By KARRYON @karryontravel28 Feb 2017Skill 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. Virgin Australia axes Perth-Abu Dhabi flights before takeoff Virgin Australia has scrapped plans to fly between Perth and Abu Dhabi, four months before the new service was scheduled to takeoff. The three weekly flights were announced in September last year, when the carrier said it would cease its Sydney-Abu Dhabi services and reduce its Brisbane-Los Angeles services to operate on the new route. However, in a statement the airline said market changes have made the route “no longer viable” for its network, forcing the carrier to cancel the new addition. Read on 2. Everyone is thirsty AF over Samoa’s new tourism ad “Discover the home of vibrant waters and sparkling beaches” – that’s what the caption said, that’s what it was meant to be promoting, but that’s definitely NOT what people were going wild for upon seeing Samoa Tourism’s new ad. Around 24 hours ago, the South Pacific island’s tourism leaders launched their new social media campaign designed to entice visitors by promoting the destination’s abundance of crystal clear waters. As you’d expect, the picture uploaded to Instagram showcases the island nation’s still, beautiful ocean and it even features a stunning horizon. Read on 3. Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth is staying in Australia (for two months) She may not be stationed here year-round but it will be the longest deployment Down Under for any of Cunard’s current fleet of Queens, and that’s worth a royal celebration. Come 2019 and Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will spend two months sailing to and from our large island, giving locals plenty of opportunity to cruise on the liner and experience a fresh multi-million dollar refit to be completed a few weeks prior to her Aussie stay. According to the cruise line, the deployment will double the number of Australians and New Zealanders travelling with the brand compared to any other year and it will meet growing demand for local cruising on the popular Queens. Read on 4. Travel Agents respond to the novice TV reality show Everyone wants to be famous these days, and Travel Agents aren’t immune to this flight of fancy. After all, in this day of reality TV stars, fame is the social capital that pays the biggest dividends. Last week on KarryOn, we thought we’d have a little fun with the idea of Travel Agent Reality TV shows, and so we wrote a satirical story about a new TV show based on The Apprentice that would pit 12 novice agents against each other in the quest for $25,000 in Coles Myer vouchers* (*Conditions apply). Read on 5. Popularity of online reviews forces Star Ratings Australia to cease operations If you’re a little wary of other people’s opinions then you’d better find a way to start trusting your travelling peers because soon word-of-mouth will be the only hotel rating system available in Australia. Star Ratings Australia – Australia’s only independent and accredited accommodation scheme – will cease operations as of 30 June 2017 after over 60 years of providing Australian travellers with hotel ratings. In a statement, Star Ratings Australia’s parent company, Australian Motoring Clubs’ CEO Michael Reed said the independent review model has struggled to survive in the increasingly digital world, particularly against major peer-to-peer review sites such as TripAdvisor. Read on 6. Fly to Israel on one Qantas air ticket Qantas has signed a new code share agreement with Israeli airline, El Al, which will allow Australians to book a Qantas ticket to Israel via Asia. Signed last week, Qantas International’s Chief Executive, Gareth Evans, said both airlines will place their codes on select flights including Qantas services between Australia and Asia (Hong Kong and Bangkok) as well as El Al flights between Asia and Israel’s Tel Aviv, The Australian reported. Evans said the agreement will strengthen ties between Israel and Australia and provide seamless travel for holidaymakers. 7. INCENTIVE: WIN a 7-night Cuban getaway Cuba is calling! TravelCube is celebrating the launch of its 2017 Beach Collection brochure by giving Travel Agents the chance to WIN a seven-night trip to Cuba, along with weekly ‘beach breaks’. To be in the running, consultants need to book a TravelCube beach product between 15 February and 29 March. At the end of each week, the Agent with the most beach properties booked and paid for will win one of the following prizes: five nights at the Sheraton Mirage, Gold Coast; five nights at the Marriott Resort & Spa, Nai Yang Beach, Thailand ; four nights at the Pacific Beach Waikiki and two nights at the Honua Kai Maui, Hawaii; four nights at the Sheraton Tokoriki and two nights at Sheraton, Fiji; and four nights at the Sheraton Bali, two nights at the Royal Beach Seminyak and two nights at Istana Rama, Bali. The consultant making the most Beach Collection bookings during the incentive period will then win seven nights’ accommodation in Cuba – three nights at the Hotel Memories Miramar in Havana and four nights at the Memories Varadero – along with $3000 worth of airfares. Click here for more information. 8. You’re invited to the 2017 Adventure World roadshows Adventure World has extended an invitation to Travel Agents around Australia to join the tour operator at its ‘Our World Your Way’ 2017 National Roadshows travelling around the country in March and April. This year’s roadshows are the largest in over 35 years with plans to stop by 30 venues across Australia in metropolitan and regional areas including areas such as Orange, Port Macquarie, Darwin, Hobart, the Sunshine Coast. Agents will have the chance to meet the team and learn more about the brand’s unique destinations and journeys through informative sessions over canapés and drinks. In conjunction with this, agents will also discover Adventure World’s brand new tailor-made collection, the best of the USA, allowing guests to explore the country’s undiscovered highlights. Click here to RSVP. 9. Malaysia Airlines earns IATA Fast Travel Green Malaysia Airlines has become the first Malaysian carrier to receive the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Fast Travel Green certificate in recognition of the airline’s efforts in making passengers’ travel more flexible and convenient via its self-service facilities. IATA’s Fast Travel Programme covers six areas of passenger travel which includes check-in, bags ready-to-go, document check, flight re-booking, self-boarding, and bag recovery. Airlines will then be ranked on the usage of these services by IATA. Under this programme, Malaysia Airlines has earned the Green ranking by meeting five of the requirements which are check-in, bags ready-to-go, flight re-booking, self-boarding and bag recovery. 10. Korea Tourism pumps Aussies up for the Winter Olympic Games Korea Tourism Organization’s President Jung, Chang-soo invited industry friends to get excited about the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games during a special luncheon in Sydney last week. Special guests joined the industry including members of the Australian Olympic Committee, the Olympic Winter Institute of Australi and Channel Seven Australia – the official Olympics broadcaster where they officially launched tickets and packages for the Games through CoSport. At the same time, attendees welcomed the new Director of the Sydney office of Korea Tourism Organization Mr. Kim, Tai Hwan, who has taken up his new role in Sydney for a period of three years. What are your thoughts on today’s travel news? Other stories you may like This incentive is so GIGANTIC you could probably see it from the moon! 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