Saturday, 31 March 2018

Crowds Flock to Sydney Royal Easter Show

This Easter Weekend will see large numbers of people streaming through the gates of the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Those people who have already attended have been amazed by what they saw and did at the Show.

The Spotless Arena has non-stop entertainment both day and night. Engines rev in the precision driving cars and the bikes as they jump through the air. Horses are judged, circus acts performed and fireworks light up the sky. NSW and Queensland battle it out in the rodeo and polo matches.

The Animal Walk takes people through the major animal pavillions of cattle, horses, pigs, and. chickens. Dogs, cats, birds and reptiles are also on show.

Hungry mouths are catered for at the Sydney Royal Easter Show with a tantalising range of food options from cheap snacks to gourmet meals. Yes, Show favourites such as Fairy Floss and Dagwood Dogs are there too.

The Sydney Royal Easter Show continues until Tuesday, 3 April, 2018. Gates open daily at 9am and Pavilions from 9.30am. The evening entertainment and fireworks conclude at 9pm, while the Showbag Pavilion closes at 9.30pm. The Coca-Cola Carnival stays open until late every night.

Where: 1 Showground Rd, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW 2127 Australia
Website: http://www.eastershow.com.au/

TAT TO FOCUS ON ASEAN VISITS

The Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge on the Mekong River
connects Nakhon Phanom province with Thakhek,
Khammouane in Laos. 
Photo: PANUPONG CHANGCHAI
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has pledged to boost cross-border tourism and raise the number of Asean tourists coming to Thailand.

The tourism industry expects arrivals from the region to reach 10 million this year.

Tanes Petsuwan, deputy governor for marketing communications at the TAT, said Thailand has opened about 30 overland border checkpoints for international visitors from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia. There are four friendship bridges with Laos and two with Myanmar, with more planned.

“The Asian highway is growing rapidly and will provide extensive road connectivity beyond neighbouring countries to both China and India,” Mr Tanes said. “Rail travel is going to be the next generation of land transport infrastructure to emerge, with high-speed links that are in the design and planning stage.”

For air connectivity, Mr Tanes said Airports of Thailand Plc operates six international airports that serve 135 scheduled and chartered airlines.

Low-cost airlines from Vietnam, China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong are boosting the frequency of flights to Bangkok, as well as other popular tourism destinations such as Phuket and Chiang Mai.

Meanwhile, marine connectivity is on the rise, with Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Samui home to a number of cruise and yachting marinas. Ferry connectivity with Malaysia is growing and is expected to grow in the future with Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar.

Mr Tanes said Asean countries are collectively Thailand’s biggest visitor source market in Asia, having supplied more than 9 million visitors in 2017.

Malaysia was the largest market with total arrivals of 3.35 million, despite a drop in volume of about 4% year-on-year from 2016.

Visitors from Laos came in second at 1.61 million (+16.2%), followed by Singaporeans with 1.02 million (+6.3%).

The tourism industry predicts that arrivals from Asean markets will reach 10 million this year, thanks to higher airline capacity and attractive promotions from operators.

In order to maintain Asean arrivals in growth, the TAT has launched a travel manual called “Experience Thailand and More”, focusing on four key experiences that enhance Asean connectivity with new destination combinations.

Read full article at Bangkok Post: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/tourism-and-transport/1402150/tat-to-focus-on-asean-visits

VISITING WESTERN SYDNEY MADE EASIER

L-R: Minister Marshall, Western Sydney
Business Connection General Manager,
Amanda Brisot, Liverpool City Council Mayor,
Cr. Wendy Waller.
Visiting Western Sydney just got a lot easier, with a one-stop shop website and app launched this week by the Western Sydney Business Connection as part of their first ever marketing campaign for Sydney’s West – “SW: you’ll love it as much as we do”.

Each Western Sydney suburb is profiled including population, travel distances, schools, languages spoken, median house price and average age of populations. There is also a comprehensive travelling guide and a single source of 'What's On', detailing hundreds of cultural festivals, sporting events, exhibitions, entertainment and local tourist attractions.

For more information, visit http://sydneyswest.com/.

Instagrammable Food Guide To Tokyo - Totti Candy Factory

Probably one of the most Instagrammed spots I’ve seen on Takeshita Street. Totti Candy Factory serves up Fairy Floss, aka Cotton Candy! It comes out looking like a rainbow fluffy cloud, now tell me that doesn’t sound like it was made for Instagram. The flavor is berry. It’s perfect for winter because it won’t melt, but if you get in in summer you better eat it real quick!

Cost: From 450-900 yen for cotton candy, 400 yen for a cake pop
Address: RYU Apartment 2F 1-16-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0001
Hours: Weekdays 10:30–20:00, weekends and public holidays 9:30-20:00, weekdays during winter (Nov-Jan) 10:30-19:00

NSW FIRST TO TOP 100 MILLION OVERNIGHT VISITORS

Image credit: Dee Kramer Photography


A record 31.6 million Aussies travelled across the State in 2017, staying over 100 million nights in total, making NSW the first in Australia to reach these incredible results.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said that the latest record-breaking National Visitor Survey results also show that more interstate visitors and more NSW residents are choosing to travel within our own State.

“NSW continues to set the bar for domestic overnight visitor numbers, with the State welcoming 31.6 million visitors in the year ended December 2017, which is nearly 10 million more than Queensland and 7.1 million more than Victoria,” Mr Marshall said.

“This exceptional growth was evenly spread, with both Sydney and rural and regional NSW visitation growing by eight per cent.

“Australians are also spending more than ever before when travelling in NSW, with expenditure growth up 11.6 per cent; double the national growth percentage."

Mr Marshall said the record domestic visitor data follows NSW’s record results in the latest International Visitor Survey, making NSW the number one destination of choice for national and international visitors last year.

FIRST AVANI+ TO RISE IN LUANG PRABANG

The Luang Prabang hotel will be the first
property under Avani’s new soft bran
The Luang Prabang hotel will be the first property under Avani’s new soft brand.

Avani Hotels & Resorts is introducing a brand extension, Avani+, which will debut in Luang Prabang on March 1, 2018.

Avani+ properties will each have unique elements, whether it be in the architecture, design, location or otherwise.

The Avani+ Luang Prabang will feature 53 rooms and suites, each with an open-plan feel as well as a balcony or terrace. Dining concepts will include specialty restaurants and rooftop or al fresco bar concepts.

The hotel will also provide a “digital space experience for modern explorers”, offering insight into local culture, hotspots and travel tips about urban cities and, in some cases, off-the-beaten track destinations.

Avani+ Luang Prabang is situated in central Luang Prabang, near the Mekong River, Royal Palace and Night Market.

