Hot Off The Press

New Wellington Mercure one of four for Australia - NZ

Accor’s has four new Mercure hotels joining the group, increasing the number of Mercure hotels across Australia and New Zealand to 49.

In New Zealand, the Abel Tasman Hotel in Wellington will rebrand to Mercure Wellington Abel Tasman as of March 2015. This 73-room hotel is located in the heart of Wellington’s business and entertainment district, and is within walking distance of Lampton Harbour. Facilities include a restaurant, bar bistro and four main function rooms which can cater for up to 120 people.

In Australia, the Ballarat Lodge & Convention Centre will be rebranded to Mercure Ballarat Hotel & Convention Centre in March 2015.

Hotel Launceston in Tasmania will be rebranded to Mercure Launceston in April 2015, and the Best Western Goulburn in New South Wales will join the Accor network in March 2015 and be rebranded as Mercure Goulburn.

Hot Off The Press

Boosting business events is focus of Tourism Australia's smaller office

A desire not to duplicate the efforts of state and territory offices and other industry partners was one of the reasons behind Tourism Australia’s decision to downsize its physical presence in the New Zealand market, says John O’Sullivan, TA’s managing director. The Auckland office will become a ‘one person band’, with general manager New Zealand Jenny Aitken running the operation alone from 1 July.


O’Sullivan, pictured, spoke to Meeting Newz at the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) in Melbourne yesterday and says the reality is that 94% of New Zealand arrivals into Australia are repeat visitors.

‘We will continue to have the office in Auckland and we will be using our digital and social channels a well as working with key airline partners Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand.

‘However, our focus will be zeroing in on the high yielding business events sector and how we can boost the number of arrivals and increase the spend from that market.’

He says Aitken will be working in the business events (incentives, conferences, meetings, and exhibitions) with support from the Business Events Australia team in Sydney.

O’Sullivan says 195,000 New Zealanders visited Australia for business events for last year, spending $238 million. ‘We want to turbo-charge that.’

A press release from Tourism Australia yesterday stated the New Zealand consumer is now very familiar with the Australian tourism offering. ‘Australia has a 48% share of the outbound New Zealand market - and consequently the need to develop brand awareness here is low.

Tourism Australia’s state and territory tourism partners already invest significantly in the New Zealand market, promoting their own specific regions and experiences, and this will continue. We feel they are best placed to provide New Zealand travellers with the all-important ‘new news’ and provide the reasons for Kiwis to travel and explore deeper into our country.’


Hot Off The Press

New Caledonia Tourism Office to close

The Auckland office of New Caledonia Tourism will close on 27 February, Jean-Michel Foutrein, director of New Caledonia Tourism, advised today. Representation in the New Zealand market will be picked up by Australian company, GTI Tourism from 1 March.

GTI Tourism's sales and marketing account director Caroline Brunel will lead the strategy for the New Zealand market and an announcement will be made shortly as to the GTI appointment to be based in Auckland.

In today's press release, Foutrein thanked Simon Duffy, Claire Hooton, Martine Cassrels and Rachel Leitch from the Auckland office for their commitment to the trade and their passion for the destination.

Hot Off The Press

Aloha Down Under returns

Hawai’i Tourism has announced it will host a new workshop-style Aloha Down Under roadshow for 2015.

The workshops will be an opportunity for Hawai’i industry partners to visit and engage with the New Zealand travel industry through a series of educational training events.

The Auckland stop (en route to Australia) will be held on Monday 11 May and includes a business-to-business lunch.

More product will be included with up to 20 Hawai’i suppliers attending, representing hotels, activities, transportation and experiences.

Darragh Walshe of Hawai’i Tourism Oceania says the more in-depth roadshow reflects the growth in travel from New Zealand to Hawai’i in recent years.

‘Up till now Hawai’i Tourism’s roadshow, Aloha Down Under has been a bi-annual event on the New Zealand calendar, but due to its success and demand from both the Hawai’i and New Zealand markets, this year we have added a more in-depth workshop style roadshow.’

Hot Off The Press

Qantas sparkles for Valentines

Qantas is adding some sparkle for Valentine's Day this year with the launch of Champagne and Kate and Jack Spade amenity kits in business class.

On February 14, customers travelling business between New Zealand and Australia and Noumea and Sydney will enjoy a selection of Jacquart Cuvee Brut Mosaique NV, Champagne Duval-Leroy Brut NV and NV Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve.

Business customers will also be given amenity kits designed by Kate Spade and Jack Spade on services between Auckland and Australia departing after 6pm.

