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. Hilton Worldwide opens first DoubleTree by Hilton in Queensland
Hilton Worldwide today announced the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Cairns. The 237-room Cairns hotel, formerly a Holiday Inn, occupies an exceptional waterfront location on the Coral Sea in the vibrant city of Cairns. The hotel also marks the fourth DoubleTree by Hilton in Australia and the 400th hotel in the brand’s global portfolio.
“Guests at DoubleTree by Hilton Cairns can look forward to experiencing the brand’s signature service in the tropical surrounds of Far North Queensland,” John Greenleaf, global head, DoubleTree by Hilton said.
“The opening of this hotel further cements our commitment to the Australian market. We know that the little things mean everything when it comes to a rewarding travel experience and strive to bring each guest the special comforts and acts of kindness that are unique to the brand – starting with a warm chocolate chip cookie welcome at check-in and continuing throughout every aspect of a guest’s stay.”
DoubleTree by Hilton Cairns is located at 121 The Esplanade, approximately six kilometres from Cairns International Airport and half a kilometre from Cairns’ CBD centre.
2. Seabourn partners with UNESCO to save World Heritage sites
As part of its newly-formed partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Seabourn has announced it will host prominent world heritage experts for its Seabourn Conversations enrichment and special guest entertainment program.
Conversation topics will include culture, heritage, history and the importance of sustainable tourism in preserving World Heritage Sites.
Sharing their insights onboard Seabourn vessels over the next year-and-a-half will be a host of UNESCO advisors and consultants. UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
“UNESCO’s vital role in encouraging cultural understanding and preservation will make for fascinating conversation on Seabourn vessels around the world,” Seabourn Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales John Delaney said
Read on for more.
3. Qantas takes long hop to Dallas
Qantas today welcomed its inaugural A380 service from Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney, offering travellers from US the ultimate flying experience on the world’s longest route.
Qantas Executive Manager International Sales, Stephen Thompson said the introduction of the A380 on the route would lead to greater opportunities for both tourism and for trade.
“We’ve already carried more than 300,000 passengers on the Dallas/Fort Worth route and we’re confident the introduction of the A380 will attract more travellers and introduce more Americans to Sydney and Australia,” he said.
Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase said she was delighted that the Qantas A380 service, proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW had arrived in Sydney this morning.
“The extra services will see more American visitors arrive in Sydney each year to experience our pristine beaches, vibrant and diverse events, Aussie hospitality and our State’s outstanding food and wine experiences,” she said.
4. Freestyle travel experts “Busabout” Europe
Busabout, HAGGiS and Shamrocker Adventures has unveiled its 2015/2016 European plus Scotland and Ireland Brochure launching a new winter programme and Trans-Siberian Rail journey.
Priced from $4119 per person the 21 day Trans-Siberian itinerary offers eight departures a year (four from St Petersburgh, four from Beijing), visiting St Petersburg, Moscow, Lake Baikal, Ulaanbaatar, Terelj National Park and Beijing.
Travellers will now also be able to enjoy the expertise of a Busabout guide and stress-free travel on the Northern and Southern Winter Track itineraries.
With both Tracks using the Euro-Rail system, travellers on the 12 day Northern Winter Tracks are priced from $1769 per person and visit Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Salzburg and Munich.
The 10 day Southern Winter Tracks is priced from $1509 per person and explores Munich, Lucerne, Lauterbrunnen, Venice, Florence and Rome.
For travellers heading to the Eastern Mediterranean to soak up the summer sunshine the new eight day Turkey Aegean Adventure travels from Istanbul, Gallipoli, Ephesus and Saklikent Gorge before relaxing with a three day Aegean sailing adventure, priced from $1059 per person.
For bookings made and paid for before 19 Busabout will offer a 20 per cent off selected itineraries.
5. Business travel increases despite eurozone crisis
The impact of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, which left several European states in economic and political turmoil, is still squeezing the pockets of governments attempting to repay their burgeoning debt.
However, this pessimistic outlook has had little impact on companies seeking to strike business deals on the old continent.
The latest version of the 3mundi/Déplacements Pros barometer has shown a three per cent increase in business travel to Europe this year.
“Europe still represents 60 per cent of business travel,” they said.
The report, which surveyed hundreds of employees from large and small companies, also cited that more than half of those who travel for business did not experience a decline in activity from 2013.
Read on for more.
6. Skyscanner predicts space to be next on the agenda
In advance of World Space Week, global travel search site Skyscanner released the third and final part of their Future of Travel 2024 report, predicting that the heights of the Earth’s orbit and the depths of the world’s oceans will become vacation destinations over the next decade.
Part three of the report, “Destinations and Hotels,” reveals that by 2024 space will be the final frontier for intrepid travellers taking them to the outer edges of our planet’s atmosphere.
“Taking travel to space will be a ground-breaking milestone for mankind in general, but what’s even more exciting is the transfer of technologies that space exploration can bring to commercial aviation,”said Filip Filipov, Skyscanner’s Head of B2B.
“A regular traveler might see a London to Sydney flight in 2.5 hours, which will make travel even easier and faster than ever before, breaking time boundaries.”
7. Branson also set to explore the final frontier
Also in the vein of intergalactic travel, Richard Branson has insisted his Virgin Galactic enterprise will be ready for its first flight next spring.
In an interview with the UK Sunday Telegraph, the founder of Virgin Atlantic rejected claims by critics that the latest delay in lift-off for his spaceship was further evidence that the business would never make it off the ground.
Instead Branson told the newspaper that he would be on the first passenger flight of his new “spaceline” when it takes off next spring.
Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004, with initial plans of taking paying customers into space by 2007. In 2009, the company said there would be flights within two years and earlier this year, Branson predicted he would be on the space voyage by the end of the year.
Earlier this month, he reportedly acknowledged that his target had slipped again. However Branson told the Sunday Telegraph had now made a crucial breakthrough on rocket design, and that test flights would resume from the Mojave airbase in California.
He has now predicted that the craft will make its first test flight before Christmas.
8. Crowne Plaza shares region’s best at Hunter Valley Wine Festival 2014
Food and wine lovers are invited to sample some of Australia’s finest produce at the Hunter Valley Wine Festival, held at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. Taking place on Saturday 11th October, the festival will come to life within the grounds of the picturesque Resort.
The festival is a Schwartz Family Co. initiative aiming to support and celebrate local businesses, providing an opportunity for the community to come together and enjoy a day of delicious food and wine.
Locals and visitors will descend on Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley to taste local delights and encourage others to discover what the region has to offer. Up to 40 stalls will be showcasing an array of food, wine, beer and cider, with exhibitors including Drayton’s Family Wines, Adina Vineyards and Hunter Valley Cheese Company.
Lucky door prizes will be awarded to some very fortunate visitors, and all will be entertained with live music and guest speakers such as Michael Capaldo, brewer of Lovedale Brewery. Charity raffles and face painting for the kids will also be held throughout the day, with funds being raised to support the great work of the Hunter Valley Rural Fire Service.
“Our mission is to celebrate the Hunter Valley community and its providers,” Robert Coates, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley General Manager said.
“The Hunter Valley Wine festival not only provides a platform for exhibitors to promote their wares, but it’s a fun-filled day that local residents and visitors to the area really appreciate.”
9. Tourism Authority of Thailand: Australia is cornering the market
Tourism Authority of Thailand says a trade monopoly of wholesale travel operators is an obstacle for Thai tourism operators to expand business in the Australian market.
The problem for Thailand’s agents is that if they work with one chain, they are obliged not to work with competitors. The concentration of wholesalers limits an agency’s ability to diversify in the B2B market.Also, as wholesalers consolidate and take control of retail outlets, the scope to grow or build a wider market mix reduces. It is particularly difficult for niche market tour firms.
Thailand is one of favourite destinations for Australian tourists alongside Fiji, New Zealand, Indonesia and the US.
10. Queensland tourism at a cost to locals?
Tourism plays a significant role in the economy of Queensland, accounting for nearly eight per cent of Queensland’s gross state product.
However, according to James Cook University PHD student, Elena Konovalov, this can have a negative effect on the social health of communities.
“A more developed tourism industry is associated with less willingness of the locals to volunteer or give back to the community and locals feel less responsibility for the future of the community,” she told the ABC.
Konovalov recently completed a study of the social impacts of tourism in three of Queensland’s hot spots – Airlie Beach, Bowen and the Atherton Tablelands. She discovered that while areas with a more developed tourism agenda had more opportunities for jobs and education, community health was often forgotten.
Ms Konovalov said she hopes her results will help local governments have a more balanced approach to future tourism developments.
“We would like to see tourism used as a resource for local communities and for locals to be able to capitalise on tourism opportunities,” she said.
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