Hot Off The Press

Out and about this week

Friday, 29 July 2016 14:20

World Journeys’ four centre Southern Africa roadshow has been described by exhibitor Herbie Rosenberg from Africareps as pioneering.

‘These events have always been driven by the tourism board, where we come (to New Zealand) en masse for a quick booth setup and leave. But this event has been tailored, and how could we not support it?’

Agents were invited to bring their clients along last week to events in Nelson, Dunedin, Christchurch and Auckland to hear from andBeyond, Ultimate Safaris (Namibia), Sanctuary Retreats, Rovos Rail and SAA as well as Africa reps, representing Wilderness Safaris, The Blue Train, Londolozi, Royal Zambezi Lodge, Legacy Hotels and The Victoria Falls Hotel.

Rosenberg says the suppliers appreciated agents attended with their clients. ‘It means everyone gets our message directly. These are top-end travellers, savvy on where they want to go and how they want to do it, but we can assist them, and their agents, in broadening their awareness of the destinations and products.’

‘Kiwi numbers are doing well,’ he adds. ‘We are registering fantastic growth from this market, particularly from World Journeys, and by us all being present at these events is only going to increase numbers.

‘Agents approached me in Nelson and Dunedin and thanked us for coming to town. ‘They said they are missed o many roadshow schedules, but there is so much potential business.’

Caroling Clegg, World Journeys marketing manager, agrees and added bookings are coming from these regions and pocket destinations around New Zealand.

‘We would love to do more cities, but it’s time.’

Clegg says South Africa is the most popular destination for the company, particularly for families, followed by Botswana, Zambia and Namibia.’

‘Namibia is different to the other countries. It doesn’t have the concentration of wildlife as the rest, but it does have an untapped wilderness and a strong priority for conservation. Botswana and Zambia complement each other and many clients are combining the two.’


New Zealand still ‘underserved’ from USA and other markets

Wednesday, 20 July 2016 12:12

New Zealand remains underserved by airline capacity from around the word in spite of an influx of new services, according to Auckland Airport. 

At a press conference marking Sunday’s inaugural United Airlines service between Auckland and San Francisco, Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood said the US market remained ‘underserved by about 30% even taking the new capacity into account’.

This follows an analysis entitled Growing Travel Markets, presented by the airport’s general manager, aeronautical commercial Norris Carter. It asserts the massive China market is underserved by 39%, Japan by 28% and South Korea by 53%. Even Australia is underserved by 32%, the report claims.

‘This is not a forecast, rather a modelled view of market possibilities which we’ve based on a mix of public and proprietary data,’ says Carter.

‘The modelling we’ve done indicates the US is a strong market for passenger growth. New Zealand is an attractive destination for US travellers. This is why we have seen United and American come on board, and we see room for further growth.’   

Dave Hilfman, United’s senior vice president worldwide sales, says the airline is pleased with the early loadings it is seeing on the airline’s Auckland to San Francisco service. The carrier is confident enough to be increasing from three flights a week to daily from 30 October.

He says 70% to 75% of the traffic of the passengers on the service are United States point of sale.

‘That’s not surprising considering the size of the market but we are also seeing growth out of New Zealand.’

Kevin Bowler, chief executive of Tourism New Zealand, was not prepared to speak directly about the airports anaysis.

‘There’s no doubt though that we're seeing a high level of interest from new and existing airlines to add services, which supports the view that there is considerable potential for new capacity into New Zealand.’

Brent Thomas, commercial director at House of Travel, says that with significant growth in capacities trans-Tasman and in other market’s growth, outbound from New Zealand has definitely grown as well. ‘But not by those figures presented by Auckland Airport, so they are obviously talking inbound.’

However Thomas says extra capacity is welcomed by the trade and clients here. ‘Not only does it bring competitive pricing but also gives a choice of routes and more choice on the preferred travel times. That’s true even in the short-haul markets. If there is more capacity in peak times such as the coming school holidays, then that’s a boon for the customer.’

