for both corporate and leisure travellers.

"We have been through a rigorous hotel operator selection process and we have appointed Accor to operate this hotel as they are widely regarded as one of the global leaders in managing economy hotels,

"We expect Ibis Adelaide to set the standards for premium economy hotel accommodation in Australia," said Hines Property Managing Director, James Hines.

Ibis Adelaide will offer guests restaurant and bar facilities, a fitness centre, business centre, guest lounge, conference and meeting space and comprehensive Wi-Fi coverage throughout the hotel.

The launch of Ibis Adelaide will build on Accor's already substantial presence in South Australia, complementing hotels such as Mercure Grosvenor, Sebel Playford, Rockford Adelaide, Grand Mercure Mount Lofty House and Novotel Barossa Valley Resort.

For more information visit www.hinesproperty.com.au

www.accor.com | www.facebook.com/Accor | www.accorhotels.com

 

 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Rees Hotel Queenstown Wins US Wine Spectator Excellence Award

True South Dining Room is one of only seven top tier New Zealand restaurants to be awarded the 2012 Award of Excellence by US wine and hospitality magazine, Wine Spectator.

The internationally acclaimed Wine Spectator's annual Excellence Awards recognise a wine list of 100 or more quality wine selections that thematically match a restaurant's cuisine.

True South Dining Room has an exclusive library of Bordeaux wines with vintages selected from all the great houses of Bordeaux.  Wines from world-renown chateaux such as Latour, Margaux, Mouton Rothschild, Gruaud Larose, Malescot St Exupery and Lynch Bages nestle with the best wines of Central Otago and New Zealand in the professionally-managed, temperature-controlled wine cellar servicing the hotel and restaurant's Bordeau Wine Lounge.

Candice Chow, The Rees Hotel and True South Dining Room Food & Beverage Operations Manager says it's the restaurants ability to match exquisite wine with fresh local dishes in addition to an entire wine programme - which includes tastings, wine pairing and the True South Culinary Series – that sets the restaurant apart for this award.

A great supporter of local vineyards, True South hosts the Culinary Series in conjunction with prestigious New Zealand wineries throughout the year - John Buck of Te Mata Estate Winery will present the next event, September 12th.

True South Dining Room is the only New Zealand new entrant to pick up the international Wine Spectator accolade. The Rees CEO Mark Rose says it's recognition of the effort they have put into building a world-class cellar while confirming their place as one of New Zealand's elite dining experiences.

"Wine Spectator is known as an industry bible so to have this tribute from such a widely-read and esteemed reviewer is huge kudos."

It's not the first time the Queenstown restaurant has received accolades for its fine dining and wine list.  The restaurant was named as a Premier Award winner in the inaugural Taste of New Zealand Awards (TONZA) programme last year and Head Chef Ben Batterbury was selected as an Ambassador Chef in the 2012 Beef & Lamb Excellence Awards - a first for the tourism capital of Queenstown.

All Wine Spectator award winners are featured in Wine Spectator's August issue which hits newsstands on July 24.


Background

The Rees Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand

The Rees Hotel blends chic five star accommodation with all the comforts of home and the service and facilities of an elite international hotel.

Situated on the absolute lakefront, The Rees' terraced construction delivers complete privacy and showcases panoramic views overlooking Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables Mountains in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Its landmark restaurant is the True South Dining Room.

http://www.therees.co.nz
http://www.facebook.com/therees  
http://twitter.com/thereeshotel
http://www.facebook.com/truesouthdining
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thereeshotel
http://www.youtube.com/TheReesHotel
http://thereeshotel.blogspot.com
http://thereeshotelconcierge.blogspot.com

Travel Industry Award Winners

The full list of winners:

Rookie of the Year - Agent: Rebecca Scaffidi, World Travel Professionals, WA

Best Travel Consultant - Retail: Sophie Fitzgerald, Flight Centre Mt Hawthorn, WA

Best Travel Agency Retail - Multi Location: Phil Hoffman Travel

Best Travel Agency Retail - Single Location: Harvey World Travel Winston Hills

Best Travel Consultant - Corporate: Daryl Dickson, Globetrotter Corporate Travel, WA

Best Travel Agency Corporate - Multi Location: Corporate Traveller

Best Travel Agency Corporate - Single Location: Spencer Travel

Best Business Events Travel Agency: ETM

Best National Travel Management Company: FCm Travel Solutions

Best Travel Agent Technology Innovation: Air Tickets

Best Travel Writer: Angela Saurine

Best Registered Travel Industry Training Institution: Victoria University

Best Hotel/Resort Group: Leading Hotels of the World

Best Hotel/Resort Australian Property: Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa

Rookie of the Year - Supplier: Erin Williams, U Tracks, NSW

Best Sales Executive - Industry Supplier: Stephen Farrelly, Insight Vacations, NSW

Best Agency Support Service: Air Tickets

Best Tourist Office - National: Tourism Queensland

Best Tourist Office - International: Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism

Best Car/Campervan Rental Operator: Avis

Best Tour Operator - International: Trafalgar

Best Tour Operator - Domestic: APT

Best Cruise Operator - International Based Operation: Royal Caribbean International

Best Cruise Operator - Australian Based Operation: Princess Cruises

Best Wholesaler - International Product: Infinity Holidays

Best Wholesaler - Australian Product: Qantas Holidays & Viva Holidays

Best Domestic Airline: Qantas Airways

Best International Airline - Off-Line: Lufthansa German Airlines

Best International Airline - On-Line: Singapore Airlines

Best Travel Agency Group: Flight Centre Limited

Port Update: Not So Subtle Seattle

Proposed development of Seattle Waterfront

Port update by Roderick Eime | Cruise Weekly

I last visited Seattle in May 2009 when the city was on the verge of a major overhaul and it was interesting to see one of the world’s Top 50 most livable cities transform in this short time.

The new light rail was under test along the waterfront ahead of its official opening last December and I had the chance to test it on my trip to Hotel Five on Fifth Ave near the Seattle Center. Up until 2005, historic ex-Melbourne trams ran along the waterfront but plans for their return are unclear.

The biggest news from the home of Starbucks is the demolition of the unsightly Alaskan Way, a 60-year-old overpass that rang along the waterfront much like Sydney’s Cahill Expressway. The heavy machinery moved in last October and reduced the quake damaged roadway to rubble to make way for a massive rejuvenation project along the waterfront from Century Link Stadium, past the aquarium and Pike Place to the Bell Harbour cruise terminal.

