Friday, 31 October 2014

Metro Museum Opens

Shanghai Metro Museum opened on Tuesday. 

The attraction tells the history of the city’s subway and gives people the chance to experience the thrill of driving a Metro train via a simulator. 

The museum is free to individuals every Tuesday from 9:30am to 4:30pm. 

On Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays the fee is 15 yuan (US$2.45) per person and entry is limited to pre-organized groups.

Tourism Australia and Virgin Australia Expand Global Marketing Deal for 2015

Tourism Australia and Virgin Australia have today announced plans to increase the value of their three year marketing partnership to A$20 million making Virgin Australia the largest airline partner of the national tourism body.

Both parties will jointly spend more than A$10m during the 2015 Financial Year promoting Australia to leisure travellers in the United States and New Zealand.

The expansion to the existing three year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) includes support for Tourism Australia's recently announced Restaurant Australia campaign, the global Invite the World to Dinner launch event, the Australian Tourism Exchange in 2015 as well as targeted support for Tourism Australia's business events and international media hosting programs.

Each partner has agreed to contribute A$3m in cash towards joint marketing activities targeting the US and New Zealand, as well as an additional A$2.1m each in sponsorship arrangements.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O'Sullivan, said the latest expansion to its marketing partnership with Virgin Australia was significant, and would further strengthen inbound tourism from two of Australia's highest volume markets.

“The funding announced brings the total value of our three year marketing partnership to a significant A$20m, making Virgin Australia now our most valuable commercial airline partner,” Mr O'Sullivan said.

“This is a partnership which continues to evolve with Virgin Australia now making significant contributions to Tourism Australia's global campaigns and marketing activities, as well as some of our industry's most important trade and business events,” he said.

As part of the expanded deal, Virgin Australia will become Tourism Australia's exclusive airline partner on all Restaurant Australia campaigns in the US and New Zealand for 2014 and 2015, as well as receive sponsorship recognition at a number of Tourism Australia events and activities.

Virgin Australia Chief Customer Officer Mark Hassell said; "As one of Australia's largest airlines connecting to more than 450 destinations worldwide, we play a vital role in flying visitors into and around Australia. This is why we continue to invest significantly as the major Australian airline partner of Tourism Australia.

“The expanded partnership announced today will allow Virgin Australia to jointly host major tourism events putting Australia on the world stage and showcasing the airline and our service to important international visitors, influencers and decision makers. We look forward to continuing to take the partnership to new heights in 2015.”

Together, the United States and New Zealand account for more than a quarter for Australia's international visitors.

Key partnership highlights:
  • May 2012: Three year partnership launches to the value of $6m.
  • December 2012: Partnership doubles in value to $12m.
  • March 2013: 'Best Jobs in the World' campaign launches.
  • December 2013: 'Dreamtime' event held in Melbourne, showcasing business events in Australia to 100 international business decision makers and media.
  • March 2014: 'Someday', highest value joint US campaign launches.
  • May 2014: Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE14), promoting Australia to 600 delegates from nearly 40 countries.
  • May 2014: Partnership increases in value to S16m.
  • October 2014: Total partnership expands to $20m with additional activities agreed for 2014/15: Restaurant Australia, Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE15), business events and international media hosting.

MADISON AND PENCE BORN AT THE SF ZOO

The San Francisco Zoo is thrilled to announce that two significant animal births took place during the San Francisco Giants' pennant race and World Series. The first is a female greater kudu calf, the tallest of the African hoofstock, born on October 11 to mom Portia and dad Jack. She is doing well and has been spending some time in the Leanne B. Roberts African Savanna with the rest of her herd, which also includes her older sister, Jamie.

And on the evening of October 22, a female eastern mountain bongo calf was born to mom Betty Jean and dad Kibo. This species one of the most striking and critically endangered of African hoofstock, with only 100 left in the wilds of Kenya. Weighing approximately 42 pounds at birth, this is Betty’s first calf, but she is proving to be a wonderful and attentive mother. The new bongo calf is likely to be on exhibit intermittently starting this Sunday.

Given the auspicious timing of these very special arrivals, the Zoo have given the name “Madison” to the kudo calf (right, photo by Marianne Hale), after the Giants’ imposing 6’5” ace pitcher, Madison Bumgarner. And the Zoo has given the name “PencKansas City wins the World Series, senior staff at the San Francisco Zoo will dress in royal blue and stand in front of the lion enclosure with signs that say “The Royals won and we’re swallowing our pride.”
e” to the charming bongo calf (left, photo by Sarah King), after the Giants' unique and brave right-fielder, Hunter Pence.

Last week, Tanya Peterson, Executive Director and President of the San Francisco Zoological Society, and Randy Wisthoff, CEO/Executive Director of the Kansas City Zoo came up with a friendly wager loosely based on each team’s mascots and colors:
  • If the San Francisco Giants win the World series, senior staff from the Kansas City Zoo will dress in orange and black and stand in front of the “seal lion” enclosure with signs that say “We’re not lion, the Giants beat us fair and square.”
  • In the unlikely event that Kansas City wins the World Series, senior staff at the San Francisco Zoo will dress in royal blue and stand in front of the lion enclosure with signs that say “The Royals won and we’re swallowing our pride.”

Photos of either city’s losing displays will be posted on each Zoo’s Facebook feed. Regardless of the outcome, the World Series has presented an opportunity for two great cities to strut their stuff on behalf of their teams. Go Giants!

A WHALE OF A TIME IN EDEN

Whale watchers and lovers of the great outdoors are encouraged to come to the town of Eden on NSW’s beautiful Sapphire Coast this weekend for the annual Eden Whale Festival.

The Festival will offer a range of fun activities including competitions, events and activities for everyone, not to mention the chance to see nature’s most magnificent mammals up close.

Saturday 1 November is the Eden Whale Festival’s ‘Big Day’ which begins with a street parade in the town centre, with markets, live music, educational marine displays, whale watching and more throughout the day, followed by a fireworks display in the evening.

Timed to coincide with the whale migration along the NSW coast, the festival celebrates the miraculous annual journey of humpbacks and other whales, while showcasing Eden and the splendour that is the Sapphire Coast.

