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Friday, August 31, 2012

It's crunch time! NSW tourism operators only have a few days left to make their entry count

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The 2012 NSW Tourism Awards is nearing its submission cut off date - 7 September 2012 and organisers say it isn't too late to enter.  

Andrew Jefferies, General Manager of the Tourism Industry Council of NSW, has been happy with the level of submissions received so far, but knows that many leave it until the eleventh hour to complete their submission.

"Our main focus for 2012 has been to promote the benefits and value of participating in the Awards program. We've worked extremely hard to recognise and celebrate the efforts of our state's tourism operators - who continually boost our reputation across the country and the world.  

"I strongly encourage all tourism businesses across the state's wider tourism industry, who haven't already done so, to enter the highly valuable Awards program and build upon the success of 2011," said Mr Jefferies.  

The process of entering involves operators answering questions about their businesses and feedback received about the process have been very positive; with many entrants expressing how critical it is for the growth and success of their business.

2012 NSW Tourism Award finalists and winners will gain even more from their participation this year as their successes will become part of the 2013 Tourism in Focus campaign, where exceptional tourism products will be featured extensively in promotions and media.

Applications to enter the 2012 NSW Tourism Awards close COB 7 September 2012. All tourism businesses based in NSW are eligible to enter.

For more information, visit:

Tourism Industry Council of NSW:

Tourism Awards Facebook page:  

Tourism Awards Twitter feed:

The Awards have 31 categories across the industry spectrum - attractions, festivals and events, ecotourism, tour and transport operators, marketing and accommodation and outstanding contribution from individuals. To enter:

Entries to the NSW Tourism Awards close on Friday 7th September 2012.

Finalists will be announced on Tuesday 9th October 2012.

The NSW Tourism Awards Ceremony and Dinner will be held on Thursday 22nd November 2012 at Le Montage, Sydney.

Benefits of entering the Awards:  

  • The NSW Tourism Awards offer entrants recognition for outstanding achievements, an increased profile and valuable networking opportunities.  
  • Winning awards highlight that you are a professional, trusted and benchmarked provider which will help your business stand out in the marketplace.
  • Now in its 23rd year, this Awards program is the most widely recognised Tourism Awards program in the country and is backed by TICNSW and Destination NSW.
  • Entrants will benefit from increased brand awareness and the ability to generate marketing opportunities which will lead to increased sales and revenue.
  • Entrants will gain exposure to influential and valuable networks, opening up new business opportunities.
  • Entrants will have the opportunity to benchmark their business against that of peers and competitors.
  • The questions and criteria have been specifically designed to help entrants develop annual business plans.
  • Entry in the Awards provides an accurate record and overview for your business.
  • All entries will receive a site visit by a Judge and receive feedback after the Awards.
  • Winners will be identified as outstanding tourism businesses in their particular category and gain recognition in front of the industry at the Awards Ceremony and Dinner, which are publicised state-wide.
  • Winners are featured in a special NSW Tourism Awards feature by the Sun Herald and profiled in an edition of Channel 7′s Sydney Weekender.
  • Winners and Finalists can include the NSW Tourism Awards logo on all media and marketing materials.
  • Finally, winners will become automatic finalists in the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards and gain recognition for excellence in the industry on a national stage.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


United Airlines' first 787 Dreamliner has completed its first production flight as Boeing makes final preparations for delivering it to United at the end of September. The aircraft took off from Boeing's Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on Sunday. Boeing pilots flew the 787 around the Seattle area for more than three hours as part of planned tests of the aircraft's controls and systems.

During the flight, crew members examined the 787's onboard systems at high and medium altitudes. They also checked backup and safety elements, including cabin pressurization, avionics, navigation and communications systems.

Sunday's flight was part of a series of work that Boeing performs after each 787 comes out of its paint hangar and before airlines take delivery of the planes. The work also includes fueling, systems tests, engine runs and taxi tests.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Scenic Tours, the leading operator of all-inclusive and fully escorted luxury tours in Africa, has launched their Africa programme for 2013.

