Skill up on all you need to know with bite sized travel news designed specifically to help you, the Travel Agent, be your best today and tomorrow.

1. Flight cancellations as Cyclone Debbie tears across Queensland’s north coastline


Flight to and from parts of Queensland’s north coast have been affected today and tomorrow as ‘intense’ category four Cyclone Debbie hits the region.

Tourists and locals went into lock-down on Airlie Beach and Whitsunday Islands overnight as winds of 160-200 kilometres per hour and heavy rainfall approached.

Today, thousands more are being urged to find higher ground in areas between Ayr and Mackay where the storm is expected to hit in the coming hours.

Read on


2. Qantas hits a snag with inflight wi-fi, but it’s still on track for a 2017 roll-out

Would all Netflix junkies please chill! Yes, Qantas’ super-fast inflight wi-fi has a hit a bit of a snag but it is still on track to be rolled out this year.

Travellers may not be able to stream Jessica Jones or Orange is the New Black via Qantas’ next-generation inflight wi-fi this month as originally planned, but the airline has assured holidaymakers that its turbulence-minimising internet is still coming.

In a statement, the airline said that although recent tests of the new service have been “strong”, “some sustainability issues have emerged” and require further fixing before wi-fi can be made available to customers.

Read on


3. Qantas’ Alan Joyce booked for Helloworld for Business Summit

Alan Joyce on Qantas A330 business seat

Helloworld for Business is holding its annual Business Summit at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre 17–19 May where Qantas CEO Alan Joyce will be a special guest speaker at an exclusive dinner event at Skypoint on the Thursday evening.

The dinner setting will allow Mr Joyce to interact with the HWFB members, a much anticipated opportunity for the network.

Opening on May 17 the Summit is being held in the days prior to the Helloworld Owner Managers Conference (OMC) with the Friday Night Gala Awards Dinner an amalgamated event for both groups to attend together.

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4. Si Holidays releases first Freestyle Holidays brochure

Freestyle Holidays

Si Holidays has announced a brand refresh and the launch of its first Freestyle Holidays destination brochure featuring new destinations such as Chattanooga, Kentucky and the iconic Muscle Shoals in Alabama.

The new USA brochure for 2017-2018 features an expanded selection of the best the USA has to offer, including the old favourites of Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles, as well as popular new destinations in the southern states.

The program also features carefully selected hotels, unique experiences, self-drive itineraries without fixed schedules and escorted motorcoach and air tours for a hassle-free travel experience with access to an expert travel guide.

To celebrate the rebranding of Freestyle Holidays and the release of the new look 2017-2018 USA brochure, Si Holidays are rewarding travel agents with a bonus 1,000 Si rewards points for simply photographing themselves with the new brochure and adding the hashtag #freestyleholidays. Agents receive a $100 Universal Gift Card for every 7,000 points earnt.


5. TTC appoints new Sales Manager for Uniworld & Creative Cruising


The Travel Corporation has appointed travel expert Christopher Lukehurst-Walton in a dual role as Sales Manager across Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and Creative Cruising in South Australia.

Lukehurst-Walton’s experience within the industry spans over 25 years, having worked for Royal Brunei Airlines, GTA/Kuoni, Wendy Wu Tours and most recently with SilverNeedle Hospitality in Adelaide as Territory Sales Manager. His impressive 16 years of experience in a Sales Manager role, will no doubt bring great success to Uniworld and Creative Cruising, and an asset to TTC’s national sales force.

Lukehurst-Walton is based in Adelaide and can be contacted at [email protected]


6. JNTO takes MasterChef Australia to Japan


Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office in partnership with Qantas will fly MasterChef Australia contestants to Japan where they’ll face a series of culinary challenges in Tokyo, Mount Fuji and regional areas.

Episodes, which will air during Japan Week, will see aspiring chefs receive guidance from prominent international and Japanese chefs. They’ll also be inspired by Japanese cuisine to push their creative boundaries.

“There is no better country to host MasterChef Australia than Japan,” said JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director Kana Wakabayashi. “Japan’s reputation as a paradise for food-lovers is globally recognised, with more Michelin stars awarded to restaurants in Tokyo alone than any other city in the world.”

The special Japan Week of episodes will air as part of the highly anticipated ninth season of Australia’s premiere cooking competition, MasterChef Australia, coming soon to TEN and WIN Network.


7. Wendy Wu inducted into British Hall of Fame, Travel & Hospitality

Wendy Wu Tours

Pace-setting Asia specialist Wendy Wu has been inducted into the British Travel and Hospitality Hall of Fame as a result of the expansion of her Sydney-based operation into possibly the biggest tour operator into China from Britain.

The prestigious accolade recognises her one of the U.K. industry’s highest achievers in one of the world’s most competitive travel markets.

Marking the occasion, the British Travel Weekly said that the founder of Wendy Wu Tours in Australia 22 years ago now heads up a significant global company, which has extremely healthy operations on three continents – having opened office in New York in 2010.


8. P&O Pacific Partnership expands reach in South Pacific

PO feature

The P&O Pacific Partnership is expanding its reach in the South Pacific with two new community programs in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, after surpassing a milestone of one million dollars in voluntary contributions from passengers and special donations in only four years.

In PNG, the maternal mortality rate there is 30 times greater than in Australia with its highly developed health services. Only 40 percent of newborn deliveries are assisted by a skilled birth attendant in PNG, with the rates declining further in more rural areas of the country.

The new Newborn Baby and Birthing Kits Project in PNG encourages mothers to have their babies delivered at health centres by helping to cover health facility medical fees and providing essential supplies such as infant care items and mosquito nets to combat the transmission of malaria to newborn babies.

In the Solomon Islands, P&O Cruises is now supporting the Solomons Early Childhood Development Project, which integrates child protection with community-based early childhood interventions to ensure children grow up in protective environments that enable them to realise their full potential.

Many children in the Solomon Islands do not have access to early childhood education and development services, and enter school underprepared, often leading to longer term issues.


9. TIME goes West again


Perth’s community of Travel Industry Mentor Experience (TIME) graduate alumni, sponsors and speakers gathered at the Virgin Australia Lounge for its fourth networking event on the West Coast.

The event was attended by a keen audience of industry professionals and future leaders who listened to speakers who described their own experiences with mentors and professional development.

Steve Brady, National Manager Associate Network for helloworld, gave an excellent account of how mentors helped him through a particularly difficult and challenging time in his career whilst he was stationed overseas.

If you’re an ambitious travel industry professional, new to the industry or well into your career, and are looking to accelerate your professional future, the TIME program is for you. Click here for more information.


10. Visit USA stops by Perth & Adelaide

Visit USA

For the first time ever, Visit USA Travel Week stopped by Perth and Adelaide where 130 Agents were able to learn from 15 USA experts and hear about upcoming trends.

Many consultants in attendance expressed a surprise at how busy they were with travel bookings to the USA, and according to Visit USA President, Kylee Kay, the market is proving resilient.

According to two of the major wholesalers revenue for future bookings is up and the major airlines are saying that there is a year on year increase for forward bookings in 2017.

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