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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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Convene Q extends space

Convene Queensland (Convene Q) is extending its floor space due to continuing interest from exhibitors.

Being held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on July 29, Convene Q’s exhibitors range from well known convention bureaux like Brisbane Marketing and the Gold Coast Business Events, through to high end resorts such as One&Only Hayman.

Others on show include Hotel Urban Brisbane, Explore Hamilton Island, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, The Palm House, The Point Brisbane and many more. See the full list of exhibitors here.

Event manager Allyssa Eastaugh says the expo will retain its boutique atmosphere in 2014, its inaugural year, but continuing interest from Queensland suppliers to the business events industry means a limited number of extra stands will be added.

‘New exhibitors are continuing to sign up, with the latest being LOUD events. Convene Q has really opened opportunities for suppliers who may not have the inclination or budget to be involved in large international or national shows but who see the value in a local event,’ says Eastaugh.

‘This in turn opens opportunities for business event organisers who can drill down to detail in Queensland like they have never been able to before. And they can do it in one day under one roof.’

Suppliers can book one of the final stands here:

Executive administrators, PAs, association executives, professional conference and incentive organisers and other meeting and event planners can register as buyers here:

For more information contact Allyssa Eastaugh ph ++64 9 818 7807 email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Stu Freeman ph ++64 9 818 7807 email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




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FTE 2015 dates announced

The Fijian Tourism Expo will take place on 15-19 June 2015, immediately prior to Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) 2015 in Melbourne, to make it easier for buyers from key long haul markets to make the most out of their annual visits to the Pacific region. Full details of the event program and registration process will be released in July 2014.  For more information on FTE and Tourism Fiji, visit

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Business on the GC

The inaugural This is Gold Coast Business Exchange kicked off last night with a welcome function at the QT Hotel, Gold Coast.

With the aim of showcasing the Gold Coast as a world-class meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition destination, 48 buyers from across Australia, New Zealand, China and Singapore will meet with 36 GC exhibitors, including accommodation, theming companies, off-site venues and entertainment providers. The B2B includes a one-day pre-scheduled appointment stream, followed by a gala dinner at SkyPoint Observation Deck, and site inspections and activities planned for the weekend.

Tiffany Sinclair, Courtney Glennon and Tanya Lambert from Chique Entertainment with Anna Case and Shannon Grundon, Gold Coast Business Events and Kobi Facto, QT Hotel From Chique Entertainment, Tiffany Sinclair, Courtney Glennon and Tanya Lambert helped to ‘break the ice’ at the cocktail function Chantel Brown, Gold Coast Business Events; Leigh-anne Shannon, Internal Medicine Society of Australia & NZ and Juliette Amitai, Atlassian
Lisa Moyle, Ernst & Young; Elizabeth Mulquiney, Gold Coast Business Events and Janette Lewis, Fletcher Aluminum and during a site inspection at Q1 Resort & Spa Peter Dunn, Gold Coast Business Events and Janette Lewis, Fletcher Aluminum Elizabeth Mulquiney, Gold Coast Business Events; Emily Comer GC Tourism, Melissa Amauisca, Arbonne
Manning the QT food cart is Chris Eastwood Melissa Amauisca from Arbonne in Sydney and Cameron MacLaren, membership executive Gold Coast Tourism The soda fountain offered a quirky drink delivery at the welcome function at QT Gold Coast
Norma Swain, Gold Coast Business Events; Keith Wood, NZ Engine Reconditioners Assoc and Chris Lynch, Alton Cucina & Bar Part of the evening’s entertainment Martin Winter CEO, Gold Coast Tourism outlines the programme, with the Chique Entertainers keeping a watchful eye over the proceedings
First meeting of the day for Sue Wright, Australian Healthcare & Hospital Assoc meeting with Yandell McEnroe and Lesley Campbell RACV Royal Pines Resort Angela Volpato, Hotel Grand Chancellor meets with Juliette Amitai, Atlassian Alison Tovey, MYOB, get the latest ‘pillow talk’ from Nathan Telfer and Bonnie Watson, both from Sofitel Gold Coast

<<< .then Amanda Bain, Australian Glass and Glazing Assoc gets under the covers with Nathan and Bonnie

