Thursday, August 6, 2009


We officially launched Let's Travel magazine on 31st July 2009 at Kelly Tarlton's in Auckland.

Our thanks must go to Dr Jonathan Coleman, the Associate Minister of Tourism, who officiated, as well as delegates of Orakei Marae for their official blessing (whakatoe).

We must also thank the team at Kelly Tarlton's who made the whole event so easy to plan - thanks Cecil and Tessa!!!

Then, there's Rob and Karen from Wild on Waiheke who made sure we were all well lubricated, trundling across their kegs of beer, cases of wine, tons of glassware and all their other supplies. We would encourage you to try their Top Knot Hill wines and Waiheke Island Brewery beer for yourselves ... everyone at the launch was raving about them!!!

Habitual Fix provided the delicious nibbles, while Patrick Dwyer (courtesy of 11degrees) strummed his melodies.

Non-alcoholic beverages were supplied in the form of delicious iced teas from Teza and a fantastic range of fruit juices from Arano.


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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Banyan Tree Bangkok launches new one- and two-bedroom accommodation suited for business travellers, families and long-staying guests

These new additions will bring the hotel’s inventory to 327 rooms and suites by early 2010. The One- and Two-Bedroom Banyan Suites and Two-Bedroom Grand Banyan Suites feature facilities like a spacious bath area with tub, kitchenette, well-appointed living, dining and sleeping areas, that cater to the needs of business travellers, families, small groups of friends and long-staying guests alike.

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Banyan Tree Phuket unveils guest three-star Michelin chef and new destination dining experiences

Chef Christian Le Squer of the Parisian three-star Michelin Ledoyen Restaurant will present a selection of exquisite French fare from 5-8 August in collaboration with the resort’s Brazilian Executive Chef, Alex Nassar; while the newly-introduced Dinner of the Spirit and Dinner of the Senses destination dining experiences are designed to inspire and enhance romantic getaways.

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New flights from Sydney and Melbourne part of airline’s exciting transformation strategy

Indonesia’s national carrier, Garuda Indonesia, today announced new direct flights to Jakarta from Australia’s two major cities - Sydney and Melbourne. The inaugural flights, which take effect from today (ex Sydney) and from tomorrow (ex Melbourne) mark a significant new era for the carrier as it seeks to further expand its business between Australia and Indonesia.

Poerwoko Soeparyono, Garuda Indonesia Pacific head, said the non-stop services to the Indonesian capital will operate three days a week from both cities using new Airbus A330-200 wide-bodied aircraft, and represent a key element of Garuda Indonesia’s transformation strategy.

“These new direct services to Jakarta now offer our customers an alternative gateway into Asia - and eventually into key destinations in Europe, following the decision last month by the EU to clear the way for Garuda and other Indonesian airlines to resume operations to the Continent,” he said.

“In addition, the new Sydney-Jakarta and Melbourne-Jakarta flights reflect a more fundamental and wide-ranging directional change for the airline. Garuda has long been known in this market – and others – predominantly as a leisure carrier, servicing destinations such as Bali.

“While our leisure business will remain a critical segment of our operations into the future, the airline is now also looking to place increased emphasis on the corporate sector. Increasingly, we will be looking to target the business traveller, as well as looking to promote and market many of the wonderful destinations beyond Bali. We will also be seeking to promote our connections beyond Indonesia to other key Asian cities such as Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong.”

Garuda Indonesia has been undergoing a significant transformation over the past few years, with the launch of the new direct Jakarta services from Australia coming on the heels of other key developments for the airline

Last month Garuda Indonesia announced a net profit of IRD669 billion (USD65.2 million) for the 2008 financial year, despite the severe economic conditions affecting the global airline industry. Last week the airline officially opened its new management headquarters at Jakarta’s Soekano Hatta Airport at a gala ceremony attended by the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who officially opened the purpose-built facility.

The airline also rolled out the first of a new fleet of aircraft, the new A330-220 and Boeing 737-800NG (Next Generation) aircraft with upgraded cabin configuration, a corporate identity refresh and a new service concept, the ‘Garuda Indonesia Experience’.

