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Thu 11 Sep: 10 Things you need to know today

We’ve done all the hard work so you don’t have to! Read on for the top 10 travel industry news stories of the day that we think you need to know.

We’ve done all the hard work so you don’t have to! Read on for the top 10 travel industry news stories of the day that we think you need to know.


1. Safety to slow processing systems

The recent announcement from the federal government is the intention to expand passenger processing systems in a bid to stop Australians partaking in conflicts overseas.

The increase of counter-terrorism measures will mean longer delays at airports.

“As the world grows smaller, then obviously the threats from other places can have a greater impact here,” Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison told the Press Club on Wednesday.

The announcement also follows funding for a new airport counter-terrorism units and the introduction of departure e-gates.


2. Golden Bill opens gates after Ebola travel restrictions announced


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced that it will commit $50 million to support the scale up of emergency efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and interrupt transmission of the virus.

The foundation will immediately release flexible funds to United Nations agencies and international organizations involved in the response to enable them and national governments to purchase badly needed supplies and scale up emergency operations in affected countries.

In addition, the foundation will work with public and private sector partners to accelerate the development of therapies, vaccines, and diagnostics that could be effective in treating patients and preventing further transmission of the disease.

“We are working urgently with our partners to identify the most effective ways to help them save lives now and stop transmission of this deadly disease,” said Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Gates Foundation.

“We also want to accelerate the development of treatments, vaccines and diagnostics that can help end this epidemic and prevent future outbreaks.”

The announcement comes in wake of travel restrictions on affected areas, which, according to experts, could hamper attempts to control the outbreak.


3.Battle of the states in tourism stakes


According to the Tourism Research National Visitor Survey, national tourism grew five per cent, generating more than 1(AUD) billion a day in revenue.

The reason behind the growth is said to be due to an increase in travellers visiting family and friends.

However, the share of tourists among states was certainly not equal.

Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia gained an extra six to nine per cent.

Queensland recorded a one per cent increase. However, tourists spent more and stayed longer in the sunshine state.

Tasmania gained considerable less, with a five per cent drop in visitors.


4. Free wifi on the waves


Oceania Cruises has today announced plans to provide complimentary Internet access to guests booked in either their Owner’s, Vista and Oceania suites abord their five mid-size ships.

Guests booked in Penthouse suites or Concierge Level staterooms will receive blocks of complimentary Internet time based on cruise length, starting with 200 minutes for a seven-night cruise and extending to 500 minutes for voyages over 16 nights.

“Oceania Cruises is committed to providing our guests with an extraordinary cruise vacation for an incomparable value, so we’re excited to add free Internet to an already long list of included amenities such as complimentary dining experiences at our exquisite specialty restaurants,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, president of Oceania Cruises. 

This is the first time the upper-premium cruise line has offered a free Internet program, with the new benefit commencing during the 2015 winter season.


5. Kiwis conquer the skies


Air New Zealand is adding more flights to its North American schedule.

The popularity of the airline’s service between Auckland and Los Angeles will see the airline step up frequency next year from twice daily to three times a day on three days of the week.

To date Air New Zealand’s Los Angeles service has predominantly run twice-daily but during the 2015 Northern Summer season (April – October) there will be a third flight departing Auckland on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, representing a 20 per cent boost in total capacity.

“The extra flights are a good example of Air New Zealand listening and responding to customer feedback,” said Chief Sales and Commercial Officer Cam Wallace.

According to the airline, frequent LA travellers had requested an earlier arrival, particularly when connecting to the US East Coast.

“We’re thrilled to now be able to offer this to our customers,” Wallace said.

The additional Los Angeles services will depart Auckland earlier than the current daily services arriving in Los Angeles around 0900 and enabling same day connections with Midwest and East Coast USA destinations.

The earlier departure time will also suit Australian travellers heading to the USA, with convenient Melbourne and Sydney connections.


6. Four Finalists Fight for Travel Agent Scholarship Supremacy


Avis Australia today unveiled the names of four finalists for this year’s Avis Travel Agent Scholarship, with consultants from leisure, corporate and home-based retail groups competing for the award.

The winner of the 18th annual Avis Travel Agent Scholarship will receive a range of educational and travel-related prizes valued in excess of $40,000, including two return Qantas Airways Business Class airfares to New York and a grant to study at Southern Cross University.

The finalists for the 2014 award are:

Paul Mirabito, Corporate Travel Management (NSW)

Jodie Gonzales, American Express Global Business Travel (QLD)

Meagan McLeod, Escape Travel (NSW)

Melanie Whyte, TravelManagers (TAS).

All four consultants will gather in Sydney on 21 October to attend the final judging session and the announcement of the 2014 winner at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney.

 “It bodes well for the future of our industry that so many consultants, from relative newcomers to the industry right through to senior managers, are so passionate about customer service,” said Avis Travel Industry Manager, Russell Butler.

“I have no doubt that such a highly-competitive environment will once again deliver an outstanding Scholarship winner in 2014.”


7. Early birds catching the worm on P&O


Image Source: Telegraph UK.

P&O Cruises has reported a strong start to its latest cruise program, with holidaymakers taking advantage of its new VIP packages, valid till April 30 2015, which reward guests who book early with a range of complimentary benefits valued at up to $700* a room.

A first for the cruise line, the VIP Packages include free extras such as a welcome bottle of wine, canapés, bathrobes and slippers and a premium bathroom amenities pack.

For longer cruises of seven nights or more, the packages also offer guests a free cruise photo per room, a USB stick for images, a $(AUD)20 cocktail voucher, $(AUD) 50 shore tour voucher, and discounted internet as well as free laundry for four items.

Guests on longer cruises will also enjoy a complimentary bottle of wine when they book a dinner onboard at Salt Grill by Luke Mangan or Luna.

All packages also feature VIP check-in and preferred room choice, while travellers booking oceanview rooms will enjoy an onboard credit of up to $200 per room and those in balcony, mini-suites and suites will enjoy credits of up to $400 per room.

“We know many of our guests like to book well in advance to ensure they get the room they want on their cruise, but these wonderful VIP extras provide another great incentive to get in early,” P&O Cruises Senior Vice President Tammy Marshall said.


8. Qantas and WestJet share the load


A new codeshare agreement with WestJet will provide Qantas customers with greater access across Canada.

From 15 October, Qantas customers will be able to travel on codeshare services operated by WestJet to more than 20 new routes both to and within Canada.

They will also be able to connect within four hours between Qantas operated international flights to Los Angeles and Honolulu and WestJet flights to Canada’s key domestic hubs – Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Edmonton.

“This is great news for our customers who will enjoy the benefits of travelling on a Qantas flight number right through to their final destination in Canada with baggage checked through and more opportunities to earn frequent flyer points,” Qantas Executive Manager International Sales Stephen Thompson said.


9. Number two on the number one


Otahuna Lodge in Tai Tapu, Canterbury has been voted one of the world’s Top 20 International Hideaways by Andrew Harper’s Reader’s Choice Survey 2014.

The luxury seven-suite Lodge gained 2nd place in the luxury travel category

It was also voted the 6th best Food and Wine Resort in the world, gaining the highest place given to a property outside of the US.

Two other New Zealand properties, Huka Lodge and Blanket Bay, were ranked 9th and 16th respectively.

“Americans in particular are absolutely in love with New Zealand and this latest listing confirms for us that we are providing a destination that leaves a great lasting impression in travellers’ minds,” Otahuna Lodge’s owner, Hall Cannon said


10. Aussie’s flair for food to hit London


Tourism Australia, in a bid to quash the belief that Australia isn’t a “foodie” destination, will open up a pop-up restaurant at Australia House in London.

The restaurant, launching on 22 September, will give Londoners a taste of the best food and wine Australia has to offer.

The initiative comes in the wake of research conducted for Tourism Australia that claimed that only 26per cent of those surveyed (travellers who had never been to Australia) associated our sun burnt shores with good food and wine.

What’s your reaction to today’s news? Share your comments and feedback below or send us your news stories for the next edition of Need to Know.