Monday, 29 February 2016

MAJESTIC CONCERT SERIES IN BLUE MOUNTAINS

The Metropolitan Orchestra will perform at the Hydro Majestic Hotel on 12 March as part of the hotel’s Majestic Concert Series. The largest gathering of professional classical musicians to perform in the Blue Mountains will allow guests to immerse themselves in the music of Rojas, Dvorak and Tchaikovsky.

Conducted by Sarah-Grace Williams, ‘Cocktails & Serenades’ is the first of three concerts to be held at the iconic Blue Mountains hotel throughout the year. The Metropolitan Orchestra comprises Sydney’s most dynamic musicians and is recognised as one of the country’s most versatile orchestras, delivering accessible, first-class and vibrant concert experiences.

SYDNEY SHINES WITH ASIAN INCENTIVE TRIPS

Sydney and Regional NSW will inspire and motivate almost 8,000 international delegates, who are joining one of three incentive programs taking place in March, April and May this year. Already a busy period for Asian incentives, the first mega reward trip for this year arrives in March. The leading direct selling company in Taiwan Amway Taiwan will host its Leadership Seminar in Sydney, bringing its top distributers for a five-day program.

Jam-packed with the once-in-a-lifetime experiences, the Amway Taiwan program includes a record-breaking event with over 1,000 people climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the same day, a tree top safari, a dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour, a trip to Australia’s oldest national park, the Blue Mountains, and Australia’s oldest wine region, the Hunter Valley. The finale will include taking over one of Sydney’s newest and exciting event spaces, the Cutaway at Barangaroo Headland Park.

The Nu Skin Greater China 2016 Success Trip will reward 4,000 of its business partners from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau in April. The five-day program includes Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour and a performance of Turandot. Handa Opera combines all of the things Sydney does best: world-class opera, fine dining, viewing sunsets and staging spectacles on the harbour. Other program highlights include sailing on Sydney Harbour, a Nu Skin festival and welcome party in Darling Harbour, a conference and banquet dinner at Sydney Olympic Park and a secret world record attempt.

The Cathay Life Taiwan Summit in May will bring 2,200 delegates to Australia for activities that include a visit to Taronga Zoo, a tour of the Opera House and a tour to the Blue Mountains, as well as a BridgeClimb.

Business Events Sydney Website: https://businesseventssydney.com.au/

Alice Springs museums to get a new look for greater involvement of visitors

The Northern Territory Government is distributing almost $122,000 in funding to three worthy regional museum based projects in Alice Springs.

The National Trust, Central Australian Aviation Museum and National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame have been allocated funding under the Regional Museums Grant Support Program 2015-16.

“Each of the projects funded and reflect some amazing work by these organisations to preserve, display and document important historical collections for Territorians,” Chief Minister and Member for Braitling Adam Giles said.

“For example, The National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame is developing an exhibition of the Old Alice Springs Gaol titled Relationshipswhich will provide audio/video installations to give a sense of the people of the Old Alice Springs Gaol and their relationships.

“It will include Object Walls where artefacts are mounted and a programmed spotlight moves to the objects while audio plays, and Story People, three-dimensional human forms with voices from the past.”

Operations Manager at the Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame, Trudy Fullerton, said the grant provides much needed assistance to create Interpretative displays that will give visitors a glimpse into a rich history.

“The history and stories of the ‘Old Alice Springs Gaol’ are complex, difficult and reverberate into the present day,” Ms Fullerton said.

“Museums tell the fullness of our history and are safe places for difficult ideas or stories, and by establishing ways to tell the history of the Old Gaol in a sensitive way, we can enhance the quality of the museum experience.

“We appreciate the funding support from the Country Liberals government to enable us to do this important work.”

The Regional Museums Grant Support Program funding is available annually to assist eligible organisations to develop projects which will benefit their museum, meet recognised museum standards, be accessible to the public and able to be completed within the year.

“The Northern Territory Government is proud to support regional museums through the grant program,” Arts and Museums Minister Gary Higgins said.

“The program aims to assist regional museums and keeping places to foster the development of high quality community museums; encourage the development of projects involving local communities; ensure the preservation of heritage; provide an enjoyable learning experience for visitors; and encourage increased visitation through quality interpretation of collections.”

The Alice Springs grants are:
  • National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame – exhibition development of the Old Alice Springs Gaol titledRelationships – $83,482
  • Central Australian Aviation Museum – continuing accessioning and cataloguing of the Museum’s collections – $34,624
  • National Trust of Australia – Hartley Street School Museums – for the preservation of written, philosophical and official documentation of the library collection of the McDouall Stuart branch of the National Trust through digitisation – $3750

ROMANTIC ESCAPES IN PORT MACQUARIE

Port Macquarie has become the latest hotspot for romantic getaways in Regional NSW with a range of hip new places to eat, drink, stay and play. 

There are now two hatted restaurants, Fusion 7 and the Stunned Mullet, plus a revamped Sails Resort Port Macquarie by Rydges and a major sustainable tourism award for the 4.5 star Observatory.

What’s new in Port Macquarie
  • Bar Florian: a new retro Italian-themed wine bar brings a touch of European class to Port Macquarie
  • The Latin Loafer: a new wine bar overlooking the Hastings River is a blend of Latin American and Spanish food, wine and cocktails
  • Drury Lane Eatery: a wholesome and creative menu features local Near River Produce, Bellingen smokehouse salmon and house-baked bread
  • Horse riding on North Shore Beach with Port Macquarie Horse Riding Centre
  • Paint The Town Port: features artists hosting step-by-step painting classes in a fun and relaxed atmosphere at local restaurants, cafes, bars and breweries
  • Sails Resort by Rydges: an extensive refurbishment has stunning guest rooms and suites overlooking a new pool area with private cabanas and cabana bar.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Rex Commences Services in Western Australia

Australia's largest independent regional airline, Regional Express (Rex), will commence services in Western Australia (WA) for the first time on 28 February 2016.

This follows the WA Government's announcement on 9 December 2015 of Rex as the operator of two routes in its review of regulated Regular Public Transport (RPT) air services in the state. The two routes are:
  • Perth - Esperance (18 weekly return services)
  • Perth - Albany (23 weekly return services)

The contract confers on Rex the sole right to operate these routes for the next five years beginning on 28 February 2016.

Rex's General Manager for Network Strategy & Sales Mr Warrick Lodge said, “Rex is honoured to have been selected by the WA State Government to provide essential regional air services between Perth and the communities of Albany and Esperance.”

“As these are Rex's first operations in WA, the Rex team has worked tirelessly over the past three months to set up a new Rex base in Perth. Three aircraft have already been deployed to Perth, and a dedicated Perth crew and maintenance base has been established.”

“The new Rex services connecting Albany and Esperance to Perth will significantly enhance the connectivity of these two communities. In addition to having an extra return service every weekday, local residents can now be in Perth in time for a 9.00 a.m. appointment and be back in Albany or Esperance after a full business day in Perth, thereby avoiding the need to incur accommodation and other associated costs in Perth.”

Commenting on Rex's inaugural services from Perth Airport, Perth Airport CEO Mr Brad Geatches said, “We are delighted to welcome Regional Express to Perth Airport to take over the important routes to Albany and Esperance, both outstanding places of natural beauty and great tourist destinations.”

“Rex will operate both services from T2, located next to T1 Domestic and T1 International. This will allow interstate and international visitors to transfer seamlessly to services to Albany and Esperance in one convenient location.”

“As the gateway to Western Australia, Perth Airport is committed to supporting Western Australian tourism through increased services and establishing new and improved airline partnerships that encourage growth in visitor numbers to Perth and Western Australia,” Mr Geatches said.

Reservations can be made via rex.com.au, on 13 17 13 or via your local travel agent.

Regional Express (Rex) is Australia's largest independent regional airline operating a fleet of more than 50 Saab 340 aircraft on some 1,500 weekly flights to 58 destinations throughout New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia. The Rex Group comprises Regional Express, air freight and charter operator Pel-Air Aviation and Dubbo-based regional airline Air Link, as well as the pilot academy Australian Airline Pilot Academy.

