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. Protests for Hong Kong spell disaster for Banking and Tourism sectors
The gathering of thousands of protesters near Hong Kong’s government headquarters, despite experiencing heavy-handed treatment from police, continues.
Protesters are angry over changes made to Hong Kong’s democratic processes, which saw a promise made by Beijing to allow direct elections in 2017 overturned to only permit voters to select from a pre-approved list of candidates.
While the outcome of the protests remains uncertain, their impact on the banking and tourism sectors has already been established.
The banking sector and markets have been the first hit. However, they certainly won’t be the most affected by the ongoing protests.
It is predicted that the those likely to be hurt most would be Hong Kong-listed retailers, such as luxury businesses selling products purchased by mainland tourists, and local and Macau tourism businesses.
Read on for more.
2. Good food, great month
The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Month, presented by Citi, begins 1 October. Among the list of culinary superstars, Australia’s largest food festival will be graced by UK-based superstar, Yotam Ottolenghi and David Thompson, the Thai food expert behind nahm in Bangkok, currently number one in Asia.
“Citi is delighted to once again be the presenting partner of The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Month, which is a standout event on Australia’s culinary calendar,” Citi’s Managing Director of Marketing, Digital Banking and Customer Experience, Linda Duncombe said. Read on for more.
3. Glee star wowed by Qantas staff sing-a-long
Qantas flight attendants have turned the tables on one of the stars of hit television show Glee, delivering a pitch perfect welcome to Australia for Lauren Potter.
The actress who plays Beth in the series, landed in Australia on Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s e.motion21 Annual Dance Spectacular in Melbourne.
“e.motion21” is a not-for-profit volunteer organisation that provides dance and fitness for children and young adults with Down syndrome.
As a surprise for the actress, Qantas asked two of its flight crew to perform a “Glee-style stunt” when she arrived at Tullamarine.
Staff members, Michael James and Pearly Collier-Harris, had just a week to rehearse the Vanessa Amorosi hit “Absolutely Everybody” which is the e.motion21 theme song.
The results had the rest of the flight clapping and tapping along.
4. Rhapsody of the Seas kicks off summer season
At dawn on Friday 3 October, Rhapsody of the Seas sails into Sydney Heads to officially kick off the Royal Caribbean summer cruise season.
The occasion will be bitter-sweet as this, the superliner’s seventh season in operation, will be its last.
“Rhapsody of the Seas changed Australian cruising forever when she was first home-ported here in 2007,”said Sean Treacy, commercial director, Royal Caribbean International.
“Not only was she the largest ship based here, she offered onboard features never seen before on local waters, like Australia’s first rock-climbing wall at sea. Her innovation helped kick-start and shape the booming cruise industry we see here today.”
The 2014/15 season will see Voyager of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas and Radiance of the seas sail 55 cruises ranging from two- to 18-nights in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia.
5. Redzy and RedBalloon unite
Rezdy has announced their partnership with online experiences gift retailer RedBalloon as it aims to build the most comprehensive software for the tours and activities sector.
“From the beginning, we’ve known that there is a huge demand in consolidating the industry’s data and opening it to distribution,” said Rezdy CEO and Founder, Simon Lenoir.
“Now we can meet it by connecting local suppliers to RedBalloon’s customer base with our software.”
With the collaboration comes an array of benefits. Red Balloon’s customers can now access tour operator availability in real-time. Tour operators will also receive a stream of new bookings directly into their own Rezdy inventory management software, removing the need for double data entry. This means that tour operators avoid overbooking and manual error. Tour operators will gain access to RedBalloon’s high brand awareness and exposure through marketing campaigns.
“We believe this partnership is the right move to streamline the operators’ management process and expand their online presence,” Lenoir said.
6. Trafalgar teams with Tourism Ireland
As Ireland continues to reign in popularity as a holiday hot spot among Australian travellers, Trafalgar has teamed up with Tourism Ireland to offer travellers an exclusive air deal. Guests can now fly return economy class with Etihad and Virgin Australia from just $1299 per person ex Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth into Dublin, when combining their airfare with one of 14 guided holidays of Ireland.
Trafalgar is also offering guests a range of other European Early Bird fares from as low as $1419 per person ex Perth into Rome.
This exceptional air deal is fully combinable with all brochure savings including Trafalgar’s market leading 10 per cent Early Payment Discount.
This flight special is valid for bookings from today until 31 October 2014 for travel between 1 February and 31 October 2015 (blackout periods apply).
Trafalgar has expanded its itineraries of the Emerald Ireland including Northern Ireland, adding seven new guided holidays as well as a Hidden Journey, Secrets of Ireland that explores lesser visited places with a maximum of 26 guests. Trafalgar is also taking guests deeper into this destination with more Insider Experiences on offer including a lively poetry recital by a W.B. Yeats expert during a special Be My Guest dining experience in Lough Gill, and overnight stays at new Authentic Accommodation including the magnificent Ashford Castle.
7. Qatar Airways unleashes its A380
After an extended stand-off with with planemaker Airbus over the quality of cabin fittings, Qatar has finally taken delivery of its first airbus A380.
According to the Airline, the A380 features a tri-class configuration of seating in First, Business and Economy Class, over two decks.
The upper deck of Qatar’s A380 includes eight elegant first class suites with each seat converting to a fully flat 2.2 metre (90 inch) bed. There’s also a 26 inch (48cm) personal HD video screen with a 3.8 inch touchscreen controller.
Tucked away towards the rear of the A380’s upper deck is a spacious inflight lounge and bar with a snaking centrepiece.
Business class is treated to the upper deck, which is home to 48 business class seats that have been considered among the world’s most comfortable chairs.
Qatar has split the 461 economy seats of its A380 over both decks, with the top seats reserved for top-tier Platinum members of its Privilege Club frequent flyer scheme.
“The A380 is the largest passenger jet in the world and will provide customers with unparalleled levels of comfort reflecting a truly world-class experience,” the airline said.
Qatar’s first A380 will begin flights to London and Paris in October.
8. NZ Cruise Cruise sector earns $365.3m and still growing
The cruise sector contributed a record $365.3 million to New Zealand’s economy in the 2013-14 season and that figure is forecast to swell dramatically to $421.5 million in two years.
The 2015-16 season is expected to bring more cruise passengers to New Zealand ports on bigger ships than ever before, according to a new economic impact report released by Cruise New Zealand.
“If cruise was a country, it would be New Zealand’s fourth largest inbound market, behind Australia, China and the US,” Cruise New Zealand General Manager Raewyn Tan said.
“The Asia-Pacific region currently accounts for around 8.4 per cent of the global market, is the world’s fastest growing cruise region and presents a huge opportunity for New Zealand.”
The 2013-14 cruise season saw 202,700 passengers on 33 separate ships which made 119 voyages and spent 699 days at ports around the country. Australians made up the majority of cruise passengers (52 per cent), followed by Americans (17 per cent) and New Zealanders (10 per cent).
9. Runners, take your mark for the Oman Desert Marathon
The 2nd annual Oman Desert Marathon will take place in the Bidiya Desert of the Sultanate of Oman. Held from 7 – 14 November, the marathon is set around six stages. The total distance covered is 165km.
Runners carry their equipment, their sleeping bags and their food during the adventure creating a fun, communal atmosphere in the evenings.
The Oman desert is described by organisers as fascinating.
“The dunes extend beyond the horizon while the warm hospitality of its inhabitants is known all around the world,” they said.
“The spirit of the ancient caravans can still be felt in this amazing country, encouraging not only top athletes, but also amateur runners.”
The first ever marathon , held in 2013, saw the registration of 22 runners, male and female, from a wide array of countries: Morocco, France, Spain, Romania, Ukraine, Italy and Jordan. In 2013, both the male and female winner came from Morocco: Rachid Al Morabity and Aziza Raiji.
Lines are open for registration.
10. Australian Tourism leading the way for conservation
From 5-9 October, several US universities will be holding a wildlife conference called Pathways 2014 Common Futures.This significant global wildlife conference will set the precedent for future research, innovation, and collaboration and to further the application of human dimensions research in the field of fish and wildlife management. Among one of the key note speakers is koala researcher and wildlife tour operator, Janine Duffy from Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours.
Duffy will be presenting a paper on koala conservation, and in particular her revolutionary method of identifying koalas in the wild, through their nose markings. She has been using this special method of identifying koalas in one of Australia’s few stable populations of wild koalas, Victoria’s You Yangs Range, since 1998.
Her research offers a low-cost, non-intrusive tool for measuring wild koala movements and population size. The method will save governments and scientific organisations tens of thousands, and will open up opportunities for public involvement in conservation efforts to save the vulnerable marsupial.
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