Festival program highlights also include spoon carving workshops, guided tours of the tall ship, HM Bark Endeavour, and guided kayak tours of Twofold Bay. Not to mention a number of artistic displays from photography, to intricate carvings out of unseasoned soft hearted timbers.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase, said: “I encourage visitors and locals alike to make the most of this weekend-long Festival in celebration of marine life, nature and the rich maritime and whaling history of Eden.

“Visitors to the Eden Whale Festival should also take the chance to discover the pioneer and aboriginal history, artisan galleries and stunning natural attractions around Eden and throughout the Sapphire Coast,” she said.

For more information please visit www.edenwhalefestival.com.au

Lunar Festivities in Singapore

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, is one of the most eagerly anticipated occasions each year. This is the biggest and most significant event of the Chinese community, and it is observed by Singaporeans from all walks of life.

The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th day.

Symbolically, new clothes are usually worn to signify the new year. It is also the tradition for every family to thoroughly clean their homes to “sweep away” any ill-fortune, making way for the arrival of good luck. Chinese New Year also brings people together, and is marked by visits to kin, relatives and friends, a practice known simply as "new-year visits". The highlight for children and younger members of the family during these visits comes in little red packets, or “hong bao”, filled with money. Another significant tradition is the Reunion Dinner, which takes place on the Eve of Chinese New Year, and is an occasion for families to come together and eat.

During this time, the streets of the city come alive with the sounds of traditional music, the sights of hanging red lanterns and the tantalising smells wafting from the many night stalls set-up in various neighbourhoods throughout Singapore.

One such precinct is Chinatown, which, with its stunning street light-ups, night markets and decorations, is the focal point for Chinese New Year celebrations in Singapore. The best time to absorb the lively atmosphere that Chinatown has to offer is during the Chinatown Street Light Up. This is when lion dancers, fire eaters and female dance troupes grace Kreta Ayer Square with their mesmerising performances. Armed with giant paper fans and intricately patterned umbrellas, they will provide you with street entertainment that you are unlikely to forget.

Folklore is very much at the heart of this festival. All across the city, you’ll notice dragon and lion dances everywhere – lending a cheery, festive atmosphere to the occasion. Dragons and lions are prominent characters in Chinese mythology; its roots originating in ancient China when Nien, a mythical beast which tormented villagers was discovered to be afraid of the colour red.

Singapore bursts with all sorts of activities and events during Chinese New Year each year. The centrepiece of the festivities is the Chingay Parade, a grand carnival-like street parade with dazzling floats, thrilling spectacles like fire-eaters, magicians and sizzling dance acts. However, to accommodate more spectators, it is held on the expansive grounds of the Formula One Pit Building alongside the Marina waterfront.

Another popular annual Chinese New Year event is the River Hongbao. Held on the Marina Bay Floating Platform and the Esplanade Waterfront Promenade in mid-February, the vicinity comes alive with the throbbing beat of lively street performances, shopping and games stalls, lanterns and fireworks – a crowd favourite during Chinese New Year.

Nearby at the Esplanade, the annual Huayi Festival, which also happens in February, showcases traditional and contemporary Chinese arts in a variety of genres like theatre, opera and music, and includes visual installations by renowned Chinese artists from all over the world.

Come soak in the atmosphere in Singapore during Chinese New Year and be entertained by the many activities that happen around it. You’ll leave understanding Chinese culture and its traditions better, as well as with more luck and prosperity for the rest of the year.

Luxperience Launches New Website and Brand Exhibitors Benefit from Early Bird Offers

Luxperience, the leader in luxury and experiential tourism exhibitions in the Southern Hemisphere, has unveiled its new branding and website to support its continued evolution to be the best global travel event.

In consultation with renowned creative consultancy, Tiny Hunter, extensive research was conducted to re-energise the Luxperience brand. The brand essence has been refined to impart elegance and bespoke prestige with sophistication and timelessness grounded in experience.

'The impetus for the re-brand reflects our commitment to providing a relatable platform to our discerning clients,' says Michelle Papas, Director of Marketing and Buyer Relations. “At Luxperience we strive to create and deliver meaningful business opportunities for experienced players within the global luxury travel markets”.

The redesigned website incorporates the new brand identity and serves as an innovative, informative resource for Luxperience delegates. The new look and feel for the brand has been devised to reflect the premium nature of the brand while also representing the immersive and connective role that Luxperience plays in the industry. The use of stunning travel and lifestyle photography, sophisticated unique patterning, a modern use of typography and a website structure that ensures access to a depth of information and current trends, all contributes to a new positioning for Luxperience – the leaders in the experiential luxury market.

Luxperience is more than a trade show, providing a global business exchange connecting experiential and discerning travel products directly to their market in a creative and inspirational exchange.

For Luxperience 2015, attendees can look forward to a new and improved program focused on thought leadership and enhanced networking opportunities. The exhibition will be held at the centrally-located Australian Technology Park from 06 to 09 September 2015 with three days of scheduled appointments and evenings of networking events.

Luxperience Launches Early Bird Offer

Exhibitors who act quickly have an opportunity to save considerably by taking up the early bird offer available until 26 November 2014.

'The success of Luxperience 2014 is evident by the number of exhibitor and buyer participants already committed to Luxperience 2015 as exhibitor registrations have tripled in comparison to the same period last year,' says Eric Lewanavanua, Director of Sales and Partner Alliances. 'With new partnership discussions in place, an exciting new program and a 56 per cent increase in trade buyer attendance planned for 2015, members of the Luxperience community can look forward to bigger and better show.'

For more information: www.luxperience.com.au

Planning to Ski Korea this Winter, Get your free Discount Coupon Booklet & Save!‏

For Australian skiers who are perhaps thinking right now of where to ski during the northern hemisphere winter, then Gangwon province in Korea is a good choice with Pyeongchang playing host to the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics. Not only is Korea a great place to ski but Gangwon Province have published a free coupon book offering visitors big discounts on accommodation, restaurants and places to visit in the region. The discount coupons in the free booklet are valid until 31 March, 2015.

