Preferred Hotel Group Congratulates Its Asia Pacific Hotels and Resorts On Their Recent Accolades and Awards

As a testament to its exceptional portfolio of the finest hotels and resorts in the region,
Preferred Hotel Group congratulates its Asia Pacific properties on receiving numerous
awards and accolades in the last three months.

Ananda in the Himalayas
Rishikesh, India - Preferred Hotels & Resorts
Favourite Spa in Asia - 2010 SpaFinder Readers' Choice Awards
Destination Spas - Condé Nast Traveller Readers' Travel Awards 2010 (UK)
India's first and only destination spa has swept the eighth annual awards of SpaFinder by
winning, not only the most-coveted Crystal Award for "Favourite Spa in Asia", but also five
more awards in other categories. It was also ranked number two by Condé Nast Traveller
readers for its ambiance and décor.

Andara Resort & Villas
Phuket, Thailand - Preferred Boutique
Best Villa and Condo Development - Thailand Property Awards 2010
Its second consecutive win at the Thailand Property Awards 2010 for the Best Villa and
Condo Development, Andara won on the basis of its superb location and features, high
quality of finishing, along with its environmentally friendly design.

Angkor Palace Resort & Spa
Siem Reap, Cambodia - Summit Hotels & Resorts
ASEAN Green Hotel Standard Award
For the second consecutive year, the resort was awarded the ASEAN Green Hotel Standard
Award for its environmental and energy conservation practices. These include a water-saving
campaign, using energy-saving lights, and using treated wastewater to maintain the lush
garden on the 11-hectare site.

Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa
Borneo, Malaysia - Preferred Boutique
Resort Development Category - Malaysia Property Award 2010 (FIABCI)
The Malaysia Property Award is the gold standard for developers and owners in the real
estate industry, and winners will go on to compete at the FIABCI International Prix d'
Excellence Award, the "Oscars" of the real estate industry. A key player in eco-tourism, the
resort's villas and facilities were built with minimal impact on their surroundings. The resort
also independently funds a Marine Ecology Research Centre and farms its own seafood to
reduce pressure on ocean life.

Hotel Mulia Senayan
Jakarta, Indonesia - Preferred Hotels & Resorts
Best City Hotel in Jakarta - TTG Travel Awards 2010, Asia Pacific
TTG Travel Awards serves a benchmark for high standards across the industry, and winners
are determined by votes cast by TTG readers and the travel industry across Asia Pacific.
This is the third consecutive year that the hotel has won this award.

The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts
India - Preferred Hotels & Resorts
World Travel Market (WTM) Global Award
WTM's Global Media Network, comprising key travel industry media around the world, put
forward organisations and individuals that have contributed to their region's tourism industry.
Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts secured an award in recognition of its standards of
excellence and rapid expansion carried out while giving back to the local community

Regal Airport Hotel
Hong Kong - Summit Hotels & Resorts
Best Airport Hotel in the World - Business Traveller Awards 2010
Best Airport Hotel - TTG Travel Awards 2010, Asia Pacific
The awards recognize the hotel's comprehensive services and facilities as an airport hotel.
This is the third consecutive year the hotel has won the Business Traveller Award and the
sixth consecutive year for the TTG Award.

Royal Plaza on Scotts
Singapore - Summit Hotels & Resorts
Best Independent Hotel - TTG Travel Awards 2010, Asia Pacific
The fourth consecutive year for this award, TTG voters recognized the hotel's distinctiveness
as an independent offering personable service.

The Upper House
Hong Kong - Preferred Hotels & Resorts
Best Business Hotels 2010 - Wallpaper UK
2010 Luxe List: The Region's Best New Hotels and Resorts - DestinAsian
100 Best Hotels in The World - The Sunday Times Travel (UK)
Best Boutique Hotel in Asia Pacific - Business Traveller Awards 2010, Asia-Pacific

The 2010 World Travel Awards
The World Travel Awards are regarded as the highest achievement that a travel product can
receive. Votes are cast by 183,000 travel professionals, including travel agencies, tour and
transport companies, and tourism organizations in over 160 countries across the globe.
Preferred Hotel Group's Asia Pacific winners are:
Asia's Leading Resort
The Leela Kempinski Kovalam Beach, Kerala, Kerala, India (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
India's Leading Conference Hotel
The Leela Palace Kempinski Bangalore, Bangalore, India (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
India's Leading Resort
The Zuri Kumarakom Kerala Resort & Spa, Kerala, India (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
Indonesia's Leading Business Hotel
Hotel Mulia Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)

