Wednesday, 24 January 2018

American Airlines to offer daily flights from Dallas to Jackson

Snowboarding at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Slated to start in the USA's Spring 2018, a new daily year-round direct flight from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Texas to Jackson, Wyoming will make it more convenient than ever before for Australian and Kiwis - one of Wyoming’s major international markets - to travel to the Cowboy State.

James Scoon, Director of Global Sales and Services for Wyoming Office of Tourism says “Australia has long been one of the top inbound international markets for Wyoming. 

With this new year-round direct flight offering from Dallas to Jackson, it makes Wyoming more accessible for Australian tour operators to visit”.

Australia is also the biggest international market for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

In other news for Jackson Hole watch the first ever mountain bike descent down Corbet’s Couloir.

WYOMING EVENTS:
March 15-18: Rendezvous Festival, Jackson Hole
May 19-20: ElkFest, Jackson Hole
May 25-28: Jackson Hole Old West Days, Jackson Hole
Summer from July 2: Grand Teton Music Festival, Jackson Hole

To see more events click here










Ha Noi expands international cooperation to develop tourism

Ha Noi has signed several cooperation programmes with international partners to promote the capital city’s images abroad.

The cooperation programme with the American Cable News Network (CNN) in 2017-2018 with a total cost of 2 million USD is an example, which aims to build Ha Noi’s tourism brand across the globe and invite foreign investors to develop tourism products in the city.

Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Tran Duc Hai said the city has also stepped up collaboration with international organisations to expand markets, focusing on key and new ones such as the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Southeast Asian and Northeast Asian countries, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Ha Noi’s tourism sector is an active member of the Council for Promotion of Tourism in Asia (CPAT) and the Tourism Promotion Organisation for Asian-Pacific Cities (TPO), he added.

In recent years, Ha Noi has worked with diplomatic representative agencies along with global organisations in the city and Vietnamese embassies while cooperating with airlines and foreign travel companies to develop the tourism market, he noted.

With its advantages, Ha Noi has become one of the most attractive destinations in the region.

Ha Noi made the top 10 on the world’s fastest growing travel destinations list with a 16.4 percent annual growth rate in 2009-2016, according to the MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index 2017.

In 2017, Ha Noi welcomed a record number of 4.95 million international tourists for the first time, up 23 percent against the previous year and surpassing the yearly target by 15 percent.

Strong growth was reported in the Northeast Asian market, including China, the Republic of Korea, and Japan, along with European, Southeast Asian, North American and Australian markets.

The capital expected to serve 5.5 million foreign holidaymakers in 2018.
Source: VNA

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

A FAIR DINKUM BBQ SCREENING AT MOONLIGHT CINEMA THIS AUSTRALIA DAY



Celebrate Australia Day the right way at Moonlight Cinema (presented by NAB), with a special advance screening of the hilarious new comedy,THE BBQ, starring Magda Szubanski and Shane Jacobson.

Round up your mates, pack a sanga sandwhich, bring your Eskies and VB’s for a hilarious Australia Day outing with the unapologetically Aussie movie, THE BBQ. After a barbecue goes wrong, Dazza (Jacobson) seeks out the mentorship of a tyrannical, Scottish chef (Szubanski), ominously named ‘The Butcher’ and enters an international barbecue competition.

On gorgeous green lawns in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, Moonlight Cinema brings a relaxed festival atmosphere to film-watching.

Being a BYO event*, Moonlight Cinema is a low-cost, easy night out for everyone. If you’re too busy to BYO, don’t stress, Moonlight can provide you with everything you need – hot food, drinks, snacks and bean-bed rentals. For the luxury experience, Moonlight’s Gold Grass reserved bean-beds are in a premium viewing location and include a waiter service – perfect for spoiling yourself or someone special.

*BYO Alcohol prohibited at Moonlight Cinema Brisbane

WHAT: The BBQ screening at Moonlight Cinema
WHEN: Friday, 26 January 2018
WHERE:
  • Adelaide - Botanic Park 
  • Melbourne - Central Lawn at Royal Botanic Gardens 
  • Brisbane - New Farm Park at Brisbane Powerhouse 
  • Sydney - Belvedere Amphitheatre in Centennial Park 

WEBSITE: https://www.moonlight.com.au/season-guide/true-blue-aussie-day-moonlight/

Jamaica, the Land of Film

If Jamaica were an actor she would have appeared in more than one hundred and forty-one films. 

The list of movies where the name Jamaica plays a prominent part is probably closer to two hundred. 

This book chronicles over one hundred years of international film making in Jamaica from 1910, and provides many previously unpublished details of locations, actors and directors. 

As such, Jamaica, the Land of Film provides a comprehensive history which will be of great interest to all cinema aficionados and fans of Caribbean history.

Tour http://www.jamaicalandoffilm.com/

Phil Hall Radio Show https://soundcloud.com/onlinemovieshow/jamaica-in-film

Biography

Peter Polack is a graduate of the Norman Manley Law School and the University of the West Indies, where he was co-founder of the Amnesty International campus group. He has previously served as a rapporteur of the International Bar Association and was Co-Founder and first Treasurer of the Caymanian Bar Association. He has practised criminal law in the Cayman Islands for over 30 years. His book The Last Hot Battle of the Cold War: South Africa vs. Cuba in the Angolan Civil War was published in 2013, and he was a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Warfare (2013). His article “Syria: The Evolution Revolution” was published in the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center magazine in June 2014. His work as an artist, entitled The Confinement Assemblage, inspired by his experience with youthful offenders, is on permanent display at Northward Prison in the Cayman Islands. Polack has also worked as a part-time reporter for Reuters News Agency in the Cayman Islands since 2014, reporting mostly on the Cuban migrant crisis in the Caribbean.

https://www.amazon.com/Peter-Polack/e/B00BX13VUQ

BLUE MOUNTAINS WELCOMES THE 1920s

Roaring 20s Festival
The world-famous Hydro Majestic Hotel will go back in time next month for the Roaring 20s Festival.

On 24 and 25 February, guests will arrive in gangster and flapper costumes to take part in a series of 1920s themed events.

The weekend begins with the Charleston Challenge for Charity, which will work up an appetite for the Majestic Long Lunch, later in the day.

At the Gangster Casino Charity Night, visitors can play blackjack, poker, roulette and the money wheel run by casino-trained croupiers.

Other events over the weekend include sightseeing tours of art deco landmarks of Katoomba and Leura in a 1929 Cadillac LaSalle, themed high teas in the Wintergarden Restaurant and history tours of the world-famous hotel.

The Roaring 20s Festival is on in the Blue Mountains from 2 to 27 February 2018.

For the full program of events, visit the official festival website and go to Visitnsw.com for more ideas on things to see and do in the region.

