By Matt Leedham @worldofleedham09 Mar 2018Welcome to ‘the weekly check-in’ and KARRYON Founder Matt Leedham’s update on the highs, the lows and the random notes from this week’s travel industry happenings. This week I report back on Women in Travel, Crocodile Dundee, Qantas flying directly to London, Europe’s never-ending snow, flying around the world in 52 hours and doing a Rubik’s cube in just 0.38 seconds. That’s faster than blinking. Intrigued? Read on. 1. International Women’s Day soars even higher The Women in Travel, International Women’s Day Lunch Thursday, March 8th saw the travel industry collectively celebrate International Women’s day under this year’s banner of #pressforprogress with events, functions, networking and inspiring talks everywhere. Many travel brands also came out this year with shows of support for gender equality and some great new female initiatives on the day including Emirates, Intrepid, Trafalgar, G Adventures and Flight Centre to name but a few. Four years ago I co-founded the ‘Women In Tourism’ not for profit Leadership lunches in Sydney with Emma Castle from Spice Magazine and Holly Galbraith from Holly G Media. We actually started the event on International Women’s day and since then the gatherings have blossomed into a wonderful community with regular lunches in other cities too and even a recent weekend retreat. It’s been amazing to see so many women (and some men!) of all ages and from every aspect of the industry come together to connect and foster nurturing friendships in the group and I’m extremely proud to be a part of it. If you feel like joining us too then click here to find out more and stay tuned for our next events in 2018. 2. Perth-London incoming In around two weeks (Saturday, March 24). flight QF9 will be famously taking off from Perth (Via Melbourne) and touching down 17 hours and 14,498km’s later at London Heathrow without a single stop along the way. It’ll be a world first from Australia and the result of years of hard work, investment and planning for Qantas. You might say that the Boeing Qantas Dreamliner 787-9 was created for this route with exclusively designed ‘Enhanced comfort’ cabins in all classes and so many service enhancements that some people may not want to get off at the other end. But then again, 17 hours? The jury is still out. Last week I was lucky to attend an exclusive lunch at Qantas HQ with Neil Perry and the Rockpool team and got to sample the unique menu and dishes that will be served in all classes on the new PER-LON route. ‘Beating jetlag with well-being’ is the idea here and Qantas has gone all out in working with The University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre to get scientific on what to eat and when and what to leave back in the hangar as well as how to relax and get the optimum sleep along the way. But my favourite quote on the day from Mr Perry was… “DON’T PANIC: You’ll still be able to enjoy your glass of vino(s) and favourite treats with your sky high movie binge watching as per usual.” Phew. Read on for more. 3. Man flies around the world in 52 hours – WHAT?! Andrew Fisher arrives home… A Record breaker In the 1873 Jules Verne novel ‘Around the world in eighty days,’ it took Phileas Fogg exactly that when he set off in a hot air balloon to win a wager and defeat the odds (of which there were many) along the way. Fast forward to 2018 and Kiwi Etihad Fleet planner Andrew Fisher clocked up 43,375km and a flying time of 52 hours and 34 minutes taking four scheduled commercial flights to beat the previous Guinness World Record. Which way to the Etihad Lounge? Of his record beating trip, Fisher said; “Although I managed only 16 hours of sleep throughout the journey, I still felt fresh, perhaps due to the adrenalin and excitement at completing this unique experience. And it’s a great feeling to be part of a company that encourages and enables its employees to pursue their dreams.” Now that’s what we call researching your job. The question I think we all want to know is – Where was Mr Fisher sitting on the plane? Read more about Fisher’s story. 4. Croc Dundee results Is it any surprise that Tourism Australia’s fabulous $38m Crocodile Dundee Campaign has already delivered so many good things in the U.S. since its launch at the Super Bowl just a month ago? The results came out this week and apparently, the Aussie Tourism bean counters and politicians are celebrating wildly. Without going into too much detail (you can read that here), the minister for trade, tourism and investment Steve Ciobo revealed that since the ads aired, the campaign has achieved social media reach of around 890 million across a number of platforms and has also generated an estimated advertising value of $74 million. Woah. Spikes in Aus bookings have been reported and Akubra’s, pairs of RM Williams and Budgie smugglers are apparently seeing like hot cakes right now in the old US of A. Ok, I made that last bit up, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I’m waiting for the full Dundee movie to be made now. I think we all are, aren’t we? 5. European Ice Ice baby What started out in the UK as the ‘Beast from the East’ with severe snowstorms in the last fortnight has since developed into a raging cold front all over Europe causing chaos to travellers everywhere. There have been some famous shots of the icy freeze doing the round including ice skating in Amsterdam bringing a whole new meaning to ‘river cruising’ and my favourite from Fiona Dalton, MD of Uniworld Cruising who last week was attending a Uniworld conference onboard one of their ships in Budapest. Pic: Fiona Dalton All I could think of was right now could be the best time to bags one of those sunbeds. 6. Robot Rubik I’ll leave you with this incredible video which has nothing at all to do with travel and everything to do with technology and AI (Artificial intelligence) coming more and more to the fore. Back in the day, I used to take Rubik’s Cubes apart and then put them back together in the correct spots to prove my IQ – No-one believed me and it took hours. Incredibly, this robot can solve a Rubik’s cube in 0.38 seconds. Yes really. Watch the video slowed down – it’s still amazing. Happy travels and have a great week. Got some news to share for next week? I’d love to hear from you. Email me at [email protected] and let’s connect. Other stories you may like QANTAS LEANING HUB: Reasons you need to reach Chief Pilot status ASAP AGENT INCENTIVE: Rail Plus is giving away $500, $200 & $100 gift vouchers WHAT DO YOU DO? Travel advisor, agent, consultant, expert, manager, counsellor or designer?