Friday, 9 December 2016

The Bodyguard Australia The Musical - New Tickets Just Released!

You know the story, you love the songs, now experience THE BODYGUARD live on stage! This international smash-hit musical is coming to Sydney, and new tickets have just been released!

Book now, and secure the best seats as the perfect gift this Christmas*. Hurry, tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday 12 December.


"We are very excited that the wonderful Prinnie Stevens will be joining Paulini in THE BODYGUARD. With these two extraordinary performers singing a soundtrack of incredible Whitney Houston songs, audiences are sure to be enthralled." John Frost


Based on the Warner Bros. film written by the acclaimed, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Big Chill, The Empire Strikes Back), with a book by Oscar-winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman), this extraordinary production of THE BODYGUARD is coming to Australia.

"Run To You" (full song) performed by Paulini & Prinnie Stevens from The Bodyguard Australia

Technology takes off at ibtm world 2016

Meetings industry technology went mainstream at ibtm world 2016 in Barcelona last week. Many of the 3000 international exhibitors chose to showcase themselves by using the very latest virtual reality technology, videography, giant LED walls and illuminated flooring, just some of the inspiring innovations that brought ibtm world to life.

Thailand 360 used virtual reality to transport buyers and trade visitors on a journey through their culture and hospitality, Marriott took attendees on a virtual reality tour of their brands, Korea gave VR ski jumping sessions to celebrate the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, while Cvent Express created the very first live challenge for buyers and visitors to pitch themselves against each other in the quickest to set up an event website, launch the event, register and print their badge

Graeme Barnett, Exhibition Director ibtm world applauded the creativity of exhibitors this year; “The inspiration of exhibitors has been unbelievable, and the visual impact of so many live, hands on experiences and attractions have drawn the crowds to their stands. Europalco, Cvent, Hard Rock Cafe, Paris Convention Bureau and Norway Convention Bureau all won stand awards for their dynamic ideas and designs.

“We want to enable planners to deliver more inspirational meetings and this year we added our own creative spin with ACS designing the Knowledge Village as a big top circus where performances by all of the speakers took place in themed environments.” Added Barnett
“I like the format of the Lion’s Den. I like the fact that you are siting around the speaker, it’s more casual and its not like a classroom!” said Hosted Buyer Hans Schenk, Society for Worldwide Medical Exchange USA.

Using ibtm world as the platform to make industry announcements many exhibitors chose the event to launch their news. AccorHotels celebrated their new Pullman in Sarawak, and the launch of a new brand Jo&Joe; Novotel Suites shouted out its debut in Vietnam, and Hyatt Regency Tashkent announced it’s opening in Uzbekistan. Other exhibitors focused on sustainability and CSR issues with Flanders Meeting & Convention Center launching A Room with a ZOO, the only convention centre in the world set in a zoo.

Following the roll out of the matchmaking technology at ibtm world 2015, this year for the first time, ibtm world created a Hosted Buyer recommendation system where technology gave other suggestions of exhibitors to meet with based on the business objectives expressed by Hosted Buyers. More than 200,000 recommendations were made with some exhibitors being selected 2,000 times and an average of 82 additional selections per exhibitor.

“This unique technology gives our exhibitors the opportunity to have their brands pushed towards Hosted Buyers who might not have thought that these suppliers would be relevant. Working like a retail online model of suggesting similar products for the buyer, the technology allows us to also see what are the trends of a planners future intentions”.

The top five exhibitors who had the most recommendations by the technology were Global DMC Alliance selected 2,303 times, then Wyndham Hotels Group, oneworld, Qatar Convention Bureau, and a first time exhibitor Choko Choko Yeah (designer chocolate) coming fifth.

Pennie Solbeck, owner and creative director of Choko Choko Yeah was overwhelmed by their first time experience; “It’s been great, we have tried other events but the appointment system here has delivered. We have already sent quotes out and we had over 100 leads in a day. The Hosted Buyers here are much more focused, well informed and serious about business”.

Giovanni Bastianelli - Executive Director of ENIT also commented on the level of quality buyers; “We have decided to return to ibtm world as it is a key platform to target the MICE industry and luxury MICE sectors. The level of the buyer’s meetings has been excellent and we feel positive about future business resulting.”

In 2017 ibtm world will celebrate its 30th anniversary. The event will take place from 28 – 30 November in Barcelona. 

ibtm world is part of ibtm events ( organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions along with ibtm america (, ibtm china ( india), (ibtm africa (, ibtm arabia (, AIME ( and ibtm latin america (

Dreaming of a Bushtucker Christmas?

Sonya Jeffrey, from Tully's Ingan Tours, knows just the place. Her family runs a 100 per cent Aboriginal-owned tourism experience in Davidson Valley – home to the Janbanbarra Jirrbal Rainforest people. Situated halfway between Townsville and Cairns, it's also Australia's lushest corner, recording the highest rainfall in the country and third highest in the world.

Embracing the mantra 'build it and they will come', Sonya's family are in the business of building a strong connection to local culture and nature, offering tours from river walks and traditional clay face painting to rainforest adventures that take in waterfalls and a 'healing' swimming hole – where every rock and river bend has a name. The family also share the art of boomerang throwing, basket weaving and 'must-do' kayak tours along an idyllic creek complete with rapids, a resident platypus and hundreds of curious jungle perch. Seeing is indeed believing: click here

So, what's new? Ingan Tours HQ, which occupies heritage-listed Tully railway station, is gearing up to launch a cafĂ© and museum. Until doors open, however, Sonya is keeping the menu, featuring 'secret' bushtucker recipes, under wraps. “There's a particular fruit in the rainforest and we use it to make jam and it just melts in your mouth,” she says. “I want to trial sauces and ice creams with it. The rest is a secret!”

Further information:

Unveiling of Pullman Shanghai Jing An

Following a year-long refurbishment of the former Grand Mercure Shanghai Central, the hotel was rebranded to Pullman Shanghai Jing An. Located in the central business district, the hotel is only a three minute walk from the railway station and main metro lines with easy access to the commercial hub, shopping and entertainment district.

Featuring 288 guestrooms and suites with floor to ceiling windows, the rooms are furnished with a flat screen TV, modern bathroom amenities and luxurious bedding. Dining options include Venu, an all-day dining restaurant with an open kitchen concept serving international buffet and a-la-carte menu selection; and a Chinese restaurant featuring 19 stylish private rooms that offers authentic Shanghainese cuisine.

For meetings, private events and team building activities, the hotel has two ballrooms and five meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 350 guests. Corporate travellers can choose to hold their private meetings at the executive club lounge located on the 27th floor. Leisure facilities include a Fit Lounge which features a fully equipped gym, a 20-metre lap pool, yoga studio and a spa which will be opening in 2017.

“Pullman Hotels & Resorts is a cosmopolitan brand that offers hyper-connected travellers an experience that combines both efficiency and wellness. The newly refubished and rebranded Pullman Shanghai Jing An offers discerning travellers a warm sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Shanghai with its innovative design, business, fitness and restaurant facilities,” said Michel Molliet, Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels Greater China.

In line with the launch of the Pullman Artist Playground, “The Great Spiritual Pullman" series was specially created for Pullman Shanghai Jing An by Chinese painter Qin Ming. It is the first time that Qin Ming used modern Gong Bi painting techniques to merge traditional art expression together to create live vivid images for this theme. The inspiration of “The Great Spiritual Pullman” series came from a collection of beautifully crafted Chinese style flower pots and vases. The exhibition will displayed at the hotel lobby from now until February next year.

AccorHotels to Expand Victorian Hotel Network with Addition of the Sebel Melbourne Moorabbin

AccorHotels is pleased to announce a new apartment hotel in Victoria, The Sebel Melbourne Moorabbin, scheduled to operate under its new brand from January 2017.

The new-build, 4.5 star apartment-style hotel joins the AccorHotels network under a new agreement with Accommodation Management Group Pty Ltd. Accommodation Management Group also own the Mercure Warragul which joined the AccorHotels network in August 2015 as a new-build hotel.

Simon McGrath, Chief Operating Officer AccorHotels Australia Pacific, said, “This is a strategic and significant new development for Moorabbin, and we are delighted to once again be working with Accommodation Management Group Limited to provide more places to stay in the area.”

Located at 4-6 Station Street Moorabbin in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne (close to Brighton and Caulfield), The Sebel Melbourne Moorabbin is situated directly across from local transport hub, Moorabbin Train Station, and is approximately 45 minutes' drive to Melbourne's Tullamarine International Airport.

The apartment hotel is also easily accessible from the Nepean Highway - the major arterial road linking Melbourne's CBD to the Mornington Peninsula.

The Sebel is an apartment and hotels brand offering guests a greater level of independence and control at more than 25 addresses across Australia and New Zealand. The new Melbourne Moorabbin address will be the fourth hotel to operate under The Sebel brand in Victoria.

SPTO Launches Niue Fishing Holiday Incentive

The secret's out! The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) today launches an exclusive, eight-night fishing holiday incentive in Niue.

Described as a “fisherman's secret paradise,” Niue is one of the world's largest coral atolls but also one of its smallest countries. It offers world-class fishing with different types of fishing experiences on offer.

Black, blue and striped Marlin; Skipjack and Yellowfin Tuna; red Bass, Mahimahi, Sailfish, Wahoo and Giant Trevally, amongst many others, are commonly encountered in Niue's waters.

The incentive is targeted specifically at travel specialists who sell fishing travel packages or those with fishing licences and certifications themselves.

To qualify, agents simply have to complete the South Pacific Specialist Programme, an on-line training module that teaches them how to sell South Pacific holidays. The closing date for the competition is 15 December 2016. To register and complete the South Pacific Specialist training, visit (for English) or (for Chinese).

Fishing in the Pacific islands region is one of five niche areas covered in the training, which helps travel agents develop and enhance their knowledge on the unique tourism products and services that are available throughout the tropical South Pacific.

The online programme is also aimed at helping travel agents increase their confidence and ability to sell the South Pacific with passion and loyalty.

At present, there are 488 certified South Pacific Specialist agents across the globe mainly from Australia, Canada, China, Europe, India, United Kingdom and United States.

The eight-night Niue Fishing package being launched is offered in partnership with Niue Tourism. The prize is inclusive of eight night's accommodation with full buffet breakfast, island tours, fishing excursions, meet and greet and tranfers courtesy of Scenic Matavai Resort, Toamana Leeward Tours, Teresa Fishing Charters, Buccaneer Adventures Niue Dive and Fish Niue Charters.

Niue Tourism CEO, Felicity Bollen says 'We look forward to hosting the winner of the South Pacific Specialist Programme and showing them the unique beauty of our incredible island. We can have you fishing and diving less than 15 minutes from the shore in 100 meters of some of the clearest water in the world'. The country has several professional operators running established, safe and reliable fishing charters.

In launching the competition, SPTO chief executive officer Chris Cocker said: “Niue and other Pacific Islands countries offer unique fishing tourism experiences and a few are also on the global fishing tourism list of “must fish” locations.”

He added: “There are many species of fish in our Pacific Islands countries that are an attraction for those tourists who are looking to fish during their holidays and those who are seeking a holiday purely to fish.”

Based in Suva, SPTO works with 16 Pacific island countries and Timor Leste to market and develop tourism in the South Pacific region.

About SPTO

Established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is the mandated organisation representing Tourism in the region. Its 18 Government members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the People's Republic of China. In addition to government members, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation enlists a private sector membership base.

Front Row Seats for the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

Catch all the action of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race on board Captain Cook Cruise's special Boxing Day cruises on Monday 26th December 2016.

Secure prime seats to experience the start of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race as the 2016 fleet set sail out past Sydney Heads bound for Hobart.

There are two cruise options to choose from including two Boxing Day Race Picnic cruises and the Shark Island Picnic cruise.

Follow the race fleet to the entrance of Sydney Harbour, on-board premium sightseeing vessels, on the Boxing Day Race Picnic Cruises. The cruises include live commentary as well as a complimentary beer, wine or soft drink, plus tea or coffee. Passengers are encouraged to bring their own picnic lunch and beverages are available for purchase on board.

The Boxing Day Race Picnic Cruises depart from No 6 Jetty Circular Quay at 10.30am and 11.15am, returning at 2pm and are priced from $69 per person.

Shark Island is one of the best harbour vantage points for the start of the Sydney to Hobart Boxing Day Yacht Race. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the day on this fabulous Harbour Island from $49 per person. The cruise departs at 9.30am from No 6 Jetty Circular Quay and returns at 3.15pm.

For further information visit:

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises on
T: +61-2-9206 1111

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Holy hologram!

Welcome to Holoverse. It's billed as the world's first holographic entertainment centre and most futuristic theme park – promising a family-friendly outing like no other. Located at Southport on the Gold Coast, this alternate universe serves up 40 state-of-the-art hologram rooms offering visitors a variety of experiences. 

Users don special glasses, a waistband and wand as they trek through the jungle; spear apples; pat animals made of light; dive under holographic water to swim with turtles; fly over mountains; and walk through solid walls. 

In mid-December, a new experience is being added enabling visitors to soar over the Gold Coast and between Surfers Paradise skyscrapers.

Further information:

Ho Chi Minh City, RoK begin preparations for world culture festival

Nguyen Hue Flower Street,
a cultural space for Ho Chi Minh City
Authorities from Ho Chi Minh City and Gyoengsangbuk Province of the Republic of Korea met on December 2 to discuss preparations for the World Culture Festival, which will be organised by Gyoengsangbuk in the Vietnamese city.

Nguyen Thi Thu, Vice Chairwoman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said the festival must ensure the solemnity of the area surrounding President Ho Chi Minh statue and befit the features of the Nguyen Hue walking street.

Thu affirmed the city will create best possible conditions for the festival to take place successfully.

Gyoengsangbuk Deputy Governor Woo Byeong Yoon said the festival will create cultural interaction space via traditional cultural performances of the RoK and countries.

The event also features exhibitions and fairs on the culture and high-quality products from the RoK and countries attending the event.

According to the Deputy Governor, the Gyoengsangbuk side will draw up specific plans for effectively coordinating with Ho Chi Minh City partners to ensure the success of the festival.


A record number of international visitors came to the Whitsundays in the year ending September 30, 2016, with a total of 229,000 overseas visitors coming to the region, of which 221,000 were holidaymakers. 

This is the highest number of overseas holidaymakers visiting the Whitsundays in a 12- month period ever recorded, and represents an increase of 10.3 per cent on the previous year. Moreover, the visitor expenditure figure for the year was also a record – the overseas visitors spent a total of $209.2 million in the region, which is a 21.7 per cent increase on the previous year and the highest expenditure ever recorded for a 12-month period. 

Strong growth came from the USA (22,000 visitors, up 41 per cent on last year), Canada (12,000 visitors, up 34 per cent) and China (20,000 visitors, up 68 per cent). 

The two biggest markets for the Whitsundays in the past year were the UK (49,000 visitors, up 0.2 per cent) and Germany (33,000 visitors, up 4.2 per cent). 

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner said the figures were a great boost for the region – not just for those working in the tourism industry but for everyone living and working in the region. 

“These figures are extremely exciting for us as a region,” he said. “To have record numbers of overseas visitors arriving in the past year is outstanding and is testament to all the work put in by our tourism operators, who work hard to promote the region supported by Tourism & Events Queensland, Tourism Whitsundays and Whitsunday Regional Council. 

“We know we have one of the best destinations in the world and these figures are very, very encouraging – it means overseas holidaymakers are choosing us over the competition, which is fantastic. 

“We certainly won’t be resting on our laurels though and this only makes us want to work even harder to attract more international visitors to our region.” 

The region also welcomed 12,000 visitors from New Zealand, 9,000 visitors from France and 8,000 visitors from Japan in the year to September 30, 2016.

P: 07 4948 5917 | M: +61 417 765 736 
A: PO Box 479 Cannonvale QLD 48