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HOT Vietnam famil

Active Asia in conjunction with Singapore Airlines organised and escorted a famil to Vietnam for 10 House of Travel agents.

The participants dined at Raffles Hotel in Singapore on the outward journey before embarking an a cultural and historical adventure of Vietnam. Highlights included a visit to Tra Que farming village, a cooking class, cyclo ride, exploring the Cu Chi tunnels and a Bonsai dinner cruise and culture show in Saigon.

The cast of HOT at the ancient 4th century ruins of My Son - Fiona Burns, Belinda Fifield, Jonathan Prager, Rosa Tate, Claire Murray, Sarah O’Callaghan, Nicky Hendon, Kaye Clements – Active Asia Escort, Lyn Rapley SQ Escort, Joanne Raven, Angela Groenendijk and Steve Wilson
In Hoi An is Angela Groenendijk, Broadway Palmerston North; Fiona Burns, Nelson; Jonathan Prager, Rangiroa; Sarah O’Callaghan, Ferrymead; Claire Murray, Shirley; Nicky Henden, Albany; Belinda Fifield, On Victoria; Joanne Raven, New Lynn; Kaye Clements, AA Escort; Lyn Rapley, SQ Escort; Steven Wilson, Orbit Hamilton; Lynn Meechan, AA groups and Rosa Tate, Blenheim The group at Tra Que Herb Village, Hoi An

Clair Murray, HOT Shirley gets in with the locals at the herb gardens in Hoi An Belinda Fifeld, HOT Christchurch settles in for a cyclo tour Ho Chi Minh City

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CroisiEurope’s Mekong Cruise

Recently returned from CroisiEurope’s 11 day Mekong Cruise, Innovative Travel’s Michelle Baldwin points out what made it special

'Starting out in Siem Reap, we visited the renowned Angkor Wat temples, before boarding the RV Indochine for eight nights. The cabins were spacious with plenty of room to pack away all belongings. The buffet breakfasts, lunches and a la carte dinners were fabulous and the crew and staff were friendly and welcoming. I found the itinerary well balanced with cruising early morning or afternoon, daily excursions and time to relax on board and take in the scenery of river life.'

All CroisiEurope’s cruises are bilingual French & English and on this cruise we had 25 French and four English speakers and we moored within  walking distance to Ho Chi Minh city, which is where our cruise came to an end.

CroisiEurope’s Mekong Cruise is priced from $3050pp twin, seasonal surcharges apply and EBD's may be available - contact Innovative Travel on 0508 100 111

Michelle Baldwin at Angkor Wat
Spacious cabins

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Brilliant Blend in South Australia

The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) in conjunction with Air New Zealand hosted ten SA Expert travel agents on a Brilliant Blend Weekend to the Clare Valley wine region recently.

Designed to thank the agents for their hard work selling South Australia, the SA Experts stopped off at the Flinders Ranges, a region known for its historic villages and wineries.

Weekend highlights included cycling a section of the Riesling Trail, wine tastings at Skillogalee Cellar Door & Restaurant, wine tasting at Pikes and the Little Red Grape, and enjoying all things olive at Evilo Estate Olive Oils.

 The SATC’s SA Experts programme is designed to reward agents who pro-actively sell Adelaide and South Australia. Benefits of becoming a qualified SA Expert include: priority placement on famils to Adelaide and South Australia, promotion via the SATC’s consumer website and e-newsletter, plus customer referrals from the SATC office and web site.

Jane Wilson, regional manager, SATC, says they have been working closely with the South Australian Expert agents over the past eight months since the launch of an online itinerary planning tool on www.southaustralia.co.nz. 'The itinerary planning tool feeds interested consumers and bookings directly through to these agents. We welcome new retail travel agents to the programme in time for our campaign launch in early 2014.'