Africa increase ‘no surprise’

Friday, 01 July 2016 13:11

World Journeys says it is not surprised New Zealand visitor arrivals into South Africa in April are up by 25% compared to April 2015.  Total arrivals from NZ January to April 2016 are up by 17% on last year. 

Ange Pirie, World Journeys director and Africa specialist confirms the company’s Africa revenue by departure date for 2016 (to date) is up 40% on 2015 already. Pirie says World Journeys has invested heavily over the years in ensuring the team’s product and destination knowledge is strong. 

‘Attending specialist African trade events each year is an excellent way of keeping on top of developments and new product, and we also send our team regularly to experience new destinations and product first hand. For example, this year Tony O’Callaghan visited Madagascar which has been growing in popularity, and has brought that first-hand knowledge back into the team, allowing us to give the best most up-to-date advice. I visited South Africa this year to check out the newly opened Tintswalo Atlantic, just up the coast from Cape Town, which has been totally rebuilt after it’s devastating fire last year, and experienced some amazing properties in the winelands including Babylonstoren, Grand Provence and Leeu House; Grootbos Nature Reserve on the Garden Route, the exclusive Tswalu Private Game Reserve in the Kalahari, and Madikwe Game Reserve up towards the border with Botswana,’ says Pirie. 

World Journeys has a new African flyer available to agents, featuring Rovos Rail’s Cape Town to Dar es Salaam journey, an Ultimate Namibia Safari, the popular  Fly Around Botswana safari, and the Magic of the Mountain Gorillas package in Uganda.

Kiwis leading the way in tourism, says hotel head

Friday, 01 July 2016 13:05

New Zealand’s management of its bursting tourism industry is streets ahead of its peers across the ditch, says CEO of Choice Hotels Asia-Pac Trent Fraser. ‘I love how the Prime Minister has the tourism portfolio. He understands and gets the needs of the industry, and the government is fully supportive of it,’ says Fraser.

John Key announced at the TRENZ tourism conference in May the government will invest $20 million over four years into the sector as it continues to welcome record numbers of visitors.

Fraser says those who believe not enough is being done to prepare the country’s infrastructure for the growing pressure may not have the benefit of being able to compare the two nations. ‘Kiwis are miles ahead, and understand it is a major driver for economic growth. Australia hasn’t quite got there yet, but it will.’

Choice Hotels Asia-Pac’s confidence in the health of the Kiwi tourism market is evidenced by its recent launch of its boutique Ascend Hotel Collection brand through its partnership with Nugget Point Hotel in Queenstown. Fraser says the move is an exciting one for the Ascend Hotel Collection, adding the iconic hotel and its location fit well with the brand.

The company runs 32 hotels across the country under its four other Asia Pac brands – Comfort, Quality, Econo Lodge and Clarion. However, Fraser adds New Zealand has further potential when its comes to the Ascend Hotel Collection. Developers are therefore looking to add around three more hotels to the brand by the end of the year, and 15 to 20 in the next three years. It seems likely hotels in Auckland and Wellington will fall under the Ascend Hotel Collection banner in the near future. ‘We would like to target Christchurch but Auckland and Wellington has the majority need so that’s were the conversations are focused,’ Fraser says.

Meanwhile, a recent New Zealand Trade and Enterprise report claimed there is could be a shortfall of 4526 hotel rooms in Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown by 2025.

Fraser believes increased room rates will pull more hotels into the pool. It is making the country more and more attractive for developers, particularly when it came to converting existing buildings into hotels, he says. Fraser is also positive when it comes to the issue of supply not meeting demand in some centres during the peak season. He says moves at a local government level were helping to spread tourism numbers to shoulder and off-peak seasons. ‘Everyone is aware it is hard to get rooms so pushing events those times,’ he says. Fraser concludes the booming Kiwi industry is in good heart, and overdue. ‘It’s in a positive position and that’s not going to slow down for at least two to three years.’




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. 


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.



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.


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.