Celebrating Procurement Excellence

APX Travel Management is proud to support the New Zealand Procurement Excellence Awards as sponsor of the Supreme Winner title in 2016.

The augural event was held on 19 May, and we were delighted to congratulate the Collaborative Procurement Banking Team (NZ Government) who received the Supreme Winner award.

Our congratulations to all of the 2016 nominees and category winners:

• Sara Hay, General Manager Procurement, Auckland Council: Procurement Leader of the Year
• Emma Hillman, Senior Procurement Analyst, New Zealand Government Procurement: Young Procurement Professional of the Year
• Collaborative Procurement Banking Team, New Zealand Government Procurement: Procurement Team of the Year
• Air New Zealand Procurement: Successful Procurement Change.

Hong Kong Airlines to Fly Daily to Auckland

Hong Kong Airlines has announced plans to launch a daily direct service to Auckland on 10 November, onboard an Airbus A332. The aircraft will carry up to 283 passengers with 24 business class seats.

The airline believes the new route will attract travellers from across Asia, due to Hong Kong's strength as an international hub.

For Kiwi business travellers, the morning flight departing Auckland daily at 9.30am will provide another gateway to lucrative markets in Asia.

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Changes to Air New Zealand's Regional Routes

Air New Zealand this month released changes to a number of its regional routes as a result of bringing on board larger aircraft. The airline says these changes are designed to improve connectivity and schedule consistency across its domestic operation.

The most significant gains are for the Auckland-Dunedin and Wellington-Queenstown non-stop routes which will now be operated by Airbus A320s. 

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Sofitel Hotel to Open in Wellington

The much-anticipated Sofitel Wellington is set to open in July located on Bolton Street between the Beehive and Botanical Gardens.

This $51 million development is New Zealand's third luxury Sofitel Hotel and will feature 129 plush rooms complete with rain showers, complimentary WIFI for multiple devices and Smart TVs with Bluetooth. The hotel will also feature a gym, meeting and event venues with state of the art technology, a restaurant featuring French cuisine and a beautifully designed bar.

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Australian Airports to Open Premium Border Clearance

The Australian Government has unveiled plans to open a new premium border clearance option at Sydney, Perth and Melbourne airports. This premium border clearance, which is designed to offer travellers the option to avoid lengthy waits in queues, will be available on a user-pay basis. Travellers using this service would not be exempt from customs, immigration, biosecurity or aviation security screening – but would simply be processed more quickly.

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Etihad Opens New Lounge in Melbourne

Etihad has opened its new Premium Lounge at Melbourne Airport which is now the airline's largest outside of Abu Dhabi. Designed to seat up to 133 guests, features include floor-to-ceiling windows with runway views, a showcase bar with a bespoke cocktail menu, shower facilities, a children's playroom and a luggage room.

The lounge is designed for the airline's first and business class guests, as well as members of the Etihad Guest loyalty program, Gold and Platinum members of Virgin Australia's Velocity Gold and members of The Club.

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Reminder – Canada Electronic Travel Authorisation

A reminder that Canada has introduced a new entry requirement known as an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) for visa-exempt foreign nationals arriving by air, which includes New Zealanders and Australians.

Travellers can apply online and are required to have an eTA before they board a flight to Canada (a grace period is in place until 29 September 2016). Before entering Canada, the applicant will be required to submit his or her biographic, passport and background information, in addition to a processing fee of $7 CAD.

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Hotels in China to Add VAT

The Chinese government has broadened the scope of its VAT programme to include the "lifestyle services sector" which includes the hotel industry.

Effective 1 May 2016, travellers visiting China should expect to be charged 6% VAT on their accommodation room rate. When settling the bill, travellers and their companies should be aware that different VAT rates may apply to different services or goods provided by hotels.

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Uber Welcomed to Sydney Airport

Following increasing demand, Sydney Airport has announced plans to open a dedicated pick-up zone for ride sharing services such as Uber from 19 July. Drivers will be charged $4 for 15 minutes to access the space.

This 'shared priority pick up zone' will be located opposite the T2 and T3 domestic terminals. At the same time, the free passenger pick-up area will be relocated to the P3 undercover multi-storey car park.

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APX Blog | 5 Mistakes of First-Time Business Travellers

Business travel can at times be a stressful experience. With the potential for traffic on the way to the airport, flight delays, long queues, the quirks of air travel and then arriving in an unfamiliar destination, there are many opportunities for a business trip to cause headaches.

But there are also some travel hacks that can transform your experience. Here are 5 common mistakes first-time business travellers make, with our tips for seamless travel.

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