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Friday, November 28, 2014

Tourism Australia’s UK winners make Australia’s Nature Coast number one choice

When UK residents Tandy Sprake and Andrew Reeves won a trip to Australia as part of Tourism Australia’s Restaurant Australia promotion, the first-time overseas travellers opted for Australia’s Nature Coast as their first primary holiday choice.

Blue Dolphin

Hailing from Portsmouth, the pair could select an itinerary from any state in Australia and chose Queensland, combining the natural experiences of Australia’s Nature Coast and the Great Barrier Reef.
Andrew said it was all very exciting, as the couple hadn’t even gone to Europe, let alone considered a long-haul destination like Australia..

“At first we thought it was a joke and it is still sinking in,” said Tandy Sprake. “We chose the Australia’s Nature Coast itinerary as it offered a good mix of nature, food and experiences. The highlight has been swimming in the rainforest on the Sunshine Coast and the beauty and wildlife of Fraser Island.”

CEO of Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd (SCDL), Simon Ambrose, said working with Tourism Australia and Tourism and Events Queensland on initiatives such as the Restaurant Australia promotion was essential to getting the word out about Australia’s Nature Coast to UK visitors.

“Australia’s Nature Coast brings together the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast to better promote what is one of Australia’s most attractive and outstanding coastline destinations. International visitors don’t think along council lines, they think in terms of destinations, and we believe that we can be far more effective in attracting new international visitors if we join forces to promote the wider destination.”

Off Beat Eco Tours

The Australian holiday prize included return business class flights, attendance at the VIP Restaurant Australia dinner at MONA in Tasmania and eight nights in Queensland including accommodation, money can’t buy experiences, attraction passes and meals.

This launch follows the tourism trade launch of ANC in the UK this year. To the year ending June 2014, the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast attracted 78,249 visitors from the UK.

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Sydney Olympic Park Hosts Successful World Parks Congress

Sydney Olympic Park last week showcased its extensive sustainability credentials and successfully hosted more than 6,000 parks specialists from around the world for the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) World Parks Congress 2014.
Opening of the World Parks Congress 2014 at Sydney Olympic Park on Wednesday 12/11/2014. Photographs by Rick Stevens for SOPA/20141112
Opening of the World Parks Congress 2014 at Sydney Olympic Park on Wednesday 12/11/2014.
Photographs by Rick Stevens for SOPA/20141112
The international forum on environmental conversation saw delegates from 170 countries, including five Heads of State and one Vice President, converge on Sydney Olympic Park’s 430 hectares of parklands in the once-every-ten-year gathering to share knowledge and set the agenda for conserving the world's natural heritage.

The main collective outcome of the Congress is referred to as the Promise of Sydney – a four pillared approach, including a vision, approach, solutions and promises, to solve some of the world’s most elusive sustainability challenges and create a promising future for generations to come.

“Since undergoing its land regeneration project from a former brickworks, abattoir and rubbish dump to prepare for the ‘Green Games’ in 2000, Sydney Olympic Park has remained committed to a sustainable approach. Today, Sydney Olympic Park is home to 400 native plants, 200 native animal species and a range of alternative energy generation, waste and water recycling and sustainability solutions,” said Alan Marsh, CEO Sydney Olympic Park Authority.

During the Congress, delegates had the opportunity to attend free walking technical tours around the Sydney Olympic Park precinct. The tours showcased the diverse parkland areas with a focus on Wetland Restoration, Birdwatching and Restoration Ecology.

  • More than 6000 participants
  • Five heads of state, one Vice President
  • 170 countries
  • 15 international environment ministers
  • 7 heads of United Nations organisations
  • 6 Australian ministers and Senators
  • 320 delegates registered to participate in Sydney Olympic Park specialist delegate excursions / technical tours.
  • Total of 2670 room nights at Accor hotels at Sydney Olympic Park
  • An estimated $34.2m of economic activity injected into NSW
The IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 took place at Sydney Olympic Park from 12 to 19 November.
Opening of the World Parks Congress 2014 at Sydney Olympic Park on Wednesday 12/11/2014. Photographs by Rick Stevens for SOPA/20141112
Opening of the World Parks Congress 2014 at Sydney Olympic Park on Wednesday 12/11/2014.
Photographs by Rick Stevens for SOPA/20141112
For more information on about Sydney Olympic Park parklands visit

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Naumi Hospitality Acquires Hotel in New Zealand and Launches Its Namesake Brand Beyond Singapore for the First Time

Naumi Hospitality announced today, through its Singapore headquarters that it has entered into an agreement to acquire and assume management of Hotel Grand Chancellor Auckland Airport.

