Monolith A wonder on life's journey

7Mar/19Off

ATE Exhibitors 2019

ATE 2019 Exhibitors by on Scribd

Filed under: World Comments Off
19Jan/17Off

Did an Australian adventurer and spy forewarn of the attack on Pearl Harbor?


Battleship USS West Virginia sunk and burning at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. In background is the battleship USS Tennessee.

by Roderick Eime

The story begins aboard the 1929 round-the-world flight of the German airship, LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin.

A truly international contingent of media and privileged guests are enjoying the lavish facilities of Germany’s luxury airship as they complete their ground-breaking three week journey around the planet.

16Jul/16Off

Amelia Earhart Mystery: the theory that just won’t go away


Earhart and her Lockheed Electra

The Amelia Earhart mystery has gripped the imagination for almost 80 years and despite numerous searches and millions of dollars, no conclusive evidence has yet been found.

Many theories have been put forward over the years and just as many discounted, but one just keeps coming back. The idea that Earhart was forced down and captured by the Japanese in the Marshall Islands is as unpalatable as it is incredulous. But one researcher, Mike Campbell, makes a compelling case for this proposition.

3Aug/15Off

Travel Brochures Travel Marketing Service

Winning share of market starts with winning share of mind

Modern marketing means building your brand one relationship at a time.Seth Godin.87% of people are researching their travel options online before booking, often going to a travel agent with their minds already made up.

Whether you sell direct or through the trade, you must build your brand and win share of mind by engaging and communicating with prospective customers when they are still open to persuasion – when they are dreaming and researching their perfect holiday.

TravelBrochures.com.au is a success-based advertising and prospect acquistion channel that will help you reach these potential customers easily and cost-effectively.

It's free to list and free to be seen on the service; you only pay when prospects actually register their interest in your product. And, at only $4.50 per prospect, this is superpowered direct marketing – you don't need to go looking for your potential customers, they find you.

Testimonials – see what operators and prospects say about the service.

Do more with less

TravelBrochures.com.au has become a leading online resource for Australians researching their holiday options. Join us and discover the most cost-effective, risk-free way of growing your share of mind.

  • The most cost-effective brand-building you can do with FREE unlimited impressions and careful positioning to attract your target audience.
  • Build your marketing muscle – turn suspects into prospects at a higher rate and at a lower cost.
  • Extend your net without the expense and risk of Pay-per-Click advertising.
  • Get in early and establish your brand's value before the rush for "deals".
  • Always-on – be seen and be engaged by people looking for your product (or something similar)

No minimum contracts – no risk

You can increase, decrease, change or withdraw your brochure display at any time without penalty – no risk.

  • TravelBrochures.com.au works purely on a success basis and you only pay for the prospects that we send you ($4.50 per prospect acquired).
  • No display or set up costs.
  • No ongoing fees, other than the cost per prospect.
  • No minimum contracts.
internationa

Getting started is easy

  • All we need from you is your digital brochures. We'll set everything up for you and email you a link to review.
  • You can offer your brochure as digital or printed, or you can let prospects choose the format.
  • Use your existing fulfilment processes for any requests for printed brochures in the mail.
internationa

Give it a go today

<p "="">I hope we can work together to enable you to make the most of the TravelBrochures.com.au system. <p "="">Getting started is easy. Email me now and you'll get your first prospects within just a few days. <p "="">Cheers <p "="">Roderick Eime

internationa
Roderick Eime 0418 214 028

 

Filed under: World Comments Off
3Aug/15Off

TravelBrochures advertising and marketing service.

USA_mast_foreplay

Winning share of market starts with winning share of mind

Whether you sell direct or through the trade, only you can build your brand out there in the real world.

And in the real world, 87% of consumers are researching their travel options online before going to an agent or booking elsewhere. 

TravelBrochures.com.au is a success-based online advertising channel that lets you reach these potential customers at the perfect time to influence their choice: 

Cost-effective brand-building with free unlimited impressions and careful positioning to attract your target audience.

