Hot Topics

xtravel success in Queenstown

Tuesday, 06 February 2018 21:12

Recognising each other’s strengths, looking for points of difference and not having a proprietary attitude towards clients has all helped lead to success for central Otago (Queenstown) based xtravel.

Victoria (Tori) Keating and Niki Davies both had wide experience in the trade before forming the broker partnership and now (with contractor Kate Rule-Munro) operate a successful brokering business, which includes oering its own specialised tours.

Cruise & youth - can they mix?

Thursday, 01 February 2018 04:19

The youth market could be the next frontier for the cruise sector – with 18 to 35s yet embracing that form of holiday.

Sarah Bedford, country manager of STA Travel, says the key is to have cruise product designed for youth and she welcomes developments such as U by Uniworld (offered by The Travel Corporation).

Incentives the new leisure?

Thursday, 08 June 2017 22:36

Travellers who engage a travel agent now are often seeking something more akin to an ‘incentive travel’ experience than simply an off the shelf product, says Penny Henderson of special interest travel company Pack Ya Bags.
Traditionally incentives have been the domain of corporates who set targets and then have inspiring programmes devised for the people who achieve those goals. The recipients tend to feel short changed if they feel they could have easily devised and purchased the travel products themselves.

Marriott on a mission in NZ

Tuesday, 18 April 2017 22:09

One of the largest hotel trade expos to happen in New Zealand will take place late May, when the Marriott International Global Sales Mission is held at the Maritime Room in Auckland.
Travel retailers and brokers are welcome to attend, as are professional conference and incentive organisers, wholesalers and corporate travel agents/travel management companies.The Mission is the first time Marriott has brought its showcase to these shores and encompasses what used to be known as the Starwood Expo.

True cost of SA visa debacle

Tuesday, 14 March 2017 00:22

The South African visa situation has already caused leading incentive operator Dragonfly Africa to lose a big booking out of the New Zealand market, and the effects are ongoing.
Yolanda Woeke-Jacobs, director sales and marketing with Dragonfly, says the company lost a booking of 400 people through an incentive company in New Zealand because the extra cost and time involved in fronting up at an office for a visa made the trip uneconomic and impractical. The trip was worth about 10 million rand (more than NZ$1million) to the South African economy, not counting airfares.

HoT against animal cruelty

Wednesday, 08 March 2017 02:07

House of Travel this month signed World Animal Protection’s elephant-friendly tourism pledge, committing not to sell, offer or promote venues or activities involving elephant rides and shows.
House of Travel marketing director Ken Freer says tourists often want to experience wild animals when on holiday,  especially in places such as Asia and Africa, but sometimes don’t realise the animals can suffer hidden cruelty so they can interact with people.

Adventure World NHA's new GSA

Monday, 22 January 2018 21:15

Adventure World has been named as the exclusive GSA for US-based wildlife small group operator Natural Habitat Adventures.

Working in partnership with the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), Natural Habitat Adventures has worked in responsible adventure travel and ecotourism since its founding in 1985.

Kiwis on international tourism

Thursday, 18 January 2018 05:08

 The latest Mood of the Nation survey, commissioned by Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Industry Aotearoa was conducted late last year.

The data shows most New Zealanders view international tourism in a positive light.

Online booking mishaps

Monday, 15 January 2018 22:12

Slowly but surely, travel agents are coming back into their own, says Peter Cox, of Golf Encounters.

And he says publicity about bad experiences with people booking online is part of the reason.

Kaikōura gets SH1 back

Monday, 18 December 2017 20:33


New Zealand’s tourism industry is celebrating the reopening of State Highway 1 north of Kaikōura last week. 

‘Tourism Industry Aotearoa and our members are hugely grateful for the enormous effort that has gone into rebuilding this important visitor route so quickly,’ says Advocacy manager Steve Hanrahan. 

Tourism industry shows NZ the love

Thursday, 14 December 2017 22:21

The tourism industry’s contribution to New Zealand is reflected in new economic statistics, according to Tourism Industry Aotearoa. 

