Friday, 31 May 2019

Gather, Hello Kitty Lovers!!

Come on down and snap some selfies at the Hello Kitty Shinkansen photo wall featuring the JR-WEST route!

Apart from receiving Hello Kitty Shinkansen and WEST Japan travel tips, lucky guests stand to receive limited quantity of exclusive JR-WEST Hello Kitty gifts when participating in the activities at the booth.

Visit us to find out more at RWS SUMMER MATSURI
Date and time: 6th -9th June 2019 5pm- 11pm
Location: The Forum LEVEL B1, Resorts world Sentosa

For more detail

Washington DC, Smithsonian National Air Space Museum celebrates 50th anniversary of the Apollo mission

Australian travellers visiting the USA during July 2019, can join free celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo mission, taking place at The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

The museum’s celebrations will be centred around the first Moon landing which occurred on July 20, 1969, sparking a national conversation about the past, present, and future of innovation and exploration.

From July 16-20 The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will host educational activities and events to celebrate the 50th anniversary, including a display of Neil Armstrong’s original Apollo 11 spacesuit, which will go back on display for the first time in 13 years.

Plus, interactive initiatives allowing visitors to retrace Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s steps, visiting stations along a route in the museum approximately equivalent to the distances the astronauts walked. At these stations staffed by scientists and historians, guests can explore photos and maps and learn about the area the astronauts traversed on the Moon.

Entry to The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC is complimentary.

For further information on their Apollo celebrations at the museum click here.

For general information on visiting Washington DC see

New Zealand impresses as world-class business events destination

New venues, technology, activities, and sustainability initiatives were all hot topics of discussion for delegates this week at New Zealand’s largest business events tradeshow, CINZ MEETINGS.

The two-day event, which wraps up in Auckland tonight, hosted 650 international and domestic buyers who were excited to learn more about New Zealand’s world-class locations, venues, and service after meeting with 192 exhibitors from across 17 regions.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand’s (CINZ) Chief Executive Sue Sullivan says the opening of new convention facilities in Auckland and Christchurch next year is an exciting prospect for international organisers looking for modern large-scale venues in desirable locations. This, along with the new hotels that have opened and are soon to open, provide our cities with first-class infrastructure to support these world-class convention centres.

"Our influential contingent of international buyers and media at MEETINGS 2019 left inspired about New Zealand as a business events destination, and what we can offer for large events, as well as for high-end, bespoke incentive travel,” says CINZ Chief Executive Sue Sullivan.

"The quality of our exhibitors has created a real buzz amongst our buyers, and together they have held over 6,000 meetings, and will be leaving MEETINGS with strong business signed,” she says. “Last year $60 million of business was signed on the show floor.”

“For our business it is all about building strong relationships, and meeting face to face to cement ties. The welcome our visitors have received this week has given them an unforgettable taste of New Zealand’s unique culture, our people, our distinct regional characteristics, and a deep insight into how warmly their delegates will be received here.”

Over 30 Australian organisers were given the opportunity to explore New Zealand before MEETINGS, and another 20 Australian buyers are on their way to Christchurch tomorrow to experience first-hand the transformation of the city including its new venues, hotels and activities.

For first-time buyer Monique Bernauer from Forum Group Events and Marketing, MEETINGS was amazing. New Zealand is growing with new venues and suppliers, and so much to give and experience all in one place. "MEETINGS itself is easy to navigate, with engaging stands.”

Hayley Green, from Cievents has had her first trip to New Zealand for MEETINGS, and it has been eye-opening and fascinating she says. “Kiwis are great to do business with, and there’s a real sense of community. New Zealand sells itself from the moment you step on an Air New Zealand plane, the safety video sums it all up. New Zealanders do things differently.”

Royal Australasian College of Surgeons event organiser, Elise Campbell from Melbourne is another first timer in New Zealand and says she is definitely bringing conferences to New Zealand, especially because of the meaningful cultural experiences. “MEETINGS is a seamless process. It’s so well set out. This has been a great chance to meet people face to face, and the smaller operators too.”

Melissa Waller of Event Travel Management in Sydney was back to MEETINGS for the first time in five years. “It’s great to be on the ground and getting the inspiration, I have had lightbulb moments here that happen mid-conversation when you meet people. I have been able to sign up business on the show floor as a serious buyer,” she says.

Koro Carman from Footprints Waipoua in Northland region says MEETINGS has reinforced for him the powerful impact Northland has for conference and incentive delegates. “Last weekend’s pre-familiarisation to Northland opened eyes for Australian buyers to the huge opportunities for meeting in the far north. Once they have personally engaged with the stories, the people, and the landscapes they are enchanted and excited by the options,” he says.

Taranaki region exhibited for the first time at MEETINGS this year, with a packed schedule of appointments. Marketing Manager for Venture Taranaki, Vicki Fairley says buyers are seeing Taranaki as a fresh destination and it is giving them a different look at what New Zealand can offer. “With new and unique venues, buyers are finding New Plymouth is an ideal compact, accessible and affordable small city just 40 minutes by air from Auckland on the North Island’s east coast.”

ChristchurchNZ Convention Bureau Manager, Claire Hector-Taylor says buyers have shown huge interest in Christchurch at MEETINGS this year. “From the first appointment on day one, we have received a string of leads and signed business for our new city venues, including the reopened Christchurch Town Hall and Te Pae opening in 2020. People definitely want to come back, and MEETINGS has given us the chance to share all the details they need,” she says.

ChristchurchNZ’s eight business partners on stand include Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa marketing manager, Shane Adcock who says Christchurch’s resurgence is fantastic for the whole region and is being felt in Hanmer Springs too. “It is reflected in investment from operators in the village, including our new thermal pools and conference venues opening later this year."

Next year’s CINZ MEETINGS will be held on 22 and 23 April 2020 at ASB Showgrounds in Auckland.

CINZ MEETINGS 2019 is New Zealand’s largest business events trade exhibition.

The country of canals and cycling paths – explore Holland a different way with Le Boat

Much like the endless fields of tulips and painted wooden clogs, the canals and cycling paths that run throughout Holland paint an iconic picture of this stunning country. Explore Holland by water and by land with a bespoke Le Boat cruise.

There are over 269 waterways in Holland and Le Boat know the best of them. From the canals of Amsterdam to the canals of Utrecht, the experts at Le Boat will help customise the perfect itinerary. And to ensure a relaxing journey, Le Boat offer plenty of pre-paid extras to choose from.

