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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Travel Leaders Gather to Honour Khiri Travel’s 25th Anniversary

Travel industry leaders in Thailand gathered 24 August in Bangkok to honour the 25th anniversary of Khiri Travel.

Khiri Travel was founded by Willem Niemeijer in Bangkok in 1993 to arrange travel to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia at a time when the Mekong region was opening to tourists. From a one-room office, the start-up has grown into an award-winning responsible tourism destination management company with 230 employees and 17 offices across eight Asian countries.

For the anniversary event, Khiri Travel arranged a travel leaders panel discussion entitled, "The Next 25 Years in Travel." Pacific Asia Travel Association CEO Mario Hardy told the 150 gathered travel industry leaders that the next 25 years would likely see exponential tourism growth, which must be underpinned by better tourism dispersal and more respect for host communities and the natural environment.

Randy Durband the CEO of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council told the audience that travel technology will become better and more widely applied to product information and distribution. He called for improvements to destination management. He said governments were only now awaking to the need to manage tourism better and not just apply budget to promotions.

"An increasing number of travellers will also seek less crowded and more 'authentic' places to visit – so better traveller dispersion through improved visitor management will be vital," said Mr Durband.

Co-panellist, CEO of QUO, David Keen, a tourism branding expert, said that Asia's future would "depend on sustainable policies to control mass tourism that has massively degraded some destinations and now threatens the livelihood of other resort destinations across the continent."

He said it was time for governments to stop defining tourism success by arrival numbers.

The Khiri Travel CEO Willem Niemeijer admitted to the audience that it was almost impossible to predict the next quarter century in travel due to the increasing speed of technological change.

However, Niemeijer said that tourism dispersion would remain central to Khiri Travel's product development. "Khiri Travel will continue to support the sustainable development of travel beyond Asia's hubs." He added that that values such as integrity, inclusion and respect for local culture would continue to define Khiri's commitment to responsible travel.

"As a CEO, the joy for me is when we work with local people at grass roots to help them realise their hopes for their families and communities. For me, this will not change in the next 25 years," said Niemeijer.

Khiri Travel's 25th anniversary celebration at the Glass House at Nai Lert Park Heritage Home in Bangkok featured a display of Khiri Travel images and memorabilia from the last 25 years.

The anniversary event featured a traditional Thai puppetry show. Guests were greeted by Khiri Travel staff dressed in traditional attire from Khiri's countries of operation: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

"The event was a celebration. But it also gave guests real food for thought on issues such as corporate social responsibility, overtourism and travel industry challenges ahead," said Keen.

In 2007  Niemeijer launched Khiri Reach, the charitable arm of Khiri Travel. Khiri Reach now supports 25 projects in seven countries. Khiri Travel pays all overheads. One hundred per cent of donations to Khiri Reach go to the projects.

Guests to the anniversary event were encouraged to give donations to three projects: help for the victims of the recent Lombok earthquakes, clean water wells in Myanmar, and a children's foundation in Vietnam. Khiri Travel vowed to match donations received during the event.

On Khiri Travel's future, Niemeijer said the company would expand further. "We're always looking at sustainable long-term growth for Khiri."

About Khiri Travel

Since 1993, Khiri Travel has won awards and earned a reputation as a destination management company dedicated to working with select tour operators to provide quality leisure travel experiences across Asia. With 17 offices in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Khiri Travel's entrepreneurial associates craft innovative itineraries that reflect their passion for authentic, local and sustainable experiences. Visit

Monday, August 27, 2018

Mövenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives Draws on Nature with Stunning Designs

MOTIV design studio harnesses natural materials including coconuts and bamboo to create a breathtaking private island resort, scheduled to open in November 2018

Nestled on a private island in Noonu Atoll, situated in the northern part of the Maldives, Mӧvenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives promises serene seclusion and tropical tranquillity when it opens in November 2018. The resort will also showcase a series of unique architectural features and distinctive design touches that complement the soothing natural surroundings.

The resort was designed by the acclaimed architects from the Poland based company MOTIV, who used the private, uninhabited tropical island of Kuredhivaru as a blank canvas on which to create something aesthetically appealing and truly unique. Taking inspiration from the Maldives' spectacular natural scenery, MOTIV has designed a masterpiece that weaves seamlessly into the island environment, blurring the boundaries between innovative design, Maldivian heritage and Mother Nature.

Mӧvenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives will be Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts' inaugural property in the Maldives, and the first Maldivian project for MOTIV, bringing a fresh perspective to the country's hospitality scene.

Organic shapes for the roofs in villas and restaurants make the structure blend better with the environment. Interiors were dictated by ergonomy, to give to the guest comfort to stay close to nature, nature is the biggest luxury in the Maldives and architecture should just make it more prominent.

"We wanted to make sure we did not damage the island or the marine environment, so we followed nature. Also, we did not want to build anything too contemporary; so you will find in the final design influences from the Maldives and Indonesia. Organic shapes used for the roofs in the villas and restaurants allow the structures to blend with the environment. Sustainability was always our priority and therefore I was looking for solutions that could enhance my design " explained Pawel Podwojewski, founder of MOTIV.

The 30 Beach Pool Suites and three Beach Spa Pool Residences are surrounded by native trees and mature plants, providing privacy and shade. Each room features an amazing elevated deck that "floats" three metres above the private pool, offering endless ocean views.

Guests in each of the 72 Overwater Pool Villas will discover a huge glass floor in the hallway, which frames breathtaking displays of marine life underfoot. Each villa also features a private pool and a large outdoor deck with a hammock and direct access to the shimmering sea below. The roofs, inspired by central Asian culture, provide beautiful canopies that reflect ambient light into the rooms at night.

In terms of natural materials, coconut wood has been used for the furniture, structural elements of salas and the interior mosaics were finished with handmade square shape coconut tips creating a warm and enchanting environment indoors. The resort's main restaurant, ONU, is built entirely from bamboo with a wide-open roof, including intricate geometrical shapes, while Bodumas, the seafood restaurant, boasts a roof design that 's inspired by seashells. Latitude 5.5 restaurant follows the bamboo organic design and provides a spectacular view from the edge of the infinity swimming pool.

"Conservation is a key element of the project. Every coconut palm on the island has been preserved, with a limited number being replanted. The island is also home to some traditional coral brick structures with historical and cultural significance, and these have also been preserved for guests to visit," added Pawel Podwojewski, founder MOTIV.

Guests who want to experience this new architectural wonder now have the chance to book their dream holiday at Mӧvenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives with enticing opening rates starting from just US$577 per night inclusive of breakfast and taxes.

Bookings of three nights or more will also include an array of additional benefits, including US$100 resort credit per stay (valid for food and beverage, spa treatments, water sports and diving), plus an additional 20% discount at the Diving and Water Sports Centre, and a free room upgrade (subject to availability).

This opening offer is valid for stays between 1 November and 23 December 2018. For more information and reservations, please call +960 656 3000 or email

Tauck's Authentic Small Group Travel Experiences


People choose to see the world with Tauck because they want a deeper, more authentic travel experience and many guests are drawn to the specialist operator's small group trips.

As with all Tauck experiences, these journeys are seamless and all-inclusive, with all the details taken care of and no hidden extras, so guests can relax and enjoy exclusive, extraordinary moments they can only experience through Tauck.

Tauck offers many ways to travel in in a more intimate number of between 20 and 25 guests from select departures of classic land journeys and Tauck Bridges family adventures, to trips designed expressly for small groups, including culturally immersive, hands-on journeys, popular African safaris and private groups where guests can buy out a departure of a Tauck trip and travel exclusively,

Wherever Tauck travels, guests will explore the world's treasure, discover people and cultures they may not have known even existed and experience extraordinary, life-changing moments.

Tauck's drivers, local experts and guides are caring, top of the line professionals and problem solvers who take care of everything, including collection and delivery of luggage throughout, so all guests have to do is sit back and enjoy an amazing, seamless and
worry-free trip.

