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Tourism Australia launches $5 million week-long campaign

Tourism Australia

A week-long tourism advertising blitz will kick off across the country, aimed at getting Australians to book their next domestic holiday and boost visitation to those regions that need it the most.

The $5 million marketing push is the first major activation of Tourism Australia’s Holiday Here This Year campaign for 2021 and aims to inspire people to take a well-deserved break and provide much-needed support to tourism operators and communities around the country.

Tourism minister Dan Tehan says the campaign was part of the Morrison Government’s ongoing support for the tourism industry.

“We want Australians to get excited about holidaying in Australia,” Tehan says.

The campaign, which runs from January 31 to February 6 has been developed with Tourism Australia’s creative agency M&C Saatchi and media agency UM.

It is the latest burst of activity as part of Tourism Australia’s ongoing domestic marketing initiative Holiday Here This Year, which aims to stimulate demand throughout the sector by getting Australians travelling safely across the country and booking holiday experiences.

It will feature Australian destinations, tourism products and experiences, including areas impacted by last summer’s bushfires.

Tourism Australia chief marketing officer Susan Coghill says the campaign taps into strong consumer sentiment to travel domestically.

NGV Triennial brings AI & Machine Learning to Art

NGV Triennial 2020 Installation of Refik Anandol

Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has officially launched the “NGV Triennial” exhibition, showcasing artworks by more than 100 artists around the world.

To bring together more than 100 artists, designers and collectives from more than 30 countries, featuring 86 projects, in the era of COVID, was always going to be a tall ask. It has happened and it has a huge “wow” factor with a mixture of major household names as well as completely unexpected, quirky discoveries.

The Triennial 2020 is built around four broad themes with porous borders: Illumination, Reflection, Conservation and Speculation. Even after wading through the voluminous catalogue — more like a piece of bulky furniture than a read-in-bed book — the themes are more like general conceptual props than clear categories.

The concern is with the ability for art to challenge assumptions about the status quo, alert us to impending disasters, suggest alternatives, dazzle us with unexpected inventions and inspire us with wondrous creations of undreamt-of beauty.

Based in LA, Turkish digital artist Refik Anadol brings his signature style of AI and media-enriched works to explore the relationship between technology and art. His futuristic piece Quantum Memories draws upon a dataset of more than two hundred million nature-related images from the internet processed with quantum computing software, followed by machine learning algorithms.

The natural landscape is converted to a digitalized collective memory in an audio-visual form, where it presents an alternate dimension between generative algorithm and the natural world – exploiting the possibilities of art with AI soon by the transformation of rigid data into a flexible art piece with emotions.

Visit the NGV website to learn more. The “NGV Triennial” exhibition is on display until April 18, 2021.

Crown Towers Sydney – Redefining luxury

Crown Towers

Redefining bespoke luxury in the heart of the harbour, Crown Sydney has officially opened its doors. Crown Towers rises majestically above the vibrant Barangaroo precinct offering globally renowned service in an unparalleled harbour side location.

Take in the mesmerising panorama of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the outdoor pool, bask in pure escapism at Crown Spa, and explore the many acclaimed restaurants, bars and luxury retail stores located within the unrivalled urban resort.

Australia’s most luxurious hotel, the 349-rooms (and 22-villa) Crown Sydney, lives up to all its six stars with glamour and aplomb.

As expected from a Crown property, fine food with exemplary aesthetics and theatrics, is at the forefront of the new Sydney branch.

The glittering, twirling facade looming high above the Barangaroo fold is so high it is officially Sydney’s tallest hotel. The Crown Towers Sydney is also the city’s first-ever six-star stay.

While the Crown Tower’s Villas and Level 26 venues are still experiencing final touches, the hotel is very much open for business, and creating vibes at that.

The wow-factor of the towers is apparent as soon as step inside — starting with a breath taking custom-made, six-storey chandelier in the lobby, featuring a coiling display of 396 crystals that put on a light show every night.

Already nine of 14 dining venues have launched — Californian export Nobu, of the wildly popular Japanese-fusion chain, is already booked up until April.

The hotel boasts 349 rooms, including 20 yet-to-open villas that come with a private butler.

Crown Towers Sydney villas and venues open by April, but there is no doubt the newest Crown offering has met the six-star brief. It is already the city’s hottest dining precincts and in a food scene like Sydney’s, that is hitting the brief out of the park.

Bring your car for free on the Spirit of Tasmania

Spirit of Tasmania

If a trip to Tasmania on board the Spirit of Tasmania ferry is in the pipeline, you will now be able to take your car for free.

The Federal Government has temporarily increased the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme making it possible for you to set sail into your dream road trip and bring your car for free.

“COVID-19 has significantly affected tourism in Tasmania and the number of passenger vehicles travelling across Bass Strait which is why we are moving to increase the rebate,” Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said.

“This is a critical and targeted boost for tourism, as visitors who travel to Tasmania by sea are among the most valuable to the industry, they spend more, stay longer and travel further into our regional areas,” he said.

This offer is available for new bookings for travel between 1 March and 30 June 2021, unless sold out prior. Availability is limited – book now so you do not miss out.

For your peace of mind, you can amend your booking online without incurring any amendment fees, and if border restrictions prevent you from travelling, cancellation fees will also be waived, giving you the confidence to book now.

 

*Conditions apply. Offer available for new bookings made between 14 January 2021 – 30 June 2021, or until the allocation of $6 million worth of tickets has been sold. Offer applies to eligible passenger vehicles for travel between 1 March 2021 – 30 June 2021. Vehicle discount only applicable when booked with a standard Spirit or Flexi passenger fare. Vehicle must be booked prior to travel. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount offer. Free vehicle fare based on a standard car, campervan/motorhome less than 2m wide and up to 6m in length, motorbike or pushbike. Vehicle greater than 2m wide and 6m in length (i.e. caravan) will receive a discount equivalent to that of a standard car. $10 booking fee applies per person each way when booking via the Customer Contact Centre and Reservations Counter. Card payment fees may apply.

The Dry breaks Australian box office drought

The Dry

Australians are flocking to locally produced films as Hollywood puts the brakes on new releases.

After a year of Covid-19-enforced shutdowns, the Australian film industry has entered 2021 in a strong position – with The Dry grossing almost $13m at the box office since its opening on 1 January.

The Robert Connolly film – financed though Screen Australia – had the fifth-highest Australian opening day for a local film in history and has outperformed Hollywood blockbuster Wonder Woman 1984 and animated family film The Croods: A New Age for the third weekend in a row.

Another Australian film, Penguin Bloom, directed by Glendyn Ivin and starring Naomi Watts, also recorded a strong opening result, grossing $2.5m since its release six days ago.

Screen Australia’s CEO Graeme Mason said the commercial success of The Dry was a heartening start to the year.

“It’s one of those titles that comes along where Australians see themselves and respond incredibly well,” he said.

“We have one or two of them a year and I think The Dry is definitely one of them. And it’s the first time in a very long time Australia has had the No 1 and No 2 films at the box office.”

It could outperform Australian classics such as Muriel’s Wedding, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and The Man from Snowy River.

Although cinemas in most states are still operating at less than full capacity, The Dry’s commercial success has not happened in spite of the pandemic, Keogh said, but partly because of it.

“It’s an excellent film, but there’s definitely not as much competition as there would generally be around January, so it’s getting more screen coverage,” he said.

“Because of Covid, Hollywood is holding back a lot of films at the moment, which is putting some pressure on our industry – so these great Australian movies are very welcome for us right now.”

Australian films took $22.6m at the local box office in 2020, with The Invisible Man, which was shot in Sydney between July and September 2019, accounting for more than one third of the total.

Five Australian Books you could read right now

With The Falling Of The Dusk - Stan Grant

Even if you are not an avid reader, the pandemic must have nudged you to pick up a book or at least think of resume reading.  The involuntary semi-lockdown mode of life gives everyone a reason to read a book for no reason, other than pleasure or distraction. So, here are five random Australian books you could pick up and read.

Eating With My Mouth Open – Sam Van Zweden

Welcome to food writing as you’ve never read before. This collection of interconnecting essays go far beyond simply facts or recipes – here, you’ll find Sam van Zweden’s enchantingly personal and cultural exploration of food, memory, and hunger as it revels in body positivity, dissects wellness culture and all its flaws, and shares the joys of being part of a family of chefs. Tuck into this one in 2021.

A Room Called Earth – Madeline Ryan

This brilliant debut from neuro-divergent author Madeline Ryan will unveil the magical and sensitive world of life on the autism spectrum. Telling the story of a girl as she prepares for, attends and leaves a party, this novel is minutely aware of the details and people who come into view, with radical revelations on the nature of love and the need to belong. Hilarious, self-aware and painfully honest – this is bound to be one you share with your friends.

 

Love Objects – Emily Maguire

If you’ve ever been fascinated by hoarding, you won’t be able to let this read go. Forty-five year old Nic seems well and good to her niece Lena at their weekly catch-up gossips sessions, but after Nic fails to turn up one day, Lena is shocked to find her unconscious in a house filled to the brim – almost as shocked as Nic is to return from hospital to an empty house she can barely recognise as her home. Light but thought-provoking, this is the perfect sofa companion this year.

 

With The Falling Of The Dusk – Stan Grant

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but in this case, you shouldn’t judge this new read from Grant by its title either. Far from gentle, this is a full-blown exploration of many of the largest social and political issues facing us today, from islamic extremism to climate change. Intricately woven between personal experience and intellectual understanding, this is the book to read if you want to get a grip on the tides turning today.

 

Echolalia – Briohny Doyle

Subtly swinging between the before and the after, this inventive novel from the writer of This Island Will Sink is a hauntingly necessary tale of a world on the brink. Set in a fictional regional town struck by drought, Echolalia follows six different character through change and transformation in a dangerously critical world not too dissimilar to our own. Touching on climate change, the refugee crisis and inequality, you’ll be thinking about Echolalia long after you put it down.

$71 million each to be an International Space Station crew

Space station crew

If your travel bug has taken a vaccine in 2020 and you want to experience something beyond an international flight, here is something to consider.

For $71 million, you could have been part of the first all-private International Space Station crew. The first fully private, multi-person space station crew has been introduced: three men who are each paying $US55 million ($71 million) to fly on a SpaceX rocket.

The flight will mark the first tourist flight to the ISS since 2009, when Russian Soyuz rockets carried individual passengers.

An experienced former NASA astronaut will be mission commander and pilot.

Each passenger had to pass medical tests and will get 15 weeks of training.

They will be led by a former NASA astronaut now working for Axiom Space, the Houston company that arranged the trip for next January.

Space tourists have taken individual flights to the ISS aboard Russian rockets, but this will be the first flight carrying multiple private astronauts, on a private rocket.

The first crew will spend eight days at the space station and will take one or two days to get there aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule following lift-off from Cape Canaveral.

Other space companies like Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin plan to take paying customers on up-and-down flights lasting just minutes. These trips — much more affordable with seats going for hundreds of thousands versus millions — could kick off this year.

Axiom’s first customers include Larry Connor, a real estate and tech entrepreneur from Dayton, Ohio, Canadian financier Mark Pathy and Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe, a close friend of Israel’s first astronaut Ilan Ramon, who was killed in the space shuttle Columbia accident in 2003.

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/

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