This week’s travel news:
Australia opens borders between New Zealand and NSW, NT
Australia has (finally) closed a deal for an introductory travel bubble with New Zealand as announced Friday, 2 October. The proposed travel bubble will allow people from New Zealand to travel to New South Wales and the Northern Territory, with flights across the Tasman expected to resume on October 16. However, the changes will not allow Australians to travel to New Zealand yet.
Announcing the news, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said stage 1 of a travel zone with New Zealand would see one-way quarantine-free travel into NSW and the NT.
"This will allow New Zealanders and other residents in New Zealand who have not been in an area designated as a COVID-19 hotspot in New Zealand in the preceding 14 days to travel quarantine-free."
QLD sets NSW border opening date
Queensland has (again, finally) set a date for when the hard border closure with New South Wales will lift. From November 1, visitors and returned residents will be able to enter Queensland from NSW without quarantining, according to a roadmap released on Friday. However, the announcement of course came with the requirement that NSW would require 28 consecutive days of no locally acquired coronavirus cases without a known source.
Rex signs deals to lease six 737 planes for planned Sydney - Melbourne route
Regional airline Rex this week signed provisional deals with two lessors for six Boeing Co BA.N 737 planes as part of its plan to expand beyond regional flights to launch jet services between major Australian cities. The move is a major expansion for Rex, which currently operates on less competitive regional routes like Sydney to Wagga Wagga and Adelaide to Port Lincoln.
The flights would compete against those offered by Qantas and Virgin Australia from March 2021. Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp said in a statement the airline planned for three of the jets to be deployed on the Sydney-Melbourne route from March, with another two entering service by Easter.
QT Hotels and Resorts Launch Pet-Friendly Stays - Fur Real!
QT Hotels and Resorts have introduced pet-friendly stays for dogs at its Australia and New Zealand properties. The perks on offer for doggos staying with their best friend at the QT include an in-room doggy dinner menu, with options including steak tartare, risotto, liver and toast, and an ice-cream sandwich with bacon ice-cream, dried liver and oat biscuit.
However for dogs with dietary requirements (apparently that’s a thing now), QT Bondi has a vet-approved vegan menu inclusive of vegetable terrine, sweet potato meatballs with pea puree, and pupcakes and watermelon. Each ‘Pup Yeah!’ room comes complete with a pooch approved mini-bar, designer bedding and pups in need of a little TLC can select from a pupQ treatment menu offered by a local groomer at select properties.
Singapore Opens Its Border To Aussies
From Thursday, 8 October, Singapore will lift border restrictions to visitors from Australia – excluding Victoria – and Vietnam.
Australia and Vietnam join New Zealand and Brunei as the only four countries Singapore has opened its borders to, in an effort to rebuild and revive tourism. Australians wanting to travel to Singapore, will be able to apply for an ‘Air Travel Pass’ for entry.
However as Australia still has an overseas travel ban in effect, Australian Citizens can currently only apply to leave the country for essential travel reasons.
Tourism Australia appeals to international visitors with immersive video series
Tourism Australia is tapping into the growing need for escapism as it begins to appeal to international travellers once again and remind international visitors of what awaits for them down under.
Australia’s national tourism body has released a series of videos, each based on a different colour, using what it’s calling 8D sound, an immersive audio technology that makes a viewer wearing headphones feel as though noises from the landscapes are coming from all around them.
Have a listen:
Flight Centre prepares its ideal network for open borders
The Flight Centre Travel Group has announced a further change to its Australian leisure shop network as part of the company’s ongoing network management plan to reduce the overlap between shops in higher density areas, particularly in the Flight Centre brand, and to prepare for the return of travel.
About 90 Flight Centre brand shops will close, leaving the company with a strong nationwide network of 332 shops in its flagship leisure brand, along with a variety of other connected channels that customers can use to transact and interact with the brand and its people.
Customers who may be impacted by a shop closure will be contacted directly to introduce them to a nearby store. All bookings, pending refunds and credits will remain easily accessible by customers and our teams. The closures have also been prompted by the continued domestic and international border closures, which have effectively grounded leisure travel in Australia for the past six months and led to billions of dollars in future travel bookings being cancelled.
FCTG’s Australian managing director, James Kavanagh, said the retained Flight Centre shops had been carefully selected to deliver maximum convenience and effective coverage for customers in the future, with about 95% living within five kilometres of a retained shop.