THE Vintage Golf Club may be in the Hunter Valley but the golf experience it offers may be more like chipping and putting the Loire Valley.

That’s because the charming Vintage Golf Club is located at the award-winning Château Élan, one Australia’s finest resorts. This Château not only offers direct access to one of the country’s leading golf clubs, but also a mix of relaxed luxury accommodation, a full-service spa, and six event venues, all in the heart of a world-famous Hunter food and wine region. 

The resort is rapidly becoming known as a premier business events and incentives destination, being a handy two-hour drive from Sydney or a one-hour flight to Newcastle from Brisbane.

Château Élan has developed a range of sophisticated accommodation types at the resort, including spacious suites with spa baths, and also atmospheric villas with modern facilities. All rooms have balconies or terraces overlooking The Vintage fairways and offer views of the Hunter Valley.

The Legends Bar and Grill serves à la carte fine cuisine throughout the day, and guests can surround themselves with breathtaking views over a bottle of wine. Also, The Wine Lounge offers an extensive, gourmet wine list, sourced from the leading vineyards of the Hunter region.

With an emphasis on relaxation and wellbeing, Château Élan’s The Spa holds 17 well appointed treatment rooms offering the latest massage and beauty procedures, hydrotherapy and exercise services, and also a lounge to sit back, relax and socialise.

The Vintage is itself a well-regarded local golf course that welcomes visitors with open arms.

The Vintage is a club that caters for everyone, yet does so without losing its true and original identity as one of the country’s premier golf resorts. It offers an 18-hole course, designed by Australian golf legend Greg Norman, which has been ranked among the best in Australia. 

The Vintage Golf Club is open seven days a week and offers open social competitions on Saturdays and Sundays. It also regularly offers special events such as its Coca-Cola Challenge on October 3, and the Melbourne Cup Race Day on November 5.


IT WAS ALL ABOUT community legacy when teams from Hilton Brisbane planted 100 trees to mark global hospitality company Hilton’s 100th year in May.

The tree planting was all about reinforcing Hilton Brisbane’s commitment to taking action on environmental and community initiatives and it aligns with Hilton’s Corporate Responsibility program, Travel with Purpose, which is focused on doubling social and community investment and cutting its environmental footprint in half by 2030. 

Hilton teams planted 100 native trees at Lambertia Close Park in Brisbane’s Mt Gravatt East nature corridor, putting shovel to soil to contribute to Brisbane City Council’s ongoing program to regenerate local habitats with native flora and fauna.

“One hundred trees for 100 years is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the community and help make Hilton’s Travel with Purpose goals a reality,” Hilton Brisbane general manager Chris Partridge said.

Mr Partridge said Hilton staff wanted to find a fulfilling way to celebrate Hilton’s ‘100 years of filling the Earth with the light and warmth of hospitality’.

Christopher Nassetta, Hilton president and chief executive officer said the 100th year of hospitality was an opportunity to reflect and put a stake in the ground for the future. 

“Conrad Hilton charted an ambitious course for Hilton in 1919, and I think he’d be proud of what we’ve accomplished so far,” Mr Nasetta said. “In my view, the world’s a better place because Hilton was born 100 years ago, and if we do our job right, the world will be a better place because Hilton’s in it for the next 100 years.” 

The tree planting was yet another example of the commitment and volunteering undertaken by Hilton Brisbane team members every year. Efforts like this have seen Hilton Brisbane win the Queensland Hotel Association’s award for Outstanding Community Service and Achievement three years in a row – 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Hilton celebrated its official 100th anniversary on Friday, May 31, 2019 – a momentous occasion for the global hospitality company with a history of innovation, which in 2019 was also recognised as a World’s Best Workplace by the Great Place to Work organisation. 

Travel with Purpose is Hilton’s corporate responsibility strategy to redefine and advance sustainable travel globally. By 2030, Hilton plans to double its social impact investment and cut its environmental footprint by half.

Hilton tracks, analyzes and reports its environmental and social impact at each of Hilton’s more than 5,700 hotels through LightStay, its performance measurement system. Travel with Purpose capitalises on Hilton’s global scale to catalyze local economic growth, promote human rights, invest in people and local communities and preserve the planet by reducing the hotel group’s impact on natural resources. The strategy aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


A RECORD influx of visitors from China and the United States have helped to again smash Brisbane’s tourism records.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said preliminary results from Tourism Australia’s International Visitor Survey revealed that visitors from Brisbane’s top five international markets had increased.

“In the year to June 2018, Chinese visitors increased by 24.6 percent to a record 259,000,” Cr Quirk said.

“Visitors from the USA climbed a sharp 8.6 percent to a record 100,000.

“These results were enhanced by 209,000 visitors from the New Zealand (up 9.5 percent), 132,000 from the UK (up 1.3 percent) and 60,000 from Germany (up 3.4 percent).

“These results have contributed to a record 1.4 million international visitors heading to our city overall, with expenditure reaching an all-time high of $2.5 billion over the year.” 

The percentage increase in tourism expenditure in Brisbane was a staggering three times higher than the national average. Overall spend in Brisbane was up 15.7 percent, compared with a 4.8 percent increase nationally. This totaled $2.5 billion in the year to June.

Cr Quirk said the city’s growing reputation as a tourism destination of choice and its “strong calendar of major events” had contributed to the rises. 

“Brisbane is a great place to visit – it’s a safe, vibrant, green and prosperous city, valued for its friendly and optimistic character and enjoyable subtropical lifestyle,” he said.

“A strong calendar of major events is also a major drawcard, with highlights including the Bledisloe Cup Rugby Test, the Ashes cricket, the Rugby League World Cup finals, Brisbane International (tennis) and World Science Festival Brisbane.”

The city’s economic development board, Brisbane Marketing, works with Tourism Australia, Tourism and Events Queensland, Brisbane Airport Corporation and airline partners on marketing and trade activities in various markets.


Both the national inbound tourism figures and Queensland’s are at record highs.

Australia recorded a record 8.4million visitors over the last financial year – up 6.2 percent on the previous year.

National overnight visitor expenditure (OVE) was $29.2 billion – another record up 4.8 percent over the previous year.

Queensland international visitor numbers climbed to 2.7million, a record increase of 4.1 percent over the previous year. Total OVE in Queensland was a record $5.7 billion, and increase of 8.1 percent.

Brisbane’s international visitor results, for the year-ending June 2018, saw all records broken, with overall visitors up 10 percent to 1.4 million and expenditure up 15.7 percent to $2.5 billion.

Top market for Brisbane was China, up 24.6% percent to a record 259,000. Next was New Zealand, with its own record of 9.5 percent annual growth to 209,000.

The UK was Brisbane’s third largest market, with visitation up 1.3 percent to 132,000. Fourth was the US, with a record 100,000 representing 8.6 percent annual growth.

Also impressive was source market Germany, producing a 3.4 percent annual growth of 60,000 visitors.


THE World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)’s latest barometer shows international tourist arrivals grew six percent in the first six months of 2018, following a record year of growth in 2017.

UNWTO figures showed all world regions enjoyed robust growth in tourist arrivals in January-June 2018. The increase was fuelled by strong demand from major source markets, supported by an upswing in the global economy.

The result followed a record year-round growth of seven percent in 2017.

“International tourism data for the first half of 2018 serves as further proof of the sector’s resilience and relentless growth trajectory,” UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said. 

“We continue to work with our many partners to translate this growth into better jobs, more benefits to societies, and more opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and destinations.”

By region, Europe and Asia and the Pacific led growth with a seven percent increase in arrivals each. Southern Mediterranean Europe and South-East Asia had the strongest results in these regions, both welcoming nine percent more international tourists.

The Middle East and Africa also recorded sound results with arrivals growing at five percent and four percent respectively, according to still-limited information available for destinations in these regions.

The Americas saw three percent growth in arrivals over the six-month period, driven by South America (+7%) and North America (+5%). The United States continued to fuel much growth in the region and beyond.

