Browse the latest tourism news, events, trends, opinions and information in the Australian Tourism industry from travel experts, media and associations on Top4 News.
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Victoria named Australia’s top state for cycling tourism

Victoria named Australia’s top state for cycling tourism | Tourism |

VICTORIA has been named Australias best state for cycling holidays but needs to do more to promote itself as the nations premier cycling destination.

A nationwide online survey of more than 3000 people revealed Melbourne was the most popular destination for cycling experiences, with one-third of participants and 45 per cent of spectators having visited Victoria in the past two years.

The Great Ocean Road was named as Victoria’s best destination.

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Is Australian tourism in danger of missing a boom?

Is Australian tourism in danger of missing a boom? | Tourism |

Australia's tourism industry is equal parts exciting and frustrating. It's exciting because the coming boom in Asian middle-class consumption will transform the tourism industry. And frustrating because the sector must do so much more to capitalise on the opportunity.

Let's start with our largest capital city airports. It beggars belief that an international traveller's first experience with Australia is often a long wait in a queue at Customs in Melbourne or Sydney.

Or an airport that has poor signage for non-English-speaking tourists and food and other facilities mostly designed for Western travellers.

At Melbourne Airport, the next step is often further delays waiting for a bus, taxi or private vehicle and hoping the drivers are courteous and informative. Then more time is lost waiting for pedestrians to cross lanes and dodge taxis (a crazy airport design flaw), and a single vehicle breakdown, accident or roadwork on the Tullamarine Freeway can cause other delays.

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Twenty reasons to visit Kakadu

Twenty reasons to visit Kakadu | Tourism |

The green season is a great time to visit the Kakadu National Park and explore the floodplains.

  1. Behold Kakadu National Park
  2. Experience the green season
  3. See Nourlangie Rock art site
  4. Do Yellow Water cruises
  5. See salties
  6. Observe scary signs
  7. See Ubirr rock art gallery
  8. Know Kakadu's six regions
  9. Learn aboriginal seasons
  10. Observe road rules
  11. See Jim Jim Falls
  12. Stay Cooinda lodge
  13. Visit Bowali visitors' centre
  14. Spot wildlife
  15. Visit Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre
  16. Stay Bamurru Plains
  17. Spot birdlife
  18. Stay Darwin
  19. See water buffalo
  20. Do book Kakadu green season packages
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Melbourne Food & Wine Festival a tribute to Victoria’s produce

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival a tribute to Victoria’s produce | Tourism |

REGIONAL Victoria’s reputation for world-class food and wine will be celebrated in March as one of Melbourne’s premiere foodie events comes to a town near you.

The 2016 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is on from March 4 to 13 and will offer 286 events during the 10 days, with 50 events in regional Victoria including the traditional longest lunches and opportunities for more hands-on culinary experiences.

Festival chief executive Natalie O’Brien says involving all Victorians is integral to the festival’s appeal and success.

“We call it the Melbourne Food and Wine festival because we see ourselves on an international stage,” Ms O’Brien says.

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Australia is one of the world's top 5 luxury travel destinations

Australia is one of the world's top 5 luxury travel destinations | Tourism |

Australia has made the list of the world’s five best nations for luxury travel, ranking just behind Italy, France, South Africa and Mexico in an annual survey of where the well-heeled are heading on vacation.

The 2016 Virtuoso Luxe Report, an industry trend forecaster compiled by the $14 billion Virtuoso travel network, also put New Zealand in the top 5 places for adventure travel, with the lifting of US sanctions on Cuba turning the communist Caribbean nation into the hot new travel destination. A trend towards heading to untouched and unique places also putting Bhutan and Myanmar high on the lists, along with Bjork’s birthplace, Iceland, and at the other end of the planet, Antarctica hitting the top 5 for the first time.

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Tourism gongs for local operators

Tourism gongs for local operators | Tourism |

Central Victoria’s reputation as a premier food, wine and tourism destination has been boosted, with Sunbury and Macedon Ranges operators picking up a swag of trophies at last week’s RACV Victorian Tourism Awards.

Gisborne Peak Winery’s eco-cottages secured the silver award for ‘unique accommodation’; Isabella at Kyneton took out silver for ‘self-contained accommodation’; and Piper Street Food Company won the silver prize for ‘new tourism business’.

Sunbury Visitor Information Centre (silver for ‘visitor information services’) and Melbourne Airport (gold for ‘outstanding contribution by volunteers’) were also recognised.

