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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Fiji Airways to operate out of Adelaide

Bula Adelaide!

Fiji Airways, Fiji’s National Airline, has announced plans to commence twice weekly direct services to Nadi from Adelaide commencing on Friday, June 30, 2017. As well as giving South Australians direct access to Fiji, the new route will also act as a gateway to the United States (Los Angeles and San Francisco) via Nadi.

This marks the fourth Australian leg for the airline after Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Diversifying the Australian market has been a goal of Fiji Airways for some time as so many Australians fly to Fiji every year.

“We’re delighted to launch our fourth Australian route, which will allow us to bring our unique Fijian hospitality to South Australia and will provide an alternative route to the United States via Nadi,” said Andre Viljoen, Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways.

The new service will be good news for the sizeable Fijian community living in South Australia.

“South Australia’s strong Fijian community will benefit from a direct connection to Nadi to bring them closer to family and friends,” said Mark Young, Managing Director at Adelaide Airport.

Furthering this, South Australians are connected like never before to the South Pacific region with Fiji Airways directly to Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu via Nadi.

Fijian Attorney General and Minister for Public Enterprises and Civil Aviation, the Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the direct flights to Adelaide has come at an exciting time with the announcement of the new B737 Max 8 aircraft.

“This has further enhanced Fiji’s footprint in new ways beyond the eastern seaboard of Australia,” he said.

“This concludes a great 2016 overall for Fiji Airways with the launch of direct routes to Singapore and San Francisco earlier in the year.”

Hon. Sayed-Khaiyum said the new route couldn’t have come at a better time with Adelaide flights starting just before the second term school holidays in South Australia.

South Australia Tourism Minister, Leon Bignell welcomed the announcement saying Adelaide has welcomed many airlines from around the world and Fiji Airways will provide even more options for visitors travelling to South Australia.

Flights (FJ961/FL960) are now available for sale with return economy airfares starting from AUD799 per person.

Tickets can be purchased through the Fiji Airways website,, or by calling the Fiji Airways Global Reservations Centre.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Grille by Eichardt’s launches with exclusive grand opening

Gastronomical talent, distinctly local flavour, unrivalled luxury

Introducing The Grille by Eichardt's

With its spectacular landscape trumped only by its adventurous food and wine scene, Queenstown has further cemented its reputation as an educated diner's dream with the grand opening of Eichardt's Private Hotel's new premium restaurant - The Grille by Eichardt's.

The Grille, boasting an all-day restaurant, lunch bar and cocktail lounge, has officially opened its doors in prime position on Queenstown's waterfront, with unobstructed views across the Wakatipu and snow-capped peaks beyond.

The restaurant's tempting dishes and sophisticated cocktails is no surprise given Executive Chef Will Eaglesfield's reputation as mastermind behind some of the tastiest menus in New Zealand and abroad.

"We'll be continuing the same ethos we use in our tapas; everything homemade as much as possible, the best meat from pampered animals, our home-grown produce, every dish a labour of love. But with the brand new kitchen tricked out for curing, smoking and grilling we'll be taking it up a notch."

While British-born Eaglesfield's international experience (including stints in London, the French Alps and the Mediterranean) inspires the colours and flavours of his dishes, The Grille's menu is a clear reflection of his passion for authentic local produce.

"The crayfish meatballs, for example, are chargrilled for a little extra smoky flavour and served with handmade tagliatelle and a rich tomato broth infused with Otago-grown saffron. This menu really is unique in the sense it offers locally foraged produce and distinctly Queenstown flavours, with a splash of worldly indulgence," Eaglesfield explains.

In true Eichardt's style, the design of the new restaurant is as impressive as the menu - award winning architect Michael Wyatt combining the elegance of Oamaru natural stone with weathered and exposed steel to create a fa├žade like no other.

Inside, the slate tile floor has been carefully chosen to match Eichardt's Private Bar's atrium while rich, dark stained timber panels adorn the walls and ceiling. Bevelled mirrors, floating shelves and antique wall lights – along with sumptuous leather banquettes – complete the perfect setting for guests to enjoy one of The Grille's signature cocktails as the sun goes down.

Tom Macaulay, General Manager Food & Beverage, said the laneway end of The Grille will also feature a large communal table and lunch bar with stool seating – perfect for the quick corporate lunch.

"We envisage the six seater communal table to be very popular with its generous ice well – think oysters, bubbles and beer on ice. For those with limited time, there will also be a selection of fresh open sandwiches for dine in or takeaway, from venison prosciutto, tomato, hummus & dukkah to brisket, mustard & caramelised onion."

The perfect balance of old-world opulence and modern design, The Grille will effectively link Eichardt's Private Hotel with the new development, which will also soon be home to Eichardt's uber-luxury 'Penthouse' suites and international retail giants Louis Vuitton and World Boutique.

