Sunday, 30 June 2013

Kathy Soriano joins the Fraser Suites Sydney Sales Team

Fraser Suites Sydney appoints new Business Development Manager

Frasers Hospitality Pte Ltd, a global leader in serviced residences worldwide, is pleased to announce the appointment of Kathy Soriano as the new Business Development Manager for Corporate and MICE across all three Australian properties.

Kathy began her career in the Philippines, working in various hotels across Manila before moving to Australia in 2004 and continues working in hospitality before she joined Frasers last month.

With experience across a number of hotels in Australia, Kathy has strong MICE and corporate event experience where she has seen a general improvement in corporate clientele and event bookings.

In her role as Business Development Manager, Kathy will be responsible for building and managing the small meetings, incentives, conferences and corporate events for Frasers Hospitality’s properties in Australia.

Frasers Hospitality General Manager Australia, Matthew Rubie comments:
“With more than 15 years’ experience in the hotel industry, Kathy brings a great deal of knowledge and expertise to the new role at our flagship Sydney property and we’re thrilled to have her join the team.”

Kathy will be based at Fraser Suites Sydney and will represent Fraser’s three properties in Australia including Fraser Suites Perth and Fraser Place Melbourne.

Frasers Hospitality offers three contemporary serviced residences in Australia designed to appeal to discerning business and leisure travellers alike including Fraser Place Melbourne, a unique offering centrally located in a hip Melbourne laneway, the award-winning Fraser Suites Sydney located in the heart of the CBD and the sleek new Gold-Standard residence, Fraser Suites Perth.

Frasers Hospitality Pte Ltd’s current portfolio, including those in the pipeline, stands at 81 properties in 44 gateway cities, and more than 13,000 apartments worldwide.

For further information on Frasers Hospitality, please visit www.frasershospitality.com

Cairns Centre Very Highly Commended

The Cairns Convention Centre is proud to have again received EarthCheck certification. The international benchmarking process recognising standards that meet the compliance needs of the new carbon economy.

Benchmarking data provided in seven indicators noted Cairns Convention Centre is at or above Best Practice level, an achievement which was very highly commended. The seven indicators are: Energy Consumption Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Potable Water Consumption, Waste Sent to Landfill, Waste Recycling Rating, Community Contributions Rating and Cleaning Products Ratings.

Ross Steele, General Manager, Cairns Convention Centre, said, “It is heartening to receive our EarthCheck recertification. This recognises the commitment of the Centre’s entire team to maintaining the highest environmental credentials and is in line with AEG Ogden’s worldwide environmental programme AEG 1Earth.

Situated between two World Heritage listed areas, it is only natural that environmental responsibility is a priority of the Cairns Convention Centre.”

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Perth-ection on a Plate!

MasterChef Judges
Perth's booming culinary scene will again be celebrated to a national television audience with five episodes of Australia's popular TV show 'MasterChef' airing this week. Shot at spectacular locations around Australia's sunniest capital city, contestants and viewers will have the opportunity to experience a taste of Perth's vibrant foodie scene.

Matt Preston said of his time filming in Perth and surrounds, "anyone who followed my Twitter feed while we were in Perth would know that we ate widely and very well in this city that has blossomed with great cafes and bars in the last few years."

Executive Producer Margie Bashfield said, "MasterChef's Wild West week was a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase the delights of Perth and its surrounds. From the fabulous restaurant experiences in Perth's CBD and Crown Perth, the waters off Fremantle, the white sand of Cottesloe beach and the farming land west of York, we were blown away by the locations we visited and what they had to offer."

Tourism WA has actively sought out national high-profile television opportunities such as this as they are a great platform for raising awareness and intention to travel to a destination. Margaret River's Cape Lodge reported that after the 2011 series of MasterChef featured their property, they saw bookings double for the next six months and website visits increase 10 fold. To this day, they have guests visiting the restaurant because they had seen Tony Howell on the program.

Tourism Western Australia CEO Stephanie Buckland said the agency was pleased to have secured MasterChef again this year as it provided an excellent opportunity to highlight some of the State's extraordinary tourism experiences and landscapes to a significant audience.

"Our Public Relations team worked with the production company to secure filming of the program in multiple destinations around the wider Perth region. For the city centre in particular, which has undergone a vibrant transformation in recent years, the national exposure MasterChef will bring is very timely," Ms Buckland said.

"These types of TV shows provide the perfect vehicle to showcase WA's high quality food and wine, as well as its extraordinary holiday experiences, destinations and world-class events.

"We expect our investment in bringing MasterChef 2013 to WA will pay handsome dividends and help solidify our reputation as a recognised food and wine destination not to be missed.

"The timing of these WA episodes is excellent for promoting what the State has to offer especially in the lead up to the star studded Margaret River Gourmet Escape food and wine festival in November this year. We will be welcoming the likes of Heston Blumenthal, Rick Stein, Alex Atala, Sat Bains, Neil Perry and Matt Moran for what has quickly become one of Australia's premier food and wine events."

Tourism Western Australia has identified food and wine as a key offering to sell the State and this has been highlighted in Tourism Australia's Best Jobs in the World campaign. The recently appointed 'Taste Master' Rich Keam will be promoting Western Australia to the world as an international food and wine and holiday destination.

For six months, Rich will forage, eat and sip his way around Western Australia, while also enjoying some of the extraordinary destinations and experiences.

Locations where MasterChef was filmed:

Sunday 30 June (Episode 20) - Fishing trawler in Fremantle: westernaustralia.com/fremantle
Monday 1 July (Episode 21) - Bistro Guillaume, Crown Metropol: bistroguillaumeperth.com.au
Tuesday 2 July (Episode 22) - Cattle Drive near York: westernaustralia.com/york
Wednesday 3 July (Episode 23) - The Green House, Perth: greenhouseperth.com
Thursday 4 July (Ep 24 - MasterClass) - Cottesloe Beach: www.westernaustralia.com/cottesloe

You can find out more about food and wine events currently on offer around Western Australia this year by visiting westernaustralia.com/events.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Korea's Specialty Food Streets Lure Foreign Visitors

More and more foreign visitors are travelling to Korea with one thing in mind, and that's the country's exceptionally good cuisine. Visitors who want to experience the food and culture of Korea should pay a visit to one of the delicious food themed streets in Korea. The Ministry of Culture & Tourism (MOCT) and Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) have selected five streets where visitors can experience the unique foods and their culture.

For those who like it spicy a visit to Seoul's Topokki (Spicy Rice Cake) Street in Sindang-dong would be an experience. Topokki is made by stir-frying or boiling seasoned cylinder shaped rice cakes in a very spicy sauce. Sindang-dong has the largest clusters of topokki eateries in Korea. Topokki is one of Korean's favourite street foods.

Nearby Sindang-dong is the largest shopping area of Seoul, Dongdaemun Shopping Town. Here you can shop 24 hours a day for the latest trends and fashion clothing and accessories. So, if you become hungry while shopping step out for some street-side Topokki to warm you up.

If you love Tofu and Koreans do very much, then a visit to Chodang Tofu Street which is located in a small and beautiful village surrounded by a forest of 500 year old pine trees nearby the city of Gangneung will give you the best tofu experience ever. Here you can enjoy tofu made in the traditional way with seawater from the nearby East Sea which makes the tofu tastier and softer than ordinary tofu. Chodang Tofu has a history of more than 400 years.

Korea's favourite stamina food is Chueotang (Korean fish soup) and Chueotang Street in Namwon will deliver the best fish soup you've ever tasted. Chueotang is a soup made by boiling loach fish, a fish that live in clean, grassy rice paddies and streams. The soup is full of minerals and calcium so it is an ideal stamina food and is popular in Autumn when the loaches are in their best condition. The fish is cooked with soybean paste, cabbage leaves and perilla seeds.

Home of the Korean version of Romeo and Juliet Namwon is where the sad love story of Chunhyang and Lee Doryeong took place. Namwon is located at the entrance to Jirisan National Park which is one of the most beautiful National Parks in Korea. With its incredibly beautiful walking trails hikers can enjoy many beautiful paths and trails in the forests of Jirisan.

Anjirang Gopchang Street in Daegu is known for its specialty tripe dishes. The tripe is either grilled on the BBQ or made in to casseroles/stews and is known to be high in iron and protein, low in cholesterol and is enjoyed in Korea with some Korean alcohol like Soju. The street gets packed at night with locals and tourists alike enjoying the specialty dishes.

