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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Westin Hotels & Resorts Debuts in Jakarta

Westin Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced the opening of The Westin Jakarta, marking the first Westin hotel in Jakarta. Owned by PT. Wahana Nusantara a part of Gama Corporation, the opening of the hotel is set to bring the Westin brand's inspired and innovative wellness initiatives to thecapital city of Indonesia.

“We are thrilled to debut the Westin brand to Indonesia's capital,” said Vincent Ong, Senior Director, Brand Management, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific. “With the brand's focus on the bringing the pillars of well-being to life and commitment to ensure our guests leave feeling than they first arrive, we are confident the opening of the hotel will resonate strongly with the local Jakarta community and guests visiting from around the world.”

Slated to be the highest hotel in Indonesia, The Westin Jakarta occupies floors 50 to 69 of the mixed-used Gama Tower, boasting 272 well-appointed guestrooms and suites with uninterrupted views of the city. Designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), one of the world's leading hospitality interior design firms, the hotel's interior design was inspired by natural, organic forms and textures that interpret the landscape and are translated throughout the hotel through dynamic patterns and materials. Illustrated through the chandeliers and artwork, the hotel's contemporary design features contextual elements, including traditional Indonesian motifs and Ikat patterns in the metal screens.

“The Westin Jakarta will provide a restorative retreat in the heart of the bustling city with genuine service complemented with the Westin signature well-being offerings that will fuel and energize our guests' every move,” Arun Kumar, General Manager, The Westin Jakarta, adds.

To amplify the guest experience, four unique dining venues serve a variety of culinary options alongside the brand's nutrient-rich and delicious SuperFoodsRx™ menus. Seasonal Tastes, the all-day dining restaurant, presents buffet and a la carte options featuring local and international cuisine with 7 live cooking stations. Guests can also enjoy nutritious treats and a gourmet cup of coffee on the go Daily Treats. Set to be a game-changer for Jakarta dining scene is Henshin, perched on the top three floors of the building, the restaurant features Nikkei Cuisine with Japanese-Peruvian Flavors prepared by a specialty chefs as well as a rooftop alfresco bar featuring Crafted at Westin™ program, the brand's signature beverage program that features a fresh selection of expertly mixed cocktails infused with natural ingredients and local flavors.

With the brand's mission to be a partner in their guests' well-being, The Westin Jakarta features an idyllic spa as well as a WestinWORKOUT® fitness studio boasting state-of-the-art exercise equipment from world-class brands in an open, airy and well-designed space. The hotel will also offer Westin's Gear Lending program in partnership with New Balance®, allowing guests to pack light and stay fit with New Balance shoes and clothing for guests to use during their stay.

The Westin Jakarta also features a banquet area perched on the top few levels of the hotel with a 200 guest capacity with breathtaking 360 degree sweeping views of Jakarta city. For events and weddings, the hotel offers 3,000 square meters of function rooms including the Java Ballroom on the Ground floor with a maximum capacity 1,500 guests.

The Westin Jakarta is situated strategically in Kuningan central business district, 45 minutes by car from the International Soekarno-Hatta Airport, an ideal location for business travelers. Guest can enjoy nearby shopping malls as well as the Jakarta iconic National Monument as a destination for tourists.

For more information, please visit

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First Ever Drone Footage of Uluru Released

Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia is excited to announce the release of exclusive drone footage of Uluru, offering a never before seen perspective of the 600 million year old monolith. These spectacular birds-eye views of Australia's spiritual heart were captured by the first drone to ever operate under permit inside Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The dramatic footage was captured in an area of great spiritual significance to the local Anangu people and approval was given by the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board and the Film and Photography Consultative Committee.

“We are delighted to present this exclusive new perspective of one of the most astonishing landscapes on earth, and we thank the Traditional Owners for their support. We hope this video encourages travellers from both Australia and all over the globe to come and experience Uluru for themselves,” said Voyages Chief Executive Officer Andrew Williams.