Yongpyong (Dragon Valley) Resort is already very popular with Australian skiers and the nearby Alpensia Resort are the two main resorts which will be the centre of the main competition venues at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Phoenix Park Resort which is further down the mountains near Wonju is also a great place to ski, especially for families. Phoenix Park as well as many of the ski resorts in Korea offer skiing at all hours of the day and night, so skiers can enjoy a wide variety of activities and ski all hours.

Skimax Holidays in Australia have very good packages to Yongpyong Ski Resort with seven night's accommodation and a six day ski pass for less than $1,000 ($989 per person for quad share) up to $1,319 for a deluxe room at Dragon Valley Hotel (per person twin share). Both rates do not include airfare to/from Korea.

For more information on Skimax Holidays great ski packages to Korea please visit their webpage: http://www.skimax.com.au/southkorea/ski-yongpyong.htm

New Qantas Inflight Entertainment Takes Off

More breaking news, higher volume of content, better variety

From next week Qantas will begin to implement its new and improved inflight entertainment program giving customers more choice and variety and more regular and in-depth news coverage as a result of its new partnership with Sky News, Foxtel and Fox Sports.

Qantas customers will be able to view a complete package of news, sport, entertainment and lifestyle programs with the partnership marking the start of a comprehensive transformation of Qantas' inflight entertainment programming.

Qantas Group Executive, Brand Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Olivia Wirth said Qantas' inflight entertainment was a defining feature of the on-board experience with the airline committed to investing and innovating for customers.

“From the latest in seat back technology to our Q streaming service, Qantas is working hard to deliver the luxury of home entertainment in the sky,” Ms Wirth said.

“By partnering with news and entertainment experts like Foxtel and Sky News we're able to deliver a greater variety of premium content on a more regular basis, just as our customers would experience at home.

“This means multiple, daily news updates seven days a week, 100 hours more TV and movie content, 160 hours of box set viewing, triple the number of new release albums and double the number of blockbusters.”

Angelos Frangopoulos, CEO of Australian News Channel said Sky News was excited to be part of a new era for IFE across the Qantas network both in the air and on the ground.

“For the first time, the latest news will be delivered to Qantas aircraft across the day, 365 days a year.

“This is being made possible by our joint commitment to new digital technology which will stretch from seat back on aircraft to Qantas lounges across the world.”

Brian Walsh, Foxtel Executive Director of Television said Foxtel was delighted to partner with Qantas and be part of such an impressive in-flight entertainment service.

“Foxtel will present a broad range of popular local programming from our top-rating channels including Selling Houses Australia, Grand Designs Australia, Coast Australia and a variety of music and entertainment shows, giving Qantas customers an unmatched choice of content.”

Qantas is the only Australian airline to give its customers an inflight entertainment solution on every aircraft no matter what cabin they are travelling in.

New inflight entertainment features:
  • More news - Qantas customers will enjoy multiple daily news bulletins on international and domestic flights seven days a week.
  • More exposure - A new international Australian news service called Australia Channel will broadcast live to Qantas' international network of lounges so customers returning home will be able to watch the latest news, sport and business updates from Australia. Domestic customers will also enjoy this service.
  • More sport - Fox Sports content will be on offer for customers including highlights packages, interviews and documentaries.
  • More variety - A Foxtel Picks channel will showcase a library of lifestyle, drama, food, sport and entertainment programming from the likes of The Lifestyle Channel, Fox8, Showcase, the History Channel and Comedy Channel.
  • More content – Customers can expect more volume in popular categories including double the number of new releases and blockbusters, kid's and drama content. Four times more business programming.
  • More music – Customers can now listen to a greater selection of music with triple the number of albums added each quarter.

Qantas has also engaged Stellar Entertainment, a full-service content service provider, offering world-class IFE. The partnership has already seen Qantas double its number of new releases and blockbusters, adding 100 hours of additional content.

Ninh Thuan preserves traditional festival of Cham ethnic group

As usual, on the 1st day of the seventh month according to Cham calendar, Brahmans Cham ethnic people in Ninh Thuan Province in Vietnam organize Kate Festival to honour Gods of Po Klong Garai, Po Rome, and make offerings to ancestors with wishes of prosperous country, abundant crop, happy family.

In 2014, Kate Festival will take place from 22nd to 24th October in Po Nagar Temple (Huu Duc Hamlet, Ninh Phuoc District), Po Rome Tower (Hau Sanh Hamlet, Ninh Phuoc District) and Po Klong Garai Tower (Do Vinh Ward, Phan Rang – Thap Cham City). In addition, the festival will also be held in Cham villages and Brahmans families in Ninh Thuan Province.

In the temple and towers, Kate Festival will take place in two days of 22nd and 23rd October with rituals in turn as tower opening ceremony, statue bathing ceremony, costume wearing ceremony, offering and dance to celebrate Kate Festival. After the rituals in the temple and towers, on the 24th October, Cham people will organize Kate Festival in Brahmans Cham villages (My Nghiep and Bau Truc villages in Ninh Phuoc District) with excellent culture, art, sports activities such as: contests of weaving fabric, making pottery, carrying water jar; pottery exhibition in families; Kate worship; Cham folk art performances; folk games... On this occasion, Kate Festival in the families will also be held to gather all family members and pray for prosperity and good luck.

Ninh Thuan preserves many unique cultural features of Cham ethnic people. To Kate Festival, visitors will have the opportunity to learn about Cham culture, belief, religion through Po Klong Garai Towers Complex, Bau Truc Pottery Village, My Nghiep Weaving Village, traditional songs and dances, sounds of Ka Nhi, Ghi-nang and Baranung drums...

To prepare for Kate Festival 2014, Ninh Thuan Province People's Committee directed departments and localities in the province to facilitate for Cham people to hold Kate Festival in the temple and towers; at the same time organize culture, art, sports activities to serve local people and visitors in the areas of Brahmans Cham people. In addition, leaders of Ninh Thuan Province People's Committe will also visit and encourage religious dignitaries and some typical Cham families who actively take part in social works and implement well patriotic emulation movement.

APPLICATIONS TO ATTEND ATE 2015 NOW OPEN

Applications to attend Australia’s largest annual travel and tourism business-to-business event, the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE), are open.

