Sunday, 19 November 2017

Hue creates weekend pedestrian street

The backpacker area bounded by Pham Ngu Lao, Chu Van An and Vo Thi Sau streets in the ancient city of Hue has been turned into a pedestrians-only square every night from Friday to Sunday.

Nguyen Van Thanh, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said the area would be closed to all vehicles from 6pm to 2am on Fridays and Saturdays and 6pm to midnight on Sundays to create open spaces for locals and visitors to walk around and admire the beauty of the romantic Huong River at night.

City authorities have also green lighted a plan to set up food stalls on pavements.

Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street along the Huong River is already off-limits to vehicles.

'GONG' PRODUCT WINS AWARD

Wollongong’s Skydive Australia has been named the best activity in NSW at the Golden Backpack Tourism Awards.

The accolade recognises the service that Skydive Australia offers
independent travellers at its five drop zones in NSW, including from its home base in Wollongong.

The Golden Backpack Awards celebrate the achievements of companies working to make backpacking the best experience possible.

MAKING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR FIRST VISIT TO THE MISSION IN SAN FRANCISCO

There’s a lot to be said about the Mission neighbourhood in San Francisco. For one, the food is divine and the food scene itself is full of unique character. Second, it’s culturally rich in a way that really honours San Francisco’s history and the “quirkiness” the city is all about. Third, it’s active. There’s always something to do in this neighbourhood. A visit to the Mission is always a worthwhile one. Here are some suggestions on making the most out of your first visit.
History

It’s not surprising that the Mission is cited by many publications as having the best burritos in the city. Because it is historically a Mexican neighbourhood, you can see the homage being paid through all the beautiful Chicano storefront murals and Mariachi bands performing in restaurants! It’s a lively place to visit. Originally the Mission housed the first official baseball stadium in California and in the 1970s and 80s was home to a very vibrant punk music scene. Today, people enjoy the neighbourhood's diverse music scene and outdoor leisure activities on a consistent basis. Art, parades, beautiful parks, nightlife, food… it all echoes the Mission’s past and secures a place in "what the Mission is" today.

Best Time to Visit

There is often an event going on in the Mission. Whether it is a concert, a parade, or a gigantic annual festival like Carnaval (this year’s theme is Long Live Mother Earth!), there’s always something special to do here. But the truth is, you can experience what is appealing about the Mission on any given day. From people watching, indulging in the food scene, taking in the views and local attractions you’ll quickly see how very San Francisco the Mission is, no matter the timing of your visit.

Awesome Places to Visit for Your First Time

Where all the locals love to hang out and take in breathtaking views of the city. All you need to bring is a blanket to sit on and take it all in. There are tons of characters here, so you’ll never be bored just people watching. Especially if you bring in some delicious food from restaurant neighbours. Pro tip: We definitely suggest the sandwiches from Claire’s Deli and the famed desserts from Tartine Bakery.

First off, Lolinda has one of the coolest rooftop bars in San Francisco. And as an Argentinean steakhouse with incredible craft cocktails - expect a wait if you get there during prime hours or without a reservation. It’s that fun, it’s that good. Tacolicious has exactly what the name implies: some of the most delicious tacos around. The atmosphere is lively and the beef nachos are out of this world.

  • Taking In the People’s Art: Graffiti Wall At Clarion Alley (Between Mission And Valencia Streets and 17th and 18th Streets.) 
Run by the American Indian Center and Promotoras Latinas Comunitarias de Salud, Clarion Alley is where meaningful, message-driven community art in San Francisco thrives. Colorful, edgy and created with a purpose. This small street has been characterized by its murals painted by local artists since 1992. Snap some photos, take in some “meaning” behind the works of art, and make it special by picking a favourite mural!

Mission Bicycle Company not only builds awesome customizable bikes, but also rents them out for around $40 a day and includes everything from a helmet to a messenger bag.

  • Relax and Unwind the Entertaining Way: Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St.) 
Foreign Cinema has won numerous awards, been dubbed as one of the top 100 SF restaurants by the San Francisco Chronicle, and remains a favourite for locals and visitors alike. With a movie playing in the background and gorgeous art surrounding the venue, the ambience is truly magical. It’s a popular spot, so make your reservations ASAP! Weeks in advance is recommended.

Best Places to Stay

There are plenty of options in the Mission to stay at if you choose to do so, but we recommend a bed and breakfast:
  • 1906 Mission Hotel (1906 Mission St.): A modern Victorian bed and breakfast with the coolest earthy-meets-urban decor. You’ll feel at home here with their comfy beds, amazing showers, and unique lounge areas that serve cucumber water around the clock.
  • Noe Valley Apartments (3743 23rd St.): Full of funky decor, it just echoes the awesomely eccentric vibes of the Mission. Pet friendly too!


How to Get There

Public Transportation

You can take BART to 16th and walk a few blocks into the heart of all the action or take the Muni Metro (J-Church) to 16th and Church. BART is underground, whereas Muni is above ground.

There’s a lot to be said about the Mission neighbourhood in San Francisco. For one, the food is divine and the food scene itself is full of unique character. Second, it’s culturally rich in a way that really honours San Francisco’s history and the “quirkiness” the city is all about. Third, it’s active. There’s always something to do in this neighbourhood. A visit to the Mission is always a worthwhile one. Here are some suggestions on making the most out of your first visit.

History

It’s not surprising that the Mission is cited by many publications as having the best burritos in the city. Because it is historically a Mexican neighbourhood, you can see the homage being paid through all the beautiful Chicano storefront murals and Mariachi bands performing in restaurants! It’s a lively place to visit. Originally the Mission housed the first official baseball stadium in California and in the 1970s and 80s was home to a very vibrant punk music scene. Today, people enjoy the neighbourhood's diverse music scene and outdoor leisure activities on a consistent basis. Art, parades, beautiful parks, nightlife, food… it all echoes the Mission’s past and secures a place in "what the Mission is" today. 

Flower festival to return to Da Lat in December

The 7th Da Lat Flower Festival, themed “Flowers of Da Lat – Miracle from the good earth”, will return to Da Lat City, the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong from December 23-27.

This year’s event will continue to promote the brand of flowers and tourism in Da Lat, while also introducing traditional tea and silk products from the province.

The five-day festival will feature a fashion week of silk and “Ao Dai” (traditional Vietnamese gown) and folk performances by artists from the Republic of Korea.

A series of workshops will be held as part of the event to promote investment in Lam Dong, to discuss Da Lat’s development planning and to develop the local tea and silk industries.

According to the Chairman of the People’s Committee of Da Lat City Vo Ngoc Hiep, the festival provides an opportunity for local businesses in agriculture and forestry to meet with their peers from other provinces and for the tourism industry to foster a local uniqueness among visitors.

MURIEL'S WEDDING THE MUSICAL OPENS

The highly anticipated musical adaptation of the hit movie Muriel’s Wedding is now on in Sydney.

Muriel’s Wedding The Musical has been adapted by the writer of the movie, PJ Hogan, and features original music by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall.

"This exciting new home-grown production is one with global appeal and is expected to generate more than $3 million in overnight visitor expenditure for NSW during its exclusive Sydney season" said NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall.

The season runs until 27 January 2018.

The world premiere of Muriel's Wedding The Musical was secured exclusively for Sydney by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

Tickets are now on sale now.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

TOURISM AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Outstanding tourism businesses from across NSW were honoured last night at a special ceremony at the International Convention Centre Sydney, to mark the 2017 NSW Tourism Awards.

