Sunday, 17 January 2021

Happy New Year Everyone From Oita Prefecture

Happy New Year everyone!

I’m sure we are all eagerly anticipating a better year for travel in 2021. Here in Japan, the New Year’s celebrations are highly influenced by Shinto and Buddhist rituals which stress purity, both spiritual and physical.

So we start the new year as a “clean slate”, allowing us to face the coming year with optimism and hope.

The Japanese new year starts with “Hatsumode”, the first visit to a shrine. Millions of people will visit a shrine in Japan to say a quick prayer for good fortune and happiness in the new year. Because so many people observe this tradition, some people opt to go on the second or third day of the year when the crowds are a little smaller. Here in Oita, the lovely and spacious Usa Jingu is a popular shrine to observe Hatsumode.

One of the favorite foods to eat on New Year’s Day is mochi, made from pounded rice. You may have seen Youtube videos of people skillfully pounding rice with a large wooden hammer at high speeds, but during the new year’s holiday, anyone can try pounding rice during the tradition called “mochitsuki”. These mochitsuki events involve small groups of people such as families, neighborhoods, or communities. After the mochi is made, it can be eaten in a variety of ways including in soup, with sweet red beans, or coated with a sweet, nutty kinako powder.

Another activity people love during this time of the year is to enjoy relaxing in an onsen hot spring. This isn’t really a new year’s tradition, but an activity that feels especially wonderful during the cold months of winter.

Beppu city is known for its hundreds of onsen of many different types and is quite a popular destination in Japan for onsen lovers. But the entire Oita Prefecture is home to many onsen resort regions where people can enjoy hot springs of all types: public and private, indoor and outdoor.

Visitors who come to Japan around this time can enjoy a new year’s experience like the locals. Make a morning visit to a local shrine for Hatsumode, followed by a relaxing soak in an onsen to warm up, and finally return to their accommodations to relax and enjoy a delicious meal. We hope to welcome visitors to experience this important Japanese holiday again from next year!

Oita Prefectural Tourism Association "Tourism Oita"

Banh cuon Cao Bang, a must-try dish in Hanoi

The mountainous dish can be eaten with minced pork paste, fried meat roll, steamed egg and spicy salted bamboo shoot.

Originally from Cao Bang province in the mountainous northeast of Vietnam, the specialty of this group of Tay ethnic minorities has gradually cemented its position on the Hanoi cuisine map.

Different with other versions of steamed rice crepes, which are usually eaten with sweet-and-sour sauce, banh cuon Cao Bang is served with broth made of pig’s bones. According to a chef, before the pig’s bones are stewed, they must be washed thoroughly with boiling water, then carefully rinsed under a tap of running water.

Pig bones are stewed for hours on low heat, resulting in a broth that has a natural sweetness and fragrant flavor while the broth still remains clear. “There's no need to add MSG or other additives to the broth to enhance the taste,” the cook said.

When ordering a Cao Bang Rice Rolled crepe, diners are treated to a show in which the cook lifts an edge of the crepe up, then gently wraps it over with a stick and puts it on a dish to serve it hot right after a few minutes of ordering.

The ingredient for the crepe must be newly harvested ground rice, having good quality and great aroma. Meanwhile, the crepe stuffing is prepared from fresh lean meat stir-fried with some fish sauce, mushrooms, spices and dried herbs.

Cao Bang rice crepe are milky white and rolled with minced meat. The piping hot dish attracts diners not only because of its eye-catching appearance, but also the quality of the dish. The hot aroma broth with herbs is a well-blend condiment to enhance flavor and make Cao Bang Rice Rolled crepe tastier.

The dish is also eaten with minced pork paste, fried meat roll, steamed egg and spicy salted bamboo shoot.

Source: Hanoitimes
Tags: Banh cuon Cao Bang, Hanoi,

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism english/.vn/

Targeting South Korean Tourists after the pandemic? Know the niche – ‘One Month Stay’ Travellers

Dr. Jaeyeon Choe identifies fast-growing niches of Korean travellers during the pandemic which can potentially constitute a very lucrative market for tourism businesses and local economies in Southeast Asia as lockdowns ease.

If you look at PSY, BTS and Black Pink videos, you would think Korean Wave (Hallyu) is lifting everything in its path. While South Korea’s cultural economy and export of entertainment, music, TV dramas and movies show the brighter side of Korean Society, South Koreans work really hard. South Korea has currently longer working hours than any other developed country. After been identified as working an average of 2,069 hours per year, per worker, according to 2016 data compiled by the OECD, the government has brought in limited reform. If you watched the Oscar winning movie Parasite, you will find South Korea is home to stress and leisure constraints. On average, South Koreans only get 8 days annual leave, per year.

Many young South Koreans, however, in their late 20s to early 40s have sought a ‘one month stay abroad’ since 2015, and the trend has been resilient. One study indicated demand surged about 200% between 2016 and 2018. Unlike traditional backpacking, the ‘one month stay’ travellers visit one destination with the desire to live like locals. The trend overlaps with the YOLO (You Only Live Once) belief system spreading in a Korean Society and the growing disdain for social conventions based on Confucianism values. Rather than ‘working hard’ and ‘success,’ young people value more ‘individual choices,’ ‘happiness,’ ‘wellness’ and ‘hedonism’. Basically, they want work-life balance.

The Korean language internet is full of videos and blogs, and an increasing number of books and TV shows about this trend. Of course, there are influencers as well! They often stay at an Airbnb, self-catering apartments or home stay guesthouses. They are not necessarily digital nomads given many are between jobs. They largely just hang around and explore the local area and reflect on their life. They are taking a break from life and work.

The Korean ‘one month stay’ travellers often choose Southeast Asian destinations as they are close to home and living costs are inexpensive. They also feel psychologically more secure in Asia. Before the pandemic, the most popular destinations were Bangkok in Thailand, Manila in the Philippines, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Clark in the Philippines and Hanoi in Vietnam. These locations boast relatively low prices and have access to entertainment. Phnom Penh, Chiang Mai and Kuala Lumpur were also becoming popular destinations.

The first segment seeking a ‘one month stay’ are young mothers in their 30s and 40s. Their main motivation is their children’s English education as well as their own relaxation (and escape from family responsibilities and societal burdens at home). They often sign up their children at an English language school as South Korean elementary school winter vacations last two months. Therefore, January and February is the peak time when they travel to Southeast Asia. They seek a warm climate, a choice of English language schools, and an international setting where their children can interact with other children. These young mothers often stay at Airbnb and self-catering apartment where they can independently cook their own food and have space to hang out as a family. Shared guesthouses or homestays would be less popular. Before they arrive, they often collect information through mom’s cafes online or Korean mom’ blogs. I recommend individual properties advertise on these sites or a Korean person to write a destination blog. Even joining these mom’s cafes would be good way to approach and interact with them. They prefer accommodation close to the schools, and close to an international/Korean store and a safe area. These mothers are not budget travellers and will invest in their comfort and security, given they are apart from their partners and friends.

The second segment are ‘single young professionals’. They are in their late 20s and 30s. The average marriage age in Korea is 33-36, but an increasing number of people are deciding not to get married. Without family responsibilities, the single young professionals will take a break from their jobs, slow down and seek a space to think about what they actually want to do with their lives. Some might be freelancers/digital nomads or possibly seek to experiment as a writer, influencer, blogger or YouTuber whilst abroad. They often stay at a guest-house where they can meet and interact with other people. During the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, many in this segment have travelled to Jeju Island in South Korea, so they can escape the confines of city life in Seoul. Reacting to the demand, many guest-house accommodations in Jeju offer female only facilities and provide a small library space in common area, so that guests can comfortably work with their laptops and read books. Instead of homestay, this type of guest-house is called a ‘Book Stay’ among this segment. Accommodation providers target single male/females professionals in their 30s. They have money, time (-no family responsibilities), and seek self-development. They are adventurous and social media savvy. Some guest-houses with female guests only provide aspirational food that women in 30s tend to like. Menus often include Aglio e olio, Gambas and homemade pizza along with wine. Pictures of dinner are often found and tagged on social media. This segment may bounce back to Southeast Asia once the pandemic is ‘over’.

Of course, these are niche segments. However, they are a fast-growing niche during the pandemic and therefore, potentially, a very lucrative market for tourism businesses and local economies in Southeast Asia as lockdowns ease. As they stay one month rather than just 3-4 days, they have a considerable economic impact on local economy. In fact, they often extend their stay if they really like the accommodation, local area, food and culture. As many of them being active on social media as they spend lots of time online, they can become powerful E-WOM opinion leaders. Destinations should work with travel influencers/power bloggers to help them communicate their one month travel experiences. South Koreans in general rely on ‘blogs’ and ‘YouTube’ videos to collect information and disseminate their experiences.

In common with Korean tourists in general, all the above segments travel with their own Korean food. There use extremely well packaged Korean food designed only for travel. As all Koreans are big foodies, they would make sure to try famous dishes – from Kao Soi in Chiang Mai to Laksa in Kuala Lumpur, and take a picture and post on social media. Yet, they will also make sure to have one Korean meal per day in their room or seek guesthouses that provide Korean ingredients. A microwave or simple cooking facilities would be also appreciated by them.

The ‘one month stay abroad’ trend seems to be positive for South Korean people’s wellness. As social, cultural and employment changes caused by the pandemic have given rise to feelings of depression, detachment and alienation, the search for a more authentic, truer self is likely to see individuals seek the certainty of a one month stay abroad. To withstand the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, slow, meaningful travel for young Koreans will remain a resilient travel concept. I recommend that tourism businesses and local economies in Southeast Asia can prepare for and utilise this emerging demand and niche market in most creative and suitable ways and programmes when the time comes. I know too many of my Korean friends who are researching for their one month stay trips for the post pandemic time!

Rockingham Becoming More Popular

Rockingham's popularity as a tourism destination with Western Australians is on the rise, after data released from Tourism Research Australia indicated domestic day trips to the City increased by an unprecedented 33% over the past (2019/2020) financial year.

This result is especially significant given the day trip market to Rockingham reduced by around 9% in the previous 2018/2019 financial year.

With COVID-19 halting interstate and international travel for a significant portion of 2019/2020, sandgropers took the opportunity to rediscover Rockingham with domestic day trips increasing from 774,739 in 2018/2019, to 1,027,542 in 2019/2020.

To find out more about the experiences available in the Rockingham region head over to


Darwin’s BASSINTHEGRASS 2021 sold out!

Some of the best names in Australian music are set to perform at the Northern Territory’s biggest and longest-running music festival. Tickets have now sold out, but there is a waitlist!

Thousands of music fans from across Australia will be making the pilgrimage to Darwin in May to attend the Northern Territory’s biggest music festival, BASSINTHEGRASS.

A rite of passage for Territorians, this year just as many interstaters are getting on the BASSINTHEGRASS bandwagon, and it’s no surprise with a bangin’ line-up that includes the likes of DMA’s, Illy, The Jungle Giants, Lime Cordiale, Ocean Alley and Peking Duk, to name just a few.

“This is a fantastic result,” Northern Territory Major Events Company CEO Tim Watsford said. “BASSINTHEGRASS is usually a sold out event, but it’s never sold out this far in advance before, and we’ve never seen so many interstaters jump on board.

“Thousands of people from across Australia will be descending on Darwin for BASSINTHEGRASS, and they’ll be able to turn their visit into the trip of a lifetime thanks to all the unique things to see and do in the Territory. Throw in our perfect May weather and relaxed lifestyle, and you’ve got yourself one unforgettable experience.”

With 12 hours of world-class music on offer across two stages at Darwin’s stunning Mindil Beach location, music and festival lovers have been quick to recognise BASSINTHEGRASS is this year’s must-do festival experience – and the Territory is a must-do holiday destination.

Peking Duk’s Adam Hyde said he is looking forward to returning to Darwin.

“Having played BASSINTHEGRASS twice in the past, we cannot wait to get back and get sweaty with all the amazing people up in Darwin!” he said. “We’re stoked to be playing in front of a sell-out crowd - this show is going to be incredible!

SAFIA’s Ben Woolner is also looking forward to the festival.

“Amazing to hear that BASSINTHEGRASS is sold out! Words can’t begin to describe just how excited we are to play this show.”

BASSINTHEGRASS is scheduled for 15 May 2021. If you’re experiencing FOMO because you missed out on grabbing a ticket, there is still hope. Simply add your name to the waitlist at and, if tickets become available, we’ll be in touch.



Destination NSW is excited and optimistic about 2021 and the new opportunities that will come as a result of innovation, experience, collaboration and the tourism industry’s combined determination.

Despite an incredibly challenging 2020, NSW’s visitor economy and the businesses that support it have remained stoic and agile, enabling the state to continue welcoming visitors from near and far to Sydney and the regions.

In our first edition of Insights for 2021, Destination NSW commits our continued support to operators, industry groups and stakeholders who play a role in sustaining NSW’s visitor economy – we are with you on the road to recovery, and beyond.

Thank you for following and sharing our industry newsletter where we will continue to provide the latest Government updates, industry news and helpful resources – as well as via our corporate social media accounts (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) to help NSW shine bright in 2021.

Destination NSW wishes everyone involved with the NSW visitor economy a Happy New Year and a safe and successful year ahead.


Destination NSW

Canada Featured on NY Times 52 Places to Love in 2021

As Canada continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not possible for us to welcome international visitors. 

However, Canada is still inspiring travellers for future trips with the New York Times including Alberta on their latest list of 52 Places to Love in 2021. 

The list compiled from reader submissions features international destinations that delight and inspire. 

We are looking forward to the day we can welcome back international travellers but for now we will continue to inspire future travel through our Canada Nice hub.


A perfect day at the beach in Rockingham, Western Australia

Rediscover Summer Holidays in Rockingham. 

The world-famous Rockingham Beach is renowned for being clean, safe and calm. Its north facing position provides protection from the winds, making it a winning spot to cool down in summer. 

Framed by the newly revitalised Rockingham foreshore, visitors can wander straight up from the beach to manicured picnic spots and bustling cafes and restaurants. 

Summer memories are made in the Rockingham region.

#rediscoverrockingham #wanderoutyonder #thisiswa #seeperth


Wat Phnom (Wat Phnom Daun Penh) in Phnom Penh, the Capital City of Cambodia

Wat Phnom, the namesake and symbol of the capital city of Phnom Penh, sets prominently atop an artificial 27 meter hill (or 'Phnom') in the northeastern section of the city. Legend has it that Daun Penh, a wealthy widow, retrieved a large koki tree trunk from the river. She had hoped to use it for a house, but inside a hollow of the trunk, she found four statues of the Buddha. She then ordered for a section of her property to be elevated for a small shrine to be erected to revere the statues. This became a sacred site and people started to settle around the hill; eventually, this became the city it now is. It is here that the city gets its name: ‘Phnom’ means hill in Khmer and ‘Penh’ is of course the name of the lady.

Later, King Ponhea Yat (1393-1463), built the sanctuary (Vihear) here when he moved his capital from Angkor to Phnom Penh in 1422. The prominent stupa immediately west of the sanctuary or vihara (vihear) contains the ashes of the late king.

The sanctuary itself has been renovated frequently. There are numerous other shrines and other activities on or at the base of the hill. There are gardens that the French laid out in the late nineteenth century and shrines that reflect Taoist, Confucian, Hindu beliefs and one especially of Vietnamese interests reflected in the shrine to Preah Chau.

Ministry of Tourism Cambodia
Address: Czech Repulic Blvd (169), Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phone: Tel: (+855) 023 213 741


The forecast said that there are changes in consumer behavior trends in selecting the holiday destination and choosing forms of tourism in this year. Culinary travel will be the most remarkable trend among the top 5 popular kinds of inspirational tourism in 2021. About 54 percent of Vietnamese tourists have been interested in winter tours.

Visiting onsen areas, natural Japanese hot spring facilities, for rest and recuperation has attracted the visitor groups, like families or couples.

Meanwhile young people is fond of long-distance hiking and trekking tours to enjoy amazing natural landscapes and the fresh atmosphere of walking through dense forests and climbing mountains. The long, vigorous walks give travelers a unique experience and help relieve tension and stress, boost physical and mental energy.

Ta Nang-Phan Dung trekking tour crossing three provinces of Lam Dong, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan; a wonderful 4km-long hiking tour through the pine forest to conquer three peaks of Langbiang Mountain in Da Lat City; and trail tours in the Northern provinces, such as Bach Moc Luong Tu, Pu Ta Leng and Fansipan are recently the best choice options.

A survey taken by, an online travel booking sites, showed that the percentage of Vietnamese tourists who travel to enjoy unique dining experiences grew 53 percent; 45 percent of people prefer eating out by using money saved for travelling; and 71 percent of Vietnamese holiday makers consider travelling as an opportunity for the whole family together .

Most of people want to travel as much as they can after spending he lost year for travel due to the pandemic in 2020.

Photo: sggp news
Tags: consumer behavior, Culinary travel, Tourism, trends, VietnamWebsite:

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
c/o 3rd Floor, Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 154 Rama 1 Road National Stadium, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1