Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Commonwealth Games legacy building begins

Gold Coast
Commonwealth Games and Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones will today arrive in Thailand to deliver the keynote speech at the world’s premier and most exclusive annual sport convention.

The SportAccord Convention brings together rights holders, organising committees, city representatives, media, businesses and organisations involved in the staging of sport around the world.

The Minister’s attendance comes two days after the closing of the largest event in Queensland’s history - the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Ms Jones said it was her priority to build on the success of the Commonwealth Games and create a long-term legacy for Queensland.

“Queensland has the opportunity to meet with major international sporting federations to show why our state is the place to host world championships, world cups and multisport events,” Ms Jones said.

“The Games are proof that Queensland is among the best major sporting destinations on the globe.

“We have some of the best sporting venues in the world which we want to continue to benefit the state’s economy for years to come.

“From beach volleyball on the sands of Coolangatta beach to the world-class Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre at Carrara, the Games have helped to strengthen our reputation as a world-class event leader.”

Ms Jones said events that appealed to key markets - including high value endurance events, world cups, championships and multisport events - would be targeted at the convention for staging in Queensland over the next three to five years.

“Our bold target is for Queensland’s events calendar to be worth $1.5 billion to the Queensland economy by 2025 and the new relationships we build at SportAccord will significantly contribute to that,” she said.

“While the Commonwealth Games has already brought significant benefit to the state’s economy, and will continue to do so, the Palaszczuk Government is focused on how we can leverage the Games to make sure those benefits continue in the future and leave a lasting legacy for Queensland.”

The Queensland Government is attending the 2018 SportAccord Convention in partnership with the City of Gold Coast as part of a broader campaign to leverage the success of the Games to attract legacy events to Queensland.

Tourism and Events Queensland has previously attended the SportAccord Convention securing events including the 2017 BWF Sudirman Cup, the ITU World Triathlon Championships, 2020 Bowls World Championships, two World Cups and a World Championship Mountain Biking event for Cairns.

The SportAccord Convention annually brings together representatives from more than 100 International Sports Federations including representatives from major events held in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America.

In addition, SportAccord, ASOIF (Association of Summer Olympic International Federations), AIOWF (Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations), ARISF (Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations), AIMS (Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport) and Associate Members host their Annual General Assemblies at the SportAccord Convention.

"WINTER" in Iiyama City, Nagano Prefecture

Deep within the mountains of Japanese snow country, the city of Iiyama exists in harmony with tradition and nature.

This beautifully presented video captures Iiyama's rustic charm in the very distinct winter season.

Experience the natural beauty of the Japanese countryside and discover the enduring ancient culture of northern Nagano prefecture.




Visit Japan Now

Social media – effective tool for tourism companies

Social platforms
Social platforms are effective channels where online tourism firms interact with potential customers, and the travel industry must transform to keep pace with technological changes, experts have said.

La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Tourism, said the fourth industrial revolution is making its way into people’s lives, with almost every device being connected with the internet, representing a new way of communicating and doing business.

With Industry 4.0, the tourism industry must figure out how to adopt new technologies to engage with a customer and gain market share, he told an online tourism forum held on April 13 in HCM City as part of the HCM City Tourism Fair.

Viet Nam ended 2017 with GDP growth of 6.8 percent, Huynh Bich Tran, deputy director of Nielsen Viet Nam, a global information and measurement company, said.

The service sector also saw significant growth, and contributing to this was increasing tourism and a number of government initiatives, she said.

The number of domestic tourists reached 73 million last year, a year-on-year increase of 20 percent, while the number of foreign tourists rose by 30 percent to 13 million.

Vietnamese consumer confidence finished 2017 on a high note as Viet Nam continued to be ranked as the seventh most optimistic country in the world, according to the latest issue of the Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey done in collaboration with Nielsen.

There was a sustained high confidence level among Vietnamese consumers through 2017, the survey found.

Vietnamese consumers were eager to spend on big ticket items to enhance the quality of life. Nearly half of all consumers were willing to spend their spare cash on buying new clothes (49 percent) and on holidays (44 percent).

There were 23 million “connected” spenders – referring to people who have access to the internet - in Viet Nam in 2015 and the number is expected to nearly double to 40 million by 2025, according to Nielsen.

By 2025 their spending is expected to account for a half of all consumer spending.

Smartphones sustain the growth momentum as usage and ownership keep increasing in Viet Nam.

According to the 2017 Nielsen Viet Nam Smartphone Insights Report, the number of people using smartphones accounted for 84 percent of all phone users in 2017 compared to 78 percent a year earlier.

In secondary cities, 71 percent of people use smartphones out of the 93 percent that use mobile phones.

More notably, in rural areas, while 89 percent of the population own a mobile phone, 68 percent of them possess a smartphone.

Social media could be a channel to bring customers to online tourism enterprises, and optimising access for connected customers holds the key to success, Tran said

Some sources that customers consult before using services include social media (60 percent), friends and relatives (48 percent) and online travel forums (45 percent), she said.

The feedback and comments on forums from earlier customers have a strong effect on the decision of new customers, she added.

According to Jennifer Chau, business manager of Facebook Viet Nam, on average Vietnamese customers spend three hours a day on mobile phones, more than on newspapers (56 minutes), television (1.4 hours) or radio (43 minutes).

It is expected that by 2021 half of online tourism revenues would come from mobile phones.

"There are 59 million active Facebook users in Viet Nam, with 97 percent of them using smart phones to browse," she said.

All travellers are users of social platforms and Facebook is the top social platform, according to Chau.

Creative videos with good contents are the most effective way to touch potential customers.
Source: VNA

WOMEN'S STATE OF ORIGIN TICKETS ON SALE

Women’s State of Origin
Tickets are on sale for the 2018 Holden Women’s State of Origin match, to be played at North Sydney Oval on 22 June.

The match will fall under the State of Origin brand for the first time (previously the Interstate Challenge) and NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said Sydney is set for a blockbuster weekend of Origin action.

“The NSW Government is pleased to be supporting the Women’s State of Origin in Sydney, the home of rugby league in Australia,” Mr Marshall said.

“I encourage fans to come to Sydney for the historic stand-alone Origin Two on Sunday 24 June and to make a long weekend of it, as with the women’s match on Friday night and the 2018 Pacific Test on Saturday, the Harbour City is the place to be for rugby league excitement.”

NRL Chief Executive Officer Todd Greenberg said the match would be another highlight for women’s rugby league, as part of a full year of competition.

“There’s nothing quite like State of Origin rivalry and what an occasion this will be, as our Queensland and NSW women’s teams battle it out on the iconic North Sydney Oval, to kick off our representative weekend,” Mr Greenberg said.

Tickets for the Women's State of Origin and the men's State of Origin Game Two can be purchased here.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

SPORTACCORD 2018: THAI SPORTS MINISTER ON GROWING THE COUNTRY’S SPORTING PROFILE

SportAccord 2018
SportAccord 2018, the annual gathering of international federations and other key decision-makers from across the global business of sport, is being held in Bangkok, Thailand all this week.

The six-day event will see a customarily packed schedule of high-level meetings, plenary discussions and networking sessions take place in and around the Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre, as the sporting world descends on the Thai capital under the auspices of SportAccord for the first time.

As day one’s proceedings began with council meetings for senior members of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and their winter counterparts, the AIOWF, SportsPro sat down for a brief chat with Weerasak Kowsurat, Thailand’s minister for tourism and sports, to find out what hosting the latest edition of SportAccord means for the country, and how the Thai government is working to position Thailand at the forefront of Asia’s sporting moment.

SportsPro: What has been the appeal for Thailand of staging SportAccord 2018?

WK: To host an event like this, not only do we benefit from having a nice activity happening in town, but also it’s bringing sport’s big boys to see the country for themselves and see the people. It is always the people of countries who are more attractive than anything else. With firsthand experience, seeing not only facilities but the people – going outside into the city – [the attendees] see for themselves why we are more visited by international visitors each year and we have been successfully hosting not only normal events but also sporting events in Thailand – from north to south, from east to west.

It is the harmonisation of people who are living here with the international world that we have received all kinds of new incoming activity. So being a part, and being the host, of this international sporting event is not about competition – it is about coordination because everyone is flying in from different parts of the world to be here to discuss and to cooperate.

This will help the visitors in SportAccord to have full confidence of who we are from this part of the world – that’s one thing. And the other thing is we give opportunities for the local sporting administrators – like clubs, like the associations of all kinds of sports – to get a chance to be part of the hosting, to get the president of sports federations acquainted and also get our people to learn from those international big boys of how they run their world.

So it’s going to be uplifting for us and make us feel part of the standard that we want to do. It’s one thing that we, in the country, get to discuss about internationalisation and standardisation to our people, but it’s another when they get to listen to the man in the field talking about how they came about. So this is really beneficial, and money can’t buy this. You can’t just spend money and get all of these 1,500 big boys to come into the city at the same time, unless SportAccord is in town.

Read full article at SportsPro Media: http://www.sportspromedia.com/quick_fire_questions/thai-sports-minister-weerasak-kowsurat-sport-accord-2018-bangkok

http://www.mekongtourism.org/

A Mother's Day Celebration That Soars Above The Rest at the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

Melbourne Star
This Mother's Day, Melbourne Star Observation Wheel is making it easy and fun for families to celebrate their mums with a special Mother's Day package available on Saturday May 12 and Sunday May 13.

Across the weekend, all mothers flying with their family will enjoy $10.50 flights and a complimentary glass of sparkling, red or white wine, beer or cider to enjoy up in the sky, or pre-flight in the Star Departure Lounge. Partners and kids that book their Melbourne Star Mother's Day online will also enjoy the special online family ticket rates of $21.00 per adult ticket and $12.75 per child.

Canapés, a Private Cabin and other Mother's Day upgrades can be added to the experience to make it a celebration Mum will never forget. For further details and to book online visit www.melbournestar.com

What: Mother's Day at Melbourne Star with a complimentary glass of sparkling in the sky for mum and special online family ticket rates for the whole family: $10.50 for mothers, $21.00 for additional adults and $12.75 for children.

Where: Melbourne Star Observation Wheel in The District Docklands - 101 Waterfront Way, Docklands VIC 3008

When: Mother's Day weekend - Saturday May 12 and Sunday May 13, 2018 between 11AM and 6PM

How: Book online at https://www.melbournestar.com/mothers-day-star/

Located in the city's new The District Docklands precinct, a flight on the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel provides an experience of wonderment and adventure for the whole family. From 40 storeys high, guests are treated to sweeping vistas of the city's stunning skyline and beyond; from the rolling Dandenong Ranges to Arthur's Seat on the Mornington Peninsula, right across Port Phillip Bay to Geelong and Mount Macedon too. By night, spectacular sunsets and views of the glittering city are breathtaking and enjoyed with the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel's audio commentary revealing the hidden stories and history of the viewable landmarks.

How to get there: Trams 70, 86 and 35 (City Circle Tram) to Stop D11; Bus Link's route 220 Stop 6 - Footscray Road; Car: The District Docklands car park is open 24 hours a day. Enter from Footscray Road, Docklands Drive or Pearl River Road, Docklands.

For more information or to book tickets, visit www.melbournestar.com or call (03) 8688 9688.

Portugal, the Best Golf Destination in the World

For the fourth consecutive year, Portugal was considered the World’s and Europe’s Best Golf Destination at the World Golf Awards.

In the fourth edition of the World Awards dedicated to golf, at a ceremony held in Murcia, Spain, Portugal was again distinguished as the best country in which to play golf.

These awards, which celebrate and distinguish excellence in golf tourism, are the result of votes cast by professionals in the golf industry around the world. In the case of Portugal, the overall tourist experience with good accessibility by air and land, hospitality, excellent sports and hotel facilities appropriate to the different profiles of athletes, and the good quality/price ratio of the destination, along with an annual average of 300 days of sunshine, are some of the factors mentioned as setting Portugal apart in this respect.

More information on http://worldgolfawards.com

IGN Art Fair - Come and meet Hunter Arts Network!

Art collectors, the art-loving public and those interested to learn more about arts offerings in Newcastle - come along to the IGN Art Fair, presenting a showcase of the very best commercial art spaces and artist-run initiatives from across the Newcastle region. Enjoy the Gallery's current exhibitions while also perusing displays from ten of the region's most well-known independent art spaces. Talk directly to artists and gallery directors and get a taste of the different flavour of each of these spaces all at once. You can even purchase works of art directly from the commercial galleries and artists-run spaces.

Enjoy after-hours access until 8pm, live music and a drink at our pop up bar. Inspired by the exhibitions on display, every month there is something new to see and do when you visit. Free and unmetered parking available in the area from 5pm.

You will also be able to meet the inaugural Youth Reference Group - a group of 6 young people, aged 18-30, who are helping to provide a youth perspective on Newcastle Art Gallery's cultural offerings. At the IGN Art Fair, they will be providing more information on an upcoming project they're developing in conjunction with the exhibition HUNTER RED: Corpus

Newcastle Art Gallery is also pleased to announce a future partnership with Critical Animals, as part of This Is Not Art 2018. Come along and learn more about Critical Animals and their aims.

IGN Art Fair Stallholders:
  • Hunter Arts Network
  • Art House Studios
  • Art Systems Wickham
  • Back to Back Galleries
  • The Incubator Gallery
  • Critical Animals
  • Gallery 139
  • Newcastle Art Space Gallery
  • Newcastle Art Gallery Youth Reference Group
  • Newcastle Printmakers Workshop
  • Studio 21 Art Space
  • Timeless Textiles
  • Watt Space Gallery 

Exhibitions on display:
  • Elisabeth Cummings: interior landscapes
  • IN-FORM: Sculpture from the collection

IGN Art Fair
Newcastle Art Gallery, 1 Laman St, Cooks Hill
Friday 27 April 2018 5pm to 8pm
Admission is free

Hotels to spend AED2.45 million by 2022 to broaden bandwidth and retain techy traveller loyalty

Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 
Travel tech tops the bill at Arabian Travel Market this year, following 12% annual growth
Average 300-room hotel in Dubai faces AED2.45 million bill to upgrade Internet connectivity over coming five years

The average 300-room hotel in Dubai will be faced with a bill for AED2.45 million over the coming five years, as bandwidth capability is multiplied to meet rising guest demand, according to the latest data published ahead of Arabian Travel Market 2018, which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 22-25.

The figure, calculated by Colliers International, is based on the average guest now connecting up to three separate devices to a hotel’s WiFi during their stay, increasing the overall strain on existing bandwidth within each property.

Adding to this pressure, the data further reveals that hotels failing to maintain current standards will jeopardise guest loyalty, as 68% of guests reveal they would not return to a hotel with poor internet access, research found.

Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said: “To maintain current connection speed and quality each hotel must make multi-million dirham investments in new technology, systems and capabilities. Bandwidth investment is a key trend predicted to transform the regional hospitality industry over the next five years.”

Discussing the defining evolutions of the hospitality technology, the Travel Tech Show will return to ATM 2018 with more than 30 dedicated international exhibitors and an influential agenda of discussion and debate in the Travel Tech Theatre, sponsored by Sabre Corporation, a leading provider of technology to the global travel industry.

Travel technology is the fastest growing region at ATM with a 12% increase in exhibitors in 2017, compared to the previous year. On the show floor, attendees will be able to meet with exhibitors such as TravelClick, Travelport, GT Beds, The Booking Expert, INPLASS, XML Holiday, and DidaTravel Technology Ltd.

Exhibiting for the first time at ATM will be Travelflex, a cryptocurrency that aims to solve the scalability issues which other coins are facing at the moment.

Press said: “Once again ATM 2018 is set to welcome the leading brands, personalities, innovators and disruptors in travel technology today. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary this year we will be reflecting on how far the hospitality and travel industry has come since the first online travel agency (OTA) emerged. However, as our line-up of seminar sessions and exhibitors proves, our focus remains fixed on the future of the industry.”

Looking to the future, the introduction of more chatbots across hotels to deal with common guest queries before, during and after booking is expected, with Colliers predicting as much as 79% of all B2C interactions will be performed by these bots within Middle Eastern hotels by 2020.

Another key development is the piloting of Bluetooth beacons across hotel lobbies and public spaces, allowing for on demand flash marketing to be sent via hotel apps.

In addition, virtual payment systems are tipped to be highly influential with fintech developments such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay eliminating the number of cash payments. Colliers predicts half of hotel payments will be made using either mobile or virtual payment platforms by 2021.

Press added: “Much of the innovation we have seen across the travel industry is focused on easing the passenger journey, with flexibility, personalisation and authenticity all key to enhancing a guest’s overall trip and we see that reflected throughout this new research.”

Kick starting discussions in the Travel Tech Theatre, a social media specialist panel will explore how to create a Unique Selling Proposition on social media and how to integrate it as a successful driver of business sales.

72% of travellers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia with an Instagram account, purchased an overseas trip during the past year and a session led by the social media platform will highlight how powerful visuals can inspire potential travellers and drive business.

While other sessions taking place in the Travel Tech Theatre include the Digital Future Summit and Smart Tourism 2020.

Celebrating its 25th year ATM is considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed over 39,000 people to its 2017 event, including 2,661 exhibiting companies, signing business deals worth more than $2.5 billion over the four days.

Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 

is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2017 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals, agreeing deals worth US$2.5bn over the four days. The 24th edition of ATM showcased over 2,500 exhibiting companies across 12 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, making it the largest ATM in its 24-year history. www.arabiantravelmarketwtm.com Next event 22-25 April 2018 – Dubai.

More on Offer in WA's Premier Aquatic Region

Western Australa
The Mandurah and Peel Region, just one hour drive south of Perth, has more to offer than ever before and, thanks to a partnership with one of Australia's biggest travel companies, it's now even easier for travellers to plan their next holiday.

For the first time, Helloworld Travel, is promoting the region across three pages in five travel brochures; Sunlover Holidays, Qantas Holidays, GO Holidays, Helloworld Travel Australia and Helloworld New Zealand.

Readers will find a multitude of things to see and do, places to stay, as well as a helpful editorial. Helloworld Travel produces over two million brochures in hard copy and a digital version of each brochure is available online.

Mandurah and Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO) CEO, Karen Priest, said inclusion in the publications was a sign of the regions fast growing, quality tourism product.

“Being featured in the Helloworld Travel Perth and West Coast brochure, is a big achievement as they only accept regions that have the highest quality tourism offering,” Ms Priest said.

Destination and Procurement Manager for Western Australia at Helloworld Travel, Brooke Hindmarsh, said Mandurah and the Peel Region was a fantastic asset for WA tourism and a great fit with the brochures in general.

“These publications are designed to entice people to visit the best places in the state and this region, with its stunning beaches and waterways, natural and cultural experiences, and burgeoning dining scene, is certainly one of them.”

Mandurah is Western Australia's largest and fastest growing regional city and is set against a backdrop of magnificent beaches and an estuary twice the size of Sydney Harbour.

It has recently been named Western Australia's Top Tourism Town and is the perfect base to take day trips to explore the wider Peel Region. In an easy half hour drive you'll find beautiful wineries, breweries, winding waterways, rolling green hills and tiny timber towns nestled in the forest.

Mandurah and the Peel Region is home to one of Australia's healthiest dolphin populations which you can spot on a dolphin cruise or while dining in one of the many waterfront restaurants.

Travel Facts

Getting there
Mandurah is less than an hour south of Perth. When driving, travel the Kwinana freeway south, easily accessible from many points in Perth, and exit at Mandjoogoordap Drive. Trains and buses operate between the two cities and depart from the Perth city centre. www.transperth.wa.gov.au

Staying there
Mandurah and the Peel Region has a range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. There is a choice of resort hotels, caravan and camping facilities, charming bed and breakfast accommodation, self-contained apartments, forest cabins and even houseboats for hire.

Getting around
Buses operate around Mandurah, but if you want to explore the Peel Region extensively you can hire a car or join a tour. Taxis and Uber drivers are also available in Mandurah.

When to go
The Peel Region can be visited any time of the year. Being on the coast, it's spectacular in spring and in summer. But during winter, the scenery is amazing. You can find something to do all year around.

Further Information on Mandurah and the Peel Region visit www.visitpeel.com.au

Mandurah & the Peel Region image gallery www.mapto.photoshelter.com