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VA introduces new mix of ‘edutainment’

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Virgin Australia introduces new mix of ‘edutainment’

Virgin has partnered with online higher education specialist Open Universities Australia (OUA) to offer free in-flight courses. Passengers can study in the air with content provided by OUA’s free online course provider, Open2Study. Guests will be able to undertake a mix of business and lifestyle-related courses through Virgin’s in-flight entertainment system, with the following courses available:

  • Financial Planning (February 2016)
  • Food, Nutrition and Your Health (available March 2016)
  • Introduction to Business in Asia (available April 2016)

The courses are made up of four modules, with the duration of each module being about one hour.

The introduction of free courses on Virgin services reflects the growing interest in educational entertainment, also known as ‘edutainment’.

Healthy report for global business travel

A survey conducted by The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation shows that since 2012, global business travel has been slowly rising each year. The increase in business travel expenditure continued to gain momentum in 2015. Growth of 7.1% is expected in 2016, 6.9% in 2017 and 6.4% in 2018, according to GBTA. The report also indicates that global economic growth is anticipated to be driven by the expansion of emerging markets, with the gap between emerging and advanced economies continuing to narrow. The report also highlighted India for its spend in the education sector, which is predicted to grow by an estimated 16.4% between 2014 – 2018.

A collaboration of great minds

Workshop sessions, robust discussions and sharing of ideas on best practice were all highlights of the annual Campus Travel University Think Tank which was held in December. Campus Travel hosted guests from 10 of Australia's top universities, as well as industry speakers and colleagues from Campus Travel USA, at Spicers Hidden Vale in Queensland for two solid days of activities. The event’s agenda focused on the payment solution revolution and its ability to improve the quality of data available to university travel managers. The message was that innovative payment solutions can significantly impact university travel programs, and assist with policy compliance, vendor negotiations and traveller security. Industry innovations such as centralised billing credit cards, virtual cards, automated reporting and reconciliation, customised reporting and data solutions, are all set to revolutionise the travel management process.

Think Tank attendees enjoyed a range of informative and thought provoking presentations from Campus Travel’s parent company Flight Centre Travel Group and external speakers. The keynote address was presented by Cindy Shumate from Princeton University, while other guest speakers included John Simeone - Qantas Airways, Dr Tony Peacock - Cooperative Research Centres Association, Darren Blair - Mastercard, Timothy Daniel - International SOS and Juliana Tiong - Victoria University.

The event is always a great collaboration of academic and industry minds and Campus Travel looks forward to the next installment of Think Tank!

Universities play key role in our future

International evidence demonstrates that strong university sectors are associated with stronger economies and higher standards of living. This and many other insights into the tertiary sector were revealed in a report prepared for Universities Australia by Deloitte Access Economics. The report examines the importance of universities to Australia's prosperity and examines how universities equip students with the knowledge and skills to make a greater contributions to society, and generate and disseminate knowledge to enhance productivity and living standards.

A snapshot of statistics from the report include -

  • Australia’s university sector directly employs over 120,000 staff and helps educate over one million students.
  • The sector contributed around $25 billion to the Australian economy both directly and indirectly in 2013.
  • In 2014–15, education related exports accounted for 5.7% of Australia’s total exports, representing the largest service export – with higher education being the single biggest contributor to this.
  • The value that university education adds to the productive capacity of the nation is estimated at $140 billion in GDP in 2014.
  • It has been estimated that the existing stock of all knowledge generated by university research is estimated to account for almost $160 billion in 2014.

The report concludes that the continued growth of living standards in Australia will rely almost exclusively on higher levels of productivity and the university sector stands to be at the forefront of this challenge.

Reasons for students to get outside

A UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) initiative based on the theme ‘teaching and learning for a sustainable future’ has highlighted the value of learning outside of the classroom. This includes benefits derived from even short trips within the local community, as well as visits to farms, factories, offices, science centres and natural settings such as a forest, a beach or a national park.

Providing students with high quality learning activities in relevant situations beyond the walls of the classroom is vital for helping students appreciate their world from a variety of different perspectives. Experiences outside the classroom also enhance learning by providing students with opportunities to practice skills of enquiry, values analysis and clarification and problem solving in everyday situations.

Learning outside the classroom can be integrated into the school curriculum across a range of subjects including social studies, geography, science, languages, the arts, mathematics and business and commerce.

While schools need to overcome the organisational and logistic issues around taking children out, research indicates that meaningful and lasting learning takes place when students actively explore a variety of environments outside the classroom. Learning outside the classroom also provides opportunities for teachers and students to get to know each other better by interacting outside the structures of the classroom and school grounds.

Book a group and receive bonus travel credit!

To further support all learning and research organisations working to positively change the world with academic travel, Campus Travel has a generous group travel offer available. If you’re in the process of booking a group trip we’re offering clients travel credit of up to $2000.

Spend $20,000 or more and receive $1000 bonus travel credit
Spend $30,000 or more and receive $1500 bonus travel credit
Spend $40,000 or more and receive $2000 bonus travel credit

Academic organisations will receive a travel voucher that can be spent on future international or domestic flights booked through Campus Travel. The offer is available to May 31, 2016 for travel up until December 31, 2016.

» Click here for full details.

General Travel News

USA Visa Waiver Update

Important changes to the US Visa Waiver Program were introduced in December 2015. This affects dual citizens of, Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, as well as people who have visited any of these countries since 1 March 2011.

Two specific changes in the new legislation are most important.

  • Customers with certain dual citizenship

    Customers travelling to the USA who are citizens of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and who are also citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, cannot enter the country under the VWP. They must obtain a visitor visa. This applies to an Australian citizen, travelling on an Australian passport who is normally eligible for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) but who holds this dual citizenship.

  • Customers who have visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria since 1 March 2011

    The second ruling restricts entry to the USA by people (of any nationality) who have visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria since 01 March 2011. These people, even if from a VWP country, will also require a visitor visa.

» Please read the full details here.

Canada announces eTA changes from March 2016

Canada will introduce an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) from 15 March 2016. Under the new program, citizens from countries other than the United States who do not need a visa to enter Canada, will need to obtain an online authorisation before entering the country by air (unless otherwise exempted). The eTA is required only for those entering Canada by air and a fee of CAD$7 is payable. The eTA is not a visa and people who require a visa to enter Canada will still need to apply for the appropriate entry visa. This new entry requirement is not mandatory until 15 March 2016 however, eligible travellers can go online now and apply for their eTA.

» Click here for full details and an FAQ

Fewer points for QFFF rewards

Good news for travellers as Qantas announces further changes to its Frequent Flyer rewards scheme. Travellers will now require less Qantas Points for select International Economy Classic Flight Rewards on Qantas services as well as those offered by some partner airlines, including Emirates, American Airlines, and Fiji Airways.

Singapore Airlines premium economy Melbourne-bound

Travellers heading to Melbourne can now enjoy Singapore Airlines’ premium economy class cabin offering. The development comes as the carrier plans to operate an A380 three times a week on the route between from 24 June and 3 September 2016, as part of a seasonal capacity increase.

Sofitel expands in China and South East Asia

Asia will soon boast two new Sofitel-branded hotels. The 222-room Sofitel Singapore City Centre at Tanjong Pagar Centre will be located between Chinatown and the CBD, while the 312-room Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara will be in Damansara City. Both are scheduled to open later this year as part of mixed-use developments. Meanwhile AccorHotels has opened its first property in Kunming, China. Located in the city’s CBD, the 440-room Sofitel Kunming features a choice of dining venues and bars, a fitness centre, sauna and swimming pool as well as a range of meeting and event spaces catering for up to 800 guests.

Emirates boosts LAX & Amsterdam

Starting on 1 February Emirates will operate a second A380 service on its Dubai-Amsterdam route. The upgauge of aircraft from the existing B777-300ER on flights EK149/150 will boost capacity on the route. The carrier is also planning to double capacity on its Dubai-Los Angeles route by adding a new second daily A380 service from 1 July. Meanwhile capacity on its Dubai-Dallas/Fort Worth route is being downgraded with the current A380 being switched out for a B777-300ER from 1 February.

Shanghai airport expansion

Construction has started on the next phase of Shanghai Pudong Airport’s expansion. The new satellite terminal, which includes two linked halls, will share departures, arrivals and transfers with the two existing terminals, adding significantly to the airport’s capacity. The expansion project is due for completion in 2019.

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