The Grille, part of the Imperium Collection, joins an impressive list of names under the Eichardt's family banner including Eichardt's Private Hotel & Bar, The Spire Hotel and No5 Church Lane. Macaulay said the long-anticipated opening of the new restaurant represents a major achievement for the Imperium Collection as well as the region itself.

"We're thrilled to be able to share this destination restaurant with locals and tourists alike. Queenstown is evolving at such a rapid pace and we're proud to offer guests an unrivalled hospitality experience, whether it be settling in for a private Parlour dining experience, holing up with a pinot at the Eichardt's Bar, or indulging in some of the regions finest delicacies at The Grille," says Macaulay.

The Grille is located on Marine Parade, Queenstown. The restaurant seats 150 people and is open for breakfast 07:30-11:30am; lunch 11:30-17:00pm; dinner 17:00-late.

For more information visit

Monday, December 19, 2016

Qantas Introduces Premium Lounge Entry

Qantas has today announced it will introduce Premium Lounge Entry – a new airport departure experience for eligible Qantas customers departing from Brisbane Domestic Airport.

Opening in line with the new Qantas Business Lounge at Brisbane Domestic Airport in early March 2017, Premium Lounge Entry will offer eligible customers a dedicated check-in area, bag drop, security screening and escalator with direct access to the new Qantas Lounge Precinct.

The new facility will be located on Level 1 and open 7 days a week, one hour prior to the first Qantas departure. Customers utilising Qantas Valet will also receive a new valet experience with direct terminal access.

Head of Qantas Customer Experience Philip Capps, said Brisbane would set a new benchmark for a premium airport departure experience across the Qantas domestic network.

“This is about streamlining the overall departure process for our top tier Frequent Flyers from the moment they arrive at the airport,” he said.

“Premium Lounge Entry will speed up the process for customers checking in both at the airport or on their mobile – allowing them to move through the terminal quickly and maximise their time relaxing or working in the lounge.

“The premium check-in facility is part of Qantas' multi-million dollar investment in the Brisbane Airport customer experience. We opened our brand new International Lounge this year and are excited to turn our focus to the refurbishment of our domestic lounges and check-in experience,” added Mr Capps.

The new domestic experience will be complete with the opening of a new Chairmans Lounge, new look Qantas Club and lounge precinct in the coming months.

Eligible customers include those travelling in Business, Qantas Club members, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One Frequent Flyers and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald Members.

Traveloscopy | 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ovation of the Seas arrives Sydney

Royal Caribbean's record-breaking Ovation of the Seas has arrived in her hometown of Sydney, marking a momentous occasion for Australian cruising.  The newest, largest and most technologically advanced cruise ship to ever call Australia home ushers in a new era of holidays for Australians – known as SuperCruising.

"Ovation of the Seas is an absolute game changer for cruising down under. SuperCruising is a holiday experience unlike anything else you can find in Australia – and it can only be found on Royal Caribbean," said Adam Armstrong, managing director, Australia & New Zealand.

"Over the last decade we have committed to bringing the biggest and best cruise ships to our doorstep – and today is the climax of that story. This occasion marks the first time that a cruise line has ever based a brand new ship in this market."

"At 348m long, 18 decks high, weighing in at 168,666 tons and with capacity for 5,000 guests and 1,500 crew, Ovation of the Seas is the fourth largest cruise ship in the world, making her the largest cruise ship to sail Australian waters, and by far the largest ship ever home-ported here."

Ovation of the Seas' 6,500 passengers and crew makes her bigger than the towns of Yamba, Bega and Glenn Innes.

"With that size comes unprecedented variety: more space for relaxation, 18 different dining options, and more of the big unique amenities that Royal Caribbean is famous for, like iFly, North Star and bumper cars. Whether you're an adventure-seeker or looking for some R&R, there is truly something for everyone, all in one magnificent megaliner," Armstrong added.

Ovation of the Seas becomes Royal Caribbean's fifth locally-based cruise ship, joining sister ships Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Legend of the Seas, and making Royal Caribbean the single largest cruise line operating in Australia this season.

She will deliver significant economic benefits at each of her ports of call.  Her two-day visit to Sydney is expected to inject over $3.3 million in passenger spend alone, while her maiden Australian season is expected to inject more than $35 million into the national economy.

