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Dubai’s Aya sells 345,000 tickets in first weeks of operations

The post Dubai’s Aya sells 345,000 tickets in first weeks of operations appeared first on TD (Travel Daily Media) Travel Daily.

AYA, a next generation immersive and experiential entertainment park which opened on 17th December in Dubai, today announced that it has sold more than 345,000 tickets in its first weeks of operations, split between direct consumers and travel trade management companies.

Launched by parent company HyperSpace, a Future Forward Entertainment company that builds and operates physical parks for a digital world, AYA is a 40,000 sq ft immersive entertainment attraction that invites intrepid travellers to step foot into a huge expanse of vibrant, interactive experiences across 12 different zones, each with its own unique theme and interactive elements.

AYA’s ticket sales have been driven primarily by travel trade, with agents and tour operators snapping up the majority of pre-purchased tickets for group tours and incentive packages to secure allocation for 2023. These astounding levels of pre-purchase are a testament to the demand of digital immersive entertainment attractions by global entertainment seekers and shows the activity and competition within the Dubai tourism trade market to secure top tier experiences for their consumer base.  Dubai is setting a new global standard as a tourism destination, and the market is responding by pre-purchasing tickets in bulk to meet the demand of incoming tourist traffic. To date, tickets have been purchased across more than four international markets, with the highest number of international visitors coming from the Indian, CIS, Turkish and Israeli markets.

Alexander Heller, Founder and CEO of Dubai-based HyperSpace, the company that invented and operates AYA, said: “While we knew that demand for AYA would be high, we have already far exceeded our initial ticket sales targets, and the appetite from international travel trade has been particularly strong. This demonstrates not just the attractiveness of AYA as the place for an out-of-this-world experience, but also the draw of Dubai as the destination for world leading leisure and entertainment.”

AYA, the first of its kind immersive entertainment park in WAFI City, Dubai, combines art and the latest technology to take travellers on a trip to a beautiful universe, where they can leave the real world behind and wander through mystical chambers, experience interactive domes, watch awe-inspiring robotic light shows and immerse themselves in storytelling zones using the latest touch-reactive technology.

Having arrived at Level One of the Main Atrium in WAFI City, Dubai, AYA has been designed to evoke wonder and awe in an out-of-this-world trip to a beautiful universe that will light up social media feeds everywhere.



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Source: traveldailymedia

 ‘Fly for Love Challenge’ from Thai Vietjet

The post  ‘Fly for Love Challenge’ from Thai Vietjet appeared first on TD (Travel Daily Media) Travel Daily.

Starting the new year 2023 with creative and fun activities, Thai Vietjet launched ‘Fly for Love Challenge’, inviting passengers to participate in the campaign and get a chance to win up to 4 round-trips of complimentary air tickets to fly on Thai Vietjet’s international services. Passengers may take part in the campaign by filming a video clip of themselves dancing to the song ‘Fly for Love’, which is the official song of Thai Vietjet, and posting it on TikTok with hashtags as specified. The top 3 video clips with the highest number of likes will receive up to 4 international round-trip tickets of Thai Vietjet’s.

Pinyot Pibulsonggram, commercial head of Thai Vietjet, said: “Thai Vietjet strives to provide passengers with superior travel experiences on every flight. With fun, creative and hospitable services, ‘fun and friendly’ is one of the core values, along with ‘safety’, ‘on time’, and ‘affordable price.’ We have organized a wide range of special in-flight activities on a regular basis, delivering memorable travel experiences to passengers on special occasions. Today, we have taken another step forward with the ‘Fly for Love Challenge’ campaign, allowing passengers to participate in fun and creative activities with Thai Vietjet and get a chance to win prizes as a gift for the new year.”

Those who are interested can participate in the ‘Fly For Love Challenge’ campaign from today until 31 January 2023.


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Source: traveldailymedia

Top trending destinations for 2023

The post Top trending destinations for 2023 appeared first on TD (Travel Daily Media) Travel Daily.’s annual Travel Predictions research found that travellers are feeling overwhelmingly more optimistic about traveling in 2023 compared to last year, 80% of Indian travellers are seeking travel that pushes them to the limits and 96% of Indian travellers are looking for more far-flung adventurous trips and experiences.

To help travellers discover the ultimate destinations to have on their radar in 2023, has delved into global booking trends to share the top trending destinations for travellers to explore. From spiritual seaside towns to artistic capitals and historical hidden gems, this passion-packed list of on-trend destinations, experiences and stays, is sure to inspire a year of incredible trips in 2023.

São Paulo, Brazil
The energetic metropolis of São Paulo with its art house cinemas and experimental theaters is home to 20 million locals known as ‘paulistanos’. The concrete jungle boasts an exploding nightlife scene with a matrix of underground clubs where travellers can dance until dawn – perfect for the three quarters, 92% of Indian travellers are open to ‘nightlife-centric vacations’ in 2023.

Budva, Montenegro
For travellers searching for a sun-soaked beach vacation on crystal clear waters, the town of Budva in western Montenegro is one of the destinations to visit in Europe in 2023. Located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, Budva boasts a 22-mile winding coastline known as the Budva Riviera with a strip of beautiful golden sandy beaches. 14% of Indian travellers would want a relaxing trip on a beach in 2023, visitors can chill out on sun loungers that line the shores surrounded by next level scenery of rugged mountains and luxurious yachts. For those seeking adventure, explore Boka Bay on a Mamula Island, Blue Cave & Lady of the Rocks Tour.

Puducherry, India
The bohemian and seaside city of Puducherry is located on the southeast coast of India sitting on the Bay of Bengal. Possessing a calming energy, the city attracts spiritually minded visitors who wish to visit the destination’s ashrams. With 70% of Indian travellers reporting they want to try a spiritual stay in 2023 such as a meditation or mindfulness getaway, and 63% of Indian travellers are keen for a silent retreat, there are ample opportunities here to partake in meditation, yoga and silent days to aid spiritual healing. Blessed with a fascinating history, the quaint streets of ‘Pondy’ are lined with pastel-colored townhouses and charming balconies draped with pink bougainvillea.

Querétaro, Mexico
Querétaro is an up-and-coming destination in Mexico widely known for its friendly and welcoming locals. Located in the central highlands, the altitude blesses this city with a constant spring-like climate perfect for visiting any time of year. A short drive from the city lies one of the world’s largest monoliths, Peña de Bernal, which rises majestically 1421 feet about 433m above Pueblo Magico, comes highly recommended to visit by other travellers. Adventure seekers must call upon their inner bravery to scale the remains of this old volcano, and the 60% of Indian travellers who are interested in extra-terrestrial exploration can hear tales of mysterious lights and nearby UFO sightings from the locals.

Bolzano, Italy
The capital of Italy’s northernmost region of South Tyrol, Bolzano is an alpine destination ideal for hiking and ski fanatics. Situated amongst the stunning snow-capped mountains of the Italian Dolomites, travellers can challenge themselves to the ascent in summer – or head to one of the acclaimed ski resorts in winter. This region of Italy is renowned for its full-bodied wines, thanks to its endless vines that grow picturesquely on pergolas and trellises. Travellers can pay a visit to the quaint Santa Maria Maddalena Church for breathtaking views of these magnificent vineyards and taste the regional wine.

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Known locally as ‘KK’, the bustling capital of Sabah in the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo is a hidden gem surrounded by lush rainforests and sandy beaches. 71% of Indian travellers are wishing to experience culture shock while traveling in 2023, this off-the-beaten-track destination will allow them to immerse in its unique vibe. By day, travellers can browse beautiful pearls, colorful textiles and exquisite wood carvings crafted by regional artisans at the Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market – a welcome hive of artistry. 28% of Indian travellers would want to incorporate local accessories into their style.

Kalabaka, Greece
Nestled in the Thessaly Valley, the Greek town of Kalabaka is a stunning location that guards the Meteora, a majestic rock formation and home to several Eastern Orthodox monasteries. Towering up to 1,300 feet that is 400 meters high, this UNESCO world heritage site dates to the 13th century and was built by monks seeking scenic solitude. Today, these monasteries look as if they are suspended in air against a beautiful backdrop of emerald hills. 63% of Indian travellers wish to travel somewhere with completely different cultural experiences.

Santa Fe, United States
The uniqueness of Santa Fe is encapsulated in its nickname, ‘The City Different,’ with its unparalleled multicultural heritage and Native American tribes. From rich artistic traditions to adobe-style structures, indigenous people have left an impressive mark on the city and travellers can explore their culture and creations at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts – or visit one of the 19 pueblo communities where guests are welcomed on certain days. Santa Fe is the nation’s highest state capital and sits at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo range, making it a fantastic base for hiking, mountain biking and skiing.

Olomouc, Czech Republic
27% of Indian travellers keen to explore lesser-known cities next year that aren’t yet on the radar, the historic city of Olomouc is a fantastic alternative to the popular capital of Prague – and one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Located in the Haná region of Moravia, the city dates to Roman times and has it all, from exquisite architecture to religious heritage and rich gastronomy. Its beloved Olomoucké tvarůžky soft cheese is a must-try, especially for those 16% of Indian travellers who would want to indulge in food on vacation they can’t normally access at home. The well-preserved old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the Holy Trinity Column, which rises nearly 115 feet in height and punctuates the main square, is one of the baroque wonders of Central Europe.

Hobart, Australia
There are few destinations where travellers can climb a mountain, head to the beach, and visit a world-class art gallery all in one day, but Hobart is one of them. The capital of Tasmania is the southernmost capital in Australia, meaning the weather is unbelievably good all year round. Framed by the incredible Mount Wellington with the River Derwent flowing through, adventure seekers can explore the region via kayak, abseiling or even surfing. For those seeking a birds-eye view, sign up for a Learn-to-fly Experience under the guidance of a qualified instructor.


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Source: traveldailymedia

Qatar Executive announces record year

The post Qatar Executive announces record year appeared first on TD (Travel Daily Media) Travel Daily.

Qatar Executive (QE), the private jet charter division of the Qatar Airways Group, experienced significant year-over-year (YOY) growth in flight arrivals and departures at their exclusive Premium Terminal FBO during the completion of a historic FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Qatar Executive’s FBO, located at Doha International Airport (DIA), saw a record-first YOY increase of 595 per cent for arrivals and 574 per cent for departures between November and December in 2022. Between 18-19 December, after the FIFA World Cup Qatar™ Final, 296 jets departed from DIA.

In the lead up to the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East, QE renovated the existing terminal in Doha, revitalising the FBO and thus offering customers a seamless journey both on the ground and on-board. This included upgrading their F&B and baggage handling services, training additional staff members and renovating on-site facilities. Qatar Executive also deployed the latest Wi-Fi and streaming capabilities both within the terminal and onboard their fleet, providing football fans great connectivity to stream the World Cup matches uninterrupted.

Qatar Airways group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Executive’s operations grew significantly during the World Cup period, demonstrating the division’s robust FBO services, while offering the most advanced flying solutions to valued customers. Qatar Executive’s continuous growth trajectory reflects the trust of our clients and is also a testament to our commitment to innovation and excellence.”

In addition, Qatar Executive added 3 more Gulfstream G650ER, with the aircraft type making up 15 of their 19 strong fleet resulting in a 25 per cent growth. This makes QE the world’s largest owner and single commercial operator of the G650ER. The Gulfstream G650ER features a state-of-the-art BR725 Rolls-Royce engine, is able to fly at record-breaking speed and range with

Outstanding fuel efficiency and capable of operating using 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), promoting sustainable business aviation. Moreover, QE now offers two A319, one if which is set up with a VIP ambulance layout, the other with a VIP passenger layout.

The Qatar Executive FBO service at Doha International Airport is available for private charter arrivals and departures at any time offering the below services:

  • Flight handling arrangements
  • Passenger handling
  • Baggage handling
  • Customs and Immigration
  • Crew lounge
  • Day rooms for transit crew and passengers
  • Fuel supply coordination
  • Aircraft catering coordination
  • ATC and airport slot coordination
  • Maintenance and hangar facility
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary refreshments
  • Hotel arrangements
  • Limousine service arrangements

In December, Qatar Executive received a new Gulfstream G650ER jet, expanding the total to fifteen of the same aircraft model. Additionally, QE currently operates two Bombardier Global 5000s, one Airbus A319ACJ and another Airbus A319 Air Ambulance aircraft, making the current fleet 19 strong.



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Airbus’ High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) connectivity business becomes AALTO HAPS

The post Airbus’ High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) connectivity business becomes AALTO HAPS appeared first on TD (Travel Daily Media) Travel Daily.

Airbus’ record-breaking High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) connectivity business has become AALTO HAPS (AALTO) ahead of an entry into service by the end of 2024. In 2022, following the successful connectivity flight trial completed a year earlier for NTT Docomo using its lightweight Zephyr aircraft, Airbus carved-out the business as a 100% owned subsidiary to evolve the Zephyr programme into a fully-fledged services business.

The unveiling of the AALTO brand is a significant step towards that objective. AALTO will deliver mobile connectivity and earth observations solutions for commercial and government customers, using the record-breaking 100% solar-electric Zephyr platform.

Samer Halawi, AALTO’S CEO said: “AALTO’s Zephyr aircraft is the only HAPS platform that delivers long-lasting, environmentally-friendly low latency 5G Direct-to-Device (D2D) connectivity solutions, allowing MNOs (mobile network operators) to extend their coverage in a profitable way to rural and remote areas. Furthermore, our earth observation solutions will support the management of forest fires, the protection of borders, and will enable precision agriculture, amongst other applications. For AALTO, the future is stratospheric”.

The Zephyr platform has evolved dramatically over the past 20 years, with development accelerating in the past few years. With deep expertise from Airbus, the design of the aircraft has enabled it to break multiple world records, most importantly for unrefuelled flight duration. On its last flight campaign in 2022, Zephyr flew for over 64 days, non-stop, in the stratosphere, at around 70,000 feet (21,336 metres) and for a distance that is equivalent to two thirds of the distance to the Moon. Zephyr has established itself as the world’s leading HAPS platform, and to this day remains the only fixed-wing HAPS to have proven day and night longevity in the stratosphere.



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New NTIA sponsorship era

SINGAPORE Airlines’ signing as the major sponsor of the National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) (TD breaking news) sees the carrier step up even more on its previous longstanding support for the event.

AFTA CEO Dean Long said the Federation was extremely excited that SQ had come on board in the new partnership.

“NTIA is the major awards night for the entire travel industry,” he told Travel Daily yesterday.

“Having a premium carrier like Singapore Airlines sponsoring the premium awards night is a perfect brand alignment between both organisations.

“We’re really excited about how we activate during the night and leading up to the night to engage the trade, and the really great thing is we’ve got a common goal of having a fun, entertaining and inclusive evening planned, so it’s going to be really exciting.”

This year the 15 Oct industry night of nights will operate in a new format, with about 30% less awards, revised categories and new nomination and judging procedures (TD 22 Jun) – and all the celebrations will be “in the room”, rather than extending into the traditional SIA after-party.

“The party needs to be in the room,” Long said.

Greg McJarrow, Singapore Airlines GM Agency Sales, said the commitment was part of SQ’s ongoing key role in the industry.

“We’ve been here for 55 years, we’ve been hand-in-hand with the travel industry over the last two years,” he said.

“For us this is an easy decision, frankly, an opportunity to support the trade further, to celebrate their efforts and recognise what we’ve all been through over the past two years,” McJarrow added.

Further details of the nomination and voting formats for the highly anticipated 2022 NTIAs are expected to be revealed in the coming days.

More on page seven.

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Qantas to slash capacity

QANTAS today confirmed it will lower domestic capacity by 15% over the coming months to “assist with the recovery of sustained high fuel prices”.

No changes will be made to international capacity, with the overall changes bringing QF Group domestic flying down to 106% of pre-COVID levels for the Oct-Dec 2022 period, and 110% for Jan-Mar 2023.

“These reductions, combined with robust international and domestic travel demand, are expected to help the group substantially recover the elevated cost of fuel indicated by forward oil prices,” the carrier said.

The move will also help with near-term resourcing pressures, with QF thanking customers for their patience and understanding as the carrier works through what it described as a “challenging restart for the industry globally”.

Significant preparations for the upcoming Jul school holiday peak travel period include a 15% increase in ground handling staff, while airports are increasing their security screening resources.

Scheduling adjustments have been made to better spread peak times, and QF said it would have two widebody aircraft on standby, along with a 20% reserve cohort of team members to minimise any impact of sick leave.

MEANWHILE Qantas has also announced a $5,000 “recovery boost” for up to 19,000 staff who are covered by Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBAs).

The one-off bonus is being paid in the form of shares, once new EBAs are signed, with the overall cost of the offer estimated at about $87 million.

“It’s been a tough few years for everyone in aviation, but we promised to share the benefits of the recovery once it arrived,” said CEO Alan Joyce.

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Source: traveldaily

Rex signs 10-year FCTG deal

REGIONAL Express today confirmed the signing of “multiple agreements with major travel agency groups” in Australia this month (TD breaking news).

Deals include new contracts with Helloworld, Webjet, Consolidated Travel and Corporate Travel Management, along with a “landmark 10-year agreement with Flight Centre which ensures that Rex will be Flight Centre’s partner of choice over the next decade”.

All the agreements are effective from Jul, and are expected to result in Regional Express more than doubling its annual domestic jet revenues, as well as boosting sales on the carrier’s regional network across Australia.

Rex GM of Sales, Ann Elliott, highlighted the importance of trade distribution, saying “as we continue to grow our network, our travel agency community is critical to this success and we look forward to working in close partnership with them.”

“These new partnerships are a testament to our growing reputation as a safe, reliable and affordable full-service airline which is enjoying ever-increasing passenger support,” she added.

Currently Regional Express operates six Boeing 737-800s on mainline routes between Australia’s east coast capitals, as well as 60 Saab 340 turboprops to regional ports across the country.

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Panel favours tourism tax

QUEENSLAND is canvassing the idea of slugging visitors to the state with a levy to help subsidise the cost of its 10-year tourism strategy (TD 22 Jun).

Contained within a 38-page report put forward by an expert tourism panel this week, the study conceded the idea would be “polarising” as to whether it is an appropriate way to raise funding for the state, but that after stakeholder consultation, concluded it should be part of the funding mix to achieve Qld’s 10-year tourism recovery strategy.

Cairns-based travel veteran Robbie Bastion was cited in the report supporting the idea of a visitor tax, insisting the notion is often derided unfairly.

“A tourism levy is not a mythical beast…the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, the Surf Coast in Victoria and Broome all have a levy to subsidise their tourism efforts, it doesn’t only enhance their efforts in a financial way, it liberates their thinking, their innovation by utilising their community’s money for the benefit of all,” he said.

However, the recommendations did come with some caveats, namely that any funds raised need to directly support the development of the visitor economy, and that any levy imposed must also be transparent and 100% reinvested into tourism development and marketing.

A tourism tax would mainly be paid through accommodation providers, the report also noted.

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