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. What do Aussies get out of Virgin Australia’s alliance with Hong Kong Airlines?

Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia’s foray into China this year may include more than just direct services from Australia, if our local consumer watchdog signs off on the airline’s newest proposal.

The carrier, which is now partly owned by two major Chinese organisations, released details of a new airline alliance today with its investor HNA Aviation as well as Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express.

Currently waiting approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the arrangement will be a “game changer” for travel between Australia and China, according to Virgin’s CEO John Borghetti, by giving travellers more choice on travel to and within the two countries.

Read on


2. 7kg of cocaine discovered under a plane’s catering cart


Food carts in the sky, drug smuggling devices on land – over seven kilograms of cocaine has been found wrapped and stashed under a plane’s catering carts in Canada.

The discovery was made at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport while the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) carried out a check on an unspecified aircraft, reported.

According to officers, those investigating the plane spotted anomalies on the food trolleys and decided to intensify their search. This led them to seven brick-shaped packages wrapped in plastic and attached to the bottom of the carts.

Read on


3. Discovering Hong Kong like a local starts here

Hong Kong

Travellers don’t want to observe, they don’t want stand on the sideline with their cameras and snap the action. No, they want to be in, they want to be part of it, they want to be local.

It’s the ‘it’ way to travel right and Hong Kong’s tourism leaders are making it easier for visitors to discover the city like a local through a series of new videos.

Released today – on the same day Virgin Australia confirmed direct flights to the Pearl of the Orient, coincidence? – the new campaign titled ‘Best of All, It’s in Hong Kong’ highlights the diverse and quality of local experiences across the city with the help of actual locals.

Read on


4. Industry rates at Banyan Tree & Angsana Lăng Cô

Banyan Tree

Five-star resorts Banyan Tree and Angsana Lăng Cô has introduced industry rates for Australian and New Zealand travel industry professionals starting from only $US152 per night in a Garden Balcony Grand at Angsana and from only $US414 for a Lagoon Pool Villa at Banyan Tree.

The rates include daily buffet breakfast, airport transfers, daily bus service to Hoi An & Hue and complimentary resort seasonal activities.

To book your industry rate with Banyan Tree or Angsana Lăng Cô please contact [email protected]


5. Travel Counsellors welcomes Michaela Jones to the head office team

Travel Counsellors

Travel Counsellors has recently added another member to their growing head office team, Michaela Jones who is now working within the business development unit, providing top level support and advice to Travel Counsellors running their businesses from home offices all over Australia.

With a strong background in relationship management and consulting roles, Michaela brings a wealth of travel industry experience to this role having worked for the likes of American Express, Topdeck Travel, Flight Centre and Destination New South Wales. Working in a business development role, Michaela is working to support Australian Travel Counsellors agents to strengthen and grow their businesses.

Michaela comments: “I’m thrilled to be putting all of my travel industry experience to good use in my new role at Travel Counsellors. I think the business model is a real win for both customers and agents, and am excited about connecting with Travel Counsellors agents to help them make the most of the resources at their disposal. I’m already impressed with the level of professionalism I’m seeing across the head office team and Agents.”


6. CWT appoints new Chief Risk Officer


Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) announced the appointment of Kathy Orner to the role of Chief Risk Officer, where she will focus on ensuring global business continuity including responsibility for client privacy, disaster recovery and crisis management.

She will also oversee CWT’s risk governance strategy while continuing to lead enterprise risk management and the global security organization.

“A key component of the CWT 3.0 strategy is building a world-class consumer-grade customer experience though digital innovation,” says, Andrew Jordan, CWT’s Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer. “Delivering the digital difference 24/7 requires the highest levels of resiliency, so potential risks must be identified and countered. Kathy’s extensive experience in governance, risk management, business resiliency, security and audit make her ideally placed to drive this critical function for us.”

Orner joined Carlson in 2006 as vice president and chief information security officer (CISO).


7. Strike a pose! Ovolo Hotels struts into the fashion world


It’s a boutique, luxury brand making a big name for itself in Australia by signing up to be the hotel HQ for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.

As the first long-term official hotel agreement for the fashion show, Ovolo Hotels’ Sydney property will house top Australian and international designers, editors, buyers and fashionistas during the five-day annual event over the next three years.

The arrangement will showcase the brand’s local property as well as its enthusiasm for creativity through livestreams, which will broadcast direct from Carriageworks to Ovolo.

Read on


8. Shannan Ponton hops back onboard Carnival for special promos

Shannon Ponton

Shannan Ponton is jumping back onboard Carnival Cruise Line for a special appearance as a guest presenter on TEN’s award-winning lifestyle program, The Living Room.

The TV host and fitness trainer has filmed tow special pieces on Carnival Legend. The first story is scheduled to air at 7.30pm this Friday, 17 February (today) on TEN and features Shannan showing just what it takes to keep shipshape at sea, including easy onboard fitness tips like taking the stairs, joining the gym and jogging the top deck track.

In the second story, to air on 24 February, Shannan spends an action-packed day on New Caledonia’s island of Lifou enjoying Carnival‘s amazing shore excursions. Shannan starts his day off with a visit to the Devil’s Cave to explore local legends and culture before making his way to the Secret Grotto, an enchanting cave with a natural swimming hole inside.


9. Adventure World helps rebuild a school in Nepal

Adventure World

Adventure World has helped educate and empower some 350 Nepalese children by rebuilding a school in Nepal.

The TreadRight project was carried out in collaboration with the Happy Hearts Foundation after the school suffered immensely following the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake.

Children are now studying in a safe and resilient school, instead of a temporary learning centre made of tarps. Adventure World was thrilled to work with the foundation to help create positive change in the world and offer a helping heart to those in need.


10. Sharp-toothed locals welcome nervous Agents to Polynesian paradise

Travellers Choice famil

It’s hard to picture a more relaxing setting than a tranquil Tahitian lagoon – unless of course you’re sharing the warm waters with hungry stingrays and curious sharks.

That’s the unsettling scenario a select group of Travellers Choice agents recently found themselves in during an idyllic five-day educational to Moorea and Papeete. Thankfully, says Kayla McDiarmid from Easy Travel and Cruise Nambour, the sharks decided to keep their distance, although the stingrays were quite happy to rub shoulders.

There were more relaxing activities, such as reclining in overwater bungalows watching the sea-life through clear glass panels in the floor (better known as ‘Tahitian TV’), enjoying the local cuisine (including raw tuna fish marinated with coconut milk and lime) and hassle-free shopping for black pearls in Papeete’s markets. The group – which travelled as guests of Air Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Tourisme – also got the opportunity to inspect the Aranui 5, a mixed passenger/cargo vessel that has operated the 14-day journey between Pepeete and the Marquesas Islands since late 2015.

What are your thoughts on today’s travel news?