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. Australia takes tourism investment to Hong Kong
The head of Australia’s national tourism organisation, John O’Sullivan, will visit Hong Kong this week to discuss potential investment opportunities in Australia’s tourism infrastructure with both Hong Kong-based and regional investors.
In addition to addressing the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP), of which Tourism Australia is a key sponsor, Mr O’Sullivan will co-host alongside Austrade (the Australian Trade Commission) an ‘Australian Hotel Investment VIP Luncheon’ with up to 40 leading foreign investors.
As part of the visit Mr O’Sullivan will also unveil a new iPad app showcasing Australian tourism investment opportunities, news on hotel developments and acquisition activity as well as up-to-date statistics on hotel performance and tourism and aviation data. Mr O’Sullivan said that investment in new tourism infrastructure was a key plank of Australia’s Tourism 2020 strategy, with a target of between 6,000 and 20,000 additional hotel rooms by the end of the decade.
“HICAP is an important conference as it attracts investors from all of Australia’s tourism investment target markets and also gives us a valuable platform to demonstrate our credentials in what is our fastest growing and most lucrative inbound tourism market,” he said.
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2. NZ welcomes a stampede of agents during largest trade famil
Today Tourism New Zealand, in partnership with Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia, will run its largest trade familiarisation and training event for 2014.
More than 220 Australian travel agents from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, ACT, Western Australia and South Australia, representing companies such as Flight Centre Travel Group, helloworld, MTA Travel and Travel Counsellors will embark on a journey through Middle-earth.
The selected travel agents will experience New Zealand for five days, taking part in one of 12 familiarisation itineraries.
The agents will start their journey in Auckland, participating in a day-long regional training workshop. An Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia alliance training session will highlight inflight product, the 787-9 Dreamliner and the two airlines’ reciprocal frequent flyer programmes.
Read on for more.
3. Dubai Tourism to unveil new website and mobile app
The Dubai Tourism board have unveiled their new website and mobile app to the tech media this week. The new website will provide a more engaging, informative and intuitive experience for visitors as well as rich content designed for multiple audiences – including business and leisure travellers, travel trade professionals and media.
The mobile app is said to showcase how a traveller can use mobile technology to enhance their travel experience; and includes a location enabler which alerts visitors to special deals, offers and attractions in Dubai using new beacon technology.
The Dubai Tourism team is committed to the Smart City strategy announced in March 2014 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, and will deliver targeted initiatives across the city to enhance the visitor experience.
“Today’s global traveller expects to be connected at all-times wherever they go,” Issam Abdul Rahim Kazim, chief executive officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said.
“Dubai recognises this need and we are responding with a strategic emirate-wide approach to becoming a true technology innovator.”
4. Lakes on a plane potentially caused by a mop
A 700-litre flood of water that forced a Qantas plane to turn back to Los Angeles mid-flight may have been caused by the mops used to clean the aircraft.
An investigation into the “lakes on a plane” incident on QF94 has found the crew were advised that there was no immediate concern for safety when a water pipe burst shortly after it departed for Melbourne on 2 July.
The water had leaked from a loose pipe coupling in the business class galley and a small amount of water also leaked from the same coupling on a replacement aircraft when it was inspected before take-off the following day.
Subsequent inspections found rope-style mops used by cleaners may have contributed to the coupling that joined the water pipe coming undone.
Strands of the mops were found tangled in brackets, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) investigation found.
5. Shanghai Tourism celebrates 25 years of festival fever
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Shanghai Tourism Festival and, to celebrate, organisers have created a few additional attractions to enjoy. The festival will include old-time favourites, the traditional floats parade, the contests and the classical programs. However, organisers have also added a Cruise Tourism festival, Weiyou Shanghai, a Colour Run, Dressage in Shanghai and The Bund as a way of keeping on-trend.
The Cruise Tourism Festival is an opportunity to inform visitors about developments in the country’s emerging cruise sector by giving them a close-up experience of an actual cruise.
Weiyou Shanghai, is a hiking-themed online event that had organisers working around the clock to overcome all administrative hurdles and utilise new media.
In concert with the local sports authority, the Colour Run jogging marathon is an event that will first be rolled out in Shanghai and then expand throughout the Yangtze River Delta region.
“Dressage in Shanghai ” will make its debut in China and is expected to be a thrill for both local residents and tourists.
The grand premiere of The Bund, a musical adapted from the classic namesake TV drama, will take place during the festival. The musical integrates the drama and excitement of a traditional Western musical with Chinese artistic elements, bringing back memories of Shanghai’s Bund in earlier times.
6. United debuts perks for top flyers in San Fran
United Airlines, the largest carrier in San Francisco, will today unveil new check-in options for its most frequent travellers at San Francisco International Airport.