Vivid Live First Artist Announced: Anohni

Vivid Sydney and the Sydney Opera House have announced that one of music's singular innovators - the towering, ever-transforming Anohni (known previously to audiences as Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons) - will debut her latest work in four exclusive Vivid LIVE performances at the Sydney Opera House as part of Vivid Sydney, the world's largest festival of light, music and ideas.

Incorporating a series of immersive, sense-shifting moments, the show promises to be the transgender artist's most ambitious and personal yet. Due to the expected high demand, tickets to Anohni's Sydney-exclusive Vivid LIVE concerts on 27, 28, 30 and 31 May 2016 will be allocated by ballot.

Following sold-out ballots for Morrissey (2015) and Kraftwerk's 3D Catalogue retrospective (2013), Anohni's four Sydney-only Vivid LIVE performances will feature her fifth album and solo debut as Anohni, 'Hopelessness', which raises the dramatic power of Antony and the Johnsons to new electronic heights.

American electronic artist and producer Oneohtrix Point Never (who, along withHudson Mohawke, collaborated on the new album) and Gaël Rakotondrabe(pianist from Antony and the Johnsons)will join Anohni on the Joan Sutherland Theatre stage in this exclusive Australian premiere.

The shows also mark Anohni's return to the city that has embraced her from the start, from her 2003 visits supporting Lou Reed and 2005 Opera House performances (when the singer stole the all-star Leonard Cohen tribute show, Came So Far For Beauty) to 2010's memorable Antony and the Johnsons Concert Hall appearance.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer and Executive Producer of Vivid Sydney, Sandra Chipchase, said “Vivid Sydney's cutting-edge contemporary music program brings the most outstanding local and international artists to Sydney and today's announcement of Anohni at Vivid LIVE is the first of what's set to be a stellar line-up for the festival in 2016.”

Revered for her inimitable vibrato and classic cinematic sonics, on 'Hopelessness' the Mercury Music Prize-winner Anohni combines the symphonic, heavyweight beats of Hudson Mohawke (TNGHT, Kanye West) with Warp's Oneohtrix Point Never to room-shuddering effect. Enigmatic Anohni is a 2016 Academy Award Best Original Song nominee. 'Hopelessness' has drawn comparisons to Radiohead's classic Kid Aas both a musical evolution and call-to-arms: the album's world-warning single '4 Degrees' was released to coincide with the COP24 climate-change talks in Paris.

Vivid LIVE, now in its eighth year, will be the second curated by Ben Marshall, the Opera House's Head of Contemporary Music. Recently named the 2015 FBi SMAC Of The Year, Marshall has brought the likes of Morrissey, Sufjan Stevens and TV On The Radio to the stages of the World Heritage-listed building.

Ben Marshall, Curator, Vivid LIVE, said “Anohni is one of the most talented and powerful contemporary artists working today. She is a transformative artist for this transformative festival. Her fluid, visionary, heart-rending and, dare I say it, subversively pop mediation on the tipping points of gender, sexuality, identity and humanity will stay with you forever after these performances. We are genuinely honoured she has chosen Vivid Live at Sydney Opera House to unveil her most ambitious, compelling and perhaps accessible piece yet.”

The full program for Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House will be announced during the Vivid Sydney program launch next month. vividsydney.com /sydneyoperahouse.com/vividLIVE

SEASON DETAILS
WHAT: ANOHNI (Antony and the Johnsons + Oneohtrix Point Never)
WHEN: Friday May 27 - Tuesday 31 May, 2016
WHERE: Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
TICKETS: From $79+bf

IMPORTANT TICKETING INFORMATION
Sydney Opera House expects high demand for tickets for the Anohni (Antony and the Johnsons + Oneohtrix Point Never) series of concerts exclusive to Sydney, based on previous touring success. To ensure everyone has an equal chance to purchase tickets, Sydney Opera House has put in place an online application process. This will minimise the congestion through sales channels and distribute tickets to fans across time zones, states and countries.

Apply for your tickets anytime between Monday 29 February 2016 (10.00am AEDT) and Friday 4 March 2016 (5.00pm AEDT).Tickets will not be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis; all applications received during this period will be equally considered. To apply go to http://vividlive.sydneyoperahouse.com/ 
 APPLICATIONS CANNOT BE ACCEPTED OVER THE PHONE OR IN PERSON.

ILTM ASIA 2016 TO INTRODUCE 40% NEW LUXURY TRAVEL BUYERS

  • 26 Asia Pacific countries to be represented
  • ILTM Asia, Shanghai: 30 May – 2 June 2016
  • www.iltm.com/asia

“OVER US$ 50 MILLION BUSINESS DEVELOPED AS A RESULT OF MEETINGS AT ILTM ASIA 2015”
Working in partnership with its exhibitors, International Luxury Travel Market Asia 2016 (www.iltm.com/asia) is now registering the continent’s most high level and productive luxury travel agents to attend. 26 Asia Pacific countries will be represented and over 40% of the hosted luxury travel buyers will be first time attendees to ILTM Asia 2016, taking place 30 May – 2 June in Shanghai.

Up to 500 exhibitors will showcase their brands and launch new products to highly qualified hosted buyers and top tier industry media, each pre-qualified to attend. Organisers have put a strong focus on recruiting even more buyers from China as well as Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong. Exhibitors will take the unique opportunity to meet with buyers from both established and emerging markets with the focus on developing immediate business opportunities as well as positioning for future growth.

International tourist arrivals grew by 4.4% in 2015 to reach a total of 1,184 million, according to the latest UNWTO World Barometer. Some 50 million more tourists travelled to international destinations around the world last year compared to 2014. 2015 marked the 6th consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year. China continues to lead the growth with outbound trips from China predicted to double by 2020, to approximately 234 million annually.

Chinese tourists are the biggest global spenders with total overseas spending increasing by 23% to US$229 billion in 2015, and projected to reach US$422 billion annually by 2020, as reported by the Fung Business Intelligence Center. The Chinese market accounts for 35% of all luxury retail spending according to the Hurun Luxury Report 2015.

During the four days of last year’s show, buyers expected to place USD 50 million as a result of the meetings that took place. Driving the growth of spending and tourism out of Asia, is the population of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) which continues to expand. The region is set to see the world’s highest growth of HNWIs projected into 2017, with 10.3% growth compared to 6.7% for the rest of the world according to the Capgemini Asia Pacific Wealth Report 2015. Given this growth in wealth combined with Asia’s increasing affinity for international travel, ILTM Asia 2016 is expected to lead to more business than ever.

Julian Hagger, LUX*Resorts & Hotels says:
“The Chinese and Asian Market is hugely popular for us not only for guests to Mauritius and The Maldives but now as we expand in China, ILTM Asia 2016 is once again the first date on our sales calendar every year!”

Ben Chapman, Tourism New Zealand adds:
“The knowledge of our luxury offering across Asia – and particularly China - is developing at pace. ILTM Asia continues to be an ideal platform to raise awareness across our key markets. ”

Alison Gilmore, Director, ILTM Portfolio concludes:
“ILTM Asia invites and hosts only those buyers who have significant business to place with exhibitors from multiple global destinations. With the combination of growth in both travel and wealth coming out of the Asia Pacific and especially China, we’re proud to offer exhibitors a valuable opportunity to reach this key source market. “Products or trips marketed as ‘authentic’, ‘limited edition’ or ‘VIP’ have always appealed to travellers from China. That used to mean shopping for luxury brands and visiting landmarks, but it now stretches to polar expeditions, cruises and safaris, all of which can be sourced in one place - ILTM Asia 2016.”

To register for accreditation and for further information, please see http://www.iltm.com/asia or contact andy.ventris@reedexpo.co.uk

NT to help rehabilitate its wildlife for better tourism opportunities

Wildcare Inc is just one of many NT organisations who have benefited from the latest Territory Government Wildlife Grants.

The annual Wildlife Grants provide $50,000 funding for the collection, rehabilitation and release of sick, injured or orphaned wildlife.

The grants are allocated to support groups who provide this service to the public in the Darwin, Alice Springs and Katherine regions.

These Wildlife Grants are to be used for costs whilst responding to injured wildlife as well as other expenses such as food, fluids, blankets, bandages, medicine and general rehabilitation expenses.

