Sunday, 30 April 2017


Some of the State’s best short break experiences will feature on Channel Seven’s popular travel show this Sunday.

The Sydney Weekender ‘Destination NSW Special’ secured by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency will be seen by more than 130,000 television viewers.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said, “The episode will feature everything from farm stays in the Southern Highlands to beautiful bush walks and boutique accommodation in the Blue Mountains, one of Mollymook’s top restaurants, and a sneak preview of Vivid Sydney.”

“I encourage everyone considering a short break to tune into Sydney Weekender this Sunday to learn more about the exciting experiences on offer.”

The episode will air at 5:30pm on Sunday, 30 April on the Seven Network in Sydney and on the Prime Network across NSW and the ACT.

Enterprise Dunedin

Interest in Dunedin as a conference destination is on the up, as the number of international conferences headed to the region shows there is an appetite for what the city has to offer.

Bree Jones, Enterprise Dunedin’s business event’s tourism advisor, says Dunedin's growing list of international conference wins has further cemented the city as a first-rate conference destination.

‘Business event delegates to Dunedin discover a remarkably educated, creative and innovative city still thriving on its founding values,’ she says. ‘As a destination the city holds many unique highlights that can only be found in the region.’

Jones says on-going collaborations between the University of Otago, Enterprise Dunedin and Tourism New Zealand using their Conference Assistance Programme saw Dunedin successfully bid to host in bidding to host five international conferences, set to take place between 2018 and 2020, with an estimated value of $4.7 million and 14,000 delegate nights

According to Jones, Dunedin is set to welcome more business events than ever before with increased air connectivity and infrastructure to support events. Additional direct flights have been added to the Auckland and Wellington routes, creating 88,000 further seats annually. As well as additional flights, scheduled timings have been amended creating connection benefits for domestic and trans-Tasman visitors travelling on to further destinations.

‘International conferences offer the opportunity to showcase some of the world leaders and influencers we have within our academic community,’ she says.

‘Hosting events such as these at ‘home’ offers broader city-wide benefits both economically as well as raising the city’s profile on a global stage.’

Dunedin will host the 41st CINZ Annual Conference AGM this October.

Australian PlantBank Free Guided Tours

Visitors to the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan now have the unique opportunity to visit an exciting new scientific research facility in a free guided tour of the new PlantBank.

Opened last October by Governor Marie Bashir, the $20 million PlantBank centre aims to house seeds from all of Australia’s 250,000 native plant species in order to conserve the country’s flora for the future.

Designed to withstand fire and other threats, the remarkable new facility will allow scientists to recreate native plants that may become extinct in the future through incidents such as bushfires. Plants in the laboratories are stored as seeds, through tissue culture or cryogenically with temperatures as low as -196°C.

On the weekends the dedicated volunteer guides at the Garden provide free guided tours of the Australian PlantBank (please keep in mind these do not go behind the scenes like the paid tours do). The free tours show visitors where conservation collections are researched, grown and banked, and encourage them to learn more about Australia’s diverse flora.

(Please note: Tours are subject to availability and may not run every weekend. Visitor are advised to contact the Garden to confirm times and availability. Tour times can vary so please contact the Visitor Centre to confirm times and to book your space on the tour as tours book out quickly).

Date: Every Saturday and Sunday (subject to availability)
Time: Tour times vary
Duration: Tours run for approximately 1 hour
Cost: Free

Viet Nam strives to develop brand for sea-island tourism

Viet Nam is striving to develop sea and island tourism to drive the sea-based economy forward, thus turning itself into a rich and strong marine nation.

Exploiting big islands

Viet Nam has 12 inhabited island districts, namely Hoang Sa, Truong Sa, Bach Long Vy, Cat Hai, Van Don, Co To, Con Co, Ly Son, Phu Quy, Con Dao, Kien Hai and Phu Quoc.

The master plan for sea-based economic development by 2020 aims to develop high-quality tourism on the three island districts of Van Don (Quang Ninh), Con Dao (Ba Ria-Vung Tau) and Phu Quoc (Kien Giang).

According to Ngo Hoai Chung, Deputy General Director of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), a series of mechanisms have been approved to develop high-quality services and products in the three island districts. For example, an international seaport, airport, and casino will be built in Van Don. With high-end entertainment services, bestowed with ecotourism potential and located in the network of the natural wonder Ha Long Bay, bordering Mong Cai city and the fascinating complex of islands and caves in Cat Ba island, Van Don is expected to become “another Macao” in Asia.

Con Dao is home to the Con Dao National Park covering nearly 20,000 hectares on land and sea, and the special national relic site of Con Dao Prison. The island was listed as one of the 10 most attractive destinations in Asia by Lonely Planet and one of the Best Secret Islands on the earth by the US Travel and Leisure Magazine. Con Dao is set to become one of the icons of Viet Nam’s sea and island tourism sites.

Meanwhile, more new mechanisms have been devised for Phu Quoc to improve its infrastructure and lure tourists, particularly foreigners. Incentives have been offered to investors in building seaports, airports, high-end resorts and other tourism services such as trade centres, finance, banking, insurance and telecommunications. Foreign visitors to Phu Quoc island are enabled to enjoy a 30-day visa exemption. The efforts aim to transform the island district into a special economic zone, Chung said.

Many other islands have become popular destinations for holidaymakers, including Co To, Thanh Lan (Quang Ninh), Cat Ba, Cat Hai (Hai Phong), Ly Son (Quang Ngai), Phu Quy (Binh Thuan) and Con Co (Quang Tri).

Looking toward pristine islet system

Dr. Du Van Toan, Head of the Division of Marine Resources and Climate Change Research of the Viet Nam Institute of Seas and Islands highlighted the importance of over 2,700 small islets, describing each of them as an unsinkable ship that helps safeguard the nation’s sea and island sovereignty while propelling sea-based economic development.

There are numerous renowned island-based tourism role models across the world, including Hawaii in the US, Aukland in New Zealand, and the Maldives. There remains room for Viet Nam to develop similar models, while improving existing examples. Nam Du in Kien Giang, Hon Tre in Nha Trang, Cu Lao Cham in Quang Nam, and Ly Son in Quang Ngai can be considered successful examples, Toan elaborated.

In the nation’s industrialisation and modernization process, it is difficult to prevent coastal areas from the risk of pollution. Beaches across the nation have become overcrowded, particularly during the peak season. More and more people want to enjoy high-quality tourism products. If domestic tourism facilities fail to satisfy the demands of holiday-makers, they will travel abroad. That is why pristine islands, with clean water and white-sand beaches, particularly those around 20-50 km offshore, will become a momentum for sea-based tourism, Toan told the Viet Nam News Agency (VNA).

APEC Viet Nam 2017 offers golden opportunity

Viet Nam has set a target of attracting 22 million foreign visitors, serving 58 million domestic tourists, and earning 200 trillion VND (8.8 billion USD) from sea and island tourism by 2020. To realise these targets, the tourism sector has moved to take every opportunity it has to develop sustainably.

