TOP 5 HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS FOR 2014

 

TOP 5 HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS FOR 2014

From Brazil to the Maldives, many countries around the world are battling to become 2014’s must-visit honeymoon destination. However, with so much choice, newlyweds can be a bit overwhelmed when it comes to deciding on a country, city, or resort. It all depends of course upon individual tastes. Perhaps you want a quiet beach retreat or an action-packed activity trip? A trek through the mountains or a serene spa break? Below is a quick guide to some of the locations tipped to be hot this year.

 

 

Brazil

Brazil

While 2014 sees the start of the long-awaited soccer World Cup in June, Brazil has a lot more to offer and couples would be well advised to head there to sample the wonders of this beautiful country. Red hot spots include the secluded and remote romantic getaway of Paraty, which can be found on the coastline around halfway between Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo, and the classic decadence of Copacabana and Ipanema, which boast a number of attractions for newlyweds from across the world.

St Lucia

St Lucia

Tempting white sandy beaches, beautiful, rich forests and the sight of the striking Piton mountains all make St Lucia a stunning Caribbean Island paradise. Perfect for couples on honeymoon, mini-moon or simply a romantic break, St Lucia is a unique mix of ultimate relaxation and adventurous water sports, including sailing, scuba diving and mountain climbing – perfect for couples who want to do something that little bit different.

 

 

Maldives

Maldives

Surrounded by the vast and picturesque Indian Ocean, the Maldives have long been seen as the ultimate getaway, with many celebrities heading there for the quiet seclusion and charming relaxation of the islands. Visitors can opt for private beach barbeques, deluxe villas, world-class service and, if needed, island hopping from the capital Male, to some of the region’s most undisturbed islands. Perfect for honeymooners who really want to get away from civilisationfor a while.

 

 

Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey

Looking to experience the wondrous unspoiled sights of Turkey? Then head to Cappadocia, a remote region that allows plenty of opportunities for walking and exploring. The stunning fairy chimneys and other rock formations offer a unique view of the country, and can even be viewed by hot air balloon, with the equally beautiful Pigeon Valley and Mt Erciyes visible in the distance. Couples can stay at Argos, a former monastery that has been lovingly restored, as well as exploring the nearby Uchisar Castle. Round off your evenings by watching the sun set for the ultimate romantic experience.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia

Often named as a ‘must-visit’ destination by couples and travellers alike, Bali is the jewel in Indonesia’s crown. Home of crystal clear seas, white sandy beaches and very friendly locals, the island also lets visitors experience a number of local spa treatments, such as spice body massages and couples massages for newlyweds. Visit lakes, rice paddies and volcanoes and stay in top-class intimate hotels where the service has all of the personal touches that will make you trip special.

Whether you jet to Bali, the Maldives or Brazil – 2014 is the year to make new discoveries and meet interesting characters on your honeymoon.

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Bangkok's Nahm Restaurant takes Top Honours at Asia's 50 Best Restaurant Awards

Nahm restaurant in Bangkok has secured the coveted No.1 spot at Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awards in Singapore. As well as earning the title The S.Pellegrino Asia's Best Restaurant, it was also named The S. Pellegrino Best Restaurant in Thailand.

Organised by William Reed Business Media, the prestigious Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Award is in its second year. The 2014 winners were announced at an elegant awards ceremony at the Capella Hotel, Singapore, and the event was covered by CNN Travel International's online edition on 25 February, 2014.

Last year, Nahm was ranked No.3 at the inaugural Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awards. It gained global attention when it first appeared on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2012 at No.50, jumping to No.32 a year later.

Nahm, located in Bangkok's Metropolitan Hotel, was opened by Australian-born chef David Thompson, who celebrates the bold flavours of authentic Thai cuisine by reviving and reinterpreting centuries-old recipes of former Thai matriarchs. The Michelin-starred chef opened a branch of his famed Nahm restaurant in Bangkok in 2010, after the success of his flagship restaurant in London.

This year, Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awards saw two entries from Bangkok listed in the Top 10. As well as Nahm which is No. 1, there is the Indian restaurant Gaggan, which ranked No. 3, leaping seven places from 2013.

Other entries from Thailand also include Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin (No. 21), Bo.lan (No. 28), Eat Me (No. 37), and the new entry this year is Issaya Siamese Club in Bangkok debuting at No. 31.

Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of TAT said, "The Awards are recognition of the hard work of chefs and restaurant owners. The fact that Nahm serves such traditional Thai cuisine makes this recognition even sweeter, as it means our national dishes are internationally acclaimed.

"The variety of restaurants on this list also shows how much Bangkok's food scene has changed over the years. The city is now known for many different types of world cuisine and is fast becoming a culinary capital. 

Bangkok's Top 50 Best Restaurants in Asia

No. 1 Nahm, Bangkok: The fiery and feisty dishes on Nahm's menu are based on the centuries-old cookbooks of Thai matriarchs.
Location: Ground floor, Metropolitan Hotel, 27 South Sathorn Road, Bangkok; +66 (0) 2625 3388
Web site: http://www.comohotels.com/metropolitanbangkok/dining/nahm

No. 3 Gaggan: Classic Indian food redefined with a modernist twist.
Location: 68/1 Soi Lang Suan, Ploenchit Road, Lumpini, Bangkok; +66 (0) 2652 1700
Web site: http://www.eatatgaggan.com/misc-location.php

No. 21 Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin: A modern interpretation of Thai classics from a Michelin-starred chef.
Location: Siam Kempinski Hotel 991/1, Rama I Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok; +66 (0) 2162 9000
Web site: http://www.kempinskibangkok.com/sra-bua-by-kiin-kiin/

No. 28 Bo. lan With its food philosophy, Bo. lan aims to promote the biodiversity of both wild and cultivated produce.
Location: 42 Soi Pichai Ronnarong Songkram, Sukhumvit Soi 26, Klong Toei, Bangkok; +66 (0) 2260 2962
Web site: http://www.bolan.co.th/wordpress/?page_id=12

No. 31 Issaya Siamese Club: A debut entry from Bangkok, the restaurant was founded by Thai Chef Ian Kittichai. The menu features Thai cuisine made with traditional ingredients and flavours using progressive cooking methods.

Location: 4 Soi Sri Aksorn, Chua Ploeng Road, Sathorn, Bangkok; +66 (0) 2672 9020 - 1
Web site: http://www.issaya.com/issaya-index.php

No. 37 Eat Me: A popular venue where modern, classic and regional dishes are served in a laid back, gallery-like atmosphere.
Location: 20 metres in Convent Road, Soi Pipat 2, Silom, Bangkok; + 66 (0) 2238 0931
Web site: http://www.eatmerestaurant.com/

Celebrating excellent food and the top chefs of the region, the list of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants is an off-shoot of the prestigious World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards, which are regarded as among the highest accolades in the industry.

