Snow and sky
Harris Mountains Heli-Ski, the largest helicopter skiing and snowboarding company in New Zealand, has a way for you to infuse your next event with a little adventure. They have exclusive access to vast terrain in Queenstown, Wanaka and Mount Cook: easy rolling hills and powder for first timers, and wide open bowls and challenging chutes with steep valleys for the more experienced. Private charters, multi-day programmes and individual guides are all available.
The Edge of Space: Cape Town
If your event travel takes you to Cape Town, consider the Thunder City Flight Training Centre, conveniently located at Cape Town’s International Airport. Here, groups can learn to fly the legendary English Electric Lightning, the supersonic British fighter often compared to the types of aircrafts NASA uses to train astronauts. Weeklong packages through Incredible Adventures can combine all that Cape Town has to offer – from diving with great white sharks to trips to nearby vineyards – with the thrill of flying a fighter jet. Climbing upward at 50,000 feet per minute in a Cold-War era plane is surely a new way to enjoy an incentive trip.
Up, up and away
Hot-air balloons are a fabulous way to see a city from the top. The experienced team at Skyads in Malaysia can make your hot-air balloon journey a marketing campaign at the same time. Imagine sending important clients, potential customers or valuable employees across the city in a balloon the shape of your corporate logo. Basket advertising, banner advertising, corporate balloons of special shapes are all great ways to make an impression or to add a new dimension to your next event, and Skyads can make it happen.
With all the talk about going “green” in business, how about showing your group some truly amazing nature? From the airport in Bali, groups of four at a time can fly to Mount Batur, one of Bali’s volcanic craters. Lake Batur, Bali’s largest lake, is situated within this crater and is next to a younger active volcano that is constantly recreating itself in periodic eruptions of ash and rock. Your group can spend the hour exploring this sometimes-smoking volcano by circling the crater before heading south over river gorges and beautiful rice fields of the island. Air Bali Tours and Charters can also arrange special day trips, charter flights around the island and heli-service hotel pick up and drop off in addition to a tour.
Treat your group to breakfast along one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef. A morning flight over the pristine waters and delegates will land on Coral Cay where everyone will be treated to a tropical brunch complete with Australian wine and juice. Spend two hours snorkelling and enjoying the view before your scenic return trip.
Alternatively, fly by private helicopter to the Outer Barrier Reef and treat business associates or clients to a continental breakfast, private use of Marine World, and breathtaking views of the reef and rainforest on the way back to your hotel. The GBR Helicopter Group is dedicated to making your journey a memorable one.
For a truly unique way to entertain, the newly unveiled Singapore Flyer offers groups of up to 28 a way to mix and mingle while seeing the whole of Singapore and beyond. Their corporate packages allow you to book an air-conditioned capsule complete with corporate branding and catering, perfect for meetings, company get-togethers or smaller events.
Day or nighttime events can be arranged, and for this special view above the hustle and bustle of Singapore, expect to pay between US$350-US$1,000 per flight with additional food and beverage options.
Luxury business air travel
A greater number of private jet companies are bringing new dimensions to the business aviation world in order to increase client comfort, productivity and security. Boardroom, presentation and business facilities could mean your next meeting or strategy session before a big pitch happens at 30,000 feet.
Do you need 200 delegates from five cities in Europe to show up in Singapore for a regional conference? Saving time and energy, and providing employees with the luxury of business travel throughout their journey, Anglo European flies to and from airports all over the world, and has the aircraft, facilities, 24-hour operations and bespoke inflight business or leisure services to redefine the use of hours normally wasted in transit.
The last continent on most travellers’ list to visit is Antarctica, and for those who would like to take the scenic tour, Qantas and Croydon Travel have made that option available a few months out of the year. Departing from either Sydney or Melbourne, this 12-hour flight with three standard classes of seating facilitates a view of the last remaining wilderness continent on earth. For a truly unique experience and one that won’t soon be forgotten, look into this one-of-a-kind trip. If you care to arrange a private flight, corporate branding opportunities inflight are available by special arrangement.
