FOUR NEW TFE HOTELS FOR MELBOURNE

We love an good hotel opening, so you can imagine how we feel about a flurry of four of them in Melbourne.

With the recent announcement that Quincy Hotels will debut in Melbourne early next year, TFE (Toga Far East) Hotels is busy with a string of new hotel openings across the city.

TFE Hotels’ Chief Executive Officer, Antony Ritch says its four new hotel openings were a positive step forward for Victoria’s tourism industry after a very challenging year.

“Melbourne is one of the world’s great cities and we’re excited about its future,” he said.

MEET THE HOTELS

VIBE MELBOURNE

First off the block, Vibe Melbourne opened its doors on one of the world’s most celebrated CBD blocks, on the corner of Flinders and Queen Street. The hotel is perfectly positioned within walking distance of everything Melbourne is famous for – art, culture, coffee, shopping, food, festivals and sport.

Opened: April 2020

ADINA MELBOURNE SOUTHBANK

Adina Melbourne Southbankis already making headlines for its uber ‘green’ credentials. The apartment hotel is also wrapped in a head-turning curved ‘glass curtain’ façade, including rooms with floor-to-ceiling views across the Yarra River, to Melbourne’s CBD in the north, or Port Philip Bay to the south.

Opened: 9 November 2020

ADINA WEST MELBOURNE

Adina West Melbourne will deliver a Zen-style urban experience as part of a $350 million luxury mixed-use precinct in Melbourne’s blossoming inner-city fringe. West End features 2,000sqm of Zen gardens, an on-site supermarket, 24/7 gym, coffee roastery, 10 eclectic eateries and a private outdoor retreat complete with a 25m lap pool, plunge pool and spa pool.

Opened: 4 December 2020

QUINCY MELBOURNE

Finally, the debut of Australia’s most exciting new hotel brand straight out of Singapore, will see Quincy Melbourne open on Flinders Lane. The hotel itself features distinctive interior design, three signature food experiences, a rooftop pool with views of Melbourne CBD, and exclusive club levels and lounge access. Sensory experiences and an innovative approach to room service are just some of the finer things that guests can expect to see when the brand-new hotel Quincy Melbourne opens.

Opening: First quarter 2021

Ritch said TFE would continue to make investments like these, because they believe in the strength and resilience of the Australian market in the long term.

“When it comes to our development pipeline, we’re immensely proud to create showpiece properties that continue to evolve our brands into experiences where our guests are fully immersed in the local neighbourhood,’ said Ritch.

“And we look forward to seeing more Australians travel as it is safe to do so,” he added.

For more information and to book, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!

FREQUENT FLYER STATUS MATCHING – VIRGIN FIGHTS BACK

Hot on the heels of Qantas’ frequent flyer fast-track offer, Virgin Australia has hit back with an attractive counter offer.

The airline announced that its Velocity Frequent Flyer program will reward its Gold and Platinum members for their loyalty, and give eligible Qantas Frequent Flyer members (and their companion) a taste of flying with a ‘fun and vibrant’ airline.

Speaking at Brisbane Airport, Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said domestic airline competition was alive and well.

“Virgin Australia was the first airline in Australia to bring genuine competition to the domestic market, and that competitive spirit is in our DNA, so we’re happy to offer a more compelling loyalty offer than what is currently in market,” said Ms Hrdlicka.

“We’re pleased to welcome Qantas members to Velocity who are interested in taking advantage of cheaper fares, award-winning cabin crew, and great rewards for ongoing loyalty. We look forward to welcoming them onboard this summer season,” she added.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

By simply filling-in a short expression of interest form by 21 December 2020, Qantas Gold status and above members will receive a three month ‘Velocity Discover Gold Status’ trial membership.

That membership offers complimentary Lounge access, priority boarding, preferential seating, higher checked baggage allowances, and lucrative bonus points when customers book and fly with Virgin Australia.

To retain Velocity Gold status for 12-months and receive an additional Velocity Gold membership for a companion, they are only required to take one eligible flight and earn 80 status credits during their three month Discover Gold Status trial period—something previously only awarded to the most active Velocity members.

