Friday, 30 November 2012

Fitzy & Wippa Broadcast Live from the Bridge

BridgeClimb and Nova 96.6 FM has made history with a world first for FM radio when Fitzy & Wippa broadcast from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

At 4.30am, long before Sydney woke up, the Nova 969 breakfast hosts were dressed in BridgeClimb suits ready for the ascent to the top of the Bridge. Once at the summit, they broadcast for three hours, supported by a Nova crew and BridgeClimb Climb Leaders who ensured the live show went off without a hitch.
"We were on top of the world," Fitzy said. "You can't imagine a better view of Sydney until you've seen the sun come up from the Bridge."

"I've been training hard for this big day... I've walked over the Tom Ugly's Bridge, the Anzac Bridge and the Mooney Mooney Bridge in preparation. All great Bridges but nothing like our incredible Sydney Harbour Bridge," Wippa added.
Live from the Bridge continues until 23 December with a series of unique happenings and unforgettable moments from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This Christmas, tune into Live from the Bridge and re-connect with your Bridge. The only way to get closer, is to climb it

Christmas Cruises on Sydney Harbour

The silly season is officially here and the Sydney Princess Cruises team are in overdrive with all the fun parties out on Sydney Harbour. They would like to thank all of our guests who have had outstanding Christmas Parties on their cruises already and they look forward to everyone who is coming on board for their Christmas Parties in the next 6 weeks.

They still have a limited amount of spots left for your Christmas Party, so to find out more about booking the best Christmas party EVER on Sydney Harbour - call 02 9518-7813 or click on the link below to send through an enquiry.
Special Event Cruises on Sydney Harbour
The time to celebrate on Sydney Harbour is NOW and what better way to enjoy the Summer than to join us for one of our Special Event days on Sydney Harbour. This is a great chance to bring your family and friends out and enjoy a cruise that you will remember forever!
Christmas Eve - Boxing Day - New Years Eve - Australia Day - Valentines Day
To find out more click on the link below or Call us on 02 9518-7813 to secure your tickets NOW!

Are you looking to have a unique Birthday Party, Corporate Event, or special event that is a little different and exciting. Join us in 2013, on the World Famous Waters Of Sydney Harbour for a party that you will remember forever! When you call us, make sure you ask us about our amazing January and February Specials. Call us now on 02 9518-7813 or click on the link below to visit our website.
Enjoy your weekend...

'Dusit Dream Holiday' Offers Chance of Once-in-a-lifetime Holiday at Dusit Thani Maldives

Leading Asia hospitality group Dusit International, is rewarding its loyal social media followers with an opportunity to win a magnificent Dusit Thani Maldives vacation through the imaginative ‘Dusit Dream Holiday’ contest. From November 29 to December 19, the entire online community is invited to submit a photo that embodies their dream vacation based on three separate  weekly themes -

City Extravaganza: November 29 to December 05
Beach Getaway: December 06 to 12 
Cultural Escapade: December 13 to 19

Participants may submit as many entries as they wish through any of the following channels: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr or Instagram. Entries should include the #DusitDreamHoliday hashtag or tag Dusit International’s social account. Participants may also send in their photos via

All photos submitted will be uploaded to the Dusit International Pinterest board at The three photos gaining the most likes and repins will be selected each week to qualify for the final round. The participant submitting the winning photo will receive a five-night Beach Villa stay in the luxurious Dusit Thani Maldives that features a private deck area and plunge pool, plus daily free breakfast and round-trip seaplane tickets between Malé and Dusit Thani Maldives for two.

Dusit International media followers are invited to start clicking away for a chance to live the Dusit Dream this holiday season. More information is available at

Surrounded by a vibrant 360 degree coral reef and turquoise lagoon, the new Dusit Thani Maldives is located on the beautiful Mudhdhoo Island in Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, in the Maldives, and comprises 100 exclusive villas and residences for retreat style relaxation. The resort also features three restaurants, two bars and the Dusit signature Devarana Spa along with a range of upscale amenities.

Pattaya Mayor Invites Retirees, Investors to Explore Resort’s “Second Home” Options

The Mayor of Pattaya Mr. Ithiphol Khunplume has called on retirees, investors, and long-stay visitors to make Thailand's popular beach resort city their "second home" during this winter season, and beyond.

In a statement issued this week, Thailand’s youngest mayor noted that the city of one million “happy inhabitants” had undergone a major revamp and was now more than ready to provide the best of recreational, healthcare and infrastructure facilities. He called on them to visit the city and check out the wide offer of longer term residential opportunities.

Ageing populations in the industrialised countries, poor economic conditions, and harsh winters are leading many of the senior citizens to explore new places of residence in the warm-weather countries of Asia.

In recent years, Pattaya has witnessed extensive development in accommodation options for visitors considering a long stay, ranging from five-star international hotels and serviced apartments to guest houses, houseboats, family inns and hotels, beachside huts and bungalows. Short- term and long-term service apartments are a popular option, especially with families who appreciate their affordability, quality of service, in-room dining, safety, and amenities.

The following is the full text of Mr. Ithiphol’s statement:

Pattaya is widely regarded as one of Asia's favourite seaside resorts; with something for everyone; it is increasingly known as the "Thai Riviera". Pattaya caters to tourists from all cultures and walks of life, providing a safe, relaxing, fun–filled stay amongst the white sandy beaches, world-class hotels, wide variety of local and international restaurants, as well as shopping centres and markets, featuring local OTOP handicrafts to global luxury labels. In addition, with its 30+ international standard golf courses, there are challenges for golfers, no matter their handicap.

Global recognition of Pattaya’s superior quality of life, offering a wise and secure investment for a second home, has been confirmed by the UK’s highly reputable newspaper, ‘The Telegraph’ where real estate and tourism experts, including senior journalist Christopher Middleton, ranked Pattaya as one of the world’s best 20 cities for foreigners to establish their second home.

Pattaya is also home to some of the world’s finest JCI accredited healthcare establishments, making it not only a superb choice for enjoying your golden–years to the fullest, but also guaranteeing a solid choice for one of your most important investment decisions. Already a leading choice for health conscious holiday–goers as their preferred health and wellness destination, you’ll find it a worthwhile investment of your time to explore Pattaya’s more long–term holiday options.

Without a doubt, you are sure to be impressed by the multitude of modern hospitable services, facilities and amenities offered by this ocean–front city. It’s a true certainty that Pattaya will win your heart, knowing that your second home/retirement paradise can fulfill your dreams of life in a ‘heaven–on–earth’ paradise.

Pattaya’s constantly improving services and modern comforts make use of the latest technology, comfort and security innovations, assuring that your ‘new home’ not only rivals your present quality of life, but, in many cases, actually elevates your lifestyle to new levels of luxury and well–being.

All of these combined attributes and advances in infrastructure development are motivated with the intent of offering Pattaya residents one of the best lifestyle choices available on the planet. It’s this fact that has officially earned Pattaya a seal of quality attesting to its world–class healthcare, as well as a solid choice for the establishment of a second home.

If by chance you haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit our modern enjoyable city, may we please suggest that you consider honouring us with a visit. Not only will you be assured of a wonderful vacation, but the wide offer of longer term residential opportunities, seen first–hand, are sure to raise the bar on your future dreams as our famous ‘Thai Smile’ kindles new–found warmth into your heart, as well as an even larger feeling of well–being in your investment portfolio.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Conscience Over Consumerism Set to Drive Record Numbers at Fair Trade Festival

A fair-trade and ethical festival, started four years ago by a Melbourne banker who was determined to make the world a fairer place, is expecting record numbers this year, as Australians increasingly choose to shop with a conscience.

Latest statistics by Fairtrade International show consumers around the globe spent AU$6.75 billion on Fairtrade Certified products last year – while back at home, sales of Fairtrade Certified products rose by 40% last year.

Susanna Bevilacqua, who launched Fair@Square - Australia’s largest fair trade and ethical festival - says in its first year they saw 20,000 visitors, and this year predictions are more than 80,000 people will come to the event at Federation Square in December.

And it seems business is taking note too. 

The event now has support from the likes of the City of Melbourne, Oxfam, Global Cafe Direct, Bendigo Bank and The Body Shop – to name a few.

Susanna says it’s humbling to see people genuinely wanting to buy products knowing they are making a difference in the world.

“Something as simple as a $50 hand-made recycled rug can help a mother in Cambodia put her child through school, clothe and feed her children, and prevent them from a life of human trafficking.”

Fairtrade ANZ operations manager Craig Chester says an event like Fair@Square is invaluable in regards to the impact it has on entire communities, simply through those attending purchasing great quality products.

“Fair@Square provides a great opportunity for people to hear about Fairtrade Certified, fair trade and ethical products.  The diverse range of products now available allows consumers great choice, and the impact of that purchasing can assist from educating children, to building basic, but essential, infrastructure within communities."

He says the future is looking bright too, with total estimated retail sales of Fairtrade Certified products in Australia last year reaching more than AU$165 million - and the market is building.

“Nearly one in two Australians now recognise the Fairtrade label which demonstrates this is not a niche movement, and that success is a direct result of everyone getting behind fair trade, regardless of their life stage or demographics.”

Fair@Square as an event has grown to such an extent, that this year it offers the chance to purchase products with a conscience from more than 80 stall holders.

There is also an ethical fashion show, live cooking demonstrations with the likes of renowned chef of the European Ian Curley, discussions about ethical and sustainable issues, a play tent, beauty tent and living tent – where you can see how recycled items are used in the home.

Fair@Square runs from 30 November to 2 December at Federation Square in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

For more information:

Brisbane Region Tops at Queensland Tourism Awards

The Workshops Rail Museum

Last Friday, seven exceptional businesses in the Greater Brisbane region were recognised at the prestigious Queensland Tourism Awards.

Running for more than 25 years, the awards acknowledge the outstanding achievements of operators across the State. 

Brisbane took out almost a quarter of the total awards, one of the highest scoring regions in Queensland.

Brisbane Marketing CEO John Aitken thought that the high number of Brisbane award winners was a testament to the region's thriving tourism industry.
"I'm not surprised by these results as Brisbane is one of the top performing destinations in Queensland," he said.

"The breadth and quantity of award winners this year proves that Brisbane is the place to eat, stay and play.

"I encourage visitors and locals alike to get out and experience these award-winning products to see why they have been named the state's best."

Brisbane category winners were:
- Best Tourist Attraction was won, for the second time in a row, by Ipswich's The Workshops Rail Museum
- Best Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services was awarded to The Walnut Restaurant & Lounge Bar at Royal on the Park
- Award for best Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries went to Ocean View Estates Winery & Restaurant
- Best Backpacker Accommodation went to Brisbane City YHA
- Best Deluxe Accommodation was won by Spicers Hidden Vale 
- Best Luxury Accommodation went to Emporium Hotel
- The Local Government Award for Tourism went to Redland City Council.

The winners will now contend for top spot at the Australian Tourism Awards in Hobart in February 2013.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

National Gallery of Australia Wins ACT's Major Tourist Attraction Award

The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) has taken out the Major Tourist Attraction award at the 27th Canberra and Capital Region Tourism Awards gala dinner held on Friday night.

The NGA ran the popular blockbuster, Renaissance: 15th & 16th Century Italian Paintings from the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, over the summer of 2011-12.
The Tourist Attraction award went to Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre which in 2013 celebrates 25 years of making science fun for kids.
For the fourth year in a row, Floriade picked up the Major Festivals and Events awards category for Floriade 2011: A Feast for the Senses.  Floriade 2010 went on to win gold in its category at the 2011 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards earlier this year.

Celebrating its fifth year, the Canberra Glassworks - the only glass art centre of its kind in Australia - picked up the award for Specialised Tourism Services.
From the accommodation sector, Diamant Hotel in the NewActon precinct picked up the Deluxe Accommodation award, while the historic Hyatt Hotel Canberra - A Park Hyatt Hotel picked up the Luxury Accommodation award. Novotel Canberra won the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism.

Other winners were:
- Canberra Institute of Technology Tourism and Hotel Management (Tourism Education and Training)
- Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House (Tourism Education Program)
- Allan Williams (Outstanding Contribution by an Individual)         
- Teone Nutt  (Young Achiever Award)                                                    
- Elm Cottage, Southern Highlands Visitor Information Centre, Canberra and Region Visitors Centre (Visitor Experience Award).

The awards celebrate the diverse Canberra region tourism experiences offered by an industry that contributes over $1.3 billion annually and employs more than 15,000 Canberrans.

The winners will represent the ACT region in the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards being held in Hobart in February 2013.

Introducing Live from the Bridge

Look up! This Christmas, it's time for Sydneysiders to own their Bridge. In the coming weeks, BridgeClimb is partnering with Nova 96.9 and smooth FM to bring the city Live from the Bridge, a month of unique happenings and unforgettable moments from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Beginning 26 November, Live from the Bridge will be broadcast from the summit with live performances, special guests and daily surprises for the city. In a world first for FM radio, Nova's Fitzy & Wippa will climb the Bridge on 30th November to broadcast their huge final show of 2012.

"Live from the Bridge is a celebration of Sydney, brought to you from the Bridge itself," says BridgeClimb Sydney Managing Director, Richard Evans. "The Harbour Bridge is one of the world's most recognisable icons, but it means a lot more to us as locals. It belongs to us."

