Saturday, 31 October 2020

WORRIED ABOUT HOMESTAYS IN THAILAND? AIRBNB LAUNCH NEW SAFETY STANDARDS

To support hosts and governments as communities reopen for travel in Thailand, Airbnb announced that hosts and guests must agree to follow Airbnb’s COVID-19 Safety Practices, which include wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and, for hosts and their teams, abiding by the five-step enhanced cleaning process.

This commitment will help provide extra assurances to try and safeguard all stakeholders – hosts, guests, their communities and governments. All Airbnb homes hosts must commit to implementing this five-step enhanced cleaning process by November 20.

To ensure hosts are aligned with Thai government guidance, Airbnb has consulted with the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Health and recently held a joint discussion with Airbnb hosts to share best practices for cleanliness in Thailand’s homestay industry.

Speaking at the virtual meeting with Airbnb hosts, Dr Buncha Khakhong, deputy director-general of the Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, said:

The Department of Health has always looked for ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Thailand. We have found that Airbnb’s cleaning guidelines go above and beyond Thailand’s standards and we have collaborated with them to further ensure that the standards take into account local needs. We believe maintaining a high standard when it comes to cleaning and sanitation is key to building trust between hosts and guests, and the Department of Health is pleased to see Airbnb maintain robust cleaning guidelines for everyone to follow. We encourage all Airbnb hosts in Thailand to apply this standard and help to make Thailand a safe country for everyone”.

Read the full article at Travel Daily: https://www.traveldailymedia.com/worried-about-homestays-in-thailand-airbnb-launch-new-safety-standards/
Tags: #airbnb, #safetystandards, #Thailand
Website: www.DestinationMekong.com

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

Thien Ha cave becomes an attractive destination in Ninh Binh province

Inside Thien Ha cave
Thien Ha cave complex in Tho Ha village, Son Ha commune, which lies in the mountainous district of Nho Quan and is part of the northern province of Ninh Binh, has become an attractive destination for both domestic and international visitors.

Located to the south of Tuong mountain, the 250 million year-old complex consists of a 200m dry cave and a water cave.

Thien Ha has been well-known as a “living” cave. According to experts, geological layers in the cave are still active and developing silently.

Archaeologists have found many traces of mollusks, hewing tools, raw ceramic fragments, animal bones, turtle shells and bibs, and many other elements that confirm the existence of ancient Vietnamese residents.

The Thien Ha cave complex was found in 1997 by Ha Huy Loi, who was very interested in exploring the caves.

With the permission of local authorities, Loi has mobilised human resources and sucked out the mud to reveal a cave complex with majestic stalactites and underground rivers.
Source: Nhan dan online
Tags: #ThienHacave, #NinhBinh, #attractivedestination,

MCEC and Guides Dogs Victoria Help Continue Vital Services for Victorians with Low Vision or Blindness

Guide Dogs Victoria (GDV) and Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) have entered into a partnership to ensure Victorians with low vision or blindness can continue to receive essential services during coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns, with the venue being used as a space for the training of Guide Dogs Victoria Clients and Guide Dogs-in-training.

With Melbourne experiencing restrictions in-line with directions from the Chief Health Officer, and with the Victorian Government's roadmap to reopening, MCEC is currently closed to the public. GDV has also faced significant challenges during this time - adapting to Covid-safe protocols and finding innovative new ways to continue providing vital services to Victorians with low vision or blindness.

Through this initiative, MCEC is providing an environment that is safe, contained, accessible and free of charge for GDV to continue indoor and outdoor training, in compliance with government restrictions.

Guide Dogs Victoria’s CEO, Karen Hayes AM said the collaboration with MCEC had made a significant difference to GDV being able to continue delivering Guide Dog services during these challenging times.

“Thanks to Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Guide Dogs Victoria has been able to continue to provide essential services to Clients and train life-changing Guide Dogs during this lockdown. We know that our Clients have felt significant isolation and an increasing loss of confidence, as the restrictions continued. We are incredibly grateful to MCEC for working creatively with us to get people back on track to be confident and independent again” she said.

“Furthermore, with such strict government restrictions aimed at keeping us all safe, it is fabulous to have a space like MCEC where Clients and our dogs we can still train ‘real world’ experiences. They can practice navigating escalators, elevators, stairs, and chairs to name a few examples, but in an environment that is safely contained and controlled.”

MCEC Chief Executive, Peter King said the venue shares GDV’s commitment to creating welcoming and inclusive spaces for people with low vision and blindness.

“We have an environment that is accessible and safe for GDV to provide their training and essential services and the lockdown has meant we can offer the space they need,” he said.

“In these unpredictable times we need to pull together as a community and be resourceful to help those who need our support.”

GDV’s Guide Dog Mobility Instructors and Clients began training at MCEC in September, and will continue using the venue as a training space while space is not in use.

About GDV
At Guide Dogs Victoria, we provide vital support for Victorians with low vision or blindness. We have done since 1957. Since then, our services have grown far beyond just the dogs themselves to include a wide range of community initiatives, and training and education programs.

We work to ensure people with low vision or blindness are active and involved members of the community. We do this by teaching practical skills to help children and adults reach their personal potential: regardless of when or how they became affected by low vision or blindness. These skills are developed under our Orientation & Mobility training programs and with the support of Occupational Therapists.

www.guidedogsvictoria.com.au

About MCEC
At MCEC, we’re passionate about creating inspirational environments. We do this by delivering a personalised service and partnering with our customers to offer ideas, insights and imaginative solutions. We tailor every experience because we realise it’s the little details that make all the difference.

We’re here to connect and inspire, and as a world-leading venue, we’re redefining events globally through innovation, partnerships and experiences. Our venue is distinctly Melbourne and we’ve been inspired by the creative, cultural and diverse delights of the city we call home.

Learn more at www.mcec.com.au

Website: www.theholidayandtravelmagazine.blogspot.com.au

Canada Ranked as Third Best “Nation Brand” in Ipsos Survey and Receives First Place in Several Important Categories

Canada was ranked as the third-best “nation brand”, according to the 2020 Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index (NBI) which was released this week. Canada was also recognized with first place in three important categories including governance, people and immigration/investment. While we know we live in a beautiful country with cultures we cherish and wonderful communities and people, this ranking recognizes Canada on the global stage.

This is the second consecutive year in which Canada has ranked in third place out of 50 countries, based on factors including, exports, people, governance, culture, tourism, immigration and investment. This year’s survey noted that one of Canada’s reputational strengths lies in its people, with respondents noting a positive opinion about the welcoming nature of Canadians.

