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Friday, January 30, 2015

Peppers Salt Resort & Spa Kingscliff Are Offering Three, Weekend Yoga Retreats

Yoga Retreats at Peppers Salt Resort to Kick Start Your 2015 Health and Wellness Goals

Peppers Salt Resort & Spa has announced a schedule for weekend yoga retreats for 2015, offering guests three unique opportunities to relax with a rejuvenating weekend of self discovery for the health conscious in the picturesque surrounds of seaside Kingscliff.

Yoga retreats have been designed for beginners through to experienced practitioners and combine dynamic yoga, wholesome cuisine and a day spa experience at the acclaimed The Spa at Salt.

 Peppers Salt Resort & Spa Pool

Hosted by YOGA TV host, Kris McIntyre, the weekend will vary to suit the changing needs of the seasons according to Ryogo - a form of yoga therapy combining traditional Indian Hatha poses with the meridian based healing arts of China and Japan.

Peppers Salt Yoga

The 2015 Yoga Program includes:

6 - 8 March - Women's Health Retreat: Focusing on digestion, weight loss, improving energy levels and kicking sugar cravings.

8 - 10 May - Mother and Daughter Retreat (Mother's Day weekend): Focusing on bladder strength, lower back and core strength and stress release.

11 - 13 September - Spring Cleanse Retreat: Focusing on improving flexibility, eyesight and joint problems (hips, knees, shoulders).

Priced from $599* per person twin share, the all-inclusive escape includes two nights' accommodation, full buffet breakfast daily, five yoga classes, a yoga mat, a 50 minute spa treatment at The Spa at Salt, wholesome meals including dinner on Friday as well as lunch and dinner on Saturday prepared by Peppers Salt Resort & Spa's onsite restaurant Season, full use of resort leisure facilities, unlimited in-room movies and more.

Yoga packages without accommodation start from $432* per person and include five yoga classes, a yoga mat, a treatment at The Spa at Salt, two dinners and one lunch.

Peppers Salt Reosrt & Spa offers the ultimate beach holiday escape, located just 20 minutes south of Gold Coast Airport and 30 minutes drive from Byron Bay. Kingscliff Beach and Salt Beach are just a stroll away or the resort and lagoon style pools offer the perfect spot to the laze the days away.

For bookings call Peppers on (02) 6674 7777 or emailsalt@peppers.com.au

*Conditions apply. Subject to availability.

Calling All Journalists & Bloggers – Win $500 Apple Store Voucher

Sick of deleting irrelevant press releases? Over your phone ringing all day long? Vent your professional frustrations in the PitchIt2Me Media Survey and be in with a chance to win a $500 Apple Store Voucher.



The PitchIt2Me Media Survey gives traditional journalists across all mediums and bloggers and social media influencers the opportunity to help change the way PR professionals and in house marketers work with them for the better.

PitchIt2Me PR Training is founded by one of Australasia's leading lifestyle and travel journalists. The workshops are held in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and beyond and are designed for public relations professionals and in house marketers to get a candid and direct track to the media. The survey results help delegates understand which PR practices media give the thumbs up to and which ones will have them heading for the delete folder.

The survey takes about ten minutes but can potentially save you wasted time in the future. Complete the survey before February 13 and you have a chance to WIN a $500 Apple Store voucher.

Where do you sign up for the survey? On the link below:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/pitchit2me

All respondents names remain confidential and contact details are not on sold or given away to third parties.

For more information please contact rachael@pitchit2me.com.au


Traveloscopy | 

Emirates Cricket themed A380

#emirates




Emirates spreads the love of cricket around the world with specially-dressed A380 aircraft

With just two weeks to go until the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Emirates airline, a global connector of people, places and passions, has unveiled the first of its aircraft that will feature the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Logo.

Watch a video of how an Emirates A380 gets "dressed up" for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 here.

The Emirates Airbus A380 recently set off to Australia and New Zealand, and is the first of a number of "specially-dressed" Emirates aircraft that will fly around the globe, celebrating this major event with cricket-lovers and uniting fans around the world.

Emirates has been the official partner of the International Cricket Council since 2007 and all its major tournaments including the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

In partnership with the ICC, Emirates also sponsors the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires and Match Referees.

Cricket has provided Emirates with a powerful platform to connect with fans and communities across Asia, Australasia, South Africa and the UK. In addition to its partnership with the ICC, Emirates' cricket sponsorships include:
  • Title Sponsor of the Emirates Airline Twenty20, which brings successful County Cricket Clubs to Dubai to compete for the coveted Emirates T20 Championship.
  • In the UK, Emirates has partnerships with Durham County Cricket Club and Lancashire County Cricket Club, including naming rights to both clubs' playing grounds and their respective T20 representative teams.
Emirates has unveiled "specially-dressed" aircraft on special occasions and during major events, such as during the 2020 World Expo bid, which Dubai won in 2013.

Currently the world's largest A380 operator with 57 aircraft in its fleet, Emirates is expecting to take delivery of 15 A380s this year and has 83 A380s on order. The Emirates A380 flies to 34 destinations across the globe, with Perth to join the network in May, Dusseldorf in July, and Madrid in August.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A&K’s Connections European River Cruising




A&K's Connections European River Cruising

Global travel company Abercrombie & Kent presents its 2015 portfolio of inspiring Connections European River Cruise journeys. With a resident A&K Tour Director and no more than 24, guests travel in a like-minded group, visiting city sights before and after cruising, exploring important cultural hubs with access to distinctive local accommodation and sightseeing to complete the destination experience. The lengthy delays experienced by larger groups are avoided with priority boarding of all vessels up to 90 minutes before the crowds.

Cruises operate on the stylish and comfortable Amadeus river vessels which have between 73 and 76 cabins, exceptional on-board dining and the highest standards and service.

Paris, Burgundy and the South of France

11 days including 2 nights in Paris, 1 night in Beaune and a 7-night Saône and Rhône River cruise on board Amadeus Symphony. Highlights include Paris and the Musée d'Orsay, Monet's Giverny, the Cistercian Abbey of Sénanque and the Roman amphitheatre in Arles.

Departures: April – July, September-October. Prices from US$5,795 per person.

World War II on the Rhine: 70 Years After Victory

10 days including 1 night in Amsterdam, 7-night river cruise on board Amadeus Silver II and 1 night in Basel. Exclusive excursions in Arnhem, Remagen, Cologne and Heidelberg included.

Departure: June (limited availability). Prices from US$5,695 per person.

Heart of Europe: the Rhine, Main & Danube

17 days including 1 night in Amsterdam, 14-night river cruise on board Amadeus Silver and 1 night in Budapest. Highlights include Edam cheese factory, Cologne's cathedral, Lorelei Rock, Nuremberg and exclusive World War II art bunker.

Departures: June-August. Prices from US$8,595 per person.

Discovering the Rhine

10 days including 1 night in Amsterdam, 7-night river cruise on board Amadeus Silver or Brilliant and 1 night in Basel. Highlights include the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, the fairytale Burg Eltz and the Rhine Gorge.

