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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Australian Tourism Goes On Show to the World in Adelaide

Australia's $25 billion tourism industry will be on show to leading travel wholesalers (buyers) who sell Australian holidays around the world when the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) opens in Adelaide today.

ATE is a once a year opportunity for Australian tourism businesses to meet face-to-face in Australia to negotiate deals and to show first-hand what the destination has to offer.

During ATE 2010, around 1,700 Australian delegates from 600 companies will meet with up to 700 international buyers from over 40 countries in up to 100,000 business appointments (including 40,000 scheduled appointments). The event is also expected to deliver more than $10 billion in benefits.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy said ATE was the only trade show of its kind held in Australia to exclusively showcase Australia's tourism products to the international market.

"ATE is Australia's chance to show our tourism trade partners from around world what's new and great about Australia and why international travellers should visit," Mr McEvoy said.

"This year during ATE we will host 700 of the leading distributors of Australian holidays from around 40 countries to do just that.

"For the 600 tourism products from around the country on show at the event it is an opportunity to tell their story face-to-face with the people responsible for selling Australian holidays to the travellers most interested in visiting our country," Mr McEvoy said.

ATE returns to Adelaide for 2010 after first being hosted in the city in 2006, and will run from 29 May to 4 June at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Mr McEvoy said ATE would help to boost the tourism industry's recovery efforts this year and help businesses return to profitable growth.

"International travellers contribute billions to the Australian economy each year and help to generate employment for around half a million Australians," Mr McEvoy said.

"'Last year global economic factors affected travel worldwide and while Australia held steady in terms of visitor numbers it was a challenging year for many tourism businesses.

"With improving economic conditions in many of our tourism source markets the timing of ATE, and our new global tourism campaign which will be launched at the event, couldn't be better to ensure that Australia is top of mind with both the travel trade and consumers around the world."

ATE 2010 has two modules covering the Eastern and Western hemisphere tourism markets. The Eastern Hemisphere module (Japan, Asia and the Gulf countries) will run from 29 May to 31 May 2010 while the Western Hemisphere module (Europe, the Americas, Gulf Countries, Africa, New Zealand and the South Pacific) will run from 31 May to 4 June 2010.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Best Western and team up, the world's leading hotel meta-search engine and Best Western International, the world's largest hotel chain® have today jointly announced their new partnership. This partnership allows distribution of Best Western hotels via

With the systems integration finalized on, travellers can now search and compare live hotel rates from over 4,000 independently owned and operated Best Western hotels worldwide. Travellers choosing to make their hotel reservation direct with Best Western are then redirected to where they will be able to complete their hotel booking without additional fees or mark-ups.

Kimi Anderson, General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Best Western Australasia said "This partnership gives our customers real-time rates and availability for over 4,000 properties worldwide. For our properties, it gives them a new distribution channel without any of the headaches of managing a new process. The management of rates already integrated into the current system means they will be able to reach more potential guests, without lifting a finger".

Yury Shar, Managing Director welcomed the new partnership, "We are excited about our partnership with Best Western – an industry pioneer with one of the most renowned and iconic brands. Our ability to generate incremental direct business on a global scale is becoming a more attractive proposition to hotel chains like Best Western."

About Best Western International

Best Western International is THE WORLD'S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN®, providing marketing, reservations and operational support to over 4,000* independently owned and operated member hotels in 80* countries and territories worldwide. An industry pioneer since 1946, Best Western has grown into an iconic brand that hosts 400,000* guests worldwide each night. Equally committed to the business and leisure traveller, Best Western recently embarked on a mission to lead the hotel industry in customer care. World Vision is the charity of choice for Best Western in building the world's largest family, with our hotels and staff sponsoring children in need around the globe. Best Western's partnerships with AAA®/CAA®, Michael Waltrip RacingTM and Harley-Davidson® help guests make the most of every trip. For the fastest way to a free night, join Best Western Rewards®, the only hotel frequency program that's truly global. For more information or to make a reservation, please visit

About is the world's leading hotel search engine, with a database of more than 200,000 hotels from 195 countries. The site streamlines the largest amount of real-time international hotel deals into one simple and efficient format, aggregating prices from prominent online travel agents and hotel chains, including,,,, Hilton and Holiday Inn. More than 6.5 million monthly users compare multiple hotels simultaneously and then click directly to partner Web sites to make a reservation. With no mark-up fees or additional booking fees, offers travelers a completely free and invaluable tool for finding unbeatable hotel deals. has received critical acclaims from travel industry experts such as Arthur Frommer, founder of Frommer's Travel Guides and Budget Travel Magazine, who said, "There's now an aggregator for finding inexpensive hotel rooms anywhere in the world, and its results seem phenomenal" and CNN has praised saying, "If you are looking for hotels, gives you a darn good search."

*Numbers are approximate and can fluctuate.


Continental to fly non-stop Auckland-Houston

US carrier Continental Airlines has this morning announced a new non-stop daily service between Auckland and Houston in the USA.

The flight, utilising Boeing 787 Dreamliners, will commence operation from 16 Nov 2011, and will see Continental become the third carrier to operate nonstop between North America and New Zealand - alongside Qantas and Air New Zealand.

Houston in Texas, America's second biggest state, is a major hub for Continental, which a few weeks ago announced merger plans with United Airlines..

Continental says it's the first airline in the world to formally announce "specific, initial route plans" for its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, which will comprise 25 aircraft once they're all delivered. The planes will have capacity for 228 - 192 in economy class and 36 flat-bed BusinessFirst seats.

Tourism New Zealand has hailed the announcement, saying it will open up the eastern and central USA markets as well as connecting flights into Europe.

More information in today's Travel Daily.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yahoo!7 appoints Head of Total Travel

Yahoo!7 today announced the appointment of Brooke Formica in the newly created role of Head of Total Travel, Yahoo!7's recently acquired online travel business.

Leading the Total Travel audience business, reporting to Yahoo!7 Director of Audience Kath Hamilton, Brooke will be responsible for overseeing the growth and development of the site and its audiences. Brooke will also be accountable for driving product development, strategic partnerships, and the direction, audience growth and monetisation of the Total Travel site.

In this role Brooke will also work closely with Vanessa Brown who was recently appointed to the role of Yahoo!7 Director of Marketplaces.

Brooke has more than ten years experience in online marketing and campaign integration, and her expertise in the travel sector comes from having managed online growth strategies for companies including Voyages Hotels and Resorts, Octopus and the launch of Etihad Airways into the Australian market. Prior to joining Yahoo!7 Brooke was Online Marketing Manager for Accor Australia, where she increased traffic to the website by 25 per cent which in turn increased direct web sales.

"Brooke has strong credentials in driving online marketing strategy and is well acquainted with the travel industry. We're pleased to have Brooke join Yahoo!7 and believe her expertise will see the site stand above the competition in what is a very dynamic market," said Kath Hamilton, Yahoo!7 Audience Director.

Brooke will be based in Yahoo!7's Sydney office, commencing in June 2010.

About Yahoo!7

Yahoo!7 ( is one of the most comprehensive and engaging online destinations for Australian consumers and advertisers.  Formed as a 50-50 partnership between the Seven Network Limited (ASX: SEV) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), Yahoo!7 brings together the successful Australian internet business, Yahoo! Australia & NZ, and the online assets and television and magazine content of the Seven Network, one of Australia's leading media companies. The company also combines the strengths of Yahoo! search and communications capabilities and its global internet network, with Seven's rich media and entertainment content and marketing capabilities.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mike Smith, Former Travel Editor Appointed to New Role

After a 28-year stint at News Ltd respected journalist, travel writer and travel editor Mike Smith has joined the travel and tourism industry to pursue a new career in the world of marketing and public relations.

Mike has joined World Trade Travel – the principal company of Asian travel wholesaler Helen Wong’s Tours - as the newly-appointed General Manager –Public Relations and Marketing.

His role will be to generate - and build on - marketing, promotional and trade opportunities for companies and organisations seeking a presence in the Australian market.

World Trade Travel already represents the Macau Government Tourist Office and the Henan Provincial Tourism Bureau (China).

For more than 20 years Mike has worked closely with the travel industry, firstly as Travel Editor of Sydney’s Daily Mirror, then in the position of Travel Editor of The Sunday Telegraph and The Daily Telegraph, both in NSW.

Many of his travel articles have also been widely circulated throughout News Ltd’s mass circulation newspapers, including Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun and Brisbane’s Sunday Mail.

Mike can be regularly heard on Sydney radio station 2UE as a guest commentator on travel on Sunday’s popular George and Paul show.

Through his voluntary work with the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW), he has been honoured with Life Membership, having spent 10 solid years on committee, four as President.

In welcoming Mike to her executive team, Ms Helen Wong, Managing Director of World Trade Travel and Helen Wong’s Tours, said his appointment would be vital to the company’s development and expansion plans.

“Mike will play a major role in promoting and gaining exposure for our clients,” said Ms Wong. “We are looking to the future by expanding our business interests.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


One of Australia’s leading accommodation providers Mantra Group has warned consumers they risked losing their hard-earned money and holiday experiences by booking accommodation online through unlicensed operators.

Mantra Group operates as an onsite accommodation manager and letting agent. The Group manages a portfolio of more than 130 properties and also has a number of registered trademarks protecting its brands including Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree.

Mantra Group General Manager of Distribution Luke Jamieson urged consumers to only book holidays through licensed operators such as real estate or travel agencies as the Group had received numerous complaints from holidaymakers who thought that they had booked Mantra accommodation, only to discover on arrival that the resort held no booking for them.