Da Lat cherry blossom festival to return this month

A cherry blossom festival will return to Tuyen Lam Lake in Da Lat city of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong from January 26-28.

A ceremony will be held at Sacom Resort on the peninsula of the Tuyen Lam Lake at 8:30 am on January 27 to kick off the festival and to announce the recognition of Tuyen Lam National Resort and Da Lat city as ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City.

A variety of event will take place not only at the Tuyen Lam National Resort but across the city during the three-day festival, including art performances, musical fountain shows, a golf tournament, a Gong music night and an exhibition of classic cars.

The festival aims to promote a local cherry-like apricot – Mai Anh Dao – known as the city’s floral emblem. The flower blooms in pink in the first months of the year to welcome the spring. The trees mostly grow in Da Lat city and forests in Lac Duong district.

“I have never seen cherry blossom as beautiful as this year. The flowers started to bloom at the beginning of January and in such a cool weather, they will last until early February,” said Nguyen Xuan Thanh, Director of the Tuyen Lam National Resort and head of the festival organising board.

Da Lat won the ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City at the ASEAN Environmental Award in Brunei in July last year.

Source: VNA

Fraser Island attracts global attention

A video of Fraser Island has attracted more than 930,000 views since mid-December on a Facebook page dedicated to places that instantly inspire people to say "bring me".

Watch the video

Two- Nation Vacation: American and Canadian Rockies Loop Tour

Glacier National Park
The Rockies is the longest Mountain range in North America and stretches from New Mexico to the north of British Columbia.

Travellers can expect an abundance of adventure in some of the most diverse and beautiful regions of the U.S.A and Canada with numerous national parks, forests, hot springs, wildlife, authentic western history and cultural experiences on offer. 

The Canadian Rockies and American Rockies Two Nation Vacation Loop Tour incorporates historic and iconic sights on a 7-day itinerary through northwest Montana, British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.

Read up on the top 10 reasons to visit The Rockies.

MONTANA EVENTS:
February 8-11: Big Sky Big Grass Festival, Big Sky Resort
July 27-August 4: Montana State Fair, Great Falls
August 2-5: Magic City Blues Festival, Billings
August 15-20: 2018 Crow Fair Celebration Powwow and Rodeo, Crow Agency

To see more events click here

Australians Invited to be Part of History on Queen Elizabeth

Australian travellers have the opportunity to be part of Queen Elizabeth’s history-making season Down Under next year, with cruises ranging from two to 18 nights on offer.

Cunard says there is still some availability on Queen Elizabeth during her record two-month deployment in local waters next year, giving Australians a wonderful opportunity to experience the timeless elegance of the luxury cruise line’s youngest ship across a selection of itineraries.

Carrying 2080 guests, the 90,900-tonne Queen Elizabeth will be based in Sydney and Melbourne between February and April 2019 – the longest deployment Down Under for any of Cunard’s current fleet of Queens.

Fares start from $649* per person twin share in a private balcony stateroom for a two-night voyage from Melbourne to Sydney, departing March 30, 2019.

Travellers with more time on their hands can enjoy an 18-night round trip cruise from Melbourne exploring New Zealand and Tasmania, with fares for a private balcony stateroom priced from $5099* per person twin share. Departing Melbourne on March 12, 2019, Queen Elizabeth will visit historic Hobart and Port Arthur before sailing across the Tasman for calls to Picton, Dunedin and Akaroa as well as an overnight stay in Wellington and scenic cruising through Marlborough Sounds and Fiordland.

Other cruises on offer include: · A three-night one way cruise from Sydney to Melbourne, departing March 9, 2019 and priced from $999 per person twin share in a private balcony stateroom
  • A 16-night one way trip cruise from Brisbane to Yokohama, Japan, departing April 3, 2019 and priced from $4549* per person twin share in a private balcony stateroom
  • A six-night round trip cruise from Melbourne to Tasmania, departing March 12, 2019 and priced from $1649* per person twin share in a private balcony stateroom.

The second largest Cunarder to sail the world’s oceans, Queen Elizabeth’s features include more than 10 restaurants and cafes, a Games Deck featuring paddle tennis, croquet and bowls, a two-storey library, a ballroom and a three-deck Royal Court Theatre seating 800 guests and offering private boxes.

For more information and bookings, contact your travel consultant, call Cunard on 132494 or visit www.cunard.com.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Mark Philippoussis and Goran Ivanišević Warm Up for the Australian Open Tennis Legends Tournament on P&O Cruises’ Pacific Eden

Mark Philippoussis and Goran Ivanišević warm up for this weekend's Australian Open Tennis Legends Tournament on P&O Cruises’ Pacific Eden which is carrying over 1200 guests who sailed from Sydney to Melbourne for the first Grand Slam of the year.

It is nearly 20 years to the day since the duo last played each other at the Wimbledon Quarter Finals in 1998 and 15 years since Philippoussis lost the US Open Final to five-time Australian Open Champion, current title holder and this year’s tournament favourite, Roger Federer.

Philippoussis and Ivanišević are part of a legendary line-up of tennis greats starring on P&O’s Australian Open Cruises which will bring more than 3500 guests from Sydney to Melbourne for the sporting event of the summer.

The five-night cruises offer a packed onboard program that provides tennis fans with access to some of the world’s best players and tickets to all the action of the first Grand Slam of the year.

TAMWORTH CELEBRATES COUNTRY MUSIC

Image credit: Tao Jones
The 2018 Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth is now underway, with many of Australia’s most celebrated country music superstars performing over the next 10 days as part of the largest music festival in the country, featuring more than 700 performers and 2,800 shows, across 120 venues.

The Opening Night Concert features Judah Kelly, Travis Collins, Aleyce Simmonds, the 2018 Academy of Country Music Graduates.

The centrepiece of the festival is the Golden Guitar Awards on 27 January, featuring a concert of the cream of Australian country music stars.

Other highlights include 600 buskers along Peel Street, the Star Maker talent quest for Australia’s next big country music artist, and the famous Cavalcade street parade.

The Toyota Country Music Festival, Tamworth is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Sydney Opera House hosts Faulty Towers The Dining Experience for seventh season

  • Faulty Towers The Dining Experience – Sydney Opera House, 21-25 March 2018
  • The internationally acclaimed comedy returns for a seventh season
Featuring Basil, Sybil and Manuel dishing up a 3-course meal, this 5-star show is full to the brim with madness and mayhem. Expect the unexpected and ‘laugh until you cry through two riotous hours of food, wine and impeccable comic timing’ (TheGreatAussieBite). Chaos reigns right from the start in a fully immersive experience that is 70% improvised. Perfect for comedy fans, theatre fans, or anyone who just fancies a fun night out.