Korea is surrounded by ocean and one of the great tasting seafood enjoyed by Koreans is raw fish. The Millak-Dong Raw Fish Street in Gwangalli Beach in the port city of Busan offers the freshest raw fish in the country. Visit the direct sales fish market, choose your fish, then it will be made into fresh sashimi in a flash. You can also have your fish prepared in a spicy seafood soup and enjoy a full course meal. You can also take your fresh sashimi and enjoy it with nature on the sand of Gwangalli Beach. Busan has one of the largest shopping centres in Asia 'Centum City' a mega shopping mall of enormous proportions. You can get lost and shop in here for a week if you wish.

There are many ways to enjoy the wonderful cuisine of Korea. Korea Tourism has a free 'Korean Cuisine - Refresh your Senses' booklet which is a great introduction to the cuisine including recipes to try at home. Get your free copy by emailing visitkorea@knto.org.au

Noosa Paints the Town Red with a Warm Welcome to The British & Irish Lions

Noosa gets ready to say 'Welcome to Noosa' this Sunday when Noosa will play home to some serious VIP's with the British & Irish Lions Rugby Team choosing the beachside destination for their official Training & Recovery Week as part of the 2013 Lions Tour of Australia.

With a contingent of more than 70 team members and management, a host of international media and swag of supporters basing themselves in Noosa, the town is ready to welcome the team and their fans.

Tourism Noosa, in partnership with Sunshine Coast Council, the Dolphins Rugby Club and the Noosaville, Noosa Junction and Hastings Street business associations, have developed a range of materials for businesses to use to provide a warm welcome. Materials include window posters, shirt badges and drink coasters with the key message of 'Noosa Welcomes British & Irish Lions and supporters - Welcome to Noosa'. In addition to this visitors to the region will see welcoming street banners splashed alongside the streets of Hastings Street, Noosa Junction and Noosaville.

General Manager of Tourism Noosa Mr Damien Massingham said "This prestigious rugby union touring event only takes place in Australia every 12 years and in addition to the team, management and supporters visiting and experiencing everything Noosa has to offer, there will be a strong international media focus, particularly in the UK which is Noosa's number one international market. This is Noosa's time to shine for our international visitors and the media".

Celebrating their 125th anniversary tour, the tour takes place every 4 years but only comes to Australia every 12 years and incorporates 6 regional games and 3 test matches in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Celebrates 25 Years with Underwater Birthday Party

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium yesterday kicked off celebrations to mark a momentous milestone - 25 years of operation - with an underwater birthday party, held in the world's largest Great Barrier Reef exhibit. The exclusive party was attended by a collection of aquarists and a flurry of aquatic guests including the Leopard Shark, Black Tip Reef Shark, Grey Reef Shark, Smalltooth Sawfish and schools of vibrantly coloured tropical fish.

At the party, aquarists donned fancy dress and toasted to the milestone by blowing out the candles of an enormous, inflatable birthday cake and making an underwater toast to twenty five years of ongoing success.

Amy Wilkes, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Senior Aquarist commented: "As well as working closely with SEA LIFE Conservation Fund to help Breed, Rescue and Protect our unique marine life, swimming inside the world's largest Great Barrier Reef tank with our wonderful aquatic friends never fails to take my breath away. To celebrate the milestone this way seemed a fitting gesture to recognise and celebrate the attractions 25-year journey".

"Reflecting on SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium's 25th Anniversary has been a wonderful opportunity for us to consider the impact our history has had on visitors and supporters. Our emphasis is on public education and marine conservation and to date, $700,000 has been raised for the SEA LIFE Conservation Fund to continue their work in conserving marine life, which makes this anniversary that much more significant for us," said Ms Wilkes.

Looking back over 25 years, it's impressive to conceive that over 140,000 animals and almost 1,000 newly born babies have called SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium home - additionally, 39 Penguin chicks have been successfully raised, 20 weddings have taken place and almost 30 million visitors have been educated by visiting the attraction. There are also four animals which have been at the attraction since day one including two lungfish and two Grey Nurse Sharks.

Chris McDonald, a SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium employee since day one, says the attraction has gone from strength to strength since its establishment in 1988.

"From the very start, the aquarium has continued to grow and expand. Twenty five years on, we are bigger and have the latest in aquarium technology, which allows us to focus much more on conservation initiatives through our in house SEA LIFE Conservation Programme," he said.

To commemorate SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium's rich history dating back to 1988, guests over school holidays will be offered the chance to walk down memory lane with historical photos and video on display commemorating 25 years of amazing discovery. Guests can also help celebrate this milestone with party hats and a limited edition 25th anniversary souvenir booklet available for purchase. Also, guests to enter on July 13th will be given a lucky dip prize to help celebrate the occasion, with prizes including Merlin Annual Passes, discounted entry and discounts at the food, beverage and gift stores.

Over school holidays, kids can also enjoy afternoon appearances by Captain Barnacles from Octonauts who will be residing at the attraction for the duration of the school holiday period. Kids can discover plenty of Octonauts themed activities including the chance to watch their all-time favourite episodes, enjoy an Octonauts activity corner and even an Octonauts pledge station to help save the world's oceans.

THE DETAILS:
What: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium's 25th Anniversary
When: July School Holidays, Octonauts 29 June - 14 July
Opening hours: Open 9am-8pm
How much: Walk-up price - Adults: $38, Children (4-15yrs): $22, Concession: $28. For the best value, combine SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium with other favourite Sydney attractions including WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Madame Tussauds Sydney, Sydney Tower Eye and Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary. The more you see, the more you save.
To book visit www.sydneyaquarium.com.au
Contact: 02 8251 7800

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Award Winning Peninsular Bangkok

On the banks of the Chao Phraya River which splits Bangkok in two, stands the award-winning Hotel, The Peninsular Bangkok. A landmark opitimising modern Thai architecture, this 5 star luxury hotel will impress even the most demanding of guests. The service and hospitality combined with superior facilities, spacious luxury rooms and a view to match make the Peninsular Hotel a world of its own.

The unique W-shaped design ensures all rooms have river views, with specifically designed V-shaped architectural windows to allow panoramic views across the river and of the bustling city below. Rooms range from Deluxe Grand to suites of up to 664m², but whichever you choose Peninsula guarantees peace and tranquility with each floor hosting only 10 rooms and two suites. The Deluxe Grand Rooms boast a spacious bedroom/living area with two queen beds, flat screen television, lounges and desk with all stationary provided and the sensational view from the floor to ceiling windows behind the desk. A walk-in wardrobe and foyer area, and exquisite marble bathroom complete with spa bath, TV and double vanities with studio lighting provide enough luxury for any businessman or traveller. Timber furniture and trimmings combine with a unique Thai flavour to create presidential luxury.

If this doesn’t seem enough, you can choose to upgrade yourself to any of the suites with a balcony, Jacuzzi, garden or multi-levels, or even land by helicopter charter on the roof of the Peninsula Suite, comprising 364m² of unrivalled luxury.

If you make it out of your room, the hotel facilities are also bound to impress. The award-winning Peninsula Spa, fitness centre and multi-level swimming pool will entertain, relax and rejuvenate to no limits. Sip a cocktail laying in one of the traditional Thai-style huts by the pool, whilst marveling over the iridescent water flowing over the edge of the infinity pool into the brown river waters. Book a half or full day spa treatment to bring yourself to an intense level of relaxation. Work up a sweat in the fully-equipped gym, or ease into the calm atmosphere in the lobby over a drink whilst listening to the pianist playing on the grand piano.

Breakfast provided on the river terrace is unparalleled, with dishes from every culture imaginable, a range cooked by personal chefs in front of your eyes, and use of the freshest ingredients. Honey drips straight off the honeycomb piece and onto your toast! With two restaurants plus a river Café, terrace and bar, you can enjoy traditional home-style Thai cuisine, Cantonese or Western food throughout the day without leaving the Hotel.

If you decide to brave the city life of Bangkok, the CBD is just a 5 minute private shuttle boat ride away. The traditional Thai boats run throughout the day and evening to two ports on the other side of the river, from which you can hop directly onto the Metro for a 20 minute ride to Siam Square, or take a ferry down the river to a variety or tourist attractions. Take the time to have conversations with the lovely driver and steward, who will provide assistance with your plans for the day, and guarantee to put a smile on your face with their kindness and sense of humour.

The hospitality of all staff members treating you like royalty will alone be enough to satisfy. The cleaner even stopped as she saw me walk through the hallway with my luggage, and insisted she transport my bags to concierge. With such hospitality, luxury and tranquil atmosphere, I challenge anyone to be disappointed with their experience at the Peninsular Hotel Bangkok.