Left, TRAVELinc's Ruth Scott with a Valentine's pack from Qantas delivered to the ProMag office today.


Hot Off The Press

Bid Now Upgrades from QF

Qantas Frequent Flyers have another way to request an upgrade, with the launch of a new online invitation-only bidding system.

Bid Now Upgrades, to be gradually introduced across the Qantas network from now, allows invited Frequent Flyers booked in economy and premium economy to make an offer for a business upgrade using a combination of money and Qantas Points.

Bid Now Upgrades will be allocated after all Classic Upgrade Rewards (which are points-only upgrades) have been processed. The new system ranks below Classic Upgrade Rewards in terms of priority and value, but gives members the flexibility to supplement points with a cash payment.

Qantas loyalty chief executive officer Lesley Grant says Bid Now Upgrades will provide greater opportunity for customers to travel in Qantas’ premium cabins.

‘This is designed for Frequent Flyers who don’t have a balance high enough to request an upgrade using points alone.

‘For a member who doesn’t have enough points to submit an upgrade request for their whole family, Bid Now Upgrades offers an alternative chance to travel at the front of the plane with their spouse and children using a combination of money and points.’

Hot Off The Press

Norfolk Island famil details revealed

A walk through a convict cemetry, wine tasting at Two Chimney Winery, and a choice of activities from horse riding to kayaking, snorkeling and reef walking will be part of a Norfolk island travel agents famil next month.

As reported in TRAVELinc Memo (Tues 10 Feb) up to 10 New Zealand travel agents will be hosted on the famil to Norfolk Island and Brisbane from 8 to 11 March.

The group will be staying at Paradise Resort in Norfolk Island and the recently refurbished View Hotel on the banks of Brisbane River.

Along with site inspections, the trip will include a good look around the island – visiting Emily Bay Lagoon, the World Heritage area of Kingston and various local shops and art galleries.

There will also be a morning bushwalk through National Park land, followed by brunch at a local café.

Any agent who sells Norfolk Island and would like to take part in the famil, can confirm their interest now.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Hot Off The Press

Win a trip to France

Trafalgar has a new interactive competition to win a romantic trip for two on a nine-day Wonderful France holiday, including flights.

It is open to agents and consumers alike. Contestants place an interactive pin on the map to mark the hidden treasure of Mimi’s staircase in Paris and enter the competition at

It is based around a video shot by Trafalgar remaking the true story of a couple looking for family routes in France and finding it with the help of their Travel Director. Watching the video, will give entrants a clue to where in Paris Mimi’s staircase is located to help place the pin on the panorama image to win.

‘Like most of the destinations Trafalgar takes our guests to, France has many secrets waiting to be discovered and the competition showcases this,’ says Trafalgar general manager Scott Cleaver.

The global competition runs until 26 February, 2015, the same date of Trafalgar’s Early Payment Discount deadline offering clients savings of up to 7.5% on applicable 2015 Europe and Britain holidays.

Hot Off The Press

Convention centre feasibility study for Rarotonga

The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation (CITC) is seeking proposals from qualified consulting firms or individuals for the development of a Convention Centre Feasibility Study & Design Concepts Project, Rarotonga. A copy of the Request For Proposal document can be obtained by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Lodgements of Submission are to be emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it CITC request all proposals be submitted by 4pm Monday 09 February 2015.

Hot Off The Press

Rail push gives agents opportunities


As Great Southern Rail embarks on TV advertising in New Zealand for the first time and launches its new Journey Beyond brand campaign, kiwi agents are being urged to take advantage of the higher profile.

The company operates The Ghan and Indian Pacific, two classic Australian train journeys.

Dave Atherton, business development manager – international with Great Southern Rail, says the introduction of The Ghan Expedition (the new four day Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide) gives travel agents great opportunities to earn more money selling an all inclusive fare as well as selling the upgrade scenic flight over Uluru as part of this package.

‘We have seen a lot of interest in The Ghan so our focus this year is to try and attract more Kiwis onto this iconic Australian experiential journey.


‘The key point for agents to promote is to book early for savings. We would love the New Zealand travel industry to really align with our brand TV campaign in February and have agents promote our great offers to their customers.

‘There is also excellent information on our revamped website, which was launched earlier this month with our new brand look and feel.’

Hot Off The Press

Re-launched Club Raro urges trade to look again

Club Raro Resort has re-launched to unveil a newer and more mature island holiday look.

The three star Cook Islands property has just completed a year long refurbishment project of all 67 rooms as well as the reception, restaurant and public areas.

A launch party was held at the resort late last week with agents from New Zealand, as well as local operators, invited along to check out the new look property.

