We’ve done all the hard work, so you don’t have to! Read on for the top ten travel industry news stories of the day we think you need to know.
1. What’s the Virgin Hotels difference?
There’s no doubt that when Sir Richard Branson chooses to enter a new sector of travel, he does so with plans to completely shake things up.
And it’s no different with his new hotel operations, Virgin Hotels.
The hotel group will make its debut this week with the opening of the first property in Chicago.
Although the entrepreneur has remained tight-lipped about what guests can expect in rooms or Chambers (as Virgin likes to call them), Branson has revealed minor but vital details on what sets his first hotel apart from others.
2. Flight attendant training is tougher than you’d expect
You may only see them smiling, delivering meals and relaying flight safety regulations, but your flight attendants are trained to do so much more than you could ever imagine.
News site, Jaunted has compiled a list of unique training – like jungle survival and karate – flight crew are put through before they get the uniform
South American airline, TAM requires its flight attendants to go through jungle survival training.
3. AirAsia QZ8501 update: black box located
Indonesian search teams believe they have located the main body of AirAsia’s flight QZ8501, which lost contact with air traffic control on 28 December last year.
The plane was carrying 162 passengers when it crashed less than halfway into a flight from Surabaya to Singapore.
Search teams have since been searching for remains and aircraft pieces and were last week successful in locating the plane’s tail, which was sitting 30 metres deep in the ocean.
Now, Indonesia’s senior ministry official, Tonny Budiono says navy divers have found the aircraft’s main body and the black box four kilometres from where the tail was found, ABC News reported.
“The black boxes are in a crushed part of the aircraft debris, making it very difficult for the team of divers.”
Once the black box is recovered, investigators will be able to use recorded data to determine what happened in the moments leading up to the crash.
Meanwhile, remains for 48 of the 162 passengers aboard the aircraft have been located. 32 bodies have been identified and 16 are still being examined.
4. Book Nanuku through your GDS
Consultants can now book Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji accommodation through four GDS’ – Worldspan, Sabre, Apollo/Galileo, and Amadeus.
Currently product available through the GDS’ is the resort’s Beachfront Grand Pool Villa. Remaining accommodation levels – including the Vunikau Penthouse and suites and Beachfront Residence Duplex Villas – are in the process of being rolled out.
Access codes for Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji are Worldspan – SUVNAAU; Sabre – 272684AU; Apollo/Galileo – B1888AU; and Amadeus – PHRNARYX.
Meanwhile, the property has extended its ‘stay five nights – pay only four’ special to 30 March 2015.
The offer is available in one of the resort’s Vunikau Suites for travel until 19 April 2015.
Pricing for the special starts at US$1746* per person twin share based on a five-night stay.
Last year, Fiji’s Nanuku Resort & Spa’s owners announced the property will receive new luxury beachfront residencies, as part of a management restructure.
5. Ski Queenstown with Infinity
Travellers can now ski in Queenstown on an Infinity Holidays tour, with new stand alone accommodation and packages in the city.
Ski product has been added to the tour company’s offerings in conjunction with Nomad Safaris and Haka Tours.
Infinity will offer stand alone accommodation and packages, which include accommodation, transfers, equipment hire and lift passes. These tours will be operated by Nomad Safaris and Haka Tours. Infinity will also offer more basic ski packages through Kiwi Discoveries.
Each of the Australia/ New Zealand sales teams is now complemented by an Infinity Holidays NZ Ski expert and additional accommodation allotments have been sourced to meet the increased demand the new offering will generate.
6. Majesty’s Royal departure
Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas will officially leave the cruise line’s fleet early next year.
The ship’s last voyage under the Royal Caribbean umberella will depart on a three-night cruise on 29 April. The ship will then enter dry dock before joining Royal Caribbean Limited’s Spanish subsidiary, Pullmantur.
With the addition of Majesty, Pullmantur’s total passenger capacity will increase by 20 percent, which the company’s president Jorge Vilches says will allow the line to meet growing demand for unique Latin-style cruising.
“The transfer of Majesty of the Seas will be of crucial importance in Pullmantur’s Latin American growth strategy. It will help us become one of the best-known brands in that market.”
Jorge Vilches, Pullmantur president and chief executive officer
7. KarryOn deals of the week
Get some inspiration for your next holiday or your client’s next trip, with some of the best travel deals of the week.
This week there’s up to 25 percent off car hire around the world; 25 percent off river cruising in Southeast Asia; a free night in the Cooks; Emirates’ new year offers; and savings on AAT Kings’ wine and food packages.
8. Singapore Airlines’ Indian venture takes off
Singapore Airlines’ newest venture and India’s new carrier, Vistara commenced operations last week, with an inaugural service from Delhi to Mumbai.
The airline was created in conjunction with India-based Tata Sons to fill demand for air travel around the country.
Currently Vistara only operates services within India – including services to and from Ahmedabad, Mumbai and New Dehli – aboard its 148-seater Airbus A320-200.
Speaking at the launch at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, Minister of State for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Dr Mahesh Sharma said the new airline will focus on building the country’s tourism market as well as promoting safety and quality flying.
Delightful first flight on Vistara 🙂 with fellow Director Mak Swee Wah (Chairman of Silk Air). pic.twitter.com/1Mn1MXNQik
— Dr. Mukund Rajan (@Mukund_Rajan) January 9, 2015
9. Space travel in posters
Wondered what it would be like to travel to space but can’t afford a ticket on one of Virgin Galactic’s first flights?
NASA is giving you a glimpse into outer space life, with three posters [above] detailing what life could be like outside our solar system.
The three posters use iconic travel print styles from the 1930s, with contrasting colours and classic typefaces.
Which is your favourite?
10. Gwyneth Paltrow ‘Escapes’ into travel
Actress, mum, food writer, lifestyle blogger and now travel guru.
Gwyneth Paltrow is tapping into the growing trend of travellers taking celebrity recommended holidays, with plans to launch an ‘Escapes’ app full of travel tips and advice.
The mother-of-two is already involved in promoting tourism, and was late last year recruited to launch British Airways’ A380 service between London and Singapore [promotion pictured above].
In a note posted to her blog goop.com, Paltrow said: “A comprehensive Escapes guide (and app, coming soon!) has been on our wish list since goop was born”.
As a pre-launch to the app, the actress is giving travellers a glimpse into the app with a list of top getaways recommended by her and ‘trusted friends’.
So far, ‘Escapes’ include ‘Surf-Centric Getaways’ in North America and South/Central America; Escapes for Foodies & Winos; Quick Getaways; Great Trips with Friends; and Romantic Escapes.
“There are also plenty of options for when you need some self-care, either to reboot your system or recover from trauma.”
Do you think your clients would be keen on receiving celebrity travel tips?
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