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THU 4 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. ACCC not happy over Wotif and Expedia acquisition

The ACCC has released a Statement of Issues outlining competition issues that have arisen to date from their review of the proposed acquisition of Wotif.com by Expedia.

The ACCC is exploring whether the removal of Wotif from the Australian market has the potential to increase the rate of commissions charged to hotels and other accommodation providers in Australia. The proposed acquisition involves two of the three largest online travel agents in Australia, with the other being The Priceline Group (Booking.com and Agoda).

The ACCC’s preliminary view is that bricks and mortar travel agents are unlikely to be a strong constraint on the operations of OTAs and therefore do not form part of the relevant market. Read more here.

 

2. Qantas taxis onto Wellcamp runway

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Qantas has taken its first step into Towoomba’s Wellcamp airport, defying soothsayers that the $200 million project would never attract passengers. In doing so Qantas has become the first company to announce that its regional faction will operate from the first major airport to be built in Australia in more than half a century.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and QantasLink chief executive John Gissing themselves flew into the airport yesterday for the announcement. Mr Newman welcomed the development, which had not cost taxpayers a cent, along with the competition for Queensland’s main airport.

“Competition means better service and lower prices and this airport will be in competition with Brisbane Airport and I say that is a healthy thing that’s good for consumers and people will have a choice.”

The airport is set to host its first commercial flight on November 17th, the day after Qantas’s 94th anniversary.

 

3. MAS responds to ‘Bucketlist’ Campaign Backlash

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The Competition website

Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) has taken the ‘bucket list’ title off a recent competition running in Australia and New Zealand after a barrage of complaints from the general public. Since a “bucket list” generally refers to things people want to do before dying, or “kicking the bucket” the campaign was deemed highly inappropriate given recent events.

The airline has said in an official release that “it appreciates and respects the sentiments of the public and in no way did it intend to offend any parties”.

The contest has since been renamed “Win an iPad or Malaysia Airlines flight to Malaysia”. To win one of 12 return economy class airfares to Malaysia or one of four 16GB Apple iPads click here.

 

4. One voice declared for the hotel industry

The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and the Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) announced today that they had agreed to establish a joint venture between the two organisations to provide “one voice” for Australia’s accommodation industry.

Currently, both AHA and AAoA represent the accommodation industry, but following extensive discussions, the two organisations announced that they had agreed to establish the joint venture as soon as possible, with the aim of providing a ‘complete’ advocacy body to support the accommodation industry.

Commenting on the joint venture agreement, President of the AHA, Peter Burnett, said:

“This is a significant day for our industry, which will be far better placed to tackle the issues and represent our members if there is a common voice speaking for the industry as a whole”

 

5. Air China and Kunming Airlines begin codeshare

Star Alliance Carrier Air China and Kunming Airlines yesterday signed a codeshare cooperation agreement in the city of Kunming. The two carriers will start to code share in the form of free marketing on each other’s selected domestic flights from September 15, 2014.

According to the agreement, the two carriers will connect the city of Kunming to their respective route networks. Air China will put its code CA on the nearly 500 weekly flights of 26 routes operated by Kunming Airlines, which will extend its route network to the cities of Yunnan province and other neighboring cities.

At the same time, Kunming Airlines will put its code KY on about 210 weekly flights of 9 routes operated by Air China, which will extend its network to most of China’s big and medium-sized cities.

 

6. Global hotel prices still on the rise

The average price paid for a hotel room around the world rose by 4% during the first six months of 2014, when compared with the same period in 2013, as the overall economic recovery gathered greater momentum, particularly in Europe, and consumers became more confident in raising their travel spending.

Two regions reported 5% Index growth: firstly, for Europe and Middle East, this was the sharpest increase in the region in six years. Secondly,North America was boosted by results from the USA which posted the best hotel occupancy levels of the century in June, according to Smith Travel Research.

There was a promising start to the year for the travel industry in general as demand for both international tourism and business travel remained strong”

Johan Svanstrom, President of the Hotels.com  

 

7. The Best In Australian Music Heads Inland

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VANFEST has been made possible thanks to a father and his son: Grant Clifton, a Forbes local who owns and runs The Vandenberg Hotel and Matt Clifton, a city dweller who owns and runs Donny’s Bar in Manly.

Taking over the Forbes Showgrounds for the first time this December, VANFEST is set to deliver the biggest party ever seen in Central West NSW, with the first artists – including Sydney’s dance icons Bag Raiders and Van She – announced today, to coincide with the Festival’s first release of tickets.

With dozens more acts to be announced, including some big ticket items, the announcements for VANFEST are just getting ramped up. Whether you’re a local, a cityslicker looking for a weekend away, or a fellow Central West dweller looking for a way to catch the best from the city, without having to travel the distance, VANFEST is sure to have something for you.

The all-day event – running from 2.30pm until 11.30pm – will feature all the trimmings you would expect to see on the big city stages.

With VIP tents, wet bars, meet and greets, preferred parking and more, VANFEST will support the local community and bring everyone along to raise their hands for a hell of a party.

First release tickets are on sale now for just $80 and can be purchased here.

 

8. Amadeus and United serve up Economy Plus® extra-legroom seats

Amadeus and United Airlines today announced the successful launch of Amadeus’ Airline Ancillary Services Solution using NDC-XML (v1.0) connectivity. This marks the industry’s first NDC-XML solution in the travel agency channel in North America.

 “We are excited to be working with Amadeus to merchandise our Economy Plus® extra-legroom seats via our travel agency partners”

 Scott Wilson, United’s Vice President of Merchandising and eCommerce.

Currently, 58 airlines have signed up for the leading merchandising technology, with United becoming the first to do so using NDC-XML (v1.0) connectivity in North America

 

9. Waradah Aboriginal dancers in rainforest performance

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The Blue Mountains rainforest will come alive with Aboriginal dance and storytelling as part of Scenic World’s dynamic spring holiday program. The Waradah Aboriginal Performers will lead audiences on an educational, fun and interactive 30-minute show that includes traditional dance, didgeridoo demonstrations, and storytelling.

In the open air Rainforest Room along the Scenic Walkway, visitors can learn about the various language areas of the performers, their culture and traditions. Performances of Waradah in the Rainforest will be held on Wednesday 24 and Saturday 27 September at 11:00am and 2:00pm on both days, and is free with Scenic World ticket purchase.

Visit www.scenicworld.com.au to plan your Blue Mountains adventure.

 

10.Uluru launches specialist Outback website

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Australian owned and operated outback specialists ‘Uluru.travel’ have launched their brand new website to provide consumers with a one-stop shop for their outback travel. With a major focus on tours departing Alice Springs as well as Adelaide and Darwin, Uluru.travel is set to become the industry leader in outback tours, accommodation and transport options for backpackers and travellers alike.

“We are wanting to ease the booking process for potential international customers by providing them with a central location to book their outback travel before they arrive in Australia”

Tyson Megaw, UluruTravel manager

Uluru.travel is encouraging all readers to explore their new site by visiting www.uluru.travel

 

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.