We’ve done all the hard work, so you don’t have to! Read on for the top ten travel stories you need to know today.
1. Fiji Airways – the small airline making big bucks
Keeping operations small and tight are paying off for Fiji Airways, which reported a profit before income tax of $62.5 million for the nine months to December last year.
It is the airline’s highest-ever operating profit and is a major increase from the $8.3 million profit made during the first nine months to December last year.
After tax profit of $55.6 million was also two times better than the best operating profit achieved in the airline’s history and well above the $8.7 million made during the nine-month period ending 31 December 2013.
2. Check out AIME’s creative new look
Attendees to this year’s Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) will be the first to experience the event’s new community strategy as well as its reimagined brand.
Working with KarryOn’s parent company, Leedham Creative, the two companies designed a new logo to better represent the event.
The former completely purple logo featuring a world globe and the words ‘AIME – Melbourne, Australia’ have been replaced with a modern, slicker concept where the word AIME is now centered and in black font.
3. Farewell Skywest
That’s probably one of the last times you’ll see the blue trail of Skywest as Virgin Australia replaces the livery with its own red and white livery paint.
The announcement comes two years after Virgin took over the airline.
Virgin Australia Regional Airlines Chief Executive Merren McArthur said bringing regional aircraft in line with Virgin is part of the airline’s plans for continued growth.
“We are adding more aircraft and our charter business is up more than 30 percent over the past two years. And we are forecasting continued growth.”
Merren McArthur, Virgin Australian Regional Airlines Chief Executive
Since Virgin purchased Skywest, the airline’s staff numbers has increased by 10 percent to 840 – indicating a rise in both business and operations.
4. Dreamtime heads to Adelaide
Tourism Australia kicked off AIME with the announcement that its signature trade-marketing event, Dreamtime 2015, will be held in the city of Adelaide in South Australia.
Dreamtime is Australia’s largest business events showcase, which connects Australia with buyers from key markets such as Greater China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, New Zealand, USA and the United Kingdom.
This year, the event is set to further strengthen the $13 billion business events sector and will give Adelaide the opportunity to showcase its unprecedented level of investment in new and existing infrastructure to buyers from around the world.
Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan said as well as being key to promoting Australia as a business events destination internationally, Dreamtime is vital to the broader industry Tourism 2020 targets.
In selecting Adelaide for the event, Mr O’Sullivan said South Australia is the ‘perfect gateway’ for international buyers to experience the various experiences and destinations Australia has on offer.
5. Eurostar’s extended booking horizon
Rail Plus has extended Eurostar’s standard six-month booking horizon, with tickets now available through to 16 November.
Chief Executive James Dunne says the extended booking horizon provides an outstanding opportunity for travel agents to secure Eurostar seats at the same time as early-bird airfares.
At the same time, Eurostar has unveiled a range of special discount fares offering reductions of up to 30 percent on its London-Paris-Lille-Brussels services.
Discounted fares are available in the Standard and Standard Premier classes and are on sale until 20 March 2015, for travel before 27 August 2015.
Rates lead-in at $65 for a Standard Class fare between London and Paris, representing a 32 percent reduction of the cheapest regular fare.
6. INDUSTRY RATES: Zeavola Resort Phi Phi’s special
Australian and New Zealand agents plus other industry professionals are being offers a special rate to visit Zeavola Resort Phi Phi in 2015.
Travel industry rates are for travel between 1 March and 31 October 2015 (excluding 30 March – 7 April 2015).
Prices start from THB 5,900 per room per night for a Village Suite.
Special offer: Stay during period of 10 April – 31 October 2015 for a minimum of two consecutive nights and get a complimentary round-trip transfer from Phuket International Airport or any hotels in Phuket to Zeavola as per hotel speedboat-schedule. Maximum two guests per room.
7. Darwin’s record cruise week
Sydney isn’t the only city getting record cruise traffic this wave season – next week, Darwin will record its busiest cruise week when six ships carrying up to 11,000 passenger stop in the city.
The biggest ships to berth during the week starting 2 March will be Celebrity Solstice and Queen Mary 2.
NT Chief Minister Adam Giles expects the visits during the week to pump as much as $2.5 million dollars into the local economy.
Last year, Darwin welcomed 38 cruise ships – triple the figure ten years ago when just 11 ships visited.
To continue the industry’s growth, the Northern Territory has launched a Cruise Sector Activation Plan, which merges cruise with local tourism and business operators.
The Cruise Sector Activation Plan 2015-2020 is now out for consultation with industry and focuses on three key areas:
Cruise Ship Attraction – bringing more cruise lines to Darwin, especially those that can establish a base there and offer cruises that begin and end in Darwin.
Infrastructure & Facilities – ensuring Darwin is more than capable of handling visits from the largest cruise ships in the world.
Experience Development – ensuring cruise ship passengers and crew have the opportunity to explore our region, engage with locals and return to Darwin for extended visits in the future.
8. Dubai goes 360
Your guests can officially explore Dubai before finalising their travel planes on the new virtual website – Dubai 360.
Available at www.Dubai360.com, the site was developed in less than 18 months to offer guests interactive 360-degree virtual tours of the city.
Comprising of 1,298 pieces of panoramic video and photo content, it is the world’s largest and highest quality interactive city tour.
The idea for the website was first announced in August last year by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum plays an active role in promoting Dubai’s tourism industry.
Last year, the Crown Prince of Dubai officially opened Dubai’s new cruise terminal, which is now the largest port around the world. Read on.
He is also responsible for the success of the hashtag #MyDubai on Instagram, which is one of the most used hashtags on the social media site.
9. Racing around the UK & Ireland
The mega famil has officially begun and agents are having the time of their life.
Qantas Holidays has taken around 60 of Australia’s very own travel agents over to Europe for a 10-day mega famil of the region.
Split into four teams, the agents are covering ground in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
So far, they’ve been spotted by the home of Guiness in Ireland (pictured above). The team in Scotland have seen the history and culture of the world made famous by the Loch Ness and team Wales have visited Cardiff for some history and beautiful views.
10. We won’t charge you to pee: Tigerair
Uhhhh thank you? What else is there to say to an airline boss when he confirms passengers will ‘never’ be charged for using the toilet mid-flight?
But don’t go getting too gracious.
John Borghetti, who now overseas the airline since it was purchased by Virgin Australia, says while Tigerair won’t charge passengers to pee, he is a fan of ancillary fees that will improve the low-cost experience for travellers.
What are your thoughts on today’s news?
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