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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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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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PAICE builds up

Your Singapore is the latest exhibitor to sign up for the Pacific Area Incentives and Conferences Expo (PAICE 2014) being held at the SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre on November 19. The tourism board joins DMS Destination Marketing Services and The Mira and Mira Moon Hong Kong as returning exhibitors who have confirmed for 2014.

PAICE, now in its 11th year, is the exhibition for New Zealand based organisers of offshore meetings, conferences, incentives, weddings, and other events. PAICE director Stu Freeman says that with the strong New Zealand economy and dollar right now many corporate are looking to reward and inspire their teams with an off-shore incentive programme. ‘We opened buyer registration just a few days ago and we have had a strong response,’ says Freeman. ‘We will be coming up with our own incentives this year to encourage Auckland based buyers not only to attend but to join the pre-appointment programme.’ He says more details on that will be released shortly.

Conference and incentive organisers can register for PAICE 2014 here.

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Adventure World Asia's roadshow wrap up

Adventure World's Asia roadshow wrapped up in Auckland last night after a week long show around the country. Key representatives from the wholesaler's top Asia suppliers, including Taj Hotels, Aitken Spence from Sri Lanka, Exotissimo, Exodus, Adventure World India, Malaysian Tourism and Singapore Airlines, presented to agents in Wellington, Christchurch, Tauranga and Auckland.

Registration figures were up from last year for the Auckland event, with 120 agents in attendance. Tauranga also registered record numbers, with 60 Bay of Plenty agents turning up to 59 The Strand in Tauranga.

Andy James and Ganna Kovalskai, FC Newmarket arrive at the Auckland roadshow
Thushara Liyanarachchi, Taj Hotels updates Catherine Howard, HWT Ponsonby at the Adventure World roadshow in Auckland Lidija Baker and Joanna Godfrey, FC Meadowbank
Meet and greet from Adventure World duo - Louise Levesque and Debra Escano Lauren Chappell, CWT Auckland with Dian Jansz, Aitken Spence Travels, Sri Lanka Even on a wet Auckland night, Larisa James, FC West City; Rochelle Baker, FC Manuku and Karen Arkle FC Meadowbank were looking forward to the evening.

<<Amy Steyn, Sarah Osborne, and Dennis Kim all from FC Hurstmere Road


>>Full house for the Auckland show at Sichuan Restaurant, Newmarket

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NZ cruise pax at record high

New Zealand cruise passenger numbers soared to an all-time high of 59,316 in 2013 helping the nation track one of the largest growth rates for cruisers worldwide.

Industry members were on hand today at the Heritage Hotel, Auckland for the 2013 Cruise Industry Source Market Report. The report revealed that while New Zealand is still a small source market, its strong growth rate of 23% surpassed all major cruise passenger markets, more than doubling Germany (nine per cent) and France (nine per cent), North America (three per cent) and pipping Australia’s strong performance (20%).

The record result, the second largest hike since the statistics were first compiled in 2006, has also driven an increase in the market penetration rate with the equivalent of 1.3 per cent of the New Zealand population taking a cruise in 2013, up 0.2 per cent from 2012.

Announcing the report findings, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia general manager Brett Jardine said the results showed that New Zealanders were increasingly discovering the joys of cruising. 'New Zealand is a young cruise market and this impressive growth shows that cruising is very much on the horizon for a lot of Kiwi travellers.'

'We’ve now seen the number of New Zealand cruisers double over the past seven years with the market experiencing an enviable annual average increase of 14%. With more ships being deployed in the region in the coming years, we expect to see continued growth out of New Zealand,' added Jardine.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Local cruising in the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand collectively accounted for slightly more than half of all passengers, with the South Pacific attracting 31% of cruisers in 2013
  • Cruising to Australia also spiked with passenger numbers up 48% to a record 7855 passengers
  • River cruising numbers are at up 19% to break through the 4000 mark for the first time (4166)
  • Europe continues to dominate long-haul destinations with 19% of the market
  • The first breakdown of the European ocean cruise market showed the Mediterranean was the biggest drawcard within the region attracting 15% of New Zealander passengers while Northern Europe accounted for the remaining four per cent.
  • In line with the population spread, the North Island remains the leading source of cruise passengers accounting for 79% of the market
Christine Houltham, Carnival Corporation NZ catches up with Mark Smith, Let's Cruise before the report is released
Brett Jardine, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and Linda Halliday, HOT Head Office
Wendy Towers, Stella Travel Services and Megan  Van Den Bogaart, Royal Caribbean International

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New Inca trail discovered

Peru’s Inca Qhapaq Nan road system, also known as the Great Trail, has been appointed UNESCO World Heritage status, and another trail has been discovered, reports GTI Tourism.

The Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu says the new road begins at Wayraqtambo and leads up to a platform where travellers can see the Incan ruins at Machu Picchu from a completely different angle.

Even with much of the road still heavily covered by thick vegetation, it is said to be ‘a discovery that will change the way the world sees Machu Picchu’.

The new trail to Machu Picchu is approximately a mile long and between 1.20 and 1.40 metres wide, and a tunnel, more than five metres long, has also been discovered 2,700 metres above sea level.

The trail is thought to predate Machu Picchu itself, which was built at the height of the Inca Empire, around 1450, and was unknown to the outside world before being discovered in 1911.

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Swim with humpbacks on the coast

Sunshine Coast company, Sunreef Mooloolaba, is launching an Australian first – the opportunity to swim with humpback whales.

The three-hour round trip allows a maximum of 20 participants and is operated under a strict code of conduct to protect both the whales and the participants.

Sunreef is a PADI 5-star training centre and offers accredited dive courses for all levels of divers.

Click here for more information on Sunreef and swimming with the whales.

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Light rail on the Gold Coast

The testing of Gold Coast's new light rail system - G:Link - is almost complete with the service expected to be fully operational by mid July. The new mode of transport will deliver passengers from properties in the heart of the Gold Coast to the Convention Centre (GCCB) in around seven minutes.

Peter Dunn, Gold Coast Business Events says the advantage for the conference and incentive market is the ease of access from the hotels to the GCCB. 'From Cavill Ave, in central Surfers, it is three stops and a station is right outside the doors of the Watermark Hotel and QI Resort. This will really open up accessibility for Surfers and the convention centre.'

The service turns around at Pacific Fair - just one stop on from the GCCB, and the track travels north on the Pacific Highway to Southport then inland past the Gold Coast Hospital and Griffith University.

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