SAUDI ARABIA eVisas Now Available

Saudi Arabia is opening its doors to the world through a new tourist visa.

Australia is one of 49 countries eligible to apply for Saudi Arabia’s new tourist e-Visas and Visas on arrival, with the scheme marking the first time tourist visas have been made available.

The eVisa is a one-year, multiple entry visa, allowing tourists to spend up to 90 days in the country.

The cost of applying is SAR440 (AU$173.60) plus VAT, with applications able to be made at Saudi Embassies and Consulates in the 49 countries included in the program, at electronic kiosks available at airports and via an online portal at visa.visitsaudi.com

New Zealand is also one of the countries included in the program, alongside the US, Canada, China, Japan, Singapore and 38 European nations.

The scheme is backed by an development and diversity strategy designed to reduce the kingdom’s economic dependence on oil, which from 2019-2022 will focus on attracting first-time visitors.

Under the program, women who visit will not have to wear the abaya, which all locals by law must wear outside their homes.

Both men and women are asked to avoid tight-fitting clothing, dress modestly in public and avoid public displays of affection, while women must cover their shoulders and knees in public.

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ROYAL CARIBBEAN Introduces Wonder of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s president and CEO, Michael Bayley, has revealed the cruise line’s fifth Oasis Class ship, Wonder of the Seas.

The new 5448-guest Wonder of the Seas will be the world’s largest cruise ship and is expected to sail from Shanghai in 2021.

Take at look at her below.

“Royal Caribbean is known for its innovation and constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, and an Oasis Class ship in China is proof of that,” said Bayley.

“Wonder of the Seas will redefine the ultimate vacation and be revolutionary in her own right, and she marks one of Royal Caribbean’s most exciting chapters to come,” he added.

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BRITISH AIRWAYS’ Club Europe Upgrades

If you’re flying long haul in British Airways’ very comfortable World Traveller Plus premium economy class and then connecting to a BA short haul flight, you can enjoy selected connections in the comfort of Club Europe.

ALL YOU have to do is book by 30 November 2019!

World Traveller Plus long-haul premium economy on British Airways.

World Traveller Plus is BA’s long-haul premium economy cabin. It gives you more space to relax on board, as well as a superior menu and greater baggage allowance than World Traveller economy class.

And now it can give you a free upgrade to Club Europe, too.

The comfort of Club Europe in the air and on the ground.

ABOUT CLUB EUROPE

Club Europe is British Airways’ short haul business class, and it offers:

  • More space to relax on board and a guaranteed window or aisle seat.
  • The chance to enjoy BA’s comfortable departure lounges.
  • Dedicated check-in desks and priority boarding.
  • More Avios and Tier Points for Executive Club Members.

Scroll down for terms and conditions.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

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Terms & Conditions
1. Customers who book selected qualifying World Traveller Plus British Airways (BA) or BA flights with a connection onto a BA short haul flight will be eligible to be booked into Club Europe. Customers booked in W class on long haul will be booked into the lowest available Club Europe class up to and including D class, customers booked in E class on long haul will be booked into the lowest available class in Club Europe up to and including R class. Where the relevant classes are not available customers will be booked into Y class in Euro Traveller.
2. Certain route exclusions may apply.
3. Travel in Club Europe is subject to availability at the time of booking.
4. Customers who change their travel arrangements after the date of booking will only be seated in Club Europe subject to the new arrangements meeting the eligibility criteria.
5. There is no limit to the number of times a customer can take advantage of the offer.
6. Avios will be awarded for the cabin flown in.
7. Booking dates: 15 October 2019 – 30 November 2019.

WE KNOW Luxe Rodeo Drive

The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper, recently travelled to the US and stopped by Los Angeles. Peter stayed at the Luxe Rodeo Drive—the only hotel on Beverly Hills’ iconic Rodeo Drive.

“I really enjoyed my stay at Luxe Rodeo Drive. It has an incredible location for shopping, with nearby neighbours including Guess, Chanel and Hermes,” says Peter.

“Staff are super-friendly, and rooms are generously sized—the Premier King and Grand Premier King Rooms being the best value,” he adds.

The hotel features

  • 86 stylish rooms and suites
  • Concierge services
  • Multilingual hotel staff
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout hotel
  • The Spa on Rodeo services
  • Luxe Club on Rodeo benefits
  • Business center
  • 24-hour valet parking
  • Transportation services
  • Sophisticated meeting venues
  • Rooftop fitness center
  • Complimentary Bicycle Rentals (2 Hours complimentary, $5/hr thereafter)

One exciting element of a stay at the hotel, says Peter, is the Luxe Club.

“Luxe Club comes at a fee of US$30 per day (+tax), but it really adds some value,” says Peter.

So, what do you get for your compulsory daily fee?

The hotel describes it thus: The Luxe Club on Rodeo fee ensures each guest enjoys the experience of a private club. Enjoy light bites, evening libations and more, all in an environment reflecting the relaxed sophistication of our prestigious Beverly Hills address.

Luxe Club perks include

  • Expanded hot and savory continental breakfast options including made-to-order omelets, pastries, cereal, fresh fruit and juices
  • Breakfast served from 6:30am to 10:30am
  • Light Lunch served from Midday to 2:00pm, includes wraps, paninis and soups
  • Evening Food Tasting served from 5:00pm to 8:00pm, includes hors d’oeuvres
  • Evening Drinks served nightly from 5:00pm to 8:00pm, includes a selection of beer, wine, and handcrafted cocktails during Happy Hour
  • 24-Hour Coffee and Beverage Bar offering a selection of bottled water, sodas, coffees and tea
  • Late Night Happy Hour from 8:00pm to 10:00pm with $8 beverages

Luxe Club is available to adults from 21 years of age.

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QANTAS Direct New York Test Flights

As part of Qantas’ revolutionary ‘Project Sunrise’ ultra long-haul flights development program, the airline’s first official test flight on its proposed non-stop Sydney to New York takes flight on 18 October.

No airline has ever had the capabilities to operated a non-stop Sydney to New York flight. But on the back of Qantas’ successful—and popular—non stop services between Perth and London, this route is next on the airline’s list of goals.

Non-stop flights from New York and London to Sydney will take around 19 hours each, subject to wind and weather conditions.

The primary purpose of the research flight that will operate with just 40 people aboard including crew, is to collect data about in-flight passenger and crew health and well-being on ultra-long-haul journeys.

The on-board research is being designed in partnership with Sydney University’s Charles Perkins Centre and Monash University in conjunction with CRC for Alertness, Safety and Productivity.

People in the cabin – mostly Qantas employees – will be fitted with wearable technology devices and take part in specific experiences at varying stages of the flights. Scientists and medical experts from the Charles Perkins Centre will monitor sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption, lighting, physical movement and in-flight entertainment to assess impact on health, well-being and body clock.

“Flying non-stop from the East Coast of Australia to London and New York is truly the final frontier in aviation, so we’re determined to do all the groundwork to get this right,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

“For customers, the key will be minimising jet lag and creating an environment where they are looking forward to a restful, enjoyable flight. For crew, it’s about using scientific research to determine the best opportunities to promote alertness when they are on duty and maximise rest during their down time on these flights,” he added.

Findings on crew well-being data will be shared with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to help inform regulatory requirements associated with ultra-long haul flights.

We wish Qantas, the test crew and passengers all the best on this historic flight, and we look forward to seeing the results.

In other news, Qantas’ newest 787 Dreamliner has rolled out of the paint shop at Boeing’s factory in Washington State today, wearing a special Centenary livery to celebrate the flying kangaroo’s 100th year in the skies.

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SPOTLIGHT ON: The Table Bay, Cape Town

If you’re looking for a holiday or events venue with a difference, consider The Table Bay hotel, Cape Town.

Set on Cape Town’s historic waterfront, The Table Bay sets its own standards in international service, cuisine and luxury, and has been voted The Best Address in Cape Town

The contemporary 5-star hotel straddles the city’s breakwater, and enjoys secure and direct access to Cape Town’s renowned retail destination—the Victoria & Alfred Shopping Centre.

Each of the hotel’s 329 rooms overlooks either the bay to Robben Island Prison—home of South Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela for much of his 27 years of political incarceration, or across the harbour and the city to Table Mountain itself.

The Table Bay hotel is one of Cape Town’s premier conference centres, and has a stellar record as an event venue for international and local corporations.

Event and Entertainment Venues

Five versatile, beautifully appointed function rooms are available and offer conference facilities for groups of up to 300 cinema style

Venue Capacities

Whether you’re staying on holiday of for a conference, try this 3-Day conferencing itinerary on for size.

Day 1: Explore Cape Town – The Mother City

Explore the city’s treasures. Visit the colourful Bo-Kaap, stroll through the historic Company Gardens, and enjoy a breath-taking visit to the top of Table Mountain. Make the most of your day out by including an afternoon trip to Robben Island by ferry.

Day 2: Discover the Cape Peninsula

Visit the mythical meeting place of two of the world’s great oceans—the Atlantic and the Indian—and experience the ‘fairest cape of all’.

Day 3: Taste the Cape Winelands

Take a thrilling journey through the winelands of the Cape. Drink in the beautiful landscapes dotted with historical buildings, learn to identify and appreciate South African wines, and enjoy a glass or two on the Franschhoek Tram.

Optional add-ons include: A marine life kayak tour at Mouille Point; tandem paragliding; hot air ballooning; sunset champagne cruises; jazz safaris, graffiti tours and more.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

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MIDNIGHT HOTEL: Canberra’s latest chic digs

Canberra’s newest chic hotel is part of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection—a curated global group of some 180 independent hotels that share a passion for originality and a philosophy of attention to detail.

Designed by acclaimed architects, Fender Katsalidis, Midnight Hotel is a mixed use precinct, located in Canberra’s creative and emerging inner-city suburb of Braddon.

Midnight Hotel offers 199 premium rooms in six categories from Midnight Classic to Midnight Clique, the Braddon Merchant restaurant, Midnight Bar, two fully equipped gyms, sauna, conference space and a 20-metre indoor lap pool.

“Midnight Hotel certainly looks likely to make a splash on Canberra’s boutique, high-end hotel scene. It’s offering promises to satisfy business and leisure travellers, as well as the meetings and conferences industry. We look forward to taking a look inside,” says Sarah Bush, Director of The Travel Authority Group.

Rooms at Midnight Hotel feature

  • STAYCAST by Google Chromecast in-room entertainment
  • Walk-in rain shower
  • Complimentary mini bar, featuring locally sourced products
  • 4K HD Smart TV
  • Unlimited highspeed Wi-Fi
  • Espresso machine

MEETINGS

Conference and event facilities at Midnight Hotel are designed with project success in mind. Intimate, private boardrooms nest aside a smartly appointed business centre. Natural light fills the main conference room, complete with premium furnishings and state-of-the-art AV

Autograph Collection is a proud member of Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

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QANTAS Decks Out its Decade-Old A380s

Qantas has just revealed a revamped experience coming to its fleet Airbus A380 aircraft.

The multimillion-dollar upgrade of 12 aircraft includes new seating across expanded Business and Premium Economy cabins, and a refresh of the aircraft’s First and Economy seating. The on-board lounge has also been redesigned.

Each aircraft takes approximately eight weeks to upgrade. Take a peek at the results below.

Smarter use of space has created an all premium class upper deck (now occupied by Business and Premium Economy) and an expanded on-board lounge. There are now 30 fewer Economy seats and an increase in premium seating by 27 per cent.

Expanded upper deck lounge area.

Download a fact sheet here > Upgraded-Qantas-A380-factsheet

“We think the re-fit looks fabulous. Not just in terms of hard product, but the increase in premium capacity is a move our clients will love”, said The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

Expanded Qantas Premium Economy cabin.

The capacity of Qantas A380s after the upgrade will be: 14 First Suites (unchanged), 70 Business Suites (up by six), 60 Premium Economy (up by 25) and 341 Economy (down by 30) for a total of 485 passengers (up by one).

Qantas business class on the A380.

Key elements of the upgrade include:

  • Introduction of the Qantas Business Suite, replacing the previous Skybeds, in a 1:2:1 configuration that now gives aisle access to every passenger.
  • Installation of the new Premium Economy seat (first debuted on the Qantas Dreamliner) and increasing the number of seats from 35 to 60.
  • A larger on-board lounge space with seating for up to 10 Business and First passengers.
  • An update to the 14 First Class Suites with new contoured cushioning, seat finishes and a larger, higher resolution entertainment screen.
  • A new colour palette for the Economy cabin and improved in-flight entertainment.

Re-vamped Qantas First Class on the A380.

The first reconfigured aircraft, VH-OQK, will operate as QF2 from London to Sydney via Singapore, arriving in Australia on Wednesday 2 October.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said, “Working with Airbus, we’ve been able to use the cabin space more efficiently and improve the economics of the aircraft while also providing a better experience in every part of the aircraft.

“By the end of this upgrade, we’ll have next-generation seating across our entire long-haul fleet of A380s, A330s and 787s.”

Business Class cabin on the refurbished Qantas A380.

Qantas expects to complete the refurbishment of the remaining 11 aircraft by the end of 2020.

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