Posts made in August, 2013

Vale Bill Peach (1935-2013)

Posted on Aug 27, 2013 | Comments Off on Vale Bill Peach (1935-2013)


27 August 2013

Bill Peach died in Sydney today. While much of the eulogies will be about his role as a television personality, Bill was also a vital part of the Australian travel scene, both as a principal of Bill Peach Journeys and as a travel writer and commentator. iTT first met Bill in Greece in 1987 and we’ve stayed friends ever since. He was an affable, knowledgeable and fun travelling companion. He will be missed. Vale Bill.


From the ABC

The life and legacy of televison presenter and intrepid traveller Bill Peach

By Jennifer King
ABC journalist Bill PeachPHOTO: Bill Peach had no on-camera experience but took to television “like duck to water”. (ABC)

With one of the most radiant smiles in current affairs, Bill Peach will be remembered by a generation of baby-booming Australians for the world he revealed to them in his scenic travel documentaries, and, most recently, as a guide of luxurious travel journeys.

Peach’s sunny disposition made him a natural choice in 1967 to host This Day Tonight, a ground-breaking current affairs program, the first of its kind in Australia.

Having begun as an ABC radio cadet in 1958, Peach had no on-camera experience, but fellow journalist and friend Peter Luck recalled that he “took to television like a duck to water”.

“He was like Ginger Meggs, the boy next door with his sunny personality,” Luck recalls.

“There was some element of larrikinism in This Day Tonight, but I wouldn’t call Bill a larrikin. He was very smart and wise, very loyal and very supportive.”

Together with a team that included Luck, Gerald Stone and Frank Bennett, Peach presented uncompromising coverage of world-changing events, like the war in Vietnam with an informative, sarcastic and witty style.

“There were a lot of things happening in Australia, and part of what made TDT exciting, but also made us friends and enemies, was because we took on big issues, we had furious debates, we had people attacking each other in the studio, and I mean physically as well as verbally,” he told Lateline in 2007.

“And we had riots going on inside and outside the studio, and of course they were happening in the country.”

Fellow journalist George Negus worked with Peach on the program in 1975.

“He was very calm, very composed, very together and very sensible when he was surrounded by a bunch cowboys like myself at the time,” he recalled.

Described as a “self-confessed stickybeak”, Peach’s love for Australia ignited a desire to share the country’s history and beauty, initially with television audiences and later, with tourists.

A life on the road

After working within a studio for eight years, Peach ventured into presenting travel documentaries, with Peach’s Australia in 1975, Holidays With Bill Peach in 1976 and Bill Peach’s Journeys in 1983.

Other documentaries Peach’s Gold and The Explorers followed, accompanied by best-selling history books, magazine articles and newspaper columns.

Paul Murphy, Bill Peach, June Heffernan, Tony Joyce and Peter LuckPHOTO: This Day Tonight team photo from 1974. (ABC)


Born in the eastern Riverina town of Lockhart, New South Wales on 15 May 1935, Peach’s wanderlust developed during road trips with his father, a stock and station agent.

“I did it initially to get out of school but found I had a love of the Australian landscape,” he said in a 2008 interview.

It was at the height of his television popularity that Peach stepped away from it all to begin his own travel company, Bill Peach Journeys.

He knew he was taking a big risk because at that time he said Australians felt they were not really having a holiday unless they went overseas.

“Holidaying here didn’t qualify, so we had to change the concept of what a holiday was,” he said in a 2008 interview.

With the memory of bouncing along in four-wheel-drive vehicles on dusty, pot-holed roads during his journalism career, Peach elected to fly his passengers across Australia.

He bought two Fokker Friendship planes and developed a 12-day luxury tour which incorporated such hard-to-reach places as Longreach, Katherine Gorge, the Bungle Bungles, Kununurra and Arnhem Land.

“A big country such as Australia is made for aviation. Planes shrink the distance between places and you have unrivalled viewing,” he said in a 2008 interview.

“I always say to people the way to look at the Gibson Desert is our way – looking out the plane and sipping a gin and tonic.”

Rosemary Champion hosted Peach and his passengers on her property Longway in Longreach, where they would be fed home-made scones and jam on the verandah and be given a taste of life in the bush.

“Absolutely the real, genuine, authentic thing – nothing Mickey Mouse/Walt Disney stuff, you know – what you see is what you get. And, you know, basically, it’s a working cattle property, and that’s what we like to demonstrate,” she told Landline in 2008.

Sydneysider John Gorman went on more than 50 of Peach’s trips and says his adventures always made an impression on travellers.

“Seeing places they’ve never been before, and seeing outback Australia – it’s been fantastic,” he said.

“I’ve been a city slicker all my life, and it’s opened my eyes tremendously. It’s been great.”

Peach’s appreciation for travel, Australia’s natural wonders

Peach was awarded a Logie for Outstanding Personal Contribution to Australian Television in 1975 and the Order of Australia Medal (AM) for his services to the Australian media and tourism in 1991.

Today his travel company continues to highlight Australia’s natural wonders to tourists from all over the world.

His contribution to the nation’s media landscape and his promotion of the country’s wild and remote places is a legacy of the dedication he had for his country.

Australia is full of wonderful places. Which of them is your wonderful place usually comes down to your personal experiences.

Bill Peach


“Australia is full of wonderful places,” he said in a 2008 interview.

“Which of them is your wonderful place usually comes down to your personal experiences. My favourite in Victoria is Beechworth, not only because it’s a beautifully preserved gold rush town, but because my grandfather, Robert Peach, was born there. The place is in my blood.

“Ned Kelly spent a lot of time there, most of it in jail, and his image dominates the town. This is unfair to my family. I would like to place it on record that when the Peach boys rode down from the Wombat Ranges, the Kelly boys cowered in their hut. That’s my story, anyhow.”

Peach is survived by his partner Pam Young and his children Steven and Meredith. His first wife Shirley died in 1997.

Read More

Oslo – It’s Not Porn It’s Art

Posted on Aug 27, 2013 | Comments Off on Oslo – It’s Not Porn It’s Art


Scandinavian hotel guests flicking through pay-TV channels may get more (or less) than they bargained for from now on. The Nordic Choice chain has promised to remove pornography from each of its 171 establishments and replace it with contemporary art.

The chain’s owner, Petter Stordalen, was inspired to take action after becoming involved with Unicef’s campaign to help the 1.2 million children who are victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation .

He said: “The porn industry contributes to trafficking, so I see it as a natural part of having a social responsibility to send out a clear signal that Nordic Hotels doesn’t support or condone this.”

The cliche of the travelling businessman coming back to his hotel room and watching porn is the same in Norway as in the rest of the world, admits Stordalen, but he is convinced that this can change.

“It may sound shocking or unusual [to remove pay-TV porn], but everyone said that about the ban on smoking. We were the first hotel chain in the world to ban smoking and people thought we were crazy. Now it’s totally normal for public spaces to be smoke-free.”

A well-known philanthropist in Scandinavia, Stordalen is Norwegian’s sixth richest man with a net worth of $1.2bn (£772m) according to Forbes magazine. He’s passionate about the environment, from chaining himself to Sellafield nuclear treatment plant in protest in 2002, to preserving 100 square metres of rainforest for every night booked by a guest in his hotels, and even converting his Ferrari FF to run on biofuel.

He is also an avid collector. “Art is important to me, but hotel art has always had a bad reputation – cheap paintings that match the sofas and so on,” he said. “I wanted to redefine hotel art to be something unique.”

Starting with his flagship hotel in Norway’s capital, Stordalen has done just that. Each of 121 rooms in Oslo’s The Thief is decked out with original artwork, some borrowed from Stordalen’s own collection, including a Tracey Emin and a Peter Blake. There are interactive TVs in each room offering “art on demand” with a choice of nine works of contemporary video art, including Sam Taylor-Wood’s Still Life from 2001″ – a film showing a bowl of fruit slowly decomposing.

Guests’ reactions have been positive, so far: “No one has asked for their porn back!” said the hotel’s Siri Løining Kolderup. “Instead, I think they appreciate that we’ve taken movie-on-demand to the next level, exchanging bad taste porn for high-end contemporary video art. We hope and predict porn will not be a part of the next generation of in-room entertainment in any hotel, anywhere.”

Stordalen and the team plan to roll out video art in their other hotels, with Copenhagen next on the list.

Read More

Don’t Fly For Me Argentina?

Posted on Aug 25, 2013 | Comments Off on Don’t Fly For Me Argentina?


Aerolineas Argentinas vs LAN Argentina

Aug 24, 2013

The latest setback for South Americas largest airline is part of what LATAM considers a campaign by Argentina’s government to undermine the company’s competitive advantages against money-losing state-owned Aerolineas Argentinas. That effort reached a critical stage Tuesday night with an eviction notice giving LATAM’s subsidiary, LAN Argentina, until month’s end to vacate its hangar at the downtown Buenos Aires airport.

“We understand that this isn’t an isolated action, but yet another in a growing number of actions taken against our company aimed at damaging our operations in Argentina,” LATAM Vice President Enrique Cueto said in a letter to Chile’s securities regulator. He called the eviction notice “illegitimate” and said the company would pursue every available legal action in Argentina to re-establish its contract. Also this week, LATAM announced a quarterly loss of $330 million due largely to currency fluctuations in Brazil, and it was fined $1 million by Canada in a price-fixing case involving South American cargo shipments.

“This has been a perfect storm because it’s all coming together to give the company poor results,” EuroAmerica brokerage analyst Jorge Sepulveda said Thursday. LATAM shares plunged 10 percent before recovering some lost ground Thursday, but they still have lost more than half their value in the year since Chile’s LAN Airlines and Brazil’s TAM airlines merged. The company’s investment-grade debt ratings were lowered after the LAN takeover, taking away much of the robust financial position the company had before the merger, Sepulveda said.

Chile’s government plans to forcefully protest the eviction notice from Argentina’s airports regulator at a Cabinet-level meeting between the two governments in Chile’s capital Friday, Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno said. It’s a sore point for Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, a billionaire investor who was LAN’s chief executive before selling off his stake in the company to avoid conflicts of interest while in the presidency. His relationship with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez is cordial, but her government’s efforts to centrally control the Argentine economy has increasingly led to clashes with Chilean business interests.

As a private company, LATAM has proven a tough competitor for state-owned Aerolineas and its short-hopping subsidiary, Austral, in the years since Fernandez’s late husband and predecessor as president, Nestor Kirchner, invited LAN Argentina to establish a significant presence at the downtown airport and provide service to underserved cities around Argentina. LAN now has 10 planes serving 14 Argentine cities. It says it will have to stop flying domestically in Argentina without the maintenance hangar.’

The company pays $20,000 a month in rent on the building under a contract that doesn’t expire for another decade. Aerolineas also has expanded its service, but continues to bleed money despite government subsidies that keep most of its ticket prices below what LAN charges.

Many passengers prefer LAN because it has a better on-time record and suffers fewer delays due to strikes and other labor problems. Argentina’s airports regulator has pressured the company to move its domestic flights from the downtown airport to the international airport in the Buenos Aires suburb of Ezeiza. That would not only be costly but put LAN Argentina at a disadvantage, since the commute through Buenos Aires traffic would add hours to any round-trip flight for many passengers.

At least 1,500 LAN employees would lose their jobs if the eviction goes through, prompting their unions to complain the government is trying to give Aerolineas Argentinas an unfair advantage. Aerolineas denied this Thursday. But said it makes sense to give the country’s flagship airline the most space at the capital’s downtown airport.

Any sovereign country would do this, the state-owned company said, because “Aerolineas Argentinas flies more frequently to more destinations (35 in the country, to which 21 aren’t reached by the competition) and thus needs a larger infrastructure.” The Association of Airplane Pilots said all its members will strike if LAN employees are fired.

“We’re talking about a general strike that will halt the country’s aviation for an indefinite time, until we’re guaranteed that we’ll be able to peacefully work in our country,” union head Pablo Biro told radio Continental.

Read More

The Love Boat Defies the Wreckers

Posted on Aug 23, 2013 | Comments Off on The Love Boat Defies the Wreckers


Once the star of television, the Pacific Princess aka “The Love Boat” (TV 1977-87) is proving reluctant to be scrapped. As of Wednesday, August 21, the ACIF (ex SEA VENTURE, PACIFIC PRINCESS, PACIFIC) was still laying at a precarious starboard angle at a scrapyard in Aliaga, near Izmir, Turkey.



The ship’s list appears to have been arrested and there will be an attempt to right her before scrapping commences.


Read More

Adventure Travel Worth US $263 billion – Report

Posted on Aug 23, 2013 | Comments Off on Adventure Travel Worth US $263 billion – Report

Ioffe & kayaks

Aug 22, 2013

Growth in the adventure travel market has accelerated at a 65 percent yearly rate since 2009 according to the newly released Adventure Tourism Market Study – a consumer report by The George Washington University (GW) conducted in partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association.

The 2013 Adventure Tourism Market Study uses the same methodology and approach as the 2010 study allowing for direct comparison between the studies and growth trend analysis. It included three key outbound regions: Europe, North America and South America. These regions account for nearly 70 percent of overall international departures, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The study estimates the value of the global outbound adventure travel sector to be US$263 billion, excluding airfare, up from US$89 billion first reported in the benchmark consumer study. When this US$263 billion is combined with the estimated $82 billion spent for related gear, apparel and accessories, adventure travelers spent more than $345 billion in 2012 for travel related to adventure.

“Adventure tourism’s steep climb is attributed to growth in the global tourism industry, a significant increase in the percentage of adventure travelers, and an increase in the average amount spent per adventure travel trip,” said ATTA President Mr. Shannon Stowell. “This comes as positive news, of course, and reinforces the ATTA community’s rising commitment to safety, education, training and development of innovative and culturally and environmentally sound travel options. As we watch adventure travel tourism grow it is imperative that we continue to provide travelers with transformative experiences, all while helping to protect and respect the very people and places visited.”

The GW/ATTA’s market value results reflect the growth in the international tourism market which reached an all-time record of more than one billion international tourism arrivals in 2012, as reported by the UNWTO. As UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said at the 2012 Adventure Travel World Summit, “Adventure tourism is what tourism should be today and definitely what tourism will be tomorrow.” Also viewed as a key contributor to this significant growth pattern is the increase in the percentage of European and South American travelers classified as adventure travelers, an increase in the average spending by adventure travelers globally ($593 per trip in 2009 to $947 in 2012), recovery from the global financial crisis, and the emergence of new source markets.


The ATTA defines a trip as “adventure travel” if it involves two of the following three elements, with the core of an adventure trip involving all three:
■connection with nature

■interaction with culture

■a physical activity

In the 2013 Market Study respondents were asked specifically if they had participated in an adventure activity on their last trip. Example activities included soft adventure options such as hiking, kayaking, rafting, snorkeling, volunteer tourism and archaeological expeditions and hard adventure options such as caving, climbing, heli-skiing, kite surfing, trekking and paragliding. Further highlights from the Adventure Tourism Market Study include:

■Adventure travelers are younger than non-adventure travelers, with an average age of 36;

■In 2012 nearly 42 percent of travelers from these three regions reported an adventure activity as the main activity of their last trip (the activity would have been one of those identified in the survey as hard or soft adventure options);

■The average length of a soft adventure trip was ten days in 2012 compared to eight days in 2009;

■Adventure travelers read publications such as National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler and Men’s Health, which cover traditional adventure and recreation topics, as well as unrelated but popular publications such as Cosmopolitan and Vogue;

■Nearly 54 percent of travelers plan to participate in an adventure activity on their next trip, compared to the 42 percent of travelers currently participating in adventure activities. The increase in interest comes largely from soft adventure activities;

■73 percent of adventure travelers plan to participate in an adventure activity on their next trip. Only 22 percent of adventure travelers plan on doing the same adventure activity as their last trip;

■45 percent of adventure travelers plan on using a tour operator on their next trip, compared to only 31 percent of non-adventure travelers;

■The percentage of adventure travelers using Facebook (78 percent) has more than doubled since 2009.

The Adventure Tourism Market Study is a barometer for the size and characteristics of the adventure tourism market. Adventure travel is a sector of tourism increasingly recognized for attracting environmentally and culturally aware consumers and for its focus on responsible and sustainable development, a model designed to create economic opportunities for local people in rural and remote communities worldwide.

Read More

Child-free zones on airlines: good idea or discrimination?

Posted on Aug 23, 2013 | 4 comments

Aug 22, 2013

Following Malaysia Airlines’ famous move to ban all babies from first class in 2011, another airline has created child-free zones on their planes.

Huffington Post reports that Scoot, a budget Singapore-based airline, will enact “ScootinSilence,” where passengers can be upgraded to a 41-seat cabin of the plane (rows 21 to 25) where children under the age of 12 are banned for roughly $14USD.

What’s more, the child-free cabin will have more legroom than the rest of the airplane. Check out the plane’s floorplan here

Of the move, Campbell Wilson, the airline’s CEO, said, “No offense to our young guests or those traveling with them – you still have the rest of the aircraft.”

AirAsia X also introduced a quiet zone earlier this year.

iTravelTree doesn’t understand why more airlines don’t take steps to point out the need to brief parents on pressure equalisation so the child doesn’t start the flight with an ear ache? That would remove many of the problems of sharing flights with young passengers. Meanwhile, more leg-room plus peace and quiet for $14 more: that sounds like a deal, Scoot.

Read More
%d bloggers like this: