Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Whitsundays farewells the Clipper Yacht Race fleet

The Whitsundays farewelled the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race crews on Monday January 29 after a break in the beautiful Whitsundays, enjoying everything the tropical paradise has to offer.

The fanfare on the dock at Abell Point Marina as the yachts slipped lines was emotional, with farewells for family and friends but also an atmosphere of excitement as crews embarked on the next chapter of their 40,000 nautical mile race around the world.

Whitsundays Mayor Andrew Willcox made a short address and wished crews ‘bon voyage’ on their global voyage.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race crews have enjoyed a two-week break in the Whitsundays, with the Red Carpet well and truly rolled out for the region’s guests.

The two-week long Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival (January 13-29) was organised as a celebration of the crews’ visit and also to showcase the wonderful Whitsundays to the world.

Starting with the Bendigo Bank Welcome Party, in which the crews were given the Key to the Whitsundays, the carnival also included the lavish Fish D’Vine White on Whitehaven Long Lunch, on Whitehaven Beach, the exciting Whitsunday Foodservice Progressive Cruise Lunch and a Rodeo by the Reef, in Bowen, which was a sell-out.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner said the feedback from the Clipper crews had been outstanding, with many of them going to several different events and all saying they had an amazing time.

“The Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival was a whole-of-region event to showcase the beauty of the Whitsundays and really give our VIP visitors a great time and show them what we have to offer,” he said.

“In addition to all the events, a lot of crew members took time out to see the Great Barrier Reef, including Heart Reef, and of course Whitehaven Beach. We hope they go away with fantastic memories and tell their friends and families back home what an amazing place the Whitsundays is.”

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the only race of its kind and matches experienced skippers with novice sailors, who can take part in just one leg or every leg of the race, which starts and ends in Liverpool in the UK and takes in Uruguay, South Africa, Australia, China, the USA and Ireland.

The Clipper Race fleet headed out into a 15 knot breeze yesterday for the traditional Parade of Sails before the sailing of a short course around Pioneer Bay and then motoring south through the Whitsunday Passage ready for their next race to Sanya, in China.

The Queensland Government, via Tourism and Events Queensland, is proud to support the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival which features on the It's Live! in Queensland events calendar. Queensland, just the place to experience Australia's best live events.



Bangkok is still the busiest aviation hub in the subregion,
followed by Kunming. Photo: ADB.
The Greater Mekong Subregion is one of the fast-growing markets for air transport services today.

Scheduled flights in the subregion have been increasing rapidly as both premium and low-cost airlines expand their fleet and new flight routes are introduced. International inbound flights in the subregion has increased by nearly 25% to 758,613 in 2016 from 2014, and inbound seats by almost 29% to more than 161 million in the same period.

This has been a boon to the tourism industry and has made travel easier and more affordable in the subregion, said Jens Thraenhart, executive director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office in Bangkok.

The office, which serves as the secretariat of the GMS Tourism Working Group, released its first Mekong Trends Snapshot report on air transport this year.

The report sees a bright future for air services in the subregion because of the following five reasons:
  1. continued growth in domestic, short-, and medium-haul tourism, sustained by rising disposable incomes in the GMS, ASEAN, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and India;
  2. more airlines and routes resulting from ASEAN’s Open Skies and similar bilateral agreements;
  3. the rise of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province in the PRC, into an intercontinental hub;
  4. new airport infrastructure and capacity, which facilitate the distribution of traffic to and from secondary and tertiary destinations; and
  5. growing demand for second and third-tier destinations.

Bangkok is still the busiest aviation hub in the subregion, followed by Kunming, said the report. It notes that more airports are being connected to international destinations because of Open Skies. These include U-Tapao and Surat Thani in Thailand, Nay Pyi Daw in Myanmar, Savannakhet in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Sihanoukville in Cambodia.

Airports serving second and third-tier destinations are among the fastest growing in terms of airline seat capacity. Based on July 2015 to July 2016 data, these include U-Tapao; Phu Quoc, Haiphong, and Nha Trang in Viet Nam; and Luang Prabang in the Lao PDR.

Competition between low-cost airlines is also driving market growth by developing new routes and expanding their fleet, the report said. The leading carriers in this segment are Vietjet Air and Thai AirAsia.

Read full article at Greater Mekong Subregion:
LinkedIn: Mekong Tourism discussion group


In a major coup for Victorian cricket fans, Visit Victoria has secured the men’s and women’s finals of the ICC World T20 in 2020.

The matches will be played at the world-renowned Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), highlighting Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s sporting capital and a global events city.

The ICC World T20 is the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ‘World Cup’ for its fastest growing and most popular tournament and is considered one of the largest sporting events in the world.

For the first time in its history, the ICC World T20 will feature two stand-alone events as the men’s and women’s tournaments will be scheduled for different times of year.

This landmark move will see Melbourne become the home of both the men’s and women’s finals and ensure the women’s competition is promoted and staged as a major global event in its own right.

The women’s competition will take place from 21 February to 8 March 2020 and the men’s tournament from 18 October to 15 November 2020. The eyes of the world will be on Australia as the 10 best women’s teams and 16 best men’s teams, comprising the global superstars of the game, compete to be crowned world champions.

In a further coup for Victoria, both Melbourne and Geelong have been announced as Official Host Cities for the event and three of Victoria’s world class venues are set to host matches.

On top of hosting both finals, the MCG will also host six Super-12 matches as part of the men’s competition.

St Kilda’s iconic Junction Oval will welcome five group matches for the women’s tournament. Soon to be completed upgrades to the venue have given Victoria an additional ICC-compliant first-class ground for Melbourne and made it possible to host this outstanding event.

Geelong’s credentials as Australia’s leading regional events city are further bolstered with it set to host six group matches at Kardinia Park in the men’s tournament. It is the only regional host city confirmed.

Over the last 12 years, Kardinia Park has been upgraded to become a world class venue, which now has even more power to lure the best of the best to Geelong.

Visit Victoria Chief Executive Officer Peter Bingeman said that the opportunity to host the men’s and women’s finals for this tournament will deliver significant economic and tourism outcomes while showcasing Melbourne as a global leader in major events and in the development of women’s sport.

“Melbourne is a city with a passionate love of sports, boasting an action-packed calendar of sporting and cultural events all year round. The ICC World T20 will be a huge addition to that list of offerings and we are proud to partner with the ICC, Cricket Australia, and the LOC on this global event.”

“Melbourne is the events capital and will remain the events capital. That has not happened by accident, Visit Victoria is working hard to attract the best major events and experiences to Victoria.”

“Since its inception Visit Victoria has added 28 outstanding global events to Victoria’s calendar, including sporting icons like future Bledisloe Cup and British and Irish Lions matches, the World Cup of Golf and Australia Open Golf and many more. Visit Victoria has also facilitated funding for more than 100 regional events."