The ‘Extras Package’ includes the top three extras along with prepayment of ‘engine hours’ fee: collision damage waiver (CDW), boat cleaning and bicycle rental (one). Having extras prepaid can be a great way to save money, time and preserve peace of mind – no one wants to think about logistic while cruising along a Dutch canal.

More extras with Le Boat:
- Bicycle hire
- Groceries
- Early boarding and late check out
- Special occasion gift basket
- Wifi

Le Boat have several itinerary suggestions which are all completely customisable, depending on timeframe and what to see and do.

For those with time to roam, a good place to start is in Vinkeveen. Before boarding your private charter, head to Vinkeveen Plassen for water-sports, swimming and a bike ride around the canal. Travel along the River Vecht toward the historical village of Maarssen-Dorp before experiencing the chocolate, beer and jenever (old school Dutch gin) found in the vibrant city of Weesp. Amsterdam Notably one of the most picturesque canals to sail along, Amsterdam offers a diverse experience on land. Cycle through the city streets and over the canal bridges, visit monuments and historical sites of the city and enjoy the eclectic nightlife. For a change of pace, head to Muiden’s walled city and the Muiderslot Castle, visit the colourful houses of Lemmer and the seaside city of Workum. Finish in Hindeloopen with a bicycle ride.

For those with less time, Le Boat can design an experience to enjoy the highlights of Holland in a swift but leisurely fashion. If Amsterdam is a must see, journey from Vinkeveen through Muiden and Weesp to reach the infamous city of Amsterdam. Or from Hindeloopen, travel through some of Hollands most beautiful villages and cities – Workum, Bolsward and Sneek – where you’ll experience 17th Century towns, the hometown of artist Jopie Huismand and the remarkable architecture of local churches, art galleries and buildings.

With over 50 years of experience providing exceptional service, Le Boat are the number one boating holiday company in Europe. Explore the canals of Holland with a personally tailored itinerary, get those legs moving with a leisurely ride and experience Holland from a whole new perspective with Le Boat.

Prices starting from $1759 Boat only (Aboard a single cabin budget boat for 1 week)

Gunma / Gunma Safari Park

Other than the famous Kusatsu Onsen, the Gunma Prefecture certainly has more charms than you might know.

If you are in Japan and have a sudden thought of visiting a safari park, you can visit the Gunma Safari Park. Here you will be able to see 100 species of wild animals roaming freely, including the snow monkeys (also known as Japanese macaque) and moon bear (also known as Asian black bear) found in Japan.

By shinkansen and train, Gunma Prefecture is only about 2 hours away from Tokyo.

For more information:…

Thailand extends visa-on-arrival fee waiver

The Government had approved the extension of the visa-on-arrival fee waiver for citizens of 20 countries for another six months, until 31 October 2019. 20 Countries, namely Andora, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China including Taiwan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

VIVID at Barangaroo

For a highly theatrical and well-mastered display of puppetry, head down to  #vividsydney's Barangaroo precinct! 

This luminescent creature moves across the water in a powerful performance encompassing both light and sound! 😯

Marri Dyin will sit and contemplate beside the fire at her campsite each night and gather along Wulugul Walk from Thursday – Sunday evenings from 6pm to 9pm.

Lights On 6pm-11pm, until 15 June.

đŸ“· Instagram - @kathybenmax

Thursday, 30 May 2019

JazzFest at Sea Presents a Lineup of World-Renowned Traditional and Classic Jazz Artists

An intimate ‘20’s- ‘40’s Jazz Club experience at sea – sailing from Miami to the Caribbean in January 2020 – will include private performances by legends of the jazz world.

Miami, Florida – May 28, 2019 – The 16th Annual JazzFest at Sea will take place onboard the MSC Divina, departing from Miami to the Southern and Western Caribbean on January 17, 2020 for 11 nights, with stops in some of the best Caribbean islands including Jamaica, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the brand new Ocean Cay Marine Reserve.

World-Renowned Lineup
The next jazz cruise lineup features some of the leaders of the jazz world including Harry Allen and Warren Vaché plus the amazing Bill Allred, Allan Vaché and Dave Bennett. Other greats include the Spanish sensation Andrea Motis as well as Gordon Au, James Chirillo, Tardo Hammer, Mark Shane, Danny Coots, Richard Simon, Chris Rottmayer, Kevin Dorn and Charlie Silva. Vocalists include Banu Gibson and Yve Evans.

Themed Cruise Details and Onboard Activities
JazzFest at Sea, one of the leading jazz cruises for ‘20’s – ‘40’s jazz, not only has amazing performances each evening of the jazz cruise, but also afternoon sessions on days at sea. Individuals are mixed and matched to create jazz sets not able to be seen or heard anywhere else.

"We get the very best jazz musicians to participate and I'm proud to have had a part in creating the great music we have on this jazz cruise every year," says the great clarinetist Allan Vaché.

Also, the cruise features the JazzFest Jammers program every morning which is an opportunity for guests to bring their own instruments and jam with other guests and pros. This group is led by John Skillman and Mike Evans who also provide instruction upon request. Additionally, the multi-time Banjo Hall-of-Famer Tim Allan will be presenting his Banjos at Sea program onboard.

“JazzFest at Sea is a truly unique cruise experience that brings together jazz lovers from around the world to hear amazing jazz performances, while also getting to enjoy an 11-night cruise vacation,” said Wayne Peyreau, Regional Vice President of Sales, MSC Cruises. “We’re proud to be able to work with JazzFest at Sea to host this group yet again aboard MSC Cruises. The group continues to grow in popularity and receives extremely positive feedback.”

Pricing starts at $1399 per person for the cruise which includes exclusive access to the jazz performances. More information can be found at or by calling 1-800-654-8090.

THANK YOU Trundle for hosting the almighty sparkling 2019 Trundle ABBA Festival

On the 1st weekend in May 2019 thousands of ABBA fans travelled to Trundle, NSW for the annual Trundle ABBA Festival. The weekend was full of celebrations, entertainment, everyone having a magnificent time enjoying ABBA and what Trundle has to offer.

The weekend was full of celebrations, entertainment, everyone having a magnificent time enjoying ABBA and what Trundle has to offer. The key highlights of the Festival were the headlining act Bjorn Again, Mr Q, Ben Ransom, Ingrid Mae, Amity and The Natalie Prevedello Duo. Along with the ABBA trains, ABBA markets, singing competitions, fashion of the festival and the talented Dancing with Stars Alana Patience and Tristan MacManus teaching the crowd some moves.

In 2019 ABBA fans travelled from all over Australia and beyond via, bus, train, cars and planes to join in on the fun.

