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Thurs 15 Jan: 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 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 the top ten travel industry news stories of the day we think you need to know.

1. Should this be Australia’s next tourism ad?


With Australia Day just around the corner tourism leaders are searching for new and exciting ways to promote our large island country to the world.

Tourism bureaus like Tourism Australia do a great job at promoting the country. They spend millions of dollars putting together incredible videos, but in today’s technological age sometimes it’s the simpler things that catch on and push travellers to really fall in love with the destination.

This new Youtube video [see below] is proving just that.

Read on


2. Flights resume between Solomon & Fiji as govts call a truce


Solomon Islands and the Fijian government have resolved their six-month diplomatic impasse, which means the islands’ airlines can resume flying between the two destinations.

The two governments fell out in July last year after the Solomons turned down Fiji Airways’ request for extra flights to Honiara. Officials said the airport didn’t have the capacity for additional services. Fiji retaliated by turning away an inbound Solomon Airlines flight to Nadi.

This lead to a diplomatic fall-out and the cancellation of flights between the two island-states.

Read on


3. Are you one of these annoying flyers?

We’ve all sat next to them and unfortunately sometimes we are them.

They’re the annoying flyers, with bad habits that take the peace out of your peaceful flight.

And no matter how many dirty looks you throw in their direction, they just don’t seem to get the hint that they are being incredibly annoying!

American late-night comedian, Jimmy Kimmel teamed up with celebrated actor Sir Patrick Stewart [Professor X himself – oh you’re not an Xmen fan, sorry how about Star Trek’s Captain Picard?] to highlight the behaviours of ‘The Most Annoying People on the Plane’.

Read on


4. Master Chef digs into Malaysia dishes

Malaysia Airlines has teamed up with MasterChef and best-selling author, Poh Ling Yeow to launch a new video series highlighting the best food spots in Kuala Lumpur.

Uploaded to Youtube, the series is one of five videos, with each running for over eight minutes.

In the fourth video [directly below] Poh tries several dishes around the city including breakfast dishes like Nasi Lemak – a coconut rice based dish flavoured with cucumbers, eggs and spices.

She takes viewers to Essence in the Sheraton Imperial, where she says has a variety of Malaysian dishes that showcase a blend Indian, Chinese and traditional Malay cuisines in one location.

Read on


5. 15% commission on Zohar African Safaris


Zohar African Safaris (ZAS) has introduced a selection of planned, commissionable packages with fixed departure dates as well as an online booking form for the preplanned packages to improve the payment system for both pre-planned packages and customized safaris.

The commission is available on packages of five- to- 10 days in length, encompassing Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. Each package is designed around a theme, such as “Wildlife Overview”, “Family Safari”, “Cultural Safari”, and “Adventure Safari”.

There are fixed departure dates for each package from June through December 2015, with only a minimum of two passengers required per departure.

ZAS is also offering agents 15 percent commission on all land arrangements (including optional extensions) for all bookings through 31 March. Beginning 1 April, the commission will be 12 percent.

To facilitate the booking of the new preplanned packages, ZAS’ website now features a new online booking form for agents’ use.

Deposits and final payments for both preplanned packages and customized safaris can be made by credit card using the new form.

Travel agents will receive their commissions on preplanned packages no later than 14 days from the date the final payment is processed, and all commission payments will be issued from ZAS’ U.S. office.


6. $5 visas to Vietnam

Queen Elizabeth in Halong Bay

Officials are hoping to make cruising to Vietnam a little more attractive, by dropping the cost of its shore leave visas for international cruise passengers from US$45 to US$5.

The visa is handed out upon arrival in Vietnam, for passengers intending to go ashore for sightseeing.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dun said the decrease came into effect on 1 January and is aimed at encouraging more cruise passengers to book land tours.

Apparently, the US$45 visa fee has been a deterrent to passengers and they end up staying on board rather than experiencing the Southeast Asia destination, TR Weekly reported.

On the other side of the spectrum, cruise line have been fighting for approval to keep their casinos, souvenir shops and other services operating once their ships have docked at Vietnamese ports to entertain passengers that choose not to go ashore.

The ban was first introduced 20 years ago by customs officers as an attempt to prevent smuggling.


