No.70 October 2015
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A personal note from Yvonne

Dear Yvonne, 

Well we have done it again.... this time on an International Scale.

We have won the SITE Crystal Award of 2015 for the Curry & Tea Small Group Tour.

The congratulations go to our wonderful friends Anup and Raji Nair of Incentive Destinations who together with my husband Mike put together an amazing trip for our small group tours to India and Sri Lanka earlier this year.

The announcement was made at the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence Conference in India as shown below.




We are now working on plans for the groups for 2017 an as soon as we have confirmed programs will publish them in our newsletter.

I am in the process of updating our website and hope to have it revamped completely by the end of the month.

I will be introducing special offers available to us on cruising - both ocean and riverboat - and great deals on travel insurance by the only Australian travel insurance company that deals exclusively in travel insurance - Covermore.

As a result of my meetings in Tasmania with the leading independent travel agents of Australia and our suppliers I have also negotiated monthly specials on domestic and South East Asia destinations that will be on the website. When we get the super dooper deals I will blast them out by email.

2016 will be the year to make your travel dreams come true.

 

Until next time,

Yvonne Lazarow
Managing Director

 

 

INFORMATION ON FUTURE AMACO/SMALL GROUP TOURS 

As so many of you have requested what is in the pipeline here is a preview of what we will offer:

Poland and Czech Republic

The Amaco Conference takes place in Poland from 6 - 14 June 2016. The itinerary will focus on the beautiful cities of Warsaw and Krakow with the option to extend to the Czech capital of Prague from the 14 - 19 June 2016 available for those with a little extra time. Registrations are open and we have already sold almost 50% of the available places. Register now to secure your place! Full details are available on the website www.amacopoland2016.com.au. Download a registration form by clicking here.

Golden Pagoda Tour to Myanmar

4 - 22 October 2016 plus four nights in Bhutan. The full brochure and registration form are available on our website (click here). Registrations are streaming in and this tour is sure to book out quickly.

Namibia & Cape Town

We're finalising details of this amazing itinerary and will have information for you next month. Email info@amacotravel.com.au expressing interest to ensure you are one of the first to receive the brochure  and tour information.

 

 

 

NEW ORLEANS : THROUGH THE EYES OF MIKE LAZAROW

Last month I wrote about our Small Group Tour to Cuba, but on this trip we also visited New Orleans for 4 days then traveled up the Mississippi River on a modern day paddle steamer to Memphis.

However it was our stay in the Jazz & Blues home of New Orleans that provided such a highlight for our fellow travelers and Yvonne and myself.

I had been to New Orleans before, some 20 years ago before Hurricane Katrina and again last year when I undertook my site inspection. Only being there and seeing photographic evidence of the devastation can one partly appreciate what the poor people endured and how much it impacted on the local population.

Today, New Orleans has made a wonderful and dramatic re-emergence as a vibrant and wonderful city and should be on any music and food lovers bucket list.

The French Quarter and the famous Bourbon Street which is the heart and soul of New Orleans was thankfully speared the brunt of the cyclone and recovered very soon afterwards however other parts of the city took years to recover and there are still many areas and buildings that are still under repair.

Our hotel was the fabulous and iconic Roosevelt Hotel. Just a 5 minute walk from Bourbon Street, this was an ideal location for us.

I had planned a number of key activities for our stay.

On the first day we enjoyed a Past, Present and Futures introductory tour of the city including beignets (the local doughnuts but without jam) and Café au Lait in the City Park before visiting the iconic cemeteries which have featured in so many movies.

One cannot visit New Orleans and not have a Po-Boy in Uptown New Orleans. The are large bread rolls filled with a variety of fillings.

Not being there at Mardi Gras time, in the afternoon we enjoyed an insider’s look at the colourful preparations for New Orleans’ famous Mardi Gras.

That evening we enjoyed a truly unique way of travelling from our hotel to dinner as we were led by a traditional Dixieland Jazz marching band through the streets of New Orleans in our very own second line parade. We dined at the iconic Antoine’s Restaurant in the city’s French Quarter. This restaurant has a 174 year-old legacy and is still owned and operated by fifth generation relatives of the original founder. A great meal and experience.