The NBI is a comprehensive study that evaluates the perceptions of 50 nations from respondents in 20 countries, conducted through 20,019 online interviews.

Read More

Website: www.theholidayandtravelmagazine.blogspot.com.au
Destination Canada  https://www.destinationcanada.com/en

VIVID SYDNEY 2021 DATES CONFIRMED

Vivid Sydney, the southern hemisphere’s largest celebration of light, music and ideas, will return from 6 to 28 August 2021.

Expressions of Interest for the Vivid Light program are now open with artists and creatives invited to take part.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the 2021 event would support the recovery of the visitor economy and creative arts sector in a COVID-safe way.

“It’s exciting to get planning underway for Vivid Sydney 2021 so we can deliver another world-class showcase of creativity and innovation here in the Harbour City,” Minister Ayres said.

“We hope that Sydneysiders, residents of NSW and visitors from around the country will start planning now and book accommodation, tours and attractions to make the most of their Vivid Sydney 2021 experience.

“Vivid Sydney also supports the NSW Government’s new 24-Hour Economy Strategy which will help Sydney realise its potential as a thriving global city, and create more employment opportunities in the arts, entertainment, cultural and hospitality sectors.”

The world-renowned Vivid Sydney Light Walk features dozens of light installations and large-scale projections to create a magical, interactive gallery around Sydney Harbour.

Expressions of Interest for the 2021 Light Walk close on 23 November. To complete an Expression of Interest for Vivid Light, go to www.vividsydney.com/.

Further information about the Vivid Sydney 2021 program will be available in future editions of Insights.

Website: www.theholidayandtravelmagazine.blogspot.com.au

Destination NSW
Website: www.destinationnsw.com.au

Friday, 30 October 2020

PHUKET REOPENING: CHINESE TOURISTS ‘AGREE TO ARRIVE AFTER OCT. 25’

Few visitors are seen at a beach on Phuket island on
June 9, 2020, the first day of beach reopneing after
coronavirus shutdown.
Thailand’s National Security Council Secretary-General Natthaphon Nakpanit on Thursday has confirmed that no tourists will arrive in Thailand’s resort island of Phuket until its annual vegetarian festival is over by the end of this month.

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival will be taking place in Phuket with light and sound, performances and food stalls lines up in Phuket’s major towns from Oct. 17 to 25.

Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew also made an abrupt announcement on social media on Wednesday that he had decided to delay the arrival of tourists out of concern that local residents may fear going outdoor to celebrate the festival with the presence of foreign tourists.

The first group of 150 Chinese nationals with special tourist visas (STV) was earlier to be allowed entry into the country on Oct. 8.

Narong said that the Chinese tourists have agreed to come after Oct. 25.

Narong said that allowing the Vegetarian Festival to go ahead this year took a lot of discussion and was a decision not made lightly.

Read the full article at Khaosod English: https://www.khaosodenglish.com/news/crimecourtscalamity/2020/10/12/phuket-reopening-chinese-tourists-agree-to-arrive-after-oct-25/
Tags: Phuket, special tourist visas (STV), Thailand, tourism reopening
Website: www.DestinationMekong.com

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

Visit the world’s most beloved cities and dream destinations without leaving Melbourne New multi-sensory attraction, Wanderlust Melbourne opens this December

Walking the streets of Paris, marveling at Big Ben and snapping up an authentic New York hot dog will soon become a reality as Melbourne welcomes its very first interactive travel experience, Wanderlust Melbourne. Set to open on Saturday 5th December, the pop up attraction invites visitors to traverse imaginary borders and be transported to five beloved cities and dream destinations; the bustling streets of London and New York, the beautiful Paris cityscape, an idyllic Tropical Beach and a snow-filled Winter Wonderland.

Located in Fitzroy and spread over five vibrant rooms, visitors enter via the departure gate and arrive into a world of sensory wonderment, immersing them in the sights, smells, touches and tastes of five different destinations – all without ever leaving Melbourne.

Tickets to Wanderlust Melbourne are $29.50 per person and are on sale now at wanderlustmelbourne.com.au

“As borders remain closed and the prospect of international travel still in the distant future, we wanted to help realise the travel dreams of Victorians and allow them to experience the excitement, joy and curiosity that comes with visiting somewhere new. Let us open the world to you and satisfy your wanderlust,” said Rachel Moore COO.

First stop on the journey is New York, a number one bucket list destination. Recreating the city’s iconic landmarks, Wanderlust Melbourne will bring to life the bright lights of Times Square, the heart of buzzing Broadway and the majesty of the Empire State Building. Finish off a saunter through the city that never sleeps with a tourist snap on Fifth Avenue and an authentic New York hot dog!

Cross international waters and step into the streets of London home to Big Ben, all things Union Jack and of course the red telephone box, a British cultural icon perfect for a picture moment.

Next on the itinerary is Paris, the city of love and a cultural haven of art, fashion and food. In this room, share a romantic moment under the Eiffel Tower, take a snap in front of the Mona Lisa or simply admire the 19th century cityscape and watch the world go by from outside the French Patisserie.

From a metropolis to tropical paradise, the beach room will be a place to relax where visitors can pull up a deck chair, feel the sand beneath their toes and stroll along the boardwalk while sipping on a mocktail from the Bamboo Beach Bar. For those who favour a cooler climate, the Winter Wonderland awaits with a magical wintery scene, a snowman to selfie with and the real snow-stopper, a 4-metre snow dome! You never know it might even snow!

Wanderlust Melbourne can be booked for events of up to 100 people with a range of packages available. After the year that has been 2020, what better way to celebrate Christmas, a birthday or anything in between, in some of the world’s greatest locations.

Wanderlust will comply with COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and will have a COVID-19 safe plan in place.

Tickets to Wanderlust are on sale now at wanderlustmelbourne.com.au. Your world-wide journey awaits!

Wanderlust Melbourne
Dates: From 5 December 2020 – 31 January 2021
Address: 379 Smith St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 7:00pm
General Admission: $29.50

Flexi tickets: We know travel plans change so our tickets are fully flexible for total peace of mind *subject to availability of preferred time slot. Time slots are in place to allow for safe social distancing.
Duration: 1 hour
Events can be booked 7 days a week from 7.30pm-11.30pm with up to 100 people.

