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Friday, May 31, 2013

Tourism Noosa Unveils 'Welcome To Noosa'

Tourism Noosa has launched an innovative new tourism initiative at a VIP launch with Celebrity Chef, Pete Evans and industry stakeholders including Tourism and Events Queensland Chairman, Mr Stephen Gregg, The Hon.

Glen Elmes MP Member for Noosa and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs, Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson, Councillors Russell Green and Tony Wellington and Tourism Noosa Chairman Mr Steve McPharlin.

Developed by Tourism Noosa, Welcome to Noosa is aimed at revitalising a quality service culture in the Noosa region by providing an online training program focused on customer service and Noosa specific content.

The program provides basic information on Noosa - why the region is so special, its history, key things to do in Noosa, information on the Noosa Biosphere and more. It also provides information on who the Noosa customer is, where they come from plus some great customer service strategies and information on workplace health and safety.

"Welcome to Noosa has been developed with the specific intention of increasing the level of customer service we collectively offer here in the Noosa region. The program aims to help local businesses and their teams build a sustainable business and deliver a memorable experience for Noosa visitors and local customers alike" said General Manager of Tourism Noosa, Mr Damien Massingham.

"If you are a local business or are seeking employment in the region, the Welcome to Noosa program provides you with knowledge of Noosa that will you give you the edge and ultimately assist you in providing a greater level of quality service in Noosa."

"A Welcome to Noosa experience is about providing consistent, high quality service that anticipates visitors' and customers' needs, meets or exceeds their expectations and leaves them feeling positive that Noosa is a very special place. Tourism spend currently contributes over $850 million to the Noosa region and we have a goal of increasing this to $1 billion by 2016. Improving the level of customer service we offer in Noosa will assist in achieving this goal" said Mr Massingham.

Tourism and Events Queensland Chairman, Mr Stephen Gregg said "The Welcome to Noosa program is very exciting for the tourism industry and to see a destination focusing on improving the level of customer service they offer to visitors is a positive step in enticing visitors to stay and more importantly return to a destination."

The program has already had over 100 participants complete the course and has been applauded by industry, including Niel Mason, general manager of Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort and Spa.

"The program is absolutely fantastic, simple to navigate and is relevant to all sectors of the tourism industry from retailers to petrol stations and any business deriving revenue from tourism.

I will be putting all 90 staff employed by Outrigger through the course, with the ultimate benefit flowing on to our guests and customers," he said.

Welcome to Noosa has been funded by the Australian Government - Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations through the Local Employment
Coordinator Flexible Funding Pool in partnership with Tourism Noosa.

The program costs $25 per person, $15 per person for 2-9 people or $10 per person for 10 plus people.  

For further information visit

Cunard Line Contest Offers Travel Agents $100,000 in Funding for Most Innovative Marketing Campaigns

Cunard Line announces the “Cunard 100 Grand Giveaway,” a contest to support the Line’s prized network of Travel Agents with funding for their most innovative ideas for marketing campaigns.

The contest will award a grand total of $100,000, dispersed as two $10,000 Grand Prizes and sixteen $5,000 prizes.

Plans must focus on one or a combination of the following key offerings:  Transatlantic Crossings beginning this year through June 2014, 2014 Europe Voyages, 2014 World Cruises, Liners and/or Segments and Regional Voyages, or Grills Suites.

Entries should detail the campaign’s travel destination, theme, how funds would be spent, and how ideas would be disseminated throughout one or more marketing channels (e.g., direct mail, email, newspaper and magazine advertising, radio, banner advertising, local consumer travel show, cruise night, etc.).  Agents with a qualified database can propose using Cunard’s branded postcards or collateral material to send with a cover letter from their agency.

To enter, Travel Agents must complete and submit a contest form by midnight (12:00am PT), 28 June 2013.  All entries will be reviewed by the Cunard Executive Committee, including President and Managing Director Peter Shanks; Executive Vice President for Sales, Marketing and Customer Service Jan Swartz; Vice President of North America Stanley Birge; and North American Vice President of Sales Brian O’Connor.

Entries may be submitted by filling out the simple one-page entry form located on

Winners will be notified by 17 July 2013 and announcements will follow on OneSource.  Funds must be used on the approved marketing plan by 30 November 2013.

For additional details, please visit or call Cunard toll-free at 1-800-528-6273.

Tasmania Continues its Award-winning Streak at the Australian Gourmet Traveller Travel Awards

Tasmania proved its worth at the Australian Gourmet Traveller 2013 Travel Awards, taking home four awards and coming in as a runner-up in one category.

The quietly unassuming state, whose star has been rapidly on the rise in recent years due its vibrant restaurants, intriguing mash-up of old and new, and an energetic arts scene spurred by the arrival of cultural icon MONA, showed why it is now firmly on many travellers' list of must-visit destinations.

Tasmania's capital Hobart beat Melbourne to take home the title of 'Best Weekend Away' (readers' choice). MONA was crowned 'Best Cultural Attraction' (readers' choice) and Standout Australian Travel Experience (expert panel) just prior to the much-anticipated opening of their new exhibition The Red Queen, usurping Australian icon the Sydney Opera House in the process. Luxe jewel, the Islington Hotel, was also named 'Best City Boutique Accommodation' (readers' choice) in recognition of its outstanding elegance and enduring appeal.

