PNG cultural festivals now underway




tourists to gain cultural insight


The 2012 cultural festival season in Papua New Guinea is now in full swing, running from June until November each year, offering intrepid travellers an authentic PNG experience only a few hours flight from home.

Important aspects of Papua New Guinea culture, such as tribal dance and song (known as Sing-Sings), elaborate masks and costumes and traditional rituals take place at these annual events – which still today only draw a small crowd of fascinated tourists.

Peter Vincent, CEO of PNG Tourism Promotion Authority says the festivals provide genuine insight into the PNG traditions as the events are not actually held for tourist entertainment.

"There are important meanings behind each of the events that are taking place in PNG over the next couple of months and these festivals will continue to happen in local communities whether tourists attend or not," he said.

"This is what makes it such a unique experience for overseas travellers – they get to see the real PNG in all its glory."

Festivals such as the National Mask Festival in Rabaul and the Mt Hagen Show are slowly growing in notoriety, but there are smaller festivals like the Kenu and Kundu Festival in Alotau, the eastern tip of Papua New Guinea and the Crocodile Festival in Ambunti that are virtually unknown to tourists – providing that highly sort after – 'last frontier' experience.

While some festivals are not publicised and known only through local word of mouth, there are a growing number of events that Australians can research and attend with organised tours.

Kenu & Kundu Festival 2– 4 November, Alotau, Milne Bay Province
Canoes and the Kundu drums are a significant aspect of the lives of the people of Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea. Both the Canoe and the Kundu were widely used in olden times in ceremonies and rituals and were meticulously crafted from special woods under strict customs, to derive the best results and to appease the gods.

Crocodile Festival- 8-9 August 2012, Ambunti District, East Sepik Province
The Sepik River is home to one of the world's largest populations of fresh and saltwater crocodiles. In respect for the strong bond shared between locals and crocodiles, this festival marks the coming of age ceremonies where many village men are given tattoos resembling crocodile skin. This WWF supported festival is intended to increase enthusiasm for conservation while maintaining local traditions.

Hiri Moale Festival- 14-17 September 2012, Port Moresby
The Hiri Moale Festival celebrates and re-creates the epic trading journeys of the Motuans of the Central Province. The voyages started when Edai Siabo of Boera village befriended a sea god and built the first lakatoi, or dugout canoe. Historically, these journeys contributed to the development of PNG's national language, Hiri Motu.

The best way for visitors to get off the beaten path is to celebrate PNG's dance, music, and artistic traditions alongside the locals. These remote festivals celebrate PNG's vibrant artistic heritage:

National Mask Festival – 18-21 July 2012, Kokopo, East New Britain Province
Warwagira Mask Festival- 13-17 July, 2012, Kokopo, East New Britain
Kavieng District Cultural Show- 21-23 July, 2012, Kavieng
Mt Hagen Show-10-12 August 2012, Mt Hagen, Western Highlands Province
Goroka Cultural Show- 14- 16 September, 2012, Goroka, Eastern Highlands

PNG's many maritime themed events also celebrate the importance of wildlife and environment in PNG culture:

Tembin Shark Calling Festival - 20- 23 July, 2012, Tembin Village
Tefa Canoe Festival- 27-28 Spetember, 2012, Boang Island

For further information about PNG and its popular upcoming festivals and recommended tour operators visit www.papuanewguinea.travel
www.facebook.com/papuanewguinea.travel


PARK HYATT SYDNEY RECOGNISED AS SYDNEY’S PREMIER HOTEL IN TWO PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS


PARK HYATT SYDNEY RECOGNISED AS SYDNEY'S PREMIER HOTEL IN TWO PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS

Park Hyatt Sydney has re-established itself as Sydney's premier hotel when it was recently named in two prestigious awards after a much anticipated reopening in March 2012. The hotel was listed in the internationally acclaimed Travel + Leisure magazine's IT List: The Best New Hotels 2012 and awarded the title of Best Capital City Hotel in the esteemed 2012 Australian Gourmet Traveller Travel Awards.

Resurfacing after an 11-month transformation, the newly renovated 22-year old harbour front luxury hotel reopened its doors to a dramatic overhaul and recognition. Noted for its high quality of service and luxurious residential interiors, this is the fourth time Park Hyatt Sydney has been awarded a Travel + Leisure award and a first in the Gourmet Traveller Travel Awards.

The hotel has received eight international and Australian awards in 2011 and 2012 including Best Australian Hotel - Luxury Travel Magazine Annual Gold Awards 2012, Gold List – World's Best Hotels 2011 - Conde Nast Traveler USA, Travel + Leisure World's 500 Best Hotels 2011 and Travel + Leisure 2011 World's Best Service 2011.

"Park Hyatt Sydney is honoured to be recognised as a preferred luxury hotel in Australia. This recognition is a reflection of the hotel's continued commitment to service excellence in providing our valued guests with a residential style home that reflect the unique characteristics of our harbour city in one of Sydney's most coveted locations", said General Manager Andrew Mensforth.

Emerging from a dramatic transformation, the newly redesigned Park Hyatt Sydney brings a new level of contemporary luxury to the edge of Sydney Harbour. With an unrivalled harbour front location between the world-famous Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, Park Hyatt Sydney offers guests an intimate, residential-style hotel with architecture and art that reflects the Australian landscape. Three new rooftop suites, including the exclusive Sydney Suite with near 360 degree panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and a private outdoor terrace, cater for the most discerning traveller.

Caribbean Guide - Caribbean wild Vocation Destinations



Caribbean Guide - Caribbean wild Vocation Destinations - Places or Islands to visit in Caribbean

There many nice places or islands to visit during your Caribbean holiday, in this blog listed few of those places visited by most people.

(image - nvcharters.com)
Santa Marta - Scenarios idyllic islands surrounded by clear waters and mountains that flow into the sea. Main destinations: Santa Marta and Tayrona, the Islas del Rosario and San Andres

Santa Marta and Tayrona - Santa Marta, located between Sierra Nevada and the coast of the Caribbean Sea, is famous for its beautiful beaches and for its extensive range. Unlike other Caribbean destinations, this part of Colombia has a particular geography that brings together in one place beaches, forests, rivers and mountains. In addition, Santa Marta is considered the oldest city in South America and preserved in the historical center a cool Caribbean atmosphere and a warm climate with quite roads that always lead us into the sea. Near the center is the tourist area of El Rodadero, which is where most buildings up.

But the best beaches in the region are not in the same city but about twenty minutes in the Tayrona National Reserve, covering acres of forest landscapes and mountains that descend from the Sierra Nevada, forming bays, coves and over 20 beaches down to the crystal clear Caribbean waters.

(Image - best-yacht-charter.com)
Cartagena and the islands of the rosary - Cartagena is a city that looks to the Caribbean and is immersed in a large wall with forts and towers. The historic, one of the best preserved in Latin America, and its streets with colorful balconies that lead us scenarios straight out of the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with their Caribbean paradise islands make Cartagena one of the most complete of Colombia .

The best thing to do in Cartagena is getting caught up in the streets. At every corner we find a surprise. Each step appears to us a postcard.

The wall is the boundary that separates us from the sea and miles of this city resguardaron bastions of pirate attacks.

Cartagena also has its charm away from the legendary streets: the Rosario Islands. For nearly an hour by boat leaving from the pier you will find the Caribbean Pegasos in all its glory in the 27 islands that make up the National Natural Park Corales del Rosario.

