The first of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet arrived in the Whitsundays on Tuesday.
Skippered by 24-year-old Brit Nikki Henderson, Visit Seattle crossed the finish line off the coast of Airlie Beach at 15:05:36 local time, completing the 1,600 nautical mile sprint from Hobart to the Whitsundays in 11 days.
In 2018, Tropical North Queensland is reinventing itself with new offerings and a revamp of some current experiences.
There will be innovative new Great Barrier Reef products, tours to connect with Aboriginal culture, adrenalin-packed sporting events and also a waterfront brewery.
Visitors can learn to dive on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef at the Quicksilver Port Douglas Dive Centre that opens in July 2018.
Giving New Zealanders more reasons to return to Queensland has paid off for the state, with the destination recording good growth despite competition from all quarters.
International director New Zealand for Tourism and Events Queensland, Sally Holyer, says the total visitors to the state from New Zealand have risen by 4.5% but holiday visitors have shown a 7.1% increase.
She describes Brisbane as a ‘star player’, with a 25% increase.
The Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival has announced entertainment for two of the signature events, Busby Marou and Troy Kemp Band.
The Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival (January 13-29, 2018) is two weeks celebrating the arrival of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet.
The Whitsundays will be the last stop of the Australian leg of the race and all eyes will be on the region as the Clipper crews, their families and friends take a well-earned break at the halfway point of their adventure.
An exhibition on the life of Nelson Mandela is heading to Melbourne in September 2018.
Produced in collaboration with The Nelson Mandela Foundation of South Africa, this new touring exhibit will commemorate the 100th anniversary year of Mandela’s birth and be housed at Melbourne Museum.
Cairns Aquarium has introduced two critically endangered Sawfish to its 300,000 litre River Monsters exhibit.
The male and female freshwater Sawfish arrived at Cairns Aquarium several weeks ago and while in quarantine the Sawfish were closely monitored and trained to target feed.
The fourth annual Whitsundays Tourism Exchange (WTE) wrapped up last week, and according to operators and agents it was a success.
Held at the Palm House, around 36 Whitsunday tourism operators had the opportunity to present to more than 20 Australian product managers from major tourism wholesalers, inbound tour operators and online travel agents.
Out of the Ordinary Outback has expanded with the purchase of its seventh accommodation property – The Tourist Lodge in Broken Hill.
The 40-room property is the third accommodation business in Broken Hill for Out of the Ordinary Outback, which bought The Argent Motel in March this year.
Aiming for a March 2018 opening, a five-month programme to refurbish and refresh The Tourist Lodge is in line with its other six properties across far western NSW.
New developments are coming on fast in the tropical Australian destination of Cairns, with the city undergoing a raft of new refurbishments, extensions and new builds.
Speaking at Sell TNQ (Tropical North Queensland) this week, Eleanor Wilkie, TNQ business development executive, says it’s an exciting time for tourism and events in Cairns.
‘We’ve got Hemingway’s Brewery developing a second venue, three brand new hotels are being built by the CrystalBrook Collection, we have the redevelopment of the performing arts centre, the aquarium, and the extension at the convention centre is a major win for the city too.
Gold Coast Food and Wine Festival is back for 2018, running between 31 May and 3 June.
More than 15,000 food and wine lovers are expected to gather at over 30 events across the Gold Coast for the celebration.
The festival brings together the best local chefs, street food, restaurants, precincts, wineries, breweries and distilleries across a weekend at the start of winter, there are degustations, picnics, workshops, demonstrations and signature food events.
The New Zealand trade is being urged to promote self-drive and fly-drive options to their clients as a way to explore the massive state of Western Australia.
A delegation of five WA regional tourist offices is travelling around New Zealand and a key message is the new off the beaten track product that will appeal to Kiwis – especially those on a repeat visit.
One of the major driving options being promoted here for the first time is the Great South West Edge, a suggested 11-day itinerary that runs through Australia’s South West and Australia’s Golden Outback.
North Queensland tourism operators Simon and Gaye Terry have won two of the categories at the recent 2017 Outback Queensland Tourism Awards held in Cloncurry.
Continuing on from their success in these categories in 2016, the couple from Forsayth, south-west of Cairns, won the Hosted Accommodation Award for Cobbold Village, part of the Cobbold Gorge tourism operation and Best Outback Queensland Pub for their redeveloped Goldfields Hotel in Forsayth.
