Sunday, 22 July 2018


Wat Mahathat in Sukhothai (Photo: Creative Commons)
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – UNESCO – has listed more than 1000 historical and natural sites in the world. 

With 38 sites already listed in Southeast Asia and many more submitted for review, culture, histories and landscapes have been recognised for our unique value for mankind. 

Learning and sharing how to manage the world heritage sites sustainably among the 10-member states in ASEAN is vital. 

Sukhothai will be the venue for the 1st summit; this site has been governed by the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public organisation), Thailand or known as DASTA. 

The “built to thrive” journey through a joint effort of all stakeholders has made an integrated and community-based management model recognised as one of its world-class case examples.

Date - 02/08/2018 - 04/08/2018
Location - Sukhothai Treasure Resort & Spa

Saturday, 21 July 2018


The Sydney Science Festival returns in 2018 with a program of astronomical proportions. Taking place from Tuesday 7 – Sunday 19 August, the Festival rockets into venues around Sydney and is overflowing with hands on science experiences for all ages.

Featuring 13 days jam-packed with over 200 events across 90 venues, the Sydney Science Festival brings together some of the greatest minds in science today, including Sydney Science Festival Ambassador and astronomer, Lisa Harvey-Smith, Indigenous Astronomer Kirsten Banks, leading Artificial Intelligence expert Ellen Broad, A.I. researcher Toby Walsh, comedian and public health practitioner Alanta Colley, former Greens leaderBob Brown, and 2018 Australian of the Year quantum physicist Michelle Simmons.

“Innovation is an essential part of any growing city. The Sydney Science Festival gives industry leaders and emerging talent a unique opportunity to both share and showcase their vision for a smarter future. With such a diverse line-up of speakers and exhibitions hosted across some of Sydney’s most iconic venues, including the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo, I’m confident that this year’s Festival will be our most ambitious and successful to date,” said Minister for the Arts, The Hon. Don Harwin.

Now in its fourth year, Sydney Science Festival is produced by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) and the Australian Museum as part of National Science Week, in partnership with Inspiring Australia.

“Last year saw 70,000 fans attend over 180 events, presented by 60 partners at the Sydney Science Festival. The incredible program for this year’s Festival provides an opportunity for the general public, both young and old, to come together to understand and marvel at how science influences every aspect of our lives. As STEAM disciplines become increasing important to future economies museums such as MAAS have a key role to play in engaging and educating students in real-world applications of STEAM subjects,” said MAAS Director of Programs and Engagement, Tristan Sharp.

On Thursday 9 August, after-hours favourite MAASLive Lates: Science returns to the Powerhouse Museum to celebrate the launch of the Festival. This free event is your chance meet experts, get creative with a range of hands-on activities, tour exhibitions and chat with curators in a huge night of science.

Program Highlights

What happens when galaxies collide? It might sound like an abstract question, but it's one that our descendants might need to worry about. Sydney Science Festival Ambassador,Lisa Harvey-Smith presents a lively talk on how a future collision between our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and its nearest neighbour will bring dramatic changes to our night sky. Lisa Harvey-Smith Keynote: When Galaxies Collide will take place on Friday 10 August, the possible galaxy collision on the other hand wont be for at least 3.8 billion years!

Get set for some outdoor fun with Science in the Swamp at Centennial Park. The FREE day is a favourite among families and this year’s theme “Dinosaur vs Superpower” will combine two of kid’s favourites. With roving dinosaurs and scientists on hand to point out amazing super powers found in nature, it’s an action packed day of fun. And don’t forget to come in your superhero outfit!

More family-focused events include the hands-on Super Science Saturday at the Australian Museum and Big Science Day at the Powerhouse Museum where interactive science shows and demonstrations will have the museum buzzing with science action.

A highlight of the Festival will be a new exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum. Art, science and speculation converge in Human Non-Human, an exhibition that asks “what makes us human and how might humans adapt in the future?” The exhibition features four art commissions that incorporate architecture, design, robotics, biotechnology, chemistry, animism, film and performance to consider the entanglement between humans and technology. Featuring artists Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Lindsay Kelley, Ken Thaiday and Liam Young, Human Non-Human explores the themes of food, work, sex and belief.

Sit back and enjoy a special screening of the landmark documentary The Living Universe - It’s Time to Meet the Neighbours. The film is an extraplanetary search for life on other planets. After the film, a panel of eminent scientists, space engineers, biologists and philosophers will answer the audience’s burning questions. The Living Universe will take place on Thursday 9 August at Event Cinemas, George Street.

Take a look into the future with Good Robot/Bad Robot - Living with intelligent machines/living with artificial intelligence. Leading Artificial Intelligence expert Ellen Broad, A.I. researcher Toby Walsh and MIT Media Lab technologist Hae Won Park will try to answer the question “if robots can be everything from carers to warriors, what does this mean not just for human lives, but for the way we understand human intelligence, human values, and humanity itself?”

Celebrate the women of science in GenWomen: Scientists Smash the Glass Ceiling where six women from six generations of science, including Indigenous Astronomer Kirsten Banks, share their experiences and challenge the stereotypes and preconceptions about what being a scientist means.

Alanta Colley: Parasites Lost combines science communication, storytelling, and comedy in a parable on parasites. Join comedian and public health practitioner Alanta Colley as she takes audiences on an adventure, across the world and through her intestine; and learn about some of the world's cheekiest micro-organisms, and how she contracted each of them. Alanta Colley: Parasites Lost takes place on Thursday 9 – 12 August.

Established in 1999, the Jack Beale Lecture Series provides an opportunity for a prominent individual to examine Australia's environmental responsibilities, opportunities and performance within a global context. On Wednesday 15 August at the University of NSW, the series invites former Greens Leader and environmentalist Bob Brown to share his insights.

Five years ago, 2018 Australian of the Year Professor Michelle Simmons and her team developed the world's first transistor made from a single atom, as well as the world's thinnest wire. Now she is looking to build a quantum computer capable of solving problems in minutes, which would otherwise take thousands of years. Join Professor Simmons for an insightful discussion on her work launching Australia into “the space race of the computing era” in The Einstein Lecture: The Quantum Computing Revolution by Australian of the Year 2018 - Michelle Simmons. The lecture takes place Tuesday 14 August at the University of NSW.

This year Sydney Science Festival features 25 events in suburban libraries throughout Sydney. From Castle Hill, to Liverpool, Sutherland, Blacktown and Parramatta there are 25 scientists are ready to meet local communities and talk about their research. The libraries have experts on everything from women’s brains, robots, technology of the future, gut health, Antarctica, bilingualism and children’s brains.

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki tackles the big issues in the universe today, like how air conditioners are sexist and whether there could be life on one of Saturn’s moons in Dr Karl Out West on Wednesday 15 August.

Innovation Games is a free event full of new ways to taste, touch and see science in action. At Innovation Games on Saturday 18 August, Sydney Olympic Park will be buzzing with interactive displays, an augmented reality treasure hunt, live stage shows, games, gadgets, film and food.

The MAAS Indigenous Sciences Symposium 2018 is dedicated to honouring the next generation of Indigenous scientists and those who are supporting their development. Join in on two days of events to celebrate 60 000 years of technological advancement and eco-sustainable practices. Presenters include recipients of the CSIRO Indigenous STEM and IDX awards for their exceptional contribution to the advancement of Indigenous sciences and technology locally, nationally and globally.

The full Sydney Science Festival program is available online at For more information about National Science Week events visit

Dedicated Great Barrier Reef events venue opens

The first dedicated events venue on the Great Barrier Reef has been launched in Cairns offering bespoke corporate events and private parties in the middle of the Coral Sea.

Sunlover Funlover is an innovative event and entertainment product incorporating a high-speed catamaran and outer Great Barrier Reef pontoon which can be customised for any function and cater for more than 300 guests.

Sunlover Reef Cruises and Hides Hotel Cairns Group General Manager Sharon Sheldrake said the unique offsite venue was the only tourism infrastructure at Arlington Reef so guests would feel like they had the Great Barrier Reef to themselves.

“Operating on demand all year round, Sunlover Funlover allows clients to choose their event theme, timing and entertainment to create the ultimate Instagram-worthy event,” she said.

“Imagine Tweeting from your business meeting with nothing but the Great Barrier Reef in the background?

“Start your event the moment you leave Cairns city with a comedian doing a live set or learn about the Reef with our in-house marine experts during the 90-minute boat ride.

“Choose an Indigenous theme with a Welcome to Country on arrival at the pontoon, a presentation on what the Reef means to its Traditional Owners and entertainment by an Indigenous band.

“Snorkelling, glass bottom boat tours, the underwater observatory, fish feeding and touch tanks are all included and extras such as diving and scenic helicopter rides can be added.

“Our first Sunlover Funlover event is Diving Divas, a fundraiser celebrating PADI Women’s Dive Day on Saturday July 28, with a fashion parade, synchronised swimming performance, live band, head and hand massages and special guest Straw No More founder Molly Steer.

“Sunlover Funlover has been developed as an innovative, highly entertaining Great Barrier Reef experience with the utmost respect for our precious marine environment.”

Sunlover Reef Cruises is a market leader in interactive reef experiences, creating the only theme-park waterslide on the Great Barrier Reef on their Moore Reef pontoon.

The Australian-owned company is committed to innovative product development and will continue to develop the Arlington Reef activities pontoon and the Sunlover Funlover product to ensure to it offers unique customised event experiences.

Find out more at


Both Airbnb and the Thai government aim to better
spread tourism dollars and improve digital
literacy across local communities in the country.
Airbnb has sealed its first partnership with a government agency in Thailand to train local provincial officials on hospitality, hosting and compliance standards, with a view to onboard existing homestays onto the global homesharing platform.

Joining forces with the Thai Ministry of Interior’s Department of Local Administration (DLA) as part of the Empowering Local Tourism Entrepreneurs initiative, both partners agree to conduct training sessions focused on sharing information about Airbnb, and how to use the platform to distribute tourism income to local communities across Thailand.

Moreover, they will work to equip officials with the digital literacy skills to help locals create and manage their own listings on the platform, as well as build a local community of hosts in each province who can support and learn from each other.

Suttipong Juljarern, DLA director-general, Ministry of Interior, said: “Digital technology fosters real-time audiovisual communication and connections between local communities and guests around the world, and will surely encourage economic development in rural areas. This will help us achieve the UN and the Royal Thai Government’s goals to alleviate poverty, as this additional stream of revenue for locals means the improvement of their living standards in all respects.”

Mich Goh, Airbnb head of public policy for South-east Asia, added: “By promoting digital inclusion and the effective use of our platform to attract inbound guests domestically and abroad, we will help drive economic growth in areas that have not traditionally benefited from tourism.”

Commented Mike Orgill, Airbnb director of public policy for Asia-Pacific: “Through this partnership, we will empower the muang rong (secondary cities), the thesaban (municipalities) and the tambon (sub-districts) to transform themselves into communities of local hospitality entrepreneurs, which are an integral part of Thailand’s booming tourism industry. This new generation of local tourism entrepreneurs is something envisioned by nations around the globe as a new driving force of tourism.”

The launch of the initiative also saw a country-first joint training workshop conducted by three Airbnb Superhosts and Community Leaders, and guest speakers from the Ministry of Interior’s Department of Provincial Administration and the Thai Immigration Bureau.

Read full article at TTGAsia:

Three finalists chosen to compete for ABC Young Performers Awards 2018

Discovering and nurturing the finest young Australian performers

After 8 months of intense preparation and memorable performances the three finalists have been chosen who will battle it out to win the coveted title of ABC YOUNG PERFORMER OF THE YEAR. The three finalists are Kevin Chow from Perth (piano); Emily Sun from Concord West (violin) and Oliver Shermacher from Marrickville (clarinet).

2018 Young Performers Awards will be held on Tuesday 24 July in the Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House when each finalist will play an exhilarating concerto accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under the baton of celebrated conductor Dr. Nicholas Milton AM.

Be inspired by their journey, be transported by their performance, be there to witness a defining moment in a young musician’s life.

Presented by Music & Opera Singers Trust Ltd
Venue: Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
Date & Time: Tuesday 24 July at 6.30pm
Prices: from $29 + $8.50 booking fee
Bookings: 9250 7777 or or 136 100

2018 Gong Cultural Festival slated for mid-November

The opening ceremony of 2017 Gong Cultural Festival
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has instructed the People’s Committee of the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai to work with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) and relevant agencies to organise the 2018 Gong Cultural Festival.

The festival is scheduled to take place in this year’s mid-November in the province, with the unity of local ethnic communities as its main theme.

The Gia Lai People’s Committee has been tasked to efficiently utilise social sources along with part of the province’s coffer to organise the festival.

Numerous activities will be jointly held by five Central Highlands provinces, namely a street festival featuring gong performances, re-enactment of some traditional rituals and festivals of 11 ethnic groups of the region.

The art of wood sculpture and brocade weaving will also be introduced during the festival, along with seminars on the conservation of gong cultural values and exhibitions on ethnic costumes.

The event is to honour the Cultural Space of Gong of Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) in line with an action plan of the MCST to preserve and promote the gong cultural heritage in the province.

The Cultural Space of Gong of Tay Nguyen was recognised by the UNESCO as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of the humanity in 2005. It is closely linked to the daily life of local people. Their belief systems form a mystical world where the gongs produce a privileged language between men, divinities and the supernatural world.


The Hunter region is set to welcome more international visitors, with Virgin Australia confirmed to commence direct flights to Newcastle Airport from Auckland on a seasonal basis.

The Trans-Tasman service will operate thrice weekly from 22 November 2018 through until 17 February 2019.

Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said the Australian Government had committed more than $2 million a year over the next four years to facilitate international flights at Newcastle Airport.

“Local tourism is set to benefit, with flights across the Tasman moving a forecast total of 9,000 passengers over the initial season,” Mr McCormack said.

“We look forward to seeing these flights take-off – just in time for Newcastle’s Supercars event and the busy end-of-year travel period.”

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the creation of a new international gateway at Newcastle Airport would help drive more international visitors to regional and rural NSW.

“The creation of this new international gateway is a huge win for regional NSW and will help funnel international visitors to some of the State’s most impressive destinations, from the Hunter Valley to the New England region,” Mr Marshall said.

Flights are on sale now.

Friday, 20 July 2018


Iconic location: Hạ Long City, in the northern coastal
province of Quảng Ninh Province, will host the ASEAN
TourismForum 2019 to be held on January 14-19.
— VNA/VNS  Photo: Trung Nguyên
The ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019 will take place early next year in the tourism hub of Hạ Long City, in the northern province of Quảng Ninh.

ATF 2019, the annual forum regarded as one of the top events of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), will be held from January 14-18 to boost tourism co-operation and development.

With the theme “ASEAN – The Power of One”, it is expected to underline the strength and beauty of the 10 nations in ASEAN and the beauty of each individual in the community, towards a prosperous, sustainable and inclusive development goal.

A wide range of activities will be held as part of the forum, including formal meetings between officials of ASEAN National Tourism Organisation (NTO) and meetings between ASEAN tourism ministers and their counterparts from China, Japan, South Korea and India.

Other events include association meetings involving the ASEAN Tourism Association, the Federation of ASEAN Travel Associations, the ASEAN Airlines Association, and the ASEAN Hotel & Restaurant Association, exhibitions and business appointments seeking to facilitate the trade of regional and individual tourism products of ASEAN member states, and a tourism conference.

As part of the event, the unique ATF Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) will be held to make it easier and more convenient for suppliers of ASEAN tourism products and services and international buyers to conduct business.

The authorities of the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism and Quảng Ninh Province organised a meeting on the organisation of the two events.

The ATF 2019 creates an opportunity for Việt Nam to introduce its nation, people and tourism as well as attract more investment in tourism in the nation.

Meanwhile, TRAVEX is a trade-only event that showcases the world’s largest contingent of ASEAN destination products and services, and facilitates selling, buying and promoting the region internationally.

This is the second time Việt Nam has hosted the event, 10 years since its first organisation in 2009.

The hosting of ATF 2019 is also expected to create a golden opportunity for Quảng Ninh in particular to promote its tourism.

The province this year has also been successful in hosting the National Tourism Year 2018 themed “Hạ Long – Heritage, Wonder, Friendly Destination”, in Hạ Long City in April.

Hạ Long Bay is a must-see destination in Quảng Ninh. It was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and 2000.

The bay spans 1,553 square kilometres and includes 1,969 islands of various sizes. It features thousands of limestone karsts and islets of various shapes and sizes.

The limestone islands in the bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments.

The geo-diversity of the environment has created biodiversity, including a tropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea biosystem. Hạ Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species.

Read full article at Viet Nam News:

Thursday, 19 July 2018


Minister of Finance Apisak Tantivorawong (left)
and ADB Director General for Southeast Asia
Ramesh Subramaniam (right). Courtesy of ADB.
THAILAND has gained a US$99.4 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help upgrade some of the country’s highways and improve road safety in the Northeast.

The loan agreement was signed yesterday by Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong and the ADB’s director general for Southeast Asia, Ramesh Subramaniam.

“Transport infrastructure is an important driver of growth for Thailand’s economy,” said Subramaniam. “Improving the country’s road network will boost economic growth and improve people’s access to economic opportunities and social services. It will also help Thailand become a trading and economic hub in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).”

Under the funding package, some 125 kilometres of highways will be upgraded.

The project follows the success of the ADB-supported GMS Highway Expansion Phase 1 Project in 2009, which upgraded 178 km of an existing two-lane national highway to a four-lane divided standard, including Highway 12 between Phitsanulok and Lom Sak (105 km) and Highway 359 from Phanom Sarakham to Sa Kaeo (73 km). These two routes link to the GMS East–West Economic Corridor and the GMS Southern Economic Corridor, respectively.

The GMS Highway Expansion Phase 2 Project will upgrade Highway 22 (Nong Han to Phang Kon and Sakon Nakhon to Nakon Phanom) and Highway 23 (a section from Roi Et to Yasothon) from two-lane highways to four-lane highways. The project will result in a more efficient and safe transport network for goods and people. It will also help the government improve road safety and management through safety awareness training and knowledge sharing in road safety audits.

Read full article at The Nation:

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

SLEEPING BEAUTY - "A KNIGHT AVENGER'S TALE" Pantomime a family hit is Sydney

I was unable to attend the opening night of Sleeping Beauty, so I was pleased to see it this afternoon. This is the 5th pantomime produced by the amazing Bonnie Lythgoe.

Everyone knows the Once pon a time story of the princess who pricks her finger ion a spinning wheel and is cursed to a 100 years of deep sleep. She is of course saved by the charming prince who awakens her with his kiss.

This pantomime musical is a show for all the family. Children, parents and grandparents will all enjoy the singing, dancing and comedy that abounds in the show.

Audience participation is encouraged throughout the show, with booing the heroes and hissing the villains encouraged. From the audience reaction throughout the show and the commenets I overheard at interval and after the show, it was obvious to me that the audience loved Sleeping Beauty.

The humour is the thing that stands out in the show, and there are laughs for all generations. Look out for the references to Dr Who and Spider Man in the show. "The 12 days of Christmas song" featuring the toilet rolls once again is a hit in the second half. 

Some of the songs in the show are new songs especially written for the show, and others are well known classics that have been worked into the show. "If I can turn back time" sing by Rhonda at the end of act one is memorising. 

This is a fully staged show, with dazzling costumes, delightful sets and special lighting effects. Watch out for the flying Rhonda and the flying phone box!!!!! 

The star of the show is the Rhonda Burchmore who is the Wicked Fairy Godmother Carabosse. Her dazzling costumes, dancing and singing are brilliant.

The role of 'King Louis', Sleeping Beauty's father is played by English actor Frazer Hines, best known for his role as 'Jamie McCrimmon', the Doctor's assistant, in Doctor Who.

It is good to see Kev Orkian once more in the role of 'Silly Billy'. He interacts with the audience well and is a great source of laughter throughout the show.

The ensemble of adult and children sing and dance well to complete the spectacle of this family pantomime.

Don't miss this opportunity to see this fun pantomime musical these school holidays and attend one of the few remaining shows.

VENUE: State Theatre, 49 Market Street, Sydney
PRICES: from $52.95 to $97.95 plus Family tickets available
BOOKINGS: or 1300 139 588
WHEN: for a strictly limited run to 22 July