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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

NSW produce provides centrepiece at Australian Cruise Association Conference

#aca2016 .


NSW food and beverage producers will shine next week as the Australian Cruise Association holds its 20th anniversary conference in Sydney from September 7-9.

Kicking off the celebrations on Wednesday night, Destination NSW and the Port Authority of NSW will host Flavours of NSW at the Cargo Hall in the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay. Over 25 producers from Sydney and NSW will gather to showcase their outstanding produce and experiences.

Some of the key producers include Pepe Saya and their renowned butter, Australia’s Oyster Coast serving freshly shucked oysters from the NSW South Coast, Zokoko Chocolate sampling single origin chocolate from the Blue Mountains and N2 Extreme Gelato serving a flash frozen gelato dessert designed exclusively for the event and featuring indigenous ingredients from regional NSW.

Guests can wash all this down with the help of Archie Rose Distillery who will be creating bespoke cocktails for the occasion and Dave’s Brewery Tours serving beers from six breweries across the state.

The following day, attendees will welcome a very special guest – renowned Australian chef, Mark Best (Pei Modern) will speak at the Conference on his role with the Culinary Council for Holland America Line. Best will showcase some of the on-board treats through a selection of signature bites which will be served at lunch.

The fun continues that night at the Gala Dinner, sponsored by Abercrombie and Kent, which will also be a highlight for attendees. It will begin with a fireworks display over Sydney Harbour followed by dinner at the Opera Point Marquee presented by ARIA catering. Guests will be treated to a menu designed by renowned Australian chef, Matt Moran again showcasing the best of NSW produce with wines supplied by cool climate vintners See Saw in Orange and Glandore Estate Wines in the Hunter Valley.

Buffalo mozzarella from Marrickville, whole roasted chicken from Tenterfield and wood roasted lamb from the Moran Family Farm, Bathurst will all be sure to delight the guests.

“Our goal this year was to reflect the high standard and wide range of produce, cruise passengers are now enjoying. From fabulous wines and craft beers to locally grown and raised meats, vegetables, fruits and dairy products – I am sure our Conference attendees will go away with a new appreciation of all that NSW has to offer” said Australian Cruise Association CEO, Jill Abel.

Each year the Association also pays tribute to a philanthropic organisation working in the Conference location. At the final breakfast this year, Orange Sky Laundry will discuss their successes and challenges providing the world's first free mobile laundry service for the homeless.

The Conference is being held this year at the Four Seasons Hotel and will see keynote speakers from Australia and around the world cover a range of topics critical to the fast growing cruise industry in Australia.

For further information and registrations please go to http://www.australiancruiseassociation.com/conferences




Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Westin Hotels & Resorts Debuts in Jakarta

Westin Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced the opening of The Westin Jakarta, marking the first Westin hotel in Jakarta. Owned by PT. Wahana Nusantara a part of Gama Corporation, the opening of the hotel is set to bring the Westin brand's inspired and innovative wellness initiatives to thecapital city of Indonesia.

“We are thrilled to debut the Westin brand to Indonesia's capital,” said Vincent Ong, Senior Director, Brand Management, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific. “With the brand's focus on the bringing the pillars of well-being to life and commitment to ensure our guests leave feeling than they first arrive, we are confident the opening of the hotel will resonate strongly with the local Jakarta community and guests visiting from around the world.”

Slated to be the highest hotel in Indonesia, The Westin Jakarta occupies floors 50 to 69 of the mixed-used Gama Tower, boasting 272 well-appointed guestrooms and suites with uninterrupted views of the city. Designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), one of the world's leading hospitality interior design firms, the hotel's interior design was inspired by natural, organic forms and textures that interpret the landscape and are translated throughout the hotel through dynamic patterns and materials. Illustrated through the chandeliers and artwork, the hotel's contemporary design features contextual elements, including traditional Indonesian motifs and Ikat patterns in the metal screens.

“The Westin Jakarta will provide a restorative retreat in the heart of the bustling city with genuine service complemented with the Westin signature well-being offerings that will fuel and energize our guests' every move,” Arun Kumar, General Manager, The Westin Jakarta, adds.

To amplify the guest experience, four unique dining venues serve a variety of culinary options alongside the brand's nutrient-rich and delicious SuperFoodsRx™ menus. Seasonal Tastes, the all-day dining restaurant, presents buffet and a la carte options featuring local and international cuisine with 7 live cooking stations. Guests can also enjoy nutritious treats and a gourmet cup of coffee on the go Daily Treats. Set to be a game-changer for Jakarta dining scene is Henshin, perched on the top three floors of the building, the restaurant features Nikkei Cuisine with Japanese-Peruvian Flavors prepared by a specialty chefs as well as a rooftop alfresco bar featuring Crafted at Westin™ program, the brand's signature beverage program that features a fresh selection of expertly mixed cocktails infused with natural ingredients and local flavors.



With the brand's mission to be a partner in their guests' well-being, The Westin Jakarta features an idyllic spa as well as a WestinWORKOUT® fitness studio boasting state-of-the-art exercise equipment from world-class brands in an open, airy and well-designed space. The hotel will also offer Westin's Gear Lending program in partnership with New Balance®, allowing guests to pack light and stay fit with New Balance shoes and clothing for guests to use during their stay.

