Saturday, 31 March 2012

20,000 Readers of The Holiday and Travel Magazine

In the early hours of this morning the 20,000 person has read The Holiday and Travel Magazine. This is rather amazing as I established the Magazine just last year. You can see how the readership has grown by looking at the pageview readership figures for each month-

January 10, February 150, March 149, April 260
May 539, June 1189, July 809, August 861
September 962, October 1097, November 1405, December 1917

January 3,777, February 3008, March 3902

Audience – The top 10 countries, in descending order, are - Australia, USA, UK, Russia Germany, Philippines, Malaysia, India, Singapore, China.

Pageviews by Browsers – Firefox  44%, Explorer 28%, Chrome 15%, SAFARI 6%, Opera 2%

Pageviews by Operating Systems – Windows 81%, Linux 8%, Macintosh 5%, Android 2%, iPhone 1%,

Top 10 Posts – these are ranked from number 1 down on the right hand of the screen

Thanks to all those people who have read The Holiday and Travel Magazine, contributed to it, or have commented on articles.

An invitation – I would like each reader to write a short article to contribute to The Holiday and Travel Magazine. Write an article on the city, suburb, town or area in which you live, detailing the top 2 or 3 spots you would gladly show off to visitors. You may not have the Sydney Opera House, Buckingham Palace or Statue of Liberty next door to you, but you may have that interesting park, statue, tree, playground, building etc nearby. Just write about what is unique to the area in which you live and email me the article. It will be great to have articles sent from countries scattered all over the world

Dakar Rally 2013 will Attract Thousands of Visitors to Lima Peru

Dakar Rally 2013
With the news that Lima will host the start of the  Dakar Rally on 5 January 2013 thousands of racing enthusiasts are set to flock to Peru in early 2013. Adventurous travellers who want to witness the start of this adrenalin-filled event are urged to organise their travel to Peru now, to ensure they catch the start of the world's most exciting off-road rally.

2013 marks the 35th year the race has been held, the 5th year in South America and the second year Peru has been on the race path.  The participants will race out of Lima and through Peru's southern coast into Chile then onto Argentina.  Over a billion people from 190 countries are expected to watch as the race unravels.

Dakar Rally 2013
PromPeru's coordinator for Asia Pacific, Rosana Guinea, urges Australians to book a trip to witness this event and experience the festival atmosphere first hand in Lima at the start of the race.

"Lima and Peru will come alive during the Dakar Rally next year and it is a fantastic time for visitors to experience the city.  We are thrilled that Peru has been chosen as the host country to start this renowned race and this signifies that the country is able and equipped to host large scale events for the world to see."

According to Peru's Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, José Luis Silva Martinot, Peru's participation in the 2012 Dakar Rally generated over US$520 million directly and indirectly, with the most economic impact coming from hotels and petrol stations.   

Dakar Rally
For those considering traveling to Peru, this will be the perfect timing to enjoy Peru's coastline and desert region and discover the many attractions on offer. From paragliding in Lima, nature watching off the Ballestas Islands and flying over the mysterious Nazca Lines to visiting the Pisco region of Ica and getting the heart racing while sand boarding and buggy riding over the dunes in Huacachina, Peru has many activities on offer.

For more information on Peru, please visit

W Hotels Worldwide Unveils Innovative Design for Sentosa Cove

W Singapore Sentosa Cove
W Hotels Worldwide has unveiled the unique design concept for the highly anticipated opening of W Singapore Sentosa Cove, which will open in August 2012.

Situated only minutes away from Singapore’s Central Business District, W Singapore Sentosa Cove is located on a pristine Sentosa Island and will be an integral part of CDL’s vision of a tropical marina-oriented lifestyle hub in Sentosa Cove. The hotel will be at the heart of The Quayside Isle, which includes the adjoining The Residences at W Singapore Sentosa Cove as well as a unique specialty retail component, featuring intimate waterfront restaurants and shops. With this integrated development set to complete the lifestyle experience for guests and residents on Sentosa Cove, W Singapore Sentosa Cove is primed to draw international jetsetters from all over the world as Asia’s up-and-coming leisure destination.

