Thursday, 31 May 2018

RACHEL WARD'S PALM BEACH TO COMMENCE PRODUCTION

Palm Beach
A new feature film directed by Rachel Ward will begin filming at Sydney’s iconic Palm Beach and its surrounds from next week until early July.

Written by Ward and Joanna Murray-Smith, the film stars Bryan Brown, Sam Neill, Greta Scacchi and Jacqueline McKenzie, as well as Swazi-English actor Richard E Grant.

Palm Beach is a drama-comedy about a group of lifelong friends reuniting to celebrate a birthday, with Palm Beach providing a stunning backdrop for the unfolding drama. The good times roll with loads of laughter, lavish meals, flowing wine and fantastic music, but slowly tensions mount and deep secrets emerge.

Director Rachel Ward said, “Palm Beach is filled with colourful characters and a plot that explores the complexities between different generations and life-long friends.”

Palm Beach received principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Create NSW, and was financed with support from Destination NSW and Spectrum Films.

SYDNEY.COM | VISITNSW.COM | DESTINATIONNSW.COM.AU

IS CAMBODIA’S SLEEPY KAMPOT IN FOR A RUDE CHINESE AWAKENING?

Cambodia’s Kampot Province
Famous for its beautifully-preserved French colonial architecture and its wide, slow-flowing river that spills into the Gulf of Thailand, Cambodia’s Kampot Province has an almost dreamy quality about it. One of the few Cambodian cities that was never bombed by American fighter jets during President Richard Nixon’s secret – and illegal war – on Vietnamese infiltrators, Kampot is the kind of laidback small town that oozes so much charm that many western foreigners are retiring (or planning to retire) there.

The town and all who love it are in for a rude awakening, Chinese-style. Four different sources have confirmed to me that 8,000 Chinese businessmen are currently scouring every inch of Kampot, buying up any and all real estate that’s for sale and even some that’s not.

China long ago overtook Japan as Cambodia’s biggest foreign investor, pouring in almost US$5 billion to the poverty-stricken country between 2011 and 2015. Cambodia has reciprocated by becoming China’s most ardent ally in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, backing Beijing particularly on its continuing takeover of islets in the South China Sea. As the country’s leader, Hun Sen, has grown more dictatorial, earning criticism of western nations, he has had China’s steadfast backing. Cambodia is becoming China’s playground.

Much of the western side of the Kampot River has already been bought up by Chinese entrepreneurs (I was told fully half of it), and they have dredged a deep-water port where they hope to bring in 1.5 million Chinese tourists a year on cruise ships and bus them up to Bokor Mountain to gamble at the new casinos and resorts on the top of the mountain, which is part of a national park.

But the east side of the river, where the old French villas are found, is in trouble too: China has designs on this languid town as well. Again, thousands (perhaps the reality is hundreds) of businessmen are combing every inch of real estate available. I was told a story (which I cannot confirm), that the Chinese offered a very popular Western-run restaurant and guest house $15,000 for the property and that they would need to vacate within three months. Apparently the Chinese were accompanied by Khmer officials who claimed they could easily find violations on the property and have it closed down in short order, so it was best to accept the paltry sum and clear out. And that is exactly what is happening.

Further downriver, closer to the Gulf, Chinese companies are already destroying mangrove forests and causing other ecological problems. New resorts are going up, and many are questioning just how beneficial all this Chinese investment will be for Cambodia. The Chinese have already essentially taken over Sihanoukville province, turning the entire Cambodian coast of that area into a new Macau for gambling and a Hainan of golf courses and huge hotels (not to mention a secretive deep-water port in what used to be Botum Sakor National Park where rumor has it nuclear submarines are lurking). It looks like something similar will be happening to lovely Kampot in the not too distant future.

Read full article at Asia Sentinel: https://www.asiasentinel.com/econ-business/cambodia-kampot-rude-chinese-awakening/
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The best in business events meet in Auckland

 MEETINGS 2018 Welcome event at Auckland Town Hall
More than 650 business event specialists were welcomed to Auckland Town Hall on Tuesday night, for Conventions and Incentives New Zealand’s (CINZ) annual showcase, MEETINGS which got underway at ASB Showgrounds yesterday.

CINZ Chief Executive, Sue Sullivan says MEETINGS is New Zealand’s top event for connecting influential domestic, Australian and international buyers with 19 regions and New Zealand’s top event facilities, accommodation, off-site venues and activities.

“MEETINGS is an important showcase for New Zealand’s unique culture of manaakitanga (warm hospitality). Sensational events like last night’s welcome are a chance for us to put the spotlight on our exceptional venues, food, styling, and entertainment,” Sue Sullivan says.

Over 190 exhibitors and 500 buyers are 6,000 meetings during the two days of pre-scheduled appointments and social networking events.

“Our show floor, and our networking events are packed with incredible ideas, latest trends and magical experiences these buyers can take back to their clients. From luxury lodges, heli-touring and sailing options, to styling and technology experts, and brand-new convention centres and exhibition venues, they all come together to create the New Zealand experience for our visiting buyers.

MEETINGS 2018 includes an industry leader programme, Celebrity Speaker showcase and a Masterclass for Professional Conference Organisers. An Education Hub at MEETINGS, launched last year, has expanded in 2018 to include representatives from New Zealand’s Professional Conference Organisers’ (PCO) Association.

“We are seeing strong interest in New Zealand as a place to host exceptional conferences, incentives and events. Australian event organisers who toured our regions this week, have all been impressed by the diverse and unique experiences they can take back to offer their clients.

“New Zealand buyers have travelled from all over the country to meet here, along with a significant number of local Auckland event organisers coming in each day,” she says.

New Zealand’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Kelvin Davis will join industry leaders to tour MEETINGS on Thursday 31 May.

Air New Zealand is principal sponsor of MEETINGS 2018, and major sponsors are ASB Showgrounds, Peek Exhibition and Centium Software, Auckland Convention Bureau and Auckland’s leading hotels.

