Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Australia provides TV backdrop in Bid to Attarct Indian Tourists

 Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar

Tourism Australia, with support from Destination New South Wales, has teamed up with one of India's most popular and award-winning TV shows in a bid to lure more Indians to Australia.

More than 25 million Indian viewers are expected to tune in to eight episodes of 'Bade Achhe Lagte Hain' ('I Love Him a Lot'), which began airing this week and features content filmed in Sydney and its surrounds.

Tourism Australia hopes that these sequences, shot against a backdrop of some of Sydney's most iconic tourism attractions, will woo more Indian newlyweds to choose Australia as their honeymoon destination.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy believes the size and profile of the hugely popular show will help tap into India's rapidly emerging middle class of experience seekers.

"We’ve made no secret of the fact that we see exceptional future growth prospects for India. This is a market which could double in size and nearly triple in value for Australian tourism by 2020, to as much as A$2.3 billion a year aided by our recently announced 2020 Indian plan," Mr McEvoy said.

“These colourful productions are all about visual impact, and I’d argue there are few destinations that can compete with Australia when it comes to the striking beauty of our country and the iconic backdrops of our contemporary cities," he said.

The BAHL Team in Austrlia
Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase hopes the exposure given to the city and state will entice even more Indians to choose Sydney and its surrounds as their next holiday destination.

“Sydney is the most visited region in Australia by Indian visitors. In the year ending June 2011, NSW welcomed an additional 10,000 visitors from India – a 17 per cent growth from the previous year. In the same period, total overnight expenditure from visitors from India reached $219 million,” Ms Chipchase said.

Bade Acche Lagte Hain is produced by Balaji Telefilms and only started airing in India six months ago. It features Indian television superstars Ram Kapoor and Saakshi Tanwar and has quickly become one of the country's top ten rated TV shows.

"By linking up with one of India's highest rating TV shows we get a fantastic opportunity to showcase Australia to huge audiences and, importantly, to exactly the type of Indian experience seeker who we know has a genuine desire to visit our country," Mr McEvoy said.

Portions of eight separate episodes were shot as part of a whirlwind filming schedule which included Bondi beach, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Botanical Gardens, Darling Harbour, the Grand Pacific Drive and the Blue Mountains, amongst others.

“We’ve worked with Balaji Telefilms before on other Indian TV productions and this is another great opportunity to target the hugely important Indian market through one of the country's highest rating flagship shows," he said.

The Australian episodes are due to go to air as the traditional Indian wedding season begins, presenting an ideal opportunity to showcase Australia as an aspirational honeymoon destination for Indian newly-weds.

“India is about fashion, fun, adventure, youth, vibrancy and a global outlook. We get that, and the way we promote ourselves now and into the future needs to reflect this, by tapping into Indian popular culture - whether that be Indian TV or, indeed, India’s upcoming cricket tour to Australia," Mr McEvoy said.

Tourism Australia’s involvement in Indian TV series first began in the early 2000’s. In January 2003, Australia hosted India’s number one rated TV drama series Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi  (“Because a mother-in-law was once a daughter-in-law too”) and its associated production Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki (“The Story of each home”).

India is Australia's 11th largest inbound market for international visitors, with 137,800 arrivals last year, up 12 per cent, and spending $0.8 billion. Tourism Australia believes there is potential to grow this market to between $1.9 billion and $2.3 billion by 2020.

St Josephs Christmas Pageant 2011

Many people from Muswellbrook, Denman, Merriwa and Scone will be driving to converge on Aberdeen on Thursday 8 December 2011 for the Annual St Josephs High School Christmas Pageant. Aberdeen is in the Upper Hunter region of NSW Australia. This year is special as it is the 21st annual Pageant. Each year St. Joseph’s aim is to give back to the community through their Pageant

The Pageant consists of many entertaining events and stalls such as BBQ, Chocolate Wheel, Pre-Pageant Acts, Snow Cones, Colouring-In Competition, Christmas Carols, Drink Stall, Petting Zoo, Glow Stall, Santa Visit, and Nativity Scene

The evening starts at 5pm and entry is by a gold coin donation.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Barcelona - Always Full of Surprises!

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is a Mediterranean and cosmopolitan city with Roman remains, medieval quarters and the most beautiful examples of 20th century Modernism and avant-garde. It is no surprise that emblematic constructions by the Catalan architects Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Doménech i Montaner have been declared World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.

The city's origins are Roman, and its long history and economic dynamism have made Barcelona a cultural city, which can be seen in the historic-artistic heritage and the promotion of the most innovative artistic trends. A wide cultural programme will take visitors to museums, exhibitions, open-air sculptures… and many concerts, plays and dances.

Popular culture also has a presence in this city, which does not forget deeply-rooted traditions, such as the Mercè Festival, or the holiday celebrations in the districts of Gràcia, Sants, or Poblenou, all excellent opportunities to get to know the more festive side of Barcelona.

Tradition and modernity are also responsible for shaping its innovative and imaginative cuisine, which is based on organically grown produce, fresh fish, sausages and olive oil. Home-made pastries, and sparkling wines will round off a merely superficial approach to Barcelona's culinary culture.

To take a stroll through the streets of Barcelona is to be surprised at every step. Pedestrian streets in the old districts, green spaces, and a splendid waterfront filled with modern structures all reflect the city's aim of integration. Barcelona has managed to exalt its past without forgetting its commitment to the future. The city has some extraordinary infrastructures dedicated to hosting seminars, symposiums and international competitions. Its exceptional communications network, its Mediterranean climate and its great number of tourist attractions make of Barcelona an important business city. Business facilities, as well as conference and exhibition centres, can accommodate the widest variety of initiatives.

The visitor, whether on business or pleasure, will enjoy Barcelona's Mediterranean character, which can be clearly felt on the Costa del Garraf as well as the Maresme coast. In addition, the city has beautiful urban beaches, marinas, and seafront golf courses. Nature lovers will not need to travel far to be able to hike through the hills that are part of the coastal mountain range and the Catalan Pyrenees.

Scone Annual Christmas Carols

A personal invitation is extended to join Strathearn and Scone to celebrate the festive season and the birthday of Jesus Christ at the Scone Annual Christmas Carols. Come along and enjoy the lights, carols and family atmosphere on Sunday evening 11 December from 6.30pm at 2-4 Stafford Street in Scone, NSW Australia. 

Available on the night will be a BBQ  provided by the Scone Lions Club and light refreshments provided by Stathearn. The Combined Churches of Scone and the Scone Singers will take part in the evening.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Puerto Princesa City Gears Up For Underground River Tourism Boom After Win

The Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) and the city government of Puerto Princesa will intensify efforts to prepare the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) for more tourists following the latter’s win as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature (N7WN).

“The Department is one with Palawan and the Philippines in celebrating this latest triumph. We congratulate Mayor Edward Hagedorn and the people of Puerto Princesa City for this victory.  Now, however, the real work begins, as there is more reason than ever to strengthen environmental protection measures, optimize accommodation and touring capacities, and the like. We look forward to working on these with our local government and private sector partners,” said Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr.

As vice chair of the PPUR-N7WN Task Force created by President Benigno Aquino III in June, the DOT led a tri-media launch of the official promotional campaign last July at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu. A month prior, the Department had already conducted promotion activities for the PPUR during “Filipino Homecoming” road shows in North America.

The DOT also accomplished the following in support of the campaign: conducted student forums in July to encourage blogging and tweeting about the PPUR; hosted familiarization trips with print and broadcast media in August; provided voting stations at the 2nd Cebu International Travel Expo in July and 22nd Philippine Travel Mart last September; and promoted the PPUR while participating in travel fairs such as the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) World Tourism Forum and Travel Showcase last September and October.

In addition, the Department shouldered collaterals on the PPUR for distribution at local governments and Philippine embassies, as well as placed advertisements in leading newspapers and posters at the MRT, LRT-2 and NAIA to encourage voting for the PPUR.

As a culminating activity for the campaign, the DOT sponsored the Tunog Wunderground concert series this month in coordination with Wunderground United, an all-Filipino celebrity project for the PPUR-N7WN campaign.

The New 7 Wonders of Nature website describes the Puerto Princesa Underground River as reputedly the world’s longest underground river system, featuring an 8.2-kilometer navigable river through an impressive limestone landscape. It joins the Amazon in South America, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil, Jeju Island in South Korea, Komodo in Indonesia, and Table Mountain in South Africa on the exclusive list after a two-year vote among 28 finalists that concluded last 11 November 2011.

As of October 2011, 196,959 foreign and local visitors have been tallied at the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) for the year, already more than the 172,827 visitors for the entire 2010.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Cannes to Host International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) 2011

The International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) 2011 is fast approaching. It will be held from the 5-8 Decemeber 2011 at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes. ILTM 2011 is the leading annual business to business event for the global luxury travel community.

Operating as an 'invitation only' event, ILTM strictly selects the world’s most elite luxury travel buyers and sought after suppliers. Their product showcase represents the industry's diversity, offering everything from remote destinations and unique travel experiences to boutique hotels and luxury transport. 

The world’s most sought after destinations, ultra-luxurious accommodation, elite transportation and unique travel experiences are showcased for the most discerning international luxury travel buyer via anpre-scheduled appointment system and effective networking and knowledge opportunities.

ILTM turns 10 this year and through it's continued success is the event of choice for business growth, effective networking and gaining insight into the latest trends in the luxury travel industry.

ILTM provides a 4 day luxury inspired programme with highlights such as the Ultratravel Forum, education seminars, pre-scheduled appointments, networking features and evening events.

Some exciting new features include the Official Party with surprise guest act to celebrate the exciting 10th milestone in style. 

2011 Event Calendar

Monday 5 December
15.15-16.15 Education Seminar Programme - Session 1
16.30-17.30 Education Seminar Programme - Session 2
18.00-20.00 ILTM 2011 Ultratravel Forum
20.00-21.00 ILTM Welcome Reception in partnership with Conde Nast Traveler

Tuesday 6 December
9.00-12.30 ILTM Pre-Scheduled Appointment Programme
9.00-10.00 Spotlight on Luxury with Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts / Conrad Hotels & Resorts
12.30-13.30 Lunch Break/ Lunch Appointments
13.00- 14.00 Spotlight on Luxury with Naiade Resorts
13.30-18.00 ILTM Pre-Scheduled Appointment Programme
17.10-18.00 Open Networking Session: Inbound Tour Operators
20.00-1.00 ILTM Official Party at The Hotel Martinez

Wednesday 7 December
9.00-12.30 ILTM Pre-Scheduled Appointment Programme
9.00-10.00 Spotlight on Luxury with The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company
12.30-13.30 Lunch Break/ Lunch Appointments
13.00- 14.00 Spotlight on Luxury with Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts
13.30-18.00 ILTM Pre-Scheduled Appointment Programme
17.10-18.00 Open Networking Session: Gastronomic Experiences
18.00-19.00 ILTM Business Networking Hour

Thursday 8 December
9.00-12.30 ILTM Pre-Scheduled Appointment Programme
9.00-10.00 Spotlight on Luxury with Preferred Hotel Group
12.30-13.30 Lunch Break/ Lunch Appointments
13.00- 14.00 Opening Networking Session: Spa and Wellness
13.30-17.00heduled Appointment Programme

Wollongong – Plenty to Choose From

Art and Design Market
There is always a wide range of events to choose from at any time of the year in and near Wollongong, on the South Coast of NSW, Australia . When I visited Wollongong yesterday I noticed these coming events.

- Art and Design Market in MacCabe Park, Wollongong, 11am- 4pm For further information see the web site

The Audley Dance Hall

- “Celebrating Royal – Back to Audley” The day will celebrate the completion of the $2.7 million upgrade to the historic Audley precinct. The Audley Dance Hall is now home to the new information centre, café and function centre. There are new picnic areas, tables, shelters and electric BBQS. The day will be held from 10 am - 3pm at The Royal National Park. For further information phone 9542 0648

 - Mercury Bluescope Youth Band Competition, at Waves Nightclub Towradgi, 2-8pm for all ages (a parent must accompany those under 18 years old). The finailist banmds include Bramajo, Fiend, Tommy M & the Nasterhounds, Blueberry Circuit, Abstract Classic, A Cat Named Kesey, Maesarc and Valorous. Tickets cost $8
- Choir of Southern Lights, presented by Gerringong Music Club at the Gerringong Town Hall, 2pm.
- Arts and Design Market, Pioneer Hall, 84 Church Street Wollongong 11am-4pm
- “Finding Place” an exhibition of recent works by Vyvian Wilson at Clifton School of Arts, 338 Lawrence Hargrave Drive. Saturday & Sunday 10am-6pm; Monday & Tuesday 11am-4pm. Ends Tuesday
- Poppyseed Market at Bulli PCYC, 253 Princess Highway 10am-3pm
- Jamberoo Arts and Craft Market, Kevin Walsh Oval, Jamberoo.
- Coledale Markets at Coldeale Public School, 699 Lawrence Hargrave Drive 9am-3pm
- Darlings Fashion Bazaar at Chiffley Hotel, Harbour Street Wollongong 1-4pm
- “Catch No Two Alike” Arts Grad Show. See graphic design, media and visual arts created by students of the Wollongong University Faculty of Arts in Building 25. Monday to Friday 9am -5pm. Ends Dec 8 Arts Grad Show. See graphic design, media and visual arts created by students of the Wollongong University Faculty of Arts in Building 25. Monday to Friday 9am -5pm. Ends Dec 8

Coming Up
Show and Shine
- 14th Annual Show and Shine car display hosted by the EJ-EH Holden Owners Club of Southern NSW. Location - Black Beach, Kiama from 9am on December 11. For further information phone 0413 112 682. This originally planned for today, but the wet weather has postponed the event.

Corrimal High School
- a musical extravaganza covering the last six decades will be held to mark the 60th Anniversary of Corrimal High School on  the afternoon of Wednesday 30 November. There will also be a display of historical records and school memorabilia, fashion parade, and performance by the band 'The Conspiracy Plan'. For further information phone 42851199.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Top 5 Places to See in Tokyo

Tokyo is a city that everyone should visit at least once in their life. Certainly different from any other in the world, it`s a place that immediately fills the soul with excitement and wonder. 

From the eclectic art and fashion styles to the incredible architecture, shopping and food selection, each area is filled with hidden surprises around every corner.

Best known for having the infamous “scramble crossing” scene where thousands of people cross the street at once, it’s a very energetic part of the city that offers some of the best people watching experiences in the world.  Here you will find anything from cheap eateries, posh bars; modern and vintage boutiques to large shopping malls packed tightly in an already busy area. 

Meiji Jingu
Meiji Jingu
In stark contrast to the buzz found in Shibuya, you can find a peaceful sanctuary in the middle of the city, where the famous Meiji Jingu shrine is located. Dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, this shrine is surrounded by an immense and perfectly manicured landscape that includes over 170 acres of forest.  Certainly a quiet escape from the rest of the city, you can often view traditional ceremonies that take place during the weekends.

Known as every geek’s heaven, Akihabara is one of the most famous areas in the world for everything electronic, it’s also the best place to find anything related to anime, comics/manga, action figures and more.  Here you will find the always busy Maid Cafes, where all staff members are dressed as maids and serve guests food and drinks, or simply stick around to play games with customers.

To get in touch with the more traditional side of Tokyo, you should visit Asakusa where the famous and oldest Sensoji Temple is located. On the way to the temple, you can walk along Nakamise Dori, which is a pedestrian street lined with traditional shops and stalls that sell anything from traditional Japanese sweets to traditional Japanese toys, and gifts that are ideal as keepsakes and gifts.

Yet another area far different from the rest of the city, you will find Odaiba island, which is located across Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge. To get there, you can either drive or take a journey along the Yurikamome monorail that weaves between large business buildings like the Shiseido headquarters, the Nippon TV tower and the Pokemon Center.

At Odaiba, you can view the unusual Fuji TV building, stroll along the beach, enjoy some great dining and shopping or learn about some history at the last Edo Era canon battery that’s open to the public.

With such a rich mix of modern technology and ancient tradition, Tokyo is the place that will change the way you see the world and leave you with an incredible experience that will last in your heart forever.
*written by Guest Writer Miho, who loves to travel the world and has lived and breathed Tokyo for several years.   She shares Tokyo fashion and travel tips in The Tokyo Fashion Guide, 

*This is the first in a series of articles called "The Top 5 Places to See in ....."  An open invitation is given to any reader to submit an article listing the top 5 places in their home village, town, or city that they would show to visitors. Thanks, Max.

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Travel Goods Show Registrations Open

The Travel Goods Show is the largest show of its type in the world and will be held in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas U.S.A.  from the 8 – 10 March 2012. It showcases the latest in travel accessories, luggage, carry-ons, gadgets, and clothing.

Registrations are now open to attend The Travel Goods Show on the Show website. With questions regarding registration, please contact Registration Headquarters via email or phone at 702-798-8309.

The Travel Goods Show is a little over three months away, and it's time to think about where you'll stay for The Show in Las Vegas. The Show organiser, the Travel Goods Association (TGA) has arranged special rates with the Las Vegas Hilton, the official Travel Goods Show hotel. It's adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center and offers direct access to the rear entrance of The Show floor. Just a block off the Strip, the Hilton is just a short walk from everything else Vegas has to offer.
Las Vegas Hilton
            Las Vegas Hilton
            3000 Paradise Road
            Las Vegas, NV 89109
            888-732-7117L 702-732-5111

The Travel Goods Show Hours
            Tuesday, March 6, 2012 — 8:30 am -6:00 pm
            Wednesday, March 7, 2012 — 8:30 am -6:00 pm
            Thursday, March 8, 2012 — 8:30 am -3:00 am

Special Events
Opening Night Party
            Tuesday, March 6
            9:00 p.m.-midnight
            Las Vegas Hilton
TGA Awards Ceremony
            Wednesday, March 7
            Immediately after The Show closes at 6:00 p.m.
            Las Vegas Hilton

The Travel Goods Show Contact Information
• Advertising, Badges, Booth Reservations, Hotel Info, Meeting Room Requests, Registration, Sponsorship, Travel Goods Showcase, Cathy Hays —, 877-842-1938, x-707
• Exhibitor Listing Kim Wong —, 877-842-1938, x-705
• Exhibitor Services Sharon Gilbert —, 800-842-6309, x-4262
• Media and Press Inquiries Kate Ryan —, 774-929-5223

Faculty of Creative Arts Grad Show 2011 - “Catch No Two Alike”

"Portrait of a Grandfather" by Emma Llewelyn
Come along and see the amazing artistic creations of the graduating students of Wollongong University in the Graphic Design, Media Arts, and Visual Arts courses. The Exhibition is called “Catch No Two Alike”. The venue is the Faculty of Creative Arts, Building 25, University of Wollongong NSW Australia. Opening night: is tonight - Friday 25 November, 6:30pm for 7pm. The Guest speaker: Paul Ryan, visual artist & UOW alumnus. Refreshments and finger food will be provided. Enquiries: FCA Central, ph 4221 3996

The Exhibition will then be open weekdays from 9am to 5pm until Thursday 8 December.

The Dean of Creative Arts, Professor Amanda Lawson, said “Congratulations to the class of 2011! Graduates in Visual Arts, Media Arts and Graphic Design present their diverse talents in an exciting exhibition that showcases the skill and dedication they have developed during their years of study in the Faculty of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong."

“This year began with the announcement of the Australian Government's Excellence in Research rankings – and the news that Visual Arts at UOW was rated as one of the top six in the country, and above world average. Confirmation of what we already knew from feedback and evaluation – that our staff and programs are second to none in this area, and its closely linked fields of Design and Media Arts. Our confidence is inspired by the enthusiasm and engagement of our students – and now it's our turn to congratulate all of you for your great efforts."

“Experience has also shown us that employers in the endlessly growing and changing world of the cultural sector or industries will recognise and appreciate your talents and commitment. We hope you'll share stories with us as you embark on your new careers – the ups and downs, the funny bits, the times when someone shared some really useful information or gave you the word of encouragement you needed. The 2011 graduates really are a 'catch' and I wish you all the very best!"

Emma Llewelyn
One of the graduating students from the Visual Arts course whose work will be on display is Emma Llewelyn, who just happens to be our daughter. Emma said “I like working in a realistic style in the traditional areas of portraiture and still life, mainly using soft pastels and graphite. I enjoy using light and tone to capture the essence of people and objects on paper.”

“In this body of work I am exploring the relationship between history, memory and identity in the context of family photographs. The individual is woven together over time from threads of memory and family lines, and our nostalgic relationship with these are reflected in our revering of old family photographs. We seem to feel a connection fed by our idealized yearning for a personal narrative. I have created portraits of objects that represent the people depicted, further exploring notions of identity and memory association. I am interested in why we turn to the past to try and give ourselves identity in the present, using typically nostalgic objects as family photographs to construct the illusion of memory."

Some of Emma’s art works can be viewed on her web site  She can be emailed at,

For more information about the “Catch No Two Alike” Exhibition, including a list of all the graduating artists exhibiting at the Visual Arts Grad Show see the web site Each student has a photo, a profile, and one of their pieces of artwork on display.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Pattaya Is Named Asia and Australasia's Best Golf Destination for 2012

Thailand wins another golf tourism award. At its annual marketing showcase at Belek, Turkey, this week, golf tourism's global organization, the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators (IAGTO), named the resort city of Pattaya as Asia and Australasia's best golf destination for 2012. Thailand itself received IAGTO's same premier award for 2010.

Two weeks ago, at the Asia Pacific Golf Summit in Pattaya, Thailand was named the best golf destination in Asia/Pacific, while Black Mountain Golf Club at Hua Hin was declared the region's best championship course and Thai Country Club in Bangkok the number two layout to Kingston Heath in Melbourne, Australia.

What other accolades await Thailand, which boasts 260 courses and the best all-round golf tourism experience on the planet? Having scooped so many awards, perhaps only those of individual golfers who come to see for themselves why golf in the kingdom is so good.

Heading the new award for Pattaya, which has 17 golf courses and is only 110 kilometers by motorway from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport, is Siam Country Club where Thailand's first privately-owned course opened in 1970. It, too, received a major accolade at the Asia Pacific Golf Summit earlier this month by winning the best-maintained course in the region.

"Pattaya is a true golf course destination and thoroughly deserves this award," says Siam Country Club's owner, Prasertchai Phornprapha. "The strength of the area is the diversity of courses and costs. It is also great for our confidence as we [at Siam CC] embark on construction of our new 18 holes that will open in 2014. We will then have 63 holes of golf and expect the new course will attract another 50,000 rounds a year. We are doing this because we believe so much in Pattaya as a golf tourism destination."

Siam CC's Old Course was originally laid out by Isao Mazumi and was redesigned in 2007 by Schmidt-Curley, immediately after which it became the first course in Thailand to host an LPGA event, the 2007 Honda LPGA Thailand.

Its sister Plantation course, also designed by Schmidt-Curley, opened in 2008 and immediately hosted the Honda LPGA Thailand, won by world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa. The 27-hole layout is situated on a former pineapple and tapioca plantation and is home to Asia's first triple green, shaped like a clover.

Large ravines, multi-tiered greens, superb conditioning and spectacular views of the surrounding countryside are among many features of the course. Its sleek, ultra-modern birdwing clubhouse is worth visiting in its own right. Web site:

Sydney Once More Voted The World’s Number One City

Sydney was voted the world’s number one city in the Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards held in October  in New York. NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris said Sydney has beaten tough competition from cities such as New York, Paris and Cape Town to take out the influential award.

It’s the second major international award for the Harbour City with Sydney having been named the world’s best festival and major events city by the International Festival and Events Association just last week. “Winning this latest award demonstrates Sydney’s position as a world leading destination and the gateway to Australia. It’s a vote of confidence not by travel writers or agents, but by ordinary travellers.

“By definition, this makes us Australia’s leading tourism and events city and will help the Government in its quest to restore NSW to its position as the nation’s premiere state,” Mr Souris said. More than 8 million votes were cast in the Awards with readers rating cities according to ambience, friendliness, lodging, restaurants, culture, sight-seeing and shopping. “The many readers of Conde Nast Traveler have given Sydney the top spot in their Awards with a score of 85.1, ahead of the next highest scoring city – Florence (85.0). “With its mix of world class events, cultural activities, stunning natural attractions and top-end food and shopping, Sydney and NSW continues to satisfy its visitors.

“NSW is Australia’s number one destination for international and domestic visitor numbers, visitor nights and visitor expenditure,” Mr Souris said. Sydney hotels have also received award accolades at the ceremony, with 11 of the top 15 hotels in the Oceania region being from Sydney. The top hotel in Oceania goes to the Observatory Hotel Sydney (scoring 91.1) with another - the Sydney Harbour Marriott in Circular Quay, The Westin Sydney and Establishment Hotel Sydney also in the top five. “It’s encouraging to see so many of our excellent hotels recognized by world-wide travellers. They certainly deserve recognition and have helped to put Sydney in the top spot,” Mr Souris said. He pointed out that Conde Nast Traveler readers are mostly based in North America.

“As one of our largest international tourism markets, North America is worth more than $516 million to the NSW economy. This expenditure includes overnight and day trip expenditure.

“Recognition at these awards will further raise our profile among potential travellers and will help the Liberals and nationals Government fulfil its pledge to significantly boost the State’s economy,” Mr Souris said. Mr Souris said the Conde Nast Traveler poll follows a number of recent global awards for Sydney, reiterating its status as one of the world’s best cities. These include:

Sydney has been recognized as a top tourist city in other areas as well:
- International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) - Sydney was declared the world’s best festival and event city for the second year in a row, winning the IFEA World’s Best Festival and Event City Award 2011 
- TripAdvisor has listed Sydney at number two on its annual Travelers' Choice Destination 2011 awards – ahead of global cities including Paris (4), New York (6) and London (8)
- Cruise International Awards Sydney was recognised as the Cruise Destination of the Year in 2011
- Lonely Planet’s 700,000 Facebook and Twitter global followers named Sydney as one of the world’s best summer cities.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Fringe Festival 2011/2012

Hua Hin has its own Fringe Festival. After last year's joint staging in Bangkok and Hua Hin, the beautiful beach resort is now the only venue. With artitsts and performances from all over the world, and of course Thailand, this year's programme is unique and has something for everyone's taste. The current Fringe Festival runs from 12 November 2011 – 25 February 2012.

The Fringe Festival 2011/2012 is being held at the amazing venue, Vic Hua Hin, under the guidance of artistic director Khun Patravadi Mejudhon. It is supported by the Office of Contemporary Arts and Culture at the Thai Ministry of Culture.

For December 3, the Urban Bones Dance Company from Bangkok has been invited to perform three pieces: "Entre-mains", "Haiku" and "Morphoses". The evening called "La Danse" shows the richness of French choreography and its heritage from the 20th century.

On Christmas Eve, Vic Hua Hin and the Patravadi High School Hua Hin invite you to spend a couple of hours with Christmas songs, turkey, students performances and the magic ambience of X-Mas Eve @ Vic Hua Hin - starting at 6.00 pm, December 24. Donations for their scholarship fund for young performing artists are greatly appreciated.

Returning to the Fringe Festival is Yael Rasooly and the Golden Delicious Theatre from Jerusalem, Israel. The show will feature three object theatre pieces in one evening, 21 January 2012. This performance is supported by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Another Thai production will be presented on February 4, with B-Floor from Bangkok. "Taste of Curry" combines live music and a story about cooking with a shattering look at life in all kinds of languages: Thai, English, French, Gibberish; and of course physical movement and live music to present the full taste of life!

The next guest travels from the UK to Thailand to perform his one-man piece "SPACE". Timothy Mann is an actor, writer, musician and video editor who joined the theatre company Nose2Nose in 2006. He will ask the infinite question, "What is SPACE?"... and maybe also find an answer.

A co-production with the Festival La Fête, Bangkok, will be the final event of the Fringe Festival: "Pichet Klunchun and Myself", performed by the French artist Jérôme Bel and the Thai dancer Pichet Klunchun. We will see a combination of traditional Khon and modern Dance, to close the festival on 25 February 2012.

For more information please check Tickets for the events are available at Vic Hua Hin or call for reservations now: 032 827 814-5.

Australia’s Most Comprehensive Business Events Showcase In Sydney

Tourism Australia’s signature event for showcasing Australia as a destination for business events came to Sydney as 72 international corporate meeting and incentive decision makers (buyers) and 14 international media from 14 countries and 14 international media touchdowned for Dreamtime 2011.

Hosted by Tourism Australia in partnership with Qantas and Business Events Sydney, Dreamtime offered Australia’s business events suppliers the opportunity to market their products and services to, and do business with, international incentive buyers.

Dreamtime is part of a wider strategy to support Australia’s tourism industry.  Last November, Tourism Australia unveiled the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential – a rallying call to Australian industry and governments to grow tourism’s contribution from $70 billion in overnight expenditure to as much as $140 billion per cent by the year 2020.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said Dreamtime was about building business relationships to grow mutual business opportunities between the Australian business industry and our customers around the world. 

“Dreamtime is Tourism Australia’s signature event for the business events industry to do business on a global scale, connecting Australian incentive sellers with international buyers on their home ground,” Mr McEvoy said.

“The format of Dreamtime provides our international buyers with the opportunity to experience Australia first-hand and how it can deliver for businesses looking to achieve outstanding results. “For Australian sellers it is a cost-effective way to do business with international incentive buyers from key markets around the world,” Mr McEvoy said.

Dreamtime participants had been carefully selected to ensure they could deliver a return on investment and give Australian incentive sellers the support and tools they need in key markets of Asia, Japan, New Zealand, United States of America and the United Kingdom.

In addition to the Sydney business and networking program, Dreamtime featured three days of educational visits in which buyers and media experienced incentive and travel products in Melbourne, Adelaide, Uluru, Perth, Cairns, Gold Coast and the Whitsundays.

Qantas Executive Manager Global Sales, Stephen Thompson said “Qantas has supported Australia’s Dreamtime event since its inception and we are again delighted to partner with Tourism Australia to sponsor Dreamtime 2011 and showcase Australia to the world’s incentive travel trade.

“Dreamtime is an opportunity to celebrate and promote the wealth of tourism product and services Australia has on offer to the world. For Qantas, supporting the business events industry is fundamental to our role as the national carrier. Qantas offers international travellers our award winning A380 product, a network of both international and domestic lounges, the best in Australian food and wine and exceptional customer service,” he said.

Business events such as corporate meetings and incentives are a significant contributor to the Australian economy.  In terms of delegate expenditure, the contribution of business events visitors was AUD$8.5 billion in 2010. 

Since the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential was announced, Tourism Australia has been consulting with the business events industry to establish how the 2020 Potential would look for the sector.  It has been identified that Australia’s business events sector has the potential to double expenditure from business events visitors to as much as $16 billion by 2020.

Total expenditure on business events, including venue hire, registration and other event expenses, is estimated to be much greater and was last measured at $17.3 billion in 2004.

About Business Events Australia

Business Events Australia is a dedicated team within Tourism Australia devoted to promoting Australia as a business events destination. Tourism Australia will have a significant presence at AIBTN Baltimore, with 11 stand partners joining forces to demonstrate why meeting, incentive, conference and event organisers should send their business to Australia.


Tourism Australia
Kim Moore, Public Affairs Manager
P. 61 2 9361 1306

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Thailand’s Tourism to Recover Quickly after the Flooding

Suvarnabhumi Airport
The tourism situation in Thailand is likely to recover quickly after the flooding, which has eased significantly in many areas of the country, especially Bangkok.

At the Flood Relief Operations Center, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Suraphon Svetasreni, said that the period between October and November is considered the high season for Thailand’s tourism. Although the flooding was at its peak during this period, tourism growth for the whole year is expected to be positive.

Mr. Suraphon said that the Tourism Authority of Thailand in early 2011 had predicted that tourist arrivals this year would be 15-16 million. Later, in the middle of this year, it set a target for tourist arrivals at 19 million. Public relations campaigns were launched in all media channels to restore confidence in the country’s tourism after several countries had issued travel warnings to their people about visiting Thailand due to the flooding situation. Today, those countries are starting to ease the travel warnings, as life in many flooded areas in Thailand is returning to normal.

Although a number of provinces are still suffering from floods, tourism arrivals in such major destinations as Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Krabi continue as usual. According to statistics compiled by the Department of Tourism at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, from January to October 2011, Thailand welcomed almost 15.8 million international visitors, an increase of 25 percent over the same period last year.

A report from the Emergency Operation Center for Flood, Storms, and Landslide indicated that 17 provinces in Thailand are still suffering from floods, and 602 people have died. This flood has affected more than five million people.

Senior Executive Vice President of Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited and Acting General Manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport, Somchai Sawasdeepon, said that flight frequency at Suvarnabhumi Airport during this period was not on the decline, when compared with the same period last year. He explained the flood preventive system in place at Suvarnabhumi Airport, which includes 3.5-meter-high dykes capable of dealing with floods. A special team has also been formed to work with related agencies in monitoring the situation. Suvarnabhumi and other airports are operating normally.

Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, Professor Tongthong Chandransu, in his capacity as the Spokesperson for the Flood Relief Operations Center, said that images of aircraft stranded in deep floodwater at Don Mueang Airport had caused the misconception among travelers wishing to visit Thailand that the country fwas facing a problem with air traffic. Authorities concerned had clarified this issue to dispel the misconception. The aircraft had, in fact, been decommissioned prior to the flooding

Step inside the famous wizard’s magical world with Harry Potter. “Harry Potter Harry Potter: The Exhibition” opened in Sydney, NSW Australia at the Powerhouse Museum on 19 November 2011.

Visitors can get up-close and personal look at the artistry and craftsmanship that went into creating the iconic props and costumes that have appeared throughout the Harry Potter film series.

See hundreds of authentic film artefacts displayed in settings inspired by locations from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, including the Gryffindor common room, Hagrid’s hut, the Great Hall and many more. New original props and costumes from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and the highly anticipated finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, will also be on exhibit.

 The Powerhouse Museum is the exclusive Australian venue for Harry Potter: The Exhibition and runs until 18 March 2012.

Between Saturday 19 November and Sunday 18 March
Monday to Thursday: 9.30am to 5pm, Friday: 9.30am to 9pm, Saturday: 9am to 9pm, Sunday: 9am to 5pm,

Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, 2007

Peak sessions Family: $95, Adult: $32, Child: $22, Senior: $32
Off-peak sessions Family: $79.50, Adult: $28, Child: $19, Senior: $25


More Info:
Powerhouse Museum 02 9217 0222

Monday, 21 November 2011

Strong Commitment For 20th IT&CMA and 15th CTW in 2012

Registrations Indicate Stellar Outlook For Next Year’s Milestone Event Incorporating Luxury Travel
Networking 2011
Riding high on the success of IT&CMA and CTW 2011, MICE and corporate travel buyers and exhibitors are enthusiastic about participating at the 2012 event. This will be held 2 to 4 October 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand.  

This successful 2011 event was the largest in the event’s history. Held over two days across 5,800 sq m of exhibition space, it featured some 16,500 business appointments between a record number of 335 Exhibiting Companies and 491 MICE Buyers and Corporate Travel Managers.

Media Briefing 2011
50% of all Buyers were new participants at the event. International buyer Ms. Maria Magdalena Mrowinska of Indreams, Poland remarked, “This event provided many networking opportunities. I am very satisfied with my business meetings and contacts established.” Corporate Travel Manager Ms. Swee McGowan of Mazda Motors, New Zealand echoed this sentiment, “It was a great opportunity to see so many new exhibitors/ suppliers come on board. This year’s seminar topics were incredibly valuable as well.”

More than 90% of exhibitors reported that they expect to receive orders ranging from US$250,000 to above US$500,000 in the next 6-12 months, thus underlining IT&CMA and CTW’s reputation as an effective platform for business and leading to early registrations for IT&CMA and CTW 2012.

Seminar 2011
Mr. Darren Ng, Managing Director of TTG Asia Media, remarked “It comes as no surprise that more than 90% of our exhibitors have pledged to return to the event next year. The 2012 event will be even more exceptional as it capitalizes on the luxury travel market for the very first time.”

Amongst the exhibitors who have signed up for IT&CMA and CTW 2012 is the Taiwan Convention and Exhibition Bureau. Ms. Stacy Tsai, Project Manager at the organisation said, “Our appointments at the 2011 event were great. The amount of international media exposure we have had was also amazing!”

CTW Session 2011
Other exhibitors already on board for the 2012 event include: Brunei Tourism, Carlson Hotels Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, Department of Tourism – Philippines, Egyptian Tourism Office, Excellent Tours and Travel, HPL Hotels & Resorts, Korea Tourism Organisation, Laguna Phuket, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, Melia Hotels International, Pattaya MICE City, Phohara Co. Ltd, Sabah Tourism Board, Silversea Cruises, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau and Wyndham Hotels.

2012 marks the 20th anniversary of IT&CMA and the 15th anniversary of CTW Asia-Pacific. Over the past two decades the event’s impressive growth has mirrored that of the MICE industry. Industry professionals from around the world eagerly await the celebrations of this milestone. Additionally, the excitement around IT&CMA and CTW 2012 is in no small part due to the newly added luxury travel component of the show. This strategic move to expand the event to include luxury travel will give Buyers and Corporate Travel Managers the opportunity to concurrently source for products and services to meet the demands of their up-market clientele. Likewise, exhibitors with luxury offerings can now capitalize on the enhanced showcase and buying potential at the event.  

About IT&CMA and CTW 2012 - 2 to 4 October, Bangkok, Thailand

Buyers 2011
IT&CMA and CTW Asia-Pacific is The World’s Only Doublebill Event in MICE and Corporate Travel. Next year, the event will incorporate Luxury Travel in its ambit. IT&CMA is the Asia-Pacific region’s leading international MICE show, offering the largest collection of Asia-Pacific MICE suppliers. IT&CMA brings together MICE suppliers and buyers in a 3-day exhibition showcase coupled with intensive business appointments. Exhibition features include destinations, products, services and solutions relating to meetings, incentives, conventions and events. CTW Asia-Pacific is a conference and exhibition on Travel & Entertainment (T&E) management for the Asia-Pacific region. Influencers, planners and decision-makers of Corporate Travel functions in their organisation attend the annual conference to keep themselves abreast of the latest trends and knowledge that enable them to get the most out of their T&E decisions. This 2012 will see the 20th and 15th instalment of IT&CMA and CTW respectively.   

Media Contact
TTG Asia Media Pte Ltd, 1 Science Park Road, #04-07, The Capricorn, Singapore Science Park II, Singapore 117528
Tel (65) 6395 7575  Fax: (65) 6536 0896
Event URL: |

Apia International Sydney Lleyton Hewitt Charity Day

Lleyton Hewitt, Kate Ritchie
See the stars of Australian tennis, television, music, sport and politics light up the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis the Apia International Sydney Lleyton Hewitt Charity Day! This is a kid friendly family fun day, so bring all the family alon!

Lleyton Hewitt, the 30-year-old dual Grand Slam champion and Kate Ritchie, former Home and Away star, will be hosting this first Apia International Sydney Charity Day

Pat Rafter
Australian tennis greats will include Pat Rafter, Bernard Tomic, John Newcombe, Tony Roche, Chris Guccione, Peter Luczak, John Alexander, John Fitzgerald, Wally Masur, Paul McNamee, and Marinko Matosevic  

They will be joined by GWS Giants AFL convert Israel Folau, Wests Tigers winger Lote Tuqiri, Aussie cricketer Brett Lee. Other high-profile names will include Bec Hewitt, Shannon Noll, Corey Brown (Melbourne Cup winning jockey), and Luke Mitchell (Home and Away).

Lleyton Hewitt, Kate Ritchie
The afternoon will feature Lleyton & Bec Hewitt, Kate Ritchie, Israel Folau, Patrick Rafter, Bernard Tomic, John Newcombe, Tony Abbott plus many more!

Great value for the whole family, your ticket also includes musical entertainment from Shannon Noll and plenty of interactive games for tennis fans of all ages! All proceeds go to the Westmead Children's Hospital!

When: 27 November 2011 12pm-4.30pm
Cost: Adult $10, Child/Concession $5, Family $15
Tickets/Bookings: Ticketek - Call 132 849, visit the Ticketek website or drop into the outlet at the Aquatic Centre
Further information - see the Apia International Sydney website

Sunday, 20 November 2011

“Vanishing Artist” Liu Bolin Performs at Beijing Supermarket

Chinese artist Liu Bolin has displayed the miracles of camouflage once again. Liu Bolin has painted himself in such a way as to blend with a vegetable counter at a Beijing supermarket.

Thanks to an optical illusion, the artist has managed to become invisible and to completely merge with the background

Liu Bolin has gained a reputation for taking pictures of himself and for camouflaging his entire body from head to feet so as to merge into the background. 

The 38-year-old Chinese national, also called the “Vanishing Artist,” became interested in “invisible” art for the first time over six years ago.

His photo series “Hiding In The City” is famous all over the world. 

The photos of Liu Bolin have been displayed at major exhibitions worldwide.