Monday, 30 April 2018

Trundle ABBA Blue Zephyr and Festival Day Train 2018

Trundle ABBA Blue Zephyr
Run in conjunction with the Trundle ABBA Festival, the LVR is offering options featuring our luxury air-conditioned train the Blue Zephyr from Sydney, and heritage compartment carriages from Forbes and Parkes

Packages include festival entry for the Saturday. Premium packages on the Blue Zephyr also available.

Come and join the Lachlan Valley Railway as we head to the 2018 Trundle ABBA Festival.

Two great options are available:
1) Travel on the luxury Blue Zephyr from Sydney as we head via "the South", through the picturesque Southern Highlands and on via Cootamundra to Forbes and Parkes. There are licensed bars and catering on board the train to keep you satisfied whilst singing away to the ABBA tunes. Choose your own accommodation in either Forbes or Parkes for Friday and Saturday nights. Re-join the train for a day of festivities as we head for the first and only ABBA festival at Trundle.
  • $399 Premium Package: seated in one of our two luxury lounge cars. Includes canape service and a complimentary drink en-route, breakfast and lunch on Friday and Sunday journeys and festival entry on the Saturday. Full bar service and tea/coffee available.
  • $299 Standard Package: seated in our air-conditioned sitting car. Includes breakfast and lunch on Friday and Sunday journeys and festival entry on the Saturday. Access to bar and buffet service available.

2) Travel on the Festival Day Train from Forbes or Parkes to Trundle and Return.
  • $99 for train including festival entry
  • $55 for train only
Take the Festival Day Train from Forbes or Parkes. Enjoy the delights of the on-board buffet and bar services as we head out across the Western Plains to Trundle for the Saturday festivities. Please note the train is a licensed venue with bars on board, strictly no BYO.

The Blue Zephyr departs from Sydney Terminal 5.30am Friday 4th May 2018 and returns Sunday 6th May at approximately 6.45pm. (Times to be confirmed). Stops to pick up and drop off at Campbelltown, Picton, Moss Vale and Goulburn, Yass Junction or Harden en route to Parkes.

The Festival Day Train departs Forbes at 9.00am Saturday 5th May 2018 and Parkes at 9.55am. Arrive at Trundle at 11.15am and depart at 9.00pm getting you back to Parkes at 10.20pm and Forbes at 11.05pm....

Contact Parkes Visitors Information Centre on 02 6862 6000 or go to for information on accommodation options. For more information on the Trundle Abba Festival go to

3 Campbell St, Cowra NSW 2794
(02) 6342 4999

2018 Hunter Valley Cheese & Chocolate Festival

Hope Estate is bringing back two very popular food festivals and combining them to create the 2018 Hunter Valley Cheese & Chocolate Festival!

The 2018 Hunter Valley Chocolate & Cheese festival will showcase the talents of many local and national cheese makers, bakers, chocolatiers and gourmet foodies.

Not just a day of tasting but an experience for all to enjoy, with displays, demonstrations and competitions.

Date: 14th July 2018
Time: 10am – 5pm
Where: Hope Estate, Pokolbin NSW

Tickets available from

What’s happening this MTF 2018?

MTF 2018

June 25:

Closed-door GMS Tourism Working Group & MTCO Board Meeting

June 26:

“The International Conference on Buddhist Tourism” will kick-of the MTF 2018.

Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) initiative will host the “Travel Startup Conference”.

The Mekong Tourism Forum 2018 Official Opening Ceremony, presided by the Minister of Tourism & Sports of Thailand and the Governor of Nakhon Phanom Province will celebrate successful tourism collaboration in the GMS.

The Mekong Tourism Forum 2018 Gala Dinner will follow the Opening Ceremony with local delicacies, traditional performances, as well as the unveiling of the 2018 Experience Mekong Collection Showcases.

June 27:

Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) will showcase travel startup pitches in front of a jury of industry experts. Anybody is invited to listen and get inspired.
Mekong Mini Movie Festival will introduce the first Film & Destination Marketing Conference.
In the evening, Hollywood will come to the Mekong Region with the Mekong Mini Movie Festival final screening followed by the Mekong Mini Movie Festival Awards Ceremony.

June 28:

Mekong Tourism Forum 2018, focused on the theme “Transforming Travel – Transforming Lives” will bring together inspiring speakers from various sectors of the industry to tackle the topic from different sides. Open your eyes and minds how travel is being transformed in these very exciting times.

The Mekong Tourism Village Experience is living the theme of “Transforming Travel – Transforming Lives” by being the first conference to stage actual conference session in ethnic community-based villages, and engaging both delegates and villagers together for a uniquely immersive and transformative experience. The pioneering concept allows for people from different walks of life to connect and learn from each other. Eight thematic sessions in eight ethnic villages, including a warm village welcome, a traditional lunch, engaging sessions, and interactive village activities from weaving to farming, will make this a true highlight of MTF 2018.

The thematic sessions include:
1. Organic Tourism
2. Adventure Tourism
3. Festivals Tourism
4. Heritage Tourism
5. Religious Tourism
6. Wellness Tourism
7. Food Tourism
8. Eco Tourism

Interested delegates will pay Thai Baht 1,200 each, which includes a limited edition traditional village shirt from the respective village, that is required to be worn for the sessions. Each village is unique, and no experience will be the same.

The Mekong Tourism Forum 2018 Food Festival will bring together Thai, Lao, and Vietnamese food, and enough material for engaging conversations, with delegates wearing their villages shirts. Local restaurants will cook their specialities to show the power of food as a fabric of experiential and creative tourism.

