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Where are the women leaders in travel?

Thursday, 02 April 2015 15:41

How well do travel agents associations’ boards of directors around the globe reflect the gender balance in the global travel industry? The following is a snap shot of the result of some google searching. These figures are subject to change regularly (for example we understand another woman has been elected to the board in Britain).

That qualification aside we present the figures as we find them.

World Travel Agents Associations Alliance: 14 men, two women. Executive committee of three - all male

Association of British Travel Agents: 11 men, two women. Chief executive: male.

American Society of Travel Agents: 11 men, five women. Chief executive: male

Australian Federation of Travel Agents: 9 men, three women. Chief executive: male.

Travel Association of New Zealand: five men, no women. Chief executive: male

Association of Canadian Travel Agencies: Nine men, four women. Chief operating officer, who is also president: male

Association of South African Travel Agents: five men, three women. President and vice president both women. All executive staff women.

India self famil opportunity

Tuesday, 31 March 2015 14:14
India - JaIndia, Jaipur - elephant ride, Amber Fort (copyright The Innovative Travel Co)
India (copyright The Innovative Travel Co)

Innovative Travel has released a 'travel agent and companion' self famil option. A Magical Journey, five days ex Delhi (self famil) is valid for travel from 16 April to 30 September 2015 visiting Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Jaipur. Priced at only $425pp twin, the self famil includes four nights accommodation with breakfast (Hilton Hotels in Delhi, Jaipur and Agra), private air-conditioned car transport, local guides, meet and assist on arrival and departure, entrance fees and elephant and jeep ride at Amber Fort. Airfares, airport taxes and items of a personal nature are not included.

Outrigger Resorts ‘open to opportunities in NZ', looks to C&I and to boost NZ 'experts'

Tuesday, 31 March 2015 11:47
Mark Simmons

Outrigger Resorts remains open to acquiring the right properties in New Zealand as well as Australia, says Mark Simmons, vice president sales and marketing, Asia Pacific with the company.

Outrigger recently sold its Australian portfolio, saying the properties did not fit in with its future strategy of owning only absolute beachfront properties. However, Simmons stresses that by no means represents a lessening of interest in the region.

Mark Simmons
Mark Simmons

‘We’re an opportunistic company, so if the right opportunity came along we would definitely look at it,’ says Simmons.

He also stressed the importance of both New Zealand and Australia as source markets, citing that as a reason for Outrigger’s roadshow that finished in Auckland last night (having already visited Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney).

He says New Zealand represents five percent of the company’s Hawaiian properties’ occupancy at certain times of the year. It is also strong for Phuket in Thailand, Mauritius and obviously Fiji.

‘It is about being aspirational. New Zealand is a wealthy market and our absolute beachfront resorts appeal.’

A total of 15 Outrigger representatives were at the function at the Maritime Room in the Viaduct, Auckland with more than 80 wholesalers, retailers, airline partners and regional tourism organisations.

Outrigger looks to C and I

Outrigger Resorts is making moves in the conference and incentive market. During a visit to Auckland yesterday, Mark Simmons, vice president sales and marketing Asia Pacific, pointed out that a new facility taking 400 people for a meeting was recently added to Outrigger Phuket.

‘There is such great air access in to Phuket now so conferences and incentives can be a big push for us.’

He says the company is also looking at that business in Mauritius and also has a strong corporate incentive and retreat market (though not large meeting facilities) at its Fiji property.

Outrigger looks to boost NZ 'experts'

Outrigger Resorts is looking to increase the number of New Zealand retail agents in its Outrigger Travel Professionals Experts Programme.

Mark Simmons, vice president sales and marketing Asia Pacific, says the programme not only offers rewards in terms of incentives but also provides extra product knowledge. Promoting the programme was one of the objectives of the Outrigger Resorts roadshow that ended at The Maritime Room in Auckland last night.

