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Monday, December 11, 2017

Finnair brings Nordic flavours to business and economy class


Finnair brings Nordic flavours to business and economy class passengers in cooperation with top chefs

Finnair is investing in its food offering as part of the acclaimed carrier's drive to present customers with  a unique Nordic experience.

Finnair General Manager – Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, Geoff Stone said food was one of the items that frequently comes up in airline customer satisfaction surveys, especially on long-haul flights, where dining has a strong impact on the overall customer experience.

Finnair has been delighting its business class customers with signature menus designed by top Finnish chefs since 2013, and is now introducing its first Nordic cooperation with top Swedish chef, Tommy Myllymäki, a nominee for Chef of the Year in Sweden and Creative Director for five Stockholm restaurants who has also represented Sweden, enjoying great success in the prestigious Bocuse d'Or competition.

Tommy Myllymäki's Signature European Winter menu will be served on all Finnair long-haul flights departing Helsinki from 7 February 2018 and feature Nordic flavours including Jerusalem artichoke with cep mushrooms and pear, and braised ox with celeriac and kale.

The European Summer menu will have more emphasis on seasonal, crisp fresh vegetables to celebrate the freshness of the Nordic Summer.

"It was exciting to translate my food philosophy into the airline environment. In the end, the restrictions are also opportunities," said Tommy Myllymäki

"Seasonality is key for me, and I want to bring more vegetables, freshness and different textures to the meals on board."

Finnair has also teamed up with the Culinary Team of Finland, who represent Finland in international culinary competitions, to design a menu for the economy class of Finnair's long-haul flights departing Helsinki.

"We want to showcase the best of Finnish cuisine to the world and created a menu that celebrates Finnish traditions and specialties, so that everyone traveling between Europe and Asia with Finnair get a taste of modern Finnish cuisine," said Finnair's 2017 Signature Menu Chef,  Eero Vottonen, who is also a member of the Culinary Team of Finland.

The European Winter menu will be offered for economy class passengers on long-haul flights departing Helsinki from 7 February 7, 2018 and feature a marinated potato salad, lamb with oven baked turnips, and a cheese curd cake. Seasonal menus will follow in the European Summer and Autumn.  

"Our new chef co-operations bring the best of Nordic flavours to our customers," said Maarit Keränen, who oversees Finnair's on-board food concepts.

"Food plays a key role in the customer experience, and we are delighted to offer a little piece of the Nordics to the thousands of customers, who fly with us every day from Helsinki to Asia and the Americas."

Finnair will also introduce a classic Finnish tradition in the business class of its long-haul flights departing Asia in the morning - a coffee serving with seven different treats.

This exclusive coffee service will allow customers to spend some quality time enjoying traditional Finnish treats including Carelian pies, cinnamon buns, coffee cake and traditional Finnish chocolates between the two meal services.

Finnair offers excellent connections from Australia with oneworld partners and flies between Asia/North America and Europe with an emphasis on fast connections via Helsinki.

Finnair carries more than nine million passengers annually and connects 17 cities in Asia and 3 cities in North America with more than 60 destinations in Europe.  Finnair offers excellent connections from Australia with oneworld partners.

Finnair has been named Best International Airline – Offline in the prestigious 2017 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards for the fifth consecutive year.

www.finnair.com/au


Monday, December 4, 2017

Intrepid opens Costa Rica base as sustainable travel grows in Americas


Intrepid has this morning announced a new addition to the group, a new DMC in Costa Rica with a satellite office in Mexico City. PEAK Central America is the nineteenth destination management company in the global network and the next logical step for the company to grow sustainable tourism in the Americas.
 
Pic: Intrepid Group's CEO James Thornton and General Manager of PEAK Central America, Bradley John-Davis 


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Friday, December 1, 2017

MSC SEASIDE New flagship prepares to set sail to become the new star of Miami

#cruise #travel

MSC Seaside will be officially named in Miami on December 21st

Today (Italy time) in the port of Trieste, MSC Cruises celebrated the coming into service of MSC Seaside, the new flagship for MSC Cruises, as she prepares to welcome the first guests and cross the Atlantic for her new home in Miami. MSC Seaside is the Company's 14th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet and the second MSC Cruises ship to come into service in 2017 under the Company's industry-unprecedented investment plan.

