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Tue 21 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. Australia’s 21st PM Gough Whitlam dies at 98

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Pictured: Whitlam at the Great Wall of China. Image Source: Whitlam Institute.

Gough Whitlam, Prime Minister from 1972 to 1975, has passed away today at the age of 98. He was the first Labor Prime Minister since 1949 and led the country through a period of massive social change before his ousting by governor-general Sir John Kerr.

Whitlam’s reforms included early recognition of Aboriginal land rights, normalisation of diplomatic ties with China, universal health care, universal access to university, no-fault divorce, and the end of conscription and withdrawal of forces from Vietnam.

Under the helm of Whitlam, the government fostered Australian participation in international agreements and became an active player in international organisations. Through ensuring Australia was party to international agreements, the Whitlam government initiated Australia’s first federal legislation on human rights, the environment and heritage.

To achieve this, Whitlam and his wife Margaret travelled more widely than any of his predecessors…

Read on for more.

2. Tourism Australia’s chief marketing officer resigns

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Pictured: Nick Baker.

Tourism Australia (TA) has confirmed that its chief marketing officer, Nick Baker, has tendered his resignation and will be leaving the organisation at the end of January 2015.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan, said after seven years helping guide the country’s tourism marketing strategy, and with a string of successful campaigns under his belt, Nick had decided it was time to look for new challenges outside of Australia’s national tourism organisation.

“Nick has led a marketing team which has helped deliver arguably three of our most successful global campaigns, including There’s Nothing Like Australia, Best Jobs in the World and, of course, Restaurant Australia,” he said.

“All of these campaigns have been meticulously planned, well executed, and, importantly, done so through strong teamwork and successful partnership with industry and our state and territory partners. We will not only miss Nick’s marketing expertise but his enormous enthusiasm and passion for our industry and for the Tourism Australia brand.”

Read on for more.

3. New focus for LGBT travel in Aus.

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Gay and Lesbian Tourism Australia (GALTA), the national membership body driving the profile of LGBT travel in Australia, will strengthen its focus on business development and marketing opportunities for members, following a successful AGM in Queensland this month.

Meeting in Airlie Beach for its Annual General Meeting, the Board of GALTA welcomed new roles to the Board with the appointment of a Director Media and approval to appoint well-known industry stalwart Rosemary Hopkins to drive business development opportunities for members.

A refreshed GALTA website was also launched at the AGM and will better showcase the experiences and travel options offered by the association’s 240+ members across Australia.

As the lead association representing LGBT travel in Australia, GALTA membership is now at its highest level and extends across New Zealand and the South Pacific.
GALTA President Rod Stringer said that these new developments will further increase the benefits of joining the association.

“GALTA has always looked for new ways to increase opportunities for our members and our recent marketing and partnership initiatives are a key way that we are aiming to build on this going forward,” he said.

“The Board is in a strong position to deliver great outcomes with new energy and a clear vision for the future.”

4. Universal to open theme park in China

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The Chinese government has formally approved a (US) $3.25 billion Universal Studios movie theme park, Universal Beijing, to be built in the suburbs of the capital.

It will be built on a 300-acre site initially, before adding additional phases to expand to a 1,000-acre park over time.

Universal joins Walt Disney and DreamWorks Animation in building vast entertainment parks in the Chinese mainland to tap the country’s expanding middle class and burgeoning love affair with movies. The theme park will incorporate strong Chinese elements and pay “proper homage to culture in China,” said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts.

The theme park will be accompanied by a Universal CityWalk entertainment complex, featuring multiple retail, dining and entertainment facilities, and it will include the first-ever Universal-themed resort hotel.

5. DREAMLINES acquires two Australian cruising websites

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Pictured: Felix Schneider, DREAMLINES Chief Executive Officer.

DREAMLINES, the global cruise portal headquartered in Hamburg Germany, has announced they have acquired www.cruisecentre.com.au and www.cruiseaway.com.au, gaining significant market share in Australia.

CruiseCentre.com.au and CruiseAway are recognised as being among the top portals in the Australian cruise market and have been operated by Cruise Marketing Group until today.

The two websites will now be operated by DREAMLINES alongside its current brand www.DREAMLINES.com.au. Each of the new portals has a significant existing customer base which is maintained by an experienced cruise consultant team.

Felix Schneider, DREAMLINES’ Chief Executive Officer, is delighted the global cruise portal has expanded in Australia and can now offer Australians a greater variety of cruising options.

“We are very excited about our successful entry into the Australian cruise market. The acquisition of CruiseCentre.com.au and CruiseAway is an important step for DREAMLINES to achieve our goal of becoming the global market leader in selling cruises online,” he said.

With an annual growth of twenty per cent, the Australian cruise market is the fastest growing market worldwide. More than 800,000 passengers have boarded cruise ships in 2013 and according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) this number is likely to exceed one million in 2016.

6. Australia’s nature coast shows off assets to UK travel gurus

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Some of the best travel industry agents in the United Kingdom have today completed a tour of Australia’s Sunshine Coast region.
Held in conjunction with Tourism and Events Queensland and hosted by Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd (SCDL), the ten travel consultants and managers won their place on the trip as a result of completing Tourism Australia’s Aussie Specialist training module for Australia’s Nature Coast (ANC).

SCDL Trade and International Manager, Jan Foletta said this visit was a wonderful opportunity for Australia to showcase the Sunshine Coast region to key UK travel representatives.

“The ANC training module we put together for Tourism Australia’s Aussie Specialist program has been the most popular of any Australian destination with UK agents,” she said.

“This visit is not in isolation and follows our launch of ANC in London last month and is part of other work we are doing in the UK market including a major campaign to be kicked off January to April next year – the peak period for bookings.”

The agents represent travel companies: Kuoni, Flight Centre, Freedom Australia, STA Travel, Thomas Cook, Barrhead Travel, Lotus Group, Travel Nation, Co-operative Travel and have been flown courtesy of China Southern.

To the year ending June 2014, the Sunshine Coast attracted 47,249 visitors from the UK.

7. American Airlines Cargo and US Airways Combine under single AWB

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American Airlines and US Airways have reached a significant milestone in their merger as the Cargo divisions combine under a single air waybill (AWB).

The Cargo teams have successfully combined 154 facilities and harmonised products since December 2013, making it the first operations division at the airline to be fully integrated.

“Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work by our Cargo employees,” said Jim Butler, president of American Airlines Cargo.

“We have brought together the expertise and solutions that customers have come to rely on and the teams that are focused on restoring American Airlines as the greatest airline in the world. As of today, all booking channels are open and cargo customers have access to flights across the combined network of the world’s largest airline.”

“Becoming one cargo organisation less than a year after we legally closed our merger is a tremendous achievement,” said Robert Isom, chief operating officer of American Airlines.

“Today’s announcement provides great momentum in our efforts to provide our customers a seamless experience as we continue to integrate our passenger systems, route network, and loyalty programs.”

8. MS Lofoten promises to take travellers closer to the sights than ever before

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Hurtigruten has announced a new concept on-board the fleet’s grand old lady, MS Lofoten (1964) from April 2015. The ships classic characteristics will be accentuated throughout her voyages, offering guests nostalgic experiences such as fishing directly from the ship, bridge tournaments, afternoon teas and a more traditional dining experience.

This small, agile veteran of the seas has a few advantages over other ships as she can navigate waters others can’t – bringing her guests closer to the action and closer to the scenery. While the ship will operate on the traditional coastal voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes and back, Hurtigruten are currently working on a number of new diversions and ports of call to add to the experience from April 2015.

Nearly 30 excursions are available with further exclusive activities offered. Guests will be given the opportunity to fish directly from the deck, or set pots to entice the fascinating king crab. The catch of the day will be prepared and served to the lucky fishermen at the next meal. In the evenings, all those fisherman’s tales gathered during the day, can be recounted over a game of bridge and a (complimentary) glass of sherry in the vintage lounge before dinner. Afternoon teas and quiz evenings will also be part of the new on-board experience.

For more information contact your local Travel Agent or email Discover the World on hurtigruten@discovertheworld.com.au or call 1800 OCEANS (1800 623 267).

9. Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa offers guests a serene Christmas

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Far from the maddening crowds, Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australia’s luxury conservation-based resort, will offer privacy space this festive season. The resort is the ideal getaway destination for those looking to spend long days in the sun indulging in superb food and wine without having to lift a finger.

Festivities at Emirates Wolgan Valley will be an indulgent culinary affair with a nine-course Taste of Wolgan degustation menu on Christmas Eve, and a spectacular seafood spread and traditional Christmas roast with all the trimmings for lunch on Christmas Day. Dishes will celebrate the best local, seasonal and organic produce and wines from the region. On Boxing Day, guests can look forward to relaxing pool side with a barbecue.

The resort will be spoiling guests with Christmas-themed treats each night, and there will be appearances by carollers and Santa. Nature and craft activities inspired by the theme of ‘A Bush Christmas’ will also be available for children.

Christmas at Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is available 22 to 28 December, from $1,025 per person twin-share in a luxury Heritage Suite. Minimum three night stay.

Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa will also offer New Year’s packages for those yearning a more peaceful way to ring in the new year.

10. Infinity releases new Vietnam and Cambodia brochure

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Infinity’s new Vietnam and Cambodia brochure is due to hit the shelves on 29 October.

The brochure features the Young & Fun and Something Special genre pages, with ideas for young (or young at heart) folk, as well as those looking for something a little more luxurious.

It also contains new tours, including three new extended tours and a new small ship cruising package.

Feature Image Source: Whitlam Institute.

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