Contact events@wanderlustmelbourne.com.au or visit wanderlustmelbourne.com.au

Website: www.theholidayandtravelmagazine.blogspot.com.au

HKTB Welcomes Announcement of in-Principle Agreement to Establish Bilateral Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble

Hong Kong and Singapore have reached an in-principle agreement to establish a bilateral Air Travel Bubble (ATB). This milestone arrangement will help revive cross-border air travel between the two aviation hubs in a safe and progressive way.

Hong Kong and Singapore enjoy strong trade, investment, finance, tourism and people-to-people ties. Both cities are major aviation hubs, and the international air route between the two cities was among the busiest in the Asia-Pacific region before the pandemic. Travel links between Hong Kong and Singapore are important for both cities.

In conjunction with this announcement and to inspire visitors to explore Hong Kong from all angles, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has launched 360 Hong Kong Moments – opening up the city virtually by way of wholesome and immersive content, designed to remind the world what a wonderful and all-encompassing destination Hong Kong is.

HKTB Chairman, Dr YK Pang said “we welcome the SAR Government's announcement of the in-principle agreement to establish a bilateral Air Travel Bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore.”

“The announcement is a timely match with the HKTB's launch of a standardised hygiene protocol for tourism-related sectors with the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency, which was announced last week. The protocol allows the tourism-related sectors to be well-prepared to welcome visitors back, while bolstering visitors' confidence in travelling to Hong Kong. The HKTB also hopes that the ongoing series of 360 Hong Kong Moments will keep our destination brand alive and ensure that our city stays top-of-mind for people around the world before other travel bubbles are formed,” Mr Pang said.

The first in the series of 360 Hong Kong Moments is a 360-degree virtual-reality film, created especially for this year's Great Outdoors Hong Kong campaign. The VR adventure takes viewers on an immersive journey across Hong Kong's surprisingly easy-to-access green territory. Viewers can savour the taste of traditional local dishes that connect them with the city's cultural heritage, gaze at the mesmerising skyline from atop stunning mountains, and listen to the soothing sounds of a waterfall.

From city to mountains, and coastlines to parks, the stunning footage fully immerses viewers in the rhythms and sensations of Hong Kong's green lungs, bringing global audiences as close to Hong Kong as possible – no matter where they are in the world.

To immerse yourself in Hong Kong's natural scenery via HKTB's 360-degree VR film, visit: https://youtu.be/6-jt4u4IhMY

For more information about Great Outdoors Hong Kong, visit: www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/explore/great-outdoor.html

Website: www.theholidayandtravelmagazine.blogspot.com.au
Website: www.mehongkong.com
Tags: #HongKong, #TravelBubble, #Covid19

The Best Beaches in Los Angeles

Leo Carrillo State Beach | Photo: Yuri Hasegawa
Experience an "Endless Summer" from Malibu to the South Bay
by Discover Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the best city for experiencing the quintessential endless summer in Southern California. We rounded up eight of the best beaches in LA, from Malibu to the South Bay.

The Getaway: Leo Carrillo State Beach
35000 W Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu 90265
310-457-8143
Visit Website
Located in Malibu 28 miles north of Santa Monica on Pacific Coast Highway, Leo Carrillo State Park offers a beach that stretches for more than a mile. This best beach is dotted with sea caves, tidepools, and other beach-combing delights. The park is named after the actor and preservationist who served on the California Beach and Parks Commission for 18 years. A small visitor center offers interpretive displays, as well as guided nature walks and campfire programs. Picnic areas, campsites, and RV facilities are also located in the park. So if you’re looking to set up shop for a while and enjoy the scene, this might be the best spot.
MORE INFO

El Matador State Beach | Photo: Yuri Hasegawa
The Hopeless Romantic: El Matador Beach
32100 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu 90265
818-880-0363
Visit Website
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more romantic best beach than El Matador. Located about 10 miles northwest of Malibu, this secluded pocket beach has rocky shores, robust waves and some of the clearest water in L.A. Use the bathroom at the top before taking the steps on the bluff to the shore; the rock formations, caves and hidden coves are perfect for frolicking into the sunset.
MORE INF

Malibu Surfrider Beach | Photo: Yuri Hasegawa
The Surf Spot: Malibu Surfrider Beach
23050 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu 90265
310-305-9503
Visit Website
When it’s time to get out the surfboard, apply a new coat of wax and zip on the wetsuit, there’s no better place to be than Surfrider Beach in Malibu. Living up to its name, Surfrider is known for its super long right-hand break as much as being a place to play in the waves or watch surfers from the shore as the sun sets over their silhouettes.
MORE INFO

Santa Monica Pier | Photo: Melissa Turner
The Classic Stretch of Sand: Santa Monica Beach
380 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica 90401
310-305-9503
Visit Website
Located just north of the historic Santa Monica Pier, this is one of the most popular beaches in LA. The two miles of sand at Santa Monica Beach feels endless and offers plenty of space to stretch the legs, set up for a game of volleyball, or go for a bike ride. Bring the sunscreen, a little cash for parking and a beach towel or blanket. Let the sun, sand and surf do the rest.
MORE INFO

Venice Beach | Photo: Yuri Hasegawa
The People Watcher: Venice Beach
3100-2700 Ocean Front Walk, Venice 90291
310-305-9503
Visit Website
Venice Beach is a lively city beach where the action is as much about the people as it is about the surf, sand or skating. In fact, the world famous Ocean Front Walk often upstages the Pacific Ocean. Keep an eye out for Harry Perry, the turbaned guitar player often rollerblading down the boardwalk and seen in numerous films and TV shows. Bodybuilders, chainsaw jugglers, musicians, breakdancers, palm readers and all kinds of folk artists keep things entertaining.
MORE INFO

Biking The Strand in Manhattan Beach | Photo: Yuri Hasegawa
Manhattan Beach
400-500 The Strand, Manhattan Beach 90266
310-305-9503
Visit Website
At Manhattan Beach, it’s all beautiful people, shiny cars, big sunglasses and little lap dogs. But that’s in the trendy area of town next to the shore, where scenes from many television shows have been filmed. On the sand, you’ll find beach volleyball at courts that seem to go on for miles, and bodysurfing near the pier. Check out the aquarium at the end of the pier, with its interesting sea creatures and touch pool. When it comes to getting in the water, you should know that surfing is limited to the south side of the pier and boogie boarding is confined to the water north of the pier. Swimming is prohibited in the areas immediately adjacent to the pier.
MORE INFO

