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FJ confirms WLG - NAN fights

Fiji Airways will commence year-round flights direct to Fiji from Wellington commencing June 25 2015.

This is one of the most significant new routes recently announced by Fiji Airways, and reflects the airline’s strong performance both globally and in New Zealand.

Fiji Airways managing director and CEO Stefan Pichler says New Zealand is an incredibly important market for Fiji Airways, and the introduction of this new route is testament to Fiji Airways’ strong performance here.

'We announced earlier this year in our five-year strategic plan that we were committed to increasing capacity between New Zealand and Fiji. The introduction of this new route reflects our commitment to the New Zealand market, and in growing our global network,' says Pichler.

The new Wellington-Nadi route opens up an additional 328 weekly seats between New Zealand and Fiji, as well as providing Wellingtonians with an opportunity to fly to Apia, Los Angeles and on to other North American cities, via Nadi.

The new service will run twice weekly, departing Wellington on Thursday and Sunday at 13.15 arr NAN at 17.00. The return flight leaves NAN at 08.30, into Wwllington at 12.15.

 

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Air NZ to fly direct to Argentina

Air New Zealand has announced it will launch direct flights between Auckland and Buenos Aires, Argentina – the airline’s first ever scheduled service to South America.

An Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200 aircraft will operate three return services a week on the route all year round.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says the new destination, the airline’s 28th international port, opens up an exciting new world for travellers from both New Zealand and Australia.

‘South America was once the domain of the intrepid explorer, but the direct service to Buenos Aires, with a flight time of around 12 hours, means a quick and action packed getaway is now a reality.

‘Buenos Aires is the most popular tourist city in South America and is a perfect stepping stone for those who then want to explore the country, or continent, further.’

 

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Deva delivers

Agents on a recent the famil to New Caledonia spent one night at the Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Resort & Spa. Situated just over two hours drive from Noumea, the property sits on 13 km of white sand beach and within 80,000 hectares of land considered the eco centre for New Caledonia.

General manager Thomas Schwall says guests to the resort have the opportunity to explore some of the land with activities ranging from trekking along marked trails, animal watching, horse riding, cycling and further inland  - hunting.

The resort features 180 guest rooms, suites and private bungalows, each with a terrane overlooking the golf course, beach or gardens; signature Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed; flat screen tv, high speed internet; ceiling fan and air con and kitchenette facilities (in suites).

Hotel facilities include two swimming pools (heated to a comfortable 28°C); a water sports hut; fitness centre, spa (due to open late December), all terrain bicycles, resort shop and restaurant and bars.

We’re here - Rebecca Goodin, Flight Centre; Phillipa Stokes, House of Travel Product and Wade Munro, Infinity Holidays in the lobby of the Sheraton Deva

Simon Duffy, New Caledonia Tourism and Angela Hallett, Aircalin enjoy cocktails around the pool area with Sally Pepermans, Starwood Hotels and Resorts and  Thomas Schwall, general manager of Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Resort & Spa

<< Heading off to a site inspection is – almost in the drivers seat, Sibyl Hauraki, GO Holidays; Paula Lipscombe, GTA Auckland; Lisa Perkovic, Expedia; Sharma Smith and Phillipa Stokes, House of Travel Product

 

>> Kid’s Club at the resort. All sorts of fun things to keep the little ones entertained. It is the only Kid’s Club in New Caledonia

The bungalows stand alone in what feels like an African savannah setting. The round individual structures are dotted along lit paths, some beachfront and the rest set back with views of the trees/garden or golf course

Living and bedroom area

The bungalow deck overlooking the golf course – which is currently a nine-hole course

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Treasure in New Caledonia

There is just enough time before Christmas to squeeze in one last famil, so New Caledonia Tourism and Aircalin invited a group of wholesalers to New Caledonia for product updates and a look at the new Sheraton Deva. Over the next four days there will also be a treasure hunt, site inspections and a full day on the stunning Isle of Pines.

Phillipa Stokes

Shelley Gutry, Our Pacific; Rebecca Goodin, Flight Centre and Sibyl Hauraki, GO Holidays ready for sundowners at the Chateau Royal Beach Resort & Spa, Noumea

As is Kirstin Hansby, Our Pacific; Phillipa Stokes and Sharma Smith, both from House of Travel Product

Fresh and ready for the challenges ahead is Sharma Smith, House of Travel Product and

Wade Munro, Infinity Holidays

Discussing tactics is group 1 - Sibyl Hauraki, GO Holidays; Shelley Gutry, Our Pacific; Sharma Smith, House of Travel Product and Rebecca Goodin, Flight Centre

Phillipa Stokes, House of Travel Product; Kirstin Hansby, Our Pacific and Angela Hallett, Aircalin with their clue at the Noumea market

Phillipa Stokes, House of Travel can't quite decide over which bracelet will be the best buy from the markets

Simon Duffy, New Caledonia Tourism with local guide Adele at Kuto Bay on the Isle of Pines

Phillipa Stokes and Sharma Smith from House of Travel Product with Paula Lipscombe, GTA Auckland at Kuto Bay, Isle of Pines Shelley Gutry, Our Pacific and Sharma Smith, House of Travel Product explore the grounds of the old French prison on the Isle of Pines

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Quality vs quantity

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.

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Become a Happiness Specialist

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.

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Massive developments for Vuda, Fiji

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.’

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All go for TAANZ NTIA show

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.

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NZ flavour injected into China Southern flights

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 Auckland
to 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.’

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Winning stands set the PAICE

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.’

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Singapore roadshow in Jan

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.

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Find what you seek in India

'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

Charlotte Swain and Catherine Roberts, Brokers HWT Howick show off their henna decorations
Rahul Sharma, Exotic Holidays and Liz Light, photo journalist and tour escort Terri Hardisty HOT Newmarket looking forward to the delicious Indian buffet

Richard and Clare Fletcher, Travel Cafe Luxe with Hemant Kaushik, Exotic Holidays
Sarah Mattson and Karen Murdie, Travel Cafe Nabendu Sikder, Travel World Experiences (TWX) presents Christine de la Cour with a six day Golden Triangle land package in India
The Indian performers put on an awesome show for the evening And the agents got up and dancing... Even Mr. Vibhava Tripathi, India Tourism took to the dance floor

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TIA awards 'humbling'

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.

Oscar Nathan and Mark Rawson, Destination Rotorua Marketing. Lori Keller, Wai-O-Tapu; Cristine Angus, Angus & Associates; Dawn Muir, DOC

<< 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).

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Dreamliner to Perth - agents 'love it'

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.’

Matthew Roberts, Orbit Travel Nelson and Nicola Milne, Lakers House of Travel look forward to lunch at the industrial style Bread in Common bakery in Fremantle Breakie time at Bib and Tucker on the Fremantle waterfront for Rachel Pedder, Air NZ; Jodie Burnard, Flight Centre and Louise Frend, Tourism WA, before the trio took off around the Fremantle Markets. Lisa D’Souza, Tourism WA and Jodie Burnard, Flight Centre have a five minute shopping window while at the Fremantle Markets - and they made the most of it
Matthew Roberts, Orbit Travel Nelson takes easily to the Segway ride on Rottnest Island
As does Maja Smithson, GO Holidays and Nicola Milne, Lakers House of Travel
Maja Smithson, GO Holidays; Rachel Pedder, Air NZ and Matthew Roberts, Orbit Travel, Nelson in the Little Creatures brewery, Fremantle
Louise Frend, Tourism WA feels like an angel - part of the street art in Perth
Maja Smithson, GO Holidays get comfortable for the flight home in business class on the Dreamliner 787-9 is
Margaret River is very much about visiting one ( or a few) of the 132 cellar doors in the region. Amongst the vines at Brookwood estate is Nicola Milne, Lakers House of Travel; Ruth Scott, TRAVELinc; Lisa D’Souza, Tourism WA; Maja Smithson, GO Holidays; Matthew Roberts, Orbit Travel; Jodie Burnard, Flight Centre; Rachel Mancini, HOT Product; Rachel Pedder, Air NZ; David Libeau, Stella and Louise Frend, Tourism WA

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