Singapore’s Dynamic Energy Mixes with Sentosa’s Vibrant Natural Surroundings
The Residences
W  Hotels creates unique yet locally relevant design stories for each of its hotels, and W Singapore Sentosa Cove’s inspiration comes from the dynamic cosmopolitan lifestyle mixed with Sentosa’s vibrant natural surroundings.  Singapore, the city wherethriving financial centers are located amongst heritage buildings; where fine dining restaurants reside alongside stalls hawking local cuisine; and where high fashion boutiques share the same Orchard Road address as emerging local designers, W Singapore Sentosa Cove adopts the same narrative, blurring the line between cosmopolitan city-state and a forest’s untamed nature. This glowing jungle blends the cosmopolitan structure of the city with the whole other universe of Sentosa Island, where luscious greenery and high-octane entertainment gives the island a pulsating energy.

W Singapore Sentosa Cove has been designed by New York-based Rockwell Group - internationally renowned design company, known for iconic projects including:- the recently opened W Paris - Opéra, the 81st and 82nd Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Nobu restaurants worldwide including Beijing, Melbourne, and Dubai, among other award-winning projects. 

Design has been at the forefront of W Hotels since 1998 with the launch of the first W Hotel, W New York, which was also designed by Rockwell Group.  Owned and developed by City Developments Limited and managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, W Singapore Sentosa Cove joins the ranks of a fast growing portfolio of W Hotels in vibrant destinations and exotic locations in Asia Pacific, including Seoul, Hong Kong, Maldives, Koh Samui, Bali – Seminyak, and Taipei.

Eva Ziegler
“Taking the W brand into Singapore, one of the world’s most multinational cities, will mark a true milestone in W’s global expansion into the world’s most exciting and vibrant destinations,” said Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien. “Unique programming within a cutting-edge designed environment by David Rockwell will bring a new and distinctive experience to Sentosa Cove, one of Singapore’s most exclusive islands.”

“The W brand’s DNA is core to our design philosophy, which also takes into consideration local contextual insights to form a unique design narrative for each W Hotel,” said Mike Tiedy, Senior Vice President of Design and Innovation, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “Sentosa’s natural setting mixed with Singapore’s dynamic energy was our inspiration for the design of W Singapore Sentosa Cove, and combined with W’s cutting-edge style, the hotel is sure to create a vibrant new experience in Singapore.”

More than a dialogue between cosmopolitan and untamed nature, W Singapore Sentosa Cove’s design also incorporates natural elements, such as the motif of Singapore’s national flower- the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid - which can be found in guestrooms. At the hotel’s entrance, guests will be welcomed by a waterfall, featuring projections of graphic patterns and color on the water, while the outdoor terrace will feature glowing grass, rock-shaped daybeds, and an over-scaled rock garden. Further elements are derived from Singapore’s floral pattern textiles, such as batik, which will be thoughtfully incorporated in the design of the hotel’s flooring, bar, check-in counter, elevator doors, corridors and door handles. Rich hues of rosewood coupled with other natural elements will create a sense of bringing the “outside” in.

David Rockwell
“It is such a thrill work on the design of W Hotels all over the world, from New York to Paris and now Singapore,” said David Rockwell, founder and CEO of Rockwell Group.  “W is a constantly-evolving, dynamic, cutting edge brand – one that works really well in combination with the natural warmth and craft of Singapore and Sentosa Island. It makes for a really intriguing and dynamic design.”

An Escape Amongst Sentosa’s Hustle and Bustle
Sentosa Island
Home to lush rainforests, golden sandy beaches, award-winning spa retreats and resort accommodations, a deep-water yachting marina, and luxurious residences, Sentosa Island is a playground for both global jetsetters and locals alike. W Singapore Sentosa Cove will feature 240 sea and marina facing guestrooms, including four WOW Suites and one Extreme WOW Suite (W’s interpretation of the Presidential Suite). The hotel will also feature a state-of-the-art fitness center, GYM, outdoor heated pool WET, and an AWAY Spa, with the latter comprising six Spa Rooms and three Spa Suites. Visitors and guests can enjoy unrivalled views of the South China Sea from the hotel’s first and second floors, including W Lounge, a stylish social space where visitors can mingle and relax. 

W Singapore Sentosa Cove will also offer multiple bars and restaurants. SKIRT, the hotel’s signature restaurant, will be a steakhouse featuring the best cuts of meat prepared on the parilla grill, as well as fresh fish, seafood and other organic produce. Its name can be interpreted as a playful twist on the “skirt steak,” which is a cut of meat that is traditionally used in Latin style grilling; or one of fashion’s most iconic “cuts” – the skirt. The Kitchen Table , an all-day dining restaurant, where flavors and styles are combined with imagination an flair bringing glorious Chinese, Indian, Japanese and international flavors. WOOBAR features exciting creations by W mixologist and sounds spun by residence DJ at nightfall, and WET Pool Deck, a pool-side café offering innovative snack bites and creative cocktails.
For up-to-the-minute updates on this exciting development, please subscribe to W Singapore Sentosa Cove’s official Facebook page at visit

W Hotels Worldwide
W Hotels Worldwide
W Hotels is a contemporary, design-led lifestyle brand and the industry innovator with 42 hotels and retreats, including 14 W-branded residences, in the most vibrant cities and exotic destinations around the world. Inspiring, iconic, innovative and influential, W Hotels provides the ultimate in insider access, offering a unique mix of cutting-edge design and passions around fashion, music and entertainment. W Hotels offers a holistic lifestyle experience that is integrated into the brand’s sensibility through contemporary restaurant concepts, glamorous entertainment experiences, stylish retail concepts, signature spas and inspiring residences. With more than 13 years of proven success, W Hotels is on track to reach 60 hotels by the end of 2015. W Hotels have been announced for Guangzhou, Singapore, Milan, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Athens – Astir Palace, Muscat, Mumbai, and Sante Fe, Mexico, while upcoming W Retreats include Verbier and Mexico’s Riviera Maya. For more information, visit To live the W Hotels lifestyle 24/7/365, visit

The Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
The Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world withv1,090 properties in 100 countries and territories with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St  Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM. The company boasts one of the industry's leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit

The Rockwell Group
The Rockwell Group
Rockwell Group is an award winning, cross-disciplinary 140-person architecture and design firm specializing in cultural, hospitality, retail, product, and set design. Based in New York, with a satellite office in Madrid, the firm crafts a unique narrative and an immersive environment for each project. Rockwell’s interest in theater has informed much of the firm’s work, including: W Hotel New York, Union Square, and Paris- Opéra; the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center; the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles; Adour Alain Ducasse at The St. Regis New York; the JetBlue terminal at JFK Airport; set design for the 2009 and 2010 Academy Awards ceremonies; Canyon Ranch Miami Beach; Nobu restaurants worldwide; set design for Broadway’s “Hairspray;” and the Imagination Playground initiative.  David Rockwell was honored with the 2009 Pratt Institute Legends Award, and the 2008 National Design Award for Interior Design from Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt. For more information, please visit

Spectacular Opera in Sydney and Inverell

Handa Opera
Perfect weather created a spectacular backdrop for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour’s Opening Night on the 24 March. The production is receiving rave reviews with stunning performances and the glittering setting thrilling audiences. See a report about the show on SBS World News Australia.

Special guests at Opening Night included Barry O’Farrell, Simon Crean, Ita Buttrose, Kamahl, Kerri-Anne Kennerly, Carla Zampatti and Peter Morrissey.

For all the latest details check the event’s facebook page.