STATUS EXTENSIONS FOR EXISTING VELOCITY GOLD AND PLATINUM MEMBERS

Not to be outdone by the national carrier, Velocity Frequent Flyer is also offring eligible Gold and Platinum members a status extension of up to one year or until 31 March 2022, as long as they take one (1) eligible flight with Virgin Australia before 28 March 2021.

This is the second time Velocity has granted eligible members a Status extension this year. This will enable Gold and Platinum members to continue accessing benefits like Lounge access, priority boarding, and higher Velocity points earning ability when they return to the skies.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!

QANTAS FAST-TRACKS LOYALTY PROGRAM SWITCHERS

In a perhaps not entirely surprising (but bold) move, Qantas Frequent Flyer is offering top tier members of other airline loyalty programs the opportunity to fast track their flying status when they switch to Qantas.

The offer also includes a very attractive bonus of 90-days of complimentary lounge access.

According to a statement from the national carrier, this is the first time it has made such an offer. It comes on the back of significant enquiries about joining the program from members of other domestic and international airline loyalty programs – the consequence of changes in the local market as well as restrictions on overseas travel.

So, how does it work?

People holding an eligible loyalty status with a qualifying airline program are invited to switch and take advantage of the Qantas Status Fast Track – an offer to earn 100 status credits in 3 months to qualify for Qantas’ Gold tier.

What does earning 100 Status Credits look like?

  • 5 x return economy trips Sydney to Melbourne.
  • 1 x return business class trip Melbourne to Cairns.

In addition to helping expedite their status, the offer also includes 90 days of complimentary access to Qantas Club lounges, and extra checked baggage.

Gold tier benefits with Qantas include lounge access across Qantas and oneworld airline lounges globally, preferential seating and priority access to reward seats, as well as priority check-in, boarding and upgrade requests.

Those wishing to transfer from a higher flying tier – Platinum and Platinum One equivalents – will only be able to transfer to Qantas’ Gold status, rather than have their status matched. Reaching a higher frequent flyer status requires members to earn the normal requirements within a Membership Year.

“With so much uncertainty in the market, we’ve seen a spike in requests from people wanting us to match their status with other airlines. If they are willing to bring their travel across to Qantas, we will fast track them to Gold status,” said Qantas Loyalty CEO, Olivia Wirth.

By early December, eligible Qantas Frequent Flyers will have access to 30 of the 35 domestic and regional lounges across the airline’s network.

Registrations for the Qantas Status Fast Track close 18 December 2020.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY QANTAS

Today marks the 100th anniversary of Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services – QANTAS.

Qantas is the oldest continuously-operating airline in the world.

On 16 November 1920, two veterans of the Australian Flying Corps, Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness, together with local grazier Fergus McMaster, founded what would later become the national carrier.

This happened just 17 years after the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers, two years after the end of World War One and at the tail end of the last major global pandemic, the Spanish Flu.

“It’s such an incredible milestone. 100 years, it’s remarkable.”

The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper.

“The Travel Authority Group truly values its long-standing relationship as a Qantas Platinum Partner. As Australia’s national carrier with a global network, Qantas is a central part of our client offering. We wish our friends at Qantas the very best on this significant day, and wish they could have been celebrating in a manner fit for the occasion,” added Hosper.

As you might expect, the airline’s planned centenary celebrations have been significantly scaled back due to the impact of COVID.

Here’s to another 100 years of the Flying Kangaroo!

A SERIOUSLY DRESSED-UP ADDRESS

The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper, was recently invited to address an audience hosted by Helm Advisory Chartered Accountants in Sydney.

Peter was asked to present the story behind The Travel Authority’s success, to describe the state of the travel industry, and ponder the immediate and longer term future of this massive industry.

It was an address with a serious message, delivered in lederhosen—a nod to Peter’s homeland. Despite being assured the event was ‘fancy dress’, Peter was mightily relieved to see others had gone to the effort, too.