Managed by the Tourism Industry division of the NSW Business Chamber, and supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, the Awards celebrate and acknowledge tourism excellence in NSW.

Speaking at the Awards, NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall highlighted the importance of tourism and events to the State’s economy and congratulated the winners.

“The tourism industry contributes a phenomenal $33.2 billion per year in international and domestic visitor expenditure to the NSW economy and directly employs 164,000 people,” Mr Marshall said.

“At the heart of this success are the many hard-working individuals and businesses across NSW who work tirelessly to deliver world-class tourism experiences, and I thank them for their commitment to excellence.”

The NSW Tourism Awards winners will represent the State as finalists at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards on Friday, 23 February 2018.

View the winners list.

Lake Nojiri National Park

The autumn leaves are now at their best in the area around Lake Nojiri National Park.

This place is a hidden spot of one of the best autumn colours in Japan.

Driving or Cycling around the lake is highly recommendable.

Here is the link to the town's website.

Bac Ninh promotes spiritual tourism potential

The northern province of Bac Ninh has actively applied numerous measures to fully tap its spiritual tourism potential.

Nguyen Van Anh, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, communication campaigns will be promoted in order to raise the awareness of the role of tourism, particularly spiritual tourism, among levels, sectors and the community.

Besides, the province has been investing in technical infrastructure for tourism, including the expansion of tourism services and the construction of ports, wharves and infrastructure facilities along the Duong and Cau Rivers to connect spiritual tourism destinations.

Apart from mapping out number of typical spiritual tourism tours, Bac Ninh will focus on personnel training, particularly tour guides and safety and security for tourists.

Bac Ninh is home to 1,558 historical and cultural relic sites. Of which, nearly 200 are national relic sites and four are national special relic sites, including 1,000-year-old Phat Tich Pagoda in Tien Du district, Do Temple in Tu Son township.

The province also features 547 traditional festivals and 60 traditional trade villages.

Over the past years, the province has issued numerous policies to promote spiritual tourism potential. Hundreds of billions of Vietnamese dong have been poured into upgrading and restoring local relic sites.

The province welcomes around 3 million visitors each year, mostly to religious sites and festivals in the Spring.

BREAK UP YOUR DAY AT DISNEYLAND TO ENJOY ANAHEIM’S FOOD SCENE

A day at Disneyland is a day made for princesses and princes. But from time to time, the royal court must depart. Weary from reigning over Radiator Springs Racers or prevailing over Pirates of the Caribbean? Consider the many dining options in Anaheim, just outside the Magic Kingdom.

Many within walking distance from the parks, Anaheim offers an array of culinary creations fit for foodie royalty. No crowns required.

Downtown Disney & Disney Hotels

Step just outside Disneyland for a quick lunch that reminds you you’re still on vacation.

Tortilla Jo’s Taqueria

Looking for a quick bite that’s made to order? Head to the taqueria attached to Tortilla Jo’s. Customize your own tacos, nachos, or burritos and dine on the colorful outdoor patio. You’ll be able to cool off with aquas frescas made in house.

La Brea Bakery

Just off the promenade for the Disney parks, you’ll find La Brea Bakery. The cafe provides both a casual dining experience and also a grab & go menu. Pick up a Montecito salad with beets, goat cheese, and caramelized walnuts while you exit the park.

Tangaroa Terrace/Trader Sam’s

Find paradise at the Disneyland Hotel. The tropical themed quick service restaurant serves up salads, flatbread pizzas and burgers with Polynesian flair. Right next door, you’ll find another option for a quick bite with Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. Order a Shipwreck and watch the bar come to life!

Anaheim GardenWalk

Just a short walk away from the Disneyland Resort is the Anaheim GardenWalk. Take advantage of the art installations after sampling some favorite restaurants from home, and choices found only in Anaheim.

House of Blues Anaheim

I’m fairly certain the House of Blues Anaheim has a time machine because I feel like I’m 20 again whenever I dine there. An edgy, art-filled atmosphere serves up comfort foods that feed the soul. Try Southern-style tacos or something from the smokehouse, like the Sliced Brisket or Pulled Pork. If you’re looking for lighter fare so you can boogie while dining, try the Southern Salad with apple, fennel, white cheddar and toasted pecans.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Forrest Gump said, “Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, steam it, sauté it.” At Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., they do it all. Pair your “Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp” with a margarita, hand-shaken at your table. Life may be like a box of chocolates, but at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. you know exactly what you’ll get. A relaxed environment with a great selection of seafood.

The Anaheim Packing House

A vintage citrus packing house turned food hall makes for a hip and diverse spot for lunch.

Adya

Looking for a flavorful way to spice up your day? Try Adya. The vegetable curry of the day or kebabs bring fresh Indian flavors to the lunchtime crowd.

Black Sheep

You’re never too old for a grilled cheese sandwich. Black Sheep grills up made-to-order cheese sandwiches with some grown-up flavors. Try the #1 served with goat cheese, roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, and arugula pesto. Add tomato soup for the comfort of home.

The Kroft

Looking for something to appeal to our neighbors to the north? Try Canadian-French specialty fries called poutines. Although the menu inspiration isn’t, the produce and meats are local. Consider a market-inspired sandwich.

Anaheim and Beyond

Just outside Anaheim are some delicious destinations for consideration.

Rutabegorz

The name is odd, but the food is fantastic. Hippies and health-conscious will adore the oversized salads and sandwiches in Rutabegorz Fullerton. The cozy coffee shop turned full restaurant has been an O.C. mainstay since the 70s, serving veggie-filled options. The Garlic Chicken Salad is a fan favorite, year after year.

Cortina’s Italian Market

Want to eat like a local? Order a meatball sub from Cortina’s. The Italian market will help you find your favorite stinky cheese or great wine, but it also serves incredible sandwiches, salads, and, of course, pizza.

Pour Vida

Do not wait for Taco Tuesday; go to Pour Vida every day of the week. The hand-crafted fusion tacos are cheaper than therapy, with similar euphoric effects. Grab a Hamburger Taco or Brussel Sprouts Taco with nacho fries.

PokiNometry

You’d miss PokiNometry while driving down Harbor Blvd. if it weren’t for the line out the door. PokiNometry is what you get when you add poke and sushi into a bowl, made just for you in a poke assembly line. Start off by picking your “Nemo” and then top your fish with added flavors and spice.

EXPERIENCE AUGMENTED REALITY AT AQUARIUM OF THE BAY

Get up close and personal with some of your favourite marine life through the Aquarium of the Bay's interactive augmented and virtual reality film presentations.

Sponsored by Big Bus Tours and projected onto a 20-foot screen, the two shows, The Ocean Adventure and The Arctic Explorer, developed by London-based, INDE BroadcastAR, allow guests to "touch" images of various animals from the sea, including whales, dolphins, walrus, polar bear, penguins and seals. High-resolution images of guests interacting with these augmented reality (AR) shows will be available for sale from Snapshare. This AR experience will be shown in the Farallon Room at the Aquarium.

Also available to experience at the Aquarium is The Click Effect, one of the most successful virtual reality (VR) experiences to date. Taking guests on a free-dive down to 100-feet into the ocean depths to swim with dolphins, pilot whales and giant sperm whales, The Click Effect is the first VR film at the Aquarium. The Virtual Reality Micro Theater was developed specifically for museums, zoos, planetariums and aquariums, and features custom hardware and software allowing synchronous play on headsets for a shared experience by viewers. The Click Effect was shot in 2016 by veteran filmmaker Sandy Smolan and best-selling author James Nestor, and has won the Lumiere Award for Best VR Documentary.

