Spoilt for Choice as Australia Sails into a Cruisey Summer

Australia will welcome an unprecedented number of cruise ships this summer, with more than 40 vessels sailing in local waters – including eight ships making their maiden visits Down Under.

Among the flotilla will be the largest ship to visit Australia – Royal Caribbean’s 167,000-tonne Ovation of the Seas – as well as the youngest and most luxurious ship ever to cruise here, the boutique Seabourn Encore, which will arrive in Australia just two weeks after it is officially named in Singapore.

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Detailing the upcoming peak cruise season, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Commercial Director Brett Jardine said a record 41 ships from CLIA member cruise lines would be based in Australia or visiting local waters between October 1, 2016, and April 30, 2017, compared to 38 ships over the same period last year.

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Between them, the ships will make almost 900 calls to ports around Australia over that period – up 10 per cent on last year’s port calls numbers.

With more than half the ships (23) offering return cruises from our shores, Australians will be able to take advantage of almost 400 roundtrip itineraries from local ports, a 20 per cent rise on last summer’s offerings.

Mr Jardine said the record season reflected the continuing surge in Australian cruise passenger numbers as well as the nation’s growing popularity as an international cruise destination. Australia is the fourth largest source market for cruise passengers in the world with official CLIA figures showing more than one million Australians took a cruise in 2015 – a 14.6 per cent increase on the previous year. Australian cruise passenger numbers have grown by almost 20 per cent annually over the past decade

“Anyone wanting evidence of the continuing rapid growth of the cruise industry in Australia just needs to look at the horizon this summer – there is going to be a constant procession of ships visiting our ports, carrying hundreds of thousands of Australians and international tourists on great value and relaxing holidays,” Mr Jardine said.

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Five cruise lines will be making their first ever calls to a range of ports from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Burnie in Tasmania, while across the fleets, individual ships will be making close to 70 maiden calls to coastal towns and cities.

“It’s going to be an exciting summer for communities around Australia as they welcome these wonderful ships and share in the $3.6 billion in economic benefits that flow from cruise tourism in Australia annually,” Mr Jardine said.

The start of the cruise season on October 1 coincides with the beginning of the local cruise industry’s first ever Cruise Month promotion, which will see cruise lines offering great deals through cruise specialist travel agents. Highlights of the peak summer period include:

  • The first international ship call for the summer season when Celebrity Solstice returns to Sydney on October 8
  • The first maiden ship call for the summer season when Holland America Line’s Maasdam debuts in Sydney on October 20
  • The inaugural Australian season of the largest Princess ship to sail from Australia this summer, the 3082-guest Emerald Princess, making her first Australian call in Fremantle on November 8, followed by Melbourne on November 13 and Sydney on November 15
  • The inaugural visit of the largest ship to visit Australia, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, arriving in Fremantle on December 6 to make the first of six maiden calls following her launch earlier this year
  • The Australian debut of the ultra-luxury Seabourn Encore arriving in Darwin on January 22 and sailing down the Australian coast to reach Sydney on February 2 and Melbourne on February 4. In all she will make nine maiden Australian calls
  • The first Australian visit of the luxury Azamara Journey, arriving in Darwin on February 8, the first of 12 maiden calls
  • The debut of the 92,000-tonne Norwegian Star which will make seven maiden Australian calls commencing with Darwin on January 29
  • The maiden Australian visit of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Europa 2 which will debut Down Under with her call to Hobart on December 26, making 13 inaugural calls around the country
  • The inaugural visit of Oceania Cruises’ Sirena which will arrive in Sydney on March 6, 2017 and make eight maiden calls to local ports
  • A Royal Rendezvous of Cunard’s remastered flagship Queen Mary 2 and her younger sister Queen Elizabeth in Sydney on February 25
  • Queen Mary 2’s first ever visit to Tasmania with calls to Port Arthur on February 27 and Hobart on February 28
  • Royal Caribbean’s first call to Wollongong with a visit by Radiance of the Seas on October 30
  • The first ever round trip cruise to South America from Australia – an 84-night cruise by Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess departing Sydney on January 11, 2017.