June 29:

Range of half-day to multi-day post-MTF technical tours to experience Nakhon Phanom’s unique tourism offerings..

Free to Industry Professionals

Limited Space Available! MTF 2018 is free to attend for qualified industry professionals – except the Mekong Tourism Village Experience, which requires a fee of Thai Baht of 1,200. Registrations, to be strictly capped at 400, will be on a first-come first-served basis. Registration is open!

Mekong Tourism Forum 2018 in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand – June 26-29, 2018

Download the MTF 2017 Program

Register for free at

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO)
Is active on various social media platforms under the universal handle @TourismMekong.
Please follow and engage with us on social media by clicking on the links below:
LinkedIn: Mekong Tourism discussion group

Please find out more by visiting


TAT offers QR payment at over 6,000 tourist locations,
including Chiang Rai Temple in Lampang province.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched its “Enjoy Local” campaign, offering QR code payment for tourists purchasing products and services at over 6,000 locations across the country.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the campaign is among the new schemes introduced under the TAT’s Amazing Thailand Go Local initiative.

The agency is working with Samart Digital Media Co to create a new travel application called Trippointz that enables tourists to obtain information and plan their holidays.

The application features attractive destinations, hotel rooms and restaurants, mostly in 55 secondary provinces promoted as new destinations by the TAT.

This move is aimed at encouraging locals and tourists to travel to secondary provinces. It will be more convenient for tourists to use the app when going to small provinces, Mr Yuthasak said.

He said the app also features a QR payment code that tourists can use to purchase services without cash.

The QR code in Trippointz can be used at over 6,000 locations but may not cover all services across all 55 provinces. However, the app’s usage will be extended to cover all 55 secondary provinces by early…

Read full article at Bangkok Post:


Vivid Sydney 2018
With only four weeks to go until the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney 2018, takes over the city in its 10th anniversary year, the excitement is building.

Now Australia’s biggest event, the 23-day festival will transform the city into a colourful canvas of dazzling light, masterful music and creative and confronting ideas, from Friday 25 May to Saturday 16 June.

“Vivid Sydney is firmly established as a must-see global event, attracting 2.33 million attendees in 2017 and adding $143 million into our State’s economy.

“Now is the perfect time for visitors to start planning their trip and I encourage everyone to take some time to explore several precincts over different nights to enjoy all that’s on offer across the festival’s program.”

To learn more about Vivid Sydney 2018 and to plan your trip, visit

Michelin stars in Portugal for 2018

As usual, November saw the announcement of the restaurants distinguished by the Michelin Guides for the excellence of their cuisine and service.

In 2018 Portugal can count on a total of 23 award winning restaurants with 28 Michelin stars.

The five restaurants with 2 Michelin stars are still there, but new restaurants have entered the list of 1 Michelin star restaurants, both in the Algarve region: "Gusto by Heinz Beck", in the Conrad Algarve Hotel in Almancil, and the "Vista Restaurant" in the Vista Hotel & Spa in Praia da Rocha.

In 2018, the Guide to Portugal and Spain also singles out a list of restaurants with an excellent quality/price ratio (up to €35/person), of which 37 are Portuguese.

The complete list of Michelin Stars 2018 for Portugal:

- Belcanto (Lisbon), José Avillez
- Il Gallo d'Oro (Funchal, Madeira) - Benoît Sinthon
- Ocean (Armação de Pêra), Hans Neuner
- The Yeatman (Vila Nova de Gaia), Ricardo Costa
- Vila Joya (Albufeira), Dieter Koshina

- Gusto by Heinz Beck (Conrad Algarve Hotel, Almancil) - NEW
- Vista Restaurant (Praia da Rocha, Portimão) - NEW
- Alma (Lisbon), Henrique Sá Pessoa
- Antiqvvm (Porto), Vitor Matos
- Bon Bon (Carvoeiro), Rui Silvestre
- Casa da Calçada (Amarante), André Silva
- Casa de Chá da Boa Nova (Leça da Palmeira), Rui Paula
- Eleven (Lisbon), Joachim Koerper
- Feitoria (Lisbon), João Rodrigues
- Fortaleza do Guincho (Cascais), Miguel Vieira
- Henrique Leis (Almancil), Henrique Leis
- LAB (Penha Longa, Sintra), Sergi Arola
- L’And Vineyards (Montemor-o-Novo, Alentejo), Miguel Laffan
- Loco (Lisbon), Alexandre Silva
- Pedro Lemos (Porto), Pedro Lemos
- São Gabriel (Almancil), Leonel Pereira
- William ( Funchal, Madeira), Luis Pestana
- Willie's (Vilamoura), Willie Wurger

School holiday ski escape

One of the quintessential ski in - ski out lodges at picturesque Falls Creek Alpine Resort has created a family-friendly school holiday package with an unbelievable array of extras including a restorative yoga session, 24 hours tea, coffee and snacks, dinners, breakfasts, afternoon teas, plus kids club (that allows parents to dine with other in-house guests whilst their children participate in supervised activities) and numerous lodge-based activities.

Trackers Mountain Lodge (owned and operated by a Perth family) guests also partake in its annual Christmas in July event, the resort's popular Thursday night show followed by Supper and Schnapps, and at no extra cost, warm and attentive hospitality.

