Saturday, 30 November 2013

Travelers Can “Snap, Post, Win” Their Way to The Ultimate Awards Season Escape with Los Angeles Tourism

From January to March each year, all eyes are on Los Angeles as “Awards Season” brings together the hottest stars of the stage, screen, and television to walk the red carpet and honor the best of the best. To help travelers get a taste of Los Angeles’ star-studded excitement, the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board is unveiling a new SNAP.POST.WIN. photo contest via social media. Enter for a chance to win a trip for two to Los Angeles to mingle with the stars at the “Critics’ Choice Movie Awards” on January 16, 2014.

“The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards” are bestowed annually by the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) to honor the finest in cinematic and television achievement. Historically, the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards is the bell-weather event of the movie awards season and is a must-attend event for the who’s who of Hollywood.

To enter, simply snap a LA-inspired photo and post to either Instagram or Flickr using the hashtag #RedCarpetLA by December 17, 2013.

Whether LA means a brilliant smile, a beautiful sunset, palm trees, or hand prints in freshly poured cement, entrants are encouraged to get creative in visually representing how LA inspires them for a chance to win this once in a lifetime, red-carpet worthy trip. View all the SNAP.POST.WIN.

Participants must be 18 years or older. The winner will be chosen by an official LA Tourism judge on December 18, 2013.


  • VIP Red-Carpet Access to the “Critics’ Choice Movie Awards” for two including a backstage tour and dinner at the star-studded awards gala
  • 3 nights luxury accommodations at Loews Hollywood Hotel
  • Round-trip flight for two to Los Angeles
Prize must be redeemed January 15-18, 2014

Enjoy Fun Korean Language Trip

Seoul Night View
If you've ever wanted to learn the Korean language and have some fun at the same time there could be no better way than immersing yourself in Korean cultural life by staying with a Korean family and experiencing student life at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea.

The Fun Korean Language Trip is a 7D/6N tour package organised by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and Kyunghee University's Institute of International Education. The package combines a language training program which teaches Korean through popular culture like dramas and K-pop and provides accommodation with Korean families through the Koreastay program. This provides students with the best chance to learn and communicate in the Korean language as fast as possible.

The program provides twenty hours of Korean language tuition and six nights accommodation with a Korean family including breakfast. You can choose from a free Korean cooking class or a Korea Pass Card ($US20 pre-paid tourist card). After morning class you have the opportunity then to tour the city and enjoy many of the attractions of Seoul. Optional tours include Korean Cultural Experience, K-pop Dance Experience, Seoul City Tour or Beauty Tour as well as a Gangnam Experience tour where you might even run in to PSY.

The Fun Korean Language Trip is a great way to learn some of the Korean language and enjoy the many attractions of Seoul city at the same time. It also is a great chance to become friends with Korean University students and share your experience.

The 7D/6N package is available during January & February, 2014 and again during July/August, 2014. The tour package fee is 600,000 Korean Won (appox. A$600) Further information and bookings of the tour can be made through Plus Planner Agency in Korea. Email:

Accor Hotels Wins Tourism Awards

Across NSW and ACT last night, Accor hotels scooped eight coveted tourism awards at glittering black tie events held in Sydney and Canberra.

Held in the Grand Ballroom of Royal Randwick, the NSW Tourism Awards set a benchmark for best practice within the tourism industry and publicly recognises the state's finest tourism operators.

Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains, an MGallery hotel was awarded Best Business Tourism and Best Deluxe Accommodation capping off a milestone year for the resort as it celebrates its 25th anniversary. After completing a $12 million dollar renovation in 2012 which saw all guestrooms, public areas and facilities upgraded, and with further expansion plans in place which include the building of a state-of-the-art day spa, Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains continues to go from strength to strength. General Manager for the resort, Bernie Boller, said winning the awards was a testament to the staff and hotel owners in bringing first-class service and authentic experiences to guests.

Accor's revered Homebush hotels, Novotel Sydney Olympic Park and Pullman Sydney Olympic Park took home three awards, with Novotel taking out Silver Best Deluxe Accommodation and Pullman Sydney Olympic Park winning the Silver Business Tourism and Silver Luxury Accommodation awards. Since opening in 2008, Pullman Sydney Olympic Park has set a benchmark for luxury accommodation in Greater Western Sydney and along with Novotel, continues to be a key player in supporting major events to the Olympic Park precinct.

At the Canberra and Capital Region Tourism Awards held at the National Gallery of Australia, Novotel Canberra took out the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism for the second year running. The hotel also won the Austereo Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism which came with a $12,500 media prize package.

General Manager for Novotel Canberra, Neil Paterson, said the hotel continually strives to implement ecologically friendly practices and winning the award was validation of the efforts they've gone to.

"Winning the Sustainable Tourism award for the second year running is a real pat on the back for all the work our staff go to and I share this award with them. Some of the standout initiatives we've put in place include our electric car charging station which we provide free for guests using our carpark, our roll out of Accor's Planet 21 green program and our support of the worm farm at Able Organic Recycling in Weston Creek where all of our food scraps go. Our guests recognise and value the practices we've put in place and we'll continue to go above and beyond when it comes to making our city a greener place."

A true supporter of the Arts in Canberra, Novotel Canberra was also highly commended for its marketing submission for its Toulouse Lautrec activities, only missing out to ACT Tourism's submission. Mollie Walsh, Novotel Canberra's Business Development Executive was awarded the Young Achiever in Tourism award - a wonderful achievement after working at the hotel for less than 18 months.

Preferred Hotel Group is China Ready

As the Chinese continue to gain momentum as the world's strongest outbound travel spenders, Preferred Hotel Group showcases its commitment to this key market with the launch of China Ready. This one-of-a-kind program will make the travel planning process more streamlined, personalized, and inviting for Chinese travelers and help the company's portfolio of 650 member hotels attract and retain this influx of business with the introduction of a simplified Chinese website ( which will officially launch in the first week of December 2013, dynamic marketing and social media campaigns, new distribution channels, and, for participating hotels, a bespoke certification initiative.

"Preferred Hotel Group is proud to declare its readiness for the Chinese traveler," said Ananya Narayan, Executive Vice President of Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa for Preferred Hotel Group, a global provider of sales, marketing, and distribution services to independent hotels. "China is a key focus market for our brands and for our hotels, and the launch of China Ready is designed both to support the country's outbound travel needs and to bring new exposure to our members in China and around the world."

Effective immediately, all of the company's 650 member hotels will be represented on Preferred Hotel Group's new Chinese website, which is hosted and managed in China. Addressing the unique needs of Chinese travelers, this dynamic site features attractive images, innovative booking functionalities, strategic SEO optimization, and a direct connect to one of the country's most popular social media platform, Sina Weibo, to facilitate impactful user engagement. The new site will complement Preferred Hotel Group's expanded connectivity to popular Chinese distribution channels, such as TravelSky, CTrip, and eLong, and will extend further benefits to travelers through Preferred Hotel Group's relationships with key marketing partners in the country.

To engage further with the market, Preferred Hotel Group also registered its Chinese brand names:
  • 璞富腾酒店集团 (Preferred Hotel Group)
  • 璞富腾酒店及度假村(Preferred Hotels® & Resorts)
  • 璞富腾精品酒店 (Preferred Boutique™)
  • 尚美特酒店及度假村 (Summit Hotels & Resorts™)
  • 时登领酒店 (Sterling Hotels™)

Member hotels looking for deeper engagement with Chinese travelers have the opportunity to join a dedicated China Ready marketing initiative. This program requires that participating hotels meet dozens of certification standards, ranging from on-property programming such as offering Chinese tea and kettles in guestrooms, to having Mandarin-speaking reservations and front desk staff. Preferred Hotel Group supports the efforts of China Ready-certified hotels with additional tools, such as increased visibility on, direct engagement with travelers through Preferred Hotel Group's Sina Weibo page; and booking connectivity with key OTAs and China's global distribution service (GDS). Some of the Group's member hotels in USA, United Kingdom, Europe and Thailand are currently in the process of being certified.

China Ready is the latest initiative from Preferred Hotel Group that showcases the company's commitment to the Chinese market. Over the past six months, the company has established a new sales office in Beijing, in addition to its Shanghai office; and appointed Blaise Jing as Regional Director for Global Sales & Development for China. Preferred Hotel Group also welcomed five new member hotels during this period, bringing its total portfolio in the country to 18 properties.

