Tag Archive for: Tours

US group’s Sportsnet stake

MELBOURNE-BASED Sportsnet Holidays has announced an agreement with Charlotte, North Carolina USA-based QuintEvents, which is expanding its global footprint via a “significant investment” in the firm founded in 1988 by Rob & Daniel Cecconi.

QuintEvents currently has a portfolio of more than 20 major sporting partnerships, while Sportsnet has built its own long-term relationships with major events including Rugby World Cup France 2023, Supercars, The Australian Open & Isle of Man TT.

The combined forces of the businesses will expand access to a “world-class breadth of international sporting events, travel packages and experiences,” said QuintEvents CEO Brian Learst.

“Not only will the Sportsnet management team and staff add tremendous value to our global team, but QuintEvents’ technology capabilities and world-class delivery offer new opportunities to Sportsnet’s market-leading business,” he said.

Sportsnet CEO Rob Cecconi said the company’s mission was to make it easy for fans to witness the greatest events in the world, creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

“We believe that QuintEvents does this better than any other business…our partnership is a breathtaking proposition for our clients and suppliers alike, instantly increasing the depth and breadth of our product offering.”

Sportsnet Holidays is part of the Travica Group, which also incorporates travel technology innovator eRoam.

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Source: traveldaily

Return travel made easier

IT WILL now be smoother for Australian travellers to return home after the Federal Government announced an easing of COVID testing protocols over the weekend.

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, the government has replaced the requirement for a negative PCR test result to be shown three days prior to departure, with a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) result within 24 hours of a return flight implemented instead.

The government has also confirmed the time between receiving a positive test result and being cleared for travel back to Australia will be reduced from 14 to seven days, minimising the wait times for travellers who contract COVID-19 overseas to return to Australia.

The changes formally took effect at 1am yesterday and are designed to align closer to domestic travel policies.

The government also flagged that pre-departure testing requirements will continue to be reviewed regularly as travel risk factors associated with COVID evolve over time.

While the changes were welcomed by AFTA, the industry body noted that more support was still needed for the embattled travel sector.

“[The changes] will further encourage those Australians looking to travel internationally to do so and, with 70%-plus of international bookings made by Australians happening through travel agents, that’s a very welcome development,” AFTA CEO Dean Long said.

“But it’s an exhaustingly long runway to recovery for Australia… with int’l travel not returning to normal until well after mid-2022 and revenue only flowing to our members well after that when travel has actually taken place.”

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Losses reach $48.5 billion

THE cumulative loss in interstate domestic overnight travel reached $48.5 billion between the start of the pandemic and Oct last year, new figures from Tourism Research Australia has indicated.

While the Oct results show a moderate improvement on the previous month, overnight trips and spend were still a far cry from what they were during the same period before the pandemic.

Overnight spend for Oct 2021 was calculated at $3.8 billion, down 51% on Oct 2019, while the number of overnight trips came in at just 5.3 million, a plummet of 48% on Oct 2019.

The number of total nights spent on a domestic trip was also down by a similar percentage (-46%), recording 19.8 million nights taken during the period.

On a positive note, Oct saw the number of trips rise by 1.8 million from the previous month, driven largely by the easing of restrictions in NSW, with preliminary data for Nov and early Dec suggesting the numbers will continue to improve.

The report showed that spend declined the most sharply in NSW when compared to pre-pandemic volumes, down 79% to $443 million, while Victoria also saw a major drop of $265 million in spend, a decrease of 84%.

The states faring better were Queensland and Western Australia, both of which contributed the most to national overnight spend, recording 40% and 23% of the total respectively.

Strong results in Qld, SA, WA and Tasmania saw intrastate travel impacted less, however, intrastate overnight figures were still down by 24% on pre-COVID levels, whilst overnight spend of $3.1 billion was on par with 2019.

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Journey Beyond ’23

THE release of Journey Beyond’s full 2023 season (TD 21 Jan) is being celebrated on the cover page of today’s Travel Daily.

Chief Commercial Officer, Peter Egglestone, said the earlier than ever launch reflected strong interest in planning ahead by guests, after two years of severely limited travel options.

“We’ve seen increased demand for our…Australian experiences, leaving many of our brands with limited inventory for the remainder of the year,” he said.

He also confirmed that Outback Spirit is now fully integrated into the Journey Beyond portfolio as a commissionable offering, with the program including new packages combining rail journeys with destination-based experiences.

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Australia red light

AUTHORITIES in Europe have designated Australia, Canada and Argentina as COVID “danger zones,” advising member states to adopt tougher restrictions on arrivals such as new testing and/or isolation requirements, regardless of vaccination status.

Cyprus, Greece and Italy were quick to disregard the directive, confirming no changes would be made, however, Belgium has placed Australia on its “red list”, meaning visitors must present a negative test less than 72 hours before departure and get a PCR test on the first and seventh day after arrival.

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Perth/London doubts

QANTAS has confirmed a decision on the fate of its planned Perth to London route in Mar will be made in “the next few weeks”, as the carrier is left scrambling to readjust from Western Australia’s decision to close its borders indefinitely (TD 21 Jan).

Qantas said it was now in discussions with the Northern Territory Government about extending the operation of the alternative Darwin-London route, and has also been forced to cancel its increased flight numbers to Perth through to the end of Apr, reducing its domestic capacity by a further 10%.

Just 15 weekly passenger flights will be maintained to Perth from five capital cities to support essential workers and freight.

Commenting on the WA border decision, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce labelled the move “deeply concerning”, especially the state’s unwillingness to provide a reopening date which he said was “real blow” to Australian travel.

“The rest of the country is focused on getting through this but WA is still playing for time… the question is, what will it take for them to open – it’s very hard, as a business, to deal with this level of uncertainty,” Joyce said.

QF said its Perth to Rome services will go ahead as planned in late Jun, subject to further border decisions.

Analysts at Macquarie Bank have estimated that the overall impact of the Omicron variant on Qantas will amount to $1.4 billion.

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Source: traveldaily

Industry plight alert

THE travel industry crisis is garnering significant mainstream media attention, with an opinion piece by Belle Goldie from itravel Penrith featuring prominently in today’s Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper – CLICK HERE to view.

Goldie is one of the organisers of tomorrow’s national industry Day of Action which will see travel agents, suppliers and cruise stakeholders gather at MP offices across the country – to be part of it join the now 1500-strong action group at facebook.com.

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Crystal hangs up

CRYSTAL Cruises has confirmed that its call centre operations are paused until further notice, with an update on the line’s Australian website crystalcruises.com.au now listing email addresses for agents needing to get in touch.

The suspension comes as an arrest warrant was issued for Crystal Symphony over unpaid fuel bills – more in today’s issue of Cruise Weekly.

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Sleep in a palace

A NEW group launched by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud has announced it will conduct a series of palace conversions into ultra-luxury hotel accommodation.

Boutique Group will focus initially on three sites, preparing the Al Hamra Palace in Jeddah, as well as the Tuwaiq Palace and Red Palace in Riyadh, to cater for commercial travellers.

Al Hamra Palace will offer guests 33 luxury palace suites and 44 luxury villas, while Tuwaiq Palace will provide 40 luxury palace suites and 56 luxury villas, and the Red Palace will offer 71 rooms, including 46 luxury suites and 25 luxury rooms.

In addition to accommodation, each of the palaces-turned-luxury hotels will offer high-end experiences, such as dining and wellness packages.

No dates have yet been set for when the trio of hotels will open.

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Zero hotel stigma

HOTELS that participated in the Federal Government’s quarantine program are viewed by Aussie travellers as “good corporate citizens”, a new study conducted by the University of Queensland has found.

Despite fears by some brands that housing quarantined travellers could cause a negative stigma, the results showed that hotels that didn’t volunteer to participate in the program received less favourable ratings.

The University’s Associate Professor Sarah Kelly said the findings could help accelerate the post-pandemic recovery of the hospitality industry.

“Hotels that signed up voluntarily for quarantine could emphasise the ‘greater good’ of their contribution during the pandemic while toning down the possible stigma effects,” she said.

“Meanwhile, our study found that hotels that did not volunteer could benefit from engaging in a good cause, such as a donation to charity, to foster positive brand evaluations,” she added.

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