(image - activitiessxm.com)
White sand beaches, clear waters and huge palm trees to relax away from everything. The main Big Island where you can observe internal lagoons, rainforests and lush vegetation surrounded by the sea.

This landscape of turquoise waters also hidden under a great show. In the islands offer diving trips by expert guides. The approximate cost of this activity is U.S. $ 100.

If you want to stay more than a day you can stay in one of the hotels on the islands, if you prefer to spend only the day, remember that these lodgings have restaurants.

San Andres Island - The island of San Andres is one of the favorite destinations of Peruvians not only for the honeymoon as well for the holidays and that's because it offers in one place relax beside a sea of seven colors and white sand in a remote place located over 770 kilometers northwest of Colombia.

(Image - cbt.cc)
The best offering this island is definitely the natural environment and the perfect way to enjoy it in its white sand beaches ideal for sunbathing burst into drinking a cocoloco (drink made by the natives, made with vodka and fruit water) , but there are other activities for those who like to move as hiking, fishing and diving lessons. Also in most hotels have pools and slides.

Do not miss the trip to Johnny Cay Island and the Aquarium, where you can closely observe the variety of fish and marine life of this natural reserve. You can choose to dive into the entrance of the aquarium.
Transit through the city also has its charm. A local alternative is to take a goat which is a colorful bus with no windows.

The tour includes a stop at the resorts, which operate mostly with an all-inclusive, the Museum Islander, which displays pieces of the nineteenth century.

Remember that St. Andrew is duty-free port, so shopping is also a good choice.

Do not miss the trip to the Blow Hole, a seaside geyser allowing ingress of water by an underground tunnel and casts strong wind through the hole in the surface.

San Andres is the island's tourist area. It comes in a two-hour commercial flight from the capital, Bogota.

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United Airlines welcomes Copa Airlines, Avianca and Taca Airlines to the Star Aliiance


United and avianca begin codesharing

United Airlines today welcomes Avianca, TACA and Copa Airlines to the Star Alliance, the world's leading global airline network, offering United customers additional reach into Latin America. 

In conjunction with this announcement, effective today, United is placing its code on Avianca-operated flights to cities in Colombia, and Avianca is placing its code on certain United-operated flights within the U.S. This is in addition to United's relationship with TACA, which dates back to 2006.

United has a longstanding and broad relationship with Copa, including codesharing on Copa flights from its Panama hub and United flights in the U.S. United also serves as Copa's mentor in its entry into the Star Alliance.

"United heartily welcomes Copa, Avianca and TACA into the Star Alliance," said Hershel Kamen, senior vice president Alliances, Regulatory and Policy for United Airlines. "Avianca, TACA and Copa customers now have access to an unprecedented network with more than 21,500 daily Star Alliance member flights worldwide. Meanwhile, current Star Alliance customers will benefit from improved access to Latin America."

Through the Star Alliance, members of United's loyalty program, MileagePlus, and the Avianca and TACA frequent-flier program, LifeMiles, now can earn and redeem mileage anywhere on either airline's route network. MileagePlus is also Copa's loyalty program. Further, United Club members and MileagePlus Premier members with Star Alliance Gold status traveling on a same-day Star Alliance member flight can access Copa, Avianca and TACA lounges at the flight's departure city. Avianca, TACA and Copa Star Alliance Gold members can access United Club lounges worldwide when traveling on a same-day Star Alliance member flight from the airport lounge location. United and Copa jointly operate the lounge at Tocumen International Airport in Panama.

Earl's Restaurant - One of the Best


Last night members of VGSN were given a fam tour of Earl's Restaurant. It was truly an amazing educational meeting. We were taken through the food line and then in the prep area. Watching the food team hustle dinners out for hungry waiti...ng customers was an amazing experience. No more whining about how hard dinner was to prepare. Try doing that for 40 people or more at a time. The logistics of all this blew our minds. Just to keep the ingredients there and ready to go would give any novice chef a headache. It is not longer acceptable to put food on the table that doesn't look great. Every single dish we saw go by looked amazing. The checks and balances that are in place to ensure top notch service was also amazing. There is an expectation of connecting with customers, providing excellent and speedy service, and top notch fresh food. You would be totally amazed if you could experience what it takes to make that happen. We were. Every time we go into a restaurant now, we will have total respect for the people who prepare and serve our food. We had the full tour last night and it truly was an education to behold. Chef Scott prepared a couple of dishes in the prep are so he could show us up close and personal what it takes to put some great food on the table and that is exactly what he and his team did. Everything we ate was great. Thanks for a great feast Scott, Christina, Courtney and all the staff that helped. For more pictures, please go to Facebook.

Earl's Restaurant - One of the Best


Last night members of VGSN were given a fam tour of Earl's Restaurant. It was truly an amazing educational meeting. We were taken through the food line and then in the prep area. Watching the food team hustle dinners out for hungry waiti...ng customers was an amazing experience. No more whining about how hard dinner was to prepare. Try doing that for 40 people or more at a time. The logistics of all this blew our minds. Just to keep the ingredients there and ready to go would give any novice chef a headache. It is not longer acceptable to put food on the table that doesn't look great. Every single dish we saw go by looked amazing. The checks and balances that are in place to ensure top notch service was also amazing. There is an expectation of connecting with customers, providing excellent and speedy service, and top notch fresh food. You would be totally amazed if you could experience what it takes to make that happen. We were. Every time we go into a restaurant now, we will have total respect for the people who prepare and serve our food. We had the full tour last night and it truly was an education to behold. Chef Scott prepared a couple of dishes in the prep are so he could show us up close and personal what it takes to put some great food on the table and that is exactly what he and his team did. Everything we ate was great. Thanks for a great feast Scott, Christina, Courtney and all the staff that helped. For more pictures, please go to Facebook.

SITA report: Mobile apps transform how airlines do business


Survey shows 93% of airlines choose mobile as top IT investment

The way airlines are doing business is undergoing a fundamental transformation as mobile apps permeate every step of the journey and core aspects of operations. The 14th annual SITA/Airline Business IT Trends Survey shows 93% of airlines have mobile services for passengers as a top investment priority over the next three years, with 58% investing in major programs.

The survey, which represents the views of more than half of the world's top 100 carriers, reports that airlines are focusing IT investment in the key areas of improving passenger service, reducing the cost of business operations and revenue generation. Passenger service is the top priority and mobile services for passengers tops the list with 58% of airlines planning major programs in the next three years. An addithonal 35% are investing in research and development. In the area of sales and distribution, mobile has taken hold with more than half of airlines already selling tickets via mobile devices and by 2015, 89% of the airlines plan to do so.

But the real transformation is not just in the area of sales, this year's survey shows that airlines are using mobile apps right across the business. By 2015, almost nine out of ten airlines plan to have the following core services available via mobile: flight search, check-in, boarding passes, ticket purchase, flight status notification, ancillary services, with customer complaint handling and missing baggage management following closely

Half of the airlines have already implemented mobile services for flight search and check-in with close to half also providing boarding passes, ticket purchase and flight status notifications.

Launching the 2012 Airline IT Trends Survey, Francesco Violante CEO SITA, said: "This year's survey shows how airlines are committed to mobile across the whole business. Mobile apps are being used to improve the passenger experience, reduce operating costs and generate revenue. This is the second year that mobile services for passengers tops the list of investment programs and it is the adoption of mobile apps across sales, customer services and passenger processing that truly shows that airlines are committed to transformation."

Nine out of ten airlines are investing in social media over the next three years. Some 57% of airlines believe social media can play a significant role in promoting sales with 39% stressing its value in customer service. Four out of ten promote flights via social media already, and almost 90% plan to do so by 2015. Both social media and mobile open the door for a more personalized service, and 78% of airlines in this year's survey already have, or plan to, personalize sales offerings via their direct channels.

Over the last number of years, the SITA/Airline Business annual survey has shown the migration to mobile but the results this year show an absolute commitment from the airlines to a mobile future.

For further information go to www.sita.aero

Taiwan Tourism Bureau appoints PMACG as AU/NZ promotional agency


The Taiwan Tourism Bureau has officially appointed Sydney-based PMA Communications Group (PMACG) as its Australia/New Zealand promotional agency.

Announcing the appointment the Director of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau in Singapore, Arthur C.M.Hsieh who holds responsibility for the Australia/New Zealand region said the company's activity on behalf of the national tourism office would encompass strategy, creative, media, PR and event management on both sides of the Tasman.

Mr Hsieh added that the agency would work very closely with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau's Sydney-based Marketing Representative – Australia/New Zealand, Ms Pearl Lee on a day-to-day basis for the duration of the contract period.

A critical component of the overall agreement, he said, would be addressing visitor arrival targets which the bureau expects to see increase exponentially in the coming 12 months.

"Taiwan is very much a multi-faceted destination offering a host of new and exciting travel opportunities to the Australian and New Zealand markets," Mr Hsieh said.

"Our destination is full of surprises – we literally tick all the boxes with our unique culture, our quality, gourmet food experiences, fantastic shopping, superb spa and hot spring facilities, affordable, very easy to use transport systems and sightseeing.

"Add to that we offer a huge range of soft adventure activities ranging from trekking and mountain climbing to surfing some of the best waves to be found anywhere in northern Asia.

"Accommodation wise, we are geared to suit every type of traveller irrespective of their taste, requirement and budget.

"We really are a new and exciting choice for the Australian and New Zealand markets, both as a long stay destination or equally, as a new, alternative and interesting stopover destination for Europe bound traffic.

"We are delighted to be working closely with PMACG in the coming 12 months."

Day to day management of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau account by PMACG will be headed by Elissa Kent supported by Group Business Director, Matt McCarthy and Senior Communications Adviser, Mike Parker-Brown.

PMACG Managing Director, Paul McCarthy said the Taiwan Tourism Bureau appointment represented a major coup for the company at a time where it was moving to strengthen its stance as a leading communicationsprovider on the international tourism scene.

"This was an open pitch process that PMACG was extremely pleased to win and secure," 
Mr McCarthy said.

"Having the Taiwan Tourism Bureau on board not only represents a coup for our brand, it also reflects our ability, our diversity of skills and our experience in being able to deliver."


V: www.pmacg.com.au




The Malahat Drive offers some of the best sight-seeing opportunities Vancouver Island has to offer. We drove up to the Malahat Mountain Inn becuase there had been a change in ownership and we wanted to see what had changed. One thing that has not is the amazing views from the sun deck at the Hat Restuarant. Between the Malahat Drive and Saanich Peninsula lies an amazing fjord that is approximately 700 feet deep. I have seen below the surface and the average tourist would never expect to see cloud sponges the size of volkswagons dotted along the steep drop offs, or the eerie feeling looking from the drop offs into the deep dark black abyss below. Then there is the beauty on the surface - such amazing scenery. The food at the restaurant is good enough for return visits and the menu is quite diverse - something for everyone. The also have a deli if you just want something for a picnic down the road or a meal on the go. As you can see below, the scenery is unbelievale.  For more pictures go to our Facebook Page.

The Malahat Drive offers some of the best sight-seeing opportunities Vancouver Island has to offer. We drove up to the Malahat Mountain Inn becuase there had been a change in ownership and we wanted to see what had changed. One thing that has not is the amazing views from the sun deck at the Hat Restuarant. Between the Malahat Drive and Saanich Peninsula lies an amazing fjord that is approximately 700 feet deep. I have seen below the surface and the average tourist would never expect to see cloud sponges the size of volkswagons dotted along the steep drop offs, or the eerie feeling looking from the drop offs into the deep dark black abyss below. Then there is the beauty on the surface - such amazing scenery. The food at the restaurant is good enough for return visits and the menu is quite diverse - something for everyone. The also have a deli if you just want something for a picnic down the road or a meal on the go. As you can see below, the scenery is unbelievale.  For more pictures go to our Facebook Page.
For years we have driven by their sign at the turnoff to Shawnigan Lake, wondering how far off the road this attraction was and wether or not it would be worth our time. Well, today we answered both questions. Once we turned off the Malahat, we were here in about one minute and it was worth every minute of our time and more. Ann and Grahame put on an amazing show. Both are congenial hosts and provided tons of information and a great glass blowing demonstration. Their products are amazing as you will see in the pictures below. Next time you take the Malahat, check out this amazing attraction.  For more pictures, see our Facebook page.

Ron
For years we have driven by their sign at the turnoff to Shawnigan Lake, wondering how far off the road this attraction was and wether or not it would be worth our time. Well, today we answered both questions. Once we turned off the Malahat, we were here in about one minute and it was worth every minute of our time and more. Ann and Grahame put on an amazing show. Both are congenial hosts and provided tons of information and a great glass blowing demonstration. Their products are amazing as you will see in the pictures below. Next time you take the Malahat, check out this amazing attraction.  For more pictures, see our Facebook page.

Ron

PMACG APPOINTS MIKE PARKER-BROWN TO HEAD UP PR DIVISION



PMA Communications Group has appointed Mike Parker-Brown to manage the company's newly formed PR division.

Announcing the news PMACG Managing Director, Paul McCarthy said Parker-Brown's profile and experience both as a journalist and seasoned PR practitioner provided a solid fit for the company's existing and future client base.

"The development of a dedicated PR division has always been seen as key to PMACGexpanding its business activity and enhancing overall service delivery in all our areas of operation," Mr McCarthy said.

"This is especially the case in the Asia-Pacific region where we are now experiencing solid business gains - having Mike on board and heading up the new division is intended to play a major role in growing our business even further."

Sydney-based Parker-Brown is no stranger to the regional tourism industry where he has managed handled PR for several large organisations in recent years.

These include airlines, wholesale tour operators (both domestic and overseas-based), travel agency groups, hotels, cruise lines, industry associations, recruitment companies and national tourist offices.

Countries represented on a local basis include Indonesia, Hong Kong during the 1997 handover period, Oman and most recently Fiji where he had responsibility for Tourism Fiji's global PR activity for close on four years.

His experience also includes a stint as a senior media adviser with the Australian Trade Commission where he managed for several key portfolios including the Federal Government's Olympic business strategy and the Export Market Development Grant scheme.


W: www.pmacg.com.au


About PMACG

PMACG (PMA Communications Group) is a full-service, integrated communications group of companies based in Sydney,Australia. With both local and international clients, its collective power and diversity of skills makes it a powerful presence in more than 10 countries around the world.

Heightened opulence as guests of the luxurious Tower Club at lebua (Bangkok) now enjoy exclusive Acca Kappa products in suite


Heightened opulence as guests of the luxurious Tower Club at lebua (Bangkok) now enjoy exclusive Acca Kappa products in suite

Sophisticated Tower Club at lebua, Bangkok offers guests a deluxe haven high above the hustle and bustle of buzzy Bangkok, where you can enjoy five-star facilities, exceptional Thai hospitality and high-end dining and entertainment at the superb restaurants and bars of The Dome, Tower club at lebua – glamorously positioned high above the glittering city.

Adding to the air of indulgence, guests of the exclusive and spacious Tower Club suites - spread across the top nine levels of Tower Club at lebua will now enjoy pampering themselves with acclaimed Acca Kappa products – a well-known favourite of celebrities and royal families worldwide.

Tower Club guests will love the White Moss Collection – found nowhere else in Bangkok – which includes body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, soap and shower gel - which will entice the senses with their fresh, fragrant aroma.

But that's not the only way Tower Club guests are spoiled. Complimentary access to the Tower Club Lounge is your ticket to discreet personal service, gourmet canapés and beverages.

Round off your high-end holiday with a Thai cooking class package held by esteemed 'Chef de Cuisine' Prayong Khundongling who has worked in leading hotels in Thailand, India, Russia and the US; or an afternoon of high tea and champagne at the Tower Club Lounge.

Make the most of the panoramic views and deluxe facilities of your suite with an in-room massage before heading to dinner at one of the Dome, Tower Club at lebua's glamorous restaurants including: Sirocco (one of the world's highest alfresco restaurants); Mezzaluna (modern innovative fine dining) and Breeze (gourmet Asian) – as well as two chic bars.

Sky Bar offers an incredible open-air ambience of the stars above and the streets below- topped off by a stunning menu of inventive cocktails – while Distil is the ultimate destination for lovers of fine whiskeys, cognacs, champagne, Iranian caviar (Almas, Beluga Impérial Huso Huso, Ossetra and Sevruga Royal Réserve), fresh oysters, sushi, sashimi and hand-rolled Cuban cigars.

Now is the time to spoil yourself with a number of exceptional indulgent packages, including:

Tower Club Prestige Experience (Now – 26 Dec. 2013): Minimum 3 night stay with complimentary upgrade to a Tower Club Riverview Suite, round trip airport transfers, daily Ocean 52 drink voucher, a set dinner for two persons, late check-out. Rates start from AUS$ 270*++ per night.

Luxury Tower Club Package (Now - 26 Dec. 2013): Minimum 3 night stay with complimentary upgrade to a Tower Club Riverview Suite, round trip airport transfers, Ocean 52 drink, 3-course set dinner at Mezzaluna, Thai Temple or Thai palace tour. Rates start from AUS$295*++ per night.

*Prices as of 19 June 2012, subject to change and availability.

For reservations, please contact Tower Club at lebua on +66 (0) 624 9555 or resvn@lebua.com


Viva Las Vegas ­ MTA¹s Alysha White pins her way to six-day Las Vegas trip


MTA's Alysha White must be hoping her luck will hold out at least until after she leaves Las Vegas later this year where she will spend six nights as a guest of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and the Nevada Commission on Tourism.

Alysha won the trip when she attended the Sydney leg of a recent Las Vegas/Nevada State industry road show, her entry in a 'pin the location on the map' promotion earning her an opportunity in the prize draw where she then went on to win one of the major prizes.

Alysha's prize includes three nights at one of the eight hotels operated by the world-famous Caesar's Hotel & Casino group plus three nights in either the equally renowned The Venetian or The Palazzo.

Topping things off and giving Alysha the opportunity to see Las Vegas from a completely different perspective (and hopefully away from the gaming tables), her prize also includes a 'Maverick' helicopter tour of the city.

Commenting on the Las Vegas/Nevada State workshop, a very excited Alysha said it was one of the best travel agent functions she has ever attended.

"It was awesome – so much fun and very interactive," she said.

"In order to take full advantage of my Las Vegas prize I am also very excited to explore other regions of Nevada including the beautiful Lake Tahoe, where California and Nevada meet."

Pictured – Alysha White with Las Vegas/Nevada State workshop MC 'Vance Fontaine' aka comedian Patrick Duffy.

W: www.mtatravel.com.au

Scenic Tsar: the First New Ship Registered in Russia in 25 years

Scenic Tours today announced the successful registration of their small ship Scenic Tsar in Russia as the first 'new build' ship to be registered in Russia for 25 years. The Russian Maritime Authority classifies 'new build' as one that is at least 80 per cent new and Scenic Tsar (originally named ms Grin] has undergone a total reconstruction, the most extensive re-build ever undertaken in Russia, funded by Scenic Tours.

Scenic Tours Managing Director, Glen Moroney said that in order to operate a ship that met "both our world-class standards and the complex Russian regulations, we chose to embark on a total gut and re-build of an existing ship. Scenic Tsar is a new style of ship and will take the experience of river cruising in Russia to a whole new level." He said that due to the complete rebuild "from hull upwards," the Russian authorities ultimately decided to put Scenic Tsar through its stringent 'new build' ship registration process. Moroney added that Scenic Tours' objective is to "deliver the same high level of quality and service over all of our products", with professionally trained and experienced staff providing a standard of excellence.

With only its original steel hull, floors and ceiling remaining, Scenic Tsar now boasts a new deck of cabins, two new bars, a new lounge, a new restaurant, a new wellness area, a new galley with all new equipment, all new cabins (walls, showers, toilets, and all fittings), new air conditioning (main compressor, ducting and in cabin fan coils), new main engines and drive units, new generators, all wiring and electrical fittings, new plates on the steel hull, and all new furniture, curtains and soft furnishings.

Widely renowned for their world-class Scenic 'Space-Ships' which revolutionised river cruising in Europe, Scenic Tours are again setting the benchmark with Scenic Tsar, their first boutique small ship in Russia. Scenic Tsar will cater for a maximum of 112 guests who will experience the Scenic Tours signature of all-inclusive cruising .

93% of cabins have private, full-size balconies, stylish en suites, satellite TV, in-room safe and mini bar, and bottled water replenished daily. In addition to the luxurious new features and amenities, Scenic Tsar also includes complimentary Wi-Fi and an on board doctor. All meals are included and guests will enjoy both continental and Russian cuisine, whilst complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks are included with dinner.

Scenic Tours will be running the exclusive charter of the Scenic Tsar for the next five years with the inaugural taking place last Sunday, June 17 2012 from St. Petersburg to Moscow on the Scenic Tours 15 day Imperial Jewels of Russia River Cruise, including four days each in St. Petersburg and Moscow and visiting Mandrogi, Kizhi Island, Goritsy and two of the 'Golden Ring' cities. Guests will discover Russia's most iconic sites, and experience exclusive Scenic Enrich events, from lunch at an old-world wooden restaurant to a private ballet concert at the Palace of Prince Vladimir. A full list of dates and itineraries are at scenictours.com.au.

Proudly Australian and unashamedly passionate, for 25 years Scenic Tours has been delivering the ultimate in all-inclusive touring experiences to unique and extraordinary places on every continent. scenictours.com.au

Mount Tolmie Viewpoint in Saanich

Mount Tolmie is located in the Municipality of Saanich very close to the University of Victoria.   Mt. Tolmie offers spectacular views of the City of Victoria, Oak Bay, and Saanich as well as views over Haro and Juan de Fuca Straits.  It is a favourite stop for tour buses.  It is very accessible.  Check out the entry road from Cedar Hill X-Road near Gordon Head Road.  Enjoy.
For more pictures of views from Mount Tolmie please go to our Facebook page.

Mount Tolmie Viewpoint in Saanich

Mount Tolmie is located in the Municipality of Saanich very close to the University of Victoria.   Mt. Tolmie offers spectacular views of the City of Victoria, Oak Bay, and Saanich as well as views over Haro and Juan de Fuca Straits.  It is a favourite stop for tour buses.  It is very accessible.  Check out the entry road from Cedar Hill X-Road near Gordon Head Road.  Enjoy.
For more pictures of views from Mount Tolmie please go to our Facebook page.

Community Fair at Christ Church Cathedral June 16

Community Fair at Christ Church Cathedral June 16

Come Play with Lightning McQueen and Mater in Cars Land, Offering Fuel-Driven Fun at Disneyland Resort


Radiator Springs Comes to Life at Disney California Adventure Park with Three New Attractions, Plus Characters and Familiar Places from the Movie ‘Cars’
The Happiest Place on Earth gets happier June 15 with the grand opening of Cars Land, the largest piece of the five-year expansion at Disney California Adventure Park. Cars Land adds 12 acres of immersive excitement to the park and offers freewheeling fun for everyone as it brings the town of Radiator Springs to life, just as guests remember it from the Disney Pixar movie “Cars.”

The thrilling additions of Cars Land, Buena Vista Street and the Carthay Circle Theatre, home of the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge at Disney California Adventure add to the stnrytelling magic of the Disneyland Resort, a world-class, family vacation destination in Southern California with two theme parks, three hotels and the Downtown Disney shopping and dining district.

“The crown jewel of our Disney California Adventure expansion, Cars Land is the extraordinary result of a close collaboration between the gifted filmmakers at Pixar Animation Studios and our talented Imagineers and cast members,” said Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company. “It’s also a spectacular example of our ability to take our characters and stories and bring them to life in new and unexpected ways.”

“More than five years ago, we embarked on a journey to realize Bob Iger’s vision of transforming Disney California Adventure with new attractions featuring our most iconic characters, including Mater, Lightning McQueen and the residents of Radiator Springs,” said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “Cars Land immerses guests in the world of ‘Cars’ like never before and combines the imagination of Pixar with the creativity, innovation and legendary storytelling that are the hallmarks of a Disney Parks experience.”

Cars Land invites guests to take the off ramp right into Radiator Springs, “the cutest little town in Carburetor County,” where they will enjoy three family attractions showcasing places and characters from the movie: Luigi’s Flying Tires, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Radiator Springs Racers, one of the largest and most elaborate attractions created for a Disney theme park.

Themed shops and restaurants also look familiar to fans of the movie, including Flo’s V8 Café, Cozy Cone Motel and Ramone’s House of Body Art. The Radiator Springs locals are at home, so Lightning McQueen and Mater make appearances and pose for photos near the Cozy Cone Motel.

“We want guests to think they are on this great road trip and, in a way, almost like they are going home,” said Kathy Mangum, executive producer of Cars Land. “Cars Land whll feel very familiar in so many different ways. I can’t tell you how many people have seen it and said ‘I can’t believe I am in Anaheim.”

Each attraction and facility will have its own personality, allowing guests to get to know more about the characters who live in Radiator Springs.

“A lot of the places you will find only inside Cars Land, so we took the theming and storytelling all the way through, in a way that guests will really feel as if the shops, restaurants and attractions are being operated by that character,” Mangum said. “Everywhere you look there is a funny little car nod. After all, it is a land built by cars.”

Many of the automotive winks were inspired by a research trip Imagineers took along Route 66. Others were inspired by working with the animators from Pixar.

"While I love all of the movies we've made at Pixar, the ‘Cars’ films are particularly close to my heart, so seeing Radiator Springs come to life at Disney California Adventure is a dream come true," said John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. "The artistry and attention to detail throughout Cars Land is absolutely incredibld, and I couldn't be more proud of the teams at Pixar and Walt Disney Imagineering who worked side-by-side to make this project a reality."

The “Cars” gang gathers to prepare visitors for the big race in Radiator Springs Racers, the high-octane, indoor/outdoor adventure that revs through the beautiful mountains of Ornament Valley. Guests board cars, each with their own personality, for a scenic road trip that takes them through Radiator Springs, with a stop at either Luigi’s Casa Della Tires or Ramone’s House of Body Art. After getting some final racing tips from Doc Hudson, the cars zoom over the roadways in a nose-to-nose, high-speed race, never knowing which car may win.

Elsewhere in Cars Land, Luigi invites guests to test-drive his new shipment of Fettuccini-brand “Cuscino D’Aria” tires – which are just like riding on air (or being on an enormous air hockey table). At this festival of flying tires, riders lean left and right aboard Luigi’s Flying Tires, floating and bumping along in a 21st century attraction reminiscent of the classic Disneyland Flying Saucers attraction. Music plays and giant inflatable balls hover along the floor, adding to the fun.

Mater provides his own unique siren song, courtesy of a Junkyard Jukebox that has lured baby tractors into Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. There, the tractors dance to Mater’s hoedown tune, swinging guests around in trailers they are pulling behind them. It’s a “tow-si-do” square dance to a playlist of seven songs sung by Mater himself.

The streets of Radiator Springs are humming with entertainment, too. DJ, the ultimate party car - a big road-trippin’ mobile boom box with giant speakers and built-in disc changer – invites his crew to “DJ’s Dance ‘n Drive,” a spontaneous, interactive dance party. And Red the Fire Truck, with the help of his comic “Volunteer Fireman,” recruits guests of all ages to join “Red to the Rescue!” - helping water the flowers and clean up the town of Radiator Springs. (Prepare to get wet!)

The road leading into Cars Land is dotted with large animated neon signs reminiscent of the ‘50s era of cross-country travel along Route 66. As with other aspects of the land, the neon signs are three-dimensional representations of recognizable landmarks from the movie “Cars,” and they come to life each night at sundown when it’s cruisin’ time along the boulevard.

“Cars” fans and other interested shoppers will find a great selection of Cars Land and other Disney and Disney●Pixar gifts and souvenirs at the “local” retail shops in Radiator Springs. Although the interiors of most of these locales weren’t seen in the movie, they were created for Cars Land by Walt Disney Imagineers with their characteristic attention to detail, drawing on inspiration from vintage stops along historic Route 66.

Sarge’s Surplus Hut offers a broad selection of merchandise – kids clothing, costumes, hats, toys and plush – featuring Lightning McQueen, Mater and other “Cars” characters. Radiator Springs Curios is a country-style mercantile with special appeal for collectors of pins themed to all things “Cars.” The shop also stocks magnets, antenna toppers and license plate frames. Ramone’s House of Body Art features the signature items of the Low ‘n Slow Car Club and Champions Custom Speed Shop collections in t-shirts, work shirts, hats and accessories.

Dining options in Cars Land include Flo’s V8 Café, modeled on the quirky roadside eateries along old Route 66. The café serves full meals from a quick-service counter. A windowed “showroom” dining area and adjoining outdoor patio offer a breathtaking view of Cadillac Mountain Range and the vehicles zooming by in Radiator Springs Racers. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at Flo’s, and specialties include chicken tamale with scrambled eggs, brioche French toast with salted caramel and bananas, home-style rotisserie classics such as pork loin or New York strip loin, plus the house-made Pie-O-Rama for dessert.

The distinctive “wigwams” architecture of Sally’s Cozy Cone Motel offers quick service cone-themed snacks from five different cones, including ice cream cones, chile “cone” queso, pop “cone” and other “cone”-coctions. Fillmore’s Taste-in celebrates the Cars Land “new age” hippie-van-in-residence. His food and beverage kiosk offers the “high-octane” natural health benefits of fresh fruits, bottled water and juices.

About the Disneyland Resort

The Disneyland Resort features two spectacular theme parks – Disneyland (the original Disney theme park) and Disney California Adventure Park – plus three hotels and the Downtown Disney District, comprised of unique dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The Resort’s hotels are the luxurious, 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which also features 50 two-bedroom equivalent DVC units; the magical, newly renovated, 969-room Disneyland Hotel – both AAA Four Diamond properties – and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with its “day-at-the-beach” fun. For information on attractions and vacations at Disneyland Resort, visit www.disneyland.com, call (866) 43-DISNEY or contact local travel agents.

The Most Romantic Honeymoon Destinations In The World - Europe Travel Advice



The Most Romantic  Island Destinations For Your Honeymoon  In The World - Europe Beach Honeymoon Destinations - Travel Advice

When it comes to leaving on a trip of newly-weds, choose the destination is a careful task. Let's make this a little easier for you. The ten most romantic and idyllic destinations for your honeymoon. Not able to resist
Tahiti - Paradise on the beach for their honeymoon. Exotic destinations where the most romantic settings.
Planning a honeymoon trip need not be a difficult point in the whole organization of the wedding, especially when there are so many destinations and places you can choose the destination. If we seek to have a dream holiday we have between our considered alternatives to the best destinations for our honeymoon.

Tahiti Islands In French Polynesia - Tahiti is one of the exotic destinations of honeymoon favored by most romantic and lovers of nature. In the group of islands in French Polynesia as Bora Bora, Rangiroa, Fakarava Nuku Hiva or, most hotels are located on the water and have spectacular views of private beaches. Several of his exclusive lodgings have been selected as the best in the world of its kind. Each has its merits, but the most luxurious are characterized by an architecture that respects the natural environment.

The French influence in the area can be seen by its rustic yet exclusive buildings designed to maintain the privacy of the couples. Without sacrificing the comforts of the modern world as the use of technology. The rooms have plasma TVs and Wi Fi. The atmosphere is quiet and among the main activities are diving and snorkeling in coral reefs and surfing. The islands have more than 100 small islands with white sand beaches accessible only by boat and where you can spend a day in their luxury tours designed for couples that includes gourmet cuisine in the shade of a coconut tree. In the capital, Papeete, where the international airport where flights arrive and air, is the ideal place for shopping and visit their markets for shopping, where you can buy the listed beads and jewellery.

Luxury destination Thailand - This precious honeymoon destination not only combines pristine beaches, vibrant culture is also an interesting and delicious cuisine. One of the most popular beaches and the largest in Thailand is Phuket, where the most beautiful hotels and a wild nature. Another missed stop is the famous Koh Pha Ngan, known for being the scene of the movie "The Beach" in which he starred Leonardo di Caprio. Each island is a paradise to discover.

This destination host is characterized by leading hotels like the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, which has swimming pools in the rooms overlooking the island Pha Ngan and the Gulf of Siam, the Amanpuri, which has services for private cruises around the islands; or Sajorin, one of the most exclusive and romantic boutique hotels in the world. In the nature reserve Angthong National Marine Park brings together more than 40 islands, reefs and forests. A must for those who enjoy nature walks. On any trip to Thailand a few days you have to spend his capital Bangkok and see the Buddhas, the Residence Palace and its floating markets and restaurants. Definitely, the ancient culture of this part of Asia makes this trip a unique experience.

Jamaica Caribbean and jungle - Jamaica is the only Caribbean island jungle and therefore offers unique attractions such as its large mountains vegetation that end in the sea and wild Caribbean beaches that are the desire of couples. Ocho Rios is an exclusive hotel like Sandals or RIU offering excellent facilities. There are several themed packages such as Dunn's Riverm Dolphin Cove and Mystic Mountain. Reserve a day to visit Negril. For the more daring, ask for alternatives for adults and Hedonism

Bahamas beaches sonadas - Bahamas is synonymous with virgin islands and private beaches. This part of the Caribbean has other attractions like the picturesque streets of Nassau to get lost with your partner away from it all. Bahamas is characterized by luxury hotels, but not many people have an all-inclusive. Stresses in this category SandalsRoyal Bahamian. Here is also the famous Atlantis, one of the world's finest hotels. It has its own water park with slides of up to 38 meters high. There are also alternatives for adults only accommodations and special packages for honeymooners. Also, remember that The Bahamas is a free port so it is not only paradise beach and sea, also tax free shopping.

Maui Hawaii Legends - The legendary island of Maui is a classic destination honeymoon for young couples. Its volcanic islands are surrounded by beautiful beaches famous for surfers in the world. Its rugged terrain can also hike through the woods to the top of volcanoes. Maui hotels are surrounded by green landscapes and have private beaches. On this island are located also the luxury shops at the shopping sprees is a highly recommended activity. Travelers agree that one of the attractions of the place, apart from their natural environment and its comfortable hotels, is also the friendliness of the locals.

Feel the call of nature - Overview of the Serengeti National Park - Rare is the child who has never dreamed of a safari in Africa, perhaps encouraged by films like The Lion King. And how are the children's dreams are more illusion, more people on this trip, either as a honeymoon or how family trip. Can be made safaris Kenya, South Africa and Namibia, but certainly Tanzania is the country where the traveler gets to feel part of nature.

A throughout the whole country there are pockets worthy of appearing in the Lion King, not surprisingly, the landscapes of the film are made ​​in the image and likeness of the Serengeti National Park largest in Africa. But others, such as Amboseli and Lake Manyara, where you can see large groups of pink flamingos. Then there is the Ngorongoro Crater with its characteristic lunar landscape and has its own ecosystem with its altitude lakes and forests of flooded forest area of the crater center, offering a chance to see animals like hyenas.

Cook Islands - The Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana Neyra was who first sighted the islands in 1595, but was the legendary British explorer James Cook who claimed for the British crown in 1776, giving rise to its current name. Today, the archipelago located between Tahiti and Tonga offers volcanic islands, turquoise lakes, atolls, deserted beaches, underground caves and landscapes that depict a world in an almost virginal, very difficult to find today.

Note: you must change the New Zealand dollar foreign exchange, the official currency of the islands. You may want to revise your knowledge of English, provided they do not know how to speak Maori, the two languages ​​that handle the locals.

Fiji Islands - Do you remember Jim Carrey in the movie 'The Truman Show', obsessive pursuing the dream ever come to the islands Fiji? Fiji Islands, in a sense, are the representation of the hidden paradise. 100 of the 400 islands that make up this archipelago are uninhabited, and some of them have not yet been trodden by man. The white sands, in contrast to the crystal clear waters and volcanic formations, make up a landscape of a postcard, ideal for romantics.

Note : If your case does not need a visa, you must still file a return ticket to be let to enter Fiji.

Senegal - It is the most popular destination among African countries, though not excessively applied as a site for the honeymoon. However, Senegal combines natural beauty with architectural gems that provides the capital, Dakar. Its clear waters are ideal for scuba diving, while parks and nature reserves will approach the wildest Africa. It is a cheap destination as a hotel and food will not spend more than about 40 euros a day per person.

Note : The best time to visit Senegal is between November and February.

Zanzibar - Caught between East and Africa, the island of Zanzibar retains traces most important of the Swahili culture. His interest as a honeymoon destination, however, is not that. The romance of Zanzibar lies in its landscape, which evokes a lost island in the confines of the world. The mixture of Eastern exoticism with overwhelming African vegetation does the rest, allowing you to enjoy spice scented forests and unique wildlife of the area.

To remember: avoid travelling in July and August, if possible. The historic, world heritage of mankind, is full of tourists.

Mauritius - The Pearl of the Indian Ocean is Mauritius, an island-scented air Arabia and Europe. The beaches and islands are lost part of its charm, but Mauricio combine these natural attractions with the presence of Hindu temples, markets, colonial houses and a fairy tale fauna (abundant deer and exotic birds). Much it rains between December and April, a useful data when making travel arrangements.

Note : If you do not want to get the 'traveler's diarrhea, "a common malady named for visitors should be careful when buying food from street vendors.

Costa Rica - The ideal place to break away from the stereotype of Central America as violent and dangerous place is Costa Rica, a friendly country which is characterized by its high human development index. It also has reason to be chosen as a destination for honeymoon. Costa Rica has an enviable natural diversity: in your territory you can find volcanoes, rainforests, waterfalls, pristine beaches and overflowing wildlife. In addition, its people are very quiet and are accustomed to tourism, so it will not need a guide to cross its most interesting.

Note : if your flight stops in the United States, you may need a special visa. Asesórate in the U.S. Embassy.
Martinique - Martinique is a place to start your own pace, completely away from the hustle and modern pressures. Of French rule and located in the Caribbean Sea, near South America, Martinique belongs to the Lesser Antilles.

The scent of flowers is one of the main attractions of the island, known for the abundance of lilies and orchids, in contrast to a landscape full of volcanic cliffs. It is also an ideal place for couples wanting to have fun and enjoy the singing and dancing, there is no shortage at any time of year.

Note : do not neglect your belongings. Pickpockets are very good at Martinique, particularly on the beaches, so try not to carry valuables.

Belize - Belize is not just a tax haven, as you'll see anyone visiting this small Central American country. His past as part of the mighty Mayan empire has been conducive to the combination of some archaeological gems with its natural beauty, especially the coral reef that has nothing to envy to the Caribbean or Australia. Tourists are few and the country is largely unexplored, making Belize in a desirable destination.

Note: It is going in the summer. Winter in Belize, although warm, very humid and rainy.

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Myanmar rejoins UNWTO


Myanmar president U Thein Sein has confirmed the country will initiate the process of restoring its membership of United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Officials in the country argue the destination is unique in that it can offer a relatively untouched, authentic experience that few countries around the world can still truly deliver.

“Tourism is a major sector of the economy not only for Myanmar but also for all countries around the world. It brings benefits to a country, boosts its economy and create employment opportunities,” said President Sein.

“We therefore request that our membership of UNWTO be restored so that we can obtain the relevant knowledge to further promote and develop our tourism sector.”

Meeting with Sein, UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai assured him that UNWTO stood ready to support Myanmar in taking full advantage of its “tremendous tourism potential”.

“Myanmar is a country abundant in natural and cultural resources, the foundation of any tourism sector,” said Rifai.

“Following talks with the Minister of Hotels, Tourism and Sport, U Tint San, UNWTO will lend its expertise in a number of areas, ranging from capacity-building to sustainable tourism practices and travel facilitation, to responsibly develop tourism for the benefit of all.”

According to long-term forecast from the UNWTO, Tourism Towards 2030, international tourist arrivals to Asia and the Pacific will increase from 204 million in 2010 to 535 million in 2030.

South Asia will be the fastest growing sub-region in the world, growing six per cent a year.

“Asia and the Pacific is the future powerhouse of global tourism and Myanmar is in a strategic position to receive a significant share of these arrivals,” said Rifai.

World Ocean Day June 8th - Participate


above picture courtesy of Mike Ogilvie - for more exciting pictures go to our Facebook Page

World Ocean Day June 8th - Participate


above picture courtesy of Mike Ogilvie - for more exciting pictures go to our Facebook Page

P&O Cruises to sail to PNG


Port Moresby: Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill has welcomed Australia’s leading cruise tourism company, Carnival Australia, into the country.

The Papua New Guinea Government and Carnival Australia made this joint announcement after a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Morauta Haus on the 10th of May, 2012. The entry of P & O Cruises is a major boost for PNG tourism and comes after years of hard work by the PNG Ports Corporation Limited and the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority in developing the cruise tourism sector.

Carnival Australia, which operates a combined fleet of seven P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises' vessels, recently announced that P&O Cruises will do a series of cruises to PNG beginning in October 2013. The joint announcement by Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, and Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, is the outcome of the ‘Cruise Ship Development Strategy’ produced by Australian-based CHART Management Consultants for the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority as part of its Tourism Master Plan 2007-2017.

In highlighting PNG’s strengths as a cruise destination, the strategy describes the region as ‘one of the last tourism frontiers, undiscovered by western travellers’ with areas only accessible to tourists by sea. Prime Minister O’Neill said: “The Government and people of Papua New Guinea welcome P&O Australia’s ship to our shores. We are taking steps to ensure cruising becomes an important contributor to our nation. Infrastructure improvements are part of that strategy.” In a sign of growing interest in PNG as a cruise destination, P&O Cruises recently added two dedicated PNG cruise itineraries to its 2013-2014 program. Pacific Dawn will sail to Milne Bay with calls at Alotau, Doini Island and the Trobriand Islands.

“We always believed in Papua New Guinea’s potential as a cruise destination and this has been confirmed by the strong interest following the announcement of P&O Cruises’ initial three cruises to the Milne Bay area,” Ms Sherry said. “Papua New Guinea is one of the most remote and untouched corners of the world, which is so close to Australia geographically but a million miles away in terms of its amazing scenery and fascinating culture.

“The PNG Government’s decision to accelerate funding for the port upgrade at Alotau and for necessary hydrographic surveys in the Trobriand Islands is a positive investment to achieve the economic benefits of regular cruise ship visits. “Our aim is for the initial October to April 2013-2014 cruise itineraries to PNG to be the first of many as this relationship continue to grow.”

Ms Sherry said the Milne Bay area would be popular with Australian travellers for its exquisite scenery, its colourful culture and for its historic World War II links for many Australian families.“It is very satisfying to see the strategy developed for PNG is already bearing such rich fruit,” said Ted Blamey, Principal of CHART Management Consultants. “By facilitating operations for cruise lines and developing port and island facilities, PNG plans to attract more ship visits and so bring real benefits to the national economy, local communities and related businesses. This is while being sensitive to the needs of the people, to their rich and unique cultures and diverse environments.

“Finally, the strategy is to deliver great guest experiences to those lucky enough to be cruising PNG. P&O’s leadership is greatly admired”, Mr. Blamey concluded.

“We are excited that P&O ships are soon to visit our beautiful Milne Bay region” said Mr Peter Vincent, CEO of PNG Tourism Promotion Authority.“The Strategy, which holds great promise for PNG, builds on this over time to extend the benefits to many other parts of the country”, he added. “We look forward to what we hope will be many visits by Carnival Australia’s fine fleet”.

PNG Ports CEO Stanley Alphonse said they were also excited about the entry of Carnival Cruises. “As part of PNG Port’s plans to support the development of cruise tourism, it has undertaken some new initiatives,” said Mr Alphonse.“These include the introduction of the Volunteer Youth Ambassadors as tour guides, temporary refund of pilotage charges for all bona fide cruise ships, rehabilitation and maintenance of our berths and wharves and purchase of air-conditioned inflatable tents for Port Moresby port. With the assistance of PNG Tourism Promotion Authority, inflatable tents will also be purchased for other ports frequented by cruise ships,” he said

Making Samoa’s beaches safer

The Samoa Tourism Authority is launching the second phase of their Surf Life Saving training for the tourism industry. Australian volunteers Erin Doyle and Emily Cox will be conducting the training with staff at resorts and beach fales.

Participants will be trained in the areas of water safety, rescue techniques, first aid and CPR. The participants in this year’s programme will have the opportunity to upgrade the Surf Survival Certificates gained last year to the higher level of a Surf Rescue Certificate.

The Surf Rescue Certificate is the minimum qualification required to be a patrolling Australia’s beaches. CEO of STA Sonja Hunter said the training will help to save the lives of tourists and Samoans. “Although Samoan beaches may appear calm to the untrained eye, strong rips and currents can catch swimmers offguard.

By having a greater number of trained staff, Samoan beaches will be a safer place for Samoans and tourists alike,” Ms Hunter said. “I want to encourage resort and beach fale operators to get their staff trained in Surf Life Saving.” Read more. (Source: Samoa Tourism Authority Media Release 08 June 2012)

2012 is year of tourism for Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Tourism Year 2012 has been launched in Honiara. The theme is 'Tourism Development in Harmony with Nature and Culture. Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo says the theme is to steer tourism on a sustainable path based on the diverse culture. Government has put in place a five year tourism action plan 2011-2015, which includes plans to provide funding to constituencies to develop tourism projects. Solomon Islands, the Prime Minister said has everything that can attract tourists including world heritage sites. Read more. (Source: SIBC/PACNEWS 04 June 2012)

Cook Islands Visitor numbers up 6 per cent for April




Asian tourists are coming to the Cook Islands in increasing numbers, with the group spearheading an increase in visitor figures for April 2012. The number of Asians coming to Rarotonga in April is up by 40 percent compared to the same month last year, with the statistics office recording 56 inbound tourists compared to 40 the year before. Working with numbers of a larger scale, Australia was up 14 percent, with 1633 visitors boming compared to 1437 the year before. The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation said this was underpinned by targeted trade campaigns and media activity in this market by the corporation over the last 18 months. Europe and New Zealand both sit at an 8 percent increase in tourist numbers compared to April the previous year. Read more. (Source: Cook Islands News Top News 05 June 2012)

Former McLeod's Daughters Homestead Opens as Boutique Accommodation


The iconic property featured as Drovers Run on the popular drama series McLeod's Daughters has opened as premium accommodation after undergoing a dramatic redevelopment.

Situated on the edge of the Barossa in South Australia, Kingsford homestead boasts six unique suites, each named after a previous owner of the historic property, as well as the private Stonemason's Cottage.

The 225 acre property is steeped fascinating history and provides stunning views across the valley, with a cobbled creek running through its centre and patches of scrubland sprinkled between grazing paddocks.

Kingsford also offers two particularly unique luxuries - an underground cellar, perfect for private dinners and wine tastings, and an outdoor bush bath among the gum trees.

All meals are prepared using seasonal Barossa produce by world renowned chef Stuart Oldfield, who has drawn inspiration from regional dishes served at the time the homestead was built in 1856.

Visitors are invited to take part in a range of tailored experiences on offer including walking trails, private wine tours, picnics, billy tea and damper, hot-air ballooning, gliding, sheep dog demonstrations and spa treatments.

Further additions are planned for the near future including an all weather pool house, spa treatment room and a redevelopment of the property's shearing shed, transforming it into a function room perfect for private or corporate events.

Owners Stefan and Leanne Ahrens purchased Kingsford in 2009 for its sentimental value, with Stefan recalling fond memories of playing there as a child with family.

He says he's proud to now be able to share the experience with a range of guests.

"The property will provide facilities that are adaptable to a range of uses, from corporate retreats to private intimate events, within the local, interstate and international markets."

The redevelopment has been assisted by $300,000 worth of grants from the South Australian Tourism Commission.

State Tourism Minister Gail Gago officially opened the property today, although bookings have already been filling up based on word of mouth.

"This is a very exciting day for tourism in the beautiful Barossa," Minister Gago said.

"Kingsford Homestead now offers a new experience for visitors to the Barossa and it is expected it will have an enormous appeal to interstate and overseas visitors to South Australia.

For more information visit www.kingsfordhomestead.com.au

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES COMMENCES DAILY FLIGHTS FROM HONOLULU TO NEW YORK


Hawaiian Airlines has commenced its long-awaited daily nonstop service between Honolulu and New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Flight HA 50 ("Hawaiian 5-0") now departs Honolulu daily at 3:05 p.m. and arrives in New York City at 6:55 the following morning.

Passengers from Australia can connect in Honolulu with Hawaiian's daily flight HA 452 from Sydney, which is scheduled to arrive at 10.55am, enabling travellers to clear US Customs then continue on the afternoon service to New York, one of the most popular US destinations for Australian visitors.

The return service, Hawaiian flight HA 51, departs JFK daily at 10:00 a.m. and arrives at Honolulu International Airport at 3:00 pm, enabling passengers to holiday in tropical Hawaii before continuing to Australia.

Hawaiian operates its Honolulu - New York flights with new Airbus A330-200 aircraft, seating 294 passengers - 18 in First Class and 276 in Economy Class.

The wide-body, twin-aisle A330s offer the comforts of a spacious interior, new generation seats with increased legroom, and a state-of-the-art, on-demand entertainment system in every seatback, providing a wide variety of movies and other programs, audio channels and video games.

Each system also offers a USB port allowing system connectivity for personal media players, with First Class customers enjoying larger in-seat LCD screens and iPOD compatibility.

Hawaiian Airlines offers daily Airbus A330-200 departures from Sydney to Honolulu. Through a partnership with Virgin Australia, passengers from 18 destinations around Australia can connect with Hawaiian's flights from Sydney.

For more information about Hawaiian Airlines or to make a booking contact travel agents, call Hawaiian reservations on 1300 669 106 or visit www.hawaiianairlines.com.au.

Sandy Terry Art Show at Sooke Harbour House


A rising star in the art world has a show on in Sooke Harbour House. The Sensate Florals Solo Show runs from June 3rd - June 26. Visit the show and then enjoy Sooke Harbour House and their restaurant following the show. Sooke Harbour House is filled with art, so it is a great location for Sandy's show.te Florals Solo Show Opening: Sunday, June 3rd from 1- 3PM Show runs June 1st - June 26th
For more pictures and more of Sandy's art visit our Facebook Site.  Visit Sandy's Web Site too.
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