>>> In the throes of a full refurbishment, Chris Osborne and Kim Wallace, Mercure Gold Coast (in high vis vests), update Keith Wood, NZ Engine Reconditioners Assoc on what to expect from the resort and what is new

Chairman Gold Coast Tourism (centre) visit with Felicity Hughes and Jason Nicholls from McLarens Landing at the business exchange

Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre celebrates 10 years in operation in 2014 and Marie-Louise Rankin, Statistical Society of Australia sends her best

Renay Logan and Kel Constantine from Palazzo Versace are poised and ready for the afternoon buyers

Trudi Flemming, Moreton Hire and Belinda Crofts, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre take a break in between appointments

Ruth Kapea, Atlassian; Patriza Iacono, IAG and Juliette Amitai, Atlassian take in the view from SkyPoint
Janette Lewis, Fletcher Aluminum and Lisa Moyle, Ernst & Young take sundowners at Palazzo Versace hotel at Southport
Checking out the new spa at QT Resort & Spa is Josie Sinni, esri Australia (front); Karly Gniel, BT Financial Group and Amy Ward, Southern Cross Austereo
A warm welcome to McLarens Landing for Leanne Stanczyk, Melaleuca and Lisa Moyle, Ernst & Young
And for Leigh-anne Shannon, International Medicine Society of Australia & NZ and Norma Swain, Gold Coast Convention Bureau
Time for dinner at the noodle bar where the chef cooked to order and the jungle curry comes highly recommended
As a surprise, the delegates were treated to breakfast with the dolphins at Sea Wrold. Loving every minute is Janette Lewis, Fletcher Aluminum; Lisa Thomas and Caroline Duveau-Clayton, both Sea World Resort and Lisa Moyle, Ernst & Young Next the group is whisked off the ground with for a flight above the Gold Coast....
Then jump onboard a Harley Davidson for a 'cruise' down the Pacific Highway. Janette Lewis, Fletcher Aluminum reckons this is the only way to travel
On mass - 28 Harley's set off to Twin Towns

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Rocky Mountaineer anniversary gift

Rocky Mountaineer will celebrate 25 years of Canadian rail journeys in 2015 and to mark the milestone travellers can take advantage of an anniversary offer.

All new qualifying bookings of seven nights or more in GoldLeaf or SilverLeaf Service with travel dates in 2015, receive up to CA$2500  per couple in added value. Choose from a number of luxurious add-on options including free hotel upgrades, free meals, and free hotel nights.

Valid for sale until August 31, 2014 with travel dates in the 2015 season of seven or more nights. Applies to GoldLeaf and SilverLeaf Service bookings. Conditions apply. Contact your preferred wholesaler.

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TA & VA share destination secrets

A new campaign is being launched promising to share the secrets of Kiwis' favourite holiday destination – Australia.

Tourism Australia and Virgin Australia are working together to launch the campaign, aimed at piquing the travel interests of the New Zealand target market looking for a sense of discovery.

The campaign is the first of its kind in New Zealand and marks the NTO’s newly extended global partnership with Virgin Australia, announced at ATE 2014.

Central to the campaign will be the sharing of great Australian stories and experiences, through seasoned New Zealand travel writers and some ‘Aussie mates’.

Starting June 15 and running until July 12, ‘Secret Travel Stories’ will be shared across print and digital channels, culminating in a public vote and competition.

Tourism Australia says the content creation within the consumer space offers an excellent opportunity for trade to capitalise on refreshed consumer interest and the potential to upsell beyond the traditional gateway points into some higher yielding regional extension experiences.

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Alpine Adventures new ski & surf tours

Alpine Adventures have launched a new heli-ski and surf tour in time for winter.

The Queenstown luxury private guiding company operates the tours allowing clients the opportunity to ski and surf all in the same day.

Operating June – October, the privately guided tours deliver door-to-door service and unrivalled access to five South Island mountains – Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Treble Cone, Cardrona and Ohau.

Tours are ideal for up to four people and are personalized based on the client’s skillset and preferences as well as current snow, wind and weather conditions.

Alpine Adventures' new Snow Tours offer unrivalled heli-snow access

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Kiwi holiday spending habits revealed

Expedia has released a new Holiday Spending Index, lifting the lid on Kiwi holiday spending habits.