CINZ MEETINGS 2018 is open to anyone who organises business events, meetings, conferences, exhibitions and incentive travel. Registration is free at www.meetings.co.nz/daybuyer

Enjoy the Outdoors! Top 5 Famous Spots to Visit in Fukuoka in Early Summer

Nokonoshima Island Park
Kyushu's Fukuoka has so many spots that are great places to visit in early summer. You can enjoy going on a picnic, cycling and various other activities. Below are five select spots in Fukuoka that you can enjoy in many different way.

1. Nokonoshima Island Park
Nokonoshima Island Park is located on Nokonoshima Island, a small island in Hakata Bay with an area of approximately 4 sq.km. Away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis, this is a natural park where you can relax while being surrounded by lush nature. Rapeseed blossoms, poppies, marigolds, hydrangeas, dahlias and various other plants are found at this park, creating colorful landscapes every season. There is also an adventure park and a mini zoo, making it a great place for families to have a fun day out. Going to the island by ferry takes about 10 minutes. This park can be easily reached from downtown Fukuoka.

Park entrance fees: Adult (high school student and older): 1,200 JPY, Child (elementary and junior high school students): 600 JPY, Toddler (3 years old and above): 400 JPY

Official Homepage


2. Shikanoshima
Shikanoshima
Found at the mouth of Hakata Bay, Shikanoshima is an island that is connected to Hakata by a sandbar. It is a nature-rich sightseeing spot, and is surrounded by a beautiful ocean. There is a flat road stretching around the island's perimeter, and it is known as a great cycling route. The sea breeze blowing from the blue sea really is invigorating. One of the things that Shikanoshima is famous for is its sunsets - something that you shouldn't miss. The sun sets at around 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm during early summer, painting the sky in beautiful colors.

Sample bicycle rental fee: 1,000 JPY for 3 hours on a city bicycle

CROSS WAVE CYCLE TRAIL Official Homepage

3. Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
Uminonakamichi Seaside Park is a government-run park that is situated along the coast. Inside its vast grounds that measure approximately 300ha in area, you will find many attractions that could be a lot of fun for both children and adults, such as the Animal Forest where you can see capybaras, squirrel monkeys and other animals, and the 12km cycling course. Another highlight of this park is the sea of flowers that bloom in bright colors every season. In particular, the blossoming nemophilas, that spread out as far as your eyes can see, are such a stunning sight! You must also check out the various events held at this park, including the Uminonakamichi Flower Picnic, where you can enjoy flowers in the spring.

Park entrance fees: Adult (15 years old and older): 410 JPY, Senior (65 years old and older): 210 JPY, Child (elementary and junior high school students): 80 JPY, Children below elementary school age can enter free of charge.

Official Homepage

4. Yanagawa Kawakudari
Yanagawa Kawakudari
Yanagawa City is a riverside area with a 470km duct (a waterway that is created by digging into the ground) that weaves in and out of the city like a mesh. "Yanagawa Kawakudari" involves going downstream on this waterway. You can get on a gondola-like boat with a unique shape called a "donko boat", and then slowly glide on the surface of the river. If you look around you, you are bound to see natural scenery that is beautiful in any season and a landscape overflowing in old-fashioned and historical vibe.

Sample fares: Adult: 1,600 JPY, Child (6 – 11 years old): 800 JPY, Small child (less than 6 years old): Free (One guardian can have up to two children. The third child and beyond will be charged the child fare)

Official Homepage

5. Hiraodai
Hiraodai
Hiraodai in Kitakyushu City is a karst plateau that has been designated as a national natural monument. It is characterized by its unique and mysterious topography, including features such as the Yogunbaru, where the pinnacle (limestone pillar) looks like a flock of sheep, and the Senbutsu Shonyudo (limestone cave) that measures about 700m in length. Hiraodai Countryside Park is located in this area, and is a place where you can enjoy various activities. Here, you will have a lot of fun with your family by doing such things as going to the deck overlooking the topographic sinkhole that is unique to karst plateaus, observing wild birds, picking blueberries, and even making pottery and soba (buckwheat noodles).

Hiraodai Countryside Park Official Homepage

Aside from the above, there are many other attractions in Fukuoka. Try to go there sometime and experience the wonders of this region for yourself.

www.wow-j.com/en

Bac Ha Tourism Culture Week 2018

Bac Ha Tourism Culture Week 2018
From 1 to 9 June 2018, Bac Ha Tourism Culture Week 2018 with the theme “Colors of White Highland” will take place in Bac Ha Town, Bac Ha District, Lao Cai Province.

The event aims to introduce and promote tourism products, handicrafts, culinary culture, other products of the highland ethnic groups in Bac Ha District and Lao Cai Province, thereby contributing to encouraging conservation and production of traditional handicrafts, fostering the participation of the ethnic communities in tourism development, and promoting the image of Bac Ha tourism to domestic and foreign visitors.

Bac Ha Tourism Culture Week will include many attractive activities such as: Bac Ha (Lao Cai Province) - Xin Man (Ha Giang Province) Cycling Tournament from 1 to 3 June; street festival at 8.45pm on 2 June at some main streets of Bac Ha Town; plum festival and displaying local agricultural products from 3 to 6 June at Hoang A Tuong Palace with 20 booths of mountainous specialties such as tam hoa plum, Nam Xit rice, Shan tuyet organic tea, safe vegetables, honey, mushroom, etc.

Besides, in the framework of the event, there will be many responding activities such as performance of traditional crafts, mountainous cuisine, folk games; traditional horse racing from 8 to 9 June; visiting community-based tourism villages in communes of Na Hoi, Giang Pho, Ta Chai, Ban Pho, Bao Nhai; paragliding at Quan Than San Mountain - Co Co Lake on 3 June; experiencing Bac Ha Market on 3 June, etc.
Thu Giang

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

China to Open Border Tourism Pilot Zones in Inner Mongolia and Guangxi

China
Recently, the State Council has approved to set up the first two border tourism pilot zones in Manzhouli (Manchuria), Inner Mongolia and Fangchenggang, Guangxi.

10 national departments involved, including the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the National Development and Reform Commission co-issued the Implementation Plan for the Construction of the Border Tourism Pilot Zones in Manzhouli, Inner Mongolia and Fangchenggang, Guangxi.

