Saturday, 27 May 2017

THE SPIEGELTENT RETURNS TO DARWIN FESTIVAL WITH BLANC de BLANC

Darwinites can expect a steamy dry season this August as Darwin Festival today announces that the Aurora Spiegeltent is headed to the Top End with a season of Strut & Fret’s saucy new production BLANC de BLANC.

Follow the glittery path from Festival Park to the Aurora’s pop-up address on Parliament Lawns where, for the duration of the Festival, BLANC de BLANC will serve up the finest cabaret and acrobatic talent from around the world – expect big moves, great tunes, lots of skin and more than a few surprises.

Following sold out seasons at London’s West End, Brisbane Festival, Adelaide Fringe and the Sydney Opera House, the Darwin premiere promises night after night of titillating acts designed to infatuate, illuminate and delight.

Darwin Festival Acting Artistic Director Felix Preval said, “It’s been 5 years since we’ve had a Spiegeltent at Darwin Festival and we’re incredibly excited to be bringing one back with this sensational new show. BLANC de BLANC has been described as ‘champagne cabaret’, every act is a cheeky toast to the iconic party tipple. It’s a fabulous fusion of vintage glamour and high-end circus, and promises to be one hell of a party.”

BLANC de BLANC is directed by Scott Maidment (LIMBO, Catina, Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour), choreographed by Kevin Maher (who has choreographed for the likes of Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Madonna), with costumes by James Browne (All Saints, Australian Idol).

The full program of cabaret, theatre, comedy, dance, visual arts, words and ideas, music and family fun will be announced on Wednesday 21 June.

Tickets to BLANC de BLANC are on sale now from www.darwinfestival.org.au

MTF 2017 – FEATURED INTERVIEW: MEKONG CRUISES & MANDA DE LAOS

One of the most beautiful restaurants in Luang Prabang is host one of most insightful sessions - how to market to the Chinese and the Muslim markets.

Toune Sisouphan, Managing Director of Manda de Laos restaurant shares her excitement for the upcoming Mekong Tourism Forum in Luang Prabang, Laos. 

Manda de Laos restaurant features Laotian Family Cuisine specialties from all regions of Laos, in a beautiful UNESCO heritage site. A must visit during your stay in Luang Prabang!

Three organisations collaborate together in providing unique experiences to travellers. Mekong Cruises is the first cruising company in Laos, and offers breathtaking cruises between Laos and Thailand. Manda de Laos restaurant features Laotian Family Cuisine specialties from all regions of Laos, in a beautiful UNESCO heritage site.

Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) storytellers Simon Louvard and Lea Mellon are based in Luang Prabang in the weeks leading up to Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 (MTF 2017), “Prosper with Purpose”,  June 6.

More information at www.MekongTourismForum.org.




SHARE IN THE CELEBRATION AT LAURA DANCE FESTIVAL IN A DAY

Laura Dance Festival
The sights, sounds and cultural explosion of the Laura Dance Festival will now be opened up to the day visitor out of Cairns with direct charter flights available to and from the celebrated event for the first time.

Independent Aviation sales and marketing manager Debbie Walters said The Laura Dance Festival, which is held bi-annually on July 1-2, is one of the most important cultural gatherings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia and is an event not to be missed.

“It is incredibly exciting to bring this event to both the domestic and international visitor market. Typically, these visitors would not ordinarily have the time in their itinerary to experience something like this,” she said.

More than 5000 people attend the Laura Dance Festival, which sees around 500 artists from 20 Cape York communities come together.

Located 300km from Cairns, travelling time by vehicle takes around four hours, whereas by air, Festival goers can expect to arrive in approximately one hour, allowing enough time for a guided rock art tour at Split Rock as part of the one-day visit.

“Throughout the weekend, invited guests perform traditional dance while crowds are also entertained with cultural workshops, children’s games, different displays and art for exhibition and sale.”

Ms Walters said if successful, this would be the first of many special event charters Independent Aviation would package as it expanded into the tourism sector.

“There are some fantastic high profile events across Queensland that aren’t easily accessible and may require specialist travel equipment or vehicle to get there. Air charter opens up a whole new market of visitors and takes the hassle out of travelling,” she said.

Departing at 8am and returning at 5pm, the Laura Dance Festival touring package is priced at $595. This includes return scenic charter flight, a one-hour guided rock art tour, coach transfers and entry to the festival.

“This has been priced to meet the market and we are hoping for some local interest as well,” Ms Walters added.

For more information, contact Independent Aviation on 07 4046 3333.

Maritime Silk Road Exhibition Opens at Forbidden City

The latest exhibition at the Palace Museum in Beijing, titled “The Forbidden City and the Maritime Silk Road,” has opened to the public.

The exhibit features 140 pieces and sets related to cultural treasures of the ancient Maritime Silk Road. The items on display include ceramics, paintings, calligraphy, books, gold and silverware, timepiece, scientific instruments, and weapons.

The relics are mainly from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, which were gifts from envoys and missionaries, tributes from officials, royal court’s purchases, and replicas made by ancient workshops.

The relics were part of the Maritime Silk Road, which was a trade line and bond tying ancient China with other civilizations.

The Forbidden City and the Maritime Silk Road exhibition, staged at the West Wing of the Tower Gallery in Meridian Gate (Wu Men) of the Palace Museum, will be open until July 8, 2017.

CINZ Meetings 2017 is just around the corner and the ACB team are getting ready for a busy and exciting week of activity.

This year we will be hosting an “Auckland: Choose to have it all” famil programme on Tuesday 30th May where we will host over 90 Hosted Buyers to a fun-filled day of inspiring business event product.

We are excited to put Auckland on show with 25 exhibitors joining us within the Auckland regional stand this year. Our lovely friends at True Food and Yoga will be putting on some yummy hospitality so if you need a refreshment come and enjoy a healthy juice within the Auckland lounge space.. The team are looking forward to seeing you on the show floor so do drop by to stand #168 and say hello. There will be exciting prizes up for grabs so make sure you drop your business card to our team to be in it to win it!

It’s not all about Meetings though, we are also in the midst of launching our newly refreshed Auckland Business Events Guide that will feature all of the must-have information you need to plan a business event in Auckland. Keep an eye out for it in your letterbox, or email our team at conventions@aucklandnz.com to ensure you receive a copy.

The 7th Southern Land Cuisine Festival

From 24 to 28 May 2017, the 7th Southern Land Cuisine Festival with the participations of nearly 40 units and 70 booths of cuisine specialties from the regions of Viet Nam will take place in Dam Sen Cultural Park (3 Hoa Binh Street, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City).

The Southern Cuisine Festival is an annual event held to promote the unique culinary features of Viet Nam and also the South to international and domestic visitors.

This year’s festival introduces more than 250 special dishes and 100 kinds of typical sweet soups and cakes of the Southern land with 3 culinary styles of Sai Gon cuisine, Central – Central Highlands cuisine and South East – South West cuisine.

The highlight of the 7th Southern Land Cuisine Festival is the space of “Sai Gon past and present” street food with 2 main themes of “Returning to childhood” and “Modern integration”. With theme “Returning to childhood”, visitors can enjoy dishes reminding childhood memories such as banh trang nuong (grilled rice paper), keo bong (candy floss), etc. The theme “Modern integration” introduces dishes from other countries in the world such as takoyaki grilled octopus cake (Japan), tteokbokki spicy rice cake (South Korea), milk tea (Thailand), etc.

In the framework of the festival, there are also many responding activities such as “Southern delicious dishes” contest, the contest of fruit plastic art, reappearance of market of clean agricultural products; performance of Cham ethnic culture, Don ca tai tu (Southern music and song), etc.

New Murray Princess, Adelaide & Kangaroo Island Combo

Discover the best of South Australia with a fantastic eight, nine or twelve-night cruise and land package from Captain Cook Cruises and SeaLink. Discover Adelaide and Hahndorf on a full day sightseeing tour, cruise down the spectacular Murray River and spend two full days on Australia's third largest Island, Kangaroo Island.