Raumati Barbara, Coconuts Marketing, says the re- launch is a message to trade to forget the Club Raro of old, and give the new one a chance.

‘Forget the Club Raro that you had in your head previously, this new look Club Raro is better quality, the food is fantastic, and really it’s a good holiday destination for anyone looking for something affordable in the Cook Islands.’

Barbara says the resort got quite run down and unfortunately that image is what’s in the trade’s heads.

A major part of the upgrade was getting rid of the ‘party house’ and transforming that space into 10 self contained studio rooms.

The changes reflect the shifting of the traditional backpacker demographic to young couples wanting a private holiday that’s still affordable.

‘We’re really trying to broaden who we are targeting and show them that if you’re looking for an affordable resort where you’re going to get a good quality stay, relaxed friendly atmosphere, you’ll get that at Club Raro,’ says Barbara.

Shane Robertson, Infinity Holidays, says Club Raro used to look tired, so it’s been great to get a whole new perception.

‘Club Raro had a bad rap, but I’ve been really impressed and I think that it’s the best property for its price point in Rarotonga.’

The Club Raro famil group also visited Highland Paradise Culture Centre, went on a Raro Safari Tour, and stopped over for a night at Aitutaki.

Ashna Ali, Air New Zealand Holidays; Raumati Barbara, Coconuts Travel Marketing; Janine Keys, House of Travel Product Arama Framhein, Flight Centre Botany; Christine Robbie-Ulberg, United Travel

Luke Jones, GO Holidays; Trellay Reihana, Lifestyle Holidays; Shane Robertson, Infinity Holidays; Melissa Plumb, Flight Centre Product

Amanda Platt, Island Time; Jono and Laura Hutchins, New Zealand Herald Trellay Reihana, Lifestyle Holidays; Shane Robertson, Infinity Holidays; Janine Keys, House of Travel Product The old Sheraton Rarotonga still sits waiting...

Melissa Plumb, Flight Centre Product; Lucy Fox, Flight Centre visiting a waterfall on the Island Safari Tour

Club Raro famil group having a wee dip at Papa Aroa beach Shane Robertson, Infinity Holidays, testing out the tree phone at the top of the safari lookout
Captain Chocolate, Captain Trouble and their apprentice serenading guests waiting to explore the marine reserve on Captain Tama's Lagoon Cruise A spot of snorkeling on the lagoon Captain Chocolate found a giant clam!
The welcome crew at Highland Paradise Culture Cultural Centre Janine Keys, House of Travel Product, drinking coconut water during a coconut opening ritual at Highland Paradise Cultural Centre Arama Framhein, Flight Centre Botany; Ashna Ali, Air New Zealand Holidays; Shane Robertson, Infinity Holidays
Dancers at Highland Paradise Cultural Centre depicting a time when local children heard aeroplanes fly over their school for the first time Trellay Reihana, Lifestyle Holidays with the village dancers. Janine Keys, House of Travel Product; Luke Jones, GO Holidays; Arama Framhein, Flight Centre Botany; Trellay Reihana, Lifestyle Holidays

Hot Off The Press

Statement from FJ re Shannon Currie

Fiji Airways regrets to advise the passing of its regional general manager New Zealand, Shannon Currie, last night.

'Shannon was an integral part of our Fiji Airways team and a key player in the many successes of Fiji Airways in the New Zealand market,' says Fiji Airways CEO, Stefan Pichler.

'He played an essential role in our very effective and popular mid-air weddings campaign which gained us a Guinness World Record which we proudly share with him.

'Shannon was an absolute pleasure to work with; a valued team member, friend and colleague and will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with his family at this time,' said Pichler.

Regional general manager Australia, Andrew Stanbury will look after the New Zealand region for the interim until a suitable successor is found.

Hot Off The Press

Sell three, sail free

Royal Caribbean is offering agents who make three or more qualifying bookings on select cruises departing January 2015 a complimentary cruise for two on a local Royal Caribbean itinerary of up to seven nights duration.

Ranging between 10 and 12 nights onboard Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas, cruise prices start from NZD$103 a day.

Each of the four select itineraries departs Sydney and makes a roundtrip taking in the South Pacific, calling at locations like Noumea and the Isle of Pines, Vanuatu, Lifou and Mystery Island. Departure dates include 17, 20, 28 and 31 January 2015.

To redeem a complimentary local cruise, agents simply need to send details of each qualifying booking, along with the details of the cruise they wish to request, to Inside Sales ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) by Friday 13th February 2015.

See for full terms and conditions.

Hot Off The Press

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.


Hot Off The Press

Page 1 of 19