Sunday, 30 June 2019

Beluga Whales Safely Land in Iceland

SEA LIFE Trust are happy to confirm the safe arrival of two beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White, after a 6,000 mile journey from China to Iceland
  • Little Grey and Little White are in good health after their Cargolux Airlines flight and will now continue their epic relocation from captivity to the world's first open water sanctuary for beluga whales
  • Following severe weather conditions in April, the re-location was re-scheduled to June
  • The move heralds one of the biggest developments in captive whale and dolphin care and protection in decades and the first of its kind to be created for cetaceans

Two former captive whales, Little Grey and Little White, have safely touched down in Iceland following a 6,000 mile flight from China. The pair now face the final stage of their journey by truck and ferry to the world's first open water sanctuary for beluga whales.

The SEA LIFE Trust has today confirmed that Little Grey and Little White have arrived at Keflavik Airport (Iceland's International Airport) after having successfully completed the first leg of their landmark journey. The flight, sponsored by Cargolux Airlines Intl, landed locally this afternoon. The whales will now continue onto their new home, a large sanctuary in a natural bay on Heimaey, one of the Westman Islands, located off the southern coast of Iceland.

The two belugas were transported in custom-made slings designed to their exact physical requirements, and were then placed in tailored containers. After a lorry trip from Changfeng Ocean World to Shanghai Pu Dong airport, the whales were loaded onto a specially branded Cargolux freighter. The procedure was successful and the aircraft departed Shanghai.

Little Grey and Little White were monitored by their care teams to ensure they remained safe and comfortable throughout the 11.30-12-hour flight. A Cargolux engineer and a team of global veterinary experts with experience in transporting marine mammals were also on board, to guarantee the whale's welfare, whilst ensuring flight safety requirements were upheld.

Andy Bool, Head of SEA LIFE Trust, said: “We're absolutely delighted Little Grey and Little White have safely touched down in Iceland. This is a complex but inspiring project and we've been working with the whales for months helping to prepare them for travelling to their new home.

We'll continue to carefully monitor the whales but we're pleased with their overall progress and welfare checks, which have been taking place throughout the relocation. The co-ordination of this project has been down to so many people and we're extremely grateful for all their hard work, and are thrilled this epic journey has gone as planned.”

The 747-400ERF freighter plane was welcomed onto the tarmac with a ceremonial water salute from two fire trucks firing a water arc over the plane, in celebration of Iceland's newest residents' safe arrival.

Little Grey and Little White will now be transferred on board two lorries from Keflavik Airport before catching a ferry to Heimaey – off the south coast of Iceland. Once they arrive on the island, they will be placed in their dedicated sanctuary quarantine care pool for monitoring and resting after their epic journey. They will then move to their new home in the secluded open-water bay.

Richard Forson, Cargolux President and Chief Executive Officer, added: “We are delighted that Little Grey and Little White enjoyed a seamless journey onboard our Cargolux aircraft. The success of this undertaking is the reflection of the dedication and commitment of teams across all of our organisations who worked tirelessly to make this happen.

This epic relocation required complex logistical efforts, and we are proud to have been part of this incredible journey. We hope that Little Grey and Little White rapidly adapt to their new home and that their story will serve as a precedent for other cetaceans held in captivity.”

Created in partnership with global marine wildlife charity, Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), the SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary is one of the biggest developments in captive whale and dolphin care and protection in decades and the first of its kind to be created for cetaceans.

Cathy Williamson, Whale and Dolphin Conservation's End Captivity Programme Policy Manager concluded: “Having been originally involved in discussions about a sanctuary with SEA LIFE 20 years ago, and having helped with this beluga whale project from the beginning, WDC is naturally very excited to be part of the welcoming committee for Little White and Little Grey as they touch down in Iceland.

The world's first whale sanctuary represents a pathway to the end of the keeping of whales and dolphins confined for entertainment. We are proud to be a partner of this important project that will improve welfare for these belugas, and show the world that there is an alternative to whale and dolphin captivity.”

The sheltered bay will be the world's first open water sanctuary for beluga whales in what is a ground-breaking global marine welfare project. The bay, which measures approximately 32,000 sqm with a depth of up to 10m has been chosen to provide a more natural sub-Arctic environment and wilder habitat for these amazing whales to call home.

For more information about the SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary, visit

Visual Arts at the Darwin Festival

Across the Festival opening weekend, the much-loved Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair celebrates its 13th year with art from more than 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community art centres, and an exciting program of traditional dance, workshops, film, music and the Fair’s fashion show From Country to Couture. This year, Melbourne fashion label Gorman has collaborated with Mangkaja Arts Collection to showcase 40 looks featuring the artwork of artists from Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia.

For over 17 years Behind the Wire has provided Northern Territory prisoners with an opportunity to exhibit their works of art to the public. Be awed by the amazing depth and creativity of their works from Saturday 10 – Sunday 25 August at Fannie Bay Gaol.  

Australia’s most prestigious national Indigenous art awards is back for the 36th year. The Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (Telstra NATSIAA) celebrate the extraordinary artists from diverse geographic regions across the country, and bring an important Indigenous voice to the political, social and cultural dialogue in Australia. Engage in the wonderful works of up and coming artists and enjoy the major works of Australia’s most revered artists.  This year’s awards ceremony and opening night on Friday 9 August will be filled with incredible live performances, music and dance. 

Salon Art Projects presents six curated exhibitions across Darwin galleries. RIKINA! is an exhibition from the small community of Kaltjiti in the remote APY Lands. The local Art Centre is a place of learning where elders teach younger generations about cultural traditions and stories through their artworks. This exhibition is a survey of works that are both compelling and powerful. RIKINA! is on at Paul Johnstone Gallery, Friday 2 - Saturday 24 August.
Multi-award-winning artist Naminapu Maymuru-White paints the River of Stars, known in English as the Milky Way and understood by the Mangalili people as the astral version of the Milŋiyawuy River. In this river the Guwak ancestral beings drowned and became the stars in the night sky. To see this exhibition head to Project Space, Saturday 17 August - Saturday 7 September

Step into Mayfair Gallery and step back in time. Old Darwin is a large group exhibition celebrating an era of Darwin art, design and classic interior aesthetics of the Top End in the late 1970s and early 1980s. See it at Mayfair Gallery, Friday 16 - Saturday 24 August.

