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Monday, June 26, 2017

Lloyd's List: Report shows majority of coastal shipping in foreign hands

Teresa Lloyd, chief executive officer at Maritime Industries Australia Limited says Australia's coastal trading sector (including cruising) needs help. It needs change. Not one stakeholder is happy with the status-quo.
Read her full comment here

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Aussies Give 'Bleisure' Travel Market A Serious Boost

Flight Centre Travel Group's latest global survey has revealed Aussies and Kiwis as the biggest bleisure travel consumers in the world.

Derived from the trend of adding leisure time onto a business trip, bleisure travel has become a mainstream employee perk throughout the world.

88 per cent of Aussie and Kiwi respondents said their employer allowed them to take bleisure travel with 71 per cent of global respondents also answering in the affirmative.

Flight Centre's Executive General Manager - Corporate Travel Andrew Flannery said the bleisure travel concept had grown so quickly in popularity that it had become its own niche travel market.

"Bleisure travel isn't just about taking an extra day or two on the back of work trip anymore.  It's morphed into a holiday option that's utilised in a number of different ways by employees," he said.

"In particular, those who have a relationship with a corporate travel manager are using the extra level of booking expertise to parlay work trips into larger holidays."

Mr Flannery said the ability to take bleisure travel was becoming a more important factor for job selection, especially among millennial travellers.

Surveyed millennials had the highest appreciation for bleisure travel with 89 per cent considering it a major work perk.  They were also the most likely group to extend a business trip with colleagues or use the opportunity to travel with a partner or companion.

Millennials also favoured bleisure holidays that enabled sightseeing and exploration whereas older age brackets were more likely to use the time to visit friends and family.

Results also showed the most frequent bleisure travellers were those who flew more than 11 times annually on business, a category dominated by C-suite respondents.

Mr Flannery said the evolution of the bleisure travel concept from an occasional getaway opportunity to major work perk had created a win-win solution for employees and employers.

"If your employer is willing to pay your airfare for work purposes, or even cover a significant part of your journey, you've immediately got a cut price holiday and more spending money," he said.

"On the flip side, employers can benefit from a reduction in annual leave liability by encouraging employees to use business trips as a launch pad for vacation time."


New Mantra Hotels masterbrand

Leading hotel and resort operator, Mantra Group, has united the Group's 128 properties across Australia, New Zealand, Bali and Hawaii, consolidating its multi-branded portfolio into a new single consumer brand, known simply as Mantra Hotels.

The new Mantra Hotels masterbrand represents the Group's three brands - Peppers, which offers distinctive stays in outstanding settings; Mantra, which combines convenient locations with stylish comfort; and BreakFree, renowned for providing a relaxed ambience at family-friendly prices - with all properties now featured on one all-inclusive website,, offering an overarching consumer brand website for all Mantra Group properties for the first time.

Showcasing the company's entire portfolio and suite of experiences, the new dotcom website conveniently provides curious connected travellers with the experiences they seek in one location and is reflective of the company's ongoing expansion strategy into new international markets.

Mantra Group Chief Operating Officer Tomas Johnsson said the Group is embracing its future with a completely reimagined brand identity that showcases the Group's exceptional offerings and appeal as an integral part of contemporary travellers' aspirations.

"Our new Mantra Hotels masterbrand reflects our intent to encourage guests to live life outside the square and reaffirms our commitment to facilitating genuine and trusted experiences in a meaningful way," said Mr Johnsson.

"We do this by providing spaces with options, where guests can tailor things to their liking within four walls… because only then can they reconnect with what's important to them and discover their own kind of wonderful beyond those walls."

As part of the rebranding, the Group has launched a new Mantra Hotels logo emphasising the brand's holistic, organic approach to servicing the needs of today's travellers, which will be used across all consumer communications channels.

Displaying Mantra_Hotels_Logo.JPG

McCann Queensland, part of McCann Worldgroup - the world's largest agency network, developed the innovative Mantra Hotels masterbrand launch campaign, titled 'My Kind of Wonderful' and featuring four stories inspired by real-life events, which Mr Johnsson said was a bold move, amplifying the brand's belief that the best travel experience begins with a space to make your own.

The campaign includes television, social and video advertising, a new brand look and logo, and enhanced social media platforms.

All travel agent log-ins, access to BizBeds and Mantra Group's affiliate program have transferred over to

The Group's newly launched and revitalised loyalty program, Mantra+, is also conveniently located on the new website for guests to receive more offers, more value, and more ways to discover their kind of wonderful.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Meet Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars 3 at Disneyland Resort in California

With the highly anticipated Disney Pixar's 'Cars 3' movie set to open nationwide in Australia on 22nd June 2017, guests can plan their very own Cars themed adventure at Disneyland Resort in California.  The latest sequel in this blockbusting movie franchise, is set to take viewers on a thrilling new action packed adventure, with cutting edge auto scenes and an array of high tech car models.  The all new story, starring Lightning McQueen captures the meaning of being a true champion by believing in yourself against un-win-able odds.

