Thursday, 31 May 2012

‘Brooloo Park’ Eco Retreat and Equine Resort

Brooloo Park
'Brooloo Park' Eco Retreat & Equine Resort is a working horse and cattle property situated on the banks of the Coonoon Gibber Creek in the scenic Mary Valley, tucked away only 35 minutes from the coast, in the Noosa Hinterland. It is a 270 acre working property that was converted from dairy to beef cattle more than 15 years ago by the original owner. Vince and Brenda Carige, passionate visionaries purchased this beautiful property which had been neglected due to the old age of the owner and proceeded to develop their dream of a Sustainable Eco & Agri-Tourism business. 

It is host to a range of "Real Aussie Bush and Outback Experiences" including Natural Horsemanship riding, natural horsemanship demonstrations (showing people a better way to work with horses), pony riding/ lessons, trail rides, mustering, whip cracking, lassoing training, working cattle dog demo's, camp oven cooking to name a few.  Having purchased and ‘started’ Spitfire a Clydesdale they will be further extending the experience with ‘Bronco Branding’ (a traditional Aussie art of cattle branding), horse ploughing and Dray Hay Rides. Their goal is to keep a piece of the Australian Bush and Outback Heritage alive for future generations to experience.

They also offer the opportunity for people to stay over with their own horses and experience the amazing horse trails throughout the Mary Valley Forests.

Brooloo Park
They also offer a variety of courses to improve, rebuild, relax and recharge but the one I found most intriguing is the McLeod's Daughters Experience- 2 or 3 day get-a-way experience for women.  A chance to be a real cowgirl!

As a real point of difference they offer ‘Exclusive Eco Camping Stays’ and I mean these sites are completely secluded with no other campers in sight and all 7 sites are positioned alongside their creeks spread over 270 acres.  With their motto of "Leave No Trace" these sites remain in natural pristine Australian bush park like state. 

If you aren’t into camping they can also accommodate you in Bed & Breakfast Farm-stays from ‘Ringers Quarters’, ‘Swaggy’s Room’ to the ‘Original 100 year old Homestead’. ‘Brooloo Park’ is 5 minutes east of the small country town called Imbil and is on the steps of the great Borumba Dam for water skiing, kayaking, canoeing & other water sports. It’s within easy reach of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Brooloo Park
If you wish to keep up to date with special events and offers at Brooloo Park, be sure to follow them on Facebook,

To sum Brooloo Park up I would definitely coin the phrase, "The Bush behind the Beach" as it’s on Noosa's doorstep being less than 40 mins west of Noosa Heads, Sunshine Coast, only an 1.5 hours north of Brisbane & 1.5 hours of Hervey Bay.

Korea Invites The World To Join The Fun At Expo 2012 Yeosu

Expo 2012 Yeosu Official Opening
The world’s largest international fair in 2012, Expo 2012 Yeosu has opened in Korea on May 12.  Last Sunday, 27 May the Australian Pavilion hosted Australian national day at the Expo and had the opportunity to show the world what Australia has to offer.  With famous international model Jessica Gomez, pop sensation Jessica Mauboy and several other Australian performers they shone the light on the Australian pavilion at Expo 2012 Yeosu.

The Australian pavilion has won popular appraisal from visitors who are warmly welcomed by ‘Alpy’ the mascot, an Australian little penguin.  The theme of the Australian pavilion is ‘In Harmony with the Ocean’ where visitors can learn and enjoy many aspects of Australia’s high environmental, scientific and technical capabilities in marine conservation and its commitment to sustainable development of our vast natural resources.

The Australian pavilion
Expo 2012 Yeosu runs for three months until the 12th August.  The Expo is drawing great interest from international visitors to its pavilions.  From the world’s first off-shore exhibition hall to Korea’s largest aquarium and an International Pavilion which houses Australia’s exhibition hall to the ‘Big O’, a 43metre tall structure over water is drawing great interest from around the world.

The ‘Big O’ is the place to enjoy the beautiful fountain show that features the world’s first hologram video technology.  The ‘Big O’ is an oval shaped steel structure that has an enclosed water screen that shows videos, while the outer rim is installed with devices that produce water jets, mist, flames, lights, lasers etc. 

The Expo Digital Gallery is where Korea’s world first digital technology shines, a giant LED display covers the entire ceiling and walls of the main street of the Expo site.  Through diverse exhibitions, the Digital Gallery aims to highlight the importance of nature to humanity.

The ‘Big O’
The amazing structure of the world’s first pavilion to be built offshore is the Theme Pavilion exhibition with the theme of the Expo ‘The Living Ocean and Coast’.  Different images of the five oceans are shown on the 20 metre long video wall display and the half moon five metre diameter video screen creating an amazing underwater experience
The Korean pavilion built in the shape of a ‘taeguk’ or yin-yang symbol features an exhibition hall showcasing various media presentations using digital and analogue technologies and a media hall showing films about the future of Korea’s role in the global marine industry.

The Aquarium/Marine Life Pavilion
The Aquarium/Marine Life Pavilion at over six thousand square metres is the largest in Korea where visitors can observe rare marine life like beluga whales, Baikal seals and penguins etc.
The Marine Life Pavilion allows visitors to interact with sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, jellyfish and more.  The Eco-Terrarium simulates the ecological features of the Amazon.  The pavilion also houses a mudflat ecosystem centre and a 4D submarine simulator to explore the aquatic life 6,000 metres under water.

There are a total of 106 participating countries in the International Pavilion which is divided into five sections each named after the earth’s five oceans.  The Australian Pavilion is located here.  This pavilion also features a second floor restaurant hall serving and selling specialty dishes from around the world. 

The Expo Hall showcases diverse cultural performances where visitors to the country will be able to enjoy Korea’s traditional music and dance performances.  Also there are five themed Expo Plazas which have daily entertainment and events to enjoy.

The Corporate Pavilion depicts the future of the shipbuilding, marine, IT and green-growth industries.  It is comprised of seven individual company pavilions representing GS, Hyundai Motor, LG, Lotte, Samsung, SK and POSCO.
The Energy Park
The Energy Park is designed to demonstrate the vision of ‘Low Carbon, Green Growth’  The Renewable Energy Production facility houses a solar power plant and energy promotion centre and the Experience Zone provides platforms for energy education through energy orchestra, water cannon bikes and a dance floor.

A big drawcard for visitors to the event is the many K-POP Concerts being held at Expo 2012 Yeosu over the next two and half months.  The line-up includes some of Korea’s biggest stars such as Wonder Girls, BEAST, SHINee, 2AM, Miss A, Super Junior and MBLAQ. 

A Hallyu (Korean wave) concert scheduled for June 9 and sponsored by Korea Tourism Organization will include BEAST, Jay Park, A Pink, BTOB.  Big Wave concerts will be held on June 15, 19, 26, July 5, 21 and on August 11 prior to the Expo closing on August 12.
Many other K-POP concerts are being held from now until close of the Expo on August 12,   the best way to check the latest schedule of upcoming events is via the official Expo 2012 Yeosu website:

A standard one day pass to Expo 2012 costs 33,000 Korean won for adults (approx. A$28) and children/Seniors 19,000 Korean won (approx. A$15.80)   Tickets can be purchased online on the Expo 2012 website. 

The Expo Hall
Tour packages from Australia are available through CTS Tours who have tours starting at $2,300 per person twin share for a 6day/5night package tour to Seoul and Yeosu including return airfares Australia/Korea, accommodation, city tour of Seoul, two days at Yeosu expo and return KTX express train tickets from Seoul to Yeosu return. 
Contact:  CTS Tours by email: 

Legend Asia have a three day/2night package from Seoul to Yeosu starting at $380 per person twin share including return KTX train to Gwangju, free shuttle bus from Gwangju to Yeosu, two nights accomodation with daily breakfasts and Expo admission for two days.
Further information:  Legend Asia Email: 

Lotte Travel have three day land only packages from Seoul-Yeosu including return KTX and accommodation from Seoul for $329 per person twin share depending on accommodation choice.  Packages with return airfare to Korea starts from $1,599 till 17 June.
Website:  Lotte Travel  Email:

Smile Travel also have a three day/2nights package from $299 per person twin share including staying in either Suncheon or Gwangju nearby the Expo, return KTX from Seoul and free shuttle to Expo site. More information:  Smile Travel  Email:

Expo 2012 Yeosu
For more information on travel in Korea or Expo 2012 Yeosu contact the Sydney office of Korea Tourism Organization to request information, travel guide book etc. 
Email:   Phone:  02)9252-1717
Official travel website for Korea:

Aboriginal and African Cultures Forge Spiritual Links Across Central Coast, NSW

Land Art 2011
The 2012 Central Coast 5 Lands Walk will mark its presence on one of NSW's most prominent headlands, The Skillion at Terrigal on Saturday 9 June 2012 with an eye-catching work of art designed in collaboration between local Aboriginal and African artists.

The art work will represent a symbolic fusion of Aboriginal and African cultures through an eight-metre high installation created from all natural materials including coloured sand, earth and bark chips.  At the centre of the design will be hands reaching out across the lush green slopes of the headland.

'We live in a society today which is moving fast and is unbalanced and sometime we forget the precious things in life that we hold on to dearly such as family, community and our environment.  We take more than what is needed and rarely give back and take things for granted in life itself ' explained indigenous artist, Gavi Duncan.

Land Art 2010
'The hands represent the giving and holding onto those spiritual values in life' continued Duncan.

African Artist, Eddie Botha adds 'Australia consists of many cultures interacting and overlapping, reaching upwards.  We (all) reach upwards for spiritual nourishment.'

Construction of the Land Art will be undertaken on Saturday, 9 June from 10 am and be dedicated in a cultural and spiritual dawn ceremony, The Awakening, commencing at 5.45 am on Saturday, 16 June 2012.

Over the past six years, the 5 Lands Walk has been connecting people to people and people to place.  The event has grown and developed quite a substantial following with over 10,000 people participating in the 2011 event.  Originally inspired by Italy's Cinque Terre, the 9km walk from MacMasters Beach to Terrigal has been greatly enriched by the local community spirit.  Five different cultures, Latino, Greek, Filipino, Chinese and African, will be showcased this year through art, music, dance and food en route.

Land Art 2009
The 5 Lands Walk is a wallet free event and will take place on Saturday, 23 June 2012.  Participants have the option to undertake the entire 9 km length of the walk, complete part of the distance or drop in on any of the lands and absorb the colourful atmosphere.

The 5 Lands Walk has been designated a State Flagship Event by Destination NSW reflecting the importance to the local community and economy, tourism potential, and the character and culture of the region.
For more information about the 5 Lands Walk and its associated events, see articles posted in this Magazine on 1, 3, 6 May 2012
For more details or to register for the walk go to

Wollongong Stars In New TV Drama Tricky Business

Tricky Business
Wollongong is a large city on the NSW coastline below Sydney. It is the star of a new drama series Tricky Business being show on Channel Nine in Australia. .

Warm, funny and moving, Tricky Business is an exciting new Aussie family drama that looks at the lengths people go to get themselves out of trouble - financial trouble, emotional trouble, growing up trouble, relationship trouble… things we all have to deal with at some time or other.

Tricky Business and boasts an impressive cast including Shane Bourne, Gigi Edgley, Debra Byrne, Lincoln Lewis, Kip Gamblin, Antony Starr and Sophie Hensser.

The scenically-blessed coastal city is the setting for the new family drama about relationships and the daily struggles of business.

Tourism Wollongong General Manager Greg Binskin said the show was a great way to introduce viewers to the beauty of Wollongong and the wider Illawarra region.

“Tricky Business features great shots of iconic locations such as the Grand Pacific Drive, the Sea Cliff Bridge, Austinmer, Wollongong Harbour and its two lighthouses, and our spectacular beaches, all framed by the Illawarra Escarpment,” he said.

For further information see the website
Tourism Wollongong

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Special Emblem For Queen's Diamond Jubilee on British Airways

Katherine Dewar
One of British Airways' fleet of 747s is now featuring a very special emblem to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The celebratory aircraft will be flying its message of congratulations around the world.

Designed by 11-year-old Blue Peter winner, Katherine Dewar from Chester, the official logo has been emblazoned on the side of the British Airways aircraft alongside the words, "Congratulations, Celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee".

Katherine Dewar said:  "Since winning the competition, its been like a dream come true to see my design in so many different places around the UKbut I never expected to see it on a huge jumbo plane! I love going on holiday to Florida and hope the next time I do I'll be lucky enough to fly on this plane so I can look out the window at my design!"

British Airways' Captain Mark Mannering - Smith said: "As the national flag carrier I can't think of anything more fitting than British Airways carrying a message of congratulations to Her Majesty around the world."

Customers travelling on flights arriving into London over the Jubilee weekend (June 2-5) will hear British Airways captains making congratulatory announcements to mark the occasion.

In British Airways' Heathrow lounges, customers will be offered a regal afternoon tea, including a selection of traditional British sandwiches, sweet treats and a special Jubilee blend of tea from Twinings.

Premium customers in the Business and Concorde lounges will be invited to raise a glass to toast Her Majesty with a champagne cocktail, 'Pimms Royale', or the award-winning English sparkling wine, Balfour Brut.
Her Majesty the Queen

For those looking for some pre-flight pampering, there's also a selection of Jubilee treatments at the Terminal 5 Elemis Spa exclusively for British Airways' First, Club World and Gold Executive Club members.  These customers will be able to choose from four 'Royal Therapies' and massage treatments, including Royal Rose facials, hand treatments and musclease foot and body workouts.

British Airways
 - British Airways has a worldwide route network that covers more than 150 destinations in 75 countries.
 - British Airways operates a daily flight from Sydney to London via Singapore
 - British Airways operates 17 return services per week between Hong Kong and London
 - British Airways operates 14 return services per week between Singapore and London
 - British Airways operates a daily return service between Bangkok and London
 - British Airways code shares on all Qantas services between Australia and the three Asian mid-points of Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok.
 - In August 2009, British Airways celebrated its 90th anniversary. The airline has carried more than 1.2 billion customers on its extensive network and is recognised as one of the world's elite carriers.
 - British Airways is one of the world's largest international airlines carrying approximately 36 million customers around the world every year.
 - British Airways has been operating in Australia for 77 years.
 - British Airways' home at Heathrow, the state-of-the-art Terminal 5, is exclusive to customers of British Airways and Iberia and is capable of handling 30 million customers a year.
 - Australian flights operate from the multi-million pound refurbished Terminal
 - In September 2011, British Airways was recognised as "Best European Airline" for the 11th consecutive year by readers of Business Traveller, at the 20th Business Traveller Asia Pacific Awards.

Loksha Tours Offer Day Trips in and Around Sydney

Hunter Valley
Loksha Tours offers a wonderful range of Sydney Australia Tours and Sydney Holiday Packages. It also offers day tours to Canberra, The Blue Mountains, The Hunter Valley, and Port Stephens

Loksha Tours uses highly sophisticated deluxe buses & coaches along with well-trained drivers and pick & drop facilities, thus making it a traveler’s delight. Loksha can arrange for customized tours to suit specific requirements.

As I live in the Hunter Valley, I thought I would briefly mention the Loksha tour to this wonderful part of NSW.

The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest and best wine making region and is known for captivating the heart of the visitors through its boutique wineries. The wide array of vineyards and scintillating lush green gardens and fields make the Hunter Valley a delightful destination of tourists visiting Australia from different parts of the world. The area is a beautiful array of vineyards and flowing fields and a day here satisfies peoples love for wine and love for scenery.

Hunter Valley Gardens
Loksha Tours operates a  a choice of 2 day tour from Sydney to the Hunter Valley. The Hunter Valley Day Tours consist of a guided tour of the best wineries Cellar Doors along with the opportunity to taste the most exotic wine & chocolates, a drive across the Sydney Harbor Bridge and through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

The tour will take people from Cellar Doors to Cellar Door (but only the very best of course) on a journey of wine discovery and excellent taste. So, along with its visually spectacular backdrop, people can tantalize their taste buds with the wine and chocolate tasting opportunities.

The first tour option visits 3 wineries. The second tour visits one of the wineries and the Hunter Valley Gardens, which is a delight to see in any season of the year. 

Tour Details
Hunter Valley Gardens
- Drive over the Sydney Harbour Bridge through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Stop for Morning tea at Wollombi
- Enjoy wine tasting at least in 3 wineries (1 winery and Hunter Valley Garden for Option 2)
- Guided tour of wineries
- Learn wine making process
- Lunch from local produce
- Take a look at the shops in the Hunter Valley Garden Village Boutiques shops
- Chance to purchase wines and local produces
- Enjoy Hunter Valley Garden (Option 2)

Loksha Tours Sydney
PO Box 267 Parramatta NSW 2124 Australia
Phone +61 2 8812 3451
Fax +61 2 8812 3451

For further details, see the website
or see the facebook site at

The 2012 Gold Coast Airport Marathon

The 34th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon is always held on the first weekend in July, so this year will take place on Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July 2012.

More than 24,000 took part in 2011, and you could enter and make even more rinners this year. Entries for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon are now open!

Start your training and fundraising today, by building your own page. Let your family and friends know by e-mailing your unique link to them or posting it on your Facebook and Twitter pages.  Run for a charity of your choice or run for the official charity of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon - Cancer Council Queensland. We have all been touched by cancer one way or another and by running the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, you can achieve your own personal goal and raise funds for cancer research at the same time.

Cancer Council Queensland is urging runners to use the event as a chance to help raise $100,000 for Queenslanders affected by cancer. For the past seven years, Cancer Council Queensland’s association with the event has helped raise more than $187,000, assisting more than 21,000 Queenslanders who are diagnosed with cancer each year.

34th Gold Coast Airport Marathon
Cancer Council Queensland Business Development Manager Vicki James said the charity is aiming to double the total amount raised last year and will provide runners with a bonus incentive to sign up and fundraise. “We have the target set at $100,000 and as a way to get more runners fundraising we will provide a special yellow Cancer Council Queensland running singlet to each runner who raises more than $100. We have close to 40 runners already representing Cancer Council Queensland and they are doing such an impressive effort raising much needed funds towards vital cancer research, services and practical support for cancer patients. One in three cancers are preventable and with the help of participants running in the Gold Coast Airport Marathon we can make a difference to the lives of many and provide hope that we can win the fight against cancer.”

Events Queensland Gold Coast General Manager Cameron Hart said running for Cancer Council Queensland is a step towards creating a cancer-free future and hopes last year’s charity total will be surpassed. “The partnership between Cancer Council Queensland and the Gold Coast Airport Marathon continues to be an integral aspect of our event as we help raise awareness about cancer in Queensland. Providing runners with the ability to raise much needed funds for Cancer Council Queensland is a fantastic opportunity for us all to make a difference in the lives of Queenslanders who may be suffering from cancer. “Last year we raised in excess of $300,000 for various charities and I believe with the assistance of all runners, we can increase this total at this year’s event.”

34th Gold Coast Airport Marathon
One Gold Coast Airport Marathon team, Runners for Razzel, will be running for Cancer Council Queensland as they honour the memory of Rae Twidale who passed away after being diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in 2010. The daughter of Rae, Deborah Frugtniet, said the Gold Coast Airport Marathon was the perfect event to remember her mum as her family and friends aim to raise $10,000 for Cancer Council Queensland. “Mum’s mantra was not if but when. Her dreams were endless and she always wanted the best for everyone around her. Mum didn’t let the idea of dying restrict her. She didn’t want the negative energy around her and it was for that reason she never told us her cancer was fatal until two days before her passing. We didn’t have the opportunity to give mum the recognition she deserved and the Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be an annual event where we plan to honour her memory.”