Destination NSW has invested in securing and promoting Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour as a key cultural event on the 2012 NSW Events Calendar.

Opera in the Paddock
In another part of the State on the same night, Opera in the Paddock in Inverell also benefited from clear weather with around 900 people attending. Visitors from across Australia came to Inverell to experience strong artistic performances and a 22 piece orchestra. Destination NSW is a strategic partner in Opera in the Paddock and the event is part of our 2012 Regional Flagship Events Program. It is also an important cultural event on the NSW Events Calendar.

World's Travel Media to Descend on Southern New Zealand

The eyes of the world’s travel media will be on the Southern Lakes in May, when around 30 international journalists fly into Queenstown for TRENZ, the tourism industry’s annual showcase event.

“They will be joined by about 30 domestic media to report on TRENZ (7-10 May), an event that brings together several hundred of the country’s top tourism operators with 300 international Buyers looking to purchase New Zealand tourism products to sell to international consumers,” explains Ann-Marie Johnson, Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Communications Manager.

“Media attending this year’s TRENZ work for news outlets and publications that are very influential in terms of promoting travel experiences and destinations to international consumers and the travel trade, such as Lonely Planet, Japan’s Globe Trotter Guide, China’s official news agency Xinhua, and UK luxury travel magazine TTG Luxury.”

Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager Brand and International PR Catherine Bates says the team at Tourism New Zealand works hard, together with Air New Zealand and Qantas, to ensure a good international spread of media is present at TRENZ and that there is plenty of tourism news for them to cover.

Southern Lakes
“This year we have representatives from all of our priority markets - Australia, China, the UK, Germany and the US. TRENZ provides a fantastic opportunity for us to get international media down to the Southern Lakes region to experience New Zealand first hand and talk with the people who are at the heart of the industry. As a result, we know that when media go home again, they will be well placed to sell the unique story of New Zealand to their readers.” 

Southern Lakes Chairman Jeff Staniland says ther egion is gearing up for another great TRENZ with the significant opportunities hosting an event such as this brings.

Queenstown Events Centre
“We are particularly delighted to be welcoming a number of the world’s leading travel media along with a large number of domestic media. With representatives from Thailand, China, Taiwan, Australia, South Korea, Japan, UK, Germany, France, Canada and USA, this allows us to showcase the Southern Lakes' spectacular landscapes, varied activities and award-winning food and wine to the world. Together with our world-class tourism operators we will be working hard to ensure they get the most out of their stay in this memorable part of the world."

TIA manages TRENZ, which brings together about 280 New Zealand tourism operators (Exhibitors) with a similar number of invited international travel and tourism buyers and media from New Zealand’s major tourism markets. The event directly helps to grow New Zealand’s tourism industry, worth NZ$9.7 billion in foreign exchange annually. Hosted by the Southern Lakes region, TRENZ 2012 will be at the Queenstown Events Centre, 7-10 May 2012.

TRENZ is supported by Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand, Qantas, host region Southern Lakes and other industry partners.

For more information visit

New Website for Medical Tourists, a new website start-up, targets US medical tourists with a database of pre-screened medical institutions and clinicians i in Asia.

Michael Ruggles, co-founder of Singapore-based said: "There is no denying that the medical tourism market in Asia is seeing unprecedented market growth. We are building a platform to facilitate this influx of medical travellers and there is no better place to do that from than the citystate of Singapore that serves as the gatekeeper to a region synonymous with world-class healthcare, all at low treatment costs."

Targeted chiefly at North Americans, the website currently features over 300,000 medical institutions and professionals from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Australia.

Ruggles hopes to seal similar arrangements with leading healthcare providers in South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa by the end of the year.

The company is also working with partners to develop packages for medical tourists. Plans are also in the works to build the site's Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) category to expand its appeal to the Singaporean, Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese markets, and to link the site to hotel and airline booking engines. will be free to users, with revenue deriving mainly from display advertisements on the website, and a tiered membership scheme for healthcare professionals who want to be listed on the site.