In an interview granted to the VNA, Dr. Le Tuan Anh, Deputy Director of the VNAT’s International Cooperation Department, said hosting APEC Year 2017 is a “golden opportunity” for Viet Nam’s tourism, particularly sea and island tourism. The country has introduced the images of its people and landscapes and modern infrastructure facilities to participants at APEC meetings.

Not until 2017 did the nation move to take advantage of the opportunity for the tourism sector. Since Viet Nam planned to host APEC Year 2017, tourism has been a key factor in selecting venues for APEC meetings and activities as well as proposing the agenda for the meetings. Within the framework of the first APEC Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM 1) in Nha Trang city, the Tourism Working Group (TWG) organised a workshop on sustainable tourism in the APEC region in the context of climate change, Anh said.

Viet Nam also put forth tourism initiatives in response to the International Year 2017 of Sustainable Tourism launched by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). The APEC 2017 minister-level dialogue on sustainable tourism is scheduled to take place in Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province, in June.

Anh stressed that during the event, Viet Nam will introduce its activities in response to the UN goals on sustainable tourism development, showing its commitment to sustainable tourism development.

The Scone Equine Hospital Horse Festival Parade 2017

The Scone Horse Festival is a unique event that takes place in beautiful Scone and the surrounding Upper Hunter Valley each year in May. The festival includes remarkable events that showcase the versatility of the horse and the important role they play in the local area.

The Festival will take place from 4-14th May and the theme for 2017 is 'May the Horse be with you'; expect to be moved from this world in an amazing 11-day festival in Scone and the Upper Hunter.

The Scone Equine Hospital Horse Festival Parade 

is one of the most striking demonstrations of the kindred of horse and man. This year's Festival Parade takes place on Saturday 6th May and starts at approximately 10.30am. Headed by veteran horsemen and participants, such as marching bands, local schools, equestrian clubs and horses of all breeds, the Parade is a truly remarkable showcase for the Upper Hunter horse world: a great family spectacle that fills the main street of Scone.

Horse Parade Route

The parade starts on the corner of Guernsey and Liverpool Streets. It will turn right from Guernsey Street into Liverpool Street and continue to the traffic lights on Liverpool and Kelly Streets. At the traffic lights, the parade turns left onto Kelly Street. It proceeds down to St Aubins intersection where the parade does a u-turn at The Royal Hotel. Then it proceeds down Kelly Street to the Kingdon Street intersection located near the Thoroughbred Hotel, where it does a u-turn and moves back down to the traffic lights. The parade concludes with one final turn left at the Post Office onto Liverpool Street, and returns to the marshalling area. Commentators are located at a number of positions on the Parade route announcing each of the participants.

Entering the Parade

Please fill in one of the online forms below or to register an entry in the 2017 Festival Parade:

Equine parade entry form

Non-equine parade entry form

Please email completed forms to or drop into the Neighbourhood Centre at 130 Liverpool Street, Scone.

Ensure you read the terms and conditions carefully, and select the correct type of entry, e.g: Equine Entry or Non-Equine Entry. For equine entries, the parade assembles at White Park and for the non-equine entries, assembly is at Kingdon Street.

Further information regarding assembly points, times, parade entry number and street maps will be provided once completed entry forms have been received.

Immediate tax refund benefit upon purchase in South Korea

Tourists shopping at a department store
Foreign tourists are eligible for immediate tax refunds when purchasing goods at non-duty free shops in South Korea. Previously, tourists were required to pay the full price with tax included and then keep the receipts to file a tax refund at the airport before departure. With the new system in place, tourists can save time and effort receiving tax refunds on purchases at participating "Tax Free" stores.

The immediate tax refund applies for purchases of less than 200,000 won, and is limited to a total value of 1,000,000 won per visit. The much-requested prompt tax refund system aims to reduce the waiting time to receive a tax refund, making tourists’ trips more pleasant and convenient.
More info

Immediate tax refund system

☞ Period: From January 1, 2016
☞ Notice: Passport must be presented to receive the tax refund.
☞ Immediate tax refund shops (Last updated July 7, 2016)
☞ Website: (Korean, English)
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

*Courtesy of the Ministry of Strategy and Finance & the Ministry of Justice of Korea

Melbourne Knowledge Week to host the world’s best thinkers

Melbourne Knowledge Week 2017 will bring many of the best thinkers in Melbourne and around the world together to lead conversations with Melburnians that will help shape the way the city evolves.

​Launching the program today, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said it will focus on how Melbourne will continue to grow and lead the world in the areas that make Melbourne great: food, sport, health, urban design, technology and business.

"We are bringing people together to drive conversation about how Melbourne is designing spaces, supporting industry and continuing to foster talent that will develop technologies, evolve our industries and build companies that are going to change the world," the Lord Mayor said.

"That objective is clear in our choices for keynote speakers: Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, is an expert in using technology to bring people together to build knowledge and change the world.

"We will also welcome the director of design and creative placemaking programs for the National Endowment for the Arts, Jason Schupbach, who was part of the team that designed The Highline in New York City.

"Melbourne is a culinary city, and we're excited to hear from Danny Harris, the founder of Feastly, an online tool that connects people who love to cook with people who love to eat to offer homemade meals at the cook's home."

Councillor Jackie Watts, Chair of the Knowledge City portfolio, said one of the main aims of Melbourne Knowledge Week is to identify the jobs of the future and look at how the City of Melbourne can engage with the community to develop strategies that support the growth of the knowledge economy.

"The Economist has identified Melbourne as a Smart city, pointing to our open data platform, our online services for the community, and the information and support we provide for startup businesses," Dr Watts said.

"Startups are key to Melbourne's knowledge sector growth. We're exploring how Council can best support our vibrant, diverse startup ecosystem."

"Our dedicated Startup team has already convened many workshops, roundtables, and interviews to discuss what might be the opportunities, the challenges and the core needs of new knowledge sector start-up businesses in Melbourne. We now want to work with the community, to start testing the ideas that emerged from these preliminary discussions."

Program highlights:

  • Next stop, future Melbourne: What will the future of Melbourne look like when all over the world cities are growing? Have the conversation with Professor Rob Adams on the city circle tram.
  • Creating well beings − Night Hack at the Museum: Be a part of Australia's first all-night Melbourne museum hackathon, spend a night at the museum and help create a new exhibition.
  • Machines that read your mind: Our ever-increasing power to read the human mind will raise new opportunities, new problems. Come along for a lively evening of discussion and demonstration.
  • Rescue dinner: Join us as some of Melbourne's most celebrated chefs will use rescued food (safe food about to be discarded) and prepare deliciously sustainable fare.
  • #STEM classrooms to careers: Our speakers and practical workshops will explore mobile internet, big data, new energy technologies, the internet of things, the sharing economy, advanced robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and more.
  • Mini make day: Beyond Earth: This year's Mini Make Day at Library at the Dock will peer deep into our future and inventive imaginations of a world beyond our own.
  • First Nations creating YIRRAMBOI (tomorrow): Yirramboi Arts Festival, gathering creative visionaries from across Victoria.

Melbourne Knowledge Week 2017 will run from Monday 1 May until Sunday 7 May.

