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Tues 25 Nov: 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. Clients keep returning to Travel Counsellors

Travel Counsellors

If there’s a secret to satisfying travellers then Travel Counsellors may very well be in the loop.

According to new statistics, the company is experiencing high repeat business, with levels of 70 percent from leisure customers and 95 percent for business travel clients.

Figures released at the group’s annual conference in Manchester this week also revealed the home-based agency group achieved the highest Net Promoter Score (NPS) in the world at 96 percent.

Read On.


2. China can’t top Aus tourism growth to NZ

Image: Stuart Jenner/Shutterstock

Image: Stuart Jenner/Shutterstock

China may be one of the fastest growing travel markets but it has a long way to go before it can overtake Australia as New Zealand’s number one market, according a New Zealand tourism leader.

New Zealand’s latest visitor statistics revealed 248,784 Chinese travellers visited the country in the year ending October 2014. This was a six percent increase on the previous year.

This figure, however, doesn’t come close to the 1.24 million Australians that visited the land of the Hobbits during the same period. Up 3.3 percent on the previous 12 months.

Read On.


3. More US services flying with the Qantas code

Qantas plane

Image: e X p o s e/Shutterstock

Qantas and American Airlines have expanded their joint business partnership on nine additional flights to four new US destinations.

Qantas guests can now codeshare on services to Kona, Lihue and Maui in Hawaii; Richmond in Virginia; and more.

Qantas executive manager of international sales, Stephen Thompson said the relationship with American Airlines improves connectivity for Qantas customers visiting the US.

Qantas codeshare on American Airlines will extend to the following nine services:

Los Angeles – Lihue (LIH)
Los Angeles – Kona (KOA)
Los Angeles – Maui (OGG)
Los Angeles – Atlanta (ATL)
Los Angeles – San Antonio (SAT)
Los Angeles – Tampa (TPA)
Dallas/Fort Worth – Richmond (RIC)
Dallas/Fort Worth – Tucson (TUS)
Dallas/Fort Worth – Albuquerque (ABQ)

Qantas now has access to over 130 codeshare city pairs across North America, Canada and Mexico.


4. Save the date! Lizard Island reopening

Lizard Island

Tropical paradise, Lizard Island is set to reopen on 1 March 2015 after 12 months of refurbishments following the impact of Cyclone Ita.

During the year of rebuilding, new additions were introduced in accommodation such as a new stand-alone suite called The Villa.

The 95-square-metre suite features two bedrooms both with en-suites, a butler’s kitchen, plunge pool and wrap around deck.

The island’s previously most coveted suite, The Pavillion, will come with its private gazebo and plunge pool plus a separate lounge room with panoramic views of the Coral Sea.

Meanwhile, the Sunset Point Villas now have private plunge pools; and Anchor Bay Rooms are now located right on the beachfront.

Also new to Lizard Island is a dedicated wine and cheese room and the kitchen is now designed with an open plan to allow interaction between guests and the cooking team.

The island’s spa has also been relocated and now includes a dedicated manicure and pedicure room.


5. Celebrity cancels calls to Indonesia after a ‘dispute’ with authorities

Celebrity Millennium

Celebrity Cruises has cancelled two visits in Indonesia this week after a ‘dispute’ with Indonesian authorities.

Celebrity Millennium’s two-night stay in Bali this Thursday and a visit in Komodo Island on Sunday have been removed from the ship’s 14-night roundtrip from Singapore, Cruise Critic reported.

Instead, the ship will stop at Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok. Other stops on the itinerary will remain the same.

Celebrity said the cancellation comes after a dispute with local Indonesian authorities. Although the cruise line didn’t specific the reason behind the dispute, it did stress that it was “of a nature that we believe puts legal and ethical standards at serious risk”.

“Because of this dispute, we have been advised that local officials may either prevent guests from disembarking the ship in Bali, or prevent the ship from departing.  We refuse to put our guests and crew at such risk.”

A Celebrity Cruises statement  

Celebrity added that it has escalated the issue to the Indonesian government. The line does not expect it to be resolved until after the current cruise.


6. Park Hyatt to open first Auckland property

Park Hyatt

Image: Nils Versemann/Shutterstock

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has entered a new agreement with Fu Wah New Zealand to open Auckland’s first Park Hyatt property in 2017.

The property will be made up of 190 guestrooms, three restaurants and bars, event spaces, a spa, a 25-meter pool and a fitness center.

Park Hyatt Auckland will be located on the waterfront at Auckland Harbour.

Ratnesh Verma, the company’s senior vice president, real estate and development in Asia Pacific said the property will offer Auckland’s visitors luxurious accommodation, culinary expertise and high-quality service.

Park Hyatt Auckland is one of 16 Park Hyatt hotels currently in development around the world.


7. New online travel policy for cruises

Image: Digital Storm/Shutterstock

Image: Digital Storm/Shutterstock

Online travel insurance company, InsureandGo has started a new online policy designed to cover cruises in Australia.

The policy was created in response to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia findings that more Australians are setting sail around the country.

Similar to other policies, coverage includes baggage damage, theft as well as onboard and on-land medical expenses.

However, it also covers missed cruises and inability to disembark at any port.


8. Internet speeds up on MSC ships

Image: Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock

Image: Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock

MSC Cruises has started rolling out advanced internet technology aboard its 12 ships to offer guests and crew high-speed connectivity.

The line is the first to receive the latest iDX3.2 software and X7 modem from iDirect.

The new technology offers higher bandwidth, which is required for fast internet. According to the cruise line, the online experience onboard will be comparable to wireless broadband on land.

“Staying connected is increasingly important to our guests, so MSC Cruises wanted to enhance the onboard Wi-Fi experience by ensuring that more guests can get online at the same time.”

Emilio La Scala, MSC Cruises general manager of the technical department


9. Find out who won at this year’s Tropical North Queensland’s Awards


The best of Tropical North Queensland’s tourism industry were congratulated for the efforts in boosting local tourism at the 16th Tropic North Queensland Tourism Awards.

For the first time this year, an award went to the entire Cairns community for hosting the 2014 Australian Tourism Exchange. It was the first time the annual conference was held in a regional destination.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning accepted the award on the community’s behalf at the ceremony held last week at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal.

Read On.


10. TAM changes flight code after psychic’s disastrous prediction


Brazilian carrier, TAM Airlines changed the flight number for one of its services after a psychic predicted the plane could experience major bad luck and crash.

The warning came from Jucelino Nobrega da Luz – the clairvoyant who says he predicted the deaths of Princess Diana and a Brazilian racing hero, Ayrton Senna.

According to Nobrega da Luz, TAM flight JJ3720 flying from Sao Paulo to Brasilia would experience engine troubles and crash on Sao Paulo’s main Paulista Avenue.

Immediately after receiving the warning, TAM changed the flight code to JJ4732 and stated passenger safety was important at all times.

Would you feel safe flying JJ4732?

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