Specialised tours fly broker to niche

Specialised tours fly broker to niche

Having an aviation buff as a husband has led Tauranga based travel broker Melanie Salisbury to establish an innovative and successful niche in her business.

Having started with Frontier Travel (later acquired by Travel Managers Group) 12 years ago, Salisbury recalls looking for ideas when the company launched a new website.

‘My husband actually suggested the idea of taking a tour group to the UK to two big air shows. It went really well and we have now been doing it for nine years.’

The tours to UK – Europe (Battle of Britain and D Day is a recent past example) tend to take around three weeks and concentrate on aviation and military sites, museums and memorials as well as at least two major air shows.

‘We started off doing the same tour each year but we had a lot of interest from repeat clients who wanted to do something different. So now we have three or four tours that we rotate.’

This year’s tour (sold out with the maximum 24 guests) is Bomber County 100 and coincides with the centenary of the RAF.

It has a focus on Lincolnshire, where most of the bomber bases were located during World War II, and the two featured air shows are Flying Legends at Duxford and The Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford. Next year, Salisbury will be doing something different – heading to Australia with one of these groups for the first time.

‘We do have some more mature guests who can’t always travel the long distance for 21 days or thereabouts. So we will go to the Avalon Air Show in Melbourne and also visit aviation museums and take in a lot of other sights in Sydney.’