About Preferred Hotel Group™
Preferred Hotel Group represents 650 of the finest hotels, resorts, and serviced residences in the world. Preferred Hotel Group's brands include Preferred Hotels® & Resorts, Summit Hotels & Resorts™, Sterling Hotels™, Summit Serviced Residences™, Sterling Design, and Preferred Boutique™. Travelers gain valuable benefits through branded programs iPrefer™; Preferred Family, Preferred Pride, Preferred Golf™, and Preferred Residences™. For more information, visit and follow the brand on Facebook and Twitter.

Name Change for Official Canberra Tourism Marketing Body

Canberra’s tourism marketing body has changed its name to VisitCanberra.

Australian Capital Tourism will now be known as VisitCanberra – a name that better reflects who the organisation is and what it does, Director of Tourism Ian Hill said.

VisitCanberra, part of the ACT Government’s Economic Directorate, is responsible for promoting the Canberra region to visitors.

“VisitCanberra gives clarity for both international and domestic markets and puts the focus squarely on the visitor experience,” Mr Hill said.

“For many years we have been using visitcanberra as the call to action for our website and social media accounts, so it makes sense to consumers that the organisation has a similar name.”

The organisation’s brand positioning – that of Canberra as the home of the Australian story – will not change. The Canberra region continues to be a key part of the destination, with Canberra the gateway for the many experiences in the nearby region.

A single logo has been developed for use both in marketing the organisation to consumers and in a corporate environment.

The name change and logo will be rolled out over coming months.

U.S.A. to See Largest Growth in Wellness Trips by 2017

The U.S. is the largest wellness tourism market today, generating $167.1 billion in combined international and domestic expenditures annually. According to the study, U.S. will see the largest growth in wellness trips, adding 46.1 million more trips by 2017.

Travel agents can’t afford to ignore wellness tourism. This profitable tourism segment already comprises a $439 billion global market, or 14% of international and domestic tourism expenditures.

Travelers who have adopted wellness strategies in their everyday lives at home want to stay healthy while on the road. As a result, more consumers are demanding that aspects of wellness be incorporated in leisure and business trips.

Susie Ellis, chair and CEO of GSWS and president of SpaFinder Wellness, said, “Many nations will make wellness mandatory in the future. There has been a renaissance in the use of natural hot springs in Japan, China, Eastern Europe and Turkey.”

Anything that makes one feel good or healthy is wellness. The World Health Organization’s broadest definition of “health” is “a state of complete physical, mental and social being.” As defined by the Global Spa & Wellness Summit, wellness travel encompasses everything from healthy offerings by hotels such as Hilton and Westin, which are introducing wellness rooms, to meditation and life coaching.

“This industry is at the intersection of wellness and technology,” Ellis said.

Ophelia Yeung, the study’s author and co-director of SRI’s Center for Science, Technology & Economic Development, said the research results reflect a major shift away from vacations associated with excess – too much eating and drinking and too little sleep – to vacations focused on health and wellness.

Yeung said, “People are now choosing destinations that help them stay or get healthy while traveling.”

Agents can translate the growing interest in wellness travel into sales opportunities. One suggestion offered by spa experts at the New York event was for agents to pursue groups for spa getaways, including celebrating milestone occasions, a tactic cruise agents have been using for years.

The easiest approach is for agents to take the initiative and suggest to clients that they add a wellness element to their vacation.

Stephanie Durst, a certified SpaFinder specialist with Protravel International, said her clients already are interested in health and wellness while traveling, so she books accommodations that satisfy that need.

The 2014 Global Spa & Wellness Summit will take place in Morocco.

Lorde to Perform at 2013 Arias

The ARIA Awards have announced that Lorde, one of the most acclaimed and revered artists of 2013, will be wrapping up an outstanding year by performing her latest single, ‘Team’ at the 2013 ARIA Awards on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at The Star Event Centre, Sydney.

The ARIA Awards and ARIA Week are proudly supported by the NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

Dan Rosen, ARIA CEO said: “Lorde is an extremely talented artist and performer and one of the biggest artists in the world right now, so we are thrilled to be able to welcome her to this year’s ARIA Awards as a special guest performer.”

Tickets to the 2013 ARIA Awards have sold out, but fans can join in the festivities on the David Jones Black Carpet from 3.00pm on Sunday, 1 December at The Star, Sydney and everyone can watch on GO! from 7.30pm.

Relive the magic of Lorde’s performance on Rdio, one of the world’s most popular music streaming services and a proud partner of the 27th Annual ARIA Awards. This year live performances from the 2013 awards will be available to stream exclusively on Rdio the next day.

Go to: or download the Rdio app for free.

For more information, please visit

Web in Travel (WIT) Middle East to hold Online Travel Conference 2014

Web In Travel (WIT), will run a high level online travel conference in the Middle East in Dubai on March 26-27, 2014.

The first WIT Middle East is set to uncover the region’s travel story and reveal the opportunities and promise of one of the world’s wealthiest regions and share stories from local and global players all wanting a slice of this market.

Founder, WIT, Yeoh Siew Hoon commented: “We’re pleased to bring our signature conference to the Middle East. It’s the next new frontier in online travel and it is a huge travel market for Asia, both as a source of travellers and as an inbound destination.

He added further: “We’ve had requests from the industry there that a WIT-like event is needed to spark innovation and entrepreneurship and we’re glad to be working with a local partner, Dubai-based BizGate Marketing and Consultancy, to bring this catalyst to the region and to ensure we layer global content with local characteristics.”

WIT was launched in 2005 in Singapore to bring thought leadership around the dynamic and changing online travel space. Since then, WIT editions have been held in Indonesia and Japan and it has held workshops and events across the region, including Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia.

According to a PayPal report conducted with Ipsos on the MENA region, there are 110 million Internet users in the region, with 30 million already shopping online. The study projects that online spending in MENA will grow from $9 billion in 2012 to $15 billion by 2015.

The study also found that travel is the biggest item bought online, with an average $1,521 spent each year.

It revealed that the United Arab Emirates is the largest e-commerce market in the Middle East, with consumers spending $2.9 billion online last year, and that the market for the entire region is expected to grow.

“The WIT Middle East programme will blend global insights with local knowledge to create a learning platform that’s tailored to the needs of the Middle Eastern market. We will do what we love to do – spark learning and inspiration, blend seasoned voices from industry leaders with new ideas from start-ups and students and build an engaged community around our content,” said Siew Hoon.

Dubai-based BizGate, a marketing and consultancy firm specialising in travel and leisure, will co-manage WIT events in UAE, then KSA and Turkey in the following years.

“We are very delighted to be working with the reputed team of WIT in launching this event in the region. This reflects our commitment to bridge the gap of the industry’s need for information and knowledge on online travel’s fast-paced trends,” commented coordinator, sales and marketing, BizGate Marketing and Consultancy, Angeline Rivera.

Regional NSW Recogonised at 2013 Australian Event Awards

Regional NSW has performed exceptionally well, winning a number of awards at the recent 2013 Australian Event Awards held on Tuesday 19 November.

Byron Bay Bluesfest was awarded Australia’s Best Regional Event in the category of Best Event State or Territory, while scoring in the Australia's Favourite Event category was Bathurst's annual SPRUNG Festival. Held at Charles Sturt University (CSU), the SPRUNG festival showcases student theatre, film and musical performances.

CEO of Destination NSW, Sandra Chipchase said: "Winning these awards is testament to the strength of the NSW Regional Events Calendar and another reason why visitors should make time to explore NSW's regional areas with their diverse offerings of cultural, lifestyle and scenic attractions."

Friday, 29 November 2013

Best of the Canberra Region Recognised

The National Gallery of Australia
The National Gallery of Australia last night took out the Major Tourist Attractions award at
the 28th Canberra and Capital Region Tourism Awards.

It has been a big year for the Gallery which is home to Australia’s national art collection. In the past year the Gallery has hosted two major exhibitions – Toulouse-Lautrec: Paris & The Moulin Rouge and Turner from the Tate: The Making of a Master that have drawn strong interstate visitation to the ACT.

The Outstanding Contribution by an Individual award went jointly to Diane Hinds and Morna Whiting, the Directors behind Australian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame award winning attraction the Old Bus Depot Markets.

VisitCanberra Director Ian Hill congratulated last night’s winners in what has been a strong year for tourism in Canberra’s Centenary year.

‘The awards celebrate the diverse Canberra region tourism experiences and I commend this year’s entrants,’ Mr Hill said.

The winners of tonight’s awards represent the Canberra and Capital Region at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, Sydney, in February 2014.

The award winners:

  • Major Tourist Attractions: National Gallery of Australia
  • Tourist Attractions: Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre
  • Major Festivals and Events: Floriade 2012
  • Festivals and Events: National Folk Festival
  • Ecotourism: Australian National Botanic Gardens
  • Destination Marketing: The Human Brochure
  • Unique Accommodation: Elm Cottage
  • Luxury Accommodation: Hyatt Hotel Canberra - A Park Hyatt Hotel
  • Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism: Novotel Canberra
  • Tourism Education Program: Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre
  • Outstanding Contribution by an Individual: Diane Hinds and Morna Whiting
  • Young Achiever Award: Mollie Walsh
  • Visitor Experience Award: Four Winds Vineyard

Martin Sheen stars in The Whale: filmed in Malta

Martin Sheen
Award winning American actor Martin Sheen will lead the cast of a British adventure drama. The West Wing actor will feature in The Whale, a one-off drama based on the true events of an astonishing survival at sea.

Martin plays Old Thomas Nickerson, retelling his time as a cabin boy on a doomed voyage aboard an Essex whaling ship. Also starring in the epic yarn are Robin Hood actor Jonas Armstrong, Paul Kaye, and Adam Raynor.

When Nickerson is caught in the eye of a terrifying storm, he’s forced to quickly act in order to assure his survival in the face of nature’s wrath, the powerful presence of whales, and a stark shipwrecking.

Filmed on location in Malta the drama promises to be breath taking as it depicts nautical forces beyond the control of experienced sea farers.

BESydney and Sydney Symphony Orchestra Collaborate to Make City as Leading Global Destination

The new collaboration between Business Events Sydney (BESydney) and Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) to create first cultural strategic partnership is set to boost the city’s reputation as a leading global destination for business, pleasure and leisure.

CEO Ms. Lyn Lewis-Smith announced that the deal between the two companies would provide profits in both the New South Wales (NSW) and growing Asian markets.

Ms Lewis-Smith said, “Sydney recently ranked number one in the Reputation Institute’s City RepTrak 2013 Report, and we know that this sentiment is driven in part by a city’s actions and communications. The collaboration between BESydney and the SSO is a positive action. It shows our genuine desire to engage with international audiences both in Australia and overseas, and to maintain those relationships. Through the universal language of music, Sydney will be able to speak to even more increasingly savvy global business travellers.”

Managing Director of SSO, Rory Jeffes, said, “The Sydney Symphony Orchestra is delighted to be partnering with Business Events Sydney. Resident at the iconic Sydney Opera House, the SSO is Australia’s premier orchestra and we look forward to sharing the talents of Australia’s classical musicians with the thousands of people who visit Sydney each year as part of major events led by Business Events Sydney.”

SSO joined BESydney in Shanghai last month for the launch of the bureau’s new strategic initiative in China – the Key Distribution Partner Program. The two companies will continue to collaborate on business development activities in China during 2014. SSO will also get fresh programming possibilities to Sydney’s already strong and diverse range of cultural and team-building event activities, including exclusive orchestra and quartet performances, and its renowned Toy Symphony – a unique team-building activity that sees guests performing alongside professional musicians on the stage of the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House.

2013 Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards Announced

Pa Teuruaa of Pa’s Nature Walks
The Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council hosted the prestigious Air New Zealand Cooks Islands Tourism Awards, held biannually to recognise excellence in the nation’s tourism industry, in Rarotonga. Dreadlocked septuagenarian Pa Teuruaa of Pa’s Nature Walks - who has guided visitors across the mountainous Rarotonga interior 4388 times and counting - took out the Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award, while the Pacific Resort Group scored four awards, including the Supreme Award.

Fifteen winners were announced to more than 220 guests during a gala evening at the residence of the New Zealand High Commissioner, including speeches by Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon and the Mayor of Invercargill and popular New Zealand comedian His Worship Tim Shadbolt.

According to the Tourism Awards Chairman Alister Stevic: “A record number of entries (47), an increase in the quality of entries, and a 48 hour sell out of tickets clearly indicates the importance and significance the industry places on these awards.

"It was fantastic to see a wider range of the industry enter this year, from intimate three person business such as The Mooring Fish Cafe to the luxurious and larger Pacific Resort Group.”

The awards premier sponsor is Air New Zealand in association with ANZ and The Bond Store, supported by Cook Islands Tourism, Pitt Media Group, Telecom, Westpac, Air Rarotonga and the Cook Islands Sun.

The winners:
Highland Paradise Cultural Centre
  • Air New Zealand Tourism Industry Support – The Mooring Fish Café, Muri Lagoon, Rarotonga
  • Cook Islands Tourism Budget Accommodation Award – Puaikura Reef Lodges, Arorangi, Rarotonga
  • Pitt Media Group Private Rentals Award – Taakoka Muri Beach Villas, Rarotonga.
  • ANZ Bank Self Catering Award – Makayla Palms, Titikaveka Beach, Rarotonga.
  • Air New Zealand Customer Care Award – Makayla Palms
  • Air New Zealand Festival and Events Award – Vaka Eiva outrigger canoe festival, Rarotonga and Aitutaki
  • Cook Islands Sun Tourism Attractions Award – Highland Paradise Cultural Centre, Arorangi, Rarotonga
  • Westpac Bank Culture Award – Highland Paradise Cultural Centre
  • The Bond Store Hotels and Resorts Award – Pacific Resort Group, Rarotonga and Aitutaki
  • ANZ Bank Environment Award – Muri Beach Resort, Rarotonga
  • Telecom Internet Marketing Award – Pacific Resort Group
  • Air Rarotonga Outer Islands Award – Pacific Resort Group
  • ANZ Bank Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award – Pa Teuruaa of Pa’s Nature Walks
  • The Bond Store Lifetime Achievement in Tourism Award – Robert Skews of Turama Pacific Travel Group
  • Air New Zealand Supreme Award Winner - Pacific Resort Group

Tourism Forum Highlights Tourism in Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains
The NSW Government has reinforced its commitment to help the Blue Mountains tourism industry recover from the recent disastrous bushfires by holding a forum with local operators and business owners.

The forum was attended by Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, and Member for Blue Mountains, Roza Sage MP, who outlined the support activities being undertaken by the NSW Government to boost the region’s recovery. It also gave local industry stakeholders a chance to have their say on the rebuilding effort.

Mr Souris said the Government recognised the importance of tourism to the Blue Mountains region.

“The Blue Mountains is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in NSW. To ensure the sustainability of tourism businesses that support over 5,000 jobs in the region we have provided additional funding of $150,000 to assist with the recovery of tourism to the area,” Mr Souris said.

Ms Sage reiterated the need to support the region at this time and thanked the Government for its ongoing support.

“I have heard from many local tourism operators whose businesses have been affected by the bushfires. As we approach their busiest time of year I know that they are extremely grateful for the work being carried out to ensure that people know they can still visit and enjoy all that this region has to offer,” Ms Sage said.

“The perception that the Blue Mountains is closed or inaccessible due to bushfires is very damaging. We have to turn that perception around and make sure that the message goes out that the region is open for business.”

To generate positive media coverage Destination NSW has developed a marketing campaign to demonstrate that the Blue Mountains is still an area of outstanding natural beauty, much of which was untouched by bushfires.

Destination NSW is working closely with Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism to deliver a program of cooperative marketing activities with key partners that are aimed at promoting the region as a great short break destination for Sydneysiders and increasing visitation over the next few months.

NYC & Company Announces New Year Celebration at Times Square – 1 Million People

New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world are encouraged to come and experience New Year’s Eve in Times Square 2014 and the many exciting events happening throughout the five boroughs. Few events in the world are as exciting and extraordinary as New Year’s Eve in New York City. From watching the ball drop in Times Square (produced by Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment) to the numerous celebrations in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx, New York City is the place to make the first memories of 2014.

“Spending New Year’s Eve in New York City is an experience of a lifetime,” said George Fertitta, NYC & Company’s CEO. “People of all ages and backgrounds join together at the ‘Crossroads of the World’ to celebrate their journeys over the past year and usher in all the possibilities that come with a fresh start. All five boroughs come alive with celebrations, and visitors from all over the world will join New Yorkers in the countdown as the ball drops in Times Square.”