More information:

Gymnastics Australia Checks in With Accor Hotels

Gymnastics Australia have welcomed Accor hotels as the organisation's Official Accommodation Partner in a multi-year deal which will support members, athletes, officials and the broader gymnastics community in accessing premium accommodation nationwide.

Accor hotels will act as the official hotel partner of GA's three major events – the World Cup and Australian Championships in Melbourne as well as the National Clubs Carnival on the Gold Coast, the largest gymnastics event in Australia with more than 4000 participants.

Furthermore, Accor will provide exclusive discounted rates at its collection of Art Series, Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree properties to GA members and families to ensure they can access the best deals for both gymnastics competitions and leisure travel needs.

“It is great to welcome such a strong brand as Accor to the Gymnastics Australia family,” said GA CEO Kitty Chiller.

“Accor joins us at a time of great growth in the sport and adds to the expanding list of brands aligning with Gymnastics Australia.

“There are hundreds of gymnastics events held nationally each year and access to the best accommodation for teams and athletes is essential. With Accor's Art Series, Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree hotels, we not only have apartment-style rooms which are ideal for clubs and teams, but a broad network and offers that provide families and travelling teams.

“The gymnastics community can use all Art Series, Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree hotels, and has the added bonus of being able to access these offers for leisure travel too.”

This agreement adds to Accor's growing list of sporting partnerships, including IRONMAN Australia, Touch Football Australia, Surf Life Saving Queensland and the Brisbane Bandits.

Accor Chief Operating Officer Pacific, Simon McGrath, said he is thrilled Gymnastics Australia has selected to partner with Accor.

“Our company is a great supporter of sport and youth participation,” said Mr McGrath.

“We look forward to working with Gymnastics Australia, its members, athletes, officials, spectators, stakeholders and communities to play an active role in the evolution of the sport.”

Under the new partnership with the world-leading Accor hospitality group, GA's national team and squads touring internationally will have access to hundreds of properties around the world.


Rainforest Cruises Introduces New Luxury Cruise Vessel on Mekong River

Rainforest Cruises, a premier provider of exotic river cruise travel packages, is announcing the addition of a new Luxury Mekong River cruise, the Mekong Jewel. It is scheduled to sail the Mekong River through Vietnam and Cambodia from October 2020.

Designed for the Mekong River, the luxury cruise vessel will provide luxury amenities, services and state-of-the-art facilities. Highlights include a panoramic sky lounge, private balconies in all suites, a guest to staff ratio of 2:1, and sustainable practices on-board, which means ‘no plastic’.

A river cruise in Cambodia and Vietnam is an ideal way to tour these emerging destinations. The Mekong Jewel covers vast distances in areas where infrastructure is still developing, and visits numerous destinations, allowing for an intimate look at life on the river as it was centuries ago, with the unspoiled beauty of ancient temples, surrounding landscape, and local people. Its 34 indulgent suites and on-board facilities that set new standards in all aspects will allow travellers to optimise their time on-board and off-board, with expert guides leading an itinerary covering the best of these destinations. Visit the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, the spectacular Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, experience a water blessing by the monks of Wat Arang, admire the French architecture of the Opera House in Ho Chi Minh City, among other exciting highlights.

47 Phan Chu Trinh street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi, Vietnam

Attractions & Events in Los Angeles

Universal Studios Hollywood (Universal City) - Jurassic World – The Ride
Summer 2019
This summer at Universal Studios Hollywood the all-new attraction Jurassic World – The Ride will debut. The eagerly awaited reimagining of the Jurassic Park attraction will send guests down a thrilling, 84-foot waterfall all set around an original storyline that takes place within the theme park as depicted in Jurassic World. It will feature additional new dinosaurs from the film, lush scenic design, and ground-breaking technology that has yet to be experienced within a theme park.

2019 Summer dineL.A. (Citywide)
July 12 – 26, 2019
The dineL.A. program is a biannual, 15-day dining event showcasing the city as a premier dining destination. It offers diners value-driven lunch and dinner menus from over 400 restaurants across L.A. Lunch menus range from $15, $20, $25 to $35, with dinner menus priced at $29, $39, $49 and $59. For visitors who want to try exclusive tasting menus from some of L.A.'s most celebrated restaurants like Providence and Spago, prices start at $99 per person.

Outfest Los Angeles (Citywide)
July 18 – 28, 2019
Considered the preeminent LGBTQ film festival in the world and oldest film festival in L.A., 2019 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival returns from July 18 to July 28 for 11 days of world-class films, panels and parties. Each summer Outfest Los Angeles screens more than 150 feature and short films to an audience more than 40,000 people at venues across the city like The Orpheum, and Ford Theatres.

2019 DTLA Proud Festival (Pershing Square, Downtown)
August 23 – 25, 2019
Now in its fourth year, DTLA Proud Festival returns to the heart of Downtown L.A. from August 23-25 in Pershing Square. A perfect itinerary addition to a late summer visit, the 3-day festival includes a diverse lineup of local stage talent, community booths, art installations, retail vendors, interactive exhibits, food trucks and a pop-up water park.

Bob Baker Marionette Theatre (Highland Park)
Summer 2019
Shows will begin again at their new home in the effortlessly cool and ever evolving neighborhood of Highland Park this summer. The theatre trip is set to bring its 3,000 puppets, endless ice cream, boundless imagination, and love for its Los Angeles community to its new location at 4949 York Boulevard.

LA Stadium at Hollywood Park (South Bay)
When the LA Stadium at Hollywood Park opens in 2020, it will house L.A.'s two NFL teams: the Los Angeles Chargers and 2019 NFC Conference Champions Los Angeles Rams. The state of the art, open-air stadium will host Super Bowl LVI in 2022.