To date, the website has received approximately 20,000 unique visitors a month, a figure expected to increase five-fold in the coming months as the start-up firm's online marketing campaigns unroll.

Ningaloo's First Whale Sharks of 2012

Ningaloo Marine Park
The first whale sharks of 2012 have been sighted in the Ningaloo Marine Park and tours offering the chance to swim with the world's largest fish are underway in Exmouth and Coral Bay.

Growing up to 16 metres long, whale sharks are attracted to Ningaloo's warm, pristine water after the mass spawning of coral in March each year.

Whale sharks migrate to the area to feed on krill, while tourists from far and wide visit to experience the incredible thrill of swimming alongside these gentle giants.

whale shark
The Ningaloo Marine Park in Western Australia's Coral Coast has recently been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list and is considered one of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks.

Whale shark tours are offered between mid March until early August and sometimes into September if whale sharks are still in the area.

Australia's Coral Coast Chief Executive Officer, Mr David O'Malley said a record number of people swam with whale sharks in 2011.

Ningaloo Marine Park
"More than 17,400 people swam with whale sharks last year, representing an increase of 18 per cent from 2010," Mr O'Malley said. "We are optimistic that 2012 will prove to be another highly successful season, with people from all corners of the globe expected to converge on Exmouth and Coral Bay to swim with these graceful marine giants."

"Ningaloo continues to consolidate its reputation as being one of the most easily accessible and reliable places in the world to swim with whale sharks. Swimming with whale sharks is an awe inspiring experience and should be on everyone's bucket list."

Visitors can also assist with crucial scientific research by sending their holiday snaps of the whale sharks that they encounter at Ningaloo to  The images are used as part of the Ecocean Join the Dots campaign, and are then analysed to establish whale shark movements, important habitats and population health.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Thirroul Seaside & Arts Festival 2012

Thirroul Art Prize and Exhibition
The Thirroul Seaside Festival is on this weekend. The popular seaside suburb of Thirroul in Wollongong, NSW, Australia will attract thousands of people to enjoy the festivities. The Thirroul Seaside Festival incorporates a highly regarded Art Prize and Exhibition. This is a project of the Austinmer-Thirroul Lions Club, and is widely supported and managed by the local arts community.


Thirroul District Community Centre & Library
352 - 360 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul 2515

Thirroul Art Prize and Exhibition
Friday 30th March
- Art Preview for Sponsors - 6.15pm.
- Official Opening, Doors open at 7pm, awards being presented from 8pm.
Admission $18 includes refreshments.

Saturday 31st March
- Exhibition open 10.00am-5.00pm
Entry – Gold coin donation

Sunday 1st April
- Exhibition open 10.00am-3.00pm
Entry – Gold coin donation

PROGRAM Thirroul Seaside & Arts Festival

Saturday 31st March 2012

Thirroul Seaside & Arts Festival 2012
ART EXHIBITION - Thirroul District Community Centre and Library, 352 - 360 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul Exhibition open 10.00am - 5.00pm

ART ALIVE & ART IN SHOPS - Thirroul Streets & Shops, 9.00am- 5.00pm

MUSIC ON THE STREETS - Library Steps, 352 - 360 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul, 9.00am - 5.00pm

STALLS, CRAFT & ART - Library Promenade, 352 - 360 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul, 9.00am - 5.00pm

Thirroul Seaside & Arts Festival 2012
W.F. JACKSON PARK EVENTS - Its all about the the KIDS, ART and the PARK
• Art in the Park   • Kids Art   • Kids Petting Zoo/Kids Rides, 9.00am- 5.00pm

RYANS / BEACHES TALENT QUEST FINALS - Kings Street, 10.00am- 4.00pm

NOVELTY STALLS - McCauley Street and W.F Jackson Park, 9.00am – 4.00pm

LIONS INTERNATIONAL PEACE POSTER - McCarthy Centre. St Michaels School, Thirroul, 10.00am – 4.00pm

SCULPTURE ON THE SHORE OPENING - Flanagan’s Beach Cafe / Restaurant, Admission $20.00 per person, Includes Champagne and canapés, 6.00pm – 8.00pm 

FESTIVAL SURF FILM AND PHOTOGRAPHY  - Thirroul Surf Club   6.00pm -10.00pm.. Film Starts at 7pm, All Ages – Admission $10.00


SUNDAY 1st April 2011

Thirroul Seaside & Arts Festival 2012
BREAKFAST ON THE BEACH - Surf Club Promenade (Thirroul Surf Lifesaving Club Event), 7.00am - 9.00 am 

GROMFEST  - Surfing Competition, Begins 9.00am. Southern end of Thirroul Beach

SCULPTURE ON THE SHORE - Thirroul Beach & Southern End Park

PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION - Thirroul Surf Club, 10am -4pm admission gold coin donation

SUNDAY IN THE PARK - Thirroul Beach Park, Entertainment / Rides/ Novelty Stalls/ Food Stalls Kids Art, Kids Petting Zoo, Kids Rides, 9.30am – 4.00pm

FOLK MUSIC EXPO - Northern End of beach Park, 11am – 2pm

2012 FISHING COMPETITION - Beach, Boat & Estuary, Commences Thursday March 29th, Weight in Sunday 1st April

CASTING COMPETITION (Fishing) - Thirroul Beach Pool,  TBA time

ART EXHIBITION - Thirroul District Community Centre and Library, 352 - 360 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul Exhibition open 10.00am - 3.00pm

SOUTHERN BIPLANE ADVENTURES - Air Display –view from Thirroul Beach Park, 12.15pm -12.30pm

For more information see the website

Victoria's Sporting Scene Gets Into Action This Autumn

Tough Mudder Phillip Island
This autumn sees a series of world-class sporting spectaculars, including some exciting new international events, come to the state of Victoria in Australia.

Tough Mudder

The adrenalin charged Tough Mudder ( is also billed as 'probably the toughest event on the planet'.  Held at Phillip Island from 31 March - 1 April, 2012, the 20km obstacle course encourages participants to 'get dirty' while tackling the world's most extreme obstacles in a physical and mental endurance challenge designed by ex military men.  Recognised as the world's premier adventure challenge, Tough Mudder attracts half a million participants worldwide.


UCI Track Cycling Championships

UCI Track Cycling Championships
Cadel Evans might have put Victoria on the map when he took the title as Tour de France champion last year, but as an official 'Bike City' Melbourne has a long history with cycling events and trails.  At the fore this year is the UCI Track Cycling Championships (, to be held in Melbourne from 4-8 April, 2012.   As the final qualifying event before the London Olympics, the event is set to attract up to 350 of the world's best cyclists from over 40 countries, all vying for their spot on the world stage.


The Man from Snowy River Challenge

Man from Snowy River Challenge
For riding of a different kind, From 29 March - 1 April, 2012 The Man from Snowy River Challenge kicks off and will showcase the very best horsemen and women in the country over three days.  The challenge is part of the annual The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival, held in Corryong in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains.


Rip Curl Pro

Rip Curl Pro
Along the Great Ocean Road, the Rip Curl Pro sees the surf world's finest carve up the waves at Bells Beach from 3-15 April, 2012.  As the longest running professional surfing competition on the planet, the event attracts the best of the best guaranteeing a stellar showcase of talent and daring with the odd wipe-out.  

Great Ocean Road International Marathon

Great Ocean Road Marathon
The Great Ocean Road International Marathon
( is another increasingly popular event in the region with 15 different nationalities making up the 4000 strong participant event. The main event is the 45 kilometre trek between Lorne and Apollo Bay and will take place from 19 - 20 May, 2012 showcasing one of Australia's most iconic coastlines and drives. In total there are six events held over the weekend with various running and walking distances to suite all abilities.

For more information go to

1Malaysia International Shoe Festival

1Malaysia International Shoe Festival
Kuala Lumpur is greeting thousands of visitors from around the world to take part in the annual 1Malaysia International Shoe Festival 2012 (1MISF) which opened yesterday.. Over 100 local and international well-known shoe manufacturers will participate in the festival, which is taking place from 29 March - 01 April 2012 at the Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur.

Appealing to all travellers with a passion for fashion, this year's event will be the biggest yet. Over 60,000 local and overseas guests are anticipated to visit the shoe exhibitions, and appreciate works from prominent designers hailing from Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Germany and many others. This year, Malaysia's Tourism Ambassador and shoe couturier Professor Dato' (Dr) Jimmy Choo OBE will also showcase a specially designed couture collection, themed after the Year of the Dragon.

1Malaysia International Shoe Festival
Minister of Tourism Malaysia, YB Dato' Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen believes the event has built on Malaysia's established fashion credentials, and has further reaffirmed its status as one of the most exciting shopping destinations in the world.

"The popularity of this event has reflected the buoyant growth of the shoe industry in Malaysia,  and I am glad to acknowledge we are making a solid stride in establishing Malaysia as the 'Shoe City of Asia'", said Minister of Tourism Malaysia,  YB Dato' Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen.

1Malaysia International Shoe Festival
The 1MISF series provides established and aspiring shoe makers with a platform to exhibit their designs to an international audience. Last year, 1MISF attracted over 55,000 visitors with total sales of RM6.2 million (approx. $AUD 1.91 million) recorded during the event. Of the total, more than 15 per cent of these transactions were made by international guests from countries including Australia, U.K., the Middle East, France, U.S.A., China, Taiwan, India, and Pakistan. 

In recent years, Malaysian-made shoes have become one of the must-buy items for tourists visiting Malaysia. Annual export sales of shoes to countries such as Singapore and Germany have now reached RM600 million (approx. $AUD185 million) while RM500 million (approx. $AUD 154 million) in sales is recorded domestically.

1Malaysia International Shoe Festival
"The shoe industry in Malaysia has more than 100 years of history, evolving from a humble industry to its current status as a hub for internationally prominent brands, fashionable and stylish designs, and fine quality at competitive prices," said the President of the Malaysian Footwear Manufacturers Association, Mr. Tony Ting.

In addition to shoe exhibitions, attendees can take part in programmes and activities including a shoe painting competition, miniature shoe design competition and take in the glamour of a shoe fashion show. 

Further details:
1Malaysia International Shoe Festival
Admission to 1MISF 2012 is free and open to trade visitors on 29 March 2012 from 10:30am to 6:30pm; and to both trade visitors and the public from 30 March to 1 April 2012 from 10:30am to 8:30pm. 

For more information on the event visit:  or

Qatar New Hotels Come Online

Qatar New Hotels
More than 6,000 new hotel rooms opened up in the third quarter of  2011 alone;

Qatar has recorded positive hotel performance results in 2011 according to STR Global, reflecting increasing demand and interest in business and tourism as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.

Occupancy remained stable last year edging 0.4% higher from 2010 while average daily rates increased 0.7% STR Global said. Meanwhile, more than 6,000 hotel rooms comprising of 25 hotels and 10 hotel apartments opened up in the market in the third quarter of last year according to the Qatar Tourism Authority.

Qatar New Hotels
Supporting these positive results, Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the leading travel exhibition in the Middle East, is witnessing strong online visitor interest months ahead of the event. The number of pre-registered visitors from Qatar up is already up 133% from last year, while the number of visitors who are interested in buying products and services from Qatar has risen 109%.

“Over the coming 10 years the rise in visitors to Qatar will be driven largely by the business sector as the Gulf state continues to put in place world-class infrastructure for the World Cup, and also beyond for its 2030 vision,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.

Qatar New Hotels
In addition to the construction of 12 new football stadiums, Qatar is building 77 new hotels and 42 hotel apartments ahead of the 2022 tournament. Over US $100 billion worth of infrastructure is also due to be completed, including the new US $11 billion Doha International Airport, the US $6 billion Doha port project and a US $25 billion metro and railway system.

The number of tourist arrivals to Qatar is expected to reach as many as 3.7 million by 2022, up from 900,000 currently, according to the Secretary General of Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, Hassan al-Thawadi.

Visitor registrations for the four-day Arabian Travel Market show, which opens on 30 April 2012, are already up 132% from the same time last year, at nearly 2,000 visitors. Top tourism bodies including Qatar National Hotels Company, the Qatar Tourism Authority and Qatar Airways will lead exhibitor presence from the Gulf state.

Qatar New Hotels
European pre-registrations for the event have also risen 94%. The number of tourists visiting the Middle East is expected to grow by up to 5% this year following an 8% decline last year, according to a recent report by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). There were an estimated five million fewer international tourist arrivals last year, down to 55 million, due to the turmoil in some of the region’s countries, UNWTO said.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and approaching its nineteenth year, the show has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world. Last year 2,232 exhibitors covering nearly 20,000 square metres, attracted more than 22,000 attendees.

Qatar New Hotels
The line-up for this year’s Arabian Travel Market will bring together annual favourites and a number of brand new events including the inaugural UNWTO regional tourism ministers’ conference and the WTM Vision forum, which will focus on Middle East travel trends and the online travel market  Covering the entire week, the popular Seminar Theatre series of sessions will address industry hot topics from developments in the aviation sector and hotel branding to Sharia-compliant travel.

The all-new Tech Theatre is a dedicated platform that provides an opportunity to gain invaluable insight into leading edge industry-related technologies including social media and GDS.

Qatar New Hotels
For the second year running, Arabian Travel Market will once again host its own unique industry version of The Apprentice to uncover the best emerging regional talent.

Other regular features include the New Frontiers Award, which recognises outstanding contributions to tourism development in the face of overwhelming adversity, and the perennially popular industry Careers Day will wrap up the week.

The Sukosol's Named Family of the Year at Nine Entertain Awards 2012

The Sukosol family
Siam Hotels & Resorts is proud to announce that it's owning family, the Sukosols, was presented with the Family of the Year Award at the Nine Entertain Awards 2012 on Wednesday, March 14.

The Sukosol family was selected as the recipient of the award because their matriarch, Mrs Kamala Sukosol, has successfully installed in all family members a strong commitment to philanthropy. In addition, the Sukosol family was chosen as most exemplifying the spirit of the award by way of their public acts of charity and artistic/business achievements. And lastly, all family members were deemed to be upstanding citizens who represent good role models for today's Thai youth.

Mrs Kamala Sukosol,
"I think it's a great honour for my mother, Kamala, and our family as a whole to be given this award, we are all very humbled and proud to receive it," says Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, eldest daughter of the family and executive vice president of Siam Hotels & Resorts. Sentiments echoed by her younger sister, Daranee Sukosol Clapp, vice president of finance, Siam Hotels & Resorts: "Our mother has installed in us from a young age that we should utilise all our skills, opportunities and means to their fullest and give back to society whenever possible. This can be evidenced in our annual Red Cross charity concert and more recently with our entire family becoming ambassadors for the Chulalongkorn Craniofacial Centre and the Ramathibodi Foundation's Parent-to-Child Liver Transplant campaign."

Modern 9 TV
The Nine Entertain Award is now in its fifth year and is sponsored by Modern 9 TV, one of the nation's four most popular public television stations.  The objective of the awards is to praise and celebrate public figures taking on an active and positive leadership role in society. The recipients are chosen by a qualified committee of skilled professionals in various fields, such as television, radio, film and music, along with entertainment journalists, Cultural Ministry employees and mass communication academics.