MSC Seaside is a brand new prototype, designed specifically for sun lovers and to bring MSC Cruises guests closer to the ocean than ever before. The ship boasts generous outdoor public spaces so that guests can make the most of the sunshine but the design also brings guests closer to the navigational moments, which are the highlights of a cruise holiday. This is now the fifth new prototype from MSC Cruises and each and every new ship is designed to further enhance the cruise experience, bringing something unique and different every time.

Quite unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will be the new star of Miami, truly recognisable and with a distinctive design inspired by a Miami beach condo. But it is not just the design of this ship that sets her apart but also the onboard experience that distinguishes an MSC Cruises holiday. MSC Seaside will offer world-class entertainment, a whole host of new international dining concepts, outstanding facilities for families, the MSC Yacht Club, which has become MSC Cruises' signature luxury offering and much more. It is this that will differentiate the MSC Cruises brand and cruise experience in the North American market and provide yet another reason for international guests to opt for a fly & cruise holiday in the Caribbean. Some of the main highlights of MSC Seaside include:

Unique design features - Inspired by the beach condos that have made Miami famous, MSC Seaside has a number of distinctive and innovative design features unlike any other ship. Two unique glass-floored catwalks and a 40m high 'Bridge of Sighs' give guests a view of the ocean like never before. A waterfront boardwalk, the widest on any ship ever built, wraps around the ship, while panoramic lifts connect everything together.

A connected cruise experience -MSC for Me is the digital innovation program that uses the latest cutting-edge technology to connect holidaymakers seamlessly with the experiences that matter to them, whether at sea or on land.

Variety of accommodation -Developed to offer the perfect accommodation for every type of guest, the ship offers flexible modular cabins for groups of up to ten guests, exclusive aft corner suites with stunning sea views, terraced balcony cabins with extended private terraces overlooking the waterfront boardwalk and luxurious suites with their own outdoor whirlpool bath.

Rich and varied entertainment -  MSC Seaside doesn't just feature a full-sized bowling alley, XD cinema and the longest zip line at sea, but also the most interactive aqua park at sea with five water attractions: the first cruise ship Slideboarding™ attraction, 160 metre long duelling body slides and two spray areas for kids. There is never a dull moment on board!

Extensive dining options -MSC Seaside will offer an extensive choice of indoor and outdoor dining venues with a tempting range of international restaurants. One of the highlights is Asian Market Kitchen from renowned Pan-Asian chef Roy Yamaguchi. Other highlights include a luxury seafood restaurant, Ocean Cay, an authentic American-style steakhouse, the Butcher's Cut and a new French bistro, La Bohème.

Outstanding facilities and services for families and kids of all ages -MSC Seaside features brand new entertainment on top of everything families have already come to expect from MSC Cruises. As well as all-day kids' entertainment and six dedicated areas for babies and kids of all ages, guests can also take part in the brand new DOREMI Family Cinema and a new exciting buzzer game.

MSC Seaside will depart Trieste on December 1st, making a 21 day trans-Atlantic crossing, arriving in Port Miami, her new home on December 21st. That evening, the new MSC Cruises flagship will be officially named in a glittering ceremony and no MSC Cruises naming ceremony would be complete without the Godmother, Sophia Loren, who has played the leading role in this time honoured tradition since 2003.

MSC Seaside will sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean offering 7-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries starting December 23rd 2017.

Website: www.msccruises.com.au
Discover the MSC Voyagers Club: www.mscvoyagersclub.com.au

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Magic of coral spawning captured in Reef Chat



The Great Barrier Reef coral spawning has captured the imagination of media around the world with extraordinary coverage of the Reef regenerating.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) Chief Executive Officer Pip Close said the annual coral spawn, which occurred last week and should happen again after the full moon in December, was a sign of hope for those concerned about the future of the Great Barrier Reef.

"It is fantastic seeing the media reports which are appearing multiple times in newspapers, broadcast bulletins and digital media around the world and across Australia," she said.

"News about the coral spawning is included in this month's free e-newsletter Reef Chat which shares some great images and videos of the annual event.

"Focusing on the people, places and science of the World Heritage area, Reef Chat has been published for the past three months in response to media, travel agent and traveller requests for up-to-date information on the Great Barrier Reef.

"This monthly newsletter will introduce people around the world to the thousands of stories the Great Barrier Reef holds.

"To subscribe go to bit.ly/ReefChat and we encourage those already on the subscription list to forward it to their contacts to encourage more people to discover what is happening each month on the Reef.

"The Great Barrier Reef is the number one drawcard for Tropical North Queensland and our operators are passionate about sharing this World Heritage area with the world.

"An extraordinary number of people from school children to scientists are doing their bit for the Great Barrier Reef both on the land and in the water and their stories are an inspiration for people who care about the Reef.

"We want to keep the conversation about the Great Barrier Reef going and encourage people around the world to be knowledgeable advocates for this beautiful and diverse ecosystem."

Image taken by Darren Miller aboard Divers Den's ReefQuest on December 9 at Saxon Reef.

Witness the coral spawning with marine biologists and film makers Stuart Ireland, Gareth Phillips, Pablo Cogollos and Paul Waghorn at Moore Reef beside the Sunlover Cruises pontoon: https://vimeo.com/stuartireland/coralspawning2017



Thursday, November 16, 2017

NSW Blue Mountains Roaring 20s Festival: Majestic art deco weekend


The Hydro Majestic Hotel will revive its most mischievous traditions and host the ultimate day-long vintage revelry on Saturday, February 24.                          

The Roaring 20s Festival celebrations will high kick off with a community Charleston for Charity dance in front of the Majestic Pavilion at 11am.

The naughty knees-up will be an opportunity for art deco buffs to don their most sophisticated 1920s-inspired costumes befitting the elegant venue (eg: feather boas, spats, fedora hats).

There will be prizes galore for best dressed lady, man, couples and hats. Cost: gold coin donation towards Blue Mountains Rural Fire Service.

The Charleston for Charity will be followed by a decadent regional food and wine showcase of shared plates featuring the culinary skills of Hydro Majestic head chef Mate Herceg and his team as well as other exceptional local producers.

A fashion parade of exquisite 1920s clothing will add an extra course to the long lunch menu. Cost: $95pp.

Sumptuous high tea will be available in the Wintergarden Restaurant overlooking the Megalong Valley throughout the day, along with history tours of the world-famous hotel.

That evening, the grandest of the grand Blue Mountains hotels will again resound with the likes of Al Capone, Dutch Schultz and Bugsy Siegel when the Hydro Majestic holds a Gangster Casino Night in support of Katoomba Hospital.

Guests can play all the traditional games at casino-quality tables with professionally trained casino standard croupiers.

There will be an array of prizes, and money raised at the 18 years plus-restricted event will go towards refurbishing the waiting room in the local Katoomba Hospital emergency department. Cost: $55 per person general admission to Casino includes welcome cocktail.

Visitors are encouraged to fully immerse themselves in the Roaring 20s Festival by staying for at least one night at the Hydro Majestic Hotel or one of its nearby sister properties Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges, Echoes Boutique Hotel or Lilianfels Resort & Spa.

Go to www.hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885 to book any/all of the Roaring 20s Festival events, accommodation and dining.

Virus-free. www.avg.com

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Tourism Fiji Global Social Media Manager


Tourism Fiji continues to strengthen its consumer marketing capabilities with the appointment of home-grown digital marketing specialist Rush Pathak as Global Social Media Manager. In the new role Mr Pathak will lead the social media strategy for the destination.

With over a decade of experience in digital marketing and social media, Pathak will play a key role in building Tourism Fiji's digital marketing capabilities.

Matt Stoeckel, Tourism Fiji CEO welcomes Rush on-board and commented: "We continue to expand as an organisation and build our in-house capabilities. Rush is another high-calibre appointment to our consumer marketing team whose skills and experience, alongside his passion for the destination, will help to ensure Tourism Fiji remains an industry leader in destination marketing.

