|THE Spanish tourism minister for the Balearic Islands has been described as an “embarrassment to the country” after a hunting photo of him posing with the severed testicles of a deer on his head (below) was posted online. Carlos Delgado’s actions were described by animal rights campaigners as “dragging Spain back into the 11th century.” The politician defended the snap which was taken during a 2009 holiday, saying it was “a private matter”.|
|INPLACE Recruitment brought in a special temp last Fri, with md Sandra Chiles’ puppy Tess (pictured below) lending a paw. The canine contributor offered to be the inPlace personal assistant for the day, in support of Assistance Dogs Australia – and she even generously donated her $100 salary to the Dogtober fundraiser this month which aims to support people with physical disabilities. See www.assistancedogs.org.au.|
|THERE was a moment of levity yesterday during the Flight Centre results presentation, with a Powerpoint slide highlighting the company’s fast-expanding brand footprint. A cartoon (pictured below) quipped that the recent NASA Curiosity space mission to Mars sent back photos of what it found on the red planet – including an appropriately coloured Flight Centre shop.|
|USUALLY when an aircraft encounters a bird strike, it is more often than not the bird who ends up worse for wear. A recent routine United Airlines service from Dallas Fort Worth to Denver Int’l Airport however may have left the pilots puzzled as to what exactly hit them. While making the standard descent, an unidentified bird hit the front of the B737 aircraft, ripping a hole in the jet’s nose & forcing an emergency landing. Although the plane landed safely, it suffered extensive damage to its horizontal stabiliser & air speed indicators. Wildlife experts believe the bird was a large goose or duck, with no word on its condition.|
|WOULDN’T this bee annoying?
Delta Air Lines was forced to delay a service from Pittsburgh to New York this week due to a swarm of thousands of bees gathering on the aircraft wing as the aircraft was preparing to be refuelled. The airline called out a local beekeeper to remove the swarm, who when asked about the unusual job, told reporters he believed there to be a wild honeybee colony located somewhere within the airport. Bees are a protected species in Pennsylvania, meaning a can or two of Mortein was definitely out of the question.
|ADVERTISING on aircraft is a medium which could see a revival following this move by Expedia TAAP, who have colourfully commandeered an AirAsia Airbus to promote the exclusive fares available through its global distribution partnership. The fares were available on its Australian and NZ sites recently, with many customers likely hoping they would be able to travel on this very aircraft.|
|AGENTS hanging around a bar on a famil trip isn’t rare, but how often do you get to hang out with members from rock band The Offspring at the same time? That’s what happened to two agents on this week’s Get Swissed” famil trip, with the band sharing the same hotel in Interlaken and preparing for a performance in the town. Sarah Young from Travelworld and Jess Rogers from House of Travel (below) were introduced to band members Dexter Holland, Greg K, Pete Parada and Noodles, enjoyed some drinks with the group, and even offered VIP tickets to the show, but had to decline as they were headed to their next destination.|
|SOON to launch low-cost carrier Scoot has announced the names of its first two jets – and it possibly shows the danger of throwing things open to the public. After a Facebook campaign soliciting suggestions, the first two planes will be called “Goin’ Scootin” and “Barry” – showing a strong focus on Aussie routes.|
|MEET Sherman the Wombat.
Late last week, Sherman, Wild Life Sydney’s resident hairy-nose wombat celebrated his fifth birthday, annihilating a special cake made from lucerne hay, corn, carrot and sweet potato which was gone in seconds, leaving a very content marsupial. Sherman was born in the wild but hand-raised by a wombat orphanage in South Australia before moving to Sydney in 2008.
|SAN Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge has crumbled.. the gingerbread version that is.
On May 26-27 2012 the US landmark will celebrate its 75th anniversary with a specially themed free Golden Gate Festival themed ‘Bridging Us All’.
For more info on the event see goldengatebridge75.org/celebrate.
In celebration of the historic event and festival, San Francisco Travel sent TD a scaled down gingerbread replica of the Golden Gate, which we can attest was yummy!
|US President Barack Obama had some fun at the expense of vague presidential aspirant Donald Trump last weekend, imagining the changes that might ensue if the property mogul ever gets the top job. Complete with an artist’s impression (pictured here), Obama suggested Trump would mirror the style of his five hotels with a three storey penthouse addition on the White House, along with gilded columns at the front door.|
|Tourism Ireland yesterday sent Travel Daily a wee morsel of cake to celebrate next week’s St Patrick’s Day.|
|Too school for cool? TD editors Guy Dundas and Bruce Piper were excited about the pairs of sunglasses they received from Busabout earlier this week. The two ripped off the bubble wrap like it was Christmas and are excited about getting out of the office this weekend, so they can display their spunky new shades to the envying locals.|
|Activists in the Polish town of Konin have erected a special tribute to one of its most famous residents – Julius Fromm, the immortal inventor of the condom.
Last week they placed a large plastic sheath over a municipal fountain, which is aptly nicknamed “The Penis”.
|A wealthy Chinese entrepeneur has shown an unusual approach to consumer rights, by hiring a gang of sledgehammer-wielding thugs to smash up his $500,000 Lamborghini Gallardo.
The unnamed Qingdao-based millionaire claims he’s had nothing but trouble since buying the vehicle last Oct, and decided to destroy the car to draw attention to its poor quality.
|A SKI resort in Western China commemmorated the end of this year’s winter season over the weekend with a special “naked and fancy dress” party – and 22 attendees braved the cold with near-nude outfits.
According to several reports, two male skiers turned up naked except for their skis, boots and hats – while the ‘Coldest Beauty’ award went to Xie Yong (pictured at far right) who wore nothing but a tastefully situated snowflake.
|Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson was clearly impressed at a stunning picture snapped in the US yesterday, in which a Virgin Galactic experimental space flight vehicle was captured adjacent to a Virgin America A320 in the skies above San Francisco (below).
The stunt was to celebrate the opening of SFO’s new Terminal 2, which will be VX’s home base.
Branson got into the US idiom on Twitter, sending a message that the picture was “how shall I put it…simply bad ass”.
|Only in the UAE?
A new ‘Superbus’ is set to go on trial in Abu Dhabi, with claims it could carry 23 passengers at speeds of up to 250 km/h.
A Dutch invention, the vehicle made its debut as a prototype yesterday at the Abu Dhabi Mobility and City Transport Expo.
The electric-powered vehicle (pictured here) is a “cross-over between a bus and a limousine” and could cut the traveltime for the 160km between Abu Dhabi and Dubai to just over 30 min.
It’s 15m long, with 16 doors, and if the project goes ahead would run on a dedicated “speed track” highway between the cities, before switching to normal roads for drop-offs.
|OFFICIALS in the South Pacific nation of Niue are facing controversy after launching special commemmorative Royal Wedding stamps (pictured) which split the happy couple in half.
The stamps were designed and printed by New Zealand Post, with a spokesman saying that because they are collector’s items they are “unlikely to be separated for postage”.
|ANOTHER reason why self-drive tourism may take a while to develop in China.
Police in the city of Taizhou in Zhejiang Province say they couldn’t believe their eyes when they spotted a man trying to drive two fairground bumper cars along a busy road.
CCTV screens showed the man sitting between the two colourful vehicles with his feet on the accelerators of each.
After being arrested (see pic), the driver told them that he was running the dodgems at a nearby amusement park, but trade was a little slow.
He decided to take two of the cars to a busier part of town in order to drum up business.
|THERE are lots of amazing Royal Wedding souvenirs on sale in the streets of London – but some truly unique mementos are also available on eBay.
Up for auction is a full box of “Royal Wedding error mugs” – which were unfortunately printed with the likeness of the wrong prince.
The Harry and Kate mugs (pictured) were apparently created by mistake as a product of a curious British firm called Guangdong Enterprises, clearly showing Will’s red-headed brother Prince Harry instead of Friday’s dashing groom.
|TWITTER is everywhere – even in the world of fashion.
The organisers of Rosemount Australian Fashion Week have arranged for huge screens in the event’s foyer at the Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal to automatically display ‘tweets’ from fashionistas as the various collections are unveiled on the catwalk. Last night TD was in the audience and tried out the system, with our tweet showing in this picture.
|THE US Transportation Security Administration is once again the focus of global attention, after a passenger posted a ‘Tweet’ photo of screeners conducting a body search of a baby (pictured). The incident occurred earlier this week at Kansas City International Airport, apparently after the infant’s stroller set off the X-ray machine. The TSA is defending the action, with a statement on its blog saying “the child in the photo was simply receiving a modified pat-down”.|
|TOURISM officials in Bulgaria have created a unique underwater attraction, by deliberately submerging an aircraft operated by former Communist ruler Todor Zhivkov. The Tupolev-154 hasn’t flown since 1999, and was this week scuttled (see pic) at a depth of about 22m in waters about 700m from the shore of the Black Sea city of Varna. It’s expected to create an artificial reef popular with divers, and is already attracting significant interest from around the world. The dictator’s former assets have also found other tourism applications, with his private yacht now used for cruises along the Danube river.|
|VISITORS to seaside resorts and waterways in the UK this summer can enjoy a special treat, with the launch of the world’s first amphibious icecream van. HMS Flake 99 has so far visited various British beaches including Blackpool, as well as making its way along the Thames (pictured) – and is set to travel across the English channel to operate in Venice next year. And no, it doesn’t play the familiar Greensleeves, instead appropriately opting for Rod Stewart’s Sailing.|
|IT will soon be possible to get a close-up look at the Airbus A320 which made a miraculous emergency landing on New York’s Hudson River in 2009. The US Airways plane is currently en route on the back of a truck (pictured) to Charlotte in North Carolina, where it’s going to become a permanent exhibition at the Carolinas Aviation Museum. It’s been in a warehouse in New Jersey since it was salvaged from the river in Jan 2009 after ditching following a bird strike which took out both engines. It will arrive at the museum on Sat for a special ceremony also to be attended by hero pilot of the flight, Chesley Sullenberger.|
|YOU certainly have to admire the ingenuity of teenagers at a school in Hamilton, NZ.
Passengers in planes travelling over Fairfield College haven’t commented on graphic images in the school’s playing fields, which appear to have been etched using weedkiller. The giant phallic symbols, pictured below, are also clearly visible on Google Earth.
|THE High Commissioner of Niue Island has come up with a novel idea to “lure film makers” to the South Pacific island paradise. Mark Blumsky, who was formerly mayor of NZ capital Wellington, has urged the erection of a ‘Nieuwood’ sign above the picturesque Alofi Bay. “Niue Island is a stunning destination and we think it has huge potential as a ‘tropical paradise’ film location,” he said. The idea for the huge sign follows a similar suggestion for Wellington which was recently blocked by outraged locals. Blumsky says the “filming potential” in Niue is enormous, with a keen base of locals who would love to be extras and “no Actors Equity Union”.|
|LUCKILY this passenger has a travel agent to help.
Elizabeth Drysdale from Elite Business Travel in Parramatta, NSW couldn’t resist forwarding this image – received from one of her corporate clients after she asked him for a copy of his passport.
|TWO men from Kazakhstan recently attracted attention from police in Germany after undertaking some self-drive tourism with a difference.
Officers pulled over their van after seeing it riding quite low and swaying on the autobahn. Opening the doors, they found that the pair were trying to save money by transporting a newly acquired Mazda 626 in the back. Apparently they’d managed to manouvre the car into the van with the help of mattresses to stop it getting too scratched.
|THERE was no swimming at one of Dubai’s stunning beaches yesterday, with tourists displaced by a bale (yes, that’s the correct collective noun) of rare sea turtles. An official ceremony took place adjacent to Jumeirah’s iconic Burj Al Arab hotel (pictured) with thousands of onlookers gathering to watch as 101 “critically endangered hawksbill turtles” were successfully returned to their natural habitat as part of World Sea Turtle Day. The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project is based at the Burj Al Arab and the Madinat Jumeirah, and saved more than 500 turtles since it was established in 2004.|
|Hopefully not too much ball handling
Taken on Jun. 23rd, 2010 at 22:01
|Taken on Jun. 23rd, 2010 at 22:01|
|Taken on Jun. 23rd, 2010 at 22:01|
|Taken on Jun. 23rd, 2010 at 22:01|
|Taken on Jun. 23rd, 2010 at 22:01|
|Put the escalator in reverse!
Taken on Jun. 24th, 2010 at 22:12
|Does this little redhead look familiar?
A sharp-eyed Travel Daily reader has pointed out that perhaps Amadeus knew a long time ago that new Prime Minister Julia Gillard was destined for greatness.
The Amadeus Selling Platform features a dead-ringer for Gillard in the ‘Profiles’ icon at the top of the screen.
Taken on Jun. 25th, 2010 at 15:10
|This large beast looks quite terrified next to Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall, in London recently.
The life-size brightly painted elephant is one of 250 being displayed in the city centre at the moment to help to raise awareness and money to save the endangered Asian Elephants.
Taken on Jun. 29th, 2010 at 21:16
|Statistics indicate it’s safer to fly than to drive, but does that include de-planeing?
In a lucky escape for passengers
and crew on a Singapore Airlines flight this week at Taiwan Taoyuan Airport, a jet bridge linking the aircraft to the airport collapsed (above) as Business Class pax prepared to disembark the jet.
While the cause of the collapse is still unknown, it’s believed the jet bridge had been scheduled for maintenance the same morning after one of its motors had malfunctioned.
Taken on Jun. 30th, 2010 at 20:29
|If you were this pax you would have preferred a heavy piece of luggage to fall on your head.
US Airways has had to delay take-off of a flight when pax observed maggot larvae dropping on to another person’s head.
The taxiing plane was turned back to the gate after panic and commotion ensued on the aircraft and nearby passengers, where a bag of spoilt meat was determined as the cause of the infestation.
A clean up crew removed the bag and checked others before heading on its way to Charlotte, where the aircraft was taken out of service to be fumigated.
Taken on Jul. 1st, 2010 at 21:38
|Just strap ‘em to the wings!
Irish low cost carrier Ryanair is at it again, with ceo Michael O’Leary revisiting his proposed plan to introduce ‘vertical seats’ as an option for super low-budget travellers who don’t mind long periods of standing.
The plan would see the last 10 rows of seats removed across its fleet of 250 jets, to make way for upright seats (above).
O’Leary says the seats will allow people to be strapped in while standing up and the carrier has consulted with Boeing to see if the refit would be possible.
