Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Fun and Entertainment at 30th Tocal Field Days

The Tocal Field Days are held every year in the first weekend in May. The many visitors include people on the land who are looking for the latest innovations, hobby farmers and enthusiasts and people just looking for a great day out.

Whether you enjoy piglet races, great food and wine, fencing demonstrations or the Grand Parade you can be sure the event will not disappoint. The Exhibitors bring to you all the latest in farming techniques and technologies from solar energy to fencing construction.

Hunter's premium agricultural event attracts around 30,000 visitors and 400 exhibits. Highly regarded for its educational aspect, Tocal combines a genuine rural experience with commerce, entertainment, fashion, regional food and wine, and craft. Served with the renowned Tocal country hospitality.

Pick up show specials with eight tractor companies for comparison, solar gates, log splitters, cattle yards, solar-operated gates, tools galore, big sheds and small quad bikes.

Learn how to prepare livestock for sale and how to sell them through a "fair dinkum" auction and be informed on safe livestock handling techniques on foot with a dog, on horseback and on a quad.

Watch a celebrity chef prepare a signature dish while he shares some secrets, sip an organic wine, sample seafood, enjoy the funky fashion show and learn about permaculture, chainsaws, quad bikes and cattle breeds.

Go back in time at Tocal's heritage homestead showcasing vintage machinery, and blacksmithing.

If you would like to get regular reminders and updates on the Tocal Field Days join the Mailing List to be added to the database.

Tocal Field Days is a non profit incorporated association with three staff members and an enthusiastic band of volunteers. They work throughout the year to ensure that the event runs smoothly for both exhibitors and visitors. Tocal Field Days is not just a good event, it is the best!


- at the gate
ADULT $17, SENIOR $12, CHILDREN UNDER 16 FREE (must be accompanied by a paying adult), COMEBACK PASS (to re-enter on the following day) $10
- on line
ADULT $14 / SENIOR $10 (Children under 16 free with a ticketed adult)


Friday 3rd, Saturday 4th, Sunday 5th May 2013
Opening Times: Fri and Sat - 9am to 5pm, Sun - 9am to 4pm.


Tocal Agricultural College, Tocal Road, Paterson, Australia, NSW 2421



Email fielddays@tocal.com
Post: Tocal Field Days Association, Tocal Agriculture Centre, PATERSON NSW 2421

Manager - Wendy Franklin
Phone (02) 4939 8820, Mobile 0488-264383, Fax (02) 4939 8807
Email wendy.franklin@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Exhibitor Enquiries
Carol Cairney - Phone (02) 4939 8827, Fax (02) 4939 8807
Email carol.cairney@dpi.nsw.gov.au

For more information: www.tocal.com

UNWTO Holds Meeting for the Silk Road Task Force for Future Plans

According to a recent press release from UNWTO, delegates from over 15 countries and representatives of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Federation of Tourist Guides Associations, gathered around the 3rd meeting of the Task Force of the Silk Road Task Force (22-23 April, Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan).

The strong link between sustainable tourism and the rich cultural heritage of the Silk Road was a major talking point during the meeting, which agreed on a range of actions to strengthen the Silk Road Programme.

Millions of cross border visits take place between the Silk Road countries, and a clear need has been identified to promote new sustainable tourism products, focussing on three pillars: marketing and promotion, capacity building, and travel facilitation

“Being part of the Silk Road offers destinations a unique opportunity to leverage collaboration on these key areas”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, in greeting the Task Force Meeting. “This meeting will enhance cooperation between the countries along the Silk Road, raise the profile of Silk Road tourism and contribute to drive sustainable and responsible development along this amazing route”, he addedd.

During the meeting, the delegates developed a range of creative ideas including the vision of a Silk Road Festival, interactive portal and the concept of creating a Silk Road Tourism Partnership, aimed at promoting the world’s longest trade and culture route.

UNWTO took the opportunity of the event to present a plaque in recognition of the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan, Abulfaz Garayev, for his 12 outstanding years of service. Minister Garayev is one of the world’s longest serving tourism ministers and a passionate ambassador for the Silk Road.

The consolidated outcomes of the Task Force Meeting will be will report to the 6th International meeting of the Silk Road Programme to be held in China on 1-3 August 2013.

Renovations to Metro Apartments Darling Harbour Now Complete

Metro Hospitality Group has completed major renovations to its Sydney property Metro Apartments Darling Harbour, including the installation of new kitchens in all apartments, new Sealy beds, refurbished lifts, and the introduction of free high-speed Wifi throughout.

According to George Bedwani, Chief Operating Officer of Metro Hospitality Group, this particular property will maintain its high occupancy because of the strong Sydney  MICE and leisure markets as a result of the many events, concerts, trade shows and conferences which will take place this year. 

"The Sydney Convention Centre will have its busiest year this year before its closure to build a new convention,
exhibition and entertainment precinct which will be ready end of 2016.  Metro Apartments Darling Harbour is located in the heart of Sydney overlooking Darling Harbour so this will result in strong occupancy by not only MICE delegates but business and leisure visitors to the city", George said.

"The Apartments are very popular and enjoy significant repeat business because of their central location, stylish
accommodation and competitive rates."

The Apartments are located in two buildings, the Sussex Street building offering larger, contemporary-styled apartments with views over Darling Harbour while the King Street building has a more exclusive, intimate appeal. The properties are rated three and a half stars and offer a selection of 32 one-bedroom apartments, complete with fully-equipped kitchen, washing machine, dryer and ironing facilities, air conditioning and heating.

All apartments are priced to be affordable for mid-week and weekend getaways in the city or for interstate guests wanting an extended stay in Sydney. Parking is provided at a discounted rate at the nearby Kings Parking on Sussex Street.

A hallmark of all Metro Hospitality Group properties, a popular central city location ensures guests are within easy
walking distance of Sydney's attractions and business district.

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.

Singapore Welcomes its Newest Attraction - the River Safari

Singapore has a new kid in town – River Safari offers a whole new wildlife adventure with over 5,000 aquatic and land animals representing 300 species at Asia's first and only river-themed wildlife park.

The 12 hectare River Safari is the newest addition to Wildlife Reserves Singapore's portfolio of award-winning parks and will showcase animals from freshwater habitats inspired by eight of the world's iconic rivers including the Mississippi, Nile, Mekong, Yangtze and Amazon rivers.  The park will be home to over 150 plant species and 5,000 animal specimens representing 300 animal species, including one of the world's largest collections of freshwater animals.

Among the unique aquatic and terrestrial animals in the park are endangered river giants such as the Giant Salamander, Giant Freshwater Stingray and Mekong Giant Catfish. River Safari is the only park in Asia to feature the Giant River Otter, the world’s largest otter that can grow up to 1.8 metres.

Not simply another attraction, the River Safari aims to highlight the importance of freshwater ecosystems and inspire positive actions in conserving them, including participation in global captive breeding programs for endangered freshwater species.

Be sure not to miss Singapore’s two gorgeous Giant Pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia in their new home too. The 1,500m2 Giant Panda Forest is situated in the Yangtze River exhibition and is the largest panda exhibit in Southeast Asia.  Wander along the elevated boardwalk in the lush biodome that simulates Kai Kai and Jia Jia’s natural habitat.

