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Sunday, January 30, 2011

DFAT Travel Advice: Egypt (updated)

•We advise you not to travel to Egypt because of ongoing civil unrest and the high threat of terrorist attack.
•If you are currently in Egypt, and concerned about the security situation, you should leave if it is safe to do so. Dependents of Embassy staff have been authorised to leave on a voluntary basis.
•The security situation may affect Embassy opening hours. Australians in Egypt who require emergency consular assistance should in the first instance contact the Embassy directly on +202 2575 0444 or the Consular Emergency Centre on +61 1300 555 135.
•Since 25 January 2011, violent demonstrations have occurred at locations across Egypt, including Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, resulting in deaths and injuries. The situation remains unpredictable and may deteriorate quickly. Demonstrations could occur in any part of Egypt. Australians should avoid all demonstrations as they may turn violent. You should register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you in an emergency.
•The army is on the streets of the main towns and there are widespread reports of arson and looting. The civil police are not present to maintain law and order. Self protection groups have reportedly formed in some areas.
•The Government has imposed a curfew between 4pm and 8am. This situation may last for some time. You should respect curfew provisions and follow the advice of local authorities.
•International airports in Egypt remain open, although there are reports that numerous flights to and from the country have been cancelled or rescheduled.
•There are disruptions to communications networks, particularly mobile phones and the internet.

Full Advice

Top cruise achievers rewarded

Source: Cruise Weekly

A record 403 guests from Australia and New Zealand gathered in the Grand Ballroom at Sydney’s Sheraton on the Park this evening for the annual cruise industry awards dinner.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the International Cruise Council Australasia recognised 16 outstanding achievements from 2010 for their contribution to the growing local cruise market.

The cruise industry’s night of nights saw Bicton Travel in Western Australia named Best Cruise Ag ency of the Year Australia, and iCruise in Auckland for the same category for New Zealand.

The full list of award winners is as follows:

* Agency Promotion of the Year Australia –
Cruise Express, Balmain NSW: “P&O World Voyages – around the world in 80 days”
* Agency Promotion of the Year New Zealand –
Lets Cruise: “Cruise Sale Week”
* Network Promotion of the Year Australasia –
United Travel & Harvey World Travel (New Zealand): “Cruise Expo”
* Media Award –
Susan Kurosawa: “Tales of a new sea salt”, Weekend Australian
* Rising Star New Zealand –
Caroline Smith: House of Travel Jenny Nilsson
* Rising Star Australia –
Cory Edmondson: ecruising.travel
* Neil Frazer Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Cruise Industry by an Individual –
Helen Hutcheon, Seatrade Insider
* Frank Johnson Award: Cruise Consultant of the Year Australia –
Phil Smethurst: Bicton Travel, Bicton WA
* Frank Johnson Award: Cruise Consultant of the Year New Zealand –
Mark Smith: Lets Cruise, Auckland
* Bronze Cruise Agency of the Year New Zealand –
Lets Cruise: Auckland
* Silver Cruise Agency of the Year New Zealand –
Cruises Online: Auckland
* Gold Cruise Agency of the Year New Zealand –
iCruise: Auckland
* Bronze Cruise Agency of the Year Australia –
Clean Cruising: Brisbane, QLD (Tie)
Cruise Express: Balmain, NSW (Tie)
* Silver Cruise Agency of the Year Australia –
Phil Hoffman Travel: Glenelg, SA
* Gold Cruise Agency of the Year Australia –
Bicton Travel: Bicton, WA

“As the cruise industry continues to enjoy double digit growth it's a great time to recognise all of tonight's nominees and finalists for making this a great industry,” said ICCA chairman, Gavin Smith.

Cruise Weekly, proud sponsors of the Cruise Industry Awards, would like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and finalists for their outstanding achievements.

For more cruise awards coverage including photos, see Monday’s edition of Travel Daily and next week’s Cruise Weekly issues.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

ATTA Announces Featured Speakers for 2011 Adventure Travel World Summit



(SEATTLE) - The Adventure Travel Trade Association announced its featured speaker roster for the 2011 Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) set for October 17-20 in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

Representing varied business disciplines, headliners for the adventure tourism industry's principal annual conference will address tourism trends, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, indigenous tourism, values-driven business models, and demand creation.

Presenters for the 2011 Adventure Travel World Summit, themed, "Prosper with Purpose", and their respective talks include:

• Maryann Fernandez - Founder & President - Philanthropy Indaba: Fernandez explores how deeper-impact corporate social responsibility, traveler's philanthropy and volunteer programs succeed in an environment rich in mutual respect, shared values, and community empowerment.

• Leilani Latimer - Director, Sustainability Initiatives - Sabre Holdings: Through the lens of global strategy, marketing and business transformation, Latimer shares insights into how to create demand for sustainable product, while challenging problematic perceptions and stereotypes.

• Bruce Poon Tip - Founder - GAP Adventures: Poon Tip reveals his first-hand account of the artistic process of being an innovative and successful entrepreneur, of creating a company that represents one's own personality, the people who work within the business, and the spirit of an industry.

• Ben Sherman - President- Medicine Root, Inc.: Sherman shares ancient, universal values of native peoples and describes how to incorporate these values into practical, progressive and successful cultural preservation, environmental stewardship and community development models.

• Jens Thraenhart - Co-founder & President - Dragon Trail, previously with the Canadian Tourism Commission and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts: Thraenhart offers the industry's most comprehensive briefing on outbound Chinese tourism trends, followed by proven demand-generation strategies made possible through multi-cultural relevancy, social media and digital marketing solutions.

• Tensie Whelan - President - Rainforest Alliance: Whelan illustrates how using the power of markets, and connecting, educating and training the trade and consumers, helps to conserve forests and spur sustainable industries and economies worldwide.

"'Prosper with Purpose'" serves as our Summit theme this year as it reflects our undeterred interest in thriving and flourishing as businesses within an industry through gathered knowledge, thoughtful design and intent," said ATTA President Shannon Stowell. "We are determined to affect positive and measurable socio-economic and environmental change worldwide through adventure tourism- a model that serves as a powerful, real and sustainable economic force."

Entering its seventh year, the ATTA's Summit executive conferences engage, enlighten, inspire, and energize the leaders of the adventure travel community with networking, business and professional development programs, educational seminars and emerging adventure destination product review opportunities. Summit delegates, who also reflect ATTA's membership composition, include tour operators and adventure travel ground suppliers, tourism boards and destination marketing organizations, media, travel agents, lodges, and related tourism service organizations.

Industry and consumer research and trends, marketing and best practices will dominate the professional development sessions for the 2011 Summit. Political, economic and socio-cultural trends affecting adventure tourism, combined with emergent destinations, technology and niche products, will figure prominently into the research and trends track. For marketing, strategies addressing branding, marketing and advertising, with a heavy emphasis on digital marketing, will serve as focal points. On the tactical level, marketing session will address budgets, marketing mixes and integrated campaigns, backed by ready-to-use game plans for delegates. Integrated throughout the entire Summit, delegates also will gain education and training in best practices for sustainable tourism.

ATTA's full slate of speakers for 2011 ATWS and the complete, day-by-day agenda, is expected ahead of the April 15, 2011, Early Bird registration deadline.

Partners for the 2011 ATWS include the Chiapas Convention and Visitors Bureau, the State Government of Chiapas and the Tourism Ministry of Mexico and the Mexico Tourism Promotion Board.

Established in 1990, Seattle-based ATTA (www.adventuretravel.biz) is a global membership organization dedicated to unifying, networking, professionalizing, promoting and responsibly growing the adventure travel market. Host of the annual Adventure Travel World Summit executive trade conferences (www.adventuretravelworldsummit.com), the ATTA also makes possible www.Adventure.Travel, the traveler's hub of physical, cultural and nature-based adventure travel and guide to trusted tour operators.

Eruption of Mount Bromo volcano



This Bulletin is current for Saturday, 29 January 2011.
The Bulletin was issued on Friday, 28 January 2011, 15:23:48, EST.

Since 27 January 2011, a number of flights between Bali and Australia have been cancelled or redirected due to a volcanic ash cloud from the eruption of Tenggar caldera in the Mt Bromo volcano complex in East Java.

At this stage, the airport at Bali remains open, however, some airlines have decided to cancel or delay departures to and from Bali. Flight disruptions could continue in Bali and could also occur in other parts of Indonesia.

Any Australians affected by these disruptions should, in the first instance, contact their airline, travel agent and/or insurance company for advice and assistance.

You should monitor the media for information about flight disruptions.

Australians should read our full travel advice for Indonesia, which is kept under constant review.

Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:

o organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
o register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you in an emergency
o subscribe to this travel advice to receive free email updates each time it's reissued.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Australian Travellers Give Up Emailing and Shopping



A brand new travel survey by Medina Apartment Hotels reveals that Australian travellers still value the back to basics approach to holidays and hotels.