“While there is no replacement to enjoying firsthand the majestic beauty of Uluru, this footage gives a breathtaking insight into the majestic nature of the landscape,” he said.

Geographically, Uluru is the tip of a huge rock that continues below the ground for possibly 5-6km. The monolith is 3.6km long and 348m at its tallest point: 43m higher than Sydney's Centrepoint Tower, 24m higher than the Eiffel Tower and just 33m lower than the Empire State Building. The colour changes of Uluru result from the filtering effect of the earth's atmosphere on the sun's rays.

For more information go to: or call 1300 134 004.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hong Kong Airlines Grows Network to 35 Destinations and Expands Fleet to 32 Aircraft

Stepping into its 10th year since establishment, the internationally-acclaimed full service airline, Hong Kong Airlines (the “Company”) continues its rapid growth with fleet and network expansion to meet increasing travel demand. This year, Hong Kong Airlines has taken delivery of five Airbus aircraft and reaches a fleet size of 32 aircraft.

The latest addition, an Airbus A330-300 wide-body, has a seating capacity of 285 passengers and 695 cubic feet of cargo. It is configured with 30 Business Class seats and 255 Economy Class seats. The Company’s 32nd aircraft is now in operation and is mainly employed on routes to Okinawa, Osaka, Tokyo, Bangkok and Denpasar. Hong Kong Airlines operates one of the youngest fleets in the world with a current average age of around 3.9 years. The modern fleet is equipped with efficient engines which can reduce noise and improve fuel consumption, thus maximising operational performance.

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Hong Kong Airlines currently covers 35 flight destinations across the Asia Pacific region. The airline has planned to extend 10 new destinations within the year. After launching the Gold Coast and Cairns route early this year, the Company has further introduced 6 new destinations across four countries: Tokyo, Osaka and Okayama in Japan, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Kuching in Malaysia and Saipan of the United States. Towards the end of the year, the Company will launch two more new routes, including the direct service to Yonago, Japan commencing on 14 September, and the service to Auckland, New Zealand which will be inaugurated on 10 November. The new long-haul route highlights Hong Kong Airlines’ expansion beyond Asia and its aims to attract travellers across the Pearl River Delta region, as befits Hong Kong’s reputation as an international transportation hub.

The first half of 2016 saw Hong Kong Airlines’ passenger traffic exceeding 3 million, a 12% growth compared to last year. The average loading also rose by 1.3% to 83%. To facilitate its rapid development, Hong Kong Airlines plans to recruit around 1,000 personnel covering a wide range of job functions, including cabin crew, ground staff, pilots, flight engineers and maintenance staff.

Mr. Zhang Kui, President of Hong Kong Airlines said, “In the future, Hong Kong Airlines will continue introducing more value-added services and products. With our devotion to

service quality, safety standard and strengthened network, we strive to provide all passengers with more travel options and a pleasant flight experience.”

For more details, please visit, or contact us via Hong Kong Airlines Australian Contact Centre on 1300 889 190 or via email on

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

New speakers and social events for Australian Cruise Association 20th anniversary conference

New speakers and exciting social events announced for Australian Cruise Association 20th anniversary conference

Three new speakers have been added, and the celebratory social events unveiled, for the 20th Anniversary Australian Cruise Association conference to be held in Sydney from September 7-9, 2016.

Adding to the international line-up of Edie Rodrigues, CEO Crystal Cruises and Bruce Anderson, Starcrest Consulting is Captain Michael McCarthy, Chair of Cruise Europe and Commercial Manager for the Port of Cork Company, Ireland. Michael will provide fascinating insight into the European cruise environment including the impact of recent political developments such as Brexit and increasing security threats.

Cruise industry pioneer, Ted Blamey, founder of Chart Management Consultants and long serving member of the Association will look at the highly important Asian region. Ted is an expert in this area having authored numerous white papers on the Asian cruise market.

Closer to home, Earthcheck GM, Consulting, Mark Olsen will discuss the importance of Destination Development and how the brand and identity need to deliver on the promise to meet visitor expectations.

Association CEO, Jill Abel will open the Conference with a look back at the highlights of the organisation to celebrate the theme "20 years - Our People, Our Passion, Our Success." Abel will then be joined at the podium by industry heavyweights Sandra Chipchase, CEO, Destination NSW and Grant Gilfillan, CEO Ports Authority NSW, joint sponsors of the Conference.

Starcrest Consulting's
Captain Michael McCarthy
Emceed by Andrew McEvoy, Managing Director of Life Media and Events at Fairfax and Non-Executive Director at Sealink, this year’s speaker line-up will explore a range of topics critical to the growth of the cruise industry over the next 20 years including homeporting, infrastructure development, benchmarking and the regulatory landscape. A special focus on destination development will feature in the Destination and Ports workshop as the final session of the Conference.

A line-up of exciting celebratory social events will support the Conference program. Welcome drinks will be held the first night at the Overseas Passenger Terminal. The Gala dinner on Thursday night, sponsored by Abercrombie and Kent, will also be a highlight for attendees. It will begin with a fireworks display over Sydney Harbour followed by dinner at the Opera House Marquee presented by Aria catering. Guests will be treated to a menu designed by renowned Australian chef, Matt Moran showcasing the best of NSW produce.

The Conference is being held this year at the Four Seasons Hotel. For further information and registrations please go to

About Australian Cruise Association:

Australian Cruise Association is the co-operative marketing brand for cruise tourism in the Australia and Pacific region and represents a diversity of interests including regional ports, international, national and state tourism agencies, shipping agents, inbound tour operators and companies dedicated to marketing the region as a world class cruise destination.

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Qantas Results reveal strength of Australian Tourism

The remarkable 2016 profit results released today by Qantas shows the success of Australia's export tourism industry has far reaching impact, with Qantas International showing a $1 billion turnaround from its 2014 results.

“Our industry continues to play a major role in Australia’s economic success and today this is evidenced by the record results recorded by Qantas, which continues to provide an outstanding product for international visitors,” ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said today.

“Qantas has worked hard to align is product with market demands and this, along with the huge growth in international visitation, has underpinned today’s results.

“Qantas has also recognised the value of building strategic partnerships with state and national level tourism marketing bodies and we welcome their commitment to Australia’s tourism industry.”

Mr Shelley said other Qantas airline partnerships and re-allocated routes were connecting well with the current and growing demand from key markets.

“The US, UK, Japan and New Zealand are all markets on the upswing and Qantas has supported increased demand from these markets through re-allocation of capacity.

“The latest forecasts for Australia's tourism exports have been upwardly revised and our international arrivals expected to increase by an additional 5.2 million by 2025, so the commercial sustainability of our national carrier is an important part of the equation.

“We congratulate Qantas on these strong results and its commitment to the growth of Australia’s export tourism industry.”

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Tigerair Australia To Fly Between Melbourne and Canberra

Tigerair Australia today announced a new route providing daily return services between Melbourne and Canberra.

In great news for the people of Melbourne and Canberra, the new service will mean over 2500 additional visitor seats every week through both airports.

Details of the service, including schedules, will be announced this week, and fares will go on sale later this week on the Tigerair Australia website

Tigerair Australia CEO Rob Sharp says this is great news for consumers, tourism and the economy as Tigerair continues to respond to consumer demand and, at the same time, deliver a great value low cost offering for Canberra.

 "We have witnessed overwhelming demand and are proud to provide the only low cost services between Canberra and Melbourne.  We are confident the new route  will prove popular for our core market of budget and leisure travellers".

 "In further good news for consumers, we are bringing a new-look Tigerair to Canberra".

"Our customers love low fares but they also want friendly service and on time flights. Tigerair Australia was rebranded in July 2013 and I'm thrilled to say that we are delivering on the promise of consistent delivery of affordable, reliable air travel with great customer service".

"Our great value fares stimulate demand and grow the air travel market which is a win-win for us all."

ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, said today's announcement of new daily services between Canberra and Melbourne would be a significant boost to the ACT economy.

