New Program to Support Domestic Business Events Sector in Australia

A new $1.5 million program launched today will help the domestic business events sector get back on its feet in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and drive new business to regions around Australia.

Tourism Australia’s Business Events Boost Program will provide convention bureaux, convention centres, professional conference organisers and event managers with the opportunity to leverage the agency’s expertise and help win new domestic business.

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said that getting the domestic business events industry up and running as quickly as possible would be critical to the industry’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

“Business events are one of the most crucial sectors of our tourism industry delivering huge economic benefits to communities around Australia,” Minister Birmingham said.

“The sector has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis with the widespread cancellations of many domestic business events and a significant number of international events postponed.

“With restrictions now starting to lift and interstate travel starting to re-commence, this program will help venues and destinations to better market themselves in what is a highly competitive industry and secure lucrative corporate meetings, annual conferences, exhibitions and incentive events.

“Business events have major flow-on effects by helping to fill hotels, bars and restaurants, and will provide a much-needed boost to businesses and local economies as they rebuild from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.”

The Business Events Boost Program aims to provide industry with the skills and resources it needs to drive new business for Australia through a range of marketing and distribution initiatives.

The program represents a shift in focus towards the domestic business events space and forms part of a broader recovery strategy being delivered by Business Events Australia to support Australian industry through this time and to ensure Australia continues to be recognised as a quality business events destination.

“With international travel restrictions likely to be in place for some time yet, the recovery of Australia’s business events industry will be driven by domestic activity as soon as it is safe and practical to do so,” Penny Lion, Executive General Manager of Events at Tourism Australia, said.

“We are very pleased to be launching the Business Events Boost Program as part of our overall strategy to help the Australian business events industry recover from the impacts of COVID-19, and  are looking forward to partnering with them to deliver initiatives to help kickstart domestic business events.

“The program is a domestic iteration of our already successful and internationally focussed ‘Advance Program’ and will provide the industry an opportunity to access funding for innovative marketing and distribution initiatives.”

The new Business Events Boost Program will be run by Tourism Australia’s dedicated business events unit, Business Event Australia, throughout FY2020/21. Applications are set to open on 1 July 2020 and close on 30 September 2020.

More information, including details on eligibility criteria, can be found at: Australia.com/businessevents

G Adventures unveils new ‘Travel with Confidence’ policy

New safety measures to be implemented across all G Adventures tours 

As the tourism industry looks to the future of travel following the COVID-19 pandemic, G Adventures has unveiled a new ‘Travel with Confidence’ policy which introduces new safety procedures across all future G Adventures trips. Designed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both travellers and employees, while continuing to deliver the adventure of a lifetime, the policy includes new social distancing and hygiene measures that will be in place from the moment travellers join a trip until they depart.

Working with G Adventures’ global supplier network, the new policy encompasses transportation, where travellers eat, accommodation and activities on the ground. It also highlights the importance of G Adventures’ small group offering, which helps facilitate many of the new safety measures, as well as the key role played by the dedicated CEOs (chief experience officers) to provide increased reassurance, local knowledge and support to travellers whilst on a trip.

“Our new Travel with Confidence policy allows us to reassure our travellers that when they are ready to travel again all the necessary procedures are in place to keep them safe on their adventure,” says G Adventures’ founder, Bruce Poon Tip.

“G Adventures has always run small group tours which by nature mean our travellers have more freedom and space, even before social distancing came into play. Our incredible CEOs have been committed to delivering the best possible experience to our travellers around the world for thirty years. Their local knowledge, expertise and support will play a more important role than ever in helping travellers to feel safe while in destination, so they can focus on enjoying the adventure of a lifetime.

“We have always selected our accommodation, restaurant and food service partners based on their high standards and local roots and we are working closely with them to further optimize their health, safety and cleanliness procedures. This means our travellers can continue to experience these local gems while feeling confident that their safety is being taken care of,” Poon Tip continues.

Focused on reducing risk, the Travel with Confidence policy utilizes the benefits provided by G Adventures’ small group tours, including staying at smaller hotels with fewer guests, while ensuring travellers can continue to foster great connections and access places often overlooked by larger groups.