Royal Caribbean has long had a reputation for challenging what is possible on a cruise holiday and Ovation of the Seas continues this tradition. With a price tag of US$1 billion, she offers incredible entertainment and activities that can only be found on Royal Caribbean, or have never been seen at sea down under.  For the first time in Australia, holidaymakers will be able to:

·         Feel the thrill of sky diving at sea with the Ripcord by iFly sky diving experience

·         Soar to new heights in North Star, hovering 90 metres above sea level in a jewel-like capsule for incredible 360 degree views

·         Relax at Two70 by day – a stylish lounge area with 270 degree views from enormous windows – and by night, be immersed in spectacular multimedia entertainment by robotic dancing video-screens, dramatic digital projection and high-flying aerialists and performers

·         Enjoy action-packed fun at SeaPlex, the largest indoor activity space at sea with bumper cars, roller skating, a full size sports court, a circus school and more

·         Enjoy a perfectly mixed cocktail from two robotic bartenders at the Bionic Bar

·         Dine at Jamie's Italian – Jamie Oliver's first Australian restaurant at sea

·         Choose from a further 17 other incredible dining experiences including the enchanting Wonderland, Michael's Genuine Pub and Royal Caribbean favourites like Chops Grille Steakhouse and Izumi Japanese

·         Stream and share as you would on land thanks to VOOM – the fastest internet at sea

·         Choose from the largest and most advanced variety of staterooms yet – every room has a view with all interior staterooms fitted with virtual balconies; Family-Connected staterooms are perfect for multi-generational families or groups of friends; new balcony and interior Studio staterooms for single travellers; and luxurious multi-level Loft Suites

·         Be inspired by a world class art collection – Around 20 percent of the extensive AUD $5.9million, 11,000 piece collection onboard Ovation of the Seas is Australian. The highlight is the larger than life 'Mama and Baby' panda installation, perched atop SeaPlex

Ovation of the Seas also includes many of the features Australians have come to know and love on other Royal Caribbean ships:

·         Surf the high seas on the FlowRider – a huge surfing simulator

·         Ascend to new heights on the Rock climbing wall

·         Walk the ship's length on an indoor promenade lined with shops, restaurants and bars

·         Meet family-favourite DreamWorks characters like Shrek, Puss in Boots and Po from Kung Fu Panda

·         Swim in the sun-drenched adults-only indoor pool

·         Watch movies outdoors with the oversized pool screen

The 168,666 ton vessel is one of the greenest ships to ever visit Australian shores, setting a new standard in environmental stewardship technology. The ship is equipped with next-generation technologies such as air lubrication systems on the hull to reduce fuel consumption.  Plus Royal Caribbean has removed all incandescent lighting. She was designed and built only to use LED or fluorescent lights, many of which are operated by motion sensors, only operating when needed.

Ovation of the Seas arrived at the Overseas Passenger Terminal this morning at approximately 6am with 4,286 guests onboard concluding their special charter by Australian travel agent Cruiseco from Singapore to Sydney. 4,618 new guests will embark this afternoon and the ship will stayed docked in beautiful Sydney Harbour overnight, before departing at 4pm on 16 December on a New Zealand voyage.

"SuperCruising on Ovation of the Seas marks the dawn of a bold new era of cruising down under – and we're so proud to share this momentous occasion with the people of New South Wales," Armstrong concluded.

For further information about Ovation of the Seas, or to book a cruise visit, phone 1800 754 500 or see your local travel agent.

SilkAir to add Singapore-Colombo to network

SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines (SIA), will commence flights to Sri Lanka's commercial capital Colombo on 8 April 2017. SilkAir will operate three flights per week, taking over SIA's SQ466/SQ467 service. SIA will continue to operate its daily night flight SQ468 and return flight SQ469.

The addition of SilkAir to the Singapore-Colombo route will optimise the utilisation of the SIA Group's resources and present a better match of capacity to demand. It will extend the SilkAir network to 53 destinations across 15 countries.

The new service to Colombo, MI428, will be scheduled on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with a same-day return flight operating as MI427, similar to the current SIA timing. The services will be operated with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, featuring both Business Class and Economy Class cabins. Customers will be provided with a full-service experience, including in-flight meals, in-flight entertainment on SilkAir Studio, baggage allowance of 40kg and 30kg for Business and Economy class, respectively, as well as through check-in if they are connecting to or from another SilkAir or SIA point via Singapore.

Commenting on the launch, SilkAir's Chief Executive, Mr. Foo Chai Woo, said: "Colombo is a fitting addition to our network. SilkAir is happy to continually bring our customers to more unique cities in the region, and increased connectivity via Singapore."

As a gateway to explore Sri Lanka, Colombo is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural city and also the most populous city in Sri Lanka. Similarly, Colombo has wildly varying architecture that span centuries and depict many styles. Some of the attractions of Colombo include the Gangaramaya Temple, which demonstrates an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture, Viharamahadevi Park, the oldest and largest park in Colombo, and the Galle Face Hotel, a historic landmark on the southern edge of the Galle Face Green promenade.

Beyond Colombo, Sri Lanka also offers many other tourist destinations such as the magnificent cave temples of Dambulla, the tea plantations of hilly Kandy, and colonial towns along the southern beaches of Galle.

