Destination Wrap: Venice’s new tourist tax, Tokyo hit by typhoon, California bans mini-hotel shampoo bottles + MORE!

Our favourite part of Monday morning is putting together this delightful wrap up of destination news for our faithful readers. Just kidding! We don’t like anything about Mondays.

Venice confirms new day-tripper tax

Tourists in the crowded the bridge in Venice.

Venice will introduce a new day-tripper tax in 2020, which may be as high as €10 ($16AUD) at peak season.

The tax, which was set to be introduced last May but was delayed, has been labelled a “contribution for access” by the Venice council and is expected to be rolled out on 1 July 2020, according to Lonely Planet.

Typhoon Hagibis hits Japan

35 people have died an 17 are missing after a typhoon unleashed widespread flooding in Japan over the weekend.

Typhoon Hagibis hit Tokyo and much of Japan’s main island of Honshu on Saturday, resulting in record-breaking rains with more than 20 rivers in central and eastern Japan having burst their banks and flooding more than 1000 homes, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

The typhoon led to at least 800 flights out of Tokyo’s two main airports being cancelled but flights were reported to have returned to normal by Sunday evening.

The Rugby World Cup was also disrupted, with two matches in Yokohama cancelled on Saturday and a third cancelled on Sunday in Kamaishi.

California places ban on miniature toiletry bottles in hotels 

small shampoo bottles in wodden basket in hotel room

California has introduced a new law that will stop hotels from giving guests small plastic bottles of shampoo from 2023.

Violators could be fined US$500 ($735) for a first offence and US$2,000 ($3,000) for each following occurrence, according to NBC News.

Hong Kong set to suffer dramatic drop in visitors

Hong Kong city view from peak at Sunrise

Research has shown that the recent wave of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong has begun to stop visitors in their tracks.

A report from ForwardKeys has shown that flight bookings to Hong Kong from Asian markets between 16 June and 9 August have fallen by 20.2 per cent on the equivalent period last year.

Sunshine Coast leads Queensland in international visitor growth, as region delivers record overseas and domestic visitor numbers

Glass House Mountains

The Sunshine Coast delivered its highest-ever international and domestic visitor numbers in the year to June 30, 2019 – and led the State in overseas visitor growth.

The figures were announced as part of the release of Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey (IVS) and National Visitor Survey (NVS).

The region grew international visitor expenditure by 27.5 per cent in the year to 30 June 2019, compared to the previous year, on the back of a record 322,000 international visitors, up 5.3 per cent for the year, and a 21.1 per cent increase in spending to an average of $901 per visitor.

The 27.5 per cent international visitor expenditure growth compared with State-wide growth of 5.5 per cent to $6billion, which was also a record for Queensland tourism.

The Sunshine Coast region’s popularity with international visitors was built on growth from both the region’s traditional overseas markets – New Zealand ( up 19.5 per cent), UK ( up 2.5 per cent, compared to a statewide decrease of 5.2 per cent), and USA (up 29.1 per cent) – and emerging markets, with Asian source markets delivering a record 24 per cent increase.

WA tourism’s record-breaking streak continues

According to the latest NVS and IVS results, WA had a record-breaking 2.76 million out-of-state (international and interstate) visitors last financial year.

The number of total overnight visitors in 2018-19 was 11.6 million people who, together with day-trippers, spent $10.5 billion in the State – an increase of 16.4 per cent on the previous year. Of this, $4.9 billion (47 per cent) was spent in regional WA.

The number of overnight holiday visitors to Western Australia reached 4.7 million, an increase of 16.5 per cent on the previous year.

International holiday visitors were the highest on record for WA, with the number of holiday visitors increasing by 12.8 per cent to 506,300 – the strongest growth rate of all of Australia’s states and territories.

NSW remains the number one place to visit 

The NVS and IVS also revealed New South Wales as the most popular tourist destination in Australia.

The research showed more than $11 billion was put into the NSW economy by international visitors, with gains in visitation from the United States and Japan significantly contributing to that figure.

NSW also achieved its highest growth in domestic visitor nights on record, with 37.2 million visitors staying 116.1 million nights – 11 per cent more than the previous year.  The growth in domestic visitor nights has seen NSW achieve the largest-ever lead over both Victoria and Queensland when it comes to the domestic market.

Empire State Building observatory presents a historic reimagination

Empire State Building 102nd Floor Observatory

The Empire State Building has announced the completion of the third phase of its top-to-bottom reimagined Observatory Experience.

The entirely new 102nd floor opening to the public on 12th October (EST), will now provide guests with an entirely unobstructed view of New York City.

Located 381 metres in the air, the 102nd floor has been designed to place guests in the centre of Manhattan. Sixteen floors above the renowned 86th floor observatory, which sees four million visitors annually, the 102nd floor has been under renovations since January 2019.

The reinvented 102nd floor observatory will now provide panoramic views of Manhattan and beyond through floor to ceiling glass panels that will offer an unequaled 360-degree view at any time of the year.

Switzerland sending kids to the snow for free again

charmey vounetz

For the second year in a row, Switzerland is sending more than 12,000 children to the snow for free.

Following a successful Kids4Free campaign last year, Switzerland Tourism and their local partners are once again holding a global draw where 12,650 weekly ski passes exclusively for children under the age of 13 are up for grabs.

Adults can enter the draw via on behalf of one child throughout the month of October 2019.

Last year’s campaign revealed that 20 per cent of the winners had not planned a ski holiday in Switzerland. This led to the campaign repeating this year in order to encourage more interest in visiting Switzerland during the winter season.

Tourism Ireland celebrates Irish family names 

A major new exhibition at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin is celebrating Irish family names and paying tribute to Irish people who emigrated.

The Power of the Name exhibition is adding the names to an interactive exhibition in the museum, showing the spread of Irish emigrant names throughout the world.

Every emigrant who left Irish shores took one very important thing with them – their name. By collating the names of people who moved from Ireland, EPIC is giving millions of people of Irish descent an opportunity to reconnect their ancestor’s name with their homeland.

People can add their name to the Power of the Name exhibition via the EPIC website ( As well as their names, the exhibition will include where they emigrated from and the year they left.

Spend a night in the sky at Sydney’s highest sleepover

6. Witness sunrise views 250m above the streets of Sydney

In an Australian-first, the Sydney Tower Eye has joined forces with the sleep experts at Koala to give one lucky couple the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience Sydney’s Highest Sleepover – an exclusive overnight stay at the city’s tallest building, the Sydney Tower Eye, 250 metres above the streets of Sydney.

As part of a national competition, Sydney’s Highest Sleepover will take ‘a room with a view’ to the next level, inviting Australians aged 18 and over to share in 50 words or less why they deserve to win the ultimate night’s sleep from Sydney’s ultimate viewpoint. From today, and for three weeks only, the competition is open nationwide, with Sydney Tower Eye and Koala flying the lucky winners to Sydney for the exclusive night in the sky.

The competition to win ‘Sydney’s Highest Sleepover’ is open for three weeks, from 12am on Wednesday 9 October to 11.59pm on Wednesday 30 October. Winner to be contacted by Friday 1 November.

To enter, just visit the Sydney Tower Eye website and tell us in 50 words or less why you are in need of the ultimate night’s sleep from Sydney’s highest viewpoint!

Taiwan gears up for KOM cycling challenge


The Taiwan King of the Mountain (KOM) cycling challenge is set to kick-off on the last Friday of October and will see amateurs and professionals alike take on one of the world’s toughest mountains.

The 90-kilometre challenge starts at zero metres by the Pacific Ocean on Taiwan’s east coast, winding its way up through the Taroko Gorge, with its towering marble cliffs above and roaring rapids below, the ride continues up the alpine summit of Mt. Wuling at 3,275 meters, taking the riders to the peak of Taiwan’s highest passable mountain road.


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