No tours head off at the crack of dawn and there is plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast in preparation for the activity in store. Throughout the trip, guests will select all meals a la carte – no group meals.

Tauck small group trips take in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia and will again feature an array of enticing itineraries in 2019 including:


Tauck's 14-day Classic Italy, Small Groups is a grand Italian holiday, small group style. Averaging 24 Tauck guests, this intimate travel experience is an Italian best-seller at small, chic hotels in the heart of Sorrento, Rome, Venice and Florence, in the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo's vast painted drama on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, for a Tauck Exclusive, after-hours visit, along the blue expanse of the Mediterranean traversing the Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre, in the lavish halls of the Doge's Palace in Venice, and in that city's great St. Mark's Basilica, site of another Tauck exclusive after-hours visit, at the haunting ruins of the Colosseum, in the passion of Renaissance scenes in the Uffizi, in the panorama of rolling vineyards from the heights of Orvieto, in a country village under the Tuscan sun, or at the first taste of Umbrian cuisine, unhurried and unherded.

Classic Italy, Small Groups is priced in 2019 from $11,990 per person twin share.

In 2019 Tauck is offering guests who pre-stay or arrive early in Sorrento an Optional Sightseeing Tour of the Island of Capri on Day 1 costing $360 per person including a private transfer from Tauck's hotel to the pier in Sorrento and back, transportation by hydrofoil from Sorrento to Capri and back, a tour of Capri by minibus and funicular and a full day with an English-speaking local guide, visits to the island's main towns of Anacapri and Capri, lunch and a visit to the Blue Grotto (weather permitting), or alternate sightseeing.

Tauck Exclusive Ferragamo Departures are priced from $14,090 per person twin share on selected tours in May, June and September 2019, including a special evening in Florence featuring a private Ferragamo wine reception on Day 10 in Florence. This exclusive Tauck experience will be hosted by a member of the family of fashion icon Salvatore Ferragamo and feature a visit to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum and a tasting of locally produced Ferragamo wines.


Blessed with landscapes lush and lovely, Northern Spain entices with culinary specialities locally grown, cultural charms, unique to the region, and a history of paradors and pilgrimages continuing today.

Tauck's 14-day Paradors of Northern Spain discovers an eclectic mix of Gaudí's whimsical sites and Gothic grandeur in Barcelona, a mountain monastery in Montserrat and medieval menus in La Seu d'Urgell.

Guests will see where the bulls run in Pamplona, the surfers ride in San Sebastian and art goes wild in Balboa.

Food and wine entice in Oviedo and in Santiago de Compostela, spiritual stories are the draw.

A drive across the border to Portugal will take guests to sample port in Porto, college days in Coimbra and life in Lisbon before this two-week journey ends.

Special Tauck experiences include a choice of spa treatment or cooking demonstration at El Castell de Ciutat, a 7-course feast set within a medieval castle, a visit to the monastery atop Montserrat, a wine tasting and lunch at a Porto winery and a cruise aboard a Rabelo boat.

Paradors of Northern Spain is priced in 2019 from $8090 per person twin share.

Bookings are to be directed to your travel agent or Tauck Australia on 1300 732 300 or

Friday, August 10, 2018

Elephant torture: ‘We didn’t know’ claims Intrepid co-founder


Intrepid co-founder admits ‘we didn’t know’, trade asked to take elephant pledge

Unsuspecting tourists riding trained elephants at Ban Ta Klang Elephant Village, Thailand. (R Eime)

Intrepid Group co-founder Geoff Manchester has admitted to not knowing the dark side of elephant riding, and said that there is no excuse any longer, in a mini-documentary released for World Elephant Day.

Travel agents have been asked to pledge their support to end elephant riding and with each pledge the Intrepid Group to donate $1 to The Intrepid Foundation to support the cause, with one agent to win an Intrepid trip to Thailand to visit rehabilitated elephants.

