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Stand outs at Convene Q

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.'

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MH17 Incident - release from Malaysia

Trade press release
Malaysia has secured an agreement with Ukrainian separatists, who control the area around the MH17 crash site, to allow a group of international police personnel to enter the area in order to provide protection for international crash investigators.

Pursuant to the earlier agreement between Prime Minister Najib Razak and Alexander Borodai, leader of the separatist forces, Mr Borodai today agreed to allow a deployment of international police personnel to enter the crash site.

Prime Minister Najib has today spoken to the prime ministers of the Netherlands and Australia, and the three grieving countries have agreed to work closely together in deploying police personnel.
68 Malaysian police personnel will leave Kuala Lumpur for the crash site on Wednesday as part of the international deployment.

Under the original three point agreement brokered between Prime Minister Najib and Mr Borodai last week, the Ukrainian separatists agreed to: transfer the black boxes to Malaysia; handover the human remains to international officials; and grant full access to the crash site for international investigators.

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Easyway Holidays closes its doors

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.

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Innovative Travel winners

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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Statement from Malaysia Airlines for MH17

Malaysia Airlines confirms it is operating all scheduled flights to and from Australia and New Zealand as normal and is grateful for the support of travel agents and passengers during this difficult time.
The company reiterates that the Malaysian Government, the majority shareholder in Malaysia Airlines, is committed to ensuring the airline’s long term future as its national carrier.

Mr Lee Poh Kait, Regional Senior Vice President, Australia, New Zealand & South-West Pacific says 'We are determined to rebuild trust in Malaysia Airlines as one of the best full-service carriers in the world and we appreciate the support of travel agencies, passengers and our valued employees.'

'The Australasian region is our main market outside of Malaysia. As a result of increased demand, we boosted capacity from Australia and New Zealand in February 2014 by a third, with a sleek new fleet of the latest A330 aircraft and an AUD$800 million investment in new aircraft type,' he added.

There are now 81 flights a week direct to Malaysia with Kuala Lumpur as the hub to more than 80 destinations worldwide. Malaysia Airlines operates the state of the art A380 on services to London and Paris.

Malaysia Airlines flights to and from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin and Auckland will operate as per normal schedule.
Malaysia Airlines deeply regret the loss of MH17 and our prayers and thoughts are with the families and loved ones.

The families may contact 02 9364 3526. Log on to for updates.
Thank you for your continued support,
Malaysia Airlines

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East extends welcome

East Coast USA had its first sales mission to New Zealand mid-July, and delegates say it won’t be the last. Representatives from New York City, New York State, Washington DC and Florida hosted a travel trade function and then met with product managers and media in business to business sessions at The Nathan Club in Auckland.

In 2013, New York City welcomed 26,000 visitors from New Zealand and Christopher Heywood, senior vice president global communications of NYC & Company says there is definite potential fro growth from the market.

Malcolm McLeod, First Travel; Roxana Rivera, Newseum, Washington DC

Mandy Veale, Mondo Travel; Catharine Pear, Bike and Roll, Washington DC

Gabrielle Brown, House of Travel; Makiko Matsuda Healy, NYC & Company

Man Jae Kwon and Carl Amos, both Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Tony Smith, Francis Travel Marketing; Jason Davis, Heartland Brewery, New York

Christopher Heywood, NYC & Company; Nadege Landa, Air New Zealand Holidays

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New Caledonia's Facebook winner

New Caledonia Tourism's facebook competition has revealed a winner. Sheree Robinson from Waiuku, Auckland has won tickets for two flying Aircalin, return transfers in Noumea and accommodation at the Ramada Plaza.

In order to qualify to win the trip Facebook users had to simply LIKE the New Caledonia page to be in to win

General manager Simon Duffy says they received a great many LIKES and Sheree was selected from over 1500 entries. 'That is the beauty of Facebook as it generates interest and conversation and we have people talking about their experiences in New Caledonia. We see conversations about couples who went to Noumea for their honeymoon and want to return as well as the destination being on many 'wish lists'.

From left - Claire Hooton, New Caledonia Tourism; Cathy Gibson, Aircalin; prize winners Sheree and Jimmy Robinson; Angela Hallett, Aircalin and Simon Duffy, New Caledonia Tourism

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TravelMemo becomes TRAVELinc Memo

Kevin Blackford, industry stalwart and founder of TravelMemo is retiring at the beginning of August and passing on the baton to ProMag Publishing.

Affectionately known as The Memo, the bi-weekly news sheet was developed by Blackford 14 years ago and has become a crucial source of news for the travel industry ever since.

Blackford’s last issue of The Memo will be published on August 1, after which the ownership switches to ProMag Publishing – publisher of TRAVELinc and The TAANZ Book. ProMag also organises the annual Pacific Area Incentives and Conferences Expo (PAICE) and several other business events related expos and publishes Meeting Newz Magazine and annual Fiji book in partnership with Tourism Fiji.

ProMag director Stu Freeman says readers will see little change in TravelMemo and can be assured it is ‘business as usual’ with the publication.

‘The masthead will have a slight tweak and the publication will be know as TRAVELinc Memo,’ says Freeman. ‘But we will still keep Kevin’s format and live up to his history and reputation of delivering all of the news the travel industry needs on Tuesdays and Fridays. Obviously, we will be honouring all current commitments and working to strengthen existing relationships and develop new ones with the industry.’

Freeman will head the editorial team with journalists Ruth Scott and Aleisha Moore, while Cherie Final will manage advertising sales. Final says she excited to have the Memo as part of TRAVELinc's multi-platform offering. 'It makes sense to merge our existing TRAVELinc and The Memo into one digital publication which will supported by the indepth bi-monthly print magazine.

