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Monday, July 27, 2009

Vanuatu: The Pacific’s Best Kept Secret



Just a short flight from Australia's East coast (3.5 hours from Sydney, 2.5 from Brisbane and 4 from Melbourne) a holiday to Vanuatu has the perfect balance of resort style relaxation and authentic cultural discovery, and with 13 flights a week with Air Vanuatu and Pacific Blue it has never been more accessible.

Vanuatu offers all the South Pacific island splendor expected – coral reefs, waterfalls, crystal clear turquoise ocean and abundant fresh seafood. Add to that fascinating tribal life, one of the world's most accessible active volcanoes, one of the world's best diveable shipwrecks and according the happy planet index in 2006 the world's happiest people – and it is little wonder the country is a favorite among Australian travelers.

In the cosmopolitan capital Port Vila, you can spend time relaxing and pampering yourself at a range of resorts, eating some of the finest food and fresh organic produce in the South Pacific and shopping in the town's local markets or stores.

Although it may be tempting to sit by resort pools sipping cocktails, Port Vila is also about getting out and about, exploring all the islands have to offer and discovering the captivating Melanesian Culture. There are a range of adventures to entertain all tastes from cultural village experiences and sightseeing tours to abseiling down waterfalls, guided off-road buggy hire, horse riding and cycling. Not to mention diving, sailing, fishing, surfing and all other water based pursuits.

Vanuatu is an easy place to travel solo if you're one who likes to explore and discover a country on your own. In Port Vila most accommodation is located around 15 minutes from the town centre and there are local mini buses which will take you anywhere for approximately $1.25. You can also explore on foot, catch taxis or hire a car.

Port Vila is lively at night time too. There are 68 restaurants and a range of night clubs so there are plenty of options for a romantic meal or night out. Kava drinking is also a popular past time for the local Ni-Vanuatu people and a visit to a Nakamal (Kava bar) for a 'shell' of Kava can prove an interesting start to an evening.

However, if it is real, authentic adventure you are after, getting out to one of Vanuatu's outer islands is a must. There are 83 islands in the archipelago and combining at least one of them with your visit to Port Vila can give you a taste of what remote island life is really like.

The most popular outer islands to visit in Vanuatu are Espiritu Santo and Tanna. Both offer exceptional once-in-a-life time experiences and a chance to see a very different side of Vanuatu.

As one of the world's most accessible volcanoes, the fiery Mount Yasur attracts travelers to Tanna. Standing on the rim of this powerful volcano watching lava explode into the air is certainly worth the trip.

However, there is also fascinating culture to discover with interesting cargo cults such as those that await the arrival of mystical John Frum or the return of Prince Phillip. A visit to a custom village where locals have rejected western ways of life and still live traditionally, offers you a peep into the past. As with all these beautiful islands, there are also amazing landscapes with waterfalls, underwater caves, coral reefs and beautiful Port Resolution to explore.

The water surrounding Espiritu Santo has long been a Mecca for divers and snorkelers and enthusiasts travel from all over the world to explore historical relics from the island's days as an American base in WWII. Popular sites include world's most accessible ship wreck, The SS President Coolidge and coral covered American wrecks and war relics at Million Dollar Point.

However, the destination has recently become much more of a holiday paradise. Air Vanuatu has recognised this potential, launching direct flights from Brisbane and Sydney to Santo in 2007. For adventure seekers Espiritu Santo offers a myriad of activities including trekking to Millennium Caves, visiting villages still living in the traditional way and kayaking from one idyllic island to another.

For those who prefer to relax, they can lay back and take in the surrounding white sands and blue water of this island paradise made famous in one of the most popular books in history, Michener's Tales of the South Pacific. Days can be spent picnicing and relaxing on one of the islands magic white sand beaches such as Champagne Beach or by a blue hole where crystal clear blue water is filtered through limestone and coral to create an idyllic inland pool.

A visit Pentecost Island is also becoming a popular side strip. Every Saturday in April to June visitors flock to the island to see the Naghol Land Diving ceremony. This awe-inspiring ceremony sees boys as young as eight and men build towers up to 20 meters high and jump from them as a show of strength and to encourage a good yam harvest. Villagers dance and stomp their feet below making the atmosphere electric as nervous visitors watch and hope that the diver will survive the dive into the ground below.

