Hot Off The Press
Seasonal and regional dispersal remain the biggest challenges faced by our mushrooming tourism industry.
Air Tahiti Nui’s inaugural Tahitian Dreamliner touched down in Auckland yesterday on the cusp of the airline’s 20th birthday celebrations.
President of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch welcomed a delegation of Pacific ministers at a formal ceremony at Auckland Airport yesterday, saying the inaugural flight from Tahiti to New Zealand is a stepping stone for generating better ties across the Pacific. ‘It’s a great day for our Polynesian links, and it means that for tomorrow there’s large possibility to make these links stronger. ‘I’m pleased that we can all share this moment as a stepping stone to increase more traffic into the Pacific region and grow the Coral Route.’
The 787-9 that arrived yesterday has been named Fakarava after an atoll in French Polynesia’s Tuamotu Islands which boasts a lagoon of similar shades to the aircraft’s livery. It features Air Tahiti Nui’s trademark tiare flower tattoo pattern, and inside boasts the new Moana premium economy cabin offering passengers more space, choice and comfort. Air Tahiti Nui flies three times a week between Auckland and Pape’ete, with connections on through Los Angeles to Paris. It is phasing out its current Airbus A340-300 fleet, which will be replaced by four Dreamliners. Air Tahiti Nui general manager Pacific Daniel Eggenberger began his position with the airline a mere week ago, and says the new aircraft is the best welcoming present.
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Value for money, culture and cuisine, plus safety and diversity in a small area, are all attracting New Zealanders (and travellers from other parts of the world) to Croatia.
Educating agents on the four cities that will host the All Blacks during pool play in the Rugby World Cup next year was one of the key objectives of a Japan National Tourism Organization function at Grand Millennium Auckland last night.
In what is believed to be a first, a dedicated Tonga product update evening will be held in Auckland on Monday 18 June, and there will be draws on the evening of swim with the whales packages for travel agents who attend.
Images of rolling hills, delicious wine and authentic, rustic cuisine come to mind when one thinks of Tuscany. However, there’s more to this famous Italian region, according to Marta Javarone, events and b2b executive, Toscana Promozione.
With the mature New Zealand traveller increasingly open to the option of a small group domestic tour, commission opportunities continue to go begging for travel agents, according to one of the leaders in the field. Ena Hutchinson, director of sales with MoaTrek, says the company saw a 30% growth out of the domestic market in 2017-18 and as a result has added four new tours for the coming season.
The ‘Teach Mes’ are on the move and Abercrombie & Kent is adapting to their needs, according to representatives from the company who visited Auckland this week.
Sujata Raman, regional managing director Australia / Asia Pacific says that while talking about ‘experiential travel’ might be the buzz word of the day it is also a real and continuing trend.
Over 100 tourism product suppliers from the Central North Island will be promoting their wares during eXplore 2018 at Eden Park on 17 April – including 35 operators exhibiting at the annual event for the first time.
Hadley Dryden, chairperson of eXplore Central North Island, says the event will be the biggest yet and will be a mix of quality known tourism experiences and accommodation providers, and a number of new products that
Tell us, where did you want to go when you were five, ten or even in your early tween years?
Good news, Excite Holidays is taking you there with the launch of their brand new video, ‘Where Do You Want To Go?’.
Taking you on a journey through the eyes of four children who use their childlike wonder and imagination to be what they want to be and go as far as their dreams will take them, the feel-good video aims to re-inspire travel agents and create a fresh sense of wanderlust. It highlights the importance of travel and the effect that travel agents have on the lives and adventures of their clients.
Vanessa Richards, head of marketing at Excite Holidays says, 'We are living in an era of great creative and advertainment. Content is still king. Creative storytelling and travel are in sync and there is no better way to communicate the feeling travel gives than through video. As an industry, we are in a time where agents need to be re-inspired. Travel is changing, day in, day out. The way it is booked, consumed and experienced. With that comes new challenges. Our goal is to remind our agents of their purpose, value and importance. They are the experts.
'Our new brand video ‘Where Do You Want To Go?’ was created in line with the above. Conceptualised and scripted in-house, we want to transport our agents back to their childhood. To a time where imagination and the magic associated with dreaming was ripe and the world was one giant playground waiting to be explored! When you were a child you didn’t need much. A simple bed sheet could be turned into a castle or a superhero cape. Within the blink of an eye one was a princess on a throne or soaring across a city skyline, saving the world from destruction!