This great package starts with a two-night stay at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel in Adelaide including a full day Ultimate Adelaide and Hahndorf tour.

The Ultimate Adelaide and Hahndorf tour takes in Adelaide's main attractions including Adelaide's cultural boulevard of North Terrace and its university, library, art gallery and museum; St Peter's Cathedral; historic North Adelaide; the famous Adelaide Oval and Haigh's Chocolates for a factory tour and tastings. Then sit back and relax as the tour passes through the picturesque Adelaide Hills to Hahndorf, Adelaide's oldest German settlement. Here explore the many picturesque cafes, shops and galleries full of local arts, crafts and German produce.

The full day tour features expert commentary by a local driver and guide.

Then head to Mannum on a complimentary scenic coach transfer for a three, four or seven night Murray River cruise aboard paddlewheeler, PS Murray Princess.

Throughout the cruise guests will explore the biodiversity of the Murray River and the its unique outback flora and fauna, all while admiring the towering limestone cliffs and breathtaking and ever-changing river scenery.

Each day features exciting day trips to historic ports, sacred Aboriginal sites, a woolshed, native wildlife shelter, guided nature walks and tastings onboard or at a vineyard and cellar door. Get up close to the river, its 20-million-year-old cliffs and amazing plant and birdlife on the 'Dragon-Fly' Flat Bottomed Boat vessel.

On-board, stay in newly refurbished cabins; enjoy a range of three course and buffet meals, join the Captain for a general inspection of the wheelhouse, participate in a lively music quiz, play some bocce on the riverbank or relax with some fishing off the ship.

Following the cruise, a complimentary coach will transfer guests back to the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel in Adelaide.

The next morning guests will be transferred by coach to Cape Jervis where they will join one of SeaLink's ferries to Kangaroo Island.

Over the next two days guests will see the best of what Kangaroo Island has to offer on the 2 Day Best of Kangaroo Island Tour.

On day one visit the Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery, South Australia's only Eucalyptus Oil distillery and get up close and personal with kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and other nocturnal wildlife at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. Experience Sea lions in their natural environment as they sleep, play and swim on the Seal Bay guided beach tour, enjoy a 2-course lunch at Vivonne Bay Lodge Bistro and marvel at the spectacular Birds of Prey free-flight presentation.

Then settle into a choice of overnight accommodation, including breakfast, at American River, Penneshaw or Kingscote.

On day two learn how delicious Ligurian honey is made at Clifford's Honey Farm, spot Koalas in Eucalyptus trees at Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, and visit Flinders Chase National Park to witness nature's breath-taking creations - Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. Then fall in love with the Long-Nosed Fur Seal colony before returning to Penneshaw for the return SeaLink ferry and coach to Adelaide where the night will be spent at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel.

For a few dollars more guests can upgrade to the early evening flight from Kangaroo Island to Adelaide.

For people with a love of food and wine, an optional full day Barossa Valley Tour is available when disembarking the Murray Princess at Mannum. Those on the tour will return to Adelaide at 5.00pm that day, in time for the transfers the following morning to Kangaroo Island.

The eight-night package starts from $1713 per person twin share and includes three nights on the Murray Princess, four nights at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel, full day Ultimate Adelaide and Hahndorf tour and one night on Kangaroo Island.

Fares for the nine-night package start from $2026 per person twin share and includes a four night Murray Princess cruise, four nights at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel, full day Ultimate Adelaide and Hahndorf tour and one night on Kangaroo Island.

The twelve-night package starts from $2597 per person twin share and includes seven-night cruise on the Murray Princess, four nights at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel, full day Ultimate Adelaide and Hahndorf tour and one night on Kangaroo Island.

For further information visit www.murrayprincess.com.au or www.sealink.com.au

For Further information and bookings please contact: T: 1300 729 938 from within Australia or +61 9 8202 8697 from Overseas

Email: murrayprincess@sealink.com.au or bookings@sealink.com.au

Visit: www.murrayprincess.com.au or www.sealink.com.au

Friday, 26 May 2017

VIVID Sydney 2017 kicks off tonight,

Tonight is the night! Get ready for the 6pm Lights On for #vividsydney 2017 with these tips to get the most out of your experience:

1. Public transport is the best way to get in and around the festival. Leave your car at home and plan your trip with these transport tips: bit.ly/2pGtdV0

2. With 7 precincts, there is SO MUCH to explore this year. Don't try to see everything in one night, break it up over a few visits. Check out what's on and make a plan: bit.ly/2p6R4dH

3. Use our app, maps and guides to help you explore the festival: bit.ly/vividapp

4. Be patient. Be safe. Be dazzled. Have fun.

Top event organisers ready to do business in New Zealand

Leading business event organisers from around the world are heading to New Zealand’s largest business tourism trade exhibition in Auckland next week.

CINZ MEETINGS, organised by Conventions and Incentives New Zealand, is the premier event for connecting influential domestic, Australian and international buyers with New Zealand’s key regions, meeting facilities, accommodation, off-site venues and activities.

CINZ Chief Executive Sue Sullivan says this year’s show is the largest in its 21 year history, and will showcase over 195 exhibitors from 19 regions across New Zealand to more than 500 New Zealand, Australian and international buyers.

Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand are bringing more than 35 influential buyers and media from China, South East Asia, India, and the Americas.

“For the first time, we have four buyers coming from Argentina, brought here by MEETINGS’ key sponsor Air New Zealand.

Altogether more than 220 qualified hosted buyers will attend, including over 90 hosted buyers and media from Australia,120 hosted buyers and media from around New Zealand. As well, more than 300 local day buyers are set to attend.

“With the support of key regional convention bureau and Air New Zealand, we are also hosting over 40 Australian buyers on seven different regional MEETINGS tours.

They will have chance to explore Auckland, Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Wellington, Marlborough, Christchurch and Canterbury and Queenstown.”

This year’s show includes 20 new exhibitors, and represented are venues, theming companies, hotels, AV companies, regional bureaux, attractions and activities from around the country.

Day buyers can still register to attend MEETINGS, and they can pick and choose with the opportunity to meet with all of New Zealand under one roof.

Annual Adventure Queensland Ball to be held in the Whitsundays

One of the most exciting events on the Australian tourism industry’s social calendar is due to take place in the Whitsundays!

Tickets have gone on sale for the 11th annual Adventure Queensland Ball, which will see more than 100 ‘adventure’ tourism operators descend on Airlie Beach for a night of fun, great food and catching up with industry.

It is the first time the Adventure Queensland Ball, which will bring visitors from Sydney, Melbourne and as far afield as Perth and Darwin, has been held in the Whitsundays. A separate networking function will also be held for the Adventure Queensland board, which arrives the day before.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner said it was a pleasure to be hosting such a significant event in the Whitsundays, which has a very strong product offering in the adventure tourism segment.

“The Whitsundays has a lot of Youth & Adventure accommodation options and overnight boat trips to offer the youth and adventure segment, as well as a raft of tours and trips that go into the complete package offered here,” Mr Turner said.

“This is a chance for that industry to get together, network and have some fun. It will also be a good chance to showcase our region, our accommodation providers and restaurants that weekend, as we host tourism operators from all over Australia.”

The ball, on Friday September 1, is open to both members and non-members of Adventure Queensland (AQ), which represents operators in the backpacking, youth and adventure segment. The money raised from the annual ball, which includes auctions and raffles, goes towards marketing AQ and lobbying government on behalf of the industry.

AQ president Juanita Bloomfield said everyone was looking forward to coming to the Whitsundays for the ball, which has previously been held in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Cairns and Noosa.

“We are extremely excited to announce that this year’s Adventure Queensland Ball is being held at an ‘almost’ secret location just outside Airlie Beach at Paradise Cove Resort,” Ms Bloomfield said.

“The annual Adventure Queensland Ball is a popular event for the adventure youth tourism industry. It will be great to see this region get together as one and host nationwide key travel industry representatives to make sure no one forgets what an amazing place the Whitsundays is.