According to the developers, www.waterfrontseattle.org, the waterfront program will include ‘continuous’ and ‘event-based’ activities. Strolling, jogging, biking, driving, and parking are supported along the entire length of the waterfront, whereas event-based programs will happen in strategic locations to maximize synergies with existing destinations. Pier 62/63 will be the focus of much activity including rollerskating, sun bathing, concerts, ice skating, swimming, events, market and views to the bay. See the website for comprehensive details of the development.

Heavy machinery demolishes the 60-year-old quake-damaged Alaskan Way
(Seattle Times)
All this refurbishment will hold the city in good stead as it continues to win more business from its nearby rival port, Vancouver, across the border.

Brad Jones, director of tourism development for SCVB, tells me Seattle now has more sailings than its Canadian rival and has essentially captured the market for Alaskan cruise departures. This is due, Jones says, because of the perception that it is easier for US citizens to use a domestic port and the relative cost of airfares to Seattle.

This year, the Port of Seattle expects in excess of 200 ship visits delivering more than 430,000 passengers, a number that seems set to rise. This year and next, new and returning ships to include Seattle in their itineraries are Celebrity Cruises' 2850-passenger Solstice, Oceania’s 684-passenger Regatta, Norwegian Cruise Line adds a third vessel while Disney returns to Seattle after two seasons in Vancouver. The famous Rocky Mountaineer railroad also begins routes to Seattle in 2013.

Light rail station in Seattle CBD delivers
passengers directly to Sea-Tac airport

Port of Seattle spokesman, Peter McGraw, added that “because the Port of Seattle also includes Sea-Tac International Airport, we are able to provide the added convenience of boarding passes for passengers disembarking from cruise vessels along with handling their baggage. Furthermore airfares into Sea-Tac (SEA) tend to be lower than at our competitor’s closest airports.”

Australians wishing to reach Seattle will need to fly into either Vancouver (eg Air Canada), San Francisco (eg United) or LAX (eg Virgin, Air NZ or Qantas) then connect with a local airline, probably Alaskan, which hubs out of Seattle.

Seattle, I’ve found, is an Aussie-friendly city with familiar transport systems, like-minded and enriching tourism attractions in, or close to the city centre and excellent quality accommodation at reasonable prices.

Stay: www.hotelfiveseattle.com More Info: www.VisitSeattle.org

Monday, July 23, 2012

Taiwan Tourism Bureau launches new travel info app


Providing one-tap access to a wealth of travel information on Taiwan, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau has made visiting this fascinating destination even easier with the launch of a new free app download.

Designed very much with the independent traveller in mind and available in both English and Chinese, the 'Tour Taiwan' app offers iOS and Android smartphone users direct access to a swag of information.

This includes attractions, key points of interest, accommodation ranging from five star luxury hotels to the country's huge choice of B&B's and homestays, dining, travel service centres, train and bus stations, - even information on police stations, hospitals, parking lots and where to buy petrol.

Making things even easier the app has been organized into six separate modules as follows:

Around Me which offers information on accommodation, shopping, restaurants, and public facilities (parking lots, MRT stations, gas stations, and train stations) all based on the user's current location.

Festivals which details major events taking place.

Traffic Information offering timetable and fare and timetable search options for both the Taiwan Railway and High-Speed Train systems.

Useful Information which includes facts and figures on travel and visitor centres around the country, hospitals and police stations.

National Scenic Areas providing information on Taiwan's 13 national scenic areas and nearby attractions.

A Location Search offering directions and other information on places of interest.

The app also features an augmented reality 'Goldfinger Direction Guide' to help visitors find their way to nearby attractions, in the process giving users their own personal virtual guide.

The app can be easily downloaded from in-phone App Stores or via the Taiwan Tourism Bureau website, visit http://eng.taiwan.net.tw.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

China Eastern to Cairns

New services to Cairns announced by China Eastern Airlines today will help to reignite North Queensland’s tourism industry and shows Australia continues to be a highly desirable destination for Asian tourists.

The direct services announced today will bring Queensland directly to the door of the growing Chinese market and help to pave the way for the future of tourism businesses in Tropical North Queensland.

“With the announcement of China Eastern services to North Queensland today and additional Emirates services to Adelaide and Perth and additional Qantas flights to Tasmania earlier this week, we can really see that airlines are recognising the growth of Australia’s leisure destinations,” ATEC Managing Director, Felicia Mariani said today.

“This new China Eastern service will directly link Chinese visitors to one of Australia’s top destinations and shows Queensland is recognised as a highly desirable place to take a break.”

Ms Mariani said the Chinese market was key to the Australian tourism industry’s capacity to meet it growth targets through to 2020.

“There is no doubt about it, China is going to play an important part in the future of Australia’s tourism industry and we need to ensure these visitors have direct and easy access to our destinations.

“Additional capacity is crucial and ATEC welcomes this new direct service announced by China Eastern today.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Air Canada Named 'Best International Airline in North America'



Global Industry Survey of More than 18 Million Travellers

Third consecutive year Air Canada named a winner at Skytrax World Airline Awards

Air Canada has been named the 'Best International Airline in North America' in a worldwide survey of air travelers for the Skytrax World Airline Awards. In what Skytrax termed "a remarkable repeat success", it is the third consecutive year Air Canada has ranked among the top global carriers in the awards, which surveyed more than 18 million passengers worldwide. The annual survey, whose findings were announced today at the Farnborough International Airshow, is regarded in the air transport industry as a key benchmarking tool for airline passenger satisfaction levels.

"We are delighted that the Skytrax World Airline Awards has again recognised Air Canada as the Best International Airline in North America. It affirms Air Canada's ranking among the world's best airlines and underscores the success of our strategy to transform Air Canada into an international powerhouse," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer.

"This top rating by air travellers for three consecutive years demonstrates that passengers appreciate the Air Canada travel experience including our recently expanded, award-winning seatback entertainment system offering, concierge service, enhanced mobile and online services and the evolution of our Maple Leaf lounge product. The award also recognizes the dedication and professionalism of Air Canada employees in delivering our world class products and services and taking care of our customers."

"For the third consecutive year, Air Canada customers have ensured that the airline achieves its deserved recognition by winning the award for the Best International Airline in North America. This hat-trick result is an excellent achievement and Air Canada must be proud of this customer recognition of quality consistency. Air Canada is clearly a favourite airline amongst passengers and it is noteworthy that it has also maintained its place in the top-25 global airlines," said Edward Plaisted of Skytrax.