Thailands Voluntourism Promotion Campaign Wins Digital Innovation Asia Award

A global marketing campaign launched by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to promote Volunteer tourism was one of the winners of the first Digital Innovation Asia Awards conferred at a ceremony on June 10.

Conferred the “MOST IMPACTFUL CAMPAIGN” award, it was designed to tap into a growing industry trend known as Voluntourism — travellers seeking “A Purposeful Vacation” that goes well beyond more than just having fun during a holiday abroad.

Said TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni, “This was our first such campaign targetting a very specific niche-market that comprises mainly of young people but also a growing number of retirees. It was perfectly-suited for a totally digital platform. We are glad to see that our efforts have been recognised.”

Called “The Little Big Project”, the campaign offered travellers an opportunity to have a life-changing adventure: A Two-weeks Volunteer Vacation in Thailand. It was targetted at thousands of active travellers worldwide who are looking to make a big difference by doing little things such as preserving the environment, sharing their skills or contributing to local communities.

Although very popular with youth travellers, “voluntourism” is also gaining traction amongst many retirees who are still fit and active, with time on their hands. They want to make the world a better place, and seek to do something meaningful when they travel.

More details about the campaign can be found at www.TheLittleBigProjectThailand.com

The awards are conferred by Digital Innovation Asia with the support of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). Designed to recognise the most forward thinking yet performance-oriented digital innovations in the Pacific Asia travel and tourism industry, they are overseen by members of the new Digital Innovation Asia Council, an invite-only forum of the most senior e-commerce executives and digital marketing thought-leaders from hotels, airlines, and tourist boards from all corners of the Asia Pacific region.

Photos of the awards ceremony can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/DIAsiatourism/photos_stream.

Other winners were:
MOST ENGAGING WEBSITE: Tourism Malaysia
http://www.tourism.gov.my/en/intl

MOST CREATIVE USE OF TECHNOLOGY: e-Visa Cambodia
http://mfaic.gov.kh/evisa/

MOST INSPIRING CONTENT: Air New Zealand - Safety Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature="player_embedded&v=cBlRbrB_Gnc

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Wonderful Malaysia and Vietnam

Petronas Twin Towers
I have recently returned from a wonderful three week visit to Malaysia and Vietnam. There were many highlights, a few disappointments and many new friends made.

I was invited to attend Aeromeet 2013 in Langkawi Island and the launch of the Colors of 1Malaysia Festival in Kuala Lumpur. I was also invited to attend WITM - MITE 2013 in Malaysia, however as this event was cancelled and will now take place later in the year, the organisers invited me to attend ISTE 2013 in Vietnam instead.

Kuala Lumpur
This was my first visit to this part of Asia, and I was privileged to stay in many wonderful hotels and resorts. In Kuala Lumpur I stayed at the Royale Chulan Hotel, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Grand Hyatt Hotel, and the Grand Millennium Hotel. In the central jungle rainforests I stayed in a Chalet Suite at Mutiara Taman Negara, and on Langkawi Island I stayed at  the Berjaya Langkawi  Beach and Spa Resort. In Vietnam I stayed at the Amiana on the bay Resort and the Best Western  Premier Nha Trang Plaza Hotel. These were all wonderful places to stay and each had their unique characteristics which made them special. I will write separate articles about each of these hotels, so keep reading "The Holiday and Travel Magazine".

The food, scenery, and the kindness of the people helped make my travels thoroughly enjoyable. I am eager to go back and explore these countries in the future.

Tour de France Champion Cadel Evans Offers his Favourite Places to Bike and Stay in Provence

Cadel Evans
With the Tour de France upon us, we are all dreaming of being trackside as the cyclists whizz by in France. Now you can create your own "Tour de France" holiday, with an itinerary designed by the first ever Australian cyclist to win the Tour, Cadel Evans.

Cadel dreamt about cycling through France ever since he was a child - long before he became a world champion cyclist. Now, having spent thousands of hours cycling through the French countryside throughout his career, he recommends his favourite places to stay, dine and cycle.

As a guest during his training of the Relais & Châteaux hotel La Coquillade, he mapped out his own "Route du Bonheur" in the region, or what we might call his "Road to Happiness" - a trail of magnificent restaurants, local attractions and charming private hotels in the French countryside. Follow him on his journey through France and you can create your own "Route du Bonheur".

"I discovered Provence thanks to my bike, as you might imagine. When I was in Australia, I used to dream about the Tour de France and when I had the opportunity to take part in it, I was bowled over by the region, its hills and vineyards, its sun and the hospitality of the local people," Cadel says.

"I was really fascinated by Mount Ventoux, which is a very difficult climb for cyclists and yet so beautiful and majestic when you observe it from a distance, with its cap of white stones.

"This is how I discovered that Provence has long been a paradise for the amateur cyclist, with its quiet, winding roads, and its villages perched on rocky outcrops where you can stop for a break.

"There is an infinite choice of different trips through the area and this route is typical - country hotels where you can stop, and the opportunity, in some of the Relais & Châteaux properties along the route, to hire a bicycle and set off wherever your heart takes you.

"I am proud of having come to know the region well, as I was lucky enough, in 2010 and 2011, to stay at the hotel La Coquillade for training and to relax. It was, in a sense, a kind of heaven on earth."

FOLLOW CADEL EVANS' ROUTE DU BONHEUR

Stage One: delightful Occitan

Start at the Hotel Crillon Le Brave. This is more than a hotel: it is a small village with seven stone houses. After tasting its delightful Provence dishes, a visit to the village of Beaumes de Venise is a must. The route that takes you there runs along the Dentelles de Montmirail and its vine-clad slopes.

"I can recommend the Muscat of Beaumes-de-Venise, a famous fortified wine that you can taste in one of the cellars in the village," says Cadel. "Then there is Mont Ventoux. The two routes up it are, to my mind, amongst the nicest in France, whether you take it by car or by bike," says Cadel.

Between Mont Ventoux and the Luberon a road winds along the Nesque Gorges, between Sault and Villes sur Auzon with its lavender fields.

Stage Two: Haute Provence, in a garden full of fragrances

In Mane, Le Couvent des Minimes & Spa, a former 17th century Franciscan convent welcomes you for a break surrounded by fragrances of lavender. Enjoy the delights of the Mediterranean inspired cuisine and the L'Occitane Spa which makes you forget all your efforts on the bike.

"The Prieuré de Salagon is the next stop. I suggest that you park your bike for a visit to the museum of the ethnological heritage of Haute Provence and a stroll through the gardens of Salagon," says Cadel.

On the route to Saint-Michel, some small domes dotting the prairie-like landscape catch your attention. They are part of an astronomical observatory set up at the end of the 1930s because of the very clear skies. A wonderful opportunity to learn more about the mysteries of the stars.

Stage Three: nature, vineyards and fine dining

Perched on a Luberon hill, in a former hamlet that has been turned into a prestigious hotel is La Coquillade.

"This has become one of my favourite hotels: it has a huge charm and great views," says Cadel. "Its stunning wines are produced on the estate of the hotel making it a dream stop for a wine tour. And if you want relaxation there's always the pool, massages, the tennis courts and of course bike rides along the country roads of Provence."

Racing and mountain bikes are available at La Coquillade to enjoy a 60 km ride through the ochre landscapes of the Roussillon, the tiered houses in Gordes (Cadel's personal favourite) and the Ménerbes attractions. On the way, vineyards and orchards will confirm that you are indeed in the heart of the land of plenty.

For the real pros, La Coquillade and the famous Swiss high-end bike brand BMC offer a 200sqm space dedicated to bike-related activities. http://www.provence-cycling-paradise.comand http://www.bmc-racing.com/int-en

"Before you reach Lourmarin, I can recommend you try out the restaurant at the Bastide de Capelongue in Bonnieux," says Cadel. The inventive and spirited cuisine is created by Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef Edouard Loubet.

Final stage: or "farniente" in the Nostradamus provence

In the middle of the "garrigue", the region's typical landscape, overlooking the Provence countryside, the former convent, the Abbaye de Sainte-Croix, seduces all with its architecture, its cosy rooms, its huge terrace overlooking Salon and Mount Sainte-Victoire. Its gourmet restaurant offers the opportunity to sample an inspired cuisine and a more lively counterpart is offered by La Passerelle, the attractive wine and tapas bar under the stone vaults.

The Abbaye de Sainte-Croix has some astonishing recumbent bicycles available for hire. From the hotel several itineraries are proposed either to charming little villages or better known villages in the Alpilles, such as Eyguières, Maussane and Aureille.

Between Salon and Aix, you should not miss the Domaine de Château-Bas in Cazan, a very fine wine growing estate with the Roman remains of a temple to the goddess Diana.