Hermosa Beach Pier | Photo: Melissa Turner
Hermosa Beach
Hermosa Ave. and 33rd St., Hermosa Beach 90254
310-305-9503
Visit Website
There’s a certain stylish vibe at Hermosa Beach and its surrounding seaside community that you won’t find at other L.A. beaches. You’re just as likely to see people shopping and relaxing in outdoor cafes as you are the tanned and toned beach gods and goddesses that frequent the sandy shoreline. Pier Plaza is the place to hang out when you’d rather skip the sunscreen and beach towels. Once you’re on the shore, a pristine expanse of sand awaits, with volleyball nets, plenty of space for sunbathing and sandcastle building, and a paved walkway for strolling or biking.
MORE INFO

Cabrillo Beach | Photo: Yuri Hasegawa
Cabrillo Beach
3720 Steven M. White Dr., San Pedro 90731
310-548-2909
Visit Website
Popular among travelers and locals hitting the beach with kids in tow, Cabrillo Beach is a tranquil setting near San Pedro, with everything you need for the perfect family outing. Located on a thin peninsula near Point Fermin Park, the beach actually has two sides — one outside the breakwater that’s open to the surf, and one that’s open to the harbor. Depending on the activity, you can select either side and enjoy some adventure or some well-deserved relaxation. After you’re finished with the beach, head to the nearby Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and enjoy the interactive exhibits, tidepool touch tanks and other unforgettable attractions.


Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
WeWork, Lv 3, 100 Harris St
Pyrmont NSW 2009 Australia

PATA honours industry leaders, pioneers and professionals at 69th Annual General Meeting


The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has presented a series of awards to several individuals in recognition for their contributions to the responsible development of travel and tourism in the Asia Pacific region.

The following awards were presented during the 69th Annual General Meeting held online on Wednesday, October 14, 2020: PATA Gallery of Legends Award, PATA Life Membership, and PATA Chair’s Award.

Picture: L/R: Alwin Zecha, Founder - Pacific Leisure Group, Thailand; Hiran Cooray Chairman - Jetwing Symphony PLC, Sri Lanka; and Akbar Shareef, Chairman & Chief Executive - Rakaposhi Tours (Pvt) Ltd., Pakistan.

PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy said,” As we look towards the future of travel, it is always important to remember the past and recognize the individuals who have paved the way towards a more responsible travel and tourism industry. Their achievements should inspire us all to work harder for the swift recovery of travel. I would like to congratulate all of them for their valuable contributions and support to both PATA and the entire travel and tourism industry.”

PATA was honoured to announced that Alwin Zecha, Founder of the Pacific Leisure Group, will be inducted into the PATA Gallery of Legends. The Gallery of Legends Award is a special honour bestowed once every few years to recipients who were true pioneers in the travel and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region. The gallery is situated in the central breezeway of the Honolulu International Airport with plaques documenting and remembering the outstanding contributions of each inductee.

Alwin Zecha was one such pioneer who contributed greatly towards the growth of tourism in the region and was well respected by the industry. For his extraordinary contributions, he was unanimously voted by PATA’s Honours Committee to be included into The Gallery of Legends.

Alwin was the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Pacific Leisure Group, a leading destination management company with offices in 38 countries worldwide. During his illustrious career, he also served as a Board member and Chairman for numerous other organizations.

He first joined PATA in 1961 and had been actively involved with the Association through positions on the Board and at the Committee level. He was elected PATA President for two consecutive terms in 1985 and 1986 and played a major role in the decision to relocate PATA Headquarters from San Francisco to Bangkok in 1998.

The PATA Life Membership was awarded to Hiran Cooray Chairman of Jetwing Symphony PLC, Sri Lanka and Akbar Shareef, Chairman & Chief Executive of Rakaposhi Tours (Pvt) Ltd., Pakistan. The award is the Association’s highest individual honour and recognises significant leadership and invaluable dedication to PATA.

Renowned as a trendsetter and influencer in Sri Lankan tourism, Hiran Cooray contributes an immense mixture of passion, honesty, integrity and tenacity to the industry. Carrying on the legacy of his father, the late Herbert Cooray, Hiran is the current Chairman of Jetwing Symphony PLC which comes under the Jetwing family of hotels and will be the brand’s vehicle for future investment and growth in the leisure sector. He is also the Chairman of The Lighthouse Hotel PLC, long known as the beacon of the South. Jetwing is a family owned company which counts a storied history of over 4 decades.

Lt. Col. (Retd.) Akbar Ali Shareef took voluntary retirement from the Pakistan Army after a distinguished career of over 20 years of active service. After retirement, he established Rakaposhi Tours which within a span of few years was recognized amongst the top three tour operating companies in Pakistan. He became member of PATA in 1991 and held the position of Member Secretary and Chairman, where his contribution towards tourism and service to PATA were highly appreciated at all levels. Rakaposhi Tours (Pvt.) Ltd. was established in 1989. The company has already carved out a place for itself amongst the industry leaders.

Picture: L/R: Peter Semone, Founder and President - Destination Human Capital Limited, Timor Leste; to Bill Calderwood, Managing Director – The Ayre Group Consulting, Australia; Maria Helena De Senna Fernandes, Director – Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Macao, China; and Sarah Mathews, Head of Destination Marketing APAC – TripAdvisor, Hong Kong SAR.

The PATA Chair’s Award was presented by Dr. Chris Bottrill, Director, International at Capilano University in North Vancouver, Canada to Peter Semone, Founder and President - Destination Human Capital Limited, Timor Leste.

Peter Semone is a leading strategist, educator, entrepreneur and author specializing in tourism development in Southeast Asia. He is founder and president of the strategic advisory Destination Human Capital Limited. Presently he serves as Chief of Party of USAID's Tourism For All Project in Timor-Leste. Peter has served as Chief Technical Adviser and Team Leader for projects in Lao PDR and Vietnam and is frequently called upon as a short-term expert to the World Tourism Organisation and other international development groups such as ADB, AUSAID, GIZ, ILO, NZAID, and USAID. Peter is the founder of the internationally acclaimed Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (LANITH) vocational school.

In addition to the awards, Dr. Chris Bottrill also presented Certificates of Appreciation to Bill Calderwood, Managing Director – The Ayre Group Consulting, Australia; Maria Helena De Senna Fernandes, Director – Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Macao, China; and Sarah Mathews, Head of Destination Marketing APAC – TripAdvisor, Hong Kong SAR for their support and assistance during his tenure as Chair of the Association.

