Tourism Australia signs fresh marketing deals with Virgin Australia and Etihad Airways

Popular Victorian tourist site The Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road. (Wikimedia Commons)
Popular tourist site The Twelve Apostles along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. (Wikimedia Commons)

Tourism Australia has inked fresh marketing partnerships with Virgin Australia and Etihad Airways worth a combined $80 million over the next five years.

Virgin will contribute $25 million towards promoting Australia in key overseas markets such as the United States, with the peak tourism body tipping in a further $25 million. The deal with Virgin, which first came on board as a partner three years ago, represented Tourism Australia’s largest commercial partnership with an airline.

“We look forward to working closely with our partners and Tourism Australia to market Australia on the world stage in innovative and powerful ways,” Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti said in a statement on Monday.

“This renewed deal demonstrates a significant increase in our investment and commitment to inbound tourism.”

In addition to promotion and marketing activity, Virgin will support trade and business events such as the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE).

Meanwhile, Tourism Australia and Etihad will spend a combined $30 million on promoting inbound tourism from key markets in Europe, including new campaigns in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier, which started working with Tourism Australia as part of a three-year deal worth $12 million in November 2012, will also provide flights for trade and business events, as well as for travel familiarisation visits by foreign journalists to Australia.

Etihad chief executive James Hogan said the new memorandum of understanding, which was signed at the ATE event in Melbourne on Monday, reinforced the airline’s commitment to Australia.

“It’s pleasing to see our continuing investment in Australian tourism attracting more and more visitors each year and delivering economic benefits to tourism operators Australia-wide,” Hogan said in a statement.

“Together we add real muscle to Tourism Australia’s efforts to promote tourism from overseas and enable visitors to see more of Australia while here.”

Tourism Australia chief executive John O’Sullivan said building strong and sustainable relationships airline partners was a key plank in the peak tourism body’s growth strategy.

“Nowhere has this approach been more productive than in our evolving partnership with Virgin Australia, particularly some of the great recent work we’ve been doing together in the United States,” O’Sullivan said in a statement.

On Etihad, O’Sullivan said: “Through their strong global footprint, particularly within Europe and their global partnerships, Etihad Airways is now one of Tourism Australia’s most important aviation partners, actively supporting some of our most important international campaigns and playing a critical role feeding traffic to Australia’s key international gateways.”

Virgin came on board with Tourism Australia in 2012 after Qantas withdrew its funding support for the tourism body in favour of working with state-based tourism organisations.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said at the time the airline could no longer work with Tourism Australia given its chairman Geoff Dixon was among a group of investors who were pushing for change at the Flying Kangaroo.


Australian Aviation

Fiji Airways appoints new CEO

A Fiji Airways Airbus A330-200. (Airbus)
A Fiji Airways Airbus A330-200. (Airbus)

Current Air Mauritius chief executive Andre Viljoen has been appointed as the new boss of Fiji Airways.

Viljoen, who has been in charge at Air Mauritius since 2010 and has three decades’ experience in the airline and tourism industries, will commence in his new role by October 2015, Fiji Airways said in a statement on Tuesday.

“I am very excited to be joining Fiji Airways, the leading airline in the South Pacific, and will continue to build on its strong brand and lead its dedicated team to even greater heights,” Viljoen said.

The Fiji government, which is the airline’s major shareholder, welcomed the appointment of a new chief executive to replace Stefan Pichler, who left to become Airberlin’s chief executive in February.

“Andre has big shoes to fill in replacing Stefan Pichler – who produced a record financial result for Fiji Airways last year – but this is an outstanding choice and we look forward, under his leadership, to expanding the airline’s footprint into other international hubs,” Fiji Attorney-General and Minister for Public Enterprises Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said.


Australian Aviation

Park Geun-hye calls for increased civilian exchanges with Korea DPR

Korea DPR

SEOUL, June 23 (Yonhap) — President Park Geun-hye called Tuesday for increased civilian exchanges with North Korea as part of efforts to lay the groundwork for a peaceful unification with the North.

She made the comment in a meeting with members of the National Unification Advisory Council, the presidential advisory body on unification.

The comment came a week after civic groups from South and North Korea failed to hold a joint ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of the first inter-Korean summit.

The leaders of the two Koreas produced a joint declaration at their landmark summit in June 2000 that paved the way for eased military tensions and economic cooperation after decades of hostility.

The two sides had alternated hosting joint celebrations of the summit in the past but the joint anniversary events were suspended in recent years as tensions rose.

In May, civilian groups from South and North Korea tentatively agreed to jointly celebrate the anniversary in a three-day event starting June 14 in Seoul.

But earlier this month, the North declared it “would be better” to hold separate events, denouncing Seoul for refusing to allow the joint events to be held in Pyongyang and setting preconditions by allowing only non-political exchanges.

Park also called for thorough preparations for potential unification with North Korea as she asked South Koreans to put aside differences and frictions over discussions on unification.

South Koreans are deeply divided along ideological fault lines on how to cope with North Korea.


The Korea Herald


[NEWS ANALYSIS] United Nations human rights office ups pressure on Pyongyang

Korea DPR

The U.N. opened a field office in Seoul on Tuesday to systematically monitor and record North Korea’s human rights situation, in a culmination of the international efforts to shed light on the North’s deep-seated inhumane practices and stop them.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, Seoul’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo and other high-profile officials and politicians joined the opening event at the Seoul Global Center building in central Seoul.

A member of a college student group for North Korean human rights wears a mask that looks like North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a rally in front of the U.N. field office to monitor the communist state’s human rights situation in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Noting that his institution is striving to be as close to the “victims” as possible, the U.N. human rights chief said that the office would do its utmost to improve the North’s woeful rights record.

“We firmly believe this will help lay the basis for future accountability,” he said during a ceremony to launch the office.

“The Seoul Office also has a mandate for technical cooperation with member states, national institutions and civil society, and will work in partnership with you to strengthen our collective efforts to change human rights in the DPRK (North Korea).”

The establishment of the office is expected to further anger the communist regime, which has accused South Korea, the U.S. and other supporters of the office of seeking to overthrow the regime by politicizing human rights issues and meddling in its domestic affairs.

Analysts said the presence of the office would serve as a constant reminder for the North that its human rights abuses were being monitored, would not go unnoticed and could potentially trigger international intervention.

They also noted that excessive pressure could be counterproductive given that it could lead the North to further tighten control over its people and cut itself off from the international community — moves that would exacerbate the suffering of North Koreans.

“North Korean leader Kim Jong-un should realize that there is now a team of dedicated professional investigators working full time to add to the factual record that will ultimately see him and his top officials brought before an international court,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division of the activist group Human Rights Watch.

Bruce Bennett, a North Korea expert at the U.S.-based think tank RAND Corp., expressed hopes that the office would help North Koreans gradually awaken to the regime’s rights abuses.

“The human rights office will continue to raise the human rights issue, which will not make the North Korean regime happy. But as this information seeps into North Korea, more North Koreans will learn about international opposition to the abuses by the regime,” he said.

“Ultimately, over the years, the credibility of the North Korean regime will be questioned by more of the North Korean population. This would indeed be a change in the North, and a change that the regime really does not want to let happen. It is also a change that would, over time, help to destabilize the regime,” he added.

The Seoul human rights office was launched based on a recommendation by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry report in February 2014 to address what it thinks amounts to “crimes against humanity.”

The COI report that came after its yearlong study found evidence of torture, execution, arbitrary incarceration, deliberate starvation, enslavement and other appalling practices. In particular, it indicated that high-level Pyongyang officials responsible for the abuses could be referred to the International Criminal Court.

The report went on to say that the international community should accept its “responsibility to protect” the North Korean people as the regime in Pyongyang had “manifestly failed” to protect its people.

Experts say that to bring about real change in the North, the international community should mix pressure with humanitarian assistance rather than focus wholly on pressuring the reclusive regime. They also said that the international community should show the North that what it strives to do is to improve the human rights of North Koreans, not bring down the regime.

“We can think of human rights in political terms, but we can also think about human rights from a pure humanitarian perspective. For example, the international community can increase its humanitarian aid to enhance the well-being of North Koreans,” said a North Korea expert, who refused to be identified.

“Thus, we need to mix pressure with humanitarian aid to make the North Korean regime believe that the international community is sincere about changing North Korean policy to ensure human rights of its people, and has no intention of overthrowing the regime.”

Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Dongguk University, cautioned against applying too much pressure on Pyongyang, pointing out that the international community should think about how to lead the North to become a responsible member.

“Human rights is of course a universal value now. But the concept of human rights is different in a democracy featuring individualism and a socialist society focusing on collectivism,” he said. “With this difference and complexity of the issue in mind, we need to adopt a cautious approach to deal with North Korea’s human rights issue rather than increasing pressure on it.”

Bennett of RAND Corp. painted a negative outlook of North Korea’s human rights conditions, noting that the emphasis on the human rights would increase the possibility of a “sudden change” in the North.

“I don’t think that the North Korean regime will actually stop its abusive behavior; indeed, it may only get worse,” he said.

“Instead, a focus on North Korean human rights abuses likely increases the probability that the regime will eventually fail and fall. So Seoul and Washington need to prepare for such a sudden change.”

By Song Sang-ho (

The Korea Herald

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban advocates to send clear message against Korea DPR nuclear tests

Korea DPR

High-profile advocates of an international nuclear-test-ban treaty will visit South Korea this week to send a clear message against North Korea’s nuclear tests, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

The Group of Eminent Persons for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty will hold their third meeting in Seoul on Thursday and seek international support against North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, ministry spokesman Noh Kwang-il said in a press briefing.

The meeting will be attended by Hans Blix, former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Lassina Zerbo, head of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, among others.

“The meeting is expected to serve as opportunity to secure international support against the North Korean nuclear issue, deliver a strong message for the early effectuation of the CTBT and against further nuclear tests by North Korea, and contribute to expanding international support for our disarmament and nonproliferation policy,” Noh said.

Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se plans to open the two-day meeting on Thursday with a speech on South Korea’s position on the CTBT’s effectuation and the North Korean nuclear issue, he added. (Yonhap)


The Korea Herald

Korea DPR sentences two South Koreans to life imprisonment

Published : 2015-06-23 18:53
Updated : 2015-06-23 21:05

Korea DPR

North Korea has sentenced two South Korean nationals to life imprisonment on charges of espionage, its state media reported Tuesday, coinciding with the day the U.N. opened a field office in Seoul to monitor and study the repressive state’s human rights situation.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said that the North’s Supreme Court meted out life sentences to Kim Kuk-gi and Choi Chun-gil, who it said were arrested after spying on the regime “under the direction of the U.S. and South Korea.”

Seoul’s Unification Ministry expressed “strong regrets” over the rulings, criticizing them as going against the international humanitarian norms and calling for their immediate release.

“The North did not give any prior explanation whatsoever to our government and their families and took that illegitimate step,” the ministry said in a press release. “Our government would like to make it clear that we can’t accept the unilateral rulings.”

In March, the North invited foreign and local media outlets for a press conference during which it said that it had arrested the two, calling them “spies.”

At the news conference, the North claimed they collected secret documents from the North’s ruling Workers’ Party and military and state organizations under the direction or support of the U.S. and South Korean intelligence institutions, and that they attempted to spread the “capitalist bourgeois” way of life inside the reclusive state.

The sentencing came as the U.N. opened the field office to further pressure Pyongyang to improve its woeful human rights record. The North argued that with the office, the U.S., South Korea and others are trying to overthrow the regime by politicizing the human rights issue and interfering in domestic affairs.

By Song Sang-ho (

The Korea Herald

Gold Coast to fight for Manchester City’s Oz-friendly

Hyundai A-League season review

Football fans on the Gold Coast could get the opportunity to see English Premier giants Manchester City in action, with moves afoot to make a friendly clash in the region a ticketed event.

City is heading Down Under next month to take part in the International Champions Cup in Melbourne against Real Madrid and AS Roma.

But prior to the tournament they are expected to play a friendly match on the Gold Coast against Hyundai A-League side Adelaide United.

The match was originally scheduled as a behind-closed-doors friendly but Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate wants the locals to have the chance to see some of world football’s best players in action.

“I expect there to be a ticketed event on the Coast and we will not give up on it,” Tate said in the Gold Coast Bulletin on Tuesday.

“If money is all it takes [to let fans see a game] I know a lot of business leaders who love the game, so I will pass the hat around and make it work.”


The biggest stumbling block appears to be the cost of using Cbus Super Stadium in Robina to host the match.

The Bulletin’s report says a State Government transport levy and policing requirements were two contributing factors to the stadium being more than twice as expensive as other venues around the country.

Cr Tate wants the Gold Coast City Council to take control over the venue from the Queensland State Government.

“If we owned that space we would hold more events there and the running costs would be worth it,” he said.

“If it were under our administration the gates would be open to allow people to see world-class football, and it is unfathomable there would be a world champion team here and our people would not get chance to see them.”

Football Gold Coast general manager Damien Bresic said they were open to hosting the match, even if they had to find a different venue.

“We’d be supportive of playing them anywhere but the question is whether City would want hundreds of millions of dollars worth of ‘cattle’, for want of a better word, running around on a pitch where they’re susceptible to … injuries,” Bresic told the Bulletin.

Football Federation Australia

Hume City tackle Kingston City on Wednesday night for a spot in the round of 32

Hume City tackle Kingston City on Wednesday night for a spot in the round of 32.

Hume City hope they have learned the lessons of 2014 and won’t blow the chance to make the Westfield FFA Cup round of 32 on Wednesday night.

For the second year in a row, Victorian NPL club Hume take on lower-league opposition in the final round of qualifying for the national competition.

Last year they fell victim to third-tier State League giant-killers South Springvale, who went on to make the last 16 of the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup.


This year it’s Kingston City that stand in the way of Lou Acevski’s side and they are determined not to let this opportunity slip.

“It’s that good old saying that you don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it,” Acevski told the Hume Leader ahead of Wednesday’s match at Broadmeadows Valley Park.

“The opportunity that we had last year, we sort of took it for granted a little bit and unfortunately didn’t go past South Springvale.

“If you’ve got ambition to play at a higher standard, you want to put yourself in that shop window.

“Even if you’re an experienced player that’s got no ambition to move up to a higher standard, you still want to play on the best possible platform available to you.”

Hume City take some inconsistent form into the clash but should have too much quality for Kingston City, who play in the NPL1 East.

“We’ll have the right attitude, the right preparation and hopefully be able to do the job on Kingston,” Acevski said.

“The boys are doing well. There’s a lot of games being played, it is taking a toll of their bodies but we’re doing the right things.”

Victoria’s other qualifying clash sees former NSL powerhouse Heidelberg United host the Goulburn Valley Suns.

Heidelberg are currently third in the NPL – having lost 4-0 to league-leaders Bentleigh Greens on Friday night – but will start warm favourites against another NPL 1 outfit.

The winners of the two matches will join South Melbourne and Oakleigh Cannons as Victorian regional clubs in the round of 32.

For all the latest Westfield FFA Cup fixtures and results head to

Football Federation Australia