“We felt that it was the perfect time to be assisting this great region for it to show off its many and varied attractions. The AQ Board would like to thank Paradise Cove Resort, Red Cat Adventures, Ocean Rafting, Big Fury, Mama Africa’s, Down Under Bar and Tourism Whitsundays for their participation and help in making this event one to be remembered.

“Tickets do sell really fast – there is a maximum of 150 this year – so I do urge anyone wishing to come to the ball to jump online and book now.”

Tickets to the 11th annual Adventure Queensland Ball can be purchased here.

Giant Tiger Prawns at Up & Above Restaurant

Thailand is renowned for its cornucopia of delicious seafood. A favourite among seafood lovers is the large tiger prawn and throughout June the chefs at Up & Above Restaurant celebrate this giant of crustaceans with a Giant Tiger Prawn promotion featuring Thai and International preparations.

Prized for their succulent flesh and delicious whether grilled, barbecued, fried or steamed, Giant tiger prawns take center stage in à la carte appetizers such as tiger prawn salad with fennel, tomato, wasabi rocket and mango salsa, and chilled tiger prawn with green mango som tam and spicy aromatic dressing. Main course offerings include grilled marinated tiger prawns with cous cous, a spicy harissa chilli paste, and a fresh cooling side salad. Equally full of flavour is a delightful green curry with tiger prawns, eggplant, pineapple and coconut. In a culinary nod to Mediterranean seafood traditions, also available is tiger prawn saltimbocca, a wonderful dish of tiger prawns seasoned with sage, wrapped in prosciutto and served with creamy polenta, crunchy endive and a piquant orange butter sauce.

Any which way they come, jumbo tiger prawns are a popular Asian summer delicacy best enjoyed with a glass or two of crisp chilled white wine.

Giant Tiger Prawns are available from 1 - 30 June 2017, 12 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. A la carte dishes from Baht 350++.

Up & Above Restaurant is located on the 24th floor at The Okura Prestige Bangkok. For information and reservations, please call 02 687 9000 or email upandabove@okurabangkok.com.

Prices are subject to 10% service charge and 7% government tax.

MTF 2017 – FEATURED INTERVIEW: MEKONG CRUISES & MANDA DE LAOS

There is no better place to discuss river cruising on the Mekong River than on a river cruise boat on the Mekong River. Agree with Jerome?

Jerome Trichard, Managing Director of Mekong Cruises shares his excitement for the upcoming Mekong Tourism Forum in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) and Hopineo present Jerome Trichard, Managing Director of Mekong Cruises, who shares his insight on the upcoming Mekong Tourism Forum in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Mekong Cruises is the first cruising company in Laos, and offers breathtaking cruises between Laos and Thailand!

Three organisations collaborate together in providing unique experiences to travellers. Mekong Cruises is the first cruising company in Laos, and offers breathtaking cruises between Laos and Thailand. Manda de Laos restaurant features Laotian Family Cuisine specialties from all regions of Laos, in a beautiful UNESCO heritage site.

Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) storytellers Simon Louvard and Lea Mellon are based in Luang Prabang in the weeks leading up to Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 (MTF 2017), “Prosper with Purpose”, June 6-9.


More information at www.MekongTourismForum.org.








Accorhotels and Shanghai United Announce New Sydney Hotel

AccorHotels in partnership with real estate developer Shanghai United, is pleased to announce that a new-build luxury boutique MGallery by Sofitel hotel will be built in Sydney CBD's Castlereagh Street, following an official signing ceremony today (Wednesday 24 May).

The new-build $120m+ landmark luxury hotel will be located on the corner block of 110-118 Bathurst and 203 Castlereagh Streets as part of a $380million mixed-use development. The project will comprise a new build 36-storey tower with a 121-room hotel housed over Levels 1-9 with 131 residential apartments above on Levels 10-34.

Designed by the award-winning Candelapas & Associates architects, The Porter House Hotel, MGallery by Sofitel and residential apartments will interweave the existing 1870s Heritage-Listed Porter House adjacent to the tower, which will be thoughtfully redeveloped as part of the project.

The Porter House will feature four levels of additional facilities, including lobby, pool and fitness centre, two restaurants, a fourth floor bar with roving art gallery, meeting and private dining facilities and a business centre. Valet parking will also be provided for all cars. The 121 guest rooms and suites in the new tower will take their cue from the heritage building with thoughtful use of materials and detailing, including beautifully stitched rich leathers, unique bronze glass round showers, polished metal accents, timber and heritage-inspired decorative tiles.

Chief Operating Officer Pacific for AccorHotels, Simon McGrath, said: “We are thrilled to develop a new strategic partnership with Shanghai United on this landmark development for Sydney's CBD.

“The Sydney hotel sector is the strongest in Australia with consistent occupancy levels in the mid-high 80% range and average rates growing sharply. This new MGallery by Sofitel hotel will stand to greatly benefit from the tourism and infrastructure boom we are currently seeing with projects such as the International Convention Centre and light rail development.

“A new boutique hotel such as this will provide both business and leisure travellers with a new luxury boutique experience in Sydney, whether they visit for conferences, events, cultural or sporting events. The Porter House Hotel, MGallery by Sofitel, is set in prime position to take advantage of the brand's growing global presence.

backed by AccorHotels powerful distribution, digital platforms and growing loyalty program,” concluded Mr McGrath.

Construction on The Porter House Hotel, MGallery by Sofitel will commence in early 2018 with completion expected in December 2020.

The new Porter House Hotel, MGallery by Sofitel will complement the existing Harbour Rocks Hotel in the city and join a network of over ten MGallery by Sofitel hotels across Australia and New Zealand and over 80 worldwide. For more visit Sofitel.com.

Shanghai Tower Opens Sightseeing Deck

China’s highest building, Shanghai Tower, recently opened its 118th floor sightseeing deck to the public. The Top of Shanghai observatory, 1,791 feet (546 m) above ground and surrounded by a glass wall, allows visitors a 360-degree panoramic view.

In just 55 seconds, visitors can rise into the sky for a bird’s-eye view of the cityscape. Shanghai Tower stands in the heart of the Lujiazui Financial Zone in Pudong New Area.

The majestic high-rise boasts 127 floors above ground and five floors below ground level, and joins the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jinmao Tower and the World Financial Center in Lujiazui area.

The tower has an exhibition hall with photo and video presentations about the history of skyscrapers and the Shanghai Tower. Cost per person to visit the Top of Shanghai observatory is 180 yuan ($26).

Source: China Daily

Plum Blossoms in Japan

One of the first and most exciting signs of spring in Japan are the blossoming of flowers. 

While sakura may receive the brightest spotlight during this season, there is another flower that is arguably every bit as lovely as the Japanese cherry blossoms that have become so recognizable throughout the world: the plum blossom. 

Called ‘baika’ in Japanese, plum blossoms can easily be mistaken for sakura. However there are some differences that can help to distinguish these two equally beautiful flowers.

Gold Coast Is Meeting Hot Spot

A long lunch at Miami Marketta, drinks at Palazzo Versace and a day out at Polo By the Sea – these are some of the Gold Coast gems that will help entice meeting planners to choose the city for industry get-togethers.

A record-breaking 56 decision makers from fields ranging from childcare and fitness, to medical and construction, have descended for the latest This is Gold Coast Business Exchange to tour the city's unique venues and meet specialist suppliers.

Each year, conferences, exhibitions and trade shows inject more than $565 million annually into the local economy. As an added boost, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will leave a legacy of prestige sites suitable for hosting thousands of delegates from around the world.

“Every part of This is Gold Coast Business Exchange is designed to deliver the Gold Coast wow factor and leave no doubt that we're the best choice for business events in Australia,” says Anna Case, director of Gold Coast Business Events.

“Seeing first-hand the venues, sampling our cuisine and seeing our specialist suppliers create world-class events leaves meeting planners with the ideas and connections to create an unforgettable event.”