‘We have about 8000 (experts) worldwide and about 1000 in Australia and New Zealand. If we could grow that by 20% we would be happy.’

He says the programme rewards both agents and their clients. ‘So that encourages people to book with our travel professional experts.’

Collaborative approach impresses at Destination South Australia

Tuesday, 31 March 2015 09:07

A collaborative and a ‘Team Adelaide’ attitude impressed Kiwi delegates at the Destination South Australia exhibition and educational in and around Adelaide last week.

‘The exhibitors were passionate about the destination and were there to bring events to South Australia, not just to their company,’ says Samantha Dick from cievents in Auckland.

‘The key thing that I found from exhibitors was that they were happy to promote Adelaide as a whole – if their venue wasn’t suitable, they were happy to recommend others,’ echoes Andrew Dufty from WATevents.

The Kiwis found an abundance of venues with a difference, such as the majestic Town Hall and State Library as well as contemporary locations such as the National Wine Centre. ‘There are also traditional venues that also have unique venues within them such as the zoo and iconic Adelaide Oval,’ says Dufty.

With 180 degree views over the River Torrens and one of the best connected business and event precincts in Australia, it was fitting for Adelaide Conventions Centre’s new Panorama Ballroom to be the welcome function venue for delegates to Destination South Australia on Wednesday night. The ballroom is part of the just opened West Building of the centre, the first of a two stage expansion expected to be completed mid 2017.

Delegates from New Zealand, Australia, Korea, China and Germany spent a day meeting venues, hotels, transport, activity and other suppliers in business to business sessions before heading out on educationals to Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and Port Lincoln.

Martin Radcliffe from Adelaide Convention Bureau says the level of interest for business events in the city has never been higher. ‘We are doing 30% more proposals than ever before. The city has seen three billion dollars of investment in Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide Oval and the biomedial research hub - this is driving conventions and events.’

Coming up will be the Adelaide Festival Centre upgrade and Adelaide Casino’s six star hotel build on the river side of the casino. Three new hotels have opened in Adelaide over the last three years adding 600 beds to the inventory.

Meantime, food and wine is the big driver of South Australia’s leisure travel. ‘More and more people are travelling on their stomachs,’ says South Australia’s Minister of Tourism and Agriculture, Leon Bagnall. ‘South Australia has seven percent of Australia’s population and 70% of the country’s premium wines. ‘We are the only state where it is illegal to grow genetically modified foods,’ he says.

Adelaide was Australia’s only city mentioned in the New York Times 52 places to visit in 2015.

Following DSA, the New Zealanders were hosted to three days in the Barossa Valley where they spent a day each with Traction Team Building and Zoom Photography Tours and enjoyed wine and food at Yalumba, Seppeltsfield, Chateau Tanunda wineries as well as the iconic Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop.

Full report appears in April’s TRAVELinc magazine.

Development planned for Canakkale Turkey

Tuesday, 31 March 2015 08:08

Two new five star hotel projects have begun in Canakkale, Turkey to cope with the increasing numbers of visitors to Gallipoli and surrounding region. Accommodation is averaging 90% occupancy, according to Robyn Galloway, managing director of Innovative Travel. Galloway met with Mr Ahmet Cinar, Governor of Canakkale when he visited New Zealand recently for discussions centred around the upcoming 100th Commemorations in Gallipoli next month.

'A suspension bridge is also planned for Canakkale which will provide a much faster travel time from Istanbul,' says Galloway. 'The projects are anticipated to be completed early in 2020s.' 

Qantas to launch new groups website

Monday, 30 March 2015 09:35

New Zealand travel agents who book groups will be able to manage their own group bookings with Qantas when a new groups website is launched here in April.

Tina Evans, Qantas national account manager in Australia, says no special app is needed - as long as agents are TIDS or IATA registered they can log in to the website and obtain an instant quote valid for 14 days. There is a 'traffic light' system on each booking that indicates approaching deadlines.

