Saturday, 31 August 2019

UK Tourists Visit Canada

Canada has the opportunity to alleviate cost concerns among UK travellers by shifting demand towards cities like Québec City, Ottawa, St. John’s, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Regina, which all have growing interest among UK travellers.

With 792,000 arrivals in 2018, the United Kingdom held the top spot as Destination Canada’s largest long-haul market.

Over the first nine months of 2018, in spite of a slight decline in total arrivals, United Kingdom leisure trips to Canada reached a five-year high.

Tourists from the UK on average spend close to $1,500 per trip and stay for around 12 nights. UK leisure travellers enjoy trying local food and drink, experiencing nature-based experiences, seeing historical or world heritage sites and exploring Indigenous culture while on holiday.

An increasing proportion of UK leisure travellers to Canada are booking organized group travel packages through a travel agent or tour operator, up from 34% of travellers in 2017 to 45% in 2018.

The UK continued to be Destination Canada’s largest long-haul market in May 2019, with a upturn in monthly overnight arrivals (81K, +18%) and year-to-date overnight arrivals (234K, +7%).

www.destinationcanada.com

CHICAGO TURNS ON RAZZLE DAZZLE AT CAPITOL THEATRE

Musical theatre blockbuster Chicago opened this week to rave reviews from local critics, and with a star-studded Gala event on Wednesday at Capitol Theatre.

Among Australia’s top names in theatre, television and music to walk the red carpet were entertainment icon Barry Humphries AO, singer Samantha Jade, presenters Lisa Wilkinson, Melissa Doyle and Kerri-Anne Kennerley, John Paul Young, actress Penny McNamee and former politician Bronwyn Bishop.

The original stage musical has won six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy Award, and has been seen by millions of people worldwide. This latest production, premiering in Sydney, stars Natalie Bassingthwaighte as Roxie Hart, Alinta Chidzey as Velma Kelly and Casey Donovan as Matron ‘Mama’ Morton. The season continues until October 20. 

SIKKIM – WORLD’S FIRST 100 PER CENT ORGANIC STATE

The state of Sikkim in Northern India was declared the world’s first 100 per cent organic state, after the state won the prestigious Future Policy Gold Award from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), after beating 51 nominations from around the world.

Sikkim has, over the years, reformed itself as an environmentally responsible state, taking major steps to help it develop into a tourism haven. The state was the first in India to officially adopt organic farming in 2003, a decision that has paid off in the long run, ensuring sustenance of soil fertility, healthy living, and decreasing the risk of health ailments.

In 2003, Sikkim banned the imports of chemical fertilizers in the state. Farmers in the state have been using organic manure since 2003. Moreover, all of the state’s farmlands are organically certified, which is a great achievement for any state.

Not only has the transition from chemical fertilisers and pesticides helped the environment but has also benefited more than 66000 farming families. In addition to this, the number of tourists increased by over 50 per cent between 2014 to 2017, setting a fine example for other Indian states and other countries.

Creative Travel
Creative Plaza, 283 Udyog Vihar Phase 2,
Gurugram, Haryana – 122016, India
Tel: +91-124 4567777
Email: engage@creative.travel

Double-diamond Sanuki Fuji

In recent years, the popularity of Kagawa prefecture is growing fast both domestically and internationally for events like “Setouchi Triennale”. “Double-diamond Sanuki Fuji” can only be seen in late August, and is absolutely one of the greatest attractions of the prefecture.

Mount Iino is called “Mt. Fuji in Sanuki” since the past, and the sunrise at the peak as reflected on water is glitteringly breath-taking. 

Besides, “Nakayama Senmaida” at Shodoshima Island is the recording location for many films and selected as “the 100 top rice terraces in Japan” for its reminiscent, splendid natural landscape. 

The Sunflower land, “UDON HOUSE”, an accommodating facility with udon workshops and many other hotspots are exceedingly attractive as well. Come and be amazed in Shikoku for your fabulous summer!

Visit Japan Now

Japan National Tourism Organization
www.jnto.org.au/

Gender & Power at The Big Anxiety Festival

LONG TABLE: WOMEN IN POWER
9 Oct, 11.30am-2.30pm, with book launch at 4pm | Parramatta Female Factory Precinct
PARRAGIRLS host a Long Table discussing Women in Power - celebrating female survivors, political and community leaders and activists who speak truth to power. The Long Table creates a democratic forum for public discussion. Anyone is welcome to take a seat at the table and share their perspective.

DAUGHTERS
17 Oct, 6.30pm Panel + 8pm Concert |City Recital Hall, Angel Place
Daughters is a world premiere song-cycle that uses the haunting form of Portuguese fado, female voice and intimate musical accompaniment to evoke the strength and tragedy of women and girls lost to violence. Drawing on real-life stories, the 12 songs are emblematic of a global crisis that affects 1 in 3 women in their lifetime. Librettist Tammy Brennan and composer David Chisholm, through soprano Aivale Cole take the audience on a powerful journey tracing the effects of gender violence. Discussion panel precedes recital.

EVELYN ARALUEN - FESTIVAL POET
16 October, 7.30pm | Art After Hours Art Gallery of NSW
The 2019 Big Anxiety Festival Poet Evelyn Araluen is a descendant of the Bundjalung nation, born, raised, and writing in Dharug country. Evelyn will perform her commissioned poem “Interior Anxious” and will host Black Rhymes at Art Gallery of NSW 7.30pm on 16 October.

SLEEPLESSNESS
1 Nov, 6.30pm |Studio One, E8 Theatre, UNSW Kensington
Sleeplessness maps a remarkable Australian story, revealing the impact of migration, institutionalisation and transgenerational trauma on families. Part mystery, part documentary, part forensic investigation, Karen Therese explores the experiences of three generations of women from 1920s Budapest to Western Sydney today. Therese is an interdisciplinary artist and also Director of the Powerhouse Youth Theatre, Fairfield, whose work has been called “profoundly moving and fiercely ambitious”.

For more information visit:  www.thebiganxiety.org
facebook.com/thebiganxiety   |   twitter.com/thebiganxiety   | I  nstagram.com/thebiganxiety

VISTARA SAYS NO TO PLASTIC

Vistara goes green as the full-service carrier is mulling to remove the usage of 200 million plastic water bottles from its flights. With an aim to reduce the usage of plastic and single-use plastic, Vistara has implemented an initiative on Delhi-Mumbai flights. The initiative will be extended to all flights across the airline’s network.

Under this initiative, Vistara will serve mineral water in environment-friendly paper cups instead of providing Economy Class customers with plastic bottles. Vistara has fixed a target of reducing single-use plastic usage up to 50 per cent.

Vistara has said that eliminating the use of bottled water is a major challenge. It cited the non-availability of non-plastic alternative for individual units of water as the reason.

Creative Travel
Creative Plaza, 283 Udyog Vihar Phase 2,
Gurugram, Haryana – 122016, India
Tel: +91-124 4567777
Email: engage@creative.travel

Friday, 30 August 2019

SPECIAL FEATURES OF ITE HCMC 2019

Daily craft workshops by The Craft House
The Craft House is coming to ITE HCMC 2019. From 5 – 7 September 2019, visitors can look forward to daily DIY Craft Workshops that teaches people to make hand crafted products ranging from Vietnamese pop-up cards to the art of folding palm leaves, etc.

Vietnam Bamboo Circus Performance by Lune Productions
Vietnamese Bamboo Circus combines storytelling circus, unique live music, and creative use of bamboo to form an awe-inspiring performance art. This art genre displays the deeply rooted beauty of Vietnamese culture, that transcends language allowing thousands of audience members all over the world to enjoy.

Photo Gallery
Saigon Tourist will be organizing a photo exhibition booth entitled "Enjoy Vietnamese Identity" from 5 - 7 September 2019. Visitors will be able to enjoy more than 100 beautiful photos that was selected in the 2nd "Enjoy Vietnamese Identity" photo contest that was held in 2017. In addition to the photo exhibition, there will also be the performance by artisans of the Binh Quoi Tourist Village (under Saigon Tourism Corporation), taking place from 09:00 to 11:00 at the exhibition.


5 - 7 SEPTEMBER 2019
Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center (SECC) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

5 - 6 September 2019
9am to 4pm: trade visitors | 4pm to 7pm: trade & public visitors

7 September 2019
9am to 7pm: trade & public visitors

ITE HCMC 2019 is proudly supported by:
ite.hcmc@informa.com
www.itehcmc.com/en/

South Korean Tourists visit Canada

South Koreans are more likely than other markets to indicate that TV programs and blogs influenced them to book past trips. These channels, along with inspiring advocacy from friends/family, can help build Canada’s travel brand in the South Korean market.

Canada welcomed 246,000 visitors from South Korea in 2018, short of the record levels seen in 2017. However, South Korean travellers on average stayed longer (17 days) and spent more ($1,750) on their trips to Canada in 2018.

Korean leisure travellers are interested in a combination of city and nature-based experiences, including seeing natural attractions, trying local food and drink, going on culinary tours, spa and wellness centres, historical sites and art galleries & museums.

More than half (56%) of South Korean leisure travellers booked an organized group travel package on their most recent trip to Canada, predominantly via travel agents or tour operators online.

www.destinationcanada.com

HEAD FOR THE HILLS THIS SEPTEMBER

The Hills Shire Council’s Orange Blossom Festival – Lights, Beats and Eats is returning this September with a whole new look, feel and location.

The Festival will be held at Castle Hill Showground from 4pm to 9pm on Saturday 14 September, with entertainment and activities for the whole family. 

Highlights include X-Factor Australia winner Reece Mastin and Aussie rock legend Jon Stevens, dance and acrobatic group Dauntless Movement Crew, light installations, a skating rink, fireworks and a range of food trucks such as Gelato Messina, Pimp My Chimney, Chur Burger, Smokin’ Grill Barbeque and Tsuru. 

Check out the full schedule for the Hill Shire Council’s Orange Blossom Festival here.

*Destination NSW
www.destinationnsw.com.au/

SHIVRAJPUR, INDIA’S FIRST “BLUE FLAG” CERTIFIED BEACH

Shivrajpur Beach
Soon, Shivrajpur will be India’s first beach to get ‘Blue Flag’ certification, the world’s most acclaimed voluntary label for environment friendly beaches.

For international tourists, especially those from the US and Europe, “Blue Flag” is a popular tag as it certifies that the beach is safe for swimming and maintains a high level of cleanliness.

There are nearly 33 criteria that must be met to qualify for a Blue Flag certification, such as the water meeting certain quality standards, having waste disposal facilities, being disabled- friendly, have first aid equipment, and no access to pets in the main areas of the beach. Some criteria are voluntary and some compulsory.

Blue Flag certification is done by Denmark-based voluntary organization Foundation for Environment Education (FEE) after verifying a series of 33 stringent criteria of gren safeguards, safety of tourists, sea water quality and conservation. FEE has certified nearly 4,500 beaches and marinas across the world till date.

Creative Travel
Creative Plaza, 283 Udyog Vihar Phase 2,
Gurugram, Haryana – 122016, India
Tel: +91-124 4567777
Email: engage@creative.travel

Hang Kia and Pa Co communes – attractive destinations in Hoa Binh province

Many visitors have referred to Van, Lac and Pom Coong villages whenever visiting Mai Chau district, the northern mountainous province of Hoa Binh, but few people know that Hang Kia and Pa Co communes are also destinations with great tourism potential thanks to beautiful and unspoiled natural sceneries and the unique and intact cultural identities of the Mong ethnic minority people.

Pavilions introducing handicraft products of Mong ethnic people at the tourism investment promotion conference in Hang Kia and Pa Co communes

Hoa Binh authorities and the agricultural sector have made efforts to turn the two communes into major tourist destinations of the province. Starting from the centre of Mai Chau district, it will take tourists about 30 kilometres crossing a mountain of about 1,200 metres above sea level to reach Pa Co commune and about ten kilometres further to reach Hang Kia. The images of green mountains, the houses of Mong ethnic people, small winding roads, tea plantations, stone fences and yellow always inspire photographers.

Going deep into the villages, visitors can see the Mong women who are diligently embroidering or the children playing and laughing. The firewood piled in the yard or the thin smoke from the roof of the kitchens will also bring a peaceful feeling to tourists.

In addition to the roads to villages, Hang Kia and Pa Co communes owns many destinations with intact beauty such as tea hills and plum gardens in Ta Xong A, Ta Xo and Thung A Lang areas. There are also many ideal sites on the mountains to contemplate clouds, including ‘Heaven's Gate’ and Pa Khom area. Standing on the Sam Tha mountain, visitors can see the view of Pu Luong peak in Thanh Hoa province and Pha Luong peak in Son La province.

Visiting Hang Kia and Pa Co communes, tourists will certainly want to learn and experience the traditional cultural identities and trades of Mong ethnic minority people, such as brocade weaving, indigo dyeing and beeswax painting. Visitors will be also attracted by local specialties, particularly corn wine, thang co (a dish made from horse meat and its organs), banh day (glutinous rice cake), chicken, pork and bamboo sprouts.

According to statistics, Mai Chau district welcomed around 332,000 visitors in 2018, including 5,000 and 6,000 to Pa Co and Hang Kia communes, respectively. Vice Chairman of Hoa Binh provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Chuong said that with dry seasons, fresh and cool air all year around, beautiful natural scenery and unique ethnic culture, Hang Kia and Pa Co communes have great potential to develop community tourism, attracting domestic and foreign tourists. The province will prioritise transforming two communes into major destinations.

In order to realise this idea, Hoa Binh provincial People’s Committee has held a tourism investment promotion conference in Hang Kia and Pa Co communes. Five approved investment projects included: Ta Xong A high-class eco-resort, To Xo eco-resort, Thung A Lang tourist area, Thung Man – Thung Ang ecological tourist area. The province’s leaders were pledged to create favourable condition for investors to successfully implement projects, ensuring the sustainable development of local tourism in the near future.

Chairman of Mai Chau district People’s Committee Dang Mai Son said that over the recent years, the local authorities have always contemplated how to raise income for people in Hang Kia and Pa Co communes. The development of eco-tourism and community-based tourism was determined to be an appropriate direction to develop the local economy while preserving and promoting the unique cultural values.

There are more visitors and travel agencies taking interest in Hang Kia and Pa Co commune; however, only four local households have developed community-based tourism combining with providing varying tourism services. Especially, their activities have been fragmented and spontaneous. The Mai Chau Tourism Steering Committee has recently held various meetings with local people to encourage potential households to develop homestay services and others to produce clean agricultural products to serve for tourism, changing the district's economic structure of agriculture into tourism and service. The households providing homestay services have been trained to improve business management skills as well as being supported with initial facilities such as blankets, drapes, beds and cabinets.

