Afghanistan: Do not travel
Bangladesh, Pakistan: Reconsider your need to travel
France, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico: High degree of caution
Hong Kong’s 5-Star Harbour Grand Hotel is offering special last minute rooms rates, and room and entry ticket packages, for the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens event on 7-9 April, available when booked by this Wednesday 1 March.
The room rate of HK6168 (approx AUD$1015) includes three nights accommodation, daily buffet breakfast at Harbour Grand Café, free welcome drink on arrival and free in-room internet access. The Room, and the Rugby Sevens ticket package has the same inclusions and costs from HKD$6812 (approx AUD$1132). Terms and conditions apply.
The hotel is also offering a 25 per cent discount on best available rate for extended stays.
Solomon Islands Minister for Culture & Tourism, the Hon. Bartholomew Parapolo, hosted a delegation from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) last week, led by CEO Dr Mario Hardy on his first official visit to the Sollies.
Accompanied by PATA regional director – Pacific Chris Flynn, Dr Hardy’s three day visit included meetings with Permanent Secretary Andrew Nihopara, director of tourism Barney Savoro and senior Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB) officials – and has resulted in a commitment from PATA to increase its activity in the Solomon Islands, including implementing training programs to augment local tourism initiatives that are already in process.
“Having Dr Hardy here gave us a major opportunity to hear some expert opinion which has the capacity to further enhance the direction our current international marketing activity is taking,” said SIVB CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto.
“We are extremely happy to be working closely with PATA.
“Not only does this visit bode well for the Solomon Islands, PATA’s plans to increase its activity in the region benefits the entire South Pacific.”
IMAGE: L-R – SIVB chairman, Wilson Ne’e, PATA CEO, Dr Mario Hardy; Ministry of Culture & Tourism Permanent Secretary, Andrew Nihopara; PATA Regional Director – Pacific, Chris Flynn; Director of Tourism, Barney Savoro and SIVB CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto
The Qantas Australian Tourism Awards recognise and celebrate excellence in tourism. The 2016 winners were announced on Friday at the ceremony in Darwin.
Winners this year include Kakadu National Park, Freycinet National Park, Sovereign Hill, Questacon, Bruny Island Cruises, The Tasmanian Walking Company and Voyages Ayers Rock Resort.
A diverse range of tourism businesses enter their state and territory Tourism Awards, with more than 200 becoming national finalists.
Image: Kakadu National Park
A new content agreement between Amadeus and Thai Lion Air makes seats on the LCC’s 17 routes, covering an array of destinations from Phuket to Ubon Ratchathani, available through Amadeus’ global network of travel agents.
Operating from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport, Thai Lion Air has been pursuing international expansion ambitiously, and in 2016 alone added Yangon, Ho Chi Minh City and Guangzhou to its route map. With this agreement, Thai Lion Air is the second carrier under Indonesia’s Lion Air Group to distribute its content through Amadeus. Its sister airline, Malindo Air, has a long standing partnership with Amadeus in the distribution space.
“There’s a growing demand for more affordable ways to fly to and within Thailand and Thai Lion Air is answering the call. We take a lot of pride in offering quality services at low fares to travellers looking to fly into Bangkok and from Bangkok to various destinations around Thailand,” said Captain Darsito Hendroseputro, managing director, Thai Lion Air.
“The domestic market is well aware of these options but the international market less so, and this is why our agreement with Amadeus is significant. Their ability to connect us with an unrivalled network of travel agents will put us in a strong position to effectively target the international market.”
With less than one year to go to the opening of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, a delegation led by the President of the Korea Tourism Organization, Mr. Jung Chang-soo, visited Sydney this week to announce marketing plans and introduce the games’ mascots.
The travel industry’s finest dined with the Australian Olympic Committee, the Olympic Winter Institute, Channel Seven Australia’s Olympic team and the Korean delegation led by President Jung, Chang-soo at L’Aqua, Darling Harbour.
Tickets and packages for the Games have gone on sale recently through CoSport, the authorised ticket agent in Australia.
Last year more than 150,000 Australians visited Korea with numbers growing annually particularly with growing interest nowadays in skiing in Korea. It is expected that the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will further that interest by Australians in Korea as a winter/ski destination.
“We hope to see many more Australians on the ski slopes and in the stadium” said Mr Jung.
It is expected that there will be more interest than ever before by Australians in the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games in Korea due to the fact that the Australian team has performed beyond expectations in the recent Pyeongchang Olympic test events held in Korea in the past two weeks.
Former Olympian ski cross competitor Scott Kneller, who competed at Vancouver and Sochi, was also on hand to give an insight into the training life of a Winter Olympic competitor. Scott retired after Sochi and has now taken on the role of managing this year’s team.
Scott’s top medal picks for Australia?
1. Scotty James. Scotty put down “the run of his life” to win gold at the Phoenix Pyeongchang Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup which secured him the individual World Cup victory and takes him to overall 2016/2017 Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup series crown. In an Australian first, Scotty James is the current World Cup, World Championship and X Games champion. He wears three of the four major world snowboard halfpipe crowns, the fourth being Olympic glory.
2. Brittney Cox. Brittney is “unbeatable”. She has continued her dominant World Cup season by winning the gold medal at the Olympic test event in Pyeongchang, Korea and last weekend went on to be the first Australian female to win a Mogul Skiing World Cup title in the Dual Mogul event in Tazawako, Japan.
It is expected that Australia will send a team of approximately sixty athletes to Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, where they will compete against athletes from close to 100 nations in 12 venues across the region.
For more information on the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics visit the official Games website: pyeongchang2018.com
For information on obtaining tickets/packages to attend the Games visit the authorised ticket agent CoSport’s website: cosport.com
An inner city YWCA in Sydney has undergone extensive renovations to emerge yesterday as The Song Hotel, not only boasting a location on Wentworth Avenue opposite Hyde Park, but also pledging 100% of all profits to fund YWCA NSW’s services and support for domestic violence victims.
And responsible tourism goes a step further with the hotel’s “dining for a cause” ethos at its new restaurant, The Song Kitchen. Led by Head Chef Charlotte Gonzales, The Song Kitchen’s sophisticated a la carte menu showcases fresh seasonal produce and is open to the public breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“People want to make a difference and support a cause and The Song Hotel leads the way in allowing you to do exactly that. Guests at Song will enjoy speciality coffee, delicious food, wine and service and know they are making a difference,” said YWCA NSW CEO Anna Bligh.
YWCA NSW is leading the way for Australia’s profit for purpose sector through a number of hospitality venues raising awareness and funds for domestic violence. The refurbishment and rebranding of the hotel follow the successful launch of The Song Kitchen initiative in 2016 in a joint venture with Mirvac, which sees YWCA NSW operate the café and catering services in Mirvac’s George Street Headquarters on George St, providing a premium service for Mirvac and its guests.
From 1 July 2017, Emirates will begin daily services from Dubai to Phnom Penh, Cambodia on a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in a two class configuration.
Outbound, flight EK388 will depart Dubai at 0915hrs, and will arrive in Yangon at 1725hrs. It will then depart Yangon at 1855hrs, before arriving at Phnom Penh at 2125hrs. The departure time of flight EK388 from Dubai seamlessly connects with a number of European services such as Paris, London, and Frankfurt. On the return segment, flight EK389 will depart Phnom Penh at 2310hrs, and will arrive in Dubai at 0540hrs the next day, after a short stop in Yangon. All times are local.
All services between Dubai and Phnom Penh will offer two classes of travel – business and economy, with up to 35kg baggage allowance in economy class and 40kg in business class.
Tickets can be booked online through emirates.com/au
Bye bye Bondi … once again, you didn’t make the top 10 in Australia, according to the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.
Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays took the top honours in Australia again, for the fourth year in a row, followed Surfers Paradise and Noosa Main Beach.
Baia do Sancho in Brazil was named best beach in the world, ahead of beaches in the Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba.
Top 10 beaches in Australia
India is now one of the top ten destinations for Australian tourists, with a 200 per cent increase in travel there over the past decade, and thanks to the many festivals that happen in March, it is high season for travel to India.
Upcoming Indian festivals:
According Claudio Saita, deputy CEO and executive director in Australia for Tokio Marine, underwriters World2Cover travel insurance, while India is growing in popularity, it is not without some unique challenges as a destination.
“Figures show India was the tenth most risky destination for Aussies in 2016 for serious injury, illness or hospitalisation incidents abroad, including some surprising issues. For example, while traveller’s diarrhoea affects up to 70 per cent of visitors, many are unaware that March is also chickenpox season, which can severely affect unvaccinated adults and people with weakened immune systems.
“Having the right vaccines and insurance policies in place before you go to any country is crucial. India is also a land of contrasts, with the quality of medical care varying greatly between hospitals,” said Saita.
Image: Decorated elephant at the annual elephant festival in Jaipur, Rajasthan in India.
Canada celebrates its 150th birthday this year so it’s hardly surprising that Lonely Planet has declared the country the top destination for 2017, as this already popular destination prepares for a surge in eager visitors!
If you want to learn more about Canada, and celebrate Canada – join Great Canadian Trails expert, Keri May, and discover more about the excitement of finalising the last sections of the world’s longest network of recreational trails – the Trans Canada Trail, at World Expeditions’ FREE events next week.
Enjoy tasty Canadian treats, be inspired by Canadian landscapes and maybe win a lucky door prize!
Canada boasts 47 National Parks and Reserves, dozens of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves, hundreds of thousands of lakes, a handful of stunning mountain ranges and the longest coastline in the world and World Expeditions’ 29 adventures there are a great way to see some of its most scenically stunning regions.
IMAGE: Idyllic much? Cycle lakeside on beautiful Prince Edward Island
Buffalo Tours’ new LUXE Brochure is out now and features a new era of high-end bespoke tours, spanning Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore, and incorporating responsible travel, as well as unique and authentic cultural encounters designed to bring meaningful travel to luxury clients.
Culinary Highlights – Exclusive dining that offers an exceptional cultural context, such as dining at Angkor Wat with a private performance of Apsara ballet.
Behind-the-Scenes – Exclusive access to artists, craftsmen, experts and local celebrities. For example, a VIP tour of private art galleries in Hong Kong.
Unique Encounters – Visiting families in their homes, attending ancient ceremonies and participating as an honoured guest at local festivities.
The LUXE tours also include some of Asia’s most unique and extravagant accommodation experiences, with private transfers and luxury transportation.
IMAGE: Shah-i-Zinda Neocropolis Samarkand
Uzbekistan largely remains a mystery to many, hence the appeal to adventurous travellers, and now Australian-based Byroads Travel is offering a 13-day Transoxiana tour covering all of the highlights of this exotic destination that lies at the crossroads of the famed ‘Silk Road.’
Blessed with amazing architecture, Uzbekistan’s ancient cities abound with stunning turquoise domed mosques and towering minarets, museums showcasing the incredible history of the region from the days of Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great and to its more recent history with the former Soviet Union. Visit the fabled cities of Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva.
The tours depart Tashkent on 8 October 2017 and 7 October 2018 and are priced from USD$2895 (approx AUD$3987) per person, twin share. Air fares from Australia are additional.
Caravanners and camper trailer holidaymakers can travel on SeaLink to Kangaroo Island for free between 15 May and 15 September 2017 – a saving of $196 for two people on the 45-minute ferry trip.
Stunning Kangaroo Island, situated southwest of Adelaide in South Australia, is a drawcard for all ages and a popular escape for people towing caravans and campers.
With four caravan parks, ranging from foreshore parks in Kingscote and Penneshaw to natural bushland settings in the heart of the island in Parndana and at the western end of the island next to the Flinders Chase National Park, the SeaLink offer is a great incentive to visit one of Australia’s most spectacular natural playgrounds.
This caravan and camper trailer deal is on sale until 12 September 2017.