What a start it has been to 2018. The normally quiet holiday period has turned out to be extremely busy for the travelBulletin and Travel Daily team, with updates about the Magellan takeover by Helloworld coming through on a daily basis.

It’s been a tricky situation, with lots of emotion on both sides, and we have done our best to provide a balanced view of the transaction which is still in the process of being played out as this issue goes to the printers. For those who haven’t been in the loop, this month’s cover story explores the current state of play.

January was also hectic for another reason, as we finalised the release of our first ever edition of AFTA Travel Pages. This annual rundown of the industry has been completely revamped by the Business Publishing Group, with AFTA members to receive their copies in the coming days.

An innovation this year for AFTA Travel Pages 2018 has been the addition of a Supplier Directory, which will now be revised on an ongoing basis to form a key reference for the travel industry. The 140-page glossy magazine can also be viewed online on our website, where hard copy versions are available for purchase.

While we’re on the subject of good looking publications, astute observers will also note some design tweaks in this issue of travelBulletin. We trust the changes will make the magazine even more appealing, as our readership across the industry continues to grow and grow.

MEANWHILE another intriguing development in recent weeks has been the delayed decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on its ruling about the planned acquisition of Mantra by AccorHotels.

The “informal review” kicked off after the deal was announced in late October, with submissions invited the following month and a provisional decision date of 1 February 2018. However on 12 January the ACCC said it was waiting on further information from AccorHotels, with a revised proposed decision date to be announced “in due course”.

On the face of it the takeover will definitely have an impact on competition in the local market, where AccorHotels holds a dominant position with more than 200 hotels across Australia. If it succeeds more brands will be added including Mantra, Breakfree, Art Series and Peppers, expanding the portfolio by over 125 properties.

Mantra and Accor will be waiting with bated breath on the outcome of the ACCC’s deliberations, with further details to be sent to shareholders this month before they vote on the deal at a meeting flagged for March.

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