Business Events Sydney welcomes Dreamtime to Sydney once again

Business Events Sydney (BESydney) welcomes Tourism Australia’s selection of Sydney as the host city for Dreamtime 2011, Australia’s premier incentive travel trade marketing event for international buyers. This is the second consecutive time that Sydney has been selected as the host city for Dreamtime.
More than 100 business events decision makers and 20 media from key international markets will be invited to participate in the five day Dreamtime program from 13-18 November 2011, which will include a series of educational and business activities, gala and networking events.
Business Events Sydney was invited to submit a Sydney bid to host Dreamtime 2011.
Mr Jon Hutchison, Chief Executive Officer of Business Events Sydney said, “We worked quickly to garner support from government and industry to put together a creative and innovative proposal which best represent the ultimate Australian experience to international buyers. This is a collective win for the business events industry in Sydney.
“The Sydney proposal anchors around the inspiration behind the success of the city as a leading business events destination. We look at this opportunity holistically and want to tap into the six months leading up to the event to engage buyers and media even before they arrive using an innovative communications strategy.
“The city is forging a new future with over $7billion in infrastructure spending committed to draw business events to Sydney. We are eager to share with international buyers and media attending Dreamtime, Sydney’s inspirational stories and what is planned for the city.”
The city can attest to its ongoing appeal as an incentive destination, demonstrated when 8,500 Amway China sales representatives arrived here in January for their annual leadership forum. This is the second time this mega event was held here. Throughout the rest of 2011, Sydney will also welcome 3,000 LG Group incentive delegates from Korea, expected to generate $14.4 million to the local economy.
“We look forward to working with Tourism Australia, Qantas and our industry partners to deliver another successful Dreamtime program. It takes a collaborative approach to pull this together and to showcase the diversity of Australia’s incentive experiences,” said Mr Hutchison.

Emirates Boosts South African Services with Second Daily Flight to Cape Town

Thai passengers benefit from increased flexibility for trips to South African city

Emirates is to strengthen its commitment to South Africa with the launch of a second daily flight to Cape Town. The new service will offer passengers more choice and flexibility, as well as connect seamlessly to a wide range of onward destinations.
“South Africa and the United Arab Emirates enjoy a thriving trade and investment relationship and the launch of our second daily service to Cape Town will help boost this further by supporting new business and tourism opportunities,” said Richard Vaughan, Divisional Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations Worldwide.

“We have seen very strong inbound and outbound demand for our South African services over the last year. This new frequency will bring one of South Africa’s leading tourist destinations within easier reach for visitors, as well as meet the needs of our South African customers for enhanced connections from Cape Town to Europe, the Far East and a host of other points across Emirates’ extensive global network,” added Vaughan.

“We are pleased to announce greater options for Thai passengers traveling to Cape Town,” said Khalid Bardan, Emirates’ Area Manager for Thailand and Indochina. “The increased frequency of our flights improves connection time for passengers from Thailand, allowing them alternative travel times.”

Starting on the 27th March, Emirates will fly non-stop twice a day to Cape Town. The new service will be operated by an Airbus 340-500 aircraft in a three-class configuration, providing 12 luxurious First Class private suites, 42 angled lie-flat beds in Business and 204 generously-sized Economy Class seats.

Known for its dramatic natural skylines, amazing wildlife and being a melting pot of cultural influences, Cape Town is a hub of creativity and a magnet for artists and performers. It is estimated that the ‘Mother City’ attracted three million visitors in 2010, with almost 63 per cent coming from Europe.

While flying to Cape Town, passengers in all classes can experience the award-winning ice entertainment system, which features more than 1,200 channels of on-demand including the latest blockbuster movies, 100 TV channels, more than 500 audio channels, 100 video games plus real time news, sports and business headlines.

Flight EK772 will depart Dubai (DXB) at 03:50, arriving in Cape Town (CPT) at 11:40 the same day. EK773 leaves Cape Town at 13:40 and arrives in Dubai at 01:15 the following day, connecting seamlessly to key centres in Europe, the Middle East, the Indian Sub-continent, Asia and the Far East.

The strengthening of Emirates’ South African routes comes after the airline helped to support the country's hugely successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. As an official FIFA Partner, Emirates helped to bring the world to South Africa by flying in football fans from across its network of six continents.

Emirates currently serves 19 passenger and cargo destinations across the African continent. The new Cape Town frequencies will mean that the airline now flies 42 times a week to its three South African gateways: Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.


Silver Spirit Completes her Maiden Call To Singapore

–  Flagship Vessel Welcomed to Fanfare of Entertainment at Singapore Cruise Centre, 2/3 April 2011 –
One of the world’s most luxurious new cruise ships, Silversea Cruises’ flagship Silver Spirit – which joined the fleet just over 12 months ago – visited Singapore for the first time this weekend, as part of her inaugural 119-day World Cruise, which began in Los Angeles, USA.

Sailing in from Bangkok, the 540-guest, all-suite Silver Spirit arrived in Singapore on Saturday 2 April 2011 docking at 1900 hrs, before commencing her onward journey to Kuala Lumpur at 1800 hrs on Sunday 3 April.

The vessel was welcomed by a fanfare of entertainment including Lion Dance troupe, Big Head dolls and Bhangra dance performances organised by the Singapore Tourism Board to bestow good luck and fortune to the ship.

Plaque exchanges took place aboard the ship at 11hrs on Sunday 3 April between Silver Spirit’s Captain Sangiacomo and three VIP guests – Singapore Tourism Board’s Chief Executive, Ms Aw Kah Peng; Singapore Cruise Centre’s Vice President, Mr Augustine Png and Mr Tan Chee Chye, Chairman of World Express, Silversea’s ground handler.

Mr Kenneth Watson, Chief Operating Officer and Mr. Steve Odell, Senior Vice President Silversea Cruises were both present for the welcome ceremony and plaque exchange.

With its varied landscape, mixture of multicultural experiences and warm people, Asia is quickly establishing itself as one of the up and coming regions for cruising.  It currently holds seven per cent of the world’s cruise market and an increasing share of Silversea’s international business.

About Silver Spirit

Built in the Fincantieri Shipyard in Ancona, Italy, Silver Spirit was designed by architect Giacomo Mortola of Genoa, Italy. At 36,000 tons, the vessel has a length of 198.5 metres, a width of 26.2 metres and a draft of 6.2 metres. 376 European officers and European-trained international staff are onboard, providing a guest-to-crew ratio of 1.4 to 1, and guests enjoy one of the highest space-to-guest ratios in the industry today, with 6700 cubic feet of space per guest.

Over its eight decks, Silver Spirit offers the distinctive luxuries and celebrated lifestyle of other Silversea ships, plus new enhancements including glamorous Stars Supper Club dishing up tapas-style cuisine and live jazz; Asian-fusion restaurant Seishin; a 8,300-square-foot spa offering pampering and the latest Medi-Spa treatments; a resort-style pool with four whirlpools, and the largest suites in the Silversea fleet, 95 per cent with private teak verandas.

Guests enjoy the personalised service of a butler assigned to every suite; complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship; 24 hour room service; stocked in-suite beverage cabinet, and all gratuities.  There are numerous onboard activities to enjoy including an enrichment programme with fascinating speakers, from marine biologists and archaeologists to art historians and eminent broadcast journalists.

This second leg of the full World Cruise takes in ports in the Far East, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, finishing in Southampton, UK on 19 May. As well as Singapore, Silver Spirit’s inaugural world tour will include calls at Malaysia (4-5 April); Phuket in Southern Thailand (6 April); Sri Lanka (9 April); India (11-14 April); Oman (20 April); Egypt (26 April- 1 May); Greece (3 May); Italy (5-7 May); Monaco (8 May); Spain (9-12 May); Portugal (14 May); Channel Islands (18 May).


Worldhotels Announces the Opening of its First India Office

Worldhotels Announces the Opening of its First India Office
Worldhotels is extending its global hospitality marketing and distribution network with the opening of a new office in India, its first in this rapidly expanding economy.
Hospitality industry veteran Naresh Chandnani has been appointed Regional Director Hotel Development India Subcontinent and Maldives to establish the dedicated division.
The new office in Delhi NCR (National Capital Region) has been established to support the significant growth of Worldhotels in India, with a portfolio of nine hotels in its fast-growing network so far but earmarked for significant growth.
Indian affiliates to the network to date are Asiana Hotel in Chennai, The Claridges in New Delhi and Surajkund, Asiana Hotel Chennai, Pride Park Premier in Gurgaon, The Sahara Star in Mumbai, Aamby Valley in Pune, Matthan Hotel in Bangalore and new Svenska Hotels in Mumbai Juhu and Bangalore Electronic City.
With 25 years of hospitality experience spanning operations, sales and marketing and strategic business and brand development, Mr Chandnani is primarily focused on expanding the brand presence in India.
His hotel career has included 14 years with TAJ Hotels, three years with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and the past eight years launching IHHR Hospitality and ISTA Hotels in India, as their Vice President Sales and Marketing. 
Worldhotels Vice President Asia-Pacific Roland Jegge said: “Opening a dedicated office in India is a significant step, supporting a fast-growing network on the sub-continent as we continue to expand worldwide.”
Worldhotels is rapidly extending its global reach, having recently opened a Russia office in Moscow.
The network expanded to 450 hotels (100,000 rooms) in 2010, with 25 per cent growth in room night production from 2009.
In addition, the group added a record 73 new hotels to its portfolio in the last one year, many in new destinations.
Worldhotels’ ambitious expansion targets 80 new hotels joining its global portfolio this year.

Embark on an Epicurean Journey

Horizons with chef Galliot’s new menu 

Introducing an array of new dishes characterized by a distinctive European twist, Mr. Guillaume Galliot, Chef de Cuisine is bringing a refreshing contemporary touch to the fine dining experience at Horizons.

Diners can indulge in delectable sea food dishes that include all the best flavors of the North Atlantic, including delicious wild sea bass, lobster, and cod fish, together with Horizon’s signature turbot fish with Alaskan king crab tartar.

The menu also features the subtle flavors of the very finest Kobe beef ribeye, lightly smoked with cherry tree wood to no more than medium, topped with royale sauce and light potato espuma. Those with a sweet tooth will find the dessert creations irresistible, including the sumptuous chocolate banana millefeuille and cocoa sorbet.

French-born Galliot brings a fresh approach to the French culinary experience for City of Dreams. With a wealth of experience gained through thirteen years in the culinary industry, his style is distinctly French, to which he adds his personal interpretation of slow cooking methods.

“I always believe in simplicity, and letting the flavors and tastes speak for themselves,” explained chef Galliot. “It is, in essence, all about the potential in everything I cook – and realizing that potential to its very succulent best,”

“The new menu explores this philosophy and will continue to evolve and change with the season. There is always more to explore and change; and exploration is what makes a Horizons experience, like life, so interesting.”

Since arriving in Asia in 2004, chef Galliot has worked for prestigious hotel and restaurants across the region, including the famous Raffles Grill in the historic Raffles Hotel in Singapore, JAAN restaurant in Raffles Beijing Hotel, and Jardin des Sens, a 3-star Michelin restaurant in Shanghai.

“Chef Galliot has garnered global acclaim for his distinctive cuisine. We are privileged to have this opportunity to present chef Galliot and the unforgettable contemporary European flavors of his cooking at City of Dreams” said Mr. Nicholas Naples, Co-Chief Operating Officer, Operations of Melco Crown Entertainment Limited.

Located on the Level 3 of the luxurious Crown Towers and enjoying panoramic views of Cotai, Horizons recently hosted a gourmet food and wine extravaganza. The two-day gastronomical journey on March 11 and 12 saw three Michelin Star winning chefs – Mr. Nicolas Isnard and Mr. Laurent Pourcel  – teaming up with chef Galliot to further reveal the secrets of authentic European cuisine. The six-course dinner included two of the dishes from the new menu.

For reservations and further information, call +853 8868 6681.

HBA Challenges Traditional Design Perceptions at Avant-Garde Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou

Global hospitality interior design leaders HBA / Hirsch Bedner Associates set out to “challenge perceptions of hoteliers” with the styling of Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou, a new architectural landmark, remarkable for both its soaring height (rising to 103 floors) and tapering avant-garde design, in China’s southern provincial capital.
HBA won an international competition to design key areas – from the convention centre including four ballrooms to the spa with infinity pool, guest rooms and all but one of the restaurants.  Also included in the design brief were public areas of the office block, occupying the lower two-thirds of the building.
Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou is architecturally dramatic; a tapering triangular tower, with an atrium runs down the top third occupied by the hotel. Construction is dynamic, with an arresting structural system and diagonal lattice. This contemporary design is quite different from other Four Seasons properties, which tend to be more conservative.
As a result, HBA’s concept was not classical Four Seasons in design, but developed to push the boundaries of design and challenge people’s perceptions.
Interior highlights begin in the lobby with an attention-grabbing sculpture and huge, not-to-be-missed screen about half the size of a football pitch. In an intricate woven metal finish, the screen is by an Australian artist and part of a series throughout landing areas in the hotel. In a subtle reference to the hotel’s brand name, the screens are themed around the four seasons; from spring in the basement to fall in the upper reaches.
The artwork extends to edgy modern Southern Chinese art with its interesting undercurrent of local artists who are a bit rebellious and continues with the theme of the four seasons – spring in the ground floor and winter on the top floor. In a ‘cloud bar’ on level 100 the artwork is literally inspired by the heavens: pure, white and ethereal.
There were two key challenges. First was the inner atrium rising from the sky lobby on level 70 to level 104, passing through restaurants on floors 71-73 and lounges and bars on floor 101.
Second was the architect’s unusual structure of angled, raking columns through the public spaces. Even guest rooms and suites have large, angling, tapering columns in the corner, making all 104 of them different, as the building narrows while rising. That meant flexible guestroom plans; allowing for columns intersecting at different points. The only constants were bathrooms and bed positions, to embrace the spectacular view. Floor to ceiling glass windows additionally encourage guests to “look right down”, said Mr Ian Carr, Principal at HBA. “This design is inspired obviously by the 100-stories tall building we were given. We didn’t want to close up the windows and deny the view.”
Furniture is predominantly modern Italian, and customised carpets play off elements of nature and culture, as does contemporary Chinese art.
The bathrooms are innovatively illuminated by an internal system engineered with modules so the area glows classily. “Everything Four Seasons wants is classy. Nothing trite or glib,” noted Mr Carr. The challenge was bridging the gap between the avant garde building and Four Seasons’ “modern conservatism” style.
However, the most dramatic feature – and challenge – was the vast internal atrium, with its dynamic geogrid structural system and tapering design. “Where you check in, you look up and see 35 floors of tapering diagonal glass and it’s quite amazing,” said Mr Carr.
This lent itself to create further fractions in interior design, from the handrails in the atrium – custom measured and made for each floor – to a dynamic skylight ocular device at the top, with angular laid black panels creating interesting refraction and reflective surfaces.
The effect is magnified in interior corridors, with angled glass deliberately projected slightly outwards to “embrace the height”.  No-where is this sense of height more intense than from a bridge on level 100, with a staircase projecting into the void with glass floors looking down 40 floors below to the lobby.
As Mr Carr added: “Overall, Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou breaks conventions, coupling luxury with avant garde. The architect created amazing spaces and this building really stands out.”

MCVB Flashmob Another World-First

Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau (MCVB) has become the first convention bureau in the world to use a flashmob to entertain guests and emphasise its core message.

This year's Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) Welcome Reception, organised by MCVB and held at the St Kilda Sea Baths in Melbourne, featured an impromptu flashmob dance routine on the beach.

Dancers entertained more than two-thousand guests on a perfect summer's night, before a stunning finale that encapsulated Melbourne's status as Australia's Business Events capital. 

Sandra Chipchase, Chief Executive Officer of MCVB, said the flashmob was a unique and innovative way of promoting Melbourne's credentials as a premier Business Events destination.

"It was a fun and distinctive way of reiterating everything that is great about Melbourne and why we consistently attract visitors, delegates and events in such great numbers," Ms Chipchase said.

"As the accompanying clip illustrates, the Welcome Reception itself represented Melbourne as its best; perfect weather, impeccable hospitality and thousands of visitors from around the world networking and enjoying themselves immensely.

"I encourage everyone to download the clip, behold the wonderful young dancers and get a feel for the colour and vibrancy of Melbourne."

Pan Pacific Hotels Group To Launch PARKROYAL Brand In China

Pan Pacific Hotels Group has announced it will open two PARKROYAL properties in China, effectively marking the launch of the PARKROYAL brand in the country.

This follows the signing of two hotel management agreements – the first with Shanghai Jinqiao Export Processing Zone United Development Co., Ltd, to operate PARKROYAL Serviced Suites, Green City, Shanghai, scheduled to open in 2013.

The second hotel management agreement, inked with state-owned enterprise Suzhou TEDA Construction Investment Limited, will see the Group operating PARKROYAL Taihu Resort, Suzhou, to open in 2014.

PARKROYAL Hotels & Resorts currently comprises 10 hotels and serviced suites in Australia and Southeast Asia. Each reflects the spirit and individuality of its locations through creative touches, authentic tastes and local connections.

The 325-room PARKROYAL Serviced Suites, Green City, Shanghai is located in Green City, an expatriate residential community in Pudong. Designed to feature high-quality living, entertainment, shopping, educational, medical and recreational facilities for Shanghai's burgeoning expatriate community, Green City is also developed with ecological and environmental considerations. It is the only international community in Shanghai to receive ISO14001 Environmental Quality System and ISO9001 Quality Certification.

PARKROYAL Serviced Suites, Green City, Shanghai will comprise six apartment towers with commercial and retail options occupying the lower levels of each tower. It will also feature a private clubhouse which includes two indoor tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool, a gymnasium, resident's lounge as well as meeting and recreational facilities. In addition, a separate three-storey restaurant annex will house a café and Chinese restaurant, amongst other restaurant and bar options.

The 200-room PARKROYAL Taihu Resort, Suzhou will feature three restaurants, a ballroom and wedding hall, meeting and multi-function rooms as well as a fitness centre with indoor and outdoor pools. A lakeside spa will also be a key feature.

Located in the Jiangsu Province, Taihu is the third largest freshwater lake of China and a popular resort destination for both domestic and foreign tourists. The resort's large outdoor garden spaces on the lake front will be ideal for banquets and events and recreational options like watersports, yachting and boating.

"Strategically, the two back-to-back signings for PARKROYAL Serviced Suites Green City, Shanghai, and PARKROYAL Taihu Resort, Suzhou really strengthens our bid and commitment to growing in China, while affirming the strength of the PARKROYAL brand to the industry and potential owners," said A. Patrick Imbardelli, President and Chief Executive of Pan Pacific Hotels Group.

"To be able to commence bringing this great brand to life with a spectacular serviced suites project in an exciting city like Shanghai, and then a Suzhou resort makes this all the more special for us."

The launch of the PARKROYAL brand in China is part of Pan Pacific Hotels Group's Greater Shanghai strategy to expand its PARKROYAL and Pan Pacific portfolio in Shanghai and the fast-growing cities surrounding it, including Suzhou, Hangzhou and Shaoxing.

As part of its expansion plans in China, the Group opened its seventh Global Sales Office in Shanghai last year. While it currently manages Pan Pacific Xiamen and Pan Pacific Suzhou in China, other properties slated for China include Pan Pacific Ningbo and Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Ningbo – set to open in 2012.