The 2010 World Luxury Hotel Awards
The 2010 World Luxury Hotel Awards are accepted as the pinnacle of achievement for hotels
and a symbol of excellence chosen by 50 travel industry consultants and tour operators.
Preferred Hotel Group's Asia Pacific winners are:
Global Category
Luxury Spa Hotel
La Flora Resort & Spa Khao Lak, Khao Lak, Thailand (Summit Hotels & Resorts)
Luxury Hotels Brand
lebua Hotels & Resorts, Thailand (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
Luxury Boutique Hotel
The Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur, Udaipur, India (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
Luxury Diplomatic Hotel
Dusit Thani Hua Hin, Hua Hin, Thailand (PHG Travel Partner)
Country Category
Luxury Hotel, Cambodia
Angkor Palace Resort & Spa, Siem Reap, Cambodia (Summit Hotels & Resorts)
Luxury Business Hotel, Thailand
lebua at State Tower, Bangkok, Thailand (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
Luxury Hotel, India
The Imperial New Delhi, New Delhi, India (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
Luxury City Hotel, India
The Leela Palace Kempinski Bangalore, Bangalore, India (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
Luxury Boutique Hotel, Cambodia
The Sothea, Siem Reap, Cambodia (Preferred Boutique)

Travel + Leisure China Travel Awards 2010
Given by one of the top travel publications in China, these awards are voted on by its
discerning readers.
Best New Hotels in China
Les Suites Orient, Bund Shanghai, Shanghai, China (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
Top 100 Hotels in China
The Opposite House, Beijing, China (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
Best New Boutique Hotels in China
The Upper House, Hong Kong (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)

Note to travel agents: When booking via the GDS, please use master chain code PV.

About Preferred Hotel Group
Celebrating over 40 years of excellence, Preferred Hotel Group is a leading provider of
business solutions for independently owned and operated hotels and resorts around the
world. Services include sales, marketing, technology, distribution, and quality assurance.
Comprised of more than 800 best-in-class hotels in over 70 countries, Preferred Hotel Group
encompasses five distinct brands: Preferred Hotels & Resorts (,
Preferred Boutique (, Summit Hotels & Resorts
(, Sterling Hotels (, and Historic Hotels of
America ( Preferred Hotel Group also offers I Prefer™
(, an exclusive global guest benefits program, as well as Preferred Golf™
(, a membership program with entrée to the world's most
spectacular luxury golf resorts. For more information, visit

In September 2007, the company entered the luxury real estate market with the launch of
Preferred Residences - a membership and exchange program for luxury shared ownership
resorts that provide an exceptional level of service and amenities. Preferred Residences are
held to exacting standards derived from the same Preferred Global Standards of
Excellence™ on which the company has built its 41-year heritage in the hospitality industry.
For more information, please visit

IHG Launches Australian Hospitality Industry's First Reconciliation Action Plan

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) last night introduced the Australian hospitality industry's strongest commitment to equal opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to date, becoming the first hotel company to establish a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

In doing so, IHG has established the 201st RAP to be recognised and endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, the independent national body created to foster reconciliation through strong relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and other Australians.

IHG's RAP is one of only two such commitments within Australia's AU$33 billion tourism industry, the other being held by QANTAS.

With Reconciliation Australia's support and encouragement, IHG has set a target of having 2% of its total workforce in Australia made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by 2013. This target is just one of many undertakings that make up IHG's holistic approach to closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

IHG RAP outlines the journey toward that commitment, and the partners who will play a role in providing education, training, employment and business opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities, in and around IHG's Australian businesses.

Included in this journey will be the creation of new training, education and employment opportunities at every InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotel across Australia. The plan outlines partnerships with job network and registered training providers, Native Title representative bodies, community groups to assist with meeting its commitments.

The plan also incorporates opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate in IHG's international I-Grad and Emerging Leaders programs for high-potential trainees and employees.

The endeavours outlined in IHG's RAP were developed out of the collective experience of more than a decade working with communities in and around Kakadu in the Northern Territory, where IHG operates Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn, Gagudju Lodge Cooinda and Yellow Water Cruises on behalf of the traditional landowners. It is here that IHG chose to introduce its national RAP, presenting the commitments to the people of Kakadu.

"As the world's largest hotel group, we have both responsibility and opportunity to make significant contributions to the communities within which we operate. In Australia, reconciliation is a key part of this commitment," said IHG chief operating officer Australasia, Bruce McKenzie.

"We believe that responsible business requires contribution to reducing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians. To that end, we're now in our second decade of close partnerships with the communities of Kakadu and providing training, employing and other business opportunities.

"With the RAP and working with Reconciliation Australia and other partners, we now have the framework and resources to expand this experience into a national commitment."

