The best and brightest in the New Zealand travel industry have received trans-Tasman recognition from the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) after being announced as finalists in the inaugural New Zealand National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) 2013.AFTA has its NTIA format, extending four award categories to New Zealand. The New Zealand NTIA ceremony will be held on the July 3 2013 at Sky City in Auckland.
The four New Zealand categories will be contested in the same way as the Australian version with the outcome being determined by an official panel of judges who have been selected for their experience and industry knowledge across a range sectors. 'This judging process will allow New Zealand travel agency owners to gain awards via a proven industry model,' says Andrew Olsen, TAANZ CEO. 'I wish all the finalists the best of luck, and I would like to thank you all for your ongoing enthusiasm and participation in the process.'
Qantas is the major sponsor of the 2013 NTIA and Air New Zealand will be the local sponsor of the four categories providing some on ground support and assistance during the process.
The New Zealand NTIA finalists are:
Hot Off The Press
Nine representatives from the Southern Great Barrier Reef visited New Zealand and held a function for travel retailers, product managers and media at Rydges Auckland. The SGBR brand incorporates three separate regional tourism offices and the area has had significant success since they combined their efforts about 18 months ago. Krista Brown, tourism and marketing manager with Capricorn Enterprise, says the latest statistics show a 19% growth out of the New Zealand market in the last year. (Full story in the June issue of TRAVELinc)
The Tongan government last week launched its new tourism marketing campaign in New Zealand and Australia, featuring television advertising and outdoor billboards in New Zealand, and online advertising in both countries. Using the tagline 'the True South Pacific', the campaign highlights the wide range of holiday options available across the Kingdom of Tonga's 176 islands, just as New Zealanders and Australians make decisions about their winter South Pacific holidays.
In addition to the marketing campaign, Tonga's government is focusing on improving the quality of the visitor experience, and now has an accommodation grading scheme, Tonga Mark, to give assurance to visitors and travel agents who sell Tonga holidays. This year the grading scheme will extend to transport, taxis and attractions.
Another new development is a Tourism Roadmap, which when completed in June, will direct the development of tourism over the next 10 years, including new regulations to better manage the whale watch sector and legislation controlling marriage in order to open up the wedding market in Tonga.
Global events company MCI has purchased creative events agency Off-Site Connections Event Solutions Australia (OSC). The move brings a team of 16 to MCI Australia with event solutions skills ranging from technical production, creative event design and styling, event and brand communication, through to overall event programme design including graphic design, and all destination and event logistics management. Creative and technical event solution specialists OSC has been operating in Australia for 18 years, producing high-end events for a variety of local and international corporate clients and industry sectors including finance, beauty, automotive, IT, government, FMCG, media and travel industries.Nick Millis, general manager of OSC will join MCI in Australia as director of corporate & creative events, working closely with Stephan Wurzinger, managing director, Australia. OSC’s Managing Director, Peter Kinnane will join MCI as director of creative events, Asia-Pacific and will be charged with driving the MCI creative events and brand experiences to corporate and association clients throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Introducing the destination and experiencing the world class facilities available on the Sunshine Coast is the objective of a Business Events Australia famil to the region currently underway. The group of professional conference organisers (PCOs) are sampling a little of what there is to do in the coastal towns of Caloundra, Mooloolaba and Noosa as well as dining at Makepeace Island, Sir Richard Branson’s coastal residence before heading inland to Yandina and Spicers Clovelly Estate.
Spice up the Sunshine CoastSpicers' two luxury retreats on the Sunshine Coast, Spicers Tamarind Retreat & Spa and Spicers Clovelly Estate are situated within a 10 minute drive from each other and the luxury lodges provide premium retreat experiences for the leisure and incentive client. A professional conference organisers (PCO) famil group currently on the Sunshine Coast spent time at both resorts including dining at the chef’s table of the Long Apron Restaurant at Spicers Clovelly Estate.
