SYDNEY – More Australian travel providers are widening their service offerings for visitors from China. Experience Oz (www.experienceoz.com.au) says it is the first Australian travel experience provider to launch a fully-functional Chinese-language site into which it has incorporated payment through the Chinese credit card system UnionPay. There is also Chinese-language phone support for information and booking help.
BRUSSELS – Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) can again fly in European skies, with the 28-member European Union (EU) taking the country out of its aviation safety blacklist. The decision takes effect immediately, and is expected to see an early lift in tourism numbers from Europe. These increased 10% last year despite the absence of direct flights.
AUCKLAND – From December 10, Air Tahiti Nui will add a Tuesday service to existing Thursday and Sunday flights from Auckland to Papeete, linking with codeshare connections from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The airline is refurbishing cabins in its fleet of Airbus A340-300 aircraft to provide more comfortable seating and a ne inflight entertainment system. www.airtahitinui.com.au (ATI).
SINGAPORE – Travellers on select flights between Singapore and London will be the first to experience new cabin products (First, Business and Economy) on Singapore Airlines flights from September. SIA is investing nearly US$150 million initially on eight Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, and this will be extended as new Airbus 350 aircraft on order are delivered.
KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia Airlines is adding two new destinations – Kochi (formerly Cochin) in India, and Darwin – to its network from September 1. Kochi will be serviced daily by direct flights from Kuala Lumpur, and there will be four return flights weekly between Kuala Lumpur and Darwin. MAS withdrew from the Darwin sector in 2002.
NEW DELHI – Hilton Hotels and resorts in India are offering daily rates from Rs5,500 for bookings before September 30. The special rates apply to properties in New Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai, Chennai, Vadodara, Pune, Goa and Shillim-Lonavala. Visit www.HILTONINDIA.COM (ATI).