Los Angeles Convention Center (South Park, Downtown)
February 2022
An estimated $1.25-billion project will transform the Convention Center and adjacent L.A. LIVE into a fully integrated 100-acre meetings and conventions destination with over 2 million sq. ft. of total event space; 2,240 on-site hotel rooms; 20 restaurants; unique venues and more. The entire campus project is expected to be fully complete and operational by February 2022 for the Super Bowl Fan Fest.


Destination NSW’s largest trade event for the Greater China market will be held in New South Wales for the very first time from 1-7 September 2019.

This key annual event for Destination NSW, once known as the Greater China Roadshow has previously been held in different locations in China. Focus on Greater China is designed to showcase Sydney and NSW products and destinations to key Chinese, Hong Kong, and Taiwanese trade partners. 

Destination NSW is providing this unique opportunity to the NSW tourism industry by bringing the key Greater China partners to discover and experience NSW first hand. NSW tourism suppliers are invited to attend the two-day workshop held in Sydney on 5 - 6 September 2019 to meet with the 50 key travel agents. 

The structured workshops will include one-on-one appointments with agents, followed by further networking at a gala networking dinner. 

To register for the Focus On Greater China 2019 event, please click here.


Sustainable Tourism: Ways Your Trip Can Have a Positive Impact
When we go on holiday to a new place, it is increasingly important for us to learn as much as we can about the local atmosphere and culture. Often, the best part of the trip is when we are able to interact with the people and place in an authentic way.

As the world around us is affected by climate change and transitioning environments, our efforts to travel in a sustainable way become more crucial to the conservation of the beautiful wildlife and sights we encounter. By incorporating sustainability on our holidays, we can do our part in making a positive, ethical impact on local environments and communities.

Impacts of Tourism on the Environment
Unfortunately, as travelling is made easier and more countries develop tourism industries, the environment usually takes a toll. Increasing the need for resources, the consumption percentages of local products and produce, and the use of public transportation often leads to pollution and negative impacts on the ecosystem. Research in sustainable tourism has shown that many places are not equipped to efficiently conserve the environment while maintaining the influx of travellers. For example, the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, where water is scarce, uses 12 million litres of water per year. In the Caribbean, where tourists love to snorkel and scuba-dive, around two-thirds of coral reefs are in danger. These facts should be frightening to us; our trips, while seemingly fun for the whole family, may be damaging the world that contains our fondest holiday memories.

Steps You Can Take to Further Sustainability
The facts of the changing environment should be kept in mind when planning your next holiday, and thankfully there are a number of solutions for a sustainable trip.

The best way to further your sustainable efforts is to begin at home. Teaching conservation to your family while at home and on holiday will spawn the next generation of sustainable travellers. By playing simple environmental games, like I-Spy to learn about new species on your trip or trash pick-up on the beach, you can inspire your children to maintain a healthy environment. Also, it’s great fun for the whole family to keep a list or tally of all the new animals you may encounter on holiday. Your children will be the first ones to the beach in the morning, looking for tiny crabs and seagulls to add to the list.

In addition to sharing sustainable knowledge with the family, it is important to make sure that your holiday is planned with the environment in mind, in terms of the residence you book, the activities you organize, and the items you pack. Avoiding all-inclusive resorts and restaurants that don’t use sustainable animal products are small ways you can positively impact the environment. Also, spend an afternoon volunteering in a beach clean-up or at the community park instead of going on a boat tour or shopping. This will teach your family the importance of sustainability in every new environment you encounter together.

Read the full article at PATA:

*Contributed by Jackie Edwards, editor, researcher and writer
Tags: Impacts of Tourism, sustainable tourism

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
c/o 3rd Floor, Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 154 Rama 1 Road, National Stadium, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1
Mobile: +66 8555 44234, +66 8098 95853

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo Performs in Melbourne

Last night saw Monaco's prestigious Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo kick off their first visit to Australia in twenty years with performing “LAC” a contemporary take on Swan Lake, by their renowned Artist Director, Jean-Christophe Maillot.

Performing at the Arts Centre Melbourne, the entire troupe, made up of 48 dancers, including 22 nationalities, is being hosted by the Australian Ballet until 6 July 2019.

With LAC, Jean-Christophe Maillot, has created an extraordinary reworking of Swan Lake, a blend of neo-classical ballet and modern dance turning tradition upside-down.

In collaboration with the writer Jean Rouaud, Maillot revives the torments of a story with a direct connection to our childhood fears and nightmares. These buried experiences are resurrected and combined against a Machiavellian, family backdrop used to present a ballet of contrasts.

At the post premiere reception the Australian Ballet's Artistic Director, David McAllister spoke of his long relationship with Monaco and Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo dating back 19 years and the influence of Jean-Christophe Maillot on his own career. Jean-Christophe Maillot expressed how delighted they are to be sharing this performance with an Australian audience at last.

The Monaco Government Tourist Bureau, Visit Monaco, was excited to be in attendance with guests for the opening night with Regional Director, Alison Roberts-Brown, highlighting the Principality's deep-rooted commitment to the arts and culture:

“Having the ballet here in Melbourne is such an extraordinary opportunity to bring Monaco and Australia closer together through a mutual love of the arts. This is the first time a tour of this scale has been possible and it would not have happened without the Australian Ballet who have been incredible to work with. The entire Ballets de Monte-Carlo troupe is so excited to be here, the energy is almost electric” she said.

Les Ballet de Monte-Carlo is performing at the Arts Centre Melbourne until 6th July 2019 and running a “win a trip to Monaco” promotion including flights, helicopter transfers, a four night stay for two at the iconic Hotel de Paris and a “money can't buy” experience with Le Ballets de Monte-Carlo.

For more information and to buy tickets visit:


Lesser-known destinations in Da Lat that soothe the soul

For people looking for peace and quiet as well as stunning vistas,
 Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong
features a number of easy-to-reach destinations that soothe the soul.
 (Photo: VNA)
For anyone looking for peace and quiet as well as stunning vistas, Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong features a number of easy-to-reach destinations that soothe the soul.

Located 25 kilometers away from the city centre, Ma Rung Lu Quan Homestay will offer visitors a getaway from the hustle and bustle of urban life. It features a lake and a variety of wooden houses.