Minister for Parks and Wildlife Bess Nungarrayi Price said the funding enables community members to participate in the protection of our wildlife in a meaningful way.

“The involvement of the community is enhanced by the assistance we can give them and I am happy to announce these recent grant recipients

This is the last year the Wildlife Grants will be operating under the current annual arrangement as next year they will transition to a three year operational grant system.

“Triannual funding in the future will provide certainty to the funding bodies, providers and clients for the future. This is a great initiative of the CLP government to work with communities to protect our wildlife.” said Minister Price.

Funding in the second and third year of an agreement will still be conditional upon the service provider meeting their requirements for performance monitoring and accountability. The funding will remain at $50,000.

PACIFIC WORLD GLOBAL DESTINATION INDEX REPORT IDENTIFIES THAILAND, INDONESIA AND SINGAPORE AS TOP DESTINATIONS FOR MEETINGS AND INCENTIVES IN ASIA

  • Bangkok and Bali are recognised as the most popular cities in the region

Results from a recent global Destination Index, compiled by the leading Global DMC and Event Management Company, Pacific World (www.pacificworld.com), have identified Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore as the top destinations in Asia for meetings and incentives with Bangkok and Bali voted as the most popular cities.

Governmental stability, attractive exchange rates and improved flight connections are factors contributing to the increased attention from source markets including North America, Australia and other Asian regions.

Bert Chamrernnusit, Destination Manager of Pacific World Thailand, stated, “The fact that the state of emergency and martial law in Thailand has been lifted have contributed towards these destinations being appealing option for the meetings and incentives industry”.

Indonesia also drew the attention of the US market and I Wayan Sumadi Meeting & Incentive Manager of Pacific World Indonesia attributes this to “the fact that the government is expediting visas to enter the region, but also due to improving flight connections to Indonesia, and Bali in particular. Clients have been showing special interest on activities that in some way involve interacting with locals and Bali offer plenty opportunities to do that”.

Meetings and incentives in Singapore were the most requested events in 2015. Gina Lim, Destination Manager of Pacific World Singapore adds, “Client’s requests are not now as simple as a sample sightseeing excursion or packed activity, tthey want to be stimulated, inspired and engaged. You’re left with the challenge of trying to impress a worldly savvy audience and Singapore is constantly reinventing the city with improved facilities to meet those challenges.”

To download the latest Destination Index Special Report, please go to: www.pacificworld.com

The Imperial city of Hue to become international tourist destination

The Thua Thien Hue provincial People’s Committee has planned to invest VND 9 trillion in developing Hue into a green city of Viet Nam and an international tourist destination.

The project includes two phases, of which VND 1.4 trillion and VND 7.6 trillion are to be invested in the 2016-2020 and 2020-2030 periods, respectively.

According to Chairman of Hue provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Cao, the project is to meet the requirements on environmental and natural landscape protection, especially requirements for the restoration of the imperial citadel complex and relic sites of the city.

This new development model suitable with the unique characteristics of Hue city is the main target of the green city’s action plan towards 2020, with a vision towards 2030.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

'One Good Thing After Another' Lures Visitors to Canberra

Canberra is set to capitalise on its unique selling point through a new global marketing platform.

The refreshed creative positioning focuses on the capital region's diversity of experiences and their close proximity to each other through the new tagline, One Good Thing After Another.

The platform roll-out commenced with a rally cry to industry and the unveiling of the first creative application – a series of cinematic-style short films called Weekend Movie Trailers.

VisitCanberra Director Ian Hill said the films provided visitors with a taste of what a weekend in Canberra could be like by showcasing Canberra experiences and attractions in a new and different way.

“Our Weekend Movie Trailers focus on the real moments of joy – those brief, emotionally-charged seconds which create long-lasting memories,” Mr Hill said.

“Canberra has evolved into the perfect short-break destination thanks to our amazing food and wine scene, a great range of family-friendly and cultural attractions, and our spectacular natural surrounds.

“These videos are intended to excite potential visitors about Canberra's evolution and inspire them to book a trip to Canberra.”

Unveiling to consumers in April, the videos will be the basis for a range of promotional activities in the key target markets of Sydney, regional NSW, Singapore and New Zealand.

In May, potential visitors will also have access to a video itinerary planner App, which allows users to view, build and share their own movie trailer with family and friends.

The new global marketing platform builds on the success of VisitCanberra's award-winning social advocacy campaigns, Human Brochure and 101 Local Humans.

A sneak peak of one of the movie trailers can be viewed here.

World’s Number One International Airport Gets Bigger And Better

Dubai International, the world’s number one hub for international passenger traffic, increased its capacity from 75 million to 90 million today with the opening of Concourse D, the result of a US$1.2 billion investment to enhance service and boost capacity for the more than 70 international airlines that will now call it home.

“We continue to invest in the development of top-flight infrastructure to augment service levels for our international airlines and their customers while providing the capacity needed to meet growing demand,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports; President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority; Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group. “Concourse D has been designed with the customer at its heart. Shorter walking distances, more comfortable seating areas, more choice in lounges and a world-class retail and F&B offering are sure to impress and delight our passengers and our airline partners.”

The first flight to be welcomed at the facility was today’s British Airways’ flight 105. This historic first operation followed months of intensive testing and a successful operational trial involving 2,000 members of the public earlier this month. The trial volunteers played the role of passengers arriving at, departing from and transiting through Concourse D, testing way-finding signage, food and retail outlets and the flow of passenger traffic within the new building. Two airlines will operate from Concourse D on day one (British Airways, Royal Jordanian) with the remainder phasing in operations over the next several weeks.

“Aside from its many customer-centric features, Concourse D continues our legacy of providing timely capacity,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. “Today we also announce our 2016 forecast which projects 85 million passengers will visit Dubai International this year. With the addition of Concourse D, Dubai International is getting both bigger and better.”

The concourse is linked to the newly renovated Terminal 1 by a dedicated airport train that can transport 300 passengers per trip. Designed around a central atrium, Concourse D offers short walks to open gates, which will allow travellers to board directly from the waiting area, giving them more freedom and time to enjoy the full array of exciting food and beverage outlets.

A number of world renowned brands will be introduced to Dubai and the region for the first time – including a casual dining concept The Kitchen which will offer passengers creations from the renowned celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. Dubai Airports will also introduce the first Pret a Manger in a Middle Eastern airport. Other firsts for DXB include Butlers Chocolate Café and Camden Food Company which will bring healthy yet tasty dining options using organic and natural products. For those who enjoy a little theatre with their food, YO! Sushi will be a popular addition to the airport, while the CNN News Café will be a favourite for news junkies who want to stay connected to world affairs over coffee. Other new outlets include Lebanese favourite Sharwarmanji and Taqado Mexican Kitchen, both popular local examples of street food, in addition to a second Masale by Taste of India outlet but on a larger scale. Concourse D will also have established traveller favourites such as Giraffe – which will open its second outlet at Dubai International – Starbucks, KFC, Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s, Brioche Doree, The Noodle House, Cavier House & Prunier, Draft House sports bar, and Costa Coffee.

The new concourse will offer plenty of comfortable seating spaces and wellbeing concepts such as Be Relax and the ever-popular ‘SnoozeCubes’ which provide a convenient way to rest between flights. It will also feature a total of nine lounges spread over 6,926m2, including five airline lounges, a new Al Majlis lounge, two Dubai International Hotel lounges and a Marhaba VIP lounge.

JC Decaux will exclusively operate Concourse D’s advertising concession, introducing Dubai International’s largest provision of digital and other advertising structures to date. In addition, the existing successful partnership with JTI will see the provision of three additional smoking lounges in Concourse D.

Dubai Duty Free has a total of 175 vendor installations in Concourse D spread over an area of 7,000m2, bringing the operation’s total retail space at DXB to 33,000m2. Fashion offer covers a total of 1,000m2 divided into two zones, perfumes and cosmetics cover a total area of 1,500m2 while liquor and food occupies nearly 1,000m2.

On the apron, Concourse D provides 21 contact stands, of which four will be able to accommodate Airbus A380 or Boeing 747 aircraft, and 11 remote stands with a design capacity for 18 million passengers.

Queensland to entice wine lovers with Wine & Food In The Park Festival

The annual South Burnett Wine & Food In The Park Festival will be held at Memorial Park in Kingaroy right in the heart of Queensland’s newest wine region from 12:00 noon to 8:30pm on March 12.

As usual, this year’s Festival will feature a huge line-up of live entertainment all through the day and into the night.

At this year’s Wine & Food In The Park you can sample great wines from the South Burnett’s leading multi award winning wineries, be entertained by 8 non-stop hours of live music from some of Australia’s top music acts, be amused by incredible street entertainers or try any of the wide variety of foods available on-site.

Shift Your Love

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has extended the submission dateline for the “Shift Your Love” online contest activity until 10 March, 2016.

Couples and honeymooners are invited to show how their spirit of love is elevated while travelling in Thailand by posting on their Instagram accounts with hashtags: #RomanticThailand, #AmazingThailand, and #LandofRelationSHIFT.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “The activity is a part of the TAT’s broader marketing strategy to promoting Thailand as a wedding and honeymoon destination. Our many activities on this strategy have included the ‘Amazing Romance in Thailand’ campaign held annually during the month of February at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to specially extend a warm welcome to couples and honeymooners who have chosen Thailand to celebrate their unions.”

As part of the ‘Amazing Romance in Thailand’ campaign, the ‘Shift Your Love’ online contest activity was kicked off on 13-14 February, 2016, at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Honeymooners and couple travellers were invited to join the romantic activities by having their pictures taken at special photo booths set up in both the arrival and departure halls.

Upon registration, couple will receive a souvenir and will be automatically enrolled in the lucky draw for a range of special privileges; such as, an accommodation package for a stay at Sri Panwa Phuket, and discount coupons for restaurants, hotels, resorts and spas in Thailand.

Currently, more than 400 couples have registered to join the activity; with 50 per cent being Indian travellers, 30 per cent Chinese, and 20 per cent from European countries; such as, Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands, and the UK.

The winners will be announced on the TAT’s official website via tourismthailand.org/romanticthailand and Instagram@RomanticThailand on 15 March, 2016.

Sea Festival in Townsville promotes healthy communities

The Sea Festival is an annual event to celebrate both Clean Up Australia Day and National Seaweek. It is the only event of its kind in Queensland and promotes healthy communities and a healthy Great Barrier Reef.

This free, family friendly community event features entertainment, food, interactive displays, live animal presentations, activities provided by local community groups and local businesses, and presentations by marine scientists, Traditional Owners and community champions.

The event is held at Pallarenda Beach, Townsville and participants get involved in on-ground actions including rubbish clean ups, data collection, weed removal, tree planting and tours such as a bush tucker walk and a wetland visit.

The Festival will be held on March 6.

Beach-Leisure and MICE Travel Mart to take place in Da Nang

From 24-26 June 2016, in Tien Son Entertainment Zone, Da Nang City, Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) in collaboration with Da Nang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will organize the Beach-Leisure and MICE Travel Mart – BMTM 2016.

This is a tourism fair combining with MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions) which is organized for the first time in Viet Nam aiming to promote brand of high-class beach-leisure tourism and MICE tourism in Da Nang in particular and Viet Nam in general, contributing to stimulating tourism and increasing number of international tourists to the Central region and Viet Nam.

The event is an opportunity for sellers and buyers, visitors and the public to meet each other and introduce destinations, tourism products, sport and entertainment services, in addition to facilitating travel enterprises to expand business cooperation with international partners.

The BMTM 2016 is expected to attract around 200 booths with the participation of many companies in the country as well as those from ASEAN and Northeast Asian countries (China, Japan, South Korea).

In the framework of the BMTM 2016, a series of activities will be held including seminars on beach-leisure and MICE tourism, key tourist markets of central region; Buyers and the media programs with the attendance of 100-150 international buyers, 50-100 domestic buyers and 30 media agencies; promotion programs; gala dinner introducing Vietnamese cuisine and traditional art performance. Furthermore, many other activities of exchange, fam trips, photo exhibition aiming to promote Vietnamese people, culture and attractions to visitors and the media will be hosted.

In 2015, Da Nang City received approximately 4.6 million tourist arrivals, including over 1 million international tourist. The city has been listed as an attractive emerging destination in the region by many international travel newspapers and websites.

On the occasion, Da Nang City will launch a variety of new leisure tourism products such as Nui Than Tai Hot Springs Park (Hoa Phu Commune, Hoa Vang District), Ba Na Hills golf course and French Village (Hoa Ninh Commune, Hoa Vang District), new services in Asian Park (Hai Chau District) and a number of tourist routes from Han River.

The BMTM 2016 will be a driving force for tourism development of Da Nang and its neighboring provinces as well as an opportunity for tourism businesses in the region and the whole country.

50 Shades of Orange: Fall in Love with an Autumn Adventure in NSW

With the Easter long weekend and school holiday break approaching, now is the time to take advantage of the changing season and plan an Autumn adventure in Regional NSW.

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said in the cooler months, the surrounding regions of NSW offer great opportunities for day trips and longer escapes.

“From the special events and festivals to award-winning restaurants and cellar doors, Regional NSW comes alive in Autumn. It is a wonderful time to discover Australia's premier tourism and events State,” Mr Ayres said.

Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase said, “The new season signals a cooler change and the perfect opportunity to explore the great outdoors of NSW with your loved ones, whether you're seeking vibrant Autumn landscapes, inland adventures or colourful events. Take advantage of the upcoming break to explore NSW's incredibly diverse backyard.”

From gourmet escapes to fossicking fun and heritage trails, Destination NSW suggests three getaways that will make you fall in love with Regional NSW this Autumn:

50 shades of Orange and Bathurst

Autumn is a fantastic time to visit Central NSW, with the region guaranteeing vibrant Autumn foliage, delicious seasonal produce and a stellar line up of local festivals and events. If you're a foodie then the Orange F.O.O.D Week is an iconic experience for gourmands, with the 10 day festival in April a testament to the region's great reputation for food and wine. Indulge your senses as local chefs and restaurants showcase their skill with farm gate tours, cooking demonstrations and the famous 100-Mile Dinner. Continue your Central NSW love affair with a side-trip to Bathurst, just a 45-minute drive away. One of Australia's oldest inland settlements, Bathurst's historic town centre is fascinating, with a blend of old and new including revitalised laneway bars, cafes and restaurants. Be sure to check out the Autumn Coloursprogram of events and the Bathurst Motor Festival at Mount Panorama from 25-27 March.

New love in New England

There is so much to love in the New England region, the changing leaves of trees in towns like Glen Innes, Inverell, Tenterfield and Emmaville are spectacular, as is thefossicking for gemstones. Armidale, the hub of the New England High Country shines in Autumn, with numerous parks, tree-lined streets and gardens displaying a spectrum of reds and oranges. With the city housing many heritage buildings, grand cathedrals and churches, Armidale is the perfect destination for an autumn break, and its annualArmidale Autumn Festival in March a stand out event on the local calendar. A visit to nearby Uralla is a must to admire the famous Gostwyck Chapel covered in Virginia Creeper.

The laidback country charm of Tamworth and the wider region is ideal for a short break, with national parks, trout fishing, horse riding and great local produce aplenty. Another must see is the historic gold mining village of Nundle, just a 50-minute drive from Tamworth. With great local cafes, antique stores and delicious baked goods at the Nundle Craft Inc. weekly farmers market, you'll find plenty to do in town. The scenic Fossickers Way touring route begins in Nundle and takes in key fossicking areas. It's especially pretty in Autumn with its wooded hills, open green pastures and fertile valleys. A little further afield, Boggabri promises a weekend of family fun at theBoggabri Drovers Campfire from 20-25 April with events including a big campfire, camp oven cooking, shearing demonstrations, tours of the district, bush poets, craft stalls, whip cracking, antique machinery display, a bush band and much more.

