Monday, 31 December 2018


Australia’s largest hotel operator, Accor Hotels has unveiled a new look for Ibis Sydney World Square, following a $4 million refurbishment just in time for Summer in Sydney.

The premium economy hotel is surrounded by Sydney CBD's vibrant entertainment precincts and has 166 refurbished guestrooms as well as a refreshed lobby and restaurant. Ibis World Square is ideal for cost-conscious travellers seeking comfortable yet stylish accommodation in a convenient location.

To book, visit

Viet Nam Gears Up to Create a Major Impact

Viet Nam, the Host Country of the 38th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) to be held in Ha Long, is all ready to make a lasting impression on its 1500 delegates. They comprise of ministerial, NTO, official meeting delegates, as well as TRAVEX suppliers from across all 10 ASEAN member states, international buyers and media pools.

ATF TRAVEX, renowned for being the largest and most diverse showcase of ASEAN suppliers, will play witness to ASEAN travel trade industry exhibitors from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, connecting with hosted buyers and media representatives from around the world.

The 3-day ATF TRAVEX 2019, which commences from 16 January till 18 January, will aggregate 75 official sessions with the Host Country organising a programme packed with numerous social activities that include, Pre-and Post-Show Tours, an Opening Ceremony, a Welcome Reception and Dinner, a Friendly Golf Game and a Farewell Party for all ATF delegates.

Major highlights for Exhibitors and Buyers include the 32 one-to-one business appointments, 100% of which can be scheduled prior to arriving in Ha Long, thus optimising business conversations at the event. Moreover, the on-site Buyers-Meet-Sellers (BMS) on the first day of TRAVEX provides the opportunity to fill any remaining slots.Senior Vice-President (Sales & Marketing International) Chris Bailey of Tour East Group, an exhibitor from Singapore, is looking forward to broadening the reach of their DMC services globally as part of the destination ASEAN offering. “Tour East is committed to sustainable travel programming and management from its 14 operating countries. We also blend these activities with advanced technology tools to deliver business efficiencies to our industry partners.”

Confirmed Buyers and Exhibitors alike are already looking forward to all the event has to offer. Buyer Agata Goscinska, CEO of Viventum s.c. Poland, is especially excited about Viet Nam’s capabilities as a conference and incentive destination. “I have made valuable connections all over ASEAN, but I am looking to make new ones and explore fresh ideas, attractions, and activities by experiencing Viet Nam first-hand at ATF 2019.”

Another anticipated ATF component is the ASEAN Tourism Conference, where major regional issues are presented and discussed by subject experts and thought leaders. In keeping with the aim of strengthening co-operation among the ASEAN tourism industry’s various sectors, this knowledge platform promotes discussion, exchange of ideas and valuable perspectives to motivate progress among ASEAN stakeholders.

It is also the aim of the Host Country that through its high hospitality and infrastructural standards, it will successfully demonstrate its capabilities and be recognised as one of ASEAN’s most attractive destinations, complete with world-class facilities and services to make an even greater impact on its already impressive touristic appeal.

In that vein, Viet Nam spared no cost in giving all delegates a generous opportunity to experience Ha Long, the Quang Ninh province and other destination gems with a total of 15 pre- and post-ATF tours held over 4 days. Itineraries include cruises of Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay, Hai Phong City, as well as trips to Yen Tu Mountain and Ninh Binh.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam, H.E. Nguyen Ngoc Thien, said in a statement, “The people of Quang Ninh province are ready to welcome delegates and guests. We are honoured to host ATF and look forward to inviting all visitors to experience the natural beauty and warmth of our people. We are ready to embrace all ASEAN states to drive connectivity and sustainable tourism to Viet Nam and the region as one.”

For more information and programme updates for ATF 2019, visit

#ATFVietnam2019 #TravelByASEAN

ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) is a cooperative regional effort to promote the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region as one tourist destination. ATF TRAVEX is the longest-running annual ASEAN leisure travel trade event, showcasing the largest contingent of ASEAN sellers. This annual event involves all the tourism industry sectors of the 10 ASEAN member nations: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Each year, the hosting of ATF is rotated among the member countries. Viet Nam will host ATF 2019 and is all geared up to welcome 1500 delegates. ATF 2019 marks the 38th anniversary of this event since its inauguration in Malaysia in 1981.

Dates: 16 to 18 January 2019
Venue: Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Center, Ha Long, Viet Nam

TTG Events Is The TRAVEX Secretariat of ATF TRAVEX 2019 In Viet Nam
Appointed By Vietnam National Administration of Tourism


Dust off those blue suede shoes as the Parkes Elvis™ Festival is just around the corner, with the event kicking off from Wednesday 9 January, 2019.