The Westin Jakarta also features a banquet area perched on the top few levels of the hotel with a 200 guest capacity with breathtaking 360 degree sweeping views of Jakarta city. For events and weddings, the hotel offers 3,000 square meters of function rooms including the Java Ballroom on the Ground floor with a maximum capacity 1,500 guests.

The Westin Jakarta is situated strategically in Kuningan central business district, 45 minutes by car from the International Soekarno-Hatta Airport, an ideal location for business travelers. Guest can enjoy nearby shopping malls as well as the Jakarta iconic National Monument as a destination for tourists.

For more information, please visit www.westin.com/jakarta.



Traveloscopy | 

First Ever Drone Footage of Uluru Released




Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia is excited to announce the release of exclusive drone footage of Uluru, offering a never before seen perspective of the 600 million year old monolith. These spectacular birds-eye views of Australia's spiritual heart were captured by the first drone to ever operate under permit inside Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.



The dramatic footage was captured in an area of great spiritual significance to the local Anangu people and approval was given by the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board and the Film and Photography Consultative Committee.

“We are delighted to present this exclusive new perspective of one of the most astonishing landscapes on earth, and we thank the Traditional Owners for their support. We hope this video encourages travellers from both Australia and all over the globe to come and experience Uluru for themselves,” said Voyages Chief Executive Officer Andrew Williams.

“While there is no replacement to enjoying firsthand the majestic beauty of Uluru, this footage gives a breathtaking insight into the majestic nature of the landscape,” he said.

Geographically, Uluru is the tip of a huge rock that continues below the ground for possibly 5-6km. The monolith is 3.6km long and 348m at its tallest point: 43m higher than Sydney's Centrepoint Tower, 24m higher than the Eiffel Tower and just 33m lower than the Empire State Building. The colour changes of Uluru result from the filtering effect of the earth's atmosphere on the sun's rays.

For more information go to: www.ayersrockresort.com.au or call 1300 134 004.



Traveloscopy | 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hong Kong Airlines Grows Network to 35 Destinations and Expands Fleet to 32 Aircraft



Stepping into its 10th year since establishment, the internationally-acclaimed full service airline, Hong Kong Airlines (the “Company”) continues its rapid growth with fleet and network expansion to meet increasing travel demand. This year, Hong Kong Airlines has taken delivery of five Airbus aircraft and reaches a fleet size of 32 aircraft.



The latest addition, an Airbus A330-300 wide-body, has a seating capacity of 285 passengers and 695 cubic feet of cargo. It is configured with 30 Business Class seats and 255 Economy Class seats. The Company’s 32nd aircraft is now in operation and is mainly employed on routes to Okinawa, Osaka, Tokyo, Bangkok and Denpasar. Hong Kong Airlines operates one of the youngest fleets in the world with a current average age of around 3.9 years. The modern fleet is equipped with efficient engines which can reduce noise and improve fuel consumption, thus maximising operational performance.

click to enlarge
Hong Kong Airlines currently covers 35 flight destinations across the Asia Pacific region. The airline has planned to extend 10 new destinations within the year. After launching the Gold Coast and Cairns route early this year, the Company has further introduced 6 new destinations across four countries: Tokyo, Osaka and Okayama in Japan, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Kuching in Malaysia and Saipan of the United States. Towards the end of the year, the Company will launch two more new routes, including the direct service to Yonago, Japan commencing on 14 September, and the service to Auckland, New Zealand which will be inaugurated on 10 November. The new long-haul route highlights Hong Kong Airlines’ expansion beyond Asia and its aims to attract travellers across the Pearl River Delta region, as befits Hong Kong’s reputation as an international transportation hub.

The first half of 2016 saw Hong Kong Airlines’ passenger traffic exceeding 3 million, a 12% growth compared to last year. The average loading also rose by 1.3% to 83%. To facilitate its rapid development, Hong Kong Airlines plans to recruit around 1,000 personnel covering a wide range of job functions, including cabin crew, ground staff, pilots, flight engineers and maintenance staff.



Mr. Zhang Kui, President of Hong Kong Airlines said, “In the future, Hong Kong Airlines will continue introducing more value-added services and products. With our devotion to

service quality, safety standard and strengthened network, we strive to provide all passengers with more travel options and a pleasant flight experience.”

For more details, please visit www.hkairlines.com, or contact us via Hong Kong Airlines Australian Contact Centre on 1300 889 190 or via email on hongkong.sydney@worldaviation.com.au

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

New speakers and social events for Australian Cruise Association 20th anniversary conference

New speakers and exciting social events announced for Australian Cruise Association 20th anniversary conference

Three new speakers have been added, and the celebratory social events unveiled, for the 20th Anniversary Australian Cruise Association conference to be held in Sydney from September 7-9, 2016.

Adding to the international line-up of Edie Rodrigues, CEO Crystal Cruises and Bruce Anderson, Starcrest Consulting is Captain Michael McCarthy, Chair of Cruise Europe and Commercial Manager for the Port of Cork Company, Ireland. Michael will provide fascinating insight into the European cruise environment including the impact of recent political developments such as Brexit and increasing security threats.

Cruise industry pioneer, Ted Blamey, founder of Chart Management Consultants and long serving member of the Association will look at the highly important Asian region. Ted is an expert in this area having authored numerous white papers on the Asian cruise market.

Closer to home, Earthcheck GM, Consulting, Mark Olsen will discuss the importance of Destination Development and how the brand and identity need to deliver on the promise to meet visitor expectations.

Association CEO, Jill Abel will open the Conference with a look back at the highlights of the organisation to celebrate the theme "20 years - Our People, Our Passion, Our Success." Abel will then be joined at the podium by industry heavyweights Sandra Chipchase, CEO, Destination NSW and Grant Gilfillan, CEO Ports Authority NSW, joint sponsors of the Conference.

Starcrest Consulting's
Captain Michael McCarthy
Emceed by Andrew McEvoy, Managing Director of Life Media and Events at Fairfax and Non-Executive Director at Sealink, this year’s speaker line-up will explore a range of topics critical to the growth of the cruise industry over the next 20 years including homeporting, infrastructure development, benchmarking and the regulatory landscape. A special focus on destination development will feature in the Destination and Ports workshop as the final session of the Conference.

A line-up of exciting celebratory social events will support the Conference program. Welcome drinks will be held the first night at the Overseas Passenger Terminal. The Gala dinner on Thursday night, sponsored by Abercrombie and Kent, will also be a highlight for attendees. It will begin with a fireworks display over Sydney Harbour followed by dinner at the Opera House Marquee presented by Aria catering. Guests will be treated to a menu designed by renowned Australian chef, Matt Moran showcasing the best of NSW produce.

The Conference is being held this year at the Four Seasons Hotel. For further information and registrations please go to http://www.australiancruiseassociation.com/conferences


About Australian Cruise Association:

Australian Cruise Association is the co-operative marketing brand for cruise tourism in the Australia and Pacific region and represents a diversity of interests including regional ports, international, national and state tourism agencies, shipping agents, inbound tour operators and companies dedicated to marketing the region as a world class cruise destination.



Traveloscopy | 

Qantas Results reveal strength of Australian Tourism


The remarkable 2016 profit results released today by Qantas shows the success of Australia's export tourism industry has far reaching impact, with Qantas International showing a $1 billion turnaround from its 2014 results.

“Our industry continues to play a major role in Australia’s economic success and today this is evidenced by the record results recorded by Qantas, which continues to provide an outstanding product for international visitors,” ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said today.

“Qantas has worked hard to align is product with market demands and this, along with the huge growth in international visitation, has underpinned today’s results.

“Qantas has also recognised the value of building strategic partnerships with state and national level tourism marketing bodies and we welcome their commitment to Australia’s tourism industry.”

Mr Shelley said other Qantas airline partnerships and re-allocated routes were connecting well with the current and growing demand from key markets.

“The US, UK, Japan and New Zealand are all markets on the upswing and Qantas has supported increased demand from these markets through re-allocation of capacity.

“The latest forecasts for Australia's tourism exports have been upwardly revised and our international arrivals expected to increase by an additional 5.2 million by 2025, so the commercial sustainability of our national carrier is an important part of the equation.

“We congratulate Qantas on these strong results and its commitment to the growth of Australia’s export tourism industry.”



Traveloscopy | 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Tigerair Australia To Fly Between Melbourne and Canberra



Tigerair Australia today announced a new route providing daily return services between Melbourne and Canberra.

In great news for the people of Melbourne and Canberra, the new service will mean over 2500 additional visitor seats every week through both airports.

Details of the service, including schedules, will be announced this week, and fares will go on sale later this week on the Tigerair Australia website www.tigerair.com.au.

Tigerair Australia CEO Rob Sharp says this is great news for consumers, tourism and the economy as Tigerair continues to respond to consumer demand and, at the same time, deliver a great value low cost offering for Canberra.

 "We have witnessed overwhelming demand and are proud to provide the only low cost services between Canberra and Melbourne.  We are confident the new route  will prove popular for our core market of budget and leisure travellers".

 "In further good news for consumers, we are bringing a new-look Tigerair to Canberra".

"Our customers love low fares but they also want friendly service and on time flights. Tigerair Australia was rebranded in July 2013 and I'm thrilled to say that we are delivering on the promise of consistent delivery of affordable, reliable air travel with great customer service".

"Our great value fares stimulate demand and grow the air travel market which is a win-win for us all."

ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, said today's announcement of new daily services between Canberra and Melbourne would be a significant boost to the ACT economy.

"These flights will generate $17 million a year in the Gross Regional Product of the Canberra catchment and, importantly, create an additional 124 jobs.

 "This is such an exciting time for aviation in Canberra. International flights will start for the first time next month and we can now add this low cost link to Melbourne that Canberrans have been crying out for", Mr Barr said.

Capital Airport Group's Managing Director, Stephen Byron, said Tigerair's new service represented a tremendous new opportunity and choice for the people of Canberra and Melbourne.

"Canberrans are great travellers – and the Tigerair service will provide 2,500 reasons every week to travel to Melbourne and home again. And it gives Melburnians the same opportunity to come to Canberra", Mr Byron said.

"Today's announcement links Melbourne, voted the world's most liveable city for a sixth consecutive year, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, with Canberra - Australia's most interesting city.

"We are, of course, famous for our incredible institutions, and we were delighted to learn last week that the War Memorial was the recipient of TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Award for the number one landmark in both Australia and the South Pacific for 2016".

Mr Byron thanked Tigerair Australia for valuing Canberra as a destination, and the Chief Minister for the government's support in helping the Canberra Airport Group inject vibrancy and economic resilience into the capital.

Sunshine Coast to celebrate 50th anniversary with Australia’s largest convention of travel writers



#astw

Australia's peak travel journalism organisation – the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) – will hold their national convention and awards event on the Sunshine Coast in August 2017, to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the official naming of the region*.

The Sunshine Coast's success in winning the bid was announced at the completion of the 2016 ASTW AGM & Awards event being held in Cape Town, South Africa, over the weekend. Previous ASTW AGMs have been held in many of the world's premier city and resort locations including Shanghai, Bangkok, Seoul, Saigon, Cairns, Sydney and Uluru.

The Sunshine Coast will host the gala event on the weekend of 18 – 20 August 2017, and will involve pre and post famil programs to showcase the diversity and richness of the region's attractions.




Some 100 of Australia's leading travel writers, photographers, broadcasters and bloggers are expected to attend the event, along with a further 50 to 80 travel industry representatives.

The annual general meeting and awards night will be held at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort, and partners include Visit Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Council and Tourism and Events Queensland. Tourism operators from across the region will be invited to participate in the event and famil program.

Commenting on the successful bid, Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Latchford, said that hosting the Australian Society of Travel Writers annual event would put the spotlight on the region's remarkable diversity of attractions.

"We know that many of the writers have been to the Sunshine Coast in the past, but the region's tourism has matured dramatically in recent times and it will provide a great opportunity to show that we also have outstanding attractions beyond the coast, with the Glass House Mountains, Hinterland and Gympie regions all having great stories to tell," said Mr Latchford.

Sunshine Coast Mayor, Mark Jamieson, said: "Hosting this convention on the Sunshine Coast provides the perfect platform to showcase our region during our milestone 50th Anniversary year.

"I'm sure those travel writers who have never previously been to our beautiful part of the world are going to be very impressed with what they see and experience, and those who are returning here will no doubt be relishing that opportunity.

"The promotional value derived from hosting travel writers from around the world is enormous. The world is coming to the Sunshine Coast and we will roll out the welcome mats."

Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) Chief Executive Officer Leanne Coddington said the Sunshine Coast was an ideal location for the 2016 ASTW AGM & Awards.

"Hosting many of Australia's leading travel writers on the Sunshine Coast is a great way to showcase the destination to an audience who tell their stories to millions of readers," Ms Coddington said.

"The destination offers so much not only for business events such as this but for holiday experiences and attractions which bring visitors back again and again."

*The Sunshine Coast name was first mooted in 1958 by real estate interests, but the region's official name remained as the 'Near North Coast' until November 1966, when the Landsborough, Maroochy and Noosa councils agreed to the 'Sunshine Coast' name. On August 1, 1967, 'Sunshine Coast' was accepted by the Queensland Place Names Board, marking the day the Sunshine Coast formally came into existence. A series of festivals and community events will be held in 2017 to commemorate the anniversary.

Find your naturally refreshing Sunshine Coast holiday at visitsunshinecoast.com.au

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Australian Society of Travel Writers Announce 2016 Awards for Excellence



Australia's top travel writers and public relations professionals were honoured at the annual ASTW Awards for Excellence at a gala awards ceremony held at Durbanville Hills in Cape Town, South Africa on 18th August 2016.

The top writer accolade, Travel Writer of the Year, which is judged from a selection of three stories by the writer, was awarded to John Borthwick. John, has been a member of the ASTW since 1990 and his award-winning stories were published in both the travel sections of The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald's Traveller section. Finalists in the hotly contested award were Kerry van der Jagt and Craig Tansley. John was also named the winner of the Best International Story over 1000 words.

While having received awards in the past, John was particularly thrilled to receive the awards this year thanking the sponsor South African Tourism, the editors for their support in publishing his stories, the PRs and tourism boards for getting him to the places and congratulated his fellow finalists saying it was an honour to be on any step on a podium with them.

Photographer of the Year went to Dan Avila for images published in Vacations & Travel magazine and on Luxe.com. Dan was delighted with his win, saying “ I am extremely excited to have won this award - it is a huge honour.”

The top PR Accolade, Communicator of the Year, was awarded to Klick Communications. Kim McKay Founder and Director was in Cape Town to accept the award, saying “Klick Communications is honoured to be recognised by the esteemed Australian Society of Travel Writers. Communications Team of the Year is a prestigious award that we are so proud to call ours for 2016”.

These prestigious awards are now in their 23rd year and are a highlight of the annual ASTW Convention for the ASTW, with over 70 guests travelling from across Australia to attend.

Other categories included Best Family Travel Story, Best Travel Broadcaster, Best Australian Story and Best Food Travel Story. Categories, winners and finalists are detailed below.

“The ASTW members represent the leading writers, editors, publishers, content creators and public relations professionals of the Australian travel industry. Over 300 entries were received across the 17 Award categories with an exceptional calibre of entrants,” said ASTW President Danielle Lancaster.

“There were 3 finalists for each category, and being named a finalist is an absolute honour in itself. I would like to congratulate all who were named as being the best in their field and I would also like to thank each of the sponsors together with South African Tourism, who were the major sponsor of this year's convention. We also thank the many judges who gave their time to judge the awards. This year, we had esteemed judges from Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland and the USA with many commenting on the high quality of work.”

The Jack Butters Award is an honorary award given to someone who has made an important contribution to the ASTW and this year was awarded to the team that created and ran the ASTW Trivia Night for the past 20 years – Mike Smith, David McGonigal, Glenn A. Baker and Laura Spiers.

Jack Butters, was the founding president of the Australian Society of Travel Writers in 1975 and a Life Member, who championed the need to define the ethics that govern responsible travel writing.

Now, 41 years later his vision, aspirations and ambition for the future of the ASTW have been more than realised and continue to flourish and gain global recognition. While the travel industry has changed dramatically over the years, members have learned to adapt to the ongoing challenges of a profession, and an industry, that is constantly evolving, especially in social media.

For the detailed history of the ASTW please visit:

FULL LIST of WINNERS:
1) Best Story about AGM Host Destination 2015 - Sponsored by Voyages Indigenous Tourism
WINNER – MARIE BARBIERI
The Red Beating Heart – Australia & New Zealand magazine
OTHER FINALISTS
Justine Costigan - Written in the Stars – Jetstar magazine
Angela Saurine - The Heart of the Rock – Best Weekend – News Ltd

2) Best Family Travel Story – Sponsored by Signature Media  
WINNER – MARK DAFFEY
Are We There Yet? -– Traveller – Fairfax Media             
OTHER FINALISTS
Belinda Jackson- Dolphin Island Fiji: Family Experience for a chosen few- Traveller – Fairfax Media
Helen Hayes - Salzburg - A Favourite Thing – Holidays with Kids magazine
Sheriden Rhodes - Island Life Revisited - Five Star Kids Magazine           

3) Best Travel Broadcaster – Sponsored by Tourism and Events Queensland 
WINNER – GREG GRAINGER – GREG GRAINGER TV 
OTHER FINALISTS
Ben Groundwater – Beauty and the Backpacker travel web series – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Quentin Long – Mornings/Today Extra - Channel 9

4) Best Australian Story – Sponsored by Tourism Australia
WINNER – KERRY VAN DER JAGT
Where to swim and sing with dolphins - Traveller - Fairfax Media
OTHER FINALISTS
Andrew Bain - Cape Crusaders - Traveller - Fairfax Media
Celeste Mitchell - Girls Just Wanna Have 4WD Fun - Escape - News Ltd

5) Best Food Travel Story – Sponsored by Outrigger Hotels & Resorts 
WINNER – CARLA GROSSETTI
A Taste of History – Cuisine magazine
OTHER FINALISTS
Sue Wallace - Summer in Aspen – Delicious
Sue Gough Henly - Dining for the Greater Good – Australian Traveller magazine

6) Best Responsible Tourism story – Sponsored by Intrepid Travel
WINNER – JOCELYN PRIDE
Alaska Untouched - Wellbeing           
OTHER FINALISTS
Kerry van der Jagt - Monaco's Prince Albert is on a Mission to protect the environment - Traveller - Fairfax Media
Andrew Bain - Nature's treasure trove – Traveller - Fairfax Media

7) Best Adventure Story – Sponsored by G Adventures 
WINNER – LEE ATKINSON
Driving Across the Simpson Desert – Traveller – Fairfax Media
OTHER FINALISTS
Andrew Bain – Back to Peak Performance – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Catherine Marshall – Drums of the Jungle God – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Roderick Eime – Southern Exposure – MINDFOOD magazine

8) Best Tourism Organisation or Travel Product – Sponsored by ZOIK
WINNER – CAROLINE DAVIDSON – Rocky Mountain International – The Real America
OTHER FINALISTS
Karena Noble – Voyages Indigenous Tourism
Leigh Maloney – The Little Nell

9) Best Cruise Story – Sponsored by Hawaii Tourism Oceania
WINNER – CRAIG TANSLEY
Maldives Luxury Adventure - Traveller - Fairfax Media
OTHER FINALISTS
John Borthwick – Burmese Daze - Traveller - Fairfax Media
Jocelyn Pride – It's (not) all Akademik – International Traveller magazine

10) Best International Story Over 1000 words – Sponsored by AccorHotels 
WINNER – JOHN BORTHWICK
Where the Cold War Thawed – Weekend Australian 
OTHER FINALISTS
Craig Tansley – Where Cross Country Skiing is a Religion – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Marian McGuinness – Scents and Sensibility – Weekend Australian