Surrounding the accommodations are beds of various flowers blooming in colorful shades.

Visitors can fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty and enjoy the fresh air by the lake, a rarity in their urban life.

The place is also ideal for groups and families to have a calming, relaxing experience together.

The Cu Lan village sits by a clear stream, with the water’s flow sounding like a murmured greeting to distant friends who stop to visit. You can enjoy outdoor activities in the village, namely fishing, climbing or sailing.

For coffee lovers, with a unique open space and its 360-degree view of Da Lat from above, Me Linh cafe leaves a deep impression on visitors.

Enjoying the delicious and aromatic Da Lat coffee while hearing the wind blowing high up in the sky and seeing the green fields below makes this an experience you will never forget.
Source: VNA
Tags: Da Lat, Lam Dong, Central Highlands,


Bubbling hot natural springs, long countryside lunches, Aboriginal arts and history plus vast cotton fields are among the idyllic vistas which feature in a new content package designed to showcase the beauty of regional NSW town, Moree.

The stunning series of videos and images, produced by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, focuses on the array of authentic experiences on offer in Northern NSW.

Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres said initiatives like this are crucial for growing tourism in rural and regional parts of our State.

“Tourism is vital to rural and regional communities, contributing $19.5 billion to the NSW economy and directly employing more than 90,000 people,” Mr Ayres said.

“The NSW Government is committed to supporting our regions through tourism, and after viewing this beautiful new content, why wouldn’t you want to visit. With such rich history, unique landscapes and an abundance of fresh produce, a trip to regional NSW should be at the top of everyone’s destination list.”

Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said he is delighted with the opportunity to promote the best of the bush with the world.

“There is so much to see and do in Moree - whether that’s relaxing in the town’s iconic mineral springs, relishing a long lunch in the countryside, appreciating the local art or meet your producers with a tour at a local pecan farm,” Mr Marshall said.

“No matter your age, background or interests, the rich diversity of regional NSW means there is something for everybody to enjoy.”

View and download the new Moree content package from the Destination NSW Content Library.

Abeno Harukas - The tallest skyscraper in Japan

Abeno Harukas, which is conveniently located next to Osaka's JR Tennoji Station, is the tallest skyscraper in Japan (Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure).

From the observation deck at a height of 300 meters, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Kansai region.

It is stories high 60 aboveground, and 5 underground.

In addition, from now until late October, "Beer 300" in the roof garden area of the observation deck is serving its customers with barbeque menus and all-you-can-drink plans.

Don't miss out this golden chance to enjoy summertime drinks in the open air!

“Harukas” is an old Japanese expression meaning “to brighten, to clear up.”

As its namesake suggests, ABENO HARUKAS embodies the exhilation of clear, sweeping
views of Osaka from its top floor 300 meters in the air.

The complex’s wide array of facilities and amenities answer every need, promising every visitor a relaxing time in a bright, comfortable environment.

ABENO HARUKAS is the future of multifunctional urban space in the sky. 


Discover archaeology and adventure at the Museum of Tropical Queensland these school holidays in the brand new program Excavated from Saturday 29 June until Sunday 14 July.

Families will have loads of fun as they work through the interactive Field School to complete their Junior Archaeologist passport and explore how scientists link their discoveries to people, stories and moments.

Kids can participate in a range of hands-on activities that include excavation, identification, stratigraphy, classification and conservation.

Also included in the program are exclusive ticketed events which include weekend puppetry workshops with international production house Dead Puppets Society and exclusive Museum back-of-house tours.

The full program can be seen on the Museum website here.

SCHOOL HOLIDAY PROGRAM | Saturday 29 June - Sunday 14 July
Cost: Free with Museum admission

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

3 Top-rated railway rides in Japan with breathtaking views

rice field art in Akita Prefecture
If you love to tour around Japan, then taking the train is the way to go! Trains in Japan are not just a means of getting from one point to another, but an experience in itself and an opportunity to capture some of your best photos of Japan.

Many of our JAPAN by Japan users simply enjoy the beautiful sceneries through the windows while they are on train rides. There are also plenty of people who love to photograph the stunning views.

We are going to introduce three unique railway routes, Akita Nairiku Jukan Tetsudo Rail and SL Hitoyoshi, Kurobe Gorge Railway!

1) An unique snapshot during your train ride!
You can catch the view of the gigantic rice field art in Akita Prefecture while enjoying a train ride!Please refer to following link for review:

2) Experience the pure joy of riding the oldest railway
Japan's oldest steam locomotive is SL Hitoyoshi. In Kumamoto, this is very popular among the locals.

Please click following for review:

3) I want to snap a photo of the moving train!
Speaking of picturesque views, you must not forget Kurobe Gorge Railway Unazuki Station.

As you can see in the photo, the combination of the red bridge and trains contrasting against the greens and blue sky makes this view irresistible for your camera.

Please click following for review:

If you have taken any railway trips on a train or taken a picture of a train in Japan, please post and share with us!

Other Interesting Facts
When did Japan start its own railway?

The first railway in Japan was constructed in 1872 between Shinbashi Station in Tokyo and Yokohama Station in Kanagawa Prefecture. Japan's rail infrastructure expanded from just a few lines in the early stages to a network that has covered most of the country by the end of the Edo period. Today, Japanese rail technology continues to be the envy of the world, in particular, the shinkansen’s (bullet train) outstanding balance of speed and stability.
The fastest train vs leisure train
Of course, the fastest train is the world-famous shinkansen. There is a shinkansen that travels roughly 500km between Tokyo and Shin‐Osaka in just two and a half hours at speeds of up to 300km per hour.

Some trains are more leisurely and intended mainly for sightseeing from the carriage window. The slowest train in Japan is the Hakone Tozan Railway. At the sharp curve between Hakone Yumoto and Gora, the average speed slows down to 15 km per hour.
Visit Japan Now

Deco Hotel Canberra NOW OPEN!

Complement your next visit to Canberra and be amongst the first to stay at Deco Hotel, Canberra’s newest, stylish and contemporary modern art deco hotel on the door step of Braddon.

A timeless and elegant addition to the Capital Hotel Group. 

You will be made to feel right at home in our luxurious rooms that maximise sunlight, privacy, and provide the latest in-room technology, complemented with a service that is friendly and attentive.

Let us make you feel at home with our OPENING SPECIAL FROM $126 PER NIGHT including free parking and free WiFi!

Features and Facilities include:
  • FREE WiFi
  • Restaurant & Bar
  • Complimentary weekday shuttle bus operating Mon to Fri in the AM
  • 24 Hour Reception, Room Service, Concierge and Gym
  • Secure Underground Parking
  • Latest In-Room Technology with Full Suite Control
  • LCD Televisions with Movies-On-Demand + Foxtel
  • Tea & Coffee Making Facilities
  • Balcony or Courtyard Area
  • In-Room Safe
  • Luxurious Amenities
  • Makeup Mirrors
  • Mini Bar and Separate Bar Fridge
  • Express Checkout
  • Pillow Menu
  • Work Desk
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Rainfall Shower
  • Free Newspapers
  • Double Glazed Window
  • Dry Cleaning
Nespresso Machine

Apartments also include all of the above plus:
  • Separate Dining & Living Area
  • Fully Equipped Kitchen
  • Laundry with Washer & Dryer



Deco Hotel Canberra Northbourne Avenue, Braddon
Capital Hotel Group
1800 828 000


Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), The Mall Group — along with support from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) – unveiled the new ‘SCB M Visa prepaid tourist card’ for foreign travellers this week.

To commemorate the occasion of the card, the first 1,000 customers who apply will receive vouchers worth 500 Baht when spending 2,000 Baht or more at The Mall Group’s department stores from 1 June to 31 December 2019.

Information and applications are available at the Tourist Lounge at the Emporium, Emquartier, Paragon Department Store, and SCB exchange booths at Don Mueang International Airport.

Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, TAT Deputy governor for digital research and development (below, seventh from left), said: “The government strongly believes the payment industry will play an important role in the development of Thailand’s tourism industry. Traveller’s needs are inherently diverse, so driving the adoption and usage of digital payments is the key”

In addition to greater convenience, international security standards and confidence to spend during their time in Thailand, cardholders will also benefit from a number of privileges from more than 53 million Visa-accepting merchant locations in more than 200 countries around the world, according to SCB.

The card is valid for five years, allowing cardholders to enjoy special privileges during every visit to Thailand throughout the validity period. There is no sign-up, annual, or re-issuance fee, and cards can be topped-up for a minimum of 100 Baht at any of The Mall Group’s customer service counters.

Read the full article at Travel Daily:

Tags: outbound market, payment system, Thailand
Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
c/o 3rd Floor, Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 154 Rama 1 Road, National Stadium, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1
Mobile: +66 8555 44234, +66 8098 95853

The Great South West Edge – Discover Australia's Most 'Grammable Road Trip

Western Australia has been hiding a gem – a stunning stretch of coastline from Perth to Esperance known as the Great South West Edge. From indulging in the gourmet delights of the Margaret River Wine region, to taking a selfie with a kangaroo on a beach that boasts the whitest sand in Australia – it's easy to see why this road trip is gaining a reputation as Australia's most instagrammable.

On a recent trip undertaken by travel editor Georgia Rickard and photographer Jarrad Seng, the talented duo were mesmerised by the beauty and diversity on offer in this part of the country.

“Our jobs have seen both Jarrad and myself travel to all corners of Australia (and the world), but there's something very special about this part of Western Australia,” Ms Rickard said.

“It's the diversity of experiences on the Great South West Edge travel route that sets it apart - both visually and emotionally - this road trip makes an impact, so we wanted to create content to share it with the world.”

Taking time out of his busy touring schedule with musicians including Passenger and Angus & Julia Stone, Jarrad Seng said was excited to get back home to Western Australia, to shine a light on a part of the world that he knows and loves.

“The south west coast of WA was my training ground as a photographer – the colour palette here is like nowhere else on earth and seeing it through fresh eyes with Georgia made me discover new elements,” Mr Seng said.

“I'm a strong believer that Aussies should make it a priority to discover their own backyard and the Great South West Edge is one road trip everyone should add to their travel list,” Mr Seng said.

To view the Great South West Edge trailer click here


1. Injidup Natural Spa
Located within the picturesque Margaret River Wine region, this is a place you can simply sit in the water and relax as waves rhythmically fill the pool with a gentle fizz. Nearby you'll find also find equally beautiful monument, Sugarloaf Rock which is a picture-perfect spot for sunset.

2. White Elephant Café
White Elephant beachside café become an internationally-recognized Instagram star, but locals come for something even more important: great coffee!

3. Valley of the Giants
Valley of the Giants is a deeply serene forest of some of the world's biggest trees, which stretch back hundreds of years in age. You can walk beneath them, explore the sights from their leafy tops via a suspended aerial walkway, or even climb one, if you're game.

4. Greens Pool
Western Australia's answer to Bondi's 'Icebergs' swimming pool (except we think this natural version is better), Greens Pool is framed by huge boulders, which act as a protective shore break and a perfectly circular pool of peppermint-tinged water.

5. Elephant Rocks
Five minutes' walk from Greens Pool, Elephant Rocks is named for its likeness to a herd of elephants walking through water. It's the perfect spot for a picnic as the sun dips into the Indian Ocean.

6. Wild orcas at Bremer Bay
Jump aboard a cruise boat to witness the biggest known gathering of wild orcas in the Southern Hemisphere at Bremer Bay – one of few places on Earth you can see these special animals in such numbers.

7. Great Ocean Drive, Esperance
Enjoy more than a dozen dazzling beaches, nearly 100 islands and the famous Twilight Beach along the 20 kilometers of stunning coastline dubbed “Australia's most beautiful stretch of road”. The turquoise water in contrast with the whitest beach sand needs to be seen to be believed.

8. Kangaroos on the beach!
Snap a #selfie with the Insta-famous kangaroos at Lucky Bay (near Esperance) who call this place home.

9. Lake Hillier's 'Pink Lake'
With its bright pink hue and striking juxtaposition against the ocean, the naturally-coloured Lake Hillier is best seen from the air.

10. Wave Rock
Thought to have formed some 130 million years ago, Wave Rock is entirely natural and measures about 15 metres (roughly three storeys) in height; it's about four hours' inland from Great South West Edge on your way back to WA's capital city Perth.


Saturday, 29 June 2019

Say 'Hola' to CaminoWays in Spanish

Spanish speaking pilgrims across the world can now book your memorable Camino de Santiago trip with in your own language as we have just launched our website in Spanish, say 'Hola' to

The team of multicultural travel professionals at is thrilled to be now offering their Camino experiences in two languages: English and Spanish.

“We are really excited to be launching the website in Spanish and offer our top quality service to clients in the Spanish-speaking world from Spain to South America but also in the United States,” explains COO Volker Lorenz.

To celebrate this exciting launch, pilgrims travelling with in July and August can enjoy a special 10% OFF using the code: CAMINOESPECIAL.

To read all about the Camino de Santiago and our latest articles in Spanish visit: where the Camino experts will be sharing all their popular tips, advice and travel inspiration.

For more information about the Camino routes or to book your trip, contact our travel experts at

¡Hola peregrin@s! Para celebrar el lanzamiento de en español, los expertos en el Camino de Santiago, ofrecemos un 10% de descuento en nuestros paquetes de viajes para los meses de julio y agosto. Para disfrutar de esta oferta de verano, simplemente ponte en contacto con nuestros expertos en el Camino y utiliza este código especial: CAMINOESPECIAL.

Estas son algunas ideas para tu viaje:

Este Camino costero te llevará desde la pintoresca ciudad de Porto en Portugal a lo largo de la costa Atlántica y las Rías Baixas de camino a Santiago.

Más sobre esta ruta: Camino Portugués por la costa

El Camino del Norte recorre la maravillosa Cornisa Cantábrica, comenzando en el País Vasco, atravesando Cantabria, Asturias y Galicia hasta llegar a Santiago de Compostela.

Más información sobre esta ruta: Camino del Norte

El Camino a Fisterra Muxía es una ruta muy especial que va desde Santiago de Compostela hasta el Cabo de Finisterre y la villa marinera de Muxía, se consideraba como el “Fin del Mundo”. Un sendero al oeste de la impresionante Costa Atlántica.

Más información sobre esta ruta: Camino a Fisterra Muxía

Condiciones: Este descuento es aplicable solo para nuevas reservas confirmadas antes del 30 de junio para viajar en julio o agosto de 2019. No está permitido combinar descuentos.

Compuesto por un equipo multicultural, organiza paquetes a medida en las diversas rutas del Camino de Santiago, tanto a pie como en bici, solo o en grupo guiado. Nuestros expertos en el Camino organizarán tu itinerario, alojamiento y otros servicios como transporte de maletas para que simplemente disfrutes de esta experiencia inolvidable.

Ponte en contacto con nuestros expertos en el Camino

Film, Classical Music, Words & Ideas at the Darwin Festival

This year, Darwin Festival presents two powerful and captivating films that use the thrilling energy of sport to tell very human stories. Looking into the rites and rituals of a rural New Zealand rugby club, The Ground We Won is a cinema vérité documentary study of manhood, mateship, obligations and belonging, both on the pitch and off. Catch the screening at Deckchair Cinema on Monday 12 August.
Indian Horse follows the life of a Canadian First Nations boy as he survives an oppressive residential school, and life in the face of aggressive assimilation policies and racism. A talented ice hockey player, Saul must find his own path as he battles stereotypes and alcoholism. No matter how good he is at ice hockey, he’ll always be seen as second class because of his Indigenous heritage. Don’t miss it at Deckchair Cinema on Monday 19 August

It’s the year for significant birthdays with Darwin Symphony Orchestra getting festive for their 30th Anniversary Gala. A program of three very different compositions feature in this musical night to remember, including Sibelius’ rousing Finlandia followed by a world premiere from celebrated Australian composer Lachlan Skipworth commissioned especially for the 30th anniversary and designed to reflect the spirit of the Territory. This special triple bill takes place at the Darwin Convention Centre, Saturday 24 August.

Filled with gorgeous music, Opera Australia is back in Darwin, this time transporting audiences to the exotic sights and sounds of Japan with Puccini’s famous opera Madama Butterfly. One of Australia’s greatest theatrical minds, John Bell, directs this production performed by Opera Australia’s magnificent cast accompanied by a chamber orchestra and supported by a children’s chorus drawn from local communities. See it at the Darwin Entertainment Centre, Friday 9 and Saturday 10 August.

One that’s sure to have the whole Territory talking is StoryProjects Birds Eye View: Prison Stories. Take an audio journey beyond the stereotypes and razor wire to the muster yard, where women from the Darwin Correctional Centre reflect on their lives before, during and after prison. Walk with them as they loop the loop through poetry, love, betrayal and their prison home. Part walking tour, part audio essay, this immersive listening experience collapses the walls between insiders and out, giving a rare and intimate view of life behind bars. Birds Eye View: Prison Stories takes place at Fannie Bay Gaol, Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August.

A favourite of the Festival, SPUN returns with another evening of stories drawn from real life in the Northern Territory. Teaming up with Carers NT, SPUN: ENTWINED brings you six entwined stories about those among us who look after others – children, grannies, parents, siblings and even the next-door neighbour. This event is an early sell-out each year, check it out on Tuesday 20 August at The Lighthouse.

Charles Darwin University delivers an inspiring afternoon of provocative questions and stimulating ideas with Sunday at CDU on Sunday 18 August. This year the talks take inspiration from the UN observed Year of Indigenous Languages to curate a series of inspiring sessions that look at what is, can and should be done to keep this important aspect of Indigenous culture alive through three engaging panels. The day’s discussions start with a performance by the stunning Tiwi Strong Women’s Choir.

More information:

Accor Wins Sustainable Business Awards for the Third Consecutive Year

Accor was awarded two awards at the Sustainable Business Awards (SBA) for Best Business Responsibility and Ethics and Best Sustainability In the Community for its consistent commitment to operate in a responsible and ethical way and give back to the communities in which it operates.

Accor's Ethics and Corporate Responsibility Charter was established in 2015 to ensure compliance with the most demanding ethical principles. The Charter guides the Group's management ethics, integrity and compliance, as well as corporate social responsibility. The Ethics and CSR checklist forms one of the key actions within Accor's Planet 21 sustainable development program.

For Best Sustainability in the Community, the Group was lauded for its commitment to working hand-in-hand with local communities for a positive impact wherever it operates. Accor continuously ensures each property has its own community engagement strategy involving multiple stakeholders to help develop the local economy. One of the Group's key initiatives, Plant for the Planet, sees Accor supporting communities undertaking sustainable forestry, agriculture and agro-forestry projects through their partner PUR Project.

“It is a great honour to be recognised once again for all our efforts in building and fostering an ethical business as well as giving back to local communities. These awards are testament to the hard work and commitment of our teams and their passion to give back and make local communities stronger,” said Michael Issenberg, Chairman and CEO Accor Asia Pacific. “Whilst we strive in driving sustainable tourism for the preservation of our planet, we also believe in mitigating the impact of our activities for the well-being of the people working and living in the 100 countries in which we have a presence.”

Held in four countries, the Sustainable Business Awards (SBA) aims to increase awareness of sustainability best-practices and demonstrate how green and responsible business benefits companies, the environment and stakeholders, today and for the future.


2020 Formula 1 – The First Vietnamese Grand Prix

The Vietnamese Grand Prix, scheduled for April 2020, is the latest street race on the F1 calendar along with Monaco, Singapore and Azerbaijan.

Designed by Tilke – the company behind a list of tracks as the Circuit of Americas and Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina – alongside F1’s own Motorsports team, the Hanoi track will be one of the most challenging circuit in F1. The 5.57km track willfeature 22 corners alongside with the longest straights in the sport at 1.5km.

This is already one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year and April 2020 promises to be the best time for adventure lovers and sports enthusiasts to visit the capital city of Vietnam.

47 Phan Chu Trinh street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi, Vietnam

Arts & Culture in Los Angeles

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (Mid-City)
December 2019
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is bringing the world's leading film sciences museum to L.A.'s Miracle Mile. This exciting project is designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, and will encompass six stories of state-of-the-art galleries, exhibition spaces, movie theaters, educational areas, and special event spaces. Inaugural exhibitions will include a retrospective of legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and Making of: The Wizard of Oz.

LA Plaza Cocina (Olvera Street, Downtown)
Early 2020
LA Plaza Cocina will be the first museum and teaching kitchen dedicated to Mexican food when it opens in Downtown L.A.'s Olvera Street at LA Plaza Village. The multi-disciplinary venue will aim to celebrate and educate visitors on Mexico's culinary heritage, from its indigenous roots to its contemporary interpretations through an array of exhibitions, cooking classes, lectures, workshops, and culinary festivals.

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (Exposition Park, Downtown)
Los Angeles will welcome the 275,000-square-foot, $1-billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art to Downtown L.A.'s Exposition park in 2021. Works on display will come from George Lucas' personal collection of art, which consists of approximately 10,000 paintings and illustrations along with Hollywood memorabilia from films such as “Star Wars” and “The Ten Commandments.”

Skirball Cultural Center (Westside) “Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich”
Now Through September 1, 2019
A must-see, the Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich exhibit at Skirball Cultural Center presents an in depth look at the ways in which the famed designer impacted fashion through his beliefs on gender identity, utilitarianism and body positivity. On view through September 1, 2019, Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich features more than eighty ensembles and is the first exhibition to focus on the social and cultural impact of Gernreich's vision.

Hammer Museum (Westside) “Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel”
June 9, 2019 – September 1, 2019
The Hammer Museum will present the first American survey the U.K.'s influential Sarah Lucas in Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel. Over her 30-year-career, Lucas has developed a provocative, humorous body of work that subverts society's traditional notions on gender, sexuality, and identity as it relates to the human body and power. More than 130 photographs, collages, sculptures and installations will be on display.

Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art (LACMA) (Mid-City) “The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China” “Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing”
June 2, 2019 – January 5, 2020
June 16, 2019 – September 29, 2019
Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art (LACMA) adds two Asian art exhibitions in late spring. The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China will bring 34 works from 40 years in which material choice has become a symbol of artistic expression. The installation includes 20 of the most influential Chinese artists working today including Ai Weiwei, Cai Guo-Qiang and Lin Tianmiao. Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing will be the first exhibition held outside of Asia to focus on the history and art of writing and calligraphy in Korea.


The stage is set for a thrilling Rugby League State of Origin Game Three decider at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium, after the NSW Blues evened the score with the Queensland Maroons in Game Two.

NSW fullback Tom Trbojevic was the star of the 38-6 victory in Perth – scoring three tries on his return to the Blues side. It followed Queensland’s 18-14 success at home in Game One of the 2019 series.

The one all tally has forced Game Three into a nail-biting decider to be played at ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park on Wednesday 10 July. It’s all on the line with NSW looking to defend their title and lift the trophy once again.

Don’t miss out on witnessing Australia’s greatest sporting rivalry in 2019 - buy ticketsto State of Origin Three. All tickets include return public transport to Sydney Olympic Park.

State of Origin III is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.


The number of foreign tourists visiting Myanmar sharply rise to 13% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to last year. Visitors from China topped the foreign tourists this year, followed by Japanese, South Koreans, Malaysians and Indians. China Tourists arrival increased 74% in Q1 but tourists from Europe and North America was down by 2%.

Early this year at ITB-Berlin, Myanmar Tourism Marketing announced 9 Enchanting Discoveries of Myanmar to attract more of European travellers. The list of the 9 Enchanting Discoveries are: 1) Kyaing Tong 2) Loikaw 3) Mergui Archipelago 4) Mogok 5) Mt. Victoria, 6) Mrauk U 7) Putao 8) Hpa An 9) Hsipaw. More information about these destinations can be found at

“These Enchanting Discoveries have existed for many years within easy access of major tourist destinations. As more tourism facilities such as hotels, restaurants, infrastructures such as road and air accessibility have improved they are being promoted as the new, upcoming destinations. Tour operators can expand their itineraries and offer new experiences to see and do in these destinations and it will create more jobs for local people in those regions,” said May Myat Mon Win, Myanmar Tourism Marketing’s (MTM) chairperson.

To keep up the momentum of tourist arrivals rise, Myanmar Tourism Marketing has started its annual “Green Season” campaign (May to end of September) with the support of hotels, airlines and tour operators. More details of the list can be found at

With the introduction of the Green Season campaign – trips to Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake and many other destinations are continued all year round. Travelling to Myanmar in the green season has numerous advantages and unique experiences – some of those are:

1) Great photographic opportunities: The seasonal rains bring with them lush, green landscapes and native flora and fauna bursting into life. These provide some wonderful photographic opportunities.

2) You’ll meet more people: Myanmar is one of the friendliest countries in the world. Travel during the green season when there are fewer travellers around you will have more chances to interact with the locals. It also leaves you to enjoy the many iconic sights in the serenity.

3) Sustainability: Promote sustainable tourism and help small communities and local businesses earn a stable year-round income.

4) Value for money: Every country is cheaper if you travel off-peak but Myanmar is one place where the green season makes a really significant difference to the price of your holiday. Many hotels and airlines provide with special offers during this period and it’s a great time to look for deals on flights and tour packages.

5) Beautiful Scenery: There’s a reason it’s called ‘green season’: during the hot, dry months, Myanmar’s landscape can become dry but during the rainy season it drinks up the water and transforms into a beautiful, lush landscape full of green plants and trees. Basically, everything looks more beautiful and nicer.

If you’d like to explore Myanmar with fewer crowds, lower prices, and more beautiful scenery than at any other time of year –Green Season is the perfect time to visit. Don’t let a bit of rain put you off – come and enjoy this unique travel experience during Green Season!

About Myanmar Tourism Marketing
Myanmar Tourism Marketing (MTM) aims to promote Myanmar as a sustainable tourism destination that can be visited the whole year round. It is part of the Myanmar Tourism Federation and is mainly privately funded by key members of the tourism industry in Myanmar. The MTM team is happy to assist the press and media to publish more about tourism in Myanmar. Visit, and follow us on

Myanmar Tourism Marketing Association
No. 204, Bo Myat Tun Road (Middle Block) Pazundaung Township
Yangon, Myanmar
Tel: +95 – 9 977204456
Mobile: +95 9 966 961079
Website: and

Tags: Myanmar, Tourism


Indigenous artists from around Australia are set to come together in Sydney this weekend for the National Indigenous Art Fair – a two day art market and program of events in celebration of NAIDOC Week at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay. 

The National Indigenous Art Fair is an ethical marketplace, offering a unique opportunity to buy artwork directly from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from 30 remote community owned art centres from the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. 

There is also an opportunity to join celebrated Bidjigal artist and Elder Esme Timbery and her daughter Marilyn Russell in a workshop to make your own boomerang or heart shaped shellwork. 

Ha Giang's remote commune to develop eco-toursim

The new rice planting season will start soon in Hoang Su Phi
(Photo: VNA)
When visiting Ta Su Choong commune in the northern province of Ha Giang in summer, tourists can enjoy the pristine natural landscape when local farmers let water flow over their terraced rice fields and lose themselves in the traditional culture of local ethnic minority groups.

Located 21km to the south west of Hoang Su Phi centre, the commune has 355 households with over 1,700 people. They include five ethnic minority groups, who live mainly from agricultural work.

The commune enjoys cool weather all year round, clean air and little traffic, as well as the magnificent rice fields, forests and waterfalls. The area also covers acres of old Shan tuyết tea trees, which grow on top of high mountains. One side of the tea leaf is covered with white fur like snow, hence the name “tuyết”, which means “snow” in Vietnamese. The leaves are used to brew a sweet-tasting tea.

The commune is also home to the Hoa Ceo Phin waterfall and many fields of tam giac mach (triangle buckwheat) flowers.

“Local authorities have said that tourism is an important focus for the commune,” Giang Van Thang, Chairman of the commune’s People’s Committee, told Ha Giang Newspaper. “We have completed a project to develop eco-tourism in local villages.”

“In the next two years, the commune will focus on establishing an eco-tourism village in Hoa Cheo Phin and use this as a model for developing eco-tourism more widely.”

Hoa Cheo Phin hosts dozens of “nha trinh tuong” of the Mong ethnic minority, which are located in the middle of rice fields.

The houses are built with thick clay walls and no pillars, and are roofed with tiles or dry leaves.

The typical house always includes a main door, one smaller door and at least two windows. The house is warm in winter and cool in summer, and protects owners from wild animals the elements.

“Nature is so fresh here,” said Ngo Vinh Phu, a visitor from Hanoi. “The landscape here is so peaceful and magnificent like in paintings.”

Tourists usually enjoy local delicacies like carp, black tender mountain chicken, salads made from wild banana flowers, and local pork.

According to Lu Vang Pao, a leader of the village, most of the 116 households in the village are of the Mong ethnic minority group.

“They are curious about the eco-tourism plan but most of them are still reluctant due to traditional customs. They rarely welcome strangers to stay in their homes,” he said.

Now ten households have registered to join the project. Most of the families are poor and have no experience in receiving guests.

“We will organise field trips for them to successful homestay models in other communes of Hoang Su Phi district,” Pao said. “So that they can learn how to welcome tourists.”

“The provincial authorities will also assist them financially to invest in ectra facilities,” he said.

Vang A Su, a local farmer, could not hide his excitement with the project.

“My whole family will join the project,” he told Vietnam News. “My mother and wife can cook while my son and myself can take the guests around the village.”

“We live simply but our hearts are warm towards tourists,” he said with a broad smile.
Source: VNA
Tags: Ha Giang, eco-toursim, traditional culture, local ethnic minority group,