Beautiful Bellingen

Pack up the car and escape on a road trip to the North Coast destination, Bellingen. With lush valleys, a rich architectural heritage, rural charm, delicious local produce and natural beauty, Bellingen is also known for Australia's largest regional market offering an amazing selection of handmade arts and crafts, regional produce and live entertainment. Neighbouring Dorrigo National Park is a must see, offering stunning scenery that has been millions of years in the making. The World-Heritage listed rainforest offers a variety of rare flora and fauna, swimming at Crystal Shower Falls, aSkywalk lookout which takes in Bellinger Valley and scenic barbecue and picnic spots.

For more information on Autumn escapes in NSW visit http://www.visitnsw.com/

Friday, 26 February 2016

Qantas to provide in-flight wi-fi to Australian skies

Qantas customers can look forward to world-leading inflight wi-fi from next year under a partnership with global broadband services provider ViaSat that will tap into the nbn network.

The new service will feature speeds up to 10 times faster than conventional on-board wi-fi, giving customers the ability to stream movies, TV shows, the latest news bulletins and live sports on domestic flights via the internet.

In-flight trials are expected to begin with a single Qantas Boeing 737 aircraft in late 2016, retrofitted with equipment to enable high-speed wi-fi. A full roll-out across Qantas Domestic’s fleet of A330s and B737s is planned from early 2017, with the aircraft to be fitted with modems and the advanced antenna that receives the satellite signal.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the goal was to make Australia home to the world’s best inflight wi-fi experience.

“Bringing high-speed wi-fi to the domestic aviation market has been an ambition of ours for a long time and we now have access to the right technology to make it happen,” Mr Joyce said.

“The sheer size of the Australian landmass creates some significant challenges for inflight connectivity but the recent launch of nbn’s satellite has opened up new opportunities that we plan to take advantage of with ViaSat’s help,” he added.

Under the deal, ViaSat will provide Qantas with connectivity between the aircraft and the high capacity KA-band satellite and ground stations, which will then provide a link to the internet.

The user-friendly speeds delivered by ViaSat to airlines in the U.S. have driven take-up rates among passengers that are four times higher than the industry average.

“This service will give Qantas customers download speeds in the air similar to what they’re used to on the ground,” Mr Joyce said.

“You won’t be limited to checking your email or Facebook – it’s going to be about watching the football live, streaming your favourite TV show or movie, catching up on the latest YouTube videos, or shopping online.

“This kind of inflight connectivity would also open up a lot of potential to improve in-flight entertainment, which we’re constantly looking to enhance.

“As a premium carrier, delivering value for money to our customers is extremely important to us. That’s why we’ll be offering access to wi-fi for free, on top of all the other things that are included when you fly Qantas.”

Qantas is also examining options for high-speed wi-fi across its international and regional fleet.

“We are delighted to be working with Qantas, who share our commitment to offering airline passengers the best, most convenient in-flight connectivity experience,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat’s Chairman and CEO.

“We bring deep in-flight internet expertise to Qantas, serving close to 500 U.S. commercial aircraft. We connect more passengers per flight with higher speeds and more bandwidth per passenger than any other service – reaching speeds up to 20 Mbps per person and enough total bandwidth to support virtually any activity including streaming live or on-demand video and music.

“Our experience is proven on 1,500 flights daily, with as many as 148 simultaneous active devices on any given flight and with many of those devices using streaming media.”

Qantas will be engaging with relevant regulators on the certification and approval for the new service.

A Guide to Sydney's Bold, Innovative and Inspiring Autumn Arts Scene: What's Ahead in 2016

As Autumn descends on Sydney, the change in season will bring a vibrant program of must-see arts events that offers visitors a variety of artistic and cultural experiences ranging from outdoor operatic spectacles to thought-provoking talks and discussions as well as contemporary art installations and world-class theatrical performances.

With Sydney playing host to major exhibitions, theatre, live performance and festivals, Destination NSW has confirmed that cultural tourism is on the rise with the State attracting almost 6.4 million overnight cultural visitors in the year ending September 2015, a significant 6.9% increase on the previous year.

“Sydney has become a mecca for cultural tourists and the number of arts events make Autumn one of the greatest times of year to visit,” said Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, Stuart Ayres.

“Sydney's diverse Autumn arts calendar provides a wonderful platform for visitors to sample Sydney by combining their love of art with the city's great travel experiences, including exciting new restaurants and bars, world-class, boutique hotels and new cultural precincts.

“Sydney's burgeoning creative precincts, such as Chippendale and Ultimo, focus on bringing art to the city and have fostered vibrant artistic hubs where the city's creative community can flourish,” Minister Ayres said.

Sydney's Autumn arts calendar offers an eclectic range of events and exhibitions to enchant audiences of all tastes and ages, from artists to art lovers, collectors to connoisseurs, and those who are simply keen to have a peek.

Destination NSW's picks for Sydney's 2016 Autumn arts scene:

For sound and spectacle:

Handa Opera returns to Sydney Harbour from 24 March to 24 April to presentTurandot, Puccini's exotic fantasy about a brutal princess and the brave suitor who will make any sacrifice to win her love.

Performed on a purpose-built, over-water stage on Sydney Harbour, Turandotfeatures big dance numbers, larger-than-life sets and powerhouse voices, and includes opera's most famous aria, Nessun Dorma. This breath-taking assault on the senses will ring out across the harbour, with visitors experiencing the best of Sydney in one single evening: world-class opera, harbourside dining and spectacular sunsets amidst the city's famous icons, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

To get out and about:

Autumn will see contemporary art lovers making a beeline for the Harbour City to experience Australia's largest and most exciting contemporary arts festival, the 20thBiennale of Sydney, running from 18 March to 5 June.

In 2016, the 20th Biennale of Sydney, titled The future is already here — it's just not evenly distributed, will see more than 80 artists from around the world creating artworks for the festival. Works include space suits hand-sewn from Zimbabwean Dollar notes; a forest-like installation representing a grove of eucalypts; an intimate space for meditation and contemplation based on traditional Japanese garden design; and a large-scale reiteration of Picasso's Guernica created entirely from coloured-sand.

The festival guides visitors through some of the city's most important and exciting arts precincts, including Carriageworks, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of NSW and Cockatoo Island, a former convict settlement and shipyard in the middle of Sydney Harbour. The three-month exhibition and its accompanying program of artist talks, performances, forums, guided tours and family days, are all free to the public.

For the brave at heart:

Visitors to Sydney are being invited to delve into the world of Australia's most inspiring, modern-day explorers in Trailblazers Talks, a special series of night talks held at the Australian Museum on Thursday evenings from 25 February – 14 July. Listen to tales of harrowing journeys and survival from Australia's greatest living explorers including Kim McKay AO and Jessica Watson OAM, Clark Carter and Chris Bray, The Crossing director Jules Harvey, cameleer and explorer Andrew Harper, astronomer Fred Watson and multiple-record setting caver Alan Warild.

Trailblazers Talks accompanies Trailblazers: Australia's 50 greatest explorers, the interactive exhibition currently showing at the Australian Museum until 18 July 2016.

To be entertained:

From 18 April – 15 May 2016, hundreds of the world's funniest comedians will take to stages across Sydney to entertain and delight audiences at the 12th Annual Sydney Comedy Festival. Featuring performances from Australian and international acts, as well as emerging talent, the festival will deliver stand-up, sketch, satire, improvisation, musical, absurdist, theatre, magic and kids comedy.

For performance:

Theatre buffs will want to explore Sydney's many eclectic playhouses to experience their Autumn productions. For the first time in almost a decade, Australian actress Lisa McCune will return to the Sydney Theatre Company from 3 March – 9 April in the world premiere of Machu Picchu, while at Belvoir St Theatre, Daniel Speilman (The Code) and Yael Stone (Orange Is The New Black) star in The Blind Giant is Dancinguntil 20 March.

For reading between the lines:

The biggest names in literature will descend on Sydney to present a week-long schedule of inspiring talks, panels and performances from 16 – 22 May 2016, at theSydney Writers' Festival. With more than 300 events to choose from at various venues across the city, Sydney Writers' Festival is designed to stimulate, move, inspire and provoke, and will attract talent from all literary forms, including contemporary novelists, screenwriters, musicians, non-fiction writers, public intellectuals, scientists and journalists.

To join a conversation:

TED (technology, entertainment and design) Talks have the power to move people, to stir engagement and conversation, and ignite new passion. In 2016, the 7th annualTEDxSydney will take place within the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday 25 May. This full-day event will blend talks, performances and specially produced films on a diverse range of topics, delivered by a variety of thought-provoking voices. Registrations to attend TEDxSydney as a member of the live audience will be open from late February.

To add to the itinerary:

While in Sydney, visitors can also take advantage of the blockbuster art exhibitions currently showing in the city, including Grayson Perry: My Pretty Little Art Career at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced and Art of the Brick: DC Comics, both held at the Powerhouse Museum.

Want more?

Starting on 27 May 2016, Sydney's multi-award-winning Winter festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney, will light up the city for 23 nights through a dynamic program featuring spectacular light art, cutting-edge music, and a rich and diverse flow of ideas and creative events.

To rest your head:

Visitors travelling to Sydney to experience the booming arts scene can stay at QT Sydney, an edgy, inner-city hotel brimming with art, entertainment and style. Or, head to the re-developed Kensington Street precinct in artsy Chippendale, to stay at The Old Clare, a 62-room, boutique hotel set across two iconic, heritage-listed buildings.

Travel packages for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour can now be booked through Qantas Holidays starting from $439 per person for 2 nights' accommodation and event tickets, and Virgin Australia Holidays from $557 per person for 2 nights' accommodation, return airfares and event tickets.

Visit www.sydney.com/art for more information on Sydney's art scene.

The Star Plans for New Gold Coast Tower

The Star Entertainment Group has commenced the planning process for a potential new hotel tower at its Jupiters Integrated Resort, as mega-investment in the Gold Coast property continues to transform an iconic tourism landmark.

Pending various approvals and the execution of final joint venture agreements, The Star Entertainment Group aims to develop a tower of approximately 200 metres with its Queen's Wharf Brisbane partners, Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium.

The concept plan allows for a tower to be located on the ocean side of the existing property. It is proposed it would house around 700 hotel rooms and apartments – taking the overall accommodation supply to almost 1400 and creating a large-scale development on the Gold Coast for maximising tourism opportunities in the region and Queensland more broadly.

The Star Entertainment Group is also considering the development of a live sports theatre as part of the ongoing transformation of the property that later this year will be rebranded The Star Gold Coast.

The sports theatre concept will be designed to appeal to both local and visiting sports enthusiasts. The attraction would provide a unique offering of live entertainment/event activations, screens broadcasting sports from around the world, and an array of food and beverage options.

The existing Jupiters hotel is already undergoing a full refurbishment of its almost 600 rooms, while a 6-star 17-storey hotel tower, with more than 50 luxury suites, is under construction at the front of the property.

The Star Entertainment Group initially committed $345 million to the refurbishment of the existing hotel and construction of the all-suite hotel tower. The total investment under consideration has the potential to reach around $850 million with the proposed hotel/apartment tower plus the additional development works around the sports theatre, and further food and beverage offerings.

It is expected that the proposed new tower and sports theatre, and the six-star all-suite hotel where works are already underway, could generate in total more than 1000 construction jobs. Jupiters' workforce could also increase to around 2300 employees once the projects were complete and the new areas operational.

It is envisaged the new tower will feature a 4.5-star hotel, ensuring a breadth of price points, accommodation offerings, and universal tourism appeal at the property – with the existing upgraded hotel a 5-star facility and the new all-suite tower to deliver on 6-star quality and service.

The announcement also confirms the intentions for The Star Entertainment Group to joint venture with Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium on developments at all three of its properties in south-east Queensland and Sydney.

The three companies formed Destination Brisbane Consortium to successfully bid for the right to develop the Queen's Wharf precinct in the Brisbane CBD, a $3 billion transformational project that will see a new integrated resort operational by 2022.

Page 1 of 3A similar joint venture is planned, pending various approvals and execution of final agreements, to construct a 200 metre tower at The Star in Sydney. It is proposed to feature a Ritz Carlton hotel and an extension with connectivity to the existing property that would include further food and beverage outlets.

Together with the original five-year investment plan of $500m, additional works would take the overall Sydney commitment to around $1 billion.

“We want to be Australia's leading integrated resorts operator and our plans for the Gold Coast are a significant part of that vision,” said The Star Entertainment Group Managing Director and CEO Matt Bekier.

“Our commitment to the Gold Coast is unambiguous. We are already well advanced on transforming the property through the hotel refurbishment and new restaurants, and later this year when we rebrand to The Star Gold Coast, the new six-star all-suite tower will be rising out of the ground.

“Adding another tower in joint venture with such highly-credentialed partners as Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium has the potential to create a tourism asset at scale that helps serve to position the industry as an economic driver in Queensland.

“Importantly, we will also have a world-class property just up the highway at Brisbane to ensure the tourism experiences on offer, while unique by location, will also be complementary and of benefit to the broader south-east Queensland area by significantly increasing visitation.

“Our partnership with Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium, with their insights and touch points in Asian markets, will also assist in that respect.”

The Star Entertainment Group Managing Director Queensland, Geoff Hogg, added: “The fact this concept plan is under consideration underscores our confidence in the Gold Coast. We were the first major partner of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and we see the long-term growth potential in the region.

“For this development, we are not asking for additional land. The proposed development would be contained entirely on the island we occupy. We will also continue to engage and consult with stakeholders and the Queensland Government.”

Chow Tai Fook Enterprises CEO, Patrick Tsang, said the company was delighted to be part of the Gold Coast development plans.

“We have forged a strong relationship with The Star Entertainment Group and Far East Consortium in what are our first significant forays into the Australian market,” he said.

“The Queen's Wharf project was the starting point, but we see the location, the lifestyle and the potential at the Gold Coast as an outstanding opportunity to complement our involvement in Brisbane.”

Far East Consortium Managing Director Chris Hoong said the developments across south-east Queensland and Sydney were necessary infrastructure projects to leverage the growing interest in Asia for Australia as a destination.

“We have been operating in Australia for more than 20 years and we're excited to be involved with these projects,” he said.

“Economic growth in China and the burgeoning affluent middle-class demographic has opened the doors of opportunity for Australia. There is long-term sustainability in that market but also potential on a broader global tourism front.”

Up With Spring! Athletic Events, Dance, Classical Music, Films and Easter Sunrise Service in Arches Populate March

Besides some great innovations for events in Moab in March, March kicks off visitation because the 61 degree days are a little bit of heaven for hiking and biking, for the more physically demanding activities during cooler days. 

Speaking of hiking, the Moab Travel Council has a new webpage all about dinosaurs. AND, the Bureau of Land Management has foreign language description about Moab's newest Mill Canyon site. 

March 4 2016 Violinist Concert

The Moab Music Festival presents world-renown violinists Hasse Borup and Kasia Sokol-Borup for one night only at Star Hall 7 PM March 4 2016, with University of Utah's Master's String Quartet and visiting Festival musicians. Entrance is FREE with a recommended donation of $10. Proceeds (100%) help Moab's BEACON Strings teachers attend masters-level teacher development courses in 2016. For more information visit www.moabmusicfest.org.

March 5 2016 Moab Spring Trail Run: 8k and ½ Marathon

Run the trail 1/2 Marathon or 8K. Run where the dinosaurs ran! Super fun trail race featuring slickrock, red dirt, scenic views. Also the optional Nature Lovers Scavenger Hunt. Registration includes a t-shirt, finishers' medal, awards, food and drink, and a scenic and well-marked course. For more information visit trainingrx.com or call 970-389-4838.

March 6 2016 Moab Off-Road Duathlon

This 8k trail run is followed by a 13k mountain bike. Solo or Team. Super fun course featuring classic Moab singletrack includes slickrock, red dirt, and scenic views. Event takes place 19 miles North of Moab in the Klondike Bluffs area. Registration includes a t-shirt, finishers' medal, awards, food and drink, and a scenic and well-marked course. For more information visit trainingrx.com or call 970-389-4838.

March 7 & 8 2016 Banff Film Festival World Tour in Moab

There will be two, completely different film line-ups on Monday and Tuesday of the year's best film on mountain sport, culture and adventure. Held at the Moab High School Auditorium (608 Fourth East) at 7:00 p.m. with the doors opening at 6:15.