Below is his speech.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

My name is Peter Hosper, and I am the Co-Founder and CEO of The Travel Authority Group, and I am here tonight to talk about travel.

We live in very strange times, and with all our international and even most of our domestic borders currently being closed, I am sure at least some of you might be thinking “What could he possibly have to talk about?”

When our host Stephen Hathway asked me to join tonight’s event, given his line of work as a liquidator, even I was wondering if he was trying to drum up some new business. After all, the travel industry is all but dead, right?

Seeing that Stephen and I go back more than 25 years, I felt I could be honest and I asked him outright, and his answer was: “No Peter. I want you to tell your story.”

So that’s what I’m here to do tonight. And the first thing I need to say is that the travel industry is definitely not dead.

Like many other industries, however, we are going through tough times. But uniquely, the travel industry was the first to be hit hard directly, and it will be the last to recover. So essentially, we are in the longest ongoing lockdown of them all!

So how did we get here? The one thing our entire industry agrees on is that we are very much used to a constant level of turbulence. You can rest assured that our seatbelts are always fastened.

When we launched The Travel Authority nearly 17 years ago, we were a business that concentrated purely on corporate travel, the internet was coming into full swing, as were smart phones and with them—excuse my language—many smart asses!

It was those smart asses that declared travel agents dead there and then, because everybody would NATURALLY go online, do their own thing in a couple of clicks, and not bother with so-called “the middle man”. The airlines were very quick to capitalise on this sentiment and reduced our commissions overnight – in some cases down to zero, so our revenue was suddenly reduced substantially. And we were just starting up.

RIP Travel Agents. Good bye. Auf wiedersehen!

But to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of our demise were greatly exaggerated.

To be fair, the industry did have to reinvent itself. Perhaps not unlike accountants and financial advisers (and possibly liquidators?) had to at some stage. And we did. Fast.

We started by putting actual value on the services we provided, and instead of relying on being solely paid by the airlines and other suppliers by way of commissions, we introduced service fees, to be paid by our clients. What a novelty! For us, it really was.

Sure, some agents didn’t make it, or simply found the transition too difficult and got out. But for those of us who embraced the change – we became more profitable, more independent and ultimately, we became better at our job, because we had to demonstrate value for what we were charging.

We also became more powerful, because we were now working for our clients and not our suppliers – the way it should be, really.

So The Travel Authority started growing. We established ourselves as Corporate Travel Specialists and in the same year opened our Resource Travel Division in Western Australia, looking after FIFO workers travelling to and from Oil Rigs. We absolutely LOVED our corporate clients, and they loved us back. So much so that they now also wanted to book their holidays with us.

But we weren’t really set up for this, so we started our Holiday Division – The Holiday Authority, followed by The Events Authority to look after our clients’ Conferences, Incentives and Events, and of course The Cruise Authority – who would have thought that “Cruising” would be a dirty word in 2020? I’ll come back to that…

Things were good. Very good in fact. The Australian Economy was growing, and we were growing with it, and before we knew it we had 4 offices, 50 staff and plenty of work. Even during the Global Financial Crisis we were so confident about our business that we actually guaranteed all our staff their jobs for 12 months minimum – a big gamble that played out very well for us.

Fast forward to 2019. Our business is still growing, Australians continue to travel for business or pleasure in huge numbers, and the Australian Cruise Market is the fastest growing cruise market in the world. Cruise Lines are positioning more and more ships in our region, and we were playing our part in filling them up very easily. Australians are great world travellers, so they also represent a substantial percentage of cruise travellers worldwide.

The Council of Australian Tour Operators’ (CATO) released its inaugural ‘Australians on Holiday – International Leisure Travel Trends’ report in 2019. It showed that in 2018, Australian holidaymakers:

  • Took 6.3 million overseas leisure trips
  • Spent more than 46 billion dollars in total at an average of AUD$7,300 per person

Overall, more than 70% of all travel booked in Australia is transacted through travel agents and travel management companies like The Travel Authority, and just this segment of the travel industry contributes more than 28 billion dollars towards the Australian economy.

