Thursday, 28 February 2013

Titanic II Sailing to New York

Titanic 11
More than a 100 years since RMS Titanic was due to berth in the United States on its grand maiden voyage, a 21st century version of the legendary passenger ship, Titanic II, is coming to New York.

Blue Star Line chairman Professor Clive Palmer's dream for Titanic II is being unveiled at a Global Launch aboard the retired aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, a national historic landmark moored in New York Harbour and now home to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

The Australian billionaire will display the design plans for Titanic II at a gala black-tie dinner on USS Intrepid attended by more than 500 guests.

"While the focus of this Global Launch is to release never before seen blueprints of Titanic II, the event will also pay tribute to Titanic, her passengers and crew as well as look to the future and celebrate Titanic II," Professor Palmer said.

"Titanic was a ship of dreams and Titanic II will be the ship where the dreams come true."

He said his plan to build Titanic II and sail her from Southampton to New York on her maiden passenger voyage in late 2016 had generated worldwide interest.

"We have had more than 40,000 enquiries from around the world from people expressing an interest in securing a booking for the maiden voyage," he said.

A who's who of world leaders, senior diplomats and major American political figures will be treated to performances by Australian entertainer Glenn Shorrock, an Irish band from Australia, McGuinness & Co, as well as South Korean acoustic guitarist Sungha Jung and US classical violinist Taylor Davis.

Professor Palmer said his aim when it came to sourcing entertainment for the Global Launch was to make sure it reflected the entertainment aboard the original RMS Titanic in 1912.

"We have managed to source an array of established and up and coming artists," he said.

Professor Palmer said guests at the gala dinner would enjoy a 11-course 'Captain's Atlantic Dinner' featuring dishes from the original Titanic menus.

"I am flying in 60 top chefs from around the world to prepare this feast for our distinguished guests," he said.

Members of Club de Madrid, the world's largest forum of former democratic presidents and prime ministers, will be well represented at the launch.

The evening will be attended by former Canadian Prime Minister and Club de Madrid founder Kim Campbell as well as the Club's Executive Director  and Vice President of The Gorbachev Foundation Anthony Jones and former President of Colombia Andrés Pastrana.

Other dignitaries include New York Senators Patrick M. Gallivan, Ruth Hassell-Thompson and Kevin S. Parker, Australia's Senior Trade Commissioner to the United States Richard Leather and United Kingdom's Consul General to New York Danny Lopez.

Directors Ding Jian Liang and Zhang Qi Ying from China's state-owned CSC Jinling Shipyard, who have been commissioned by Blue Star Line to build and coordinate the construction of Titanic II in China, will attend the New York dinner.

Professor Palmer said also joining him will be Markku Kanerva, Director of Sales of Finland-based marine design company Deltamarin, which has been commissioned to design Titanic II.

Other guests include Helen Benziger, a descendant of famous American socialite and Titanic survivor, Margaret 'Molly' Brown, who has agreed to join the advisory board for the Titanic II project.

Charity auctions will be held at the dinner in New York with proceeds going to (The New York Police and Fire Widow's Children's Benefit Fund).

For more information or to register interest in the maiden voyage, visit

Follow @clivefpalmer @titanic_ii and @blue_star_line on Twitter

Pulchra Da Nang Opens New Hotel in Vietnam

Pulchra Da Nang Resort
Danang is a fast growing tourism area in Vietnam. Japanse-backed Pulchra Da Nang is one of the latest newcomers to Danang, on Vietnam's central coast, which has seen a room boom over the last year.

Having soft opened last month, the US$12 million 31-villa Pulchra Da Nang Resort is the sole Japanese resort investment in the area and is the second resort investment by P&I Enterprise, the first being Pulchra Cebu in the Philippines.

Located 15 minutes away from Da Nang International Airport, Pulchra Da Nang occupies 10 hectares of beachfront land and its villa designs are inspired by Cham architecture.

Amenities include a pool, poolside bar, restaurant, spa, roof deck lounge, library, tennis courts and gift shop.

In the second phase, the resort will have an additional 20 high-class villas, a series of Japanese restaurants and other high-quality services.

P&I president Shoji Nishikawa says the resort primarily targets Japanese visitors. However, in the first phase it offers diverse services to cater to the tastes of local and foreign visitors from Europe and East Asia.

Shoji Nishikawa says he hopes that direct flights between Japan and Danang will open soon to attract Japanese holiday-makers to central Vietnam which is home to several UNESCO-recognised world cultural heritage sites.

WTM 2012 Leads to Euro 1,860m in Industry Deals

World Travel Market 2012, the leading global event for the travel industry, will generate a record £1,860 million in travel and tourism industry deals – an impressive 13% increase on WTM 2011.
Independent research of World Travel Market’s exhibitors shows WTM 2012 will be responsible for a massive £1,859,713,858.98 million of deals, either through contracts signed at the event or from negotiations with Meridian Club members which will lead to deals before WTM 2013.
WTM 2011 generated £1,653 million in business deals, either on the exhibition floor or in the 12 months that followed, which was a 16% increase on WTM 2010’s £1,425 million. WTM 2009 generated £1,139 million.

The increase in business generated by WTM 2012 can, in part, be accredited to the enhanced Speed Networking programme for exhibitors and Meridian Club buyers to start, continue and conclude business negotiations. WTM 2012 saw the traditional first morning session before the exhibition opened and the new Thursday Speed etworking sessions, aimed at facilitating post WTM business deals.
Furthermore, the key first day of WTM 2012 saw almost 8,000 (7,992) exhibitor invitations attend, according to unaudited figures. These visitors are the people exhibitors have cited they want to conduct business with. The figure compares to 7,608 on the first day of WTM 2011, which was 08% up on the year before.

Reed Travel Exhibitions Director World Travel Market Simon Press said: “World Travel Market 2012 has seen, and will lead to, a phenomenal amount of travel and tourism industry business being agreed.

“The expanded Speed Networking program played an important role in the success of WTM 2012 for both exhibitors and Meridian Club members, offering both stakeholders increased opportunities to meet new contacts, sign contracts and conclude deals.”

“The amount of business conducted and the findings from the exhibitor research shows WTM is delivering on its commitment to facilitate business in the travel and tourism industry.”

Press continued: “I am delighted that the amount of business conducted at World Travel Market continues to increase each year. This success is firmly positioning WTM as the must-attend exhibition for national and regional tourist boards, global brands and technology companies.

“The amount of business conducted at WTM clearly demonstrated WTM. Means Business.”

Victoria Government Sheds Light on its Regions Including Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley
The Victorian Coalition Government is delivering on a commitment to establish Localised Planning Statements for key areas, ensuring their valued attributes remain significant for decades to come.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the key areas of the Mornington Peninsula, the Yarra Valley, Macedon Ranges and the Bellarine Peninsula are distinctive in their own right.

“These areas have significant geographic and physical features which contribute to the quality of life for all Melburnians and Victorians,” Mr Guy said.

“The Yarra Valley alone plays a key role as a tourist destination, leading wine region and enjoys a reputation as a provider of sustainable and high-quality produce.

“On Melbourne’s doorstep, the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas boast strong economies based on their coastal resort towns, tourist development and rural lifestyle.

“Further inland the Macedon Ranges Shire is characterised by its unique landscapes which attract thousands of visitors each year as well as world class agribusiness exporting a range of local produce from bees to beef and grapes to grains.

“We have to acknowledge their distinctiveness and treat them differently when it comes to their proximity to, and relationship with, metropolitan Melbourne and neighbouring regions.

“The new planning statements will feature strategies to ensure that these locations are preserved and enhanced for use by present and future generations as unique local areas,” Mr Guy said.

Each council will receive funding of $25,000 to assist in the formal community engagement and consultation process so that all voices are heard and local priorities are identified.

Yarra Valley
The Metropolitan Planning Strategy and Regional Growth Plans, currently being developed, will help determine the final Localised Planning Statements to ensure there is continuity and consistency in Victoria’s approach to strategic planning.

The Localised Planning Statements are expected to be finalised by December 2013.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

[pb_top] WTM Latin America focuses on social media to secure the legacy of the world’s biggest sporting events

WTM  Latin America, which will be held for the first time in São Paulo, Brazil from 23 to 25 April 2013, will look at how organisations can use social media to ensure that the interest generated by the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro boosts the region’s tourism on a lasting basis.

Consumers in the region already enjoy the highest levels of engagement with social networks anywhere in the world, according to recent research. Market researchers comScore found that  Latin America is home to five of the most engaged social networking markets worldwide: internet users in Argentina averaged 10.7 hours on social networking sites in December 2011, followed by Chile (9.5 hours per visitor), Peru (8.7 hours), Colombia (7.6 hours) and Mexico (7.1 hours). The region’s online population also grew faster than any other global region in 2011, up by 16% to 129.3 million visitors. 

The main session on the WTM  Latin America programme looks at how events such as the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the UEFA European Championships 2012 in Poland and Ukraine and the London 2012 Olympics have given boosts to the local tourism sectors.
In another social media session on the WTM Latin America programme, delegates will learn how travel businesses can use the latest brand-focused features of Facebook to promote their businesses, now that the network has overtaken Orkut as the prime social network in Brazil.

WTM Latin America Exhibition Director Lawrence Reinisch says, “The world’s eyes will be on Latin America over the next four years. It is imperative that tourism bodies and travel companies take this opportunity to use social media to further increase qualified visitor numbers in a region which is already becoming one of the fastest-growing destinations around the world, and sees responsible travel & tourism as a key instrument for sustainable economic development.”

The social media programme is curated by Mark Frary, one of the organisers of the successful WTM Social Travel Market conference at WTM London, which returns in November for its second outing.

A Fresh, New Innovative Sunshine Coast at AIME

Business Events Sunshine Coast
Business Events Sunshine Coast (BESC) has a lot to talk about at this year's Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) in Melbourne 26-27 February.

The BESC team's new "naturally refreshing" island creation has won the "best innovative stand" at  this year's event for originality and impact created. A creative addition is an award-winning local body artist, who is showcasing her talent by creating fully painted 'walking sunshine' billboards, to roam the tradeshow floor.

"We have a great deal of creative talent on the Sunshine Coast, much of which can be incorporated into events in some way or another," said BESC Manager Pippa McCreery. "One of our annual events is the Australian Body Art Carnivale, which provides a platform for some of this talent to be realised. We were so excited to have a 2012 event winner with us here in Melbourne."

The BESC team are giving away a weekend for two to the Australian Body Art Carnivale event to be held in Eumundi on the Sunshine Coast in May this year.

BESC is joined by 10 stand partners, including Australia Zoo, Mercure Kingfisher Bay Resort, Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa, Palmer Coolum Resort, QLD Signature Events, RACV Noosa Resort, Ramada Hotel & Conference Centre, Sheraton Noosa Resort and Spa, and The Events Centre, Caloundra.

Pippa added, "We have a lot to be excited about this year, with almost half our stand partners either planning, or currently completing refurbishments. We are also thrilled to have Australia Zoo with us at AIME for the very first time, and brand new company Queensland Signature Events have joined us to launch the exciting new offsite options available on the Sunshine Coast.

BESC has also launched their new website and 2013/2014 Planner Guide at AIME.

"We have worked hard to create a content-rich, user friendly website that focusses on meeting visitor needs. We have increased the use of imagery on the website and in the planner guide, because we have a visually stunning destination - and it you've got it, flaunt it!

Business Events Sunshine Coast
"We invite buyers to visit us on stand 2222 at AIME to pick up a copy of the guide. An exciting new inclusion features offsite event ideas to take advantage of the Sunshine Coast beaches, parks and foreshores. We have worked closely with our local Council to access these fabulous open spaces for events - so we are very excited about the increased creativity made possible by these new offsite options," Pippa said.

Business Events Sunshine Coast is the convention bureau for the Sunshine Coast, and a division of the regional tourism organisation, Sunshine Coast Destination (SCDL).

Alaska Celebrations and Events


Alaskans and visitors will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Mount McKinley, North America's tallest peak, with a number of activities in 2013.  The year of celebration will include exhibitions, festivals and special tours, making the summer months of 2013 an ideal time to book a trip to Alaska. Although the mountain is the centerpiece, it is just one of the highlights of the vast, 6-million-acre park, a haven for extreme sports seekers, those looking for relaxing hikes and bike rides and wildlife spotting. Some of the celebrations will include a special National Parks exhibit at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum of the North and a sustainable summits symposium in Talkeetna, Sept. 8-11. For more information see

Celebrating 50 years of service in 2013, the Alaska Marine Highway System is the only marine route with the designation of National Scenic Byway and All-American Road. Known as the "blue canoes," Alaska's ferries allow travellers to navigate between 33 coastal communities along the Inside Passage, Prince William Sound, Kenai Peninsula and theAleutian Chain. The yearlong 'Golden Anniversary' celebrations will include community events throughout the state, incorporating Alaska art and culture, state and national parks, wildlife viewing and more. For more information go to 
For those heading up to Fairbanks late February and March, Alaska's Christmas town of North Pole was recently selected to host the 2013 International Federation of Sleddog Sports Winter World Championship sled dog races Feb. 26 - March 17. Races occur every two years, alternating between European and North American venues, bringing together the most talented dog mushers and skijorers from around the globe. What a fantastic opportunity to experience this amazing winter sport. For more details see

If travelling the Inside Passage then a visit to Wrangell in early May would be great timing as Chief Shakes Tribal House, a historic replica of a 19th century Tlingit tribal house on Shakes Island in Wrangell Harbor, is celebrating its recent renovation with a rededication and reopening celebration on May 3-4, 2013. Please visit for more information.

Mobile Connectivity Initiatives To Enhance The Frasers Experience

Fraser Suites Sydney
Travellers on-the-go will now be able to make reservations at any of Frasers Hospitality Pte Ltd’s (Frasers) Gold-Standard serviced apartments worldwide via their smartphones anytime, anywhere, with the launch of the group’s new mobile-optimised website (

In line with this focus to further enhance the mobile experience of its business and leisure travellers, Frasers has also announced today that complimentary high-speed wireless Internet access across all its properties worldwide will now be offered, allowing residents to enjoy seamless connection anywhere in the vicinity of its properties throughout the duration of their stay.

User friendly with easy scrolling for efficient browsing, Frasers’ mobile website allows travellers instant access to check on accommodation availability and modify bookings as well as property information, special offers and promotions. Residents also have the added convenience of being able to connect directly with individual properties through the click-to-call function as well as one-touch access to Fraser World.

Mr Choe Peng Sum, Chief Executive Officer of Frasers Hospitality Pte Ltd said: “The ability to access information immediately and complete tasks while on the go has become such an essential part our lives today. Nearly three in four business travellers own a smartphone1 and there will continue to be an increase in mobile travel research by 30 to 43 per cent according to a forecast by Google2. This new initiative is part of our ongoing effort to enhance the Frasers experience and provide our tech-forward residents with the convenience and efficiency they have become accustomed to.”

Available on all smartphones with HTML5 specifications such as the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry Torch, the mobile website provides easy access to the group’s social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Weibo and YouTube.

Frasers Hospitality Pte Ltd’s current portfolio, including those in the pipeline, stands at 76 properties in 41 key gateway cities and more than 12,300 apartments worldwide.

Brisbane's Most Stylish Venue Revealed at AIME Melbourne

With the extensive A$215 million restoration in its final stages, the venue management and catering team from EPICURE were thrilled to be able to reveal details of the impressive new function spaces at the heritage-listed Brisbane City Hall during a press conference held at AIME in Melbourne today.

Striking a fine balance between a modern building that can serve the city and the people of the city whilst maintaining the heritage aspects, this iconic venue will ooze style and grace when it officially re-opens this April to coincide with its 83rd anniversary.

With sweeping marble staircases, vaulted ceilings, chandeliers and mosaic-tiled floors, function facilities have been significantly enhanced to add additional features and services so that the building can be used well into the future.

EPICURE will be managing all of the functions and events held at the Brisbane City Hall and the adjacent 3,000 square metre King George Square and will offer guests the unique blend of seasonal, contemporary food and exceptional service that they are renowned for.

"They don't build unique spaces like this any more," says Mark Kendall, EPICURE Venue Manager, Brisbane City Hall. "This restoration has meant a significant and comprehensive upgrade of the event and meeting spaces at Brisbane City Hall, whilst maintaining all of the charm of the building's significant heritage. The new spaces also mean that event organisers will be able to capitalise on the fantastic central location, making light work of logistics."

Twelve carefully restored and redesigned indoor function rooms with state-of-the-art audio- visual and information technology facilities will be capable of hosting 20 to 2,000 guests and will be available for hire for events such as business meetings, gala's, awards dinners, school formals and speech nights, weddings, exhibitions and concerts. And, for the first time, there will be a brand new commercial kitchen that will cater for the thousands of events to be held in the building which will be run by EPICURE'S Executive Chef Russell Armstrong.

In addition to the function rooms, King George Square is an ideal outdoor venue adjacent to Brisbane City Hall offering full catering and outdoor beverage services.


Living up to the talent it will stage, the newly restored 920 square metre Main Auditorium will inspire patrons and performers alike and is a proud reflection of everything that Brisbane City Hall will offer.
With a capacity suitable for up to 1644 guests, the high ceiling, equipped with the latest lighting and audio-visual equipment, forms the background to the room's focal point - a 23 metre high central lantern. The newly restored timber floor, large stage, semi-circular balcony and grand organ are surrounded by a decorative frieze by Australian artist, Daphne Mayo, featuring six medallions each containing a portrayal of a life sized classical nymph clashing cymbals or blowing a trumpet.

The Brisbane Room, with its high ceilings, polished timber floors and grand chandeliers will take your breath away. It was officially opened as a public space in April 1980 when a time capsule was inserted into one of the decorated pillars. The time capsule will be re-opened on 11 April 2030.
This 368 square metre room is ideally suited for seated formal events for 200 guests, including wedding receptions and school formals, as well as cocktail parties for 300 and business events, presentations, seminars, training sessions and workshops for 180 delegates.
The Brisbane Room adjoins the Moggill Courtyard creating an indoor/outdoor event space like no other in the Brisbane.

The newly restored 324 square metre Ithaca Auditorium is a large, pillarless room that is an ideal setting for medium-sized events such as concerts, recitals, theatrical performances, presentations, conferences for 415 delegates, gala dinners for 200 guests and cocktail ceremonies for 450.
Key features include a high-coffered ceiling, cool paint colour palette, polished wooden stage and piano. The auditorium adjoins the Ithaca Foyer and has extensive back of house spaces and facilities, including private and group dressing rooms.

The Balmoral Suite includes the Balmoral, Oak Table, Windsor and Belmont Rooms that can be hired individually or collectively. This special suite of rooms make up the Lord Mayors Civic function rooms that will be available for private events on weekends and on some evenings.
The 144 square metre Balmoral Room is a popular venue for cocktail parties for up to 120 guests, wedding receptions and formal dinners, as well as business meetings, seminars, training sessions and presentations. The room has a balcony overlooking the northern light well.

The 115 square metre Windsor Rooms' floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking King George Square defines this elegant space. The room is ideally suited to wedding ceremonies, seated events and cocktail parties, as well as business meetings.

As its name suggests, its long heritage-listed oak table defines the 109 square metre Oak Table Room. Advanced digital sound, lighting and wireless technology makes this an ideal room for boardroom style events over breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The smallest of the rooms in the Balmoral Suite, the Belmont Room is 42 square metres and is ideal for a private dinner or lunch meeting or the most intimate of celebrations.

The ultimate location for outdoor events in the centre of Brisbane City offering the full catering and bar facilities available for guests inside City Hall, King George Square offers a range of spaces suitable for corporate events, product launches, Civic ceremonies, festivals, concerts and exhibitions.

With over 3000sqm of useable space, King George Square can be transformed in to a giant dinner party, BBQ or cocktail reception for corporate events.
Elegant marquees to ensure the event is weather proof can also be provided. Stall structures can be hired, along with furniture and other event hire needs.

Outrigger Named Best Deluxe Resort in Fiji

Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji

Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji has been acknowledged as Fiji's premier tourist resort, being named Best Deluxe Resort in the 16th Annual AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards. Judges also hailed the resort's cuisine, naming Outrigger on the Lagoon's signature restaurant Ivi as Best Fine Dining Restaurant.

The Best Deluxe Resort category is contested by Fiji's four and five star resorts and is awarded to that property which provides the most exceptional service and highest quality holiday experience for its  guests.

The Best Fine Dining Award is made to the restaurant that delivers the most impeccable level of service in presenting innovative cuisine underlined by a commitment to the use of local produce.

Outrigger on the Lagoon General Manager Peter Hopgood said the two awards acknowledged the hard work and dedication of the Outrigger team.

``We've got the best team and because of it, we can now rightly claim to have the best resort and the best restaurant,'' he said.

Mr Hopgood accepted the awards on behalf of the Outrigger team at a gala awards ceremony held at a Denarau Island, Fiji resort.

Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji offers 207 rooms and suites and 47 bures set among 16 hectares of gardens on the shores of a reef-fringed lagoon.

In the heart of the Coral Coast on the western side of the main island of Viti Levu, 80kms along the Queen's Road from Nadi airport, it is a luxury, five star resort which embodies the Fijian traditions of friendliness and hospitality.

The award winning Ivi restaurant is located adjacent to the 100 year old 'Ivi' tree from which it gets its name and serves creative Pacific Continental cuisine featuring fresh local and international fare for dinner only, delivering a la carte dining with a menu attuned to the seasons.

Mr Hopgood said naming Ivi as Best Fine Dining Restaurant recognised the culinary standards set by the resort's Executive Chef Shailesh Naidu, one of Fiji's most acclaimed Chefs and the National President of the Fiji Chefs Association.

''Assisted by Chef Priya Darshami, Sous Chef at Ivi Restaurant and 2012 Salon Culinaire Fiji Chef of the Year, Chef  Shailesh Naidu has created an extraordinary dining experience," he said.

Ivi is an adults-only domain designed to provide an intimate setting for couples looking to enjoy fine food and wine amidst the ambience of the resort's signature restaurant.

Staff are trained not only in silver service but also in providing gueridon service for table-side preparations such as Caesar salad, crepe flambé, traditional kokoda and liqueur coffees.

The restaurant also boasts an extensive wine cellar with staff trained to complement food with matching wines.

Outrigger on the Lagoon also stands apart from other resorts with its Talai butler service provided by staff trained by the Australian Butler School and available to guests staying in traditional bure, deluxe ocean view rooms and suites.

Unique to Outrigger on the Lagoon is the Kalokalo Bar, set on Lomalagi Hill overlooking the resort with sweeping views of the Coral Coast and the sunsets for which the west coast is famed.

Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji
Sharing the hilltop with the Kalokalo Bar is Bebe (pronounced behm-beh) Spa which features eight treatment rooms with private, open-air balconies, four of which are fitted with sunken spa baths giving panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.

For additional information visit

More Chinese to Switzerland

Air China
Air China has announced that from May 7, 2013 it will offer 4 non-stop flights per week on a Beijing - Geneva service using the Airbus A330-200. This will be East Asia's first direct route to Geneva. The flight leaves Beijing at 13:30 and arrives at 18:25 in Geneva on the same day. The return flight is expected to take off from Geneva at 20:25 and arrive at the Beijing Capital International Airport at 12:55 the next day. The flight schedule is designed to make it easier for passengers to make transfers in Geneva as well as to access optimal connections in Beijing for passengers from Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Manila.

Business Events Week to Showcase Australia's Billion Dollar Business Events Industry

Australia's inaugural Business Events Week - a major event that will showcase the nation's billion dollar business events industry - has been officially launched by the Federal Minister for Tourism and Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP, and the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, the Right Hon Robert Doyle.

Business Events Week, organised by the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) in its first year, will run from today until this Friday, 1 March and will feature more than 50 events, the centrepiece of which will be the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME), the Southern Hemisphere's premier event for the meetings and incentives industry, which starts tomorrow.

For the five year period 2010/11 to 2014/15, business events secured by MCB alone are estimated to have a direct expenditure impact for Victoria of $874.6 million and an estimated increase in Gross State Product of $1.6 billion1.

MCB Chief Executive Officer, Karen Bolinger, said the organisation was delighted to be taking the lead on Business Events Week in its first year.

"There is no doubt the business events industry is a quiet achiever, which not only generates economic wealth and export opportunities, but also assists with job creation and encourages research and innovation, raising global awareness about the achievements and capabilities of our scientists, academics and practitioners," said Ms Bolinger.

"Melbourne is the number one city in Australia for conferences and congresses as recognised by the International Congress and Convention Association, and will host seven of the world's largest and most prestigious medical conferences over the next two years, including the 22nd World Diabetes Congress in December for 12,500 delegates and the International AIDS Conference in 2014 for more than 14,000 delegates."

Ms Bolinger also said it was fitting that during Business Events Week, AIME would celebrate its 21st anniversary.

"In 2012, more than 3300 visitors attended AIME, with an estimated $US535 million worth of business booked as a result of the show.

"This year, more than 750 exhibitors will be in attendance, as well as over 500 buyers spanning 31 countries, all here to conduct business over two days."

1 Economic Contribution to Business Events in Victoria - Ernst & Young 2012

WTM Latin America to follow World Travel Market – London

World Travel Market Latin America is poised to follow hot on the heels of sister event World Travel Market in London and generate a phenomenal amount of inbound and outbound business for the region.
WTM 2012, the leading global event for the travel industry, will generate a record £1,860 million in travel and tourism industry deals – an impressive 13% increase on WTM 2011’s £1,653 million – either through contracts signed at the event or from negotiations with Meridian Club buyers which will lead to deals before WTM 2013.

WTM Latin America’s three-day Hosted Buyer Programme will fuel the business negotiations and signed contracts at the event, which takes place in São Paulo, Brazil, 23-25 April 2013.

The Hosted Buyers Programme will host up to 250 senior international buyers from the leisure travel and MICE industry interested in the Latin American region.

Furthermore, WTM Latin America will incorporate the Brazilian Association of Tour Operators (BRAZTOA) Business Meeting. BRAZTOA’s Business Meetings are directed at professionals from the tourism market with a focus on business transactions, relationships, professional development and updating the industry of new trends. The BRAZTOA Business Meeting will play a critical role in helping the industry conduct business at WTM Latin America, and perfectly support the event objective to bring the world to Latin America and promote Latin America to the world.

Reed Travel Exhibitions Director World Travel Market Latin America Lawrence Reinisch said: “World Travel Market Latin America will play a critical role in helping to promote one of the world’s growing travel and tourism regions to the world. The combination of the Hosted Buyer Programme and BRAZTOA meetings will help WTM Latin America follow in the footsteps of its London sister event and generate an impressive amount of business for its exhibitors.”

Top Three Outback Adventure Spots in Western Australia

For wild adventure lovers, Australian outback adventure doesn’t come much wilder than this. Western Australia’s outback landscape provides a dramatic backdrop for an unforgettable wilderness adventure. Vast and rugged, its wide open spaces, fresh clean air and roads that seem to extend forever beyond the horizon.

Check out Western Australia’s three best adventure  spots to learn more about where you can immerse yourself in the great outdoors, explore, soak up the fresh air and truly experience the peace and quiet of the outback.

Canning Stock Route

Canning Stock Route
The Canning Stock Route was originally created by Albert Canning in 1908 for Kimberley cattlemen to take their stock to the southern markets. Covering some 51 wells and stretching 2,013 kilometres from Halls Creek to Wiluna, the Canning Stock Route now forms one of the most remote and challenging four-wheel drive tracks in the world.
Those wishing to tackle the route should be extremely well prepared before setting out. Outback travel experience is required in conjunction with a very reliable and capable vehicle that has been specifically prepared for remote, long distance desert travel. Your vehicle will need to be extensively prepared for remote area travel, with all fuel, water, food, vehicle repair equipment and spare parts.

The route can be traversed either way from June to September, but access is totally weather dependant.

All vehicles, whether private or in commercial tours, are required to hold permits for travelling on the Canning Stock Route. Travellers should note that even with a permit, access is restricted to several sites, some located within the Canning Stock Route reserve.

Permits are available through the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation and the Australian National Four Wheel Drive Council (ANFWDC).

Gibb Road River

Gibb River Road Top Trail
The legendary Gibb River Road Top Trail is an icon of outback adventure through the heart of the Kimberley in Western Australia’s North West. The moderate 660 kilometre dirt track passes through remote station country with magnificent scenery and plenty of opportunities to get out of your vehicle to discover one of the many fresh water gorges.

The Gibb, as it is affectionately known, was built for droving cattle from Wyndham to Derby. Today it caters for a steady stream of four-wheel-drives.

Trail signage varies as the area remains privately owned by cattle stations and Aboriginal communities. Every station has a range of beautiful rivers and gorges including: El Questro Station – Chamberlain and Emma Gorges, Mount Barnett Station – Manning Gorge Waterfall Walk, King Leopold Conservation Park – Bell Gorge, Gibb River Station – Barnett River Gorge and Mornington Wilderness Park – Diamond Gorge.

Beware of the fresh and salt water crocodiles. The estuarine crocs inhabit the rivers that meet the sea such as the Durack and Pentecost, whilst the fresh water variety inhabit the likes of the Manning and Barnett.

Nullarbor Plain

Nullarbor Plain
For a true taste of the Western Australian outback head east to the Nullarbor Plain. This massive stretch of land is home to the Eyre Highway, one of the country’s self-drive best road trips, as well as the transcontinental railway line, used by the Indian Pacific train.

The Nullarbor Plain stretches between Norseman in Western Australia and Ceduna in South Australia – at its widest point its about 1,200 kilometres. Tackling the Nullarbor is an odyssey of self-discovery and a challenge to be met – you can even buy the car sticker proclaiming “I crossed the Nullarbor”.

This great treeless plain includes the amazing sea cliffs of the Great Australian Bight accessible by a short detour from the highway.  From some areas of the cliff tops you can go fishing or see migrating whales offshore.

Wildlife is plentiful – keep an eye out for kangaroos, emus, dingoes and wedge-tailed eagles. There are also many caves scattered through the area, some contained fossils dating back thousands of years.

You can stay at one of the roadhouses or motels along the Eyre Highway, or camp.
The Nullarbor Plain starts in Western Australia in Norseman which is a two hour drive south of Kalgoorlie.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

New Developments Laying the Foundations for the Future of New Caledonian Tourism


New Caledonia has been establishing its reputation among island destinations over the past decade or so. Within Europe, it is above all the French market and, among neighbouring markets Australia, New Zealand and Japan account for the lion's share of tourist and traveller flows.

All markets combined, 2011 was a record year with 111,875 tourists visiting New Caledonia.


The New Caledonian tourism sector is entering a new era of consolidation with its facilities and infrastructure.

Faced with rising visitor numbers and the demands of international tourism, the Territory's political and economic leaders have become aware of the future potential of this exceptional destination. In a coordinated approach, the stakeholders have launched initiatives to renovate, develop, commercialise and create tools for New Caledonian tourism.

Tourism's economic dimension has thus been reinforced and has reasserted its place in the economic and social future of the Territory.

Luxury international brands provide robust and vibrant activity in the hotel industry.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has already established itself in the Territory, with the Le Méridien chain and its two high-end establishments in Noumea and on the Isle of Pines. Its expansion in the Territory will take place through the Sheraton chain. It is in BOURAIL, one and a half hours north of the international airport, that the SHERATON DEVA Golf Resort and Spa will open its doors in December 2013.

With its sustainable development approach, the resort looks out over the UNESCO World Heritage lagoon and reefs and, with a land area of 8,000 hectares, offers 120 rooms and suites, 60 bungalows and an 18-hole signature golf course designed by American architect Dye. This high-end establishment will meet the needs of an international clientele all the while constituting a local development that respects the environment and the indigenous populations, as explained by managing director Dominique Michaud.

Similarly, the GLP Hôtels Résidence La Promenade, which opened in 2007 and contains 154 suites and apartments, will become a member of the HILTON chain on 1 July 2013. This provides an excellent opportunity for the Territory to gain exposure in the international client network of one of the world's most prominent chains.

The GLP Group has 730 rooms spread over La Promenade, L'Escapade Ilot Maitre, the Nouvata Complex and Le Paris.

Travel operators join forces

ARC EN CIEL Voyages, the largest incoming tourism agency in the Territory is gearing up. The agency, which is the leader in its market and has a presence in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea, has opened its share capital to hotel operators in New Caledonia and local institutions. And very soon, TAHITI NUI Voyages, the leading tourism operator in Polynesia since 1965, will also enter the share capital of Arc En Ciel Voyages, "in the spirit of complement and not competition", explain Jérôme Pantaloni, Manager of AEC, and Stéphane Sonnet, Managing Director and Director of Development at Tahiti Nui Voyages.

These partnerships will add vigour to the tourism destination that is New Caledonia.

TRAVEL safe and secure

1 - TONTOUTA: Facelift at La Tontouta International Airport

Major renovation works have created a whole new airport to better welcome travellers. The customs and bio-security area has been revamped with a view to facilitating passenger inflow and outflow. Similarly, the new departure lounge now boasts gangways, in addition to which a second check-in hall has been created. Baggage claim area has been separated in two. Lastly, a large souvenir store has been set up over 210m2 and duty free has been reorganised.

These works were carried out by the New Caledonia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which operates the La Tontouta airport.


AIRCALIN is the international airline of New Caledonia. Domestic flights are operated by Air Calédonie.

Upgrade for AIRCALIN

Aircalin has a network of 10 international destinations within the South Pacific and North Asiia from its base Noumea. Its fleet combines modern Airbus A330 and Airbus A320 equipment.

Within the Australian region Aircalin has daily flights from Sydney and 3 per week from Brisbane offering full services on each.

During 2012 the airline has implemented a number of new initiatives to reaffirm its position as a progressive company catering to the needs of its clients and country.

New cabins:

The airline is completely renovating the cabins in its Airbus A330 aircraft.
  • New lie-flat seats in Hibiscus (Business) Class will provide passengers with the comfort of a real bed.
  • New seats in economy class will provide more individual space allowing greater passenger comfort.
  • Brand new state of the art Inflight Entertainment System featuring audio and video on demand and offering a wide selection of the latest movies, games and music.
A new uniform:

Aircalin's staff will wear new uniforms, inspired by the values that the company conveys - elegance and modernity. These new uniforms will represent the symbols and the colours of New Caledonia.


AIRCAL is the domestic airline company. It serves the Loyalty Islands, the Isle of Pines and Grande Terre - New Caledonia's mainland - with regular and daily flights aboard its ATR and Twin Otter planes.

In addition, charters and groups are available on request throughout its network and for the Norfolk Islands and Vanuatu.

Booking facilities were very recently improved for the wider public, with an online booking system. In addition, a new internet booking website will go online in 2013 for Travel Agents and Tour Operators.

Business Events Sunshine Coast Launches New Website and Planner Guide at AIME

Planner Guide Cover
If you've got it, flaunt it!

Business Events Sunshine Coast (BESC) is showing much more of the Sunshine Coast than ever before, with the launch of their visually stunning new website and planner guide at Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME), in Melbourne 26-27 February.

BESC Manager, Pippa McCreery said, we are lucky enough to have a stunning destination, so we have greatly increased the use of imagery on the new website and in the planner guide - if you've got it, flaunt it!

"A lot of effort went in to creating a content-rich, user friendly website that focusses on meeting visitor needs. The ever-evolving pace of digital technology has changed the way we research and organise events, but overwhelmingly feedback indicated that print reigns when it comes to the planner guide."

The website provide a 'one stop shop' for event planners, with innovative features including an interactive mapping tool, a comprehensive news section including blog articles and a resource library containing image and video downloads. 

"The 2013/2014 planner guide contains all the information needed to meet, sleep, taste and indulge on the Sunshine Coast. We invite buyers to visit us on stand 2222 at AIME to pick up a copy of the guide. An exciting new inclusion features offsite event ideas to take advantage of the Sunshine Coast beaches, parks and foreshores. We have worked closely with our local council to access these fabulous open spaces for events - so we are very excited about the increased creativity made possible by these new offsite options," Pippa said.

The BESC team will showcase a new "naturally refreshing" stand at this year's event. An award-winning local body artist will showcase her talent on the stand, creating 'walking sunshine' billboards. The Sunshine Coast are also giving away a weekend for two to the Australian Body Art Carnivale, held on the Sunshine Coast in May this year.

In the largest presence ever, BESC will be joined by 10 stand partners from the Sunshine Coast, selling the region as a premium business conference, meeting and incentive destination.
Operators include: Australia Zoo, Mercure Kingfisher Bay Resort, Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa, Palmer Coolum Resort, QLD Signature Events, RACV Noosa Resort, Ramada Hotel & Conference Centre, Sheraton Noosa Resort and Spa, and The Events Centre, Caloundra.                    
Business Events Sunshine Coast is the convention bureau for the Sunshine Coast, and a division of the regional tourism organisation, Sunshine Coast Destination (SCDL).

Air China Plans More Flights to the USA

Air China

Air China plans to offer a new non-stop service between Houston and Beijing, making Houston Air China’s fifth gateway in North America joining New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver. The 4 per week service, if approved, will start in July. from April/May, Air China will increase the frequency on it’s New York-Beijing and Vancouver-Beijing routes from 7 to 11 per week. the Los Angeles-Beijing service will resume its twice daily flights in march and bigger aircraft will be used for the San Francisco-Beijing daily operation, beginning in April.

Dubai Set to Impress at AIME 2013

Accompanied by Mohamed Almuhairi, DTCM Head of Region for Australia and New Zealand, this year's delegation from Dubai will comprise 17 representatives from hotels, ground operators, as well as the Dubai Convention and Events Bureau (DCEB), a division of DTCM. Together the Dubai delegation will exhibit some of the best examples of what the city has to offer the Australian MICE market.

"The MICE sector remains an important segment of Dubai's tourism industry," says Julie King, Director of the DTCM Australia and New Zealand Representative Office. "The emirate is a globally recognised centre of commerce and trade which offers world class facilities, an impeccable reputation for high quality service, and excellent value for money."

"Dubai is a dynamic destination where it is easy to conduct business. Presently, more than 75,000 hotel rooms and hotel apartments are available, with another 3,380 rooms due to open this year in 12 new hotel establishments, to suit all budgets. With state-of-the-art conference and exhibition facilities, a fast and efficient rail public transport system, along with a large host of exciting attractions,"added King.

"It is easy to see why Dubai is the perfect destination for conferences, meetings and incentives," explains Tariq Al Hashimi, Congress Development Executive of the Dubai Convention and Events Bureau whose aim is to develop and increase Dubai's share of the international MICE and special events market. "The combination of excellent infrastructure, by Browse to Save" href="">hotel and leisure facilities, and with more than 145 airlines to 260 destinations around the world, we are seeing more and more international conferences making their way to Dubai."

The city has the capacity for huge events recently winning bids to host ten major conferences in Dubai in the next four years. These include SIBOS 2013 (9000 delegates); theAsia Pacific Dental Congress in 2014 (3000 delegates); the World Engineering Education Forum in 2014 (3000 delegates); International Tennis Federation AGM in 2014 (1000 delegates); and the International Legal Medicine Congress in 2015 (3000 delegates).

Dubai is currently competing to host the 2020 World Expo. A World Expo in Dubai in 2020 would be the first to be held in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region and would be a platform that would help pioneer new partnerships for growth and sustainability. The Expo 2020 bid theme for the UAE is: Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.

If successful, Dubai will construct the world's biggest convention centre (400-hectare development) located near Al Maktoum International Airport to house the expo. Five of the UAE's biggest companies including Emirates, Dubai Airports, and the Jumeirah Group are backing the bid. The expo is expected to attract more than 25 million tourists. The winning city will be announced in November 2013.

More frequent services to Dubai offer the meetings and incentives segment added flexibility when it comes to organising meetings in Dubai.

"Since launching flights from Australia more than 15 years ago, Emirates has continually and carefully managed growth in its services between Australia and Dubai and the MICE market has played a significant role in its own right," said Barry Brown, Emirates Vice President Australasia.

"Emirates recently deployed a daily A380 service between Melbourne and Dubai, has already increased Adelaide to a daily service and will offer Perth travellers three daily services from 1 March, bringing the total number of flights per week from Australia to 84.

"The spotlight on Dubai as a unique destination for business is brighter than ever with the Qantas and Emirates partnership scheduled to commence 31 March, pending regulatory approval, when the number of weekly flights from Australia to Dubai will increase to 98 flights per week. With 32 of Qantas' domestic destinations open for booking, Emirates will offer even more flexibility for Australian companies considering Dubai for meetings, conventions and incentive packages."

AIME Delegates are invited to visit Dubai Tourism at stand number 3332. Exhibitors at the stand include newcomers the JW Marriott Marquis (the world's tallest hotel), The Jumeirah Group along with the Burj Al Arab, one of the world's most exclusive hotels. A full list of the exhibitors follows:
1001 Events
Arabian Adventures
Atlantis, The Palm
Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers Hotel
Burj Al Arab
Dubai Convention Bureau
Golden Pjoenix Tourism LLC
Grand Hyatt Dubai
Gulf Dunes
Gulf Ventures
Hyatt Regency
InterContinental Dubai Festival City
Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts
JW Marriott Marquis
Park Hyatt Dubai
Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach
The Address Hotels & Resorts

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