Naturally, travel and dreaming go hand in hand. Dreaming is the first phase of the travel planning cycle, however as we get older we tend to lose the sense of imagination we once had. While we can easily aspire, daily stresses like work and family commitments tend to override the initial feeling of wanting to do. We think too much.
So through the emotional power of a child's eyes, Excite Holidays wants to bring that magic back into our agents lives. Reinvigorate their passion so they can make their clients’ travel dreams a reality. Anything is possible if you just start imagining!'
Increased connectivity is the key selling point for luxury tours and incentive travel into Ireland from New Zealand, says destination specialist John Healy, managing director of Moloney & Kelly.
Healy says Ireland has more to offer high-end clients than many agents may think, and this is all more accessible with both Emirates and Qatar Airways offering one-stop flights between Auckland and Dublin.
Agents are being encouraged to ‘get in quick’ for the inaugural Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Live educational event in Auckland on 22 May.
Although registrations don’t close until 7 May, nearly 40 registrations have already been received for the limited capacity event being held at Grand Millennium Hotel.
Travel brokers and other agents with high net worth clients are in the sights of a Sydney-based luxury travel show that wants to see more New Zealand buyers on its floor.
Luxperience started in 2012 and has had strong support from Tourism New Zealand, high-end lodges and other luxury suppliers who have exhibited since it started.
Event director Michelle Papas was in New Zealand last week with a view to increase the Kiwi exhibitor base with helicopter operators, destination management companies and more five-star hotels and ‘super lodges.’
The desire to work closer with the travel trade has led to the launch of a dedicated and brand new agents’ portal by Maher Escorted Tours.
The company offers 10% commission on its entire twin share price (including tips, taxes, meals etc) and specialises in fully escorted tours for the ‘mature traveller, young at heart’.
Cruise agents need to keep innovating at a time when competition continues to be ramped up and market budgets for the sector are on the increase, says Gerard Murphy of Bon Voyage Cruises & Travel.
The company took out gold in the Cruise Agency of the Year, New Zealand category at the 17th Cruise Industry Awards held at The Star in Sydney on Saturday night.
Now is the time for the New Zealand travel trade to maximise on the new and improving market opportunities offered by Sri Lanka, according to a representative of destination management companies, hotels and a domestic airline in the country.
Channa Mendis, director of Remarkable Sri Lanka and country representative Australia and New Zealand for Cinnamon Air, says daily Sri Lankan Airlines flights out of Melbourne, the opening of new international hotels, and the accessibility of special interest tours are all factors in the destination’s favour.
Technology and how it is disrupting the industry was a major theme when Orbit World Travel held its first ever travel seminar for the Waikato and Bay of Plenty recently.
Roger Gray, group general manager for Airports Air NZ, detailed how much technology dictates service quality.
Travel Managers Group (TMG) has now kicked off the search for a new general manager, following Dave Wallace’s announcement last year that he intended to retire from his position towards the end of 2018.
The current senior management team made up of Kevin Weston, Nicola Jamieson and Angela Mills will remain, and the company reports it’s looking to secure a suitable candidate to help continue the growth and
Expedia TAAP has launched a revenue-sharing model in New Zealand, meaning that agents here can earn varying levels of commission depending on which hotels they book.
Stu Udy, manager travel agent distribution Asia Pacific at Expedia, says the dynamic commission is a slight shift in the way the company pays commission to travel agents, reflecting the ever-changing world of travel distribution.
Eclipse Travel has further strengthened its Christchurch based New Zealand operations and will be rolling a series of trade activities on this side of the Tasman in the coming months.
The company, which specialises in travel to remote and adventurous destinations, marks the fifth year of its Sydney operation this month and says the establishment of its Christchurch office last year was a result of continued strong growth.
STA Travel plans to open at least two more stores in New Zealand this year and the footprint will grow further in 2019 and beyond.
Country manager Sarah Bedford says the company (started in 1979) currently has 17 retail outlets around New Zealand (over half in mall locations) and is benefiting by concentrating on its core markets – ‘students, young people and the young at heart’.