Core to IHG's RAP is the establishment of close relationships with communities in areas where it conducts its business, which includes 35 hotels, resorts and other tourism operations in every state and territory of mainland Australia. It also sets clear timelines and targets for the expansion of its traineeship, education and employment programs and partnerships.

IHG's progress will be regularly monitored internally by IHG's RAP working group and externally by Reconciliation Australia, providing the hotel company with opportunities to benchmark against other best-practice employers.

"IHG's decision to frame its plan for creating opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a RAP not only demonstrates the depth of its commitment to reconciliation, it also sets a clear challenge for an industry that employs close to one million people in Australia," said Reconciliation Australia director, Tom Calma.
"Having a company of IHG's size, scale and international reputation make this level of commitment sends a powerful message to other hospitality companies. It also places IHG within a select community of businesses, government agencies and other organisations that have established their own RAP, and clearly positions the company as one of Australia's best and most progressive employers."

Bruce McKenzie has expressed excitement at the possibilities set to arise from rollout of IHG's national RAP.

"IHG aims to become one of the world's great companies. Today's events, and the subsequent rollout of our Reconciliation Action Plan, are a critical step toward achieving that ambition."

For more information on career opportunities at IHG, visit

About IHG
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is the world's largest hotel group by number of rooms. IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns, through various subsidiaries, over 4,500 hotels and more than 650,000 guest rooms in 100 countries and territories around the world. The Group owns a portfolio of well recognised and respected hotel brands including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites® and also manages the world's largest hotel loyalty programme, Priority Club® Rewards with 52 million members worldwide.

IHG has over 1,200 hotels in its development pipeline, which we expect to create 160,000 jobs worldwide over the next few years.

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group's holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales.

IHG offers information and online reservations for all its hotel brands at and information for the Priority Club Rewards programme at For the latest news from IHG, visit our online Press Office at

About Reconciliation Australia
Reconciliation Australia is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that was established in 2000 by the former Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. It is the peak national organisation building and promoting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians for the wellbeing of the nation.

Muri Beach Club Hotel Takes Home Luxury Award

Muri Beach Club Hotel has been voted "Winner 2010 - Luxury Boutique Hotel' in the World Luxury Travel Awards Ceremony.

The very best hotels from across the world competed at the 2010 "World Luxury Hotel Awards" gala ceremony in Hua Hin, Thailand, and Muri Beach Club Hotel was the only Resort from the Cook Islands to take home an award.

Muri Beach Club Hotel is a privately owned boutique adults only Resort, perfect for couples wanting a romantic escape. The Resort boasts an enviable location on the best stretch of beach facing the famous Muri Lagoon on the island of Rarotonga.

The "World Luxury Hotel Awards" is about congratulating hotels that have taken the extra step with regards to the quality of their facilities and service standards and, as such, they are differentiated from 'good hotels' to become recognized as "exceptional hotels."

The resort offers world class facilities designed to pamper guests, with a choice of accommodation ranging from Garden View to Beach front Rooms. Boutique in style and service, Muri Beach Club Hotel invites guests to experience the real rhythm of Rarotonga and prides itself in delivering on its promise.

Luxury Group Anantara Hotels Resorts and Spas Set to Open its First City Hotel in Bangkok

Anantara Hotels Resorts and Spas recently held a signing ceremony with V.C.A.L. Business
Group Co. Ltd to manage the luxury hotel brands first city hotel situated in the heart of
Bangkok. With twin towers of 37 floors rising prominently amidst Bangkok's city skyline, the
new property named Anantara Bangkok Sathorn, slated to open in February 2011, highlights
the company's confidence in the tourism industry in Thailand and Bangkok as one of the
world's top destination for travelers. Anantara has become synonymous with the world's most
enchanting destinations, and opening the brands second Bangkok property and first city hotel
serves to strengthen its presence in one of the world's most vibrant capitals.

Picture shows: Mr. William E. Heinecke, CEO of Minor International, owner of Anantara and
Mr. Apichai Taechaubol, Executive Chairman of V.C.A.L. Business Group Co. Ltd shake
hands over the new management partnership of Anantara Bangkok Sathorn at the signing
ceremony held at the Four Seasons, Bangkok on November 30th, 2010.


World Travel Awards capped its year-long search for travel and tourism’s finest with its glittering Grand Final 2010 Ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House hotel.

After a challenging year for the industry, organisations including American Express, Kuoni, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Europcar and Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority all demonstrated their world-class pedigree as they spearheaded the global travel and tourism recovery.

Hailed as “The Oscars of the Travel Industry” by the Wall Street Journal, the World Travel Awards is recognised worldwide as the ultimate travel accolade.