For CNN's full report, http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/25/travel/asia-best-restaurants/index.html?hpt=hp_bn5  

MEDIA CONTACT:

Pongsak Kanittanon

pongsak@thailand.net.au

+61 (0)2 9247 7549

International Public Relations Division

Tourism Authority of Thailand
1600 New Petchaburi Road, Makkasan, Ratchathevi
Bangkok 10400
Thailand
Tel: 66 (0) 2250 5500 ext.4545-4548
Fax: 66 (0) 2253 7419
Email: prdiv3@tat.or.th

For the latest updates, please visit  www.TATnews.org  

 

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QANTAS Group Strategy Update

Key points:

• $2 billion cost reduction, including 5,000 jobs

• More than 50 aircraft to be deferred or sold

• $1 billion capital expenditure reduction

• Core investment in customer service to continue

Qantas has announced detail of its $2 billion cost reduction program and capital expenditure review.

Qantas will take action to permanently reduce costs in all parts of the Qantas Group through to FY17, including fleet and network changes, productivity improvements, consolidation of business activities, new technology and procurement savings. More than 50 aircraft will be deferred or sold and the Group's workforce will be reduced by 5,000 full-time equivalent positions by FY17.

The Qantas Group's planned capital expenditure net of operating lease liability will be reduced to $800 million in both FY15 and FY16, a total reduction of $1 billion. 

Qantas has reached agreement on the return of its Brisbane Airport terminal lease, together with related assets, to the airport owner at a cash value of $112 million. The broader structural review of the Qantas Group portfolio continues and no final decisions have been made on other assets. 

Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said Qantas would do everything in its control to overcome some of the toughest market conditions it had ever faced.

Market Conditions

"It's clear that the market Qantas operates in has changed, with structural economic shifts exacerbated by an uneven playing field in Australian aviation policy," Mr Joyce said. 

"This situation is reflected in the financial result Qantas announces today, an Underlying PBT1 loss of $252 million for the half-year. This is an unacceptable and unsustainable result. Comprehensive action is needed in response.

"Qantas' competitors have increased capacity to Australia by 46 per cent since 2009, more than double the world average, at a time of record fuel costs and economic volatility.

"We have met these challenges head on. Over the past four years, we have been carrying out the biggest transformation since Qantas was privatised - cutting comparable unit costs1 by 19 per cent over four years, introducing new aircraft and technology on a large scale, modernising work practices and revitalising service. But this is not enough for the circumstances we now face.

"The Australian domestic market has been distorted by current Australian aviation policy, which allows Virgin Australia to be majority-owned by three foreign government-backed airlines - yet retain access to Australian bilateral flying rights.

"Late last year, these three foreign-airline shareholders invested more than $300 million in Virgin Australia at a time when, as Virgin Australia reported to the ASX on 6 February, it was losing money. That capital injection has supported continued domestic capacity growth by Virgin Australia despite its growing losses.

"The Virgin Australia Group has increased capacity into the domestic market at more than twice the rate of the Qantas Group since July 2011. As a result of these combined capacity increases, the total domestic profit pool has been shrunk from more than $700 million in FY12 to less than $100 million in 1H14.

"We have been clear with the Australian Government about the uneven playing field and the measures we believe could address it. But our focus today is on the immediate steps that Qantas must take."

Immediate Priorities

"We must take actions that are unprecedented in scope and depth to strengthen the core of the Qantas Group business.

"To reach $2 billion in cost cuts over three years, we have to work our assets harder, become more productive, retire older aircraft, and make sure that our fleet and network are the right size. We must defer growth and cut back where we can, so that we can invest where we need to. 

"We have already made tough decisions and nobody should doubt that there are more ahead.

"While the implementation and pace of delivery must change, the guiding principles of our strategy will not. Safety remains our first priority and we are committed to being the airlines of choice for customers in all our markets. 

"Our long-term goal remains the transformation of the Qantas Group for profitable, sustainable growth.

"Over the next three years, we aim to secure our strong Group domestic position and maximise Qantas International's competitiveness. 

"Qantas Loyalty will continue to access new markets and revenue streams, building on its success to date.

"When it comes to Jetstar in Asia, we need to take the right decisions in accord with current market circumstances and our balance sheet. In Singapore, growth has been suspended by the Jetstar Asia Board until such time as conditions improve.

"The over-arching focus in Asia continues to be profitably bedding down existing businesses and partnerships. Jetstar has been a pioneer Australian brand across Asia and we continue to see major opportunities for it in the world's fastest-growing aviation region."

Commitment to Customers

"Despite the tough decisions we have to make, we will keep delivering outstanding service for our customers," Mr Joyce said.

"Important customer investments will continue, such as the upgrade of our Airbus A330 fleet and the opening of new lounges in Hong Kong and Los Angeles, and the service that Qantas passengers receive will not be compromised. Thanks to the skill and commitment of our people, we have earned record customer advocacy, and we plan to keep it there."

Accelerated Qantas Transformation Program

Fleet and Network

After a detailed review of network and schedules, the Qantas Group will re-assign aircraft to better match demand, defer aircraft orders, dispose of aircraft, increase fleet utilisation and exit under-performing routes.

• Qantas Domestic will increase utilisation of narrow-body aircraft, allowing Airbus A330 aircraft in the domestic market to concentrate solely on East-West services and peak services on the Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane triangle.

• A330-200s will be freed up to enter the Qantas International fleet as replacement aircraft, helping to accelerate the retirement of older Boeing 747 aircraft.

• All six of Qantas International's non-reconfigured B747s will be retired ahead of schedule, by the second half of FY16. Nine reconfigured B747s with A380-standard interiors will remain.

• Qantas' final two B737-400s have been retired this month and all B767s will be retired by the third quarter of FY15, resulting in cost and passenger benefits from fleet simplification.

• Qantas International's eight remaining A380 orders will be deferred, with an ongoing review of delivery dates to meet potential future requirements. Schedule changes will allow maximum use of Qantas' current 12 A380s.

• The final three of 14 Jetstar B787-8s on firm order will be deferred.

• Jetstar's A320 order book has been restructured.

In total, more than 50 aircraft will be deferred or sold.

By FY16, the Group's passenger fleet will have been simplified from 11 aircraft types to seven aircraft types, with an average age of eight years.

Over the next 12 months, Qantas will exit underperforming routes and make aircraft changes on certain routes to better match capacity to demand.

• Qantas International will withdraw from the Perth-Singapore route (first quarter FY15).

• Qantas' Brisbane-Singapore and Sydney-Singapore services will be operated by A330s, replacing B747s (first quarter FY15)

• Qantas services between Melbourne and London will be re-timed in November 2014 to reduce A380 ground time in Heathrow (second quarter FY15).

There are no changes to overall capacity on London flights.

• The Melbourne-London service change frees up an A380 for additional flying, and Qantas will evaluate opportunities to use the aircraft on other routes.

Workforce Changes

Over the next three years, Qantas will reduce employee numbers across the Group by the equivalent of 5,000 full-time positions, through measures including:

• Reduction of management and non-operational roles by 1,500.

• Operational positions affected by fleet and network changes.

• Restructure of line maintenance operations.

• The closure of Avalon maintenance base, as previously announced.

• Restructure of catering facilities including the closure of Adelaide catering, as previously announced.

The wage freeze for executives implemented in December 2013 will continue and will be extended to all Qantas Group employees. 

The wage freeze will be:

• Ongoing for executives.

• Immediate for open EBAs.

• Proposed for other EBA-covered staff.

This is in addition to the reduction of fees paid to the Qantas board and a reduction in the take home pay of the Qantas CEO by 36 per cent this financial year.

No pay rises or bonuses will be contemplated until Qantas is profitable again on a full-year Underlying PBT basis.

Mr Joyce said these were hard but necessary decisions to protect as many Qantas jobs as possible and build a strong business for the future.

"I regret the need for these wide-ranging job losses, but we will do everything we can to make the process easier for employees who leave the business," Mr Joyce said.

"At the end of this transformation, Qantas will remain an employer of more than 27,000 people, the vast majority based in Australia - and we will be a better and more competitive company."

Capital Expenditure and Financial Position

The Group's planned capital expenditure net of operating lease liability in FY14 will be $1 billion.

Planned capital investment, including movements in operating lease liabilities, will be $800 million per year in FY15 and FY16 - a total reduction of $1 billion over the two years. Qantas will maintain flexibility to make further changes if needed.

Transformation through FY17 will be funded through the reprioritisation of capital, future free cash flow as benefits from the cost reduction program begin to flow, and asset sales. Qantas continues to target positive free cash flow1 from FY15, with capital expenditure aligned to financial performance.

Qantas has total liquidity of $3 billion, comprising $2.4 billion in cash and $630 million in standby debt facilities, as at 31 December 2013.

Update on Structural Review

Qantas has reached agreement on the return of its Brisbane Airport terminal lease, together with related assets, to Brisbane Airport Corporation, with a cash value of $112 million to be recognised in the second half of FY14.

Qantas continues to work through the broader structural review of the Qantas Group portfolio launched in December 2013.

The review has identified a number of high-quality assets of significant value.

No final decisions have been made about other assets within the Group's portfolio.

Qantas will update the market as and when required.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (Q5667) 

Media Enquiries: M: +61 418 210 005 E: qantasmedia@qantas.com.au

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Air NZ shows the way with profit surge

While Qantas was outlining the parlous state of its business in Sydney, across the Tasman Air New Zealand revealed a record interim result for the first half of the 2014 financial year. 

The airline's net profit after tax was NZ$140 million, an increase of 40%. 

Normalised earnings before taxation for the half-year were NZ$180 million, an increase of 29% on the previous corresponding period. 

Chairman Tony Carter said that with stable fuel prices and a traditional seasonal earnings pattern of a stronger first half, Air New Zealand expects to deliver a full year result of earnings before tax in excess of NZ$300 million. 

Chief executive Christopher said the outlook for Air New Zealand was "incredibly exciting". 

"We expect to deliver capacity growth of around 8% in the 2015 financial year as new Boeing 787-9s and 777-300s enter our fleet from the middle of this calendar year," he said. 

"Additionally, new Airbus A320 and ATR72-600 aircraft will be growing capacity in our domestic network over the next year." 

Luxon said the combination of a competitive cost base and economies of scale achieved through growth would be a material benefit for Air New Zealand in the coming years. 

"We have worked hard on improving our cost base in an environment where we have not grown. 

"In fact, we have reduced our capacity flown overall as we realigned our long-haul network. With new fleet additions and capacity growth, our scale grows. 

"Our new aircraft will be significantly more efficient than those they replace and having fewer aircraft types drives unnecessary complexity out of our operations." 

Luxon praised the "continuing strength" of Air New Zealand's alliances, including relationships with Virgin Australia and Cathay Pacific. 

Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines recently unveiled a proposed new alliance which, subject to regulatory approval, would see the return of Air New Zealand onto the Singapore route. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

http://www.travelmole.com

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Asia-Pacific Airports recorded 7.2% growth in 2013 passenger traffic.


 

Asia-Pacific airports finished the year 2013 with +7.2% more passengers compared to 2012 while airports in the Middle East recorded a +10.1% year-on-year growth.

Attributing to the robust domestic economic growth and the rising propensity to travel, both international and domestic traffic in Asia-Pacific continued the momentum of 2012 and gained +8.6% and +6.4% respectively.

Beijing (PEK), the busiest airport in the region, handled more than 83 million passengers, up +2.2% from 2012. Tokyo Haneda (HND) followed with 69 million, up +2.6% and the other 3 airports were Dubai (DXB) 66 million, up +15.2%, Jakarta (CGK) and Hong Kong (HKG) which welcomed more than 59 million passengers, representing +3.4% and +6.3% increase respectively.

Over 30% of the airports in the region have recorded double-digit growth in passenger traffic in 2013. The top performers were mostly smaller airports eg. Xishuangbanna (JHG, +32.1%), Chiang Mai (CNX, +21.7%) and Siem Reap (REP, +19.8%). 

Other airports with double-digit growth included Kunming (KMG, +24.0%), Hangzhou (HGH, +15.7%), Xiamen (XMN, +14.9%) in China; Kuala Lumpur (KUL, +19.1%), Kota Kinabalu (BKI, +18.6%), Kuching (KCH, +16.4%), Penang (PEN, +15.1%) in Malaysia; Abu Dhabi (AUH, +12.4%), Sharjah (SHJ, +12.0%) in addition to Dubai (DXB) in the United Arab Emirates.

The 2013 air freight traffic increased just slightly by +0.9% in Asia-Pacific but the Middle Eastern airports continued the steady growth and recorded a +5.4% increase year-on-year.

The top 5 airports with the highest cargo throughput in the region in 2013 were Hong Kong (HKG), handling over 4.1 million tonnes of freight, followed by Shanghai Pudong (PVG), 2.8 million tonnes, Dubai (DXB) and Seoul Incheon (ICN), both handled around 2.4 million tonnes and Tokyo Narita (NRT) with 1.9 million tonnes. The throughput volumes at these airports were similar to 2012 except for Dubai (DXB) which has recorded a strong +7.4% increase.