This Christmas, tune into Live from the Bridge and re-connect with your Bridge. The only way to get closer, is to climb it.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

SkyTeam Welcomes Xiamen Airlines

SkyTeam welcomed China's Xiamen Airlines as its 19th member. Xiamen Airlines is also the fourth member from Greater China. The airline strengthens SkyTeam's footprint in China and its overall #1 position in the Greater China Region by adding three new hubs - Xiamen, Fuzhou and Hangzhou – combined with a comprehensive domestic and growing international network.

China's sixth largest carrier, Xiamen Airlines is also one of the world's most profitable, having posted positive financial results for 26 consecutive years. The airline flies more than 15 million passengers annually to more than 50 cities including Macau, Hong Kong and Taipei. Founded in 1984, it is headquartered in the coastal city of Xiamen in the dynamic province of Fujian. This area of China boasts a thriving and diverse industrial economy as well as a growing tourism market.

Xiamen Airlines' fast expanding international network includes Southeast and Northeast Asia and the airline has announced plans to launch flights to Europe, North America and Australasia by 2014 after the introduction of the Boeing 787. SkyTeam membership offers Xiamen Airlines' customers greater connectivity onto international routes from China operated by other alliance members. This includes carriers from the region: China Airlines, China Eastern and China Southern, and nine additional SkyTeam airlines: Aeromexico, Aeroflot, Air France, Alitalia, Delta, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines.

"By joining SkyTeam, Xiamen Airlines opens up the world to its passengers. And today we also strengthen SkyTeam's footprint in China," said Michael Wisbrun, SkyTeam's managing director. "Greater China remains a priority region for our alliance. Xiamen Airlines will join our members China Southern, China Eastern and China Airlines in developing customer-focused initiatives for the region."

"Membership of SkyTeam will enable us to deliver enhanced customer benefits as we diversify and grow our network and this is key to the success of our new international routes," said Che Shanglun, President and CEO of Xiamen Airlines. "Our passengers can anticipate exciting new destinations while we look forward to a future of cooperation with our alliance partners."

In keeping with SkyTeam's focus on enriching the customer experience, Xiamen Airlines has also started rolling out SkyPriority, SkyTeam priority airport services for SkyTeam Elite Plus, First and Business Class passengers worldwide. Effective immediately, Xiamen Airlines' customers will be able to earn and redeem miles on services operated by all SkyTeam member airlines. Members of other SkyTeam airlines' frequent flyer programs can also earn and redeem miles when flying on Xiamen Airlines-operated flights.

101 Must-Do's Boost Vital Domestic Travel

While New Zealand’s scenic wonders are winning international attention as the setting for The Hobbit, it’s great to see New Zealanders also appreciate their own country, Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Chief Executive Martin Snedden says.

AA Tourism’s new 101 Must-Do’s for Kiwis highlights the huge range of activities and experiences New Zealanders can enjoy in their own backyard, Mr Snedden says. Kiwis’ enthusiastic support for the campaign – 283,000 votes split over 1600 attractions – shows they enjoy the recreation opportunities available close to home.
“I encourage every New Zealander to get out over summer and visit a new destination or try an activity they have never experienced. The 101 Must-Do’s list offers dozens of ideas and TIA’s 1500+ members look forward to giving visitors a fantastic time,” Mr Snedden says.
Domestic tourism adds NZ$13.8 billion a year to New Zealand’s tourism industry, with New Zealanders travelling in their own country contributing NZ$38 million in economic activity every day of the year.
“This is spending that is not being taken offshore and is helping support jobs in smaller centres like Te Anau, Paihia and Greytown where employment opportunities are limited,” Mr Snedden says. “Holidays at home help support local businesses and bring vibrancy to communities. It’s not only tourism businesses that benefit but supermarkets, petrol stations, bars, restaurants, other retailers and a wide variety of business services that support all these businesses.”
He congratulates AA Tourism for running the 101 Must-Do’s for Kiwis campaign and thanks them for supporting New Zealand’s tourism industry.
To see both the original and the new list of AA Tourism’s 101 Must-Do’s for Kiwis visit

Tourism Noosa a Winner in the Queensland Tourism Awards!

Tourism Noosa was proudly recognised last night at the Queensland Tourism Awards, winning the Visitor Information & Services Category for the Noosa Information Centre.

Held in Brisbane and attended by over 800 guests from the tourism industry throughout the state, the Queensland Tourism Awards are from the State's key industry body and recognises excellence, celebrating the outstanding achievements of tourism operators across various categories.

General Manager of Tourism Noosa, Mr Damien Massingham said "It is a wonderful achievement to be acknowledged and to win this award, and a great honour for everyone involved in the centre and also the broader Noosa community."   

"We have over 95 volunteers working in the centre responding to over 200 000 face to face enquiries per year assisting visitors with accommodation, tours, dining enquiries and more. In this category we were up against 118 other Visitor Information Centres and are very excited to now be a finalist in the National Tourism Awards."

"Congratulations and thanks for this Award must go to the hardworking volunteers along with the Tourism Noosa team who work tirelessly every day on behalf of Tourism Noosa's 500 members to sell the region and our products. In particular congratulations to Manager of the Visitor Information Centre Cathy Mitchell along with our Industry Liaison Manager Juanita Bloomfield who works closely with volunteers and members with the day to day operations of the Visitor Information Centre."

"As a licensed travel agency, the Noosa Visitor Information Centre's is one of the highest yielding Information Centres in Australia, something which we are very proud of.  During this period we also launched our new website and have seen a dramatic increase in operators coming on board and increasing the amount of bookable product in our Noosa region" said Mr Massingham.

USM Events Founder Mr Garth Prowd AO was awarded the Marie Watson Blake Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual.   "We are thrilled to see Garth be recognised in such a way for his incredible contribution to tourism across the Sunshine Coast and in particular, Noosa where he has been instrumental in organising and developing key events such as the Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Fest and the Noosa Jazz Festival."

"A congratulations also goes to other Tourism Noosa members, Australia Zoo winning the Major Tourist Attraction category and Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat winning the Hosted Accommodation category".

"We are also really pleased to see several of our members be finalists in the awards which is a huge achievement in itself. These include: Noosa Dreamboats, Equathon, The Boathouse Floating Restaurant and The Long Apron Restaurant and Spicers Clovelly Estate."

"We would also like to thank all our partners, Tourism Queensland, QTIC, Sunshine Coast Regional Council and Sunshine Coast Destination Limited for their ongoing support in this recognition" said Mr Massingham.

Monday, 26 November 2012

ATF 2013 Sees Strong Booth Take-Up

The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) TRAVEX 2013, which will take place in Vientiane's Lao International Trade Exhibition and Convention Centre from January 22-24, boasts the highest number of corporate booths achieved by the event thus far, while more than half of buyers attending are new.

Into its 32nd edition, the ATF TRAVEX 2013, will welcome over 1,000 exhibitors and 460 booths, with new exhibitors comprising 35 per cent. The exhibition will feature 75 corporate booths.