The Aquarium of the Bay is conveniently located within PIER 39 alongside the Embarcadero and adjacent to Fisherman's Wharf. For more information on the Aquarium, including hours and ticket availability, and to view additional featured events, please visit the Aquarium of the Bay online.

Nearly 10.5 million int’l visitor arrivals to Viet Nam in 10 months

In October 2017, Viet Nam received 1,024,899 international visitor arrivals, up 5.0% over last month and 24.7% compared to the same period last year, the General Statistic Office reported.

That figure added to the total number of international visitors to Viet Nam in 10 months of this year of 10,473,230 arrivals, up 28.1% over the same period of 2016, exceeding the total number of 2016 (10,012,735 int’l arrivals).

Of which, the international visitors travelling by air reached 8,877,100 arrivals (+31.0%); by sea: 204,707 arrivals (-8.1%); by road: 1.391.423 arrivals (+18.0%).

In comparison with the same period last year, almost tourist markets recorded positive growth. In particular, Northeast Asian markets saw a strong increase including Republic of Korea (+53.9%), China (+45.6%), Hong Kong (+37.1%), Taiwan (+21.1%). Many European markets recorded two-digit growth rate such as Russia (+38.3%), Spain (+20.6%), Sweden (+17.5%), Finland (+15.2%), Germany (+13.7%), Holland (+12.7%), Italy (+12.3%), UK (+11.8). In addition, African and Oceanian markets continued to went up 28,5% and 13,3%, respectively.

The number of domestic trippers in 10 months estimated 63.1 million; total tourism receipts reached VND 417,400 billion, up 25.9% over the same period of 2016, according to Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism.

*Thanh Tam

FASHION LAUREATE WINNERS ANNOUNCED

The winners of the 10th Australian Fashion Laureate Awards have been announced.

Dion Lee was awarded the Australian Fashion Laureate. Other winners included Zimmermann for Best Australian Womenswear, Jac + Jack for Best Australian Menswear, Harrolds for Best Australian Retailer, Dinosaur Designs for Best Australian Accessories Designer and P.E Nation won The Etihad Airways Emerging Talent Award.

An exhibition celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Australian Fashion Laureate is on at the Powerhouse Museum until 11 March 2018.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Autumn Leaves of Tokugawaen Garden make for unmissable sights!

https://www.aichi-now.jp/en/spots/detail/1793/

Today, November 17th (Fri) marks the start of “Tokugawaen Koyo Matsuri” - the Autumn Leaves Festival of the Tokugawaen Garden

😍. With a plethora of events that include cultural and sightseeing attractions, added to the artificial illumination during specific evenings, the surreal garden will be a memorable outing for sure! 😊 The place is quite easy to get to from anywhere in Nagoya! 💕

#AichiNow #TokugawaenGarden #徳川園 #AutumnLeavesFestival #紅葉祭#Nagoya #名古屋 #Aichi #愛知 #AutumnLeaves #Koyo #紅葉 #Autumn #Fall #秋季

Large marine fish and ray arrivals create a splash

Making a splash yesterday at Cairns Aquarium were the arrival of a 1.2 metre humphead maori wrasse, malabar grouper and five cow nose rays to the 1.5 million litre Oceanarium exhibit.

Destined to be a crowd pleaser, the two large marine fish and rays are welcome introductions joining existing residents that include scalloped hammerhead sharks, a leopard shark, porcupine rays and predatory schooling fish.

According to Cairns Aquarium’s general manager, Julie Cullen, both of the large marine fish arrivals have special identifying qualities however both share similar reproductive cycles that causes them to change sex from female to male during their lifecyle.

The turquoise and green coloured humphead maori wrasse is an endangered, iconic reef species often appearing in advertisements and a favourite with scuba divers and snorkelers on the outer reef.

The malabar grouper is highly patterned and regularly seen on the reef despite its near threatened classification.

“Having these two very colourful, distinctively patterned fish in the exhibit already adds an entirely new dimension to the Aquarium visitor experience.

“Prone to people watching and following people around, the humphead wrasse is so engaging to visitors, especially with its prominent forehead and blubbery lips.

“When people learn that it is also one of the few predators of the toxic crown of thorns starfish, it will no doubt add to its allure,” Ms Cullen said.

The cow nose rays are a type of eagle ray and while their colouration is not particularly distinctive, their shape is easily recognizable.

They have a distinctive bi-lobed head, with two large fleshy lobes under the snout which makes them very easy to identify as they cruise through the Oceanarium.

For Cairns Aquarium’s head curator Ramon Barbosa, the increase in animal diversity and the arrival of larger sized animals is an event that he has been looking forward to with great anticipation.

“We needed to be sure the hammerheads settled in with a regular feeding routine before we could make any new additions to our largest exhibit but it’s always exciting for the curatorial team to have these bigger animals in the water with them.

“Working with these truly special species makes for a more interesting day and always provides a spectacle when we dive with them for feeding and observations purposes,” Mr Barbosa said.

Hung Yen, an attractive destination

Hung Yen Province, 60 km southeast of Ha Noi, embraces a rich culture and age-old history with many relics and heritages. It’s also famous for specialties - longan, lotus seeds, honey, and rice noodle. In the 16th and 17th century, the province contained was a busy port.

Hung Yen has more than 1,200 historical and cultural relics, 164 of which are classified as national heritages.

Pham Van Hieu, Deputy Director of the Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said "Hung Yen has great advantages for tourism. It ranks third in Viet Nam in number of national relics. The ancient port of Pho Hien is recognized as a special national relic site. The relic dedicated to Great Physician Hai Thuong Lan Ong, the Da Hoa-Da Trach site associated with Red River tourism development and the temple worshipping General Pham Ngu Lao are popular destinations.”

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the river port of Pho Hien was an important trading center. It ranked among Viet Nam’s three most important towns along with Ha Noi and Hoi An.

Dinh Thi Lien, a Pho Hien resident said "The people of Pho Hien are very proud of their heritage. Everyone here wants to preserve Hung Yen's cultural identity and its relics including the Bell Pagoda, the Xich Dang Temple of Literature, Tran temple, and the temple of Mother Goddesses."

The province is working hard to promote local tourism development. Nguyen Thi Thu Huong is with the Hung Yen Tourism Promotion Center: “Tapping its potential, Hung Yen Province is offering tours of the Red River, Pho Hien ancient town, Bell pagoda, the Temple of Literature, Me So Church, and a number of traditional craft villages. Hung Yen is also promoting eco-tours and weekend tours.”

Many craft villages in Hung Yen Province have their trademarks well-established: Ban soy bean sauce, Long Thuong bronze casting, Cao Thon incense, and Truong Xa liquor.

Director Pham Van Hieu again said "We focus on promoting tours of local cuisine and craft villages like Ban soybean sauce and dried longans village. Dong Tao chicken in Khoai Chau District is famous nationwide. Eel noodle is another local specialty.”

Its numerous attractions make Hung Yen well worth visiting.

7 MUSEUMS WHERE THE FOOD IS AS GOOD AS THE ART

An art museum is as much about the experience as it is about the individual exhibits themselves. The sights and sounds — the overall ambience — can help create a memorable visit to a place of inspiration and creativity. Did you know, though, that the dining establishments are also considered part of the art?

