From the publisher

From Bruce Piper

AS I write this column today, I have just discovered that Australia has a new Prime Minister. Heaven help us. The embarrassing ructions in Canberra not only make us a laughing-stock across the globe, but more seriously are likely to create a policy paralysis which will impact the entire economy. I fear that large companies will be reluctant to make important investment decisions because of a lack of certainty, and in turn that will affect their employees — who may in turn be reluctant to spend on their holidays. Let’s hope these clowns can get their act together and get on with governing the country as soon as possible.

 

Enough of the doom and gloom. On a brighter note, the last few weeks have seen most of Australia’s ASX-listed travel companies release their 2017/18 results, and by and large they have been crackers. Records have fallen left, right and centre, with Qantas, Flight Centre, Helloworld, Corporate Travel Management and Webjet all claiming their best underlying profit figures ever. The strong performances have been reflected in growing share prices, with Corporate Travel Management and Flight Centre particularly outstanding, despite a post-result dip for FLT attributed to a brutal ABC expos of the company’s salary and sales policies.

Webjet has also continued its relentless rise, claiming to be Australia’s number one online travel agent with a 5% domestic market share and 3% of international. CEO John Gucsic says flight bookings continue to grow at more than three times the underlying market, with “substantial headroom for ongoing bookings growth as the B2C market continues to shift online”. But an interesting a side note in the Webjet announcement confirmed a fall in cruise bookings through its Online Republic offshoot, with the company citing a “material slowdown in the regional cruise market”.

Despite that comment, there certainly doesn’t appear to be any slowdown in the construction of new passenger ships across the globe, with a massive pipeline of capacity under construction — including a succession of newbuild announcements for expedition ships such as Scenic’s highly anticipated and now delayed Eclipse.

This month’s special cruise-themed travelBulletin includes a phenomenal precis of the polar production line courtesy of Steve Jones — so pop some appropriate ice in your drink and enjoy the read!

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