Sunday, 31 July 2016

Spectacular Indigenous Light Festival to Launch in Alice Springs

A spectacular new event showcasing contemporary and traditional indigenous art will light up Alice Springs from 23 September – 2 October 2016.

Chief Minister and Tourism Minister Adam Giles said the Northern Territory Government have been working with AGB Events, creators of the award-winning Vivid Sydney, in close collaboration with Indigenous artists.

“The focus of the event is helping to share art, culture and stories from the Indigenous community,” Mr Giles said.

“Parrtyeme will be a breathtaking light display that will present the oldest continuous culture on earth through the newest technology on a 300-million-year-old natural canvas.

“Created in close collaboration with local Indigenous artists, Parrtyeme will not only be a breathtaking event for the people of Alice Springs and the Territory, but also visitors from around Australia and the world who are looking for a truly authentic and contemporary Indigenous experience.”

“The festival will feature three separate, distinctive installations of original, authentic Indigenous art created by local artists, students and the community using light and sound.”

The inaugural annual event takes its name from the Arrernte word “Parrtma”, meaning “light up” or “lighting up”.

One featured installation will be a series of large illuminated 1950s-style circle skirts featuring the watercolour artwork of Lenie Namatjira, granddaughter of famous Hermannsburg Western Arrernte artist, Albert Namatjira.

Iris Bendor, Coordinator of Ngurratjuta Iltja Ntjarra – Many Hands, an Aboriginal-owned and managed art centre said: “Parrtyeme is a terrific celebration of local culture, allowing the artistic community in Alice Springs to share their art and traditional Indigenous stories in a new way for the world to see.”

Parrtyeme will take place at the Alice Springs Desert Park.

For more information, please visit http://parrtjimaaustralia.com.au/

New High-Tech Tourism Attraction Opens in Darwin

Stokes Hill Wharf
The Bombing of Darwin Harbour has been brought to life by a new multi-million dollar tourism attraction which opens at Stokes Hill Wharf today.

Tourism NT CEO, Tony Mayell, said the new facility uses cutting edge technology to provide never-before-seen virtual reality and holographic experiences of the Bombing of Darwin Harbour.

“There is no doubt this fantastic new tourism attraction is world-class; some of the technology is so advanced it's the first time it's ever been used,” Mr Mayell said.

“Visitors will be transported back in time to Darwin on 19 February 1942 and experience what it was like on that fateful day during the Bombing of Darwin Harbour – the largest ever single attack mounted on Australia by a foreign power.

“With the launch of this new tourism attraction we are telling visitors around the world: If you want to learn more about Australia's war history – the Northern Territory is the place to come.

“Military tourism is a growing trend with more and more people visiting war memorials, exhibitions and events in Australia and around the world.

“This new attraction will complement the range of other military experiences on offer in Darwin and establish the Northern Territory as a leader in Australia's war history.”

The Royal flying Doctor Service (RFDS) was the successful proponent of a Northern Territory Government Expression of Interest process to fit out and operate the new attraction and has invested more than $4 million in the venture.

“The new attraction brings together two iconic Territory stories in the one location at Stokes Hills Wharf Darwin: the RFDS, which began operations in the NT in 1939, and the Bombing of Darwin Harbour in 1942 during World War II,” said RFDS Central Operations General Manager Northern Territory, Michael Toomey.

“Both of these historic events helped forge the resolve and resilience of the people who live in Australia's Northern Territory. It is a privilege for the RFDS to build on our partnership with the Northern Territory Government in the development of this new and exciting tourism and educational facility.”

The new facility features virtual reality headsets depicting the Bombing of Darwin Harbour as well as holograms.

The holographic technology tells the little known story of the commanding officer of the USS William B Preston, Etheridge (Jim) Grant, who observed the attack from the water after being blown from his tender trying to return to his ship.

In a Hollywood-style production, actors, costumes and make-up were used to recreate the Captain so visitors will see the attack through his eyes.

Rear Admiral's Grant's grandson, Jim Young, who travelled to Darwin for the opening of the new attraction, said the family were looking forward to seeing their Grandfather's story being told.

“We are thrilled, honored and grateful that our grandfather's story is being told to a global audience through the new Bombing of Darwin Harbour attraction. We are very proud of him and his service during WWII and look forward to a new generation of people learning more about this crucial and significant time in history,” he said.

Other highlights of the new attraction include:
  • A suspended full replica Mitsubishi Zero Japanese war plane;
  • A replica 250kg general purpose bomb that that has been cut away to show the inner workings;
  • A window depicting Darwin Harbour in 1942 that comes to life giving visitors an experience of the Wharf during the attack. In sync with this is a raised floor showing an aerial view of the harbour bombing, which moves when the Wharf is bombed; A life-sized hologram of RFDS founder, John Flynn;
  • Mini Holograms using ghost host technology which deliver interaction with Prime Minister John Curtin, a Japanese pilot and a RFDS nurse;
  • A decommissioned RFDS Pilatus PC 12 aircraft, completely aero medically equipped;
  • Touchscreen portals that provide an insight into the daily lives of RFDS staff;
  • An 80 inch screen showing the live stream of where any of the RFDS aircraft are at any one time; and a
  • A 100 inch screen telling the stories of patients that have been carried and cared for by the RFDS.

    www.travelnt.com

It's a Sell-Out! Luxperience Expands and is Full for Another Year for Exhibitors

Celebrating a milestone fifth year, Luxperience is a sell out yet again. Due to increased demand there has been a 19 per cent increase in floor space this year. The event also sees an increase of over 52 per cent in new exhibitors confirmed to present their wares at the leading luxury and experiential travel and events exhibition, being held at Australian Technology Park, Sydney from 18-21 September, 2016.

Eric Lewanavanua, Director of Sales and Partner Alliances of Luxperience says:

“Exhibitor numbers are strategically monitored to ensure that there is a favourable ratio between buyers and exhibitors, which is one of the factors that makes Luxperience unique and is evident through our bespoke pre-scheduled appointment match-making system.”

Luxperience has built up an extraordinary reputation for showcasing exceptional travel experiences from across the globe to its stringently qualified travel advisors and event specialists. It's cognisant of keeping advisors up-to-date and offering innovative experiences for our premium travel and event specialists to forward onto their discerning clientele

“The sales team has worked tirelessly throughout the year to identify new offerings and develop new introductions between buyers and suppliers from around the world to present at this year's event and I commend the global sales team for their efforts,” concludes Lewanavanua.

For more information background can be found here

About Luxperience

Luxperience is more than a trade show, providing an exclusive, innovative global business exchange connecting experiential and discerning travel products directly to their market in a creative and inspirational exchange. It connects and nurtures relationships between highly sought-after luxury experiences and agents who influence the travel decision of the world's elite travellers.

The only forum of its kind, Luxperience helps to identify and drive trends in the luxury and experiential travel sector, and in turn attracts highly desirable, difficult to reach clients. True to its name, it's not just a trade show; it's an immersive luxurious experience, driven by a highly experienced team, resulting in real business for its clients.

Adding another dimension to the event and created specifically for the meeting and events market is Events by Luxperience, a tailored program for MICE buyers and suppliers attending Luxperience.

WHAT'S HOT IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA JULY 2016

Domestic goddess joins Gourmet Escape line-up

Seductive queen of the kitchen, Nigella Lawson, will join this year's Margaret River Gourmet Escape, leading an impressive line-up of chefs, wine and food personalities for the event's fifth year anniversary. As one of the international headline guests, Nigella will vist Margaret River for first time at the three-day culinary extravaganza, from November 19 to 20, 2016. The playful cooking goddess will be joined by more than 40 of the world's leading food and wine personalities, including seven chefs from the 'World's Best 50 Restaurants', four of whom will visit WA for the first time, including Joan Roca (#2 El Celler de Can Roca, Spain), Mauro Colagreco (#6 Mirazur, France), Andoni Luis Aduriz (#7 Mugaritz, Spain) and Isaac McHale (#26 The Cove Club, UK). A selection of signature events that will wow food lovers include the famous Audi Gourmet Beach BBQs, the unmissable Gourmet Village, Feast in the Forest, Margaret River's Secret Garden, as well as showcase dinners, intimate master classes, and demonstrations. Located a three hour drive south of Perth, Margaret River is the only wine region in Australia that has some of the world's best beaches, coastal 'cape to cape' walking tracks, world-renowned surf breaks, tall tree forests and spectacular wining and dining experiences all located on its doorstep. Tickets to the Margaret River Gourmet Escape will be available via Ticketek from July 22.