For the full program visit: Melbourne Knowledge Week

Oise-san National Confectionary Exposition 2017

The “Oise-san National Confectionary Exposition 2017” has opened today in Mie Prefecture!

At this exposition, candy/sweets are gathered from all over Japan .

You can see many artistic sweets made by Japanese sweets craftsmen and enjoy shopping . 

There are many special sweets that can only be tasted here.

Please visit this fun event!
Period:April 21 (Fri) to May 14 (Sun), 2017
Venue:Mie Prefectural Sun Arena 

Click Here For More Info!


Tourism Minister Arief Yahya
On 6 April 2017, the World Economic Forum (WEF) issued the World's Travel & Tourism Competitive Index (TTCI) for 2016, in which Indonesia was assessed to have jumped a significant 8 rungs from rank no. 50 to no. 42 within one year. This consdering that the previous year, in 2015, Indonesia's tourism competitiveness leapt 20 points from the earlier no. 70 status.

The reason for this huge leap, said Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, was because the Government under President Joko Widodo has raised Indonesia's Tourism Sector into the country's Top Priority list for development, and is, in fact, the Leading Sector in the Core Economy. And indeed, the above achievements as mentioned by WEF are proof that Indonesia has risen in the world's confidence towards the country's tourism, and more importantly, that Indonesians themselves now have more confidence in the Tourism sector, that Indonesia's Tourism is indeed capable to competeamong the world's top destinations.

Last year, Indonesia reached its target in welcoming 12 million international tourists to its shores, an impressive growth of 20% over 2015. Nonetheless, this year Indonesia targets 15 million arrivals, or a surge of no less than 25%, yet still an intermediary stage in achieving the 20 million visitors targeted for 2019.

For this reason, Minister Arief Yahya likens the growing challenges face by tourism to running a marathon race, and not like a one time sprint, because the government and the people of Indonesia have today placed so much trust in the Tourism Sector.

In more detail, the TTCI Index itemized that in the Business Environment category, Indonesia rose 3 rungs, to no. 60 from no. 63 last year. In Health and Hygiene, there was improvement from 109 to 108. Indonesia made a great leap forward in International Openness, up from no. 55 to no. 17. This was spurred by the hefty increase in free visas issued to 169 nationals. In the Prioritization of Travel and Tourism, this category increased 5 points from no. 17 to no. 12. Environment Sustainability was at only at 131; whereas Air Transporation was up 3 points to no. 36 from the earlier no. 39. Ground and Port Insfrastructure was up from no. 77 to no. 60. Tourism Services and Infrastructure rose to no. 96 from the previous 101, while Natural Resources, also rose from 19 to no. 14.

This year, the government has set its priority in the development of Connectivity, especially in the airline sector, the integrated development of 10 top priority destinations and the creation of thousands of homestays, chiefly at Lake Toba (North Sumatra), Tanjung Kelayang (Belitung) Tanjung Lesung (Banten), The Thousand Islands (Jakarta),Borobudur surroundings (Central Java), the Bromo-Tengger mountain area (East Java), Mandalika (Lombok), Labuan Bajo (Flores) and Morotai Island ( North Maluku).

Most important also is the Digitalization of the Tourism Industry especially in priority and remote areas.

Air capacity is still a challenge, added Minister Yahya. At present, the total seat capacity on international and domestic airlines is 19.5 million. This is sufficient to carry 12 million inbound passengers only. To reach the 2017 target of 15 million international tourist arrivals, Indonesia needs an addition of 4 million seats. In support of this, the Ministry of Transportation has accelerated the construction of many airports near main tourist destinations, so that these can serve direct international flights. Among these are the Silangit Airport near Lake Toba, Labuan Bajo Airport nearKomodo island, Toraja Airport in the highlands of South Sulawesi, new airports in West Java, Sorong Airport for access to the Raja Ampat islands, and many, many more, Meanwhile, more international airlines are urged to fly directto the many far-flung Indonesian destinations.

Finally, Minister Arief Yahya underscored, that the targeted goals can be achieved only when all stakeholders work together in tandem.The government, the private sector, the media, the people must work hand in hand so that together, Indonesia's Tourism may work in seamless coordinated effort as one, similar to a harmonious symphonic orchestra.

Thousands flock to Trang An festival in Ninh Binh

Thousands of people and visitors flocked to the 2017 Trang An Traditional Festival which officially kicked off on April 15 at Suoi Tien temple under the Trang Tan ecological tourism area in Ninh Binh Province.

The festival is held annually to celebrate Saint Quy Minh Dai Vuong, a general under the reign of the 18th Hung King.

During the two-day festival, numerous rituals imbued with cultural identities of the ancient city of Hoa Lu (now Ninh Binh province) were held, including boat and palanquin processions and a dragon dance on the river.

A wide variety of cultural and arts activities of 11 provinces and cities, including performances of folk songs which were recognised as intangible cultural heritages of humanity such as Quan ho (love duet), Xoan (a special art form in Phu Tho Province), and Nha nhac cung dinh Hue (Hue royal Court Music), will be the highlight of the event.

Visitors to the festival have a chance to enjoy specialties of the province and several other localities. Furthermore, the setting of the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Kong: Skull Island’ was reproduced at the ecological tourism complex and is open free-of-charge to visitors.

The festival is one of practical activities to celebrate the country’s major events in 2017 as well as promote the image of the land and people of Viet Nam, including Ninh Binh Province, to international friends.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Vice Chairman of Ninh Binh provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Ngoc Thach said that Trang An Festival aims to educate the public on the patriotic tradition and the spirit of great national unity among people, particularly younger generations.

The event is also an opportunity to pray for a peaceful country and prosperous people, fair winds and good crops.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Auckland Museum the ideal venue space

The iconic building of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, set in the green surrounds of the Auckland Domain with views of Auckland City and the harbour, offers a unique venue for business events.

The museum offers eight versatile rooms and spaces in a central Auckland location, including the Event Centre with its copper dome and 360˚ views, and the marbled Grand Foyer with its stained glass ceiling three floors above.

The museum offers guests a range of experiences including a Maori cultural performance, a welcome surrounded by sacred taonga, an after-hours tour of the exhibitions, and cocktails with the dinosaurs.


Jonah Peretti
BuzzFeed Founder and CEO Jonah Peretti will make his first Australian appearance at this year’s Vivid Sydney festival, where he will speak at the Vivid Ideas Game Changer Talks Series.

For his Vivid Ideas discussion, Peretti will share his thoughts on the evolution of the media industry, as well as insights into creative endeavour in the digital age.

The digital mastermind has spent his career ignoring traditional notions of media. Instead, Peretti has focused on how audiences seek, share and engage with content. This approach has earned him the label ‘the web’s king of viral content’ according to Business Insider.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer and Executive Producer of Vivid Sydney Sandra Chipchase said, “A pioneer in his field, Jonah Peretti has played a key role in shaping digital publishing globally, and he will now share his insights and vision for the future at Vivid Ideas. This is a remarkable opportunity to hear from a global thought leader and we’re proud to welcome Jonah Peretti to this year’s dynamic Vivid Sydney program.”