Departures: October. Prices from US$4,895 per person.

Along the Danube

10 days including 1 night in Budapest, 7-night river cruise on board Amadeus Silver II or Brilliant and 1 night in Munich. Highlights include Budapest by night, Nuremberg and exclusive World War II art bunker, Sound of Vienna concert and Munich.

Departures: July, September, October. Prices from US$4,395 per person.

Classical Music on the Rhine

10 days including 1 night in Basel, 7-night river cruise on Amadeus Silver and 1 night in Amsterdam. Cruise the Rhine and Moselle with exclusive excursion to Kloster Eberbach with a Gregorian choir performance and live concerts performed aboard ship.

Departure: October. Prices from US$5,595 per person.

Music & Maestros of the Danube

10 days including 1 night in Budapest, 7-night river cruise on board Amadeus Brilliant and 1 night in Munich. A world-class operatic performance in Vienna or Budapest is included as well as superb live concerts performed aboard ship.

Departure: October. Prices from US$4,795 per person.

Christmas Markets on the Danube

9 days including 1 night in Vienna, 6-night river cruise on board Amadeus Brilliant and 1 night in Munich. Visit the finest Christmas markets in southern Germany and Austria,

Departure: December (limited availability). Prices from US$3,895 per person.

Christmas along the Danube

9 days including 2 nights in Munich and a 6-night river cruise on board Amadeus Brilliant. Visit Christmas markets, spend Christmas Eve in charming Dürnstein and awaken Christmas morning in magical Vienna.

Departure: December. Prices from US$4,295 per person.


To book your A&K itinerary today or to enquire further please contact Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 590 317 or visit www.abercrombiekent.com.au








World Travel Awards - self-nominate now for 2015




Leading travel, tourism and hospitality organisations from around the globe are being invited to participate in the World Travel Awards Grand Tour 2015.

With the self-nomination process now open, interested parties are urged to submit applications before the upcoming deadlines.

Nominations for the Middle East Gala Ceremony will close on January 31st, while the five remaining Gala Ceremonies will accept entries until February 28th.

Hailed by the worldwide media for its role in identifying and rewarding excellence in the travel sector, World Travel Awards celebrates its’ 22nd anniversary in 2015 and is acknowledged as the ultimate travel accolade.

Voting the for World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony opens on February 9th.

The winner and two leading runners-up from the Grand Tour 2014 will automatically requalify for the same award and do not need to submit an entry.

Former World Travel Awards participants are encouraged to check which nominees automatically qualify by visiting the nominees’ pages where the winner and two runners-up will be published during the nomination period.

To enter, visit www.worldtravelawards.com/nominate

Traveloscopy | 

Romance Me Whitsundays - Top 10 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

Stuck for a gift idea for Valentine's Day? Couples looking for a romantic escape will find a range of choices in the Whitsundays, the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

From the stunning, naturally formed coral reef in the shape of a love heart, to a romantic weekend away at an island resort, to sailing, scenic flights, luxury day spas and a private picnic on Whitehaven Beach, the Whitsundays truly caters for all kinds of romantic getaways.

Take a scenic flight over Heart Reef
Copyright: WMDL
So forget about sparkling new jewellery and chocolate coated strawberries this year and surprise your loved one with a romantic escape to the Whitsundays. Here are our top 10 gift ideas for Valentine's Day:

1. Romantic picnic on Whitehaven Beach
Jump on board Cruise Whitsundays Love Boat to Australia's Best Beach, Whitehaven Beach. The crew will provide you with your own picnic hamper, red rose, and champagne before you head off to find a cosy spot for your romantic picnic at this magnificent 7km long stretch of beach. Feel the soft silica sand between your toes, the sun warming your skin and sip on a glass of champagne while you cast your eyes over the turquoise waters.

2. Take a 60min Heart to Heart
There is nothing more romantic than soaring over world-famous Heart Reef in a helicopter or seaplane with your loved one. If you want to experience the Great Barrier Reef from above, below and on the water, create lasting memories withHamilton Island's Reef Comber experience. You and your loved one will be left speechless with wonder as you enjoy a scenic seaplane flight over picturesque Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet, and dreamy Heart Reef, before landing by the Reef itself at Hardy Lagoon to enjoy a glass bottom boat and secluded snorkelling experience, with champagne in hand.

3. Relax, unwind and be pampered
Enjoy time together and rejoice in the feeling of wellness as you and your loved one indulge in hours of pampering at Daydream Island's Rejuvenation Spa. Sink into the serene infused waters of the Geisha Tub with a glass of bubbles, nourish your body and relieve stress with a replenishing massage.

4. Set sail in the arms of your loved one
Step aboard a luxurious yacht with your partner and sail away into the sunset. Sail through the calm and clear waters of the Whitsunday Islands and flit from one island paradise to the next. Drop the anchor in a secluded cove, take a dip in the cool blue waters or snorkel the fringing reefs with myriads of colourful fish and corals. As the sun sets on the horizon, nestle in the arms of your loved one, sip on a tropical cocktail and take in the picturesque serenity.

5. A unique culinary experience in gorgeous surrounds
Surrounded by lush, agricultural land, the Whitsundays culinary experience is all about fresh local seafood and the abundance of fresh local produce. Indulge in delectable food and wine at a romantic candle light dinner at Tides Restaurant and Bar, arrange a private dinner prepared by qualia's Executive Chef, Alastair Waddell, or experience the action and aromas of the Main Kitchen at One&Only Hayman Island with an interactive gourmet experience.

6. Spend an unforgettable day at the Great Barrier Reef

The Whitsundays lie right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and surprising your loved one with a getaway to this spectacular experience is truly unique. Snorkel hand in hand along the edge of the Great Barrier Reef with thousands of brightly coloured fish and coral surrounding you. For the ultimate romantic experience, treat your partner to a night under the stars of the Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays Reefsleep experience.

7. Camp under the stars on a secluded island

With 74 tropical islands nestled in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, there are plenty of secluded bays and deserted islands for you to explore. Make like Robinson Crusoe and stay the night with camp sites available on many Whitsunday Islands for as little as $5.50. Explore secluded bays, glistening white beaches, rocky headlands and colourful fringing reefs and spend unforgettable nights under the stars in the arms of your loved one.

8. Sunset dinner at one of Bowen's award-winning beaches
Need the ultimate escape? Get away from the hustle and bustle and everyday stresses with a trip to the Top of the Whitsundays. Invite your partner to a romantic sunset dinner at one of Bowen's unspoilt beaches. Simply pick up some fresh, local seafood at Bowen's marina and head to one of the award-winning beaches.

9. Retreat to the lush green hills of the Whitsunday Coast
Retreat to one of the resorts and apartments nestled into the lush green hills of the Whitsunday Coast. Relax in your own private spa bath on your balcony atPinnacles Resort and Spa overlooking the Coral Sea and Islands or spoil your loved one with at Marina Shore's Romance Me Whitsundays package. Get active and explore the natural beauty of the Whitsundays - take a walk along the Whitsunday Great Walk or spot wildlife on the Goorganga wetlands with Whitsunday Crocodile Safari.