Left: Frances Boortman, Driving Force Incentives and Jade Taylor, Dinamics at the Chef’s table at Spicers Clovelly Estate, Montville.
Conference and incentive groups can be catered for within the grounds of Australia Zoo. The privately owned zoo is spread over 100 acres and any of the grassed areas can be utilised for events, with marquees able to be erected for individual theming. A popular activity for groups is the animal encounters. Top of the line is the tiger and cheetah walks; pat a komodo dragon; behind the scenes tours and a hands on private animal experience. The famil group took part in the latter with a Burmese python, a wombat, koala, macaw and alligator as ‘guests’ at a private morning tea.
Meetings at Australia Zoo is available in one of three interconnecting classrooms or the zoo has one of the largest stadiums on the Sunshine Coast – the 5,000 seat Crocoseum. Utilised daily for a crocodile show, the stadium can be turned into an open air theatre with large screens on site or for private use. Australia Zoo has been welcoming visitors for 43 years and the legacy that crocodile expert and Australia Zoo owner Steve Irwin created is still going strong, seven years after his death. The zoo has around 1000 acres of undeveloped land and new areas, the likes of Africa are part of the ongoing development of the iconic Sunshine Coast activity.
Leona Watson, owner of the Cheeky Food Group, invited the Kiwis to cook their own breakfast. Catering for nine was a walk in the park for Watson, as her team of chefs are accustomed to running cooking classes for up to 700. ‘We have turned convention centres, hotel ball rooms and accommodation rooms into cooking schools in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. You don’t need a permanent kitchen to cook. Most of the class is learning about preparation; how to correctly use a knife and create simple dishes with fresh ingredients’, says Watson.
Frances Boortman, Driving Force Incentives chills out on one of the beautiful day beds on Makepeace Island
A lunchtime cruise around the canals and waterways of Mooloolaba onboard the Crusader 1, a charter vessel catering to fishing groups and corporates and incentives, was a relaxing way to spend the afternoon. Local catering company, Elliot’s Fine Food catered an antipasto platter with fresh seafood topped off with handmade macaroons and crème brule.Andrew Malcolm, Extra Mile Company, says he would be interested in incorporating the Fish & Crab charter for a boys' fishing day during an incentive trip and was impressed with the smooth execution of the new operation.
Barefoot on the sand
It’s the first time a Seafood Feast on the Beach has appeared on the Noosa Food and Wine festival’s calendar and it appears that the sell-out sand restaurant could return again next year. The food and wine match lunch in a marquee set up on Noosa Beach attracted over 150 diners and the dress code was casual, but remove shoes to go barefoot in the sand. Four chefs, including New Zealander Martin Bosley, prepared a five course feast onsite, consisting of bbq Shark Bay prawns, Lakes Entrance fish soup with chickpeas and saffron aioli and bbq glacier toothfish – caught about 3,500km northwest of Perth, (it was delicious).The Noosa Food & Wine Festival, now in its 10th year, has grown into an internationally recognised event on the region's calendar. This year the four day event was promoted in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Florence and Lauran Hofman, manager Business Events Sunshine Coast says that next year the promotion will move to another Italian city as well as breaking into France. A fun group activity, the festival caters to demonstrations, private lunches, high teas and wine tastings and is held annually in the middle of May.
Agents are being encouraged to leverage off Expedia's new campaign 'Out There Starts Here'. The first consumer promotion was Expedia’s Winter Sun Sale, highlighting deals for the winter months. Selected agents registered with Expedia TAAP can take advantage of the promotions with collateral for window displays available from Expedia.
Expedia claims over half of the travel agency community in ANZ are registered for the Affiliate Program with new registrations being approved every day and transaction volumes continue to grow at record levels. 'We are not an aggregator, that’s one of the things that make us unique,' confirms Stuart Udy, manager Expedia Travel Agent Distribution APAC. 'Expedia TAAP is an Expedia run programme, supported by Expedia appointed staff. When dealing with Expedia TAAP you are selling product contracted directly through Expedia and managed by over 1,200 local market managers worldwide. That means there is an end to end relationship between the product provider and the travel agent.'
Agents can also earn commission on the new Expedia Traveller Preference option (ETP) where clients can pay when they book or when they stay. Hotels, Expedia Holidays (Packages), rental cars and activities, which includes sightseeing and transfers, are all opportunities for retail agents to value add and earn additional commissions.
Expedia New Zealand and Australia managing director, Georg Ruebensal shared interesting trends at the media function in Auckland last night. One of the more surprising ones was a 100-160% increase in domestic travel bookings - a long hot summer in New Zealand is in part credited for this. Bookings to Hawaii, albeit from a low base, has increased 200% but Fiji remains the number one destination for Kiwis.
That Expedia has gained the trust of consumers is evident in big growth in bookings to Asia - Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bali and Vietnam.
Ruebensal's message to travel agents: 'We've enabled the trade to participate, it is up to them to do this.'
The Thailand roadshow showcased hotels (mainly from Phuket, Ko Samui and Bangkok) as well as a theme park, arilines and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau when it was held at SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre on May 14.
Tony Smith, Francis Travel Marketing; with Jacqui Hansen, Emma Robertson and Kelly Tawhai, all Go Holidays
Milena Bossa, Thai Airways International; Cindy Kapea, Infinity Holidays
Welcome to the Thailand Roadshow say Kerry Cook, Bruce Watson and Kelly Bates – all Francis Travel Marketing
SKYCITY Entertainment Group has signed a Heads of Agreement with the New Zealand Government to design, build and operate the New Zealand International Convention Centre. SKYCITY commits $315 million to build and fit-out the NZICC, in addition to contributing the 14,000 square metres Auckland CBD site, bounded by Nelson, Hobson and Wellesley streets, valued at $87 million.The development includes public convention and exhibition space capable of accommodating 3500 convention delegates at one time, at least 780 carpark spaces and a link-way bridge over Hobson Street. The centre is expected to open mid to late 2017.
New Caledonia Tourism in conjunction with Aircalin, Air New Zealand and key operators are set to update the travel industry with the latest developments in New Caledonia with a NZ roadshow. Download a pdf flyer'Up for grabs is return packages to New Caledonia, flying Air New Zealand and loads of other goodies,' says Simon Duffy, New Caledonia Tourism.
Diarise these dates:
Monday May 27 Auckland Floating Pavillion 5.45 - 9pm
Tuesday May 28 Wellington Westpac Stadium 5.45 - 9pm
Wednesday May 29 Christchurch The George Hotel 5.45 - 9pm
RSVP to Clare Hooton at New Caledonia Tourism before May 20.
Peter Donlevy, director of sales and marketing at Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Sultanate of Oman describes the country as ‘the hidden gem of the region.’
He says the destination is perfect for Kiwis, with its excellent fishing as well as trekking opportunities. On top of that are the heritage, culture and the opportunity to interact with the people.
‘I have travelled through the Gulf and there is nothing like Oman. What really surprised me was to find out that Arabs travel to Oman for an Arabian experience.'
A familiar face to many New Zealanders, Donlevy has been in Oman for about three years, following a two year stint in Penang, Malaysia. Before that he was based at Shangri La’s The Fijan Resort and Spa on the Coral Coast.
He says the agreement between Qantas and Emirates has already led to interest from the Australasian trade and hopefully will drive more New Zealand and Australian business to Oman and the region as a whole. At this year’s Arabian Travel Market, Donlevy met with key Australasian buyers. He says they probably would not have been interested before the EK-QF tie up.
‘At the moment we see some meetings and incentives business out of Australasia and a sprinkling of leisure traffic.’
Above: Davielle Gardner, The Jetset Travelworld Group and Peter Donlevy, Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa; discuss business during ATM.
As Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai looks towards its second 20 years, organisers say they will add more educational opportunities (seminars etc) to the event in the future. ATM already has a seminar stream and a technology series (sponsored by Google), but Reed Travel Exhibitions portfolio director Mark Walsh says adding more educational opportunities will give organisations with economic and political status more reasons to attend the show. 'Knowledge is power, so education and business go hand in hand,' he says.
The New 7 Wonders of Nature are being marketed through a new platform launched at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai. Visit7Wonders is designed to drive tourism to each location – the Amazon, South America; Ha Long Bay, Vietnam; Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil; Jeju Island, South Korea; Komodo Island, Indonesia; Puerto Princesca Underground River, Philippines; and South Africa’s Table Mountain.
More than 48,000 New Zealanders took a cruise holiday in 2012, with international cruises attracting record numbers, according to the 2012 New Zealand Cruise Industry report released in Auckland today at the Heritage Hotel.Releasing the report, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia general manager Brett Jardine says CLIA anticipated a return to strong growth patterns in 2013 and beyond when more cruise ship capacity is scheduled to be deployed in Auckland.
The report shows that while total passenger numbers fell 15% due to the absence of a cruise ship sailing from Auckland last winter, enthusiasm for cruise holidays continued to grow, with the number of New Zealanders cruising from overseas ports hitting a new high. International destinations other than the South Pacific attracted a milestone 37,013 passengers in 2012, up 24% on 2011, with Europe alone drawing 10,617 passengers. Jardine commented that projections for Europe over the next three years expect this number to double. Meanwhile river cruising numbers rose 32% to 3,502 and Asia proved to be the front runner with a 37% increase, although from a small base.Strong growth was recorded in the Caribbean, up 32%, while the other Americas grouping, which includes Hawaii, also rose 32%.
Donal O'Sullivan, Cruise World, says he wasn't suprised by the figures, but did add that Cruise World's figures for Europe for the year ending March 30, 2013 revealed a 30% increase. 'Cruising to Europe and the Americas is a huge market for us and the strong NZD against the USD and the Euro is listed as one of the major factors to increased passenger numbers. All styles of cruising are popular, but we have recorded significant growth with luxury small ships, in particular Seabourn.'
The report showed booking lead in times appear more stable as the figures reflect a shift towards early bookings in 2012. While the number of passengers booking a cruise 12 months or more before travel remained static at nine percent, 47.5% of passengers booked a cruise six to 12 months before departure on 2012, compared to 40% on 2011.
O'Sullivan concurs with the shift in lead in times and says they are still seeing last minute bookings, but it's a 'take what is left' scenario. 'There is certainly less choice the closer to departure and this is partly due to the fact that the US economy is slowly improving. Cruising is huge for the US market, and many cruise dates are filling up for 2014 and even into 2015. If an Earlybird deal hits the market, it's a good idea to take it as the last minute deals we were seeing in 2009/10 are not as prolific.'
Catching up at the Heritage Auckland is Jacqueline Unsworth, Stella retail cruise market manager and Donal O'Sullivan, Cruise World
Left - Team Mondo, Angela Bartram and Gordon Bayne take tea with Toni Paltridge, cruise marketing manager, Harvey World Travel
Right - Linda Halliday GM Cruise House of Travel and Aroha Whippy assistant product manager - cruise, House of Travel
First class still has a place in the airline market, but some routes are more receptive to it than others, a seminar audience heard at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai.
Carsten Schaeffer, Lufthansa’s vice president sales and services southeast Europe, Africa & Middle East says the airline is reducing first class capacity on a third of its fleet that currently has the class, but retaining it on two thirds.
‘We believe there is still a market out there. This region (the Middle East) has more under capacity than over capacity, but on services to Boston and Charlotte, for example, we don’t see (a need for) first class. The bottom line will improve if we don’t offer it there.’
Schaeffer says that as business class develops and improves, with features like lie flat beds, the differentiation between it and first diminishes. ‘However, there are so many extra benefits on the ground that people still buy it, and a lot of people still like the exclusivity of first class.’
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