The 193-room property located in Auckland Airport Precinct will be operated under its award-winning Naumi brand and is slated to open in the fourth quarter of 2015. The acquisition of this two-hectare property marks the group's first foray into New Zealand, making it its first property with major meeting facilities that can accommodate MICE groups for up to 200 persons.

The yet-to-be-named hotel will be closed for an extensive renovation to be retrofitted into a contemporary and modern development much akin to its unique hotel concepts in Singapore. Room sizes start from 27 square metres and all guestrooms come attached with a balcony, while those on the first floor open up into the gardens. The rooms, public and F&B spaces will be extensively stripped and retrofitted with a new interior design and is slated to be opened in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Naumi Hotel - Facade Day
“This is a very exciting project for us. It will allow us to develop the boutique Naumi brand into a full-fledge millennial hospitality brand with different product concepts,” says Mr Gaurang Jhunjhnuwala, Director at Naumi Hospitality. “With two award-winning hotels, Naumi Hotel and Naumi Liora in Singapore, this acquisition will be a big step forward and a testament to our group's drive towards the growth of Naumi Hospitality into leading markets.”

Located in the North Island of New Zealand, Auckland is the city with the largest and most populous urban area in the country. Voted “Top 10 Cities In The World” by Lonely Planet in its 2014 Best In Travel Awards, it is also the world's largest Polynesian city and a melting pot of cultures with a mix of European descendants, Maoris, Pacific Island descendants and a growing Asian population*.

Hotel guests can expect the same design ethos which Naumi has become known for and look forward to experience our famed Naumi-Centric service philosophy - meticulous yet unobtrusive with an exuberant passion to please, through our dedicated team members.

Naumi Hospitality is a part of The Hind Group, who also owns and operates Rang Mahal Restaurants in Singapore, and Ovolo Hotels in Hong Kong and Australia.


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Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt Set to Launch a World-First Format of Tennis in Sydney: Fast4

In Sydney and in a world-first, Tennis Australia will launch a new format of tennis featuring Swiss maestro Roger 
Federer and Aussie star Lleyton Hewitt.

OnMonday 12 January, Federer will entertain tennis lovers at an exclusive exhibition match against his friend and on-court rival Hewitt, at Qantas Credit Union Arena playing a world-first format of tennis known as Fast4.
Federer and Hewitt will face off in a best-of-five sets match in this world premier event that will be played in support of the Australian Tennis Foundation.

“I can't wait to come to the beautiful city of Sydney for this very special match against my old friend and rival, Lleyton Hewitt,” Federer said. “We've had some amazing battles over the years and I think we still bring out the best in each other every time we play.”

Fast4 is a revolutionary, fun, shortened format of tennis with four points, four games and four rules. Designed to appeal to even the most time-pressed players, this fresh and funky new game changer will be launched exclusively on Sydney Harbour followed by matches at Qantas Credit Union Arena (formerly known as Sydney Entertainment Centre).

Named Fast4, there are four rules:
  1. The First to four games wins
  2. No lets
  3. Tiebreaker at three games all – first to five points
  4. No ad (advantage) scoring
"I'm looking forward to help launch this new fast format of tennis, especially in Sydney,” Lleyton Hewitt said. “I love the city and it's been a while since I've played here, so it will be great to do so in January.”

One night with Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt will also feature an entertaining Legends doubles match between Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, 'the magician' Fabrice Santoro and the hilarious pair of Henri Leconte, andMansour Bahrami. All four, along with John McEnroe and Pat Rafter, will also be in action in the Legends event at the Apia International Sydney 2015, being played at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre from 11-17 January.

