The French Travel Workshop will be held at The Pullman Auckland on Friday, September 5 2014. It will be the first time in four years that the workshops have visited Auckland. Sophie Almin, who handles marketing for Atout France out of Sydney, says the workshops will be held from 10am to 12.30pm, with a seminar held between 12.30 and 1pm. The guest destination at the Auckland event will be Tahiti. About 60 exhibitors are expected, with 250 to 300 travel agents likely to attend.
Hot Off The Press
The NSW Government is investing almost $2 million in a concerted campaign to promote tourism throughout the state over summer.
'In light of the devastation from bushfires in some of the state’s finest tourism regions, the Government is also keen to help the tourism industry in those communities in particular, recover,' says Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris. 'Tourism is a critical part of many of these communities. Once the fires have been controlled, the Government’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, will work with local operators and community leaders to prioritise where help is needed the most. Support will include ensuring in the lead up to a busy summer holiday period, that visitors know the regions are ‘open for business.' Entitled ‘Love Every Second’ and ‘It’s ON’, two new simultaneous campaigns will showcase Sydney and regional NSW’s best tourism experiences, attractions and events, from this Sunday 27 October. The campaigns will appear across print, outdoor and digital media, including a 40-page, full colour magazine called Love Every Second in Sydney and NSW, inserted into 1.9 million newspapers across Australia and New Zealand. Also featured will be a new interactive digital magazine for iPad with video content and simple ‘click to book’ event tickets directly online, available to download free from the Apple Newsstand.Destination NSW CEO, Sandra Chipchase, says this season’s campaigns reinforce Sydney and regional NSW as exciting, energetic and unique short break destinations during summer. 'Once again we will have a strong presence in major interstate markets like Melbourne and Brisbane, including outdoor advertising in key CBD locations including the Young and Jackson intersection adjacent to Federation Square and Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, and Brisbane’s shopping hub on Queen Street. TV advertising will also feature with the new ‘It’s ON!’ TVC presenting the huge range of events on in Sydney and Regional NSW featuring a new music track recorded with talented NSW singers Carmen Smith and Fergus Brown,' Chipchase says. Destination NSW estimates the campaign will inject more than $225 million into the NSW economy from overseas, interstate and intrastate visitor expenditure. There are 96,564 businesses in NSW involved in tourism which directly and indirectly employs 257,000 people. As at Year End June 2013, Sydney received 29.2 million visitors, who stayed 79.9 million nights and spent $13.5billion. In the same period, Regional NSW received 51.3 million visitors who stayed 73.9 million nights and spend $13.1billion.
Far East Orchard has acquired 50% of Toga Hotels in what is described as a ‘joint venture’ between the two companies. The move significantly expands the portfolio of FEO’s hospitality management arm, Far East Hospitality and gives it a significant presence in Australia and New Zealand. The move was announced at a press conference during ITB Asia in Singapore on October 24. It means Far East Hospitality’s management portfolio now includes the Medina, Adina, Vibe and Travelodge brands.
Chief executive officer Arthur Kiong (pictured) says this time last year the company had 18 properties, all in Singapore. Now it has 80 hotels. The joint venture increases its Singaporean presence, adds the ANZ inventory and gives it a foothold in Germany. The expansion also includes the Rendezvous Hotel Singapore, acquired by Far East Hospitality Trust in August 2013. Existing Far East brands include Quincy, Oasia, Village and Far East Collection hotels and residences
‘We aim to bring our signature brand of Singapore inspired hospitality to both business and leisure travellers in more locations.’ says Kiong.
Speaking at the opening press conference of ITB Asia in Suntec City, Singapore, Marcio Favilla, (pictured) executive director of competitiveness, external relations and partnerships, said the first eight months of 2013 had seen tourist arrivals increase by 5.3% worldwide. ‘That’s 38 million more travellers than in the same period last year.’
Favilla adds that much of the growth is coming from Asia-Pacific, ‘tourism’s new centre of gravity’. He says that Asia is showing a 6.3% growth – one percent above the world average. ‘This repeats what has been taking place in recent years. It is boosted by South East Asia, with 12% growth so far in 2013.’
He says Thailand has been a star player, with 21% growth in arrivals. This is partly due to strong demand from Hong Kong, China and the Russian Federation. Meantime Myanmar (Burma) has shown as a 46% growth, though off a far smaller base. 'Tourism has received a boost by the opening up of Myanmar. We have seen this through history – when a political situation changes, tourism leads the way.’
After a few months of waiting, AAT Kings revealed a new branding, colours and focus at an industry event at The Cloud, Auckland on October 23. David Hosking, chairman of AAT Kings arrived in from Sydney especially for the reveal, says the company is investing in the brand and is addressing all aspects of the business.
'This is not just a paint job,' quipped Hosking, 'it is the complete package and we plan to get 'right under the bonnet'. 'Firstly everything is new. A new coach fleet will be rolled out over the next 12 months with an investment of $24 million. There will be a focus on industry partnerships and customer service with new in-house staff training initiatives across the business; we want there to be follow through - a before, during and after experience. And we plan to increase the spend on marketing for trade and consumer.'