As Australians settle back into their jobs and busy lifestyles after summer holidays, a new survey* conducted by Medina Apartment Hotels reveals what leisure travellers really want. On holidays, travellers are abandoning their addiction to email and shopping, preferring to keep in touch with phone calls amongst visits to museums and reading books.

The results of the survey showed that Australian travellers are more than happy to leave their addiction to email at home. Almost 50% thought a good old fashioned telephone conversation was the best way to keep in touch whilst on the road. Interestingly, the survey also revealed that almost a quarter didn't want to stay in touch at all whilst travelling.

More than half of all respondents indicated that the best thing about being away from home was soaking up a new city's culture including: going to museums, admiring the local architecture and checking out tourist attractions. This was in stark contrast to the less than ten percent that wanted to indulge in shopping whilst travelling, with only a similar amount of people packing an extra bag for souvenirs.

In line with this back to basics approach to travel, the must have suitcase items were no more high tech than a camera (34% always packed this item) and a good book (18% always packed this item). Both of these out ranked iPhones and/or BlackBerrys.

When asked about hotels over 60% of respondents thought a 'great location' was the most important feature of a hotel followed by space (16%).

Lisa Phillips, Director of Brands and Communication said: "The survey helped us to collect some real insights from our guests. The results have reinforced our commitment to Medina's core brand offerings - sleek, stylish and spacious apartment hotels in great city locations. Medina apartments are also a great solution for the quarter of respondents that crave a home cooked meal while they're away!"

Medina Apartment Hotels conducted the survey in order to gain insights from Australian leisure travellers about what they love about staying in hotels and travelling. The information will be used to improve each guest experience at the 21 Medina Apartment Hotels across Australia.

For more information about Medina Apartment Hotels or to book, visit www.medina.com.au or phone 1300 MEDINA (633 462).

*Research conducted by Medina Apartment Hotels. The survey was distributed online with a total of 1382 respondents

Summary of survey results:
• 47% of respondents keep in touch via phone whilst travelling
• 23% of respondents didn't stay in touch at all whilst travelling
• 52% of respondents thought the best thing about being away from home was soaking up a new city's culture - museums, architecture, tourist attractions...
• 9% of respondents enjoy shopping the most whilst on holiday
• 34% of respondents always packed a camera
• 18% of respondents always packed a good book
• 14% of respondents always packed an iPhone or BlackBerry
• 60% valued a great hotel location above all other facilities
• 16% valued space in their hotel room above all other facilities
• 25% miss a home cooked meal most when travelling

Scotland's Easto Named to Adventure Travel Trade Association Advisory Board



(SEATTLE) - Co-founder and chief executive officer of internationally acclaimed sustainable adventure tour company Wilderness Scotland, Paul Easto has joined the Advisory Board of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, a global membership organization dedicated to unifying, networking, professionalizing, promoting and responsibly growing the adventure travel market.

Entrepreneur and Scotland native, Easto founded Wilderness Scotland, an award-winning tour company reputed for innovative adventure experiences in Scotland's most undeveloped locations. Wilderness Scotland has earned recognition by National Geographic as one of the Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth, the Best Green Tour Operator in the World Travel Awards, and is a multiple time winner in the World Travel Mart Responsible Tourism Awards.

"Global leaders often rise to the surface by being at the center of influence as they work to bring various industry groups together for a common cause," said ATTA President Shannon Stowell. "We saw this trait in the Wilderness Scotland team, and Paul, with these proven characteristics, is an obvious selection to join the ATTA board. Paul's involvement will help us stay more relevant and connected to a location where we've held an Adventure Travel World Summit."

Easto also currently serves as an active champion for local and strategic development of the industry and advises public and private sectors throughout Europe on best practices in sustainability and marketing.

"In the three years that Wilderness Scotland has been members of the ATTA, I have seen Shannon and his team grow in stature and influence," said Easto. "I am sure that the ATTA will play a significant role in shaping the travel industry in the coming years and I am delighted to be able to contribute to their mission."

Established in 1990, the Seattle-based Adventure Travel Trade Association, with nearly 700 members worldwide, serves as the adventure tourism trade hub for tour operators, destination marketing organizations, tourism boards, specialty travel agents, guides, accommodations, media and service providers. Host of the annual Adventure Travel World Summit executive trade conferences, the ATTA publishes AdventureTravelNews.com the adventure travel trade's news source, and also makes possible Adventure.Travel, the traveler's hub of physical, cultural and nature-based adventure travel and guide to trusted tour operators from around the globe.

Latin Trails Launches New Luxury Cruise Galapagos Grand Odyssey



Starting February 1, 2011 Latin Trails will add another luxury boat to their top quality Odyssey liners and their first class Galapagos Journey Fleet. The new yacht was built from scratch at the port city of Guayaquil having the highest standards of safety and comfort in mind. These accommodations, that include spacious living areas, luxurious and comfortable environments, combined with Latin Trail's signature impeccable service, will be the perfect combination to explore this unparalleled natural sanctuary that is the Galapagos Islands in style.

M/Y Grand Odyssey will have a capacity for 16 passengers, featuring 7 spacious suites and one Master Suite all equipped with panoramic windows to enjoy the marvelous landscapes of the Islands and to open towards the fresh air flow, private bathrooms with hot/cold water, air conditioning with independent controlling for every room, minibar and television. These cabins will also be adaptable to twin bed or to one faux king bed. There will be connected suites ideal for families as well. The Main Deck will feature social areas such as our spacious and comfortable saloon, dining room areas, bar and a mini library. To enjoy the cool breeze and always captivating scenery, visitors will have an alfresco dining area, an open air bar along with two Jacuzzis and Balinese sun beds. Continuing Latin Trail's commitment to service, this new boat will finally be complemented with a Spa area with a complete massage and therapies menu. There will truly be no comparison to Grand Odyssey's Galapagos experience.

The boat will be designed to very high environmental standards to ensure its ecological footprint on this natural relic is minimal and thus assure the Galapagos Islands will continue dazzling future generations to come. This is why the M/Y Grand Odyssey will navigate with the latest technology available and will surpass all necessary safety requirements. This company, with over 20 year's experience, specializes in custom tours for small groups or individuals and only works with the most professional crew available. This crew includes a certified naturalist English speaking guide, available in various other languages as well, which will unlock the mysteries found in every single, unique island. From snorkeling and kayaking with playful sea lions, to hiking side by side with the mythical Galapagos tortoises, to discovering the numerous bird species that led to Darwin's theory of evolution ,to simply relaxing on many colorful beaches, Latin Trails will deliver the journey of a lifetime.

Latin Trail's also announces that starting 2011 they will have more tour length options in all their boats. There will be 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 15 day tour that can be made in numerous combinations to adapt to every client's specific needs. With these new additions Latin Trails can offer more varied and complete itineraries so every single visitor leaves cuador entirely satisfied. This will also help reduce stress from every island's ecosystem and reiterate the company's eco-friendly mission. Galapagos Grand Odyssey prices will range from $3,400 to $4,080 in the 5 day tours to $10,500 to $12,600 in the 15 day tours.

Latin Trails, www.latintrails.com

Eight Restaurant Opens at The Langham, Auckland



A dynamic new approach to dining has launched at The Langham with the opening of Eight, the five-star hotel's newest restaurant.

Named after the eight kitchens that comprise the restaurant, diners in Eight enjoy not only a meal but a culinary journey where they can choose exquisitely prepared world cuisine, while interacting with the chefs in the eight open kitchens.

Jeffrey van Vorsselen, Managing Director of The Langham, says that the culinary journey concept also enables diners to create their own personal degustation, allowing them to fully appreciate the cuisine from each kitchen at their own pace, with as many dishes and intervals as desired.
"Eight is extremely exciting and will redefine expectations of hotel dining in New Zealand. Simply put - Eight is great. It is a fun yet sophisticated place to eat, where dining is no longer passive, where diners have the luxury of choice and where the theatre of cooking forms part of the total experience," says Mr van Vorsselen.

The eight kitchens have been named after iconic journeys and destinations which also reflect the type of cuisine available at each. The kitchens include the Silk Road (wok and dim sum) Spice Route (Indian tandoori and curries), Tōkaidō (sushi and sashimi), Route 66 (New York style grille), Great Ocean Road (seafood and oysters), Garden Route (salads), Champs-Elysées (pastries, crêpes and cheese) and the tongue-in-cheek name of Dessert Road (desserts).

The restaurant celebrates high quality, seasonal food which changes daily. Eight almost has a market place feel to it, with the finest cuts of meat and fresh fish and seafood on display and available for diners to select and then have cooked to their liking before them.