Back in Sydney with an all-star cast, the 2018 run also introduces our ongoing commitment to fundraising for The Humour Foundation’s Clown Doctors programme of Clown Doctors. Andy Foreman (our very own Clown Doctor) returns to the House as Manuel, having won 5-star reviews there in 2013 and 2016. Joining him are UK actors Luke McGibney and Rhiân McLean as they make their Sydney Opera House debuts, fresh from London’s West End via Fringe World Perth and Adelaide Fringe.

* Performer biogs are on the Actors page at www.torquaysuitetheatre.com

- ‘Flawless, and I mean flawless.’ The Advertiser, Adelaide Fringe 2017
- ‘Genius’ Cream Magazine, Fringe World Perth 2017

Experience The Experience at SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE 2018

Venue: Utzon Room — Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney 2000
Dates: 21-25 March 2018
Times:
- dinner performances Wednesday-Saturday at 7:30pm. Doors at 7pm.
- lunch performance Sunday at 12.30pm. Doors at 12 noon.
Tickets – all tickets include 3-course meal and 2-hour interactive show:
- Wednesday & Thursday dinner $149.00 pp.
- Friday & Saturday dinner $195.00.
- Sunday lunch $179.00.

All bookings and info: bookings@sydneyoperahouse.com | (+61) 02 9250 7777 | www.sydneyoperahouse.com
Direct link: https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/content/soh/events/whats-on/theatre/2018/faulty-towers-the-dining-experience.html#Content--1640207497

CELEBRATE AUSTRALIA DAY IN NSW

Visitors to NSW will be met with an exciting line-up of events and experiences over the upcoming Australia Day long weekend.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said, “The Australia Day long weekend is a great opportunity to explore NSW and discover the unique events, hidden gems and exciting experiences on offer.”

“NSW offers a diverse range of exciting long weekend activities, be it road tripping and beach hopping on the South Coast, an epic hiking challenge in the Snowy Mountains or leisurely exploring the State’s cellar doors and boutique providores in the Hunter Valley.”

Take the 100 Beaches Challenge, hire a houseboat on the Murray, drive the Waterfall Way, picnic on top of Mount Kosciusko or enjoy the Hunter Valley grape harvest.

Sydney will also be a hive of activity with fantastic events around the city, including live music, harbour parades, gourmet food trucks and awe-inspiring fireworks.

There will be family entertainment on offer with two Wiggles concerts at Darling Harbour, supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW – plus, an all-star line-up of Aussie talent at the Australia Day 2018 – Live at Sydney Opera House concert.

To view the full Australia Day 2018 program, visit www.australiaday.com.au.

A flight over Canterbury with one of New Zealand's top balloonists

Ballooning is best at dawn when the weather
is calmest – the beautiful morning light makes 
it worth sacrificing a bit of sleep.
Floating effortlessly over the Canterbury Plains with a basket full of tourists is how Ballooning Canterbury owner Michael Oakley likes to start the day. “Welcome to my office,” he says, rising above the paddocks at sunrise, with views across the fertile plains to the Southern Alps.

Oakley, a fifth-generation Hororata farmer, first tried ballooning in 1997. Already an experienced glider pilot, he says he enjoyed the challenge of mastering the oldest form of human flight and dreamt about one day owning a commercial ballooning company.

In 2010, Oakley and his wife, Kate, were at a crossroads. They could either invest in some much-needed expensive machinery on their potato farm (an industry they were losing confidence in) or buy their own balloon.

Michael’s passion for flying trumped harvesting potatoes and soon they were ordering their first balloon from Bristol, England – a 275,000 cubic foot beauty, custom designed right down to the red leather basket.

The new balloon arrived not long before the Christchurch earthquake, a time of massive disruption, so it wasn’t until 2012 that Ballooning Canterbury really took off. The business now operates year-round using three modern balloons, all made at the Cameron Balloon Factory in Bristol using finely-woven, silicon-coated material.

Michael says Ballooning Canterbury has always been a family affair – something that is true now more than ever.

His 24-year-old son, Nicholas, came on board as a second pilot at the end of last year. Kate is the administration, booking and accounts department and their daughter manages the company’s social media and website.

Nicholas started going up in hot air balloons at age four – not able to see out of the basket, and showed an interest in flying at 10. By 12, he was flying solo. “I didn’t mind but his mum was pretty nervous about it," says Michael. "He went on to fly gliders at 14 and went solo in powered planes at 16.”

The plan is for Nicholas to become chief pilot so his father can spend the New Zealand winter flying balloons in Kenya. For now, flying together creates a healthy rivalry. “There’s always a bit of competitiveness. We try to land in each other’s paddock and that’s really good because it improves our skills.”

Michael says Ballooning Canterbury's relationship with local farmers, essentially an “open gate policy”, is crucial to the business and having a farming background helps. He knows the lay of the land from 10 years as an agricultural spray contractor in the area and avoids certain paddocks during different stages of the cropping cycle.

“When we first started out we identified some of the major areas we’d be landing in and took the farmers for a ride,” Michael says. “There’s probably no other balloon company in the world that has such a strong relationship with so many farmers." If the farmers don't see a balloon for a week or so, "they start asking questions".

Ballooning Canterbury can fly more days than other New Zealand operators, which Michael says is due to the company's location and his understanding of weather systems from farming and many years of aviation.

He and Nicholas assess the weather before dawn by releasing a helium balloon into the darkness with an LED light attached to it. “We watch it drift up to the night sky and from that we get a pretty good idea what the winds are doing between the ground and 2000 feet.”

Michael also forecasts the weather for his glider club every week and farmers sometimes ring him up with weather-related questions, like when to cut their hay and when to spray their paddocks. "They call me Mr Met Man.”

An extensive aviation record

Michael has won numerous national ballooning events throughout the country and has represented New Zealand overseas.
The ballooning experience is hands-on
He is also a keen glider pilot with 32 years’ experience, having represented New Zealand in two world championships.

Nicholas is a New Zealand balloon champ and shares his father’s enthusiasm for gliders. Together, they are New Zealand’s two-seater glider champs.

Nicholas flew in the under-25 world gliding championships in Lithuania last year, finishing in the top third of his field.

What to expect with Ballooning Canterbury

  • Hot air balloon rides with Ballooning Canterbury are approximately one hour, so allow four hours for the whole experience.
  • Prepare to get up early as it is usually an early start and Hororata is a 40-minute drive from Christchurch.
  • Ballooning is best at dawn when the weather is calmest – the beautiful morning light makes it worth sacrificing a bit of sleep.
  • After a safety briefing, you’ll be encouraged to help the pilot and crew with pre-flight inflation.
  • You’ll also be asked to help with packing up after the flight. When you land you’ll be served a light snack of seasonal fruit, muffins, champagne and orange juice.
  • For more information, click here.