“Guests who have booked through unlicensed operators have reported receiving their keys to privately-owned apartments in the resort car parks or gardens,” he said.

“Unlicensed companies have gone to extraordinary lengths such as using multiple websites under the Mantra building name and logo in an effort to deceive consumers.”

Mr Jamieson said consumers who had booked accommodation through unlicensed operators, thinking they were dealing direct with Mantra properties, were often disappointed because they ended up with a substandard holiday experience.

“Consumers don’t get to check in with reception or receive any resort services provided by reception and often encounter inferior furnishings and lower levels of cleanliness. If something goes wrong, such as lost keys or a broken television, reception is unable to help them as they normally would, meaning guests are left out in the cold with no one to help them,” he said.

Mantra took legal action against a number of unlicensed operators earlier this year leading to a historic Federal Court judgment in March when an operator of offsite websites was found to have infringed Mantra’s trademarks. Mantra instituted proceedings against Stephen Andrew Grant and Tailly Pty Ltd (Tailly) alleging they had set up misleading websites and Google advertisements to source bookings for their own accommodation businesses using Mantra’s trademarks to confuse consumers into thinking they were booking with Mantra.

Justice Reeves of the Federal Court of Australia ordered the respondents to transfer registration of a number of domain names to Mantra. A court injunction stopped Tailly and Mr Grant from using Mantra trademarks and they were ordered to pay Mantra any profits made from bookings sourced via the infringing websites.

Tailly has since been placed into voluntary liquidation, leaving more than 260 consumers out of pocket to the tune of approximately $300,000 due to lost booking deposits, highlighting the danger of using unlicensed operators.

“Consumers using faceless website operators have no way of knowing the financial circumstances or capabilities of the company and are putting their hard-earned money and holiday experiences at risk by using them,” he said.

Mantra is continuing with its battle to protect consumers and its intellectual property by launching further legal action against other operators on the Gold Coast and in Far North Queensland. Some of these operators have already transferred their offending websites to Mantra.

“If you have any concerns over the legitimacy of the booking, you should contact the property directly to confirm details,” Mr Jamieson.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bangkok Under Siege

Scenes of barricaded troops and sounds of deafening explosives marked by the occasional sniper bullet are becoming an all too familiar presence in Bangkok’s central district as anti-government ‘red-shirt’ protestors refuse to disband from the troubled streets.

To temper the escalating anarchy and human toll, Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva was set to introduce a curfew in a bid to restore calm and reduce the devastating loss on lives and businesses. Now more drastic measures will be enforced.

Earlier today the Thai government announced its plans to do a clean sweep of fortified area to rid the streets of all remaining protesters. That includes all women and children leaving their camps before 6PM (AEST) this evening.

In a national address broadcast live on Sunday night, the Prime Minister made it clear that his government would not allow the nation to be held hostage by the ‘red-shirt’ protesters’ illegal occupation of its city streets.

“Ending the protest with the least losses is the only way to bring about peace and normalcy,” the Prime Minister said in his speech.

Resembling a war zone, all MRT and BTS train services are temporarily closed along with the shopping malls. Commercial towers now lie empty as with the once-thriving four and five star hotels, with most begging travellers to stay away. Other luxury hotels have simply closed their doors until further notice, keeping in mind the safety of their guests and staff.

But what will happen to Central Bangkok’s business district if the two month siege comes to an end?

According to STR Global, the leading provider of market data to the international hotel industry, Bangkok’s once-resilient hotel market has been greatly impact by the violence. Occupancy levels fell by .02 percent during April, 2010, to 44 percent though only one month earlier occupancy levels were at 63.3 percent during the first month of turmoil.

“In spite of violence and significant recent declines in occupancy this past month, Bangkok’s hoteliers have held firm with rates, recognising that price reductions do not stimulate demand that just isn’t there”, said Elizabeth Randall, managing director of STR Global. “Discounting would only double the pain for hotels already suffering from falling occupancies”.

To the hoteliers, commercial businesses and their beleaguered employees whose livelihood centers around Silom Road’s golden strip – in the heart of Bangkok’s ‘war zone’ - it will take more than just pricing to entice guests for the moment back through their doors.

Jill Walsh / Stephen Morton: Bangkok

Ash closes London Heathrow again

Qantas has diverted three flights bound for London today due to the closure of airspace around Heathrow Airport this morning.

The ongoing eruption of Iceland's volcano has once again caused authorities in the UK to declare no-fly zones, and Qantas has been forced to change the routing of the three services which departed from Asia overnight.

The affected flights are QF9 ex Melbourne which has been diverted to Dubai, as well as QF1 and QF31 ex Sydney which will now operate into Frankfurt.

Qantas told TD it's continuing to monitor the situation and the impacted services are expected to continue onto London once the airspace clears.

More information in today's Travel Daily.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spider Bites Tourist on the Penis

A Canadian tourist in New Zealand has suffered heart inflammation after apparently being bitten on the penis by a spider.