Host country Laos is fielding its largest-ever contingent at ATF.

Saly Phimpinith, director-general of tourism marketing department in the Laos’ Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, said: “Laos is constantly improving its service standards in the tourism industry. We have begun to classify hotels and guesthouses and are actively promoting community-based tourism in order to improve the standard of living in remote areas. We are happy to give ATF TRAVEX delegates a glimpse into the beauty of Laos through the pre-show city tours and post-show tours.”

ATF 2013 attracted close to 1,100 buyer registrations, out of which only 380 quality buyers will be hosted. More than 50 non-hosted buyers will also be participating. The forum is seeing buyers from new countries such as Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Ireland, Israel, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka and Taiwan.

International media registrations have also reached the 170 mark.  

Chinese Opinion Leaders Experience Some of Australia's Best Drops

Six of China's leading wine and lifestyle opinion leaders have been visiting Australia this month as part of a joint Tourism Australia and Wine Australia initiative to promote Australia's world class tourism and wine experiences to potential Chinese visitors.

The visiting opinion leaders represent major media titles and wine blog sites in China such as WineOnline,,, Wines Info, U Life Magazine, Men's Uno and the Robb Report, which have a combined following of more than one million Chinese. Their Australian itinerary has included visits to more than 10 wineries and talks with leading winemakers in the McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Barossa and Margaret River.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said the visiting opinion leaders would help to extend the global message of why There's nothing like Australia in one of Australia's most important tourism markets.

"China continues to be a market of increasing significance for Australian tourism and is now our single most important market in terms of value - worth $3.8 billion annually - and key to our long term plans for growth," Mr McEvoy said.

"Whilst we know that Australia's nature is incredibly appealing to Chinese travellers, and has helped to drive the demand for our tourism experiences, we want to extend their knowledge that our landscape has also created some of the world's finest wines.
"Hosting these influential opinion leaders will help to spread word-of-mouth advocacy in China about the many and compelling reasons why Australia is a world class tourism destination, especially those experiences that are built around our wine and food offering," Mr McEvoy said.

Mr McEvoy added the visit followed recent research commissioned by Tourism Australia that shows while Australia's world class beauty and natural environment are the primary reason why Chinese travellers choose to visit, the country's wine and food offerings enhance their reasons to visit and the experience when they are here.
Wine Australia Chief Executive Andrew Cheesman said the visit would help showcase the quality and diversity of Australian wines and wine regions.

"China is Australia's fastest growing export market for Australian wine, with bottled wine exports to China delivering double digit growth in both value and volume this year," Mr Cheesman said.

"Australian wines are fast gaining a reputation in China for their high quality, and the diversity of styles means they are very well matched with Chinese cuisines.

"Education and engagement of consumers, sommeliers, wine educators, importers, media and other key influencers is central to Wine Australia's strategy in China and this visit by some of China's media opinion leaders is a major part of that."

South Australian wineries involved in the visit have included: Hardy's Tintara, Angove McLaren Vale, d'Arenberg Vineyard & Winery, Chapel Hill Winery, Petaluma's Piccadilly Vineyard, Shaw & Smith, The Lane Vineyard, Grant Burge Wines, Jacob's Creek, and Peter Lehmann Wines. In Western Australia wineries visited included Fraser Gallop Estate, Stella Bella, Brookland Valley Winery, and Cullen Wines.

Tourism experiences featured on the program in South Australia have included: Cheese and Olive Oil tasting with the producers of McLaren Vale, Cleland Wildlife Park, Star of Greece Café, Hilton Adelaide and Hilton Brasserie, The Victory Hotel, Barossa Trike Tours, Novotel Barossa Resort, and Harry's Restaurant in South Australia.

Western Australian tourism experiences have included: Pullman Resort Bunker Bay, Margaret River Gourmet Escape, Naturaliste Charters Whale and Dolphin Eco-Tours, Swan Jet Adventures, The Bell Towers, The Trustee Bar & Bistro, Busselton Jetty & Underwater Observatory, Esplanade Hotel Fremantle, Little Creatures Brewery, The Round House, Didgeridoo Breath, Cottesloe Beach, Crown Perth, Kings Park, Wandering West Tours, Perth Mint, and Must Wine Bar.  

In the past year Australia welcomed 606,400 visitors from China (September 2012 year end), making it the second largest source market for visitors after New Zealand. As part of Australia's Tourism 2020 strategy, China is expected to grow to as much as $9 billion and 860,000 visitors annually by the end of the decade.

China is Australia's third largest market for Australian bottled wine exports and the biggest for bottled wine exports above A$7.50 per litre, ahead of the US and Canada. China's demand for premium wine continues to drive strong growth in the higher priced Australian wine segments, with the above A$10.00 per litre segment a standout, up 37 per cent. The average value per litre of Australian bottled imports to China is now for the first time higher than the average for French wines.

Enjoy a Merry Sydney Christmas at Metro Hotel on Pitt

Metro Hotel on Pitt, in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, is offering a very Merry Sydney Christmas package to the many local and international visitors to Sydney who find themselves in transit on Christmas Day, either travelling to a holiday destination or visiting family and friends.
Guests can book Metro Hotel on Pitt’s great value Merry Sydney Christmas Package for $250*, which includes:
* One night’s accommodation for two in a Superior Deluxe Queen room
* Christmas lunch or dinner for two people at Paradiso Restaurant (2 course)
* Breakfast for two people
* Free internet
* *offer valid for December 24 and 25, 2012; subject to availability

For those who only wish to book the two-course Christmas Day Luncheon or Dinner ($35 per person), please call Paradiso Restaurant direct on 9264 4111.

According to Metro Hotel on Pitt’s Executive Assistant Manager, Lisa Kapinski, the hotel is popular over Christmas because its restaurant is one of the few places open in the Sydney CBD for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“Our guests can be guaranteed that our restaurant, Paradiso Restaurant, is open for Christmas Eve and the whole of Christmas day,” said Ms Kapinski

Previously a central city Post Office, the hotel is located in a charming, heritage-listed building at 300 Pitt Street, making it easy for guests to explore the city.

It is within easy walking distance of Darling Harbour, The Rocks, Pitt Street Mall, Queen Victoria Building, Hyde Park and Chinatown. Metro Hotel on Pitt is only minutes away from Town Hall and Central railway stations and with monorail and buses at the hotel’s doorstep, making it easy for guests to travel with no fuss to the airport and Sydney’s outlying attractions.

Metro Hotel on Pitt offers 115 comfortable four-star guest rooms complete with modern facilities such as broadband Internet connectivity, key card access to rooms and lift, and cable television. The Hotel offers a mix of standard, superior and executive rooms, all with ensuite bathrooms, and offers 24 hour reception and room service till 10 pm.