Flights will be made available for booking through the SilkAir website, call centres and travel agents progressively. Detailed flight schedules to Colombo are appended in Annex A. Customers who have made advance bookings to fly the Singapore-Colombo route on Singapore Airlines will be re-accommodated on SilkAir's new services or alternative Singapore Airline services.

For more details on SilkAir, visit or


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Banyan Tree and AccorHotels announce strategic partnership

Banyan Tree Holdings today announces that it has entered into a heads of agreement with AccorHotels. Under a long-term partnership, both parties intend to collaborate to develop and manage Banyan Tree branded hotels around the world. Banyan Tree will also have access to AccorHotels' global reservations and sales network, as well as its loyalty programme Le Club AccorHotels.

AccorHotels will invest an initial SGD 24 million (c. €16 million) in Singapore-based Banyan Tree and both parties will then co-develop the brands owned by Banyan Tree around the world. This investment will be made through a mandatory convertible debenture that at conversion will give AccorHotels an approximately 5% stake in Banyan Tree. AccorHotels has an option to purchase an additional approximately 5% stake.

Ho Kwon Ping, Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree, said: "This agreement is not only transformational for Banyan Tree, but is also an innovation for the global hospitality industry. With the current consolidation of mega hotel companies, smaller but also global players – many family-controlled – are also seeking strategic alliances with the global giants. Our strategic alliance with AccorHotels allows us to remain an independent company, enabling us to continue securing hotel management agreements on our own and yet accelerating Banyan Tree's speed and scope of expansion but with AccorHotels helping us to grow our brands around the world. We believe this agreement will propel our brands rapidly to global reach and range and strengthen our ability to embrace change and innovation in the hospitality industry with a strong global partner. We are excited and committed to this partnership."

Sebastien Bazin, CEO and Chairman of AccorHotels, said: "Our collaboration with Banyan Tree is a great opportunity to complement our business proposition to owners with iconic brands, while always better servicing our guests. Banyan Tree Holdings has created key leading positions across Asia with luxury resorts, one of the fastest growing segments in the industry. We will bring scale to the network through our ability to develop and manage hotels under the Banyan Tree brands globally, hence strengthening our leadership in the luxury hotel space. We are confident that our investment will create incremental value for our shareholders."

Monday, December 12, 2016

#Silversea awarded the ‘Best Luxury Cruise Line’

Silversea Cruises, the world's leading luxury cruise line, has again been awarded the 'Best Luxury Cruise Line' by Cruise Passenger Magazine at the 2016 Readers' Choice Awards.

Amber Wilson, Silversea's Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, says:

"We are extremely honoured to again be named Best Luxury Cruise Line at this years' annual Reader's Choice Awards.  It is an absolute privilege to have the opportunity to help create incredible travel memories for all our guests, enabling them to sail to all seven continents and explore breathtaking destinations, all in the space, elegance and comfort Silversea is known for."

"I would like to express my appreciation to our guests and key travel partners who voted for us.  2017 is set to be another amazing year, with the new flagship, Silver Muse, set to launch in April 2017, as well as the conversion of Silver Cloud into the expedition fleet.  We look forward to adding to our incredible fleet and continuing to push boundaries and provide our guests with extraordinary voyages, unparalleled experiences and ultra-luxurious services."

For more information, contact Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Solomon Islands’ Q3 visitor arrivals continue in positive mode

The Solomon Islands tourism industry has closed off Q3 in positive mode with international visitor arrival figures for the nine-month period January – September showing a solid 4.5 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2015.

Official figures released by the Solomon Islands National Statistics Office this week show a total of 16,381 visitors arrived across the period, 706 more than the 15,675 figure achieved last year.

Australian arrivals again continued to dominate, the 6868 September intake representing 41 per cent of all international visitation.

US arrivals also continued to increase, up 10.8 per cent from 1039 in 2015 to reach in 1152 in 2016.

Good growth from New Zealand with Kiwi visitor arrivals continuing their upwards climb – increasing 3.7 per cent from 1096 in 2015 to reach 1136 this year. into place as the second biggest visitor source over the US.

Visitors arrivals from Fiji, the Solomon Islands fourth biggest source market, stayed firm, increasing 8.8 per cent from 1031 in 2015 to 1122 in 2016.

Collective Asian visitor arrivals also showed positive growth, the 2232 figure achieved for Q3 2016 representing a 22.4 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2015.

Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau CEO, Jo ‘Josefa’ Tuamoto attributed the increase in Asian visitation to the efforts his marketing team have gone to in recent months while attending key travel EXPOs in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

Mr Tuamoto said preliminary forward booking numbers received from both locally based Solomon Islands) tour operators, hoteliers and overseas wholesalers packaging the destination all indicate the destination can look forward to a very strong Q4.

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places