Website: www.theholidayandtravelmagazine.blogspot.com.au

PATA - Pacific Asia Travel Association
Unit B1, 28th Floor, Siam Tower
989 Rama I Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand
Website: www.pata.org

Quang Ninh cuts sight-seeing fees till year’s end

A corner of Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh (Photo: VNA)
The northeastern coastal province of Quang Ninh has launched a sight-seeing fee discount programme for a range of local destinations between September 9 and December 31.

Accordingly, prices of entrance tickets for destinations on Ha Long Bay, the Quang Ninh Museum and the Yen Tu relic and scenic complex are reduced by 50 percent.

Notably, entry into destinations in the bay will be free of charge on Vietnamese Women’s Day (October 20), the mining sector’s traditional day (November 12), Vietnamese Teachers’ Day (November 20), and the founding anniversary of the People’s Army of Vietnam (December 22).

The programme was part of the provincial People’s Council’s decision issued on September 8 for tourism promotion.

Earlier, the council approved a tourism promotion incentive for 2020 worth about 200 billion VND (nearly 8.6 million USD) during its meeting in May.

Under the incentive, starting from May 15, all visitors, both Vietnamese and foreigners were exempt from entrance fees to Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh Museum and the complex of Yen Tu monuments and landscapes until the end of the month and on major holidays in 2020.

Later, sight-seeing fees for Ha Long Bay were reduced by half to the end of September, while entrance fees for Quang Ninh Museum and Yen Tu complex were cut by half until the end of July.

In addition, passengers arriving at the Van Don International Airport receive free round-trip bus rides to Ha Long and Uong Bi cities until the year's end.

As a result, tourist arrivals have been partly recovered, with the average number of visitors to Ha Long Bay per day reached 7,000 in June. As of the end of August, more than 868,000 people visited the bay in the daytime and over 4,000 stayed here at night.

However, the second wave of COVID-19 taking place at the end of July has led to a slowdown in local tourism activites as the number of tourists fell significantly. Hundreds of tourist ship owners registered for a temporary halt of their operation until the end of September to avoid monthly business fees of between 7 and 10 million VND per ship.

Local tourism activities are expected to be resumed in early October.

According to statistics from the Quang Ninh People’s Committee, the number of tourists to the province as of the end of August exceeded 5.7 million, decreasing by half year on year. As such, tourism revenue reduced by 42 percent to over 12 trillion VND.

During the period, Ha Long Bay and the Yen Tu relic and scenic complex welcomed 1.1 million and 238,000 visitors, down 62 and 73 percent, respectively, year-on-year.

Quang Ninh is endowed with natural advantages for sea and island tourism. It has a coastline of more than 250 kilometres and more than 2,000 islands and islets which account for two-thirds of the total number in Vietnam.

It is home to popular destinations such as Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long, Ha Long Bay National Park and some islands.

In particular, Ha Long Bay was twice recognised as a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO in 1994 and 2000. The bay spans 1,553 square kilometres and includes 1,969 islands of various sizes.

It features thousands of limestone karsts and islets in various shapes and sizes. The limestone in the bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments.

The site welcomed 4.4 million holidaymakers throughout 2019, including 2.9 million foreigners, and raked in 1.23 trillion VND from tourism.

Located 80 km from the mainland, Co To island is another attraction in Quang Ninh. The island district comprises Co To Lon (large Co To island), Co To Be (small Co To island) and 15 smaller islands.

Besides enchanting beaches, the island has natural forests, lighthouses, parks, wharves, fishing villages, bays and a rock garden.

Located in Bai Tu Long Bay, Quan Lan Island in Van Don district has become an ideal destination in summer holidays thanks to its pristine beauty, clear blue seawater and fine white sand bank stretching along the green rows of casuarinas.
Source: VNA
Tags: #QuangNinh, #sightseeingfees,

Breaking news! Chimu announce Southern Aurora flights from AUSTRALIA!

Latin America and Polar specialists, Chimu Adventures have today announced a unique opportunity for Australians to experience the magical Aurora Australis - often referred to as the Southern Lights – via a scenic flight.

Building upon the recent success from Chimu Adventures' sister company, Viva Expeditions in New Zealand, the 10-hour flights will provide Australian passengers with an unprecedented front-row view of the Aurora Australis. Departing and returning to Australia's major domestic terminals, lucky passengers will fly over the Southern Ocean towards Antarctica onboard a QANTAS Boeing 789 Dreamliner, surrounded by the spectacular dancing lights of the Aurora Australis.

For years, Australians have spent a small fortune travelling to the Arctic Circle in pursuit of the Northern Lights, and although the Southern Lights are equally impressive, few have had the opportunity to witness the Aurora Australis in person. The Southern Lights charter flights provide Australian travellers with unprecedented access to the remote Aurora zone at precisely the right moment. The flights will coincide with the Autumn equinox when auroras are brightest and most frequent.

With 30% larger windows compared to other Boeing aircraft, the Dreamliner is the perfect plane for passengers to take in the Aurora Australis. Flying high above the clouds hundreds of kilometres from any potential light pollution, lucky travellers will enjoy Qantas service in both business and economy classes. Expert astronomers will provide information on how an aurora is created, and a photography expert will be available to assist passengers with photographing the incredible scenes.

The flight itineraries have been carefully planned in consultation with renowned astrophysicist, Aurora hunter, and Director of the Otago Museum in New Zealand, Dr Ian Griffin.

Astronomer, Dr Ian Griffin has been Director of the Otago Museum since 2013. Originally from the UK, after falling in love with the clear dark skies of the Otago Peninsula he became a New Zealand citizen in 2018. A self-described aurora fanatic, Ian has led two successful Air NZ charter flights into the southern auroral zone. The first in March 2017 was an 8-hour flight on a Boeing 767 out of Dunedin, whilst the second flew on a Dreamliner from Christchurch in March 2018. On both flights' passengers enjoyed more than three hours of auroral displays as the aircraft flew thousands of kilometres south of New Zealand. Ian has also photographed the southern lights during five flights on NASA's SOFIA Observatory.

"I'm really excited about this charter flight. Flying into the southern auroral zone is a wonderful experience, and you never know quite what you are going to see, as I said on my return from the first flight; "We've travelled two-thirds of the way to the south pole, seen an incredible display of the southern lights, got lovely pictures, and we are home in time for breakfast" - Dr Ian Griffin.

