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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Men Who Came Out of the Ground: Paul Cleary

Paul Cleary
ISBN 0733623182
RRP $35.00 August 2010
Hachette Aust Paperback (C)
By early 1942, the Japanese had invaded the Dutch East Indies as part of their push south. A few hundred Australian Special Forces commandos based in East Timor, the 2/2 Independent Company, became the only men to withstand the onslaught, avoid capture and take offensive action against vastly superior enemy numbers.

These men were unique. Recruited mainly from the bush and trained in a very different kind of war, they became the first Australians to successfully prosecute guerrilla warfare.

Months before Australian forces met the Japanese on the Kokoda Track, the men of Timor launched relentless hit and run raids on the enemy, showing that the seemingly all-conquering Japanese could not only be matched but also beaten.

By hitting the enemy hard and then melting into the rugged mountains of Timor, the Japanese who had previously conquered Allied forces throughout Asia said the Australians were like men who leapt out of the ground, attacked, and then disappeared back into theground.

After months of skirmishes and attacks on Japanese forces, the Australians faced a major offensive and despite the best efforts of the individual soldiers, Australian forces were withdrawn at the end of 1942. But by then thousands of Japanese troops had been prevented from taking part in the Papua New Guinea campaign.

This account covers their heroic fighting against a superior force, courage and ingenuity in the face of supply and equipment problems, but with the support and friendship of the locals.

It’s the story of Australia’s Special Forces in action and achieving what they set out to do.

Author and journalist Paul Cleary has spent three years researching this campaign. He brings deep insights into what became a gruesome campaign that exacted a horrendous toll on the Timorese people who backed the Australians and helped make them a highly mobile and effective fighting force.

Drawing on interviews with the last surviving veterans of this campaign in Australia and East Timor, extensive research in the Canberra archives, and on Japanese records, Cleary reconstructs Timor 1942 in intricate and stirring detail. He demonstrates how Timor 1942 became a defining moment in Australia’s military history.

Cleary shows how the Japanese employed terror tactics against the local population that were later used by the CIA in South Vietnam. He details the heroic efforts of the Australia navy and air force to support the garrison in the mountains throughout 1942. And he reveals intelligence blunders in Australia that led to the torture and death of special forces men sent back to Timor in the latter years of the war.

‘These men of Timor are unique in that they remained an organised fighting body all through the lightning Jap successes…These lads are writing an epic of guerrilla warfare.’ Damien Parer, November 1942

Information about travel and tourism in Timor Leste

Friday, August 13, 2010

Small Luxury Hotels in Town

source: e-Travel Blackboard

Representatives from The Siam, Bangkok, The Oberoi, Bali & Lombok, Lansan Place, Hong Kong & Huvafen Fushi, Maldives with SLH’s Bryonny Gammon, Mark Wong & Kim Roache

Representatives from various Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) boutique properties were in Sydney earlier this week as part of their sales roadshow and to launch their new Directory which features over 500 hotels in 70 of the globe’s most idyllic locations. 

Adding properties in Lisbon and Japan to the mix for the first time, Singapore-based Area Director, Mark Wong said the Group’s growth was testament to the strength of the SLH brand worldwide.

The growth also represents a shift in SLH’s target markets, which Mr Wong said will now include a new breed of visitors encompassing the golf, spa, and family markets, adding to its existing honeymoon clientele.

New additions to the group also include the Siam Hotel in the heart of Bangkok which will introduce the first pool villas to the city when it opens in June 2011. 

In Australia, SLH properties include Bloomfield Lodge in Queensland, The Louise in the Barossa Valley, and Kims Beach Hideaway in NSW’s Central Coast amongst many others.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

PATA announces 2010 Grand and Gold Award winners

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2010 PATA Gold Awards, sponsored by the Macau Government Tourist Office. This year the awards recognise the achievements of 24-separate organisations and individuals.

Therefore the 2010, you will see 24 PATA Grand and Gold Awards presented, with multiple awards going to Hong Kong Tourism Board, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, and Tourism Authority of Thailand. The awards ceremony takes place on September 17th during PATA Travel Mart 2010 at the Venetian® Macao~Resort~Hotel, Macau SAR.

PATA Grand Awards are presented to outstanding entries in the four principal categories: Marketing, Education and Training, Environment, and Heritage. This year, the Grand Awards go to Tourism New Zealand in the marketing category; Banyan Tree Spa Academy for education and training; AlamKulKul Boutique Resort, Bali for environment, and Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in the heritage category.

The Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) has generously sponsored the PATA Gold Awards for the past 15 years. João Manuel Costa Antunes, director, MGTO said, “Our congratulations to all the winners for their outstanding achievements, which are also excellent examples to encourage the industry to pursue excellence, innovation and advancement. We look forward to welcoming the winners as well as travel trade stakeholders, to the PATA Travel Mart 2010 in Macau this September.”

Read full release including winners

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Luxury travel in both the business and leisure segments is set to increase over the next 12 months according to the results of a survey* released today by Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The survey was targeted at members of The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the luxury brand’s customer recognition programme. 41 per cent of respondents said they expected to have more disposable income in the next year with 11 per cent saying they expect to see a significant increase.

Members of The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World are high net worth, frequent travellers and are well placed to offer insights into the behaviour of affluent consumers. Over half of respondents have a household income of over USD$100,000 (58 per cent) and, overall, one third have an income of over USD$200,000. 31 per cent of Club Members who responded to the survey spend over three weeks staying at hotels every year and 10 per cent stay at hotels over 30 nights every year on holiday. 13 per cent of respondents said they stay at hotels on business over 30 nights every year.

The survey was co-ordinated by PricewaterhouseCoopers and was initiated to assess current consumer sentiment and to gain insights into travel plans for the next 12 months following the recent global economic downturn. Over 7,500 members of The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World responded to the survey.

Frequency of travel, a key sign of recovery, is increasing with 41 per cent of respondents revealing that they are planning to go on holiday four times or more this year and nearly half (45 per cent) saying that they will travel four times or more for business. Nearly one quarter (23 per cent) said this will mean an increase in their business travel over the next 12 months.

In terms of researching hotels, even the most discerning travellers are jumping online with over 84 per cent of respondents choosing over any other option. Even the most affluent and discerning travellers are looking for value for money with over two thirds (67 per cent) saying that they search for the best hotel rates on the internet.

Paul Kerr, CEO of Small Luxury Hotels of the World said: “Travel behaviour has changed dramatically in the last 10 years and this has been affected by the global financial crisis, the cost of air travel, world events – both natural and man-made. There is no such thing as ‘normal behaviour’ any more. What we can say is that travel patterns are settling down and that we are seeing positive indicators such as a resurgence in long-haul travel, longer lead times and increased frequency and length of stay. 20 per cent of Club Members say they plan to travel to overseas destinations in the next 12 months and that they will be taking more holidays in the next year and 14 per cent said they will go on longer main holidays. To cater for the increased demand and to offer even more value to our guests, we have just launched a tactical promotion ‘Summer Savings by SLH’ featuring a range of special offers at our hotels around the world. ”

Mr Kerr continued: “We have invested heavily in our website,, and alternative channels such as our iPhone application which is free to download from iTunes. The new app has been downloaded by nearly 27,000 iPhone users, including a quarter of those who responded to our survey, which highlights the popularity of mobile applications for our guests – and potential guests. The positive attitude and travel plans of the Club Members who responded to our survey reflect the upward trend we are experiencing across all areas of the business. Reservations have increased by 18 per cent year to date compared to the same period last year. We are well positioned to meet the increased demand we anticipate with over 500 hotels in 70 countries worldwide.”

The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World has over 80,000 members worldwide and was relaunched recently to offer members a range of additional benefits including a complimentary continental breakfast, upgrade on arrival subject to availability and late check-out. Membership is complimentary and travellers can sign up online at Room upgrades are seen as a major benefit for Club Members with nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of respondents saying that this is the perk they most value.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World offers a Lowest Rate Guarantee programme so that guests can be assured that they are getting value for money when making a reservation through any of the brand’s reservation channels. Reservations can be made online at, by calling +44 800 525 48000 or through a travel agent.

*The survey was conducted by Small Luxury Hotels of the World in June 2010. The survey sample included 7,572 members of The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

About Small Luxury Hotels of the World

The Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) brand is an unrivalled portfolio of some of the world’s finest small independent hotels. Comprising over 500 hotels in more than 70 countries, the diversity of the individual hotels, and the experiences that they offer, is exceptional. From cutting-edge design hotels to palatial 17th century mansions, city centre sanctuaries to remote private islands, historic country houses to idyllic resorts, Small Luxury Hotels of the World offers only the very best. Reservations can be made at any Small Luxury Hotels of the World property by calling +44 800 525 48000 or via Travel agents need only remember the GDS code LX for LuXury.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Two Travel Writers Receive Prestigeous 'Friends of Thailand' Award

Kristie Kellahan
In 1998, the Tourism Authority of Thailand initiated the friends of Thailand Project to offer its appreciation as well as recognition of the international supporters of the Thai tourism industry.

This project is conducted every two years in which supporters from all over the world are nominated. There are strict guidelines for the nomination, the nominee should played an outstanding role in the support of public relation of Thailand by disseminating information and encouraging positive images of Thailand, must have a role in the promotion of environment and cultural preservation, arranged other special activities to promote tourism to Thailand, being a recognized individual in society and do not have a negative image and the nominee must reside overseas.

Julie Miller
A panel of judges examined the work of each nominee over the past two years and if all agreed – A Friends of Thailand Award would be bestowed to that nominee for his/her achievement.

The 7th Friends of Thailand Award 2010 will be held at the Centara Grand Hotel at Central World in Bangkok on 27th September 2010.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Sydney Office is pleased to announce to the ASTW members that two travel writers from Australia have been chosen to receive Friends of Thailand Award 2010 for their outstanding works and commitment to promote the tourism to Thailand.

Congratulations! Julie Miller and Kristie Kellahan for your achievements in receiving this prestige award.

Source: TAT Sydney Office/

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Death at Perisher: Former TV Journalist Killed in Accident

The small Perisher ski resort community is shocked and saddened by the tragic death of a guest* who died shortly after colliding with a tree this morning while skiing with his family on an intermediate blue run in the Guthega area of the Perisher Ski Resort.

Perisher Ski Patrol, NSW Ambulance and Perisher Medical Centre staff promptly attended to the scene.

Perisher's CEO Peter Brulisauer said "Everyone at Perisher is so deeply saddened by this horrible accident and we extend our sincere condolences to family and friends."

"Over 10,000 visitors were enjoying Perisher today under a brilliant blue sky. Skiing together as a family in such great weather is a truly wonderful activity, but in this instance it has unfortunately ended so tragically".

Police will prepare a report for the Coroner.

Michael Meagher
Photo: CPR Communications
* It has been revealed by AAP that the guest was Michael Meagher, 55, a former Nine Network journalist. Mr Meagher had worked as a senior reporter with Nine's Wide World of Sports, its Business Sunday program and worked also as a journalist with The Australian, The Bulletin and was an associate editor at BRW magazine.

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places