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It was a tough start to the year in Australia. Like so many, I watched on in horror as huge swathes of the country came under attack by ferocious bushfires. Lives were lost and livelihoods destroyed, and the road to recovery has only just begun. Our hearts go out to all those affected, and our gratitude to the amazing firefighters. As we watched the situation unfold, we were forced to reconsider our plans for a cover story focused on regional Australia. We were looking forward to celebrating the unique flavours and appeal of local communities in this issue, but made the difficult decision to postpone the story. At the time, the logistics of travelling in Australia were simply too ambiguous.
The message is no longer ambiguous and Tourism Australia’s ‘Holiday Here This Year’ campaign sums it up. We’re also launching our own support effort, which you can read about on Page 46. This spectacular country has always been worth exploring and now, more than ever, our tourism dollars can help support communities suffering the effects of not only the recent bushfires, but also the ongoing and devastating drought. Where will you go this year? For inspiration, our regional Australia cover story will take pride of place in the next issue.
This issue, we turn our attention to hotel design, with help from our feature writer Madelin Tomelty. By Design takes a look at the inventive ways design-led hotels are making their mark, and how such creativity is transforming the guest experience. As Madelin writes, “The humble hotel has become an experience in and of itself.” Read more on Page 52.
On Page 68, Kate Symons takes a look at women-only travel and its rise to prominence (I Am Woman). Believe it or not, I have some insight on the subject. My wife, our Health & Wellness Editor Kelly Allen, is an avid traveller and relishes a solo adventure (is it something I said?) and our four daughters are all globetrotters in their own right. It is a joy to see them embrace their own adventures and I am not surprised to see tour companies tap in to this market in increasing numbers.
Speaking of women with wanderlust, Kelly joined photographer Jacqueline Schofield in one of travel’s most sought-after destinations, the Galapagos Islands, to bring you Adventure Islands (Page 122); Marjorie Perry uncovers Mexico City on Page 114 (Hot in the City); and Kaitlin Jane checks in to Vietnam’s exclusive Amanoi (The Right Direction, Page 78).
This issue also marks the launch of our new-look City Guide and Lisbon and Buenos Aires make for two fittingly cosmopolitan debuts. These guides will not only showcase city highlights, but also uncover hidden gems and local secrets, helping you get the most out of your travels.
I hope you enjoy our first issue of 2020.
Thanks, as always, for flipping our pages.
Gary Allen | Publisher