Wednesday, 31 May 2017

COUNTDOWN ON FOR THE AUSTRALIAN HAY MINI NATIONALS

Mini motoring enthusiasts and fans can head to Hay this June long weekend for a three-day celebration of the iconic British car.

A festival atmosphere will surround the main street with market stalls, children’s entertainment and local musicians setting the backdrop for one of Australia’s most spectacular ‘show and shines’.

On Sunday, the adrenaline-charged motorkhana will have spectators and drivers on the edge of their seats as the Minis go head-to-head on a challenging dirt track.

Don’t miss the presentation party on Sunday evening when each Mini club attends in their own fancy dress theme with a DJ providing entertainment.

Visit the Hay Mini Nationals website for the full event program.

Image credit: www.haymininationals.com.au

Anantara Tangalle in Sri Lanka launches marine turtle conservation and enhancement project

In line with Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas’ philosophy that environmental responsibility begins at home, Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort in Sri Lanka has joined forces with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The collaboration, which officially launched earlier this month, is set to implement methods to protect and conserve the globally threatened marine turtles.

The project will work to enhance conservation of the various species of marine turtles that visit the beach at Anantara Tangalle and will extend to over 100 kilometres of surrounding coastline. Additionally it will recreate a conducive healthy coastal habitat within the resort premises by improving the physical landscape with environmentally acceptable interventions that will also attract native coastal species. Lastly the project aims to raise awareness of marine turtle conservation among the hotels guests, its staff and the local community with the construction of an ecological education and visitor centre.

The conservation project is funded by the Anantara “Dollars for Deeds” programme, which engages guests in the spirit of giving back and matches each guest’s donation dollar for dollar to raise funds for worthy causes. By choosing to donate USD 1 per night, Anantara guests not only enjoy a luxurious stay, rich in discovery, but take away wonderful memories of their experiences knowing that they made a positive difference to the local environment and community.

“We are delighted to have this incredible opportunity to work closely with IUCN to kick start this milestone conservation project. Out of the seven species of marine turtles recorded around the world, five visit the shores of Sri Lanka for the purpose of reproducing. With our resort beach being a prime nesting ground for the turtles, we are in a fortunate position to have the ability to support these endangered turtles by all possible means and also to have the chance to educate our guests, team members and the local community about our conservation efforts,” comments Ross Sanders, General Manager of Anantara Tangalle. Dr. Ananda Mallawatantri, Country Representative, IUCN highlights, “while providing local and global conservation benefits, this project will serve as a model to enhance Sri Lanka’s nature, culture and heritage based tourism potential.”

Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort offers guests a unique resort experience in Sri Lanka. Located on the island’s southern coastline, the resort is set on a secluded stretch of beach amidst a 21-acre coconut plantation. Each of the 120 guest rooms and 32 private pool villas exude serenity and the spacious interiors blend comfortable luxury with modern amenities.



Homestead Celebrates 25years

Hidden within the lush Kimberley wilderness perched on a cliff top overlooking the Chamberlain River, The Homestead is a relaxed luxury retreat catering exclusively to a maximum of only 18 guests at a time.

El Questro are gifting guests a 25th anniversary offer of 25% OFF Homestead accommodation for bookings of a minimum of 4 nights, PLUS 25% OFF the choice of a spectacular Miri Miri Falls or Amaroo Falls Tour helicopter tour!

Offer includes:
  • 25% off your all-inclusive luxury accommodation during shoulder season from 1 April to 3 June 2017, and 3 September to 28 October 2017.
  • 15% off your all-inclusive accommodation during high season from 4 June to 2 September 2017.
  • 25% off a Miri Miri Falls or Amaroo Falls Tour helicopter tour.
  • Gourmet meals daily
  • A fine selection of wine, beer, basic spirits and sparkling wine

Selected tours within El Questro including:
  • The Chamberlain Cruise
  • Access to your own self-drive private boat
  • The Bush Culture, History & Nature Tour
  • Bird Watching Tour
  • Exclusive and complimentary use of Zebedee Thermal Springs each afternoon
  • Sunset at Buddy's Point
  • Guided Walks to the most spectacular gorges the Kimberley region has to offer

For further information or to book your stay, visit.

Canadian Signature Experiences collection adds two immersive adventures

Agawa Canyon Tour Train
Explore the rugged landscapes of Ontario that inspired the iconic Group of Seven and view Quebec’s spectacular beauty by Air Canyon and via ferrata.

Destination Canada is pleased to announce the addition of two new members to the Canadian Signature Experiences collection: Agawa Canyon Tour Train and Canyon Sainte-Anne. These new experiences allow visitors to follow in the footsteps of Canada’s most iconic artists on a heritage train tour in Ontario, and explore Canyon Sainte-Anne in Quebec on a thrilling ride by Air Canyon and a via ferrata adventure through the spectacular Giant’s Pothole geological formation.

“Canada’s world-class tourism experiences make travelling across our great country unforgettable. As Minister, I have had the privilege to meet many operators, from coast to coast to coast, and continue to be impressed by the variety of unique travel activities that attract visitors the world over,” said the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. “It’s small and medium businesses like these two new Canadian Signature Experiences that enable travellers to truly explore and enjoy all that Canada has to offer.”

“We’re delighted to welcome Agawa Canyon Tour Train and Canyon Sainte-Anne to our collection of Canadian Signature Experiences,” says David F. Goldstein, Destination Canada President and CEO. “These two innovative Canadian Signature Experiences highlight some of our industry’s most unique experiences for our international travellers and are showing the world what Canada has to offer.”

The Canadian Signature Experiences are once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences offered by Canadians who are passionate about showing the best of Canada to the world. As diverse as Canada itself, these unique experiences are offered from coast to coast to coast and provide an introduction to the best Canada has to offer, from urban gems to wilderness adventures.

The two new Canadian Signature Experiences have been chosen for the exceptional ways they connect travellers to Canada’s remarkable geography and rich cultural heritage, with an emphasis on unique modes of transport.

Agawa Canyon Tour Train in Ontario allows travellers to follow in the footsteps of the Group of Seven, Canada’s most iconic artists whose work is displayed in the world’s most prestigious galleries. This immersive group travel experience guides travellers through the works of the Group of Seven, as well as the landscape of Northern Ontario’s Algoma region that inspired them so passionately. Explore this vast and rugged scenery—boreal forest, meandering rivers, pastoral homesteads and thunderous waterfalls—on a two-day experience that features gallery tours, engaging live theatre, dining in a National Historic Site and a daylong guided heritage train tour culminating with hands-on instruction while you paint the same landscapes depicted by the Group of Seven.

Canyon Sainte-Anne in Quebec invites travellers to take a seat in the Air Canyon and then explore the Giant’s Pothole via ferrata. In the Air Canyon, travellers will sit back and soar over a stunning rock and water panorama, cross the forest at full speed to finally find themselves dangling 90m above the Canyon's gorge and its ferocious rumbling waters. This is an opportunity to observe the canyon the way eagles can and experience Canadian nature in a new unexpected way! Then slip into a harness, strap on a helmet and clip onto a steel cable to explore along a circuit on Canyon Sainte-Anne’s sheer rock walls. Travellers will feel and hear the powerful waterfall thundering down the cliff face as each step presents panoramas of pristine forest, the wild Sainte-Anne-du-Nord River that carved this gorge and the intriguing Giant’s Pothole geological formation.

The Canadian Signature Experiences collection has grown to 199 members and Destination Canada works in partnership with all provincial and territorial marketing organizations to build and maintain the collection.

2017 Club Melbourne Fellowship finalists revealed

Five of Melbourne’s leading mid-career researchers have been named Club Melbourne Fellowship finalists, with the winning recipient set to receive access to the exclusive Club Melbourne Ambassador Program network.

