Australasian visitor numbers to Ireland have grown by a staggering 53% over the past 12 months, agents heard at the Tourism Ireland road show in Auckland yesterday.
In Auckland for his 20th or so visit, Tourism Ireland’s Jim Paul told travel agents that Ireland’s visitor numbers are up across other markets as well - 15% from the UK, 40% from Europe and 43% from North America, but it is the Kiwis and Australians that are ‘quality tourists. They spend twice as much as the French and Germans with an average stay of 12 days,’ says Paul.
A growing number of visitors are heading to Ireland for its movie tours. Katherine Webster, representing the Cliffs of Moher, says Moher is currently sitting as the third most popular tourist destination for Ireland.
‘But we have welcomed our one millionth visitor last month and that could push us into second,’ says Webster. ‘We have a new underground visitor centre and our movie trails are gaining interest.’
Harry Potter fans can see a cave setting from the Half Blood Prince movie; Princess Bride was set in the area as was Ryan’s Daughter, but it’s the Father Ted series that generates a huge amount of visitors.
‘Father Ted’s house is a private residence and the owners got fed up with people peering through their windows hoping for a glimpse of Father Ted, so they opened up the house and set up a tea house. It’s doing a roaring trade,’ says Webster.
Hot Off The Press
Tourism Fiji has launched its new online travel agent specialist training programme.
The new Fiji Matai Specialist Programme and website is a destination training programme for tourism partners selling Fiji, and went live around the world over the weekend.
‘Matai’ in Fijian means to be knowledgeable or an expert in something and Tourism Fiji says Matai Agents and Matai Specialists can become ‘Happiness Specialists’ by joining the programme.
The new site includes extensive educational content on Fiji. Members will receive exclusive incentives, monthly e-newsletters featuring updates on Fiji and its tourism industry, eligibility for exciting familiarisation trips, online training updates and the chance to receive excellent programme rewards.
Director of global marketing and acting chief executive of Tourism Fiji, Ken Freer, says the programme will enhance communication between the Fiji tourism sector and its global trade partners, and provide valuable knowledge to agents selling the tropical destination.
‘The aim of the new programme and site is to educate and promote that Fiji is where happiness finds you and that this happiness can be transferred to holiday- makers who chose to visit our idyllic island nation,’ says Freer. ‘There is a huge range of fantastic activities available to holiday-makers, and the new Matai programme will help our agent partners increase their knowledge and understanding of everything Fiji has to offer.’
Existing Matai Specialists and Matai Agents will automatically transfer to the new three-tier programme, but will be required to complete one refresher module within 12 months to maintain their status. Training modules include both experiential themes and regional destination content.
The programme is open to anyone in the tourism sector who has an interest in Fiji, with three tiers of membership.
MATAI AGENT MEMBERSHIP:
Available to all trade and non-trade partners wishing to receive a monthly email newsletter update on what’s new within the Fijian tourism industry and also events within the their local region. There are no entitlements or requirements to maintain this level.
MATAI SPECIALIST MEMBERSHIP:
Available to trade partners across the tourism sector upon completion of the initial four modules. They receive:
- A global or regional monthly email newsletter update on what’s new within the Fijian tourism industry and events within their local region.
- Access to specialist content modulesand status recognition upon completion (Phase II – March 2015).
- Access to Matai Specialist logos and branding for use on business cards and marketing collateral.
- Tourism Fiji Matai famil invitations
- Access to exclusive Matai Agent deals for personal travel (Phase II – March 2015).
To maintain status Matai Specialists must complete a refresher online training module each year.
MATAI FRONTLINER SPECIALIST:
This includes the above plus the opportunity to create a personal profile which, upon verification by the local Tourism Fiji office, will be published on the Tourism Fiji consumer site so agents may receive referrals directly from consumers visiting the site.
Fully overwater bungalows, along with semi overwater bungalows on its famous Foot Island are features of a foreshore development at First Landing Resort and Villas in Fiji. Foot Island will have a new restaurant and a horizon swimming pool with views out to the Yasawa Islands.