7. Venture becomes GSA for two new products

Acacia Adventures

Venture Holidays is now the official general sales agent (GSA) for two new companies, bringing its total products up to three.

The company now represents Acacia Africa, China Links Travel and Totally India, which launched into the Australia market in September last year.

New brand Acacia Africa operates a variety of tours across Africa, including overland, small group safaris, short safaris, treks and short breaks.

A number of itineraries are open to travellers of all ages, except the VolunTours, which cater to 18-39 year olds.

China Links Travel offers small group tours visiting destinations such as the Silk Road, Yangtze River, Beijing, Tibet, Sichuan, Xian, Yunnan, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sanya.

The company also has guaranteed departures on most itineraries.


8. JW to open Venice doors

JW Marriott 2

JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts is expanding in Europe, with the opening of its first Italian hotel and first European resort in March this year.

The 266-room JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa is located on its very own island on 40 acres of land.

It has views of St Mark’s Square and La Serenissima and combines contemporary hotel design with the heritage and elegance of its location.

Bedrooms have been described as ‘tranquil’ decorated with locally made bricks, glass and tiles to reflect the artisanal talent and styles of the region. Some even have their own private pools.

JW Marriott

There are numerous gardens and outdoor areas, as well as fruit arbours, olive groves and cultivated plots to provide fresh ingredients for the property’s diverse food and drink offerings, including four restaurants and five bars and a cooking school and wine academy.

Restored outbuildings scattered around the island house a range of facilities including a picturesque function space in an old church and the spa.

Additional hotel facilities will include a kid’s club and dedicated family pool, water sports such as canoeing and sailing, and a sensational rooftop pool offering dramatic views across the lagoon to St. Mark’s Square, which can be reached by private boat in just fifteen minutes.

Guests will also be able to try authentic Murano Glass and Venetian Mask making with weekly workshops led by local artisans.


 9. Donald Trump sues Florida airport for $100 million

Trump's mansion

Forget celebrity apprentice, they should make a reality TV show about this.

One of the richest men in the world, Donald Trump is suing Palm Beach County in Florida for $100 million over claims that planes from the local airport have intentionally been redirecting to fly over his mansion and private club.

Trump says in the lawsuit filed on 6 January, that the airport’s director Bruce Pelly has deliberately sent air traffic over his property as a means of seeking revenge for a 20-year-old lawsuit.

“The county’s and Bruce Pelly’s efforts in this regard are both deliberate and malicious, and motivated by personal animosity towards Donald Trump.”

The lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County Court read

According to the lawsuit, Pelly is ‘attacking’ the mansion from the sky because of a suit lead by Trump in 1995 that blocked plans to expand the airport, CNN reported.

Trump dubbed the flights a ‘horrible injustice’ and said the private club is ‘susceptible to the corrosive bombardment’ from planes.

“The overflights of Mar-a-Lago have caused a direct and substantial invasion of the property by excessive, unreasonable, unwarranted and uninvited noise, vibrations, fumes, pollution and residue, which cause direct physical damage to Mar-a-Lago.”

Palm Beach County is yet to comment on the situation.


10. Megaphone stealing passenger kicked off flight

Megaphone feature

Image: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

We’ve seen people kicked off flights for opening emergency exits, arguing with staff and even pulling a fellow passenger’s hair, but this has got to be the first for stealing a megaphone.

If you didn’t know – passenger flights are required to have battery-charged, portable megaphones on board for crewmembers to use during emergency evacuation.

Perhaps this 29-year-old passenger wasn’t aware of its importance, because he attempted to swipe the device on a recent WestJet flight from Toronto to Saskatoon.

According to a fellow passenger, staff announced they had lost something and no one came forward.

It wasn’t until police were called onboard and threatened to search everyone’s bag that the man, identified as Jake, stepped forward.

According to police he had stolen the megaphone from the kitchen.

He was pulled off the flight, arrested and now faces a fine of up to CA$5,000 for theft and a further CA$5,000 for interfering with a flight.

Could have saved himself around $10,000 and just picked up a megaphone from his local $2 shop.

What’s your reaction to today’s news? Share your comments below and start the conversation.