Over 100 million television viewers in the United States and more than 1 billion people worldwide are expected to join the estimated 1 million revelers in New York City to watch a 106-year-old tradition: the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. A 12-foot geodesic sphere covered in 2,688 Waterford crystals, the ball weighs 11,875 pounds and is powered by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LED lights, capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors. At 11:59pm, the ball begins its descent atop One Times Square as millions of people count down the final seconds of the year and celebrate the beginning of a new year full of hopes, challenges, changes and dreams.

For visitors arriving in New York City before the ball drops, there are plenty of early New Year’s Eve events and activities happening throughout the five boroughs, including:

New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall: Every year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, thousands of wishes from people from around the world cover Times Square. Anyone can come to the Times Square Museum & Visitor Center (located at Seventh Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets, open seven days a week, 8am–8pm) to record their wishes, dreams and goals for 2014 on pieces of paper and add it to the Wishing Wall. Individuals may also submit a wish from wherever they are by going online to (page available in English, Spanish and French). All the wishes from the wall and online will be collected and added to the confetti that will rain down onto the streets of Times Square at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Good Riddance Day: This year, come celebrate Good Riddance Day on December 28, and say farewell to the worst memories of 2013 in Times Square. The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment have teamed up with Cintas to invite everyone to say goodbye to their awful, depressing and embarrassing memories. Whether you want to scrap an old love letter, a parking ticket or a pile of medical bills, your bad memories can be shredded and destroyed by a mobile shredding truck that will be present in Times Square. Bad memories can also be entered in a contest to win a trip to Times Square for New Year’s Eve by submitting them at by November 22.

New Year’s Eve at the New York Marriott Marquis and Renaissance New York Times Square: On December 31, have the ultimate New Year’s Eve party experience at the New York Marriott Marquis (located at 1535 Broadway, between 45th and 46th Streets.) Revel in the view of Times Square from eight stories up at the elegant Broadway Lounge while enjoying live music, entertainment, delicious cuisine, an open bar and so much more. Various seating arrangements are available, ranging from communal seating to direct ball drop views.

Take part in the gala at The View Restaurant and Lounge for dinner and dancing 48 stories above Times Square. The night consists of a five-course meal, a spectacular DJ, dancing, a live streaming of the Times Square ball drop and breathtaking panoramic views of New York City.

For both a climate-controlled and stellar view of the New Year’s Eve ball drop, The Renaissance Times Square’s R Lounge in Times Square is the place to be. With floor-to-ceiling windows, you can’t beat this view of Times Square while enjoying all the comfort of the indoors. While taking in this phenomenal view, enjoy dinner and a full open bar in the evening’s celebrations. New Year’s Eve packages for the hotel and viewing start at $2,500. Visit

Many other distinctive New Year’s celebrations and events are taking place throughout the City—what follows are some highlights of activity in the five boroughs:


Grand Army Plaza: Spend New Year’s Eve in Prospect Park under Brooklyn’s dazzling fireworks display at midnight hosted by Borough President Marty Markowitz and Prospect Park Alliance with Eric Adams, BP elect. This is a free event that includes hot refreshments and entertainment that is welcoming of all ages. The best viewing locations for the fireworks are in Grand Army Plaza, along West Drive in Prospect Park, and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street.

Along with the fireworks, enjoy the taste of some of New York’s best food trucks, including MudTruck, Rickshaw Dumplings and Wafels & Dinges. The trucks will be at the Grand Army Plaza Arch on the Union Street side from 10pm until 12:45am. For more information, visit

Coney Island Polar Bear Club Annual New Year’s Day Swim: On January 1, the Coney Island Polar Bear Club will be hosting their annual New Year’s Day plunge into the Atlantic Ocean. The swim is open to the public and starts at 1pm on the boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue. Donations to Camp Sunshine, a charity for children with life-threatening illnesses, are welcome. For more event, pledging and registration details, visit

Brooklyn’s New Year’s Eve 5K Run: Join in the only nighttime race held all year in Prospect Park to kick off New Year’s Eve, brought to you by the Brooklyn Road Runners and Sketchers. The race starts at 11:15pm at Prospect Park West and 9th street. There is rolling registration, and the cost depends on time of registration, starting at $25 if registered by December 23. Participants may register the day of the race. For registration information, go to


The New York Botanical Garden: As a part of the 2013–2014 annual Holiday Train Show, Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends will be taking children and their families on a memorable sing-along adventure through the station. On January 1, there will be showings of Thomas and Friends at 11am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm and 5:30pm. The festivities of the Holiday Train Show will be occurring on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day from 10am to 7pm. For information on tickets and deals, go to


Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises: This New Year’s Eve party cruise takes visitors right to the Statue of Liberty for a phenomenal viewing of the New Year’s fireworks. The cruise includes hors d’oeuvres, a full open bar, party favors, a DJ and a champagne toast at midnight. The cruise boards at 9 pm and sails from 10pm to 1am. Tickets can be purchased at an all-inclusive price of $149. (Must be 18 years old to board and 21 years old to drink alcohol.) For more information or to purchase tickets, go to

New York Philharmonic: New Year’s Eve Concert with Musical Humorists Igudesman & Joo. Alan Gilbert will conduct the Philharmonic’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration on December 31. In their Philharmonic debuts, this year’s special guests will be Igudesman & Joo, the musical humor duo whose comedic, insightful and virtuosic interpretations of classical repertoire (à la Victor Borge and Danny Kaye) have made them viral Internet stars. Longtime friends who met at England’s Yehudi Menuhin School when they were both 12 years old, Russian violinist Aleksey Igudesman and British-Korean pianist Hyung-ki Joo devise unique performances that make classical music accessible to a wide audience. Combining comedy, music and pop culture, Igudesman & Joo perform in stadiums and concert halls around the world, and their skits have garnered more than 28 million hits on YouTube.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square: Ripley’s family-friendly Times Square New Year’s Eve festivities begin at 8pm on December 31. Be amazed by Ripley’s Odditorium, with over 18,000 square feet of themed galleries featuring 500 unique and exciting artifacts, and enjoy fire-breathing acts, a DJ dance party and a champagne toast at midnight. Parents can relax with an open bar and hors d’oeuvres while the kids take part in face-painting and magic shows and chow down on popcorn and cotton candy. For ticket prices and more information, visit

Emerald Nuts Midnight Run: At midnight on New Year’s Eve, the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run takes off in Central Park, hosted by the New York Road Runners. The night kicks off with dancing and music at 10pm, followed by a costume contest at 11pm at the Central Park Bandshell. The 4-mile race around the park will begin at 11:59 pm, and runners will be racing under the fireworks as the New Year begins. There will be several prizes throughout the night, including cash prizes for the top three runners to finish for both men and women. For more information or to register, visit

World Yacht Cruises: Cruise around Manhattan with superb views of the City skyline while enjoying a five-course dinner, open bar and live entertainment all night long. Tickets for the New Year’s Eve Classic Cruise also include front row views of the fireworks, party favors and a midnight champagne toast. Boarding is at 9pm, and the cruise sails from 10pm until 1am. The fun continues with a dockside party until 1:30am. Tickets are $350, including all taxes and fees. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit


Resorts World Casino: What hand will you be dealt for the New Year? Find out at the Resorts World Casino in Queens on New Year’s Eve! Choose to celebrate at an all-out party with favors, a DJ and a 3,000 balloon drop at midnight, or watch the Times Square ball drop on the largest TV screen in Queens. If you’re looking for an unforgettable dining experience, enjoy specials at RW Prime steakhouse or Genting Palace Asian restaurant. To make reservations or for more details, visit

Staten Island:

Angelina’s Ristorante: Spend your New Year’s Eve in Staten Island at Angelina’s Ristorante enjoying a delicious blend of traditional and innovative Italian cuisine. Celebrate at your own pace with one of three meal and party options: a five-course dinner, an à la carte menu or an all-night buffet. Some options include a live band or DJ and open bar. For more details, call 718-227-2900, or check closer to the time.

Sunshine Coast Visitor Numbers Grow 8.7%

Ballooning over the Sunshine Coast Hinterland
A 17.6% growth in day trips in 2012-2013, saw the Sunshine Coast increase its overall visitor numbers to a record 8.9 million, an increase of 8.7% on the 2011-2012 financial year. $2.8 billion in revenue was generated from tourism visitation in 2012-2013, an increase of 15.9%.

