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. Trump can’t be that bad, because of him travel to the US could get cheaper

Is celebrity-spotting in West Hollywood or trying Universal’s 3D rides something you really want to do this year? What about spending 24 hours in San Diego before checking out the street art scenes in Brooklyn & Philly? Or how about getting bohemianised in the US’ Greenwich Village?

If the United States keeps screaming at you (like a Mandrake in Harry Potter) from its prominent position right at the top of your bucketlist then now’s the time to conquer and tick that baby off.

Why? It’s ridiculously cheap to go there right now and could get even cheaper.

Read on

 

2. Virgin Australia re-launches flights from Melbourne to L.A. a very fun & American way

Virgin Australia feature

Cupcakes, a celebrity and an unmissable marching band – no, that’s not an American Fair, that’s Virgin Australia re-launching its service between Melbourne and Los Angeles.

The airline resumed flights this week with a bang – literally, bang on the marching drum – at Melbourne International Airport.

Ahead of the inaugural flight, the carrier recruited an American-themed marching band to make some noise and entertain passengers at the check-in hall while cupcakes kept their stomachs dancing and LAX Duty Free vouchers brought the smiles.

Read on

 

3. Student Flights staff get ‘unlimited annual leave’

Student Flights is taking a page out of Richard Branson’s book on ‘keeping your employees happy’ by giving its staff access to unlimited annual leave.

The announcement was made today in a bid to promote work-life balance and the brand’s ‘Never Stop Travelling’ mantra.

‘Unlimited annual leave’ is being rolled out Australia-wide (as this is typed), ahead of a possible wider launch within parent company the Flight Centre Travel Group.

Read on

 

4. Singapore Airlines sends the A350 to Melbourne

Singapore Airlines A350

Singapore Airlines has confirmed its A350-900 will operate daily on SQ208/207 between Singapore-Melbourne route from 11 May.

The carrier said that the change in aircraft will deliver Melbourne customers an increase in Premium Economy options, with three of the four daily flights from Melbourne now offering the new cabin; as well as 42 seats in Business Class and 187 Economy seats.

The deployment of the A350-900 daily from 11 May for flight SQ208/207 will see Melbourne serviced by two Airbus A350-900 aircraft until 30 June, when SQ218/217, currently operated by an A350 will revert back to an Airbus A380.

 

5. AccorHotels to expand its footprint in the NT

AccorHotels

AccorHotels has announced that Chifley Alice Springs Resort will join the group’s network on in July 2017 at which time the hotel will rebrand to Mercure Alice Springs Resort.

The 139-room resort is currently undergoing a $2 million upgrade of its rooms and facilities, which will see new bathrooms and bedroom fittings installed across its standard rooms, as well as floor-to-ceiling artworks that reflect the history of the Alice Springs region in all rooms. The hotel will also be updating the swimming pool and its garden surrounds to bring it in line with the Mercure offering global travellers have come to expect.

In an exciting addition to the Mercure portfolio, the resort is also in the final stages of finalising the design for an outdoor amphitheatre which will pose as a multipurpose venue for conferencing and events. The hotel’s in-house Indigenous workshops and cultural sessions for event delegates and leisure guests will also be run from this space.

 

6. First look at Hawaiian Airlines’ new A321neo interior

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines has revealed a distinctive cabin design for its new A321neo fleet arriving later this year, with signature features evoking the natural splendor of Hawai‘i through color and form, bringing the outdoors in and extending “island time” from the moment a guest steps onboard.

On board guests will enjoy the choice of three cabin products – The Premium Cabin with leather recliners, thoughtful design details and a custom lighting fixture incorporating Hawaiian’s signature ‘wave’ motif. The 45 Extra Comfort premium economy seats will offer five more inches of legroom, priority boarding and other perks.

Seats in all cabins will be equipped with complimentary high-power USB outlets for device charging, while guests in the Premium Cabin and Extra Comfort seats will enjoy access to an additional AC power outlet. Pivoting overhead bins maximize the amount of space available for carry-on luggage.

New to Hawaiian’s guest experience, the A321neo will feature wireless streaming inflight entertainment. Guests will be able to download an application on their personal devices before they board to enjoy a wide selection of complimentary movies, TV shows, and Hawai‘i content available exclusively through the airline’s Hawaiian Skies channel.

 

7. Silversea meets its Muse

Silver Muse

Silversea has officially welcomed its new ultra-luxury cruise ship, Silver Muse, to its fleet, taking delivery of the vessel earlier this week.

Capable of accommodating some 596 guests, Silver Muse is an evolution of the line’s Silver Spirit and redefines the ultra-luxury ocean travel experience, while maintaining the small-ship intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodations which are hallmarks of the Silversea experience.

She has the highest number of large suites (Silver, Royal, Grand and Owner’s) in the fleet, and the greatest number of connecting suites for families and friends. In addition, she has more restaurants than any other ultra-luxury ship – eight venues – offering the finest and widest bespoke culinary experience at sea.

 

8. Reminder: Kiwis living in Australia need a visa to visit South Africa

SouthAfrica-roadshow-karryon

South African Airways has issued a warning about the need for New Zealand passport holders living in Australia to obtain a visa before visiting South Africa.

According to Tim Clyde-Smith, SAA’s Country Manager for Australasia, the new visa rules came into force on 16 January this year.

“While the majority of New Zealand passport holders do get the necessary documentation and obtain their visas, we are seeing quite a few incidents when people are unaware of the requirements,” Tim said. “The new rules apply to all diplomatic, official and ordinary passport holders of New Zealand. If they do not have a visa, an airline cannot check them in for their flight to South Africa, meaning added expense and inconvenience, not only to the traveller but also to the travel consultant and their agency,” he said.

Click here for further information. For Travel Agents, details on both document requirements are in Timatic located in GDS.

 

9. Wendy Wu Tours sales team celebrates hitting targets

Wendy Wu

Wendy Wu Tours’ sales team were recently congratulated on achieving their targets during the first quarter of the year at the company’s National Sales Conference held late last month.

Global Director of Sales, John, Warr, flew in the for the event to meet new additions to the team and congratulate them on their success.

The annual event held at the Novotel in Wollongong this year also saw Peter Cox, founder and CEO of Leadership Dynamics, offer valuable insight on how to inspire and motivate sales driven teams, while Australian Head of Sales Vara Glover commented that she was pleased with the dedication of each team member to achieving first quarter success.

 

10. Agents Explore the Best Ski Resorts in Nevada and Utah

ski trip

The winners of United Airlines’ ski incentive, which ran in 2016 and included resorts from Nevada and Utah for the first time, have enjoyed beautiful sunshine and incredible snow conditions, as they travelled around Lake Tahoe and Salt Lake City.

The first group travelled with United Airlines direct from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles, connecting to Reno, NV. They visited Diamond Peak, Heavenly Ski Resort and Mt. Rose. Some key highlights were snowmobile rides, sleigh rides, and plenty of apres ski.

The second group flew into Salt Lake City via San Francisco and visited Park City, Deer Valley, The Canyons, Brighton, Solitude, Alta and Snowbird Resorts. The group also visited Salt Lake City spending time at the Natural History Museum, Temple Square and This is the Place Heritage Park.

To make things a little more interesting the two groups competed in an Instagram competition, using #UnitedSkiFam2017.  Check out all the ski fails, pastrami sandwiches and selfies from both trips attached and on Instagram.

 

11. Travel Associates takes to Tahiti

Tahiti Travel Associates 2

A group of Travel Associates’ leading Agents has reluctantly shaken off the flip flops and bathing suits for more mainstream attire, having retuned from an actioned packed famil to the Islands of Tahiti hosted by  Tahiti Tourisme and Air Tahiti Nui.

The Agents were treated to the destination’s best accommodation, dining and visitor experiences with highlights including the new Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, Four Seasons Resort, Pearl Beach Resort on the atoll of Tikehau and more.

The famil took place over five days from 22 March.

What are your thoughts on today’s travel news? Share your thoughts below.