The 2017 This is Gold Coast Business Exchange is Commonwealth Games themed, and will include a performance and speech by Olympic gymnast Brennon Dowrick at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on Friday.

Delegates will meet with representatives from 50 venues, from the city's new sporting arenas to its top-end hotels, as well as specialist suppliers at the trade show until Saturday 27 May.

This is Gold Coast Business Exchange is expected to generate more than $18 million in leads for future conferences and meetings in the city.

Yen Bai Tourism Year 2017 opens

A performance at the opening of
Yen Bai Tourism Year Festival 2017 on May 19
The Yen Bai Tourism Year Festival 2017 officially began with the opening ceremony held in Yen Bai City, in the northern Yen Bai Province on the evening of May 19.

The highlight of the opening ceremony was a special art show which gathered leading domestic artists with a combination of traditional music and dance performances complimented by contemporary art and lighting.

The events also kicked off a chain of tourism activities scheduled for this year in Yen Bai Province in response to the 2017 Lao Cai – North-Western Region National Tourism Year.

Alongside this, a festival honouring practices related to the worship of the Mother Goddess of Forests was held for the first time in Dong Cuong Temple in Ben Dien Village, Dong Cuong Commune, Van Yen District from May 20-21, with the participation of 54 teams nationwide.

There will also be a fair introducing Van Yen’s cinnamon products – a Yen Bai specialty with booths showcasing and reproducing the process of making products from Van Yen cinnamon as well as other local products.

Also within the framework of the Yen Bai Tourism Year, the Khau Pha Paragliding Festival has attracted more than 100 registered paragliders from Viet Nam and other foreign countries. In addition, travelers can take part in double paragliding services from Khau Pha mountain pass down to Lim Village in Khau Pha Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, on May 20 and 21.

Yen Bai Tourism Year 2017 will be followed by a range of activities, such as Muong Lo Cultural Tourism Week; visiting Mu Cang Chai terraced fields; community-based tourism and adventure tourism in Nghia Lo, Van Chan, Tram Tau and Mu Cang Chai; as well as exploring Thac Ba Lake with Dai Minh Pomelo Festival and Thac Ba lake boat racing.

A conference introducing and promoting tourism investment in Yen Bai has also been organised to introduce local potential for tourism development and tourist sites in Yen Bai Province. Typical provincial tourism products and connecting routes to serve domestic and foreign tourists will be showcased at the event.

Family Festivities a Hit at Killalea Park

Last Saturday saw the 10th anniversary of KidsFest Shellharbour celebrated at Killalea, with many local families unfazed by earlier rain making their way through the popular beachside park's gates for the “Dusk Magic” event.

Local Aboriginal elder Uncle Gerald treated families to a traditional "Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony". Attendees were further spoiled by stories around the park campfire, damper cooking lessons taught by "Fred's Bush Tucker" and a night of star gazing with the Wollongong Amateur Astronomy Club.

Kidsfest Artistic Director Ann Lehmann-Kuit recognised the evening as a highlight of the festival and called it the perfect way to end a fantastic week of activities for kids of all ages.

“KidsFest Shellharbour is the biggest community run free week-long festival for children in NSW,” Ann said.

“Our 10th anniversary has been a cracking success with thousands of children and their carers joining in the hundreds of free activities at 50 festival events across Shellharbour City.”

“For myself personally the heart of KidsFest is about giving kids the opportunity to connect with Aboriginal culture at Killalea, a place of cultural significance where Aboriginal people would have lived and celebrated for thousands of years. It was truly exciting to see so many families particularly take part in these activities at the park.

Killalea Manager Nathan Cattell called KidsFest Shellharbour a significant local event for the region and said he was excited that organisers had chosen to close its 10th anniversary at the park.

“We always encourage the local community to hold important events such as this at our park, and we were particularly excited to see the 10-year anniversary milestone being held at Killalea,” Nathan said.

“The ongoing success of the event shows the continued support that Kidsfest and Killalea has committed to our local community.”

Killalea is part of the South Coast Holiday Parks group, which is managed by the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust (NSWCHPT). With 36 parks in idyllic locations across NSW, NSWCHPT also oversees the operations of North Coast Holiday Parks and Inland Waters Holiday Parks.

NSWCHPT CEO Steve Edmonds said the event finale's success signified the importance of regional community events like Kidsfest.

“We aim to engage with local communities wherever our parks are located throughout NSW,” Mr Edmonds said.

“The evening event in particular allows us to celebrate the rich history of the area in which Killalea sits, providing guests and visitors of the park a greater experience as they receive a hands on education which provides greater awareness of the significant role which local indigenous communities have played in the area.”

For more information on all of the coastal or inland holiday parks managed by the trust visit: www.southcoastparks.com.au www.northcoastparks.com.au and www.inlandwaters.com.au

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Sydney Harbour Bridge Summit Hosts A Dance Party of Light for Vivid Sydney 2017

From 26 May to 17 June 2017, there is a dance party of light at the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Vivid Sydney fans are invited to come and experience a 70's style multi-coloured flashing dance floor 134 metres above the festival, on 'The Vivid Climb'.

During Vivid Sydney, the Southern Hemisphere's largest festival of light, music and ideas, Sydney will host over three weeks of thought-provoking industry forums, outdoor lighting sculptures and exhibitions and an eclectic range of contemporary music performances.

Every night from 6pm to 11pm, during Vivid Sydney, the city will light up with sculptures, installations and grand-scale projections and the top of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge offers the best view.

One installation is exclusive to the patrons of The Vivid Climb; an illuminated dance floor of multi coloured flashing square tiles, as seen in the classic American film “Saturday Night Fever”. Here Climbers can break out their best (and worst) dance moves, to the top hits from the decade of their choice, with the Opera House colourfully lit up behind them.

Climbers will also become a part of the event themselves, wearing special Vivid Climb vests fitted with flashing lights. Climb groups will be seen illuminating the iconic steel arches by Vivid Sydney visitors from below in Circular Quay and Darling Harbour.

The Vivid Climb takes place during Vivid Sydney 2017 (26 May – 17 June), on all Climbs departing at night, including a Climb in Mandarin departing at 5.20pm each night. To book, please visit http://www.bridgeclimb.com/vivid

BridgeClimb offers a truly memorable experience, perfect for special occasions, family adventures, team building and corporate events. For more information, please visit www.bridgeclimb.com or call +61 (0) 2 8274 7777.

MTF 2017 – FEATURED INTERVIEW: MEKONG KINGDOM RIVER CRUISES

Baptiste Cabarry, general manager of Mekong Kingdoms Cruises, shares his ideas on  MTF 2017. Mekong Kingdoms is a host venue, and also offers a post tour for delegates.

Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) storytellers Simon Louvard and Lea Mellon are based in Luang Prabang in the weeks leading up to Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 (MTF 2017), “Prosper with Purpose”, June 6-9.

Mekong Kingdoms is an all-new luxury cruise company featuring 6 different boats with unique styles, tours, and characters!

Check out all their cruises on mekongkingdoms.com

More information at www.MekongTourismForum.org.




NEW SPEAKERS ADDED TO THE MIX FOR #TIEAUS

As the exhibitor list continues to grow, so do speakers for this year’s Travel Industry Exhibition & Conference.

Two new speakers will provide both insight and captivating stories that all reflect change, a theme for this years' conference.

As a travel agent or supplier, you'll learn from Richard Ernster on how he took on a new level of leadership. Leadership was used to reconstruct Helping Hand Group & Goodwill Getaways which today is one of the world's leading charities.

George Halkias will also share his inspirational, personal and professional journey of how leadership can inspire change.

His work in co-founding and developing the Community Street Soccer Program and as coach of Australian Homeless World Cup team on eight occasions, highlights what can be achieved through perseverance, determination, vision and a commitment to empowering others.

Purchase your ticket today and receive a saving when purchasing 5 tickets or more!

Winners of songwriting contest on Viet Nam-Laos relations announced

An award ceremony was held in Ha Noi on May 15 to present prizes to ten most standout entries in a songwriting contest praising Viet Nam-Laos friendship relations.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Vuong Duy Bien presented three second prizes to “Viet-Lao bien gioi Xa-ma-khi” (Viet Nam-Laos border solidarity) by Phan Van Minh from Quang Nam, “Tham tinh Viet Lao” (Viet Nam-Laos close relations) by Thai Duong from Thai Binh and “Mai xanh tuoi tinh huu nghi Viet-Lao” (Luxuriance of Viet Nam-Laos relations) by Van Thanh Nho from Ho Chi Minh City.

Three third prizes and four consolation prizes were also presented at the event. The contest had no first prize.

Some 100 entries were sent to the contest after five months from its launch. They were penned by both professional and amateur songwriters. The songs praise the glorious tradition of the Viet Nam-Laos special friendship and solidarity.

The competition is part of the activities to mark the 55th anniversary of Viet Nam-Laos diplomatic relations (September 5) and 40th anniversary of the Viet Nam-Laos Friendship and Cooperation Treaty (July 18).

Natsuyama Summer Festival

Every year in June on the first Saturday, the Natsuyama Summer Festival at Mt. Daisen will be held where priests from Daisen Shrine preside over rituals to pray for an accident-free mountain climbing season.

This year, the festival will run from 3-4 June 2017. June 3 (Sat) is pre night festival

The torch parade begins at 7:30 pm (please buy the torch (500 yen) by 6:00 pm , it's limited to 2,000)

For details, please refer to the following website:
2016 Summer Festival Festival (Japanese)

Lao Cai: Tourists flock to Bac Ha

Bac Ha district in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai experienced a 200 percent surge year on year in number of tourists in the first five months of the year, according to Ta Cong Huy, Chairman of the local People’s Committee.

Bac Ha is a “paradise” of various types of flowers due to its temperate climate which is similar to the resort town of Sa Pa. Every spring, white plum, apricot and pear flowers bloom across the land. Tam Hoa plum is a well-known specialty of the district.

Local ethnic groups have preserved their unique culture through generations, with hearty dishes, exciting sport games such as horse races, and colourful markets.

The locality is carrying out plans on tourism development through building cultural villages associated with community tourism, launching new tours and strengthening cooperation with neighbouring Si Ma Cai and Xin Man districts of Ha Giang province.

Recently, the local People’s Committee has recognised three tourist attractions, namely Bac Ha Market, Hoang A Tuong Palace and a community tourism complex in Trung Do hamlet, Bao Nhai commune.

The number of tourists to Bac Ha is expected to continue rising as the plum season has begun and the popular local horse racing festival will take place from June 3-4, said Ta Cong Huy.

Art and the Environment: Creative Responses to Place at Sculpture by the Sea

Explore the importance, impact and opportunities of exhibiting art outdoors as part of VIVID Sydney.

Hear and learn about the ideas, concepts, techniques and creative processes behind Sculpture by the Sea from past years at 'Art and the Environment: Creative Responses to Place at Sculpture by the Sea'. 28 May at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Thailand hosts romantic Chiang Mai honeymoon trips for Chinese celebrity couples

Ms. Runjuan Thongrut (centre),
 TAT Director of East Asian Region,
and Mrs. Zhu Lijuan and Mr. Li Junbao
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is hosting honeymoon trips for six celebrity couples from China under the 4th Romance in Thailand project. Taking place from 17 to 23 May, the hosted couples have been enjoying a range of Northern Thai experiences packaged to promote romantic activities and attractions in Chiang Mai and boost the province’s standing as a preferred honeymoon destination.

Under the theme, “Amazing Romance in Thailand 5.20 @ Chiang Mai”, the six loving couples have been experiencing a range of local activities in different areas of Chiang Mai. These include spa treatments, afternoon tea, merit-making in local temples, elephant bathing, and Thai cooking lessons. Members of the Chinese media were also invited along, meaning that all activities undertaken by the celebrity couples would be reported via online and offline publications as well as shared via social media channels, showcasing some of the many activities Chiang Mai offers to couples.

Ms. Runjuan Thongrut, TAT Director of East Asian Region, said “The Romance in Thailand project has been running successfully for four years. And, as Chiang Mai was awarded the Best Honeymoon Destination in 2016 from Ctrip.com, the largest online travel agent in China, we are promoting the charms of the North to newlyweds and couples. Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most romantic destinations so we’d like the guests on this trip to inspire other Chinese couples to choose the North for their honeymoons.”

The “Amazing Romance in Thailand 5.20 @ Chiang Mai”, is so called, to mark 20 May, which is celebrated as the day of love in China. This tradition comes from the fact that the pronunciation for the date 5.20 (the fifth month and 20th day) sounds like the Chinese pronunciation of “I love you.” So on 20 May the couples came together for a romantic Lanna Dinner at the 137 Pillars House Hotel Chiang Mai, where they dressed in Northern Thai costume and sample authentic local dishes.

Ms. Runjuan added, “We want the “Amazing Romance in Thailand 5.20 @ Chiang Mai” to help spread awareness of the romantic side of Chiang Mai to over five million potential Chinese travellers, and to encourage quality Chinese tourists to make Thailand their honeymoon destination and help increase sales of honeymoon packages among Chinese travellers.”

The activity is jointly arranged by the TAT offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming and Chengdu.

In 2017, TAT expects Thailand to welcome at least nine million visitors from China and generate some 570 billion Baht for the Thai tourism industry. Of these, TAT anticipates about 2,000 honeymoon couples with an average trip expenditure of around 80,000 Baht or approximately 200 million Baht in total.

MTF 2017 – FEATURED INTERVIEW: PHA TAD KE BOTANICAL GARDEN

After discussing food tourism at Calao Restaurant, hop on a boat and experience Pha Tad Ke while discussing Ecotourism.

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO)and Hopineo present Rik Gadella, founder and director of Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden, one of Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office’s 16 venues for the upcoming forum in Luang Prabang, Laos.

After 8 years of preparatory work, the garden opened to the public only a few months ago. Check out Rik’s interview to learn more about the garden’s history, its objectives and essential role in conservation for the flora of Laos.

Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) storytellers Simon Louvard and Lea Mellon are based in Luang Prabang in the weeks leading up to Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 (MTF 2017), “Prosper with Purpose”, June 6-9.

Learn more on www.pha-tad-ke.com

More information at www.MekongTourismForum.org.


Top event organisers ready to do business in New Zealand

Leading business event organisers from around the world are heading to New Zealand’s largest business tourism trade exhibition in Auckland next week.

CINZ MEETINGS, organised by Conventions and Incentives New Zealand, is the premier event for connecting influential domestic, Australian and international buyers with New Zealand’s key regions, meeting facilities, accommodation, off-site venues and activities.

CINZ Chief Executive Sue Sullivan says this year’s show is the largest in its 21 year history, and will showcase over 195 exhibitors from 19 regions across New Zealand to more than 500 New Zealand, Australian and international buyers.

Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand are bringing more than 35 influential buyers and media from China, South East Asia, India, and the Americas.

“For the first time, we have four buyers coming from Argentina, brought here by MEETINGS’ key sponsor Air New Zealand.

Altogether more than 220 qualified hosted buyers will attend, including over 90 hosted buyers and media from Australia,120 hosted buyers and media from around New Zealand. As well, more than 300 local day buyers are set to attend.

“With the support of key regional convention bureau and Air New Zealand, we are also hosting over 40 Australian buyers on seven different regional MEETINGS tours.

They will have chance to explore Auckland, Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Wellington, Marlborough, Christchurch and Canterbury and Queenstown.”

This year’s show includes 20 new exhibitors, and represented are venues, theming companies, hotels, AV companies, regional bureaux, attractions and activities from around the country.

Day buyers can still register to attend MEETINGS next week, and they can pick and choose with the opportunity to meet with all of New Zealand under one roof.

Viet Nam Mother Goddess worship introduced in Republic of Korea

An exhibition on the Vietnamese worship of Mother Goddesses of the Three Realms opened in the Republic of Korea on May 20, as part of activities in celebration of the 25-year diplomatic ties of the two countries.

