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Fri 13 Feb: 10 travel stories you need to know today

We’ve done all the hard work, so you don’t have to! Read on for the top ten travel stories you need to know today.

We’ve done all the hard work, so you don’t have to! Read on for the top ten travel stories you need to know today.

1. Is DFAT’s travel advice too boring to read?

Image: Luis Molinero/Shutterstock

Image: Luis Molinero/Shutterstock

Is this a case of ‘we were all thinking it, but they actually had the guts to say it’?

Australia’s National Audit Office – a group that provides full audit and assurance services to the government and other sectors – has practically described the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) travel advice as, well, boring.

During a review of the government’s Smartraveller operations, the group found travel warnings to be ‘too long’.

Read on


2. It’s finally here: unlimited Wi-Fi at sea

feature - royal caribbean - karryob

Your clients (and you) will be able to stay connected to loved ones while cruising without breaking the budget, as Royal Caribbean introduces unlimited Wi-Fi on all its ships – including the Australian ones.

The news comes after the cruise line selected hospitality and technology provider, ElevenOS to manage its Internet platform including custom branded portal pages, guest authentication, billing, and advanced reporting.

As well as managing the system, ElevenOS gives Royal Caribbean passengers access to faster onboard connection AND unlimited Internet based on a per-day rate – a first for the industry.

KarryOn is awaiting comment from Royal Caribbean on new pricing and how it compares to the current price.

The system was fitted on all 22 Royal Caribbean ships late last year.

Internet at sea has been a hot topic, particularly as the industry takes off, because it can often be costly and slow.

Last year, Disney also took steps to introduce more costly connections by transitioning its Connect@Sea Internet packages from per-minute plans to data allotment plans.

This means, passengers will be charged for how big their email content is and not how long it took to load (because sometimes it can take forever).

New internet data packages range from a pay-as-you-go plan with guests paying 25cents per MB to a 1GB plan which charges nine cents per MB.

Earlier this month Royal Caribbean completed a 24-hour refurbishment on Freedom of the Seas, click here to see what’s new on the ship.


3. Which company did Expedia just purchase?


Online travel competition just got a whole lot smaller (or bigger from Webjet’s perspective), as Expedia purchases Orbitz Worldwide for around AU$2 billion.

The announcement comes less than three months after Expedia completed its $703 million purchase of online flight and accommodation seller, Wotif.com.

Overnight’s plan to purchase Orbitz will add more brands to Expedia’s portfolio, including Orbitz.com plus CheapTickets, eBookers, HotelClub, and Sydney-based RatestoGo.

Read on


4. China Southern increases QLD’s Spring charters

China Southern A330

China Southern Airlines will increases its charters between China and Queensland during Spring Festival Holidays to daily.

Commencing 15 February, CZ will have a total of seven charters, six into Cairns and one into the Gold Coast Airport. The aircraft servicing the charter routes will be the A330.

The airline said the additional services are in response to Queensland’s strength as a destination, particularly for the Festival celebrations.

The major Guangzhou tourism operators, GZL International, LB international and Guangdong Yueqiao International are the major charterers throughout the program.

The travellers complete a variety of tour programs throughout Australia with some arriving on scheduled services, in advance of the charters and returning on the charter return legs.


5. Fun travel news Friday

Image: smoderek/Shutterstock

Image: smoderek/Shutterstock

Ever wondered how flight attendants punish annoying passengers? And did you know parentals are getting frisky with strangers on holidays?

We have all this plus so much more in this week’s Fun travel news Friday.

Read on.


6. Art Series lifestyle goes home with you

Art Series Hotel header

Continually aiming to provide the highest standard of service and design, Art Series Hotel Group’s new lifestyle offering positions them as a leader in the next generation of luxury accommodation.

The group has grown to be much more than a collection of hotels, expanding the brand and providing guests with the opportunity to buy into an entire lifestyle – one of innovative concepts and boundless choices – with their new online retail store; Artefacts.

Alongside prints, candles and furnishings such as throw pillows and linen, guests can now replicate that same comfort and experience at home with an Art Series Signature Bed.

Read on


7. New Zealand to score tourism goals

NEw Zealand FIFA

Football (oh sorry, soccer) enthusiasts will be heading to New Zealand in packs later this year after the country was selected to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015.

Held across seven host cities from May 30 – June 20, the FIFA U-20 World Cup will see 24 teams from across the world battle it out in New Zealand for the title of U-20 World Cup champions.

All teams competing will receive a chance to experience the best of what New Zealand has to offer, with Group A sees home side New Zealand take on tournament newcomers Myanmar, USA and Ukraine in games taking place in Auckland and the Northland city of Whangarei.

Group B, based in New Zealand’s capital city Wellington, sees Argentina, Panama, Austria and an African CAF team yet to be determined, play their first games at the Wellington harbour-based Westpac Stadium.

Hamilton, the home of The Hobbiton Movie Set and the ancient Waitomo Caves, await Group C which includes Qatar, Colombia, Portugal and an African CAF team (to be determined). Mexico, Africa CAF, Uruguay and Serbia will face each other in Group D in the sport-loving city of Dunedin.

Africa CAF, fan-favourites Brazil, Korea DPR and Hungary make up Group E, who will play in the North Island city of New Plymouth – a place renowned for its great surf breaks and breath-taking landscapes.

Germany, Fiji, Uzbekistan and Honduras complete the draw in Group F and will play in the stunning city of Christchurch, known as the gateway to the South Island.

But it’s not only the players that will get a taste of the country, the event is expected to be watched by around 170 million people in 100 countries around the world.

The geographic spread of the tournament – with host cities in both the North and South islands – gives visitors and viewers the chance to see the country’s landscapes and cultural heritage.


8. AIME is almost here


In only 11 days the biggest industry names will be in Melbourne to kick off this year’s Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME).

Taking place on 24 February to 25 February at the Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre, this year the event will feature some of the biggest musical entertainment plus Australia’s most renowned influential speakers.

Among the speakers this year is Ita Buttrose who will discuss media; professional surfer Layne Beachley has been recruited to lead up conversations about sport; while Mark Bouris will join Rod McGeoch, Gary Pert and Steve Vamos to discuss business.

The group will speak during the two hour ‘Australia Speaks‘ show along with 22 other renowned Aussies.

Meanwhile as part of AIME history, guests will also be treated to musical performances from soul singer Darren Percival, beatbox phenomenon Tom Thum, singer-songwriter and INXS frontman Ciaran Gribbin, and award winning vocalists Anthony Callea and Tim Campbell.

Have you got your tickets yet?

Before you head to Melbourne you might want to get a few tips on what to do before and after the show, with KarryOn’s tips on ‘What to do in Melbourne when in town for AIME‘.


9. Agents adopt the Canadian spirit

Canada feature

The annual Canada Corroboree was back in town, giving agents around the country the chance to get to know the latest Canadian products and itineraries.

This year, the roadshow started on 2 February in Perth at the Pan Pacific. The event then travelled on to Adelaide (3 February – National Wine Centre of Australia); Melbourne (4 February – Grand Hyatt Melbourne); Brisbane (10 February – Hilton Brisbane); and Sydney (11 February – Four Seasons Hotel Sydney).

Read on and see more images


10. Sex hotels coming into popularity

A 'love hotel' in Osaka.

A ‘love hotel’ in Osaka.

The accommodation sector is becoming more ‘hospitable’ to couples looking to ‘relax’ without an awkward breakfast the following day.

In Brazil they are known as the ‘sex hotels’ or ‘love hotels’ where guests check in and pay for a one hour stay.

According to the Business Reports, the trend actually started in Japan where the ‘love hotel’ is a $43 billion industry.

The report says the country has over 30,000 ‘love hotels’ offering accommodation from $20.

Price doesn’t just cover the cost of a bed, but also silk sheets, a flat screen TV, adult entertainment and a bath that can fit two.

In some cases, niche products are also included such as handcuffs and more (I’m sure your imagination can think up the rest).

In Chile, there is said to be only around 500 ‘love hotels’ making around $59 million a year. Most of them have themes such as prison cells, hospitals, etc.

While the ‘love hotels’ haven’t taken off Down Under, we do have properties offering couples specialty ‘sex’ packages during their stay.

It may not be the same, but ‘love hotels’ kind of remind us of these 50 Shades of Grey packages accommodation owners have created for their guests in time for Valentine’s Day

Check out how Christian Grey and a naughty toy box is bringing people’s fantasies to life. Read on

What are your thoughts on today’s news? Start the conversation by sharing your thoughts below.