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. Melbourne attracts tourists like bees to honey
Move over, Sydney. In the battle of states it appears that Melbourne has reigned supreme in the tourist stakes for most-visited destination during the September school holiday period.
According to HotelsCombined.com, Melbourne shifted slightly from second position to first on the top 10 list over the last 12 months. Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Perth round out the top five for the second year in a row, while in ninth position, the popularity of Canberra has increased 37 per cent since last year. And it seems the capital of Victoria also trumped international destinations – though a few still made the top 10. Read On for more.
2. Ayers Rock Resort rocks Uluru
Celebrating the 30th year in existence of Ayers Rock Resort, Voyages has teamed up with CAAMA Music to commission local Indigenous musician, Stewart Gaykamangu in conjunction with members of the Mutitjulu community to produce a song, Tjukurpa Ninti that reflects the spiritual nature of the destination.
The Resort’s 30th anniversary follows three years of intense rejuvenation including a full renovation of the five star Sails in the Desert hotel, opening of conference facility the Uluru Meeting Place, the establishment of the National Indigenous Training Academy with an increase in Indigenous employment at the Resort from two to over 250, the introduction of a suite of daily free Indigenous guest activities and new touring options including the great value Outback Sky Journeys and exclusive Tali Wiru under the stars dining experience. Read On for more
“Ayers Rock Resort has seen many milestones in the last 30 years, and it is a great opportunity to look back at the foresight of the NT Government in investing in a lasting infrastructure that would become a hub for tourism in the region,”
Voyages Chief Executive Officer Andrew Williams
3. Exit stage Virgin in Melbourne
In an Australian first, Virgin Australia has introduced the airline’s first ‘Premium Exit’ lounge at Melbourne Airport.
Velocity Platinum and Gold Frequent Flyer members, Lounge members, and Business Class guests flying out of Melbourne can now exit the Lounge through a dedicated private security screening point, which minimises their connection times to the departure gates at Melbourne Airport.
“We remain committed to setting a new standard in customer experience and rewarding our most frequent flyers for their continued loyalty,” Velocity Frequent Flyer Chief Executive Officer, Neil Thompson, said.
The Premium Exit lounge follows the introduction of Virgin’s kerbside Premium Entry in Sydney, which has proven to be a success among passengers. “We will continue to bring unique and personalised innovations to our members as we work towards becoming a world-leading loyalty program,” Mr Thompson said.
4. Coasts unite for UK opportunities
Sunshine Coast Destination and Fraser Coast Opportunities continue to join forces and will expand their marketing push of Australia’s Nature Coast into the UK, a key international market for both regions.
Just over 12 months old, the ANC initiative is designed to showcase the environmental assets of the neighbouring regions, in order to increase international appeal.
Building on the work to date, the group is confident that its natural attractions, vibrant food scene, ideal climate and easy access from Brisbane, Hervey Bay and Sunshine Coast Airports, will make it increasingly attractive as a world class eco-destination to the UK traveller.
“Australia’s Nature Coast brings together the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast to better promote what is one of Australia’s most attractive and outstanding coastline destinations,” Chief executive of Sunshine Coast Destination, Simon Ambrose, said.
The strategy follows insights from Tourism Australia’s international consumer research project which showed that one of Australia’s key strengths is its world class nature.
According to the research, 56 per cent of long haul travellers are ‘passionate’ about, and motivated to travel by, nature-based activities.
5. Emirates and Jetstar expand codeshare deal
Emirates and Jetstar have announced the expansion of their codeshare and frequent flyer relationship, to 30 routes across the Asia Pacific region.
From October 26th, Emirates will grow its codeshare on Jetstar to include Jetstar Airways services between Melbourne and Ayers Rock (Uluru), Christchurch to Wellington in New Zealand and three new destinations in south-east Asia from Jetstar Asia’s hub in Singapore.
The new codeshare services from Singapore will connect Emirates passengers to Penang in Malaysia, Yangon in Myanmar and Medan in Indonesia.
The additional destinations complement the current 25 routes announced in February this year.
“The expansion of the codeshare with Jetstar is an important milestone as we continue to expand the destinations available to Emirates’ passengers,” Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ executive vice president said.
All Emirates’ passengers on Jetstar flights will receive boarding passes on check-in at their first international departure point for connecting international service.
6. Bricks and mortar agents in the US making a comeback
According to the Los Angeles Times, brick-and-mortar travel agencies are reliving a retro revival.
While online bookings equate to 70 per cent of the US market, Travel agents in the states are claiming that the total number of clients are up in the first half of 2014 compared with the same period last year.
Research, conducted by the American Society of Travel Agents, has also claimed the 47 per cent have experienced an increase in revenue.
The surge in travellers seeking the service of agents is said to coincide with the levelling of the American economy.
With locals experiencing larger expendable incomes, they seek luxurious packages and more intricate vacations.
Will soon pick up in Australia? Only time, and the health of our dollar, will tell.
7. Qantas gets you direct to the Canadian slopes
Qantas has announced that it will operate six direct return services between Sydney and Vancouver in January to cater for demand during the peak of the North American winter holiday season.
Qantas International CEO Simon Hickey said the seasonal Vancouver services was great news for Australian travellers and ski enthusiasts, providing easier access to Canada’s most popular ski resorts and holiday destinations, and would also boost inbound tourism for Australia.
“By flying non-stop to Vancouver, our customers can enjoy more time on the mountain, or wherever in Canada, their holiday plans may take them,” he said.
“We’re also making it more convenient for Canadian travellers to experience the best of summer here in Australia.”
Mr Hickey said the services also deliver on Qantas’ focus of having the right aircraft on the right route, at the right time of year.
The services will operate from 3 to 22 January 2015, departing Sydney on Saturdays and Wednesdays (with same day connections available from the major Australian capital cities), and from Vancouver on Sundays and Thursdays, operated by a three-cabin B747 aircraft, reconfigured with lie-flat beds in Business Class and the award-winning international Economy seat.
8. 35 year plan announced to save Barrier Reef
A 35-year plan has been unveiled by the Australian government in a bid to keep the Great Barrier Reef from being reclassified by the United Nations as “in danger.”
The reef has been classified as World Heritage site since 1981.
Due to threat from climate change, poor water quality and the impact of coastal development that includes the controversial expansion of a major coal-loading port at Abbot Point, the reef had lost over half of its coral in the last 27 years.
The Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability plan hopes to reverse the damage.
It provides a framework for managing the reef, which includes monitoring turtle, coral trout and dugong populations and breeding, improving water quality and setting targets for substantial reductions in farm chemicals leaching into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The report’s recommendations are not final. Public submissions will be taken for six weeks.
However, conservationists have claimed that the proposal didn’t go far enough to restore the health of the reef. Especially since dredging and dumping activities have not been minimised, including the expansion of Abbott point last year.
The Queensland government last week proposed dumping the dredge on land, but conservationists warned that this could destroy nearby wetlands.
9. A&K celebrates 25 years of icy adventures
Celebrating 25 years of Expedition Cruising, luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent has released its 2015 – 2016 brochure for polar expeditionary cruises.
Created by on-the-ground experts, led by a remarkable expedition team of research scientists and naturalists and operated exclusively by A&K on board luxury cruiser MV ‘Le Boreal’ the voyages in this brochure reveal the polar reaches at their astonishing best.
The elegant guest quarters aboard ‘Le Boreal’ are among the most spacious and comfortable on any Antarctic cruise with a choice of bedding configurations.
She carries just 199 guests and each cabin has a private balcony.
‘Le Boreal’ has an ice rating which exceeds that required in the demanding polar conditions and is equipped with the latest navigation, communications and safety equipment. A technologically-advanced stabilising system minimises the effect of rough seas.
There are four Antarctic expeditions on offer for the 2015-16 season.
Each visits the wildlife rich Antarctic Peninsula with two adding South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.
Journeys are themed with a special family expedition over Christmas and New Year, a Climate Change mission trip plus two photographic journeys.
On the other side of the world is a journey to the Great White North taking guests to Norway and the High Arctic Svalbard archipelago, less than1,000 kilometres from the North Pole.
10. Investors flock to Spanish hotel market
It seems the devastating impact the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 had on the Mediterranean country’s real estate is coming to a close with investors regaining interest in Spain’s hotel market.
The first half of this year has seen $(EUR)724 million injected into Spain’s hotel sector and the trend is on the increase in the second half.
The lure is seen to be due to an easy and profitable entry into Spain’s lucrative tourist market.
Real estate prices in the region had dropped by 50 per cent during the crisis, meaning anyone who invests now will benefit from large gains in the future.
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