The results were announced at the Annual General Meeting of Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd (SCDL) last night, during which a new Chair was announced.

The highly credentialed Grant Hunt, best known for developing the Voyages Hotels and Resorts brand, will replace Barrie Adams, who has been Chair since 2012, and on the Board since 2010.

The appointment of Hunt follows two other key appointments --new CEO Simon Ambrose (from the Margaret River Tourism Association) and new Head of Marketing, Laughlin Rigby (from the Irish Tourism Board).

Outgoing Chair, Mr Adams, paid tribute to the SCDL team for achieving a strong result in 2012-2013, in a period of major transition in the organisation and against a backdrop of very challenging market conditions.

The 17.6% growth in day trips offset a smaller fall in overnight domestic trips, though SCDL's "stay another night" campaign with overall domestic visitor nights growing by 2.9%. There was a 35% increase in visitor numbers from Sydney.

While leisure travel remained strong, supported by a major focus on events, the end of the mining boom in Queensland and national economic uncertainty significantly affected the business travel and conference sectors.

Internationally, the Sunshine Coast's "naturally refreshing" tagline resonated strongly in the UK, Germany and US markets. Some growth was also recorded from China and the south-east Asian markets, though overall, falls in New Zealand visitation saw the inbound market dip in 2012-2013.

The Board concluded, "The Sunshine Coast adapted very well to the difficult market conditions, withstanding the significant effects that resulted from the decline in mining investment and its subsequent economic impact on Queensland as a whole, and Brisbane specifically.

"Subdued economic conditions and rising unemployment in Brisbane are likely to have a continuing impact on tourism to the Sunshine Coast in the immediate future.

"However, SCDL is now well-positioned to perform strongly, with expertise in digital marketing, that includes a comprehensive online platform. The Sunshine Coast is building its reputation for events, and has established an excellent series of special-interest trails, and secured an increasing number of major conferences to the Sunshine Coast."

Outgoing Chair, Mr Adams said, "The priority for the organisation has been to build a strong team and infrastructure to cater for the new world of travel marketing. I think we have an excellent new team in place now, and under the leadership of CEO Simon Ambrose, I am confident that the Sunshine Coast has the talent and resources to continue achieving significant increases in domestic and international visitation."

Highlights of Sunshine Coast tourism 2012-2013

  • 8.9 million visitors (up 8.7% in 2012-2013 compared to 2011-2012)
  • 6.1 million day trip visitors (up 17.6%)
  • $2.8 billion generated from tourism visitation (up 15.9%)
  • 33% increase in day visitation from Brisbane
  • 35% increase in overnight visitation from Sydney
  • 6% increase in leisure visitation
  • 50% growth in visitor numbers to the visitsunshinecoast leisure website
  • SCDL membership grew to 727 members --the largest of any regional tourism organisation in Queensland.
To view the 2012/2013 Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd Annual Report go to:

Tourism Business Strike Gold at Scottish Thistle Awards

Stirling Castle witnessed one of its greatest battles on Friday, as the crème de la crème of Scottish tourism fought it out at the Scottish Thistle Awards.

Host for the evening was the glamorous Lorraine Kelly who was on hand to present the awards at the glittering ceremony. VisitScotland honoured those at the top of the tourism game in 14 different categories. Among the winners were The Glenlivet Distillery and Visitor Centre, Tiree Music Festival and Wilderness Scotland.

Winner of this year’s prestigious Silver Thistle Award, awarded to those for outstanding contribution to the country’s tourism industry went to Stephen Leckie, Chief Executive of Crieff Hydro and Chairman of Scottish Tourism Alliance.

Stephen is a ‘well kent face’ in tourism circles as both the Chairman of the Scottish Tourism Alliance and also through his work at Crieff Hydro where he has been at the helm for nearly two decades. Stephen also chairs the Crieff Community Council, the Tourism Leadership Group; he is a committee member of the British Hospitality Association, President and Director of Perthshire Chamber of Commerce and Deputy Lieutenant of Perth & Kinross.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “It is with great pleasure that I’m awarding this year’s Silver Thistle Award to Stephen. His outstanding contribution to tourism for the majority of his working life means there is no one more fitting than him to be recognised for this award. Stephen has committed his life to ensure that tourism at both a local and national level is the best it can be, he doesn’t just meet expectations he always goes above and beyond them.

“As we prepare to welcome the world to these shores next year, I rest easy knowing that we have the calibre of the likes of Stephen doing an outstanding job. Without doubt he is a shining light for tourism and I look forward to working with him for many years to come.”

Tourism Minister, Fergus Ewing said: “I’d like to congratulate all the finalists and of course the winners this evening. The Thistle Awards come at an exciting and historic time for tourism in Scotland.

“In the next year, Homecoming Scotland 2014 will position Scotland on the international stage as a dynamic and creative nation. It will extend the benefits and opportunities offered by the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup by presenting a year-long, co-ordinated programme of events designed to generate pride in the people of Scotland and welcome visitors around the world in a celebration of some of Scotland’s greatest assets.

“The year-long programme of events planned across the country will celebrate the very best of Scotland’s food and drink, our assets as a country of natural beauty as well as our rich creativity and cultural and ancestral heritage. Which is why Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 has named Scotland as the third best country to visit in 2014 citing Scotland’s jam-packed schedule of world-class events as reasons to visit in the coming year.”

The Scottish Thistle Awards, which are among the most sought-after accolades in the tourism industry, celebrate quality and innovation across a range of categories. The awards are widely viewed as the official mark of excellence and professionalism, recognising and rewarding excellence in Scotland’s tourism industry in all areas and at all levels.

Mike continued: “I’m delighted and extremely excited to be part of the Thistle Awards national final, held at Stirling Castle for the first time.

“Congratulations to all finalists and of course the winners this evening. We’ve a lot to look forward to in 2014 and with the help of all those in attendance tonight from across Scotland, I’m positive we’re going to make a success of it.

“Tourism is riding on the crest of a wave at the moment with accolades coming in from around the world. One of the major contributing factors is the people here, those at the forefront of the tourism industry.

“The dedication and commitment of the people here tonight is the driving force behind Scotland’s success and I’m extremely proud and privileged to be part of it.

New Tour Unlocks the Mystery of the Greeen Cauldron

Mt Warning
A new tour of the Wollumbin Mt Warning Caldera and surrounding areas promises to take visitors where they have never been taken before.

The day tour and a range of private tours have been developed by Kristina Drapes who fell in love with the Wollumbin Mt Warning Caldera while representing the region for many years on the board of Northern Rivers Tourism.

Green Cauldron Tours introduces visitors to the energy, the history and the geological and cultural significance of this landscape and its people, past and present.

“The Wollumbin Mt Warning area is one of the most special places on earth, but it’s not easy to get beneath the surface. Our tours connect visitors with the people and places you cannot access any other way,” Ms Drapes said.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Cancun Reports an Increase in Destination Weddings for 2013

As one of the world’s top destination wedding locations, Cancun offers couples everything they need to make their wedding wishes a reality.

This year alone there has been an increase of 15 – 20 percent in weddings compared to 2012. The beautiful tropical backdrop of crystal clear water, white sandy beaches, the beauty of the Mexican Caribbean and high-end hotels offering unique wedding experiences makes Cancun an increasingly popular choice for couples.

According to the Cancun CVB, 30 percent of all U.S. couples choose to have their weddings in a foreign destination. Mexico accounts for 24 percent of these foreign nuptials (about 25,000 annually), with Cancun hosting 12,000 vow renewals, civil, religious and Mayan-themed weddings in 2012 alone.

Palace Resorts, a top hotel chain in Mexico, is one of Cancun’s most popular choices for weddings due to their diverse offerings that include interfaith, Catholic and Jewish ceremonies. Recently, the resort chain also incorporated Indian weddings to their offerings. “The brand raised the bar in unique offerings for destination weddings by specializing in Indian weddings, available exclusively at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort. Palace Resorts flew in culinary consultants and trained resort chefs in preparing authentic Indian cuisine for these grand affairs,” said Lucy Martinez Ramirez, Palace Resorts’ Corporate Weddings Director. “Since adding Indian weddings to the resort’s offerings, the property has already seen an increase of almost 10 percent year over year when compared to 2012.”

The Hard Rock Hotel Cancun is another popular all-inclusive property for weddings. This resort offers nine exclusive wedding packages created by renowned celebrity wedding designer, Colin Cowie, which turn the bride and groom’s special day into a lavish, ultra-stylish affair. Packages include everything needed for a flawless wedding, as well as Colin Cowie’s expert touch in décor. Chic designs inspired by the beauty of Mexico are also available, including options like Elegant Ivory and El Sol as well as Metallic Dunes and Rocker Chic for a unique Hard Rock vibe.

Dolphin Discovery, which invites guests to be a part of the unforgettable experience of swimming with dolphins, sea lions and manatees, also incorporates weddings for those looking for something different and romantic. With more and more couples looking for unique and one of a kind celebrations, Dolphin Discovery provides exceptional ways to celebrate nuptials and incorporate nature in every aspect of a wedding. Dolphin Discovery has had a 51 percent increase in weddings compared to 2012, with 7,610 this year alone.

Mandala Beach Club has also seen an increase in weddings by 70 percent this year. Located in the heart of the hotel zone, the Beach Club’s great location and beautiful beach makes it an appealing choice to specific couples. The club also allows guests to celebrate their nuptial until the sun rises, with no set protocol for closing or set time limit for wedding receptions.

The prevalence of Cancun’s Mayan culture makes Mayan-themed weddings popular alternatives for couples that prefer unconventional and mystical ceremonies. In addition, the destination’s award-winning hotels, unique and convenient all-inclusive offerings, high-end products and top-notch amenities make wedding unions in Cancun unforgettable events for all types of couples.

A Summary of the Tourism Situation in Thailand

International tourist arrivals in Thailand from January to October 2013 increased to 21.7 million, up by 22.3 percent over the same period of 2012.

The Cabinet, during its meeting on 25 November 2013 acknowledged a summary of tourist arrivals in Thailand during the 10-month period, submitted by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

The Ministry stated that it had worked out the System of International Tourism Statistics by compiling information from various sources. The system will be used to set policies and planning for the country’s tourism development, in line with the Government’s objective to increase tourism revenue.

According to the summary, the number of international visitors in Thailand has increased steadily. Divided by region, they came mainly from East Asia, followed by Europe, and North America. The 10 largest groups of international visitors between January and October were from China, Malaysia, Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Laos, India, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Singapore.

The popularity of Thailand’s tourism destinations and its diverse tourism products and services were cited as major factors for steady tourism growth in the country. Other factors include the hospitality of the people, good value for money, and safety for tourists. The Ministry of Tourism said that impacts from the enforcement of China’s new tourism law, Thailand’s political situation, and crime might create a negative impact on the tourism situation in Thailand from November to December 2013.

Rory McIlroy Arrives for Australian Open of Golf

 Gabrielle Upton, George Souris, Rory McIlroy
One of the world’s best golfers, Rory McIlroy was welcomed to Sydney prior to the start of the Emirates Australian Open of Golf at the Royal Sydney Golf Club on Thursday.

“The NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, secured Rory McIIroy to play exclusively in Sydney at the Australian Open, and I am delighted to welcome him to NSW,” Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris said.

“And the battle between Rory and our own home-grown hero and world number two, Adam Scott, will be something to thrill golf fans everywhere”.

“The Australian Open of Golf provides the only opportunity for Australian golf fans to see Rory McIlroy take on our home grown hero, US Masters champion and world number two, Adam Scott, who will attempt to secure the Australian Triple Crown by winning the Stonehaven Cup.”

Mr Souris said this year’s Australian Open has attracted a stellar field including the evergreen Peter Senior who will be defending his Australian Open title against golfers of the calibre of Jason Day, Aaron Baddeley, Robert Allenby, John Senden, Geoff Ogilvy, Aaron Baddeley, Greg Chalmers, Nick O’Hern, Scott Gardiner, Cameron Percy, Craig Parry and Rod Pampling.

“This is the final tournament of the PGA Tour of Australasia season and it’s great to see Sydney host this world-class event. Visitors coming to the Australian Open Golf in Sydney are in for a real treat to indulge their golfing passion,” Mr Souris said.

“The NSW Government remains committed to the long term vision of showcasing the historic Australian Open and highlighting Sydney and NSW’s stunning, world-class golf courses to the world.”

Minister for Sport and Recreation, Gabrielle Upton, said: “Australia has consistently produced world class golfers and sporting ambassadors, and this year promises to be an exciting and hotly contested Australian Open at Royal Sydney.”

“Adam Scott has been in career-best form having earlier this year become the first Aussie to win the US Masters. This week he will attempt to win the triple crown of Australian golf and just last month was awarded Australia’s prestigious The Don Award by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame – a first for a golfer.

“This talented, world-class golfing line up reinforces Sydney’s position as Australia’s home of major sporting events.”

The Emirates Australian Open will be broadcast live on the Seven Network across all four days and the championship will again be sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and OneAsia.

The State’s Events Calendar, support by the NSW Government, features Australia’s world-class sporting events including:
  • The Sydney 500 Grand Finale at Sydney Olympic Park, 7-8 December, 2013
    The Australian Open of Golf, 28 November - Sunday 1 December, 2013
  • The Special Olympics, Asia Pacific Games, 30 November – 7 December, 2013
  • Australian Junior Surf Titles, 30 November – 7 December, 2013
  • Ashes Test 3, January – 7 January, 2014
  • Apia Tennis International Sydney, 5 – 11 January, 2014
  • Australian Open of Surfing, February 8 -16, 2014
  • Two rounds of V8 Supercar Championship Series, 30 November - 2 December, 2013 & 22-24 August 2014
  • Top Gear Festival, 8-9 March 2014
  • The Opening Series of Major League Baseball, March 21-22, 2014.

Tickets are on sale via Ticketek at or by calling 132 849.

Korea to Inspire Buyers at Hosted Buyer Lounge at AIME 2014

Korea World Trade Centre
Korea Tourism Organization is aiming to inspire buyers to host their next meeting, incentive, conference or exhibition in Korea by sponsoring the hosted buyer lounge at AIME2014 (Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo 2014) which will be held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre on the 18th and 19th February next year.

Hosted buyers will be welcomed by girls in traditional Korean costume and have the chance to enjoy some hands on activities. Korean girls in traditional costume will welcome hosted buyers to relax in the lounge and try their hand at Korean fan making, take their photo in the photo zone and try some traditional Korean tea and snacks. Buyers will be able to watch promotional films of Korea and have an overall Korean experience whilst in the lounge.

As well as sponsoring the hosted buyer lounge Korea Tourism Organization will have a large team of Korean MICE industry specialists join the Korea Tourism Organization stand 3100 at AIME2014.

Korea is on the fast-track to becoming one of the top destinations for MICE events. MICE space in the country has expanded 70% since the year 2000, and more facilities are being developed in key hubs to boost the industry.

Korea has successfully hosted numerous international world class events from the G20 Summit in 2010 to the Nuclear Security Summit in March of 2012. Korea's awareness as a meetings destination has heightened. In addition, the Union of International Association (UIA) reports that Korea was ranked fifth for the number of international meetings in 2012.

Korea presently has nine major convention centres in major cities throughout Korea as well as Seoul and Jeju Island off the southern coast of Korea. Easy access to the country as well as convenient transportation such as the KTX Express train service allows connecting between major cities within a two hour range of Seoul.

Pre and post tours are a great attraction as visitors can immerse themselves in the remarkable cultural heritage and vibrant nature of Korea. Along with the healthy cuisine visitors can join in activities such as learning how to make traditional Korean ceramics, experience a night in a traditional Korean house (hanok) or join a taekwondo training program or experience oriental medical treatments.

Korea also offers a wide variety of shopping opportunities: arcades, department stores, duty-free stores, outdoor markets and for those who have no time to shop during the day, all night shopping is a speciality of Korea. At Dongdaemun you can shop all night till 5.30am in the morning.

Live theatre options are wide and varied including popular shows loved by tourists to Seoul like Nanta and Jump. Traditional performances of music and dance can be enjoyed at places like Korea House and the Jeongdong Theatre.

COEX Mall at night
Korean cuisine inspires many visitors to Seoul to take up healthy eating. Korean food is not only delicious, it is also very good for your health. Meals are nutritionally balanced and very low in fat and many vegetable dishes are provided as side dishes to the main course. Korean BBQ is very popular with visitors to the country and the variety of Korean cuisine is huge.

Korea Tourism Organization invites hosted buyers to relax in the hosted buyers lounge and welcome all buyers and visitors to AIME2014 to visit the Korea stand (3100) to learn more about how to host your next successful meeting in Korea.

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney Unveils New Full Harbour View Junior Suite

The spectacular sight of the soaring white sails of the Sydney Opera House and the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge will greet guests staying in the new Full Harbour View Junior Suites at Four Seasons Hotel Sydney. In addition to spectacular harbour views, the suite comes with exclusive privileges including complimentary Executive Club access for guests and up to three friends.

A private haven for guests, the Executive Club on Level 32 of the Hotel overlooks Walsh Bay and offers deluxe full breakfast buffet with chef-attended egg station, all-day light refreshments, and an evening pre-dinner canapés and premium spirits open bar with an award-winning sommelier selection of wines. Other Executive Club privileges include complimentary garment pressing, high-speed internet access throughout the Hotel, dedicated concierge services, selection of daily newspapers and magazines, and savings on Executive Club boardroom functions.

The Full Harbour View Junior Suite features an open-concept living area that includes a lounge area, oversized sleeping and relaxation spaces, and a generous executive business station. Guests staying in the Full Harbour View Junior Suite will also receive luxurious Appelles amenities made from certified organic Australian ingredients in the marble bathroom.

The Full Harbour View Junior Suite is available from AUD 595.00 a night. For reservations, call 02 9250 3100 or book online.

Scottish Tourism a Powerhouse for Job Creation

A report commissioned by VisitBritain has found that since 2010 tourism has been the fastest growing sector in the UK in employment terms, responsible for one-third of the net increase in UK jobs between 2010 and 2012. Recent employment growth in the sector has been ‘stellar’ over this period says the report – more than four times the rate of manufacturing.

The report forecasts that Scotland’s tourism economy will be worth around £11.6 billion this year (2013), equivalent to 10.3% of the Scotland’s GDP. It supports over 292,000 jobs, which is 10.9% of all Scotland’s jobs. The sector is predicted to grow 53.4%in real terms through to 2025 – much faster than sectors such as manufacturing, construction and retail.

Scotland could have a tourism industry worth over £23.1 billion by 2025 – 11.5% of Scotland’s GDP and supporting almost 350,000 jobs, which is 12.6% of the total Scotland number. Those jobs would be distributed right across Scotland, for while urban areas such as Glasgow or Edinburgh have the highest number of jobs in tourism, the relative level of tourism-related jobs tends to be higher in our rural areas. During this period of job creation, productivity in the tourism sector is also expected to increase by 2% per annum.

Tourism’s impact is amplified through the economy, so benefits are much wider than just the direct spending of tourists. Deloitte estimates the tourism GVA multiplier to be 2.2, meaning that for every £1000 generated in direct tourism GVA there is a further £1200 that is secured elsewhere in the economy through the supply chain.¹

Inbound tourism across UK and Scotland

UK Inbound tourism will continue to be the fastest growing tourism sector, with spend by international visitors forecast to grow by over 6% a year. The value of inbound tourism is forecast to grow from around over £21bn in 2013 to £57bn by 2025, with the UK seeing an international tourism balance of payments surplus within a decade – almost forty years since the UK last reported a surplus.

If Britain were to become as successful as its European competitors in the new emerging growth markets for tourism (such as China) it could increase the value of inbound tourism by an additional £12bn by 2025 – an increase to £69bn or over 20% on the base forecast.

Western China Travel Trade Visit to the Southern Highlands

Destination Southern Highlands (DSH), as part of the Grand Pacific Drive familiarisation program, was able to showcase the region to a group of key Western China Agents on Thursday 14 November.

The Chinese market for the Southern Highlands continues to grow and show increased interest.

Presently there are a number of tourism businesses who are see the interest of this vast market and they are working together with DSH to continue to attract and increase this valuable source of potential visitation.


On December 11 and 12th the Belgian professional tourism fair celebrates its 10 years with a NEW venue at the Wild Gallery. For its 10 years, the B2B tourism and platform puts on a first-rate meal with numerous surprises and novelties.

Events taking place at the event include the Press conference of VVR, the Flemish travel agents association, the famous Networking lunch, beginning of the afternoon, the ABTO conference, the Travel Group Board Meeting and later the Business & Travel Event (MICE Event). meeting and awards of Selectair Members, VVR workshop, and the big final with the Travel Trophy of Sudamerica Tours with a new concept and finally the 10th anniversary Gala evening with lots of surprises.

2014 Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth Launched in Sydney

Sydney experienced a taste of Australia’s largest music festival  recently at the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth launch in Martin Place.

Australia’s largest music festival, the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth will feature one of the biggest line-up’s in the Festival’s history in 2014. The Festival will host over 800 performers at some 4,000 shows across 10 huge days.

Internationally renowned and award-winning country music trio The McClymonts entertained the crowd, and ‘Wildfire’ the 1,200-kilogram Brahman Bull, who is a regular at the Festival, made the journey to Martin Place especially for the launch as a sign of the size and diversity of the Festival.

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the Festival was one of Australia’s most iconic events.

“As the capital of country music in Australia, Tamworth has a long and proud association with country music and our community is looking forward to again hosting the festival next year for the 42nd time,” Mr Anderson said.

“The enormous number of visitors coming to Tamworth during the event doubles the city's population and brings significant economic benefits to the region.”

Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris said: “The NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, is proud to support the 2014 Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth.

“Next year, an estimated 50,000 people are expected to visit the festival daily, which will provide a welcome economic boost for the local community.”

A bronze statue of country music’s first couple, Slim Dusty and Joy McKean will be unveiled in Tamworth this January. A Slim Dusty Tribute Concert is also planned and an exhibition of Slim’s famous memorabilia will be on display.

The Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2014 will be held from Friday 17 January to Sunday 26 January.

More information

  • The Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2014 will be held from Friday 17 January to Sunday 26 January
  • For more information and to purchase tickets, visit
  • See photos on Facebook

Photo of Sunrise's David Koch and Samantha Armytage with Wildfire the bull in Martin Place on Tuesday morning, 19 November 2013.

Gastronomic Tourism an Integral Part of Peru’s Tourism Industry

Peruvian restaurants are popping up all over the world, but that’s not stopping intrepid foodies from seeking out Peruvian food in its land of origin.

According to Alejandro Garro of Promarket Peru consulting firm, 1.2 million tourists will have come to Peru by the end of 2013 with the intention of doing gastronomic tourism. This represents about 40 per cent of the projected 2013 total of 3.1 million foreign tourists, reported, citing Lima daily El Comercio.

Food tourists spend, on average, US$130 on food in high-quality restaurants
every day they spend in Peru.

Chef Nicolai Stakeeff told El Comercio that six years ago, only 7 per cent of foreign tourists arriving in Peru did so with the intention of taking part in gastronomic tourism.

Stakeeff also highlighted the successful work that has been done by both tourism and restaurant promoters in recent years in order to familiarise foreigners with the wealth and diversity of Peruvian food.

He says that the majority of gastronomic tourists in Peru are of Asian origin.

“35 per cent of the pie is made up by Japanese epicureans, and Chinese tourists make up an important 25 per cent. And increasingly, Mexicans, Argentines, and Germans are coming to do gastronomic tours.”

Marketing director for Embarcadero 41 Jorge Wong also pointed out that gastronomic tourism is beneficial in part because it helps reduce the seasonal nature of tourism, as foodies can find delicious meals in Peru during any time of the year.

Tourism Businesses in Australia

Tourism Research Australia (TRA) has published the report Tourism Businesses in Australia, June 2010 to June 2012. As at June 2012, there were over 280,000 tourism businesses in Australia.

The report found that medium and large businesses constituted only about 10 per cent of total tourism businesses but generated 68 per cent of total tourism revenue. The Cafes, restaurant and takeaway food services industry accounted for 21.5 per cent of businesses that have high reliance on tourism.

TRA reported more than 95,600 tourism businesses in NSW in June 2012 and this represented 34 per cent of all tourism businesses in Australia. Sixty-three per cent of tourism businesses in NSW were located in Sydney, and around 55 per cent of tourism businesses in NSW had at least one employee.

The report Tourism Businesses in Australia, June 2010 to June 2012 is available at Destination NSW - Economic Value and at 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Qatar Tourism Authority welcomed the global MICE industry at EIBTM 2013

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) led a delegation of sixteen Qatari ministries, companies and organizations to EIBTM, the Global Meetings & Events Expo, the leading global event for the meeting, incentive, conferences, events (MICE) and business travel industry. EIBTM took place at the Fira Gran Via conference centre in Barcelona, Spain from 19 to 21 November, gathering 15,000 MICE industry professional from around the world.

At the world’s leading MICE and business trade show, Qatar was represented by the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Katara, Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), Qatar MICE Development Institute (QMDI), Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), and Qatar Airways, in addition to a range of tour operators and hotels: Gulf Adventures Tourism, Regency Travel & Tours, Qatar International Adventures, Fraser Suites Doha, Sharq Village & Spa, The Ritz-Carlton Doha, Crown Plaza Doha – The Business Park, InterContinental Doha – The City, Doha Marriott Hotel, and Renaissance Doha City Center Hotel.

Participation at EIBTM is one of QTA’s many initiatives to position and promote Qatar as a leading world-class events destination for the MICE sector. As Qatar gains a growing reputation for quality and excellenceacross different sectors, QTA is driving the development of world-classevents and the supporting infrastructure needed for exhibitions, events and business tourism. The country has proven its ability to successfully host international world scale events, rapidly earning a reputation as the region’s hub for business, conferences and exhibitions with its world-classfacilities and leisure amenities.Qatar was the proud host, last December for COP18, the United Nations Climate Change Conference at the QNCC.

“Qatar is unique as it offers not only the excitement of Doha as a city destination, but also the charm that can only be found in anauthentic Middle East setting. A combination of world class hotels, a prime convention center and excellent accessibility makes Qatar an ideal destination for MICEtravel,” said Hamad Al Abdan, QTA Director of Exhibitions.

Besides the ideal conditions and impressivefacilities for business travelers, Qatar has a fascinating cultural heritage, splendid landmarks, 563 km of sandy coastline, museums hosting some of the region’s most impressive art collections, and an array of world-leading sports events.

“Besides all the facilities on offer, in terms of accommodation, venues and transportation, Qatar presents meeting planners a business-oriented location combined with an exciting mix of leisure activities set alongside a rich cultural heritage, ” added Al Abdan.

Staged annually in Barcelona, EIBTM is the leading global event for the meetings, incentives, events and business travel industry. The event delivers three days of focused access to a dynamic business environment, thought provoking professional education and business networks for all attendees.

Over the third quarter 2013, Qatar experienced increased tourism across all sectors. GCC visitors increased by 16.6% over the same period 2012, and international tourists increased by 7%. QTA has an important role to play in developing a sustainable tourism sector in Qatar so that tourism becomes a significant factor as a part of the national economy.

TRAVELWEEK SAO PAULO Acquired by Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions has added to its growing portfolio of international luxury travel events.

Reed Exhibitions has just acquired Travelweek Sao Paulo. This is a high-end travel event that introduces select international travel suppliers to premium buyers from across Brazil and other Latin American countries.

Travelweek Sao Paulo, launched in 2011, attracted over 590 international exhibiting companies from more than 70 destinations, 600 travel specialists from 19 cities across Brazil and another 7 Latin America countries plus 2000 high-end Brazilian consumers during the 2013 edition. The show will be joining Reed Exhibitions’ growing portfolio of International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) events.

Reed Exhibitions UK, Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mortimore said: “Travelweek Sao Paulo, has established itself as the event for delivering quality business from the Brazilian and Latin American luxury travel sector. We are pleased to be welcoming the founder Carolina Perez and team into the globally recognised ILTM portfolio of leading, luxury, travel events.”

Juan Pablo De Vera, President, Reed Exhibitions Alcantara Machado continues: “This is an important step for our company in Brazil and reinforces our commitment to work with local markets. After more than 15 years of strategic growth in the country we continue to bring our expertise and international network to leverage the brightest local entrepreneurs and companies. Carolina and her team are a perfect example of this, with a clear focus on demonstrating value to the markets we serve and proved experience in delivering superior customer services.”

Carolina Perez, founder of Travelweek Sao Paulo commented: “I am very excited to be joining Reed Exhibitions and the ILTM team to steer Travelweek Sao Paulo to even greater success. I have always admired the marvellous success of ILTM and have a strong relationship with the ILTM team. We will be able to take advantage of ILTM’s established resources and global experience that will undoubtedly help to ensure we continue to surpass market expectations in delivering a show of exceptional quality every year. ”

Alison Gilmore, Senior Exhibition Director of ILTM Portfolio, said “Carolina Perez is a fantastic visionary, who has creatively developed an excellent event, in this exciting market sector and we are pleased to be welcoming her to the ILTM team. Travelweek Sao Paulo fits perfectly with the ILTM portfolio and will complement our other events in offering the luxury travel industry solutions to growing their business across specific markets.”

The fourth edition of Travelweek Sao Paulo will take place at the Bienal Pavilion in Ibirapuera Park, Sao Paulo, 6 – 9 May 2014.

ILTM events open the doors to an established, global community of the luxury travel industry in a time-efficient format; introducing select suppliers through bespoke appointment programmes and networking sessions. Travelweek Sao Paulo joins the ILTM portfolio, which includes ILTM, ILTM Asia, ILTM Americas, ILTM Africa, ILTM Japan and ILTM Spa.

For further enquiries please contact:

Alison Gilmore
Senior Exhibition Director
Tel: +44 (0)20 8910 7964

Simon Mayle
Head of Marketing
Tel: +44 (0)20 8910 7868

Qantas and Victoria Announce $12 Million Tourism Deal

Qantas and the Victorian government have signed a $12 million tourism cooperative agreement to market Victoria as a holiday destination internationally and within Australia.

Qantas International Chief Executive Officer Simon Hickey said he is extremely proud of this new partnership which will increase visitor numbers and tourism spending across Victoria.

"We are delighted to partner with the Victorian government and Tourism Victoria to promote the State to key international destinations and around Australia," Mr Hickey said.

"This three-year marketing agreement will encourage more people to visit Victoria and will be a valuable injection for the Victorian tourism industry, creating jobs and promoting investment and development."

"Our new partnership with Emirates will also increase visitors to Victoria, as the State is marketed to a bigger audience than ever before."

The joint marketing agreement will target visitors from the United Kingdom, United States, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, New Zealand and Australia.

The Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Louise Asher said the partnership takes Tourism Victoria and Qantas' existing collaborative activity to a new level and opens up a vast number of international and domestic opportunities to grow inbound visitors to Victoria.

"Qantas' status as one of Australia's most iconic brands and its exceptional visibility to international consumers is well aligned with Victoria's destination marketing strategy.

"This highlights Melbourne as a vibrant cosmopolitan city which offers many outstanding tourism experiences including an exciting events calendar, a world class culinary scene and many distinctive cultural attractions. It is also the gateway to many authentic and unforgettable experiences in regional Victoria," Ms Asher said.

The partnership will include campaigns in key international markets including advertising special airfares and promotions around major events and activities.

The agreement will also have a strong focus on digital platforms including online and social media.

The first joint marketing campaign under the partnership will kick off on Wednesday 9 October, promoting Melbourne like never before and encouraging visitors to "Go before you go".

The announcement follows similar deals between Qantas and New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory and takes the total joint investment in tourism to $72 million over three years.

Qantas operates over 1200 flights in and out of Melbourne each week, making Qantas the largest airline to service the city.

VisitPITTSBURGH Recognized for Service

VisitPITTSBURGH received the 2013 Gold Service Award from Meetings & Conventions magazine for providing quality service to clients in the meetings and convention industry.

Meetings & Conventions’ readers, representing the elite in both the corporate and association markets, made their selections based on key criteria, including: professionalism of staff; support on hotels and site inspections; assistance with ground transportation planning; guidance on local attractions; and liaison with local vendors and services.

In recognizing VisitPITTSBURGH, a 19-year winner of the Gold Service Award, Meetings & Conventions states: “The 2013 Gold Service winners impressed the M&C’s demanding experienced readers as they excelled in many valuable areas of service and commitment.”

“VisitPITTSBURGH prides itself on providing top-level service to meeting planners and conventioneers. This award is noteworthy because it comes directly from the convention trade publication’s readers who are choosing the best of the best,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH.

VisitPITTSBURGH is featured in Meetings & Conventions’ Gold Awards issue published in November.

As the official tourism promotion agency for Allegheny County, VisitPITTSBURGH is dedicated to generating convention, trade show and leisure travel business for the Pittsburgh region.