The park is currently in a soft opening phase, where visitors can walk through the freshwater galleries and immersive exhibits, including the world’s largest freshwater aquarium at the Amazon Flooded Forest and the Giant Panda Forest.  Boat rides throughout the park will open later in the year.

River Safari is open daily from 9am to 6pm, and tickets are available at both the Singapore Zoo and River Safari ticket booths.

For more information, please visit www.riversafari.com.sg


Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, has congratulated local tourism operators for their involvement in the largest tourism exchange in the Southern Hemisphere, which finishes in Sydney today. The Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE), has allowed NSW destinations to promote themselves to the international travel industry.

“This year the ATE has attracted more than 2,280 delegates including travel buyers, Australian sellers and international travel media. The ATE provides a valuable forum for NSW tourism operators to showcase their product, meet overseas contacts and negotiate business deals. 

“More than 725 international buyers have attended, from 47 countries. NSW products have been centre stage for all four days of the Exchange, and we look forward to reaping the benefits of this exposure,” Mr Souris said.

The annual event run by Tourism Australia is co-hosted this year in Sydney by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency. 

“In addition to the business generated during exhibition we expect the ATE to generate around $13.4 million for the State, with around 10,000 visitor nights being spent in Sydney over the event.

“Tourism is now worth more than $20 billion a year and directly employing almost 160,000 people. It is an industry which is a major plank in the Government’s plans to boost the State’s economy with the aim of doubling overnight visitor expenditure by 2020. Events such as the ATE are crucial in helping us reach this goal.” Mr Souris said.

Destination NSW CEO, Sandra Chipchase said, “This is the second time in two years that Destination NSW has hosted the ATE, and our local sellers have again profiled their world-class products to a global audience. While a significant amount of business is done at ATE, delegates have also experienced the best that Sydney and NSW has in store for visitors to our State including our sensational food and wine.”


China Southern Airlines has announced a major overhaul of its Australian operations with its newest airliners being deployed to every port, including one of its five A380s on the Guangzhou to Sydney route.

Speaking at the Australian Tourism Exchange in Sydney, China Southern Executive Vice President Chen Gang said the A380 service would start on October 27 as part of a major expansion strategy down under.

The superjumbo will replace the present CZ325/326 A330-300 service, which departs Sydney at 9.50am and arrives back in Guangzhou at 5.30pm the same day.

Mr Chen also revealed that Sydney would receive China Southern’s latest A330-300 and -200 aircraft offering flatbed comfort up front and personal TVs throughout, by the end of October.

“Australia remains our most important overseas market and the test bed for our global strategy,” Mr Chen said.

“The new A380 Sydney service will be only the second international route for our superjumbos and underlines how crucial the region is to China Southern’s network growth.”

A Sydney Airport report estimates that China Southern’s single daily A380 service will generate 5000 jobs and contribute about $390 million to the Australian economy over a full year.

Mr Chen also revealed that Guangzhou, the airline’s bustling hub in southern China, would introduce a 72-hour visa-free stay policy for Australians travelling on its Canton Route in the second half of 2013.

“Our Canton Route via Guangzhou is the new and exciting way for Australians to fly and we are absolutely thrilled that they will soon be able to stop over in this vibrant city with a free transit permit for up to 72 hours to try some authentic Cantonese Yum Cha, enjoy the local culture and shop ‘til they drop,” Mr Chen said.

As part of an ongoing strategy to improve the airline’s inflight service, Mr Chen also announced that a pool of 400 dedicated English-speaking cabin crew were being deployed across the airline’s vast network including on the Sydney A380 and new A330s.


NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, were special guests at yesterday's Destination NSW’s hosted ATE luncheon. During the Vivid Sydney themed luncheon, the Premier spoke about the NSW Government's commitment to tourism and major events and stressed the importance of working closely with industry to achieve its target of doubling tourism by 2020. The Premier highlighted NSW’s recent record-breaking Qantas partnership announcement, Destination NSW’s successful major events strategy and the new Regional Visitor Economy Fund during his speech.

Prior to the Destination NSW lunch, the Premier and Minister Souris took a guided tour through ATE with Destination NSW CEO, Sandra Chipchase, beginning with Destination NSW’s stand and meeting New South Wales operators in attendance at ATE


Vivid Sydney will light up the harbour city from 24 May to 10 June with an electrifying program of light, art, music and ideas that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from interstate and overseas. Vivid Sydney celebrates Sydney as the creative hub of Australia and the Asia Pacific region, featuring immersive light installations and projections; free family events; music performances and collaborations; creative ideas, public talks, industry seminars, conferences, workshops and debates. Now in its fifth year, Vivid Sydney 2013 has a bigger than ever program across light, music and ideas including an expanded footprint in new precincts across Sydney.

In 2013 the Vivid Sydney footprint extends to include Darling Harbour, the focus of the Aquatique Show, a cutting-edge light, water and projection event synchronised to music. This is the first time a show of this complexity has been staged in Sydney, and Darling Harbour is the perfect location for the spectacular show that features a 60m-wide fountain filled with seawater and stunning LED lighting.

Also for the first time, Vivid Sydney is lighting the western façade of the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, a world-first feat as the general public controls the lighting, from an interactive panel located on the boardwalk beneath the bridge near Luna Park. Visitors can select a section of the bridge, choose a colour and send a message via the latest technology and the illuminated creation appears on the ionic bridge for the world to admire.

Korea Tourism Launches New Seoul Walking Tour Mobile App

Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) has launched a new Seoul Walking Tour Mobile App, a smart tour guide for sixteen famous tourist destinations located in downtown Seoul.

The App is the eleventh smart audio tour guide App to be released by KTO, following in the wake of those devised for the UNESCO World Heritage sites and the historical remains of the Silla and Baekje kingdoms.

The App which is available in English, Japanese and Chinese versions offers foreign visitors intriguing stories about the most frequently visited tourist attractions located in Cheonggyecheon, Jongno and Insa-dong in the central downtown area of Seoul.

The App is also equipped with GPS utility, so even visitors on their first trip to Korea can easily find their way around Seoul to all the major tourist attractions simply by holding the application the app in the palm of their hand.

If you are planning a trip to Seoul in the near future the new Seoul Walking Tour App will make getting around Seoul a whole lot easier and with the audio guide you can discover a whole lot more about the major attractions of Seoul city.
To download the App go to the App store, search 'Seoul City Tour' and go to set-up menu and download the contents, then you can also enjoy free services even in areas not covered by wi-fi.

Another handy App for travelling throughout Korea is KTO's smartphone Visit Korea 2.0 App.  The Visit Korea 2.0 smartphone App contains extensive information on travelling in Korea including tourist attractions, accommodation, restaurants, shopping and much more. All listings have a map to assist travellers with navigation, and the social networking services sharing function.

Until the end of June this year, if you download the Visit Korea 2.0 App from the Visit Korea website you can also have the chance to win a FREE SIM card with a 2,000 won balance as well as free 10,000 won calling cards for ten winners each day.  You can also get a 10% free credit when charging through the EG SIM card App.  More details on how to get a SIM card for your smartphone before travelling to Korea are available at the following webpage: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/HD/event/enu_20130116/enu.html

Australian Tourism's Premier Travel Trade Show Heads to Cairns for 2014

Australia’s only trade show dedicated to exclusively promoting Australian tourism products and experiences to the global travel market, the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE), will be hosted in Cairns for the first time in 2014 - helping to further bolster the country’s $107 billion tourism sector.