Similarly designer sushi and sashimi can be prepared on demand, delectable garden salads created, dim sum selected or freshly baked naan bread pulled steaming from the tandoors for diners to savour. The culinary journey is completed with sweet treats of freshly prepared crêpes and waffles, cheese, beautifully hand crafted desserts or attempting the impressive three-tiered chocolate fountain!

Dishes from the various kitchens can also be matched with wine choices from Eight's dedicated and extensive wine bar which serves over 40 wines by the glass.

The Langham's Executive Chef Volker Marecek leads his team of passionate chefs who all bring their own personality and expertise to the kitchens of the $2 million (NZD) project. Chef Marecek has been at the forefront of Eight's development and has brought his international expertise to the restaurant while relishing the opportunity to further showcase his talents.
"Eight has been specifically designed to be distinctly different from what many New Zealanders might expect from a hotel restaurant and this is what makes it so special," adds Mr van Vorsselen.

"Eight is part of the paradigm shift that The Langham wants to communicate to diners, and not just hotel guests, that the great hotels of the world provide unforgettable dining experiences and should be sought out in order to enjoy the best food. Our Langham cousins in Hong Kong demonstrate this with Michelin star restaurants in their hotels

Eight offers not only great quality food but an amazing experience and excellent value with breakfast and lunch priced from NZ$37 per person and dinner at NZ$67 per person.

I am delighted to welcome Eight to The Langham's growing collection of renowned eateries as it joins The Winery with its award-winning afternoon tea, Barolo, our northern Italian restaurant which was a top 50 New Zealand restaurant in 2010 and The Great Room with its impressive Bill of Fare for banquet guests.

My intention is for The Langham, Auckland to be widely recognised as foodie haven and a place that New Zealanders come for five-star food, service and ambience. I believe that with Eight now open, we are well on our way to achieving this and I am delighted to introduce the restaurant," concludes Mr van Vorsselen.

WIN A Global Culinary Journey with Eight
To celebrate the opening of Eight, diners from 27 January - 25 April, 2011, have the chance to win an unforgettable prize staying and dining at five-star Langham hotels in Hong Kong, London and Los Angeles. In Hong Kong be tempted by Langham's Michelin star restaurants; experience the godfathers of modern British cuisine, the Roux brothers at The Langham London and in Los Angeles complete your culinary journey at The Royce at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena.

Each time you dine in Eight, enter the draw to win:
• Three nights luxury accommodation at The Langham, Hong Kong dining at T'ang Court (2 Michelin stars) and also Ming Court (2 Michelin stars).
• Three nights luxury accommodation at The Langham, London dining at the newly-opened Roux at The Landau, the latest restaurant by the famed Roux brothers.
• Three nights luxury accommodation at The Langham Huntington, dining at The Royce by the esteemed chef David Féau
• Return around-the-world economy airfares for two people from Auckland to Hong Kong, London and Los Angeles. (Full terms and conditions apply)

Eight is located on the lobby level of The Langham, Auckland and is open daily for:

• Breakfast (6am-11am) NZ$37 per person. A breakfast culinary journey is served in the kitchens at this time.
• Lunch (12pm-2.30pm) NZ$37 per person.
• Dinner (6pm - 11pm) NZ$67 per person.
• Sunday Brunch (11am - 3.30pm) NZ$37 person.

Pricing is exclusive of beverages. Children aged 5 - 12 years old dine at half price.

An alternative to experiencing a culinary journey is to dine à la carte in Eight. Meals are prepared with the same quality, passion and freshness. Eight is open 24 hours 7 days a week for à la carte dining.
For bookings or further information please contact:
Eightrestaurant.co.nz T: 09 300 2852 E: tlakl.eight@langhamhotels.co.nz

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Brand Spanking New Website for New South Wales' Central Coast



Central Coast, New South Wales is delighted to shout from the roof tops that their brand spanking new website is now live. The leisure website has been refreshed with new branding that characterizes the Central Coast's natural assets, the envy of many. The Central Coast is located one hour's drive north of Sydney and is Australia's premier lifestyle and waterfront destination.

Ollie Philpot, Chief Executive Officer, Central Coast Tourism confirms 'our new website now encapsulates the vibrant essence of the Central Coast and its lifestyle. The site has been designed to provide a user friendly experience, with enhanced user capabilities, simple site navigation and interactive online guides. With over 80% of leisure seekers using the internet to research and plan their travel, this site will become an invaluable tool for anyone planning to spend leisure time on the New South Wales' Central Coast.'

The new site features detailed information on the six distinctive regions of the Central Coast, each with their own unique character and style. The extensive range of coastal experiences are highlighted under the 'Play' tab including Water, Land and Adventure Activities, National Park, Beaches, Culture and Indulgence, and Dining and Entertainment. Under 'Stay' the diverse mix of accommodation from simple campsites through to luxury international class hotels such as Crowne Plaza Terrigal are showcased. All this combined with a secure booking service provides a one stop online experience for people wanting to discover the New South Wales' Central Coast.

'We also feature a 'Free' category as some of the best things in life are free and some of those 'best things' are on the Central Coast'. Philpot adds.

Philpot confirms 'the site has been a long time in the making but we are thrilled with it and are confident that the improvements will provide a superior experience for online visitors'. Check it out for yourself at www.visitcentralcoast.com.au.

About Central Coast Tourism
Central Coast Tourism Inc. is non-profit and financially supported from its own industry base (through a membership structure), by Gosford City and Wyong Shire Councils and also Tourism NSW. Its role is to develop, market and promote the region as a significant tourist destination in the domestic and international markets, to achieve increased visitation/expenditure, and to provide customer service to visitors and to its members.

The tourism industry plays an influential role in shaping the Central Coast's economy, with visitor expenditure exceeding $759 million* annually. As the tourism industry continues to grow, Central Coast Tourism helps the Gosford and Wyong Shires prosper through its destination marketing efforts. *Source: Tourism NSW, Visitor Statistics YE Sep 10

Brisbane, Australia's new world city is back to business



Just weeks after the challenge of the recent flood, Brisbane's residents and business community are getting on with the job of recovery and rebuilding at a rapid pace with the collective goal of getting "back to business".

Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman emphasised the importance of an active business and industry sector in the rebuilding process of the city.
"Despite the recent flood, Brisbane remains an economic powerhouse and we will work with all levels of government and business to ensure the city's speedy economic recovery.

"Brisbane City Council actually expects to see stimulus in Brisbane's economy, particularly in the construction and building sector as the rebuilding continues.

"Our sense of purpose has never been stronger and we're back on track to continue building a prosperous future for residents and the business community," Cr Newman said.

Economic Development and Investment
An emerging global city, Brisbane's $104 billion local economy is driven by a competitive business base and strong population growth.
With strength and resilience as the backbone of the Brisbane economy, Brisbane Marketing, the city's economic development agency will focus on economic recovery and opportunities for growth and investment.

Chief Executive Officer of Brisbane Marketing John Aitken said that with Brisbane's central business district alive with activity, the domestic and international airports operational throughout and the Port of Brisbane open, it's clear that Brisbane is very much back to business.

"The committed citywide effort towards recovery, strong leadership and incredible display of community spirit throughout the crisis has seen Brisbane, Australia's new world city, swiftly get back to business and resume its position as a highly competitive destination for business events, investment, leisure tourism, CBD retail, major events, study and film and television production.

Business Events
"Business events bring in $170 million worth of economic value to Brisbane every year, and $17 billion a year nationally - it is big business - and we are committed to creating economic value for Brisbane through world-class business events," said Mr Aitken.

"I am pleased to report that the vast majority of conference venues and hotels are fully operational with 25 significant conferences proceeding this financial year with an estimated value of $25 million.

"Their doors are open and they're ready to welcome delegates and their families to experience all the city has to offer." "Our support is also with the four Brisbane hotels who are working around the clock to reopen soon".

International Education
International education is the city's largest export contributor to the economy responsible for 2.27 billion dollars in course fees and 13,900 full time jobs in Brisbane.

Mr Aitken said it was very fortunate that only a small number of Brisbane's education providers were directly impacted, and all of the city's world-class universities, English language schools, private colleges and secondary schools are open and ready to resume courses at the start of the 2011 academic year.

"We're continuing to welcome students from around the world and on 05 March the city will host the annual Brisbane Welcomes International Students event and the Lord Mayor will announce our 2011 International Student Ambassadors.

"There's a genuine sense of enthusiasm for the year ahead and Brisbane is primed to deliver an exceptional study experience to students from across the globe."

Leisure Tourism, Major Events and CBD Retail
Worth $9.2 billion annually to the state, leisure tourism is a significant contributor to the Brisbane economy.

"It's great to see the vast majority of local tourism operators, accommodation providers and key attractions throughout the Greater Brisbane region rolling out their welcome mats to visitors across the globe," John Aitken said.

