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Travel reforms to bring Australia closer

New Zealand’s tourism industry is supporting a package of proposed reforms designed to make trans-Tasman travel even easier.

New Zealand and Australia provide the largest single source of visitors for each country. More than 1.2 million Aussies crossed the ditch in the year to June 2014 while just over 1 million Kiwis visited Australia.

'The implementation of the TTF reforms would unlock further growth from Australia by making travel across the Tasman even easier and more affordable,' says Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) chief executive Chris Roberts.

The current bilateral arrangements between Australia and New Zealand lag behind border agreements elsewhere in the world, like those for the 26 countries within Europe’s Schengen zone, between the USA and Canada, and between the UK and Ireland, Roberts says.

The four proposed reforms are:

  1. A domestic-like travel experience at international airports in Australia and New Zealand through the streamlining of border formalities on exit and entry
  2. Cutting the Australian Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) to AUD$25 (currently AUD$55) to encourage more travel between both countries
  3. Opening additional points of entry at secondary airports in Australia to encourage more travel
  4. Developing common visitor visas to encourage more international visitors to combine both countries in one trip

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Travel awards sell out

The TAANZ National Travel Industry Awards 2014 have just been declared a sell-out, says The Travel Agents Association of New Zealand’s chief executive officer Andrew Olsen.

‘If you haven’t got a ticket, you’ll have to hear about it afterwards,’ he says.

The awards are being held on Saturday, August 30 at the Pullman Auckland and Olsen says industry support has been overwhelming. ‘The first year is not without its moments of discovery and the industry has adopted a wonderful, collaborative approach.’

He advises that people should not be late for the event. ‘We will be starting with a surprise.’

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Manu Samoa All Blacks match will sell fast

Agents have been advised to book clients early if they wish to attend the historic All Backs - Manu Samoa game in July next year. That was the message at the Samoa Roadshow event at The Floating Pavilion, Auckland yesterday.

Fasitau Ula, Samoan Tourism Authority (STA) advises that considerable interest has already been received and it appears that the game in Samoa definitely sell out. Accommodation is expected to be at a premium. Ula says Samoa is looking to give people more reasons to travel so STA continues to push events such as this major rugby game. Other events being highlighted include the annual swim series in July - August and the half Samoa iron man around the same time.

Last night’s Samoa roadshow event registered 180 rsvps, a testament of the popularity of the destination and the desire of the trade to find out more about it. Exhibiting resorts at the roadshow say their bookings in recent times also point to a strong year for Samoa.

Saletoga Sands Resort and Spa opened on 1 April has had an incredibly busy start, averaging 80% occupancy. Jessica Lea, Coconuts Travel Marketing, reports strong interest from the consumers at the Flight Centre show over the weekend. ‘This reflects the need for family friendly resorts in Samoa,’ she says.

Seabreeze has also had a strong season, continuing to be popular with kiwis. Next year the minimum age of children at the resort from 15 (increased from 13)


Susan McGee, Le Vasa Resort; Ray Aucott, Pack Ya Bags; Derek Webb, Stevensons at Manase and Nicola Segal, Virgin Australia Liz Pirie, Denise Fowler and Anna Brown, all from The Travel Brokers Glenis Hogg, Stephen Hilton, Gaby Rocard and Margaret Jones, all Tandem Travel
Jessica Lea, Saletoga Sands Resort and Michelle Savusa, Harvey World Travel Botany Anne Radonich, Seabreeze Resort; Daniel Whitehouse, Flight Centre Parnell and Hylda Bloomfield, Air New Zealand

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France returns to the Eurail Select Pass

Rail Plus reports that the return of French rail operator SNCF to the Eurail Select Pass in April this year is rekindling New Zealand travellers’ interest in one of the key European rail passes.

The move coincided with changes to the Eurail Select Pass, with a single pass now offering unlimited travel through four adjoining European countries (the previous three and five country passes eliminated).

