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Saturday, December 19, 2020

Pan Pacific Hotels Group Grows its Australian Footprint

with the Opening of PARKROYAL Monash Melbourne in April 2021.

Pan Pacific Hotels Group is delighted to announce the expansion of its existing footprint in Australia with the signing of PARKROYAL Monash Melbourne.

Friday, December 18, 2020

ATIC welcomes new Federal Tourism Minister

ATIC Executive Director
Simon Westaway
Peak tourism body ATIC has welcomed Dan Tehan as Australia’s next Tourism Minister pointing to his seniority, track record in policy reform and keen interest in Australia’s visitor economy.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said Tourism’s retention in Federal Cabinet and the senior Ministerial appointment was critical given ongoing COVID related issues facing industry.

“Tourism is a major economic pillar, employing 1 in 12 Australians, but the financial and operational challenges now before us due to the impacts of COVID remain,” Mr Westaway said.

Friday, December 11, 2020

ATIC: Domestic tourism needs certainty on open borders

ATIC Executive Director
Simon Westaway
Latest national tourism data around Australia’s free-falling domestic visitor economy due to COVID-19 is proof point that certainty around keeping interstate borders open must remain.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said 2020’s COVID and bushfire impact saw a $36 billion hit to tourism with 3/4 of domestic overnight spend losses due to interstate travel collapsing.

Tourism Research Australia’s September 2020 analysis also showed national Visitor Spend (down 56%), Overnight Trips (down 46%) and Visitor Nights (down 43%) against September 2019.

“Open domestic borders and the confidence they will stay open is the catalyst for getting Australians to begin travelling again and this can’t be compromised,” Mr Westaway said.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The Ultimate ‘Stunning South Australian’ Holiday Experience

Escape to stunning South Australia on a trip of a lifetime and discover its amazing food, wine, wildlife, history and attractions on Captain Cook Cruises’ new eight, nine or twelve-day Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and Murray River packages starting from only $1917 per person twin share.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Accor Launches Major Tourism Marketing Campaign

Accor, the largest hotel operator in Australia, is encouraging Australians to Take Two on their missed holiday plans and celebrations with one of the largest tourism marketing campaigns to launch since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Australians urged to book a holiday at home to drive tourism boost

Two of Australia's most iconic homegrown personalities, Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster-Blake, are helping to inspire travellers to book their next domestic holiday as part of a Tourism Australia's latest campaign launched today.

Monday, September 21, 2020

New Kangaroo Island Sip & See Day Tour from Sealink

Spoil your senses, indulge your taste buds, and get up close to the magnificent wildlife, while exploring some of Kangaroo Island’s much-loved attractions on SeaLink’s new Kangaroo Island Sip & See Day Tour. Operating every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday until March 2021, this fun-filled tour is priced from $256.00 per person, twin share.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Message from CEO, Dr. Dhananjay Regmi, Nepal Tourism Board

Dear Best Friends and Well Wishers of Nepal,

On behalf of the Government of Nepal, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and the
whole Nepalese tourism fraternity, I am pleased to write to you this
mail.  First of all, I wish all of you sound health, progress and
prosperity during this hour of crisis.
This is our distinct honour to acknowledge your support and cooperation
for the promotion of Nepal in international markets and for the
development of Nepal's tourism industry. You have always been
instrumental in establishing Nepal's rich natural and cultural products
and activities in the global tourism map. You are truly Nepal's Goodwill
Ambassadors for a long time.
Today, both you and we have been suffering from the impacts of COVID 19
pandemic which has brought the global economies to their knees. All of
us are aware that this pandemic has caused huge fatalities around the
world. Our deepest tributes go to those who lost their lives, and we
wish all infected quickest recovery.  In Nepal, the death ratio of COVID
infected people is 0.9%, while as of now, the recovery rate is remarkably
high. We hope and pray we will come out of this situation at the
earliest. Government of Nepal and other concerned authorities have been
aggressively working on keeping it under control.
  It is evident that tourism has been the hardest hit sector by this
pandemic. To set this business upright, we have to struggle hard with
all kinds of partnerships, collaborations, and cooperation. In Nepal,
Government, private sector and NTB have been working round the clock to
reopen tourism business at the earliest date. For this, Government has
issued safety Protocol and ensured its strict implementation in all
sectors, tourism, hospitality and aviation being highly prioritized. We
are gradually opening the business step by step. Since September 1st,
international flights resumed while we are planning to resume domestic
flights from this month. Government has taken all safety measures as its
top priority.
In the new normal scenario, tastes and interests of travellers are likely
to change. Safety, health security and natural setting will be their
choices. For this, you can count on Nepal because it is the country
which is largely based on Natural products. Adventure activities, which
are unique features of Nepal's tourism, will be more sought after by
travellers. Trekking, jungle safari, rafting, sustainable tourism
activities are more likely to be in the bucket list of potential
visitors. Yoga, meditation, herbal medicines, organic foods, Ayurvedic
treatments and traditional healing methods will be on a greater demand.
For all this, Nepal will be on top of the list. Even today, for instance,
high profile mountain expeditions to Mt. Lobuche and Mt. Manaslu are
being organized. Prince of Kingdom of Bahrain is leading the expedition
this month.
Due to the pandemic, most of the international events like trade fairs,
sales missions, roadshows and others have been postponed. We are
planning to participate in such international events as soon as the
situation becomes comfortable and movement becomes smooth. At this
moment, we are launching our alternative marketing campaigns through
digital marketing strategies. We are making optimum use of social media,
blogging, and other means of digital outlets. In this mission, your
engagements and supports are essential.
Nepal is the destination for all seasons and for all reasons. We will
keep in touch with you and update our status on regular basis.
Thanking you,

Dr. Dhananjay Regmi
Chief Executive Officer
Nepal Tourism Board

  Tourist Service Center, Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel: 977-1-4256909 | FAX: 977-0-4256910 | Email:

Monday, September 14, 2020

Jimi Hendrix celebrated in Seattle 50 years on

Considered by many as “Seattle’s Son,” Jimi Hendrix was born and raised in the Emerald City and with his virtuosic guitar playing soon became a superstar and rock legend. In his brief time in the public eye from 1966-1970, he thrilled audiences with his wildly outrageous electric guitar playing, innovative, experimental sound, and unforgettable songwriting.

ATIC calls for 12-month visa extension for remaining Backpackers

The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) has called for a 12-month visa extension for all remaining backpackers in Australia.

Australia welcomes 150,000 backpacker visitors at any time generating $3.2 billion in tourism spending in 2019. But COVID-19 has seen backpacker numbers dramatically fall by over 50%.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said with 70,000 backpackers still here the free-falling number of remaining backpackers on working holiday visas required an urgent circuit breaker.

“A one-year extension for all remaining backpackers’ visa conditions stabilises the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) Program at a critical time for tourism and industry,” Mr Westaway said.

“The absence of backpackers is being harshly felt through the dual loss of usual working holidaymaker spending and dwindling seasonal workers inside many tourism businesses and towns.

“Backpackers travel extensively through Australia taking up hard-to-fill roles across key regional industries including tourism and hospitality as well as areas of agriculture and horticulture.

“The current situation sees recovering regions unable to meet returning local visitor demand in many places where numbers of local businesses do not have enough workers to cater for them.

Source: ABC

“Backpackers are highly valued and their rapid decline in number is proving particularly detrimental to regional businesses and jobs and in their efforts for recovery out of COVID.

“Tourism businesses like hostels and specialist backpacker accommodation and bus and transport offerings that specially cater for backpackers no longer greet many of these high-valued tourists.

“Without urgent Federal Government intervention, despite their existing focus on the issue, we genuinely fear the WHM Program will all but stop in its tracks by early 2021!

“This is because the response to COVID-19 has contributed to a hard-closed international border, tight caps on international arrivals and a high outflow from Australia of departing backpackers.

“ATIC believes Australia’s continual high-appeal to backpackers could easily be turned into a catalyst for future international visitor recovery and backs a fast-tracked pilot program for them.”

Mr Westaway said ATIC had outlined to the Morrison Government a multi-point plan to sustain and long-term retain the backpacker market and this closely aligned with key industry advocates.

Tourism Research Australia analysis showed backpackers pre-COVID generated 46 million visitor nights, spending $3.2 billion across all States and Territories including with high regional dispersal.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

MSC resumes Mediterranean cruising on MSC Grandiosa

· MSC Cruises’ flagship departed yesterday from Genoa, Italy for its first 7-night cruise in West Mediterranean

· MSC Cruises’ own and comprehensive health and safety protocol implemented for all guests and crew

Friday, August 7, 2020

Goulburn Australia Launches New Destination Marketing Campaign

An exciting new Destination Marketing Campaign to promote Goulburn Australia is being rolled out by the Marketing & Events Team of Goulburn Mulwaree Council.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

American travellers losing confidence in #Covid19 information sources, survey claims

Source: Wall Street Journal

According to the most recent Longwoods International tracking study of American travelers, the ever-shifting threat of the pandemic has taken its toll on consumer confidence in official information sources. The percentage of travelers relying on information on the safety of U.S. travel from the CDC or other federal health agencies has dropped from 57% on April 22nd to 45% on July 29th.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

New research shows Australians bursting for Pacific bubble

New data from travel platform, Vacaay, reveals Australians are eagerly awaiting the opening of the Pacific Bubble ­– with French Polynesia, Fiji and Cook Islands experiencing a surge in online interest.

To compare the shift in travel intention as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vacaay compared usage from 15 February to 15 March 2020 with the period 15 June to 15 July 2020.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Take a tour of Sydney’s fascinating pandemic history

City of Sydney staff wearing masks to protect themselves from 1919 flu (City of Sydney Archives)

Aligning with the current curiosity for pandemics and epidemics, Renaissance Tours have curated ‘In Sickness and in Health’, a fascinating look into discovering how disease and contagion changed the course of Sydney’s history from the days of colonisation to the present.

Jobkeeper extended until 2021. Extension explained

The Federal Government has announced it will extend the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme beyond the end of the existing JobKeeper scheme on 28 September 2020.  The extension will run up until 28 March 2021. 

The following is a summary of changes to the Jobkeeper scheme, though you can read more detail in this article

In regard to JobKeeper payments, under the extension the $1,500 fortnightly JobKeeper payment will reduce to the following:

Eligibility requirement – employees:
Eligible employees will qualify for the maximum rate or the reduced rate based on the hours they worked during the month of February 2020.  Employees who worked an average of 20 hours per week in the month of February 2020 will be eligible for the maximum rate.

Employer eligibility to receive JobKeeper payments from 28 September 2020, businesses will need to meet the basic eligibility tests and an extended decline in turnover test based on actual GST turnover.

Source: Hendersons Financial Planning

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

ATIC: Retention of JobKeeper backs Tourism’s future

ATIC has welcomed the retention of JobKeeper as an investment in a stronger future for one of Australia’s economic pillars and employers – tourism!