"These flights will generate $17 million a year in the Gross Regional Product of the Canberra catchment and, importantly, create an additional 124 jobs.

 "This is such an exciting time for aviation in Canberra. International flights will start for the first time next month and we can now add this low cost link to Melbourne that Canberrans have been crying out for", Mr Barr said.

Capital Airport Group's Managing Director, Stephen Byron, said Tigerair's new service represented a tremendous new opportunity and choice for the people of Canberra and Melbourne.

"Canberrans are great travellers – and the Tigerair service will provide 2,500 reasons every week to travel to Melbourne and home again. And it gives Melburnians the same opportunity to come to Canberra", Mr Byron said.

"Today's announcement links Melbourne, voted the world's most liveable city for a sixth consecutive year, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, with Canberra - Australia's most interesting city.

"We are, of course, famous for our incredible institutions, and we were delighted to learn last week that the War Memorial was the recipient of TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Award for the number one landmark in both Australia and the South Pacific for 2016".

Mr Byron thanked Tigerair Australia for valuing Canberra as a destination, and the Chief Minister for the government's support in helping the Canberra Airport Group inject vibrancy and economic resilience into the capital.

Sunshine Coast to celebrate 50th anniversary with Australia’s largest convention of travel writers


Australia's peak travel journalism organisation – the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) – will hold their national convention and awards event on the Sunshine Coast in August 2017, to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the official naming of the region*.

The Sunshine Coast's success in winning the bid was announced at the completion of the 2016 ASTW AGM & Awards event being held in Cape Town, South Africa, over the weekend. Previous ASTW AGMs have been held in many of the world's premier city and resort locations including Shanghai, Bangkok, Seoul, Saigon, Cairns, Sydney and Uluru.

The Sunshine Coast will host the gala event on the weekend of 18 – 20 August 2017, and will involve pre and post famil programs to showcase the diversity and richness of the region's attractions.

Some 100 of Australia's leading travel writers, photographers, broadcasters and bloggers are expected to attend the event, along with a further 50 to 80 travel industry representatives.

The annual general meeting and awards night will be held at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort, and partners include Visit Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Council and Tourism and Events Queensland. Tourism operators from across the region will be invited to participate in the event and famil program.

Commenting on the successful bid, Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Latchford, said that hosting the Australian Society of Travel Writers annual event would put the spotlight on the region's remarkable diversity of attractions.

"We know that many of the writers have been to the Sunshine Coast in the past, but the region's tourism has matured dramatically in recent times and it will provide a great opportunity to show that we also have outstanding attractions beyond the coast, with the Glass House Mountains, Hinterland and Gympie regions all having great stories to tell," said Mr Latchford.

Sunshine Coast Mayor, Mark Jamieson, said: "Hosting this convention on the Sunshine Coast provides the perfect platform to showcase our region during our milestone 50th Anniversary year.

"I'm sure those travel writers who have never previously been to our beautiful part of the world are going to be very impressed with what they see and experience, and those who are returning here will no doubt be relishing that opportunity.

"The promotional value derived from hosting travel writers from around the world is enormous. The world is coming to the Sunshine Coast and we will roll out the welcome mats."

Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) Chief Executive Officer Leanne Coddington said the Sunshine Coast was an ideal location for the 2016 ASTW AGM & Awards.

"Hosting many of Australia's leading travel writers on the Sunshine Coast is a great way to showcase the destination to an audience who tell their stories to millions of readers," Ms Coddington said.

"The destination offers so much not only for business events such as this but for holiday experiences and attractions which bring visitors back again and again."

*The Sunshine Coast name was first mooted in 1958 by real estate interests, but the region's official name remained as the 'Near North Coast' until November 1966, when the Landsborough, Maroochy and Noosa councils agreed to the 'Sunshine Coast' name. On August 1, 1967, 'Sunshine Coast' was accepted by the Queensland Place Names Board, marking the day the Sunshine Coast formally came into existence. A series of festivals and community events will be held in 2017 to commemorate the anniversary.

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