Destination Wrap: WA launches intrastate campaign, Tahiti and Maldives to welcome tourists in July + MORE

Bora Bora aerial drone video of travel vacation paradise with overwater bungalows luxury resort, coral reef lagoon ocean beach. Mount Otemanu, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, Tahiti, South Pacific Ocean

It could be the three shots of espresso, or it could be all the fantastic news in this week’s Destination Wrap that has got Travel Weekly‘s editor so giddy.

WA locals urged to ‘Wander out Yonder’ and explore state

A new intrastate campaign supported by the McGowan government, through Tourism Western Australia, has been created to entice Western Australians to explore their home state.

Launched on WA Day, the ‘Wander out Yonder’ campaign will feature experiences that make the state unique: swimming with whale sharks, stargazing with the world’s first astronomers or discovering hidden waterfalls and forgotten gorges, among others.

The campaign will initially feature print, digital media and radio advertising, and later expand to include targeted cooperative marketing campaigns, including holiday offers across hotels, holiday parks, campervans and a variety of tours and experiences.

“The campaign reminds everyone that whatever kind of holiday you are dreaming of, you can have that experience right here in Western Australia,” Western Australia Minister of Tourism Paul Papalia said.

“We also want to encourage West Aussies that now is the time to visit that local destination you have been dreaming of.”

French Polynesia, Maldives to welcome tourists in July, as Sri Lanka plans August reopen


Tahiti Tourisme has announced French Polynesia plans to open its borders to international tourism on 15 July, in a bid to salvage the country’s ravaged travel industry.

It comes as the nation has not recorded an active COVID-19 case since 29 May, following the suspension of all international flights in March to contain the coronavirus.

According to the Bangkok Post, nearly 19,000 Polynesians have jobs in tourism.

Likewise, the Maldives is preparing to welcome tourists from July with a phased reopening of the islands.

According to Maldives Tourism – which recently reappointed Anne Wild & Associates (AWA) as its Australian public relations and trade representatives – the country’s tourism sector is in the process of establishing the necessary protocols to suit the ‘new normal’.

In other news, Sri Lanka Travel revealed the country is preparing to welcome travellers from 1 August but under strict guidelines, including pre-departure and arrival COVID-19 testing.

A further COVID-19 test would be required for travellers staying in the country for more than 10 days.

New campaign to deliver $1 billion for Queensland tourism operators

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has launched a new tourism campaign, ‘Queensland – You’re Good to Go’, projected to deliver $1 billion in overnight accommodation takings for tourism operators over the next four months.

It comes in a bid to encourage Queenslanders to explore their own state, with Tourism and Events Queensland expecting locals could spend more than 9 million nights enjoying what Queensland has to offer now that intrastate travel restrictions have eased.

“Every year, 3.2 million Queenslanders spend nearly $10 billion holidaying interstate and overseas,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

“This campaign will help us to tap into that market to support our tourism operators.”

Likewise, Tourism Whitsundays has launched it’s ‘Escape Winter’ campaign, targeted at encouraging Queenslanders to come and experience a tropical winter escape in The Whitsundays, in the Heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

It also comes as Visit Sunshine Coast extends an invitation to travellers to escape the crowds and plan their ultimate Sunshine Coast holiday, with a wide range of special offers available here.

Victoria’s cultural institutions to reopen for school holidays

Melbourne’s major cultural institutions will welcome back Victorians in time for the winter school holidays.

Last week, Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley announced that the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks, State Library Victoria and parts of Arts Centre Melbourne will officially reopen to the public on Saturday, 27 June.

Moreover, NGV International on St Kilda Road and NGV Australia in Federation Square will welcome art lovers to exhibitions including ‘Collecting Comme’ and ‘Japanese Modernism’. The State Library’s La Trobe Reading Room and the Ian Potter Queen’s Hall will again inspire visitors, along with other recently transformed spaces.

Arts Centre Melbourne will also open for self-guided tours and visits to the popular Australian Music Vault exhibition in the Theatres Building and the immersive Ghostly Machines in Hamer Hall.

Willem Dafoe narrates Louvre Abu Dhabi sci-fi experience


Louvre Abu Dhabi has released a new cinematic podcast, accompanied by a short film that reimagines the museum as the backdrop to a tale that takes place thousands of years in the future.

Composed and produced by SOUNDWALK COLLECTIVE, an experimental group of artists and musicians, the podcast is narrated in English by Willem Dafoe and utilises an original script written by Stéphan Crasneanscki.

Destinations endorse WTTC ‘Safe Travels’ stamp of approval

Major destinations around the world have signed up to the world’s first-ever global safety and hygiene stamp, launched recently by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The extensive endorsements have come from many major holiday destinations around the world, including Bulgaria, Turkey, Jamaica and Mauritius, among others.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has also embraced the WTTC ‘Safe Travels’ stamp, which have the safety and hygiene of travellers as their top priority.

Hong Kong Tourism Board’s global online forum ready to go

The Hong Kong Tourism Board is proud to present the world’s very first industry forum, joined by world’s leaders, to discuss new trends on tourism from Hong Kong to mainland China, and from Asia to the world, in the post-COVID era.

The event will take place on Wednesday 24 June 2020 from 3pm to 5pm (Hong Kong time). Registration will open next week.

Madrid reopens museums

iStock/Parshina Olga

Madrid residents wearing face masks have queued two meters apart to be among the first visitors back in the city’s famed galleries, as the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums reopened on Saturday after nearly three months of coronavirus lockdown, Reuters reported.

“I was really looking forward to coming back. To see how it has come back to life makes me very emotional,” masters student Alejandro Elizalde, who wiped away tears while viewing Diego de Velazquez’s “Las Meninas”, one of the Prado’s most famous paintings, told Reuters.

It comes after the government shut state-run museums on 12 March as it locked down the country to curb the spread of COVID-19. Restrictions have been lifted gradually, with Madrid one of the slowest places to ease curbs as it was among the worst hit.

Queenstown’s mountains covered in first snowfall

Coronet Peak records its first snow (Destination Queenstown/Paul Jones)

New Zealand’s ski capital, Queenstown, recorded its first snowfall of the winter season over the weekend.

It comes as good news for skiers ahead of the season, off the back of the news by the New Zealand government that the country would drop all COVID-19 restrictions, confirming Queenstown will be allowed to host visitors and skiers to its lauded powder.

According to Destination Queenstown, the Southern Lakes ski areas are all set to open this season with Coronet Peak and Cardrona Alpine Resort scheduled to open on 26 June, Treble Cone scheduled to open on 27 June and The Remarkables Ski Area set to open on 4 July.

The news comes as, across the Tasman, Thredbo prepares to open for skiing and snowboarding from 22 June for the winter season.

WATCH: Gifu on film shares Japanese prefecture’s awesome and authentic food

Taste the flavours of Gifu Prefecture, Japan, in the latest video from Visit Gifu.

The new content series from Visit Gifu, the prefecture’s tourism authority, has virtually taken travellers on adventures, cultural tours and brought them closer to the destination’s nature.

Now, Visit Gifu wants to take you on a food-fuelled tour of the heart of Japan. Warning: Content may leave you hungry.

Sydney attractions reopen as Opera House releases brilliant online guided tour

The Sydney Tower Eye has reopened to visitors (supplied)

In line with the Australian Government’s recent announcement allowing zoos and aquariums to begin trading again, Merlin Entertainments is re-opening its attractions.

The Sydney Tower Eye welcomed guests again on Thursday, 4 June, while the Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures opened its doors to travellers in time for the Queen’s birthday long weekend on Saturday, 6 June.

It comes as Sydney Opera House released its first online guided tour, bringing its popular backstage tour to homes around the world. The tour is available to view for free here.

Last year, more than 560,000 people took a guided tour of the Opera House, but now would-be travellers from across Australia and around the globe can explore the exclusive backstage world of the internationally-renowned performing arts centre online.

Sydney’s iconic BridgeClimb experience is also preparing to unlock its doors and welcome climbers back to explore one of the world’s most famous structures from 27 June.

Sydneysiders are invited to rediscover the city through Sydney’s greatest experience at unmissable rates of $198 for adults and $99 for children for the winter school holidays, equating to a saving of over 35 per cent for adults, and over 50 per cent for standard kids.

SATC COVID-19 awareness training up-and-running

The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) is inviting tourism professionals to participate in the South Australian COVID-19 Awareness Training program, developed for the sector to prepare for a post-COVID-19 world.

The free 30-minute online course is designed to provide employees and business owners in the tourism and hospitality sector with the basics needed to understand prevention and control the spread of COVID-19, as well as give customers COVID-clean confidence.

The training course was developed by the South Australian Tourism Commission in partnership with South Australian-based Health Safety Environment Australia (HSEA), and in liaison with SA Health.

It is not an accreditation course for businesses but is a simple awareness course designed to help professionals understand the basics to assist them in adapting to a “COVID-safe” way of operating.

Matt Damon describes Dalkey, Ireland as ‘like a fairytale’

Dalkey, Ireland (Tourism Ireland)

Considered to be one of Ireland’s most picturesque villages, medieval Dalkey snuggles against a backdrop of lush green hills overlooking the Irish Sea.

Always a draw for visitors who love its heritage and charm and already home to some of Ireland’s A-listers including Enya, U2’s Bono and The Edge, and director Neil Jordan, the village has found itself back in the spotlight as the lockdown home of Matt Damon and his family.

The Hollywood star had come to the area in March to shoot The Last Duel, just a week before the country went into lockdown because of the Coronavirus crisis. For most of the time since, he has been unable to move more than two kilometres from his luxury house, as Irish guidelines demanded.

However, in an exclusive interview with local radio station Spin 103.8, Damon said he was enjoying his time in Dalkey, describing it as incredible.

“This is one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been. It’s absolutely gorgeous,” he said.

“Even within two kilometres, we’ve got trees, and woods and ocean. I can’t think of any place you’d rather be in a two-kilometre radius of.”

Birdsville Big Red Bash outback music festival sells out in less than five minutes

On Wednesday 3 June at 9am, organisers of the 2021 Birdsville Big Red Bash remote music festival released a limited run of refund tickets to next year’s event. These sold out before 9.05am.

This secures the Birdsville Big Red Bash a place in Australia’s post-COVID history as one of the first sell-out music festivals for 2021.

Next year’s all-ages outback festival is set to run 6 to 8 July in Queensland’s Simpson Desert, in front of ‘Big Red’ – a 40-metre high sand dune that provides a unique natural amphitheatre setting.

Featured image: iStock/Maridav

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