The next morning we undertook an escorted Gourmet Walking Tour of the French Quarter sampling food and sweets en route, ending up at a New Orleans Cooking School where we had a Creole Cooking demonstration and lunch.

If you are a lover of jazz then you must experience the legendary Preservation Hall. We had the privilege of a private, one hour session at this spiritual home of Jazz.

On our final day we headed out of the city to experience the famous Swamp Boat Tour. Experience nearly 2 hours gliding across the some of Louisiana’s most secluded swamps spotting alligators and other bird life. Lunch was as traditional as it gets with a seafood gumbo, red beans and rice experience. You won’t get more local than that.

For our final dinner we took over a mansion in the Garden District of New Orleans – a private dinner in The Van Benthuysen-Elms Mansion, a National Historic Landmark including a Jazz Trio.

New Orleans is unique. There is no city like it in the USA or even in the world. If you plan to go there, whether with a group or on your own, make sure you allow yourself ample time to enjoy the culture, food and music of this city. You will not regret it.


 

 

 

SOUTH AFRICAN IMMIGRATION AMENDMENTS

The South African Cabinet has agreed to amend the immigration regulations so that within the next three months, travel to South Africa will be made easier.

Visa applications by post
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will accept visa applications by post from countries that require a visa to visit South Africa but do not have a South African consulate or embassy. Recommendations for accredited travel agents to make visa applications for their clients have also been approved by Cabinet.

Biometrics captured on arrival at port of entry
The DHA will capture and implement biometrics of travellers, including fingerprints and photos, on arrival at ports of entry, doing away with the need to apply for visas in person. Pilot sites will begin with OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, King Shaka International Airport in Durban and Cape Town International Airport.

Child travel and unabridged birth certificates
With regards to inbound child-travel where visas are required, original birth certificates or certified copies of required documents will still need to be submitted during the visa application process. For visa-exempt countries, travellers are strongly advised to carry proof of the relationship and consent from the absent parents or guardians. (South Africans under the age of 18 still need to travel with an unabridged birth certificate.)  

Accredited Tourism Company (ATC) Programme
The DHA will also look at introducing an Accredited Tourism Company (ATC) Programme, initially for countries such as China, India and Russia. This means that these companies will be able to make visa applications on behalf of their clients, thus addressing the issue of tourists having to travel long distances to apply for their visas.

For more details please visit the
DHA website.

We will keep you posted should any new/additional information arise.

 

 

SOME OF THE CRAZIEST AIRPORT RUNWAYS IN THE WORLD

 

1. Gisborne Airport, New Zealand

This North Island airport is one of the few in the world that has a railway line running through its runway. Both the railway and the airport are active, so lets hope they are precise about their scheduling.



2. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba Island

Blink and you might miss it. With only 400m in length, this Caribbean island has the shortest commercial air strip on the planet. Obviously, this tiny runway is only suitable for small aircraft.
 

3. Courchevel Altiport, France

This airfield high in the French Alps is a convenient yet treacherous drop-off point for wealthy skiers at the chi-chi Courchevel slopes. In fact, there are ski runs not far from the 1,762 ft (537 m) mountaintop runway. Frequent fog, snow, ice and low clouds make it even more extreme. You’ll want to make sure your small plane or helicopter pilot is well trained.


                                                                                                          

4. Agatti Aerodrome, Lakshadweep, India

This 4000 feet long island runway doesn’t leave much margin for error. A few more inches, and passengers are going to be swimming sooner than they bargained for.


                                                                                                          

5. Gibraltar International Airport

Winston Churchill Avenue, a major thoroughfare, intersects the airport runway in Gibraltar. This is one red light you don’t want to run.

 

 

A TIME TO SMILE...

 

Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed monitor of the congregations' morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business.

Several members did not approve of her extra-curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake however when she accused  Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon.

She emphatically told Frank (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing!

Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away.

He didn't explain, defend or deny.He simply said nothing.

Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house, walked home... And left it there all night.

 

 

 

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