The Fellowship recognises excellence in research, innovation and leadership, and is designed to support high-quality Melburnian research projects and the next generation of potential Club Melbourne Ambassadors.

The five finalists include:
  • Dr Janet Bray - Monash University 
  • Associate Professor Dominique Cadilhac - Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health 
  • Dr Fernando Guimaraes - Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research 
  • Dr Megan Lim - Burnet Institute 
  • Dr Colin Scholes - The University of Melbourne 

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) Senior Manager of Club Melbourne and Business Development, Katie Tinetti said the calibre of finalists is a great example of why Melbourne is so highly regarded internationally for its research and development.

“These finalists are an elite group of Melburnians you want to keep your eye on! The impressive nature of their research is what has landed them a finalist spot, and we have no doubt their brilliant minds and passion will see them exceed even further,” Ms Tinetti said.

As well as gaining access to the prestigious Club Melbourne network, the Fellowship includes research funding of $10,000 to support attendance at international conferences to enable new research opportunities for their project.

“This Fellowship is an invaluable opportunity for these researchers in the midst of their careers. The financial contribution is far outweighed by the access and opportunity they are given to connect with Melbourne’s most influential and brightest minds – the ones truly changing the world – that makes this Fellowship unlike any other and far more valuable.

“Our Ambassadors judging the Fellowship have a hard task at hand. Each of our finalists would be a worthy recipient, and we are already looking forward to welcoming the winning recipient into our program for a year and supporting their research endeavours,” Ms Tinetti added.

The winning recipient will be announced at Club Melbourne’s 12th Anniversary Dinner, held at MCEC on Friday 16 June 2017.

Owned and led by MCEC, with collaboration and support from the Melbourne Convention Bureau and the Victorian State Government, Club Melbourne has delivered over 125 international conferences worth over $700 million to become one of the world's most influential Ambassador programs.

Auckland’s Grand Millennium hosts welcome for CINZ MEETINGS 2017

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand’s (CINZ) annual showcase, MEETINGS 2017 started with a high-energy welcome event for 650 at the Grand Millennium in Auckland on Tuesday night.

Named Le Cirque, the event combined daring acrobatic acts with fantastical costumes and fine fare, produced by The Event Group and The Dust Palace.

MEETINGS’ two-day exhibition opened this morning and brings more than 195 stands from 19 regions of New Zealand inside ASB Showgrounds. Exhibitors and buyers will hold more than 6,000 meetings during the two days of pre-scheduled appointments and social networking events.

CINZ Chief Executive Sue Sullivan says MEETINGS is New Zealand’s leading platform for connecting influential domestic, Australian and international buyers with key regions, meeting facilities, accommodation, off-site venues and activities.

“Business events continue to be the high-value sector of New Zealand’s visitor economy. Convention visitors spent over a million nights in New Zealand last year, and international delegates generated twice as much as other visitors to New Zealand.

CINZ MEETINGS 2016 generated over $55million of signed business over its two days of pre-scheduled appointments.

For the first time this year five event organisers from Argentina are joining the programme, along with buyers and industry media from China, South and South-East Asia, North America and Australia, supported by Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand.

MEETINGS 2017 includes a new Education Hub, an industry leader programme, a 14-stand Luxury Collection, the Celebrity Speaker showcase, and a PCO Masterclass.

“We are seeing strong interest in New Zealand as a place to host exceptional conferences, incentives and events. The feedback from Australian event organisers who toured seven of our regions this week has been tremendous.

“New Zealand buyers have travelled from all over the country to join us, together with a significant number of local Auckland event organisers coming in each day.

Air New Zealand is principal sponsor of MEETINGS 2017, and major sponsors are ASB Showgrounds, Peek Exhibition and Centium Software, Auckland Convention Bureau and Auckland’s leading hotels.

CINZ MEETINGS 2017 is open to anyone who organises business events, meetings, conferences, exhibitions and incentive travel. Registration is free at www.meetings.co.nz/daybuyer

Kanagawa: Head to Enoshima

Kanagawa is the nearest fun-filled prefecture to Tokyo. While Kanagawa is usually identified with Yokohama Bayside shopping and fun or the Big Buddha and beaches, Kanagawa also has Enoshima. 

A trip to Enoshima will bring you to the interesting Iwaya Caves, which face the sea and can lead you to the Enoshima Sea Candle, the Ryukoji Temple, and the Samuel Cocking Garden. 

To make your family trip cost-efficient, get an Enoshima Day Pass from Shinjuku Station.

cievents balancing motherhood with a career

Fiona Batten
The ultimate question we are likely to face as mothers is how to find that delicate balance between family, children and a career. It’s a challenging decision but if you love what you do, you’ll find a way and make it work.

As any mother who has found herself in this position will tell you, leaving a child to recommit to a demanding career is a difficult choice, and a battle which I myself have had to face. Confronted by the decision of wanting to have children and start a family but not wanting to lose momentum in a career has at times left me torn.

But why should we have to choose? Surely mothers should be able to spend quality with their children and have an active role bringing them up, but at the same time have a career, acting as a role model by showing them that following their career path and passion is also an option.

With 82% of the events industry made up of women I know I am not alone in my fight. Working in this industry is tough – yes, our hours are long and our schedules can be exhausting – but ultimately, we love what we do and so the key is finding what works for you.

As mothers we need to be smart with time management and know the difference between what meetings we need to attend and those we don’t. In this modern era with technology so readily available, we are more connected than ever, opening up endless possibilities, including the ability to work remotely and adding that all important element of flexibility to our lives.

I have been lucky to have an incredible company behind me which has supported me in my journey through motherhood and beyond. Whilst it is possible of course to juggle both motherhood and a career without the full support of a business – and I know that many have to – there are many ways businesses can provide support.

cievents has a fantastic culture, actively encouraging employees to remain flexible within their working lives. A range of initiatives ensure that work life balance is achievable for everyone and includes; ci-flex, flexible work hours allowing for personal endeavours, whether that be a yoga class, a run on the beach, coffee with a friend, childcare, school drop-offs or pickups; ci-Summer, allowing staff to work summer hours, shorter days or less days during the week and; ci-me, giving all staff members a day off for their birthday, to celebrate and spend time with family and friends.

With such great incentives, allowing all employees to plan their work lives around their personal lives, it is unsurprising that cievents has such a high retention rate, currently sitting at 85.05%. Businesses who want to retain staff should really consider how they can provide this important support to ensure a healthy work-life balance.

Now my children are older, you would think that I have more freedom, unfortunately that is not the case. The truth is, family time never stops, just because I’m no longer changing nappies doesn’t mean that we don’t need to spend that quality time together. I think sometimes businesses can forget this, and whilst I don’t mean that businesses should expect less from their employees, I think there needs to be an understanding of what is needed to support their personal lives and hopefully these conversations will become more and more common.

*By Fiona Batten, General Manager Australia, cievents
www.cievents.com

Business events industry applauds Māori tourism funding boost

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) is welcoming a $10m funding boost for development of the Māori tourism sector announced in the 2017 Budget.

“For the business tourism sector, Māori culture is what sets New Zealand apart on the world stage,” CINZ Chief Executive Sue Sullivan says.

“We applaud the work of NZ Māori Tourism, and the support from the government for Māori-led initiatives to build the capability and capacity of Māori tourism operators throughout New Zealand,” she says.

“From the welcoming experience to the hospitality, our culture creates a strong sense of place for people visiting New Zealand for business events. This is a real point of difference.

“We are excited about the growth in emerging Māori tourism experiences, cultural quality and authenticity bringing this into the business events sector. The opportunities are significant and, with the support of NZ Māori Tourism, we are looking to further develop the current product offering.”

New Zealand’s unique Māori cultural experiences and Māori tourism products will be on show to 500 buyers at the country’s largest business events exhibition, CINZ MEETINGS 2017 in Auckland next week.

VIVID Sydney 2017 at Darling Harbour

Plan a night out with family and friends to Darling Harbour, Sydney during #vividsydney

Enjoy dinner and drinks before you experience the spectacular 'Magicians of the Mist' show, created by Oracle-Liquid, The Electric Canvas and #vividsydney. 

This production features lasers, flames, fireballs, fireworks, and cutting edge fountain technology that blasts water 40m high and 60m wide! 26 May - 17 June.

There are plenty of great restaurants and bars in Darling Harbour, as well as plenty of amazing installations! 

For more information on the precinct and what's showing, head to bit.ly/2rrwB7V

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Amazing Thai Taste Festival 2017 to showcase authentic cuisine of Thailand

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is joining hands with more than 40 public and private organisations to stage the Amazing Thai Taste Festival 2017 in Bangkok. Scheduled to take place from 8-11 June in the area around the Airport Rail Link Makkasan Station, the event will showcase authentic cuisine of Thailand in a range of meaningful and fun-filled activities.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn (3rd from right in photo), TAT Governor; chaired today’s press conference to announce the Amazing Thai Taste Festival 2017. He was joined by Mr. Thawatchai Chan-ngam (3rd from left), Chief of Tourism Division under the Culture, Sport and Tourism Department of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration; Mrs. Thaniwan Kulmongkol (2nd from right), President of Thai Restaurant Association; Chef Supamongkol Supapipat (right), Thai Celebrity Chef; and Ms. Pitchanart Sakakorn (2nd left), Thai Celebrity Foodie.

Mr. Kalin Sarasin, Chairman of the Board of TAT said, “The Festival is part of the Amazing Thai Taste campaign, which was launched in 2016 to promote the many aspects of Thai food and to encourage both Thais and visitors to discover distinct Thai tastes. As a result, the campaign can play a part in helping to generate sustainable income for farmers, food producers and restaurants.”

The four-day Amazing Thai Taste Festival 2017 will showcase the characteristics of Thai cuisine in 10 distinctive zones – local food, royal cuisine, partner and foodie tour, Thai herb and organic, local fruit, fruit buffet, street food, fusion and celebrity, food innovation and food truck. All are designed to offer everyone the chance to experience the very best of Thai cuisine, from fresh ingredients to sumptuous dishes and traditional cooking methods and innovative recipes. There will be booths by famous street food stalls and fine-dining restaurants as well as certified local eateries.

On each day of the festival, there will be activities taking place including cooking demonstrations of dishes from around the country, cooking shows by Thai celebrity chefs, culinary competitions and the sale of fresh ingredients, including herbs, fruits, and vegetables. There will also be daily music and entertainment to enjoy.

The Amazing Thai Taste Festival 2017 is one of the four key activities under the Amazing Thai Taste Campaign, including promoting six Thai dishes – Phat Thai, Tom Yum Kung, Green Curry, Som Tam, Massaman and Tom Kha Kai as well as seasonal Thai fruits; such as, durian, rambutan, mangosteen and pineapple. This is in line with the campaign’s three main aims: to improve income distribution nationwide; to raise income for the country and to promote sustainable tourism.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “With so many small and grassroots communities up and down Thailand being directly involved in fruit, rice and general food production, promotion of Thai food helps them to sell their crops and to create a strong international brand for Thai food and ingredients. At the same time, we can use Thai cuisine to drive tourism and boost spending.”

“Thai food is something that all visitors to Thailand enjoy, and for locals, our national cuisine is an obsession. After all, food production and dining plays a huge part in Thailand’s economy and tourism sector and deserves to be celebrated on an international level,” Mr Yuthasak concluded.

CHRIS FROOME TO RIDE IN L'ETAPE AUSTRALIA

The Snowy Mountains will welcome back the biggest name in world cycling, Chris Froome, who has announced he will again ride in L’Etape Australia by Le Tour De France.

Exclusive to NSW, the world-class cycling event is the renowned race for amateur road cyclists, secured by the NSW Government through Destination NSW.

The 157 kilometre course is described by Tour de France Director General Christian Prudhomme as providing a very similar experience to a mountainous stage of the Tour de France, with a multitude of stunning landscapes, topographies and ascents.

NSW Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro said the NSW Government was proud to support L’Etape Australia by Le Tour de France.

“I encourage cyclists across the country to register to be part of this exciting experience in the Snowy Mountains which provides the opportunity to ride with three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome, one of the giants of world cycling.”

More than 3,500 riders participated in the inaugural event in 2016, with 95 per cent recommending it to friends.

L’Etape Australia by Le Tour de France will take place on 2 December 2017.

Early bird registrations are now open.

Photo: Chris Froome at the 2016 L'Etape Australia by Le Tour de France in the NSW Snowy Mountains.

MTF 2017 – FEATURED INTERVIEW: LUANG PRABANG VIEW HOTEL

The hotel on the hill will be the venue for the Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST) final startup pitch competition. During MTF, delegates will debate hotel investments while enjoying a spectacular view.

Luang Prabang View opened its doors in 2010 as a 5 star hotel with 74 rooms and has five categories of rooms, ideal to suit a wide range of guests from all over the globe.

This Venue will host the MIST on Tuesday 6th of June and will be one of the 16th venues. A great opportunity to show its leadership as an incentive hotel able to hold various groups and function to cater for all requests.

John Morris Williams, General Manager of the Luang Prabang Views share his thought about MTF 2017 with our storytelling team: Léa and Simon. Please also see the article “When Luxury meets Sustainability“.

Could you describe your position at Luang Prabang View Hotel?

John Morris Williams (J): I am the General Manager of the hotel. My responsibilities include improving the hotel and it’s direction in order for it to become a leading model here in Luang Prabang, as well as being the owner’s consultant for his business adventures.

Why are you happy that Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office have chosen Luang Prabang as a host for their future forum next June? How does it benefit your organisation?

J: Mekong Tourism Forum has been a great help for our green season period, where we experience the lowest occupancy.

Overall MTF brings in a wide range of people who can then talk about our city, hotels and Laos in general, opening more doors and avenues.

It’s also a great way to meet new people. Making friends is very important.

What do you think about the new format of the MTF 2017?

J: Nicely put together to share the venues and spread the event throughout the town.

It also creates opportunities for all 16 venues to showcase their abilities and what they offer, again creating a team effort.

Finally it gives clients a view of the city which is vital for Luang Prabang to share venues in any event.

Can you tell us more about the Mekong Innovation Start-up Tourism (MIST) event that Luang Prabang View Hotel will be hosting?

J: It’s of great value to the city hotels and those who contribute to work outside the box. This concept is required at all times to improve, MIST helps those who need some help and gives them guidance for the future SME.

It’s a great initiative for sure. Moving towards the future.

Finally, a word about your future project “Wearelao.com”?

J: “Wearelao.com” is a new website that will cover all of Lao in regards to questions we have encountered from Travel agents and guest alike.

We are in the early stages of this ambitious project.

Keep an eye open for August/September when we launch the site with over 800 pages, links and connectivity to the world!

We hope to be able to support Lao Tourism in their endeavour to create more awareness and bring tourists to all destinations in Laos.

www.wearelao.com site will be fully operational by August 2017

Visit http://www.mekongtourismforum.org/

Bamurru’s NEW Ultimate Kakadu

A new experience is now available with the launch of Wild Bush Luxury's own Kakadu program just a hop, skip and a jump from Bamurru Plains. Guests can now immerse themselves in neighbouring Kakadu National Park on Bamurru’s new small group experience.

The full-day adventure starts with a scenic flight to Jabiru in the heart of Kakadu where Bamurru’s field guide and new custom built vehicle will be waiting to explore escarpment landscapes, fascinating rock art galleries and ancient Aboriginal culture. Guests will cruise the East Alligator River with an Aboriginal guide, revealing local mythology, the river’s abundant food chain, traditional uses for many plants and animals and bush survival skills before returning overland, with a stop at the Bowali Visitor Centre, in time for sundowner drinks, canapes and the comfort of the safari lodge as the sun sets over Bamurru Plains.

For further information or to book this experience, visit.

Rendez-vous Canada (RVC) is showing that Canada is open and travellers are invited to explore.

Canada’s premier tourism marketplace, RVC, is an annual event that brings Canadian tourism providers together with buyers from all over the world. RVC provides a unique platform to launch new tourism products, share market insights, network, and increase the range of tourism experiences that the industry offers.

“As Minister for Small Business and Tourism, I’ve had the opportunity of meeting many Canadian tourism business owners this year at RVC,” said the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism. “The best ever attendance record is a good indicator that these hard working Canadians are helping to shape Canada’s thriving tourism industry.”

Some details:
  • RVC 2017 broke all attendance records: around 1,840 delegates attended—the most in RVC’s 41 year history.
  • Global interest is higher than ever before: there was more than one buyer for every seller in attendance, from 28 international markets. 
  • All provinces and territories were represented, showing that tourism really is from coast to coast to coast; 567 tourism organizations promoted Canadian products and services this year.
  • Deal-makers: delegates conducted over 29,000 face-to-face business appointments during the four-day event.
  • The Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada brought together 32 aboriginal tourism businesses, the most in RVC history. 
  • Interest from China was at an all-time high representing more than 20% of buyers.

THE WORLD’S LARGEST PRODUCTION OF GREASE PARTIES ONTO THE STAGE IN SYDNEY AT QUDOS BANK ARENA

The world’s most loved musical, GREASE, will hit the stage at QUDOS BANK ARENA starring over 600 performers in the largest production ever staged. 

GREASE THE ARENA EXPERIENCE 
Tickets are on sale now from www.greasearenashow.com or www.ticketek.com.au

The ultimate party musical features all the favourite hits including; "You're the One That I Want", "Greased Lightnin'", "Summer Nights", “Beauty School Drop Out” and "Born to Hand Jive". This is a unique arena spectacular that you cannot afford to miss.

SINGING IN THE RAIN’s Meghan O’Shea and Drew Weston (Ghost The Musical) take on the iconic roles of star-crossed lovers, Sandy and Danny. And, after taking the nation by storm with her critically acclaimed performance as Tracy Turnblad in the national tour of HAIRSPRAY - THE BIG FAT ARENA SPECTACULAR, Lauren McKenna will swap the can of hairspray for a Pink Ladies jacket when she takes on the role of Jan. Also starring X Factor’s Barry (Southgate) Conrad as Kenickie, Ruby Clark as Rizzo, Stacey de Waard as Frenchie and Emily Monsma as Marty alongside a mass ensemble of over 600 young performers.

Grease is the timelessly funny story of 1950s teen love, cliques, and peer pressure. Join your favourite Rydell High students, Danny & Sandy, The T-Birds and the Pink Ladies along with a cast of hilarious characters as they jive and bop their way to Graduation. It's GREASE like you've never seen it before! Take the whole family along for a night you'll never forget!

Produced by Harvest Rain, this production will follow in the footsteps of their previous arena productions of CATS and HAIRSPRAY, which both played to capacity audiences and rave reviews around the country.

GREASE - THE ARENA EXPERIENCE plays at QUDOS BANK ARENA, Sydney Olympic Park for two shows only on Saturday 20th January at 2pm & 8pm.

Directed & Choreographed by Callum Mansfield, Musical Direction by Dennett Hudson, Design by Josh McIntosh, Lighting Design by Trudy Dalgleish, Sound Design by John Taylor.

Book Music & Lyrics by Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey
By Arrangement with Origin Theatricals

Tickets will go like GREASED LIGHTIN’. 

Book now at www.ticketek.com.au

Ibaraki: Hitachi Seaside Park

Hitachi Seaside Park shows a different color depending on the time of the year you visit. 

The most popular times to go are during early spring when about 4.5 million "baby blue eyes," or nemophila flowers, carpet the area, and during early autumn when the green kochia turn to spiky red balls scattered all around the park. 

Apart from the majestic natural wonder, the park also has a giant Ferris wheel, a seaside train and a cycling course to enjoy.

Giant Ice Slide - School Holiday Fun

Southbank will once again be transformed into an action-packed winter playground when Eureka Skydeck present the return of the Melbourne Ice Slide for kids, parents and the whole of Melbourne to enjoy.

Welcoming more than 11,000 sliders last year, the giant icy slip-slide has become a must-see and do activity for Melbourne locals and visitors and is this year set to be bigger and better than ever. 

From July 1 – July 16, the Southbank waterfront activation will feature a mammoth 36-metre long, four-metre high ice slide complete with imported Canadian inflatable ice tubes and specially designed lanes of two for punters to glide down on. 

Taking three days to erect using a fine misting system at -12 degrees, Melbourne’s first and only giant ice slide is the perfect way to soak up the winter atmosphere. 

Open daily from 10am until late, with prices starting at $12 for three ice slides or $20 for six slides, kids will be vying for a turn to race down the mega ice slide these school holidays. 

To add to the winter fun, all patrons of the giant ice slide will be offered discounted admission at both Eureka Skydeck and Federation Square’s riverside ice rink. 

A portion of the funds will go to not-for-profit organisation Variety: The Children’s Charity. For more information visit www.eurekaskydeck.melbourne. 

Tickets must be purchased in person from the box office on the Southbank spillway, once the attractions open. 

About Eureka Skydeck: Eureka Skydeck is the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere. Located on the 88th floor of Eureka Tower, the observation deck provides patrons with 360 degree floor-to-ceiling views of Melbourne and beyond. 

During the school holidays guests will also be able to take full advantage of: 
 The Edge - The world’s only Edge experience is an awe inspiring a 3m by 3m transparent glass cube, which slides out from the building on Level 88, suspending guests above the Melbourne skyline. Patrons can purchase their official photo taken while out on the Edge, ready for upload to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 
 The Outdoor Terrace - Enclosed by a wire grid, the Outdoor Terrace exposes guests to the elements on Level 88. The Terrace is right next to the Edge, so family and friends can view those inside. 

For further information about Eureka Skydeck, visit www.eurekaskydeck.melbourne or call 03 9693 8888.

VIVID Sydney 2017 at Tumbalong Park

Take a stroll through Darling Harbour, Sydney and immerse yourself in the interactive #vividsydney experiences of sound, light and art at the Huawei Mobile Hub at Tumbalong Park. 

Check out the animated faces on the new Huawei P10 phone and have your own GIF taken as a souvenir to share. 

Monday, 29 May 2017

LIGHTS ON FOR VIVID SYDNEY 2017

Sydney will be awash with colour until June 17 as more than 90 light installations illuminate the city for the annual Vivid Sydney festival, projecting colourful art on the world-famous Sydney icons and throughout the city.

Vivid Sydney is the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas and officially opened for 23 nights until 17 June 2017.

More than 180 Australian and international artists have created the light installations and projections that will appear across seven festival precincts spread throughout the city.

Vivid Sydney also features more than 390 Vivid Music events and 280 Vivid Ideas talks and forums.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the festival is a boost for the State’s visitor economy and is expecting another bumper year following a record-breaking 2.31 million attendees in 2016.

“The lights are on at Vivid Sydney for another year and NSW is ready to welcome even more visitors who’ll fill our city hotels, visit our major attractions and eat at our restaurants, bringing great economic benefit to the State,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We’re hoping to surpass last year’s massive $110 million injection into our State’s visitor economy and going on indications from hotels and major attraction bookings, we’re on track.”

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said visitors are coming to NSW, not only to experience Vivid Sydney in all its shining glory, but to venture further afield into rural and regional NSW.

“Visitors to Vivid Sydney are coming for the lights and staying for the sights of this great State. In fact, visitors who travelled on to rural and regional NSW after experiencing Vivid Sydney last year, delivered an additional 65,000 room nights into the regions and $11.5 million in visitor expenditure,” Mr Marshall said.

An extra 9,000 public transport services will run during Vivid Sydney 2017 to cater for the huge number of anticipated visitors to the festival.

With so much to see and do, visitors are advised to plan ahead to spend more than just one night at the festival, and importantly to leave the car at home.

For more information about closures and public transport services to and from Vivid Sydney, go to vividsydney.com/transport.

Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW.

To see the incredible program, go to vividsydney.com.

International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City

Have you signed up to become one of our hosted buyers at this year's ITE HCMC?

Make the 13th International Travel Expo, ITE HCMC 2017, your ideal platform to meet the right people who can help you expand your business and develop your inbound and outbound tourism products and services.

Sign up today: http://www.itehcmc.com/…/EventHighlights/InternationalHost…/

WILDLIFE EXHIBITION NOW SHOWING IN SYDNEY

A world-renowned photography exhibition featuring 100 awe-inspiring wildlife images has opened in Sydney.

Recognised as the most prestigious photography event of its kind, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition provides a global platform to showcase the most memorable moments of the natural world.

On loan from the National History Museum in London, the exhibition is now showing at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour.

MTF 2017 – FEATURED INTERVIEWS: SELECT OFFICIAL HOTELS

Hear from the unforgettable Sofitel, the impressive Luang Prabang Grand, the brand-new Azerai (by Aman founder Adrian Zecha), the boutique Kiridara, or the highly rated Mekong Riverview Hotel.

Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) storytellers Simon Louvard and Lea Mellon are based in Luang Prabang in the weeks leading up to Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 (MTF 2017), “Prosper with Purpose”, June 6-9.

In this series of short videos, Lea and Simon ask MTF stakeholders about their participation in and thoughts on the upcoming event:

Alexandre Garcia, Hotel Manager of the Sofitel Luang Prabang, a MTF 2017 Host Venue and Official Hotel shares his insight on the forum.

Housed within a French colonial fort, Sofitel Luang Prabang is built on a heritage site in Laos’ former royal capital. 



Chiba: Explore Furusato Square

Furusato Square is the symbol of goodwill between Japan and the Netherlands, so expect a touch of Europe when you visit this place in Chiba, which is about 1.5 hours from Tokyo. 

If 600,000 tulips of 70 varieties are not enough to excite your family, then rent a bike and explore the area, catch a performance of the Dutch street organ, meet up with Miffy, or check out nearby Lake Inba.

Museums, relic sites join hands to lure visitors

Seventeen museums and relic sites in Ha Noi have signed a memorandum of understanding on intensifying dissemination work to lure more visitors. The initiative aims to maximise each unit’s strength.

Currently, Viet Nam has nearly 130 museums and more than 40,000 relic sites, of which nine have been recognized as world heritage by UNESCO. They are special tourism resources of the country. However, the number of visitors to museums and relic sites, except for popular ones such as Ho Chi Minh Museum, Viet Nam Museum of Ethnology and Temple of Literature in Hanoi, has not met potential.

The signing of the memorandum of understanding on intensifying dissemination work between 17 museums and relic sites are expected to help them to lure more visitors and maximise each unit’s strength.

In many countries, museums and relic sites are popular among tourists, because they can learn more about history, culture and traditions of locals.

The initiative is expected to make Vietnamese museums and relic sites more popular among foreign and domestic visitors.

Sydney Opera House - VIVID Sydney 2017

Have you seen the amazing projections on the Sydney Opera House sails this year? Share your photos and videos with us using #VividSydney.

Directed by Ash Bolland. Music by Amon Tobin. Visual content + animation by Spinifex + Luxx.

📷: Sydney Opera House

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Value-for-money school hols apartment deal at Falls Creek

Falls Creek Country Club
Falls Creek Country Club, a collection of well located self-contained apartments, is offering a very affordable stay in the snow. A family of four pay less than $300 a night and receive a discount of up to 50% off ski hire.

Always want to stay in the snow in the school holidays but found it too expensive? Then think again. Mum, Dad and up to two school-aged children pay from $298 per night in a self-contained studio apartment. That's a saving of about $250 per night for accommodation and snow equipment hire per apartment

This well-priced package is valid between Sunday 25 June and Saturday 8 July (minimum two night’s stays applies). Arrive any day during these dates.The apartment has a full kitchen with stove, cooktop, microwave and bar size fridge, TV. plus sliding glass doors that lead directly to the snow. Your family will have a holiday of a lifetime.

A huge feature of these apartments is driveway access on arrival in Falls Creek Alpine Resort (no transfers oversnow required), free access to its heated pool, spa and sauna and free Wi-Fi. If a studio apartment isn't suitable there are numerous other apartment types and configurations available.

Call Falls Creek County Club to take advantage of this amazing offer Direct bookings only.
Terms and conditions apply. Tel 03 5758 3391

MTF 2017 – FEATURED INTERVIEW: LUANG PRABANG GOLF COURSE

Interested in Adventure Tourism? Then join Willem Niemeijer from Khiri Travel for some engaging 90 minutes to the golf course.

Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) storytellers Simon Louvard and Lea Mellon are based in Luang Prabang in the weeks leading up to Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 (MTF 2017), “Prosper with Purpose”,  June 6-9.

Neville Hammond, general manager of the Luang Prabang Golf Club, shares his insight on the forum.
Get more information on www.luangprabanggolfclub.net

More information at www.MekongTourismForum.org.





Spark Arena celebrates tenth birthday

Celebrating their tenth birthday, an end of an era for NZ’s most prominent entertainment venue as Vector steps aside for the new partnership with Spark.

Hard to believe that it’s been ten years since Auckland got its own arena! Over the last decade, the arena has grown and become a central part of New Zealand life.

As the arena marks ten awesome years, it’s time to look forward to a new phase of evolution and growth.

You will still see the same great team looking after Spark Arena, and private functions at the arena will continue to push the boundaries to create a truly memorable experience – whether this means aerialists dangling from the ceiling, pyrotechnics, confetti cannonballs or the MC to fly on to the stage on a wire.
The arena will be unveiling some exciting new developments to the venue soon, looking to bring a fresh new experience to all Spark Arena guests.

Get in touch now to find out more about holding your next event at Spark Arena.

Two Chinese Geoparks Enter UNESCO’s Global Geoparks Network

Arxan National Geopark, located in northwest China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, and Koktokay National Geopark, located in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, were recently approved to enter the Global Geoparks Network established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Arxan National Geopark (pictured above) is characterized by its landscape of volcanoes and hot springs and a large variety of lava formations, such as rocks and volcanic crater lakes.

Koktokay National Geopark (pictured above) is well-known for its granite landscapes and an earthquake fault zone. The Global Geoparks Network was established in 1998 with support from the UNESCO.

The network’s goal is to encourage sustainable research and development, as well as international cooperation in geology.

Source: Xinhua

Canggu Club Become Finns Recreation Club

Identity crisis? I doubt it! The Canggu Club might be getting a new name but it definitely retains its banner as Bali’s premier sports and entertainment venue. From June 1st, The Canggu Club will be known as Finns Recreation Club, with changes in store that will see members and day visitors reap the rewards.

Finns world class name has established itself over Bali’s island as the Best Beach Club in the business winning multiple awards for its structure, facilities and all round amazing atmosphere. Without a doubt, Canggu Club’s new re-brand is set to give you a once in a lifetime bucket list experience. One too good to miss.

Just when you thought the Canggu Club had it all, think again. Bali’s best recreation club is teaming up with Bali’s Best Beach Club to create a once in a lifetime experience. Combining your favorite Finns Beach Club

with the Canggu Club, it’s time to meet the new and improved Finns Recreation Club. A move designed to utilize all of the Canggu Club’s existing benefits and facilities as well as many luxurious extras.

For holiday goers, Finns is already the real deal. Now, you can send the trustworthy teenagers off for a Bounce in the Recreation Clubs trampoline centre, a Strike at their bowling alley, or even a kick of the football on the field. For the younger ones, you can let them have a play at the Recreation Club’s very own Cubby House Kids Club while you spend a relaxing couple of hours by the picturesque pool, enjoying being pampered at the Spa, or even join them for a Splash at the Clubs very own child friendly Splash Water Park. The options are endless. You name it, and now, Finns Recreation Club has it.

Bistro C and Smoke House overlooking the iconic lush lawn will now be open to everyone all day every day. Pop in to enjoy a delicious breakfast, healthy lunch or some meatier choices from the after 5pm Smoke House menu. The Sports Bar is now available to all from 11am daily with multiple screens showing varied sports action live, all day every day!

A day at both Finns Recreation Club and Finns Beach Club couldn’t be easier with complimentary door to door transport running between the two all day every day. Enjoy some leisure time at the Recreation Club in the morning before jumping on the shuttle to visit the Beach Club in time for a sundowner.

And let’s not forget the Members At no extra cost, and surprisingly with added no catch, you are about to get a whole lot more for your money. It’s time to rub shoulders with the Canggu community, embrace a new co-working space, create stronger professional networks, socialize (and get competitive) over a game of all your favorite sports, and pop, lock and squat it at Finns Recreation Club before treating yourself to a well deserved cocktail and sunset swim at Finns Beach Club. Get used to it, because the original Canggu Club members are moving on up, and you could be too.

This winning partnership puts Canggu’s newest hot spot up there with the likes of the world class exclusive SOHO club, Shoreditch House, and Montauk Club, making Finns Bali memberships the number one item on your wish list. And just when you thought this deal sounds too good to be capable of making that Christmas wish list come true, believe it or not, Santa has come early with memberships starting from as little as RP 400,000 per week.

So while you’re probably wondering, ‘what’s the catch’? You’re in for another surprise with memberships including discounts across the Finns Recreation Club establishments, not one but two free entries to Finns Beach Club, complimentary WIFI, parking, social sports, exclusive access to pre-sale events at member prices, and that's only the beginning. If you want to go ‘all the way up’, you’re in for a real treat with other memberships including unlimited access to their elite Fitness Centre facilities, Tennis Centre and Splash Water Park.

Finns Bali Gold and Platinum memberships include four free Beach Club entrance with no minimum spend, plus 10% discount on food and beverage and all onsite shops, 30% discount at the Body Temple Spa, Cubby House Kids Club, Bounce, Strike, & the Junior Sports Academy, FREE fitness classes, and FREE use of private dining areas for groups.

Finns Recreation Club has something for everyone, and now the Finns Bali membership offers everything for everyone. From working out in elite fitness classes with the best instructors Bali has to offer, to showing off that hard earned session by the Beach Club pool with a sunset cocktail in hand, to lapping up discounts while being pampered in the Spa and the kids are burning energy jumping around at Bounce, or JSA, life isn’t meant to be hard and Finns Bali memberships are about to make it a whole lot easier, exciting and luxurious.

As the countdown begins, Finns Bali will kick start their added benefits and new elite memberships on June the 1st and we can’t wait to see what they have in store. For further information, be sure to contact sales so you don’t miss out on what’s bound to be the best decision of your new luxury life.

Finns Recreation Club (previously Canggu Club)
Raya Pantai Berawa, Canggu - Bali\
Phone : +62 (361) 848 3939 Email : info@finnsrecclub.com    www.finnsrecclub.com

Aurora Expeditions Announces New World-Class Expedition Ship

New World-Class Expedition Ship
Aurora Expeditions, Australia’s leading polar adventure cruising company, has announced the delivery of its first brand new, purpose-built, expedition vessel.

With 25 years’ experience in expedition cruising to Antarctica and the Arctic, Aurora Expeditions has worked closely with US-based ship builders SunStone Ships Inc. to create a custom-designed ship that remains true to the company’s ethos of pioneering adventures, intimate experiences with nature and exploring new regions.

The state-of-the-art ice class 1A ship will be built to the latest polar code specifications, offering unprecedented levels of safety and environmental protection – for operations not just in the high latitudes, but across the planet. Exclusively designed for expedition cruising, the 104-metre vessel will allow Aurora Expeditions to continue to provide the authentic, small-ship experience for which they are renowned.

“With the development of our purpose-built expedition ship, we stay true to our small-ship philosophy where the focus is on the experience and engagement with the environment while at the same time providing the most comfortable form of travel in these challenging environments. In the polar regions, we will have the ability to reduce passenger numbers so we can continue to visit existing landings sites as well as explore new areas where strict regulations enforce no more than 100 people ashore at any one time.” says Robert Halfpenny, Managing Director of Aurora Expeditions.

Aurora Expeditions’ new ship will be the first in a new series of high-performance vessels designed to make the ocean-going experience as safe and comfortable as possible in the polar regions.

“We are excited to be the first to market with this exciting new design. The vessel is the first to use the patented X-BOW technology which has the ability to pierce waves with much greater stability, making open sea journeys – like Antarctica’s notorious Drake Passage – more pleasant for passengers than what is currently available from other small ships on the market today.” Halfpenny says.

While a traditional bow vessel rises on the waves and then drops violently onto the surface of the water, an X-BOW vessel, less subject to the vertical motions induced by the waves, continues on course more smoothly, while maintaining its speed. Because it uses less fuel to get through the waves, it also helps to save energy versus a conventional bow designed vessel.

Aurora Expeditions’ new ship will make access to nature easier and offer passengers a more comfortable experience than ever before. It will also allow for greater adventure opportunities with a custom-designed platform to cater for additional numbers of kayakers and divers, and a mud room for easier preparation for climbers and skiers. Small inflatable Zodiac crafts will continue to carry expeditioners between ship and shore, with a dedicated sea-level Zodiac loading platform for quick and easy boarding.

In between adventures, passengers will return to the warm, friendly and inclusive onboard atmosphere for which Aurora Expeditions is well-known. Whether it’s making new friends over dinner, sharing entertaining lectures, or briefings in the lounge, the small-group experience remains the same. Add to this private bathroom facilities, cabin balconies, a 180-degree indoor observation deck, wellness facilities including gymnasium, sauna and spa, and plenty of outdoor viewing areas for additional enjoyment and comfort.

At a time when the cruising industry is focused on 6-star luxury and onboard activities to attract passengers, Aurora Expeditions remains steadfast in its belief that its destinations are best-experienced in small groups, as close as possible to the heart of nature. This means getting off the ship as often as possible with multiple daily landings and getting amongst the action; seeing up close penguin adults feeding their chicks, polar bears hunting seals on pack ice or Galapagos sea turtles diving for a meal.

The yet-to-be-named ship will be delivered in time for Aurora Expeditions’ 2019/2020 Antarctic season (November to March) and will complement the company’s existing fleet of vessels and destinations. Itineraries for the new ship are expected for release later this year.

www.auroraexpeditions.com.au

International teams set for Da Nang International Fireworks Festival

Two teams – Tamaya Katahara Fireworks from Japan and Sugyp from Switzerland – will launch their fireworks in the Han River during the second night of the 2017 Da Nang International Fireworks Festival on Sunday.

A firework performance during the opening ceremony of the 2017 Da Nang International Fireworks Festival on April 30

Tamaya Katahara, a championship contender with 35 years of experience, will mark their second competition in the Han River; they ranked second in 2012.

The team, who won five titles at fireworks festivals in Spain and France as well as Asia, expects to spark the outdoor stage in the Han River on Sunday night with a spectacular performance combining pop music and a story of fireworks.

Meanwhile, Sugyp from Switzerland will make their Da Nang debut.

The 1967-established team, who has seen as one of the biggest fireworks company in Switzerland in 50 years, covers 250 performances in their country and festival worldwide each year.

Last year, the team performed well at the Montreal International Fireworks Competition.

The team will employ their skills and technology over mountains, sea and river of Da Nang.

Last month, two teams – Da Nang-Viet Nam and Fireevent Die Feuerwerker from Austria – had perfect performances in the Han River.

China’s Dancing Fireworks Group and Pyrotex Fireworx team from the UK will spark the third night performance on May 27th. Howard&Sons Pyrotechnics from Australia and Italy’s Martarello will stage the fourth night performance on June 3rd.

The festival was held under the title Shining Ngu Hanh Son, or Marble Mountains.

The fireworks festival was held annually from 2008 until 2013, then biennially from 2015.

Teams from the US and Italy have won twice, while Canada, China and France clinched the title once.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Awarded Best Breakfast for the Third Consecutive Year!

Grand Hyatt Melbourne is thrilled to announce Collins Kitchen has been awarded Best Breakfast at the 2017 Gourmet Traveller Australian Hotel Guide Awards for the third consecutive year, announced last night in Melbourne.

The annual awards recognise the cornerstone experiences of any great hotel stay, from hotel of the year to best breakfast. The reviewers for these highly respected awards travel the country anonymously to provide readers with engaging and authentic reviews of the finalist properties before coming to a decision on the winners.

Executive Chef Jason Camillo and his team combine quality flavours with a bespoke selection of carefully cultivated located produce, crafted true to their origin and reflective of the environment in which they are created. This reflects Collins Kitchen's philosophy, Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served.

“We are humbled, amazed and incredibly proud to win our third consecutive Gourmet Traveller Best Breakfast Award. There is an amazing amount of hard work, passion and dedication that goes into making a great breakfast through the efforts of all our chefs, service and stewarding teams along with our close partnerships with local Victorian farmers and producers who provide us with the real stars of the show, the local Victorian ingredients,” says Jason.

Named after the hotel's prestigious location on Collins Street, Collins Kitchen is the signature restaurant of Grand Hyatt Melbourne. Situated just off the impressive main lobby, the restaurant offers guests unique all day dining experiences and the open plan layout provides a contemporary space with a calm setting in the heart of the bustling Melbourne CBD.

For more information, please contact Alexandra Cuthbert, Marketing Communications Manager,

03 9653 4666 or alexandra.cuthbert@hyatt.com

Saturday, 27 May 2017

THE SPIEGELTENT RETURNS TO DARWIN FESTIVAL WITH BLANC de BLANC

Darwinites can expect a steamy dry season this August as Darwin Festival today announces that the Aurora Spiegeltent is headed to the Top End with a season of Strut & Fret’s saucy new production BLANC de BLANC.

Follow the glittery path from Festival Park to the Aurora’s pop-up address on Parliament Lawns where, for the duration of the Festival, BLANC de BLANC will serve up the finest cabaret and acrobatic talent from around the world – expect big moves, great tunes, lots of skin and more than a few surprises.

Following sold out seasons at London’s West End, Brisbane Festival, Adelaide Fringe and the Sydney Opera House, the Darwin premiere promises night after night of titillating acts designed to infatuate, illuminate and delight.

Darwin Festival Acting Artistic Director Felix Preval said, “It’s been 5 years since we’ve had a Spiegeltent at Darwin Festival and we’re incredibly excited to be bringing one back with this sensational new show. BLANC de BLANC has been described as ‘champagne cabaret’, every act is a cheeky toast to the iconic party tipple. It’s a fabulous fusion of vintage glamour and high-end circus, and promises to be one hell of a party.”

BLANC de BLANC is directed by Scott Maidment (LIMBO, Catina, Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour), choreographed by Kevin Maher (who has choreographed for the likes of Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Madonna), with costumes by James Browne (All Saints, Australian Idol).

The full program of cabaret, theatre, comedy, dance, visual arts, words and ideas, music and family fun will be announced on Wednesday 21 June.

Tickets to BLANC de BLANC are on sale now from www.darwinfestival.org.au

MTF 2017 – FEATURED INTERVIEW: MEKONG CRUISES & MANDA DE LAOS

One of the most beautiful restaurants in Luang Prabang is host one of most insightful sessions - how to market to the Chinese and the Muslim markets.

Toune Sisouphan, Managing Director of Manda de Laos restaurant shares her excitement for the upcoming Mekong Tourism Forum in Luang Prabang, Laos. 

Manda de Laos restaurant features Laotian Family Cuisine specialties from all regions of Laos, in a beautiful UNESCO heritage site. A must visit during your stay in Luang Prabang!

Three organisations collaborate together in providing unique experiences to travellers. Mekong Cruises is the first cruising company in Laos, and offers breathtaking cruises between Laos and Thailand. Manda de Laos restaurant features Laotian Family Cuisine specialties from all regions of Laos, in a beautiful UNESCO heritage site.

Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) storytellers Simon Louvard and Lea Mellon are based in Luang Prabang in the weeks leading up to Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 (MTF 2017), “Prosper with Purpose”,  June 6.

More information at www.MekongTourismForum.org.




SHARE IN THE CELEBRATION AT LAURA DANCE FESTIVAL IN A DAY

Laura Dance Festival
The sights, sounds and cultural explosion of the Laura Dance Festival will now be opened up to the day visitor out of Cairns with direct charter flights available to and from the celebrated event for the first time.

Independent Aviation sales and marketing manager Debbie Walters said The Laura Dance Festival, which is held bi-annually on July 1-2, is one of the most important cultural gatherings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia and is an event not to be missed.

“It is incredibly exciting to bring this event to both the domestic and international visitor market. Typically, these visitors would not ordinarily have the time in their itinerary to experience something like this,” she said.

More than 5000 people attend the Laura Dance Festival, which sees around 500 artists from 20 Cape York communities come together.

Located 300km from Cairns, travelling time by vehicle takes around four hours, whereas by air, Festival goers can expect to arrive in approximately one hour, allowing enough time for a guided rock art tour at Split Rock as part of the one-day visit.

“Throughout the weekend, invited guests perform traditional dance while crowds are also entertained with cultural workshops, children’s games, different displays and art for exhibition and sale.”

Ms Walters said if successful, this would be the first of many special event charters Independent Aviation would package as it expanded into the tourism sector.

“There are some fantastic high profile events across Queensland that aren’t easily accessible and may require specialist travel equipment or vehicle to get there. Air charter opens up a whole new market of visitors and takes the hassle out of travelling,” she said.

Departing at 8am and returning at 5pm, the Laura Dance Festival touring package is priced at $595. This includes return scenic charter flight, a one-hour guided rock art tour, coach transfers and entry to the festival.

“This has been priced to meet the market and we are hoping for some local interest as well,” Ms Walters added.

For more information, contact Independent Aviation on 07 4046 3333.

Maritime Silk Road Exhibition Opens at Forbidden City

The latest exhibition at the Palace Museum in Beijing, titled “The Forbidden City and the Maritime Silk Road,” has opened to the public.

The exhibit features 140 pieces and sets related to cultural treasures of the ancient Maritime Silk Road. The items on display include ceramics, paintings, calligraphy, books, gold and silverware, timepiece, scientific instruments, and weapons.

The relics are mainly from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, which were gifts from envoys and missionaries, tributes from officials, royal court’s purchases, and replicas made by ancient workshops.

The relics were part of the Maritime Silk Road, which was a trade line and bond tying ancient China with other civilizations.

The Forbidden City and the Maritime Silk Road exhibition, staged at the West Wing of the Tower Gallery in Meridian Gate (Wu Men) of the Palace Museum, will be open until July 8, 2017.

CINZ Meetings 2017 is just around the corner and the ACB team are getting ready for a busy and exciting week of activity.

This year we will be hosting an “Auckland: Choose to have it all” famil programme on Tuesday 30th May where we will host over 90 Hosted Buyers to a fun-filled day of inspiring business event product.

We are excited to put Auckland on show with 25 exhibitors joining us within the Auckland regional stand this year. Our lovely friends at True Food and Yoga will be putting on some yummy hospitality so if you need a refreshment come and enjoy a healthy juice within the Auckland lounge space.. The team are looking forward to seeing you on the show floor so do drop by to stand #168 and say hello. There will be exciting prizes up for grabs so make sure you drop your business card to our team to be in it to win it!

It’s not all about Meetings though, we are also in the midst of launching our newly refreshed Auckland Business Events Guide that will feature all of the must-have information you need to plan a business event in Auckland. Keep an eye out for it in your letterbox, or email our team at conventions@aucklandnz.com to ensure you receive a copy.

The 7th Southern Land Cuisine Festival

From 24 to 28 May 2017, the 7th Southern Land Cuisine Festival with the participations of nearly 40 units and 70 booths of cuisine specialties from the regions of Viet Nam will take place in Dam Sen Cultural Park (3 Hoa Binh Street, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City).

The Southern Cuisine Festival is an annual event held to promote the unique culinary features of Viet Nam and also the South to international and domestic visitors.

This year’s festival introduces more than 250 special dishes and 100 kinds of typical sweet soups and cakes of the Southern land with 3 culinary styles of Sai Gon cuisine, Central – Central Highlands cuisine and South East – South West cuisine.

The highlight of the 7th Southern Land Cuisine Festival is the space of “Sai Gon past and present” street food with 2 main themes of “Returning to childhood” and “Modern integration”. With theme “Returning to childhood”, visitors can enjoy dishes reminding childhood memories such as banh trang nuong (grilled rice paper), keo bong (candy floss), etc. The theme “Modern integration” introduces dishes from other countries in the world such as takoyaki grilled octopus cake (Japan), tteokbokki spicy rice cake (South Korea), milk tea (Thailand), etc.

In the framework of the festival, there are also many responding activities such as “Southern delicious dishes” contest, the contest of fruit plastic art, reappearance of market of clean agricultural products; performance of Cham ethnic culture, Don ca tai tu (Southern music and song), etc.

New Murray Princess, Adelaide & Kangaroo Island Combo

Discover the best of South Australia with a fantastic eight, nine or twelve-night cruise and land package from Captain Cook Cruises and SeaLink. Discover Adelaide and Hahndorf on a full day sightseeing tour, cruise down the spectacular Murray River and spend two full days on Australia's third largest Island, Kangaroo Island.

This great package starts with a two-night stay at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel in Adelaide including a full day Ultimate Adelaide and Hahndorf tour.

The Ultimate Adelaide and Hahndorf tour takes in Adelaide's main attractions including Adelaide's cultural boulevard of North Terrace and its university, library, art gallery and museum; St Peter's Cathedral; historic North Adelaide; the famous Adelaide Oval and Haigh's Chocolates for a factory tour and tastings. Then sit back and relax as the tour passes through the picturesque Adelaide Hills to Hahndorf, Adelaide's oldest German settlement. Here explore the many picturesque cafes, shops and galleries full of local arts, crafts and German produce.

The full day tour features expert commentary by a local driver and guide.

Then head to Mannum on a complimentary scenic coach transfer for a three, four or seven night Murray River cruise aboard paddlewheeler, PS Murray Princess.

Throughout the cruise guests will explore the biodiversity of the Murray River and the its unique outback flora and fauna, all while admiring the towering limestone cliffs and breathtaking and ever-changing river scenery.

Each day features exciting day trips to historic ports, sacred Aboriginal sites, a woolshed, native wildlife shelter, guided nature walks and tastings onboard or at a vineyard and cellar door. Get up close to the river, its 20-million-year-old cliffs and amazing plant and birdlife on the 'Dragon-Fly' Flat Bottomed Boat vessel.

On-board, stay in newly refurbished cabins; enjoy a range of three course and buffet meals, join the Captain for a general inspection of the wheelhouse, participate in a lively music quiz, play some bocce on the riverbank or relax with some fishing off the ship.

Following the cruise, a complimentary coach will transfer guests back to the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel in Adelaide.

The next morning guests will be transferred by coach to Cape Jervis where they will join one of SeaLink's ferries to Kangaroo Island.

Over the next two days guests will see the best of what Kangaroo Island has to offer on the 2 Day Best of Kangaroo Island Tour.

On day one visit the Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery, South Australia's only Eucalyptus Oil distillery and get up close and personal with kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and other nocturnal wildlife at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. Experience Sea lions in their natural environment as they sleep, play and swim on the Seal Bay guided beach tour, enjoy a 2-course lunch at Vivonne Bay Lodge Bistro and marvel at the spectacular Birds of Prey free-flight presentation.

Then settle into a choice of overnight accommodation, including breakfast, at American River, Penneshaw or Kingscote.

On day two learn how delicious Ligurian honey is made at Clifford's Honey Farm, spot Koalas in Eucalyptus trees at Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, and visit Flinders Chase National Park to witness nature's breath-taking creations - Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. Then fall in love with the Long-Nosed Fur Seal colony before returning to Penneshaw for the return SeaLink ferry and coach to Adelaide where the night will be spent at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel.

For a few dollars more guests can upgrade to the early evening flight from Kangaroo Island to Adelaide.

For people with a love of food and wine, an optional full day Barossa Valley Tour is available when disembarking the Murray Princess at Mannum. Those on the tour will return to Adelaide at 5.00pm that day, in time for the transfers the following morning to Kangaroo Island.

The eight-night package starts from $1713 per person twin share and includes three nights on the Murray Princess, four nights at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel, full day Ultimate Adelaide and Hahndorf tour and one night on Kangaroo Island.

Fares for the nine-night package start from $2026 per person twin share and includes a four night Murray Princess cruise, four nights at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel, full day Ultimate Adelaide and Hahndorf tour and one night on Kangaroo Island.

The twelve-night package starts from $2597 per person twin share and includes seven-night cruise on the Murray Princess, four nights at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel, full day Ultimate Adelaide and Hahndorf tour and one night on Kangaroo Island.

For further information visit www.murrayprincess.com.au or www.sealink.com.au

For Further information and bookings please contact: T: 1300 729 938 from within Australia or +61 9 8202 8697 from Overseas

Email: murrayprincess@sealink.com.au or bookings@sealink.com.au

Visit: www.murrayprincess.com.au or www.sealink.com.au