'I look forward to offering the high level of service that Kevin has provided to his clients over the years,' she adds.

Blackford says it has been ‘full on’ for him since TravelMemo moved from print to online a decade ago.

I’m looking forward to slowing down a bit and actually getting to travel again. I’m delighted that the Memo is going to a good home. I know Stu and his ProMag team will take it to new heights.’

TRAVELinc Memo

For advertising bookings contact Cherie Final

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Real Pasifik series two

Double award-winning chef and television host Robert Oliver has just wrapped up a week of filming in Fiji for series two of Real Pasifik show.

The Real Pasifik crew filmed two Fiji episodes earlier this year, one of which was based at the Volivoli Beach Resort in the north of Veti Levu Island.

The second series of Real Pasifik will hit New Zealand television screens in September, with the Pacific networks to follow.

Robert Oliver with VoliVoli Beach Resort owner, Nick Darling

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Etihad Airways launch daily non-stop flights

Etihad Airways has announced plans to operate daily non-stop flights between Brisbane and Abu Dhabi from June 1, 2015.

The airline’s new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, featuring first suite, business studio, and economy smart seat, will operate the flights.

The non-stop flights will replace the current daily one-stop services, which operate via Singapore with a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

Etihad Airways’ president and chief executive officer, James Hogan, said the introduction of non-stop flights was a response to strong two-way demand for travel on the Brisbane – Abu Dhabi sector and beyond to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.



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Security measures for TN

Air Tahiti Nui services departing from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Los Angeles will be required to abide by new security directives from the United States Transportation Security Administration.

Effective immediately, customers departing Paris will be required to demonstrate that all electronic devices in their possession at the time of boarding, including telephones, tablets, laptops, e-books, game consoles, cameras and camcorders are in working order and functioning under battery power.

Checks will be made at the time of boarding, and equipment that is defective or not functioning will not be permitted aboard the aircraft.

Air Tahiti Nui General Manager New Zealand Mark Hutchinson said the security measures would only apply on the airline’s flights from Paris to Los Angeles and there had been no impact to flight schedules.

Meanwhile, it is recommended that passengers keep their battery chargers in their cabin baggage should they need to charge their equipment prior to boarding their flight.

For more information visit or call the airline on 09 972 1217.

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Eat and win with Sunshine Coast

Visit the Sunshine Coast stand (E8) at the Auckland Food Show between July 31 and August 3 to be in to win a Sunshine Coast foodie holiday. Prize includes return flights from Auckland for two people, car hire, a cooking class and accommodation at  Spicers Tamarind Retreat, Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort and Spa Noosa and Mirra Chana on the Spit in Mooloolaba.

As part of the Sunshine Coast culinary tourism group, Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd (SCDL) is taking part in the Auckland Food Show to introduce Kiwi’s to food experiences on the Sunshine Coast such as the food trails, top restaurants and local farmers markets.

SCDL is providing Kiwis with information on foodie events including the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival in May and the Real Food Festival which takes place in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland September 13 - 14.

Recent research conducted by Tourism Australia showed that great food, wine and local cuisine was now a major factor in holiday decision making. The challenge however was that for people who have never visited the country, the research showed only 26% associated the destination with good food and wine offering. For those who had visited though, Australia ranked second for its food and wine experiences behind France and ahead of Italy.

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National Tourism Forum for the Solomons

The Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB) and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism have joined resources to stage a National Tourism Forum (NTF) in Honiara on August 28, 2014 at the the Heritage Park Hotel.

The event represents a critical component in the SIVB and government’s joint plans to see tourism become the country’s prime source of foreign exchange earnings in the next 10 years.

SIVB CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto says the event was timely given the local tourism industry has 'found itself at a crossroads in its development.'While the country had enjoyed a modest annual international visitor growth rate of around three per cent that growth while commendable is still well below projected rates,' he says.

'The industry with government support is therefore taking a step change in its approach in an attempt to accelerate growth and provide benefits to the national economy and ordinary Solomon Islanders, hence the staging of the NTF.'

Invitations will be sent to delegates representing each province, civil society, government departments and the tourism industry. Key speakers, both local and international, would address various issues pertaining to the industry.

Tuamoto added that following the forum, tangible and actionable items suggested and agreed upon will be implemented to help drive and shape the future of the industry as it moves forward.

In support of the forum, Solomon Islands largest mobile communications network, Our Telekom, presented a cheque for SLD100,000 to the NTF organising committee as its commitment as a principal sponsor. As part of the agreement, Our Telekom will have exclusive naming rights rights.

SIVB CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto said it was positive to see such a major player investing in the local tourism industry.

'This is a significant partnership and one that reflects the potential Our Telekom sees in the Solomon Islands’ tourism future, both on the national and international stage.'

Pictured at the official cheque presentation in Honiara, Our Telekom head of sales and marketing, Christina Lasaqa; director of tourism and chairman of the planning committee, Barney Sivoro; Our Telekom CEO, Loyley Ngira and SIVB chairman, Wilson Nee.

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Expedia acquires Wotif Group

The Expedia group has entered into an agreement to acquire Holdings Limited (Wotif Group), an Australian-based online travel company, for total cash consideration of A$703 million or A$3.30 per share.

Dara Khosrowshahi, president and CEO of the Expedia group, says the Wotif Group is well positioned in the Asia-Pacific region with a portfolio of leading travel brands. ' The acquisition will allow both companies to continue driving growth opportunities by leveraging the strengths each brings to the table.'

Wotif Group operates online travel brands in the Asia-Pacific region including,,,, Asia Web Direct,, and Arnold Travel Technology.

The completion of the acquisition is subject to approval by the shareholders of Holdings Limited and other customary closing conditions, including applicable regulatory approvals. Subject to receipt of such approvals, the transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2014.

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