The 2017 Tourism Satellite Account shows that more than 230,000 people are directly employed in tourism (8.4% of the workforce), with another 168,357 or 6.1% indirectly employed.

What drives 50+ market?

Monday, 11 December 2017 20:54

Once thought to be only for unwashed backpackers willing to endure hardship and discomfort to get an authentic experience, now adventure travel attracts a much more mainstream group. Well-heeled professionals, romantic couples and sporty families all want more adventure, nature and culture from their holidays. But the core demographic that is leading the double-digit growth for Adventure World is the ‘Bucket-List Baby Boomer’.
They already hold the purse strings when it comes to a huge chunk of traveller spending power and with a growing trend towards more lucrative long-haul adventures among cash-rich and time-rich older travellers, the size of the potential market is vast.

Tourism tax, to be or not to be

Tuesday, 05 December 2017 00:25

Regional Tourism Organisations around New Zealand are making calls for a national discussion on tourism tax.
This week the Labour Government is seeking advice from officials on its pre-election policy that would see international visitors pay a $25 tax at the border.
RTNZ executive officer Charlie Ives says New Zealand needs an agreed, rational, structured approach that benefits tourism.

No tour too small

Thursday, 30 November 2017 21:03

Back-Roads Touring has just launched its 2018 Cruise and Sail brochure that features a range of small-group tours, something country manager New Zealand, Dennis Basham says is a growing trend for the Kiwi market.

The market is growing rapidly as guests are looking to escape the large group scenarios, long lines and wait times. The small-group market allows guests to enjoy local cultural experiences but with full support from a dedicated and experienced guide and driver,’ he says.

OTAs: Agents fight back

Monday, 27 November 2017 19:09

Travel agents and brokers may be working harder than ever for their money, but there is no question that they are gaining ground back from the online competition, the NZ Travel Brokers conference heard over the weekend.
‘OTAs (online travel agents) around the world are struggling; many have plummeting share prices,’ says Steve Lee, director of NZTB.

‘They are not getting the traction that they had at the start because travel agents are fighting back. OTAs are getting bad press and people are getting sick of the misleading information they are finding on the internet.

Authentic stories please

Thursday, 23 November 2017 23:26

A plea for authenticity was made by new Tourism Minister, Kelvin Davis, at the Tourism Industry Aotearoa Summit, in Wellington last week.

‘Get the right people telling the right stories in the right way; it’s very powerful. I need to say there are some not so genuine people telling not such genuine stories.’

The Minister praised a cruise passenger tour of Northland war sites, guided by a kaumatua who was a descendant of both Hōne Heke and the leader of the British forces, and had great story-telling skills.

Earning revenue in New Cal

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 01:44

New Caledonia’s Promenade Tours is focusing on giving the travel trade new ways to make commission in the destination while also giving clients an enriched experience.
Manager Julie Cassin says wholesalers and retail agents would typically package airfares, transfers and accommodation, primarily around Noumea.
‘We’re committed to helping them earn incremental income.’

Hamilton Island's big month

Monday, 13 November 2017 19:40

Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays has just had its biggest month yet in terms of incentive groups and other business events.
Hamilton Island’s Julie Ford, who is in Auckland now for today’s PAICE event, says the biggest month prior to October 2017 was November 2010.
The strong performance in October signalled a quick and dramatic recovery after Cyclone Debbie ripped through the region in March this year.

Economy brand to launch in AU/NZ

Monday, 06 November 2017 21:55

Best Western Australasia(BWA) says SureStay, its new economy hotel brand, is coming to New Zealand and Australia. 

Head of commercial, Steve Richards says fruitful discussions are underway with a number of hotels and anticipates the first property will go live in early 2018 with others to follow.he

Richards says Best Western sees the economy sector as a major network growth opportunity, especially across regional areas with a lot of competition but little brand differentiation.