11) Best International Story Under 1000 words – Sponsored by Macau Government Tourist Office
WINNER – TIM RICHARDS
A Boy and A Coin – Traveller – Fairfax Media
OTHER FINALISTS
Rob McFarland - Cowboy in Training – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Kerry van der Jagt - In Wake of Van Gogh – Traveller – Fairfax Media

12) PR Campaign of the Year - Sponsored by TravMedia 
WINNER - KARENA NOBLE - Launch of Field of Light, Uluru
OTHER FINALISTS
Kim McKay - Positively Wellington Tourism
Natalie Schofield - Westin - World Sleep Day

13) Best Tourism and Travel News Story – Sponsored by ASTW 
WINNER – LEE MYLNE
Traversing the Long, Open Road – Travel Bulletin 
OTHER FINALISTS
Kristine Madden - The Wheel of Fortune – Travel Bulletin
Sheriden Rhodes - Well, well, well – Traveller – Fairfax Media

14) Best Travel Blog – Sponsored by TFE Hotels 
WINNER – RENE YOUNG – Together We Roam
OTHER FINALISTS
Aleney de Winter - Boy Eats World           
Jayne Gorman - Girl Tweets World

15) Jack Butters Award – ASTW
WINNER –   Mike Smith, David McGonigal, Glenn A. Baker and Laura Spiers, for going over and above by organising the trivia night for the past 20 years.

16) Communicator or Communications Team of the Year – Sponsored by TravMedia 
WINNER – KLICK COMMUNICATIONS
OTHER FINALISTS
Karena Noble
AccorHotels

17) Photographer of the Year – Sponsored by Tourism Authority of Thailand
WINNER – DAN AVILA
Alone in the Universe – Luxe.com
Love on the Bosphorus – Vacations & Travel magazine
Heaven - Luxe.com 
OTHER FINALISTS                       
Jocelyn Pride - Three Pillars of Travel: Protect/Respect/Reflect                       
Mark Daffey - Antiquity/Harmony/Destiny           

18) Travel Writer of the Year – Sponsored by South African Tourism
WINNER – JOHN BORTHWICK
Where the Cold War Thawed – The Weekend Australian
Burmese Daze - Traveller - Fairfax Media            
In the Wake of Cape Crusaders Traveller - Fairfax Media           
OTHER FINALISTS   
Kerry van der Jagt
Where to Sing and Swim with Wild Dolphins – Traveller - Fairfax Media                        
Grin and Bear It - Traveller - Fairfax Media
Myanmar: Floating on a wave of hope for a new beginning - Traveller - Fairfax Media
Craig Tansley
Coming Up Trumps - Traveller - Fairfax Media            
The Last Great Ski Town - Traveller - Fairfax Media            
Maldives Luxury Adventure on a Budget - Traveller - Fairfax Media           
For more information on the ASTW, visit www.astw.org.au


Traveloscopy | 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Scoot Spreads Its Wings to Europe



Asia Pacific's Best Low Cost Airline will fly the spacious 787 Dreamliner on its longest non-stop flight from Singapore to Athens– transforming the guest experience in low-cost, long-haul travel  

August 16, 2016 - Get your Greek on and prepare to get outta' here for a value-packed dream vacation as Scoot gears up to launch its first destination in Europe – Athens, the picture-perfect capital city of Greece!

Scheduled to commence on 20 June 2017, the new service between Singapore and Athens marks Scoot's first long-haul flight between Asia Pacific and Europe, as well as the longest flight operated by a low-cost carrier (LCC) with flight distance exceeding 10,000km

The commencement of Scoot's services to Europe is part of the Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group's strategic move to stimulate passenger traffic between Asia Pacific and Europe, as well as to boost connectivity through the Singapore hub.

Budget-conscious travellers will soon be able to Scoot to Greece at pocket-friendly airfares, immersing in the rich history and culture Athens has to offer. Take a trip back to ancient Greece with visits to the famed Acropolis of Athens and the legendary Temple of Apollo in Delphi, before hopping over to the many picturesque Greek islands including Mykonos and Santorini for a dose of idyllic romance. Travellers can also connect onward from Greece to other alluring cities in Europe for an extended pan-Europe vacation.

Mr Lee Lik Hsin, CEO of Budget Aviation Holdings (BAH), said, "Guests have requested us to fly to Europe for a while, and Scoot is excited to finally oblige! Scoot has devoted much thought to configuring our cabin product and services to elevate and transform the low-cost travel experience, enabled by our world-first all-787 Dreamlliner fleet, and this has positioned us well to mount our first ever long-haul flight between Asia Pacific and Europe."

Scoot guests are empowered to choose from an extensive range of cabin products and services available for purchase to customise their travels.

In Economy, take your pick from Standard or Stretch seats ranging from 30" to 34" seat pitch; for guests keen on a peaceful journey, while the ScootinSilence Economy child-free zone offers a quiet travel environment for better rest so you arrive in Athens all raring to go.

What's more, there is a wide selection of drinks, snacks, light meals and hot meals for those who need to satiate the palate during the flight.

Get bored easily on long flights? Scoot's inflight Wi-Fi plans and in-seat power will provide endless entertainment options and opportunities to keep in touch with loved ones during flights, or you can stream an extensive range of movies and TV series to your own devices with our ScooTV inflight streaming entertainment.

Those seeking greater comfort and more frills may opt for ScootBiz, which features an all-leather seat with 38" seat pitch and adjustable leg rest, along with bundled meals, drinks, in-seat power, ScootTV inflight streaming entertainment and 30kg check-in baggage.

Scoot's new Singapore-Athens route will be serviced by new and spacious Boeing 787-8Dreamliners that are fitted with eight crew bunks and a total of 329 seats, including 18 in ScootBiz.

To commemorate its foray into Europe, Scoot is offering attractive one-way Economy FLY fares to and from Perth to Athens starting from $369, FlyBag starting from $461, FlyBagEat starting from $526 and $1099 for ScootBiz, inclusive of taxes. Sydney, Melbourne & Gold Coast FLY fares to and from Athens starting from $419, FlyBag starting from $513, FlyBagEat starting from $578 and $1199 for ScootBiz, inclusive of taxes. For the 10% off selected FLYBAG and FLYBAGEAT fares, enter the promo code GREEKON. This promotion starts now and runs till 11.59pm on 31 August 2016; hurry now and secure your Dreamliner Odyssey!

Scoot's flight schedule for Singapore-Athens return services is outlined below. For more information and to book your next flight, visit www.flyscoot.com.

 

George Lazenby and Frederick Forsyth at #SPYfest #Goulburn


Get your spy on with AUSTRALIA'S ONLY BOND, GEORGE LAZENBY, AND THRILLER WRITER, FREDERICK FORSYTH, at SPYFest Goulburn

Australia's only Bond, George Lazenby, will be joined by internationally renowned thriller author, Fredrick Forsythe, for the return of SPYfest Goulburn: The Epicentre of Espionage, 16 – 18 September 2016.

Returning for the second year, and this year held over three big days, SPYfest is a celebration of all things spy, in tribute to Goulburn's very own James Bond, George Lazenby. The festival offers something for the whole family, regardless of whether they're Bond fans or not.

Lazenby is the only Australian to have played this iconic character, taken on the part of the world's most dashing and famous spy in the 1969 film 'On her Majesty's Secret Service'.  Born in Goulburn in 1939, Lazenby used his last British pounds on hiring a tailor-made suit from his predecessor Sean Connery's tailor, and splurging on a Bond-esque Rolex watch to secure the role.

Lazenby is joined at this year's SPYfest by Frederick Forsyth, English thriller writer and MI6 spy that is most famous for best sellers such as The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, The Fourth Protocol and The Dogs of War. Forsyth draws upon his experience as a spy in the British Secret Intelligence Service to craft his tales, laden with suspense and realism. With over 70 million book sales to his name, Forsyth frequents best-seller lists worldwide and over a dozen of his titles have been adapted to film.

"We're thrilled to have George back for the second year in a row, as well as welcoming our new special guest, Frederick, as ambassadors for SPYfest. Goulburn is proud of its association with such an iconic and timeless franchise, which continues to resonate with the young and old today," said Sarah Ruberto, Business Manager of Marketing, Events & Culture at Goulburn Mulwaree Council.

"This year's SPYfest events are set to draw a crowd with the fun ranging from the fast-paced to the glamorous, much like the films themselves. Visitors can watch the classic cars from the films including the Aston Martin driven by George Lazenby in 'On her Majesty's Secret Service, or get glammed up and don their finest tux and Casino Royale-worthy fare for the Secret Agents Gala Dinner," Sarah continued.

The Gala Dinner will feature the guests of honour, local wines and big band entertainment. For something a little different, visitors can also learn from those in the know by engaging in the modern art of surveillance as professional drone pilots offer mentoring sessions right from Seiffert Oval.

While there's plenty to keep the Bond enthusiasts satiated, Goulburn will play host to a whole range of characters from this captivating genre from Agent 99 and Austin Powers, to modern heroes Jason Bourne and Spy Kids.

"SPYfest is an opportunity to showcase all of what Goulburn has to offer, and the support of local businesses is what makes this event a resounding success. We have local businesses temporarily renaming their businesses for the weekend – why not swing past Dye Another Day to tame your tresses, or get your script filled out at local chemist Licence to Pill. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Goulbourn," Sarah concluded.

SPYfest takes place on the weekend of 16-18 September throughout Goulburn. Some events are ticketed, with limited places available. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to http://www.spyfestgoulburn.com.au/. For more information on Goulburn visit www.goulburnaustralia.com.au

For more information, images, interviews, to visit Goulburn to attend, or to attend the Press Conference with George Lazenby and Frederick Forsyth in Goulburn, please contact Lauren Griffiths at Threesides on 0417 409 264 or lauren.griffiths@threesides.com.au

Silversea Cruises appoints Amber Wilson General Manager for Asia Pacific

Amber Wilson, new GM AP for Silversea
Silversea Cruises is pleased to announce Amber Wilson as the ultra-luxury cruise line’s General Manager for Asia Pacific. Based in the Sydney office, Wilson will be responsible for the Asia Pacific markets, revenue and the direction of sales and marketing management with the Sydney and Singapore teams reporting directly to her.

“I am thrilled to be joining a company widely acknowledged as being the pioneer of ultra-luxury cruising,” said Wilson. “It is a privilege to have this opportunity to drive the Silversea brand forward and build upon the reputation of luxury and unrivalled service, while strengthening relationships with industry partners in the region.”

With over 17 years’ experience in the travel and cruise industries and a strong commercial background, Wilson has worked across a range of senior management roles in Australia and the UK. Previous cruise experience includes Star Cruises & Norwegian Cruise Line, where Wilson quickly rose from Sales Coordinator to Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibition (MICE) Sales Manager.

Most recently, Wilson held the position of General Manager, Sales & Marketing at Cruiseco, a tenure of 12 years that saw her team quadruple in size. Key projects included the launch of the brand in the UK, and the scope of work stretched from river to ocean cruises, highlighting the breadth of experience she now brings to the Silversea organisation.

With eight ships currently featured across the award-winning fleet, Silversea is due to launch its new flagship,Silver Muse, in April 2017, and migrate one of its vessels, Silver Cloud, to the expedition fleet later that year, following an extensive refurbishment.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Silversea US$170 Million Fleet refurbishment



Silversea, the leading ultra-luxury cruise line, is delighted to announce the biggest fleet-wide refurbishment plan in its history, worth US$170 Million.  This investment is not aimed at simply maintaining Silversea’s self-imposed high levels of excellence, but to reaffirm the company’s commitment to exceptional standards of guest comfort and timeless elegance.

“We are thrilled to be moving ahead with these major refurbishments and look forward to welcoming guests aboard and sharing our unique vision of ultra-luxury cruising, both in terms of service and physical environment”, said Manfredi Lefebvre, Chairman of Silversea.  “We pride ourselves on being the reference when it comes to ultra-luxury cruising and this investment reflects our long-term commitment in this regard toward our ships, our guests and our crew”.
Silver Whisper, host to the iconic World Cruise, will undergo a refurbishment that will take place by the end of 2016, and has been largely influenced by feedback from World Cruisers, proving that Silversea guests truly are at the heart of the company operations.  This also ensures that 2017 World Cruisers will get to experience a top coat of luxury, and be the first guests to help massage the fresh feel into the understated glamour that the brand has become synonymous with.
The luxurious suites will be refurbished and the bathrooms adorned with dark emperor marble flooring, delivering a tangible sense of elegance that can be felt from head to toe.  Public spaces will be the key beneficiaries of the bursary, where a freshly tiled pool and new chaise lounges will breathe new levels of comfort and style into open air spaces.  Dining areas at The Restaurant and La Terrazza will be re-skinned with plush new carpet and elegant hard-wood parquet respectively, and will each receive new furniture, echoing the theme of contemporary glamour throughout the ship and augmenting the high-quality service packaged around the finest culinary offerings at sea.
Finally, Silver Whisper’s communications hub is set for a major overhaul with the addition of two satellite antennas, vastly improving Internet speeds on board and enabling guests to take full advantage of the new, interactive TVs and on demand movies available in every suite. 
The refurbishment programme extends to Silver Wind during her dry dock scheduled for October 2016. Once again, refurbishment of furniture and furnishings, technology upgrades that include interactive TVs and on demand movies complete the contemporary, yet understated levels of luxury in every suite.  Additionally, the concept restaurant La Terrazza and the flagship Main Restaurant will both have new flooring bestowed upon them, enhancing the overall feel of gastronomic excellence delivered on board.
The pool deck will undergo a complete rip-and-replace approach to one of its aesthetic jewels, the exceptional teak flooring.  This will reinstate the deck area as one of the most atmospheric aboard, more akin to a luxury yacht than a cruise ship, while reaffirming Silver Wind’s status as a timeless classic within the Silversea fleet.
Beyond the Classic fleet, Silver Discoverer will also benefit from this investment in 2016, entering dry dock this October.  While service and suite presentation will of course be held strictly to Silversea’s high standards, it is in the public areas of this Expedition vessel where guests will see the most visible changes.  The Restaurant will be remodelled with a lighter, more contemporary colour palette and the ever popular pool grill area will flaunt new furniture.  The Discoverer lounge will go through a transformation from breakfast venue to a sophisticated lounge in which to relax, read and reflect on the day’s excursions. Silversea continues to augment the expedition experience to the benefit of its guests, and this is illustrated with further investment in new AV technology in the Explorer Lounge and new furniture from which to enjoy the lectures and briefings in unbridled comfort.
Silversea is committed to the continued evolution and progression of elegance at sea, a commitment that is exemplified by this level of investment, and one that will continue to be driven by, and at the service of its guests.
Further fleet-wide refurbishment will be communicated in due course. 
For a complete list of itineraries, details, and fares, visit Silversea.com or contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand).

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places