And there's more!!! Also included in this value-for-money family school holiday special package is lodge-style accommodation for three nights in a quad share standard room, Snowclub or Junior Workshop plus snow equipment rental for two days for two children or teens, and Ski Lift and Ski Hire for two adults for two days.

The bottom line is $3,995 for two adults and two children.

Valid for direct bookings Tel 03 5758 3346 e-mail


Da Nang international fireworks festival prices announced

Da Nang International Fireworks Festival 2018
Ticket prices for the Da Nang International Fireworks Festival 2018 will range from VND300,000 (US$13.3) to VND2 million (US$88.5) for each night’s performance on Han River banks between April 30 and June 30.

The festival organiser, Sun Group, said ticket prices for the opening and final night will cost between VND400,000 (US$17.7) and VND2 million (US$88.5) per night. Tickets for children less than a metre tall will be fixed at VND50,000 (US$2.2) every night.

The host Viet Nam, along with Poland, will perform in the curtain-raising night on April 30. France and the US will be the second performers on May 26. Defending champions Italy and Hong Kong (China) will perform on June 2, while Sweden and Portugal will light up the night’s sky on June 9. The two best teams will be selected for the final on June 30, where the winner of the festival will be chosen.

This year’s festival, entitled ‘The Legend of Bridges’, will include night festivals, food stalls and music shows every night along with the fireworks performances.

Held for the first time in 2008, the event, formerly known as the Da Nang International Fireworks Competition, has emerged as an important cultural and tourism event, contributing to cultural exchanges and inviting many foreign tourists to Da Nang and Viet Nam. From 2017, the annual event has become a two-month festival in order to lure more visitors to the city.
Source: NDO/VNA

Los Angeles Welcomes Record 48.3 Million Visitors in 2017

Los Angeles
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (L.A. Tourism) President & CEO Ernest Wooden Jr.  announced

International markets recording significant gains for Los Angeles in 2017 include: China with 1.1 million visitors (6.0% YOY increase); Canada with its highest visitor total ever at 747,000 (5.5% YOY increase); South Korea with 315,000 visitors (6.3% YOY increase, the largest gain among all markets); and India with 121,000 visitors (4.0% YOY increase).

“We are powering Los Angeles’ economy to new heights every year, because we know that lasting prosperity means investing boldly in jobs, opportunity, and growth,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The expansion of our travel and tourism sector tells the story of a city whose moment has arrived — and we will continue pushing forward as we expand our role on the world stage, and prepare to welcome the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028.”

A contributing factor to L.A.’s year-over-year increase in international visitation is the resonance of a message of welcome. In April 2017, L.A. Tourism launched an initiative called “Everyone is Welcome” which reinforced the city’s cultural diversity and inclusivity. A recent sentiment study conducted in Australia, the U.K., China and Mexico confirmed the campaign’s effectiveness with positive favorability from each market including a resounding impact on visitation likelihood from China (82%) and Mexico (69%).

“Our ‘Everyone is Welcome’ campaign was the right message at the right time; it was a message of humanity and encouraged people around the globe to see the diversity of L.A.’s faces and places,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., president & CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “In 2018, we will extend and amplify our message of ‘Welcome’ and intertwine a message of hospitality, fueling even greater momentum towards our north star of 50 million visitors by the year 2020.”

Tourism is among the largest and healthiest contributors to the Los Angeles economy, supporting an average of more than 517,000 jobs in the Leisure & Hospitality sector last year. Estimates show visitors are expected to generate at least $300 million dollars in transient occupancy tax collections for the City of Los Angeles in 2017, a record. These dollars are used to fund local fire, police as well as cultural and recreational services.


Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board is a private, non-profit business association whose primary mission is to market and promote Los Angeles as the premier site for leisure travel, meetings and conventions as the City’s official tourism marketing organization.

One of the world’s most dynamic and diverse destinations, Los Angeles is comprised of more than 30 diverse neighborhoods and considered the cultural hub of the Pacific Rim. Home to near-perfect weather, 75 miles of jaw-dropping shoreline, more museums than any other U.S. city and an award-winning culinary scene, Los Angeles presents endless possibilities that keep its more than 48 million annual visitors entertained. For more information, visit the official visitor information website of Los Angeles at, join the more than one million people who follow Discover L.A. at, or follow @discoverLA on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Fitzroy Island Resort to expand

Fitzroy Island Resort
Fitzroy Island Resort will undergo a $2.5 million refurbishment and expand its Great Barrier Reef experiences to include diving and sunset cruises.

Managing Director Doug Gamble said the locally-owned Cairns tourism operation had added a catamaran to its fleet and purchased a half share in the Cairns Dive Centre operations on the island.

“I have appointed Glen Macdonald, who previously managed Fitzroy Island Resort for six years, to the new role of Chief Executive Officer with the sole focus of driving our expansion program forward,” Mr Gamble said.

“General Manager Tim Moloney, another long-term employee, will continue to manage the Resort and lead its management team. It is an exciting period of growth for our locally-owned company which will generate additional jobs for the community and provide a boost to local suppliers and contractors. The $2.5 million refurbishment will be rolled out gradually over the next 12 months so there will be no disruption to guests.

“It will give the resort a new lighter, contemporary styling with blue and white accents to reflect the spectacular ocean surrounds of Fitzroy Island. We have bought a 50 per cent share of the Cairns Dive Centre operations on the island and will work with co-owner, local tourism identity Peter Boundy, to offer fresh Great Barrier Reef experiences. Islands and sailing go hand in hand and we will soon provide day trips around the island and sunset cruises on the 16-metre catamaran Eye Spy which is now based at Fitzroy Island.