Africa boasts vast expanses, incredible wildlife and unique cultures. With Scenic Tours, guests will witness wildebeest migrate across the Masai Mara and go on safari to spot the 'Big Five' in Kruger National Park. They will witness flamingos on Lake Nakuru, experience sunrise over Mount Kilimanjaro and discover Victoria Falls.

Itineraries travel to South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania, and new for 2013 is extended touring to Botswana where guests will meet the Maasai and dine under the stars at an ethnic boma dinner. Also new for 2013 are some exceptional hotels and lodges including the renowned Simola Golf and Country Estate in Knysna. And some additional Scenic FreeChoice activities, where guests have the freedom to choose at no extra cost, such as whale watching, walking safaris and African cooking classes.

Scenic Tours Product Manager for Africa, Andrew Kelleher said "We're really excited about our new Africa touring programme for 2013. With new Scenic Special Stays and Scenic FreeChoice we have again raised the bar of luxury for our guests offering unrivalled quality and location as well as exclusive choice. Feedback from our 'sold out' 2012 touring has been incredible and am looking forward to an even bigger and better year to come."

Scenic Tours operates small group tours with a maximum of 36 guests. There is unrivalled access to natural marvels with exclusive early access to game parks and state-of-the-art open top vehicles to ensure face-to-face wildlife encounters.

From bookings made by 31 December 2012, guests will enjoy savings of up to $1600 per couple. Prices on the

31 Day Grand African Adventure start from $15,695 pp twin share. Includes all accommodation, most meals, all activities, events and entertainment, airport transfers, and all tipping and gratuities.

Proudly Australian and unashamedly passionate, for 25 years Scenic Tours has been delivering the ultimate in all-inclusive luxury touring experiences to unique and extraordinary places on every continent.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Brand New Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou


China's most significant hotel opening this year creates new design landmark for the city of Guangzhou

Global interior design leaders HBA, Hirsch Bedner Associates set out to challenge perceptions of hotel design with the styling of the Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou, a stunning new architectural landmark in China's southern provincial capital and the brand's 88th property worldwide. Remarkable for both its soaring height and tapering avant-garde design, the newly opened hotel is set to become a new benchmark for interior design in Asia.

Rising 103 stories above the Pearl River, the Four Seasons Guangzhou occupies the top third of the new Guangzhou International Finance Center. The project is architecturally dramatic for its triangular tower, diagonal lattice and soaring, 30-floor-high atrium. HBA's interior design concept is striking, developed to push the boundaries of design and challenge perceptions of the classic hotel interior.

HBA won an international competition to design the hotel. "It was because we were able to beautifully communicate a visual presentation that upholds the integrity of the Four Seasons brand coupled with innovative design and sensitivity to location," said Ian Carr, CEO of HBA in Singapore.

Every detail of the hotel's elegant yet ultramodern interior was meticulously planned and executed to ensure an exceptional guest experience. From the ground floor, guests take dedicated express elevators to the 70th floor lobby, where a dramatic three metre (ten foot) red steel sculpture by Australian artist Matthew Harding appears to float on a sea of watery glass, reflecting the astounding ceiling window 30 floors above.

The incredible naturally-lit atrium, surrounded by restaurants and rooms above, is higher than the top of St. Paul's Cathedral in London and New York's Statue of Liberty. The intricate textured screen made of woven metal wraps around the interior of the sky-high lobby. In a subtle reference to the hotel brand, the screen is themed around the four seasons, from spring in the basement to fall in the upper reaches.

"The artwork extends to edgy, modern Southern Chinese pieces by local artists and continues the theme of the four seasons from spring on the ground floor to winter at the top floor," said Sandra DeSouza, Director of Canvas, art consultants on the project. For instance, at Tian Bar on Level 99, the artwork is pure, white and ethereal in a fitting tribute to the heavens.

