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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Alison Angkor hotel in Siem Reap


A new 'Manhattan' Style Alison Angkor Boutique Villa & Resort Opens in Siem Reap

Special 15% discount rates available during soft opening:  April 2015


Asia Initiative Corporation (AIC), Cambodia's locally owned hospitality services company sector has opened a new 12 room, 6 villas Alison Angkor Boutique Villa & Resort in central Siem Reap.

The Alison is the first hotel launched by AIC under its AICPLUS+ brand.  AICPLUS+ was created to provide hospitality clients with specialist professional pre-opening, consultancy and events management services – a first for the fast growing Cambodian hospitality sector.

Featured at the Alison is a large shaded swimming pool, six premier deluxe rooms and six luxury suites, large bedrooms and bedrooms, 5-star service, mouth watering dining and critically, a central location to the heart of Siem Reap.  It was purpose-built to attract guests looking for a memorable 'Manhattan' style luxury stay and traditional, friendly Khmer service in Siem Reap, home of the world heritage listed Angkor Wat.

A special 15% discount is available for online bookings for the Alison, which begin at US$98 nett for the Premier Deluxe Room, made from 01 April - 01 Jun 2015, with all stays taken by May - September 2015.  Included in the high value rates are daily breakfast, airport transfers, complimentary Wi-Fi, and car parking.  The discount is only available if booked at: booking@alisonangkor.com | business@asiainitiativecorpplus.com or by telephone +855 77 332 168.

Conveniently situated near Wat Bo, the oldest and most beautiful of Siem Reap's pagodas, the Alison Angkor Boutique Villa & Resort is a leisurely walk from the French-colonial buildings of the Old Market area, the bustling Night Market, and the vibrant restaurants of Pub Street; and easy access to the airport and Angkor Wat.

Alison suites comprise luxurious amenities including wide screen TV, Wi-Fi, and quiet AC.  All appointments are modern and stylish including spacious king size bed and tastefully furnished in-room sofa, a separate living room with private balcony, en-suite large soaking tub and separate rain shower.

The Premier Deluxe Rooms and Suite Rooms feature full luxury amenities including wide screen TV, Wi-Fi, and quiet AC, as well as a king size bed, stylish furnishings, in-room sofa, private balcony, and en-suite rain shower.

Key features of rooms at the Alison include:
  • Private balcony
  • Spacious living room
  • Luxurious modern bed
  • Remote-controlled air-conditioner
  • En-suite bathroom with amenities, large soaking tub, shower, hair dryer, bathrobes, slippers and toiletries
  • 32 inch flat screen TV with multiple cable channels
  • Wi-Fi Internet access
  • In-room phone
  • In-room scale
  • Writing desk and room directory
  • Fridge with mini-bar
  • Complimentary drinking water
  • Coffee and tea-making facilities
AIC is based in Siem Reap and has plans to expand into the Indochina region when its Cambodian operations are operating to their maximum.

Founded in 2013 by Cambodia's leading hospitality professionals, AIC has seven properties under management.  It also advises on the international standard Por Cuisine restaurant in Siem Reap, and project manages the traditional Cambodia country accommodation, The Bong Thom Home Stay.

Website:  www.alisonangkor.com | www.asiainitiativecorp.com


Sunday, March 29, 2015

HRA signs Naman Retreat Vietnam



Effective 1st March 2015, HRA is proud to announce the signing of Naman Retreat in Vietnam. Naman Retreat is a tranquil getaway in the Central Coast of Vietnam.  Located midway between Hoi An's Ancient Town (a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site) and Da Nang (Vietnam's vibrant and dynamic 3rd city), 15 minutes from Hoi An and 25 minutes from Da Nang International Airport.The property is situated between two world-class golf courses and occupies a prime location on one of the world's most celebrated strips of beach on the warm waters of the East Sea.

 Passionate individuals, antiques aficionados and lovers of authentic Vietnamese cuisine have brought the Naman Retreat to life.

 Naman Retreat offers you the harmony of a soothing natural environment combined with authentic local culture. Delicious meals, sound sleep and the unique tranquility of Naman… All entwined to refresh and transform you.
With 32 suites and 70 private pool villas the property offers something for everyone and every price point said Craig Davies, Managing Director of HRA. "the architecture is amazing and the location offers you the best of both worlds, a stunning beach front to roam for hours and at night you are only a short shuttle ride away from one of the most amazing towns in Vietnam.Hoi An. Boasting fantastic restaurants and bars plus amazing tailors and jewellers, the list can go on and on". 'Naman' means…Peace. Balance. Simplicity.

For further information on Naman Retreat call +61-2-9410 3405 or visit : www.namanretreat.com

Please call HRA on 02 9410 3405, or visit our website
www.hotelrepresentationaustralia.com.au

HRA currently represents many unique and exciting properties throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Le Boat doubles business in Australia



Le Boat doubles its growth out of Australia and celebrates with biggest Australian partner French Travel Connection

Le Boats Managing Director Cheryl Brown has just spent 2 weeks touring Australia and New Zealand meeting wholesalers, agents and partners with Sydney based Head of Distribution, David Reid. Le Boat is the largest European Boating business in the world and sells from multi-source markets. Le Boat offers over 200 beautiful cruises out of 9 beautiful European Countries and has a fleet of just over 900 canal boats to suit all customers' needs (www.leboat.com.au). Over the last 5 year Le Boat has invested over $60 million building, developing and innovating boats on the waterways and are excited to announce even more investment for 2016 onwards.

During her time in Sydney, Managing Director of Le Boat, Cheryl Brown met with the company's largest wholesaler in Australia, French Travel Connection, on her tour of Australia and New Zealand, to discuss the growth and direction of Le Boat.



Cheryl was delighted to announce to Brad McDonnell, Managing director of French Travel Connection, that they were the largest contributing agent to Le Boat Australia's $3 million revenue growth for 2014 and the ongoing growth into 2015.

The partnership between Le Boat and French Travel Connection has never been stronger and continues to grow due to French Travel Connections on going activities with the Australian trade.

Cheryl Powell stated "I am extremely happy and proud to have a specialist such as French Travel Connection as a key partner in this market that is so focussed on promoting Le Boat and its wide range of "self-drive" canal boating holidays in France, which is reflected in their very strong and growing sales."

For more information visit www.leboat.com.au or call 02 8912 7041


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Appointment of new Chief Operating Officer for TFE Hotels


The Chief Executive Officer of TFE Hotels, Rachel Argaman, today announced the appointment of tourism industry authority, Tammy Marshall, to the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer.

Reporting directly to the CEO, Tammy is set to start at TFE Hotels in May 2015 and oversee hotel operations, team performance and business improvement across the organisation and its brands including Adina Apartment Hotels, Medina Serviced Apartments, Rendezvous Hotels, Vibe Hotels, Travelodge Hotels and Hotel Kurrajong Canberra.

“Tammy’s credentials in the tourism industry are impeccable,” Ms. Argaman said. “I have worked closely with Tammy in the past and admire her as a passionate leader and change agent. We’re privileged to have Tammy join our business in this critical period as TFE Hotels continues to transform and grow.”

Tammy brings more than 20 years’ experience in tourism, spanning wholesale, hotels and resorts and touring sectors. Most recently, Tammy was Senior Vice President for the regional office of the world’s largest cruise company, Carnival Corporation. In her three years with Carnival Australia, Tammy led the P&O Cruises brand and was responsible for commercial operations across Carnival Australia, at a time when Australia overtook the US to become the world’s leading cruise market in terms of growth and market penetration.

In just three years, Tammy transformed the P&O Cruises brand and passenger experience to secure its position as Australia’s most popular and trusted cruise line.

“I am truly excited by what Tammy’s unique mix of operations and customer experience, her commercial mindset and her undeniable passion for the industry will bring to TFE Hotels,” Ms Argaman said.

Tammy said: “Having hung my captain’s hat on the peg and shaken my sea-legs, I could not be more excited to be joining TFE Hotels, one of the leading hospitality operators, with such a diverse range of brands and audiences. I truly believe that organisational growth is achieved through people, culture, vision and focus on creating customer value and I am excited to take the next step in my career with such a respected business.

Tammy was previously Managing Director of Inspiring Journeys and AAT Kings and prior to that spent seven years as the Managing Director of iconic youth travel brand Contiki and Contiki Resorts. Tammy holds an MBA from the University of Queensland, where she graduated and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and in 2013 completed the Executive Management Program at UCLA.



Traveloscopy | 

URBN Hotel Shanghai special Weekend Retreat Package

DISCOVER SHANGHAI’S AUTHENTIC NEIGHBOURHOOD CHARMS WITH URBN HOTEL SHANGHAI’S WEEKEND RETREAT PACKAGE


Shanghai’s award-winning eco-boutique hotel URBN Hotel Shanghai is offering a special Weekend Retreat Package from now until 31 May 2015. URBN invites guests to discover unique experiences in one of Shanghai’s most authentic neighborhoods, with special extras including complimentary massages, a delicious weekend brunch and a welcome gift bag.

Guests enjoying the URBN Weekend Retreat Package can take advantage of the boutique hotel’s superb location on a quiet, tree-lined street in Jing’an District. From this unique vantage, they are well placed to experience local neighborhood life and discover the abundance of trendy independent bars, cafes and boutiques in the surrounding lanes. Offering the best of both worlds, the hotel is also just steps away from the commercial heart of Jing’an CBD and Shanghai’s hippest art and shopping scenes.

The perfect weekend at URBN Hotel Shanghai begins with an easy check in at reception where guests are handed a Welcome URBN tote bag inclusive of a bottle of wine and a variety of cookies made in-house. After settling in, guests can enjoy a leisurely Saturday or Sunday brunch for two. URBN’s Beergrdn gastro pub features an open kitchen and outdoor garden marquee in the walled courtyard that is ideal for relaxing on sunny Spring mornings.

Guests can then head out to explore the lively local culture, while photography enthusiasts will find plenty of inspiration in the colourful street scenery. It’s a pleasant stroll along tree-shaded lanes to Jing’an Temple, Wuding dining and bar street and the luxury brand-name shopping of Nanjing West Road. The hotel is also located just a 15 minute walk from Jing’an Temple Metro Station, offering easy train connections all across Shanghai.

At the end of a busy day of sightseeing and shopping, guests can return to the peaceful courtyard of URBN Hotel Shanghai, where they can relax with a craft beer at beergrdn or work out at the 24-hour URBN-fit gym. Helping guests fully unwind, the package also includes a complimentary traditional Chinese massage for two at Dragonfly, a famous Shanghai spa located right next door to the hotel.

The Weekend Retreat Package is priced at RMB1,380+ per night, including a complimentary welcome gift bag, Chinese massage for two, URBN brunch for two (reservation necessary) and room upgrade subject to availability. The package is valid for a minimum two-night stay on Friday, Saturday or Sunday night with guaranteed booking. For enquiries and reservations, please contact reservation@urbnhotels.com.

Distances and Access:
  • 5 mins walk to Jing’an Temple Metro Station
  • 10 mins drive to People’s Square
  • 35 mins drive to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
  • 50 mins drive to Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Local Area Highlights
  • Walking distance to major shopping malls: Jing’an Kerry Centre, Shanghai Centre, Reel Mall
  • M50 art district
  • Wuding Lu and Yanping Road drinking streets
  • Jade Buddha Temple
  • Shanghai Exhibition Center
  • MoCA Shanghai – Museum of Contemporary Art

About URBN Hotels
URBN Hotels are unique and differentiated, not only by design but by each location’s unique brand story and dedication to the environment and inherent sustainable business approach. Cachet Hotel Group approaches each potential URBN property with the goal of identifying opportunities to transform the space into an individualistic URBN brand product employing innovative, functional and green design techniques that will respond to the needs of the community and instill a distinct neighborly feeling. URBN brand will expand beyond URBN Shanghai Hotel across China and Southeast Asia, as managed and franchised boutique hotels and villa resorts.

About Cachet Hotel Group
Cachet Hotel Group (CHG) is a Hong Kong-based hotel development and management company. CHG’s mission is to be the most innovative and socially responsible hospitality company in Asia. With numerous projects under development, CHG is focused on establishing properties in Greater China, Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and the United States.

For more information, please go to http://www.cachethotelgroup.com


Top 10 New Tourism Products for The Margaret River Region in Western Australia

There have been oodles of new and exciting tourism products popping up in The Margaret River Region in Western Australia these past few months. We've collated our top 10 - in case you need more reasons to come back and visit!

Margaret River Eco Adventures
Copyright: Margaret River Eco Adventures

  1. Young Henrys Brewing Co: First opened in Newcastle, NSW in 2012, Young Henrys is launching its first WA venue - the Gale Road 'Beer Farm' in The Margaret River Region. Just 20 minutes north of the Margaret River township, the venue is due to open next month, offering an innovative and environmentally friendly approach to craft beer.
  2. EcoAdventures Margaret River: The world's first electric quad bike tour; a unique new way to see the stunning Margaret River forest and beaches. This fully guided, family friendly tour takes visitors to very special hidden gems of the Boranup Forest in the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park to discover places very few locals have ever seen. Smooth and quiet, the Eco Bike is a fully electric quad bike that was hand built specifically for this fully guided tour.
  3. Brygon Reserve Wines: A new cellar door only 9km from Margaret River township, located right next door to Colonial Brewing Co on Osmington Road. Taste award winning wines and take a peek into a working winery, surrounded by picturesque vineyards, beautiful landscaped lawns, a private lake and accommodation chalets.
  4. Temper Temper: Located next door to Yahava Koffeeworks just south of the Margaret River township, Temper Temper makes fine chocolate sourced from sustainable farms around the equator, and serves it up with a fresh cup of coffee and a delicious light menu of fresh produce.
  5. Augusta Boat Harbour: The new $36.4 million Augusta Boat Harbour is now officially open, providing a much needed safe haven for vessels navigating the rugged coastline between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste in the Margaret River Region. The world class facility is a working harbour catering for the growing commercial and recreational fleet in the area, and will allow both local residents and visitors to enjoy the beauty of Flinders Bay and explore all the surrounding area has to offer.
  6. Treeton Fine Wood Studio: Recently opened in Cowaramup, just 10 minutes north of Margaret River, Treeton Fine Wood Furniture offers custom-made fine furniture utilising local hard woods such as Marri, Jarrah, Sheoak and Blackbutt. Owner/artist Adrian van den Ouweland new purpose built workshop and gallery displays an array of finely crafted furniture and smaller items on display, including his famous end grain chopping boards.
  7. The Villa Margaret River: Light and bright, secluded in a quiet part of town yet just a few steps away from the main street of Margaret River, this accommodation is fully self contained with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Walk to cafes, restaurants, bars, shops, galleries, forests and river.
  8. Margaret River Exposed: A photography-focussed tour that exposes the true wonders of the region, from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin. Access the national parks of the South West via luxury 4WD and visit “off the beaten track” secluded spots rich in wildlife, wildflowers and amazing vistas not normally accessible.
  9. Tiger Moth Adventure Flights: Step back in time as you climb into one of Western Australia's iconic vintage Tiger Moth airplanes. Don your leather helmet and goggles and experience the adventure that RAAF pilots of the 1940s would have encountered. Experience the thrill of low level flying (500 feet) in an open-cockpit vintage Tiger Moth over Busselton, including the iconic Busselton Jetty, and the Margaret River coastline and countryside.
  10. Whirlwind Olives and Oil: A family-owned and run estate, using planet-friendly techniques to deliver superior, yet affordable products. Their award winning extra virgin olive oil is produced on the property in the rolling vales of the Margaret River Region. The annual harvest is hand-picked and the oil varieties are crushed within 24 hours of picking resulting in superb quality olive oils.


Traveloscopy | 

Wild Bush Luxury and Taylors Wines to Bring More South Australian Experiences to the Table

Wild Bush Luxury and Taylors Wines have joined forces in an exciting collaboration that celebrates South Australia's diverse natural landscape and unique travel destinations along with outstanding food and wine.



Through the new partnership, Wild Bush Luxury and Taylors Wines will collaborate on a series of travel experiences that enhance Wild Bush Luxury's exclusive Arkaba property in South Australia's Flinders Ranges, with Taylors' award-winning wines; bringing food, wine and travel together in the iconic Aussie outback.

Founded upon a shared passion for local produce and authentic Australian experiences, as well as a strong commitment to sustainability and conservation, the partnership will promote the natural beauty and heritage of South Australia through inspirational packages and exciting campaigns.

The first in a series of planned collaborations launched this month with the unveiling of Wild Bush Luxury's “Your Wild Bush Story” digital campaign atwww.DiscoverArkaba.com.

The online campaign has been thoughtfully designed to drive awareness and inspire travellers to explore Wild Bush Luxury's unique Australian experiences through a series of sensory 3D-sound and cinemagraphs, which invoke the emotional feelings of being immersed in the bush.

The storyboard campaign takes online guests on a journey through a sequence of Wild Bush Luxury outback experiences, encouraging them to create their own “Wild Bush Story” for the chance to win an exclusive South Australian experience with Arkaba and Taylors Wines.

Every “Wild Bush Story” entrant is in with the chance of winning first prize, which includes a choice of a three night exclusive stay at Arkaba Homestead or a four night Arkaba Walk adventure. En route to the chosen Arkaba experience, the winner will get the chance to experience being a winemaker for a day at Taylors Wines, located in the beautiful Clare Valley. Five runners up will each receive a Taylors Wines six-pack of Taylors gold medal winning 2013 Jaraman Shiraz.

Wild Bush Luxury's owner and founder, Charlie Carlow, considers a partnership with Taylors Wines a natural fit for his South Australia outpost and a great opportunity to further enhance the guest experience at Arkaba:

"Both Taylors Wines and Wild Bush Luxury share a passion for quality South Australian produce, sustainable practices, and exceptional, authentic guest experiences,” said Mr Carlow.

“Taylors Wines vineyard is located roughly halfway between Adelaide and Arkaba, providing an idyllic stop for our guests to stretch their legs and enjoy a tasting on route to the Flinders Ranges,” he added.

“As well as encouraging our guests to stop off at Taylors Wines, we will also be introducing a handpicked Taylors range to our property wine lists. There is no better way to enjoy a great wine than in the exclusive and beautiful surrounds of the Arkaba Conservancy.

Wild Bush Luxury, owner operator of Arkaba Homestead and the Arkaba Walk, redefines the South Australian outback experience by providing guests with passionate and knowledgeable guides, thoughtful, luxurious touches and the finest food and wine menus.

Guests also learn about the conservation work being carried out on the property, as part of Wild Bush Luxury's commitment to the conservation of Australia's natural and cultural heritage. It is this local knowledge that makes a stay at Arkaba an enriching and truly Australian experience.

Just five hours drive (or a one-hour charter flight) from Adelaide via South Australia's wine regions, Arkaba is one of Australia's most accessible outback experiences.

Individual rooms at the Arkaba Homestead costs from $816 per person per night twin share, with a minimum stay of two nights. Single clients pay a supplement of $408 for a room.

Rates are inclusive of chef prepared meals, beverages and privately guided activities on the property (4WD safaris, wildlife viewing, daily guiding).

For further information on Arkaba visit: www.arkabawalk.com orwww.arkabastation.com

Booking enquiries:
Wild Bush Luxury Reservations: info@wildbushluxury.com, 1300 790 561
Traveloscopy | 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hong Kong Tourism Board launches "My time for ... Hong Kong" brand


The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has launched its new branding “My time for ... Hong Kong” at a trade event in Sydney. The focus of the “My time for” brand is on ‘experiential’ travel to provide personal connections for travellers with the destination so they can explore beyond the city’s iconic attractions and discover its many hidden treasures. This new direction is a move away from a focus on ‘product’ to showcase an emotional connection and engagement with the destination, enabling visitors to shape and share their unique and personal Hong Kong travel experiences with friends and family.

The ‘My time for’ branding will provide consistent elements across the HKTB’s advertising and event communications to highlight the brand’s DNA and the destination’s core experiences of shopping, dining + nightlife, city icons and culture. The new branding will focus on inviting visitors to explore the many different worlds in Hong Kong and via ‘word of mouth’ and content generation share these experiences with their networks. The destination’s core experiences will also be supported by the promotion of the great outdoors (green) and major events, including cultural festivals, sporting and arts events.

The “My time for’ brand tagline can be tailored depending upon the key messages and focus of each campaign to highlight a variety of themes including “My time for inspiration” and “My time for exploration”. By adapting the tagline the HKTB aims to bring to life the destination’s unique experiences and major events for travellers across its promotional and advertising campaigns, including digital and online promotions.

To ensure these messages are well delivered the HKTB has invested in a master photography project to produce a series of new destination images which capture the city’s sights, sounds and stories and clearly portray the “My time for’ branding. These new images will be used across the HKTB’s advertising, events, publicity, social media and online promotions globally.

Hong Kong Tourism Board
Website: www.DiscoverHongKong.com/au

Largest Ferrari Experience in Southern Hemisphere headed for Australian Motoring Festival



LaFerrari to feature – Italian supercar giant’s most ambitious project ever

Ferrari have announced that they will be showcasing LaFerrari, the $3 million limited production hybrid supercar, as the centrepiece of the 2000 square metre Ferrari exhibition at the inaugural Australian Motoring Festival, to be held from 26-29 March at the Melbourne Showgrounds.

LaFerrari
In an exhilarating exhibition featuring more than $30 million of its iconic sports cars, Ferrari have spared no expense to showcase the very best of the iconic 86 year old Italian supercar manufacturer.