“Cairns is undergoing a solid period of growth with major investment in tourism infrastructure, so the timing is right for our company to invest in the future and ensure Fitzroy Island Resort continues to excite the marketplace.”

Rainforest-clad Fitzroy Island is just a 45-minute boat ride from Cairns city and where you will find secluded Nudey Beach, Australian’s Best Beach for 2018.

A National Park with rainforest walks and a summit hike to the lighthouse, the island is home to the volunteer-run Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre where visitors can meet Jet, an eight-year-old green sea turtle rescued off Fitzroy Island in July 2017.

Fitzroy Island Resort is also supporting the Reef Restoration Foundation with the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef’s first offshore coral nursery in the island’s waters.

Say Hello to Golden Week!

It’s slowly time to farewell this year's cherry blossoms and say a big HELLO to Golden Week. 

With this popular holiday period Kyoto is getting geared up for an exceptional week of festivals and celebrations. 

Golden Week is not only an exciting period for its joyous atmosphere and its jam-packed calendar of events, but it also marks the start of late spring/early summer, one of our favourite times of the year in Kyoto. 

‘Why?’, you ask? Because, whilst the cherry blossoms are slowly fading away, they are giving way to a new, less-crowded, lush green period of spring that comes with a healthy dose of super exciting garden openings and spring festivals. 

And what better place would there be to watch spring in full bloom than in the ultimate garden dreamland itself?

Have you considered planning an incentive trip in the cultural heart of Japan?

Kyoto offers endless opportunities to gain meaningful hands-on experience of rich Kyoto culture through Tea Ceremony, sake brewing, kimono wearing, swordsmanship, and more. With unique and traditional function venues and superb accommodation options Kyoto is an ideal choice for a high end incentive trip.

Japan is renowned for its safety and the compactness of Kyoto makes for wonderful strolling during free time. From the moment your guests arrive they will be treated to the famous omotenashi (hospitality) and refined service of Kyoto.

The Kyoto Convention Bureau is here to help. Please contact our local office or visit our website.

Tourism Garden Pty Ltd.
Suite 13, 235 Spit Road, Mosman NSW 2088

TAT opens its 28th overseas office in Toronto, Canada

Thai experiences displayed at the 
TAT Toronto Office’s opening ceremony
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has recently opened its 28th TAT overseas office in Toronto to target the high potential Canadian market. The occasion was also used to launch the “Amazing Thailand’s Open to the New Shades” marketing concept in Canada. The TAT Toronto Office was officially opened on 23 April, 2018.

The official opening ceremony of the TAT’s third office in North America after New York and Los Angeles was attended by H.E. Mr. Maris Sangiampongsa, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to Canada, Mr. Kalin Sarasin, Chairman of the TAT Board, Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, and Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications.

Around 150 guests including Canadian travel companies, travel media, guests from the business community later attended an evening reception which featured a live music performance by famous Thai saxophonist, Mr. Koh Saxman, a demonstration of fruit and vegetable carving, and making of artificial flowers and carps from palm leaves.

Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, presented the “4D Open to the New Shades”, highlighting five categories of products: Gastronomy, Nature and Beach, Culture, Way of Life, Art and Craft.

In his statement, Mr. Kalin Sarasin (above picture, centre) said, “This is our 28th TAT Overseas office. We chose Toronto, the capital city of Ontario, because it is a vibrant, multi-cultural city and one of the largest metropolitan areas in North America. We believe it will be a perfect location to cover Canada, which has been identified in our current marketing plan as a high potential market with a long average length of stay and strong purchasing power.”

In 2016, the average length of stay for the Canadian travellers in Thailand was approximately 18 days, which doubled the overall length of stay with expenditure per day of around 172 Canadian Dollars per person. Moreover, Ontario was the largest source of Canadian travellers to Thailand in 2017, with a market share of 45%.

From 2013-2017, the revenue from the Canada market rose 6% on average in five years.

“We are working with local partners to develop new products and introduce new local experiences in Thailand that fit with the targeted segments including the Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y. They are strongly interested in beach, culture, health and wellness, weddings and honeymoons, and our gastronomical delights,” Mr. Kalin added.

Thai experiences displayed at the 
TAT Toronto Office’s opening ceremony
Although there are currently no direct flights from any Canadian city to Bangkok, TAT is working closely with friendly airlines; such as, Cathay Pacific, EVA Airways, Emirates, Qatar, Korean Airlines and Air Canada to route traffic to Thailand via their respective hubs.

In 2017, Canadian visitor arrivals to Thailand totalled 258,392, up by 5.52% over 2016. This contributed to income of 845.9 million Canadian Dollars representing a growth of 7.61 percent.

At the end of this year, TAT projects revenue growth of 8.46% from the Canada market.

The 4th CTW China 2018 made great strides in corporate travel. Were you there?

Corporate Travel World (CTW) China 2018
Held from 20 - 22 March in Shanghai, China, this year's CTW China featured a great new venue, incredible speakers, and a robust conference programme.

CTW China 2018 concluded on high notes with sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, corporate travel managers and conference delegates expressing a rewarding experience.

The event’s record number of sponsors featured American Airlines and TravelSky at the Diamond tier. Both brands had previously collaborated with CTW China organisers on brand activation activities, and brought their positive experience as top-tier sponsors to this year’s show.

On their luncheon and partnership, Maxine Peng, General Manager – China, American Airlines expressed, “After being in the China market for 11 years now, our recent strategy has been on reaching the B2B sector. CTW China is a good fit for us to establish relationships with our Pacific Joint Business partners and grow our B2B relationships with corporate and MICE group buyers. We chose a luncheon to engage our desired audience here because of the informal and relaxed setting amidst good food, where we shared the benefits American Airlines has to offer the Chinese market.”

TravelSky, too, commended the show, “CTW China has brought together the elites and professionals of the corporate travel management industry in China. It is a great platform to exchange industry experience and share resources. TravelSky had the honour of participating at the event as a diamond sponsor. We met a lot of potential partners and introduced our new technology, new products, new ideas and solutions for corporate travel at both our table-top appointments and our education session on technology. This event has helped to promote and elevate our brand to the next level in the industry.”

The remaining 2018 sponsor line-up includes Delta Air Lines in the Platinum tier; AirPlus Payment Management, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Egencia, FCM Travel Solutions and United Airlines in Gold; and Pingxing Int’l Car Service as Official Transportation Partner.

Added Platinum Sponsors Delta Air Lines’ Adam Tang, General Manager, China Sales, who also lent his expertise as a speaker, “Delta is focused on growing the corporate travel market between China and the U.S. We are pleased to join this forum and share our strategy directly with the 200 corporate travel managers here.”

Official Transportation Partner Pingxing Int’l Car Service, Yuting Wang, Marketing Executive, spoke about their presence at the show, “Seeing the success of CTW China, we are delighted about being a sponsor. The official ground transportation sponsorship gives us the best platform to showcase our services and intensive coverage in China.”

All sponsors benefitted from the exposure to over 320 delegates through a combination of brand presence, expert sharing, business appointments, and for some, having buyers experience their product or service offering first-hand.

The collective CTW China value proposition that ranged from knowledge enhancement, community and relationship building, to prospective business and alliance opportunities, was met with success across all delegate segments.

Local first-time attendee, Laura Lin, Integrated Regional Shared Service Center General Affairs Section Administration Manager, SF Group, said, “With many experts in one place to network with and gain insights from, I had good returns from my first participation. For domestic corporate travel managers like myself, an event like this provides us with new solutions and perspectives. The forum on technology and artificial intelligence really piqued my interest.”

International corporate travel manager, Sanghee Bae, Administrative Assistant, Green Climate Fund, shared,“My colleague recommended that I attend this show after her positive experience at the Asia-Pacific's edition. I'm impressed at the scale of CTW China 2018 and am very satisfied with the quality of the show. As I am quite fresh to the industry, it has been a positive learning journey, especially meeting people within the field and getting to make new connections. Many of the topics were relevant to my work and that made attending fulfilling.”

Corporate Travel World (CTW) China 2018
International buyer Ramona Irawati, Head of Procurement and Travel, Manulife Indonesia, said, “I felt that the hosted luncheon by American Airlines was excellent. Through CTW China, I managed to get updated on current business travel processes, travel technology solutions, cost saving tips, and much more, all of which I found very valuable and logical for me to implement. Not only was I able to hear from speakers across all industries, but I also met several promising vendors.”

Corporate Travel World (CTW) China 2018 was held from 20 – 22 March in Shanghai and is co-located with IT&CM China, the leading international MICE event in China. For more information, visit | WeChat ID: CTW-CH


Hadley Park
Hadley Park, one of the oldest farming estates in Australia, will be listed on the NSW State Heritage Register.

Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres welcomed the addition of Hadley Park to the register.

“It’s only right that such
an important part of Penrith’s history is properly protected and placed on the State Heritage Register. Hadley Park's rich history will now be secured for future Western Sydney generations," said Ayres.

Sunday, 29 April 2018


  • Australia’s most iconic outback bucket-list experience – August 31 & September 1, 2018

The nation’s most iconic bucket-list experience – the Birdsville Races – are set to return this August 31-September 1, 2018, drawing thousands of travellers to Australia’s most remote town for a jam-packed program of thoroughbred racing, unique outback entertainment and wild and wacky festivities.

Tickets to the 136th edition of the Races went on sale on Friday April 27 through, with organisers promising one of the biggest and best programs in the event’s long history.

A two-day racing pass starts at $69.90 and trackside hospitality options featuring a gourmet outback feast are available.

In 2018, the event will work with ticketing partner Oztix to meet widespread demand from around Australia as well as overseas.

Billed the ‘Melbourne Cup of the Outback’, the Birdsville Races see the tiny town on the edge of the Simpson Desert swell from a general population of 115 people to more than 6,000 visitors for a two-day, 13-race program, as well as a bumper line-up of film and comedy nights, live music, cocktail parties and Fred Brophy’s famous travelling boxing troupe.

“2018 marks the 136th year since racing began in Birdsville, and this year’s event will once again present one of the best and most unique Outback experiences this great country has to offer,” said Gary Brook, Vice President, Birdsville Race Club.

“The Birdsville Races are extremely remote in location – and that’s part of what makes them so special. Nothing beats the sight of the horses racing around the bend and kicking up the striking red desert dust each year. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience and something you should in your lifetime, especially if you’re an Aussie.”

Proudly supported by Tourism and Events Queensland’s It’s Live! in Queensland major events calendar, the event many visitors flock to Outback Queensland from the beginning of August – setting up camp early to enjoy the region’s yabby races, street parties and various other events that lead into the big Friday and Saturday race days.

Throughout the event, wide open cornflower blue skies and parched red terrain dotted with unique outback flora combine to create a stunning backdrop for the race competition, while Birdsville transforms into a buzzing hive of activity with live music, cocktail parties and Fred Brophy’s famous travelling boxing troupe.

As in previous years, outback fare will be a major element of the 2018 Races, with the Birdsville Bakery serving up its famous selection of curried camel and kangaroo and claret pies. Trackside, food trucks and gourmet dining vendors will deliver an international flavour to the quintessentially Australian event.

The legendary Birdsville Hotel will once again act as the resident watering hole for racegoers wanting to kick celebrations into the night, while Fashions on the Field will bring colour, character and couture to race days across six categories for men, women, families and novelty dress.

A much-loved charity element, the Races will also continue its proud support of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, hosting a 6 kilometre fun run to help fundraise for the vital service in their remote region.

The Birdsville Races organising committee comprises a network of current and former residents of Birdsville, all keen to share the magic of the outback races – keeping the event alive and in the psyche of Australian punters.

Each year, horses and trainers make the long haul trek to Birdsville, 10,000 kilometres collectively, from places as far away as Darwin, Tamworth and the Sunshine Coast. Upon arrival, they set up camp under gum trees alongside the Diamantina River – creating their own community that has become as tight knit as the long-term residents of the rural township itself.

Birdsville Races
Where: Birdsville, Queensland
When: Friday 31st August & Saturday 1st September 2018
How much: Starting from $69.90
More info:


Sao Beach, Phu Quoc island – attractive to foreign
tourists, including those from China.
Photo: VNA
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) is organising the Vietnam Tourism Road Show 2018 in the four Chinese cities of Jinan, Hangzhou, Wuhan and Beijing from April 12-22.

The event is part of a national tourism promotion programme held by the VNAT this year.

In the Chinese cities, the agency introduces Vietnam’s tourism potential, products and development policies, with the focus on sea tourism.

It also plans to organise meetings between Vietnamese and Chinese travel agencies to intensify cooperation opportunities and increase the number of Chinese visitors to Vietnam and vice versa.

In addition, the VNAT will coordinate with airlines to introduce direct air routes and push for the opening of more routes linking the two countries’ localities.

With a population of 1.3 billion, China has become a potential tourism market for many countries. The World Tourism Organisation forecasts that around 220 million Chinese people will go abroad for holidays in 2025.

More than 4 million Chinese people visited Vietnam last year, representing a year-on-year surge of 48.6 percent.

In the first quarter of this year, Vietnam served over 1.35 million Chinese tourists, a year-on-year rise of 42.9 percent.

Read full article at VietnamPlus:

Cathay Pacific Asia on Sale

Cathay Pacific has launched an incredible promotion on fares from all Australian ports to over 60 Asian destinations from just AU$723 return.

The sale period is from today until Saturday, 2 June 2018, to help Aussies kick start their holiday preparations with travel between 27 April 2018 – 31 March 2019.

Aussies looking to live a life well travelled can enjoy the benefits of this promotion and discover the latest culinary delights in Seoul, gaze at inspiring skyscrapers in Shanghai, or experience the bustling streets in Tokyo.

On all flights passengers can experience Cathay Pacific’s award winning Economy Class and Premium Economy Class, which are designed to make the travel journey a comfortable and seamless experience.

Please view the below table for information on key departures and pricing. Please refer to the website for information about additional fares available.

Sale Fare From* PP
Sale Period
Travel Period
Economy Class
From 27 April 2018 to 2 June 2018
From 27 April 2018 to 31 March 2019
(No Blackout periods)
New Delhi
Premium Economy Class
New Delhi

*The above fares are quoted in Economy Class and Premium Economy Class and includes all taxes and surcharges correct as at 27 April 2018. For full terms and conditions and to book visit:

About Cathay Pacific:

Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific Airways is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading airlines, offering scheduled passenger and cargo services to serve over 170 destinations worldwide. Out of Australia the airline has over 70 flights a week to Hong Kong from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Cairns. All flights provide excellent connections over the Hong Kong hub to the airline’s worldwide network, including an extensive number of cities in China, served by Cathay Dragon. All Australian flights offer three classes of travel – Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class - providing excellent, award-winning levels of service to both the business and leisure traveller. Cathay Pacific is a founding member of the oneworld global alliance, whose combined network serves almost 700 destinations worldwide.

Festivals of the Lord Jesus Christ

Festivals of the Lord Jesus Christ
In São Miguel, in the Azores Portugal, witness the Festivals of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The image of the Convento da Esperança, in Ponta Delgada, is paraded on the fifth Sunday after Easter, with much fanfare and torchlight.

Start Date: 4 May 2018
End Date: 10 May 2018

Contacts: Ponta Delgada - São Miguel
Festivals of the Lord Jesus Christ

Diamond Sponsor American Airlines Lands On CTW China 2018, Dreams Big With Debut

World’s largest airline and oneworld® founding member, American Airlines’ inaugural partnership with CTW China 2018 at the highest Diamond Sponsor tier saw the airline host an exclusive luncheon for 195 corporate buyers and further their brand reach through their table top showcase alongside Pacific Joint Business (PJB) partners, Japan Airlines.

While it was American’s first appearance at CTW China this year, the brand had previously invested at Corporate Travel Forum (CTF) Beijing, a one-day conference roadshow organised by TTG Events and Carlson Wagonlit Travel China that took place in November 2017, which served as a preview to CTW China 2018.

Elaborating on the reason behind choosing a hosted luncheon as their preferred networking platform of choice, Maxine Peng, General Manager – China, American Airlines shared, “CTW China is a good fit for us to establish relationships with our Pacific Joint Business partners and grow our B2B relationships with corporate and MICE group buyers. We chose a luncheon to engage our desired audience here because of the informal and relaxed setting amidst good food, allowing us to share the benefits American Airlines has to offer the Chinese market.”

Celebrating the 12th year of their presence in the China market, their current strategy focuses on reaching out more actively to the B2B sector and growing their network. Evidently, their recent strategic partnership with China Southern, China’s biggest airline and one of the big 3 operating airlines, at a US$200 million commitment to expand connections between China and the U.S. have certainly advanced and solidified their place in China.

American currently services from hubs in Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth and Los Angeles to Shanghai and Beijing on top of their already wide network within key Asia-Pacific business markets like Hong Kong, Seoul, Sydney, and Tokyo. Last November, American launched daily non-stop flights from Los Angeles to Beijing. Their partnership with China Southern, whose primary hub is located in Guangzhou, has already begun codeshare, resulting in customers across both airlines gaining access to even more destinations in China as well as North and South America.

Of American Airlines’ footprint in the marketplace, Peng said, “American Airlines has the youngest fleet of planes among all the US carriers, averaging at 9.6 years in 2017. Further, all flights between China mainland and US destinations use the Dreamliner Boeing 787, and Hong Kong the Boeing 777-300. To strengthen our collaboration, we moved from T3 to T2 at the Beijing International Airport to be in same terminal as China Southern so that we can offer customers a seamless connection experience.”

According to a 2017 travel report by the airline, nearly 210 million customers flew American last year across 2.2 million flights operated worldwide. To date, they codeshare with 29 airlines including Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Qantas in Asia-Pacific.

Corporate Travel World (CTW) China 2018 was held from 20 – 22 March in Shanghai and co-located with IT&CM China, the leading international MICE event in China. To explore how you can make the most out of the exhibition, sponsorship, and networking opportunities at CTW China, contact us at 

For more information, visit | WeChat ID: CTW-CH


 the Bald Archys
Founded in 1994 in the Riverina town of Coolac by Peter Batey OAM, the Bald Archys stand apart from that other portraiture prize they hold in Sydney. 

Bald Archy entries skewer and lampoon the egos and excesses of their celebrities and politicians.


For more information:


The Elephant Conservation Center
We would like to share some wonderful news with you: 13 elephants saved from illegal trafficking arrived at our Center!

This is a historical event for our conservation efforts because now we have the largest herd in Laos with a total of 29 elephants. Unfortunately, it represents a financial challenge for our organization so we need your support!

Please share our crowdfunding campaign with your friends and family!


Thank you for your help and support, The Elephant Conservation Center team

The Elephant Conservation Center (ECC) is protecting Asian elephants in Laos since 2001. 

Our mission is to start a new era for conservation of the Asian elephant within Lao PDR. The end goal is to reintroduce elephants from captivity into the wild.

Elephant Conservation Center
Manthatoulat Road (Mekong riverside), Ban Pakham, Luang Prabang, Lao PDR
Tel : +856-20-96590665

Ben Tre diversifies tourism products

Ben Tre Province
The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre has served over 472,000 tourist arrivals, including nearly 200,000 foreigners, since the beginning of this year, a year-on-year rise of 12%.

The tourism sector earned approximately VND342 billion (US$15 million), up 25% against the same period last year.

According to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the increases were attributed to efforts to build and upgrade business establishments and create new tourism products and services.

Tran Duy Phuong, the department’s deputy director, said to make tourism one of the spearhead sectors of the province by 2020, Ben Tre will continue investing in infrastructure serving tourism, especially in rural areas, together with diversifying tourism products and improving service quality at tourist sites.

In 2018, the locality will work to improve the quality of existing products and exploiting new ones such as orchard, trade village, spiritual and cuisine tourism.

It will also step up dissemination to improve public awareness of the role of tourism as well as the province’s tourism development orientations.

In the time ahead, the province continues calling on competent investors to participate in tourism projects, particularly in the coastal districts of Ba Tri, Binh Dai and Thanh Phu.

Ben Tre can be found in the lowest part of the Mekong River basin, about 85 kilometres south of Ho Chi Minh City. It is also known as the paradise of coconut since there is a lot of coconut planted there.
Source: VNA

Routes Asia Networking and Marketing Awards shine in Brisbane in 2018

Routes Asia Networking Evening
Last month Brisbane played host to the annual Routes Asia Networking Evening, featuring the prestigious Routes Asia Marketing Awards. The event – hosted in a different city each year – is a highlight on the brand’s calendar to recognise excellence in airport marketing as voted by peers.

The evening is part of a larger Routes Asia incentive program including a conference, trade show and welcome drinks for esteemed guests within the airline industry, and acts as a key opportunity for the leaders of aviation services and air route development to conduct business.

The host city uses the event to promote its pull as a destination to secure future business with Asian airlines; the Queensland river city showcased their offering with the theme ‘Make Brisbane Shine’ to significantly impact the local tourism landscape.

Brisbane Airport Corporation engaged Staging Connections to produce the Networking Evening for 850 guests. The Staging team designed and supplied audio visual, styling and multimedia content for the event and provided onsite stage management to ensure the smooth operations at the venue.

The creativity of the Staging team really stood out for the client, pitching a magical, Australiana-themed Outback Spectacular Welcome Drinks under the stars, complete with live horses, a white picket fence and festoon lighting – taking full advantage of the warmer Queensland climate.

A touching Welcome to Country was performed by the traditional custodians of the land, the Nunukul people. A fiery smoking ceremony and dance live onstage celebrated Aboriginal culture and heritage and the ongoing relationship the traditional owners have with their land.

Throughout Brisbane City Hall, stunning images of iconic Queensland destinations were displayed on an impressive 18.5m LED screen, providing the ideal backdrop for the indigenous performance. A soloist from the Australian Girls’ Choir then took to the stage to begin a moving rendition of ‘I Still Call Australia Home’, before the huge LED screen was raised to dramatically reveal 50 fellow choir members, who gave the audience goose bumps with their performance.

Toni Kasch, Aviation Events Manager, Brisbane Airport Corporation, was thrilled with the outcome, “The Staging team designed an event that impressed even our most discerning international guests. This audience is accustomed to attending incredible experiences across the globe and we really surpassed their expectations.”

Staging Connections National Sales Director, Michael Magafa, agreed, “Our South-East Queensland team are consummate professionals and love the opportunity to combine the latest tech trends with creative design elements and really push the envelope.”

Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau Launches Its Online Store Featuring Branded Merchandise

Beverly Hills mementos
Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau (BHCVB) has recently launched its online store that includes branded items, such as a plush, Beverly Hills pillow, t-shirts, hats, postcards and more.

“For visitors or residents that may not have had time to stop by our Visitor Center to pick up a memorable gift, we’ve now made it easy to purchase items using our online store,” says Julie Wagner, CEO of BHCVB.

Additional mementos available for purchase include The Beverly Hills Centennial Cookbook, featuring dozens of recipes from the city’s iconic restaurants such as Spago, Il Pastaio and Matsuhisa as well as the hardcover book, In The Spirit of Beverly Hills, that explores the glamorous heritage of the famous zip code, highlighting its hotels, shops and historical attractions.

Animal lovers can enjoy the darling “Teddy” plush dog that can easily become a new travel companion and serves as the official Love Beverly Hills mascot.

“Our goal is to carry a wide variety of items that promotes our beautiful destination and can be enjoyed and passed down from generation to generation,” says Wagner.

The Visitor Center, located at 9400 South Santa Monica Boulevard #102, continues to serve as a helpful resource for visitors interested in reserving a sightseeing tour as well as information on hotels, restaurants, shopping and nearby attractions since opening its doors in 2008.

Wagner adds: “We are proud of our Visitor Center staff that are not only knowledgeable, but are fluent in multiple languages which is valuable for our international visitors.”

The Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For additional information and to shop the online store, visit

Fraser Island celebrated on World Heritage Day

Fraser Island
The rich history and cultural significance of global treasure Fraser Island has been celebrated today – World Heritage Day – as part of a ceremony to mark 25 years of the island’s World Heritage listing.

Queensland Minister for Environment Leeanne Fraser Island today joined Traditional Owners and conservation representatives on K’gari (Fraser Island) to celebrate the milestone of the world’s largest sand island.

“It is quite fitting we celebrate Fraser Island as being a world treasure on World Heritage Day,” Ms Enoch said.

“The island, rich in cultural heritage and famous for its beauty, was listed as a World Heritage site for its outstanding universal values, putting this beautiful location in the same league as the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands and the Pyramids of Giza.

“The island was recognised as significant to all humanity and was listed as a World Heritage Area under three separate criteria.

“Firstly, for its ongoing geological and biological processes – its ancient sand dune systems. Secondly, for its superlative natural phenomena – its forests and freshwater lakes; and thirdly, for its exceptional natural beauty.”

Ms Enoch also said it was great to be able to celebrate K’gari being added to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative.

“His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, announced this addition when he was in Bundaberg earlier this month and it’s wonderful K’gari has been added, along with Bulburin National Park, to the network of conservation projects that stem across Commonwealth countries.

“This will provide opportunities to further protect and conserve K’gari for future generations.”

Ms Enoch said today was also about marking the international significance of other World Heritage sites across Queensland and across Australia, and their rich histories.

“We are also celebrating the achievements of those who fought to conserve K’gari’s natural and cultural values – from achieving the first declaration of national park areas on the island in 1971, and cessation of mining in the 1970s and logging in 1991, to the recognition of the Butchulla people’s unbroken connection to country with the native title ruling in 2014,” Ms Enoch said.

“The Butchulla people also played an important and supportive role in listing K’gari as a World Heritage Area.”

As well as rainforest, K’gari has 250km of sandy beaches, intensely coloured sand cliffs and spectacular sandblows.

The sand dunes are some of the oldest in the world, and the island has half of the world’s perched freshwater lakes.

“It’s fitting that the Butchulla Traditional Owners call the island K’gari, meaning ‘paradise’,” Ms Enoch said.

Ms Enoch thanked Butchulla Traditional Owners for their work and continuing involvement in protecting K’gari.

Minister Enoch also thanked conservationists who joined the fight, including the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation, to protect Fraser Island from sand mining and logging.

“The efforts of all these dedicated people led to the protection of Fraser Island in perpetuity, and to the World Heritage listing,” Ms Enoch said.

More information about the Fraser Island World Heritage Area can be found at: