By KARRYON @karryontravel21 Mar 2017Skill 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. Close 135 stores? No way, says Flight Centre Flight Centre has practically told Macquarie to re-check its numbers after analysts suggested that the travel group should drastically reduce its retail presence in order to achieve financial growth. In a note allegedly issued to clients this month, analysts reflected on Flight Centre’s 36 percent drop in half-year profits, saying it may have been a result of the group’s large bricks and mortar presence in Australia, the Financial Review reported. Macquarie said the company’s total transaction volume (TTV) hasn’t increased in over four years and “additional store opening have been dilutive to sales productivity”. Read on 2. Which Aussie city is Virgin Australia using for its first Hong Kong flights? It’s one of Australia’s most ‘liveable’ cities and one of the biggest. It’s located on the east side and surprise, it’s not Sydney. So which city will Virgin Australia use for its first service to Hong Kong? Melbourne! The carrier finally revealed details of its expansion into Greater China this morning, and it all starts on 5 July this year with direct Melbourne-Hong Kong flights. Read on 3. Rex grounds some planes following last week’s propeller incident Regional Express Airlines (Rex) has made the decision to ground some of its aircraft as investigations into last week’s propeller incident continue. On Friday, two of the airline’s pilots were praised for successfully landing a Saab 34 carrying 16 passengers with only one propeller in tact. According to the carrier, the two pilots were en-route from Albury to Sydney when they received ‘abnormal indications’ for the right-hand engine. Read on 4. Que Chido! Caribbean cruises are selling from $467 It’s time to put those Jamaican Dancehall and Reggaeton dance classes to good use on a half price Caribbean cruise! Jamaica, Mexico, the Bahamas, St Maarten, Cayman Islands AND Puerto Rico (eeee) are on sale from tomorrow through MSC Cruises. Take your tropical pick. Read on 5. Contiki launches Australia & New Zealand 2017/18 brochure Sometimes we’re too busy dreaming about far-flung destinations to realise what’s on our doorstep. Contiki, has launched its Australia and New Zealand 2017/18 programme showcasing a brand new trip to New Zealand and revealing the wealth of amazing experiences and activities on offer right here in the backyard. New for 2017/18, Contiki’s seven-day Rhythm and Alps takes travellers to New Zealand’s south island to soak up the stunning scenery and gets the adrenalin pumping in Queenstown before a two-day music fix at a festival in Cardrona with festival passes, VIP admission and glamping experience all included. Katrina Barry, Managing Director Contiki Australia, commented: “We appreciate that wherever our travellers choose to head, whether it be to Europe or over the border to the neighbouring state, they want a holiday to remember and to experience something out of the ordinary. Our Australia and New Zealand 2017/18 brochure has been designed to give young adventurers the chance to experience these familiar destinations in a unique and memorable way. 6. Uniworld strengthens national sales team with a new Sales Manager Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has appointed seasoned travel professional Hannah Wooden to the role of Sales Manager for VIC and TAS, boosting its national sales force. With over 10 years’ experience in the customer service and sales sectors, Wooden brings her wealth of knowledge to Uniworld. This includes her role as Senior Travel Consultant for companies such as Down Under Answers Travel, Stella Travel Services and Harvey World Travel; and most recently at Singapore Airlines in their corporate division. Fiona Dalton, Uniworld’s Manager Director of Australia, says of the appointment: “With her results driven background, we’re thrilled to have Hannah join the Uniworld sales team. Her solid experience in the travel industry will no doubt assist Uniworld in our continued growth and success in the Victoria and Tasmanian markets of Australia.” 7. P&O Cruises launches first Flagship College Master Class P&O Cruises has released its first Flagship College Master Class, giving Travel Agents an easy way to boost their cruise knowledge. Taking only one hour to complete, the Master Class will give consultants deeper insights into P&O’s product – as well as 10 Cruise Lines International Australasia (CLIA) Accreditation Points. The course is available in a mobile-friendly format for easy access, with Agents having the option to start and stop at any time, making it even easier to complete. The Master Class is the second course to be made available through Flagship College, launched last June as part of the new P&O agent website. Close to 1500 agents have already completed the first Extra Credit course which was released in November last year. Click here for more information. 8. Travel Agents get a taste of West Hollywood in Sydney Travel Agents were invited to indulge in the celebrity, fashion and unique style of West Hollywood during a Sydney trade show earlier this month. Up to 180 key trade partners and consultants attended the event held at the trendy harbourside bar, Hacienda. One lucky Flight Centre Agent took home a grand prize including a flight to LAX and room nights at each of the West Hollywood hotels represented on the night. 9. Sno’n’Ski Mega Famil a mega success Sno’n’Ski wowed 32 top selling Agents on the ski road trip of a lifetime, covering four ski resorts across British Columbia, in seven days. With the support of Destination British Columbia and Destination Canada, on the 10th of March the Sno’n’Ski famil departed Brisbane and Sydney direct to Vancouver on Air Canada, and visited Big White, SilverStar, Sun Peaks and Whistler. Skier and Snowboarder Agents of all abilities participated in lessons at each of the four resorts, progressing their skills and getting to know the mountains & properties. Other on snow activities included tubing, ice-skating, snowshoeing, zip lining, snowmobiling, and plenty of après ski. The overall experience provides agents with the knowledge to identify the uniqueness between Whistler, Sun Peaks, SilverStar and Big White, and confidently sell each destination on its merits to their clients. What are your thoughts on today’s travel news? 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