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. 32 people dead after a tour bus flipped in Taipei


Image: ‏@poetTDSK/Twitter

Thirty-two people have been confirmed dead in what has been described as Taiwan’s worst road accidents in years.

The vehicle was carrying 45 people in the Nangang district of the country’s capital – including the driver and tour guide – when it flipped over and crashed on an exit ramp, The Australian reported. According to one of the investigators, the accident “happened on a curve”, which caused the bus to tip.

“The whole frame of the bus changed shape”, he said and found “crushed” by police officers.

Read on


2. New budget air fares will strip travellers of their carry on bags

overhead bin

Would you pay a cheap as chips fare if it meant no check-in luggage, no meals, zero amenities and you wouldn’t even be able to travel with a carry on?

Airlines in the US including American Airlines and United Airlines are hoping to take budget travel to the next level with a new fare type that restricts overhead usage and could even see travellers charged extra for storing carry-on bags.

American Airlines refers to the new fare type ‘basic economy’ because it literally strips flyers down to just the clothes on their backs and a bag that fits under the seat.

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3. Norwegian Star is expected to leave Melbourne today

Norwegian Star

Norwegian Cruise Line’s first ship to sail around Australia’s shores is expected to leave Melbourne today, four days after experiencing a technical malfunction.

Late last week, Norwegian Star and its 2,300 passengers were cruising some 20 miles offshore from Victoria’s capital when the azipod propulsion system went down.

Despite having full power, the technical fault forced the cruise line to organise a ship to shore tow in order to complete all the necessary repairs.

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4. The airline with the most valuable brand in the world is…


American Airlines‘ has become the most valuable airline around the world and is now worth almost $4 billion more than last year.

New figures released by Brand Directory found the Texas-based business is now the most valuable airline brand worldwide, worth some US$9.8 billion in 2017.

The figure is well above the US$6.1 billion American Airlines was worth last year, and around US$3 billion more than Emirates (US$6 billion), which fell to fourth place after holding the title as the world’s most valuable airline brand for the last five years.

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5. Yaowza! It’s gettin’ hot over at Travelodge Hotel Sydney


Ladies, this fine fella up here (named Sam Rouen) is waiting to read you a bed time story at Travelodge Hotel Sydney.

As part of a Valentine’s Day arrangement with Mills & Boon, the former The Biggest Loser participant is giving visitors the chance to star in their very own love story (of course, he plays the male lead) against a Mills & Boon Australian Romance novel cover backdrop.

A photographer will be on hand to snap the loved up pictures, which will be available from 6.00pm today. A Mills & Boon novel will also be placed as a gift on every bedside table at all 16 of the Travelodge Hotels across Australia in time for Valentine’s Day, adding what the novels are famous for – a touch of passion and intrigue.

Sam says: “I love a bedtime story, so looking forward to being the storyteller and sharing some Mills & Boon with Sydneysiders and guests at Travelodge on Valentine’s Day. It’s going to be a fun evening!”


6. New role, new appointment at PONANT


Deb Corbett has been appointed to fill PONANT’s newly created position of Commercial Director for Asia Pacific – a role, which was created after a recent restructure.

The cruise line’s Chairman for the region, Sarina Bratton, said Deb joins the team with 25 years experience industry experience, giving her “significant understanding of the travel industry across many levels including leadership, team development, negotiation, customer relationship, brand management, and traditional and social media”.

Deb Corbett will report to Monique Ponfoort, VP PONANT Asia Pacific. She will be responsible for commercial growth in the APAC region and overseeing PONANT’s marketing and sales teams located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Shanghai.

Prior to this role Deb Corbett was Head of Sales, Marketing and Product with Travel the World and held senior management roles with Garuda Indonesia, Travelscene American Express and CTC Lines.


7. Up to $1,334 off a European river cruise


Your clients can cruise down one of Europe’s biggest rivers at a discounted price with Collette’s river cruises sales with lead in prices of $2,839.

Savings range from $568pp to $1,334 per person on 2017 product booked from 30 January to 31 March 2017.

The sale offers savings of 20 percent on five of Collette’s enchanting river cruises through Europe including the 14-night Legendary Waterways of Europe cruise departing 11 May, 22 June or 12 October on the waters of the Rhine, Moselle, Main and Danube.


8. Germany goes green with UNWTO

Travel Agent Germany feature

The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) is showcasing its commitment to sustainable tourism by signing up to be the Gold Sponsor of The World Tourist Organization’s (UNWTO) ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’.

As part of the commitment to this year’s international theme, GNTB has launched a new DZT micro site on ‘Sustainable Travel in Germany’. It is available in 17 languages and includes information on green travel by train, bus or public transportation, accommodation, culinary delights, customs and traditions, UNESCO world heritage sites, slow travel and natural landscapes, green cities, incl. up cycling, wellness/spa and thermal waters, accessible travel and green meetings.

The site also has an interactive map of Germany, which allows users can find sustainable certified accommodation options, ranging from basic eco-camping to five-star hotels. Experts from EcoTrans in collaboration with state marketing organizations select certificates. Powerful images, slide shows, and videos create an authentic look and feel, and consistent optimization for portable devices supports user-friendly travel planning, including on the go.

Click here to check out the website.


9. Wendy Wu Tours’ thoughtful dinner

Travel Agent Wendy Wu Tours

Wendy Wu Tours hosted an exclusive dinner during which attendees exchanged and discussed ideas on how to expand and develop tourism relations between Australia and the popular city of Xian.

Wendy Wu Tours Director, Alan Alcock, said the meeting between key Chinese and Australian stakeholders was a fantastic opportunity to build on relationships between the regional tourism bodies and collaborate to increase Australian tourist numbers.

During the dinner, Shaanxi Tourism Director, Mr Yang Zhongwu, told guests that 115,000 tourists from Australia visited Xian in 2016, an increase of 18 percent from the previous year. He added that although they have planned for a 10 percent increase in 2017, visitor numbers are set to exceed this figure.

What are your thoughts on today’s travel news?