On speaking in Australia for the first time at Vivid Ideas, Jonah Peretti said, “I’m thrilled to be coming to Sydney to participate in Vivid. Australia has been a major focus and priority for BuzzFeed since we launched our local edition in 2014, and I’m excited to be part of an event so focused on the exchange of creative ideas. Plus, I have avo toast for breakfast almost every day and I can’t wait to try the original.”

Jonah Peretti will speak on Sunday, 28 May at 1.30pm at City Recital Hall. Tickets are on sale now at

Indian cultural centre opens in Viet Nam

The Indian Embassy in Viet Nam inaugurated an Indian cultural centre in Ha Noi on the evening of April 20, as part of activities marking the two countries’ 45 year diplomatic ties (January 7, 1972-2017) and 10 year strategic partnership (2007-2017).

The inauguration ceremony featured traditional dances of India performed by Vietnamese, who were trained at the centre.

Speaking at the event, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Vijay Kumar Singh, who is in a 4-day visit to Viet Nam, thanked the Vietnamese Government and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for facilitating the Indian Embassy to open the centre.

He said the birth of the centre is a proof of the growing Viet Nam - India ties, which he described as dating back more than 2,000 years, when Indian monks travelled to Viet Nam to promote Buddhism.

The Indian Cultural Centre will contribute to the preservation and promotion of heritage and values cherished by both nations, the official noted.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Le Khanh Hai said the centre has affirmed effective cultural cooperation between Viet Nam and India and contributes to strengthening bilateral friendship and strategic partnership.

The facility will introduce Indian cultural features, such as dances and yoga, to Vietnamese people, and boost cultural exchanges and tourism, he added.


Picnic In The Park is a free community event.
Bring your own Picnic and enjoy the free entertainment provided:
Kids Acts (School Performances); Children's Band; Simultaneous Storytime; Celebrating Families Week, Neighbourhood Centres Week, Volunteers Week, Cancer Councils Biggest Morning Tea; Local service Stalls; Arts and Craft and Markets.

SOME very exciting news : 
"The Jolly Pirates" will be performing at this years "Picnic In The Park" 24 MAY 17.
ONE SHOW ONLY! @ 11:45am.

Simpson Park, Muswellbrook.
Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the day!

Wednesday 24 May 2017
Simpson Park, Muswellbrook, NSW Australia

The Wisteria Festival at Kameido Tenjin Shrine

The wisterias have started blooming at Kameido Tenjin Shrine, one of the most notable wisteria viewing sites in Tokyo!

Many students visit Kameido Tenjin Shrine to receive blessings for academic success from Sugawara no Michizane, who is enshrined there as the God of learning. The wisterias that grow on the grounds, famed since the Edo period (1603~1868), have been the subject of many ukiyo-e paintings.

Aside from enjoying the blossoms that trail overhead, you can also gaze upon the wisterias and bright red taiko bridge (a type of arch bridge) reflected upon the waters of Shinji Lake on the precinct, while a clear view of Tokyo Skytree(r) stands tall in the distance. 

For a little extra experience, try visiting at night when the wisterias are lit up to create a whimsical scene.

We look forward to your visit!

Wisteria Festival

Saturday, April 15th ~ Sunday, May 7th, 2017
Access: 15 minute walk from either Kameido Station (JR Sobu Line, Tobu Kameido Line) or Kinshicho Station (JR Sobu Line, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line)
Location: 3-6-1 Kameido, Koto City, Tokyo

WIN A 5 Night Holiday For 2 To Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island
We're giving you and one lucky friend the chance to WIN 5 nights in a Coral Sea View Room at Reef View Hotel plus return flights for two*, return airport transfers and buffet breakfast daily. Two children also stay and eat free. This fantastic prize is valued at up to $3,500!

Located in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in the spectacular Whitsunday Islands, Reef View Hotel is nestled amongst tropical gardens just footsteps from impossibly blue beaches. Offering spacious and contemporary accommodation with a relaxed beachside vibe, your room is just a short stroll from tended gardens and the fantastic range of onsite facilities.

To enter, simply fill out the entry form. Each entry method gives you even MORE chances to WIN! It could be YOU off for 5 nights of relaxation on Hamilton Island!

From your spacious Coral Sea View Room**, you'll enjoy uninterrupted views of the Coral Sea and surrounding Whitsunday islands from your own private balcony. Featuring fresh modern decor, your Coral Sea View Room features all the modern comforts as well as soft bedding for a good night’s sleep.

Allowing you to do as much or as little as you like, the resort boats an almost endless array of onsite facilities and activities including expansive swimming pools, a number of bars and restaurants, an indulgent day spa, a variety of water sports and plenty of free guest activities including catamarans, windsurfing, paddle skiing, snorkelling, bushwalking and much more.

Upon arriving in the Whitsundays, you will be whisked off to the island hotel where you will be greeted by the friendly resort staff. Throughout your stay, you’ll be provided with a number of little touches that will make your stay special including a delicious buffet breakfast daily, free WiFi and complimentary use of the island shuttle to explore your beautiful surroundings. Spend your days relaxing by the pool or get active with a free program of a variety of activities.

*Airfares are up to the value of $1,300 (or $650 per person).
** Bedding is 2 Queen Beds OR 1 King Bed* Maximum room capacity is 4 Adults & Children.
See full Terms & Conditions

Competition organised by TravelOnline Australia Pty Ltd.ABN: 70 100 929 799. License: TAG1822.

Top 10 Must-Go Destinations in Seoul Korea

Myeong-dong Street (left) / Gyeongbokgung Palace (right)
For all those who are wondering where to go for their trip to Korea, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced the top must-go destinations that represent Korea.

The list includes famous attractions such as the five royal palaces in Seoul, Korean Folk Village and Hallasan Mountain; as well as destinations popular to younger generation such as Myeong-dong, Hongdae and Itaewon; and also theme parks like Lotte World, Everland and Seoulland.

New destinations that made it to this year’s list include Lotte World in Seoul, Gwangmyeong Cave in Gyeonggi-do, and Sokcho Beach in Gangwon-do.
More info

☞ Top 10 Representative Destinations in Seoul

  1. Five Royal Sites (Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Jongmyo Shrine)
  2. Myeong-dong Street
  3. Bukhansan National Park
  4. Lotte World
  5. Bukchon Hanok Village
  6. Hongdae (Hongik University Street)
  7. Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) and Dongdaemun Shopping ComplexInsa-dong
  8. Itaewon
  9. N Seoul Tower
  10. Gwangjang Market

Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism website: (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

*Information courtesy of Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism

Aberdeen Quilt Affair 2017

Displays, demonstrations and market stalls. Good coffee and great food available.

Markets in the garden, quilt sales, fabrics, plants, cards, baby wear and gifts.

BBQ and refreshments by Men's Shed, morning tea provides by St Mark's Church ladies at the church hall and Caffe Mobilita will be available for tea and coffee.