The airline will also open a new reception lobby for members of its invitation-only Global Services program and a new check-in area for Premier members of its MileagePlus loyalty program.
The lobby will offer personalised check-in services to customers travelling in United Global First on long-haul international flights.
At approximately 1,100 square feet, the glass-enclosed facility will offer five full-service check-in podiums, a seating area and front-of-line security lane access, featuring TSA PreCheck.
San Francisco’s Global Services reception lobby is United’s third, coming after similar facilities at Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.
7. Aurora launches new 2015-16 Expedition Guide
Aurora Expeditions, the experts in small-ship expedition cruising, has announced the launch of their new 2015-2016 Expedition Guide. For the first time ever, the guide encompasses expeditions across all seven continents featuring 21 itineraries, 18 destinations and over 80 individual departures.
The expanded program includes a new 15-day ‘African Cruise Safari’ to some of the most concentrated wildlife regions of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The expedition highlights include a four-day cruise on the Chobe River on board luxury riverboat Zambezi Queen, with game viewing from special excursion crafts, as well as nights in traditional safari lodges and game drives through Chobe and Hwange National Parks.
In Scotland passengers will receive a 12-month National Trust membership and an onboard genealogist will assist passengers in tracing their Scottish ancestry.
A BirdLife Australia specialist will interpret birdlife on board two ‘Spitsbergen Odyssey’ voyages and, for the first time, on the ‘Scotia Sea Springtime’ expedition to Antarctica and South Georgia – both unforgettable trips for keen birders. Plus, all passengers on these voyages will also receive a 12-month BirdLife Australia membership.
In Antarctica, passengers will have the chance to enjoy a ‘floating exhibition’ of Frank Hurley’s iconic Antarctic images as Aurora Expeditions starts the commemorations of the centenary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
8. Oasis of the Seas gets a makeover
Sailing aboard the world’s largest and most exciting cruise ships will now come with even more bragging rights. Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas has emerged from a 14-day drydock with a new look including reimagined dining, game-changing high-speed internet, exciting new retail offerings, new Broadway show and new suites with exclusive suite dining and lounge.
Sistership Allure of the Seas will follow suit in May 2015 with nearly identical enhancements. During their respective drydock, each ship’s seven neighbourhoods will be enhanced as part of the cruises line’s Royal Advantage commitment to deliver the best cruise holiday offerings and to introduce guests to even more new features and personalised experiences that can only be found when sailing with Royal Caribbean.
“Royal Caribbean’s legacy of innovation brought the revolutionary Oasis-class ships to life and in that spirit we are adding features and experiences to wow our guests even more,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, executive vice president, Operations, Royal Caribbean International.
“One of the many exciting new features is Dynamic Dining, which has received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests. We are expanding this new dining program, in line with our Royal Advantage commitment, to offer our guests and prospective consumers the amenities that appeal most to them according to the feedback we receive.”
9. Amex teams with Double Dutch to provide deeper insight into ROI
American Express Meetings & Events has teamed up with DoubleDutch, a global provider of mobile event technology, to launch an exclusive, data-driven dashboard for meetings professionals. This dashboard integrates quantitative metrics from American Express Meetings & Events with DoubleDutch’s measures around attendee experience.
With a snapshot view of these key analytics – available during a single event or over the course of multiple events – meeting owners can better assess the total return on their events investment and identify which levers to adjust to enhance the effectiveness of their meetings program going forward.
As part of this agreement, DoubleDutch’s event app will be made available directly through American Express Meetings & Events to its customers. This app is already highly-regarded in the industry for the engaging way it facilitates social interaction between meeting attendees and between attendees and event-specific content. The insights the app gleans from interactions with attendees will feed into the dashboard and help meeting planners optimise the event experience.
“We aim to create the curve on technological innovation, including through integration with leading peers in the industry, in order to revolutionise the meeting and events experience for both planners and attendees,” said Issa Jouaneh, Vice President and General Manager, American Express Meetings & Events.
“We are particularly focused on providing actionable data and insights for our clients’ programs, and by combining our keen understanding of experience design and cost control with the reporting on attendee engagement enabled by DoubleDutch, we can deliver a more immersive and effective method of measuring and enhancing the meeting experience.”
10. New Tinder-like app targets lonely travellers
Tinder, the dating app, may help love-lorn folks in close proximity but Helotel has taken the search for coupledom to a global level. The new Tinder-like app asks users to select whether they’ve checked into their hotel for “business” or “pleasure.”
It then allows them to scroll through a social feed of everyone else checked into their hotel or nearby. Users can also check out activities in their general area, interact with each other, post pictures, and even send private messages to fellow guests asking, for example, if they want to meet for a drink in the hotel bar.If things get a bit hairy, the app has a blocking feature that can prohibit users from messaging you or viewing your location.
Read on for our Tinder Travel app report!
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