  • Best Weekend Away (readers' choice) winner - Hobart
  • Best City Boutique Accommodation (readers' choice) winner - Islington Hotel
  • Best Cultural Attraction (readers' choice) winner and Standout Australian Travel Experience (expert panel) winner - MONA
  • 515555
    Islington Hotel
  • Best Resort or Lodge (readers' choice) runner-up - Saffire Freycinet
As Australian Gourmet Traveller noted, while MONA has "put the Tasmanian capital firmly on the itineraries of art lovers here and beyond", Hobart "is not short of pilgrimage-worthy accommodation, eating and attractions, waiting to be discovered".

Tasmania's cool climate makes it a wonderful place to navigate in winter, whether trekking through Hobart and exploring its many hidden cafes and shops on foot with Gourmania Food Tours, being moved by the stories ready to be uncovered at the recently redeveloped Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, or heading to the subterranean labyrinth that is MONA. At day's end, retreat to the cosy comfort of the Islington Hotel, where log fires beckon in the lavishly furnished drawing rooms and conservatory, and life's pleasures await in the form of a stiff drink or soothing cup of Chado Tea.

Held annually, the respected Australian Gourmet Traveller Travel Awards acknowledge the stand-outs in the travel field, short listing four finalists across 16 categories before opening voting up to readers to determine the winners. The Travel Awards Expert Panel is confined to the judges only, and selects seven winners deemed by them to be Australia's best.

For itineraries that will take visitors to the intriguing places hinted at in Australian Gourmet Traveller, visit

Australian Delegates at Tourism Malaysia Aeromeet 2013

Australian delegates at the Tourism Malaysia Aeromeet 2013 famil, media and trade program receive their certificates of participation from TM Director General, Dato Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, and TM Director Int'l Promotion Division, Datin Normasila Musla.

click images to enlarge

Roderick Eime (Media), Rachel Thien Li Shi (Lacity Travel), Joyce Phan (Media), Robert Leung Wai Kwan (Chung Pak Travel), Max Llewelyn (Media), Marijana Kolar (Phil Hoffman), Peter Terlato (Media), Trinity Hastwell (Hastwell Travel & Cruise), Hayley Ovens (Venture Holidays), Dato Mirza Mohammad Taiyab (TM), Corinne Seth (New Horizon Holidays), Kamarul Omar (Mahsuri Travel), Danielle Hanrahan (Media), His Ching Sun (MyTravelShoppe), Jo Hug (HWT Belmont), Tanya Mabbott (RAC Travel Mandurah), Marie Anne Whyte (Whyte House Travel), Datin Normasila Musla (TM). Photo: Edward Low
The presentation night was held at a beachside function at
The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa
where guests ate on specially made tables in the sand.
Add caption

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Swire Hotels announces The Temple House, a new intriguing urban hotel in Chengdu

Following the successful launch of The Opposite House in Beijing and The Upper House in Hong Kong, Swire Hotels is set to unveil its third House, The Temple House, in Chengdu in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The hotel will be located in the heart of the city, within the Chengdu Daci Temple Cultural and Commercial Complex, a project jointly developed by Sino-Ocean Land and Swire Properties.

Designed by UK-based architects MakeArchitects, the 100-room hotel and its 42 adjoining serviced apartments form an integral part of the city government's conservation project to preserve the surrounding heritage buildings next to the thousand-year-old Daci Temple. The three-dimensional woven façade combines modern design with the traditional Chengdu architectural elements of timber, brick and step stones.  Elegant bamboo trees frame the hotel's entrance, which is set in a beautifully restored hundred-year-old Chinese courtyard building first built in the Qing Dynasty.

Although Chinese Emperors have previously stayed at the Daci Temple, The Temple House evokes the modest houses provided for scholars who came from different parts of the world to study at the Temple. The hotel continues this tradition of humility by creating understated luxury experiences that are founded on a deeply personalised service for every guest.

Brian Williams, Managing Director of Swire Hotels, says 'Our goal is to create a highly individualised hotel which houses a series of dynamic restaurants and uniquely designed facilities.  The Temple House presents an ideal opportunity to extend our brand into one of China's wealthiest and fastest-growing regions.'

For more information, please visit

About Swire Hotels

Swire Hotels has been created to manage intriguing urban hotels in Hong Kong, Mainland China and the United Kingdom, providing a characterful experience for travellers who seek individuality, style and personalised service.

The Opposite House, Beijing, opened in 2008 and was followed by The Upper House, above Pacific Place, Hong Kong, in October 2009.  The Temple House will open in Q4, 2014 in Chengdu.

Swire Hotels opened a 345-room lifestyle business hotel called EAST, Hong Kong in Hong Kong's Island East, on 25 January 2010. EAST, Beijing with 369 rooms, located within INDIGO in Jiangtai, opened in September 2012.

Swire Hotels has launched a new collection of locally inspired and stylish hotels in the heart of great British towns and cities called Chapter Hotels. The first hotel in the collection, The Montpellier Chapter, Cheltenham opened in 2010. The second hotel, The Magdalen Chapter, Exeter opened in June 2012.

About Chengdu Daci Temple Cultural and Commercial Complex

Chengdu Daci Temple Cultural and Commercial Complex is a 250,000 sqm (approx. 2,710,000 sq ft) mixed-use development located in the heart of Jinjiang District, south of Dacisi Road, east of Shamao Street and close to the popular Chunxi Road shopping area.  The project comprises an over 100,000 sqm (over 1,140,000 sq ft) open-plan low-rise retail mall; a 100-room intriguing urban hotel, The Temple House, managed by Swire Hotels; 42 serviced apartments as well as a 47-storey Grade A office tower, Pinnacle One.  The complex will be conveniently accessible from the interchange station of Metro Lines 2 and 3.

Chengdu Daci Temple Cultural and Commercial Complex embraces the historic Daci Temple and takes pride in the reinvigoration of surrounding heritage buildings.  Welcoming lanes, courtyards, plazas with architecture inspired by traditional and modern streets in the east and west make it unique in Chengdu. Chengdu Daci Temple Cultural and Commercial Complex won the Silver Award for Best Urban Regeneration Project in MIPIM Asia Awards 2012.

Scheduled for a phased opening from 2014 onwards, Chengdu Daci Temple Cultural and Commercial Complex is a joint-venture between Swire Properties Limited and Sino-Ocean Land Holdings Limited.

* Gross floor area excludes car park areas

IHG Celebrates Opening of 200th Hotel in Greater China

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the world’s largest hotel groups, today celebrates the unveiling of its 200th hotel in Greater China with the opening of the InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin.

This marks another milestone for IHG, which was the first international company to enter the Chinese hospitality industry almost 30 years ago, and reinforces our leadership in the world’s fastest growing market. The InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin, owned by InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin - Reception BuildingShanghai Donghu Group Corporation, has been a landmark in the city for almost 100 years. Such is the prestige of the hotel that IHG has labelled InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin the first of its heritage hotels in Asia, making it the sixth globally under the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand.

Richard Solomons, Chief Executive of IHG commented: “We were the first international company to enter the Chinese hotel market almost 30 years ago and it is now our second largest market in the world. The opening of our 200th hotel here is testament to how much our brands are loved by owners and guests alike.  Our deep understanding of the underlying needs of local consumers is a strategy which is working and we are extremely positive of our future in China and excited about the opportunity ahead.”

Club_InterContinental_Premier_RoomChen Geng Rong, President, Shanghai Donghu Group Corporation commented:“We are very proud of this historical property and pleased to put it in the hands of IHG, one of the earliest partners in China’s hospitality industry. With IHG’s international hotel management expertise and our local knowledge and resources, I have no doubt of the success of this partnership and that of InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin.”

IHG is the largest international hotel management group in China with 200 hotels opened and another 170 in the development pipeline.  IHG’s footprint has expanded to more than 70 cities, two-thirds of which are in the rapidly emerging tier 2, 3 and 4 cities.

According to the forecasts by the World Tourism Organization, the Chinese hotel room market will overtake that of the US, which is currently the largest in the world, by 2025. By 2039 China’s will be twice the size of the US’s. In light of the rapidly growing market, IHG will continue its commitment to China. 

Over the next 20 years, IHG plans to increase by almost eightfold the number of hotel rooms it has in Greater China, which equates to about 360,000 rooms and an additional 300,000 new jobs.

IHG is a pioneer in the hospitality industry in China and around the world, known for taking the lead in addressing new customer demands. In 2012, IHG launched a pioneering hotel brand designed especially for Chinese consumers, HUALUXETMHotels and Resorts. It concurrently launched the EVEN Hotels in the United States to meet the increasing needs of healthy, lifestyle-conscious travellers.

Discover Tasmania's Dark Side this Winter with Illuminating Cultural Encounters, Fiery Music and Gourmet Temptations

Curious travellers who delve behind Tasmania's scenery this winter will discover there's plenty to be found. The team from MONA are at it again, this time with Dark Mofo - a celebration of the usual MONA obsessions of darkness and light, birth and death, fire and ice and the old and new with large-scale public art, music and winter solstice feasting.

Also new from MONA is the museum's latest exhibition, The Red Queen, exploring how humans adapt and evolve - through art, of course. A blazing bonfire and soul-stirring music await attendees of the Festival of Voices, while Tastings at the Top, the Chocolate Winterfest and the Pinot and Truffle Weekend will show visitors just how delicious Tassie in winter can be.

*NEW* DARK MOFO, 13 - 23 JUNE 2013
One of the most anticipated additions to Tasmania's winter events calendar is Dark Mofo, the darker sister to MONA's summer MONA FOMA event. Dark Mofos can expect 10 days of art, music and noise, a journey into mythologies both ancient and new, themes of birth and death - and because it's winter - fire and ice, darkness and light. Dark Mofo is host to MONA's first large scale public art program, 'Beam In Thine Own Eye' featuring open-air, large-scale art projects, interactive performances, sculptures and projections in and around Hobart. In another first, Dark Mofo Films, MONA's first curated film program will bring a Scandinavian crime wave to the State Cinema in Hobart. In a turn towards the twisted, guilty terror of Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, the feature films are intense, violent, brutal and painful. The Hobart City Council Dark Mofo Winter Feast will enliven the Hobart waterfront with food, fire and dance while headline acts including the legendary Martha Wainwright and electronic duo, The Presets, will beckon Mofos from near and far.

What: An inaugural winter celebration from the creators of popular summer festival, MONA FOMA.
When: 13 - 23 June 2013
Where: MONA and venues throughout Hobart's city and waterfront precinct
How: For bookings and more information visit

*NEW* THE RED QUEEN, 20  JUNE 2013 - 21 APRIL 2014
MONA's next major exhibition The Red Queen explores the way art operates as part of the messy machinery of human nature and questions why humans make art. Is it integral to human evolution? In evolutionary biology, The Red Queen Hypothesis proposes that organisms must constantly adapt and evolve - not merely to gain a reproductive advantage, but simply to survive. To beat the odds of extinction, there must be an art to staying in the race. The exhibition's title is taken from the Red Queen's race in Lewis Carroll's 515189Through the Looking Glass, which involves the Red Queen and Alice constantly running, yet remaining in the same place. More than 100 works - special commissions, national and international loans along with works from the MONA collection - will lead visitors on a playful and curious journey.

What: MONA's next major exhibition which questions why humans make art
When: 20 June 2013 - 21 April 2014
Where: Museum of Old and New Art, 655 Main Road, Berriedale, Hobart, Tasmania
How: For more information visit

Now in its 19th year, Tastings at the Top, renowned as one of the country's best food and wine experiences, takes gourmet dining to new heights at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. From degustation dinners, cooking demonstrations and fresh produce markets to wine and cheese tastings and decadent spa treatments at the famous Waldheim Alpine Spa, Tastings at the Top encompasses the very best Tasmania has to offer. The event will be hosted by Peter Bourne ('The Wine Man') who has an intimate knowledge of Tasmanian produce. A special 'Tastings at the Top' package includes three nights' accommodation at Cradle Mountain Lodge; a hearty full lodge breakfast each morning; selected lunches; dinner each night including a five-course dinner on Saturday and a gala dinner with entertainment on the last night; entry to all Tastings at the Top events; and sampling of a wide variety of local fare at the Marketplace, a gathering of local gourmet producers. The package costs $1695 per person twin share and is subject to availability.

What: A three-day celebration of Tasmanian food, wine and indulgence
When: 22 - 24 June 2013
Where: Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, 4038 Cradle Mountain Road, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
How: For information and bookings phone 1300 806 192 or visit

Hobart will light up this winter with the illuminating Festival of Voices; Tasmania's landmark winter cultural event and Australia's premier celebration of the human voice. In 2013, the Festival will deliver a smorgasbord of over 70 performances and workshops, including celebrity and local singers, choirs, cabaret artists, actors, vocal teachers, speakers and thinkers. The star-studded 2013 line-up features international and national award winning artists including multi-Grammy winning American vocal group Take 6, award winning Australian singer-songwriter Kate CeberanoPaul McDermott with his new show, Paul SingsChristine Anu performing her soulful interpretations of Aretha Franklin's most memorable songs, Darren Percival fresh from his astounding appearances on The VoiceTom Thum; compulsive noise-maker and one of Australia's most prominent and respected beatboxers, Asta; Triple J's Unearthed High 2012 Winner, Ali McGregor; direct from her smash hit season in Edinburgh, Monica Trapaga; one of Australia's most loved jazz and swing entertainers and Spanky; recent winner of the 2013 Melbourne Green Room Award for best Cabaret Artist. The Festival kicks off with First Light; a spectacular opening bonfire event featuring Christine Anu and a choir of 300 children singing My Island Home. Voicebox: a cabaret style series of world class performances and Festival favourite is back, bigger, brighter, slicker and sexier than ever and the 2013 closing night event, Kringle - Winter Wonderland will see North Hobart transformed into a wonderland of Christmas decorations, carols and eggnog. Starting at dusk, Kringlewill meld all things Christmas, food, joy, decorations, family and, of course, singing.

What: A festival of heart-warming song in Hobart
When: 5 - 14 July 2013
Where: Venues across Hobart, Tasmania
How: For more information visit

Each year chocoholics flock to this wickedly delicious event. The Chocolate Winterfest is devoted to all things chocolate, and the quirky festival is sure to treat, inform, astound and amuse visitors. All ages can enjoy this day of indulgence and participate in eating, sculpting, decorating, drinking and celebrating the delicious wonders of chocolate.

What: A celebration of all things chocolate
When: 7 July 2013 from 10.30am - 4pm
Where: Latrobe, Tasmania (an easy 10 minute drive from the Spirit of Tasmania ferry terminal in East Devonport)
How: Chocolate Winterfest is a free event. For more information phone 03 6421 4650 or visit

Tasmania's European-esque cool climate lends itself well to the cultivation of truffles, and each July, the excellent crop is celebrated with a month-long Tasmanian Truffle Festival filled with events, master classes and truffle experiences in Launceston. The highlight of this is the closing weekend on July 27 & 28, where truffle aficionados gather for a decadent finale comprising Tasmanian Pinot Noir tastings at The Pinot Shop and a Truffle Degustation Dinner at Tasmanian institution, Stillwater Restaurant.

What: A month long of truffle events culminating in a pinot & truffle weekend
When: July (the Pinot & Truffle Weekend falls on 27 - 28 July)
Where: Tasmania's truffle capital, Launceston
How: For more information on the festival, visit More information on the Pinot & Truffle weekend can be found at

Tasmania will be bringing its award-winning, cool climate wines to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne this July and August, in a multi-day, multi-state affair including wine tastings, master classes and wine matching dinners. The event is Australia's largest showcase of Tasmanian wine and produce, featuring over 150 of the island's wines (many of which are rarely seen outside Tasmania), and the winemakers, vignerons and vineyards behind the labels. The fine wine will be accompanied by some of Tassie's top producers in the areas of cheese, seafood and cider, ensuring a truly Tassie affair. Melburnians and Sydneysiders attending Tasmania Unbottled will also be treated to a wine and seafood masterclass 'Maritime Influence' featuring Petuna Seafoods.