Plus, did you know that travel agents employ 40,000 Australians in metro and regional locations.

And we were all declared dead in the early 2000s, remember?

So here we are, 2020. The economy was showing some signs of weakness, and there was talk about ‘this virus’. We were ready for another challenge – after all, we had been through SARS, Swine Flu, the GFC.

How much worse could this covid-thing be?

Well, as it turns out, a lot worse.

As everybody in this room experienced, the world was suddenly a different place. Cruise ships became super spreaders—or ‘petri dishes’ as the media liked to say, airlines grounded their entire fleets, and borders started closing, even within Australia. I don’t know about you, but when the domestic borders were shutting, I thought, Oh crap.

It didn’t take much to realise that we most certainly weren’t going to have any growth this year, but nobody was prepared for what was coming. The thing we specialised in, travel, essentially ceased to exist overnight. We had nothing to sell. Literally! OK, I said to myself, let’s prepare for that.

Next stop: Cancellation Town.

Clients understandably wanted their money back for trips that could no longer happen. Travel Management Companies act as agents, so in nearly 100% of the cases, this money was already sitting with the supplier, such as airlines, cruise lines, hotels and car hire companies etc.—often in bank accounts outside Australia. Imagine a system that is designed for the flow of payments in one direction being put into reverse – it simply couldn’t cope, because it wasn’t designed for that. What a mess!

In the months since, travel agents have never worked harder for their clients, at best changing bookings to next year or the year after. Or, at worst processing cancellations, fighting with multiple suppliers to secure refunds and processing them back to the clients.

We are talking about over 10 billion dollars that are being refunded to Australian clients. The most recent estimate suggests that 6 billion has been refunded, only 4 billion to go.

That money that will go back into the economy, but only if we, as an industry, are able to continue facilitating those refunds—something, we think, the federal government is only just realising through the advocacy of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents.

The refund process was and continues to be slow.

Oh, and by the way, nobody in our industry is being paid for this service we’re providing to their clients. On the contrary. Where we had earned a commission on a booking last year, and that booking now had to be cancelled, we had to hand back that commission this year. You must be thinking by now – what a fabulous industry to be in!

And then there was the exposé of outrage pedalled by a not-to-be-named-but-regularly-shamed ‘current affair’ program, if you can call it that, not understanding how our industry works and painting a rather regrettable picture of travel agents and how they are greedily holding onto the clients’ money. But we dealt with that as well.

Another thought that’s been rattling in my head since our national carrier grounded all international flights: Here we are, an island nation and every person living in it, being 100% reliant on foreign airlines to get in or out – once we are allowed of course. Food for thought.

Back to the travel industry. Still not dead. Not even close.

After the trauma of the last few months and despite everything I’ve just said, we are in the process of dusting ourselves off and looking towards a very bright future. Some people really do think I am crazy when I say this, but if you need any proof of how much Australians are itching to travel again—what Qantas CEO Alan Joyce refers to as ‘pent up demand’—consider this:

  • How long do you think it took Qantas to completely sell out a 7-hour sightseeing flight to nowhere? Go on, guess. 10 MINUTES! Some clients paid nearly $4000.00 for the pleasure.
  • A recent three-day Jetstar sale saw 150,000 tickets sold at a record rate, literally a record rate, of 220 bookings per minute.
  • Only last week, a cruise line put its world cruise on sale for 2022. It took 48 hours to completely sell out the entire world cruise. The cheapest cabin was $200k.

But it’s not just conventional travel transactions like these that point to that pent up demand.

  • In September, Qantas sold 1,000 wine-stuffed bar carts, at between $1000-$1500 a pop—from its retired 747 fleet in just 2 HOURS.
  • Japan’s ANA has been using an Airbus A380 superjumbo that usually flies to Honolulu for a 90-minute Hawaii-themed flight-to-nowhere.
  • In Singapore, Singapore Airlines is offering a genuine First Class or Business Class dining experience in the comfort of your own home. It’s topped off with First Class or Business Class amenity kits, welcome videos, and instructional guides on how to heat and plate the dishes. There’s even a specially curated playlist to recreate your SIA onboard experience at home.

It doesn’t stop there…

  • Also in Singapore THIS COMING WEEKEND, the airline is welcoming diners aboard its A380s—on the ground—who will enjoy “a memorable dining experience in your choice of cabin class, topped with our award-winning service.” You can even watch a movie while you dine. AND GUESS WHAT? They sold out FOUR A380s in THIRTY minutes.
  • Closer to home, overnight flights to see the Southern Lights over Antarctica in April-May next year are going like hotcakes too.

I rest my case.

Oh, and if you’re sick to death of Zoom meetings and worried about never travelling anywhere fabulous for business ever again, you’ll love the findings of recent research by Harvard University’s Growth Lab. According to the study, physically mobilising the ‘knowhow in brains’ through business travel boosts the global economy enormously. We could all use a bit of that right now.

By the way, If anyone here needs the link to that article to show their boss, come and see me after.

So today, we actually do want to talk about the future.

For the travel industry, the future will mean we have to reinvent ourselves again. And we will. We will continue to love our clients and deepen the relationships we have with them, perhaps re-frame how we work with and pay our suppliers, and continue to deliver value at every client touchpoint.

We will emerge from this nightmare maybe a bit leaner—as we have from all the others—but also stronger. Judging by my own team, there are so many talented specialists in our industry who will be there when the madness is over and who can’t wait to be of service again when the time is right.

Australians will continue using Travel Management Companies with confidence.

Thank you Stephen and Helm Advisory for inviting us here tonight, and to all of you in the room, thank you for listening to our story. And please remember, when you’re ready to release a little of your own pent-up-demand once the borders are open, let us love you too!

NSW TO OPEN BORDER WITH VICTORIA

NSW border opens to Victoria from November 23 after coronavirus shutdown.

Qantas and Jetstar will operate thousands of flights to and from Melbourne and regional Victoria over summer following the New South Wales Government’s decision to open its borders.

From 23 November, Qantas and Jetstar will operate more than 250 flights per week across five routes, offering travellers 48,000 seats between the two states. This compares with just ten return flights per week operating between Melbourne and Sydney (the only route currently operating between NSW and VIC).

Both carriers will look to add more flights if there is sufficient demand.

Qantas Domestic & International CEO, Andrew David is thrilled to be adding such capacity into the network stating that, “This is fantastic news. We’ve added thousands of more flights back into our schedule today which will see Melbourne-Sydney once again become the busiest air route in Australia.”

November 23 will be a day many people will now be looking forward to. It’s exciting for the family and friends who can finally be reunited after months apart.”

Qantas Domestic & International CEO, Andrew David

David Thompson, Manager of Sales & Client Experience at The Travel Authority, believes this is another positive move in the “normalisation” of travel during the pandemic.

“This is very welcome news from Qantas. The Sydney – Melbourne air corridor was the second busiest in the world. At the height of the lockdown, there was only one flight a day between our two largest cities. That is just not sustainable,” said Thompson.

“Our Corporate Clients cannot wait to get back in the air and this is an important step in making that happen. The sooner all borders reopen the sooner we can get the economy moving again. The pent-up demand from our clients is palpable.”

David Thompson, Manager of Sales & Client Experience at The Travel Authority

Thompson went on to note that, “As soon as borders open we get an influx of bookings to that destination, recently South Australia opened their borders and our bookings went through the roof. We really would love to see Queensland and Western Australia open their borders as soon as possible.”

Borders are on everyone’s mind as we enter the holiday period. Last week Qantas CEO Alan Joyce slammed Queensland’s decision to keep its border closed to Sydney.

“Frankly, this is ridiculous,” Joyce said in a statement.

“Sydney is the biggest city in Australia and it probably has one of the best track records globally of managing a virus that is clearly going to be with us for a very long time. Keeping the doors bolted to places that you can’t reasonably call hot spots makes no sense from a health perspective and it’s doing a lot of social and economic damage as well,” Joyce added.