Visitors to Cars Land at Disneyland Resort in California can look forward to stepping into Radiator Springs for themselves, where they will be able to meet characters from the movies and enjoy electrifying attractions, including car races and dancing.

Cars Land at Disneyland Resort in California attractions:

Radiator Springs Racers combines classic storytelling with a thrilling high speed race as the grand finale. The journey begins by boarding a six-person car for a scenic road trip through Ornament Valley, including driving past the valley's famous plunging waterfall, Radiator Falls. Next, guests head towards the town of Radiator Springs, encountering familiar faces along the way.  For the exhilarating conclusion, guests will be pitted against another car full of guests for a friendly competition to see who can get to the checkered flag first.

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters is where guests can join the action by hopping into 20 miniature Italian roadsters (Luigi's cousins), which perform traditional dances of gliding, turning and spinning to upbeat music across a trackless dance floor. Each roadster performs an individual routine meaning guests will enjoy a different experience each time, depending on the car and song playing.

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree allows guests to join in a tow-si-do square dance. The adventure begins when visitors board a trailer pulled by an adorable little tractor and swing in time to lively music sung by Mater himself!

In addition, visitors to Cars Land can savour a hearty feast including house-made pies at Flo's V8 Café or chilli 'cone' queso from the Cosy Cone Motel.  Once night falls, guests can watch as Cars Land comes to life with 16 neon signs, lighting up the sky.

To book a magical Disney holiday, please contact your local travel agent.


Raffles signs Churchill’s Old War Office as iconic London address

Raffles Hotels & Resorts, the top luxury brand of AccorHotels Group, has announced the signing of an historic partnership with the Hinduja Group and Obrascon Huarte Lain Desarrollos (OHLD) to transform the iconic Old War Office building in Whitehall into the most unique hotel and deluxe residences in London. The Raffles Hotel in London will be the heart and soul of this exciting landmark destination.

Raffles Hotels & Resorts is delighted to complete its already stunning portfolio with such an exclusive asset in such strategic city and location.
Steeped in history, the first Raffles Hotel was opened in 1887 in Singapore, named after the British statesman and founder of Singapore, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Raffles was celebrated by Nobel Prize winner, Rudyard Kipling in his 1889 book, From Sea To Sea and in 1915 Singapore's most famous cocktail, the Singapore Sling was created at the hotel. 

The Grade II* listed Old War Office, with its 1100 rooms across seven floors, and two miles of corridors, was completed in 1906. It was the office to many of the United Kingdom's most important and influential political and military leaders of the twentieth century, notably Sir Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Lo
rd Kitchener, Herbert Asquith and T.E. Lawrence. It was also the haunt of the British Secret Service who had their own, more discreet entrance.

Close to 10 Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, the Old War Office was bought by Hinduja Group and OHLD in December 2014 following a public bid. Planning permission was granted for a multi-purpose development including 125 rooms (of which 40% are suites), 88 private residences, restaurants and other amenities. Completion is expected in just over three years.

Commenting on the new partnership, Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of AccorHotels said: "I am delighted to announce this long-term management contract with the Hinduja Group and OHLD. This is the start of an important partnership for Raffles Hotels & Resorts and will create a new and vibrant landmark for London. This is a significant step for Raffles and a strategic addition to the Group's Luxury portfolio. We remain committed to providing guests with unparalleled service and experience."

Gopichand P. Hinduja, the Hinduja Group's Co-Chairman said: "Our new partnership with Raffles Hotels and Resorts is a significant milestone in our vision to transform the Old War Office into London's finest luxury destination. Raffles brings a unique understanding of British heritage and tradition that will help revive this great British landmark."

Sanjay G Hinduja, President of the Hinduja Group, said: "We are delighted that after the completion of the Grade I listed building in Carlton House Terrace, we can now apply this valuable experience to a greater challenge and create what will become the most iconic place in London."

Juan Villar-Mir de Fuentes, Chairman of Grupo OHL said: "The OHL Group is extremely proud to be part of, in partnership with the Hinduja Group, this exciting project which, reinforced with the Raffles brand, is now fully aligned with OHL Desarrollos's strong commitment and strategy to develop unique projects around the world."

For more information or reservations, please visit

Nanuku Auberge Resort introduces 'Ki na kalokalo' private island camping

With an emphasis very much on rustic and soulful, Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji has expanded its already top-heavy list of exclusive client activities to a whole new level with private island camping.

The 'Ki na kalokalo' (pathway to the stars) camping experience revolves around an overnight stay on the resort's nearby private island, Nanuku Island, and begins when resort staff take guests on the short trip aboard Nanuku 1 for an activity-filled afternoon.

This includes a host of options – from exploring the island with jet skis, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking paddle boarding – guests can even join their hosts, the resort's team of 'Nanuku Buddies' in helping to catch and prepare the fresh fish, bamboo-pole cooked prawns and traditional 'kokoda' served for dinner.

Less strenuous activities include palm-frond hat and basket weaving, coconut scraping, searching for the elusive Hawksbeak turtles which inhabit the island – or simply relaxing.

As the sun sets and the 'kalokalo' (stars) begin to emerge, the 'Buddies' entertain guests with traditional songs and the sharing of centuries-old legends of Fiji.

Once dinner and the entertainment have been concluded the crew retire to the nearby-moored Nanuku 1 for the evening offering guests perfect privacy for the night – but not before leaving a 'survival kit', mobile phone and a Tiki torch pathway to a discreetly located and hurricane lamp-lit outhouse.

For those who wish to sleep undercover, weather-proof tents are an option but, according to general manager, Sascha Hemmann, most guests prefer to sleep under the 'kalokalo' in comfortable hammocks.

A highlight of the following morning – the arrival of 'chef' Hemmann aboard a jet ski to personally cook a delicious breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs, juices and fresh-brewed coffee and tea after which guests return to the resort.

Available daily, the 'Ki na kalokalo' private island camping experience is priced from FJD4000* based on four persons. Pricing per additional person is FJD600*.

Pacific Harbour is renowned for its star-lit night skies, the calm waters of Beqa Lagoon forming a sky-to- horizon reflecting mirror earning the region its 'pathway to the stars' title.

*Conditions apply.

For more information about Auberge Resorts Collection, please visit Follow Auberge Resorts Collection on Facebook at and on Twitter and Instagram at @AubergeResorts.

AccorHotels new Mercure hotel for Orange, NSW

Templers Mill Hotel to rebrand as Mercure Orange

AccorHotels, Australia's largest hotel operator, has announced that Templers Mill Hotel will rebrand to Mercure Orange and join its growing network of regional New South Wales hotels in August 2017, following the completion of a 3-year expansion masterplan and a $9million dollar transformation.

Owned by the Orange Ex-Services Club, the two-storey, 77-room soon-to-be internationally-branded midscale Mercure hotel is located within the Club's precinct which features nine function rooms including an indoor swimming pool, sauna and gymnasium.

All guestrooms are in the final stages of being refitted with new joinery, state-of-the art devices (with the ability to order breakfast via TV), high-speed WiFi, complimentary Foxtel, king size beds and monochromatic photography featuring the history of Orange.

Key to the Club's expansion plan is the exciting addition of The Greenhouse of Orange, a unique destination dining concept showcasing the best regional food and wine from the Central West, also set to open in August. As an integrated part of the Orange Ex-Services Club Precinct, this relaxed family-friendly restaurant will offer guests and locals a diverse range of sustainable dining options, with a complete field-to-fork sustainable farming philosophy.

Chief Operating Officer, AccorHotels Pacific, Simon McGrath said, "We're delighted to bring the Mercure brand to Orange in partnership with Orange Ex-Services Club. Orange's growing mining, agricultural and wine industries are set to benefit from the hotel's newly upgraded accommodation facilities as well as the exciting addition of The Greenhouse of Orange dining concept.

"We enjoy partnering with Clubs who have strong local ties to the community as it adds to the overall guest experience. We look forward to helping drive tourism to this beautiful part of regional New South Wales and we are excited to be welcoming guests to Mercure Orange in August," concluded McGrath.

Chief Executive Officer, Orange Ex-Services Club, Cameron Provost, said "It's exciting to see our 3-year expansion plans for the Club and hotel precinct finally come to fruition. We are delighted to entrust AccorHotels with our refurbished hotel and know this partnership will ensure the success of this new venture.

"The Club has been a part of Orange for over 60 years and consists of over 15,000 club members who will no doubt enjoy the upgraded Mercure Orange's hotel facilities and the addition of The Greenhouse of Orange," concluded Provost.

Mercure Orange is located 250km west of Sydney or a 3.5 hour drive, near the centre of Orange on Byng Street.