With 83 islands there are countless adventure options and experiences in Vanuatu. There are regular cultural festivals and events on islands where you can visit villages and see a totally different way of life, happening so close to Australia.

For further information visit www.vanuatu.travel

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Australians still travelling to Bali

Jetstar, Virgin Blue and Garuda airlines have told The Age newspaper that Australian government advice to reconsider travelling to Indonesia, including Bali, was not deterring passengers from visiting the tourist hot-spot.

Australians are being warned by the Federal Government of a high risk of another terrorist attack in Indonesia following the bombings of the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels in Jakarta that killed nine people, including three Australians.

Jetstar spokesman Simon Westaway said Australians tended to react calmly to international threats and passengers were not cancelling tickets.

"Whether or not it is stopping someone from going in and booking a flight today, it's hard to tell," he said.

He said passengers planning to travel to Jakarta had been offered the chance to defer their travel at no cost this week.

Garuda Melbourne sales manager Ian Murton said the airline had one cancellation yesterday on a Bali flight and the passenger had told him it was due to illness.

"As of now we are monitoring the phones and we've had no negative reaction but some people book through wholesalers and travel agents and we might not be able to tell for another 24 to 48 hours," he said.

A Virgin Blue spokeswoman said the airline had not noticed any impact on its Bali bookings.

Finalists Announced in the 2009 HM Awards


Finalists in the 2009 HM Awards for Hotel & Accommodation Excellence presented by Sealy have been announced, with all thoughts now firmly set on the gala dinner to be held in Sydney on August 14.

A record number of entries were received in 2009 and following hours of voting by over 25 judges, the finalists have been announced for 36 of the 40 categories to be awarded this year.

The four biggest gongs at the HM Awards – Hotel Brand of the Year, Accommodation Chain of the Year, Overall Accommodation Property of the Year and the HM Magazine Hotelier of the Year – have been decided by the region's leading CEOs and the finalists for these categories will be announced at the gala presentation dinner.

HM (Hotel & Accommodation Management) Magazine is proudly hosting the 2009 HM Awards, which are presented by Sealy. Co-hosts of the event include ISIS Hotel Projects and Intrust Super.

Tables for the gala awards night, to be held at Doltone House in Sydney, on Friday 14 August 2009, are SELLING FAST. To reserve your place, contact Ana Azevedo on +61 (0)9660 2113 or email ana@intermedia.com.au

A complete list of finalists can be found below.


*2009 HM AWARDS FINALISTS*

PROPERTY AWARDS - AUSTRALIA

1 Serviced Apartment Property

Angsana Resort & Spa Great Barrier Reef, Palm Cove, QLD
Diamant Hotel Canberra, ACT
Fraser Suites Sydney, NSW
Medina Grand Adelaide Treasury, SA
Medina on Crown, Surry Hills, NSW
Pullman Reef Casino, Cairns, QLD
Quay Grand Suites Sydney, NSW
Shoal Bay Resort & Spa, Port Stephens, NSW
The Lyall Hotel, South Yarra, VIC
The Observatory Resort Port Macquarie, NSW

2 Accomodation Property – 3- to 3.5-Star

Best Western Sanctuary Inn, Tamworth, NSW
Clare Motel, Adelaide, SA
Hotel Ibis Darling Harbour, NSW
Hotel Ibis King Street Wharf, NSW
Hotel Ibis Melbourne, VIC
Hotel Ibis Melbourne Glen Waverley, VIC
Hotel Ibis World Square, NSW
Richmond Henty Motor Inn, Portland, VIC
Thredbo Alpine Hotel, NSW

3 Accommodation Property – 4- to 4.5-Star

Crown Promenade Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Crowne Plaza Canberra, ACT
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, NSW
Crowne Plaza Newcastle, NSW
Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, SA
Q Station Retreat, Manly, NSW
Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne, VIC
The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa, NSW
The Grace Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Vibe Hotel Rushcutters Bay, NSW

4 Accommodation Property – 5-Star

Crown Towers, Melbourne, VIC
Emporium Hotel Brisbane, QLD
Hyatt Hotel Canberra, ACT
InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, VIC
Palazzo Versace, Gold Coast, QLD
Park Hyatt Sydney, NSW
qualia, QLD
Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, NSW
The Langham, Melbourne, VIC
The Observatory Hotel, Sydney, NSW