Bird’s eye view of Hongkong
Helicopter tours are a fantastic way to show your group a very familiar place from a very unfamiliar vantage point. Heliservices Hongkong offers you standard or custom-tailored group package tours, all of which begin at the Peninsula Hongkong’s own helipad. All participants have window seats and the ability to speak to the pilot throughout the tour. Whether you are interested in seeing the skyscrapers of Central or the rugged east coast of the New Territories, Heliservices can arrange a tour to suit your group’s needs. From HK$6,000 (US$771) for a 15-minute tour to HK$18,000 (US$2,314) for an hour-long journey, the price is right for something a little different at your next event.
Seaplanes in Phuket
For an alternative to the beach resorts Phuket is famous for, contact Captain Scott MacDonald and his team at Destination Air. The sky is literally the limit for tours and day trips via the company’s fleet of seaplanes. Island-hopping, scenic tours and custom-built trips to some of the lesser-seen sides of Thailand’s countryside are all possible. Contact Destination Air to coordinate a fun-filled seaplane adventure as part of your next conference or event travel plans.
Dine on the roof of the world
Equipped with its very own helipad, the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu can whisk your team off in the early morning by specially chartered helicopter to the foot of Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. The Hyatt Regency team will arrange for all yourl catering needs onboard and at the camp itself, from champagne to caviar. The flight takes off from Kathmandu then proceeds toward to Everest glacier, Everest Ice Fall, Lhotse, South Col and Mount Everest itself. On the return leg, the group can land at Tyangboche Monastery, the Vatican of the Sherpas, the world famous “Tigers of the Snow”. Charter costs vary depending on size of group and season, but a figure of US$1,000 per person won’t be too far off.
Higher, higher and higher
Delegates for whom Tom Cruise’s flights in Top Gun have always been a dream can have their fighter pilot fantasies fulfilled. The Zhukovsky Airbase offers your group the unique opportunity to fly a legendary MiG-29 or MiG-31 Foxhound – the only place in the world this is possible courtesy of the company which has been manufacturing these MiGs for over 70 years. If time limitations are a consideration (the airbase needs 16 days to initiate clearance for an MiG plane), the St Petersburg L-29, Yak-52, Yak-18T and TL-2000 are available on short notice. While participants will not be able to take off and land, they will be able to control the plane once in the air.
Ever wonder what it might be like to be weightless, or to train to be a cosmonaut? Programs Moscow at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Moscow now make this possible through their zero-gravity and centrifuge simulators. In a series of parabolic manoeuvres, the plane can take your group of up to 12 people on one of the most adrenaline-pumping experiences available today. Although participants are only in the air for about four minutes, the space centre boasts they’ve never had an unhappy customer. N
Space, the final frontier?
The much talked-about commercial space flights slated to begin in 2009 through Virgin Galactic, another off-shoot of Sir Richard Branson’s mega empire, Virgin, could very soon become a reality. In theory it is the last frontier in travel from earth, could it be the ultimate incentive?
The specially designed spaceship is attached to a carrier aircraft up to about 50,000 feet, at which point it is released and ignites its hybrid rocket. It then climbs to over 360,000 feet at a maximum speed of just over three times the speed of sound, during which passengers will experience zero-gravity and be treated to views of the earth the way only astronauts have been able to see it. Travellers will be able to view space and the earth from various portholes around the cabin. And, freedom and weightlessness mean floating, tumbling and watching your pillow drift away are all not only possible, but encouraged.
For the six passengers lucky enough to make their way into space, three days of pre-flight preparation, medical examinations and instruction will take place at the spaceport. This will include preparatory exercises, g-force training in a centrifuge, zero-gravity training on a parabolic flight, and the necessary classroom information required to understand the experience and make the most of your journey.
Assuming the testing is successful and all goes well, initial flights will be launched in 2009 from the Mojave Desert Spaceport in California. The headquarters for the operation and flights after the initial period will be in New Mexico. The ultimate luxury incentive, just like everything else in life, comes at a cost. A single person launched i