Mercure Orange complements AccorHotels' existing ibis Styles Orange hotel and joins a network of more than 40 Mercure hotels across Australia and over 700 worldwide.|

Pangea Pod Hotel: Canada's first pod accommodation concept, opening in Whistler, 2018.

Whistler Resort in British Columbia Canada will welcome the opening of the Pangea Pod Hotel in 2018 – a visionary property situated in the centre of the pedestrian village. Designed for the discerning solo traveller seeking a boutique hotel feel, impressive design and a prime location at an affordable price-point, Pangea is set to fill Whistler's void between hostels and hotels.

"Pangea is unlike anything else offered in Canada, and we are thrilled to launch this concept in Whistler. Our unique pod hotel experience will speak to sophisticated, value-conscious guests unwilling to compromise on location, function, and aesthetics," says co-founder Russell Kling. "Currently we are working obsessively to perfect the industrial design of the pods and suites, as well as the interior design of the communal spaces. We are also relentlessly focused on the significant gut renovation to the interior and complete update to the exterior to bring this prime property into the 21st century."

Pangea will feature a series of custom suites housing a total of 88 private sleeping pods. Each boutique pod will be luxuriously lined in wood and comfortably outfitted with a memory foam double mattress and high-end linens. They'll also be equipped with individually controlled LED lights, multiple charging points (including USB ports) and an integrated fan for ventilation and white noise. There's a place for everything, with a lockable cabinet for valuables, hangers and hooks for clothes, and a storage area for luggage. Mirrors and artwork lend a personal touch, while curtains provide a fundamental level of privacy.

Perhaps one of the most ground-breaking design aspects of Pangea is its modular bathroom concept. Unconventional thinking led to the conventional bathroom being separated into four individually accessed components: spa-like shower cubicles, washrooms, vanities, and changing rooms. More than 60 of these bathroom components are spread among Pangea's suites.

"After travelling the world extensively with my husband, Russell, we knew we had to approach the 'bathroom situation' differently to excite the kinds of travellers we want to attract," says Jelena Kling, Pangea's co-founder. "By creating these four-piece bathrooms and locating them all within the suites themselves, we add a level of privacy and convenience not commonly found in hostels or other capsule hotels."

While the pod suites encourage a tranquil and restful ambiance, Pangea's guests will relish the lively atmosphere and connection to Whistler in The Living Room, Pangea's stylish communal space. As the property's hub on the second floor, The Living Room's large drop-down glass panels overlooking the Village Stroll will create the feel of an outdoor patio, with long shared tables in the café for socializing and cozy sitting areas in the bar and lounge for relaxing. The Patio, Pangea's rooftop bar on the third floor, will offer a unique outdoor experience and sensational views down to the Village Square.

In these vibrant communal spaces, Pangea's guests will plan their next day's exploits and trade tips and adventure 'must-dos' with other travellers. They'll also refuel with simple yet delicious meals from the café, sip on barista-made cappuccinos and Americanos from the espresso bar, and toast the day with craft beer, cocktails or wine. Free, lightning fast WiFi will keep Pangea's guests connected throughout the property.

The Toy Box, Pangea's meticulously designed open-plan gear area, will offer secure storage for skis/snowboards and mountain bikes, places to hang wet gear, and private lockers for boots and accessories, meaning everything Pangea's guests need to enjoy Whistler's great outdoors is safely stored and ready for action.

"Pangea will reinvent accommodation in Whistler for a generation of travelers who expect more for less and want to spend their money on experiences, not on several hundred feet of hotel room space in which they simply sleep," says Russell. "Our guests seek a killer location, brilliant design, a cool vibe and certain key elements of privacy. They have money to spend, but not to waste."

Explainer video for a one minute preview on what Pangea Pod Hotel will bring to Whistler, BC:

About Pangea Pod Hotel - CHIC. SHARED. CENTRAL.

Proximity and privacy without the price tag. Pangea was born out of a need for a new kind of accommodation in Whistler – a place where people with a shared passion for mountain sports, travel or just life, in general, could meet, relax and share stories but still have their personal space at the end of the day. Pangea was created with this in mind – an affordable yet boutique property offering private pods within a chic, laid-back setting. Pangea is not a hotel and it is not a hostel; it is the best of both worlds, providing guests the privacy and comfort of a hotel and the affordability and social vibe of a hostel.




Tuesday, June 6, 2017

IPW17: U.S. Travel Industry’s Message to the World: "Welcome"

"One Big Welcome" Is the Theme of Industry’s Largest Annual Trade Show, June 3-7 in Washington, D.C.

Exhibitors on the floor of IPW

The major annual event at which U.S. destinations, travel businesses and attractions work to attract international visitors kicks off at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, June 3 with a topical overarching theme: “One Big Welcome.”

This is the first time Washington will host the U.S. Travel Association’s annual trade show known as IPW, which was awarded to the nation’s capital in 2013.

The travel industry is not unaware of the backdrop against which it will market the U.S. as a destination for travelers around the world.

"America’s relationship with the rest of the world in this era of transition and disruption is on minds across the globe," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "Washington is one of the most-watched cities in the world, yet one of the least understood. Capitol Hill isn’t just the mess you see on the news—it’s actually a vibrant neighborhood with parks and cafes. We need international travelers to realize they should come see this place for themselves—and that America wants them here."

With the unique intersection of politics and travel at this year’s IPW, U.S. Travel is offering special credentials to Washington, D.C.-based journalists to attend Dow’s 10:30 a.m. press conference and tour the show on Tuesday, June 6. Media can obtain credentials by reaching out to U.S. Travel press contacts.

IPW, now in its 49th year, generates over $4.7 billion in future travel to the U.S., by directly convening U.S. destinations, hotels, attractions and wholesalers for three days of intensive pre-scheduled business appointments with international buyers and travel media.

This year’s IPW is set to welcome more than 6,000 attendees from 70 countries, including over 1,300 international tour operators and other businesses that book travel to U.S. destinations, with a record number of delegates from China; nearly 500 international and domestic journalists; and representatives from over 1,100 U.S. destinations, hotels, attractions and other travel businesses.

U.S. Travel and Brand USA, America’s tourism promotion agency, have partnered with Destination DC to stage the event, which will generate major returns for the local economy for an estimated three years after IPW concludes. According to the independent research firm Rockport Analytics, IPW is expected to generate $1.7 billion in economic impact to the city of Washington, D.C. and attract more than one million additional visitors to the Washington, D.C. area during that time.

IPW attendees will also have the opportunity to join exclusive tours of Washington, D.C. and the region, and enjoy spectacular evening entertainment at iconic sites, including the opening night event at the National Air and Space Museum, the press brunch at the Newseum, a VIP dinner at Washington National Cathedral and the closing night event at Nationals Park.

All the while they will be buffeted by the “One Big Welcome” branding created by the host organizations for this year’s event—starting the moment they get off the airplane, with welcome lounges sponsored by Destination DC at Dulles International and Reagan National airports.

Said Dow: “My heartiest thanks go out to Elliott Ferguson and his team at Destination DC for their incredible preparation for IPW 2017. They’ve put together a phenomenal program that drives home the idea that Washington, D.C.—like America as a whole—is first and foremost a place of dynamic attractions and unparalleled hospitality.”

Learn more about IPW 2017 at

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Yulefest flavours in the NSW Blue Mountains

Festive flavours, toasty fires and cheery decorations will create a warming oasis within the grandest of the grand hotels of the Blue Mountains this Yulefest.

Each Friday and Saturday throughout July, visitors to the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath, can indulge in a decadent high tea featuring nostalgic flavours such as ginger, cranberry and roast pork. Guests at Darleys Restaurant (pictured above) and Echoes Restaurant at Katoomba will feast on a Yulefest-inspired menu.

Or, indulge in a decadent five-course degustation at the Hydro Majestic beginning with a lobster bisque amuse, followed by an entrée tasting plate of butter poached Balmain bug, chicken and lemon terrine, piccalilli and poached baby pear, prosciutto and herbed goats cheese, a main of turkey roulade and roast pork belly with cranberry and chestnut jus; a mini toffee apple cleanser and a traditional plum pudding dessert then tea/coffee and gingerbread and chocolate truffles.

The exquisite experience begins on arrival as guests are wowed by the grandeur of the Casino Lobby with its iconic domed roof and spectacular chandelier before walking through the understated elegance and warm ambience of the Wintergarden Restaurant with its ornate fireplace and magical mist-filled Megalong Valley views.

Hydro Majestic Hotel head chef Mate Herceg said Yulefest had been a tradition in the area since 1980 and today, winter was the season for which the Blue Mountains was most famous: ``It gets us into the festive season twice a year and really, who doesn’t like Christmas? It’s a time to come together, eat, drink warming beverages and share stories.’’

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger encouraged guests to fully immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere by staying at least one night: ``Yulefest in the Blue Mountains offers the European-style atmosphere people associate with Christmas – a chilly landscape outside and cosiness inside with roaring fires, hot food and drinks, traditional decorations and festive music, but without the stress and frosty relatives. Sometimes there’s even snow as a special surprise.’’

Go to to book the Yulefest degustation at the Hydro Majestic Hotel. Cost: $125 adults, $50 children aged 3-12 years.

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The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places