Despite the almost flat overall increase, some airports in the region registered double-digit growth in air freight traffic in 2013, eg. the Malaysian airports of Kuching (KCH), Penang (PEN) and Subang (SZB) which recorded +39.1%, +24.7% and +15.6% respectively. 

In the Middle East, Abu Dhabi (AUH) outperformed the rest by handling +24.4% more cargo than 2012. Other airports with double-digit growth are Nagoya (NGO, +16.4%), Cochin (COK, +12.9%), Kunming (KMG, +11.4%), Xiamen (XMN, +11.0%) and Osaka-Itami (ITM, +10.0%).
4Hoteliers Image Library
Note :
1. ASP = Asia-Pacific Area; ME = Middle East Area
2. ACI PaxFlash and FreightFlash statistics are based on a significant sample of airports that provide regular monthly reports to ACI. They represent approximately 60% of total passenger traffic and 70% of total freight traffic worldwide. Commentary, tables and charts are based on preliminary data submitted by participating airports and are therefore subject to change.

Asia-Pacific Airports recorded 7.2% growth in 2013 passenger traffic.
Monday, 17th February 2014
Source : ACI Asia-Pacific
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Qantas files notice of intentions on HK and NZ routes

Qantas has applied to Australia’s International Air Services Commission (IASC) for  an allocation of capacity on the Hong Kong/Australia route, to consolidate multiple existing authorisations.

That airline has asked that:

  • the capacity may be used by Qantas to provide services jointly with Jet Airways;
  • the capacity may be used by Qantas to provide services jointly with British Airways; and
  • the capacity may be used by Qantas to provide services jointly with Finnair. 

The Qantas move comes as another prominent carrier on the route, Virgin Atlantic, has given notice that it is pulling out and halting flights to Australia.

Qantas is seeking the determination for a period of five years and wants to be able to use it itself or with “another Australian carrier which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qantas” and/or with the carriers mentioned above.

Qantas lodged several applications with the IASC last week. Some were in connection with proposed code shares, notably those between Jetstar and Emirates, slated to take force from 6 April 2014 (see separate story: Emirates, Jetstar launch codeshare to NZ, S’pore, SE Asia.)

In another application, Qantas is seeking a new allocation of unlimited passenger and freight capacity on the New Zealand route.

The airline wants to include the following new conditions on the Tasman route:

  • the capacity may be used by Qantas to provide services jointly with Japan Airlines;
  • the capacity may be used by Qantas to provide services jointly with China Southern Airlines; and
  • the capacity may be used by Jetstar to provide services jointly with American Airlines. 

Submissions have been invited on some of the applications and the IASC requires advance notice. Some of the dates are imminent.

To check, see the IASC website.

Written by Peter Needham

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A New Experience at Yoursingapore At AIME 2014

A new experience is on show at the YourSingapore AIME stand this year.  To illustrate what MICE groups can do in Singapore, the Singapore Tourism Board has created a unique ‘Experience Zone’ at its AIME stand this year, showcasing another reason why organisations should choose the lion city for their next corporate event, conference or meeting.

At AIME 2014, the Experience Zone is proud to present a live interactive Sand Art performance by Singaporean artist Stephanie Stacey Lee.  During both days of AIME, Lee will be sharing the story of Singapore focusing on its famous food, culture and architecture through sand.  Her portfolio contains an array of performances with top corporate organisations including HSBC Bank, Pfizer, and Singapore’s Compulsory Education Unit.

The Experience Zone is meant to offer AIME attendees an insight into Singapore’s wide array of creative and team-building activities available for MICE groups to participate in, which range from culinary activities through to adventure, music and the arts, all providing a distinctively Singaporean cultural experience.

Sharon Lam, Area Director Oceania, Singapore Tourism Board, said: “We are excited not only to be launching the new Experience Zone at our AIME stand this year, but also to have Sand Performer Stephanie Stacey Lee onboard. While Singapore is an ever-changing destination with new venues and hotels, we also have an impressive pool of local talent, which is why we developed this initiative – to demonstrate the growing range of enjoyable and engaging activities which business event organisers and meeting planners can organise for groups in our lively city.”

On the stand, attendees will be able to discuss and explore other available team-building activities available in Singapore, including:

  • Hawker for the Day – Hawker centres are an iconic and unique part of the Singaporean experience. Dignity Kitchen provides corporate groups an opportunity to come together on a hawker stall, learn to whip up hawker fare with the guidance of trainers and ultimately sell the food they make to their company peers. www.projectdignity.sg
  • Heartlands Race Singapore’s suburbs are called ‘heartlands’, so this is a chance to go beneath the surface of what visitors usually know (eg Orchard Road, Sentosa etc), to truly experience the destination.  Take the local bus, speak Singlish and engage in authentic local experiences to clear checkpoints in an Amazing Race-style challenge. www.break-through.sg
  • Ubin Hunt – Didn’t think Singapore has a rural side? Take a step back in time and retreat to a popular offshore island to do biking, canoeing challenges and village cook-outs.www.outdoorinasia.com

For more information on the Singapore Tourism Board and the bespoke offerings available to the MICE industry, please visit: www.yoursingapore.com/mice 

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Stephanie Stacey Lee

Stephanie has been a sand artist for over 5 years. Starting off as a trained animator, she was inspired by sand art when she saw buskers perform on the street in London. In 2006 she then worked as a media arts trainer in a company, which provided the platform and opportunity to explore, learn and teach sand-art. She took the leap of faith in 2010 to concentrated solely on being a full time sand artist, and has never looked back since.

Stephanie has been in huge demand and has performed for many well-known companies such as, PSA, HUTTONS, ABS (The Association of Banks Singapore), CAPITAL LAND, ABS (Singapore Manufacturer’s Federation), PHILIPS, ORACLE, MENARINI, PFIZER. She has performed in front of Singapore President Tony Tan and the Baron of Germany at the Nobel Prize Laureate in Lindau, Germany. She has also performed in Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.

www.staceyleeart.com

MEDIA CONTACT:

Caz Wright | Adhesive PR | caz@adhesivepr.com.au | (02) 9319 1770

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Aircraft Like No Other For Air New Zealand...

Air New Zealand's first Boeing 777-300ER aircraft has been delivered in Seattle, USA and will touch down in Auckland on Christmas Eve morning, bringing the Kiwi designed economy Skycouch to New Zealand for the first time.


"This is the best Christmas present we could possibly imagine," says Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe.

"Four long years of planning and design to create an absolute world-first interior and passenger experience is now a reality."

In Seattle to accept the aircraft, Group General Manager International Airline Ed Sims said the aircraft heralds a whole new long-haul flying experience for Air New Zealand customers.

"The majority of our long-haul flights are overnight and we fly on average 90 minutes longer than any other airline. That's why we set out to overcome the seemingly impossible challenge of finding a way for people to lie down in economy without compromising affordability.

"Few airlines have invested time and money beyond First Class, whereas we have focused on the areas where most of our passengers sit by reinventing every aspect of our Economy and Premium Economy customer experience.

"We've created the world's first economy seating that enables people to lie down and a Premium Economy seat that many airlines would call Business Class.

"We're also the first commercial airline to introduce induction ovens for all cabins to give our customers freshly prepared food and have developed an inflight entertainment (IFE) system to give people greater control over the way their journey will unfold," says Mr Sims.

More than 30 airlines have been in contact with Air New Zealand regarding the new seats and formal negotiations are underway with carriers from Asia, North America and Europe to licence the seats following an 18 month period of exclusivity for Air New Zealand.

Highlights of the new aircraft interior include:
- Skycouch - affectionately known as Cuddle Class, giving couples and families the opportunity to lie down like they would on their couch at home.
- Two distinctive Premium Economy seating designs to meet the demands of both individual travellers and couples.
- The first commercial airline to have induction ovens in all cabins, giving customers the opportunity to have steak cooked the way they want it, fresh pizza and burgers, toast and eggs.
- A kiwi-designed pillow that slips onto the winged headrest in economy (meaning the challenge of pillow slippage is gone forever).
- Unique bathroom imagery with wallpaper depicting book cases, chandeliers and other home interior elements.
- An on-demand food and beverage service via the IFE system in every class
- Children's story-time in the rear galley hosted by our cabin crew.
- Inflight wine tasting in the forward galley hosted by our Inflight Concierges.

The aircraft, registration ZK-OKM, is due to leave the Boeing facility in Seattle at 3pm local time today, 22 December, flying to Los Angeles before arriving into Auckland at 8.45am on Christmas Eve 24 December.

Air New Zealand has five Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on order, with the second due for delivery in February followed by a third in April. The 338 seat 777-300 aircraft is configured with 244 in Economy (including 60 seats creating 20 Skycouch combinations), 50 in Premium Economy and 44 in Business Premier.

The first routes to guarantee travellers the next generation of long-haul travel will be on dedicated return services on NZ1 and NZ2 between Auckland and Los Angeles and through to London from April 2011.

Ends

Note to editors:
Background document on inflight products and photographs attached.

Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs ph +64 21 747 320

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award, Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, bmi, Brussels Airlines, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Air India and Ethiopian Airlines have been announced as future members. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers 21,000 daily flights to 1,160 airports in 181 countries.
For more information about Air New Zealand visit www.airnewzealand.com and for more information about Star Alliance visit www.staralliance.com


For more information on the Air New Zealand Group, visit Air New Zealand online
at http://www.airnewzealand.com

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The 20th Monaco Yacht Show

Monaco Engulfed by Sea of Super Yachts - This month Monaco will be engulfed by a sea of super yachts. The 20th Monaco Yacht Show takes place this week (from 22 - 25 September) and puts on a show of the most beautiful armada in the world.

Port Hercule provides the stunning backdrop for the 100 moorings reserved for boats from 25 to 85 metres long, many of these yachts making their first appearance on the international market.

The Monaco Yacht Show has created a reputation as the world leader in luxury yacht shows with prestigious brands vying to contribute to the 20th anniversary celebrations.

As every year, Monaco's commitment to environmental sustainability will be demonstrated by donating part of the income from ticket sales to the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation to support environmental projects.

By the end of the year the new Monaco Yacht Club will be open, providing another spectacular flagship building on the waterfront to accommodate yachts large and small, breathing even more life into the busy port. The new Yacht Club signals the extension of Port Hercule's facilities and combines sea, sport, luxury, culture and sustainable development.

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Taste the Tarkine with Underbelly Star and Celebrity MasterChef Contestant Simon Westaway on Two Limited Tarkine Tours

The popular business Tarkine Trails, which has drawn visitors to Tasmania’s ancient Tarkine forests on the North West Coast for years, has added an exciting new element to their tours – Underbelly star and Celebrity MasterChef contestant, Simon Westaway.
Simon, who is passionate about food and the wilderness, will join Tarkine Trails on two new and limited Taste of the Tarkine experiences, which will only run on 7 December 2010 and 8 March 2011. Guests on the six-day Celebrity Chef in the Tarkine tour will have the opportunity to spend time with Simon on their journey through the majestic rainforests and spectacular coastlines of the Tarkine wilderness, and enjoy the exquisite food he prepares using fresh, local, top-quality ingredients, themed around the Tarkine region. Places on the Simon Westaway Celebrity Chef in the Tarkine tour cost $2599 per person and are limited; they can be purchased through www.tarkinetrails.com.au

The Simon Westaway Celebrity Chef in the Tarkine experience includes:
• A six day walking tour including river cruises, canoeing and rainforest and coastal walks
• Two nights’ accommodation at our exclusive wilderness retreat at the stunning Tiger Ridge rainforest
• Two nights at Corinna’s eco-cabins
• One night in large, comfortable canvas tents at our exclusive wilderness camp at Kings Run, Arthur River
• Two experienced, professional and passionate guides
• A dusk wildlife tour and a rare encounter with wild Tasmanian Devils
• A delightful selection of fresh, high-quality, Tasmanian food and wine prepared and served by Celebrity MasterChef contestant and Underbelly Star, Simon Westaway
• A restaurant meal at Tannin, Corinna’s Tarkine restaurant
• A return ferry trip down the Pieman River to the wild Tarkine coast

The intimate tour accommodates only 10 people, providing a personalized, eco-friendly experience that has a minimal impact on the largely untouched environment. Carefully designed to accommodate individuals of all fitness levels, the tour includes a maximum of 4 – 5 hours of walking each day with light-weight day packs.

To celebrate the exciting partnership with Simon Westaway, Tourism Tasmania and Tarkine Trails is offering one lucky nature and gourmet lover and his/her guest the chance to go on an all-expenses paid, Celebrity Chef in the Tarkine experience, including two return flights from any major capital city airport. To enter the competition, participants can either visit the Tarkine Trails website and click on the competition link, or go directly to their Facebook page. To be eligible to win, contestants must either

1. Sign up to the e-newsletter, done automatically when entering details for the competition and or;
2. Become a fan of the Tarkine Trails Facebook page.

The winners will be announced in early October. The winners will join the Celebrity Chef in the Tarkine trip on December 7.

Background Notes
Tourism Tasmania is a Tasmanian Government organisation whose role is to lead the industry in jointly delivering marketing and development programs that drive benefits for Tasmania from domestic and international tourism.

Part of the wider Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Tourism Tasmania links government and the private sector in marketing Tasmania's unique assets.

Tourism Tasmania’s new strategic direction has been shaped by the recognition of the changed world for tourism in Tasmania and the need for the organisation to continue to change to meet the challenges of this new world.

 

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Local Chinese Cuisine in The China Guide’s Tours

The China Guide ( http://www.TheChinaGuide.com ) is taking travelers to good local restaurants on all of their China-wide tours. Food is a historical part of China’s culture with many types to experience; The China Guide gives its guests genuine Chinese cuisine. “We find that most travelers are taken to large tourist restaurants which produce generic dishes with little variety, based on what they think westerners will like. Tourist restaurants do not let travelers sample the unique foods of China. We are offering quality that’s not found on typical group tours,” says Judy Huang, Travel Manager of The China Guide.

The staff and guides personally select all restaurants included in The China Guide tours. The guides escort travelers to restaurants in local neighborhoods and make recommendations while helping with the ordering. Restaurants and ordering are kept flexible to client’s tastes, as there are many types of cuisines from all over China. “We try to include at least one restaurant from each specialty during the client’s tour,” adds Huang, “that can include spicy Sichuan, hot pot, dumplings and most popular, Peking Duck. There is so much to experience.”

Meals include unlimited dishes so that travelers can sample as much as they like. Standard drinks are also endless including local beer, which is commonly enjoyed with most meals in China. The China Guide encourages clients to try unusual things such as lotus root or sea cucumber, which are not commonly available in the West. For clients with a special interest in Chinese cuisine, The China Guide offers trips to local food markets as well as cooking classes. Dumpling making class is very popular with travelers and great for kids as well.

The China Guide

The China Guide ( http://www.TheChinaGuide.com ) is a Beijing based travel agency, American owned and operated. Specializing in western-style service and quality with hassle free web bookings, they work with clients to customize tours that match their travel style. Operating only in China, they have up to date knowledge and offer exciting experiences for travelers including their famous Sleep on the Great Wall tour. The China Guide avoids the common factory shopping stops that are not reflective of the true China.

 

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Lonely Planet Launches New Augmented Reality Guides for Android Users in Australia

Lonely Planet today announced its ‘augmented reality’ Compass Guides are now available for Google Android users in Australia, providing easy to use, mobile access to its best selling city guide content.

Lonely Planet is one of the first travel companies in the world to create augmented reality products for Australian travellers with Android handsets, launching a series of 25 Compass Guides for popular Asian, European and US cities. Anyone with these handsets can now experience travelling with augmented reality technology, where real life is annotated with Lonely Planet travel information.

“This is one of the most innovative things we’ve launched and we’re really excited to see how people use this application,” said Matthew Cashmore, Lonely Planet’s Innovation and Ecosystems Manager.

“The application pinpoints your exact location so that when you find yourself in a new city and want to know what there is to see and do around you, just look through the camera and a wealth of Lonely Planet information on the best destinations, accommodation, sites, bars and restaurants appear stuck like posted notes to points of interest around you,” said Cashmore.

Key features of the Compass Guides include GPS enabled maps and location based information for hundreds of points of interest for every city, while the phone’s built in compass allows users to see their current location and how far or near they are to destinations and sites. The guides also enable travellers to use all content offline (with the exception of the maps) meaning no roaming fees.

Twenty-five Lonely Planet Compass Guides are currently available; Amsterdam, Bangkok, Barcelona, Beijing, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Paris, Prague, Rome, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Vancouver, Boston, Chicago, LA, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC.

"Lonely Planet's commitment to innovation and new technology is unique. After being the very first travel content publisher to launch augmented reality applications in 2009, it is fantastic to see the next phase and expansion of their mobile product proposition," said Andy Gstoll, CEO Wikitude.

Lonely Planet’s Compass Guides are available for $4.99 USD from the Google Android store (available on all Android powered phones) and will work on all major Android phones back to the very first model, the G1.

Notes:

- Lonely Planet first launched Compass Guides for Google Android in December 2009 for the US market only.

- Lonely Planet worked with Austrian developer Wikitude to make points of interest in city guides compatible with augmented reality technology. www.wikitude.org/

- Android phones are available from a variety of manufacturers in Australia, including Google, HTC, Samsung & Motorola.

About Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet is the leading global travel information company. It is renowned for its first-hand approach, up-to-date maps and commitment to providing the best information for travellers. Lonely Planet covers the must-see spots, but also encourages travellers to get off the beaten track and understand more of the nature, culture and environment in each destination. Lonely Planet currently has more than 360 writers, researchers and photographers and produces around 500 trustworthy and inspiring books, innovative downloadable digital guides, an award-winning website, wireless applications and cutting-edge television programmes. Lonely Planet was founded after Tony and Maureen Wheeler left London and hit the road in search of adventure in 1972. They travelled overland across Asia and landed in Australia where, due to incessant questions from would-be travellers, they compiled their journey notes and stapled together their first travel guide, Across Asia on the Cheap. www.Lonelyplanet.com

About Wikitude
Wikitude is an early pioneer in commercial augmented reality and the creator of the Wikitude World Browser, which is one of the first practical augmented reality (AR) mobile applications available world-wide. Wikitude engages in the research and in-house development of location-based services and augmented reality experiences for smart-phones. Wikitude is one of the leading innovators in developing new methods and applications for data acquisition and exchange in the emerging market of mobile augmented reality. http://www.wikitude.org

 

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Singapore’s first all-inclusive Boutique Hotel

For the discerning traveler, Quincy offers a distinctive all-inclusive stay. The room rate includes a limousine transfer service from the airport – with free Wi-Fi access during the ride, all three meals at the hotel, high-speed Internet connections, all mini-bar amenities, and cocktails and drinks each evening.

The hotel is mere minutes’ walk from Orchard Road, Singapore’s main street which is considered one of the world’s foremost retail and entertainment thoroughfares. Its location also means easy accessibility to the public transport network in the island – with the island’s business and commercial district just a few metro stops away.

Yet, tucked away as it is from the main road, Quincy still offers its guests privacy and exclusivity. With just 108 rooms, this new hotel on Mount Elizabeth will be the smallest amongst the stable of Far East Hospitality’s hotels, but it is big in redefining ‘a stay in Singapore’.

“We wanted a combination of the best international influences, lots of character – and to the mix, we have also added our own years of experience as one of Singapore’s leading hospitality groups with six existing hotels and 11 serviced residences,” said Mr Chia Boon Kuah, executive director in charge of Far East Hospitality’s business.

He pointed out that boutique hotels all over the world have been setting new standards in hospitality. Growth of travel sites and agents in the last three years, which specialize exclusively in this market such as tablethotels.com, mrandmrssmith.com and splendia.com is testimony to the interest and demand for accommodation that offers a distinctive, different stay.
For a start, Quincy departs from the norm with its distinctive façade. Dark grey metal, anodized steel and shimmering windows form large modular shapes – giving the building a strong, modern, almost monolithic air.

But breaking the almost severe lines is a whimsical, illuminated, glass-enclosed pool which is cantilevered from the 12th floor of the building.

Touches of this surprising quirkiness can be found throughout the hotel – from the distinctive furniture including peanut-shaped benches and illuminated torsos, to the surprising messages that appear each day in the lifts, and to the colour-changing LED lights dotting the pool deck.

This is combined with thoughtful hospitality – where 400 threadcount sheets, Molton Brown toiletries and 42-inch TV screens come standard. The hotel will even pick up the tab for two pieces of laundry per room, per night.

The latitude this approach offered allowed Quincy to become a distinctive destination, which serves real wants and needs said Mr Chia: “We unhampered ourselves of rules and set out to achieve what travelers wanted and liked.”

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Diamond Princess Sparkles in Australasia in 2011-12

Australian travellers will have the chance to explore the best of Australasia and Asia from the decks of Princess Cruises’ megaliner Diamond Princess, with the release of her 2011-12 Down Under cruise season.
The most modern ship to be based in Australia for a season, the 116,000-tonne Diamond Princess will offer 16 cruises sailing to Australia, New Zealand and Asia between October 2011 and April 2012, ranging from 12-39 nights.

On sale now, a highlight of the new program is the 39-night Australia, South East Asia and China Grand Adventure cruise from Sydney to Singapore departing February 4, 2012.

The voyage heads north via tropical Queensland and the Northern Territory, before calling at bustling Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and Thailand and is priced from $5799* per person twin share.

Travellers keen to combine the highlights of Queensland summer cruising with Asia in less time can opt for the 23-night voyage between Australia and China, departing Sydney on February 4, 2012. The cruise will call at Hong Kong, Taipei, Nagasaki, Pusan, Shanghai and Dalian before ending in Beijing and is priced from $3469* per person.

Meanwhile, Diamond Princess will also offer seven 16-night sailings to South East Asia and China between Singapore and Beijing.

Starting from $2439* per person, the voyages begin in Singapore or Beijing, calling at Pusan, Nagasaki, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok.

Diamond will also sail a series of four 12 or 13-night voyages between Australia and New Zealand over December 2011 and January 2012.

Priced from $1949* per person, the voyages begin in Sydney or Auckland and feature scenic cruising through spectacular Fiordland National Park, as well as visits to Melbourne, Hobart, Dunedin, Christchurch and Tauranga. The 13-night cruises also call into Wellington.

Carrying 2680 passengers, Diamond Princess features five dining alternatives, 13 bars and lounges, five swimming pools, a wedding chapel, the Lotus Spa, a mini golf course, an art gallery, jogging track and gym with a swim-against-the-current lap pool.

For details, see a travel agent, call Princess Cruises on 132 488 or visit www.princess.com

*Subject to availability, conditions apply.

 

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QANTAS to Receive First Boeing 787 in 2012

Qantas today announced it would receive the first of 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliners – a B787-8 series aircraft – in mid-2012.
The change follows an agreement reached with Boeing to bring forward the delivery of eight B787-8s by around two years. The first aircraft will be used by Jetstar for its international operations.

Qantas Chief Executive Officer, Mr Alan Joyce, said the Qantas Group had firm orders for 50 B787s in place, and remained the second largest airline customer for the Dreamliner.

“Today’s announcement confirms that the B787, with its new technologies and improved fuel efficiency, is still very much the right aircraft – for both Qantas and Jetstar,” Mr Joyce said.

“It will be ideal for point-to-point flying on medium density routes, both short and long haul and will allow Jetstar to move into southern Europe as well as build on its Asian network.

“It will also be suitable for Qantas services into Asia, and even for high traffic routes on Qantas’ domestic network.

“This is further confirmation that Qantas remains committed to growing both our airline brands by renewing our fleet and improving flexibility of our domestic and international operations.

“We will also continue to have the capability to maintain and grow our share of the Australian market.

“The phased delivery of 50 B787s will deliver lower operating and maintenance costs, greater fuel efficiency and improved environmental performance to both airlines.

“The 787s will also deliver benefits for passengers with larger windows, higher humidity and a lower cabin altitude pressure improving the flying experience.” The change to the Group’s B787 order will see*:

- Qantas Group firm orders remain at 50 aircraft, comprising 15 B787-8s and 35 B787-9s; 
the first eight aircraft – all B787-8s – delivered from mid-2012; 
the remaining seven B787-8s, along with 35 B787-9s, to follow from 2014, allowing for the retirement of - Qantas’ remaining B767-300ER fleet and providing for international growth for Jetstar or Qantas; and 
- Qantas retain the ability to purchase up to 50 additional aircraft.

The Group’s first 15 B787s will be delivered to Jetstar for international growth which will also enable the transfer of A330-200s from Jetstar to Qantas and the retirement of Qantas B767-300ERs.

Jetstar will configure the B787-8 fleet for its low fare international operations to accommodate 313 passengers in two classes that includes its international business class, StarClass.

* delivery timeframes are based on current Boeing planning guidance and may be subject to change.

Qantas and Jetstar B787 images are available at the Qantas Media Room – www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/imagegallery/global/en   
Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (Q4096)

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Cunard Line Announces 2012 World Voyages

Cunard Line has announced details of its 2012 world voyages on its new Queen Elizabeth and legendary flagship Queen Mary 2, marking a 90-year legacy of annual circumnavigations.
On sale in Australia from Friday July 16, the new program features a 107-day journey around the globe on Queen Elizabeth and a 108-day voyage on Queen Mary 2, which will include the liner’s first circumnavigation of Australia.

Between them, the two liners will visit 60 ports across 33 countries, with their voyages including a host of maiden visits such as Queen Mary 2’s first call to the spectacular sand dunes of Namibia’s Swakopmund.

In Australia, the ports of Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin and Melbourne will welcome the spectacular 2620-passenger Queen Mary 2 for the first time, while her youngest sister, the 2092-passenger Queen Elizabeth will make her inaugural calls to Brisbane and Port Douglas.

Early booking savers are available on the full world voyages with fares starting from $28,509* per person twin share for Queen Mary 2’s sailing which departs Southampton on January 10, 2012.

Meanwhile, Cunard is offering a host of line voyages and sectors on both liners including:

o 19 nights sailing on Queen Mary 2 from Sydney to Hong Kong via Papua New Guinea, Japan and China, priced from $4659* per person twin share

o 24 nights sailing from Sydney to Singapore on Queen Elizabeth visiting Malaysia, China, Vietnam and Thailand with fares starting from $6119* per person.

o 17 nights from Cape Town to Adelaide on Queen Mary 2 with calls to Durban, Port Louis and Fremantle, start from $4089* per person complete twin.

o 56 nights from Brisbane to Southampton on Queen Elizabeth, visiting ports throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Fares start from $13,189* per person.

Onboard credits of up to US$1500 per person are also available to guests booking line or full voyages.

Launching in October this year, Queen Elizabeth’s complete circumnavigation will see her sail from the UK to New York, Fort Lauderdale and through the Panama Canal to Costa Rica and Mexico before visiting San Francisco and sailing south to New Zealand and Australia. She then heads north to Asia and through the Suez Canal to visit the Mediterranean before returning to Southampton.

Meanwhile QM2 will leave Southampton for Madeira and the Canary Islands before visiting Namibia and South Africa enroute to Australia where she will complete a historic circumnavigation of the continent. After sailing north to Asia she will visit ports throughout the Middle East and Europe before returning to the UK.

For more details on the 2012 world voyages call Cunard on 13 24 41 or visit www.cunardline.com.au  
* Subject to availability. Conditions apply.

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Truffles & Mushrooms Rule ! by Highlands Foodie Group

Foodies can't get enough of these toothsome fungi and now is the season to experience them
Bookings are being taken for two tours - both held in NSW’s Southern Highlands. The first is a Truffle Hunt at Rosewood Trufferie – an experience like no other !

Together with the amazing truffle hounds and their handlers, guests will be shown how and where the black truffles are found round the oak and hazelnut trees on this 33 acre property. They will then have the opportunity to watch them being weighed and washed before sitting down to a truffle lunch with recipes devised by one of Sydney’s top chefs. The tours will be conducted by truffle pioneer Duncan Garvey from Perigord Truffles of Tasmania. And for those who can’t make it to the hunt, truffles may be purchased from Perigord Truffles, details on their website.

The other experience is a tour of the 650 metre long disused railway tunnel in Mittagong where the exotic Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms are growing. The range of mushrooms include Enoki, Shiitake, Chestnut, Shinejii, Woodear – ideal in soups, King Brown & Oyster.

Truffle Hunting Tours are held each Sunday until the season finishes about late August. The first Mushroom Tunnel Tours will be held on Sunday 3 October at 10.30am and 2 pm. More tours will be held in early January and into 2011.

Enquiries, bookings:
Truffle Hunts: T: 0409 462 141, email: patdecorsie@bigpond.com
www.perigord.com.au

Mushroom Tunnel Tours: T: 02 4871 2524,
Email: info@highlandsfoodiegroup.com.au www.highlandsfoodiegroup.com.au  

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Don’t Just Dream It – Live It with Queensland’s Season of Sailing

Live the dream and become part of the racing crew on a maxi yacht in the Whitsundays this August on a Prosail “Hamilton Island Race Week” package as part of Queensland’s new Season of Sailing.

Experience firsthand the exhilaration of being on the deck of a retired ocean-racer as it builds up speed for the start of a race. Watch the huge spinnakers fill, fight the strength of the wind as you winch in the sails.

A quick scan through the new www.queenslandholidays.com.au/sailing site reveals a selection of sailing-themed Whitsunday holidays catering for all tastes and budgets packages. They can be taken to coincide with Airlie Beach Race Week (12-19 August, 2010) and Hamilton Island Race Week (20-28 August, 2010) or later at a more convenient time as most are valid until March 31, 2011.

Sailing conditions in the Whitsundays are near perfect in winter with daytime temperatures averaging 27 degrees Celsius and the water around 24 degrees.

Prices for the ‘Hamilton Island Race Week’ package are $1990 per person and include nine nights’ accommodation during the regatta, Race Week festivities, daily breakfast and lunch, a crew shirt and hat and a snorkeling trip and visit to beautiful Whitehaven Beach on the racing lay day.

Whitsundays Sailing Adventures’ Season of Sailing packages include the adventure based ‘Sail & Dive’ package, a ‘Tall Ship Adventure’ and a couple’s ‘Sailing in Style’ getaway.

Prices for the ‘Sail & Dive’ package start from $595 per person for two nights on board the 16.7 metre wooden “Summertime”. Guests enjoy sea kayaking, sailing and scuba diving, and costs include all meals, accommodation, professional skipper, host and dive instructor, and marine park fees. The boat’s modern fitout includes an onboard hot tub.

The ‘Tall Ship Adventure’ takes place on the 19 metre “Alexander Stewart”, a magnificent, hand-crafted boat with modern comforts including air-conditioning and private cabins. The three day, two night cruise takes an eco-look at the Whitsundays focusing on the reef, rainforest and wildlife. Prices start from $590 per person and include all meals, accommodation in a private, double cabin, snorkeling equipment including wet suits and marine park fees.
‘Sailing in Style’ features three nights’ accommodation on the luxurious motor cruiser “Pacific Sunrise”. The vessel features three decks and caters for a maximum of 21 guests in eight ensuited cabins. Prices start form $744 per person and include all meals, snorkelling equipment, dive gear and wet suits, professional skipper and host and marine parks fees.

The Kiana ‘Islands Reef & Dive’ package explores the Whitsundays on and under the water. Starting from $649 per person for two nights, it includes accommodation on board the purpose built sailing and dive vessel, all meals, snorkeling equipment and dive gear, professional skipper and host. The first dive is free and there is the chance to dive the outer reef as well as the fringing coral coves on the islands. The cruise includes visits to the Hill Inlet Lookout and Whitehaven Beach.

Pay for six nights and sail for seven on a skipper yourself Whitsunday Boating holiday and also enjoy a free sleep aboard the night before your charter. Prices start from $83 per person per night for the hire of a fully equipped Catalina 320 Yacht. This package is not available in September and October 2010, but is valid until 15 December 2010.

For more information on other Season of Sailing packages including those with island and mainland accommodation components visit www.queenslandholiday.com.au/sailingwinter are near-perfect with day 7-28°C and a water temperature of 23-24°C

 

SPLENDIA - Luxury & character hotels

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