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news conference report Australian Tourism Exchange May 29-June 4 ■ Adelaide ■ Australia

Australia is making a big move into the luxury travel market with a new training module and the launch of a collection of upmarket resorts. Olivia Hemmings reports from Adelaide

UPGRADES. IHG to revamp Holiday Inn

INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL Group is to invest in upgrading its brands. Unveiling the plans at ATE, the company said the Holiday Inn brand will undergo a “global refresh” later this year. Astrid Lim, IHG’s key account manager for

leisure, said standards were out of sync across this brand, including in the UK and the US: “We intend upgrades to include new beds as well as all the hallmarks of a four-star Holiday Inn.” The company also announced that despite the economic crisis, it will also invest in newbuild properties. Crowne Plaza Adelaide opened in April with 308 rooms and suites.

CITY INVESTMENTS. Melbourne boosts hotels Saffire Freycinet in Tasmania is being tipped as the next addition to the new Luxury Lodges of Australia collection Luxury ‘comes of age’

TOURISM AUSTRALIA is to add a new module to its Aussie Specialist Programme focusing on luxury experiences as the destination looks to go upmarket. The move comes at the same time as the launch of a collection of independent luxury lodges and camps showcasing some of Australia’s most upmarket smaller properties. Unveiling Luxury Lodges of Australia, its chairman James Baillie said the member-owned association aimed to “showcase luxury for the first time” in Australia. Baillie, speaking at ATE, said: “Finally luxury comes of age – we didn’t have the product until two years ago. This brings it all together.” A website,, has been designed as both a consumer and trade educational tool. It provides trip ideas by destination, experi- ence or property. The site also suggests how to combine member properties in the shortest travel time to help create itineraries between the hotels. But it will not include a booking engine.

26 11.06.2010

Explaining the collection’s membership crite- ria, Baillie said each of the 15 current properties were “true experiential products” which offered “an incredible sense of place” and were “leaders in their category”.

They include wilderness lodges, vineyard

retreats, island hideaways and outback camps. “It’s not about traditional luxury, it’s not about gold taps,” added Baillie. “These properties all offer core luxury such as great design, but they also have an intangible asset.” The 15 properties include Longitude 131 near Uluru, Wolgan Valley in the Blue Mountains, The Louise in the Barossa Valley plus the Barrier Reef resorts of Bedarra, Lizard Island and Qualia. Bailie said he hoped the collection would

encourage investment in new luxury lodges but its membership would be limited to 20 properties in order to retain the association’s exclusivity. It is expected that Saffire in Freycinet, Tasma- nia, will be the 16th member of Luxury Lodges when it opens its doors to the public this week.

TRANSPORT. Passes to boost rail travel

RAIL AUSTRALIA has launched eight new rail passes to improve flexibility. Prices start from £152 for the Backpacker Rail

Pass which offers three months of unlimited travel on CountryLink XPT and Xplorer rail, and connecting coach services to 360 locations linking Sydney with Brisbane, Melbourne and regional New South Wales. The upmarket Ausrail Pass gives six months’ unlimited travel on all long-distance trains in Australia, including The Ghan, Indian Pacific and The Sunlander.

MELBOURNE WILL continue to increase its hotel options this year and expand its airport. The Art Series Hotel Group will open The Blackman in Au- gust, followed by The Larwill, The Knight and The Whiteley. It recently opened The Olsen in March. The first Citadines hotel in Australia will open on July 1 – Citadines Melbourne on Bourke will offer 398 apartments. More facilities will be added at Melbourne

airport from late 2011, including a new passenger lounge, cafe and shops. The development is part of a £190 million expansion of its international terminal.

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