"Brisbane Airport, Australia's second busiest international airport remained open and with recently announced increased connections to China, through China Southern Airlines and to the United States through Qantas, we are seeking to increase visitation from these important markets.
Our major tourism operators including Lone Pine, Riverlife, Story Bridge Adventure Climb, and Tangalooma are all open for business.

"Remember, as a capital city Brisbane offers great shopping, fantastic live entertainment and many delicious opportunities to wine and dine.
"The Queensland Performing Arts Centre is starting to reopen for selected performances including the popular musical Wicked so arts and culture lovers can put this back on their agenda," he said.

There are also many beautiful destinations on Brisbane's doorstep that are ready to welcome visitors. Stradbroke Island, Southern Bay Islands, one of Brisbane's many charming coastal villages or the spectacular Scenic Rim and Country Valleys are all open for business.

"There is still plenty to see and do in Brisbane," Mr Aitken said.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Whitsunday's Palm Bay retreat to close

FNH Investments, the owners of Palm Bay retreat, today announced that they will be closing their property on Long Island. The closure will be effective from Monday January 31st.

FNH Investments directors said the challenges of operating a tourism business in the Whitsundays had forced this decision with the retreat operating in a unique environment, with unique difficulties requiring unique solutions. The Whitsunday region has performed poorly throughout the GFC and the aftermath of Cyclone Ului.

Mangement's representative Mark Hodge will work with FNH Investments to facilitate the closure of the property in a timely manner.

“We will assist guests with bookings at Palm Bay by relocating their booking to Airlie Beach or changing their booking to other properties which may suit their desired holiday experience,” said Mr Hodge.

Tourism Fiji to maintain Australia/NZ regional offices

Tourism Fiji CEO
Josefa Tuamoto
Tourism Fiji's newly appointed Chairman Dave Pflieger and CEO Josefa Tuamoto today noted that contrary to a New Zealand trade report on Monday, Fiji's national tourist office had no intention of closing or consolidating any of its various offices.

Speaking from the national tourist office's head office in Nadi, Mr Pflieger noted that "there are absolutely no plans to close or consolidate any of Tourism Fiji's offices."

He went on to add that he expected Mr Tuamoto and his team "will stay focused on the key markets of Australia and New Zealand because those two countries are Fiji's first and second most important sources for visitors."

Mr Tuamoto added that "while some adjustments are planned for our marketing spend this year, Australia and New Zealand will continue to receive the lion's share of Fiji's government funded FJD23.5 million tourism budget."

He went on to say that "if anything, our key change for 2011 is to place even more emphasis on how and where we will be doing our marketing activity within Australia and New Zealand, so that we can maximize Fiji's return on investment in this key national industry."

Mr Tuamoto pointed towards recently released Fiji bureau of statistics figures which show the destination's total international visitor arrivals for September 2010 had again been boosted by strong performances from both of these key markets.


New hotels joining the Preferred Hotel Group collection

Preferred Hotels & Resorts is the ultimate collection of exceptional hotels and resorts in the most desirable locations around the world. The brand's legendary commitment to quality ensures an unparalleled guest experience, from the very best amenities to anticipatory service and elegant sophistication.

Camino Real Club & Suites
Mexico City, Mexico

Camino Real Club & Suites reflects the electric energy and deep heritage of Mexico City. Just steps from the Paseo de la Reforma, the hotel showcases a unique hotel-museum style that combines modern architecture with elements of pre-Hispanic pyramids. The 712 guestrooms and suites rejuvenate guests with luxurious beds and spacious baths with premium amenities. Three restaurants, three cafés, and a lounge serve Spanish, Italian, and international cuisine, plus surprise touches like an oyster bar. Guests can relax at the pool, hit the gym, or explore the wealth of nearby attractions.

Camino Real Club Santa Fe México
Mexico City, Mexico

Camino Real Club Santa Fe México offers five-star luxury in the heart of Ciudad Santa Fe, the most important business district in Mexico City. Its distinguished design stands out for harmoniously blending metal, crystal, and marble, perfectly balanced by verdant landscaping. The 300 guestrooms and suites feature amenities expected by discerning travelers. Dining options include Italian bistro fare, sushi bar, oyster bar, café, and more. Guests can escape to the spa, complete with a whirlpool and steam room, and gym.

Unique by design, from palaces to tent-camps, the Preferred Boutique collection of hotels and resorts celebrates distinctive travel experiences that showcase style, service, and personality on an intimate scale.

Suryagarh
Jaisalmer, India

A 19th-century fort with modern luxuries, Suryagarh offers 62 magnificent palace rooms and suites fit for royalty. Located between the Fort and Sam Sand Dunes, guests have an incredible amount of experiences awaiting them. Options include sinking into the plush leather chairs in the billiards room, swimming in the indoor heated pool, or working out at the fitness center. For a truly unique experience, guests can schedule a "Dune Bashing" excursion, camel safari, and themed dinner, or learn talwarbaazi – the ancient art of Indian sword fighting.

Divan Çukurhan
Ankara, Turkey

Housed in a 16th-century Anatolian caravanserai, Divan Çukurhan combines historic charm with contemporary luxury and personalized service. Completely restored to preserve the original building, the hotel offers 19 expansive guestrooms where historic elements like weathered stone, etched wood, and brick masonry combine with modern amenities like rain showers and wireless Internet access. Conveniently located in the heart of Ankara, guests enjoy easy access to the Ankara Citadel and the world-famous Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, as well as the government ministries and embassies of the Ulus district.

Villa Didon
Carthage, Tunisia

Ancient and modern times converge at Villa Didon. Poised above the shimmering Mediterranean Sea on the hillside of Sidi Bou Said, the hotel features stunning design surrounded by ruins stretching back to the rise of the Roman empire. The 10 guestrooms and suites are studies in transparency, light, and movement, highlighted by the splendid panorama of the immense blue of the sea. An open kitchen at restaurant and lounge Le Rest'ô Carthage lets guests feel like they're a part of preparing the multicultural dishes, while the traditional Hammam spa draws on techniques of the ancient Carthaginians.

Ranging from historic urban hotels to enticing beach resorts, Summit Hotels & Resorts articulates a genuine sense of place and a memorable sense of style, culture, and graciousness.


The River Rock Casino Resort
Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

Full of excitement, luxury, and entertainment, The River Rock Casino Resort features a distinctly West Coast style, just minutes from the waterfront and downtown Vancouver. Upon entering, the four-story lobby of ponds, cascading waterfalls, and a variety of natural elements transports guests to another world. The feeling carries on into the dazzling casino and 202 sumptuous suites, each outfitted for the ultimate in privacy and relaxation. More world-class entertainment awaits at the state-of-the-art 950-seat show theater, three dining venues, and Absolute Spa.

Emporio Mazatlan
Mazatlan, Mexico

With a prime location in the Golden Zone and just 10 minutes from downtown, Emporio Mazatlan sets the stage for a spectacular stay. Contemporary Mexican architecture frames incomparable views of the Pacific Ocean, such as from the private balconies in all 134 guestrooms and suites. Expert chefs ply Mexico's rich culinary heritage at Condimento Restaurant, which also serves international favorites. Two heated swimming pools and an ocean-facing Jacuzzi have direct access to the pool bar. Emporio Gym, open 24 hours, features an extensive selection of cardiovascular and strength-training equipment.

Emporio Zacatecas
Zacatecas, Mexico

History and culture meet five-star accommodations at Emporio Zacatecas, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Guests are enveloped in rich Baroque architecture as they step into the lobby, which features carved quarry stone enhanced by warm lighting. The ambiance continues into 113 spacious guestrooms and suites where traditional décor meets updated amenities like high-speed Internet access. Condimento Restaurant and Los Canteros Bar offer exquisite Mexican and international specialties. Guests enjoy access to a 24-hour business center and fully equipped gym, plus close proximity to several museums, galleries, and more.

Palm Beach Palace, Djerba
Djerba, Tunisia

Located on the sun-drenched island of Djerba in southeast Tunisia, Palm Beach Palace, Djerba captivates guests with its Arab-Andalusian architecture. Surrounding private beach and palm trees that frame storybook sunsets, the hotel's 255 guestrooms, including 24 bungalows and seven suites, feature private balconies or terraces, wireless Internet access, and satellite television. Nine restaurants and bars serve a variety of international cuisines and fresh seafood from the island fishermen. The luxurious spa and wellness center utilizes Decleor skincare products in its comprehensive range of all-natural treatments and massages.

Palm Beach Palace, Tozeur
Tozeur, Tunisia

Designed in classical Tunisian style and surrounded by thousands of palm trees, Palm Beach Palace, Tozeur wraps guests in relaxation. The 128 guestrooms and suites feature wireless Internet access, satellite television, and private balconies overlooking a mini-oasis of palm groves and waterfalls. El Djerid restaurant specializes in Tunisian and Mediterranean cuisine. Adorned with Moorish décor, the spa is a haven of refreshment and relaxation hidden in the heart of the desert. Guests can also unwind at the indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, Jacuzzi, and game room.