Sunday 30th April 2017, 10am to 3pm

Venues include: St Mark's Church Hall, Aberdeen RSL, Aberdeen Library & Rose Garden

Entry $5.00 per person which allows entry to all venues.

All enquires to 6543 7770 or


Photo source:
Following its successful inaugural edition last year, the exciting Tour de Flores 2017 will again take cyclists on the challenging track across the undulating landscape of Flores Island in East Nusa Tenggara Province, to take place from14th to 19th July 2017.

Originally set to be held in May, the event was rescheduled to July following additions in routes, So that, together the track now extends the distance to be covered to 808 kilometers from the earlier 66.5 km. Head of the Office of Tourism of East Nusa Tenggara Province, Marius Adu explained that additions were made to several routes at Aigela and Mbay in the Nagekeo Regency, at Borong area in East Manggarai, and at Ruteng in the Manggarai Regency.

This year, the epic cycling race will be divided into 6 stages starting from the coastal city of Larantuka in the east, through winding and mountainous terrain in the central part of the island of Flores and finishing at Labuan Bajo, in the west, the gate and hopping off point to the Komodo National Park. Tour de Flores 2017 will, therefore, follow the following route: Larantuka-Maumere (Sikka Regency), Ende Regency, Nagekeo Regency, East Manggarai Regency, Manggarai, and Labuan Bajo.

120 riders from 13 different teams (each team comprising 8 riders) have confirmed their registration in the race, while the number is continuously growing by the day. "Riders who have registered in the race come from 30 different countries, while most are from Europe" added Marius Adu.

Tour de Flores 2017 will also be highlighted with a range of supporting events such as a Products Exhibition and Bazaar, Trips to some of the most fascinating attractions on the island such as the Tricolor Lakes on Mount Kelimutuand the megalithic Village of Bena, and more.

Photo source :

As special treat this year, there will be the One Million Cups of Coffee Movement in which during the grand closing ceremony of Tour de Flores 2017, everyone from the east to the western end of the island will together, simulataneously, Drink a cup of the distinctly flavorsome Flores coffee right at the given moment.

A full moon dance party, riverside blessings for babies and toddlers and a free citywide treasure hunt are among the highlights of the City of Melbourne’s inaugural YIRRAMBOI Festival.

​The 10-day event, from 5 to 14 May, celebrates the diversity and creativity of 60,000 years of Aboriginal culture through 60 unique events including dance, music, visual art, theatre, film and talks in Melbourne’s laneways, public spaces and venues.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said local and international First Nations visionaries from New Zealand, Canada, United States of America, Scotland, Pacific Islands, Wales and Taiwan will gather in Melbourne for the reinvigorated festival.

“Indigenous leadership, dialogue, new ideas, and international collaboration are the four key principles of the YIRRAMBOI Festival, which means ‘tomorrow’ in the shared languages of Boon Wurrung and Woi Wurrung,” the Lord Mayor said.

“With all works created, choreographed, produced, directed and performed by Indigenous artists, the City of Melbourne is empowering a new generation of Aboriginal creatives to become cultural leaders.”

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said YIRRAMBOI will bring together Indigenous artists and Elders from across the globe in Victoria.

“Victoria is the proud home of the world’s oldest continuing culture,” Minister Foley said. “This is what YIRRAMBOI is about – a ground breaking festival that showcases how First Nations people the world over are sharing their culture and stories in exhilarating, contemporary ways.

“The Victorian Government is a proud partner of YIRRAMBOI – it’s a celebration of today that will forge a new tomorrow for artists, and art lovers, of all cultures.”

Chair of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Portfolio Councillor Rohan Leppert said the festival was a significant cultural event for Melbourne.

“The City of Melbourne is looking forward to welcoming First Nations artists and creatives from around the world to our city for this pioneering festival, which will be a highlight of Melbourne’s cultural calendar,” Councillor Leppert said.

YIRRAMBOI Festival Creative Director Jacob Boehme said his vision for the festival was to challenge stereotypes about First Nations art.

“YIRRAMBOI First Nations Arts Festival is an unprecedented opportunity to reframe perceptions and shape a new dialogue about Indigenous arts in Australia and around the world,” Jacob said.

“We are excited to create a city-wide ‘blak out’ when local and international Indigenous dancers, musicians, visual artists, performers and arts leaders gather in in Melbourne this May. YIRRAMBOI is also a festival for everyone with a diverse program of events that will appeal to people of all ages, tastes and walks of life.”

The YIRRAMBOI Festival is presented by the City of Melbourne, supported by Creative Victoria, in collaboration with the Elders Council of Kulin Nations people.

“On behalf of the YIRRAMBOI elders council representing the Wurundjeri, Boon Wurrung, Taungurung, and Dja Dja Wurrung of the Kulin Nations, it is a privilege to be involved in as active contributors, bringing our knowledge and traditions to the creation of YIRRAMBOI,” said Boonwurrung Elder and Council member Aunty Carolyn Briggs.

Festival highlights

  • Blak Critics, 5 to 14 May, online 
Indigenous voices will review blak work, events, critical conversations and industry updates.

  • Ngarrga Bullarto Mirnian (Full Moon Party), Thursday 11 May, Federation Square 
An electronica dance party under the full moon featuring Kulin star stories told by Uncle Larry Walsh.

  • Barring Yanabul (We All Walk the Path), Saturday 13 May, Melbourne CBD 
A free citywide treasure hunt of live performance, installation, games, craft and experiments through the streets, laneways and rooftops of Melbourne.

  • Tooronga Baban Nganjin (New Mums Ceremony), Mother’s Day Sunday 14 May, Birrarung (Yarra River) banks 
A traditional welcome ceremony for bubs aged newborn to two years where Elders will gift them their first possum skin pelt.

  • Remember Ruby, 5 to 14 May, Arts Centre Melbourne 
A program of concerts and exhibitions honouring the life and work of Australia’s most loved Song Woman, Aunty Ruby Hunter.

  • Weelam Ngalut events, 5 to 14 May, Meat Market, North Melbourne 
A dynamic mix of contemporary dance, circus, experimental and participatory theatre from around Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Wales and Zimbabwe is on offer at Meat Market (Weelam Ngalut), the home of YIRRAMBOI and festival hub of First Nations’ live performance.

For full program details, visit the YIRRAMBOI Festival website.

Lam Dong tea culture to be promoted in Da Lat Flower Festival 2017

The Lam Dong tea culture will be featured at the Da Lat Flower Festival 2017, which will be held from December 23 – 27 in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.

Deputy chief of the Secretariat of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Ngan made the statement on April 12.

Tea culture activities aim to honour and promote tea growing and processing industry in the largest oolong tea planting area in Vietnam which is located in southern Lam Dong with Bao Loc and Bao Lam districts.

The seventh festival, themed “Da Lat - Sac hoa ngay moi”, is expected to welcome organisations from different countries such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, Belgium and Malaysia.

The opening ceremony will take place on December 23 evening and the closing ceremony will be held on December 27 evening at Lam Vien Square in Da Lat City.

Friday, 28 April 2017


Jessica Mauboy
  • Held August 24-27, 2017 - Tickets on sale now

This year’s Gympie Music Muster line-up is the quintessential Australian music experience, featuring 100% homegrown Aussie talent. Headlining the dynamic all-Australian line-up of this year’s festival is two time ARIA Award winner, multi-platinum selling artist and one of our most successful female vocalists, JESSICA MAUBOY.

“I have ALWAYS dreamed of playing The Muster,” said Jessica. “This is an honour and a thrill and I am going bring my best country A game.”

Now in its 36th year, this iconic music event is one of Australia’s largest charity festivals, and this year’s line-up is not to be missed. Held in the Amamoor Creek State Forest in the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland, two hours north of Brisbane and 40 minutes from Noosa, The Muster is the perfect way to kick back and enjoy some of the country’s best talent.

Event organisers revealed the major marquee artists who will perform at this year’s Muster, across four massive days from Thursday 24 to Sunday 27 August, 2017.

The line-up features...

Jessica Mauboy
Adam Brand - Busby Marou - Graeme Connors
Amber Lawrence - Travis Collins - Sunny Cowgirls
Catherine Britt - Fanny Lumsden - Troy Kemp
Caitlyn Shadbolt - Dean Ray - Adam Eckersley Band
Reece Mastin - Davidson Brothers - Kirsty Lee Akers - Hillbilly Goats - Bondi Cigars
Anne Kirkpatrick - Bushwackers - Mason Rack
Chad Morgan - Missy Lancaster - Travellin’ Still
The Songs of Slim Dusty With Pete Denahy & the Travelling Country Band

…plus many more still to be announced.

Gympie Music Muster Program Director Jeff Chandler said the 2017 Muster program will feature hundreds of performances across five stages, covering a range of genres including country, bluegrass, folk, blues and rockabilly.

“Headliner Jessica Mauboy is an artist for all Australians. She is one hell of a singer with an incredibly diverse repertoire,” Mr. Chandler said.

“While she’s known for delivering a mix of R&B, dance, pop and power ballads, she also won the first Telstra Road to Tamworth competition, and can belt out a country song alongside some of the best. I saw her recently in concert and she puts her heart and soul into her shows, and has a dedicated country segment in her set. She has a real connection with her audience, and will put on a performance worthy of our Muster crowd.”

This program is sure to be one of the Muster’s best yet, featuring a musical style for everyone.

“We’re continuing to build on what we’ve always done, providing a variety of entertainment, while sticking firmly to our country roots,” Chandler said.

“Fans of the traditional country form will be happy to know Graeme Connors is making a return this year, while Busby Marou will bring their own laidback sound, fresh from their number one album on the ARIA charts. Fan favourites Adam Brand, Travis Collins and Fanny Lumsden are also sure to draw big audiences.”

An unmissable and uniquely Australian event, one ticket price gives Muster goers free camping and multi-venue access to all performances, to experience everything Australia’s biggest country music celebration has to offer.

Adam Brand
Run by the community, for the community, the Muster is a not-for-profit charity event which has raised in excess of $15 Million for charities Australia wide since its inception. It also gives a multi-million dollar boost to Queensland’s tourism sector every year, providing an economic boom for the region.

The Gympie Music Muster runs from Thursday August 24 to Sunday August 27, 2017 in the Amamoor Creek State Forest near Gympie.

For images visit our Gympie Music Muster Album.

To buy tickets, click here.

CINZ Meetings 2017 off to a strong start

Floor space is filling fast for CINZ Meetings 2017, New Zealand’s only national tradeshow for the conference and business tourism industry.

Organised by Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) the Meetings event, now in its 21st year, is set for host city Auckland on 31 May and 1 June.

CINZ Chief Executive Sue Sullivan says exhibitors have been quick to secure their slots for New Zealand’s most important face-to-face business event of the year.

Meetings 2017 has a new look website, and several new initiatives to connect 600 qualified buyers and more than 20 leading industry media with 190 exhibitors from 18 regions around New Zealand.

Sue Sullivan says demand for hosted buyer places remains strong and CINZ has already secured key conference and event organisers to the show.

“Our partnership with Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand continues and their valued support will see the return of international buyers and media from North America, China, South East Asia and India,” she says.

“Australian hosted buyers and media will again join us with the support of Air New Zealand. We will make the most of their time here by offering 10 different regional familiarisation options, plus a day experience in Auckland before the show,” she says.

CINZ MEETINGS 2016 generated over $55million of signed business over its two days of pre-scheduled appointments.

“After great feedback last year, we have evolved the programme a step further by allowing day buyers to opt in to pre-scheduled appointments, giving them individual time with exhibitors where needed.

As well as set appointments, exhibitors also have valuable opportunities to connect with buyers in more informal settings across three days. Fully catered morning and afternoon teas, lunches and drinks are a hallmark of Meetings’ relaxed tradeshow environment, and the fun social programme includes daily networking events.

Meetings’ media programme is also expanding in 2017 and will includes press conferences, regional briefings and familiarisations, plus interview opportunities with leading industry players from around New Zealand.

The VIP programme for CEOs, government representatives and national association and tourism professionals includes industry updates and an exclusive walk around the floor.


Glenalvon House
Visitors to the Macarthur region can step back in time to colonial Australia when the 177 year-old Glenalvon House opens its doors to the public in May.

Surrounded by modern Campbelltown, Glenalvon House is a sanctuary of history. The period-furnished, two-storey home allows guests to gain insight into the region’s early days as a small farming community during the 19th Century.

The historic sandstone Georgian building will be open to the public on 1, 13 and 27 May from 10am to 1pm. Entry is free.

8 Lithgow St, Campbelltown
Ph: (02) 4625 1822
E. Send Email

For more information, visit

Sea-island tourism - Future of tourism sector

Sea and island tourism has contributed greatly to Viet Nam’s tourism sector, accounting for about 70 percent of the country’s total flow of visitors.

Viet Nam holds great sea and island potential

Viet Nam boasts the greatest sea and island potential among Southeast Asian nations. It has a coastline of more than 3,260 kilometres and seawater surface of over 1 million square kilometres, dotted with some 2,700 islands of all shapes and sizes.

According to Dr. Du Van Toan, Head of the Division of Marine Resources and Climate Change Research of the Viet Nam Institute of Seas and Islands under the Viet Nam Administration of Seas and Islands, the sea’s economic value is not only about seafood and oil and gas resources. For generations, the maritime environment has shaped Viet Nam’s culture and beliefs, reflected in traditional festivals, practices, cuisine, folk art and more. The nation’s history has also been shaped by sea-related economic achievements and national liberation victories.

Viet Nam’s coastal areas have nurtured various UNESCO-recognised world natural heritage sites and biosphere reserves, and natural preservation areas. This maritime value helps Viet Nam lead the region in sea-island tourism development, Dr. Du Van Toan told the Viet Nam News Agency (VNA).

Deputy General Director of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Ngo Hoai Chung said the Government’s master plan for tourism development by 2020 aims to develop seven key tourism zones, of which five are sea-island related zones, reflecting the importance of sea and island tourism.

Beyond tourism revenue, sea and island tourism contributes to the country’s socio-economic development while consolidating national defence and security. Developing tourism in sea-related areas boosts services and trading, thus creating jobs for local people. Further, tourism development is also the best way to get people to live and work in remote areas. The civilian presence of Vietnamese people in far-flung areas is the best way to affirm and guard Vietnam’s sea and island sovereignty, Chung said.

Taking full advantage of the coastline

Along the country’s coastline, there are 125 tourism beaches. Among them, Da Nang beach was voted by Forbes magazine as one of the six most charming beaches on the earth. Ha Long Bay, the UNESCO-recognised world natural heritage in Quang Ninh, and Nha Trang Bay in Khanh Hoa are also among the globe’s most beautiful bays.

According to Chung, to fully exploit coastal potential, priority has been given to developing three marine tourism hubs, namely Ha Long Bay, Da Nang, and Nha Trang Bay, serving high-end demand and Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE). Investment has also been poured into such promising beaches as Sam Son in Thanh Hoa, Non Nuoc and My Khe in Da Nang, Mui Ne in Binh Thuan, and Vung Tau in Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

Sea and island tourism has also drawn a large number of foreign and domestic investors, accounting for 70 percent of the sector’s total investment. Vingroup owns 6,000 suite rooms in Phu Quoc island and another 4,000 in Nha Trang. The FLC Group poured 5.5 trillion VND (242 million USD) into a five-star resort with a golf course in Sam Son, Thanh Hoa province. The Platinum Dragon Empire Group spent 550 million USD on the Wonderful World Theme Park project in Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The biggest projects, offering the most luxurious tourism products are in sea and island tourism. The top-notch InterContinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula Resort with 200 rooms overlooking the sea has been named as the world’s Leading Luxury Resort at the World Travel Awards, and several other regional crowns.

Viet Nam’s sea waters and beaches host various national and international recreational activities and sport games, contributing to sea-related tourism development. The reputation of local special seafood and dishes is also buoyed by the development of tourism, such as Nuoc Mam (fish sauce) in Phu Quoc, Cha Muc (chopped squid) in Ha Long, single garlic in Ly Son, swallow’s nest in Nha Trang, and wild honey in Cat Ba.

Developing sea-island tourism sustainably

According to Dr. Du Van Toan from the Viet Nam Institute of Seas and Islands, the climate varies region to region, resulting in high biological diversity. Viet Nam’s coastal areas are home to dozens of ecosystems, including coral reefs, seagrass and mangrove forests.

With appropriate approaches to preservation and exploitation, these ecological values offer resources for ecotourism. However, nature-based tourism development should respect nature, he underlined.

Dr. Duong Van Sau, Dean of the Faculty of Cultural Tourism of the Ha Noi University of Culture (HUC) said sea and island ecotourism is new but will be popular in Viet Nam. He also attached significance to the role of enterprises in developing the sector, saying that with the nation’s limited financial and sci-technological resources, strategic investors will help Viet Nam enhance its sea and island tourism reputation.

Financially and technologically capable and experienced firms will help fully exploit sea and island tourism potential, said Sau, suggesting the Government take caution in selecting investors, licensing projects and products, even in allowing tourists to explore sea and island areas.

In order to realise Politburo Resolution No. 08 on making tourism a spearhead sector, the sector needs to ensure strong, steady and sharp criteria. Viet Nam’s tourism potential is strong, and the sector’s pace of development has so far been steady. The rest is being sharp, Dr. Sau commented, expressing his belief that sea and island tourism is what makes the sector sharp.

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New South Wales is one of the most diverse places in the world. From iconic country towns, to stunning beaches stretching along the pristine coastline, awe-inspiring mountain ranges. However, there are many hidden secrets, which is why we’re asking you to share what you love about holidays in NSW.

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The Kamezaki Shiohi Festival

The Kamezaki Shiohi Festival is held every May 3 and 4 in the Kamezaki district of the city of Handa, located in the northeast part of Chita Peninsula.

When spring arrives, dashi parade-float festivals take place in ten regions around the city of Handa. Of these, the Kamezaki Shiohi Festival is a dynamic event featuring a group of five dashi floats adorned with sumptuous embroidered curtains and carvings that teams of men pull down to the beach at low tide. Each of these five dashi floats also bears different animated karakuri marionettes whose dancing and performances can be enjoyed.

The traditions of this festival have been handed down for some 300 years, and last November UNESCO registered the event as an element of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Be sure to visit Handa to check out this magnificent and majestic festival!

Tip: The dashi floats are pulled down to the beach once a day, and this is the highlight of the festival on each of the two days.

Getting there:
- From Central Japan International Airport Station, take the Meitetsu Tokoname/Airport Line to Otagawa, then change to the Meitetsu Kowa Line and get off at Chita Handa Station. From there, take Chita Bus to Kenja-mae (approx. 25 minutes).
- If going by JR train, take the JR Taketoyo Line to Kamezaki, then walk to Kamisaki Shrine (approx. 15 minutes).

Official website of the Kamezaki Shiohi-Matsuri Preservation Society and Proxy Visitation Association

Victoria Bolts Ahead Thanks To Melbourne Cup Carnival

Melbourne Cup Carnival
Last year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival delivered a record boost to our visitor economy and drew record numbers of visitors to Victoria.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren joined Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Chair Amanda Elliott today to release the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival economic impact study.

The report shows the four-race day event injected $427.1 million into our economy – up 10.1 per cent from the previous year.

More than 330,000 people flocked to Flemington to enjoy the flagship carnival, including 119,367 from out of state.

Visitors spent $38.3 million on accommodation – that’s 234,104 bed nights booked – with more people choosing to stay in Melbourne longer to see the very best our state has to offer.

Racegoers spent big on shopping and clothes, splashing more than $44.3 million on retail and fashion (up 6% on 2015).

Along with activations on Weibo and WeChat, VRC mounted the biggest tourism push ever staged in China. As a result, 1.5 million viewers in China tuned in to watch the race.

Over the past three years, more than 21,000 cruise ship passengers have come to Victoria to attend the Carnival, generating more than $32 million for our economy.

The report proves how important events like these are for supporting local businesses, strengthening our books, and for the 20,000 staff and contractors who were employed to make it all happen.

It’s why the Andrews Labor Government is working to boost visitor spending through our Victorian Visitor Economy Strategy to $36.5 billion by 2025, creating even more jobs in the sector.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival generates big numbers for Victoria, attracting thousands of visitors from far and wide who see first-hand that we really do have the best of everything” said Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren. “Its benefits are felt right across our state – creating jobs, filling our hotels, and keeping our local shops, cafes, bars and restaurants buzzing.”

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is one of the most iconic racing events in the world. It’s a major tourist drawcard which provides a huge economic boost for Victoria and creates thousands of local jobs” Minister for Racing Martin Pakula.

“The four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival are the four most attended anywhere in Australia, with the event providing an economic benefit to Victoria of more than $425 million” said Victoria Racing Club Chair Amanda Elliott.