10. That very bright and sparkly ring
Let's be honest - There is no better time to pop the big question than on a tropical holiday, under swaying palm trees and with turquoise waters lapping the shore. So what are you waiting for? You're having the time of your life on the most memorable holiday so why not consider saying 'I do' in the Whitsundays? You can meet our wedding experts face to face at the Whitsundays Wedding and Honeymoon Expo in Airlie Beach on Sunday, 22 February 2015.

ABOUT THE WHITSUNDAYS
The 74 islands of the Whitsundays lay in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, cradled by the tropical waters of the Coral Sea, a truly remarkable icon of beauty. The Whitsundays is an invitation into a world of tropical wonder. The vibrant colours of the magnificent Great Barrier Reef and tropical rainforest provide plenty of scope for activity and adventure. Easily accessible by air or road, the Whitsundays are located on the central eastern coast of Queensland in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. The area is characterised by world class resort facilities blending harmoniously with the pristine natural attributes of the area. Sail, Explore, Dive, Dine, Play, Relax, Enjoy. The opportunities are endless… which is why there is no better place to take a well-deserved holiday than the Whitsundays. www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au


Traveloscopy | 

Business Events to Benefit from New Air Deal with China




The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) congratulates Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure & Regional Development Warren Truss and Trade & Investment Minister Andrew Robb on today's announcement of a new air deal with China.

The new arrangements allow Australian and Chinese airlines to immediately increase capacity by 18% to 26,500 seats each way per week between Australia's major gateway cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth) and Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Both sides can also operate a further 26,500 seats each way per week between all other cities in China and Australia's major gateways. By October 2016, this will expand to a total of 67,000 weekly seats.

Airlines will continue to be allowed to offer unlimited services between China and regional Australian convention destinations including Adelaide, Darwin, Gold Coast and Cairns.

AACB President, Lyn Lewis-Smith stated that, "This announcement builds on other Government initiatives improving Australia's access to Chinese delegates such as the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, multiple-entry three year business visitor visas and trial of electronic visa lodgement for Chinese visitors. It also compliments the 'Attracting Business Events to Australia: Role of Government Agencies' framework, announced by Minister Robb in November 2014."

According to the 2020 Business Events Sector Quarterly Progress Report, year ending September 2014, the Chinese market represented 61,000 business events delegates to Australia with a spend of $238 million. The Chinese market is currently ranked fourth in delegate spend behind the traditional markets of the United States of America, United Kingdom and New Zealand.

AACB Executive Director, Andrew Hiebl said, "Aviation capacity out of China has been challenging for Australian convention bureaux. This announcement helps our efforts in attracting large groups from this high-yield growth market."

Deloitte Access Economics (2014) suggests that delivering more growth from Asia requires deepening our economic understanding and strengthening our economic ties.

"International business events are a proven mechanism for building professional networks and promoting cultural exchange. Opening up access to Chinese delegates further encourages trade, investment and research collaboration opportunities between the two countries," Hiebl added.

Increasing Chinese air rights is also integral to achieving Australia's Tourism 2020 targets. Overnight spend by business event delegates in Australia is currently worth $13 billion (Tourism Research Australia, 2014), with a target of $16 billion by 2020.

Many of Australia's convention bureaux will target the Asian market in partnership with Tourism Australia at IT&CM China and Business Events Australia's North Asia and South East Asia Showcases across April and May.

 
 W aacb.org.au

The peak business events network driving economic prosperity for Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pan Pacific Hotels Group Announces AU$25 Million Dollar Extension for PARKROYAL Parramatta

Pan Pacific Hotels Group today announced plans for a multi-million dollar extension of PARKROYAL Parramatta in Sydney. Costing AU$25 million, the development will commence in March this year and make PARKROYAL Parramatta the largest hotel in Parramatta – boasting 286 guestrooms – by June 2016.



With Parramatta City set for an AU$8 billion building investment over the next five years, the city's skyline will be dramatically reshaped by over 32 new residential, commercial and key public features and Parramatta could potentially overtake Adelaide in coming years to become the nation's fifth largest Central Business District. PARKROYAL Parramatta's extension is a timely response to growing business demands in the city.

The 15-month project will involve the construction of a new seven-storey tower with a Club Lounge, as well as 40 Club Rooms and 50 Premium Rooms that offer views of the Parramatta skyline and incorporate the use of the latest hotel technology and innovation. Club guests will enjoy priority check-in and check-out as well as complimentary breakfast, laundry services, regular refreshments throughout the day and a new gymnasium with state-of-the-art exercise equipment.

The addition of four meeting rooms will bring PARKROYAL Parramatta's total number of conference and meeting spaces to 12 rooms, making it the largest meetings and events hotel in Parramatta and thus setting a new benchmark of accommodation, facility and service distinction in the area.

As part of the renovations, the premises of the BAR:30 restaurant and bar will be extended out to Phillip Street to introduce an alfresco dining element that captures the vibrant “eat street” atmosphere that Parramatta offers.

Elsewhere in Sydney, Pan Pacific Hotels Group owns and manages PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney which was named 'Redeveloped Accommodation Hotel of the Year” at the 2013 Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW Awards for Excellence after a successful $20 million interior redesign. The Group also owns and manages PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport and Pan Pacific Perth.

Craig Bond, Area General Manager, Oceania, Pan Pacific Hotels Group says: “There has been great reception for our three PARKROYAL properties in Sydney and Melbourne, alongside Pan Pacific Perth since our entry into the Australian market five years ago. The development of PARKROYAL Parramatta is in line with our strategy to grow our brands in key destinations across Asia Pacific. The multi-million dollar investment also highlights PARKROYAL's contribution to Parramatta City Council's Economic Development Strategy.”

Michael Johnson, General Manager of PARKROYAL Parramatta says: “Over the past five years, we have been focused on delivering excellent service and a product that our PARKROYAL team is very proud of. Through our efforts, we have enjoyed strong loyalty from many of our business segments and we embrace our customers as a key contributor to our success.”

Johnson continues, “The extension project is in line with PARKROYAL's commitment to be “Your Trusted Local Companion” by providing our guests with a range of services and facilities that will enhance their experience and make their stay as carefree as possible. As the city of Parramatta develops, PARKROYAL Parramatta will grow in tandem and continue to be a landmark that draws both locals and visitors to this flourishing destination.”
Traveloscopy | 

Travel Expo coming to your city - or one near you





TRAVEL EXPO 2015
Save on your next holiday with exclusive travel deals

If you're looking to mark 2015 in the calendar for a much needed holiday then Travel Expo 2015 is for you.

The annual Travel Expo brings together Australia's leading travel suppliers, airlines, tourism bodies and tour operators to offer travellers the chance to pick up special one-off bargains on airfares, tours, family trips, cruises and accommodation, offered exclusively for the event.
All housed under one roof, the Travel Expos have been designed so that Aussies can research their favourite destinations, compare deals and speak to travel professionals.