Divan Ankara
Ankara, Turkey

Divan Ankara fuses functionality with boutique sensibility. Located in the Kavaklidere district, the hotel is within walking distance of ministries, embassies, and corporate headquarters, as well as shopping, nightlife, and many historic and cultural attractions. All 83 guestrooms, including five suites, feature Internet access, LCD televisions, and rain showers. Experienced chefs uphold Divan Ankara's 50-year tradition of culinary excellence at two dining venues, creating menus of Turkish and international favorites along with innovative exclusives. The Health Club & Wellness Center is equipped with a full-service gym, Turkish bath, and sauna.

Divan Antalya
Antalya, Turkey

Poised above a seaside bluff, Divan Antalya's 204 guestrooms and suites capture panoramic views of the Mediterranean, Gulf of Antalya, and the Toros Mountains. Two restaurants serve Turkish and international cuisine, while two bars offer the perfect setting for relaxing with a drink. The Wellness & Fitness Center features a Turkish bath, sauna, steam bath, and massage treatments, plus a variety of athletic and recreational activities. Along with five meeting rooms, Divan Antalya is home to the Divan Antalya Convention Centre, Antalya's premier address for conventions, conferences, and corporate meetings.

Makena Beach & Golf Resort
Maui, Hawaii, USA
Member of Preferred Golf
Makena Beach & Golf Resort's beachfront location at the foot of Mount Haleakala affords views of the Pacific to all 305 guestrooms and suites. Room amenities also include Serta Presidential Plush beds and louvered doors that guide ocean breezes into the room. Several restaurants and cafés showcase Hawaii's fresh seafood, fruits, and coffee. The white sand beach is ideal for relaxing or adventuring. The Makena Kai Day Spa specializes in Hawaiian healing arts. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., The Makena Golf Course winds through the foothills of Maui's dormant volcano.

A worldwide collection of hotels with character and distinction, Sterling Hotels offers convenient access to popular business and leisure destinations at the right price.

Divan Çorlu
Corlu, Turkey

Divan Çorlu offers business and leisure travelers a refined and relaxing experience. The 120 guestrooms were designed with long-term stays in mind, giving guests LCD televisions, high-speed Internet access, and plenty of room to stretch out. The Divan Pub serves an outstanding menu of Turkish and international favorites, plus innovative Divan exclusives, in a casually elegant setting. The on-site Wellness & Fitness Center features the latest cardiovascular and multi-training equipment, a steam room, and sauna. Business guests enjoy two ballrooms and two boardrooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology.

For travelers who love to golf, and golfers who love to travel, Preferred Golf affords priority access and complimentary golf at more than 100 of the world's most sought-after golf resorts.

La Quinta Resort & Club
La Quinta, California, USA

La Quinta Resort & Club is a legendary destination that has reigned over the Palm Springs area since 1926. Framed by the Santa Rosa Mountains, the resort hosts five award-winning golf courses, including PGA West, designed by legends Palmer, Nicklaus, and Dye. Guests enjoy accommodations in 796 Spanish-style casitas, suites, and villas. Multiple dining options include signature restaurant Morgan's in the desert, which showcases contemporary American cuisine from farm-to-table pioneer Chef Jimmy Schmidt. The resort also offers Spa La Quinta®, a tennis club, 41 pools, and USPTA-led clinics and instruction.

Historic Hotels of America represents hotels that have faithfully maintained their historic integrity and architecture. To be selected, a hotel must be at least 50 years old, listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, or recognized as having historical significance.

The Omni Severin
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

The Hotel Severin opened in 1913 and thrived from the 300 passenger trains that stopped across the street at historic Union Station. Built by Henry Severin, Jr. with help from the founders of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the hotel represented the height of luxury. A recent restoration added 200 guestrooms while preserving much of the original hotel, including the Austrian crystal chandelier, marble staircase, and ornate railings of the main lobby. Today, The Omni Severin offers 424 guestrooms and suites in the downtown Wholesale District.

The Omni Royal Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Since the 1830s, the famous corner of St. Louis and Royal – now the site of The Omni Royal Orleans – has witnessed all that was and is New Orleans. Designed by famed architect Arthur David and constructed to the exacting specifications of the Vieux Carre Commission, the corner builing opened as a 346-room hotel in 1960 and featured arches, Spanish wrought iron railings, and a mansard roof in the style of the French Quarter. Signature restaurant Rib Room continues to dazzle patrons after 50 years.

The Omni Parker House
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Harvey Parker came to Boston with a dollar in his pocket in 1825. In 1855, he opened The Parker House, now the longest continuously operating hotel in the U.S. and offering 551 guestrooms and suites. The hotel has hosted every president since Ulysses S. Grant, and was also home to The Saturday Club, which included some of the brightest figures from America's Golden Age of Literature. Historic Parker's Restaurant is known for inventing the Boston Cream Pie and for its famous Parker House Rolls.

Radisson Martinique on Broadway
New York City, New York, USA

Radisson Martinique on Broadway continues to reflect the rich history of Midtown Manhattan. Designed by legendary architect Henry Hardenbergh, The Hotel Martinique has accumulated stories as varied and intriguing as its Beaux Arts detailing, like how a sponsored luncheon in 1916 led to the founding of the PGA. Many of the hotel's original design elements remain today, including the mosaic-tile floor and 18-story spiral staircase in the lobby. The hotel's 533 guestrooms and suites have undergone extensive renovation, restoring the historic architecture while adding modern conveniences like high-speed Internet access.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tangalooma Shines Under Summer Sun



Tangalooma Island Resort continues to operate unaffected by the recent floods in Brisbane.

Resort spokesperson Penny Limbach said throughout the ordeal Tangalooma was able to function as usual because of its island location.

"Tangalooma is on Moreton Island, about 40 kilometres from the mainland, so we were very fortunate to have missed the floods," Ms Limbach said.

"We often say Tangalooma is like a different world and that's certainly proven to be true in the past week or so.

"Now that the skies have cleared and the sun is shining again the island, which is almost entirely national park, is looking as lush and green as ever.

"It's a perfect time to get away from it all, relax on the beach and soak up the summer sun, or have fun doing any number of the activities on offer - there's plenty to do.

"We are posting photos on the Tangalooma Facebook and website on a regular basis so people can see just how perfect it is." For more information on a Tangalooma getaway visit www.tangalooma.com.

Travel Industry Optimistic For 2011


WTM's Meridian Club buyers positive about 2011

The travel and tourism industry is extremely optimistic 2011 will see it leave the global financial downturn behind, reveals a survey of World Travel Market's Meridian Club - the industry's most senior buyers.

Almost eight out of ten (78%) Meridian Club members polled say they are optimistic for the industry's prospects in 2011.

Furthermore, more than half (54%) of the 330 senior buyers polled say the industry will perform better in 2011 than in 2010, with 37% believing the industry's performance will be on par with 2010.

"It's been a great start to the year so far following on from a good finish to last year," One Meridian Club member revealed.

Another senior travel industry buyer added: "People in general still have a good appetite for travel and London in particular will be boosted by the Royal Wedding."

A large majority of the Meridian Club members polled revealed more bookings have been made already this year compared to recent years, helping to instil confidence for the rest of 2011.

Meridian Club members are even more confident about their company's prospects with a massive 89% feeling optimistic for their organisation's prospects in 2011 - this compares to only seven out of ten members when asked the same question 12 months ago.

Furthermore, nearly 70% of the members believe their company will perform better in 2011 than it did in 2010 with a mere 4% expecting their organisation to perform worse this year than it did last year.

"Having had a growth strategy during the recession the company continues to grow and make positive returns on investments," one Meridian Club member responded.

Another buyer added: "So far it has been very busy and as long as interest rates do not go up it should stay that way."

Meridian Club Marketing Manager Ajay Ahluwalia added: "It is great news that the industry's senior buyers have such a positive outlook for 2011.

"It would appear the industry is leaving the tough times behind and has optimism for the future. Meridian Club members are the industry's most senior buyers and the people purchasing the tourism product making them the first group to see an uplift in consumer demand."

Kiwi Collection Launches Mobile Website For Luxury Hotel Bookings


Kiwi Collection, the world's most trusted booking resource for exceptional hotels, has just launched a mobile version of its website.

Taking notice of a recent Morgan Stanley study that mobile device computing will overtake notebook computing by 2012, Kiwi Collection partnered with Mobify, the leading mobile web platform for e-commerce, to create an elegant mobile website that delivers all the functionality of its desktop site. 

Optimized for smaller mobile screens, the Kiwi Collection mobile site retains all the functionality of the desktop site, including search, booking, full mobile payment, and its signature gorgeous image galleries. 