San Francisco abounds with fascinating art museums that are also rich in dining experiences. This city and its museum restaurants will pull you in with creative offerings and upscale, sustainable dining experiences sure to delight the palate and the eye.

In Situ at SFMOMA

First on the menu is In Situ, the newest restaurant at SFMOMA, which is now open. Chef Corey Lee has previously received three Michelin Stars, and now he is serving up a brand new dining experience. In Situ will have a revolving menu that, over the course of a year, will feature 90 dishes. Some items call for ingredients that are only available for a few weeks each year. insitu.sfmoma.org/reservation

Cafe Asia at Asian Art Museum

Civic Center's Asian Art Museum overflows with cultural treasures and its restaurant, Cafe Asia, aims to complement the collection. Cafe Asia does not require you to pay museum admission to enjoy its rich Asian cuisine, but the experience is nevertheless designed to accompany a gallery visit — taking your day from exceptional to outstanding. From Japanese Curry Chicken to Seaweed Salads to limited-time items paired with special exhibits, Chef Melinda Quirino's menu will give you a memorable dining experience. www.asianart.org

de Young Café at de Young Museum

Fresh is the rule at de Young Café inside the de Young Museum, where the ingredients are sourced locally and the farming connections are sustainable. Chef Lucas Schoemaker from McCalls Catering directs the establishment and provides a rotating, seasonal menu that will appeal to many tastes (don't miss the Summer Squash + Sundried Tomato Quiche or the Black Mission Fig + Blue Cheese Flatbread). After you wander in from Golden Gate Park, you'll appreciate how the relaxed dining area goes perfectly with the lush, natural scenery. From morning nibbles to mid-day noshes, de Young Café serves up creative elegance with exceptional taste. deyoung.famsf.org

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen at Contemporary Jewish Museum

From its original location on 24th Street, Wise Sons has expanded into the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the menu keeps downtown locals coming back. You'll find everything from house-made bagels to double-baked rye, and the smoked pastrami is piled high to keep your belly full while you wander the galleries at CJM. Don't miss the Babka or Rugelach; when served alongside coffee or tea, it will keep you smiling and yearning for more Jewish comfort food. Wise Sons Jewish Deli is open for lunch and doesn't require museum admission. www.thecjm.org

SEAGLASS Restaurant at the Exploratorium

Located along Pier 15, the Exploratorium's SEAGLASS Restaurant combines fresh, local produce with one fine waterfront view. Your experience at SEAGLASS will always be unique due to the ever-changing menu, and each of your visits will further solidify your appreciation for Chef Loretta Keller's approach. Touted as family-friendly yet inventive, SEAGLASS will encourage minds of all ages to appreciate nature's bounty and expand the horizons of all that creative comfort food can become. www.exploratorium.edu

Legion of Honor Cafe at Legion of Honor

Situated on Lands End and Lincoln Park — one of the most beautiful settings in the city — Legion of Honor Cafe at Legion of Honor has delightful dishes that pair well with the exceptional surroundings. Chef Lucas Schoemaker, also famed for his menu at de Young Cafe, provides rich, nourishing dishes that honour American and European cuisines. Many dishes are named after notable designers. Order up a James Galanos sandwich or a Diana Vreeland salad — you won't be disappointed. legionofhonor.famsf.org

Bryant Terry, Chef-in-Residence at Museum of African Diaspora

Chef Bryant Terry doesn't have a dining area at the Museum of African Diaspora, but his ingenious approach to food has made him well-known and respected nonetheless. Terry hosts pop-up events in the museum, as well as throughout the community. He often focuses on food activism and farming, while encouraging people to blend flavours and styles. As you may expect, art and culture is an important part of his teaching style, and it blends in beautifully with the museum's photography galleries, sculptures and craft work. To plan your museum visit to coincide with one of Terry's outstanding dining events, check the website for upcoming presentations. www.moadsf.org

Museum restaurants are where creativity and nourishment collide. Whether you're searching for soul food that adds meaning or menu ingenuity that captivates, you'll have much to admire at these seven San Francisco museums; the eateries and dining experiences will show you a side of life worth repeating.

Da Nang: Chatbot on smart travel launched for APEC 2017

Chatbot Danang FanstatiCity is an all-in-one application providing tourists to the central coastal city of Da Nang with full travel information, local weather and road directions for free.

The chatbot, jointly launched by the municipal Department of Tourism and the Hekate Technology Joint Stock Company on the occasion of the APEC 2017 Economic Leaders’ Week, is attached to the Danang FantasiCity Facebook’s fanpage and is compatible with smart phones using Android and IOS operating systems with Internet connection.

Accessing the application simply involves Messenger Code scanning or visiting m.me/visitdanang. Chatbot can communicate in English to help foreign visitors overcome language barriers.

The application helps ease workload at Da Nang’s tourist centres and serves as a helpful channel for visitors to the city during the APEC 2017 High-level Week.

With chatbot launch, Da Nang joins Singapore as the two first cities in Southeast Asia to use chatbots.

Chatbot is an artificial intelligence technology that allows a computer to communicate with people. Receiving users’ requests through texting or speech, chatbot will automatically and quickly respond the right answer.

In the context of strong fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) as well as insufficiency of tourism workforce, chatbot will serve as a smart tool for local tourism.

Da Nang has grown in stature as an attractive destination for both domestic and foreign tourists. Last year, 5.6 million visitors, including 1.66 million foreigners, spent their holiday in the city. The figure is expected to increase in 2017 and following years.

NEW REGIONAL NSW FOOD AND WINE SCHOOL

Orange’s Ross Hill Wines has launched a custom-designed School of Wine and Food, aptly named Barrel & Larder.

This new cellar door addition has been designed to attract locals and out of town visitors interested in learning more about the delicious cool-climate wines and the seasonal produce in the region.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall, said Ross Hill Wines had secured $150,000 from the NSW Government’s Regional Tourism Fund to help fund the new development.

"The NSW Government is pleased to support this initiative which will help drive continued visitation to an already vibrant region which in turn supports the local economy and jobs,” Mr Marshall said.

Find out more.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

HCM City launches dental-service tours

The tourism and dentistry sectors in HCMC last Friday jointly introduced dental-service tours allowing visitors to combine dental care with travel in the city and some other localities such as Mui Ne and Ha Noi.

At the launching ceremony jointly organized by the Viet Nam Dental Tourism Organization and the HCMC Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology, three service packages were introduced with cost from a mere VND1 million to VND70 million, providing visitors with general dental check-up, X-ray, teeth cleaning and whitening, and applying porcelain veneers to teeth.

There is also a high-quality permanent porcelain veneer service costing VND200 million.

“At first, we will focus on services which take less time, about 30 minutes, and will offer hi-tech services later,” said Vo Van Nhan, director of Nhan Tam Dental Clinic.

Clinics in HCMC can implement complicated operations such as gum and bone graft, and teeth implantation, Nhan added.

The Viet Nam Dental Tourism Organization has 14 dental clinics attracting 250,000 patients a year with 25% of them being foreigners and Vietnamese living overseas. The organization’s membership will increase to 50 clinics able to serve 850,000 patients next year and 56 clinics with 3.5 million visitors in 2020.

In addition, the tourism sector has launched a dental tour combining teeth cleaning service and a visit to HCMC, another tour which offers the foresaid services and a visit to Tien Giang Province, and a tour including teeth cleaning service and sightseeing in HCMC, Mui Ne, Ha Noi or Sapa.

Travel companies also want dental clinics to provide cost- and time-saving teeth cleaning services to tourists, especially those from Europe, who have much free time while waiting for hotel check-in.

Phan Kim Ngoc, head of the HCMC office of AMICA Travel Company, said the company has offered massage and nail services at no charge to their customers and expects to cooperate with clinics to provide low-cost dental services.

Dental tourism has been identified as one of HCMC’s main medical tourism products which the city is keen to develop to attract more tourists.

A free Sri Lankan food and culture festival is coming to Sydney

Looking for a way to go on a quick overseas escape without leaving the country or spending a single penny?

Well, we have some really good news for you!

A free Sri Lankan event is coming to Sydney in just two weeks time!

Arriving in Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour on 25 November, the Sri Lanka Food & Culture Festival promises to put a smile on your dial, fill your belly and tire your feet (from all the dancing of course).

The event, which runs over Saturday and Sunday, will be an authentic, alluring and mouth-watering affair, allowing you to get up close and personal with this tropical paradise.

But just what makes this destination so unique?

Sri Lanka’s food, culture and lifestyle has been influenced by everyone from the Dutch to Indians.

The country is responsible for roughly 80 to 90 per cent of the world’s cinnamon supply and the nation’s flag is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to 162 BC.

Has your curiosity been piqued? We think it might’ve been.

Hosted by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, you’re invited to dive into the country’s rich melting pot of cuisines and heavenly tea.

Expect to sample dishes like Kottu, made with roti and spicy curry sauce, Lamprais, rice and meat curry wrapped in banana leaves, Hoppers, Sri Lanka's answer to the pancake, and Pol Sambol, a spicy coconut relish.

There will be live performances, stacks of holiday giveaways and incredible traditional handicraft up for grabs.

So don't miss this completely free, utterly delicious, absolutely unmissable event. Find out everything you need to know here. http://www.srilankafestival.com.au/

AIME launches exhibitor educational series

The Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) has announced the introduction of a free series of educational sessions designed to support exhibitors to maximise their investment in the lead up to and during the show in February.

The series which includes two webinars and one face-to-face seminar, aims to provide a deeper understanding of MICE buyers to enable better engagement with delegates and maximise every connection made during the expo. Topics covered across the series include ‘Understanding the MICE client’, ‘Effective client engagement for sustainable long-term relationship building’ and ‘Making the most of your opportunity’.

The sessions will be hosted by Louise Harrison, Motive Networks, Coach and Consultant to the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) industry. With nearly 30 years’ experience managing corporate conferences, product launches, incentive travel reward programs, association meetings, congresses and exhibitions across the globe, Louise will share her specialist experience with the AIME exhibitor community.

Louise Harrison, commented on the introduction of this educational series for exhibitors and the value it has for those who participate.

“This is a great initiative for AIME exhibitors to expand their knowledge and reach in the MICE industry. It’s all about the way we communicate with each other and the development of long-term relationships that result in higher ROI.

“Across the series I will share insights on how to identify with a buyer and enhance the value of your connections, what influences a buying decision, how to be confident and deliver more effective proposals, along with making the most of appointments while at AIME.

“This is something that adds tremendous value to an exhibitor who might not have engaged a consultant, or is exhibiting for the first time. I am delighted that I can share the expertise I’ve gained from 30 years in the industry, and look forward to attending AIME,” said Ms Harrison.

Angela Sciacca, Project Manager, Reed Travel Exhibitions, said the value of the series for exhibitors’ ROI is priceless.

“The creation of this education series aligns with the launch of our AIME “First Timers” area which will showcase a number of the industry’s latest rising star companies and local businesses. For First Timers and industry stalwarts alike, it’s vital to know your target audience, what they’re looking for and what motivates them, especially in our changing industry landscape. This is a huge advantage and opportunity for exhibitors to learn how to increase engagement at AIME 2018,” said Ms Sciacca.

AIME attracts leading destination bureaux including New Zealand, San Francisco and L.A along with major industry brands including Cvent, Hyatt Hotels and One&Only Resorts. Showcasing in the First Timers zone in 2018 will be Gladstone, EventPro, Galabid, Railplus, SNE Group and Catherine Manuell Designs.

AIME will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 20-21 February 2018.

BEST ICE CREAM IN SAN FRANCISCO BY NEIGHBORHOOD

San Francisco is home to some of the best ice cream in the country, from not one, but many different places. Here's the only rundown of the best ice cream spots in the city, by neighbourhood.
Cole Valley

The Ice Cream Bar (815 Cole Street)

Harken back to the days of the soda fountain and delicious memories of childhood will come back to you. The Ice Cream Bar is a full-service, 1930s-style soda fountain and classic lunch counter, serving house-made ice cream and sodas. On top of this, they also serve "remedies" for the 21-and-up crowd. Never has a place excited the child and adult inside you at the same time. What's popular: New Orleans Hangover (non-alcoholic). What you should get: Sassy Granny Sutton (Alcoholic).
Dogpatch

Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous (699 22nd Street)

Started by a couple that has as much experience working at Wolfgang Puck's, Spago, as they have amazing tattoos (re: a lot), this small Dogpatch operation makes ice cream so fresh that they constantly run out of flavours and restock with DIFFERENT flavours throughout the day. What's popular: Pink Squirrel. What you should get: Rosemary Pistachio and Orange Blossom.
Fisherman's Wharf

Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop (900 North Point Street)

Ghirardelli is a San Francisco institution that has been around since 1852, when they started making the chocolate that we all know and love. Today, Ghirardelli is home to the most decadent ice cream sundaes in the city. It's like an IV of sugar straight to the vein, and it's delicious. What's popular: Ghirardelli Square (Hot Fudge Sundae). What you should get: Treasure Island (Warm Brownie Sundae).
Website
Hayes Valley

Smitten (432 Octavia Street)

Smitten is a scientist's dream. Every serving of ice cream is made to order using liquid nitrogen that freezes the ingredients while you watch. Many consider this creation the creamiest, most delicious ice cream around. What's popular: TCHO Chocolate. What you should get: Mint Chocolate Chip.
Lower Haight

Three Twins Ice Cream (254 Fillmore Street)

Three Twins makes inconceivably delicious organic ice cream. Just imagine someone sitting on a couch and eating an entire carton of their lemon cookie ice cream. If you follow our lead, you can't have just one bite. What's popular: Lemon Cookie. What you should get: Mint Confetti (extra points for the awesome name).
Marina

Over the Moon (2144 Chestnut Street)

Inspired by Grandma, Over the Moon is a creamery with a retro bent. The combination of rich, creamy ice cream and warm, gooey, fresh-baked cookies will make you come back every time. What's popular: Honey Lavender. What you should get: Coffee Caramel Crunch (with cookies).
Mission

Bi-Rite Creamery (3692 18th Street and 550 Divisadero Street)

Like everything good in San Francisco, there will always be a line out in front of Bi-Rite Creamery, especially if the sun is peeking out behind the clouds. Scratch that; even in a light drizzle, you will see a line. Why? Bi-Rite Creamery is written up every in local and national press. Also, locals are offbeat enough to wait in any weather. What's popular: Salted Caramel. What you should get: Ricanelas (cinnamon with snickerdoodle cookie pieces).

Humphry Slocombe (2790 A Harrison Street)

The ice cream shop to seek out if you like peculiar flavours. Let's give you a rundown of what they offer: foie gras, strawberry candied jalapeno, any number of beers and something called government cheese. You should come here if you like regular flavours too, but you will get a sad puppy face that will eventually sell you on the more unique flavours. What's popular: Secret Breakfast (we won't ruin the secret). What you should get: Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee. www.humphryslocombe.com
Noe Valley

Mitchell's Ice Cream (688 San Jose Avenue)

Technically in the grey area of the Mission or Noe Valley neighbourhoods. Before there were lines out the door onto Dolores Park or inventive flavours with the word secret in them, there was Mitchell's. Established in 1953, Mitchell's has been making ice cream in small batches that people keep coming back for time and time again. Ask any native who has lived here for more than 40 years their favourite ice cream, they will tell you to go to Mitchell's. What's popular: Stracciatella. What you should get: Grasshopper Pie.
North Beach

Gelateria Naia (520 Columbus Avenue)

After realizing there was not one decent scoop of gelato in the Bay Area, the owners decided to make their own. After travelling to Italy and meeting with master artisans, they started making their small-batch gelato by hand. People haven't stopped coming back since. What's popular: Ube (Peruvian). What you should get: Zabajone and Nocciola.
Richmond

Joe's Ice Cream (5420 Geary Boulevard)

Want a traditional scoop of ice cream in the Richmond? Joe's is the place. The family-run ice cream shop has been serving its award-winning homemade ice cream flavours to locals and visitors alike since 1959. We could say the ice cream is known for its texture, a delicate balance of creaminess, sweetness and flavour that has stood the test of time, but really it's known for its deliciousness throughout the neighbourhood. What's popular: Blueberry Cheesecake. What you should get: Coffee Crunch and a Joe's It.
Roving

Frozen Kuhsterd (Mobile)

What's the difference between frozen custard and ice cream? About one egg yolk, give or take. Because of that (and the fact that people come running when they show up), we are including California's first frozen custard food truck on this list. Their unique flavours are inspired by their ethnic backgrounds and foods that they've eaten around the world. What's popular: Burnt Caramel. What you should get: Thai Tea
Russian Hill

Swensen's (1999 Hyde Street)

What is a global franchise today actually started in 1948 on Union Street and Hyde. Over the years, Swensen's has modified their offerings to match the ever-changing American palette, but the three things they have never sacrificed are quality, quantity and value for your money. What's popular: Sticky Chewy Chocolate. What you should get: Swiss Orange Chip.
Sunset

Marco Polo Italian Ice Cream & Polly Ann Ice Cream (Marco Polo: 1447 Taraval Street • Polly Ann: 3138 Noriega Street)

Marco Polo and Polly Ann are two ice cream shops that offer the same delicious flavours — and they are equally delicious. They both have flavours you won't find anywhere else, like black sesame, arcobaleno and green tea. What's popular: Durian. What you should get: Lychee.

Holy Gelato! (1392 9th Avenue)

Can you get any weirder than durian and lychee ice cream flavours? The answer is yes. Holy Gelato!, home to deliciously popular gelato, has a goat cheese flavour. If you create it, people will come. What's popular: Irish Morning. What you should get: Goat Cheese.

Photo by Thomas Hawk / CC BY

Da Nang calls for tourism investment during APEC 2017 week

The central city of Da Nang has called for investment in nine projects in tourism and entertainment worth an estimated 500 million USD during the APEC Economic Leaders' Week.

The city said it wants the development done as Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and Build-Own-Operate (BOO) models.

Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Nguyen Xuan Binh said that the business forum was a big chance for the city’s tourism industry to show its power and potential for cooperation and investment.

He said a horse-racing project, planned on 500,000sq.m in Cam Le district, was the biggest project with a proposed investment capital of 200 million USD, while Ngu Hanh Son (Marble Mountains) Cultural and Historical Park has called for investment of 87 million USD.

Binh said the city also called for investment in the first underground shopping centre on Son Thuy Beach in coastal Ngu Hanh Son district with a proposed 40 million USD.

“We call for investment from foreign investors during our promotions in the Republic of Korea, Japan and Europe. The city will ensure favourable conditions for investors with flexible policies and positive support as well as administrative reform,” Binh said.

“The city also has an eye on calling local and foreign investment in a cruise port and piers, public parks, an international cuisine centre and a dog-race arena,” he said.

Binh said the projects would help turn the city into a centre of tourism, shopping and finance in central Viet Nam as well as a rendezvous of UNESCO-recognised world heritage features such as Hue Monument Complex, Hoi An Town and My Son Sanctuary in Quang Nam province; and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and Son Doong Cave in Quang Binh province.

According to the Da Nang Investment Promotion and Support Agency, Da Nang has attracted 43 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth 60 million USD in the first eight months of this year, 4.6 times the amount for the same period last year.

The city now has 461 FDI projects worth more than 3.6 billion USD, mostly in tourism, services, property and industry.

Da Nang encourages investors in high-tech industries and high-quality services in the form of public-private partnerships (PPP), as well as investment in waste treatment, infrastructure development, and solar and wind power.

Earlier this year, the city listed 68 PPP projects, 22 of them in the high-tech sector. From 2017-20, the city plans to attract investment worth 1.4 billion USD from domestic and foreign businesses.

BALLOT OPENS FOR NYE FIREWORKS HOTSPOT

Roads and Maritime Services is once again giving away tickets to view Australia’s famous New Year’s Eve fireworks from one of the best viewing spots in Sydney.

New Year’s Eve on the Cahill Expressway is the ultimate family friendly site with great entertainment, fun giveaways and a great range of food.

The ballot for the event gives thousands of NSW residents the chance to apply for guaranteed entry into a safe, alcohol-free environment.

Anyone can apply for up to five tickets for either the 9pm or midnight session. The ballot closes at 11.59pm on Monday, 20 November.

Successful applicants will be notified by email on 7 December.

Register here.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Cubby House Kids Club Means Holiday Fun for the Whole Family

Family holidays are fabulous, but finding activities to suit every age demographic during your vacation abroad can be fraught with frustration and anxiety. Wandering around Bali streets in the heat with a push pram or toddler in tow can put paid to the best of plans for retail therapy and is sure to dampen the spirits of the hardiest of travellers.

In search of a stress free break, many holidaymakers with munchkins tend to gravitate toward hotels renowned for their kids clubs only to find that what looked like paradise for pint sized peeps in the brochure was, in reality, little more than a few tired toys, and a ball pit with a babysitter! Sound familiar?

Cue Cubby House Kids Club, a lively and stimulating environment where children can play and learn at the same time. Located at Finns Recreation Club, Cubby House is Bali’s best option for an interactive and entertaining alternative to hiring a babysitter. Ideally for children aged 2 to 12 years, Cubby House provides stress free child care for your kids, keeping them entertained while you get the holiday break you deserve.

Let’s face it, we all adore our kids but everyone needs time out from the tin lids at times, as well as the chance to pursue some simple adult friendly activities. An afternoon around the pool with a cocktail, a massage or even a few hours perusing the shops here in Bali might be exactly what the doctor ordered for mum and dad but try doing that with tiny tots tagging along and keeping a smile on your dial!

Cubby House offers a huge range of toys and activities to keep the kids entertained and occupied. It boasts a supervised play area with a separate toddler zone for 2 to 4 year olds, friendly and experienced English speaking staff, Mac computers, Wii games, a movie theatre and arts & crafts stations along with two outdoor play areas. The centre maintains a good ratio of staff to children, ensuring that your loved ones are under continuous care and attention in a safe a completely secure environment.