According to Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Ngo Hoai Chung, Hoa Binh province should make specific policies for Hang Kia and Pa Co communes to create an attractive investment environment. It is crucial to set plans to upgrade infrastructure systems in terms of transportation, telecommunications, electricity, clean water and tourist guide systems, while outlining detailed plans for Hang Kia and Pa Co areas as a legal basis for investors. The VNAT will coordinate with travel businesses to form survey teams and tours to the communes as well as open training courses on tourism for the locals.
Source: Nhan dan online

North Straddie no longer Queensland’s best kept secret

More people are discovering the magic of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), with the latest visitor research showing that annual tourism numbers have grown by more than five per cent.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said about 375,000 people visited the island in 2018, up from an estimated 350,000 people in 2017 - revealing growing awareness of the island as a stunning eco-tourism destination.

Ms Jones said new visitors were also spending more, with median spend up 20 per cent to $120 per day for day trippers and up 10 per cent to $172 per day for overnight visitors.

“This is one of the most beautiful places in the world – that’s why tourism makes sense for North Straddie,” she said.

“We’ve been working closely with Cameron Costello and his team at QYAC to promote Minjerribah as a world-class tourism destination. It’s great to see that work starting to pay off.

“We’re investing in new attractions and programs to make sure these numbers continue to grow in the future.”

Ms Jones said the University of Queensland research showed that repeat visitation was at an extraordinary 79 per cent.

“That means when people get a taste of what North Straddie has to offer, they’re keen to come back again and again,” she said.

“Families remain the island’s biggest market, with more than 48 per cent of visitors identifying as ‘full-nesters’. The main reasons they come is to visit the beach, view wildlife and hit the waves for a surf or a swim.”

Domestic tourists made up more than 95 per cent of visitors - of these, more than 72 per cent came from a 50km radius.

“The LNP cut funding for tourism projects on North Straddie – setting the economic transition back years. After re-starting the ETS, we’re starting to see a difference,” Ms Jones said.

The Palaszczuk Government is investing $24.75 million in more than 20 projects to support the economic transition of the island from its traditional reliance on sandmining to a brighter future as a globally recognised cultural and eco-tourism destination.

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman said attracting more tourists was important to jobs growth in the region.

“Tourism is the island’s largest employer, and this growth and the employment and business opportunities it brings will be welcome news to many island residents and families,” she said.

Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation CEO Cameron Costello said Minjerribah is one of the most beautiful places on earth, with world heritage values, and today’s visitors respect its environment and culture.

“We have noticed that recent visitors to the island, our guests, are better respecting the environment and our culture – treading lightly on the land and, as they say, leaving nothing but happy memories,” Mr Costello said.

“As we move into this new era of sustainable tourism, we will get the balance right between protecting our environment and culture and creating a strong economy.

“The Quandamooka people, as Traditional Owners, are committed to working with business, government and the community to get this balance right.

“Minjerribah has been a natural and cultural sanctuary for thousands of year, and will remain that way for thousands more.”

UQ Business School Associate Professor Dr Pierre Benckendorff said the island continues to attract local families, who keep going back every year for their annual family holiday.

“People are really looking to spend time with their family to recharge the batteries,” Dr Benckendorff said.

“Minjerribah is also attracting its fair share of first time visitors, and many of these are surprised by the fantastic beaches, whale encounters and nature-based experiences.”

“Our research shows that there is a growing appetite for local cultural experiences, including indigenous tourism, markets, festivals and events.

“If we understand who the visitors are and what they want, we can create long-term employment opportunities that promote sustainable economic growth while also protecting the island’s natural and cultural heritage.”

“Lantern night” in Bay Quarter Yokohama

Yokohama is an exotic coastal city and here, you can reach Bay Quarter Yokohama in just 3-min walk from exit A of Yokohama Station. 

The shopping center has as many as 100 shops and a panoramic view of the harbour. 

“Lantern night”, a spectacular light-up event with tremendous colourful lanterns is now opened at the roof garden on the 6th floor! 

There will also a wedding fair, a night market, and an exclusive night parfait! What about planning a day trip to Yokohama, a place with one of the best of nighttime enjoyment?
Visit Japan Now

Japan National Tourism Organization
www.jnto.org.au/

The Okura Prestige Bangkok Welcomes New General Manager

Niek Hammer
Leading luxury hotel The Okura Prestige Bangkok has the pleasure of announcing the appointment of Dutch native Niek Hammer as the hotel’s new General Manager, effective 15 August 2019.

The 42-year-old hospitality professional from Enschede in The Netherlands holds a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management and a Master’s diploma in International Service Management, both from the Christelijke Hogeschool (University of applied sciences) Noord-Nederland.

He began his career in 1996 at Hotel The Grand, a Westin Hotel & Resorts International property in Amsterdam and later spent two years at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort, a Marriott International hotel in Braselton, Georgia.

Married with three children, multi-lingual Niek joins The Okura Prestige Bangkok from Hotel Okura Macau where he held the General Manager’s position for three years. From 2000-2005 and again from 2008-2016 he worked at Hotel Okura Amsterdam, rising to Assistant F&B Director in his first stint and later to Deputy General Manager with F&B oversight as well.

Commenting on the appointment, Marcel P. van Aelst, President and CEO Okura Nikko Hotel Management Co. Ltd. Japan, said, “We know that Niek is dedicated and passionate in his work with a broad knowledge of complex F&B and Room Division operations. He knows the Okura culture very well and so will settle in Bangkok very quickly. He has great experience, he is energetic and efficient and his motivation and results-driven outlook will be of great benefit to our team.”

The Okura Prestige Bangkok
Park Ventures Ecoplex
57 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
T. +66 (0) 2687 9000
F. +66 (0) 2687 9001 

Suicide Prevention & Future Thinking at The Big Anxiety Festival

EDGE OF THE PRESENT
27 Sept-16 Nov, Mon-Sat 10am-5pm |UNSW Galleries
How do you imagine the future when you can’t see it? Edge of the Present melds art with science to create an immersive environment that literally cultivates the capacity for future thinking. Inspired by suicide survivors and neuropsychological research into the workings of memory and imagination, this compelling virtual reality exhibit was created by a team led by artist Alex Davies, using technology in new ways that help you better engage with the present moment with openness, curiosity and positivity.

THE S-WORD - AWKWARD CONVERSATIONS WITH LIFELINE
10 October|Tallawoladah Lawn, near MCA, The Rocks
In a special event for Mental Health Day, Lifeline’s crisis support team host one-to-one informal conversations addressing fears, inhibitions and anything you want to ask about suicide and mental distress.

For more information visit:  www.thebiganxiety.org
facebook.com/thebiganxiety   |   twitter.com/thebiganxiety   | instagram.com/thebiganxiety

MUMBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO CONNECT INDIA AND TANZANIA

India and Tanzania have appreciated traditionally close, friendly and co-operative relations since the early 1960s. Further leveraging and boosting tourism and trade between the two countries, GVK led Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) managing the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) restarted flights between Mumbai and Dar Es Salaam after over 20 years.

Inaugurated by Eng. Isack A Kamwelwe – Minister for Works, Transport and Communication; H.E. Baraka H Luvanda – High Commissioner of the United Republic of Tanzania to India; Alban Rodricks – CISB, Mumbai and the airport along with its key stakeholders welcomed the Air Tanzania’s first flight – Boeing 787-8 with 147 passengers on board in Mumbai on July 18.