Arrive in Aix-en-Provence and you will be charmed by its elegant town houses, delightful squares with fountains at their centre, café terraces and markets - the quintessence of the Provençal "art de vivre".

CREATE YOUR OWN "CADEL EVANS' ROUTE DU BONHEUR"

To create your own Cadel Evans "Route du Bonheur" cycling tour of Provence, phone 1300 121 341 or visit: Cadel Evan's Provence Itinerary with Relais & Chateaux
www.relaischateaux.com

Melbourne Warms up with Key Noosa Image & Message - You Could Be Here!

If you work in Melbourne's CBD, chances are over the next few months you will be wishing you were in Noosa thanks to Tourism Noosa's newest campaign which features a tram completely wrapped in an enticing Noosa image and message.

Tourism Noosa's winter campaign in Melbourne called You Could Be Here has been designed to entice Melburnians to escape the southern cold and book a relaxing Noosa holiday. The campaign is a colourful message showing that in the time it takes to rise on these wintry mornings, get ready and travel to work, you could be here - relaxing in Noosa. The campaign will be promoted in key targeted areas of Melbourne's CBD and inner city fringe suburbs.

General Manager of Tourism Noosa, Damien Massingham said "Melbourne is Noosa's largest interstate market with 97 000 visitors annually and is our highest yielding market spending $153 million annually. With Melbourne's maximum temperature about the same as our minimums, it shouldn't take much convincing for people to consider a holiday in Noosa."

The tram is running on major Melbourne CBD and surrounding fringe routes until mid-August, travelling alongside Federation Square, Swanston Street, Flinders Street Station, St Kilda, South Yarra and past major attractions including the Arts Centre Melbourne and the famous Young & Jackson Pub.

In addition to the tram, coffee lovers will be inundated with the Noosa message thanks to 70 000 Noosa branded coffee cups that will be distributed in 70 select cafes and restaurants in the same locations. Also to reinforce the Noosa message, 50 000 Noosa Avant Cards will be distributed in key outlets.

The tram, coffee cups and Avant cards have a call to action to the visitnoosa.com.au website which will feature a dedicated You Could Be Here Campaign page featuring great accommodation deals by participating Tourism Noosa members.

The You Could Be Here campaign runs through to mid August.

Monday, 24 June 2013

The Luxurious Dusit Thani Hotel Pattaya

Pattaya, a popular beach holiday destination only 1.5hours from Bangkok provides family fun with water activities, shopping and endless markets and food options, as well a vibrant nightlife with choices of bars, nightclubs and adult entertainment. A cultural experience like no other, a trip to Pattaya will surprise you around each and every corner. 

The Dusit Thani Hotel Pattaya offers luxury accommodation combining the sun, sea and sand of Pattaya Beach with the excuberant city of Pattaya all right on your doorstep. With spacious suites with private balconies and sea views, or Club and Club Grand rooms blending corporate-style fittings with luxury and pleasure the resort provides everything for tourists or business people alike.

A grand hotel with host of facilities, including capabilities to host large conferences, groups and events, the Dusit Thani hotel can ultimately cater for everyones needs. 2 large pools, 2 beaches with watersports, an extensive fitness centre with a fully eqipped gym, aerobics room, cardio-theatre room and sauna, tennis courts and a spa all keep business and leisure travellers alike entertained. The Devarana spa even offers icecream massages!

The hospitality from all staff encompasses the genuine Thai service like no other exceptionally. Staying in a club room, we were also spoilt with club benefits including complimentary laundry, 24-hour personal assistance, breakfast, cocktails and canapes in the evening and snacks all day. Our newly renovated room included a private balcony with a shower, 2 queen beds, walk-in wardrobe and huge bathroom. The shower, with the option of overhead or normal shower spout water patterns, is enough to keep you satisfied in itself!

It is the small luxuries that bring this hotel above the rest. Deliveries of fresh fruit each day, sweet chocolates, 24 hour room service and constant room cleaning and servicing such as folding your covers down each night and placing a bookmark on your pillow, which are all managed to be organised without intrusion while you are out.

The impressive variety of award winning restaurants and bars include Chinese, European, bakery and Asian. The breakfast buffet provided includes an extensive array of traditional Asian, western, European and Indian dishes to suit all requirements. Choose from a selection of prepared dishes or request a freshly made soup or egg dish in your own style from the chefs. The Barbeque Banquet on saturday nights is a must do experience, with an unbelievable selection of seafood, Italian, French, Asian, Indian and Western dishes all cooked before your eyes by a chef behind each counter of the buffet. No need to travel the world, delicacies such as escargot, lobster, prawn martinis, steak, exquisite cheeses, sushi and authentic pasta are all on offer. Not to mention the spectacular presentation of delicious desserts, including a chocolate fondue. Ensure you have plenty of room to eat as I had not even tried half of the dishes before filling! Not only is the food exceptional, but the setting along the edge of the pool lit at night, overlooking Pattaya City Beach with a live band creates an exclusive, relaxing atmosphere.

A holiday to Bangkok should include a trip to Pattaya at least once to experience its famous culture, and where better than to stay right at the Northern tip of Pattaya City Beach at the Dusit Thani Hotel to ensure a luxurious, satisfying experience.

Dusit Thani Pattaya Hotel

240/2 Pattaya Beach Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20150
Room Reservations: 1699 (within Thailand) :+66 (0) 3842 5611; :+66 (0) 3842 8239;
Bangkok Sales Office: :+66 (0) 2200 9999 :+66 (0) 2636 3571
Website:  http://www.dusit.com/dusit-thani/dusit-thani-pattaya.html
Email: :Email Us

*written by guest writer Sarah Llewelyn, who was recently a guest at Dusit Thani Hotel Pattaya

Hidden Valley Appeals to Australian Miners

“Many chose Bali looking for a comfortable second home in their leisure time, a familiar place with comforts and services they can benefit from.” Love said the average FIFO worker is well paid and with a guaranteed week or more off each rotation. Hidden Valley features four swimming pools, a games room, traditional spa, restaurant and in the Aussie tradition an open-air garden barbecue next to a bar that broadcasts live Australian football.

“FIFO guests merely have to present their work site access cards to get a five percent discount on everything during their stay, including massage treatments from the traditional onsite spa and meals at Mary Ellen’s, the home-style restaurant named for the owner’s grandmother. And te more frequent with their return visits the greater goodies they receive. Return guests can also expect free surfboard storage, a benefit for many regular guests drawn to some of the world’s most sought-after surfing breaks within just minutes from the property.

The Bukit area of Bali first became well known in the 1970s with the film Morning of the Earth by Albert Falzon. Even though Bali was already a surfing destination, Falzon’s film took the island's culture and beauty into Western cinemas worldwide. The property’s virtues are many, according to Love, but it’s the at-home quiet atmosphere of Hidden Valley she says is ideal for people in need of downtime.

Unlike the large five-star hotel chains that punctuate the island’s coastlines, Hidden Valley goes about things its own way such as managing an onsite organic garden that produces vegetables, fruit and chili used in Mary Ellen's menu items. “With all this fertile land up here in the hills, a working garden seemed obvious,” said Love.

From the garden it’s quiet and serene and like all the rooms and suites facing the nearby ocean, the back of the property affords fetching views over the valley and Indian Ocean in the distance.

“The resort is not just for FIFO professionals by any means, it’s a peaceful destination that is affordable considering the kind of services and quality amenities that are included. Even without the FIFO discount, for US$1,200 (plus taxes), a family of four can stay in one of our twin suites for a week, including three meals a day.”

Love said it’s the single men and women who make up the majority of the FIFO guests. “Single adults can stay with us for an entire week for under $500 including all meals. We even pack lunches for surfers or those heading for a day trip to the beach. And if they chose to "twin-share" with a friend they can expect to pay a mere $200 with no other hidden charges… and all that surf close-by.”

“We’ve been marketing to several segments, one being FIFO workers who are on rotation schedules,” said general manager Puput Love. Energy sector and mining workers are made up of environmental scientists, geologists, civil engineers, IT professionals, surveyors, doctors and mechanical engineers many who select a destination in S.E. Asia to visit in their time off.
Independently owned by a Western Australian family and Indonesian-managed, the resort is designed for all travelers but early bookings indicate strong interest from Australia’s resource industry professionals who make up much of Bali’s FIFO (fly in fly out) market.

Located down a twisting road in a lush valley of Bali’s southern Bukit Peninsula, the June opening of the 43-room Hidden Valley Resort is hailed by hotel industry analysts as a refreshing change for its sustainable size, location and simple virtues.

About Hidden Valley Resort

Independently owned and managed by P.T. Pesona Puri, Hidden Valley Resort is the first of several small and sustainable properties planned for development by the company. The Australian owners built the resort with clear and simple construction techniques in mind and with an emphasis on traditional Indonesian building approaches.

The resort includes economy, standard, superior, family, executive suites and cottages all positioned as affordable comfort and serenity. Located in the Pecatu area of the Bukit Peninsula, Hidden Valley Resort is nearby to some of the world’s top surfing beaches such as Padang-Padang and Dreamland.

The property is furnished with a meeting venue that can be used for weddings and is free-of-charge for resort guests and equipped to handle catering of up to 100 people. Serenity Spa offers traditional Balinese massage and reflexology in air-conditioned treatment rooms or in an open-air balé near three swimming pools.

Food and beverage choices include Mary Ellen’s bar and bistro with a menu featuring Asian and Western cuisine or an outdoor barbecue adjacent to a games room and bar. The leafy property, situated on a hillside with views of the Indian Ocean, manages its own organic garden with fruit and vegetables used in its menu items and for fresh juices.

Hidden Valley Resort is currently in the completion phase of 10 “Lumbung” cottages, a tropical housing design originating from Lombok that features a traditional two-floor dwelling with a balcony. The cottages are located in a separate site on the property with a central lagoon pool.

Scenic Tours Outside Broadcast with The Today Show in Canada

Scenic Tours is excited to announce that they are sponsoring the Today Show for an outside broadcast from Canada. Scenic Tours is taking the Today Show team, Karl Stefanovic, Lisa Wilkinson, Richard Wilkins, Richard Reid, Christine Ahern, Georgie Gardner and Steven Jacobs on two fantastic journeys of this spectacular region. On the East Coast Steven Jacobs reports the weather as he travels from Quebec City to Niagara Falls, while on the West Coast the rest of the team travel from Lake Louise to Victoria showcasing some unforgettable on-location experiences.

Each episode will feature a range of fantastic stories such as from the Columbia Ice fields with Christine Ahern, a helicopter flight over the Rockies Mountains with Georgie Gardner and a canoe ride on the beautiful Lake Louise with Lisa Wilkinson. Christine Ahern will take a Harley Ride and experience a night of authentic Western music and entertainment at the exclusive Rocky Mountain Roundup. There will be a day in Whistler and a day in Vancouver, both with Christine Ahern; Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson go Ziplining; and Georgie Gardner visits Knight Inlet as well as enjoys whale watching in Victoria.

Steven Jacob's weather updates will air live from some incredible locations such as the Place Jacques Cartier in Montreal, Parc Omega, Fairmont Montebello and on the Maid of the Mist cruise in Niagara Falls. There will be additional live content every day such as a Canadian BBQ cook up, a live Calgary Fiddlers performance and meeting a Mountie.

Scenic Tours has perfected the ultimate luxury journey through Canada to become the leading tour operator. The outside broadcast with the Today Show runs in line with the recent launch of their 2014 Canada, Alaska and USA program with a host of new itineraries with some fantastic new experiences.

Running from 1 - 5 July, tune into Channel Nine from 6:00am - 9:00am AEST to discover the ultimate experience of 5-star all-inclusive journeys with Scenic Tours to Canada.

For more information visit canada.scenictours.com.au or call 1300 SCENIC (1300 723 642)

New Tom Bradley International Terminal Previewed at Los Angeles International Airport

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has previewed the new Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for community and business leaders as one of his last official acts before he leaves public office on June 30. The event was designed to showcase the architecture, dining and retail, gates, passenger facilities, public art and other features of the TBIT in advance of its completion, expected in late 2013.

"The Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX is the first and last impression nine million travelers have of Los Angeles every year," said Mayor Villaraigosa. "This new terminal enhances passenger safety and security, while giving travelers the first-class airport experience they expect from a world-class city like Los Angeles. Customer service improvements at LAX contribute to travelers having positive experiences in our great city, making them want to return."

"This new terminal is a game-changer for international travelers arriving at LAX," said Ernest Wooden, Jr., President & CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LA Tourism). "It provides the most advanced arrival experience in the U.S. and sets a new bar for every other airport in the country to follow. We can't wait to welcome international travelers into the new Tom Bradley International Terminal when it opens later this year."

Dining & Shopping: The preview event provided a sneak peek of the TBIT's South Concourse aircraft gate areas and the 150,000 sq. ft. Great Hall, which will offer international passengers more than 60 premier dining and luxury shops including 22 local Los Angeles brands, many of them never before seen in an airport, as well as world-class luxury amenities. The shopping options include such iconic names as Bvlgari, Emporio Armani and Coach, and LA-based brands like Fred Segal and Kitson. The dining options include LA-based restaurants from local celebrity chefs, such as Border Grill, Umami Burger, Ink Sack, and Petrossian Caviar & Champagne Bar.

Terminal concessions manager Westfield and its partners are investing $80 million to deliver a world-class traveler experience at the new TBIT. Featuring 360-degree views, inviting storefronts and sustainable elements, the dining and retail design criteria by Westfield provides travelers with unique areas to explore as they journey to their destinations. Westfields dining collection features 31 exciting new options ranging from luxury white-tablecloth dining to healthy and fresh sit-down, to grab 'n go. It will feature sophisticated architecture, cooking demonstrations, and will highlight the local restaurants of LA-based celebrity chefs, including "Top Chef" Michael Voltaggio, Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken, Suzanne Goin and others, whose cuisine reflect the diversity and trends in LA's exploding culinary scene.

Architecture: Fentress Architects' distinctive design of the new TBIT is inspired by the waves of the Pacific Ocean along LA's coastline. The Great Hall with soaring 110 ft. tall ceilings is flooded with natural sunlight in a nod to California's famous climate, while its aluminum roof arches over the open, spacious, column-free structure. This creates a single, cohesive, architectural theme that unifies the entire terminal, inside and out. The new terminal has already won architectural design awards and is expected to become a new iconic structure for Los Angeles, joining LAX's historical-cultural monument Theme Building with its parabolic arches.

Passenger Amenities: Passengers will experience a first-class level of comfort and convenience with 18 new aircraft boarding gates, half of which can accommodate the larger, new-generation aircraft such as the Airbus A-380 and Boeing 747-8. The fully modernized facility will be able to accommodate 4,500 passengers per hour, nearly double the current level.

Roomier boarding gates and waiting areas will have half of the seats integrated with electrical outlets for charging personal electronic devices. There will be dual and triple passenger loading bridges faster boarding and de-planing. In addition to the dining and retail, there will also be airline lounges, a children's play area, luxury spa services, and other luxury amenities. The new terminal also features an Integrated Environmental Media System, a series of seven stunning public art installations that will help create an environment of beauty and relaxation.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Are you tough enough to back up?

Photo 1
As the Sunshine Coast prepares to host its very first Tough Mudder endurance event, the region’s peak tourism body has issued a further challenge to competitors: Are You Tough Enough To Back Up?

“Only the fittest of competitors will be able to take on this challenge, which involves entering an event in the Sunshine Coast Marathon & Community Run Festival the weekend following Tough Mudder. That means putting their bodies through two grueling events - one weekend after the other,” said Sunshine Coast Destination Limited’s Chairman, Mr Barrie Adams.

Four of the Sunshine Coast’s premier tourist attractions have decided to add incentives to the physical challenge, including Aussie World, which is offering 50 per cent off single entry to participants.

“This is a very special offer for a very special group -–it’s the least we can do to reward them for going in these energetic events!” said Manager of Aussie World, David Thompson.

The campaign also includes deals from: The Big Kart Track (15 minutes free), Underwater World (two tickets for the price of one), and Australia Zoo (participant gets in for free if they bring three friends).

To be eligible for the discounts, participants must turn up wearing their Tough Mudder orange headband and have a valid race entry form for the Sunshine Coast Marathon & Community Run Festival.

The Managing Director of Tough Mudder, Drew Ward, flew into town from New York this week to spread enthusiasm for the challenge which will take place in Caloundra on 17-18 August and involve a 20km obstacle course designed by British Special Forces to test the strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie of participants.

"Since we first announced that Tough Mudder was coming this August, the response from the people of the Sunshine Coast has been nothing short of phenomenal. We can't wait to bring Tough Mudder here - it's shaping up to be one of our biggest events ever, anywhere in the world," Mr Ward said.

More than half a million people have taken part in Tough Mudder events around the globe – tackling mud, fire, ice-water and 10,000 volts of electricity to complete the course.