“We are delighted to be bringing more than 2,000 square metres of Ferrari engineering, design and passion to Melbourne, including our most ambitious project to date, LaFerrari, which boasts the greatest performance ever achieved by a Ferrari production car,” said Herbert Appleroth, CEO of Ferrari Australasia.

“Surrounding LaFerrari will be a uniquely Ferrari experience featuring 30 years of Ferrari supercar history, a stunning Ferrari showroom with the latest range of Ferrari road cars, and our Ferrari Kids Zone with interactive displays, racing simulators and slot cars.”

LaFerrari
Limited to only 499 vehicles, LaFerrari boasts an incredible 789-horsepower 6.3-liter V12 engine capable of revving to 9,350 rpms. All of this adds up to a 0 to 100 kph time of under 3 seconds. With the aerodynamics of a Formula 1, the unique HY-KERS hybrid drivetrain, and Ferrari’s signature design aesthetics, LaFerrari is a truly incredible showcase of Italian automotive engineering.

“The Ferrari experience at the festival is going to be something that no Ferrari fan in Australia will want to miss,” said Australian Motoring Festival Event Director Kylie Wood.

“Ferrari is committed to showcasing the very best they have to offer at the event, on a scale you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the Southern Hemisphere. With the Ferrari Kids Zone, historical Ferrari exhibit and the latest model road cars on display, there will be something on offer for Ferrari fans of any age.”

The Australian Motoring Festival will be held from 26-29 March at the Melbourne Showgrounds. Tickets start from $30 for adults and $20 for children, with RACV and VACC members saving more than 30% on ticket prices. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the website at www.australianmotoringfestival.com.au

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Germanwings A320 with 144 passengers and 6 crew crashes in French Alps

Germanwings A320 (picture alliance)

An Airbus plane operated by Germanwings crashed on Tuesday over southern France and it was likely that none of the 150 people on board survived, German air traffic authorities and French officials said.

The Airbus A320 plane was carrying 144 passengers and six crew members when it went down over the French Alps as it made its way from Barcelona to the German city of Dusseldorf, French media reported. French President Francois Hollande said in televised remarks that it was likely that no one survived.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Mercure Brisbane hotel re-launches restaurant and bar


 

    

 The Mercure Brisbane hotel has re-launched its restaurant and bar, showcasing a fresh, light and contemporary new finish for guests and revised menu that reflects its prime location overlooking the Brisbane River and Southbank Parklands.

The dining spot - formerly known as 'Quay' and renamed to simply become the Mercure Restaurant & Bar – is the final installment of a multimillion dollar renovation undertaken at the Mercure Brisbane over the past two years. Completed under the creative eye of interior's specialists WMK Architecture, the restaurant update follows on from the hotel's impressive room and interactive lobby refurbishment completed late last year.

Continuing the modern design theme introduced with the recent room and reception revival, the restaurant presents a slightly different colour palette for diners, offering subtle blues and greys - a departure from the powerful pink tones and more energetic vibe of the hotel's bustling reception area. Reconstituted stone bench tops, black laminate frames and shelves, and mirrored back panels, complete the cool and contemporary look of this urban dining room.

Timber herringbone detail on the walls tie in the sophisticated look of the lobby, while modern patterns and fabric texture add interest and effortless warmth for guests.

Conjuring calm, the restaurant and bar offer a casual ambiance and place to reflect and enjoy the river view over great food. Providing an airy, light-filled space, the restaurant features freestyle tables for couples or solo travellers, and banquet seating for larger groups of up to six or eight people together. Mercure has also incorporated a buffet niche which can be used as a private function space on request.

The technology focus of the reception area flows into the new restaurant, with connectivity ports available throughout the space, either as individual USB and power port hubs accessible in the main dining area, or via larger connection ports designed for multiple guests seated at communal dining tables.

Mercure Restaurant & Bar serves buffet breakfast daily and transforms in the evenings to an intimate dining room, offering an la carte menu that specifically highlights fresh produce sourced from the South East Queensland region. The new menu features a selection of small bites (including pan seared local scallops, pan fried quail, and Szechuan & lemon grass infused calamari), big bites (such as pork ribs, traditional Northern chickpea and potato curry and lamb rack) plus fresh fish, great sides and a fantastic sweet bites dessert and cheese list.

A must try is Mercure's Paella de Mariscos made with saffron infused rice and cooked with a selection of local seafood. An 'Ankle Biters' children's menu is also on offer, featuring a selection of tried and true kid's favourites alongside newer items such as Mercure's fish tacos with pineapple slaw.

In addition to its regular bar menu, the Mercure invites guests to try its Flavours from the Cellar wine list which includes a broad selection of quality, regional wines at affordable prices, specially selected in consultation with renowned wine judge and consultant, Jim McMahon.

Mercure Restaurant & Bar is located on level 2 of the Mercure Brisbane hotel at 85-87 North Quay Brisbane. For restaurant reservations please call 07 3237 2499. Visit www.mercurebrisbane.com.au/dining.html


Opening Hours

Breakfast

Monday – Friday 06:00am – 10:30am

Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays – 06:30am – 11:00am

Dinner

7 days – 6:00pm – 9:30pm

Bar

7 day – 10:00am – Late

Monday, March 23, 2015

Solomon Airlines Awarded Second IATA IOSA Certification


Accolade potential catalyst for commercial agreements with fellow IOSA recipients

Honiara, Solomon Islands – Marking yet another major benchmark in its 53-year history Solomon Airlines has been awarded with its second IATA Operational Safety Audit Certification* (IOSA).

Announcing the news, Solomon Airlines’ CEO, Captain Ron Sumsum was quick to recognise each one of the national carrier’s team members, all of whom he said played a key role in helping the airline achieve this highest of international aviation safety standards.

“Year on year we have continued to perform and achieve those highest of standards based on our International Air Operator Certification (AOC),” Captain Sumsum said.

“This in itself has been the forerunner for Solomon Airlines ensuring these safety principles apply to all our operations, both domestic and international.

“The IOSA Certification previously achieved has already resulted in a much stronger commercial alliance with our fellow Melanesian regional partners Air Niugini and Air Vanuatu, both of which are IOSA-certified.

“We are now awaiting further audits by other potential airline partners who view our IOSA certification as a means to developing new code-share agreements and other partnerships with Solomon Airlines.

“Having achieved this secondary IOSA certification, we will now begin the process of implementing the recently introduced E-IOSA** procedure, the applied process intended to become a systematic approach in the way we do business well into the future.”

Captain Sumsum added he hoped this second IOSA achievement will be the catalyst for a review of the airline’s current associate membership with a view to it achieving its goal of full IATA status in short time.

*IOSA is an international flight safety standard and a mandatory requirement of International Air Transport Association (IATA) membership.

In order to receive IOSA certification, Solomon Airlines has again successfully completed an operational safety audit covering all aspects of the carrier’s operations – from air safety and inflight procedures, engineering and maintenance, management, ground and cabin crew performance and cargo handling. The audit is required to be performed every two years.

** E-IOSA is the result of industry demand for a more effective IOSA audit. Under E-IOSA, an Operator will be required to complete ongoing internal assessments using the IOSA Standards and Recommended Practices (ISARPs).

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Tourism New Zealand winter campaign




Tourism New Zealand is enticing Australian skiers and winter holiday makers this season with their latest campaign 'more magic every day'.

The successful campaign, now into its third year, sees Tourism New Zealand partner with Air New Zealand, Flight Centre, Instagram, and ski industry in New Zealand to encourage Australians to cross the Tasman for a winter escape.

Tony Saunders, Tourism New Zealand General Manager Australia says the new winter campaign highlights the variety of unique winter experiences on offer in New Zealand - both on and off the slopes.

"The majority of Australian's that visit New Zealand for the ski season are beginners who want the freedom to take to the slopes in the morning and then unwind at a local winery in the afternoon. The new campaign will showcase the variety of activities on offer for travellers to enjoy throughout their winter holiday."


The campaign aims to grow first time arrivals, increase average ski days and encourage Australians to cross the Tasman for the perfect winter holiday.

"This year's campaign launches earlier than ever before. Through our partnership with Air New Zealand and Flight Centre we will be looking to drive Australians to not just think about a winter holiday in New Zealand, but to book it and make it happen," says Tony.

Air New Zealand General Manager Australia, Leanne Geraghty says "to celebrate our 75th anniversary and in recognition of the importance of the Australian ski market to New Zealand, Air New Zealand have today launched a winter sale so more Australians can enjoy the ski season this year."

The sale period runs from Monday 23 March to Friday 27 March 2015.

Together, Air New Zealand and alliance partner Virgin Australia will operate more than 120,000 seats between Australia and Queenstown over the July to September period.

For the first time, Tourism New Zealand has partnered with Instagram to promote New Zealand in winter through paid imagery and video content.

Brand Development Lead, Instagram Australia and New Zealand, Sophie Blachford says "Instagram is an inspiration seeking experience and a great engagement platform for brands. It is the perfect channel to highlight Tourism New Zealand's stunning winter shots, especially with the younger ski audiences that the new campaign is seeking to reach. Tourism New Zealand is one of the first travel brands to partner with us for the launch of video on Instagram, which offers the same visual, immersive quality as photo ads on Instagram, but gives us the added ability to demonstrate sound and motion."

Back by popular demand #NZdronie will be operating in New Zealand's mountain ranges. The flying drone allows ski enthusiasts to create personal videos and share the beauty of the South Island with their friends.

On newzealand.com ski hub there will be an expert ski writer, Rachael Oakes-Ash, providing advice, tips and insider knowledge on ski and winter holidays in New Zealand.

The winter campaign runs from 9 March through until July leading with TV advertising along the Eastern Seaboard, out-of-home advertising, online advertising and integrated activity across social media platforms.

New Zealand South Island ski and snow holidays have been on the increase for Australians since 2005. Currently over 100,000 Australian ski enthusiasts travel to New Zealand to experience a unique ski holiday. Over the last decade arrivals have grown significantly in the South Island during the winter peak months from July to September.

For more information visit www.newzealand.com


Sunday, March 22, 2015

New 'Sydney & NSW in Winter' and Vivid Sydney Guides Released This Weekend



Nearly three million people across Australia and New Zealand will be encouraged to take a Winter break in New South Wales, as the wonders of the State are showcased this weekend in a 40-page Love Every Second of Sydney & NSW in Winter guide.

The guide, available through publications including Sunday Telegraph in Sydney, the Sunday Herald Sun in Melbourne, the Brisbane Sunday Mail, the Perth Sunday Times, the Adelaide Sunday Mail, the Canberra Times, as well as various titles across Regional NSW and North East Victoria, is published by Destination NSW, the NSW Government's tourism and major events agency.

For the first time it will also be accompanied by a bonus souvenir Vivid Sydney guide, which will provide readers with all the details of this year's festival, on from 22 May to 8 June.



Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said that the publications highlight some of the best things to see, do and experience in NSW this Winter.

“NSW turns up the heat in the cooler months, with a bumper line-up of events and festivals right across the State, with something for all ages and tastes,” Ms Chipchase said.

“Vivid Sydney continues to be the centrepiece Winter event, and it will be bigger and better than ever this year, with light, music and ideas shining brightly across the city. Last year it was named Australia's Best Tourism Event and attracted 1.43 million people from across Australia and around the World.

“The Love Every Second of Sydney & NSW in Winter magazine will also highlight the blockbuster calendar of events – many of which are NSW exclusives – over the coming months, including the premiere of Tim Minchin's Matilda: The Musical, the visit of Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur, the first game of the State of Origin series, the Touch Football World Cup in Coffs Harbour, the Netball World Cup and the Bledisloe Cup.

The guides will also appear in newspapers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in New Zealand.

“These publications have a total readership of 2.78 million people, and the guides provide all the essential information and inside tips about making a trip to Sydney and NSW unforgettable,” Ms Chipchase said.

"In addition, Destination NSW is working with a number of industry partners to offer fantastic travel deals as part of the campaign," she said. For more information on the Vivid Sydney festival, visit Vividsydney.com. More information on NSW and Sydney can be found at sydney.com and visitnsw.com.


Traveloscopy | 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Queensland's Fraser Island Offers Great Family Escapes over Easter Holidays

It might be the world's largest sand island, but Fraser Island's 100+ fresh water lakes, temperate sub-tropical climate, pristine national park and the Easter long weekend and holidays combine to make it a natural choice for a mini break away from the mainland.

Eurong Beach Resort offers absolute beach frontage on Fraser Island
Copyright: Eurong Beach Resort

Stay Longer, Pay Less on Fraser Island
FRASER ISLAND: A family holiday at Kingfisher Bay Resort is both relaxing and affordable with the 'Stay Longer, Pay Less' deal. Once you arrive on Fraser, there's plenty of wide open space, and with a stack of nature-based resort activities to choose from, you can opt for the right blend of family togetherness these holidays.

It's all about the kids on the sunset side of Fraser Island this Easter as Kingfisher Bay Resort Ranger team roll out a range of eco-themed activities – Scavenger Hunts, Night Walk Adventures and Camp Fires - as part of their Junior Eco Ranger school holiday program. The Easter Bunny has also been drafted to appear at the resort's annual Easter Sunday Egg Hunt.

For the big kids, Kingfisher Natural spa therapists will take advantage of the gorgeous weather by performing 30 minute poolside massages over the Easter long weekend.

And, for those seeking adventure, the resort's popular Beauty Spots day tours of the island will continue to run daily. There's plenty of activities to fill your day and your nights and if you book and stay five nights or more at Kingfisher Bay Resort over the Easter period (excluding the long weekend), and you'll receive at least a 15% discount on the rate-of-the-day when you book the 'Stay Longer, Pay Less' deal. Book online at kingfisherbay.com or call 1800 FRASER (toll free in Australia). Offer is subject to availability. Conditions apply.

Check In To Fraser's Best Beach Front Address these Easter holidays
FRASER ISLAND: On the surf side of Fraser, Eurong Beach Resort attracts visitors and staff from all over the world and that's the way we like it. These Easter holidays, New Zealand-born Chef, Adam Anderton, will start the day with an early morning haka as he puts his hot-crossed buns and other goodies in to bake in the wee small hours of Good Friday and Irish Assistant Manager, Dave Farrelly, will again whip up pancakes for brekkie – made from his family's secret recipe.

And whilst the Easter bunny won't make an appearance at Eurong Beach, staff members are planning a special Easter egg hunt, complete with treats, for the kids on Easter Sunday. McKenzie's restaurant will have seafood specials during the specials and the resort's bakery will run a café/pizza menu until 8pm each night during the holidays.

Whilst the Easter long weekend is always popular at Eurong Beach, there is still plenty of availability over the rest of the holidays. To book call 1800 111 808 or visit Eurong.com for seasonal deals.

Extra Fraser Island Ferry Services Announced For Easter
Fraser Island Barges has announced additional vehicle barge services to Fraser Island over the Easter break. Due to tides, several services have been rescheduled in early April.

Friday, April 3 (Good Friday)
An extra service will depart Wanggoolba Creek to River Heads at 1100.
An extra service will depart River Heads to Wanggoolba Creek at 1130.
An extra service will depart Wanggoolba Creek to River Heads at 1230.
An extra service will depart River Heads to Kingfisher Bay Resort at 1330.
An extra service will sail from Kingfisher Bay Resort to River Heads at 1430.

Saturday, April 4 (Easter Saturday)
Scheduled 1500 service from Wanggoolba Creek will now sail at 1230.

Sunday, April 5 (Easter Sunday)
Scheduled 1500 service from Wanggoolba Creek will now sail at 1300.

Monday, April 6 (Easter Monday)
An extra service will depart Wanggoolba Creek to River Heads at 1100.
An extra service will depart River Heads to Wanggoolba Creek at 1130.
Scheduled 1500 service from Wanggoolba Creek will now sail at 1330.
An extra service will sail from River Heads to Kingfisher Bay Resort​ at 1430.
An extra service will sail from Kingfisher Bay Resort to River Heads at 1450.

Tuesday, April 7
Scheduled 1500 service from Wanggoolba Creek will now sail at 1400.

For full timetable and updates visit fraserislandbarges.com.au;facebook.com/fraserislandferry or call 1800 BARGES as places fill fast.

Traveloscopy | 

Tigerair Australia Partners With Victorian NRL Team Melbourne Storm

Tigerair Australia welcomes Melbourne Storm's first home game for the 2015 season this Saturday night as the airline further enhances its partnership as the Victorian NRL team's official airline sponsor.



As well as visible branding on Storm's media polo and on field jersey, park signage and the Tigerair cheerleaders, the airline will be making its presence on home match days stronger than ever with the addition of a number of new game day activations to add to the fun and excitement at AAMI Park.

The flying Tigerair blimp returns to the park this weekend, but with the addition of a “fan cam” linked to the big screens attached this year, encouraging fans to show their “purple pride” as it flies past.

Toby, the Tiger mascot will make his first public appearance at a Melbourne Storm match this weekend. Fans will have the chance to win a Tigerair flight voucher when they take a photo with Toby the Tiger and enter the Instagram competition on the day, hashtagging #TigerairAU. The winner will be announced at half time on the big screen.

Coming soon, Tigerair will release a Tips To Flying Tigerair video starring Melbourne Storm players including Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk, to help educate the travelling public about flying with Tigerair.

Tigerair Australia Commercial Director, Adam Rowe says the airline is proud to call Victoria home and is excited about once again backing the boys in purple for the 2015 NRL season.

“We've come a long way over recent times in terms of rebranding, repositioning and rebuilding the business and we're keen to spread the word about the new-look Tigerair.

“Working with one of the strongest sporting teams in Australia makes sense. There are a number of strong synergies between the two organisations including a joint focus on growing our fan bases this year.”

Mr Rowe adds that Tigerair is an enabling brand that provides sports fans with the opportunity to catch their favourite team in action more often.

“The Tigerair brand is also about innovation and this year we've added a number of fun consumer activations to engage Storm fans in exciting new ways. As part of the sponsorship we will further engage Storm fans offering exclusive deals to help them get to the games and support their team.

“We're there for the team but equally, we're there for the fans,” he said.

Melbourne Storm Commercial Director Ben Dunn commented:

“Tigerair has developed into one of the Storm's most dynamic partners and their increased focus on delivering new fan engagement across the 2015 season is exactly where we want to be. Our fan base is strong and spread all over Australia, not just in Melbourne. Tigerair will be rewarding Storm fans at our home games as well as helping all our fans follow the team throughout the season."

Background:
Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club has grown to be a one of the NRL's powerhouse clubs through continued success on and off the field. One of the strongest sporting brands in Australia, Storm has played in five of the past nine grand finals, including the 2012 premiership.

Tigerair Australia is committed to delivering the best in terms of affordable and reliable air travel with friendly and professional service. The airline currently has 12 popular routes on sale with further network announcements to be made in due course.

In 2013, Tigerair Australia signed a two year agreement to be Melbourne Storm's official airline partner for NRL seasons 2014/2015.

MSC Cruises' Statement Regarding Events in Tunisia



MSC Cruises confirms that its ship MSC Splendida has left the port of La Goulette, Tunis, this morning at 6AM.(19 March)

MSC Splendida received the authorisation from the relevant authorities to leave the port of La Goulette and is heading, as originally scheduled, to Barcelona where it is currently expected to arrive at 9AM on Friday 20 March.

MSC Cruises is present on site with its crises team in order to continue to provide key assistance on the ground to MSC Splendida's guests who were involved in the tragic events and needing assistance.

MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago, will be arriving in Tunis in the coming hours in order to make a close assessment of the situation, meet in person as well as arrange to provide assistance to those affected by these tragic events and their relatives and consult with local authorities.

3.15 PM - On 18 March, MSC Splendida called the port of La Goulette, Tunis for its weekly call performed during the season from 17 December 2014 to 15 April 2015. The ship arrived with 3,714 guests and 1,267 crewmembers aboard.

As it is the case every time the ship calls Tunis, a shore excursion offered MSC Cruises' guests the opportunity to visit the famous Bardo National Museum. During the visit at the museum, some of MSC Cruises' guests were caught in the middle of a terrorist attack along with guests from another cruise line.

As soon as the company heard of the attack and the fact that some of its guests were involved this tragedy, regular stringent safety procedures were set in motion and the ship management called for the immediate cancellation of all on-going shore excursions and recall all buses and their passengers on the ground back to the ship. The security on board was also immediately raised to Level 3, its highest, by emergency protocol to ensure complete safety of all guests and crew members – the company's number one priority at all times.

In constant coordination with local, national and international authorities as well as embassies in Tunis and ground staff, MSC Splendida's command worked towards organising the safe return of the ship's guests aboard, and assessing the situation in the city's hospitals. Keeping guests aboard informed of the unfolding of the situation took constant synchronization between all actors aboard and ashore and filtering of the stream of sometimes contradicting information from various sources.

Finally, to allow all guests to promptly contact their families and loved ones at home and to provide reassurance about their wellbeing, all onboard telephony and internet was made available.

In the meantime, only a few hours after the tragic events, MSC Cruises' Crisis Team reached the ship in Tunis and immediately set out to work and started providing assistance and support to guests in this painful moment. MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago, will arrive in Tunis in the early hours of 19 March in order to make a close assessment of the situation, also to provide assistance to the victims and their relatives as well as consult with local authorities.

Based on the communication made by officials authorities, MSC Cruises, its ownership and entire management team report with profound sadness that at the time of this announcement nine of its guests are reported to have lost their lives, 12 were injured, and six (two Spanish nationals, one Belgian, one British, one French and one Japanese) are still unaccounted for in conjunction with the tragic event at the Bardo Museum. However, these numbers are still subject to modification whilst official identification is on-going.

According to sources it would appear that of the victims, three were of Japanese nationality, two French, two Spanish and two were Colombian one of which having dual nationality Colombian and Australian. The wounded, of which three Japanese nationals, one South African, one Belgian and seven French, are currently being treated in various hospitals. All of them are being assisted in person by members of the MSC Cruises Crisis Team that was immediately sent to Tunis to provide on the ground support.

MSC Cruises will continue to publish updates on any confirmed official information it may receive.

At this tragic time, the MSC Cruises family wishes to extend its most sincere and heartfelt condolences to all those who were affected by this tragic event and are suffering as a result, in particular to the families and friends of those who lost their lives as well as the injured ones.

8.50 AM

With respect to the tragic events that are currently unfolding in Tunis, MSC Cruises confirms the following:

One of our ships, MSC Splendida was calling the port of La Goulette, Tunis with 3,714 guests and 1,267crew members aboard.

At the time of the events, some of MSC Splendida guests were on shore excursions, including to the Bardo National Museum. Consequently, all MSC Cruises coaches on tour at the time of the events were immediately ordered back to the port and all other excursions and on the ground activities were immediately suspended.

At this time, the return of passengers to the ship is still on-going.

The ship's departure, originally scheduled for tonight, was postponed. For this, local security authorities set up exceptional security measures in the port and around the ships to ensure the outmost safety of MSC Cruises' guests and crew members.

An MSC Cruises team comprised of representatives from the Company's ownership, its management and dedicated Care task force is currently on its way to Tunisia to provide all possible support to guests onboard and to work closely with local authorities.

MSC Cruises remains in close contact with the relevant national and international authorities, local authorities, the ship captain as well as with the port agent to constantly monitor the situation as it unfolds.

4.30 AM

With respect to the events that are currently taking place in Tunis, in particular at the Bardo National Museum, MSC Cruises confirms the following

• One of our ships, MSC Splendida is currently calling the port of La Goulette, Tunis
• At the time of the events, some of MSC Splendida guests were on shore excursions, including to the Bardo National Museum.
• All MSC Cruises coaches on tour at the time of the events were immediately ordered back to the port and all other excursions and on the ground activities were immediately suspended.

MSC Cruises is in close contact with the relevant national and international authorities, local authorities, the ship captain as well as with the port agent to constantly monitor the situation as it unfolds. Further updates will follow.

Traveloscopy | 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Vivid Sydney 2015: Biggest Ever Program Announced

Vivid Sydney is set to shine even more brightly in 2015 when the world's largest festival of light, music and ideas delivers its biggest program yet. For 18 nights, from 22 May – 8 June, Vivid Sydney will again transform the city and harbour. The 2015 program includes expansion into new city precincts Chatswood and Central Park, its biggest ever music program including Australian exclusives such as The Hoodoo Gurus at the Powerhouse Museum and Daniel Johns' international solo debut at the Sydney Opera House, and heavy-hitting speakers at Vivid Ideas.

Sydney Opera House Lighting The Sails artist impression by Universal Everything, as part of Vivid Sydney 2015

Vivid Sydney, now in its seventh year, is owned and managed by the NSW Government's tourism and major events agency Destination NSW. Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said: “Vivid Sydney is an incredible public event that has seen amazing growth, attracting a record 1.43 million attendees in 2014. It's the largest festival of its kind in the world, and with our biggest program yet, there's even more to love about Vivid Sydney this year.

“While the heart of Vivid Light is still beating strongly in and around Circular Quay, Vivid Sydney is spreading even further into the city suburbs, with Central Park and Chatswood joining the program this year,” Ms Chipchase said.

“Favourite locations Circular Quay, Walsh Bay, Martin Place, and Darling Harbour are back with over 60 light installations and projections with even more opportunity for visitors to get hands on, more water theatre shows – this time with lasers and fire - and new and expanded programing at Pyrmont & The Star and the University of Sydney. The sandstone canvases of Customs House and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) will also return with spectacular new 3D projections.

“With all eyes on the Sydney Opera House, Lighting of the Sails will once again take its place as the centrepiece of the amazing light spectacular during Vivid Sydney, with Universal Everything promising awe-inspiring projections that will reimagine the architecture as a living mural, with a diverse series of vibrant, hand-drawn sequences.

“Vivid Music will introduce its most expansive program yet, featuring more shows and venues and an impressive line-up of local and international talent,” she said.

The Hoodoo Gurus will perform an exclusive one-off show at the Powerhouse Museum and a new line up of cutting edge, innovative performances will be held across the city at new venues Goodgod Small Club, Oxford Art Factory and Freda's, with the Seymour Centre, The Basement, The Argyle and Barrio Cellar part of the line-up again in 2015.

Part of the Vivid Music program, Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House features a 10-night run of exclusive Sydney-only performances and for the first time will also include two large scale outdoor events, internal light projections and an event for kids and families. Features include four exclusive performances from Morrissey, Daniel Johns in his international solo debut, Sufjan Stevens in his only Australian performances and FCX – 10 Years of Future Classics featuring Flume and Flight Facilities.

With a line-up of heavy-hitting speakers, Vivid Ideas introduces The Game Changers, a new talk series this year headlined by three global influencers: multi Emmy-winning writer Matthew Weiner, series creator and executive producer of Mad Men and former executive producer and writer on The Sopranos; Grammy-winning designer Stefan Sagmeister, whose clients include the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed and the Guggenheim Museum; and entrepreneur and publisher Tyler Brûlé, founder of the world-famous magazines Wallpaper and Monocle.

“With such an amazing festival planned, Destination NSW will continue to work with the travel industry to encourage visitation to Sydney from across Australia and the globe for this incredible event. We aim to build on the results from last year when more than 20,000 international visitors travelled to Sydney on dedicated Vivid Sydney travel packages,” Ms Chipchase said.

“Vivid Sydney will also work with event partners, land owners and a new accessibility specialist to build on the positive initiatives undertaken last year. “A new sustainability partnership with The Banksia Foundation will also further develop Vivid Sydney's sustainability agenda which includes recycling assets, environmental waste management practises and improved energy efficiency,” she said. Vivid Sydney welcomes the return of Intel, a world-leader in computing technology, as event partner for the fifth consecutive year. 2015 Supporters include Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, City of Sydney, Sydney Opera house, The Star, Canon, Indeed, 32 Hundred Lighting, Oracle and TDC.

Visit www.vividsydney.com/media-centre for images, renders, VNR and sizzle reels.

Greg Grainger Partners with Adventure Associates for a New Adventure Travel Enterprise

Travel/wildlife documentary maker Greg Grainger is launching a new adventure travel enterprise, in partnership with Adventure Associates.

Greg Grainger Adventures will initially offer three trips, to the Antarctic, the Arctic and the Galapagos.



These trips will be led by Greg Grainger, who will also be collecting footage for his TV documentaries, with Discovery Channel the likely international broadcaster.

Under the partnership, Greg Grainger will market and lead these expeditions, while Adventure Associates will arrange the trips and handle all bookings.

Adventure Associates has been owned these past 2 years by Everest summiteer and Aurora Expeditions founder Greg Mortimer, with his step-daughter Sue Werner now managing that company.

“We're delighted to be partnering with Greg Grainger. He has such a deep passion for these adventures and it will be a real thrill for his viewers to be able to travel with him.” says Sue Werner.

The first trip is this November, sailing from Ushuaia at the tip of the Tierra del Fuego down to the Weddell Sea in the Antarctic in search of a colony of Emperor Penguins.

“We're sailing on board the MV Ortelius, the same ice-strengthened vessel I sailed to Commonwealth Bay and Mawson's Hut several years ago” says Greg. “It carries two helicopters which allows passengers to be carried ashore for close encounters with penguins and seals.”

Trip 2 is next April to the Galapagos Islands. Travellers will first visit a centre for giant land tortoises, before boarding either the M/Ys Letty or Flamingo for a one week sail around the islands. “Every day, we'll be visiting a new island with new creatures… from Iguanas to Frigate Birds and penguins.” says Greg.

The third trip will take travellers to Svalbard, up towards the North Pole. This 14-day trip will take place in July next year from Svalbard to Franz Josef Land and back on board the M/S Sea Spirit. “I've had the absolute thrill of tracking polar bears in Svalbard before for a series of documentaries, and I can't wait to get back to see them close up again,” says Greg.

Greg Grainger Adventures will be officially launched this month, with a series of TV ads and an intensive social media campaign.

“I've been so lucky to have made a career out of visiting these remote and exotic locations, to observe wildlife ever so close” says Greg. “It will be a real pleasure to have like-minded adventurous travellers share these experiences with me.”

Greg Grainger has produced more than 300 documentaries for close to 100 international broadcasters, including National Geographic and Discovery Channels.

His weekly all-Australian travel show TRAVEL OZ is seen around the world, including on the Seven Network in Australia, while his series of travel, wildlife and adventure documentaries screens as GRAINGER'S WORLD.

Azamara Club Cruises Kicks Off First Australasian Season and the Brand Will Return for a Third Season in 2018

Azamara Clubs Cruises has announced details of Azamara Quest's maiden season in Australasia, including its spectacular AzAmazing Evenings taking place at a number of ports such as Darwin, Newcastle and Cairns. The boutique cruise brand, renowned for its elegant cruising style and destination focus, will debut in Australia and New Zealand for the first time arriving in Darwin on 28 December 2015. The line has also confirmed they will deploy a ship to Australia for a third season, with Azamara Journey coming for the first time in 2017 and Azamara Quest returning in 2018.



Each Azamara Club voyage features Azamara Club's exclusive, bespoke AzAmazing Evening events - a specially created, complimentary night tour that offers a slice of a destination's authentic culture and character, and which provide a significant boost to the local communities to which the line sails.

In Darwin, guests will be treated to an evening at Crocosaurus Cove where they will meet the world's largest captive reptile collection, including nearly 200 saltwater crocodiles. The can't-miss moment of the night is the Cage of Death. As a handful of the ship's brave officers drop into a protected tank, giant crocodiles — some of the largest in captivity — approach for a little nose-to-nose time. The unique event continues with a ceremonial demonstration by representatives of the Larrakia people. As the ceremony winds down, guests can take the chance to hold some of the smaller reptiles that make their home at this incredible adventure center.

In Newcastle, guests will enjoy an incredible evening of local entertainment by local Australian artist, Olivia Chindamo, at Fort Scratchley. This historic and majestic site, which guards the Hunter River Estuary, is undoubtedly Newcastle's most spectacular vantage point.

In Cairns, the line will offer a journey into Australia's Aboriginal dreamtime for an unforgettable evening of world-class entertainment including authentic music, chanting and dance that culminates in a traditional fire making ceremony by the local Tjapukai people. Guests will be immersed in the spectacle of a corroboree depicting the thrill of the hunt and the ancient totems of the rainforest people.

Azamara Clubs Cruises is also revitalising its two 686-passenger jewel-box ships with an extensive makeover in time for their Australasian itineraries. Azamara Quest will be upgraded in September 2015 and Azamara Journey will complete her dry dock in January 2016, before she then commences her season down under in 2017.

“We love Australia – even before our ships have sailed local waters, Australians already make up one of the top three nationalities that cruise with us and Australia is one of our biggest growth markets. So it is a great pleasure to announce the details for the coming seasons, at the same time as both of our ships will be extensively upgraded for our Australasian guests,” said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO, Azamara Club Cruises in Sydney.

“Since 2007, more than 15,000 Aussies have sailed with Azamara Club Cruises. In 2014 alone, almost 4,000 Australian guests experienced the award winning Azamara difference. We are thrilled to finally be able to bring the brand to Australasian shores”, Larry said.

With smaller ships that are able to go to places other cruise ships can't, Azamara Club differentiates itself - and gains loyal fans - by making destinations the star of the show. It does this by offering longer stays, more overnight calls and night touring, which gives travellers the opportunity to truly experience a destination - taking in the sights, sounds and flavours of local cultures in every port.

Azamara Club's Insider Access takes guests behind the scenes at heritage estates, family farms, local shops and art galleries. Guests enjoy quiet conversations, shared stories and laughter with their hosts, gaining valuable insights and appreciation of local culture. Nights and Cool Places are exclusive after-dinner experiences in small, intimate groups, ranging from a harbour yacht experience to a private gallery tour with a famous local artist.

This year, Azamara Club has also launched its highly-anticipated Cruise Global, Eat Localprogram, featuring carefully curated dining experiences around the globe. We They do the sleuthing to lead guests to places the locals frequent, from a traditional family trattoria to a dim sum feast.

While destinations are the highlight, what's onboard also keeps guests coming back for more. Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest guests receive exceptional and personal service and enjoy fine cuisine and boutique wines from around the world. More is included in each cruise – such as beverages, gratuities, self-service laundry, English Butler service for suite guests and shuttle transportation to city centres in ports, where available.

Also newly launched its new Exclusive Nights in Private Places program, offering an evening of luxurious private pampering, dining and sleeping under the stars on the private Thalassotherapy deck. This reservation-only experience for two includes private butler service, champagne and canapés, a beautiful buffet and seafood and meats cooked over a sizzling hot stone grill. A plush outdoor bed can be opened to the stars or enclosed with a roof panel and curtains.

Full details of Azamara Club's 2018 Australasian will be announced in the coming months. Details for Azamara Club's 2017 season is available now and open for booking. For further information or to book an Azamara Club Cruise, visit www.azamaraclubcruises.com/en-au, phone 1800 754 500 or contact your local travel agent.

Azamara Club Cruises is a brand of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSX: RCL), a global cruise holiday company that also owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, and CDF Croisières de France, as well as TUI Cruises through a 50 per cent joint venture. Together, the six brands operate a combined total of 41 ships with four under construction. They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on approximately 460 destinations on all seven continents.

RCL Cruises Ltd Australia commenced operation in December 2008 as the Australian arm of global cruise holiday company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The company offers three cruise brands in Australia and New Zealand: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. In the 2014/2015 cruise season, Royal Caribbean International will be the largest cruise operator in Sydney, with three ships sailing in the region: Voyager of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas. In the 2015/2016 local cruise season Royal Caribbean International will increase the local fleet to four ships:Legend of the Seas home porting in Brisbane; along with Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas home porting in Sydney. Celebrity Solstice will also sail her fourth local season out of Sydney.


Connect with Azamara Club Cruises

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AzamaraClubCruises

Twitter: @AzamaraVoyages

Traveloscopy | 

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