Tickets are not available on-line but will be available at Back of Beyond, Pagan Mountaineering, Canyon Voyages and Poison Spider Bikes. They are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. I also will do a will-call list for people who are not coming into town in time to buy them in advance. They just need to call the 435-259-4859 number.

March 11-12 2016 Dance with Lola Monet “Queen Beatz”

Ms. Queen Beatz brings fiery high energy and passion for Afro Latin Dance! Lola Monet is a Nigerian sensation from Los Angeles. She performed at the Moab Salsa Bachata Festival and returns to provide four workshops: 1. Body afrolations 2. Tarraxinha 3. Afrochata 4. Afro beatz kuduro. Scheduled between 3 and 7 pm Friday. Saturday takes place 1-4 pm featuring Afrochoreograph. Tickets are $31 – 48. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/moab-march-madness-with-lola-monet-tickets-21017605223. Event details https://www.facebook.com/events/464150443789887/.

March 11-13 2016 Moab Thaw Spring Mountain Bike Gathering

Join this fun weekend of bike demos, group rides and industry parties. Pay $89 for all activities including women's only bike clinic on Friday. Max attendance of 300 -sign up early! Brought to you by Poison Spider Bicycles and partnerships with a great many companies. Open the link to see the sponsors and more about the riding. For more information visit http://www.moabthaw.com or call 435-259-7882 or 800-635-1792.

March 12 2016 Canyonlands Half Marathon & Five Mile Race

Join the 41st annual Canyonlands Half Marathon and Five Mile Run! The scenic USATF sanctioned and certified course follows the Colorado River through a dramatic redrock canyon. Food, awards, raffle and live music await you at the finish in downtown Moab. For more information visit moabhalfmarathon.com/halfmarathon/index.cfm or call 435-259-4525.

March 12 2016 La Sal Mountain Outfitter Indoor 3D Archery Shootout

Saturday Trickle requires no pre-registration. Trickle starts at 9 AM - 3 PM. 11 targets with 1 moving target. Shoot Off begins at 4 PM. Fun Shoot: $25.00. Kids under 12 shoot free. Sign up for the money shoot before 4 PM. Held at 3031 S. Hwy 191, Moab. For more information visit www.lasalmountainoutfitters.com or call 435-259-1606.

March 12 2016 Downtown Abbey Episode 4

KZMU radio station will have three radio performances culminating in March 12 7 PM at Star Hall stage performance. Tune into KZMU.org at 4 PM for Episode 1 on Feb 20, Episode 2 on Feb 27, Episode 3 on March 5.

March 12-15 2016 Skinny Tire Festival

Road cycling festival through iconic Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, and Colorado River Corridor. Classic Bike Show and Contest, Family Fun Day, Cowboy Cookout, and more. Choose two or four day ride options. Put purpose to your cycling! Festival benefits cancer survivorship programs. For more information visitwww.skinnytireevents.com or call 435-260-8889.

March 19-27 2016 Easter Jeep Safari

Experience the red desert from mesa top to canyon bottom in your own vehicle on 40 different trails ranging in difficulty from 2-9. All trails in this nine day event are guided by experienced, friendly trail officials. The EJS Magazine is available online. Page 58 has a schedule of trail use. Important for non-safari visitors to know, as trail use is exclusive for registrants. There are sufficient trail alternatives. For more info visitRR4W.com or call 435-259-ROCK.

March 27 2016 Easter Sunrise Service Arches National Park

March 27, Community Church of Moab provides a sunrise service at La Sal Mountain Viewpoint in Arches National Park 6:10 a.m. Buses will begin loading 5:00 a.m. in front of the park visitor center to unclutter the site for the ceremony. Service is approximately one hour long. http://www.nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/event-details.htm?eventID=2656007-307230

Learn how to use a GPS system and join the Utah GeoTour. It is a fascinating treasure hunt. All 29 counties are participating in Utah. Special county patches are the prize for finding three of the five hidden geocaches. Redeem all 29 patches to get an official Utah Geo Tour jacket. http://www.visitutah.com/things-to-do/outdoor-adventures/geocaching Available for most of the travel season 2016. Make your plans to get to Grand County, home of Moab Utah. Use http://www.discovermoab.com to find hotels, guest houses, Bed & Breakfasts, condos and Campgrounds.

Hoi An to host Viet Nam - Asia silk festival

A Viet Nam - Asia silk festival set to take place on March 28-29 will be a major cultural highlight of myriad of events celebrating the 41st anniversary of Hoi An City.

The festival will provide insight into traditional cultural features of Viet Nam silk through festivities and display products of seven Viet Nam silk villages like Nha Xa, Van Phuc, Ma Chau and Tan Chau.

Besides, artisans and silk businesses from Viet Nam, Thailand, India, Japan and China will exchange silk making experience at a seminar themed ‘silk in modern life’.

Hoi An Silk Village in Hoi An province- one of the founders of the Asia Silk Alliance and International Silk Union will serve as the main organizer of the event.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

AIME 2016 wraps up in Melbourne

AIME 2016 has now closed. A whole year of planning resulted in a truly memorable event for all involved. Many people from Australia and overseas took the time to attend. Many AIME partners and sponsors supported AIME in various ways.

To see the exhibitors from throughout Australia and around the world that took part you can view the full exhibitor directory.

Keep up to date with the latest industry and exhibitor news in the AIME Daily issues from day 1 and day 2

View the highlights plus join the AIME community by following them on Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube for all the latest updates, news and stories about AIME 2016.

Save AIME 2017 in your diary - the show will take place 21-22 February.

They look forward to seeing you next year for AIME 2017!



AIME’s evolution reflective of Australia’s flourishing business events sector

Speakers for the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) announced how AIME will continue to evolve to reflect the vibrant Australian business events industry whilst highlighting the very best of the Asia-Pacific region.

The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle emphasised the value of business events to the Victorian economy.

“Our expertise in delivering business events ensures a rewarding experience for delegates. In 2014/15 we hosted 203 business events secured in partnership with the City of Melbourne, bringing 72,000 delegates to the city, worth around $308 million,” said Mr Doyle.

Providing an update on Business Events Australia’s work, John O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Tourism Australia outlined the dedicated activities being undertaken to showcase Australia on the world stage in partnership with the Australian business events industry.

“In 2015, we focused our efforts on markets and sectors where our work can provide the greatest return on investment, including a stronger commitment to the associations sector, and more strategic partnerships with Australian Convention Bureaux, professional conference organisers, and the business events industry.

“And we will continue to deliver results for the industry in 2016, with dedicated activity including; the Business Events Showcase at Australia Week in China where over 60 buyers and media will meet with 29 Australian products; A strong presence at international trade shows including IMEX Frankfurt, IMEX America, and the Associations World Congress, and an integrated marketing, trade and PR strategy in partnership with industry, to drive awareness and conversion of business for our country,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

Karen Bolinger, CEO, Melbourne Convention Bureau outlined new investment and infrastructure underway to further support the city’s flourishing business events sector.

“2016 and beyond are years of important development in Melbourne and Victoria with an additional $210 million being invested by the state government in the expansion of the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, which will add 20,000sqm making it the largest centre in Australia. Plus 7 new hotels will open in Melbourne, creating 1,400 new rooms in the city and increasing our capacity by 7% in just two short years.

“Business events are the highest yielding sector of the Victorian tourism industry, delivering an economic contribution of $9.98 billion each year and approximately 65,000 jobs,” said Ms Bolinger.

Ian Wainwright, Event Director – AIME, Reed Travel Exhibitions outlined the many firsts for AIME in 2016 and discussed the ways in which AIME will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the business events industry.

“The knowledge and creativity that abounds in our industry is what makes the business events industry exceptional. This year, we have focused on capturing the knowledge and experience of our industry and delivering this content in tangible packages through our knowledge program, free for all exhibitors and visitors for the very first time. Plus we’ve added a dedicated series of education sessions for our Hosted Buyers – both significant outcomes from our first ever Advisory Board who were brought on board to influence the strategic development of the show.

“We also welcome our ibtm events global partner, the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau for the first year, who is leading a strong contingent of international exhibitors.

