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Friday, October 31, 2014

Qatar’s New Hamad International Airport Sees 10% Increase In Passenger Footfall During The Month Of September

Hamad International Airport (HIA), Qatar’s new world-class gateway to the world, today announced an increase in its monthly passenger statistics compared to those at Doha International Airport (DIA).

HIA saw a 10% passenger increase through its doors in September 2014 compared to September 2013 at DIA. A total of 2,201,271 travellers departed, transferred and arrived into Qatar during September 2014, showcasing the new airport’s global standing as an international transit hub.

Cargo, mail and aircraft movements have also increased at HIA with an additional 13.6% of cargo traffic, an increase of 4.7% of mail and 7.6% more aircraft movements in September 2014.

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Badr Al Meer, Hamad International Airport Chief Operating Officer, said: “In our fourth month of operation, we are seeing continued growth in passenger, cargo and mail traffic. HIA is distinguishing itself as a world-class airport and a key hub for the Middle East, and we are proud to be the home of Qatar’s national carrier, Qatar Airways, along with more than 40 other international airlines.”

HIA continues to add new facilities to its passenger terminal complex, including a multitude of ATMs, currency exchange outlets and a dedicated area for taxis, to ensure passengers have a seamless and hassle-free journey.

Passengers looking for further information on the airport, flights and airline operations can now visit www.dohahamadairport.com, or alternatively check for updates via HIA’s new social media channels including; Twitter (@HIAQatar), Facebook (Hamad International Airport) and Instagram (HIAQatar).


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Thailand Happiness Music Festival set to celebrate Thai cultural heritage

unnamed (18)The Thailand Happiness Music Festival is set to celebrate one of the kingdom’s most significant cultural heritages from 31 October to 1 November, 2014, at the Ayutthaya Tourist Centre in Ayutthaya province.

The Thailand Happiness Music Festival is set to become the centre stage for traditional Thai music from all four regions of Thailand, each featuring the unique musical elements that are influenced by a number of cultures.

Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “This is a one-of-a- kind festival. It is sure to mesmerise visitors with extraordinary live performances of traditional Thai music, which is pleasant to the ear with its rhythmic tinkling sound. It also emphasises the priceless treasures of Thailand – the people, the culture and society.”

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Thai musician masters from the North, Central Region, Northeast and South will showcase in a live exhibition all kinds of unique musical instruments (plucked, bowed string, percussion and woodwind instruments); such as, so-duang, so-uranatpicha-kheKhaenPong Lang and Klong.

The Festival is scheduled to take place from 16.00-22.00 hrs. Other highlights include a nightly spectacular performance by more than 100 performers showcasing the characters of traditional Thai music from four regions of Thailand, followed by a contemporary music performance and a Thai country music concert or a Thai Likay folk drama. The nightly performances start from 18.00 hrs.

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Dami Im's Top Five Places to Visit in Korea - Win a Trip to Korea



Korea Tourism Organization Sydney is launching a competition giving contestants a chance to visit some of Dami Im's favourite places in Korea. Dami Im, the hugely popular winner of The X Factor 2013 series became Hon. Tourism Ambassador for Korea in Australia on 20 August, 2014. The online competition will run from 1-30 November, 2014.

To win the trip for two persons to Korea including return economy airfares from Sydney to Seoul on either Korean Air or Asiana Airlines and six nights accommodation together with two seven day Korea Railpasses contestants just need to state in 25 words or less what their favourite places in Korea are and why they would like to win the 7day/6night Korean adventure.

Mr. Sangweon Je, Director of Australia/New Zealand said on Dami's appointment in Sydney recently "Dami's background as a Korean Australian and her great love of her birth country, as well as her huge fan base and connection to many Australians through her music makes her the perfect tourism ambassador for Korea in Australia."

Dami Im's top five places to visit in Korea include Jeonju Hanok Village, Haeundae Beach in Busan, Samcheongdong in Seoul, the DMZ area on the border between South & North Korea and the spectacular Seoraksan National Park on the east coast of Korea.

The winner of the competition can choose their own 7day/6night itinerary of Korea to enjoy the places they most want to visit. The prize winner must book all airfares and accommodation with the Sydney office of Korea Tourism Organization no later than 20 December, 2014.

The competition will be promoted on Yahoo7 Travel online and through Time Out.

To enter the competition go to the homepage of Korea Tourism Organization and competition landing page where you can see the full terms and conditions of entry.

See competition entry page: http://visitkorea.org.au/

Following Dami Im's huge success in winning The X Factor 2013 series and her recent success with hits Super Love and Gladiator Dami Im has just released her latest album 'Heart Beats' on 17 October, 2014.

See here for where to purchase Dami's latest album 'Heart Beats'

iTunes: http://smarturl.it/HeartBeats

JBHiFi: http://smarturl.it/HeartBeatsJBHiFi

Sanity: http://smarturl.it/HeartBeatsSanity


Website: www.visitkorea.org.au
Like us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SeeKorea
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ktosydney
 


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Sydney Opera House Hosts New Year's Eve Celebration Dinner Party and Performances

Celebrate the world's best New Year's Eve with opera, parties & fireworks at Sydney Opera House

Additional Black Tie Dinner now on sale

In response to overwhelming demand, Opera Australia will this year host a second sensational dinner party for guests attending its New Year's Eve celebrations at Sydney Opera House. Tickets are now on sale as part of NYE packages – the ultimate black tie event to celebrate the New Year.

Spectacular New Year's Opera!
Copyright: Keith Saunders for Opera Australia

Leaving the crowds outside, guests begin their evening celebrations in style with one of two exclusive pre-Gala dinners in the vast Northern Foyer spaces, featuring floor to ceiling windows overlooking Sydney Harbour. Featuring a three-course menu, designed by ARIA Head Chef, Matt Moran, matched with premium wines and beverages, this event offers diners an unforgettable way to begin the night.

Attendees can select from two performance options on the night – a concert or a fully staged opera - combined with a range of dining and party options all with exclusive views of Sydney's NYE fireworks.