ATE brings together Australia’s tourism industry in a forum to showcase their products and destinations directly to tourism wholesalers and retailers from around the world, through a combination of scheduled business appointments and networking events.

ATE 2015 will be held from 21-25 June in Melbourne. On-site registration for all delegates will take place on Sunday 21 June, followed by appointments and social functions from Monday 22 to Thursday 25 June 2015.

To register for ATE 2015, please visit the Tourism Australia website.

Seller applications for ATE15 close on Tuesday 25 November 2014.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

ibtm arabia Confirms Almost 50% of Meeting Pods Already Reserved

New show format gets regional and international industry support Close to 50% of the IBTM Arabia meeting pods have already been reserved for the first event of its kind in the Middle East which takes place at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi from 10-12 February 2015. The event is now the only opportunity in the region for international MICE suppliers to meet with Middle East buyers who have been accepted onto the Hosted Buyer Programme because they have proven business to place in the region.

IBTM Arabia will also facilitate opportunities for both exhibitors and buyers to meet with Editors from some of the world’s leading MICE publications. Another key difference for IBTM Arabia over other style events in the region is the guarantee that every exhibitor will have a pre-scheduled diary of up to 30 mutually matched appointments, access to 9 networking opportunities and the IBTM Arabia Knowledge Forum, part of Discovery Day.

Jad Taktak, General Manager, Semark, Saudi Arabia, wants to use IBTM Arabia as an event to stay up to date with the new venues for their exhibitions and events. “We are interested in Italy, France, Spain and Germany. I have attended and organised more than a thousand events in the past 13 years and I consider IBTM Arabia a very important place for research.”

Exhibitors, including NTOs, CVBs, hotels, venues, DMC’s and technology providers, have already reserved individual bespoke meeting pods which are designed to be customised with the exhibitors’ corporate branding and giving privacy to meetings between Hosted Buyers and exhibitors.

“With recent Euromonitor International statistics showing the increased volume of MICE and business travel departures from Saudi Arabia is up 400% in 5 years and is forecast to grow a further 60% by 2018, plus the UAE also reporting growth of 21% increasing to 47% by 2018, we expect IBTM Arabia to be a valuable event for international suppliers who want to do business with the region’s Hosted Buyers” said Lois Wilcox, Event Director IBTM Arabia.

“Being the first MICE event of the calendar year in the region, and the first touch point for potential buyers looking to do business with their 2015/16 budgets, we are delighted but not surprised by the support we have already received for the industry’s new event style and the acknowledgement by both regional and international suppliers of the difference it will make to a company’s business development opportunity,” added Wilcox.

Hosted Buyers confirmed to attend IBTM Arabia 2015 include Bespoke Discovery (Jordan), SEMARK (Saudi Arabia), International Association of Dental Students (Jordan), RIPE NCC (UAE), BME Global (UK), WAITT (Netherlands), V Global Management (Malaysia), Healthcare Consultancy Group (USA), International Academy for Design and Health (Sweden), The London Diplomatic Association (UK), SHOW D'VISION (Germany) and The Achievement Awards Group (South Africa).

Asaad Hijazi, General Manager, Bespoke Discovery, Jordan, commented: “I see IBTM Arabia as a great opportunity to meet with new destinations, new suppliers and hotel chains, meet with them face to face and understand their ability to handle our future business.”

Wilcox concluded: “With the single focus on a full diary of appointments, networking between buyers and exhibitors and everyone together for the duration of the event, IBTM Arabia is not a traditional trade show, but an intimate environment dedicated to creating a community of meeting professionals from both sides of the industry brought together to meet, learn and connect.”

A “Discovery Day” is in the planning which will give Hosted Buyers the opportunity to see what’s new for the industry in Abu Dhabi and will also provide a half day Knowledge Forum for all attendees.

Looking good, naturally

People stand beside Shanghai Natural History Museum in Jing’an Sculpture Park.

The museum’s new pavilion has been completed and the attraction is set to open by the end of the year, once all of its exhibits have been installed. 

The museum, whose design was inspired by a trumpet shell, spans five floors, two of which are underground.

Summer "Guaranteed" on the Fraser Coast

With the world's largest sand island to explore, incredible encounters with wildlife, exciting eco-adventures, fascinating heritage and charming localities – Queensland's Fraser Coast is guaranteeing a summer filled with nature, adventure, memories and bucket-list moments.

As part of a special “Guaranteed Summer” campaign, the Fraser Coast has a host of holiday deals on accommodation, Fraser Island tours, adventure cruises, fishing and dining and attractions.

World Heritage-listed Fraser Island's towering ancient rainforests, fresh water lakes and sparkling creeks and spectacular sand formations make it unmatched anywhere in the world.

Stay on the island from just $85 a night at Eurong Beach Resort, or enjoy the eco-luxury of Kingfisher Bay Resort from $148 a room.

Island eco-adventure deals include cruises to discover the untouched beauty of the remote western side and guided tours taking in the island's sparkling pure lakes, stunning 75 Mile beach highway, shipwreck and cliffs of coloured sand.

Few things compare with a breath-taking, close encounter with marine wildlife and it is possible to experience many fascinating creatures on the Fraser Coast's gentle seas. Take a cruise over summer to watch dolphins surf the bow waves of boats and dugongs graze on seagrass beds. Snorkel or scuba dive with graceful sea turtles and giant manta rays as they glide effortless across sandy banks.

Discover the start of the Great Barrier Reef on Lady Elliot Island (internationally recognised as having the best water visibility on the reef) with a two night stay, including flights from Hervey Bay, from $606. November to February is the season to watch green and loggerhead turtles nest and see coral spawning.

Aquatic adventures can be found in the popular tourist centre of Hervey Bay – a great destination to experience the fun, the beauty and the magic of the ocean. Accommodation deals include discounts of up to 30% and a free night's accommodation with stays of two to more days.

Indulge in a champagne sunset cruise for $55 a head, or cruise up the beautiful Mary River from Hervey Bay to Maryborough for $65.

If skydiving and jet skiing are on the bucket list, cross them off and save with summer deals including a 12,000ft skydive with breath-taking views of Hervey Bay and Fraser Island for $325, and one hour of free sailing or kayaking with every jet-ski hire.