On the demand side, France, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation all reported double-digit increases in outbound spending in Europe. India and the Republic of Korea drove growth in Asia and the Pacific, while the world’s top source market, China, reported similar spending as in the same period last year.

The first half of the year accounts for about 45 percent of annual international tourist arrivals. The second half represents 55 percent as it is three days longer and includes the Northern Hemisphere high-season months of July and August.

Against a strong first semester, growth prospects for the remainder of 2018 remain positive overall, though at a slower pace, according to the latest UNWTO Confidence Index survey. The Index value for May-August and expectations for September-December are somewhat lower than the Index value for January-April.


ACCOMMODATION platform Airbnb has struck a partnership with Australian luxury home hotel brand, Luxico to offer new premium home stay experiences.

Almost 200 first-class properties from Luxico will now be available to book on Airbnb, including in its newly launched Airbnb Plus program.

Guests will also get access to Luxico’s bespoke 24-7 concierge and trusted property management services for travellers seeking a luxury offering.

Earlier this year Airbnb launched its premium tier, Airbnb Plus, in Sydney and Melbourne. Airbnb describes Airbnb Plus as “a new selection of only the highest quality homes with hosts known for great reviews and attention to detail”. Airbnb also introduced new categories of homes including boutique hotels, bed-and-breakfasts (B&Bs), and vacation homes to the platform. 

Airbnb country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Sam McDonagh said he welcomed the partnership with Luxico as another step towards achieving a vision of Airbnb for everyone.

“Earlier this year we unveiled a roadmap designed to bring the transformative benefits of Airbnb’s local, personal and authentic travel to every type of traveler,” Mr McDonagh said.

“As part of this, we are dedicated to working with small hospitality businesses that excel at offering the best host and guest experiences and living our mission of belonging.

“With the launch of Airbnb Plus, Luxico are the perfect partner to support this premium offering in Australia. With more and more Airbnb guests seeking homes that boast personality and seamless design, the addition of Luxico’s concierge service will help attract and meet the needs of luxury travellers on our platform.”

Luxico managing director and co-founder, Alexandra Ormerod said, “We’re thrilled to see this partnership come to life. As one of the first partnerships of this kind Airbnb has formed in Australia, we’re very excited to expand their premium listings as they diversify into new markets.”

Ms Ormerod said only the best properties were invited to join Luxico, “with a thorough vetting process to ensure suitability for both guests and owners”.

She said Luxico was recognised as one of Australia’s fastest growing luxury travel businesses, averaging 40 percent year-on-year growth since its 2013 launch.

Ms Ormerod said Luxico was recognised as one of the leaders in the luxury accommodation space across Australia’s east coast, managing exclusively marketed homes, penthouses and lodges across six key locations from New South Wales to Queensland, including popular tourist destination Byron Bay.

Further personalising Luxaco’s high-end service, last year the company acquired digital concierge service and award-winning startup, Hello Scout.


INTERNATIONAL Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) has released new figures revealing it has not only welcomed its two millionth visitor, but delegates and visitors attending events on site injecting more than A$1.2 billion into the local community since it opened in December 2016.

New South Wales Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Adam Marshall said the benefits continued to roll in as the A$1.5 billion ICC Sydney welcomed more than 65,000 visitors to the Sydney International Boat Show late last year – and those visitors were estimated to have spent a further $24 million in Sydney.

The largest recreational marine show in the Southern Hemisphere, the event featured 250-plus exhibitors and over 1,000 vessels across the venue’s entire exhibition centre and a purpose-built marina in Cockle Bay.

ICC Sydney hosted the event for the second consecutive year, following the highly successful 2017 program, which attracted 3,000 more visitors than forecast and facilitated $250 million worth of business on site.

Since opening, ICC Sydney has hosted 1,100 different events, resulting in over 2.3 million overnight stays in Sydney accommodation.

Mr Marshall has applauded ICC Sydney for its contribution to the state’s visitor economy.

“Conference delegates and event attendees at ICC Sydney have now spent at least A$1.2 billion in the NSW economy in just over 18 months,” Mr Marshall said.
“This exceptional outcome is a clear demonstration of the extensive flow on benefits the NSW Government’s investment in ICC Sydney is delivering.”

ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy said he was proud to continue elevating Sydney’s reputation as one of the world’s most desirable business event destinations and drive visitation to the heart of Darling Harbour.

“We are delighted to host the esteemed Sydney International Boat Show once again,” Mr Donaghy said. “It’s an iconic event for the entire city and also an opportunity for us to showcase the diversity and capability of our venue, while helping to stimulate the local economy.

“I am also proud to welcome our two millionth visitor. This is an opportune time to reflect on our achievements to date, which includes garnering more than 30 awards and accolades.”

Mr Donaghy said further key highlights included staging the ASEAN Australia Special Summit in a landmark occasion, hosting the 10th World Chambers Congress in Sydney for the first time last year and bringing the Reed Gift Fairs back to the heart of the city after three years absence, with a 23 percent increase.

With a raft of events set to take place in coming months, ICC Sydney is expected to continue its growth trajectory.

One of the highlights, he said, had been welcoming Sibos 2018, the world’s largest financial services event, in October where 6,000 delegates generated up to $37 million in economic benefit for the state. 

ICC Sydney also hosted 5,000 of the globe’s leading accounting professionals at the World Congress of Accountants in November, shortly afterwards.

“Our clients’ success is our success and we are focused on working in collaboration with them, our partners and visitors to deliver positive outcomes for all,” Mr Donaghy said.

“We are committed to attracting the world’s leading thinkers and innovators to Australian shores to cultivate powerful long term economic and cultural benefits that are felt in the community long after their events take place at ICC Sydney.”


AUSTRALIAN tourism benchmarking and certification group EarthCheck is helping Swedish township Järvsö in its quest to become a global front-runner in sustainable and responsible tourism.

For a start, Järvsö and Gävleborg County regional leaders want the destination to realise the goal of achieving the highest benchmark for sustainable tourism in Scandinavia.

The EarthCheck Sustainable Destinations program will provide Järvsö with a scientific framework to benchmark, certify and continuously improve the region’s environmental, cultural, social and economic performance. The Global Sustainability Tourism Council’s criteria for destinations will be used as a policy and planning guide.

Gävleborg County Governor, Per Bill said the strategic approach would help Järvsö achieve a range of economic and sustainable benefits for tourism, local communities, the environment and cultural heritage. Järvsö, locally known as Jarse, is situated in Ljusdal Municipality in Sweden’s Gävleborg County. 

“Järvsö, as a responsible tourist destination, will be a perfect fit for our sustainable projects throughout Gävleborg,” Mr Bill said.

“Furthermore, this is a positive step for us to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

Roland Hamlin the project coordinator at Ljusdals Municipality noted that Järvsö has a strong vision and long-term commitment to sustainability and responsible tourism development. 

“Becoming Sweden’s first EarthCheck Certified Destination will add value to the way in which we market Järvsö as a lifestyle destination to visit, work, live and bring up children,” Mr Hamlin said.

“Working with EarthCheck will help us to monitor and improve sustainability and promote our achievements, as well as learning more from the best in the world.”

EarthCheck Founder and CEO Stewart Moore said places where people want to visit and live – and that are sustainable – do not happen by chance. They are a product of visionary thinking and commitment by industry and community leaders, he said.

“Achieving sustainable tourism requires collaboration, determination and systematic planning across the destination,” Mr Moore said.

“Järvsö will join a select group of leading destinations across the world that are taking a holistic and strategic approach to destination management, planning and marketing.”

Based on the fundamental belief that ‘what gets measured, gets managed’ is at the core of EarthCheck’s Sustainable Destinations Program which is built on performance based measurement. The EarthCheck program helps destinations to measure and monitor their environmental economic and social impact, and prepare and track that performance against their own targets and the performance of other destinations.

In recent years, Järvsö has made positive strides in sustainability including the development of a heritage tourism framework, train and bicycle travel network and a training platform for local operators.


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