Tourism Fiji has a familiarisation tour planned specifically for new consultants in the industry who have never visited Fiji before. 'We want to engage with them early on to show both how beautiful Fiji is and the depth of tourism product available,' says Wayne Deed, regional director New Zealand of Tourism Fiji. 'The content is a mix of product and experiences designed to give the participants a good overview of what's most popular with New Zealand consumers,' he adds.For more information email:
Hot Off The Press
There are many reasons for New Zealanders to visit Outback Queensland including open spaces, flora, fauna, and a full events calendar but the region's operators say that the people are the number one reason.
Lloyd Mills, chief executive officer of Outback Queensland Tourism, says the characters of the outback are the best reason to visit. ‘Our people are out main advantage.’
He says a major misperception is about access to the area. ‘Actually, you can leave Auckland on the 6am flight, get to Brisbane about 6.30am with daylight saving, then catch a flight to Longreach and be there by lunchtime.’
Mills believes the area is now on the radar for New Zealand travellers as a new destination because in the past it has predominantly been the place for visiting friends and relatives (VFR).
Above, at an Outback Queensland media lunch in Auckland on February 12 (from left) Alison Angus, Outback Queensland Tourism; Alan Smith, Outback Aussie Tours; Glenda Daly, Kinnon & Co
Tourism Dubai and Emirates hosted a destination workshop for the travel industry at Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour last night, where the overriding theme was positive growth since its alliance with Qantas last April, and extensive accommodation developments as the city gears up to host World Expo 2020 in seven years time.
Tourism Dubai's New Zealand and Australia representative Veronica Rainbird defended the notion of Dubai being overly expensive, saying the term 'affordable luxury' was a more appropriate description of the experience travelers can have in the young city that offers a city, beach and desert holiday all in one. 'Yes it can get expensive if you're staying in one of the best five star hotels at peak season, but with 600 hotels there are competitive rates, especially for stopovers.' She adds that Dubai is more than a 24-hour stopover location and is truly a destination in its own right.
A significant amount of new three, four and five star hotels and apartments are on the horizon since Dubai won the right to host World Expo 2020 in November last year. The iconic man-made archipelago Palm Jumeirah alone will see massive changes with plenty of new hotels to open, including brands such as Anatara, Sofitel and One&Only, plus a swiming with sea lions attraction will soon open.
Meantime, Emirates (EK) looks back on a year of milestones including its largest ever aircraft order at the Dubai airshow, winning the Skytrax Airline of the Year award, and its alliance with Qantas (QF) which has opened up options out of Wellington and Queenstown. 'It's a competitive world out there and to maintain growth is quite an accomplishment,' summarised Chris Lethbridge, Emirates.
A diverse South Pacific business-to-business event, the exhibition expects at least 50 international travel wholesalers (buyers) who will meet with an equal amount of travel and tourism product (sellers) from up to 16 Pacific Island countries and their private sector tourism operators.
Organisers have timed the event to follow the Australian Tourism Expo (ATE) in Cairns on May 11-15 and New Zealand’s trade event TRENZ (May 18-21).
‘We’ve planned SPTE deliberately after these events so that it can be a round trip for long-haul buyers already in the Pacific. We’re overwhelmed with the response from international buyers, with delegates coming from as far as Italy, Belgium and Scandinavia,’ says Petero Manufolau, SPTO marketing manager.
Manufolau says that many exhibitors who would usually have attended Bula Fiji Tourism Expo (BFTE), which was cancelled for 2014, have committed to attending SPTE. Tourism Fiji has not yet committed although several Fijian properties have. ‘But we currently have more registrations coming from islands other than Fiji because many Fijian sellers have committed to Fijian Tourism Exchange (FTE).’
Future SPTEs will depend largely on the feedback from this year’s participants, but the date of May (or whatever dates coincide with ATE and TRENZ) will likely continue to capture the long-haul markets in the region. ‘In future years we will also look at the potential of post-famils to take take trade partners to the South Pacific.’ Australia may be considered as a future location for the event.
