Weekly Wrap – 10th September 2022

There’s been a lot of local action this week, with our team heading to three different conferences which has been so great to see as a sign the industry is beginning to recover.

IN A departure from our last few Saturday editions, this week’s update is actually coming from Australia! And there’s been a lot of local action, with our team heading to three different conferences which has been so great to see as a sign the industry is beginning to recover.

One of those events was the corporate buyer-focused BTTB conference in Sydney, where the hottest topic was the recent Qantas announcement about offering discounts for bookings through the carrier’s Qantas Distribution Platform (QDP) NDC system. Oliver Tams from the Association of Travel Management Companies was particularly outspoken about the QDP, criticising the carrier for a lack of consultation and noting that significant limitations in terms of servicing bookings meant TMCs are extremely unlikely to adopt the system – despite the opportunity to offer cheaper domestic flights – because it will heavily impact service levels for their clients.

The ongoing engagement of the cruise sector with other parts of the tourism industry bore fruit at another gathering, the Australian Cruise Association (ACA) Conference in Townsville. One of the keynote speakers was Tourism Australia MD Phillipa Harrison, who announced a new three-way agreement with the ACA and Cruise Lines International Association to promote the benefits of cruise tourism. Naturally focusing on the inbound market, the initiative will also see new cruise-focused modules added to the Aussie Specialist program, highlighting the increasing relevance of cruise as part of Australia’s tourism mix.

The third get-together with which we were involved was the TravelManagers 2022 Conference in Sydney, where the group celebrated its survival through the pandemic and laid the groundwork for future growth. Already bookings are running ahead of corresponding months in 2019, with the organisation welcoming the persistence of hybrid work arrangements which it pioneered long before anyone had ever heard of lockdowns and office closures.

Other significant updates this week included the expansion of the new Link Travel Group with the addition of Travel Beyond and Eden Corporate Travel to its invitation-only ranks. Travel Beyond was a founding member of CT Partners and will bring significant additional muscle to Link, while Eden Corporate Travel is the latest of several departures from the Helloworld Business Travel/Magellan networks.

A few other snippets: the appointment of Walshe Group CEO Jacqui Walshe to the board of Tourism New Zealand is a well-deserved recognition of her quiet achievements over the last two decades or so. Late breaking news was the release of the Qantas annual report – including the popular talking point of CEO Alan Joyce’s $2.272 million “actual” salary package for 2022 – climbing to $5.575 million when rights under the QF executive Long Term Incentive Plan are taken into account. The ACCC approved Virgin Australia’s collaboration with international carriers, seeing VA’s wide-ranging partnership with Qatar Airways activated, while Atout France celebrated the upcoming Rugby World Cup with a lavish event in Sydney and a trade workshop in Melbourne. And finally yesterday saw the triumphant arrival of P&O’s new Pacific Adventure into Sydney Harbour, completing the line’s three-ship fleet and auguring well for the ongoing recovery of the local cruise sector.

Voting for the National Travel Industry Awards has now wrapped up, with judging well under way in the lead-up to the industry night of nights on 15 October – which believe it or not is just over a month away. I believe the big event is just about a sellout already, so if you haven’t bought a ticket yet you’d better get in quick. As for me I’m getting my glad rags out of hibernation, and looking forward to a great night celebrating the industry’s resilience.

Have a great weekend

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