Photo 2
According to Sunshine Coast Council’s Major Events portfolio councillor Jason O’Pray, the true test of endurance will be if competitors can turn up to the Sunshine Coast Marathon & Community Run Festival the following weekend and participate in one of the many races that will be taking place around Maroochydore on 25 August.

“The Sunshine Coast is gaining an international reputation as a sports and fitness destination. We are delighted to be able to offer these two amazing events, back to back, in August,” councillor O’Pray said.

Photo 1 - Melinda Haeusler (Aussie World), Ferre De Deyne (Big Kart Track), Krissi Neal (UnderWater World) and Wayne Poole (Australia Zoo)

Photo 2 - Ferre De Deyne (Big Kart Track), Melinda Haeusler (Aussie World), Krissi Neal (UnderWater World) and Wayne Poole (Australia Zoo)

Australia's 'Best Jobs' Winners Unveiled

An American finance graduate, a Brazilian travel photographer, an Irish internet entrepreneur, a French tourism graduate, an English film costume designer and a Canadian adventure tour guide have beaten off more than 330,000 competitors from 196 countries to be awarded Tourism Australia's 'Best Jobs in the World'.

The global competition drew to a finale in Sydney on Friday 21 June with job offers made to:

Andrew Smith (USA): Chief Funster (New South Wales)
Roberto Seba (Brazil): Lifestyle Photographer (Melbourne, Victoria)
Allan Dixon (Ireland): Outback Adventurer (Northern Territory):
Elisa Detrez (France): Park Ranger (Queensland)
Rich Keam (England): Taste Master (Western Australia)
Greg Snell (Canada): Wildlife Caretaker (South Australia):

A seventh job was awarded by Virgin Australia to Cameron Ernst from the USA, who will fly the length and breadth of the country as the airline's new 'High Flyer', championing Australia's best customer service experiences.

The 18 finalists in Tourism Australia's global competition have spent the past week in Australia undertaking a series of adventure, nature-based, culinary, social media and photography challenges and assessments, as part of a rigorous final selection process.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said the competition had been extremely tough, but that all of the finalists deserved great credit for their performances.

"I'd like to congratulate all of the 18 finalists for the tremendous enthusiasm and effort they have put into this competition. The successful candidates each demonstrated incredible talent, energy and desire throughout the application process and will, I'm sure, take these positive attributes into the job with them," Mr McEvoy said.

"I'd also like to thank the 330,000+ people from 196 countries around the world that expressed interest in our six dream jobs and encourage them to come Down Under on a working holiday or just for a visit to experience for themselves why there's nothing like Australia," he added.

Mr McEvoy said the real winner overall was the natural beauty and diversity of Australia which, thanks to the competition, had been showcased globally across nearly 200 countries across the world.

"Importantly, the youth campaign that sits underneath this 'Best Jobs' competition is already delivering results, with commercial partners like Virgin Australia and STA Travel reporting increased bookings and Tourism Australia seeing a significant spike in international interest in Australia's Working Holiday Maker program," he said.

The successful candidates are expected to commence their jobs between August and December 2013.

Tourism Australia's 'Best Jobs in the World' competition is part of a major international marketing push to promote tourism opportunities provided by Australia's Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program.

In 2012, Working Holiday Makers contributed A$2.5 billion to the Australian economy, each spending on average in excess of A$13,000 during their stay.

A recent Tourism Australia survey completed by nearly 15,000 of the 330,000 people who entered the global competition has revealed 72% are planning to apply for an Australian working holiday visa and 39% seriously considering taking a working holiday within the next six months.

Since the competition was launched, Tourism Australia's working holiday maker Facebook page has more than trebled from 150,000 to close to 470,000 fans, with young people around the world actively seeking information about a working holiday in Australia.

The campaign is supported by Destination New South Wales, Tourism Northern Territory, Tourism Victoria, Tourism Western Australia, Tourism and Events Queensland and South Australian Tourism Commission.

In addition a number of key commercial partners are supporting the campaign, including Virgin Australia, STA Travel, Citibank, DELL, IKEA, Sony Music and Monster.com.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Seven Tune Hotels Receive Global Tripadvisor Recognition

Hot on the heels of launching its new Melbourne property, Tune Hotels has been recognised with a "Certificate of Excellence 2013" by the world's largest travel website TripAdvisor for seven of its properties in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and the UK.

The properties have consistently received positive reviews from guests from around the world.

Tune Hotels in the Philippines scored substantially with Tune Hotels in Cebu City, Angeles City and Ermita, Manila being recognised with the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2013.

Malaysia's Tune Hotel Danga Bay and Tune Hotel Kota Bharu, as well as Tune Hotel Liverpool Street, London in the UK received the Certificate of Excellence for the second consecutive year, while another recipient this year was Tune Hotel Hat Yai in Thailand.

The accolades come amid Tune Hotels' continued expansion, with its new Melbourne property in Swanston Street, Carlton set to open on 1 November 2013. Melbourne will also serve as Tune Hotels' operational headquarters for the Australia and New Zealand region.

Congratulating the respective hotels on their achievements, Group CEO of Tune Hotels Mark Lankester says: "This is really spectacular particularly for Tune Hotels in the Philippines, considering we've been in the market for just over a year. Continuous recognition for Danga Bay, Kota Bharu and Liverpool Street has made us even more determined in our pursuit for customer satisfaction and brand recognition.

"I would like to single out our highly dedicated hotel staff for this outstanding feat. We are extremely delighted and it is gratifying to know that our endeavour in continuously improving our innovation and service quality to meet the expectations of our guests has paid off. As an international value hotel brand, the TripAdvisor recognition speaks volumes of our reputation and brand promise that is to give our guests the best deal and ensure value for money," he adds.

Other Tune Hotels that have previously received TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence include Westminster, London (2011, 2012); and Legian, Bali in 2012.

For Tune Hotel Ermita, Manila, it was a bumper win this year as it has earlier been recognised as among the Top 25 Bargain Hotels in the Philippines under the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice 2013 award.

Tune Hotels' properties that total 29 across six countries at present have regularly been ranked top in TripAdvisor rankings. Tune Hotel Waterfront Kuching and Tune Hotel Bintulu in Sarawak, Malaysia were among the Top 15 Bargain Hotels in Malaysia for 2013, and so was Tune Hotel Legian in Bali which made it to the Top 25 Bargain Hotels in Indonesia this year. Tune Hotel Downtown Penang, Malaysia was in the Top 25 Bargain Hotels in Malaysia list last year.

Tune Hotels has successfully pioneered a branded value hotel brand with the concept of pay-as-you-use that has become hugely popular amongst travellers from across the world. Under the concept, guests only pay for room rates with the option of adding on other amenities like towels & toiletries, air-conditioning, in-room wifi and satellite TV service.

Tune Hotels has received almost five million guests since the opening of its first hotel in downtown Kuala Lumpur in 2007. There are 11 Tune Hotels in Malaysia, five in the UK, one in India and four each in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.

Upon successful opening of Tune Hotel Ahmedabad in May, Tune Hotels is set to enter Japan with a hotel in Okinawa opening in August and Melbourne, Australia in November. The company also has plans for future projects in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Tune Hotels is part of Tune Group, a lifestyle business conglomerate co-founded by Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Dato' Kamarudin Meranun, who are the Group CEO and Deputy Group CEO respectively of Asia's largest low cost carrier AirAsia.

For real-time updates and promotion alerts, guests can stay connected with Tune Hotels via Facebook at www.facebook.com/tunehotels and on Twitter via www.twitter.com/tunehotels.

For booking and further information, visit www.tunehotels.com.

APT Takes Australia's "Sunrise" Breakfast Television Show to Peru

Seven's Sunrise is set to become the first Australian breakfast television programme to broadcast live from Machu Picchu as part of an exciting week-long destination feature in Peru. The live daily broadcasts, which commence on Monday 24 June 2013, are a result of a unique partnership with leading Australian luxury tour and cruise operator APT.

As the sole tour operator sponsoring these special outside broadcasts APT has worked in close collaboration with Australia's number one breakfast television show to arrange the week-long schedule, which will be hosted by Sunrise Sydney correspondent, Edwina Bartholomew. Flights have been supplied by LAN Airlines.

APT has provided in-depth destination knowledge to create an exciting itinerary that showcases the rich culture of Peru and the Amazon. Viewers will see all the highlights of APT's South American programme, including live broadcasts from: the Incan capital of Cusco as it prepares to celebrate Inti Raymi, Peruvian for Winter Solstice and the Inca's biggest festival of the year; the Sacred Valley; and of course, the jewel in Peru's crown, Machu Picchu.

In addition, the Sunrise crew is visiting the Amazon prior to broadcasting the live segments in order to capture an APT river cruise on the Delfin II, meeting up with and filming APT cruise guests.

Commenting on the partnership, APT's General Manager Marketing, Debra Fox, said, "Peru is one of the world's most fascinating destinations and we love sharing its secrets with our guests. Taking the Sunrise team to showcase both its iconic landmarks and the warmth and generosity of the Peruvian people is an absolute privilege. Having them film on one of Amazon River cruises is the icing on the cake. We hope that the daily updates from Edwina encourage Australians to contact us to find out more about seeing Peru for themselves."

APT is also supporting the show with a competition which will run alongside the week-long South American live broadcasts. One lucky viewer will have the chance to win an APT 20 Day Best of South America trip for two people, including flights, worth almost $28,000. Entry is via the Sunrise website from 24 June, where viewers will be asked to answer a specified question in 25 words or less.

For further information on APT's South America program call 1300 278 278, see www.aptouring.com.au or contact a travel agent.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Winner of NSW Chief Funster and Best Job in the World announced Andrew Smith of Orange County, USA Appointed

Andrew Smith
The winner of the NSW Best Job in the World - the Chief Funster has been announced. Andrew Smith from Orange County, California, USA has been revealed as the lucky winner of the role, which will see him relocate to Sydney for six-months working for Destination NSW, the NSW Government's Tourism and Major Events Agency, as a social media commentator and an ambassador for youth travel to the State.

The Chief Funster will travel across NSW, appearing at major events, media launches and selected festivals, and take part in visitor activites and experiences in some of NSW's most beautiful locations, reporting via social media on what's happening, and how visitors can plan their trip to NSW.

"I'm delighted to announce that Andrew has been successful in his quest to become Destination NSW's Chief Funster, a role which will be integral in promoting and showcasing the best that Sydney and NSW has to offer youth visitors and Working Holiday Makers to our State," Ms Chipchase said.

Following the final interview and selection process which involved the finalists undertaking challenges across Sydney and Port Stephens on the NSW Central Coast, Andrew was chosen as Chief Funster, having displayed his outstanding ability to communicate and engage through social media networks including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter; the blog content he produced around his experiences in NSW, and also his interaction and engagement with the general public, other visitors and key industry partners.

"I also want to congratulate and thank the other finalists who performed so well, and of course invite the 124,000 people who applied to become the NSW Chief Funster to come to NSW, and enjoy a working holiday maker experience not to be missed!" Ms Chipchase added.

As Australia's major events and creative services capital, events that NSW's Chief Funster may be attending and/or reporting on include:

• Sydney New Year's Eve
• Sydney Mardi Gras Parade
• Vivid Sydney
• The ARIA Awards
• Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia
• Sydney Film Festival• Bathurst 1000
• Tamworth Country Music Festival
• Archibald Prize Exhibition• Tropfest
• Surfest in Newcastle
• The Inter Dominion Championship
• Sydney Racing Carnival
• Opera on Sydney Harbour
• NRL Finals
• Major League Baseball Opening Series

Tourism Australia's 'Best Jobs in the World' competition was launched in March, and is part of a campaign to promote tourism opportunities provided by Australia's Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program. Applicants chose from six jobs from States across Australia, with NSW's Chief Funster receiving 124,000 applications, the highest number of any State in Australia.

In the year ended March 2013, NSW received 196,600 WHM visitors or 66.9% of total WHM visitors to Australia, the most of any State, and 30.8% of WHM nights. WHM travellers contributed 6.7% of visitors and 21.3% of nights in the State. The average length of stay in NSW by WHM visitors was 74.1 nights spending $778.3 million in the State (incl package expenditure). This represented 30.8% of total WHM expenditure in Australia.

WHM visitors spent over 14.6 million nights in the State.

Some of the highlights of Andrew's application included:

- A captivating application video produced while traveling in Nairobi which demonstrated his proficiency at producing high-quality content on the road- His demonstrated ability to connect with locals and travellers alike,- High level social media networking on Instagram and Twitter through his own networks,
- Interesting blog posts of his experiences in Sydney and NSW on his blog http://wheresthefun.at/,- Hosting three kids from the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the FIFA Asian World Cup Qualifier Australia v Iraq game in Sydney; and
- A memorable travel segment for mtvtravelco.com highlighting Port Stephens "Hotspot": sandboarding on Stockton Sand Dunes.

Follow the Chief Funster adventures at:

Facebook: facebook.com/chieffunsterNSW
Twitter: twitter.com/chieffunsterNSW
Instagram: Instagram.com/chieffunsterNSW#ChiefFunster; #SeeSydney; #NSWGetaways

Win $1,000 in "THE MAGIC & MYSTERY OF AMAZING THALAND" Thailand Photo Contest

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is pleased to announce the second TATNews Photo Contest, now being held through its official media website TATNews.org. All photographers, tourists, travelers, media, and anyone with a camera are cordially invited to participate. The theme of this new contest is "THE MAGIC & MYSTERY OF AMAZING THALAND."

The aim of the contest is for you to show the world what Amazing Thailand looks like to you - through the lens of your camera - and to share your incredible Thailand experiences with like-minded souls everywhere. Plus, you get the chance to win cash awards totaling USD2000 as well as having your images of Amazing Thailand shared globally by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Contestants need simply register an account on www.tatnews.org and submit entries according to the rules stated on the website. The submission period is now open and will close on 2 August 2013; so get your pictures organized and select your favorite shots. You won't have to choose only one to submit however since you can enter as many images as you like, along with a caption in English for each photograph.

Three winners will be chosen. The 1st Place Winner will receive a cash prize of THB 30,000 (approximately $1,000 US), the First Runner-Up will receive THB 20,000 while the Second Runner-Up will receive THB 10,000 plus a Photo Contest Certificate for each.

Submissions will be judged by a team consisting of Thai media experts, editors, and photographers. The winners will be announced on TATNews.org on 7 August 2013, and the three lucky winners will also be notified via email the next day, 8 August 2013.

So look through your Thailand photographs now, or better yet, grab your camera and head to your favorite Thailand destinations to do some serious shooting. We want your original photographs that are exciting and inspirational, that tell a story or share an experience - in short, images that will motivate viewers to visit this spot and turn their own cameras to this and similar subjects.

For more information and further details, please go to TatNews.org/photo-contest-2 or contact photocontest@tatnews.org. We're looking forward to enjoying your best shots.

Indulge your senses at The Rocks Aroma Festival

Coffee lovers of Sydney should find themselves following their noses to the heart of The Rocks on Sunday 21 July, 2013, where a wide range of boutique roasters and coffee experts will be accompanied by fine foods, musicians and more in celebrating the magic bean at The Rocks Aroma Festival.

Set in the heart of one of Sydney’s favourite hotspots the Aroma Festival snuggles itself along the foreshore of The Rocks, wafting the scents of many different roasts and brews down cobblestone laneways and towards the Quay. Presented by Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Aroma has been a fixture of The Rocks event calendar since 1998. In 2013 Aroma returns with more coffee and special events than ever before.

Wander down on a wintery Sunday to warm yourself up with coffee tasting from only $2 per sample and grab a bite to eat from a range of delicious cakes, cookies and tea-time treats. Marvel at the talent of some artistic baristas and watch a mosaic made up of more than 8000 carefully brewed cups of coffee turn in to a famous face… and don’t forget to vote for your favourite café in The Rocks.

During the month of July the inaugural “Aroma Cup” will see The Rocks many cafes and baristas go head to head in a public vote with a member of the public in for the chance to win an ECM Casa IV coffee machine plus accommodation and dinner for two in The Rocks, valued at $1,700 – Just for voting for The Rocks’ best drop!

This year the festival includes not only the Sunday event, but also offers an impressive array of activities and workshops available in the week leading up to the big day. The coffee-curious can learn espresso tasting with boutique roasters Pablo & Rusty’s; enjoy insider’s tips from professional chocolate makers; learn about the complex and delicate flavours of coffee with different cupping sessions; take part in a workshop on Indonesian coffee; learn how to make pour-over coffee at home with a V60 and even explore the art of candle making. -booking is required with places limited.

On the day, there will be workshops available including coffee cupping, tea leaf reading and ‘creative and curious coffee experiences’ – an event hosted at various spots around The Rocks.

Discover a whole lot of coffee inspired experiences with coffee ice-cream, speciality menus and more. Rueben Hills will also offer a cupping session focussing on regional differences, and you can keep the kids amused with a paper cup-making themed workshop at The Rocks Discovery Museum.

