Weekly Wrap – 5th August

JANIE MEDBURY wraps up the news of the week.

THERE has been no shortage of excitement in the travel industry this week, with several agencies and operators unveiling major new products and services. For starters, Intrepid Travel launched a new Agent Hub exclusively to agents across Australia and New Zealand, providing them with updated training modules, marketing tools and social media assets, incentives, and more.

Travel sellers are also set to benefit from an “industry first” custom group service with Designer Journeys, which allows agents in Australia and New Zealand to curate unique group tours in more than 70 destinations. Custom Group Travel by Designer Journeys enables agents to customise adventures to meet their clients’ specific interests and preferences, helping them to stand out from the competition.

Adding to the slew of big announcements this week, Journey Beyond unveiled its new Gold Premium category, which will be available aboard The Ghan and Great Southern Rail services from next year to to provide travellers with a new middle-ground luxury class. Guests will be able to opt for either a Gold Premium Twin cabin or a Gold Premium Suite, and enjoy access to the Gold Premium lounge and premium dining services, all-inclusive off train experiences and preferences on tour selections, priority luggage check-in on departure, and a 75kg checked luggage allowance.

Capitalising on rising demand among Aussies for travel to South Korea, Contiki announced the launch of it’s first-ever tour to the Asian destination. With eight departures next year, the nine-day itinerary offers young Australian travellers the chance to see all the highlights and enjoy one-of-a-kind experiences, including the opportunity to discover Busan by night on board a private yacht.

The aviation sector was also in the spotlight this week, with Bonza announcing the Gold Coast Airport as its third base, marking the start of new growth era for the Aussie carrier. Bonza is bringing 11 of its existing routes to the Queensland hub, where it will operate 70 new flights per week and almost 700,000 additional passenger seats.

Rex also had some good news to share, revealing it has received the first of two Boeing 737-800NGs on order, which the regional carrier will use on its new Melbourne-Hobart route from 17 August, as well as between Sydney and Adelaide. Rex also signed a new exclusive teaming agreement with Heli Resources, which will see it provide up to four twin-engine helicopters capable of both land and sea operations, bringing it a step closer to landing a milestone Federal Government contract to service the Australian Antarctic Division.

It’s been an exciting week for the cruise sector as well, with several cruise lines expanding their fleet. Crystal Cruises revealed plans to triple its fleet by 2029, with four new ships to arrive over the next six years. Two of the newbuilds will echo the classic style of Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, while the other two will be polar-class expedition ships.

This week also saw Norwegian Cruise Line welcome its second Prima-class ship, with the arrival of Norwegian Viva which was celebrated at a special event in Sydney. Building on the excitement, Norwegian also announced Leanne Fonagy as its new PR Manager for the APAC region. Also taking delivery of a newbuild this week was Seabourn, with Seabourn Pursuit joining the ranks as the line’s second purpose-built ultra-luxury expedition ship. Beginning 12 August, she is set to sail five voyages in the Mediterranean, before embarking on two cruises across the Atlantic and through the Caribbean.

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