A move out of home and into highly automated offices, plus more formal working arrangements signal the next step for a successful broker company based in North Shore, Auckland.
Manase Travel Studio moved into new premises at B:Hive, Smale’s Farm in Takapuna late last year and co-director Peter Manase says the shift reflects growing business success for the brokerage – particularly in the corporate sector.
Back-Roads has expanded into Asia, with eight tours on offer in 2018. Options include Bangkok & The River Kwai, Temples of Thailand and Cambodia, Wonders of Thailand, Spirit of Cambodia, Hanoi & Halong Highlights, Vietnam Adventure, Vietnam and Cambodia Discovery, and Flavours of Vietnam.
The heat has been turned up on any travel agents who have not ensured they comply with a global security standard to protect confidential payment information against theft.
IATA has set a deadline of 1 March for accredited agents to achieve the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).
A Walker’s World / Cycling Europe director Jill Grant says this year has seen the busiest January for the company in memory.
While there a number of possible reasons, one of the most surprising is a slight loss of business confidence since the change of government.
‘During the last recession, we experienced good growth as many clients saw it as an opportune time to travel, seeing as there was a downturn in business at home.’
Travel recruitment specialist Helen Cambell, managing director of TopDog Travel personnel is moving to the Hawke’s Bay from Auckland and looking to ‘pass on the lead’ of her company.
‘My last trading day will be Friday 9 February, but obviously I will work through the recruitment process with active candidates on behalf of agencies I am currently servicing.’
Travel wholesaler Pack ya Bags is seeking expressions of interest from dive qualified agents who would like to take part in a famil trip to the Philippines in June.
Pack ya Bags director Penny Henderson says the trip is part of an overall push to increase knowledge of niche markets in the destination.
‘We’re looking for six to eight agents who would need to have an open water divers qualification and it will give the trade participants a real opportunity to talk with real credibility to clients.’
To say 2017 has been ‘interesting’ is an understatement. But what is the travel industry expecting for the year ahead…?
TRAVELinc Memo reached out to a few readers and here are some responses we got back. Remember, we are always interested in hearing from you so send us your thoughts, comments and news.
South Sea Cruises is adding another string to its bow, with the launch of luxury fast boats servicing the new Six Senses resort in Fiji, set to open next year.
Brad Rutherford, the chief executive officer of South Sea Cruises is in New Zealand now and greeted New Zealand trade at the company’s Christmas celebrations at The Vodka Room in Auckland last night.
Rutherford says the two new boats are being built in Abu Dhabi now and will be delivered to Fiji in the New Year, ahead of the resort’s opening later in 2018.
Newlyweds are opting more and more for shorter honeymoons or ‘minimoons’, as extended holidays are too expensive and they use up too much leave in the lead up to the event.
Anita Gatley, honeymoon and destination wedding travel specialist, says this is accentuated by the high cost of Kiwi weddings and also because of the timing of the wedding season in New Zealand.
‘From my observations couples are going for shorter domestic or South Pacific breaks immediately after the wedding,’ she says.
All Blacks Tours, New Zealand’s exclusive Official Travel Agent (OTA) for the Rugby World Cup 2019, Japan, has appointed four sub-agents for the tournament- Fortis Travel Group, Holland, Clarke & Beatson, BCD Travel and JTB.
The appointments follow a competitive application process where agents were assessed on a number of criteria.
As sub-agents of All Blacks Tours for RWC 2019, the four companies have the ability to create, market and sell official Rugby World CupTM packages within World RugbyTM guidelines.
Photography isn’t the niche activity it once was, and agents should be encouraging clients to sign up for photography tours, urges one leading photographic safari operator.
According to Cape Town-based Pangolin Photo Safaris, these days everyone's a photographer and clients interested in the activity need to know photography safaris are no longer just for the pros.
‘There are two things that stop budding photographers from signing up for these kinds of tours – knowledge and equipment. If we can provide them with some training and set them up with the best equipment, everyone
The emergence of new broker brands in New Zealand as well as major changes among some of the key players will lead to ‘interesting times’ over the next few years, the NZ Travel Brokers Conference heard over the weekend.
‘We will see how it plays out,’ says Steve Lee, director of NZ Travel Brokers.
‘But we will stick to our knitting and think we will be ok.’