Should Ryanair actually get the seats approved, it hopes to charge about £4- £8 per seat.
Taken on Jul. 2nd, 2010 at 21:31
|A US family will never have to worry about toilet breaks during road trips, after designing a “twin bowl toilet car”.
The unusual vehicle, pictured above, is the result of four years research, and reportedly has a top speed of 45km/h.
Creator Dave Hersch said that special accessories on the vehicle include holders for six toilet rolls – and a magazine rack.
Taken on Jul. 19th, 2010 at 15:13
|TD spotted a good example of ambush marketing at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK overnight.
Airbus probably thought it had scored a coup when it sponsored the big screen displays scattered around the show site, which usually display aircraft doing acrobatics and other maneouvers.
However as we walked past one of the billboards yesterday it was displaying a continuous loop of the arrival and taxiing of the show sensation – the 787 Dreamliner which is making its air show debut here courtesy of rival manufacturer Boeing.
Boeing sponsored by Airbus – or is it the other way around?
Taken on Jul. 20th, 2010 at 20:19
|Now this is what we call a lie-flat premium cabin.
During a private tour of Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-300ER at the Farnborough Airshow TD was lucky enough to be shown through the crew rest area.
Located above the cabin at the rear of the aircraft, the area comprises eight private sleeping cubicles where flight attendants can really stretch out – as long as they don’t try to stand up.
Taken on Jul. 23rd, 2010 at 11:16
|Bolivian carrier Aerosur certainly has a sense of humour.
The airline has debuted new livery for one of its aircraft, which makes the 767 look pretty much like a flying shark (above).
The plane is operating non-stop services from Miami (just in time for ‘Shark Week’ on The Discovery Channel) and joins other animal-themed Aerosur aircraft which include a horse, dolphin, alligator and two bulls.
Taken on Aug. 3rd, 2010 at 22:25
|Can you identify this backside?
He puts the V in Virgin, the K in King and stole the show at last night’s Visit USA bowling event in his Elvis spandex outfit… amongst other things.
Not enough clues? Then go to www.flickr.com/photos/traveldailyau/4861821215/in/set-721… to identify this well-known travel industry personality.
Taken on Aug. 5th, 2010 at 20:54
|Travelscene American Express had a full range of “I Love Travel” merchandise available at the TSAX National Consultants Conference in Cairns over the weekend.
Conference-themed mugs, mouse mats, water bottles, shirts and caps were available – but it looks like gm Jacqui Timmins went one step further.
Timmins’ immaculate toenails (pictured below) look very much as though they were painted in that distinctive Travelscene red colour.
TSAX didn’t confirm whether its new merchandise range is set to include a special nail polish colour.
Taken on Aug. 10th, 2010 at 14:20
|Authorities in eastern China’s Shandong Province have found a new way to make money from lingering visitors, with a system which allows them to charge for the use of park benches.
Each seat (pictured above) is fitted with a coin-operated timer, and if users don’t feed the meter in time, short steel spikes spring up through the bottom – making it rather uncomfortable.
Officials say they got the idea from German artist Fabian Brunsing, who created a similar bench as a “protest against the commercialisation of life”.
A spokesman said the artist “didn’t foresee that a very practical country like China might actually use it for real”.
Taken on Aug. 18th, 2010 at 14:22
|It didn’t take long for quirky US carrier Spirit Airlines to capitalise on the exciting New York tarmac exit of JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater last week which has caused a worldwide sensation.
Yesterday Spirit started using images of Slater (above) sliding down an emergency chute – complete with two bottles of beer – with the tag line “Don’t be blue, slide down to low fares”.
The ads are in keeping with Spirit’s previous controversial campaigns which include a promotion capitalising on the Gulf oil spil encouraging people to “check out the oil on our beaches,” as well as the immortal “MILF Sale” – advertising (of course) Many Islands, Low Fares.
Taken on Aug. 18th, 2010 at 21:37
|Honeymoon planners should take note of this romantically extravagant wedding gesture.
A Chinese groom spent a year’s salary on the flowers for his marriage last weekend, buying 99,999 red roses for his bride.
The couple needed 30 cars to take the flowers to the wedding ceremony, advertising on the internet for help to stick the flowers onto the vehicles.
The nuptials took place in Chongqing, central China, where the number 999 is considered to be good luck.
Generous groom Xiao Wang said he knew his bride loved red roses, and it was “worth it all just to see the look on her face when she saw the cars” (above).
Taken on Aug. 23rd, 2010 at 20:12
|There was significant straining at Brisbane Airport on Fri, with Nova FM radio announcer Wippa attempting to pull a Strategic Airlines A320 (pictured below).
A tarmac tug would have been a lot easier, but Wippa, wearing a special harness, succeeded on his fourth attempt to move the 70 tonne aircraft, pulling it along almost five metres.
Strategic spokesperson Jess Hannan said that the crowd went wild and the flight deck went beserk at the successful attempt, “however we do admit that he may have had the advantage of a strong tail wind”.
Taken on Aug. 30th, 2010 at 20:26
|There could be some sore heads in the Qantas offices today, after last night’s French Tourism extravaganza in Sydney saw QF mgr Australia Steve Limbrick presented with a fairly large bottle of Bollinger Champagne (above).
French Tourism’s Australian chief Patrick Benhamou honoured QF and Air France for their contribution to bilateral visitation between Australia and France, also giving the new Air France country manager Australia, Thomas Reeves a special new surfboard so he can really become part of the Aussie beach scene during his posting down under.
Taken on Sep. 7th, 2010 at 20:15
|Delegates at last week’s 2010 Star Alliance National Conference in Sydney took part in some unusual team building events, including a ‘Race around the World’.
The challenges also saw participants creating a “human aircraft,” with one of the efforts shown above prompting questions such as what’s actually powering those engines.
Taken on Sep. 30th, 2010 at 17:48
|TD’s inadvertent breaking news slip when announcing the appointment of Qantas Hols ceo Chris Rankin as the new head of Cruise1st created lots of opportunities for merriment.
We accidentally added a ‘t’ to Rankin’s first name, prompting many responses suggesting divine intervention.
And Qantas Holidays staff joined the fun, with a special card created for his farewell (above) showing Rankin’s face morphed onto the giant ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue in Rio de Janeiro.
Taken on Oct. 4th, 2010 at 21:07
|Former AFL star Warwick Capper has appropriately been enlisted to promote Flight Centre’s Quickbeds accom booking website – using the tagline “Cheap and Easy”.
TD is the lucky recipient of some special promotional material – including a truly tacky pillowslip (above) emblazoned with Capper having a snooze.
Taken on Oct. 11th, 2010 at 21:47
|The Virgin Blue/Delta submission to US authorities strongly emphasises the operation of the various airlines within the Virgin Blue group as a “single economic entity” – and backs up the claim with a photo (above) to show that the carriers are “under one roof both literally and figuratively”.
Taken on Oct. 16th, 2010 at 21:01
|The Travel Corporation’s World Rewards loyalty scheme is today celebrating a year since it was revamped – and TD joined the party with a special delivery of some delicious cupcakes.
In keeping with Travel Daily’s tradition of keeping the industry informed, we can report that the delightful morning tea, pictured below, was delicious.
Taken on Oct. 16th, 2010 at 21:02
|The Virgin Blue/Delta submission to US authorities strongly emphasises the operation of the various airlines within the Virgin Blue group as a “single economic entity” – and backs up the claim with a photo (above) to show that the carriers are “under one roof both literally and figuratively”.
Taken on Oct. 16th, 2010 at 21:09
|Peter ‘twinkle toes’ Lacaze displays his famously fancy footwork.
Taken on Oct. 29th, 2010 at 12:00
|The Qantas Heritage Centre at Sydney Airport is a fabulous showcase of the carrier’s history – so it’s sure to be wanting to get its hands on bits of debris from the A380 engine which exploded over Indonesia yesterday.
The internet has been flooded with pictures of excited locals (above) thrilled at their new personal souvenirs of the Flying Kangaroo – and it’s surely only a matter of time before they start appearing on
internet auction site eBay.
Taken on Nov. 7th, 2010 at 21:01
|While we’re on the subject of historic birds, United Airlines has now unveiled its new Oprah Winfrey livery.
Pax lucky enough to fly on the special plane will also be treated to an onboard video welcome from Oprah herself.
Taken on Nov. 7th, 2010 at 21:01
|ONE of the many highlights of the Qantas Holidays/Viva! Holidays event in Kota Kinabalu was a visit to a local wildlife park, where the group enjoyed the special treat of feeding one of the park’s pygmy elephants.
Agents were also enthralled by the activities of orangutans and other creatures in a special show.
Exotic birds also featured – including a highly gifted parrot which thrilled the audience by raising a special Qantas Holidays Global Achievers flag (above).
Sabah Tourism’s Australian representative, Gwenda Zappala, told TD that the intensive training for the stunt involved lots of food rewards as the bird learned to raise the flag – meaning that this week Polly will be going on a crash diet.
Taken on Nov. 8th, 2010 at 21:07
|Talk about a room with a view.
A French designer has come up with a new type of see-through ‘bubble tent’ which he says are designed to get people as close to nature as possible.
Pierre Stephane Dumas described the ‘Bubble Tree’ creations as “unusual huts for unusual nights” – allowing people to have a night under the stars or see the sun rise and set.
The so-called CristalBubble (pictured above) is fully see-through, and there’s another variant with opaque walls but still a clear ceiling for less exhibitionist campers.
Taken on Nov. 21st, 2010 at 21:31
|We’re not sure whether the Harpo organisation has approved some images of talk show queen Oprah which are currently being featured on the website of FNQ newspaper the Cairns Post.
The paper is running a campaign to encourage Oprah to visit the region during her imminent Australian sojourn, titled “Oprah’s Top 5 reasons to visit the Tropical North,” – and has been taking a 180cm-high cardboard cutout to various local tourist attractions.
Accompanying photos show Oprah getting set for some local activities – such as scuba diving on the Reef.
Taken on Nov. 25th, 2010 at 13:41
|– Poised with a boomerang as she enjoys Indigenous culture.
Taken on Nov. 25th, 2010 at 13:41
|– And even getting helmeted up for some white water rafting.
Taken on Nov. 25th, 2010 at 13:41
|American singer-songwriter Jack Johnson has sold more than 8 million albums around the world – but the highlight of his career probably happened this week when he got to hang out with Australian Hawaii Tourism chief Helen Williams (above).
Johnson performed live on Channel 7’s Sunrise show which is being broadcast live this week from the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki.
Williams said that the Sunrise crew are having a ball in Hawaii – along with their two plane loads of fans.
Taken on Nov. 25th, 2010 at 21:16
|Royal Caribbean has unveiled yet another stunning innovation – the first time ever that a 3-D animated character is the godmother of a cruise ship.
At a glittering ceremony in Fort Lauderdale yesterday, it was revealed that Princess Fiona – one of the ogres from the smash hit Shrek animated movies – would preside over the stunning new Allure of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean has a special partnership with the Dreamworks Animation film studio which made the Shrek movies, with Royal Caribbean ceo Richard Fain saying “Princess Fiona is not only a Royal, but we felt such a unique ship deserved a unique godmother.
“Princess Fiona symbolises the fun and entertainment that is so extraordinary on Allure of the Seas,” he said.
Pictured above: RCI ceo Adam Goldstein, RCCL President Richard Fain, Princess Fiona and Allure captain Hernan Zini.
Taken on Nov. 29th, 2010 at 22:22
|Four British tourists have been arrested in the Latvian city of Riga after being found naked astride a statue of a horse in temperatures of -15°C.
The prank was captured on security video – which has now apparently made its way onto the YouTube internet site (above).
Police said that the quartet were posing for pictures at the time, and were “clearly under the influence of alcohol”.
They were charged with petty hooliganism and fined about $200 each.
Taken on Dec. 3rd, 2010 at 20:14
|It’s rude to point, but when you are the CEO of Cathay Pacific Airways and it’s been a long day and you need a quick nap, it’s probably ruder to wake the boss.
Pictured below is Tony Tyler trialling CX’s new Business Class seats last night in HKG – note Tyler is around 7 foot tall, and when laying down his head still doesn’t touch the end!
Taken on Dec. 9th, 2010 at 13:39
|There’s certainly no doubt about the many talents of Sandra Chiles of inPlace Recruitment, who is known and admired across the Australian travel industry for her years of experience and expertise.
But her abilities extend to more than finding the perfect travel job or candidate, as her win in the recent ‘The Moment’ photo competition run by Fairfax Publications will attest.
During a recent holiday in outback central Queensland Sandra snapped the classic photo above, captured whilst watching a horserider training at sunset.
Taken on Dec. 9th, 2010 at 19:59
|Things clearly got a little out of hand on Wed night during the launch of the new Oman Tourism advertising campaign.
The event, held at the trendy Souk in the City eatery in Sydney, included traditional Omani henna decorations, and Tim Harrowell from Emirates is pictured with this mystery woman who may have gone a little bit overboard with the tattoo!
Taken on Dec. 13th, 2010 at 10:57
|‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ is probably not the ideal Christmas carol to be singing at London airports at the moment.
The blizzards have stranded thousands of passengers, with jets buried in snow, including this Thai Airways Boeing 747 (above).
Taken on Dec. 20th, 2010 at 17:33
|We are not alone!
On Tue, Ryanair confirmed the presence of an unidentified flying object (UFO), after the Captain of flight FR1397 from Oslo Rygge to London spotted a strange aircraft soaring close to his plane.
Taking immediate action, the Captain reported the sighting to Aviation Authorities, who have today confirmed that they have received a number of “similar reports”.
Above is a photo taken by a crew member of FR1397.
Taken on Dec. 24th, 2010 at 16:39
|First it was snakes on a plane – now its an orangutan on a ferry.
Silvestre, a one-year old orangutan abandoned by his mother, cruised in style from Spain to get to his new home at Monkey World in Dorset onboard Brittany Ferries Cap Finistère.
He swung from ladders and bunkbeds in his first class cabin, dined on citrus fruit and milk and even got to visit Captain Patrick Thomas on the bridge.
Taken on Dec. 31st, 2010 at 14:56
|Desperate times call for desperate measures.
A German inventor determined to combat the heavy snowfall conditions in his home town of Luckenwalde has come up with an idea to create a multi-purpose snow plough.
Helmut Tasche converted his Soviet bloc era Trabant car into a plough by attaching a snow scoop, specially created by his blacksmith, to the car bumper.
