Monday, 25 September 2017

REACH FOR THE SKYWAY

The Scenic Skyway at Blue Mountains Scenic World is getting a $3 million upgrade.

The new Scenic Skyway, which turns 60 next year, will increase visitor capacity by 30 per cent, and promises shorter queues and a more spacious visitor experience.

The Scenic Skyway will be closed from 9 October, re-opening in mid-November.

Scenic World’s other popular attractions will operate as usual with reduced ticket prices.

Literature on Hue royal architecture - Viet Nam’s unique world documentary heritage

Literature on Hue royal architecture was honored as a world documentary heritage, the third of the Nguyen dynasty which ruled Viet Nam between 1802 and 1945. The poems highlight the authors’ pride of Viet Nam’s traditions and beautiful scenery.

The beautiful verses in Chinese script were carved, enameled, or embossed on Hue Royal Court structures. They were the best written by Nguyen kings, their relatives, and mandarins about Viet Nam’s peace, independence, natural beauty, and agricultural promotion.

Nguyen Phuoc Hai Trung, Vice Director of the Hue Relics Preservation Centre, said: “Literature on Hue royal architecture of the Nguyen dynasty is unique. The poems are engraved on different positions of palaces. It’s estimated that nearly 3,000 compartments have verses. It can either be one or several compartments to make up a complete poem”.

The intact beautiful art and intellectual works were used as ornaments of the buildings. The scripts made up a handicraft product that required artisans to master calligraphy and ancient techniques. Trung further elaborated: “The scripts could be either placed in red lacquer trimmed with gold or enameled on bronze. They were carved in different calligraphic styles. The letters were written by the Nguyen Kings and mandarins who were good at calligraphy”.

UNESCO recognized literature on Hue royal architecture as a documentary heritage of the Memory of the World Committee for Asia and the Pacific in June, last year, for its variable content depending on where it was placed and for its usage as decorative items.

All literature of the Hue royal architecture has been digitalized by the Hue Relics Preservation Centre and will soon be available on the Internet.

HEADING OUTBACK

Broken Hill’s mining history, its iconic Living Desert Sculptures, and national parks will soon be in reach of more visitors thanks to the opening of a new resort.

The new $5 million Broken Hill Outback Resort will open in March, and offers cabin, caravan and camping accommodation developed around the historic Mt Gipps Hotel.

The hotel, which was built in 1870 but has been closed since 1987, will be restored to include a bar, restaurant and reception.

The resort will overlook the beautiful Barrier Ranges and the Sturt Desert.

Broken Hill is Australia’s first Heritage-Listed city and is popular with visitors seeking the peace and open spaces unique to the NSW Outback.

Find out more about Broken Hill.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

LONG LIVE THE KING

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall visited Parkes this week to launch the 2018 Parkes Elvis Festival program.

Held every January to mark Elvis’s birthday, the festival attracts more than 13,000 overnight visitors and generates more than $9 million in visitor spend for NSW.

The event, which is themed ’68 Comeback Special, has a packed line-up including a Concert Series, Elvis Gospel Service, Miss Priscilla Dinner and much more.

Elvis fans making the annual pilgrimage to Parkes will have more travel options in 2018, with the popular Elvis Express being joined by an extra train, the Blue Suede Express, and new coach services from Tamworth and Canberra.

Book your tickets to the festival and find out more about transport links.

International Famtrip delegation study Binh Thuan’s tourism products

Representatives from travel companies, buyers and journalists from India, the US, France, Mexico and Italy scoped out tourism products in the central province of Binh Thuan on September 9-10.

The Famtrip delegation visited a number of tourist attractions in the locality like white sand dunes in Mui Ne, While Lake (Bau Trang) in Hoa Thang commune (Bac Binh district) and Poshanu Cham Tower, and examined accommodation services in Ham Tien-Mui Ne and Phan Thiet city.

On this occasion, the delegation engaged in an exchange with leaders of the local tourism sector and travel companies in Binh Thuan, where they were briefed on potential and strength of the province.

According to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Binh Thuan has more than 420 accommodation establishments with nearly 14,000 rooms, including three five-star and 29 four-star facilities.

Apart from beach resorts, water sports and exploring tours, Binh Thuan has joined hands with Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong and southern central localities to develop tours of various types.

The number of visitors to Binh Thuan has risen by 10 percent each year since 2013, of which foreign holiday-makers increased by 12 percent.

In the first six months of 2017, the province welcomed 2.3 million tourists, of which 295,000 are foreigners.

NORTH COAST IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Image credit: Ballina Tourism
A new travel video, presented by HotelsCombined Brand Ambassador, Lynette Bolton, and delivered in partnership with Destination NSW, will be aired to millions of potential travellers across Australia and New Zealand this month as part the NSW Government’s $300,000 North Coast Flood Recovery Support Program.

The five-minute clip will be shown on National Geographic’s television and online channels to highlight the North Coast’s stunning beaches, food, wine and accommodation.

Tweed and Ballina will also feature in future episodes of Sydney Weekender.

Social media influencer Lauren Bath also visited the Northern Rivers this week to capture images that will entice visitors to the region’s national parks, beaches and the charming communities of Tweed.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Everything You Need to Know For San Francisco's Fleet Week

Since 1981, San Francisco Fleet Week has grown into one of the most popular annual events in San Francisco, attracting more than one million attendees every year. Residents take great pride in the history that the United States Armed Forces have had in San Francisco, and Fleet Week is a prime example of precisely that. If you can fit Fleet Week into your schedule, we promise you won't be disappointed.

What Is Fleet Week?

Fleet Week is a celebration of the United States Armed Forces, specifically the United States Navy. The event itself is about a week long and consists of numerous events and activities that are appropriate for any age group. Perhaps the most exciting part of Fleet Week is the air show. This feat of aerial expertise involves some of the Navy's most skilled fighter pilots performing a number of aerial acrobatics and simulated dogfights that will have everyone's jaws dropping. The Parade of Ships is another popular event, involving some of the U.S. Navy's most impressive ships. Each of these ships move in formation under the Golden Gate Bridge, providing an excellent view for anyone lucky enough to be on the bridge during the event. Since this is San Francisco, there are also lots of musical events, as well as food and drink options for children and adults alike. Visitors can even buy a burger for a sailor -- just one way to show your gratitude for the hard work and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform!

Where to Watch

Getting a great view during Fleet Week will help ensure that you get the most out of your trip. These are a few of the best places to watch Fleet Week events.

Crissy Field
If you want to be right in the heart of Fleet Week action, Crissy Field is the place to be. Crissy Field used to be a U.S. Army airfield, but today it offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and easy access to all Fleet Week events. For most of the year, Crissy Field is a fairly quiet and laid-back public park. During Fleet Week, however, the area comes alive with attractions and activities.

Marina Green
Marina Green is a large grassy area located just east of Crissy Field. Close to the Palace of Fine Arts and Fort Mason, Marina Green is a smaller space for Fleet Week viewing.

Where to Stay During Fleet Week

Fleet Week is one of the most popular times to visit San Francisco, which means you'll want to choose the neighborhood you stay in as early as possible. Fortunately, there are three neighborhoods which are best for proximity to Fleet Week activities while also having attractions of their own.

Fisherman's Wharf
If you want to have some distance between you and the Fleet Week action, Fisherman's Wharf is an excellent neighborhood to stay in. Fisherman's Wharf has plenty of attractions in its own right. Located in the northeast part of the city, Fisherman's Wharf is perhaps best known for PIER 39 and Ghirardelli Sqiare. Here, you'll find plenty of restaurants and shops to fill your time. If you want to stick with the theme of Fleet Week, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located nearby as well. You can learn about the history of the United States Navy and even get a look at the USS Pampanito, a submarine in service during World War II.

Fisherman's Wharf is also well-known for an abundance of excellent hotels. While there are plenty to choose from, two that stand out are the Best Western Tuscan Hotel and Pier 2620. The Tuscan Hotel is a European-style upscale hotel and is widely regarded as one of the best places to stay in San Francisco. Pier 2620 is a recently renovated, modern hotel with excellent views of the wharf. Find a hotel.

Nob Hill
One of the most exclusive neighborhoods in San Francisco, Nob Hill has some of the best hotels with an elevated view of Fleet Week activities, including the air show! Popular Nob Hill hotels include The Scarlet Huntington and Stanford Court. Find a hotel.

Pacific Heights
Pacific Heights offers close proximity to the activities while still putting a few blocks between you and the crowds. Both Hotel Drisco and The Laurel Inn are in Pacific Heights and are popular choices during Fleet Week.

If you're planning to visit San Francisco for Fleet Week, make sure to make the most of your trip by choosing the neighborhood that best suits you. Find a hotel.

Amadeus and MTCO Launch Mekong Trends Aviation Seminar

Free Mekong Trends Seminar on Aviation in the Greater Mekong Subregion, hosted by Amadeus in Bangkok on October 10th, 2017.

Amadeus and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) is jointly organising the first Mekong Trends Aviation Seminar, which is scheduled to take place in Bangkok on the 10th of October.

The inaugural Mekong Trends Aviation Seminar will highlight the key insights of the recently published Mekong Trends Snapshot on Air Transport in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). Both the report and the seminar intend to emphasise the importance of aviation in the development of the region’s tourism.

Nanda Pillai, Regional Director, South and South East Asia, Airlines, Amadeus Asia Pacific, said: “Together with MTCO we look forward to hosting a stimulating discussion with the GMS travel industry on the further evolution of aviation in the region, and the existing challenges as well as opportunities for airlines. Air transport brings regions, economies and people closer together, and we’re committed to working with our airline customers and industry partners like MTCO to ensure it can continue to grow and develop sustainably, for the greater good of all.”

According to the report, over the last 20 years, air transport in the GMS helped to open up many destinations in the region such as Siem Reap in Cambodia, Luang Prabang in Lao PDR, Danang in Vietnam, Mandalay in Myanmar and Guilin in Guangxi, the People’s Republic of China.

The trend accelerated with the emergence of budget airlines. New air routes today link destinations such as Sihanoukville in Cambodia, Khon Kaen in Thailand, and Pakse in Lao PDR, destinations which were barely noticed by travellers before.

Jens Thraenhart, MTCO Executive Director, said: “Therefore, it is fitting that our first Mekong Trends Snapshot covers GMS Aviation, providing a quick overview and some key insights on important developments and trends in the region’s aviation industry.”

Mekong Trends is a public-private partnership to deliver valuable industry intelligence on specific and relevant topics. Published for the industry on behalf of the MTCO and the National Tourism Organisations of the six member governments of the GMS, Mekong Trends is owned and operated by CEN International.

The first Mekong Trends Snapshot on Air Transport in the GMS was released in June this year during the Mekong Tourism Forum 2017, a platform for GMS travel industry collaboration supported by the Asian Development Bank. The report can be downloaded for free at www.MekongTrends.com.

Key insights of the report will be used to discuss the state of aviation and connectivity in the Mekong Region during the Mekong Trends Aviation Seminar hosted by Amadeus. The seminar will take place on 10 October, from 16:00-18:00, at the Amadeus Executive Briefing Centre in Bangkok, Thailand.

Entry is free, but registration is required. For more information, please click here.
(Website: http://www.mekongtourism.org/events/mekong-trends-seminar-gms-aviation/)

Contact information
Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
Executive Director
Jens Thraenhart (jens@mekongtourism.org)

Night sky magic in store for stargazers and astro-tourists

Stargazers and astro-tourists will be treated to three days of night sky magic at the Aoraki Mackenzie Starlight Festival.

The biennial festival runs from October 13-15 in Mt Cook Village and Tekapo and celebrates the Mackenzie Basin and Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park as one of the best stargazing locations in the world.

Keynote speakers include NASA scientist Dr Natalie Batalha, who was named as one of the 100 most influential people on Earth by Time Magazine in 2017 for her contributions to the discovery of habitable exoplanets. Dr Batalha will discuss the possibility of finding potentially habitable environments in the not-so-distant future.Festival-goers will learn about the night sky, the effects of light pollution and gain an understanding of outer space through a mix of scientific, educational and cultural events, such as lectures, planetarium shows and a photography exhibition.

Another festival highlight includes a lecture and video presentation by award-winning photographer and time-lapse filmmaker Mark Gee, whose short film Full Moon Silhouettes gained international acclaim. Gee enjoys the challenge of combining New Zealand’s striking landscapes with the ethereal beauty of the night sky in new, creative ways.

“We’re extremely lucky to have the likes of Dr Natalie Batalha and Mark Gee on board for the festival, alongside several other exciting speakers,” says Professor John Hearnshaw of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Canterbury. “We hope the varied programme will attract all sorts of people, from international visitors and academics to amateur astronomers and families with school-age children.”

The Mackenzie Basin and Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park region has some of the most beautiful scenery in New Zealand; from clear starry nights and crisp sunny days to turquoise blue lakes and snow-capped mountains. It is home to the University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory in Tekapo and the southern hemisphere’s first International Dark Sky Reserve, which at 4,300 square kilometres is also the largest in the southern hemisphere.

The dark sky reserve is ‘gold-rated’ due to the quality of its almost light-pollution-free skies, devoid of urban light. On a clear night, a spectacular number of stars are visible to the naked eye.

Festival organisers
The Aoraki Mackenzie Starlight Festival is organised by the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve Board in partnership with the University of Canterbury through the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Festival location
The main festival venue is the iconic Hermitage Hotel in Mt Cook Village, including the adjoining Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre and Digital Dome Planetarium. Some events will be held nearby, including in Tekapo.

Tickets
Tickets are on sale now and some events are free. For more information, visit

http://www.starlightfestival.org.nz

HUNTER NIGHT GLOW

Balloon Safaris with Hunter Valley Ballooning
An exciting new ballooning event will light up the skies above the Roche Estate in the Hunter Valley on 30 September.

Hunter Valley Night Glow is a spectacular display of nine hot-air balloons that will light their burners in the dark, choreographed to music.

There will also be a food and wine night market (picnic blankets are encouraged), musical performances and pilots will be on hand to explain how the balloons are operated.

The evening will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display.

The event is the latest addition to the Balloon Aloft Fiesta which runs from Friday, 29 September until Monday, 2 October. To find out more, visit Balloon Aloft.