The four-country Eurail Select Pass offers a choice of five, six, eight, 10 or 15 days travel within a two-month period (days do not need to be consecutive). Adjoining countries must be bordering and be linked by a direct, not through another country, train or shipping line.
Contact Rail Plus on 09 377 5415 or visit

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Borghetti takes close look at A350

By Peter Clark
Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti wasn’t giving anything away as to what the airline might choose as a replacement for its B777-300ERs and A330-200s when he took a detailed look at the Airbus A350-900 XWB recently.
The aircraft was making a world tour when it was in Sydney on 5 August and Borghetti was on board just before it departed for Auckland. He was being shown around by Isabelle Floret, Sen VP Airbus Sales, Sydney.
But he made it clear that evaluations had resumed and that there was a timetable for reaching a decision, while not disclosing when that choice would be made. On the flight of the A350 across the Tasman, there were several Virgin Australia staff evaluating its operation and lay out.

John Borghetti, CEO Virgin Australia inspects the new A350 with Isabelle Floret, senior VP Pacific Airbus

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Airbus A350 walk through

The latest A350 XWB aircraft from Airbus is making its way around the world on its certification tour. In Auckland on August 6, members of the Airbus team escorted local media throughout the innovative plane at Auckland Airport.

As well as the latest technology systems delivering a 25% reduction in fuel burn and operating costs compared to previous generation competing aircraft and reduction in CO2 emissions, the design features include an extra wide body cross section; touch screen IFE; large overhead compartments - apparently big enough to take a full size roller bag; numerous temperature control zones, draft free air conditioning and 6,000ft cabin pressure altitude.

For business class passengers, seats in the 1 x 2 x 1 configuration cabin feature lie flat beds and individual push button back massage options.

The A350 leaves Auckland for Santiago, then onto Sao Paulo, Moscow and Helsinki.

In the hot seats of the Airbus A350 is Senior VP Pacific for Airbus, Isabelle Floret and Airbus Test Pilot, Jean-Michel Roy

Adrian Littlewood, Auckland Airport chief executive (left) and Charles Berryman, Auckland Airport Iwi Relations manager (far right) with Isabelle Floret, senior VP Pacific for Airbus and Jean-Michel Roy, Airbus test pilot with their new All Blacks shirt and rugby ball.

The Airbus A350 parked at Auckland Airport Inside the business class cabin. The LED lighting throughout the aircraft offers over 16 million different colours and an infinite number of combinations with a soothing effect with the aim of reducing jetlag
At the control hub, Junie Fredrick from Airbus keeps a constant eye on the entire aircraft for the certification Business class seats with easy to use seat controls that include lumbar massage points
Economy class with the LED lighting

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Travelling Accor's World

Over 500 guests from the travel industry, corporate and conferencing sectors travelled the world last night at the annual World of Accor at the Pullman, Auckland.

Forty Accor representatives from around New Zealand, Australia, South Pacific, Asia, UK, Europe and the Americas showed up to update and educate delegates on their market offerings.

The event coincided with Accor celebrating 20 years of business in New Zealand.

Garth Simmons, vice-president New Zealand, Pacific Islands & Japan with Accor, feels the situation in New Zealand is ‘reasonably buoyant.’

He says the low season is still an issue but he sees plenty to be positive about as the company celebrates 20 years here.

>>ProMag Publishing event manager Ally Eastaugh caught up with Chris Lethbridge, New Zealand regional manager, Emirates


Blair Jagusch, Agent 86 Events; Louise Frend, Tourism Western Australia Anthony Bodle, FCM Travel Solutions; Dominique Rennell, cievents; Jessica Carlson, Accor New Zealand & South Pacific Lisa Watson and Jess Ogg, GO Conference & Incentive
Dinna Sansalvador and Estelle Charmichael, Auckland Convention Bureau Rowena McCarron and Kathleen Magon, Flight Centre Product Carla Bowring and Jane Hawkins, Tandem Travel
Tina Rutherford and Ruby Romanos, Negociants Karlene Dallow and Nicole Hardy, Air NZ Grabaseat Kim Poole and Adam Taylor-Eruera with Jessica Carlson, Accor New Zealand & South Pacific

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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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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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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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