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Kiwi trade ‘busy but happy’ – Aussies not so cheerful

Thursday, 30 June 2016 09:31

An Australian survey that shows travel professionals there feel they have a terrible work life balance and are overworked resonates with Kiwi industry personnel contacted by TRAVELinc Memo – but only to a point. The survey, conducted by Progressive Personnel, revealed that Aussie travel professionals are generally less content than their global counterparts, among the most stressed in the world, and are among the least satisfied and motivated within their jobs.

Aucklander Rob Beecher, who launched GTN (Global Travel Network) with Allen Bell last year, says he is working hard, but that doesn’t translate into unhappiness. ‘I am extremely happy and satisfied with my lot. You have to put in the hours and graft in order to set the foundations. Nothing worthwhile happens without hard work.’

Kapiti based Lee Amor, owner of Your Travel, sees little in common with the reported Australian mood. ‘Those poor Aussies. Not sure what they are doing -or not doing- to make their life so miserable,’ he says. ‘If that really is the case then no wonder people turn to the internet, as it’s hard to image how they could possibly give best service to clients. Like anything in life - if you don't enjoy your job get another one.’ Amor says he can not imagine having a better job. (He was responding to the Memo’s questions from the jungles of Kanchanaburi at Hintok camp taking a group of 34 with an average age of 70 and ‘having an absolute ball’.) ‘As far as I can remember I haven't yet met any kiwi agents that don't love their job.’

Daniel Bloomfield, of Target Travel, says he does a lot of work at night so is probably ‘one of the worst’ to ask about work-life balance. ‘I think the challenge is to be not just busy, but also be productive. Sometimes airlines don’t know their own rules and make things more complicated to sell than they need to be and that can waste time.’ In saying that Bloomfield is ‘happy with how things are tracking’ and says it just comes down to working differently.

Aucklander David Libeau, general manager marketing helloworld, says the job of a travel professional in New Zealand is demanding and busy. ‘But I love it, I would not change for anything.’ Libeau says when it comes to work-life balance people create that for themselves. ‘A number of our staff (at helloworld head office) go to the gym at lunch time. They might take 90 minutes but they adjust their day accordingly and get the job done. It’s about flexibility – the whole world has moved on.’ He says friends in different business are always envious of what he does.

A number of respondents to the Memo ring around and email questions pointed out that travel is ‘not the best paid job in the world’ but said it other bonuses that made it enjoyable. ‘How many show openings and sports events do we get to, where we get treated like royalty?’ one said.

Peter Barlow, managing director of BCD Travel in Wellington, says the TMC (travel management company) business can be quite commoditized. ‘We know it can be a bit of a grind, with high volume and it can be repetitive and data orientated. But I think travel companies in New Zealand are generally good at creating a pleasurable environment.’ He says at BCD the aim is to create a fun and harmonious atmosphere, with fairly regular staff social get-togethers. ‘I can only look at my own situation and I’ve always had the philosophy of staff first and customers second – if the staff are happy, so are the customers.’ He says he certainly gets good vibes from the New Zealand market at present. ‘I’d say New Zealand agents are probably enjoying the positive mindset associated with the economy in general.’



Kiwis get a fix on Silk Road tourism

Thursday, 30 June 2016 08:56

The Chinese pulled out all the stops to impress 600 delegates from 38 countries at the 6th Dunhuang Tour-Silk Road International Tourism Festival in Lanzhou last week.

After two days of celebration, the international guests were taken in two batches along the Silk Road in the Gansu province.

Among the participants, who came from as afield as Finland to Dubai and Greece to America, was an eight-member group from New Zealand. The team visited Zhangye Danixia National Geographic Park, where they marvelled at the area’s spectacular, seven-colour striped hills.

Then they were treated to a banquet attended by 1000 people, including many dignitaries who came out to promote the area as part of a two-year government bid to put the historic trail back on the map as a leading international tourist destination.

The Kiwis then travelled to Jiayuguan, partake in another banquet and then to Dunhuang to see the famous Mogao Grottos and nearby Singing Sand Mountain. 


Agents survey Spain for new attractions

Thursday, 30 June 2016 08:24

More than 100 New Zealand travel agents found out about the familiar and different sides of Spain during last night’s trade function at Rydges Auckland.