General Manager of Major Events at Visit Victoria Damien de Bohun said “Melbourne is synonymous with Major Events, as host city to flagship global events like the Australian Open, Australian F1 Grand Prix and Spring Racing Carnival, there’s no better place for the ICC World T20 than right here.”

Nick Hockley, Chief Executive Officer of the 2020 ICC World T20 added that “Australia is a sporting nation, with diverse and passionate fans who love cricket. We’ve designed ICC World T20, comprising standalone women’s and men’s events, to be more inclusive, more accessible and more connected than ever before, so that everyone can join in.”

“Major events of this scale are all about partnerships. We thank the Victorian Government and look forward to working in partnership to deliver a spectacular celebration in 2020, including welcoming thousands of international visitors to attend matches and be part of it.”

Since 2015 Victoria has seen its visitor expenditure grow from $21.1 billion to $25.2 billion, as well as record high international visitation numbers with more than 2.8 million international visitors coming to the state in the 12 months to September 2017.

24 beaches now with smoke-free zones

"No-cigarette" zones will be enforced on 24 popular beaches around Thailand starting from 1 February 2018. 

Anyone caught smoking, littering cigarette butts or discarding cigarette packets on these beaches will face one-year jail term and /or 100,000 baht fine. 

The 24 beaches with smoke-free zones are:
1.Ban Cheun Beach, Trat
2.Laem Sade Beach, Chanthaburi
3.Saeng Chan Beach, Rayong
4.Bang Kaen Beach, Chon Buri
5.Tham Pang Beach, Chon Buri
6.Sai Kaeo Beach, Chon Buri
7.Dong Tan Beach, Chon Buri
8.Cha-am Beach, Phetchaburi
9.Hua Hin Beach, Prachuap Khiri Khan
10.Khao Takiab Beach, Prachuap Khiri Khan
11.Hat Said Res Beach, Chumphon
12.Bo Phut Beach, Ko Samui, Surat Thani
13.Chalok Ban Kao Beach, Ko Phangan, Surat Thani
14.Plai Sai Beach, Nakhon Si Thammarat
15.Chalatat Beach, Songkhla
16.Wasukree Beach, Pattani
17.Patong Beach, Phuket
18.Ko Kai Nok Beach, Phang-nga
19.Ko Kai Nai Beach, Phang-nga
20.Khao Lak Beach, Phang-nga
21.Phra Ae Beach, Krabi
22.Khlong Dao Beach, Krabi
23.Khok Wang Beach, Krabi
24.Hat Samran Beach, Trang

Khanh Hoa aims for over VND 21 trillion tourism revenue in 2018

The south central coastal province of Khanh Hoa is aiming to welcome about 6.5 million visitors, including 2.8 million foreign arrivals in 2018, to earn a revenue of VND21.6 trillion.

The province’s tourism revenue for last year reached an estimated VND17.3 trillion, up 33%. Total visitor numbers in the locality rose to more than 5.4 million (up over 20%) including 2.03 million foreign visitors (up nearly 70%).

Chinese and Russian visitors led the way in numbers of foreign tourists in Khanh Hoa last year. However, the numbers of tourists from the US, Australia, Canada, and Europe fell by 15-30% in 2017.

The provincial department of tourism attributed the drop to the poor transport infrastructure and frequent occurrence of traffic congestion on the coastal road of Tran Phu, which brings visitors to many luxury hotels and tourist attractions in southern and northern Nha Trang City.

The provincial People’s Committee has asked relevant agencies to strengthen management over the services provided by travel operators, boost tourism promotion activities in potential markets such as the Republic of Korea and Japan, and devise solutions to entice traditional visitors from European nations.

Greater attention should be given to improving the quality of tourism products, developing satellite tourism areas to reduce the visitor overload situation in Nha Trang, and training highly qualified human resources, the committee said.

Source: VOV

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch, McLeod

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch 
Situated in a million acres of pristine wilderness just north of Yellowstone National Park in Montana it is easy to see why Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch was named in the top 10 Best American Dude Ranches in the USA in USA Today’s 2017 readers’ poll.

The ranch offers a stress- free getaway with wellness retreat and boundless opportunities for adventure such as horseback riding, Blue Ribbon fly fishing, Jeep adventures, campfires with cookouts, hiking, river floats and much more. 

This combined with its cozy lodging, home cooked cuisine and warm western hospitality makes it a hit with couples and families alike.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

BEAUTIFUL: The Carole King Musical - FINAL WEEK!

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL is in its final week at the Sydney Lyric Theatre.

Don't miss your chance to experience the true story that will make you laugh, cry and cheer for more!


Vietnam wants to make tourism a key economic sector by 2020 that creates a driving force for the development of other sectors.

The country expects to attract 17-20 million foreign visitors and 82 million domestic ones by then.

Visitors are expected to spend US$35 billion in the country in 2020, on-the-spot exports through tourism are expected to reach $20 billion and the sector is hoped to create jobs for four million people including 1.6 million direct jobs.

Such ambitious goals are part of a Politburo resolution on developing tourism into a key economic sector, issued early this year.

Nguyen Van Tuan, General Director of National Administration of Tourism, told a workshop on restructuring Vietnam’s tourism sector yesterday that the resolution created motivation for the sector’s development and it also helped change public awareness about tourism – as not a single sector but a collective one relating to other sectors.

He said that last year, Vietnam welcomed 10 million foreign visitors and the World Tourism Organisation ranked it in top ten countries with highest tourism growth globally.

In 2017, Vietnam expected to host 13 million foreign visitors and it was ranked in top six countries with highest tourism growth, Tuan said, adding that the expectation would likely become real and the National Administration of Tourism would greet the 13 millionth visitor nextweek.

“The tourism sector made achievements but these are still modest compared to Vietnam’s tourism potential and expectations as well as those made by neighbouring countries,” Tuan said.

“Restructuring is an urgent need for Vietnam’s tourism sector,” he said, noting six issues that need restructuring – resources and funding for tourism, tourism products, developing tourism markets, tourism companies, human resources for tourism and management.

Vietstar Airlines Deputy General Director Luong Hoai Nam said that Vietnam’s tourism was “good at some things but bad at many things.”

Last year, Vietnam received 10 million foreign visitors but Thailand received 32.6 million, Malaysia 26.8 million, Singapore 16.4 million and Hong Kong 26.7 million.

Cambodia, with a population of about 15 million people, received 5 million foreign visitors. This means a neighbouring country with a population a sixth as big as Vietnam has welcomed half as many visitors.

Nam said that with advantages in natural resources and human resource, Vietnam’s tourism was hindered by bottlenecks relating tovisa policies, information and communications technology readiness, health and hygiene, safety and security, airport infrastructure, ground and port infrastructure and tourist service infrastructure.

According to Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017 of World Economic Forum, Vietnam’s tourist service infrastructure ranked 113 out of 136 economies.

