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. ‘You win, we’re out’, Qantas & AA ditch alliance expansion plans

Travel Agent Qantas and American Airlines

Qantas and American Airlines have decided to ditch plans to expand their alliance after the US government indicated it would block an extension to their current arrangement.

Last week, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) tentatively rejected an anti-trust immunity application submitted by the two airlines, which would have allowed Qantas and American Airlines to sell seats on each others flights, co-ordinate schedules and share all revenue and costs on trans-Pacific flights.

The arrangement is similar to that currently in place between Qantas and Emirates and was given the green lights from both Australian and New Zealand regulators who saw the proposal as having “significant benefits for customers”.

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2. Qatar Airways is flying to a fifth Australian city & you won’t guess which one

Travel Agent qatar-feature

Back in March, when Qatar Airways’ CEO, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker said the carrier was considering flights to a fifth Australian city, most guessed the carrier would add Brisbane to its collection of Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide services.

However, the Middle Eastern airline surprised us all today with the announcement that it’s joining Singapore Airlines over in Canberra as the second airline to operate international services to and from Australia’s capital city in over a decade.

According to Mr. Akbar Al Baker, the addition of Canberra along with seven other destinations revealed today – Dublin, Ireland; Las Vegas, USA; Rio de Janiero, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Medan, Indonesia; and Tabuk and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia – will bring the carrier’s network to over 150 destinations worldwide serviced by the youngest fleet of Boeing 777 and Dreamliner aircraft and every model of Airbus aircraft, including the A350.

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3. Would you pay a fee to pass through airport queues faster?

Travel Agent airport

It’s safe to say that customs queues at Australian airports are at times long and kind of annoying, but would you be willing to pay a fee to pass through them a little quicker?

A new study conducted for the Tourism and Transport Focum (TTF) by Airbiz identified several ways in which the Government can speed up the customs lines, one of which was to offer a fast track-type fee for those willing to pay.

According to Tourism and Transport Forum Chief Executive, Margy Osmond, the current state of Australia’s airport queues are damaging the country’s reputation as a welcoming destination, and changes need to be made if Australia wants to be equal to or better than global competitors.

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4. Beyond Travel’s portfolio grows with…

Travel Agent iceland

After much demand and customer feedback, Beyond Travel has decided to take its clients to one of 2017’s top countries to visit and a hot Game of Thrones destination – Iceland.

The tour operator revealed the new destination in its recently released 2017 Russia & Beyond brochure, saying Iceland was added after receiving guest feedback for new Scandinavia product.

Meeting demand, Beyond Travel added a variety of Iceland options to the brochure, which is also the largest and most comprehensive to date.

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5. Singapore Airlines adds flights during peak

Source: www.flygosh.com

Source: www.flygosh.com

Singapore Airlines is giving customers more choice during Australia’s summer peak, by adding additional flights from Adelaide and Sydney as well as increasing capacity with the A380 on services from Sydney and Melbourne.

From Thursday 1 December, through to 30 January, the number of weekly Adelaide services will increase from seven to ten with the inclusion of three supplementary flights a week. The three additional flights will be operated by a 285 seat Airbus A330 aircraft every Thursday, Sunday and Monday under flight numbers SQ276/277.

Sydney will also enjoy additional flights during the peak holiday season with SQ262/261beginning operations from Wednesday 7 December and running until 31 January. Departing from Singapore on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2240 SQ261 will arrive in Sydney the following day at 0930. It will then return to Singapore as SQ262 every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 1100 arriving at 1615.

In addition to the supplementary flights, SQ242/241 will be up-gauged to an A380 on 15, 20, 21 and 27 December as well as on 4 and 5 January. Melbourne will also enjoy a capacity increase from 1 December when SQ218/217 is operated by a 441 seat Airbus A380. Victorian customers will also be provided a second flight offering Premium Economy from 3 January when SQ228/227 will operate with four class Boeing 777-300ER.

 

6. AIME registrations now open!

aime

Visitor registration for the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) has opened; inviting the industry’s leading business and special events minds to be inspired at the 25th anniversary of the event, 21-22 February 2017 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

More than 500 national and international exhibitors are expected to showcase at next year’s event, including the Japan National Tourist Organisation who is bringing 12 of their finest suppliers including the ICC Kyoto, Osaka Convention & Visitors Bureau and The Peninsula Tokyo. India Tourism and the Turkish Ministry of Culture & Tourism will both return to the event, and from America, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, along with Rocky Mountaineer from Canada, are all confirmed to exhibit.

Premiering at AIME 2017 will be Epicure, Evergrande Group and Elanor Investors Group, with organisers seeing an increase in the number of destinations and suppliers joining the event for the first time in its silver anniversary year.

Click here to register.

 

7. A new digital look for Captain Cook Cruises Fiji

Travel Agent captain-cook-cruises

Fast, efficient, easy to use and fantastic imagery – they’re the words being used to describe Captain Cook Cruises Fiji’s newly launched website.

Unveiled this week, the new site features information on Captain Cook Cruises Fiji’s 3, 4, 7 and 11-night small ship cruises around the Fiji Islands; the Tivua Island Day Cruise, the new Lazy lunch and Sunset dinner cruises, sailing adventures, a range of available packages and specials and information on chartering boats for special occasions.

There are also pages for Agents and media including a page where Agents can complete their Accreditation training and access live inventory, an amazing high res image gallery, a blog page, information on the whole Fiji fleet, FAQ’s, a gift certificate page and of course an easy to use check availability and book online page.

Click here to check it out.

 

8. Scenic launches New Zealand 2017/18 program

Travel Agent scenic-new-zealand-2017-18-cover

Scenic has launched its New Zealand 2017/2018 program, which includes six tours ranging in length from six to 24 days including a new adapted 20 day tour, plus a number of new Enrich experiences and Freechoice activities.

The 20 Day Royal New Zealand tour has been extended by two days and now begins in Christchurch and ends in Auckland. The tour also includes three nights in Queenstown as well as an overnight stay at Mount Cook. Guests can also enjoy an exclusive Scenic Enrich experience at the award-winning Hamilton Gardens including a guided tour and lunch in one of the private themed gardens. Plus new Scenic Freechoice activities include wine tasting Volcanic Hills wines and a gondola ride to Skyline in Rotorua, and a half day guided Lakeshore, Forest and Bird walk in Queenstown.

Scenic is offering earlybird deals on bookings made by 30 April 2017. Guests can Fly Free including taxes on any journey to New Zealand of 19 days or longer – a saving of up to $1,400 per couple. And on journeys of 12 days or longer, save up to $500 per couple.

Click here to view the brochure.

 

9. Geckos Adventures launches budget-friendly safaris for millennials

geckos-in-kenya

Geckos Adventures is targeting the younger 18-29 year old market keen to take in Africa, with three brand-new, budget friendly safaris in Kenya, Botswana and South Africa.

The company is offering nine-day trips for around $200-$300 less than the average safari, including the ‘Journey Through Botswana’ itinerary, which gives guests the opportunity to get up close with rhinos at the Khama Rhino Sanctuary before camping in the Okavango wilderness and spotting hippos in the Okavango Delta.

There’s also the nine-day Vic Falls & Safari trip combining southern Africa’s most exciting places – Hwange and Kruger National Parks and Victoria Falls, while the 12-day Amazing East Africa trip starts in Nairobi, Kenya and takes around 22 travellers in an overland style trip to East Africa’s most iconic game reserves including the Masai Mara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.

 

10. MSC Seaside floats out

Travel Agent msc-seaside

One of two groundbreaking new MSC Cruises ships emerged from the shipyard this week, to undergo the final phase of her construction.

Described as an ‘innovative new ship’, when MSC Seaside officially launches mid-2017, she’ll have 76 percent oceanview or balcony cabins, an extensive MSC Yacht Club spanning across five decks, 11 onboard dining experiences, a unique 360° ocean level promenade, panoramic glass lifts and a 30-metre bridge on the top deck. Additionally, guests will have access to six public pools, an interactive aqua park and more.

The ship will homeport in Miami as of December 2017 and will sail year round in 2018 in the Caribbean, further enriching MSC Cruises’ offering in this region – which, alongside MSC Seaside, will offer five of the most modern cruise ships serving the Caribbean.

 

11. Topdeck Travel officially launches its Asia trips

topdeck

Topdeck Travel officially launched its brand new trips to Asia last week, giving travellers the chance to book holidays in China, Myanmar and Indonesia through the adventure expert.

The launch night, held last week, celebrated all things Asia, with an exclusive sake-tasting by Andre Bishop, who along with Tetsuya Wakuda, is one of only two Australian Sake Samurais. The event also featured an array of Asian culinary delights accompanied by giant fortune cookies. To help kick off the new trips, Topdeck have introduced a special 10 percent off Asia sale, featuring brand new destinations such as China, Myanmar and a new active style trip to Bali for 2017/18 season.

The new trips in China are ticking everyone’s bucket list boxes by hanging out with the pandas and visiting traditional rice terraces in Longsheng. Trips in Myanmar offer comfortable accommodation, the best from Local Trip Leaders and jam-packed inclusions visiting the main Myanmar hot spot such as the floating village. The Bali-Active trip offers a brand new itinerary style, allowing customers to pick and choose their favourite activity including Yoga, surfing and cycling.

 

12. TravelManagers celebrates five more loyal consultants

Travel Agent travelmanagers-feature

TravelManagers Australia took time out to celebrate and thank five Western Australia-based consultants for their five year service.

Milestone awards were handed out at the group’s state meeting in Perth earlier this month, making them five of 181 personal travel managers to have stayed with the business for over half a decade.

The group’s Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, said the company has a passion for its people and a commitment to providing them with the best support while offering them the freedom and flexibility “to work how and when you choose”.

Click here for more pictures.

 

THIS WEEK’S COMPETITIONS

Pimp your scooter and WIN it!

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Thanks to TravelCube and its new ‘pimpmyscooter’ promotion, one of these chic chariots – valued at $400 each – could soon be yours.

Lugging a heavy bag through an airport terminal can be a real drag… but not with a fabulous luggage scooter!

These nifty, light-weight contraptions combine a sleek carry-on bag with a top-quality scooter, allowing you to glide effortlessly past fellow passengers and get to your flight on time and in style.

To celebrate the launch of its fresh new brand, the company is giving away eight micro luggage scooters.

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Sell Italy & See Italy

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This is your chance to earn a place on a famil to Italy and Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways Alitalia and Trafalgar Travel.

Enter now…

What are your thoughts on today’s travel news?