UK Government expands use of eGates
The UK’s Government has extended the use of biometric border control gates to visitors from several new countries, including Australia and New Zealand residents with ePassports. The government will also remove the need for all travellers to fill in landing cards upon arrival into the UK to speed up border entry.
Virgin review self-serve kiosks
Virgin Australia is making a conscious effort to improve their customer service experience by reviewing its self-service kiosks. As a result, since 1 June the following self-serve kiosks are no longer available: Cains (CNS), Canberra (CBR), Hobart (HBA), Launceston (LST), Mackay (MKY), Rockhampton (ROK), Townsville (TSV). Virgin advised guest to check in online prior to airport arrival or with the Guest Services staff at the airport.
Qantas and American Airlines partnership
Qantas has announced the tentative approval of their partnership with American Airlines. The integration will see the duo delivering new routes and flights to new destinations, better access to seats on each carrier’s network which will lead to lower fares. The joint business allows an improvement on frequent flyer benefits and investments in lounges, baggage systems and other infrastructure to improve the travel experience for customers.
Qantas Business Rewards Triple Points offer
For a limited time, Qantas Business Rewards are offering members the opportunity to receive triple Qantas points on eligible domestic or international flights. After the offer has been activated, customers have the chance to also win one of four ultimate Qantas flight experience packs. Flights must be booked between 11 June and 21 June 2019, click here for more information or contact your usual CTM channel today!
Virgin accelerate offers the chance to win back your travel spend
Virgin Australia is giving up to ten businesses the chance to win back their travel spend for the month of June (up to $10,000). All you need to do is be a member of Virgin Australia accelerate program and booking any Virgin marketed and operated flights between 1 June 2019 and 30 June 2019 to automatically go in the draw. To enter to win the flights must be booked through a registered travel management company – get in contact with your usual CTM channel today to book!
US Global Entry trial for Australian citizens
The Global Entry program facilitates speedier clearance and entrance into the United States for pre-approved travellers. It also includes TSA PreCheck for accelerated security processing on US domestic flights. There are plans for a local trial in the second half of 2019 for Australian citizens to trial the fast-track entry.
Virgin Australia Premium Economy limits baggage
From 11 June 2019, passengers travelling in Virgin Australia’s Premium Economy will be limited to 2 x 23kg of checked baggage on both Premium Saver and Premium fares. Velocity Platinum, Gold and Silver members will be entitled to 3 x 23kg of checked baggage.
Qantas to launch non-stop Chicago flights
Qantas said that it expects to begin non-stop flights to Chicago following US approval for joint business with American Airlines. The new route would be between Brisbane and Chicago on a Qantas 787 Dreamliner. There is also mention of a direct Brisbane-San Francisco Dreamliner flight is the Chicago route is approved.
Air New Zealand new long-haul economy class
Air New Zealand will release a new long-haul economy class seating product offering additional leg room and differentiated seat set up at the front of the economy cabin. Air New Zealand Airpoints members will be able to earn additional Airpoints by booking the new product.
Boost for Bendigo-Sydney services
QantasLink will increase its services between Bendigo and Sydney from six return per week to daily from 17 August 2019, following strong initial demand since launching two months ago. The direct service has seen strong uptake from residents, business and leisure travellers serviced by a 50-seat Q300 turboprop aircraft.
Air New Zealand commits to next-generation Dreamliner
Air New Zealand has announced a significant investment in its international network and customer experience by committing to purchase eight Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft from 2022. These highly fuel-efficient additions to the Air New Zealand fleet will have the potential to save 190,000 tonnes of carbon per year. This will also give them the opportunity to open longer non-stop routes, such as Auckland-New York. Passengers will also benefit from a 15% increase in space for customers and cargo. The aircrafts are expected to replace Air New Zealand’s fleet 777-200 aircraft, which will be phased out by 2025.
Sunshine Coast Airport Master Plan 2040 draft unveiled
The Sunshine Coast Council has released the draft of the Sunshine Coast Airport Master Plan 2040, which will be one of the most significant transport, tourism and economic infrastructure assets in the region. The upgrade will open new direct destinations in Australia, the Pacific and Asia for the Sunshine Coast region. The draft plan outlines that the airport will operate with one runway, which will be able to accommodate all current aircraft operators and wide-body passenger aircrafts, which the current runway cannot.
Auckland Airport commences airfield expansion
Auckland International Airport has commenced its airfield expansion, which will see more than 250,000sqm of land converted into new airfield space over the next three years. Stemming from the western end of the airport beside the international terminal, the expansion will add more than 18% surface area to the airfield.
NSW Government contributed to Orange Regional Airport upgrade
The NSW Government has made the decision to fund AUD$1.5 million towards the AUD$2 million upgrades to Orange Regional Airport. The upgrade will include secure undercover parking, shelter over terminal departure and arrival doors, as well as extra features inside including workstations for business travellers, charging points, WiFi and improved lounges and larger digital display screen. The car park’s roof will also hold 200 solar panels to supply additional power to the airport.
Minor Hotel’s Avani Melbourne Box Hill Residence to open
Accor’s new property, Avani Melbourne Box Hill Residences will be opening on 15 August 2019. The new 20 storey tower features both one and two bedroom fully self-contained suites, with breathtaking views of Melbourne and the Dandenong Ranges. Located in a prime position in Box Hill, the property includes an on-site restaurant, rooftop swimming pool and state of the art gymnasium.
Accor reaches 1100 hotels in Asia Pacific with the opening of new Sofitel Beijing Central
Accor has hit a major milestone, opening their 1100th hotel in the Asia Pacific, the Sofitel Beijing Central. This announcement comes just six months after they announced their 1000th hotel opening in Tokyo. The new hotel features 345 spacious luxury rooms and suites, as well as three dining outlets and over 1500 sqm of event space.
voco hotel set for Sydney CBD
IHG has signed its fifth location for voco in Australia, with voco Sydney Central scheduled to open by 2020. The 17-storey property will feature a unique sloping room with a ‘green waterfall’. Focused on a ‘Me Time’ concept, the 301 guest rooms will feature premium beds for quality sleep, superior showers, innovative lighting and user-friendly technology. The hotel will also feature an all-day restaurant and bar, as well as a guest gym.
Hyatt to boost regional presence
Hyatt Hotels Corporation will open 21 new hotels and resorts in the Asia Pacific region by the end of 2020. This expansion includes seven Park Hyatt branded properties, six hotels under the Grand Hyatt and Andaz brands and two Alila branded resorts. Including the additions of the Park Hyatt Auckland opening this year, this will boost Hyatt’s portfolio in the region by more than 25% in total.
Ibis Budget Sydney Airport expands
As a part of a growth strategy in response to ongoing demand, 78 upper-tier rooms have been added to the ibis Budget Sydney Airport. The rooms will be fitted with LCD televisions, ensuite and the signature ‘Sweets Beds’. This will see the room count grow from 200 to 278, with 130 Classic, 70 Standard and 78 new Superior rooms. The property is located a short walk from Mascot railway station and offers a direct shuttle service to Sydney Airport.
Melbourne Convention Bureau debuts VR site visit technology
Launched at IMEX Frankfurt 2019, the Melbourne Virtual Site Visit is an advanced virtual reality (VR) technology that offers international association clients and professional conference organisers (PCOs) an opportunity to conduct site inspections through VR. It delivers information for potential delegates to see what they can do and experience in Melbourne during their conference stay.
Christchurch Convention Centre takes shape
Christchurch’s Te Pae convention centre is on track to open in October 2020, with construction 50% complete. The AEG Ogden-operated venue has already secured several national and international events well into 2021 with 1000 delegates expected for the largest.
Novotel Twin Waters opens new convention centre
The new-build Sunshine Coast Convention Centre, located within the Novotel Twin Waters Resort has officially opened. The AUD$10 million Convention Centre Is capable of hosting more than 2,700 delegates over 3,300 square metres of floor space and has the capacity to house 200 trade stands at once. The space offers a choice of six different meeting and event spaces.
Gold Coast announced as host for The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)
The Gold Coast has been selected to host the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s 31st World Congress in 2021. The Congress returns to Australia for the first time since 1997 and will be hosted at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from 21 – 24 September 2021.
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) wins major health conference
The BCEC has announced that it will play host to the International Orthoptic Association (IOA) in June 2024. The IOA Congress, considered the most important orthoptic meeting in the world, is predicted to generate an economic impact of more than AUD$1 million for Brisbane.
Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall opening 26 July
Located in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley on Brunswick Street, the new site spans 2500sqm with 3300 capacity. The venue is the centrepiece of the masterplan to maintain Fortitude Valley’s position as a must-stop destination for local and international touring artists and an entertainment hub for locals. In the future, there is a plan in deliver additional food and beverage venues and a function space. The opening party is on 26 July and features a plethora of Australian artists.
Hyatt Sydney named as top MICE hotel
Hyatt Regency Sydney has been ranked the best meetings hotel in the Asia Pacific region for the second year in a row. The property was 1 of 13 Sydney and Melbourne hotels in the annual list including InterContinental Sydney (ranked 6th) and Crown Melbourne (ranked 18th), which all moved up in their respective positions this year.