As part of the new policy, G Adventures’ CEOs will receive increased training beyond their existing first aid and safety training to ensure they are up to date with all new safety procedures and are able to assist travellers should they feel unwell while on tour. Their local knowledge allows for greater flexibility when it comes to knowing the best time to visit certain highlights to avoid crowds whenever possible, and suggesting restaurants with the strictest hygiene practices or those where travellers can reserve a table or room in advance. Equipment used during activities will be subject to increased cleaning measures, while hand sanitizer will be provided wherever possible throughout trips. Travellers will be encouraged to bring their own face coverings such as buffs, facemasks or bandanas, as well as personal hand sanitizer to ensure additional levels of protection.

Increased hygiene protocols will also be included on G Adventures’ fleet of small, private vehicles and boats, with the introduction of daily deep cleaning, compulsory hand sanitizer use before every embarkation, assigned seats for travellers, and facial coverings being recommended while on board. Additional cleaning will take place in high traffic areas on board boats and, to support physical distancing, travellers will be assigned seating during certain meal times. Local transportation has always been a unique part of the cultural experience on many of G Adventures’ tours. In support of this new policy, when it is used, precautions will be followed in adherence to local health and safety regulations to keep travellers safe and sound.

On land itineraries, al fresco dining options and “grab and go” boxes are two new options being introduced as part of increased food safety. Family style or self-serve buffets will be avoided and separate tables or dining areas will be offered wherever possible in restaurants.

G Adventures will work with accommodation providers to introduce increased daily cleaning, with disinfection of surfaces inside traveller rooms and extra cleaning on high contact areas such as light switches, door handles and TV remotes. In addition, no hotel staff will be permitted to enter guests rooms once it has been cleaned to avoid contamination. To support social distancing, those travelling solo and sharing a room will have the same roommate assigned for the entire trip wherever possible. Travellers who desire their own space will be able to take advantage of increased availability of solo rooms and more affordable ‘My Own Room’ rates.

Before starting their trip, travellers will be able to speak with G Adventures’ team of Global Connection Officers, who are available 24/7 on the phone to assist with any safety or health queries. Any traveller feeling unwell in the lead up to their trip will be able to take advantage of G Adventures’ Book with Confidence policy, which provides the flexibility and freedom to delay until they are feeling better (terms and conditions apply).

For more information on the new Travel with Confidence policy visit: https://www.gadventures.com/travel-with-confidence/

Virtual Yoga @ Necker Island

Virtual yoga sessions may well have become a sign of the times right now, however when that live yoga session is coming directly from one of the most exclusive private islands in the world, it might just have something slightly special.

Virgin Limited Edition, who own an award-winning collection of luxury retreats around the world is launching virtual yoga, live from Necker Island, its stunning private island in the iconic British Virgin Islands.

Renowned for not only being the home to Sir Richard Branson, the beautiful 74 acres of private paradise and unquestionably the most idyllic place in the British Virgin Islands, is also home to yoga teacher Katie Doo.

Whilst Katie typically spends her days offering group and private yoga lessons exclusively for the guests of Necker Island, Virgin Limited Edition will be sharing a series of live yoga sessions from Katie, directly from the stunning surrounds of Necker Island.

Katie has more than 10 years’ experience in wellness and beauty and has spent the past year ensuring her skills, combined with the exquisite surrounds of Necker Island, enable her guests to truly switch off, relax and unwind.  And whilst we might not have such a beautiful location to enjoy right now, Katie’s yoga sessions will not only bring her expertise and love for the practice to Instagram; but also the picture-perfect setting of the British Virgin Islands, to us at home.

“The practice of yoga has completely transformed my life”, says Katie.  “I truly believe that great energy is contagious, and yoga enables us to magnify our feel-good vibrations.  It allows us to escape to a special place, especially during a time when life is not quite normal, and exercise becomes an even more important part of our mental wellbeing.

“I couldn’t be happier than to share my practice of yoga and help bring that special place into people’s homes, combined with the incredible location I’m so privileged to spend my days.”