Cut the cost of your prospect acquisition – and get more qualified prospects at the same time.

Keep your marketing funnel constantly topped up so that you can do what you do best – engage with your prospects, convert them and retain them.

Risk-free – no minimum contracts, no set-up fees, no minimum spend. You can turn it on and off and regulate the flow any way you like.

This pay-by-result service has been a proven travel marketing success in countries like the USA, SwedenRussia, Australia and New Zealand, where it has been operating for more than 8 years.

Testimonials – see what operators and prospects say about the service.

For more information, please have a look at this summary.

 

Filed under: World Comments Off
21Jul/15Off

The True Story behind JFK’s PT-109


Former U.S. President and then U.S. Navy Lt. John F. Kennedy is seen aboard the Patrol Torpedo boat PT-109 boat during World War II in the Pacific theatre, in this handout photograph taken on March 4, 1942. (REUTERS/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library/Handout)

David Ellis and Roderick Eime

Only the more adventurous travellers make it to remote Gizo in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. It's a magical place with some of the world's best fishing as well as wreck and reef diving.

From Gizo you can venture a further 10 kilometres to a minuscule dot shown on most charts as either Kasolo Atoll or Plum Pudding Island. This sandy speck is better known in popular mythology as Kennedy Island – the place where a then 26 year old US Navy Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, commander of the motor torpedo boat PT109 and future President of the United States, together with ten of his crew, waded ashore in pitch-blackness after their boat was rammed and sunk by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri on the night of 2 August 1943.

24Mar/15Off

Lifting the Shame of Savo Island

Heroes of the Solomons: Captain Frank Getting RAN


One of Australia’s most experienced and capable naval commanders was struck down in his prime during one of the most ferocious naval engagements of WWII. Was he later a cruel victim of a historical cover-up? Roderick Eime investigates.

The US involvement in the many battles of the Solomon Islands campaign are well documented through movies, documentaries and books. Yet, the substantial participation of Australian naval forces in that campaign is far less acknowledged.

When the Allied Forces began their landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi on 7 August 1942, they were supported by a massive combined naval force which included the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) warships Canberra, Hobart and Australia.

HMAS Canberra proudly in Sydney Harbour pre-war

HMAS Canberra was a British-built County class heavy cruiser of the Kent sub-class commissioned in 1928. At 10,000 tons and 180m in length, she was slightly larger than the more famous HMAS Sydney which had already been lost during her mutually destructive engagement with the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran on 19 November 1941. Sydney’s sister ship, the light cruiser, HMAS Perth was lost in the Battle of Sunda Strait in March 1942.

27Feb/14Off

Petra: Jordan’s Holy Grail

words and pictures by Roderick Eime


Described by a famous poet as “a rose-red city half as old as time”, Jordan’s Petra continues to beguile all who visit. But for how much longer?

Massive sheer rock faces, weathered by time and formed into a smooth, labyrinthine passage (siq), lead us a full mile along this ancient trading route. Two thousand years ago, traders bringing luxury goods such as incense, silk, spices and perfumes would pass through here, paying a toll to the resident Nabataeans who controlled the area.

Our caravan consists of backpack and camera-toting voyeurs, some on camels and others transported by precarious carts pulled by runaway horses. The delirious cries of over-excited tourists echo from the far reaches of the ravine, while above, some uninhibited teenager tries to perform a one-footed yoga tree on an overhanging ledge fifty metres above us. He wobbles alarmingly and the horrified crowd gasps and points in disbelief as he gathers himself up, just.

Twenty years ago, it was movie goers on the edge of their seats as Indiana Jones and his posse clip-clopped, mouths agape, into the ravine that opens up at the end of the siq. In a surrealistic reveal, the famous Al Khazneh (aka The Treasury) comes into view as we amble agog into the sunlight again.

This superb edifice is the trademark structure of Petra, impossibly ornate and painstakingly carved out of the sheer sandstone rock face. Amid a throng of leering, selfie-shooting backpackers, indolent camels and jostling tour bus hordes, we stand and gaze up at this magnificent sight. In spite of the rabble, Al Khazneh looms more than 40m above us, apparently unfazed by the milling crowd. We sit for a moment with a cup of tea bought from a ramshackle kiosk and imbibe the scene, distracted by a fragrant steaming aroma.

Amazingly, this stone metropolis sat for centuries almost undisturbed until rediscovered by Swiss adventurer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, in 1812. Burckhardt disguised himself as a Bedouin to infiltrate the off-limits region and stealthily made notes and sketches.

Apart from Harrison Ford in 1989’s “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, T E Lawrence (of Arabia) (1914), President Barack Obama (2013), Queen Elizabeth II (1984) and King Baldwin (12thC) are among the notables to gaze on the spectacle of Petra. Pope Francis may also visit in May this year (2014).

A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985, Petra is in fact a sprawling outdoor archaeological museum of almost 70,000 hectares, of which only 20 per cent has been excavated. At its tourism peak, Petra would host as many as 8000 visitors every day, but with the combined effects of the GFC and the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, anecdotal reports put the drop-off as much as 75 per cent.

But this lull in trampling tourists could be just what the beleaguered site needs. For several years, there have been concerns about whether the already eroded and crumbling facades can withstand much more attention. It could be a chance to install reinforced pathways and fencing to protect the delicate masonry from further damage. As 60 Minutes reporter, Tara Brown, declared “Petra is being loved to death.” *

After Petra’s appearance in the Hollywood blockbuster, visitor numbers soared. Some say by as much as ten times and the tide will surely return when the current Middle East strife abates. And if human interference wasn’t enough, the entire region is hotspot for earthquakes and many monuments have suffered under the wrath of nature as well as man.

“There’s a balance between economic and cultural value that needs to be struck,” Jordanian royal and custodian of Petra, Her Royal Highness, Princess Dana Firas, tells Brown, “Jordan needs to preserve this priceless heritage as much as we need the tourism dollars.”

Unlike her bountiful neighbours, Jordan has no oil and apart from tourism, relies on meagre export dollars from agricultural produce and minerals.

{subs: need to cut words? Cut the next two pars – 184 words}

Apart from Petra, Jordan hosts numerous other ancient natural and manmade formations like Wadi Rum, the otherworldly landscape that was the setting for the 1962 epic “Lawrence of Arabia” and described by the Welsh-born army officer as “vast, echoing and god-like”. Today, visitors can camp in the desolate valleys, embark on Bedouin camel treks and even take a dawn flight in a hot air balloon.

Then there’s the Dead Sea, less than 50 kilometres from the capital Amman and the lowest point on the surface of the Earth at -400m. The fabled inland body of water is also facing its own threats as its source, the Jordan River, has been diverted by Israel. Millions of tonnes of minerals like potash and bromine are extracted from the water annually by both Israel and Jordan and the water level is falling rapidly. While the going remains good, thousands of visitors staying at such plush resorts as the 5-star Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea enjoy the therapeutic and healing qualities of the water and mud known for its remarkable properties as far back as Aristotle (c.350 BC).

But the ornate, parched and abandoned realm of the ancient Nabataeans remains the struggling kingdom’s major drawcard and while most ‘tick box’ visitors spend less than a day within the confines of The Petra Archaeological Park, a comprehensive exploration would take several. Climb 1000 stairs to reach the fabulous ‘monastery’, at least double the size of the ‘treasury’ and something of discovery in itself. Then there’s the amphitheatre, the museum, the royal tombs, the great temple and the staggering Byzantine Church with its intricate mosaics.

That same poet, John William Burgon, a 19th century clergyman, concluded his verse with the lines:

It seems no work of Man's creative hand,
by labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;
But from the rock as if by magic grown,
eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!

Silent and beautiful certainly, but while these hand-hewn rocks of ages still stand, it’s the modern swashbuckler, Indiana Jones, who has set the tone for Jordan’s Holy Grail.

Go2

Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways provide convenient connections to Amman (AMM) from Australia. Cruise passengers can also visit Petra via shore excursions from Aqaba.

Petra is located 262 km south of Jordan’s capital, Amman. Park entrance fee is 90JD (AU$140) for visitors not overnighting in the town. www.visitpetra.jo

Best time to visit is spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November).

Stay: Mövenpick Resort Petra is located opposite the entrance to the park. www.moevenpick-hotels.com

Eat: Classes in Jordanian cuisine at Petra Kitchen www.petrakitchen.com

For more information on travel to Jordan, see www.visitjordan.com

The writer was a guest of Jordan Tourism Board

Breakout Factoids:

The name ‘Treasury’ was coined from the misguided belief that the structure contained a pharaoh’s treasure. Bullet-ridden sculptures bear testament to locals’ attempts to break open the mythical cache.

In 2007, Petra was voted into in the controversial New Seven Wonders of the World along with the Taj Mahal and Colosseum. Petra received a reported 14 million internet votes, twice the population of Jordan.
* http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8748047

Filed under: Adventure, World Comments Off
17Feb/14Off

Ice Would be Nice


A changing climate has turned the treacherous Northwest Passage into a pushover, discovers Roderick Eime

We’re crowded on the bridge, at least 20 of us, peering out to the horizon with powerful binoculars and telephoto lenses. Surely we’ll see something soon.

Polar bears, whales, countless seabirds and even a rare species of Caribou are all checked off, but something is still missing up here in the high Arctic of Nunavut, Canada. It’s ice.

Up until the last decade, the Northwest Passage was only achievable, if at all, during a small window of opportunity in the northern summer when favourable winds and currents allowed a narrow corridor through the pack ice. The first person to successfully navigate a vessel through the labyrinth was Roald Amundsen in 1906 – a feat that took him the best part of three years.

Beginning almost 200 years ago, scores of brave (some say foolish) explorers set off in waves in an attempt to claim the 20,000 pounds reward offered by the British Admiralty for the discovery of a North-West (sic) Passage. Early attempts were conducted in unusually low ice conditions and bore promising results, but by the mid-19th century, the ice had rebounded and efforts culminated in the famously disastrous expedition by former Tasmanian Governor, Sir John Franklin, who vanished along with his 128 men and their two ships.

Now here we are aboard the Akademik Ioffe, a well-travelled and sturdy former Soviet polar research (some say ‘spy’) vessel steaming confidently through the narrows of the Bellot Strait, a notorious little sliver of water that thwarted almost every navigator before us. The chap who named it in 1852 actually had to the sled the whole way on ice and it wasn’t traversed by a ship until 1937. Some of our complement is actually aboard a little Zodiac runabout for the 25 kilometre run, stopping to set foot on the northernmost point of the American continent, Zenith Point at 72 deg N.

Prior to this, we’d been way up at 74 degrees on Beechey Island, the site of Franklin’s winter camp and burial site for three of his early casualties. This rocky appendage to the much larger Devon Island serves as northern gatekeeper to the east-west Parry Channel. These graves are the only contemporary memorial to Sir John Franklin’s famous folly. From forensic examination of the well-preserved bodies in the 1980s, it was found they succumbed to a mysterious combination of lung disease and lead poisoning thought to be from poorly soldered cans of food. Numerous other memorials and a now ruined winter refuge were added in later years.

“Ice at two o’clock, and what’s that? A bear?” comes the call from Boris, our patient and vigilant expedition leader. At the exit of the strait we finally encounter the ice he’d been studying the night before on the daily satellite chart and there, through the strongest binoculars, we see a lonesome but very large male polar bear, nostrils aloft, already sniffing us out. Given we are something like a day ahead of schedule because of the effortless, ice-free journey so far, Boris decides we’ll keep the bear company for a bit.