Tina Evans
Tina Evans

Evans says the website has had good feedback from Australian agents since its launch across the Tasman last year. 'The pricing is very competitive,' she says. 'It takes availability from up and down the fare ladder and gives you an average. It can cope with groups of up to 260 people but agents need to check the aircraft type for capacity as well.

'Whatever you can book in the published arena, it (the website) can do. You can increase, decrease or deviate the booking and the system is available 24/7, 365 days a year.'

The website will be available for new bookings but will not migrate existing bookings.

There is one registration per TIDS / IATA location and a chief administrator can then assign access to the individual staff members. Within the agency the chief administrator can decide which agents can access certain bookings.

The first stage of the New Zealand version of the website will launch with an instant quote, book and ticket function with further enhancements to be rolled out.


BEA VIPs hit Byron Bay and Gold Coast

Friday, 27 March 2015 13:49

From cooking classes to Harley Davidson rides, the seven agents exploring business events on offer throughout Byron Bay and the Gold Coast have had an action packed first few days on their educational famil hosted by Business Events Australia.

After flying in on Monday, attendees were greeted with a welcome dinner and drinks at their first accommodation spot, The Byron at Byron, set up by Solution Red.

Day two saw the group voyage out to the depths of Byron Bay Beach to mingle with dolphins on a guided sea kayak activity hosted by Cape Byron Kayaks.

After drying off, the crew headed to lunch at Harvest Café, followed by a cooking class at Bangalow Cooking School and dinner at the Byron Beach Café.

An early morning walk on Wednesday ended up at the Cape Byron Lighthouse, which was followed by a yoga class back at The Byron at Byron.

The afternoon saw an artistic team building activity take place courtesy of Byron Bay Art Studio, before agents were whisked away via helicopter for lunch at Palazzo Versace.

Agents were then transferred to Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach, on the back of a pack of Harley Davidson’s thanks to WildFire, where they had champagne by the pool and dinner at Sofitel’s On3 restaurant.

The final three days of Business Events Australia’s educational famil were spent exploring a diverse range of business events available on the Gold Coast.

Staying at Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach, the seven agents from across New Zealand kicked Thursday morning off with tour of SeaWorld, followed by a water-side breakfast and dolphin show at Dolphin Cove.

Duffy Down Under’s electric boats then transferred the agents to high tea at SkyPoint. The afternoon then saw a tour DreamWorld before heading to McLarens landing for dinner and drinks. Friday started with breakfast at Seaduction restaurant at Soul Surfer’s Paradise.

Currumbin was on the cards next, as agents took to Segways for a tour of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and photos with koalas, before lunch at Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club. MovieWorld helped the group celebrate the last night of the trip with a Green Lantern themed dinner.

Agents experienced and new found the trip ‘amazing’ as they found Byron Bay and the Gold Coast had more to offer than beaches and shopping.

‘This has been my first famil and I’ve found it incredibly beneficial,’ says Sarah Kirk, account manager at The Extra Mile Company. ‘The variety of different events and activities we’ve had the chance to experience has been eye opening to say the least and I’ve now got a great range of product to sell to my clients.’

South Australia experts hop to Kangaroo Island

Friday, 27 March 2015 13:21

Kangaroo Island was the region of choice for this year’s annual South Australia Experts Incentive Weekend.

Six top selling travel agents from around New Zealand have spent the last few days discovering what Kangaroo Island has to offer kiwi travellers as a thank you for their hard work throughout the year.

Highlights of the trip included wine blending at d’Arenberg Winery, a pelican feeding show, koala watching at Hanson Bay Sanctuary, visiting the Remarkables Rocks and Admirals Arch, a quad bike tour through the grasslands and a walk among the sea lions at Seal Bay.

Stacey Cant, regional manager New Zealand at South Australia Tourism Commission, says Kangaroo Island is becoming increasingly popular for kiwi travellers.