2016 Fun Facts:

  • Broadcast into 163 territories worldwide
  • Simulcast in Hong Kong and for the first time Japan
  • Live streamed to a global audience on Twitter, in the first Twitter live streaming deal anywhere in the world outside the United States
  • #MelbourneCup Twitter hashtag reached number one in 25 locations
  • 13 million total Snap views on Snapchat
  • A total of 511 horses competed in 37 races, including 25 international horses that travelled to Melbourne
  • The number of New Zealand visitors rose for the third consecutive year, up 42% on 2013
  • For the second consecutive year, four cruise ships docked in Melbourne for the event, delivering almost 8,000 cruise ship visitors (growth of 111 per cent since 2012)
  • The purchase of 295,397 individual fashion items including 49,067 pairs of shoes, 46,448 dresses, 11,659 suits and 59,665 hats and fascinators
  • $23.55 million in spending on meals, food and beverages, $32.86 million on fashion, and $11.56 million on grooming.
  • A 7.8 per cent increase in the number of out-of-state individuals (80,472) attending the Melbourne Cup Carnival; including 65,038 event motivated attendees (up 21.8% on 2012) and 5,494 extended stay visitors (up 45.3% on 2015)

Come Enjoy Yeon Deung Hoe, Lighting up the Seoul Night!

Grand Lotus Lantern Parade (Credit: Yeon Deung Hoe)
Come celebrate the birth of Buddha through the bright lanterns of the Yeon Deung Hoe (Lotus Lantern Festival). Designated National Intangible Heritage No. 122, the festival will be lighting up the night in areas throughout Seoul for three days, April 28-30. Major events will take place along the streets of Jongno, and especially at Jogyesa Temple. The slogan for 2017’s festival is “We Can Make a World without Discrimination,” created with the aim of promoting respect and kindness among all, giving co-ownership of the festival to the citizens.

Starting from the eve celebrations on April 28, the festival is set to present a full course of activities and events for tourists to participate in. The largest and perhaps most eye-catching of the events planned are the exhibitions of traditional lanterns taking place around Jogyesa and Bongeunsa Temples, and Cheongyecheon Stream from April 28 until May 7. The displays will include lanterns of all shapes and sizes made from various materials. The highlight of the festival, the Lotus Lantern Parade will take place from 7 p.m. on April 29. Starting from Dongdaemun area, the parade will walk along the main avenue of Jongno before arriving at Jogyesa Temple. Visitors who miss the grand parade can enjoy a similar experience on April 30, when Yeondeungnori takes place. This final ceremony includes lanterns, music, and performers, for a fun and exciting evening.

More information on the festival events, including a schedule and venue locations can be found on the official Yeon Deung Hoe website.

2017 Yeon Deung Hoe

☞ Period: April 28-30, 2017
☞ Venue: Area of Jongno Avenue (Heunginjimun GateJogyesa Temple), Cheongyecheon Stream, Jogyesa Temple, Bongeunsa Temple
☞ Directions
- Jongno Avenue (parade starting point): Dongdaemun Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 4), Exit 6 or 9. Walk approx. 1-2 min.
- Cheonggyecheon Stream (Cheonggye Plaza): Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 5. Walk approx. 3 min.
- Jogyesa Temple: Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 2. Walk approx. 6 min. / Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6. Walk approx. 6 min.
- Bongeunsa Temple: Bongeunsa Station (Seoul Subway Line 9), Exit 1. Walk approx. 2 min. / Samseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 6. Walk approx. 12 min.
☞ Yeon Deung Hoe website: (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, German, French, Spanish)
☞ Inquiries: +82-2-2011-1744 (Korean), +82-2-2011-1746 (English)
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

*Information courtesy of Yeon Deung Hoe


Photo source :
On Sunday, 26th March 2017, 96 international tourists from Australia, Italy, Japan, Germany, and USA who boarded the MS Coral Discoverer Cruise Ship went on shore excursion on the beautiful island of Biak off the coast of theCendrawasih Bay, in Papua Province.

This was the first time that a fly-cruise arrangement has been made on this remote island in Papua. Passengers who sailed to Biak on the cruise ship continued their journey from here by air, while those arriving by plane at Biak boarded the Coral Discoverer to continue the cruise.

Indeed, the new cruise regulations issued by the government have made fly-cruise options through many ports in Indonesia now a most welcome option.

In 1976, Biak was an important transit stop for Indonesia's Merpati Airlines' Trans Pacific flights from Bali to Los Angeles, USA v.v., but was then discontinued.

MS Coral Discoverer, the Australian flagged cruise ship, arrived and made port at Biak Harbor at 06.00 East Indonesia Time. Some 42 tourists from various nationalities disembarked and were warmly greeted by the local population led by the Head of the Office of Tourism of Biak Numfor Regency, Turbey Onesimus Dangeubun.

During their time in Biak, the tourists were taken to the Binsar Japanese Cave, once used by Japanese soldiers during World War II. The visitors explored the remnants of World War II on the island, and were then brought to sites that held fascinating artifacts of that grim period that included military jeeps, bombs and warheads, various artilleries, and more. Guided by Biak's own interpreter, the excursion continued to Biak's Bird Park. Here, over 50 different bird species endemic to Papua, among which world's most beautiful Bird of Paradise, as well as different variants of beautiful orchids that all fascinated the visitors, where each species had its distinct coloring and characteristics.

After the excursion, the first batch of 42 tourists did not return to the ship but instead took offfrom the Frans Kaisiepo Biak Airport with the Air North charter flight direct to Darwin, Australia. Prior to departure, the tourists were treated with a special lunch at the beautiful garden of the Astana Hotel overlooking the open ocean. Next to a scrumptious meal, they were entertained with traditional music and dances of Biak. Although the excursion, which ended at 12.00 East Indonesia Time, was short, it most definitely left a lasting impression on the guests.

At around lunch time, the Air North charter flight had landed at Biak's Airport from Darwin, Australia, carrying 54 passengers who were also taken on a tour of the island. Upon clearing Customs and Immigration, the2nd group joined the first at the Astana Hotel, to enjoy the delicious buffet along with wonderful traditional dances and music welcoming the second batch to the attractions of Biak.

After lunch, the group explored the Binsar Cave, the historical Japanese WWII shelter. The excursion of this group was, however, shorter and at 15.30 East Indonesia Time they were ready to head to Biak Harbor to board the MS Coral Discoverer. At precisely 17.00 hrs, the ship sailed off to explore other formidable marine attractions in the eastern part of Indonesia. The next stop was Kwatisore in Nabire, where they made an up close and personal encounter with dozens of huge whale sharks, who have made the area their habitat. From there, the cruise continued to sail to Tobeloin North Maluku.

Photo Source :
“From our observation as well as confirmation from our guests, they were all very impressed and truly enjoyed the trip in Biak. This was confirmed both by those who enjoyed the couple of hours shore excursion in Biak before taking the flight to Australia, as well as those who continued their cruise on MS Coral Discoverer to Kawatisore in Nabire and Tobelo in North Maluku” said Benny Lesomar, Director of PT Ekowisata Papua Tours & Travel who organized all land arrangements.