"This kind of event is becoming rarer for people who have a desire to travel, to see the world and explore. Sure, you can do some research online, but when can you ever go and talk to the experts all under the one roof at the one time?" says national events director Robyn Blacklock
.
The Travel Expos offer would-be travellers unprecedented access to travel experts but attendees can also snag one of the many expo deals on offer that can't be found elsewhere, potentially saving customers hundreds off the cost of a holiday.
"The thing that has brought people to the show over the last two decades is the fact that there are deals on offer you can't find anywhere else," says national product manager Rod Menzler.

Travel consultants from Flight Centre, Escape Travel, Cruiseabout, My Adventure Store and Student Flights will be available on the day to help with bookings.
Coach touring specialists Insight and Cosmos, adventure experts Intrepid, Geckos and Peregine, and major hotel chains such as Club Med will also showcase their best value deals. Even representatives from the happiest place on earth, Disneyland, will be there.
Admission is free and leading airlines, tour providers, cruise lines and hotel groups will also be on hand to showcase travel destinations, the latest trends and hotspots in free theatrette presentations.
KEY DATES AND VENUES:
MACKAY Sun 18 Jan at the Mackay Entertainment Centre
SYDNEY Sat 31 Jan - Sun 1 Feb at the Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park
GOLD COAST Sun 1 Feb at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
HOBART Sun 1 Feb at Princes Wharf No. 1
MELBOURNE Sat 7 - Sun 8 Feb at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
NEWCASTLE Sun 8 Feb at Newcastle Panthers
CAIRNS Sun 8 Feb at the Cairns Convention Centre
PERTH Sat 14 - Sun 15 Feb at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre
CANBERRA Sun 15 Feb at the National Convention Centre
TOWNSVILLE Sun 15 Feb at Jupiters Townsville Hotel & Casino
BRISBANE Sat 21 - Sun 22 Feb at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
ADELAIDE Sat 21 - Sun 22 Feb at the Adelaide Convention Centre
DARWIN Sun 8 March at the Darwin Convention Centre

For more information visit www.travelexpo.net.au


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Travel with Apollo Motorhome Holidays

MOTORHOME ROAD TRIP RULES

2015 marks the 30th anniversary of Apollo Motorhome Holidays and to celebrate they are offering up to 55% off rentals throughout the year*.

As thousands of Apollo campervans, 4WD campers and motorhomes hit the road during 2015, CEO Luke Trouchet is encouraging travellers to ‘unplug’ and reconnect.



“As technology takes up more of our time, the value of a family road trip holiday increases,” Mr Trouchet said.

“Family members who take a motorhome road trip holiday together have a chance to talk, joke, sing along and indulge in a few classic road trip games, creating great memories and close bonds,” he said.

Apollo’s Motorhome Road Trip Rules
  1. Drive safely and take your time.
  2. Enjoy the view before you post it to social media.
  3. Support local businesses everywhere you go.
  4. Enjoy music and conversation on the road.
  5. Take an occasional detour and discover something new.

Mr Trouchet can personally attest to the value of family motorhome holidays – the company he heads up with his brother Karl began in a Brisbane backyard 30 years ago, when the boys’ parents began renting their campervans out to friends, then strangers, creating the foundation for what has become the world’s largest privately owned recreational vehicle rental company.

“Our fleet has grown to thousands of rental vehicles across Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America and Canada, but the essence of road trips remains the same,” Mr Trouchet said.

“Travellers want freedom, a little adventure and to connect – with each other and the places they visit,” he said.

Apollo Motorhome Holidays has branch locations throughout Australia in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Broome, Cairns, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Hobart and Sydney as well as in Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand. There are four branches on the West Coast of the United States, and seven branch locations throughout Canada.

Apollo has a vehicle to suit every kind of self-drive holiday. Australian rental options include the popular 4WD Adventure Camper, the family-friendly six-berth Euro Deluxe and Australia’s largest rental motorhome, the Euro Slider. All vehicles feature the highest quality finishes and innovations to maximise storage space, sleeping comfort, and to provide a great place to cook and relax while on holidays.

Visit www.apollocamper.com/holiday

*For great travel deals of up to 55% during 2015 off visit www.apollocamper.com/specials. Terms and conditions and limited availability apply.

Traveloscopy | 

Celebrity Cruises and Randi Zuckerberg Encourage Guests to Find Tech-Life Balance

Finding the Right Balance: Celebrity Cruises and Randi Zuckerberg Encourage Guests to 'Take Care of YourSelfie'

Celebrity Cruises has partnered with digital trailblazer Randi Zuckerberg as part of a year-long campaign to “Take Care of YourSelfie.” The modern luxury cruise brand has revealed a unique program curated by Randi to encourage guests to find a tech-life balance while on holiday. The first part of the program is a new lineup of specially designed spa treatments and services available at Canyon Ranch SpaClub onboard Celebrity's modern luxury ships beginning February 2015.



Zuckerberg, Editor-in-Chief of Dot Complicated, an online website that navigates the ever-evolving universe of technology and social media, curated the one-of-a-kind program to inspire guests to take a break from their daily dose of technology and recharge.

As a pioneer in the tech-life balance movement, Zuckerberg encourages the importance of finding time for one’s self, both online and off. “The digital revolution has changed and enriched every facet of our lives, and now more than ever, it is essential for us to find a healthy tech-life balance,” says Zuckerberg. “Celebrity Cruises is a leader in providing relaxing and restorative cruise holidays, and by partnering with them, I hope to inspire moments of logging off and shutting down for a few hours or even a day. We want guests to explore ways to embrace a balance that complements their lifestyle onboard and at home.”

"When I heard Randi talk about Take Care of YourSelfie, I realised I was a perfect candidate for this program," says Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "Like so many of our guests, I live a connected, always-on life, with a great reliance on technology. Randi's fresh approach helps bring balance back into our lives, and is another way to make sure our guests enjoy a relaxing, restorative holiday."

Lutoff-Perlo added: “The new program perfectly complements our luxurious accommodations, award-winning dining, rich destination experiences and intuitive service. I can’t wait to sign up for one of the treatments."

As the first instalment of the new, exclusive Take Care of YourSelfie program, the spa treatments and services curated by Zuckerberg will be available onboard Celebrity ships at Canyon Ranch SpaClub operated by Canyon Ranch – leaders in spa and wellness:

  • “fACEial Time” (Environ Ultimate Vitamin Therapy): This facial is designed to effectively treat a wide range of skin care needs related to staring at computer and tablet screens. This facial provides intense penetration of active ingredients – including skin-nourishing antioxidants, peptides and vitamins A, C and E – for visible results.
  • “InstaGlow” (Detoxifying Ritual with Signature Add-On): A detoxifying 100-minute ritual with a signature add-on creates an intense, therapeutic transformation. The Red Flower cleansing body scrub includes coffee, olive stones and fresh lemons as well as rich rhassoul clay to draw out impurities. Guests can set the intention add-on at the beginning to take time to disconnect and be in the moment for this rejuvenating treatment.
  • “Get wrAPPed” (Seaweed Peat Wrap): This VOYA organic seaweed peat body wrap treats a variety of skin and rheumatic conditions and increases detoxification by mixing seaweed extracts with micronized peat. The treatment is richly infused with trace elements, vitamins, carbohydrates, polyphenols, lipids, and humic acid to help drain toxic substances from the body.
  • “Texticure” (Hands So Soft Manicure): A warm paraffin manicure hydrates dry skin, softens cuticles and soothes aching joints like nothing else. This beauty treatment combines nail polishing and buffing with skin softening and moisturizing. The entire hand is dipped in paraffin wax to seal in softness and moisture. This experience is the perfect treat for hands always texting and responding to emails.
  • “Control ALT Delight” (Unique yoga experience with T-Spheres): This mind-body yoga workout features T-Spheres to help stretch and flex out of the workstation slump or texting crouch. The pressure-point experience facilitates unwinding with quiet, precise movements that corrects poor body alignment, increases flexibility, relieves mental stress and promotes restorative sleep.