Simultaneously revealed at industry events in Auckland and Sydney, the new look AAT Kings branding; ‘Bringing Australia and New Zealand to Life’ tagline; signature smile, staff uniforms and new coach livery were all on show as the future for a company with a history that dates back to showing guests around Australia since 1925.
Hosking also outlined details of a new Asia division based in Sydney and says this will be a new focus for the company. 'We have had it tough for the inbound market with the financial crisis and while New Zealanders and our domestic market are a major focus, we see an emerging market in Asia. 'While many from Asia travel FIT, we will look experientially at new product offerings with a direction to what they want to see and do and adapt tours to taste. They may want longer itineraries. It's all in the planning stage.'
Hosking, a 38 year veteran with The Travel Corporation, announced a promotion for Bruce Gentry to AAT Kings general manager New Zealand, previously he was operations manager. Gentry has been with the company for 14 years and has worked his way through the ranks.
Guests at the relaunch were welcomed by Kevin and Maureen, recently returned from a trip to Australia and who tried to tell everyone about it, and the duo joined AAT Kings guests for drinks and canapes in The Cloud.
<<Sally Holyer, Tourism and Events Queensland and Maja Smithson, GO Holidays inside The Cloud
>>Bruce Gentry, general manager New Zealand, AAT Kings
<< Kit Nixon and Claire Bazzalo, Explore NZ tried to run the gauntlet, but Kevin and Maureen got to them first...
>>...As they did with John Ellis, Johnston's Coachlines
Condemned buildings, abandoned railway stations, and even tunnels that are still used by trains and vehicles are presenting a new frontier for travellers, despite many of them being illegal to visit.And a speaker on the subject at ITB Asia thinks this may present opportunities to innovative tour operators and travel companies.‘I think there are opportunities, but there would need to be coordination between operators and governments – otherwise you could be doing something that is unsanctioned, says Allison Busacca, BBC travel editor (pictured).
In a presentation entitled Welcome to Taboo Travel, Busacca talked about ‘places you are not supposed to travel to’ and said this form of ‘tourism’ was being fed by digital media. ‘The internet is littered with photos and videos of places that are prohibited to visitors. If you google it, you will find it.’
She highlights places like the City Hall abandoned subway station in New York. Although the beautiful station is unused and abandoned, the rail tracks are still active and it is dangerous to visit by foot (which does not stop intrepid urban explorers). There is also the Freedom Travel, about 50 blocks of underground that has become a gallery for graffiti art. Brusacca showed the audience a You Tube video detailing a gap in the fence that people could get through and then a step by step ‘guide’ to the illegal ‘attraction.’‘I think urban exploration will jump from a few niche websites to the more mainstream media. It is also going mobile.’ She says some sites are holding users to a higher accountability’ which is a positive step. ‘You are putting yourself in a dangerous situation and trusting that what you read on the internet is true.’Busacca says there are thousands of sites begging for exploration – the Vatican Archives, Australia’s underground drains and the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ are just some examples. While some of the urban exploration sites are well documented, others slide into urban myth territory – is there really a second subway in Moscow that was used by the KBG, just waiting to be discovered and explored by travellers?
Companies and organisations that suffer from ‘pivot cramp’ are probably looking down the barrel of failure, delegates at ITB Asia heard on October 23. In his keynote address, Phillip Wolf, founder of PhoCusWright (pictured), addressed the need to future proof companies and make major shifts in strategy when needed. He used the examples of Kodak Eastman and its rival Fuji, keen competit0rs in the 1990s.
‘Fuji pivoted and is thriving. Both companies saw the writing on the wall, but Kodak persevered with the easier way out but ultimately failed. Fuji rebooted and transformed into a solid company.’ He says companies cannot blame technology or changes if they fail. Rather they need to look at the way they operate in the face f change and innovation.
‘A lot of travel companies need to pivot now, but they will not do so.’ He says there are a number of reasons why organisations fail to make the necessary major changes known as pivoting. ‘One is fear, top management having a lack of fortitude to do so. They are simply afraid to make the necessary major changes.‘Another is vanity, over confidence in the brand and its ability to endure. They focus on blocking (other people’s efforts) instead of building. Those who spend time blocking and arguing will lose market share.’
Representatives from the Skal Club of Auckland recently joined with delegates from Hamilton, Christchurch and Queenstown and more than 1,000 Skål members and partners from around the globe - aboard the Carnival Glory cruise ship at New York harbour for this year’s 2013 Skal World Congress.The first of its kind on a cruise ship, the seven night congress itinerary included a B2B event, gala dinner and general assembly as well as special welcome events hosted each day by US and Canadian Skal Clubs when the ship docked in Boston, Portland (Maine), Saint John and Halifax in Canada.
Skal Auckland was represented by Gaye Wood, Richard Froggatt, Tony Smith and Nigel Pilkington. Nigel Pilkington was also re-electied to the position of director on the executive committee of Skal International.
Kiwi agents can go in the draw to win a private island escape at the Sofitel Bora Bora including five nights accommodation in an island luxury overwater bungalow; dinner on the beach; Polynesian dance show; daily buffet breakfast and airport transfers on Bora Bora, all for two people. For the agent only, a return flight on TN, AKL - PPT and return domestic ticket Papeete to Bora Bora.
The winning agent will be the one that makes the most new bookings for the Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island Resort from early Oct until Dec 31, 2013, for stays within the same period. Conditions apply. Send details to Sofitel French Polynesia’s international sales manager Lisa Coakley at
To be eligible, agents must refer to new bookings only to be eligible, and no name changes apply. Winners will be announced in January 2014.
In the country for a joint Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia board meeting, John Borghetti, CEO Virgin Australia took the opportunity to meet with industry members at a cocktail function at the Sofitel Auckland on October 17. A familiar face with the New Zealand delegation from his Qantas days, Borghetti touched on his 40 years within the airline and travel industry and his three years in the Virgin CEO role. 'From four different brands, where it was a 'lucky dip' each time a passenger flew with us, we now have a strong product and a bright future. We have grown from 6,200 staff members to 9,500, and with the airline alliance - Delta, Air New Zealand, Etihad and Singapore Airlines - we can now reach over 500 destinations worldwide - up from 70 pre-alliance.'
Growth was also reported with the carrier's frequent flyer Velocity programme. Thought to have been saturated, Borghetti says three years ago there were two million members, now there are 3.8 million and signing up an average of 1400 per day.
He also touched on the IFE - inflight entertainment system, with the wireless onboard server that provides movies, TV shows and music. 'We will have this rolled out on all the 737 aircraft by Christmas. It's easy to use; just download the Virgin Australia app onto a compatible device - be it a phone, iPad, or laptop, then once onboard you can stream movies or the likes for the duration of the flight.'
<<Royston Lim, Virgin Australia with Kay Rogers, United Travel Bethlehem and John Willson, United Travel
>> Grant Bevan, Business World Travel and Derek Sullivan, Travel Managers
Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy has resigned and will finish with the organisation at the end of the year. McEvoy will take up the role as managing director Fairfax Events in January.Tourism Australia Chairman Geoff Dixon congratulated McEvoy on the new role and commended him and the organisation on what have been a highly successful four years, underlined last week when Tourism Australia was named Best Destination Marketing Campaign at the World Routes Awards 2013.
'This is the first time a tourism authority has won the top award for its efforts in air service development and airline marketing,' said Dixon who also said achievements in McEvoy’s time as the head of Tourism Australia had included the development of the Tourism 2020 plan as a blueprint for the nation’s visitor economy; the establishment of There’s Nothing Like Australia as a multiple award winning campaign for Australia; a strengthening of Australia’s tourism marketing efforts into Asia; and the massive growth of Australia’s social media assets including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Weibo.'The Australian visitor economy has had three successive years of growth in numbers, nights and spend, achieving its best growth performance since the Olympic year of 2000. The domestic visitor economy has also seen two years of strong growth, putting Australia on track to achieve its 2020 targets.'Dixon went on to say that McEvoy and his management team had also been responsible for the highly successful Oprah Winfrey visit; the reprise of the Best Jobs in the World campaign and the recent development of the Restaurant Australia positioning to tap into the world’s desire for great food and wine as part of their travel experience.
Ex-Tourism New Zealand marketing communications manager in London, Ken Freer, has been appointed to the new role of director global marketing for Tourism Fiji, based in Nadi. Freer has more than 15 years marketing and management experience, working in Auckland, Sydney, Los Angeles and most recently London where he was responsible for regional marketing communications for North America, UK and Europe at Tourism New Zealand.
Prior to entering the tourism industry, Freer owned a marketing agency in Auckland for almost 10 years with clients that included American Express, Citroen, Regency Duty Free and Jaguar. He also ran online and direct marketing for Westpac New Zealand for three years, before being transferred to a similar role with Westpac in Sydney.
Tourism Fiji CEO, Rick Hamilton, said the appointment of Freer, and other recently-announced marketing appointments, signalled the determination of Fiji to grow its tourism globally and a reflection of the importance of tourism to Fiji. Tourism Fiji earlier this year rolled out a repositioning of Fiji that included a new brand identity, new global marketing and social media partners and a new destination website.
A function for frequent flyers and a media launch marked Qantas’s launch of its biggest yet advertising campaign for its loyalty programme – starring a replica of NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity exploring iconic New Zealand locations.
Lesley Grant, chief executive office of Qantas Loyalty, points out that New Zealand is the second biggest market for Qantas Frequent Flyer (following only Australia) and says the partnership with Emirates has been particularly important for New Zealand.
‘A lot of people at the cocktail function were talking about the many opportunities to redeem and earn points across Emirates, Qantas and Jetstar.’
The Curiosity campaign includes television commercials, outdoor advertising, direct, digital, print, experiential and social media executions.
<< During a media function at Sofitel Auckland – Lesley Grant, chief executive officer Qantas Loyalty and Amanda Bolger, general manager corporate communications loyalty
Page 2 of 15