A key challenge facing HBA was to match interiors with the complex structural columns featured in all public spaces and the hotel's 104 guest rooms and suites. Each boasts a unique floorplan as a result, with the building narrowing as it rises and columns intersecting at different points. The only constants in HBA's guest room interiors are the bathrooms and beds, positioned to offer unparalleled views of the Pearl River Delta and cityscape. Floor to ceiling glass windows additionally encourage guests to "look right down", said Carr. "This design is naturally inspired by the 103-storey building we were given. We didn't want to close up the windows and deny guests the spectacular view."

Furniture is predominantly modern Italian, with contemporary Chinese art playing off elements of nature and culture. HBA created beautifully customized carpets that are watercolor-like and evocative of the skies and clouds.

"Everything Four Seasons does is classy – nothing trite or glib," said Carr.

Embracing this brief, HBA's objective was to bridge the gap between Four Seasons' "modern conservatism" style and the building's avant-garde architecture, with the vast, light-filled central atrium contributing to a particularly dramatic effect.

"Where guests check-in, they can look up and see beautiful patterning spanned across 35 floors of tapering diagonal glass, it's quite amazing," said Carr.

This lent itself to creating further patterns of angles and refractive elements in the interior design, from the handrails in the atrium – custom measured for each floor – to a dynamic skylight at the top, with angular black panels. The effect is magnified in interior corridors, with angled glass deliberately projecting outwards to "embrace the height". Nowhere is this sense of height more intense than from a bridge on Level 100, where a staircase projects into the void and glass floors look down 40 floors below to the lobby.

In addition to Tian Bar, HBA also provided sumptuous interiors for Yu Yue Heen, Caffe Mondo and Kumoi – three of the hotel's four new dining destinations. Located on Level 71, signature Chinese restaurant Yu Yue Heen deliberately speaks a different design language than the rest of the project, with interiors playing on traditional Chinese calligraphy and carrying the colors of the Red Dragon. In Yu Yue Heen, and throughout the hotel, design marries tradition and innovation to firmly ground interiors in modern China.

"Overall, Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou breaks conventions, coupling luxury with the avant-garde," added Carr. "The architect created amazing spaces for us to work with and this building really stands out as a new design icon for both Guangzhou and for the Four Seasons brand."

For HBA in Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Francisco, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore, Brisbane, Melbourne, New Delhi, Dubai Thailand, Moscow, Istanbul and Manila, visit

Bridging the gap between Four Seasons' ultra-luxury standards and the avant-garde design of Guangzhou IFC, HBA's design creates a space that is sumptuous and soaring in scope

The building's unconventional structure required more than 100 different room configurations, each offering unimpeded views of the Pearl River Delta and cityscape

In signature Chinese restaurant Yu Yue Heen, and throughout Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou, HBA's concept marries cultural tradition and design innovation

ICCA launches National Cruise Week

ICCA announces first ever National Cruise Week

The International Cruise Council Australasia has just announced "Australia's largest cruise promotion" - the inaugural National Cruise Week which will take place 03-09 Sep 2012.

ICCA gm Brett Jardine said the initiative would be the largest consumer promotion ever undertaken by the local cruise industry, with 28 ICCA member cruise lines and over 1000 member travel agents taking part across Australia and New Zealand.

He said the Australasian initiative followed the ongoing success of similar promotions in the UK and USA, and will see member cruise lines offering exclusive deals and "spectacular savings" only available through ICCA member travel agents.

Last year's US National Cruise Week, hosted by ICCA's sister organisation Cruise Lines International Association, generated $55 million in new sales (and more than $7 million in commissions) across North America.

"As Australia is one of the fastest growing cruise markets in the world, we have high hopes for the inaugural National Cruise Week and believe it will help drive sales even further as we enter the region's largest cruise season," Jardine said.

More information in tomorrow's issue of CruiseWeekly.

New SAA bagage policy

SAA announces changes to baggage policy on flights from Australia

South African Airways (SAA) is introducing a new check-in baggage policy in response to varying customer requirements in each of its markets. The new policy will apply to all SAA flights departing from and arriving into Perth, Western Australia.

According to SAA's Country Manager for Australasia, Tim Clyde-Smith, the new policy aligns with most of the larger Star Alliance carriers, ensuring a transparent and consistent set of rules across SAA and other Star Alliance network airlines. From 5 September 2012, SAA will move to a checked baggage policy that provides for the number of pieces of baggage a passenger can check in, rather than the total weight of a passenger's checked baggage," Tim said.

"Each of these pieces will be subject to weight and size restrictions. The new policy describes the number of baggage pieces a passenger may check-in, as well as the weight restrictions for each piece, according to route and class of travel," he said.

"Excess baggage, ie. additional items, or where the baggage exceeds the weight and or size allowance, will be charged at a flat rate per piece of luggage. This is a change to the current policy where excess baggage is charged per kilogram."

"For the Australia market, the policy will apply to SAA's flights out of Perth. It does not at this stage apply to SAA's codeshare flight out of Sydney in conjunction with Qantas. In addition SAA cannot accept any check-in items weighing more than 32kg. Any items exceeding this limit will either have to be repacked into separate bags or checked in at the SAA Cargo counter and flown at cargo rates."

Tim said the new policy, which contains simple explanations and identifies routes where variations are applicable, can be viewed online at It also forms an important part of the Terms & Conditions of all SAA tickets, including flights purchased online.

"Passengers travelling on any multi-sector or multi-carrier tickets and SAA code-share partner flights, ie. tickets purchased from SAA for a flight with an SA flight number, but operated by another airline, should check with the other airlines to see which baggage policy is applicable."

The policy will apply on tickets for all flights operated by SAA, i.e. flown using an SAA aircraft and crew. For tickets involving joint international transport services (code share) provided by SAA and foreign airlines the free baggage and excess baggage charge policy has been adjusted and will be based on the policies of the predominant carrier for the trip.

"For travel between Perth and Johannesburg, the following applies: Business class: 2 pieces at a maximum of 32kg each and economy class: 1 piece at a maximum of 23kg each." Tim said.

Tim said the new policy brings SAA into line with a growing number of international carriers.

"We recommend all of our passengers check our new policy by going online to our website and confirming with their travel agent with respect to their specific bookings," Tim concluded.

About: SAA has daily non-stop flights from Sydney and six flights a week from Perth to Johannesburg (daily from August 17) with direct connections to the largest network in Africa. SAA is consistently voted the 'Best Airline & Cabin Crew in Africa' winning it for the 16th consecutive year in the Travel Weekly Globe Awards in London. SAA took out top honours at the recent WTA awards in London, with three awards in the Africa category. SAA is a member of STAR, the world's largest alliance reaching 916 destinations in 160 countries.

For more information on SAA flights and reservations please call 1300 435 972 or see

For all SAA media releases see:

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Crown's $568 million investment in building a 500-room hotel in Perth is a huge boost to the tourism industry in a city sorely in need of significant tourism infrastructure investment, ATEC Managing Director, Felicia Mariani said today.

"It's well known that Perth has a severe accommodation shortage and there has been no major hotel investment in almost 10 years so this is a welcome announcement and I congratulate Crown on their commitment," Ms Mariani said.
"This investment will not only help to alleviate some of the pressure on accommodation in Perth, it will help to open up Western Australia to the international market and ensure leisure tourists are able to get a room in the gateway to the west."
Ms Mariani said the investment in luxury and casino product will also serve Australia well in helping us connect to the fast growing Asian market.
"These are products many Asian visitors are after and this investment will help to expand our industry and help us compete within the South East Asian market.
"While Western Australia has benefited significantly from the mining boom, it has also created challenges for other industries competing with resources and infrastructure, such as tourism.
"We can't continue to put all our eggs in one basket and rely on the economic benefits offered by the mining sector – it's time for us to diversify our economy and build a broader industry base.  This investment recognises there are more opportunities in our economy than our natural resources."
The 500 luxury rooms will not only attract well heeled visitors it will have a flow on effect of creating additional space in other properties around Perth.
"While much of our new tourism export opportunity comes from Asia – with a casino being highly attractive to this market – there will ultimately be a flow on effect from this investment for the tourism industry across Australia.
"This investment it will provide much needed additional capacity in Perth as well as opening a door to the near Asia market to come and explore our country further.
"Perth is an excellent gateway city for the Asian market and I believe the tourism industry broadly will benefit from this investment." 

