AAT Kings has taken a strategic shareholding in Queensland’s Down Under Tours with the aim to grow the tourism market in Cairns and the Tropical North. The commercial partnership ensures Down Under Tours will remain an independent company, with founders James and Gordon Dixon maintaining management control in Cairns.AAT Kings, managing director, Anthony Hayes says the new partnership provides the missing piece of the Australian puzzle. 'We will now be in a position to provide the complete package to our customers and our industry partners around the world, with Down Under Tours’ strength and expertise in Tropical North Queensland adding to the depth of experiences and destinations AAT Kings already offers throughout the rest of Australia and New Zealand.'AAT Kings and Down Under Tours will work to better coordinate schedules, tour packages and strategy, but both companies stressed the new partnership was guaranteed to be 'business as usual' for all partners.
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New Zealand’s tourism industry is supporting a package of proposed reforms designed to make trans-Tasman travel even easier.
New Zealand and Australia provide the largest single source of visitors for each country. More than 1.2 million Aussies crossed the ditch in the year to June 2014 while just over 1 million Kiwis visited Australia.
'The implementation of the TTF reforms would unlock further growth from Australia by making travel across the Tasman even easier and more affordable,' says Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) chief executive Chris Roberts.
The current bilateral arrangements between Australia and New Zealand lag behind border agreements elsewhere in the world, like those for the 26 countries within Europe’s Schengen zone, between the USA and Canada, and between the UK and Ireland, Roberts says.
The four proposed reforms are:
The TAANZ National Travel Industry Awards 2014 have just been declared a sell-out, says The Travel Agents Association of New Zealand’s chief executive officer Andrew Olsen.
‘If you haven’t got a ticket, you’ll have to hear about it afterwards,’ he says.
The awards are being held on Saturday, August 30 at the Pullman Auckland and Olsen says industry support has been overwhelming. ‘The first year is not without its moments of discovery and the industry has adopted a wonderful, collaborative approach.’
He advises that people should not be late for the event. ‘We will be starting with a surprise.’
Agents have been advised to book clients early if they wish to attend the historic All Backs - Manu Samoa game in July next year. That was the message at the Samoa Roadshow event at The Floating Pavilion, Auckland yesterday.
Fasitau Ula, Samoan Tourism Authority (STA) advises that considerable interest has already been received and it appears that the game in Samoa definitely sell out. Accommodation is expected to be at a premium. Ula says Samoa is looking to give people more reasons to travel so STA continues to push events such as this major rugby game. Other events being highlighted include the annual swim series in July - August and the half Samoa iron man around the same time.
Last night’s Samoa roadshow event registered 180 rsvps, a testament of the popularity of the destination and the desire of the trade to find out more about it. Exhibiting resorts at the roadshow say their bookings in recent times also point to a strong year for Samoa.
Saletoga Sands Resort and Spa opened on 1 April has had an incredibly busy start, averaging 80% occupancy. Jessica Lea, Coconuts Travel Marketing, reports strong interest from the consumers at the Flight Centre show over the weekend. ‘This reflects the need for family friendly resorts in Samoa,’ she says.
Seabreeze has also had a strong season, continuing to be popular with kiwis. Next year the minimum age of children at the resort from 15 (increased from 13)
Rail Plus reports that the return of French rail operator SNCF to the Eurail Select Pass in April this year is rekindling New Zealand travellers’ interest in one of the key European rail passes.
The move coincided with changes to the Eurail Select Pass, with a single pass now offering unlimited travel through four adjoining European countries (the previous three and five country passes eliminated).
The four-country Eurail Select Pass offers a choice of five, six, eight, 10 or 15 days travel within a two-month period (days do not need to be consecutive). Adjoining countries must be bordering and be linked by a direct, not through another country, train or shipping line.Contact Rail Plus on 09 377 5415 or visit railplus.co.nz
By Peter ClarkVirgin Australia CEO John Borghetti wasn’t giving anything away as to what the airline might choose as a replacement for its B777-300ERs and A330-200s when he took a detailed look at the Airbus A350-900 XWB recently.The aircraft was making a world tour when it was in Sydney on 5 August and Borghetti was on board just before it departed for Auckland. He was being shown around by Isabelle Floret, Sen VP Airbus Sales, Sydney.But he made it clear that evaluations had resumed and that there was a timetable for reaching a decision, while not disclosing when that choice would be made. On the flight of the A350 across the Tasman, there were several Virgin Australia staff evaluating its operation and lay out.