The following day is a similar doddle south down through Larsen Sound and after a hearty lunch of steaming broth and roast lamb, we go ashore at the triumphant-sounding Victory Point. In truth, there's nothing victorious about Victory Point. Named, not after some long-forgotten battle, but after the ship commanded by Capt. John Ross during his arduous 1830 voyage.

We land on a desolate and rocky shoreline in our well-rehearsed procedure where shotgun-toting scouts disembark ahead of the main group to set up a polar bear perimeter. After the abundance of hungry carnivores sighted at Coningham Bay, there's plenty of reason to be cautious.

Dotted along the ridge above the high water mark are several stone cairns erected to attest the arrival and departure of various vessels and their shore parties. None, however, are likely to be the original cairn built to mark the initial progress and later demise of Franklin's last surviving men who suffered, as searcher John Rae wrote in his 1853 report to the Admiralty, "a fate as terrible as the imagination can conceive."

None of the monuments we examine contain any clue to their origin. Some weathered mahogany once fastened with modern stainless screws and some soggy, illegible scraps of parchment are all that remain of previous visits. But it was here that the famous official Admiralty document was found in 1859 bearing definitive news of the fate of Franklin.

The document's first entry was on 24 May 1847 signifying 'all well', but further messages scribbled in the margins told a much gloomier tale, including the death of Franklin himself just two weeks later.

It read in part:

April 25th, 1848. Ships Erebus and Terror abandoned ... Total loss by death to date, 9 officers and 15 men ... Start tomorrow for Back's Fish River.

Despite a forensic examination of the puzzling remains by the search party, the mystery of the Franklin Expedition's demise remains unsolved. But as far as the Admiralty was concerned, the costly expedition was lost and the 'case closed'.

Our journey ends as Franklin’s should have at the unlikely outpost of Kugluktuk, an Inuit settlement almost to the Beaufort Sea where a vintage 737 is sent to collect us and bring new adventurers for the return journey. As the old jet taxis through a cloud of dust to the ramshackle terminal, I try to imagine those wretched souls man-hauling heavy lifeboats and scavenging anything to survive in the harsh, featureless landscape of the Arctic. If only they’d waited 150 years, they could have done it in a canoe.

Go2
GETTING THERE: Air Canada (www.aircanada.com) flies daily from Sydney to Vancouver and directly onto 59 Canadian cities. One Ocean Expeditions provide connecting charters from Ottawa and Edmonton.
STAYING THERE: The historic Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa. (www.fairmont.com) has rooms from around A$250/night. TripAdvisor 4/5.
CRUISING THERE: One Ocean Expeditions (www.oneoceanexpeditions.com) offer two annual 14-night Northwest Passage expeditions aboard the 100-berth Akademik Ioffe in August between Kangerlussuaq (Greenland) and Cambridge Bay (Canada). Enquiries: Active Travel (www.activetravel.com.au) 1300 783 188

14Nov/13Off

Orient Calls – cruising Asia


vintage asia cruise poster

Asia: It's the latest thing

Traditionally the Asian tourists are not big cruisers. Cruise lines like Star Cruises began mostly as floating casinos for the Chinese who love to gamble and it’s only more recently when a few Europeans and Australians began cruising that they’ve moved to more conventional itineraries with shore excursions.

But cruising in Asia hasn’t just been the domain of locally-based operators. P&O, for example, have a long history of carrying ‘tourists’ on ‘pleasure cruises’ to the orient featuring such then colonial ports as Hong Kong (the Riviera of the Orient) and Singapore (the city of tropical splendour).

Australians are now looking beyond the commonplace South Pacific and Mediterranean offerings and rediscovering cruising in Asia as the ‘orient’ builds world-class infrastructure to accommodate the growing fleet of vessels heading for their ports.

In just the last few years alone, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai have introduced space-age terminals exclusively for the cruise market as they battle it out for the lion’s share of the cruise ship port calls.

Spurred on by a GFC slump in American cruising that is only now starting to recover, the big cruise lines looked our way for new markets as the Americans stayed home in droves.

Carnival, Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Cunard are just some of the heavy-hitters sending their ships down our way to connect us with Asia.

Here are a few examples of who’s going there.

RCCL’s Voyager of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas will head to Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan.

Cunard, as part of their regular around-the-world itineraries, will visit Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, China, Japan and India.

Princess, an established visitor to Asia, will visit China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam and even Cambodia.

The historic former Dutch merchant line, Holland America, is not particularly known for its Asian itineraries, but in 1989, it became part of the massive Carnival group and began expanding its pleasure cruise fleet. Today, ms Volendam and ms Zaandam are regulars in the Asia-Pacific region visiting such ports as Hong Kong, Koh Samui (Thailand), Halong Bay (Vietnam), Nagasaki, Shanghai and Singapore.

Celebrity too will visit Vietnam, Thailand, China, Bali and more. Celebrity Millennium will sail between Singapore and Hong Kong with overnight calls in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and the majestic Halong Bay in Vietnam.

Apart from the major, deepwater ports, Asia is ideal for exploring some of the lesser known ports.

Azamara, for example will sail right into the heart of both Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) adding an extra dimension to the cruise experience when guests can walk off and virtually straight into the hub of these exciting cities and avoid the tiring coach transfers otherwise required. Azamara’s list of Asian ports vastly exceeds those of the much bigger vessels thanks to its smaller dimensions allowing access to such exotic spots as Langkawi (Malaysia), Puerto Princesa, (Philippines) and Yangon (Rangoon) in Myanmar (Burma).

If you’re quick, you might get one of the last cabins on SeaDream II, one of the world’s most acclaimed luxury small ships as it makes its Asian debut. Carrying just 52 spoiled couples, this delightful, ultra exclusive, all-inclusive vessel visits Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, China and Indonesia and may not return until 2015.

Similarly, Ponant, Hapag-Lloyd and Orion (now Lindblad National Geographic) delve even deeper into the Asian experience with vessels smaller again but lacking nothing in comfort and facilities. These ‘expedition’ and ‘adventure’ ships deliver a considerably more enriching experience, often visiting ports with little or no infrastructure, yet able to cope with just 100 or so passengers arriving by Zodiac fast tender.

Dig deeper again and you’ll find a wealth of river cruising options becoming increasing popular as travellers discover the wonders of the Mekong (in Vietnam and Cambodia) and the mysterious Irrawaddy (Burma) aboard the classic Pandaw vessels or those of the stylish Heritage Line. There is some concern that the Mekong and Irrawaddy may go the way of the Yangtze with numerous dam projects planned for the upper reaches of these famous waterways, the impact of which is undetermined. So, the message is clear, see these historic and significant rivers now while they retain much of their natural appeal.

When planning any Asian cruise, it’s wise to consider that the major ports with international airports are where the ships will ‘turn around’ or begin or end a sector and take new passengers. Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bali (Denpassar) and Mumbai are typical such cruise hubs, so it makes sense to plan a few extra days at each end to explore these vibrant cities.

Some must-do shore excursions when in Asia

Take a local small boat cruise on the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong Bay. Sure, everyone does it, but you’ll know why when you do. It’s spectacular.

Nagasaki in Japan is best known for its tragic annihilation in World War II, but its European connections go back to the founding Portuguese. Like so much of Japan, the history and culture will enthral you.

From the modern Tianjin cruise terminal, head into Beijing for the iconic attractions of the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City. Say "nǐ hǎo" to Chairman Mao.

Hong Kong just screams out to visitors and if you’re not there for two or three days, you’re in danger of missing out on The Peak tram, Lantau Island or Stanley market. If you’re clever, you’ll allow time for a full day (at least) in stunning Macau too.

Singapore invites you with sleek, clean and efficient infrastructure and is a benchmark for all modern Asian cities. Sip a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel, ogle the spectacular Marina Bay Sands complex and touch the sky from the Singapore Flyer.

Filed under: Cruising, World Comments Off