According to the spokesperson from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the total length of China’s borderline is more than 22,000 kilometers (approximately 13,670 miles), bordering on 14 countries. The new plans to develop border tourism is of great strategic significance in boosting the economy and opening-up of the border areas, promoting regionally-coordinated development, and building a harmonious and stable periphery.

*China National Tourist Office www.cnto.org/

THAILAND QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY

Her Majesty Queen Sirikit
Mother’s Day was first introduced to Thailand on 15th April, 1950. In 1976, Mother’s Day was changed to 12th August to commemorate the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, the Mother of all Thai people.

Every year during the month of August, Thai households and public places will be decorated with lights, decorations, and portraits of the most beloved Queen Sirikit in celebration of the day of Her birth.

In the morning, an alms-giving ceremony will be held followed by country-wide candle-lighting ceremony and fireworks displays.

The Queen’s birthday is celebrated everywhere, but nowhere more than in Bangkok, the capital, especially along Ratchadamnern road and Grand Palace area.

Queen Sirikit is regarded as mother to all Thai people, thus her birthday is also celebrated as Mother’s Day and observed as a Thai national holiday.

Date - 12/08/2018
Source.

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A Thousand Journeys

Eubena Nampitjin, Untitled, 1995
Celebrating twenty years of this groundbreaking touring exhibition of Aboriginal paintings from northwest Australia from the Helen Read Collection.

The exhibition includes paintings from Central Australia, ochres from the Kimberley and Raark compositions from Arnhem Land.

Helen Read began her pioneering journey with Aboriginal art working as a midwife and pilot for the Pintupi Homelands Health Service in the Gibson Desert. Living in Walungurru (Kintore) in 1985 was the beginning of a deep appreciation for Aboriginal peoples and their art. Helen Read’s collection has been exhibited in Australia and internationally.

Image detail: Eubena Nampitjin, Untitled, 1995, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 120cm© Eubena Nampitjin/Licenced by Viscopy, 2017.

On now to Sunday, 8 July 2018 - 4:00pm  - 10:00am

A Thousand Journeys
Manly Art Gallery & Museum
Location - Manly Art Gallery & Museum, West Esplanade Reserve, Manly NSW 2099

Hue looks to become ‘food capital’ of Viet Nam

the capital of gastronomy in Viet Nam
Hue City, which has long been known as the only place in Viet Nam that has royal dishes, is striving to become the capital of gastronomy in Viet Nam.

Authorities of the central province of Thua Thien – Hue have projected to invest more than 12.4 billion VND (542,500 USD), including 3.7 billion VND from the State budget and the remaining from organisations and individuals, to build a brand name for Hue dishes in 2018-2020.

The move is significant as many Hue dishes, which are now available in the market, are inauthentic because they are not prepared in a proper way and with wrong ingredients, causing the false tastes.

More than 1,000 Hue-style dishes are being preserved at present. Hue is best known for elegant royal cuisine, which was served to kings under the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945).

One distinctive quality of Hue food is the harmonisation of yin and yang in each dish. For example, molluscs are always cooked with chilli, pepper, lemongrass and grapefruit leaves, "hot" spices that balance the "cool" features of the water-based creatures.

Various snack-like items, such as ‘banh beo’ (rice cake with grilled shrimp), ‘banh nam’ (flat steamed rice dumpling), ‘banh bot loc’ (dumplings with shrimp), and ‘banh canh’ (cake soup), to name but a few, are a major part of the Hue cuisine.

Visitors can find these items at Hue restaurants in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City. ‘Bun bo Hue’ (spicy beef noodle soup), a local breakfast dish, is also popular around the country.

Some Hue dishes have been listed as the country’s best foods by Viet Nam’s Record Book such as bun bo (beef noodles), com hen (rice with mussels), banh beo (rice cake with grilled shrimp), banh bot loc (dumplings with shrimp), banh khoai (fried rice crepes), ruoc (shrimp paste), me xung (sesame candy), che hat sen (sweet lotus seed pudding), tom chua (pickled shrimp), and thanh tra (a grapefruit variety that was served to the king).

Meticulousness of Hue cuisine comes all the way from ingredients selection to dish decoration, which has always attracted people’s attention when visiting the former capital of Viet Nam.

During Hue Festival 2018, restaurants within the city were bustling with both domestic and international diners. Many visitors revealed that cuisine is the magnet pulling them into the ancient city.

Myriad activities were being held throughout the event in order to promote the city’s one-of-a-kind cuisine, including Hue international food festival, royal gala dinner, and vegetarian food court, among others.

In addition to completing a dossier to recognise Hue as a food capital of Viet Nam, Thua Thien-Hue Province moves to build a culture and food museum in the imperial city.
Source: VNA

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

The WILD PLAY Discovery Centre

The WILD PLAY Discovery Centre is a modern and flexible venue offering versatile indoor and outdoor spaces and facilities. Located in the heart of the parklands adjacent to the spectacular Wild Play Garden, the building is surrounded by a spacious covered deck. The venue includes an outdoor kitchenette and BBQ pavilion, with picnic tables for catering your event. This is the perfect spot for family celebrations, corporate parties and interactive workshops.

Facilities
  • BBQ and kitchenette pavilion with fridge, sink & microwave
  • 3 x outdoor picnic tables with benches and umbrellas
  • 5 x folding trestle tables
  • 50 x stacking plastic chairs
  • Interactive whiteboard and projector
  • Audio input and speakers
  • Accessible toilet
  • Accessible ramp access

Features
  • Direct access to The Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden
  • Atmospheric lighting inside and outside
  • Secluded location in the heart of the parklands surrounded by majestic trees, native plants and diverse wildlife

Hours of Operation
The WILD PLAY Discovery Centre is the base for Education Programs during the week, used by schools and educators from Monday to Friday. The venue can be hired from our Venue Services team for private functions on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.

Available Bookings:
Saturday / Sunday, 8am – midday
Saturday / Sunday, 8am – 5pm
Saturday / Sunday, 8am – midnight
Saturday / Sunday, 1pm – 5pm
Friday / Saturday / Sunday, 6pm – midnight

Bookings
For bookings and enquiries please complete our function application form and email it to events@bgcp.nsw.gov.au along with any supporting documentation. Once your proposal is received you will receive acknowledgement from the Trust within 5 working days.