Organised by Tourism Australia, the annual event brings together 725 overseas travel buyers from 39 countries to meet with around 1,500 Australian delegates from 470 companies from every state and territory.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said ATE was the most significant annual trade marketing activity for the tourism industry, enabling Australian tourism businesses to build relationships with wholesale travel agents who sell Australian holidays internationally.

“In previous years the immediate economic impact of ATE to the host destination has been around $13.4 million and 10,000 visitor nights, whilst also providing the longer term benefits of tourism generated through the business forged during the event.

“The relationships built at ATE are important for converting the demand for Australia’s tourism experiences,” Mr McEvoy said.

“During ATE international buyers have the opportunity to not only meet face-to-face with hundreds of Australian tourism suppliers, from our hotels, tour operators, to our attractions, but also experience the destination first-hand through pre and post touring.

ATE 2014 will be held in Cairns as part of an agreement between event organiser Tourism Australia and major sponsor and host state tourism organisation Tourism and Events Queensland.

“Queensland and Cairns are always well represented at ATE and now the destination has the opportunity to share with the world what is unique and special about their part of the Australia,” Mr McEvoy.

“It will be a very special edition of ATE held right on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef for the very first time. We expect that international buyers will welcome this opportunity to do business with Australian tourism suppliers in this incredible regional destination,” Mr McEvoy said.

ATE 2014 will mark the fourth time Queensland has hosted the event since its establishment in 1979.

Managed by Tourism Australia, with support from host state Tourism and Events Queensland, ATE 2014 will be held in Cairns in May.

Tourism Australia and Tourism and Events Queensland will announce further details about the event format, venues and dates in coming weeks.

Chinese Visitors Cross One Million in First Quarter 2013

Led by a dramatic 93% growth in arrivals from China, Thailand's visitor arrivals surged to a record total of 6,828,718 in January - March 2013, up by 18.94% over the same period of 2012, according to figures published by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
China's total of 1.12 million visitor arrivals made it the first time that any country had crossed the one million mark in the short span of three months. The growth was mainly due to the Chinese New Year in February 2013, which led to a spike in long-holiday travel to Thailand. In addition, major markets such as Russia, Korea and India are showing strong double digit growth and Japan has bounced back strongly.
TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni welcomed the good results. "We are gratified to see that our marketing efforts are producing results. In these days of economic challenges and geopolitical instability, it is very important that at least one sector of the economy is continuing to prove to be a major source of income and jobs." Mr. Suraphon said he was also pleased to see that the strengthening of the Thai Baht has not impacted visitor arrivals to Thailand.

Here is a summary of the key results:
Overview: All regions grew well except the Middle East. Visitors from East Asia totalled 3,623,713 (+28.50%), Europe 2,131,719 (+10.28%), the Americas 331,070 (+8.71%), South Asia 313,634 (+16.03%), Oceania 250,124 (+6.07%), Middle East 139,499 (-1.20%), and Africa 38,959 (+6.70%).
East Asia: East Asian visitor arrivals comprise the biggest market share of all visitors. A total of 3.62 million or 53.07% were from East Asian countries. Apart from China, the other top sources of arrivals were Malaysia (627,759), Japan (408,048), and Korea (350,529).
The ASEAN countries in total are generating over 1.48 million arrivals, with spectacular growth by Brunei (+73.11%), Indonesia (+35.13%), Myanmar (+23.27%), Singapore (+22.90%), Vietnam (+5.02%), Philippines (+4.42%), Malaysia (+1.94%) except Cambodia declined by 11.69% and Lao PDR. (-16.64%).
Europe: European visitors showed a good growth rate of 10.28% to 2.13 million. Russia retained its status as the largest source market from Europe with arrivals of 584,516, up 26%. Germany is the second highest source market with a total of 252,108, up 12.22%, followed by the United Kingdom 246,943, up 2.83%.
Strong growth from East Europe (+27%) and Sweden (+3.72%) was due to the positive economic conditions there and the special charter flights which are operated to Thailand during the winter months. Sweden is recovering from a year ago while Belgium (+12.10%), Ireland (+5.94%), Switzerland (+5.92%), Spain (+1.15%), and France (+0.40%) continued to see growth.
Declining source-markets from Europe included Italy, Denmark, Finland and Norway partly due to weather-related problems in Northern Europe. Italy was particularly affected by the Eurozone debt crisis and the presidential election in February 2013.
The Americas: Arrivals from the Americas showed a growth of 8.71% to 331,070. The main market, USA, increased by 8.25% to 227,319, which was an indication of the country emerging from its economic downturn. Arrivals from Canada were up 4.57%. Showing considerable promise are Latin American markets; such as, Brazil (+21.11%) and Argentina (+18.28%) due to their strong economies.
South Asia: Arrivals from South Asia grew by a strong 16.03% to 313,634. India topped the list with arrivals up by 18.21% to 249,350, due to its strong economy and increased flights. Other countries; such as, Pakistan (+7.14%) and Nepal (+2.21%), too, saw unrest and political protests but they did not affect tourist travel to Thailand.
Oceania: Arrivals from Oceania grew by 6.07% to 250,124 visitors. Australian visitors were up 5.55% to 224,530 driven by the robust Australian economy and the strength of the Australian dollar. Arrivals from New Zealand were up 11.29% to 25,016.
Middle East: Arrivals declined by 1.20% to 139,499. This was mainly because of a decline of 5.92% in arrivals from the UAE, to 20,209. UAE residents took advantage of the weak Euro and the subsequent fall in prices of travel packages to European destinations to travel there instead. Moreover, the economic sanctions on Iran have also dragged down the growth rate of this region.
However, some source-markets, including Egypt (+28.02%), Israel (+11.70%), and Kuwait (+11.21%) reported good results.
Africa: Arrivals from Africa grew by 6.70% to 38,959, mainly due to the driving force of the South African market.
In 2013, TAT is confident that if the global, regional and local situation remains stable, Thailand will receive 24.14 million arrivals, generating a projected tourism income of 1.1 trillion Baht.

Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou Offers Premier Weekend Deals

Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou
Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou is offering a specially designed weekend room package with a tour of Suzhou from now until mid-November 2013. Guests will be able to explore one of selected attractions in the city, including a night tour to Master-of-the-Nets Garden, Taihu Lake Wetland Park and Candy Land. Guests can also enjoy Huaiyang, Cantonese and local cuisines at Shang Palace. The Premier Weekend Deals room package starts at Rmb1,100 (subject to 15 per cent service charge) for a one-night stay in a Premier Room.

The Premier Weekend Deals room package includes the following benefits:
  • Access to the Health Club and heated swimming pool
  • Access to broadband Internet and Wi-Fi
  • A choice of: a. Two adult tickets for Night Tour in Master-of-the-Nets Garden; b. Two adult tickets and one child (between 1.2-1.5m) ticket to the Taihu Lake Wetland Park; and c. A dining credit of Rmb200 at Shang Palace
“It is a journey where guests will indulge in the fascinations of Suzhou and be enchanted by the grandeur and comforts of Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou during the relaxing weekends,” said Susanna Li, hotel general manager.

The city of Suzhou, known as the “garden city,” is dotted with classic gardens filled with poetic scenery, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of China’s finest, the Master-of-the-Nets Garden.

Guests can travel to the Master-of-the-Nets Garden in about 20 minutes by car from the hotel. The garden is inspired by the simple and solitary life of a Chinese fisherman depicted in philosophical writings. It has over 800 years of history and is particularly regarded among connoisseurs for its mastery of relative dimension, contrast, foil, sequence and depth, and borrowed scenery.

The night tour of the Master-of-the-Nets Garden is available from spring to autumn, and includes eight live performances that showcase the cultural legacy of Suzhou: the traditional dumb show, the Kunqu Opera, Suzhou Pingtan, and instrumental performances of the Chinese erhu, pipa, cheng and others. At night, golden clearance lights and scarlet palace lanterns outline the pavilions and platforms along the river, radiating grace and elegance everywhere. Actors in ancient theatrical costumes organize the traditional performances. Show times are at 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.

The Taihu Lake Wetland Park is located west of the city, about 30 minutes by car from Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou. This state-level wetland adds a natural, ecological and rural charm to the city. Guests will encounter wild birds and get acquainted with the eight aquatic treasures from Taihu Lake, including cane shoots, water shield, water caltrop, lotus root, Gorgon fruit, chestnut, arrowhead and water fennel. Entertainment facilities, such as an aquatic sports centre, a foot-operated water mill and a farmer’s orchard, are also available.

Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou offers a specially designed children’s menu that guests bringing children will appreciate. Café Soo offers a children’s corner where the little ones can play with toys, have fun on the slide, and watch their favourite cartoon shows. The whole family can also lounge by the hotel’s heated swimming pool with separate children’s pool.

Guests can also relax in the comfort of the hotel room and enjoy the authentic seasonal local cuisine prepared by Chinese Executive Chef Roger Xu at Shang Palace with the Rmb200 dining credit included in the package. Guests can also enjoy the fully equipped Spa and Health Club to rejuvenate the body.

Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou is located on the top 24 floors of the Metropolitan Tower, the landmark of Suzhou New District. The hotel has 390 spacious and tastefully designed rooms and suites, all offering panoramic views of the city. Six restaurants and bars provide guests with a range of dining and entertainment options. Within easy access to the city’s finest attractions, the Suzhou railway station and the Shanghai-Nanjing highway, Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou is an ideal choice for travellers.

For reservations or more information, please call (86 512) 6808 0168 or e-mailreservations.slsz@shangri-la.com. Terms and conditions apply, and reservations are subject to availability.

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently owns and/or manages 78 hotels under the Shangri-La, Kerry and Traders brands with a room inventory of over 32,000. Shangri-La hotels are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services. Shangri-La hotels are located in Australia, Canada, mainland China, Fiji, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Singapore, Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. The group has a substantial development pipeline with upcoming projects in mainland China, India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Turkey and United Kingdom. For more information and reservations, please contact a travel professional or access the website at www.shangri-la.com.


Paradise Bay

Paradise Bay Eco Escape

Located on Long Island in the Whitsundays, Paradise Bay Eco Escape reopened in March, 2013. Offering a unique blend of eco lodges and a luxury resort, all set against the backdrop of stunning beaches and untouched wilderness full of friendly native wildlife. With a maximum of 20 guests at one time, no children, no mobile phone reception or internet, Paradise Bay is truly an escape from the world. www.paradisebay.com.au

Air Whitsunday

Air Whitsunday operates a range of tours to the Great Barrier Reef from Airlie Beach, landing their guests on the reef within 30 minutes of departure to snorkel in secluded coral suspended lagoon. They operate a fleet of luxury Cessna Caravans and classic de Havilland Beaver and are the largest seaplane operator in the Southern Hemisphere. Air Whitsundays' reef location is completely private and allows for no more than 22 passengers at a time offering a truly intimate experience on the Great Barrier Reef. They have recently commenced tours to their newly-refurbished semi-submersible Coral Dancer, offering an intimate reef experience for a maximum 10 passengers. www.airwhitsunday.com

Airlie Beach Hotel

Located in the heart of Airlie Beach, the Airlie Beach Hotel first opened in 1968 as a beachside holiday pub for residents of nearby Proserpine and surrounding cane farming districts. Since a private family company purchased the site in 1982, it has been extensively refurbished and expanded to include 80 rooms, comprising 56 four-star hotel rooms, four self-contained suites and 20 refurbished motel rooms, plus an excellent range of casual and more upmarket dining experiences. Some exciting outdoor upgrades are currently underway, with the revitalised Capers Bar and Grill reopening July, 2013. www.airliebeachhotel.com.au

Fly high in the Whitsundays

Enjoy a bird's eye view of the islands of the Whitsundays with GSL Aviation's island transfers, scenic flights and air charter flights. Their Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Island scenic flight lets you experience the stunning beauty of the region, flying over Hamilton Island, Whitehaven Beach, Heart Reef, Hayman Island and more in rock-star style. GSL Aviation provides a free pick-up and drop-off service from Airlie Beach and surrounding suburbs so all you have to worry about is bringing your camera! www.gslaviation.com.au

Monday, 29 April 2013

Romeo and Juliet at Wagga

The timeless story of two star-crossed lovers.
Presented in the courtyard of the Performing Arts Precinct of Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga, NSW Australia

Directed by Thomas Papathanassiou.
Performed by students of the Acting for Screen and Stage course.
Designed by students of the Design for Theatre and Television course.


30th April - 4th May @ 8pm
Gates Open at 7pm - Bring a picnic!

Ticket Prices
Adults $15
Concession/Students/CSU Staff $7
Student Preview (29th April) $2



Lovedale Long Lunch

Lovedale Long Lunch is a food and wine trail event in the Hunter Valley of NSW Australia,

This Hunter Valley event is a progressive-style lunch where food and wine lovers can feast and dance around seven Lovedale wineries over the third weekend in May each year.

These Lovedale wineries team with local Hunter Valley restaurants for a weekend of fine wine, gourmet food and live entertainment.

The Lovedale Long Lunch is celebrating it's 20th Anniversary in May 2013. Get a group of friends together, stay in Lovedale accommodation, book a bus tour and enjoy a fun and relaxing weekend away.

For groups of 20 people or more, book your Lovedale Long Lunch Entry Package today to guarantee your place at the Hunter Valley's unmissable food and wine event of 2013. Tickets will also be available on the day for groups less than 20 at each participating winery.

Saturday Entry Package - $85

IIncludes 2 meal tickets, 1 dessert/cheese ticket, 1 polycarbonate tasting glass, 10 tasting tokens and re-admission on Sunday. Supplementary meal ($25) and dessert tickets ($10) are also available.

