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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Virgin Blue takes AVATAR to the skies

The highest grossing film of all time, AVATAR will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on April 29, 2010 in Australia.  To mark the release of the record breaking film, Twentieth Century Fox has aligned with Virgin Blue to fly AVATAR into the hands and homes of Australians nationwide.  

There are many strands to this strategic corporate partnership that aim to raise awareness of the release of AVATAR, led by a unique PR stunt, which is taking place on the day of the AVATAR DVD and Blu-Ray launch, 29 April 2010.  

This activity will reveal a Virgin Blue Boeing 737 transformed into an Avatar inspired jet. 20 lucky AVATAR enthusiasts who won competitions around the country will be the first to fly in the jet from Brisbane to Sydney. The winners will be accompanied by Virgin Blue Crew, Virgin Blue VIPs, 20th Century Fox VIPs and media.  

To ensure that the experience remains AVATAR inspired, the 20 competition winners and members of the Virgin Blue crew will be made-up prior to the flight to look like their very own Na'vi AVATAR for this once in a lifetime opportunity.  

Once the Virgin Blue Boeing 737 has landed in Sydney a unique photo shoot opportunity for media will take place with four Na'vi-inspired actors and the plane.

Kristen McGrath, Associate Director of Publicity and Promotions for Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment comments: "It seems only appropriate that the launch of the highest grossing film of all time in Australia should be marked with such a unique event. To partner with Virgin Blue, an airline that is renowned for pushing the boundaries, to recreate the amazing aesthetics of the film during the stunt only further reinforces the creativity of the film. The launch of AVATAR on DVD and Blu-ray allows fans to return to the world of Avatar in the comfort of their own home as the land of Pandora comes alive in their living rooms"

The strategic campaign between Virgin Blue and Twentieth Century Fox will also include:

   * In-flight promotions

Consumers who purchase the AVATAR Blu-ray DVD can redeem $50 towards a Virgin Blue 'Blue Holiday'

   * In-flight TV advertising

The partnership will be promoted to consumers with an in-flight commercial running on aircraft for one month on Virgin Blue's Voyeur channel.

   * Messaging on boarding passes
   * POS in  airports &  lounges

To reinforce the commitment to consumer engagement in the partnership, Virgin Blue is offering competition entrants the chance to win one of five exclusive VIP AVATAR Experiences in LA.  Details of the competition are at

Heather Jeffery, Virgin Blue General Manager of PR & Communications comments: "We're very particular about who and what appears on the exterior of our aircraft, last year our Black Eyed Peas jet was hugely popular and this year we're thrilled to be part of the continuing excitement about AVATAR."

"This is a broad ranging promotional partnership and our team are having great fun with it.  Twentieth Century Fox's AVATAR is a ground-breaking film that pushes the boundaries and at Virgin, we can certainly relate to that."  

"This is the start of the partnership with the epic film as we offer our loyal Guests exclusive opportunities to engage and enjoy the movie."

The must-own AVATAR Blu-ray release provides the ultimate high definition experience ever for home viewing audiences.  Recognized for its optimum picture and sound, the film's masterful cinematography, art direction and visual effects lends itself to awe-inspiring clarity when viewed on Blu-ray Disc.


*Since its global theatrical release last December, AVATAR has continued to make motion picture history. Written and directed by James Cameron and produced with his long-time collaborator Jon Landau, AVATAR stars Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Wes Studi and Laz Alonso.

Oscar and Golden Globe® winning epic is the highest grossing film of all time, taking in over $2.7 billion (US) in worldwide box office with over $1.9 billion (US) derived from international markets. Director James Cameron takes audiences to a spectacular world beyond imagination, where a reluctant hero embarks on a journey of redemption and discovery as he leads a heroic battle to save a civilization.    

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


This could be the vision on Brisbane's Moreton Bay, Sydney Harbour or in Kakadu if the Aircruiser of UK based designer, Nick Talbot is realised.

A revolutionary, next generation floating hotel, fuelled by hydrogen, could travel from London to Australian destinations.  The emphasis is on the experience, with travel time being luxuriously slow in the 270 tonne vehicle, featuring a penthouse, four duplex apartments, five smaller apartments, bar and lounge areas.

The concept will be unveiled at the national Tourism Futures conference in Brisbane in July (5-7) where Mr Talbot, of seymourpowell, is outlining his futuristic approach, to Australia's tourism industry.

'Nick's ideas are very impressive and take our thinking into the next generation of travel products,' said Mr Tony Charters who is convening Tourism Futures.

'It could be a very exciting leap forward for tourism, and I hope it will inspire the Australian industry to push forward with creative and innovative ideas to help reinvigorate the industry."

The concept has attracted the attention of industrial giant Samsung, which is financing the next phase of development.

