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Monday, May 22, 2017

Amazing Images of Australia from Above

SkyPixel Aerial Photography Contest Showcases the Best of Australia From Above

The winning photo, Refreshing Places to Float, taken by Airloft, focuses on a person enjoying on a float in a refreshing rock pool in Wyadup Spa, Western Australia.


SkyPixel, the world's most popular aerial photography community, Friday concluded the two-month Australia from Above aerial photography contest. This was SkyPixel's first region-specific aerial photography contest that showcased the stunning natural beauty of Australia seen from above.

Run in partnership with DJI and Tourism Australia, the SkyPixel Australia from Above aerial photography contest received over 6,000 entries, including photos from the inspiring expanse of Australia's pristine white beaches to the raw power of its rich, red outback.

The winning photo, Refreshing Places to Float, taken by Airloft, focuses on a person enjoying on a float in a refreshing rock pool in Wyadup Spa, Western Australia. For his winning entry, Airloft will receive a DJI Inspire 2 Premium Combo, a SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO� MicroSD and 480GB Extreme� 500 Portable SSD, a 1-year Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (1-year membership), and 2-nights at Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island and 2-nights at Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island.

SECOND: Sea of Green: The late afternoon sun shines through a breaking wave at Secret Harbour, south of Perth.


"The amazing work from participants really shows the growing interest around this new photographic artform and the potential of aerial technology" said Danny Zheng, DJI Vice President of Marketing. "We were thrilled to see so many quality entries, from local photographers as well as those outside the country who captured Australia's extraordinary beauty in an entirely new way."

The second and third prize winners were skysnaps with a photo titled Sea of Green respectively, one showing a breaking wave at Secret Harbour, south of Perth, and Yantastic for Rigby Island, and the other a top-down shot of a boat navigating its way through Rigby Island in Victoria. These winners will take home various DJI, SanDisk, Adobe and Epson products. Separately, 10 additional entries were shortlisted by SkyPixel users and awarded with an Osmo Mobile Silver, SanDisk MicroSD and Portable SSD.

The winning photos were selected by a judging panel that included Tourism Australia's Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Ronson, Australian landscape photographer Kirk Hille, who won the Grand Prize in SkyPixel's first annual contest in 2015, Todd Kennedy, adjudged "Travel Photographer of the Year" by Australian Photography Magazine, and Tom Rex Jessett, a globetrotting New Zealand-based landscape and travel photographer.


THIRD: Top down shot of Rigby Island in Lake's Entrance, Victoria. Shot with Mavic Pro

Tourism Australia's Chief Marketing Officer, Lisa Ronson, was blown away by the quantity and the quality of entries. "There are some amazingly talented photographers out there who are using drone technology to capture some breath-taking images of Australia. Drone-facilitated photography as well as other new technologies such as VR and 360 are enabling us to tell our story in ways which were just not possible a few years ago. It's very exciting for our industry and will, I'm sure, provide inspiration to many Australian tourism operators as they look at new and engaging ways to promote their businesses," she said.

All the winning photos can be viewed here: www.skypixel.com/events/australia


Traveloscopy | 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Vivid Sydney celebrates the grit and glitter of Kings Cross

#ate17



For the first time, Kings Cross will be an exciting precinct that includes all Vivid Sydney pillars of light, music and ideas, called Vivid KX. The program will include a wonderful mix of genres, theatre, performance, story-telling and light art, and celebrate exactly what makes Kings Cross so special.

Vivid KX will explore the bohemian underworlds that gave The Cross its unique DNA through a genre-bending performance program; pop-up cinema screening the strangest, craziest and best in Australian film; and raw and riveting talks of the days of the ‘Golden Mile’.

For the first time at Kings Cross, the Coca-Cola billboard will come alive to celebrate the talent, colour, creativity and diversity of Kings Cross. Shot by portrait photographer Katherine Williams the Characters of Kings Cross series will feature moving black-and-white portraits of the individuals that make Kings Cross so special. The projected images will feature on the left-hand side of the sign, and will include familiar faces such as Kylie Kwong, along with other Kings Cross locals.

The famous Coca-Cola LED billboard will for the first time in 40 years transform into a continuous light show of vibrant colours and special effects for the entire 23 nights of Vivid Sydney. Read more

Traveloscopy | 

Accommodation boom across New South Wales


The State Government’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW has said growth in overnight visitation to NSW is stimulating an accommodation boom across the State.

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour opening 2017 (source: Accor)

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said this week’s Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) was a great opportunity to showcase both new and refurbished hotels.

“According to the International and National Visitor Surveys for the year ending December 2016, there were more than 33 million overnight visitors who stayed more than 183 million nights in NSW over the past 12 months,” Ms Chipchase said.