What: Tasmania brings its largest collection of wines to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne
When: Tuesday 30 July (SYDNEY), public tastings from 5.30pm to 8.30pm, including Masterclass
Thursday 1 August (BRISBANE), public tastings from 5.00pm to 8.00pm, no Masterclass
Monday 5 August (MELBOURNE), public tastings from 5.30pm to 8.30pm, including Masterclass
WHERE: (SYDNEY) Dockside at Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour
(BRISBANE) Emporium Hotel, Fortitude Valley
(MELBOURNE) Zinc at Federation Square, Melbourne

closer to the date
For a full and up-to-date listing of Tasmanian events, information on Tasmania, and to discover the intriguing places, people and stories behind Tassie's scenery, visit

Travel to Tasmania
Travellers can fly to Tasmania on Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Qantas, Qantaslink, Tiger Airways, Sharp Airlines or Rex Airlines, or take the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Port Melbourne (VIC) to Devonport (TAS).

From Red Dirt to Red Wine, Geldof Experiences the Extraordinary Contrasts of Western Australia

Global Philanthropist and music legend Sir Bob Geldof made a whirlwind tour of Western Australia's beautiful Kimberley and Margaret River regions this week.

After quietly slipping into the East Kimberley town of Kununurra on Saturday afternoon (25 May), Sir Bob did a quick town tour - before surprising guests at the Airnorth Kimberley Moon Experience concert - a 
community celebration and black tie gala set on the banks of the Ord River.

As the pinnacle event of the 10-day Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster, the concert featured an impressive musical line-up including Guy Sebastian, Mark Seymour, James Reyne and indigenous performer, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.

Keen to see the Bungle Bungle Range in the World Heritage listed Purnululu National Park, Sir Bob also took an early morning helicopter flight the next day over the spectacular beehive like formations, which are more than 350 million years in the making.

"I absolutely love it here," said Sir Bob. "It's such a beautiful country and I got fed up not knowing this part of Western Australia," he explained.

Next stop was a day trip to the Margaret River wine region in WA's south west. Sir Bob's visit included lunch and a wine tour at Leeuwin515533 Estate where he dined on fresh regional produce and sampled wines the region is best known for, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Following lunch, he explored more of the region including its forests and beaches before returning to Perth.

"It really is so beautiful here and definitely up there with one of the best wine regions I've visited in the world. I hope I can get back here for an extended stay on my next visit to Western Australia," said Geldof.

Tourism Western Australia CEO Stephanie Buckland said having an opportunity to showcase Western Australia to music legend Sir Bob Geldof had the potential to boost the profile of the State internationally.

"While Mr Geldof's visit to Western Australia was only very brief, we were delighted to be able to showcase two contrasting regions - the ruggedly beautiful Kimberley in the State's North West and the stunning beaches, tall-timber forests and premium wine of Margaret River in the South West," she said.
"It is also fantastic to see that Western Australia's natural beauty has attracted other very high-profile visitors in recent years.

"Just last month Ewan McGregor was a guest at the El Questro Homestead - singing the praises of the Kimberley region via his social network channels, which was invaluable word of mouth exposure for Western Australia."

Las Vegas Sands plans massive Madrid casino project


Las Vegas Casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corp. has chosen Madrid for a multi-billion dollar gambling resort project which has been dubbed “EuroVegas” and will be Europe’s biggest casino and conference centre.

The latest plans for this exciting project were revealed by the company’s chairman and chief executive officer Sheldon Adelson at the Jerusalem International Tourism Summit.

The 79 year old entrepreneur, philanthropist and businessman, whose career spans six decades, was honoured for his tremendous contributions in the travel and tourism industry earlier today at the Summit.

Widely credited for transforming Vegas from a gamingcentric regional location into the leading convention and exhibition city in the United States, the tycoon now has his sights set on Madrid .

He revealed to delegates at the Jerusalem forum that his vision is to make Madrid “the convention centre of the world”.

Having secured the £8.3bn financing needed for EuroVegas, Adelson, has earmarked 12 3,000 room properties with 2,400 meeting facilities, set to transform the three square mile site.

The first stage of the project – which includes four separate “resorts” with casino facilities attached – is expected to open in 2017.

The final result will be a 72-storey hotel building including six casinos, a convention centre, three golf courses, theatres, shopping malls, bars and restaurants.

A total of 240,000 direct and indirect jobs are expected to be created from the project, according to reports.

Adelson also has his sights set on major Integrated Resort projects in South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. is now the world’s largest casino corporation, posting profits of $1.27 billion in 2011.

It owns the Venetian and Palazzo resort casinos on the Las Vegas Strip and the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

The Venetian was named North America’s Leading Casino Resort by the World Travel Awards in 2010, meanwhile Las Vegas Sands Corp was named World’s Leading Integrated Resort Company by the Word Travel Awards in 2012.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TravelManagers Australasian Dominance for Industry Awards

TravelManagers Australasian dominance continues to grow with the announcement of House of Travel and Orbit Corporate Travel as finalists in all four of the categories in the New Zealand section of the 2013 National Travel Industry Awards.

TravelManagers’ General Manager Michael Gazal says, “We are extremely excited to see our New Zealand counterparts being recognised in this way, further supporting TravelManagers position as being the leading Australasian mobile travel consultant host agency with more than 1,200 personal travel managers and retail and corporate consultants across both countries.”

Michael Gazal – General Manager, TravelManagers Australia
Michael Gazal – General Manager, TravelManagers Australia
“Through our combined partnership with the House of Travel Group in New Zealand, TravelManagers has an enviable distribution network throughout Australasia resulting in substantial buying power and competitive advantage. Combined with exceptional, strong and effective regional relationships with our key airline, cruise and international tour operators is it no surprise that our combined sales volumes are close to AU$1 billion.”

TravelManagers and the House of Travel Group share similar cultural philosophies where the owner operator is supported by a Holdings Office in New Zealand whilst the personal travel manager concept in Australia is supported across each state by a business partnership manager as well as a National Partnership Office in Sydney, allowing 24 hour access to all infrastructure.

Gazal says “This type of behind the scenes support is crucial enabling our personal travel managers to focus on client relationships and providing exceptional customer service TravelManagers is renowned for.”

Fellow finalist in the Best Travel Consultant – Corporate category Ric Pattaro, personal travel manager from Sydney further echoes this sentiment.

“My most satisfying moment has been seeing how successful I have become working as an independent personal travel manager. I’ve always held senior positions within large travel organisations and four years ago I started on my own, initially with no client base. Today, I sit as one of TravelManagers top 10 personal travel managers and would not have been able to achieve this without the efficient and smart back end business support from the National Partnership Office. The team are savvy, upfront and forward thinking and the technology makes it so easy for me to get on with selling travel,” says Pattaro.

For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.

International Cave Festival 2013 at Pangkajene, South Sulawesi

From 4th to 6th October 2013, the magnificent Karst caves of Maros Pangkep, in the Pangkajene Regency of South Sulawesi will be the site of an international scale spelunking event: The International Cave Festival 2013.

Pangkep's karst are the presence of the pre-historic caves
Marking the first ever international event ever to be staged in the regency of Pangkajene, the International Cave Festival (ICF) 2013 is presented by the Office of Tourism and Culture of Pangkajene Regency and supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. Aside from being an arena dedicated for caving enthusiasts from all over the world, the event also aims to introduce Pangkejene Regency and South Sulawesi Province in general, as an alluring destination.

Located within the Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park, the Maros Pangkep Karst area is known as the second largest and most beautiful Karst area in the world, outranked only by that in southern China. Unlike most Karst areas which are generally dominated by Conical Hills (coned shaped), in Maros Pangkep the Karsts are mostly in the unique forms of Karst Towers. Some of these towers form a range of rocky hills that offer challenging cliffs and fascinating caves.

International Cave Festival 2013

Within the Maros Pangkep Karst area there are at least 268 caves with fascinating stalactites and stalagmites. Some of these dating back to prehistoric times and became the habitat of rare and endangered fauna. The deepest cave in Indonesia can also be found here with adepth of 260 meters, while the longest cave is also estimated to be found in the Salukkan Kallang system which is aproximately 27Km.

Maros Pangkep Karst in Pangkajene Regency is approximately 2 hours drive from Makassar,  capital of South Sulawesi Province. The festival itself will be centered at the Belae Village, Pangkajene Sub-district, in the regency of Pangkajene.

More information available at:

Inaugural Macau Grand Prix Trophy Stars At Sydney Exhibition

The decision by the Macau Government Tourist Office Australia to host an exhibition to commemorate the upcoming 60th Macau Grand Prix proved a big winner – in more ways than one.

Not only did the event – Macau Grand Prix: 60 Years of Motorsport History – attract many past drivers, some winners to the Sydney Town Hall venue over the four days.

IMG_9802Making a special appearance was the inaugural 1954 trophy claimed by Eduardo de Carvalho who, along with his family, emigrated from Macau to Australia in 1965.

Now a family heirloom, the giant silver trophy was unwrapped for all to marvel when members of the de Carvalho made a special call on the final day.

And there to join the extended family was legendary Australian driver Brian Lewis who raced for Eduardo de Carvalho’s team in Macau in the 1960s.

“It was a real pleasure to catch up with the family,” said Brian who after hearing of their intended Sunday visit decided to make a second call on the exhibition,” he said. “We must make sure that the next time we gather it should be in Macau for the Diamond Jubilee event in November,” he said.

IMG_9835 - Inaugural Macau GP Trophy - 1954
Six decades of action packed motor racing was on show at the free exhibition from May 23-26, which focused on the upcoming 2013 two-weekend carnival. The Lower Exhibition Hall at Sydney Town Hall was decorated with a series of historic photographs, fascinating posters from bygone days, old newspaper clippings, along with video coverage of Macau Grand Prix meetings.

To add a splash of colour to the event, three Australian-based racing cars of different vintages took pride of place:

They were: Elfin 600 F2 which came a controversial second in the 1968 race with Hengkie Iriawan behind the wheel (the car also took part in the Macau GP in 1970 and 1971 but failed to finish with Australian Tony Maw behind the wheel); A 1973 Cheetah (Formula 3) built for Australian racing with intentions of going to Macau; Late model F3 car still competing in Australia for NSW title holders AGI racing team
In Sydney to launch the 60th Macau Grand exhibition at an invitation-only presentation were Australian motor racing legends and Macau Grand Prix winners Kevin Bartlett and Vern Schuppan along with a sprightly Fernanda Ribeiro, who took out the first Macau Ladies Race in 1956.

“My recollections of Macau in the sixties are among my most treasured and favourite parts of my racing career,” said Bartlett. “Up until that time my travel had been confined to the Southern Hemisphere and to arrive on a local liner (the Fat San) into a different way of doing things,” he said.

ecruising Wins Awards from RCCL

ECRUISING group of companies, including CruiseAgents and, have received a number of accolades from Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines for outstanding sales performances across the company's cruise lines and are now included in the top four Australian producers for Azamara Club Cruises. collected platinum, silver and bronze awards for top sales performances for Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean and set a record for the biggest single booking month by any agent or consortium with more than 450 passengers booked on Celebrity Cruises in a single month.

Ecruising founder and chairman Brett Dudley credited the company's recent success to its new management team. Dudley said “April was our biggest month ever and I wasn’t even in the country, it goes to show our new team and focus is netting great results, I’m very proud of them” accepted the award from Mr Tony Soden, key account manager at Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Australia, pictured here with marketing coordinator Ms Bertha Harvey and general manager Ms Aurora Walker ( L-R).

New look for Pullman Hotels. Accor repositions for 'bleisure' traveller

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Scarlett Terrace, Pullman G Bangkok
"Work hard, play hard" hotels for the new 'bleisure' traveller

Accor has  unveiled new positioning for its upscale Pullman brand as the network undergoes accelerated expansion. With a new logo, an active commitment to design and art, and improved technology, Pullman's new attitude is summarised by the term 'bleisure', a contraction of the words business and leisure.

As part of its expansion in the upscale sector, Accor has reimagined its Pullman brand to target today's more cosmopolitan, hyper-connected and mobile traveller, for whom the lines between work and private life have become increasingly blurred.

Yann Caillère, CEO of Accor says, "Upscale and luxury segments are a key element of Accor's strategy. Sofitel's successful repositioning has given us strong credibility with our customers and investors in these markets. In 2007, we reestablished Pullman. Now, we have overhauled its identity and service offer and made it a unique brand in a highly competitive segment."

Accelerating the expansion and transformation of the Pullman portfolio in 2012 - 2013

Having grown to 79 hotels across 23 countries in just five years, the Pullman network is on track to expand to at least 150 hotels by 2020, with a long-term goal of 500 hotels. Half of the brand's network is currently located in Asia Pacific, including 15 hotels in China, the country with the largest Pullman presence. The brand is also present across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

With nearly 20 new hotels added in 2012 alone, notably in large capitals including London, Bangkok, New Delhi and Sydney, the network will open at least one hotel per month in 2013, including the inauguration of prestigious addresses in Phuket, Dubai, Melbourne and Hanoi.

In Australia, there are 11 Pullman hotels across 8 locations including Brisbane, Cairns (2 hotels), Palm Cove, Port Douglas, Melbourne, Margaret River, Sydney (3 hotels) and Uluru. New Zealand has one Pullman property in Auckland.

In June, Pullman will opens its 80th hotel in Brussels, which will be the brand's 24th country. Pullman will also implement an unprecedented project in Paris with the renovation of all five properties currently underway and due for completion in April 2014 with the signature renovation of the Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel.

Pullman: a response to the expectations of the "new generation" of seasoned travellers

The new generation of travellers has increasingly blurred the lines between work and private life, so the need to 'stay connected' is stronger than ever. Connectivity by Pullman is designed to offer guests a high-speed digital experience from the boardroom to the pool deck, with free high-speed Wi-Fi, a unified entertainment device and the latest technology in partnership with Microsoft and Samsung.

Pullman reinvents its services and brand identity

The name Pullman itself evokes the concept of travel and comfort thanks to the original Pullman carriages which revolutionised luxury rail travel in the 1880s. The brand's new positioning has been redefined in order to preserve but modernise these notions.

=Style, contemporary art and design are at the core of Pullman's new identity

Pullman has worked with famous designers to create iconic objects that link its hotels around the world. Christophe Pillet has reinterpreted the guest welcome by creating a reception table with an easily identifiable design and an armchair inspired by train carriage seats, echoing Pullman's railroad origins.

Mathieu Lehanneur has designed a globe for the lobby that symbolises the brand's cosmopolitan nature. He has also created a range of items for meetings to reflect the "Work hard, Play hard" ethos with a meeting table designed like a poker table, a private area for informal exchanges or breaks, and a cabinet of curiosities, reinventing hotel codes to stimulate creativity.

Pullman is also starting a collection of contemporary art, initially in Paris, London and Brussels, to symbolise the multiculturalism that is at the core of Pullman's DNA. Contemporary art will be displayed in the hotels in permanent or temporary exhibitions, through partnerships with local or international artists, etc.

Fashion designer Martine Sitbon has created a collection of uniforms for the Pullman teams to reflect the brand's professionalism with style.

In each of its establishments, the brand has also worked with international interior designers including Didier Rey, Jean-Philippe Nuel, Marcello Julia, Harald Klein, Didier Gomez, Isabelle Miaja, etc to create a bold designer space for today's guest.

=A reinvented food & beverage offer

With CuisinMotion by Pullman, the brand designs a resolutely modern approach, offering round-the-clock food with signature services: "Tapastry by Pullman" for friendly after-work gatherings; "Vinoteca by Pullman" and "Tea Deli by Pullman" which give guests a taste of flavors from around the world, and "Open Kitchen" which turns cooking into a show. Pullman restaurants and bars are designed to foster interaction and discovery.

="Design your journey"

To illustrate its new positioning, Pullman has worked with DDB on a new advertising campaign that highlights its new mindset. Shoots were carried out by British photographer Nick Meek and a new advertising campaign: "Design Your Journey" will be launched in 2013-2014.

In addition, Pullman has revamped its logo by adding a symbol inspired by the yin and the yang to express the dual "Bleisure" aspect of the Pullman experience. The spirit of Pullman is also reflected in the newly launched "The Pullman Magazine" which focuses on travel, design, and ideas to share the passion of discovery with its guests.

For more information on the Pullman's new look go to

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Seychelles Ministers meet with Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and the Emirates Delegation

Ministers Pierre Laporte (Finance, Trade & Investment), Rolph Payet (Environment & Energy), Alain St.Ange (Tourism & Culture) and Christian Lionnet (Land Use & Habitat) met this morning with Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and CEO of Emirates.

Airline and Group & Vice President of Dubai and his Emirates Delegation Mr Timothy Clark the President of Emirates and Mr Marc Bennett, the Divisional SVP, Leisure Division of Emirates.

Meeting with Emirates DelegationSheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and his delegation are in Seychelles on a working visit to discuss the Emirates Hotel project at Cap Ternay.

Emirates had presented a hotel project in 2006 which consisted of a 453 hotel rooms and villas, a marina and a number of water bungalows. 

Despite experiencing delays, they communicated their desire to play a long term part in the tourism development of Seychelles and to continue the project.

Following discussions with the Government which took place in the last few weeks, Emirates agreed to reduce the hotel size and to remove the plans for water bungalows.

Today's meeting saw Emirates present their scaled down resort which now has a maximum of 183 rooms for the Cap Ternay property. The four Seychellois Ministers presented their respective Ministry's guidelines to ensure the sustainable development of the property, in line with environmental and land use policy.

The new concept will be submitted to Cabinet, and if approved it will need the approval of all the agencies concerned and other due processes including Environmental Impact Assessment

Mauritius - The Right Choice for Each and Every Taste

Mauritius – the perfect setting for an unforgettable holiday: Palm-lined, fine beaches are surrounded by glittering, turquoise, crystal clear water protected by a coral reef barrier.

Both water sport lovers and sunbathers will find what they are looking for in Mauritius. Snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing, surfing, water skiing, fishing and underwater walking – with numerous water sport activities visitors of Mauritius are spoilt for choice.

But there is also a lot to do in the inland: apart from tennis, horse riding and hiking there is a big choice of activities for sportspersons downloadas well including trekking, mountain biking and canoeing. Another popular activity to enjoy in Mauritius is golf. Mauritius was the third country where golf was played after the UK and India and most of the golf courses in Mauritius are spectacular with views of the sea in the background. Mauritius Gymkhana Golf Club, is the oldest golf club in the Southern Hemisphere, and the fourth oldest golf course in the world. The island hosts eight 18-holes golf courses and three 9-holes golf courses, each of them providing a unique golfing experience to the visitor. Some of these golf courses have been designed by prestigious players such as Bernhard Langer, Ernie Els, Rodney Wright…After a day of golfing there are the culinary highlights of the club restaurants and Mauritian resorts to look forward to.

Mauritian cuisine is as diversified as its population made up of Hindus, Creoles, Chinese, Muslims and Christians. The Mauritian melting pot is often seen as a perfect example of peaceful cohabitation of different cultures. Inhabitants are friendly and helpful – a positive surprise for visitors every time when visiting the island. There are a number of cultural and scenic attractions to discover such as colonial houses, the National Park covering an area of more than 6.500 hectares, botanical gardens, impressive waterfalls and romantic villages. A shopping tour through Port Louis completes the diversified programme in a perfect way through a walk over the download (1)Central Market – a very typical market that is enjoyed by tourists because of its uniqueness, its offer of handcrafted products, Mauritian spices and a range of different types of exotic fruits and sugar. (Sugar cane is one of the most important products of the island).

Port Louis: Where Colonial meets Modern
The capital Port Louis, founded in 1735, is the economic and cultural centre of the island. Nestling between bays and mountains, the city offers a vivid mix of ancient colonial buildings, modern office blocks, luxurious boutiques and multicultural tribes. Shopping lovers will enjoy the Caudan waterfront, a modern shopping and entertainment centre which, apart from boutiques, hotels, restaurants, cinemas and a casino, also shelters the Blue Penny Museum.

The North of Mauritius, the Tourist Mecca
The tourist hub of Mauritius can be found in the North of the island all around the „Grand Baie“. Those who do not want to miss out on some hype and nightlife after all the time spent at the beach, should look for a resort to stay in this area. The bay is also the departure starting point of a lot of boat tours and excursions to uninhabited offshore islands. The Botanical Garden of Pamplemousse near Grand Baie is known as one of the world’s richest garden in species. The giant water lilies and the extraordinary variety of palms are of particular interest.

 The East of Mauritus, Remote Beaches and Natural Richness
In the East of the island holiday makers will find beautiful untouched nature. The forest hillsides of the Domaine du Chasseur offer shelter to deer as well as monkeys and rare birds. “Ile aux Cerfs” is commonly referred to as a paradise for water sport and is famous for its stunning beaches and its great golf facilities.

The South of Mauritius, a National Park and Rough Seadownload (2)
The best way to get to know the impressive natural sceneries of the National Park Black River Gorges is through one of the different walking tours. The National Park has been nature reserve since 1994. Unique in this world is the seven colored earth „Chamarel“ that shines resplendent in different shades of blue, green, red and yellow. In Bois Cheri visitors can discover the traditional Mauritius when visiting the tea factory and the museum which is part of the factory.

The West of the Island – where Dolphins are Home
The beaches of Flic en Flac at the West coast are the longest of the island and dolphin friends will be excited to know that this is the where the see dwellers love to linger. The Casela Yemen Nature Park is best to be explored by Squad bike, a safari or an extensive walk where you can see exotic animals such as deer, boars, monkeys or lions.

The fascinating diversity and the thrilling beauty of Mauritius make a stay on the island an unforgettable experience and awaken desire to come back to the island again and again.

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places