The year that was, and one that most would rather forget, is finally nearing an end. So what made headlines in 2016?
The big agencies dominated news coverage this year, with plenty to talk about at Helloworld after a number of high-level executive exits were made, rather on par with CEO Andrew Burnes’ strategy. He may be on to something, with solid results posted in June and Burnes saying it was a time of “evolution” for the agency group.
Meanwhile, Flight Centre management stayed steady and it appeared happier times were part of the global giant’s future, particularly by those were lucky enough to score a ticket to Global in Singapore which was heralded by many as its best yet. However, despite posting a hefty profit (though lower than FY15), it ended the year on a sour note after losing its long-standing court battle with the ACCC over airfare prices dating back to 2005-2009.
On the corporate front, CTM, QBT and FCm all ticked along well, while the cruise industry was a big winner for many agencies, despite cruise lines continuing to argue about the lack of infrastructure holding it back.
Ovation of the Seas, the largest ship to be stationed in Australia arrived down under amid fanfare this week. It will shake up the scene as it pushed Carnival off its perch – with Royal Caribbean taking the crown as the cruise line with the most to offer for Aussie clients, with more ships here than any other line.
Meanwhile, river and expedition cruising received a push upstream with announcements of new innovations, vessels and fancy new toys expected to line the waterways in a couple of years.
For the airlines, Chinese carriers dominated headlines, and for a while it seemed like a new carrier we’d never heard of from some small province in China commenced services to Australia each week. Tourism Australia, hotels and every inbound operator were expectantly pleased with what was happening in the Australian skies.
Top destinations shifted slightly, with Cuba and Sri Lanka continuing to climb higher on everyone’s bucket list, while regular favourites like Bali, Thailand, the US and Canada all did well out of the Aussie market. The UK endured Brexit, but tourists rejoiced in the aftermath on the back of the cheaper pound, making travel (and shopping) much more attractive than in recent years.
Closer to home, Travel Weekly knocked out some pretty fantastic events (if we do say so ourselves). The second Travel DAZE drew a record crowd – and featured a keynote from the Tourism Minister in what unfortunately ended up being one of his last public appearances.
The sold-out inaugural Women in Travel Awards (WIT) was another highlight, shining the spotlight on the talent that makes up some 70% of the travel industry. Former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally delivered a riveting keynote at WIT which continues to dominate office chatter and email banter as the year winds up.
Which leads to this year’s biggest upset, which while not a local one, nor directly travel related, had to be the US Presidential election result. While a sense of foreboding has already sunk in for the January inauguration, all are waiting with bated breath on the outcome of ‘Trumpageddon’ and its affect on the travel and tourism industries here, and abroad. Politics aside, Travel Weekly staff are always open to free hotel nights, even if it’s for stays at Trump Hotels.
So there it is, the travel industry in 2016 in a nutshell. I’m sure we’ve missed some key events that directly impacted your business, so feel free to share those in the comments section below.
And to close, what made the top stories for the January to December 2016 period? Here’s our list, and while you’re enjoying the trip down memory lane, we’ll wish you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Now, we’re off to the pub, and then on to many wonderful travel destinations for the break and will be back flooding your inboxes from January 9, 2017.
The Travel Weekly team
Top 10 ranking stories of 2016