The perennial Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 wrapped up for 2017 last week, and travelling to the event with Williment Sports Travel was the ultimate for motorsport fans. Williment Sports Travel package, the Orange 4 Night Tour, was hosted from start to finish with 24/7 assistance and included airfares, accommodation, daily breakfast, coach transfers from the airport and daily track transfers. Official Grandstand, 10 event tickets and paddock passes were also supplied.
The Outback Queensland Tourism Symposium and awards are being held from 2-4 November, 2017 in Cloncurry.
There are 250 tourism industry representatives expected to attend the festivities, with Cloncurry Shire Council having spent the past six months preparing for it all.
APT has released its new Outback Wilderness Adventures 2018 brochure, featuring a range of new itineraries paired with Superdeals for all journeys.
Tours range from the new eight-day Uncover Maralinga & the Eyre Peninsula 4WD Remote Journey starting at $5,695pp, twin share, to the 14-day Essence of The Outback Remote Journey, Cairns return trip, from $8,795pp, twin share.
Book before 15 December 2017 to take advantage of a range of offers. Superdeals are strictly limited and will sell out.
Agents who attend one of the Western Australia Roadshow events in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington or Christchurch will go in the draw to win a WA travel prize including accommodation, sightseeing and tours in all five regions of WA.
There are three Western Australia travel prizes to be won at every event - 12 WA travel prizes in total.
An example is the Experience Extraordinary Western Australia Travel prize to Perth - two nights Sorrento Beach Resort, two nights Sorrento Beach Resort, Little Ferry Company tour of Perth and Elizabeth Quay, Rotorvation helicopter experience, Two Feet and a Heartbeat Walking tour.
The Australia’s Golden Outback is offersing two nights Best Western Hospitality Inn Kalgoorlie, with Kalgoorlie Tours and Charters Super Pit Tour
Australia’s Coral Coast prize will giveaway nights at RAC Monkey Mia, while Australia’s North West offers two nights at Seashells Broome and a visit to Willie Creek Pearls
The Australia’s South West prize includes a caves and lighthouse pass in Margaret River, and two nights at Abbey Beach Resort Busselton.
Details of the roadshow are:
Auckland: 5.30-7.30pm Mon 13 Nov, Rydges Hotel
Hamilton: 5.30-7.30pm Tues 14 Nov, Novotel Tainui
Wellington: 5.30-7.30pm Wed 15 Nov, James Cook Hotel
Christchurch: 12.00-1.30pm Thurs 16 Nov, The George
The Australian Museum in Sydney is bringing mammoths to life this November in Mammoths - Giants of the Ice Age.
Presented in partnership with Destination NSW, 17 November 2017 will see the exhibition feature Lyuba, (pronounced Lee-OO-bah) – a 40,000-year-old baby woolly mammoth, discovered in 2007 by a Siberian herder and his two sons.
Competition from long-haul destinations, driven by cheap airfares, has not dented New Zealand travellers’ enthusiasm for Sydney and its surrounds and is unlikely to, says Sandra Chipchase, chief executive officer of Destination New South Wales (DNSW).
Chipchase points to upgraded air services between Auckland and Sydney, and the fact that trans-Tasman has its own good value fare offerings as part of the reason behind her confidence.
But she also has hard figures to back her claims.
‘New Zealand numbers are still increasing. At the end of June 2017, we had 423,881 visitors from across the Tasman and the average length of stay was 4.1 nights. That is up 3% on the year before.’
Cairns Aquarium & Reef Research Centre has just opened. Developed at a cost of $54 million, the 7800 square metre, three-level complex will enable people of all ages to be able to see, touch and learn about the inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef.
Out of the Ordinary Outback will open its sixth accommodation property in March, 2018 – the Broken Hill Outback Resort. Overlooking the Barrier Ranges and Sturt desert plains 13km east of Broken Hill, the cabin, caravan and camping park will surround the historic Mt Gipps Hotel, which was built in 1890 but closed in 1987.
Sydney is ready to welcome more Kiwi visitors this Summer with a packed calendar of events, activities and experiences. Over 425,000 Kiwi’s visited Sydney and New South Wales in 2016, a six percent increase on the previous year. Kiwi visitors are worth over $496 million dollars each year, with travellers staying an average of 10 nights.
Two fully serviced commercial campgrounds built and operated by Aboriginal communities have opened at Imintji and Mimbi in the Kimberley region. Tourism Minister Paul Papalia has officially opened the Imintji Campground and the Jarlarloo Riwi Mimbi Campground.
Connecting passengers arriving at Brisbane Airport has never been easier with Airtrain Connect now offering door-to-door service as a one-way or return option. The service includes an express train transfer to a Gold Coast station and chauffeured private vehicle transfer services to accommodation or meeting venues.
Great Southern Rail (GSR) has just opened bookings for travel 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019.
One of the highlights of the new timetables is the introduction of a Blue Mountains off train excursion for the eastbound Indian Pacific to Sydney.
Dave Atherton, general manager – international sales with Experience Australia, says that the past year July to June, has seen a tremendous boost in Kiwi travellers on GSR’s trains with the largest growth being on The Ghan Expedition.
Famil trips before the Queensland on Stage trade workshops were designed to show Kiwi travel agents that there is more to the state than they may think – no matter how many times they and their clients have previously visited.
A trip into Queensland’s Outback, for example, proved that there is more to Queensland than the coast.
Hosted by Peter Homan of Outback Queensland, Kiwi delegates Lynne Sinclair and Yvonne Wilson of NZ Travel Brokers, joined by Sally Bird of Outback Queensland had three days to explore three different locations.
Templers Mill Hotel will rebrand to Mercure Orange in regional New South Wales in August 2017, following the completion of a three-year expansion masterplan and a nine million dollar transformation.
Owned by the Orange Ex-Services Club, the two-storey, 77-room soon-to-be internationally branded midscale Mercure hotel is within the club’s precinct which features nine function rooms including an indoor swimming pool, sauna and gymnasium.
Queensland on Stage wrapped up in Tangalooma this week with the revelation overall international visitor numbers were up 3.2%.
According to figures released by Tourism Research Australia, total visitor nights market reached 53.5 million in the year ending March 2017.
Cyclone-battered Whitsundays made a triumphant return to the tourism fold with a well-attended presentation at ATE 2017 late week.
A five-strong group of tourism and resort representatives from the popular Queensland destination presented a united front, outlining to trade the Whitsundays is not only back in business after damage caused by devastating Cyclone Debbie on March 29, but it is returning with revitalised product.
Tourism Australia’s focus on the New Zealand market will remain firmly on business events and incentives.
So remarked managing director John O’Sullivan at the Australian Tourism Exchange this week, saying the job of wooing Kiwi leisure travelers will remain with the eight states and territories in spite of increased competition in the wake of bolstered connectivity in the New Zealand market.
The eagerly awaited Gold Coast VIP famil took off last week, and 22 agents from around New Zealand experienced some of the Gold Coast’s popular attractions, sporting events and leisure activities.
Around half the group were first-time visitors to the region, including Michelle Sanders from Inspire Travel. ‘While our office is mainly corporate, we do have incentive business and the Gold Coast is on the cards for these clients. Coming on this trip is not only
The Sunshine Coast attracted a 45% increase in expenditure (to $266.5 million) by international tourists in the year to September 2016, an all-time record for the region.
Extension of Air New Zealand’s direct flights saw 21.3% growth in holiday visitors from New Zealand, and overall Kiwi visitor growth of 11.6% (to a total of 66,000 annually).
The sharp rise in spending was revealed in the International Visitor Survey (IVS) released this week by Tourism Research Australia.
The record expenditure figures were built on a 6.4% growth in international visitors (to 272,000), with holiday visitors up 9%. Holiday visitors also stayed considerably longer – up 27.9% - to an average 7.8 nights per stay and expenditure grew 19.5% to $89.3 per night.
Think Australia’s a hard sell? Think again, New Zealand.
That was the comment from Sally Holyer, New Zealand country manager of Tourism and Events Queensland, who was at a Sunshine Coast Roadshow event in Auckland this week, along with about 50 retail and business travel agents.
Holyer says 63,000 Kiwis visited the Sunshine Coast in the past year, a 13% growth year on year. The average stay by New Zealanders is nine-and-a-half room nights.
Sailing Sydney Harbour on an America’s Cup yacht with Explore is an experience that received a boost in the New Zealand trade profile recently.
A group of decision makers from Flight Centre, House of Travel and Global Travel Network (GTN) recently got on the harbour with Explore and had the opportunity to get involved in raising the sails, tacking, grinding and skippering from the helm.
The group was on Kookaburra, originally built by the Challenge of Antibes Yacht Club for the 1995 America’s cup but not actually finished in time to race – though it was later used as a trial boat.
Kit Nixon, chief executive officer of Explore, says the company has been getting great feedback from the New Zealand trade group. ‘We certainly see potnetial out of the leisure and visiting friends and relatives (VFR) markets here. We are certainly receving interest from the market here in terms of conferences and incentives and we have the ability to bring in more vessels to join when required to join the two we operate.’