Concert-goers can choose to swoon in the Sydney Opera House's magnificent Concert Hall to watch the Opera Gala concert of popular arias by Verdi, Puccini, and Rossini. Hosted by the inimitable Jonathan Biggins, the Opera Gala features an array of both Australian and international opera stars - sopranos Emma Matthews and Amanda Echalaz, mezzo soprano Milijana Nikolic, tenor Rosario La Spina, baritone Michael Honeyman and bass Teddy Tahu Rhodes.

Those who prefer the complete opera experience can enjoy opening night of La bohème in the Joan Sutherland Theatre. Gale Edwards' award-winning production dazzles with spectacular sets and costumes that capture the glamour and danger of Berlin in the 1920's. Cabaret and burlesque stylings make for a chic staging, lit up by world class performances by Mexican tenor Diego Torre and Latvian soprano Maija Kovalevska.

After the last note has been sung, the Midnight Party swings into action in the Northern Foyers of the Concert Hall and Joan Sutherland Theatre, giving guests access to the best fireworks vantage point in the world. Topped off with canapés, drinks, dancing and live entertainment, this is an unforgettable (and civilized!) New Year's Eve celebration in the city's most iconic and glamorous location.

Performances

La bohème | 31 December 2014 | 7.45pm | Joan Sutherland Theatre

Gale Edwards' acclaimed production of La bohème, with dazzling sets and costumes, starring Maija Kovalevska, Diego Torre, Lorina Gore and Andrew Jones.

The Opera Gala | 31 December 2014 | 8pm | Concert Hall

An evening of opera's most popular arias performed by magnificent singers – Amanda Echalaz, Emma Matthews, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Milijana Nikolic, Rosario La Spina and Michael Honeyman – with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra conducted by Brian Castles-Onion.

New Year's Eve Packages

Now that you have tickets to a performance, why not complete your experience with either the Pre-Performance Dinner or Midnight Party – or both!

Pre Performance Dinner | from 5.30pm | Concert Hall & Joan Sutherland Theatre Northern Foyers | $359

Three-course dinner designed by Matt Moran, matched with premium wines and beverages in the Northern Foyer of the Concert Hall and Northern Foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre.

Midnight Party | from 10.30pm | Concert Hall & Joan Sutherland Theatre Northern Foyers | $279

Canapés, drinks and live entertainment from 10:30pm, with views of the midnight fireworks from the Northern Foyers of the Concert Hall and the Joan Sutherland Theatre.

Platinum Package | $1,100 - $1,190

Pre-performance dinner, Premium seats, a program, drink at interval and the Midnight Party.

Platinum Package with the New Year's Eve Gala Concert| $1,100

Platinum Package with La bohème| $1,190

Performance Information

Wednesday 31 October

Pre-Performance Dinners from 5:30pm

La bohème at 7.45pm

The Opera Gala at 8pm

Midnight Party from 10.30pm

Bookings:

Opera Australia Box Office:

02 9318 8200

www.opera.org.au
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Malaysia a Popular Destination for Tourists

Malaysia's Jan-July 2014 Tourist Arrivals Grow 9.7%

With aggressive promotional efforts by Tourism Malaysia and commitment from industry players, tourist arrivals to Malaysia continue to grow despite a challenging year, and the country is a step closer to achieving the 28 million tourist arrivals target in line with Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

Langkawi Island

From January to July 2014, Malaysia welcomed a total of 16.1 million (16,104,966) tourists, registering a hike of 9.7% compared to 14.7 million (14,682,124) tourist arrivals for the same period last year.

The top 10 tourist generating markets to Malaysia from January to July 2014 were Singapore (8,236,079), Indonesia (1,583,786), China (997,370), Brunei (699,763), Thailand (773,160), India (445,431), Australia (347,355), the Philippines (362,139), Japan (308,418) and Taiwan (168,962). July alone saw a total of 2,229,920 tourist arrivals, with the ASEAN region contributing 74.0% of these (1.7 million). Among ASEAN countries, Vietnam registered the highest growth (40.0%), followed by Indonesia (+23.3%), Brunei (+10.0%), Cambodia (+10.0%) the Philippines (+8.5%) and Thailand (+3.6%).

Outside school holiday periods in Vietnam and Indonesia in July, low fares promotions from the Philippines to Malaysia offered by Cebu Pacific Air, AirAsia Zest, and AirAsia Indonesia also contributed to the upsurge of arrivals from these ASEAN countries. The increase in arrivals from the Philippines was also driven in part by the 'Luv U Malaysia' and 'Juan For Fun Backpackers Challenge' programs, which aired on TV stations in the Philippines, providing great publicity for Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.



Interest in travelling to Malaysia among Bruneian tourists was stimulated by the joint promotional efforts of Tourism Malaysia, Brunei and local tourism agencies, as well as shopping complexes in Malaysia, especially during grand events like the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival. 



Medium-haul markets contributed 19.0% or 422,934 tourists to Malaysia's total arrivals in July. The number of tourist arrivals from the Middle Eastern countries increased significantly in July across the Middle East summer (10 June to 30 August 2014), with many local travel agencies taken the opportunity to sell attractively priced tour packages. During this period, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iraq also registered increases of 379.2%, 77.4% and 69.0% respectively.

Other countries registering double-digit growth in July were Japan (+28.1%), New Zealand (+23.0%), Australia (+17.6%), India (+16.2%) and South Korea (+12.8%).



A hike in July arrivals from South Korea can be attributed to the additional Asiana Airlines flights from Incheon to Kota Kinabalu, as well as new AirAsia flights from Incheon to Kuala Lumpur. The promotion of 'edutourism' in Japan also saw many Japanese families sending their children on learning tour packages to Malaysia.



Long haul markets delivered 155,984 tourists to the country, representing approximately 7.0% of Malaysia's total arrivals, during July. The best performing growth markets included Spain (+47.8%), France (+45.8%), the Netherlands (45.2%), Italy (28.7%), Sweden (+27.0%), Germany (22.7%), the United Kingdom (+19.7%), Russia (+16.3%), and the United States (+11.5%).
The rise of tourist arrivals from most of the European countries and the United States also coincided with the beginning of summer holidays in these countries.