London beat off the likes of New York, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro and Sydney to win “World’s Leading Destination” in a year that saw tourist arrivals in the capital rise to 27 million as the excitement builds ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

Etihad Airways continued its meteoric rise by picking up “World’s Leading Airline” for the second year in succession, following a year that saw the UAE flag carrier launch five new routes and play a leading role in a resurgent year for aviation.

A host of VIPs attended the gala ceremony, including His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia, who collected “Leading Personality of the Year” for his development of religious tourism in the Holy City of Makkah, and his pioneering philanthropic work for the King Faisal Foundation.

Meanwhile, German businesswoman Regine Sixt, President of Sixt, was voted “Woman of the Year” for her pivotal role within the organisation that has navigated its way through the downturn.

Other VIP attendees included David Scowscill, President & CEO, WTTC; Sally Chatterjee, CEO, VisitLondon; H.E. Chumpol Silapa-Archa, Minister of Tourism & Sports, Thailand; Fiona Jeffery, Chairman, World Travel Market & Just a Drop; Alec Sanguinetti, CEO & Director General, CHTA; Josef Forstmayr, President, CHA; Tan Sri Dr.Mohd Munir bin Abdul Majid, Chairman, Malaysia Airlines; Dato' Lee Choong Yan, President & COO, Resorts World Genting; Hon. Ed Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica and Adam Stewart, CEO, Sandals Resorts International.

The WTA Grand Final marked the climax of a year-long search to find the very best travel companies in the world, and follows heats in Dubai, Johannesburg, Antalya, Delhi and Jamaica.

WTA 2010 nominations featured 5,000 companies in 1,000 categories across 162 countries. The winners were selected by thousands of industry professionals and consumers worldwide who have been voting online.

Graham Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards, said: “This year, like the last, continues to challenge every strata of travel and tourism. However tonight’s World Travel Awards winners see struggle not as sign of weakness or failure, but as an opportunity for growth and renewal, and a chance to put their business model through the ultimate test.”

He added: “By combining flair and ambition with savvy business acumen, these organisations are spearheading the worldwide recovery of travel and tourism. In doing so they are also reinforcing our industry’s role as one of the mainstays of the global economy.”

Established 17 years ago, World Travel Awards is committed to raising the standards of customer service and overall business performance throughout the international industry.

Consumers are increasingly using the list of winners as a reliable guide and means of reassurance when choosing their holiday. Companies and destinations that make it on to the winners’ podium receive global coverage and commercial benefits.

Log on to for a complete list of World winners.

About World Travel Awards
The World Travel Awards was launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognise excellence in the world's travel and tourism industry.

Now celebrating its 17th Anniversary, the awards is regarded as the very highest achievement that a travel product could ever hope to receive.

Votes are cast by 183,000 travel professionals, including travel agencies, tour and transport companies and tourism organizations in over 160 countries across the globe.

Votes are cast globally by fellow industry professionals in over 1,000 different categories.

Attended by senior executives from major travel companies, operators and destinations, WTA events are universally respected as providing established, top level networking opportunities, regionally and globally.

The World Travel Award’s official list of worldwide media partners includes: ABTA Magazine, ASTA Network Magazine, BBC World News, eTurboNews, Breaking Travel News, CNBC Arabiya, Khaleej Times, L’Agenzia di Viaggi, Trav Talk, Trade Arabia, TTN, Travel Daily News International, Focus on Travel News, New Focus Travel Magazine, Tourism Review, JAX FAX, Travel & Leisure China, Travel & Leisure Golf China, Xenios & Xenios World.


Accor is the first major hotel group to partner with Tripadvisor to post recent customer opinions about its hotels online and feature the Tripadvisor widget on its own site so that guests can automatically see what previous guests have said about the hotel before making a booking.

With a direct link to Tripadvisor on the Accor group delivers real transparency to its guests while making hotels more accountable for the quality of services and facilities they offer. The project was launched in recognition that today's guest is more likely to turn to online forums to make their travel decisions. The project shows Accor's commitment to quality product and to adapting to customer expectations.

Since launching in Australia, over 52% of Accor hotels have improved their ranking against their geographic competitor set and more than 11.5% of hotels increased their Trip Advisor '5 star' ratings.

The new service is available for Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure, Adagio, ibis, all seasons, Etap Hotel and Formule 1 hotels in all of the Group's host countries.

To support and expand the process, e-mail messages are sent to travelers one week after their stay encouraging them to provide feedback. Opinions and comments appear on the traveler rating form for each hotel that is posted on both and the TripAdvisor website.