Further details about the Tourism Futures conference are available at and a digital tour of the Aircruiser can be seen on

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Potential New Tourism Product for Regional and Coastal NSW

Captain Cook Cruises today announced that in partnership with AAT Kings and following a grant from the Department of Innovation, Science and Industry they would commence a project that will research the potential market for a Cruise 'n' Coach product that would take in the many attractions of regional and coastal NSW.

The grant from the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism will be matched dollar for dollar by Captain Cook Cruises and AAT Kings and the research project will assess the level of demand for a combination cruise 'n' coach tour.

The coach tour would visit some of the main highlights in the regions nearby Sydney matched with a short, accommodated cruise which would capture the outstanding coastal experiences and beauty of the areas.

"This funding will enable us to take a systematic and methodical approach to determine what will work and, importantly, what will generate the greatest appeal to International, Interstate and NSW tourists" said Captain Cook Cruises CEO, Nick Hortle.

The project will be finalized and presented to the Government by AAT Kings and Captain Cook Cruises mid-year.

Les Cox, managing director of AAT Kings said, "AAT Kings is pleased to be contributing to the funding of this research investment, this is an amazing opportunity for us to undertake in-depth research into the development of a product which will provide a unique and quality experience tailored specifically to the travel needs and desires of international and domestic travellers.

"As an Australian touring specialist, we see the opportunity to provide our clients with the Cruise 'n' Coach experience a perfect addition to our current Sydney Sightseeing portfolio, which includes day trips around Sydney and to regional areas such as the Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley and Port Stephens" said Cox.

With over forty years experience in Tourism Captain Cook Cruises has a reputation for innovation and for quality and a reliability and consistency in delivery that underpins one of the most recognised tourism brands in Australia.

"Even during the past 18 months which have seen some of the toughest times for Tourism Captain Cook Cruises continued to innovate and introduce new products to meet the demands of our passengers – Sunday Morning Breakfast and High Tea at Sea are just two examples and we are excited by the potential for a "Cruise n Coach" product." continued Mr. Hortle.

For further information and bookings, please visit

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gallipoli by Mat McLachlan


Mat McLachlan

ISBN 0733623859(978-073-362385-1)
RRP $29.99 April 2010
Hachette Aust Paperback (B)

More than 30,000 Australians visit Gallipoli every year, and the numbers are increasing each year as the centenary of the landing approaches in 2015. This practical guide book enables them plan their trip, work out what to see and in what order, and gives the historical background to the major battles. It gives all the necessary information - both practical and historical - to appreciate what happened, and where. Detailed tours (both walking and with transport) are described, and accompanied by specially drawn maps.

Oasis of the Seas breaks world record


I thought you might like to know this interesting fact: Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas has set a world record as the first-ever cruise ship to carry more than 6,000 guests.  While the ship had come very close on earlier sailings, she reached the impressive milestone on her 16th voyage.

According to Adam Armstrong, Commercial Manager, Royal Caribbean Cruises Australia, it was almost not to be, "While the Oasis of the Seas team expected the guest count to reach over 6,000, just five minutes before the terminal was closed the actual guest count was only 5,997," he said.

"Then as the champagne was being taken off ice, it was announced that the last few guests had arrived - bringing the total guest numbers to 6,007 from 64 different countries."

The pier staff and ship's officers were thrilled to welcome the lucky 6,000th guests, Jerry Schmidt and his wife Judith Schmidt from Tomahawk, Wisconsin, who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with Royal Caribbean, as well as Mr. Schmidt's 68th birthday.  Little did the lucky pair know they would also be helping Royal Caribbean to celebrate such a huge milestone.

Oasis of the Seas has seven night cruises in the Eastern and Western Caribbean sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida with interior cabins from $1,189 per person, oceanview from $1,299 and Central Park balcony from $1,409. Prices are based on twin occupancy and include all taxes fees and onboard gratuities.


Michelle Tan

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Virgin Blue Airlines and its' premium long-haul airline, V Australia announced today they have partnered with Virgin America to allow each airline's loyalty program members to earn points when taking flights on the sister-branded airlines. The partnership means that guests flying Virgin Blue, V Australia and Virgin America will all be able to earn credit for their flights that will be redeemable under either of the carrier's frequent flyer programs.

Effective from today, guests will be able to earn points on all of the carriers – and by the end of 2010, guests will be able to redeem points on any carrier*.

The reciprocal agreements enable Virgin Blue or V Australia's Velocity members to earn Velocity points; and Virgin America's Elevate members to earn Elevate points – wherever they are flying with one of the three airlines, V Australia, Virgin Blue or Virgin America**.

"The new agreement is another example of our Virgin airlines working closer together for the benefit of our Guests," said Virgin Blue Airlines Co-founder and Chief Executive Brett Godfrey.