Our Take?

With the NSW border opening the good news is that, with so much available capacity, airfares are seriously good value and 5-star hotels are selling rooms at unheard of prices.

Now is the time to book a weekend away to Melbourne or Sydney, and for our Corporate Clients now is brilliant opportunity to finally start to utilise and reduce those tickets/credits on hold at these current low pricing levels—lock in the savings now!

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.
We’d love to hear from you.

QANTAS TAKES OFF WITH NEW ROUTES & MORE SEATS

The national carrier has been busy recently, responding to an easing of travel restrictions with a suite of new routes, the resumption of others, and more seats available on some routes by deploying larger aircraft.

“We’re really thrilled to see Qantas launching new routes, resurrecting others, and increasing capacity of popular routes. It’s driving a real increase in inquiry from clients who are just itching to travel again,” says The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper.

NEW ROUTES

1..Perth-Hobart

From 14 November Qantas will launch a new route between Perth and Hobart. The new seasonal service will operate three days per week until 31 January 2021 with a Boeing 737 aircraft.

“We so look forward to seeing this route take off, and more Australians visiting every corner of this incredible country,” says Lisa Byers, General Manager of The Travel Authority Group – Western Australia

2. Sydney-Launceston

From 4 December 2020, Qantas will operate three return services per week with Boeing 717 aircraft, increasing to four return services from the following week until 01 February.

“As the national carrier, we’re delighted to add direct flights between Launceston and Sydney for the first time in 16 years. We’ll keep a close eye on demand and if it proves successful we will look to extend the service,” said Qantas Domestic and International CEO, Andrew David.

This is the first time since 2004 that the flying kangaroo has flown between Launceston and Sydney.

3. Resuming Sydney-Hobart

With borders opening up, Qantas will also restart flights between Hobart to Sydney, with 11 return services per week from 6 November 2020.

This announcement follows two other new routes the Qantas Group has launched to Tasmania in response to demand – Brisbane-Hobart with Qantas and Gold Coast-Hobart with Jetstar.

With these additional flights, the Qantas Group will offer more than 125,000 seats between Tasmania and the mainland in December—that’s more than 10% of the Group’s total published domestic capacity for the month.

5. More Seats to Byron Bay

By introducing the larger Boeing 737 aircraft to the Byron Bay (Ballina) route between 9 November and the end of March 2021, Qantas is adding some 1,500 seats each week on the popular route over the summer.

Additional Services

Qantas is also making the following changes to its operating schedule:

  • Increasing Adelaide to Perth flights from 4 flights to 7 flights per week
  • Increasing Brisbane to Perth flights from 5 flights to 14 flights per week
  • Increasing Darwin to Perth flights from 2 flights to 3 flights per week
  • Resuming 4-weekly Canberra to Perth flights

For more information and TO BOOK, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!

QANTAS RESTRUCTURES DOMESTIC AIRFARES

Qantas is updating its domestic Economy airfare structure as the airline rolls out its three-year recovery plan.

Prices are being reduced at the top of the fare structure on some routes, and an additional fare class will be introduced to the ‘Red e-Deal’ fare family which will see smaller buy-up levels between economy class fare classes.

There are no changes for Business fares.

The new fare structure applies for tickets issued and tickets reissued on or after 4 November 2020.

What does it all mean?

‘M’ class fares—currently Qantas’ cheapest flexible economy fares—will move from the ‘Flex’ fare class to the ‘Red e-Deal’ fare family.

Is this good or bad news?

David Thompson, Manager of Sales & Client Experience at The Travel Authority Corporate, believes this is a positive move by the national carrier.

“It remains to be seen how pricing trends through 2021 but, as it stands, this restructure is good news. Big picture: Qantas has reduced published fares across most of its fare classes,” says Thompson.

One thing that is apparent, is that the domestic market will remain highly competitive, with Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and an emergent REX making a big play on key routes.

Questions?

