We’ve done all the hard work, so you don’t have to! Read on for our top ten travel industry news stories of the day we think you need to know.
1. Virgin launches Dreamliner to the tune of #Flightdecks
If the celebration of the inaugural flight of Virgin Atlantic’s Dreamliner is anything to go by, Branson sure knows how to party.
The airline launched their first 787-9 Dreamliner by flying 264 lucky passengers from Heathrow, London to Atlanta, Georgia.
In true Branson fashion, guests were entertained by UK chart toppers, Rudimental and electronic music duo, Gorgon City who played their set in the ‘upper class bar’ – making it the first gig to ever be staged at 39 000 ft.
So us mere mortals left to only imagine what experiencing live music soaring through the clouds would be like, the airline live streamed the gig over the Atlantic Ocean – another world first.
The #Flightdecks gig, was live streamed via the plane’s wifi system.
Read on for more.
2. Match Australia aims to “hit a sixer” for Aus. trade and tourism
In a bid to promote trade, tourism and investment among participating nations, Australia has launched ‘Match Australia Sports Business programme’ ahead of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Match Australia aims to link Australian firms with business partners during a series of major sports and cultural events in Australia.
Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) will manage Match Australia in conjunction with the States and Territories hosting international delegations from key trading partners and organising a series of business events during the tournament.
Read on for more.
3. Qantas expected to report pre-tax profit in first quarter
The chief executive of Qantas, Alan Joyce, has said the airline is on track to return to an underlying profit in the first half of this financial year.
Joyce said Qantas had now come through the worst, with passenger numbers improving in the three months to September, and returns on domestic airfares improving in the month of September.
According to Joyce, preliminary figures indicated the airline achieved an underlying pre-tax profit in the first quarter of 2014-15.
“On the back of the hard work of the people of the Qantas Group, we are on track to deliver an underlying profit for the first half of the financial year,” he said.
Qantas has previously suffered a pre-tax loss of $646m in 2013-14, due to its battle for domestic passengers and a record fuel bill.
4. Tiger Air adds thousands of additional seats to cater for peak holiday period
Tigerair Australia has announced 4,000 additional seats on sale on a number of popular routes for the upcoming summer holiday peak travel season to cater for extra travel demand.
Tigerair Australia Commercial Director, Adam Rowe, said the airline continues to evolve based on consumer demand and is confident the additional seats, which went on sale last week, will prove popular with leisure travellers still considering travel plans this summer.
“Popular holiday hot spots like the Whitsundays, Hobart, Gold Coast, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne will all benefit from a boost in visitor seats during the holiday period,” he said.
“As always, the best value fares are those snapped up first and it’s the early bird gets the worm, as the saying goes, so we urge bargain seekers to jump online as soon as possible to secure the best summer travel deals.”
5. Hundreds of riders tackle gruelling track for a chance at Croc Award
Almost 100 riders from 17 countries raced through Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef region last week, battling it out for the Crocodile Trophy.
Endurance cyclist Andrew Hall who wears the Amateur Leader Jersey after Stage 6 at the 20th Crocodile Trophy was impressed by the race track composition.
“The first few days were a lot of fun. Those trails in Cairns and Atherton have really enriched the Crocodile Trophy track portfolio,” he said.
“The challenge is in the different riding experiences including single track, flat, hilly and purpose-built trails which the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef region offers and this perfect combination of trails presented one of the toughest races for these riders,” Crocodile Trophy organiser Gerhard Schoenbacher said.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Alex de Waal said the world’s most gruelling mountain bike stage race presented an opportunity to showcase some of the newest trails in the network of more than 550km of mountain biking trails presiding under the Ride Cairns name.
“Events like the Crocodile Trophy add to the reputation of Ride Cairns, positioning the region as a world-class mountain biking destination and inspiring recreational riders to discover the region,” he said.
6. 2015 New Zealand Hotel Industry opts for “Langham style” at 2015 conference.
The 2015 New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference will be held at The Langham, Auckland on Thursday, 4 June 2015. The conference, the only annual event dedicated to New Zealand’s valuable hotel sector, is co-hosted by Howarth HTL Ltd and the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA).
“We are delighted that the conference will be returning to The Langham, Auckland next year, following the expansion of the five-star hotel’s conference facilities,” says Terry Ngan, Director, Horwath HTL.
Now in its ninth year, the highly respected and successful New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference is attended by senior managers, owners and stakeholders in the New Zealand hotel sector. The 2014 conference attracted around 250 delegates, including over 30 from Australia.
Attendees included hotel managers, investors, developers, hotel chains, government agencies, hotel industry consultants, sponsors and exhibitors. The 2015 conference programme will be announced over the coming months.
7. The taste of Emirates wins big among Saveur critics
Emirates has won Saveur Magazine’s Culinary Travel Award for Best In-Flight Dining: First Class & Business Class for the second consecutive year.
Saveur, an American-based culinary-travel magazine, asked an expert panel of world travellers and readers to identify the world’s best cities, markets, restaurants, bars, hotels, airlines and other experiences.
The panel cited Emirates’ seven-course meals served on Royal Doulton fine bone china, extensive range of vintage wines, and healthy fare as factors that set it apart from other entrants.
“Being recognised by a publication of Saveur’s calibre carries special weight and validates the attention to detail we put into our in-flight food and beverage programme,” said Terry Daly, Divisional Senior Vice President, Service Delivery.
Emirates’ regionally-inspired dishes are prepared by five-star chefs, who customise each in-flight menu to reflect the culinary tastes of specific routes and destinations.
8. Starwood and Mercedes AMG Petronas extends partnership
Award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Starwood Preferred Guest, has announced a two-year extension of its partnership with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.
Considered the most prestigious form of motor racing in the world, Formula One consists of a series of races known as ‘Grands Prix’ held on purpose-built and street circuits. Through this partnership, the Starwood Preferred Guest program has been able to offer its members unique access to experience exclusive Grand Prix events and in incredible destinations too, such as Spain, Monaco, Singapore, Brazil, Abu Dhabi and more.
“From one-of-a kind views of the pit lane to meeting the drivers in incredible destinations, the unique and exclusive experiences we have offered as a result of this partnership have helped drive SPG Members’ excitement for this popular sport,” said Mark Vondrasek, Senior Vice President, Distribution, Loyalty and Partnership Marketing for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
9. Witness reports: “Jet-Ski Gang” ripping off Aussie tourists
According to Australian tourist, Darren Hatcher, Jet-ski operators in Phuket are attempting to scam travellers with enormous damage bills.
Darren Hatcher, 48, and his son Michael, 16, told Phuketwan that his family were forced to pay 50,000 baht after they were accused of damaging the jet-skis they had hired earlier that day.
”Five of us hired jet-skis to ride around Patong Bay,” Mr Hatcher said.
’’The thing is, they pointed out the pre-existing damage to the jet-skis on the beach. Then when we returned, they claimed we had caused that damage.”
Mr Hatcher said that a 40-minute argument on Patong beach escalated after police arrived on the scene.
‘’They immediately sided with the jet-ski guys and said we would be arrested if we did not pay,” Mr Hatcher said.
”We took the skis out knowing the damage was there, and none of the jet-skis went anywhere near each other.’’
Mr Hatcher said he had no choice except to go to an ATM, leaving son Michael as collateral, and withdraw 10,000 baht to pay to the operators.
10. AM Airlines experience bookings slump after Ebola scare
American Airlines has admitted that bookings fell on the day after US lawmakers discussed the Ebola crisis. The carrier said that there had been a “measurable impact” on sales last week after some members of the US Congress had called for a travel ban on flights from west Africa because of the Ebola crisis.
But American’s president Scott Kirby said that while bookings had fallen on the day after the Congress session on Ebola, sales had quickly “snapped back to normal” in the last few days.
Other US-based airlines have said that there has been no impact on their sales because of the Ebola crisis.
The comments came as American Airlines revealed a pre-tax profit of $949 million for the three months to the end of September, following its merger with US Airways.
“While some of the biggest tasks in our integration still lie before us, the significant accomplishments to date reinforce our confidence that we are well on our way to restoring American as the world’s greatest airline,” Chief executive Doug Parker said.
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