New broker channel brand named TravelAdvocates has been officially launched in New Zealand.
Headed up by Mike Southcombe, who has a long history in this space having previously established a successful broker business. Southcombe had 11 years at the helm of Travel Managers Group NZ.
New developments are coming on fast in the tropical Australian destination of Cairns, with the city undergoing a raft of new refurbishments, extensions and new builds.
Speaking at Sell TNQ (Tropical North Queensland) this week, Eleanor Wilkie, TNQ business development executive, says it’s an exciting time for tourism and events in Cairns.
‘We’ve got Hemingway’s Brewery developing a second venue, three brand new hotels are being built by the CrystalBrook Collection, we have the redevelopment of the performing arts centre, the aquarium, and the extension at the convention centre is a major win for the city too.
Incentive travel practitioners, travel management company personnel, wholesalers and wedding and event planners were all among the attendees when PAICE 2017 took place in Auckland on Tuesday.
The event started with a Business Events Australia breakfast featuring Australian adventurer James Castrisson, and also included seminar sessions by team builder Stu Robertson, and incentive and corporate rewards expert Eugene De Villiers.
More than 100 exhibitors from the Paci c Islands, Australia, Asia and beyond showcased their wares to about 160 buyers during the day.
Encouraging clients to stopover in India on the way to Europe could result in a substantial follow-up booking to the exotic and colourful destination a year or two later, agents attending the Incredible India functions this week are being told.
‘If agents get their clients to spend four or five days getting a taste of India, those clients will want to do three weeks next year – they will want to go back for more,’ says Jenny Burt, sales manager New Zealand with Air India. ‘So encourage them to stop and see the Taj Mahal or Jaipur on the way to Europe.’
Burt says Air India is pushing stopover opportunities to the New Zealand trade as well as niche travel and VFR (visiting friends and relatives). A delegation from India, as well as local operators specialising in the destination, hosted an Auckland function at The Zing in Auckland on Wednesday, and at Zaika Restaurant in Wellington last night.
Kanchan Kukreja, assistant director India Tourism based in Sydney, says New Zealand is a small but important and growing market for the country. Close to 51,000 New Zealanders visited in 2016, a 12.7% increase over the year before.
She says the availability or e-visas and the wide spread of niche opportunities – like spirituality, cuisine, and yoga tours, plus incentive travel groups – are favouring travel to India. Medical tourism, golf tourism, exploring the Himalayas, and travel by luxury train are other opportunities for the trade.
The New Zealand trade is being urged to promote self-drive and fly-drive options to their clients as a way to explore the massive state of Western Australia.
A delegation of five WA regional tourist offices is travelling around New Zealand and a key message is the new off the beaten track product that will appeal to Kiwis – especially those on a repeat visit.
One of the major driving options being promoted here for the first time is the Great South West Edge, a suggested 11-day itinerary that runs through Australia’s South West and Australia’s Golden Outback.
The reveal of the highly anticipated match schedule for the Rugby World Cup Japan 2019 last week was a ‘significant milestone’ for the Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee, according RWC head Alan Gilpin, speaking at press conference in Tokyo this week.
Gilpin says the now the dates and venues have been released, international travellers to Japan can start planning their trips to coinide with the matches they are wanting to attend.
The success of this year’s South Pacific Association of National Tourism Offices (SPANTO) events has encouraged the organisation to be back in force around New Zealand
Dates and regions will be officially announced after SPANTO’s annual general meeting on 12 December.
However early indications are that the number of events will increase.
It’s becoming cool to have a travel agent again, says helloworld Travel chief executive officer and managing director Andrew Burnes.
‘There is widespread recognition among people now that agents are adding to the equation and that having a good travel agent among the professionals in your world is beneficial,’ Burnes said in an address to the helloworld Frontliners’ Conference at Vodafone Events Centre, Manukau over the weekend.
‘We all know there used to be a lot of talk about the death of travel agents. The question was ‘doesn’t everyone book online now?’ We’re just not having those conversations anymore.’
Scandinavia is the ‘big go’ in Europe for Kiwi travellers, says Greg Osborne, general manager Tempo Holidays New Zealand.