Read full article at TTGAsia: https://www.ttgasia.com/2018/02/28/first-avani-to-rise-in-luang-prabang/

http://www.mekongtourism.org/

Queensland domestic tourism market reaches record

Queensland’s domestic tourism market has reached record levels with 21.8 million domestic overnight visitors spending $15.8 billion in the past year.

The latest Tourism Research Australia data for the year ending December 2017 reveals domestic overnight visitors to Queensland increased 4.9 percent while domestic overnight expenditure increased 4.7 percent on the previous year.

The overall results were boosted by the highest numbers on record for holiday visitation, which grew 3.5 percent to 8.5 million trips, and holiday spend, which increased 3.9 percent to $7.21 billion.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the figures were a vote of confidence for Queensland’s $25 billion tourism industry.

“The latest data shows Queensland’s popularity as a holiday destination continues to grow resulting in increased holiday spending in Queensland,” she said.


The number of interstate travellers coming to Queensland topped 6.61 million, an increase of six percent, spending a record $7.48 billion, while intrastate travellers’ trips within Queensland grew 4.4 percent and represented almost 70 percent of the domestic market.

“From Coolangatta to Cooktown, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Outback, Queensland has the most diverse tourism offering in the country,” Ms Jones said.

“Our domestic visitor market is really our bread and butter and these figures are proof our tourism industry continues to go from strength to strength.

“We’re committed to ensuring that growth continues. That’s why we’re investing an extra $170 million in this sector in this term of government to improve access to our destinations and to support local operators to develop new attractions.”

The latest figures also show business travel increased 10.4 percent to 4.9 million visitors.

Domestic travel increased year-on-year for six of Queensland’s 11 tourism regions with the Southern Great Barrier Reef reaching record highs in holiday visitation.

Ms Jones said the ongoing success of Tourism and Events Queensland’s events strategy for Brisbane had a positive impact on the city’s domestic visitation results following the delivery of headline events like the Brisbane International, Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe exhibition, NRL Brisbane Double Header, Manny Pacquiao v Jeff Horn Battle of Brisbane 1, QPAC International Series: The Royal Ballet, Bledisloe Cup and Rugby League World Cup and The Ashes in 2017.

She said that while severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie impacted several tourism regions in 2017, the industry had shown its resilience.

“Through Tourism and Events Queensland, the Queensland Government will continue to deliver engaging marketing campaigns to promote the state’s best visitor experiences,” she said.

For the full National Visitor Survey results visit teq.queensland.com

Ayurveda - The Science of Life at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort

Balance Wellness inspires you to make more
thoughtful choices for a better lifestyle
Ayubowan. Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle has rolled out four 7-day, deeply engaging ayurvedic journeys. Sheltered on Sri Lanka’s breathtaking southern coast, the resort sits on 21-acres of coconut palm plantation. Breathtaking cliffs make way to sandy beach, allowing guests to enjoy the best views from the teardrop island. 

Ayurveda is intrinsically integrated in Sri Lanka’s medical community; the country has written accounts dating back 3,000 years. With modern studies proving its efficacy for several emotional and physical complaints, it is understandably the foundation of Balance Wellness by Anantara’s flagship programmes.

Anantara’s specialist ayurvedic programmes facilitate pathways to holistic health and happiness by balancing the body and freeing the mind, based on three simple yet powerful principles:
  • Understanding your prakruti (natural state) - Examining your distinctive combination of the three dosha types.
  • Understanding your vikruti (current imbalances) - Exploring the lifestyle choices and habits that create these imbalances.
  • Learning to clear your mind and develop the clarity needed to make healthier lifestyle choices.

With the ultimate goal of empowering you to change your lifestyle and way of thinking, Yoga, healing arts and ayurvedic nutritional guidance are complemented by daily journaling and technology blackout to introduce the concept of ‘holism’. Several local experiences set the scene for mindfulness while ayurvedic and Anantara Spa treatments round produce results. Through a personalised approach, Anantara Peace Haven gently eases you through the process of healing.

With these principles in mind, we have created the following programmes:
  • Inner Harmony – Calm your mind and body to create emotional and spiritual balance.
  • Deep Sleep – Give yourself well-deserved time to relax, heal and rebuild.
  • Natural Weight – Discover the ayurvedic approach to healthy weight management and vitality.
  • A Rebuilding Detox – Detoxify physically and mentally, and rebuild your natural energy.

While each journey stands on its own merits, taken in whole these programmes can lead to the ayurvedic interpretation of happiness; which is to balance your body and to free your mind. Without this balance, you cannot make healthier choices.

SUBMISSIONS FOR THE 2018 REGIONAL TOURISM AWARDS ARE NOW OPEN

The Regional Tourism Awards are held annually to acknowledge excellence in tourism in regional NSW. In 2018, the regional tourism awards will be held in the 3 NSW Destination Networks of Riverina Murray, Country and Outback and North Coast.

The Regional Tourism Awards provide tourism organisations and individuals the opportunity to gain an insight into their industry, their business, achieve recognition for their success and promote tourism within their region. One of the main focus points of the awards is to develop quality regional tourism products and provide businesses the opportunity to benchmark their business with similar businesses in activity and size and also have the opportunity to identify their own personal and professional development within the tourism industry.

Entrants are made up of tourism businesses, events, marketing organisations, clubs and individuals all aiming for excellence in their industry. NSW-based Winners of the Regional Tourism Awards gain finalists status upon entering the NSW State Tourism Awards, and if successful, go onto the National Tourism Awards.

To find out more and access the online portal, click here.

Friday, 30 March 2018

La Boheme - the brilliant Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

La Boheme
LA BOHEME  is the seventh opera to be presented on the harbour in Sydney. It is an opera in 4 acts by Giacomo Puccini and was first presented in 1896.

La Boheme is presented by Opera Australia as the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, with much thanks to the financial support Dr Haruhisa Handa and the International Foundation of Arts and Culture.

The setting is glorious, with the opera performed on a special floating stage on Sydney Harbour, with the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the city skyscrapers in the background. The stage is two and a half times larger than any Australian indoor stage and it took 150 people to build it.

The brilliant set took 32 people, 6,000 hours to build, and includes two 15m and 18m high chimneys several 6m Paris heritage style lampposts.

The Opera Australia Orchestra, conducted by Brian Castles-Onion, was superb. The 51 musicians played in a custom-built studio called "The Underworld" under the stage.

La Boheme
Dan Potra did an amazing job with the sets and costumes. They looked stunning and placed the audience in the heart of Paris. The wardrobe department took 7,500 hours to produce the costumes. The costumes used 400 metres of fabric, and used 560 props and 114 pairs of shoes. Parts of the opera looked like a fashion parade of expensive French clothes. This contrasted with the simple clothing worn by the Bohemian men, and the simple jeans worn by Mimi in her final scene.The Video Designer, Marco Devetak, used 24 large LCD panels at the rear of the stage to effectively display videos of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, and elements of the weather.

La Boheme
Tony David Cray, the Sound Designer, produced remarkably clear amplification of the singers and musicians through the 223 speakers. The sound seems to get better each year, and this year it was spot on.

Matthew Marshall, the Lighting Designer, swathed the stage in soft and brilliant lighting with the 230 moving lights used to light up the stage.

La Boheme is directed by Andy Morton. The setting of the opera was moved forward to the cold winter of 1968.

La Bohme is set in Paris and focuses on ordinary people and their lives. It revolves around several Bohemian men, their work and love interests and the civil unrest and demonstrations of the time. It is a love story and a tragedy. The poor Bohemian men include a poet, musician, painter and a philosopher. Two find love, but jealousy, passion and sickness take their toll.

La Boheme
The first half of La Bohme was more of a character introduction, with the pairing up of people as they fell in love. The second half was the ending of these love relationships. The key characteristic of operas is the tragic death of one of the lead characters at the end of the performance. In La Boheme, it is not by poison, stabbing or some other tragic means of death, but by sickness. A rather anti-climax, and La Bohme ended. I was hoping that the opera would keep on going a bit longer for a more dramatic ending, but no, that was the conclusion of the performance. For those who want a fuller understanding of La Boheme, a Cheat Sheet is offered on the La Boheme website.

La Boheme
The main attraction for me of attending the Handa Opera on the Harbour is the special effects used that can only be done outdoors and not inside the Sydney Opera House. The fireworks, the falling of fake snow from six snow machines, and the cranes lowering the large props of the destroyed vehicles added to the performance. A clown, with colourful helium balloons above him, standing in a tin can, arrived and was whisked away by the cranes. I'm not sure how that fitted into the story of La Bohme, but it certainly did look good.

The cast of 54 people includes 10 principals, 38 chorus members, and 6 actors. Some of the lead roles are shared by two people on a different night due to the exhausting nature of the singing. All the singers on the night I saw La Boheme were brilliant. I was amazed by the powerful voices they had, and how long they could stretch out some of the notes. My daughter, a music teacher, accompanied me on the night. She was very impressed with the singing, and said she could not notice any mistakes anywhere throughout the performance.

La Boheme
La Boheme has no spoken words in it. It is all poetry set to music. It is sung in Italian, but fortunately had English subtitles displayed on 4 screens in front of the stage. Subtitles were also in Chinese.

La Boheme is a wonderful night out. Arrive early and enjoy the pop-up bars and restaurants on site. 

Even if you don't understand all the complexities of the Opera, you will be dazzled by its brilliant stage and setting on Sydney Harbour.

La Bohme will be performed at Mrs Macquaries Chair on Sydney Harbour up until 22 April, so get in early to sect tickets on your preferred viewing night.

Tickets can be purchased on the website: https://opera.org.au/whatson/events/la-boheme-on-sydney-harbour

NEW PHONE APPLICATION COULD HELP SOLVE CAMBODIA’S WASTE ISSUE

The GoGreen application provides real time data and
allows users to actively engage in helping
 to solve Cambodia’s waste problem.
GoGreen, an environmentally conscious project, has developed a new application that they hope can engage young people and clean up Cambodia’s streets.

GoGreen has launched Cambodia’s first eco-friendly clean-up mobile phone application in an effort to help solve the country’s waste problem.

The application, which is currently available on all android phones, uses real time data and allows users to highlight parts of the city with a lot of waste, organise community clean-ups, and even suggest locations that need a litter bin.

“The app is a useful tool in engaging people with environmental awareness. Not only can it track the city’s waste and facilitate clean-ups, but it also sends out tips and messages to educate people on the consequences of waste pollution,” said co-founder Grace Smith, speaking at the official launch of the phone application.

GoGreen is a project started by Smith and Natalja Rodionova in March 2016. After attending a half-hearted clean-up event in Phnom Penh, they were inspired to take matters into their own hands. Their first clean-up operation attracted more than 100 people, and subsequent events drew more than 300 people. That was when they knew they could take the project further.

Read full article at Southeast Asia Globe: http://sea-globe.com/new-phone-application-could-help-solve-cambodias-waste-issue/

http://www.mekongtourism.org/

DELEGATES HEADING TO TWEED FOR TOURISM CONFERENCE

The Tweed
The Tweed will welcome more than 150 delegates in October when it hosts the 2018 Australian Regional Tourism Convention for the first time after beating a number of submissions.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said since launching the NSW Regional Conferencing Strategy and Action Plan last August, the regional NSW business events’ industry has started to gain momentum.

“We have committed $6 million to help drive more business events into our regions and securing the 2018 ART Convention is a major coup for regional NSW,” Mr Marshall said.

Proudly supported by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, the convention will be held from 23 - 25 October and showcase the region’s business event capabilities.

Instagrammable Food Guide To Tokyo - Santa Monica Crepes (Harajuku)

All throughout Takeshita Street, you will find delicious crepes to be had! There’s a huge selection, but I’m simply recommending Santa Monica Crepes for the Instagram element. The shop front is really cute, so it’s perfect for snaps if you’re there just before it opens/a line develops.

Cost: From around 400 yen for a Regular Crepe, more for a Whip Cream Crepe Brulee
Address: Je m’appelle Harajuku Building, 1-16-18 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001,
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-21:30, weekends and public holidays 9:30-22:00

OSCAR WINNERS, DOCOS AND NORTHERN IRELAND SHINE IN THE 2018 IRISH FILM FESTIVAL PROGRAM

  • 4TH ANNUAL IRISH FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FULL PROGRAM FOR 2018

The Irish Film Festival has announced its program for 2018 for Sydney and Melbourne with a new documentary by US Oscar winning filmmaker Alex Gibney leading the charge.

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland and the Irish Film Festival marks this occasion with four new films which examine the legacy of ‘The Troubles’, the sectarian conflict that took place in Northern Ireland in the latter half of the 20th Century.

Alex Gibney’s NO STONE UNTURNED reveals collusion between Loyalist paramilitaries and the British government in its hard-hitting investigation of the murder of six Catholics in a tiny pub in County Down in 1994. The film’s producer, Trevor Birney will attend screenings in Sydney and Melbourne.

The Opening Night film is MAZE, a dramatization of the 1983 mass breakout from the Maze Prison in 1983. The film stars Tom Vaughan-Lawlor of Love/Hate fame and has been breaking box office records in Ireland since its release in September 2017.

THE JOURNEY is a fictionalised account of what might have taken place during the negotiations between Loyalist leader Rev. Ian Paisley and republican Martin McGuinness (a former IRA leader). The film features fabulous performances by Timothy Spall as Paisley and Colm Meaney as McGuinness and is both hilarious and poignant as it explores the relationship between these enigmatic leaders.

Rounding off the Northern Irish films is a landmark documentary about the role in the Peace Process of Irish Civil Rights campaigner and politician John Hume. IN THE NAME OF PEACE: JOHN HUME IN AMERICA looks at John Hume’s campaign to bring the US into the peace process to force Britain’s hand to come to the bargaining table. The film’s director Maurice Fitzpatrick will travel to Australia for the screenings in Sydney and Melbourne.

Lovers of Irish music will be delighted by the drama documentary SONG OF GRANITE which explores the life of Irish traditional singer Joe Heaney.SONG OF GRANITE was this year’s Irish entry in the Oscar Foreign Language category.

On a lighter note the hilarious comedy THE FLAG features the inimitable funny man Pat Shortt in a light-hearted farce about an Irish navvy who hatches a plot to steal an Irish tricolour (flag) from its place of pride in an officer’s mess in a British army barracks in London.

Irish ex-pats will enjoy Cathal Kenna’s debut feature, COMING HOME which follows a handful of Irish migrants from around the world (including Dubliner Vera Finnegan who lives in Sydney) who pursue their dream to return to live in Ireland after a lifetime in foreign climes. Vera Finnegan will attend the Sydney screening and can be contacted for media interviews.

THE LODGERS is an edge-of-your-seat gothic horror story about two supernaturally gifted but cursed Anglo-Irish twins who live in a crumbling big house in rural Ireland in the 1920’s. The cast features Bill Milner (Dunkirk), Eugene Simon (Lancel Lannister in Game of Thrones) and the chiselled features of David Bradley (Argus Filch in Harry Potter).

For the first time, this year’s festival features a Short Film Competition and entries have been flooding in from young filmmakers in Ireland and locally in Australia. Finalists for the competition will be announced in the coming weeks.

This year’s festival kicks off in Penrith on Wednesday 18 April.

The Opening Night Gala is at the Chauvel in Paddington on Thursday 19 April, followed by the now legendary Opening Night Party. The festival runs in the Chauvel until Sunday 22 April.

The Melbourne leg of the festival takes place at the Kino Cinema in Collins Street from Thursday 26 April until Saturday 28 April.

The Irish Film Festival is a candid glimpse into Irish culture for Australians audiences young and old. Whether you have family ties, a keen interest in history and culture or just an affinity for the Emerald Isle, the Irish Film Festival is Celtic cinema at its best.

Tickets and full program available at www.irishfilmfestival.com.au

Stay up to date with the Irish Film Festival
Website: www.irishfilmfestival.com.au
Facebook: Irish Film Festival Australia
Twitter: @irishfilmfestau
Instagram: @irishfilmfestau

THE DETAILS

When:
Sydney - Wednesday 18 – Sunday 22 April, 2018
Melbourne - Thursday 26 – Saturday 28 April, 2018

Where:
Sydney - Penrith Gaels, Glebe Pl & Phillip St, Kingswood NSW 2747 (Wednesday 19 April Only)
Sydney - Chauvel Cinema, 249 Oxford Street, Paddington, Sydney, NSW, 2000 (Thursday 19 – Sunday 22 April)
Melbourne – Kino Cinemas, 45 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000 (Thursday 26 – Saturday 28 April)

HCMC SECURES $5 BILLION FROM CANADIAN FUND FOR MEKONG DELTA RAIL LINK

A conductor sets up table on a Vietnam Railways
train car. The country has been making efforts
to improve its railway transport.
Photo: VnExpress / Giang Huy
The 200kph train journey will cut travel time from HCMC to Can Tho to just 40 minutes if the project gets the green light.

Construction of a railway connecting Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong delta capital of Can Tho is expected to start later this year using nearly $5 billion from a Canadian investment fund, insiders said.

The planning stages have been completed and the project is seeking investment approval for work to commence by the end of the year, said the Southern Institute for Science and Technology, which has spent nearly five years studying the project.

The city announced the plan in July last year when it said the rail link would cost an estimated $3.6 billion.

But the institute said it has signed a MoU with Canada’s MorFund Financial Inc. to secure $4.9 billion in investment for the public private partnership project.

The double-track, wide-gauge railway is expected to run 139 kilometers (86 miles), connecting the megacity with Can Tho and the nearby provinces of Long An, Tien Giang and Vinh Long, the institute said on Wednesday.

The trains will be able to run at speeds of up to 200kph, reducing travel time between the two southern metropolises to 40 minutes, compared to three and a half hours by bus.

Read full article at VN Express: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/hcmc-secures-5-billion-from-canadian-fund-for-mekong-delta-rail-link-3720077.html

http://www.mekongtourism.org/

Nominations now open for Whitsunday Tourism Awards

The wheels are in motion for the region's premier tourism event, with the announcement today that nominations are now open for the 2018 Whitsunday Tourism Awards.

The awards are a long-established part of the tourism industry and pay tribute to the enormous contribution made by the region's tourism operators and service providers, as well as encouraging excellence within the industry.

The prestige of being recognised by peers as a Whitsunday Tourism Award winner is highly regarded and is something that is used extensively by winners in their marketing.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner said entering the Whitsunday Tourism Awards was a great way of keeping the business on track.

“Once again, we are opening up the Whitsunday Tourism Awards and I would encourage as many operators as possible to enter the awards, as the process of writing your submission is a great tool to evaluate where you are placed in your business,” Mr Turner said.

“Given the region’s success at the Queensland Tourism Awards, in November last year, and again at the Australian Tourism Awards, in February, we would love to see a great number of our local operators take their Whitsunday Tourism Award submission and submit it to the Queensland Awards, as it’s the same submission.”

Sharon McNally, General Manager of Cumberland Charter Yachts, who won Silver at this year’s Australian Tourism Awards, said the awards process had been a fantastic journey.

“It has made us stop and reflect on our past, consider the present goals and shape the future of Cumberland Charter Yachts,” she said.

“I use the awards as a business barometer to measure our successes, innovations, sustainability and environmental impacts, and of course our failures too. I was overjoyed and extremely proud we won Silver at national level. My team work so hard to deliver exceptional quality and service, they really deserved it.”

Julie Telford, co-owner of Red Cat Adventures, said the awards had been immensely rewarding for the business.

“The awards have been of significant benefit to Red Cat Adventures, as our staff have been engaged in improving the business, and then shared the honour of the awards we’ve received,” Mrs Telford said.

“Last year, to win double Gold at the Whitsunday Tourism Awards was definitely one of the highlights of our business careers so far, and to be honoured with Silver and Highly Commended at a State level is humbling and something we take great pride in.”

This year, the awards ceremony – considered to be the industry’s “Night of Nights” - is due to take place on Saturday, October 20 (venue to be advised) and will be a night to celebrate individual achievements and also acknowledge those that have helped grow the Whitsunday region.

VISITORS TO SYDNEY SPOILT FOR EVENTS THIS EASTER LONG WEEKEND

Sydney Royal Easter Show
David Clare/Royal Agricultural Society of NSW


Sydney is the place to be for the Easter Long Weekend, with the Harbour City offering visitors a wide variety of cultural experiences, sporting excellence and world-class events to entertain and delight all-comers.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said, “The Easter Long Weekend presents a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends, with Sydney offering a diverse and exciting line-up of world-class events.

“Visitors to Sydney over the Easter Long Weekend can immerse themselves in the spectacle that is the Sydney Royal Easter Show, be inspired by Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, the 21st Biennale of Sydney and The Lady and the Unicorn, or experience elite sport live with five NRL Premiership games taking place across the Harbour City, Stakes Day at Rosehill Gardens and AFL Premiership action at the famous Sydney Cricket Ground.”

In addition to a packed schedule of events in the Harbour City, there is also plenty happening in regional NSW. For a full list of what’s happening around the State, head to visitnsw.com.

For more information on what to eat, do and see over the Easter Long Weekend in Sydney go to Sydney.com.

JAMES CAMERON EXHIBITION SET FOR SYDNEY

Image credit: Mark Thiessen/Nat Geo Creative
Academy Award-winning director and deep-sea explorer, James Cameron, will take visitors on a virtual journey to the depths of the ocean in a brand new immersive exhibition coming to the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney this year.

James Cameron – Challenging the Deep will premiere at the Museum supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, and will run from 29 May 2018 until 30 January 2019.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the exhibition will provide a significant boost to the NSW visitor economy.

“Given the worldwide appeal of Cameron’s work, we expect around 4,800 people will travel to Sydney from interstate and overseas to experience the exhibition, with a total visitor spend of approximately $4.6 million,” Mr Marshall said.

To learn more about the exhibition, visit anmm.gov.au/jamescameron.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Rides Galore at the 2018 Sydney Royal Easter Show

Extreme rides
There are numerous amusement rides to go on at this years Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Some are rather sedate, but others are more extreme in the way they fling you around.

In the centre of the Showgrounds are the ever popular Ferris Wheel and Carousel.

On one side of the Showgrounds is the Children's Carnival area, with many rides more suited to young children. On the other side is a larger area of thrill rides more suited to teenagers and adults.

Remember that you do not pay cash to go on each individual. Instead, you purchase tokens, for about a dollar each, at ticket booths, and hand in some of these for each ride you go on. The more extreme the ride, the more tokens you need to hand over.

The good old dodgem cars are there again this year, as is the haunted house, merry go round, swing chairs, giant slipper dip, and canoe river ride.

Chair Swing
For families, it may be best to predetermine how many rides the children are allowed to go on before they arrive at the show. This will save the embarrassment of the children wanting to go all the rides at the show.

The main thing to remember is to have fun on these amusement rides, as some of them are only to be found each year at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. 

Phanom Rung Festival 2018

Phanom Rung Festival 2018
You won’t want to miss the rising sun shining through the 15 doors at the Phanom Rung temple in Buri Ram province. 

The annual Phanom Rung Festival 2018 is from 30 March to 1 April at the Phanom Rung Historical Park. 

The opening ceremony is scheduled for 31 March.

The event is usually held every first weekend of April to celebrate the unusual phenomenon.

PR Thai Government

Tullamore Irish Festival

John Williamson
Come back to the Parkes Shire this Easter weekend for all things Irish at the Tullamore Irish Festival. 

You’re sure to receive a very warm welcome!

The 15th annual Tullamore Irish Festival is looking to be the biggest yet! 

Who is getting their green on and going along to do the irish jig with special guest John Williamson?

This year’s Festival begins a the Tullamore Showground on Good Friday morning with the opening of the art exhibition and continues through to Sunday with a Sunday morning poets’ breakfast.

Saturday will see the popular street parade in the morning showcasing Tullamore’s rural community and continuing down Cardigan Street to the “Festival village” with John Williamson giving a two hour concert.

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo Sydney
Fan favourites from last year return to Taronga Zoo Sydney alongside a new mob of animal light sculptures.

Discover illuminated species along the walking trail and exit through the mouth of a shark. 

Bookings essential, tickets on sale soon. 5.30pm-9.30pm, 25 May - 16 June. 


For more info and to register for ticket updates: bit.ly/2u4zFcB

FEATURED MEMBER OF THE EXPERIENCE MEKONG COLLECTION: AYANA JOURNEYS – SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

Travel Experience

Ayana crafts ethical, educational travel experiences, with the belief that travel can enrich the lives of individuals, communities, and the world.

They facilitate a range of educational experiences, from Day Tours in Siem Reap, to longer immersive journeys for students on development, or individuals on Buddhism.

Responsibility

ChildSafe certified tour operator.
Founder of Wisdom Wednesdays Siem Reap - a series of talks exploring the complexities of ‘doing good’, highlighting specific local issues like visiting orphanages and voluntourism.

Some tours directly finance grass-root development projects in rural Cambodia, providing education and youth empowerment projects for disadvantaged young people. To date, USD $90,000 has been contributed to social impact projects across the country.

Business Case

Our mission 1. Provide ethical, engaging, and creative travel experiences that facilitate genuine cross-cultural connection and learning opportunities, inspiring compassion towards fellow human beings. 2. Utilise responsible travel to promote and support grass-roots community projects and benefit host communities. 3. Endeavour to be a responsible tourism role model and collaborate with others to innovate and inspire ethical travel best practices.

http://www.mekongtourism.org/

CAMILLA TO CLOSE MBFWA THIS YEAR

2018 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA)
The preliminary schedule for 2018 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) was announced this week, with Bondi-based designer CAMILLA set to close the event.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the event would showcase the best in the business while also providing a platform for emerging talent.

“The NSW Government is delighted to be supporting MBFWA to profile our State’s fashion industry and the talented designers making their mark internationally while showcasing our unique Australian style and importantly, generating business for NSW,” Mr Marshall said.

In celebration of 15 years, Camilla and Marc will open this year’s event and iconic Australian brand CAMILLA will return to the runway after a two year hiatus, to close the Resort 2019 show.

MBFWA Resort Collection hits the runway 13 – 17 May, head to www.mbfashionweek.com/.

Instagrammable Food Guide To Tokyo - Urth Caffe

Urth Caffe is another Los Angeles special that has been brought to life in Omotesando. I had tried the one in LA before heading to the Tokyo shop, knowing it to be famous for the green tea boba from my LA pals. Little did I know that the Tokyo Urth Caffe has so much more to offer, like fruity parfaits, and Japanese style fluffy pancakes.

You’ll want to head here early if you don’t want to wait too long! It gets very busy during the afternoons, even on weekdays. If you are dining in, you have to line up first to grab a table. Once you are seated, you have to line up again to place your order. If you are ordering a parfait, or one of the highly requested dishes (pancakes, waffles etc), sometimes it takes an hour for the food to come out. I suggest sending a friend straight to the order line, while you wait in the first line for a table. Hope that helps!

Cost: The price of two desserts and two parfaits at Urth Caffe is 7290yen. A strawberry parfait alone costs 1890yen.
Time of visit: August & February (Summer & Winter)
Address: SO-CAL LINK OMOTESANDO 4-9-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0001
Hours: 10:00–20:00 (last order 19:00)

* By Tara Milk Tea
https://www.jnto.org.au

EASTER FAMILY FUN DAY

EASTER FAMILY FUN DAY
Looking for a fun free outing over the Easter break that the whole family can enjoy? Then save this date!

Put on an Easter bonnet and head to the Lizard Playground at Highbrook Park on Easter Saturday, March 31, for a fantastic free fun day out.

The Easter Bunny will be hopping in to the playground for a visit at 10.30am, there will be an Easter egg hunt at 12noon and the lucky “door” prizes will be drawn at 1.30pm.

The day runs from 9am to 2pm and there will be live music, plenty of free activities for the kids, including face painting and a jumping castle, and coffee, hot food and drinks will be available.

Easter Family Fun Day is funded by Bengalla Mining and supported by the Muswellbrook Shire Council.

EASTER FAMILY FUN DAY
SATURDAY, MARCH 31,
LIZARD PLAYGROUND, Muswellbrook, NSW Australia

MEKONG NATIONS AGREE TO SHARE INFORMATION TO JOINTLY MANAGE THE TRANSNATIONAL RIVER

Last month China has stopped discharging water from
Yunnan Dam into the Mekong River, affecting boat
services in the northern city of Chiang Rai.
The representatives of six Mekong nations formulated guidelines at an academic conference in Chiang Rai on how to share information and technology to jointly manage the transnational river this week.

The approach focuses on cooperation, rather than conflict, according to a high-ranking Thai official.

Worasart Apaipong, director-general of Thailand’s Water Resources Department, said yesterday that sharing information would help minimise negative impacts when upstream nations needed to release water from their dams on the Mekong River.

Originating in China, the river stretches more than 4,350 kilometers through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

“Farms along the river will be able to avoid damage if local farmers are informed of water-discharge schedules in advance,” Worasart said.

Chinese dams can hold up to 22 billion cubic metres of water and are mainly used for hydro-power, he said.

“We cannot prevent China from building dams. But we can talk for mutual coexistence and minimize any negative impact,” he said.

Eight Thai provinces are on the Mekong River, and residents are adversely affected when water levels do not rise or fall in line with seasonal patterns.

Worasart was speaking at the second conference for the six nations in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

Held in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province, the two-day conference started on Thursday for a working panel on water resources. Addressing the “ Trans-boundary Water Resources and Related Resources, this academic event was held as a part of the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation framework.

“We need to pursue the sharing of information and joint research so as to best manage the water situation. We need to prevent flood and drought crises,” Worasart said.

Pakaimas Vierra, who heads the Chiang Rai Chamber of Commerce, applauded the move towards sharing information.

Read full article at Chiang Rai Times: http://www.chiangraitimes.com/mekong-nations-agree-to-share-information-to-jointly-manage-the-transnational-river.html

http://www.mekongtourism.org/

SCULPTURE AT SCENIC WORLD

SCULPTURE AT SCENIC WORLD
Set in the heart of the World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains, Sculpture at Scenic World transforms the ancient rainforest into an outdoor canvas showcasing over 35 artworks from local, national and international artists.

Perfect for art lovers, families and couples alike, Sculpture at Scenic World has something for everyone. Interactive installations, subtle artworks that blend seamlessly into the environment, and loud masterpieces with bold statements – you name it, Sculpture at Scenic World has got it.

Meander along the 2.4 kilometre Scenic Walkway as you take in the stunning artworks and scenery, accessed by none other than the world’s steepest passenger train, the Scenic Railway. Better yet, top it off with a visit to Sculpture Otherwise, an exhibition of smaller sculptures held at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.

Sculpture at Scenic World ticks all the right boxes for a perfect arts escape, with a number of weekend packages on offer with inclusions such as breakfast, Wifi, high tea and more. All Sculpture at Scenic World tickets include unlimited travel on the Scenic Railway, Cableway and the new Skyway, in addition to Sculpture Otherwise.

Plan your autumn arts escape now!

Cherry Blossoms at Mt Fuji

Photo by Takashi — with Azra Halilovic.
Lake Kawaguchi is one of the places you can see a combination of cherry blossoms and Mt Fuji. 

Once the flowers fully bloom, many tourists hurry to witness this scene. 

Try to capture Mt. Fuji and cherry blossoms together for yourself.

 It's sure to turn out lovely.

CREDIT CARD USE ON FERRIES AND LIGHT RAIL

Sydney commuters and visitors can now use their credit card to tap on for single trips when travelling on ferries and the light rail.

The contactless payment system began this week and is expected to be rolled out on Sydney trains by the end of the year. Commuters will also be able to use mobile wallets linked to their credit card, including phones, tablets and smart watches.

Travellers using their credit cards will be charged a full single trip fare and won’t get the discounts that come with the use of an Opal card.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

The Greatest Easter Show Spectacular

The night time entertainment at this years Sydney Royal Easter Show is action packed with horses, cars and motorbikes. This year's entertainment also includes circus spectacles.

Step right up and take a seat for the one and only, greatest ever, best show in town. We've got Hot Air Balloon Trapeze, the Double Wheel of Death, Flying Trapeze, Motorcycle Highwire Trapeze, Extreme Vaulting and gorgeous Glowing Horses.

You won't believe what you are seeing as dare devils defy death, gymnasts perform on horseback, and for the first time ever in an arena show trapeze artists will perform suspended from a hot air balloon. It truly is the Greatest Easter Show Spectacular every night in the Spotless Stadium.

The Greatest Easter Show Spectacular
Where: Spotless Stadium, Sydney Royal Easter Show
When: Daily, 7.50pm to 8.20pm

RIVER FESTIVAL COMES CLOSE TO CAPITAL FOR FIRST TIME

The NOCC holds a meeting to discuss the 2018
Mekong River Festival at their headquarters
Photo: Yeun Ponlork
For the first time in four years the annual Mekong River Festival and multi-sport gala, a celebratory event to pay tribute to Asia’s seventh longest river, is to be held within easy distance of Phnom Penh.

Running from March 9-11, the fourth edition of the Mekong River Festival will be held in Takhmao town, just 10-12km from the capital.

Launched in Kratie province three years ago, jointly by the Ministry of Tourism and the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, in conjunction with local authorities and private sponsors and partners, Kampong Cham and Stung Treng hosted the next two editions.

With Takhmao so close to Phnom Penh, hundreds of thousands from the city are expected to attend the festival and watch the nine-sport programme and other cultural activities.

For the thronging masses, there will be plenty of popular sports competitions including swimming, boating, a fun run, cycling, football, volleyball, Khmer chess, kun Khmer kickboxing and wrestling.

Enhancing the entertainment value will be Cambodia-Vietnam contests in both football and volleyball.

‘Raising awareness’

While the focus during the festival, being sponsored this year by Cambodia Beverages, will be on highlighting the Mekong as an indispensable source of sustainable life and the key role the river has played over the centuries in shaping the lives of the people living along its path, a huge cultural element has also been built into the celebrations.

“The Mekong provides a sustainable lifeline for thousands in Cambodia, and this three-day festival is to raise awareness among people to keep it pollution-free so that communities can prosper from its enormous resources,” said secretary-general of the NOCC Vath Chamroeun.

The transboundary Mekong, which originates in the Tibetan plateau, covers an estimated 4,350km, flowing through China’s Yunan province, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia before joining the sea in Vietnam.

One of the main objectives behind organising the Mekong River Festival every year is to complement the Sea Festival, a national initiative to celebrate coastal and marine life, held towards the end of the year.

Read full article at The Phnom Penh Post: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/sport/river-festival-comes-close-capital-first-time

SYDNEY SEIZES TOP SPOT IN TRIP ADVISOR AWARDS

Sydney
For the second year running, Sydney has been named the top travel destination in Australia, in the TripAdvisor 2018 Travellers’ Choice awards.

Sydney beat out the Gold Coast and Melbourne to take top spot, with TripAdvisor spokesperson Grant Colguhiun saying Sydney’s spectacular harbour, beaches and nightlife had obviously struck a chord with millions of world travellers.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said Sydney never fails to impress.

“Sydney’s natural beauty, iconic attractions, festivals and events and excellent shopping and dining options continue to amaze visitors from across the globe all year-round, and with the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas; Vivid Sydney kicking off in May, now is the perfect time to plan your trip to our incredible Harbour City, ” Mr Marshall said.

For more winning destinations, head to www.tripadvisor.com.au

Instagrammable Food Guide To Tokyo - Eddy’s Ice Cream (Harajuku)

Located in Harajuku, Eddy’s Ice Cream allows you to choose the cutest ice creams, or create your own. I find these to be so, well, Japanese! It’s Harajuku in an ice cream, basically. Everything is pastel and cute here, including the interior of the shop.

You can select from their regular menu, where they have ice cream designs all ready to go, or make a custom cone, with a range of chocolate and cookie motifs, including unicorns, bows, and cat themed treats, and even letters. I’ve seen many people spell out their name. I think the customisation element is also part of reason there’s usually a line out the door.

The ice cream itself is not the best I’ve had, you can choose between vanilla and strawberry, or mixed. The chocolate is also quite waxy in texture. However, I still eat all of it every time. I like to dip the cookies in the ice cream while we walk through Omotesando!

Cost: An ice cream will cost you roughly 900-1300yen (quite expensive), depending on your order and customization! Don’t forget to bring cash as they don’t accept card payments.
Address: 1F 4-26-28 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Hours: 11:00- 20:00

REAL BODIES THE EXHIBITION

Real Bodies The Exhibition, a stunning and thought-provoking exhibition of human anatomy makes its Sydney Debut at The Byron Kennedy Hall at the Entertainment Quarter from Saturday 14 April 2018 for a limited time. This powerful exhibition explores life by displaying real, perfectly preserved human bodies and over 200 anatomical specimens.

Through a compelling narrative that contemplates both the wondrous mystery of the human anatomy and the philosophical realities of birth, life and death, Real Bodies The Exhibitionwill connect audiences to a deeper sense of what it means to be alive. Founded on anatomical, cultural, and emotional narratives, the exhibition transforms the way we view the mysterious organism we all share - the human body - and reminds us of all the complexity and magic within us that we often take for granted. Real Bodies The Exhibition digs deeper into the beauty of the body, mind, and soul than any other exhibition of its kind, and invites you to explore the entire human experience from the first breath to the last.

Real Bodies The Exhibition consists of 10 approachable galleries that offer unique perspectives on human anatomy and its importance to world cultures as well as the emotional expression embedded in each of our physiological functions. Galleries consist of subject matter such as “Breathe” exploring the respiratory system, “Rhythm” revealing the delicate interconnectedness of the circulatory system, “Love” presenting the science of physical attraction, and more.

The exhibition pushes boundaries while seamlessly blending art, science, and emotion as a museum of the self. Real Bodies The Exhibition reveals the deep synergy between breathing, hunger, the rhythm of the heart, love, motion, and thought that makes each person unique.

Where do we come from? What are we made of? Why are we here? Real Bodies The Exhibition takes visitors on a philosophical journey and introspection about what to do with the life and body they have been given.

The exhibition is the next in a successful recent lineup of Australia Exhibitions from Imagine Exhibitions, producers of the recent Titanic: The Exhibition at the EQ in Sydney and Jurassic World: The Exhibition in Melbourne. Those two exhibitions drew a combined audience of over 550,000 guests.

“While the exhibition moves through the anatomical systems of the human body, it also looks far beyond the physical aspects,” said President and CEO of Imagine Exhibitions Tom Zaller. “It explores the symbolic and cultural significance that bodily systems--such as the nervous system or circulatory system--have had from the beginning of time, and questions why we do what we do and how we do it. Whether or not a visitor is spiritual, they’ll emerge from Real Bodies The Exhibition with a sense of greater connection—a connection to the whole of humanity.”

Real Bodies The Exhibition
Gavin Burland, President, Australasian Institute of Anatomical Sciences; Scientific Officer, Sydney School of Veterinary Science, says “It is exciting to see an exhibition of human plastinates be available to the general public in Sydney. These Plastinates provide a unique view into the human body that is normally reserved to the medical field, the public will be able to explore and interact with these displays to better understand what’s inside that makes us function as people, a unique insight that can’t be gained via the technological world that we live in today. As one of Australia’s most experienced technical experts on plastination, it is a privilege to be able to engage with the public and have them experience the art and science of producing plastinates through this exhibition.”

www.RealBodiesExhibition.com.au

REAL BODIES THE EXHIBITION
Opens Saturday 14 April

BOOKING INFORMATION – TICKETS ON SALE TUESDAY 3 APRIL
Ticket Pre-registration: Due to anticipated demand and expected sellouts, a ticket pre-registration is available to guarantee ticket access. To register, visit www.RealBodiesExhibition.com.au
Venue: The Byron Kennedy Hall, Entertainment Quarter,
122 Lang Road, Moore Park, Queensland, Australia
Dates: From Saturday 14 April 2018
Times: 10am to 5pm (check the website for details)
Prices: Adults from $33, Student/Concession from $28, Junior (4-16) from $19, Family pass from $71
Discounted tickets for student and adult groups of ten or more are available now.
Portion of every ticket sold will be donated to the Red Cross
Groups & Schools email groups@realbodiesexhibition.com.au

Information: www.RealBodiesExhibition.com.au or (02) 8310 7948

Parking: Two hours free parking at Wilson Parking at The Entertainment Quarter (enter via Lang Road)
Public Transport: Many bus routes travel along Anzac Parade and visitors should alight at Sydney Girls High School on Anzac Parade or at the Entertainment Quarter stop on Lang Road.

The world-renowned exhibition, seen by millions worldwide, features over 200 real anatomical human specimens and provides fascinating insights into the wonders of the human body. 

MYANMAR MOVES TO ALLAY RAKHINE FEARS

Trade urges operators to continue supporting Myanmar’s
tourism industry, and highlights places like Ngapali Beach
in Rakhine (pictured above) are far from the conflict.
Tourism stakeholders in Myanmar are rallying to mitigate the effects of conflict in the north-western Rakhine region on the country’s overall tourism health, with tour operators working closely with Myanmar Tourism Marketing (MTM) to dispel fears among potential visitors.

May Myat Mon Win, MTM chairperson, said: “The (affected) Rakhine area is extremely far away from the main tourist hotspots and even from the new destinations we are promoting now. Myanmar remains one of the safest, most secure and authentic Asian destinations.”

Tourism stakeholders in Myanmar are rallying to mitigate the effects of conflict in the north-western Rakhine region on the country’s overall tourism health, with tour operators working closely with Myanmar Tourism Marketing (MTM) to dispel fears among potential visitors.

May Myat Mon Win, MTM chairperson, said: “The (affected) Rakhine area is extremely far away from the main tourist hotspots and even from the new destinations we are promoting now. Myanmar remains one of the safest, most secure and authentic Asian destinations.”

Read full article at TTGAsia: https://www.ttgasia.com/2018/03/09/myanmar-moves-to-allay-rakhine-fears/

International Ski Travel Expo - Sydney

Meet the world's great resorts at Australia's #1 international ski travel show this June!
Celebrating 31 Years in 2018!

ENTRY IS FREE with a gold coin donation to Disabled Wintersport Australia

Anticipated ski resorts include, but are not limited to:

United States: Alta, Aspen, Beaver Creek, Big Sky, Breckenridge, Brighton, Copper Mountain, Deer Valley, Heavenly, Jackson Hole, Keystone, Kirkwood, Mammoth, Northstar California, Park City, Snowbird, Snowmass, Solitude, Steamboat, Telluride, Vail and Winter Park.

Canada: Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine, Big White, CMH Heli-Skiing, Marmot Basin-Jasper, Panorama, Revelstoke, Silver Star, Sun Peaks and Whistler Blackcomb.

Japan: Hakuba, Myoko Kogen, Niseko, Nozawa Onsen and Shiga Kogen

Europe: Courchevel, Chamonix, Val D'Isere and Val Thorens

Plus: Airlines, Club Med and more!

Splitsville Luxury Lanes

Photo courtesy of Debi Harbin
A much-anticipated addition to the Downtown Disney District, Splitsville Luxury Lanes celebrated its grand opening with incredible fanfare earlier this month. Two floors at this new flagship location are packed with dining and entertainment options that invite visitors of all ages to explore and play with wide-eyed wonderment. The expansive facility is divided into several lounge areas, emphasizing its identity as so much more than just a bowling alley or restaurant.

The Decor

The 40,000-square-foot former House of Blues venue is completely transformed, infusing a breezy, fun mid-century modern aesthetic in every design element. Four different custom, hand-painted murals pay homage to the brand’s first California location. Visitors should keep their eyes peeled for detailed works showcasing the iconic bear flag and nods to the Golden State’s citrus farming origins.

Eat and Drink

Three bars and two kitchens keep the food and drinks coming with style, serving up approachable gourmet fare that will please any palate. Hand-tossed pizzas and juicy burgers headline a menu that also features innovative choices like fresh sushi and seafood entrees. A focus on California wines will entice oenophiles, while local craft brews are on draft to round out the experience for guests hoping to sample the best of our Golden State. What’s more, an array of cocktails on tap and generously sized 18-ounce bowl drinks provide plenty of beverage diversity.

Be Entertained

Downstairs, the expansive patio makes a dramatic statement with an oversized brick fire pit, indoor-outdoor bar and a stage for live music. Splitsville will host local musical acts throughout the year, with live entertainment on a nightly basis.

Bowling lounges strategically located throughout the venue create a cozy vibe for families as well as groups of friends. Grouped in clusters away from dining areas, the lanes are still easily accessible for those who want to jump into the action after a mouthwatering meal. For the kids—and novice bowlers—bumpers are available on each of the 20 lanes. Bowling balls are emblazoned with likenesses of Mickey and friends, reminding visitors of Splitsville’s incredible location in the heart of the Downtown Disney District.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes is located in the Downtown Disney District at 1530 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA 92802. For dining reservations or more information, visit splitsvillelanes.com.

https://visitanaheim.org/

NEW FERRY TO SYDNEY FISH MARKET

A new ferry service will connect Sydney Fish Market to King Street Wharf 1 at Barangaroo.

Operated by Sealink, the service will take 30 minutes and take passengers around Pyrmont and under the Anzac Bridge, making for a scenic trip.

Sydney Fish Market receives approximately three million visitors per year, with over half of them currently arriving by car.

The service begins on 24 March and will initially operate every 30 minutes on weekends, between 9am and 5pm.