Friday, 19 January 2018

TROPFEST ANNOUNCES: ACADEMY AWARD WINNER SUSAN SARANDON TO HEAD THE JURY ABC TO HOST THE LIVE BROADCAST

Tropfest Australia, supported by foundation partner CGU Insurance, is today announcing two exciting developments to this year’s event - Academy Award winner and five-time Emmy nominated actress, Susan Sarandon, will head the Tropfest Australia 2018 Jury. For the first time, the ABC will be the exclusive broadcast partner.

Susan Sarandon, fresh off a Golden Globe nomination for Feud (2017), is known for critically acclaimed performances in classic films Bull Durham(1988), Thelma & Louise (1991), Dead Man Walking (1995), The Lovely Bones (2009) and so much more. Sarandon will take part in a star-studded week of festivities which culminates in the Tropfest ‘main event’ on Saturday 17 February at Parramatta Park.

“I love Australia and am extremely excited to be coming to Sydney in February for Tropfest,” said Sarandon. “There is an enormous amount of film talent down under, so I’m looking forward to watching all of these amazing short films showcasing Australia’s vibrant diversity.”

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have Susan Sarandon, a true cinematic legend, head the Tropfest jury this year,” said Tropfest Founder and Executive Chair John Polson. “It’s not every day an Oscar winner sits down to watch your short film, so I know our finalists will be beside themselves with excitement.”

This year the ABC will broadcast the Tropfest main event live on its new channel, ABC COMEDY. The event will also be shown on ABC iview and the ABC COMEDY Facebook page and ABC COMEDY YouTube channel globally. It’s the first year the ABC has partnered with Tropfest to bring the event straight to those watching wherever they may be. The partnership celebrates the ABC’s commitment to telling diverse Australian stories, and championing the filmmakers behind them.

John Polson said “ABC has been absolutely crucial in cultivating independent Australian arts and culture over the years, so we can’t think of anyone else we’d rather partner with on our live national broadcast. With ABC on board, our Finalists can now look forward to their films being enjoyed by thousands more enthralled Trop fans. This is a great day for Tropfest!”

ABC’s Director of Television, David Anderson said “Tropfest promises to be an amazing event this year, and we are incredibly excited to partner with Tropfest Australia to bring the unique talents of new and emerging Australian filmmakers to our television audiences.”

The broadcast will air on February 17 on ABC COMEDY and will capture the black-carpet arrivals, interviews with the filmmakers and celebrity guests, as well as showcase the final 16 films as they are shown at Parramatta Park. The broadcast and the finalists’ films will also be available on ABC iview after the live event.

Past jurors of Tropfest have included film luminaries such as Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, Liev Schreiber, Cate Blanchett, Naomi Watts, Billy Crudup and George Miller — who heads the Tropfest Advisory Board.

Tropfest is supported by Foundation Partner CGU Insurance, Presenting Partner Melrose Park by PAYCE, Exclusive Automotive Partner Holden and Strategic Partners Western Sydney University, Parramatta Park Trust, and the City of Parramatta. The ABC is the Exclusive Broadcast Partner and YouTube Australia the Live Streaming Partner. Tropfest is also supported by Major Government Partner, Screen Australia.

For festival details, screening venues and regular updates on all things Trop visit:

FAREWELL TO OZ - FINAL WEEKS IN SYDNEY


DON'T MISS OUT, SYDNEY 

FINAL PERFORMANCE 4 FEBRUARY


CAPITOL THEATRE, SYDNEY

'5 STARS' - ETALK CTV
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Knowledge is power: Knowledge Program set to shake up AIME

Provocative and inspiring sessions by industry experts and thought leaders are at the core of the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo’s (AIME) highly anticipated Knowledge Program for 2018.

The AIME Knowledge Program takes an in-depth look at event technology, regional and global industry trends and forecasts, and case studies on techniques to enhance pop culture, destinations, and live events. Presented by industry leaders and local professionals, the program is designed to offer practical skills and insights to benefit growth and understanding in the changing landscape.

Angela Sciacca, Project Manager, AIME, commented on the value of practical sessions presented by peers, which align with the key education themes of AIME; knowledge, connections and experiences.

“We are thrilled to host leading industry professionals, who can share their experiences, and offer insights into current trends and changes expected to impact the MICE industry.

“Knowledge, connections and experiences, are the driving forces behind the program, which draws on the expertise of presenters. With six sessions in total over the two days, attendees will have ample opportunity to dive into the coming trends, and learn from industry stalwarts,” said Ms Sciacca.

The sessions include:
  • Event technology from every angle | Tuesday 20 February, 9.30am
  • Guy ‘Yug’ Blomberg, ReedPOP, Global PAX Content Director and Jonathan Whyman, Event Manager, ReedPOP - From comic cons to video games - behind the scenes of ReedPOP, the world’s biggest pop culture event organisers | Tuesday 20 February, 11.45am
  • Patrick Rush, Global Account Director, American Express Meetings & Events – 2018 Global meetings and events forecast | Tuesday 20 February, 1.35pm
  • Mike Williams, Senior Partner, Gaining Edge – What destinations are doing to Woo business events | Wednesday 21 February, 9.30am
  • Vincent Mehta, Business Development Manager, Cvent - Amplifying the power of live events | Wednesday 21 February, 11.45am
  • Robyn Johnson, CEO, Meetings and Events Australia and Cindy-Lee Bakos, MCI, Conference Manager for the International Transport Systems Congress – The way we live: Technology and events | Wednesday 21 February, 1.35pm

Guy ‘Yug’ Blomberg, Global PAX Content Director, ReedPOP, and expert in event trends and niche markets said that there are opportunities for event organisers to break away from the norm.

“We’re all constantly looking for ways to make our events more exciting, unique, and engaging. How can you look at your show from a different angle, explore crazy opportunities while mitigating risk, or connect with delegates, attendees, and suppliers in, credible and authentic ways? We’re excited to share a behind-the-scenes look at ReedPOP at AIME 2018 that will hopefully encourage, motivate, and inspire you,” said Mr Blomberg.

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

For more information visit: aime.com.au/whatson/Event-Programme

Register for free: aime.com.au/free-registration-for-aime

New guided tour showcases Christchurch street art

A mural by French artist Tilt,
 best viewed from a carpark near Christchurch Casino
As buildings came down in post-quake Christchurch, artists saw opportunity through destruction and found places to leave their mark. As new walls emerge in the rebuild, so too does more art – from inspiring large murals through to small, entertaining “interventions” or paintings.

Christchurch's vibrant street art and mural scene has become a strong element of the city's identity, having gained wide exposure through public events and local and international media. It’s now easy to fill an afternoon with a self-guided tour of the city streets to take it all in – by foot or bicycle. But if you want to go deeper and learn more about the individual works and artists behind them, try a 1.5-hour guided tour through the CBD with Watch This Space.

Watch This Space aims to inspire people to look at things a bit differently as they take in the ever-changing cityscape. The tour uses some of the city’s biggest murals as marking points, exploring why, when and how they were created. “Often the term street art is now tied into large-scale murals – those massive, beautiful, colourful, vibrant sort of additions,” says tour guide Dr Reuben Woods. “But the roots of this culture come from a much more underground and subversive engagement with the urban landscape.” Woods, an art historian and art writer, is well qualified for the role of tour guide. Heck, he even has a PhD in the subject. Appreciating street art is not just about staring up at huge masterpieces, he says, but also looking “down and around”. The act of leaving one’s mark on an area – from cave drawings to contemporary muralism, is “something that has been occurring basically throughout time. You’ll find graffiti in some of the most out of the way and obscure places. Sometimes we miss things if we are not looking".

The walking tour starts outside Canterbury Museum – a neo-gothic building by the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Woods says it’s a fitting starting point, as it is “the site of perhaps one of the biggest moments in the city’s post-quake street art explosion”. RISE was a street art exhibition held at the museum in 2012-13, which profiled the best of street art from New Zealand and around the world. It was one of Canterbury Museum’s most successful exhibitions ever, with about a quarter of a million visitors through the door.

A mural by Beastman and Vans The Omega,
displayed in Colombo St as part of RISE festival
For Woods, one of the most striking images from RISE was the banner advertising the exhibition on the front of the museum, which featured a close-up of a can of spray paint discharging a mist of blue aerosol. He was amazed to see “this artistic tool, that for the longest time has also been completely branded with the concept of vandalism, being celebrated on this cultural institution”. A mural by Belgium artist ROA on the outside of the museum was also a big marker in the city’s embrace of muralism. Tucked away, ROA’s work references the museum’s displays with an image of a moa skeleton.

From the museum, the tour traverses the city streets stopping by large murals by artists such as Jacob Yikes, BMD (Andrew J Steel and D-Side), Owen Dippie and Askew. The artworks were commissioned in various ways – some by local government or cultural institutions, others as part of street art festivals and one by a major insurance company.

It is clear that big organisations, including commercial entities, see the value in being associated with “a hip and popular form of art”, Woods says. But despite the artform’s new-found popularity, street artists themselves see every piece as ephemeral. Woods says the works will fade, become obscured or disappear – either by forces of nature, authority or competition between artists.

Just recently, a mural by BMD depicting hundreds of penguins melting with the ice shelf was painted over and Owen Dippie’s much-loved ballerina is now mostly obscured by The Piano. “There’s sort of a natural ability to let go of this when you work in a guerilla style. [Street artists] don’t search for permanence,” Woods says.

Watch This Space’s tour ends in a carpark on Hereford St, which is like an outdoor gallery for Christchurch’s graffiti scene. It is one of the more experimental spaces in the city and features work from a range of well-known local members of the street art community as well as up and coming artists.
A mural by Daek Williams that used to be on the
corner of Colombo and Peterborough Streets
Woods says while street art was once something found in “out of the way, tucked away spaces”, the quakes afforded it a new prominence. It will be interesting to see what happens as a more traditional, “clean” appearance emerges with the rebuild, he says – especially to places like the Hereford St carpark. “It feels like an important expressive creative space for the city but what does officialdom think?”

Watch This Space started about a year ago and as well as walking tours, offers a free interactive map which works on a phone, iPad or computer. It also runs a blog with regular updates and articles delving deeper into the street art scene.

Book a Tour

Tours are every Friday and Saturday from 11am to 12.30pm.
Watch This Space requires a minimum of five people to go ahead.
Tickets are $25 per person, available online through Eventbrite.
For group bookings or any other questions, email tours@watchthisspace.org.nz.

Queensland a world leader in fitness tourism

New research shows Queensland has emerged as a global leader in fitness and wellness tourism, with a report released by the government revealing what drives the world’s most active travelers to ‘bucket list’ endurance events across the state.

The Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland supports a line-up of 17 world-class endurance events stretching from the Gold Coast to Tropical North Queensland and covering everything from triathlon to multi-sport challenges, running, mountain biking and cycling events and ocean swims.

In the countdown to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Acting Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development Shannon Fentiman said the state was proud of its reputation as Australia’s endurance event capital.

“Last year, endurance events on the It’s Live! in Queensland calendar brought 60,000 visitors to the state and generated 430,000 visitor nights,” she said.

“These events were worth more than $100 million to Queensland’s economy in 2017.

“This research shows Queensland is a world leader in this field – there is a growing demand for unique endurance events that athletes can put on their bucket lists.

“Above all, the research tells us Queensland ticks all the boxes for this increasingly active, connected group of travellers, striving to ‘be their best’ and perhaps clocking up a personal best in paradise.

The research, commissioned by Tourism and Events Queensland, was undertaken by Strategic Facts, polling 3695 domestic and international participants in the state’s endurance events.

It was conducted as part of a long-term strategy to better understand what drives these participants to Queensland and ultimately enhancing their experience in the best address on Earth.

The survey also found that 69 per cent of international and interstate participants took a post-event holiday in Queensland with nearly 80 per cent of them rating the holiday extremely highly.

Ms Fentiman said Queensland also offered special kids’ events, family-friendly entertainment and enticer courses, enabling participants of all fitness levels to get involved.

“For anyone thinking about New Year’s resolutions around health and happiness, Queensland is just the place to achieve your personal best,” she said.

“The fact that the majority of the athletes surveyed stayed for a holiday in Queensland after their sporting event just shows what a lucrative market this is.

“We know events are important drivers of visitation to Queensland. Our tourism industry is now worth $25 billion and supports more than 225,000 jobs.

“That’s why the Palaszczuk Government has been relentless in its support of events for Queensland – this is having a direct economic impact on our great state.

“Our events portfolio continues to grow. Last year it was worth $600 million and this year it’s tipped to be worth around $780 million.”

Endurance events supported by the It’s Live! In Queensland events calendar can be accessed here: www.queensland.com/events/endurance-events

For a summary of the report please visit: www.teq.queensland.com/research-and-insights/economics-and-specialised-reports/endurance-events

Thursday, 18 January 2018

KATRINA RETALLICK SET TO HOST SING-A-LONG-A SOUND OF MUSIC’S HISTORIC 17TH YEAR

Tickets On Sale NOW and Selling FAST for the State Theatre’s Longest-Running Live Musical

One of Australia’s foremost stage performers Katrina Retallick has been confirmed to host her third Sing-a-long-a-Sound of Music when the State Theatre’s longest running live musical returns to Sydney next month.