Major development at the resort, 15 minutes from Nadi airport in the Lautoka direction, also include six two bedroom beach front villas and six garden villas immediately behind them.
All villas will have private pools and the building on those is expected to start next month (December 2014).
First Landing director James Dunn says there are also plans in the two year time frame for a ‘villa village’ and longer term there will be added residences, villas, apartments and a cultural village across the road from the current complex.
The development comes at a time when the adjacent Vuda Marina is also looking towards major growth, more than doubling in size and gaining the capacity to service Super Yachts. ‘We will also be adding retail, residential accommodation, private villas and a beach club,’ says
Vuda Marina general manager and chief executive officer Adam Wade. ‘We hope to start next year.’
The TAANZ National Travel Industry Awards 2015 are 'all go' says TAANZ CEO Andrew Olsen.
'The steering group committee met last week and a number of matters were discussed - principally that 100% of TAANZ members are behind the success of the event and 100% of suppliers are also in support of TAANZ NTIA.
'NTIA brings together those agents across the country who are engaged in the concept of celebrating achievements in a national awards programme and the on-going improvement of standards, both of which will ultimately deliver value to consumers,' says Olsen.
'We have sought comfort from our 2014 event partners investors and it has been made clear that they strongly support the ongoing TAANZ NTIA.
'Self nomination will be permitted. This allows the brands, groups, independents and all suppliers to put forward their best nominee. Finalists will continue to be selected by poll, agents for suppliers and vice versa. Award category selection by our event partners will also be modified a little with a trade industry ballot process to be used.'
More details will be provided in the NTIA prospectus which will be issued before the end of the year.
Auckland Airport, China Southern Airlines and Al Brown have joined forces to inject a taste of New Zealand into the China Southern inflight experience.
The announcement was made at a launch party held at SKYCITY Auckland’s Bar Twentyone yesterday.
The initiative will see New Zealand- themed inflight menus on China Southern’s Auckland to Guangzhou services.
Tan Wan Geng, president and CEO of China Southern Airlines, says China Southern is the fourth biggest airline in the world, and is committed to innovating and supporting the route to Auckland and New Zealand.
‘Although this initiative is focused in the first instance on our Auckland to Guangzhou services, in the future we hope to extend this further by bringing more international elements across our entire network.’
Adrian Littlewood, Auckland Airport chief executive, says the announcement is a wonderful opportunity to deepen the relationship between China and New Zealand.
‘We’re excited by the opportunity to bring a taste of New Zealand to passengers coming to New Zealand the first moment they step on the plane.’
Littlewood says the announcement also forms a strong part of Auckland Airport’s ‘Four Seasons, Five Senses’ project – a partnership with the New Zealand government to drive the growth in high valued Chinese tourists into New Zealand in the shoulder seasons.
‘We want to drive tourism growth by raising awareness within China of the unique and iconic activities that New Zealand has to offer, engaging the five senses of travellers with a focus on high quality food and wine, cultural and adventure experiences.’
Al Brown, celebrity chef, will be in charge of redesigning the China Southern Airlines inflight menu for its Aucklandto Guangzhou services, as well as recommendations and training of the inflight chefs and crew.
The meals will also include background information to tell the story behind the New Zealand produce featured on the menu, such as a map highlighting the area of New Zealand the produce was sourced from.
Brown says he revels at the chance to champion and promote New Zealand product on the international stage.
‘Using food and wine as a vehicle is a very compelling way to tell the New Zealand story. As a chef I relish the opportunity and the challenge of creating great tasting dishes at 35,000 feet.’
Fiji took out the regional stand of the year award at the Pacific Area Incentives and Conferences Expo (PAICE 2014) this week, with New Caledonia named runner up.
Judge Nigel Pilkington, senior vice president of SKAL International, says Fiji was well branded but still retained an individual feel among the various stands. ‘You couldn’t walk through the area without being approached and they had a nice touch with the foot spa being offered.’
Pilkington says New Caledonia had a nice mix of modern technology and a personal approach.
Tahiti and Business Events Australia were both highly commended.
In the individual category, Starwood Hotels & Resorts was named winner.
‘I walked past the booth twice and both times I was approached by different people who asked how they could help me. That makes PAICE really work.’
Runner up Destination Asia had the same proactive approach to the show, Pilkington says. ‘The representative’s eyes were up, not down. She was engaging and the stand was bright and clear.’
Singapore Tourism Board will hold a three city roadshow in Auckland during January 2015, with the key objective of promoting stopovers in the city (and encouraging that stopover market to stay longer).
Sharon Lam, area director Oceania was at PAICE 2014 this week, and says many New Zealanders are still unaware of new and exciting attractions like Gardens in the Bay, Singapore Flyer and Universal Studios.
‘With Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines increasing capacity, there is no reason people shouldn’t stay in the destination longer.’
Lam says the travel agents roadshow will visit Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, with firm dates to be announced over the next two weeks.
'Find what you seek' is the new campaign recently launched by India Tourism to entice travel to India. At the first of a six centre roadshow around NZ, Exotic Holidays in conjunction with India Tourism took agents on a whirlwind insight into India and what the new campaign means. 'It's all about what is the traveller looking for', says India Tourism representative Mr. Vibhava Tripathi. 'Do they want to focus on festivals - every day there is a festival of some description happening in the country; are they interested in Yoga and want to experience the many retreats we have; or is it about historical and religious sites? We want to help guide the traveller to the best experience for them.'During the roadshow, Exotic Holidays director, Rahul Sharma announced that the agent incentive for a place on the April famil to India which is open to the top 10 agents selling India through Exotic, has now been increased to the top 15 agents, through the generosity of India Tourism.
India Tourism is exhibiting at PAICE today. Industry visitors can register to attend the exhibition on level 5 of SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre from 9am - 4pm.
Liz Light, travel writer and photo jourmnalist, is working with Exotic Holidays to produce two small group escorted tours to India in 2015. In the footsteps of Buddha follows the shrines of Buddhism, ending in the Buddhist state of Sikkim in the Himalayas. Remnants of the British Raj focuses on the historical cities of British rule - Delhi, Shimla, Darjeeling and Calcutta. Details will be released shortly.
Vee Duke, Christine de la Cour, Lenora Pudney, Deepan Somaiya and Meeta Somaiya from Tandem Travel, Smales Farm Auckland
Honoured and humble, those were the emotions felt by Real Journeys Tony McQuilkin, after being presented with the Sir Jack Newman Award at the 2014 Tourism Industry Awards in Wellington on November 4. Meanwhile James Fitzgerald, founder and managing director of Rotorua Canopy Tours, won the PATA NZ Trust Young Tourism Leader Award, and Skyline Queenstown was recipient of the Service IQ Visitor Experience Award.The Awards were presented at the Wellington Airport Summit Dinner, held at Mac’s Brewery Function Centre in Wellington.The longstanding Sir Jack Newman Award recognises an individual who has made a long and outstanding contribution to the New Zealand tourism industry. On receiving his award, McQuilkin said that to be recognised by your industry peers is as good as it gets. Queenstown-based McQuilkin started working with Fiordland Travel (now Real Journeys) in 1980, helped established Queenstown tourism promotion initiatives, which evolved into Destination Queenstown, is the chairman of the Queenstown Trails Trust and was a strong advocate for the preservation of the TSS Earnslaw.James Fitzgerald said he had chosen to work in tourism when he left school. 'I chose the industry, I studied it at university, then when my friends headed off to be lawyers and accountants I got my bus licence and drove passengers to the West Coast. I was 22 then and it’s still the best job I ever had.'
Jeroen Jongejans, Dive! Tutukaka; Craig Wilson, Quality Tourism Development Ltd.
<< Raewyn Tse, Positively Wellington Venues; Chris Roberts, TIA; Emily Byrne, TIA
>>Tourism Industry award winners Tony McQuilkin, Real Journeys (Sir Jack Newman Award); James Fitzgerald, Rotorua Canopy Tours (Young Tourism Leader Award).
Air New Zealand’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner left Auckland on October 16 on its inaugural service to Perth.
Air New Zealand and Tourism Western Australia invited trade along for the ride with Rachel Pedder, product and pricing manager Tasman, Air New Zealand and Louise Frend, marketing manager NZ, Tourism Western Australia escorting a famil of WA attractions.‘We want the group to see what there is to offer here, so in five days we plan to take them around Perth and Fremantle on a culinary tour of locally sourced seasonal produce,’ says Frend.
‘They will go on a walking tour of Fremantle and the Kings Park, catch the ferry across to Rottnest Island - with bike and segway activities included. There will be helicopter transfers from Margaret River town to the Pullman Resort Bunker Bay, then it’s off to Swan Valley for wine tasting, a coffee experience and chocolate sampling.’
Operators from Sunshine Coast were spreading the destination’s message around the New Zealand travel trade this week, with tabel top presentations (and some Queensland hospitality) in both Auckland and Christchurch.The mission coincided with the launch of the destination’s new advertising campaign to New Zealand industry and media, encouraging Kiwis to ‘join the vactaion migration.’ More in the Friday 24 October issue of TRAVELinc Memo.
Alka Thapar from Europcar invited industry to Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian’s production the iconic musical Sound of Music at Auckland's Civic Theatre on October 9. Most of the invitees were avid fans of the movie and knew all the songs, including My Favourite Things, Do-Re-Mi and Sixteen Going on Seventeen, so when the opportunity to meet some of the cast at an after party was announced, there was another hum of excitement amongst the troops.
The show continues in Auckland till October 26, then heads to China for 55 shows in 10 different cities.
<<Lilliy Hutch, GO Holidays couldn't resist the sweeping staircase used during the show
>>Taya Rangihika, waited patiently for 'Maria' to sign her programme
Cast member Baroness Schraeder (Taryn Sudding), 2nd left, with Nicola Thomas and Kelly Showler, Accent on Travel and Nicole Showler, GO Holidays
Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines have confirmed January 6, 2015 as the launch date for their alliance, with codeshare flights going on sale on both airlines’ services between New Zealand and Singapore on September 25.The alliance will see the Star Alliance carriers operating one return service each per day on the Auckland – Singapore route and Singapore Airlines operating a daily return service between Christchurch and Singapore. NZ customers will have codeshare connectivity to a further 50 destinations on the SQ and MI network throughout South East Asia, the United Kingdom, Europe and South Africa and Singapore Airlines customers will in turn have access to nearly 40 codeshare destinations in the Air New Zealand network.
At a industry function at The Botanist in Auckland on September 22, Anthony Price, NZ general manager sales, corporate and distribution sales, says Singapore Airlines is a strong and natural alliance partner. 'A significant amount of business comes from trade reationships and we will be launching incentives into the market over the coming weeks. Our trade partners will be briefed on upcoming fam trips to SE Asia and a new e-training module for consultants.'Edwin Chiang, Singapore Airlines general manager says the alliance will make for more seamless travel. 'It will be all the same product from Auckland to Singapore year round, with a seasonal aircraft change to a A380 from October 28.' Under the alliance Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines’ goal is to increase their existing capacity between New Zealand and Singapore by up to 30% year round over time.The schedule from January 6, 2015
Departure Time (local) Arrival Time (local) Total Flying Hours Operated BySIN – AKL NZ281/SQ4281 08:50 23:45 09:55 NZSQ285/NZ3285 20:50 11:45+1 09:55 SQ AKL – SINNZ282/SQ4282 01:15 06:45 10:30 NZSQ286/NZ3286 13:30 19:00 10:30 SQ SIN – CHCSQ297/NZ3297 19:45 10:40+1 09:55 SQ CHC – SIN SQ298/NZ3298 12:00 17:40 10:40 SQ
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