The Hotel’s facilities include a fully licensed bar and restaurant, Paradiso, offering a range of Modern Australian and European dishes, and a comprehensive wine list with a choice of local and imported wines.

Guests are able to book the Merry Sydney Christmas Package at Metro Hotel on Pitt by calling the toll free Central Reservations line on 1800 004 321. Alternately guests can book online by logging onto Metro Hotels' website at

Metro Hotels is the public face of Transmetro Corporation, an Australian owned public company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. The Group currently provides a national accommodation network of properties, with over 1000 rooms in key locations and major cities across Australia.

Bowen Claims Title of Queensland's Friendliest Town

Bowen has been crowned Queensland's Friendliest Town at the 2012 Tidy Town Awards. The 'Friendliest Town' category was awarded to Bowen for its combined efforts in tourism including "living, active historical venues" and it's Bowen Mural Society Initiative.

Council's Mayor, Jennifer Whitney said Council is thrilled that Bowen has received this accolade; particularly given it is a state wide competition.

"Bowen has a rich history which is embraced by the town and they have used this as a commitment to, and the promotion of visitor friendliness," Mayor Whitney said.

"The murals and the work of the Bowen Festival of Murals Society were instrumental in winning this award. The stories these murals tell enable people to appreciate the profound history that Bowen has and its significance in Queensland and Australian history," she said.

"Bowen has a great deal to offer in terms of visitor friendliness. There is a fantastic mix of history as well as the new facilities such as the water park and PCYC, the parks and walkways, great information centres and tourist facilities," she said.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Qantas Gets New Aircraft, Improves East-West Experience

Qantas has today announced it will deploy wide-body Airbus A330s on all weekday Sydney-Perth and Melbourne-Perth services as it continues to meet demand for business and premium travel on the routes.  

A new Qantas A330, which landed in Sydney this morning from the Airbus factory in Toulouse, will become the ninth A330 flying on the Qantas domestic network and will start passenger flights within weeks.  

Qantas Domestic Chief Executive Officer Lyell Strambi, who unveiled the new aircraft to over 1000 Qantas employees at an event in Sydney, said the A330 aircraft was a vital part of the Qantas domestic strategy.  

"Qantas' A330 aircraft offer superior space and comfort and have individual in-flight entertainment for all of our passengers, making them ideal for longer flights," Mr Strambi said.

 "From May next year, Qantas will deploy A330s on all weekday Sydney-Perth and Melbourne-Perth services which will enable us to better service the growing business market.  

"One of Qantas' key strengths in the domestic market is our wide-body aircraft, which are very popular with our customers."  

Qantas has 30 wide-body aircraft operating on domestic routes in Australia, made up of A330s and B767s.  

Mr Strambi said Qantas had signed a number of major new corporate accounts over the past few months, many who have tried other airlines and returned to Qantas.

 "In addition to our fleet of new aircraft, our superior network, frequencies, lounges, on-time performance, and frequent flyer program, have seen us maintain our status as best for business and premium travellers," he said.  

"We are also the only domestic airline that offers a meal and checked-in baggage to every passenger as part of their fare, no matter what time they are flying or which class they are in."  

The new Qantas A330 is configured with 36 seats in Business and 268 seats in Economy. Airbus has installed the latest Panasonic on-demand in-flight entertainment and laptop power in every seat.  

Qantas currently operates around 100 return flights with more than 26,000 seats from Perth to Sydney and Melbourne each week - about 40 per cent more than our competitor.  

Mr Strambi said with the A330, next generation Boeing 737-800 and a growing fleet of regional aircraft including the Boeing 717 and Bombardier Q400 aircraft, Qantas was well positioned for growth in Australia.  

"The significant and ongoing fleet renewal is great for customers, great for our shareholders and great for our employees," he said.

 "The Qantas Group has taken delivery of 24 next-generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft with individual entertainment units for all passengers and over the next 12 months another eight will join the fleet.  

"Our Boeing 717 aircraft, which we fly on our intra-West Australian and Queensland routes particularly for the mining and resources sectors, will also have new seats and updated interiors installed."  

"By March, Qantas will have refurbished 16 Boeing 767 (B767) aircraft with new interiors and individual in- flight entertainment streamed direct to iPads in every seat. These aircraft look and feel like new and we expect these changes to be very popular with our customers."  

In the past 12 months Qantas has resumed services from Sydney to the Gold Coast, built new lounges at Gold Coast, Gladstone, Mackay, Emerald, Davenport and Rockhampton airport, commenced services to a number of new regional and Fly-In-Fly-Out destinations and introduced a number of new initiatives to improve customer experiences including free Wi-Fi at airports and dedicated premium boarding.   

Fitness Escape in Paradise

A tropical holiday doesn't have to involve the usual indulgence of cocktails and culinary delights that result in a few extra kilos post-holiday. The Whitsundays offers the perfect destination to revamp your fitness regime whilst enjoying the tropical surrounds of the 74 island wonders in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Nowhere else in the world can you experience the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef including iconic Heart Reef, coupled with one of the world's top 10 beaches, Whitehaven Beach, so why not tick off the bucket list whilst on a health and well-being getaway. From tailored fitness programs and retreat style packages to island getaways with watersport indulgence, you can literally have your cake and eat it too in the Whitsundays.

Active holidays come naturally in the Whitsundays with a multitude of outdoor activities available to those who want to explore their surroundings and get the adrenalin pumping.

Whitsundays Fitness Escape
This tailored fitness holiday program offers the ultimate weekend of fun and fitness in paradise on Hamilton Island. As an intimate group the weekend is spent focusing on your individual needs from hard core training to healthy eating. The program includes tropical island accommodation, meals and a variety of fitness and health sessions that are certain to ignite a desire to transform your fitness routine.
Dive and Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef!
Scuba diving and snorkeling has one of the biggest payoffs of any fitness holiday activity, a terrific glute, hip, thigh, and core workout.

A World of Water sports
Paddle boarding: Ride this celebrity trend (Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson are fans!) by hopping on a board, grabbing a paddle, and exploring the Whitsunday islands. A great workout for arms, shoulders and core.

Kayaking: Pack a healthy picnic and glide across the azure waters to find a secluded beach on a deserted island. This activity is great for building upper body strength including arms, shoulders and back.

Sail a catamaran: Sailing is both relaxing and a workout. Whilst the wind is blowing through your hair and the sun warms your skin, your legs and core are in action for stability (developing your sea legs!) and your arms are pumping whilst hoisting the sails.

Kite Surfing: Grab your gear and get some air. Let the ocean breeze carry you along the coastline. Your legs aid in landing, core provides stability and arms provide resistance and direction for the ultimate all over workout.

