Destination Wrap: NT parks reopen, South African Tourism’s new videos + MORE

Grab a plate, put on a bib and stuff your face full of the latest destination news right here. It’s an absolute smorgasbord.

Northern Territory parks reopen

Across the NT, parks like Litchfield National Park are reopening (

A number of Northern Territory National Parks and reserves have reopened as of midday 1 May for camping, swimming and hiking, following coronavirus closures.

It comes as the territory begins to relax social distancing restrictions in a multi-phase approach, with local operators now able to recommence tours, provided they ensure effective hygiene and physical distancing precautions are in place.

Accommodation providers are also able to accept bookings.

However, popular sites like Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Kakadu National Park remain closed until 11:59pm 18 June 2020, in line with measures enacted under the Biosecurity Act.

Northern Territory Tourism has also laid out what to expect over the coming month in terms of tourism, with further information available here.

South African Tourism says ‘we will be waiting for you’ in new videos

Posted by South African Tourism AU on Thursday, 30 April 2020

South African Tourism has launched two videos reminding Australians and New Zealanders that the country will be waiting for them when travel resumes.

The videos are a timely reminder to stay safe – acknowledging that while things are different now, time will pass and, once it does, South Africa will be waiting to welcome travellers back to experience its diverse experiences, unparalleled wildlife, sprawling wine lands and beautiful people.

Click here to view the videos via South African Tourism’s Facebook page.

Singapore Tourism Board announces $2.2m fund for content creators

The Singapore Tourism Board has launched the SG Stories Content Fund, a S$2 million ($2.2 million) fund to encourage and support local and international content creators to create and share compelling stories of strength, resilience, solidarity and unity in Singapore.

Content creators in the areas of production, media, tourism, digital marketing and influencer marketing are eligible and encouraged to apply as an individual or as a registered company.

The fund will support 90 per cent of qualifying costs, capped at S$150,000 per project including creative development and conceptualisation, production and execution, marketing and distribution.

All filming activities must adhere to prevailing safe distancing measures.

Applications close on 31 May 2020.

For more information and to apply, click here.

WA Goldfields could become ancestry tourism hub

An eight-minute documentary by tourism organisation Australia’s Golden Outback has shone a light on the potential for Western Australia’s Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Goldfields as ancestry tourism destinations.

The campaign, created in partnership with the Eastern Goldfields Historical Society, digs into the Goldfields history and meaning of a photograph of the mother of Stirling resident Toni Barnett, taken next to the statue of Norseman the horse.

“The horse called Norseman belonged to Laurie Sinclair, my great-great grandfather, and during a journey between Coolgardie and Esperance in 1894, a rock got stuck in the horse’s hoof, which turned out to be a gold nugget, and that’s how Norseman the town came to be,” Barnett said, adding that the tourism experience had been life-changing.

New webinars announced for Oregon’s destination training

Travel Oregon has announced three further webinars for its upcoming series, which kicks off on Wednesday with insights from Travel Oregon global sales director Greg Eckhart.

To register for Travel Oregon’s Wednesday, 6 May webinar, click here.

And to register for American Airlines’ Tuesday, 12 May webinar, click here.

To register your interest in a deep dive into Utah, courtesy of the Utah Office of Tourism, click here.

And to get abreast of all things Grapevine Texas, click here.

Niue Tourism shows off subtle new ‘see you soon’ campaign

To you, our extended family, 'Let's say Fakaalofa lahi atu again soon'. Until we can see each other again, stay safe.#NowhereLikeNiue

Posted by Niue Tourism on Sunday, 26 April 2020

Niue Tourism has created a new marketing campaign to let travellers know that the small island nation is looking forward to welcoming them again, when the time is right.

Along with the message “let’s say Fakaalofa lahi atu again soon” (let’s say hello again soon), the campaign features smiling Niuean faces and the iconic natural beauty of the island, which will be showcased across Niue Tourism’s social media channels.

We're missing you too.#NowhereLikeNiue

Posted by Niue Tourism on Saturday, 2 May 2020

Niue is a standalone island in the South Pacific with a population of around 1,600 people that came to recent acclaim after becoming the world’s first ‘dark sky’ nation, a mantle which makes it perhaps the best place on Earth to stargaze.

The island is known for its astro-tours, diving, snorkelling, game fishing, whale and dolphin watching, scenic coastal tracks, golfing and cultural pursuits.

Share the beauty of the Whitsundays on Zoom

Tourism Whitsundays has shared images of some of the Whitsundays’ very best spots with which to curate your next Zoom meeting. To download the images, click here.

The organisation has also released a delicious Whitsundays inspired menu, filled with the likes of a Whitsunday Island iced tea, crumbed Coral trout with tartar sauce and a Bowen mango sorbet. Click here to check it out in full.

Empire State Building lights in red for the finale of #HeroesShineBright

Over the weekend, the Empire State Building shone in its signature red heartbeat to mark the end of #HeroesShineBright, an eight-night campaign that honoured COVID-19 first responder organisations with a lighting in their representative colours.

To showcase the impact of essential workers around the world, and light in support of their contributions to the fight against COVID-19, members of the World Federation of Great Towers joined together and shone red at 8:30pm in their local time zones as a global thank you.

The towers participating included:

  • Burj Khalifa (UAE)
  • Eiffel Tower (France)
  • Sichuan Tower (China)
  • CN Tower (Canada)
  • Macau Tower (China)
  • Busan Tower (South Korea)
  • Willis Tower (US)
  • Euromast (Netherlands)
  • 360 Chicago (US)
  • Calgary Tower (Canada)
  • One Liberty Observation Deck and its sister tower Liberty Two (US)
  • Ostankino TV Tower (Russia)
  • Tallinn TV Tower (Estonia)
  • UFO Tower (Slovakia)

Gold Coast sends heartfelt thank you to parents

With restrictions easing in Queensland over the weekend, the embattled Gold Coast tourism industry is already starting to feel a positive shift among the drive market, but has its sights set firmly on inspiring interstate families ahead of its rivals.

Destination Gold Coast, while acknowledging that recovery will not happen overnight, is making moves “well ahead” of its fellow New South Wales and Victorian destination competitors with best-in-class campaigns ready for rollout, the tourism organisation said.

The campaign begins with a new video, “Thanks to You, Parents”, which was launched on Friday.

Unlike the majority of destination messages currently in the market, which are focused on spotlighting their own selling points, the Gold Coast is taking a very different approach.

Instead, Destination Gold Coast’s new video is focused on simply reaching out to connect with families across Australia, at a time they are missed the most.

Last year, the Gold Coast drew a record 14.2 million visitors, but the COVID-19 travel ban has completely halted the city’s biggest economic driver- tourism – worth $6 billion per year.

New Caledonia Tourism reports 7.5 per cent increase in Australian arrivals in 2019

Noumea, New Caledonia

New Caledonia Tourism’s (NCT) latest visitor arrival figures from Australia for 2019 showed an increase of 7.5 per cent year on year.

These latest figures see Australia maintain its status as the second largest market for New Caledonia after France and mark five years of growth for the market since 2013.

NCT said the growth was attributed to its ‘Feel The Pulse’ campaign, which launched in early 2019 with the goal of positioning New Caledonia as a distinct South Pacific destination with unique experiences for travellers of all interests.

Campaign activity throughout 2019 included a large-scale mural in Sydney’s Marrickville suburb, outdoor advertising, content partnerships with top tier online publications, partnerships with high-profile Australian influencers and cooperative campaigns with key partners, all of which helped ensure wide-reaching visibility for the destination and its offering.

Destination DC launches global travel agent training program

Destination DC’s Washington, DC Special Agent Academy is a new online-based program designed to train and engage with travel agents around the world who are interested in becoming Washington, DC experts.

The program’s initial rollout consists of three courses, or ‘operations’, with several missions covering a variety of topics. The first operation covers the city’s captivating monuments, memorials, museums and historic neighbourhoods.

Later operations dive deeper, covering sports, dining, educational tours and the unique offerings available in the greater capital region.

For more information about Washington, DC Special Agent Academy, click here.

Tourism Ireland shares poem for return of travel

Tourism Ireland has released a new video for travellers stuck at home and unable to get overseas, based around the poem ‘I will return’, which has been written specifically for the tourism organisation.

It comes in the hope that people will continue to #DreamNowTravelLater.

Curate your Zoom chat with the best of Canada

Destination Canada has released a selection of images for curating your next video conference, available at

The images include the aurora borealis of Yukon, the dynamic architecture of Canada’s urban centres, the beaches of Prince Edward Island, Peggy’s Cove lighthouse in Nova Scotia, the polar bears of Manitoba, and many more.

SATC backs COVIDSafe app

The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) is backing the federal government’s new COVIDSafe app in the hopes that it could speed up the process of border openings.

In a letter, SATC chief executive Rodney Harrex said: “I, along with the SATC Executive leadership team, have downloaded the app, and I have encouraged all SATC staff to do the same.

“The COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary, but I believe it is one crucial way we can help protect ourselves, our families and our community – in terms of both lives and livelihoods.

“I encourage you to visit the Federal Department of Health website for more information about the app and why it is important for public health to download it.

“The more people who do, the greater chances that health officials have of tracing the virus within the community, and hopefully, the sooner restrictions can be eased in our state and in our country, and the sooner, our tourism sector can get back to normal.”

Hong Kong Tourism Board foresees a new tourism landscape after the pandemic

Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) chairman Dr YK Pang believes tourism will look very different on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has posed an extraordinary challenge to the organisation.

In a statement the chairman said: “The tourism landscape will be reshaped. In the post-pandemic world, we will see a shift in preference and behaviour among travellers – the public health conditions of destinations, and the hygiene standards of transportations, hotels and other tourism facilities will become a top priority.

“People will prefer short-haul breaks and shorter itineraries; wellness-themed trips will become a new trend.

“It is in fact an ideal time for us to review and rethink Hong Kong’s position in the global tourism market and elevate service standard. Together with the travel trade, the HKTB is going to map out the long-term development strategy for our tourism industry.”

Helsinki celebrates May Day holiday with virtual event

Photo capture from Virtual Helsinki by VR-Studio Zoan (Helsinki Marketing)

On Thursday, 30 April, the city of Helsinki celebrated its annual May Day holiday by inviting citizens to participate in a virtual celebration with one of the country’s popular artists.

Powered by the city’s Virtual Helsinki digital twin, Fullsteam Agency, and developer Zoan’s Burst Live technology platform, citizens of the Nordic capital were able to tune in with a smartphone or computer, choose an avatar and see JVG – the most streamed band in Finland – perform from Senate Square, interacting with the band with gestures, applause and emojis, which were able to be seen in real time.

Taking inspiration from a gig in Fortnite by DJ Marshmello, the experience is the most ambitious use of the Virtual Helsinki platform to date.

The partnership was designed to make the experience as accessible as possible – VR headsets are not required – and keep citizens safe during the COVID-19 crisis.

The result of two years of development and investment in a digital twin, paired with the city’s open-data policies and an ongoing partnership with Zoan, Virtual Helsinki demonstrates the possibility of VR for citizen and visitor experience, and how they can bolster a city’s resilience to global issues like the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city is actively developing the platform to host a number of events: from art, music, city landmarks and attractions, business to business events and international conferences.

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