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Thu 23 Oct: 10 things you need to know today

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.

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’s Hat Valet promises to get you race-ready

danii minogue - KarryOn

Dannii Minogue checking in to check-out Virgin’s Hat Valet.

Virgin Australia is celebrating one of Australia’s most popular sporting events by launching a number of unique and personalised services for guests travelling from Sydney to Melbourne in time for this year’s Spring Racing Carnival.

As travellers head south for the “race that stops a nation”, the airline has announced porters will again be on standby ahead of Derby Day and the Melbourne Cup to offer eligible guests a personalised Hat Valet service, ensuring premium handling of the most important part of any race day outfit.

A range of pre-flight pampering options will also be offered including professional blow-dries and hair styling, make-up kits by ModelCo as well as a dedicated shoe-shining service, all designed ensure guests arrive in Melbourne race-ready.

Read on for more.


2. Travellers spend as much time admiring sites as they do sights

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Taking in the sites as opposed to the sights?

Travellers, according to Accor Asia Pacific’s second Social Media Monitor, are now spending as much time researching, planning, boasting about and reporting on their travels as they do actually relaxing on a beach or exploring new destinations.

A whopping 70 per cent of the 6500 travellers surveyed use social media when they travel across Asia Pacific.
The duration spent on various sites equates to an average of 2.8 hours per day.

However, not every traveller is alike and their dependance on the internet varies from country to country. Eighty four per cent of travellers from China are active on the internet during their holidays. They are closely followed by 83 per cent of the Vietnamese. Indonesians come in at a close third with 82 per cent.

Read on for more.


3. Air New Zealand presents the most epic safety movie in history

This time it’s a dreamy trip to Middle Earth for two Hobbit loving passengers, ‘Daniel Cresswell’ and ‘Jaya Beach Robertson’ to experience a very different on-board safety briefing.

The video runs for 4.35 and will no doubt bring yet more feelings of intense pride to Kiwis all over the world as well as entertain everyone else on-board. It’s an epic journey alright that takes you into the heart of Middle Earth and re-creates some of the epic action scenes amongst the stunning New Landscape. All whilst bringing you up to speed in the guise of a safety demonstration.

Read on for more.


4. Central Coast aims to get you snapping

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Central Coast Tourism is encouraging visitors and locals to frame their family and friends in the monthly People & Places Instagram Competition featured in the 2015 Official Visitors Guide, now available.

“People & Places Instagram Competition is about exposing fun experiences on the Central Coast. After all ‘Fun Starts Here’,” Central Coast Tourism’s Chief Executive Officer, Robyne Abernethy said.

“Fun means something different to everyone. Each month a new competition theme will be introduced encouraging people to take a ‘selfie’ or ‘usie’ (a group selfie) framing their angle on fun.”

The first theme is all about animals. Load your favourite animal happy snap, taken on the Central Coast NSW Australia, to your Instagram account and tag it with #OurAnimalsCentralCoast to be in the running to win 1 x Annual Family Pass to the Australian Reptile Park valued at $240 for a family of two adults and two children.

Full terms and conditions of the competition are detailed at www.visitcentralcoast.com.au/competitions.


5. Virgin announces Darwin to Alice Springs direct

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Virgin Australia has announced that it will introduce direct services between Darwin and Alice Springs from March 2015, to coincide with the opening of the new Virgin Australia Lounge in Darwin.

Following a meeting with Northern Territory Chief Minister, Adam Giles and Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer, John Borghetti it was agreed Virgin Australia will commence three services per week between the two cities from the end of March next year.

The airline will introduce this new weekly schedule of services using its Boeing 737 fleet of aircraft.

“We recognise the importance of the Northern Territory as a key business and tourism destination in Australia and look forward to increasing competition on these key routes to the benefit of our customers from early next year,” Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer, John Borghetti said.

Northern Territory Chief Minister, Adam Giles welcomed the news of competition on the Darwin to Alice Springs route.
“These new Virgin Australia services are fantastic news for Alice Springs, creating choice on this important route and hopefully driving down ticket prices for Territory passengers,” he said.

Virgin Australia will commence services between Darwin and Alice Springs from the end of March 2015.


6. American Airlines and Jetstar Japan announce codeshare agreement

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American Airlines customers will have greater access to domestic Japanese destinations starting thanks to a new codeshare agreement between American and Jetstar Japan.

Under the new arrangement, American Airlines will place its ‘AA’ code on services operated by Jetstar Japan between Tokyo Narita International Airport and Fukuoka, Matsuyama, Okinawa (Naha), Osaka (Kansai) and Sapporo (Shin Chitose), with first flights under the codeshare starting 26 October 26.

“Jetstar Japan’s network provides our customers with access to more destinations in Japan,” said Andrew Nocella, American’s chief marketing officer.

“We also look forward to welcoming Jetstar Japan’s customers on our direct flights from Tokyo Narita International Airport to our hubs in Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles. We are delighted to work with Jetstar Japan, which is partly owned by two of our Joint Business Partners in Asia, Qantas Airways and Japan Airlines.”

Jetstar Japan is a partnership between the Qantas Group, Japan Airlines, Mitsubishi Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation. It operates 18 Airbus A320 aircraft across 10 destinations in Japan.


7. A&K invite travellers on a trek of the “final frontier.”

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Global travel company Abercrombie & Kent has launched an exclusive hosted journey to Mongolia’s Golden Eagle Festival in September 2015. An intimate group of just 24 guests will be joined by A&K’s Managing Director Sujata Raman on a rare journey to one of travel’s last frontiers.

“In today’s world of mass travel, authentic experiences are hard to find and must be sought out,” Raman said.

“The Golden Eagle Festival promises to be exactly that. It’s not for the faint-hearted and requires a pioneering spirit but it will be an amazing adventure for the intrepid traveller who wants to escape the predictability of most organised travel”.

Journey highlights include accommodation in a traditional Mongolian ger in the Gobi Desert, ancient petroglyphs at the Flaming Cliffs, hiking through rugged canyons and gorges in the foothills of the Altai Mountains, riding a Bactrian camel through sand dunes, two days of celebrations and events at the Golden Eagle Festival, a private encounter with a Golden Eagle hunter, Kazakh cultural performances and time in the capital Ulaanbaatar.


8. New Zealand tourism gets boost from Aus. and U.S travellers

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A bump in visitors to New Zealand is being driven by American and Australian tourists.

Statistics New Zealand has recorded a one percent increase, to just over 193,000 visitors in September.

That’s the second highest number for a September, behind 2011, which was boosted by the Rugby World Cup.

Population statistics manager, Vina Cullum, says the only bad news is that visitors from China are down, which is likely due to a change in Chinese tourism laws which have affected prices.


9. Royal Brunei Airlines celebrates return to Ho Chi Minh City

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(left to right) Dermot Mannion, Roslan Yacub and Daniel Sintaken at the official opening of the new Royal Brunei office at Citilight Tower in Ho Chi Minh City.

Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) returned to the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City following the departure of its inaugural flight from Brunei International Airport last week.

A celebration was held at the Anjung Saujana Restaurant, Brunei International Airport. Present at the event as guest of honour was His Excellency Mr Nguyen Truong Giang, Ambassador of the Social Republic of Vietnam in Brunei Darussalam. Other attendees includes Director of Civil Aviation, Hj Abd Karim Bin Hj Abd Wahab, Acting Director of Tourism, Ms Mariani Sabtu and Vietnam Embassy Counsellor Mr Luu Xuan Dong, RB Colleagues and media.

“The return of RB on this route creates more holiday options for the travelling public in Brunei. In addition, our regional destinations like Kota Kinabalu and long haul customers especially from Melbourne, Dubai and London now have the opportunity to experience the tranquillity of Brunei followed by the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh city.” said Karam Chand, RB Chief Commercial and Planning Officer.


10. Nine new places to explore in Lindblad’s 2015 brochure

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Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has released the new Southern Africa and Indian Ocean brochure for 2015, featuring nine destinations from the Andaman Islands to Zanzibar aboard the National Geographic Orion.

Guests can choose from a range of voyages that offer undersea exploration, islands with a wealth of history and cultures that maintain close ties to their ancestral traditions. Each expedition also sails with a National Geographic photographer to assist guests with their photography skills – whether using an iPhone or SLR camera.

Guests who book itineraries in this brochure will also have the exclusive opportunity to join the Lindblad Expeditions Friends for Life membership program, which entitles them to a 10 per cent saving on the voyage they book and every voyage thereafter. Current Friend for Life members will receive a 20 per cent discount on these bookings.

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