For more information and maps please view the Venue Information Sheet here.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

JAMES CAMERON: CHALLENGING THE DEEP EXHIBITION OPENING

Image credit: Mark Thiessen/Nat Geo Creative
Filmmaker and renowned deep-sea explorer James Cameron and his underwater pursuits are front and centre at this year’s Vivid Ideas Series, with his sold-out Game Changers talk last Sunday and a major new immersive exhibition, James Cameron: Challenging the Deep, opening 29 May.

For those who missed out on a ticket to his conversation with Adam Spencer, a visit to the James Cameron: Challenging the Deepwill trace Cameron’s lifelong achievements in deep ocean science, technology and exploration, including his record-breaking dives in Deepsea Challenger, the submersible vessel he designed then built in Sydney.

Visitors will experience how Cameron’s drive and passion for understanding and exploring our oceans has shone a light on the spectacular phenomena and mysteries of the least known place on earth and enabled maritime archaeologists to document and understand the shipwrecks of RMS Titanic and the German battleship Bismarck.

The exhibition will run until early 2019, visit www.anmm.gov.au for tickets.

SYDNEY.COM | VISITNSW.COM | DESTINATIONNSW.COM.AU

China consolidates position as biggest travel spender

As confirmed by the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer released this week, virtually all source markets reported higher tourism spending in 2017, reflecting continued strong demand for international tourism across all world regions. Both emerging and advanced economies fuelled growth, led by the United States which spent US$ 12 billion more on travel abroad.

China spent US$ 8 billion more, consolidating its leadership as the biggest spender in the world. The Russian Federation spent US$ 7 billion more and Brazil US$ 5 billion more, both rebounding from weaker spending in previous years. Strong tourism expenditure reflects enhanced connectivity, increased visa facilitation and a global economic upswing.

All top 25 source markets reported higher spending on international tourism in 2017, as highlighted in the report. China consolidated its leadership as the biggest spender in travel abroad in 2017 with US$ 258 billion in expenditure (+5% in local currency).

The other three BRIC economies all substantially increased expenditure in 2017. The Russian Federation (+13%) rebounded after a few years of declines, to reach US$ 31 billion, climbing three places to re-enter the top ten at number 8.

Brazil (+20%) also recovered strongly and moved up eight places to number 16 with US$ 19 billion in expenditure. India continued its rise with 9% growth in spending to US$ 18 billion and moved up four places in the ranking to 17th.

“Emerging economies play a key role in tourism development and we are very pleased to see the rebound of the Russian Federation and Brazil, and the ongoing rise of India, as these key emerging outbound markets contribute to growth and market diversification in many destinations”, said UNWTO secretary-general, Zurab Pololikashvili.

Read full article at TravelDailyMedia: http://www.traveldailymedia.com/china-consolidates-biggest-spender/

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Don't hibernate, activate this winter

Winter fun
As the wintery months approach, the Alpine Region of Victoria comes to life. From Mt Baw Baw, Mt Buller, Dinner Plain, Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Lake Mountain to Mt Stirling, snow equals fun for all. Snow domes and dog-sled experiences bring something new this season!

Opening weekend
To celebrate the arrival of winter and the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, Falls Creek and Dinner Plain will kick-off the season with firework displays, live music and if the snow gods play nice it will be full steam ahead for skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and snow play.

Winter activities
For the seventh time, Falls Creek will again host its annual Falls Creek Sled Dog Classic on 4 and 5 August which is tagged as the premier alpine sled dog race in Australia – the only sled dog race through an Alpine Village. This year, 30 sled dog teams will be seen racing a 5km course through the Falls Creek Village under lights.

Held over two days (11 and 12 August), The Annual Dinner Plain Sled Dog Challenge showcases the top dogs of sled dog racing in Australia and is unique in being the first Australian snow-based race of its kind. More than 80 mushers (dog team drivers) and in excess of 350 sled dogs are expected to compete at this year’s event.

Those wanting a bit more action than just watching from the sidelines can jump on a sled dog rides with through snow-kissed landscapes behind a team of gorgeous huskies at Mt Hotham, Mt Buller, Mt Baw Baw.

Mt Baw Baw is home to Alpine dingoes Warragul and Rowdy at the new Dingo Resource Centre. Visitors can learn about the dingoes, the critically endangered Baw Baw Frog, Leadbeater's Possum and other species of plants and animals that occupy the mountain.

Lake Mountain’s Burton Riglet Park provides a safe and encouraging environment for 3 to 6 year olds wanting to learn how to ski and snowboard. New this year, the park is offering the Learn To Ride program to 7 to 14 year olds and those progressing on from the Burton Riglet Park program.

Mt Hotham alpine adventurers can ease into dinner and take a guided snowshoe adventure at sunset and end the walk with a warming, authentic French cheese fondue as part of a three-course dinner, all in a tipi.

Nights come alive at Mt Buller in July and August for the Weekend Twilight Sessions. On Saturdays and Sundays from 7 July to 26 August guests can ski and snowboard or hit the village toboggan slope under lights until 8.30pm. Après ski fans can enjoy the magical winter wonderland from 5pm with crackling fires, live music and toasted marshmallows.

Those wanting to relax well-used muscles or melt away city stresses can head to Dinner Plain’s Onsen Retreat + Spa featuring a Japanese-inspired 40 degree outdoor Onsen perfect for bathing and restoration after skiing and snowboarding. The Spa also offers beauty and body treatments, massage, an indoor pool, gym and group fitness classes for a complete wellbeing experience amid mountains and gumtrees of the high country.

Winter Fun
Travellers on the glamping trail can check out Mt Hotham’s latest accommodation and another Australia first: eco domes in the snow. Guests can enjoy snowshoeing and warm drinks by the fire under the stars right at their doorstep, all before spending the night in a luxury bed in the wilderness amongst the gum trees.

Adventurers not wanting to miss a minute off the snow can book a Ski-In Ski-Out tepee at Mt Stirling, adjacent to Mt Buller. The Alpine Winter Camp will complete the ultimate overnight stay with an Insta-worthy value to boot.

QT at Falls Creek offers guests boutique luxury to the snowy slopes and rolling green hills of Falls Creek. The 39 designer apartments offer uninterrupted views, access to the main ski runs and the chance to escape to the snow in style.

No snow required
Those wandering towns and cities can include these on their list where no snow is required:
  • Ballarat Winter Festival, Ballarat – experience winter in a city setting. Highlights include Sovereign Hill’s Winter Wonderlights and pop-up ice skating rink in the heart of Ballarat CBD.
  • Warratina Lavendar Farm, Yarra Valley - Those wanting to take a stroll in the gardens can take in the acres of lavender, breathe the fresh country air and enjoy the display gardens and views of distant hills across the Yarra Ranges at Warratina.
  • Winter Blues Festival, Echuca – Come July 26, music fans will come together to celebrate the country’s best Blues musicians playing at the historic Port of Echuca’s heritage precinct and surrounding venues. ‘
  • MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art, Melbourne - Opening 9 June and running till 7 October 2018, National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) will be the sole international venue for the Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) New York exhibition. Visitors will see the works by internationally renowned artists like Paul Cézanne, Salvador Dalí, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Lyubov Popova and Vincent van Gogh.
  • Winter Night Market Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne - Wednesday nights in Melbourne are set to warm up as the Winter Night Market returns to the iconic Queen Victoria Market every Wednesday from 6 June to 29 August 2018. Visitors to the night market can escape from the chill with more than 30 global street food and drink stalls, 50 specialty and artisan stores, plus a weekly programme of quirky entertainers and some of Melbourne’s best live music performers.

For more winter events, visit www.visitmelbourne.com/june

Yamanakako Hanano-Miyako Koen (Flower Garden)

Yamanakako Hanano Miyako Koen
Yamanakako Hanano Miyako Koen, located at the area of Lake Yamanakako, the nearest lake to Mt. Fuji, is a flower park in the highland 1,000m above sea level where you can enjoy various kinds of flowers from spring to autumn.

“Seiryu-no-sato (Home of spring water)” in the park has the Myojin waterfall, a greenhouse dome, and an exhibition site of lava of Mt. Fuji.

Access -
By car: 5 minutes from Yamanakako IC, Higashi-Fujigoko Road.
By train and bus: 30 minutes by a Fujikko bus (Lake Yamanakako sightseeing bus) from Fujisan Station, Fujikyuko Line. Get off at the Hananomiyako-koen bus stop.

Yamanakako Hanano-Miyako Koen (Flower Garden)
Address 1650 Yamanaka Yamanakako-mura Minamitsuru-gun
Telephone number 0555-62-5587
Fax number 0555-62-5618
URL http://www.hananomiyakokouen.jp/( External link )

New Zealand’s biggest business events showcase starts todAy

MEETINGS 2017 show floor
Exhibitors from 19 regions will meet with buyers from eight countries when New Zealand’s annual business events industry showcase, CINZ MEETINGS 2018 starts in host city Auckland tomorrow.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Chief Executive, Sue Sullivan says New Zealand’s premier business events exhibition brings together over 190 suppliers and 500 conference, event and incentive organisers to meet under one roof for two days at ASB Showgrounds.

“Exhibitors and buyers will hold more than 6,000 meetings during our two days of pre-scheduled appointments and social networking events. With the support of key regional convention bureaux and Air New Zealand, we have hosted 48 Australian buyers and media on six different regional weekend tours, another 28 will visit Hobbiton and Hamilton on Friday, and eight head to the Bay of Islands for a post-MEETINGS tour hosted by Millennium Hotels and Resorts and Air New Zealand.

“Visiting Auckland, Lake Taupo, Rotorua, Marlborough, Christchurch and Queenstown this weekend, our Australian buyers and media have experienced everything from luxury lodges, wineries and local cuisine, to four-wheel driving, jetboating, sailing, island hopping, thermal health spas, and teeing off in the awe-inspiring scenery of a world heritage listed national park. They have also been immersed in true Māori cultural experiences, and throughout their time here they have all experienced the overwhelming warmth of the Aotearoa New Zealand welcome – our manaakitanga,” she says.

MEETINGS attracts international conference and incentive organisers, brought here with support from Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) and Air New Zealand. This year they include 30 hosted buyers and media from China, South-East Asia, North America, Argentina and over 90 buyers and media from Australia. Last year MEETINGS generated more than $56 million of signed business across the two days at ASB Showgrounds.

Sue Sullivan says New Zealand is a sought-after conference, incentive and event destination. “We are safe, friendly, hospitable, innovative and great to do business with. This makes our industry a significant generator of income, employment, investment and knowledge-sharing for New Zealand,” she says.

“With the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) in Auckland, and Christchurch’s new convention centre set to open by 2020, New Zealand is ready to capture a bigger share of the international multi-day convention market. Regional New Zealand will also benefit from these new venues, as large conferences book to take their sub-conferences to venues outside of the main centres.”

Air New Zealand is the principal sponsor of CINZ MEETINGS 2018, and major sponsors are ASB Showgrounds, Peek Exhibition and Centium Software.

Travel tours, craft villages paired to promote Vietnamese goods

Ha Noi craft shop
An official has said Ha Noi’s tourism products should be associated with advertising high-quality goods, especially those which are the signature of craft villages.

The efforts aim to develop the city’s high-quality tourism products while contributing to implementing the ‘Vietnamese prioritise Vietnamese products’ campaign,” said Tran Duc Hai, Director of the municipal Department of Tourism (DoT).

In 2017, Ha Noi took steps to promote local tourism, instructing local travel agencies to offer tours including shopping for locally-made products.

The tours taught foreign tourists about Vietnamese high-quality goods, particularly the products of Hanoi-based traditional craft villages, Hai said.

Hanoi is home to more than 1,350 craft villages, 45 percent of the nation’s total number.

The villages offer many unique products in terms of technique and design. Bat Trang, for example, is famous for its ceramics with white glaze and blue patterns, considered an “East-meets-West” product.

The city has also selected 15 craft villages to set up inter-village tours including Thang Loi, Ha Thai, Phu Vinh, Van Phuc, Son Dong, Bat Trang and Kieu Ky.

Made-in-Ha Noi crafts have also been introduced to a wide range of festivals and trade fairs at home and abroad.