“While the global airline industry has been severely hit by the global economic downturn, Garuda has turned around its financial position and is now operating extremely profitably,” Mr Poewoko said.

“The airline has an aggressive five year growth strategy that will see a doubling of the fleet to 116 aircraft and take its place alongside other leading international airlines in the Asia Pacific region – and I am pleased to say Australia is at the forefront of this change.”

The new A330-200 aircraft servicing the Sydney-Jakarta and Melbourne-Jakarta routes feature a new interior configuration which includes totally flatbed seats in Business Class and personal entertainment systems in all seats.

The aircraft feature Garuda Indonesia’s new signature interior, with individual touch-screen LCD TVs throughout Executive and Economy Classes with Video on Demand (VOD) entertainment systems offering 25 feature films and 250 audio tracks. The full lie-flat beds in Executive Class feature a 74-inch seat pitch.

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Special anniversary offers at Blanket Bay

Two 10th Anniversary offers from Blanket Bay are designed to allow local Southern region residents and guests from further afield in New Zealand sample the world famous cuisine, service and mystique of the elite luxury hideaway.

From now until October 15, a locals’ package offers accommodation, pre-dinner cocktails, a-la-carte dinner, breakfast and carte blanche use of sports equipment and facilities for a special all-inclusive rate of $350 plus GST per person per night.

And those from outside of the region are invited to take advantage of a national Ultimate Escape holiday package available through Air New Zealand from Auckland, Napier, Kerikeri and Christchurch. The $1579 per person package includes flights and two nights’ accommodation based on two people sharing a room.

All guests at the Lodge are treated with special personal attention, enjoy access to the house bar, games room and wine cave, gym, therapy suite and spa.

Blanket Bay general manager Philip Jenkins says the locals’ anniversary offer has been available since early July and has attracted many people keen to celebrate a special occasion at the world famous lodge.

“We have an all-star, much awarded culinary team running a superb restaurant which is only open to our guests. Mark Sycamore and his team are leading New Zealand chefs, well known in culinary circles throughout the world, but few local people have been able to sample their talents. Of course the cuisine is only part of the equation here. Blanket Bay is renowned for its comfort and levels of service and we are very pleased to be able to offer for a limited time the Blanket Bay experience at a price that can attract our local residents.”

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Huka Lodge Legendary Big Red Dinner - Saturday 22 August 2009

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Dragonair, which is a sister airline of Cathay Pacific Airways, has announced that from October 1 it will increase its flights to Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Kathmandu from three to five services a week.

The flights will be operated using an A330 aircraft, instead of the current A320 aircraft, which offers greater capacity for both passengers and cargo. The night flight to Kathmandu from Hong Kong and the return early morning flight from Kathmandu will both operate via Dhaka.

Ian Herald, Marketing Services Manager for Cathay Pacific in New Zealand, said that when Cathay Pacific’s morning flight from Auckland to Hong Kong (CX118) returns to a daily service from October 24, the airline will offer same day connections from Auckland to Kathmandu five days a week through Dragonair, which is more than any other airline.

“Kathmandu has traditionally been a popular destination for New Zealanders and since Dragonair commenced services to Kathmandu, demand for seats on the route has been extremely high. We believe these increased flights will be very appealing to adventure loving young and young–at-heart New Zealand travellers,” Mr Herald added.

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Mid-winter madness hits the Mackenzie

Mid-winter madness has hit the Mackenzie region with a host of crazy events on and off the snow.

There’s plenty of action on the ice at Lake Tekapo throughout the winter months. The local ice hockey games every Friday night at Alpine Springs, Spa and Winter Park are free to watch and make for a great family night out. There’s also some top level action - some of the country’s top players will go head to head on 14-15 August and the Mackenzie Cup, the local ice hockey tournament, is sure to get a big turnout on 29-30 August.

Mt Dobson is the place to be on 9 August – its Ski Club Fun Events Day promises lots of fun, races and entertainment for all ages.