But the peak tourism industry body said re-consideration for exemption for seasonal tourism and associated businesses, particularly across Northern Australia, into JobKeeper 2.0, was needed.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said:
ATIC's Simon Westaway "retention of JobKeeper was an
absolute priority for our heavily impacted tourism industry"

“The Federal Government’s retention of JobKeeper was an absolute priority for our heavily impacted tourism industry, an employer of 1 million Australians, powered by thousands of small businesses. We recognise the significance of the continuing commitment to this valued Program.

“JobKeeper to date has done the job intended enabling sustainable businesses including most tourism enterprises to keep on key workers until the economy and visitor demand recovers.

“JobKeeper 2.0’s 6-month extension provides certainty to keep tourism business doors open because most still await visitor recovery with a firmly closed international border and ongoing domestic border restrictions in place across States and Territories in response to COVID-19.

“Australia’s border constraints remain critical in both tourism’s and our economy’s ability to effectively recover. Today’s announcement cannot mask this obvious ongoing economic impediment which drove our call-out for JobKeeper’s targeted extension.

“ATIC’s positive 5-point plan for JobKeeper’s future has been largely captured and we and our business members will work constructively with Government around its next-phase.

“This includes urgent engagement with Government and the Opposition on the best means to address the exceptional circumstances faced by seasonal tourism businesses, such as across Northern Australia, which didn’t qualify under the first stage of JobKeeper and will again continue to fall outside the Program’s next phase guidelines.

“Their value to Australia’s tourism industry and our diversity of offering is undeniable.

“These businesses’ ability to be eligible and re-considered inside JobKeeper 2.0 or be supported via targeted assistance through the Federal COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund due to their exceptional circumstances will be argued for.”

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The New Normal - Your guide to a post COVID-19 Hunter Valley visit

Remember the days when you eagerly headed up the F1 to the Hunter Valley, a mere two-hour drive from Sydney, boot empty, friends in tow, ready to hit as many wineries as you could in a day and do some serious wine tasting?

Friday, July 3, 2020

Most Australians are already travelling. Are you?

According to a study sponsored by PayPal, 65% of Aussies are already comfortable travelling, but only if they’re staying close to home –

• 96% of Aussies not comfortable to travel broadly overseas

• 2-in-5 Aussies can’t wait to go travelling again and 65% are already comfortable travelling in Australia

• 3-in-5 Aussies had to change, or cancel travel plans due to COVID-19

• Almost 30% would rather stay local and support the Aussie tourism industry – even if they could go overseas

Thursday, July 2, 2020

New 'Road to Recovery Tour' on Kangaroo Island

To aid the recovery of Kangaroo Island in the aftermath of their devastating bushfires, Kangaroo Island Odysseys has launched a new one-night/one-day 'Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour'. The tour operates daily and a special 'Hot Deal' rate of only $599 per person twin share, normally $650 per person twin share, is available for travel from the 5th to the 31st August 2020 including a free breakfast.


Designed in consultation with the company's local tour guides, the KI Odysseys Kangaroo Island 'Road to Recovery Tour' visits the bushfire affected areas at the western end of Kangaroo Island, including Bunker Hill, Remarkable Rocks, Cape du Couedic and Admirals Arch, all in Flinders Chase National Park which re-opened recently only to Certified Tour Operators. The tour also visits the fire damaged areas of Vivonne Bay Beach and Point Ellen at Vivonne Bay and the North Coast of Kangaroo Island.


Out of the ashes witness the amazing regeneration and regrowth of the flora and fauna that is bringing a whole new sense of beauty and life to the island. See tree trunks and roots shoot with buds, and ash beds now full of nutrients which have greatly enhanced the proliferation of seedling germination.  With the once dense scrub now gone, see for the first-time hills and terrain that has been hidden for years and now show an incredible heat produced mosaic pattern on the landscape. 


The island's iconic wildlife has not been forgotten with the tour visiting Seal Bay Conservation Park for a guided beach walk amongst wild Australian Sealions. The tour also includes a delicious lunch in a bushland location and an afternoon tea at Snellings Beach. Visit beautiful Stokes Bay in the afternoon to spot kangaroos, koalas and possibly Australia's rarest cockatoo, the Glossy Black Cockatoo. Throughout the day guests will enjoy many opportunities for unique wildlife and native vegetation regeneration photography. 


The KI Odysseys 'Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour' offers a personalised small group touring experience, with guests travelling in luxury touring vehicles that will still allow for social distancing to be implemented. Each small group is accompanied by a local KI tour guide who is passionate about the island and who has their own personal story to tell.


Arrive on Kangaroo Island late afternoon and enjoy overnight accommodation at the Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge, at scenic American River in a Superior King Bayview Room or upgrade to a Deluxe Studio Waterview.  Spend the following day touring the island before returning to Adelaide that night.


The KI Odysseys 'Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour's' 'Hot Deal' rate starts from only $599 per person, twin share from Cape Jervis including breakfast. Upgrade for an extra $25 per person to deluxe accommodation.


The hot deal rate includes return SeaLink ferry transfers from Cape Jervis, shuttle transfers from the ferry to accommodation, overnight accommodation at the Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge in a Superior Bayview Room, free breakfast, Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour, all entrance fees, guided tours, special permits, and a delicious lunch.


The 'Hot Deal' rate departing from Adelaide and including coach transfers from Adelaide is $624 per person, twin share, normally $698 per person twin share.


The Hot Deal is available for travel until 31 August 2020.