The global survey indicates New Zealanders are among the world’s most cost-conscious and savings-oriented holidaymakers, with nearly one in five (18%) having a dedicated holiday savings fund.

Nearly half (48%) of Kiwis save for their entire holiday in advance, with the majority of Kiwis (71%) saving at least one or more months in advance and more than one in ten (11%) pay for their entire holiday on credit card then pay it off later.

Rated in the top third of nationalities hungry for holiday deals, Kiwis are most frequently on the lookout for flight deals (67%), special promotions or seasonal sales (61%) and hotels with all-inclusive or offering meal plans (33%).

Beach holidays, cultural sightseeing, and cruises were identified by Kiwis as the top most cost effective holidays, while ski holidays, casino holidays, and health spas came in at the least.

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Emirates cancels A350 order

Emirates has cancelled its order for 70 Airbus A350 aircraft as the airline seeks to 'right-size' its fleet, as reported by Australian Business Traveller.

Placed in 2007, the order for 50 A350-900 and 20 A350-1000 saw deliveries due to commence in 2019. 'The contract which we signed in 2007 for 70 A350 aircraft has lapsed. We are reviewing our fleet requirements.'

John Leahy, Airbus' chief operating office for customers, admits it's not the worlds greatest news, but Emirates President, Tim Clark does change his mind from time to time, and maybe in the next few years he may change back to the A350.

Speaking at the opening of Airbus' annual international media conference in Toulouse, France, Leahy was quick to assure that Emirates' unexpected cancellation of the A350 order 'has no impact financially.'
'Our first (A350) delivery is five years from now – the first airplanes we're going to deliver from 2019-2023, that’s pretty far out, so maybe I have some time to talk to Tim and he'll reconsider in a couple of years.'

'But the A350 programme is still in great shape and our market position is still in pretty good shape, Leahy added, reporting that Airbus still has 742 orders on the books for the A350.

Leahy says he learned of Emirates A350 cancellation early this morning in Toulouse, although he knew in advance the airline was reviewing its fleet plan – 'but Tim is always reviewing his fleet plan.'

However, Leahy claims that he has already taken calls from several airlines interested in taking up the A350 orders which Emirates has dropped.

Emirates remains committed to its existing Airbus A380 fleet, which will stand at 140 strong when all deliveries are completed, although the Gulf carrier is now campaigning for a next-generation A380neo.

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BSP update from TAANZ

Andrew Olsen, chief executive TAANZ, outlines the latest changes to BSP reconciliation.

The TAANZ  board, in conjunction with its Agency Progamme Joint Council (APJC) airline counterparts, has agreed to a further one day reduction in the BSP remittance calendar effective from July 1, 2014.

The proposal to agree to reduce by a further day is consistent with sundry observations made in the Independent Expert’s report of May 2012. That report set out ways in which the industry, both airline and agency, may consider reducing the overall risk profile of airline credit and mitigate loss of TAANZ funds and airlines funds in circumstances of agency default. It should be emphasised that none of these observations would be implemented without agreement from agency and airlines, and any review would need to be in the context of the protection arrangement members already have in place and of the conditions under which they operate. More of these initiatives are currently being addressed by the APJC. One of the major initiatives is the development of an ‘early warning system’ to facilitate a greater degree of information sharing between TAANZ and the airlines. More to come on that in the months ahead.

The Board of TAANZ agreement was reached when it was suitably convinced that the airlines had achieved a satisfactory level of compliance in relation to resolutions pertaining to refund processing and refund processing times. The resolution requires that BSP airlines process the refund within eight weeks; failing which the agent is provided a notification.

This is the first time a co-ordinated approach has been taken requesting that the major carriers used by TAANZ members meet their obligations under the IATA resolutions. The brands and group members of TAANZ provided contemporary data establishing the significant improvements by the top 10 airlines and it was upon this, and comparable date submitted by the airlines, that the decision was reached.

The top 10 carriers are; Air New Zealand, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Malaysian Airlines, Emirates, Virgin Australia, Thai and China Southern (which recently entered the BSP billings top 10). Work will continue on the other carriers to have them meet the compliance requirements set out in the resolution.