"At Mobify we believe that mobile web is a key part of a great travel experience," says Mobify CEO Igor Faletski, "and Kiwi Collection is an outstanding example of that."

"Using Mobify allowed Kiwi Collection to go mobile quickly, without losing our focus" says Philippe Kjellgren, President and CEO at Kiwi Collection,  "we've already seen an increase in mobile revenue."

To start using the mobile website visit kiwicollection.com on your iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry 6 mobile device. 

A video presentation is also available on YouTube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCnh4xHqhwg

ABOUT KIWI COLLECTION

Kiwi Collection is the world's most trusted booking resource for exceptional hotels. The trust in our unbiased opinions and reviews is our most coveted asset.
 
Our team members review and rate each of our selected hotels on a regular basis without regard for brand, size, or affiliation. The collection caters to all tastes and budgets, and ranges from affordable and hip urban hotels, to lavish palaces and resorts in far-off locales.
 
Kiwi Collection delivers amazing hotels, the best rates guaranteed, and free perks including Kiwi Advantages and exclusive benefits for Visa Premium cardholders.
 
Hotels that fall below our rigorous standards are diligently removed. As an absolute rule, no hotel is ever allowed to buy its way into Kiwi Collection. This keeps our collection fresh, honest, and dependable.
 
With offices in Vancouver, London, and Sydney, and over 2,200 hotels in 131 countries, Kiwi Collection acts as a global guide for those who care where they stay. Learn more at kiwicollection.com
 
ABOUT MOBIFY 
 
Mobify was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. Its solutions optimize web sites for mobile and tablet devices. Mobify's customers include global leaders in e-commerce, online publishing, and digital advertising, such as Wired, Threadless, and the GAP.  By using Mobify's mobile web platform, these companies have achieved significant growth in mobile traffic and revenue. Learn more at mobify.me.
 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ninth Edition of Moon Fiji

Avalon Travel Publishing has launched the 9th edition of Moon Fiji, the original travel guide to the 322-island Fiji archipelago. Since 1985, Moon Fiji has been the leading travel guidebook to Fiji. Author David Stanley has been writing about the South Pacific since 1979, and over the years tens of thousands of Pacific travelers have used his guides to Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, Micronesia, and the South Pacific.

Moon Fiji's 419 pages are packed with photos and maps. Unlike the maps in other guidebooks, the 53 maps in Moon Fiji are clearly labeled without confusing numbered keys. To allow for detail, there are three street maps of Fiji's capital Suva and two of the gateway city Nadi. Most of the 170 photos are new to this edition and many of them are in color.

The 24-page color section at the front of the book has been expanded with a pair of 10-day suggested itineraries and four travel strategies.

Summaries of sports and recreation, beaches, natural attractions, and culture will help you plan your trip. Moon Fiji's 122 pages of reference material are tucked unobtrusively into the back of the book. The Background chapter provides an in-depth introduction to Fiji, while Essentials has everything you'll need to know about transportation and practicalities. Tips for Travelers caters to those with special needs.

The nine travel chapters offer specific advice on sightseeing, lodging, food, transport, and facilities throughout Fiji with exact prices are quoted. Tiny Must See and Top Pick symbols help readers choose among the many things to see and do. David Stanley researches his books incognito and eschews the "hospitality" many other travel writers enjoy and the
listings are thorough and critical. Moon Fiji has been designed to compliment other media, and internet addresses and emails are provided whenever possible. There is much information not found on commercial websites or in the free brochures.

Rob Kay of FijiGuide.com had this to say about Moon Fiji: "Stanley excels at getting accurate information on hotels, inexpensive restaurants, and tourist sites. However there is another reason why his guide is valuable.

Stanley does not simply list the properties in alphabetical order and expect the reader to determine what's best. Based on personal visits and feedback from visitors, he will actually offer you an opinion and the straight facts."

About Moon Fiji

The 9th edition of Moon Fiji (ISBN 1598807374 or 978-1598807370) was published by Avalon Travel Publishing of Berkeley, California, in January, 2011. Priced at US$19.95, this book is distributed worldwide by The Perseus Books Group. To order online, visit
http://www.southpacific.org/fiji.html

AIRLINE UPDATES

Air Asia cabin crew

* AirAsia now allows online booking up to four hours prior to departure

* Qatar Airways plans to increase Doha - Kuala Lumpur service, offering two daily flights

* Malaysia Airlines has launched thrice-weekly non-stop service linking Kota Kinabalu and Perth

* AirAsia has launched Medan-Bangkok service

* Garuda Indonesia has increased its Jakarta-Sydney schedule from thrice-weekly to daily

* Turkish Airlines will launch thrice-weekly Istanbul - Guangzhou service beginning Jan. 30

* All Nippon Airways will resume daily Tokyo - Jakarta service this month, and will launch daily Tokyo - Manila flights in March

* Jetstar Airways will commence new Manila - Darwin flights Feb. 9, and Singapore - Auckland service in March

* Korean Air plans to launch A380 service from its Seoul hub to Hong Kong and Tokyo in June, and to Bangkok in July

Friday, January 21, 2011

HYATT CHECKS OUT OF AUCKLAND AS PULLMAN CHECKS IN

A new era has begun for Auckland's most prominent 5-star hotel, with Hyatt Regency checking-out of the city and Pullman Auckland Hotel & Residences checking in.

The Hyatt was New Zealand's first 5-star hotel and commands a central position in the heart of Auckland's commercial and retail district.

Accor management took over at the hotel following the sale of the hotel to new owners. The change-over also marked Accor's ascendancy to New Zealand's largest hotel group, with a total of 29 hotels and 4017 rooms across the country – 500 rooms more than its nearest competitor. Accor will increase its network further in mid-year when it adds Novotel and Formule 1 hotels at Auckland Airport.

Accor Vice President New Zealand, Paul Richardson said that the new owners would undertake some minor upgrades of the hotel, but as all rooms had received a NZ$7 million refurbishment just two years ago, the hotel was in excellent condition and is an ideal addition to the Pullman network.

"The launch of Pullman will be very beneficial for Auckland's tourism sector with a fresh approach to upscale hospitality," he said. "Over the coming months, we will be enhancing the hotel to bring the property up to Pullman standard, providing a complete array of personalised services and innovative technologies including a Connectivity Lounge and the groundbreaking 'Co-Meeting' concept which ensures flawless success for meetings and events."

The Pullman hotel offers 267 rooms, suites and apartments, with three Pullman Executive levels, all of which were refurbished in 2009. The hotel is one of Auckland's leading hotels for conferences and events with facilities capable of hosting functions for up to 1000 delegates. Facilities range from a grand ballroom to the Top of the Town boardroom, one of Auckland's most exclusive venues, which is located on the top floor of the hotel, providing superb views of the harbour, city and parks

A feature of the hotel's facilities is the Spa and Health Club, one of the largest of its kind in New Zealand. Available to hotel guests and external clients, the Spa includes six treatment rooms, gymnasium, a 25 meter heated lap pool with a retractable roof, steam room, jacuzzi, juice bar and spa boutique

While making its debut in New Zealand, Pullman has a rich heritage in the global hospitality and tourism world. It is the fastest growing 5-star brand in the Asia Pacific region, with major additions in countries such as Vietnam, China, India, and Malaysia, building on the existing network in Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea and China as well as in Europe. The Pullman network already extends to over 50 hotels in some of the world's most renowned cities and is set to double in size over the next three years.

ABOUT PULLMAN

Pullman is Accor's upscale hotel brand designed with the requirements of business women and men in mind.

Located in the main regional and international cities, Pullman hotels provide an extensive range of tailored services, access to groundbreaking technologies, and "Co-Meeting", a new approach to organizing meetings, seminars and high-end incentives. At Pullman hotels, business travelers can choose between being independent or choosing help from our staff available round the clock.

By the end of 2010, the Pullman network will include 60 hotels across Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. In time, we anticipate a network of over 150 establishments around the world.

Further information concerning Pullman hotels is available on the website www.pullmanhotels.com.



Quest Serviced Apartments opens new Cheltenham property

Quest Serviced Apartments will open a new property in Cheltenham, Victoria on Friday 28 January 2011. The serviced apartment property will employ approximately eight locals and is expected to contribute around $3 million to the local economy.

The new $14 million property is the first purpose-built accommodation in the area offering flexible, comfortable and spacious serviced apartment accommodation for business and leisure travellers visiting Cheltenham.

Paul Constantinou, Chairman Quest Serviced Apartments says the development will provide much-needed accommodation to help support growth in the area.

"Cheltenham is a major commercial and industrial hub with a thriving retail sector and the largest concentration of small to medium sized industrial projects in Melbourne. It also boasts world-class sporting and educational facilities and has grown in popularity for weddings and events due to its bayside location," he says.

"Quest Cheltenham will accommodate the increasing demand for business accommodation as well as growing numbers of people visiting the area," says Mr Constantinou.

The anticipated 4.5 star AAA Tourism rated property is located at 37 – 39 Station Road, Cheltenham 15km from the Melbourne CBD. It is also in close proximity to Royal Melbourne, Victoria and Kingston Heath golf courses, Moorabbin Airport and Flying Services, Monash University and surrounding business hubs.

The property offers a combination of 49 studio, one, two and three bedroom serviced apartments and conference facilities which cater for up to 30 people.

Each spacious apartment features kitchen and laundry facilities, a separate work desk, living and dining areas, broadband internet access and a multi-device charger.

In addition, the property offers on-site underground car parking, on-site gymnasium, local restaurant chargeback arrangements and a pantry shopping service.

For reservations call 1800 232 384 or visit www.questcheltenham.com.au


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Queensland Flood Update And Travel Info: 18 January 2010

Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Agnes Water, 1770, Whitsundays, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Tropical North Queensland are accessible and tourism operations are normal.

All Queensland airports with the exception of Rockhampton, are currently open and operating normally.

The Bruce Highway, the main road link from Brisbane to Cairns, is now open. Brisbane, the Darling Downs, Southern Downs and Granite Belt and Capricorn Coast are now recovering with most tourism operations open and affected tourism operations returning to normal as quickly as possible. There are however still some local road closures in some areas. Visit http://131940.qld.gov.au/ for the latest road conditions.

Parts of Central Queensland, Queensland's Outback, Western Downs and the Lockyer Valley continue to be affected and access to these areas is restricted.

Please contact your travel agent, accommodation, attraction or tour provider directly for latest conditions or with concerns about any current or upcoming bookings you may have.

For the latest travel information visit www.queenslandholidays.com.au For the latest conditions Tourism Queensland recommends visiting the Queensland Government's official Queensland floods webpage: http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/ or visit the Bureau of Meteorology http://www.bom.gov.au/ to check weather forecasts for your holiday destination. Visit http://131940.qld.gov.au/ for the latest road conditions.

How can you help?
You can help Queensland recover by taking a holiday in Queensland - in the areas that haven't been affected by floodwaters, and in the affected areas once they are up and running again.

If you already have a Queensland holiday booked - don't cancel as most tourism regions and operations are now up and running.

If you don't have a Queensland holiday booked, book one!

Queensland's tourism industry has the welcome mat rolled out ready to receive visitors, so come see us!

People wishing to directly help flood victims can donate to the Queensland Government Flood Assistance Appeal at www.qld.gov.au/floods

What damage will the floods have on the Great Barrier Reef?

• There have been recent media reports concerning possible damage to Great Barrier Reef as a result of floodwaters transferring from the river systems into the oceans around Central Queensland.
• Tourism Queensland is not a scientific expert qualified to speak on the health of the Great Barrier Reef, however our understanding is that the effects of the flood waters on reef systems is currently unknown. However, fresh water runoffs are a natural part of the ecosystem and some plant and marine life actually thrive in these situations.
• The Great Barrier Reef is 2300km along with thousands of reefs, coral cays and islands. The vast majority of these are likely to remain unaffected.
• Currently tourism operations along the Great Barrier Reef including the Southern Great Barrier Reef,Whitsundays, Townsville and Cairns and Tropical North Queensland are operating normally, including dive operators, sailing operators and daytrip operators.
• Anyone concerned about a Great Barrier Reef booking an individual operator, should check with the accommodation provider, tour operator or attraction for the latest conditions.
• Refer to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for further information.

Message from John Aitken, CEO, Brisbane Marketing




As the waters recede following the devastating floods in the Greater Brisbane region, there's a sense of optimism, resilience and camaraderie in the Brisbane business community, with many businesses resuming operations, others in recovery and those unaffected reaching out to those less fortunate.

Brisbane has received overwhelming support from local, state and federal governments in Australia as well as international support. Early signs of recovery are strong as Brisbane returns to the business of being Australia's new world city.

Our political leaders are encouraging us all to rebuild even better and Brisbane Marketing is seeking to seize the opportunity for growth and improvement where it can be achieved.

As the city's economic development agency, the Brisbane Marketing team is here to offer our support and extend our sympathies to friends and families of residents and the business community, who have suffered during this challenging time.

We in turn would like to thank you for all the messages of goodwill we have received - we really appreciate them. While a few of our staff have suffered some significant property damage, we at Brisbane Marketing are supporting our team whilst we return to the task at hand and strategic planning is underway including:

* Contributing to the development of Brisbane City Council's 90-day Economic Recovery plan for our great city;
* Actively working with the Forward Planning Groups of both local and state government disaster co-ordination units with respect to immediate and medium term economic recovery strategies;
* Working closely with our members, partners, industry and the Greater Brisbane business community to assess the impact on affected areas;
* Positioning Brisbane, Australia's new world city locally, nationally and internationally, highlighting our industry strengths, capabilities and our future prosperity.

If you would like to help those personally affected by the floods please visit www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html to donate.

For those businesses that have been affected, please continue to provide us with status updates and let us know how we can support you.

We look forward to working closely and will continue to provide you with regular updates.

Yours sincerely
John Aitken
Chief Executive Officer

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hotels offer refuge to flood victims

Source: Travelmole.com

Queensland’s Far North hotels and resorts have opened their doors to victims of the state’s flood disaster.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland this week urged the Far North’s accommodation providers to help those who may not be able to return to their homes for several days or weeks.

TTNQ chief executive Rob Giason said the huge response from providers was “heart warming”.

Those who have offered help include Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, Pullman Reef Casino, Mercure Harbourside, Novotel Rockford Palm Cove, All Seasons Cairns, Mercure Tree Tops Port Douglas, Sebel Cairns, Sea Temple Port Douglas, Sebel Reef House Resort and Spa and Cairns Colonial Club.

The Pullman Reef Casino is organising a benefit event and will release details shortly.

Chief executive of the Queensland Hotels Association, Justin O’Connor, said while the numbers of hotels significantly affected by events around the state is still being confirmed, there were upwards of 20 that have been, or are still closed, as a result of the flooding.

The vital road supply chain from Brisbane to Cairns is reopening after two weeks of closures prevented the delivery of food to the Far North.

Sydney - Rarotonga direct flights to recommence 2011

Direct Sydney to Rarotonga flights herald breakthrough year for Cook Islands tourism  

With nonstop Sydney-Rarotonga flights launching year round from July, the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation expects to welcome a lot more Australians from 2011.

The Cook Islands government has entered a three year partnership with Air New Zealand to operate a B767 direct from Sydney on a weekly, year round basis from Tuesday 5 July. The launch follows the success of a four month trial last year.

Carmel Beattie, CEO of Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, says: "Watch out for the Cook Islands becoming the hot new South Pacific destination once Australians discover how easy it is to reach this truly authentic island paradise. 

"They will love the warmth and accessibility of the unique Cook Islands Maori culture and fabulous range of holiday experiences on Rarotonga and beyond. We expect Australians will want to explore the family of islands as they are already the largest market for the island of Aitutaki."

She adds: "Tourism provides 75% of the Cook Islands GDP and this new service, along with the strength of the Australian dollar against the islands' NZ dollar currency, will have a major impact on the country's economy and tourism growth opportunities."

The direct service will be operated by a 234 seat Boeing 767-300 with a flight time of six hours from Sydney and seven hours 15 minutes from Rarotonga. 

Flights will depart Sydney on Tuesdays at 9pm arriving in Rarotonga at 7am on the same day, crossing the International Date Line. Return flights depart Rarotonga on Monday at 4.35pm arriving in Sydney at 7.50pm Tuesday.  

At the very centre of the Polynesian triangle, the Cook Islands consist of 15 islands scattered over some 2 million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered to the west by Tokelau, the Samoas and Nuie and to the east by Tahiti and French Polynesia.  

Flights on the weekly direct services are now on sale. This new service adds to the already daily connections to Cook Islands from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane that go via Auckland.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Virgin to add turbo prop fleet under alliance with Skywest

The Virgin Blue Group and Western Australia's Skywest Airlines have just
announced signing a new strategic alliance, which will see Skywest operate
a fleet of up to 18 new DJ branded turbo prop aircraft, leased from Avation
PLC.

The 10-year agreement will see the first DJ turbo prop come into service
mid this year (and another 3 by the end of 2011) and operate on new and
existing routes around the country.

"The combined strength of our networks, along with the additional capacity
we will deliver with new aircraft, will provide travellers with more
frequent flights, better schedules and competitive fares," said DJ ceo and
managing director, John Borghetti.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Queensland's Fraser Island Is Open For Business



It has been a devastating start to the New Year for many Central and Western Queenslanders and Fraser Island's close knit community sends thoughts and prayers to those in flood-affected regions.

The closest major flooding to the Fraser Coast and Fraser Island is in Bundaberg, which is one-and-a-half hours drive north from Hervey Bay. Roads from Brisbane (in the south) to Hervey Bay and into Rainbow Beach are open; but travellers planning journeys north to Bundaberg, and beyond, are advised to check road condition reports prior to travel.

Kingfisher Bay Resort Group General Manager of Tours and Marine, David Hay, said guests and staff had steadfastly refused to let Queensland's unpredictable weather dampen spirits on the lee side of Fraser Island.

"The rain that we've had in region has firmed up the sand tracks on Fraser Island and they're promising some good four-wheel-driving for visitors," he said.

"There are a few spots on the eastern side of the island (Kingfisher Bay Resort is on the sheltered, western side) that have been eroded or water is over the tracks - but it's definitely business as usual for us and our tour buses are out as normal."

"Yesterday our resorts guests were poolside enjoying the sun - taking a dip in the water and exploring the World Heritage surrounds," he said. "And out on a self-drive or guided tours guests were taking full advantage of the four-wheel-drive conditions on compact sand tracks."

Mr Hay said that today, despite weather forecasts to the contrary, it was overcast, warm and perfect for outdoor activities.

GREAT SANDY NATIONAL PARK - FRASER ISLAND
Fraser Island's Great Sandy National park is open, with visitors able to access the island's western side, eastern beach and inland tracks.

For four-wheel-drivers the bypass from Indian Heads to Champagne Pools has some deep holes with water. The Queensland Parks Service is advising guests to avoid this particular area. For National Park access information and Fraser Island condition reports:
http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks/fraser/index.html

EURONG BEACH RESORT (eastern side of Fraser Island)
It is business as normal on Fraser Island's beach side with reports of scattered showers and no wind on the eastern beach. Fisherfolk are out in force on the Eastern Beach enjoying conditions.

FRASER EXPLORER TOURS AND COOL DINGO TOURS
Fraser Explorer Ranger-guided tours from Hervey Bay, Rainbow Beach and Eurong Beach Resort and Cool Dingo Tours from Kingfisher Bay Resort are operating as normal and are visiting Eastern Beach sites as scheduled. Lake McKenzie is as popular as ever, as the spot to cool off on a warm day.

FRASER ISLAND FERRY AND BARGES
Barges to Wanggoolba Creek, Inskip, Kingfisher Bay Resort and Moon Point are operating as normal. http://www.fraserislandferry.com.au/
Ends.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

TINY VANUATU OFFERS AID TO QUEENSLAND FLOOD VICTIMS

QUEENSLAND flood victims have been offered aid from an unlikely source – the little South Pacific nation of Vanuatu that's normally the recipient itself of much-needed overseas aid.

Port Vila businessman, Bryan Death and his partner Val have just spent ten days in Queensland and on their return to Vila this week emailed fellow tourism promoters and other business colleagues and associates, friends, and everyone they could think of from government officials to church groups, telling them of the heartbreak they'd seen in Queensland.

"Within 24 hours we've been offered a shipping container and free shipping, and instant offers of food, clothing, toys and household goods from the Australian and Chinese expatriate communities and service clubs. We're hoping to see our container filled and on its way within the next week."

Mr Death said a business associate in Emerald – a town which had been ninety per cent inundated and was just west of Rockhampton, one of the State's worst-affected flood areas – had offered to receive the container and to arrange distribution of its contents through aid authorities to the most needy in Emerald.

"Vanuatu is itself normally the recipient of aid and appreciates the value of such assistance from overseas in its development and times of crisis, so it is nice to think that we can play a part – no matter how small – in helping others in such desperate plight as those in Queensland."



Timeless is Modern: The St. Regis Collection by Alexis Bittar


St. Regis Partners with Celebrated Jeweler to Create Exclusive Jewelry Collection Inspired by the Brand's Founding Patroness, Caroline Astor

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), is delighted to announce a collaboration with Alexis Bittar, one of today's most innovative and admired jewelry designers. In celebration of the debut of St. Regis Hotels & Resorts' twenty-first hotel and the brand's global growth, Alexis Bittar has created a bespoke collection exclusively for St. Regis. The St. Regis Collection by Alexis Bittar includes earrings, a necklace and brooch and draws inspiration from legendary St. Regis founding patroness Caroline Astor, the mother of St. Regis founder John Jacob Astor IV and one of the most influential social and style icons of all time. As St. Regis Hotels & Resorts celebrated its recent twenty-first opening of The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico, Alexis Bittar's one of a kind collection pays homage to Caroline Astor's famed jewelry collection and the brand's glittering legacy.

"As one of today's most celebrated jewelry designers, Alexis Bittar is the perfect partner for the first ever St. Regis Collection," says Paul James, St. Regis Global Brand Leader. "St. Regis Hotels & Resorts has truly "Come of Age" and Alexis' modern interpretation of Mrs. Astor's prized jewels is a wonderful way to mark the brand's landmark year of growth and more than 100 years of history."

"I am thrilled to work with St. Regis and celebrate with them as they open their twenty-first hotel," says Alexis Bittar. "It was great fun to explore Caroline Astor's jewels and to create a collection in honor of her style and that of St. Regis."

The St. Regis Collection by Alexis Bittar speaks to the brand's rich history and its dedication to modern sophistication. Paying tribute to Caroline's love of pearls and diamonds, this exclusive collection features Bittar's signature Lucite alongside pearls in rich cream, platinum and champagne hues. Crystal accents grace the dramatic strand of pearls, drop earrings and floral brooch harkening back to the jewels Caroline wore at her legendary Midnight Suppers. From the flagship St. Regis New York to Bora Bora, from Rome to the newly opened St. Regis hotels in Osaka and Lhasa - this remarkable collection will be available for fashionable guests around the world.

Alexis Bittar has become one of the most admired jewelry designers of his time. Bittar has collaborated with countless designers and styled women from celebrities and political figures, from Cameron Diaz to Madeline Albright. In 2010, his tremendous success earned Alexis the Council of Fashion Designers of America Accessory Designer of the Year award.

The St. Regis Collection by Alexis Bittar will be available for sale at all Alexis Bittar stores nationwide and online at www.alexisbittar.com. The St. Regis Collection necklace will retail for US $490.00, a set of earrings will retail for US $310.00 each and the brooch will retail for US $385.00.

About St. Regis Hotels & Resorts
Combining classic sophistication and modern luxury, the St. Regis brand remains faithful to its commitment to excellence. Founded by John Jacob Astor IV, with the opening of the first St. Regis Hotel in New York City over a century ago, the St. Regis brand of hotels is known for its unique luxury dimension, customized service and refined elegance, in the best destinations worldwide. Plans for this brand to globally continue its legacy include long-awaited St. Regis US and Latin American hotels and resorts in Bal Harbour, Buenos Aires and the Riviera Maya. In Asia, St. Regis has also announced plans to open hotels in Bangkok, Chengdu, Kuala Lumpur, Sanya Yalong Bay and Tianjin. In Africa and the Middle East, the St. Regis brand will continue to expand in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Doha and Mauritius. The distinctive trait of the St. Regis experience is customized service and attention, coveted locations and luxurious design. For more information on St. Regis Hotels & Resorts please visit www.stregis.com.

Bundaberg Tourism Remains Strong


Whilst many areas within the Bundaberg region have been impacted by the recent flooding event, most local tourism icons have remained relatively unscathed according to Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism (BNBT).

"Tourism icons such as the Mon Repos Turtle Experience, Lady Elliot and Lady Musgrave Islands, the Bundaberg Rum Bondstore, Hinkler Hall of Aviation, the Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Barrel, the various Childers wineries and many others are open for business as usual", said BNBT Chair, Greg Barnes. Importantly, the number of breeding turtles returning to lay their eggs at Mon Repos have not been affected in the slightest and numbers are actually growing with some 239 of the ancient mariners having already returned to the largest loggerhead rookery on the east coast since the start of the current season.

Whilst recent media reports have accurately described the devastation that many communities and businesses have suffered as a result of the deluge of rain that fell on Boxing Day, they haven't reported the fact that most tourism operations were able to continue on as normal or to quickly bounce back into full operation.

"Perhaps the biggest impact on tourism operators has been the dramatic number of unnecessary cancellations for accommodation", Mr. Barnes said. "As devastating as the floods have been for our local community, travellers should be aware that our airport, railway, highways and most local roads are open as usual and that we continue to offer visitors an incredible holiday experience at a most attractive time of the year", he said".

"Bundaberg has always been regarded as a friendly and welcoming region with a lot to offer the traveller but as it recovers from the floods visitors to the region will stand in awe at the resilience of this incredible community".

For general tourism information or to make enquiries about the Mon Repos Turtle Experience, visitors can call Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism on 1300 722 099.

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