Crown proposes major hotel for Sydney

Packer to develop "six star" hotel resort at Barangaroo

Crown Limited has just announced an exclusive agreement with Lend Lease Corporation in relation to the proposed development of a "world class, six star hotel resort at Barangaroo South, Sydney".

Under the pact Lend Lease and Crown will work together to develop the plans for the property, giving Crown the right to work exclusively with Lend Lease on the project for up to two years to reach agreement on certain key milestones and obtain the necessary development approvals for the project.

Crown ceo James Packer said "Sydney deserves one of the world's great hotels on its magnificent harbour. My desire is for Crown to build the best hotel in the world at Barangaroo.

"Crown's record demonstrates we can deliver a centrepiece that will draw millions of tourists. A Crown integrated resort at Barangaroo would boost the economy, create thousands of new jobs, contribute significant tax revenues to the State Government and enhance the overall attractiveness of Sydney as a first class international tourist destination," he added.

Packer said Crown was currently considering the options to incorporate a VIP only gaming facility at the proposed property, which would be necessary to provide the "commercial underpinning" for any development.

More information in today's TravelDaily.

Packer and Crown to develop Sydney hotel at Barangaroo

Crown Limited announced it has signed an Exclusive Dealing Agreement with Lend Lease to develop plans for a luxurious hotel at Barangaroo South in Sydney.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Australian business travellers – unlike some of their politicians and union officials – keep corporate travel “strictly business”

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Scarlett Terrace, Pullman G Bangkok
Business travel research highlights differences between corporate road-warriors from eight Asia Pacific countries

Recent news might have been dominated by accusations of certain politicians and union officials allegedly rorting their travel expenses, but for the majority of Australian “road warriors” corporate travel is far more about business than pleasure.

The Accor Asia Pacific Business Traveller Survey 2012 shows that out of the 2,586 respondents in eight countries across Asia Pacific, Australian and New Zealand business travellers were the least inclined to mix business and pleasure while travelling on company time and money.

The research, conducted by leading global research consultancy ORC International, surveyed business travellers from eight destinations: Australia, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand. Accor is the largest hotel group in Australia with over 200 hotels under brands such as Sofitel, Sea Temple, Pullman, Quay West, MGallery, Grand Mercure, Novotel, Sebel, Citigate, All Seasons, and Ibis.

Highlights of the research findings include:

Australians concentrate on business, rather than pleasure – when asked whether they had extended their business trip to take a holiday break or to visit friends and family or had taken a friend or partner on the trip, Australian and New Zealand corporate travellers were the least likely of the eight countries surveyed. Only 11% of Australians said they had extended their trip to visit friends and relatives, a mere 11% had tacked on a holiday and just 15% of respondents had taken a friend or partner along on a business trip. This compares with 33% of Thai, 25% of Malaysians and 20% of Hong Kongers who have extended their business trips to take a holiday. Australians were also the least likely (21%) to take a long bath on the company’s travel time, where as 89% of Malaysians and 83% of Chinese say they take to the bath to while away their hours.

Australians are also reluctant to use the corporate credit card for “ancillary” services such as the mini bar, spa treatments and in-house movies, though Aussie men are more likely to be profligate than female business travellers.

click to enlarge
However, Aussies travel on business and attend meetings more for networking and internal purposes rather than their Asian counterparts whose mantra is simple – SELL, SELL, SELL. For instance, while the principal reason for business travel by Indian and Chinese corporate travellers is for “visiting customers”, Australian business travellers stated that “internal company meetings” was their primary reason for travel.

Meanwhile, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) travel accounted for 28% of all trips taken in the first six months of 2012. The quality of the agenda/program (59%) is what drives Australian business travellers to attend MICE events rather than seek business development opportunities.

Business travel still dominated by the boys club – almost three quarters of business travellers who responded to the survey across the eight countries were male. With little change from 2011, there is still a major imbalance in Australian corporate travellers with 67% males and only 33% females. Thailand, Australia and New Zealand had the highest number of female business travellers while India had the least with a mere 6% of females travelling for work.

A comfortable bed is key – proven once again by Accor’s business traveller survey, a comfortable hotel bed is of the utmost importance for all business travellers. Of the top three services when staying in a hotel, Australians voted for a comfortable bed number one (74%), followed by a good quality clean bathroom/shower (45%) ahead of free internet (30%). And that is why the world’s leading economy hotel brand, Ibis has instigated the largest ever upgrading of beds to meet what road-warriors want. The Ibis ‘Sweet Bed’ moves the brand into premium economy extending on what 5-star hotels used to provide travellers back in the nineties to make 3-star sleeping a 5-star experience today.

Location is still number one when determining choice of hotel - while location was the primary reason for selecting a hotel by travellers from all Asia Pacific countries, Australians (68%) placed the highest importance on location well ahead of free Wi-Fi and price. As was the case in 2011, the majority of respondents in all countries believe it is more important to be located near to where they are doing business rather than located close to shopping, nightlife and entertainment areas (though former executives of the Health Services Union East Branch may beg to differ on this survey result).

Australian corporate travellers plan more business travel in the next 6 months – looking to the remainder of the year, the average number of business trips planned is higher than this time last year. Chinese and Indian business travellers lead the pack in terms of projected business travel, where as Australian corporate travellers anticipate a marginal increase in travel, primarily domestic, in the second half of 2012 compared to the first six months.

Business travellers keep quiet on social media - regardless of whether they had a positive or negative hotel experience business travellers are unlikely to always post comments on social media websites such as Facebook to TripAdvisor. Nearly half (47%) of Australian business travellers have never posted reviews on social media and the majority of respondents prefer to contact the hotel directly via comment card or email/letter in the case of a negative experience, rather than posting comments online.

Australian corporate travellers prefer to book it themselves – business travellers in Asia Pacific are most likely to book their hotel accommodation themselves with online the preferred medium (82%), while only a minority using offline travel agents or reservation centres. 50% of Australians usually book directly with the hotel online compared to only 31% of Chinese business travellers.

Australians not so keen to be green – while Australians are increasing their environmental programs, it appears that Australians are the least likely of all the countries surveyed to choose a hotel above another simply because it is more environmentally conscious. A mere 21% of Australians are driven by environmental factors when choosing a hotel. That said, 60% of Australians would be willing to reuse their towels and linens if the hotel shared its laundry cost savings with environmental initiatives.

Personalisation a key driver for choice in ‘hotels of the future’ – Australian business travellers would like to see more personalised services in hotels including a dedicated check-in and check-out counter for loyalty card members (63%) with over half of Australian respondents (60%) wanting to see more hotel amenities and products from Australia.

New Zealand business travellers love us (and we love them), but Australia not so important for Asian business travellers – while Singapore and Hong Kong have emerged in the ‘Top 3’ destinations for Australian business travellers, not surprisingly New Zealand was the second most popular destination for Aussie travellers in the first half of 2012 accounting for 30% of all international business trips in the first half of 2011. However, intra-Asia travel, rather than travel to New Zealand and Australia, was the hottest travel pattern, with neither Australia nor New Zealand in the top three destinations of any of the Asian countries. The good news is that the Kiwis love us back with Australia in New Zealand’s ‘Top 3’ destinations for business travel alongside Singapore and China.

“While some of the survey results were not too dissimilar from the 2011 survey, it does bring to light new aspects of business travel habits and preferences such as using a business trip for added leisure benefits and use of social media while on business,” said Peter Hook, General Manager Communications for Accor Asia Pacific.

“It is encouraging that corporate travellers across Asia Pacific are planning to take more business trips this year, with the increase driven largely by a greater number of domestic trips, which, for Australians, links back to their primarily reason for travel – internal meetings and visiting customers.

“The survey also found that business travellers in Australia and New Zealand draw quite a distinct line between business and pleasure, which suggests that allegations of rorting by certain politicians and union officials are more the exception than the rule. In fact, it would appear that Australians are generally quite puritan in their business travel habits, though it could also mean that scrutiny of travel expenses is considerably tighter in this country than in Asia.

“One result that wasn’t a surprise – but continues to be a disappointment – is the lack of gender equity in business travel. Australia had one of the better records in this area – with two thirds male compared to one third female – but corporate travel still seems to be overwhelmingly skewed towards male road-warriors.”

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Australian Cruise Magazine

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Jetstar announces direct Hawaii service from Melbourne

Jetstar has just announced direct service from Melbourne to Hawaii, with the new route to debut from 15 Dec - just in time for the summer holiday peak season.

The reinstatement of the Hawaii route (suspended in 2008) has come along with capacity expansions to other destinations including an increase of Jetstar's Sydney to Phuket services to four flights a week.

Jetstar Bali flights from both Melbourne and Sydney will also increase to daily, with the additional long-haul capacity to Indonesia, Hawaii and Phuket providing up to 19,000 extra seats a month for outbound holidaymakers.

The lead-in fare for the Melbourne-Honolulu service is $499 one way. The service will initially operate twice a week, moving to thrice weekly from March 2013.

"Jetstar specialises in putting more holiday destinations within reach for more people through low fares, domestically and internationally," said Jetstar Group ceo Jayne Hrdlicka.

More information in today's Travel Daily.

Holiday Inn celebrates 60 years of firsts

Holiday Inn turns 60 this month, and is celebrating the many innovations that have led to the diamond anniversary for the iconic brand here and around the world.

Six decades after the first Holiday Inn hotel opened in Memphis Tennessee in the US, there are more than 3375 Holiday Inn brand family hotels around the world.  What began as a roadside inn has become a household name across the globe, and a pioneer of many firsts for the hotel industry – such as being the first to invite children under 12 to stay and eat free whenever staying at Holiday Inn, anywhere in the world.

Other innovations include being the first hotel brand to offer online bookings in 1995, and to introduce computerised reservations in 1965.  Most recently, Holiday Inn completed the biggest relaunch ever undertaken by a travel brand, with the investment of US$1 billion into upgrading more than 3300 hotels worldwide.

This month, Holiday Inn will be the first international hotel brand to open its 60th hotel in Greater China, Holiday Inn Resort Changbaishan – a fitting achievement given it was also the first international hotel brand to be introduced to China, in 1984.

Here in Australasia, the innovations spread from the practical, such as Holiday Inn Sydney Airport being the first hotel in Asia Pacific to introduce paperless check-in, to the extraordinary, best demonstrated by the world's only crocodile-shaped hotel, Holiday Inn Gagudju in Kakadu, Northern Territory.

"For us, Holiday Inn's 60th birthday is a celebration of the constant innovation that has kept the brand relevant to our guests – demonstrated most recently by the US$1 billion invested into refreshing more than 3300 Holiday Inn properties worldwide. It's this series of firsts that has allowed Holiday Inn to remain one of the world's best known and fastest-growing hotel brands," Bill Edwards, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) Australasia director of operations said.

"Holiday Inn's 60th anniversary is a chance for us to share these achievements and invite others to experience what keeps our regular guests coming back time after time," Bill said.

Holiday Inn hotels around the world will be celebrating their own firsts in honour of the brand's diamond anniversary this month, with guests invited to get involved.  Here in Australasia, Holiday Inn is offering guests the chance to win diamond jewellery and free nights* by sharing photos of their favourite birthday moments on the Holiday Inn's Facebook fan page's new Guestbook gallery.

Existing Holiday Inn fans on Facebook will get automatic access to the new Holiday Inn Guestbook app, which launches today in celebration of the brand's 60th birthday.  New fans will simply need to Like Holiday Inn Australasia on Facebook to get involved for the chance at sharing in Holiday Inn's diamond anniversary.

For more information on Holiday Inn, visit

* Free nights will be awarded as Priority Club Rewards points.


The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places