To redeem your Sunday re-admission, you must present your Saturday wristband and official tasting glass at the entry to one of the participating wineries on Sunday. Groups over 20 must request a Sunday bus admission pass when booking tickets. ALL GROUPS OF 20 PEOPLE OR MORE MUST PRE-BOOK BY 3rd MAY 2013

Sunday Entry Package One - $65

Includes 1 meal ticket, 1 dessert/cheese ticket, 1 polycarbonate tasting glass and 5 tasting tokens.

Sunday Entry Package Two - $85

Includes 2 meal tickets, 1 dessert/cheese ticket, 1 polycarbonate tasting glass and 10 tasting tokens. Supplementary meal tickets ($25), dessert tickets ($10) and wine tasting tokens ($5 for 5) are also available. ALL GROUPS OF 20 PEOPLE OR MORE MUST PRE-BOOK BY 3rd MAY 2013

When: Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May, 2013
More Information: http://www.lovedalelonglunch.com.au/index.html


The food and wine culture found in New South Wales is one of the most exciting of any in the world. The State’s vast diversity of microclimates enables it to produce a huge variety of high quality raw materials, including stone fruits, olives, fungi, cheeses, seafood, truffles, meats, nuts, grains, game and tropical fruits. Add creative chefs eager to experiment plus the cross fertilisation of tastes, ingredients and styles derived from a population that comes from all corners of the planet and you have a daring and original food and wine culture.

Last night DNSW hosted their very own pop-up bar on their stand to reflect the ever-expanding Sydney small bar scene. Bulletin Place Wine Bar is one of the latest to join Sydney’s small-bar elite. Behind the bar is Tim Phillips, who brought home the Diageo Reserve World Class Global Bartender of the Year from Rio de Janeiro in 2012. Elsewhere in the city, Jason Scott and Anton Forte, the bar wizards behind Sydney’s acclaimed Shady Pines Saloon and Baxter Inn, have scored again with Frankie’s Pizza, a supercool Hunter Street retro bar that takes its design cues from Italian kitsch.

Escape the city and explore one of NSW’s 14 wine regions. From the iconic Hunter Valley, home to more than 120 wineries and just a two-hour drive from Sydney, to the 60-plus vineyards of the Southern Highlands and their cool-climate varieties, to the inland towns of Mudgee and Orange, there is never a shortage of good wine and food in NSW.

A variety of NSW produce will be showcased on the DNSW stand this year at ATE including Opera Kitchen, Baroque Café, Legendary Pacific Coast Food Trail items, Nicks Restaurant Group, Small Acres Pomme Cyder from Orange, Audrey Wilkinson Shiraz from Hunter Valley, A. Retief Cabernets from Hilltops, Swinging Bridge Sauvignon Blanc from Orange, De Iuliis Verdelho from Hunter Valley, Murray’s Angry Man Pale Ale from Port Stephens.

To read more about the food and wine regions of NSW and Sydney’s bar and dining scene, please visit the Destination NSW website.

UNWTO and ATM Gears Up for Aviation and Tourism Growth

The development of tourism in the Middle East is the prime example of how tourism and aviation can act together as drivers of growth. With the region as a background, Ministers of Tourism and aviation leaders will gather at the UNWTO/ ATM Ministerial Forum to set a common agenda for air transport and tourism that allows the industry to fully seize the opportunities of future tourism growth (Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 7 May 2013).

The extraordinary growth of international tourism over the 6 last decades – from 25 million tourists in 1950 to one billion in 2012 – is as much due to advances in air transport as to the rise of the middle class, the growing wealth in industrialized and emerging countries and the forces of globalization.

Nonetheless, and in spite of the immense linkages between aviation and tourism, separate sectorial policies result in a fundamental, and too often even conflicting, disconnect which constitutes a severe constraint on the development of both sectors.

The UNWTO/ATM Ministerial Forum on “Tourism and Aviation: Building a Common Agenda for Growth”, held Under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Arabian Travel Market, will bring together Ministers of Tourism and leaders from the aviation industry to discuss how aviation and tourism policies can come closer to set a common agenda for connectivity, economic growth and sustainable development.

Speakers include H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, H.E. Mrs. Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State and Managing Director of the Higher Committee on International EXPO Dubai 2020, H.E. Mr. Hisham Zaazou, Minister of Tourism of Egypt, H.E. Mr. Alain Saint-Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Seychelles, H.E. Mr. Jamel Garma, Minister of Tourism of Tunisia and H.E. Mr. Issa Mohammed Al Mohannadi, Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority.

The role of air transport is central to the future development of tourism and its contribution to the economy. UNWTO forecasts international tourists to reach 1.8 billion by 2030, 52% of which will arrive to the visited destinations by air, and issues such as taxation, regulation, visa facilitation or climate change require a strong aviation and tourism agenda.

With the Middle East as a backdrop, the UNWTO/ATM Ministerial Forum will focus on how to remove current obstacles to the growth of aviation and tourism, how to align transport and tourism policies and how to promote connectivity between the Middle East and other world regions. The conclusions of the meeting will serve as a basis for a broader global debate on aviation and tourism during the World Travel Market UNWTO Ministers Summit in London (November 2013).

The UNWTO/ATM Forum will take place on Tuesday 7 May 2013 at the Arabian Travel Market and will be open to all exhibitors, visitors and media registered to attend Arabian Travel Market.


The stars from Madame Tussauds Sydney visited ATE yesterday and delegates were eager to have their photo taken with waxworks including Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman and Johnny Depp. To see the image gallery from yesterday’s celebrity encounters, please visit the Destination NSW Facebook page. 

100 Smiles in Chiang Mai for Dusit Smiles

Leading Asian hospitality group Dusit International held a press conference at Maharaj Nakhorn Chiang Mai Hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand to announce its sponsorship of cleft lip or cleft palate surgeries for 100 children with these facial deformities. The sponsorship comes by way of Dusit Smiles, a program created in partnership with Operation Smile Thailand.

The surgeries are possible due to donations collected from guests and staff of Dusit International’s hotels and resorts. Donations are collected throughout the year via voluntary staff salary deductions, donation boxes in the hotels, and various fundraisers organized by the Group.

Founded in 2010, by 2011 Dusit Smiles raised enough funds to sponsor surgeries for nearly 80 children. In 2012, to commemorate the auspicious occasion of the 85th birthday of HM the King of Thailand, the company sponsored 85 surgeries.

To date, Dusit Smiles’ efforts have raised over 3 million THB, used to cover the cost of medical equipment as well as transportation for the children and their families. The surgeons, nurses and hospital staff are all volunteers.

“Because we are a Thai company, we feel it is both our duty and responsibility to give back to the community,” said Mr. David Shackleton, COO of Dusit International. “The objectives and results achieved by Operation Smile Thailand make this an exceptional organisation to support, and we are pleased to partner with them in bringing a brighter future to these deserving children.”

Since 1997, Operation Smile Thailand has treated over 7,000 children with facial deformities. Children who do not receive reconstructive surgery often have difficulty breathing, drinking, eating and speaking. As a result, many suffer from malnutrition, medical and psychological problems. Approximately one in every 500 babies in Thailand is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate, but in as little as 60 minutes, one surgery can change a child's life.

Photo 1 from left to right:
  • Mr. Nitti Racharit, Hotel Manager, Royal Princess Chiang Mai
  • Ms. Therese Beauvais, Board Member, Operation Smile Thailand
  • Mr. Kevin J Beauvais, Chief Executive Officer, Operation Smile Thailand
  • Mr. David Shackleton, Chief Operating Officer, Dusit International
  • Ms. Sukanya Janchoo, GURU dusitD2 chiang mai and General Manager Royal Princess Chiang Mai
  • Mr. Mana Chanhorm, General Manager Dusit Island Resort Chiang Rai

Photo 2
Photo 2 from left to right:

  • Ms. Therese Beauvais, Board Member, Operation Smile Thailand
  • Mr. Mana Chanhorm, General Manager Dusit Island Resort Chiang Rai
  • Dr. Krit Kwan-ngern, Plastic Surgeon, Maharat Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital
  • Mr. Kevin J Beauvais, Chief Executive Officer, Operation Smile Thailand
  • Assoc. Prof. Wattana Navacharoen, Dean of Faculty of Medicine Chiang Mai University
  • Mr. David Shackleton, Chief Operating Officer, Dusit International
  • Asst. Prof. Wimon Sirimaharaj, Head of Plastic Surgeon, Maharat Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital
  • Dr. Puttan Wongtriratanachai, Plastic Surgeon
  • Mr. Nitti Racharit, Hotel Manager, Royal Princess Chiang Mai
  • Ms. Sukanya Janchoo, GURU dusitD2 chiang mai and General Manager Royal Princess Chiang Mai

For more information on Operation Smile Thailand, visit http://www.dusit.com/dusit-smiles.html.

Marriott Launches Hotel School in China

Marriott International has launched a new hotel school in China, following the signing of a partnership with the Anhui Zhong-Ao Institute of Technology.

(Photo - Regan Taikitsadaporn, Marriott's Chief Human Resources Officer for Asia, (centre left) and Wang Yuan Hao, President of Anhui Zhongao Institute of Technology (third right), with Marriott and Anhui government executives at launch event of Marriott Institute of Hospitality Education)

The Marriott Institute of Hospitality Education will form part of the Anhui college, with the first students enrolling for its three-year diploma programme this year. An estimated 300 students are expected to join in 2013.

Initially, the curriculum will focus on hotel management, but plans are in place to expand it to include areas of food & beverage and tourism management. Marriott executives will be involved in teaching students, while the company will also offer field day and internship opportunities at its hotels. In the final year of study, students will have work placements at Marriott’s Chinese properties to gain practical hotel industry experience.

“Marriott International is proud of the fact that it is consistently recognised as a top employer in China and around the world. We have been providing career development opportunities to ambitious talents worldwide for more than eight decades. The launch of the Marriott Institute of Hospitality Education not only upholds our core values, but also serves as a timely move to fuel our tremendous portfolio growth in China,” Marriott’s Chief Human Resources Officer for Asia, Regan Taikitsadaporn, said at the inauguration ceremony.

Marriott has already launched ‘co-operation programmes’ with 15 colleges in China, and has relations with 112 others, but Taikitsadaporn called the tie-up with the Anhui Zhong-Ao Institute of Technology “unprecedented”.

“The hospitality industry of China has been growing rapidly and this trend is expected to continue in coming years. Therefore it is essential that our education will keep pace with and meet the human resources demand of the industry. We are delighted to have the support of Marriott International to this programme as the company brings a wealth of experience and heritage in developing hospitality talent around the world,” said Wang Yuan Hao, Dean of Marriott Institute of Hospitality Education.

Marriott expects to open on average one hotel every month in China for the five years, adding an estimated 40,000 new staff members by 2016. In 2012, Marriott recruited more than 2,500 interns in China.


Bedarra Island Resort

Bedarra Island Resort update

Although the Bedarra Island Resort is currently closed while undergoing renovations, the resort is now taking reservations for stays from 1 June 2013. Upon reopening, Bedarra will continue to be the ultimate barefoot luxury island destination. Less guest villas, more privacy, renewable energy through solar and wind power, fresh spring water and rainwater from natural sources ensuring Bedarra remains the ultimate unspoilt natural island paradise. www.bedarra.com.au/reservations

Mossman Gorge Centre

A new indigenous eco-tourism development in Tropical North Queensland, the Mossman Gorge Centre is the welcome point for visitors to this Mossman Gorge World Heritage site. When looking for a genuine, authentic engagement with Indigenous Australians, the centre offers walks, an art gallery, a café all whilst hearing about the Dreamtime stories from the local Kuku Yalanji people. www.mossmangorge.com.au

New look for Orpheus Island

Orpheus Island
Following a refurbishment and soft opening late last year, Orpheus Island has officially reopened its doors. Just 80km north of Townsville (25 minute scenic flight), the tranquil island stretches across 11km of turquoise coastline, with fringing reef accessible just a few steps off the beach. Accommodating just 34 guests at any one time, Orpheus offers guests a plethora of once-in-a-lifetime experiences; be it a fishing trip where the day's catch is grilled on an open fire; an indigenous-led tour of the neighbouring islands; or taking a dinghy and gourmet picnic hamper and discovering the many pristine bays and reefs that fringe Orpheus. www.orpheus.com.au

Go eye to eye with salties on new croc-spotting tour

Jump on board a jet ski for a one-hour tour around Admiralty Island, south of Cairns, to spot a croc. Salties lurk below the mangrove channels, which twist and turn around this inlet, making a maze-like link of rivers to explore. While all eyes will be on the water, don't forget to look up to spot ospreys, kingfishers and egrets as they hunt and play in the sky above. Too scared to ride alone? Jump on board with a friend to spot a croc on a tandem jet ski. www.nqwatersports.com.au

Pullman brand in tropical north

Accor's Pullman brand officially became Australia's largest five-star hotel brand following the re-branding Sea Temple Resort & Spa Port Douglas. It follows hot on the heels of the re-branding to Pullman of Sea Temple Resort & Spa Palm Cove earlier this year. They join two Pullman hotels in Cairns (Reef Casino and the former Sebel) to give the Pullman brand a prominent position in Tropical North Queensland's hotel and tourism industry. http://accorhotels.com.au/press/australia

Reef House Resort & Spa

After undergoing an impressive refurbishment, Reef House Resort & Spa in Palm Cove, a favoured hideaway of Australia's elite has joined the Accor network and become part of its exclusive MGallery Collection of hotels. http://accorhotels.com.au/press/australia

Cairns Zoom & Wildlife Dome

The Cairns ZOOm and Wildlife Dome now offers activities including Wildlife Entry Mid-ZOOm, Hi-ZOOm with Ziplines PowerJump (with ZOOm-View Internal Walkway), Dome Climb (with ZOOm-View Internal Walkway). Open from 9am to 9pm daily (except Christmas Day). http://cairnszoom.com.au

Rydges Sabaya relaunched as QT Port Douglas

The quirky yet sophisticated QT Port Douglas offers guests a stylish resort escape in the tropics. Channelling the colourful tropical atmosphere into 170 funky rooms and suits, resort facilities, a hip bar, onsite boutique and a restaurant that doubles as an interactive marketplace, QT has injected glamorous fun into the heart of Port Douglas. Dine at QT's Bazaar, an interactive marketplace that takes inspiration from traditional markets with a 21th century twist or stop by the cool cocktail bar Estilo. www.qtportdouglas.com.au

Mount Mulligan Station

Saddle up and experience all the adventure of a magnificent working cattle property at Mount Mulligan Station, three hours' drive north of Cairns. Home to 2,300 head of cattle, bird watching, bushwalking, horse riding, quad biking and crystal clear waterholes, the 28,000-hectare property is set at the foot of the majestic Mount Mulligan - an 18km long sandstone escarpment around 10 times the size of Uluru. Mount Mulligan is also known by indigenous people as the birthplace of the Rainbow Serpent and is regarded as one or the most sacred sites in north Queensland. Previously only open to the public for camping, new deluxe accommodation options and organised tours have recently been launched. Choose from the 'Outback Overnighter' staying in luxury safari tent style accommodation or harness your inner cowboy and take on the five-day 'Mt. Mulligan Cattle Drive' package for a true Australian outback experience. Tours can also be tailored to suit any needs.

Lizard Island Heli Tours

New this year are heli tours to and around Lizard island. Guests now have the option see the island and its surrounds in style following the decision to base two helicopters on the island. Operated by Skysafari Australia, the four-seater Robinson 44 helicopter and the five-seater Robinson 66 helicopter - nicknamed the sports cars of helicopters - operate a range of scenic tours and day tours taking advantage of Lizard Island's enviable location on the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef. SkySafari is also offering transfer options from Cairns for those guests who want to arrive in style. If time allows they stop off along the way on one of the many islands in the area for a look around and a glass of bubbly. w

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Aberdeen Indoor Markets


Surf Bondi Beach and kayak Sydney Harbour without getting wet? Fly a helicopter over Sydney Harbour without leaving the ground? Sounds impossible… but thanks to innovative new 360o video developed and launched by Destination NSW it’s a reality. In an Australian tourism first, visitors can now participate in iconic Sydney experiences before they leave, providing inspiration to book their next trip and turn the digital experience into a real one.

The panoramic 360o videos which can be accessed via Sydney.com/sydney360 are completely interactive allowing the user to jump into the pilot’s seat and drive their own 360o experience. An aerial video of Hunter Valley Wine Region is also available.

Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase said the 360o digital content was created to capture Sydney like it’s never been seen before.

“The 360° tools are a fantastic new digital innovation that will give visitors a taste of what’s in store when they visit Sydney and NSW, and get them excited and motivated about booking their trip – whether it’s to visit friends and family, attend a convention, go backpacking or have a holiday,” she said.

“Destination NSW continues to focus on digital innovation and is the first tourism organisation in Australia to launch such comprehensive 360o aerial and first person video content. This ensures we remain the industry leader; and an innovator in destination, tourism and event promotion”.

For the ultimate first-hand experience, the 360o first person videos allow users to literally “put their face in the picture” so it feels like they’re actually climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge, surfing waves at Bondi Beach, kayaking on Sydney Harbour or interacting with animals at Taronga Zoo. Plus for ultimate bragging rights, the videos can be shared with friends, fans and followers through Facebook.

Highlights of Sydney 360o includes:
  • Australian first 360 video aerial tours which are fully interactive and controlled by the user
  • World-first first person 360 video technology to put yourself in the picture
  • A dedicated Facebook application to share the first-person 360 videos
  • A mobile application for smartphones to view Sydney 360 panorama
  • A tablet application to view Sydney 360 panorama images using swipe and drag navigation.
Sydney 360° is available to view at www.sydney.com/sydney360

New UNWTO/ Tourism Australia Report Highlights Tourism Potential of SE Asia

Asia's affluent middle class is set to increase almost fivefold over the next 20 years, presenting significant opportunities for Australian tourism, according to a new report released by Tourism Australia and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) at this year's Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE).

 'Key Outbound Tourism Markets in South-East Asia' provides up-to-date and comprehensive analysis of the major tourism trends and developments in five key South-East Asian outbound markets: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said the study would help the Australian tourism industry to better understand, communicate with, and serve these five, key emerging outbound markets.

"The crucial factor behind the growth of travel out of the Asian markets - from South-East Asia as much as from China - is the increasing middle class population of those source countries due to their growing economic prosperity.

"Each market is different, but they all possess significant potential, which we need to understand to really make the most of this Asian Century," Mr McEvoy said.

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai said around 30 per cent of the world's middle class population is now in Asia and this figure is expected to increase almost fivefold over the next 20 years, to 3.4 billion or 60% of the world's total.

"UNWTO is very pleased to have partnered with Tourism Australia in producing this report that sheds new light on the travel trends of these countries," said Mr Rifai.

The new report provides detailed profiles of each market based on extensive research, including analysis of their future potential.

In 2012, these five countries accounted for US$ 47 billion in international tourism expenditure, up from US$ 25 billion in 2006.

 Mr McEvoy said that each of the five countries had its own unique characteristics but that they all had the potential to be significant future source markets for Australian tourism in the coming years.

 "Indonesia stands out because of the size of the country and its population. Whilst it has a long way to go to realise its potential, Indonesia is making rapid progress and is very much on our radar," he said.

"Singapore is notable for its wealth and is by far the largest of the five markets in terms of spending. It's also a more mature market, the only country in this study where outbound travel - long-haul and short-haul - is already a reality for the majority of residents.

"Malaysia is similar to Singapore in terms of the current levels of outbound travel, but at the moment those trips are predominantly short-haul, often the same day. The spending power of Malaysians is not as high as Singaporeans, but higher than in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, so there's good potential here too.

"Thailand has arguably been hampered in recent times by political upheavals and environmental catastrophes, such as recent flooding, but nevertheless still presents sizeable opportunities for economic and outbound tourism growth.

"Vietnam has a large population, but average incomes are still very low. In terms of current spend and visitation, is by far the smallest of the five markets at the moment, but also the fastest growing," Mr McEvoy said.

Queensland Increases Focus on Events

Gold Coast Marathon
Queensland will host than 124 major and regional events scheduled in 2013 with the purpose of attracting visitors and supporting tourism in communities throughout the state.

Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), a new entity established in December 2012, combines the resources and expertise of Tourism Queensland and Events Queensland.

Tourism and events are intrinsically linked and TEQ is focused on better leveraging activities to grow visitor expenditure.

In the past financial year, more than 1.1 million people attended the state's major events generating more than 1 million visitor nights for Queensland.

The 2013 calendar of events will help build on the profile of Queensland destinations globally. Event calendar highlights include:

  • 2013 Gold Coast Sevens tournament
  • Bolshoi Ballet as part of the QPAC International Series
  • Inaugural Great Barrier Reef Masters Games
  • British & Irish Lions Tour at Suncorp Stadium
  • NRL Cairns Regional Fixture, Rabbitohs vs Titans
  • Birdsville Races
  • Noosa International Food and Wine Festival
  • Gold Coast Airport Marathon
  • Cairns Airport Adventure Festival

Major Queensland events in 2013 will be complemented by the extensive Regional Development Program which will assist in the delivery of 80 events in regional communities as well as six international business events attracting more than 4,000 delegates.
For more information on Queensland events visit www.tourismeventsqueensland.com


New South Wales continues to lead Australia in visitor numbers, expenditure and overnight stays by international tourists. It’s positive news for the NSW Government’s goal of doubling overnight tourism expenditure by 2020. Latest statistics reinforce the State’s position as Australia’s prime gateway and premier state for visitors.

The latest International Visitor Survey results for the 2012 calendar year show that over half the total number of visitors to Australia (50.8%) visited NSW. The State welcomed more than 2.8 million visitors, compared to two million for Queensland and 1.8 million for Victoria.

“Visitor expenditure in NSW totalled AUD $6.3 billion, compared to AUD $4.4 billion for Victoria and AUD $3.8 billion for Queensland to year-end December 2012, confirming NSW as the number one Australian destination for international visitors and visitor expenditure,” NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, confirmed.

Mr Souris said the significant increase in international visitors to NSW proved that the tourism strategy with Destination NSW was working.

“With the launch of our China Tourism Strategy 2012-2020, developed and implemented by Destination NSW, the latest figures highlight the fact that the NSW Government’s focus on attracting visitors from Asia is paying substantial dividends for the State’s economy”.

China is a rising tourism star for NSW and Australia. NSW enjoyed a 19% increase in visitors from China in 2012, contributing more than AUD $1.2 billion to the State’s economy. It also saw a 40% jump in the number of Malaysian visitors, accompanied by a 45% increase in visitor nights. This followed the introduction of Air Asia X flights to Sydney in April 2012, a service that Destination NSW worked with Sydney Airport to secure.

To read more about visitation trend to New South Wales including reasons for travel, please visit the Destination NSW website

Blue Mountains Artist Takes out this Year's $20,000 Scenic World Acquisitive Award

Blue Mountains artist, Daniel Kojta, has been awarded the $20,000 Scenic World Acquisitive prize for his highly polished stainless steel sculpture, Reflect Phi [a momen].

Kojta's work is one of 35 artworks from as far as America and Ireland, on exhibition for selection along the rainforest floor at Scenic World.

The award was presented by Scenic World's Joint Managing Directors, Anthea and David Hammon, on behalf of the Hammon Family Council, during the official exhibition opening last night.

The winning artwork consists of three independent but related sculptures translated through the mathematical Phi formula of Australian natives.

Kojta said: "it was an incredible opportunity to receive the award at an exhibition that is growing and supporting professional contemporary arts in the Blue Mountains".

Judges for the 2013 exhibition are: artist and Environmental Research Initiative for Art (COFA) Director Allan Giddy, Dinosaur Designs Creative Director, Louise Olsen, and Associate Professor in Art History and Theory at the College of Fine Arts (COFA), Dr Alan Krell.

The judges said the winning sculpture was a unique response to site that reflected both a modernist and contemporary aesthetic sensibility.

"What appealed to us about Kojta's work was its beguiling ability to reflect subtly the immediate environment and successfully create a dialogue between the geometric and the organic," they said

Highly commended sculptures are;
  • Last year's winner from Woollongong, Greer Taylor's resting place - "a delicately knitted wire structure that belies its materiality and seemingly floats in the rainforest";
  • Nigel Harrison's Bypass - "an enigmatic work that references and challenges the rainforest through its evocation of 'energy' both literally and figuratively; and
  • Ireland's Darragh O'Calloghan's "copper pipe configuration, Serosa, that resonates wonderfully with the calligraphic qualities of the rainforest."

Exhibition Manager, Lizzy Marshall, said Sculpture at Scenic World had again pushed the boundaries of onsite responsive art.

"All of our exhibiting artists have magnificently created within the context of an environment that is adherent to the complexities of sculpture and its mass, tension, formalist ideals and narrative objectives," she said.

Australia's only dedicated rainforest sculpture exhibition includes the indoor Sculpture Otherwise exhibition, and Public Programmes featuring guided and independent tours, free evening lectures, and family and children's activities.

Sculpture at Scenic World 2013, offers a $20,000 Acquisitive Award, the new $5000 Artist Peer Award, a $2000 Scenic World Staff Choice Awardand The Carrington Hotel's $1000 People's Choice Award.

Scenic World has also releaseda series of special overnight exhibition packages, starting at $207.50 for couples and $299 for families, at a collection of iconic Blue Mountains hotels and resorts.

Sculpture at Scenic World is open until 19 May 2013.

For more information about Daniel Kojta, visit www.onaircontemporary.com

Germany: a Multi - Faceted Destination for Cultural Travel

Destination Germany is home to a wealth of cultural and natural treasures. Particularly popular are its 37 UNESCO World Heritage sites. They represent a major travel incentive for international visitors and have helped to make Germany the most popular cultural travel destination among Europeans (source: IPK International). The sales and marketing activities of the GNTB play a key part in this success: the ‘City Breaks/Events’ product line, for example, was developed to capitalise on the culture megatrend as a platform for worldwide campaigns and marketing activities.

Theme years and focal points through to 2019 The 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner’s birth is another focus of the GNTB’s sales and marketing activities this year. Wagner is one of Germany’s greatest composers and music dramatists and left his mark all over the country. The GNTB is using the anniversary as an opportunity to promote specific events in towns and cities where Wagner lived or worked. ‘Brothers Grimm: 200 years of folklore and fairytales’ is another theme of great international interest that is currently a focus for the GNTB’s global sales and marketing activities. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm became famous around the world for their collection of ‘Children’s and Household Tales’ and their legacy is a major reason for culturally minded travellers to visit Germany.

“Anniversaries of the births of world-famous musicians and poets provide a perfect opportunity to position Germany as a land of art and culture in international markets,” says Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the GNTB. Also featuring prominently in the GNTB’s global press and PR activities for 2013 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Henry van de Velde, an exponent of Classical Modernism who paved the way for the Bauhaus movement, and the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty.

In 2014 the focus of the GNTB’s international sales and marketing campaigns will shift to UNESCO World Heritage. Germany is currently home to 37 properties that come under the special protection of UNESCO. To build on this key indicator of quality in global tourism, the GNTB will be promoting UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the year under the banner ‘UNESCO World Heritage – sustainable cultural and natural tourism’.

This will be accompanied by a theme that is particularly relevant to the history of the church, the 600th anniversary of the Council of Constance. At the same time, the 25th anniversary of the peaceful revolution in Leipzig will commemorate a more recent chapter in Germany’s history. In 2015 the GNTB will celebrate the ‘500th anniversary of the birth of Lucas Cranach the Younger’ as part of the Luther decade and also ‘25 years of German unity’. In 2016 the GNTB will turn its attention once again to Germany’s rich bounty of natural treasures, putting ‘Holidays in the heart of nature – Germany’s national parks and nature reserves’ at the centre of its international media work. Activities relating to the Luther decade will culminate in 2017 with the ‘500th anniversary of the Reformation
– religious travel to Germany’. This will be celebrated all over the world with religious and
cultural events, conferences and major exhibitions.

A second focus in 2017 will be the International Garden Show in Berlin. The GNTB has even already selected one of the key themes for its media work in 2019 – the centenary year of the Bauhaus in Weimar.

German National Tourist Board
Beethovenstrasse 69
60325 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: +49 (0)69 9746 4262
Fax: +49 (0)69 9746 4233