14 January 2011
Each week Luke McCormick, Wexas Channel Editor, provides an inside look at the latest headlines and gives his independent, expert comment.
The Wexas Weekly: 2011 Destination Hotlist launch, Nepal charity initiative and global flood situation
This week we were pleased to launch our 2011 Destination Hotlist. What was most striking was the expected growth of lesser-visited Middle East countries, such as Lebanon, Oman, Jordan and Syria - all of them offering exotic culture and some striking historical sights within the mid- to long-haul market.
"Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia will emerge on top with a mix of temples, luxury outposts and undiscovered islands."
One of our favourite tour companies in Nepal, Tiger Mountain, has teamed up with the fantastic ‘Pack for a Purpose’ charity, which encourages visitors to spare a kilo or two in their luggage to bring much needed gifts required for community projects, such as stethoscopes for clinincs.
Tiger Mountain has always been an environmentally- and community-focused operator and we welcome this latest initiative. Anyone wanting to have a look at their ’wish lists’, for Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge, Karnali Lodge, and Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, can take a look at www.packforapurpose.org.
"In a heart-warming response, hotels in Far North Queensland have opened their doors to flood victims."
In a heart-warming response to the Queensland flood crisis, hotels in Far North Queensland have opened their doors to flood victims from the state’s central and southern areas who may not be able to return to their homes for several days or weeks.
In a stroke of luck for the popular holiday state, the majority of the state’s main tourism regions remained unaffected by the unfolding catastrophe, with parts of Central Queensland, the Outback, Southern Downs and Granite Belt, Toowoomba and Darling Downs, Western Downs, South Burnett and the Lockyer Valley bearing the brunt of the flooding and receiving the majority of media coverage.
"The Whitsundays and Tropical Far North Queensland are open for business ... this includes beaches, island resorts, accommodation providers, tours and attractions."
The Whitsundays, Mackay, Townsville and Tropical North Queensland are currently accessible and most tourism operations in these regions are open for business. This includes beaches, island resorts, accommodation providers, tours and attractions.
Most tourism businesses in Bundaberg, Gladstone, Agnes Water and 1770, including Mon Repos Turtle Experience, Bargara beaches, Lady Elliot Island and Lady Musgrave Island, are now open and returning to normal business operation.
The Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast’s tourism operations are currently open; however localised flooding has affected road access in some of these areas.
Unfortunately, due to localised flooding, some tourism operations in Brisbane are currently closed, however the international and domestic airport and domestic remains open, along with all others in the state, with the exception of Rockhampton.
Chief executive of the Queensland Hotels Association, Justin O’Connor, said while the numbers of hotels significantly affected by events around the state is still being confirmed, there were upwards of 20 that have been, or are, still closed as a result of the flooding.
In another sign of the recovery, the vital road supply chain from Brisbane to Cairns is reopening after two weeks of closures prevented the delivery of food to the Far North.
Torrential rains in Brazil’s southeast have caused widespread flooding and landslides in Sao Paolo state and Rio de Janeiro state, however these have been focused on mountain towns approximately 100km from Rio de Janeiro itself.
Tours to Brazil’s major tourist destinations, including in and around Rio and Sao Paulo, continue as normal, however the situation is being monitored closely.
Sri Lanka is faring a little worse though, with the Foreign Office warning that Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, two towns in central Sri Lanka that are very popular with British tourists, have experienced earthslips due to heavy rain.
The south of the country, which sees most foreign visitors, is unaffected, with the floods confined to the isolated northeastern area.
By Luke McCormick