Monthly Archives: February 2019

Australia is attracting a wealthier, more adventurous tourist from China

Getting on board: Tourists watch the action at Sydney Harbour. Chinese visitors spent a record $4.8 billion in Australia last year. Photo: Tamara DeanThe Chinese tourist is wealthier and more independent than ever before – and Australia’s most lucrative guest.
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Despite a 4 per cent fall in the number of Chinese visitors to Australia recorded in the latest International Visitor Survey, the amount each tourist spent rose 17 per cent.

Overall, overseas visitors forked out $28.9 billion during their time in Australia last year, a rise of 6 per cent and a record spend.

Tourists from China, the UK and the US were the biggest contributors and more than compensated for the double-digit annual falls in spending by holidaymakers from Japan and Korea.

Chinese visitors, now the most lucrative market for Australia, spent a record $4.8 billion in 2013, up 16 per cent despite new laws from October cracking down on cut-price shopping tours.

Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said the average Chinese tourist was changing.

“The good news is that despite Chinese arrivals falling by 4 per cent during the [December] quarter, total spend is up 13 per cent, and average spend per visitor is up 17 per cent,” he said.

“We’re seeing a positive change in our visitor mix – away from group shopping tours towards a more independent, higher spending Chinese visitor, enjoying higher quality visitor experiences.

“Increases in independent travelling visitors means more Australian tourism businesses are getting to welcome Chinese, as they go farther and experience more of our country.”

Mr O’Sullivan said Tourism Australia planned to capitalise on the opportunity by focusing its marketing activities on the growing number of affluent and independently minded Chinese travellers.

Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb compared tourism in Australia with mining and education as one of the country’s key economic strengths.

“It is also a sector that has the potential to experience even higher growth rates as we position the industry to capitalise on the emerging Asian economies,” Mr Robb said.

The tourism lobby is using the latest figures to reach out to government for more money for marketing the Australian experience abroad.

Ken Morrison, the head of industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF), said the strong numbers demonstrated the sector’s capacity to be a serious part of the economic development strategy for the country.

“With state and federal budgets to be handed down in the coming weeks, TTF is seeking an increased commitment from governments to support the visitor economy which performs so strongly for Australia,” he said.

“Tourism marketing and events authorities around Australia needs sufficient funding to continue its outstanding research and marketing programs that promote Australia to the world.”

With Jasper Lindell

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How to beat carry-on baggage restrictions: meet the Scottevest coat

Packing for a trip is hard enough without having to worry about exceeding on-flight baggage limits. Not to mention the additional fees some airlines charge for check-in luggage.
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Whether it’s to save on fare cost, to avoid airport baggage collection or just the need to have personal belongings close, air passengers nowadays are packing as much as they can into their carry-on bag.

But regardless of how much passengers can cram into their carry-on size bag, standard airline baggage policy states the bag still needs to fit under the seat in front or in an overhead locker.

Australian airlines typically allow one carry-on baggage of up to 7kg for a domestic economy flight with restrictions placed on baggage dimensions. The restrictions vary according to fare class and also if it is an international flight.

But what if there was a way you can carry more onto a flight without exceeding your carry-on baggage limit?

American travel clothing brand Scottevest has not only succeeded with a feminine trench coat with accent buttons, adjustable belt and stylish cut, but it has loaded the lightweight and water-resistant garment with 18 hidden pockets – a travellers’ delight.

That means you can put things like phones, travel documents, maps, guidebooks, paperbacks, water bottle and sunglasses into the coat and not worry about excess weight with carry-on baggage.

There is even a pocket big enough for an iPad in the no-bulge designed jacket. If you think the 18 pockets is good, wait until you see Scottevest’s newest item, its Quest vest with an astonishing 42 pockets.

There’s no outlet in Australia selling the products yet, but the garments are available at scottevest南京夜网 for US$150 (A$161.68) and the vest US$145 (A$156.29), plus shipping costs that can be calculated online.

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McLachlan appointment a boost for Giants

New era: Gillon McLachlan with Mike Fitzpatrick. Photo: Pat ScalaGillon McLachlan’s appointment as AFL chief executive and the almost certain contract extension at Greater Western Sydney for club boss David Matthews is a dream outcome for the competition’s youngest entity.
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Matthews’ decision not to challenge for Andrew Demetriou’s vacated post, and McLachlan’s appointment to the pre-eminent executive position in Australian sport, ensures for the foreseeable future a high-powered and deeply-rooted partnership strongly committed to the AFL’s drive into Sydney’s west.

McLachlan and Matthews are close friends and professional associates. They worked together on the AFL executive for 11 years.

“Personally I’ve become very good friends with him over a long period of time,” Matthews said.

“A lot of the people on the executive have had young families together and, in many ways, grown up together.

“Professionally, he’s had such a big hand in expansion and improved broadcast coverage in places like NSW. He’s attuned to what’s required up here, as was Andrew.

“He gets things done, he supports what we’re trying to achieve, so it’s a great appointment for the Giants.”

Matthews was an early contender to take over from Demetriou, but he decided not to apply. The former game development leader is contracted to the Giants until late 2015 and is expected to be given an extension.

“I got asked by the search firm to have a conversation about the role, what it entailed and where I sat with things,” he said.

“I had that discussion because I think, in this industry, it’s obviously useful to get across those sort of matters and have a look.

“But I’m really enjoying the Giants. It wouldn’t be the right timing for me or the club. I’ve got a lot of unfinished business that I want to work on with the club. I was happy enough to have a conversation but it didn’t go anywhere after that.”

Matthews said expansion was the “No.1 priority” for the AFL Commission and executive.

“Within that, there’s no doubt [McLachlan] is completely across the challenges and opportunities that Sydney presents,” he said.

“From our point of view, to have someone in the chair who succeeds Andrew and has the same corporate memory and vision as Andrew is really important to us.

“We’ve always worked very well together, Gillon and I. I can only see our working relationship growing through his appointment and the future I have at the Giants.”

McLachlan, the AFL’s former broadcasting and commercial operations manager, has long been at the forefront of the Sydney push.

In an interview in 2008, he said the governing body would stop at nothing to ensure the success of a second Sydney club.

“We’ve invested heavily in Sydney, particularly in the past three or four years,” he said. “The next step is to get a team out there. We’ll do this in a way that will be successful … We’ll do whatever is required. We’ll spend whatever it takes to ensure we have a presence out there.”

Before training on Wednesday, GWS head coach Leon Cameron said he had come to know McLachlan well over the past 18 months and felt confident in his appointment.

“He’s a big fan of our football club … he understands the challenges we face up here in terms of growing the game, membership, growing support, starting with a young side and becoming competitive,” Cameron said.

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Tyrone Phillips ready to become his own pin-up

Ultimate League: It’s not too late to sign up for our Fantasy NRL game 
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Tyrone Phillips has a poster of Adam Reynolds in his room.

There is every chance the South Sydney halfback, one of nine people living with Phillips in the same house, hung it there.

“I can’t go a day without seeing his face,” Phillips said. “I’ve got a poster of him above my bed I see every time I go to sleep.

“He’s been seeing my cousin for about four years now. He decided to move in upstairs, and it’s gone from there. They squeezed in with my family.”

Their Chifley home is overflowing. There are Reynolds, his partner and their two children. Then there’s Phillips’ nan and pop and his two cousins. Hopefully they will all be there to see the former Rabbitoh pull on a blue jersey at Sportingbet Stadium when NSW host the Maroons in an under-20s (NYC) State of Origin encounter on Saturday.

“It’s a pathway to success and hopefully one day put on the big jersey,” he said.

Phillips is yet to play an NRL game but already has been in the headlines. Last November, as he was making the transition from Redfern to new club Canterbury, he and former Souths teammate Dylan Waker were charged with affray following a street brawl in Beverley Hills. The matter is still before the courts.

“I was just minding my own business when it all broke out,” Phillips said. “I couldn’t do much about it, I helped my best mate, like any man would, to try to get him out of that situation. I was caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Obviously being a sports player and football player it went the wrong way. I’ve just got to learn with it, move forward and let the court decide what’s right and wrong. The Dogs were really good about it. I got in trouble for a day or so, I had to go home and think about what I’d done and what I need to do to improve.”

The move to Bulldogs is also a chance for Phillips to press for the No.1 jersey that belonged to Ben Barba before his move north. The back-line utility has a point to prove after his own move after leaving Souths. “It was my decision, I had one more year on my contract but I decided to leave at the end of the day,” he said.

“When Madge [Souths coach Michael Maguire] found out … he said ‘I want you to prove me wrong and show me the player you truly are.’ You could say I wasn’t happy at Souths. I wasn’t in the best form and was sliding a bit downhill. The opportunity came and I decided to take it.

“Des [Hasler] showed me around and said ‘I want you to be a part of my culture and be on board’. I thought why not?”

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Ryan Hoffman edges closer to cap record in City-Country clash for State of Origin

Ryan Hoffman will join City coach Brad Fittler and Blues coach Laurie Daley on one game shy of equalling the record for the most number of appearances in the annual City-Country clash on Sunday.
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The Melbourne Storm back-rower will play his seventh game for City when he leads the side in Dubbo as the oldest player on the field.

He will join Braith Anasta, Glenn Lazarus, Fittler and Daley just one game behind Andrew Ettingshausen (City), Steve Menzies (City) and Paul Sironen (City), who hold the record of eight for most City-Country appearances.

“I first played in 2006 and the only ones I have missed out on were in 2008 because I was in the Australian team and 2011 when I was playing overseas,” Hoffman said.

“You get these funny little records and milestones throughout your career. This would be great. Hopefully I’m still playing well and in this side. It’s good to always be thought of in these games. I always have seen it as an Origin trial and it’s good to put your name forward for NSW. I see it as a way to boost my chances for Origin and represent NSW.

“I look at it as one of those things that if you don’t play, you don’t give yourself every opportunity. That’s me personally. The camps are such an enjoyable time and the coaches I’ve had over the years and the players I’ve played with, I’ve always enjoyed it. Why wouldn’t I play?”

There has been plenty of criticism of the concept in recent years, which intensified after a poor crowd attended last year’s match in Coffs Harbour.

The legitimacy of the match as an Origin trial has also been questioned with several players opting to pull out of the game due to injury.

Hoffman, who played in all three Origin matches for the Blues last year, said he did not hold it against players who pulled out.

“People make their own personal choices and I’m not going to begrudge someone for that,” Hoffman said.

“Everyone has got their reasons why they can’t play or why they are not playing. All I have control over or worry about is myself, and I’ve always wanted to play.

“I certainly think it didn’t hurt playing well last year in the game. As I say, the more opportunity you get to show what you can do and your desire to be involved in these games, can’t hurt.”


Andrew Ettingshausen 8 (City)

Steve Menzies 8 (City)

Paul Sironen 8 (City)

Braith Anasta 7 (City)

Laurie Daley 7 (City)

Brad Fittler 7 (City)

Glenn Lazarus 7 (City)

Ryan Hoffman 6 (City)

Ben Creagh 6 (Country)

Robbie Farah 6 (City)

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The men in white are all right by me

“The referee is going to be the most important person in the ring tonight besides the fighters.” George Foreman
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About an hour before every game of AFL footy, the three field umpires of the day wander into the change rooms of both teams and shake every player’s hand. It’s a quaint tradition in a place and time where quaint traditions are on the decline.

Loyal readers will understand my fondness of such a ritual (I do have a thing about shaking hands), but I sometimes wonder if we have failed to build on that relationship between players and umpires in the modern era. I often think back to an almost mythical football time where both teams and umpires might gather in a pub or social club after the final siren to talk about the day’s play over a glass or two. But as my vinyl record collection suggests, I do tend to live in the past.

Footy umpires get a hard time, too hard for the most part. I sympathise with them because I used to be one.

My wife scoffs when I tell people my very first job was as a field umpire in the Warragul and District Junior Football League. “You’ve never worked!” she says. She might have a point.

My time with the whistle was only brief – one season – and I probably would have done it for free. I got paid though – $12.50 a game – and most weekends I would umpire two games, the under-12s and the under-14s. Twenty-five dollars a week was a lot of money to me back in 1997; a bag of mixed lollies was my biggest outgoing.

This week marks the 2014 community umpiring round in the AFL, and as a former member of the umpiring workforce, I thought I could share a few memories of my time out in the middle in the all-white uniform.

Winters in the Warragul area can be bitterly cold and I remember that 1997 season being a brutal one. Because the under-12s started at 8.45am, I’d have to drag my poor old dad out of bed pretty early to make it out to Buln Buln, Hallora, Neerim South or wherever I’d been sent to that week. Dad never seemed to mind; he’s a kind and patient man, my father.

One of my school mates, Brad Nott, was my co-umpire and we’d go into each team’s rooms before the game to meet the coaches and the players and pretend to be adults.

I found myself mimicking what I remember our own junior football umpires doing before games. The best example of this would be when we would ask the young players to lift their boots for us to run our hands over the studs. Looking for what I was never quite sure, but I’d seen umpiring stalwarts Mick Rooney and Norm Dorling do it for years.

It wouldn’t have mattered if a kid had strapped a razor blade to his boot, because my hands were that numb from the cold I couldn’t feel a thing. And besides, most of the kids were about eight years old and more intent on throwing mud at each other than they were about hurting the opposition. Still, every week, we’d line these kids up with military precision and scrape their boots with blue, icy hands.

Umpiring under-12s was more like herding sheep than it was about keeping an eye on taggers and paying free kicks for holding jumpers behind the play. I wish I had a dollar for every time I yelled, “Play on! Knock it out! Keep it moving!” I’d have made a lot more than $25.

I do look back on those mornings fondly and it did give me a different look at the game that was about to consume my life. Umpiring any game is a tough gig, but I think umpiring a game of AFL football would just about be the toughest.

I took the first tentative steps of my own AFL career as a player at the Western Bulldogs’ affiliate Werribee Tigers in 2000. During one of those early games I watched on as my teammate Andrew Wills took up the debate with our field umpire, and I decided to join in.

The umpire turned to me sharply and said, “Rob, I’ll listen to Andrew because he’s played 100 games of league footy. You haven’t played any. Stay out of it!” It was a great lesson about respect that I never forgot.

Some 15 years later, the Dogs were playing the plucky newcomers of the competition, GWS,  in Canberra. The Giants’ resident pest Jacob Townsend was trying to ruffle my feathers with a miscellaneous repertoire of scallywag tactics when the umpire of the day came over and told the youngster to “show some respect, he’s a veteran of the game”. This only served to increase Townsend’s output, but I appreciated the thought from the ump nonetheless. Footy has a funny way of coming full circle.

For anyone going to the footy this week, at any level, raise a glass to the umps. Footy needs them.

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