The new route will be available to passengers travelling from Dar Es Salaam to Mumbai thrice a week on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and Mumbai to Dar Es Salaam on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, respectively starting July 2019.

Creative Travel
Creative Plaza, 283 Udyog Vihar Phase 2,
Gurugram, Haryana – 122016, India
Tel: +91-124 4567777
Email: engage@creative.travel

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Indian Tourists Travel to Canada

Indian travellers are most likely to visit Canada in May-June, which is unique compared to other markets. There is an opportunity to fulfil a demand gap for travel in March-April, as current demand outpaces actual arrivals during that period.

With a record 287,000 visitors to Canada in 2018, India led Destination Canada’s Asia-Pacific region in year-over-year growth (+15% over 2017 arrivals).

India set new monthly arrivals records every month, a new annual arrivals record, and grew to become Destination Canada's seventh largest inbound market in 2018. India was the only Destination Canada long-haul market to consistently record monthly gains in air arrivals both direct from overseas and via the US.

Indian tourists spend on average over $1,400 per trip to Canada. Travellers from India stay longer than those from any of Destination Canada’s other markets, with an average trip length of 37 days.

In 2018, demand for travel to Canada among Indian leisure travellers was higher between May and June than any other time of the year.

Indian leisure travellers want to see natural attractions like mountains, waterfalls, wildlife, nature parks, historical or heritage sites, as well as shopping for items that help them remember their trip.

Most trips to Canada by Indian leisure travellers (80%) are booked as part of an organized group travel package through a travel agent or tour operator.

Overnight arrivals from India reached record levels in May 2019 (47K, +27%) and over the first 5 months of 2019 (117K, +21%). This is the 5th consective record breaking month for India in 2019.

www.destinationcanada.com

Danie Mellor Installs Ancient Mangroves on the MCA's Sculpture Terrace

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) today unveiled a new site-specific installation by acclaimed contemporary Australian artist Danie Mellor for the fourth Loti Smorgon Sculpture Terrace Commission. Danie Mellor'sMatter Matters rooftop commission will be on view from August 2019.

Matter Matters echoes the roots of ancient mangrove colonies commonly found in the Sydney Harbour area, New South Wales and Queensland, and along other major Australian coastlines.

Mellor has recreated the ancient mangrove species into three bronze sculptures, each sitting as individual works, and dramatically scaled with the largest approaching 4-metres-tall. MCA visitors can walk in and around the roots, immersing themselves in these sculptures that reflect on the natural world.

"The MCA Sculpture Terrace Commission is a unique space for artists to develop new work,” said MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor. “The background setting of the Sydney Harbour presents an intriguing site for Danie Mellor, whose works are often informed by his connection to place through Aboriginal heritage, and an ongoing preoccupation with Australia's country and landscape."

Mellor is well-known for large-scale drawings, mixed media sculptures, installations and photography that investigate colonial and post-colonial history. Born in Mackay in 1971, he is of Ngadjon and Mamu heritage. Mellor regularly exhibits in large public institutions across Australia and is one of the finalists for the 2019 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA).

On the new commission, Mellor commented: “Matter Matters is concerned with nature's breath, and how the mangrove tree and colony has a symbiotic relationship with an expanded coastline environment. The installation will explore how natural forms interact and interrelate with the built environment, with a piece such as this observing the impact of our presence in the world of nature, as mangrove colonies have been found to show early symptoms of ecological health or stress.”

The Loti Smorgon Sculpture Terrace Commission is named in honour of Mrs Loti Smorgon AO (1918–2013), who, together with her husband Victor Smorgon, donated 149 artworks to the MCA Collection. The creation of a sculpture terrace for the Museum realised a long-held desire by Mrs Smorgon to support Australian sculptural works.

Matter Matters is the fourth in a series of site-specific commissions for the outdoor sculpture terrace which overlooks one of the best views of Sydney Harbour. Past commissions include works by Caroline Rothwell (2016), Sangeeta Sandrasegar (2014) and Hany Armanious (2012).

Danie Mellor's Matter Matters is located on Level 4 of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney.

Website: mca.com.au/

CONSERVING TAJ MAHAL: MASSIVE GREENING DRIVE LAUNCHED IN AGRA’S ECO-SENSITIVE TAJ TRAPEZIUM ZONE

A massive greening drive is to be launched soon to curb environmental pollution in the eco-sensitive Taj Trapezium Zone of Agra spread over 10,400 sq km, according to officials.

Alarmed at the sharp pace of denudation due to the large-scale construction and expansion of infrastructural facilities, the Uttar Pradesh government has announced a target of planting 22 crore saplings by the end of August, said Forest Department officials.

Agra’s green cover is just around 6.5 per cent while UP’s share has come down to 19.5 per cent against the national goal of 33 percent, they pointed out.

Creative Travel
Creative Plaza, 283 Udyog Vihar Phase 2,
Gurugram, Haryana – 122016, India
Tel: +91-124 4567777
Email: engage@creative.travel

Dak Nong opens sound exhibition house

Visitor at the sound exhibition house (Photo: VNA)
A sound exhibition house was inaugurated in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong’s Gia Nghia town on July 31, as part of the local geo-park’s tourist destination system.

Based on an idea from Chairman of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council Guy Martini, who was also present at the inauguration ceremony, the facility was designed and curated by a group of French artists.

It consists of eight separated rooms following seven themes to display traditional musical instruments from Central Highlands ethnic minorities like Dinh Nam, M’Buot, and Dinh tac Tar, as well as those from other ethnic communities in Vietnam and overseas.

The house is expected to become a highlight in the local tourism.

Earlier, on July 30, a house displaying lithophones was also inaugurated in Gia Nghia town as a tourist destination of the Dak Nong geopark, which is being assessed by the UNESCO for the global geopark status.
Source: VNA

Pay 4, Stay 5 at Mt Mulligan Lodge

To celebrate the opening of Northern Outback Queensland’s newest luxury lodge, extend your stay at no extra charge, when you stay 4 nights. Available for all room types.

Experience the spirit of Australia’s back-country through a captivating landscape and an intimate setting of just 16 guests at Mt Mulligan Lodge. From $6,800 for 2 guests.


Pay 4, Stay 5 Accommodation Package Inclusions:
  • Enjoy a complimentary night on us!
  • Three gourmet meals daily
  • Complimentary inclusion of selected Australian wines and beers
  • Daily curated Mt Mulligan experience
  • Your own electric buggy to explore the sprawling property with ease
  • Unlimited use of paddle boards, kayaks and light fishing gear

Click here to book.

Offer Valid Dates: 20 May until 14 December 2019.
From $6,800 for 2 guests. Select dates for actual rates. New bookings only.

www.luxurylodgesofaustralia.com.au/

MELBOURNE & OLYMPIC PARKS UNVEILS NEW FUNCTION CENTRE AT IMEX AMERICA

Melbourne & Olympic Parks (M&OP) – home to some of Australia’s top sporting and entertainment events, including the Australian Open Grand Slam – has announced it will showcase its new function and media centre at IMEX America, to be held at the Las Vegas Sands Expo and Convention Center 10–12 September 2019.

Located in Australia’s cultural capital Melbourne, CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park is just minutes from the bustling downtown city centre and connected by path, rail, road and river. The venue is also located in the heart of Melbourne & Olympic Parks grounds, surrounded by lush greenery and native flora and fauna.

