Webjet Up, Flight Centre Down?

Investment bank JP Morgan reckons that travel retailer Flight Centre will meet its reduced profit forecasts but believes there may be further downside in store for Australia's leading travel company and sees online Webjet as the better  investment, for now at least. More 

Flight Centre Appoints Chief Digital Officer

Alte SkellebergFlight Centre has appointed Alte Skalleberg to the new position of Chief Digital Officer.

Skalleberg was previously the Managing Director of Student Universe, which Flight Centre acquired last year, and will lead teams based in Boston, one of the world's leading technology innovation hubs, and also Brisbane. More 

Time to Tango With New Flights To Buenos Aires

Nov 26, 2015: Amazing culture, food, architecture, spirit and the gateway to Argentina – Buenos Aires is a bucket list destination that will soon be much easier to access from Australia when Air New Zealand starts flying there three times a week from December 1.

Greg Carter from Chimu Adventures, Australia’s leading Latin America travel specialist, says the new Boeing 777 flights will take airline capacity between Australia and South America to record heights with Qantas and LAN Airlines already flying 10 times a week between Sydney and Santiago, Chile.

“Both Qantas and LAN have increased their capacity into South America this year by switching to larger aircraft and we’re already seeing the impact of the boost in seat numbers with some very competitive airfares,” he says.

“We’re hopeful that Air New Zealand’s entry into the South American market, which cuts flying time from Australia’s east coast to Buenos Aires by 2-3 hours, will continue that trend and the early signs are very positive.”

Greg says Buenos Aires is an incredible city. “Buenos Aires is the perfect gateway, an ideal launching pad for Argentina, with amazing food, great architecture (the Paris of the south!), culture, and passionate, sports-mad people – there’s so much to see and do.”

According to Greg, the top five things to do in Argentina are:

  • Explore Buenos Aires: A city in which you can linger. So many fascinating neighbourhoods including the Plaza de Mayo in central BA, colourful and lively La Boca, home to art galleries and tango shows; San Telmo with its restored mansions and antique stores and Recoleta, the city’s most exclusive area.
  • Enjoy the cuisine: Argentina is a paradise for food lovers, especially those who enjoy meat, featuring high quality and low prices. Of course with Argentina’s strong European population profile, there are many other delicious options.
  • Dance the Tango: TheTango originated in Buenos Aires in the late 1800s and there’s no better place to learn what many believe is the world’s most sensual dance. If you’d rather watch, El Querandí Tango Hall is the place to go.
  • Wine touring and tasting: Argentinian wine is about more than Malbec, though that’s a pretty good place to start. Mendoza in the west of Argentina near the Andes makes a great base with nearby Maipu the heart of Argentina’s wine and olive oil industries.
  • Iguazú Falls: An incredible place. As Lonely Planet says: “One of the planet’s most awe-inspiring sights, the Iguazú Falls are simply astounding. A visit is a jaw-dropping, visceral experience, and the power and noise of the cascades live forever in the memory.”

To celebrate the new flights, Chimu Adventures has released a special nine-day ‘Highlights of Argentina’ package which costs from $2450 and includes accommodation, breakfast, some meals, attractions and internal flights. For details visit www.chimuadventures.com.

For further information please contact: Angie Kelly (0437) 867-726

Antarctica Hotter Than Ever With Australian Travellers

Australians are queuing up to cruise the world’s southernmost continent with demand for bookings stronger than ever.

Passenger numbers for Chimu Adventures to the Antarctic Peninsula have more than doubled since 2008, says Chimu Adventures boss Greg Carter, with the upward trend climbing sharply over the past 18 months.

“We’ve really seen a big change in consumer behavior over the past couple of years. Antarctica is definitely back on the bucket list for many travellers,” he says

“The GFC had a major impact on demand however that’s really turned around now as people have decided there’s no point delaying their travel any longer.

“They are also more confident about the future and our forward bookings have been excellent.”

Carter says there are still limited cabins left for the but anyone who intends going should book immediately or risk missing out.

Among the most popular departures is Chimu’s Classic Antarctica 11-day round trip from Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city.

Most passengers take the chance to add on a stay in Buenos Aires with a taste of Latin food, culture and night life the perfect contrast to the remote beauty of the polar region, Carter said.

Special guest departures in 2017 are also on sale now:

*    Epic Antarctica with Samuel Johnson, March 2017: Take a polar plunge with the Aussie actor behind breast cancer awareness charity, Love Your Sister, and help raise funds for the Garvan Institute of Medical Research

*    Polar adventure with Andrew Denton and Jennifer Byrne, Feb 2017: Join much-loved media personalities and serious Antarctica fans on what will be their 11th trip between them. Enjoy on board lectures from the married duo and the rare chance to chat with them.

Bookings on 1300 707 597 or see www.chimuadventures.com.au.

Contact: Martin Kelly, 0414 774 978

Icebergs Clear, First Cruise To Mawson's Huts In Five Years leaves Hobart on Saturday

Finally, two massive icebergs that have been blocking ship access to historic Mawson’s Huts in remote Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica, have broken up and shifted, enabling Chimu Adventures to run the first commercial expedition to the historic site in five years.

The 26-day journey aboard the Akademik Shokalskiy, carrying 54 passengers, will also raise money for Mawson’s Huts Foundation, which has been maintaining the basic timber structures since 1997 at a total cost of more than $8 million.

The Akademik Shokalskiyleaves Constitution Dock Hobart at 4pm this Saturday, January 9, 104 years after Douglas Mawson stepped ashore in 1912 on “a charming ice-quay” – which he named Cape Denison – to establish a “station for scientific investigations”.

It was the beginning of a legend that’s grown over time with Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition one of Australia’s greatest stories of adventure, resilience, desperation and survival. Harsh doesn’t begin to describe their experience in the coldest and windiest spot on earth.

The only remaining evidence of Mawson and his men’s occupation are two connected timber buildings (Mawson’s Huts) that passengers aboard the Akademik Shokalskiy will have the unique opportunity – subject to weather and ice conditions – to enter and explore.

“It’s so exciting to be going back after such a long time,” said Chimu co-founder Chad Carey, who will be joining the trip.

“As recently as last February, experts were saying the icebergs could stay jammed in the bay for a decade or more but fortunately those predictions have proved incorrect and expedition ships are now able to enter Commonwealth Bay.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in the trip and have a really interesting group of people on board united by their love of Antarctica and this history surrounding Mawson’s Huts.”

Mr Carey says Chimu believes strongly in the Mawson’s Huts Foundation, providing it with office space and facilities while donating more than more than $100,000 to the cause over the years.

Mawson’s Huts Foundation Chairman David Jensen added: “Mawson’s Huts are the birthplace of Australia’s Antarctic heritage and Chimu’s support for the Foundation is critical for conservation work to continue.”

  • Chad Carey is available for interview. His contact number is (0415) 152-493.

Further information – Angie Kelly (0437) 867-726

Aussie Travel Entrepreneurs to Transform Lima Mansion into Boutique Hotel

Sydney, May 4, 2016: Innovative Australian travel company Chimu Adventures today announced it is investing more than $5m to transform a magnificent 1920s mansion in the buzzing Barranco District of Lima, Peru, into what it believes will be the city’s hottest boutique hotel. Chimu - Lima property entrance low-res

It’s a logical step for Chimu, which over the past decade has evolved into the market-leading South American and Antarctic tour operator with 70 staff.

“We’re very excited and believe it’s an excellent business opportunity that ties in perfectly with our retail and wholesale operations, said co-founder Greg Carter, who founded Chimu in 2007 with travel buddy Chad Carey.

“The simple fact is that there’s a shortage of good hotels in Lima, especially for travellers who want to stay in non-chain properties with modern facilities and a sense of place, which is the market we are targeting.”

He added: “To our knowledge we’re the first Australian company to develop a hotel in South America”.

Tourism to Peru is on a roll with visitor numbers more than doubling in the past decade, reaching an all-time high of 4.22 million in 2015, an increase of 9.3% over 2014, and momentum is continuing through this year. Chimu - Lima property interior low-res

Adding to the allure, Lima’s reputation as the food and culture capital of South America continues to grow with the well-known eateries Central (#4), Astrid y Gaston (#14) and Maido (#44) all featuring in San Pellegrino’s top 50 restaurant awards for 2015.

“There’s a lot happening in Lima at the moment – there’s a really good feel about the place – and when the opportunity came up to lease this amazing mansion and transform it into a hotel, we absolutely jumped at it,” said Mr Carter.

Its prime location in the heart of Barranco, just 200m from the beach on Saenz Pena, one of the area’s best streets, was also a major attraction.

“Barranco is a fantastic place – really buzzy, with lots of great restaurants, cafes and galleries,” he said.

Preliminary work has begun on the project which is scheduled for completion by November.

When complete, the former beach retreat of a wealthy Lima family will feature 17 stylish guest rooms, beautiful public areas, a restaurant and rooftop bar with views of the South Pacific.

“We want it to become a part of the community reflecting the best aspects of Lima and Peru.”

Further information: Martin Kelly, Mr & Mrs Kelly, 0414 774 978

"We Will Fix It" Says New Malyasia Airlines CEO

Peter Bellew
Peter Bellew

Peter Bellew, the new CEO of Malaysia Airlines, started work today and immediately declared "we will fix" the troubled carrier in a journey to redemption that "will be a road with many interesting turns".

Malaysia Airlines has been in turmoil since 2014 when MH370 disappeared without trace and MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine four months later - twin disasters in which hundreds of its passengers died, sending the carrier into a commercial tail spin. More 

Sharp Growth for Jetstar International

Figures released by the Qantas Group yesterday reveal spectacular growth for Jetstar International. Its May passengers numbers were up 24.5% over the previous corresponding period. Annual passenger numbers for the low cost carrier grew 13.8% for the financial year to May 31.

Upcoming Events

No Vacancy Australia

No Vacancy Returns to Sydney in March 2017

No Vacancy is where accommodation meets the internet and innovation.

Founded in 2007, it's a dynamic one-day event with a strong track record.

It aims to be provocative, interesting and honest.

To be kept abreast of the latest developments, please register here.

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TRAVELtech Australia 2016

Disruptive Influences,
The Story Concludes...

The 2016 edition of TRAVELtech, Australia's leading travel marketing, distribution and tech conference, has just wrapped up.

Great crowd, with more than 200 in attendance, and some fantastic sessions, including a presentation by Sean Sutherland of Aunt Betty (above).

This year's theme was Disruptive Influences - The Story Continues and speakers included:

Thanks to everyone who attended and see you next year.

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