Respect for film sites in NZ

Monday, 30 October 2017 22:50

Film tourists trespassing on private land and trampling over vulnerable natural areas, plus entire communities feeling displaced by visiting film buffs are issues the film tourism sector must urgently address.

Speaking at a joint Tourism Ireland/Tourism New Zealand Screen Tourism discussion, in Wellington last week, industry experts warned that maintaining the natural integrity of film locations and the ‘social licence’ to visit them are essential.

Diehard fans come with great expectations.

Why river cruises

Thursday, 19 October 2017 22:55

River cruising in Europe is more popular for second-, third- and fourth-time cruisers.
That’s according to Nicky Denvir, travel agent at HOT Botany, who says it’s normally an ocean cruise first, and then the next time the river cruising is what she would recommend.

SIA's Book the Cook hits AKL

Thursday, 12 October 2017 20:25

One year in the making, Singapore Airlines’ Book the Cook service is winging its way to Auckland, with LSG Sky Chefs curating and producing the vision.
Book the Cook gives First Class, Business Class and Premium Economy guests leaving Auckland the opportunity to book a main course from a curated fine dining menu, up to 48 hours before flying with the airline.
Already available at 17 other ports for First Class, 23 ports in Business Class and 19 ports for Premium Economy, Auckland’s menu is available for departures starting 30 October – the same date that the airline’s A380 comes back into rotation.

Emirates drops two flights

Thursday, 12 October 2017 03:47

From March 2018, Emirates will stop flying from Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland and instead focus on its non-stop Auckland-Dubai service. 

Emirates will retain its existing daily A380 flights from Dubai to Christchurch via Sydney, and the airline is also evaluating potential new direct services between New Zealand and Dubai.

At the same time, to provide greater choice across the Tasman, Qantas will increase the frequency of its services between the two countries, adding seven new return

Air NZ reveals inflight WiFi move

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 00:40

Air New Zealand has started trialling its new Inflight Wi-Fi service on one of its long-haul Boeing 777-300 aircraft.
The airline is rolling out Wi-Fi capability across its international jet fleet, beginning with the 777-300 fleet. 

Reinvest GST, take from tourism

Thursday, 05 October 2017 19:10

A call for the single biggest beneficiary of tourism to reinvest in the product was made yesterday by Tourism Industry Aotearoa boss Chris Roberts.
Speaking at SKAL Auckland’s monthly luncheon, Roberts said the government had increased its GST take by $500m a year, from $700m to $1.2b, since the tourism boom began around four years ago.

VR no travel replacement

Tuesday, 03 October 2017 03:18

Virtual reality will become an increasingly important sales tool for travel professionals and is also likely to add to the travel experience – but won’t stop people from actually going places.

That’s the view of Russell Craig, national technology officer, Microsoft New Zealand.

‘I see the two as being both / and, rather than either/ or.’

Diverse results on big night

Saturday, 30 September 2017 23:43

The 2017 TAANZ National Travel Industry Awards produced probably the most even spread of winners in the event’s history, with variation and new winners thrown into the mix.
A notable trend was a steady early call-out of helloworld names – GO Holidays as best wholesaler; Janine Mallon, The Travel Brokers as best broker; Rebekah Hensman of helloworld 5 Mile taking out best rookie of the year; Michelle Malcolm, helloworld North Harbour named best travel agency manager – retail; and helloworld Blenheim, Rolleston, Wanganui being called up as best brand retail – multi location.

The TAANZ tick and more

Thursday, 28 September 2017 21:03

The Travel Agents’ Association New Zealand (TAANZ) says its new consumer proposition and a ‘suite of assets’ promoting the benefits of using a TAANZ travel agent are now available for members.

This includes the new look logo and a ‘Five Reasons to Choose a TAANZ Accredited Travel Agent’ chart which can be easily integrated into agents’ own websites.

First Travel Group’s Margaret Spiro, who was on a spacial marketing group for the project, says the aim was to modernise the logo and the message and make TAANZ more credible to the consumer.

Trade messages lead to high client satisfaction

Thursday, 21 September 2017 21:40

Higher than ever repeat and satisfaction rates from The Travel Corporation clients is due to a large degree to the trade’s knowledge and understanding of the company’s offerings, guests at a function in Auckland heard this week.
‘The messaging in 2017 and into 2018 means that your clients are prepared for the experience they are going to have,’ Scott Cleaver, general manager sales at The Travel Corporation told the gathered agents at Crave Café during the Fiesta event. Cleaver says the event, and similar functions around the country, are about saying thank you to the trade – particularly from the Trafalgar, Contiki and Insight brands. He says that while sharp airfare deals have helped drive sales to Europe in general, the trend has also meant that yields get ‘more challenging’, leading to a higher propensity to sell land content.

Viva updates agents on Mexico

Thursday, 21 September 2017 06:15

Viva Expeditions reports that all of its local guides, and our friends and family in Mexico are safe and well and the company is sending its thoughts and condolences to the people who have been impacted. 

Thronies unite

Friday, 15 September 2017 00:42

Fans of Game of Thrones will have the opportunity to meet a Knight of the Kingsguard and a member of the Night’s Watch at the Winterfell Festival on 24 September.

Awards finalists give tips for success, thoughts on trends

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 21:18

Keep your knowledge up, keep training and keep visiting new destinations. That’s one of the tips for success from Samantha Johnston of YOU Travel Taupo.

Intrepid's new food tours in Middle East

Tuesday, 05 September 2017 22:16

Intrepid Travel now offers food adventures in more than 25 countries including two new foodie tours in the Middle East in 2018. The new Real Food Adventures brochure, out now, offers authentic, local food experiences across Europe, Asia, the Americas, the subcontinent and the Middle East with more than 30 itineraries.

Niche travel: trade shows

Sunday, 03 September 2017 06:14

Possibly no other agent in New Zealand knows more about Germany in general and (almost certainly) German trade shows than Robert Laing, owner of Messe Reps.
Laing has actually been dealing with trade shows since 1989, when he worked with Jetsave and later White Heron Express. He started Messe Reps in 1996 and says trade fairs in Germany are still big business and still well attended by companies in New Zealand.

New for Great Train Journeys

Friday, 25 August 2017 02:39

A Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is a key feature of the 2018 Great Train Journeys brochure,

Flight Centre acquires...

Monday, 31 July 2017 21:43

Flight Centre Travel Group (FLT) will acquire two high profile New Zealand travel businesses. One is Travel Managers Group (TMG), a predominantly leisure-focused group that provides systems and support services to a network of more than 180 individual brokers. TMG also operates a 22-shop franchise network, which includes 12 TravelSmart shops and 10 non-branded stores. The other is Executive Travel Group (ETG), New Zealand’s largest independent corporate travel management company.

Upbeat Libeau hails helloworld’s progress

Monday, 31 July 2017 21:38

New stores, new technology and nationwide brand recognition are all indicators of the huge progress being made by helloworld, just over a year since the company launched across New Zealand. At the helloworld gala awards, in Christchurch on Saturday night, general manager marketing, David Libeau, was in an upbeat mood.

Don’t forget us, say independent agents

Monday, 31 July 2017 21:27

A number of independent agents at the Global Travel Network (GTN) Conference over the weekend say they often feel like they are on the ‘periphery’ of the travel industry and forgotten about by suppliers – both air and land. They cited the chance to catch up with 24 airlines, tour operators, cruise companies and other suppliers under one roof as the key reason to attend the conference at Rydges Rotorua.

Food travel – more opportunities to come

Thursday, 27 July 2017 23:10

Foodie travel has found its place over the past couple of years, but there is more growth to come, according to a small but diverse group of tourist offices and tour companies at The Auckland Food Show this week. Intrepid is showing off its Food Worldwide Adventures brochure and hosting a competition for show visitors to win a trip up to the value of $3000. Intrepid assistant manager Charlotte Randell says the company’s food tours are a big hit and the range on offer has steadily grown. New food adventure destinations include South Korea and Israel.

