The venue: The ballroom at Sydney’s International Convention Centre shone beautifully in purples, blues and the occasional red of major event sponsor Qantas. With the backdrop of Darling Harbour at dusk kicking off the evening in the Ballroom Foyer, it was hard to imagine a finer venue.
The award winners weren’t the only ones to walk away with some prizes, with NTIA’s biggest ever lucky door prize pool on offer this year.
Qantas gave away massive $20,000 and $10,000 travel vouchers, Air New Zealand rewarded four epic NZ ski trips to guests who took part in their Kiwi Peak Pros game, while Star Alliance airlines along with CATO, gave away eight amazing holidays to South Africa, Japan, Switzerland, and New York among other destinations (if only we could’ve taken part!).
Prior to the opening of the doors, AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury told Traveltalk that blue was the new black. He was referring to his spiffy navy tuxedo. But the most eye-catching blue (of sorts...) was that of the tux belonging to G Adventures’ managing director Australia and NZ, Adrian Piotto. That was hard to miss.
Elsewhere, dresses ranged from the frilly black to the traditional floral and of course, countless beautiful ball gowns. There was even an award handed out for best dressed on the night.
For their part, Traveltalk’s Jon Underwood and Mark Harada donned matching Men in Black suits (minus the sunnies).
The food and beverage
Celebrating makes for hungry partygoers.And catering at this year’s event didn’t dissapoint. Think marinated prawns,spanner crab, flying fish row in a yuzu aioli for entree; slow cooked Tasmanian salmon, Balmain bug and scallop mousse or beef short rib for mains, and a well-considered (read not too heavy) selection of seasonal mini desserts including a mini Golden Gaytime, twisted vanilla slice and tropical Moelleux cake for dessert.
Vegetarians were spoilt too, with an Indian-inspired onion and carrot baji with red lentil dhal followed by a Moroccan pumpkin, quinoa couscous and sumac yoghurt. On the drinks front, the stars were a sparkling Printhie Vintage Brut, Hunter Valley Pinot Gris and Marlborough (NZ) Pinot Noir.
Pop star Paulini was the main attraction at this year’s NTIA, and certainly got the crowd going from the first tune - appropriately ‘I wanna dance with somebody’ - til last.
But even before proceedings officially begun, in the halls outside the ballroom, South Africa Tourism hosted an amazing pre-NTIA show comprising a mobile drums and dance troupe, champagne-pouring acrobat and walking giraffes (not the real things, obviously).
After the event, Singapore Airlines hosted revelers at The Watershed for the after-show party.
And of course we can’t forget The awards themselves: to see the complete list of winners, read our other NTIA wrap here.
Traveltalk is an official Media Supporter of NTIA 2019. All images by Traveltalk.
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