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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

MSC Seaside Welcomed by a Star-Studded Line-Up in Port Miami


MSC Cruises Announces Ricky Martin, Andrea Bocelli and More for MSC Seaside Naming Ceremony Celebration



Today MSC Cruises announced the line-up for the official launch and Naming Ceremony of MSC Seaside, which will be held on December 21st in PortMiami. As part of the traditional Naming Ceremony that is held for every new ship, MSC will welcome special guests and entertainment, Miami authorities, global media, and key partners from across the travel industry. For this very special Miami launch, MSC Cruises is proud to reveal an international list of celebrated invitees that reflects the Company’s European heritage and global presence.

Headlining entertainment for the event will be the international superstar, Ricky Martin, who will perform some of his most popular hits. Renowned for bringing Latin music to the forefront of popular music, Ricky Martin is a worldwide star who has recorded in many languages and truly encompasses the international spirit of MSC Cruises and the city of Miami.

Also taking to the stage will be the world-famous tenor, Andrea Bocelli, whose dazzling classical career has taken him all over the world – including performances for four U.S. presidents, three Popes, the British Royal Family, and several Prime Ministers, to name just a few.

Making a guest appearance at the event will be Miami football legend and Hall of Fame quarterback, Dan Marino, who played for the Miami Dolphins for 17 years. MSC Cruises signed a partnership with the Miami Dolphins in October of this year, becoming the official cruise line for the team and further strengthening its relationship with the South Florida community. Fans and guests will have the chance to experience the Miami Dolphins at sea and meet team alumni on a themed cruise aboard MSC Seaside in 2018.

In charge of it all will be actor and popular American TV host, Mario Lopez, who will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Lopez will welcome guests to the star-lit festivities on MSC’s “Blue Carpet,” where celebrities will give interviews, take photographs, and meet the crowds. Lopez will then take to the stage to host the evening’s entertainment.

An MSC Cruises’ Naming Ceremony would not be complete without the ship’s Godmother, Sophia Loren, who has played the leading role in this time-honoured tradition since 2003. As one of the most celebrated Italian actresses of our time, the glamorous Sophia Loren will christen the ship with a ribbon-cutting and officially name the spectacular vessel, MSC Seaside.

But the main star of the show will be none other than MSC Seaside. Quite unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will shine among Miami’s skyline – commanding attention with its revolutionary design. Inspired by the architecture and lifestyle of Miami, the ship will be right at home in warm South Florida waters. The state-of-the-art ship will offer world-class entertainment, a range of international dining concepts, a gorgeous spa, outstanding facilities for families, a private yacht club (MSC Yacht Club), and expansive outdoor spaces. The striking MSC Seaside is just one more reason for guests all over the world to join MSC Cruises on an unforgettable trip that follows the sun.

For more information about MSC Cruises and MSC Seaside visit here


A New Era of Wellness for Chiva-Som



Chiva-Som International Health Resort in Hua Hin, Thailand, which enjoys a reputation as a pioneer in global wellness, is proud to unveil the first images of a mock-up renovated Thai Pavilion room and new Thai Pavilion Suite which will open in November 2018.
 
Along with the accommodation, renovations to the Fitness area, Emerald Room and Orchid Lounge will also be unveiled next November.
 
This enhancement to the resort's offering follows the launch of the new Ocean Rooms and Suites in January 2017 and is part of the resort-wide renovation plan which, after short periods of closure from 1 May to 31 October 2018 and the same period in 2019, will see the resort relaunched into a new era of wellness.
 
The style of the new interior is contemporary Thai and is realised with materials including local teak, silk and bamboo.
 
With an outdoor terrace, the aesthetic of the Thai Pavilion Suite is light and serene, creating a calming effect and reflecting the tranquility of the resort.
 
The enlarged space makes the surrounding greenery much more relevant to the guest experience.
 
The Thai Pavilion Suite comprises a bedroom and en suite bathroom spread across 76 sq m.
 
Space has been maximised to give guests an expanded bedroom and living area, including an additional long sofa and study desk; a larger bathroom, now with two vanity counters, a new make-up counter and more connecting space for shower room and bathtub; and a larger dressing room with two luggage racks and floor to ceiling wall mirrors to reflect even more light.
 
For more relaxation and well-being, the ceiling has been raised to give an airy feel.  
 
The Thai Pavilion Suite is approximately 107 sq m. and includes an outdoor pantry and its own outdoor private sala.
 
This glass-walled private space for around six guests is set amidst the tranquil gardens and is suitable for private breakfast, lunch and dinner, meditation or just for relaxing.
 
Glass doors, automatic blinds and insect screens in the sala can be kept open or closed, in either case offering beautiful views of the surrounding lake and gardens.
 
The wellness resort's multifaceted renovation will be implemented under the direction of Mr. Krip Rojanastien, Chairman and CEO of Chiva-Som International Health Resort, together with Designrealization Siam Co., Ltd, a distinguished design company, allowing for innovations in Chiva-Som's offering and a unique wellness experience for guests throughout their stay.
 
Chiva-Som is Asia's first comprehensive wellness resort, providing proven transformations towards optimal wellness.
 
Nestled in seven acres of tranquil grounds, it is a beachfront resort dedicated to revitalising the mind, body and spirit (represented by its tri-part logo).
 
Western practices and Eastern philosophies are brought together in a wellness resort which provides services for guests to develop healthy habits and lifestyle transformation; it has been given recognition by readers and industry experts alike as one of the outstanding wellness resorts in the world for since its launch 22 years ago.
 
The resort is dedicated to operating as ethically and sustainably as possible and has received the prestigious Green Globe certification which recognises its commitment to the world's highest environmental standards in all levels of operation.



A dedicated CSR team has implemented many initiatives, policies and practices at Chiva-Som for energy efficiency and conservation, waste water treatment and reuse, fresh water conservation, waste minimisation and recycling, air quality management and environmentally friendly product usage.

Chiva-Som is located in the town of Hua Hin, which lies 185 km south of the capital of Bangkok. It can be reached by car in under three hours, private plane in 25 minutes from Bangkok and chartered helicopter in 40 minutes from Bangkok.

For Chiva-Som bookings contact your travel agent or a Chiva-Som Specialist on 1300 857 437.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Silversea's ultimate Cuban adventure


VOYAGE OF THE WEEK - 12 DECEMBER 2017

THE ULTIMATE CUBAN ADVENTURE

"The most beautiful land that eyes have ever seen" – Christopher Columbus


Join Silver Cloud on a journey of indefinable magic, departing Nassau, Bahamas on 3 October 2018 for a spectacular 12 day expedition to Colon, Panama, taking in the incredible sites of Cuba, Colombia and Jamaica.  Fares start at AU$7,830 per person in a Vista Suite, based on double occupancy and includes Early Booking Bonus savings if paying in full before 28 December 2017.

Guests will discover the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Cuba and Colombia, sample local Cuban and Caribbean food and drink, relax on sandy white beaches and admire a dazzling array of tropical fish and colourful coral on this expedition beyond the beaches.

A particular highlight of this voyage is a two day stopover in La Habana, the largest city in Cuba, where a guided tour will take in the sights of Metropolitan and Modern Havana, Revolution Square and the Historical Centre of Old Havana.  Guests will experience the luxurious and spectacular Havana Tropicana Show before being driven to the 'Cigar Factory' in vintage American cars to learn about the history of cigars and discover how Cuban cigars are hand-rolled.

On-board and ashore, between 20 and 22 Expedition Team members conduct immersive destination experiences, aided by an on-board fleet of 16 Zodiacs and 10 kayaks – all of which are complimentary.  The enchanting island of Punta Frances provides the opportunity to join an on-board Marine Biologist for a snorkel tour to discover damselfish, jacks, surgeonfish, trumpet fish, parrot fish, triggerfish and turtles, whilst a Zodiac tour will transport guests to one of the 365 uninhabited islets and islands of Guna Yala.

A number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites will also be encountered on this voyage including: the city of Trinidad, complete with cobble-stoned streets, tiled roofs, ornamental grilles and inner patios dating to colonial times; Morro Castle, a fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay; and Cartegena de Indias, one of the most important ports of Spanish South America.

Silver Cloud is positioned as the premier luxury expedition vessel and almost all of her all-suite accommodations feature generous private verandas along with luxury touches that include a choice of European bath amenities, butler service for all guests, sumptuous Pratesi bedding and a nine-option pillow menu.

For more information contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on 1300 306 872 or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand).


Monday, December 11, 2017

Finnair brings Nordic flavours to business and economy class


Finnair brings Nordic flavours to business and economy class passengers in cooperation with top chefs

Finnair is investing in its food offering as part of the acclaimed carrier's drive to present customers with  a unique Nordic experience.

Finnair General Manager – Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, Geoff Stone said food was one of the items that frequently comes up in airline customer satisfaction surveys, especially on long-haul flights, where dining has a strong impact on the overall customer experience.

Finnair has been delighting its business class customers with signature menus designed by top Finnish chefs since 2013, and is now introducing its first Nordic cooperation with top Swedish chef, Tommy Myllymäki, a nominee for Chef of the Year in Sweden and Creative Director for five Stockholm restaurants who has also represented Sweden, enjoying great success in the prestigious Bocuse d'Or competition.

Tommy Myllymäki's Signature European Winter menu will be served on all Finnair long-haul flights departing Helsinki from 7 February 2018 and feature Nordic flavours including Jerusalem artichoke with cep mushrooms and pear, and braised ox with celeriac and kale.

The European Summer menu will have more emphasis on seasonal, crisp fresh vegetables to celebrate the freshness of the Nordic Summer.

"It was exciting to translate my food philosophy into the airline environment. In the end, the restrictions are also opportunities," said Tommy Myllymäki

"Seasonality is key for me, and I want to bring more vegetables, freshness and different textures to the meals on board."

Finnair has also teamed up with the Culinary Team of Finland, who represent Finland in international culinary competitions, to design a menu for the economy class of Finnair's long-haul flights departing Helsinki.

"We want to showcase the best of Finnish cuisine to the world and created a menu that celebrates Finnish traditions and specialties, so that everyone traveling between Europe and Asia with Finnair get a taste of modern Finnish cuisine," said Finnair's 2017 Signature Menu Chef,  Eero Vottonen, who is also a member of the Culinary Team of Finland.

The European Winter menu will be offered for economy class passengers on long-haul flights departing Helsinki from 7 February 7, 2018 and feature a marinated potato salad, lamb with oven baked turnips, and a cheese curd cake. Seasonal menus will follow in the European Summer and Autumn.  

"Our new chef co-operations bring the best of Nordic flavours to our customers," said Maarit Keränen, who oversees Finnair's on-board food concepts.

"Food plays a key role in the customer experience, and we are delighted to offer a little piece of the Nordics to the thousands of customers, who fly with us every day from Helsinki to Asia and the Americas."

Finnair will also introduce a classic Finnish tradition in the business class of its long-haul flights departing Asia in the morning - a coffee serving with seven different treats.

This exclusive coffee service will allow customers to spend some quality time enjoying traditional Finnish treats including Carelian pies, cinnamon buns, coffee cake and traditional Finnish chocolates between the two meal services.

Finnair offers excellent connections from Australia with oneworld partners and flies between Asia/North America and Europe with an emphasis on fast connections via Helsinki.

Finnair carries more than nine million passengers annually and connects 17 cities in Asia and 3 cities in North America with more than 60 destinations in Europe.  Finnair offers excellent connections from Australia with oneworld partners.

Finnair has been named Best International Airline – Offline in the prestigious 2017 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards for the fifth consecutive year.

www.finnair.com/au


Monday, December 4, 2017

Intrepid opens Costa Rica base as sustainable travel grows in Americas


Intrepid has this morning announced a new addition to the group, a new DMC in Costa Rica with a satellite office in Mexico City. PEAK Central America is the nineteenth destination management company in the global network and the next logical step for the company to grow sustainable tourism in the Americas.
 
Pic: Intrepid Group's CEO James Thornton and General Manager of PEAK Central America, Bradley John-Davis 


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Friday, December 1, 2017

MSC SEASIDE New flagship prepares to set sail to become the new star of Miami

#cruise #travel

MSC Seaside will be officially named in Miami on December 21st

Today (Italy time) in the port of Trieste, MSC Cruises celebrated the coming into service of MSC Seaside, the new flagship for MSC Cruises, as she prepares to welcome the first guests and cross the Atlantic for her new home in Miami. MSC Seaside is the Company's 14th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet and the second MSC Cruises ship to come into service in 2017 under the Company's industry-unprecedented investment plan.

MSC Seaside is a brand new prototype, designed specifically for sun lovers and to bring MSC Cruises guests closer to the ocean than ever before. The ship boasts generous outdoor public spaces so that guests can make the most of the sunshine but the design also brings guests closer to the navigational moments, which are the highlights of a cruise holiday. This is now the fifth new prototype from MSC Cruises and each and every new ship is designed to further enhance the cruise experience, bringing something unique and different every time.

Quite unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will be the new star of Miami, truly recognisable and with a distinctive design inspired by a Miami beach condo. But it is not just the design of this ship that sets her apart but also the onboard experience that distinguishes an MSC Cruises holiday. MSC Seaside will offer world-class entertainment, a whole host of new international dining concepts, outstanding facilities for families, the MSC Yacht Club, which has become MSC Cruises' signature luxury offering and much more. It is this that will differentiate the MSC Cruises brand and cruise experience in the North American market and provide yet another reason for international guests to opt for a fly & cruise holiday in the Caribbean. Some of the main highlights of MSC Seaside include:

Unique design features - Inspired by the beach condos that have made Miami famous, MSC Seaside has a number of distinctive and innovative design features unlike any other ship. Two unique glass-floored catwalks and a 40m high 'Bridge of Sighs' give guests a view of the ocean like never before. A waterfront boardwalk, the widest on any ship ever built, wraps around the ship, while panoramic lifts connect everything together.

A connected cruise experience -MSC for Me is the digital innovation program that uses the latest cutting-edge technology to connect holidaymakers seamlessly with the experiences that matter to them, whether at sea or on land.

Variety of accommodation -Developed to offer the perfect accommodation for every type of guest, the ship offers flexible modular cabins for groups of up to ten guests, exclusive aft corner suites with stunning sea views, terraced balcony cabins with extended private terraces overlooking the waterfront boardwalk and luxurious suites with their own outdoor whirlpool bath.

Rich and varied entertainment -  MSC Seaside doesn't just feature a full-sized bowling alley, XD cinema and the longest zip line at sea, but also the most interactive aqua park at sea with five water attractions: the first cruise ship Slideboarding™ attraction, 160 metre long duelling body slides and two spray areas for kids. There is never a dull moment on board!

Extensive dining options -MSC Seaside will offer an extensive choice of indoor and outdoor dining venues with a tempting range of international restaurants. One of the highlights is Asian Market Kitchen from renowned Pan-Asian chef Roy Yamaguchi. Other highlights include a luxury seafood restaurant, Ocean Cay, an authentic American-style steakhouse, the Butcher's Cut and a new French bistro, La Bohème.

Outstanding facilities and services for families and kids of all ages -MSC Seaside features brand new entertainment on top of everything families have already come to expect from MSC Cruises. As well as all-day kids' entertainment and six dedicated areas for babies and kids of all ages, guests can also take part in the brand new DOREMI Family Cinema and a new exciting buzzer game.

MSC Seaside will depart Trieste on December 1st, making a 21 day trans-Atlantic crossing, arriving in Port Miami, her new home on December 21st. That evening, the new MSC Cruises flagship will be officially named in a glittering ceremony and no MSC Cruises naming ceremony would be complete without the Godmother, Sophia Loren, who has played the leading role in this time honoured tradition since 2003.

MSC Seaside will sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean offering 7-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries starting December 23rd 2017.

Website: www.msccruises.com.au
Discover the MSC Voyagers Club: www.mscvoyagersclub.com.au

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Magic of coral spawning captured in Reef Chat



The Great Barrier Reef coral spawning has captured the imagination of media around the world with extraordinary coverage of the Reef regenerating.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) Chief Executive Officer Pip Close said the annual coral spawn, which occurred last week and should happen again after the full moon in December, was a sign of hope for those concerned about the future of the Great Barrier Reef.

"It is fantastic seeing the media reports which are appearing multiple times in newspapers, broadcast bulletins and digital media around the world and across Australia," she said.

"News about the coral spawning is included in this month's free e-newsletter Reef Chat which shares some great images and videos of the annual event.

"Focusing on the people, places and science of the World Heritage area, Reef Chat has been published for the past three months in response to media, travel agent and traveller requests for up-to-date information on the Great Barrier Reef.

"This monthly newsletter will introduce people around the world to the thousands of stories the Great Barrier Reef holds.

"To subscribe go to bit.ly/ReefChat and we encourage those already on the subscription list to forward it to their contacts to encourage more people to discover what is happening each month on the Reef.

"The Great Barrier Reef is the number one drawcard for Tropical North Queensland and our operators are passionate about sharing this World Heritage area with the world.

"An extraordinary number of people from school children to scientists are doing their bit for the Great Barrier Reef both on the land and in the water and their stories are an inspiration for people who care about the Reef.

"We want to keep the conversation about the Great Barrier Reef going and encourage people around the world to be knowledgeable advocates for this beautiful and diverse ecosystem."

Image taken by Darren Miller aboard Divers Den's ReefQuest on December 9 at Saxon Reef.

Witness the coral spawning with marine biologists and film makers Stuart Ireland, Gareth Phillips, Pablo Cogollos and Paul Waghorn at Moore Reef beside the Sunlover Cruises pontoon: https://vimeo.com/stuartireland/coralspawning2017



Thursday, November 16, 2017

NSW Blue Mountains Roaring 20s Festival: Majestic art deco weekend


The Hydro Majestic Hotel will revive its most mischievous traditions and host the ultimate day-long vintage revelry on Saturday, February 24.                          

The Roaring 20s Festival celebrations will high kick off with a community Charleston for Charity dance in front of the Majestic Pavilion at 11am.

The naughty knees-up will be an opportunity for art deco buffs to don their most sophisticated 1920s-inspired costumes befitting the elegant venue (eg: feather boas, spats, fedora hats).

There will be prizes galore for best dressed lady, man, couples and hats. Cost: gold coin donation towards Blue Mountains Rural Fire Service.

The Charleston for Charity will be followed by a decadent regional food and wine showcase of shared plates featuring the culinary skills of Hydro Majestic head chef Mate Herceg and his team as well as other exceptional local producers.

A fashion parade of exquisite 1920s clothing will add an extra course to the long lunch menu. Cost: $95pp.

Sumptuous high tea will be available in the Wintergarden Restaurant overlooking the Megalong Valley throughout the day, along with history tours of the world-famous hotel.

That evening, the grandest of the grand Blue Mountains hotels will again resound with the likes of Al Capone, Dutch Schultz and Bugsy Siegel when the Hydro Majestic holds a Gangster Casino Night in support of Katoomba Hospital.

Guests can play all the traditional games at casino-quality tables with professionally trained casino standard croupiers.

There will be an array of prizes, and money raised at the 18 years plus-restricted event will go towards refurbishing the waiting room in the local Katoomba Hospital emergency department. Cost: $55 per person general admission to Casino includes welcome cocktail.

Visitors are encouraged to fully immerse themselves in the Roaring 20s Festival by staying for at least one night at the Hydro Majestic Hotel or one of its nearby sister properties Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges, Echoes Boutique Hotel or Lilianfels Resort & Spa.

Go to www.hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885 to book any/all of the Roaring 20s Festival events, accommodation and dining.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Tourism Fiji Global Social Media Manager


Tourism Fiji continues to strengthen its consumer marketing capabilities with the appointment of home-grown digital marketing specialist Rush Pathak as Global Social Media Manager. In the new role Mr Pathak will lead the social media strategy for the destination.

With over a decade of experience in digital marketing and social media, Pathak will play a key role in building Tourism Fiji's digital marketing capabilities.

Matt Stoeckel, Tourism Fiji CEO welcomes Rush on-board and commented: "We continue to expand as an organisation and build our in-house capabilities. Rush is another high-calibre appointment to our consumer marketing team whose skills and experience, alongside his passion for the destination, will help to ensure Tourism Fiji remains an industry leader in destination marketing.

Born in Suva, and having spent time working across the media, tourism and public sector landscapes in both Australia and New Zealand, Rush is looking forward to spearheading the organisations social media activities.

"The organisation is going through a digital transformation by further developing their customer, data and digital focus. Something I am looking forward to being a part of." Mr Pathak said.

"Search, social and mobile play an important role when consumers begin their decision-making journey and I look forward to taking a customer-focused, data-driven approach to building our capabilities and relevance from consideration phases, to long after visitors have left," Mr Pathak continued.

Rush will initially work out of Tourism Fiji's Sydney office before relocating to the tourism board's headquarters in Nadi, where he will be based full time.

Mr Pathak feels now is a great time to venture back home to spend time with family and to collaborate with industry and partners to help support a broader Tourism Government agenda.

Tourism Fiji have continued to enhance their global and regional teams with a number of recent appointments, bringing a range of talent in-house to push the brand into the forefront of consumer minds.

For more information on Tourism Fiji, visit www.fiji.travel

 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Accor to buy Mantra



AccorHotels signs an agreement to acquire Mantra Group Limited

AccorHotels today announced the signature of an agreement with Mantra Group Limited with the view to acquire all of the issued capital in Mantra by way of a scheme of arrangement to be approved by Mantra shareholders. Under the terms of the agreement AccorHotels would offer AUD3.96 in cash for each Mantra share including any potential special dividend.

Mantra's newest property is a former office tower in Canberra transformed into a 176-room hotel as part of the city’s vibrant urban renewal program.

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AccorHotels said, “We are delighted to have come to an agreement to acquire the Mantra Group. This operation will underpin our long-term growth in the Asia Pacific region. Mantra’s portfolio would offer AccorHotels additional accommodation formats and a strong customer base to complement our successful hotel portfolio in Australia. We are confident that the transaction terms are attractive for shareholders of both groups”.

Chairman of Mantra, Peter Bush, said, “The AccorHotels offer represents an attractive proposition for Mantra and for our shareholders and the Board unanimously recommends AccorHotels’ proposal. AccorHotels is one of the world’s leading hotel operators and we trust that our business will be in good hands. Mantra’s strong expertise in apartments, in particular, and our presence in resort locations are very complementary to the AccorHotels operations in Australia and New Zealand. The combined business will be an important part of Australia’s strong and growing tourism market and its customers will benefit from the market leading expertise of both groups”.

Mantra is one of Australia’s largest hotel and resort marketers and operators with 127 properties and over 20,000 rooms in hotels, resorts and serviced apartments across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Hawaii.

Properties in Mantra’s portfolio range from luxury accommodations and coastal resorts to serviced apartments in city and key leisure destinations, under three key brands: Peppers (28 properties), Mantra (75 properties) and BreakFree (24 properties). Mantra also manages core accommodation services including guest relations and reception areas, restaurants and bars, conference and function centres, pool and entertainment facilities and offices. Mantra has more than 5,500 employees.

AccorHotels and Mantra’s combined geographic footprint, together with enhanced distribution and systems, would form a favourable base from which AccorHotels can expand further in the region. Mantra’s expertise in apartment management, in particular, will offer a new opportunity for growth.

The Offer Price represents:

- A 23% premium to the last close price of AUD3.23 as at 6 October, 2017

- An implied EV / 2018e EBITDA (including transaction costs) multiple of 12.4x pre-synergies and high single-digit post-synergies.

The acquisition will be accretive to earnings per share in the first year of ownership pre-synergies. AccorHotels will pay AUD1.3 billion, equivalent to €0.9billion [1].

Besides, AccorHotels confirms it is in discussion with potential investors in relation to the sale of part of the Share Capital of AccorInvest. The Group aims at signing an agreement before year-end 2017. At this stage, the Group has no certainty to reach an agreement.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, including from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board, the Federal Court of Australia and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, as well as the approval of Mantra shareholders and other customary conditions. It is anticipated that subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, the transaction should be completed by the end of the first quarter 2018.


[1] Assumes AUD1.49/€ as exchange rate

Hotel Career Expo 2018 Launches in Sydney



Minister for Tourism and Major Events, and Assistant Minister for Skills Adam Marshall joined representatives of Sydney’s top accommodation hotels in Sydney last night to officially launch Hotel Career Expo 2018.

The Career Expo - backed by Australia’s peak accommodation body Tourism Accommodation Australia – will be a major drawcard in the effort to attract the next generation of skilled young professionals to the tourism industry.

Minister Marshall told the crowd of more than 120 industry leaders the Expo was the perfect chance to showcase the wonderful career opportunities available for young people in the tourism and accommodation sectors.



“It’s great to see the industry working together in such a positive way to both fulfil a gap in the workforce, while at the same time allowing young people to see first-hand the great careers on offer right across the sector,” Mr Marshall said.

“The NSW Government is committed to growing the NSW visitor economy to ensure we remain the number one State for tourism and major events in Australia. This means the creation of more jobs across the industry and more opportunities for future generations of tourism industry professionals.”

TAA NSW chair Peter Tudehope said the Hotel Expo – which will build on the success of the previous event in 2016 – was the perfect example of the industry working together to make a difference.

“This is about filling a real need for skills across a number of disciplines in the tourism and accommodation sector,” he said.

“And it is also about showcasing the great opportunities available in this vibrant and growing industry to a new generation of young people and letting them know about the exciting employment opportunities we have to offer.”

TAA CEO Carol Giuseppi said the launch followed the success of last month’s Hotel Live Experience, which saw more than 550 young people given the chance for an immersive career experience across more than 25 top hotels.

“We had an overwhelming response to the Hotel Live Experience, which saw hundreds of students see first-hand a range of career options from events and marketing through engineering to HR, food and beverage,” she said.

“This was a unique opportunity for students to work one-on-one directly with experts in the industry who could actually be their employers in coming years.

“Our message to young people today is a simple one – our hotels offer great advancement for an exciting career across a range of fields, and the Hotel Expo in May is the perfect chance to see just what the industry has to offer.”

*The Hotel Career Expo 2018 will be held at the Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney on 7 May 2018.

For more information, visit: www.hotelcareerexpo.com.au


Targa Great Barrier Reef to rally for Tropical North Queensland


Tropical North Queensland will host a new major tourism event for the next three years with the launch of Targa Great Barrier Reef, a three-day car rally that will see the field of around 200 cars visit all key regions, including Port Douglas, Innisfail and the Atherton Tablelands.

The new event, to be based in Cairns from 31 August to 2 September next year, is modelled on the world's largest tarmac rally, Targa Tasmania, which has been held annually on the Apple Isle since making its debut in 1992.

Targa Great Barrier Reef will be a round of the four event CAMS Australian Targa Championship, which also includes Targa North West, Targa Tasmania, and Targa High Country in Victoria.

The extension of the series into Queensland was made possible through a three-year funding deal by Tourism & Events Queensland and Cairns Regional Council with series organiser, Targa Australia.

The two hundred cars expected to take part in the 2018 event will represent a cavalcade of motoring history from pre-war classics right through to the latest exotic supercars.

The cars will tackle 15 stages across more than 200 competitive kilometres on a course that covers more than 800 kilometres across Tropical North Queensland.

The event will start and finish each day in Cairns, with a Super Street Stage on the Saturday night bringing the action right into the heart of the city. Cairns will also host Targafest, where the cars are on display for fans to see close up, while regional towns will host a lunch stop each day which will see various local charities supported.

Underlining the scale of the event is the fact that more than 500 local officials and various community groups will be involved in its successful running.

Targa Australia Director, Mark Perry, is excited with the expansion of the championship.

"The secret to the long-term success of Targa Tasmania is that it is a tourism destination event built around a passion for the motor vehicle," Perry said.

"It attracts people and their cars from right around Australia, and overseas. It's a format that sees the event travel to the fans, stopping at a number of towns along the way, meaning it's not just one town or one city that is the winner and our `stadium' covers thousands of square kilometres of iconic landscapes that will showcase the region to the world.

"Targa is renowned for showcasing and bringing awareness to many of Australia's iconic and important World Heritage Areas through its TV Specials, broadcast around the world, and will continue to do so with Targa Great Barrier Reef in highlighting the beauty and importance of preserving the Tropical North Queensland region."

"Targa Tasmania attracts some beautiful cars from across the eras, and I'm sure many of those competitors will be drawn to this new event and others will enter now they have an event closer to home, along with also tapping into the lucrative Asian market due to the ease of travelling to Cairns."

"Being part of a national championship will ensure all the top cars and factory teams are present, and they boast some incredible automotive pedigree and some absolutely awesome drivers."

Queensland Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones said she couldn't wait to see Targa kick off in North Queensland. "With the backdrop of the Great Barrier Reef, this race will be an attractive proposition to Targa teams around the world," she said.

"To have such an iconic sporting experience so close to one of Queensland's most important natural assets will create a wonderful experience for teams and racegoers.

"Events like this deliver a valuable boost to the Tropical North Queensland economy – helping to attract visitors and support local jobs.

"I look forward to Targa becoming a permanent fixture on Queensland's It's Live! Event Calendar."

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said Targa was an ideal fit for the region's ever-growing sports event calendar.

"Targa Great Barrier Reef will not only be great for Cairns, but fantastic for our region," Cr Manning said.

"Major events play an important role in promoting our destination, driving visitation, supporting jobs and fostering community pride.

"This is an iconic car race which will be set against an iconic backdrop – it is the perfection combination. We have a reputation of facilitating world-class events, and this will be no different."

Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Pip Close said Targa Great Barrier Reef would showcase Cairns, Port Douglas, the Atherton Tablelands and the Cassowary Coast to a new audience around the world.

"We are seeing increasing numbers of Asian competitors at events like Ironman Asia-Pacific and the Great Barrier Reef Marathon and this event will further appeal to these markets," she said.

"With new flights from China in December added to our direct connections from Singapore and Japan we have the opportunity to further grow Tropical North Queensland as an international sports event destination."

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New Podilato Restaurant at Mantra MacArthur Hotel takes diners on a ride through the Mediterranean




Canberra’s craving for modern Mediterranean cuisine has been met with the opening of Podilato at the new Mantra MacArthur Hotel.

Podilato (which means bicycle in Greek) is the sister restaurant of the popular Bicicletta Italian restaurant at Peppers Gallery Hotel in Canberra.

Like Bicicletta, the restaurant offers a traditional-meets-modern-fusion in its menu.

Podilato Head Chef Sean Mawbey is well known for using fresh ingredients and uncomplicated cooking styles to temper the richness of tradition with the delicacy of modern gastronomy in some inspirational variations on classic Mediterranean dishes.

He has created a menu of Greek, Spanish and Italian cuisines that highlights the freshest seasonal ingredients with a great selection of tapas and dishes designed for sharing.

Featuring Hellenic favourites off the grill, accompanied by both Mediterranean and local wines, Podilato is a welcome addition to the list of Canberra’s best restaurants.

“My cooking philosophy is to accentuate the natural flavours and characteristics of the food, and to put a modern-Australian twist on traditional dishes,” said Sean.

“When preparing Mediterranean cuisine, I’m particularly fond of seafood but I also like to slow-cook food; it takes time and patience, but it reflects the Mediterranean way of life and is definitely worth the wait.”

Tapas dishes include dips, antipasto, paella balls, beetroot carpaccio, mini gyros, Persian lamb kofta, pork belly and crackle and main dishes include pollo alla diavola (grilled crispy flattened chicken with a chilli and lemon vinaigrette), ragu di agnello (braised lamb shoulder pasta), pumpkin and sage risotto, and more.

For groups (minimum two) there are also two banquet options - $45 per person for six plates or $55 per person for eight plates.

Podilato is open daily for breakfast from 6.30-10am on weekdays and 7-11am on weekends, offers a weekday deli option from 6.30am-3pm, a tapas menu (Monday to Saturday) from 3-10pm and dinner from 6-9.30pm (Monday to Saturday). For bookings, call 02 6112 9292.

The restaurant is located at the new Mantra MacArthur Hotel at 219 Northbourne Avenue, Turner ACT. A balcony also offers outdoor dining.

Mantra MacArthur Hotel offers a range of stylish and contemporary studio rooms as well as one and two bedroom suites.There is an opening special from $129* per night in a Studio Room including 1GB Wi-Fi daily, drink voucher on arrival and 12pm late check-out. To book, visit MantraHotels.com or call 1300 987 603.

*Conditions apply, subject to availability. Valid for sale and travel until 31 January, 2018.

Tourism Fiji Australian new PR Manager

Tourism Fiji has announced the appointment of Ms Sarah-Louise Robinson as Public Relations Manager – Australia, commencing this week.

Announcing the appointment, Tourism Fiji Regional Manager – Australia, Hal Caldwell said this newly-created role underlines the importance of Australian media relationships to Tourism Fiji, with Australia continuing to serve as Fiji's biggest market for tourism.

"We're delighted to be welcoming Sarah-Louise to this important role. Working in consultation with Verve PR and other partners primarily via our Sydney office, Sarah-Louise will play a pivotal role in helping to satisfy the Australian media's appetite for Tourism Fiji news. With a breadth of experience representing tourism and travel brands, we're confident Sarah-Louise will lead a strong PR strategy for Tourism Fiji within our biggest market," said Mr Caldwell.

With almost two decades of experience in PR and Communications roles across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Sarah-Louise most recently served as Senior Marketing Communications Manager for Dubai Tourism, delivering creative campaigns across ANZ.

An IPRA (International Public Relations Association) Golden World award-winner in the category of Travel and Tourism, Sarah-Louise has also represented Tourism Malaysia, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Egypt Tourism and other organisations – working both in-house and in external agency roles.

"Fiji holds a special place in the hearts of many Aussies. I am honoured to be joining the Tourism Fiji team and I am excited to lead some exciting initiatives within the Australian media market. Stay tuned!" said Ms Robinson.

For more information about Tourism Fiji, visit the official Tourism Fiji website fiji.travel.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Giant luminous rabbits to 'invade Macau for 2017 Macao Light Festival



The invasion of Macao by 10 monumental “rabbits” is just the beginning of an autumn-winter season which will revolve around two month-long evening festivals among its feast of annual events.

Pride of place on the banks of Nam Van Lake stand 10 luminous installations in the form of rabbits, which throughout October will light up the night’s sky in celebrating the 2nd Macao Lantern Festival.

Measuring between five and eight metres tall, each colourful character was designed by renowned architect and artist Carlos Marreiros.

Supported by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), the event is a major drawcard during the Asian centre’s annual Mid-Autumn Festival until the end of October.

Apart from the visual display at the Waterfront Promenade of Once Central and Anim’Arte Nam Van, there are lantern festival workshops, allowing budding artists to create lanterns using clay and glassed bottles.

From December 3-31, another array of lights will be switched on throughout Macao as the city celebrates winter with a fascinating light festival.

Such has been the success of previous year’s festivals the 2017 Macao Light Festival promises to be more spectacular with events arranged to attract locals and international visitors beyond the bright colours.

Organised by the MGTO, this year’s festival will have a strong emphasis on story-telling with an outdoor concert scheduled along with an outdoor movie showing and an exclusive lighting dinner.

The Macao Light Festival will be highlighted by an opening show on December 3.

As many as eight of the former Portuguese enclave’s historic sites will be used as focal points throughout the month, heightened each night by bright lighting and three-dimensional mapping.

Those prime locations will be:
  • Camões Garden
  • St. Anthony's Church
  • Taipa Houses
  • St. Lazarus Church
  • Old Court Building
  • Anim’Arte NAM VAN
  • Senado Square
  • Ruins of St. Paul's
Details: Macao Government Tourism Office www.visitmacao.com.au

White exhibition colours Everglades, Leura


Celebrate the simplicity, subtlety and emptiness of ``white'' when the richly designed and furnished Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, holds a luminous twilight soiree to launch the White Exhibition on November 11.

Featuring three Blue Mountains artists (James Gordon, Julie Martin and Helen Sturgess), exhibition curator and art consultant Louise Abbott of iArt has based the exhibition around the White book by Japanese designer and curator Kenya Hara, the art director of Muji since 2001 who designed the opening and closing ceremony programs of the Nagano Winter Olympic Games 1998.

In his book Designing Design, Hara elaborates on the importance of ``emptiness'' in the visual and philosophical traditions of Japan and its application to design.

``In summary, `white' symbolises simplicity and subtlety,'' Abbott said.

``Hara attempts to explore the essence of `white', which he sees as being closely related to the origin of Japanese aesthetics. The central concepts discussed by Hara are emptiness and the absolute void. He also sees his work as a designer as a form of communication. Good communication has the distinction of being able to listen to each other, rather than to press one's opinion onto the opponent.''




Hara compares that form of communication with an empty container.

``In visual communication there are equally signals whose signification is limited as well as signals or symbols such as the cross or the red circle on the Japanese flag which, like an empty container, permit every signification and do not limit imagination,'' Abbott said.

``The Japanese character for white also forms a radical of the character for emptiness. Therefore, we can closely associate the colour white with emptiness.''

Launched with a White soiree, the exhibition will be held in the magnificent 1930s art deco Everglades House set amid spectacular gardens, formal terraces and overlooking sweeping views of the Jamison Valley.

Dressed in white, guests will be served a selection of canapes and locally-produced drinks sponsored by Dryridge Estate, while floral arrangements will be provided by Floral Ink and musical duo Rachel Hannan and John Stuart will set the tone with smooth grooves.

All the artworks will be white-themed.

Everglades manager Guy McIlrath said: ``With its progressive ideas and stark philosophies, the White exhibition is as avant garde as the property itself.

``The soiree event will be a reminder of Everglades in its heyday when you can imagine beautiful people floating around the gardens in beautiful clothes on summer evenings.

``In November the evenings are balmy, cool breezes and summer scents float through the trees and the formal ponds help cool the air, so it will be a very dreamy atmosphere.''

The White exhibition official opening soiree event will be held at Everglades Historic House & Gardens, 37 Everglades Ave, Leura, from 5pm to 8pm on Saturday, November 11. Tickets: $55pp, $50pp National Trust members. Bookings essential: 0467 332 591 or 0410 312 827 or email friendsofeverglades@gmail.com (please dress in white).

The exhibition will be displayed in the main house for a month thereafter. Everglades is open from 10am to 5pm daily during daylight savings and from 10am to 4pm during autumn and winter. Entry: $13 adults, $8 concessions, $4 children, National Trust members free.

Contact: (02) 4784 1938 or email everglades@nationaltrust.com.au.

Photos: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Luxperience luxury travel expo sold

#luxperience2017

Luxperience Founder, Helen Logas has sold the successful, global travel trade institution



After six years guiding Luxperience to an overwhelming success, Founder Helen Logas has sold the renowned luxury travel trade forum to US owned company Diversified Communications Australia, as of 04 October 2017, for an undisclosed sum.

Spying a niche in the marketplace, Ms Logas was inspired to create Luxperience in 2012 as a high end business to business event based in the Southern Hemisphere. The annual event continues to raise the profile of some of the world's unique travel experiences and products and connect these to elite travel buyers and corporate meeting organisers from around the globe.

'The trend toward more experiential products and activities demanded by the high end traveller also reinforced the need for a global travel trade event offered by Luxperience,' says Ms Logas, Founder of Luxperience. 'With Australia and New Zealand's highly desired and unique  experiences leading the way in attracting this type of traveller to the region, the development of the event continually attracts both exhibitors and buyers from around the world seeking to make quality business relationships. As a result we quickly acquired market share from amongst other luxury travel trade events around the world.'

'We are very pleased to announce the acquisition of Luxperience. Helen and her team have done excellent work to develop a strong brand and successful event since its launch in 2012,' says David Longman, General Manager Diversified Communications Australasia.



The tourism industry is an exciting and vibrant one in Australia and is estimated to contribute $47.5 billion to the nation's economy annually. The luxury end of the travel market in Australia is expected to grow sharply over the next ten years.

'As a premium event Luxperience – which features an invitation only hosted buyer model, awards and networking opportunities – is in a great position to understand and service the needs of this growing community. It's an industry we're excited to be part of,' continues Mr Longman. 'Since the launch of Luxperience in 2012 the events have been built on similar principles to Diversified where inspiring meaningful connections are at the heart of what the event is all about. We are excited to be able to work with the team and continue the good work, delivering a world class event for the luxury and experiential travel sector.'  

A true influencer and innovator in the travel industry, building a multi-million dollar business is not new to Ms Logas. In 1994, she established corporate travel agency, Travelcorp Australia with one office then sold it 17 years later as an award winning national agency group with a turnover of $85m and 65 staff to CTM.

Under Ms Logas' guidance Travelcorp was either a finalist or winner of the best corporate agency from 2003 to 2010. She was personally recognised as a finalist in the Telstra Business Woman of the Year and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011. This travel industry experience and dedication enabled Ms Logas to establish and grow Luxperience to be an exceptional, unmissable event.

'I'm quite emotional about selling Luxperience as it has been a major part of my life for the past six years,' says Ms Logas. 'I'm so proud of my team's efforts in establishing it as a must attend event in the calendars of the global visionaries of the travel industry. I know I am handing the baton on to a worthy company in Diversified Communications.'

Diversified Communications is pleased to announce that the majority of the current Luxperience team will transition to Diversified, moving into a new home in our Kent Street offices in Sydney. Retaining the experience, industry knowledge and relationships that the team have built up, will ensure that Diversified Communications is in the best possible position to continue to deliver Luxperience for the industry, and further build on the success of this unique and fantastic event.

 

You do not want to see this on your boarding pass


BBC Persian correspendent, Bahman Kalbasi, tweeted:

"I’m SSSS on EVERY flight. Special treatment includes @TSA feeling & squeezing you & every single item in the luggage"

If you see this code on any USA boarding pass, get ready for some extra attention from airport security.

According to the TSA, this code denotes 'special screening' procedures called 'Secure Flight'.

“Secure Flight is a risk-based passenger pre-screening program that enhances security by identifying low and high-risk passengers before they arrive at the airport by matching their names against trusted traveler lists and watchlists,” a TSA spokesman said.

Another passenger, Dr. Maryam Ahmad, a self-proclaimed 'proud American-Muslim and Civil Rights Activist' also noted:

"Again I've been "randomly" selected for secondary security screening SSSS printed on JFK boarding pass. Funny, not ONE white person selected."






Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour unveiled

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour was officially launched on 3 October 2017 by The Hon. Adam Marshall MP, Minister for Tourism and Major Events making it the first new build, international luxury hotel to debut in Sydney's CBD this millennium.  It is also the first new Sofitel property to be built in Australia.

The launch of the Sofitel has broken a 5-star accommodation drought that stretches back before the Sydney Olympics, with the last internationally-branded luxury hotel opened in 1999.

The opening of the Sofitel heralds a renaissance of new hotel development in Sydney, with over 40 hotels scheduled to open over the next five years to support the city's record breaking tourism growth.

For such an auspicious launch, the hotel's owner, Dr Jerry Schwartz, and Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels Pacific, Simon McGrath decided to offer the whole hotel to 33 charities to support in their fundraising. As a result, $508,000 was raised by the charities supporting a range of causes including medical research, disadvantaged children and families, education, Indigenous development and homelessness.

"Being the most important hotel opening since the Olympics, we wanted to once again involve the whole of Sydney by supporting charities that do so much for communities across the city and the State," said Dr Schwartz.

"This hotel launch will also help cement Darling Harbour as one of the world's most dynamic tourism and events precincts, and power future international and domestic demand for the city."

Simon McGrath said, "Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour will be a landmark hotel for Sydney and with its proximity to the International Convention Centre, the hotel will help bring major conferences and events to the city and will be a significant contributor to the tourism sector.

"Sofitel is now the largest luxury hotel brand in the Pacific and coupled with the strength of AccorHotels' distribution and loyalty platform we are confident Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is going to lead the luxury hotel market in Australia."

The Hon. Adam Marshall said, "Since 2011, the NSW Government has overseen record growth for the State's visitor economy and this has led to huge investment in Sydney's accommodation sector.

"The accommodation sector plays a key part in our visitor economy and I congratulate AccorHotels on this wonderful new asset, and with another 4,800 new Sydney hotel beds in the pipeline between now and 2024 I look forward to seeing even more investment in our city."

Centrally located in the vibrant, newly transformed city precinct, opposite the International Convention Centre, the $500 million Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour offers 590 guestrooms including the hotel's 35 coveted suites, boasting some of the best views in Sydney.

For more information, head to www.accorhotels.com


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Azamara Club Cruises Announces Expansion Of Boutique Fleet



#cruise

Boutique cruise line Azamara Club Cruises has announced it has entered into an agreement to purchase a sister ship to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with delivery taking place in March 2018.

"We are pleased to expand our portfolio by 50%, allowing us to visit even more regions of the world through the acquisition of this sister ship," said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. "Our loyal guests and travel partners have asked for this expansion for a long time; we are very pleased to deliver this to them."

The new addition, Azamara Pursuit, is comparable in size to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. As such, it will also allow visits to unique ports that larger ships are unable to reach. Together, the three ships will support the brand's commitment to enrich destination immersion around the world, by staying longer in port to allow guests to experience more.

The ship's décor will be updated to match the brand's upmarket position. These updates will be similar to the renovations recently introduced on the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, bringing guests the experience of a boutique hotel at sea.

Information about deployment and itineraries for Azamara Pursuit will be available in October. For additional information please visit www.azamara.com/pursuit.

North American Airports' Construction, Capacity Challenges

J.D. Power has just released its 2017 North America Airport Satisfaction Study.

This year's study found that passenger satisfaction has reached an all-time high, since airports are effectively managing the challenges of ongoing construction and increased capacity through tech investment and creative outreach initiatives.




More specifically:

·         Overall satisfaction reaches all-time high: Overall customer satisfaction scores have reached an all-time high of 749 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is up 18 points from last year's all-time high. Improvement is driven primarily by a 25-point increase in satisfaction with security check, thanks largely to fewer TSA staffing issues this year, and gains in two factors: check-in/baggage check (+19 points) and food, beverage, and retail (+15 points). Self-service bag-check kiosks and other bag-tagging technologies have played a significant role in improving the baggage check process.

·         Tech investment helps overcome logistical hurdles: With nearly every airport in the country dealing with challenges of high passenger capacity and ongoing construction projects to address increased demand, technology is helping to directly address these issues. For example, Sacramento International Airport has developed a smartphone app that tells travelers where they can find a parking spot, and virtually every airport in the country has invested heavily in improving phone-charging stations and internet access in their terminals.

LiLou the pig is the newest member of San Francisco International Airport's Wag Brigade. 

·         Dogs, horses and pigs! Oh, my!: Many airports have also found success in improving customer satisfaction through creative use of high-touch traveler outreach initiatives. Phoenix Sky Harbor, for example, deploys a team of therapy dogs for passengers to pet while they wait to board; San Francisco International features a pet therapy pig that roams the terminal looking for pets and selfies; and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport has more than 30 stress-relieving ponies on staff with which travelers can interact.

·         Big city construction projects remain obstacle to satisfaction: Despite the most creative efforts to address traveler frustration, major city airports that are in the thick of massive construction efforts—notably Newark Liberty, LaGuardia, Los Angeles International and Chicago O'Hare—are still fighting the headwinds of traveler disruption and access challenges that are handicapping their overall satisfaction scores.

Orlando International, John Wayne, and Sacramento rank the highest in the Mega, Large, and Medium airport categories.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

AITTC Event: Know India Better - River Cruising in India



To inspire further growth of travel to India , almost all attendees at the Australia India Travel & Tourism Council (AITTC) organised Round Table Conference, held last month, recommended inititives to increase destination knowledge and make the market aware of products beyond the traditional offerings. Responding to this , AITTC in partnership with India Tourism and Taj Hotels relaunced their highly successful "Know India Better" program on 25 September introducing River Cruising in India.

"India is a large and diverse country with unlimited choices for travellers. This collaboration with AITTC is one of many initiatives of India tourism Sydney office, with the objective to provide more and more information on  Indian destinations to  Australia" , said Kanchan K Kukreja, Head of india Tourism in Australia

Over 60 guests comprising of tour operators travel agents, airlines, hotelliers, media and industry personalities dominating the India- Australia tourism attened the evening event at the waterfront Indian restaurant, Manjits @ The Wharf.

In the recent times, cruising along mighty rivers has emerged as a popular style of holidaying. While in Europe voyaging along the Danube or Rhine is well known for quite some time, journeying along other key rivers of the world from the Nile and Amazon to Yangtze, Irrawaddy and the Mekong are also gaining momentum. In India, river cruise holidays are relatively new. Entrepreneurs have started offering lengths of the holy Ganges and backwaters of Kerala in luxury boats. "But drawing global attention is the one along the legendary Brahmaputra River in North-East India, aboard luxury vessel MV Mahabaahu", said Sandip Hor Chairman of AITTC in his opening remarks. " While this voyage can match up with any European river cruise in terms of accomodation and onboard facilities, the great Indian hospitality comes in as a lucrative bonus" added Hor who ventured this journey earier  this year.

Sanjay Basu, Chairman of Far Horizons group of companies talked more about MV Mahabaahu which is India's first luxury river boat cruising the mighty Brahmaputra since 2012. Owned and operated by Adventure Resorts & Cruises, one of Far Horizon's subsidiary company this vessel has 23 centrally air-conditioned staterooms, its elegant décor and hospitality bequeathing guests flavours of North East India. This journey introduces guests with all flavours of Assam from history , culture , cuisine and lifestyle to one horned rhinos at the world famous Kaziranga National Park.

Earlier Chandru Appar Deputy Consul General, Indian Consulate in Sydney and Kanchan Kukreja spoke about India's current standing as a tourist destination from Australia and Thushara Liyanarachchi, Director Global Sales - Australia & New Zealand Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris about premium accommodation choices , while travel writer Roderick Eime and Maria Visconti shared their wonderful travel experiences in India.

MC of the evening ,Phillip Boniface, Co Chairman & Trasurer AITTC presented the vote of thanks at the end.

Contact: Sandip Hor- sandip.hor@aittc.net.au

Tauck Announces 2020 Oberammergau Land Tours and River Cruises


Tauck has commenced accepting reservations on itineraries to feature the next exciting performances of Oberammergau's Passion Play in the small Bavarian town in 2020.

In 2020, Tauck will include the Passion Play (or 'Passionsspiele', as it is known locally) on two European land tours, 'Romantic Journey' and 'The Ultimate Alps & Dolomites' and two European river cruises, 'The Blue Danube' and 'The Romantic Rhine'.

Each departure of the two land journeys will include the Passion Play as part of the tour itinerary. Performances will also be featured on selected dates of the two river cruises, and will be limited to 40 guests per-departure due to ticket availability. All guests visiting Oberammergau with Tauck will enjoy premier seating in the best available section of the Passion Play theatre, private tours of must-see sights and attractions in the area, and other exclusive cultural experiences.

Those interested in experiencing the Passion Play with Tauck can reserve space on their preferred itinerary and departure date with a modest deposit. The play's organising committee will be confirming 2020 hotel allocations for all tour operators in 2019, and Tauck has requested accommodation in the region's best properties. Once hotel arrangements and pricing are finalised, Tauck guests who have reserved space will be able to cancel and receive a full refund of their deposit if they wish.

Oberammergau's Passion Play dates back to 1633, when the village was suffering from a severe plague epidemic. Residents appealed to God to ease their suffering, offering in turn to stage a performance depicting the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The plague subsided, the once-per-decade Passion Play debuted the following year, and it has been an enduring tradition ever since (with the townspeople shifting the play's performance to the first year of each new decade in 1680).

Today, the Oberammergau Passion Play is a major event involving more than 2000 local residents who participate as actors, singers, costume-makers, musicians, technicians and more. Preparations for the Passion Play begin on Ash Wednesday a full year before the first performance, when actors begin growing the long hair and beards required for their roles (no wigs are used in the production). Officials in Oberammergau expect approximately 450,000 attendees to view the Passionsspiele in 2020.

Bookings to be directed to Tauck Australia on 1300 732 300 or reservations@tauck.com.au    


   

Cunard to add fourth ship to fleet



This investment is part of the company's ambitious plans for the future of Cunard globally.

Carnival Corporation - the world's largest cruise company and parent of the Cunard brand - has signed a memorandum of agreement with Fincantieri, Italy, to build a new ship that will join the Cunard fleet in 2022.

The as yet unnamed ship will join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth as the fourth member of the Cunard fleet, the first time since 1998 that the luxury cruise brand will have four ships in simultaneous service.

The iconic cruise brand is going from strength to strength, having seen crowds of more than one million people gather in 2015 to celebrate the company's 175th anniversary.

Cunard has subsequently invested over £120 million refurbishing the flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.

Alongside an array of exciting new itineraries featuring new destinations and special event voyages for 2018 and 2019, Cunard has also continued to evolve the guest experience to meet the needs of the luxury consumer by introducing new bar and dining signatures, entertainment offerings and brand partners across the fleet.

Simon Palethorpe, senior vice president, Cunard, said: "We have only recently marked the 50th anniversary of one of Cunard's much loved ocean liners, the legendary QE2.

"What better way to celebrate her important role in Cunard's past than by announcing our commitment to Cunard's future with the commissioning of a new ship.

"Cunard offers unrivalled luxury ocean experiences and the new ship firmly underpins our plans to continue our growth across international markets."

Cunard will be revealing exciting details about the new ship during the course of 2018 and through to the ship's launch.

Cunard is a luxury British cruise line based at Carnival House in Southampton, owned by Carnival Corporation since 1998.

It has been a leading operator of passenger ships on the North Atlantic, celebrating 175 years of operation in 2015.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

South West Rock’s Sunshine Resort new luxury lodge accommodation



You can't see these lodges for the trees

The new Ngurra Lodges have been designed to blend in with the surrounding bush, including a decal that replicates the local setting

Sunshine Resort, located in the NSW mid north coastal town of South West Rocks, has launched new luxury lodges that literally blend in with the landscape.

The seven Ngurra Lodges ('Ngurra' means "place of home" in the local Dunghutti Aboriginal language) even boast a decal that replicates the forest setting behind it.

Award-winning Crescent Head photographer, Adam Williams, has created the decals by using over 200 original photos and photo-shopping them together to create remarkably life-like landscapes which mould the lodges into the local bushland.

The $1.6 million investment in the Ngurra Lodges is the latest product innovation at Sunshine Resort, following last year's introduction of permanent 'Sunshine Tents' to meet the growing demand for glamping-style holiday experiences.

The new two-storey Ngurra Lodges have been completed with modern high quality interior design fixtures and fittings including leather lounges, modern artwork, three televisions, full kitchen and laundry facilities (including oven, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer), ensuite bathroom and two large bedrooms that can sleep up to six, with bedding in the second room adaptable to accommodate larger family groups. A large verandah is perfect for outside dining, relaxing, and taking advantage of South West Rock's attractive year-round climate.




The lodges were built in Armidale to a design by Sunshine Resort owner Tony Mayne, who is passionate about respecting the local environment. The lodges were pre-fabricated in Armidale and transported to South West Rocks where they were established on vacant ground immediately in front of sub-tropical bushland.

 "The word Ngurra comes from the language of our local Dunghutti Tribe who, years ago, used these grounds for one of their camps, hence the word Ngurra means home or hut," said Mr Mayne.

"The idea for using this Indigenous word was born out of our relationship with one of our residents, Liz, a very special person within the Sunshine 'family' and a Ngaku Elder of the local Dunghutti Tribe, whose knowledge of the region and her rich heritage based on stories passed down through many generations is inspiring and captivating. We hope guests will in turn share their stories of staying in this beautiful destination with family and friends.

"We think that South West Rocks is a very special destination, so we wanted these new Ngurra Lodges to be very special too, adding a new level of luxury while complementing the local landscape

"We were very conscious of the setting when we designed the lodges. In fact they are so 'harmonious' that the local kangaroos can be found right next to the verandas




 "Holiday parks are changing dramatically and we have always been at the forefront of meeting the new demand. We transformed the property by adding the $1 million Shipwreck Island water park two years ago. We then added villas and permanent 'Sunshine Tents' for those who like the idea of camping, but not all the hard work that goes with setting up and dismantling them, and now these luxury lodges really take the park to a new level of comfort

"We can now offer a comprehensive range of accommodation options wrapped around the popular holiday park experience. There's something for everyone –couples, groups and families can choose from traditional camping and caravanning to luxury lodges."

The multi-award winning Sunshine Resort is located at South West Rocks, halfway between Sydney and Brisbane and just over an hour from either Port Macquarie or Coffs Harbour airports. The park is surrounded by Hat Head National Park, just 10 minutes walk to the renowned Trial Bay Beach and has six of Australia's most glorious beaches – including one of the east coast's rarest phenomena, a west-facing beach, which offers spectacular sunsets – all within 15 minutes drive and ideal for all the family.

Attractions around the South West Rocks area include canoeing on the lagoon adjacent to the park, or cycling to town, exploring the National Park trails, Smoky Cape Lighthouse and historic Trial Bay Gaol. The nearby Macleay River is ideal for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing.

Leisure facilities at Sunshine Resort include the Shipwreck Island water park, a resort style pool with toddler pool and spa, covered Jumping Pillow and playgrounds, mini putt-putt, kids club, games room, movie room, go carts, bike and canoe hire, half court tennis, wi-fi, and The Full Circle Eatery Café/Restaurant on site.

Rates for the Ngurra Lodges start from $490 per night for up to six people.

Bookings - www.BIG4sunshine.com.au or (02) 6566 6142

 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Kakadu Bird Week 2017

Kakadu to stage Australia’s most spectacular natural expo as Bird Week takes wing - Kakadu Bird Week 2017 (1 – 7 October)



Kakadu is set to host the largest gathering of bird watchers and nature lovers for the annual Kakadu Bird Week 2017, with special birding activities, events, a new photographic competition and special sessions for children being offered from October 1st to October 7th.

Whether it is graceful sea eagles ‘fishing’ on Yellow Water Billabong, the remarkable ‘Jesus Bird’ seemingly walking on water, or local favourites such as the Jabiru and the tiny, but vividly beautiful, Kingfisher birds, Kakadu is Australia’s most spectacular location for lovers of exotic birds.

Kakadu Bird Week is the perfect time for nature lovers to discover Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. The Festival is being held from 1 – 7 October and while particularly popular with ‘twitchers’ (the technical name for a bird watcher) a special new program – The World of Birds for Kids – aims to introduce this remarkable spectacle to a new generation of nature lovers.



The region is home to over one third of Australia’s bird species and October is the peak time to see the full diversity of birds, as the wetlands retreat after six months of ‘dry’ and birds flock to the Top End in preparation for the next breeding cycle.

A prime vantage point to view Kakadu’s immensely rich and diverse bird life is on Yellow Water Billabong, at Cooinda. Yellow Water Cruises and Kakadu Tourism will be offering visitors exceptional opportunities to get close to Kakadu’s bird life during the special week.

Yellow Water Cruises will offer a series of cruises hosted by renowned naturalist, Luke ‘hawk eyes’ Paterson, from NT Bird Specialists, who will provide his expert insights on Kakadu’s birdlife during sunrise cruises on Yellow Water Billabong on 1, 4 & 7 October. The three hour cruises on Yellow Water Billabong will depart from Cooinda at 6am and include transfers and breakfast. Seats are strictly limited, and available for $120 per person. Details and bookings: http://www.kakadutourism.com/kakadu-bird-week-2017/ or reservations@yellowwater.com.au



Many activities and presentations will be free during the week. Experts will host presentations at Kakadu National Park’s Bowali Visitor Centre and at the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel and Cooinda Lodge, and there will be free daily walks at many of Kakadu’s major tourism sites, including Ubirr and Nourlangie. The full draft program and updates are available via: https://parksaustralia.gov.au/kakadu/do/events.html

Special Accommodation Rates during Kakadu Bird Week

Kakadu Bird Week is expected to attract thousands of visitors from overseas and around Australia, so accommodation is limited. Kakadu Tourism offers the widest selection of accommodation options, including Cooinda Lodge, which is located next to one of the largest bird habitats in Kakadu – Yellow Water Billabong.

Cooinda Lodge (+618 8979 1500) and the famous Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel (+618 8979 9000) are offering 15% off hotel rates during the week. Guests will need to quote “Kakadu Bird Week” to gain the discounts.

Further details: http://www.kakadutourism.com/kakadu-bird-week-2017/ or 1800 500 401.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Chinese ultra-marathon champion to run in Blackmores Sydney Marathon


#sydney #visitnsw

Ultra-marathon champion Chen Pen Bin has been announced as the first Chinese ambassador for the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival to promote the event and encourage visitation to NSW.

China's first international ultra-marathon champion, Chen Pen Bin is famous for running 100 marathons in 100 consecutive days across nine provinces in China. He was also the first Chinese runner to compete in an ultra-marathon on all seven continents.

Secured by the NSW Government's tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, the agreement with Chen Pen Bin will see Sydney and NSW promoted in the key inbound visitor market of Mainland China.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase said "China is Sydney and NSW's largest inbound tourism market and we are delighted to see this iconic event showing our beautiful Harbour City to potential Chinese visitors.

"More than 4,000 interstate and overseas visitors will travel to Sydney to run in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival, and we expect strong visitor growth to the Festival for many more years to come," Ms Chipchase said.

Blackmores Sydney Running Festival China ambassador, Chen Pen Bin said he is excited to compete on the Sydney Marathon course.

"The Blackmores Sydney Marathon is one of the world's most scenic running events. I look forward to running across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and past Sydney's landmarks including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Darling Harbour and Centennial Park. Finishing the marathon at the Sydney Opera House will be a special moment for me and something that I will remember for many years to come.

"After the race, I'm eager to explore the Blue Mountains, Sydney Fish Markets and Taronga Zoo," Mr Chen Pen Bin said.



Race Director Wayne Larden said the number of international participants continues to rise, as Sydney cements its reputation as a major international running event.

"The Blackmores Sydney Marathon is one of the world's premier endurance events and attracts participants from all over the world. Its International Association of Athletics Federation Road Race Gold Label status places it alongside marathons such as London and New York," Mr Larden said.      

Six Chinese media including sports channel NetEase.com, men's lifestyle magazine Bazaar Men's Style, lifestyle website sohu.com, travel channel tencent.com and video streaming channels Youku and Can Video will shadow Chen Pen Bin while he travels in NSW to capture and share the beauty of the region with fellow Chinese travellers.

In the year ended March 2017, NSW welcomed 701,000 visitors from Mainland China, who spent almost $3 billion in the State[1].

Destination NSW will also host five Singaporean and four Malaysian media in Sydney and NSW to participate in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival and promote visitation to the State.

The Blackmores Sydney Running festival will be held on Sunday 17 September. More information on the event can be found at https://www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au/.

For more information on things to see and do in Sydney visit sydney.com, and in Regional NSW, go to: visitnsw.com.

www.sydney.com

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
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