He says although in the recent past SPTO has been focused on driving growth into the South Pacific from developing and emerging markets like Europe and North America, the inaugural event will be ‘the first of many events for the Australian and New Zealand trade’.
SPTE is being funded by the European Union and its Pacific Region Union Capacity Building Project, a three-year initiative that SPTO has secured for 2012-14.
Business related travel for 2014 is likely to be 'buoyant', as the business events industry kicks off the year with a healthy balance of short and long haul destination enquiries, according to Destination Marketing Services (DMS) managing director Marissa Fernandez.
Fernandez says it's encouraging to note that long haul destinations are investing in the Australian and New Zealand market, with DMS recently signing new destinations such as Belgium and Morocco, but there is still 'an eye on the bottom line'.
'The good news of course is that bookings are up and creativity is still very much a key factor in winning the business – however there is increasing pressure from tendering procurement causing strong competition, in turn making lead times very tight – and the bottom line is still governing decisions.'
She adds that the insistence on value and keen pricing had not eased - even at the top end of the market. 'Our DMCs will be approaching the market with a wide range of value options to suit the current conditions, as they are very aware that the AUD is not as strong as it used to be.'
Fernandez will be speaking at the DMS Annual Workshops, which are happening in Sydney on February 13 and Melbourne February 17 (before AIME) and says this year's workshops are attracting senior leaders, owners and general managers of more than 20 DMCs including Pacific World (Asia), Dragonfly Africa (Southern & Eastern Africa), Spectra (United Kingdom), TekSer Tourism & Travel Inc. (Turkey), Shackman Associates New York (USA), and new to DMS, Activ’Travel (Morocco).
DMS is taking a new strategic initiative at this year’s workshop; bringing together eminent business leaders from the industry, to discuss the current trends and upcoming business climate for incentives within the Australian and New Zealand markets. These insiders’ perspectives will offer valuable insights into creative business solutions and market trends on the horizon.
The findings will then be shared during the lunchtime session and will include:
• Profiling the Australian / New Zealand MICE traveler - important drivers, behavior, wish lists and preferences • Key factors that impact destination selection • Which destinations are leading the way?• Understanding the new travel trends for the MICE segment
• Managing expectations: what do corporates want from destinations and vice versa • Futuristic thoughts: what are the best strategies to be developed in the next five years?
For more information on the workshops, contact Bianca Di Salvo on +61 2 9368 1811 or email
The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) has launched the inaugural South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE) to be held at Pullman Auckland on May 22-23, 2014.
SPTO chief executive Ilisoni Vuidreketi says the event will be the region's largest travel and tourism business-to-business event with more than 50 international buyers and 16 Pacific Island countries and their private operators expected.
'The event aims to bring together regional tourism operators and partners (sellers) and international tour operators and wholesalers (buyers), through a combination of pre-scheduled appointments and networking opportunities,' he says.
He adds that SPTE is ideal for tourism wholesalers seeking to grow their business into the region and is a cost effective means of learning about travel and tourism in the South Pacific.
Registrations for both buyers and sellers are open now at www.spto.org/spte
Qantas will increase its services between Sydney and Queenstown during the Easter school holidays and peak ski season, operating daily services at its peak between July and October. The airline currently operates three flights per week between Sydney and Queenstown and will add two extra services per week to support demand over the Easter school holidays and the Queenstown ski season with daily flights through to October 24.
'Qantas will add more than 650 seats each week and the additional services will mean greater flexibility and a premium experience for our customers travelling to Queenstown during the ski season,' says Qantas CEO International Simon Hickey
'Our seasonal services reflect the continued popularity of the surrounding ski fields and will represent a boost to the New Zealand tourism industry, particularly as Emirates will codeshare on all the existing and additional services.'
The additional* services will be operated by Qantas’ fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft and offer inflight entertainment, food and wine and checked luggage as part of Qantas' full service offering. *Operated by Jetconnect for Qantas.
The amended schedule (April 7 - October 24) is as follows:
Qantas also operates a weekly Brisbane-Queenstown service on Saturdays during the peak ski season from 28 June to 27 September.
