Best March Ever for L.A. Tourism

Las Vegas posted its greatest March visitation numbers, simulating ostentatious airport traffic statistics reported earlier in the week, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority spokespersons stated on Wednesday.

There were reportedly 3.78 million visitors to Southern Nevada for the month, a 1.4 percent boost compared March 2016. It has been the third best month for Las Vegas in history, following closely behind July 2016 and October 2015.

Professionals associated the high number to having an extra weekend fall in March this year compared to last year and to the establishment of the ConExpo-Con/Agg building equipment trade show, to which nearly 130,000 people participated in. As well as the NCAA’s March Madness this always gives the state a healthy boost in tourism numbers. March Madness is an event for both gamblers and regular sports fans so the event brings in profit for casinos, sports betting as well as basketball apparel stores who see a spike in sales.

Convention participation was up 13.3 percent to 757,444 despite there being 8.9 percent less conventions and trade shows for the month. The high visitor count improved state gaming profits as casinos state-wide reported taking in $991 million in March, 7.4 percent ahead of March 2016.

More notably, three-month win trends climbed up by the highest level in a year, up 4.8 percent over the first quarter of 2016, the states Gaming Control Board reported on Wednesday.

Because of the hefty March visitation results, accommodation room requests skyrocketed. The LVCVA reported the typical everyday room rate climbed up 21.9 percent to $149.02 for the month moving the quarterly average up 8.3 percent to $140.31.

Citywide occupancy soared by 2.2% bringing the total to 94 percent. Motel occupancy scored the greatest jump, moving from 75.7 percent a year ago to 81.1 percent in March. Downtown tenancy rates were up 4% to 89.2 percent.

“March is always hectic for us and it was a record March for number of visitors in the month,” LVCVA representative Jeremy Handel stated. “Tenancy wasn’t a record, but to put it into viewpoint, we have considerably more spaces filled than the record month for tenancy, which was March 1996.”

In March 1996, the record month, the occupancy rate was 95.8 percent, but there were only 90,266 rooms to fill. Last month, there were 149,351 spaces in the market.

The NCAA March Madness basketball competition produced outstanding sportsbook earnings this year. At the state’s 190 places to bet basketball, books won $41.3 million, a 91.7 percent boost over in 2015. However sportsbook had simply a 9.6 percent win percentage for basketball. The sale of different basketball apparel items was up as expected, but a stand out was in the sale of basketball shorts.

The state’s three-month pattern of wins for January, February and March was motivating and Southern Nevada’s leading markets surpassed it. For the quarter, Clark County win was up 5.6 percent, the Strip was up 5.5 percent and downtown Las Vegas continued its outstanding run up 18.2 percent.

Fiscal-year patterns likewise are encouraging for casino win.

State-wide, for the nine months between July 1 and March 31, win is up 3.2 percent to $8.67 billion. For the same period, Clark County is up 3.3 percent to $7.51 billion, the Strip is up 3.7 percent to $4.95 billion and downtown Las Vegas is up 9.9 percent to $455.2 million.

Worldwide Food and Consumption Forecasts and Tips for 2017

What will be the greatest food patterns of 2017?

Fish head.  Fish collars.  Fish throats.  Fish livers.  Do these fish parts sound like something you’d love to eat?  They’re difficult to sell, however in the hands of an experienced chef they can pop in your mouth and delight your taste buds.  Search for the English muffin with John Dory Liver and Stonefruit Chutney at Saint Peter, in Sydney’s Paddington.

Sadly, large steaks are quickly becoming extinct. As livestock rates increase due to Asia’s growing interest for Australian beef, dining establishments will serve smaller-sized steaks of better quality meat.

On the up: natural Australian wine, especially natural Australian wine from the Adelaide Hills. Pho will continue its world dominance. Vodka popularity will grow as the taste gets a makeover.  And the Uber-isation of food will see the opening of more no-seats dining establishments, catering specifically to the house shipment market.

Exactly what will reach saturation point?

Over consumption.  The year of balance, 2017 is more about superfoods and less about buckets of fried chicken. We’re getting back to basics with our eating, but we won’t skimp on flavour.

Exactly what will take its dying breath?

The freakshake, or, Diabetes in a Glass.  The aggressive sugar hit will be the first victim in the decrease of over consuming.  Too bad – we all really need a shake that’s topped with cream, cake, sauce, lollies and donuts.

Exactly what would you want to see?

An end to the cold room war between craft-beer-drinkers and VB-guzzlers.  There’s less demand for tap beer, but there’s still demand.  Australian beer drinkers are moving towards high end, sometimes international, craft beers.  But no one is turning the taps off at our local breweries any time soon.

Melbourne food pattern forecasts

What are the It foods?

The fondness for food integrating will continue: keep an eye out for naan pizza and banh mi bruschetta. Poke (state poh-kay) is a raw fish salad with rice and veggies– consider it deconstructed sushi.  It’s Japanese-inspired, huge in Hawaii, and ready to strike Melbourne in restaurants and food trucks.  Beef and chicken variations are becoming available.

What am I going to be consuming this year?

More veggies and less meat.  Australians consume three times as much meat as the world average.  We’re looking to heighten the experience of vegetables and more carefully consider the impact of our lifestyle on the environment.  Smith and Daughters have evolved into a vegan bar, and acclaimed fine dining restaurant Attica offers an extensive vegetarian menu on Tuesdays to Saturdays.

Festivals and Foodies

The 25th Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is the pinnacle of Melbourne’s world-class food and wine industries.  Star-studded chefs like Peruvian powerhouse Gastón Acurio and Japanese master Zaiyu Hasegawa will be graced.

 

Planning To Visit Australia? Here Is What You Need To Know

Australia is known to be a friendly and beautiful  country, and it certainly lives up to that expectation. Before you go to the land down under, you will need to know how to get the most out of your trip.

When you should go

Most tourists travel to Australia in the summer time which is December to February. The most popular cities at that time of year are Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. The sunny warm beaches attract people from all walks of life.  During the summer time the vibe is at its peak. So many people are flooding the cafes and are still out and about well into the evenings because of the warm weather. However, coming at peak time has its downfalls. Accommodation prices will be higher, public transport will be busier, and the queues at the big attractions will be longer.

Where you should go

If you like the urban feel and you love a quirky vibe, Melbourne is the place for you. Coffee shops, live music, shops, pubs, bars, galleries, museums, multicultural food – everything is in Melbourne! If you are a lover of wine, head an hour east from the city to the famous Yarra Valley. Known for its beautiful Yarra Valley vineyards, it is an incredible place to visit. If wine isn’t your thing, you can go  hot air ballooning, visit Healesville Sanctuary, or visit cute surrounding country towns.

Image result for victoria beaches australiaSydney and Brisbane have beautiful coastal beaches and a young vibe with clubs, shops, and restaurants to suit everyone. Perth may be considered an isolated city, but it’s based on the west coast; an extremely beautiful and popular state for travellers.  The Northern Territory boasts rich history and outback desert landscapes. It’s home to a giant rock, more famously known as Uluru.

South Australia loves its wine, and is home to Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills and more.  Adelaide as a city is compact, with a central location that can be used as a base to travel.

One of the main things that unite Australians is their love and passion for sport.  Cricket, tennis, AFL, rugby, Formula One, horse racing and more. International events are hosted by Australian cities all year round.

Getting around

Australia doesn’t have big inland towns like Europe and America do. So if you’re planning a driving holiday, then prepare yourselves – and the kids – for long distances. The most recommended way to get from city to city is to fly. Domestic flights are reliable and affordable.

However, if you’re not in a hurry, then consider a road trip.  That way, you can see everything that the beautiful country has to offer and can do it in as much time as you have to spare.

 

Holidaying Tips For Families

  1. Toys

If you have children, select a hotel that has toy boxes in the room. Yes, they do exist. That way, if little Harriet forgets to bring Barbie, nobody will drown in a tsunami of tears. Great Ocean Road accommodation supply toy boxes, upon request.

  1. Laundry

Doing the washing on holidays is rather dull. However, it beats soaking your teenager’s stinky socks in the bathroom sink. Each Medina Serviced Apartment has a washer and dryer.

Image result for free wifi

  1. Free Wifi

This is the holy grail for tweens and teenagers. Then, if they’re all “wah wah” about leaving their buddies behind, they can Facetime/Skype/instant message them without making a dent in your vacation budget. A lot of hotels have complimentary wifi in the foyer, however, check which ones include it in the rooms too.

  1. Solitude

Is there anything worse than checking into a hotel, to find a symphony of jackhammers next door? Or a disco? Maybe an all-night celebration? All Vibe hotels have double-glazed windows.  Just as well, as your kids won’t cope with missed sleep.

  1. Breakfast

Buffet breakfast, enough said.  It’s not free as it’s built into the price of the room, but who cares?  Shovel food down the kids’ throats then steal some fruit to enjoy later in the day.

  1. Package deals

Increasingly, hotels like Novotel are providing lodging plus tickets to regional attractions as part of a “staycation.”  Families are encouraged to explore their home city and all that it offers.  AccorHotels in Canberra offer a two night package deal that includes buffet breakfast and a family 3infun ticket.

  1. Doggone

A lot of kids fret without their pets. A number of Lorne accommodation like the BIG4 Holiday Parks are dog-friendly, so your fuzzy friends do not lose out.

  1. The beach

Life just seems simpler when you’re on the beach.  Seek serenity and natural beauty but searching for hotels within a short walk to a calm coast.  The Seabreeze Beach Hotel in South West Rocks is famous for its views.

 

Plus Sized Travel Tips

I have a number of friends that consider themselves as ‘plus sized,’ and they always tell me of the horrors of flying on a plane. Most of the time they would rather not fly at all. When I came across this article I thought it contained a lot of helpful ideas to help calm some nerves for people like my friends. Enjoy the read!

PLUS SIZE TRAVEL – TIPS FOR FLYING

plus size dress

I’m really excited about my trip to LA but am stressing about the flight.  This is a long haul flight Sydney – Auckland- LA. I’ve traveled quite a lot and spent a year working as a full-time tour guide in Europe. Everything I had for the entire year had to fit into one backpack and a carry-on bag. I consider myself an expert at packing, folding and how to  minimize my individual plus size clothing for maximum outfit combinations.

As a plus size traveler, there are a few extra things to consider starting with  s-q-u-e-e-z-i-n-g into the  economy size seat. Business Class is only but a dream for me.  I’ll certainly try chatting up the check-in staff in hopes of an upgrade to Economy Plus section and scoring a cheeky 5 extra inches but I know the chances are slim (even if I’m not). At  5’3″  a seat upgrade is more about extra thigh room rather than long legs. Here’s my top tips for plus size travel.

BEST DAYS TO FLY

I’m concerned about my comfort and the person sitting next to me too! So failing a big butt upgrade, if the flight isn’t full I’ll request the seat next to me to be vacant or blocked. If I end up next to another big girl then we’re both in for an uncomfortable trip I’m afraid. I avoid busy travel days:   Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings and usually book Tuesday, Wednesday and  super early Saturday morning or  Saturday night. Red eye flights are also a pretty good bet, especially on Saturday night. Just think “when would most people least like to fly” and generally that’s the best time to go for plus size travel!

CHOOSING SEATS

The aisle seat is always my first choice on long haul so I can get up and go to the bathroom whenever I like without having to wake up to strangers and ask them to get up and move.   As much as I like the view on take off and landing a window seat makes me feel trapped and squishy like I’m in one of those small beach cottages (more shoulder room but same hip room).  I know  a meal cart slamming into you is the trade off for the aisle seat but I’m willing to take that risk on a 14-hour flight (at least one thigh and half my bum will be free range).  SEAT GURU is a website where you can check the seat dimensions on all airlines. This is a great tool for plus size travel and is easy to use, just plug in airline name, flight number and date boom it’ll tell you all the numbers.

ARM REST & SEAT BELT EXTENDERS 

I may need to ask for a seatbelt extender if the existing one doesn’t fit.  I’ve never done this before and am a little nervous but I won’t be the first or last person making this request so a quiet word to the flight attendant will sort that out quick.  The flight attendant will also ask  to put the arm rests  down for take off but as soon as that bird is in the sky I’m lifting that sucker for extra room. Fingers crossed if there’s someone next to me they’ll be happy to leave it up otherwise it’s rather squishy experience.

TRAY TABLES

I’d love to work on my laptop for the full 14-hour flight but there’s just not enough room for a plus size person in Economy to have the table down comfortably. Boobs and bellies get in the way and the person in front will more than likely have their seat back. I bring my laptop with me but only to keep it safe rather than use it. However, if the seat next to you is vacant then that is a plus!

FREE DRINKS & BATHROOMS

I love free booze on international flights but the last thing I want to be on a 14-hour flight is drunk, thinking you can see exotic wall hanging art and needing to pee every 5 minutes. Those airplane toilet cubicles are tiny so the less time spent there the better! On a side note, anyone who reckons they’re a member of the Mile High Club surely must be lying. I just can’t see how two people (of any size let alone travelers in the plus sizes range) can fit in an airplane toilet stall and let alone get busy and get anything out if it. In any case, once the boarding announcement goes over the PA I head to the toilet for a last visit just to be sure then I’m usually good for a few hours.

LUGGAGE WEIGHT LIMITS

I’ve never been able to tell how much my bag weighs and have been caught at the airport throwing things away so I can make the weight limit. Yes, I’ve even had to wear winter coats and even my plus size evening wear on flights in just to save on excess luggage fees.   Electronic Luggage Scales are a big help!  There are a few on the. If you’re planning on shopping on your trip I’d also suggest taking it with you so you don’t have to pay excess baggage on the flight home too!

Here is the link to their website: http://www.blogher.com/plus-size-travel-tips-flying

What To Do In And Around Melbourne

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Victoria’s capital teems with culture and unique quirks.  Home to the best food, music, art, sporting events and festivals in the country, as well as history-rich tourist attractions, both natural and man-made, and accommodation options for all budgets, there’s something to keep everybody happy when in Melbourne.

But with such a vast variety of attractions on offer in the city and the surrounds, exactly what should a first-time visitor to Melbourne do? And if you’ve got several days on your schedule, what choices are there for traveling outside the city’s limits?

Eureka Skydeck

Area: 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank, Melbourne

If you’re wanting to start your visit to Melbourne by getting an idea of the city’s layout and the location of landmarks – and just how much you’ll be working your new boots – the Eureka Skydeck is your first call.

Hot Air Ballooning

Area: Flights offered over Melbourne CBD and Yarra Valley Tours

You need spare cash, but you’ll receive memorable views over Melbourne’s skyline, especially as the sun rises. Half day tours are available.  This is a unique opportunity that many people don’t get to experience.

Take in the major landmarks and city highlights, and get a birds eye view of destinations such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Flemington Racetrack and Rod Laver Arena.  Alternatively, take a balloon flight outside of Melbourne. The Yarra Valley is popular, as the lush greenery and exquisite views of vineyards attacks every sense. If your time’s restricted, a helicopter ride over Melbourne is the ideal choice for those wanting an aerial view of the city without the early morning wake-up call that a ballooning experience requires.

The Dandenong Ranges

Place: Approx. 1 hour drive east of Melbourne CBD

Those looking for a dose of nature can look inland and head towards the rich reaches of the Dandenong Ranges, a location that’s both picturesque and offers you numerous distinct activities of its own.

Get ready to explore the stunning mountain range, which is famous for its imposing Mountain Ash trees.  Eat the local food and buy hand-crafted products in the charming villages.  Take the kids on Puffing Billy, the world famous narrow gauge train through luscious backdrops.   Tours are available, including combined Melbourne CBD and Dandenong Ranges tours.

Due to extreme (Australian) cold, it may be worth considering visiting the Dandenong Ranges outside of winter.  September to May offers wildlife coach tours, and Healesville Sanctuary is a family favourite.

Spend as much time as you need in the Dandenong Ranges.  The kids will likely appreciate the natural beauty of the region, and no doubt you’ll find yourself unwinding from the concrete jungle.

Venture Through Melbourne’s Laneways

Place: Various places, Melbourne CBD & surrounds

The concrete jungle that is Melbourne CBD, however, is an attraction within itself. Bike, tram, bus or foot, checking out the city is an absolute must. Melbourne is filled with quirky laneways, cafes, stores, art galleries and indie theatres. Parks and gardens are well tended to, and the Yarra River is a calm body of water amidst man-man structures.

Melbournians take pride in the quality and quantity of their food, but also their coffee. All cuisines are on offer in the CBD and surrounding suburbs.