In the News this Week

Banyan Tree Down Under

LUXURY hotelier Banyan Tree is targeting significant growth in Australia, with founder Ho Kwon Ping confirming the launch of a new Gold Coast property. However the development will be under a new “design oriented” global brand, the details of which will be announced next week, according to today’s Australian. Banyan Tree operates more than 130 properties under the Banyan Tree and Angsana brands in locations such as Thailand, Bintan Island, China and the Seychelles.

Google Glass APP

Hotel Near Me, the first hotel reservation app for Google Glass is now available for public download on the website. The app has been launched by who previously announced that it was in beta development last May.

Once the app has been downloaded and installed on the Google Glass, it is ready to make hotel bookings. Hotel Near Me quickly finds the closest hotel to the user, based on their GPS location. The user can navigate through other nearby hotels by swiping the Glass, and filter them according to price. By tapping on the Glass, the user can see more information about the hotel, such as photos, services offered by the hotel and its exact location. It is also possible to use voice commands instead of gestures and to visualize the location of the hotel with augmented reality. Once the user has chosen an accommodation, they can use the Google Glass to make the reservation with The app can even provide directions to the hotel.
STARWOOD Preferred Guest has rolled out its new Google Glass app (TD 23 Apr), becoming the first tourism company to offer a program for the smart specs. Users of the app can review SPG account balances, book rooms at any Starwood property and get turn-by-turn directions to find it.


Darwin Carrier Goes Down

DARWIN-BASED Vincent Aviation – which also operates scheduled services from Sydney – has been placed into receivership, with the carrier ceasing trading while an urgent assessment of the business and its operations undertaken. Vincent Aviation operates a mix of jet and turboprop aircraft, with charters, fly-in-fly-out and scheduled operations. Ports serviced include Darwin, Brisbane, Sydney, Cairns, Darwin and Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Vincent also has a base in Wellington, New Zealand, but the NZ operations are unaffected by the receivership, the firm said.


Iata Forecast Reduced

AIRLINES will earn a combined profit of $18 billion in 2014, down $700m on the previous forecast, IATA has said in a revised outlook. Concerns over slower growth in China and political risks saw IATA reduce its forecast from the prior projection issued back in Mar.


Doors Open at Quest Abbotsford

Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and State Member for the Northern Metropolitan Region, Craig Ondarchie MP officially opened the highly anticipated Quest Abbotsford in the City of Yarra last night, Tuesday the 3rd of June.


SPG Google Glass APP

STARWOOD Preferred Guest has rolled out its new Google Glass app (TD 23 Apr), becoming the first tourism company to offer a program for the smart specs. Users of the app can review SPG account balances, book rooms at any Starwood property and get turn-by-turn directions to find it


APRIL Arrivals stay flat

MARGINAL year-on-year improvement in overseas arrivals was noted in Bureau of Statistics trend data for Apr released today, with a climb of 0.6% on last year. By nationality, Malaysia posted the biggest gain, up 28.6%, followed by Hong Kong on 22%, while China, the UK & USA all posted double-digit increases. Resident departures from Australia increased by the same level, up 0.6% to 754,500.


Hilton “Curio” Brand

HILTON Worldwide has overnight revealed plans for an 11th hotel brand to be called ‘Curio – A Collection by Hilton.’ The brand will consist of unique four- to five-star hotels which are “woven into the fabric of their destinations,” Hilton announced. Each property will be different from the next, “with individuality being a common thread.” “Curio is a collection of hand-picked hotels that are authentic, independent and remarkable,” according to the portal.



SCOOT is set to reduce capacity on its Sydney and Gold Coast flights between Jul and Oct this year, with the reductions seeing Sydney flights cut to six per week. GDS screens also confirm that from 29 Jul, Scoot will operate a twice weekly triangular service between Sydney and the Gold Coast, with the changes effective from 29 Jul through to 25 Oct. Gold Coast flights will reduce to four per week during Oct.


Mantra’s Public Listing

Mantra Group confirms IPO valuing company at $538 million. Mantra Group, the operator of the Mantra, Peppers and Breakfree brands, has just announced an Initial Public Offering of 53% of its share capital at $1.80 per share, valuing the overall business at an enterprise value of $538 million. The company says the fully underwritten offer will provide it with access to capital markets, giving it “the flexibiilty to pursue further growth opportunities” with the proceeds to be used to reduce the company’s existing debt


Cambria to Rebrand

CHOICE Hotels has moved to refocus its Cambria Suites brand as part of a repositioning to further target business travellers and the ‘Millennials’ market. As a result, the Cambria Suites brand has been renamed as Cambria Hotels & Suites, with hotel-style rooms to be added to its inventory in the US. Currently, Choice operates 20 Cambria Hotels & Suites locations in the US, with seven more under construction, which is expected to grow to 30 by the end of 2014


Passenger Demand Takes Off

REVENUE passenger kilometres returned to healthy growth levels in Apr after its Mar slowdown, with official IATA figures showing a 7.5% year-on-year improvement. Capacity increased 5.8% for the month, pushing global average loads up 1.2 points to 79.4%. Results were skewed somewhat due to the later Easter period. Traffic on Asia-Pacific carriers climbed 6.7%, however capacity grew faster, sending loads down a slight 0.7% to 75.7% on average.


Construction begins on ICC Site

FORMAL construction has now commenced at the site of what will become Sydney’s new International Convention Centre (ICC) at Darling Harbour, with work launched by NSW Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Andrew Stoner. The ICC will form a centrepiece of the $2.5 billion transformation and revitalisation of the area, to be known as Darling Harbour Live. The centre is expected to be opened towards the end of 2016.


Passenger Traffic Sunshine Coast – Melbourne

PASSENGER traffic on the route between Melbourne and the Sunshine Coast surged 22.3% year-on-year in the month of Mar, according to official govt statistics. A total of 326,000 pax were recorded as flying on the route in Mar, up from 267,000 in Mar ‘13. The route was a standout in an otherwise flat month for domestic aviation which saw only a tiny 0.4% increase in passenger traffic, while capacity climbed by 2%. Other routes performing well in Mar included Adelaide to Gold Coast (+17.6%) and the Dubbo to Sydney regional route (+17%).


Brisbane Feeling Vivid

INTERACTIVE light installations and displays similar to that of Sydney’s Vivid Festival will light up Brisbane ahead of the G20 Summit, Qld Premier Campbell Newman has announced. Lighting shows will be projected onto 15 buildings in the 17 days leading up to the event, with thousands of world leaders, staff and media to converge on the city for the diplomatic meetings. “This is our chance to show the rest of world what a remarkable place we live in – a vibrant, strong state with a bright future,” Newman said


Galactic FAA Approval

SPACE tourism has taken the next step forward after Virgin Galactic and Spaceport America signed an airspace agreement with the FAA in the United States. The pact decrees how private space flights will be integrated in the National Airspace System. Procedures & guidelines for how clear airspace for the privately-funded Virgin Galactic will be facilitated by the FAA Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Centre. Processes for FAA commercial licensing began in Aug last year.


Big4 Booking System

FRANCHISE park accom group Big4 Holiday Parks will next year launch a new reservations system for park operators to more easily process guest bookings and manage individual park inventory. The fully online system known as PAM2 will be an evolution of the current system but will also allow each park to promote their wares to new customer groups.


QF Business Satisfies

QANTAS has been recognised by Roy Morgan Research as the leading Domestic Airline and Domestic Business Travel Airline based on feedback during Apr. The result comes as QF improved its position as preferred domestic airline business travellers would consider first, according to Roy Morgans latest Air Travel Survey, sitting at 74% compared to Virgin Australia (54%) and Jetstar (31%). A QF spokesperson told TD the results were “testament to the dedication and hard work of all our team members.”


Parkroyal calls fowl of IMAX

DEVELOPERS of Sydney’s new IMAX building have admitted the 20-storey structure will have an adverse impact on views from the PARKROYAL Darling Harbour. The nine-level PARKROYAL offers westerly views across Sydney’s Western Distributor, existing IMAX building and across to the Darling Quarter development, which includes water views. Plans for the IMAX revitalisation project continue to progress as construction of the nearby Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct moves forward.


Pullman Resorts Evolution

Pullman Hotels and Resort’s strong presence in the five-star sector has expanded to include Magenta Shores, previously a Quay West property. Located only 90 minutes drive north of Sydney and nestled between the pristine waters of Tuggerah Lake and the Pacific Ocean, Magenta Shores is the first Pullman on NSW’s Central Coast.

In becoming the latest hotel to join the ever increasing Pullman network in Australia, Magenta Shores has completed a refurbishment of its 59 guest rooms and villas to be in line with global Pullman standards. The refurbishment of the guest rooms will be closely followed by a refresh of the resort’s bar and then restaurant.

The re-branding of Quay West Resort Magenta Shores to Pullman represents the next evolution of the Pullman brand following a year of strong investment in development of the network around the world, and particularly in the Asia Pacific region


Air New Zealand / Rouge Codeshare

AIR Canada rouge has sought permission from US regulators to enable Air New Zealand to offer a codeshare service on its flights between San Francisco and Los Angeles to Vancouver, and from Los Angeles to Calgary. The carriers have requested an expedited approval process


Jetstar Group Promotion

JETSTAR’S month long group incentive (TD Tue) is available for any travel booked in Australia & New Zealand during Jun which is handled via the Jetstar Group Desk


Welcome to the Future

THE major reforms to the Australian travel industry which will take effect in just over a month’s time will mean that the sector is finally in control of its own destiny, according to AFTA ceo Jayson Westbury. Speaking yesterday following the final ATAS workshop session in Sydney, Westbury said the huge achievement was the result of a “courageous policy decision” to reform the sector made by the AFTA board in 2009.


Air New Zealand – Domestic Fleet renewal

AIR New Zealand is investing heavily in its domestic fleet, late last night confirming it had signed an agreement with Airbus for 13 new aircraft valued at a list price of NZ$1.3 billion (AU$1.2 billion). The carrier said the order for 13 A320neo-family aircraft plus one standard A320 (TD breaking news) will help ensure it continues to operate one of the world’s youngest jet fleets


Mates of the Territory

TOURISM NT has launched a new initiative encouraging Aussies to become a “Mate of the Territory” by making an intention to visit the NT into a reality. A number of high-profile stars have been named honorary Mates of the Territory, including Layne Beachley, Matthew Hayden and Ch 9 Today host Lisa Wilkinson


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