Travel Update

News from the world of travel

The AJN takes you around the world to see what’s new in travel. By DANNY GOCS

Adelaide Festival Centre
Adelaide Festival Centre

Adelaide revels in festival fever

Adelaide comes alive with festival fever during March with a feast of entertainment and cultural events on offer, led by the Adelaide Festival, Fringe and WOMADelaide.

Acrobats and singers provide free entertainment in Rundle Mall while city streets and laneways become outdoor dining venues during the mild weather.

The 2023 Adelaide Festival – the first full-strength international program in two years – featured 893 artists from 18 countries across music, opera, dance, film and visual arts, staged at numerous venues from March 3-19.

The total number of tickets sold to Adelaide Festival performances was 83,000, with interstate visitors accounting for about 25 per cent of ticket sales.

The total audience, including free performances and WOMADelaide, was almost 250,000 people.

Among the sold-out shows were Melbourne singer Lior’s concert Ngapa William Cooper at the historic Adelaide Town Hall based around Aboriginal activist William Cooper’s protest march in Melbourne in 1938 after Kristallnacht. Lior was joined by the Australian String Quartet and First Nations singer Lou Bennett.

Also sold out was the festival’s major production, Messa da Requiem, Verdi’s operetta integrated with dance thanks to choreographer Christian Spuck and the 30-member Ballet Zurich, supported by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and an 80-member choral ensemble. Sung in Latin without surtitles, the massive stage presence proved enthralling.

A scene from Lally Katz’s Hans & Gret at the Adelaide Festival. Photo: Claudio Raschella.

Another popular stage production was Australian playwright Lally Katz’s Hans & Gret, a fast-paced psychological thriller set around teenagers based on the classic fairytale Hansel & Gretel.

Other shows that were sold out were A Little Life (The Netherlands), The Sheep Song (Belgium), Hear My Eyes: Pan’s Labyrinth x Sleep D (Australia) and Cédric Tiberghien (France)

Free events were popular with almost 50,000 people attending concerts, exhibitions and installations as part of the festival program.

Adelaide Festival Chair Judy Potter summed up the festival: “This has simply been one of the best Adelaide Festivals – we achieved an incredible box office, huge attendances, and the overwhelming response from audiences in South Australia and across the country has been phenomenal.”


Free tours for transit passengers at Changi Airport

The Rain Vortex and Shiseido Forest Valley is part of Changi Airport’s free Jewel Tour.

Changi Airport’s popular Free Singapore Tour returned on April 3 after being suspended for three years due to the impact of COVID-19.

There are four tours available for transit and transfer passengers who have a layover in Singapore of at least 5.5 hours but less than 24 hours.

Three pre-COVID tours – City Sights Tour, Heritage Tour and Jewel Tour – have been enhanced with new sights and attractions, while a new Changi Precinct tour will explore the eastern region surrounding Changi Airport.

Each tour lasts 2.5 hours and will be available daily, with plans to progressively increase the number of tours to nine a day.

With transit and transfer passengers accounting for about 30 per cent of passenger traffic at Changi Airport pre-pandemic, the tour was first introduced in 1987 to enhance the airport’s attractiveness as a transfer hub and to encourage travellers to visit Singapore as a holiday destination.

In 2019, more than 80,000 passengers took the Free Singapore Tour, with Australian and Indian travellers making up more than one third of the total participants.

The tours are a combined venture by Changi Airport Group, Singapore Airlines and the Singapore Tourism Board.

Lim Ching Kiat of Changi Airport Group said: “For travellers who choose to transit or transfer at Changi Airport, the Free Singapore Tour is designed to give them a glimpse of what Singapore has to offer.”

Chang Chee Pey of Singapore Tourism Board said: “We hope that the tour will inspire transit and transfer passengers to plan a longer trip to Singapore in future, and discover much more of what our vibrant city has to offer.”

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Music festival at Airlie Beach

The big top is the hub of the Airlie Beach Festival of Music in November. Photo: Sharon Smallwood

The heart of the Whitsundays plays host to the Airlie Beach Festival of Music, which returns from November 9-12 – the weekend after Melbourne Cup – for its 11th year.

Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsundays and one of Queensland’s popular family holiday destinations.

The festival is centred on the foreshore under a big tent at the Whitsunday Sailing Club as well as other venues.

Among the headline performers in the festival’s first announcement is singer Ian Moss, ARIA-winning rockers The Superjesus and indie-folk/blues duo Pierce Brothers.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Rick Hamilton said: “This truly is a music festival for everyone; there’s plenty of music to see on the main stage and in the local venues and for those looking to fill their days with activities, there’s plenty to experience on the water or the land with our many tourism operators.”

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