"Through this partnership, is demonstrating its commitment to quality by transparently providing hotel ratings posted by customers via TripAdvisor," said Romain Roulleau, Accor's Deputy Director of Direct Sales in charge of e-commerce. "In this way, the portal is improving service for Web users by supplying them with more information before they book their hotel and enabling them to share their impressions with other travelers after their stay."

Rooms in Accor hotels around the world can be reserved at, the Group's multi-brand worldwide online booking portal.

Quest Serviced Apartment award winners announced

Quest Serviced Apartments has announced the winners of its 2010 Quest Franchise of the Year Awards at a gala dinner on Saturday 13 November. This includes State Franchise of the Year awards, National Franchise of the Year, employee awards and the innaugural Chairman's Award for Outstanding Service.

Quest Serviced Apartments celebrated a successful 2010 by announcing Quest Glen Waverley in Victoria as its National Franchise of the Year.
Quest Glen Waverley also picked up the award for Regional Franchise of the Year for Victoria against five other State finalists.

The announcement was made at the 2010 Quest Franchise of the Year Gala Awards on Saturday 13 November. The winners of a further 10 awards were announced including:

* Regional Franchise of the Year, NSW/ACT - Quest Maitland (NSW)
* Regional Franchise of the Year, QLD - Quest Spring Hill
* Regional Franchise of the Year, SA/NT/Tas - Quest Darwin (NT)
* Regional Franchise of the Year, WA - Quest Bunbury
* Inaugural Chairman's Award for Outstanding Service - Charlene Ackland, Quest Mansions (SA)
* Excellence through Commitment - Quest North Ryde (NSW)
* Employee of the Year, front of house - Karen Watson, Quest Narre Warren and Quest Frankston (VIC)
* Employee of the year, back of house - Rosa Smyth, Quest on Doncaster (VIC)
* New Zealand Franchise of the Year - Quest Invercargill
* Supplier of the Year - TRAVELCLICK

The annual awards recognise outstanding achievements and commitment to the Quest brand, serviced apartment industry and most importantly guest service. Finalists and winners are chosen from more than 2,000 employees and more than 125 properties across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

Paul Constantinou, Chairman Quest Serviced Apartments said Quest had enjoyed a successful year thanks to a strong business model and the unwavering commitment of Quest's franchisees and employees.

"Without the commitment and drive of our network of franchisees and their employees, we would not be the industry leader we are today," he said.

"From property management to housekeeping, all of our employees play a vital role in delivering exceptional guest service day in and day out.

"The annual Quest awards formally recognise these employees, the best of the best in business leadership across the Quest network and also the future leaders of the Quest Group.

"Our award winners and extended network should be very proud of their achievements this year," said Mr Constantinou.

Minister Ferguson outlines new direction for tourism


Australia’s tourism industry is heading in a new direction, according to Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP.

In his opening address at the inaugural Tourism Directions conference at Parliament House in Canberra yesterday, Minister Ferguson said that the Australian tourism industry had managed to establish an edge against international competitors.

This was achieved because of the country’s strong performance in the tourism sector during the global financial crisis.

"Australia has successfully negotiated a difficult trading environment, and now emerges in a stronger position than many of our rival destinations," Minister Ferguson said.

"With global travel down by four per cent, Australia has been able to maintain the number of international inbound visitors, and secure the half a million jobs and $33 billion economic contribution of tourism in Australia.

Minister Ferguson said Australian tourism's success over the past three years was mainly thanks to timely government intervention in the form of the stimulus package, and subsequent investment in vital transport and community infrastructure.

"Australia's tourism industry is well-placed to meet the needs of the growing Asian market, provided it can increase productivity and provide consumers with a better value for money experience.

"The Australian Government is committed to working with the industry and state and territory tourism governments to drive this transformation.

"Our agenda is set out in the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy work program where we are pursuing a number of reforms to unlock productivity, remove unnecessary or duplicated regulation between the states and territories, assist with labour force planning in the sector, and encourage investment in areas like hotels, motels and conference centres.

"A focus on the supply-side of our industry will deliver long-lasting reform which increases the competitiveness and productivity of the sector, while our significant investments in marketing will ensure Australia maintains its status as a world-leading tourism destination."

The Tourism Directions Conference was hosted by the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism and Tourism Australia.

Strong August result takes Fiji’s AU 2010 visitor arrivals past 178,000 mark

Helping to keep Fiji well on track for a record breaking year, more than 21,000 Australians visited the destination across August according to statistics released this week by the Fiji department of information.

The 21,451 total recorded for the month takes Fiji's January-August Australian visitor total to 178,171, a 31 per cent increase over the 135,726 recorded for the same period in 2009.

With Australian business for August constituting 44.7 per cent of total traffic, the result has again helped push Fiji's international January-August visitor arrivals to a record-breaking 398,395.

This represents an 18 per cent increase over the 337,554 achieved for the eight month period in 2009.

The positive Australian result was reflected across the board with all major international source markets showing growth across the eight month period.

This included New Zealand numbers which have shown an overall increase of 10.07 per cent to reach 63,665 for the year.

The US also experienced a 7.97 per cent increase to reach 37,262 for the year while the UK/Europe again remained in positive mode with January-August figures having increased overall by 2.07 per cent to reach 49,924.

The national tourist office's ongoing efforts in its key emerging markets were once again rewarded with visitor arrivals from China and India increasing by 31.7 per cent and 33.7 per cent, respectively, for the eight month period.

Taiwan business also increased by 31.4 percent across the eight month period.


Eight-storey, 4.5 star hotel planned for Victor Harbour's historic Crown Hotel


A NEW eight-storey $80 million hotel on the historic Crown Hotel site in Victor Harbor, South Australia, is expected to boost tourism in the area.

Tourism Minister John Rau said the Gunn Group of Companies, who own the Crown Hotel, have received approval from the local council to expand the site to encompass a 4.5 star hotel.

It will include consisting of 160 rooms, retail shops, restaurant and bar facilities, plus extensive conferencing facilities.

Mr Rau said South Australia's appeal as a tourism destination is dependent on the development of new tourism products and experiences.

"We've identified further development of upmarket accommodation and attractions as essential to help us lure more high-yielding visitors from our target domestic and international markets," he said.

"The redevelopment will greatly add to the region's accommodation capacity and provide further quality tourism infrastructure in the region, providing tourists the opportunity to stay in luxury while enjoying some of Australia's best wine and coastal experiences."

Read more:,,27923197-2682,00.html#ixzz150no8GBw

Boeing 787 Dreamliner programme grounded by electrical fire

Dreamliner ZA002 was involved in the incident
Boeing has halted its much delayed Dreamliner programme following an electrical fire onboard a test aircraft.

Dreamliner ZA002 lost primary electrical power as a result of the fire during approach to Laredo, Texas, yesterday.

Pilots deployed backup systems – including the Ram Air Turbine (RAT) - which functioned as expected and allowed a safe landing.

The incident is under investigation by Boeing. However, while it is still not known what caused the fire, Boeing has restricted the programme to ground test operations only.

The aircraft manufacturer has already suggested the incident may further delay the project.

“We cannot determine the impact of this event on the overall program schedule until we have worked our way through the investigation data,” the company said in a statement.

News of the fire and the test program hiatus hit Boeing hard on Wall Street. The company’s shares were down 3.15 per cent, or $2.18 earlier today.

All Nippon

Boeing recently pushed the launch of the Dreamliner back to 2011, the latest in a series of delays for the troubled aircraft.

Dreamliner has now suffered almost two-years of delays since the project was launched.

Japan’s All Nippon Airways, the first carrier to place an order, was scheduled to take delivery of the first aircraft by the end of this year.

This has already been pushed back to February next year before the latest incident.

Engine room fire leaves Carnival ship dead in the water

One of Carnival Cruise Lines’ largest ships, the 113,000-ton, two-year-old Carnival Splendor, was floating “dead in the water” – without power or propulsion – yesterday after fire broke out in the engine room of the Mexican coast.

Carnival said 4466 people were aboard when the fire started: 3299 passengers and 1167 crew. No injuries to passengers or crew were reported but the ship was left without flushing toilets, air conditioning, hot meals or telephone services.

The fire started yesterday in the vessel’s aft (rear) engine room. It was extinguished, but only after flames triggered the shutdown of the ship’s main generators.

Carnival was trying to restore power last night. If successful, the ship would return to its home port of Long Beach, California, under its own power, the company said. “However, arrangements for tugboats have been made so that, in the event power is not restored, the ship will be returned to a port with tugboat assistance.”

Carnival Splendor was on the first leg of a seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise that began in Long Beach. The cruise will be cancelled. President and chief executive of Carnival Cruise Lines, Gerry Cahill, was quoted as saying that all guests would get a full refund, an extra complimentary cruise and reimbursement of their travel expenses. The ship’s normal itinerary includes stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Written by : William Sykes

Singapore Airlines suspends A380 flights

SINGAPORE Airlines this morning cancelled the departure of one of its A380 flights from London, telling pax that engine maker Rolls Royce had placed an “embargo” on A380 aircraft using its Trent 900 engines, as exclusively revealed to the world in TD’s breaking news.

Several reports say the crew refused to fly the superjumbo flagship after oil was found in one of the turbines - a symptom which is believed to have led to the explosion of the QF engine.

It’s understood that SIA A380s are also currently grounded in Sydney and Melbourne, although the carrier hasn’t responded to requests for comment before TD’s deadline today.

Engine maker Rolls Royce yesterday issued a special service bulletin after saying it had “made progress in understanding the cause of the engine failure” on QF32 out of SIN five days ago.

Rolls Royce Trent 900 engine (
“As a result, a series of checks and inspections have been agreed with Airbus, with operators of the Trent 900 powered A380 and with the airworthiness authorities,” Rolls Royce said in a statement.

“These are being progressively completed which is allowing a resumption of operation of aircraft in full compliance with all safety standards”.

The Qantas A380 fleet remains grounded and isn’t expected to resume service until Fri at the earliest, with further details emerging from QF32 incl damage to wiring and hydraulic systems.

Earlier this week SQ said it was continuing to operate its A380s after inspections found no problems with the fleet.

Hotel business recovers in Australia

Hotel business is picking up, according to a survey by Best Western, proving that the global financial crisis may well and truly be over for the accommodation sector. Corporate clients and families were among the top market segments returning to hotels and motels in the past six months.

Not only are more Australians returning to travel, they have increased their length of stay by 3% on last year, and increased their average daily spend on accommodation by almost 5%.

Kimi Anderson, General Manager of Sales and Marketing for Best Western Australasia said, "Corporate clients and families are still finding travel achievable and affordable, which is a great sign for the industry. It's also heartening to see that holidays are being extended for families, and people are feeling more relaxed about taking time away from work to explore the beauty of Australia".

Online bookings for Best Western spiked by 65% in the last month alone, demonstrating that more and more Australians are purchasing travel online.

"With business booming, and the summer school holidays around the corner, it's a wise idea to book in advance. Early bookings guarantee availability and in many cases, you can save money with an early-bird discount" she said.

This research was carried out by Best Western Australasia and was based on bookings from May-October 2010 compared to the same period last year.

For more information on Best Western in Australia visit

Accor to launch two new London hotels in time for the Olympics

Accor announced today that they would open two new London hotels in time for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Construction of the four-star Novotel London Blackfriars and the Ibis London Blackfriars would begin immediately.

The 182 bedroom Novotel, located at 46-49 Blackfriars Road, will comprise twelve business suites, six meeting rooms (approximately 250 square metres of conference space), bar, restaurant and full leisure facilities, including swimming pool. The 297 room Ibis hotel will offer its guests bar and restaurant facilities, including 24 hour snack and drink service.

Located on London's Southbank, the new hotels will provide an ideal location for both business and leisure visitors to Central London, being close to the City and within a stone's throw of some of the capital's key attractions, as well as the Olympic Games.

Accor will open a new hotel – Mercure Bloomsbury – next month. It will increase Accor's portfolio in the UK & Ireland to 145 hotels and over 18,000 rooms, represented by six brands: Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure, Ibis, All Seasons and ETAP..

Jean-Jacques Dessors, chief operating officer of Accor UK and Ireland, said the developments marked the company's ongoing ambitious expansion of the Novotel and Ibis brands in the UK. "The new hotels represent a strong endorsement of Accor's prominence as one of the world's leading hotel groups," he said.


Sofitel Sydney Wentworth General Manager Marc Cherrier (left)
with members of the Accor hotels team and the Tourism For Tomorrow Award

After a long journey across the globe, the World Travel & Tourism Council's (WTTC)'Tourism For Tomorrow' award – presented to Accor on the 27th May at the 10th Global Travel & Tourism Summit held in Beijing – arrived in Australia this week, before its onward journey to Switzerland.
The award officially 'checked in' for a brief stay at the group's flagship hotel, the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth as part of a whistlestop world tour initiated by Accor and WTTC to showcase the prestigious award on an international scale and promote responsible tourism practices.

Accor was awarded the Tourism for Tomorrow award for demonstrating effective, environmentally sensitive operations and management, educating guests and employees about sustainable tourism practices, supporting cultural and natural heritage preservation, and collaborating with other private and public stakeholders to promote best practices in sustainable tourism.

The group won in the highly competitive Global Tourism Business Award category for spearheading sustainable tourism projects across its network of more than 4,000 hotels and diverse portfolio of brands which include Sofitel Luxury Hotels, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Mercure, All Seasons, Ibis and Formule 1.

Sofitel Sydney Wentworth General Manager Marc Cherrier says, "After its incredible journey from Asia, we are very excited to welcome the award to Australia for display before its onward trip to Europe.

"The idea of course is to share the accolade not only with our own staff but to all of our industry partners and associates who have been very supportive and encouraging of our sustainable tourism initiatives in recent times.

"As a group we are immensely proud of the commitment that Accor, its hotel brands and people have demonstrated in regards to sustainable tourism and practices. This visit provides a perfect opportunity to highlight Accor's outstanding efforts as a group in regards to pioneering responsible and progressive initiatives in this area."

The award has been on display at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth's Club Lounge while in transit from Beijing to Switzerland.

"For years, WTTC's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have recognized achievements in responsible and sustainable tourism and profiled best practices that the industry can learn from," said Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Committee. "Independently judged from hundreds of applications, four awards are presented every year at WTTC's Global Travel & Tourism Summit to organizations that lead the way in helping to secure a sustainable future for travel and Tourism around the world."

Prior to awarding Accor the award, WTTC judges evaluated the depth of Accor's commitment both in terms of social and environmental sustainability initiatives tested the level of awareness among employees and verified that action plans are widely shared across the Group and adapted to local situations.

"Many global companies focus more on their environmental ambitions when it comes to sustainability, but Accor has surpassed this with a number of environmental and social sustainability initiatives," said Costas Christ, who chaired the panel of judges for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. "Its Earth Guest program plays a truly global role in minimizing the environmental impact of Accor's operations. It also helps to share best environmental practices through effective tracking, with data that can be accessed by any hotel at any time."

 The judges were also very impressed with Accor's strong social outreach, including its willingness to address fundamental global health issues like HIV/AIDS prevention and to Lead the fight against illegal exploitation of children for sex in certain tourist destinations.

Aussie travellers $1,500 better off on the back of soaring dollar

Australians travelling to the United States, Europe or Great Britain have, on average, AU$1,500 more in their travel wallet than at the peak of the Global Financial Crisis.

This is according to American Express, the latest entrant to the pre-paid travel card market, which compared the buying power of the super-charged Australian dollar against the US Dollar, Euro and British Pound over the past two years.

American Express has also reported a significant spike in the number of Australians locking in record high exchange rates by purchasing foreign cash or prepaid currency products – even among people not intending to travel overseas in the foreseeable future.

"It was only 24 months ago that the Aussie dollar was buying less than US$0.70. Now we are teetering on parity," said Lawrence Chan, Vice President and General Manager of American Express Global Prepaid, Japan and Asia Pacific.

"With the Aussie dollar also buying €0.67, up from €0.50 two years ago, and £0.60, up from £0.39 over the same period, it's not surprising people are rushing to lock in these attractive exchange rates ahead of any change in the dollar's value," he said.

"Up until now, when the dollar has been strong, it has been common for travellers to stock up on travellers cheques, but now Australians are also turning to our new pre-paid currency card which has no time limit on when the currency needs to be spent.

"The card allows an attractive exchange rate to be locked and loaded so travellers don't need to worry about exchange rate volatility," Mr Chan said.

Unlike other pre-paid currency cards, the American Express GlobalTravel Card has no inactivity fees or expiry period, meaning funds (in US Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros) can be left on the card indefinitely and the funds will still be there in full the next time the card holder wants to use them.

The new American Express GlobalTravel Card, a first for American Express globally, sets a new benchmark in travel cards and provides added peace of mind for Australians travelling overseas.

A unique built-in feature of the card is Global Assist which entitles the card holder to 24/7 emergency assistance including: lost passport replacement assistance; translation services; lost luggage assistance; emergency legal and medical referrals.

If the card is lost or stolen, American Express will organised to have it replaced and the card holder provided with access to emergency funds – at no additional cost.

"As many travellers know all too well, it is very easy to lose track of the exchange rate while travelling, miscalculate currency conversions or underestimate travel budgets. This is where travel cards come to the fore," Mr Chan added.

"Not only do prepaid travel cards give travellers' greater control over their finances, they provide the certainty of global acceptance and an enhanced level of security and fraud protection."The American Express GlobalTravel Card is accepted at millions of locations outside of Australia where American Express Cards are welcomed.

It can also be used online and to withdraw funds from overseas ATMs.American Express has partnered with Australia Post as its major distribution partner for the American Express GlobalTravel Card. The card will be distributed at more than 3,200 of Australia Post's 4,400 outlets nationwide from 1 November, 2010, in addition to American Express' own foreign exchange services offices.

"The American Express GlobalTravel Card adds to a range of travel products and services available through our outlets making Australia Post a one-stop-shop for people preparing for the Christmas holiday season," said Executive General Manager, Retail Services, Christine Corbett.

"With a retail footprint extending to cities, towns and regional communities throughout Australia, our outlets are the perfect vehicle for American Express to make its new product available to customers," she said.

To find the nearest American Express foreign exchange services office visit:

To find the nearest Australia Post outlet visit: