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Australia

Australia Welcomes Tourists in Aftermath of Wildfires

Wildfires have been raging throughout Australia for several weeks now, though fortunately, they are fewer in number now as many of them were extinguished by recent storms. Unfortunately, the timing of the wildfires coincided with the country’s tourism season, meaning that tourism operators have lost a tremendous amount of money as tourists have canceled their trips due to the ongoing natural disaster. As such, tourism agencies have intensified their efforts to attract tourists to various parts of the country by showing that many areas of the country were unaffected by the fires, and retain the attractions that have drawn tremendous crowds of tourists in the past. Tourism helps to stimulate the local economy, which is essential as Australia recovers from an environmental and economic disaster. It’s most helpful to visit the areas that have been hit hardest by the fires, which include Victoria and New South Wales.

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CNN has compiled a list of the top cities to visit in Australia for 2020. At the top of their list is Canberra, the Australian capital. Canberra isn’t generally considered a top tourist destination, but the city has many local attractions that can appeal to vacationers, including the Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial, and the National Gallery. By visiting these landmark locations, tourists can learn about the history of Australia and even witness Australian politics in action at the country’s primary law-making body. The National Gallery seeks to preserve the culture and lifestyle of Australia’s indigenous people, as well as art from around the country and the world. The National Gallery hosts a number of different events throughout the year and is a great place to visit during a vacation in Australia.

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A place in Australia that is a favorite spot for relaxation among tourists is Batemans Bay in New South Wales, where visitors can enjoy the view where the Clyde River meets the sea and enjoy outdoor meals at local eateries. Batemans Bay is home to Birdland Animal Park, a nature preserve where tourists can engage with local wildlife, including baby wombats. Recently, Birdland Animal Park has seen a sharp decline in visitors, and the business is struggling in a way that it hasn’t in twenty-six years, so the park would surely appreciate an influx of tourists from around the world. The park has not seen any damage from the wildfires, though the surrounding forests have, but locals expect these forests to start to regrow within a few months.

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Those who are more interested in visiting the beach will enjoy Moruya, which is a short drive south from Batemans Bay. Here, visitors can board a seaplane with South Coast Seaplanes to view the beautiful continent from above, though these views are likely to contain dead forests blackened by wildfires. Also, visitors can fly over the nearby Montague Island and witness a fur seal colony from above.

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Thanksgiving Travel Expected To Be Highest on Record

With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner many families and friends are planning breaks away to spend time with their loved ones and airlines are anticipating record breaking levels of travel despite the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

An announcement by Airlines for America (A4A) has predicted this year’s Thanksgiving holiday to not only be the busiest time of this year but also in US commercial aviation history.

A major player in American aviation services, A4A represent the nine biggest US cargo and passenger carriers and have claimed over 3.1 million passengers will be traveling on the Sunday after the holiday meaning 1 December could be breaking records across the country.

After analysing the holiday period, A4A have claimed between 31.6 and 55 million passengers will be traveling throughout the 12 day holiday period, an increase of 2.7 per cent over the same period last year.

It is also expected load factors are to be between 79% and 91% for the period, with the official holiday break confirmed as being between Friday 22 November and Tuesday 3 December.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are expecting the busiest days for travel being Wednesday 27 November and Sunday 1 December, with the actual Thanksgiving Day being the quietest time to travel. In fact in order to reduce security line times various U.S. airlines have increased their offerings with a further 850 flights – or 108,000 seats – added to the schedules each day.

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These increases have been predicted despite daily airline departures still being reduced significantly due to the grounding of the 737 Max in March this year following two fatal accidents. Currently 76 new aircraft have not been delivered as expected while 72 planes are still grounded meaning all airlines have had to put together new plans to keep up with demand, including retirements being delayed, holidays being postponed, schedules being restructured and maintenance being carried out where required.

John Heimlich, Vice President and Chief Economist of Airlines for America states, ‘airlines had to take greater measures to offset the Max issues.’

November and December are the busiest periods in the travel calendar however this year the daily departures are currently estimated to have a net reduction of 417 for November and 426 for December, which are higher than average. This is despite the increase over the holiday periods.

Clearly all airlines are keen to have the planes returning to active service with Mr Heimlich commenting on the long term effects the industry could suffer once they are in back in service:

‘It’s unlikely that the manufacturer will be able to deliver all those planes on day one. It will be phased in, and even at the airlines which have already taken delivery of Max aircraft, it will take some time to work them back in to the schedule. The market knows this is coming.’

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The additional aircraft, and therefore extra flights, will be in demand during 2020. Currently the U.S. has a strong economy thanks in part to the constant growth in employment leading to more disposable income. Add to this the consistently low fares as well as consumer confidence at an all time high and the continuing increases in gross domestic product.

According to Boeing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are expected to award certification within the next 6 weeks, however this does not mean there is a specific date for the aircraft to return to our skies.

A4A recently published their industry review and have stated that around $18.1 billion was spent upgrading the metal for all the fleet renewal, satisfying demand, however if the Max had not been grounded the investment would have been nearer $19 billion. According to Heimlich that extra billion dollars should be deferred to the 2020 budge.

Domestic travel has continued to grow throughout the United States with passenger traffic in the first nine months of 2019 seeing an increase of 4 per cent compared to the same period in 2018. An average of 26,100 flights took off from U.S. airports each day via both American and foreign airlines, an increase of 2.7% from last year. The number of seats filled also increased with an extra 3.16 million sold, an increase of 3.5%.

If this has put you off the idea of flying home for the holidays you could drive, however the roads are expected to see around 49.3 million travellers heading to their families. These figures are a 2.8% increase on last year and the largest figures since 2005.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts a peak of traffic on Wednesday as most travelers try to beat the holiday rush. Yet mixed with the every day commuters trips can be expected to take up to four times as long, so make sure you pack enough supplies to keep you fed and watered.