Being aware of duty of care

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 01:20

Recent research from Concur claims that many companies are unaware they have a legal obligation to fulfil their duty of care responsibilities for travelling employees.

However, Paul Halford, marketing manager at Orbit World Travel, says that’s not quite the case anymore.

‘Across the Orbit business, we have a large number of clients – small, medium, large, private, and public. What we see on a day-to-day basis is that employers are definitely aware that they have an obligation, especially over the last 12 months or so,’ he says.

‘Skills crisis starts in schools – Teachers need more support’

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 00:56

The skills crisis in New Zealand’s tourism and travel starts in secondary schools, where both teachers and students in the topics are often looked down upon by their peers, says a leading educator in the sector.

Megan Roberts, tourism work integrated learning leader and industry liaison and senior lecturer at School of Hospitality and Tourism Auckland University of Technology (AUT) says the issue urgently needs leadership.

“The situation in secondary schools needs a real shake-up,’ says Roberts. ‘Tourism and hospitality are often seen as the options for less academic students.

Agents ‘at risk’ says poll – but speakers say there’s life yet

Friday, 21 July 2017 03:38

More than 40% of the audience at a recent travel conference felt that travel agencies and travel management companies are most at risk from the various changes taking place in the industry now.
Another 30.7% of the audience at the Travelport LIVE conference in Sydney felt that everyone in the sector was at risk, while 9.9% felt GDS and technology providers had the most to fear. Airlines came in at 7.7%.
The survey came during a panel discussion on the distribution landscape, when moderator Peter Harbison, executive chairman of CAPA (Centre for Aviation) identified consumer empowerment and big data players as the

Mondo seeks brokers and independents to join group

Thursday, 20 July 2017 03:23

Mondo Travel is looking for brokers and independent agents who want to represent the company in key regions of New Zealand.

Mondo CEO, Tony Terrill, says agents who would like to carry the Mondo logo and gain from the benefits the company brings could potentially take up the option of being fully Mondo branded.

First and All Blacks Tours partner

Tuesday, 18 July 2017 04:34
All Blacks Tours (ABT) and the First Travel Group (FTG) have announced the signing of a strategic partnership agreement between the two parties. All Blacks Tours General Manager, David Caldwell, says the new partnership will further enable All Blacks Tours to promote official All Blacks supporters travel throughout the country, utilising the extensive network provided by the First Travel Group’s members.

Crisis point for service industry

Tuesday, 18 July 2017 02:55

There’s a skill shortage looming in the service industry that’s going to affect all New Zealanders, across all regions, and visitors to our country. That’s the bold claim of Dean Minchington, ServiceIQ CEO, who says there is a very real crisis around the corner. ‘It puts our successful service sectors at risk, and unless things change soon, New Zealand will be worse for it,’ he says. It’s a shortage of skilled labour needed to fill around 200,000 jobs that will be opening in the next two and a half years, according to the latest At Your Service Aotearoa economic report.

Mobile product to assist agents, says Travelport

Monday, 17 July 2017 06:00

Travelport has released Travelport Trip Assist in Asia Pacific. The new mobile product is designed for travel agents and is being showcased at the company’s annual APAC customer conference event, Travelport LIVE, in Sydney this week. Travelport says it is projected that in 2017, 50% of global mobile travel sales will originate in Asia Pacific. Trip Assist will help agencies by providing advanced mobile travel capabilities such as flexible itinerary management, real time communications and day of travel assistance.

Guaranteed to go – WJ releases Journeys 2018

Tuesday, 11 July 2017 11:11

World Journeys has just released Journeys 2018, its range of small group journeys to destinations around the globe.

Director Ange Pirie points out that all departures are guaranteed to go, with a maximum of 18 guests and minimum number.

In addition, all tours are guaranteed to be fully hosted from New Zealand.

‘This is so important – agents can book their clients on a tour in full condence with the knowledge that it will depart,’ says Pirie.

NZ Biz travel continues to rise says FCM

Monday, 03 July 2017 23:45

The FCM Travel Solutions NZ Spotlight on Business Travel Trends 2017 report shows business travel continues to rise, despite technology such as Skype for Business and WebEx. This reinforces International Air Transport Association (IATA) full-year global passenger traffic results for 2016 showing demand lifting 6% over 2015, with the Asia Pacific region demand growing by 8%. Some 95% of FCM Travel Solutions clients when surveyed said they will be continuing to spend the same, if not more on international travel.

Tourism identity seeks new opportunities

Monday, 03 July 2017 22:47

An environmental border levy and a reinstated Ministry of Tourism are major ‘wish list’ items for outgoing TEC chief executive, Lesley Immink. After six years at the helm of TEC (formerly ITOC) Immink has resigned to stand for the Opportunities Party at this year’s General Election. ‘An environmental levy at the border is a simple solution which has minimal impact on international visitors, captures everyone and would provide immediate returns to communities via a contestable fund,’ she says. Immink also believes the profile of tourism was greater when the industry had its own Ministry, which was disestablished in 2010. ‘When we have no Ministry the communication is disjointed, both internally amongst ourselves and externally to the public and media. I don’t understand why we are so accepting of this.’

‘Bleisure’ a bonus for agents

Tuesday, 27 June 2017 23:41

Promoting and selling leisure travel as an add on to business trips has become a way for agents to add real value for corporate clients, according to trade spokespeople.
Nick Queale, general manager corporate with Flight Centre New Zealand, says that what is referred to as ‘bleisure’ has become an important way for companies to promote rest and relaxation to their travellers.
‘The clients themselves are looking for experiences, that’s becoming such an important component of personal lives – especially for millennials.

Skal CHC charity event

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 01:55

Skal International Christchurch is hosting it’s first charity event for Māia Health Foundation.
Taking place on Bastille Day this Mid Winter Charity Dine and Dance will have a touch of the red, white and blue.
Christchurch Club president, Bruce Garrett says the club felt it was time to have a fun evening of wining, dining and dancing.

Fitness doesn't stop

Thursday, 15 June 2017 05:40

Agents with fitness-mad clients looking for the ultimate adventure challenge should take a look at Xplorer, a Hawaii-based fitness challenge operator that provides multi-day adventure tours on Oahu.

The operator launched around a year ago to meet the demand for fitness-inspired experiences.

Speaking at the Experience Aloha Business Exchange, Xplorer CEO and founder Denise Albano says the all-inclusive tours provide participants with an experience the average tourist might not get to have.

Sheraton Kona’s new look

Thursday, 15 June 2017 05:38

Hawaii's Sheraton Kona Resort will invest more than two million dollars in the property as part of a renovation set for 2018.

The renovation will focus on room refurbs and upgrading the Rays in the Bay restaurant to cash in on the resort's big drawcard - the manta rays that swim up to the property at night.

Self famils in Saigon and Buenos Aires

Thursday, 15 June 2017 05:27

Adventure World and Air New Zealand have launched new travel agent self-famil packages for Buenos Aires and Saigon.

Trade explore Vietnam for four nights for $1180 per person plus taxes for agents and one companion, including return flights Auckland to Saigon with Air New Zealand, four nights’ accommodation at the four-star Grand Hotel, return airport transfers with an English-speaking guide, private half-day city tour and Cu Chi tunnels tour.

Or agents can visit Buenos Aires for $1291 per person plus taxes for themselves and a companion, including return flights Auckland to Buenos Aires with Air New Zealand, four nights’ accommodation at the four-star Intersur Recoleta hotel, return airport transfers, half-day city tour and La Ventana tango dinner and show.

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