‘We wanted to show our experts what the destination offers, show them that actually you need three or four days on the island because there’s that much to see and do, and show them a few highlights and a few of the smaller little food producers that they may not have known about prior to the trip.’

Cant says one of the big selling points about South Australia is that everything is so close to Adelaide.

‘It’s a four and a half hour direct flight from Auckland to Adelaide with Air New Zealand, flights run five to seven days a week seasonally, and once you’re in South Australia you can have a really diverse holiday within seven to 10 days.’

Research shows that once New Zealanders travel to South Australia, they return to the destination on average another four times, which Cant says shows they’re obviously finding that there is a lot more to see and do than they originally thought.

‘I think more and more Kiwis are realising that there’s more to Australia than just Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and South Australia is a really good option for those travellers who are starting to want something different.’

Cant says agents should take advantage of the increased awareness and preference for South Australia that will come about with the South Australia Tourism Commission’s brand campaign launching mid June.

‘Now is the perfect time to be upskilling and to complete the SA Experts programme so we can start referring clients to agents once the campaign launches in mid June.’

Jo Coolen, House of Travel Paraparaumu, is a first timer on the Experts Incentive trip and says

‘People always think it’s just wine but it’s not just wine and this trip to South Australia and Kangaroo Island has shown us that there’s more to sell than we thought before.’

Tim, Harvey World Travel Richmond, has been on the trip many times and says he was impressed by how everything is made so accessible on the island.

‘Now I can be confident selling experiences like going to Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks to clients who may not be 100% confident walking on rough surfaces or unknown territory and they will be fine because there’s boardwalks that go all the way down.’

Cant reminds all agents selling South Australia that she is based in Auckland and is always happy to help organise itineraries or provide suggestions, answer questions and send out brochures to be passed on to clients.
‘I’m there and I’m always happy to help, I’m just an email or a phone call away and I’ll always get back to them as quickly as possible and make their lives easier if I can for selling South Australia.

Cash donations needed for Vanuatu, then goods

Wednesday, 18 March 2015 15:46

The Auckland Vanuatu community is encouraging people to donate cash to the the various aid agencies so that immediate relief such as water and first aid supplies can get to those in need. People can make donations at or donate via the community's own fundraising portal: 

Red Cross emergency response partner, New Zealand Post Group has set up collection boxes in PostShops nationwide or Kiwis can donate directly into a dedicated Kiwibank account: 38 9010 0620343 01 New Zealanders have been donating generously to the Tropical Cyclone Pam Appeal. New Zealand Post has helped to get the ball rolling with a donation of $25,000 and Kiwibank has contributed an additional $10,000.

Meantime, the Auckland Vanuatu community is seeking the donation of a shipping container to ship donated items to Vanuatu. 'We have had quotes of between $3,000 and $5,000 for a shipping container and we simply don't have the resources to fund this,' says Jacquie Carson, New Zealand manager Vanuatu Tourism.

Vanuatu is in urgent need of supplies to help rebuild villages/homes/shelter, such as hardware, building supplies, tools, plywood sheets, solar lighting, hot plates (not electrical) and pots and pans. Other items also needed are tarpaulins, ropes, linen, clothing, canned and non-perishable foods, toiletries, school supplies, non-aerosol insect repellants, batteries, crockery and utensils, garbage bags, supplies for babies, buckets, zip ties, candles, matches, tents, pegs, vegetable seeds.

ProMag Publishing and TRAVELinc is the West Auckland 'drop-off point for donations which need to be delivered in packed boxes (not plastic bags), labelled on the outside as to the contents of each box for customs clearance requirements. All items must be clean and in working order. The West Auckland address is L1, West Coast Road, Glen Eden, Auckland. There is plenty of onsite parking and items can be delivered anytime during business hours - 8.30am to 5pm - or during evenings and weekends by arrangement. Contact Trish Freeman on 0274 430 837, email or Stu Freeman 0274 842 863, email