Virtual yoga sessions will be for all levels of fitness and yoga and will start on Thursday 18th June and run weekly for four weeks.

When:          Every Thursday at 17:00 BST, starting 18th June 2020 for four weeks

Where:        Instagram @VirginLimitedEdition

Virgin Limited Edition has been running a succession of virtual programmes including its hugely successful sofa safari from the stunning plains of the famous Maasai Mara at its tented safari camp, Mahali Mzuri, as well as Ulusaba, its luxury private game reserve in the Sabi Sand, South Africa.  Despite the fact that it is still difficult to travel right now, this virtual series of videos have allowed us to still dream of travelling.

Additional Virgin Limited Edition’s Lives:

 Live game drive from the magic of the bush at Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

When:          Every Monday at 3:00pm BST

Where:         Instagram – @VirginLimitedEdition

Live game drive from the majesty of the Maasai Mara at Mahali Mzuri

When:          Every Wednesday at 3:00pm BST

Where:         Facebook – @VirginLimitedEdition

For more information on Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, Mahali Mzuri, Necker Island or Virgin Limited Edition call T: 0800 716 919 (UK toll free). Alternatively e-mail enquiries@virginlimitededition.com.

New Caledonia Goes Virtual

New Caledonia Tourism has launched a new virtual hub filled with immersive videos and images to discover a taste of the South Pacific destination until borders reopen. Head to newcaledonia.travel to explore the flavours of New Caledonia with recipes inspired by the destination, chill out with a range of relaxing music videos set to soothing views of New Caledonia’s landscapes or get your adrenaline pumping with a 360 degree video experience – such as skydiving over New Caledonia’s UNESCO World Heritage listed lagoon.

“While international borders remain closed, New Caledonia Tourism wants to keep the dream of travel alive for our Australian neighbours. This is just a taster of what travellers can enjoy in New Caledonia, and we look forward to welcoming visitors again soon to discover all they’ve experienced virtually and so much more,” said Emilie Hess, Director of New Caledonia Tourism, Australia.

New content will be launched on the hub and via New Caledonia’s social media each week. Follow #NewCalUploading on Facebook and Instagram to join the conversation.

For more information, visit newcaledonia.travel.

Monaco Reopens

Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort Lagoon  © Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer

After two months of lockdown, health prevention policies implemented by the authorities of the Principality of Monaco have allowed since the beginning of May, a gradual recovery of economic and touristic activities.

Step by step, many sectors are reviving their activities in close cooperation with professional and economic actors and in strict compliance with the safety measures against the pandemic.

Since 2 June 2020, museums, bars and restaurants have started to reopen, a few days after the shops and joining a vast recovery movement. In a context where the Government of Monaco has always prioritised health safety, especially at the peak of the crisis, everything has been done to protect residents, day trippers and tourists, and therefore limit the impact of COVID-19.

Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo  © Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer

Today, hotels of Monaco are mobilized towards one objective:  welcoming customers in the best conditions, with high standard of health protection, according the following schedule:

All the measures guaranteeing a safe and peaceful stay can be checked online, as well as the available activities in the present circumstances:

Nikki Beach at Fairmont Monte-Carlo © Hotel Fairmont Monte-Carlo

Monte-Carlo SBM (Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, Monte-Carlo Beach, Casinos de Monte-Carlo): https://www.montecarlosbm.com/en/travel-information

Metropole Monte-Carlo: www.metropole.com/pdf/HOTEL/Mesures_Protection_Sanitaire_HotelMetropoleMC.pdf

Fairmont Monte-Carlo & Novotel Monte-Carlo: https://all.accor.com/event/information.en.shtml

Meriden Beach Plaza: https://marriott-re-2019ncovc-fr.com/

Columbus Monte-Carlo: https://www.columbushotels.com/fr/presentation/info-faq-covid/

The Monaco Government Tourist & Convention Authority together with all the hotels of Monaco are committed to provide the most complete information and maintain the Principality as a safe destination to experience and stay over.

Beyond Belief

While tourism businesses scramble to adapt to the domestic market in the wake of Covid-19, Fiordland’s regional tourism organisation could argue its one step ahead of them all.

Destination Fiordland has always been justifiably proud of its operators and attractions in the lakeside townships of Te Anau and Manapouri, and the raw majesty of Fiordland National Park’s glacier-carved fiords and rugged mountains.

But with many visitors starting and finishing their Fiordland adventures in Queenstown, making a quick pit-stop in Te Anau, the tourism organisation embarked on a brand refresh in October last year.

Fiordland Beyond Belief. Photo credit Chris Watson

The goal? To shout loud and clear from those mountaintops that Fiordland exemplifies all that’s good about New Zealand and is a destination in its own right, where locals value their visitors and ‘walk the talk’ about maintaining the world-class natural environment for generations to come.

The new brand ‘Fiordland – Beyond Belief’ was revealed to operators this week, setting out to target domestic travelers from day one and positioning Te Anau as ‘base camp’, while opening the eyes of international visitors to the fact there’s so much more to Fiordland than Milford Sound.

“The launch of our new brand comes at a challenging time, where fortune favours the bold,” says Destination Fiordland manager Madeleine Peacock. “Our challenge was to find a positioning that reflects all this majesty and helps drive visitation by making Fiordland a unique, inspiring, authentic and unmissable part of Aotearoa New Zealand, a place worth visiting.

“Fiordland is a must-see for international visitors but even last year we could see the untapped potential of domestic visitors. We clearly have a job to do at home, and this is a great start.”

Ms Peacock says ‘Fiordland – Beyond Belief’ conveys the scale, grandeur and mind-blowing nature of the area, and applies to everything on offer from the people who call Fiordland ‘home’  to the quality of experiences, accommodation and food, and a deep sense of connection with the environment .

A Takehe in all its glory. Photo credit Douglas Thorne

“Our research has identified Kiwis desire to connect with nature, looking for real world experiences in their backyard, connecting with natural environments and ensuring those environments will be protected for generations to come – it’s about who we are as Kiwis.

“Doubtful and Dusky Sounds, the Great Walks and Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri have to an extent been hiding in the shadow of Milford Sound, however these areas are equally as impressive.

Kerri James, owner operator of award-winning five-star accommodation provider Radfords On The Lake, says she’s “absolutely delighted” with the new brand.

“People down this way epitomise Southern hospitality, and ‘beyond belief’ is the perfect fit to describe Fiordland and everything we have to offer,” she says.

Fiordland Outdoors owner operator Christine Wallace says the brand is in “perfect synergy” with the high-value experience that Fiordland offers.

“The brand communicates a premium location and offering that’s very much in sync with what we do here. It’s very timely when all regions around New Zealand are being considered by domestic travelers,” she says.

Jodi Williams, Air New Zealand’s General Manager Global Brand and Content Marketing, says Air New Zealand has a special connection with Fiordland through its work with DOC to bring back birdsong on the Great Walks, three of which are located in Fiordland.

“Fiordland Beyond Belief helps position Fiordland as a world-class destination, famous for its majestic scenery, and has inspired me to visit this unique and special part of New Zealand,” she says.

Operators are currently being encouraged to incorporate the ‘Beyond Belief’ brand and associated imagery into their marketing and a new website is expected to launch within the next two months.

 

BridgeClimb is back…

Sydney back on top!
BridgeClimb doors unlock for July school holidays

Sydney’s iconic BridgeClimb experience is unlocking the doors and welcoming climbers back to explore one of the world’s most famous structures from June 27th.

After months of time indoors, Sydneysiders/Australians are invited to rediscover the city through Sydney’s greatest experience at unmissable rates of $198 Adults and $99* Children for the winter school holidays – over 35% off adults, and over 50% off standard kids, day climb prices.

The holiday at home special, BridgeClimb Unlocked, is now available to purchase on Summit and Summit Express climb routes departing between 10am – 3pm every day during the NSW public school holidays, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 27 June 2020 to 19 December 2020.

  • The Summit Climb (allow 3.5 hours) ascends on the upper arch of the Bridge, suiting adventurers who want to feel like they are beneath the clouds and families with kids who are confident scaling ladders to reach the top.
  • The Summit Express Climb (allow 2.5 hours) follows the Bridge’s lower arch to reach the top. This route suits those who are architecturally-curious about the old gal and want to feel they are in the belly of the steel structure. There are fewer stops along the route and no ladders but still the same magnificent view at the top.

BridgeClimb is operating as a COVID Safe place to visit and work. All Climbs will travel in small, physically distanced groups, and the entirety of BridgeClimb premises will operate with increased cleaning schedules, including ongoing sanitisation completed within the Climb Base, and throughout climber’s pre and post-climb journey.

“The BridgeClimb team are beyond excited to unlock our doors with an exclusive offer for locals, friends and neighbours to visit the arches where they can reunite, reconnect and reset,” said BridgeClimb CEO David Hammon.

“Like many other NSW tourism operators, there is much-needed support for the industry so we’re looking forward to welcoming back climbers and creating lasting memories with them by showing off the great city we live in from the best seat in the house.”

From romantic dates to fun family bonding, BridgeClimb is the perfect must-do activity to connect and create lifetime memories together outside the home, coupled with experiencing the best views of Sydney.

*Until 19 July 2020 only as part of our Winter School Holiday Special. Special offer pricing for children outside of school holidays is $126 (over 35% off standard pricing).

For more information on BridgeClimb, please visit the website here and to keep up with updates check out @bridgeclimb #bridgeclimbunlocked

Viking Officially Opens Reservations for New Mississippi River Cruises

 Viking has today opened reservations to the public for its inaugural Mississippi River cruises, launching 2022. The company’s first custom vessel, Viking Mississippi, will debut in August 2022 and will sail voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi River, between New Orleans and St. Paul.

Currently scheduled ports of call on Viking’s new Mississippi River cruises comprise seven U.S. states: Louisiana (Baton Rouge, Darrow, New Orleans and St. Francisville); Mississippi (Natchez and Vicksburg); Tennessee (Memphis); Missouri (Hannibal, St. Louis); Iowa (Burlington, Dubuque and Davenport); Wisconsin (La Crosse); and Minnesota (Red Wing, St. Paul).

As part of an exclusive preview promised by Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen, past Viking guests have been able to book the new Mississippi River cruises since 30 March 2020 and some departure dates are already nearly or completely sold out. As of today, all inaugural sailings of Viking Mississippi‘s 2022-2023 season are now available to the public for booking.

“At a time where many of us are at home, looking for inspiration to travel in the future, I am pleased to introduce a new, modern way to explore this great river. We invented the concept of modern river cruising when we got our start 23 years ago—first on the rivers of Russia and then in Europe. Since then, many people have come to appreciate the unique exploration that comes with river cruising—but currently there are very few options to do so on American rivers,” said Hagen when the new Mississippi River cruises were announced on March 30, 2020.

“Our guests are curious travellers, and they continue to tell us that the Mississippi is the river they most want to sail with us. No other waterway has played such an important role in America’s history, commerce and culture.”

The highly anticipated announcement of Viking’s arrival on the Mississippi is the most recent milestone as the company continues to expand its fleet and destination-focused travel offerings. In January 2020 the company unveiled Viking Expeditions, with the first 378-guest purpose-built expedition ship, Viking Octantis, launching in January 2022 on voyages to Antarctica and then North America’s Great Lakes. A second expedition vessel, Viking Polaris, will debut in August 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic.

Viking Mississippi

Hosting 386 guests in 193 all outside staterooms, the new state-of-the-art Viking Mississippi is inspired by Viking’s award-winning river and ocean ships and will feature clean Scandinavian design, as well as public spaces that are familiar to guests but that have been reimagined for Mississippi River voyages.

Purpose-built for the Mississippi and currently under construction in Louisiana, the five-deck ship’s cutting-edge design, expansive windows and comfortable amenities will make it the largest and most modern cruise ship in the region.

Highlights of the new ship include:

Rendering of the Viking Mississippi – Seating area on the Bow in front of the Explorer’s Lounge.

·       All Outside Staterooms: Guests can choose from an unparalleled seven spacious stateroom categories that range from 268 sq. ft to 1,024 sq. ft: Veranda, French Balcony, Deluxe Veranda, Penthouse Veranda, Penthouse Jr. Suite, Terrace Suite and Explorer Suite. All staterooms feature a private veranda or French balcony, king-size bed with luxury linens, large flat-screen interactive TV, mini-bar, large glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and 24-hour room service.

 

·       Viking Suites: Viking Mississippi will have some of the largest true suites on the river, with every suite featuring two rooms and a full-size veranda off the spacious sitting room. Guests in Penthouse Jr. Suites (400 sq. ft.) and Terrace Suites (425 sq. ft.) receive early stateroom access; expanded double-sink bathroom; mini-bar with alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, water and snacks replenished daily; welcome champagne; and laundry, pressing and shoe shine services. Guests in the expansive Explorer Suites (657 sq. ft. to 1,024 sq. ft) also receive a wraparound veranda and complimentary Silver Spirits Beverage Package.

·       Explorers’ Lounge & The Bow: Familiar to Viking’s ocean guests as one of the most popular onboard public spaces, Viking Mississippi will also feature an Explorers’ Lounge near the bow of the ship. The sun-filled, two-story Explorers’ Lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows that open to The Bow, a unique outdoor seating area at the front of the ship where guests can relax and enjoy ever-changing riverside views 

·       River Café: From American classics to Mamsen’s Norwegian specialties, this indoor/outdoor dining venue on the top deck will offer alternative restaurant dining in a casual al fresco setting.  

·       Aquavit Terrace: A public space beloved by many of Viking’s ocean and river guests, Viking Mississippi will also feature a revolutionary Aquavit Terrace on the top deck, providing a casual dining space ideal for an American barbecue experience. Combined with the River Café, the Aquavit Terrace will provide the most al fresco dining options on the Mississippi. 

·       Sun Terrace with Infinity Plunge Pool: Similar to Viking’s ocean ships, Viking Mississippi will have a glass-backed pool experience at the aft, allowing guests to take a dip while fully surrounded by their destination.

·       The Living Room: Clean Scandinavian design paired with American influences, the Living Room on Deck 1 is designed for socializing, relaxing and entertainment. Nearby, the quiet corner of The Library, is a perfect place to discover a new book.

·       The Restaurant: This main dining venue on Deck 1 will serve daily-changing menus featuring delicious regional cuisine and always available classics prepared with fresh, local ingredients.

·       Full 360-Degree Promenade Deck: Guests can stroll the entire ship outside on Deck 1, stretching their legs while viewing scenic landscape and regional wildlife.

·       Enrichment On Board and On Shore: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking creating “the thinking person’s cruise.” A focus on cultural enrichment on board Viking Mississippi means that guests will enjoy Destination Performances that represent the most iconic music of the region—as well as Guest Lecturers that shed light on the region’s art, architecture, history, culture, natural world and more. And only The Viking Way of exploration provides guests with itineraries that feature Privileged Access, Local Life and Working World experiences, opening doors to places otherwise difficult to visit. On Viking’s Mississippi River itineraries, guests may choose to take a guided kayaking trip in the Louisiana bayou; visit a working farm in Quad Cities; or immerse themselves in Cajun culture during a Privileged Access excursion to the Rural Life Museum of Louisiana State University. 

·       Sustainable Features: Solar panels, LED lighting, floor-to-ceiling windows that maximize natural light and an energy-efficient hybrid propulsion system will make Viking Mississippi the most environmentally friendly passenger ship on the Mississippi River.

·       Viking Inclusive Value: Every Mississippi River cruise fare includes everything guests need, with no surprises or hidden fees. Cruise fares include one complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all gratuities, port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including beer and wine with lunch and dinner service, lectures, alternative dining at no extra charge, self-service launderettes, 24-hour room service and free Wi-Fi.

2022-2023 Viking Mississippi Inaugural Voyages 

  • America’s Heartland (8 days; St. Louis to St. Paul or v.v)—From pristine farms nestled in rolling terrain to steep bluff rising from tributaries dotted with wooded islands, the Upper Mississippi offers a rich tapestry of beauty upon every turn of the river. This journey introduces you to the unforgettable experience of the locks and dams that control the flow of the heartland rivers. Hear stories of settlers migrating west; learn about Lewis & Clark, Mark Twain, John Deere and the Amish and Norwegian migrations; experience the regional music like polka and Norwegian folk; and taste reginal cuisine showcasing local beer, produce and Wisconsin cheese. Priced from AUD$6,995pp, twin share.
  • Heart of the Delta (8 days; New Orleans to Memphis or v.v.)—This journey on the Lower Mississippi is infused with American history, culture and heritage. Tour the area where the migrating French and Acadians settled; immerse yourself in the culture and lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement; discover the music of the South—jazz, blues and gospel; and experience the life and food culture of the south, from Cajun and Creole to the famed “dry” Memphis BBQ. Priced from AUD$5,695pp, twin share.
  • Southern Celebration (8 days; New Orleans–Vicksburg–New Orleans)—On this exploration of the Lower Mississippi, visit the historic homes of Louisiana and Mississippi; learn about Civil War history, touring sites like Vicksburg National Military Park; and discover the excitement and unique flavors of New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Priced from AUD$5,795pp, twin share.
  • America’s Great River (15 days; New Orleans to St. Paul or v.v.)—Experience nearly the entire length of the Mississippi River on this incredible journey from the Gulf of Mexico to the northernmost reaches of the U.S. Relax and enjoy the variety of scenery, foliage and wildlife on this leisurely voyage. Enjoy southern charm and beautifully preserved homes in Natchez; retrace the steps of Civil Rights leaders in Memphis; ascend the Gateway Arch in St. Louis; and visit “The Norwegian Valley” in La Crosse. Priced from AUD$14,595pp, twin share.

For additional information, visit vikingcruises.com.au or phone 138 747 (AU) | 0800 447 913 (NZ).

RIMOWA TRAVELS

RIMOWA TRAVELS TO VENICE BEACH FOR A BEACH-INSPIRED COLLABORATION WITH GARRETT LEIGHT’S EYEWEAR BRAND GLCO

Marked by a shared passion for craftsmanship and expertise, RIMOWA and indie eyewear brand Garrett Leight California Optical (GLCO) join forces to release a special edition collection inspired by the sun-soaked surf culture and psychedelic art scene of the Californian coast.

“We’re excited to team up with Garrett Leight to launch RIMOWA’s first-ever eyewear collaboration,” said Alexandre Arnault, CEO of RIMOWA. “As long-time fans of Garrett Leight California Optical, we were thrilled to develop this exclusive Venice Beach-inspired beach set together coinciding with the California brand’s 10th anniversary.”

In just ten years, Garrett Leight’s eyewear brand has gained a loyal cult following of its own including some of the most recognizable global tastemakers. Blending old and new, iconic and innovative, Garrett Leight California Optical brings a fresh perspective to classically tailored eyewear. Using only the highest quality materials, Garrett Leight California Optical frames are carefully designed at their studio in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles and manufactured with cutting edge technology, attention to detail, and skilled hand detailing.

“I always look for best-in-class partners to collaborate with, and there’s truly no one better than RIMOWA when it comes to luggage. Sunglasses are an important accessory for any traveller, so partnering with them to create this experiential package for our consumers felt very organic,” said Garrett Leight, Founder & CEO of GLCO. “Paying homage to our California heritage and the legendary eras that inspired this collaboration is a perfect way to celebrate our ten years in business.”

The exclusive eyewear collaboration includes six pairs of expertly crafted sunglasses, two luggage sticker sets and a limited-edition RIMOWA x Garrett Leight California Optical Essential Cabin Suitcase in white gloss. Inside the suitcase, customers will find a pair of RIMOWA x Garrett Leight California Optical Gold sunglasses and a complete line of beach-ready accessories, including a beach towel, surf wax, the limited-edition luggage sticker sets, and a luggage tag specially crafted for this partnership.