And for the back of the car, the inventor himself fitted a home-made ‘sleigh’ (ie. a chair) which he says will be used to carry stranded snow victims or make urgent deliveries around town.
Helmut has fixed a sign to his creation which says ‘Winter Services’, and believes it’s up to doing the job.
Taken on Jan. 6th, 2011 at 22:52
|AND the winner of the 2020 Olympic Games is…Hobart.
Well, not exactly, but any visitor to the ‘Hobart 2020 Olympics’ Facebook page may think the Applicant City had already won the bid to host the games.
The page has racked up almost 12,000 followers and features a collection of fan photos from across the world throwing their support behind the bid.
Fans can even purchase merchandise from a gold pin at $5 to a t-shirt starting at $35.
The administrators are confident Hobart can win the bid, with one post stating that if Qatar, which is one fifth the size of Tasmania, can host the 2022 World Cup, then “this shows that places of a small size with not many people are capable of hosting major sporting events…”
Pictured above: FB fan Wendy from Washington DC helps to put the Apple Isle on the map.
Taken on Jan. 6th, 2011 at 23:38
|Could it be an early celebration to mark St Patrick’s Day?
Tourists recently visiting the Goldstream River in Canada were somewhat confused as to why the flowing water at this popular tourist destination was luminous green.
Tests revealed that a prankster added fluorescein to the water, which lasted for hours, but thankfully no fish were harmed or coloured by the dye.
It’s not yet known who dyed the river green.
Taken on Jan. 15th, 2011 at 21:22
|A new toilet-themed restaurant in China is flushed with success after locals gave its range of bodily function-themed dishes a hearty thumbs-up.
The Modern Toilet eatery in Kunming (pictured above) offers dunny-style seating and a menu including ‘toilet bowl hot pot’, ‘fried poo sticks’ and ‘excrement ice-cream’.
It’s very popular, with one patron saying “I originally went in because I thought it was a public toilet, but then discovered it was a restaurant and decided to give it a try”.
Taken on Jan. 18th, 2011 at 16:19
|Canadian tour operators offer a range of wildlife experiences, but in some cases nature is right outside the front door.
Ed Smith from Canada and Alaska Specialist Holidays sent us the photo above, taken on the front lawn of a home about 40 miles from Halifax in Nova Scotia.
The resident took the pictures after a baby moose was born early in the morning – a perfect excuse to miss work for the day.
Taken on Jan. 19th, 2011 at 15:55
|Disney Cruise Line has officially named its new Disney Dream, in a lavish ceremony overnight at Port Canaveral, Florida.
In true over-the-top Disney style, the new vessel’s naming ceremony included a massive “magical 16-foot bottle” filled by Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters with “dreams of adventure, fantasy, friendship, romance and fun”.
The bottle was hoisted across Dream’s bow by a helicopter before being smashed in a huge cascade of champagne (above).
Taken on Jan. 22nd, 2011 at 15:12
|Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson could be looking for an upgrade, after advertising his 14-seat luxury private jet for sale.
The 2006 Dassault Falcon, registration number G-GALX and with a Virgin Galactic logo on the tail, has flown a total of 3100 hours and has a “forward double club”, a mid cabin four-seat dining area and dual three-place divans at the rear – complete with cupholders (above).
No price is listed, but if you have to ask how much it is you probably can’t afford it.
Taken on Jan. 29th, 2011 at 14:41
|There’s certainly no doubt about the teaching of geography in US schools.
An avid TD reader has forwarded the image above, which was shown on the Fox News network this week to help viewers understand more about the Egypt crisis.
No wonder they’re worried -Egypt is shown slap bang in the middle of Syria and Iran.
The last time we checked that’s exactly where Iraq is.
Taken on Feb. 3rd, 2011 at 21:37
|Another geographically confused news report on US cable network CNN looks to have overestimated the strength of last week’s Cyclone Yasi.
A map broadcast to indicate where the big blow was expected (pictured above) accurately identifies Cairns, Innisfail and Brisbane – but appears to show Queensland itself having relocated further south – all the way to Tasmania.
Taken on Feb. 7th, 2011 at 17:34
|Jovial Virgin Blue boss John Borghetti was in fine form last night whilst speaking at the Etihad Airways/V Australia joint venture celebratory event in Sydney.
Guests were highly amused when he told them “I work for a real airline now” when explaining how quickly the Etihad alliance had evolved.
He was also happy to pose with Elle Macpherson, who launched the carrier’s new uniforms yesterday (above).
Taken on Feb. 24th, 2011 at 21:41
|PASSENGERS on board Korean Air’s new A380, which debuted last Fri between Incheon and Tokyo, were able to enjoy yet another superjumbo first.
KE has outfitted the plane with the A380’s first ever in-sky shopping area for duty free (pictured), located at the rear part of the lower deck. The retail area features a range of products, because “customers want to see, touch and feel the products, particularly cosmetics, on their shopping lists before they decide on the purchase,” according to KE spokesperson Suh Kang-yoon.
|There’s been some breathless speculation about an odd white box which has appeared on the demonstration A380’s fuselage among its proud display of airline users. The logos are listed in alphabetical order (pictured), and the blanked out spot appears between Etihad and KLM. It’s believed that the white block covers the identity of an airline set to announce a new A380 order in conjunction with Airbus, with the most likely carrier with suitable initials being Hainan Airlines sister carrier, Hong Kong Airlines.|
|AIRASIA ceo Tony Fernandes gave his Twitter followers a unique insight into extremely big business last week. Just before signing the biggest ever airline deal with Airbus, for the delivery of 200 A320 aircraft, Fernandes took a photo of the contract (pictured), posting it online with the comment: “This piece is [worth] 18 billion dollars”.|
|THE dire straits of the Japanese aviation market are starkly illustrated in the picture below sent in by an avid TD reader.
No – the aircraft pictured isn’t on the ground awaiting boarding, but is actually a Japan Airlines domestic service in flight from Narita to Fukuoka earlier this month, with the family of TD’s spy the only passengers on board.
|At the official launch of Richard Branson and Brett Godfrey’s new Makepeace Island resort at Noosa on Sat Branson was in typically fine form saying that he hoped the romantic and relaxing setting created on Makepeace Island might lead some guests to rename it as “Make love” island. And there’s plenty of room for hanky panky in the Makepeace Island baths. Each one is apparently created from a single rock – reminiscent of Nero’s bath (pictured here) in the Vatican collection which is carved from porphyry and reputedly valued at more than $100 million.|
|Richard and Brett’s hopefully somewhat cheaper version.|
|ACCOR encouraged a number of celebrities to cuddle up last Fri, as part of a celebration in Sydney’s Martin Place to celebrate the hotel group’s 20th year in Australia. The antics included an intriguing menage-a-quatre (pictured) which saw Channel 7’s Sunrise team of Natalie Barr, Melissa Doyle, David Koch and Simon Reeves publicly sharing an Accor King Leisure bed.|
|HAYMAN Island is set to make a culinary splash when it reopens next week, if a lunch in Sydney on Fri is any indication. Guests were treated to some of the fantastic food creations of the resort’s executive chef Glenn Bacon, with highlights including sorbet served in a giant ice teardrop (above) – just before the ultimate dessert was served; a mysterious white chocolate sphere which exposed sorbet and a strawberry on a popping candy cheesecake base when hot strawberry sauce was poured on top, as shown in these before and after pics.|
|LET’S hope most Chinese tour buses are a bit better than this.
Passengers on board a bus in the city of Shaoyang in China’s Hunan province had a very exciting ride after the back wheels of the vehicle fell off. The driver noticed a bit of a bump, but thought he had just hit a pothole and was driving back to the depot to have the suspension checked (pictured). Passengers at the rear of the bus figured out that something was really wrong when, as well as developing a decided lean, the floor of the bus started to glow red hot as it scraped along the road surface.
|WE’VE heard of a seafood dinner, but this is ridiculous.
Guests recently staying overnight at Fantasea Adventure Cruising’s unique ReefSleep experience in the Whitsundays had an unexpected friend drop in – just in time for a quick bite. ‘George’ the Giant Queensland Grouper gatecrashed their meal in the amazing underwater viewing observatory on Hardy Reef (pictured), which is located 51 miles off the coast of Airlie Beach – and luckily one of the guests in the floating accommodation had a camera to capture the moment. George is about 3 metres long and weighs about 400kg – meaning he’d make a tasty fish dish for about 1000 people.
|TRAVELSCENE Holidays National Sales Manager Melissa Watt was in fine form over the weekend.
With her entourage of sales agents she stood on stage in front of 430 Travelscene consultants at their conference (TD Mon) – but her friendly staff had their backs to the group. She proceeded to tell attendees that the agents on stage are “ telephone sales consultants so we cannot show you their faces” (pictured). They waved backwards – just like the dentist ad featured on television all those years ago.
|BOEING truly put its new 747-8 Freighter aircraft on the map during a test flight last week.
The 17-hour journey across the continental USA saw the aircraft fly over states including Washington, Montana, North Dakota, California, New Mexico and Oklahoma. When the plane’s track was superimposed over a US map by aviation website FlightAware (pictured) it clearly spelled out the numbers 7-4-7.
|TOURISM officials in Qatar have announced the development of a $500m “floating resort”.
Dubbed the Amphibious 1000, the project will include four large hotels and 80 four-storey self-contained floating suites – each with an underwater “aquarium lounge” (pictured). The property will be developed in a marine reserve, with the designer, Italian firm Giancarlo Zema, promising it will be in “harmony with nature”.
|RAILWAY authorities in China have come up with a unique way to reduce the frustrations of stressed-out commuters on the Beijing metro. Massive punching bags (pictured) have been installed at several stations, with the aim of getting delayed travellers to vent their spleen on the inanimate objects rather than on train staff. The bags are emblazoned with a reminder that “each year, you will spend about 1824 minutes waiting at stops. “Don’t waste time, please have a few punches on our pressure-releasing pillars,” they say. A train guard on the subway welcomed the move, saying “As long as they’re punching them and not us, I’m happy”.|
|HOW about this for an adventure holiday? A Victorian man is planning to test out a special new ‘tsunami survival capsule’ by hopping inside it and plunging over Niagara Falls in the northeastern United States. Steve Stone from Wodonga has agreed to take part in an experiment undertaken by a friend of his, Boeing engineer Julian Sharpe, who has been inspired by tales of survival from the Japanese tsunami this year. The most common cause of death in such a disaster is apparently being crushed by debris rather than drowning, and Sharpe has come up with a “spherical, brightly coloured design” (looking pretty much like a giant orange as in the artist’s impression below) which can withstand the force of large floating objects. NASA will test out the design before the ultimate trial, involving Stone, Sharpe and two other people taking the Niagara plunge together. The adventure seekers said they weren’t sure their stunt would be covered by travel insurance.|
|THE latest in-flight safety move by British carrier Virgin Atlantic is a tongue-in-cheek alert which is being added to some of its tear- jerker in-flight movies. The ‘Emotional Health Warning’ (pictured) is used to advise viewers that the film they’re about to watch could make them “cry, weep, sob, wail, howl, bawl, bleat or mewl,” adding that they need to have tissues at the ready, or even be prepared to “press the call button for a shoulder to cry on”. The thoughtful initiative follows a recent VS survey which found that 41% of male flyers hid under blankets to hide their tears when watching a sad film.|
|AMERICANS are renowned for their wide and varied palates when it comes to sweet and savoury foods.
Peanut butter flavoured treats are very common and pretzel flavoured M&Ms are starting to make an appearance in stores, but as far as unusual treats go, this one really takes the cake. Spotted by TD yesterday in Honolulu at the Hilo Hattie Hawaiiana outlet were the tasty delights pictured here – SPAM flavoured Macadamia nuts.
|THE Japanese really have thought of everything. Participants in this week’s Globus Back to Japan famil were shown why the streets of Kyoto are so free of the scourge of public urination. Householders place a small picture of a Shinto shrine in front of their homes (pictured), which apparently has the effect of shaming any men with bursting bladders who might be tempted to take a cheeky wee on the road.|
|Could you see Jules Lund’s jeans (pictured below) up in your office boardroom?
They’ve probably sat on many flights in business class, although at Sat night’s Jeans for Genes Gala Dinner in Syd, the Getaway host’s denim artwork fetched only $1,500 in the live auction, the lowest bid received of the eight celebrity jeans on show. No stranger to the travel industry, Lund could have probably raised a lot more for his threads at the NTIA.
|TRAVELLERS on Fantasea Adventure Cruising trips to Reefworld off the coast of Qld next Mon will have a truly piratical experience, with crew set to celebrate “International Talk like a Pirate Day”. They will dress in their pirate best and there will be lots of A-Harr-ing, parrots on shoulders and wooden legs – while kids on board will also get to join the fun with free fairy floss and popcorn along with lots of free Reefworld activities incl semi-submarine and waterslide rides. Fantasea pirate Remo Di Benedetto is pictured getting into the swing of things.|
|US LOW cost carrier Frontier Airlines (whose tail fin livery depicts images of animals) is letting its ‘spokesanimals’ discover the world through a new advertising campaign.
The promo sees ‘Grizwald the Bear, Jack the Rabbit, Larry the Lynx and the Gang’ come off the aircraft to explore the world. The carrier uses over 60 animals across its fleet, created to represent the airline’s character, committment to service & humour. VP of marketing and sales Jim Reichart said that the decision to take the characters off the aircraft and into the world was not made lightly. “As all of our marketing resources need to work a little harder these days, we felt it was okay for the spokesanimals to work a little harder too,” he said.
|Iconic ski resort Breckenridge in the USA is celebrating everything fifty in a special 50 Days of Giveaways incentive. The upcoming winter season will be Breckenridge’s 50th, and free prizes are up for grabs every day on its Facebook page until the 01 Nov official opening. The Travel Daily team joined the diamond jubilee party, receiving the tasty morsel at right yesterday to help with the celebrations. Needless to say, we were on a spectacular sugar high for the rest of the day.|
|TRAVELZOO conducted an intriguing experiment in social media yesterday. One of the firm’s producers, Catherine Mah, baked some fascinating (and delicious) “Brain Slug” cupcakes for the team. Most were quickly devoured but there was one left, which Travelzoo decided to offer via Facebook to a subscriber who was in the Sydney CBD. Despite pouring rain yesterday an intrepid Travelzoo member hiked down to Circular Quay to pick up the spoils (pictured). Travelzoo marketing mgr, John Prince, told TD it was “just another way to harness social media to enhance user engagement with our brand!”|
|FRASER Island is set to experience a dream come true tomorrow, when the Qld destination is “immortalised in print and latex” – in the form of a $2 instant scratch lottery ticket. There are three versions of the ‘Island Dream’ scratchies (pictured), with Kingfisher Bay Resort comms mgr Jodi Clark telling TD: “There’s a Fraser Island thrill in every one!”.|
|VIRGIN Atlantic has announced the end of an era, with the phasing out of its “highly collectible” Upper Class onboard salt and pepper shakers. Introduced 12 years ago, VS says thousands of the items have since ‘disappeared,’ with a thriving eBay trade valuing them at up to £20 (AU$32) each. They’re being replaced as part of an upgrade of the cutlery and dining ware on the Upper Class fleet, with the airline expecting a “last minute rush when fans realise that their supply is coming to an end”. They even say ‘Pinched from
Virgin Atlantic’ on the bottom.
|A WOMAN visiting a tourist attraction in China has scaled a 22m high wall in order to avoid paying the $3.50 admission fee. Zhonghua Gate Castle, near Nanjing, is a popular site for locals and overseas visitors alike, and other guests said they were shocked to see Ma Jei complete the feat without any ropes or safety equipment. However some onlookers who attempted to copy her weren’t so adroit, with two tourists falling from the wall and breaking their legs, while at least three others had to be rescued by emergency workers. “She ran up the wall like a goat and made it look easy,” said an eyewitness. “But when people tried it for themselves they found it wasn’t quite as simple as they thought,” he added. It later transpired that the woman was a local who had been climbing the wall since childhood, and had never paid to enter the castle’s grounds.|
|WITH Rugby World Cup fever reaching a frenzy in New Zealand, visitors arriving in the nation’s capital Wellington are being inspired (or intimidated) by a gigantic Hollywood-style sign erected above the city. The ALL BLACKS wording (pictured) is the size of a Boeing 737, and is clearly visible from the air as visitors land. Airport officials had originally planned to tout the city’s credentials as the “film capital of New Zealand” with a giant WELLYWOOD sign, but this plan sparked widespread protest. Instead they’ve erected the temporary ALL BLACKS sign, with expectations that there can’t be too much opposition to the move from rugby-mad Kiwis.|
|THE voting campaign for the New Seven Wonders of Nature is approaching a climax, with tourism bodies around the world urging a last minute push in the lead-up to the final deadline of 11th Nov 2011. However a special map on the voting site at new7wonders.com reveals some geographic difficulties – particularly when it comes to Australasian entrants. Tracking the voting in recent days, candidate attractions are highlighted in either red or green depending on the trends – but unfortunately shows that New Zealand’s spectacular Milford Sound is actually located in Tasmania (pictured).|
|A RESTAURANT in Michigan, USA has created a new meal which is a tourist attraction in its own right.
The Absolutely Ridiculous Burger, available at Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar, weighs about 154kg and you definitely have to order it ahead, because it takes 22 hours to cook. The world record-breaking burger contains more than half a million calories and includes 15kg of bacon, 18kg of cheese and 7.5kg of lettuce. The eatery’s manager, Jason Jones, said the massive meal costs US$2000 – but that includes fries and a drink.
|A RECURRING theme at the Travellers Choice conference in Singapore over the weekend was a “mankini” supposedly owned by md Gary Allomes.
At a cocktail party on the first night he apologised that he wouldn’t be able to take a dip in the spectacular rooftop pool of the Marina Bay Sands resort because his alluring one-piece had shrunk in the wash. Fortunately TD has managed to use digital technology to provide an impression of what Allomes would look like had he worn the comely cossie.
|THIS chap probably has a bit of trouble getting through airport security checkpoints.
52-year-old Rolf Bucholz from Germany has been named in the latest edition of the Guinness World Records as the “World’s Most Pierced Man”. Bucholz, pictured, carries a lot of metal around, with 453 piercings in total including 25 in his eyebrows and eight in his nose. Reports also confirm that he’s carrying a lot of excess baggage below the waist, with a whopping 278 piercings in his “genital area”.
|WE don’t usually do birth announcements, but this one is pretty special. Strategic Airlines – now rebranded as Air Australia experienced two major arrivals overnight. As well as the landing of its newly-liveried aircraft, the airline’s owner Michael James and his wife also experienced the birth of a new daughter at 3.55am this morning (pictured). Baby Erica Charlie James is their fourth child and arrived safely in the world weighing 3.9kg (8 pounds ten ounces). So it’s been an exhausting night and day for James, who after a sleepless night held a major media conference at 11am to launch the new brand, and will tonight host a supplier event to toast the arrivals.|
|COMING to a First Class cabin near you?
A British dairy has launched what’s being claimed as the world’s most expensive cheese – a White Stilton infused with edible gold leaf and gold liqueur. It’s made by a Leicestershire firm called Long Clawson, with the tasty treat (pictured) costing over $1000 per kilo. The product has been created in a limited run for the Christmas market, with a spokesperson for the dairy confirming it had received enquiries about the treat from a famous pop star as well as a Gulf-based oil sheikh.
|THE Mantra Pandanas in Darwin is pretty thrilled at becoming the “Hotel One” home base for US President Barack Obama during his long-awaited visit to Australia last week. TD has received lots of details about the president’s stay, including the necessity to have special communications dishes installed on the hotel roof, security lock-downs on several floors of the property which will show a healthy occupancy rate this month after almost all of its 336 rooms were booked by the US delegation. There are sure to be lots of souvenir happy snaps too – including the one below which shows Mantra Group area gm NT David Brill with Frank Urbancic from the Consulate- General of the United States. And the priceless document they’re holding is none other than President Obama’s official crocodile insurance policy, specially framed after his visit to the Top End.|
|TODAY’S Smartraveller launch saw a range of technology initiatives unveiled, including a super-fast mobile-enabled website. The new smartraveller.gov.au automatically detects a smartphone and makes it very easy to find out travel advice for various countries, register with DFAT and get relevant travel tips. To push home the message at the launch, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd also unveiled some promotional cupcakes – complete with a “QR code” which directs to the site (below). In keeping with our mission to fully inform the industry, TD tested the code and confirms that it worked perfectly – as well as sampling the cake which we can testify was delicious!|
|Things really started to
heat up last night at a function
hosted by Air New Zealand,
Virgin Australia and Etihad to
celebrate their alliance.
The event included a rooftop
barbecue at the Air NZ office in
Sydney – and unfortunately
some of the smoke drifted into
an alarm, meaning the fire
brigade turned up.
However the firey’s time
wasn’t wasted, because they
were enlisted to pose for a
series of photos while they
made sure there was no blaze.
Pictured here are some of
the airline staffers with their
obliging hunky new friends.
|CHRISTCHURCH is continuing to rise from the rubble of the earthquakes earlier this year – and to help it along the owners of the Pen-y-bryn Lodge in Oamaru have painstakingly created a gingerbread replica of the city’s iconic cathedral. James Boussy and James Glucksman have spent over 100 hours designing, baking, assembling and icing their creation – paying homage to the building which is set to be partly demolished “and will never look the same again”. They’re charging a minimum $10 for an appointment-only viewing of the gingerbread cathedral – but TD readers can have a sneak peek here.|
|A TEENAGE girl in the USA has truly become a fashion victim, after being detained by the Transportation Security Administration because of the design on her handbag. 17-year-old Vanessa Gibbs is pictured below with her now infamous pistol purse, which the TSA says aroused alarm because it could be interpreted as a “replica weapon”.|
|FLIGHT Centre md Graham Turner may have a tender gluteus maximus this week, after taking part in the inaugural “Sore Bums Challenge” run by travel recruitment firm Employment Office (TD 30 Nov). The event saw Turner along with former Virgin Blue ceo Brett Godfrey and other riders pedal more than 2000km on a stationary bicycle – all in the aid of raising money for research into diabetes. Turner is pictured here concentrating hard during his stint on the bike.|
|GOOD sports got together at Mantra South Bank in Brisbane this week, with the property hosting the Australian cricket team during their test drubbing of New Zealand. But it wasn’t all about cricket, with Nathan Lyon and Michael Clarke catching up with Mantra ambassador and former Aussie tennis great Pat Rafter. The trio are pictured below – but unfortunately they couldn’t actually chat because Rafter’s appearance during their visit was only in the form of a cardboard cutout.|
|SOME airline passengers clearly don’t listen to the evacuation procedures advised to them by flight crew before take-off. On Fri, a Cathay Pacific flight from Shanghai Pu Dong to Hong Kong with 351 pax and 19 crew was readying for lift off when smoke appeared in the cabin. The plane’s captain responded to the situation by ordering the 747-400 to be evacuated, with safety ramps deployed. A number of passengers and crew received minor injuries during the evacuation process when landing on the tarmac. But a photo doing the rounds online from the evacuation shows some pax defying the command of leave your bags behind. As can be seen (inset), one pax is nursing an array of carry-on bags – perhaps some not to be left behind Christmas shopping?|
|VIRGIN airport elves are giving passengers the chance to avoid papercuts and lost sticky tape dramas, with the introduction of gift wrapping services at London Heathrow airport. Virgin Atlantic has set itself up at Heathrow to offer a last minute present wrapping kiosk, where gifts can be decorated with ribbons, large bows & gift cards. 50,000 passengers travelling with Virgin Atlantic are expected to use the service over the 21st, 22nd and 23rd Dec.|
|COMING soon to luxury hotels or first class aircraft rest rooms? A Japanese toilet maker has teamed up with Austrian jeweller Swarovski to create the ultimate in bathroom bling. The dazzling dunny made by INAX (pictured below) is studded with more than 72,000 Swarovski crystals and is now on display in Tokyo’s upmarket Ginza shopping district. A spokesperson for the firm said the crystal commode had been created to please the “god of toilets”. “In Japan we believe a deity exists in the toilet. That’s why keeping toilets clean and taking good care of it have been a Japanese custom since long ago,” he added. The lustrous lavatory is estimated to be worth about 10 million yen ($170,000) – but is so sparklingly special that it’s definitely not for sale.|
|THE latest tourist attraction in Austria is a “museum of failed inventions.” Fritz Gall, who is himself an unsuccessful inventor, came up with the idea after holding a “fair for rubbish inventions” which attracted over 5000 entries. Wacky exhibits at the Museum of Nonsense in Herrnbaumgarten include a padded rolling pin (to meet safety standards), pencils with no lead (for cautious civil servants) and a bristleless toothbrush (for people with no teeth) One of the popular brainwaves is a “portable anonymyser” (pictured) – a piece of black card on a stick to allow people to keep their identity secret.|
|TRAVELLERS to France or Belgium this month can enjoy a truly intergalactic culinary experience, with the launch of new Star Wars themed burgers by fast food chain Quick. Guests can show which side of the Force they prefer by selecting either a normal-looking Jedi burger or a “Dark Vador” burger in which the bun is coloured a disgusting black. The company said that although the Sith version (pictured below) looks like it’s been badly burned, it’s actually quite edible, having just been dyed.|
|THE US Transportation Security Administration has come under fire once again for being too heavy-handed, after officers confiscated some cupcakes at an airport checkpoint in Las Vegas just before Christmas. It sounds extreme, and it wasn’t because the treats had some savage weaponry secreted inside them. In fact the confiscated items were a disgustingly sweet delight called a “cupcake in a jar” (pictured below) which sees them packed inside a jar filled with icing. That meant they fell foul of the liquids, aerosols and gels rules which prohibit liquids amounting to more than 100ml.|
|BIG news – Virgin Atlantic has new salt and pepper shakers.
The new cruets (below) are designed in the shape of cocktail shakers, with the innovation following the phasing out of the previous highly collectible shakers which were in the form of little planes (TD 07 Oct) and are popular on eBay. Virgin Atlantic said that in order to ensure the new pots are not pinched, cabin crew will make sure they are collected after each meal service.
|TRAVEL.COM.AU general manager, Helen Demetriou, is already well known in the travel industry, but is now set for a significantly higher public profile. Demetriou is one of the ‘Greek Cypriot siblings’ team in the upcoming season of channel 7 reality show My Kitchen Rules. MKR, currently being heavily promoted during the Australian Open Tennis, features groups from each state plus NZ, with Demetriou (below) taking part with her brother Steve and representing NSW in the “ultimate home cooking battle”.|
|TOURISM authorities in the US state of Kentucky have kicked off their 2012 marketing campaign with the launch of a new edition of the Official Kentucky Visitors Guide. Themed ‘There’s Only One’, the promotion focuses on the one-of-a-kind attractions that exist only in Kentucky. It’s already being received with enthusiasm by lots of the locals – including a famous race horse called Funny Cide (winner of the 2003 Kentucky Derby) who’s pictured right putting his official ‘Hoof-ograph’ on a special horse-sized version.|
|WILD Life Sydney is making the most of Australia Day, sending out photos of some of its “residents” (below) enjoying a quintessential Aussie picnic. Visitors to the Merlin attraction tomorrow can see the real life coat of arms – wild-life.com.au.|
|TAIPEI-based EVA Airways is showing how to make a big impact in the Asian leisure travel market – use cartoon character-themed aircraft. The carrier has announced that from this month every single EVA flight from Taipei to Guam will be on special Hello Kitty jets. The A330-300s (below) carry images of the famous feline from “wing to wing, cockpit to tail” and if that’s not enough, the cabin also features Hello Kitty seats, headrests, inflight meals and even flight attendant uniforms. The Guam market for EVA has grown 40% in the last year.|
|QANTAS has attracted quirky headlines around the world this week, after passengers aboard a 767 which diverted to Mount Isa disembarked the aircraft with the help of a forklift. The diversion was due toreports of smoke in the cabin – but in fact it turns out the issue was actually a really stinky nappy which had been dumped in the forward toilet. Crew were worried that the offensive smell was related to a sewage leak which could have affected the plane’s electrics, and so as a safety measure the aircraft landed at the Central Queensland airport which didn’t have any suitable stairs for the Boeing wide-body. All’s well that ends well – and passengers on board praised the safety-first attitude of the crew as well as the generosity of Qantas which looked after them well on the ground including feeding them by “cleaning out Mt Isa of pizzas”.|
|GUESTS at a Universal Studios function in Sydney yesterday (see p5) were really able to channel their inner children. Because the event was to launch the new Transformers ride at Universal Hollywood, each table had some Lego Transformer toys, and some attendees just couldn’t help themselves. TD spotted Darren Evans from Qantas Holidays (pictured) delightedly picking up the Transformer on his table – which promptly broke into pieces before he managed to fix it.|
|WATER monsters are real? A cameraman is claiming to have captured proof of the existence of the legendary Icelandic lake serpent Lagarfljót’s Worm, whilst filming at its supposed place of residence, the river Jökuls´ í Fljótsdal, in east Iceland. In parts of Northern Europe, the worm is held in the same kind of esteem as the Loch Ness Monster, and is mentioned in Icelandic legends as far back as 1345. Unfortunately for the cameraman, according to legend, sightings of the serpent are usually a bad omen.|
|GREAT Barrier Reef tour operator Passions of Paradise has had a major social and mainstream media success, using Facebook (along with Channel 7) to reunite a lost camera with its grateful owner. Sydney-based Annie Thompson lost her camera at Bondi Beach on New Year’s Eve, and unfortunately it contained all the treasured photos from her recent holiday of a lifetime in Tropical North Queensland. During her trip she had gone diving for the first time with Passions of Paradise, and when the camera was found by Sydney resident Rob Rekiel he recognised the dive specialist’s catamaran in one of the pictures so he posted it 2400km north to the Cairns company. “We launched a search on Facebook which was picked up by the media, and Annie responded after the story was aired on Sunrise,” said Passions of Paradise’s Adam O’Malley. He returned the camera to Annie during a holiday to Sydney this week, with a ceremonial handover on Bondi Beach (below) broadcast to a national audience on Sunrise.|
|HERE’S something you don’t see every day – a Virgin Australia 737 covered in snow (below).
The DJ Facebook page is currently featuring a series of photos of its newest Boeing 737 VH-YIF, which faced freezing conditions in Seattle prior to its official handover. Pre-delivery test flights had to be delayed because of the low temperatures – but apparently now “Sorrento Beach” (as she has been named) is enjoying warmer conditions in Australia.
|IT was a good day in the Qantas Operations Centre on Tue, when TD was given a sneak peek at how things run by QF head of operations Alan Milne. The centre, which coordinates the departure of every Qantas flight (among many other things) has large monitors which display the on-time status of the network – and as the pic below attests, things were running very smoothly, with 100% on time departures and arrivals for the day right across the country.|
|TD’S Qantas visit also included a tour of the training centre where crew are regularly assessed on their proficiency at responding to emergencies on board. As well as cabin doors so they can practice some fairly scary evacuation drills, there’s a large pool to try inflating liferafts, and examples of all the equipment on board – such as the 767 survival kit below which has all the necessities – complete with a Tom Hanks-style Castaway volleyball named Wilson.|
|DURING a recent Boeing 787 extended test flight the pilots kept themselves amused by tracing a gigantic logo across several thousand miles of the North American continent. The flight path for the 19 hour journey, now visible on website flightaware.com (below) shows the jet tracking a gigantic 787 followed by a Boeing logo. Boeing vp of marketing, Randy Tinseth, said the trip “wasn’t a joy ride” but was an 18 hour Maximum ETOPS Duration flight test for a 787-8 with GE engines.|
|HOW nifty is this?
The in-flight entertainment system on the new Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER even allows passengers to plan their time on board. As well as hundreds of movies, CDs and games, the system includes live updates on the screen which tell you when dinner time is coming up. As pictured below, a status message appears while you’re watching to keep you informed, telling you (just like mum) that your meal will be served in about half an hour.
|SAN FRANCISCO’S iconic Golden Gate Bridge probably never thought it would be sharing its birthday celebrations with SPAM – the tinned meat product. The mystery meat is celebrating its 75th anniversary by introducing Sir Can-A-Lot – it’s first “spokescharacter”. Sir Can-A-Lot (pictured below) is a 6cm tall knight in shining armour, whose stated mission is to “rescue the world from routine and boring meals”.|
|PRISCILLA Queen of the Desert headliner Guy Pearce is set to star in his latest role…as a wax sculpture at the soon-to-be-opened Madame Tussauds at Sydney’s Darling Harbour. Pearce will be depicted in all his drag-queen feathery splendour from the hit film, and said he was thrilled to be included, joking that trying to hold the pose “in my 40s is a lot more difficult than in my 20s”.|
|AVOCA Markets on the NSW Central Coast recently received a taste of “Green Thunder,” when Carnival Cruise Lines took its world record breaking 30m slip and slide to the beachside destination. It’s all about building the ancticipation for the debut of Carnival Spirit’s new ‘Green Thunder’ which is the “steepest and fastest waterslide at sea” and will be on offer for Aussie cruisers when the ship starts her Australian deployment in Oct. Angus Mackay, Carnival’s Business Partnership Manager for Northern NSW, visited local travel agents in advance of the roll-out of the slip & slide which has also seen action this summer at Sydney’s Dee Why and Cronulla beaches. Mackay (pictured) was quite a vision for the consultants he called on, fully decked out in his idea of the perfect Slip & Slide costume.|
|FOR those of us struggling to stay afloat with the latest technological terms being used ad nauseum by the younger generations, Port Stephens Beachside Holiday Parks have launched a new “MySpace” brochure encouraging us to turn off our computers and reacquaint ourselves with more literal meanings of these terms. Using lines such as “Hear real birds tweeting” and “Let the kids shout ‘Wiiiiii’ instead of playing on the Nintendo Wii”, the brochure makes no apologies for the puns used, and aims to get us to put down our iPhones, iPads and iPods, reconnect with “real friends”, and “play a game of tennis over a real net instead of a virtual game of tennis over the net”. Pictured below are two examples from the campaign.|
|HOW about this for product placement?
Proving the adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, The Travel Corporation’s Contiki brand got a bit of unexpected exposure yesterday when one of its buses broke down right in the middle of Sydney. The bus, pictured below, was spotted by TD under repair blocking traffic in the centre of George Street, one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares.
|INDUSTRY icon Phil Hoffmann is capitalising on his surname, an abbreviated version anyway, and made famous by the Knight Rider & Baywatch TV star and singing sensation – the Hoff. This week the Twitter account of Phil Hoffmann Travel in South Australia tweeted – “There’s no hassle when you travel with the HOFF!!” The tweet was accompanied by the below image, clearly pointing out who is the travel expert.|
|HOLIDAY home booking website Stayz this week celebrated its tenth birthday, and TD was part of the celebrations. From humble beginnings in the back yard of a “dedicated holiday rental owner,” the company was acquired by media giant Fairfax in 2005 and has grown significantly, claiming a unique audience of 767,000 holidaymakers per month. Last year Stayz handled 2.7m holiday enquiries and saw a 188% rise in bookings between 2006 and 2012. All of which was a pretty good excuse to send some cupcakes to the TD office (below) which we can testify were delicious!|
|CREATIVE Holidays gm Andrew Yell really showed off his gourmet expertise in a cooking class as part of the Travel Corporation Mega Famil yesterday. However he also showed he’s a man of many tastes on board the Trafalgar coach (below), where he kept famil participants’ energy up by offering them some only-in- America tasty cheese balls – just $5 for this huge barrel of nutritious goodness.|
|PARTICIPANTS in the Insight Vacations group on the Travel Corporation Mega Famil this week have really enjoyed a wide selection of premium highlights. But for TD it was hard to top a special dinner in San Francisco’s Chinatown at the famous top class Tommy Toy restaurant. The food was amazing – but so was the “wall of fame” showing off some of the many celebrities who have dined there – including Lone Wolf McQuade -, the one and only – martial arts expert/ actor Chuck Norris, pictured right with the late Tommy Toy himself.|
|Hertz have teamed up with Premiere Velocity to now offer the ultrasleek McLaren MP4-12C for customers visiting the UK. You can bet the insurance on renting this would be high, as the car retails at $229,000 – and that’s the starting price for the base model (pictured).|
|CANADIAN carrier Westjet yesterday announced a new product innovation sure to be welcomed by many travellers craving a peaceful flight. Dubbed “Kargo Kids,” the initiative will see some Westjet services operate with child-free cabins, with younger travellers instead accommodated in the cargo hold where they will have lots of toys, a supervisor and a “state of the art feed trough”. It will also help improve the airport experience for parents, who can enjoy some serenity after their kids are dispatched at check-in on their “travel toboggan” (pictured). It’s of course an April Fool’s joke – for full details see traveldaily.com.au/videos.|
|VIRGIN Group also made the most of 01 Apr, with Sir Richard Branson launching a new Virgin Volcanic vehicle to take tourists to the centre of the earth. Customers for the US$1m trip are said to include actor Tom Hanks, with the service using heat-resistant materials to plunge three passengers into the “molten lava core of an active volcano”.|
|THE Stamford Grand Hotel in Adelaide has really taken up the Easter spirit, with its Director of Food & Beverage, Paul Brown, creating what’s being claimed as the biggest chocolate egg in Australia. The massive confection, pictured below, is made from South Australia’s own Haig’s chocolate and weighs in at a cholesterol-busting 60kg. The egg is 2.2m tall and is naturally creating great excitement among younger (and older) guests when they see it in the hotel lobby. What we’re all wondering is where the hotel will be able to hide the titanic treat for an Easter egg hunt on Sunday.|
|TALK about star power!
China Southern Airlines has signed someone who looks suspiciously like George Gregan to run a new Sydney-based customer contact centre and social media program. CZ Regional manager Australia/NZ Henry He admitted he doesn’t know much about rugby, “but everyone tells me that just getting a George Gregan lookalike on our team amounts to a huge plus in this part of the world.” Azad Rehman has joined China Southern from his previous role with Air New Zealand – and unlike his rugby champion clone is an avowed All Black (and thus doesn’t want the pic below widely disseminated in NZ!) “If I can bring to China Southern’s call centre and social media operations a fraction of what George Gregan brought to the Wallabies – even against the mighty All Blacks – then we’ll be very quickly across the try line,” Rehman quipped.
|THE next salvo in the ongoing battle over which gender is the better driver has been fired, with a US woman somehow managing to crash her car into a telegraph pole…in the middle of the New Mexico desert. The car suffered damage while the 6m high power pole was snapped halfway up. The driver suffered no life-threatening injuries, although has been taken to hospital for precautionary measures and undoubtedly extensive testing on her eyesight.|
|ABU DHABI received some great exposure when channel 7’s Sunrise breakfast show weather presenter Grant Denyer took part in a special drive day at the Yas Marina circuit during a week of live broadcasts from the emirate last week. Joining him behind the wheel was Aussie Socceroos captain Lucas Neill, who currently plays for UAE football team Al Jazira, and who was very much on message, describing Abu Dhabi as a “holiday you never want to leave”. The pair are pictured below as Denyer tries to protect his racecar from the soccer superstar.|
|BREAKING news – Perth has disappeared from the Emirates route network map. TD noticed the major change to EK’s Australian operations during a visit to its global head office in Dubai yesterday (p1). The HQ features a massive world map with Lego-style
markers indicating the EK network of 123 destinations – and of course because the carrier is growing so fast new indicators must be able to be
added quickly – or pinched, as apparently occurred in the case of Perth (pictured below). EK spokesman Matt Howard confirmed that indeed someone had stolen the Perth marker but the WA capital is definitely still part of the global network.
|DUBAI Tourism’s Carlah Walton has certainly acquired a taste for the destination. TD spotted her on the DTCM stand at Arabian Travel Market yesterday quaffing a delicious Dubai Cola. The refreshing beverage, clearly designed for Middle Eastern palates, is infused with a special blend of date flavours, as Carlah is pointing out below.|
|WHAT started as a small group of guys in blue wigs attending a State of Origin match in 1999 who called themselves “Blatchy’s Blues” has turned into an annual rite of passage which is now catching on in the travel industry. P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel vessel, which sails from Sydney, has nailed its colours to its mast…almost literally, if it had a mast, by sporting a giant Blatchy wig (below),proudly declaring it is a NSW Blues fan as it prepares to broadcast the game live to guests on board tonight. Sister ships Pacific Pearl and Pacific Dawn will also show the game, however as the Dawn sails from Brisbane, one imagines it will be decked in another colour.|
|A B&B in the New Zealand township of Tasman near Nelson has been named the country’s most unusual place to stay. Reminiscent of Old Mother Hubbard, the accommodation consists of a “size 318 boot” and is billed as “Romantic, Fairytale Accommodation”. “The Boot” (pictured below) is said to be just a hop, skip and a jump from nearby attractions including beaches, golf courses, galleries and wineries, and has been created with the philosophy “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing humorously”.|
|THIS is what we call rolling out the welcome mat.
Travellers arriving on Qantas flights into Dallas/Fort Worth airport in the USA should keep their eyes peeled for a massive advertisement which is being announced today. US carrier Jet Blue, which started a new Boston-DFW route last month, has created a five acre “art” installation celebrating the services, as well as promoting a new TV series. The TNT network has created a 2012 version of the popular 70s show “Dallas” and the joint JetBlue/TNT “Earthwork” promotion (below) touts a “Dallas-size welcome” for passengers.
|THERE’S no doubt about the importance of aviation to the northern German city of Hamburg.
During a visit last week courtesy of THAI Airways, we couldn’t help noticing the item pictured below on sale at the airport duty free shop. That’s right – it’s a special “Airbus Collection” pack of Kinder Surprise children’s chocolate.
|QANTAS’ new You’re the reason we fly tagline is proving to be a major success, with thousands of consumers already registering for the campaign via the special smartphone app (TD 28 Jun). But an airline blog has pointed out that it’s not exactly original – the same slogan was used by the now defunct Carnival Air Lines, as shown below in a 1995 ad from Florida’s Boca Raton News.|
|THERE’S a hole in the glass…
A section of Dubai Mall was forced to be evactuated recently after the Dubai Aquarium sprung a bit of a leak. Although police and the fire brigade attended the situation as a precaution, the aquarium’s maintenance team promptly fixed the leak without causing any damage to tank inhabitants or shopping centre patrons. But not before the photo below was snapped by an eyewitness…
|VIRGIN America has a new pet ambassador in Boo, the world’s cutest dog according to Facebook and Twitter, with the 6-year old Pomeranian accepting a position as VX’s Official Pet Liaison. Boo has an army of social media fans & followers thanks to a mention on Khloe Kardashian’s blog after the socialite discovered Boo’s Facebook profile in 2010. Photos of the Pomeranian on one of VX’s aircraft in San Francisco have since appeared on Virgin’s Facebook page. For more photos of Boo or to add yourself to his 4.7m fans visit www.bit.ly/boovx.|
|NOW this is a room with a view.
An increasingly popular trend known as “glamping” (essentially luxury camping) took on a new twist from Hotels.com today with the unveiling of the ‘Welcome Rewards Ultimate Glamping Experience’ by Hotels.com. Four lucky competition winners experienced glamping for themselves with a luxury camp set-up near the Sydney Opera House and Government House for the night, enjoying gourmet meals cooked by a personal chef & spa treatments and all the homely comforts of the Citygate Central Hotel.
|IS THIS a before and after shot of the human race?
Not quite, it’s Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s ceo Rob Giason, who was snapped chatting, or “interacting” with Robo Rocker, one of the mascots promoting the upcoming Cairns Festival, which begins this Fri. Robo Rocker and his technical cohorts will take over local shopping centre Cairns Central, keeping kids entertained with their robotic antics. The festival is supported and presented by Cairns Regional Council – www.cairnsfest.com.au.
|HILTON Hotels & Resorts has informally entered the fashion industry with the unveiling of stylish limited-edition “Water Dragon” slippers, created to mark the first anniversary of the hotel’s global welcome program for Chinese travellers. Designed by leading fashionista Vivienne Tam, the “signature slippers” which signify “harmony, optimism and fulfilment” will be available for arrivals under the Hilton Huanying program which offers tailored greetings for Chinese travellers at 70 hotels in 23 different countries. Of course, if you can’t wait for your pair, www.hiltontohome.com has limited supplies available for US$28 only while stocks last.|
|GUESTS at AYANA Resort & Spa in Bali last weekend enjoyed a unique experience alongside their luxury accommodation. Someone spotted a baby turtle taking its first cautious steps into the world at the property’s private beach, and one of the staff members found the nest which had some 70 newly hatched eggs. A team collected the babies (below) and invited guests to help release them into the sea. The excitement will continue for future guests, with another 50 eggs still waiting to hatch.|
|DESPITE the devastation of the last 18 months, it is good to see the city of Christchurch hasn’t lost its personality. Newly opened across the road from the soon to relaunch Ibis Christchurch is the Cashel Street Shopping Mall, dubbed Re:Start, which has been strategically constructed entirely out of used shipping containers. Media attending yesterday’s briefing were provided with a shipping container to take home…albeit one made of chocolate.|
|EVER heard of a city tour where the view gets progressively more blurry the longer you ride?
Germany’s “Bier Bike” concept is facing fresh criticism from local politicians, who want to shut it down purely from a safety (or lack thereof) aspect. Munich and Dusseldorf have both banned the contraption, essentially a rolling pub, which can seat up to 16 people and includes a CD player, a 360° bar counter, large roof, stein glasses and of course, a beer supply. Berlin still offers the trolley (as snapped by a TD correspondent in Berlin recently below) despite it being slow and hard to steer.
|FORGET Tourism Australia’s marketing campaigns – a protest group in Adelaide has put Australia in the spotlight around the world by staging a beach toilet sit-in. The self-styled ‘Coalition of the Constipated’ saw the group of 12 men, dressed in black suits and bowler hats, each carry their own dunny down to the sand, drop their trousers and take a comfortable seat (below). Apparently they were trying to draw attention to the lack of public toilets at Adelaide’s Henley Beach.|
|THE latest shopping sensation in Paris is a pop-up boutique where ladies can window-shop for a spunky bachelor.
It’s the brainchild of French dating site AdopteUnMec.com, which has opened a store where men are displayed in the windows (below), standing inside gigantic toy boxes. According to the UK Daily Mail, the shop will go on the road later this month, heading to Brussels, Lausanne, Toulouse and Lyon.
|DO THEY know we can all see?
The renovation team looking after New York’s Standard Hotel gave curious passers-by on the street below a view with a difference after failing to put up curtains while remodelling the 18th floor restrooms. From below, curious public were offered an unobstructed view as restroom occupants, who presumably believed the windows were tinted, answered nature’s call, completely unaware they were in full view from the street below, not to mention surrounding buildings. Dubious onlookers have since taken to social media dismissing it as a publicity stunt, while others are not quite so sure.
|WE’VE seen the Virgin Mary appear in slices of grilled cheese on toast, and what was claimed to be a likeness of Buddha in the form of a cornflake, but finally, Australia has one to claim as its own, with the “discovery” of a slice of bread in the shape of the land down under. Giving new meaning to the term “The Great Australian bite”, the miracle slice was discovered by Bernadette Cronin in her weekly loaf of sourdough bought from the E5 bakery in London. “I was shocked. I just bought a normal looking loaf. But after I sliced into it, there was my homeland staring right back at me,” Cronin told the presumably huge throng of British media. The only thing missing was the breakaway piece resembling Tasmania, but that was probably the piece Cronin had bitten into. It follows in the footsteps of other famous sightings in food, including Jesus, who has appeared before the bemused public in the form of toast and tortilla chips, while the Virgin Mary has also appeared inside lava lamps and a cinnamon bun.|
|APPLE’S new iPhone 5 is the latest hot travel accessory – but a British designer has gone a step further with a special “blinged-out” version.
Stuart Hughes is offering a limited edition of just 100 of the funky gadgets, each priced at £21,995 (about A$35,000). The ultimate iPhone starts with the 64GB version of the handset, which is then retrofitted to replace the original chassis with solid gold. The rear section also features the Apple logo complete with 53 “flawless diamonds” (below) .
|ULTRA luxurious and iconic Dubai resort the Burj Al Arab has kicked off a campaign aimed in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a rather typical display of opulence. As part of the resort’s “Pinking the Burj Al Arab”, it has created a one-of-a-kind rose gold Apple iPad, complete with an engraved pink ribbon and the hotel’s logo. The special “pink” iPad will be reserved in the hotel’s boutique (as it is too valuable to be mailed) for the highest bidder in an auction to be run on its Facebook page, with all proceeds for Breast Cancer initiatives.|
|WHO said fish couldn’t fly?
Alaskan Airlines has debunked that theory, signing a partnership with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute which has seen the carrier paint a giant king salmon onto the side of one of its Boeing B737-800 aircraft, a.k.a “Salmon-Thirty-Salmon”. The paint job brings the fish in at a weight of 91,000 pounds and 40-metres in length, with the aircraft re-entered into service flying passenger routes.
|HOW’S this for a bit of product placement?
Sharp-eyed travel agent Stacey Lekias from Northline Travel in Perth spotted the Bunnik Tours logo in a scene from Channel 9’s HouseHusbands on Sun night, and even managed to snap a picture (below). Bunnik md Dennis Bunnik said this probably means he can now add ‘as seen on TV’ to the tour operator’s collateral.
|COINCIDING with the 30th anniversary of the release of Steven Spielberg’s classic film “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial”, the iconic alien is set to be immortalised in wax courtesy of Madame Tussauds Sydney. Interestingly, the actual dummy used in the making of the film was made out of chicken wire and playdough. The finished sculpture will be unveiled at Madame Tussauds Sydney showroom on 22 Oct and will be one of six showrooms worldwide to house the character.|
|QANTAS has this week launched its annual ‘Movember’ support campaign in conjunction with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, for fundraising into research towards a cure. The carrier unveiled one of its B737-800 jets, which was now sporting a shiny new mo, while the airline will also install a mo inside Melbourne’s Domestic Terminal for the month. The stylish aircraft, pictured below, will operate domestic services with the mo for Nov.|
|TRAVELLERS at Wellington Airport in NZ this month are being greeted by a giant emaciated Gollum statue suspended from the ceiling. Part of the celebrations for the premier of the new Hobbit movie, the 13m figure shows the bizarre creature reaching for his favourite meal of “juicy sweet fishes”. During the premier week of 28 Nov, Wellington will rebrand as ‘The Middle of Middle-earth’.|
|P&O Cruises engaged in some opportunistic marketing this morning, when its Pacific Jewel was tied up at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal while crowds awaited the visit of Prince Charles and Camilla. Perhaps somewhat optimistically, the ship unfurled a massive banner (below) tantalising the royal couple with confirmation that it has “Royal Suites Available”.|
|AHEAD of its highly-anticipated global release, Air New Zealand last weekend took its support of the upcoming fantasy adventure movie The Hobbit to a new level, wheeling out a B777-300 aircraft decked out in a special livery. The decal, pictured below, features a host of characters from the film, took six weeks to apply and runs the entire length of the plane – with NZ claiming a record for the “largest graphic ever applied to an aircraft”. Services to London, via Los Angeles have already started using the Middle Earth motif.|
|AIRCRAFT manufacturer Airbus has kicked off an aggressive advertising campaign which aims to debunk claims made by rival Boeing. The move is a response to a recent Boeing campaign which touted the benefits of its 737 MAX and 747-8 aircraft, saying they were cheaper for airlines to operate than Airbus products. The creative artwork in the Airbus ads (below) asks “why is our competitor stretching the truth” – complete with an image of a 737 with a stretched nose, just like that of Disney character Pinocchio, whose nose grew every time he told a lie. The Airbus ad also asserts that Boeing’s planes are based on designs from the 1960s, finishing with the pithy quote “no wonder they’re sleepless in Seattle”.|
|The Travel Corporation is putting its weight behind Movember, with Trafalgar global ceo Gavin Tollman understood to be looking somewhat like Freddy Mercury at present. Trafalgar’s participation also includes some ‘mo-branded’ coaches in Europe (below), with the tour operator’s staff collectively having raised more than $21,000 for the cause just by foregoing their razors.|
|WOMEN across Australia have undoubtedly spent this weekend celebrating as their men shaved off the moustaches grown during last month’s Movember fundraising activities. However, Chris Ellis from Tramada Systems decided to create a lasting reminder of his mo-growing efforts, getting his NSW Drivers License photo taken while still sporting his cool mo.|
|REHO Travel managing director Karsten Horne has dropped his gear again, this time to celebrate this week’s opening of the company’s new Sydney offices.
Karsten (pictured below in Sydney’s Martin Place in the CBD) opened the new premises, which will focus solely on corporate travel while leisure will remain in Melbourne.
|IT SEEMS cruise ships really do have everything a traveller could ever want on-board these days. Royal Caribbean International yesterday sent Travel Daily a delicious sample of the wares available from a dedicated Cupcake Cupboard bakery, which is housed on its Voyager of the Seas mega-liner.|
|DISNEY has really outdone itself with the creation of its latest accommodation offering at Walt Disney World in Florida.
The Art of Animation Resort, where TD is staying for today’s New Fantasyland launch, has great family suites which sleep six and really keep the magic going during your visit. There are various themes including The Little Mermaid and Cars where everything reflects Radiator Springs – even the bathrooms, as pictured.
|JETSTAR recently took its inflight entertainment to a new level as part of its inaugural StarKids Day, a charity fundraising effort launched by the carrier in partnership with World Vision. Celebrating the day, the crew said that if the inflight donations for that service reached $200, the crew would do the chicken dance up the aisles of the aircraft for the passengers. At that point, pockets & purses nearly emptied, but even though the total only managed to reach $180, the crew decided to go ahead with the dance anyway, flapping their “wings” for the amusement of passengers. Over the four services operated that day, crews collected a total of $600 for World Vision.|
|THIS bridge is right up Indiana Jones’ alley.
Positioned at 3,200m over a glacier in the Swiss Alps, the world’s highest suspension bridge – a pedestrian walkway no less – has opened, following a five-month construction process by daring engineers. Entitled the Titlis Cliff Walk, the technical feat cost €1m to build, is just 1m wide and 110m long, and was built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of a cableway linking the towns of Engelberg and Gerschnialp.
|PASSENGERS aboard a routine flight from Iceland to New York were forced to restrain an unruly passenger who suffered a meltdown mid-flight by taping him to his seat. After threatening to bring the plane down and attempting to strangle the woman seated next to him, crew were forced to take the step to control the man, who was promptly arrested upon arrival at New York. A photo of the man firmly secured, taken by another passenger, has since gone viral on social media sites.|
|SYDNEY’S annual festival of arts, culture & family entertainment, kicked off this week, beginning with an elaborate opening ceremony that featured boats, music and water displays, and its rather unique centrepiece in the form of a 15m rubber duck. Designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, the duck will form the lasting image of the festival, aiming to turn the Darling Harbour region into one giant bathtub. The giant floating toy took three weeks to construct, is made from PVC material and takes approx 30 mins to inflate.|
|AS IF China wasn’t cold enough at the moment, currently in the throes of winter, Shangri-La’s luxury property in Harbin, China has opened, of all things, a new restaurant and bar made of ice. The opening of the new facility, which maintains a constant room temperature 18- degrees below zero, coincides with the city’s annual ice festival, which attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists annually. Rich northern Chinese flavours and wintery designs decorate the icy dining room, caters to 90 people at a time and probably doesn’t serve many spicy dishes. The ice-eatery is open to hotel guests until 15 Feb, by which time it will probably become a slushie.|
|IN WHAT has been described by the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper as the “most ridiculous marketing campaign ever”, London’s Hilton Hotel has built a “pop-up beach” along the banks of the Thames River, with girls in swimsuits frolicking in the…snow? The models were hired by the hotel to prance about in the snow in their blue swimmers and bare feet, playing with beach balls, sunbaking and posing for photos around fake palm trees in temperatures of about 1° celsius. The purpose of the exercise was to promote the hotel and to encourage Britons to take their annual leave days to actually go on a holiday to somewhere hopefully warmer than this.|
|VIRGIN Media has launched a new quest via Facebook to find look-a-likes of famous people, with a prize of a new tablet computer on offer. The contest is being promoted by a man named Barrington, who just happens to be the doppelganger of the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, who will also be judging the competition. Other prizes up for grabs include copies of Bolt’s newly released autobiography and signed T-shirts of the sprinter. Virgin Group boss Sir Richard Branson is also getting into the spirit of the contest, having recently encountered his own look-a-like (pictured below). For details on how to enter, visit www.bit.ly/lookylike.|
|PASSENGERS moving through Melbourne Airport recently must have been wondering why a plane resembling something from Howard Hughes’ collection was sitting there.