In the documentary released today, the adventure travel company has shown graphic footage of the torture of young elephants for rides, in a plea to travellers to stop the tourist attractions for good.

“I was the first ever Intrepid leader, so I guess I was the first Intrepid leader to take travellers on elephant rides,” Manchester said.

Intrepid Group was the first travel company to ban elephant rides in 2014 following research collaboration with World Animal Protection and many in the travel industry followed suit. The confronting documentary highlights the practice of beating and starvation to make the elephants submissive for human rides.

“When we rescue elephants some of them have worked for humans for six or seven decades… More than 80% arrive with a huge mental problem. Some of them stand still like a zombie, some of them are very aggressive and angry,” Elephant Nature Park Chiang Mai founder Lek Chailert said.

“I don’t blame people because they don’t know,” Chailert added.

This is the message Intrepid is urging on World Elephant Day – you didn’t know. We didn’t know. But know that we do, we need to spread the message, with research showing that not all Australians know that elephant riding involves cruelty.

The latest research from World Animal Protection commissioned this year shows that 28% of Australians have taken an elephant ride. 40% of women think elephant rides are unacceptable, while 27% of men think the same.

Consumer sentiment and awareness is not at the level it should be, Manchester said, and on World Elephant Day Intrepid pleads with travellers to cease elephant riding for good.

“It’s just the start of something that will hopefully eventuate in elephant riding ceasing all together and that might be in 10 years or it might be in 20 years but eventually it will happen,” Manchester added.

For more:

Melbourne's new four-star winery Marnong Estate

Marnong Estate, a new four-star estate located on the fringe of Melbourne’s northern suburbs, has released discounted opening rates for the luxury homestead accommodation starting from only $295.00 per night.

Complete with a winery, restaurant and an event space to host 250 guests overlooking the Macedon Ranges, the Homestead Accommodation is only $295.00 per night including continental breakfast (Sunday – Thursday) and $395.00 per night including breakfast (Friday – Saturday) available from August 1, 2018 till 31 December 2018

* bookings are subject to availability

Located only 15 minutes from Tullamarine Airport, guests can be one of the first to stay and experience Melbourne’s newest four-star estate with this incredible offer.

The historic homestead was originally the family home of William Angliss built in 1860’s and has been restored into 4.5-star accommodation, offering guests country hospitality, coupled with contemporary and luxurious style.

Guests can choose to stay overnight in one of four twin share suites including; Garden View Suite, Victorian Suite, Blue Stone Suite and the Terrace Suite all offering the comfort and luxury of Queen Beds and full ensuite with amenities.

Marnong Estate is set to be a world-class tourism facility like no other in regional Australia. Over time the Estate will offer Day Spa, brewery and farmers market.

Situated on 1,100 acres, Marnong Estate will offer size and scope that is not found in any other hospitality and leisure destinations in regional Victoria making it Melbourne’s one-stop resort destination for local, interstate and international visitors.

Sitting high on the hills Marnong Estate offers stunning views overlooking the valley between Deep Creek through to Emu Creek and the surrounding Macedon ranges – it is the perfect location for a relaxing getaway providing visitors with an unforgettable experience at Melbourne’s newest luxurious resort.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Celebrating 25 Years of The World’s Most Exciting Day Trip

The one and only, Antarctica Flights, is celebrating 25 years of fulfilling the dreams of over 40,000 guests since their first charter in 1994. With each new season comes new sights to behold, join the privileged few to witness the desolate beauty of this untamed landscape.

The 25th season of Antarctica Flights will commence on 18 November 2018 departing from Sydney, and for the first time ever, an Antarctica Flight will be available from Hobart on 25 November 2018. The ever-popular New Year's Eve Antarctica Flight ex Melbourne will be making a return, perfectly positioning passengers over the icy continent right in time to ring in the New Year while witnessing glaciers, icebergs and lunar landscapes, as the sound of a four-piece jazz band plays live in the cabin.

This unique experience is the only way to visit Antarctica from Australia and the only 'flightseeing' tour in the world to explore the region. With Antarctica Flights, reach the continent in just four hours aboard a privately chartered Qantas 747—and be back to sleep in your own bed that same night.

