Gold Coast Skyline Surfers Paradise

Record number of Aussies holidaying on the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast has once again proven it’s the nation’s premier holiday hotspot, with a record number of Aussies flocking to the city for a mini getaway.

The National Visitor Survey figures released today show domestic overnight visitation grew by 17 per cent to a record 4 million, in the 12 months to March 2019.

In a big coup for the city, the Gold Coast also outperformed Australia AND Queensland’s growth in both spend, visitation and visitor nights.

Overnight expenditure topped $3.6 billion, growing by a massive 22.6 per cent, while a record 8 million day-trippers spent more than $803 million, up 27 per cent for the year.

Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista said visitors that had delayed their holidays in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games a year ago, had returned in great numbers.

“We had a quieter March quarter in 2018, so it’s thoroughly encouraging to see overnight visitors inspired to take winter breaks in our slice of paradise last year,” Ms Battista said.

“Coupled with the return of Brisbane locals and a solid bumper summer period, it’s clear expenditure was driven by the robust increase of 22.4 per cent in visitor nights to a staggering 15.8 million.”

Whilst majority of overnight visitors were holidaymakers, Destination Gold Coast says 564,000 business travellers also converged on the holiday hotspot.

Qantas plane (new logo)

More seats, lower fees as Qantas overhauls Frequent Flyer program

Qantas has announced a massive overhaul of its Frequent Flyer program making it easier to snare a seat using points.

The Flying Kangaroo will open up an extra million rewards seats after years of complaints from frustrated customers that it was too hard to redeem points for flights, especially on popular routes.

The extra fees you need to pay when booking a flight with points are also being cut by up to 50 per cent.

For example, charges for a Business Class return Classic Reward flight from Sydney or Melbourne to London will be cut from $1080 to $700, while fees for a return economy flight from Sydney to New York will be cut from $360 to just $180.

“We know the majority of our members want to use their points to take a dream trip overseas, so we are adding more reward seats including First, Business and Premium Economy, to places like London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Singapore as well as slashing carrier charges,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.

Reward seats will also be available on even more of Qantas’ partner airlines, including Air New Zealand, China Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

More seats will also be made available during peak travel times, including Easter and Christmas.

However the number of points needed to book a seat in Premium Economy, Business or First Class will be increased.

“While the points required for business class seats on international and domestic flights will increase slightly, it is the first increase in 15 years and the product has improved a lot in that time,” Mr Joyce said.

Qantas is also introducing a new ‘Points Club’ for those who earn plenty of points by ways other than flying.

Those Frequent Flyer members who don’t fly that much will be able to unlock access to Qantas lounges and bonus status credits.

Qantas Dreamliner

New international flights from Brisbane promise economic benefit

Qantas has announced two new direct flights, to help bring tourists direct to the sunshine state, and boom our tourism industry.

The Australian airline will start non-stop flights from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco from April next year, under a deal secured by the Palaszczuk Government.

The flights between Brisbane and Chicago will operate four times a week, while the San Francisco service will operate three times a week.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says between the two new routes, more than $150 million will be pumped into the Queensland economy over the next three years.

“As the world’s largest economy, the United States offers enormous potential for inbound tourism to Queensland.

“The launch of flights to San Francisco, and for the first time in the Qantas network Chicago, represents a great opportunity for Queensland, one that is forecast to support more than 1,700 jobs over the next three years,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the launch of 787 flights from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco would be a win for customers and tourism.

“This is fantastic news for Queensland. It demonstrates the confidence that we have in the local tourism industry and our commitment to the Sunshine State.

“This will give Qantas and American Airlines customers unprecedented access. These flights will make it one stop from Chicago to Hamilton Island or San Francisco to Townsville.

“These new services will connect both Australian business travellers and holidaymakers with key centres of commerce, industry and culture in the United States,” Mr Joyce said.

Little Camper Co

Gold Coast’s ‘LittleCamperCo’ will make our weekend-away dreams come true

We’re all dying for an epic weekend away, but it only takes a couple of expenses to deter us immediately: transport, accommodation… yeah I’m out.

Anyone heard of the ‘van-life’ craze? It’s growing rapidly in popularity – particularly here on the Gold Coast.

Because, I mean, we already live on the beach – and it’s a really good one. Our east coast boasts some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world!

But the beauty stretches far beyond the Gold Coast, just teasing for weekend getaways and quick expeditions.

We’ll head west, north, and south in search of a good adventure, because we’re Aussies, it’s just how we get down.

And if you’re not Aussie, no doubt, you traveled here: Kiwis, brits, canadians, BRAZILIANS, so we know you all like moving around too.

ENTER the best way to get up and down the coast, inland and beyond: LittleCamperCo.

Little Camper Co

PHOTO: Little Camper Co.

Long (and hilarious) story short, two Irish blokes Kev and Stevie did the Aussie travel leg work years ago, and were literally shocked more Australians didn’t get out in their own backyard (me included).

But when they found out an interstate holiday could sometimes wrack up the same amount of fees as an international one… they put two and two together.

Little Camper Co, is a Gold Coast based company made for travellers, by travellers, which boasts cosy, custom-built vans to create a little luxury abode on wheels.

Little Camper Co

PHOTO: Little Camper Co.

For just $69 a night (no, that’s not a joke, also no hidden fees), locals can take the comforts of home on the road with them. So that’s accommodation and transport costs sorted.

Their environmentally friendly solar system can power you from sandy beaches, to lush rainforests, all along the road less traveled where other vehicles can’t (sorry power dependent camper vans).

Little Camper Co

PHOTO: Little Camper Co.

The best part is that because it’s a local service… set up by local guys… who’ve seen a lot of this great nation, they can offer expert assistance and planning for a ripper getaway.

Us Gold Coasters are all about local, and all about travel, and they’ve rapped it up in custom-made, cute as heck, decked out insta-worthy (parking sensors included, thank gosh) van!

One last thing… they’ve got a great (if not slightly British) saying: “Save a quid and get off the grid”. And we’re all about it.

When can we GO!? – book here, but don’t book before me, thanks:

NASA to launch rockets from Australia in world-first deal

NASA will launch rockets into space from Australia next year after signing a world-first deal with an Aussie startup.

The world’s biggest space agency will work with Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) to send sounding rockets into space from the Arnhem Space Centre in the Northern Territory, 700km east of Darwin, in 2020.

The Australian spaceport will become the first privately-owned site outside the United States to launch NASA rockets.

Equatorial Launch Australia chief executive Carley Scott said Friday’s announcement was the “single most important event to date” in putting the Australian space industry on the global map.

“This will open the doors to growth and job opportunities in the Australian space industry,” Ms Scott said.

“NASA has not launched from a non-government launch site anywhere else in the world and the decision by NASA to partner with ELA firmly embeds Australia as a serious part of the global space sector.

“It’s exciting to be pioneering the development of commercial space launch services in Australia.

“It’s even more rewarding to be doing it with one of the world’s leading space agency and one synonymous with cutting-edge space exploration.”

It’s understood the US space agency plans to launch four sounding rockets from the Northern Territory site in 2020.

The rockets stand about 15 metres high and are used for engineering tests, scientific research, and collecting data from suborbital space.

Ms Scott said NASA’s choice to launch in Australia was a testament to the growing capacity of the Arnhem Space Centre.

The southern hemisphere spaceport is remote and close to the equator, allowing for more frequent launches in more directions.

“There is huge demand globally for commercial space launch sites and we have developed a spaceport with arguably the world’s best launching conditions, near the equator in the Northern Territory,” Ms Scott said.

“What this means is that we don’t think NASA will be the only organisation lining up to launch from our site and that this is just the beginning of a truly exciting industry getting off the ground here in Australia.

“Government can now look to increase investment in commercial launches, and the Australian space sector more broadly.

“The attraction of NASA by ELA is a significant indicator that Australia is ready to play an increasing role in a large global market.

“It means that the Australian Space Agency’s goal of 20,000 additional jobs and tripling the size of its industry to $12 billion is increasingly achievable.”

The global space sector is estimated to be worth more than $1 trillion by 2040.