Over at “Ohoo”, people will be donning their kilts for the annual Highland Games and Scottish Night on 15-16 August. There’ll be plenty of haggis, porridge, bagpipes and caber tossing as well as the chance to highland fling your lassie round at the ceilidh to the infectious tunes of the Macblack Velvet Band.

Break out the bling for Twizel’s ‘Glitz and Glamour’ Annual Winter Ball on 15 August at the Events Centre Sports Hall.

If tricks are your thing then don’t miss ‘Strait up: $ for Trix’ at Roundhill on 22 August or the Central Park Slopestyle on 29 August. Roundhill will also host the CHILL Grom-fest on 12 September.

The Ohau fancy dress SnowBall is on 12 September and the party continues into the next day with people and costumes galore up the mountain.

Then it’s “Back to the ‘70s” at Mt Dobson on 19 September to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its very first opening day. Lift passes are ‘70s prices so dig out some flares and disco down the slopes to great ‘70s tunes.

The winter season rounds off at Ohau’s Hot Dog Day on Saturday 3 October. Celebrate the end of the season retro-style – pull on the fluoro one piece suit, drag out those skinny skis or first snowboard and ride just like you did in the good ‘ol days.

For more information about winter holidays in the Mt Cook Mackenzie region visit

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Cathay Pacific Airways has announced that it will launch flights to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second major commercial city, with effect from 25 October. The four-times-weekly service will operate through Dubai on the way to and from Hong Kong.

The new service, to be operated by an Airbus A330-300 aircraft in a two-class configuration, will increase the airline’s presence in the increasingly important Middle Eastern market, connecting business and leisure passengers to Cathay Pacific’s extensive international network through the Hong Kong hub.

Jeddah will become Cathay Pacific’s 46th online passenger destination when flights begin and will mark the airline’s latest destination launch since Chennai in June 2008.

Effective 24 October, Cathay Pacific will offer a daily service from Auckland to Riyadh via Hong Kong.

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Vanuatu Kitesurfing Classic - August 11-16

For the third year in a row, the Vanuatu International Kitesurfing Classic will take place on Efate Island.

The VIKC this year will be held between the 11 - 16th of August, on Efate. In addition to the previously seen freestyle and the long distance categories, another two events will be introduced this year. Wave riding and Air Time.

The first 4 days of the competition will be at Pango Village where the wave riding will be organized. And if the wind is off, Pango provides some very good surf breaks. During this time there will also be two long distance races along the pristine coastline between Pango and Mele Bay's Hideaway Island Resort. As in previous years, the show than most of Port Vila will come to watch is the freestyle and air time competition on the final two days, the weekend of the 15-16 August.

Kite surfing competitions are all about lots of spectators and everyone having a good time all day long and into the night, so there will be the usual music concerts, barbecues, beach volleyball and rugby sevens competitions, vendors selling food and souvenirs, and more.

The people of Efate have been progressively exposed to the spectacle of kite surfing over the last few years and they are some of the most excited spectators any kite surfer is likely to see. Sunshine, warm water, strong winds, smiling laughing faces...welcome to Vanuatu!

Any riders interested in coming who would like to get more information about the event (registration, accommodation options, logistics, etc) can contact us on or mobile +678 7775875 and speak to Thomas .

You also visit their website www.

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Wellington Means Business

Positively Wellington Tourism’s Convention Bureau has launched a new tactical initiative that will make meeting in the capital even easier and aims to drive further growth in conference tourism.

In an exclusive partnership with Air New Zealand, Capital Meetings is offering a full service meetings package aimed at small to medium businesses.

The packages – launched in time for the national industry trade show, MEETINGS, in Auckland - include return flights, Wellington airport transfers, accommodation, meeting space, morning and afternoon teas and a daily working lunch. Lead in prices for an overnight package from Auckland start from as little as $313 per person.

Convention Bureau Sales Manager Martin Boland says the packages, booked through Air New Zealand Groups, are flexible, with additional nights and activities easily added. Delegates can be flown from all around the country and do not have to be coming from one centre.