On the Fraser Coast, fishing enthusiasts can hook some of Australia's most sought after sports fish species – black marlin, golden trevally and barramundi – along with bass, bream and mackerel.

Take a guided fishing tour right into the action zone in and around Hervey Bay and Fraser Island, go fly fishing in the sandy shallows of Fraser Island's western side, cast a line off the iconic Urangan Pier, and fish the region's beach and mangrove-lined creeks and rivers.

Enjoy the Fraser Coast's charming captivating mix of historic streetscapes and hinterland hideaways. In Maryborough, discover the birthplace of the author of Mary Poppins and streets lined with colonial hotels and grand old buildings lovingly restored into museums, boutiques, cafes and galleries.

Uncover the flavours of the Fraser Coast with enticing deals at some of the region's leading restaurants. Select from menus which are crafted to showcase our fresh regional produce including sweet Hervey Bay scallops, Fraser Island prawns or other wild catch seafood harvested fresh from local waters.

There is fun and adventure to be found in the region's countryside, with hotels from bygone eras, pioneering museums and wonderful bushland offering opportunities for hiking, horse riding, mountain biking and scenic country drives.

One thing's for certain - summer on the Fraser Coast is guaranteed to excite, rejuvenate, and leave lasting memories.

For summer holiday deals and information on accommodation and attractions go to www.visitfrasercoast.com.

First International Tourism Expo in Caribbean Scheduled for May 13-16, 2015

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company announced that Expo de Turismo Internacional (ETI), the first international tourism expo in the Caribbean, will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico from May 13-16, 2015. ETI-Puerto Rico is designed to showcase the beauty, sports, nature, adventure and gastronomy experiences available throughout the Caribbean and beyond, bringing together members of the tourism industry from across the globe.

“In planning for this event and with input from local and regional organizations such as the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association, we are confident that this event has the potential to be a mainstay on the international calendar of tourism events,” said Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism company, organizers of ETI-Puerto Rico.

ETI-Puerto Rico will be held at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, the largest and most technologically advanced business conference venue in the Caribbean. The Center is located in the heart of San Juan on the Isla Grande peninsula, near the world-renowned city of Old San Juan.
As the U.S. travel market's top-selling destination, “the Caribbean has long required an annual event tailored specifically to travel agents,” said Rivera. “The fact that Puerto Rico acts as a hub for the Caribbean, with air and sea access to most islands, makes it an ideal location for this tourism expo.”

The four-day event will include group meetings, social and cultural events, field trips, workshops, destination trainings, keynote addresses and more, while the Exhibit Hall will be open two days to travel trade and one day to consumers. ETI-Puerto Rico will feature pavilions from the Caribbean and beyond, providing tourism boards, hotels, suppliers, tour operators, airlines and others with direct access to 1,000+ travel agents from the U.S., Central & South America, and Europe, and exposing them to new destinations and attractions. Additional information is available at www.etipuertorico.com.

AIME Hosted Buyers Applications For 2015 Go Live

Applications for the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) 2015 Hosted Buyer program are now open as anticipation grows for next year’s event. Gathering close to 500 Hosted Buyers for two days of intensive business, the AIME Hosted Buyer program is the largest in Australia.

Those interested are encouraged to register early to make the most of the VIP benefits made available as part of the Fully Hosted Buyer program, including a personalised diary of Pre Scheduled Appointments for high-calibre business events industry professionals to meet with their preferred Exhibitors.

Successful applicants will also receive the following:
  • Complimentary return flights to and from Melbourne
  • Complimentary 4 to 5 star accommodation and airport transfers
  • Complimentary tickets to all social functions
  • Complimentary pre and post event touring around regional Victoria
  • Pre Scheduled Appointments – one on one meetings with Exhibitors of your choice
  • A complimentary pass to one AIME Hosted Buyer Education Session
  • Exclusive access to the Hosted Buyer Lounge

Jacqui Timmins, Exhibition Director at AIME and CIBTM, said; “Having also just launched our new community strategy, which will provide attendees with even more networking and development opportunities than ever before, we are excited to build on AIME’s reputation continually attracting large numbers of quality Buyers.

“AIME provides outstanding business growth prospects, professional education sessions and networking opportunities. This is the key event in the business events calendar where we facilitate networking with some of the most interesting and innovative suppliers from the MICE industry, showcasing 750 Exhibitors from five continents.

“With 98% of Hosted Buyers in attendance at AIME this year agreeing that the event was vital to their business and decision making needs, this is without doubt the consummate event to attend to gain knowledge and keep abreast of the latest innovations in the industry,” said Ms Timmins.

To apply to for the AIME 2015 Hosted Buyer program, visit www.aime.com.au.

For further information, please get in touch with Ogilvy Public Relations for AIME 2015.

TUCK INTO TASTES AT NELSON BAY

Tastes at the Bay will take over the town’s foreshore and d’Albora Marinas, transforming the waterfront with a huge array of markets including fine food, wine, craft beer, and kids’ activities.

There will also be an outstanding line-up of entertainment throughout the Bay’s foreshore, featuring local jazz, swing, rhythm and blues, as well as a performance by the Royal Navy Band.

On Sunday, Paul Bennet, Australia’s top aerobatic and air show display pilot, take to the skies to perform thrilling low-level aerobatics, astounding manoeuvres and death-defying stunts.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase, said: “I encourage everyone to make the most of the fabulous flavours and delicious dining on offer during Tastes at the Bay this weekend, and take the time check out some of the other spectacular natural Port Stephens attractions that are only a stone’s throw away from Nelson Bay,” she said.

For more information please visit tastesatthebay.com.au

TripAdvisor reveals the most affordable island destinations in SE Asia in TripIndex Island Sun

Gili Trawangan offers the best value for Singaporean travellers this year when it comes to an island getaway, according to a cost comparison report released today by TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site.

The results are taken from the second annual TripIndex Island Sun report, which compares the cost of a day out and an overnight stay for two in sixteen popular island destinations across Southeast Asia. The study takes into account the combined costs for two people to enjoy a one night stay in a four-star hotel, a two-course meal with coconut juice, beers, a massage as well as rental of bicycles and kayaks.