“Few tourist products with high creativeness are available in Vietnam,” Nam said, adding that there are opportunities to developnew tourist products based on the conditions of individual localities.

Certain types of tourism could be exploited, for example, war tourism allows visitors to learn about wars in Vietnam through battle sites, golf tourism is popular in Asia and hiking and trekking tourism has possibilities as Vietnam has much natural beauty.

Vietnam ranked 82th out of 136 economies in the same survey index in terms of health and hygiene, necessitating an improvement in fighting rubbish and better quantity and quality of public toilets.

In addition, Nam said that the country should have opener visa policies for tourists.

“The matter is not the visa fee but the inconvenience and displeasure people experience when applying for a visa,” he said.

Vietnam exempts tourist visa for citizens from 23 countries but Thailand does the same for 61 countries, Singapore 157 countries, Malaysia 155 countries, Indonesia 169 countries and the Philippines 157 countries.

Nguyen Quoc Ky, chairman and director general of Viettravel said tourism consists of four major components – travel, accommodation, transport and services. So, restructuring the tourism sector means implementing synchronised measures in related sectors like transport,commerce, services and customs.

Nguyen Dinh Cung, director of the Central Institute for Economic Management said that investment priority should be given to developing tourist infrastructure.

Read full article at INQUIRER:

Automatic multi-language guide system launched at Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam

Quoc Tu Giam
The Centre for Scientific and Cultural Activities of Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature – National University) in Ha Noi has put into operation an automatic multi-language guide system to serve domestic and foreign tourists.

The system provides service in eight languages, namely Vietnamese, English, French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Thai, and Chinese.

The centre’s director Le Xuan Kieu said his centre is in charge of providing guide services in foreign languages but it can only serve a limited number of foreign guests with most popular languages, hence the idea of the automatic interpretation system.

The system contains stories about Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam, helping visitors learn about the establishment and development of the relic site as well as its historical and cultural values.

The centre also put into service a ticket office and a new signage system.

Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam is one of the most important Confucian symbols in Viet Nam, which was established in 1070-1076 under the Ly Dynasty (1010-1225). After many royal examinations, in 1482 King Le Thanh Tong (who reigned from 1460 to 1497) ordered the erection of stone steles inscribed with the names and native lands of the first laureates of the royal examinations, which was first held in 1442.

Between 1442 and 1779, 124 doctoral examinations were held but now only 82 stone steles are preserved in Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam. The steles are placed on the back of stone turtles, symbolizing the immortality of the national quintessence.

The 82 stone steles have a great value of sculpture and calligraphy. All of them were carved from stone in Dong Son, Thanh Hoa province by artisans in Hong Luc and Lieu Chang villages in Kinh Mon district, Hai Duong province, which is famous nationwide for the craft of making wood-blocks and inscribing on stele.

Source: VNA

Rapid City - the perfect base to explore amazing parks and monuments

One of Rapid City's Presidential statues
Black Hills vacation sorted.

Rapid City is the perfect base to explore amazing parks and monuments such as Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, Devils Tower National Monument, Jewel Cave National Monument, Wind Cave National Park and Badlands National Park or to discover the free-roaming Buffalo in Custer State Park.

The city itself is contemporary while offering rich cultural heritage. Children can learn about animals past and present at the Reptile Gardens, Journey Museum and Learning Center, The Museum of Geology, the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, the Dinosaur Park and The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. 

The Dahl Arts Centre, Art Alley and Prairie Edge Trading Company and Galleries is great for art lovers and there is dining options for all appetites whether it’s fine dining or an all-American hamburger and chips. 

Keep an eye out for the reason Rapid City is called the City of Presidents, and visit the various life-size bronze statues of US presidents along the streets and sidewalks - one of the largest publicly owned art displays.


March 17-18: Black Hills Motorcycle Show, Rapid City
July 6-8: Astronomy Festival and Night Sky Program (weekends in Summer), Badlands National Park
June 2-3: 70th Anniversary of Crazy Horse Memorial and Volksmarch, Crazy Horse
July 4: Black Hills Round Up Fireworks Celebration 04 July, Belle Fourche

To see more events click here

Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival

This iconic festival is now more than 50 years old. 

With 10 days of festival fun, culminating in an unforgettable weekend of colourful street carnivals and the renowned wine fiesta, Stanthorpe is the must-visit destination in 2018.

See their website and like them on Facebook for updates and more details.

Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival

Event Dates
23 February – 4 March 2018

Event Venues
Various locations around Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt

Monday, 29 January 2018


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today launched a photo contest on Instagram to showcase the development progress in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and demonstrate how a focus on increased regional cooperation and integration can improve people’s lives.

The online photo contest, which will be held using the hashtag #GMS25, is part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the establishment of the GMS Program. GMS countries are Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China (specifically Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

“As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the GMS, we would like to take stock of the achievements of the regional cooperation and give a clear image of how it changed the lives of the people living along the Mekong for the better,” said Cuong Minh Nguyen, an ADB Principal Regional Cooperation Specialist and Unit Head of the GMS Program. “We’re hopeful that the photo contest will showcase this and provide encouragement for the future work of the GMS.”

The contest is open to non-professional photographers, of any age from ADB’s member countries. Images must be original and taken personally by the photographer, not previously published, and showcase daily life in the Mekong subregion and how lives have changed in the last 25 years. Contestants can submit as many photos as they like.

To enter the contest, post the photograph on your Instagram account using the hashtag #GMS25 and tag @ADB_HQ. Photos can be posted between 8 January 2018 and 9 February 2018. Winners will be announced on 20 February 2018.

First prize winner will receive $500, second prize winner will get $200, and third prize winner will take home $100. Winners will be judged on the merit of their content or on the number of Instagram likes. To see full rules, prizes, and to get information on the contest, go to this link.

Established in 1992 with support from ADB, the GMS Program helps the implementation of high priority subregional projects in transport, energy, telecommunications, environment, human resource development, tourism, trade, private sector investment, and agriculture. As of 2016, ADB has approved $7.3 billion in loans for 84 GMS investment projects, with GMS member countries and development partners providing $4.9 billion and $6.9 billion, respectively.

The Sixth GMS Summit of Leaders, with the theme, Leveraging on 25 Years of Cooperation, and Building a Sustainable, Integrated, and Prosperous GMS, will be held on 29-31 March 2018 in Viet Nam. The summit will be attended by GMS leaders—who are expected to endorse the Ha Noi Action Plan 2018-2022—as well as other senior public officials, private sector representatives, development partners including ADB, and members of the media.

Read full article at ADB:
LinkedIn: Mekong Tourism discussion group

Kindness Cruises’ Young Founder Campbell Remess Declared P&O Cruises Australian Homegrown Hero of the Year

Australia’s remarkable junior philanthropist, 13-year-old Campbell Remess, the founder of Project 365 and Kindness Cruises, was today named the P&O Cruises Homegrown Hero of the Year. 

Through his generosity of spirit in helping and inspiring others in need, Campbell has captured the imagination of millions of people in his home state of Tasmania, across Australia and around the world. 

P&O Cruises has been proud to support Campbell’s Kindness Cruises initiative in which he gifts cruises to adults and children who have battled life-threatening illness. 

President of P&O Cruises and Carnival Australia Sture Myrmell, said this was the first time the company had named an Australian Homegrown Hero of the Year but it was an opportunity to acknowledge Campbell’s amazing work in the community. 

“Over the past year, we have had the pleasure of getting to know Campbell and his mother Sonya as Campbell’s Kindness Cruises initiative has developed,” Mr Myrmell said. “Campbell is as modest as he is selfless and we thought honouring his efforts in this way was a fitting tribute to him from Australia’s homegrown cruise brand on Australia Day.”

 Karen Atkins, whose daughter Imogen was a Kindness Cruises recipient last year, said Campbell’s P&O Australian Homegrown Hero of the Year honour was greatly deserved. Imogen and the family cruised on P&O’s Pacific Explorer. “It gives me goosebumps thinking about what Campbell does for other people,” Mrs Atkins said. “Campbell throws a pebble into the pond and amazing things happen as the ripples go out and others come on board to support him. 

“Campbell is just such a remarkable young person and we as a family have been on the receiving end of his extraordinary generosity. I am crying again at the thought of it. He encourages me to reach out to people in need and to act because Campbell never stands back. He always takes action when he sees a need.” 

Campbell’s mother Sonya Whittaker described the P&O award for her son as a “beautiful honour” and that he was thrilled to receive it. 

“P&O has been a great support to Kindness Cruises and we are so pleased that Campbell has been honoured in this way,” Ms Whittaker said. “I watch Campbell work so hard and so selflessly day in and day out to follow his heart. It is amazing for me as his mother to see Campbell honoured by P&O and by our community.” 

P&O’s Australian Homegrown Hero of the Year award will be presented to Campbell when he travels as a special guest on an upcoming P&O cruise. For more information, visit, call 13 24 94 or see a licensed travel agent.


NYC Restaurant Week winter 2018 is now underway at more than 375 restaurants across all five boroughs through February 9, 2018. The celebrated dining program provides the opportunity to dine among New York City’s world-class restaurants at a special price with three-course prix-fixe lunches for US$29 and three-course prix-fixe dinners for US$42 (excludes beverages, gratuities, taxes), and there are 17 days to dine (Saturday dining not included and Sundays optional). Diners are invited to view a full list of participants, browse menus and book tables now at This is a bi-annual event that takes place in winter and summer each year – last year the event celebrated its 25thanniversary.

Tickets to NYC Restaurant Week Tasting Series dining events are now on sale. Two distinct events will feature restaurants found within cultural institutions and ticket sales benefit local charities City Harvest, Citymeals on Wheels and Food Bank NYC. Diners can choose between exclusive tasting menus at Lincoln Ristorante (Lincoln Center) on January 28 at noon for US$50 per person, or The Library at the Public (Public Theater), on February 5 at 6:30pm for US$75 per person. Tickets can be purchased now at

In addition, NYC & Company is running an Instagram photo contest from NYC Restaurant Week’s official account, @nycrestaurantweek, that will award three weekly winners (one for each week of the program). To participate, users who share images of their favorite NYC Restaurant Week dishes and include the hashtag #NYCRestaurantWeek can win US$250 in gift cards from participating restaurants.

American Express is proud to be the founding sponsor of NYC Restaurant Week. From restaurants to gourmet markets, food trucks and cooking classes—use your American Express® Card for your foodie favorites. Learn how to earn 5X Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent during NYC Restaurant Week, up to 1,000 total points, from22/1/18 to 9/2/18 by using your enrolled Card at participating restaurants. Enrollment required and is limited. Terms apply. To learn more, visit

Seek out the ultimate-value week this winter, January 29 through February 4, when three of NYC & Company’s signature programs align: NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway WeekSM, and NYC Must-See WeekSM. Additionally, snag NYC Off-Broadway WeekSM 2-for-1 tickets during this time after they go on sale January 29 for performances from February 12 to February 25. Hotel savings are also available as the winter season offers the most attractive hotel rates of the year, particularly on the evening of Super Bowl Sunday (February 4). For all there is to do in NYC this winter, visit


The food and wine of the Riverina region will be showcased on a new four-day tour run by Cruise Express.

Travelling on a privately chartered heritage train, the Long Weekend Rail Adventure will depart Sydney’s Central Station on Friday, 28 September and travel to Junee and Narrandera on its way to Griffith.

Passengers will go on tours, visit farms and orange groves, enjoy wine-matched meals, cooking demonstrations and morning tea. On the return journey to Sydney, the train will stop at Goulburn via Temora for a vineyard barbecue.

The train, a 62-year-old 4204 Streamliner locomotive, includes buffet, dining and compartment cars from the 1930s and 1940s.

To book, visit

Mekong delta Kien Giang names three tourist zones

The People’s Committee in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has recognised the Nam Du Archipelago and Lai Son Island in Kien Hai District and Hai Tac Archipelago in Ha Tien Town as local tourist zones.

The recognition aims to promote the development of marine and coastal tourism, attract investment in the tourism industry, and lure more tourists to the islands.

It is expected to enhance the preservation and protection of tourism resources and the environment on the islands.

To be recognised as a local tourist zone, places must have an area of 200 hectares or more and be rich in tourism resources. Its tourism infrastructure and services should be capable of serving at least 100,000 tourist arrivals every year.

The People’s Committee ordered the provincial Department of Tourism and local authorities to step up investment promotion and tourism development in the three newly recognised tourist zones.

Printed materials such as brochures, flyers and leaflets will be issued to provide information on the tourist zones.

The Nam Du Archipelago consists of 21 islands that stretch for an area of more than 901 hectares in the two communes of An Son and Nam Du.

Lai Son Island, with an area of more than 1,082 hectares, is the biggest island among the 23 islands in Kien Hai District.

The Hai Tac Archipelago, with an area of more than 251 hectares, consists of 18 islands.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the islands to explore scenic beauty, pristine, white-sand beaches, dense tropical jungle, and fresh seafood.

Kien Giang Province targets 7.1 million tourist arrivals this year, up 16.8% compared to last year.

The province’s tourism revenue is projected to rise 28.8% year-on-year to reach VND5.9 trillion (US$259.34 million) this year.

In 2017, the province received more than 6 million tourists, including more than 368,200 foreigners.

Phu Quoc Island, Nam Du Archipelago, Hai Tac Archipelago and Ba Lua Archipelago attract thousands of tourists each year.

Source: VNA


A new year-round United Airlines service between Sydney and Houston is estimated to bring an extra 27,000 US visitors to NSW and $47 million in visitor expenditure annually.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the opportunity the new service creates to further grow visitor numbers from the US market is a great result for tourism businesses across the State.

“The US is currently worth an incredible $807 million to the NSW visitor economy, making it our second-largest international visitor market,” Mr Marshall said.

“We look forward to working with United Airlines, via our tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, to promote this new service to Sydney which will shine a bright light on our world‑class calendar of events, great food and wine, and stunning regional destinations to even more US travellers.”

Fascinating Fargo

Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota and the cultural centrepiece of the state, with a lively nightlife, a diverse arts scene and distinct theatre offering. 

The annual Fargo Film Festival is held on March 20-24 and is set in the beautifully restored, state of the art, art deco Fargo Theatre with movies and awards across a variety of categories. 

If you are a music lover the Fargo Blues Festival is a must and for art aficionados. The Plains Arts Museum boasts a range of Native American, folk and contemporary art. 

Kids can visit Yunker Farm or the Red River Valley Zoo where they can spot a Grey Wolf or some cheeky North American River Otters. Football fanatics can watch NDSU Bison Football at the Fargodome and for a slice of the outdoors head to Lindenwood Park.


February 17: Ice Fishing Derby, Jamestown
February 25: Bikecycle Fatbike Race, Grand Forks
March 20-24: Annual Fargo Film Festival, Fargo
June 1-September 8: Medora Musical, Medora

To see more events click here

Agnes Blues, Roots and Rock Festival

Agnes Blues, Roots and Rock Festival is back! 

Three days of the best blues, roots and rock music that they can fit in, 16 to 18 February 2018!

Headline act of the amazing 2017 line-up were the legendary Choirboys! Other 2017 artists who rocked the stage were 8 Ball Aitken, Bobby Alu and the Palm Royale, The Twine, The Floating Bridges, 4 String Phil, 19-Twenty, Sammy Maddison, Angela Fabian Band, Shag Rock and many more!

Mark your calendar now for the 2018 Agnes Blues, Roots and Rock Festival!

You'll probably even meet your favourite artist in person at this great event. Some artists are hosting unique and inspiring group workshops, so put the dates aside now and be ready for ticket sales announcements coming soon!

If you ever needed an excuse to make a big blues weekend of it in paradise, this is it! Tour the region, surf, swim, play and still enjoy some of the best music on the planet.

Agnes Blues, Roots and Rock Festival

Agnes Water, Gladstone Area
16 – 18 February 2018

Sunday, 28 January 2018


Port Douglas/Daintree tourism continues to see an increase in overseas travellers to the region – and they are staying longer.

Tourism Research Australia figures for the year ending September 2017 show international visitor numbers were up 5.9 percent to 108,000.

For the same period visitor nights increased 6.9 percent to 623,000. The average length of stay was also up.

Australian visitor numbers also stayed firm, with an increase in the average length of stay for domestic travellers.

In total 412,000 overnight visitors came to the region, staying 2.3 million bed nights.

Tourism Port Douglas Daintree executive officer Tara Bennett said the latest figures continued an upward trend, demonstrating how healthy and vibrant tourism was in the region.

“Port Douglas and Daintree is firmly on the international radar for people wanting a unique, extraordinary tropical destination”.

“Our tourism industry is thriving and this is complemented by the health of the Port Douglas Daintree economy – just recently for instance Port Douglas units were named as having the highest gross rental yield nationally at 9.3 percent in a CoreLogic housing market report.”

Ms Bennett said the latest figures available from Tourism Research Australia showed tourists brought in $489 million to the region.

The top three visitor sources were the United Kingdom (20,000), US (18,000) and NZ (13,000). There are more than 320 tourism businesses in the region.

Viet Nam named in top 15 most Instagrammed global cruise destinations

Taking a cruise is an extravagant experience that most people want to make their friends jealous about, and trip to Viet Nam is no exception, according to a survey by SeaHub.

The cruise travel site studied nearly 1.8 million Instagram posts tagged on various ships and ports around the world and came up with a list of the 25 top destinations, which treats cities and countries as equals and thus includes London and Hawaii as well as Canada, Japan and Russia.

Viet Nam made the top 15 with Instagram mentions ranging between 20,001 and 40,000, while the world famous Ha Long Bay earned between 400 and 10,000.

SeaHub did not specify the time frame it used to survey the photo sharing network, but mentioned sources dated from late 2015.

Viet Nam has one of the fastest growing tourism markets in the world, drawing nearly 13 million foreign visitors in 2017, up almost 30% from the previous year.

The country’s long coastline and beautiful beaches are certainly some of the main attractions.

Last year, top US lifestyle magazine Food and Wine named a cruise in Viet Nam one of the 11 best trips across the globe for retirees.

It suggested either a river tour in Ha Noi or Saigon, away from the hustle and bustle of the cities, or a boat tour through Ha Long Bay, a world natural heritage site with magnificent limestone rock formations rising from the sea.

Ha Long has always been one of Viet Nam's biggest tourism magnets. The bay has been hailed by the US travel guide site Smarter Travel as one of the best ecological spots in the world, while Business Insider said that an overnight Ha Long cruise trip is a "must-try" travel experience in Asia.

It was used to film the Hollywood blockbuster “Kong: Skull Island” which hit theaters last March, and has been raved about by many travel bloggers, including Australian Phoebe Lee who took global viewers through the Vietnamese capital Ha Noi in two CNN commercials last year.

Lonely Planet suggested the best time to take a trip to Ha Long Bay is in October.

According to SeaHub, the most popular time for a cruise appears to be in July and August.

The Bahamas, Florida and the Caribbean topped the list by winning up to 100,000 mentions each, while Australia, California, Croatia, Greece and Mexico were also very popular.

Source: Vnexpress

Buffalo Wyoming: Much more than a stopover spot for visitors travelling between Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore

Buffalo is situated at the bottom of the Big Horn Mountains. 

Here you can walk in the footsteps of pioneers, outlaws, gold miners, soldiers and cowboys. 

It was founded in 1879 and since then the town has seen its share of historic personalities such as “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Tom Horn, Calamity Jane, Teddy Roosevelt and Owen Wister. 

Experience living history at attractions such as Fort Phil Kearney, Hole-In-The-Wall and the TA Ranch, home to the climactic end of the Johnson County Cattle Wars, all within a short drive of each other. 

The history, combined with its quaint shops, superb dining and friendly folk, make Buffalo a fantastic place to base yourself spend some quality time. 

Our tip: Stay in town at the wonderfully authentic and historic Oriental Hotel (and hope you’re there for the open mic night for some of the best local country music you’ll ever hear). 

Or try a ranch stay at Paradise Ranch or TA Ranch for an unforgettable western experience.

March 15-18: Rendezvous Festival, Jackson Hole
May 19-20: ElkFest, Jackson Hole
May 25-28: Jackson Hole Old West Days, Jackson Hole
Summer from July 2: Grand Teton Music Festival, Jackson Hole

To see more events click here

Saturday, 27 January 2018


Following its sell-out season at Sydney’s Roslyn Packer Theatre, which ends tomorrow, it has been announced that Muriel’s Wedding The Musical will return to the Sydney stage in July 2019.

The show, which picked up six awards at the Sydney Theatre Awards this week, will reopen at the Sydney Lyric Theatre.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said, “Presenting the exclusive world premiere of Muriel’s Wedding The Musical in Sydney was a real coup and a major drawcard for visitors to the State, with visitors travelling to see the production estimated to have generated more than $3 million in visitor expenditure for NSW.”

A modern day adaptation of PJ Hogan’s iconic film, Muriel’s Wedding The Musical features music and lyrics by Australian award winning songwriters Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall and
chart-topping hits from ABBA.

Tickets for the new season go on sale on Wednesday, 20 February 2018.

A waitlist for tickets is open now at

Over 1,000 artifacts of My Son sanctuary go digital

More than 1,000 artefacts uncovered during the excavation and restoration of towers in the world heritage site of My Son sanctuary in the central province of Quang Nam have been digitalised thanks to the assistance of experts from Italy and India.

Italian experts have worked with technicians from the management board of the heritage site to digitalise the artefacts, including statues, bricks and other objects used for the construction of towers.

Head of the management board Phan Ho said the digitalisation is one of the notable outcomes of international cooperation efforts to protect the world heritage site.

Apart from the assistance of the Italian Government, experts from India have been providing support to upgrade the towers, during which they discovered an underground road and many valuable objects, he added.

All newly-found artefacts will be digitalised to make it easier for preservation and restoration, he said.

My Son Sanctuary is located in a hilly landscape in Duy Phu Commune, Duy Xuyen District, about 70km southwest of central Da Nang City and 40km from Hoi An city – another UNESCO heritage site in Quang Nam.

It comprises eight groups of 71 monuments built throughout the 7th -13th centuries. The first construction of My Son dated back to the 4th century under the reign of Bhadravarman for the worship of God Shiva-Bhadresvara. But later on, the temple was destroyed.

At the beginning of the 7th century, King Sambhuvarman had it rebuilt and rebaptised Sambhu-Bhadresvara. Each new monarch came to My Son after his accession to the throne for the ceremony of purification and to present offerings and erect new monuments, which explains why My Son is the only place where Cham art flourished without interruption from the 7th to 13th century.

Source: VNA

Ghost Towns in Southwest Montana: Virginia City and Nevada City

Nevada City
Turn back time and relive the Montana frontier gold rush of the mid-to-late 1800s in Virginia City and nearby Nevada City. 

You can experience for yourself panning for gold, stagecoach rides, ghost tours, train rides, fire truck tours and old-time plays. 

Recognised in 1961 as a National Historic Landmark, Virginia City has seen every kind of boom-and-bust cycle imaginable and was frantically founded during a western gold rush in 1863 when several thousand feverish fortune hunters called it home. 

The town became the territorial capital and ‘social city’ of the Montana frontier. Nevada City was a mining ghost town until the Bovey family restored it in 1945-1978 and it is now a living history museum. 

Many original log buildings remain with an outstanding collection of old-fashioned music boxes, pianos and calliopes. 

Live interpretations of historic events are also held on weekends.


February 8-11: Big Sky Big Grass Festival, Big Sky Resort
July 27-August 4: Montana State Fair, Great Falls
August 2-5: Magic City Blues Festival, Billings
August 15-20: 2018 Crow Fair Celebration Powwow and Rodeo, Crow Agency

To see more events click here


Lord Howe Island’s Pinetrees Lodge
TripAdvisor’s 2018 Travellers’ Choice for Hotels awards have been announced, with Lord Howe Island’s Pinetrees Lodge taking the top spot.

NSW was the only State to have four hotels place in the top 10 in Australia, with accolades also going to Ovolo Woolloomooloo, Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour and One&Only Wolgan Valley in the Blue Mountains.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said, “These accolades reinforce NSW’s reputation for world-class accommodation and service, and we are excited to welcome even more visitors to our great State as a result of these fantastic awards.”

“Pinetrees Lodge is a truly extraordinary place to stay on Lord Howe Island, and I’m delighted that it has been recognised as the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice 2018 Hotel Winner once again.”

Glowing reviews of Pinetrees Lodge from TripAdvisor travellers include, “a perfect balance of activity, relaxation, sophistication, and amazing food.”

The award follows the latest joint research published by Destination NSW, which revealed a very high satisfaction rate from visitors to Lord Howe Island, with 97% of guests surveyed ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’. The World Heritage-listed paradise was most noted for its beautiful scenery, natural environment, and for providing a sense of escape and relaxation.

Friday, 26 January 2018


On offer for the first time, Live at the Quay! is a breathtaking maritime, musical and dance extravaganza right in the middle of Circular Quay.

If you’re mad about fireworks, Circular Quay is the place to be this Australia Day.

Harbour parades, jet-ski shows and a series of dazzling fireworks displays will transform the water and skies at Circular Quay.

You’ll also be treated to a classical on-water opera, a performance by KARI Indigenous Youth Choir, and a tribute to Dr G. Yunupingu through a performance of Djapana – Sunset Dreaming.

Live at the Quay! is the perfect way to end your Australia Day. 
26 January 2018 Time6:30pm – 9:30pm


Position yourself where you can see the water at:
First Fleet Park
Hickson Road Reserve
Circular Quay (western or eastern promenades only)
Overseas Passenger Terminal
Sydney Opera House western boardwalk


There are no fireworks on the Sydney Harbour Bridge or outside Circular Quay.


  • From 6:30pm – Groove to tunes from the Australian Army Band
  • From 7:00pm - Marvel at an amazing fleet of heritage and working boats
  • Watch the ever-inquisitive Sandra Sully interview the Australians of the Year on board the Morpheus 
  • From 7:30pm - Welcome to Country performance with local elders, dancers and singers
  • Cheer on your surf boat favourite in the inaugural Sydney Cove Cup
  • From 8:00pm - Check out the new Sydney Ferry Fleet, named after our great Australians
  • Sunset ceremony including a tribute to Dr G. Yunupingu featuring Koomurri Dancers, plus fireworks
  • From 8:30pm - Trribute to opera sung by Lorenzo Rositano and choir, accompanied by a yacht ballet, lighting display, jet skis and fireworks
  • Explore the journeys that our newest citizens have taken to become Australians
  • From 9:00pm – Special performance by an Australian music legend, plus drag artists from Broken Heel Festival AND fireworks
  • From 9:15pm – Breathtaking finale, featuring a spectacular live musical medley of Australian classics synchronised with jet skis and fly boards and culminating in massive fireworks display

Important: The fireworks have moved to Circular Quay. There are no fireworks at Darling Harbour on Australia Day in 2018.


Myanmar’s Second Vice President U Henry Van Thio recently called for exploring sustainable tourism development plan, stressing the need to create new tourism routes and attractions and to combine innovation with its abundant natural resources to create more choice for tourists.

U Henry Van Thio, who is also Chairman of the Central Committee for the Development of the Natural Tourism Industry, urged for laying down a systematic plan for developing the tourism sector.

“Despite the abundance of natural scenery and tourist attractions, the number of visitors to Myanmar still remained below expectation,” he said.

While promoting Myanmar to the world as a place of interest, he emphasized the need to provide convenient and safe services and safe food to visitors.

He highlighted the points including the availability of visa-on-arrival, direct international flights and visa-free entry to nationals of targeted countries.

President of Myanmar Tourism Federation U Yan Win suggested that the government supply funds for tourism development, open border entrances and give visa exemption to visitors from member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as from China, Japan and South Korea.

According to statistics, more than 2.9 million foreign tourists visited Myanmar in 2016 and as of the end of October 2017, the figure stood at 3.1 million, a year-on-year increase of 20 percent.

Myanmar expects 3.5 million tourist arrivals in 2017.

In accordance with the theme of the world tourist organization of last year, which is “Sustainable Tourism — a Toll for Development,” Myanmar has adopted a policy of sustainable development of tourism.

Myeik Archipelago in southern Tanintharyi region, made up of more than 800 islands, is attractive for eco-tourism, such as hiking, bird watching, diving, trekking and snorkelling.

The visitors also used to enjoy sightseeing trips on luxury motor boats.

However, visitors are banned from touching natural coral reefs and taking the shells of sea snails.

According to the tourism authorities, nine local and foreign companies have been granted to build more hotels on 12 islands of Myeik, expecting 200 more hotel rooms to be added in the current open season.

Meanwhile, Myanmar’s Tourism Federation has called for preserving Indawgyi Lake, the country’s largest freshwater lake northernmost Kachin state, also a haven for birds, to promote eco-tourism.

Visitors were exploring the area by boat or on hikes or bikes.

Myanmar is also striving for enlisting Bagan as one of the world’s cultural heritages lying in the central part of the country with thousands of religious edifices and pagodas.

Read full article at XINHUANET:


Visitors to Mercure Penrith will enjoy checking into new-look guest rooms.

The hotel, which is popular with business travellers, has undergone a $5 million upgrade, which has resulted in the addition of spacious desks, laptop tables, extra USB ports, flexible ambient lighting and extra-long beds in guest rooms, optimising comfort for guests.

Mercure Penrith has an outdoor swimming pool and gym, and is close to the Blue Mountains and Penrith Panthers World of Entertainment complex.

Click here to book.

Niseko's coldest morning of the winter so far

Niseko-based Alister Buckingham said:"The Snow to Date depth has now exceeded 11 metres and it’s super cold so the snow will stay light and fluffy."

In today's Snow Report, compiled by's Rod White, it states -18C at higher altitudes and -17C at the village level.

“Jack Frost is in town, said White. "This is the coldest morning of the winter so far with the chill factor reaching extreme levels of around -40C." His advice is for skiers and boarders to use face masks, mitts, and extra thermal layers. Plus keep an eye on youngsters particularly their nose, cheeks, and fingertips

“The fresh 8-10cms has fallen after a rare Wednesday when our region found itself in the calm of the second eye of a massive system resulting in blue sky and low winds. That combination resulted in an amazing day at Rusutsu and Niseko with quality powder under a blue canvas - a rarity in this part of the world.

“With Top Gates in Grand Hirafu closed yesterday due to deep cornice building the night before, the winds at the higher elevation may well hinder access today.The upper mountain is loaded and will continue to be dumped on for about a week, so high caution is advised.

“JMA synoptic charts show a massive system over Hokkaido - Plenty of fresh for today again and for about a week now so...Have a Great day of Turns – Keep a Cool Head - Ski Wise and Stay Focused...

“Equip yourself adequately with the tools and safety gear if heading out the gates or touring plans. Strong caution advised whenever stepping outside legal gate access or skinning / touring back country.”


WHEN Date26 January 2018Time7:30pm – 9:30pm

WHERE Watch the concert on Network Ten or TenPlay. Ticket holders, head to the Sydney Opera House forecourt (access via Macquarie Street, avoid east Circular Quay)
Sydney NSW

View map

Australia Day 2018 – Live at Sydney Opera House, promises to be bigger and better than ever as some of our nation’s musical legends take to the stage in this unforgettable event.


Grab some popcorn and tune into Network Ten at 7:30pm AEDT to watch the concert live from the comfort of your couch.


Network Ten TV personality Grant Denyer, special guest host Sandra Sully and film and TV actor Luke Carroll will host Australia’s best talent at our most iconic building on our biggest day of the year – what could be better?

Anthony Callea, Marcia Hines, Christine Anu, Guy Sebastian, John Paul Young, Casey Donovan, Dami Im and Lorenzo Rositano will perform the hottest tunes alongside tributes to great songs of the past.

Mekong Delta welcomes more than 22 million tourists in 2017

The Mekong Delta greeted more than 22.4 million tourist arrivals in 2017, grossing a revenue of VND11.31 trillion, the highest-ever rate, according to the statistics of the Tourism Association of the region.

According to Head of An Giang provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Nguyen Van Len, this year, the Mekong Delta province arranged many delegations to promote tourism, cooperated with other localities to develop tourism, organized many seminars to seek solutions to improve the quality of tourism products, hosted cultural and culinary events, and invested in more new products. Therefore, it attracted more than 7.3 million tourists with a total tourism turnover to about VND3.7 trillion.

Meanwhile, in Can Tho, tourism activities showed impressive results with the number of domestic and foreign tourist arrivals reaching about 7.5 million, a 41% rise over a year earlier. Total tourism turnover posted over VND2.897 trillion, a year-on-year rise of 59%.

Kien Giang, with its advantages and potential in tourism such as Ha Tien township, Nam Du archipelago, Ba Lua archipelago, U Minh Thuong National Park and Phu Quoc pearl island lured more than six million holiday-makers, of which foreigners were 368,000; grossing more than VND4.58 trillion in revenue, 20% higher than the set target. It also earns the highest tourism turnover in the delta.

In 2018, Kien Giang sets target to draw more than 7.1 million visitors, in which foreigners should reach about 430,000. Total tourism revenue is expected to reach about VND5.9 trillion.

Source: CPV

Crazy Horse Memorial’s 70th Anniversary

Crazy Horse Memorial currently under
construction and a scale model of its completion
2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the first blast on Crazy Horse Memorial by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski.

This year’s spring Volksmarch coincides with the anniversary and will be held on June 2-3. 

Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument currently under construction in the Black Hills which will depict Olgala Lakota Warrior, Crazy Horse who was one of the most powerful and most recognised figures of the Lakota Indian Tribe and a fearless defender of Native American culture, territory and life. 

The Crazy Horse Volksmarch is the most popular organised hike in the United States with 15,000 walkers a year walking up the world’s largest mountain carving in progress.

March 17-18: Black Hills Motorcycle Show, Rapid City
July 6-8: Astronomy Festival and Night Sky Program (weekends in Summer), Badlands National Park
June 2-3: 70th Anniversary of Crazy Horse Memorial and Volksmarch, Crazy Horse
July 4: Black Hills Round Up Fireworks Celebration 04 July, Belle Fourche

To see more events click here


Australia Day promises to be a day of fun and celebration, with Sydney Harbour at the centre of the action, starting with the WugulOra Indigenous Morning Ceremony and concluding with a new event, Live at the Quay!, a musical and dance show in the middle of Circular Quay.

Don’t miss the Ferrython race which sees decorated Sydney ferries race from Circular Quay to Shark Island and back, finishing at the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

From 1pm, Sydney's Tall Ships will lead a fleet of historic vessels from Bradley's Head to the Harbour Bridge, joined by the 182nd Australia Day Regatta.

At Parramatta, there will be a hot-air balloon display from 6am, classic and vintage vehicles at the CARnivale display, the Big BBQ competition, amusement rides and entertainment in the Kid’s Crescent, and live music and a 15-minute fireworks finale at 9pm.

For more information on Australia Day in Sydney, go to and

Thursday, 25 January 2018


Cruise passengers disembarking from their journey in Sydney with a connecting Virgin Australia flight can now check-in at the cruise terminal.

For a fee of $25, passengers arriving at the Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay Cruise Terminal can receive their Virgin Australia boarding pass and check their bags, enabling them to spend time exploring Sydney luggage-free.

The service is provided by Off Airport Check In Solutions. For more information, contact your cruise liner.


The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2018 in Chiang Mai from 22 to 26 January is underway with Thailand rolling out the red carpet to welcome participants under the theme of ‘Sustainable Connectivity, Boundless Prosperity’.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said the TAT will have a dedicated area called ‘Thailand Prestige’ highlighting Thai local experiences through the country’s rich culinary tradition in line with its marketing focus on Thai gastronomy tourism.

“Thai food continues to gain worldwide acclaim and is a major attraction for the millions of tourists who visit Thailand every year.

“ATF 2018 will draw on Chiang Mai’s outstanding reputation for tasty Thai gastronomy tourism that is so ingrained in Lanna culture both for international and domestic tourists visiting Thailand’s Northern Region.

“The ‘Premium Product Display’ will also showcase kitchen products and decorative items featuring a Thai design for international markets in the field of food innovation as well as award-winning itineraries that also promote Thai local experiences.”

Highlights include an interactive cooking demonstration by celebrity chefs from Chiang Mai. Top talent poised to tantalise the taste buds of those in attendance include Chef Toei from Chiang Mai’s ‘Nasi Jampru’ Thai-fusion restaurant, Chef Kaew Koe the ‘Sandwich Man’ and Chef Black from Chiang Mai’s ‘Blackitch Artisan Kitchen’.

Other ‘Premium Product Display’ items of interest include pottery and ceramic products from Prempracha’s Collection, celadon ceramics from Chiang Mai Celadon, handcrafted ceramics from PaChaNa Studio plus silver and lacquerware from Wualai Silver. Northern local food products on offer include dried meat and sausages from Vanasnun, spices and seasoning from Nithi Foods, sweet corn foodstuffs from Sun Sweet and honey processed food items by Bee Product.

For first-hand experiences of Thai gastronomy tourism, the ‘Premium Product Display’ features some of the Thailand Tourism Awards’ Best Itineraries’ including a Hivesters’ Talat Noi Neighbourhood tour of Bangkok’s old community; Andaman Island Group’s The Phuket Explorer that features the charming Peranakan culture; and NG River Guide’ Fly Fishing Project Season 2, which highlights the way of life of the local pgazkoenyau tribe in Lamphun.

All 10-member countries are also invited to showcase their uniqueness at the ‘ASEAN Product Showcase’ section where Thailand will present a Thai language learning module in the form of a ‘multi-media box’.

The ASEAN countries are collectively Thailand’s largest visitor source markets in Asia. Thailand welcomed more than 8.19 million ASEAN visitors during January – November 2017. Malaysia is the largest market with total arrivals of 2.98 million arrivals (+6.28%), followed by Lao PDR. with 1.45 million (+16.12 %) and Singapore with 898,965 (+6.10%).

Read full article at TAT Newsroom:

Princess Cruises increases high-class tours to Viet Nam

Princess Cruises, a five-star premium cruise line, has announced that it will increase the number of cruise tours to Viet Nam in 2018.

Princess Cruises conducted 22 trips to Viet Nam in 2017, bringing over 58,000 tourists to Vietnamese seaports of Phu My, Nha Trang, Da Nang and Cai Lan.

In 2018, six cruise liners, namely Majestic Princess, Sapphire Princess, Diamond Princess, Golden Princess, Sun Princess and Coral Princess will make 31 trips carrying over 80,000 holidaymakers to Viet Nam.

Farriek Tawfik, Director for Southeast Asia of Princess Cruises, said Viet Nam has become an increasingly popular destination for tourists from the US, Australia, the EU and Asia.

The company will organise a tourism fair in Ho Chi Minh City on February 10-11 to introduce its voyages, including those to China’s Taiwan on the Majestic Princess and Sun Princess, he added.

On the occasion, Princess Cruises will launch its sailing tours to the European Union and the Mediterranean for summer 2018 on five cruise liners, which are able to carry 670-3,560 passengers each.

Tawifk said he believes that Vietnamese guests will enjoy Mediterranean voyages to explore various places in Italy, Greece, France and Spain for seven days.

Source: VNA

Legendary lodging in North Dakota

For a unique lodging experience this season which allows you to truly appreciate the outdoors and North Dakota’s legendary trails and waterways, stay in a Yurt, Cabin or Tipi.

A yurt is it is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt which were once used by dwelling nomads in Central Asia and a tipi is a cone-shaped tent used by Native American tribes. 

Yurts, cabins and tipis can be found in Cross Ranch State Park, Lake Metigoshe State Park and Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. 

Each offer varying facilities for heat, water and electricity and range from primitive lodging with only a wood stove to full service with heat or electricity as well as kitchen and bathroom. 

Some are very close to the visitor centers while others are miles away and can only reached by skiing, hiking or snowshoeing, giving varying levels of privacy and allowing you to choose your accommodation based on your preference for lodging style.

February 17: Ice Fishing Derby, Jamestown
February 25: Bikecycle Fatbike Race, Grand Forks
March 20-24: Annual Fargo Film Festival, Fargo
June 1-September 8: Medora Musical, Medora

To see more events click here