Not only is this a rare and unique travel option for anyone in the world, it is also safe, exclusive and provides passengers with an incredible travel experience without effectively leaving their home state in Australia. And, although state border restrictions won't apply to these flights, should COVID cause the cancellation or delay of flights, passengers are covered by the Chimu Adventures Book with Confidence policy.

“We are thrilled to be bringing something to the Australian market that is not only an exciting product but exclusively accessible from our corner of the world. To be able to undertake such a rare experience, when so many other travel options have vanished, is just what the Australian travel population needs right now.” Said Chad Carey, Chimu Co-Founder.

Southern Lights by Flight is sure to sell out fast. Please contact Chimu Adventures to secure your spot today.

Head to the Chimu Adventures Southern Lights By Flight page for further details.

Website: www.theholidayandtravelmagazine.blogspot.com.au
Website: www.chimuadventures.com.au

LONG WEEKENDS IN CANADA: ARTS AND CULTURE GETAWAYS

Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, Cape Breton Island.
Credit: Tourism Nova Scotia / Photographer: Wally Hayes

Whether you are a culture lover, an art connoisseur, a history buff or a traveller looking for a new perspective, every Canadian province and territory offers a long weekend getaway that will please you. Let your next vacation be inspired by the cultural and artistic itineraries that follow.

Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia: Experience the past

Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island is steeped in French, Mi’kmaq and Celtic culture––which you’ll discover at the old Fortress of Louisburg National Historic Site where you’ll don period costumes and learn to fire a musket. On day two of your long weekend, immerse yourself in the world of the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell at the national historic site that bears his name. There, you’ll see replicas of the first telephones as well as a full-scale model of the HD-4 Hydrofoil craft. On your last day take the fiddling, step-dancing and singing Celtic culture of Cape Breton at the interactive Celtic Music Interpretive Centre.

New Brunswick: Acadian roots

Start your Acadian immersion in Moncton, New Brunswick, with a visit to one of the world’s largest collections of Acadian artifacts at the Musée acadien de l’Université de Moncton. Later, drive to the Boishébert and Beaubears Island Shipbuilding National Historic Sites. In summertime, tour Beaubears by boat to hear the stories of Acadian mothers, Commander Boishébert and venerable soldiers told by historical recreators in full costume. Plan a day in Grande-Digue, exploring the pioneer village with its school, family home, lighthouse and Musée des Pionniers, then make a stop at the Smokehouse Museum in Cap-Pelé to learn about the smokehouses of the area which supplies 95% of Canada’s smoked herring production. Treat yourself to a night in Caraquet, at the Hotel Paulin, a beautiful Acadian-style hotel still owned by the family that built it in 1891.

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan: Meet the colourful characters

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, a charming prairie town, was once Al Capone’s bootlegging hideout. Go underground in the Tunnels of Moose Jaw and enjoy a theatrical recreation of the prohibition era and the life of Chinese railroad workers. Spend a day relaxing in warm mineral baths and enjoying treatments at the Temple Gardens Spa before touring the Murals of Moosejaw, taking a photo at the Mac the Moose monument and tucking into a prairie-sized meal at Rosie’s on River Street, a café named for Moosejaw’s most notorious Madame.

The people tell the story

Northwest Territories: Indigenous impressions

Aurora Village, Northwest Territories. Credit: Aurora Village
Spend three wonder-filled days exploring the Northwest Territories’ Great Slave Lake on a Northern Lights Getaway. Experience evening gatherings at Aurora Village and experience the gathering of 21 teepees in a traditional circle where local guides introduce you to Métis and Dene culture. Each night, head out either on the Aurora Village traditional sleds or on viewing platforms to watch the Northern Lights. Before leaving Yellowknife, treat yourself to a dinner of arctic char at the popular Traders Grill. (Note: Locals and Nunavut residents can visit the Northwest Territories. Other travellers coming must undertake a mandatory 14-day self-isolation upon arrival. Updated October 19, 2020.

Whitehorse,Yukon: Stories and wonders

Whitehorse is a town made for culture vultures. Start your three-day weekend at the MacBride Museum to understand the people and events that have shaped the Yukon, from First Nations stories to the Klondike Gold Rush and the natural world. After satisfying your desire for learning, satiate another kind of appetite with delicious homemade pastries at the local Burnt Toast Café. On your next day, dive into the area’s proud mining history at the MacBride Copperbelt Mining Museum and meet a life-sized woolly mammoth at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre. On your last day, embark on a self-guided Whitehorse Art Walk. Grab a map from the Visitor Information Centre and let the accompanying audio teach you about the First Nations legends, gold rush characters, nature and Northern ways of life behind the city's artwork. Finish your artistic quest by taking in an exhibition at Arts Underground, where you can purchase wonderful Yukon-made art.

Vancouver, British Columbia: Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations

Vancouver, British Columbia, has a rich Indigenous history. Learn about the spiritual significance and traditional healing nature of Stanley Park on a Talking Trees Tour with Talaysay Tours then explore the Bill Reid Gallery, Canada’s only public gallery collection featuring solely contemporary Indigenous art of the Northwest Coast. After a night’s sleep at Canada's first Indigenous arts hotel, Skwachàys Lodge, head into the North Shore’s Indian Arm with Takaya Tours to paddle an ocean-going First Nations canoe replica, sing Coast Salish songs and try traditional drumming. On your final day, see the extraordinary collection of artifacts from originating communities at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology. Before heading home, seek out Mr. Bannock on the streets of Vancouver, the city’s only Indigenous food truck—try the wild game bannock burger!

Museums, Galleries, Tours and Explorations

Calgary and Drumheller, Alberta: Music, dinosaurs and hoodoos


Dinosaur exhibit at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller,
Alberta. Credit: Travel Alberta / Davey Lieske
In Calgary you’ll find some of Canada’s most renowned music icons such as Oscar Peterson, Jonni Mitchell, Luc Plamondon, Jann Arden, and Leonard Cohen at the Canadian Music Halls of Fame and Studio Bell. On your second day, drive one-and-a-half hours to Drumheller where you’ll discover hoodoos, the Canadian Badlands and the Royal Tyrrell Museum’s dinosaurs. On day three, discover Calgary’s St. Patrick’s neighbourhood and learn about the culture of the Blackfoot Peoples on a Many Chiefs walking tour guided by a member of the Blood Tribe in the Blackfoot Confederacy. Later, make time for one last hidden gem stop: the Bridgette Bar on 10th Avenue for an artsy and delicious take on small plate dining

Ottawa, Ontario: The capital of museums

With seven national museums, Ottawa is the ideal place for a three-day deep dive into Canadian culture and art. Start your Ontario long weekend at the National Gallery to view a comprehensive collection of Indigenous, Canadian and International artwork. On day two explore the Canadian War Museum to reflect Canada’s military history and Canadian Museum of Nature and one of the three establishments of the Ingenium network to learn about science and nature. On your final day, tour downtown Ottawa with a visit to ByWard Market to find handcrafted jewelry and designer clothing as well as local specialities such as artisanal cheese and charcuterie. After finding a few souvenirs at the market, treat yourself to a cold one at a local favourite, the Heart and Crown.

Winnipeg, Manitoba: Learning never stops

Winnipeg has a wealth of museums to entertain and educate. Start your Manitoba long weekend by exploring everything from cephalopods to fur trading ships at the Manitoba Museum and Planetarium. On your second day, wind your way through the architectural, cultural and emotional wonders of the compelling Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Look for the Spirit Panel Project of Indigenous art, and take time to experience the many stories of oppression and liberation. At night, reflect on your visit while enjoying unique dishes and flavours at deer+almond (reservation recommended). On your final day, light it up with a tour of The Manitoba Electrical Museum which features everything from vintage 1940s farm kitchen appliances to a recycled electronics robot, then view Canada’s largest collection of Louis Riel artifacts at the Saint Boniface Museum.

Prince Edward Island: Exploring the Arts & Heritage Trail

Start your long weekend in Prince Edward Island with world-famous Anne of Green Gables and a visit to the Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace before embarking on a tour of the PEI Arts & Heritage Trail. Next, pay a visit to local craftspeople who have modified their studio tours to welcome you safely. Feeling creative yourself? Take private lessons from a sandcastle building pro at Cabot Beach Provincial Park and visit the Malpeque Oyster Barn for some fresh seafood. Finish your getaway weekend with a movie at the Island’s retro drive-in theatre.

Living Culture

Montréal, Quebec: Celebrating LGBTQ2+ flair

Wandering the historical Old Port of Montréal. Credit ©
Tourisme Montréal - Madore, Daphné Caron
It’s easy to fill three days in one of the world’s most famous LGBTQ2+ neighbourhoods, Montreal’s vibrant Le Village. Start with Notre Dame des Quilles, a funky bowling alley bar with retro half-size lanes, then enjoy a drag queen show at the iconic Cabaret Mado. The next day, head to Little Italy to catch an exhibition or a special event at Never Apart, a multi-faceted gallery designed to showcase LGBTQ2+ artists. On your last day, discover Montreal’s high-end fashion designers before ending your day by the water in the historical Old Port of Montréal. At night, dine in elegance at Restaurant Pastel, one of Canada’s best restaurants.

Halifax, Nova Scotia: Discover seafaring life

Plan a long weekend fuelled by seafaring history and lively nights in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Wander the beautiful harbourfront and visit the Seaport Farmers’ Market, tour the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, pop into the shops at Bishop’s Landing and check out The Split Crow Pub, Nova Scotia’s oldest tavern. On your second day, head out on the water for fresh air and salt water on a deep sea fishing or whale watching tour with Blue Shark Fishing Charters. For your final day, explore the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to learn about historic ships and sailors of the area and experience a moving tribute to the Halifax Explosion. At night, savour delicious local seafood at Stories Dining in the Historic Properties District, home to Canada’s oldest surviving group of waterfront warehouses and some of North America’s most beautiful Victorian-Italianate architecture.

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador: From jelly bean houses to Celtic tunes

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, is a lively blend of brightly-painted jellybean houses, rich coastal history and the hand-clapping, sing-along Celtic fun of the George Street music scene. Take a guided history walking tour, then visit The Rooms, an elegant museum of local and contemporary art from around the world. Then drive the scenic shoreline to Ferryland, pick up a basket filled with homemade local treats like scones and cloudberry jam from Lighthouse Picnics and find a little piece of shore where you can enjoy it. On your final day, hike up Signal Hill to experience incredible views and gain an insight into the rich history of the military communications it once provided. Be sure to watch for icebergs in late May and early June and whales in July-August.

Iqaluit, Nunavut: Discovering Culture

Visit welcoming Iqaluit, Nunavut and explore the history of this northern capital city. Start with the stunning drum dancer carving at the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre where you can inquire about demonstrations of traditional Inuit games often held in Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park. The visitor centre personnel will be able to refer you to a local guide for the next day’s tour of the Qaummaarviit Territorial Historic Park where you’ll learn about the history of the Thule Peoples. While in Iqaluit, explore the fascinating collection of traditional Inuit tools, clothing and artifacts found at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum and check the gift shop for unique, locally-made artwork. Make your final day a hike on the Road To Nowhere (get a selfie under the sign) that winds past lakes, hill and tundra to…well, nowhere. (Note: Travel to Nunavut is restricted. Locals, Northwest Territories and Churchill residents can visit the region, while travellers coming from other parts of Canada must undertake a mandatory 14-day self-isolation. Information updated on September 21, 2020.)

LAOS AND CHINA KEEN TO BOOST REGIONAL CONNECTIVITY

China has opened another expressway linking the south of the country to the Lao border as part of efforts to strengthen regional connectivity and boost China-Asean economic cooperation.

In addition, the under-construction Vientiane-Boten expressway will link Vientiane to China’s expressway network and further reduce travel times between the two countries.

The governments of Laos and China believe that enhanced connectivity through new expressways will improve the region’s road network, boosting trade, investment and tourism, not only between Laos and China but throughout the region.

The Xiaomengyang-Mohan Freeway was built in 2017, forming an important section of the Kunming-Bangkok Highway via Laos.

A second expressway covering a distance of 49km from Yunnan province in southwest China to the Lao border also opened recently, according to a Xinhua report.

The Lao government and a Chinese company from Yunnan province are currently building the 460km expressway between Vientiane and Boten, under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model.

The government holds a 5 percent stake in the project while the Chinese company holds the remaining 95 percent share and has been granted a 50-year concession.

The Vientiane-Vangvieng section is the first stage of the Vientiane-Boten Expressway and is scheduled for completion in December this year, when it will be open to traffic.

The four-lane superhighway stretches for 109.1km and is expected to cost about US$1.3 billion. When completed, the road will cut travel time between Vientiane and Vangvieng from the current 2.5 hours to just 1.5 hours.

The other three planned sections of the Vientiane-Boten Expressway are Vangvieng-Luang Prabang, Luang Prabang-Oudomxay, and Oudomxay-Boten.