The most affordable island for a day out and an overnight stay for Singapore travellers is Gili Trawangan in Indonesia, with a total TripIndex cost of S$283.42. At the other end of the spectrum, a trip to Sentosa will cost three times more at S$1,005.53.

“TripIndex Island Sun gives travellers an overview of where their money will stretch the furthest as they plan their upcoming end-of-year holiday getaway. This year’s results show that despite their popularity, Indonesia and Thailand are still home to some of the most affordable island getaways in Southeast Asia with Gili Trawangan, Bali and Koh Samui topping the list,” commented Jean Ow-Yeong, TripAdvisor spokesperson.

“Travellers who still want to visit the more expensive islands can still find ways to reduce the cost of the trip by visitingTripAdvisor destination pages where they can search for hotels and restaurants more in-line with their budget,” she continued.

Indonesia Dominates with Most Affordable Islands

This year’s results show that travellers heading to islands in Indonesia can expect to save the most, with Gili Trawangan (#1), Bali (#2) and Lombok (#4) ranking amongst the top five most affordable islands at combined TripIndex costs of S$283.42, S$326.74 and S$350.78 respectively.

Gili Trawangan and Bali were also recognised amongst the top ten islands in Asia, ranking fifth and second in the 2014Travellers’ Choice Islands Awards respectively.

Other Islands More Affordable but Sentosa Home to World-Class Attractions

With the highest total TripIndex cost, Sentosa also recorded the biggest costs for meals, drinks, bicycle rental and massage for two. However, the island is home to a diverse selection of themed attractions and leisure experiences that appeal to guests with different interests and of any age group, including Singapore’s first integrated resort, Resorts World Sentosa, which operates South East Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park, S.E.A. Aquarium, Maritime Experiential Museum and the Adventure Cove Waterpark.

Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A. Aquarium were also awarded the 2014 Travellers’ Choice Attractions Awards, placing first and seventh in Asia in the Amusement Parks and Aquariums categories respectively. Sentosa also provides free transportation within the island with the Sentosa Bus, Sentosa Express, and Beach Trams.

Hotels hike up costs but rental of bicycle and snorkel gear cause of biggest disparity

Sentosa Island
Hotels are the most expensive item in the TripIndex basket of items, making up approximately half of the total cost for most islands. The most affordable stay in a 4-star hotel room is in Penang in Malaysia costing travellers S$154.48, while the most expensive, at more than three times the price, is in Palawan at S$533.90. However, Palawan is also home to the most affordable meals, drinks and massage for two, with a meal for two costing S$23.55, drinks for two $2.85 and massage for two at a spa in a four-star hotel S$47.50.

TripIndex Island Sun (prices in SGD):
From most to least affordable

Island
Hotel for two
Meal  for two
(with coconuts)
Beer for two
Bicycle rental for two
Massage for two
Kayak rental for two
TOTAL
Gili Trawangan
 (Indonesia)
$161.57
$34.49
$7.77
$12.35
$55.60
$11.65
$283.42
Bali
(Indonesia)
$210.67
$32.19
$7.48
$5.29
$59.44
$11.65
$326.74
Koh Samui
(Thailand)
$196.75
$30.41
$7.08
$11.80
$78.65
$23.59
$348.28
Lombok
(Indonesia)
$192.08
$35.30
$7.27
$10.94
$94.60
$10.59
$350.78
Cebu
(Philippines)
$178.37
$25.26
$3.59
$42.77
$121.62
$23.78
$395.39
Phuket
(Thailand)
$227.67
$28.58
$4.98
$11.80
$117.97
$15.73
$406.73
Phu Quoc
(Vietnam)
$306.41
$34.14
$4.38
$5.98
$50.67
$25.32
$426.89
Boracay
(Philippines)
$218.60
$42.08
$4.45
$48.47
$93.11
$20.93
$427.64
Penang
(Malaysia)
$154.48
$67.95
$13.93
$43.35
$161.54
$20.95
$462.19
Koh Phi Phi Don
(Thailand)
$355.00
$24.59
$6.25
$9.44
$95.03
$19.66
$509.98
Pulau Redang
(Malaysia)
$194.53
$63.40
$17.83
$39.05
$198.51
$44.00
$557.32
Pulau Tioman
(Malaysia)
$264.71
$56.23
$10.93
$54.67
$162.45
$38.27
$587.28
Langkawi
(Malaysia)
$276.15
$71.40
$11.85
$54.67
$178.33
$27.34
$619.74
Palawan
(Philippines)
$533.90
$23.55
$2.85
$26.63
$47.50
$17.11
$651.53
Bintan
(Indonesia)
$305.95
$92.94
$26.19
$79.42
$150.80
$39.39
$694.70
Sentosa
(Singapore)
$431.86
$100.67
$26.67
$90.00
$315.33
$41.00
$1,005.53

Dusit Thani Expands into Vietnam

Hot on the heels of announcing an AUD $550m multi-use resort in Australia, leading Asian hospitality group Dusit International continues its expansion plans with the signing of the first Dusit Thani hotel to be developed in Vietnam as part of the Cam Ranh Flowers Resort.

Executives from Dusit International and State Development Company Ltd. were in attendance at the signing ceremony, held on 20 October at the Khanh Hoa Center of Political and Cultural Events in Nha Trang.

Slated to open late 2016, the beachfront hotel and branded residences will house 266 rooms of deluxe, suite and bungalow categories with a further 117 apartments and 56 residential villas available for purchase or rental.

Located on the country’s south central coast, Cam Rahn Bay is considered by many to be the jewel of Vietnam. The resort will be a five-star, fully-fledged mixed-use project, just 15 minutes by car from Cam Ranh International airport and 20 minutes from popular Nha Trang.

The resort’s prime location will allow guests and residents to take complete advantage of the area’s tempting white sands and beautiful beaches. Recreational facilities within the resort complex will include the brand’s signature Devarana Spa as well as an impressive sports centre with swimming pools.

Mr Chanin Donavanik, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Dusit International says, "Our launch into Vietnam marks an exciting milestone for Dusit International. Cam Ranh is an up and coming beach lover’s resort destination. The peninsula and natural harbours there offer visitors calm waters surrounded by mountains and great weather conditions.”

“We believe that our Dusit Thani brand and trademark warm, gracious hospitality are a great fit for the market. The facilities will surely make the complex a destination not to be missed as well as pave the way for Dusit's future expansion into the country."

Mr Andrey Grinev, Chairman of State Development Company Ltd. states, "We are delighted to partner with Dusit International, a world-class hotel management company with over 65 years of experience. Combined with our unwavering vision as a property developer to bring quality products to the market, together we intend to raise the bar of the hospitality industry here in Vietnam."

A stellar line-up of sector leaders confirmed to discover the latest trends moving the events industry at the inaugural ICE Conference

The Incentive Conference & Event Society – ICE – is delighted to introduce the inaugural ICE Conference, taking place in Bali on the 12th -14th November. Founded on the ICE society’s core beliefs, this industry event will deliver engagement between the different levels of the industry, keeping the corporate clients feedback and input at the very centre, thus building an opportunity to learn the latest trends and tools to help streamline MICE business. With an ever increasing focus on key negotiation processes being made from offices in Asia, who are dealing directly with local vendors and service providers, strategy to manage so many events and requirements in the region is becoming a balancing act for those responsible.

With a stellar line up of senior industry speakers, the two day conference will be made up of keynote presentations and industry panels covering integral topics such as the latest trends in the MICE industry, the Corporate Buyers’ outlook for 2015, effective negotiation for MICE group contracting and crisis management strategies amongst others. Within the speaker delegation we can confirm Simon Cooper, President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Marriott International; Herve Joseph-Antoine, CEO, Pacific World; Bert Li, Associate Director of AV and Events Production, Amway; David Litteken, Managing Director, APJ, BI Worldwide; Robin Lokerman, Group President, MCI; James Reed, CEO, Destination Asia; Fon Sia, General Manager, Singapore, Grass Roots Group; and John Toomey, Vice President Global Sales Asia Pacific, Marriott International to name but a few.

We shall be holding the inaugural event at The Stones, Bali, situated on the southern tip of Legian Beach and just 20 minutes from the airport. The format of the event is comprised of Welcoming Cocktails on Wednesday 12th November at a sunset setting, and after a full day of networking and informative industry discussions on Thursday ,delegates will enjoy an evening of dinner and entertainment. The conference will close on Friday 14th November with a half day of content sessions.

Contact:

For further information or to book your place, please contact Georgia Proctor, Secretariat Manager, on georgia.proctor@icesap.org or visit www.icesap.org.

About ICE:

ICE - the Incentive Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific - brings Corporate Customers, Industry Professionals and Suppliers together as ICE members.

In 2013, 80% of the US$100 billion spent in Incentive Travel, Conference, Corporate Meetings and Business Events was spent by businesses operating in Asia-Pacific. However, until now there has been no pan-Asian membership-based body to represent the interests of the many professionals working within this sector.

ICE stands ready to represent all the many practitioners working across a variety of businesses and roles which make up our industry in Asia Pacific.

Handicrafts of Tohoku, Japan, to display in Vietnam

Exhibitions of the undeniably beautiful and highly developed handicraft techniques of Tohoku craftsman are set to take place in Ho Chi Minh City from October 31 to November 10 and Ha Noi from December 12-22.

The events aim to mark the earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku on March 11, 2011. The Tohoku region, known for its beautiful landscape and traditional culture, suffered damages of unprecedented proportions.

Much was lost and the manufacturing and handicraft industries were hard hit.

The exhibitions will feature ceramic, lacquer, weaving, mental, wood and bamboo works made by artisans Kanjiro Kawai, Shoji Hamada, Keisuke Serizawa and Shiko Munakata.

The exhibitions are free for visitors.

PATH OF CHAMPIONS HONOURS AUSTRALIAN ATHLETES

Some of the nation’s finest athletes have been honoured at a ceremony at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre as they are inducted into the Path of Champions.

The Path of Champions recognises outstanding Australian athletes in swimming and athletics, with inductees honoured with plaques at the entrance to the Aquatic and Athletic Centres.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Stuart Ayres said it is a fitting tribute.

“Induction into the Path of Champions is a great honour, as this year’s inductees names are added alongside the illustrious athletes that have preceded them,” Mr Ayres said.

“Our finest athletes deserve to be recognised for their achievements and where better than in the venues that have seen so many world records and Olympic gold medals won, in front of their peers.”

Amongst the numerous athletes inducted were swimming’s James Magnussen, Alicia Coutts, Matthew Cowdrey and Jessicah Schipper, water polo’s Chris Wybrow, open water swimmer Melissa Gorman and athletics’ Dani Samuels, Louise Sauvage and Kurt Fearnley.

In total, 25 Australian champions have been inducted.

The Path of Champions is spread across two venues at Sydney Olympic Park, with the Aquatic Centre Path of Champions recognising Australian athletes who attain the status of Olympic Champion, World Champion or World Record Holder in the FINA events of Swimming, Diving, Water Polo and Synchronised Swimming.

The Athletic Centre Path of Champions honours Australian track and field athletes who have won gold medals at Olympic Games and the IAAF World Championships or who have broken records at these events.

To coincide with the 20th Anniversary of both the Athletic and Aquatic Centres, Paralympic swimmers and athletes are being added to the Path of Champions. To be considered, the athlete must have won a gold medal at a Paralympic games from 2000 onwards and be nominated by the Australian Paralympic Committee.

“I am honoured to to welcome these outstanding Australians into the Path of Champions, where they will join a pantheon of our nation’s greatest athletes,” Mr Ayres said.

“The induction of our nation’s finest Paralympic athletes in particular is welcome and I will be looking forward to seeing their names added to the Path of Champions.”