No need to pack a lunch box for the kids either. Parents can opt to organise healthy snacks and meals for their children from the menu options provided. Cubby House is open 7 days from 8am until 10pm and kids are welcome to come and play from 1 hour or more. Planning a sightseeing trip to the mountains or the Bukit but don’t want to drag the kids along for hours in the car? Book them in to Cubby House for the day and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy themselves!

Check out their current promo for first time visitors. Present the promotional flyer to Cubby House staff on arrival and you can book one child in for the first hour for free! This offer is available for first time guests from now up until December 24th and then from February 1st - March 31st. While you’re there, ask them about their Multi

Hour Packages for the chance to save on subsequent visits (odds on the kids will want to keep coming back to Cubby House after their first visit!).

Holidays are meant for the whole family to enjoy so it’s important to source entertainment options for everyone - young and old. Make the most of Bali’s best kids club and call them today. Chances are, the only problem you’ll have with your kids at Cubby House is getting them to leave! Find out more about Cubby House Kids Club from their website: cubbyhousekidsclub.com or call them ph: +6285857222942 or +62(362)8483939 to check the cherubs in to Cubby House today!

Cubby House Kids Club

Finns Recreation Club West, Raya Pantai Berawa, Canggu - Bali
+62 361 848 3939 / (WhatsApp) +62 858 5722 2942 cubbyhouse@finnsrecclub.com www.cubbyhousekidsclub.com

Binh Thuan aims to develop sustainable tourism

The south central coastal province of Binh Thuan aims to develop sustainable tourism to become a national and regional tourism attraction.

Apart from deploying measures to diversify tourism services, enhance quality and promote its images, Binh Thuan focuses on boosting cooperation and connectivity in tourism.

According to Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ngo Minh Chinh, the province will continue to work with other localities, including Ho Chi Minh City, Lam Dong, Hanoi, Can Tho to bring more domestic and international visitors to destinations in Binh Thuan.

In addition, improving transport infrastructure is an advantage for Binh Thuan’s tourism. The expanded National Road 1A section running through the province was completed, the construction of Phan Thiet airport and Vinh Tan port is undergone while the Dau Giay – Phan Thiet highway building project will be launched.

According to Nguyen Duc Hoa, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Binh Thuan is a key national tourism destination, with tourism services including resorts, landscapes, sports, spiritual tours and MICE tourism.

The sector contributed about seven percent to provincial GRDP in 2016 and creates thousands of jobs, particularly in rural and coastal areas.

Binh Thuan also has good conditions for socio-economic and cultural exchanges with localities in the southeast, south central and Central Highlands regions. The province also sits among southern tourism hubs, namely Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa province, Da Lat in Lam Dong, HCM City, Ba Ria – Vung Tau province.

It has 192 kilometres of coast with beautiful beaches, landscapes, clean environment, national historical – cultural relics and festivals.

Binh Thuan had by October had 390 tourism projects, worth 63.5 trillion VND (2.79 billion USD), covering 7,400 hectares.

It is home to more than 300 hotels, with 11,000 rooms and over 500 villas and apartments for tourists.

In 2016, the province received 4.5 million tourists, including 300,000 foreigners.

It expects to welcome around seven million tourists by 2020, contributing 10 percent to provincial GRDP.

Autumn in Hiroshima

Autumn is one of the best times of the year to visit and explore Hiroshima. 

There are many scenic places where you can take in the beautiful fall colours all across the prefecture, such as Miyajima Island, Momijidani Park, Sandankyo Gorge, and Buttsuji Temple. 

The Hiroshima fall foliage typically begins in early November. 

You can enjoy the changing seasons in a tranquil atmosphere to the fullest! 

Find out more information about Autumn Leaves:
http://visithiroshima.net/…/seaso…/autumn/autumn_leaves.html

The Auckland Convention Bureau (ACB) News November 2017

Our annual ACB Auckland Showcase Lunch held earlier this month was a resounding success. Over 100 business event organisers joined us at ANZ Viaduct Events Centre to meet with over 30 Auckland-based industry partners who were on show to inspire guests. After some in-depth networking everyone was treated to a beautifully-crafted lunch from The Kitchen c/o SKYCITY, live entertainment including the MC stylings of Dominic Bowden and stunning event styling. The ACB team would like to take this opportunity again to thank our partners on the day- Auckland Conventions Venues & Events, The Events Group, The Production and Music Agency, The Kitchen c/o SKYCITY.

For those that joined us, we hope you came away with meeting some fantastic suppliers who are sure to make your next business event unforgettable. If you’re interested in coming along to next year’s event please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Amy Griffith.

Auckland has proved itself to be a cut above the rest in a bid to host the World Beard & Moustache Championships. Hundreds of facial hair enthusiasts from around the globe will descend on Auckland in 2021 to compete in the most outrageous and highly-styled facial hair competition.

Head of ACB Anna Hayward says: "while this bid was a bit hairier than most, it's another great example of how Auckland's vibrancy and appeal as a destination is making us stand out from other cities to secure exciting and interesting international events like this one.

Thinking about bringing a conference to Auckland? Our international bidding team can help make the process easy with assistance every step of the way. From developing an initial strategy through to implementing a winning bid, you’ll have ACB’s expertise, connections and resources at your fingertips. Get in contact with our team today!

Lisa Edser, Manager International Bidding

Reopening of Japanese resort on the main island of Honshu

SkiJapan.com has teamed up with an Australian Snowsports Direct who has been selected to operate an International Ski School at the Lotte Arai Resort that's re-opening mid-December.

Tom Langtry is very excited about the reopening of Lotte Aria Resort (previously known as Arai Mountain Resort and Spa) after it was closed for more than 11 years. It is very close to his Snowsports School at Myoko Kogen where he employs instructors from about seven or eight different countries.\

An extension of the main train route from Tokyo via Nagano is another plus for Australian skiers and snowboarders seeking an alternative to the popular snow resorts on the main island of Honshu. The Joetsu-Myoko Station is about a 15-minute Free shuttle to the Lotto Arai Resort.

Another addition to the resort’s attributes, apart from the refurbishment of its well-located hotels, is an expansion of non-groomed inbound terrain that offers superb opportunities to schuss untracked powder Japan is so famous for.

Its proximity to the coast ensures an abundance of fresh powder during the winter season—perhaps even more so than Myoko Kogen which is further inland. For whatever reason this resort closed back in 2006 it wasn’t a lack of snow.

SkiJapan.com is offering packages at The Arai (149 rooms) and The Lodge (108 rooms) two key properties at Lotte Arai Resort from $2094 per person from 13 January. Package includes seven nights accommodation, a six-day ski pass and five days JR East Rail Pass.

Tom Langtry's Snowsports School will provide a Free fifth full day private (value about $625) if four previous days are booked. Or for kids, a fifth day will be Free (value about $150), if four previous days are bought.

For more resort details http://www.skijapan.com/resorts/arai/

Tickets are fast selling out for the 2017 Women in Travel Awards, presented by Intrepid Group

Join us for the night to celebrate exceptional women at the annual Travel Weekly Women in Travel Awards!

The Women in Travel Awards will be held at the picturesque Doltone House - Darling Island Wharf, on Monday the 27th November 2017.

Purchase your tickets today to avoid disappointment.

Awards: Doors open 6.30pm - event concludes at 10:30pm.

This program recognises those exceptional women who have achieved success in their professional arenas and celebrates their invaluable contribution through their leadership, innovation and courage to their industry.

SAN FRANCISCO NIGHTLIFE BY NEIGHBORHOOD

There’s no doubt that there’s so much to see and do in San Francisco that visitors and residents alike could spend weeks exploring and still not see or do it all. But what about activities when the sun goes down? San Francisco has the nightlife to match its variety of daytime attractions. If you’re looking to explore the City by the Bay after hours, head to one or all of these San Francisco neighbourhoods.

The Best Neighborhood for Cocktails: Union Square

Union Square is the neighbourhood for those amazing, delicious cocktails made by "experts" and look no further than Hawthorn, which offers a full craft cocktail menu as well as signature favourites, lovingly prepared by some of the cities finest mixologists to kick off your night. Your first glance at the Pacific Cocktail Haven drink menu will tell you that you’re in for something extraordinary here. For example, the Oh Snap! features gin, absinthe, sherry, citrus, tonic, and sugar snap peas—not your usual combination. Benjamin Cooper touts its “hand-crafted cocktails and fresh oysters,” and typically serves up eight different choices of the first and three different choices of the latter. Burritt Room + Tavern melds fun and authenticity with a list of 16 cocktails you’ll need to peruse more than once.

FIND UNION SQUARE HOTELS

The Best Neighborhood for Dive Bars: Mission

You’re bound to rub elbows with locals at these unpretentious dive bars in the Mission neighbourhood. The 500 beckons with a vintage neon sign, keeps you with cheap drinks and a jukebox, and comes by dive bar status naturally with graffiti-laden bathroom walls. Likely the home of one of the few phone booths left in the city, this dive bar boasts cheap beer—both bottled and on tap—and a well-worn pool table. Bender’s Bar and Grill slings bar food as well as drinks, and has two pool tables and a photo booth. Its outside patio is nothing to write home about, allowing it to keep its dive bar cred.

FIND MISSION DISTRICT HOTELS

The Best Neighborhood to Dance the Night Away: SoMa

SoMa has so many dance clubs, you’ll want to hit them all. Start at DNA Lounge, where the music’s a mix of DJ beats and live bands, ranging from punk to rockabilly to pop and more. Cat Club’s got two dance floors and a go-go cage, and a versatile menu of '80s music including goth, new wave, pop and electro. Cabaret nightclub, Oasis offers guest appearances by cabaret and performing artists, live music acts, amazing DJs, while Mezzanine opens weeknights for high-intensity hot yoga with music. Its weekend nights continue the intensity with epic dance parties featuring pop, punk, rap and more. Audio DiscoTech was designed to give you an otherworldly sound experience, and its spring-loaded dance floor will keep you moving all night.

FIND SOMA HOTELS

The Best Neighborhood for a Performance and a Nightcap – Civic Center/Hayes Valley

A majority of San Francisco’s performance halls are located in this neighbourhood. Go to Davies Symphony Hall to hear the San Francisco Symphony, as well as guest orchestras and a classic film series accompanied by music. If you like arias with your instruments, try the San Francisco Opera, located in the historic War Memorial Opera House, and entertaining visitors since 1923. Jazz lovers will delight in the new SFJAZZ Center, where an ever-changing calendar of jazz performances runs the gamut of the genre. The San Francisco Ballet season runs January through May, with performances of "The Nutcracker" in December. Theatre fans can take in a show at either SHN's Orpheum or Golden Gate theatres, or, for a unique, mind-bending sound-space experience, try out Audium.

End a night of arts and culture with a nightcap at a classy place like Noir Lounge or White Chapel. Noir will make you feel like you stepped into a 1920s lounge, complete with piano playing or black-and-white noir films being shown. Gin, and only gin, is on the drink menu at White Chapel, which offers the largest gin selection in North America. Step inside and be transported to an underground Tube station somewhere in East London.

FIND CIVIC CENTER/HAYES VALLEY HOTELS

The Best Neighborhood to Grab a Microbrew – Richmond/Presidio

San Francisco has its fair share of bars serving microbrews, and the Richmond/Presidio neighborhood—home of the Fort Point Brewing Company—features two of the best. Sessions at the Presidio is a great place for some early nightlife, since its latest closing is 10 p.m. from Thursday through Saturday. It’s worth the visit for a daily menu of around 25 microbrews that change daily, as well as its daily beer flight of three five-ounce pours. Sessions also has a standing menu of nearly 90 craft beers and ciders available by the bottle. The Richmond Republic Draught House is a neighbourhood sports bar with more than 20 craft beers on tap, and each pour priced at $5-8. If you’ll be visiting often, become a member of the Mug Club and get $1 off beer, with free beer on Tuesdays.

FIND RICHMOND/PRESIDIO HOTELS

The Best Neighborhood to Savor a Glass of Wine – Embarcadero/Financial District

If you prefer to sip your nightlife slowly, this neighbourhood has some distinctive places to enjoy regional wines. The Barrel Room offers more than 50 wines by the glass and flight, with a speakeasy lounge open late. The wines at The Hidden Vine span the globe and encompass a 22-page menu—enjoy them in a comfortable, exposed-brick setting or consider booking the outside bocce court if you prefer some activity with your vino. The Barbarossa Lounge pays homage to the former Bubble Lounge that it replaced with a generous champagne menu, so if you prefer your wine effervescent, pull your chair up here. Enjoy the architecture, as well as the bathroom wallpaper. Serious wine drinkers, or wine drinkers on serious business or a date, should head to Press Club. This retro modern wine bar is one of the only bars in the U.S. to offer rare magnums by the glass, using the patented Coravin system. You have to see, and taste, it for yourself.

FIND EMBARCADERO/FINANCIAL DISTRICT HOTELS

A winning partnership between Staging Connections and Sofitel Sydney Wentworth

Staging Connections has elevated its standing as leaders in the field by securing a brand new contract with the luxurious Sofitel Sydney Wentworth. A part of the acclaimed AccorHotels Group, this is the first time the five-star hotel has chosen to outsource its AV services to a dedicated supplier.

Staging Connections have been discussing opportunities with the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth for over two years, ultimately succeeding thanks to their clear culture fit and client understanding. The Staging Connections team convinced the hotel of its ability to offer value-adding advantages to the hotel’s current set-up, as well as their extensive client service experience.

The Sofitel Sydney Wentworth was the city’s first international five-star establishment, and with its ideal central city location and exceptional conference and meeting facilities, it’s the perfect option for a wide array of corporate events.

The Staging Connections partnership will enable the Sofitel Sydney to offer a far wider range of services than they previously could provide. It also means greater access to resources to support the hotel in delivering larger and more technically-complex events.

Established in the 1800s, the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth features 11 elegant event spaces and a dedicated conference floor within the hotel. The impressive conference floor can accommodate up to 1200 delegates in a variety of specific configurations, from gala dinners and trade shows, to intimate boardroom meetings and teaching seminars.

The heritage-listed hotel offers 436 impeccable rooms, a health club, a stylish French-inspired restaurant and club lounge, all with personable service, in the heart of Sydney’s shopping and business district.

Tim Morgan, Staging Connections’ General Manager of Strategic Partnerships, commends the team for securing such a privileged contract in a highly competitive market.

“Staging Connections are thrilled with this new partnership at the Sofitel Wentworth Sydney and their expert team. We are looking forward to developing new opportunities and delivering our signature outstanding service at this iconic hotel.”