Car parking at Cape Jervis is available at the local council car parking area or book secure parking with SeaLink.


From September 2020, the 'Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour' will be priced from $650 per person, twin share from Cape Jervis, or with coach transfers included from Adelaide for $698 per person, twin share, but will not include breakfast. All other inclusions remain the same.


For a full tour itinerary and further information visit:

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Tailor's Expedition Kangaroo Island

Australia’s premier luxury and five-star experiential travel company The Tailor has launched a five-day immersive Kangaroo Island itinerary, welcoming guests behind the veil of the iconic island with a hands-on, fully-hosted experience for travellers seeking the combination of nature’s calming solitude alongside genuine human connections and enterprises.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Lake Macquarie – the perfect destination for a romantic weekend away

The kids are back to school and life is starting to return to normal, it’s time for you and your significant other to treat yourselves to a child-free weekend escape.

Lake Macquarie is perfect for a quick couple’s getaway, and is only a 90-minute drive up the M1 from Sydney. This laidback coastal destination has plenty on offer for couples wanting to relax, reconnect and ramp up the romance without being too far from home.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Aussies urged to make a #RoadTripPledge

Famous Australian faces get behind new campaign backed by Stayz to drive regional tourism and get Aussie families back on the road travelling again

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Intrepid Travel gives Aussies a new way to explore their own backyard

The brand-new tour range will bring travellers together closer to home, while supporting local communities along the way

Intrepid Travel, the world’s leading sustainable tour operator, has introduced a new collection of tours called Intrepid Local, with initial offerings in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. With 75+ multi-day adventures, these trips will give travellers the opportunity to explore closer to home while many international borders remain closed.

Winter Weekend Road Trip to Hunter’s Maitland

Historic, foodie, cultural and picturesque, the Hunter Region’s vibrant destination encourages local travellers to “Make it Maitland” this winter. Appealing to families, young professionals and the 50+ alike, its open spaces and proximity to Sydney, Central Coast and Newcastle offer a relaxing weekend escape.

Accor launches ‘Time to Drive’ deals to entice travellers to get on the road again

Enjoy peace of mind in a safe and clean environment with fully flexible rates from as low as $85* per night at more than 340 hotels, resorts and apartments across Australia and New Zealand. Plus, earn 3X rewards points.

With travel restrictions easing and our human desire to reconnect with one another rising, now is the perfect time to drive, to explore, and to discover a dream holiday with friends and family in your own backyard.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

New five-star hotel to open in Margaret River

Margaret River's popularity as a world-class destination has been further boosted, with luxury hotel chain Marriott International announcing it will open the region's first five-star resort. The announcement of the Westin Margaret River Resort & Spa earlier this week demonstrates long-term confidence in WA from one of the world's largest hospitality organisations. The Westin Margaret River Resort & Spa will be located on the southern headland of Gnarabup Beach, and will include 120 guest rooms, on-site dining venues, and meeting and event space. The project is expected to create more than 300 jobs during construction, with more than 100 ongoing local jobs to be supported once it opens its doors in mid-2023. For more information, read the full story

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

TripAdvisor Report: Beyond COVID-19

Tripadvisor published a new report, “Beyond COVID-19: The Road to Recovery for the Travel Industry.” The study shows the world is still hungry for travel: Over two-thirds of travellers (68%) reported already thinking about where they want to go next.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Visit Maldives re-appoints travel & lifestyle PR specialists AWA in Australia

The Maldives opens borders next month 

Independent public relations and communications agency Anne Wild & Associates (AWA) is delighted to announce it has been re-appointed as Visit Maldives’ Australian PR and Trade Representatives for a second consecutive year from 1 June 2020.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Tourism: what’s our new normal?

UniSA’s Professor Marianna Sigala:
“A return to travel will all be about small, safe,
manageable steps.”
After months of lockdown, it’s no surprise that people are itching to get out and about. But with ongoing debates about how and when to open Australia’s state and territory borders, it’s hard to know what to expect.

According to global tourism expert, UniSA’s Professor Marianna Sigala it’s not just tourists who are unsure about next steps, it’s also tourism businesses. And, with change continuing to dictate the immediate future, knowing the likely trends is imperative for operators in the sector.

Prof Sigala says while South Australians can now travel regionally, their travel behaviours will certainly change; accommodating these changes will be a key step in rebuilding the industry.

“There’s a real tug of war going on – people are keen to get out and about, and away from their lockdown locations, but at the same time they’re guided by Covid-19 restrictions and are cautious of protecting their personal health,” Prof Sigala says.

“What this means is that a sense of safety and security will really drive tourists’ choices, affecting not only how and where they travel, but also what they do on holiday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Total revamp needed to secure the future of Aussie tourism post #Covid19

Professor Marianna Sigala, lobbying for a more
ethical and sustainable tourism industry
A complete reset of Australia’s tourism industry is necessary to ensure its future success, according to global tourism expert, Professor Marianna Sigala at the University of South Australia.

As debates continue about how and when to open Australia’s state and territory borders, Prof Sigala says we must consider what we want Australia’s future tourism industry to look like, with a clear lens on sustainability and well-being.

“There’s no doubt Australia’s tourism sector is suffering – we started the year in recovery following the devastating bushfires and then, before operators were even back on their feet, we were hit with the Covid-19 pandemic, and everything rapidly shut down,” Prof Sigala says.

“Everyone is keen to re-active our tourism industry, but we must not default to ‘business as usual’. A new restart rather than a recovery to the old normal is more reasonable.

“COVID-19 has led to profound changes on tourists’ behaviour and expectations as well as on industry operations which are predicted to have long-lasting impacts. We need to take advantage of the slow-down to reflect, rethink and plan for improved practices and behaviours.

“This includes revisiting how tourism activities impact communities; respecting nature and surrounds to ensure we’re enhancing and giving back to the areas and assets that draw tourists; and we need to do that with a mindset that shows we are ready for a successful and sustainable future.

“A tourism resetting plan that encompasses responsible tourism, seasonality and climate change, and importantly, practices that benefit all stakeholder – operators, visitors and communities – and their tangible and intangible cultural assets, could position Australia as a world exemplar in re-imagining and leading new tourism management in the post COVID era.”

Environmentally, the pandemic has had a positive impact. In India, Covid-19 has closed factories, to clear once-polluted skies; the Himalayan mountain range is now visible from some cities for the first time in years. In Venice, as canal traffic has come to a standstill, once-murky waters are also clear.

Tourists climb Ayers Rock in the mid-70s (Roderick Eime)

Closer to home, Australia had been making positive steps, even before the onset of Covid-19. In October last year, the iconic Uluru was permanently closed to climbers as a mark of respect to the traditional owners of the land.

Yet with recent calls from Northern Territory business groups to reopen the climb for the sake of tourism, Prof Sigala says we still have a lot to learn.

“While isolation has enabled physical environments a chance to recover from the lack of mass tourism, we must find a balance between caring for tourism assets – and the communities in which they reside –valorising them for supporting tourism activities within and around these locations,” Prof Sigala says.

“When we commoditise and commercialise a cultural asset, we risk transforming it into an attraction driven by visitation defined by economic growth.

“The trade-off between economic and other values is our current mindset, and this needs to shift.”

The World Tourism Organization estimates that international tourist arrivals could drop to 78 per cent, which translates to a drop of up to 1.1 billion international arrivals and a loss of US$ 1.2 trillion (nearly A$1.9 trillion) in export revenues from tourism, representing the largest decline in the history of the industry.

Under these dire conditions, survival of the industry must still include sustainability planning and development.

“Sustainability management should not be viewed as an expense to be managed, but as an investment for the future,” Prof Sigala says.

“Australia must continue to implement activities to keep customers, tourism staff and businesses engaged and ready for when travel restrictions lift.

“We need to communicate to the wider and international community that we are not in hibernation, but rather we are upgrading, innovating and introducing sustainable changes in our tourism offerings and operations that enhance the well-being of tourists and our communities.

“When tourists come back, we should be welcoming them to a better, more ethical and more sustainable tourism industry.”

ATIC: Supporting a safe return to enjoying local tourism experiences #Covid19

The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) has launched its latest program of practical support for small and medium size tourism enterprises in the safe delivery of great experiences to the returning visitor.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway
COVID Clean Practising Business is a complimentary online program that assists tourism businesses to develop plans and procedures to create and maintain a COVID safe workplace and operations. It follows ATIC’s recent unveiling of a COVID Tourism Recovery Plan module.

The free program represents a core component of the long-standing Quality Tourism Framework (QTF). The new COVID Clean Practicing Business program also becomes a fresh offering to the already thousands of accredited star-rated and award-winning tourism businesses across Australia within the QTF.

Using Workplace Health & Safety standards and reflecting individual State or Territory requirements, the COVID Clean Practicing Business program develops customised cleaning checklists that are specifically tailored for tourism businesses.

The program also supports the development of safe work practices such as social distancing, staff training and customer guidance and the creation of a COVID-19 risk register. Once in place, these systems support individual tourism business efforts to minimise community spread of COVID-19 and to provide peace of mind to customers, guests and employees.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said tourism businesses that have successfully completed the new program will be able to provide an assurance to visitors and guests that additional hygiene steps and sound safe work practices are in place by displaying the COVID Clean Practising Business mark on-premises and on line.

“Our industry has faced unimaginable challenges this year and we want to make every effort to support their recovery. The COVID Clean Practising Business program will assist small and medium tourism enterprises, the backbone of our industry, to take practical, but necessary steps to provide a safe and secure place of business as well as give their prospective customers renewed confidence to book,” Mr Westaway said.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Qatar Airways resumes Brisbane service with A350-1000 debut

Qatar Airways A350-1000 (Source: Australian Aviation)

Qatar Airways is the global launch customer for the A350-1000, the world’s most advanced passenger aircraft

Qatar Airways’ has officially resumed its Brisbane operations with the first flight of the new service landing at Brisbane International Airport last night. The Airbus A350-1000 left Hamad International Airport, which was voted Third Best Airport in the World at the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2020, landing in Brisbane at 8:45pm local time.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Surge in road trips is all in the data says CamperMate

Australia’s number one road travel experience app says a strong rise in road travel awaits

The CamperMate app, Australia’s number one road travel experience app, with almost 2 million users, is demonstrating how a strong and immediate take-up in future travel for day trips and anticipated future overnight stays is set to occur as we safely navigate out from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is well proven Australians love to travel and holiday – even for a day trip or short break. And the forced shutdown of domestic and international travel, the right thing to do to support the public health response to coronavirus, has made us more cautious and community minded during this time.

Respected and senior tourism leader, CamperMate CEO Nick Baker, said the rapidly developing green shoots now occurring with the CamperMate road travel experience app, closely correlate with predicted pent up demand for get-on-the-road and travel activity across our country and which is predicted in the weeks ahead.

Mr Baker said CamperMate’s surge in users over the month of May, a compound growth of at least 140 per cent each week, is exciting news and a real-life indicator for more positive times ahead for our beleaguered tourism businesses, regional centres and our great cities which are desperately ready to welcome people back.

“Last week our CamperMate App was downloaded by 5000 new users! This is a fraction of what we usually see when tourism is fully firing. But the current triple digit growth rate in users of the App is very clear to us and demonstrates there are genuine green shoots in the road back for tourism,” Mr Baker said.

“Our rapidly increasing numbers of users of the CamperMate app highlights that many people are planning to embrace road trips ahead of the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend and into the winter break for schools.

“This is an exciting prospect for our regional visitor hot spots, now further encouraged by the latest State Government announcements such as in NSW and South Australia, to encourage people to get back out there!”


The former senior executive of Tourism Australia and Voyages and CEO of Red Balloon said CamperMate’s App performance numbers paint a realistic picture of how and when people will embrace the chance to travel again.

He said in the few short weeks during February - between when the horrendous bushfires came under control and the onset of COVID-19 - CamperMate’s strong data insights showed many Australians were quickly driving back into and through our regions. They also over-prolonged their stay in many places against trend – a sign we anticipate could be repeated based on the anticipated pent up demand for local travel in a COVID Safe economy.

“At CamperMate we predict this will again become the case as authorities make clear further easings of restrictions and encouragement of initially local and intrastate travel,” Mr Baker said.

Mr Baker said since CamperMate’s inception it has been a strong supporter and partner of industry with its strong data insights well reflecting road trip travel activity and destination performance. It has become an information tool feeding into government and industry planning on both sides of the Tasman. This includes monitoring tourist and visitor volumes and strategically assessing activity within road and park networks.

“CamperMate possesses an innovative new in-trip booking platform for thousands of accommodation and experience options, including offers in caravan and recreational parks, as well as providing real-time updates on any travel warnings or closed areas in-journey. CamperMate helps makes a good trip great,” Mr Baker said.

“CamperMate’s value to users is also pulling live data from service providers so travellers have truly localised updates on the latest offers, accessibility, weather and travel conditions before making a pre or in-trip booking.

“Increasingly this is the way many people are now travelling by making decisions in trip! CamperMate’s evolving features now make it even more appealing and practical to the emergent Australian domestic traveller.”

The CamperMate app is available to download free on IOS and Android devices and is supported by leaders in the Australian and New Zealand caravan and RV industry including Jayco and Discovery Parks Australia.

Instagram: @CamperMate

Traveloscopy | 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

200 Baby Turtles Born at Banyan Tree Samui

Thai resort nurses green turtles to life

The birth of some 200 green turtles has brought a moment of joy to the staff at one of Thailand’s top hotels.

Between April 4 and 24, three nests hatched on the secluded beach at Banyan Tree Samui resort, and a total of 200 baby turtles emerged under the watchful gaze of the hotel’s resident marine biologist, Thepsuda Loyjiw.

Banyan Tree Samui's CSR team had erected a fence
around the turtle nests to protect the eggs from predators.
Since a giant mother turtle laid the eggs in late February and early March, they’ve matured in the protective custody of Loyjiw’s team and the local Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.

“It was heartwarming to watch the baby turtles being born, and then scurrying to the sea,” said Loyjiw. “Ever since the mother turtle laid her eggs on our beach, we have been protecting them from predators such as birds and monitor lizards, and gauging the temperature of the eggs to make sure the hatchlings would be given every chance of survival.”

It appears that this mother turtle was in luck, because not only does Banyan Tree Samui employ a sustainability team headed by a marine biologist, but the 5-star hotel was singled out last year by global watchdog EarthCheck as meeting the highest standards for environmentalism in the country.

Banyan Tree Samui is located at the southeastern tip of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. The resort’s beach is sheltered in a cove, flanked by coral reefs, and isolated from the busy public beaches of Chaweng and Lamai.

When fully grown, green sea turtles generally weigh between 110 and 180 kg and measure about one meter in length. It is rare in Thailand for a giant green turtle (Chelonia mydas) to lay eggs so close to a tourist area; most seek out deserted bays in the Andaman Sea to make nests. However, since the onset of Covid-19, hotels on Koh Samui have been ordered to close, bringing the popular tropical island to a standstill.

Several recent news reports have noted that marine life and wildlife have regenerated on many of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations since the coronavirus crisis began. Nests of rare leatherback turtles have been discovered on Phuket, and an increasing number of dugongs has been spotted close to Thai shores.

Friday, May 15, 2020

ATIC: Live from AUS – Let’s bring Australian tourism a-live

Executive Director of ATIC, Simon Westaway
The Australian Tourism Industry Council and its thousands of tourism SME member businesses, including many regional-based firms are strongly behind the success of Tourism Australia’s innovative ‘Live from AUS’ domestic campaign.

The mainstream media, as well as digital and online execution, launches this evening through broadcast media and then through TA’s highly popular Facebook page and YouTube channels.

Executive Director of ATIC, Simon Westaway said:

“Enthusiastically we wish Tourism Australia well with this bold and innovative campaign approach. Importantly we observe it includes a focus on how Australia’s tourism SME’s from all corners of the country deliver their compelling offering and how it can and will strongly appeal to local audiences to hit the road and holiday here this year.

“Domestic tourism is the well-known backbone of our sector. Pre the COVID-19 pandemic Australians were spending $100 billion annually inside our domestic visitor economy, which like our international visitor and spending numbers, were running at record levels.

“Close to three-quarters of our industry is a domestic play and that clearly will not change for the years ahead.

“Acknowledging the significant hurdles that our industry has faced with a stratospheric drop in demand the face of recovery will not be easy. This week’s official massive lift in unemployment and underemployment levels and rising household debt and cashflow stress highlight this.

“But it is the right thing for our acclaimed national tourism agency to keep the inspiration of a domestic holiday, a regional and rural journey or short trip top of mind and that time is now.

“Innovative campaigns like this are a further proof point that there is a genuine, longer-term role for Tourism Australia to play in Australia’s domestic tourism sector. Our position on this has never wavered.

“We wish the campaign well and look forward to hearing of the strong outcomes and insights gained and hopefully lots of future trips being considered or booked!”

Further Details: Simon Westaway Executive Director, ATIC M: 0401 994 627

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Update from Tourism Western Australia

Happy Friday!
Brodie Carr, MD,
Tourism Western Australia

It was encouraging to see the Prime Minister’s announcement this morning following the National Cabinet about guidelines around a three-step approach to easing coronavirus restrictions, with each State and Territory to determine how this will be applied.

On Sunday, the Premier will announce the next phase for WA and the roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions.

Thanks for taking the time to join me last week for our online industry update on Tourism WA’s big-picture marketing strategy going forward.

As I mentioned in the presentation, we will remain active on our social channels throughout each stage of our COVID-19 recovery including a new holding social campaign.

We have deliberately waited until after the Prime Minister’s announcement today to launch the “Adventure Awaits” campaign so it is as current as possible.  We are planning more content following the Premier’s announcement on Sunday. This has placed even more importance on the need for tourism businesses to ready themselves for travellers.

The campaign will encourage people to keep our State front of mind as a must-visit holiday destination and will run until intrastate regional restrictions are lifted and the time is right to travel again. We’re currently developing a toolkit for tourism operators to have the opportunity to be featured as part of this campaign. More information will be available in the next edition of Talking Tourism on May 14.

This campaign will be able to pivot when intrastate borders open and I look forward to sharing more information with you soon about what this will look like and the next steps.

We are also showcasing some of the best WA holiday experiences on our new Virtual Hub, which brings together immersive content from tourism operators around the State.

I’d encourage you all to get involved if you can - find out more about how you can get involved here.

Hope you have a great weekend,

Brodie Carr
Managing Director

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Cruising Again in 2020: Australia and NZ to kick off return to cruising

Why it will start in Australia and New Zealand first.


by Richard Davey

In recent years, a high proportion of the cruise industry has been headquartered in Miami and surrounding areas. The home ports of Miami and Fort Lauderdale are the largest hubs on a year-round basis. For over 30 years, when the latest and largest additions to the fleets have been launched and Christened, it has normally been there that they have sailed. The rest of the world had to wait, almost every time. This pattern was in the process of being repeated yet again by new market entrant Virgin Voyages. Their newbuild Scarlet Lady was about to commence her Miami-based operations when the shutdown was enforced.

Amidst the new challenges posed by the pandemic of 2020, much of the industry’s focus again seems introspective and appears to follow The White House in being somewhat optimistic in its assessment of the pandemic’s ongoing effect on the population of the United States. The already established pattern is that the United States CDC announces a “no sail” order, nominating a date before which North American cruise operations should not resume unless the situation somehow improves sooner than expected. This is followed by announcements from several cruise lines saying that they are planning to resume operations at an earlier date. This is plainly unrealistic given when current statistics and when it is remembered that the cruise lines are normally compliant with CDC orders and that the need for such compliance will be greater than ever moving forward.

The Northern Summer is the event around which much the cruise industry revolves. The marquee destinations of Alaska, the Caribbean and Europe. The massive source markets of North America, UK and Germany embark on their holidays and some of the world’s greatest travel experiences are enjoyed by millions. It would seem difficult for even the most optimistic of souls to take a look at the stranglehold that Coronavirus currently has over these populations and not conclude that the Summer of 2020 is going to have to be written off by the cruise industry and that they should refocus on responding to the green traffic lights as they appear, rather than trying to run the red lights.

In Australia, New Zealand and many neighbouring island nations, the lights are flashing amber and about to turn green. The target is not containment of this virus, but outright elimination. We are already 85% of the way towards achieving that goal. We are not exposed to land borders and have very close cooperation between our governments. There is much talk of opening our borders to one another whilst keeping them closed to those outside the zone or “bubble”. This lifting of restrictions will open up both commerce and leisure in our region. If the cruise industry can meet the challenge of focusing on the potential of this region and restoring the confidence of consumers and governments then this region shall be the venue for the return of cruising, and July should be the realistic target date.

Aside from the prospect of a healthy population, there are other reasons why this region is suitable for a restart at this time.

Australia and New Zealand are proven as a source market. Traditionally, the local market has always supported year-round cruising. For decades, cruises have departed Sydney during our winter months, setting sail for the tropical regions to the North. The islands of Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji as well as the coast of Queensland. With growth, the ports of Auckland, Brisbane and Fremantle have also supported year-round cruises and in recent years, boutique and luxury cruises have also operated to Papua New Guinea and Australia’s Kimberley region. World and Grand cruises, designed for Australians and New Zealanders to enjoy a no-fly getaway from our winter have also been undertaken, first by P&O and in recent years by Princess Cruises. All this is proven by its success. The question in 2020 is, how many Aussies and Kiwis who might otherwise have been cruising in Alaska, Asia, New England, or Europe, or the hundreds of thousands more who would have been enjoying land-based holidays – but have been forced to stay at home instead – how many of them will respond to the chance of a late-winter or spring getaway within our region?

The ships are already nearby, and so are their crew.

Despite the eviction by press conference of the cruise industry by the governments of Australia and New Zealand with calls to return to their ports of registry, many of the ships that serve the Australasian market have retreated no further than South-East Asia. This has provided the opportunities for the repatriation of crew, as well as the dry-docking and lay-up of ships there. The fleet of ships currently in Asia not only includes ships that serve the Australasian market year-round and for long seasonal positionings, but also a few other that would be welcome additions should their owners decide to join in for a safe resumption of cruising in this region.

Where, when and who?

P&O Pacific Aria Auckland 4th July

There may not be any Americans on board to celebrate their national day, but the suspension of cruise operations in NZ will just have been lifted, so that’s reason enough for celebration.

Sapphire Princess 7th July Sydney to Fremantle – with Winter sure to be biting Sydneysiders by this day, if the Inside cabins get ditched, the buffet is banned and the aircon is shipshape, it will be time for Sapphire to shine.

The Kimberley

With a virus-free Australia ready to travel but with the Northern Hemisphere off the menu, this can be the year to tick this destination off aboard one of the small ships that get up close in this pearl of a destination. It has never been an inexpensive holiday, but neither has a trip to Europe at the pointy end of the aircraft.

Queen Elizabeth was already backing up for her longest Australian season ever, but with her Alaska 2020 season already cancelled, and Asia surely in doubt, she will be ready to go when we are and is currently anchored near Manila.

Silver Muse already due here late this year, an early arrival could be on the cards if her other itineraries are in doubt. This could also be the case for Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze

© Richard Davey 2020

Richard Davey
Richard Davey is a 30-year veteran of the travel industry with an unusual insight into the cruise industry. He has serviced Sydney's elite with travel advice through his agency, Ambassador Travel, for almost 20 years.

Having represented several ship owners including ResidenSea's The World, Richard is regarded as one of Australia’s leading authorities in the cruise industry and is frequently heard on the top rating Radio 2GB Sydney, 2CC Canberra and 4BC Brisbane.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tourism Australia’s strategy ‘overhaul’ to reboot domestic tourism is endorsed

The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) strongly endorses the flagged strategy shift by Tourism Australia towards future promotion of domestic travel destinations to local audiences due to the diabolical impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ATIC Executive Director, Simon Westaway
Responding to commentary in today’s Australian newspaper that our global-leading national tourism agency will ‘overhaul its current strategy’ directly towards encouraging Australians to travel to and through their country; ATIC Executive Director, Simon Westaway, stated this was a major development for industry and would hopefully prove a catalyst to help enable anticipated recovery of the visitor economy in time.

Mr Westaway said ATIC’s consistent policy position that Tourism Australia both regain and continue to retain and play a renewed role in domestic tourism marketing, as well as partnership and supply side engagement with industry, is now excitingly on the horizon.

Domestic and intrastate tourism continues to deliver around 70% of Australia’s approaching $150 billion tourism and visitor economy and remains firmly the backbone of the economic sector.

He said with dedicated funds and driving important coordinated approaches such as regional visitor dispersal initiatives, the national oversight and targeted activity that Tourism Australia can bring is timely given no part of our industry has been spared from the major impact of coronavirus.                                                                                 
“Australian tourism, one of the true pillars of our economy, has been flattened by impact after impact since the beginning of 2020. The reality is COVID-19 has struck our industry hard and perhaps like no other,” Mr Westaway said.

“We know sadly for many tourism enterprises and tens of thousands of those once employed across the sector that there may be no tomorrow when we look towards any future removal of state and territory border restrictions and less onerous social distancing to get things moving again.

“The position to be taken by Tourism Australia is not just the right thing to do, but it will also be symbolically important. We firmly believe such a decision can reignite the spark of many in our great industry to start future rebuilding our Australia’s visitor economy from within.”

Mr Westaway said Tourism Australia’s strategy and operations had achieved success by previously accommodating both international marketing, trade and B2B engagement with global reach alongside a strategic role involving direct investment and coordination of targeted domestic tourism marketing and industry partnerships activity.

“The massive blow the sudden loss of the rising international tourism market to Australia has had on so many tourism businesses across our cities and region, particular many SMEs who attract overseas tourist visitors, isn’t immediately replaceable. But with international borders to remain firmly shut for the foreseeable future this approach has to be undertaken to help assist an industry reboot,” Mr Westaway said.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Intrepid Group to suspend most operations until September

Intrepid Group has today confirmed that it will suspend all tours globally until 30 September 2020. This, however, excludes polar voyages and some trips within Australia.
The decision follows Intrepid’s announcement last month to suspend global operations until 31 May. 

Customers booked to travel on an Intrepid Travel or Peregrine Adventures tour during this time will receive a credit valued at 110 per cent of all monies paid to use towards an alternative tour with a departure date before 30 September 2022.

Intrepid Group CEO James Thornton
"an extraordinary situation"
CEO James Thornton says that the decision to extend the suspension of Intrepid Group’s trips is due to the ongoing global impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), and the likelihood that international borders will remain closed for an extended period of time. 

“This is an extraordinary situation for the whole travel industry. As a responsible travel company, we’re doing our best to look after all the people that depend on our business,” says Thornton.

“We look forward to resuming trips when we can once again operate trips that benefit both our travellers and the people they visit along the way.”

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places