Coffee brewing is an old tradition as well as a developing art, with some of the oldest techniques dating back to the 16th Century Ottoman Empire. Aroma Festival will also explore coffee’s origins and history with Campbell’s Cove hosting a Middle Eastern coffee corner where you can explore these fascinating Arabian brewing methods among belly dancers and traditional music.

Which café will you vote for? Which drop will tickle your fancy? Whose face will the mosaic depict? Curious coffee-lovers will find out on Sunday July 21, 2013 at The Rocks.

SHFA Creative Producer, Michael Cohen says “The Rocks Aroma Festival really is an event that has appreciation of coffee at its heart. This year we’re focusing even more on all things coffee with workshops ranging from the art of making the perfect cup to comparative tastings of different beans. We’ve brought together some of the city’s best baristas to showcase and share their love of the perfect drop.”

Whether you grow, roast, brew or drink coffee; whether it’s latte, espresso or long black; if you love that smell and can’t live without that taste, this festival is absolutely not to be missed.

Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority is proud to manage The Rocks: traditional land of the Cadigal people and the birthplace of European settlement in Australia. Whilst preserving The Rocks’ unique heritage, we produce large scale and intimate quality events, outdoor markets, and educational tours. The Rocks: it’s a perfect blend of culture, cuisine and a myriad of experiences worth savouring.

AROMA FESTIVAL

Date: Sunday 21 July 2013
Location: The Rocks
Cost: Free
Website: therocks.com

AROMA WORKSHOPS AND SPECIAL EVENTS

Dates: 16–21 July
Location: The Rocks
Costs: Varies
Website: therocks.com

AROMA CUP

Date: 1-31 July
Location: The Rocks
Website: therocks.com

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Dusit Properties Achieve Excellence

Dusit Thani Manila
The majority of Dusit International’s hotels and resorts have been recognised by the world's largest travel site TripAdvisor’s 2013 Certificate of Excellence.

The award, now in its third year, celebrates hospitality excellence and is awarded to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on the website. Only the top 10 percent of businesses listed receive the award.

To qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four out of a possible five as reviewed by travellers on TripAdvisor and receive positive traveller reviews. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

“We are proud that so many of our properties received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award this year,” says Dusit International Chief Operating Officer, Mr David Shackleton. “We thank those guests who took the time to review us online and look forward to continue delivering gracious Thai hospitality to all who stay with us.”

Dusit Thani Maldives
Dusit International’s list of recipients includes:
  • Dusit Thani Bangkok, Thailand
  • Dusit Thani Pattaya, Thailand
  • Dusit Thani Hua Hin, Thailand
  • Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, Thailand
  • Dusit Thani Manila, Philippines
  • Dusit Thani Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Dusit Thani LakeView Cairo, Egypt
  • Dusit Thani Maldives
  • Dusit Island Resort Chiang Rai, Thailand
  • dusitD2 chiang mai, thailand
  • dusitD2 baraquda pattaya, thailand
  • Dusit Princess Srinakarin, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Dusit Princess Korat, Thailand
  • Pathumwan Princess MBK Centre, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Royal Princess Chiang Mai, Thailand

Air New Zealand's fuel efficient A320 features at prestigious Paris Air Show

Air New Zealand unveiled the first of its brand new fuel-efficient Airbus A320 aircraft at the Paris Air Show overnight.

Air New Zealand is the launch customer for the aircraft, which features 2.4 metre high curved wing tip devices known as Sharklets that increase fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.

Ten of the Sharklet equipped A320 aircraft will join Air New Zealand’s fleet between now and 2015.

Air New Zealand’s Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer, Captain David Morgan, says the A320 is at the core of Air New Zealand’s domestic fleet and the airline is committed to moving all domestic flying to this aircraft type to reap the efficiency gains on offer.

“In a seat to seat comparison, the Sharklet equipped A320 will burn 18% less fuel per passenger compared with our Boeing 737-300 jets, which are scheduled to be phased out of our fleet over the next couple of years.

“From a CO2 perspective, each Sharklet equipped A320 aircraft will save 250 tonnes of carbon per year compared with an A320 without Sharklets.”

The Paris Air Show is the world’s oldest and largest aviation event and brings together industry players from across the globe to showcase the latest technological developments in the field.

This is the 50th Le Bourget Paris Air Show and Captain Morgan says Air New Zealand is proud to have its aircraft selected to be part of the Airbus display at this prestigious event.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Australia Classic 2013 Cairns

All the colour and chrome of a classic car rally! When it is held in Cairns this month, the Australia Classic 2013 Cairns promises to turn heads with a spectacle of rare and valuable cars exceeding a cumulative value of $1.5 million. Having fielded 46 vehicles from the Far North and interstate, this year’s precision car rally will navigate some of the region’s most scenic roads from Cairns to Port Douglas, the Tablelands and as far south as the Cassowary Coast over two action packed days on Saturday, 22 and Sunday 23 June 2013.

Spectators are welcome to view the starting and finishing line action on both Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June.  The race will officially begin both days from 9am in front of the Shangri-la / Pier carpark.  Competitors are expected at the finish line from 4pm both days.

Set to make an entrance in this year’s really is a stunning line up of classic cars comprising AC Cobras, an extremely coveted and beautiful Porsche Speedster from the 50s, a modern classic Ferrari Testarossa, several varieties of the iconic Porsche 911 and a whole host of other gems like Corvettes, Trans Ams, MGs, Mercedes and Aussie muscle cars.

According to the international regulatory body FIVA (Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens) a precision rally (in other words a “regularity” rally) does not involve any risk taking but focuses more on maintaining speed averages and executing a series of coordination tasks while testing navigational skill.

For this year’s rally, competitors will be required to follow a roadbook, sign by sign, for a total of 600 kilometres of driving over two days. Along the way, ‘1/100 coordination stages’ will be completed and measured to the 100th of a second in terms of accuracy. Being one 100th of a second too fast or too slow attracts the same penalty. These challenges will be timed by the same crew that measures the RallyCross World Championship this year, international big shot Chronomoto Limited who rely on their state of the art Tag Heuer photocell system with the aid of 20 marshals.  

Founder and Australia Classic race organiser, Zoltan Vandulek, says precision rallies are hugely popular in Europe with some countries staging their own series such as the ‘Oldtimer Supercup’ in Hungary.

“Without question, the most successful competitions are those organised by Germany’s Motor Klassik magazine. The annual Eifel Classic rally takes competitors onto the legendary Nürburgring amongst other notable locations. The Silvretta Classic is another one that takes off from Austria and cuts though the passages of the Alps.  But while Motor Klassik has pioneered this style of racing, the most famous event of this kind is probably the Mille Miglia re-enactment in Italy taking place every May.

“Precision or regularity rallies are relatively new to Australia but the country has already caught the fever with last year’s Australia Classic inspiring the legendary Targa rally series to introduce its own regularity class in this year’s program. Last year’s inaugural rally was deemed a huge success with competitors loving every minute of their experience and vowing to return again to this year’s start line. And it is not all serious; drivers have their own fun with some introducing their own brand of silliness,” he said.

Last year’s precision rally raised $10,000 for the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal.  This year the race organisers have set a similar fundraising goal that will benefit Variety – the Children’s Charity.

Highlights are expected throughout the weekend of classic car action however spectators are invited to gather for the starting gun on Saturday 22 June that will be fired by Cairns Mayor, Bob Manning. As rally ambassador, Cairns local and Australia’s former rally champion Ross Dunkerton will provide all the starting line commentary.

The route, which is kept secret until the morning of the event, crosses diverse Far Northern landscapes and picturesque scenery from Cairns to Port Douglas, the Atherton Tablelands and Innisfail.

About the organisers
Founder of Australia Classic, Zoltan Vandulek, is a member of Cairns Porsche Club and in charge of recruiting participants.  Before moving to Australia seven years ago, Zoltan often raced in similar classic rallies in Europe. His partner, Kristina Jahshan, focuses her efforts on the rally’s event management and sponsorship. Formerly an organiser of major events from corporate retreats to festivals, concerts to boat parties, Kristina promoted Australia and Cairns in European media in 2002 - 2004 with the support of Tourism Australia and AusTrade.

About the sponsors
This year’s sponsors include the Shangri-La hotel, Joe Vella Insurance Brokers, Ireland’s motors, JAX Tyres, Passions of Paradise, Jenkins Rubber and Tyrepower providing either financial support or contributing to prizes and the raffle for Variety.
 

For more information:
Kristina Jahshan Mob: 0420 533 622 Email: info@australiaclassic.com.au