“AIME will never stop evolving and never stop striving to meet the needs of all participants. We look forward to bringing new, creative and inspiring ideas, reflective of our buzzing community, to you for many years to come,” said Mr Wainwright.

Sallie Coventry, ibtm event Portfolio Director concluded, commenting on the strength of the Australian business events industry.

“The pace of the business events industry in the Asia-Pacific region is experiencing rapid growth, and Australia stands out as a leader. Our ibtm events across the globe, like AIME, give businesses the opportunities to connect, creating a strong and cohesive community,” said Ms Coventry.

Speakers at the press conference included the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle, Melbourne Convention Bureau Chief Executive Officer Karen Bolinger, Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan, ibtm events Portfolio Director Sallie Coventry and ibtm events Event Director Ian Wainwright.

AIME, 23 – 24 February 2016 was held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre and united a community of over 4,000 event professionals for two powerful days of networking, education and doing business.

Meet the Peninsula Hot Springsr sister springs in New Zealand

Maruia Hot Springs
Peninsula Hot Springs are delighted to introduce their sister springs, Maruia Hot Springs, which is located on the South Island of New Zealand. The springs are set among a spectacular mountain environment on the Lewis Pass, which has the largest flow rate natural hot springs in the South Island at 56C from deep underground.

Peninsula Hot Springs, a co-investor, is supporting Maruia Hot Springs by sharing knowledge and extensive experience. For 10 years Peninsula Hot Springs has operated a facility that is in harmony with the natural environment, employs 240 staff and receives 440,000+ annual visitors to the Mornington Peninsula. Peninsula Hot Springs has won numerous Australian and international awards and plans to help drive Australian wellness tourism visitors to the South Island of New Zealand.

Maruia Hot Springs has been operating since the early 1900’s; in December 2015 New Zealand and Australian partners, including Peninsula Hot Springs, purchased Maruia Hot Springs with the aim of creating a ‘Pure New Zealand’ hot springs offering. They plan to honour the history and accept the responsibility of custodianship of this very special part of the world.

Tourism New Zealand has welcomed the new Maruia Hot Springs owners’ pledge to rejuvenate the historic Southern Alps destination and align with the Pure New Zealand campaign, driving more east coast Australians to the natural South Island attraction.

James White, Managing Director, and partner Kim Hamilton are South Islanders with a connection to the Lewis Pass that goes back to James’ family holidays as a child. The couple is excited by “extensive revitalising and expansion of the open air hot pools that will help Maruia Hot Springs become the blissful New Zealand nature escape that it should be, one which embraces traditional and contemporary hot spring features”.

The new owners are set to undertake major redevelopment works, promising a “total renewal of the Southern Alps bathing experience which fit harmoniously into the surrounding mountains and a world class bathing and wellbeing attraction” James explained. Tourism New Zealand said the Lewis Pass revival was “an exciting opportunity” for

New Zealand, particularly Canterbury, to further tap into the burgeoning global health and wellness tourism market.

The couple has already been hard at work rejuvenating what was a Japanese-style bath house into two communal indoor bathing experiences, which provide couples and families with sweeping views of the river valley and mountains. Other upgrades included revitalising the café, painting buildings, extensive tidying of the grounds, a new website to allow customers to conveniently book online as well as employing local staff members. Other eco-resort facilities which will be developed shortly include thermal massaging showers, heated stone beds, new change facilities, blissful relaxation lounges, a sauna, steam room and more indoor relaxation experiences.

General Manager Australia at Tourism New Zealand, Tony Saunders said, “It’s great to see another option for geothermal hot springs in the Canterbury Region. We know that Australian visitors find hot springs appealing and adding an alpine element makes it a very unique experience. Given the growing trend towards relaxing and rejuvenating holidays, we’d expect participation in this experience to be high.”

“Since taking over this remote mountain property just before Christmas we have experienced firsthand the extra challenges of being a true eco resort, which generates its electricity from its own hydro power station where water is sourced from a natural springs high above the property, which also supplies our accommodation, restaurant and café,” said James. “The outdoor and indoor bathing pools are fed from a natural 56C mineral spring from across the river where over 300,000 litres of water flows through daily.”

Peninsula Hot Springs founder and CEO Charles Davidson sits on the board of the Australasian Spa and Wellness Association with James, both have travelled extensively together gleaning ideas and inspiration from geothermal springs across the globe which will ultimately assist when creating new experience at Maruia Hot Springs.

To find out more about the facility and book your bathing experience at Maruia Hot Springs visit their new website: www.maruiasprings.co.nz. You can also follow Maruia Hot Springs on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with the exciting changes ahead.

EVENT PROFESSIONALS ADVISED TO KEEP THEIR TECHNOLOGY SIMPLE AND LOCAL

Entegy Step by Step Process
Entegy, a leading event technology company, discussed with event professionals the importance of keeping technology simple and more importantly in Australia today at the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME). 

“Historically, people have always been passionate about buying local produce and we’re now seeing this thinking being applied in the technology sector,” says Graeme Caplen, Director at the Brisbane based company, Entegy.

“Entegy has made the digital and app landscape for events easy to use, manage and understand. However, many organisers could still benefit from and see the return on investment by buying local,” added Graeme.

Entegy is a simple three step process, which lets event organisers build their own technology solution, depending on their event’s needs and what they need to deliver.

Graeme also explains that event professionals need to be aware of the importance of keeping their data in Australia.

“Today, we’re all pretty aware of the importance of data protection, but how good are we at actually ensuring its safety? This is something we’ve considered since day one and we’ve always made sure that our clients’ data stays within the country, on a secure and robust Australian network and complies with the Australian Privacy Act.”

He also adds that using Entegy and having professional support on hand during Australian business hours cannot be underestimated.

Graeme adds: “Event professionals are under enough pressure when running an event; the danger with overseas suppliers is that if something should go wrong or you want to ask questions, there is no one available in your time zone, at that time to provide support.”

Entegy’s online platform is used by some of the leading names in the industry such as Westpac, PWC and Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The Entegy solution starts with the simple and online platform called Core and gives users the control of their event solution. From there they can then choose their Elements, which are additional software packages, which are managed by the Core and meet the needs of event professionals. Thirdly, and finally, users can choose from Ignite options, which are six specialised services areas to bring their personalised event technology solution to fruition, such as their own standalone event app.

Graeme concludes: “We’ve spent thousands of hours creating this streamlined technology solution, which is specifically tailored for the events industry. It is time saving, flexible and meets all event structures and styles.”

Started in 2000, Entegy was founded by four professionals, who combined their experience in advertising and communications, events, and design to create a simple technology solution for the events industry.

For more information visit www.entegy.com.au

Innsbruck, the Capital of the Alps, to host 2018 UCI Road World Championships

  • Excitement guaranteed: Innsbruck to host 2018 UCI Road World Championships

Up to 350,000 spectators and 1,000 riders expected at challenging racing competition

In 2018 the Road World Championships, one of the most spectacular and exciting large-scale sporting events worldwide, will be coming to town! The International Cycling Association (UCI) chose Innsbruck and surroundings primarily because of the region's diverse terrain and challenging routes.

While the details of the championship course have not been finalized yet, the fact that Innsbruck, capital of the Alps and three-time Olympic host, will be setting the stage with its magnificent location and vibrant atmosphere when in September 2018 the world's physically strongest riders with nerves of steel will be competing in a total of twelve races for the title of world champion. The absolute highlight will be a spectacular elite race on a truly demanding circuit featuring an altitude gain of approximately 5,000 metres. Such a course is unprecedented in the history of the Road World Championships. Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and also the Austrian 'climbers' will certainly be delighted.

Elite riders and the stars of tomorrow will be battling it out in team competitions, individual time trials and road races. Some 350,000 spectators and around 1,000 riders will all be equally excited and, with the event being broadcast to 150 countries, another 200 million viewers will be sharing amazing images of a fascinating championship. With approximately 1,000 journalists expected to cover the event, Innsbruck and its holiday villages are offered yet another great opportunity to present the region's unique attractions to the world.

Information: Innsbruck Tourismus, tel. +43 512 59 850, office@innsbruck.infowww.innsbruck.info