Mary Fisken of Pukekohe Travel has won the top booker prize in Expedia TAAP’s recent Marriott New Caledonia promotion. She has won a two-night stay at each of Le Méridien Noumea and Sheraton Deva, including breakfast for two adults. She also receives return economy airfares for two thanks to Aircalin, while New Caledonia Tourism is covering the airfare taxes.
Luxury travel brand Travel Associates is continuing its expansion in New Zealand, while rewarding travel advisors in the process.
Michael Cory-Toussaint has been a rising star in the brand, being fundamental in the growth of Travel Associates’ store in Howick.
Aspire Travel Group (ATG) is expecting a degree of ‘normality’ to return to the market over the next year. However the company’s principals, Man Nghi Luong and Ian Peddie say that currently the business continues to go ‘gang-busters’.
Moving full steam ahead with a strong team and product mix is the priority for Viva Expeditions as it marks its first 15 years in business, says managing director Rachel Williams.
The company had a double celebration at the Ellen Melville Centre in Auckland late July, focusing particularly on the launch of its new Africa collection as well as the significant anniversary.
Fuzion Travel is marking 10 years of business this year.
Co-Founders Stu McKay and Andrew Parke started the company back in 2013 when they decided to set up an independent travel broker business to allow travel consultants to start their own travel business.
Tour Time director Brent Imrie has been elected on to the Board of Directors of SYTA (Student Youth Travel Association).
It is the first time a New Zealand and Australian company has been elected to the board of the global association.
A rebrand for a Dunedin-based The Travel Brokers company has signified a fresh start after the Covid disruptions and cleared up any potential brand confusion from the past, says owner-operator Janine Mallon.
Previously known as The Travel Brokers – Tasty Tours, the company has now taken on the Zest4Travel branding, which had a soft launch in the middle of last year but has had a boost of profile and website launch this year.
House of Travel Hobsonville celebrated its fifth birthday last week.
Owner operator Mike (Buzz) Thomson says the evening on Wednesday included ‘live music, local food, bevies, and prizes with a group of like-minded clients and fellow travellers that spilt out onto the road.
Beyond Holidays in Auckland may be a new name on the New Zealand independent travel retail scene, but the people behind it have plenty of experience in the trade.
The company is managed by Hemal Jani and Brijesh Sethi, the latter having had more than 15 years in the travel industry and currently holding the position of chair at Quality Tertiary Institute (QTI).
Planet Earth Travel’s celebration of 27 years in business was a couple of years in the making – originally it was supposed to be a 25th birthday in 2020 – but the company managed to finally celebrate the significant milestone in September.
The company initially had a shop in the Smith and Caughey Building in central Auckland for 17 years and 10 years ago moved to Alfriston Road, Manurewa East.
Opening a new travel store in a new location soon after the borders have opened sometimes seems ‘a bit daft’, even to owners Sue and Paul Robinson.
Nevertheless, World Travellers Merivale officially joined the Robinsons’ portfolio and opened with a celebration last Friday.
Hawke’s Bay travel agency, Best Travel, has joined the First Travel Group (FTG).
John Willson, general manager retail of FTG, says that Best Travel’s business mix and direction established over its 46 years, fits well with the direction and integrity of FTG.
Being open and letting people know they were open was the key to survival during Covid lockdowns for Dennis and Pearl Day of YOU Travel in Blair Street, Wellington.
‘Even if clients couldn’t come in they might knock on the window and wave, or they might stand at the bottom of the steps with us at the top and we’d talk to each other,’ says Dennis. ‘We’d make sure we were here and that’s how we got through. We felt that we couldn’t just let Covid make us call it a day – we were going to survive no matter what.’
Tracey Brennan is the new business development manager for Regent Seven Seas Cruises in the New Zealand team. In this role, Brennan will be responsible for the development and execution of sales strategies in the region, working closely with the line’s travel partner network across both the North and South Islands.
Viva Expeditions has welcomed back Daniela Wards into its reservations team after stepping back during Covid.
Hailing from Chile and with a depth of experience in travel to Latin America, Wards is an expert on South America and Central America.
YOU Travel has appointed Toni Paltridge to its marketing department.
Paltridge has held various marketing positions within the New Zealand travel industry dating back to Stella Travel services, operating her own company Sister Trio Retreats, and various temporary roles in the industry throughout the pandemic.
YOU Ferrymead’s move into a new shop recently is more than a change of bricks and mortar – it is also a tangible sign of a new beginning for the business.
‘It is the next stage in leaving behind what we have been through,’ says managing director Melissa Landrebe.
For the Ferrymead agency, the upheaval began long before Covid.
The winners of the Walker Tracker Utah incentive during the pandemic as well as the winners from the recent Delta Air Lines and Rocky Mountaineer sales incentive have returned home after exploring the state.
The group of New Zealand and Australian agents experienced an itinerary in Utah, which included Salt Lake City before heading south on a road trip.
Queenstown’s xtravel continues to grow its broker division with the addition of 2018 TAANZ travel consultant of the year, Billy Ballantine.
Invercargill-based Ballantine will join the team to help grow its presence in the lower South Island in the wake of increased enquiry, alongside existing xtravel brokers Laura Todd of Hokonui and Sarah van der Voort of Mosgiel.
Vic Wales, HOT Events, Christchurch was named the New Zealand Skalleague of the Year on Saturday night – the first recipient of what is set to become an annual award.
Wales, currently Christchurch Club president, was recognised for the work she does across the industry as well as Skal. She is active in public relations around the club, and organises events such as the popular annual Trivia nights. She has also been active in promoting Young Skal.
Travel has bounced back quicker than expected in New Zealand, says Flight Centre Travel Group’s New Zealand managing director, David Coombes, with the company already trading at over 60% of what they were selling pre-Covid, but with only 25% of the staff.
If timing is everything, last night’s function to mark 15 years of operation by World Journeys was right on cue, say the company’s directors and management team.
‘We’re delighted that our 15th birthday coincides perfectly with the re-emergence of travel,’ says Chris Lyons, one of World Journeys’ founding directors.
Gaining a place as a mentee in the Travel Industry Mentor Experience (TIME) programme and picking up a gig as a regular travel columnist in her local newspaper have helped keep Dunedin agent Alexandra Hannagan focused and busy during the demanding times of the Covid pandemic.
Now the owner of Hannagan and Greive Travel Associates, just off the Octagon, has a new challenge – working out how to manage her time and effectively service valuable clients as the whole industry battles with staff shortages.
First Travel Group has announced its first new YOU Travel store to open in three years.
YOU Travel Warkworth opened last week on the main street of the rapidly expanding town. The addition of YOU Travel Warkworth now sees First Travel Group’s number of locations from Taupo north increase to 35.
The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) combined Australia and New Zealand entity will be led by newly appointed managing director, Toni Ambler, who comes with a decade of tenure within TTC.
The new structure serves as a single source for sales, marketing and operations of the individual brands (Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Costsaver and Contiki).
Qatar Airways has appointed Christopher Paykel as the new country manager for New Zealand, with the position seeing him lead the airline’s operations across the country. Paykel replaces outgoing commercial manager, Bjorn Burton, who was with the company from 2017 to 2021.
The Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) has appointed Greg Hamilton as chief executive officer.
Hamilton brings to the organisation 35 years of experience in leadership positions across the travel, not-for profit, membership and political sectors, and comes to his new role having spent the past 11 years as general manager and general secretary of the National Party.
Petra Otte celebrated 30 years with House of Travel this month.
After first opening a shop in Duke’s Arcade Wellington in 1991, she’s been working with customers to help them see the world for three decades.
Kiwi travel agent Peter Manase of Manase Travel Studio has been awarded top stepper in Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL’s) second annual Walk for Wellness. He accumulated the highest total number of steps (1,122,286) and is now the new owner of an Apple Watch Series 7.
The collective walking distance of all participants was 139,435km – smashing the initial target of 100,000km by almost 40% and increasing by 70%, year on year.
Destination representation company and airline GSA, The Walshe Group, is celebrating 45 years in business this month. The commemoration is more poignant as travel restrictions start to ease across Australia and New Zealand.
The company was founded in 1976 by Rodney Walshe. Forty-five years later the company has more than 75 employees and a current client roster that includes Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Visit Flanders, Experience AlUla, Visit Okinawa, Delta Air Lines, South African Airways, Lufthansa Group, ANA and in the New Zealand market China Airlines, Etihad Airways and Tourism Ireland.
Island Hotels Group has appointed Heather Gordon to the new position of director of sales and marketing for its Cook Island properties Edgewater Resort & Spa and Club Raro.
Based in Auckland, Gordon will oversee the resorts’ sales and marketing activities including conference and incentive, special interest groups, wholesale and leisure.
Global Travel Network (GTN) is marking six years of operation today and reports that despite the tough conditions now the company is looking towards strong and bouyant business in the near future.
Rob Beecher and Allen Bell decided to start a travel group in 2015 that would be dedicated to looking after independent travel agents in New Zealand. With that objective in mind, GTN was set up in partnership with House of Travel.
House of Travel Dunedin City has been acquired by Antony (Tony) Boomer. The purchase of the outlet is a testament to the faith Boomer has in both the industry and House of Travel as a brand.
‘Travel has always been really important to Kiwis,’ says Boomer. ‘As confidence grows with vaccination rates, I have no doubt that trade will come roaring back, and when it does, people will be looking for experienced agents with in-depth knowledge of both destinations and travel systems to help them plan their journey – and who will be there if anything goes wrong.’
Global tourism industry visionary, entrepreneur and philanthropist Stanley S. Tollman, founder and chairman of The Travel Corporation (TTC), the highly successful, family- owned, international travel group encompassing more than 40 award-winning brands
including Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Contiki Holidays, AAT Kings, Adventure World Travel, Red Carnation Hotels and Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, and pioneer of the sustainable travel movement through the not-for-profit TreadRight Foundation, has died in the South of France following a battle with cancer. He was 91.
SHOWPONI, a new marketing, PR, media and event agency that has delivering Māori, Pasifika and Indigenous storytelling at its core, will be exploring various ways to work with the travel trade among other sectors, says founder Gordon Bayne.
‘We certainly envisage opportunities to support any of the brands or individual agents and brokers on specific projects. We will also be looking to curate our own events and these are likely to provide experiences for the trade to sell into and gain commission from.’
He sees potential to work with destination marketing organisations (DMOs) such as visitor and convention bureaux and regional tourist offices, plus a range of associations, and not for profits.
Jason Buckley is Flight Centre’s new general manager independent models.
Buckley has been a part of the travel industry for over 30 years. He has worked across retail, corporate and wholesale businesses and has experience in operations, marketing and product.
Most recently he has been the owner and operator of a number of Helloworld travel agencies and has served on the Franchise Relationship Committee, representing and supporting other business owners.
Covid has been a prime example of something that brings a community – in this case the travel industry – together in adversity.
Rotorua agent Joanna Corbett, owner of Galaxy World Travellers, says people have always been key to the success of the World Travellers group. The sharing and support of each other has only increased through these tough times.
On top of that there has also been a noticeable bonding between agents of different brands in the city.
Packing her Havelock North travel store with art has generated not only increased foot traffic and interest but also led to bookings for House of Travel’s Jenny Nilsson.
That’s only one of the innovative solutions employed to keep things ticking over at Jenny Nilsson House of Travel stores in Hawke’s Bay (the other is in Hastings).
Lisa Johansen, previously at GO Holidays, joined the MoaTrek this month as part of the supplier team.
She has 20 years of experience in the industry.
MoaTrek director, Miles Clark says supplier management is a crucial position with 27 different tours and more than 120 departures booked for the 2021-22 season alone.
The owners of World Travellers New Plymouth say that moving out of Fitzroy premises and going mobile soon after Covid hit last year was one of the ‘scariest but best’ decisions they have made.
Putting some of the money they have saved from exiting the shop into billboard marketing has also been a key to keeping the business running – with two big billboards in town not only maintaining a profile for existing clients but also bringing in new customers.
‘We’re still marketing, we didn’t want people to think we had gone out of business,’ says Nicola McLaren, who co-owns the business with Lisa Roebuck.
By Paul Davies, Partner, OneTeam Chartered Accountants
At OneTeam CA we are breathing a sigh of relief as we have just finished sending in most of our 31 March travel industry accounts to TAANZ Bonding for review.
As you can imagine the results were not great – most travel businesses had negative sales for the 2021 year. Most had a positive gross margin as they had received cancellation fees and credit support from the government.
Thinking outside the square, including co-organising a trans Tasman trip with another agent, is keeping business ticking over for Bev Ellice and her Helloworld Strandon office.
‘We’ve taken 11 trips away since February – including the Chatham Islands, Stewart Island, biking in the South Island, and an autumn colours in the East Coast trip.’
Next up is the ‘Flappers Ball’ with the Roger Fox Big Band at Tongariro, with 12 people booked.
xtravel Queenstown has welcomed Laura Todd of the Hokonui District in Southland to its team.
‘As xtravel continues to work on our repatriation charter flights between South America and the Antipodes we find ourselves in a position where we can offer mutually beneficial opportunities to reduce the drain of and retain experienced and renowned industry experts,’ company director and owner Niki Davies says. ‘Our sub brokers can enjoy a `soft’ return to the industry, assisting xtravel with bubble related business without the need to fully immerse themselves into the Covid circus that international travel has become.’
Being a tour operator that also sells travel has given Supreme Tours and Travel a distinct advantage through the tough Covid-19 times, says the company’s managing director Terri Small.
Though the past year has been tough for business, Small says the model she adopted when she started her own business in 1994 has continued to be robust.
‘We deal primarily with fully escorted tours for seniors. Normally this is worldwide – domestic, international and cruise – and we have an absolutely loyal clientele.
When the Covid pandemic hit in early 2020, YOUR Travel in Paraparaumu Beach was already looking at developing a domestic tour series.
The crisis pushed those plans forward by about 18 months and has provided the business with a lifeline.
‘A domestic New Zealand programme was already part of our long term strategy and because we were working on an outline, we were not starting from scratch,’ says managing director Tanya Roddam.
A boost in bookings from the Cook Islands bubble, some signs of revival around Australian events, and a steady pulse with domestic corporate travel is putting at least a partial smile on the face of a long-term
Chris Hammonds, managing director of Mondo Travel and Sporting Tours, says he sent out an EDM about the Cooks a few days ago and had 15 to 20 email enquiries back.
Proactive Nelson-based travel broker Kelly Bowater has welcomed the latest campaign from Tourism New Zealand, saying initiatives such as the It’s Recharge Season gives the trade a new take on domestic product.
‘I love anything that’s exciting and different, and this gives a chance to support operators who are engaging in the campaign.’
Bowater sent out a newsletter on Wednesday (the day the campaign was launched) highlighting the ‘recharge’message to clients.
Getting product back in front of agents, brokers and consumers continues to be a challenge for suppliers, particularly as the pandemic has forced companies to downsize and cut back on staffing numbers.
However a well-known ‘multi-rep’ in the New Zealand travel market says now is the right time to be looking at solutions for representation in the market.
Promoting specifically targeted domestic packages through local business partners is paying dividends for a travel agency on Auckland’s North Shore.
Chris Harrop, managing director of YOU Travel Mairangi Bay, says though it can be hard to inspire the market to do something different around New Zealand it has benefits that are likely to manifest in the future.
By Paul Davies, Partner, OneTeam Chartered Accountants Ltd
The good news is that consumers’ desire to travel is strong – something you probably already know from your own clients. Tony Alexander (ex BNZ economist) released the results of his recent survey in his report on Thursday 18 February.
By Steve Lee, NZ Travel Brokers
In some circles it’s being called the ‘Great Travel Depression’ and at the end of 2020 it was estimated that Covid would have cost 197 million jobs and cost US$5.5 trillion globally.
Like the rest of the world, we’re hurting, and we’re a long way off getting back to anywhere like normal. (I use that word loosely, as ‘normal’ is pretty much extinct in our industry.)
An often asked question in the travel industry is ‘what has been your favourite famil?’ For many in the travel industry during the 1980s and early 90s the answer was likely to be ‘a trip to Hong Kong and Macau with Barb Shand.’
Barbara (Barb) Shand (born 1924) passed away early January in Auckland but is still well remembered by many agents for her work alongside daughter Pip Ashford with the Hong Kong Tourist