The latest A350 XWB aircraft from Airbus is making its way around the world on its certification tour. In Auckland on August 6, members of the Airbus team escorted local media throughout the innovative plane at Auckland Airport.
As well as the latest technology systems delivering a 25% reduction in fuel burn and operating costs compared to previous generation competing aircraft and reduction in CO2 emissions, the design features include an extra wide body cross section; touch screen IFE; large overhead compartments - apparently big enough to take a full size roller bag; numerous temperature control zones, draft free air conditioning and 6,000ft cabin pressure altitude.
For business class passengers, seats in the 1 x 2 x 1 configuration cabin feature lie flat beds and individual push button back massage options.
The A350 leaves Auckland for Santiago, then onto Sao Paulo, Moscow and Helsinki.
Adrian Littlewood, Auckland Airport chief executive (left) and Charles Berryman, Auckland Airport Iwi Relations manager (far right) with Isabelle Floret, senior VP Pacific for Airbus and Jean-Michel Roy, Airbus test pilot with their new All Blacks shirt and rugby ball.
Over 500 guests from the travel industry, corporate and conferencing sectors travelled the world last night at the annual World of Accor at the Pullman, Auckland.
Forty Accor representatives from around New Zealand, Australia, South Pacific, Asia, UK, Europe and the Americas showed up to update and educate delegates on their market offerings.
The event coincided with Accor celebrating 20 years of business in New Zealand.
Garth Simmons, vice-president New Zealand, Pacific Islands & Japan with Accor, feels the situation in New Zealand is ‘reasonably buoyant.’
He says the low season is still an issue but he sees plenty to be positive about as the company celebrates 20 years here.
>>ProMag Publishing event manager Ally Eastaugh caught up with Chris Lethbridge, New Zealand regional manager, Emirates
Palazzo Versace took out the stand of the year award at Convene Q yesterday, with Saxton Speakers Bureau being named runner up. Judge Anna Stewart, of Queensland Conventions and Incentives, says the personnel on both stands were engaging and proactive. The women on the Palazzo Versace stand were 'dressed beautifully and reflected the brand'.Maui Jim Sunglasses and Sunshine Coast Businenss Events were both highly commended.
The awards topped off a successful inaugural event at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, which saw more than 200 local conference, meeting and event planners and 30 hosted buyers do business with some 60 exhibitors from around Queensland.
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre General Manager, Bob O’Keeffe welcomed Convene Q 2014 to the centre’s calendar of events describing it as a boost for the local business events industry.
'It’s great to see a Queensland showcase back on the agenda providing an insight into the depth and diversity of what the Queensland business events industry has to offer and its unique appeal as an events destination.'
'The fact that it has attracted exhibitors from the Tropical North right down to the Tweed and buyers from all over Queensland, Australia and from New Zealand demonstrates the need for such an Expo.'
Easyway Holidays, a subsidiary of World Interline Tours, will discontinue operations effective July 30, 2014. World Interline Tours / Easyway Holidays was incorporated in 1980 and has served the industry these past 34 years, providing Positive Space holiday packages for many sectors of the tourism industry. Managing director Peter Black says that in today’s environment access and availability of industry travel privileges has changed markedly through many factors. 'Direct access via computerisation and direct offerings by many suppliers to the industry through their own channels has been a deciding influence on our ability to continue offering this special industry facility. Reservations will honour all existing bookings until all confirmed travel has been completed. The industry priced Easyway Travel Insurance will continue to be available on line or manually. On line can still be accessed through the web site, which will shortly be amended to reflect direct access to this on line facility.
Innovative Travel recently hosted the winners of its Turkey & Gallipoli sales incentive to the play ‘Once on Chunuk Bair’.
Robyn Galloway, Gail Littin and Lisa Wharfe, Pukekohe Travel; Gerald Patterson, HWT Howick; Elhamy Elzayat, Innovative Travel; Moira Walker, HWT Howick got to join in the fun
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