Runners in the 2012 Gold Coast Airport Marathon are able to run and fundraise either as an individual or team for Cancer Council Queensland by creating their own fundraising page at the Everyday Hero website
34th Gold Coast Airport Marathon
Individual and team entries for the 2012 Gold Coast Airport Marathon are now open. Early bird fees close 30 May. For more information or to enter visit

Gold Coast Airport Marathon 
When - 30 June - 1 July 2012 
Where - Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia 

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Skytrans ‘Destinations Guide’ Unveiled

Anthony Hayes,  Simon Wild, Todd Parker
As Australia’s first travel trade ready program showcasing regional Queensland, the launch of Skytrans new Destinations Guide’ holiday program on Tuesday, 29 May is a significant commitment from the airline to showcase the state’s better kept secrets.

The managing director of Skytrans, Simon Wild is delighted with the finished product that was three years in the making.

“Destinations allows us to give back to Queensland’s heartland - the old fashioned way - by telling stories that will fire your imagination and stimulate renewed interest in the Queensland Outback and Cape York experience.”

Destinations  has  been developed by Skytrans in conjunction with Australia’s leading tourism business development company, Parker Travel Collection – who  will now work with Skytrans to market the campaign world wide starting with an official launch to travel trade at next month’s Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) in Perth.

According to Todd Parker, managing director, Parker Travel Collection, the ‘Destinations Guide’ is an authentic and compelling insight into Queensland’s six country regions as well as Skytrans’ two gateway hubs of Cairns and Brisbane.   Each region is clearly identified while incorporating an appealing combination of hotels, touring product and events for standalone sale.

“In its region by region showcase, the ‘Destinations Guide’ takes its cue from major events featured in Tourism Queensland’s Outback Eventures’ initiative that will then be independently packaged and promoted starting with the Mount Isa rodeo in August,” he said.

In brief, Destinations: 
·         Features six country and two city regions across Queensland – Toowoomba/Cunnamulla, Corner Country (Quilpie and Charleville), Channel Country (Birdsville, Bedourie, Boulia), Mount Isa, Gulf (Karumba and Normanton), Cape (Tip and Coen), Brisbane and Cairns.

·         Travel Trade Ready – Commission offered on all product for domestic and international distribution.

·         ‘Things to Do’ - Listed in each area along with other local information (description and temperature guides), events supported by Tourism Queensland as part of its Eventures and Adventures campaigns.

·         Initial Distribution – Skytrans network (in-flight, website, consumer database), travel trade (retail, domestic wholesale and international inbound) as well as all visitor information centres throughout regional Queensland.

·         Packaging – Launch campaign will be followed by a succession of packages focussing solely on an event/activity starting with the Mount Isa Rodeo.

Todd Parker
Skytrans is a Queensland owned company with 20 years of operating history and a fleet of Dash-8 aircraft flying to 24 ports around Queensland and now New South Wales on scheduled and charter services.  All flights feature full in-flight service, movies, and quality catering.

For further information on fares and schedules or to make a booking, please visit or call 1300 SKYTRANS (759872) to speak with one of our friendly reservations staff.  

Parker Travel Collection has offices in Melbourne, Cairns, Gold Coast, Guangzhou, Los Angeles, London and Seoul. For further information, contact Todd Parker, Parker Travel Collection on 07 4055 6122, mob: 0417 440 922, email: or visit the website on

Bonfires of San Juan Spain

Bonfires of San Juan
Alicante celebrates the arrival of summer with the Bonfires of San Juan. In an atmosphere of music, colour, fireworks and extravagance, thousands of people throng the streets to experience this fiesta which pays tribute to fire.

To celebrate the arrival of summer, the people of Alicante would traditionally flock to the countryside on 23 June for a festive dinner: they feasted on typical products, and at midnight they would light bonfires and dance around them, set off fireworks and go swimming in the sea. This custom endured over the years, and in 1928 the fiestas of the Bonfires of San Juan were formally constituted. For several days, Alicante celebrates this great homage to fire, a relation of the “Fallas” in Valencia, where the main characters are genuine works of impermanent art: the bonfires and the enormous cardboard and wooden figures which go up in flames on the night of San Juan.

Bonfires of San Juan
The queen of the fiesta, known as the “Beauty of Fire”, is chosen in May from among the candidates presented by a committee in each neighbourhood. The festivities officially begin on 20 June with the building of enormous bonfires with their tongue-in-cheek cardboard figures which fill the streets of Alicante with wit and good humour. That day the “barracas” or large tents are also installed in the fairground area where the dancing takes place, and where people can enjoy the typical figs and "cocas" (a kind of pastry with tuna, onions and pine nuts). On 21 June the parade of musical groups and the various bonfire committees takes place, with their respective “beauties” and the maids of honour dressed in traditional costumes. The following day there is a floral offering to the city’s patron saint, the Virgen del Remedio; and on 23 June there is the international folkloric dance parade, a colourful procession of dance troupes from all around the world. In addition, every day at two in the afternoon from 20 to 24 June, there are firework displays in the Luceros square: the ear-splitting “mascletás”, which should be seen wearing ear-plugs because of the racket of the firecrackers and rockets. And finally at midnight on 24 June is the “cremá” (burning), the high point of the fiestas.

After a spectacular white palm tree of fireworks, the bonfires all over the city are set alight and blaze away amid much merriment and dancing and singing, while fire-fighters shower the merrymakers with water in what is known as the “banyá”.

But the fiesta is not over yet. From 25 to 29 June there is a fireworks competition on the el Postiguet beach, and the historic centre of the town comes alive with a medieval market and a range of shows.
Bonfires of San Juan

Useful information

Dates: From Jun 20, 2012 to Jun 24, 2012
Location: Alicante-Alacant, Alicante (Alicante - Alacant)

2012 Tour de France

The 99th 2012 Tour de France
The 99th 2012 Tour de France route casts the spotlight on the potential of the intermediate mountain ranges to test the bike racers. Christian Prudhomme has turned to novelty and to the cyclists' fighting spirit to keep the race for the Yellow Jersey open for as long as possible.

The 2012 Tour de France will start in Belgium This is the fourth time that Belgium has hosted the start. The Province of Liège is situated in south eastern Belgium, in the Walloon Region. It has a population of slightly more than one million inhabitants and is made up of 3 “arrondissements” (Liège, Verviers, Huy-Waremme) and 84 municipalities, spread over a surface area of 3, 862 km² The city of Liège (192, 000 inhabitants), bears the same name as the province, of which it is the county town. Seraing has 62, 000 inhabitants and the population of Visé is almost 17, 000 inhabitants.

It is with enthusiasm and undisguised pride that once again the Province of Liège will host the “Grand Départ” of the 2012 Tour de France - after the success of the 2004 edition.

The 99th 2012 Tour de France
The Province of Liège is a land of sport and of sportsmen and women. It has many excellent venues, clubs and champions in its region and regularly collaborates on major sports events.The Tour de France is the most outstanding and popular of these, without forgetting the international classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and La Flèche Wallonne. This passion for bike riding sports is not only on a professional level, but also thousands of bicycle tourists take to the roads.

A region of great events, the Province of Liège has acquired a certain expertise in the organisation of large-scale cultural and sports manifestations, such as the Tour de France. Modern facilities, including the new “TGV” (high speed train) station, the first Belgian cargo airport, the third European river port and a foremost motorway network, provide a perfect setting to host these events and open the Province de Liège to the world.

The Province of Liège is a land of conviviality and celebrations, but also application and flair, that will welcome the Tour with open arms. The inhabitants of Liège, Seraing and Visé as well as the population of the whole province will make this great popular celebration outstanding with their warm encouragements.

The 99th 2012 Tour de France
Belgium is a country which has always known how to instil a sense of panache into the peloton. It is precisely this sense of courage which inspired the design of the route of the 99th edition, one in which fortune will favour the bold, even in places where no-one expects it. Punchy riders will get their chance to shine on the rolling terrain of the Province of Liège and, later, Northern France. Those vying for the final victory will be able to go head-to-head before the end of the first week. They may even be able to open gaps if they make the most of the mountaintop finish at the Planche des Belles Filles (which makes its debut in the Tour) or the finale of the Porrentruy stage, right in the heart of the Swiss Jura.

While the favourites to win the Tour will be expected to dig deep on mountains which until now were labelled "intermediate", they will also have their work cut out for them on the Alpine and Pyrenean stages, whose profiles are especially dynamic. The 140-km-long stage between Albertville and La Toussuire - Les Sybelles will offer no respite to those poor riders who choose to play the waiting game. In the Pyrenees, the discovery of the Mur de Péguère, right before diving to Foix, together with the Aubisque-Tourmalet-Aspin-Peyresourde sequence on the Bagnères-de-Luchon stage and the Peyragudes summit finish, will give climbers the opportunity to shine. Cyclists will have no choice but to spring into action at the decisive moments. Indeed, the Liège prologue and the stages in Besançon and Chartres will force them to defend their positions in the race against the clock over a combined length of more than 100 kilometres.

2012 Tour de France Prizes

The 99th 2012 Tour de France
- Stage win - Powerbar. Every day, the Tour de France honours the first rider across the finishing line.
- Yellow Jersey - LCL. This jersey is worn by the leader of the general classification. This year, this and the other ones will be dressed by Le Coq Sport, which makes its return to the Grande Boucle.
- Green Jersey - PMU. This jersey is worn by the leader of the points classification. The changes introduced in 2011, with just one intermediate sprint but with more points on offer, will be kept for the 2012 edition.
- Polka Dot Jersey - Carrefour. This jersey is awarded to the leader of the mountains classification. The points scale was modified in 2011. The same one will be used again with a few changes. For example, points will be awarded to the first ten riders to reach the summit of an hors catégorie climb.
- White Jersey - Škoda. The rider aged 25 or under who ranks highest in the general classification gets to wear the white jersey.
- Team classification - Digital. This classification is calculated by adding the times of each team's three best riders on each stage. Riders belonging to the leading team wear yellow back numbers.
- Brandt Combativity Award. Every day, a jury made up mainly of journalists selects the most deserving rider, one who has stood out for his attacking spirit, braveness or fair play. The winner gets to wear a red back number on the following stage. A super-combativity award is also given out at the end of the Tour.

The 2012 Tour de France Route

The 99th 2012 Tour de France
Running from Saturday June 30th to Sunday July 22th 2012, the 99th Tour de France will be made up of 1 prologue and 20 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,479 kilometres.
These stages have the following profiles:
- 9 flat stages
- 4 medium mountain stages - one with a summit finish
- 5 mountain stages - two with a summit finish
- 2 individual time-trial stages
- 1 prologue
- 2 rest days

Distinctive Aspects of 2012 Tour de France

The 2012 Tour de France will have 25 mountain level two, level one or highest level mountain passes or summit fi nishes.
They will be divided up geographically in the following way:
- 1 in the Vosges
- 3 in the Jura
- 4 in the Swiss Jura
- 6 in the Alps
- 11 in the Pyrenees

9 New Stage Towns

Abbeville, Annonay Davézieux, Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, La Planche des Belles Filles, Peyragudes, Porrentruy, Samatan, Tomblaine, Visé

The 99th 2012 Tour de France Stage 2
Prologue Saturday 30 June Liège > Liège 6.1 km
1 Plain Sunday 1 July Liège > Seraing 198 km
2 Plain Monday 2 July Visé > Tournai 207 km
3 Medium mountains Tuesday 3 July Orchies > Boulogne-sur-Mer 197 km
4 Plain Wednesday 4 July Abbeville > Rouen 214 km
5 Plain Thursday 5 July Rouen > Saint-Quentin 197 km
6 Plain Friday 6 July Épernay > Metz 210 km
7 Medium mountains Saturday 7 July Tomblaine > La Planche des Belles Filles 199 km
8 Medium mountains Sunday 8 July Belfort > Porrentruy 154 km
9 Individual time-trial Monday 9 July Arc-et-Senans > Besançon 38 km
10 High Mountains Wednesday 11 July Mâcon > Bellegarde-sur-Valserine 194 km
11 High Mountains Thursday 12 July Albertville > La Toussuire - Les Sybelles 140
12 Medium mountains Friday 13 July Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > Annonay Davézieux 220 km
13 Plain Saturday 14 July Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux > Le Cap d’Agde 215 km
14 High Mountains Sunday 15 July Limoux > Foix 192 km
15 Plain Monday 16 July Samatan > Pau 160 km
16 High Mountains Wednesday 18 July Pau > Bagnères-de-Luchon 197 km
17 High Mountains Thursday 19 July Bagnères-de-Luchon > Peyragudes 144 km
18 Plain Friday 20 July Blagnac > Brive-la-Gaillarde 215 km
19 Individual time-trial Saturday 21 July Bonneval > Chartres 52 km
20 Plain Sunday 22 July Rambouillet > Paris Champs-Élysées 130 km

Sydney Promoted on Billboards & Social Media for Winter

The temperatures have dropped as winter fast approaches. Where do Australians head to holiday at this time of the year? Most tend to head north, to get closer to the equator. Tasmanian’s head to Victoria, Victorian’s head to NSW,  NSW people head to Queensland. Where do Queenslanders  head??? Destination NSW is suggesting that they do a reverse turn and head south for Winter in its latestSydney in Wintercampaign. Saturated coverage around the Eastern Seaboard of Australia and New Zealand is promoting NSW as the ideal place to head in Winter.

As well as advertising on Billboards and on other media, the latest social media, including Facebook and Twitter, is being utilised. People are invited to join the conversation and promote Sydney by posting a photograph on the Facebook wall at using #sydney. It will be interesting to see how many people do this, and what they say.

This Love Every Second billboard is located at Gold Coast Airport. 

For more information about the campaign go to the Destination NSW Corporate website.

Interesting fact for the day. Did you know that the tune "Stars and Stripes Forever" has been traditionally used in the entertainment industry?  When it is played it indicates that a major emergency requires the evacuation of everyone.... This is done so that the staff know the meaning of the tune being played without the public panicking...

Monday, 28 May 2012

Accor celebrates its 500th Hotel in Asia Pacific

Pullman Gurgaon Central Park
Accor has reaffirmed its position as the largest international hotel operator in Asia-Pacific with the opening of the Pullman Gurgaon Central Park, the Group’s 500th hotel in the region. The announcement also marks the debut of the upscale Pullman brand in India.

Speaking on this milestone, Denis Hennequin, Accor Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, says, “I am very pleased with this dual milestone for Accor in Asia Pacific, which reaffirms our position as the leading operator of hotels in this key growth market and anchors our growth ambitions for the region. It is very appropriate that we are celebrating our 500th hotel in Asia Pacific in India, which is a market that provides a significant growth opportunity for Accor building on the foundations that have been established in the country to date.”

Denis Hennequin
With almost 95,000 rooms in 16 countries, Accor is the market leader in Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The Group has embarked on an ambitious program of expansion in Asia Pacific, and aims to operate over 700 hotels by 2015, with a focus on emerging markets and mature markets where the group is already a leader. In India alone, Accor expects to operate 23 hotels by year’s end, with a goal of 90 hotels by 2015.

Pullman Gurgaon Central Park
“The Asia-Pacific region today is one of Accor’s strongest areas of focus, as is evidenced by our rapid pace of expansion in recent years,” says Michael Issenberg, Chief Operating Officer Accor Asia Pacific. “Since we commenced operations in the region in 1982, Accor’s network has grown from one hotel in Singapore to 500 hotels in 16 countries today. Two years ago we celebrated our 400th hotel in the region and the rate of expansion since has accelerated significantly as we are on track to open 100 hotels within 2012 in Asia-Pacific alone.”


Next year’s IT&CM China will return to the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center, from 17 – 19 April 2013. More than 70% of exhibitors at IT&CM China 2012 have already signed up to be part of next years showcase. A number of exhibitors have also upped their participation by investing in larger booth space. Noteworthy amongst these is Meetings and Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK) who have almost doubled their space to 128 sqm.

Among international NTOs exhibiting at the 7th IT&CM China, are Istanbul Convention & Exhibition Centre, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy Indonesia, Jeju Convention and Visitors Bureau and Seoul Tourism Organization. Leading corporate exhibitors such as Marco Polo Hotels and Millenium and Copthorne Hotels have also signed up to be part of next year’s showcase.

Chinese exhibitors have also registered early, with names such as Club Med, Ocean Spring Hotels, Langham Hotels, Wuzhen Tourism, Jinjiang International Hotel and Mission Hills Golf Club already on board.

Mr. Darren Ng
Mr. Darren Ng, Managing Director of TTG Asia Media said, “We are very pleased with the quality of exhibitors that has signed up for IT&CM China 2013. The feedback from this year’s delegates has been extremely encouraging, and the early registrations are clear evidence of the value they see in IT&CM China.”

Delegates at IT&CM China 2012 expressed confidence in meeting their MICE and business travel objectives for the year. Said buyer Patrick Lee, Owner at Best Travel Deals, “I am eager to source for new venues and destinations this year. Considering the number of new exhibitors, I am very confident of meeting my objectives.” First time buyer, Mr. Thomas Amiconi, Managing Director of Amiconi Consulting added, “The quality of the show and the exhibitors makes me confident of meeting my goal to discover new markets.”

Exhibitor Ms. Yuki Pu, Senior Sales Manager at InterContinental Hotel Group said, “I think this (IT&CM China 2012) is an effective business platform due to the consolidated presence of hotel brands in one location.” Ms. Jennifer Ong, Industry Service Manager at Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau remarked, “This is one of the most professionally organized shows targeted at the China business travel events market.”

The show’s education component also delivered high value. The Professionals Association Executive (PAE) course, by the Australasian Society of Association Executives and the Canadian Society of Association Executives, held at IT&CM China for the first time, was well received by the association professionals that participated. Said participant Mr. Zhong-Kang Liao, Deputy Secretary General, Shanghai Bath Association, “What I got out of this course is that associations in China must become more market-oriented and work harder to develop their own competitive advantages and membership power rather than depend on government support.”

The Fundamentals of Business Travel Management Course by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) received positive reviews from the 60 participants that attended. Said Mr. Welf Ebeling, Regional Director Asia-Pacific for GBTA, “We are very pleased that the intake for the Fundamentals course has doubled since its introduction last year. GBTA will announce the details of the Global Travel Professional Certification by 2013 and we are in the process of finding a suitable institute in Asia to partner the manager and leader certification levels.”

Shanghai World Expo Exhibition &Convention Center.
IT&CM China 2013 will be held from April 17 to 19 at Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center. This is the 7th instalment of the international MICE event that seeks to “Promote China to the World and the World to China”. In 2012, the event attracted 2,432 delegates from 45 countries. It is the only event that features a good mix of International and Chinese exhibitors as well as a dedicated team to deliver some 400 buyers with a 50%-50% mix of International and Chinese buyers.

The event is organised by TTG Events, a business group of TTG Asia Media, CITS International M.I.C.E – a wholly-owned subsidiary of CITS (China International Travel Service) and MP International. It has the support of the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration, Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Industries Association, Australasian Society of Association Executives, Canadian Society of Association Executives, Global Business Travel Association, International Congress & Convention Association, International Association of Professional Congress Organisers, Pacific Asia Travel Association and Society of Incentive Travel Executives China.

For more information on the event, please visit