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Meet our new Partner

PillowMINT welcomes The Little Red Company as our first domestic partner

2020 has been a difficult year (and this could be the biggest understatement of the year) for the Business Travel Market with many of our sought after destinations off limits due to the novel coronavirus Covid-19.

The team at PillowMINT thought long and hard and lets be fair – we had plenty of ‘thinking time’ about what we could do to continue to play a part in our client’s events and how we could continue to add value to an industry seeking to reinvent itself and we are feeling pretty chuffed with what we’ve got in store for you.

The Little Red Company is an Australian based Production and Entertainment house. Not only does The Little Red Company produce their own array of hugely celebrated cabaret and award winning theatre productions but they can ensure your company is the star of its very own production.

With incentive events staying on shore at the moment it is more important than ever that we continue to work together to ensure these events are memorable, create change, energise and inspire.

The Little Red Company has adapted traditional awards events to online extravaganzas through its The Isolate Late Show format which can be totally rebranded to achieve your event objectives. Clients have included the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union, The Brisbane Festival and the Local Government Association of QLD.

Since its inception in 2012, The Little Red Company has established itself as one of Australia’s most celebrated independent full-service production houses with unrivalled experience across all areas of live theatre and events including:

Producing and event management

Casting and talent booking

Artist management

Corporate entertainment

Graphic design

Writing

Music direction

We are truly excited to continue providing our clients with creative solutions through this new partnership and through all of our partnerships with our talented teams of memory makers globally.

Taj Mahal 2

The Beauty of the Taj Mahal

While our borders remain closed, our hearts remain open to the concept of travel. To a shared experience, to a perfect moment, a memory forever savoured. 

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Covid-19

We are here and we’ve been doing our best to prepare for the world being an open, safe and welcoming place to explore once more.

Becs has undergone some Australian Government training through the Department of Health and now holds a Certificate in Infection Control – Covid-19 (*cough* nerd!). She has also tried and failed spectacularly at baking sourdough bread.

Felicity has been busy rebuilding our website and playing with her gorgeous puppy (affectionally known around here as PillowPUP) and has nailed sourdough bread.

Our Partners also have kept us up to date with information from each of their destinations. At times these updates have been heartbreaking, but the resilience, determination and positivity shown by our portfolio has been uplifting and energising! 

They can’t wait to welcome you back to their shores when the time is right.

In the meantime, rest, read, cook, laugh, recoup, reassure and above all use the time gifted to many of us to show kindness whenever possible – and remember, its always possible.

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Arabian Adventures – Certificate for Sustainability

As the UAE’s leading destination management company, Arabian Adventures has always been at the forefront of keeping the Middle East pristine and beautiful and remains the only operator to consistently win the CEMARS (Carbon and Energy Measurement and Reduction Scheme) award. This month, however, we took the next step when we were awarded the Travelife Engaged Certificate for sustainability.

With more than 500 members across 80 countries, including tourism companies, elite cruise lines and incentive houses, Travelife provides a set of high standards to aspire to and has become a global benchmark for responsible experiences and products. Best of all, Arabian Adventures joins its sister company, Dnata, in becoming part of this coveted and globally recognised commitment to sustainable tourism.

Amongst the achievements that led to this award are –

  •  Being one of the few companies trusted to operate in the protected Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR), with a portion of each safari fee donated to support its vital conservation work.
  •  Removing all single-use plastic from our desert experiences.
  •  Spearheading garbage segregation and recycling in the reserve.
  •  Our ongoing commitment to keeping this precious zone clean and authentic for future generations.

Arabian Adventures has also created a dedicated green team to co-ordinate and pioneer our efforts, both now and in the future. The next step is to take this achievement even further by securing Travelife’s elite, next level of certification, which Arabian Adventures aims to do before the end of the year.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress right here.

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Arabian Adventures MIE Covid-19 Update

First and foremost, our hearts and thoughts are with all those affected by COVID-19, as well as their families, friends and loved ones. Like you, we have been moved by its vast and growing impact across the world.

With the news dominated by Coronavirus, we wanted to get in touch and let you know that, the Emirates Group and the UAE are vigilantly implementing enhanced protocols to ensure the safety & security of our customers, suppliers, partners and workforce. We wanted to take this opportunity to share some of these positive insights with you for the future ahead.

Our Team in Dubai

Over the last month, our Team has been working closely with all of our clients who are thankfully mainly postponing events for later in 2020, or early 2021.  Our strong relationships with our suppliers is paramount at times like this, and they have been incredibly flexible wherever possible to work with us to try and maintain as much business as possible and show flexibility wherever possible.

All of our team members are now safely working from home as Dubai starts its full lock down over the coming weeks.  Daily catch ups on Microsoft Teams is a highlight, and the team is creative in different ways to ensure we maintain high spirits and a strong sense of humour during this unique and very challenging time.

We are maximising this time to work on creative new products for you and would love to share these ideas through our latest working tool, virtual calls. Along with many other projects which will further strengthen our services for you, we now have the time to start, which would not have been possible to do until summer.

The team are also taking the opportunity to do a range of online courses that are available through our Emirates Linked In Learning platform, such as showcasing tips on time management whilst working from home.

Our Overseas Representation Offices

We have an incredibly strong network of Overseas Offices in over 20 countries who are being very proactive in working around not being able to perform sales calls and attend events in their respective markets.   From virtual sales calls to destination training our team is there to assist you for anything you may require.  Please visit our web site for all contact information at the bottom of Meet the Team – Our Representatives.  Click Here

Emirates Group and Arabian Adventures, MIE – Looking Ahead

We will continue to be in regular contact with our clients, suppliers and partners and we are closely monitoring travel and health advisory bodies and our key objective will be to keep everyone updated with clear and concise information as we are receiving it.

How the UAE Government is ensuring a quicker recovery from other destinations – Leading the way!

We are proud to share the UAE government are taking incredible steps to ensure the ongoing support for the future of the economy, guaranteeing the UAE will be able to recover quicker as a destination.

The government have launched a Dh 1.5 billion economic stimulus package for the next three months to support companies and the business sector in Dubai. It seeks to enhance liquidity and reduce the impact of the current global economic situation. The package developed by the Dubai Government includes 15 initiatives focused on the commercial sector including travel and tourism

If you have any questions or concerns, please do reach out to our team – we are all here and we look forward to welcoming you back to the UAE very soon and will be ready and waiting!

Take care, be well and stay safe.

New Orleans

NOLA’s Four Seasons

While traditional foods go hand-in-hand with our four seasons, they are available year round and can give your guests that “taste” of NOLA they expect in your next event. To learn more from a local, click here to read what advice Gabby Schick, our Regional Sales Manager, shares on planning your next food experience in New Orleans.

Spring – Crawfish Season!

It’s not Spring without crawfish! Resembling a small lobster, but coming from the fresh waters of Louisiana, your mouth will melt while eating this delicious seafood – served boiled, sauteed, baked or fried. How to Eat: “Pinch, peel, grab the tail, and devour!”

Summer – Snoball Season!

It’s not summer in NOLA without a sno-ball! Sweet tooth lovers will salivate over the super fine fluffy ice saturated with a selection of a sweet syrup. There’s always more sweetness available to add on top, like a condensed milk drizzle or stuffing the inside with ice cream.

Fall – Football Season!

The only thing more New Orleans than a cast iron pot of gumbo simmering on the stove is tailgating during football season! This delicious staple item is sure to be found at every tailgate party as we watch our beloved Saints.

Winter – Mardi Gras!

Shortly after the holidays end, Mardi Gras kicks off and king cakes are synonymous with the start of Carnival Season! Hidden inside the cake is a small plastic baby. Whoever gets a slice with the baby must bring the next cake or throw a party, thus sparking an unending round of food and fun!

Arabian adventures

Arabian Adventures MICE wins highest honour in incentive travel industry for second time

Dubai, 27 January 2020

For the second time in three years, Arabian Adventures Meetings, Incentives & Events (MICE) has won the prestigious SITE Crystal Award for Excellence in Incentive Travel, Africa and the Middle East. The UAE-based destination management company (DMC) has been recognized for designing and delivering exceptional experiences for the top-performing advisors of a U.S. finance company during its multiple-day event in Dubai. Presented by The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), the SITE Crystal award is considered the highest honour in the incentive travel industry.

Arabian Adventures’ winning event saw 270 guests travel from the United States to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a series of multi-venue experiences. Over three days, the guests received a vivid and varied experience of the UAE that included an Arabic cooking class with one the country’s top chefs, a camel polo tournament, a memorable evening event with traditional music and dance show by the dunes in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR), as well as three exclusive gala dinners, each designed to highlight the diversity of Dubai. On the first day, Arabian Adventures team proved its outstanding ability to quickly and efficiently handle unexpected situations by successfully reorganising and relocating one of the activities within 24 hours due to adverse weather.

The three-day event culminated with a spectacular party at the foot of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. The event received an overall score of 9.5 out of 10 from the guests, the highest score ever received by the customer’s incentives, with perfect 10s awarded for the organiser team’s performance, availability and professionalism.

Justine Thomas, Head of Meetings, Incentives and Events for Arabian Adventures, said: “We are proud to have received this prestigious award for the second time in three years. The whole team is thrilled to be recognised for their efforts not only by our valued customer, but also by the industry. From the moment they arrived in Dubai, we wanted to make our guests feel like rock stars, and are delighted that they had such an unforgettable time and got to experience the legendary Arabian hospitality the UAE is renowned for.”

This year’s SITE Crystal Awards, held in Vancouver, has seen some of the fiercest competition so far, with travel, events and destination management companies from across the globe competing to take home the coveted trophy.

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Prince’s Foundation to help restore Australian ecosystems

Story courtesy of: www.monacolife.net
Amid Australia’s ecological emergency, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation will be lending its support to projects and organisations that help restore ecosystems in the fire ravaged country. The foundation says it is working with the Embassy of Monaco, Honorary Consuls in Australia and Board Member Professor Tim Flannery to select the projects.

In an official statement sent from the Prince’s Palace on Monday 6th January, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco expressed his support to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a time when giant fires have been consuming the country for several months, causing considerable loss of biodiversity and endangering local communities.

“I have sadly seen that entire towns have been engulfed in flames, that residents across several states have lost their homes, especially in New South Wales, and that wildlife and the environment have undergone extensive damages; a situation exacerbated by persistent heat and drought,” said Prince Albert.

The Australian government is set to revise the total amount of land burnt to 17 million hectares given the late addition of figures from the Northern Territory. Scientists estimate that close to one billion animals have perished, 29 people have died and 6,000 buildings have been destroyed.

Victoria’s state capital Melbourne, Australia’s second-biggest city and a major tourist drawcard, was classified as having the “worst air quality in the world” this week as cooler temperatures brought particles in the air close to the ground.

As nightmare scenes continue, climate scientists are warning that Australia’s fires are a harbinger of what is to come for the rest of the world as the planet warms due to human activity. It is a sentiment echoed by Prof. Tim Flannery, eminent Australian biologist and palaeontologist, Director of the Department of Zoology of the Australian Museum of Sydney and climate specialist, and member of the Board of Directors of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

In a statement this week, Tim Flannery points out that Australia’s unprecedented bushfire season has occurred during the hottest, driest year ever recorded in Australia.

“Natural factors would result in a year as hot as 2019 once every 350 years,” says Professor Flannery. “But human caused greenhouse gases increase the odds to one year in eight. The greenhouse gases we all emit today are stoking the bushfires of tomorrow. It is critically important that all nations increase the ambition of their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.”

In light of the ecological emergency, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation announced this week that it will work with local entities, in the framework of its missions to preserve biodiversity and combat climate change. In order to ensure that its assistance is as effective as possible, the Foundation is collaborating with Prof. Tim Flannery, the Embassy of Monaco and the network of Honorary Consuls in Australia, in order to identify the organisations and projects to support to help restore the ecosystems.

Guest post - India

GUEST POST: India – A Handsome Perspective on the Traditional

To other countries, I may go as a tourist, but to India, I come as a pilgrim. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

After four years away, I was fortunate enough to make a second passage to India. On our first trip we ticked off the big ticket items (Taj Mahal, Humayun’s Tomb, streets of Delhi, Lake Palace in Udaipur) so this time we were free to scale things back a bit and drill down into some real life India. Step into the common, brave the backcountry. We flew into Delhi, had one day there then headed to Rajasthan, taking a train to Jaipur then a short trip to historical Amer followed by Samode before flying back out of Delhi.

Each of our lodgings was a unique and special experience. The Imperial Hotel (New Delhi) was (as the name implies) regal and elegant, an artefact left behind to display the most recent of India’s departed partners, exuding local flavour and imported toff in equal measure. The Spice Route (The Imperial Hotels flagship restaurant) was exhilarating! The design and implementation of the room and its decor alone is something that I could lose countless hours learning about. I feel as though they should include a guided tour of the dining room before you are even allowed to look at a menu! When I was finally able to close my gaping jaw long enough to masticate some food, I was treated to a true culinary journey. At that point, the Spice Route had fulfilled its promise.

The train to Jaipur was thoroughly enjoyable with an ever evolving palette of people constantly changing before us as we made stops en route to Jaipur. This train also employed the hardest working mop pilot anywhere across the subcontinent! Every time food was served or a member of staff moseyed on by, our man was there to swab away the evidence.

From the moment we entered Samode Haveli I felt as if we had been invited into the house of a very dear friend (albeit if that friend happened to be part of a local noble family). Our room was spacious and inviting, the staff there were attentive and professional. An early highlight was partaking in an evening drink on the rooftop bar. I believe this is a fairly recent offering at Samode Haveli but its inclusion allowed us access to view an otherwise secret world…the city wide flying of kites! I was filled with joyous wonderment at the simple beauty of an entire city lost in the rapture of pitting kite against gravity.

The Haveli offered an early morning walk and on the day we were to check out, we accepted. This provided us with an insight into the morning rituals of the city, a chance to feel like a part of the community. Starting in the back alleys, we were taken through milk markets, flower markets and vegie markets. We were able to be a part of the morning service at the Hindu Temple near City Palace, joining in with the chanting and movement, becoming part of the ever widening circle of sound designed to wake up a beloved deity. In this case, Krishna. This proved to be one of the most life affirming experiences I have had. Truly beautiful!

Special mention must go to our guide, a young gentleman named Sanjeet from Samode Haveli. He was wise, funny, educational and inspirational. Imparting a wealth of knowledge in a style that was truly his own.

Next stop was Dera Amer. This is the kind of experience that satisfies on every conceivable level. It is a sanctuary, a province for preservation and protection not just of the local animal and plant life, but for intrepid travellers as well. Set on 180 acres of natural wild beauty Dera Amer invites its guests to live among Animalia. On arrival you are greeted by elephants. Elephants! Seriously! Currently home to three graceful ladies (Dera Amer has gifted a new life to these girls, taking them out of former hard times) whose gentleness simply cannot be overstated or ignored. Visitors can enjoy a meal, stage an event or stay in the onsite Glamping tents, which we wisely did. Dig if you will, the kind of majestic canvas pavilion inside which Mughal Emperor Man Singh may have rested in. Now remove the obvious harem and this is the magnificent style of accommodation that is offered. Add dinner under the stars and breakfast beside the peacocks and you have a stay that transcends Instagram and will forever inhabit your memory bank.

The genius team behind Dera Amer deserve the immense success that I feel is coming their way. Their hearts are absolutely as pure as their intentions. Our stay was as thrilling as it was romantic, as invigorating as it was grounding.

Our final destination (this time around) was Samode Palace. Not just a lofty title, this property began life as an actual palace over 475 years ago and was converted to a modern hotel style property in the 1980’s. Since then it has hosted Royals, celebrities, the adventurous and the weary. It has been the backdrop to Hindi films, American TV and international photo shoots and even if you are not from the former backgrounds or attached to the later productions, the staff are incredibly willing to to make you feel as though you were. We were treated to not one but two completely unique and singular night time dining experiences, a personalised tour of the Samode village, private entrance to the house and studio of a local miniatures artist and one on one audiences with local iron and jewel smiths.

We were taken to all of these experiences by a Distant Frontiers staff member named Pawan who acted as driver/guide/guru/companion. He is a gifted automobilist (very much required in India), an informative guide, fascinating storyteller and a genuine human as well.

The colour and chaos of India will continue to spark joy in my times of dutiful doldrums now that I have returned to daily life and the glimmer of returning once more will provide buoyancy across the river of the regular.

Time spent in India has an extraordinary effect on one. It acts as a barrier that makes the rest of the world seem unreal. – Tahir Shah

Editor: Mik Easterman travelled to India as an invited guest of PillowMINT. This blog was his payment in lieu of the originally negotiated bag carrying duties.