Arcadia to land at Elizabeth Quay in Australian-first

Following its widely-acclaimed performance at Glastonbury, United Kingdom creative pioneers, Arcadia Spectacular, will bring their award-winning, 50-tonne, fire breathing spider to Perth's Elizabeth Quay for an Australian exclusive in November 2016. Arcadia's Australian debut will engulf audiences with a 'Landing Show' alongside a unique local, national and international music program. Leftfield will headline the opening party, while local artists Alison Wonderland and Carmada will entrain crowds on nights two and three, with a fusion of electronic and dance music. Combining ground-breaking performance, creative engineering, sustainability, music, innovative technology and spellbinding sensory magic, Perth is set to ignite in an explosion of unity and celebration. The Arcadia spider will be at the heart of three ticketed shows, which will include a performance of Yallor Keeninyarra (Dance of the Wadjuk Nyungar people), lead by Noongar representative Barry McGuire. The dance calls on the Spider Spirit to weave a web of strength and togetherness for the men who gathered for the traditional ceremonies at Gumap – the area near Elizabeth Quay. It will be the first time the dance has been performed in its traditional form to the public of WA since 1901. The Arcadia Spectacular shows will be performed on November 25, 26 and 27 with community open days on November 23 and 24.

Finding Dory shines a light on whale sharks

WA's Ningaloo region has welcomed increased interest in whale sharks following an appearance by the world's largest fish in the Disney-Pixar blockbuster Finding Dory. In the Finding Nemo sequel, blue tang fish Dory is joined by new characters including Destiny, a friendly, nearsighted whale shark. As one of the few places in the world where visitors can swim with wild whale sharks, the Ningaloo Marine Park is receiving increased media attention about where tourists can see real-life Finding Dory animals in their natural habitats. Read more here.

Australia's Wildest Bachie Has High “Hope” for a New Bird

Move over Bachelors Ritchie, Blake and Tim, Townsville's wildest bachelor now has his eye on a fine, young bird and the courting season premiered at exactly 9.30am this morning.

But, it wasn't a buff bloke meeting a svelte young chick in a glam gown slit to the waist, in this show of courtship, it was 33 year old Yarabah, Billabong Sanctuary's resident wild cassowary locking eyes - and feathers - with Hope, a three year old captive-bred female cassowary.

Jeremy Hurburgh, head bird keeper and Billabong Sanctuary's own Osher, explained that just like the production of a certain prime time reality show, match making at the Townsville sanctuary has been going on behind the scenes for some time.

“Cassowaries are a threatened species and with mortality hot spots from vehicle strikes, the problem is only getting worse, so successful captive breeding is vital to the cassowaries' survival as a species,” Jeremy said.

“Yarrabah is one of the 31 male and 34 female cassowaries on the Southern Cassowary Population Management Programme. He has successfully bred and we thought he would be the perfect match for Hope, a three year old sexually-mature female who came to the Billabong from Perth Zoo as part of the breeding programme.”

In a move to match the fall of the Berlin Wall, the fence separating the resident cassowary pair came down at 9.30am this morning allowing avian action to begin and the Casanova cassowary, Yarabah, to show his moves.

And it worked. Mr Hurburgh reports that while it took a while for the pair to realise they could cross the now invisible, eventually Hope did trot off to Yarrabah's side of the enclosure and the two have been hanging around together ever since.

“Hope was standing up nice and tall, a sign of dominance and authority. Yarabah was quite submissive, following her around and pecking her back. We have high hopes for an early mating,” Mr Hurburgh said.

In the wild, if a female enters the male territory during mating season, the male displays evident signs of courtship. No roses here, the plumage goes up and the male cassowary begins to slowly circle his love object.

Should our Casanova cassowaries prove lucky, Hope will lay a clutch of light bluish-green eggs in a scrape in the ground and then trot off in a quest for more bachies, leaving Yarabah to do the hard work and incubates the eggs for two months before raising the chicks for a further nine months. During one season, a female cassowary will mate with two or three males.

Yarrabah, aged 33, is a wild caught cassowary with a heritage from the aboriginal community of Yarrabah south of Cairns and a proven track record of fertility. He came to Billabong Sanctuary from Currumbin Sanctuary on a breeding loan. He, along with a male from Featherdale Park in Sydney, is the oldest males in the programme.

Up until now, a fence has divided the enclosure separating the pair.

Cassowary Management Plan

Cassowaries are a threatened species and with mortality hot spots through vehicle strikes at Mission Beach and dog attacks, the problem is only getting worse, so successful captive breeding is vital to the cassowaries' survival as a species.

Billabong Sanctuary is one of 32 wildlife parks and zoos Australia wide in the Southern Cassowary Population Management Programme. Historically, there has been a lack of consistent breeding on non kinship birds in zoological institutions. There are 31 male cassowaries in the programme and 34 females and in the past 5 years only 16 births.

The cassowary breeding season extends from June to October. The breeding age for females in the breeding programme has been identified as 3 – 46 years and for males 4 to 35 years.

Cassowaries will live in excess of 60 years in captivity.

Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney Represent Australia in Lonely Planet’s The Best Things in Life are Free

The ultimate money-saving travel guide with 884 sights & experiences in more than 60 cities worldwide

Published next month, Lonely Planet’s The Best Things in Life are Free is packed full of money-saving tips, tricks and recommendations for the best-value sights and experiences around the world.

From parks, museums and exercise classes that are free, to insider ideas on food and experiences offered at great value, The Best Things in Life are Free features more than 60 major cities around the world and promises to help any traveller on a budget to make the most of their trip.

Australia is represented in the book by three cities:

  • Brisbane: Museum of Brisbane; Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-Tha; Streets Beach; Eat Street Markets; Brisbane Festival free events; and Knockoff comedy and LiveSpark music.
  • Melbourne: Arty alleyways; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA); Koorie Heritage Trust; National Gallery of Victoria (NGV); State Library of Victoria; Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI); Free gigs; Beach-bumming; Royal Botanic Gardens; Yarra Bend Park; Coffee cupping; and Moomba.
  • Sydney: Art Gallery NSW; Conservatorium of Music; Museum of Contemporary Art; Opera House; Sculpture by the Sea; The Rocks; White Rabbit Gallery; Movies by the Boulevard; Centennial Park; Ocean pools; Royal Botanic Gardens; Royal National Park; Snorkelling; Sydney Harbour Bridge; Sydney Harbour National Park; Barbeque bargain; and Farmers’ markets.


In addition, Bondi to Coogee (NSW), Ormiston Gorge and Pound (NT), Mt Feathertop and the Razorback (Vic), Cape-to-Cape (WA), and Bartle Frere Trail (Qld) are included on the book’s list of “Australia & New Zealand’s Best Free Walks”.

“The monetary value implied in the term free can misrepresent what’s on offer within these pages,” Lonely Planet’s Editorial Director Tom Hall writes in his introduction to the book. “The quality of an experience, after all, is not attached to a price tag. Many of the suggestions here involve unearthing the world’s secret wonders, whether that’s swimming around Sydney’s ocean pools or strolling the tombs and monuments of Delhi’s Lodi Gardens. Walkers tackling the great tracks of New Zealand will find themselves close to the soul of those beautiful islands.”

“It’s an exaggeration to say that everything good is free,” Tom adds, “so you’ll find plenty of excellent value cheap things to experience throughout this book. Dip into your spare change for classy street food like a choripán (chorizo sandwich) in Buenos Aires, the best views of Hong Kong’s skyline from the Star Ferry and a Boston brewery tour. Great memories, a happier you and a grateful wallet; one glance through these pages and you may never aspire to the indulgences of top-end travel again.”

LONELY PLANET’S THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE
304pp, full-colour, H210mm x W165mm, hardcover, AUD$29.99

Saturday, 30 July 2016

WelshTourism industry geared for an epic summer

Visit Wales’ EPIC art installation
Figures published today show that following two record-breaking years, the tourism industry in Wales has had an encouraging start to the first few months of 2016.

The Great Britain Day Visits Survey reveals that 86 million tourism day visits were made by British residents to destinations in Wales in the 12 months ending June 2016, generating expenditure of £3.2 billion. The volume of trips is up 12 percent in comparison with the 12 months previous, while related expenditure is up 30 percent.

These figures reinforce the findings of the tourism barometer survey for May, which showed that 40 per cent of businesses in the latest survey reported more business in the late May bank holiday/half term period in 2016 compared with the same period in 2015 and a further 45 per cent reported about the same level as in 2015.

Two in five surveyed businesses say that they have seen a rise in profitability to date.

Figures from the Great Britain Tourism Survey which measures overnights stays by GB visitors to Wales shows a mixed picture for the early season. In the12 months May 2015-April 2016, the number of trips to Wales has fallen slightly by 0.9 per cent. However, expenditure on visits to Wales in the 12 months ending in April 2016 has risen by 1.9 per cent.

Accommodation occupancy figures for early summer also look favourable. Over the 12 months ending May 2016, hotel room occupancy in Wales was up by 1 percentage point from the 12 previous months, while room occupancy for guesthouses/B&Bs in Wales was up by 3 percentage points.

The Visit Wales website, Visit Wales.com was another area where there was increased activity, with use in the first six months of 2016 up 6.93% on the previous year.

Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, said:  “Tourism in Wales is performing strongly. Expenditure by staying visitors in Wales in 2015 reached record levels of £2.385 billion. This has supported substantial growth in jobs and value added to the Welsh economy and we are now aiming to sustain these levels.

“The industry is on track to achieve the target of 10% real growth of staying visitor earnings by 2020. Although there was a slight decrease in the number of overnight staying visitors from GB, we see that the expenditure, is up which is good news for the economy. We see from the June day visits that there’s been a dramatic increase in both visitors and spend. The industry were feeling confident ahead of the summer season and we’ll take particular interest in how the referendum result and Wales’ increased profile as a result of our success in the Euros impacts on the summer figures.

“The latest phase of our Year of Adventure campaign was revealed recently with the EPIC sign touring the country over the summer which will aim to further boost Wales’ reputation as a place for epic adventures this summer during our Year of Adventure.”

Australian Ice Hockey League finals awarded to O’Brien Group Arena in 2016

O’Brien Group Arena is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the hosting rights for the 2016 Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) Finals, presented by Air Canada.

The AIHL Finals will be held on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 August.

“We are excited that the 2016 Australian Ice Hockey League Finals will be at the O’Brien Group Arena again this year. O’Brien Group Arena is undoubtedly Australia’s best venue to host the teams and provide spectators with a quality ice hockey experience,” said Paul Keisler, General Manager of the O’Brien Group Arena.

O’Brien Group Arena has significantly increased visitor capacity and spectator areas for this year’s finals to ensure nobody misses a minute of the action. Upgrades include a newly renovated bar and new flat screen TVs to keep the O’Brien Group Arena Australia’s largest ice sports spectating venue.

The AIHL Finals consist of the top four teams at the end of the regular home and away season.

Finalists compete for the iconic Goodall Cup over two days (three games) in a single elimination tournament.

Melbourne Ice is currently on top of the AIHL ladder and will definitely be playing in the Finals in August.

There is a possibility that Melbourne Mustangs may also feature in the Finals.

Dates and time of the Finals are:
Semi-Final 1 3pm Saturday, August 27th 1 v 4
Semi-Final 2 6pm Saturday, August 27th 2 v 3=
Grand Final 3pm Sunday, August 28th Winners from semi-finals
Fan Celebration Immediately following Grand Final Rink side


Tickets are available now at http://www.trybooking.com/MAPN.

Ticket type Price
Bay 1- 3 game pass $115
Bay 2- 3 game pass $120
Bay 3- 3 game pass $125
Bay 4- 3 game pass $120
Bay 5- 3 game pass $115
General Admission Standing- 3 game pass $115
Child (4-13 years old) tickets are available at a 15% discount.
Only one infant (3 years and under) is permitted per adult; must be seated on a parent's lap and held securely. There is no admission charge for infants.

Premium Seating and Advertising Opportunities We can tailor a package to meet your needs. Please send an email to functions@obriengrouparena.com.au to discuss rink side seating, catering, advertising (in the programs, broadcasts, or programs), souvenirs, and corporate experiences.

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

Int’l East-West Economic Corridor trade, tourism fair opens in Da Nang

The 2016 International East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) Trade and Tourism Fair kicked off in the central coastal city of Da Nang on July 28.

The annual event, organised by the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency and the Da Nang Trade Promotion Centre, features 300 booths of 200 domestic and foreign businesses from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Italy.

Exhibits include electric & electronic products, information and communication technology, wood products, furniture, handicrafts, garments, textiles, footwear, fashion, and tourism and culinary services.

A number of activities will be organised during the event, including an art performance, a game show and a workshop to introduce the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

Director of the centre Hua Tu Anh said the exhibition opens up opportunities for domestic and international enterprises to seek partnerships, boost operations and introduce their products to consumers.

The event also helps the nations along the corridor to promote their economic, trade, investment and tourism potential as well as foster collaboration, he added.

The trade fair will last until August 2.

Enjoy an Ocean of Festival Fun in Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay Ocean Festival kicks off this August with visitors enjoying oceans of fun and a jam-packed 9 day program of events highlighting the Fraser Coast's deep connection with the sea.

World famous whale-watching experiences, renowned mouth-watering seafood, a seaside lifestyle, music and cultural activities are all heroes of this gigantic showcase from August 13.

Festival highlights include the Blessing of the Fleet on August 13, the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival on August 14, the Whale Parade and Concert on August 20 and the Paddle Out for Whales on August 21.

The Blessing of the Fleet is the opening event in which the Fraser Coast's famous fleet of whale watch vessels undergo a centuries old tradition at Hervey Bay Marina to ensure a safe and prosperous season. Visitors can tour the vessels, wander through market stalls and enjoy delicious wine and cheese tasting, a sail past, fabulous fireworks and live entertainment.

The following day, August 14, is one to savour with the annual Hervey Bay Seafood Festival offering something for all tastes. Hosted by the local industry who catch Hervey Bay's famous seafood, the event serves up a host of fresh and delicious wild-caught ocean produce, loads of entertainment, competitions, cooking and catching tips and more at Fishermen's Park, Urangan Boat Harbour.

Highlights include tasty morsels such as cooking demonstrations from leading chef Javier Codina from Moda Restaurant, prawn eating competitions, bumper artistic, music and cultural program with performances by 8 Ball Aitken, The Rain and Wal Neilson plus more.

Next on the Ocean Festival menu is the Whale Parade and Concert featuring an enchanting spectacle of lights and floats representing the humpback's annual migration, followed by a fabulous free concert with local artists.

This iconic Hervey Bay event is a favourite for the locals, with carnival rides, market stalls and plenty of live entertainment for the whole family.

Last but not least is the Paddle Out for Whales where visitors are encouraged to jump aboard a paddleboard, kayak or anything that floats to support the conservation of whales and their environment both on the Fraser Coast and throughout the world.

As a recognised endangered species, the humpback whale has flourished in recent years with more than 22,000 whales expected to make the migration this season. The event includes races, environmental speakers, live music and more.

The Fraser Coast is Australia's Home of the Humpbacks where the natural shape and calm protected waters of Hervey Bay offer a natural playground for thousands of the majestic creatures and the best up-close and personal whale watching encounters in the world.

Every year an estimated 22,000 humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to the warm waters of the north to breed.

On their return journey between late July and early November, the proud new parents and the cutest calves on earth make a temporary home in the tranquil marine environment of Hervey Bay creating a wonderland of intimate and interactive whale activity.

To plan your Fraser Coast holiday for the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival and the world's best whale watching, head to herveybayoceanfestival.com.au.

Penguin chicks to “march” through San Francisco Zoo & Gardens

Making their public debut in red carpet style, two Magellanic penguin chicks will waddle through San Francisco Zoo & Gardens to join the rest of the colony at Penguin Island during “March of the Penguins” on Saturday, July 30 at 10:15 am.

With much pomp and circumstance, this ceremony celebrates the two-month-old chicks' graduation from “Fish School” where they lose their fluffy down, learn to swim and accept food from their human keepers. With hundreds of SF Zoo Members and visitors watching their every waddle, the penguins make their way around the exhibit before diving into the pool and embarking on a new adventure on Penguin Island.

SF Zoo Members will have the opportunity to submit name suggestions and one name will be drawn just prior to the ceremonial march. San Francisco Zoo maintains the largest and most successful breeding colony of Magellanic penguins in captivity, having fledged more than 200 chicks since 1985.

Event Details

What: March of the Penguins
Where: San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, 1 Zoo Rd, San Francisco, CA 94132 - park in the main lot and meet at the front entrance for transportation to exhibit
When: Saturday, July 30 9:30-10:15 am

Note: the march is very quick and only happens one time, so please arrive early to allow time to make your way to the exhibit

Photo: Two Magellanic penguin chicks taking their ceremonial march to Penguin Island, additional educational exhibits and crafts for kids on site

MCEC continues to deliver for Victoria’s economy

  • MCEC contributed $959.4 million to Victoria’s economy in 2015/16
  • 83 per cent of MCEC’s expenditure directed towards Victorian businesses
  • Almost 2 million total visitors passed through the doors of MCEC
  • Revenues to increase by 80 per cent by 2022

For the fourth consecutive year, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) end of financial year figures have exceeded all previous year-end results, recording total operating revenue of $77 million and contributing close to $1 billion of economic impact to the Victorian economy.

This is the second year that MCEC has engaged leading consultancy firm Ernst & Young to conduct this important economic research. Results take into account 980 events staged at MCEC in 2015/16, including 86 national and international conventions and 78 exhibitions that drew more than 849,677 business event visitors through the venue’s doors – an increase of 17.4 per cent on financial year 2014/15.

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust Chairman, Bob Annells said these encouraging financial results, along with the commencement of the venue’s much-anticipated expansion, highlight a bright and thriving future for MCEC.

“We are committed to continually providing a strong return on the investment made by the Victorian State Government while remaining Australia’s venue of choice for business events,” Mr Annells said.

“The people of Victoria should be very proud of MCEC, the financial contribution its existence makes to the Victorian economy and the wonderful community asset it continues to be.”

A considered move away from an operations-driven to a customer-centric business model, including the successful introduction of a new organisational design in October 2015, contributed to MCEC’s 2015/16 optimistic result.

MCEC Chief Executive, Peter King acknowledged a prosperous 2015/16, noting that the venue’s business activities continue to challenge the team to find ways to lead the world as competition becomes increasingly well-resourced and more aggressive.

“Operating a venue such as MCEC is about much more than simply hosting events. We need to provide tailored, personalised solutions for our customers that exceed expectations and deliver truly unique and memorable experiences,” Mr King said.

“The professionalism, maturity and capability that we have within MCEC to innovate, adapt and create opportunities for our customers underpins this extraordinary result.”

“The fact that we continue to exceed our targets whilst investing more heavily in employee training, safety, security and reducing our environmental footprint is a credit to our entire MCEC team,” Mr King added.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events, The Hon. John Eren MP said that the visitor economy is one of Victoria’s greatest strengths, creating jobs and driving economic growth.

“The experience Victoria offers its visitors is the reason we’ve continued to thrive, and business events are one of our strong suits,” Minister Eren said.

“We want MCEC to remain a leading venue for business events and conferences in Australia. That's why we've embarked on a major expansion of the venue, which is well under way.”

"Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre should be congratulated on these impressive results."

A key driver of MCEC’s future growth will be the completion of the venue’s expansion in early 2018. Building works commenced in June 2016 that will increase MCEC’s total size to more than 70,000 square metres, meaning more space for new celebrations, entertainment and exhibitions as well as for the growth of existing events.

“Our expansion is about doing more of what we do best – bringing a level of class, sophistication and personalisation to events,” Mr King said.

“We are building to increase our flexibility and to offer even more multi-purpose spaces in which events will be delivered to the same professional MCEC standards that the industry and community currently enjoys.”

MCEC’s expansion will deliver an 80 per cent increase in revenue by 2022 along with other significant legacies such as enhanced education opportunities and increased investment in research. It will also provide room for the venue to grow existing community partnerships with organisations such as the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal and the Starlight Foundation.

“Our pipeline of future bookings and business outlook remains very strong, so it really is an exciting time to be involved with MCEC,” Mr King added.

Agra - Regal Vista

Regal Vista, Agra
Greetings from PnG Hotels & Resorts!!!

It's our honor to introduce the property “Regal Vista, Agra” is a traveller's paradise that offers awe-inspiring views of the majestic architecture dotting the Agra landscape. The resort's logo represents the grandeur of the Mughal Empire and takes inspiration from the feather of the regal peacock.

We have made sure Regal Vista has best in class facilities and amenities to make your stay lavish and worthwhile. 

The relaxing pool can be the perfect setting for you to unwind with your loved ones over a drink. If you’re in the mood to pamper yourself, our range of services at the spa will surely present your mind with every bit of solace.

Offering an outdoor swimming pool and a rooftop grill restaurant that offers view of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Taj Mahal, Agra - Regal Vista, A Sterling Resort offers accommodation in Agra.

Each room includes a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Some rooms include a seating area for your convenience. You will find a kettle in the room. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom equipped with a shower. For your comfort, you will find bath robes and free toiletries. Agra - Regal Vista, A Sterling Resort features free WiFi .

You will find a 24-hour front desk at the  52 hotel rooms property.

Taj Mahal is 2.2 km from Agra - Regal Vista, A Sterling Resort, while Mehtab Bagh is 2.7 km away. The nearest airport is Agra Airport, 9 km from the property.

Agra - Regal Vista, A Sterling Resort has been welcoming Booking.com guests since 16 Mar 2016

Please feel free to call us or write us
Thanks & Regards
Siddharth
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Mt Buller announces brand new on snow ‘slopestyle’ event

Mt Buller adds a new event to the snow season calendar, Mt Buller Slopestyle by Frank launching on August 6. Slopestyle is an exciting freestyle skiing and snowboarding discipline that requires competitors to combine downhill speed with technical skills on a range of rails, jumps and other terrain park features. Rated the most exciting Winter Olympic sport at Sochi in 2014, Slopestyle has been added nationally to the Snow Sports Interschools lineup for 2016. The addition of the Slopestyle event to the Mt Buller calendar supports skiers and boarders from juniors all the way to aspiring Olympic athletes, for future competition in this growing discipline.

Held over one action-packed day, the event will see skiers and snowboarders take on a challenging course in the Skyline Terrain Park. Competitors undertake two course runs, with the best run counting towards final results. Participants will be scored for amplitude, originality and quality of tricks. The event is open to all ages and skill levels across multiple divisions, where podium winners can collect their share in a $2000 cash prize, as well as products from K2, Yuki Threads and Rip Curl.

Group Manager of Marketing, Sales and Events for Mt Buller Resort Management, Gillian Dobson, said the Slopestyle by Frank event will be a new and exciting event for both riders and spectators alike. “We are really excited to be hosting a brand new event this winter, which will see some of Australia’s best freestyle skiers and snowboarders battle it out on a purpose built course. This addition to the calendar places Mt Buller at the forefront of freestyle skiing and we look forward to a thrilling day of competition.”

“After becoming an Olympic event and now featured on the Interschools calendar, we're super excited to put Slopestyle skiing and snowboarding on the map in Victoria. We've consistently produced the best skiers and snowboarders in the country, with the likes of two-time Olympian Scotty James, Dale Begg-Smith, Steph Prem and Chumpy Pullin learning and refining their craft at Mt Buller. It's events like this that really allow a diverse field of competitors from around Australia to progress and achieve their goals in the sport, which is the main outcome we want to reach as resorts and seasonal programs alike" said Managing Director for Transition Snowboarding, Dylan Campbell.

For further information on the event visit the Events section on mtbuller.com.au.

Friday, 29 July 2016

New High-Tech Tourism Attraction Opens in Darwin

The Bombing of Darwin Harbour has been brought to life by a new multi-million dollar tourism attraction which opens at Stokes Hill Wharf today.

Tourism NT CEO, Tony Mayell, said the new facility uses cutting edge technology to provide never-before-seen virtual reality and holographic experiences of the Bombing of Darwin Harbour.

“There is no doubt this fantastic new tourism attraction is world-class; some of the technology is so advanced it's the first time it's ever been used,” Mr Mayell said.

“Visitors will be transported back in time to Darwin on 19 February 1942 and experience what it was like on that fateful day during the Bombing of Darwin Harbour – the largest ever single attack mounted on Australia by a foreign power.

“With the launch of this new tourism attraction we are telling visitors around the world: If you want to learn more about Australia's war history – the Northern Territory is the place to come.

“Military tourism is a growing trend with more and more people visiting war memorials, exhibitions and events in Australia and around the world.

“This new attraction will complement the range of other military experiences on offer in Darwin and establish the Northern Territory as a leader in Australia's war history.”

The Royal flying Doctor Service (RFDS) was the successful proponent of a Northern Territory Government Expression of Interest process to fit out and operate the new attraction and has invested more than $4 million in the venture.

“The new attraction brings together two iconic Territory stories in the one location at Stokes Hills Wharf Darwin: the RFDS, which began operations in the NT in 1939, and the Bombing of Darwin Harbour in 1942 during World War II,” said RFDS Central Operations General Manager Northern Territory, Michael Toomey.

“Both of these historic events helped forge the resolve and resilience of the people who live in Australia's Northern Territory. It is a privilege for the RFDS to build on our partnership with the Northern Territory Government in the development of this new and exciting tourism and educational facility.”

The new facility features virtual reality headsets depicting the Bombing of Darwin Harbour as well as holograms.

The holographic technology tells the little known story of the commanding officer of the USS William B Preston, Etheridge (Jim) Grant, who observed the attack from the water after being blown from his tender trying to return to his ship.

In a Hollywood-style production, actors, costumes and make-up were used to recreate the Captain so visitors will see the attack through his eyes.

Rear Admiral's Grant's grandson, Jim Young, who travelled to Darwin for the opening of the new attraction, said the family were looking forward to seeing their Grandfather's story being told.

“We are thrilled, honored and grateful that our grandfather's story is being told to a global audience through the new Bombing of Darwin Harbour attraction. We are very proud of him and his service during WWII and look forward to a new generation of people learning more about this crucial and significant time in history,” he said.

Other highlights of the new attraction include:
  • A suspended full replica Mitsubishi Zero Japanese war plane;
  • A replica 250kg general purpose bomb that that has been cut away to show the inner workings;
  • A window depicting Darwin Harbour in 1942 that comes to life giving visitors an experience of the Wharf during the attack. In sync with this is a raised floor showing an aerial view of the harbour bombing, which moves when the Wharf is bombed;
  • A life-sized hologram of RFDS founder, John Flynn;
  • Mini Holograms using ghost host technology which deliver interaction with Prime Minister John Curtin, a Japanese pilot and a RFDS nurse;
  • A decommissioned RFDS Pilatus PC 12 aircraft, completely aero medically equipped;
  • Touchscreen portals that provide an insight into the daily lives of RFDS staff;
  • An 80 inch screen showing the live stream of where any of the RFDS aircraft are at any one time; and 
  • A 100 inch screen telling the stories of patients that have been carried and cared for by the RFDS.

Consul General of China in New York and CNTO Attend Boston Dragon Boat Festival

The 37th Annual Boston Dragon Boat Festival was held June 11 and 12, 2016, with more than 30 teams from the U.S. and Canada competing over a 500-meter course in sleek, colorful, 39-foot dragon boats. 

The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional Chinese Festival providing performances, food, and arts and crafts representing traditions of this ancient Chinese celebration. 

Ms. Zhang Qiyue, Consul General of China in New York, attended the event and dotted the dragon’s eyes. Zhang Qiyue noted that 2016 is China-U.S. Tourism Year and the people-to-people and cultural exchange between China and the U.S. has been strengthened. 

Featuring beautiful photos, provided by CNTO New York, the China tourism exhibition generated strong interest among the local audience.

Record Breaking 3 Million Visitors for the Shoalhaven

For the first time in history, total visitors to the Shoalhaven have exceeded three million over a 12-month period, emphasising the importance of tourism for the region and its growing appeal amongst travellers.

The National and International Visitors Surveys1 report an estimated total of 3.1 million visitors to the region for the year ending March 2016, an increase of approximately 11 per cent compared to the same period in 2015. Above average domestic day and domestic overnight visitor estimates were the main contributors to the record high.

An estimated 1.7 million domestic day visitors represents a 25 per cent increase over the same period in 2015. Domestic overnight visitors to the Shoalhaven reached 1.4 million over the 12 month period, spending over 4.5 million nights in the Shoalhaven which is one of the highest estimates on record and build on several periods of growth.

International overnight visitor numbers were also above average.

Shoalhaven Tourism Manager, Ms. Coralie Bell believes such a great outcome can be attributed to the delivery of our Shoalhaven major events strategy that sees large festivals such as Fairgrounds taking place in Berry, combined with robust marketing and PR strategies. The continued investment and support of local government in tourism with key resources including staff, content and strategic planning underpins all our tourism successes.” says Ms Bell.

Shoalhaven Tourism Advisory Group Chair, Catherine Shields
attributes the great results to the collaboration between industry, council and Destination NSW as well as the move to using digital marketing strategies.

“Record breaking figures in the recent National Visitor Survey are reflective of the powerful collaboration between the council, the regional tourism organisation and Destination NSW which produced the award-winning Unspoilt campaign.

“Now that the overwhelming majority of visitors do their research online, the modernisation of the Nowra Visitors centre has been a long anticipated step forward. The new multi-purpose space with retail and a cafe, shares resources with the Entertainment Centre, looks fantastic and is much more cost-effective. The use of cost effective and cutting-edge online marketing channels and public relations at the local level has been another winning strategy."

Shoalhaven Mayor, Ms. Joanna Gash, says this achievement represents a positive contribution to the visitor economy which benefits all local businesses in the region.

“Tourism delivers around $700 million dollars into the local economy and these fantastic results directly deliver an estimated 6,300 jobs to our region. Tourism is an important economic driver to our region and it is fantastic to see such strong results,” she said.

Ms. Bell adds: “Ultimately these results demonstrate the strong bond the Shoalhaven has formed with its visitors. It is no longer merely a stop along the road to the far South Coast, but rather a sought-after destination in its own right and a 'favourite place to be' amongst holiday-goers.”

For more information, please contact Coralie Bell, Tourism Manager at Coralie.Bell@shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au or call 0421 287 777.

Thai Cultural Days in Viet Nam

Thai Cultural Days in Viet Nam is organized in Ha Noi and the Northern province of Quang Ninh from July 27-August 1 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Viet Nam-Thailand diplomatic ties.

The event is co-organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Thai Ministry of Culture and the Thai Embassy in Viet Nam.

A series of activities are held such as art performances and exhibitions on handicraft products from Thailand.

Thai Deputy PM, Minister of Culture and Minister of Tourism and Sports will visit Viet Nam and attend the event.

The event is aimed at advertising Thai nation and people as well as creating opportunities for the two nations to meet and exchange culture and tighten their relations.

Vietnamese Cultural Days in Thailand will take place from August 9-14 with artistic performances and exhibitions introducing Viet Nam’s cultural characteristics.

Great Value Deals at Metro Hotels & Apartments Australia-wide

Metro Apartments
Darling Harbour.

Sydney, NSW

Metro Hotel Marlow Sydney Central – Aladdin Family Package – from $250 p/n

Stay in a Superior room for 2 adults and 2 children, full buffet breakfast for 4 people, kids pack and free WiFi from $165 per night. Offer valid until 29 December 2016 Does NOT include tickets to the show. Book online at www.metrohotels.com.au or ring 1800 004 321.

Metro Apartments Darling Harbour Sydney Attractions Package - $269 per night

The Sydney Attractions Package includes overnight accommodation in an apartment for two adults and 2 children (12 years or under) per night from $269 p/n with family pass which includes your choice of any two of the following attractions; Sydney Tower Eye, SeaLife Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, Wild Life Sydney Zoo, Manly Sea Life Sanctuary. Subject to availability. Valid from {it’s an open deal, no end date} To book, ring 1800 004 321 or online at www.metrohotels.com.au

Aspire Hotel Sydney – Stay 3, Park Free – from $104 p/n

Aspire Hotel Sydney has just released a Stay 3, Park Free offer which includes free parking for guests who book 3 or more nights in a Standard Premium Room Offer valid from 9it’s an open deal, no end date). Book online at www.metrohotels.com.au/promotions or ring 1800 004 321.

Metro Hotel on Pitt Sydney Local Hot Deal from $165 p/n

This deal includes accommodation in Superior Room with a complimentary room upgrade to Deluxe Room (subject to availability) 2 adult Opal travel cards valued at $20 each, free WiFi, and noon checkout. Subject to availability. Valid from {it’s an open deal, no end date} To book, ring 1800 004 321 or online a twww.metrohotels.com.au

Melbourne, VIC

Metro Apartments Bank Place, Melbourne – from $135 per night

Guests will save up to $40 per night with this great value Winter Warmer Hot Deal at Metro Apartments on Bank Place from just $135 per night, which includes:
· Accommodation in a One Bedroom Apartment
· Complimentary WiFi
· Complimentary bottle of wine on arrival
· 12 noon late checkout

The Winter Warmer Hot Deal is valid seven days a week from June 1st – August 31, 2016, subject to availability and can be booked by calling the hotel direct on 03 9604 4321 or by booking online at www.metrohotels.com.au.

Ipswich, QLD

Metro Hotel Ipswich International Spring Saver Hot Deal from $117 p/n

Metro Hotel Ipswich International is offering a rate from $117 per night in a {either a Superior room or One Bedroom Apartment} room with complimentary Wifi plus 25% off your total food & beverage bill at Harvest Restaurant & Bar (excludes breakfast & minibar). Valid until 31 October. This offer can be booked online at www.metrohotels.com.au or by phoning the toll free number on 1800 004 321.

Hanoi Foodie Tour

“It was a complete foodie tour. We had main courses, snacks, desserts, besides going to interesting show and places. We really enjoy the tour” Mr Niko Ang & family 

If you are interested in discovering cuisine around the world, don’t miss out our fabulous foodie tour and we will take you to Hanoi’s best kept secrets, hidden street food restaurants to taste top street foods in Hanoi such as Banh My Hanoi, Vietnamese Rice Wine and famous Egg Coffee, etc.

Our tour will also provide you with a unique opportunity to experience and learn about exciting history, exceptional culture, as well as distinctive architecture of Hanoi following its unique cuisine trail.

Join us to get the real taste of Vietnam
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HAMILTON ISLAND HITS RECORD Supermaxi, Wild Oats XI, returns to racing in this weekend’s 384-nautical mile Sydney-Gold Coast race

Wild Oats XI
The Oatley family’s Sydney-Hobart yacht race record holder, the 30-metre long supermaxi Wild Oats XI, will make her return to ocean racing this weekend after a six month break.

She will be competing in the annual Land Rover Sydney-Gold Coast race, which starts on Sydney Harbour at 1pm on Saturday. A near-record fleet of 76 yachts will participate.

The coastal classic will be Wild Oats XI’s first campaign since sail damage forced her retirement from the Rolex Sydney Hobart race last December. This incident came only weeks after she had been re-launched following extensive hull modifications. Changes were also made to the sail plan at the time.

Following the Sydney to Gold Coast Race, Wild Oats XI will contest the Brisbane to Keppel race then head north for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, which will be staged from August 20 to 27.

“We’re really looking forward to these three events over coming weeks,” said Wild Oats XI’s highly successful skipper, Mark Richards. “They are an important part of our preparation for the Hobart race.

“We were less than 12 hours into the last Hobart race when we were forced to retire, so we’re still on the learning curve when it comes to seeing how the yacht performs since being modified. The Gold Coast race will be a bit like us getting reacquainted with her in a racing environment.”

Wild Oats XI was forced to retire from the Sydney Hobart race when equipment failure caused the mainsail to shred down its trailing edge. The massive sail – made from the world’s most advanced sailcloth – has since been repaired and is as good as new.

In recent months the yacht’s shore crew has spent considerable time working on ways to make the yacht faster when sailing upwind. Much of that effort has gone into improving the efficiency of the two retractable daggerboards.

Yachting meteorologist Roger Badham expects it to be a slow race to the Gold Coast as light winds and an unfavourable south-flowing current are likely to prevail over the entire distance.

Wild Oats XI and the other supermaxi competing in the race, Scallywag (formerly Ragamuffin100), are not expected to finish before sunrise on Monday.

The majority of the fleet will be docked at Southport Yacht Club after completing the course.

Image caption: The new-look Wild Oats XI stretches her wings during a trial run on Sydney Harbour (Image credit: Andrea Francolini)

More direct links fuelling Cambodia's visitor growth

Travellers at Siem Reap International Airport
Cambodia’s increasing air connectivity is the key driver accounting for the South-east Asian nation’s continued tourism growth, according to local tour operators.

The latest figures from Cambodia Airports (CA) show a five per cent year-on-year increase in international visitors landing at the country’s three international airports between January and June with more than 3.4 million passing through Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh airports.

Phnom Penh International Airport saw the largest increase of 10 per cent.

“Cambodia is increasingly connected with the rest of the world with the country’s three international airports opening the country up to the growing middle-class of neighbouring Asian countries as well as to the rest of the world,” said Jo Crisp, general manager of Peak Cambodia DMC.

This year has seen a raft of direct flights launched, including between Sihanoukville and China, and Sihanoukville and Vietnam.

Amy McLoughlin, co-founder of Ayana Journeys, said: “Increased accessibility to the country that is both affordable and more direct is encouraging visitors tight on time seeking to get to the heart of the destination as quickly as possible.”

In addition to more connections, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh airports recently underwent a US$100 million upgrading programme to expand terminals and double capacity to five million passengers each.

Marissa Carruthers, Phnom Penh, July 27, 2016

Jerry's Plains Progress Association Community Fair — at Jerry's Plains

Jerry's Plains annual fair day being held on Saturday Sept 24 from 8am is not far away. 

Sites are STILL a crazy $10 ea. 

Sites are filling up so get in now to secure a spot. 

Call Maureen on 0413318666 for all bookings. 

Come & join us for a great day Out in picturesque surrounds.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

REGIONAL NSW TO HOST TWO ROUNDS OF THE 2016 OFFSHORE SUPERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIPS

The NSW Government has announced that Destination NSW will be supporting the Lake Macquarie and Coffs Harbour rounds of the 2016 Offshore Superboat Championships, showcasing these remarkable regions to hundreds of visitors.

The Offshore Superboat Championships is Australia’s national series for Powerboat racing consisting of a six-round competition and promises to showcase the best of both regions and provide a great boost to the visitor economy.

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said events play an important role in driving visitation across the State, which helps to achieve the NSW Government’s goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure by 2020.

“In the year ended March 2016, NSW received 28.6 million domestic visitors who stayed 92.1 million nights and spent $16.4 billion,” Mr Ayres said.

“These numbers not only reflect the extraordinary ongoing growth achieved by the NSW Government but the importance of investing in regional events which are a major contributor the State’s overnight visitor economy.”

Coffs Harbour and Lake Macquarie will also feature when the Championships are screened to a national and international broadcast audience through SBS and Fox Sports in Australia, Sommet Sports in New Zealand, MAV TV in North America and via the Motorsports TV app.

The Coffs Harbour round will take place from 27-28 August and the Lake Macquarie round from 15-16 October.

For more information on the Offshore Superboat Championships visit www.superboat.com.au.

AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand to launch new thrill level in 2017

AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand,
AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand, the world’s first commercial bungy jump operator, has announced that a new extreme experience is under development in Queenstown.

The announcement was made at New Zealand’s largest travel expo TRENZ and the product comes with the backing of the government in the form of a $500,000 grant.

The ‘Nevis Thriller’ will be located at the site of the Nevis Bungy and Nevis Swing, near Queenstown. The new experience will, naturally, combine height, speed and flight.

AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand managing director and co‐founder Henry van Asch says the new experience, which has the working title Nevis Thriller, will play a key role in keeping New Zealand at the cutting edge of global adventure tourism.

“The Nevis Thriller will attract visitors to New Zealand to experience an extreme activity that is not available anywhere else in the world.”

The full details of the new product are yet to be revealed but the Nevis Thriller promises to push people to the limits in a way not previously experienced. It will also cement the Nevis site (home to New Zealand’s highest bungy and swing) as the world’s most remote and extreme adventure tourism destination.

The Nevis Thriller is set to open to the public in early 2017.

AJ Hackett and the bungy

Since New Zealander AJ Hackett dived off the Eiffel Tower 20 years ago, his bungy-jumping craze has continued to scale new heights of daring.

Hackett is a classic example of Kiwi ingenuity, a man who harnessed three of the country’s great passions - sport, adventure and the outdoors - with his entrepreneurial spirit.

Inspired by ancient Vanuatu land-diving rituals and Oxford University's Dangerous Sports Club extreme sport experiments, Hackett joined forces with speed-skiing buddy Henry van Asch to investigate the possibility of jumping from great heights while tethered by elastic cords. With the help of Auckland University students, they developed a super-stretchy cord with which to take the plunge.

Queenstown - Adventure Capital

The Queenstown region has always been a magnet for adventurers and entrepreneurs and these pioneers became the mainstay of New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry.

World-first innovations such as commercial jet boating and bungy jumping have forged Queenstown’s enduring reputation as the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’.

Tandem paragliding was pioneered in Queenstown by Bruce Grant. Watching pilot and passenger running off the edge of a mountain together with the canopy rising behind them, then gliding from Bob’s Peak into town has become an iconic Queenstown sight.

NZONE Skydive became New Zealand’s first commercial tandem skydiving operator in 1990 and the first to introduce freefall photography. The company now employs 70 highly skilled personnel and is involved in development of skydiving skills through its unique XLR8 free fall training programme. More than 170,000 people have experienced the multi-award winning thrill.

Other innovators and entrepreneurs have followed in the wake of these early pioneers and Queenstown now offers a huge range of adventures from river rafting, parasailing and canyoning to abseiling, zip-lining and kite skiing.

PHOTO: The ‘Nevis Thriller’ will be located at the site of the Nevis Bungy and Nevis Swing, near Queenstown. PHOTO CREDIT: AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand

SilverNeedle to Open New Sage Hotel in Melbourne

SilverNeedle Hospitality is fast expanding across Australia with the announcement of Sage Hotel Ringwood, Melbourne.

This follows the most recent opening of Sage Hotel West Perth, in May 2016. Added to this are Sage Hotels currently operating in Adelaide and Wollongong. In the pipeline is Sage Brisbane to be opened in Q1, 2017 and 2 more slated to open in 2017 and 2018 – this rapidly brings SilverNeedle Hospitality's Sage Hotel portfolio to 7 in Australia.

Sage Hotel Ringwood, is a result of the partnership with Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC). The 120-room hotel will span six levels, with meeting rooms, totalling 7,000sqm of gross floor area with a development value of $36 million. It is part of QIC Global Real Estate's redevelopment of Eastland into one of Melbourne's epicentres of shopping, entertainment and leisure destinations — delivering an authentic Town Centre for Ringwood.

Construction works to Sage Hotel Ringwood will commence on 27 July as part of an integrated hotel complex in a mixed-use shopping precinct, a hub that brings together the best of Melbourne's epicurean spirit, more than 350 leading Australian and international fashion and lifestyle brands, as well as world-class art housed at Eastland.

New brand Sage Hotel is a result of a philosophy by SilverNeedle Hospitality that today's hotels need to be inclusive and to welcome the community. Bucking the trend of global commoditisation, Sage Hotels are instead built on three key philosophies- celebrating local, connectivity and people - as ambassadors delivering personalised service.

“Sage Hotel Ringwood brings good growth and infrastructure prospects because it is a gateway to the Yarra. Its mixed-used design, with shopping and dining options, is key to attract travellers who want to experience local, which gives the area more opportunities to benefit from the increase in tourism dollars,” says Cameron Stewart, Managing Director of SilverNeedle Hospitality ANZ.

“Our custom-built interactive Sage Mobile App, including pocket hotspot WiFi and complimentary roaming data plan is part of our Sage offering. By curating our app content, travellers can easily access authentic insights and reviews of Points of Interest from a local's perspective, enabling them to roam independently and with confidence.” Mr Stewart said.

For more information, please visit www.snhgroup.com

Cultural show featuring five ASEAN countries wraps up in Quang Tri

An art show featuring traditional dances and songs from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Viet Nam and Thailand closed in the central province of Quang Tri on July 25.

The event was jointly organised by the Department of Performing Arts, the Department of International Cooperation under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Viet Nam Musicians Association, the Viet Nam Dancers Association, and Quang Tri provincial People’s Committee and the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The one-week-long festival drew the participation of 21 art troupes, including 17 domestic and four foreign ones.

Hundreds of dances and singings, reflected the unique, traditional, yet modern culture of each of the five nations.

At the closing ceremony, the art troupes were honoured with gold and silver medals, and certificates of merit for their outstanding performances.

Viewers enjoyed the prize-winning performances during the ceremony.

You're Invited to Tourism Upgrade LIVE on 9 August in Sydney

Remember Tourism Tweetup events? Well, you are invited to Tourism Upgrade LIVE - the same event but with a new name! Our August event is all about connecting travel brands, bloggers, digital influencers and content producers.

Are you a travel or tourism brand wanting to make connections with bloggers and digital influencers? Are you a blogger or content producer wanting to meet travel brands? Do you work in travel and want to pick up tips about brand and influencer campaigns? Then come along on 9 August as we chat with our panel of guests about all that and more!

DATE: Tuesday, 9 August 2016
TIME: 6.00pm - 7.30pm
VENUE: The Cuban Place (downstairs), 125 York St, Sydney CBD
COST: Free
REGISTER: You must register here to attend.

We are thrilled this event is sponsored by TravMedia, the world's largest online news portal and social network, connecting travel media and travel industry professionals globally.

There will be fantastic networking opportunites, snacks, lucky door prizes and the opportunity to learn a thing or two, so look forward to seeing you there.

Our free events are designed for those working in travel & tourism to make connections and learn a few tips about digital and social media marketing.

Not in Sydney but want to attend?

I understand some of you cannot attend as you are not Sydney based. Please follow the hashtag #TourismUpgrade on Twitter as we will share highlights from the night and stay tuned for a podcast episode on the topic soon. Do you know anyone who is in Sydney who may be interested that you could forward this to? Then they can come along and give you the event highlights!

Tourism Upgrade Podcast

My tourism marketing podcast is back with new episodes going live every week. Check it out on iTunes here or Stitcher here or just search 'Tourism Upgrade'in your preferred podcast player and stay ahead with your tourism marketing activities & ideas hearing from leaders in our industry.

For further information, contact:

Holly Galbraith
Email: holly@hollyg.com.au
Phone: +61 0432 274 846

Web: hollyg.com.auTwitter: @hollygalbraithInstagram: @hollyg10Check out Tourism Upgrade on iTunes

dusitD2 Khao Yai Set to Open in August 2016

Dusit International announces the opening of its new chic mountain resort dusitD2 Khao Yai on 2 August 2016.

Located on the fringe of Thailand’s famed Khao Yai National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site just a two-hour drive from central Bangkok, dusitD2 Khao Yai provides the perfect springboard to a host of adventures such as hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, biking, and feeding alpacas. The pet-friendly hotel is perfect for families. The outdoor swimming pool lets guests take in the incredible views of the surrounds while state-of-the-art indoor & outdoor function space can cater to different events from high-level meetings to intimate social occasions.

dusitD2 Khao Yai is the latest addition to Dusit’s D2 collection, the chain’s “next generation” brand that caters to today’s international travellers seeking cutting-edge design, high-tech connectivity and efficient, modern convenience in environments that are contemporary, colourful and chic. This concept is brought to life through dusitD2 Khao Yai’s interior design, with its creative and striking artworks on display throughout public areas, the plug n’ play facilities in each of its stylish 79 guest rooms and suites, and even in the inventive cuisine available at its stunning international restaurant, Musi Grill. Cocoon, a unique treetop dining pod which provides a bird’s-eye view of the resort and surrounding mountain range, is one of the resort’s unique features.

Expressing her confidence in the management and hospitality expertise of Dusit, Ms. Oraphan Laoprapassorn, President of Vilailux Development Co., Ltd. said, “We are delighted to announce the soft opening of the dusitD2 Khao Yai. This unique hotel raises the bar in terms of quality, service and innovation, and serves as a great example of a collaboration between two companies sharing one vision. We look forward to a long and successful business relationship with Dusit.”

“dusitD2 Khao Yai is an exciting addition to our expanding portfolio of hotels,” commented General Manager of dusitD2 Khao Yai, Jerome Sim. “Khao Yai is fast becoming one of Thailand’s most popular year-round holiday destinations, attracting an ever-increasing number of young, tech-savvy travellers, and dusitD2 Khao Yai is perfectly positioned to meet their needs. We are very much looking forward to welcoming guests to experience our unique facilities and Dusit’s signature warm, gracious hospitality.”

To mark its opening, dusitD2 Khao Yai is running an introductory special offer ‘D2 Debut’ priced at just THB2,999++ per night which includes a dining credit of THB900, complimentary rock climbing and other benefits. The offer is available for all guests who stay before 31 October 2016. For more information, please visit www.dusit.com/dusitd2/khaoyai

Special opening rate

dusitD2 Khao Yai is offering a special ‘D2 Debut’ opening offer for all guests who book to stay before 31 October 2016. The rate is just THB 2,999++ per night and includes:
• Signature welcome drink
• Dining credit of THB900 redeemable at any in-house restaurant
• One complimentary rock climbing admission per guest
• Buy-One-Get-One-Free beverages during Happy Hour from 18.00 to 19.30 hrs at D’Bar
• 20% laundry discount

(Terms & Conditions: Offer valid for stays from Aug 2 through Oct 31, 2016 subject to availability. Dining Credit cannot be redeemed or exchanged for cash. Rate is subject to applicable service charge and prevailing tax. Weekend supplement applies for stays on Fri and Sat nights).

Gateway to adventure

Khao Yai (“large mountain” in Thai) is a lush, verdant area within the Sankamphaeng mountain range region, just a three-hour drive from central Bangkok. The higher altitudes here – from 350m to 1,350m in Khao Yai National Park, with the highest point at Khao Rom – mean that temperatures are generally lower than in other rural regions outside of the capital. The unique climate also means that Khao Yai is perfect for experiencing the Thai outdoors in a different way.

Hiking, rock climbing, canoeing and biking are all popular activities here (and can be easily arranged at the hotel). The area’s lesser-known food and wine trail is also ripe for exploring. Guests traveling by car can follow a route extending from the town of Pak Chong which will take them past stops including Farm Chokchai (farm tours, ice cream and steaks), Suwan Farm (corn juice, sunflower cookies and boiled sweet corn), Prapatsorn Grape Farm (tamarind juice), GranMonte (several varieties of red and white wines and Thai-international cuisine at Vincotto, its in-house restaurant) and PB Valley (a large winery that offers wine, homemade cookies and other products).

Scattered around the region are little man-made towns and villages that seem to have been plucked out of suburban Europe. At Primo Piazza in Pak Chong District, a Tuscan-style complex, visitors may enjoy relaxing meals at the cafés and restaurants, or seek out nearby grazing sheep, donkeys and alpacas (feeding is allowed). Just a 10-minute drive away, Palio Village, with its own cluster of Tuscan plazas, awaits with quirky shops. There’s also Thames Valley, a piece of Khao Yai that resembles the southern English countryside.

The Ultimate Exhibitor Guide Is Now Available from ExpoNet

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euromic Invites the World to Kazakhstan

euromic, the premier international consortium of companies specializing in event and destination management, recently announced that it has added a new member in Central Asia. GLOBAL AIR is a professional Travel Company in business, international and domestic tourism, MICE, and Corporate FITS, offering unique and personalized services.

GLOBAL AIR was founded in 2000 and a few years later the Company was granted the Certificate of Quality Management System ISO 9001. It is the only travel company in Kazakhstan with the world class Certificate of Quality System ISO:9001-2001. GLOBAL AIR operates a network of offices and implants in Kazakhstan cities such as Almaty, Astana, Aktau, Atyrau, Aksai, Aktobe, Shymkent and Uralsk.

Gulden Ostanova, General Manager of GLOBAL AIR states, “This partnership integrates global efforts, best practices and world scale with the understanding of the local travel industry to provide special benefits to clients ensuring continuously world class top quality of services and advisory.”

With many well-known, established hotel chains, such as the Ritz-Carlton, the Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, and Ramada in Almaty and Hilton, Marriott, Park Inn, Radisson in Astana, guests of Kazakhstan will have a broad range of options to choose from, giving them the ability to cater their visit to their specific interests.

Kazakhstan, a Central Asian country and former Soviet republic, extends from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Altai Mountains at its eastern border with China and Russia. Its largest metropolis, Almaty, is a long-standing trading hub whose landmarks include Ascension Cathedral, a tsarist-era Russian Orthodox Church, and the Central State Museum of Kazakhstan, displaying thousands of Kazak artifacts.

With huge mountain tops, shining glaciers, roaring rivers, thick woods, and beautiful canyons, Kazakhstan has everything for the sightseeing eco-visitor. Along with its incredible diverse topography, Kazakhstan has deep historic and cultural roots as ancient cities such as Taraz (Aulie-Ata) and Hazrat-e Turkestan played important roles as way-stations along the Silk Road connecting Asia and Europe.

Hasan Dinc, President of euromic adds, “More than 2,000 years ago, the great trade routes that linked Europe and China opened Central Asia to foreign cultures, customs and religions. We felt it was time to introduce still unchartered exotic country such as Kazakhstan, to our diverse portfolio of DMCs.”

euromic – the power of local knowledge, with DMCs in 45 countries

Argentina | Austria | Baltic States | Belgium | Brazil | China | Costa Rica | Croatia | Cuba | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Egypt | Emirates | France | Germany | Greece | Hungary | Iceland | India | Indonesia | Israel | Italy | Japan | Jordan | Kazakhstan | Malta | Mexico | Montenegro | Morocco | Netherlands | Norway | Poland | Portugal | Romania | Russia | Serbia | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | Thailand | Tunisia | Turkey

For more information on euromic, please visit www.euromic.com or contact: