Australia says no to sexist tourism strategy, Thomas Cook Facebook sale, more
The Aussies don't exactly have a reputation for forward thinking when it comes to equality between the sexes. I can't verify it, of course, but I still hear comments from women who travel Down Under about rather old-fashioned male attitudes towards the female sex.
But things may be changing. A story in the Herald Sun says Tourism Australia officials are distancing themselves from a beauty pageant that is supposed to pick a young woman to travel around and promote Australia's bountiful tourism opportunities. The winner was to be crowned in Melbourne today, but Tourism Australia says it didn't grant approval for the contest.
A woman named Leslie Cannold, described as an "ethicist and author," told the paper that the MIss Tourism Australia pageant disrespects women.
"It's not appropriate to use this kind of platform to sell Australia and I obviously don't think it's appropriate for any of our public officials to be involved in some very outdated ideas about what is valuable about women," she said. "My own view is that a tourism campaign is very much the expression of values of a country, and one of the key values is gender equality."
It certainly should be. If someone wants to hold a contest, that's fine. But there's no way Tourism Australia should be involved. I mean, can you imagine the stink if Canadian tourism folks followed suit? Yikes.
Miss Tourism Australia director Deborah Miller said the pageant would promote Australia's model of healthy living.
"I think a young, healthy, fit woman is someone young people should look up to," she said. "Miss Tourism International is the fourth biggest pageant in the world ... and this is different to usual beauty queens as they will help promote Australia."
Oh, so THAT makes it different. The young, healthy (and, naturally attractive) women pictured in short skirts are going to PROMOTE AUSTRALIA.
Honestly, what a crock. Miss America contestants are supposed to, ahem, promote world peace and all that, too. Utter nonsense.
There REALLY is a Miss Tourism International Pageant. At least, there's a pretty thorough website, at which you can find not only a list of contestants but a, wait for it, Miss Tourism International HALL OF FAME.
There's a Miss Tourism Canada photo on the site, and there's a Miss Tourism Canada website (very, very basic) that says a 23-year-old named Melanie (no last name provided) is the crown holder at the moment. The site says that "Miss Canada Tourism chooses women who love Canada, who have a warm personality, are intelligent and possess inner beauty."
The reigning Miss Tourism International is Nathalie Den Dekker from The Netherlands. But the group, based in Malaysia, also gave out a ton of other awards for 2010, including Miss Charm Fantasia, Miss Focus Point Dazzling (I'm NOT making this up) and Miss Secret Charm. Unreal.
THOMAS COOK FACEBOOK SALE
Tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. check out Thomas Cook's Facebook page - www.thomascook.ca/fb - for deals on Mexico. It's the first-ever Facebook page sale for Thomas Cook, and they're promising deals, discounts and upgrades for travel to several sunny spots in Mexico.
The company has had some financial issues in Europe, but officials insist they're going strong in Canada and want to make a determined push to make that point.
They're promising discounts on packages from Nolitours and Transat Holidays, savings on WestJet flights to Mexico, deals on Sunquest all-inclusive vacations, room upgrades on Karisma Hotels and various five-star Transat Holiday properties in the Mayan Rivieria and Cancun, plus cruise offers from Disney Cruise LIne and Norwegian Cruise Line, and more.
HARRY POTTER EXPANDING
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been a huge success at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Now comes word they're expanding to Hollywood Universal Studios in California.
Officials said the SoCal park "will be as impressive as what has been created in Orlando," and will include a Hogwarts castle and its signature ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
They also say they'll be expanding Harry's presence in Orlando, although I haven't been able to find any details. USA Today reports attendance at Universal is up a whopping 52 per cent, so it's no surprise officials are looking to capitalize.