The rust-coloured plane is a full-size mock-up fuselage which will next month be sent up in flames as part of an aviation and fire-fighting exercise, and will likely be quite a spectacle.
|FIRST there was the Canadian squirrel photobomber in Banff, but how’s this for the sequel! The image below of a llama who decided to get itself well in the way of a tourist’s attempt at photographing the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu has gone viral around the world. Dozens of camelid roam free around the attraction, and are usually found around the site, but rarely with this much focus. According to the author, this is now her favourite image of her travels in Latin America.|
|SEAN Simmons Travel, which has launched the new Dolphin Dynamics collaboration with Amadeus (TD yesterday), also revealed some of its funky marketing techniques. The agency’s client collateral includes these fabulous bag tags – with the Sean Simmons logo on the back – given to pax in a folder labelled “luggage with attitude”.|
|AS IF they’re not already thoroughly spoilt, Singapore Airlines is hoping to appeal to the hearts and minds of younger premium travellers, with the launch of some cuddly new friends for children travelling in Suites, First Class and Business Class. The SIA Bedtime Teddy Bears (below) are available on a first-come first-served basis on selected flights – along with new inflight DreamWorks (think Shrek and Kung Fu Panda) amenities for kids in all classes.|
|The remote region of Siberia has launched a cheeky promotion to attract skiers from Moscow. The campaign focuses on the fabulous snow in the region, where temperatures in winter regularly dive below -30C – and despite the cold, a promotional video features snowboarding models wearing bikinis (below). Previously well known for its gulag prisons during the days of the USSR, Siberian authorities now have big plans for tourism, including a Yeti theme park. “Now, if the girls can tempt out some skiing Yetis then we really will be in business,” one local official said.|
|TRAVEL Daily has viewed a rather amusing “Airplane Seating Chart” on a website known as “Pleated Jeans”, which details different types of people that we sometimes get stuck seated next to during a long flight. The area marked as “Your Seat’ is shown as being surrounded by a loud snoring guy, an armrest hog, a crying child and unattentive mother, a coughing person, an overweight person, somebody who has fully reclined their seat and a person with “wicked” body odour. View the seating chart (below), at www.bit.ly/yourseat.|
|TAMPA Bay in Florida is finding itself with hordes of new tourists after a photo of one of its local churches, which oddly appears to have the face of a chicken on its walls, appeared online. The building sports two large round windows that look like eyes and a roof resembling wings with tiles that imitate a beak. The “chicken church” is rapidly seeing its popularity grow among worshippers of the weird and wonderful and seeing more visitors to the area.|
|NEVER a dull moment goes by when your name is Sir Richard Branson.
The Virgin founder got right into the celebratory spirit of St Patrick’s Day over the weekend by dying his hair, including his beard, bright green. Branson (pictured) posted the photo on his blog, as part of a total greening of the Virgin.com website, in which Branson also touts Tourism Ireland’s 2013 promotions.
|EASTER breaks at Vibe Hotel in Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay and Carlton in Melbourne are sure to be a sweet delight, with both properties appointing a special Chocolate Services Manager. In place right across the long weekend, the CSMs will “be on hand to provide guidance to all things choc-related” – including directing guests to nearby chocoholic havens and also providing a range of complimentary sweet treats. The innovative move was announced in the TD office via the delivery of a very cute Easter Bunny (pictured) along with a basket of tasty goodies. It was a tough job, but we managed to do our duty by the industry and sample the eggs which we can officially confirm were delicious.|
|VIRGIN Atlantic has brought a dose of Australia to Manchester as it launched its new domestic service Little Red last weekend. The carrier commissioned an amazing 3D sidewalk mural to be painted in Manchester City Centre by famous 3D artists Joe & Max (pictured below). The finished product features flight attendants hanging onto the wings for dear life as the jet flies over Sydney Harbour. On the wing, a koala, sporting a goatee beard not dissimilar to Sir Richard Branson himself, stands casually beside a suitcase. Little Red operates services to Manchester, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, with fast connections to VS destinations promoted.|
|ANYONE planning on leaving their job sometimes wonders about the most creative way to break the news to the boss that greener pastures beckon Perhaps the sweetest way came recently in the UK, when Stansted Border Agency official Chris Holmes delivered his notice of departure to his boss, in the form of a letter written in icing on a cake. Needless to say, Chris was leaving to open & run his own cake and catering business. The image went viral on Twitter after being retweeted by his brother-in-law, who works in public relations.|
|QANTAS may need to upgrade its business class pyjamas, after revelations about a planned new overnight sleeper service to be operated by British budget coach operator MegaBus. The bus company will operate overnight trips between London and 15 locations in Scotland, using a special fleet of doubledecker vehicles with seats that turn into bunk beds. But the real clincher is the in-transit amenities, with each passenger given a free “Onesie,” as demonstrated below by the company’s ceo Sir Brian Souter.|
|Insight Vacations Asia regional director Sheryl Lim had a brush with fame last week, after bumping into tennis champion Rafael Nadal in the lobby of his Barcelona hotel. Nadal was sporting yet another shiny trophy after taking out the Barcelona Open, staying at the Hotel Melia which is one of the ‘ace’ (get it?) premium hotels included in Insight’s Highlights of Spain trip.|
|A BRITISH school located very close to London Heathrow Airport has devised a unique way to keep out the roaring noise of jet engines that pass overhead every 90 seconds. Four igloo-esque structures (pictured below) have been put up for the kids to spend their recess & lunch play times inside to mask the noise. “You can still hear the planes in the huts but you can also hear your own voice,” principal Kathryn Harper-Quinn said. Planes pass over at a height of 180 metres, each delivering up to 87 decibels each time.|
|AUSTRALIA is famous for many of its exorbitantly oversized landmarks such as the big prawn, the big banana & more. Inland NSW Tourism has unveiled the next big landmark – known as Stanley the “Big Emu” – in the far western NSW town of Lightning Ridge. “Stanley” (pictured below) is 18-metres tall and made of a mass of scrap metal, including three Volkswagon bodies and old satellite dishes – all donated by locals, so he is environmentally friendly. The structure is likely to be the first in a line of “Sculptures by the Highway” which will be part of a competition supported by Lightning Ridge and Walgett Shire Councils.|
|EMIRATES is redefining aircraft cameras for its A380 fleet. At first glance (below), it may appear as though EK’s double-decker jet is cruising beneath aerial cables and carrying an exceptionally large cargo. It is in fact a miniature A380 zooming around the Roland Garros tennis centre in Paris. The “innovative Emirates A380-shaped aerial camera” is destined to be used at the French Open to telecast birdseye view images to viewers around the world.|
|TD had an intriguing encounter during IPW in Las Vegas, with a strange coincidence courtesy of United Airlines. Flying on UA’s San Francisco service last Sat, the single big-screen inflight entertainment system in Economy class featured a US cooking reality show called Chopped. The particular episode screened was won by a Las Vegas chef called Gerald Chin – who just so happened to be working on one of the food stands at the Mandalay Bay Pow Wow opening party. TD publisher Bruce Piper’s brush with US reality cable TV fame is captured below.|
|THIS was one beached whale nobody was trying to push back into the ocean. Port Stephens locals came together recently to celebrate 40 years since whaling was banned in Australia by forming the outline of a whale (pictured below) on the beach (TD 21 Jun). The initiative also celebrated the success of the local whale watching industry, which brings more than $10m and 50,000 tourists to the region each year. Held during school holidays, many children formed part of the outline, which attracted many hundreds of people.|
|HAWTHORN Travel in Victoria has opened up its business to a new market – canine clients. Following the announcement this week of the expansion of Virgin Australia’s Velocity program, in which points can be earned through travelling pets, the Magellan agency is clearly pawing effort into the burgeoning market. Trevor is pictured here with his new favourite VIP clients booking their trip.|
|A USER of online portal of the weird and wonderful of the world, Reddit, has posted a photo of two American Airlines jets involved in a skirmish at New York JFK Airport (below). A Boeing 757 aircraft operated by the carrier had its wingtip snapped off after coming into contact with a B777 which was being towed to maintenance by an AA mechanic. Unfortunately, the aircraft was left in a spot not designated, leading to the accident. American Airlines has confirmed the accident did happen but that neither aircraft had passengers aboard at the time – leading to questions about how the photo was taken.|
|HERE’s a spa treatment with a difference – a beauty salon in Tokyo is offering facials featuring live snails. Staff at the oddly named Ci:z. Labo spa apparently place the gastropods on the faces of their clients, where they crawl around and get rid of dead skin while cleaning the pores. “Slime from snails helps remove old cells, heal the skin after sunburn and moisturise it” said spokesperson Manami Takamura. A ‘Celebrity Escargot Course’ costs about $250 for a 60 minute treatment which also includes a series of massages and masks using specially developed creams “infused with snail mucous”.|
|IT SAT alongside the Pacific Highway for decades in Ballina, with motorists driving past and looking up at the Big Prawn. Now, with a fresh location, the crustacean has grown a tail – revealed to the public for the first time (below). Along with a new coat of orange paint on the prawn’s top half, the newly built tail however is yet to see any colour.|
|THE Australian travel industry can now claim a semi-official link with royalty, after Beatrice Neylan from Global Village Travel in the Sydney suburb of Balmain appearing in full colour on the front page of today’s Sydney Morning Herald. The occasion was the birth of her new baby – Warwick – who came into the world at 12.56am on Tuesday – just 28 minutes before the newborn Prince of Cambridge and future King of England. Neylan said there wasn’t quite the same paparazzi or news reporters outside her ward as those at St Mary’s Hospital, but it’s nevertheless a major event for the travel agency sector, with her mother and Warwick’s grandmother being Heidi Kervinen, long-time owner of the Travellers Choice member. The Australian industry’s very own bonny prince is pictured below with his proud mum.|
|Talk about product placement.
Contiki has achieved massive worldwide coverage this week, simply by driving one of its coaches past London’s Buckingham palace. As the globe’s media breathlessly awaited the birth of the new Prince George, Contiki managed to photobomb part of a live TV interview (below). It’s not clear whether the feat was achieved as part of a normal tour, or by having one of the coaches simply drive repeatedly around the roundabout.
|This guy is just plane obsessed. An unidentified person’s unusual hairdo has been highlighted by Singapore-based low-cost carrier Scoot, which posted a picture of the aircraft-styled mohawk (pictured below) on its Facebook page. Scoot asked its fans to identify whether the person is a Crazy Scoot Fan, a Crazy Scoot Employee, or a random stranger who just loves plane mohawks. It’s not clear at this stage what the outcome was, but about 200 people so far have “liked” the photo.|
|TOURISTS and commuters walking the streets of London recently would have been rubbing their eyes in disbelief as a giant metallic cat was sitting outside the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home (pictured below). The realistic albeit strange sight was in place to celebrate the official introduction of a cat token to the Hasbro Monopoly board game. Millions of Monopoly fans from 185 countries around the world voted for the new cat token to be added to the popular game, replacing the out-of-favour iron token. The giant cat’s arrival certainly showed the Scottie Dog who was the new top animal in town.|
|How about this as a way to get around? Kiwi ingenuity has once again come to the fore, with the release of a new version of the P12 Jetpack by Christchurch-based Martin Aircraft Company. The jetpack, pictured below, has newly positioned ducts which has “resulted in a quantum leap in performance”. Amazingly, the company has full certification for manned flight from the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority, and is currently focusing on some engine tweaks to ready the jetpack for commercial sale. It may be some time before tourists are using it, however, with initial customer targets including emergency services, security, defence & agriculture.|
|TOGA Hotels yesterday celebrated the first birthday of the Adina Apartment Hotel in Sydney’s Norwest, with the commemoration including a special delivery of branded cupcakes to the TD office.
And yes, it was a tough job but we’ve done it again. In Travel Daily’s endless quest to keep the industry fully informed, we conducted an exhaustive evaluation of the treats (below) and can formally confirm that they were delicious.
|AUSTRALIA’S harsh outback roads have claimed many in the history of the Variety Bash, however the 1972 Mini Minor captained by Amadeus’ Gena Signorini and pilots Dan Grey & Richard Loder fought on and last night rolled into Birdsville. With many cars withdrawing around them, the Mini has seen a loose fuel hose, slipped shock absorber & even required some emergency roadside welding in a “disastrous” day yesterday. This morning, the trio will take part in a street breakfast for a school of 12 children, at which Variety will donate a new shade cloth for their playground, before continuing on to the town of Leigh Creek today. The trio are pictured below in Birdsville.|
|THE intrepid industry team taking part in the Variety Bash this week have come back into range and provided an update on their adventures. Since last checking in on Mon, the mighty Mini has covered 1400km, driving from Birdsville to Leigh Creek, Peterborough and last night in Mildura, en route to the Ballarat finish line. The trip has also seen the Amadeus and AADX brands clearly showcased across regional Australia (below).|
|With the finish line looming, the Amadeus, QBT and AADX+ 1972 Mini Cooper in the 2013 Variety Bash car rally rolled out of Mildura, leaving behind $4,000 of equipment for a special needs school. The trio are pictured below with the battle weary machine at the Comfort Inn Horsham Capital.|
|Visitors to the famous Cliveden stately home, near Beaconsfield in the UK, are being greeted by a somewhat irreverent way to exit from the iconic property’s top floor. The building is undergoing a multi-million pound restoration, and while a 350-year-old staircase is being repaired a gigantic slide has been installed (below) as an alternate route from the south terrace to the formal garden.|
|Virgin Australia has named the new official Pet Ambassador who will be the mascot of its Velocity Frequent Flyer pet program (TD 01 Jul). Pets can now earn Velocity points, and to celebrate Virgin launched a competition which attracted thousands of entries. The very cute Pepper the Westie was selected as the winner, and is pictured below in her comfy Velocity outfit.|
|DID they have an inkling? Lastminute.com.au was very quick off the mark after Sat night’s election result, on Sunday kicking off a campaign telling outgoing PM Kevin Rudd that “it’s time to take off”. “Lastminute.com.au isn’t alone in when it comes to telling Rudd where to go. The only difference – their travel suggestions should prove far more enticing,” the firm said. The Wotif offshoot is also encouraging Australians to cast another vote, this time for the destination that Kev should choose – and once the votes are in, Lastminute says it will offer the former PM a free holiday. The destination will be announced via social media this Wed, and then it’s up to Kevin to get in touch to finalise things. However there’s a bit of fine print – Lastminute has added a quick note for Rudd. “Only winners fly first class so if you take up our offer you’ll have to join the rest of us in economy on this trip. “Don’t worry – it’s more fun down the back of the plane!” the company said.|
|How about this for a fantastic travel industry reward.
At a function hosted by Virgin Atlantic last night at Sydney’s Langham Hotel, there were a couple of lucky door prizes up for grabs. The first prize was a fabulous trip to Hong Kong with Virgin Atlantic, but the runner up also took home something that should go straight to the pool room – a pair of stunning red shoes worn (and autographed) by none other than Sir Richard Branson in one of his cross-dressing moments. The bright red ‘Schuhs’ (pictured below) were served up in true Virgin style, in a gigantic cocktail glass.
|There are lots of rules when flying – keep your seatbelt fastened, no smoking, keep your elbows to yourself – but it’s good to see that authorities in Afghanistan are spelling out some additional requirements. A Travel Daily correspondent passing through Kabul this week sent in the photo below of a sign outside the airport – helpfully making it clear that hand grenades, pistols and machine guns are not welcome.|
|TEENAGERS unable to secure a ticket to boy-band One Direction during its current Australian tour can opt for the next best thing – head to Sydney’s Madame Tussauds wax museum at Darling Harbour instead. The popular group has been immortalised in wax, with the figures unveiled this morning and attracting Directioners in their thousands. Outfits donated by the band members themselves adorn the sculptures, which will be on display until 28 Jan, upon which time they will move to Tokyo.|
|THE travel industry has again showed off its Halloween spirit, with one of the best efforts TD has seen put in by CTM in Melbourne. Staff put their imaginations to work, coming up with the above cast of characters on cupcakes, not to mention one who put a new spin on the term “finger food.”|
|THE travel industry has again showed off its Halloween spirit, with one of the best efforts TD has seen put in by CTM in Melbourne. Staff put their imaginations to work, coming up with the above cast of characters on cupcakes, not to mention one who put a new spin on the term “finger food.”|
|Looks like President Obama wasn’t available.
TripAdvisor this week launched the construction of its new global headquarters in Needham, Massachusetts in the US, but there was a bit of a twist on the traditional sod-turning ceremony for the facility which will be able to house about 1500 employees. Although there were a few local dignitaries present, such as the Needham town mayor, they were joined by the TripAdvisor Owl, which took up a shovel alongside company executives to add some true celebrity star power to the launch.
|ULTRA-CUTE Virgin America pet ambassador Boo (below) will this week welcome a group of abandoned chihuahuas being flown by VX from San Francisco to loving homes in New York. Overpopulation of the tiny animals in California is seeing shelters at capacity, with VX set to relocate many to new homes in the US East.|
|QLD agency My Holiday Centre has relaunched its USA product, and the team are truly getting into the American spirit. My USA sent through the pic below showing Uncle Sam as well as Mr & Mrs Captain America – aka product manager Meagan Maynard, md Randall Deer and product development director Daniel Monk.|
|Contiki is hoping for extra good fortune with its 2014 Asia program, with TD yesterday taking delivery of details about the new brochure inside a gigantic fortune cookie (below).
The novelty cookie came along with some special Contiki chopsticks, and although it was visually a lot of fun we have to report that it was somewhat hard on the teeth.
|The Aussie travel agents currently in the US on the Ausmerica famil are definitely bullish about the destination, if the photo below is any indication. Fresh off the Qantas flight from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth, Mitchell Crawford from STA Travel wasted no time in making friends with some of the local livestock, and is pictured giving a big “yee haw”!|
|West Palm Beach in Florida has this week kicked off the festive season by unveiling a massive 10m-high Christmas tree. However unlike the traditional style, the destination is highlighting its natural features by making the remarkable edifice (below) out of sand.|
|CUTENESS factor is again off the radar through a new initiative from AAT Kings and The Travel Corporation’s sustainable tourism venture, The Treadright Foundation. The tour operator has joined forces with Spotlight Australia to launch the “Knit To Win” competition, inviting knitting enthusiasts to make a jumper for rehabilitating penguins. Free knitting patterns can be downloaded from micro-site www.knittowin.com.au, with travel prizes of $7,500 in value up for grabs to the best design.|
|Sands of Abu Dhabi came to Sydney last weekend, with a world-leading sand sculptor creating many of the city’s most popular landmarks out of sand at Darling Harbour. Sculptures of Emirates Palace, Al Jihili Fort and more took over three days and used five tonnes of sand to build.|
|AIRPORTS make no secret that jokes about security are not welcome or wise, but a new range of suitcase stickers would make even the most hardened officer chuckle. The team at Off Track Planet have released a range of clever bag coverings (pictured) they have classified as “Guaranteed to get you arrested at airports”. One of the bag coverings hints at it being stuffed with cash, another carrying human traffic, while others include a parcel of drugs, live snakes and a bomb. The stickers are available for sale however the jokers seriously warn users not to actually try them in real life.|
|THOSE six character PNR reloc codes, as randomly generated as they are, were bound to create something potentially offensive sooner or later, and this month, it finally happened. A US man has lodged a complaint with Delta Air Lines after noticing the reference code “H8GAYS” on his pass (pictured below). Delta apologised to the man, stressing the letter & number combinations were entirely random and that it will take steps to ensure a similar combo doesn’t happen again.|
|THE latest tourist attraction to open in the French Alps is a breathtaking “glass cube” in which guests are suspended more than 1km above the nearest mountainside (below). The Chamonix Skywalk has been constructed on the Aiguille du Midi mountain, which towers 3,842m above the valley. It’s claimed to be the “tallest attraction in Europe,” with entry into the transparent box included in the price of a cable car ride up the mountain.|
|NEW Year’s Eve celebrations in Taiwan fell a little flat, after a gigantic yellow rubber duckie mysteriously deflated just hours before it was expected to be the centrepiece of ceremonies to welcome in 2014 in the city of Keelung.
The massive installation, created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, opened to the public on 21 Dec and was supposed to be on display until the end of Feb.
However the 18m-tall duck reportedly “burst and deflated into a floating yellow disc” (as pictured below) with multiple theories as to why it happened.
It could have been avian jealousy, with one tourist claiming she saw an eagle fly into the huge bath toy and scratch it with its talons.
|Novotel Barossa Valley has taken the meaning of “outdoor bathroom” to a new level, utilising bathtubs originally intended for the scrap heap in a new on-site herb garden. The tubs were replaced as part of a $2m refurbishment of the hotel’s bathrooms & have been put to use again with soil, herbs and other floral arrangements. Taps and showerheads were also kept and repurposed as the garden’s irrigation system. The garden is also supported by a worm farm, sustained by leftover greens and other scraps from the kitchen and conference catering departments.|
|RESIDENTS in the country NSW town of Moree are overjoyed at the return of Qantas services – even on a short-term basis. So happy are the locals that they have taken to the roof of buildings under the flight path to write messages of gratitude to the carrier (pictured below). Qantas is again operating to the town on a interim level after the collapse late last year of Brindabella Airlines, but is being invited to tender for the route on a more long-term basis.|
|DISNEY’s latest animated hit film Frozen continues to take the world by storm, so much so that scenes from the movie are being brought to life in a hotel. Quebec City’s Hotel de Glace, (better known as the Ice Hotel) in partnership with Walt Disney Studios has debuted a Frozen-inspired” suite at the Canadian property, created entirely from sculpted ice and snow. Dubbed the ‘Frozen Suite’, the room is modelled after Anna & Elsa’s bedrooms (pictured), and features an ice-carved bed, armchair and bench. It can be booked until 23 Mar.|
|THIS should brighten things up.
Hamilton Island’s audiovisual supplier AVPartners has added a range of colourful glow-in-the-dark furniture for use at cocktail functions and dinner parties on the island (pictured below). The stylish tables, chairs and decorations all contain LED light lamps inside, all controlled remotely, enabling the furniture to change to any of 16 colours as well as flash, strobe and fade on demand. “The look on delegate’s faces when they first see the glow furniture is priceless; their jaws just drop,” AVPartners’ James Rolfe said. Novotel’s Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast also offers the glow furniture for its evening events and dinners.
|How ocker is this!
Pinctada Kimberley Grande celebrated Australia Day in unique Kununurra style with its inaugural Cane Toad Derby! Funds raised by the community event actually support research to eradicate the menace. Owner of Pinnacle Tours in WA, Adam Barnard (below) beat off 55 other entrants and their toadies in the event.
|America’s Superbowl football final today has seen some very high level support from Seattle-based Boeing, which has thrown its weight behind the Seattle Seahawks in their bid to win against the Denver Broncos. The aircraft manufacturer last week unveiled a Seahawks-themed 747-8F cargo plane – and then carried out a test flight across Washington State. The carefully planned route for the five hour flight was revealed to spell out a gigantic ‘12’ (as pictured below from the FlightAware tracking website) in keeping with the Seahawks supporters who see themselves as the team’s “12th man”.|
|It ’s great to keep a record of your travels, but this is somewhat ridiculous. A “selfie” taken by a US man during the Houston Bull Run late last month is being credited as the most dangerous photo ever, with the picture (below) snapped as he was being chased by a gigantic stampeding bull. The image has gone viral, with social media users describing it as a “selfie level 11”. This year 3,000 thrillseekers took part in the annual event which encourages participants to “grab life by the horns and experience the rush of a lifetime as you sprint down a quarter-mile track with up to 24 1,500 pound bulls hot on your heels”.|
|There’s no gain without pain.
The owners of Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat on the Sunshine Coast were thrilled to receive the award for Hosted Accommodation at last Fri’s Australian Tourism Awards. An elated Mark & Joanne Skinner checked out of their Sydney hotel the next morning with Joanne proudly holding the trophy, when it accidentally slipped out of her hand. Fortunately the gong was undamaged – but only because she stopped the fall with her foot, sustaining a compound fracture and requiring five stitches – as shown in the exclusive Travel Daily pic below.
The cast of US Emmy award winning comedy series Modern Family touched down in Australia last weekend ahead of filming for future episodes, jetting in on an Airbus A380 courtesy of Qantas. Some of the show’s stars have taken to social media to display their excitement at flying at the ‘pointy end’ including Eric Stonestreet who plays ‘Cam’. “Taking off for Australia on a giant airplane. It’s like I have an apartment for a seat!” he tweeted. Other flattery for the ‘Red roo’ came from Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell Pritchett) who posted on Instagram “Qantas is really rollin out the red carpet for our flight to Australia!” Perhaps the cutest update was from Modern Family’s youngest starlet, Aubrey Lily – aka Lily – who said on Twitter “We couldn’t be treated any better!” Her tweet was accompanied by a photo of herself engulfed in her First Class seat (below), complete with cushions branded “Qantas loves modern family”.
|It looks like there was someone special in the cockpit during QF’s flight bringing the Modern Family cast down under the past few days (TD yesterday). Nolan Gould, who plays Luke Dunphy in the US sitcom, tweeted the pic below with the caption “I’ve arrived in Sydney! Luckily I didn’t crash the plane. Thanks @qantasairways for the great flight!”|
|RUSSIA has shown signs at the Winter Olympic Games that it has a sense of humour, even if it was pinched from the British.
A British snowboard athlete noticed a familiar sign in the bathrooms (below) at Sochi and recognised it from those aboard Virgin Trains from the UK. The sign is another example of the tongue-in-cheek humour for which Virgin’s brands are known. It reads: “Please don’t flush …nappies, sanitary towels, paper towels, gum, old phones, unpaid bills, junk mail, your ex’s sweater, hopes, dreams or goldfish…down this toilet”.
|There’s a tourism crisis in north Queensland – the Big Mango has disappeared.
The 10m-high fibreglass structure was simply gone when staff arrived at the Bowen Tourist Information Centre on Mon morning – as shown in the before and after photos below. Bowen Tourism chairman Paul McLaughlin said CCTV footage showed heavy equipment removing the mango overnight. However police haven’t received an official complaint, with suspicions it could all just be a brilliant publicity stunt.
|Virgin Australia’s ‘High Flyer’ comp winner Cameron Ernst is counting down the days left for his ‘Best Job’ role. Ernst has been jetting around Australia with VA for the past six months, tweeting about his escapades and encounters. In doing so, the American has amassed a large stockpile of boarding passes which he arranged in this pattern, spelling out his current job on Facebook.|
|She ’s a lot better looking than King Joffrey Baratheon – and let’s hope somewhat less bloodthirsty too.
Tourism Ireland is preparing for a flurry of interest from visitors, with much in the hotly anticipated fourth season of Game of Thrones filmed on the Causeway Coast and Glens. Fans of the popular fantasy show can walk through in the footsteps of the Starks or the scheming Lannisters, with TI’s Diane Butler pictured in Westeros trying out the Iron Throne for herself.
|Better wear the brown-coloured Speedos for this one.
Thrillseeking holidaymakers in the USA are apparently eagerly awaiting the debut of the world’s highest waterslide, set to open in late May at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City. The highly anticipated “Verrückt” ride is 17 storeys high – taller than Niagara Falls! It requires four brave riders who are strapped into a raft, and after they plummet down the initial slope, they are then blasted uphill on a multistorey “water coaster” to complete the experience (below). Appropriately, Verrückt is German for “insane”, with the four-person requirement of the ride said to make it “more fun because someone is screaming in your ear”.
|The Travel Corporation’s sustainability partner, The Treadright Foundation received over 300 submissions in a cute AAT Kings competition held last year (TD 09 Dec) to design knitted jumpers for rehabilitating penguins. Entries included designs themed on Batman, the Pope & even some budgie smugglers, with the five winning designs and one runner-up modelled by some toy penguins (below). The designs will be used to keep penguins warm and stop them from picking at bandages while they are recovering.|
|VISITORS to Toronto in Canada this week will be flocking to view a major new tourist attraction (below) which has literally popped up there. It’s the World’s Largest Inflatable White Cowboy Hat, which is currently floating in the harbour as part of a promotion for the “distinctive experiences” offered by Calgary and the Alberta region. Tourism Calgary, with other partners, is hosting a special event appropriately titled “Under the Hat” which offers Toronto residents the opportunity to be immersed in what Alberta has to offer.|
|AMERICANS celebrated Memorial Day earlier this week – the commemoration of the country’s proud military history. Everyone joined into the celebration – including a Day’s Inn hotel in Chicago which honoured the troops with a special message on its billboard. Unfortunately the sign was missing a full stop in a key position, so the message (below) read “We remember all those who have served hot breakfast”.|