“Capital Meetings is designed ideally for businesses holding events for around 20-80 people. It’s for people that don’t have time to arrange all the detail at the start, but need quality, cost effective solutions.”

Clients will be given a choice of a range of three to five star accommodation options as well as meeting spaces at iconic Wellington venues like Te Papa and the Wellington Convention Centre. An advantage will be that they have the freedom to adjust names on flight bookings at no extra charge.

“This is an off-the-shelf product that no other city in New Zealand has on offer right now,” Mr Boland said.

Positively Wellington Tourism Chief Executive David Perks says the initiative reflects the city’s commitment to making life easy for its visitors no matter what their reason for coming.

“Time is money for small businesses and this will free their staff up to focus on their projects while someone else researches the options for them.”

Following the launch of Capital Meetings domestically, Mr Perks said the natural progression would be to look at releasing trans-Tasman packages.

“Our respective Prime Ministers have identified a common border between New Zealand and Australia as a priority. We’ll be looking to launch Capital Meetings to the Australian market off the back of any such developments to maximise the market potential and make the experience the best it can possibly be. Business tourism is a vital component of Wellington’s visitor makeup and attracting more conference visitors across the ditch is a priority.”

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‘World Travel Award’ Nomination Recognises Excellence of Navigate Oceania Members

Seven luxury lodges and resorts marketed internationally by New Zealand based tourism marketing specialist Navigate Oceania, have been nominated for the highly coveted World Travel Awards.

Known as the ‘Oscars’ of the global travel industry, The World Travel Awards are recognised as the highest vote of excellence and are complied from the opinions of 167,000 Travel Experts from around the world.

2009 Navigate Oceania World Travel Award Nominees:

Paihia Beach Resort, Bay of Islands
Australasia’s Leading Spa Resort
New Zealand’s Leading Spa Resort
New Zealand’s Leading Resort

Treetops Lodge and Wilderness Experience, Rotorua Australasia’s Responsible Tourism Award New Zealand’s Leading Luxury Lodge

Wharekauhau Country Estate, Martinborough New Zealand’s Leading Luxury Lodge New Zealand’s Leading Spa Resort

Claremont Country Estate, North Canterbury Australasia’s Leading Boutique Resort New Zealand’s Leading Luxury Lodge

Waipoua Lodge, Waipoua Forest
Australasia’s Leading Green Hotel

Ohtel, Wellington
New Zealand’s Leading Boutique Hotel

Cotter House, Auckland
New Zealand’s Leading Hotel

Karine Thomas, Director of Navigate Oceania comments, “Navigate is delighted that our member’s ongoing efforts to provide the best New Zealand experiences and maintain the highest levels of customer services have been recognised. It is a credit to the hard work of the lodge owners and managers who continually strive for excellence.”

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Melbourne International Arts Festival 2009 9 – 24 October

Acclaimed Artistic Director Brett Sheehy will deliver his first Melbourne International Arts Festival in October, with a program that encompasses all art forms and features over 730 international and local artists and musicians from 26 countries.

“It’s a thrill for me to be directing the Melbourne Festival, the jewel in the crown of Melbourne’s cultural landscape. In 2009 we embark on a new vision, where international works are drawn from every art form – opera, outdoor spectacle, visual arts, symphonic music, dance and theatre to hybrid arts, techno, heavy metal and neo-punk – for a unique celebration of contemporary artistic practices” Mr Sheehy said.

“With 90 percent of the works presented exclusive to Melbourne Festival, the only place in Australia or our region where this art can be seen and experienced will be in Melbourne” he said.

The 2009 Festival aims to be the most affordable international arts festival ever staged in Australia, with many low ticket price events and an expansive free program.

“There are free events, events with extremely low ticket prices, and a policy of allotting tickets for nearly every single performance to young audiences, so that even the most astonishing international opera, symphonic music, dance, theatre or hybrid arts can be seen by young devotees for as little as $25” said Mr Sheehy.

The 2009 Melbourne Festival features creations of artists from:

New Zealand
South Africa
West Bank

WHAT: Melbourne International Arts Festival

WHEN: 9 - 24 October 2009


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