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Christmas hot’s up at HOT

The offices at HOT product in Auckland were turned into a Christmas wonderland with the annual ‘decorate the pods’ in the lead up to Santa’s arrival next week.

Each team was handed $50 - no more no less - to decorate their respective areas in the best bauble, tinsel and Christmas theme they could come up with.

The results are impressive with Santa’s sleigh; giant snowmen; Santa’s postbox, complete with a naughty and nice letter box (apparently the naughty side fills up fast!) and loads of cool themed baking.

The judges were openly accepting bribes, and we can announce the winners as the Shorthaul Product team for their ‘do you want to build a snowman’; HR came second and ‘Helping Heroes’ South Pacific wholesale reservations team came third.

 

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Adventure World has America covered

Cuba uncovered

Adventure World has a 10-day guided walking group journey combining the best of Cuba’s tropical colours, back street salsa beats and Spanish palaces with ‘50s Cadillacs and wild west steam trains.

Priced from $4,126 per person including accommodation, transport, most meals and a dedicated walking guide.

Canyons and Indian Lands

Adventure World is offering a five percent discount off all bookings of its 7-day small group-lodging journey through the Canyons and Indian lands of North America.

Valid for bookings before 28 November 2014, the journey includes walking and sightseeing opportunities across three national parks for those of all interests and abilities.

Priced from $2,249 per person including accommodation, most meals, private transportation and guides plus a Navajo guided background journey in Monument Valley.

Rio Carnival discounted

Adventure World is offering a discount on its six-day Rio Carnival experience.

Valid for travel mid February 2015, the package includes some of Rio de Janeiro’s must-see sights with half day tours in both Corcovado and Sugarloaf.

A saving of $80 per person is available for all bookings before 30 November 2014. Now priced from $1,940 per person including accommodation, some meals and airport transfers. Carnival tickets not included but prices available on request.

Santiago in style

Adventure World is offering a complimentary two-night stopover for all bookings on the 2015-16 Classic Antarctica Air-Cruise. The $640 value stopover is ideal for recharging after a long international flight, and guests will be staying at The Singular Santiago, a recently opened luxury hotel located in the charming neighbourhood of Lastarria. Valid for bookings made before 31 December 2014.

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Dubai Tourism expands in Asia Pacific

Dubai Tourism is to establish an Asia Pacific regional office in Sydney to oversee the organisation’s existing offices in the Far East, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, and to maximise opportunities to increase visitor numbers from Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand.

Dubai’s Corporation of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) sees significant growth potential from the regions as it focuses on attracting 20 million visitors per year by 2020.

The Asia Pacific Regional Office will be a DCTCM-owned office led by Julie King, with the responsibilities added to her current remit as director of DCTCM’s Australia and New Zealand representative office.

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Express to Agra

Exotic Holidays advises that India’s fastest train, the Gatiman Express will travel up 160 km per hour between Delhi and Agra early in 2015.

The Gatiman Express will have five Executive coaches and seven air- conditioned Car coaches.

The journey will take 105 minutes, leaving Delhi at 8am; it will arrive into Agra at 9.45am, returning to Delhi at 5.30 at night to arrive at 7.15pm.

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Insight continues to write Signature

Insight Vacations’ Signature Year continues with the release of its 2015-16 India, Bhutan & Nepal brochure.

The collection of luxury escorted journeys includes six Insight Gold journeys that are all-inclusive and feature an array of Signature Events including outstanding hotels and dining.

Seven Mini Stays have been designed to complement the longer journeys or be booked as stand- alone tours.

Insight Vacations general manager Dave Salisbury says six Insight Gold itineraries have been upgraded to be all-inclusive journeys.

‘All evening meals, Signature Events and internal flights and rail journeys are now part of the one price allowing guests a seamless travel experience – our travellers don’t need to be regularly digging into their walletsand can instead focus on these diverse and culturally rich destinations.

‘Last year we introduced a range of Signature Experiences to our Indian journeys, these are experiences we have sought out to offer guests
that are beyond the standard tourist fare. We’ve built on the success of this in our Signature Year and expanded the concept across four categories: hotels, dining, evenings and experiences.

'These experiences are complemented by Insight Hallmarks that have cemented our reputation as the India specialist: dining at the finest restaurants, opulent accommodation at hotels and palaces, luxurious transportation with business class legroom; smaller group sizes and a professional tour director, who acts as a personal concierge.'

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See through the roof

AAT Kings has added a double decker, see-through roof coach to its Sydney Day Tours programme.

With traditional open-topped sightseeing buses restricted from travelling across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Transport’s public double-decker buses featuring regular enclosed roofs, the city’s visitors have long been inhibited from enjoying Sydney’s most significant sights on and beyond the bridge to full advantage.

AAT Kings’ new coach will provide visitors to the harbour-side city (or locals seeking a unique perspective) with unrivalled views of Sydney’s iconic sights, the opportunity to walk across the Harbour Bridge, photo opportunities at Milson’s Point, the chance to see the Sydney Opera House, visit the historic Rocks district and more.

AAT Kings’ double-decker with see through roof is the first vehicle of its kind in Australia to be fitted with a full view Perspex roof. It is equipped with free wifi capabilities, enabling those on board to snap and share photos immediately.

It is available to experience on AAT Kings’ Sydney Sightseeing half-day tour. This is priced from $50 per adult and $25 per child, departing daily at 8:30am, 12 noon and 3:30pm.

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Australia 'committed' to NZ planners

Business Events Australia (BEA) has reconfirmed its commitment to New Zealand meetings and incentives planners, following its high profile at the Pacific Area Incentives and Conferences Expo (PAICE 2014) last week.

BEA was the major sponsor of PAICE 2014 (held at SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre) for the seventh year running, and hosted an inaugural breakfast session with speaker Nigel Collin for New Zealand buyers and Australian delegates.

‘We remain extremely interested in the New Zealand business events market and we are here to support New Zealand planners,’ says Jenny Aitken, general manager New Zealand with Tourism Australia. She says the organisation recently took a business events famil group to the Victorian Spring Carnival (working with Tourism Victoria).

‘The Spring Carnival is one of the big

opportunities for New Zealand corporates. It is much more than the Melbourne Cup and we wanted to demonstrate that. The feedback from delegates was that they thought they knew Melbourne but they were pleasantly surprised by the offering there.’

Aitken says the trip backed up a similar famil last year, when business events organisers took in the Bledisloe Cup rugby match in Sydney but also explored the Hawkesbury River, Wolgan Valley and other parts of New South Wales.

‘Public sports and cultural events are

a great anchor for incentives and other corporate activity and they give groups the opportunity to discover new attractions and activities at the same time.’

She says the PAICE breakfast with Nigel Collin was also about challenging people’s perceptions. ‘The people and the place are what differentiates Australia from other destinations.’

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Brand USA hits home run

Brand USA attended the Pacific Area Incentives and Conferences Expo (PAICE) for the first time this week, much to the relief of attendees.

Wayne Mitcham, account manager NZ, says there hasn’t really been any official representation in New Zealand for over 20 years.

‘A lot of people are really grateful and relieved we’re here – they know who to go to now.

‘Now we have an official tourism board that represents the entire US, and we’re here to support the New Zealand trade and anyone doing potential MICE business.’

Mitcham says Brand USA found the show hugely successful, and will be back next year with an even bigger and better stand.

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