This year’s Festival theme is All Shook Up,celebrating Elvis' iconic song and all things ‘50s. The 2019 program won’t disappoint with more than 150 uniquely Elvis-themed events, filled with everything you’ve come to expect from the much-loved Festival along with a host of exciting new events.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the Parkes Elvis™ Festival has grown significantly, grabbing the attention of visitors from across the globe.

“Proudly supported by the NSW Government, the Parkes Elvis™ Festival is a major highlight on the NSW Events Calendar and over the past three years, has injected more than $28 million into local hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions,” Mr Marshall said.

Some of the 2019 highlights include the Opening Night All Shook Up Special, the Feature Concert Series, the Miss Priscilla Dinner, a Kids Talent Workshop, the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, the Northparkes Mines Street Parade, plus much more.

For programming and ticketing visit,

Sunday, 30 December 2018

New Year's Eve in Sydney!!

There really is nowhere else that does NYE quite like Sydney!

No plans yet? Don't worry it's not too late to make sure you see in 2019 in style.

It's all about being in the best spot!

There are hundreds of vantage points around Sydney where you can witness the spectacular display of fireworks. Tip: Make the most of it and get there early to save a spot!

Also don't be shy to venture out a bit. Vaucluse in the east have several unbelievable vantage points as does Watson's Bay!
More Info

We're on a boat!
The ultimate location for NYE is on the water! Hundreds of boats take to the harbour to witness the best fireworks display many people will ever witness. Boat parties are ticketed events, but many include food, drink and entertainment usually in the form of a dance floor! It's a tick off the bucket list that's for sure!
More Info

Ticketed Events
Some of the best views come at a price, but guaranteed to be worth every cent! The Royal Botanical Gardens are hosting several events including 'Harbour Hoopla' which has plenty of circus themed activities to keep you entertained whilst you count down the last few hours of 2018. Other ticketed events include NYE at Taronga Zoo, Pirrama Park Wharf, Portside Sydney's NYE Party & much more!
More Info

Cambridge Hotel Sydney
212 Riley Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010

Naturaliste Charters & Boutique Wildlife Tours join Australian Wildlife Journeys

Australian Wildlife Journeys is pleased to announce that Naturaliste Charters from Western Australia’s southwest region and Boutique Wildlife Tours from the Southern Highlands, just south of Sydney, have joined the group. Since the collective launched in February 2017, the membership base has grown to 13 independently-owned wildlife operators across Australia.
“It is really exciting to see the Australian Wildlife Journeys network growing,” said Craig Wickham, Chair of Australian Wildlife Journeys. “With the recent addition of Naturaliste Charters and Boutique Wildlife Tours, we have added coverage of geography, additional key species and broadened the offer of marine and terrestrial encounters in the wild.”
Naturaliste Charters is a family owned business, managed by Paul and Alison Cross, and has been operating in the region for 25 years. The Bremer Canyon has become one of the most sought after whale watching expeditions across the globe, with over 100 Killer Whales returning to the underwater canyon each year from January to April; the only place in Australia where travellers can regularly encounter Killer Whales in the wild. During the season, travellers can encounter these apex predators engaging in a variety of activities, from hunting to socialising. 
The offshore marine environment of the Bremer Canyon supports an incredible diversity of wildlife.  As well as encountering Killer Whales over 95% of the time, other species seen include Bottlenose, Striped and Common Dolphins, Long-finned Pilot Whales, Sperm Whales, Hammerhead, Blue and Whaler Sharks, Australian Sea Lions, Long-nosed Fur Seals, Giant Squid, Oceanic Sunfish and even the rare Beaked Whale.  
“We are delighted to link up with other like-minded small businesses, who share our passion for conserving and researching Australia’s remarkable ecosystems,” said Paul Cross, Owner of Naturaliste Charters. “Joining the Australian Wildlife Journeys platform will allow us to share one of the world’s most astonishing marine environments with more travellers from around the globe.”
The company also operates tours from Dunsborough and Augusta (Margaret River region), where Humpback Whales, Southern Right Whales, Minke Whales and rare Blue Whales can be encountered on their northern and southern migration during the Winter and Spring. This provides travellers with year-round whale watching options, a rare opportunity for a single region.
Boutique Wildlife Tours has been offering unique wildlife viewing experiences since 2009 in the Southern Highlands, just 90 minutes from the centre of Sydney. It is part of the family owned Activity Tours Australia portfolio owned by Brad Lowe and Kylie Burnard.
The company offers small, personalised group tours with a maximum of 10 passengers, travelling in luxury 4WD Mercedes vehicles. Tours depart Sydney at lunchtime and return in the evening, so guests can enjoy the animals at their most active time around dusk. The region provides regular sightings of many of Australia’s most beloved species, including Eastern-grey Kangaroos, Koalas, Red-necked Wallabies, Common Wombats, Platypus along with many birds. 
After dinner, groups are provided with the opportunity to go spotlighting with red-filtered flashlights, to observe the numerous nocturnal species in the region including Brush-tailed Possums, Greater & Sugar Gliders and Common Wombats, before returning to Sydney in the evening. The company has a strong focus on quality interpretation from guides, allowing for a high degree of customisation depending on guest interests and seasonal conditions.
Owner of Boutique Wildlife Tours, Brad Lowe, said "We are very honoured to be part of an exclusive group to showcase native animals in the wild, just outside of Australia’s largest city. It will allow Boutique Wildlife Tours to become much more widely known through coordinated marketing and continually improve our offerings by sharing experiences and knowledge with other experienced members of Australian Wildlife Journeys.”
The Australian Wildlife Journeys collective is part of Tourism Australia’s Signature Experiences of Australia program that promotes outstanding tourism experiences within a variety of special categories.

Calling All Chocolate Lovers!

Treat your sweet tooth and wrap yourself in a warm glow this cool season with our Hot Chocolate promotion at Up & Above Bar at The Okura Prestige Bangkok. The smooth and creamy liquid delight is mixed in the French style at your table, heightening the sense of gustatory anticipation. The velvety hot chocolate is made from premium quality single-origin dark chocolates from Chocolaterie de l’Opéra, currently only served at Up & Above Bar in Thailand.

The selection includes Carupano from Venezuela, which has a slightly floral aroma and spicy notes; Mekonga from Vietnam, which has hints of citrus and honey; and Samana from the Dominican Republic, which has rich tones of liquorice, pepper and nutmeg. Melted in hot fresh full cream and milk with added chocolate powder, you can also choose to have your confection flavoured with cardamom, cinnamon, star anis, citrus, vanilla, juniper berries or cocoa beans. This seasonal treat is best enjoyed with a piece of artisan chocolate cake. Deeply satisfying, the hot chocolate at Up & Above Bar is a winter indulgence you won’t want to miss!

The Hot Chocolate promotion is available from 1 January – 31 March 2019, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. daily at Up & Above Bar. Priced at Baht 450++ per person and Baht 700++ for 2 persons.

Up & Above Bar is located on the 24th floor of The Okura Prestige Bangkok. For more information and reservations, please contact 02 687 9000 or email

Prices are subject to 10% service charge and 7% government tax.

Luxperience - Apply to Attend as a Buyer

We have a number of Buyer Program options available including a Hosted program for Global Buyers (residing outside of Australia), National Buyer Hosted program for those residing in Australia but outside of Sydney and a Semi-Hosted program for those who reside in Sydney.
This application process will take approximately 15 - 20 minutes.
So we can assess your application, you will need to:
  • Provide information on your company
  • Provide three business references
  • Agree to the Buyer Terms and Conditions
  • Provide valid credit card details (to cover the payment of your registration fee and possible cancellation or no show fees)
You may exit the form at any stage after the personal profile page has been completed and log back into the form using your last name and email address to complete it. 
If you have any questions regarding your application, please contact

 If you are applying to Luxperience for the first time, please click the "Apply to attend" button to begin.


Located approximately 45 minutes south of San Francisco, the Half Moon Bay Coastside is a vibrant coastal getaway ideal for outdoor spring adventures. With a temperate climate averaging 55 degrees, visitors can enjoy relaxing walks along gorgeous beaches, whale watching, a wellness retreat, and even hold baby goats at Harley Farms. 

Below is a summary of what’s new along the Half Moon Bay Coastside. To plan a trip, visit and also download iCoastside to access information on the region’s cozy inns and luxury coastal resorts, renowned restaurants, farm visits, golfing, wine tasting, fishing, whale watching, surfing and much more.
Special Note: All locations are in Half Moon Bay unless otherwise noted. 

Surfing: Mavericks Challenge Anticipates to Hold Event in January 2019
Mavericks is considered one of the challenging surfing areas in the world, attracting the most elite surfers to brave the waves for the Mavericks Challenge. For the first time ever, female surfers will be participating and competing for their chance to win the $130,000 cash prize. The 2018-2019 Mavericks Challenge window runs from Nov. 1, 2018 to end of March 2019 where 24 men and 10 women will surf on Half Moon Bay’s world-famous surfing spot Mavericks, located one-half mile off of the coast by Pillar Point Harbor. Before the contest starts, organizers monitor weather conditions and swell size in order to give competitors 48 hours notice to make their way to Half Moon Bay. Swells at Mavericks typically need to reach 30-40 feet in order for the contest to take place.
Whale Watching: It’s Gray Whale Season
The annual migration of the gray whale is currently underway, and Half Moon Bay is the perfect spot for witnessing the journey of these spectacular creatures. Beginning in January and running through the end of March, approximately 15,000 gray whales swim south from the icy waters of the Arctic to mate and nurse their young in the warm shallow lagoons along Magdalena Bay in Baja, California. The full round-trip migration from the Bering Sea to the Baja calving lagoons is approximately 10,000 miles, the longest known migration for any mammal. Gray whales move at a steady speed of about five miles per hour, and most can be spotted in an area that extends from the kelp beds (about 3/4 miles from the shoreline) out to the horizon. For those who like to plan ahead, March through early April is a great time to spot humpback whales as they begin moving closer to shore.
Here are two local companies that offer whale-watching excursions:

Baby Goats Arrive for Spring!
There’s nothing quite so reminiscent of springtime than a field full of baby goats chasing each other around. Make an idyllic day trip along the coast to the farming town of Pescadero where visitors can explore the restored Victorian barns of Harley Farms Goat Dairy and the quaint cheese shop, featuring their international award-winning farmstead chevre and many more delectable cheeses. Take a behind-the-scenes tour and meet the baby goats that romp around the grounds, or simply pop in for picnic goodies. For tour reservations, call (650) 879-0480 or 205 North Street, Pescadero, CA 94060. 

January 26 & 27
Embark on an Elephant Seal Adventure
Morning Sessions - 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.; Afternoon Sessions - 1:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Enjoy a rare opportunity to spend an entire morning or afternoon viewing elephant seals at the peak of their breeding season. Visitors will meet with elephant seal researchers and learn from volunteer naturalists while having an amazing experience that will surely go down in the memory books. Seal adventures are co-sponsored by Coastside State Parks Association and California State Parks to raise money to support educational and interpretive programs at Año Nuevo and 14 other state parks and beaches along the San Mateo Coast. Cost is $75 per person (children three years or younger are free). Advanced reservations are required. For more information and tickets, visit
January 27 & April 27  
Mighty Gray Whale Watching Cruise
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.  
Join the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the Greater Farallones Association for an extra special chance to witness the peak of the mighty gray whale migration on a naturalist-led half-day cruise. This cruise will “join” the annual return migration of the gray whales through marine sanctuaries as they travel to and from the Arctic feeding grounds and Baja California breeding grounds. Learn about their natural history, their recovery from near extinction, and the survival challenges posed by their roughly 12,000 mile round-trip journey.  Ages 10+ must be accompanied by an adult. Cost is $65 per person; registration is required. For reservations, contact Sara Heintzelman, or (415) 530-5366. 
March 29
50th Annual Farm Day: Celebrate Hardworking Local Farmers 
11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  
Agriculture is Half Moon Bay’s premier industry, and each year residents gather to celebrate the hardworking farmers who contribute so much bounty to the area at Farm Day. Started by the late Coastside farmer Mel Mello, local farm families come together for this special event to create a delicious lunch utilizing local produce. Many awards such as the Dolores Mullin "Like a Rock Award," the Glenn Ashcraft Chamber Community Service Award, and “Farmer of the Year” are given to patrons who serve their community and make Half Moon Bay a better place. IDES Hall, 735 Main Street. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or contact the Half Moon Bay Chamber, (650) 726-8380. Media Contact: Krystlyn Giedt, (650) 726-8380,

April 13
Coastal Wildflower Day and Earth Day Festival
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Celebrate the area’s abundant spring wildflowers at Coastal Wildflower Day at Half Moon Bay State Beach. This festival features family-friendly games and activities, native plants for the garden, and nature walks. Participants can also enjoy live music, a hula dancing demonstration, local artists selling their work, and a food truck for a picnic lunch. For those looking to landscape their yards with drought tolerant plants, there will be opportunities to tour the state beach native plant nursery and gardens, seek advice from native plant specialists, and purchase plants to take home. Half Moon Bay State Beach (Francis Beach parking lot), 95 Kelly Avenue. Admission to the festival is free, but there is a $10 fee for parking. Both beaches can also be accessed by walking or biking along the Coastside Trail. For more information, visit Media Contact: Ellen Tjosvold, (650) 726-8814,
April 28
29th Annual Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Known as the “Coolest Show on Earth,” Half Moon Bay’s spectacular 29th Annual Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show will showcase a collection of more than 2,000 motorized mechanical marvels from the 20th and 21st centuries. Among the mesmerizing displays is the line-up of the world’s coolest cars of every era and style including model-T fire engines, vintage buses, and custom motorcycles. Special events include the synchronized firing up of engines by Bob Senz’ Big Cacklefest, magnificent skydiving performances, electrifying four-rider freestyle motocross stunt shows, historic military aircraft, vintage buses, and many more. Enjoy monster trucks, uni-motorcycle drag racing, and even take a thrill ride in a helicopter. Kids and families will love the zip-line, waterballerz, rock climbing wall, ultra-thrilling bungee jump, and the amazing amusements in the Super Duper Kidz Funzone. After a long day of celebration, grab some food and kickback with drinks from Half Moon Bay Distillery, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, Half Moon Bay’s Barterra Winery, and Longboard Margarita Bar, while listening to live music, all benefiting the Coastside Adult Day Health Center. Half Moon Bay Airport, 9850 N. Cabrillo Highway (Hwy 1). Admission is $25 in advance for adults ($30 at the gate) and $15 in advance for ages 11-17 and 65+. Free for kids 10 and under with paying adult. For more information, call (650) 726-2328 or visit Media Contact: Tim Beeman, (650) 726-3491,

Wild Precious Life Wellness Retreat at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
On April 11-14, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay will host the Wild Precious Life Wellness Retreat, where for two days and three nights, guests will gather for self-exploration and revitalization via a series of intimate workshops, thought-provoking exercises, and body treatments. Activities and workshops will be led by wellness experts Lucy and Mary Firestone of Wild Precious Life who lead retreats around the world for those seeking catalysts for positive, expansive change. The weekend will feature guest speakers including Jennifer Freed, Ph.D., M.F.T., an author and psychological astrologer, and  one of the most sought-after alignment experts and international best-selling author, Lauren Roxburgh. The weekend of renewal begins with a welcome reception on Thursday evening, followed by a full day of insightful teachings on Friday, starting with a reflective walk along the beach. On Saturday, the revitalization and self-discovery continues with a Dream Analysis Workshop, Breakout Sessions, regenerating Spa Treatments and more. Guests will feel rejuvenated and rested arriving at the Farewell Dinner on Saturday evening. Starting at $3,000 per three-night stay for one guest (a three-night stay is required). For more information or to reserve, please visit One Miramontes Point Road, (650) 712-7000, Media Contact: Shelly Auyeung,(650)

Half Moon Bay Welcomes New Abalone-Focused Restaurant - Pillar Point Fish House 
Opening in January 2019, Tom Ebert of American Abalone Farms will open a restaurant and seafood market, Pillar Point Fish House, that will present a menu focused on abalone along with Dungeness crab, oysters, sea urchin, and other wild and farmed seafood. Although selling wild-caught abalone is illegal in California, Ebert grows all of his products on his farm and harvests them for three years to grow to market size. Inspired by Hog Island Oyster Farm in Tomales Bay, the two-story space at Pillar Point Harbor will be a raw bar and seafood market with tanks of live seafood downstairs and an upstairs dining room that will offer a full menu. Chef Eric Dema, who most recently worked in New England restaurants and was a cook and consultant in San Francisco restaurants, plans to serve fresh abalone as sashimi, ceviche and fritters, grilled over a salad, and in chowder or in a po’boy, in addition will include regional dishes like artichoke soup, Cioppino, and whole cracked Dungeness crab. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner. 260 Capistrano Road, (650) 560-0318,
Celebrate, Fundraise, and Dine at It’s Italia

This upcoming spring season, It’s Italia is excited to welcome new programming to promote the local community and the surrounding area of Half Moon Bay. The San Francisco-style trattoria and pizzeria will spotlight two themes for the months of February and March - Celebrations, Weddings, and Rehearsal Dinners (February) and Community Events, Celebrations, and Fundraisers (March). For the month of February, guests can see their events come to life by reserving an intimate rehearsal dinner in the Fireplace Courtyard, or reception in the inside dining room area, and many more. Some highlights include special menu offerings, wine and mixology tastings, and pairing dinners. In March, It’s Italia will showcase their partnerships with local schools and charities by offering pizza classes to kids throughout the community and inviting philanthropic organizations to the restaurant’s fun-filled “Celebrity Bartender Nights” where local charities can host events to help raise awareness of their causes and a “celebrity” bartender is showcased by the restaurant to create tasty concoctions for guests to enjoy. 401 Main Street, (650) 726-4444, Media Contact: Betsy Del Fierro, (650) 726-4444,
Feast on Delicious Seafood and Wine at Sam’s Chowder House
Award winning authentic New England style seafood restaurant, Sam’s Chowder Houseannounces a special four-course dinner series perfect for seafood and wine lovers. Based on the freshest seasonal ingredients, Executive Chef Lewis Rossman customizes the menu to ensure each course is perfectly paired with delicious wines from the featured wineries. Previous menus have included California King Salmon Carpaccio with radish, preserved lemon and farm egg, Half Moon Bay Halibut roasted “a la planta” with chanterelle mushrooms, local Giusti Farms fava beans and pea tendrils and mouthwatering Chocolate Pot de Crème. Guests should hurry to save their dates for the following wine pairings: January 30: Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, February 27: Bonny Doon Vineyard with special guest, founder Randall Grahm, and March 27: Wagner Family of Wine. Click here to purchase tickets. Tickets start at $100 per person. 4120 Cabrillo Highway N., (650) 712-0245, Media Contact: Laurie Glynn, (650) 712-0245,

Celebrations and Discussions with The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company 
The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is a local favorite and hotspot for visitors to come together to celebrate handcrafted beer, friends, and fun! For the upcoming season, the craft brewery is featuring a variety of celebrations and discussions that will keep the new year fun and engaging:

  • Brews & Views - Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.’s free speaker series, Brews & Views, discusses everything from environmental issues and economic development to social change and politics. From January-April (6 p.m.-8 p.m.), guests can enjoy discussions from learning about the future of independent bookstores and booksellers to watching a movie screening about America’s higher education system. Part of the proceeds benefits the Cabrillo Education Foundation.
  • San Francisco Beer Week 2019 - This year, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is kicking off SF Beer Week 2019 as the official brewery for the Coastal Beer from the Bay Area Brewers Guild collaboration of the brew - Kölsch. Beer lovers will enjoy this Kölsch style ale with Admiral Pilsner Malt, Hallertau Blanc, and Galaxy hops with a touch of Kaffir Lime (available on tap and in 16 oz cans). Guests can meet with the brewers and enjoy a tasting on February 1.
  • 2019 NFL Super Bowl Viewing Party - Football fans can gather at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company to watch on all screens the must-watched 2019 NFL Super Bowl on Sunday, February 3. Happy hour will be available until kick-off. Doors will open at 10 a.m.
390 Capistrano Road, (650) 728-2739, Media Contact: Mary Oldham,
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay Welcomes Back The Global Cuisine Series 2019
Returning for its third year, The Global Cuisine Series at the iconic The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay is a decadent weekend retreat offered once a month exclusively to members of Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Marriot Rewards, and SPG Rewards. The one-night package features an overnight stay in a Coastal View Room, an intimate hands-on cooking class with the famed chef for up to 18 guests, followed by a wine-paired luncheon where guests have a unique opportunity to get to know the guest chef, and a $100 resort credit per night, along with the resort fee and valet parking per night. In addition, the guest chef will showcase two signature dishes on the Navio tasting menu in collaboration with Chef de Cuisine Jason Pringle for Friday and Saturday nights, along with a pop-up station at Navio’s acclaimed Sunday Brunch (Guests may opt to reserve these experiences separately from the package). The Global Cuisine Series package will be offered on the Marriot Moments and SPG Moments website where rewards guests will be invited to bid points to win this exclusive package. For more information on the line-up, go One Miramontes Point Rd, (650) 712-7000, Media Contact: Shelly Auyeung, (650)

Predatory Plants Celebrates Grand Opening in Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay native Joshua Brown has been collecting carnivorous plants since seventh-grade and in college, the collection lived in a terrarium under his dorm-room bed. After leaving his job in Microsoft, Brown decided to launch a business of selling his collection of plants in 2008. With much success in online sales, Brown expanded his company by opening a shop, Predatory Plants, in his hometown of Half Moon Bay on the Pastorino Farms strip of nurseries in late October. Since the grand opening, the shop has been developing quickly and the interest in
carnivorous plants is growing around the country, especially with young people. Brown breeds the plants himself behind his new Half Moon Bay store, where he has access to some 17,000 square feet of greenhouse space. Some top sellers for Brown include the Cape Sundew Carnivorous Plant, Venus Fly Traps, and his specialty the Nepenthes. In the future, Brown plans to eventually set up permanent installations in the store offering a glimpse of these plants in their natural habitat and in a home, and an adjoining space will regularly host carnivorous plant-related classes. Brown and his staff are always eager to share their knowledge and passion for carnivorous plants with customers in person, and aspiring and experienced enthusiasts are encouraged to check out Predatory Plant’s website and social media. For more information, visit Open Friday- Sunday from 11 am - 4pm. 12511 San Mateo Road, (650) 720-5195,
About the Half Moon Bay Coastside 
The Half Moon Bay Coastside is a charming seaside respite located approximately 35 minutes south of San Francisco. Nestled between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, this breathtaking region consists of four distinct areas - the North Coast, Half Moon Bay, the South Coast and the Redwood Region. Featuring the best of Northern California all in one place, visitors will enjoy miles of white sandy beaches, redwood forests, a historic downtown filled with local artisan shops, beautiful state parks, fields of wild flowers, and trails along ocean bluffs and mountain ridges as far as the eye can see. A sampling of activities includes horseback riding on the beach, farm fresh dining, shopping, biking, hiking and world-class golfing and surfing.
For more information on visiting Half Moon Bay, visit, download Half Moon Bay’s free app iCoastside or call (650) 726-8380. For the latest news on the area,, join us on Facebook @VisitHalfMoonBay, follow us on Instagram @ visithalfmoonbay and Twitter @VisitHMB, plus check us out on

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Takeo Lantern Festival

A Lantern Festival is held every year at Hiryu-gama in Takeo-city, Saga, where the largest ascending kiln in the world is located.

6,000 lanterns and a heart-shaped tunnel of light is the highlight of the park’s winter illumination event.

Also, come and experience the stage events, cafe (sweets and hot coffee) inside the kiln, mini-lantern making and pizza-baking workshops.

Date: February 9, 2019 (Sat) and 10 (Sun)

Light up time: From 18:00 to 21:00

Venue: Forest Park TAKEKOBA-kiln “HiRyu-gama”

Dakkisho Tofu - Delicious Tofu

“Dakkisho tofu (peanut tofu)" is a specialty dish made at a long-established restaurant in Kanoya City, which opened 50 years ago and is now operated by the third generation of proprietors.
"Dakkisho" is Kagoshima dialect for peanuts. Dakkisho tofu has a tofu-like appearance but is made from Kanoya produced peanuts, potato starch, and water only. 

The richness and sweet taste from the peanuts, along with its sticky, chewy texture, can become addictive. Since the restaurant can make only a limited quantity of dakkisho tofu and it is very popular, it is often sold out by noon.

The restaurant, called "Komatsu Shokudo", is also known for its delicious "champon" noodles. The dish has been served since the opening of the restaurant and has kept the original taste, attracting legions of local fans. 

You can enjoy the regular "Tokusei Champon" (720 yen), or, if you are really hungry, you can try a large serving of "Bikkuri Jumbo Champon" (1,250 yen), which is triple the size of the regular champon. 

If you tell the restaurant you want to eat dakkisho tofu with champon, you may be lucky enough to have your request fulfilled!

A pack of dakkisho tofu: 380 yenWakon Yosai Komatsu ShokudoBusiness hours: 10:30-14:00Closed: Sundays* This is the information as of June, 2017?

For further detail, please visit

Expedia's 2018 Year in Review report highlights the rise of secondary cities, alternative accommodations and culinary experiences® analyzed thousands of data points this year to identify the top trends in travel for 2018, and the results show that American travelers are increasingly interested in unique and novel experiences. Highlights from the report include the rise of secondary destinations like Chiang Mai, the Azores and Cartagena, and non-traditional lodging options such as tentalows and houseboats. In the activities and attractions space, observation decks and architectural landmarks saw the biggest growth, with cooking classes and other culinary experiences close behind.
"In this day and age, it's possible to have the exact type of experience and trip you want, whether it's visiting a breathtaking island off Portugal, or staying on a family farm where you can gather your own fresh eggs in the morning," says John Morrey, SVP Brand Expedia. "Being able to meet the needs of every kind of traveler is our driving force at Expedia, and why we strive to make it easy and affordable to find the perfect accommodation for any trip and bundle it with flights or car for even more savings."
Read on for more highlights from Expedia's 2018 Year in Review, including trends across destinations, air travel, lodging and activities.
2018: The Year of the Secondary City
Expedia crunched flight data from 20181 to determine the destinations seeing the most year-over-year growth, and it was clear that U.S. travelers are venturing beyond the primary tourist stops to seek out the culturally-rich offerings of secondary cities. Here are some of the most noteworthy trending destinations for 2018, all of which saw double- or triple-digit growth from last year:
  • Portugal: Azores It's no secret that Portugal had a major moment in 2018, seeing big boosts in tourism throughout the year. But it wasn't just Lisbon and Porto attracting crowds – the Azores also wooed tourists with its dramatic landscapes and world-class diving and hiking. 
  • ThailandChiang MaiChiang MaiBangkok's more laid-back and spiritual sibling, is home to hundreds of Buddhist temples, incredible street food and historic festivals. Visit in November to launch a fire lantern during Loi Krathong, or in April to see the city come alive for Songkran. 
  • United KingdomInverness and BelfastLondon remains one of the top global destinations in the world, but flight data proves travelers are venturing farther into the UK to Northern Ireland and Scotland
  • MaltaVallettaFor those craving a beautiful Mediterranean getaway without the high prices of the French Riviera or crowds of the Italian coast, Malta could be just the ticket. Its capital city of Valletta, an UNESCO World Heritage site, is surrounded by water and features carefully restored and preserved monuments dating back to the late Renaissance. 
  • AlaskaKenai and KodiakThe Emerald Isle of Kodiak, with its immense National Wildlife Refuge, and Kenai's legendary salmon fishing are proof that there's more to Alaska than just Anchorage and Juneau. For visitors looking to experience the best of Alaska, many of the highly-rated cruises will stop at three or four port towns. 
  • AustraliaBrisbane and PerthU.S. travelers embarking on the 14+ hour journey to Australia are clearly seeing more than just Sydney's iconic Opera House. Queensland's capital, Brisbane, and Western Australia'sPerth both appear on the trending destination list this year. 
  • Ecuador: CuencaEcuador's capital, Quito, and the Galapagos Islands are both popular tourist destinations, but this year Cuenca saw increased demand. Perhaps word is getting out that its historic city center, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and array of street markets are just as worthy of a visit. 
  • CroatiaZagrebZagreb may be Croatia's capital but from a western tourism perspective it's been playing second fiddle to coastal Dubrovnik for a few years now. But U.S. travelers are starting to take notice of Zagreb's urban appeal, lighter crowds and affordable prices. 
  • Colombia: CartagenaQuite different in terms of climate and personality than the capital city of Bogotá, Cartagena is rich in colonial charm. 
  • SpainSevilleFor those looking to experience real Spanish culture, Seville will not disappoint. Less touristy than popular Barcelona, locals would tell you Seville is where to find authentic flamenco and tapas.
Check out the full list of Expedia's Top Trending Cities on the Viewfinder blog.
Alternative accommodations are on the rise
While traditional resorts and hotels continue to be a favorite for U.S. travelers, data shows a growing interest in alternative lodging options. Here are some of the fastest-growing accommodation types for 20182:
  1. Tentalows (cross between a tent and a bungalow) – up 135 percent year-over-year 
  2. Chalets – up 85 percent year-over-year 
  3. Villas – up more than 45 percent year-over-year 
  4. Agritourism properties – up more than 40 percent year-over-year 
  5. Houseboats – up more than 35 percent year-over-year
Top trending activities include observation decks and culinary experiences
Activities and experiences are increasingly popular as travelers look to personalize and customize their vacations. These are the fastest-growing activity categories in 2018 for the U.S.:
  1. Fastest-growing category: Attractions. Observation decks and architectural landmarks are leading the pack, with the Eiffel Tower, Rome's Colosseum, the 360 Chicago Observation Deck and the High Roller Observation Wheel in Las Vegas among the top trending attractions. 
  2. Runner-up: Tours & Sightseeing. Walking and hop-on-hop-off bus tours remain popular among travelers visiting big cities. 
  3. Third place: Shopping & Culinary Experiences round out the top categories, as travelers look to get the most out of their destinations and sample local flavors. 
It's never been easier to browse and book activities on the fly with Expedia's mobile app, which lets travelers sort and filter things to do by proximity, popularity and activity type.
Busiest & least busy days to fly
Flight data confirms that traveling ahead of the holidays is bound to be hectic. However, the least busy travel days of the year also fall around the holidays: the day after Christmas, Christmas Day and New Year's Day drew the fewest airport crowds. These are the busiest air travel days of the year3:
  1. Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day 
  2. Friday before Christmas Day 
  3. Friday before Labor Day
Want to see more trends? Be sure to head over to Expedia's Viewfinder blogfor the rest of the results from the 2018 Year in Review, including the most popular last-minute getaways and where to find the best views, spa, pools and service.
About Expedia® is one of the world's largest full service travel sites, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel. ( aims to provide the latest technology and the widest selection of top vacation destinations, affordable airfare, hotel deals, car rentals, destination weddings, cruise deals and in-destination activities, attractions, services and travel apps.
© 2018 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved. Expedia and the Airplane logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. CST# 2029030-50. Visit our web site or use our mobile app to book cheap flights and hotels.
1Based on air travel demand on from January 1, 2018 – November 1, 2018 compared to the same timeframe in 2017
2Based on demand on from January 1, 2018 – September 30, 2018 compared to the same timeframe in 2017
3Based on air travel demand on from October 31, 2017 – November 1, 2018

Related Links