In 2014, Celebrity Cruises partnered with Canyon Ranch to unveil the largest and most comprehensive Canyon Ranch SpaClub at Sea offering onboard its luxurious ships. The state-of-the-art facilities include spa, beauty, wellness, and fitness amenities, with signature Canyon Ranch offerings and those exclusive to Celebrity.

For more information about Celebrity Cruises or to book a cruise, visit www.celebritycruises.com.au, phone 1800 754 500 or contact your travel agent.

Traveloscopy | 

How countries are luring the Chinese traveller


 
As Chinese New Year approaches, Wego, the leading travel search site in the Asia Pacific and Middle East, reflects on the efforts of global tourism entities to attract the Chinese traveller to their countries.

China's outbound travellers are estimated to exceed 100 million this year and with an overall spending of 140 billion in 2014, inbound destination marketers around the world are now competing for attention from this lucrative segment.

Relaxation of visa restrictions, food and wine tours, pop stars, even social media competitions from tourism bodies are all methods that are being employed by destination marketers attempting to attract Chinese travellers, during and beyond their biggest holiday period of the year.

"Last year a number of countries announced a lifting of complex visa regulations which results in their destinations becoming a great deal more attractive to the Chinese traveller," said James Huang, Wego's Market Development Manager for North Asia.

"Recently Indonesia included China in the five nationalities not required to purchase a visa on arrival (official effective date yet to be announced), particularly significant with the increased popularity of Bali with Chinese holidaymakers. In November, the United States and China entered into reciprocal visa extension agreements for short-term business and tourist travel between the two countries, and India added Chinese nationals to the list of countries eligible to apply online for visa on arrivals," Huang added.

"Thailand, a longtime favourite destination of the Chinese, also removed visa fees and directly marketed to travellers last month appointing Thai pop sensation Mario Maurer (who has an enormous Chinese fanbase) as a cultural ambassador."

Destination marketers are making the most of their country's unique offerings to specifically target the needs and wants of an evolving Chinese tourist, particularly at Chinese New Year.

"Australia are luring the Chinese with seafood and wine promotions to meet the growing popularity of food tours, with the country's natural beauty and wildlife a big pull for family travel as well, in spite of a relatively higher travel budget," he continued.

In the US, the hotel industry is doing its part to attract the growing number of Chinese visitors by sending sales representatives to China to learn basic Mandarin, changing room numbers associated with bad luck in Chinese culture, and serving comfort food such as congee, noodles and Chinese tea. Chinese speaking guides are being provided by large shopping malls, and local payment system China UnionPay is becoming more frequently available.

"Last month the United Kingdom ran a very popular social media campaign on Weibo and WeChat, requesting the public to attribute Chinese names to iconic British landmarks, attractions and people," said Huang. "VisitBritain listed 101 tourist attractions whose names can't be literally translated to drum up buzz for the country, offering holiday prizes for the most popular. Some names already assigned include Bai Jin Han Gong 白金汉宫 for Buckingham Palace (a white, gold and splendid palace, with similar pronunciation), and Pi Tou Shi 披头士 for The Beatles (meaning Gentlemen with long hair)."

Huang believes that the key to attracting Chinese travellers centres around making the travel process simple and easy, catering to specific interests and needs.

"According to the World Tourism Cities Federation, there are five points which are key to swaying the selection of a destination by a Chinese traveller," he said. "Easier visa processes, direct flights, dedicated tours with Mandarin speaking guides, more tax refunds, discounts and payment gateways, and specific marketing campaigns within China."

"I expect Singapore and South Korea, who have also both simplified the visa process, to lead destination choices for this Chinese New Year holiday," Huang reflected. "Singapore has the attraction of great shopping and local language, and South Korea has aggressively marketed the 'Korea Grand Sales' shopping festival to fall during the Chinese New Year period. Along with the Chinese fascination with the country's local pop culture, South Korea is likely to be the destination of choice this year."

"Easy access and designing your destination in a way that resonates directly with the Chinese is the key to attracting more visitors," Huang concluded. "It seems that the global travel industry is taking notice and so far these steps are proving very successful."

Scoot and Tigerair Join KrisFlyer

KrisFlyer members will soon have even more options for rewards with the inclusion of Scoot and Tigerair Singapore as programme partners.

The partnerships will enable KrisFlyer members to redeem their miles for travel vouchers on Scoot and Tigerair Singapore flights, or to pay for selected products offered by the two low-cost carriers, in April 2015.

The carriers also plan to offer KrisFlyer members the option to earn KrisFlyer miles on Scoot and Tigerair Singapore by the end of this year.

“We are very pleased to be bringing Scoot and Tigerair into the KrisFlyer family and to offer our members more ways to use their miles. Scoot and Tigerair are already important parts of the SIA Group's portfolio of airlines. Including them as KrisFlyer partners is a natural development and will help us live up to our promise to constantly offer more benefits to our members,” said Singapore Airlines' Senior Vice President Marketing Planning, Ms Lee Wen Fen.

Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson added: “We're thrilled to be part of the KrisFlyer programme. Having carried more than four million guests, Scoot enjoys a loyal following who will be able to further benefit from this partnership. Scoot's great destinations will also provide more options for KrisFlyer members to make use of their miles – more reason to get outta here!”

Group CEO of Tigerair, Mr Lee Lik Hsin added: “We are excited to welcome KrisFlyer members to fly with Tigerair to our wide network of destinations in Asia. Our growth over the last decade is made possible only with the support of our passengers, many of whom are frequent flyers. We are delighted to participate in the KrisFlyer programme.”



Traveloscopy | 

40% off at more than 480 Accor hotels and resorts across Asia Pacific


Room rates starting from US$15 per night


For the first time this year, Accor is collaborating with Google to bring Singapore its first ever Great Online Shopping Festival.  Enjoy Accor's Hidden Treasures with 40% off at more than 480 participating hotels and resorts across Asia Pacific.

Plan your next holiday at Accor's Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Mercure, ibis, ibis Styles, and ibis budget brands with rates starting from as low as US$15 per room per night in Asia (for the ibis Phuket Kata) and from AU$77 per room per night for hotels in Australia (ibis Styles Eagle Hawk). Members of Accor Advantage Plus enjoy an even more generous discount of 50%.