"Our aim is to encourage more travellers from throughout the U.S. and from our part of the world to plan their trans-Pacific travel with our growing airline family."

With industry-leading guest service, beautiful design and a host of high-tech amenities, the Virgin Airlines are world renowned for outstanding customer service and product innovation.

Virgin Blue has received numerous awards in recent years, including Best National Airline three years running at the Australian National Travel Industry Awards. V Australia offers a three class trans-Pacific travel option and Virgin America offers Main Cabin, Main Cabin Select and First Class seating on its domestic U.S. service.

Virgin America has captured a list of travel industry best-in-class awards since its 2007 launch, including being named "Best Domestic Airline" in the Condé Nast Traveler 2009 Readers' Choice Awards and "Best Domestic Airline" in the Travel + Leisure 2009 World's Best Awards.

Virgin America President and Chief Executive Officer David Cush commented: "Travellers around the world seek out Virgin airlines for their unrivalled value, brilliant service and innovative amenities, and we're pleased to partner with our sister airlines Virgin Blue and V Australia to allow our loyal guests to earn frequent flyer credits wherever they are flying– in the U.S., Asia Pacific or Australia."

In June 2009, the airlines signed an Australia-U.S. interline agreement offering seamless travel on the networks of each carrier across their United States (U.S.) and trans-Pacific routes. The interline arrangement allows guests to enjoy a continuous "Virgin" experience for travel between the U.S. and Australia, as Virgin America and V Australia share Los Angeles World Airport's (LAX) newly redesigned Terminal 3.

For complete details on the new loyalty program arrangements visit any one of the airlines' web sites.;;

About Virgin America: Virgin American's Elevate frequent flyer loyalty program offers guests the ability to redeem points for any unsold seat – on any Virgin America flight, at any time. Elevate offers Web-based redemption with no black-out dates and has grown to over 1.27 million members in just two years.

Headquartered in California and launched in August 2007, Virgin America is one of the fastest growing start-up U.S. airlines of all time and currently employs over 1500 people. Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel. The airline's base of operations is San Francisco International Airport's modern International Terminal. The airline's new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat for electronic gear. Virgin America offers in-flight internet service on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the U.S. skies via its touch-screen Red™ seatback system.

Virgin America has captured a list of travel industry best-in-class awards since launch, including being named "Best Domestic Airline" in the Condé Nast Traveler 2009 Readers' Choice Awards and "Best Domestic Airline" in the Travel + Leisure 2009 World's Best Awards. The airline flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Orange County (ending May 26), Fort Lauderdale and as of August 19, 2010 - Orlando. The airline currently offers daily flights from: SFO to LAX, SFO to JFK, SFO to SAN, SFO to IAD, SFO to LAS, LAX to JFK, LAX to IAD, SFO to SEA, SEA to LAX, JFK to LAS, BOS to LAX, BOS to SFO, SFO to SNA (ending May 26), LAX to FLL and SFO to FLL and starting August 19, 2010 – SFO to MCO and LAX to MCO.

About V Australia and Virgin Blue: Velocity Rewards is the multi-award winning loyalty program of the Virgin Blue Group of Airlines and is free to join online. Velocity rewards their Members faster, with less Points required for Reward seats compared to other Australian loyalty programs. It features any seat redemption, on any flight across the entire Group network (no blackouts, no restrictions). Velocity also has more than eight Airline Partners that provide a global network for their Members including Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin America and Malaysian Airlines. Plus, Members can earn Points with a wide range of on the ground Program Partners and then use those Points for rewards they really want from a beach cricket set to a brand new car. Visit

V Australia is a three class boutique style airline offering the acclaimed service for which the Virgin Blue Group is renowned and a unique Australian style. The airline has two in-flight bars, mood lighting including twilight and sunset, bathrooms with piped music including a "ladies only" bathroom and other touches of Australiana from salt and pepper shakers to hidden wallpaper murals. V Australia is a part of the Virgin Blue Group of Airlines.

The Australian-based airline group also includes Virgin Blue, second largest domestic carrier in Australia and short haul international airlines Pacific Blue Polynesian Blue. Together they operate a fleet comprising of 85 modern Boeing 737-NG's, Boeing 777 and Embraer E-Jet aircraft flying to 30 Australian and 18 international destinations in the South Pacific and Southeast Asia.

*Guests can choose to earn points in the program of their choice - Elevate points or Velocity points (but not both) for their Virgin America, Virgin Blue and V Australia flights.

**Velocity Membership and Points earn and redemption is subject to Velocity Terms and Conditions as amended from time to time and available online at The Velocity Program is operated by Velocity Rewards Pty Ltd ACN 116 089 448 as trustee of The Loyalty Trust.

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places