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Yuyuan Garden - Shanghai Landmarks Puxi

Yuyuan Garden

Address: 218 Anren Rd.
Telephone: +86 21 63282465
Opening: 8:30-17:00
Website: www.yugarden.com.cn

A famous classical garden in south China , it was once famed as the “top beauty in southeast China”. First built during the Ming Dynasty, 400 years ago, by a Sichuan minister of finance named Pan Yunduan, it has been several times renovated by the government since the Liberation and is now one of the key relic sites in the country under state protection. The garden is divided into the scenic sections of “Mountains and Forests in the City”, "Magnificent Woods and Beautiful Valleys”, "Historical Relics of Heralding Spring”, "Water and Rockery Scenery”, "Tops in the World” and the Inner Garden.

Yuyuan Commercial City

Address: Fangbang Rd.(M), Shanghai
Website:  www.yuyuantm.com.cn

The area consists of the famous classical garden in south China Yuyuan Garden, the “kingdom of small articles of daily use”, and the “kingdom of delicacies”. There you will find the Old City God Temple, and the historical relic temple of Chengxiangge . A large number of rebuilt Ming and Qing dynasty-style buildings, together with the Nine-cornered Zigzag Bridge, Mid-lake Pavilion and Lotus Pond form an attractive scene for tourists. When night falls and light is on, the area is attracting visitors with its glistening beauty. In the midst of competition in business Yuyuan Commercial City has become a hot sport for tourism, shopping and investment.

Old City God Temple

Address: Fangbang Rd.(M), Shanghai
Telephone: +86 21 63868649
Opening: 8: 30-16: 30 every day, 6: 00-16:30 on the lst and 15th day of the Lunar month 16:30

First built in the year of Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (1403), it is a major Taoist temple in Shanghai . In the temple are enshrined the City God Qin Yubo and General Huoguang. It was very popular during the Qing Dynasty.

Shanghai Old Street

Address: Fangbang Rd.(M), Shanghai
Telephone: +86 21 63281796

The 825-m long Old Street runs from Renmin Rd. to Henan Rd. . It is an important thoroughfare for visiting the Yuyuan commercial area. In old Shanghai here were found the private banks, gold shops, jewelry stores, wine shops, tea houses, theatres, and other firms, usually called the center of all trades in Shanghai. Here, now, we can find some of the traditional trades like a coin store, old-fashioned tea houses, a shop selling mahogany decorative articles, a pawn shop, a wine shop and a private bank. 

Islamorada and Long Key, the 'Purple Isles'

The fisherman's paradise known as Islamorada was incorporated as a municipality in January 1998. Now called Islamorada, Village of Islands, the village that measures 20 miles long and, in some places, barely 150 feet wide encompasses Plantation, Windley, Upper and Lower Matecumbe keys.

Legend has it the area was named by Spanish explorers who, seeing the purple sky at sunset and the purple bougainvillea, used the words “isla” and “morado” or purple island.

It's probably more likely that the area was named by William J. Krome, the primary surveyor for the Over-Sea Railroad that traversed the Keys. Trains would only stop at named towns, so Krome is said to have christened the location on Upper Matecumbe Key “Islamorada,” after the schooner Island Home owned by the pioneering Pinder family.

Known as the Sport-Fishing Capital of the World, Islamorada is where backcountry sport fishing and saltwater fly fishing were pioneered. It's where legendary fishing figures including Ted Williams, Jimmy Albright, and Cecil Keith plied their trade. Perhaps the world's highest density of professional offshore charter boats with tournament-grade captains can be found in Islamorada.

Islamorada's unique location, lying between Florida Bay (the “backcountry”) and the Atlantic Ocean (the “front side”), provides an unrivaled diversity of fishing opportunities. The Gulf Stream flows past the islands from 10 to 20 miles offshore, bringing seasonal visitors like sailfish and marlin, kingfish and wahoo, dolphin (mahi-mahi) and tuna close enough to shore to be targeted by small-boat anglers. Tarpon and bonefish are among inshore species coveted by light tackle anglers.

Scuba divers and snorkelers flock to the region to explore the extraordinary reef line and patch reefs brimming with tropical fish, sponges, soft and hard corals and crustaceans. Davis, Conch, Alligator and Pickles reefs, Crocker Wall and the Aquarium and Fish Bowl offer safe and easy viewing of Islamorada's diverse marine life for divers and snorkelers of virtually every skill level.

The intentionally scuttled 287-foot Eagle is Islamorada's premier artificial reef. The wreck sits on a 105-foot-deep sandy bottom but its superstructure can be enjoyed and explored at depths of 60 to 70 feet. In the San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve, divers and snorkelers can see the remnants of a wrecked 1733 Spanish treasure fleet galleon at depths of 15 to 20 feet

On land, travelers can step inside a coral reef to see 20,000 years of reef development at the Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park. Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park, a short ride by boat, encompasses a virgin hardwood hammock untouched by modern development as well as the original Matheson home built in 1919.

The Islamorada area also features eco-tours, water sports such as standup paddling and kiteboarding, tennis facilities, bicycle trails, historic hikes, beautiful vistas of both the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Bay, opportunities to swim with dolphins and stingrays, and a typically quirky Keys recreational activity: hand-feeding tarpon off the docks at Robbie's Marina, mile marker (MM) 77.5 bayside.

Area beaches include a family facility with picnic tables behind the Islamorada Public Library and Anne's Beach, where stretches of sand are linked by a boardwalk nature trail.

Islamorada also is home to the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District, spotlighting the art galleries and restaurants at Morada Way between mile markers (MM) 81 and 82. As well as welcoming visitors throughout the year, the popular arts district is the site of the Third Thursday Art Walk each month that features fine art, live music and culinary offerings.

Local restaurants range from very upscale continental to casual to downright funky. Many specialize in fresh-from-the-dock seafood, while others offer steaks, gourmet or ethnic dishes and even pizza and hamburgers.

Islamorada is about a 1.5-hour drive from Miami International Airport and a 40-minute drive from the Florida Keys Marathon Airport in the Middle Keys.

For more information, visit www.fla-keys.com/islamorada or call 1-800-FLA-KEYS.

For more Florida Keys & Key West travel information, including electronic brochures and videos, visit the Keys website at www.fla-keys.com.

Keys social media sites include facebook.com/floridakeysandkeywest,twitter.com/thefloridakeys and youtube.com/floridakeystv.

For personal service, call toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, 1-800-FLA-KEYS (800-352-5397).