 

At Hentley Farm Winery; back: Tim Dunnill, Harvey World Travel, Richmond; Donna Levick, Harvey World Travel, Howick; Jane Wilson, SATC; Stacey Cant, SATC; Charmaine Templer, Tawa Travel, Wellington. Front left: Marcia Heathcote, World Travellers, Napier; Jodie McSkimming, Flight Centre, Dunedin; Kiri Hill, Mondo Travel, Hamilton; Belinda Sixtus, House of Travel, Kapiti; Mandy Veale, Mondo Travel; Jude Dodunski, Mondo Travel, Tauranga; Jess Carman, House of Travel, Masterton

The group at Pikes Cellar Door, Clare Valley... The team at Thorn Park by the Vines, Clare Valley
Jess Carman, House of Travel, Masterton and Jodie McSkimming, Flight Centre Dunedin share a joke and a tipple with Tim Dunnill, Harvey World Travel, Richmond at Thorn Park By the Vines
Getting involved in a cooking class at Thorn Park By the Vines All wine tastings are appreciated by the Mondo team of Kiri Hill, Mandy Veale and Jude Dodunski

<< Cycling the Reisling Trail is Mandy Veale, Mondo Head Office; Marcia Heathcote; World Travellers, Napier; Kiri Hill, Mondo Travel, Hamilton; Belinda Sixtus, Jodie McSkimming, Flight Centre Dunedin; Jude Dodunski, Mondo Travel, Tauranga

 

>>Team Mondo at the Barossa Farmers Market: Jude Dodunski, Mandy Veale and Kiri Hill

<<Cheers from Jodie McSkimming, Flight Centre Dunedin and Tim Dunnill, Harvey World Travel, Richmond at Thorn Park By the Vines

 

>>Food experiences galore at the Hentley Farm Winery, Barossa

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Australia's wine capital explored

Conference, incentive and convention organisers from New Zealand, South East Asia and interstate Australia are experiencing regional familiarisation tours across South Australia, during the Destination South Australia business exchange happening now. The majority of New Zealand guests were part of the incentive pocket of visitors who were treated to the culinary and wine delights of Australia's most famous wine region, the Barossa Valley. The McLaren Vale tour took in a cooking class at Chapel Hill and hand feeding wallabies while Adelaide Hills also encapsulated South Australia's passion for fine food and world class wine.

The famous Adelaide Central Market Tours, almost 150 years old and the most visited place in South Australia. Pictured are: Dan Porter, Adelaide Convention Bureau; Charlen Hughes, BT Financial Group; Jennie Burt, The Travel Brokers; Sarah Holbrook, NZ Conference Connexions; Mark Gleeson, Adelaide Central Market Tours; Heather Shaw, The Events Group The Smelly Cheese Shop is one of around 100 stalls at the Central Markets First night's dinner was teppenyaki at Shiki Restaurant, InterContinental Adelaide

One highlight for the Barossa group was a cooking lesson with Saskia Beer, daughter of Maggie Beer, Australia's 'mother of cooking'. Before they could enjoy her spread, they were tasked with sourcing fresh produce and ingredients from the Barossa Valley Farmers Market (held every Saturday), and were each given a DSLR camera from Georgia Felt of Zoom Photographer Tours, which they could use to capture their own personal snaps, taking the memory card home. See more on Zoom Photography tours in August/September issue of TRAVELinc.

International business in to South Australia is up 10% on last year, according to Martin Radcliffe, sales and marketing manager with Adelaide Convention bureau. 'We're also seeing more incentives out of New Zealand, which is why a lot of the Kiwis here are enjoying the incentive orientated famil around the Barossa.'

Sourcing their fresh ingredients for Saskia's entree: Lyndon Yeo, Intermedia Global; Anthea Somerville, Qantas; Sarah Holbrook, NZ Conference Connexions and Charlen Hughes, BT Financial Group
Barossa Valley Farmers Market - Jennie Burt, The Travel Brokers captures a shot of a local store holder Jennie Burt, The Travel Brokers and Suz Baker, Eventionz are responsible for collecting ingredients for main course, cooked by Saskia Beer later that day
The cooking demonstration kitchen at Maggie Beer's Farm Shop DSA delegates snap away at Saskia's final result Saskia Beer, daughter of Australia's 'Mother of cooking', Maggie Beer
Lunch is served. Clockwise from left: Anthea Somerville, Qantas; Suz Baker, Eventions, Penny Lion, Business Events Australia; Heather Shaw, The Events Group; Sarah Holbrook, NZ Conference Connexions and Jennie Burt, The Travel Brokers Charlen Hughes of BT Financial Group enjoys a sensory experience at Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre

View from the 15th floor of InterContinental - the new Riverbank footbridge will connect the Adelaide Convention Centre and Adelaide Railway Station with the Adelaide Oval (also under development), making a much more interconnectable transition between the Oval, public transport and hotels on North Terrace

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Western Australia (and beyond) by rail, foot and road

A journey on the Indian Pacific between Perth and Sydney is one of the major focal points of an early August travel agents' familiarisation tour out of New Zealand. However, the agents got around by various other means as well - including an airport transfer in Perth by Limousines Australia, a trip to Fremantle with Australian Pinnacle Tours, and an exploration of Perth's central business district with Two Feet & a Heartbeat.

We’re heading across Australia, at the Perth station with the Indian pacific locomotive – Kevin Poit, House of Travel Barrington; Carmel Tocker, House of Travel Richmond; Sharlene Benson-Thompson, itn Tawa Travel; Kelly Gainsford, House of Travel Merivale; Dave Atherton, Great Southern Rail; Sue Hamond, the Travel Brokers Geraldine; Emma Cracroft-Wilson, Flight Centre Greymouth; Samara Liyanage, Flight Centre Mt Eden; Dayan Muntz, House of Travel Barrington Dave Atherton, Great Southern rail, with the Indian Pacific train in Cook

Checking out the Red Class seats in the Indian Pacific – Noeline Walsh, Skytrain Lion World Travels; and Samara Liyanage, Flight Centre Mt Eden.

Not the best destination marketing campaign and it didn’t work. Cook’s Bishop Kirkby Memorial Hospital closed in the 1990s. Once a thriving community of about 200, Cook now has a population of five.

In the now (virtually abandoned) township of Cook – Dayan Muntz, House of Travel Barrington; Louise Frend, Tourism Western Australia; Noeline Walsh, Skytrain Lion World Travel; Kelly Gainsford, House of Travel Merivale; Emma Cracroft-Wilson

Big wheels keep on turning… Sharlene Benson-Thompson, itn Tawa; and Dayan Muntz, House of Travel Barrington; try the wheel of a dump truck on for size at the Prospectors’ and Miners’ Hall of Fame, Kalgoorlie

Left: Catching up in the Outback Explorer Lounge of the Indian Pacific train – Dayan Muntz, House of Travel Barrington; and Lisa Linn, Rail Plus

Right: Breakfast at Central Market Adelaide… Emma Cracroft-Wilson, Flight Centre Greymouth; Kelly Gaisnford, House of Travel Merivale; Dayan Muntz, House of Travel Barrington

Left: Enjoying Adelaide Central Market during one of the two available offtrain excursions in Adelaide are Samara Liyanage, Flight Centre Mt Eden and Louise Frend, Tourism Western Australia; with Mark Leeson of Central Market Tours

Right: Kevin Poit, House of Travel Shirley; Sharlene Benson-Thompson, itn Tawa Travel; Dave Atherton, Great Southern Rail; Lisa Linn, Rail Plus at Central Market Adelaide

Visiting London Court by foot… Louise Frend, Tourism Western Australia; Carmel Tocker, House of Travel Richmond; Ryan Mossny, Two Feet & a Heartbeat; Dayan Muntz, House of Travel, Barrington At Moana Coffee for a break during a Perth walking tour… Sharlene Benson-Thompson, itn Tawa Travel; Kelly Gainsford, House of Travel Merivale; Emma Cracroft-Wilson, Flight Centre Greymouth
How do you didgeridoo this? Dayan Muntz, House of Travel Barrington; and Kevin Poit, House of Travel Shirley try their hands at the traditional instrument with mixed success at Didgeridoo Breath in Fremantle

At Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle… Sharlene Benson-Thompson, itn Tawa Travel; Noeline Walsh, Skytrain Lion World Travel; Samara Liyanage, Flight Centre Mt Eden
Dinner at Left bank Bar & Cafe - Carmel Tocker, House of Travel Richmond; Louise Frend, Tourism Western Australia; Sharlene Benson-Thompson, itn Tawa Travel The pillars of time - Dayan Muntz, House of Travel Barrington, Noeline Walsh, Skytrain Lion World Travel outside the Old Court House and Law Museum

The second day of the New Zealand travel agents family of Perth early August started with a site inspection of the Crown complex in Perth, then continued with a full day of wine, lunch, chocolate and beer (with a bit if history thrown in by guide Keith Mackenzie) with Swan Valley Tours.

Checking out the refurbished rooms at Crown Metropol, Perth - Kevin Poit, House of Travel Shirley; Carmel Tocker, House of Travel Richmond; Dayan Muntz, House of Travel Barrington; Michael Audesho, Crown events and conferences Perth; and Sharlene Benson-Thompson, tin Tawa Travel Poolside at Crown Metropole Perth - Kelly Gainsford, House of Travel Richmond; Louise Frend, Tourism Western Australia; Zee Hansrod, chief concierge Crown Metropol Perth; Samara Liyanage, Flight Centre Mt Eden; Noeline Walsh, Skytrain Lion Travel; Sue Hammond, The Travel Brockers; Emma Cracroft-Wilson, Flight Centre Greymouth And here's the pool, the totally new look and expanded swimming pool at Crown Metropol Pert
Sue Hammond, The Travel Brokers; Louise Frend, Tourism Western Australia; Keith Mackenzie, Swan Valley Tours; and Kevin Poit at Lancaster winery in Swan Valley
Kelly Gainsford, House of Travel Merivale; Carmel Tocker, House of Travel Richmond; and Samara Liyanage. Flight Centre Mt Eden at Swanbrook Winery, Swan Valley Anyone for a sweet treat? Samara Liyanage, Flight Centre Mt Eden and Sue Hammond, The Travel Brokers check out the Swan Valley outlet of the Margaret River Chocolate Company





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Agents busy in Kuala Lumpur

After the official opening of the 1Malaysia Mega Sale in Kuala Lumpur, Kiwi agents explored KL and took the opportunity to partake in some shopping, before heading off to the eastern islands of Redang and Tioman. Read more coverage from the Malaysia famil, currently underway.

Right: On a mission - Sabrina Mcleod, Tourism Malaysia; Fauzia Janif, GO Holidays; Trish Little, Flight Centre Downtown and Nirmla Patel, Our Asia after a sucessful shopping experience at The Pavilion in Kuala Lumpur

Wannabe superheros, Trish Little and Sabrina Mcleod in Little India Trish Little, Sabrina Mcleod and Nirmla Patel explore the markets of Little India in KL Nirmla Patel, Our Asia; Fauzia Janif, GO Holidays and Trish Little, Flight Centre Downtown use the KL walkway from KLCC to The Pavilion
Selamat Datang - welcome to Tioman Island for Frankie, Tourism Malaysia guide; Nirmla Patel, Our Asia; Fauzia Janif, GO Holidays; Trish Little, Flight Centre Downtown; Sabrina Mcleod, Tourism Malaysia; Ruth Scott TRAVELinc and Lance Mould, Active Asia Trish Little changes her tune when she encounters a charmeleon while on the jungle trek from Berjaya Tioman Resort Sunset Tioman style for Nirmla Patel, Our Asia and Fauzia Janif, GO Holidays

Fireflies, tigers and turtles

Local Cherating operator, Hafiz's Friendly Fireflies Watch, offers nightly tours to view the fireflies. Owner Hafiz shares his passion for protecting the fireflies and is concerned with the diminishing mangroves which act as the mating grounds for the short lived fireflies. Awareness and regeneration of the mangroves will increase the fireflies numbers and ensure their life cycle is fulfilled. The group were given the opportunity for a nighttime excursion to view the action.
Setting off on for a nighttime cruise through the mangroves for a firefly encounter is Trudie McConnochie, NEXT magazine; Ruth Scott, TRAVELinc; Trish Little, FC Downtown; Lance Mould, Active Asia; Fauzia Janif, GO Holidays; Nirmla Patel, Our Asia and Sabrina Mcleod, Tourism Malaysia Nirmla Patel, Trish Little, Fauzia Janif, Ruth Scott, Sabrina Mcleod, owner Hafiz, Tourism Malaysia local guide Frankie Pong and Lance Mould at Hafiz's Fireflies Watch
Trish Little and Fauzia Janif rated the flrefly encounter as one of the best Rest stop at at a local Cherating cafe for Trish Little, Lance Mould and Sabrina Mcleod. (They all recommend the fresh roasted coffee and curry puffs for MYR.30.NZ.12c) Visiting the turtle hatchery in Cherating, these three days old baby turtles will be released back to the ocean shortly
Stopping off for a site visit at Club Med Cherating, Trish Little couldn't help but make a purchase at the charity stall from Club Med entertainer, Anton There to ward off the monkeys from entering the grounds of Club Med Cherating, (the tigers, not Sabrina Mcleod), the story goes that the imposing look of the tigers sends the monkeys back into the jungle. Hmm... Sabrina Mcleod and Lance Mould at the bar at Club Med Cherating
The famil group spent one night at Tanjong Jara Resort, Terengganu before heading out to Redang and the Perhentian Islands. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the boutique property is designed to reflect the elegance and grandeur of 17thC Malay palaces, but with modern amenities. The 99 room resort features an infinity pool and a three metre adults only pool; luxury spa with seven treatment rooms; two restaurants; private dining areas on the beach; PADI certified dive and activity centre and a range of daily activities for all ages. Each group member was offered a traditional Malay massage, which commenced with a warm water blessing, and Nirmla Patel, OurAsia, rated the massage as 'one on the best'.
Tanjong Jara's infinity pool... ...restaurant entrance and accommodation room

Read more from the Tourism Malaysia famil

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Namaste - WJ India famil

World Journeys and Singapore Airlines hosted a luxury agent educational to India in May, featuring some of the country’s Palace and Boutique hotel range. The group visited Delhi, the Taj Mahal in Agra, and the colourful desert cities of Rajasthan. Marketing manager Caroline Clegg escorted the group, and says highlights included Singapore Airline’s superb service, a cycle rickshaw ride through Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk market, staying at the gorgeous Samode Palace hotel near Jaipur, seeing the Taj Mahal at sunset, and dining at Udaipur’s Lake Palace Hotel. We also loved getting stuck in India’s chaotic traffic.

The group made their way through narrow streets of colourful sari shops, vegetable carts and open air barbers. 'The range of properties experienced was exceptional,' says Clegg. 'From the chic desert retreat of Mihir Garh near Jodhpur, to the opulent grandeur of Rambagh Palace, each had their own charm and style. We travelled predominantly by road in an air-conditioned mini-coach, with a dedicated driver and a guide, who just added so much to the experience. Much of what you see in India raises questions, so it was great to have someone on board who could share his culture and country with us.

'Having not been to India for some time, I really noticed the huge improvement in tourist infrastructure, the level of service, and the range of hotel styles available – most impressive.'

Pictured in Udaipur are Dalwyn Sinclair, HOT Upper Riccarton; Miriam Overfield, United Travel Orewa;  Barbro Scott, Harbour City Travel; Clyde Whitmore, United Travel Eltham; Caroline Clegg, World Journeys; Sanjay, guide and Stephen Jennings, Jennings United Travel Napier.
At the iconic Taj Mahal are Caroline Clegg, World Journeys; Dalwyn Sinclair, House of Travel Upper Riccarton; Ruth Westgate, Jo Anne Prevett Travel; Miriam Overfield, United Travel Orewa; Stephen Jennings, Jennings United Travel Napier; Vanesha Patel, Galaxy Travel Rotorua; Clyde Whitmore, United Travel Eltham and Barbro Scott, Harbour City Travel The group visit Mihir Garh for a village safari

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Contiki Europe famil

Contiki Holidays recently hosted an all-ages travel agent famil to Europe with 35 agents from around the world, including three from New Zealand.

The eight day tour started in London and wrapped up in Munich, stopping in Paris and Lucerne along the way. In between zipping to the top of the Eiffel Tower and biking around Munich with a local guide, agents spent a night at Contiki’s own 16th century Chateau de Cruix in the French countryside.

Amy Kinniburgh, Contiki Auckland and Melissa Cox, United Travel Feilding get a birds eye view of the Swiss Alps

Claire Illes, Orbit Nelson and Emma Pilkington, House of Travel Taupo sample local cuisine in Lucerne

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HOT Tahiti famil

Ten retail and one wholesale agent from House of Travel stores around New Zealand recently experienced the islands of Tahiti and Moorea courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme. The group were all first timers to Tahiti and experienced a mixture of site inspections combined with a taste of dining experiences and day tours that their clients are likely to enjoy. 'I particularly loved Moorea, a beautiful island and feel,' says Carmel Tocker, House of Travel Richmond. 'The resorts were fantastic and I loved swimming with the dolphins and paddle-boarding.'

When comparing prices, the group noticed that food and beverage is similar to the equivalent standard in New Zealand. 'Overall Tahiti was not as expensive as I thought,' says Janine McKay, House of Travel Merivale. Sarah Gaffney from House of Travel Newmarket says highlights included the dolphin encounter along with lunch at the Blue Banana on the island of Tahiti and getting into town and experiencing the caravan dining with the locals.

House of Travel enjoyed the hospitality of Air Tahiti Nui, Aggie Grey’s Le Meridien Resort, Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa, Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa, Moorea Dolphin Centre, Moorea Paddle Board Adventures, Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, Radisson Plaza Resort Tahiti, Tahiti Nui Hotel, Manava Suite Resort, Tahiti Tours and Tahiti Tourisme.

Experience at the Dolphin Centre: Front - Janine McKay, HOT Merivale; Kylie Masters HOT Remuera;
Second Row - Bianca Ratima, HOT Ponsonby; Linda Nettar, HOT Parnell; Aimee Mangin, HOT Ashburton; Donna Harrison, HOT; Jenny Nilsson, Trudi Vowles HOT Morrinsville
Back Row - Carmel Tocker, HOT Richmond and Sarah Gaffney, HOT Newmarket
Moorea paddle board adventure At Hilton Moorea: Back - Kylie Masters, HOT Remuera; Stacey Lee, Orbit CHC; Donna Harrison, HOT; Jenny Nilsson and Megan Arrenberg, HOT Product; Aimee Mangin , HOT Ashburton; Sarah Gaffney, HOT Newmarket; Trudi Vowles, HOT Morrinsville; Janine McKay, HOT Merivale; Carmel Tocker, HOT Richmond; Linda Nettar, HOT Parnell; Raumati Barbara, Tahiti Tourisme NZ; Front - Bianca Ratima, HOT Ponsonby

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