Emirates boosts Mauritius services
The southern Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has come closer with Emirates now offering daily connections for all its New Zealand flights.
Apart from its mixed colonial heritage and membership of the Commonwealth, Mauritus is known for its spectacular scenery, pristine beaches and unique biodiversity. It was once home to the dodo.
Mauritians are multilingual; though English dominates in the business world, closely followed by French, the majority speak a French-based Creole. Asian languages are also spoken.
From December 2, Emirates is adding two more daily flights from Dubai, making it a full double daily service. This means there will be daily connections at Dubai with all four daily Emirates flights to and from New Zealand. The flights use a Boeing 777-300 in a three-class configuration.
In January, Emirates and the government of Mauritius signed an agreement aimed at jointly promoting the island destination across the airline’s global network. In 2011, nearly 965,000 tourists visited Mauritius, representing an increase of 3.2% over the previous year.
Garuda renews Brisbane route
Garuda Indonesia will operate a Boeing 737-800 aircraft six times a week from Brisbane to Jakarta and Denpasar (Bali), starting next August. While a New Zealand connection is not mentioned. Garuda and Auckland Airport have agreed on renewed service sometime next year.
The airline serves three Australian ports – Melbourne, Sydney and Perth – and last flew to Brisbane five years ago. Passenger numbers between Australia and Indonesia were up 20% in the first half of 2012.
Garuda Indonesia president and chief executive Emirsyah Satar flagged further increases in its domestic and international network in the period ahead, given the airline was expected to add 24 new aircraft to its fleet in 2013.
Air New Zealand has resumed its Bali service earlier this year while Jetstar and Virgin Australia also fly between Brisbane and Denpasar.
Hot spot a top Christmas destination
Australian travellers are not being put off by conflict between Israel and Gaza – travel site ZUJI.com.au says Christmas bookings to Tel Aviv are up 30% on last year. Tel Aviv is the closest airport to Jerusalem as well as Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ and now in the borders of Palestinian Authority, which is at peace with Israel.
ZUJI also says more Australians are opting to spend Christmas in Europe compared with last year, with bookings spiking by 69%. "The strong Australian dollar has once again paid dividends for travellers to Europe. In fact, London is the fastest growing destination for ZUJI.com.au customers, up 100% year on year," says Asia Pacific managing director James Gaskell.
This year's most popular New Year's Eve spots are London, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Paris and Hong Kong. Shanghai and Paris are by far the biggest gainers on last year with 80% and 55% growth respectively.
Emirates opts for Windows 8 tablets
Bucking a trend of airlines to use iPads for inflight entertainmernt options and other uses, Emirates, will soon be handing out the yet-to-launch HP ElitePad 900 Windows 8 tablets to its flight crews.
The tablet will run a version of Emirates’ Knowledge Driven Inflight Service business app, the company’s in-flight communication and customer relationship management software that it has been using for the last eight years.
The app allows staff to quickly learn about passenger preferences and needs, and can also be used to conduct in-flight upgrades to business class or first class for members of Skywards, Emirates’ frequent flyer programme.
For the technically minded, the business-oriented ElitePad 900 features a 10.1in display with a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, 2 GB RAM, 32/64 GB SSD, a microSD slot, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, a front-facing camera, a Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity option and 802.11 Wi-Fi.
Waitomo motelier wins world award
Barry Woods’ Woodlyn Park motel at Waitomo took his black singlet and gumboots to Paris this month and came away with a top international accolade for his unique Waitomo motel business.
Situated near Waitamo Caves, Woodlyn Park was voted Most Innovative Hotel Concept at the 2012 Worldwide Hospitality Awards in Paris. It scooped 72% of the votes, the greatest margin seen in the history of the awards.
Woodlyn Park’s point of difference is its accommodation – two units are in a Bristol Freighter aircraft, one is in a 1918 train, five are in a World War II Patrol Boat and units are Hobbit motels. It also features Billy Black's Kiwi Culture Show, a live show featuring the owner’s black-singleted alter ego.
The award recognises a new concept, a new service or an initiative done by an hotel group or hotel brand or an independent hotel, a new vision of comfort or a better service performance regarding general settings, space management, technology and services and covers the whole hotel or specific amenities.