“We are thrilled to welcome Katrina back as our celebrity host. Our event is all about crowd participation, and Katrina injects a great sense of fun, authenticity and drama into her role – which always helps to take the interactive experience to a whole new level,” said Dale Harrison, Co-Owner and Director of Tim Woods Entertainment

Sing-a-long a Sound of Music returns to the State Theatre for a historic 17th year on February 17, 2018, with tickets to a matinee (1.00pm) and evening (7.30pm) show both on sale now.

The iconic city venue will come to life with an audience of nuns with brown paper packages tied up with string, girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, deer (female deer of course), goats and goat herders, and even The Alps themselves.

“I love helping to bring the magic of the world’s all-time most successful musical alive with so many different generations of film, musical and theatre lovers,” said Katrina Retallick.

“The audience is always fantastic, interactive and enthusiastic. Most of them come in amazing – and sometimes hilarious - costumes and completely get into the spirit of things, and I get to choose the best costume winner!

“They raise the roof with their sing-a-longs, and some of the audience have been coming year after year. We’ve even had wedding proposals at the event!”

Tickets to the event are available at:
http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/SingALongA-Sound-of-Music-tickets/artist/969762

Presented up on the big screen in all of its technicolour glory with song sub-titles to accompany each unforgettable song, Sing-A-Long–A Sound of Music offers up an immersive bucket-list spectacle for stage-destined musical belters, avid fans and secret shower singers alike to pay rousing homage to the 1965 Julia Andrews classic.

VENUE: State Theatre, Sydney
DATES: Saturday 17 February 2018 at 1pm & 7.30pm
BOOKINGS: http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/SingALongA-Sound-of-Music-tickets/artist/969762
WEBSITE: www.singalonga.net
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/singalonga.australasia

Looking for skiing/snowboarding trip in Japan?

Shinano town located in the northern part of Nagano pref offers two great snow resorts: “Tangram Ski Circus” and “Kurohime Kogen Snow Park”.

The “Kurohime Kogen Snow Park” spreads over the foot of Mt.Kurohime and has well designed terrains for beginners, intermediates and experts with 100% natural snow. Families with children can also relax at the Kid’s designated area. The resort also has high quality terrain park for experts and CAT tour for night cruising.

"Tangram ski circus" has ski slopes that spread over the foot of Mt. Madarao. Well known for being fully equipped with family friendly facilities, the Kids & Beginner Park with the addition of full-scale snow activities including snowmobiling and snow rafting, it is a versatile resort with enhanced facilities and services for both kids and adults. Tangram is connected to Madarao Kogen Ski Area, and with the use of the Mount Pass, you can enjoy a vast range of ski slopes with 30 terrains. For those who want to gorge on perfect powder snow, “Tangram Ski Circus” offers the Powder Tree Skiing Trails where you can ski among the trees.

Shinanomachi is also close to the Myoko Akakura Area in Niigata prefecture, making it more appealing to stay at the town to enjoy both skiing districts.

http://www.shinanomachi-nagano.jp/
https://www.tangram.jp/eng/
http://kurohime-kogen.co.jp/snow/

How Destination Marketing Organisations Can Better Defend Their Budgets

Don’t wait for budget kick-back to happen. Here’s how to be better prepared with data and arguments so you can retain valuable destination marketing budget

It’s brutal reality. Many destination marketing organisations (DMOs) are now tasked with doing more with a lot less money. Marketing money is tight most places. US States are facing dramatic budget cuts. (Brand USA may even be scrapped.) Visit Britain has suffered years of cuts. There are many examples around the world.

So what can DMOs do to better manage the process?

Having worked closely with DMOs over the years, MyTravelResearch.com believes it’s time for destination marketers to quietly review their budget defence assumptions and techniques. It’s not just about this year or next year. It’s a long-term strategic issue.

Having looked across the range of successful strategies and talked to a variety of DMOs from national tourism organisations to local government areas, councils and towns, MyTravelResearch.com believes there are three indispensible elements to defending your marketing budget.

We call it the “ACE” strategy.

A is for Allies. Gather Them Around You

The most successful DMOs we have seen have a network of people to support them that is both deep (within the visitor economy) and broad (across other sectors).

You need to ask yourself, “Whose views are CFO and public auditors going to respect and trust?” “Who is too important to ignore?” To use a case study from Australia, it was the political clout of the farming sector that helped the tourism industry mitigate the impact of the backpacker tax in 2016-17.

Furthermore, don’t underestimate the importance of the public in this. Call upon as many allies as possible – the public, different sectors, chambers of commerce, NGOs. Build a network of allies with skin in the game.

The Big C: Collaborate With Your Allies

Once you have your network built, speak with one voice. As tourism is a sector with competing destinations and many players – theme parks, attractions, restaurants, nature reserves -- there is a temptation for everyone to put their own spin on the story and try to lead it.

Don’t let that happen. Identify who should lead the message and keep it consistent across stakeholders. Policymakers have told us that it is the industry’s inability to do so that makes it financially vulnerable relative to other sectors of the economy.

E is for Evidence. Master It

Finally, you need to support your allies and your case with firm evidence. What would be the effects of a budget cut? Which of your allies has evidence that might help? How robust is their data? Can you verify it?

But beyond allies and evidence, we’ve found that you need to understand the mindset and concerns of financial controllers if you want to persuade them.

Belief in the value of destination marketing varies a lot amongst legislators and budget controllers. Marketers often have a limited idea about those doubts and concerns. Understanding and speaking to those concerns is vital. Just as with customers, we need to see the process from decision maker’s point of view.

Budget kick-back could happen tomorrow. Plan for it.

It’s not a guaranteed approach, but we have found the three pillars of “ACE” to be most effective when securing or defending a budget. Indeed, an ACE strategy might even help you increase it.

There’s more information on defending destination marketing budgets here. MyTravelResearch.com members can hear me talk through this topic and download an infographic on the key points to keep by their desk. Want to access this? Become an MTR member here.

* By Carolyn Childs, co-founder and strategist, MyTravelResearch.com

Nostalgia Festival – music, food and a dose of yesteryear

Nostalgia Festival invites people to party the day away in an Edwardian-style village on the edge of the Port Hills. ChristchurchNZ spoke to founder Johnny Gibson about the event combining the old and the new – from its heritage park setting and music from New Zealand stalwarts The Chills to fresh brews and cuisine from inventive local foodies.

How would you describe Nostalgia Festival to a stranger sitting next to you on a plane?

It's a replica 1900s township consumed by an indie music, arts and food festival.

What was the motivation behind setting it up five years ago?

I decided a festival was the best way to blend my talents and with nothing to lose, as I had just returned from overseas, I started exploring the city for a unique venue.


What drew you to Ferrymead Heritage Park?

The park is amazing. It delivers a pop-up world where people can really get away from day-to-day life. As soon as I walked in there, I had a flashback to a memory of being there as a child. After a while I realised that other people who grew up in Canterbury probably had the same memories. Plus, the backdrop of the Port Hills is ideal.Johnny Gibson. Image: Nayhauss

How does Nostalgia differ to other New Zealand festivals?

Apart from the venue, I would say we've always been a community event – and by that I mean we have so many passionate people involved showcasing skills, products or ideas. They all become invested in the event and that then spills out into their lives. A key component is that the festival is curated; certain things – like acts and decisions – help create the overall experience.

Has the festival changed or evolved in five years?

We're big on organic growth and that's because for most of us, this is all new and I'm hesitant about biting off more than we can chew. This approach has allowed us to maintain control of the event, which shows in the repeat attendees and the fact we've never had a recorded complaint or incident. So, we've just got bigger acts and better at what we do without changing our values.

What are you looking forward to at this year’s event?

This year we should have just over 4000 people, which is a bit of growth from last year. I'm excited about our new second stage area with RDU that's next to a water feature in the park. We've also got a couple of surprises up our sleeve…

How do you choose the food and drink providers at the festival?

Again, this just evolved organically. We don't really put the call out for vendors, it has always come down to passionate, skilled foodies who just want to get involved. We've had the same core vendors from day one which has been amazing as they've been a big part of the festival's development. Image: Nayhauss

What do you think are our city/region’s best attributes?

For me, it would have to be the Port Hills, Lyttelton, Governors Bay and Banks Peninsula area. It seems to relax and inspire me on every adventure.


Where do you live in Christchurch and what do you like about living in your part of town?

I live on the Riccarton edge of Hagley Park. It has great access to the city and park. But I’m currently planning a move to the Port Hills.

What do you like about living in this city/region overall?

The possibilities for the central city is a big one, I'm really interested and involved in the conversation of where it's going – through our other company Neat Places. Also, having grown up in the Amberley/Waipara region, I love being back out in wine country. I think that area has a huge future in the food and wine producing scene.

Is our city/region different now to what you remember growing up?

Sure is. I think we were so comfortable before, but now – post-quake – I believe we're building a new identity for the region, which will still take some time.

What are your favourite things to do here in your spare time?

Heading over to Banks Peninsula, checking out new businesses in the city and spending time with family and friends.

Where do you go to get a good feed/coffee in the city?

We're spoilt for choice with coffee. The Anchorage, Coffee Embassy and Grain Coffee & Eatery are my daytime haunts. For food, you can't go past Gatherings for an experience in food unlike any other.

What are your hopes for Christchurch in the next few years?

Collaboration between hospitality businesses in the city to create events and new experiences unique to them and the city.


Nostalgia Festival is at Ferrymead Heritage Park on February 10. For tickets or more information, visit the festival website.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

AWARD-SEASON HITS, SING-A-LONGS, AND SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS SWEEP INTO MOONLIGHT CINEMA THIS FEBRUARY

Throughout December and January, Moonlight Cinema, presented by NAB, has entertained crowds on lush lawns in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.

The action, drama and laughs are set to continue this February with a number of advanced screenings,cinematic blockbusters, fan favourites and family films lighting up Moonlight’s silver screen.

See the hottest and most anticipated films of the summer at Moonlight with advanced screenings of the critically acclaimed coming-of-age story, Lady Bird; the sizzling third-chapter of the Fifty Shades trilogy with Fifty Shades Freed; and the heart-wrenching story of an unlikely love-affair between an old Hollywood bombshell and her much younger lover in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.

With the award season upon us, Australia’s favourite and biggest outdoor cinema will present screenings of films that are sure to define 2018, including: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Call Me By Your Name; The Post; Darkest Hour; I, Tonya and All the Money in the World. Catch them all and find out why the critics are raving about these films.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of cult hit Spice World, Moonlight Cinema is hosting a special sing-along screening of the iconic film. For one night only, grab your pals, dress up as your favourite Spice Girl, relive the 90s and head to Moonlight Cinema for a night of non-stop singing of Spice Girls classics while watching the momentous film.

For Sydney-siders only, there will be exclusive pre-screening activities and photo opportunities that will make you really want to go zig-a-zag-ah. Be prepared to laugh, sing and spice up your night with Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger and Posh as they go on a rollercoaster bus-ride through London.

There’s a bunch of other much loved fan-favourite films screening in February including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Dirty Dancing and a sing-along screening of Grease which celebrates 40 years since it was first released in 1978!

The school holidays may be coming to a close but that doesn’t mean the fun needs to stop! Moonlight’s February program continues with a selection of the summer’s best family flix. From the fun and adventure of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle to the stunning and colourful Land of the Dead with the award-winning, animated Mexican musical, Coco. Moonlight’s Family Pass for select G and PG-rated films is just $50, which makes it one of the most affordable outings a family of four can have.

Finally, choose the perfect Valentine’s Day date option - a romantic night under the stars at a special screening of the all-singing and all-dancing - The Greatest Showman.

Being a BYO* event, Moonlight Cinema is a low-cost, easy night out for everyone. If you’re too busy to BYO, don’t stress. Moonlight can provide you with everything you need – hot food, drinks, snacks and bean-bed rentals. For the luxury experience, Moonlight’s Gold Grass reserved bean-beds are in a premium viewing location and include a waiter service – perfect for spoiling yourself or someone special.

On gorgeous green lawns in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, Moonlight Cinema brings a relaxed festival atmosphere to film-watching. Round up some mates, the family, or a hot date, pack a picnic rug and a hamper of homemade goodies and relax under the stars for the quintessential summer cinema experience.

Tickets are on sale now at www.moonlightcinema.com.au

Authentic Melbourne experiences immerse AIME buyers in the culture capital

Ten specially curated City Experiences will immerse Hosted Buyers in Melbourne’s renowned culinary and entertainment scene, and unique urban culture at the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) in February 2018.

Following the success of the City Experiences in 2017, Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) has once again partnered with a selection of venues, accommodation providers and attractions across the business events sector to offer an exclusive selection of tours. The experiences will allow international and domestic event organisers to see first-hand why Melbourne was voted the World’s Most Liveable City for the seventh consecutive year by Economist Intelligence Unit.

Each tour will visit locations to go behind the scenes at Melbourne’s vibrant and distinct venues, and taste the delights of Australia’s food capital. With partners already secured for 2018, Hosted Buyers are set to experience the best of Australiana at Melbourne Zoo; be thrilled at Luna Park; and experience Melbourne’s distinct laneway culture with Hidden Secrets Tours.

Karen Bolinger, Chief Executive Officer, Melbourne Convention Bureau, commented on the value of partnerships and experiences on offer.

“We are thrilled to offer Hosted Buyers unique Melbourne experiences that showcase the depth and breadth of our city. Thanks to our partners who have been involved in the curation of these experiences we are able to illustrate just how diverse Melbourne’s business events offering is.

“Business events are the highest yielding sector of the visitor economy, delivering $11 billion to the Victorian economy annually. The ability to showcase a taste of Melbourne to a domestic and international audience is a unique and powerful offering to AIME,” said Ms Bolinger.

Hosted Buyers attending AIME 2018 will be able to experience industry-leading education programs, peer-to-peer networking sessions, appointments with event suppliers from across the globe, as well as complimentary travel and luxury accommodation.

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

Monday, 15 January 2018

2018 Parkes Elvis Festival wraps up

Elvis has left the building.... Yesterday was the last day of the 2018 Parkes Elvis Festival. A record number of people enjuyed a full program of concerts and displays.

Accommodation was booked out in Parkes and surrounding towns, so if you intend to come to next years Elvis Festival I sugest you book your accommodation as soon as possible so that you do not miss out. 

Watch out for the release of next years program. 

3 FABULOUS PERFORMERS ALL SET TO STAR IN SLEEPING BEAUTY A KNIGHT AVENGER’S TALE

Director and Producer, Bonnie Lythgoe is thrilled to announce she has cast three of the roles to star in SLEEPING BEAUTY – “A KNIGHT AVENGER’S TALE” when it opens at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre playing from 29 June to 8 July and then moving to Sydney’s State Theatre from 13 to 22 July. 

One of Australia’s favourite and most versatile performers RHONDA BURCHMORE will play the role of the wicked fairy godmother ‘Carabosse’. 

Taking the role of ‘King Louis’, Sleeping Beauty’s father will be English actor FRAZER HINES best known for his role as ‘Jamie McCrimmon’, the Doctor’s assistant, in Doctor Who. 

Australia’s favourite funny man KEV ORKIAN returns once more next winter to play the role of ‘Silly Billy’. 

Sleeping Beauty will be the fifth panto produced in Australia by Bonnie Lythgoe after the nationwide success of last year’s The Adventures of Peter Pan & Tinker Bell, Cinderella in 2016, Aladdin and his Wondrous Lamp in 2015 and Snow White Winter Family Musical in 2014. 

Over the past five winter seasons, the Bonnie Lythgoe panto family has grown to include everyone’s favourite artists from Magda Szubanski, Sir Cliff Richard, Beau Ryan, Jimmy Giggle, Jessica Rowe to Ian “Dicko” Dickinson and Todd McKenney. 

Sleeping Beauty tells the story of Princess Aurora, who by a single prick of her finger is put to sleep for 100 years. 

Doomed by fate, only a Prince’s sweet kiss can break the spell and awaken the sleeping beauty. Featuring dazzling costumes, stunning sets, magic, special effects, hilarious comedy, thrilling musical numbers and even more exciting announcements and surprises to come, this latest fairy tale promises to be a ‘beauty’! 

www.ozpanto.com 

VENUE: Comedy Theatre, 240 Exhibition Street, Melbourne 
DATES: Friday 29 June – Sunday 8 July 
PRICES: VIP $89.95 / A Reserve $69.95 / B Reserve $59.95. 
Family tickets available 
BOOKINGS: Ticketmaster.com.au or 1300 11 10 11 

VENUE: State Theatre, 49 Market Street, Sydney 
DATES: Friday 13 July – Sunday 22 July 
PRICES: from $52.95 to $97.95 plus Family tickets available 
BOOKINGS: Ticketmaster.com.au or 1300 139 588

Clipper Race fleet to arrive in Whitsundays within hours

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
It is now just a few hourss until the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet arrives in the Whitsundays.

Expected arrival times have been put back due to the challenging weather conditions of the southern states, with the first yachts now expected to arrive on Tuesday (January 16).

A tight finish is predicted, with the yachts currently bunched together as they race up the east coast of Australia in the Wondrous Whitsundays Race.

The latest estimated times of arrivals for the teams into Abell Point Marina can be found on the Clipper Race website and will be updated regularly as the teams approach the finish line.

Once they arrive in the Whitsundays, the crews, their families and friends, will enjoy a two-week Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival, with a raft of events taking place right across the region.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner said the region was on high alert, ready to welcome the crews once they made it into Airlie Beach.

“We’re primed and ready to go and can’t wait to get the party started,” he said.

“The crews will be able to have a rest as soon as they arrive and then we have the Welcome Party on Friday, January 19, which will kick off the celebrations.

“We are very excited to be welcoming the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race crews to the Whitsundays and we wish them well for the remainder of their exciting voyage up the coast.”

During the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival, sailing enthusiasts will enjoy tours of the ocean-racing yachts, public talks by the skippers and opportunities to meet the crews.

There will also be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a few lucky people to race around the Whitsunday Islands on one of the Clipper yachts.

There are events planned right around the region as part of the carnival including the Bendigo Bank Clipper Welcome Party (free for everyone), the Fish D’Vine White on Whitehaven Long Lunch, the Whitsunday Foodservice Progressive Cruise Lunch and the Rodeo by the Reef, in Bowen.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the only race of its kind and matches experienced skippers with novice sailors for the race, which starts and ends in Liverpool in the UK and takes in Uruguay, South Africa, Australia, China, the USA and Northern Ireland.

Crew members – who come from all over the world - can take part in just one leg or every leg of the 11-month long race around the globe.

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
The All-Australian leg is one of the toughest, with the Clipper crews having already completed a gruelling race around the south of Australia from Fremantle to Sydney, followed by the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the Wondrous Whitsundays Race.

For more information and to book tickets for the events please visit www.whitsundayclipperrace.com.au.

CURIO COLLECTION HOTEL OPENS IN SYDNEY

Australia's first Curio Collection by Hilton hotel was opened in Sydney today by the NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall, and offers visitors stylish accommodation next to the city's newest waterfront leisure and commercial precinct, Barangaroo.

Located on Sussex Street, the new-build West Hotel Sydney features 182 stylish guest rooms, including four spacious suites, a restaurant, bar, gym and private meeting room.

Designed by Australian Architecture firm Fitzpatrick and Partners, with interiors by Woods Bagot, the hotel has a modern classic design theme, featuring deep tones with marble and brass accents. A strong botanical theme runs throughout the hotel, most evident in the beautiful open-air garden atrium and white waratah motif in the lobby.

Contributing to Sydney's dining scene is the on-property restaurant Solander Dining and Bar, named after first fleet botanist, Daniel Solander, which has inspired the menu's focus on seasonal and botanical produce.

Visit West Hotel Sydney to find out more and make a reservation.