Captured in a campaign written and directed by Dave Franco that celebrates the lifestyle and culture of Venice Beach, the special edition eyewear collection includes six sunglass designs, including three metal and three acetate frames. Lens colours vary from sepia, green, blue or black. Each pair of RIMOWA x Garrett Leight California Optical sunglasses comes housed in a unique co-branded grooved sunglasses case.

Available starting from March 12, 2020, the RIMOWA x Garrett Leight California Optical sunglasses (HK$3,220 each) and the RIMOWA x Garrett Leight California Optical Essential Suitcase (HK$8,850) will be available in select retail stores and online at RIMOWA.com and GarrettLeight.com.

 

Season of Slow Adventures with Champagne

Belmond announces a new season of ‘slow adventures with Champagne’ on some of its fabled trains and cruises Belmond British PullmanBelmond Grand Hibernian and Belmond Afloat in France. From a pop-up pub on the rails in Ireland to travelling in the upmost style to some of the UK’s most celebrated events of ‘The Season’ and a 12 Michelin-starred culinary week on Belmond Afloat in France.

THE BEST OF BRITISH – ‘THE SEASON’

Belmond British Pullman toasts the British social season with the launch of four new journeys to some of society’s most prestigious events: Royal Ascot, Guards Polo Club’s Royal Windsor Cup Final, Glyndebourne and ‘Glorious Goodwood’.

The luxury train is set to transport guests in style between London’s Victoria Station in the comfort and luxury of the storied vintage 1920s and 1930s carriages. Delectable cuisine is served by liveried stewards before arriving at the coveted events.

First out of the starting gate in 2020, Belmond British Pullman’s heads to Royal Ascot for the penultimate day of the legendary racing week; on midsummer’s day on 21st June 2020, the train travels to Windsor for the final of the prestigious ‘Out-Sourcing Inc. Royal Windsor Cup’ at Guards Polo Club. Belmond British Pullman then gently gallops on to Goodwood Racecourse for ‘Glorious Goodwood’ on 31st July 2020. The final furlong of Belmond’s social season on the rails celebrates 250 years since Beethoven’s birth, at the legendary Glyndebourne Festival for an exceptional performance of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio.

 

BESPOKE IRISH HOSPITALITY

Belmond Grand Hibernian, Ireland’s only luxury sleeper train introduces new personalised experiences that takes guests off the rails and into the heart of Ireland’s eclectic and adventurous landscape. Guests can now tailor their experience by choosing from a range of activities whether seeking adventure, getting close to nature or immersing in the rich Celtic culture, myths and legends – from kayaking at sunset on the lake at Killarney, paddle boarding across Clew Bay, kissing the blarney stone at Blarney Castle, horse riding on the beach in Carrowholly or exploring foodie Galway.

New for 2020 – Belmond bring the warmth and craic of traditional hospitality direct to the rails with a ‘pop-up’ pub in the traditional style of a ‘Shebeen – once known as an illicit inn’. Popping up along the route to offer a taste of traditional Ireland, music, Guinness and dancing.

 

CRUISING ALONG THE ‘MICHELIN’ STARRED WATERWAYS

Belmond Afloat in France announces its most decadent offering to date with the launch of its new “Epicurean Burgundy: A 12-star cruise”. Cruising through Burgundy and Beaujolais, from St-Jean-de-Losne to Lyon, guests are invited to dine at a different Michelin- starred restaurant each day – experiencing a total of 12 stars throughout the week.

The cruise departs on 9th August 2020 for seven days aboard Belmond Napoléon and sees guests experience six different Michelin-starred restaurants throughout the week ranging from one Michelin-starred to those that have been awarded the highest accolade of three. Three-starred Georges Blanc, Eric Pras’ Maison Lameloise and Jean Michel Lorain’s La Côte Saint-Jacques are all stops on this Gastronomic adventure.