Skill up on all you need to know with bite sized travel news designed specifically to help you, the Travel Agent, be your best.

1. Virgin Australia to fly Melbourne-Hong Kong daily

Richard Branson Virgin Australia Hong Kong

Virgin Australia announced it will increase flights to Hong Kong, moving to daily return services between Melbourne and Hong Kong from 12 November 2017.

VA87 will depart Melbourne late morning/midday each day. VA86 will depart Hong Kong each evening and arrive in Melbourne the next morning.

The route is serviced by the carrier’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft, featuring ‘The Business’ and eight Economy X seats that offer additional legroom along with Premium check-in and boarding.


2. Helloworld Travel caters to golf fans through new partnership


Helloworld Travel is excited to announce a new one-year partnership with the PGA of Australia, heading out onto the greens for the Australian PGA Championship and ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth tournaments as Official Travel Agency partner.

Helloworld Travel will host first-class golf experiences, with VIP packages across both events, as well as having a presence at both tournament villages with experiences available on the ground to the public. The partnership will also see the extensive network of Helloworld Travel agents engaging with aspiring golfers and fans on their travel arrangements to and from PGA of Australia events throughout the year.

The Australian PGA Championship will be held at RACV Royal Pines Resort, on the Gold Coast in Queensland from 30 November – 3 December. Masters champion and World Number 8 Sergio Garcia will headline a stellar list of Australian and international players who will compete for the Joe Kirkwood Cup.

The ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth will be played at Lake Karrinyup Country Club from 8-11 February, 2018. The tournament combines 54 holes of traditional stroke play across the first three days with an exciting knockout match play format for the fourth and final round.


3. Travellers Choice network expansion continues


Travellers Choice is pleased to announce a further expansion of its award-winning network with the addition of two high-profile member shareholders in Western Australia – Kings Tours and Travel, a fast-growing multi-outlet operation based in Perth, and James St Cruise & Travel, an ambitious regional agency in the state’s south west.

Established in 1986, Kings Tours and Travel is recognised as a specialist in fully escorted holidays for the mature traveller. In addition the company is rapidly expanding its activities in the cruise and FIT sectors.

Owner Jenny Franceschi, whose father started Kings Tours and Travel, has overseen dramatic growth over the past few years. Along with an eponymous flagship store in the Perth suburb of West Leederville, the company recently added a second retail outlet, Northern Beaches Travel & Cruise, in the city’s north.

Franceschi says she was attracted to Travellers Choice because of the group’s continued investment in innovative marketing services, particularly in the digital arena.


4. RUTAS rebrands to ‘Unique Latin America’

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RUTAS, Latin American Representation, is thrilled to announce that it will be relaunching under the new name of Unique Latin America. The new name will be accompanied by a new website, amended logo and ongoing passion.

A major component of the relaunch includes a new and improved website which provides additional support to tour operators and more in-depth information regarding Unique Latin America’s partners, featured destinations, travel products and marketing functions. The business logo has been amended to include Central America as the business prepares to expand their representation services to emerging destinations.

The relaunch is also a fantastic opportunity to announce their ongoing focus on sustainable tourism, a passion at the heart of Unique Latin America and each of their partners.


5. AFTA teams up with Tramada for insolvency chargeback scheme


AFTA is making it easier for Travel Agents to apply for AICS – AFTA Insolvency Chargeback Scheme – through a new partnership with Tramada.

Tramada has designed a real-time report for clients to easily determine current and future creditor insolvency risk. The tramada® AICS report was developed as part of their ongoing commitment to the security and success of clients. It identifies key elements such as creditor, client, travel dates and monies already paid to a creditor. The tramada® AICS report is available now in the standard reporting suite to all Tramada clients at no additional charge.

AICS brings to light the risks Agents carry regarding suppliers potentially becoming insolvent and subsequent client chargeback. The tramada® AICS report was designed with AFTA requirements in mind, so that agents are not left “holding the bag” when it comes to identifying volumes paid to and trips outstanding with various creditors.

‘AICS is available to ATAS accredited travel agencies and provides protection against consumer debit and credit card chargebacks. AICS is a Mutual Beneficiary Fund owned by ATAS entities and at no cost to members.


6. Travel Insurance Direct refreshes with a rebrand


Travel Insurance Direct announced a brand refresh; rebranding to TID and revealing a new look across its online platform. With a focus on targeting a younger audience, the refresh mirrors the provider’s goals of simplifying and innovating the travel insurance process for Australian travellers.

Recognising that insurance is not deemed sexy, the brand has overhauled its look and tone to be more contemporary, fresh and dynamic, essentially becoming a travel buddy in your pocket.

As a brand that has always attracted a wide and broad audience, the business has made a tactical decision to speak more directly to a new generation of younger travellers. This has inspired a new, more efficient but informal tone of voice and more dynamic, mobile-friendly style.


7. Silversea Cruises orders Silver Muse a sister

Silver Muse

Silversea Cruises and Fincantieri have announced the signing of a contract worth approximately AU$463 million (310 million euros) for the construction of a new ultra-luxury cruise ship. The ship is due to join the Silversea fleet in 2020.

The new ship, tentatively named Silver Moon, will be the sister ship of Silver Muse, which was delivered in April 2017 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Sestri Ponente (Genoa).

At 40,700 gross tons and with a capacity to accommodate 596 passengers on board, Silver Moon will maintain the small-ship intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodation which is the hallmark of the Silversea experience.

Among the highlights of the new ship, the “Green Star 3 Design” will be a stand out feature. It is assigned to ships that are designed, built and equipped in order to prevent air and water pollution. Furthermore, the “COMF-NOISE A PAX” and “COMF-NOISE B CREW” are assigned on the basis of the noise levels measured on the ship. Results have shown that new-builds assigned these standards offer the very best levels of comfort to guests on board.


8. A phenomenal Pixar celebration is coming to Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Resort in California is offering fans the ultimate Pixar experience, launching the new, limited time celebration Pixar Fest, next year. The celebration will bring the family’s favourite Pixar stories to life in the most extraordinary ways, with a new fireworks spectacular show, the return of ‘Pixar Play Parade’ at Disneyland Park and fan-favourite ‘Paint the Night’.

During the festivities, Paradise Pier will undergo a permanent monster makeover to become Pixar Pier. The new-look pier will feature some of Pixar’s most popular characters on the seaside waterfront. Visitors will be enchanted by the whimsical neighbourhoods filled with characters from The Incredibles, Inside Out and Toy Story.

The parade includes characters from Disney.Pixar films such as Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Cars, whilst, ‘Paint the Night’ brightens the night sky with a procession of characters including Mickey and the gang, Disney princesses, Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story and Mike and Sulley from Monsters Inc.

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