In 2018, the promotion of locally-made products will be continued on social media and in the city’s cooperation strategies with the US-based CNN channel and TripAdvisor-the US's premier travel website, among others, according to Hai.

Chairman of the Ha Noi Viet Nam Fatherland Front Committee Vu Hong Khanh stressed the need for Hanoi to increase the production of local products.

As the head of the municipal Steering Committee for the “Vietnamese prioritise Vietnamese products” campaign, Khanh said “we need to ensure domestic production toward better quality and more diverse designs.”

He requested local firms, district steering committees, and the DoT make greater efforts to introduce Vietnamese products to tourists.

“The point is to connect supply and demand via publicity and promotion, thus boosting tourism in association with Vietnamese high-quality products,” Khanh said.

He suggested the DoT develop a magazine introducing local tourism products, services, goods and tours to Ha Noi-based craft villages and local production and distribution establishments.

“Local craft villages should offer tourism services and products at reasonable prices and in an environmentally-friendly manner,” Khanh said.

The craft villages have consolidated their foothold in Ha Noi’s socio-economic structure, shipped their products abroad and have created jobs for 740,000 workers.

The Hanoi People’s Committee recently issued a plan on craft village development for 2018.

The city will provide funds for 12 villages to build trademarks, 20 craft production establishments to hire experts for designing products and 14 other establishments to apply advanced technologies.

The capital will also train 24,000 rural labourers and 1,500 managers of rural production establishments.

A silk shop in Van Phuc silk village 
The movement, “Vietnamese prioritise Vietnamese products”, started in 2006 and has since built trust in the quality of Vietnamese goods.

At a recent conference reviewing the campaign in 2017 and launching tasks for 2018, Tran Thanh Man, President of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front said the campaign received good responses from people and local businesses.

“The campaign contributed to raising people’s awareness of selecting and using Vietnamese products while helping businesses be aware of their role and responsibility in manufacturing quality products to meet demands of consumers,” he said.
Source: VNA

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

KING VAJIRALONGKORN’S BIRTHDAY (THAILAND)

King Maha Vajiralongkorn
The birthday of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also called King Rama the Tenth, arrives every 28 July and is a public holiday in Thailand.

Rama X has been king over Thailand only since 2016, when his father King Bhumibol died after a 70-year reign. Vajiralongkorn was a clear successor since he was Bhumibol’s only son. Vajiralongkorn was already 64 years old upon ascending the throne.

Thailand long kept Bhumibol’s birthday every 5 December, and they continue the tradition with a new king and a new date. Many Buddhist temples have special events and receive alms for the monks. Some also release birds or turtles to bring good luck.

Date - 28/07/2018
Sources.

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO)
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Guy Troughton - Hidden Places

Hidden Places
Hidden Places, a solo exhibition by acclaimed master watercolourist GUY TROUGHTON takes the viewer on an intimate journey into the natural world and features stunning evocative watercolours, mostly painted en plein air (outdoors) in national parks and bushland along northern Sydney’s foreshore.

Drawing inspiration from the shapes and form of the ancient rocks, trees and gullies, together with the birds and animals that live there, each compelling work exudes energy, originality and a sense of spirit and mystery inherent in the primeval subjects themselves. With a naturalist’s eye of observation, the paintings echo the artist's passion and skill and often draw the viewers' attention to a particular element in the landscape rather than the ‘big picture’ view.

Describing his work GuyTroughton says: “I am absorbed by the lyrical and abstract textures of the bush - a gnarled branch, a jagged rock, a shaft of light or a pool of water. Equally, I am inspired to explore man’s intrinsic relationship to these elements.” Although Guy says that painting outdoors presents many challenges, he relishes the spontaneity and vitality it brings to his work: “I conceived and painted much of the work perching on a rock or cliff. Painting quickly, I was intent on capturing the light, mood and transience of the moment. At the same time, I was deeply conscious of the timelessness of the landscape and the stories and history that lay hidden within.”

On now  to Sunday, 3 June 2018 - 4:00pm - 10:00am

Guy Troughton - Artist
Phone: 0427 236 533
Email: guy@guytroughton.com
Website: GUY TROUGHTON

Location - Creative Space, Abbott Road, North Curl Curl NSW 2099

www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/whats-on/event-calendar

Japanese summer festival to kick off in Ha Noi

Japanese festivals 
A variety of festivals showing off the rich culture of Japan will be held on weekends in Ha Noi over the coming months, visitors can register online or call the organizing board’s hotline to reserve tickets.

Tanabata love festival will kick-start the series of Japanese festivals on May 20, where visitors will have the chance to enjoy a traditional Yosakoi performance and Sake rituals, with other exciting games at the event.

A Japanese lantern festival is scheduled to take place on the evening of June 3 after International Children’s Day (June 1). The attending children will be entertained by Japan’s traditional games, making Koinobori kites, drawing Daruma dolls, or making Bento rice. Some lucky children will receive lovely gifts from the organizing board when participating in life skills training courses.

A Japanese culinary festival will be held on June 17, bringing the series of Japanese cultural events to a close. At the event, visitors will be treated to Japanese foods such as mochi cakes, sushi, pancakes, and rice rolls. There will also be expert led lessons in the preparation of various Japanese foods. The country’s traditional handicrafts such as ceramic products, lanterns, and masks will also be on show at the event.

The Japanese summer festival is organized by the Viet Nam Trading Engineering Construction Joint Stock Corporation (Vietracimex), the main investor in high end apartment project Hinode City.
Source: VOV

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

CELEBRATE YOUR PARK

2018 is a special year as it’s not only Centennial Parklands Foundation’s 20th birthday, but it’s Centennial Park’s 130th birthday too!

Thanks to the foresight of Sir Henry Parkes, ‘The People’s Park’ has been here, protected for the community, for 130 years.

Thanks to you, the Foundation proudly continues this important work by raising money to safeguard the Parklands’ environment, extend education programs and protect the Parklands’ heritage.
To celebrate we’re giving the Park a birthday present. Here’s how you can help and celebrate too!

Give yourself a present and celebrate your connection to Centennial Park by participating in Phase II of The Celebration Steps. Don’t miss this opportunity to donate to your very own engraved paver in beautiful Centennial Park.

By donating to a paver at The Celebration Steps you will not only celebrate your own personal occasion but you will Celebrate YOUR Parklands too.

All funds raised will go towards a birthday gift for Centennial Park.

https://www.yourparklands.org.au/pavenow

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

COUNTRY AND OUTBACK NSW LAUNCHES DMP

Member for Dubbo, Troy Grant, Minister for Tourism
and Major Events, Adam Marshall and Chair of
Destination Country and Outback NSW, Stephen Bartlett
Destination Country and Outback NSW has launched their Destination Management Plan (DMP) this week.

The DMP is a new document designed to guide and assist Destination Country and Outback NSW in their ongoing efforts to stimulate growth in the region’s visitor economy sector.

Destination Country and Outback NSW was established by the NSW Government in 2017 with the key objective to drive the growth of the region’s visitor economy. The Destination Network covers 61.2 per cent of NSW and supports 38 local government areas plus the Unincorporated Far West Region of NSW.

Chair of Destination Country and Outback NSW Stephen Bartlett said, “The DMP is based on extensive research and analysis of visitor and consumer trends and significant consultation with key stakeholders, Destination NSW and Local Government.”

The Destination Country and Outback NSW Destination Management Plan can be downloaded here.

SYDNEY.COM | VISITNSW.COM | DESTINATIONNSW.COM.AU

ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019 to take place in Quang Ninh

Ha Long Bay – one of the must-see
destinations in Quang Ninh.
The annual ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF 2019) is scheduled to take place in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh from January 14-19 under the theme “ASEAN: The Power of One”.

First launched in 1981 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, ATF is the biggest annual and alternated event under the ASEAN tourism cooperation umbrella with a view to promoting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as one tourist destination.

It involves all the tourism industry sectors of the 10 ASEAN member states, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The hosting of ATF in 2019 creates a golden opportunity for Vietnam in general and Quang Ninh in particular to promote tourism.

A wide range of activities will be held as part of the forum such as formal meetings between officials of ASEAN National Tourism Organisation (NTO) and meetings between ASEAN tourism ministers and their counterparts from China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and India.

Other events include association meetings involving ASEAN Tourism Association, Federation of ASEAN Travel Association, ASEAN Airlines Association, and ASEAN Hotel & Restaurant Association, exhibition and business appointments seeking to facilitate the trade of regional and individual tourism products of ASEAN member states, and a tourism conference.

The unique and specialised ATF Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) is expected to make it easier and more convenient for suppliers of ASEAN tourism products and services and international buyers to conduct business.

Vietnam boasts a long coastline, forests and mountainous regions with numerous magnificent landscapes. The country also has a long history and diverse culture with a variety of ancient architecture construction and wonderful legends.

In 2017, Vietnam welcomed nearly 13 million international tourists and 74 million domestic ones. In the first three months of 2018, the country greeted over 4.2 million foreign visitors, a year-on-year rise of 30.9 percent.

Quang Ninh has a coastline of more than 250 kilometres and over 2,000 islands and islets which account for two-thirds of the total number in Vietnam.

The province is hosting the National Tourism Year 2018 themed “Ha Long-Heritage, Wonder, Friendly Destination”, which will open in Ha Long city on April 28.

Ha Long Bay literally “descending dragon bay” is a must-see destination in Quang Ninh. It was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and 2000.

The bay spans 1,553 square kilometres and includes 1,969 islands of various sizes. It features thousands of limestone karsts and islets in various shapes and sizes. The limestone in the bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The geo-diversity of the environment has created biodiversity, including a tropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea biosystem. Ha Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species.

Located 80 kilometres from the mainland, Co To island is another attraction in the. The island district comprises Co To Lon (large Co To island), Co To Be (small Co To island) and 15 smaller islands. Besides enchanting beaches, the island has natural forests, lighthouses, parks, wharves, fishing villages, bays and a rock garden.

Yen Duc Village in Quang Ninh’s Dong Trieu district is one of the few villages in Vietnam that still retains its authentic lifestyle. Located along the highway between Ha Noi and Ha Long city in the Red River Delta, Yen Duc Village is the epitome of Vietnamese rural living with its charming rice fields, traditional houses and gardens and friendly locals.

Located about 70km from Ha Long city, Binh Lieu district is ranked top of Vietnam National Radio Station’s list of best 2016 travel destinations. It is renowned for its fresh air, beautiful landscapes and ethnic minority groups. Visitors could admire great mountains, green rice fields and blooming reed fields of white flowers in late autumn and early winter.

As Quang Ninh’s most famous mountain, Yen Tu (meaning Bronze Pagoda) is appreciated not only for its natural landscape and stature but also for its significance as a historically preserved relic. It is located about 50 kilometres from Ha Long city.

Read full article at VietNamNet: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/travel/199700/asean-tourism-forum-2019-to-take-place-in-quang-ninh.html

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO)
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www.mekongtourism.org/

Free snow equipment hire with Falls Creek ski lodge booking

Pretty Valley Lodge at Falls Creek Alpine Resort
Family-friendly Pretty Valley Lodge at Falls Creek Alpine Resort has value-for-money, all-inclusive tariffs, plus guests are offered complimentary snow equipment, snow jackets, pants, and helmet. whilst they are staying at this well-located property.

A two-night weekend stay (In Friday out Sunday) costs $500 per adult and $375 per child under 14 (sharing a 4-6 person room}. However, the real value of all-inclusive Pretty Valley Lodge tariffs is a swag of Free extras offered to guests. There’s Free hire of snow equipment, plus breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily are included. Another attribute the lodge guests really appreciate is its children's early dinner followed by supervised entertainment programs. And a huge outdoor heated pool and four spas plus an in-house 22-seat cinema are also available for guests.

The Pretty Valley Snow Sports shop offers top quality gear. Guests can choose between Rossignol, Dalbello, and Salomon alpine boots. Rossignol Skis (from carving to twin tips and to high performance), Burton Snowboards and boots.

The value of the Free snow equipment hire is a substantial saving. About $100 per person for three days hire of skis/boots/poles.Snowboard and boots close to $125 and jackets/pants and helmets about $45.

For more information call Pretty Valley Ski Lodge 03 5758 3210 or book online www.prettyvalley.com

Five Yakitori Restaurants You Don’t Want to Miss

Although Fukuoka is famous for its motsunabe and mizutaki, yakitori is also a Fukuoka specialty.

It houses many popular yakitori restaurants with varied menus that include not just classic flavors, but also skewers that use pork belly – something that you can only find in Fukuoka, uniquely flavored skewers, and even ones that have rolled ingredients!

In this Wow!Japan article there are five particularly recommended restaurants that serve great yakitori.
  1. Yakitori no Hachibei - Upscale and Creative!
  2. Honke Fujiyoshi - Over 60 Years and Great for Offal!
  3. Murasaki Yakitori Kenkyujo - Suitable for Anyone and Always Busy!
  4. Nobuhide Main Shop - Creator of Cabbage and Vinegar Sauce!
  5. Yakitori Kojiro - A Varied Menu That's Improved On Daily!

Wow!Japan article
www.jnto.org.au
www.facebook.com/VisitJapanAU/

Mural paintings enlighten humble valley in Da Nang

mural paintings in  Da Nang
The first fresco valley which has been relived with glamorous mural paintings in the central city of Da Nang has opened to public after four months of implementation.

Mural paintings depicting cultural life, natural landscapes and people of Da Nang painted on the walls along alley No. 75 on Nguyen Van Linh street in Hai Chau district have attracted a large number of visitors to the place.

Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, a visitor to Da Nang told reporters: "This is the first time I visited the place. I am very impressive. This is a venue for young people to come for entertainment and check-in."

A group of artists from Da Nang city’s Fine Arts Association and the Architecture University participated in the art project worth over 2.5 billion VND, since January.

The images of Da Nang’s signatures, such as the red shanked douce langur, Da Nang beach, Dien Hai temple, Son Tra mountain and the whale worshipping festival are showcased in the paintings.

Truc Hanh, a local resident said: "I’ve visited Tam Thanh – Tam Ky mural village in the neighbouring Quang Nam province. It’s a pride of Da Nang to have such a mural valley. I hope the city will have more models like this to remind visitors of a friendly Da Nang."

According to Duong Huynh Trang who is working on the project, her group has delivered leaflets and layers at the airport and tourism promotion centres to introduce the fresco valley and created a fan page for tourists. "I hope more people will know about the valley.", she added.

Apart from enjoying the beauty of the paintings, visitors also have a chance to take part in cultural activities, including folk games, held at weekends.
Source: VNA

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Embracing New Zealand’s Māori culture at MEETINGS 2018

MEETINGS 2017 Rotorua stand
New Zealand’s Māori cultural values will be a key focus of MEETINGS 2018, the country’s leading business events exhibition opening this week in Auckland.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Chief Executive Sue Sullivan says New Zealand’s Māori culture gives business event organisers a unique point of difference in a competitive international environment.

“Our culture sets Aotearoa New Zealand apart on the world stage. Our venue designers, our artists, our leaders, and our hosts are embracing Māori culture at many levels in their business event thinking.

“Māori culture is more than something we do, it is who we are, from the way we greet our visitors, to the time and care we take in hosting them,” she says.

The three core values of Māori culture Kaitiakitanga – the guardianship and protection of our natural, built and cultural resources, Manaakitanga – showing respect, warm hospitality, generosity and care for others, and Whanaungatanga – a relationship through shared experiences and working together, giving people a sense of belonging.

“These values underpin what we do, give visitors a deeper connection to New Zealand and a greater understanding of our capabilities and our culture,” Sue Sullivan says.

Before MEETINGS 2018 opens on Wednesday 30 May, CINZ Māori culture advisor Ngahihi o-te-ra Bidois will bless the exhibition space at ASB Showgrounds, and the stands and food served to guests with traditional karakia (prayers). He will do the same at the event’s conclusion on 31 May and wish safe travels for all visitors.

As the Kaiārahi Māori, or Māori guide, for the New Zealand Story programme, Karl Wixon is responsible for the infusion, inclusion and development of Māori culture, character and content into the New Zealand Story programme. At MEETINGS 2018 he will be presenting a Masterclass for Professional Conference Organisers (PCO), to guide them to a deeper understanding of Māori culture, and showing what can be done to integrate Māori values into events in a meaningful way.

“Karl will help participants navigate through aspects of incorporating Māori culture into their business events, and guide them to articulate our unique Kiwi identity,” she says.

The MEETINGS PCO Masterclass is sponsored by Claudelands in Hamilton, where Māori culture is highlighted throughout the building design which gives a unique opportunity for the venue to help bring that story to life throughout conferences and events.

In total,19 regions of New Zealand are represented at MEETINGS 2018, all of them have something different to offer on a cultural level, with stories, people and places specific to their local region. Wharewaka and Wellington Venues are demonstrating the significance culture plays in bringing central Wellington to life, for example.

This year Northland returns to MEETINGS with exhibitors including Foot Prints Waipoua, The Heads at Omapere – new secluded villas supported by Copthorne Hotel and Resort Hokianga, and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. They will be sharing their stories and looking to build on relationships to grow and strengthen their business within the Te Tai Tokerau region.

New Zealand’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Kelvin Davis who will be speaking MEETINGS, is also Minister for Crown/Māori Relations, and local MP for the Te Tai Tokerau region.

Follow CINZ MEETINGS 2018 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using hashtags #meetings18 and #cinz

Sichuan to Build a Panda National Park Three Times the Size of Yellowstone

Pandas
With a poverty-alleviation funding of over 10 billion Yuan (USD 1.58 billion) from the Bank of China Sichuan Branch, China’s Sichuan province government is planning to build a Giant Panda National Park three times the size of the U.S. Yellowstone National Park.

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, Pandas are slow breeders and their numbers can quickly drop if their way of life is disrupted. The park will hopefully help recover the endangered species while benefiting the low-income local residents financially.

Zhang Weichao, a Sichuan official involved in the park planning, told the state-run China Daily that the agreement will help alleviate poverty among the 170,000 people living within the project’s proposed territory.

*China National Tourist Office www.cnto.org/