“New and refurbished hotels by the harbour, and luxury makeovers and quality boutique offerings are giving visitors to Sydney and regional NSW just what they want – accommodation in desirable locations, with a choice of styles and price points.

“Sky-high confidence in the visitor economy is driving the hotel boom with 7,800 new and refurbished hotel rooms under construction or approved for development and open for business by 2022.

“Our State is undergoing a major transformation to meet the growing demands from international markets, providing NSW hotels and operators with more opportunities than ever before to attract visitors.

“With occupancy rates rising from 75 per cent in to 76.3 per cent in the December quarter 2016, driven primarily by occupancy rate increases in regional NSW (66.4 per cent, up from 62.6 per cent), our State is leading the country when it comes to accommodation supply, demand and revenue takings.

“From Sydney to the Blue Mountains, the South Coast to up North, and out to Country NSW, we are seeing major refurbishments of heritage sites, to brand new beachfront pavilions and self-catering options as part of this hotel boom, and we look forward to highlighting the best of these exciting developments during ATE,” she said.

On top of the accommodation boom, other major infrastructure projects are underway including the harbourside development at Barangaroo, the Western Sydney Airport, significant upgrades to Sydney Airport and the planned regeneration of The Bays Precinct, a waterfront space in the inner west.

Click here to download the latest ‘Hotel News in Sydney and NSW’ Fact Sheet.

For more information on attractions and experiences in NSW, visit www.visitnsw.com and www.sydney.com.



Traveloscopy | 

Showcase NSW best food and wine




Some of the State’s finest produce will be showcased to travel buyers from across the globe tonight, as part of the 2017 Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE).

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said 1,300 domestic and international delegates will gather at a special harbourside location for the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency’s showcase event.

“From artisan smoked Bangalow ham, South Coast cheese, Pinot Noir from Orange, saltbush lamb from Wagga Wagga, and an eight metre long ice bar filled with NSW’s freshest and finest seafood, tonight’s event will take people on an incredible NSW food journey,” Ms Chipchase said.

“More and more visitors from across Australia and the world are learning about our State’s great local wines and fresh produce, with a desire to visit Sydney and regional NSW for a first-hand experience.

“NSW is home to fourteen wine regions, renowned fruit, beef, pork and truffle farms, and over 2,000 kilometres of coastline bursting with fresh seafood and local produce, some of which our guests will be able to enjoy and savour tonight.

“With such amazing produce and so many wonderful dining experiences to be had, it’s little wonder so many visitors are choosing to experience our thriving culinary hotspots and award-winning restaurants throughout NSW.”



Whether it’s a Hunter Semillon or a cool-climate Tempranillo, visitors can find plenty of scope for exploration and experimentation in each of the State’s fourteen wine regions.

In the year ended December 2016, there were almost two million domestic and international visitors who had been to a NSW winery. These visitors stayed 13.8 million nights and spent $2.2 billion in the State.

The latest International Visitor Survey results show that NSW received nearly 213,000 international wine travellers with Sydney, the Hunter, North Coast, Blue Mountains and South Coast as the most visited regions by international wine travellers.

“There’s a real movement around where and how our food is grown, sourced and prepared, and NSW’s pristine environment and varied typography is creating some of the finest produce in Australia for visitors to enjoy.

“We look forward to welcoming more international visitors to our State as a result of tonight’s special Destination NSW event and continuing to place NSW firmly on the global foodie-map,” Ms Chipchase said.

Download the latest ‘Food and Wine in Sydney and NSW’ Fact Sheet.



Traveloscopy | 

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Puffing Billy Railway is Australia's favourite train



The world famous steam train, The Puffing Billy Railway, is Australia's favourite train and one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world.

The railway which commenced operation in Australia on December 18, 1900 and operates every day except Christmas Day, is a genuine relic of our more leisurely days.

An historic steam train which runs regularly in the Victorian mountain district, it was built to serve at the turn of the century, and was used to transport goods and passengers throughout the district.

The line was opened by the Victorian Railways in 1900 between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook, however, there was a struggle to keep the railway alive. From the early 1930s the railway earned the reputation for being a financial liability on the Victorian Railways and due to a landslide in 1953, a subsequent decision was made to close the line in 1954.

It was during a series of farewell trips in 1955 that led to the Puffing Billy Preservation Society being established - to keep the train running, and it has been a success with figures of over ten million passengers now carried on the historic railway since re-opening in 1962.

Tourist services resumed between Belgrave and Menzies Creek in 1962, and were progressively extended to Emerald in 1965, Lakeside in 1975 and Gembrook in 1998.

