Breaking news

Hot Off The Press

Cash donations needed for Vanuatu, then goods

Wednesday, 18 March 2015 15:46

The Auckland Vanuatu community is encouraging people to donate cash to the the various aid agencies so that immediate relief such as water and first aid supplies can get to those in need. People can make donations at or donate via the community's own fundraising portal: 

Red Cross emergency response partner, New Zealand Post Group has set up collection boxes in PostShops nationwide or Kiwis can donate directly into a dedicated Kiwibank account: 38 9010 0620343 01 New Zealanders have been donating generously to the Tropical Cyclone Pam Appeal. New Zealand Post has helped to get the ball rolling with a donation of $25,000 and Kiwibank has contributed an additional $10,000.

Meantime, the Auckland Vanuatu community is seeking the donation of a shipping container to ship donated items to Vanuatu. 'We have had quotes of between $3,000 and $5,000 for a shipping container and we simply don't have the resources to fund this,' says Jacquie Carson, New Zealand manager Vanuatu Tourism.

Vanuatu is in urgent need of supplies to help rebuild villages/homes/shelter, such as hardware, building supplies, tools, plywood sheets, solar lighting, hot plates (not electrical) and pots and pans. Other items also needed are tarpaulins, ropes, linen, clothing, canned and non-perishable foods, toiletries, school supplies, non-aerosol insect repellants, batteries, crockery and utensils, garbage bags, supplies for babies, buckets, zip ties, candles, matches, tents, pegs, vegetable seeds.

ProMag Publishing and TRAVELinc is the West Auckland 'drop-off point for donations which need to be delivered in packed boxes (not plastic bags), labelled on the outside as to the contents of each box for customs clearance requirements. All items must be clean and in working order. The West Auckland address is L1, West Coast Road, Glen Eden, Auckland. There is plenty of onsite parking and items can be delivered anytime during business hours - 8.30am to 5pm - or during evenings and weekends by arrangement. Contact Trish Freeman on 0274 430 837, email or Stu Freeman 0274 842 863, email


Events help boost numbers to Norfolk Island

Thursday, 12 March 2015 21:05

Norfolk Island is set to record its best result in five years for visitor arrivals in 2015. Arrivals are up 17% on 2014 for the first two months of the New Year following on from a solid performance for the July to December period which also recorded an increase on the previous year.

Norfolk Island Tourism general manager, Glen Buffett says this great start to the year is reflective of a significant increase in visitors from both Australia and New Zealand attracted to popular niche travel experiences and our growing events calendar.

‘The remainder of this year looks strong for bookings and we attribute much of this outcome to the success of our ongoing ‘There’s more to Norfolk Island, 360 Degrees of Wonder’ campaign highlighting the array of different experiences on island to be enjoyed,’ Buffett says.

Latest additions to the touring options such as sea kayaking, local cheese tastings, outer island trekking, snorkelling adventures, sports fishing and cooking classes, combined with new events such as the Food Festival in November and Outrigger Canoe challenge in January, have all contributed to increasing and diversifying the island’s many attractions.

A group of Kiwi travel agents was hosted to the island last weekend and enjoyed visiting the convict cemetry, wine tasting at Two Chimney Winery, site inspections and a good look around the island including Emily Bay Lagoon, the World Heritage area of Kingston and various local shops and art galleries.

Norfolk Island has direct Air New Zealand flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland.

Flight Centre still welcome at awards

Tuesday, 10 March 2015 15:10

All recognised travel industry suppliers and agents will be welcome to self nominate for the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) when nominations open on Monday 16 March – and that includes Flight Centre.

Flight Centre (NZ) Ltd announced last year that it would not be taking part in the proceedings in 2015 and that is currently the status quo.

However TAANZ chief executive officer Andrew Olsen reiterated today that the awards are open to everyone in the industry – supplier or agent.

‘Of course it’s open to Flight Centre,’ he says.

The awards are being held on Friday 28 August at MOTAT in Auckland. Olsen says people should read the conditions of entry and eligibility because there are a ‘couple of changes’, including some pertaining to the nomination process.

Details will be available on the TAANZ website from Monday.

Meantime, there are still a couple of categories open for sponsorship. Anyone interesting in the opportunity to sponsor a category should register their interest.

Redefining GSA model

Tuesday, 10 March 2015 14:26

World Aviation Systems is gaining traction and attracting new clients as a result of redefining the general sales agent (GSA) model, says James Vaile, general manager of airline representation.

Vaile says the winning of Virgin Atlantic’s representation in 10 markets around Asia Pacific against competition from all of the major players in the region is testimony that ‘doing things differently’ is working for the company.

‘This is all about efficiency. Gone are the days when carriers were everything to everyone and they could give it away. Now they are looking at things like synergies, cost efficiencies, and shared services. It’s about complete transparency, being honest and upfront and running the business for mutual benefit (of the airline and the GSA).’

Vaile says GSAs now need to ‘be the airline on the ground’, and not just be the sales and marketing function.

‘We deliver to our clients what they need to know, and that’s not just about a sales plan, it’s hard core analytics.’

World Aviation has represented Virgin Atlantic (VS) since 1 September in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, New Zealand and Fiji. Vaile says New Zealand offers huge opportunities for VS (as reported in the TRAVELinc Memo 27 February).

‘We have business development managers on the ground for annual contracting, but we actually run the representation for all those markets out of two offices – New Zealand and Australia.’

He says when it comes to reporting for airline clients, World Aviation’s analysts look at BSP and flown revenue.

‘We know how a tactical marketing campaign went last week, so we can report on return on investment for tacticals, and where it translates in terms of flown revenues.

‘We are still a GSA, but with efficiencies that are measurable and profitable.’

World Aviation represents 19 carriers in Australia and New Zealand, some in only one of those markets (such as Hawaiian Airlines in Australia) and others in both (VS, Indian carrier Jet Airways, Shichuan Airlines, Aer Lingus and more).

Vaile emphasises that the company will see more growth soon, with details still to be announced.

‘We have a lot of interesting movement happening that is the direct result of us doing things differently.’

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

Tuesday, 24 February 2015 16:24

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.

John O’SullivanO’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.’

New Wellington Mercure

Friday, 27 February 2015 11:52

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.

NZ takes big cut as Tourism Australia 're-allocates' funding for 2015-16 year

Monday, 23 February 2015 15:20

Tourism Australia will have a significantly reduced representation in New Zealand with general manager New Zealand, Jenny Aitken running the Auckland office solo from July 1.

The New Zealand team was informed of the changes on Thursday in person by Aitken, accompanied by deputy chief executive Frances-Anne Keeler, who both acknowledged the high performance of the New Zealand team and the great work they have achieved with their partners.

Tourism Australia will increase its focus on the high yielding business events sector in New Zealand through the Auckland office which will maintain its lease in Parnell and will continue to work with partners where business events opportunities exist.

Although New Zealand remains a key market for Australia, a Tourism Australia press release issued this morning states high levels of consumer awareness and conversion currently exist thanks to the combined marketing efforts of Tourism Australia, the state and territory tourism offices and New Zealand trade partners.

New duty free providers at AKL

Friday, 20 February 2015 15:19

DFS and JR both out

Duty free providers DFS and JR Retail will be out of Auckland Airport and two new operators will be in from 1 July 2015.

LS Travel Retail Pacific and Aer Rianta will be the two new duty-free operators.

Richard Barker, Auckland Airport’s general manager of retail and commercial says the airport has completed its international tender process. He says the airport received five strong bids.

LS Travel and Aer Rianta will have licences for at least seven years.

‘They will provide our passengers with shopping experiences unrivalled anywhere else in the country.’

Virtuoso partners with NZ's First Travel Group

Monday, 16 February 2015 15:11

Luxury travel network Virtuoso has announced a partnership with First Travel Group, the New Zealand independent travel alliance specialising in high-end leisure and corporate travel.

First Travel Group members Voyage Affaires and North Shore Business Travel have been Virtuoso members for more than 10 years and this foundation in the luxury market provided the impetus for a deeper partnership between the brands.

Virtuoso Asia-Pacific managing director Michael Londregan says First Travel Group members Stars Travel New Plymouth, Business World Travel and Holland Clarke & Beatson have been added to the network.

‘They will be joining our longstanding members to create a more viable scale and market coverage position.’

Pictured above are Michael Londregan, Virtuoso Asia-Pacific managing director; Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso chief executive officer and chairman; Andrew Bowman, First Travel Group managing director