SYDNEY, 13 May 2013: The Australian dollar slipped below parity with the greenback Monday and analysts tipped it could fall further as speculation mounts that the US could wind back its quantitative easing policy.
The “Aussie” hit a low Monday of 99.78 US cents before recovering slightly, after Saturday briefly dipping under parity in offshore trade for the first time in 12 months on fears that the mining-powered economy was slowing.
Analysts said the currency’s robust run may have peaked as Australia’s historic boom in mining investment plateaus, coupled with speculation that the US Federal Reserve will ease its bond-buying programme.
SYDNEY, 9 May 2013: Virgin Group chief Richard Branson has aired the possibility of selling his entire stake in budget carrier Virgin Australia, saying the airline’s branding is more important to him than ownership.
Branson, who founded Virgin Australia as a rival to Qantas in 2000, sold a 10% share to Singapore Airlines last month, leaving him with 13%.
The British billionaire refused to rule out selling his remaining stake, telling reporters “we will see” when asked about his future plans for the Australian carrier.
BANGKOK, 7 May 2013: TripAdvisor for Business in Asia Pacific commercial director, Lewis Ng, says mobile and social media use is on the rise in the Asia Pacific region and has dramatic implications for the way travellers share experiences, collaborate, research, and book travel.
The commercial director said that ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database showed mobile penetration in Asia Pacific was 74% in 2011.
“Many in the region are by-passing computers, preferring mobile devices to access the web, which makes for an attractive mobile distribution opportunity for tourism and hospitality sectors.”
SYDNEY, 30 April 2013: Australia’s Bondi Beach is set for a major makeover, with concrete car parks to be replaced with grass, trees and a boardwalk in an ambitious overhaul of the world-renowned site.
The draft proposal, which local authorities hope will cement Bondi’s status as a world-class tourist destination, will see large areas of the foreshore currently devoted to parking turned into green space.
The Bondi Pavilion, a beachfront arts and cultural space dating back to the early 1900s when it housed Turkish baths and a ballroom, would also be restored as the “grand entrance” to the beach under the 10-year plan, released Tuesday.
BANGKOK, 26 April 2013: Visitor arrivals to the Asia Pacific will grow to 581 million by 2017 with an annual growth rate of 4.1% according to a new PATA Asia Pacific Visitor Forecast released Thursday.
The study forecasts 2013 will close with 494 million and expand by almost 100 million visits by 2017.
Over the five year period China will top the rankings replacing the USA (second place) as the most popular destination in the region followed by Hong Kong and Macau in third and fourth spot. Malaysia will take the fifth spot and Thailand will rise to sixth place in the five-year period.
SYDNEY, 24 April 2013: Australia’s competition regulator on Tuesday approved Virgin Australia’s purchase of a 60% stake in low-cost rival Tiger Airways Australia, despite concerns about the market becoming a duopoly.
Virgin is Australia’s second-largest carrier after Qantas, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had previously said it was worried about the impact on consumers of two main airlines controlling the market.
But it ruled on Tuesday that “this acquisition is unlikely to lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the Australian market for domestic air passenger transport services”.
APIA, 3 April 2013: A tiny Samoan airline that was the first to introduce a fare system based on a passenger’s weight hailed the experiment a success, Wednesday, predicting it would become a global norm.
Four months after introducing the “fare-weight” system — the lighter the passenger the lighter the fare — Air Samoa chief executive Chris Langton said the feedback from fliers of all sizes has been positive.
“We started the system back in November and it’s taken on,” Langton told AFP as his commuter airline extended pay-by-weight from domestic flights to international services linking neighbouring Pacific island states.
SINGAPORE, 21 March 2013: Tourism New Zealand is splurging on free junkets for 26 journalists from around Asia to attend the country’s annual Tourism Industry Rendezvous New Zealand that will take place 21 to 24 April in Auckland.
TRENZ is billed as the NZ$23.4 billion tourism industry’s annual showcase event.
Organised by the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA), TRENZ 2013 will bring together around 250 New Zealand tourism operators (exhibitors) to network with 280 invited international travel and tourism buyers plus international and domestic media.
SINGAPORE, 7 March 2013: Tourism New Zealand will overall its Kiwi Specialist training programme for travel agencies to regain lost ground in Asia’s highly competitive outbound travel market.
As one of the early adopters of online training modules that recognise travel agents as specialists, New Zealand’s popular programme was copied and in some instances bettered by competitive destinations.
Over time, travel agencies have tended to move business to Japan and China that have a greater appeal to Asian visitors particularly for shopping, food and beverage and heritage attractions.
SYDNEY, 7 February 2013: Australia’s strong dollar has done little to dampen its popularity with Chinese and Indian visitors, with tourist numbers from those countries tripling in the past decade, data showed Wednesday.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics said there were 630,000 visits from Chinese tourists in 2012 compared with 190,000 in 2002. Indian visits went from 45,000 to 160,000 in the same period.
“Despite a high Australian dollar, Australia’s short-term visitor numbers were up by nearly 5% since 2011 with 6.1 million short trips made to Australia — 270,000 more than we saw in 2011,” said Neil Scott, the bureau’s assistant director of demography.