“Australia is a cultural hub – a melting pot of great food and drink, art and entertainment, and of course, sports. CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park adds another string to our bow, offering an incredible variety of unique event spaces with the world-class service our clients know and love,” said Lara Burnes, General Manager, Premier Events & Experiences.

“We’re on the countdown to 2022 – and we’re looking forward to our newest venue coming to life and delivering unparalleled event experiences; creating marvellous moments Down Under,” says Burnes.

CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park offers indoor and outdoor function spaces, spanning three levels. With the capability and flexibility to host both large-scale and smaller, intimate events, it can host from 10 to 3000 guests – easily transformed to cater for conferences, gala dinners and cocktail parties, bringing stunning views of the city’s skyline and surrounding parklands to guests.

Architecturally designed, the new centre will include 8.5-metre (27.88 ft) high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, projecting natural light across a generous 2000 sqm (21,528 sq. ft) pillarless ballroom and 800 sqm (8611 sq. ft) pre-function area. Across two levels, the upper floor will feature a 250-seat auditorium, with 15 breakout rooms and outdoor terraces with uninterrupted views of the Melbourne city skyline.

It boasts a state-of-the-art production kitchen for unique dining experiences. The venue’s menu will be individually designed for each event around its ‘Paddock to Plate’ philosophy focussed on locally sourced and seasonal produce – including supplies from award-winning local wineries and distilleries.

Part of a multi-year $972 million redevelopment, CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park has now entered its final stage of development and is scheduled for completion in late 2021. It will join M&OP’s line-up of world-class Australian venues: Rod Laver Arena, AAMI Park, Margaret Court Arena and Melbourne Arena.

Bookings are now open for February 2022 and beyond. For more information on CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park visit centrepiecemelbourne.com.au. For expressions of interest or to book an appointment with M&OP at IMEX America 2019, please contact Lara Burnes at lburns.mopt.vic.gov.au.

Kobe “Basque Cheesecake”

In areas like Motomachi Shopping Street and Sannomiya of the exotic Kobe, there is a huge number of western candy shops and old desserts specialties.

Cheesecake lovers should never miss the Kobe “Basque Cheesecake”. Absolutely, you will be hooked by the perfect match between the rich, creamy cheese and the fragrant caramel. 

Get a nice night view of Kobe while tasting the cheesecake, it makes your trip wonderful and unforgettable.

Visit Japan Now

Japan National Tourism Organization
www.jnto.org.au/

TAT Announces Five New National Parks in Thailand

Chet Sao Noi Waterfall, 
Namtok Chet Sao Noi National Park, Saraburi
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce that Thailand has added five new national parks around the country during 2016 to 2019 since the start of the reign of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (King Rama X).

This is also in accordance with Thailand's 20-Year National Strategic Plan, which targets increasing the forest area to 55% of the entire country by 2037.

“Part of the work to increase the forest area as well as forestry conservation is by the national park system under three key mandates, which are environmental conservation, research and recreational development,” TAT Governor Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, said.

There are currently 133 national parks in Thailand with Khao Yai National park being the country's first (established 1962) and Tham Sa Koen National Park in Nan being the last designated during the reign of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

During the reign of King Rama X (2016 to present), Thailand has already added five new national parks:

Namtok Chet Sao Noi National Park
Added December 2016 as Thailand's 129th national park, Namtok Chet Sao Noi National Park has a scenic waterfall with an interesting past. The name of the waterfall comes from a story about the people in the area. Long ago, seven women drowned together in the waterfall. Another story tells that it comes from a village named Ban Sao Noi and later renamed to Chet Sao Noi. The Park covers a total area of 40.89 square kilometres covering Muak Lek and Wang Muang districts in Saraburi province and Pak Chong district in Nakhon Ratchasima province.
Doi Ku Sathan or Doi Thong, Khun Sathan National Park, Nan

Khun Sathan National Park
Added 25 March, 2017, as Thailand's 130th national park, Khun Sathan National Park covers an area of 404.52 square kilometres in the districts of Na Noi and Na Muen of Nan province. The mountain ridge of Doi Phrae Mueang separates the boundaries between Phrae and Nan provinces while Doi Ku Sathan is 1,630 metres above mean sea level.
Mae Takhrai National Park. *Photo credit: Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation

Water fall in Than Sadet-Ko Pha-Ngan National Park.
*Photo Credit: Department of National Parks,
Wildlife and Plant Conservation
Mae Takhrai National Park
Added 16 December, 2017, as Thailand's 131st national park, Mae Takhrai National Park covers an area of 356.66 square kilometres in San Kamphaeng, Doi Saket and Mae On districts of Chiang Mai province along with Ban Thi and Mueang districts of Lamphun. The Park is origin to the main tributaries of the Ping River, and offers scenic views; such as, waterfalls, cliffs and hot springs.



Than Sadet-Ko Phangan National Park
Added 22 November, 2018, as Thailand's 132nd national park, Than Sadet-Ko Phangan National Park is situated on Ko Phangan, an island 100 kilometres away from Surat Thani's coast and occupies a total area of 44.99 square kilometres. The Park has maintained the wilderness of the island on its rugged and steep mountain range. Khao Ra is the highest peak at an elevation of 627 metres.
Doi Chong National Park. *Photo Credit: Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation

Doi Chong National Park
Added April 2019, as Thailand's 133rd national park, Doi Chong National Park covers an area of 346.18 square kilometres in Sop Prap, Thoen and Mae Phrik districts of Lampang province and Li and Thung Hua Chang districts of Lamphun province. The Park offers mountainous areas and a range of deciduous forests. The highest point, Doi Jong is 1,379 metres above mean sea level.

During 2016 to 2019, Thailand added a total of 331,952 rai (53,120 hectares) in additional forest area to its national park system. This brings the total forested area in Thailand to over 102,488 million rai, representing 31.68% of all area nationwide. It also signals the progress made in adding more protected forest area under the jurisdiction of Thailand's fast-growing national park system.

Another 22 national park are in the process of being established. These include 11 land national parks and 11 marine national parks, totalling 44 million rai or 13% of all area nationwide.

Website: www.tourismthailand.org/au

Empathy & Experience at The Big Anxiety Festival

NATHAN FILER (UK)
23 Oct, 6.30pm | Lower Ground Floor, City of Sydney Town Hall
“There is no uncontroversial language when talking about mental illness – and that includes the phrase 'mental illness'” says Nathan Filer in his new book, The Heartland, described as an “entertaining and absorbing” exploration of the politics and experience of schizophrenia (The Guardian). The acclaimed British novelist and former mental health nurse argues that it is time to rethink mental health labels and anti-stigma campaigns.

THE EMPATHY CLINIC
27 Sept - 16 Nov, Tues-Sat 10am-5pm | UNSW Galleries
Unless we can imaginatively ‘step into someone else’s shoes’ we cannot empathise. But the empathy problem goes deeper. Neuroscientific evidence suggests that we direct empathy to people we perceive to be ‘like us’. Some of us make a conscious effort to overcome bias and stigma – but are we really comfortable with difference and diversity? Can we deal with another’s distress, or even listen effectively? The Empathy Clinic sets out to provide the practical tools, techniques and insights we need to become more empathetic.