Buyers purchasing leisure tourism and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Congresses and Exhibitions) product are eligable for the hosted buyer programme and will be chosen based on criteria including their purchasing seniority and the volume of business they expect to conduct with exhibitors.
Hosted buyers’ flights and hotel accommodation for the duration of the event will be paid, while a comprehensive set of pre-approved, pre-scheduled meetings will be arranged and the popular Speed Networking event will take place to help buyers maximise their time.
Buyers looking to be a part of the WTM Latin America International Hosted Buyer programme should visit www.wtmlatinamerica.com/Hosted-Buyer-Programme to apply.
Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Chief Executive Martin Snedden says the announcement of the SQ/NZ alliance is another sign of the New Zealand’s tourism industry’s determination to grow its value to New Zealand’s economy.
'Singapore is a source of international visitors in its own right and it’s a potential growth market. But more important is its role as one of the world’s major aviation hubs,' says Sneddon.'Our industry is focused on growth out of the Pacific Rim, including Southeast Asia and this NZ/SQ alliance will strengthen our industry’s ability to successfully exploit these valuable opportunities.
Snedden says Air New Zealand is a strong supporter of Tourism 2025 and TIA is working with the private sector and public sector to develop Tourism 2025, an plan that aims to unite and inspire the industry to adapt and succeed. It has a firm focus on growth – yield, profitability and return on investment – and improved sector productivity, all underpinning a quality visitor experience.
Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand have agreed to form an alliance enabling Air New Zealand to fly the Auckland-Singapore route again and Singapore Airlines to operate the Airbus A380 to New Zealand for the first time. The A380 would be operated daily by Singapore Airlines between Singapore and Auckland, progressively replacing an existing daily service with the smaller Boeing 777-300ER. A380 operations would initially be on a seasonal basis. The B777-300ER would be used during off-peak travel periods. Air New Zealand would launch daily services between Auckland and Singapore using newly refitted Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, taking over five flights currently operated by Singapore Airlines and adding two more weekly flights, increasing the frequency to daily.
Subject to regulatory approvals, the carriers would aim to boost their existing capacity between Singapore and New Zealand by up to 30% year round over time. Singapore Airlines’ daily Singapore-Christchurch service would continue as part of the alliance. The proposed alliance would enable Air New Zealand passengers to access codeshare travel on the Singapore Airlines network to the UK, Europe, South East Asia and Africa, as well as on the network of its regional subsidiary airline, SilkAir. Singapore Airlines’ customers would be able to access codeshare travel across the Air New Zealand domestic network and to selected international destinations. Singapore Airlines Chief Executive Officer Goh Choon Phong says 'this alliance is another example of our commitment to the important Southwest Pacific market, and our commitment to the further enhancement of our network.' 'Air New Zealand is on a positive growth trajectory with a clear focus on Pacific Rim destinations. An alliance with Singapore Airlines clearly fits our business objectives of working with the right partners in the right markets to deliver seamless customer journeys,' added Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon.
The alliance would see Air New Zealand’s ‘NZ’ code return to Singapore Airlines’ network for the first time since 2007. Air New Zealand last operated to Singapore in 2006. The parties are seeking approval for the alliance from the Competition Commission of Singapore and the New Zealand Minister of Transport. Pending approval, flights could commence December 2014.
Travelsmart Invercargill is a prototype model whereby an existing agency has been given a new lease of life. When Ray Muir retired after 49 years in the retail travel business, senior consultants Leeanne Durry and Raewyn Van Schaik wanted to continue the business but under a model that would provide a seamless transition at a low cost.
'Travelsmart came up with a model that provided the opportunity to take over the business and run it with marketing and head office support,' says Van Schaik. 'It seemed a shame to see the years of work put into the business just to see it close'.
Derek Sullivan, Travelsmart general manager says they are receiving enquiries from owners who are looking at retirement or wanting to gradually exit from ownership overtime. ' Our model provides an opportunity for the staff to take over the business and the owner to exit, it’s a win win. Succession planning has been lacking from our industry and Travelsmart, with its parent Travel Managers, has a solution that provides a pathway for consultants wanting to take on the business, with very little cost.'
The Samoa Tourism Exchange is welcoming other South Pacific destinations to exhibit at the annual trade event this year. Expressions of interest have been received from South Pacific exhibitors and the Samoa Tourism Authority advises that further details will be available in the coming weeks.
The official opening of the Samoa Tourism Exchange (STE) will be held on Tuesday April 1 at the Samoa Cultural Centre in Apia, followed by the Buyer/Seller Exhibition on April 2 - 4. STE will continue to showcase Samoa's tourism products and services to the world and create opportunities through buyer/seller networking.
Product managers attending the event will receive property updates, be introduced to the new properties and accommodation options and meet with property managers and Samoa Tourism Authority representatives.
Property inspections will take place from April 5 - 9 and for the firsts time, the Samoa Tourism Authority will conduct three themed property familiarisations. Romance will explore properties and venues for the wedding and honeymoon market, The Great Samoan Road Trip will be for the adventure market, looking at beach fale options and backpacker and dorm-style accommodation, while Mainstream will look at a broader range of product and activities suitable for couples and families.
Travellers to Queensland in 2014 can look forward to a cross section of new products to the state, including Australia's first Segway tour in a national park, a state-inspired art exhibition in Brisbane and luxury fishing for anglers with champagne tastes.
New exhibition at Gallery of Modern Art
The exhibition features three major installations, including two new works inspired by Queensland landscapes, a traditional tea pavilion and a hands-on kids programme including virtual gunpowder drawings and 3D paper animal models. Heritage showcases 99 life-like animal sculptures gathered around a water hole in GOMA's largest gallery, inspired by the artist's visit to Stradbroke Island with his family. Following recent exhibitions in New York, Qatar, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Rio de Janeiro and Venice, Cai's latest masterpieces will call GOMA home until May 2014.
Segway tours in Townsville
Virtually silent and leaving a minimal environmental footprint, segways put riders closer to fauna and flora than any other vehicle currently allowed in National Parks. All tours start with a 30 minutes training session before setting off on the 8.5 kilometre track. Self-guided adventures are also available for riders wanting to explore the city's hidden gems at their own pace.
Fortitude Valley's new accommodation and dining hot spot
M&A's 234 self-contained apartments is welcoming guests mid-December, with a selection of restaurants and bars already open in time for the festive season.Dining options include Papa Jacks - a New Orleans-inspired eatery with an authentic Creole-laden menu, and Mighty Mighty-cue and brew, which serves up all American dude food from tasty grilled meats to smoked whiskey cocktails.The apartments will be spread across 21 levels, appealing to both leisure and corporate travelers, with a one to 60 night stay policy.
New luxury fishing trips
Far North Sports Fishing specialises in high-end, bespoke fishing adventures on board a multi-million dollar, three-level yacht Blue Martini. Weigh anchor for both day and liveaboard charters from Port Douglas to Lizard Island and up into the far north chasing giant trevally, black marlin and barramundi.
Rugby World Cup in September 2015 has prompted the traditionally domestic focused VisitEngland tourism bureau to place consultants in international markets to drive visitors to England for the competition. VisitEngland’s Sydney based consultant, Kersti Martin, was in Auckland this week talking with key trade partners as well as trade and consumer media.
‘Games will be played across 10 cities in the north and south of England,’ says Martin. ‘No other event has covered as much of the country – from Newcastle and Manchester in the north to Brighton and Exeter in the south. We’ll be pushing a ‘London Plus’ message and we have high hopes for the New Zealand market. We’re forecasting a spike in traffic over the Rugby World Cup.’
Supporters packages go on sale from 01 March 2014 through All Blacks Tours. There are a few days between matches and Martin sees this as an opportunity for supporters to see the country and visit friends and relatives. ‘We see the Rugby World Cup as a great opportunity to visit England,' she says.
In 2012 according to the IPS (International Passenger Survey) 132,000 New Zealanders visited England, staying 2,345,000 nights and spending £79m.
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