By KarryOn @karryontravel20 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. Everyone’s excited about this one feature on Qantas’ Dreamliners Qantas is still eight months away from launching its first 787 – you know, the aircraft that will eventually be used to fly direct from Australia to London – but there’s already much hype around the new plane. So-much-so that media is looking into all the little details passengers can expect to find on board, including the electronically dimmable windows. For those who haven’t flown in a Dreamliner before, the technology essentially scraps the need for window shutters by allowing flyers to shut out the light by simply pushing a button. Read on 2. ‘Travel Agents Got Talent’ – do you have what it takes to be the face of Visit California Are you an Aussie day-to-day but a Californian at heart? Or someone who related to Katy Perry’s ‘California Girl’ so much they played it on repeat through 2010 and even for half of 2011? Does the idea of exploring Yosemite’s stunning natural scenery and Los Angeles’ diverse neighbourhoods excite you? Damn even I just got a chill down my spine. Read on 3. Which Central American destination is number one for Aussies? Hint: not Costa Rica What would you say the number one Central American destination for Aussie travellers is? There’s seven countries to choose from (according to Wikipedia, Mexico is not one of them – total surprise!) and anyone who knows their geography well enough would probably have guessed Aussies are most frequently travelling to see the beautiful coastlines and pre-Columbian history in Costa Rica. Sorry but… Read on 4. Hawaii to share the Aloha spirit at AIME If you’re heading to AIME this year then stop by stand #4200 and meet with six Hawai‘i partners from The Modern Hotel, The Kahala Hotel and Resort, Disney Aulani Resort, The Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki and Maui Visitors Bureau. Representatives will be there to offer the latest updates from the Hawaiian islands including new information on products and visitors stats, which is believed to be around 336,000 Aussie visitors for 2016. Hawai‘i Tourism Oceania (HTO) Country Manager Australia, Kerri Anderson said that while overall MICE numbers from Australia were down around six percent in 2016, the incentive market continued to do exceptionally well, seeing a 30 percent jump in the number of Australians who travelled to Hawai‘i on an incentive trip. 5. Visa status for Australians travelling to Uzbekistan Aussies are being reminded by Abercrombie & Kent that in December the Uzbekistan government recalled its decision to waive visas for Australian passport holders. Procedures therefore remain unchanged with travellers advised to begin the visa application process at least three months prior to travel. According to the tour operator, the Central Asian destination has experienced rapid growth with the company since being introduced in 2015, with people booking to experience the legendary cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, as well as its architecture, grand mosques, UNESCO World Heritage sites, breathtaking landscapes and rich handicrafts. For travellers to Uzbekistan, A&K offers the eight-day private ‘Highlights of Uzbekistan’ as well as the 15-day hosted journey ‘Ancient Trade Routes of Central Asia’ which combines Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan for groups of no more than 18 guests. 6. Here’s how Aussies can get a free visa to Russia There’s an increasing number of Aussies wanting to experience Russia’s heritage, culture and even it’s sport scene – Russia is catering to this demand by allowing Aussies to secure a free visa to the country when they book to attend the 2017 Confeds Cup and the 2018 World Cup in the country over the next two years. To secure the free visa, sports fans will need to apply for a FAN ID online (apparently it only takes around five minutes, requires a digital photo and a nine-digit FIFA ticket request ID). It will take around three- to- four days for the ID to be issued and three- to- four weeks to be posted from Russia to Australia. After the ID is received, travellered will then need to show it plus their Confeds Cup FIFA ticket form or the physical FIFA ticket when boarding the plane to Russia and then they get free entry. 7. Cruise industry digs deep for Mercy Ships at ‘The CLIAs’ There was an extra winner at Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia’s 16th Annual Cruise Industry Awards – Mercy Ships. In a bid to raise funds and awareness for Mercy Ships, CLIA’s global charity of choice, CLIA conducted a special raffle at its gala event, which well exceeded the $5,000 target. Mercy Ships operates floating hospitals that cruise around the world providing free, world-class healthcare services, to the developing world. The organisation also provides training for medical professionals, along with curative surgical interventions, which have led to countless life-changing operations. 8. French flare at Magellan event Victorian members of the Magellan Travel Group enjoyed French wine and a cheese tasting last week, at a social gathering and networking opportunity with their peers. The event was also a great opportunity for some of the newest members to be joining the Magellan Travel Group to attend, meet and mingle with their new peers from within the Group. Andrew Macfarlane, CEO of the Magellan Travel Group, said that he is “very much looking forward to working with experienced travel professionals” and added that “it is exciting to see agencies of this stature recognise and act upon the great value and advantage they identify in partnering with the Magellan Travel Group.” 9. Canada Corroboree celebrates 150 years of Canada ‘ The Canada Corroboree 2017 industry roadshow celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday during February, visiting Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney, showcasing the country’s new and amazing experiences to travel agents and media. More than 700 Travel Agents had the chance to network with 29 Canadian representatives, with four lucky Agents winning an all-expenses paid trip to Canada. This year’s theme, Celebrate Canada, marked the 150th anniversary of the Confederation. Canada’s 150th year-long celebrations is well underway with events and ceremonies taking place from coast-to-coast. The capital city of Ottawa is the focal point of the festivities with a full schedule of free and ticketed events taking place throughout the year. What are your thoughts on today’s travel news? Other stories you may like MEXICO CITY EARTHQUAKE UPDATE: AIRLINES WAVE FEES AS DEATH TOLL RISES LUXPERIENCE SQUEEZES IN 10,000 INSPIRING MEETINGS IN 3 DAYS FOODIES AND ADVENTURERS: CANADA IS THE PLACE FOR YOU IN 2018!