The railway travels 25kms through the forests and fern gullies of the magnificent Dandenong Ranges to Emerald Lake Park and Gembrook- -the original terminus of the line- - and is one of two survivors of five experimental narrow gauge lines used to develop rural area in Victoria during the early 1900s.

Trains depart from Belgrave which is only 40kms or one hour east of Melbourne by car or coach. Easy access is also available by electric train from Melbourne in around one hour with a short walk from the electric train station to the Puffing Billy station.


Together with the traditional train journeys, Puffing Billy also offers a range of unique “First Class” travel and dining experiences in up to four luxurious, fully enclosed, heritage carriages, each seating up to 20 passengers. Choose from Lunch, which is available seven days a week or Dinner, on selected Friday and Saturday evenings. Other evenings are available for groups of 60-80 passengers.

Group bookings on all scheduled trains may be made and special charter trains for groups of up to 250 are available. “Special Interest” groups can also be catered for with escorted tours.

Annual patronage to the railway is fast approaching 350,000 people and in addition to the well-known excursion train services, its unique products include:

- The Dinner & Dance Train – selected Friday & Saturday evening

- The Steam & Cuisine Luncheon Train– daily first class service

- Days out with Thomas the Tank Engine

- Other activities such as Murder Mystery Trains, Jazz Trains and

- Drive an Engine experiences.

- External contracting in niche markets (e.g. steam locomotive overhaul and repair, timber bridge maintenance)

The Railway recently received a Certificate of Excellence 2015 from TripAdvisor which was a direct result from the consistently great reviews given by TripAdvisor travellers.

For further information please visit: www.puffingbilly.com.au

Traveloscopy | 

Monday, May 8, 2017

True or False? More than 90 percent of travellers rely on online reviews.


This interesting infographic supplied by TravelCarma which they claim illustrates the "Global State of Online Travel". Presented as is.

Scenic launches South America program for 2018






Scenic has launched its South America program for 2018 which features a brand-new 12/29 day tour, Icons of South & Central America. With its rich, colourful history, this Scenic-exclusive tour combines the very best of South America, from the history-steeped Havana and Trinidad to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu and Cuzco.  

There's a new Scenic Enrich experience, a horse-and-carriage ride and dinner in Cartagena, as well as a host of new Scenic Freechoice options: think Cuzco cooking classes, off-road adventures in Los Glaciares National Park and a Classic Havana tour.

Also new for 2018 is a Belmond Andean Explorer two-day luxurious rail journey across the awe-inspiring Andes to Lake Titicaca on Scenic's 16 day Peru Discovery tour, where guests will delve into Peru's Sacred Valley and visit the World Heritage site of Machu Picchu.

Scenic is offering brilliant Earlybird offers on 2018 journeys. Book by 31 October 2017 and fly to South America from $995 when you book a journey of 20 days or longer – a saving of up to $2,330 per couple; or fly from $1,295 on journeys of 11 to 19 days.

For more information call Scenic on 138 128 or visit scenic.com.au


Up the Fiji creek - with a paddle!

 
Pictured paddling her way along Fiji's mighty Navua River, MTA – Mobile Travel Agent, Sandra Di Benedetto recently visited the destination with fellow Member Michelle Edwards as part of a Tourism Fiji 'Matai' specialist Fiji sales agents' familiarisation.

Their program included a high-speed Sigatoka River Jetboat Safari and a visit to a traditional Fijian village in the picturesque Sigatoka Valley.

pic: Mobile Travel Agent Sandra Di Benedetto

W: www.mtatravel.com.au

F:   www.facebook.com/mobiletravelagents            


Saturday, May 6, 2017

2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games Promotion at Snow Travel Expos Sydney & Melbourne



Korea Tourism Organization will participate in the Snow Travel Expos in Sydney on Sunday, 21 May and Melbourne on the following Sunday, 28 May, 2017 with the main aim being the promotion of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games being held in Korea from 9-25 February, 2018.

Five major ski resorts from Korea will join the Snow Travel Expo in Sydney on Sunday, 21st May, 2017 at the new International Convention Centre, (ICC) Darling Harbour for the first time. They are ski resorts - Alpensia, Daemyung, High 1, Phoenix Park and Yongpyong.

Alpensia, Phoenix Park and Yongpyong are all directly involved as venues for the upcoming Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games so will be able to answer any direct questions from the public regarding their resorts.

Korean Air, the official partner airline for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games will also be on the Korea stand at the Sydney Snow Travel Expo on 21 May.

The Korea stand will also host CoSport, the authorised ticket reseller for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Australia. Tickets and packages are already on sale online at www.cosport.com.au and are selling well.

A highlight of the Korea stand will be a virtual reality ski jump experience being brought to Australia from Korea for the Sydney Snow Travel Expo only. Visitors to the Expo can enjoy a virtual ski jump experience as if they are competing in the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Brochures and materials relating to the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games will be distributed freely as well as small giveaways. Korea Tourism Organization will provide advice and assistance to visitors at both the Sydney and Melbourne Snow Travel Expos in regard to travelling to the Games as well as general travel information on what to do and see in Korea.

Interested parties can see more about the Snow Travel Expos in Sydney and Melbourne on the Snow Travel Expo's website: snowtravelexpo.com.au

Come along and experience the fun and enjoyment of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Korea stand at the Snow Travel Expo. Have your photo taken with Soohorang (the White Tiger) and Bandabi (the Moon Bear) who are the official mascots for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.

Official Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games website: www.pyeongchang2018.com

Information on Tickets & Tour Packages visit CoSport website: www.cosport.com.au

Website:  www.visitkorea.org.auLike on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SeeKoreaTwitter:  https://twitter.com/ktosydney

 

Traveloscopy | 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bangkok remains most visited Asia-Pacific destination in Mastercard Index 2017

Bangkok has retained its place as the Top Destination in terms of Visitor Numbers out of 171 destinations in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the latest figures from the influential Mastercard Asia-Pacific Destinations Index 2017.

Bangkok remains most visited Asia-Pacific destination in Mastercard Index 2017
Bangkok welcomed 19.3 million international overnight arrivals in 2016 of the 339.2 million visits made to the 171 Asia-Pacific destinations on the Mastercard list. This put the Thai capital above second place Singapore, which attracted 13.1 million. Thai destinations Phuket and Pattaya also placed in the Top Ten on the report, with 9.1 million and 8.1 million overnight visits, respectively.

The Mastercard Asia-Pacific Destinations Index 2017 ranks 171 destinations in 22 countries. These include resorts, towns and cities and are ranked in terms of the total number of international overnight arrivals, cross-border spending, and the total number of nights spent at each destination.

Mr.Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, "Bangkok once again takes top place in the Mastercard listing, showing how attractive the city is to tourists and business travellers who visit knowing they'll find a city that will impress and meet their needs. Whether they are just passing through or want to explore the amazing shopping, food scene, history and entertainment, visitors find that in this most exciting of destinations, there's something for everyone."

Bangkok also topped the list of total nights stayed with 87.6 million nights, showing that visitors to Asia-Pacific destinations are travelling for longer periods. In 2016, visitors to the region stayed for 1,768.7 million nights, compared with 1,023.1 million nights in 2009, representing an 8.1 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).

In terms of overall tourism expenditure in the region, Bangkok took second place with spending of US$12.7 billion of the US$244.9 billion spent in 2016. Singapore topped the list with US$15.4 billion. The growing numbers of tourists from China and South Korea helped to boost these figures to the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, China was the top source market for visitors to Bangkok with affluent Chinese seeking out shopping and dining experiences in the region.

The Mastercard Asia-Pacific Destinations Index is an off-shoot of the annual Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index and reflects the increasing importance of the Asia-Pacific region for tourism. In 2016, five of the ten most visited cities in the world were in the Asia-Pacific region.



Monday, May 1, 2017

Chocolate cake frenzy at this year's Leura Harvest Festival


The ultimate chocolate cake parade marks this year's Leura Harvest Festival


The boutique Leura village in the Blue Mountains will be transformed into a country fair and interactive sustainable-living experience at the Leura Harvest Festival this weekend.

The festival on Sunday 7 May, will feature everything from micro-farming stalls and local organic food producers to homemade scarecrows, pet chooks on show, and a chocolate cake parade culminating in a sweet public feast.

Now in its fourth year, the Leura Harvest Festival honours the region's natural food bowl and highlights the latest in sustainable living initiatives at more than 70 market stalls under the famous cherry trees along the mall.

Along with fresh produce and locally grown plants and herbs, this annual event will see stallholders showcasing everything from solar-powered cars, upcycled and recycled fashion and jewellery, handcrafted ceramics and art, and luscious handmade beauty products.

In true harvest style there will be organic cuisine and locally crafted wines and ciders – all produced within a 100-mile radius of Leura.

The festival also features a series of homespun events for all ages, including the ever-popular Pet Chook Show, the return of Birches of Leura's fabulous Scarecrow Competition and the ultimate Chocolate Cake Competition.

Presented by Josophans Fine Chocolates, the cake competition will see home and professional bakers walk down the Mall with their delicious creations before the judging begins at 1.30pm.  Once the winners are announced the chocolate indulgence begins, with free slices of cake provided to onlookers.

For more details on the Leura Harvest Festival, visit www.leuravillage.com.au

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