Top five tennis courts in Sydney
For those who want to test out this new format of tennis ahead of the official launch, here are five of the best tennis courts in Sydney.

1. Best for a rooftop rally
Have a hit atop the All Sorts Fitness & Wellbeing Centre in Alexandria at their rooftop court. The elevated location offers you privacy for you to focus on your game.
2. Best for a post-match coffee and stroll
Hidden away in Woollahra is Cooper Park, home to eight tennis courts amongst 12 hectares of urban bushland and parkland. There is also a junior oval, children's playground, walking tracks and a cafĂ© close by.
3. Best for a range of tennis surfaces
Whether you're after the grip of a clay court or the soft slide of grass, White Cityhas plenty of options for all players. Home to seven real grass, six astro-turf and one artificial clay court, there is a surface for every style.
4. Best for a swing and a drink
Once you've called “game, set and match” at Marrickville Tennis Club, in Sydney's inner west, reward yourself with an icy cold drink and great meal that won't break the bank.
5. Best for history and heritage
Open since 1982, Neutral Bay Club is Sydney's oldest and longest-running tennis club. Recently renovated it has a deck overlooking the synthetic grass courts and great pub meals.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

“I Hate Thailand” is TAT’s latest viral sensation depicting renowned Thai hospitality

The Toi-hate-Thailandurism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce the tremendous success of its first “unbranding” viral video marketing, which has attracted over one million views within three days after it was released via YouTube on 18 November.

Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, the Governor of TAT said, “There’s been much hype and speculation following the release of the ‘I Hate Thailand’ video, which has been produced based on a research that an ‘unbranding’ advertisement would tend to receive more interest than a conventional branding commercial. The intention of this video is solely to depict the renowned Thai hospitality, demonstrating that Thais are ready to be a good host and offer a helping hand to tourists who need help.”

The ‘I Hate Thailand’ video is a romantic-comedy short film about a tourist named ‘James’ who planned to visit Thailand for a week. James later lost his bag along with his valuable belongings. Then the script saw James got rescued by a local girl and later recovered his processions through the help of other villagers. The film concluded with James saying that he was wrong when he said he hated Thailand when he did not know the country well enough. He ended up staying two years in Thailand.

Click to watch the video: “I Hate Thailand”.
i-hate-Thailand-2-500x300As of 24 November, the video has attracted nearly 1.3 million views and over 19,000 likes on YouTube, and has become a popular sensation through social media sharing.

Mr. Thawatchai said, “This video is intended for both domestic and international tourists. For the domestic market, the intention is to remind and educate the Thai people to always be a good host and not to take advantage of tourists, but to offer help to tourists when they need it. For the international market, we would like to convey that beyond the beauty of the Thai beaches – one of the main tourist attractions – Thai people are very kind and ready to be a good host to all tourists.”

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Oman is a perfect getaway for long weekend breaks

Located just 2 ½ hours away from India is Oman, a quaint, unexplored and beautiful destination in the Middle East.


Travelling to Oman is like travelling to a place so stunning that it could only exist in your imagination. There is a communion of modernism and old world charm that gives the country a unique character. Oman has a wonderful ability to time travel and can take you back in time to a few centuries as you walk past the narrow alleyways of a bustling souk or bring you back to the 21st century as you admire the modern state-of-the-art Opera House in Muscat. It’s a perfect holiday destination for families as well as for couples. 

As a country filled with beautiful mountains, valleys, caves, deserts and beaches, Oman is a great destination for adventure lovers. Different regions in Oman are popular for different activities. Muscat can be explored for dolphin watching, sailing, jetskiing;Daymaniyat islands is famous for snorkelling and scuba diving, Masirah islands is an excellent place to go for kite surfing; Jabal Shams (also known as Grand Canyon of Middle East) is famous for hiking and trekking trips; Salalah has some good places to go for bird watching while sand dune bashing, quad biking can be experienced in Sharqiyah Sands.


Oman is well connected with India as several airlines like Oman Air, Air India, Jet Airways, Spice Jet, Indigo and Air India Express have direct connections. These airlines connect Muscat with several Indian cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. Oman visa too can be easily obtained within 4-5 working days. 