All-girl pop sensation find

Phuket’s glamorous 5-star resort Indigo Pearl was recently the chosen location for the filming a photo-book and DVD video by South Korean pop idols Girls’ Generation.
The nine girls Sunny, Hyo Yeon, Yae Yeon, Jessica, Soo Young, Seo Hyun, Tiffany, Yoon A and Yuri checked in at the luxury resort for eight days shooting All about Girls’ Generation ‘Paradise in Phuket’.
Their new photo book features 300 pages of previously unseen images including everything from their arrival at the airport to pyjama parties at the resort, an elegant evening in the prestigious Bensley Suite, the recording of their latest music video Echo, and much more.
Released on 8th February, the photo-travelogue has become an overnight best-seller and is part of a six-DVD collector’s boxset All About Girls’ Generation.
The girls were attracted to Phuket and in particular Indigo Pearl for its “green energy, not easy to encounter in the city amidst a busy schedule”.
The resort is styled and designed by internationally renowned Bill Bensley inspired by the island’s tin mining history, incorporating art pieces and industrial relics into the interiors and landscaping.  It is committed to sustainability and works closely with local charities and conservation groups to help protect the natural environment.
Set against a backdrop of dense forest filled with rare wildlife, Indigo Pearl is located only 10 minutes from Phuket International Airport; touching Nai Yang Beach on Phuket’s northwest shore; and is adjacent to Sirinath National Park.  The resort offers 260 stylish rooms, villas, private pool and garden pavilions and suites scattered in an enclave of lagoons, pools and lush greenery.
It is a popular choice for celebrities and socilates and has welcomed amongst others: Verne Troyer; an American stand-up comedian, actor, stuntman and performer, best known for playing Mini-Me in the Austin Powers series; Martin Solveig; a French electronic music DJ and producer from Paris; Hirano Aya; a famous voice over for Japanese cartoons, actress and singer; Bob Geldof an Irish singer, songwriter, author, occasional actor and political activist and Pernilla Wahlgren; Swedish singer, actress and presenter.
Most recently Indigo Pearl launched a luxurious new room category, the D-DUK spa and family suite, and a cutting edge spa, Coqoon Spa, most notable for its treetop treatment room accessible by ‘flying bridge’.
Indigo Pearl has been voted one of the best new hotels in the world by Condé Nast Traveler and ranked among the world's “TOP 50 Dream Resorts” by Honeymoon and Travel magazine.
For design, it also collected ‘Best Design Concept Hotel/Resort in South East Asia’’ at the HAPA (Hospitality Asia) Awards 2008–2010, and was honoured as ‘Asia’s Leading Design Hotel’ at the World Travel Awards 2010.
Further information about Indigo Pearl, please visit:

Delta Air Lines and Seattle’s Best Coffee

Part of Starbucks Corporation Team Up to Serve Freshly Brewed Premium Coffee Onboard All Flights

Relationship Leverages Delta's Global Network to Continue Seattle Best Coffee's Mission of "Great Coffee Everywhere"

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) and Seattle's Best Coffee, part of Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX), announced on February 8th a new agreement that will offer Delta customers freshly brewed Seattle's Best Coffee® onboard all domestic and international Delta and Delta Connection flights beginning March 2011. Seattle's Best Coffee will be available on Trans Pacific flights from today and Asia flights from March 15th.

For Delta, the move is part of the company's $2 billion investment in the customer experience on the ground and in the air. For Seattle's Best, the agreement reflects the next step in its ongoing strategy to broaden the accessibility of its premium coffee through relationships with great brands – from restaurants to the runway.

"A premium customer experience requires premium coffee and Delta is proud to serve Seattle's Best," said Tim Mapes, Delta's senior vice president, Marketing. "During in-flight taste testing, we saw firsthand the passion Delta customers have for coffee and for the role it plays in a superior travel experience."

In December 2010, Delta customers participated in an in-flight coffee taste test confirming one of its new coffee blends, Level 4, as the coffee to be served onboard. Seattle's Best Coffee recently launched a radically simplified approach to packaged coffee called The Level System, which ranks coffee from 1 to 5 based on roast intensity.

"As two organizations who care about creating a distinctive premium customer experience, Delta and Seattle's Best Coffee make a perfect pair," said Michelle Gass, president, Seattle's Best Coffee. "Existing Seattle's Best Coffee fans will be delighted to find their favorite coffee on their next Delta flight, and for those not yet familiar, it is an opportunity for us to introduce our great coffee to Delta's more than 160 million global travelers each year."

In recent months, Seattle's Best Coffee has signed agreements with other well-respected and widely available brands such as Burger King, Subway and AMC Theatres. This diverse distribution network has rapidly expanded since the coffee company reinvigorated its brand in May 2010. With the addition of Delta Air Lines, there are now more than 40,000 places where customers can enjoy a freshly brewed cup of Seattle's Best Coffee, up from 3,000 in 2009.