The company has just released five brochures – including Bentours Scandinavia & Expedition Cruising 2018 – 19. Also reaching travel agents next week (available through Stocklink) are Italy, France & Spain; UK, Ireland & Central Europe; Greece, Croatia & Turkey, plus a new release Worldwide programme that covers Europe, Middle East, East Africa, India & Subcontinent, and Latin America.
The chief executive of Australia’s Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) ‘is sick and tired’ of how complex and drawn out travelling trans Tasman is.
‘We should have managed this donkey ages ago,’ Margy Osmond told an audience at the 2017 New Zealand Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit in Auckland this week.
She says recent reports and sources are suggesting a pre-clearance and on-demand model, something TTF feels could make a big difference.
Samoa, and particularly the country’s Sheraton properties, are making a concerted effort to attract more destination weddings out of New Zealand.
Putting the country on the marriage map is a key objective of a four day famil being hosted right now by Marriott International and Air New Zealand.
Rhonda Williams, of Fuzion Travel, says she is interested to see what the wedding scene in Samoa has to offer.
Excite has a fresh face in New Zealand, with Suzanne Conradie now in the role as business development manager.
While new in the Excite position, Conradie is well known to many in the Kiwi trade, particularly after a long stint here with South African Airways.
The announcement comes at a time when Excite is celebrating a 15-year anniversary, marked late last week by a party in relatively new premises in York Street, Sydney.
An opportunity to have a fun and relaxed time to mark Fiji day, as well as experience some exciting new product in the destination, has been taken up by more than 20 industry and media personnel this week.
Marketing and product managers from major brands are amongst the participants in the programme, which started officially yesterday and finishes Wednesday.
The Tourism Fiji organised event has support from both Fiji Airways and Air New Zealand.
Agents who attend one of the Western Australia Roadshow events in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington or Christchurch will go in the draw to win a WA travel prize including accommodation, sightseeing and tours in all five regions of WA.
There are three Western Australia travel prizes to be won at every event - 12 WA travel prizes in total.
An example is the Experience Extraordinary Western Australia Travel prize to Perth - two nights Sorrento Beach Resort, two nights Sorrento Beach Resort, Little Ferry Company tour of Perth and Elizabeth Quay, Rotorvation helicopter experience, Two Feet and a Heartbeat Walking tour.
The Australia’s Golden Outback is offersing two nights Best Western Hospitality Inn Kalgoorlie, with Kalgoorlie Tours and Charters Super Pit Tour
Australia’s Coral Coast prize will giveaway nights at RAC Monkey Mia, while Australia’s North West offers two nights at Seashells Broome and a visit to Willie Creek Pearls
The Australia’s South West prize includes a caves and lighthouse pass in Margaret River, and two nights at Abbey Beach Resort Busselton.
Details of the roadshow are:
Auckland: 5.30-7.30pm Mon 13 Nov, Rydges Hotel
Hamilton: 5.30-7.30pm Tues 14 Nov, Novotel Tainui
Wellington: 5.30-7.30pm Wed 15 Nov, James Cook Hotel
Christchurch: 12.00-1.30pm Thurs 16 Nov, The George
Sue and Paul Robinson didn’t take any heed of the naysayers when they first became travel agency store owners three years ago.
After a stint in insurance broking and then a successful property management come inbound tourism venture (especially around the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand), they looked for new opportunities.
‘I looked at franchise for the first time; we have always started our own businesses until then,’ says Sue Robinson.
The Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) is urging its members to take action now to comply with a global security standard to protect confidential payment card information against theft.
IATA has set a date of 1 March for accredited agents to achieve the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).
TAANZ president says there is some lobbying to have IATA ‘see reason’ on the time frame, but that said it is important that agents take the subject seriously.
Competition from long-haul destinations, driven by cheap airfares, has not dented New Zealand travellers’ enthusiasm for Sydney and its surrounds and is unlikely to, says Sandra Chipchase, chief executive officer of Destination New South Wales (DNSW).
Chipchase points to upgraded air services between Auckland and Sydney, and the fact that trans-Tasman has its own good value fare offerings as part of the reason behind her confidence.
But she also has hard figures to back her claims.
‘New Zealand numbers are still increasing. At the end of June 2017, we had 423,881 visitors from across the Tasman and the average length of stay was 4.1 nights. That is up 3% on the year before.’