Piper Street Food Co’s Damian Sandercock said the Kyneton business, which late last year opened a cooking school, cafe and bakery as part of a major expansion, is just a part of the story that central Victoria has to tell.

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Explore Sydney like a superhero this summer

Explore Sydney like a superhero this summer | Tourism |

To celebrate the world premiere of The Art of the Brick: DC Comics, the latest exhibition from renowned New York LEGO® brick artist, Nathan Sawaya exclusively at the Powerhouse Museum, Destination NSW has prepared a list of super hero thrills and adventures visitors can experience in Sydney this summer.

Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase said: “Justice League fans and LEGO lovers need to get to Sydney this summer for the world premiere of The Art of the Brick: DC Comics which opens this weekend at the Powerhouse Museum.

Sydney is a city that offers visitors the chance to fly, climb and dive, so it’s the perfect destination to host the world premiere of this innovative exhibition, showcasing DC Comics iconic heroes and villains in LEGO form in our iconic harbour city.”

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10 refreshingly refined Hunter Valley accommodation options

10 refreshingly refined Hunter Valley accommodation options | Tourism |

Looking for the most well-rounded choice of Hunter Valley accommodation around? You’ll definitely find a place to suit you among these 10 luxury hotels, cottages, guesthouses, lodges and winery stays. Now all you have to do is find the right wine for you. 

1. Lillians on Lovedale – A magnificent white-panelled creation straight out of Mississippi’s deep south.

2. Redleaf Wollombi - You will feel like the lady or gent of a country manor at this elegant Italian-style guesthouse, set on a 100-acre property, with 10 acres of manicured gardens (including lavender gardens).

3. Billabong Moon - Five exceptional self-contained (and very private) cottages about 15km north of downtown Pokolbin.

4. Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley - Smack bang on the corner of Wine Country Drive and Lovedale Road, it’s the first choice for large groups wanting easy access to everything in the region.

5. Peppers Convent Hunter Valley - Synonymous with the Hunter, Peppers’ Guesthouse attracts visitors almost as much as the wineries, a classic, with 17 spacious rooms and wide balconies in this relocated, restored convent. 

6. Valleyfield Escape - Valleyfield Escape is located in Laguna 5 minutes south of Wollombi.

7. Cedars Mount View - Five deluxe dwellings (Vue, Terrace, Ridge, Gums, Edge cottages) are dotted throughout this dense, 40ha valley perched on the side of a mountain valley.

8. Tower Lodge, Hunter Valley - The Spanish Mission-style Lodge feels like a mix of Moorish palace and Roman villa. 

9. Hermitage Lodge - A solid option across most budget levels is covered across Hermitage’s 20 rooms – from plush, modern suites ideal for top-end groups to serviceable Lodge Rooms for penny pinchers.

10. Lavender Ridge -  Lavender Ridge is a boutique winery located in Broke.

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Australia encourages Indonesian tourists

Australia encourages Indonesian tourists | Tourism |

Australia is easing visa restrictions for Indonesian tourists, who at present must pay more than $100 and fill out 15 pages of forms to get a visa.  The federal government on Thursday announced it would expand online visa lodgement by 2017, after a successful trial through 15 travel agents.

It will also introduce a three-year multiple-entry visa next year.

Only 150,200 Indonesians visited Australia to holiday in 2014, from a population of 250 million only four hours away.  Tourism Minister Richard Colbeck, in Jakarta for Indonesia Australia Business Week, says there's a perception problem - Indonesians view getting an Australian visa as too difficult.

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Orange riding the tourism cycle: bike parking stations just the beginning

Orange riding the tourism cycle: bike parking stations just the beginning | Tourism |

THE installation of bike parking stations across the city will not only please riders it will also help Orange cater to the growing cycling tourism market says Brand Orange executive officer Rhonda Sear.

The equipment allows riders to chain their bikes to stainless steel hoops, coloured metal cut-out bike shapes and hanging rails.

After consultation with nearby businesses, Orange City Council installed the equipment at six different locations.

Brand Orange executive officer Rhonda Sear said the installation of the equipment was “fantastic”.

“It’s a great endorsement that Orange is serious about cycling tourism,” she said.

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Aussie dollar and Bali volcano lift Broome tourism

Aussie dollar and Bali volcano lift Broome tourism | Tourism |

The struggling tourism industry in the north-west Australian town of Broome has benefitted from flights to Bali being interrupted by volcanic eruptions.

"One of the local resorts has done a promotion to try and bring people to Broome, particularly with the volcanic activity and some of the unrest in Bali," Broome Visitor Centre (BVC) general manager Nick Linton told ABC Kimberley's Natalie Jones.

"They've noticed a real uplift in people travelling to Broome who were going to be going to Bali," he said.

Tourism in Broome and the Kimberley has struggled to compete with low-cost flights and accommodation in Bali, particularly when the Australian dollar surged in value from 2011.  But with the dollar dropping back to around US$0.70, the BVC has recorded the first signs that local tourism could be making a recovery.

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Swim with humpbacks coming to WA

Swim with humpbacks coming to WA | Tourism |

SWIMMING with humpback whales is set to become WA’s newest must-do experience, with the State Government giving the go-ahead to a trial at the Ningaloo Marine Park.

Building on the success of whale shark tourism, the humpback whale tours will be offered to 11 licensed operators at Exmouth and Coral Bay next year.

WA’s humpback population is back to pre-whaling numbers, with more than 30,000 whales – which grow up to 18m long and weigh up to 45 tonnes – migrating along the coast each year.

Similar rules to whale shark tours will be enforced, with a 300m exclusion zone around any humpback whale. No more than 10 swimmers will be allowed to swim up to the whale, including the tour operator. Tourists also won’t be allowed to swim with female humpbacks with calves.

Top4s insight:

Humpback whales travels  from the Antarctic and battle sharks, mean nothing to them. They’re extraordinary creatures, huge but so gentle. You get the sense they’re intelligent, their eyes are set so far back, you feel like they’re checking you out

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Japanese tourists flock down under

Japanese tourists flock down under | Tourism |

An increase in airline capacity between Australia and Japan has helped fuel a blossoming love affair between the two countries.

Once Australia’s third biggest visitor market (after New Zealand and the UK), Japan has now slipped to seventh following on from the Global Financial Crisis.

But a near doubling of Qantas flights in and out of Tokyo from early August has resulted in double-digit increases in arrivals as well as Australians heading to Japan.

Australian Bureau of Statistics’ data for September, showed Japanese visitors down under grew almost 18 per cent to 29,000 compared to the same month last year.

Top4s insight:

Japan was once Australia's largest tourism market. However, it is now the seventh-largest, having been eclipsed by several others, including Singapore, which has a much smaller population base.

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The best holiday hideaways across Australia

The best holiday hideaways across Australia | Tourism |

The best little holiday hideaways across Australia.

  • East hotel, Canberra
  • The retreat, lake house, Daylesford
  • Arthouse, Hobart
  • The billi resort, Broome
  • B & B wanulla, Toowoomba
  • Satellite island, Tasmania
  • Cremorne point manor, Sydney
  • Secret garden cottage, Katoomba
  • The frames, south Australia
  • Jamala wildlife lodge, Canberra
  • Ocean house, Lorne

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Tourism Australia Uses Food to Drive Luxury Travel Spending

Tourism Australia Uses Food to Drive Luxury Travel Spending | Tourism |

International visitors to Australia spent a record $34.8 billion in the 12 months ending September 30, 2015—up 13% or $4.1 billion—marking the highest jump in total inbound traveler spend since 2001. Visitor spending from the U.S. was up 14%.

A significant factor behind that increase was due to Tourism Australia’s concerted push toward luxury travel marketing in recent years, which was on full display at the Pure Life Experiences hospitality conference in Marrakech last month. Among all of the countries participating in the buyer/supplier trade show, Australia brought the largest contingent of high-end travel companies, including both hotels and tour operators.

“The product in Australia over the last five years has exploded in terms of premium offerings, and from our customers’ perspective, they’re seeing an increase in demand for luxury Australian experiences as well,” said Katherine Droga, GM, global distribution development for Tourism Australia.

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Instagram-worthy destinations the hottest thing in holidays for Australian travellers

Instagram-worthy destinations the hottest thing in holidays for Australian travellers | Tourism |

GREAT photo opportunities are now one of the driving forces behind Australians’ choice of holiday destination.

The annual “State of the Nation” report by travel search site, found 85 per cent of the 5450 people surveyed considered social media potential before booking a vacation.

Enhanced photo capabilities of smartphones are helping to drive the trend, and 56 per cent of those surveyed said a digital camera was now a travel essential.

The results came as no surprise to Tourism Australia’s Global Manager Social and Content Jesse Desjardins. He said they knew from their own research, great imagery played a huge role in inspiring travel and in destination choice.

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You Need To Check Out The West Coast Of Australia

You Need To Check Out The West Coast Of Australia | Tourism |

Australia is big. Very big. Add the fact it's surrounded by (often cheaper) Asian countries and you can see why so many Aussies flock overseas for holidays rather than exploring their own -- admittedly giant -- backyard. But with Lonely Planet recently naming Fremantle as one of their top 10 cities of 2015, you have to wonder -- have East Coasters been passing up on some amazing Western Australian adventures in order to sink Bintangs in neighbouring Bali?

However, recent statistics provided to The Huffington Post Australia from Flight Centre indicate travel from the east coast to the west is on the rise, with Broome and Fremantle in particular seeing an increase of visitors.

This growth can be attributed to the growth in the cruise industry, with East Coast travelers lured to Fremantle where they can pick up an affordable cruise to Asia or a half circumnavigation of the country following a Top End itinerary or sailing south around Australia.

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Daylesford is the ideal spot for a weekend escape

Daylesford is the ideal spot for a weekend escape | Tourism |

THOSE IN the grip of a tree-change fantasy are usually looking for three things to lure them out of town: a beautiful natural setting, with the splendid theatre of changing seasons unfettered by sprawl; cultural bells and whistles, such as distinctive shops and foodie finds; and proximity to the big city they’re leaving behind.

Whether you’re ditching your Very Important Job for another life or you’re simply a traveller in search of a weekend idyll to fall in love with, Daylesford township is the rural gem that has it all. The fortune-hunters of the 1850s gold rush have long gone from Hepburn Shire at the foothills of Victoria’s Great Dividing Range, but gold dust remains.

Luxury spas, boutique shops and plenty of fine-dining options for locavores make for a flawless weekend away, but it’s the glorious scenery that first casts the spell in Daylesford. The village lake is fringed by weeping willows and maples that flame into russets and gold during autumn, while the gorgeous family of ducks waddling along its shore in spring made me laugh out loud. The birdsong of the native satin flycatcher and eastern yellow robin is as loud as rush hour gets in a town surrounded by rolling farmland and vineyards.

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5 things you need to know about ‘eco’ travel

5 things you need to know about ‘eco’ travel | Tourism |

Whats exactly does ‘eco’ travel mean? We get down to the nitty gritty of what it means to travel sustainably in five questions in five minutes with Ronda Green from Wildlife Tourism Australia.

1. What does eco travel actually mean? - It’s trying to minimise any negative impacts on fauna, flora and habitat, so that activities can continue for decades without changing the behaviour of the animals, the numbers of species, the water quality or the scenic value.

2. Why should we care? - Firstly, it can affect future travel. If we don’t travel sustainably, some of the very reasons we visit places will gradually disappear. We also have a responsibility to the places we visit to avoid affecting other animals and the environment.

3. What do we need to do?  - Choose travel options that are eco-certified or have convincing statements about their commitment to the environment. We can minimise our impacts by not littering, not feeding wildlife and being unobtrusive to animals. We can also buy local foods and other products to benefit the residents of the area, and be generally respectful of local people and places that are sacred; it’s disrespectful to climb Uluru for instance.

4. I don’t always travel sustainably, should I have eco-guilt? - If we generally choose eco-friendly options, we don’t have to be absolutely purist about every detail, every day. We can indulge in a bit of extra luxury now and then.

5. What are three easy things we can do to be more responsible? - Choose accommodation, tours and wildlife parks that have some eco-certification or that make it clear they’re dedicated to protecting the environment. Reduce fossil fuels by buying local food and using public transport. And be careful not to influence animal behaviour by scaring them or feeding them outside of designated areas.

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NSW Government signs agreement with Xiamen Airlines to boost visitor numbers from China

NSW Government signs agreement with Xiamen Airlines to boost visitor numbers from China | Tourism |

The NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW has signed the MOU with Xiamen Airlines, with an investment and marketing partnership to promote travel to Sydney and NSW ahead of the launch of new direct services from China to Sydney on November 29.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the NSW Government continues to drive visitation from China to Sydney and the regions.

“I’m delighted we have signed this MOU to jointly market flights from China to our fantastic state, perfectly timed to enjoy the summer months,” Mr Ayres said.  “China is the largest inbound tourism market in NSW with 526,000 Chinese visitors last financial year - an increase of 24 per cent on the previous year.”

These visitors spent almost $2 billion in NSW, and we are looking forward to the first Xiamen Airlines flights arriving in Sydney in coming weeks.

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Agri-tourism's untapped potential

Agri-tourism's untapped potential | Tourism |

TASMANIAN Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck’s appointment as Tourism Minister and the Assistant Minister for Trade and Investment provides a synergy of skills that could help lift Australia’s small but promising, agricultural tourism sector.

Senator Colbeck was recently elevated into the two roles when Malcolm Turnbull’s first ministry was announced in mid-September.  Prior to the ministerial re-shuffle, he was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce; a position he also held in the Howard government and from opposition, in the previous parliament.

Senator Colbeck said he would continue representing the Agriculture Minister’s portfolio, which now includes water policy responsibilities, during Senate Question Time, rather than the new Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and SA Liberal Senator Anne Ruston.

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6 reassuringly remote Tasmanian islands

6 reassuringly remote Tasmanian islands | Tourism |

With 334 islands scattered around its fringe, Tasmania is brimming with places to escape, but which one to choose? These 6 Tasmanian island escapes are some of the most spectacularly wild and worth-it remote getaways that you’re ever likely to travel to…

1. Bruny Island  -  Known for: The Made on Bruny Island food trail (for cheese, whiskey, oysters, and berries), the narrow scenic isthmus that connects the north and south of the island.

2. Three Hummock Island  -  Known for: This private island has crystal-clear water and white sandy beaches, perfect for aquatic activities and coastal walks.

3. Satellite Island - Known for: A private island (that you can hire ) complete with two fabulous dwellings, the Summer House, a gorgeous Scandinavian-style design three bedroom guest house on the top of the island and the delightful Boathouse, an overwater bungalow on its own jetty.

4. Flinders Island - Known for: 75 kilometres long, 40 kilometres wide, and with around 400 kilometres of roads winding through farmland and classic coastline this is road trip nirvana. Expect plenty of wildlife spotting, bush walking and beach combing in this natural nirvana.

5. Maria Island - Known for: The Maria Island four-day walk, convict history, historic ruins, the beaches and wildlife (including the Tasmanian Devil).

6. King Island - Known for: World-class surf beaches, delicious produce (beef, cheese, and seafood, of course), and golf courses with spectacular views.

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Council considers kayak tourism plan

Council considers kayak tourism plan | Tourism |

GYMPIE Regional Council will tomorrow consider a 10-year plan to make water-based recreation a regular part of our lives and the regional economy.

A report to the council's general meeting says the Gympie Region Canoe and Kayak Strategy aims "to take advantage of waterways for recreational and tourism opportunities" in the Mary River, associated creeks and the Cooloola Coast.

It aims to provide a wide variety of kayaking experiences, including the provision of safe, convenient and well promoted, launch and exit points along the river.

The report says some of these points are tricky to use or invisible from the road and only really known to a few.

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Visitors to Murray on rise yet again

Visitors to Murray on rise yet again | Tourism |

Tourism in areas along the Murray River is continuing to grow.

Murray Regional Tourism said latest figures revealed a visitor increase of  3.1 per cent to 5.5 million staying 8.6 million nights.  That was up by 2.1 per cent for the 12-month period year ending June last year.  

This was revealed in Tourism Research Australia’s National Visitor Survey.

The results demonstrated a rise in all categories, including domestic and international overnight.

Murray Regional Tourism chief executive Mark Francis said he was delighted by the results.  “It is wonderful to see the Murray attracting more visitors to experience the diverse range of excellent product available in our unique destination,” he said.

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China will help keep Australia's tourism industry outlook strong

China will help keep Australia's tourism industry outlook strong | Tourism |

Chinese tourists are poised to overtake New Zealanders as Australia's most common visitors within five years, according to the government's tourism researcher.

Tourism Research Australia's Tourism Forecasts 2015 says the number of foreign tourists is expected to increase by 5.9 per cent to 7.5 million this financial year, including a 15.5 per cent rise in the number of Chinese visitors. 

Although China's economy has slowed down, growth in tourists from China, India and Malaysia is expected to outpace the global average rate of growth, the body's assistant general manager, Janice Wykes, said.

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