Friday, 24 February 2017

Auckland Museum-Tamaki Paenga Hira

Explore the rich and varied stories of Chinese New Zealanders in Being Chinese in Aotearoa: A photographic journey.

This new exhibition celebrating 175 years of Chinese life in New Zealand is launching in February during the hugely popular Lantern Festival in Auckland Domain. Through close to 100 compelling and rarely seen photographs, you can follow the story from the first settlers in 1842 to new migrants in the 2000s, from pioneering goldminers and merchants to architects and entrepreneurs.

Visit Auckland Museum after hours during the Lantern Festival as we stay open until 9pm and share in the diverse cultures that make up Tamaki Makaurau.

Open daily from 10 February, 10am-9pm 11-12 February and 10am-5pm 13 February onwards.

www.aucklandmuseum.com/whats-on/exhibitions/being-chinese-in-aotearoa-a-photographic-journey

20 Reasons for Working Holiday Makers to pack their bags and move to Sydney in 2017

Sydney is a city like no other. It's home to beautiful beaches, iconic buildings, historic landmarks, award-winning restaurants, and a vibrant culture. With a buoyant economy and warmer weather, Sydney could just be the oasis British Working Holiday Makers are seeking to escape the cold UK winter.

Here are 20 reasons to consider working, living, and visiting Sydney and NSW in 2017:

1. The world’s best beaches will become your backyard

Sydney is blessed with many beautiful sandy beaches perfect for an afternoon swim. Relax on fine white sands, tranquil bays and coves in Sydney Harbour or enjoy the waves at world Bondi Beach.

2. The weather is on point

Sydney’s weather is spectacular and pleasant year round. Move here and you’ll quickly grow accustomed to lengthy summers, mild winters and sunny days. Average Sydney winters are sometimes as warm as the UK Summer.

3. Catch a ferry to work

Going to work will become a breeze when you can start your day with a ferry ride across the Harbour and snap photos of your sunny commute to friends back home on the Tube. All aboard.

4.Sydney serves the best coffee

When it comes to coffee, Sydneysiders are spoilt for choice, whether it’s a perfectly executed, smooth flat white in a rustic setting, or an exotic, fusion-inspired creation at an outdoor café. Coffee stores in Sydney are blending taste and atmosphere to create the perfect cup of caffeinated happiness, and 

5. Instagram photo opportunity.

Sunrises and sunsets will take your breath away. Join the Sydney sunset club in 2017 and make your friends jealous with stunning #nofilterrequired pics of the sun setting over the city’s icons.

6. Have your pick of fresh seafood everyday

Sydney is home to Sydney Fish Market, the largest fish market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Here retailers offer a wide variety of fresh seafood, including the locally grown Sydney rock oysters to buy for dinner or enjoy a fresh seafood meal on the wharf overlooking the water. Sydney Seafood School is also located at the market and holds a variety of seafood cooking classes including some hosted by Australia’s leading chefs.

7. Get up close and personal with the city’s icons

In Sydney the icons are not just to be looked at. You can climb the arches of the Harbour Bridge with BridgeClimb Sydney, grab a drink under the sails of the Sydney Opera House at Opera Bar, and even scale the Sydney Sky Tower.

8. The road trip possibilities are endless

Crisscrossed by a network of well-kept highways and scenic, winding roads, New South Wales makes for some of the best road trips in Australia whether heading north, south, east or west. For a coastal idyll, follow the Grand Pacific Drive from Sydney’s Royal National Park south to the city of Wollongong. Ocean pools and beaches abound on the way, alongside fishing villages and the well-known Sydney Hangliding Centre at Bald Hill Headland Reserve

9. Whether it’s ice cream, gelato, sorbet or soft serve, Sydneysiders are spoilt for choice when it comes to delicious icy treats. 

N2 Extreme Gelato is adored for its indulgent flavours like Milo Crème Brulee, Pash Me Pavlova and Chocolate Peanut Butter Sorbet. Cow and Moon in Enmore was awarded World’s Best Gelato for its Mandorla Affogato variety in the Gelato World Tour competition in 2015.

10. Sydney’s beautiful outdoor pools provide a magnificent way to relax and stay fit

Along with its glorious coastline and famous beaches, Sydney has a superb collection of ocean pools and swimming baths. Whether you’re a lap swimmer or out for a leisurely dip, you’ll love the dazzling Sydney Harbour views or the splendid ocean panoramas from the pools.

11. Gardens, greenspace and National Parks are scattered all over the city

Sydney’s idyllic parks have garnered international attention for their natural beauty and unspoiled old world feel. Whether you’re visiting an inner city space such as Hyde Park or Royal Botanic Garden Sydney or biking and bushwalking your way through the Royal National Park or Ku-rin-gai Chase National Park, no trip to this city is complete without relaxing somewhere green and taking in the view.

12. The arts and cultural calendar in Sydney is everything

From the Sydney Festival to the fabulous light displays of Vivid Sydney, there’s a multitude of awesome arts and cultural events in Sydney each year, as well as great galleries, museums, gigs and performances.

13. You’ll get to see some of the best sporting events in the world

With thriving sporting facilities throughout the city, Sydney plays host to some of the most thrilling international sporting events in the world, along with some of Australia’s top domestic sporting competitions. Join the electric atmosphere at ANZ stadium in July when English Premier League powerhouse Arsenal plays two back-to-back matches against local sides Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers.

14. Every year Sydney hosts the largest festival of light music and ideas Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney is a unique annual event of light, music and ideas, featuring an outdoor ‘gallery’ of extraordinary lighting sculptures, a cutting-edge contemporary music program, some of the world’s most important creative industry forums and, of course, the spectacular illumination of the Sydney Opera House sails. Light up your 2017 and discover the magic of the world’s largest festival light, music and ideas from 26 May to 17 June.

15. Sydney is the gateway city to start your adventures exploring the rest of NSW

There’s plenty of options for day trips and weekends away from Sydney and there are some beautiful places to explore, many even accessible by public transport; which makes for a budget- friendly day out. Head to the stunning Blue Mountains for bushwalks and to see the Three Sisters rock formation, spend a weekend on the South Coast exploring its stunning beaches and national parks, or sign up for a wine tour of the Hunter Valley. All are within a couple of hours’ drive of the city and well worth the trip. Image:

16. Meet the wildlife

Annie the platypus, Rex the crocodile and Wuru the dugong are just some of the amazing animals you’ll meet in Sydney’s famous zoos and aquariums. Australia has many unique animals including koalas and kangaroos, and Sydney is a great city to see them up close at Taronga Zoo, WILD LIFE Sydney and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.

17. Sydney has some of the best roof top bars and beer gardens to soak up the sunshine.

From the harbour, to the northern beaches, to the western suburbs you’ll never be short of a picturesque outdoor bar to have a drink with friends. The Newport set on shores of stunning Pittwater in Sydney’s north has an expansive beer garden with a fantastic seafood focussed menu.

18. The city is a shopaholics dream

Shopping in Sydney has it all, from international labels and innovative local designers to buzzy markets and tours of hidden gems and discount outlets. The beautifully restored Queen Victoria Building in the city centre is an arcade full of splendid boutiques. Outdoor markets are brimming with stalls, from fresh produce to the next big fashion name.

19. Sydney is a city you will fall in love with

From the outgoing and friendly people, to the outdoor healthy lifestyle Sydney will steal your heart. The multicultural food offering including Thai, Mexican, Vietnamese, African and Chinese will also win over your taste buds.

20. Flight specials mean you’d be silly not to book now

Student Universe have flights to Sydney from London under £500 visit student universe. STA also have great one-way and return flight deals on offer here.

More information about living and working in Sydney can be found at http://www.sydney.com/workstudyplay

Harvard Museum of Natural History Joins the Boston CityPASS Program

Beginning March 1, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, located on the historic Harvard University campus, will join the Boston CityPASS® program. For 20 years, CityPASS ticket booklets have allowed travelers to visit a destination's top attractions while saving nearly half off combined admission prices. Each 2017 Boston CityPASS booklet includes prepaid, discounted admission to the New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, Skywalk Observatory at the Prudential Center, and a choice between either a Boston Harbor Cruise or the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Blurring the line between science and art, two stunning collections at the Harvard Museum of Natural History are must-sees. The impressive Glass Flowers collection, which was started in 1886 by father and son artists Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka and took more than five decades to complete, features 2,000 dazzling, intricate and botanically precise glass flowers. Years before they were commissioned by Harvard University to create the Glass Flowers, the Blaschkas meticulously shaped glass into lifelike models of marine and terrestrial animals. Sixty of their oceanic creations—delicate jellyfish and anemones, octopus, tentacled squid and bizarre-looking sea slugs captured in glass—are now part of a permanent display titled Sea Creatures in Glass.

Once you've been dazzled by the glass collections, explore the museum's 15 remaining galleries and 9,000 additional specimens. See thousands of rare minerals and gemstones, hundreds of mammals and birds, and the new Marine Life gallery. The exhibits document the earth's evolution from the days of dinosaurs to such modern challenges as climate change and species extinction.

As of March 1, the start of the program year, each 2017 Boston CityPASS ticket booklet will save travelers 45 percent off combined admission to the included attractions. Boston CityPASS prices (as of March 1): $56 for adults (a value of $102); $44 for children, age 3-11 (value $78). Ticket booklets can be purchased online at CityPASS.com or at any of the participating attractions. They are valid for nine consecutive days, beginning with the first day of use.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, CityPASS has been making vacations easier, happier and more affordable for two decades. CityPASS booklets, which save travelers up to 50 percent off admission to a destination's top attractions and allow visitors to bypass some main-entrance ticket lines, have a 98 percent customer recommendation rating. CityPASS booklets are available for New York City, Southern California, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Toronto. Visit CityPASS.com to learn more.

www.citypass.com

Whitehaven Beach once again voted best in Australia!

Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays has once again been voted the best beach in Australia by discerning travellers.

TripAdvisor has analysed millions of reviews to release its best beaches in Australia list for its 2017 Travellers’ Choice Awards.

This is the fourth year running that Whitehaven Beach – 7kms of pure white 98% silica sand located on Whitsunday Island – has topped the list. Award-winning beaches were determined based on the quantity and quality of traveller reviews and ratings for beaches on TripAdvisor, gathered over a 12-month period.

Queensland is home to some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world with many Queensland beaches dominating the Top 10 list.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner said this made the win even more special.

“We know Queensland has stunning beaches so Whitehaven Beach being voted no 1 out of all of them really does say it all,” Mr Turner said.

“I think Whitehaven Beach stands out because it is completely natural – just sand, sea and sunshine. As one TripAdvisor reviewer put it - “Best beach, purest white sand, and bluest water I have ever seen”.

“Everyone who goes there is blown away by its pristine beauty and, not surprisingly, it is one of the most photographed beaches in the world.”

Tourism and Events Queensland’s chief executive Leanne Coddington said it was fantastic to see Queensland’s diverse coastal destinations strongly represented amongst TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Travellers’ Choice Awards for Beaches.

“Queensland’s reefs, islands and beaches are signature experiences and a drawcard for millions of visitors each year,” she said.

Korea Tourism Organization President Jung, Chang-Soo Hosts 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games Luncheon in Sydney, 22 February, 2017

With less than one year to go to the opening of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in South Korea on the 9th February, 2018 a delegation led by the President of Korea Tourism Organization, Mr. Jung, Chang-soo is visiting Sydney.

President Jung, Chang-soo hosted a luncheon event on 22 February, 2017 at L'Aqua, Darling Harbour with special guests attending from the Australian Olympic Committee, the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, Channel Seven Australia - the official Olympics broadcaster, and travel industry and media personnel in Sydney.

The luncheon event was planned to promote the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games taking place in South Korea early next year. Tickets and packages for the Games have gone on sale recently through CoSport, the authorised ticket agent in Australia.

At the same time, the new Director of the Sydney office of Korea Tourism Organization Mr. Kim, Tai Hwan has taken up his new role in Sydney for a period of three years. Mr. Kim previously worked in the Paris & Toronto overseas offices of Korea Tourism Organization and various departments in the Korea Tourism Organization headquarters in Seoul. Mr. Kim has twenty four years experience with South Korea's national tourism organization and is joining the Sydney office at an exciting time with numbers increasing rapidly from the Australian market.

Last year more than 150,000 Australians visited Korea with numbers growing annually particularly with growing interest nowadays in skiing in Korea. It is expected that the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will further that interest by Australians in Korea as a winter/ski destination.

It is expected that there will be more interest than ever before by Australians in the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games in Korea due to the fact that the Australian team has performed beyond expectations in the recent Pyeongchang Olympic test events held in Korea in the past two weeks.

Brittney Cox continued her dominant World Cup season by winning the gold medal at the Olympic test event in Pyeongchang, Korea and last weekend went on to be the first Australian female to win a Mogul Skiing World Cup title in the Dual Mogul event in Tazawako, Japan.

Australia's Scotty James also put down "the run of his life" to win gold at the Phoenix Pyeongchang Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup which secured James the individual World Cup victory and takes him to overall 2016/2017 Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup series crown.

In an Australian first, Scotty James is the current World Cup, World Championship and X Games champion. He wears three of the four major world snowboard halfpipe crowns, the fourth being Olympic glory.

It is expected that Australia will send a team of approximately sixty athletes to Pyeongchang where they will compete against athletes from close to 100 nations in 12 venues across the region.

For more information on the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games visit the official Games website: www.pyeongchang2018.com

For information on obtaining tickets/packages to attend the Games visit the authorised ticket agent CoSport's website: www.cosport.com

For general travel information on Korea or to receive an information package on the country please email visitkorea@knto.org.au or order online at www.visitkorea.org.au

AirAsia X Records First Full Year Net Profit Since IPO of RM 230.5mil

4Q16 MALAYSIA AIRASIA X
FULL YEAR 2016 MALAYSIA AIRASIA X
§  Revenue up 39% YoY
§  Revenue up 31% vs FY2015
§  Passengers carried up 40% YoY
§  Passengers carried up 30% vs FY2015
§  Capacity up 43% YoY
§  Capacity up 22%
§  Load Factor at 81% (down 2ppts)
§  Load Factor up 4ppts YoY to 79%
§  CASK down 11% YoY
§  Operating Profit at RM276.0 million
§  EBITDAR up 2% YoY
§  Net Operating Profit at RM250.9 million
§  Operating Profit up 14%
§  Net Operating Profit up 34%
§  Net Profit After Tax at RM230.5 million


AirAsia X Berhad (“AAX” or “the Company”) today reported its financial results for the Fourth Quarter (“4Q16”) and Full Financial Year ended 31 December 2016.

AAX posted a quarterly revenue of RM1.17 billion, up 39% from the same quarter last year. The strong revenue recorded was on the back of a 40% year-on-year (“YoY”) growth in the number of passengers carried to 1.38 million which was in line with the 44% Available Seat per Kilometer (“ASK”) capacity growth, allowing the Company to record a load factor of 81%. Average base fare was down by 4% to RM565 mainly attributed to increased frequencies to Australia and promotional fares offered on new routes.

Revenue per Available Seat Kilometer (“RASK”) was down 3% YoY from 14.27 sen to 13.83 sen during the quarter under review. The marginal drop in RASK was due to the expected increase in capacity on core existing routes to grow market share, putting downward pressure on yields. However, the Company's cost, measured in terms of Cost per Available Seat Kilometer (“CASK”), was significantly reduced to 12.88 sen from 14.50 sen during the same period last year, representing a drop of 11% YoY. The decrease in CASK was due to the Company benefiting from a lower average fuel price environment and improved utilisation of aircraft.

During the quarter under review, the Company posted a robust operating profit of RM100.1 million (up 14% YoY) and net operating profit of RM100.7 million (up 34% YoY). Net Profit after Tax (PAT) stood at 39.0 million, down 80% YoY, due to an unrealised foreign exchange loss of RM93.2 million, owing to unfavourable foreign currency movements in 4Q16.

AirAsia X Group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said, “I am happy to announce the result of our continuous turnaround effort, contributing significantly to operational performance. We began 2017 on a positive note, with our first full year profit since IPO as we strengthen our business in core markets, especially China and Australia. It was a record-breaking year; we registered a strong operating profit of RM276.0 million and an exceptional net profit of RM230.5 million for the full financial year 2016, demonstrating a strategy that is working and which lays a solid foundation for sustainable growth going forward. We have the opportunity now to build on recent successes and accelerate our momentum in 2017.”

“Malaysia AirAsia X (“MAAX”) has seen great capacity being injected in the fourth quarter to cater to rising demand for year-end holiday travel, as we seized the opportunity to invest substantial capacity to strengthen our leadership position in core markets. We believe will reap the benefits of this newly introduced capacity when it matures. Australasia routes continue to be MAAX's highest revenue contributor at 36%, with 45% growth YoY on the back of higher passenger traffic due to increased frequencies into Australia; followed by China sectors.”

“Thailand AirAsia X (“TAAX”) recorded lower operating performance mainly due to the short term impact on the tourism sector from the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the Thai government's crackdown on zero-dollar tours from China. Nonetheless, the outlook for TAAX in 2017 remains positive as Thailand is a natural tourist hub with traditionally strong inbound and outbound track record. Meanwhile, Indonesia AirAsia X (“IAAX”) A330 services remain temporarily suspended as part of a network restructuring aimed at improving operational efficiencies at IAAX.”

“Overall, 2016 has been a great year for AirAsia X despite the challenging environment, demonstrating the commercial viability of the long-haul low-cost model.”

Malaysia AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail added, “It was a very good quarter and a great 2016 for AirAsia X. We made a significant statement with our first full-year profit since listing on the stock exchange.”

“Revenue for the fourth quarter crossed the RM1 billion mark, up 39% YoY, as scheduled flights revenue increased by 35% YoY. Ancillary revenue increased by 37% YoY to RM188.1 million boosted by new ancillary products such as the Premium Red Lounge in KLIA2 and our refreshed Xcite inflight entertainment offering, on top of higher baggage and seat fees.”

“Cost remains the Company's priority. CASK was reported at 12.88 sen, a reduction of 11% YoY, while CASK ex-fuel stood at 8.68 sen, representing a 16% drop YoY. Other than higher staff costs due to an increase in compulsory operational staff headcount required to accommodate the large capacity injection, and higher aircraft fuel expenses in line with higher fuel consumption, other cost items remain within expectation.”

On the balance sheet, Benyamin highlighted, “We ended the year with a stronger cash position, up 36% YoY, to RM422.0 million in cash and bank balances. As we have previously mentioned, the management monitors the Company's net gearing level closely to ensure that is constantly at a healthy and comfortable level. As at end 4Q16, the Company's total borrowings has reduced to RM1.16 billion, lowering the Company's net gearing ratio to 0.69 times due to lower total debt and an increase in cash.”

Commenting on the Company's outlook, Benyamin said, “Operationally, we have been able to execute most of our turnaround initiatives which have contributed positively to our 2016 financial results. Moving forward into 2017, we will focus on strengthening our market leadership through a number of strategies, including further stretching our aircraft utilisation rate with more incremental frequencies on high-yield routes and new routes. As we foresee the industry's challenging environment persisting owing to currency volatility, the Management will continue to look for avenues to mitigate forex risk via hedging. In addition, we look to reduce the impact of foreign exchange rates by intensifying sales from stronger currency markets such as the AUD to offset USD bills. We have also set targets to ensure the Company remains lean through various cost initiatives and to maximise the operational synergies between AirAsia and AirAsia X. With this, we have built a recognised brand, exceptional practices, extensive network and we believe AirAsia X is in the right position to fly even higher in 2017.”

Global premier events choose Thailand as host country in major wins for leader in Asia-Pacific business events

The Professional Convention Management’s Association (PCMA) and Union of International Associations (UIA) have both awarded Thailand their prestigious global events for 2017.

Thailand has won the business to host two prestigious global events in 2017; the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) Global Professionals Conference for the Asia-Pacific region will convene for the first time in Southeast Asia, hosted in Bangkok, 28 to 31 August and the Union of International Associations (UIA) will host their Round Table Asia Pacific, where approximately 100 association representatives will meet in Chiang Mai, 21 to 22 September.

These two events will strengthen Thailand’s reputation as the convention hub in the Asia Pacific and reveal to all who attend that the country has the skill, capacity and product to produce high quality business events for global organisations.

Mr Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, President of TCEB said Bangkok delivered the strongest bid from Asia to win the PCMA’s prestigious event.

“The selection of Thailand as the host country for the 2017 PCMA Global Professionals Conference highlights the readiness and potential of Thailand as a global convention hub for the industry of Asia-Pacific.”

According to PCMA, the Bangkok event will bring together 35 global planners from top associations and corporations along with 15 senior-level suppliers representing convention bureaus and centres from around the Asia Pacific region, including Australia. Conference content will focus on offering a richer understanding of opportunities available across the Asia Pacific region, while demonstrating how to maximise the impact of business events.

UIA’s choice of Chiang Mai is a confidence boost for this upcoming MICE destination.

“Chiang Mai has been identified as one of the emerging MICE cities by TCEB and we are delighted that UIA is endorsing our vision for this area by hosting its esteemed round table in this exciting MICE destination in Thailand’s northern region,” said Mr Maythaveekulchai.

Representatives from Asia Pacific associations will meet in the northern Thailand gateway city to share experiences in management, administration, policies, regulations, values and vision. Online registration will open in May.

The 100-year old, Union of International Associations, staged a similar round table event in Bangkok in 2015. The highly acclaimed 2015 event attracted 47 association representatives from 17 countries. Based on that success TCEB won the bid to return the round table to Thailand for a second time. The UIA Round Table is an opportunity to learn through networking and sharing experience and know-how with representatives of other international associations.

TCEB is confident the two events on their busy business event calendar will attract professional associations across the Asia-Pacific region.

Under TCEB’s latest and most ambitious global communication campaign, entitled “Thailand CONNECT Your Vibrant Journey to Business Success”, the bureau is working towards positioning Thailand as an ideal ‘Bleisure Destination’ at the heart of ASEAN, and a leading global destination offering unsurpassed standards of service, venues, facilities, and leisure opportunities.

For more information please visit www.tceb.or.th

Lang Son culture and tourism week kicks off

The 2017 Lang Son Culture - Tourism Week officially opened at Lang Son Trade Fair Centre in the city of Lang Son in the province of the same name on February 17, featuring various activities to introduce the northern province’s typical beauty.

The programme is being held by the Lang Son Province People's Committee with the aim of promoting the locale’s tourism and culture to both domestic and foreign tourists.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ho Tien Thieu, Deputy Chairman of the provincial People's Committee cum head of the organising board, said that the week was among Lang Son’s key events in 2017, in association with its tourism and festival season at the beginning of the Lunar New Year.

It will bring Lang Son’s culture, historical monuments, traditions and tourist destinations to visitors at home and abroad, Thieu added.

The event takes place from February 17-23 with 14 programmes, featuring cultural exchanges, sporting activities, arts performance, thematic exhibitions, culinary programmes and tourism promotion conferences in the city of Lang Son and Bac Son and Cao Loc Districts.

Through such cultural and sports events, the week is also a place for art and sports troupes to meet and exchange, while serving as a forum for tourism and business experts and travel associations to discuss and seek opportunities to exploit Lang Son’s tourism potential.

The opening ceremony entertained audiences with a cultural exchange by art troupes from Lang Son and the city of Pingxiang in China’s Guangxi Province.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

BYROADS’ SMALL GROUP TOURS LEAD TO UZBEKISTAN

Lying on the crossroads of the ancient ‘Silk Road’, Uzbekistan remains a mystery to the masses

However, its obscurity makes it all the more appealing to the seasoned travellers from Australia.

Blessed with amazing architecture, Uzbekistan’s ancient cities are awash with stunning turquoise domed mosques and towering minarets whilst its museums display the incredible history of the region from the days of Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great and to its more recent history with the former Soviet Union.

Australian based travel specialist Byroads Travel has a 13-day Transoxiana tour covering the many highlights, including visits to the fabled cities of Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva.

The tours depart Tashkent on the October 8, 2017 and Oct 7, 2018 and are priced from $US2895 (about $A3987) per person, twin share. Air fares from Australia are additional.

For details, phone (02) 9357 6800 or visit www.byroads.com.au

Brisbane secures 1500-strong Herbalife incentive group

Brisbane’s growing profile as an incentive destination has received a boost with international nutrition company Herbalife choosing the city to host its Asia Pacific contingent of high performance members this year.

In a Queensland first, more than 1500 of Herbalife’s top members across the Asia Pacific region will meet in Brisbane for the Future President’s Team Retreat from 16-20 September 2017.

The retreat will see Herbalife’s higher-level members attend a series of leadership training meetings and enjoy a range of lifestyle and leisure experiences in Brisbane and its surrounds.

The Brisbane Convention Bureau, which sits within the city’s economic development board - Brisbane Marketing, worked closely with the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and Tourism Events Queensland to secure Herbalife.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the retreat represents an estimated $3.9 million in economic impact and reinforces Brisbane’s growing profile as a major business event and incentive destination in the Asia Pacific.

“I’m delighted Herbalife has chosen Brisbane as the ideal location to train, motivate and reward the ‘best of the best’ among its Asian Pacific network,” Cr Quirk said.

“This follows the announcement that Brisbane will this year host Tourism Australia’s global incentive showcase ‘Dreamtime’, proving Australia’s New World City is primed to capture a greater share of the global business events and incentives market.”

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) in Melbourne today, Brisbane Convention Bureau General Manager Rob Nelson said the city is building awareness as an incentive destination, particularly since it was chosen to host Dreamtime for the first time ever in December 2017.

“Herbalife’s top members will experience the best that our welcoming and vibrant city has to offer, from a convention centre voted ‘best in the world’ to unique attractions and entertainment offering that quintessential Australian experience,” Mr Nelson said.

Herbalife sells its nutrition products exclusively through dedicated independent members in more than 90 countries with net sales of AUD5.9 billion (USD4.5 billion) in 2015.