TAANZ urges members to advise the airline and IATA directly, cc in TAANZ, wherever a refund yet to be processed by any of the top 10 airlines is delayed beyond eight weeks and the delay is not due to an agency administrative error.

Email ISS Operations & Service Centre - Asia & Pacific (New Zealand) This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Members who are IATA accredited agents will receive an updated IATA message through BSP Link relating to this matter. The BSP calendar attached will not change.

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Rapid change to hotel review systems

Social media has sparked a rapid change in hotel ratings and review systems – and hoteliers had better get on board.

This was the main message from a plenary panel at the recent New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference at Pullman Auckland last week.

Simon Haigh, Market Metrix, says he’s never seen an area of an industry change as much as ratings have over the past few years, particularly with the emergence of social media.

‘Ratings are all about how we can look at ways of interlocking sources of information to better understand how to treat customers.’

Information collated from structured data review systems identifies New Zealand in comparison to other Asia/Pacific destinations as falling slightly short on the friendliness of front desk operators, and stone last on quality of internet access.

Over 40% of consumers decide whether or not to stay at a hotel after looking at online reviews, and while only one in every eight guests will post a review, two in every five will read a review.

Leslie Preston, Bachcare Holiday Homes and Maura Tootill, Hutt City Council were listening in.

Last year also saw a 20% increase in consumers who prefer to look at sites such as TripAdvisor and before making a decision on where to stay.

Todd Basham, ReviewPro, says hoteliers need to be cognisant of the fact that although they may not like the online reviews, there may be some validity to them.

‘It’s very emotive. Most people have a love/hate relationship with TripAdvisor, but you [hoteliers] have to have a relationship with it. You have to get over yourselves and move forward with it, because it’s affecting your business.’

Basham also stressed the importance of mobile-optimised websites in today’s technological world.

‘The stats to date say that one in every seven reservations are made from a mobile phone or tablet, which is another way of saying if you don’t have a website that is mobile-optimised, you may as well shut your reservation office a day a week.’

Tim Keeling, general manager, Qualmark, says online review systems such as TripAdvisor, and qualified review systems such as Qualmark, are two complementary tools, and a lot of hotel operators do very well when they work the two together.

‘As of today [June 5] Qualmark is in partnership with TripAdvisor, where Qualmark ratings will be displayed on TripAdvisor listings, another tool in your [hotelier’s] arsenal to ensure the validation of reviews and ratings.’

Keeling suggests a straightforward solution to dealing with the qualms of unstructured review systems.

‘We have a lot of hotels and smaller properties coming to us all the time saying ‘how do we do well on TripAdvisor?’ and the simple answer is: provide a great experience.’

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NZ Hotel Industry Conference

The annual New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference was held at The Pullman Auckland yesterday.

Keynote speech and panel discussions were held, debating current industry trends, and how to capitalise on future trends.

Hot topics of discussion included the emergence of the Chinese market, airline growth, hotel review systems, domestic and global economies, and the influences of social media.

Honorable Todd McClay, associate Minister of Tourism opened the conference, with Bob East, CEO, Mantra Group, Dominick Stephens, chief economist, Westpac, and Garth Simmons, senior vice president NZ, Pacific Islands & Japan, Accor, included in the stellar line-up of speakers.

An awards ceremony was held during dinner celebrations last night, sponsored by InterContinental Hotels Group, following a full day of conferencing.

Rob McIntyre, general manager, Pullman Auckland, took away Senior Hotel Executive of the Year.

Other winners included Janelle McClintock, reservations yield manager, Jet Park Hotel, for Outstanding Young Hotel Executive of the Year, and James Cook Hotel for the Hotel Industry Environmental Initiative Award.

Paul Archer, Accor; Paul Columbus, Novotel, and Murray Davison, Accor were listening in

Leslie Preston, Bachcare Holiday Homes and Maura Tootill, Hutt City Council enjoying morning tea.

Bob East, CEO, Mantra Group, Australia being interviewed by Terry Ngan, director, Horwath HTL Ltd

Karen Thompson and Tim Kahlen, ATEED
Janelle McClintock (right), Jet Park Hotel, won Outstanding Young Hotel Executive of the Year Rob McIntyre (left), Pullman Auckland, took away Senior Hotel Executive of the Year James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor was awarded the Hotel Industry Environmental Initiative Award

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