No two flights are the same, with up to 19 weather dependent routes, there's no wonder this is every pilot's favourite flight to command. With up to 4 hours viewing time over the ice paired with Qantas' full international flight service, commentary from the cockpit and Antarctica experts hosting the flight, it's certainly a special treat for adventurers young and young at heart. Take in the sights as the plane descends to as low as 10,000 ft and swoops in figure 8 patterns to maximize viewing opportunities of research bases, mountainous peaks and colossal icebergs below.

"The length of time sailing rough seas and cost of a cruise to Antarctica means the closest most people will ever come to seeing the world's last great wilderness is via their TV screen. Our one-day sightseeing flights enable more people to fulfil a lifelong dream of seeing Antarctica," explained Phil Asker, Founder of Antarctica Flights.

Enjoy unparalleled bird's eye views stretching far beyond the horizon, while on-board Antarctic experts inspire guests with intrepid expedition stories and in flight documentaries about the region to complete a truly immersive experience. Normal travel rules go out the window, everyone is encouraged to rotate around the cabin to enjoy a different viewing perspective. The atmosphere on board is charged with adventure.

How often do you get the chance to tick an entire continent off your wish list – in a day? With a range of seat classes available to suit all budgets, an Antarctica experience would make the ideal special occasion gift—or treat for yourself.

To find out more and to book please visit or call 1800 633 449.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Party with 10 friends in a free private room on Sydney Harbour

Book a table for ten aboard a Captain Cook dinner cruise and save up to 40% and receive a free upgrade to a private room onboard flagship vessel MV Sydney 2000.  Prices start from as low as $65 per person and this incredible deal is valid for sale until 31 August and travel until 30 September 2018.

The MV Sydney 2000 has three dining decks, a 360-degree open top deck and two private function rooms, The Sirius Room and Endeavour Lounge. Both rooms feature private dining and balcony creating the perfect setting for a celebration or simply a great night out with friends.

This special offer is available on the Sunset Dinner, Starlight Dinner, Brilliant Dinner & Drinks and the Gold Penfolds Dinner cruises.

Departing at 5.00pm, the Sunset Dinner cruise provides the best seasonal views – witness winter city lights or spring twilight, while enjoying a delicious two course a la carte contemporary Australian menu, including a selection of sparkling and still wines, beer and coffee.

The Sunset Dinner Cruise is priced at only $65 per person, normally $99 per person, when booking for 10 or more people, including a free upgrade to a private room. The cruise departs King Street Wharf 1 at 5.00pm, returning at 6.30pm.

Enjoy a three-course Contemporary Australian menu, accompanied by the spectacular vista of Sydney by night on the Starlight Dinner and Brilliant Dinner and Drinks cruises.

The Starlight Dinner cruise is priced at only $75 per person, normally $125 per person, when booking for 10 or more people, including a free private room.

The Brilliant Dinner and Drinks cruise also includes a selection of house sparkling and still wines, beer and coffee and is priced at $99 per person, normally $154 per person when booking for 10 or more people, including an upgrade to a private room.

The five-star Gold Penfolds Dinner cruise is the ultimate six course dining experience. The Gold Dinner includes priority boarding, a welcome Captain's cocktail reception when boarding at Circular Quay, exclusive sky deck seating, sophisticated lounge entertainment and a deluxe six-course degustation menu with specially selected Penfolds wines served to complement each course plus an open bar of house spirits, beer and soft drinks.

The Gold Penfolds Dinner cruise is priced at only $195 per person, normally $259 per person, when booking for 10 or more people, including a free private room.

Dinner cruises depart Wharf 6, Circular Quay at 7.00pm returning 10.30pm Friday to Saturday and 9.30pm Sunday to Thursday. Dinner cruises also depart No.1 King Street Wharf at 7.30pm, returning 11pm Friday to Saturday and 10pm Sunday – Thursday.

For further information visit:

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places