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Tue 7 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. helloworld winners get their Gatsby on in LA


helloworld Owners and Managers are today returning back to Australia after a successful two days at the 2014 helloworld (Owner/ Managers) Conference in Los Angeles.

Over two days at Conference, this year held at the JW Marriott Downtown, attendees got to hear from expert speakers including leading Motivator Dr John Izzo, chef Neil Perry, Chris Gardner of the Pursuit of Happiness fame and bestselling author Debbie Mayo-Smith.

Attendees also gained an invaluable insight into how one of Australia’s biggest brands is balancing transformation in action from Woolworths’ Julie Coates and engaged in a powerhouse session led by Terry Hawkins, one of the world’s top 60 motivational speakers, on creating consumer champions and transformational service culture – ahead of a major training initiative to be rolled out across helloworld.

Read On for more

2. NZ cruise industry on a healthy start


An economic report released by Cruise New Zealand last week shows cruise ships are expected to make 124 voyages around New Zealand in 2014-15, spending 712 days at ports throughout the country.

“The cruise sector has been forecast to contribute $373.4 million to the New Zealand economy in 2014-15 and support almost 7000 jobs,” Cruise New Zealand General Manager Raewyn Tan said.

“The economy also benefits from ships reprovisioning when they start and end a voyage in Auckland. Overland excursions to places like Queenstown and overnight stays in select ports also generate wealth into regional economies.”

Ms Tan says it is vital New Zealand ensures the sustainability of cruise ship tourism, including infrastructure that can safely accommodate and efficiently process the larger, next generation of ships, as well as sensible regulations that not only protect the wellbeing of New Zealanders, but also ensure New Zealand’s economic wealth is enduring.

Read on for more


3. Qantas adds top tier benefits for Platinum One frequent flyers


Qantas Frequent Flyer today announced it will introduce a suite of new benefits for members of its elite “Platinum One” flying tier.

Following its successful launch and based on feedback from existing members, Platinum One members will receive additional perks from today including platinum membership for a spouse or de facto domestic partner, waivers for any fare differential that might be payable at the airport to move to an earlier Qantas domestic flight when travelling on a flexible fare, booking fee waivers on commercial flights when booking via telephone, complimentary Qantas Golf Club Premium membership and double points earn with Qantas restaurants.

“As an integrated airline loyalty program, Qantas Frequent Flyer is on a constant quest to make improvements to the recognition and reward sides of the program and our Platinum One members are top of mind for this,” CEO of Qantas Loyalty, Lesley Grant said.

Read on for more.


4. Emirates bolsters services to Milan with A380


Emirates will grow its services to and from Milan with the upgrade of one of its daily Boeing 777-300 services to an A380 from 1st December. This will be the first ever permanently scheduled A380 service to Milan Malpensa Airport.

Bringing the A380 onto one of Emirates’ three daily Milan services will mean an increase in capacity of almost 38 per cent. The triple-daily service connecting Dubai to Milan is currently operated with a mix of Boeing 777-300 and 777-300ER aircraft.

“Introducing the Emirates flagship  A380 service underscores our commitment to further developing the economic and tourism potential of Italy’s regions and cities,” Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer said.

“With Milan Expo 2015 closely approaching, over 20 million visitors are expected to visit the city and more than 3 million visitors will travel to Milan from international destinations, and we are well placed to cater to the upward demand within that period and beyond.”

After starting flights to Italy in 1992, Emirates now operates 49 flights per week to Milan, Rome and Venice, contributing to a € 6.9 billion trade relationship between Italy and the UAE in 2013.


5. Sabre Offers New Zealand Agents Increased Service Levels


Sabre Pacific has today announced that its customers in New Zealand will experience increased service levels as three call centre staff start in Auckland.This would mean that calls from Sabre’s New Zealand customers for any of the organisations locally-developed products will be handled by the New Zealand call centre in the first instance. If the New Zealand call centre staff are helping other customers, the calls will then be directed to the Australian call centre.

“We have made considerable investments to ensure our customers are receiving the most advanced and personalised support in the industry and improving their experience with us is one our highest priorities,” New Zealand Country Manager, Nigel Taylor said.

“We already offer our customers 24 hour Host support, so adding local New Zealand support from 8am-8pm into our offering gives us a real point of difference in the marketplace.”


6. Malaysian tourism experiences hike


Tourism Malaysia’s aggressive promotional efforts and commitment from industry players in line with the celebration of Visit Malaysia Year 2014 have contributed to the continuous growth of the country’s tourism industry.

From January to May 2014, Malaysia welcomed a total of 11.53 million (11,532,859) tourists, registering a hike of 10.1 per cent compared to 10.48 million (10,478,419) tourists for the same period last year.

The top 10 tourist generating markets to Malaysia from January to May 2014 were Singapore (5,799,383), Indonesia (1,113,502), China (754,696), Thailand (574,255), Brunei (488,199), India (328,498), the Philippines (265,555), Japan (229,982), Australia (253,370) and the United Kingdom (199,741).

Throughout the month of May, the ASEAN region continued to be the largest contributor of tourist arrivals with 75.7% share (1.72 million) of Malaysia’s total arrivals. Among ASEAN countries, Brunei registered the highest growth of 41.5%, followed by Vietnam (+28.9%), the Philippines (+21.3%), Indonesia (+17.9%), Laos (+14.4%), Thailand (+12.6%), Cambodia (+11.8%), and Singapore (+10.8%).


7. Sydney tops the list in entertainment stakes


Sydney has once again been recognised as one of the world’s best festival and event cities, taking home an award at the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) annual convention and expo held in Kansas City, USA.

“This award is a source of great pride for Sydney and demonstrates the Harbour City’s position as one of the world’s leading destination for tourism and events,” Destination NSW chief executive officer, Sandra Chipchase said.

“Securing major events has been a priority for Destination NSW, the Government’s tourism and major events agency, as we work towards achieving our goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure by 2020.”

The latest award marks five years in row Sydney has won at the festival, and also comes after Destination NSW had secured a string of major event investments and wins this year including the 2014 Opening Series Major League Baseball, international soccer tournaments, Hanada Opera on Sydney Harbour and the Australian premiere of the Lion King and Matilda the Musical, among others.


8. Hong Kong experiencing a not so Golden Week


Beijing’s decision to suspend issuance of travel permits for mainland tour groups bound for Hong Kong has sharpened the blow to tourism in the city, which has been gripped by pro-democracy protests.

Beijing’s decision comes after other countries including the U. S, the U. K, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Australia issued travel warnings regarding Hong Kong, advising tourists to avoid public demonstrations and to follow media reports for updates.

The decision impacted on the number of mainland tourists during Golden Week – a period in which the luxury sector of Hong Kong experiences a boost. Shops have experienced a 70 per cent decrease in business. However, the luxury sector wasn’t the only one affected.

Lam Siu Lun, chairman of Hong Kong Travel Agent Owners Association, said demand for accommodation has dropped significantly.

“This year we don’t have to fight for hotel rooms,” he said.


9. Food over sex – Tourism Australia’s new marketing ploy

A recent tourism survey, which discovered that great food and wine rated third after safety and value for money as a reason to visit an international holiday destination, has motivated Tourism Australia to ditch the leggy blondes in favour of Maggie Beer.

Tourism Australia boss John O’Sullivan said the research formed the basis of their $30 million Restaurant Australia campaign which was targeting the tastebuds of travellers throughout the world.

“What the research also showed is that for people who had never visited Australia only 26 per cent associated the destination with a good food and wine offering,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“However for those who had visited, Australia was ranked second across the 15 major markets for its food and wine experiences behind France and ahead of Italy.”

In the past year, international visitors spent about $4.2 billion on food, wine and culinary experiences in Australia. Mr O’Sullivan said he hoped to increase that figure to $5 billion within the first year of the campaign.


10. Magical Mekong for half the price


The magical Mekong river is going cruise crazy with leading cruise company CF Mekong River Cruises (CFM) offering sensational discounts of up to 50 per cent on cruises booked for October, November and December 2014.

“A Mekong river cruise is an unforgettable experience and a relaxing way to discover the ‘real’ Cambodia and Vietnam with opportunities to explore rustic villages, hidden cultures and be one with the people,” the company said.

CFM offers authentic three-day discovery cruises from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, Cambodia, home of the magnificent world heritage site, Angkor Wat. The schedule also includes a six-day cruise from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam; and eight days from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to Siem Reap with a visit to Phnom Penh.

However, CFM warns that passengers wanting to take advantage of the special discounts on offer will need to hurry. The discounts are limited and are dependent on cabin availability. Prices and tours are detailed on their website.

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