The tourist fell asleep naked on a beach in Northland, on the far tip of the north island, after going skinny dipping, the NZ Herald reported.

After the bite from the highly poisonous katipo spider, the 22-year-old began to suffer high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat and a severely swollen penis.

Whangarei Hospital's Dr Nigel Harrison wrote in the NZ Medical Journal that the tourist realised he had been bitten as soon as he woke up.

"He rapidly developed generalised muscle pains, fever, headache, photophobia [light sensitivity] and vomiting," he said.

"It was a rather nasty, ill-placed bite."

After being treated at Whangarei and Auckland Hospitals over 16 days, the tourist was discharged and returned to Canada.

The venom of the katipo spider (pictured), which is related to the Australian redback, was previously not known to cause heart problems in humans.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Steady sailing for Princess Cruises

by Daisy Melwani,

Princess Cruises’ CEO & President, Alan Buckelew has told guests attending the 2010 Partnership Summit that the cruise line sailed through steady waters in 2009, opting for consistency onboard its ships through a new revitalization scheme.

Calling cost management procedures in place in 2009 “superb”, Mr Buckelew claimed every department contributed toward ensuring protection was made toward its product and crew, and continues to do so in 2010. Revenue forecast in the first quarter of 2009 was apparently down some US$350 million.

The outcome so far has been a more loyal passenger base, according to Mr Buckelew, who said cost savings were able to fund all of its new Grand Class revitalizations which amount to some US$30 million per ship.

“We looked at service recovery in 2009, and in this time of challenge we made investments to our crew and upgrades on our product,” he said.

New innovations including pre-cruise emails, e-documentation and the formation of eZAir – a GDS style airline booking engine, are expected to be rolled out in coming months.

“We are the consummate host, which is part of our brand,” Princess Cruises Executive VP, Sales, Marketing & Customer Service, Jan Swartz said.

“We want to be the easiest cruise line to work with (for the trade). We will continue to roll out new innovations in the next few months to make the travel agents’ life easier.”

Ms Swartz outlined Princess’ strategy in Australia and New Zealand was to penetrate the market for more bookings on its international deployments.

“One of the main things is how air is handled in this market, so hopefully eZAir will help open up distribution,” she said.

“There are a lot of agencies that haven’t yet seen how lucrative the cruising market is, so we need to make distribution aware with detailed instruction and training.”

Citing the ‘richest’ loyalty program in the industry, Princess Cruises are said to be looking at ways to also improve upon its scheme.

Afriqiyah A330 Flight 771 crash release

Afriqiyah Flight 771 crash release( We are very sorry to announce the tragic loss of Afriqiyah airways flight 8U 771 from Johannesburg in an accident during landing at Tripoli international airport at 04:00 UTC. (06:00 am Tripoli time) today Wednesday, May 12. We extend our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims. The search and rescue mission has now been completed and casualties have been moved to various hospitals. The secretariat of health will issue a statement on the condition of those casualties.

At this moment we cannot speculate further and will relay to you all factual information as we receive them.

Parties seeking information on passengers should contact:

From Libya: 0213341181
International: +44 203 3552737

We would like to inform the passenger's relatives of the ill-fated Afriqiyah flight 8U 771 on May 12, 2010 that all assistance will be offered to them if they wish to travel to Tripoli - tickets, accommodation, and visa will be granted upon arrival in Tripoli.

There will be no need for the Arabic translation of passport usually required.From Libya: 0213341181
International: +44 203 3552737

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Expedia: Gen Ys whinge to win an upgrade

One in four Gen Y Aussies complain in order to score an upgrade on a flight or hotel room

New research from, operated by Expedia, Inc., the world's largest online travel company, has found that Generation Y Aussies are most likely to complain in order to land themselves a free upgrade on a flight or in a hotel.

The survey*, conducted among 1,000 Australians, revealed that almost a quarter (24 per cent) of Australians aged between 18-24 were willing to complain about nearby guests/passengers, the food, or quality of service to score a flight or hotel upgrade, well above the national average of 16 per cent.

As part of their bag of freewheeling tricks, four per cent of Gen Ys also admit to posing as business travellers to secure a free upgrade.

Not all Australians are in favour of Gen Ys' cheeky travel tactics. According to the Expedia poll, most opt for a more conservative approach and 'up-star' their travels of their own accord, taking advantage of the many great hotel deals on offer to book a class of hotel that would normally be out of their budget. Nearly half of all Aussies (44 per cent) say they book a hotel with the highest star rating their budget will allow, compared to only 15 per cent who pocket the savings and stick to their usual standard of hotel.

The survey also found that Aussie men are the chief 'up-starrers' when travelling with their partners. More than one in ten (11%) of men admit they would 'up-star' in order to impress or spoil their partner, while just one in twenty women will spend that little bit extra to indulge their sweetheart. A further 43% of Aussie males were willing to 'up-star' to ensure there was a better pool and spa compared to just 30% of women.

Louise Crompton, marketing manager of, said, "'Up-starring' is a great option for travellers looking to treat themselves whilst on holiday. Nowadays, with so many hotel deals on offer and airlines continuing to discount fares, you can take the savings and 'up-star' to a higher class hotel for the same price as an undiscounted lower-star hotel."

"Spending just a little time researching and considering your options, and using Expedia's dynamic packaging technology and other easy-to-use online tools like our Deal Hunter can provide travellers excellent value for money for a little more luxury. With dynamic packaging you can enjoy the benefits of 'up-starring' by mixing and matching various airline and hotel options for even greater savings", said Ms Crompton.

*About the survey

Pureprofile fielded the online survey on behalf of™ and between the 1st and 4th of March 2010 among a nationwide cross-section of 1000 adults aged 18+ in Australia. The data was weighted to be representative of the total Australian population on the basis of gender, location and age. With probability samples of this size, one can say with 95 per cent certainty that the results for the sample have a sampling error of plus or minus two percentage points.


Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE), the world's leading online travel company, operates™ ( in Australia. helps Australians plan and book their travel by providing a personalised service, the latest technology and a wide selection of holiday packages, cheap flights, hotel deals, car hire, in-destination attractions & activities and travel insurance to suit their travel needs.

Expedia, and the Airplane logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the US and/or other countries. Other logos or product and company names mentioned herein may be the property of their respective owners.

Williamstown (South Australia) Young Guns

Whilst it would seem reasonable that the ‘tree change’ has been popular amongst the baby boomers, the village of Williamstown in the Barossa has received a boom of its own, but from a far younger crowd, from the Y generation no less.

Kelly and Todd Rowett had budding careers in Adelaide, Todd in Advertising with Network Ten and Kelly in Sales within 5 star hotels and the Festival Centre. Both were on the fast track for interstate and international careers, until a romantic holiday in Tasmania resulted in, as Todd puts it “a penny dropping moment, realising that we were both connected to the land and really could not see ourselves spending decades away in cities “. In 2005, Kelly and Todd at just 27 and 28 respectively, moved out of corporate life and relocated to Williamstown to work with Kelly’s parents, Barb and Trevor on their TeAro Estate wine label. They focused firstly on rebranding and then marketing TeAro Estate as a dynamic family owned wine business. The TeAro Estate Tasting Room, a converted 1850’s barn is the newest business in the main street of Williamstown, opening in April 2010.

Nardia Munt, originally an SA girl, had after 13 years of working for multinational firms overseas decided in 2006 to retire early at just 33 and buy a B&B in the Barossa. With the B&B up and running she started looking for a new business venture, accidently stumbling across an 1880’s iron stone building in Williamstown, which encompassed a house and three store front. Nardia saw the opportunity to use the new building as a store front to showcase antiquities and unique homewares. Launching, the now award winning, Dragonfly Antiques in late 2007, Nardia says “I get so many comments from people shocked to find such an international collection outside of the city. I always get asked ‘why here?’ I say why not! It is a gorgeous location, less than an hour to Adelaide and if you have something unique people will travel. The bonus is that I can walk to work!”

Rebecca and Stuart Tappert had been searching for 2 years for the perfect location to start a bakery. In 2006, at just 29 and 31 respectively, they found the Corner Bakery in Williamstown. Rebecca, who had spent the previous decade in banking and finance, hung up the power suit to join her Patisserie Chef husband, Stuart, in a move from Adelaide to Williamstown in early 2007. “We have made the true ‘tree change’ moving our whole lives to Williamstown with our 2 young sons but have never looked back. The lifestyle is fantastic and we have now forged a state wide reputation for our produce. We differentiate ourselves by providing a whole experience for those that visit us at the bakery; top quality produce, coffee, service and tourist information have proved the right mix.”

Growing up on the Linfield Road family vineyard, Daniel Wilson, a 5th generation vigneron, was more focused on basketball than vines. Nevertheless he still spent plenty of time in the vineyard as a teenager, recalling that “when Dad and Grandpa are both out pruning in the rain it’s pretty hard finding an excuse to stay indoors!.” After graduating with a Bachelor of Media from the University of Adelaide, Daniel decided to pursue basketball, moving to Mount Gambier for two years to play in the South East Australian Basketball League, while also securing a role as a commercial producer for WIN TV. It wasn’t long before Daniel heard the call of the land though; returning to the family estate aged 23 to help launch the cellar door which opened in February 2009. Daniel now combines day to day work in the cellar door with regular overseas travel to promote Linfield Road Wines.

Jimmy Day, ex-IT geek and trained chef, opened the Domain Day cellar door in Williamstown at the ripe old age of 27. Jimmy’s father, Robin (ex-Orlando Chief Winemaker) planted the Domain Day vineyard in 1999 with the first vintage of cool climate and emerging varieties produced in 2002. Jimmy says "being in the back room in IT wasn’t really my thing, and as a chef I was still in the back room! Studying cookery however, did reinvigorate my passion for wine, so I hung up the apron and went on the road talking about what I love." After promoting the brand in the eastern states, Jimmy returned to renovate the old Williamstown Institute, transforming it into a charming cellar door which opened in 2008. With Robin needing no help to produce great wines, Jimmy focuses on the business and is particularly passionate about promoting harmonious food-wine matching.

So, next time you are driving through Williamstown don’t assume that you are driving through a quiet little SA town without much going in. Park, walk, browse and enjoy what the under 40’s can do when they put their mind to it.

New Queensland tourism campaign encourages grown-ups to kid around on the Gold Coast

A new domestic tourism campaign, which kicks off tomorrow, is encouraging grown-ups to unleash their inner child and splash out on Gold Coast holiday attractions at kids’ prices, Minister for Tourism and Member for Southport Peter Lawlor said.

Mr Lawlor said the national television, print and online campaign valued at $580,000 was a joint initiative between Tourism Queensland, Gold Coast Tourism, Flight Centre and Infinity Holidays.

“The ‘Gold Coast Grown Up Deals’ campaign will promote a range of specials on the Gold Coast designed to entice people to re-explore the region,” Mr Lawlor said.

“More than 50 tourism operators involved in the campaign will offer visitors adults-at-kids prices for Gold Coast attractions as well as accommodation deals such as free nights,” he said.

Fellow Gold Coast MPs Peta-Kaye Croft and Christine Smith said this campaign was being launched at just the right time.

“The campaign offers a great opportunity for southerners to escape the start of winter and travel north for some fun in the sun,” Ms Croft said.

“As our southern neighbours start to experience cooler weather we want to keep the Gold Coast’s golden beaches, subtropical weather and fantastic attractions top of mind,” Mrs Smith added.

Mr Lawlor said the campaign was a continuation of Tourism Queensland's run of great tourism marketing initiatives for the region.

"’Gold Coast Grown Up Deals’ comes off the back of the highly successful ‘Summer Stays’ campaign which we ran earlier this year,” he said.

"The Gold Coast has also featured prominently in Queensland’s Getaway Giveaways’ retail campaign with the inclusion of 40 regional deals.

"All of these campaigns showcase the Gold Coast’s stunning holiday assets while offering holidaymakers great deals and incentives to take some time away from home.”

Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter said the ‘Gold Coast Grown Up Deals’ campaign was a great addition to the promotion of the Gold Coast.

"Cooperative promotions make it easy for Australians to choose the Gold Coast, behind the scenes we have worked hard to bring these deals together so that all holidaymakers have to do is to decide which deal suits them and book,” he said.

Mr Lawlor said domestic tourism was vital to the Gold Coast.

“In the year ending December 2009, more than 3.2 million domestic visitors travelled to the Gold Coast spending approximately $2.8 billion on trips to the region,” he said.

Mr Lawlor said the ‘Gold Coast Grown Up’ campaign would run from 8 – 28 May with travel available the end of November.

For more information about the campaign or to book your visit –

Lack of infrastructure could unravel booming Australian cruise industry

by Daisy Melwani, e-travelblackboard

The Australian cruising industry yet again experienced double digit growth for its fifth consecutive year; however with the lack of urgent infrastructure development in key ports experts warn the bubble may eventually burst.

Speaking at the 2010 Partnership Summit, , Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry described Sydney and Auckland's current port-situation as an infrastrture dilemma which was frustrating and slow moving, saying it was critical to develop facilities to keep pace with the growing cruise market.

The ICCA reported an 11 per cent growth to nearly 367,000 Australians having cruised in 2009, with market penetration also increasing to 1.7 per cent, most of which has been attributed to Carnival Australia's commitment to the region, leading the growth with supply.

"Any discussion of infrastructure ultimately becomes Sydney-centric or Auckland-centric. Sydney and Auckland are both key to the industry's continued expansion and positive customer sentiment. Both cities are cruising hubs for the South Pacific and magnets for visitors for our global brands," Ms Sherry said.

"The brutal truth is that if cruise facilities aren't up to scratch in Sydney and Auckland, the international cruise ships from the global brands won't come to our region"

"That's not just bad news for Sydney and Auckland; it would also be a hammer blow for the smaller interstate ports"

Ms Sherry said discussions were well underway with federal and state governments reminding them the urgent need to invest in appropriate infrastructure, but said the problems also flowed through to the various port authorities causing even further delays due to the fragmentation of decision makers.

Ms Sherry said the biggest challenge was making port authorities and government bodies understand the potential tourism value of upgrading infrastructure for the cruising sector. She also said the industry as a whole lacked proper long term pre-planning capabilities.

"We are running a business that's ambitious for growth, but the pace of it is not a business like pace," Ms Sherry said commenting on her talks with government bodies. "It's like we're not as ambitious enough in this tourism sector … there aren't enough voices so it is a problem to galvanize the growth and experiences for all sectors."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa wins at Australian Hotels Association Awards

Australia's first conservation-based luxury resort, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, has received the Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award as well as Best Environment Initiative and Regional Deluxe Accommodation of the Year in the annual Australian Hotels Association (NSW) Accommodation Awards for Excellence.

Wolgan Valley was presented the awards at a gala presentation dinner, attended by dignitaries and 600 of the industry's business leaders and members. Now in its thirteenth year, these prestigious Awards recognise the leaders in hospitality and honour the achievements of excellence in a wide range of categories in the accommodation industry.

Tony Williams Senior Vice President, Emirates Hotels & Resorts said: "With Wolgan Valley it was always Emirates' intention to showcase the enormous tourism potential in Australia; and careful, deliberate efforts were made to ensure the resort highlighted the luxury experiences available in Australia, and grow this sector of the market. We are certainly very pleased to have our commitments recognised in this manner."  

Joost Heymeijer, General Manager, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa added: "It is a great honour to receive these awards. Wolgan Valley has only been open six months, and to win such prestigious awards, and be recognised by our industry colleagues and peers is an enormous achievement for the resort and Emirates.

"Wolgan Valley adds value to the Australian luxury travel experience, and we see the resort becoming a highlight of many Australian itineraries, as well as a favourite corporate venue for business leaders."

Wolgan Valley's awards in the competitive categories of Best Environment Initiative and Regional Deluxe Accommodation of the Year cements the Emirates Hotels & Resorts' property on the Australian tourism landscape.  The resort was also awarded in a new award category launched in 2010 for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism which acknowledges the resort's unique place in the industry and its ability to set new standards and benchmarks in the Australian industry.

Since its October 2009 opening, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa has also been awarded the following accolades:
  • Conde Nast US and Conde Nast UK "Hot List" (Spa and Resort categories).
  • National Trust Heritage Awards - for its work in restoring the original 1832 farmhouse. 
  • Luxury Travel Magazine - Gold List Awards. (Voted by readers "Most desired new resort to visit in the world")
  • Nominated, with Emirates Hotels & Resorts, in the World Travel & Tourism Council's "Tourism for Tomorrow" Awards.
Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa will go onto the AHA National Awards which will be presented in September this year.

Combining the expectations of the high-end traveller with a commitment to broader social, ecological and environmental sustainability, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is redefining what traditional luxury means to travellers.

Wolgan Valley provides its guests unique experiences and insights into this fascinating continent, with in-depth experiences of its wildlife, history and cultural heritage. The resort is fully inclusive, and includes all its meals and on-site activities in its rates; with a major focus of the guest experience being the quality of Australia's finest produce and select ranges of regional fine wines and all non-alcoholic beverages.

Located between two of Australia's most prominent national parks, and bordering the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Wolgan Valley was selected by Emirates after an extensive research for a location that lent itself to world-class conservation-based practices.  The secluded resort also incorporates the 'Timeless Spa' branded facility offering guests world-class spa treatments in a luxurious setting of commanding views of the spectacular the valley below.

The resort has recently become the first hotel in the world to achieve carbon neutral certification from an internationally accredited greenhouse gas certification scheme. Wolgan Valley is also a proud member of Leading Hotels of the World, the world's largest luxury hospitality organisation, representing more than 450 of the finest hotels, resorts and spas.

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa:

Tel.: +61 2 9290 9733 – Fax: +61 2 6350 1801

Street Address: 2600 Wolgan Road, Wolgan Valley, Lithgow 2790 NSW, Australia
Postal Address: PO Box 390, Lithgow 2790 NSW, Australia
Visit - Email:

About Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa opened in October 2009.

Located within its own 4,000 acre conservation reserve and nestled between two national parks bordering the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, the conservation-based Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa sets new standards in luxury travel. Combining the expectations of the high-end traveller with the broader social, ecological and environmental aspects of the resort, it will be the only experience of its kind in Australia.

This secluded resort features 40 individual suites surrounded by private decks, each having its own indoor/outdoor swimming pool. Its architecture is designed to be reminiscent of traditional rural Australian homesteads.

As Emirates Hotels & Resorts' first hospitality development outside Dubai, the Au$125 million project was built on the same principles as Emirates' acclaimed Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, fully integrated into its environment and supporting wide-ranging conservation practices. These will focus on endangered species protection and the planting of thousands of native trees indigenous to the area, including one of the world's rarest trees, the Wollemi Pine.