The weekend was full of celebrations, entertainment, everyone having a magnificent time enjoying ABBA and what Trundle has to offer. The key highlights of the Festival were the headlining act Bjorn Again, Mr Q, Ben Ransom, Ingrid Mae, Amity and The Natalie Prevedello Duo. Along with the ABBA trains, ABBA markets, singing competitions, fashion of the festival and the talented Dancing with Stars Alana Patience and Tristan MacManus teaching the crowd some moves.

In 2019 ABBA fans travelled from all over Australia and beyond via, bus, train, cars and planes to join in on the fun.

We would like to thank all of the supporters of the Trundle ABBA Festival, we couldn’t do it without the local volunteers, contractors and businesses who work tirelessly to ensure the fences are put in place, catering is organised, toilets are cleaned, and everything else that is involved in putting an event on. 

The Parkes Shire Council have been tremendous in showing support, it makes a difference when planning events where the council go above and beyond.

Thank you to Destination NSW, without the support through the grants available and marketing advice it would make for a different event.

Business event experts welcomed to Auckland

Over 650 business event specialists were welcomed to Auckland’s Aotea Centre for Conventions and Incentives New Zealand’s (CINZ) two-day annual showcase, MEETINGS which is underway at ASB Showgrounds.

CINZ Chief Executive, Sue Sullivan says MEETINGS is New Zealand’s top event for connecting influential domestic, Australian and international buyers with all New Zealand’s regions and 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 throw the spotlight on our exceptional venues, food, styling, and entertainment,” Sue Sullivan says.

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

MEETINGS’ welcome function showcased Auckland Conventions, Venues and Events’ flagship venue, the newly refurbished Aotea Centre, with event management by The Events Group.

“Having this venue back after its multi-million-dollar redesign and rebuild is a big boost for Auckland’s event offerings. The Aotea Centre is Auckland’s home to the creative performing arts, and we will be showcasing this by demonstrating snippets of what can be achieved in this stunning new contemporary space,” she says.

New Zealand’s top supplier of aerial and cirque entertainment, The Dust Palace demonstrated some of their bespoke show pieces alongside talented musicians, with visuals by Big Picture and sound and lighting from Auckland Live. Catering from the Kitchen at SkyCity included cocktail food and wine to match the contemporary styling.

“Today our buyers are out on the show floor soaking up all the incredible ideas, latest trends and magical experiences they can take back to their clients for conference and incentive events,” Sue Sullivan says.

New this year, the Hononga Lounge, sponsored by CINZ member Hireplants, will offer a breakout and relaxation area for hosted buyers featuring a live green wall. Hononga in Māori means joining place, connection and relationship.

Shotz Ltd is showcasing one of its new activations, a Virtual Greeter called Sue, at MEETINGS this year. She will be meeting and greeting in the entrance of the ASB Showgrounds in the mornings and roving around the show floor throughout the day.

CINZ MEETINGS 2019 is open to anyone who organises business events, meetings, conferences, exhibitions and incentive travel. Registration is free

Canada. For Glowing Hearts

In 2017, Destination Canada began to review and refresh our brand. Previously, we positioned Canada as a destination that would inspire travellers to “Keep Exploring”. Yet traveller expectations have evolved from experience-based travel to transformation-based travel. In addition, we know that pride in where people choose to travel is the number one driver in their decision making. Our brand must reflect these insights.

We worked with our agency to uncover a distinctive, ownable brand positioning for Canada that reflects travellers’ perspectives today.

With this foundation, we are launching our new brand inspired by our tagline “For Glowing Hearts”. (In French: Le cƓur grand ouvert).

One element of our new brand is its distinctive logo. It’s a reflection of Canada, a study in movement and evolution rooted in our country’s bold colour and iconography. Here, we take the nation’s pulse and feel its heartbeat. It’s an embodiment of the positive energy that makes hearts glow.

We invite our industry, our partners and all Canadians to share in our story.

Download the new logo and our brand booklet and learn more on our website. 

Thank you for being part of our story.


A new exhibition showcasing Queensland Museum Network’s vast specimen collection, past scientific discoveries and vital future research is now on at Museum of Tropical Queensland.

Natural Curiosity: Discovering the secrets of Queensland’s greatest collections is set to provide visitors with an insight into Queensland Museum’s biodiversity collections and why they play such an important role in preserving the natural world for future generations.

The exhibition will take visitors on a journey through the many research areas of the museum including our areas of expertise of marine, corals and palaeontology. The exhibition showcases items from their iconic collections including animal skulls, preserved skeletons, study skins and fossilized bones, dinosaur tracks and teeth.

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Museum of Tropical Queensland
70 -102 Flinders Street, Townsville
Queensland 4810

Environmental and social sustainability top of mind at MEETINGS 2019

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) is increasing its initiatives to ensure MEETINGS 2019 is environmentally and socially sustainable, cutting down on waste and introducing a new give-back theme for day buyers’ lunches.

CINZ Chief Executive, Sue Sullivan says CINZ has a raft of initiatives designed to boost awareness about sustainability and make a big difference to the event’s impact.

“For social good, we are excited to be donating 500 lunches to school children in Auckland with our new initiative to provide Eat My Lunch packs for our day buyers on both days of MEETINGS,” she says.

For every one of the 500 day-buyer lunches served across the two days, CINZ in conjunction with Eat My Lunch will donate a lunch to a Kiwi kid in need.

“The kids receive a lunch that looks and tastes like it is home-made, delivered fresh to their schools in a brown paper bag. At the same time our day buyers will receive their own tasty business lunch in a recyclable brown box to enjoy while networking and listening to the Celebrity Speaker Showcase.”

MEETINGS hosted buyer will receive a reusable water bottle, which they can use during the exhibition and then take home. Reusable coffee cups will also be available. For hosted buyer, exhibitors and media The Kitchen at Sky City is serving lunches, morning and afternoon teas with reusable crockery and cutlery. They partner with both Kiwi Harvest and Kaivolution to donate and recycle any leftover food.

“We are driving all our communication with exhibitors and buyers through the MEETINGS EventsAIR app. To cut down on print waste again this year we’re not printing an exhibition guide, encouraging everyone to go online and to use the app. Tickets to events are not needed this year either, as everyone can use the QR codes on their name badges to identify them at each of the welcome, gala and exhibition venues,” Sue Sullivan says.

Exhibitors are encouraged to take away and recycle everything they have brought for their stands, and to reuse or donate floral arrangements.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

From Broadway to La Scala

Following two sold out tours, From Broadway to La Scala returns with a bigger and even more exciting line up.

Adelaide Sept 7
Perth Sept 14
Brisbane Sept 17
Melbourne Sept 26
Sydney Sept 28

From Broadway To La Scala will be performed by six of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary singers including the magnificent award winning lyric coloratura soprano Emma Matthews, greatly loved tenor David Hobson, acclaimed bass-baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes, West End/Broadway star Caroline O’Connor and the brilliant young Australian tenor Alexander Lewis, who has been impressing audiences as Count Danilo in The Merry Widow for Opera Australia, The West Australian Opera and the State Opera of South Australia.

They will be joined by emerging artist Genevieve Kingsford, who made her debut as Fiona in Brigadoon and was nominated for best Leading Actress in a Musical at the Greenroom Awards.

Backed by Australia’s finest orchestras, From Broadway to La Scala will transport audiences with a richly entwined repertoire of all time classics, drawn from two of the world’s most enduringly popular musical genres.

There is no doubt this will be the finest From Broadway to La Scala yet.


Take the kids on an adventure with the new Central NSW Discovery Passport.

The initiative aims to help families unearth some of the 50 child-friendly attractions and experiences across the region, which begins in Oberon and continues through Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Orange, Parkes and Weddin.

Families simply stamp their passport and win prizes as they go, with the main Rainbow Prize including accommodation and family passes to the value of $1,160. The Central NSW Discovery Passport is valid until the end of the July 2019 school holidays.

Learn more here.

Salvador Dali Exhibition at d'Arenberg Extended

Art is pleased to announce that the current Salvador DalĂ­ sculpture exhibition at d’Arenberg winery will be extended through 31 May 2020. The exhibition began in March this year and was scheduled to end on May 31st 2019. 

The response to the exhibition has been extremely strong, attracting thousands of art lovers from across Australia and Internationally. In October, a seven metre tall monumental original Salvador DalĂ­ “Triumphant Elephant”, which is valued at $2.7 Million dollars, will arrive in Australia and be on display at d’Arenberg winery. 

This increases the overall value of the sculpture collection to nine million dollars. The Salvador DalĂ­ sculpture collection has been exhibited in major cities and museums worldwide. The collection features several magnificent sculptures of DalĂ­’s iconic soft watches. The message is that “Time reigns supreme over man, governing our existence in the real world”. 

This is particularly relevant as 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the passing of Salvador Dali who died in 1989. Also exhibited are paintings by Australia’s own surrealist Charles Billich, whose artworks hang in the Vatican, The White House and the United Nations. 

A documentary movie on the life of Charles Billich was released this month at the Cannes Film Festival in the South of France. About the Dali Universe This multi-Million Dollar exhibition which celebrates Dali’s life and legacy is on loan from the DalĂ­ Universe in Switzerland.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

The best way to see VIVID!

Sydney is turning on it's lights!
What's the best way to see them?
On board our beautiful boats with a warm pie!
Call us today on 9518 7813 to book

Sydney Princess Cruises-Oz Whale Watching 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Final Weeks!

Roald Dahl's delicious tale, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is a delectable treat featuring songs from the original film, including Pure Imagination, The Candy Man and I've Got a Golden Ticket, alongside a brand new, toe-tapping Broadway score.

Willy Wonka is opening his marvellous and mysterious chocolate factory to a lucky few. That includes Charlie Bucket, whose bland life is about to sweeten with colour and confection beyond his wildest dreams. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerising joyride through a world of pure imagination.

Now's your chance to experience the wonders of Wonka! Get ready for the Oompa-Loompas, incredible inventions, costumes and sets and more, more, more at this everlasting showstopper!
Final Weeks Now on Presale – Wonka's Factory Must Close 21 July!

The final two wondrous weeks of performances have just been released for the July school holidays.

The ultimate live experience is coming to Sydney! The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo!

FEATURING OVER 1,400 PERFORMERS from around the globe in an unrivalled display before a full-size replica of Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is coming to Sydney this October.

Direct from its annual sell-out season on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, Scotland where it continues to boast sell-out performances to more than 220,000 people each summer, The Edinburgh Tattoo will be ready to delight Australian audiences with a limited season of only four shows, exclusively at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.

Bringing all the pageantry of this globally renowned, iconic show to Sydney to deliver a thrilling mix of music, ceremony, military tradition, theatre and dance. At the heart of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is the unforgettable sight and sound of the magnificent Massed Pipes and Drums of Scotland’s iconic regiments, set against the brooding backdrop of the Edinburgh Castle.

Featuring traditional Scottish favourites including pipers, fiddlers and highland dancers performing together with the Australian Defence Force, international precision drill teams and military and cultural performers from around the globe.

Gather your clan, get your tickets and be ready for THE ULTIMATE LIVE EXPERIENCE.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Sydney 2019 is proudly produced by Michael Cassel Group.


The time to shine has arrived! It’s Lights ON at at the start of Vivid Sydney 2019 last Friday night, kicking off 23 nights of the largest event of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere.

All eyes were on the world-famous Sydney Opera House for the Lighting of the Sails, created by LA-based artist Andrew Thomas Huang. His exquisite tribute to Australia’s native plants will feature among more than 50 installations and projections on the Vivid Light Walk, created by over 100 artists and collaborators from 17 countries. These works of art and technology will feature across eight Sydney precincts including Barangaroo, Chatswood, Circular Quay, The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Luna Park, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and Taronga Zoo.

In addition to these breathtakingly beautiful light installations and projections, Vivid Sydney features an exciting program of live music events, seminars and workshops as part of Vivid Music and Vivid Ideas.

Destination NSW CEO and Executive Producer – Vivid Sydney, Sandra Chipchase said with a record number of attendees expected to attend this year’s Festival, there will be something for everyone.

“It doesn’t matter your age or interests, whether it’s your first time to Sydney or you’re a local – Vivid Sydney has universal appeal. The Vivid Sydney program presents spectacular and accessible light installations, music events and thought leadership experiences that everyone can enjoy,” Ms Chipchase said.

Vivid Sydney’s Charity Partner this year is the Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern Section), which is the perfect choice given the record numbers of tourists travelling to regional and remote areas of NSW and the fact that Vivid Sydney has a proud record of delivering visitors to regional areas. In 2018, of those travelling on Vivid Sydney travel packages, nearly 33,000 extended their experience beyond Sydney to visit a regional NSW area.

Vivid Sydney 2019 would like to thank all of its Government and tourism industry partners, and encourages everyone to attend this one-of-a-kind, spectacular show of light, music and ideas, which is on until 15 June.

Visit to plan your trip.


Timed to launch on International Pineapple Day on Saturday, June 1, Preferred Hotels & Resorts – the world’s largest independent hotel brand – is pleased to announce International Pineapple Week, a multi-channel celebration of the symbolism behind its brand logo, the pineapple. Running from June 1 to 9, 2019, the world’s first International Pineapple Week aims to raise wider awareness of the Preferred brand among global audiences that are seeking authentic, independent luxury hotel and travel experiences through a series of interactive and rewarding initiatives that will be offered at member hotels around the world, showcased on a dedicated microsite (, and promoted via social media using #PreferredPineappleWeek.

“Throughout the 15 years since my family took ownership of the Preferred brand, I have had the great fortune of witnessing first-hand the warm welcome and consistently thoughtful approach to hospitality that is offered to guests staying at any of the one-of-a-kind, independent member hotels within our portfolio – an experience that is represented through the symbolism of our pineapple logo,” said Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO of Preferred Hotels & Resorts. “With International Pineapple Week, we seek to inspire travelers by connecting them to hotels that can serve as their local guide in their chosen destination, demonstrating that when they see our brand pineapple at the entrance, they know that they will have an authentic, personalized and memorable experience.”

The Pineapple’s Journey and Place in Hospitality
As the story goes, the pineapple became the emblem of hospitality more than 500 years ago when seafarers sought places to relax in port towns and would look for homes that had pineapples hung in their entrance, a signal that those friendly locals would welcome them for a meal or place to sleep. Since then, the pineapple has been used to express that ‘you are welcome here’ in a multitude of ways including depictions in monuments and the designs of doors, gates, and entryways across cities worldwide. With a rich history of inspiring travel and independent hospitality for more than 51 years, Preferred Hotels & Resorts utilizes the pineapple as its brand logo to serve as a global guide for travelers, visually signifying that ‘you are welcome’ and inviting them to enjoy personalized and genuine luxury experiences across its portfolio of 750 one-of-a-kind, independent hotels and resorts in 85 countries.

Preferred Pineapple Cocktail Series
The Preferred Pineapple Cocktail Series welcomes guests and local residents alike to enjoy original pineapple-flavored cocktails (or mocktails) that have been crafted by some of the most creative mixologists at more than 100 hotel bars globally throughout International Pineapple Week. Participating hotels include NoMo SoHo in New York City; The Hari Hotel London in the United Kingdom; EAST, Beijing in China; Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, California; Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach in Hawaii; Carneros Resort and Spa in Napa Valley, California; Hotel EQ, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia; Carlton Ambassador in The Hague, Netherlands; and Hotel New Otani Tokyo "EXECUTIVE HOUSE ZEN" in Japan. Preferred will also spotlight select hotels’ creations on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, allowing followers to find inspiration for crafting these cocktails at home.

Pineapple Points Booking Promotion
To encourage exploration and fuel memorable moments in hospitality, Preferred will offer a booking bonus of 5,000 I Prefer points – aptly known as ‘Pineapple Points’ during this celebratory week – for reservations made at 54 participating member hotels for stays through March 31, 2020 via or To be eligible to receive the bonus points, travelers must be enrolled in the brand’s I Prefer Hotel Rewards program or enroll during the booking process. The world’s largest global points-based hotel loyalty program, I Prefer is free to join and extends points redeemable towards free nights and other on-property activities, elite status, and other complimentary benefits to guests at more than 700 participating properties around the globe. For the full list of hotels participating in the Pineapple Points booking promotion, visit

Preferred Pineapple Surprise & Delight Turndown
An evening turndown is a quintessential marker of the luxury hotel experience and during International Pineapple Week, guests staying at 19 participating hotels will enjoy a special turndown gift, compliments of Preferred. Provided at hotels ranging from Royalton Hotel New York and Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans to Grand Velas Riviera Maya in Cancun and Porta Hotel Antigua in Guatemala, Preferred will surprise and delight guests for one or two nights between June 1 and 9 with a silky eye mask and a bedtime story via a creative postcard that shares the history of the pineapple, along with an exclusive offer to claim 5,000 Pineapple Points as a bonus for enrolling in I Prefer.

Microsite and Social Media Activities
Preferred welcomes its global community to join in the excitement by visiting the International Pineapple Week microsite regularly. Serving as the hub where the brand’s global community of hoteliers, travelers, associates, and other partners can connect about the week’s festivities, the celebratory site will feature a vibrant mix of commissioned artwork, fun pineapple facts, inspiring content from collaborators in Singapore, London, and New York, and visual highlights from the Pineapple Cocktail Series, alongside information on hotels participating in the various special programs. Preferred’s social channels (@PreferredHotels) will also celebrate International Pineapple Week in the days leading up to and through June 1 – 9, 2019 utilizing #PreferredPineappleWeek.

A Sweet Partnership with Malai Ice Cream in New York City
As a regional treat for residents of New York City and visitors to the Big Apple alike, Preferred Hotels & Resorts has teamed up with Brooklyn-based, spice-forward artisanal ice cream shop Malai to launch a globally inspired flavor-of-the-month: Preferred Pineapple Pink Peppercorn. Taking its cue from the symbolism behind the Preferred brand logo, this bright, pineapple-infused ice cream aims to encourage exploration and curiosity, and will be available for purchase throughout the month of June at Malai’s new storefront in Cobble Hill (268 Smith St.) To kick off International Pineapple Week on Saturday, June 1, the brands will stage two pop-up carts at Preferred member hotels NoMo SoHo on Crosby Street and the newly opened Hotel Henri in Nomad, inviting hotel guests, local residents, and passersby to enjoy one free scoop per person between 1-2pm, or for purchase between 2-5pm. Malai’s popular flavor Sweet Milk will also be available for purchase from 1-5pm. In addition to free ice cream, visitors to the pop-up carts will be able to enter a social media giveaway comprising a two-night stay with breakfast at NoMo SoHo and two pints of Malai Ice Cream every month for six months. Giveaway details will go live on Instagram via @PreferredHotels and @Malai_icecream on June 1. For more information on International Pineapple Week, visit or join the conversation on social via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, WeChat and Sina Weibo. For more information on I Prefer Hotel Rewards and to redeem Pineapple Points, visit

Monday, 27 May 2019

World first submarine experience launched on Great Barrier Reef

The world’s first rideshare submarine has today been launched in a landmark partnership between Tourism and Events Queensland and Uber which will showcase the Great Barrier Reef like never before.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said today’s launch of ‘scUber’ on Heron Island would give tourists a chance to experience the Great Barrier Reef by submarine for the first time in history.

Ms Jones said the promotion was designed to attract thousands of tourists in key source markets like the US, Canada, UK, France and New Zealand.

“The Great Barrier Reef is our greatest tourism asset. This will give visitors a completely new way to experience this great natural wonder,” she said.

“We’re working harder than ever before to find new ways to showcase the unique experiences on offer in Queensland.

“This is all about boosting international visitor numbers to Queensland. We’ll tap into Uber’s vast customer base throughout North America and Europe to showcase the Reef.

“Our exclusive four-week promotion is about getting the message out to the world that the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most beautiful places on earth to visit.”

Ms Jones said the campaign would generate an extra 1.4 million visitors and deliver an additional $1.8 billion in visitor expenditure to the region over the next three years supporting 15,700 jobs.

“We’re investing more in tourism than any other government in history to attract more visitors and support local jobs,” she said.

“This campaign will support 15,700 tourism jobs in Queensland over the next three years.

“We know that visiting the Great Barrier Reef can change people’s perception. By giving more visitors direct, personal access, scUber will hopefully inspire others to come and experience the Reef’s beauty.

“During the promotion, Uber riders will have the chance to request one of the limited rides available in the three-person manned submersible and experience what the future of underwater travel could hold.”

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the scUber promotion would show the world that the Great Barrier Reef is brimming with life.

“This is a great win for Gladstone and for tourism businesses right throughout Central Queensland,” he said.

“The Great Barrier Reef is the centrepiece of Queensland’s tourism offering, and Australia’s most valuable natural tourism asset, welcoming almost three million visitors per year, contributing $5.7 billion in economic value and supporting almost 59,000 full time jobs.

“This campaign will show the world through the eyes of high-profile influencers, the media and every day travellers that the reef is teeming with life, marine animals and beauty.

“The management of the Great Barrier Reef is world-leading and Queensland’s tourism industry plays a key role in protecting and advocating for the reef.

“Tourism operators in Queensland are developing innovative new experiences to meet evolving consumer trends and we hope the launch of scUber will stimulate demand for this new type of travel.”

TEQ Chief Executive Officer Leanne Coddington said it was fitting to launch the campaign 10 years on from the Best Job in the World promotion.

“Just as ‘Best Job’ was a ground-breaking way to promote the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, the launch of scUber will offer an unparalleled insight and unfiltered lens to the extraordinary underwater world of the reef,” Ms Coddington said.

“Research undertaken for TEQ in late 2018 showed us that submarine travel was at the top of travellers wish-lists as a future experience on the reef.

“scUber brings that wish to reality, and a lucky few from around the world will tell that story to the world over the next four weeks, showcasing the reef like never before.”

Susan Anderson, Regional General Manager of Uber, Australia and New Zealand, said the submarine was an innovative first for the Great Barrier Reef.

“Uber is committed to harnessing the power of technology for good. We are proud to partner with Tourism and Events Queensland to help showcase the reef to the world with the launch of scUber,” Mrs Anderson said.

“At Uber, we believe good things happen when people move - whether that’s by getting people from A to B in their city, or by making dreams come true experiencing the world’s greatest natural wonder, the Great Barrier Reef.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how visitors to the Great Barrier Reef embrace this new form of movement and become advocates of the reef for years to come.”

The initiative will be supported by a global integrated marketing campaign, consumer competition and retail offerings through key distribution partners like Flight Centre in the UK, House of Travel in NZ and About Australia and Aspire Down Under in the USA.

Uber users in the key source markets of the USA, Canada, UK, France, NZ and Australia will also be able to enter a competition with a winner from each market selected to travel to Queensland and experience scUber in Tropical North Queensland.

A ride in the scUber submarine will allow travellers to go beyond the limits of conventional diving to explore the Great Barrier Reef at depths of up to 30 metres, with 180-degree views, and all without getting wet.

ScUber will be available starting on Heron Island, off the coast of Gladstone in the Southern Great Barrier Reef region before moving north to Quicksilver Cruises’ Agincourt Reef off the coast of Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland.

The once-in-a-lifetime experience will be bookable through the Uber app, strictly subject to availability, from 27 May – 18 June 2019.

ERA - Explore the Real Asia

ERA is a Specialist Inbound Tour Operator based in Hanoi Vietnam since 2006, now expanding to develop as Vietnam Office of Eastbound group head office in New Delhi India as well as DMC for Lao/Cambodia/Myanmar/India.

ERA has been proud of having great the chance to receive all friends from all over the world since the beginning till now.

We are at ERA have received all foreigners from the France, USA, Norway, Belgium… in Europe since 2006.

At ERA (Explore Real Asia), we believe that all travelers will love our country if they see it as it is: rich in diversity and color, proud, welcoming, creative, friendly, affordable, safe and simple.

We proudly share our love for Vietnam by offering reliable and quality service since 2006 to more than 10,000 travelers worldwide.

We put all our heart into our itinerary, but these are just examples of what we can offer. What we do best is to build or adapt the itinerary best suit to each group.

In short, by this mail, ERA is very glad to receive you and your clients for the holiday planning to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, India.

Please feel free to let us have a chance to assist you for being a good advisor for your clients holiday planning.

34, Lot 7, Den Lu 1, Hoang Mai Dist, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (84-24) 3622 7195 - 3622 7752
Hotline: +849-8877 6874 (whatsapp/telegram/viber/zalo)
Skype: camvan0809 *

Top Tips for VIVID 2019

Bright ideas for a smooth visit to #vividsydney. If you’re heading to the festival tonight, here are some tips to consider:

✔ Leave the car at home – Public transport is recommended (avoid ferries if possible)
✔ Check changes to traffic and transport services before travelling Use our maps and guides on our website:
✔ One-way walking flow in place tonight on the Vivid Sydney Light Walk. Check out the animated Light Walk map to familiarise yourself with the route.
✔ Always have a plan B in case of delays
✔ Families can avoid the most popular times by visiting Mon-Thur between 6pm-8pm
✔ Pick up free Lost Child Wristbands for the kids at info booths located near the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Customs House and Darling Harbour
✔ Ask our friendly volunteers in bright pink jackets for help if needed
✔ For info on accessibility:
✔ Great starting points with food and drinks nearby:
- Chatswood from 5.30pm
- Barangaroo (Wulugul Walk)
- Darling Harbour, Sydney from 6pm-11pm
- The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney from 6pm-11pm
- Luna Park Sydney from 6pm-10pm

Lights On 6-11pm, until 15 June


Penrith is full of unexpected finds and the NSW Government’s latest marketing campaign in partnership with Penrith City Council is set to entice potential visitors to come and explore it for themselves.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the State Government had matched the Council’s $100,000 contribution dollar for dollar, resulting in a $200,000 campaign for the region.

“Penrith has it all - from outdoor adventures, adrenaline activities, a rich history, diverse arts and culture offering and a thriving food and wine scene,” Mr Ayres said.

“A short drive from Sydney and you can be another world away in a spot that’s perfect for singles, couples, friends and families alike to spend a few nights.”

The Penrith – Not Your Usual marketing program consists of paid advertising focused on digital channels such as social media, video and display that will directly target the adventure seeker audience in Sydney and regional NSW. The paid advertising will be complemented by dedicated PR activity by Destination NSW.

Read more about the new marketing campaign in The Western Weekender.

Highlights of Canadian Tourism 2018

Following on from a record breaking 2018 for Canada’s tourism sector, we’re looking back at some of the highlights of our year.

  • In 2018, our marketing activities generated an additional 1.39 million visitors to Canada contributing over $1.76 billion in every community across Canada.
  • Our marketing activities contributed an additional 13,300 jobs supporting tourism in 2018.
  • Our business events program positions Canada as a smart choice for hosting international meetings and incentives. In 2018, we confirmed $400 million in international business event bookings to Canada and over 392,000 planned delegates.
  • We’ve started shifting how we talk about the impact of tourism to the visitor economy. By this we mean a simple act from one visitor, and the ripple effect that it has on Canada. Hear more from the frontlines:
  • With our partners Tourism Nova Scotia and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Rendez-vous Canada 2018 broke all attendance records with 600+ international buyers from 29 countries.
  • To promote Canada’s francophone experiences, communities and culture around the world, we signed an MOU with RĂ©seau de dĂ©veloppement Ă©conomique et d’employabilitĂ© (RDÉE Canada) late last year.
  • Following our agreement with Halifax Stanfield to align strategic priorities, this piece of content with chef Victor Mercier promoting Atlantic Canada inspires French travellers and saw over 3M views in just 100 days!
  • Our partnership with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada was renewed in 2018, to internationally promote the quality and diversity of Indigenous tourism experiences in Canada that sets us apart from other destinations. We’re proud to continue supporting this important work.
  • We welcomed six new Canadian Signature Experiences in 2018 from BC, Alberta, Ontario and Nunavut to our collection. These 200+ experiences show the world what Canada’s tourism brand is all about.
  • We made 11K+ posts on consumer social media channels, getting 19M+ engagements (including lots of ❤️️s!) and 35M+ views of our video content, like this one from @ExploreCanada on Canada Day.

30 Reasons to visit Vivid Sydney 2019

Vivid Sydney illuminates Sydney Harbour once again in 2019 with a stellar line-up of events featuring incredible light artists, music makers and brilliant game changing minds. Vivid Sydney, now in its eleventh year, is the largest festival of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere, lighting up Sydney and surrounds at 6pm each night for 23 days from Friday 24 May until Saturday 15 June 2019.
  1. Lie back under the Argyle Cut in The Rocks and be transported through the imaginative worlds of Pixar’s films. Enjoy an exclusive look at 30 years of animation through the eyes of Pixar Animation Studios including some of their most loved characters such as Woody and Buzz Lightyear.
  2. It’s undoubtedly the best time to enjoy a Sydney Harbour cruise. Shimmering lights, grand projections, it is the best show around.
  3. Experience the magic of Taronga Zoo at night; with new lantern, Sumatran Tiger Cubs, marking the birth of three new tiger cubs and highlighting the zoo’s commitment to conservation.
  4. Explore a festival within a festival: from the Audiocraft Podcast Festival to Freshflix Film FestivalSemi Permanent to Sydney Film Festival.
  5. Reimagine the way you see Vivid Sydney with the Samsung Galaxy S10 at Samsung’s Electric Playground in First Fleet Park.
  6. Play with slime but avoid the mess thanks to the Goo project by PropMill at Cadmans Cottage.
  7. Experience over 10 electronic and indie music acts in one day at Curve Ball, Carriageworks. It just might be the warehouse party of the year!
  8. Meet female innovators who are shaping business in Australia at the Next Gen Female Innovators event at Vivid Ideas.
  9. High school students in Years 9-12 can hear from a panel of creative industry professionals about their career pathways and challenges at the inaugural Vivid School. Talk to your teacher and sign up now.
  10. See a concert by a rockin’ female musician as part of X|Celerate at Ziggy’s Barber Shop in Surry Hills.
  11. Play the giant Cascading Harp made of hollow metallic spheres at Chatswood. Be inspired by the traditional sounds of Tibetan meditation tunes or create your own joyful song of positivity and hope.
  12. Be immersed in the most progressive form of music video whilst dancing along to The Rubens at Clipped Music Video Festival.
  13. Explore Sydney’s colonial history from a new perspective by discovering the installations throughout the harbour side quarter where European settlement began in The Rocks such as Watch Your Chips! and Nostalgia Above.
  14. Stroll over Sydney Harbour Bridge to experience City Sparkle, an unforgettable view of Sydney Harbour lit up by thousands of LEDs and projections.
  15. Fly through the night sky on VolarĂ©, Luna Park’s newest ride, described as a “magical wave swinger”.
  16. Kids can let their hair down each Saturday night during Vivid Sydney at Kiddo Disco at Home The Venue in Darling Harbour - an energetic, uplifting and dynamic disco for children that includes dancing, games and a visual wonderland for kids big and small.
  17. See the lighting of the Sydney Opera House sails at 6pm every evening. This year, LA based Andrew Thomas Huang will transform the Sails with Austral Floral Ballet. Uniquely Sydney, uniquely Vivid.
  18. Check out some of the most ambitious and innovative local and international artists performing at the Opera House as part of Vivid LIVE including electronic music powerhouses Underworld and legendary jazz ground-breaker Herbie Hancock.
  19. Embrace your inner child at KA3233 at the Royal Botanic Gardens. The interactive installation is overgrown with alien plant matter and reacts to sounds and space.
  20. Enjoy the Art Gallery of NSW at Vivid Art After Hours with a series of free ideas and music events on Wednesday nights. Catch Meshel Laurie talking about spirituality, Pulitzer Prize winning author Sebastian Smee, and hear an Astronaut’s Playlist – the mixed tape that may have been played during the Apollo 11 moon landing.
  21. Experience the magic of Ballerina by Angelo Bonello, a dream like dance solo shimmering along The Harbour’s edge in Circular Quay.
  22. See Australian music legend Paul Kelly and leading composer James Ledger perform thirteen new songs inspired by birds at the City Recital Hall. Celebrating winged creatures of all kinds.
  23. Learn about architecture and human existence at Co-Existence, in Chatswood. Head down at 6pm each night to see the Limelight Academy transform The Concourse into a 3D mapped projection depicting the connection between architecture, love, peace and harmony.
  24. See the largest puppet constructed in Australia at Barangaroo. The glowing giant Marri Dyin, meaning ‘Great Woman’ in Sydney Aboriginal language will hunt and gather along Wulungul Walk each evening from Thursday to Sunday.
  25. Sink a drink, and watch the lights from the American Express Lounge, Cruise Bar Rooftop at the Overseas Passenger Terminal.
  26. Reflect on Australia’s Indigenous history and celebrate the Year of Indigenous Languages on the Sydney Harbour Bridge southern pylon. Eora: Broken Spear curated by Rhonda Roberts AO depicts the actions of peace-seeking members of the Indigenous Australia during first contact.
  27. There is something for everybody at Tumbalong Lights in Darling Harbour. Celebrating the art of play, the basic right of inclusion and the joy of discovery. The space inspired playSPACE is accessible to all ages and abilities.
  28. Walk through Firefly Field in the Royal Botanic Garden to experience the beautiful, unpredictable natural movement of the rare creatures.
  29. Learn what goes on Under The Harbour during Vivid Sydney at Customs House. A surreal underwater encounter sure to delight children and adults alike.
  30. Be seduced by the imposing art-deco façade of the Museum of Contemporary Art as it is transformed by award-winning Australian-Colombian artist Claudia Nicholson underscored by the cool and contemporary sounds of Lonelyspeck.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Telling the reef's story

The Great Barrier Reef continues to rank highly as a desirable holiday destination in Queensland’s key international markets and is a significant driver of visitation to Queensland.

It is vital to continue to build a greater understanding of the biodiversity of this remarkable ecosystem – the very basis of its World Heritage listing – which is central to inspiring future visitors.

The scUber promotion aims to tell the story of the reef, showcasing the reef from angles rarely experienced by tourists and giving travellers a profound sense of awe to create new stories about the reef.

Read more about why this campaign has been launched


One of the most successful musicals of the decade, Hamilton, is coming to Sydney thanks to the NSW Government.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said more than 130,000 people are expected to visit NSW to see the production.

“This is a huge win for NSW,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Hamilton coming to Sydney demonstrates the global appeal of the Harbour City.

“The musical is one of the most talked about Broadway shows, achieving massive success with a Grammy Award, Pulitzer Prize and a number of Tony Awards.”

Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres said the production is expected support up to 350 jobs and generate more than $84 million in visitor expenditure.

“Hamilton has been described as the hottest show on both Broadway and the West End and is sure to make its mark at the beautiful Sydney Lyric Theatre,” Mr Ayres said.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said the NSW Government is committed to attracting the best musical productions to the State.

“We are thrilled that Sydney will premiere one of the world’s most successful musicals, Hamilton. This critically-acclaimed creative masterpiece has captured audiences globally through its unique storytelling and style,” Mr Harwin said.

Hamilton premiered on Broadway in August 2015 and took home 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album. It is also currently playing on tour in the US and in London’s West End, where it opened in January 2017 winning seven Olivier Awards.

Hamilton is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Hamilton’s score blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway – the story of America then, as told by America now.

Hamilton will be presented at the Sydney Lyric Theatre from March 2021. People interested in purchasing tickets can register their interest on the following waitlist:

Image (L to R): Minister for the Arts Don Harwin, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Producer Michael Cassel, Destination CEO Sandra Chipchase and Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres.


Taronga Zoo Sydney is welcoming new animals to 'Lights for the Wild' for #vividsydney! 🐹 Visit a sleepy koala and the playful Sumatran tiger cubs when exploring this extraordinary collection of light installations 🐯#VividTaronga backed by American Express.

Bookings essential, buy your tickets now

Lights On 5.30pm-9pm, 24 May - 15 June 📍#TarongaZooo

Mekong Irrawaddy Dolphins

A Cambodia tour is made unique with a visit to Kratie, some five hours north of the national capital Phnom Penh, to see the endangered freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins.

Only 92 of the timid maritime mammals remain, mostly living in their habit a 190-kilometre stretch of the Mekong running between Kampi, an attractive village just north of Kratie, all the way up to Laos.

Some 25 of these magnificent mammals can be found in the waters off Kampi accessible by boat. A visit with an English-speaking guide can be included in a tailored package from Cambodia’s leading inbound tour operator, Christinair Tours, which has released its unique 4-day, 3-night ‘Timeless Angkor’ holiday tours for 2019/20.

Due to their special place in the hearts of Cambodians, news about the mammals also known as the Mekong River Dolphin or Kratie Dolphin, make headlines throughout the country. They are considered family.

The recent death of a 92 kg dolphin entangled in an illegal fishing net created great concern among Cambodians. While the waters are protected and regularly policed it is not an uncommon danger for dolphins whose habitat is prized by local fishermen.

In spite of major efforts to improve their numbers, the endangered marine mammals are facing an uncertain future. There were 80 recorded Irrawaddy dolphins in 2015. Four were born in the first few months of this year, gestation taking two to three years, but two died. Additional numbers were recorded by sight.

The dolphins are grey blue in colour, feature a large forehead, rounded skull, a mouth set in a smile and a dorsal fin located on their back. They also have long-broad flippers, weigh up to 136 kgs and grow to 2.5 metres in length.

Irrawaddy dolphins communicate using clicks and buzzing sounds and travel in small pods of three to six and occasionally up to 15 or more. They remain social with one another in their pods and will intermingle with other pods.

Seeing the Irrawaddy dolphin in the wild can be a truly memorable experience but don’t expect them to leap out of the water and play like Flipper. The Irrawaddy dolphin is timid preferring to rise from the water to show you a smile or two, their backs and fins, and then retreat to the deep waters of the Mekong. A day trip with Christinair Tours takes 3-5 hours and can be started at any time of the day from Kratie town. Viewing is guaranteed.

See the Irrawaddy dolphins while you can.

*Written by Grahame Cox