Destination wrap: TAA CEO speaks out against lockout laws, SATC sets ambitious target, Queens to host US Open + MORE!

Kayaking, Sydney Harbour

Kick your week off right with all the latest destination news! And if that doesn’t work, we recommend taking a leaf out of Travel Weekly’s editorial book by downing four coffees before midday.

Tourism NT’s Location Scout takes the US by storm with three film festival wins 

Location Scouts

Tourism NT’s cheeky web series Location Scouts has continued its run of global success, winning Best Web Series at the Los Angeles Film Awards for July 2019, Best Web Series at the Top Shorts Film Festival for July 2019 and Best of Show at the IndieFEST Film Awards

The US accolades comes off the back of Location Scouts’ official selection at WEBFEST Berlin, which is set to take place from 12 to 14 September 2019.

Created by the award-winning Van Vuuren Brothers, the web series is set in the Northern Territory and is an hilarious behind-the-scenes look at blockbuster Aussie rom-com Top End Wedding.

The six-part comedy series follows the story of fictional veteran location scout, Steve Grogan, and his millennial off-sider Morgan, as they roam the Top End in search for the ultimate NT locations for the Top End Wedding movie.

Discover Queens as host borough to the US Open tennis championship

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

On August 26, the most attended annual sporting event in the world will return to New York City at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as the US Open Tennis Championships take over the borough of Queens.

NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organisation, is encouraging visitors to attend the US Open Fan Week and US Open Tennis Championships events, but also to stay longer and explore the diverse neighbourhood offerings in the vibrant and diverse borough of Queens. Additionally, several NYC & Company hotel members are offering special packages and incentives to encourage more overnight stays during this iconic event.

For more on the US Open this year, visit

Louvre Abu Dhabi to open new restaurant in partnership with Barrière Group with menu by renowned Michelin star chef

Louvre Abu Dhabi building exterior on a sunny day

Louvre Abu Dhabi today announced a partnership with the French hospitality company Barrière Group to turn the museum’s restaurant into the first Abu Dhabi-based branch of the company’s well-known brasserie-style restaurant Fouquet’s.

Opening in 2020, the restaurant’s menu will be created in collaboration with renowned French chef Pierre Gagnaire, head chef and owner of the eponymous Pierre Gagnaire restaurant, and will include a number of Fouquet’s signature dishes as well as those reflecting the local culture and the tastes of an international clientèle.

South Australia tourism industry targets $12.8 billion by 2030


The State Government, together with industry leaders, has today released the South Australian Visitor Economy Sector Plan 2030 which sets an ambitious, bold agenda for tourism.

Premier Steven Marshall said the industry-led and endorsed Plan aims to grow the state’s visitor economy to $12.8 billion by 2030 and generate an additional 16,000 jobs.

“What we have here is a comprehensive roadmap, direct from industry, on how we can work together to take South Australia’s visitor economy to new heights,” Premier Marshall said.

“This Plan is one of eight different industry sector plans that will form the basis of the State Government’s ‘Growth State’ initiative that aims to promote industry growth by leveraging our competitive advantages, and tourism is a great example of that.”

NSW scores another Australian Tourism first 

Kayaking, Sydney Harbour

Destination NSW and Westpac have teamed up to strengthen the NSW Visitor Economy.

The Destination NSW Westpac Tourism Expenditure Monitor will deliver valuable insights from aggregated, de-identified visitor data for the NSW tourism industry to attract more visitors by understanding how people spend money when they travel throughout the State.

The deal brokered by Destination NSW, the State’s tourism and major events agency, sees its tourism expertise and insights linked with Westpac’s leading data analytics capability.

The Destination NSW Westpac Tourism Expenditure Monitor will provide a variety of research metrics using de-identified and aggregated data. Each report will highlight changes from month-to-month and trends over time to reveal:

  • How many people are visiting and travelling within NSW
  • Where the travellers are from
  • Demographic details of those travellers to and within NSW
  • Visitor spending patterns, including emerging trends across rural, regional and metropolitan NSW.

The Philippines reminds travellers about its abundance of World Heritage Sites

The Philippine Department of Tourism reminds travellers that the Philippines is home to some of the highest numbers of UNESCO World Heritage ‘cultural sites’ in South East Asia.

With three cultural and three natural sites, the Philippines is a unique and interesting destination for those looking for a little more from their holiday.

For a landmark to be considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it should prove that it is of “outstanding universal value”, have a cultural, historical and scientific significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. These natural and cultural wonders are often steeped in history and draw curious travellers from all around as they seek to learn more about the destinations they visit.

The sites include: Rice Paddies of the Philippine Cordilleras, Historic City of Vigan, Baroque Churches of the Philippines, Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and  Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary.

TAA take action on night-time economy to restore Sydney’s reputation 

The State’s peak accommodation body, Tourism Accommodation Australia, has warned a Parliamentary Committee action needs to be taken to restore Sydney’s reputation as an international city.

TAA NSW CEO Michael Johnson told the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the Night-Time Economy the city’s international standing was being damaged by the package of “lockout laws” introduced in 2014.

“TAA is very much focused on the future development and growth of the accommodation sector in this state,” Johnson told the committee on Friday.

“We seek to ensure NSW remains the premier state when it comes to tourism. As a state we frequently top the charts in the international and domestic visitor surveys, however, reports from our members suggest our reputation is being damaged by the so-called “lockout laws” and their impact on the night-time economy.

“There is real concern in the accommodation sector over the impact of these measures. We directly compete with other states and countries and the poor reputation of our night-time economy means we are simply giving business away.

“By implementing strict measures in 2014 Sydney’s reputation as a global city has been compromised – this needs to change.”

Hong Kong Tourism Board is calling all travel writers 

Victoria harbour Hong Kong

Following last year’s hugely successful launch of the Rising Star Award the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) have decided to collaborate again on this exciting initiative, aimed at enticing a new era of travel writers in Australia.

The ASTW, introduced the award to their Awards for Excellence programme last year to bolster writers looking to expand their expertise into the often daunting but aspirational travel writing industry.

The award is open to writers and digital influencers who have had their first paid travel story published in the past two years. Entries are open from 1 August 2019 to 2 November 2019 via

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