Saturday, 23 June 2018

Locals extend invitation to Heron Island

Heron Island local Lauren Bailey is the hero in the latest Queensland tourism promotional video as she invites tourists to connect with nature on Heron Island.

Produced in partnership between Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) and Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited (GAPDL), the 90-second video is a compelling local invitation to ‘learn and grow’ while visiting the Gladstone region.

TEQ Chief Executive Officer Leanne Coddington said the video was part of a local invitation series featuring Queensland’s new ‘Find your perfect next’ campaign.

“Locals play such a powerful role in engaging with travellers and helping them experience a destination in a more authentic way,” Ms Coddington said.

“Lauren’s enthusiasm for Heron Island shines through in this video, where she also highlights how visitors can get a first-hand perspective of the Great Barrier Reef through the island’s research station.

“As Lauren says in the video - being able to gain an appreciation and passion for the reef is key to us looking after it in the future by becoming global ambassadors – and I couldn’t agree more, this is such a special experience.

“The video highlights the unique natural encounters of this region, which are sure to amaze and inspire.”

“Heron Island is a treasured part of the Gladstone Region, and Lauren’s insights are just a few of the reasons why it’s loved by locals and international guests alike,” GAPDL’s CEO Darryl Branthwaite said.

“Heron Island’s DNA is built on unique marine encounters, crystal clear water and world-class research.”

Lauren’s local invitation video is being promoted together with series of destination blogs targeted to families, empty nesters and ‘SINKs and DINKs’* in Brisbane, South East Queensland, Sydney and Melbourne over the next fortnight in a joint campaign funded by TEQ and GAPDL.

*SINKS: Single Income No Kids / DINKS: Double Income No Kids


Balnhdhurr – A Lasting Impression
A celebratory exhibition of Yirrkala Print Space in Arnhem Land, entitled Balnhdhurr – A Lasting Impression, is set to open at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery (BVRG) on 22 June.

The exhibition will include works from 50 artists and showcase historically significant prints. For more information on the Balnhdhurr – A Lasting Impression exhibition or the Bega Valley Regional Gallery, click here.

New Look, New Us

It’s been more than 12 months in the making, but finally QTIC’s new membership structure and new logo are ready!

QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind launched the changes yesterday at QTIC’s World Environment day lunch in Cairns.

“We’ve listened to your feedback and taken on board your suggestions to create a more streamlined and value-based structure,” he said.

“What level QTIC Member you are is no longer determined by how many staff you have – instead you choose the level of involvement you want, and the benefits you want from your membership.

“It’s all about giving you the choice of membership level and providing more value for you.”

There will be three entirely new membership levels – Tourism Supporter, Tourism Advocate, and Tourism Champion.

The new membership levels will be available for the 2018-2019 financial year.

Current QTIC Members: We’ll be in touch in the coming weeks with more information about how the new structure will benefit you.

Non-QTIC Members: To find out more please email or phone (07) 3236 1445.

After 17 years as a stalwart in the Queensland tourism industry, QTIC’s branding has received a fresh corporate makeover.
  • The ‘Q’ is for Queensland – “beautiful one day, perfect the next”.
  • The speech bubble symbolises our role as “The Voice of Tourism”.
  • The expanded colour palette represents diversity – diversity of the industry (and its sectors), the Queensland landscape, and the people and businesses we advocate on behalf of.The new branding also comes with a new-look website – but this is the one new thing you’ll have to wait a little longer for. The finishing touches are currently being put on (or coded into) the new website and Membership Portal, with both launching in the new financial year. So, watch this space:

Friday, 22 June 2018


The appearance of Laos as a land with beautiful nature, peaceful temples, and historical architecture with a French touch often misleads people into thinking that the tourism industry is a considerable part of the tiny, landlocked Southeast Asian state’s economy.

However, in fact, the tourism industry’s share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Laos was only $2 billion, or 13.7 percent of GDP, in 2017. This meant it lagged behind its bigger neighboring countries, such as Cambodia with $5.5 billion, or 28.3 percent of GDP, or Thailand with $82.5 billion, or 20.6 percent of GDP.

For perspective, that puts Laos 118th in the Travel & Tourism ranking of total contribution to GDP in 2017, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s latest report. Thailand came in at the 15th spot while Vietnam and Cambodia were in 47th and 72nd in the same ranking.

Laos’ challenges in the tourism sector extend beyond figures on that score alone. To take another indicator, for example, in the last year, the number of foreign tourists who visited Laos actually dropped 8.7 percent compared to 2016. Visitors from Europe decreased 27 percent, those from South Korea dropped 2 percent, and tourists from Thailand were down 11 percent, according to National Economic Research Institute of Laos (NERI).

Beyond just stating those figures, NERI points to some key challenges that have resulted in those outcomes. These include limited promotional advertising, a relatively high cost of general services and living costs, and lack of tourism products as reasons behind Laos’ disappointing performance in the tourism industry.

Even though Laos’ economy is admittedly smaller than the other countries mentioned above, these sorts of figures could nonetheless be seen as a bit disappointing for the landlocked communist nation. Laos has achieved in the region of 7 percent annual economic growth on average over the past few years and hopes to do more with the few sectors where it can do so, with tourism being one of them.

This might change soon, however. The Lao government is currently pushing a Visit Laos Year campaign, aimed at reversing the country’s declining tourism fortunes. It laid out an ambitious goal of attracting 5.2 million tourists, with projected revenues of approximately $910 million in 2018.

As a part of the efforts, the government, in cooperation with different government bodies and the private sector, has promoted activities associated with Visit Laos Year through public media in the past few months. Local authorities have also organized cultural festivals and traditional events.

The latest example is Deputy Prime Minister of Laos Sonexay Siphandone’s visit to Vang Vieng, one of the most popular destinations in the country for tourists. During his visit, Sonexay encouraged local authorities to focus on making Vang Vieng a place dedicated to tourism while urging them to cooperate with industry and commercial departments to avoid industrial or business expansion at the expense of tourism.

Sonexay’s remarks further highlight the issues that prevent Laos from advancing its tourism industry. Part of the problem lies in the lack of communication among different players, including government organizations and private sector participants.

Realizing this challenge, the Lao government has recently published a Destination Management Plan with the help of the Asian Development Bank, proposing task forces on priorities such as marketing and promotion, hospitality skills, tour guide training, and responsible tourism. As a result, a tentative dialogue has started between the government, private sector, and nongovernmental organizations, to a degree that had been previously lacking.

The country is poised to make other changes as well. For instance, there are plans to introduce electronic visa (E-visa) services at the end of this year or early next year in a move to attract more foreign tourists.

Visitors to Laos who have experienced the visa process or diplomats who understand it know that this would be no small feat. Overseas visitors currently need to use one of two options to obtain a tourist visa: one is to apply for a visa on arrival, which is available at 22 international border checkpoints across the country, and the other is to apply for an entry visa from a Lao embassy or consulate based in their country or a nearby country, which could be “inconvenient,” according to a Lao government official who was interviewed by Vientiane Times.

The country plans to offer the new system only four tourists initially, but then expand it to people who visit for business purposes among others. With the new scheme, the Lao government expects to see the number of tourists increasing steadily in coming years from 4.8 million in 2017 to 5.2 million in 2018, 5.9 million in 2019, and 7.5 million by 2025.

Read full article at The Diplomat:

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO)
Is active on various social media platforms under the universal handle @TourismMekong.
Please follow and engage on social media by clicking on the links below:
LinkedIn: Mekong Tourism discussion group

Please find out more by visiting

Lyttelton Harbour Festival of Lights

Don't miss Lyttelton's famous mid-winter street party on June 29, celebrating Matariki with light displays, art and music. The annual event transforms London St into a magical place and finishes with a fireworks display.

This year the much anticipated Lyttelton Harbour Festival of Lights will be on the 29th June 2018 from 6:30 - 10:30pm
  • 6:30 Food stalls, DJ
  • 7:00 Parade
  • 7:15 Music and MCs Shay Horay and Backyard Davey
Main stage at Collett's Corner. Family zone at Albion Square. Youth zone with DJ at Skate Park.
Lindon Puffin, The Settlers and more.
  • 8pm Lyttelton Port of Christchurch Fireworks
Art installations around the town.

Reusable cups

Only Globelet reusable cups are being used at the street party for ALL drinks and soup. Globelets are New Zealand-made and are recyclable, reusable, BPA-free. You buy your globelet for $2 when you buy your first drink, then the Globelet is yours to use for the night (you can even rinse it at our rinse station!). At the end of the night you can take it home or return it for a refund

Glow Paint not Glow Sticks
Glowsticks are lots of fun, but not so great for our environment. The chemical generally used in them is Dibutyl phthalate, which can cause irritation or nausea.

The outer of glowsticks is made of plastic. The combination of Dibutyl phthalate and plastic is a nightmare! We think they would take 1000+ years to breakdown in landfill. If they don't make it to landfill (which they often don't) they're not something we want polluting our waterways.

So we have come up with something that has less of an impact on our environment: Resene have a paint called "Nightlight" ( Follow the safety instructions for this paint and combine it with the idea in this video ( to make glow-in-the-dark bracelets that your children will want to keep and bring out every night! You could also create glow in the dark wands using sticks if short of time. And there must be many other creative ways to play with this stuff!

Happy glowing!

Lyttelton, portal to Canterbury’s historic past, a vibrant sustainable community creating a living future
Project Lyttelton, Inc.
Phone: +64 (3) 328 9243
The Portal: 54a Oxford Street, Lyttelton.
Postal: PO Box 74, Lyttelton, 8841.
Map: Google Maps

Ha Noi launches interactive tourism website

Ha Noi’s downtown district of Hoan Kiem on May 20 launched its tourism website at different addresses of,, and, aiming to promote its tourism potential and attract more tourists to the locality.

Major features of the website include finding tourist destinations, services and trade centres of Hoan Kiem District. Information is shown in the form of Google Map or lists.

Visitors can explore famous places of the district through 360-degree panoramic images, and book hotel rooms and tours as well as buying goods online.

The mobile application, compatible for smart phones using iOs, Android, Windows Phone and Web Brower platforms, allows interacts and like-real experience of landscapes, historical relic sites, tourist destinations and other tourism and trade services.

Addressing the launching ceremony, Chairman of the Hoan Kiem District People’s Committee Duong Duc Tuan said that the building of the website is hoped to facilitate the district’s tourism with a close connection with Viet Nam tourism, aiming to build a smart urban and tourism management model.

At the ceremony, the district also introduced the upgrade of the district’s portal, along with websites of wards and schools basing in the district.

Hoan Kiem District is home to many tangible and intangible cultural heritage sites with close relations with the history of Thang Long-Ha Noi. Major tourism attractions of the district include Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter, night market, and food and pedestrian streets.
Source: VNA

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas Features Phuket’s First Jim Thompson Silk Inspired Villa

Jim Thompson collection
The finest textiles from the famed Jim Thompson collection enhances the splendid two-bedroom villas already available at Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas. Jim Thompson shared his love of Thailand by bringing hand-woven Thai silks to the world, complementing perfectly the Anantara passion for authentic luxury.

A sweeping sanctuary nestled in 389 sqm of tropical Bill Bensley gardens, the Two Bedroom Royal Villa by Jim Thompson is just steps from Mai Khao’s white-sand beaches and Anantara Mai Khao’s many delights. Two bedrooms and a living room overlook a private 67-sqm pool with a spacious sun deck, while a traditional Thai sala extends over the serene lagoon.

Drawing inspiration from the natural surroundings of Mai Khao, the villa impeccably blends Jim Thompson fabrics into its designs. The living room is filled with fabrics shaded blue and white for a nautical feel, offset by woods with sandy hues. Both bathrooms tempt with terrazzo bathtubs and open-air, but secluded, showers. The villa’s flooring is natural Thai Makha, a rare hardwood highly prized for its gorgeous patina and unique grains. Classic Thai Pikul flower designs adorn the internal doors and mini bar. Elegant Thai artwork and carvings leave no question of the Jim Thompson Villa’s Thai heritage.

The master bedroom’s centrepiece is Jim Thompson’s Heliconia Dreamin’, inspired by the exotic Heliconia flower that still flourishes at Jim Thompson’s former home, creating a vibrant lightness that extends to the swimming pool and sala. The twin bedroom features Floriental, a whimsical print of birds and butterflies frolicking among peonies, for a playful atmosphere overlooking the pool and gardens.

“We have a passion for enhancing our pool villas so that guests can enjoy the full beauty of Anantara Mai Khao, inside and out,” explains Nikolaus Priesnitz General Manager of Anantara Mai Khao. “The Two-Bedroom Royal Villa by Jim Thompson offers a secluded retreat with luxury amenities and is ideal for families, while highlighting the gorgeous designs of a truly beloved Thai treasure.”

The sumptuousness extends beyond the exquisite design. Welcomed with flowers and fresh fruit juices on arrival, guests can proceed directly to the Two Bedroom Royal Villa by Jim Thompson so that they can unpack and settle in while checking in. Along with the Anantara Spa products provided in every villa, a complimentary set of the Bvlgari Guest Collection awaits, as well as the renowned Anantara personalised Villa Host service.

Guests can enjoy their stay at the Royal Villa by Jim Thompson by booking through, contact reservations directly on or telephone +66 76 336 100.

Singha Ultra-Trail Chiang Rai 2018 to be held 19-21 October

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Singha Corporation are jointly staging the ‘Singha Ultra-Trail Chiang Rai 2018’ as it returns for the second edition this year on 19-21 October in Chiang Rai.

This event focuses on jungle running and will have participants make their way through the jungle and for some, up Chiang Rai’s famous Doi Mae Salong mountain, with plenty of fresh air and abundant nature to enjoy. What better way to experience Thailand from a different angle, as the TAT is encouraging visitors to do with its Amazing Thailand’s ‘Open to the New Shades’ communication concept – to see the kingdom from new and existing angles.

‘Singha Ultra-Trail Chiang Rai 2018’s biggest challenge is the longest trail of 220 km that starts on 19 October at 06.00 Hrs. and which has a cut-off time of 60 hours. A 122 km run starts on 20 October at 06.00 Hrs. with a cut-off time of 36 hours, while a 66 km run also starts on the same day at 20,00 Hrs. and for which the cut-off time is 22 hours.

On 21 October a 38 km run starts at 06.00 Hrs. with a cut-off time of 10 hours, while the last race is a 20 km run starting the same day at 06.30 Hrs. with a cut-off time of six hours.

All races start and finish at Singha Park Chiang Rai. Runners will pass through many local places along their way and see the local lifestyle. The longest trail of 220/230 km rises to a mountain elevation of about 9,500 m.

Entry fees for the ‘Singha Ultra-Trail Chiang Rai 2018’ are 9,500 Baht for the 220/230 km run, 4,500 Baht for the 122 km run, 2,400 Baht for the 66 km run, 1,600 Baht for the 38 km run and 1,100 Baht for the 20 km run.

Registration is open from now until midnight on 31 August 2018, or until all places are reserved.

Participants will receive a race kit and for bib collection, baggage check and the pre-race briefing, this is on the day before the race (18 October) from 12.00 – 18.00 Hrs. – the pre-race briefing is from 17.00 – 18.00 Hrs. A shuttle service can be taken there from King Mengrai Monument in Chiang Rai city.

For more information, contact:
TAT Chiang Rai Office
Tel. +66 (0) 5371 7433; +66 (0) 5374 4674-5

Local invitation to Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay local Vicki Neville is the hero in the latest Queensland tourism promotional video as she invites tourists to connect with nature during the region’s annual whale watching season.

Produced in partnership between Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) and Fraser Coast Tourism and Events (FCTE), the 90 second video is a compelling showcase of the region’s whale watching experiences.

TEQ Chief Executive Officer Leanne Coddington said the video was part of a local invitation series featuring Queensland’s new ‘Find your perfect next’ message.

“Travellers are increasingly looking to meet and interact with locals while they’re on holidays for a more authentic travel experience,” Ms Coddington said.

“Telling the story from a local’s perspective is a really powerful way to engage audiences in a different way and invite travellers to explore their part of the world.

“Vicki speaks with such passion for whale watching and why Hervey Bay is such a special place to witness the annual humpback migration of these majestic creatures.

“The video highlights what makes the Fraser Coast region so unique, encouraging travellers to make it part of their perfect next holiday.”

Fraser Coast Tourism and Events general manager Martin Simons said the video would help reinforce Hervey Bay’s reputation as the premium whale-watching destination on Australia’s east coast.

“Humpbacks numbers are increasing each year and Hervey Bay has been identified as one of the most important destinations for these migrating mammals which break their 5000km journey from the breeding grounds in the tropics to the feeding grounds in the Antarctic to rest and play.

“In most open water whale watching destinations the whales are travelling either north or south – here they relax play and socialise for up to 10 days in the calm waters in the lee of Fraser Island.”

Mr Simons said scientific studies had shown that up to 40 percent of the migrating humpback population visited Hervey Bay each year and this number was continuing to increase.

“Hervey Bay is the only genuine stopover and the number one whale interaction destination – certainly a place to experience ‘your perfect next’ as TEQ’s marketing tag line states.”

Vicki’s local invitation video is being promoted together with a blog themed ‘Everything you need to know about whale watching in Hervey Bay’ to families, empty nesters and ‘SINKs and DINKs’* in Brisbane, South East Queensland, Sydney and Melbourne over the next fortnight in a campaign jointly funded by TEQ and FCTE.

*SINKS: Single Income No Kids / DINKS: Double Income No Kids


Sydney Harbour Bridge
The contract for tourism activities on the Sydney Harbour Bridge will change hands ushering in a new era for the historic landmark.

Hammons Holdings Pty Ltd, the operators of Scenic World in the Blue Mountains, have been awarded a 20-year contract to operate the internationally renowned Sydney Harbour bridge climb attraction.

BridgeClimb has welcomed four million climbers from over 140 countries since opening in 1998. The new contract term will start from 1 October 2018.