The survey was conducted by the independent research firm Skytrax during a ten-month period using over 38 different aspects of passenger satisfaction to rank airlines' product and service standards. Skytrax World Airline Awards is the established, global barometer of passenger opinions about more than 200 airlines around the world. Free of outside or financial influences, it comprised 100 different respondent nationalities in the 2011-2012 survey.   Further information on the Skytrax survey and awards is available at www.worldairlineawards.com

In 2011, readers of Global Traveler magazine voted Air Canada "Best Airline in North America," and readers of Business Traveler voted Air Canada "Best North American Airline for International Travel" and "Best In-Flight Services in North America."  In the annual Ipsos Reid Business Traveller Survey, Air Canada was named "Canada's Favourite Airline for Business Travel."  Air Canada was preferred by 73 per cent of Canadian business travellers surveyed for 2011, the third consecutive year of improvement in Air Canada's ratings in the national survey.


Air Canada flies daily from Sydney to Vancouver and onto more than 175 destinations on five continents.  It Canada's largest domestic and international airline.  Canada's flag carrier is the 15th largest commercial airline in the world and in 2011 served more than 33 million customers. Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service directly to 59 Canadian cities, 56 destinations in the United States and 63 cities in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's most comprehensive air transportation network serving 1,356 destinations in 193 countries. Air Canada customers can collect Aeroplan miles for future rewards through Canada's leading loyalty program, and Top Tier members enjoy reciprocal frequent flyer benefits including lounge and priority services.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sapphire Coast oyster grower stars in Delicious awards

WINS MAJOR FOOD AWARD

A family-owned oyster business on the far south coast of NSW has taken out one of the most prestigious awards in the Australian food industry.

Locals and visitors to the Sapphire Coast have long enjoyed the Tathra Oysters produced by Gary and Jo Rodely but now all of Australia knows about them too, with the couple's business winning the
Primary Producer – From The Sea category of the 2012 ABC Delicious magazine Produce Awards.

This year, there were 2000 nominations in four categories – earth, dairy, paddock and sea, with a focus on quality and sustainability. Products were judged by a panel of leading chefs in each state
before going onto the finals. The winners were announced at a gala dinner in Brisbane on Monday night.

"It's one of Australia's most prestigious and high profile awards so we're obviously thrilled," says Gary Rodely.

"The credibility this award generates will help us take our business in new and exciting directions. But we can assure our loyal customers around the Sapphire Coast – and any tourists dropping into our
Tathra shop – that we won't be putting our prices up!"

Gary and Jo are no strangers to nail-biting finals in food judging, having taken out multiple awards over the years, but they say this time around was particularly challenging as they were facing off
against the entire Australian seafood industry and not just other oyster farmers.

The couple has been farming oysters in the pristine waters of Nelsons Lake in the Mimosa Rocks National Park for 24 years and has a large and loyal clientele. Aside from that, their stack of previous
awards has proved the quality of their product, but Gary admits being slightly overwhelmed by the result.

"The magazine reaches over half a million readers so the exposure is phenomenal – plus apparently all the winners will be featured in the Masterchef TV series next year, so that's huge too. And now
we have about a week before the President's Medal is announced – it's a very exciting time."

Established in 2005, the Delicious awards highlight small and artisan producers and a growing interest in sustainability. Some of the country's leading chefs, food writers and industry experts joined
forces over four days to decide on this year's winners.

Tathra Oysters is also one of six finalists in the President's Medal – the highest accolade of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW and arguably the highest produce accolade in Australia. The judging
process begins with the 5000 products that are submitted to the Sydney Royal Wine, Dairy and Fine Food Shows each year – but only six make it through. The Rodelys won the inaugural President's
Medal in 2006.

The Sapphire Coast (also part of Australia's Coastal Wilderness) is the most southerly region of the far south coast of NSW, stretching from the towns of Cobargo and Bermagui, to the Victorian border.
A favourite with tourists from both NSW and Victoria, it is a six-seven hour drive from Sydney and Melbourne as well as being accessible through flights operated into Merimbula by Regional Express
(REX) Airlines.

More information is available on the website, <http://www.sapphirecoast.com.au>

The full list of winners of the 2012 Produce Awards is announced in the August issue of Delicious, on sale this week (July 18).



PIC: Gary and Jo Rodely with Masterchef star Matt Preston, who was MC for the Delicious Produce Awards presentation.

"Phuket Declared 'Best Place in the World for Expats' as Royal Phuket Marina Launches New Family Condo Development'

 as Royal Phuket Marina Launches New Family Condo Development'


Mediterranean-style Royal Phuket Marina has received unreserved endorsement for its new 'La Reserve Residences' tailored especially for families – with Asia's most popular holiday island declared 'best place in the world for expats to live'.

The accolade for Phuket is in a new survey by HSBC Expat Explorer, based on a poll of over 4,000 expats in more than 100 countries.

Phuket and Thailand ranked high in all categories from ease of setting up finances and work-life balance to entertainment and ease of integration with local culture. Thailand also ranked most popular among retired expatriates.

Phuket is meanwhile emerging as the uncontested yachting playground and gateway to Asia for the world's rich and famous, with more than 200 direct international flights weekly from major tourist markets in both Asia and Europe – plus 19 daily flights from Bangkok.

The island's astounding resilience against economic downturns is also reflected in a 30% increase in visitors last year with 4.2 million arrivals at the international airport.

Amid Phuket's acclaim and boom, Royal Phuket Marina is internationally renowned as one of Asia's most desirable yachting and lifestyle hubs, reminiscent of world-class marinas in Monte Carlo or St.Tropez in the South of France.

Phuket's latest accolade coincides with Royal Phuket Marina's recent launch of the branded 'La Reserve Residences' – 40 one and two-bedroom apartments each with their own infinity-edged rooftop 'Sky Pools' with stunning views over Phang Nga Bay.

Also available are a limited number of luxury villas and unique 'Aquaminium' condos with their own private boat berths.

As Phuket has become an increasingly popular investment choice among expats for homes, second homes, investment properties and retirement villas, Royal Phuket Marina is a premium choice – not only for its state-of-the-art boating facilities and Mediterranean-style community, but also its proximity to international hospitals, schools and golf courses.

Royal Phuket Marina is the island's premier haven for owners of luxury yachts and cruisers. It was recently voted one of Asia's Top 5 Marinas, as Phuket was voted favourite sailing venue and best regatta location in Asia in a survey of sailors at the last 2011 Phuket King's Cup Regatta, Thailand's signature annual international yachting event.

Maintenance facilities are internationally recognised as world-class and a cut-above anywhere else in South-east Asia, with the prestigious "Five Gold Anchor" accolade from the Yacht Harbour Association.

The community's appeal continues to grow among expats in Hong Kong and China, where air pollution continues to be a problem.

Founder and developer Gulu Lalvani, a retired Hong Kong telecom tycoon, said: "Expat residents of Phuket have never needed a survey to tell them why they have found the best place in the world to live – especially if you love boating and golfing.

"Phuket is blessed with a beautiful year-round climate providing idyllic cruising and yachting in a true tropical paradise of deserted tropical islands in the Andaman Sea. You can leave the waiting lists for berths in Hong Kong behind."

Royal Phuket Marina's world-class facilities extend to a Fisherman's Wharf of restaurants and bars, floodlit tennis courts, exercise classes and 'new generation' personal training at Phuket's largest and best health and fitness centre, beauty and wellness spa treatments, Thailand's leading holistic healthcare center and Phuket's largest Convention and Banquet centre.

 "It is the 'paradise' island's premier lifestyle destination for sailing, sports and leisure, luxury residences and stylish shopping," added Mr. Lalvani.

For more information about Royal Phuket Marina, please visit www.royalphuketmarina.com

Web: www.royalphuketmarina.com

 

Air Canada Named 'Best International Airline in North America'



Global Industry Survey of More than 18 Million Travellers

Third consecutive year Air Canada named a winner at Skytrax World Airline Awards

Air Canada has been named the 'Best International Airline in North America' in a worldwide survey of air travelers for the Skytrax World Airline Awards. In what Skytrax termed "a remarkable repeat success", it is the third consecutive year Air Canada has ranked among the top global carriers in the awards, which surveyed more than 18 million passengers worldwide. The annual survey, whose findings were announced today at the Farnborough International Airshow, is regarded in the air transport industry as a key benchmarking tool for airline passenger satisfaction levels.

"We are delighted that the Skytrax World Airline Awards has again recognised Air Canada as the Best International Airline in North America. It affirms Air Canada's ranking among the world's best airlines and underscores the success of our strategy to transform Air Canada into an international powerhouse," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer.

"This top rating by air travellers for three consecutive years demonstrates that passengers appreciate the Air Canada travel experience including our recently expanded, award-winning seatback entertainment system offering, concierge service, enhanced mobile and online services and the evolution of our Maple Leaf lounge product. The award also recognizes the dedication and professionalism of Air Canada employees in delivering our world class products and services and taking care of our customers."

"For the third consecutive year, Air Canada customers have ensured that the airline achieves its deserved recognition by winning the award for the Best International Airline in North America. This hat-trick result is an excellent achievement and Air Canada must be proud of this customer recognition of quality consistency. Air Canada is clearly a favourite airline amongst passengers and it is noteworthy that it has also maintained its place in the top-25 global airlines," said Edward Plaisted of Skytrax.

The survey was conducted by the independent research firm Skytrax during a ten-month period using over 38 different aspects of passenger satisfaction to rank airlines' product and service standards. Skytrax World Airline Awards is the established, global barometer of passenger opinions about more than 200 airlines around the world. Free of outside or financial influences, it comprised 100 different respondent nationalities in the 2011-2012 survey.   Further information on the Skytrax survey and awards is available at www.worldairlineawards.com

In 2011, readers of Global Traveler magazine voted Air Canada "Best Airline in North America," and readers of Business Traveler voted Air Canada "Best North American Airline for International Travel" and "Best In-Flight Services in North America."  In the annual Ipsos Reid Business Traveller Survey, Air Canada was named "Canada's Favourite Airline for Business Travel."  Air Canada was preferred by 73 per cent of Canadian business travellers surveyed for 2011, the third consecutive year of improvement in Air Canada's ratings in the national survey.

Air Canada ACN B777-300ER Olympics Livery
Air Canada flies daily from Sydney to Vancouver and onto more than 175 destinations on five continents.  It Canada's largest domestic and international airline.  Canada's flag carrier is the 15th largest commercial airline in the world and in 2011 served more than 33 million customers. Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service directly to 59 Canadian cities, 56 destinations in the United States and 63 cities in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's most comprehensive air transportation network serving 1,356 destinations in 193 countries. Air Canada customers can collect Aeroplan miles for future rewards through Canada's leading loyalty program, and Top Tier members enjoy reciprocal frequent flyer benefits including lounge and priority services.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Naval base to be opened to cruise ships

Source: ABC News

The Queen Mary 2
 Photo: The Queen Mary 2 edges into her berth at at the
Garden Island naval base in 2009 (James Morgan: AAP)
Tourism lobby groups say moves to open Sydney's Garden Island naval base to big cruise ships will help boost one of the city's fast-growing industries.

During a speech at the New South Wales Labor conference this morning, Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised to expand the number of guaranteed berths at Garden Island for visiting cruise ships which cannot fit under the Harbour Bridge.

She also said a plan would be prepared to meet the long-term needs of the cruise industry.

Ms Gillard said in the short term, the Navy would allow three visits by superliners this coming season and another three the next.

Hopes in the tourism industry were initially dashed when calls to use Garden Island were declared to be in conflict with naval requirements.

The Tourism Transport Forum's John Lee says a compromise has now been found for the expanding cruise industry.

"The Government has listened and therefore they are now going to amend those arrangements to allow those big ships ... to actually access Garden Island for berthing purposes," he said.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore says the announcement is great news for local businesses.

She says the cruise ship industry is a big contributor to the national economy, contributing around $3 billion a year, with much of that activity centred on Sydney.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New sites inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List

Palau's Rock Islands Southern Lagoon covers 100,200-hectare
and numbers 445 uninhabited limestone islands of volcanic origin.
The World Heritage Committee closed its 36th session on 6 July after almost two weeks of work under the chair of Eleonora Mitrofanova, the Ambassador of Russia to UNESCO.

The Committee added 26 new sites to UNESCO’s World Heritage List during the session. It marked the 40th anniversary of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

The new properties include five natural, twenty cultural and one mixed – i.e. natural and cultural site. UNESCO’s World Heritage List now numbers a total of 962 properties. The number of countries with sites on the List grew to 157, with the inscription of sites in Chad, Congo, Palau and Palestine.

Two conservation success stories were recognized by the Committee. It removed the Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Pakistan) and the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Philippines) from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Meanwhile, the World Heritage Committee added five sites to the Danger List because of concern for their conservation: Timbuktu and the Tomb of Askia (Mali), Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Palestine), Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Panama); and Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (UK).

The 21 members of the Committee were particularly concerned for the fate of Timbuktu. During the session, armed groups stepped up their attacks on the World Heritage site and destroyed sacred tombs. The Committee adopted a decision condemning the destruction and outlining measures to be taken for Timbuktu when conservation becomes possible.

Tip: Fly to Palau from Australia with United Airlines

Friday, July 13, 2012

Visitors Reach new heights at Carnarvon Gorge

Inline images 1

One of Queensland's most sought after natural attractions, Carnarvon Gorge in Queensland's Capricorn Region, has been captivating visitors for years, with its towering sandstone escarpments and rich indigenous history. Visitors can now reach new heights over the gorge thanks to the team at Heli-Central, who have recently launched their new product, specialising in joy flights over the Carnarvon Gorge area.

Chief Executive Officer of Capricorn Enterprise, Mary Carroll, said, "It is always very exciting to welcome a new tourism product to the Capricorn Region, especially one that has never previously been available. To now be able to offer visitors to the Central Highlands such an exhilarating experience over one of the most picturesque sandstone belts in the country, is something for which we are very proud".

Heli-Central's Pilot, Shane Swanson, said, "Our tours offer an interesting insight into the flora and fauna, geological history, and European settlement of the area. There is a range of flights available, with varying durations and routes giving visitors the opportunity to view the landscape from a unique perspective".  

Carnarvon Gorge is situated within the Central Queensland Sandstone Belt and straddles the Great Dividing Range. Visitors can access Carnarvon Gorge section from either Rolleston or Injune along Queensland's Great Inland Way Touring Route. Flights depart from the airstrip on 'Bandana', a rural cattle property, which is located 7km from the base of the gorge.

For more information about Heli-Central visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/HeliCentral
                                                                                                                 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Newcastle’s premier hotel re-brands to Novotel Newcastle Beach

Novotel Newcastle Beach
One of the world's most recognised hotel brands will come to Newcastle as of 26 July 2012 with the re-brand of The Sebel Newcastle Beach to the Novotel Newcastle Beach, following the acquisition by Accor of the Mirvac hotel portfolio.

Set to attract even more corporate, leisure and conference business to Newcastle and the Hunter region, the presence of a respected, global hotel brand will have positive flow-on effects to business and tourism in the area.

Ever since the hotel opened in 2010, it has long held the reputation of being one of the city's premier business hotels. The re-brand to a Novotel will magnify its standing in the market, while staff will benefit by gaining access to greater training opportunities; Accor is the only Australian hotel group which has its own accredited training organisation, Academie Accor.

Simon McGrath, Chief Operating Officer of Accor Asia Pacific, said the hotel's re-brand will facilitate further business to the Hunter region which solely domestic brands struggle to achieve. It will also bring with it benefits to staff as they become part of a global network of over 4000 hotels.

"Given the scale and reputation of the Novotel brand and its world-wide reach, there are significant opportunities for Newcastle to benefit from the arrival of Novotel," he said.

"We as a group have close to 10 hotels in the Hunter which makes us the largest driver of tourism, meetings and business events in the region. Having such an aggregation of hotels in the region means we have the resources to attract additional business for the area.

"We're thrilled to be able to take on such a fantastic hotel and look forward to working with local businesses and the wider community."

Located just meters from one of Australia's most magnificent beaches and surf breaks, the Novotel Newcastle Beach features 88 well-appointed guestrooms, some with ocean views, a fully equipped gymnasium, spa, steam room, and three meeting rooms.

The hotel's bustling Bistro Dalby restaurant boasts an elegant, chic design and stylish decor, making it a perfect spot for business lunch meetings and intimate gatherings.

Rates at Novotel Newcastle Beach start from $179. For bookings, head to www.accorhotels.com or call 1300 656 565.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Construction Milestone for Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach


The hotel's foundations have been laid as construction marches towards opening in 2013

Toga Hotels is excited to announce that the foundations of the brand new Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach are complete. This construction milestone is a pivotal step towards completion of the purpose built apartment hotel, set to open mid-2013.

Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach is currently under construction by the Toga Group. The apartment hotel boasts one of Sydney's best addresses, nestled on Bondi's bustling Hall Street and just 400 metres from Australia's most iconic beach. The apartment hotel forms a major component of a progressive development – Bondi Boheme – which also includes residential apartments and an exciting retail precinct.

Once complete, Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach will feature:

·         111 apartments including
  • Ø     46 studio rooms
  • Ø     56 one bedroom apartments
  • Ø     Eight two bedroom apartments
  • Ø     One three bedroom apartment
·         Separate lounge/dining/work areas
·         Fully equipped kitchens and laundries
·         Balconies off most apartments
·         Outdoor pool and spa
·         Gym and yoga room
·         Parking

Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach will enjoy both the position and lifestyle of the main strip that leads down to Bondi Beach – a diverse mecca of vibrant restaurants, shops and seaside cool. From the apartment hotel, guests will be able to soak up the relaxed and glamorous vibe that Bondi Beach is renowned for. Not to mention the world famous beach just a stone's throw away!

Two floors of stylish apartment hotel accommodation will reside behind a chic façade of pastel masonry panels, whilst the interior aesthetics of Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach will reflect the contemporary edge of the building's exterior. The apartment hotel will be complete with all the features Adina guests have come to know and love including: chic interiors, Australian art, premium lifestyle facilities and warm hotel service. The artwork, in particular, will capture the spirit of Adina's beachside location.

Rachel Argaman, CEO of Toga Hotels, said: "The Toga Hotels team are delighted that the foundations of Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach are now complete. Anticipation from our guests is building as the completion date, in 2013, fast approaches. Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach will offer a chic accommodation option, moments from one of the world's most iconic beaches. The apartment hotel is just one of four new Adina Apartment Hotels set to open in Sydney within the next two years."

Other upcoming new additions to the Adina Apartment Hotels portfolio include: Adina Apartment Hotel Norwest (opening August 2012), Adina Apartment Hotel Mascot (opening 2013) and Adina Apartment Hotel Royal Randwick Racecourse (opening 2014). These new hotels represent an ambitious growth strategy by Toga Hotels for its international apartment hotel brand in Australia off the back of success in Europe.

 

United 787 Dreamliner due in September

United is scheduled to take delivery of its first Dreamliner in late September. The aircraft cabin is being installed on the first aircraft, and will be configured with 36 seats in United BusinessFirst, 72 seats in United Economy Plus and 111 seats in United Economy.

Cabin color selections use a palette of blue and grey and are consistent with other modern United aircraft. Customers will experience greater comfort with improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, among other passenger-friendly features.

The 787's inflight entertainment system features an all-new design that offers more intuitive browsing and more filtering options, giving customers the option of searching for programs by language.

The airline's 787 fleet will feature a customized livery that is exclusive to the fleet: the gold line that wraps the fuselage will swoop from nose to tail. The swoop is inspired by the trademark swoop painted on each of Boeing's aircraft and is being adopted for the United 787 in a tribute to the two companies' long history of working together.

United has been the launch customer for more than a dozen Boeing aircraft models, and was the first airline to operate the 767 and 777 aircraft. This tradition continues with United being the North America launch customer of the 787.

Cathay Pacific's new Business Class, Premium Economy Class and new Economy Class now on sale across Australia


Cathay Pacific is introducing its new Business Class, new Economy Class and, for the first time, its brand new Premium Economy experience on flights to Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth from August and on flights to Brisbane from October 2012, with Cairns joining from January 2013.

Sydney was one of the first cities in the world to see the acclaimed Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Class when it was launched earlier this year.

According to Richiko Olrichs, Marketing Communications Manager, Cathay Pacific, South West Pacific, the launch of the three new cabins demonstrates the airline's commitment to the region in providing a world class travel experience and more choice to its valued Australian customers.

"We have invested a great deal of time and thought into developing the best value for money travel experiences in every class - whether passengers are travelling in our comfortable new Economy or our superbly flat bed Business Class seats," she said.  "And of course when you include great service 'from the heart' from our flight attendants, every passenger will feel well looked after.

 "Cathay Pacific offers long haul flights from Australia to Hong Kong and onto more than 140 destinations around the world so we understand our passengers' need for comfort, service and value for money particularly when travelling long distances.

"Our new Premium Economy Class really offers exceptional value for money. From the moment passengers check in to when they step on board into their own private cabin, travel will feel a little more special.  Champagne or juice on departure, noise cancelling headsets, enhanced meal choices and amenity kits are just some of the little touches passengers will enjoy," she added.

"And for passengers from Western Australia, we thrilled to be the first airline to offer Premium Economy service from Perth," she said.

Cathay Pacific's new Business Class

Boasting one of the longest and widest beds on any commercial airline, Cathay Pacific's superb new Business Class seat is over two metres long with design features that allow for optimum privacy or openness when travelling with a companion.   This is a Business Class seat where each aspect has been thoughtfully designed around passengers' needs, providing a space in which to sleep, dine, work, read, watch TV or simply relax.  Passengers can choose whether they want their space to feel private or open, with capacity to move the seat back for privacy or forward to converse with your travelling companion.

The seat controller enables passengers to adjust their seat at the touch of a button - from upright, through the relax position and into a fully flat bed.  And when it comes time for some rest, the bed extension increases its width by 6.5 inches to give extra room, enabling passengers to sleep in any position.  And as a good night's sleep really requires comfortable covers, Cathay Pacific has also introduced a new range of cosy duvets, blankets, pillows and cushions to complement the overall feel of the surroundings.

Passengers also receive increased personal storage space. The side cabinet not only has room for a headset and a vanity mirror, but also for small items such as glasses and gadgets – and the cabinet door doubles as a privacy divider.

Cathay Pacific's Premium Economy Class

Stylish Premium Economy – offered for the first time - presents a wide range of extras both on the ground and in the air.  Guests will enjoy a dedicated check-in counter, priority boarding as well as an extra luggage allowance.

Once onboard guests will enjoy newly designed and deeply cushioned seats, extra leg room and a seat pitch of 38 inches - six more inches than Economy, as well as a glass of champagne or orange juice on take-off and an enhanced meal selection.  With only 28 seats in the Premium Class cabin, the experience will feel just a little more private.  The new seat also features a large meal table, cocktail table, footrest, a 10.6-inch personal television, an in-seat power outlet, a multi-port connector for personal devices and extra personal stowage space.

Every passenger in Premium Economy will also receive an environmentally friendly amenity kit with dental kit, socks, eyeshade and earplugs for use during their journey.  They will also have larger pillows, and the same noise-cancelling headsets they would find in Business Class.  During the flight, each passenger will also receive a personal bottle of water and additional snack choices, including more fresh fruit, an energy bar and dessert.

Cathay Pacific's New Economy Class Seat

Offering added comfort and exceptional value for money, passengers travelling in the new Economy cabin will enjoy seats that feature a cradle mechanism designed to enhance the level of comfort in the recline position.  They will also be provided more living space and personal storage.

Guests will also enjoy high-resolution 9-inch touch-screen TVs, featuring Cathay Pacific's new Studio CX entertainment system that offers more than 100 movies, 500 TV programmes, 888 CDs and 22 radio channels to all passengers on the aircraft.

Additionally there is a USB outlet and an iPod/iPhone outlet that allows passengers to connect their own mobile devices so they can view their content through the larger personal screens.

MS EUROPA 2 leaves the Drydock

Photo courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Hamburg
Four months after the laying down of the keel, the Europa 2 left the drydock of the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire on July 6, 2012. In the context of a festive ceremony, the dock was flooded and the new addition to the fleet of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises took to the water for the first time. Now that the Europa 2 has left the drydock the next construction stage is due to begin – the completion of the interior at the outfitting pier.

Two-hudred-and-fifty-one all-balcony suites, eight restaurants, a modern theater as well as bars, lounges and public areas will be featured on board the Europa 2. A total of 835 shipyard workers are involved in the construction of the new ship – until the delivery of the latter in the spring of 2013. They will dedicate around 2.5-million hours of labor to the project, and 10,000 tons of steel have already been used in the process of building the Europa 2. The ship is expected to be delivered to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises at the end of April 2013 – her 14-day maiden voyage from Hamburg to Lisbon will take place from May 11–25 2013.

The Europa 2 will be positioned in the luxury segment as a lifestyle-oriented, casual alternative. The Europa 2 will offer a maximum of 516 guests, more space per passenger than any other cruise liner, with 251 all-balcony suites. All the ship suites have a veranda and a minimum size of 301 square feet. Eight restaurants, as well as six bars will offer culinary diversity, as well as a large spa and fitness area.

For more information, visit www.hl-cruises.com.

Monday, July 9, 2012

See Something of Korea on Transit Tours

For transit passengers at Seoul's Incheon International Airport there are fun ways to while away the hours in transit waiting for onward flights.  Incheon International and Korea Tourism Organization together with Omi Travel have set up exciting new transit tours from one hour to six hours for passengers to see a little of Korea while in transit.

The transit tours which all start and end at the airport offer various tour courses which make it possible for transit passengers to enjoy their time rather than being bored at the airport awaiting their next flight connection.

With just one hour available transit passengers can join a tour of nearby Younggungsa Temple to experience Korean Buddhist culture and its natural surroundings. The one hour temple tour will cost you just US$10 per person (min. 2 people).

With three to four hours spare passengers can join several different tours of Incheon city allowing visitors a great insight to the airport surrounds.  Incheon International Airport is built on an island off the coast and Incheon city is the major sea port on Korea's west coast.

The Incheon city tours will show you the highlights of Incheon.  You can experience the excitement and bustle of a large fish market and see the amazing Incheon Grand Bridge. Costs for Incheon tours range from US$30-70 per person  (min. 2 people).

If you have five hours in transit then it is possible to enjoy the sights of downtown Seoul.  Three different tours of five hours duration visit the highlights of Seoul including the royal palace of Gyeongbokkung, Insa-dong cultural street and the massive south gate market of Namdaemun.

With six hours to spare you can visit the DMZ – the demilitarised zone between South and North Korea and its underground tunnel No.3, Dorasan Observatory and Freedom Bridge.  The tour costs US$100 per person (min. 2 people).  This tour only departs at 8.30am.

So, next time you find yourself wondering how to fill in a few hours in transit at Incheon International Airport, make the most of your time and experience a little of Korea during your transit hours.

To book visit the Transit Tour desk between gates 6 & 7 on the first floor at Incheon International Airport or be prepared and book by email: transit@omitravel.kr

Website: www.omitravel.kr

Pacific Sun Sails Into The Cruising Record Books

When Pacific Sun was farewelled from the P&O Cruises' fleet at the weekend she sailed into the record books hailed as the 'backbone' of the resurgence of cruising in Australia and New Zealand.

Since joining the fleet in 2004, Pacific Sun notched up some amazing statistics that are testament to her contribution to the cruise industry on both sides of the Tasman.

The superliner returned to Brisbane on Sunday after her farewell seven-night cruise to the Pacific Islands completing more than seven years with P&O Cruises during which she has carried more than half a million passengers.

Pacific Sun's record achievements with P&O Cruises include:

  • 2707 days deployed (excluding dry docks)
  • 767,600 nautical miles sailed (the equivalent of 30 times around the world)
  • 314 cruises with an average duration of 8.6 nights
  • 1,168 port calls at 80 separate destinations
  • 19 different countries visited
  • 178 visits to Noumea
  • 571,829 passengers

In a video message, Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia which operates P&O Cruises, paid tribute to Pacific Sun's crew for their role in building the ship's reputation as Australia's favourite cruise ship.

"Pacific Sun has been the backbone of the growth and resurgence of cruising in Australia," Ms Sherry said in the video message.


"None of that would have been possible without all of you and the customer service you provided to all of those passengers. You can all give yourselves a pat on the back for your great achievements."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Virgin Australia orders Australia's first 737 MAX 8 aircraft

Source: Travel Daily




Virgin Australia has just announced an agreement with Boeing for the delivery of 23 737 MAX 8 aircraft - the first in Australia.

The new planes will join the Virgin Australia fleet between 2019 and 2021, with the agreement including a further four delivery options "ensuring flexibility to respond to market conditions".

At the same time, Virgin Australia has delayed the dellivery of some of its Boeing 737NG aircraft until after 2016, leaving 31 scheduled deliveries of 737-800s between 2013 and 2016.

"This gives the airline flexibility to develop the appropriate mix of narrow-body and wide-body aircraft," the carrier said in a statement to the ASX.

CEO John Borghetti also said that by the end of next year all of Virgin Australia's Boeing 737-700s will have exited the fleet.

"Virgin Australia is committed to maintaining a young and flexible fleet of modern aircraft," he said, with the average fleet age dropping from 4.9 to 4. years in the last 12 months alone.

He said that the Boeing 737 MAX should reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions by 13% compared to today's most fuel efficient single-aisle aircraft, with the new planes to incorporate the latest quiet engine technology, significantly reducing their noise footprint.

"Virgin Australia will continue to review its fleet strategy to ensure we align fit-for-purpose aircraft to markets and maintain maximum flexibility in capacity management," Borghetti said.

More information in today's Travel Daily.

Emirates to launch first scheduled A380 service to Moscow

 World's largest passenger jet bound for world's largest country

Emirates will launch the first ever scheduled A380 service to Moscow from 1st December.

The airline's 517-seat version of the A380 will replace the Boeing 777-300ER on EK flight 131/132, one of its two daily flights to the Russian capital.

"Since launching flights to Moscow in 2003, the demand for our services in and out of Russia has continually gathered pace and we are now in a position to deploy the world's largest passenger jet aircraft to the world's largest country," said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates' Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation.

The A380 is spread over two decks with the Moscow route version offering 427 seats in Economy Class, 76 mini-pods in Business Class and 14 First Class Private Suites – delivering the ultimate in commercial airline travel.  

"We know travellers from Russia have been able to enjoy the Emirates' A380 when travelling from Dubai to destinations such as Bangkok, Sydney and Johannesburg.  Now we are bringing our flagship aircraft to the Russian market so more travellers can experience this magnificent aircraft," added Mr Obaidalla.

For First and Business Class travellers on the upper deck, there is an Onboard Lounge, which opens once the aircraft reaches cruising altitude and provides a meeting place in the sky to share stories over a drink. Two Onboard Shower Spas are available for the exclusive use of First Class passengers.  

Customers in all cabin classes can lose themselves in more than 1000 channels of in-flight entertainment, while enjoying gourmet-chef prepared cuisine.

"Domodedovo is the first and the only Russian airport that meets the requirements of A380 operators," said Igor Borisov, Director-general, Domodedovo Airport. "We are fully prepared to handle A380 flights on the regular basis having purchased the unique equipment designed to serve only this type of aircraft. We are honoured to introduce the exclusive product on the Russian market together with our partner."

From 1st December, the new A380-supported EK 131 flight will depart Dubai at 1750hrs and arrive in Domodedovo Airport at 2315hrs. The return flight, EK 132, will leave Moscow at 0105hrs and arrive in Dubai at 0620hrs.

Emirates launched St Petersburg as its second gateway into Russia in November of last year.

Emirates Holidays, which offers packages to and from Russia, notes that the country is so large that it spans eleven time zones, two of the six continents served by Emirates and extends from Finland's border in the west to within 80 kilometres of North America in the east.

The UAE is a major destination for Russian tourists and investors and thousands have made it their home.

In early 2013, Emirates' A380 passengers are set to experience the world's first dedicated A380 concourse in Dubai, reflecting further investment in the airline's global hub.  

For flight information and bookings contact Emirates on 1300 303 777, visit your local travel agent or go to www.emirates.com/au.


Emirates to launch flights to South Australian capital


Emirates has this evening confirmed it will add Adelaide to its network map, effective 01 Nov 2012.

The Dubai-based carrier will initially begin the route with a four times weekly operation using Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, prior to upgauging to a daily operation on 01 Feb 2013.

Adelaide will be EK's 5th Australian hub behind Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

The move is part of an ambitious drive by Emirates, which also includes adding Lyon, France from 05 Dec 2012 and Warsaw - its first Polish hub - effective 06 Feb 2013.

Perth is also set to benefit from the "concentrated and sustained period of global expansion", said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum chairman and chief executive of the Emirates Airline & Group, with the current double daily operation to be boosted to 19 weekly from 01 Dec, moving to triple daily from 01 Mar next year.

More information in today's Travel Daily.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

An Occasion to Remember as P&O Cruises Celebrates 175 Years

HRH The Princess Royal named Aurora in 2000 and Oceana in 2003
To mark 175 years of its worldwide cruising history, P&O Cruises invites past passengers and crew to share their memories on a new website dedicated to celebrating the cruise line’s colourful heritage.

Travellers are encouraged to upload their stories, photos and memories of P&O Cruises on the website (www.175yearsofcruising.com.au), which already contains a collection of fascinating historical items.

Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises in Australia, launched the website to celebrate the 175th anniversary of its sister line in the UK, P&O Cruises World Cruising.

Facebook fans can also share their cruising memories on P&O Cruises’ Facebook page (www.facebook.com/POCruises).

P&O fleet Southampton
Meanwhile, 175th celebrations commenced in the UK cruise line’s home port of Southampton on July 3, local time. The Grand Event saw all seven ships of the P&O Cruises fleet come together for the first time to mark the historic occasion.

P&O Cruises World Cruising managing director, Carol Marlow said it was an honour to have Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal attend the official reception on board Oriana.

“As one of our esteemed godmothers* Princess Anne’s presence and the congregation of our entire fleet to celebrate 175 years of heritage will go down in British maritime history and provide long lasting memories,” Ms Marlow said.

The Grand Event is part of a year of celebrations in 2012, marking 175 years of heritage. P&O Cruises can trace its roots back to 1837 when the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company was awarded the Admiralty contract to carry mail to the Iberian Peninsula and beyond.

Today, P&O Cruises is Australia’s leading cruise line providing the only year-sound sailings on its three ships – Sydney-based Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel and Brisbane-based Pacific Dawn. P&O UK World Cruising liners Oriana, Arcadia and Aurora regularly visit Australian and New Zealand ports.

For more information regarding the Grand Event in Southampton yesterday please see www.grandevent175.co.uk

Emirates Launches Barcelona Service


Double daily Madrid flights as of 1st July 2012

 Emirates launched flights to Barcelona on 3rd July as part of a tripling of services to Spain.

The airline's daily flight to Madrid went double daily on 1st July and coupled with the brand new Barcelona route, the carrier now offers three flights a day into the country.

The VIP delegation aboard today's first flight to Barcelona included Salem Obaidalla, Emirates' Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation; Hiran Perera, Emirates' Senior Vice President, Cargo Planning & Freighters; Brigadier Obaid Mehayer Bin Suroor, Deputy Director of Dubai Naturalisation & Residency Department; José Eugenio Salarich, Spain's Ambassador to the UAE and representatives from the media.

Passengers booked from 20 countries, including the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Indonesia, also joined the inaugural flight.  

"In the space of 48 hours, Spain has shot up our list of most served European countries, said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates' Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation. "Connecting Spain to our network with three flights a day from what was a daily flight to Madrid is a major boost to our operations and underscores our commitment to the Spanish market."  

In Barcelona, Fernando Suárez de Góngora, Emirates Country Manager for Spain, hosted a welcoming reception attended by Sonia Corrochano, Director, Barcelona El Prat Airport and Damià Calvet i Valero, Territory and Mobility Secretary of the regional Catalan government.

With the new Emirates' service between Barcelona and Dubai, the Catalan capital gets connected to one of the most important cities and regions for business worldwide," said Mr Damià Calvet. "Emirates has valued Barcelona and its airport as a good opportunity within its global growth strategy. To Barcelona and the Catalonia region, this route also represents an opportunity for the globalisation of Catalan enterprises and for the region's economy, key elements to get over the economic crisis."  

Emirates will serve Barcelona with a 777-300ER offering 360 in a three-class configuration. Staffed by highly trained, multi-lingual cabin crew, the aircraft offers luxurious First Class Private Suites, lie-flat seats in Business Class and a new generation of comfort in Economy Class.

While relaxing and enjoying gourmet chef prepared food, passengers can lose themselves in over 600 channels of movies, TV programmes, games and music featured on the ice entertainment system.

EK 185 will depart Dubai at 0655hrs and arrive in Barcelona at 1200hrs. EK 186 will take off daily from Barcelona at 1640hrs and land in Dubai at 0100hrs the following day.

From Barcelona, passengers will be able to connect through Emirates' traveller-friendly Terminal 3 in Dubai to popular destinations such as Mumbai, Delhi, the Seychelles and Mauritius and Manila. They will also be able to pick up Emirates' flagship aircraft, the A380 to places such as Jeddah, Tokyo, Beijing and Sydney.

Emirates SkyCargo has been operating freighter flights to Spain since 2006, supporting the movement of clothes, one of Catalonia's main exports to the Gulf.

Emirates Holidays, the airline's tour operating arm, offers tailor made holidays to Barcelona, including a selection of hand-picked hotels that are among the best accommodation in the city. Its annual brochure, A World of Choice, highlights many of Barcelona's attractions such as the Sagrada Familia Cathedral by the famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi; the Gothic and El Born Quarters; Las Ramblas; and the Passeig de Gracia.

 

Photo captions:

Picture 1 - The Catalonia flag hangs from the cockpit of Emirates' inaugural flight to Barcelona with Spanish First Office Fernando Arevalo on the flight deck.

Picture 2 - Emirates' flight 185 after touching down on its inaugural flight to Barcelona.

 

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