Born in Suva, and having spent time working across the media, tourism and public sector landscapes in both Australia and New Zealand, Rush is looking forward to spearheading the organisations social media activities.

"The organisation is going through a digital transformation by further developing their customer, data and digital focus. Something I am looking forward to being a part of." Mr Pathak said.

"Search, social and mobile play an important role when consumers begin their decision-making journey and I look forward to taking a customer-focused, data-driven approach to building our capabilities and relevance from consideration phases, to long after visitors have left," Mr Pathak continued.

Rush will initially work out of Tourism Fiji's Sydney office before relocating to the tourism board's headquarters in Nadi, where he will be based full time.

Mr Pathak feels now is a great time to venture back home to spend time with family and to collaborate with industry and partners to help support a broader Tourism Government agenda.

Tourism Fiji have continued to enhance their global and regional teams with a number of recent appointments, bringing a range of talent in-house to push the brand into the forefront of consumer minds.

For more information on Tourism Fiji, visit www.fiji.travel

 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Accor to buy Mantra



AccorHotels signs an agreement to acquire Mantra Group Limited

AccorHotels today announced the signature of an agreement with Mantra Group Limited with the view to acquire all of the issued capital in Mantra by way of a scheme of arrangement to be approved by Mantra shareholders. Under the terms of the agreement AccorHotels would offer AUD3.96 in cash for each Mantra share including any potential special dividend.

Mantra's newest property is a former office tower in Canberra transformed into a 176-room hotel as part of the city’s vibrant urban renewal program.

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AccorHotels said, “We are delighted to have come to an agreement to acquire the Mantra Group. This operation will underpin our long-term growth in the Asia Pacific region. Mantra’s portfolio would offer AccorHotels additional accommodation formats and a strong customer base to complement our successful hotel portfolio in Australia. We are confident that the transaction terms are attractive for shareholders of both groups”.

Chairman of Mantra, Peter Bush, said, “The AccorHotels offer represents an attractive proposition for Mantra and for our shareholders and the Board unanimously recommends AccorHotels’ proposal. AccorHotels is one of the world’s leading hotel operators and we trust that our business will be in good hands. Mantra’s strong expertise in apartments, in particular, and our presence in resort locations are very complementary to the AccorHotels operations in Australia and New Zealand. The combined business will be an important part of Australia’s strong and growing tourism market and its customers will benefit from the market leading expertise of both groups”.

Mantra is one of Australia’s largest hotel and resort marketers and operators with 127 properties and over 20,000 rooms in hotels, resorts and serviced apartments across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Hawaii.

Properties in Mantra’s portfolio range from luxury accommodations and coastal resorts to serviced apartments in city and key leisure destinations, under three key brands: Peppers (28 properties), Mantra (75 properties) and BreakFree (24 properties). Mantra also manages core accommodation services including guest relations and reception areas, restaurants and bars, conference and function centres, pool and entertainment facilities and offices. Mantra has more than 5,500 employees.

AccorHotels and Mantra’s combined geographic footprint, together with enhanced distribution and systems, would form a favourable base from which AccorHotels can expand further in the region. Mantra’s expertise in apartment management, in particular, will offer a new opportunity for growth.

The Offer Price represents:

- A 23% premium to the last close price of AUD3.23 as at 6 October, 2017

- An implied EV / 2018e EBITDA (including transaction costs) multiple of 12.4x pre-synergies and high single-digit post-synergies.

The acquisition will be accretive to earnings per share in the first year of ownership pre-synergies. AccorHotels will pay AUD1.3 billion, equivalent to €0.9billion [1].

Besides, AccorHotels confirms it is in discussion with potential investors in relation to the sale of part of the Share Capital of AccorInvest. The Group aims at signing an agreement before year-end 2017. At this stage, the Group has no certainty to reach an agreement.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, including from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board, the Federal Court of Australia and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, as well as the approval of Mantra shareholders and other customary conditions. It is anticipated that subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, the transaction should be completed by the end of the first quarter 2018.


[1] Assumes AUD1.49/€ as exchange rate

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