With the advent of Christmas and New Year holidays, a trip to Oman will offer Indian travelers some spectacular and unforgettable Arabian Nights. Going to a mystical and magical foreign destination for a quick holiday never felt easier.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Huge Weekend of Entertainment at The Venetian Macao

The Venetian® Macao delivered one of its biggest action-packed weekends of the year this past weekend, led by Clash in Cotai II, which saw Fighter of the Decade CongressmanMANNY "Pacman" PACQUIAO, boxing's only eight-division world champion fight World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior welterweight champion CHRIS ALGIERI


Hollywood action heroes Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone sit with Edward Tracy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sands China Ltd., at the Clash in Cotai II at the Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena where Manny Pacquiao defeated Chris Algieri in their WBO world welterweight clash.


Manny Pacquiao celebrates his unanimous win over CHRIS ALGIERI after their 12-round WBO world welterweight title bout as part of the Clash in Cotai II at the Cotai Arena Sunday.


A capacity crowd at the Cotai Arena cheered on the participants in Clash in Cotai II, which saw WBO World Welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao successfully defend his title against American Chris Algieri.
The two were the headline draw in a weekend that started with Cantopop quartet Big Four playing to a packed Venetian Theatre Friday evening. They were followed by Mandopop superstar David Tao who also sang to an enthusiastic Venetian Theatre audience Saturday night.

"This incredible weekend was a clear example of Sands China's multi-tiered entertainment strategy in action," said Edward Tracy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sands China Ltd. "Our goal is to help diversify Macaotourism through our integrated resorts, and we've targeted this entertainment strategy toward developing Macaointo a major entertainment hub in Asia and a world centre of tourism and leisure."

The Venetian Macao's latest superstar sports event, Clash in Cotai II attracted more than  13,200 ticketholders to fill up the sold-out Cotai Arena Sunday morning. The multi-bout card reached an international television audience spanning more than 80 countries, including to the U.S. via HBO Pay-Per-View and in China on CCTV5. Clash in Cotai II is the seventh boxing card brought to Macao through the collaboration of Sands China and Top Rank, which began with the April 2013 Fists of Gold, featuring Olympic champion Zou Shiming's debut as a pro boxer.

A host of international celebrities attended Clash in Cotai II, including mega superstars Sylvester Stallone andArnold Schwarzenegger. Also watching the action in the arena were celebrities Stephen BaldwinJa Rule,Jermaine JacksonJessica JungShannon LeeMelody Thornton, Jessica C, Byron MannPhillip NgRen Quan,Collin Chou, Ma Qinghua, Vanness WuDaniel Wu, Hacken Lee, Alex ThomasDave ChappelleAndy On,Timmy HungJimmy HungEdmond LeungNorm NixonJanet ChauCung Le and Edison Chan.

Boxing fans without a ticket for Clash in Cotai II were still able to take advantage of another exciting way to enjoy the showdown live at The Venetian Macao. Every minute of the main event and undercard fights were broadcast via live closed-circuit feed to two high-energy venues – the Milan Ballroom and the Bellini Lounge.

But ahead of Sunday morning's excitement, Cantopop stars Big Four kicked off the weekend Friday night with their concert WOW An Evening Date with Big Four at The Venetian Theatre. Composed of friends Dicky Cheung, Andy Hui, William So and Edmond Leung, Big Four thrilled their audience of fans with an enthusiastic performance. The song "Everyone Lucky" started things off, before some of their greatest hits, like "Big Four," "Powerless to Help," "The Pain of Men," and "Man Should Not Make Woman Cry" kept fans asking for more.

The following night was the turn of renowned Taiwanese singer and songwriter David Tao to take the stage and deliver a Blissful Moment With David Tao. Tao got his concert underway by singing "Rain," and kept his delighted audience going with some of his popular songs like "Who Do You Love" and "I Love You." He also shared some of his freshest work, performing "Say Goodbye"from his new album "Hello Goodbye."

Also on Saturday night was a Clash in Cotai II pre-fight party at Bellini Lounge hosted by legendary hip hop starJa Rule. The party went on until the early hours with revelers enjoying the special guest appearance of DJ Skee.
Sands China has already announced its next boxing event with Top Rank, Fist of Power II, which takes placeDecember 16th at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, exclusively sponsored by The Venetian Macao.

Entertainment at Sands China Ltd. Properties
Sands China Ltd. has as a clear vision to establish Macao as Asia's top entertainment destination.

The 15,000-seat Cotai Arena is the only venue in Asia ranked in Pollstar's Top 100 Worldwide Arena Venues based on ticket sales. It is the top entertainment destination in southern China, hosting the world's and the region's biggest names in music, sports and awards shows. Superstars frequently choose the venue as the starting point of their Asian tours.

The 1800-seat, multi-purpose Venetian Theatre is one of the most luxurious entertainment venues in greaterChina. Featuring ushers in black-tie, champagne service, gourmet food and beverage items and other unique, premium amenities, it offers an intimate, luxurious and exclusive venue experience. The Venetian Theatre is playing a key role in bringing the best in international and Chinese entertainment to Macao, with a luxury theatre experience like no other in the region.

The 650-seat Sands Theatre regularly features internationally-renowned singers, performers and artists of the highest calibre. From traditional Chinese-costumed dancers to modern performances, and from singing troupes to contemporary bands, everything from Western rock to Cantonese pop is covered.

With an unbeatable diversity, the entertainment offering of Sands China Ltd. is ushering in a new era of entertainment in Macao.

For information about upcoming shows and events, visit

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NYE in Sydney Harbour National Park

Tickets are selling fast for the biggest event of the year: the world-famous New Year’s Eve fireworks at Sydney Harbour.

Sydney Harbour National Park offers a number of fantastic vantage points and picnic spots with uninterrupted views of the city skyline. Enjoy a sunset picnic by the foreshore with friends and family, as you bring in the New Year with a spectacular display of fireworks.

NYE at Bradleys Head: The Mast Precinct
IRF Bradleys Head Sydney 2013
IRF Bradleys Head Sydney 2013
The Mast Precinct at Bradleys Head will be transformed into a family-friendly venue for New Year’s Eve, with kids entertainment and activities including live performances by the popular Lah Lah’s and My Friend Mark, a circus workshop, face painting and a range of food outlets. The grassed amphitheatre has beautiful views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, ideal for celebrating with your family.

NYE at Clark Island: Island Lounge
Spend New Year's Eve at the exclusive Island Lounge at Clark Island, located off the tip of the prestigious Darling Point, near Double Bay. Tickets are for over 18s and includes all food, beverages, live entertainment and ferry transfers, so you can relax and enjoy New Year’s Eve in style.

New Year's Eve at Clark Island in Sydney Harbour National Park, credit J Spencer
New Year's Eve at Clark Island in Sydney Harbour National Park, credit J Spencer
On arrival, you’ll receive a gourmet picnic hamper and enjoy the sounds of OOBA Music, a live band and DJ combo including the UK’s Ian Mussington (Paul Weller, Groove Asylum) and DJ Big Ricky (d.i.g, eon beats) who will keep you dancing til dawn.

Other top spots include:
  • NYE at Shark Island – SOLD OUT
  • NYE at Goat Island – SOLD OUT
  • NYE at North Head
  • NYE at Nielson Park
  • NYE at Bradleys Head: Athol Lawn Precinct
Visit to discover more New Year’s Eve events in NSW national parks and book your tickets.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

The Wanaburee Resort Kao Lak Joins Variety Hotels

Thailand based hotel Management company, Variety Hotels, has announced the Wanaburee Resort Kao Lak as the latest addition to their portfolio this month.

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Variety Hotels now manages a total of 11 hotels and resorts in Thailand in destinations including Bangkok, Hua Hin, Phuket, Koh Samui and Koh Tao.

Situated on the edge of lush rainforests and set on a pristine secluded beach, Wanaburee is a boutique resort with a wide range of facilities for guests to unwind and enjoy the natural surroundings and tranquil ambiance.  Designed in authentic oriental style, the resort offers 34 well-equipped and spacious accommodations with a including rooms, suites and villas ranging from 40 to 102 sqm, all of which are dotted around the resort’s exotic tropical gardens and lagoon.

Private yet easy to access, the resort is only a one hour drive from Phuket International Airport and features 2 swimming pools, 2 restaurant and bar outlets, as well as a full service spa and library. Guests can also enjoy activities outside the property such as an adventure tour or sightseeing trip in and around the Phang Nga province with numerous national parks protecting the virgin rainforests, ancient caves, thriving coral and pristine beaches can be found. Also popular are the scuba diving trips to the Similan Islands, a group of stunning islands named as one of top 10 dive sites in the world.

“We are very happy to welcome The Wanaburee Resort to Variety Hotels as our first property in Phang Nga, and we look forward to continuing to offer our guests a wide choice of destinations and memorable experiences” said Jonathan Kreuter, Director of Marketing Communications for both The Unique Collection of Hotels & Resorts and Variety Hotels, which manage the properties.

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Record Air Traffic for Newcastle Airport in Port Stephens

Newcastle Airport in Port Stephens has recorded its busiest-ever day on October 24, 2014 with an unprecedented 4598 passengers using the soon-to-be-doubled terminal, and sixth busiest month ever with 107,312 travellers landing or taking off in total last month.

Newcastle Airport - the second busiest airport in NSW and the 12th busiest in Australia, with 170 domestic flights a week and 1.2 million passengers a year - is located in the Port Stephens council region, just 25 minutes from the Port Stephens holiday centre of Nelson Bay, providing a strategic gateway for interstate and overseas visitors. A 95-room hotel, worth $8 million, is currently being built next to the airport and will be open in 2015.

Newcastle Airport’s Manager for Aviation Business Development, David Nye, said the October 24 record was 44 per cent above the normal daily average of 3200 passengers.

“A combination of several major conferences in Port Stephens, Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, major sporting events around Australia, the school holidays and the October long weekend led to Newcastle Airport’s sixth busiest month ever in October, confirming the gateway is meeting strong demand for travel to our region and underlining locals’ strong desire to travel,” Mr Nye said.

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He said a $14.5 million expansion of Newcastle Airport, which will see the terminal area doubled, was slated for completion in late-2015, paving the way for possible international services to the airport in the near future. “The continued growth of passenger numbers into Newcastle Airport, as evidenced by our records last month, show the future potential for the facility is extremely bright and that the NSW Government’s $11.5 million investment in the terminal expansion is money well spent,” Mr Nye said.

Virgin Australia, Jetstar, QantasLink and Regional Express offer direct flights between Newcastle and Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, the Gold Coast, Ballina and Taree. Both Virgin Australia and Jetstar recently began co-listing Newcastle Airport as ‘Newcastle-Port Stephens’ on their websites and booking engines in recognition of Port Stephens’ growing appeal as a destination for leisure and corporate travellers.

Destination Port Stephens CEO, Janelle Gardner said Newcastle Airport was crucial to Port Stephens’ expanding $400 million-a-year visitor economy and the region’s drive to attract more visitors from interstate and overseas.
“Our long-term campaign to lure more domestic and international conference delegates and holidaymakers to our region via Newcastle Airport is clearly paying dividends,” Ms Gardner said. “Port Stephens offers stunning coastal scenery, adventure activities, gourmet food and wine and first-rate accommodation and conference facilities and the proximity of Newcastle Airport to all this makes us an increasingly compelling destination.”

For information on Port Stephens, visit

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sebel launches The Sebel Pinnacle Valley Resort - Christmas Day offering

Guests booking for a rural Christmas break or travelling to the Grand Mercure Pinnacle Valley Resort, will be delighted to find the Victorian High Country Resort has just rebadged and is now named The Sebel Pinnacle Valley Resort, Victoria.

The popular Resort is owned by Accor Vacation Club – the fully owned subsidiary of Accor, that has over 31,000 Members and that was established in 2001.

Guests will see noticeable changes, including fresh new designer uniforms, signage, in-house livery, with a staff trained in new Sebel standards, including the popular Host program, that sees guest welcomed warmly and individually. The staff is trained in discretion and top flight service as Hosts, and will be dressed in new uniforms designed by David Lawrence, Country Road and Sports craft.

In February 2015 there are more big changes coming with a  $4 million dollar refurbishment to be completed by June 2015, to keep the rural retreat up to the Club's high standards, and that which couples, families, wedding parties, conference groups expect of Accor Vacation Club Resorts. (There are 21 in Australia, New Zealand and Bali.)

The Sebel brand prides itself on offering its guests sophisticated elegance plus superb facilities, and individual personalised service, all in the most desirable locations.

The Victorian High Country is world-renowned for its green, pristine scenery, the proximity to the Mt Buller snowfields, world-class wineries and stunning fresh food providers.

Craig Wood CEO of Accor Vacation Club commented "The Sebel is a brand that is rich in heritage and this is the stylish accommodation that our Members expect and are entitled to."

This Christmas guests can enjoy some stylish Sebel service with a Gourmet Christmas Lunch Buffet for $115 for adults, $69 for youth (13-17yrs) and $39 for children (4-12yrs)

Commencing from arrival at 11.30am on Christmas Day, the Restaurant doors open from 12noon – 3.00pm and the package includes the following goodies:-

Hot Christmas Carvery Buffet with Ham & Turkey

Seafood Buffet with Prawns, Oysters & Calamari

Glass of sparkling wine on arrival (over 18's)

Free Soft Drink for ages 4 – 17 years old

A special visit from Santa (gifts for kids up to 12 years old)

To book  for accommodation or Christmas Day please phone (03) 5777 5788 or email

 For more information visit

Friday, November 21, 2014

Gravity Thailand 2014 presents Arcadia The Bangkok Landing the First in Asia

unnamed (13)The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in collaboration with Memotion, a Thailand-based boutique multi-media entertainment company, is bringing one of the world’s most thrilling music and dance events to the country, as part of its music marketing strategy.

Gravity Thailand 2014 presents Arcadia The Bangkok Landing, to take place on 29 November, following the success of TAT’s first music marketing activity, Chill n ’Grill Music Weekend @ Chao Samran Beach, which took place on 15 June, 2013, generating more than 11 million Baht to Phetchaburi.

Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, the Governor of TAT said, “In 2014, we continue to leverage music marketing as part of our overall marketing activities to stimulate tourism. This year, we go the extra mile by bringing the latest innovation and creativity in the world’s music and dance event by presenting the Arcadia Spectacular, which is a futuristic mechanical cabaret, along with its Spider Stage and Lords of Lighting extravaganza.”

The Arcadia Spectacular is one of the highlights at the annual Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts. The show’s wonderful vehicles and machines constructed from recycled materials also took the stage at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in the UK. The 360-degree Spider Stage is Arcadia’s largest and most radical structure while the Lords of Lightning are performers in bespoke chainmail suits harnessing four million volts of raw electricity between them.

Gravity Thailand 2014 presents Arcadia The Bangkok Landing will also host some of the very best in international and local DJ talents; such as, The Bloody Beetroots, Roni Size & Dynamic MC, SKiSM, Far Too Loud and the Arcadia Soundsystem.

The Gravity landing base will be in the front of Siam Park City (Suan Siam), a large outdoor area based just on the outskirts of Bangkok. Tickets are 2,500 Baht for regular entry and 3,500 Baht for deluxe entry that includes express entrance, deluxe bar area and two welcome drinks.

Entrance to the event will open at 16.00 hrs. while the show will start at 19.00 hrs. Prior to the show, music lovers and partygoers can enjoy displays highlighting the arts and tourist sites in Thailand, and also get the chance to shop for souvenirs and savour some delectable snacks and beverages.

Mr. Thawatchai said, “We expect the event to attract an audience of at least 20,000, generating about 200 million Baht to the Thai economy. The event will further enhance Thailand’s reputation as one of the world’s top tourist attractions, as well as one of the leading destinations for cultural and innovative events and festivals.”

For more information on Arcadia The Bangkok Landing:

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Accor partners Corroboree Sydney 2014

Accor is committed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and is proud to sign on for a second year as official accommodation partner for Corroboree Sydney 2014 festival, which officially opens today.