Includes new works by Uti Kulintjaku, r e a & Judy Atkinson, Debra Keenahan, Wart, fEEL, Sherre DeLys, alongside Bobby Baker (UK), Leigh Ledare (US), Lee Lai (Can) and more.

APP: A COURSE OF EMPATHY APP
A practical tool for cultivating empathy, designed by psychologists and artists at the Felt Experience & Empathy Lab (fEEL) in conjunction with The Empathy Clinic courseofempathy.org

THESE WALLS COULD TALK
27 Sept - 3 Nov | Bradfield TAFE; & Chandos St & Atchison Lane, St Leonards
Artist Cameron Cripps-Kennedy, poet Omar Sakr and students of Bradfield College stage intimate and poetic conversations about mental health across the external walls of buildings in St Leonards.

ANXIETY OF AGEING
Meet Viv, a character created from interviews with women with dementia, in the pioneering interactive animation, Confabulations – and hear about ageing at the margins in our panel discussion, The Razz (9 Nov). Special events on ageing, emotion and community in a range of Local Government Authorities (see website for details).

UTI KULINTJAKU INITIATIVE - NEW VIRTUAL REALITY WORKS
UNSW Galleries, Paddington see The Empathy Clinic, 27 Sept - 16 Nov & Art Gallery of New South Wales, see Art After Hours, 16 Oct.

The Uti Kulintjaku [UK] initiative is an innovative, Aboriginal-led mental health literacy project that takes its name from a Pitjantjatjara phrase that means ‘to think and understand clearly’. Led by the Ngangkari traditional healers and artists of the NPY Women’s Council, UK explores mental health from both Aboriginal and Western perspectives.

Working with the Big Anxiety and fEEL, the UK team have created two new virtual reality works for The Empathy Clinic showing at UNSW Galleries, Cunningham Dax, Melbourne and in a special presentation at AGNSW’s Art After Hours.

For more information visit:  www.thebiganxiety.org

facebook.com/thebiganxiety   |   twitter.com/thebiganxiety   |   Instagram.com/thebiganxiety

AMATRA LAUNCHES LUXURY PROPERTIES IN HARIDWAR AND MUSSOORIE

Gurgaon-based luxury hospitality brand Amatra Hotels and Resorts has launched two properties in Haridwar and Mussoorie, Uttarakhand. The new entrant in the luxury hospitality segment is also looking to have 3,000 rooms and inventory of over 45 hotels in the next 3 years across strategic locations in India. In 2019, it plans to add five hotels to increase its total tally to 7 hotels.

Amatra Hotels India is a wholly owned subsidiary of Amatra Group Holdings SDN BHD, Malaysia and is actively looking for plush resorts that match the company’s vision and standards in Indonesia, Thailand and India. In India, the company is looking to acquire exemplary properties in Goa, Rajasthan, Kerala, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and few other leisure locations across the country.

Creative Travel
Creative Plaza, 283 Udyog Vihar Phase 2,
Gurugram, Haryana – 122016, India
Tel: +91-124 4567777
Email: engage@creative.travel

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

German Tourists Visit Canada

60% of German travellers consulted a travel agent/tour operator when planning or booking a long-haul trip, a significant increase from 2017. Germany is the only market to see an increase in travel trade use year-over-year.

Annual arrivals from Germany reached 406,000 in 2018, just surpassing 2017 levels (+1%), making it the best year for German arrivals to Canada since the peak in 1996.

With an average spend of over $1,700 per trip, German travellers spend more than any of our other European markets. On average, they stay an estimated 15 days in Canada.

Both interest and actual travel to Canada were highest among German leisure travellers between May and October in 2018.

Top experiences German leisure travellers desire while on holiday include sampling local food and drink, summer and fall outdoor experiences, exploring Indigenous culture, city tours and exploring places other tourists won’t go.

The majority of German leisure travellers on their most recent trip to Canada (60%) did not travel in an organized group travel package.

www.destinationcanada.com

Sydney International Art Series 2019/20 Art Pass Now on Sale

Tickets to the highly coveted Sydney International Art Series 2019/20 are now on sale, with visitors encouraged to take advantage of exploring both exhibitions by purchasing an Art Pass.

The Sydney International Art Series (SIAS) is an initiative of the NSW Government via Destination NSW, which brings the world's most outstanding art exclusively to Sydney through two blockbuster exhibitions each Summer.

The 2019-2020 season will feature Japan Supernatural at the Art Gallery of NSW and Cornelia Parker at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres said the world class nature of these exhibitions reinforced Sydney's reputation as Australia's cultural capital.

“People travel from all over the globe to our beautiful Harbour City to visit the Sydney International Art Series every year because it showcases internationally-recognised art in exhibitions not seen anywhere else,” Mr Ayres said.

“Together the two exhibitions are a major visitor drawcard for our State. It is creative initiatives like this which enable NSW to remain the number one visitor destination in Australia and ultimately, allow us to continue to supercharge the NSW economy.”

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said the SIAS had firmly rooted itself as a must-see event on the State's arts calendar.

“Since its inception in 2010, the SIAS has been a standout event – continuing to surprise, inspire and delight audiences who specially visit Sydney for the series from all over the world,” Mr Harwin said.

“Japan Supernatural will celebrate the wildly imaginative spirit world of Japanese art and feature more than 180 magnificent works, while Cornelia Parker will see the British artist transform everyday objects into unexpected and explosive installations, sculptures, drawings and films.”

Japan Supernatural is at the Art Gallery of NSW from 2 November 2019 to 8 March 2020. Cornelia Parker is at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia from 8 November 2019 to 16 February 2020.

Purchase a Sydney International Art Pass to see both exhibitions and save 20%. Available here: www.artpass.com.au

Destination NSW  www.destinationnsw.com.au/

ONAM – RETURN OF THE KING

At the end of Monsoon, Kerala prepares for what is undoubtedly the most important annual event of the state – Onam. From royally decorated elephant processions to the iconic Kathakali dance, spirited snake boat races to vibrant “pookalam” flower carpets – Kerala comes alive with brilliant colours and energy during this festival. Fairs pop up across the state, where traditional items and souvenirs are sold, and the community gets a chance to come together.

What’s Special:
The festival is said to have originated as a celebration to remember the golden rule of King Mahabali, a mythical king who ruled over Kerala. According to legend, the Gods were so jealous of King Mahabali’s popularity and power that they conspired to end his reign. They sent Lord Vishnu to Earth in the form of a dwarf Brahmin who trampled Mahabali. But the Lord granted the king one wish, which was to visit his land and people once every year.

When: 1st to 13th September 2019

Where: Kerala

Creative Travel
Creative Plaza, 283 Udyog Vihar Phase 2,
Gurugram, Haryana – 122016, India
Tel: +91-124 4567777
Email: engage@creative.travel

Tourists to Ha Noi in July up 9.5 percent

Tourists visit Temple of Literature in Hanoi
The capital city of Ha Noi welcomed more than 2.4 million tourists and pocketed over 8 trillion VND (345.2 million USD) from tourism services in July, up 9.5 percent and 31.5 percent against the same month of 2018, respectively.

According to the municipal Tourism Department, of the total holiday-makers, over 460,000 are foreigners, a year-on-year rise of 9.6 percent.

In the first seven months of 2019, over 16.7 million people, including 3.7 million foreigners, chose Hanoi as a destination for their holidays, up 9.2 percent and 8.9 percent year-on-year, respectively. Total revenue from tourists is estimated at 57.7 trillion VND, up 28.8 percent.

In July, 64.2 percent of hotel rooms were used, up 2.87 percent against the same month last year, but down 3.2 percent compared with that in June. Notably, the occupancy rate for four- and five-star hotels is about 80 percent. Hanoi currently has 3,499 accommodation facilities (hotels, condotels and hostels), with a total of 60,812 rooms.

The capital city is striving for 29 million tourists and earning 103 trillion VND in revenue this year.

Director of the municipal Tourism Department Tran Duc Hai said better tourism products and services that meet international standards have made the capital’s tourism sector more professional and impressed tourists.

Ha Noi is now home to many international luxury hotel brands, international-standard golf courses and large-scale trade centres.

Noi Bai International Airport, which has direct air routes linking Ha Noi with more than 40 nations around the world, also helps attract more holiday-makers to the capital, Hai stated.

In addition, many experts said Ha Noi has succeeded in promoting its tourism potential methodically and professionally.

This year, the city was again listed in various tourism rankings. Japan’s All Nippon Airways ranked it 25th among the 26 best Asian cities for a combination of business and leisure. The capital city was ranked fourth among 25 destinations in Asia and 15th among 25 destinations in the world in 2019 by TripAdvisor. Most recently, it was named in the Cable News Network (CNN)'s list of the 17 best places in Asia.

To promote its image, the municipal People’s Committee and CNN recently signed a memorandum of understanding on advertising the capital city on the channel for 2019-2024.

Besides, municipal tourism officials have worked with Vietnam Airlines in welcoming survey teams from Japan, Australia and Europe and organising the “Summer in Europe” programme at Ly Thai To Park besides Hoan Kiem lake. The department has also stepped up the development of tourism products in the suburbs.

To attract more domestic and foreign tourists, Hai said the tourism sector will increase the quality of cultural tourism products, building quality destinations to make them outstanding attractions.

Instead of developing downtown tourism as before, the sector is gradually tapping the potential in the suburbs to diversify products, contributing to socio-economic structure shifting in the localities.

According to experts and travel agencies, outlying districts should take measures to increase the quality of tourism products, develop infrastructure, create a healthy tourism environment and boost connectivity with other localities.

Phung Quang Thang, Director of Hanoitourist, advised localities to focus on developing key products as it is not enough to rely on their potential.

It is important to pay attention to destination management to avoid affecting product exploitation between local enterprises and those from other places, and intensify connectivity between them to build products suitable to tourists’ tastes.

According to the municipal tourism authority, developing attractions in the suburbs should be carried out step by step and needs long-term investment. To become tourist attractions, localities should step up connectivity with travel agencies, and install signposts and notice boards for visitors.

The department pledges to support localities in installing signposts and notice boards and training human resources serving in the sector, and creating favourable conditions for them to develop the industry.
Source: VOV

An Outdoor Escape at Spicers Peak Lodge

Take to the tracks this Spring with an extensive range of outdoor activities at Spicers Peak Lodge. Set on 8,000 acres, enveloped by the World Heritage listed Main Range National Park in the heart of Queensland's High Country, the array of tracks to discover by foot, bike or 4WD are endless. Hiking tracks throughout the property are available self guided as well as guided hikes from 1 hour through to 8 hours. Through the various ecosystems across the property, onsite Activities Guide Phoebe Georg will highlight the Australian flora and fauna, including Kangaroos, Wallabies, Wedge tailed Eagles and be sure to look up to spot a Koala.

Pick up the pace with the downhill mountain biking trails ranging from 7km to 18km through the rugged mountain terrain. Or if a view of the mountain ranges is preferred to be done in comfort, head out on a Sunset Property 4WD tour to the westerly facing ridge line of Ryans Lookout to watch the sun go down over the Maryvale Valley, with cheese & champagne of course.

As part of the all inclusive package offered at Spicers Peak Lodge, daily outdoor guided activities are included such as morning guided hikes, mountain biking, fireside drinks with Chef and stargazing. For the ultimate outdoor experience, Spicers Peak Lodge has launched a 2 day Outdoor Escape Package. Including the full All Inclusive Package of all meals, beverages, luxury accommodation and Spa Anise Spa Credit, guests will enjoy a Group Sunset 4WD tour one evening along with a Private 5 hour Ultimate Spicers Peak hike.

From $1239 per night, per room.

Click here to book.
www.luxurylodgesofaustralia.com.au/

Ocean Drive in Yamaguchi

Tsunoshima Bridge is 1,780 meters long and a popular course for an ocean drive in Yamaguchi.

Aquatic activities like clear kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and water biking are now waiting for you nearby the scenic bridge until 30th September! The Omijima Island is a must-go for those want to try out diving in Japan. Even beginners can dive through the caves under the cobalt blue sea as a wonderful summer fun!

Also, Yamaguchi is famous for ”Fuku” (also known as bubble fish or blowfish). Nothing can be better than enjoying grilled blowfish with chilled Japanese sake liquor in summertime. Never miss it when you visit the Shimonoseki area!

Visit Japan Now

Japan National Tourism Organization
www.jnto.org.au/

Seven irresistible reasons to visit New Zealand in spring time

Otahuna Lodge
Ahead of the summer crowds, New Zealand’s spring months – September, October, November – set their own unique tone for enticing outdoor holiday experiences.

Spring in New Zealand is a lively season inspired with colour, flavoured with early produce and new wine releases, and populated by new life and creative festivals celebrating everything from seafood to arts and culture. Days are getting longer and this is a season of many faces – from trim city gardens and farmers’ markets heaving with fresh produce to green pastures filled with lambs and the fresh powder snows of the late ski season.

Travel north to south and you will see the season as it unfolds. Renowned for its spectacular scenery and diverse landscapes, a New Zealand spring awakens the country region by region over several weeks as the warmer temperatures spread southwards across 1600km (900 miles) and from 34 to 47 degrees latitude south.

1) Blooming spring
Spring is definitely the season to admire the beauty of New Zealand’s flora and forests, wild and landscaped, at their very best. From the yellow swathe of kowhai trees with their nectar-heavy flowers that are a magnet for native songbirds, and the surreal green of unfurling fern fronds to massed spring bulbs, wild lupins and brilliant rhododendrons, new life pops up everywhere to be celebrated in a series of garden festivals throughout October and November.

Hobbiton
Hobbiton – New Zealand’s most famous garden – is never more glorious than when the pretty as a picture hobbit gardens blossom while, from north to south right across the country, many gardens of international and national significance open their gates to the public. In the North Island, the Taranaki Garden Festival (1 – 10 November, 2019) is a major festival with 50 gardens on show, but en route don’t miss Hamilton Gardens internationally-acclaimed themed gardens or Rotorua’s lovely thermal park. In the South Island, the massed daffodils of Hagley Park and Otahuna Lodge in Christchurch offer a truly spectacular moment in springtime. 

2) Put a spring in your step
Spring provides plenty of clear, settled days for exploring the great outdoors. Mild spring days and a lack of crowds mean this is a good time to discover some of New Zealand’s multitude of walking or cycling tracks. Hire a bike and cycle the spectacular Karangahake Gorge gold miners’ trail in the Coromandel, the thermal trails around Rotorua or through the southern vineyards of Queenstown’s Gibbston Valley.

Take a walk on the wild side with Foris Eco tours on one of New Zealand’s best day hikes through Whirinaki’s ‘dinosaur forest’ to meet the locals in their natural habitat; or dig your heels in the sand on the rugged southern coast of Westland where World Heritage protected temperate rainforests meet the ocean and local wildlife – penguins, New Zealand fur seals or elephant seals – can be found enjoying balmy spring days with their latest offspring.

Or visit Rainbow Springs' Kiwi Encounter, in Rotorua, to meet the cute new kiwi chicks as they hatch out of their impossibly (for the mother) large eggs.  The first of the new season's little kiwi will hatch in September and there are likely to be another 100 eggs come into the hatchery over the next few months. Emma Bean - Kiwi husbandry manager is expecting the 2019-20 season to be another bumper season.  

3) Picture perfect spring
All this loveliness and rampant new life on display means spring is a great time to be in New Zealand with a camera. Beyond the extremes of winter and summer, the lengthening days mean photographers will be rewarded with lighter mornings to go with the flush of spring greens while snow remains on the higher mountain peaks making for excellent scenic images.

Fields are filled with the bleating of spring lambs - a group of lambs in green pasture, back-lit with the morning sunshine and snow-capped peaks in the background is a quintessential New Zealand image. Off the beaten track, the ending of winter opens many unmade roads which are closed during the snow, allowing access with suitable vehicles to the road less travelled.

Marcus Adams, who leads Travelling Light Photography tours, recommends a spring visit to New Zealand as it “will reward the photographer with soft light, stunning scenery and the unfolding wheel of life in the fields and pastures. Well worth it!”

4) Dive into spring
New Zealand is long, relatively narrow, and encircled by an astounding 15,000 kilometres of coastline so you’re never far from the sea and large expanses of clear, calm waters that provide great conditions for diving, kayaking, fishing and other water sports.

French explorer Jacques Cousteau named the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, just off northern New Zealand’s Tutukaka coast, as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world. The Knights attracts tens of thousands of divers annually who come to explore the myriad wonders of this colourful yet ethereal underwater world inhabited by an amazing array of marine life.

Dive! Tutukaka operator Kate Malcolm says spring is an amazing season to dive the Poor Knights as “activity speeds up with fish spawning, upwelling currents bringing planktonic goodness and feeding frenzies. The islands never sleep but they truly energise with life.”

5) Dip your toes in a spring
A dip in thermal mineral waters holds extra appeal in spring before the summer heat and the crowds arrive. At Hot Water Beach, on the North Island’s Coromandel Peninsula, you can dig your own hot bath in the sand at low tide thanks to ancient springs beneath the beach and that makes for a convivial social event with your significant other or a group of friends. Just a little further south, Polynesian Spa – on the edge of Lake Rotorua - has been voted one of the world’s 10 best day spas. Soak off the day’s activities in a steaming, natural thermal pool or succumb to a reinvigorating mud treatment.

The South Island has an alpine take on thermal wonders. Hanmer Springs – 90 minutes north of Christchurch airport, is New Zealand’s premier alpine spa. Relax in one of the many sculptured rock pools with temperatures ranging from 33˚C to 41˚C or, further south, while the evening away beneath the Southern Alps in the heated glacial waters at Tekapo Springs and Omarama Hot Tubs.

6) Fresh flavours of spring
Greener pastures also make for an abundance of fresh local produce and wine, making spring the ideal season to journey along New Zealand’s many food and wine trails. Farmers’ markets are a Saturday morning highlight in many regions, and it’s also the time when vineyards celebrate the release of their new season’s wine.

Some of New Zealand’s finest seafood delicacies are at their freshest and best in spring. The king salmon season begins early October so where better to sample from than Mt Cook Alpine Salmon’s Tekapo site which is fed year-round by fast flowing glacial waters and, at 677m above sea level, qualifies as the world’s highest salmon farm. Only available in spring, there’s also delectable New Zealand whitebait netted from the river mouths of the South Island’s West Coast and served up as a whitebait pattie.

FAWC (Food & Wine Classic) held in Hawke’s Bay is the not-to-be-missed spring culinary festival of the finer arts. The 2019 edition will run for 10 delicious days from 1 - 10 November and will include dozens of stand-out food and wine experiences from dinners with the winemaker to long lunches, pop-up destinations and glorious food markets.

Mt Dobson Ski Area
7) Swish into spring
And finally, after a bumper winter season and some early September snow, the Queenstown ski fields are gearing up for one of the best spring ski seasons on record.

Spring skiing in New Zealand offers more opportunities for milder days on the slopes without the crowds. The ski season continues through until October, giving snow sports lovers an extended chance to experience uncrowded fields or off-piste skiing, snowboarding and heli-skiing.

Meanwhile, down off the slopes, Queenstown, nearby Central Otago and Wanaka are enjoying pretty blossoms on the trees, daffodils bursting into life and crisp fresh mornings followed by beautiful sun filled days – perfect for a relaxing escape, or for exploring the trails by bike or by foot.

Tourism New Zealand  www.newzealand.com/au/

Flying with your golf bag in Vietnam

Vietnam Airlines (VNA) is ITS’ preferred domestic service provider, especially when it comes to flying our golfers.

The airline offers transport services for golfing equipment as checked baggage. 

Per VNA’s official guideline, a golf set includes 01 golf bag containing a maximum of 14 golf clubs, 12 golf balls, putting tees, and 01 pair of golfing shoes not exceeding a total weight of 23 kg. 

Items outside of this list will not be considered part of the Golf Set.

INDOCHINA TRAVEL SERVICES CO., LTD. 
Address : Suite 1705 - Artex building - 172 Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh, Ha Noi, Viet Nam
Tel : + 84 24 62514052
Fax : + 84 24 62514051
Email : info@itsvietnam.com

LIGHTS, CAMERA, BLOG. TAT REACHES OUT TO ONLINE MILLENNIALS

Photo: Where in the World is Nina?
With pressure on tourism authorities to come up with new ways to lure tourists to the Land Of Smiles and rebrand the tired ‘Amazing Thailand’ promotion, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has come up with the ‘Thailand Village Academy’.

Stepping firmly into the world of online bloggers and social media, the TAT is hoping to reach out to a younger market, specifically the 18-35 demographic.

44 bloggers from 17 countries were shortlisted for a chance to promote Thailand as a destination to similar millennials around the world. The bloggers were selected from nearly 1,500 contestants in 86 countries.

The bloggers are shooting their material for six days up to July 29. The winners are from Australia, Nepal, Bhutan, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Italy, Israel, Nigeria, The Philippines, Peru, Russia, Singapore, Tunisia, UK and Ukraine. Cash and other prizes valued around US$10,000 (308,905 baht) are being offered to winners.

Apart from the TAT, the Cultural Promotion Department, Thai Airways and Thai Smile are involved in making the promotion happen. Organisers say the travel blogs shot at 22 villages across Thailand will not only reach out more efficiently to younger tourist customers, but it will also benefit the villages chosen to take part in the project. Thai and Thai Smile flew the contestants to their destinations for the project.

The locations include Ban Phu Homestay in Mukdahan, the Ban Lao Wiang Cultural Tourism Community in Uttaradit, Ban Tha Ma-O Community in Lampang, Thung Wa Community in Satun and the Sapphaya Old Police Station Market Community in Chai Nat.

Read the full article at Thaiger: https://thethaiger.com/hot-news/tourism/lights-camera-blog-tat-reaches-out-to-online-millennials

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
Web: www.mekongtourism.org
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1
Mobile: +66 8555 44234, +66 8098 95853