Weekly Wrap – 16 September 2023

IT HAS certainly been a flavourful week for the travel industry, and another bumpy one for Qantas in particular, with the controversial carrier once again appearing in many a headline. The Flying Kangaroo is facing major penalties after losing its appeal to the High Court, which ruled that the airline acted illegally when it dismissed ground handling staff in 2020.

Adding to the growing choir of criticism aimed at Qantas, SA Premier Peter Malinauskas said he was disappointed in the carrier for continuing to overlook Adelaide, pointing out that it hasn’t operated an international flight to the SA capital in more than 10 years. WA Tourism Minister Rita Saffioti took a slightly more positive view though, voicing hopes that Perth Airport will be able to resolve its ongoing stoush with the airline now that it has changed leadership.

To top off an already painful week for the Aussie flag carrier, yesterday the ACCC denied permission for Qantas to continue coordinating services with China Eastern Airlines, with the consumer watchdog issuing a draft determination yesterday voicing concerns that the alliance would be anti-competitive.

China Eastern was in the spotlight again, fortunately for a more upbeat reason, after it announced plans to resume non-stop services between Shanghai and Brisbane from 29 October. At the same time, its sister airline China Southern revealed it will boost its Brisbane to Guangzhou flights from four weekly to daily for the summer season, with BNE CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff hailing the return of Chinese carriers as “another sign Queensland’s Chinese tourism market is set to roar back to life”.

In another positive move for Australia’s overseas tourism market, Emirates said it will move to a triple-daily A380 service on the Sydney-Dubai route from late October, as well as confirming plans to reinstate non-stop Adelaide flights in mid-2024. The aviation ramp-up comes as the country’s international tourism spend recovers to 99% of pre-pandemic levels, reflected in the latest stats from Tourism Research Australia.

There has been more than a touch of sombreness this week, as the industry rallied together in the wake of the devastating Morocco earthquake. Intrepid kick-started a fundraising appeal via its charity arm to help provide essentials to the thousands of people affected by the natural disaster. The industry also farewelled Joyce Weir, National Business Development Manager – MICE at Globus Family of Brands, after the well-loved travel professional passed away unexpectedly.

Other noteworthy news from this week includes big plans from Titan Travel’s Aussie expansion, the launch of EVA Air’s Taiwan Travel Academy, which offers virtual training to agents, and the celebration of Wendy Wu Tours’ 25th anniversary. The company has plenty to be happy about, with booking levels having skyrocketed past pre-COVID 2019 levels.

Meanwhile, things have been heating up this week in the cruise sector, starting with Disney revealing the name of it’s new Singapore-based ship, Disney Adventure. My Cruises teamed up with Hurtigruten to launch its new Expedition collection, and Crystal Cruises unveiled its new 2025 itineraries. Perhaps the biggest news came from Captain Cook Cruises Fiji, which touted the arrival of Caledonian Sky as signalling a new era of small ship luxury expedition cruising in Fiji, of which the travel trade will play a key role.

Well, that wraps up another ever-exciting week in travel – with that, have an awesome weekend everybody!


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