The Viet Nam Women’s Museum and the Viet Nam Cultural Centre in the RoK co-organised the event with support from the Viet Nam Embassy in the RoK.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Le Thuy Trang, first secretary of the Viet Nam Embassy, said the exhibition not only introduces a unique Vietnamese worship to international friends but also brings Vietnamese expatriates closer to home.

Visitors to the exhibition also had the chance to attend a 2-hour “len dong” (going into a trance) ritual, which is the major part in practising the worship. The audience was so captivated by the performance that they joined the dances with the performers.

The exhibition also featured photos of rituals and stage costumes and props.

In an interview with the Viet Nam News Agency, Nguyen Thi Bich Van, Director of the Viet Nam Women’s Museum, said this was the first time the museum has organized an event overseas on the folk belief since it was officially recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity in late 2016.

The museum plans to held similar events in France and the UK, she noted.

Mother Goddess worship is a traditional practice in Viet Nam with a long history, having stood the test of social changes. The belief in Mother Goddess reflects people’s desire for health, wealth and fortune.

The Beliefs in the Mother Goddesses of Three Realms has been practiced in numerous northern mountainous provinces across the nation since the 16th century.

The practitioners are comprised of temple guardians, ritual priests, spirit mediums, mediums’ assistants, musicians who perform the songs for the spirits, disciples and lay adherents who share the same beliefs in the spiritual power, supernatural strength and protection of the Mother Goddess spirit pantheon. All of these practitioners form groups who worship together, take part in traditional festivals and perform spirit possession rituals at temples and palaces dedicated to Mother Goddesses.

You're invited to the World Business Forum

  • 31 May – 1 June I The Star Event Centre, Pyrmont

You’re invited to attend the World Business Forum 2017 in Sydney.

For the fourth year running, leading speakers will descend on Sydney for this two-day event to reveal how individuals and organisations can adapt and thrive in today’s fast-moving global business environment.

Organised by World of Business Ideas, the World Business Forum is a highly sought out program that will stimulate new thinking, challenge the processes and technologies that lie at the heart of the next wave of business disruption for true business success.

The World Business Forum will feature eight world-class keynote speakers:
  • Arianna Huffington, Founder of The Huffington Post, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global
  • Daniel Goleman, leading authority on emotional intelligence
  • Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
  • Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Professor of Strategy at Harvard Business School
  • Randi Zuckerberg, former Director of Marketing at Facebook
  • Mohanbir Sawhney, globally recognised business consultant, scholar and author
  • Ken Segall, former Ad Agency creative Director at Apple
  • Ian Williamson, leadership expert at Melbourne Business School

This year’s forum includes a Diversity Panel which will examine diversity and inclusion and why this is a critical component for every organisation’s success.

The discussion panel includes:
  • Angela Mentis, Chief Customer Officer, Business & Private Banking NAB
  • Ashley Winnett, Executive Director People, Performance & Culture, Holden
  • Jody Evans, Associate Dean, Melbourne Business School
  • Christine Corbett, Chief Customer Officer, Australia Post
For twelve years the World Business Forum has been a global source of inspiration, learning and transformation for leaders looking to build better businesses and a better world. In cities around the world we gather business icons, global leaders, brilliant minds and legendary CEOs to discuss the issues and trends that are shaping the future of business. After a successful World Business Forum Sydney in 2014, 2015 and 2016, WOBI are happy to bring you this next chapter of WBF Sydney on the 31st May and 1st June 2017 at The Star Event Centre, Sydney. www.wbfsydney.com

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

MTF 2017 – FEATURED INTERVIEW: LIVING LAND

When was the last time you discussed Community-baseed tourism on a rice farm? Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) and Hopineo present one of the 16 hosts for the upcoming Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Mr. Sialee and Mr. Laut Lee, Assistant Manager and Director of The Living Land Farm, give us insight on their unique rice farm experience, and how they intend to contribute to MTF 2017.

Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) storytellers Simon Louvard and Lea Mellon are based in Luang Prabang in the weeks leading up to Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 (MTF 2017), “Prosper with Purpose”, June 6-9.

Living Land is a community based farm that offers the opportunity to learn about and experience traditional rice farming in Laos. A wonderful tour that profits the local community!

Learn more on www.livinglandlao.org

More information at www.MekongTourismForum.org.


Ha Noi to host exhibitions on Belarus

A photo exhibition on Belarus will be held in Ha Noi from May 25-28 along with a show of paintings by Belarusian artist Vasily Yasyuk, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) said,

The events are part of the 2017 Belarus Culture Days in Viet Nam, which is jointly organised by the MCST, the Ministry of Culture of Belarus, and the Embassy of Belarus in Viet Nam to mark the 25th anniversary of the two nations’ diplomatic ties.

The photos will give an insight into Belarus’s 1,000-year history, its rich culture, beautiful landscapes and hospitable people through images of antique objects, maps, and documents.

The painting exhibition will show 21 oil paintings of Vasily Yasyuk using the “alla prima” technique.

In the framework of the exhibition, a short training section will be held on May 26 to train a number of students from the Viet Nam University of Fine Arts on the “alla prima” technique.

MEGAN GALE LAUNCHES FASHION EXPERIENCE

Fashion icon, model and business mogul Megan Gale has unveiled her world-first wax figure at Madame Tussauds Sydney while launching an all new fashion experience.

Budding fashionistas can now visit the museum and undergo a digital makeover thanks to Napoleon Perdis, try on the latest season trends thanks to Myer, and strut the catwalk and strike a pose next to Megan.

Following their catwalk appearance, visitors can also pose for their own Cosmopolitan magazine covershoot and share their #TussaudsFashion experience online.

Surrounded by some of Australia’s biggest stars, Megan and her double made their debut with her wax figure dressed in a floor-length Alex Perry gown and Megan’s favourite Christian Louboutin shoes.

Viet Nam puppetry to perform in Spain

Viet Nam's Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre will stage a number of special water puppet performances in Madrid, Spain from May 21-27.

As part of activities under the framework of the 2017 Viet Nam Day in Spain, the event also aims to celebrate the 40 years of diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and Spain.

The troupe’s shows will feature distinctive cultural characteristics of Vietnamese people through everyday stories.

Founded in 1969 with an initial group of about 20 puppeteers, the Thang Long Water Puppetry group has performed in many countries throughout the world.

In addition to water-puppetry performances, art performances including cheo (traditional Opera), xam singing (ancient folk songs performed by blind beggars), chau van (spiritual signing) and solo performances of traditional instruments will be held during the event.

The programme is expected to help Spanish people gain more understanding of Viet Nam’s culture along with promoting the traditional friendship between the two peoples.

BLUES ON BROADBEACH 2017 A ROARING SUCCESS

Bonnie Tyler rocking the Surf Parade stage 
A huge turnout of festival goers were treated to free world class live entertainment across 20 diverse stages over the past four days at Blues on Broadbeach 2017.

The event showcased a unique brand of festival – offering access to a wide variety of quality restaurants, accommodation, and all the facilities of the Broadbeach CBD. Patrons enjoyed accommodation ranging from five-star hotels to casual camping grounds, and loads of food options, from Woolworths to six-star restaurants. For music fans, Blues on Broadbeach can be either a five-star festival experience, or a relaxed family adventure.

Last night was the pinnacle of the festival, with international headliners Bonnie Tyler, Slim Jim Phantom and Australian icon Ian Moss performing back to back on the main stage and rocking the massive crowds which surpassed last year’s attendance of 166,000 patrons over the four days. From classic blues artists to more mainstream international headliners, the exceptional lineup kept the entertainment pumping.

“The festival saw so many incredible performances in every corner of the precinct,” said Festival Director Mark Duckworth. “The 50th Anniversary celebration of Jimi Hendrix’s albums was unforgettable, the international collaboration of Turner Brown Band featuring Australian blues legend Dom Turner and Sacred Steel artist Nikki D Brown was heavenly, whilst Slim Jim Phantom filled the park with cool swagger. It’s been another great year.”

The festival also had a perfect family-friendly atmosphere, with Queensland Police reporting no incidents in the precinct. The festival streets and parks are ‘no alcohol zones’, creating a comfortable environment, where older visitors feel safe and families have no hesitation attending with children. Rain on Friday didn’t stop the blues, as the festival had many covered areas to enjoy the fun, with 11 of the 20 stages indoors. Visitors were drawn from intrastate, interstate and overseas to enjoy the fun.

“Although we will not have the exact number of attendees for some time it would be fair to say that the festival was equal in size if not a little larger to the last year’s aggregate numbers of 166,231,” said Jan McCormick, CEO of the Broadbeach Alliance.

“With strong accommodation bookings not only in Broadbeach but across the city, indications are that the number of intrastate, interstate and overseas attendees are up on last year, resulting in a strong economic impact for our city.”

Blues on Broadbeach’s charity partner The Salvation Army were happy with the amount of donations they received, kicking off this year’s Red Shield Appeal in the area. The brand new initiative of ‘tap to donate’ doors launched at the festival worked a treat. Nearly 3000 ‘free’ ponchos were handed out on drizzly Friday to keep the party rocking at the outdoor stages, and patrons who received a poncho were asked to donate to Salvo’s. While tallies are still being calculated, The Salvation Army applauded the generosity of Festival patrons as the funds raised were beyond their expectations.

Overall, the free festival went off without a hitch, bringing a buzz to the streets and parks, and business to local restaurants, bars and retailers. Visitors enjoyed the choice of a five-star festival experience or a casual family holiday, and the atmosphere was ideal.

As the sun set last night on an overwhelmingly successful Blues on Broadbeach, preparations have now kicked off for the Broadbeach Country Music Festival (July 28-30) featuring US super group AMERICA and local stars Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley, Shane Nicholson, Travis Collins, Fanny Lumsden and many more.


The Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival was supported by the Queensland Government through TEQ’s It’s Live! In Queensland major events calendar and presented four massive days and nights of Australian and International Blues acts from May 18-21 this year.

For more information, click here.

Monday, 22 May 2017

TripAdvisor rates five Thai destinations as Best in Asia for 2017

Five of Asia’s most loved destinations of 2017 are in Thailand, according to a poll of the top 25 taken by the popular international travel website TripAdvisor, which has recently released its Travellers’ Choice listings for the year.

The southern resort islands of Phuket, Ko Samui and Ko Tao and the cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai were all named in the Top 25 of the Best Destinations in Asia for 2017. Phuket took 3rd place with Samui and Ko Tao coming in the 7th and 15th place, respectively. Ever-popular Bangkok was 8thon the list and Chiang Mai came 12th.

These five destinations appear regularly at the top of the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, which are established based on the quantity and quality of travellers’ reviews and ratings on the TripAdvisor website gathered over the previous 12-month period.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “Phuket, Ko Samui and Ko Tao offer some of Asia’s best beaches and are tropical paradises where tourists can enjoy warm water and swaying palms while looking forward to a seafood dinner. In contrast, Bangkok and Chiang Mai are Thailand’s most bustling cities with amazing shopping, culture, food and history. There are unique experiences for everyone in Thailand, and we are delighted that TripAdvisor travellers enjoy these destinations year-after-year.”

Phuket which is also rated 10th for Best in the World, was praised by the TripAdvisor travellers for its “blue lagoons and salmon sunsets”, while Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand is unique in being a place where you explore the local culture and fishing communities. Ko Tao, also in the Gulf of Thailand, was reviewed as a paradise with “300 days of sun per year” which invites “long afternoons of lounging”.

Bangkok, which has long been one of the world’s most popular cities, was loved by TripAdvisor travellers for its “golden palaces, floating markets and majestic porcelain-laid spires.” Meanwhile, Chiang Mai was recommended for its sprawling night market, ancient city temples and fragrant botanical gardens.

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site and gathers advice and reviews from millions of travellers from around the world, covering seven million hotels and types of accommodation, restaurants and attractions. The website reaches 390 million monthly visitors in 49 worldwide markets.

For a complete list of the best destinations in the World, Region, and Thailand as well as for the review and traveller’s photos visit: TripAdvisor 2017 Traveler’s Choice Awards

Photo exhibition on central, Central Highland regions

A photo exhibition on the land and people of the central and Central Highland regions opened in Dak Nong province on May 17.

The 160 pictures were taken by professors and amateur photographers from Da Nang, Quang Nam, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dal Lak, Dak Nong and Lam Dong.

The photos capture life and natural landscapes in each locality, such as coffee and elephant race festivals in Dak Lak, Dray Sap waterfall in Dak Nong, the Han River in Da Nang, and Central Highlands gong festivals.

The exhibition will run until May 19.

The central region, which boasts numerous world heritage sites, beautiful beaches and classy resorts, has made a name for itself as “the central heritage road” or “the East-West Economic Corridor”.

It is home to many popular destinations, including Da Nang City dubbed the “gateway” linking the world heritage sites of My Son Sanctuary and the Ancient Town of Hoi An in Quang Nam province with the imperial city of Hue.

The Central Highlands comprises five provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Lam Dong, Gia Lai and Kon Tum, and is a land of imposing mountains and forests.

The region is home to many ethnic minorities with varied customs and lifestyles.

The region’s gong culture was recognised as a Masterpiece of Oral and an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.

MTF 2017 – FEATURED INTERVIEW: LANITH

The training and hospitality with integrated hotel and restaurant is ready to welcome delegates to the HRD Session.

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) and Hopineo present one of the 16 venues for the upcoming Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Lanith is a hospitality school based in Luang Prabang, that offers a rigorous program that meets international standards. The school offers many scholarships so that everyone can benefit from the training!

The training and hospitality with integrated hotel and restaurant is ready to welcome delegates to the HRD Session

Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) storytellers Simon Louvard and Lea Mellon are based in Luang Prabang in the weeks leading up to Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 (MTF 2017), “Prosper with Purpose”,  June 6-9.

Director of Lanith Luang Prabang, Chounlachan (Nickie) Phengdy, explains more about the Luxembourg supported social enterprise and hospitality school.

Learn more on www.lanith.com

More information at www.MekongTourismForum.org.


Sunday, 21 May 2017

Spectacular Bung Fai Skyrocket Festival takes place this week in Kalasin

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is inviting Thai and international tourists to join the spectacular Bung Fai Skyrocket Festival, taking place this week from 16 to 21 May in Kalasin, Thailand’s Northeastern Region or Isan. The Festival is a prime example of the many unique Thai local experiences that TAT is promoting throughout this year.

Held to mark the start of Thailand’s vital rainy season, the Bun Bung Fai Talai Lan Festival is a tradition of the ethnic Phu Thai Kutwa people of Kalasin and one of several rocket festivals hosted in Isan. The Kalasin celebrations stand out as many of the rockets are launched as part of huge cartwheel-like structures up to six metres in diameter.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor of TAT said, “This is one of Thailand’s most spectacular events and a superb example of a local tradition that survived and been celebrated for centuries. We want people to come and see the rockets being launched and enjoy the local activities which include dancing, traditional music, cultural shows and the chance to make merit – a perfect celebration of Thainess.”

Held in Kalasin’s Kuchinarai district, the Bun Bung Fai Talai Lan Festival’s highlight is the rocket display, which sees local people compete to launch their rocket to the highest altitude. Legend says this is to warn the sky king, Phaya Thaen, of his obligations to the Lord Buddha and to remind him to send the annual rains.

The event is also a showcase of local culture featuring a dance of 700 colourfully dressed performers paying their respects to Phaya Thaen, a rocket procession and a local Pong Lang music performance. There is also a traditional Isan Mo Lam singing performance, a Phu Thai cultural show, and the popular Miss Talai Lan beauty contest.

“Kutwa’s Bung Fai Skyrocket Festival has to be experienced by anyone interested in the fascinating local cultures of Thailand. It’s a fun, loud and colourful celebration of Isan culture while being uniquely Thai,” said Mr. Chanyuth Sawetsuwan, Director of TAT Khon Kaen Office.

Tourists visiting the Bun Bung Fai Talai Lan Festival should take time to explore the other attractions of Kalasin, which is known for its ancient historical sites and culture including the largest concentration of dinosaur fossils in Thailand. Most Thai visitors take time to visit the revered Phra Buddha Rup Ong Dum Buddha image at Wat Klang, which is regarded as auspicious as it is believed to ensure rain during drought. Kalasin is located 520 km northeast of Bangkok, and can be reached by car and bus.

FAMILY FUN SUNDAY A GREAT DAY OUT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

  • SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Families visiting Sydney are in for a treat this Sunday with the Australian National Maritime Museum hosting its ‘Jewels of the Sea’ Family Fun Day.

Join us for special themed family fun Sundays twice a term with lively performances, film screenings, character tours and face painting.

Dive into the history and mythology of pearling, from dragons to moon drops and traders’ tales in lively and interactive performances, tours and creative activities. Enjoy face painting, bubble art displays, circus workshops, musical storytelling, character tours on pearling lugger John Louis, artmaking, games and more.

JEWELS OF THE SEA FAMILY FUN DAY
SUNDAY 21 MAY 11AM - 4PM


Kids On Deck 

- Dress ups, art making and games.
11am – 3pm

Face Painting and Glitter Tattoos

11am – 3.30pm


Bubble Art Spectacular 

 - Join in spectacular interactive demonstrations of bubble making and learn about the science behind bubbles.
10.45am, 12pm and 1.15pm

Jewels of the Sea circus workshops and aerial displays 

- Marvel at daring and gravity defying circus and join in interactive workshops in hooping and juggling
11.30am, 12.45pm and 2pm

Myths of the Sea 

- Musical Storytelling - Beat, whitsle, drum and chime as we adventure into the marvellous myths surrounding pearls and other treasures of the deep in musical storytelling performances with Drumbeats.
2.30pm and 3.30pm

Character Tours with Captain Shaun Scuttlebutt 

- Take a lively family friendly tour into pearling history and our pearling lugger John Louis with character guide Captain Scuttlebutt.
12pm, 1.30 pm and 3pm

TICKETS

All activities included with any paid admission
Members Free

Hoi An welcomes 10th million visitor

Hoi An ancient town will welcome its 10th million visitor at a ceremony held in the arch area around Cau (Bridge) Pagoda at 4pm, May 12, the municipal Culture and Sports Centre announced on May 11.

Art performances will be held and impressive gifts presented to lucky visitors and the company having the 10th million visitor.

Last year, Hoi An received 1,573,739 tourists, up 34.14% against the previous year. The ancient town was selected among 25 world’s top destinations in the world by TripAdvisor readers early this year.

The welcome to the 10th million visitor is good news for Hoi An’s sustainable development plan and contributes to turning the city into a popular destination in the world, said the Culture and Sports Centre‘s representative.

Hoi An has made great effort to preserve and promote historic relics and cultural and art values to introduce the beauty of its land and people to both domestic and foreign visitors.

PARKES ELVIS FESTIVAL 2018 FEATURE ARTIST

International Elvis tribute artist Ben Thompson has been announced as the 2018 Feature Artist for the 26th annual Parkes Elvis Festival.

Winning ‘Best 50s Elvis’ in the UK at just 17 years old, the now 23 year old will recreate the performances that made Elvis Presley the one and only King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Backed by an impressive eight-piece Elvis in concert band, Ben will appear in four high-energy concerts celebrating Elvis Presley’s music to be held at the Parkes Leagues Club from 11 to 14 January 2018.

Tickets for the feature concert series will be on sale following the 2018 program launch in September.

MTF 2017 – FEATURED INTERVIEW: OCK POP TOK

Ock Pop Tok, an awarding social enterprise focused on local textiles is excited to be hosted the Women-led Enterprise Session.

Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) storytellers Simon Louvard and Lea Mellon are based in Luang Prabang in the weeks leading up to Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 (MTF 2017), “Prosper with Purpose”,  June 6-9.

Ock Pop Tok is one of the unique host venues for MTF 2017, hosting the Women-led Enterprises session, facilitated by ADB. Co-founder of Ock Pop Tok, Veomanee Douangdala, explains more about the award-winning social enterprise.

More information at www.MekongTourismForum.org.


NSW FAREWELLS AUSTRALIAN TOURISM EXCHANGE

The 2017 Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE17) has wrapped up in Sydney, attracting more international delegates than any other trade show held at ICC Sydney since its opening in December.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said the country’s largest annual tourism trade event has provided a direct injection of $10 million into the NSW economy.

“With more than 700 international travel buyers from over 30 countries flocking to Sydney to see some of NSW’s best tourism experiences, ATE17 was a standout event which successfully showcased NSW as Australia’s premier tourism and events State,” Ms Chipchase said.

“From our world-class food & wine showcases to our awe-inspiring media and trade familiarisation program, we are proud of what we have achieved at ATE17 to ensure international travel buyers return home inspired by NSW’s tourism offerings and excited to sell our many products and experiences to travellers.”

Womens Journey Thailand campaign to return with great offers throughout August 2017

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is bringing back the Women’s Journey Thailand campaign with all the highlights and offers to entice women travellers from around the world to enjoy a huge range of activities, special deals, discounts and privileges in Thailand throughout the month of August. According to the latest statistics of international arrivals to the kingdom, the growth of female travellers has risen significantly over the past few years.

Mrs. Srisuda Wanapinyosak, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Asia and the South Pacific said, “Today women are significant decision makers and powerful with high-spending power. With a full range of products and services that can serve women’s needs, Thailand can definitely be the ideal destination. The Women’s Journey Thailand campaign will showcase how women travellers can enjoy these products and services at very attractive prices when they visit Thailand in August.”

TAT is bringing back several activities launched as part of the inaugural Women’s Journey Thailand campaign, including the Lady Golf Challenge, Lady Celebrities to Thailand, Thailand through Her Eyes, Lady in Thai Fabrics, and Lady Bloggers. These activities are to enhance Thailand’s positive image as one of Asia’s most female friendly destinations.

Mrs. Srisuda Wanapinyosak (left), TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Asia and the South Pacific, and Ms. Natthaya Boonchompaisarn at the press conference to announce the launch of the Women’s Journey Thailand 2017 campaign

Another interesting highlight for this year’s campaign is the appointment of Ms. Natthaya Boonchompaisarn, or Grace, the winner of The FACE Thailand season 3 as an honorable representative to inspire the lady travelers all around the world to explore varieties of quality products and services the country has to offer for this segment.

TAT is collaborating with various tourism-related businesses throughout the country, and has classified the products and services for women travellers into seven types. These include accommodation (hotels and resorts); health, beauty and spa services; shopping malls, dining and restaurants; recreation and entertainment; such as, theme parks; lifestyle activities; such as, handicraft workshops and fitness, and transportation services; such as, airlines and car rentals.

All the products and services as well as special privileges will be featured in the “Women’s Journey Thailand” mobile application and the mini website womensjourney , which will be officially available in June.

Also featured in the campaign’s mobile app or registered at the shops is a welcome privilege package for female travellers, which entitles a free SIM card with a data package from Dtac, a complimentary drink from Coffee World, and a discount up to 300 Baht from Grab Taxi. Additionally, female VISA cardholders will be offered a dining voucher from The Cook- Amarin Plaza, a shopping voucher Club 21 with the amount of 5,000 Baht at the Emporium along with complimentary gifts from participating department stores on Sukhumvit Road, all in Bangkok, as well as enjoy discounts at stores in 20 provinces across the country. Moreover, those with a VISA premium card will receive a complimentary spa and signature dish for rewards claim in advance.

Meanwhile, the Airports of Thailand and the Immigration Bureau will provide special ‘pink lanes’ for women travellers who visit Thailand in August.