Wind Surfing: A fun filled entire body work out as you coast along the shoreline of a tropical island. Your legs aid in turning, core provides stability and arms provide resistance and direction.
Tennis Escape
Escape to Hayman for a fun time away and catch a game of tennis, whether you are an experienced player or a beginner. Hayman offers three all-weather artificial grass courts and one championship Plexicushion court, all lit for night play. A tennis program directed by professionals from Peter Burwash International (PBI) is designed for all player levels. The Hayman tennis pro organises weekly themed clinics and player matching. You may choose to have private or semi-private instruction or rent a ball machine.

Tee off the kilojoules
Usually perceived as a leisurely activity, golf actually provides an all over work out including the glutes, core, shoulders and arms. Why not venture to the Hamilton Island Golf Club, perfectly located at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef offering some of the most spectacular views and settings of any golf course in the world. Designed by champion golfer, Peter Thomson of Thomson Perrett, the Hamilton Island Golf Club on neighbouring Dent Island is the only championship island golf course in Australia and the perfect destination for your next golfing holiday.

Beach Games
The Whitsundays is spoilt with many secluded beaches, and home to one of the top ten beaches in the world, Whitehaven Beach (which has also been crowned Queensland's Most Beautiful Beach and the most photographed beach in Australia. Why not get active on Whitehaven or a secluded sand cay where the pure silica sand glistens in the sun as you battle it out in a game of beach volleyball, beach cricket, frisbee or touch football. The crystal clear aqua waters are also a great spot to swim some laps or do some resistance water running. At the end of your workout the waters are an inviting place to cool off.

Walk the Walk in the Whitsundays
Rugged ranges meet aquamarine waters, with jewel-green islands studded on the horizon. Unique and spectacular National Park is waiting to be discovered in the Whitsundays. Six National Parks covering 70 of the 74 islands protect the Whitsundays' wildlife, plants and scenery. Many walks ranging in length and endurance can be found on the islands and on the Whitsunday Coast, including the Ngaro Sea Trail and the Whitsundays Great Walk. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Bigger Attendance at Expanded PATA China Responsible Tourism Forum

The second PATA China Responsible Tourism & China-ASEAN Tourism Development Forum concluded in Shanghai November 16 with 152 participants, up from 130 who attended the first forum on December 16, 2011.

Run in partnership with the ASEAN-China Centre and with the support and endorsement of China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), the forum operated under the theme of “Sustainable Innovation, Sustainable Travel, and Sustainable Business.” The forum introduced a number of practical applications and concepts to the audience.

These included from the  “7 Greens” program on the island of Samui in Thailand, new tourist farming practices on Chongming Island in the Yangtze River Delta, best practices in responsible tourism in ASEAN, and CSR activities in Greater China.  The question of what can China learn from the world and what can the world learn from China was vigorously debated. It led to some critical observations. One of which was the recognition that “authenticity” means something very different to the Chinese domestic traveller compared to that of the foreign visitor. Marketing therefore needs careful consideration if it is to be successful.

At the forum, the next generation of tourism professionals from universities across China, had their chance to say something about responsible tourism. They submitted ideas and opinions to forum attendees in the form of video clips and short presentations as part of the PATA China Young Tourism Professional Challenge. Sun Yat-sen University won both the Champions’ and Audience’s choice votes.

Ms Kate Change, PATA Director for Greater China, said: “It is heartening to see so many students accept our challenge and deliver such high quality presentations to the judges. Despite an extremely tight deadline and a very tough brief, we received 46 applications from universities across China. It shows that interest in responsible and sustainable tourism runs high in our youth.”

Mr Ma Mingqiang, Secretary-General of the ASEAN-China Centre, added: “It is reassuring to see that not only can we learn from responsible tourism practices in the rest of the world, especially the ASEAN Member States, but  that China can also add its own voice to the debate through innovative and practical applications currently underway across the country.”

Another highlight of the forum was the China Responsible Tourism Awards, which PATA introduced this year. The final nominations were announced during the forum. The winners will be announced in early 2013. PATA members and industry practitioners are encouraged to cast their votes on from December 1, 2012 to showcase the best practices in responsible tourism from all over China.

The forum concluded with the launch of PATA Nankai University Student Chapter introduced by Professor Bai Changhong, Dean of School of Tourism and Service Management, Nankai University, and a presentation by the newly elected Chairman of the Chapter Mr Zang Ye. Mr Stephen Hsu, Vice Chairman of China Tourist Hotels Association and Mr John Koldowski, Special Advisor to PATA CEO, attended the forum and delivered speeches.

Great Walk Opens to Bikes

Eco-tourism in the Whitsundays had a welcome boost this week as National Parks, Recreation and Sport Minister Steve Dickson officially opened a new mountain biking trail along the Whitsunday Great Walk. The world famous walking track through the Conway National Park will now function as a 36 kilometre dual walking and biking track, opening the area up to new recreational activity and eco-tourism opportunities. Airlie Beach mountain bike enthusiast Peter Claxton said he had been "banging on the door" for about two years to get the track opened up and would now be starting a mountain bike club.

For more information visit

Friday, 23 November 2012

China Trip Day 13 - Shanghai - 23 November 2012

7.30am wakeup call, breakfast
9.00 swim in hotel pool
10.00 check out, take Metro train to new hotel
11.15am check into Kerry Hotel Pudong, Shanghai
12.00 meeting  with Lorraine Zhang, Assistant Communications Manager, hotel inspection tour
1.00pm lunch at The COOK
2.30 meeting with Leon Mickelson, Brew Master, and guided tour of hotel boutique brewery
5.00 refreshment in Club :lounge
6.00 Metro train to Markets
9.00 swim, spa, sauna
10.00 massage at hotel Day Spa.

The Day

Tourism Industry Celebrated At 2012 NSW Tourism Awards

The achievements of the State's Tourism industry were celebrated overnight during a gala ceremony to mark the 2012 NSW Tourism Awards.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, congratulated the winners and praised the innovation and dedication of the industry.

"It was my honour to be present at the 2012 NSW Tourism Awards and to celebrate the hard work of the individuals and organisations who strive for excellence in this most important industry," said Minister Souris.

"The tourism industry contributes $20.2 billion per year in international and domestic overnight visitor expenditure to the NSW economy and tourism employment accounts for one in every 22 jobs in NSW."

"The NSW Tourism Awards is an important opportunity to recognise the achievements of the industry and those who strive for success and the shared common goal of ensuring NSW is the number one visitor destination in Australia."

Chairman of the Tourism Industry Council NSW, Mr Ken Corbett congratulated the 2012 winners for building upon the standards of quality in years gone by.

"These winners are a strong reminder of the depth of product quality that exists within our state and I look forward to seeing NSW winners continue their success at the Australian Tourism Awards in Hobart in February 2013".

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase, said the Awards were a wonderful testament to the diversity and strength of the industry.

"The Awards celebrate not only the winners but the finalists from across the State who were nominated in the 2012 NSW Tourism Awards, which is a major achievement in itself," said Ms Chipchase.

The NSW Tourism Awards recognise excellence and outstanding achievement in tourism across 31categories from accommodation, festivals and events, heritage and cultural tourism, tourism education and training, and restaurant and catering services.

The 2012 NSW Tourism Awards were announced at La Montage, Lilyfield, in front of 650 people. The NSW Tourism Award winners will automatically become finalists in the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, to be held in Hobart in February 2013.


Major Tourist Attractions
Gold Award - Blue Mountains National Park - Katoomba (Blue Mountains)
Silver Award - Sydney Tower Eye (Sydney)

Tourist Attractions
Gold Award - Cape Byron State Conservation Area - Byron Bay (Ballina)
Silver Award - The Magic of Jenolan - Jenolan Caves (Bathurst)
Bronze Award - Mogo Zoo (Mogo, Bega)

Major Festivals and Events
Gold Award - 2012 Tamworth Country Music Festival (Tamworth)
Silver Award - The 23rd Annual Bluesfest Byron Bay (Ballina)
Bronze Award - Sydney Royal Easter Show - Sydney Olympic Park (Strathfield)

Festivals and Events
Gold Award - Deni Ute Muster - Deniliquin  (Murray-Darling)
Silver Award - NSW Caravan, Camping, RV and Holiday Supershow - Harris Park (Parramatta)
Bronze Award - Festival of the Sun (Port Macquarie)

Gold Award - Jenolan Caves - Ancient Underworld -Jenolan Caves (Bathurst)
Silver Award - Life's An Adventure (Blue Mountains)
Bronze Award - Sydney Coast Walks (Cronulla)

Heritage and Cultural Tourism
Gold Award - Jenolan Caves - Written In Stone -Jenolan Caves (Bathurst)
Silver Award - Blue Mountains Walking Tracks - Katoomba (Blue Mountains)
Bronze Award - Glasshouse Port Macquarie (Port Macquarie)

Indigenous Tourism
Gold Award - Mutawintji Eco Tours/Tri State Safaris - Broken Hill (Murray-Darling)
Highly Commended - Brewarrina Visitor Information & Cultural Centre - Brewarrina (Barwon)

Specialised Tourism Services
Gold Award - Business Events Sydney (Sydney)
Silver Award - Spa Sublime - Katoomba (Blue Mountains)
Bronze Award - Newcastle Airport - Raymond Terrace (Port Stephens)

Visitor Information and Services
Gold Award - Moree Visitor Information Centre - Moree (Barwon)
Silver Award - Clarence River Tourism - Grafton (Clarence)
Bronze Award - Greater Port Macquarie Visitor Information Centre (Port Macquarie)

Business Tourism
Gold Award - Mercure Kooindah Waters Central Coast (Wyong)
Silver Award - Business Events Sydney (Sydney)
Bronze Award - Rydges Port Macquarie (Port Macquarie)

Major Tour and/or Transport Operators
Gold Award - Moonshadow Cruises - Nelson Bay  (Port Stephens)

Tour and/or Transport  Operators
Gold Award - Tri State Safaris - Broken Hill (Murray-Darling)
Silver Award - Life's An Adventure (Blue Mountains)
Bronze Award - Boutique Tours Australia - Gordon (Davidson)

Adventure Tourism
Gold Award - Adventure Underground - Jenolan Caves (Bathurst)
Silver Award - Life's An Adventure (Blue Mountains)
Bronze Award - TreeTop Adventure Park Central Coast - Bulahdelah (Myall Lakes)

Tourism Marketing
Gold Award - Brand Hunter Valley - Pokolbin (Cessnock)
Silver Award - The Legendary Pacific Coast - Nambucca Heads (Port Macquarie)
Bronze Award - Riverina Visiting Friends & Relatives Publicity Program - Marrar (Wagga Wagga)

Tourism Education and Training
Gold Award - Travel 21fiftythree, Western Sydney Institute, TAFE NSW (Baulkham Hills)
Silver Award - Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School - Leura (Blue Mountains)
Bronze Award - TAFE North Coast Institute - Tourism Events and Hospitality Section -Alstonville (Ballina)

Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services
Gold Award - Margan Restaurant - Broke (Upper Hunter)
Silver Award - Byron Beach Café - Byron Bay (Ballina)
Bronze Award - Bent on Food (Wingham, Myall Lakes)

Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries
Gold Award - Wyndham Estate Winery - Dalwood (Cessnock)
Silver Award - Bimbadgen - Branxton (Cessnock)
Bronze Award - Lowe Wines - Mudgee (Orange)

Tourist and Caravan Parks
Gold Award - BIG4 Deniliquin Holiday Park - Deniliquin (Murray-Darling)
Silver Award - NRMA Merimbula Beach Holiday Park - Merimbula (Bega)
Bronze Award - Nambucca River Tourist Park M - Macksville (Oxley)

Backpacker Accommodation
Gold Award - Sydney Harbour YHA (Sydney)

Hosted Accommodation
Gold Award - Mollymook Beach Waterfront - Mollymook (South Coast)
Silver Award - Eldee Station - Silverton (Murray-Darling)
Bronze Award - Honeycomb Valley Farm - Nabiac (Myall Lakes)

Unique Accommodation
Gold Award - Somewhere Unique - Wollombi (Cessnock)
Silver Award - DAG Sheep Station (Tamworth)
Bronze Award - Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat - Laurieton (Port Macquarie)

Standard Accommodation
Gold Award - Scone Motor Inn - Scone (Upper Hunter)
Silver Award - Ibis Sydney on Darling Harbour (Sydney)

Deluxe Accommodation
Gold Award - The Observatory Port Macquarie (Port Macquarie)
Silver Award - The Vintry - Pokolbin (Cessnock)
Bronze Award - Macquarie Waters Boutique Apartment Hotel (Port Macquarie)

Luxury Accommodation
Gold Award - Sheraton on the Park (Sydney)
Silver Award - Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel, Restaurant & Spa - Killcare Heights (Terrigal)
Bronze Award - Mountain Whispers - Roselands - Leura (Blue Mountains)

New Tourism Development
Gold Award - Madame Tussauds (Sydney)
Silver Award - Newcastle Museum - Honeysuckle (Newcastle)
Bronze Award - Green Gully Track - Walcha (Northern Tablelands)

Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism
Gold Award - The Observatory Port Macquarie (Port Macquarie)

Tourist Pubs
Gold Award - Gol Gol Hotel -  Gol Gol (Murray-Darling)
Silver Award - Shoal Bay Country Club Hotel - Shoal Bay (Port Stephens)

Local Government Award for Tourism
Gold Award - Port Macquarie Hastings Council (Port Macquarie)
Silver Award - Narrabri Shire Council Visitor Information Centre - Narrabri (Barwon)
Bronze Award - Junee Tourism - Junee (Murrumbidgee)

Outstanding Contribution to Regional Tourism
Mrs Jenny-Lee Stefas, Tourism Manager, Sutherland Shire Council (Heathcote)

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism by an Individual
Mr Philip Hele, General Manager, Hunter Resort - Pokolbin (Cessnock)

Lifetime Contribution Award
Mr Barry Baillie

Sun Herald Reader's Choice Award
Harry Potter - The Exhibition, Powerhouse Museum (Sydney)

Young Achiever in Tourism Award
Ms Belinda Stapleton, Managing Director, Spicers Vineyards Estate - Pokolbin (Cessnock)

Merlin Works Its Magic at The NSW Tourism Awards

Merlin Entertainments Group attractions Madame Tussauds Sydney and the Sydney Tower Eye have won gold and silver respectively at the highly contested 2012 NSW Tourism Awards, held last night at Le Montage in Lilyfield.

Madame Tussauds Sydney took out the gold prize in the New Tourism Development category, while Sydney Tower Eye was awarded silver in the Major Tourist Attraction category. It is the first time that both attractions have entered the NSW Tourism Awards in any category.

Hywel Mathias, General Manager of Madame Tussauds Sydney was thrilled at the news, saying: "What a fantastic achievement for Madame Tussauds as a new and exciting attraction on the Sydney landscape".

Sydney was selected as the location of the thirteenth Madame Tussauds in the world because of the global nature of the city, the volume of tourists and the Darling Harbour location.

Hywel continued: "The team meticulously took into consideration all elements of setting up an attraction to ensure nothing was missed and I am proud to say we have enjoyed great success since officially opening this year. I am also extremely proud of my team who ensure every day that all our guests have a fun, interactive experience. I would also like to acknowledge the other finalists in this category; it was a privilege to be included amongst the company of such outstanding NSW attractions."

Set within 1800 square metres in Darling Harbour, Madame Tussauds Sydney opened its doors to the public in April 2012 as the thirteenth of its kind in the world at a total cost of $14 million. The attraction gives Australians and international visitors the opportunity to come face-to-face with some of the world's most famous celebrities via a collection of amazing life-like wax figures in a unique, interactive setting.

Ian Wood, General Manager of Sydney Tower Eye said: "It's a great honour to have won silver in the Major Tourist Attraction category and I would like to congratulate Blue Mountains National Park for a well-deserved win. To be acknowledged as a finalist amongst other outstanding NSW attractions was an honour and I am very proud of our team for all of their hard work and dedication".

After relaunching in September 2011, Sydney Tower Eye is the highest viewing point in the city and is home to Sydney's first 4D Cinema. It offers an enhanced visual experience from the Observation Deck, which includes multilingual interactive touch panel screens and high-powered binoculars, as well as SKYWALK - the highest open air experience in Sydney.

Merlin Entertainments operates over 90 attractions around the world, 12 of which are in Australia. Other attractions in the Merlin Entertainments Australian portfolio include the all new SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek Ski Resorts in Victoria as well as Melbourne Aquarium.

For more information about Sydney Tower Eye or to pre-book tickets visit: or

For more information about Madame Tussauds Sydney or to pre-book tickets visit or

qualia - Best Resort in the World!

qualia, Hamilton Island's world class luxury resort on the Great Barrier Reef, has been named the Best in the World and Best Resort in the Oceania region in the 2012 Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards.

One of only four properties to ever receive a flawless score in the survey's 25-year history, qualia has also become the first Australian property to ever top the prestigious survey. Scoring a complete 100 in all categories including Rooms, Service, Food, Location, Design and Activities, qualia has been described by Condé Nast Traveler as 'sheer perfection' and 'flawless'.

A unique Australian expression of world-class luxury, qualia's vision to deliver an exceptional experience from award winning cuisine to the finest resort leisure facilities anywhere in the world sees it topping a list that includes many of the world's most highly recognised luxury hotel chains and names.

Situated on Hamilton Island's sun-drenched northern-most tip with breathtaking views of the surrounding Whitsunday Islands and tranquil Coral Sea, qualia's unique design combines a sense of space, openness and harmony that draws the outside in. Set amongst native Eucalypts, the 60 luxurious pavilions are an indulgent space to unwind in, with either a sundeck or private infinity edge plunge pool.

For something truly special, guests can experience qualia's Beach House. With its main bedroom and ensuite, spacious entertaining area with large flat-screen TV with surround sound, 10-person dining area, private full-sized swimming pool and separate guesthouse, the Beach House is an indulgence like no other.

The resort's myriad recreational offerings include two tranquil infinity-edged pools, two bars and restaurants, a private dining room, library, fitness centre and Spa qualia, which offers an array of unique, indigenous Australian treatments. Guests of qualia also have full access to Hamilton Island's world-class Yacht Club and 18-hole championship golf course on neighbouring Dent Island.

qualia also hosts several special events for its guests throughout the year, including the popular Australian Ballet 'Pas de Deux in Paradise' outdoor performance, Great Barrier Feast series featuring internationally acclaimed visiting chefs for gourmet culinary weekends and the annual Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - the largest offshore sailing regatta in Australia.

2012 Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards will be featured in the November issue of the magazine and now at

For more information visit

Thursday, 22 November 2012

China Trip - Day 12 - Shanghai - 22 November 2012 -


7.30am  wakeup call, breakfast
9.30 Metro train to Dongtai Road Antique Street
3.00pm meeting with Estella Zhang, Director of Marketing & Communications, and Arthur Ai, General Manager of Pullman Shanghai Skyway
6.00 refreshments in Executive Lounge

The Day
Most of the day was spent spent exploring the Dongtai Road Antique Street. This, and surroumding streets, are full of market stalls and small shops selling Chinese antiques, though most of them are modern reproductions posing as antiques..The day started  out fine and cloudy, but the rain soon started to fall I wandered around, ducking into various shops to get out of the rain, but in the end not buying anything.

Then it was back to the Pullman Skyway to enjoy all it offered to its guests.

Hamilton Island - A World of Events

On the water or on the land, from sporting highlights to cultural performances, Hamilton Island hosts a lively calendar of events and the next couple of months have a lot to offer!

UON SB20 World Championships - 13 December 2012 to 20 December 2012

Laser SB3's are a one-design Sports Yacht which are fast and technical by nature and attract some of the best sailors in the world. The surrounding Whitsunday waterways and the island's wide range of facilities make it the perfect location to host the 2012 SB3 World Championships.

Festive Season - 21 December 2012 to 06 January 2013

This year Hamilton Island's Summer Festival will be jam pact full of fun for the whole family. The festival which is run annually on Hamilton Island from midway through December to the middle of January to coincide with the school holidays, always adds that something special to the Festive Season.

For more information on these events visit