With more than 480 hotels and resorts across Asia Pacific to choose from, the sale offers something special for every traveller. Whether you are looking to book a shopping expedition in Hong Kong or Seoul; a golf vacation in Bogor or Krabi; relaxation on the beaches of Bali or Phuket; a family getaway to Sydney or Auckland; or simply immerse in the local culture in Myanmar, Accor provides an affordable way to explore Asia Pacific's Hidden Treasures.

The sale is open to the general public at www.accorhotels.com between 02 and 06 February 2015 for stays from 12 February to 30 June 2015 in Greater China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore and 01 April to 30 June 2015 for the rest of Asia Pacific.

To take advantage of the Great Online Shopping Festival, please visit www.gosf.sg between 02 and 04 February 2015. Bookings are subject to availability and conditions apply. To find your perfect escape, visit www.accorhotels.com

Business Events Australia - Updates for January 2015

Lizard Island conference space
Lizard Island reopens for business
Lizard Island in The Great Barrier Reef is reopening after suffering damage from Cyclone Ita in early 2014. Consistently rated as one of the top ten resorts in the world, the whole of Lizard Island is available to hire for private business events. Surrounded by 24 powdery beaches and 1,000 hectares of beautiful national park it can cater for up to 80 guests at any one time thanks to a selection of 40 luxury rooms and suites, accessed via a private airstrip. With conferencing and meeting facilities, fine dining options, marine activities, spa treatments and bespoke personal services, Lizard Island is again offering business event and incentive groups something truly unique. Click here for more information.

Cairns conjures new outdoor function space
Cairns’ Ochre Restaurant and Catering, the most highly awarded restaurant and catering company in the city, is now offering a new offsite venue at the city’s stunning Botanic Gardens, just ten minutes from the city centre. With exclusive use of the gardens on offer, the extensive lawn area, surrounded by tropical plants and trees, can accommodate 50 to 500 guests for welcome functions and dinners. Ochre Restaurant and Catering is famed for using fresh seafood, native game, bush foods and premium local produce and can create exciting regional Australian menus to suit all tastes. Click here for more information.

ICC Sydney already a third complete
The International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney is officially a third of the way to its opening in December 2016. One year from the start of construction, the $1.1 billion world-class waterfront development will provide the international business events industry with an ultramodern, integrated and highly flexible design for all types and sizes of conference and function. Thanks to the new facilities, a large number of high-profile event bookings have already been secured for 2016 and beyond, including a major congress that hasn’t featured in Australia for more than 40 years. Click here for more information.

Perth picks up new waterfront function space
Perth’s Old Port Waterfront has welcomed the opening of Aqua Bar, a multi-purpose venue for business events with a lounge, upper deck and terrace overlooking the elegant Swan River and impressive Perth skyline. With the ability to exclusively cater for up to 250 guests, Aqua Bar specialises in providing a la carte dining and cocktail functions for business groups visiting Western Australia’s capital city. Click here for more information.

Adelaide Convention Centre expansion close to completion
The multi-million dollar expansion of the Adelaide Convention Centre is one step closer to completion, with the handover of the first phase of the new West Building, which has hosted its first event this January. To introduce event organisers to the new space, the centre has released a behind the scenes tour . Included in the first handover was the Panorama Ballroom, which can cater for up to 1,000 delegates for dinners and conferences, as well as the new Riverbank meeting rooms. Further handovers will take place over the next few months providing even more space for large business events. Click here for more information.

Iconic winery offers new premium dining experience
Originating in 1851, Seppeltsfield, one of South Australia’s most iconic wine estates, has opened a new restaurant that offers exquisite dining and the ability to cater for large groups, combined with a special wine tasting offering as part of a multi-million dollar re-development. Located in the original bottling hall, Fino at Seppeltsfield places great importance on the provenance of its wide-ranging menu, offering the very best in local produce to create a connection between delegates and the region. Seppeltsfield is also famous for its Centennial Collection, an unbroken lineage of Tawny port of every vintage from 1878 to the present. It remains the only winery in the world to release a 100 year old, single vintage wine every year. Click here for more information.

Plans for new Sydney Airport hotel take flight
Australia’s largest hotel operator and airport hotel specialist, Accor, has announced it is set to manage a new five-star Pullman hotel at Sydney Airport. The hotel is being developed as part of a major $100 million development, which will also include office and retail space. Offering a new convenient location for business groups arriving into Sydney, the 229 room property, which is outlined to open in May 2016, will include conference facilities, a restaurant and bar, and will be the first internationally branded five-star hotel in the international airport precinct. Click here for more information.

The Langham Sydney reopens after refurbishment
The Langham Hotel in Sydney has reopened after undergoing a $30 million refurbishment providing 96 brand new luxurious rooms, new amenities, fine dining that utilises the best of local produce, as well as new event and meeting spaces. For business travellers there is seamless WiFi and Bluetooth throughout, allowing presentations to be easily conducted from any device. Service stylists will also run errands or transcribe documents to help with business requirements. The existing day spa has also been transformed into a Chuan Spa – a Langham signature which is consistently rated among the best luxury spas in the world and offers treatments based around traditional Chinese medicine. Click here for more information.

New tours take in Western Australia’s most picturesque region
The widely accredited Cape to Cape Explorer Tours has launched three new day tours for business groups looking for an exciting adventure in the picturesque Margaret River region of Western Australia. The Northern Highlights, Sunset Forest and Cave Explorer, and Wild About Margaret River provide business groups with half-day, full-day and evening tours that take in the stunning landscapes, environment and history of one of Western Australia’s most famous regions. Click here for more information.

New Indigenous experience to offer ultimate experience
The new $14 million Tjapukai Indigenous Experiences is set to be completed by April 2015 at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park near Cairns, offering business groups an unrivalled journey into Indigenous culture and history. The park will unveil several new additions including the Circle of Life Theatre, which uses advanced visual special effects to explain the ancient dreamtime story and Bundarra Cassowary Egg Theatre, a brand new auditorium with live performances ranging from contemporary dance to live theatre. Tjapukai’s Sugar Bag Restaurant and outdoor café will also serve Indigenous-inspired menus, with some dishes created with produce sourced from the restaurant’s own gardens. Click here for more information.

Melbourne ‘AIME’s to connect
The Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) is taking place at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre on 24-25 February 2015, connecting suppliers and buyers in the business events industry from across the globe. AIME is the largest international gathering in Australia for the business events industry with over 700 exhibitors from five continents. Click here for more information.


Malaysia Tourism Arrivals

Malaysian ladies in costume (R Eime)


TOURISM ARRIVALS TO MALAYSIA CONTINUE TO GROW

The success of the Malaysian Tourism industry's global tourism initiatives over the past twelve months is borne out by the country's latest tourism and travel statistics. Its aggressive promotional efforts, and commitment from industry players, have seen tourist arrivals to Malaysia from January 2014 to October 2014 continue by 9.6% despite what was a challenging year.

Figures recently released by Malaysia's Immigration Department show that across the period, the country received 22.9 million (22,859,448) tourists compared to 20.9 million (20,863,045) tourists for the same period in 2013.
Across this time, Australia also remained one of the strongest markets, with 479,829 Australian visiting Malaysia from January – October 2014.

Overall, the number of Malaysia's foreign tourist arrivals in October rose by 6.7% to 2,247,666 tourists from 2,106,569 for the same month in 2013. ASEAN countries continued to be the dominant market, accounting for 74.9% of this total.
Medium-haul markets including Australia contributed 18.3% or 411,335 tourists, with long haul markets contributing a further 6.7% of total arrivals.

This also follows on from a strong month in September 2014, which recorded a hike in tourist arrivals of 6.7% (2,233,545 tourists) compared to the same month in 2013. From January to September 2014, Malaysia welcomed a total of 20.6 million (20,611,782) tourists, registering a hike of 9.9% compared to 18.8 million (18,756,476) tourists for the same period in 2013.

The figures are reassuring, but unsurprising according Tourism Malaysia's Sydney Director, Roslan Abdullah. "Malaysia continues to be of the safest, most politically stable and value-for-money destinations in South East Asia," he says. "Factor in friendly people, amazing cuisine and almost unparalleled diversity in terms of our tourism offering, and we can virtually accommodate every type of traveller, from families through to honeymooners, from sun-seekers through to those after more adventurous pursuits. Plus we are not much further away than Bali."

Malaysians love a celebration and with 2015 recently announced as Malaysia's official Year of Festivals, it is definitely shaping up as perfect time to visit.

From January's Citrawarma Festival through to the not-to-be missed Official End of Year Sales in November and December, the yearlong program delivers a diverse mix of 50 festivals and events taking place to tempt every taste and interest.

Highlights include Malaysia Chinese New Year incorporating the traditional Chingay Street Parade; the colourful World Kite Festival; the octane-fueled Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix featuring some spectacular motor racing action on one of the world's most picturesque F1 tracks; the Malaysia International Shoe Festival, for those hankering after a retail fix; and the dramatic Magic of the Night Festival, with its nighttime Lighted Boat Parade showcasing brightly and beautifully decorated boats.

With adventure, culture, cuisine, beaches, jungle, nature and accommodation to suit every budget, with friendly locals and year round sunshine to boot. And with Festivals happening right across the country throughout the year, you can be sure that whatever time you visit, there will be something to appeal.

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

Vibe Hotel Marysville opening in February



Introducing the ‘next generation’ of Vibe Hotels to Marysville

Vibe Hotel Marysville to help travellers ‘connect’ to their local surroundings

Vibe Hotel Marysville is set to open its doors early February, encouraging guests to connect with the local area and marking the beginning of TFE Hotels’ journey to refresh and launch its iconic Vibe Hotels.

The Vibe Hotels brand is evolving to take on an inspired look and feel, designed with the locale in mind.

Vibe Marysville has a revitalising colour palette and a hotel experience where guests will be inspired and engaged by our friendly service and more connected with the local surrounds, featuring artworks and interior designs that reflect the area and setting.

The hotel will boast a spa and wellbeing facility, as well as a conference centre and exhibition spaces equipped for 300 people, with sophisticated furniture and local art to make each area a hub of inspiration.

On the grounds will be Radius Bar & Grill, a modern Australian restaurant and bar, featuring premium and locally sourced Yarra Valley produce providing locals with a premium dining experience for all occasions – breakfast, lunch and dinner. The name Radius is a playful tribute to the restaurants sourcing 85% of ingredients from within a 100km radius, featuring menus inspired by a ‘paddock to plate’ philosophy and designed by Executive Chef Leigh Colville.

Rachel Argaman, CEO of TFE hotels, said: “We want to position Vibe Hotel Marysville as a place to really connect on many levels, personalising guest experiences with the locale, as well as providing an inspiring and stylish place to stay and meet, with spacious state-of-the-art conference and event facilities. We are thrilled to have been able to support the revitalisation of regional Victoria and we can’t wait to see this exciting project come to fruition.”

Emma Fraser, Group Director of Marketing, TFE hotels, said: “This next generation of our brand is committed to delivering an individualised and authentic experience that speaks to the local area, with a service ethos that will go the extra mile to help and inform our guests of things to do in the area.”

To inform the revitalisation of the Vibe Hotels brand, guests who had recently stayed at a Vibe Hotel during the past 12 months[i], took part in an online panel-based survey. The respondents determined that the new brand look and feel better conveys a sense of youth and freshness: “The new shade of blue is very modern and cool right now – a refreshing change,” said one respondent.

TFE hotels are working in close partnership with Tourism Victoria and local businesses to further promote tourism to the region.

Vibe Hotel Marysville will also play a significant role in regenerating the town of Marysville by bringing independently-minded travellers to the town, post the devastating 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

The development, a 90 minute drive east of Victoria’s capital and close to the Yarra Valley, will provide many new employment opportunities, and is expected to stimulate tourism growth, as well as boost the local economy.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events, John Eren said "The opening of this stunning new hotel represents a major step towards Marysville regaining its position as one of the state's most popular regional tourism destinations.

Developed collaboratively by the Victorian Government and private enterprise, the Vibe Hotel and Conference Centre offers visitors quality accommodation and facilities as well as easy access to the abundant natural attractions and experiences that the region is famous for."



These guest-orientated service elements will define Vibe Hotel’s next generation hotels:

Rooms that Inspire – Guest’s rooms are a haven in which to relax and feel inspired, with modern and stylish finishes, art and home-grown delicacies in the mini bar reflecting the locale.

A Vibe Lifestyle – Comfortable lounges and bars enhance social and collective experience with strategically placed power points and USB plugs to help guests stay connected and communal Hubs to mingle, eat, work and drink.

Vibe Connected – Stay connected to your family, friends or work where ever you are. Free Wi-Fi lets you do what you want, where you want. Vibe Community Connection is an initiative to help support the local community surrounding each Vibe Hotel. As part of this program each Vibe Hotel will support local charities.

Vibe Discovery – Vibe Hotels are close to everything you need to immerse yourself in the locale. Team members play host to our guests - as they welcome you to their “home” and we like to share local knowledge and educational information with our guests, to keep them in the know on what to eat, see and do.

Vibe Fit – Fit Food menu options, local running track maps, an in-room yoga channel or to enjoy a work out with fellow guests; Vibe Hotels have everything you need to stay fit and healthy while travelling.

Creative Conferencing – Vibe meetings are spaces to think, inspire and spur creativity with casual seating and creative breakout areas, note pads filled with inspirational quotes, customised lighting and music, regionally inspired menus, state of the art multimedia and high speed internet.

To find out more visit: www.tfehotels.com/vibe-hotel-marysville

Traveloscopy | 

A&K's Top Travel Picks for 2015 including Destinations, Adventure and Cultural Experiences

As the founder of luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent and a pioneer in experiential travel, Geoffrey Kent certainly knows the best destinations to recommend for adventure, authentic experiences, and unique cultural interactions – places that will change the way you look at the world.

Having travelled around the globe and consulted with A&K destination experts, here are his top picks for the best travel experiences for the year ahead.

Rivers of Southeast Asia

Why do it? Travelling along these historic rivers offers a comfortable way to explore remote regions and glimpse into the daily lives of the local peoples. Cruising along the Mekong River reveals remarkable landscapes, stilt villages, incredible birdlife, wing-tipped pagodas and remote Buddhist monasteries. But for a glimpse of old Indochina, there is no more eye-opening destination than Myanmar, and no better way to experience the romance of a bygone era than by cruising the Irrawaddy River aboard the new all-suite Sanctuary Ananda.

How to do it? A&K’s Journey on the Mekong itinerary (10 days from $10,545 per person twin share); A&K’s Myanmar in Style itinerary (11 days from $7,335 per person twin share).

GK’s Travel Tip? Rise early to visit the fascinating Cai Rang floating market in Vietnam…and bring your camera, this is the place to capture brilliant photographs of daily market life.

India

Why do it? India stirs your senses from every direction, and there are several distinctly different ways to explore the country. You can view the magnificence of the Taj Mahal, then venture deeper into the heartland of rural India. You can combine culture with rich wildlife viewing, from elephants and rhinos to lions and the true king of the jungle, the endangered Bengal tiger. Or you can take in the highlights travelling in comfort by private jet, ending in Hyderabad with a gala three-day festival of gourmet dining, local entertainment and five-star hospitality hosted by Geoffrey Kent at the legendary Taj Falaknuma Palace.

How to do it? A&K’s Splendours of Rajasthan itinerary (14 days from $9,355 per person twin share); In Search of Tiger itinerary (8 days from $4,233 per person twin share); India by Private Jet (15 days from US$28,995 per person twin share; includes Gala Chairman’s Event with Geoffrey Kent).

GK’s Travel Tip? India is one of the most consistently rewarding places to visit in the world and I can think of no better way to celebrate it than in a manner worthy of the maharajahs of old.

Southern Africa

Why do it? Combine outstanding wilderness experiences in Zambia when you visit the South Luangwa, home of the 'walking safari' and widely considered one of Africa's finest and most unspoiled wildlife reserves, and two of Botswana's richest game viewing areas - Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta. You'll see game from safari vehicles, get up close on foot and float gently past herds on a river cruise. Unspoilt natural beauty and abundant game make these two countries an ideal southern African safari.

How to do it? A&K’s Best of Zambia and Botswana itinerary https://www.abercrombiekent.com/travel/?tid=6018(12 days from $10,594 per person twin share).

GK’s Travel Tip? To relax in complete comfort after a day filled with adventures, listening to the sounds of the bush and seeing the spectacular starry sky – that is one of my favorite things.

China

Why do it? What better way to get the next generation to understand another culture than by exploring with all five senses? Climb the Great Wall by cable car…then ride down by toboggan. Visit the Terra Cotta Warriors and ride a bike along the old Xian city walls, and see gorgeous baby pandas, an experience is not to be missed. Hands-on experiences include a kite-making factory, a lesson in kung fu and the chance to ride (or pedal) a pedicab through the winding alleys of Beijing's hutong district.

How to do it? A&K’s China: A Family Adventure itinerary (12 days from $9,708 per adult; $8,388 per child (under 12)).

GK’s Travel Tip? Adults and kids alike will delight in seeing pandas in their natural habitat. The Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center has just been awarded the prestigious “Global 500” honor by the United Nations.

Egypt

Why do it? A bucket list destination for centuries, there has never been a better time to travel to Egypt. Not only is the country buzzing with renewed optimism, but its many fabled sites are free of crowds and open to in-the-know travellers. Discover the secrets of the Pyramids and the Sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities with your expert Egyptologist. Relax on a scenic four–night Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan aboard an award-winning Sanctuary Sun Boat, stopping at off-the-beaten track Denderah, Edfu and Kom Ombo. Enjoy guaranteed entry into one of Egypt’s legendary pyramids, which you literally explore from the inside out.

How to do it? A&K’s Nile in Style journey (9 days from $5,325 per person twin share).

GK’s Travel Tip? The experience for tourists in Egypt right now is as welcoming and upbeat as I’ve ever seen it, plus the ability to see the pyramids without crowds won’t last long.

Peru

Why do it? World famous for its ancient ruins, spectacular scenery and colonial architecture, Peru can now add cuisine to its international appeal. Voted “Best Culinary Destination in South America”, Peru can also claim Lima as the continent’s culinary capital. Sophisticated and inventive, the Peruvian culinary scene is one of the world’s most exciting. Guests can sample the country’s remarkable local produce, scour markets with a local chef and take part in a cooking class, as well as taste local specialties like ceviche. Or venture beyond Lima to the Amazon rainforest, the source of so many of the local ingredients found in this innovative cuisine.

How to do it? A&K’s Taste of Peru journey (9 days from $8628 per person twin share); Cruise the Amazon (4 days from US$3,165 per person twin share).

GK’s Travel Tip? Explore the upper reaches of the wild Amazon in luxury on a cruise. What better way to understand the local cuisine than to see where so many of the indigenous foods come from.

Japan

Why do it? Though steeped in tradition, parts of Japan are stylishly modern. Tokyo is as cosmopolitan a city as you’ll find with its skyscrapers, neon lights and fashionably dressed citizens. But travellers can still glimpse ancient cultural traditions, from kimono-clad geishas in Kyoto to Shinto shrines. There’s incredible architecture, fascinating history and world famous gardens. Leading the country into the new millennium are cutting edge art installations on Naoshima Island and amazing hi-tech hotels. Then there are those cherry blossoms…

How to do it? A&K’s Ancient and Modern itinerary (10 days from $12,675 per person twin share).

GK’s Travel Tip? A visit to Kyoto is like travelling back in time. Founded in the seventh century, it is home to so many of Japan’s national treasures. Marvel at the 1,001 statues of the Goddess of Mercy at Sanjusangendo Temple, visit Kodai-ji for a lesson in Zen meditation, or take part in a tea ceremony.

Wonders of the World… in one extraordinary globe-spanning journey

Why do it? Machu Picchu, Easter Island, the Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat, Istanbul. These are some of humankind’s most enduring achievements, places that have drawn travellers for centuries. Join 50 privileged guests on a privately chartered Boeing 757-200ER with custom-designed Italian leather lie-flat seats. End the journey in Marrakech with A&K founder Geoffrey Kent.

How to do it? A&K’s Wonders of the World by Private Jet journey (24 days from US$108,000 per person twin share).

GK’s Travel Tip? Ride a camel through the pristine Erg Chebbi dunes to A&K’s exclusive desert camp. The handcrafted caidale-style tents once welcomed dignitaries in Moroccan palaces. Watch the sun set over the dunes and enjoy an unforgettable dinner under the stars with a traditional performance by local tribesmen.

To book your A&K itinerary today or to enquire further please contact Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 590 317 or visit www.abercrombiekent.com.au

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places