1. Will there be any changes to the product and experience offered onboard?

All fares will continue to be inclusive of complimentary food and beverages, in-flight entertainment, Wi-Fi (where available) and checked baggage allowance.

2. Will there be any changes to Qantas Frequent Flyer points earning rates?

Qantas Point and Status Credit earn rates will remain the same within each Qantas Frequent Flyer Earn Category.

3. Are there any changes to the number of Qantas Points required for a Classic Upgrade Reward on Qantas Domestic flights?

The points required to upgrade from Qantas Domestic Frequent Flyer Categories are not changing.

Some questions still remain, however.

Like, how will this structure change affect customers holding Qantas flight credits in M-class? Please contact us to discuss if this sounds like it might affect you.

And, if Qantas deploys smaller aircraft on some routes to adjust for the slow return of demand, what effect will this have on the availability of the lower, cheaper booking classes?

We will continue to monitor the situation and make booking recommendations accordingly.

“Even with the current unknowns, we’re pleased to see Qantas preparing for the return of significant corporate and business travel,” notes Thompson.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.

GOING DIGITAL FOR SMARTER BORDERS

The Incoming Passenger Card—the one you fill out bleary eyed on descent into Australia when you can’t find your pen — is on the way out.

In an announcement from Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs—Alan Tudge—the Australian Government says it’s preparing for the safe re-opening of global travel with the launch of a digital system that will support quick and secure collection of incoming passenger information and replace the old physical card.

The familiar Incoming Passenger Cards are on the way out.

The new Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) will be completed by Australia-bound travellers on their mobile device or computer.

Currently, passenger contact and declaration information is collected on paper cards, which are then scanned and processed manually. In a COVID world, this information is an invaluable source for contact tracing and the manual process could slow down efforts to control the virus.

The DPD will facilitate information being collected and shared more efficiently while still using the same authority for collection. The DPD will also allow certified COVID vaccination certificates to be digitally uploaded and connected if and when they become available.

“This capability will put us in a prime position to successfully reopen our borders in a COVID-safe way to help with the rebuilding of Australia’s economy,” said Mr Tudge.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!

SAFE TRAVEL ZONE WITH NEW ZEALAND

We are delighted to learn that the Australian Government is establishing a Safe Travel Zone with New Zealand from Friday, 16 October.

But before we start packing our bags and booking flights, it’s important to understand how this Trans-Tasman ‘bubble’ works. Because, it’s not quite as simple as Australia and New Zealand opening up to arrivals from each other.

A statement on the Deputy Prime Minister’s website on 02 October said, “We are committed to opening up both domestic travel within Australia and travel with New Zealand, as well as other low risk countries as soon as the health advice says it is safe to do so.”

So, what does that mean exactly?

The Australian Government’s Department of Health has undertaken a public health risk assessment of COVID-19 in New Zealand, which indicated that New Zealand posed a low risk of COVID-19 transmission to Australia.

As a result, passengers from New Zealand will be able to travel to Australia, quarantine-free, from Friday, 16 October, provided they have not been in an area designated as a COVID-19 hotspot in New Zealand in the preceding 14 days.

At this stage, however, there has been no indication of when Australian arrivals into New Zealand will be permitted.

The Australian Government defines a hotspot using a three-day rolling average of three locally acquired cases per day.

“There are currently no COVID-19 hotspots in New Zealand. The last locally acquired case with an unidentified epidemiological source occurred on 21 August 2020. We are working closely with New Zealand authorities to ensure we are notified promptly of any outbreaks there,” Mr McCormack’s statement said.

Any state or territory that imposes travel restrictions consistent with the Australian Government-defined hotspot, as advised by the acting Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, will be able to participate in the Safe Travel Zone.

“After offering these arrangements at the latest National Cabinet, we have reached agreement for this first stage of quarantine-free travel with New South Wales and the Northern Territory. We welcome those jurisdictions’ commitment to reopening Australia to the world,” McCormack said.

Normal visa requirements will apply and travellers returning to New Zealand from Australia will be required to comply with New Zealand’s travel requirements.

We’re dreaming of a swift return to New Zealand

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!