5 Business Hotel

Crown Towers, Melbourne, VIC
Diamant Hotel Canberra, ACT
Hilton Melbourne Airport, VIC
Hilton Sydney, NSW
Pullman Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush, NSW
Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne, VIC
Sheraton on the Park, Sydney, NSW
Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, NSW
Stamford Grand North Ryde, NSW
The Westin Sydney, NSW

6 Resort

Angsana Resort & Spa Great Barrier Reef, Palm Cove, QLD
Hayman, QLD
Hyatt Regency Coolum, QLD
Lilianfiels Blue Mountains Resort and Spa, NSW
Peppers Salt Resort & Spa, Kingscliff, NSW
qualia, QLD
Sea Temple Resort & Spa Palm Cove, QLD
Sheraton Noosa, QLD
The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa, NSW
The Elandra Mission Beach, QLD

7 Hotel Refurbishment

Crown Towers, Melbourne, VIC
Crowne Plaza Terrigal, NSW
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, NSW
Grand Hyatt Melbourne, VIC
InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, VIC
Medina on Crown, Surry Hills, NSW
Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, SA
The Sebel and Citigate Albert Park, VIC
The Sebel Surry Hills, NSW
Urban Brisbane, QLD

8 Boutique Hotel

Cape Lodge Margaret River, WA
Diamant Hotel Canberra, ACT
Emporium Hotel, Brisbane, QLD
Lake House, Daylesford, VIC
Lilianfiels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa, NSW
Sir Stamford Circular Quay, NSW
The Islington, Hobart, TAS
The Louise, Marananga, SA
The Lyall Hotel, South Yarra, VIC
Victoria's at Wategos, Byron Bay, NSW

9 Unique Accommodation

Bay of Fires Lodge, Mt William National Park, TAS
Injidup Spa Retreat, WA
Peppers Palm Bay, Whitsundays, QLD
Peppers Seven Spirit Bay, Coburg Peninsula, NT
Q Station Retreat, Manly, NSW
Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, SA
Thorngrove Manor Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Wilpena Pound Resort, Flinders Rangers, SA

10 New Hotel

Chifley Eastern Creek, NSW
Clarion Hotel Soho, Adelaide, SA
Hilton Melbourne South Wharf, VIC
Hotel Ibis King Street Wharf, NSW
Mantra Tullamarine, VIC
Medina Grand Darwin Waterfront, NT
Pullman Sydney Olympic Park, NSW
Quay West Resort & Spa Falls Creek, VIC
Rydges Brighton, VIC
Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront, NT

11 Alpine Accommodation

Grand Mercure Mt Buller Chalet, VIC
Hotel Pension Grimus, Mt Buller, VIC
Huski, Falls Creek, VIC
Lake Crackenback Resort, NSW
Quay West Resort & Spa, Falls Creek, VIC
The Denman, Thredbo, NSW
Thredbo Alpine Hotel, NSW
Zirky's, Mount Hotham, NSW

12 MICE Hotel

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, NSW
Emporium Hotel, Brisbane, QLD
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, NSW
Hilton Sydney, NSW
Lilianfiels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa, NSW
Q Station Retreat, Manly, NSW
Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, NSW
Stamford Plaza Adelaide, SA
The Langham, Melbourne, VIC
The Sebel and Citigate Albert Park, VIC

13 Regional Property

Craigieburn, Bowral, NSW
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, NSW
Crowne Plaza Newcastle, NSW
Kim's Beach Hideaway, Toowoon Bay, NSW
Lilianfiels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa, NSW
Peppers Seven Spirit Bay, Coburg Peninsula, NT
Sofitel Werribee Park Mansion Hotel & Spa, VIC
The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa, NSW
The Louise, Marananga, SA
Victoria's at Wategos, Byron Bay, NSW

14 Hotel Day Spa

Angsana Spa, Angsana Resort & Spa Great Barrier Reef, QLD
Chuan Spa, The Langham, Melbourne, VIC
Daintree Spa, Daintree Eco Lodge, Mossman, QLD
Day Spa at The Observatory, The Observatory Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Injidup Spa, Injidup Spa Retreat, WA
Le Spa, Sofitel Werribee Park Mansion Hotel & Spa, VIC
The Spa at Four Seasons, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, NSW
Villa Thalgo Day Spa, The Sebel Resort & Spa Hawkesbury Valley, NSW
Spa qualia, qualia, QLD
Endota Spa, Huski, Falls Creek, VIC

15 Hotel Bar

Aria Bar & Lounge, The Langham, Melbourne, VIC
Astral Bar, Star City, Sydney, NSW
Blue Horizon, Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, NSW
ECQ Bar, Quay Grand Suites, Sydney, NSW
Emporium Hotel Bar, Emporium Hotel, Brisbane, QLD
Globe Bar, The Observatory Hotel, Sydney, NSW
harbourbar, Park Hyatt Sydney, NSW
Oceans Bar, Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach, NSW
Room 81, Sofitel Gold Coast, QLD
Zeta Bar, Hilton Sydney, NSW

16 Hotel Restaurant

Altitude, Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, NSW
Astral Restaurant, Star City, Sydney, NSW
Bilson's, Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney, NSW
Darley's, Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa, NSW
Galileo, The Observatory Hotel, Sydney, NSW
glass Brasserie, Hilton Sydney, NSW
Kable's, Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Lake House Restaurant, Lake House, Daylesford, VIC
Sean's Kitchen, Star City, Sydney, NSW
The Brasserie, Hilton Adelaide, SA

17 Hi-Tech Hotel

BLUE Sydney, NSW
Crown Towers, Melbourne, VIC
Emporium Hotel, Brisbane, QLD
Hilton Sydney, NSW
InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, VIC
Park Hyatt Sydney, NSW
Pullman Sydney Olympic Park, NSW
Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, NSW
The Como Melbourne, VIC
The Westin Sydney, NSW

PROPERTY AWARDS – NEW ZEALAND & SOUTH PACIFIC

18 New Zealand Hotel

Eichardt's Private Hotel, Queenstown
Hilton Auckland
Hyatt Regency Auckland
InterContinental Wellington
SKYCITY Grand Hotel, Auckland
Sofitel Queenstown
Stamford Plaza Auckland
The George, Christchurch
The Langham, Auckland
The Westin Auckland Lighter Quay

19 New Zealand Regional Property

Blanket Bay, Glenorchy
Grasmere Lodge, Christchurch
Huka Lodge, Lake Taupo
Kauri Cliffs, Kerikeri
Millbrook Resort, Queenstown
Peppers Clearwater Resort, Christchurch
Solitaire Lodge, Rotorua
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay
Treetops Lodge, Rotorua
Wharekauhau Country Estate, Palliser Bay

20 Fijian Property

Fiji Beach Resort & Spa Managed by Hilton
InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa
Likuliku Lagoon Resort
Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji
Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa
Sheraton Fiji Resort
Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa
Taunovo Bay Resort & Spa
The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa
Yasawa Island Resort

21 South Pacific Property

Bora Bora Lagoon Resort & Spa, French Polynesia
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, French Polynesia
Iririki Island Resort & Spa, Vanuatu
Le Méridien Ile des Pins, New Caledonia
Pacific Resort Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Royale Takitumu Villas, Cook Islands
Sofitel Motu Bora Bora, French Polynesia
The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa, Cook Islands
The Sebel Vanuatu, Vanuatu
The St Regis Bora Bora Resort, French Polynesia
PROPERTY AWARDS – ALL COUNTRIES (AUSTRALIA, NZ & SOUTH PACIFIC)

22 Environmental Program

Crowne Plaza Alice Springs, NT
Crowne Plaza Melbourne, VIC
Hilton Adelaide, SA
Holiday Inn Brisbane, QLD
InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, VIC
Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, SA
Pacific Resort Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Pullman Sydney Olympic Park, NSW
Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne, VIC
The Langham, Melbourne, VIC

23 Marketing Campaign

Accor Hotels (Australasia)
Constellation Hotels (Australia)
Crowne Plaza Terrigal, NSW
Hilton Sydney, NSW
Mantra Hotels (Australia)
Rydges Hotels (Australasia)
Sofitel Hotels (Australasia)
The Observatory Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Treetops Lodge, Rotorua, New Zealand
Vibe Hotels (Australia)
24 Service to the Community
Brisbane Marriott Hotel, QLD
Crowne Plaza Canberra, ACT
Holiday Inn Esplanade Darwin, NT
Holiday Inn Wellington, New Zealand
Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji
Quest Serviced Apartments (Australia)
Vibe Hotels (Australia)
Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel, NSW

PEOPLE AWARDS

25 Concierge

Andrew Austen, The Menzies Sydney, NSW
David Board, Quay Grand Suites Sydney, NSW
Martin Bray, The Observatory Sydney, NSW
Aaron Ellis, Star City, Sydney, NSW
Glenn Lacey, The Langham, Melbourne, VIC
Iferemi Nuku, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, Fiji
James Ridenour, InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, VIC
Jorge Sousa, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, NSW
Chris Traill, Park Hyatt Sydney, NSW
Bryan Wilkinson, Sofitel Queenstown, New Zealand

26 Hotel Executive Chef

Glenn Bacon, Hayman, QLD
Simon Bryant, Hilton Adelaide, SA
Martin Horsley, Sofitel Werribee Park Mansion Hotel & Spa, VIC
Mark McNamara, The Louise, Marananga, SA
Carl Middleton, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, NSW
Shailesh Naidu, Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji
Alessandro Pavoni, Park Hyatt Sydney, NSW
Anthony Ross, The Langham Melbourne, VIC
Andrew Saville, Crowne Plaza Alice Springs, NT
Hugh Whitehouse, Lilianfiels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa, NSW

27 Hotel Bartender

Tim Browne, Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, SA
Lucy George, Emporium Hotel, Brisbane, QLD
Chris Hickson, The Menzies Sydney, NSW
Brigitte McKenna, Quay Grand Suites Sydney, NSW
Katie Montgomery, Crowne Plaza Terrigal, NSW
Tony Mosca, InterContinental Sydney, NSW
Jean Munos, Hilton Sydney, NSW
Stuart Reeves, Park Hyatt Sydney, NSW
Nik Stakes, Eichardt's Private Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand
Bing Zhang, Brisbane Marriott, QLD

28 Human Resources Department Member

Paul Amos, Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, SA
Michael Bedros, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, NSW
Kelly Habermann, The Menzies Sydney, NSW
Ursula Henderson, Brisbane Marriott, QLD
Chantal Jackson, Hilton Sydney, NSW
Naveen Lakshmaiya, Tanoa Group of Hotels (Fiji)
Mandy Richardson, Crowne Plaza Alice Springs, NT
Debbie Simister, Accor Hospitality (Australia)
Jayne Webb, Brisbane Marriott, QLD
Kathy York, Crowne Plaza Newcastle, NSW

29 Sales & Marketing Department Member

Kate Atkinson, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts (Australasia)
Laura Bogunia, Hilton Sydney, NSW
Chriscelle Capito, The Observatory Hotel Sydney, NSW
Andrew Gee, Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji
Chris Lane, Constellation Hotels Group (Australia)
Tomoko Sakurai, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, NSW
Joy Solomano, Sofitel Werribee Park Mansion Hotel & Spa, VIC
Jennifer Tyrrell, Brisbane Marriott, QLD
Julius Ungar, Fraser Suites Sydney, NSW
Michelle Vague, The Langham, Melbourne, VIC

30 PR/Communications Department Member

Jill Collins, Hamilton Island, QLD
Bryony Gammon, Small Luxury Hotels of the World (Asia-Pacific)
Wendy Hill, Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney, NSW
Emma Kearns, Toga Hospitality (Australasia)
Sally McCann, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, NSW
Sally Morgan, Hayman, QLD
Gaynor Reid, Accor Hospitality (Asia-Pacific)
Kimberly Salt, Orient-Express Hotels (Australia)
Charlotte Seymour, Hilton Hotels Australasia
Konstanze Werhahn-Mees, Eight Hotels (Australia)