"Wolgan Valley's combination of luxury, iconic location and outstanding conservation values, truly cannot be paralleled," said Tony Williams, Senior Vice President, Resorts & Projects, Emirates Hotels & Resorts. "It provides the essential Australian experience which exposes the visitor to an understanding of the amazing continent and its heritage."

About Emirates Hotels & Resorts:

Emirates Hotels & Resorts is Emirates Airline's premier hospitality management division comprising a growing portfolio of award-winning luxury conservation-based resorts, five-star hotels and lifestyle Spas.

For over 10 years, Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa has showcased the success of Emirates Hotels & Resorts' conservation-based philosophy. The same philosophy is followed at the other two Emirates Hotels & Resorts conservation-based properties; the Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in Australia's Blue Mountains, which opened in October, and at the Cap Ternay Resort & Spa in the Seychelles, which is now under planning.  

The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and the Wolgan Valley Wildlife Conservancy, where Al Maha and Wolgan Valley are respectively located, are sponsored by Emirates and under the management of Emirates Hotels & Resorts.

For further information, visit

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pinctada Cable Beach Joins Virtuoso


Pinctada Cable Beach, Broome's new award-winning 5-star spa resort, has become one of only 20 Australian hotels to be included in the prestigious Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts Program, the industry's leading luxury travel network.

Acceptance into Virtuoso's by-invitation-only global network will see Pinctada Cable Beach supported by more than 300 leading travel agencies in 22 countries, including the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as South American and Caribbean nations.

Pinctada Cable Beach, a $33 million development and the first full service hotel to be built in Broome for two decades, was officially opened on August 5 2009.  The 72-room spa resort offers an intimate environment that reflects the distinctive landscape, culture and heritage of Broome, the famous pearling town nestled by the Indian Ocean high on the coast of north west Australia.

"We are delighted to be able to welcome our newest property, Pinctada Cable Beach." said Albert Herrera, Vice President of Hotels, Destinations & Tours at Virtuoso.  "The resort is both a tranquil retreat and an ideal base for exploring the beauty and wonders of this region and I am sure that it will not only be popular with our travel agency membership in Australia, but will serve as an authentic and evocative introduction to one of Australia's best beaches."

Marilynne Paspaley AM, Founder and Managing Director of Pinctada Hotels & Resorts, said the invitation to join the Virtuoso program is an honour, particularly as it comes within a year of her flagship resort's opening.

"Virtuoso travel advisors are among the most prestigious worldwide and are particularly stringent in their standards and expectations," Marilynne said.  "Virtuoso also recognises that travellers these days are looking for an experience that touches and positively influences their lives. I am honoured and delighted that Virtuoso has recognised these values in Pinctada Cable Beach.  In developing Pinctada Cable Beach, my vision was not only to create a world-class hotel in the world-class destination that is the Kimberley, but also to offer an experience which connects travellers with this unique destination – and, an environment where they feel so nurtured that they can truly relax and reconnect with themselves, their family or their friends."

Acceptance into the Virtuoso program follows the Western Australia AHA Aon Awards for Hotel Excellence last November when Pinctada Cable Beach was twice honoured, winning both the Regional Accommodation Hotel/Resort of the Year and also the Accommodation Hotel/Resort Restaurant Award for SELENE Brasserie.

Pinctada Cable Beach features a signature menu designed by award-winning author chef Greg Malouf of MoMo restaurant.  Another highlight is the world-class Pinctada Spa, Australia's only LI'TYA concept spa. Pinctada Spa's extensive treatment menu features award-winning LI'TYA Spa Care from the Aboriginal Dreamtime, based on Australian native botanicals and tapping into 40,000 years of indigenous plant wisdom and holistic healing to rejuvenate the spirit.

Pinctada Cable Beach, which offers 24-hour personalised service as well as customised Kimberley experiences, is nestled in native bushland a short stroll from Broome's iconic Cable Beach.  The design of the spa resort respects Broome's past while intelligent water and energy management systems embrace the future.  Pinctada Cable Beach also features graciously sized guest rooms, BRIZO Pool Bar, NYX Bar, Meditative Gardens, a guest fitness room, resort boutique and the asymmetrical Maxima Pool with its 25m lap lane and spa nooks.

Pinctada Hotels & Resorts, founded by Marilynne Paspaley AM, offers four bespoke hotels in the distinctive Australian landscape that is the Kimberley. Pinctada reflects the spirit, culture, heritage and landscape of the Kimberley offering personalised service and customised experiences.

·         Pinctada Cable Beach: 2009 WA AHA Aon Hotel Awards For Excellence: Best Regional Resort/Hotel and Best Resort Restaurant (SELENE Brasserie)

·         McAlpine House: 2008 WA AHA Aon Hotel Awards For Excellence: Best Regional Resort/Hotel
·         Captain Kennedy House

·         The Kimberley Grande


E: T: +61 (0)8 9193 8340 or 1800 PINCTADA, 1800 746 282 (tollfree within Australia)

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places