Basque Country was at last night’s Spain travel trade event to explore the New Zealand market as much as it was to promote the destination, says representative Inigo Uriarte. ‘We are not doing a hard sell here, we are providing a first touch point to find out what New Zealand agents need from us,’ Uriarte says. However, he is sure that the Basque, an independent and special region of Spain, has plenty to offer Kiwis. We are talking about the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, the city of San Sebastian, our superb cuisine and the fact that we have the oldest language and traditions in Europe. We also have the Basque Rioja wine region, 10 nature parks and sporting traditions that have grown out of occupations – stone lifting, woodcutters, ox dragging and grass cutters.'

Sandra Mayan, of Tourismo de Galicia, met trade in New Zealand last year and says many Kiwi travellers are attracted by the St James Way, a famous pilgrimage trail.  ‘I am here to talk about different things – the gastronomy, the small villages and the Celtic background, as well as the hot springs and the diverse cities.’ Mayan points out that A Coruña has the oldest Roman lighthouse still in use, while visitors will find 2000 year old Roman walls. The main city, Santiago de Compostela, is famous for its historical quarter.

Catalonia’s diversity at fore

Catalonia was promoting its diverse attractions at the Spain function in Auckland last night - from the Pyrenees mountain range and the vineyards of the Penedés region to modern yet historic cities such as Barcelona. Smaller cities, such as Girona (with a Medieval Jewish quarter where Game of Thrones is being filmed) and Tarragona (the ancient capital of Roman Spain, with a 2000 year old colosseum) are also being put on the agenda for agents and their clients.

Sergi Giménez, Catalan Tourist Board, says the Ebro River Delta (with a flamingo reserve) as well as ancient monasteries such as the Poblet Monastery or the Monastery of Monsterrat are other features that are attractive to New Zealand travellers. ‘We also have gorgeous Mediterranean coastal towns such as Cadaqués and Stiges, while the Coasta Brava region is amazing. We are also focusing on the Garrotxa volcanic area, perfect for hot air balllooning above stunning villages such as Castellfollit de la Roca,’ says Giménez.

NZ Travel Brokers: growth continues, unrest ‘benefits’

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 09:37

The unrest caused by a trail of brand, management & ownership changes on the travel landscape appears to be benefitting the fast growing NZ Travel Brokers.

Director Guy Flynn, who leads the recruitment for the company, confirms that interest in broking is probably as high as it’s ever been during NZ Travel Brokers’ nine years of operation. ‘Many in the industry are viewing it as a career option that enables them to take control of their own future.’ He says a number of consultants and brokers are ‘unsettled’ with the continual changes within their organisations and crave stability.

With around 30 Travel Brokers joining the team over the last six months, adding some $20 million in anticipated annual sales, and several more checked in and due to board, 2016 has proved both exciting and challenging so far for the team at NZ Travel Brokers,’ Flynn adds.

NZTB has also increased the support team numbers this year to 13, to ensure the high level of support is unaffected by the increased broker numbers. ‘Notably, the Let’s Cruise team, led by the successful Mark Smith, joined this month and will add significant cruise volume and expertise to the group. Others include the team at Mango Travel lead by Bill & Elna Tempelhoff. The KNL Travel Team in Invercargill and Kelly Cruickshank in Queenstown, all formerly with Air New Zealand have added to an already strong South Island group of brokers.’ 

The company’s geographical reach has also stretched with new locations, adding a broker about 680 Kilometres from mainland NZ, on the Chatham Islands. Marcel Tuuta, once an employee of Guy Flynn’s at Synergi Travel in Wellington, adds a service the Chatham Islanders haven’t enjoyed in the past. 

This year’s conference, being held in Millbrook Queenstown 26 to 28 November, is going to be the biggest yet with well over 100 brokers already registered to attend.



Europe eyes Kiwis with June roadshow

Friday, 03 June 2016 16:26

Europe clearly has New Zealand travel agents and their clients in its sights, with two key Continental destinations on their way to these shores for roadshows. Both Switzerland and Spain will have large trade contingents in the country this month reflecting the potential they see from this market.

First up, the 2016 Switzerland Travel Experience will take place next on Thursday, 9 June at Pullman Auckland from 6-8pm. Suppliers from Zurich, Basel, Jungfrau Region, Jungfrau Railways, Interlaken, Gstaad, Lake Geneva Region, Mount Titlis, Lucerne, Schilthorn and the Swiss Travel System will be on hand to offer in-depth insights into the many products, experiences and journeys that Switzerland offers.  Switzerland's national carrier, Swiss International Air Lines, will also be present to updates agents on its premium product. Canapés and drinks will be offered and every attendee will go into the draw to win some amazing prizes on the night including a holiday for two to Switzerland.

Spain will be the second European destination this month to visit New Zealand when it holds a roadshow at Rydges Auckland on Monday 27 June from 5.30-8pm. This year the Tourist Office of Spain will be accompanied by four regional partners – Catalonia, Galicia, Andalucia and the Basque Region.

‘This is the first time in 18 years that the regions have visited New Zealand. This demonstrates how important the New Zealand market is to Spain,’ says Vien Cortes, market analyst at Tourist Office of Spain. ‘We are also partnering with A Walker’s World and The Travel Corporation to showcase the depth of experience available in Spain. And Emirates will give away a wonderful prize to one lucky attendee on the night.’

Cosmos offers 15% savings to North America

Thursday, 30 June 2016 09:35

    Cosmos is offering a 15%* early booking discount across its newly released range of 2017 USA and Canada holidays.

Along with its popular journeys, the brochure features a series of new itineraries including an 11-day Geysers to Glaciers journey travelling from Salt Lake City to Seattle via Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. Priced from $2532* pp share twin.The new Western Treasures combines a coastal drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles with landmarks including the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, the Mojave Desert and Yosemite National Park. The 15-day tour is priced from $2711* pp share twin. Visit

*Prices are per person twin share including 15% discount, subject to availability and conditions. 15% discount does not apply to Canadian & Alaskan Masterpiece itinerary. The discount applies to 2017 North American holidays booked and deposited by 13 September 2016. View brochure here.


HoT’s ‘worst kept secret’ unveiled

Sunday, 29 May 2016 21:00

House of Travel consultants described the company’s first television brand campaign in five years as ‘brave and bold,’ ‘overdue’ and ‘authentic’ when it was launched with hoopla on Friday night.

Dubbed by HoT CEO Mark O’Donnell as the ‘worst kept secret’, the advertisements appeared for the first time on television screens last night. ‘The best holidays are created together’ campaign features House of Travel consultants planning holidays with their clients.

‘I love the style of the ads,’ says Glen Armstrong from HoT Ellerslie. ‘They are ads that make you stop and think. The time is right to position the brand as collaborative – we are not the gatekeepers of knowledge anymore. Clients come into us with their research and we work together to find the best outcome.’

HoT’s Steve Parsons from Palmerston North says the ads reflect ‘what we do all day every – we create experiences for our customers.’

Marketing manager Ken Freer says the campaign creative embraced customers’ ideas. ‘It had to be authentic so we've used real consultants, real customers and real experiences created together,’ he says. ‘But it is not just about this campaign. We have a powerful proposition that resonates with New Zealanders, and one that we can deliver.’

Ads running this week are in partnership with Air New Zealand and Gold Coast Tourism.

Watch the advertisement here

Time is right for South America

Friday, 27 May 2016 11:35

They braved the Auckland weather last week for the final of World Journeys Sooo South America NZ roadshow. The contingent of exhibitors, many making the longer journey from their respective homes in South America, had spent the week meeting with agents in Tauranga, Napier and Christchurch before Auckland’s wrap up evening. Exhibitor, Bruno Teixeira from Blumar Brazil says they were impressed with the numbers at each even – full house every night – and about the level of interest there is in the destination. ‘The agents want to know everything. They ask questions and in Napier many brought their clients along, which was great as these people are serious about visiting. With the additional flights and South America receiving so much exposure in the press, the time was right for us to all be here.’

It's official. LAN and TAM are LATAM

Friday, 06 May 2016 12:47

A new airline was unveiled in Sydney on 3 May. The Oceania launch of LAN and TAM's consolidated global LATAM brand revealed new livery, logo, signage, counter design, website and uniforms that will be progressively rolled out over the next three years.

‘More than 50 aircraft are expected to be rebranded before the end of the year,' Patricio Aylwin, managing director Asia Pacific, LATAM Airlines Group told guests at the event. 'We have an ambitious dream: We want to be between the three best airlines in the world. With an additional value of being the first Latin-American one.'

LATAM's new inflight magazine, Vamos, is already in seat backs and a new South America wine list will be introduced.

Kiwis might see the new uniform on the Sydney-Auckland-Santiago route this year, but crew are already giving it positive nods, not only for the indigo and coral tones, but the style. ‘We asked a focus group of 100 LATAM employees for their suggestions and feedback, with the end design incorporating their input,’ added Aylwin.

'When we revealed the brand to the world in August 2015, 50,000 employees became part of one amalgamated family,’ said Marcela Diaz LATAM Airlines Group marketing manager Asia Pacific. Speaking at the event, Diaz said the new logo symbolised the entire region. ‘South America never stops moving and we wanted this to be identified in the new look. The name LATAM identifies our origin; two airlines crossing paths.'