31 Front Office Department Member

Wayne Arthur, Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney, NSW
Gemini Brown, Crowne Plaza Terrigal, NSW
Jamila El Allam, Langham Melbourne, VIC
Mitch Gawthorn, Holiday Inn Esplanade Darwin, NT
Cameron Griffiths, Park Hyatt Sydney, NSW
Karen Koelewyn, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, NSW
Rebecca Latemore, The Elandra Mission Beach, QLD
Simon Ruri, Peppers Clearwater Resort, Christchurch, New Zealand
Rob Unson, Sofitel Werribee Park Mansion Hotel & Spa, VIC
Sae Yi Oh, Hilton Sydney, NSW

32 Rooms Division Department Member

Christine Counsel, Brisbane Marriott, QLD
Teneale Guarrera, Holiday Inn Darwin, NT
Michelle Dower, Hotel Ibis Glen Waverly, VIC
Andy Goonesekera, InterContinental Hotel Sydney, NSW
Donna Gribble, Novotel Barossa Valley, SA
Leon Pink, Outrigger on the Lagoon, Fiji
Dianne Logan, Quay Grand Suites Sydney, NSW
Sarah Young, Rydges World Square Sydney, NSW
Grace Esogon, Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel, NSW
Assumpta McDonald, The Westin Auckland Lighter Quay, New Zealand

MAJOR AWARDS

33 South Pacific Hotel Manager

Steve Anstey, Ahura Resorts, Fiji
Shane Cunning, Sheraton and Westin Resorts Fiji
Neil Houghton, InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa
Bernard Isautier, Vahine Island, Tahaa, French Polynesia
Brice Pean, Fiji Beach Resort and Spa Managed by Hilton
Justin Phillips, Radisson Resort Fiji Denarau Island
Arthur Reed, Navini Island Resort, Fiji
Darren Shaw, Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji
Amanda Silk, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, Fiji
Greg Stanaway, Pacific Resort Rarotonga, Cook Islands

34 New Zealand Hotel Manager

Peter Gee, Stamford Plaza Auckland
Heather Idoine-Riley, Holiday Inn Wellington
Philip Jenkins, Blanket Bay
Heiko Kaiser, Treetops Lodge. Rotorua
Gregory Keating, Duxton Hotel Wellington
Carey Norton, The Heritage Queenstown
Lee Pearce, Novotel Capital Wellington
Marcus Reinders, The Westin Auckland Lighter Quay
Victoria Shaw, Eichardt's Private Hotel, Queenstown
Jeffrey von Vorsselen, The Langham, Auckland

35 Australian Hotel Manager

Michael Bourne, Hilton Melbourne South Wharf, VIC
David Brown, Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise, QLD
Marc Cherriers, Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, NSW
Chris Ehmann, Hilton Adelaide, SA
Steve Finlayson, Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne, VIC
Adam Glass, Crowne Plaza Alice Springs, NT
Richard Munro, Star City, Sydney, NSW
Ruwan Peiris, Sydney Marriott Hotel, NSW
Peter Savoff, Emporium Hotel, Brisbane, QLD
Ben Sington, The Langham, Melbourne, VIC

36 Hotel Brand Management Company

Design Hotels
Preferred Hotel Group
Select Hotels & Resorts International
Small Luxury Hotels of the World
The Leading Hotels of the World

37 Hotel Brand

To be revealed at the gala dinner on August 14

38 Accommodation Chain

To be revealed at the gala dinner on August 14

39 Overall Accommodation Property (Hotel of the Year)

To be revealed at the gala dinner on August 14

40 HM Magazine Hotelier of the Year

To be revealed at the gala dinner on August 14

Tourism in Samoa, Cook Is benefits from Fiji situation

Samoan performers at Aggie Greys Hotel, Apia. Pic: Roderick Eime/travography.com

The leaders of two Pacific nations say tourists are choosing lesser-known islands for their winter breaks to avoid the political instability in Fiji.

Samoa and Cook Islands say their tourist numbers are on the rise because many New Zealanders and Australians no longer want to visit military-led Fiji.

They say the refusal of Commodore Frank Bainimarama's regime to hold elections since a coup in December 2006 has actively discouraged visitors.

Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele says although the global economic crisis has hit his country hard, tourism there appears to be booming.

And Cook Islands Prime Minister Jim Marurai says its tourism is holding strong despite tough economic times, and is likely to have benefited from Fiji's situation.

Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Monday, July 20, 2009

Statement Following Jakarta Bombings



The Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Jero Wacik, SE, wishes to update the international community regarding the current tourism status in Indonesia following the recent tragic bombings of the Ritz Carlton and JW Marriot Hotel in Jakarta.

Mr. Wacik stresses that the overall security situation in Jakarta and throughout Indonesia is stable and safe. He notes that this is the high season in popular destinations in Indonesia such as Bali, Java, and Batam and that Indonesia is enjoying its best ever year in terms of tourism arrivals. This deplorable attack is an immediate tragedy in the loss of life and human suffering for those victims of the hotel bombings. It is sadly also very likely to have an impact on the image of Indonesia as a safe destination and consequently many Indonesians working in tourism destinations a thousand kilometers from Jakarta may lose their jobs if tourists become concerned.

The Minister wishes to reassure the international community in the most practical and straightforward terms:

1. In the past decade, Indonesia has gained a strong reputation among law enforcement and political leaders worldwide as a country that while it has suffered from terrorist attacks in the past has done more than most to effectively combat terrorism within their borders.

2. As BBC News (among others) has noted in their coverage of the recent bombings, this success has been achieved through a combination of good law enforcement, aggressive pursuit of suspects, open trials for suspects broadcast on TV, public discussions by Islamic leaders of issues of concern, and a reintegration program for terrorists and supporters who wish to return to a productive path and rejoin society.

3. Sadly, as this week’s bombings have shown, in a country of 230 million people there are still a few willing to carry out this senseless attack which will gain them nothing but will hurt the people of Indonesia.

4. We would urge countries considering a warning to their citizens about visiting Indonesia to examine the conditions on the ground carefully; to let their Embassies and the world media inform them of the real situation throughout the country; and not to let a few madmen severely damage the lives of the many thousands of Indonesians who work in the tourism sector and welcome visitors to a happy and safe tourism experience every year.

Please contact the above media crisis centre for further updates and information. We know if we all work together, we can rebuild Indonesia’s justified reputation as a welcoming and hospitable destination.

Woman drives into croc-infested river


A woman from NSW drove her car into a croc-infested river on the fringe of Kakadu National Park after confusing a boat ramp for a road crossing.

Her four-wheel-drive became submerged in the East Alligator River, about 300 kilometres east of Darwin, last Thursday.

The mishap has prompted police to issue a warning about the "number and size of crocodiles" in remote NT waterways, and the need for drivers to take extra care in the outback.

Police from the remote community of Oenpelli were contacted about 9am (CST) on July 10.

They were told the tourist had scrambled from the sinking vehicle and made her way out of the croc-infested waterway.

"She managed to get out of the car once she realised she had gone the wrong way and her car was going to sink," an NT police spokeswoman said.

"She did have to wade through the water but she didn't have to swim."

The woman had mistaken the boat ramp for Cahill's Crossing, which cars use to cross the East Alligator River and move between Kakadu and Arnhem Land.

A team of rangers and police officers was immediately organised to remove the white Troop Carrier, which had become surrounded by crocs near the down stream boat ramp.

Photographs of the 4WD recovery, released by NT police, show a large reptile in the water only metres from the vehicle.

"When they did the recovery they did spot crocs in the area and I believe that's (one of them) in the photograph," the spokeswoman said.

A local government grader was used in the rescue of the car, as well as support from a boat used by Kakadu Park Rangers.

"Jabiru and Oenpelli police along with park rangers coordinated the recovery of the vehicle and animal control," a police statement said.

Brevet Sergeant Ben Higgins said the lucky escape should act as a warning to people about the dangers of bush driving.

"When travelling through the NT it's their responsibility to research the area and be aware of the extreme road conditions, especially that of remote areas," he said.

"All water crossings should be considered extremely dangerous and exceptional care should be taken to avoid similar incidents such as these, especially considering the number and size of crocodiles that inhabit remote water ways."

AAP

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Papua New Guinea Travel Information



by Miles Clarke, Travel Writer

A local promotion leaflet sums it up well: “PNG - where tourism isn't an industry.”
Introduction

Papua New Guinea welcomes but a fraction of the international visitors enjoyed by other South Pacific nations.

Most conspicuous by their absence are Australians, while the notoriously fickle and safety-conscious Americans are to be found in droves lapping up the unique diversity of cultural and environmental attractions of this land just five degrees south of the Equator.


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