Wide publicity through social media also brought positive impacts on long-haul markets. Facebook and Twitter have been used to distribute information in relation to Tourism Malaysia's programs, interesting destinations and tourist hotspots.

Note: Data on tourist arrivals is supplied by the Immigration Department of Malaysia.

For information about tours of Malaysia, please contact:

Tourism Malaysia
Telephone: +612 9286 3055, Fax: +612 9283 8311, Email:malaysia@malaysiatourism.com.au
or visit http://www.tourismmalaysia.com.au

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Malaysia Tourist arrivals grow


With aggressive promotional efforts by Tourism Malaysia and commitment from industry players, tourist arrivals to Malaysia continue to grow despite a challenging year, and the country is a step closer to achieving the 28 million tourist arrivals target in line with Visit Malaysia Year 2014. 



From January to July 2014, Malaysia welcomed a total of 16.1 million (16,104,966) tourists, registering a hike of 9.7% compared to 14.7 million (14,682,124) tourist arrivals for the same period last year.

The top 10 tourist generating markets to Malaysia from January to July 2014 were Singapore (8,236,079), Indonesia (1,583,786), China (997,370), Brunei (699,763), Thailand (773,160), India (445,431), Australia (347,355), the Philippines (362,139), Japan (308,418) and Taiwan (168,962). July alone saw a total of 2,229,920 tourist arrivals, with the ASEAN region contributing 74.0% of these (1.7 million). Among ASEAN countries, Vietnam registered the highest growth (40.0%), followed by Indonesia (+23.3%), Brunei (+10.0%), Cambodia (+10.0%) the Philippines (+8.5%) and Thailand (+3.6%).

Outside school holiday periods in Vietnam and Indonesia in July, low fares promotions from the Philippines to Malaysia offered by Cebu Pacific Air, AirAsia Zest, and AirAsia Indonesia also contributed to the upsurge of arrivals from these ASEAN countries. The increase in arrivals from the Philippines was also driven in part by the 'Luv U Malaysia' and 'Juan For Fun Backpackers Challenge' programs, which aired on TV stations in the Philippines, providing great publicity for Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.



Interest in travelling to Malaysia among Bruneian tourists was stimulated by the joint promotional efforts of Tourism Malaysia, Brunei and local tourism agencies, as well as shopping complexes in Malaysia, especially during grand events like the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival. 



Medium-haul markets contributed 19.0% or 422,934 tourists to Malaysia's total arrivals in July. The number of tourist arrivals from the Middle Eastern countries increased significantly in July across the Middle East summer (10 June to 30 August 2014), with many local travel agencies taken the opportunity to sell attractively priced tour packages. During this period, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iraq also registered increases of 379.2%, 77.4% and 69.0% respectively.

Other countries registering double-digit growth in July were Japan (+28.1%), New Zealand (+23.0%), Australia (+17.6%), India (+16.2%) and South Korea (+12.8%).



A hike in July arrivals from South Korea can be attributed to the additional Asiana Airlines flights from Incheon to Kota Kinabalu, as well as new AirAsia flights from Incheon to Kuala Lumpur. The promotion of 'edutourism' in Japan also saw many Japanese families sending their children on learning tour packages to Malaysia.



Long haul markets delivered 155,984 tourists to the country, representing approximately 7.0% of Malaysia's total arrivals, during July. The best performing growth markets included Spain (+47.8%), France (+45.8%), the Netherlands (45.2%), Italy (28.7%), Sweden (+27.0%), Germany (22.7%), the United Kingdom (+19.7%), Russia (+16.3%), and the United States (+11.5%).
The rise of tourist arrivals from most of the European countries and the United States also coincided with the beginning of summer holidays in these countries.

Wide publicity through social media also brought positive impacts on long-haul markets. Facebook and Twitter have been used to distribute information in relation to Tourism Malaysia's programs, interesting destinations and tourist hotspots.

Note: Data on tourist arrivals is supplied by the Immigration Department of Malaysia.

For information about tours of Malaysia, please contact:

Tourism Malaysia
Telephone: +612 9286 3055
Email: malaysia@malaysiatourism.com.au
or visit http://www.tourismmalaysia.com.au

The butlers did it - at Anantara Maldives resorts and Naladhu Maldives


#anantara



To meet the constantly evolving needs of discerning guests from across the globe, Anantara's Maldives resorts and Naladhu Maldives recently put their team of Villa Hosts and House Masters through their paces with an intensive training course delivered by British-born Steven Ferry, Chairman of The International Institute of Modern Butlers. Anantara and Naladhu are already recognised for offering exemplary service, demonstrated through recent awards including the World Travel Awards and multiple TripAdvisor Awards for Excellence.

Villas Hosts and House Masters, otherwise known as butlers, are responsible for ensuring the needs of their guests are met from the moment they step off the plane to the second they return home – and sometimes beyond. Services include packing and unpacking guests' luggage, creating unforgettable dining experiences such as gourmet picnics on the beach or breakfast in bed, personalised bath rituals or once in a lifetime experiences such as marriage proposals and reunions, helping guests surprise and delight their loved ones.

“It comes down to the art of being invisible and yet delivering everything,” says Steven Ferry, who personally trained Forest Whitaker for his role in the widely-acclaimed movie, The Butler. From the White House in Washington D.C. to the white sands of the Maldives, the training for Anantara's Villa Hosts and House Masters went far beyond covering the basics of the traditional 'British butler' service, instead focusing on ways to enhance the naturally warm and hospitable nature of Maldivian people and the barefoot luxury experience which are both unique to the destination.

Steven continues: “I believe the true test of an intelligent modern butler is not how much he knows how to do, but how he behaves when he doesn't know. One of the toughest aspects of the job is trying to second-guess the guest.”

As well as offering a personal concierge-type service, anticipating guests' needs is a major part of the role: “We are ahead of our guests' needs. We like to be there before they ask, so the knowledge we have gained from Steven Ferry's training is something we apply every day to offer a better service,” remarks Bibin, an Indian House Master at Naladhu Maldives.

Steven Ferry's butler training involves learning the art of creativity and anticipation and ways to deliver intuitive service, with soft skills such as character and body language reading, etiquette and how to be 'emotionally in tune' with guests - very important when dealing with travellers from a wide variety of nationalities and cultures. The training also covers ways to demonstrate two of the most important characteristics of any good butler - loyalty and discretion – and practical skills such as techniques for walking silently across wooden floors, ways to enhance the wake-up service for guests and the intricacies of handling cigars including humidity control.

“For destinations like the Maldives, which offer exceptionally high standards of service and luxury, butlers are not just a status symbol but also key to delivering memorable experiences and an emotional connection with particular resorts and brands. One of the most enlightening aspects I learnt from Steven was that in the corporate world you strive for recognition; in the world of a butler, your goal is invisibility,” says Torsten Richter, Cluster General Manager of Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa, Anantara Veli Resort & Spa and Naladhu

Maldives in South Male Atoll. “When things are going very, very smoothly and the guest doesn't notice the butler, then they're successful.”

To help measure the impact of the butler training on service delivery, a number of internal and external measurement tools are used by Anantara. The Quality Assurance team carries out bi-annual assessments to measure the effect of the emotional connection that associates are trained to establish with guests, including mapping the emotional impact of service delivery at every touch point throughout a guest's journey and how this correlates with their overall satisfaction. The results highlight the importance of emotional connection as a key factor in exceeding guest expectations and help to develop benchmarks for best practice.

To experience the warm, personalised service offered by the Villa Hosts and House Masters at Anantara's Maldives resorts and Naladhu Maldives, please go to anantara.com and naladhu.com to make a reservation.

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Book Your Wedding - And Get A Free Honeymoon To Bali

When you book and enjoy your wedding day at The Novotel Vines Resort, you can be guaranteed that all aspects of your special day will be professionally handled, securely booked and delivered, and all you will have to do is to share precious memories with your new spouse and family and friends.

From the time you choose this beautiful, scenic location, in the Swan Valley in Western Australia - so close to the city, and yet a world away steeped in beauty and nature - to the moment you sink into your luxury room together for the first time as man and wife later at night, your plans and financial dealings are all secured by an internationally renowned hotel company.

So whether you want the full wedding service package, or simply a venue to prepare your own special way, with the option for guests to stay and continue the celebrations next day, you can be sure the attentive staff and sparkling new facilities will fulfill your dreams.

The Resort offers everything for the special day including high teaunnamed (1)
hen’s parties or day spa indulgence packages, grooms golf days, discounted
accommodation for all wedding guests, picturesque locations for photos, a variety of
ceremony locations & reception venues, tailored wedding packages and more.

On top of that, if you book a wedding, a vow renewal event, commitment ceremony or whatever your style of getting hitched, for a party of 120 guests (including the bridal party), you will also receive a dream 4 night honeymoon trip to Bali. This includes return flights from Perth to Denpasar, 4 nights at the stunning Novotel Nusa Dua Resort and includes daily buffet breakfast for two people.

The Novotel Vines Resort has recently refreshed its function rooms and public areas, and the 103 Resort Rooms and 54 Apartments are currently undergoing a stunning transformation to a modern, rural retreat, with enough space to host even the largest weddings, with a number of spectacular, natural locations for photo shoots.

The award winning Keishi Day Spa is on-site with bridal services such as hair and make-up, there's golf, and leisure facilities of pool, tennis, bush walks and a gym.

Abundant free parking, 35 mins from the CBD and surrounded by wineries, boutique breweries, tourist attractions and local natural produce suppliers, the Vines is perfectly situated for a memorable wedding for everyone.

To arrange an appointment to discuss your wedding plans and a personal tour of the resort, please contact our wedding co-ordinator on +61 8 9297 3000 or email weddings@vines.com.au

Nearly 45 years, Accor has constantly reinvented its businesses to keep pace with the world around it, with the goal of providing innovative, high-quality products.

Thanks to our powerful, highly respected brands, our employees forge lasting interpersonal relationships and deploy their unique skills to develop and deliver solutions that create wellness.

For nearly 45 years, across all brands and regions, Accor’s five core values of innovationa spirit of conquestperformancetrust and respect have been shared and expressed every day by its160,000 employees in Accor brand hotels worldwide. 
Managers leverage these values to provide support for team members as part of the Group’s ongoing transformation and development.


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David Beckham Raises a Toast to Travellers in Cannes With New HAIG CLUB™ Single Malt Scotch Whisky

David Beckham Raises a Toast to Travellers in Cannes With New HAIG CLUB[TM] Single Malt Scotch Whisky
David Beckham
David Beckham, partner with Diageo in its new HAIG CLUB™ whisky, raised a toast to global travellers when he flew into Cannes today for TFWA World Exhibition & Conference 2014, the world's largest annual duty free trade show.

Beckham's surprise visit to the show was part of a world tour during which he is promoting HAIG CLUB, the distinctive and sophisticated new Single Grain Scotch Whisky developed in partnership with Diageo and British entrepreneur Simon Fuller. In September he dropped into Changi Airport in Singapore to showcase HAIG CLUB cocktails, delighting travellers at the airport.

HAIG CLUB is available for travellers to purchase in selected duty free stores and on selected airlines globally from this month.

Today's visit follows the launch of the first TV advertisement for HAIG CLUB, directed by Guy Ritchie, which aired on UK television earlier this month.

Doug Bagley, Managing Director of Diageo Global Travel, said: "Having David with us today underlines his commitment to welcoming in a new era for Scotch Whisky. Our aim is to bring travellers new and exciting spirits and HAIG CLUB is undoubtedly one of the most innovative developments in Scotch for years. It represents a dynamic and iconic partnership and we believe it will have global appeal."

HAIG CLUB is a new innovation from the House of Haig, Scotland's oldest grain whisky dynasty. It is crafted using a unique process that combines grain whisky from three cask types. This creates a fresh, clean style that showcases butterscotch and toffee for an ultra-smooth taste that the company believes will be enjoyed by whisky experts as well as those who have never tried Scotch Whisky.

David Beckham shares Diageo's belief in quality over quantity and is taking the lead in the promotion of responsible drinking, which lies at the heart of HAIG CLUB.

HAIG CLUB began rolling out in duty free outlets across the globe from October with a recommended retail price of £40 GBP / $62.50 USD for a 70cl bottle.


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Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest

unnamed (1)Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest set to be bigger than ever in 2014

Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest, the week-long carnival of multisport fun and tri-related activities, is set to be bigger than ever in 2014 with some 1,800 athletes expected to take part in the two world-class triathlons.


This year marks the 21st anniversary of the legendary Laguna Phuket Triathlon, Asia’s premier destination triathlon, and the 2nd edition of the Challenge Laguna Phuket, a part of the globally expanding Challenge Family series of events.

Over 1,200 entries at the Laguna Phuket Triathlon 2013
The 21st Laguna Phuket Triathlon is scheduled to be held on 23 November, 2014. Triathletes will be participating in a unique course of a 1.8 km swim, 55 km bike ride and 12 km run through lush tropical scenery of the Laguna Phuket resort complex and the northern part of Phuket.

The 2nd Challenge Laguna Phuket is scheduled to be held on 30 November, 2014. Triathlon stars will be taking the challenge in the half iron distance of a 1.9 km swim, 90 km bike ride and 21 km run, featuring a spectacular course in the iconic Laguna Phuket resort complex and surrounding areas.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is lending its full support as one of the event’s main sponsors, saying these two world-class races will help promote sport tourism in the country.
Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said, “The Laguna Phuket Triathlon has been a fixture on the international triathlon calendar for many years, thanks to the Laguna Phuket for organising and promoting this premier sporting event for over 20 years. We’d also like to express our heartfelt appreciation to both the Laguna Phuket and Challenge Family for bringing this inspirational Challenge event to Thailand.”

To date, a combined 1,500 athletes, including several international triathlon stars, have signed up for the two races, which are scheduled during the last week of November 2014 and are linked by a tri-fest of training and social activities at the Laguna Phuket.

Australia’s Melissa Hauschildt, the 2013 ITU Long Distance World Champion and double winner in the women’s field of the 2013 Laguna Phuket Triathlon and 2013 Challenge Laguna Phuket, will be defending her championship title against Belinda Granger (Australia), Radka Vodickova (Czech Republic) and Rebekah Keat (Australia).

Untitled
Rasmus Petraeus (Denmark) will be defending his Challenge Laguna Phuket Champion title from last year in the race against Ruedi Wild (Switzerland), last year’s Laguna Phuket Triathlon’s champion, Massimo Cigana (Italy) and Luke McKenzie (Australia).

Mr. Thawatchai said, “November 2014 marks several milestones for sports tourism in Thailand, in Phuket in particular. This southern Thai island is set to welcome athletes from 42 countries in Asia to compete in 26 sports during the 4th Asian Beach Games 2014 from 14 to 23 November. And as Asian athletes compete for the last medals on 23 November, thousands of triathletes will take part in the first main race of the week-long Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest.”

In an attempt to enhance the experience of travellers to Thailand, Phuket is among several Thai destinations that have seen their popular destinations received improvement. Following a clear-out of beach encroachment, Phuket’s popular beaches including Patong, Surin and Bang Tao are now welcoming tourists in their natural pristine states. In addition, Phuket International Airport has also see actions to clampdown on illicit taxi operations.

For more information on the Challenge Phuket Tri-Fest, visit: Challenge Laguna Phuket

For more information on the 4th Asian Beach Games 2014, visit: Phuket ready to host the 4th Asian Beach Games 2014 or Asian Beach Games Phuket 2014.



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Amilla Fushi Maldives opens in December


MALDIVES RESORTS TAKEN TO A NEW LEVEL

''Our guests expect the unexpected. And that is exactly what we are aiming to deliver them''  Michael Flynn, Chairman of The Small Maldives Island Co.

The Small Maldives Island Co. will open two island resorts in the Maldives over the next twelve months, both described by Chairman Michael Flynn as ''Nu-luxury at its finest''. Located in the UNESCO protected Baa Atoll,  Amilla Fushi will launch in December this year, followed by a luxury beach club concept resort called Finolhu late2015.

Treehouse bedroom
Partner with The Small Maldives Island Co. in the venture is Coastline Maldives*, one of the Maldives' largest private companies and developer of the new Baa Atoll airport.

While Amilla and Finolhu will capture the heart and spirit of the Maldives, there is an enormous Australian influence. Both Flynn and his partner Tom McLoughlin are Australian. However, they have a combined twenty five years experience in International hospitality and tourism; Flynn as senior hotel marketing executive for international hotel companies including Accor and Hilton in Asia Pacific and Tom as the visionary behind the award winning Huafen Fushi resort in the Maldives.

The highest profile Australian recruit is leading chef and long term Maldives visitor, Luke Mangan, who is eagerly looking forward to taking responsibility for food and beverage at both resorts as ''island restaurateur''. "We will be a foam, gel and smear free zone, thank goodness'' proclaimed Mangan. ''We will have caviar and foie gras and truffles if people want them, but my goal is to deliver the opposite of overcomplicated and stuffy food''.

"It's all about fabulous fresh produce. We're blessed with local seafood. Fishermen will deliver straight from their boats to us and the lobster tank will actually be in the ocean under the signature restaurant, Lonu. And we are planning to have the world's best fish and chips at The Fish and Chip Shop in Baazaar'', he added. Mangan will import top end Australian produce to supplement the local offerings.

Amilla boasts many other notable features alongside Luke Mangan's food. The 1200 metre pool is the largest in the Maldives. The Spa, in the silent, verdant garden of the Wild Grove has no less than fifteen treatment rooms as well as yoga and fitness pavilions. With this number of rooms, each guest receives a complimentary fifty minute spa treatment every day.

There is a Kid's Jungle, set among the trees as well as the Kid's Zone and Teens games Area, tennis court and range of water sports and Dive Centre. Amilla's ''house reef'' even has its own ''Blue Hole'' dive site within snorkelling distance of the beach.

"The Maldives has evolved into one of the most sought after luxury resort destinations where resorts have their own island and house reefs abound. It is evolving, however, from being a honeymoon destination to a haven for celebrities and high end families who want anonymity and true luxury for their holiday experiences "said Flynn.

''We are bespoke operators, exclusively in the Maldives. We understand the culture and want to give our guests a genuine Maldivian experience, but with an effortless, understated sense of luxury ''said Director Tom McLoughlin. "But while we are unashamedly all about luxury, we want to be different by trying to avoid ''bill-shock''. We charge a fair price for the accommodation, but wi-fi and breakfast are free, as are the water sports and we are very pleased to offer the daily spa treatment at no cost. And no expense has been spared with the generous supply of Aesop toiletries''.

''Think homes, not rooms or suites'' added Flynn. ''We are very excited about the uniqueness of the accommodation at Amilla. You can buy a three bedroom home here with a fifty year lease, or, for a slightly shorter stay there are beach, lagoon, ocean lagoon and ocean reef houses, plus twelve metre high tree houses, all with private pools'' . The words Amilla Fushi which are Maldivian for 'my island home' are the central theme of the resort. There are seventy one ''homes'' rather than rooms at Amilla, from one to six bedrooms. Even the smallest accommodation has 200sq metres of space, the largest a remarkable 3000sq metres.

And once Finolhu is completed, guests will be able to move from one island resort to the other, enjoying the different personalities of each.

Rates start at $2,000 per night at Amilla. Over a dozen airlines fly to Male from Australia and the breathtaking sea plane flight to Baa Atoll Airport takes just twenty minutes, or fly to Baa Atoll's new airport and take a quick speedboat ride in about the same time.

www.amilla.mv

*Coastline Maldives – supplying and building Maldives history for over twenty years. Developing and investing in Maldives future – airports, resorts and energy.



India Tiger, Wildlife Safaris and National Parks Tourism

Australia India Tourism & Travel Council (AITTC) Draw Industry Attention to Wildlife Tourism in India

Over recent years wildlife tourism has been one of the fastest growing sectors of international tourism, with experts reporting growth of 15-20% year-on-year. The broad appeal of wildlife tourism to every kind of traveller combined with strong growth in global tourism has created significant opportunities within the industry for nations like India to pursue with the proper promotion and investment in tourism infrastructure.

Bengal Tiger


For India in particular, widespread international recognition of incredible wildlife like Indian elephants, rhinos and of course the Royal Bengal Tiger, coupled with an existing image as an all-round attractive destination provide India with the ability to increase development of wildlife tourism from nations like Australia.

As Sandip Hor, the Chairman of AITTC points out, "Now Air India fly direct between Australia and India; several domestic airlines cover every nook and corner of the country, road infrastructure has improved significantly and accommodation options at all national parks are of high international standards. So India can claim to be a perfect destination for Australians keen on wild life safaris".

As part of their objective to encourage growth in tourism between Australia and India, AITTC works to bring industry, interest groups and individuals together to explore new opportunities in travel between two countries with already strong government, business and people-to-people links. Wildlife tourism represents one such opportunity for AITTC to facilitate, in addition to its work in leisure and business travel since its establishment in 2012.

According AITTC in partnership with India tourism hosted on 28 October an industry function which was well attended by major tour operators , hoteliers, airlines and media.

From Left: Sandip Hor (Chairman AITTC), Reena Tory (Founder of Mantra Wild Adventures),
and Vibhava Tripathi (Asst. Director Indian Tourism)
Keynote speaker was Reena Tory, a passionate conservationist keen to promote wildlife tourism in India. As the founder of boutique travel company Mantra Wild Adventures, Reena specialises in Indian wildlife tourism and her expertise will help encourage growth in wildlife tourism between India and Australia.

Reena is particularly fascinated by Indian wildlife and brings with her strong qualifications in zoology and wildlife management. Through Mantra Wild Adventures, Reena has endeavoured to leave an indelible impression on travellers who come to India to view remarkable wildlife. By specialising in personally crafted private journeys she aims to change her client's lives forever whilst leave a positive, lasting impact on local Indian communities, people and the environment. Through their collaboration, AITTC and Reena Tory hope to increase awareness in Australia of the challenges for Indian widlife and promote the travel of Australians to India on conservation-based trips, to the benefit of both nations.

For more information see http://www.mantrawild.com.au and http://www.aittc.net.au


Traveloscopy

Asia's Secret Retreats Dining Locations

Secret Retreats share its favorite dining in Asia with “Secret Tables”.

Adding the final addition to the collection, Secret Retreats is proud to announce the new label, Secret Tables.

Across Asia, in each Secret Retreat location, our hosts continue to scout small, magical places, unknown by most. Some of these places of curiosity include restaurants, handpicked for unique character and passion. There you will find cuisine with a twist, cuisine direct from the heart.



Inspiring chefs creating original, non-traditional dishes and unusual menus using local produce. Food that is creative and honest. Atmosphere with personality and warmth. Core values that focus on sustainability, fair wages and career paths for young, local people. Independent, chef-owners with pride in their business, and the style and taste to reflect the true culture and essence of the land.

“The beauty of what we do with Secret Retreats is that we are always looking for new properties and places that can offer our guests a different way to experience Asia, so that they can meet caring hosts and chefs who are willing to share their passion.” — Stephane Junca, Managing Director of Secret Retreats.

The new Secret Tables Collection includes:


The Common Tiger – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

South African Chef Timothy Bruyns injects an exciting and dynamic new style of cooking into the Phnom Penh dining scene. Specialising in contemporary world cuisine, the ever-changing menu incorporates both classical and modern techniques using local Cambodian produce whenever possible. Savour fresh, pure flavours either in the informal outdoor café or relaxing indoor dining room.

www.secret-collections.com/common-tiger


Cuisine Wat Damnak – Siem Reap, Cambodia

Set in a beautifully renovated traditional house, weekly changing degustation menus showcase foraged and premium ingredients, served in the dining room, landscaped garden or Cambodian wooden room. The modern Cambodian cuisine focuses on local produce with a small touch of French sensitivity.

www.secret-collections.com/watdamnak


David's Kitchen 909 – Chiang Mai, Thailand

A new addition in Chiang Mai, David's Kitchen specialises in Modern French and Thai Fusion cuisine. Set on 18 Rai of manicured parkland on the Ping River in Sanpisuur, David's Kitchen sources local organic produce whenever possible.

www.secret-collections.com/DK909


Supanniga Eating Room – Bangkok, Thailand

Serving savoury Thai cuisine using premium ingredients from Thailand's seaside towns including fish sauce, kapi (dried shrimp paste), and salted fish. The recipes have been passed on for 80 years from the owner's grandmother, and showcase delicacies from the Trat and Chantaburi provinces, with a slight Isaan touch.

www.secret-collections.com/ser


Le Du Wine Bar & Restaurant – Bangkok, Thailand

Meaning “season” in Thai, Le Du's culinary creations are based on seasonal produce. Le Du is a duo concept restaurant, which offers both à la carte and tasting menus featuring Thailand's extraordinary agricultural bounty and centuries-old culinary cultures.

www.secret-collections.com/ledu


Cuca – Bali, Indonesia

Chef Kevin Cherkas previously worked in three-star Michelin Arzak Restaurant in San Sebastian, El Bulli in Roses and Daniel in NYC. Cuca is a tapas, cocktails and dessert bar that sources local produce.

www.secret-collections.com/cuca


Locavore Restaurant – Bali, Indonesia

This stylish, small, cosy restaurant is operated by a team of dedicated food enthusiasts, serves cuisine using ingredients that celebrate the farmers, fisherman and artisans that the founders have met along their travels.

www.secret-collections.com/locavore


To discover more, visit Secret Retreats website at www.secret-retreats.com

The Langham Melbourne Named Top Hotel By Condé Nast Traveler U.S

The Langham, Melbourne Named Top Hotel in Melbourne by Readers of Condé Nast Traveler U.S.

In the October issue of Condé Nast Traveler (U.S.), The Langham, Melbourne has been named one of the top three hotels on an annual list of the Best Hotels in Australia and New Zealand.

This is the second consecutive year The Langham, Melbourne has been included in the prestigious magazine's round-up of best hotels in Australia and region.

Every year, Condé Nast Traveler readers vote on their favourite hotels, resorts, spas, airlines, cruise lines and more in the magazine's annual Readers' Choice Awards.

“We are ecstatic to be the only hotel in Melbourne featured in the top three hotels in Australia and New Zealand. Many of our guests comment that it is our staff and service that sets us apart. We are genuinely touched that our guests took the time to vote for The Langham, Melbourne.” commented The Langham, Melbourne's Managing Director, Ben Sington.

Lobby, The Langham Melbourne

The Langham, Melbourne is renowned for being a chic, luxurious haven in the heart of Melbourne's bustling Southbank precinct. Ideally located on the banks of the Yarra River, the hotel overlooks the city's Flinders Street Station and Central Business District. The hotel is just steps away from the city's famous botanic gardens, Victorian Arts Centre and National Gallery of Victoria.

In recent years, the hotel has added spacious terrace suites and inviting terrace rooms which feature stunning outdoor areas which are ideal for taking in the picturesque surrounds, relaxation and dining.

The hotel's award-winning Melba restaurant is often referred to as an innovative benchmark-setting restaurant while the hotel's Aria Bar is revered for its contemporary High Teas as much as it is for its service-oriented evening bar offerings.

Chuan Spa offers an extensive treatment menu which caters for both those looking for result focussed facials as well as those seeking the ultimate in relaxation.

The Langham, Melbourne offers guests a luxurious and timeless, inner-city experience.

Bookings may be made by visiting melbourne.langhamhotels.com.au or by calling +61 8696 8888.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Club Med Cancun Yucatan's Luxe Transformation Unveiled

Following an extensive revitalization program, Club Med presents the metamorphosis of the very first holiday resort in the Mexican town of Cancun, Club Med Cancun Yucatan.

Another step in Club Med’s transformation towards a more luxurious offering, the Resorts improvements reveal a new facet to this jewel of the Caribbean.

Club Med led the charge in the development of the Caribbean as a holiday destination with the building of Club Med Cancun Yucatan in 1976, the areas first resort. As such, Club Med Cancun Yucatan is situated in a prime location on the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The Resort’s upmarket makeover includes elegant accommodation upgrades, new gourmet international and authentic local food offerings, plus a refreshed kids club.
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Exclusive seaside luxury
Located just opposite living coral reef, the 5-Trident luxury space, Jade features 18 sea-view suites and 37 deluxe rooms with a balcony or private garden. This lavish space also offers high-end amenities including concierge service, a lounge with bar service and champagne in the evening, and a reserved infinity pool. Guests can enjoy additional exclusive services like in-room breakfast service or preferential booking for the specialty restaurant and spa.

Authentic design
Interior designers, Marc Hertrich and Nicolas Adnet paid homage to the Resort's exceptional setting between lagoon and sea and sought inspiration from the Spanish, Mayan and Mexican cultures of past and present to recreate an authentically designed environment that is both intimate and friendly.  The 436 bungalow-style guest rooms were designed low to the ground so that guests can be closer to the beautiful natural surrounds. The bungalows feature architectural cues from traditional Mexican haciendas and offer panoramic sea views with terraces or balconies facing the beach. With 60 additional family rooms, including Club and Deluxe Family rooms, this Resort is an ideal holiday destination for families of all sizes. 

Gourmet local cuisine
The Resort’s gourmet restaurant, Las Cazuelashas been reimagined. Built atop stilts, the restaurant invites guests to enjoy Mexican cuisine with a breath-taking view of the ocean. Newly built food destination,La Estancia offers diners the opportunity to taste world-renowned Argentinian beef around the warmth and fun of outdoor barbeques.  The Maya Loungebar has also been remodelled to create the casual yet sophisticated ambience of a trendy fusion lounge, bar and nightclub, where the fiesta truly comes alive.

Amenities for all
Activities are plentiful at the Resort, including water sports such as snorkelling, windsurfing, water skiing, wakeboarding and kayaking and events on land such as flying trapeze, tennis, fitness classes, dance lessons and beach volleyball. Holidaymakers can unwind after a long day of excitement at one of the three swimming pools including a private pool in the 5-Trident luxury space.

The new Petit Club Med welcomes children aged 2 to 3 years, in a dedicated creative environment decorated with shimmering colours and pirate designs.

At Mini Club, 4 to 10 year olds can learn how to cook delectable dishes or burn off excess energy with Zumba classes. Teenagers can make friends at the Club Med Passworld with hiking-camps, the flying trapeze and evening beach parties.

The Club Med Spa by Comfort Zone* faces the tranquil lagoon and offers tailored wellness packages for those seeking an indulgent pampering. Thanks to its specific selection of beauty treatments, youngsters from age 11 can discover the world of the beauty with friends or family members. 

Explore the Mexican Riviera
With its prime position alongside nine hectares of protected nature reserve, the Resort stretches out between the Caribbean's sparkling, turquoise waters and the lush, untouched mangroves. Club Med Cancun Yucatan features three white sand beaches alongside the world’s second largest coral reef, offering both world-class diving and luxurious relaxation.

There are also options aplenty in close vicinity for adventurous travellers. Whether investigating the archaeological site of Coba and the Nohoch Mul pyramid during a mountain bike tour through the jungle, or wandering the pedestrian streets of Playa del Carmen, Club Med Cancun Yucatan provides holidaymakers the opportunity to discover the region’s unique beauty, history and architecture.

Madeleine Clow, Club Med Australia and New Zealand General Manager, says: “As the first Club Med Resort to provide travellers an opportunity to experience an all-inclusive holiday in the Caribbean, Club Med Cancun Yucatan is a testament to how far Club Med has come as a holiday provider.

“With its refreshed accommodation and kids clubs, outstanding location and new luxury amenities, Club Med Cancun Yucatan encapsulates the shift in focus for the Club Med brand towards a more luxurious and elegant holiday offering.”

For bookings and enquiries, call Club Med on 1800 258 263 or visit www.clubmed.com.au

Around the World It’s Agreed: Marriott International is a Great Place to Work

Marriott International, Inc. has been named a World’s Best Multinational Workplace by Great Place to Work®, the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence. Ranked 7 out of 25, Marriott is the highest-ranked hotel company on the list and the only one to receive this honor for four straight years.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized,” said David Rodriguez, executive vice president and chief human resources officer for Marriott International.  “We are even more proud of our associates around the world who live the Marriott culture every day by working together to create a sense of belonging for their teammates, and fostering innovation and collaboration to create exceptional experiences for our guests.”
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Marriott is also named a great place to work on several regional and local lists, including Brazil, India, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the United States. This multinational recognition is further validation of our mission to provide a world of opportunity for career discovery, learning and advancement.

The Great Place to Work® World’s Best Multinational Workplace list ranks the best 25 global companies in terms of workplace culture, based off of a global survey of multinational companies and their associates. Qualifying companies must have been selected for at least five national Great Place to Work lists, have at least 5,000 employees worldwide and count at least 40 percent of their global workforce outside of the company’s home country.

At its very core and through its 87-year history, Marriott International has embraced a “put people first” philosophy that recognizes, encourages and provides opportunity for the talented people who are what the company calls “the heart of the house.”

To view the complete World's Best Multinational Workplaces list, please 
visithttp://www.greatplacetowork.net/best-companies/worlds-best-multinationals/the-list.

Search for jobs and get an inside look at what it’s like to work at Marriott by viewing photos from many of our properties at marriott.com/careers.

Croc Trophy showcases Ride Cairns

The diverse mountain bike trails of the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef region have been given the thumbs up by the battle weary Crocodile Trophy competitors.

RamsesBekkenk_GregSaw_afterBullattack_CRO_6497-35_byReginaStanger

Almost 100 riders from 17 countries have experienced world-class mountain biking in the tropics as they raced through rainforest to the outback and back to the shores of the Great Barrier Reef over the past week.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Alex de Waal said the world’s most gruelling mountain bike stage race held on the trails marketed through the Ride Cairns brand had attracted world-wide media coverage.

“Events like the Crocodile Trophy add to the reputation of Ride Cairns, positioning the region as a world-class mountain biking destination and inspiring recreational riders to discover the region,” he said.
Crocodile Trophy organiser Gerhard Schoenbacher said the competitors were extremely happy with the course.

“The challenge is in the different riding experiences including single track, flat, hilly and purpose-built trails which the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef region offers and this perfect combination of trails presented one of the toughest races for these riders,” he said.

Endurance cyclist Andrew Hall who wears the Amateur Leader Jersey after Stage 6 at the 20th Crocodile Trophy was impressed by the race track composition.

“The first few days were a lot of fun – those trails in Cairns and Atherton have really enriched the Crocodile Trophy track portfolio,” he said.

Mr de Waal said the international competition presented the opportunity to show the media some of the newest trails in the network of more than 550km of mountain biking trails which are marketed through the Ride Cairns name.

“The journalists were impressed with the incredible dirt jumps under construction at the Smithfield Region Park where the 2014 UCI World Mountain Bike Cup was held and watched the Crocodile Trophy competitors tackle the latest “stairway to heaven” addition to the Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park.

“They also experienced riding through the World Heritage forest in the national parks of the Cassowary Coast.

“The Crocodile Trophy is a great example of how events attract people to experience a destination and fits with Tourism and Events Queensland launch this weekend of It’s Live!, a campaign showcasing Queensland’s events.”

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The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places