Corroboree Firelighting Ceremony - Photo credit Jamie Williams

A celebration of Australia’s rich Indigenous heritage and contemporary Aboriginal culture, Corroboree Sydney will be held over 11 days from 20 – 30 November 2014. This is the second year of the festival and Accor hotels across Sydney will be involved as key accommodation and promotional partners during the event.

Simon McGrath, Chief Operating Officer of Accor Pacific said, “Accor is proud to be able to continue its support of this significant cultural festival, which is an important event on Sydney’s arts calendar.”
“Corroboree Sydney has been created to promote greater understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of Australia's Indigenous culture. Accor’s own corporate vision is to celebrate and raise the profile of indigenous ambassadors and their culture, both at work and in a broader community context, so the festival is a natural alliance for us.”

This year’s festival has expanded, with over 200 events on showcase around Sydney’s iconic foreshore, from the main hub on the western foreshore of Circular Quay outside the MCA to the newly included Darling Harbour precinct.

The festival program will include visual arts, literature, music and performing arts, seminars, performances and exhibitions. In addition, this year coincides with the 25th anniversary of Bangarra Dance Company which will see an anniversary performance housed on the forecourt of the Opera House on Sunday 30 November.

For the past 14 years, Accor has been widely recognised for its involvement in Indigenous employment programs and community groups. With a commitment to actively seeking, training and hiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, Accor held 20 Indigenous Employment Training Programs around Australia in 2013 which saw the successful employment of over 130 Indigenous career seekers employed in a variety of positions within Accor.  To date, there are 350 employees in Accor which identify as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage.

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Etihad Airways First Class Apartment Design Wins Top SBID Award

unnamed (2)The game-changing design of Etihad Airways' new Airbus A380 First Class product, called First Apartments, has been recognised at the annual Society of British and International Design (SBID) Awards 2014, held at the Dorchester Hotel in London last week.

London based Acumen Design Associates, which forms part of the airline-led ‘Etihad Design Consortium’ (EDC), a collection of leading brand and design agencies tasked with creating the airline's new interiors, picked up the SBID's top award for designing the industry-leading new cabin.

The patent-pending design for Etihad Airways' new A380 First Class cabins was entered under the category of Best Entertainment Space but took home the most coveted award of the evening, Overall Design Award 2014.

The event is considered to be one of the most prestigious on the international design calendar and recognises design excellence across a broad range of 15 different categories. The SBID Awards are voted for by leading industry experts and business leaders and are judged for both technical content and aesthetic creativity using two tiers of judging.

Ian Dryburgh, CEO and Founder of Acumen Design Associates, said: "Etihad Airways’ First Apartment is the largest, most luxurious and highly customised First Class cabin in the sky, achieved via a revolutionary patent pending cabin layout designed exclusively for Etihad by Acumen Design Associates.

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"We were briefed to design a First Class cabin based on Etihad's successful 'Inspired Service' and the extensive qualitative consumer research undertaken by Etihad - to bring the individuality and exclusivity of a luxury boutique hotel experience which also embraces Arabian modernism."

Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Airways, commented: "I am thrilled that the work undertaken by Acumen for our stunning First Apartments has been recognised by the SBID. This accolade is testament to their world class service, from the initial concept designs based on our extensive international customer co-creation workshops, The Etihad Big Talks, to the final delivery of this elegant cabin."

Etihad Airways is installing nine First Apartments on each of the 10 Airbus A380s it has ordered, the first of which will enter service between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow on 27 December.

For the first time on a wide-body aircraft cabin, a single aisle configuration has been used in the upper deck First Class section, allowing the airline to install 'walk-in' living areas which include a Poltrona Frau armchair and separate 80.5 inch long bed, storage, a full length wardrobe, chilled mini-bar and a vanity unit. At 39 sqft, the First Apartment is 74 per cent larger in area than Etihad Airways' current industry leading First Class suites.

Founded in 1981, Acumen is a multidisciplinary design consultancy providing fresh insight and commercial advantage through innovation and enjoys an enviable reputation for delivering ground-breaking, highly innovative products to a customer base spanning multiple industries such as aviation, marine, life sciences and domestic and commercial product design.

Other finalists for the awards included a selection of the world's leading hotels, interior design projects, residential spaces, restaurants and bars, and public spaces among others.

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