CLIA Member Cruise Lines’ Ships Sailing in Australian Waters October 1, 2016 – April 30, 2017

Azamara Cruises – Azamara Journey P&O Cruises Australia – Pacific Pearl
Carnival Cruise Line – Carnival Legend P&O Cruises World Cruising – Arcadia
Carnival Cruise Line – Carnival Spirit P&O Cruises World Cruising – Aurora
Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Solstice Ponant – L’Austral
Costa Cruises – Costa Luminosa Princess Cruises – Dawn Princess
Crystal – Crystal Symphony Princess Cruises – Emerald Princess
Cunard – Queen Elizabeth Princess Cruises – Golden Princess
Cunard – Queen Mary 2 Princess Cruises – Pacific Princess
Cunard – Queen Victoria Princess Cruises – Sea Princess
Fred Olsen Cruise – Black Watch Princess Cruises – Sun Princess
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises – Europa Regent Seven Seas – Seven Seas Voyager
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises – Europa 2 Regent Seven Seas – Seven Seas Navigator
Holland America Line – Maasdam Royal Caribbean – Ovation of the Seas
Holland America Line – Noordam Royal Caribbean – Voyager of the Seas
NCL – Norwegian Star Royal Caribbean – Legend of the Seas
Oceania Cruises – Insignia Royal Caribbean – Radiance of the Seas
Oceania Cruises – Sirena Royal Caribbean – Explorer of the Seas
P&O Cruises Australia – Pacific Aria Seabourn – Seabourn Encore
P&O Cruises Australia – Pacific Dawn Silversea – Silver Whisper
P&O Cruises Australia – Pacific Eden Silversea – Silver Discoverer
P&O Cruises Australia – Pacific Jewel

Tahitian Atoll Casts Off for New Chapter of Sustainable Tourism

Fly-fishing is set to cast off at a remote atoll in the South Pacific, opening up an idyllic new fishing spot for Australian anglers while creating sustainable tourism opportunities for the small island community of Anaa.

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Anaa (pron Arna) is an isolated atoll located 350 kilometres east of Tahiti in French Polynesia’s Tuamotu archipelago, accessible by a weekly flight from Papeete and home to a community of fewer than 500 residents, mostly elders.

While Anaa looks like paradise, with crystal-clear waters, a turquoise lagoon and palm-fringed beaches, its geography and isolation mean there are limited education and employment opportunities, prompting the island’s youth to leave their home. When children turn 11, many move to the main island of Tahiti to attend high school and either stay there or head overseas to pursue further education or employment.

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Only 6.5km by 29.5km in size, the island is looking to build its economy by developing its fly-fishing industry – a natural choice given its fringing reef, expansive sand flats, coral bommies and lagoon are home to a huge variety of species including Bonefish, Bluefin Trevally, Giant Trevally, Triggerfish, Red Bass and Napoleon Wrasse.

After developing sustainable fishing practices at eco resort The Brando on neighbouring atoll Tetiaroa, the Australian and British branches of Fly Odyssey saw similar opportunities for a community-led fishing business model on Anaa.

James Laverty from Fly Odyssey Australia said Anaa would provide a special fly-fishing experience for Australian anglers with great seasonal fishing in an idyllic setting.

“There aren’t many places left in the world that are unique from a fishing perspective and Anaa is one of them. It’s a very exclusive product and will be perfect for Australians looking for something different. For one week, the fishermen will practically have the island, and the fish, all to themselves,” James said.

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Tahitian Hinano Bagnis, who developed the project with Fly Odyssey, said fly-fishing provided a great opportunity for small isolated islands in French Polynesia to diversify their economy, which presently relied heavily on copra culture and small scale fisheries.

“In addition to the direct employment created by increased tourism activities, the community can develop alternative sustainable livelihoods in related support industries. If the inhabitants are provided with a new source of income, it also offers an incentive for their kids to stay and even return to their home island. Eco- tourism also leads to conservation of the fisheries and the environment that sustains them,” Hinano said.

Tahiti Tourisme Director Australia Robert Thompson said fly-fishing was an exciting new tourism drawcard for the destination.

“The islands of Tahiti are perfect for fishing, and saltwater fly-fishing is a growing niche within the sport. We’re very excited about the potential of this market and think Australian anglers will be hooked on our beautiful atolls, like Anaa, at first sight,” Mr Thompson said.

The Fly Odyssey team has visited Anaa several times in recent years to consult with the community and provide training and James said locals were excited and enthusiastic about the new chapter.

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As part of the initiative, a fisheries scientist has called the island home for the past 18 months, working with locals to assess the fishery so that sustainable management recommendations can be put forward to the community in the future.

In a case of ‘build it and they will come’, one resident has constructed four thatched beach huts in anticipation of the island’s visitors. The villas can house groups of up to eight fishermen with flow on accommodation available in locals’ homes, providing a truly authentic French Polynesian experience.

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Fly Odyssey is offering limited opportunities for fly-fishing in Anaa in 2016 and 2017 as part of their ongoing fisheries research program. Seven-day packages start from $3930* per person including twin share accommodation in a beach bungalow at Anaa Pension Lodge, full board including cooked breakfast, packed lunches and banquet dinner nightly, complimentary use of kayaks and bicycles, six days’ guided fly-fishing, conservation fee, cultural experiences on Anaa, return airport transfers and one additional night’s accommodation in Tahiti.

*subject to availability, conditions apply. Price excludes international flights to Tahiti, domestic flights to Anaa, fly gear and tackle, and gratuities

For more information and to book visit www.flyodyssey.com.au

For more information on Tahiti visit www.tahiti-tourisme.com.au

Five of the best hikes…

Five of the best hikes around Australia’s capital

Australia’s capital, Canberra, is a city within a nature park and there’s no better way to explore it than on foot. Canberra’s scenic hikes will soon be just an eight hour flight away, with Singapore Airlines’ set to commence direct services between Singapore and Canberra on 20 September.

With more than half of the Australian Capital Territory either nature reserve, national park or state forest, we’ve put together five must-do walks for all fitness levels.

  • Canberra Centenary Trail
  • What:For the hardcore walker, this 145-kilometre loop passes many natural and man-made cultural icons of the capital. You don’t have to do it all in one go, of course – it’s divided into sections so you can tackle it bit by bit, averaging 20 kilometres a day over a week.
  • Why:Aside from bragging rights, this is the ultimate way to see Canberra, and in a way that few will. Combining urban and rural sights, it’s a walk for people of moderate ability that showcases the best of the Territory. You can also do the trail by bike.
  • Highlights:There are plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife, so keep an eye out for kangaroos, wombats, echidnas and wedge-tailed eagles. If you see a platypus, you’re among the lucky ones, as they’re shy and nocturnal.
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  • Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
  • What:There are lots of different walks of various grades. The nature reserve is organised so you can hop into the car to get from one area to the next and then do a short walk. The rangers at the Visitor Centre can help you work out what to do and see.
  • Why:You’re guaranteed to see kangaroos and you have a really good chance of seeing an emu.
  • Highlights:There’s a breeding program for the endangered brush-tailed rock wallaby, so you have a good chance of spotting them in their enclosure. Koalas also inhabit the nature reserve. For the best chance of seeing wombats or platypuses, visit first thing in the morning. The kids will love the Nature Discovery Playground and you’ll love the idyllic picnic spots and fresh open air.
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  • Namadgi National Park
  • What:Expansive Namadgi National Park is abundant with wildlife, scenic views and great bushwalks. Managed in cooperation with local Ngambri leaders, the park is a wonderful place to explore the region’s Indigenous heritage.
  • Why:There are 160km of walking trails in total and plenty of ancient Indigenous art sites to discover, whether you’re hiking alone or with a ranger (ask at Namadgi Visitor Centre).
  • Highlights:Combining natural wonders with human history, you’ll feel a connection with your surroundings. If you want to stay overnight, camp sites are available.
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  • Mt Ainslie
  • What:One of the most popular walks among locals, the bush track behind the Australian War Memorial goes to the top of Mt Ainslie. It’s about 2km each way, there are plenty of steps and it’s steep in parts, so check your fitness level.
  • Why:The views from the top, looking across to Old Parliament House and Parliament House, are well worth the effort. If you’re unable to walk up, you can ride your bike or cheat by driving up Mt Ainslie Drive. You’ll see plenty of kangaroos and rosella parrots.
  • Highlights: The lookout at the summit is perfect for capturing sweeping shots of Canberra.
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  • National Aboretum Canberra
  • What: Think of the Arboretum as a living museum of trees. Spread over 250 hectares are 94 forests of rare, endangered and significant trees only 6km from the city centre. There are many trails for you to walk or ride a bike through and a popular playground for kids.
  • Why: Spectacular views across Lake Burley Griffin and an informative Village Centre where you can learn about the forests and seed banking project. You can also see living artworks in the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection.
  • Highlights: After a walk among the trees, relax at the Sprout Cafe and The Conservatory Restaurant which offers contemporary Australian cuisine using fresh, locally grown produce.
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  • Canberra is an eight-hour flight away from Singapore. From September 20, Singapore Airlines will commence direct flights between Canberra and Singapore four times a week. Contact your travel agent for more details or visit www.singaporeair.com. For more information about Canberra.com.au

 

WHAT’S ON? Canada Winter Events and Festivals January – February 2017

There’s no time for hibernation during winter in Canada. Skate the frozen Rideau Canal at the Winterlude festival in the capital city of Ottawa, or party at the world’s biggest winter carnival in Quebec City and you’ll quickly realise that Canada’s not cold – it’s cool. Read on to learn more about six of Canada’s hottest winter events.

Quebec Winter Carnival

Get a furry bear hug from Bonhomme, the jolly mascot of the world’s biggest winter festival. Feel the excitement as canoes race across the ice-choked St. Lawrence River and back. Watch artists compete in creating giant, fantastical snow sculptures, and stare in wonder as a dogsled race winds through the narrow, snowy streets of the Old City. Smell the sugary aroma of warm maple syrup and skate in the shadow of the ramparts of the only walled city north of Mexico. Stroll streets lit by Victorian lamps before dining in a cozy gourmet restaurant on local Quebec cuisine. Quebec Winter Carnival takes place 27 January – 12 February 2017.

Winterlude, Ottawa

Join 600,000 fun-seekers as they celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday at Winterlude festival in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, Ontario, from 3 – 20 February 2017. Skate the Rideau Canal, the world’s largest skating rink at 7.8 kilometres, and gaze in wonder upon amazing ice sculptures glittering against a night sky of breathtaking fireworks. Little ones love Snowflake Kingdom in Gatineau, the largest snow playground on the continent. We’re talking horse-drawn sleigh rides, a snow maze, igloos and tobogganing, while foodies can’t get enough of Winter Brewfest, with its line-up of local craft beers and a rich palette of flavoursome cuisine.

Montreal en Lumiere

Montréal en Lumiere is one of the largest winter festivals in the world, an annual celebration drawing 900,000 fans to the Quartier des Spectacles for music, circus arts, theatre, and world-renowned gastronomy. Every facet of culture glitters during the 11-day festival, as the free outdoor site bursts with open-air activities, braziers, shows, and activities for children. Montréal’s party spirit and flair for entertainment is irresistible. Montreal en Lumiere takes place from 23 February – 12 March 2017.

Yukon Quest

On 4 February 2017, the famed Yukon Quest trail will awaken to the howls of hundreds of sled dogs as they begin their momentous two-week journey across the glistening, icy wilderness of northwest Canada. Groups of 14 canines led by one human ‘musher’ will race over 1600 kilometres between Whitehorse in Yukon Territory and Fairbanks, Alaska. One thing is certain: not every team will make it to the end as they battle 40 below zero temperatures in their pursuit of the Yukon Quest champion title and a share in the prize purse of more than $127,000. The spirit of the Yukon Quest tests the strength of the ancient bond that exists between humans and canines.

Winterlicious, Toronto

For two scrumptious weeks, Winterlicious in Toronto, Ontario, showcases a series of mouth-watering culinary events and gives you a chance to indulge in creative cuisine from around the world at great prix fixe value. Try something new, try something exotic, try something traditional or try it all during this luscious series hosted by more than 200 of Toronto’s top restaurants. The culinary event series features cooking classes and demonstrations, dinner theatre, tastings and pairings and intimate chef dinners. Winterlicious takes place from 27 January – 10 February 2017.

Winter Pride, Whistler

Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, taking place from 22 -29 January 2017, is one of the biggest gay ski weeks in the world. The LGBT event features a full slate of events including snowmobiling adventures, wine tastings, a pool party, and snowball dance. Enjoy Whistler Blackcomb’s incredible terrain for skiing and riding each day and a new social event every night. Join Whistler’s 7th annual Pride skiOUT + March as skiers bring the Pride flag down the mountain and march to the Whistler Conference Centre – just in time for après-ski! The final night of celebration is the party to end all parties, with international DJs, incredible visuals, stunning go-gos in a massive space, tricked out and wired to impress!

For great winter travel deals and packages visit www.keepexploring.ca

Chalet Eden Rock in St Anton Nominated as ‘Best Austrian Ski Chalet’

576898_num1172141-copyKaluma Travel is delighted to announce that Chalet Eden Rock in St Anton has been nominated as ‘Best Austrian Chalet’ in the 2016 World Ski Awards.

Chalet Eden Rock is a new addition to the Kaluma Travel portfolio for winter 2016/17 and becomes the company’s 8th chalet in St Anton.

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The Eden Rock is a 5-star property with fantastic facilities and a great location. Built by an award-winning architect, the exterior is in a traditional style, while inside it is sleek and stylish.

The chalet has 10 en-suite bedrooms and can be rented for groups up to 20. Alternatively, it is available as three private apartments – an ideal solution for smaller groups looking for luxury. The huge 150sqm spa area is equipped with an indoor heated swimming pool, steam room, sauna, fitness and treatment room.

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All guests can look forward to Kaluma Travel’s first class service, starting with a dedicated travel consultant and then every step of the way throughout their holiday. Your private chef, driver and the concierge service mean every last detail is taken care of.

A week’s stay at Chalet Eden Rock costs from €35,000 for a week’s exclusive use or €12,250 for a Reverse Ski Weekend (Sun-Wed).

This price includes luxury chalet accommodation, freshly prepared daily breakfast, daily afternoon tea, early children’s dinner (if required), pre-dinner canapés, four-course evening meal, wines served with dinner, complimentary bar, 24-hour in-resort concierge service and bespoke driver service.

For further information, please contact Andy Butterworth, Director and Founder at Kaluma Travel via email to andy@kalumatravel.co.uk or by phone to +43 664 2007441

www.worldskiawards.com

PARRTJIMA – A FESTIVAL IN LIGHT FULL PROGRAM ANNOUNCED Alice Springs, 23 September – 2 October 2016

Spectacular Indigenous artworks and a 300-million-year-old canvas illuminated to brighten the desert sky are just some of the highlights of Parrtjima – A Festival in Light, taking place in Alice Springs over 10 nights from Friday, 23 September to Sunday, 2 October 2016.

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New program details released today reveal the free public event will be officially opened on Friday, 23 September.

Parrtjima is a breathtaking showcase of contemporary and traditional Indigenous art, culture and stories using light and sound, created by the Northern Territory Government in collaboration with AGB Events (known for their award-winning work for Vivid Sydney) and local Aboriginal artists, students and community.

Andrew Hopper, General Manager, Northern Territory Major Events Company, said: “Parrtjima offers visitors from around Australia and the world the unique chance to experience the oldest continuous culture on earth in a totally new and exciting way.

“We are extremely proud to present the first authentic Indigenous light festival of its kind in the world as we illuminate 2.5km of the Northern Territory’s majestic MacDonnell Ranges in celebration of Central Australia’s rich Aboriginal culture.”

In addition to the multi-coloured projections on the MacDonnell Ranges, a series of installations will be on show at Alice Springs Desert Park. These include:

· Range of Expression: Visitors to Parrtjima can play a part in illuminating the magnificent MacDonnell Ranges! Step into the interactive glass booth and take control of the panels to choose which colours you want to use to light the vast landscape, and watch your creation come to life before your eyes.

· Yeperenye Tales (Caterpillars): A series of three large, light-filled caterpillar installations featuring colourful illustrations by students from Amoonguna School in Alice Springs, based on their interpretation of the Yeperenye (Caterpillar) Dreamtime story. The story of the Caterpillar is folklore in Central Australia, considered by the local Indigenous Arrernte community to be one of the major creation forces of Alice Springs, the heart of the Australian outback. Illuminated from the inside, the vibrantly lit caterpillars will be accompanied by an audio soundscape and narration by local Indigenous Elder to bring the story to life.

· Grounded: A sequence of artworks by Indigenous artists from Alice Springs will be projected onto the desert sands with their own atmospheric soundscape. The projections merge art with the landscape, symbolising the return of Indigenous art to the Country – the common thread of all selected paintings. Artworks featured include Mervyn Rubuntja, Wenton Rubuntja, Myra Ah Chee, Gloria Pannka and Hubert Pareroultja. The series was created with curatorial assistance from Araluen Arts Centre (Araluen Cultural Precinct) and Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre in Alice Springs.

Inti Ljapa Ljapa Irapakalam (Butterfly Going Round and Round): A series of five large, illuminated skirts feature the circular watercolour landscape paintings of five Alice Springs artists including Lenie Namatjira (granddaughter of one of Australia’s best known Aboriginal painters, Albert Namatjira), Reinhold Inkamala, Ivy Pareroultja, Therese Ryder and Hubert Pareroultja. Presented in collaboration with Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre and The Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, the installation was inspired by the Namatjira Collection of circular skirts, which were exhibited as part of the Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts at the Art Gallery of South Australia. The colourful 1950s-style skirts celebrate the landscape of Ntaria country and the era in which Albert Namatjira was celebrated, and are accompanied by an original soundscape of the artists’ narration. The steel frames supporting the skirts are made by the Centre for Appropriate Technology Ltd in Alice Springs.

The skirts feature circular illustrations of the West MacDonnell Ranges with an endless horizon that leads to one central sky. As audiences move around the skirts they will follow the unbroken horizon and take on the flying path of the emerging butterflies that populate the Arrernte songlines.

Anthony Bastic, Director, AGB Events, said Parrtjima is set to become a popular fixture on Australia’s events calendar.

“The sheer scale of the lighting on the MacDonnell Ranges is beyond imaginable, and will tell a layered, interactive and personal story from artists, Elders and the local Indigenous community. It will set this authentic and contemporary experience apart from anything we’ve ever seen before.”

During the festival visitors will be able to gather in the Festival Hub and enjoy an array of non-alcoholic beverages and family friendly fare with local catering from Reality Bites Catering, Yayes Café and Yona Lisa Catering. Visitors are welcome to bring a rug for a picnic under the bright festival lights, while taking in the beautiful surrounds of Alice Springs Desert Park.

Visitors can access the event via the Larapinta bike track or the free event shuttle bus, which will collect passengers every 10 minutes from 6:00pm daily from six locations around Alice Springs. Pick-up and drop-off locations include Star of Alice bus stop, Lasseters Convention Centre/Casino, Council Chambers, Araluen Cultural Precinct, Albrecht Oval Carpark and Desert Park bus stop.

Gates will open to the public at Alice Springs Desert Park for two sessions each night from 6:30pm-8:30pm and 8:30pm-10:30pm.
Join the conversation with #Parrtjima #ParrtjimaAustralia #NTaustralia. For more information and to register to attend, please visit www.ParrtjimaAustralia.com.au.

Snow Much Fun at Mt Buller This Spring – Fun, Fashion and Savings

September is known for iconic spring events including the ABOM Mogul Challenge, and the retro fun of ’80s Day, as well as the spectacular Corona Extra Pond Skim National Championships on Bourke Street.

Spring is a fantastic time to visit Mt Buller, and visitors enjoy heavily discounted accommodation with up to 50% off the peak season rates at many properties across the mountain, free overnight parking and up to 30% off lift passes. 2017 Early Bird Season Memberships are on sale from September 1st, offering skiers unlimited lift access for the remainder of the 2016 season.

The first weekend of September is set to be an eventful one, as Mt Buller hosts the 2016 Australian Snow Uni Games and the annual ABOM Mogul Challenge. From 30 August – 3 September, hundreds of university students from across the country will gather at Mt Buller for the 2016 Australian Snow Uni Games. Returning to Victoria this winter, Mt Buller is proud to host students competing in a range of disciplines from cross country, snowboarder cross, to the new and exciting Slopestyle discipline across 4 days.

Mt Buller welcomes a world-class line up of freestylers and mogul enthusiasts for the legendary annual ABOM Mogul Challenge on September 3. This event has an esteemed list of mogul champions from around the globe including many Aussie Olympians who will be in the hunt for a podium this September. Take in the show on Chamois and see the mogul skiers fly!

On Saturday 10 September, Mt Buller will revisit the neon-coloured glory days of the 1980s, when the annual ’80s Day celebrations hit the mountain. Festivities will be held across the resort, complete with an air-guitar competition and DJ at Koflers Hutte and an 80s inspired dance troupe performing on the Village Stage. From 3pm, the party rolls on with the annual 80s après party at The Birdcage, where there’ll be a DJ, prizes for the best dressed and more.

The 3rd Annual Corona Extra Pond Skim National Championships hits Bourke Street on Saturday 17 September. Spectators will enjoy seeing participants dressed in crazy costumes skim across a temporary dam on Bourke Street, taking on silly stunts to get from one side of the dam to the other. Celebrations continue with après in the Corona Beer Garden on Bourke Street, and then into the night at Moosehead Bar.

Group Manager of Marketing, Sales and Events for Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management, Gillian Dobson, said spring is a fantastic time to enjoy a snowy break. “There is so much happening at Mt Buller in spring! With great deals on accommodation, parking and lift tickets, plus fun and exciting events and entertainment, visitors will be spoilt for choice. And with some sunny days and mild temperatures thrown in, we really will be on top of the world here at Mt Buller.

“We’ve had such a fantastic season here at Mt Buller in 2016 and there’s still plenty of time this season to hit the slopes. We’re excited to bring on a sensational spring!”

For further information on Mt Buller, including accommodation deals, lift tickets and the events calendar, visit mtbuller.com.au.

How Chinese Millennials are Reshaping the Hotel & Travel Industry

Rise of the ‘Travelling Class’

They’re spending more and travelling farther. There is no longer just one type of “Chinese traveller” – the democratization of international travel in China has meant that brands courting a Chinese tourist now have to get smart about what type or types of traveller they want to go after, and then think hard about how best to do it.

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Even with China’s recent economic slowdown, growth in international travel has continued apace with over 70 million Chinese tourists spending $215bn outside Mainland China in 2015, a 53% rise from the $140bn spent in 2014 (World Travel & Tourism Council). By 2020, an estimated 200 million Chinese people will travel overseas for leisure every year.

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Underneath the broad umbrella of “Chinese traveller”, it is important to note that 50 percent of all Chinese outbound tourists fit into the millennial category, with ages ranging from 15 to 29 years old, according to GfK[i] Specifically targeting the younger generation of Chinese travellers offers attractive incentives for the travel industry, particularly since more than two-thirds of this segment occupy the high-income bracket. And this statistic is expected to rise as the Millennials continue to advance in their careers.

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With a greater volume of Chinese travellers going abroad, more and more, especially the younger generation, are expressing a preference for unique, novel, authentic and personalized travel experiences to set themselves apart from their peers. Post-80s and -90s travellers are seeking more novel experiences, including adventure travel, polar exploration, and road trips.

Hotel selection is another key decision-making factor and China’s travellers are expecting a comfort-level equivalent to the best lodging experience at home. The condition of the room is the number one factor, followed by hotel service, hotel location, high-tech facilities, and the hotel’s design and style.

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For hotels going after Chinese tourists, it has become increasingly important to understand the various types of Chinese tourists and which types are right for your brand and its propositions.

Bernardo Cabot Estarellas, APAC Senior Vice President, Meliá Hotels International, believes any hotel’s product and service offerings need to be founded on clear understandings of the shifts in what today’s travellers want and expect: “Today’s travellers belong to many different demographic groups (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials, Gen Z) and, also, to different psychographic segments. This means the more segmented the hotel offer is, and the more customer profiles it caters to, the better.”

The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University found that delighted guests spend 50% more in ancillary revenue than those who are “just satisfied”. This figure is also 75% more than unhappy guests. Plus, those who have had a memorable experience tend to spend even more on repeat visits.

Mr. Cabot added that it is all about the brands for the right segment. “For each one of these demographics and psychographic segments, Meliá has a brand that will suit the experience they’re looking for. Thanks to our brand strategy, our hotels don’t only differentiate from the rest, but also cater to a definite customer profile. Doing so, we earn their loyalty. And exceeding guest expectations is the most important.”

Increasing Connectivity

Globalization and technology are shrinking distances and travel routes are being redrawn.

New routes and destinations will continue to make international travel easier and more convenient for the new traveller. On top of this, an increasingly sophisticated understanding of modes of transportation, different accommodation options, unusual destinations, cost ranges, and other travel options is spreading with the rapid uptick in Internet access and the number of mobile devices around the world. With these shifts in preferences, the millennial travellers are accessing & sharing experiences more readily.

Chinese travellers, for example, are often influenced by the experiences of others, and this is happening across offline and online social networks, as well as online forums and review sites. Indeed, young Chinese travellers get most of their travel information digitally, largely from official WeChat subscription accounts (48%), WeChat Moments shared by their friends (47%), and websites (42%). 3rd party apps such as CTrip, Qunar and Tuniu are also important information channels.

To be where the Chinese millennial travellers are, Meliá Hotels International is actively engaged on Chinese social media platforms WeChat and Weibo. Through these social channels, Chinese Millennials are able to share their own experiences at Meliá hotels around the world, creating buzz and excitement for the luxury properties, having generated over 23 million views in 2015, and engaging 920,000+ consumers and raising its brand awareness in China.

In 2016, Meliá Hotels International celebrates its 60th anniversary. In six decades, the Spanish hotel group has grown from a small company to a multinational group with nearly 100,000 rooms in 43 countries – in part because Meliá understands the nuances in travellers and industry shifts. By providing each guest with unforgettable experiences that they cannot find elsewhere, Meliá’s guests – the Millennials in particular – have become the brand’s ambassadors.

 

Sanya at a glance….

Sanya city has unveiled strong growth in international arrivals in the first half of 2016, fueled by new air routes, and growing awareness of Sanya’s tourism attractions.

Located on China’s Hainan Island and famous for its beautiful beaches, Sanya sees international visitor’s growth in the first half of 2016 as focus turns on international tourism

Mr Fan Mu, Director of Sanya Tourism Development Commission said: “I am delighted with the steady growth of visitor arrivals, and the investment we have put into positioning Sanya as a major international tourist destination is beginning to show returns.”

The city received 7.8173 million overnight tourists in the first half of the year, a year-on-year growth rate of 8.92 percent. Overnight tourists included 192,000 overseas tourists, up 13.63 percent year on year. Hong Kong continues to be a key source market followed by Taiwan, Russia, South Korea and the USA.

New Air Routes
Fuelling this growth is an aggressive strategy to open new international air routes. Sanya opened three international and regional air routes in the first half of 2016, including Sanya to Frankfurt, Sanya to Ho Chi Minh, and Sanya to Kaohsiung. Since the beginning of last year, the city has opened 14 overseas air routes to countries and regions including Japan, South Korea, Russia, Germany, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.

In the first half of 2016, the passenger throughput at the Sanya Phoenix International Airport hit 8.7935 million, a year-on-year increase of 3.9 percent.

Tourist Arrivals
Seven major scenic spots, including Tianya Haijiao, Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone, Dongtian Park, Wuzhizhou Island, West Island, and Yalong Bay Tropical Paradise Forest Park attracted 9.9756 million visitors in the first half of the year, up 5.31 percent year on year. Survey shows the satisfaction rate of tourists to Sanya reached 82.59% in the first half of 2016.

Tourism Revenue
Total tourism revenue reached 14.539 billion yuan in the first half of 2016, up 15.25 percent year on year. Foreign exchange earnings (FEEs) from tourism reached 96.8617 million US dollars, up 16.21 percent year on year.

Hotel Room Occupancy
The hotel occupancy rate reached 64.38 percent, up 0.67 percent compared with the same period last year.

Tourism Promotions
Meanwhile, the Sanya Tourism Development Commission has conducted 32 missions across the globe in key markets and travel trade events to boost awareness and interest. It has also expanded its digital footprint with new websites in Japanese, Korean, Russian and social media accounts on six major overseas social networking and travel review platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, and TripAdvisor to further promote the city in the international tourism market.

In June, a ‘Sanya Hearts to Hearts’ global campaign was also launched. It is a five-month online promotion aimed to target influential KOL’s (Key Opinion Leaders) and garner more user generated content.

Sanya GDP
Sanya’s GDP reached 24.785 billion yuan in the first half of 2016. The added value of the service sector reached 15.462 billion yuan, accounting for 62.4 percent of the total GDP.

New GoHawai‘i App Offers Travel, Safety Advice for Enjoying the Hawaiian Islands State of Hawai‘i’s First Travel Destination Mobile App

Fun and vital travel information about the Hawaiian Islands is now a lot easier to find for visitors always on the go with the launch of the new GoHawai‘i mobile app.
Created by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), tourism agency for the State of Hawai‘i, the GoHawai‘i app is a one-stop mobile reference guide for travelers wanting fast, accurate and trustworthy information while exploring all that Hawai‘i offers.
Randy Baldemor, HTA chief operating officer, noted the travel destination app is the first one produced by the State of Hawai‘i. “The GoHawai‘i app is a fun way to learn about Hawai‘i while having travel and safety information that people need to know about and have access to at all times.”
The GoHawai‘i app offers valuable travel tips for each of the six major Hawaiian Islands: Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i and the Island of Hawai‘i. App users will discover useful information to help them enjoy Hawai‘i’s wide variety of sites, activities, special events and cultural festivals statewide. A listing of essential Hawai‘i websites and phone numbers is also provided to direct travelers to other reliable sources for information and assistance.
Helping visitors experience Hawai‘i safely is a significant aspect of the GoHawai‘i app, which contains important advice for ocean activities, hiking and weather conditions on each island. “Visitors are outdoors all the time in Hawai‘i. This app helps keep them safe while they enjoy the beauty of our Islands,” said Baldemor.
A special app feature is the “Locomoji” – Hawai‘i-inspired emojis that can be shared with family and friends. Locomojis include images of an ‘ukulele, aloha shirt, erupting volcano, shave ice, and Spam musubi, among many others.
The GoHawai‘i app is free and may be downloaded in the Google Play Store and Apple iTunes Store. It is offered in English, German, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. To see a video about the new app, click here.

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