The Laos-China Joint Expressway Development Company Limited hopes to start construction of the second phase next year but this will depend on approval from the Lao government.

It is not yet known when the whole of the Vientiane-Boten Expressway will be completed and connected to China’s superhighway system. Over the past four years, cross-border infrastructure development has improved considerably and is boosting trade and commerce between Yunnan and the five Mekong countries.

Yunnan now has at least 40 international air routes to the Mekong countries and a number of major energy projects in Myanmar and Laos have been carried out, according to the Xinhua report. In 2019, the trade value between Yunnan and the Mekong countries climbed to US$15.47 billion.

In addition, China has built a railway to the Lao border to connect to the under-construction US$5.9-billion railroad between Vientiane and Boten, which covers a distance of 414km.

Read the full article at The Star: https://www.thestar.com.my/aseanplus/aseanplus-news/2020/10/13/laos-and-china-keen-to-boost-regional-connectivity?fbclid=IwAR2cMndrlexW1adFY4lwiDFod09neJnS-Le69rsAmNF18M0i2E0T-eTSgbw#.X4ads3tkM94.facebook
Tags: China, China-Asean economiccooperation, #Laos, #regionalconnectivity
Website: www.DestinationMekong.com

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

Queensland border update

Queensland’s border will further open to New South Wales from 1:00am AEST, this coming Tuesday 3 November. While the Greater Sydney region (32 Local Government Areas) will remain declared hotspots, the border will open to the remaining parts of New South Wales.

Travellers from these regions can come to Queensland for any reason, and may travel via Sydney Airport as long as they travel directly there, and do not leave the airport except on their departing flight. A border pass declaration is still required.

The entire state of Victoria also remains a declared hotspot.

A new Border Direction will detail these changes and this information will be shared when it is available.

Website: www.theholidayandtravelmagazine.blogspot.com.au

Tourism and Events Queensland
Website: www.queensland.com/

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, London

Thames Clippers has formed a partnership with Uber to launch Uber Boat by Thames Clippers.

There is no change in ownership of Thames Clippers with AEG, owners and operators of The O2 the majority stakeholder.

The new initiative is geared to encouraging more people to travel by boat around the city and, by doing so, support the ongoing expansion of the cross London river network.

Branded Uber Boats will now serve piers along the Thames from Putney to Woolwich calling at 23 piers on route.

Uber users can buy tickets in advance through the Uber app.

Passengers also be able to purchase tickets from Thames Clippers sales channels, including touching in and out with contactless or Oyster.

The partnership comes as visitors and commuters are being attracted by the river transport network.

It also offers views of riverside London landmarks including Battersea Power Station and the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and The O2.

A River Roamer day ticket offers unlimited hop-on-hop-off travel.

The Answer to Managing Australia's Bushfire Risk Could Lie in Traditional Aboriginal Practices

Australia's catastrophic bushfires during the summer of 2019/2020 wreaked havoc Down Under. More than six million hectares of land were burned across six states, leading to the loss of one billion animals.

The event has boosted calls for a new approach to fire and land management. But rather than come up with a fresh strategy, Australia may only need look to the past.

Aboriginal people have used fire as a tool in the natural environment for tens of thousands of years. Today, many Indigenous tour guides double as park rangers who use the generations of fire knowledge passed down to them. If asked, they'll tell you that as their ancestors walked the land they would burn, lighting flames to lure animals out for hunting, as well as for traditional ceremonies and cultural practices. Timing was everything: rather than spark flames when the land was crisp, Aboriginal forebears would only burn at the beginning of the dry season. That way, plenty of green growth would slow a fire's spread. The fires were also deliberately small, so they wouldn't get out of control. This careful method resulted in a mosaic style of burning that preserved wildlife habitats. It also triggered a gentle regeneration of the bush.

Mainstream interest in traditional measures is growing, but a combination of modern and ancient fire management is already used in many areas of the outback. In Western Australia's vast Kimberley region, where both Kooljamanwilderness camp and Narlijia Experiences Broome operate, such practices are commonplace. Narlijia guides and Kooljaman's visiting rangers are both familiar with these collaborative fire management activities, as well as the skills used in the past, and are happy to share what they know.

In the Northern Territory, where Kakadu Cultural Tours operates, local rangers also create fire breaks and burns to keep their country healthy. That means reducing dense patches of dry plant matter; Australia's oil-rich eucalyptus trees are particularly combustible. While exploring the World Heritage area of Kakadu National Park, guides are able to explain traditional fire practices to those with curiosity.

Similarly, Lirrwi Tourism guides in Arnhem Land, north-east of Kakadu, understand and continue to implement traditional burning in order to reduce weeds and boost biodiversity. Much of the Australian environment responds positively to fire, with some species only blooming and seeding after burning has occurred. The same new growth serves as an enticing food source for wildlife – making hunting easier – while ashy ground reveals animal footprints and burrows, reducing the effort in food sourcing. Ask, and you'll learn more.

Meanwhile, Dwayne Bannon-Harrison of Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness experienced Australia's devastating major bushfires firsthand. His business on the far south coast of New South Wales was within the impact zone. He can offer a personal insight to this shocking event, while also explaining his culture's long-held fire techniques and uses. Dwayne, like so many other Aboriginal people, knows that while looking ahead is important, we can also learn much from listening to the past.

DISCOVER ABORIGINAL EXPERIENCES
'Discover Aboriginal Experiences' collective is part of Tourism Australia's Signature Experiences of Australia program that promotes outstanding tourism experiences within a variety of special categories.

This collection showcases a diversity of experiences delivered by the world's oldest living culture creating truly memorable journeys including an exciting array of experiences for adventure seekers, cultural enthusiasts, foodies and nature lovers such as exploring labyrinths of ancient and contemporary rock art, quad biking, kayaking, whale watching, fishing, mud crabbing, hiking, taking a walking tour in a city centre or staying in a lodge on over 200 square miles of lily laden flood plains teeming with wildlife.

The collective represents 45 business around Australia in both regional and urban locations, offering over 170 Aboriginal guided experiences.

Designed to support the local Aboriginal tourism industry and ensure cultural preservation, the Discover Aboriginal Experiences program has flourished into a compelling case study of Indigenous cultural empowerment, and the power of responsible tourism.

Website: www.theholidayandtravelmagazine.blogspot.com.au

Further information:
www.tourism.australia.com/aboriginal (Corporate)
www.australia.com/aboriginal (Consumer)