Lindblad Expeditions says the National Geographic Orion will be returning to Australian waters in 2023 with two new itineraries – Kimberley Expedition: Australia’s Wild Northwest and Kimberley Expedition: Northwest Australia and Indonesia.
Tourism Australia has introduced a second tier to its travel agent training in New Zealand with the introduction of the Premier Aussie Specialist Program.
The premier membership category acknowledges destination expertise, inside knowledge and strong ties with the Australian travel industry with an established record of selling Australia.
Longer itineraries with travel at a more relaxed pace will be the order of the day when Australia welcomes international visitors again, according to a panel of the country’s inbound tour operators at the Tourism Australia Global Summit this week.
Other trends they identify are increasing indigenous content in itineraries, more focus on nature and wildlife, plus an uptake in boutique and luxury accommodation and experiences.
See Adelaide and Beyond will commence its weekly four-day small group tour, Melbourne to Adelaide, from Monday 31 January 2022.
The Great Ocean Road and Beyond small group tour is a guided trip offering reclining seat travel and accommodation in regional townships. The itinerary highlights the major icons along the Great Ocean Road and regional South Australia. These include the Shipwreck Coast, Loch Ard Gorge, the 12 Apostles, Tower Hill, the World Heritage listed Naracoorte Caves, Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake, Umpherston Sinkhole, the Langhorne Creek wine region and the Adelaide Hills.
Aussie Specialist Trainer, Daniel Wright recently sat down with a current mentee of the TIME NZ programme, Alex Hannagan, to discuss the benefits of TIME and why people should apply.
This follows TIME NZ’s partnership with Tourism Australia to offer the inaugural Aussie Specialist Scholarship to members of the wider travel industry.
South Australian tour operator Exceptional Kangaroo Island has launched a new tourism venture, Walk Kangaroo Island, to showcase the landscape across the island.
Over six days and five nights, small groups of up to 10 guests will be hosted by two experienced local guides on 11 different walks across Kangaroo Island.
South Australia has announced its plan to reopen to domestic tourism and ease restrictions – and marking an important step towards the resumption of international tourism.
South Australia will begin by opening its borders to fully vaccinated people from all Australian states and territories on 23 November.
It is the date South Australia is expected to reach the national double vaccination target of 80 per cent and comes earlier than initially expected, thanks to the quick uptake of vaccines by South Australians.
‘As one of the first ‘Covid-free’ states to open to fully-vaccinated travellers in New South Wales and Victoria this is an opportunity for our industry and is a positive step towards welcoming international tourists back,’ says South Australian Tourism Commission chief executive Rodney Harrex.
On 23 November, South Australia’s Covid-Ready Plan also outlines that quarantine for fully vaccinated returning Australians will drop from 14 days to 7 days.
South Australia’s borders will open to fully vaccinated international travellers when its vaccination rate hits 90 per cent (12 years and older) and the Federal Government lifts Australia’s border to international tourism. The state has just hit the 80% first vaccine milestone.
‘With Christmas, the peak summer tourism period and Adelaide’s festival season not too far around the corner – the reopening to domestic and global tourism is a real opportunity for our industry and one that we will take full advantage of,’ Harrex says.
PONANT has released sales for the 2023 Kimberley Expedition season.
Offering multiple departures between April and October 2023, the 10-night ‘Australia’s Iconic Kimberley’ itinerary journeys between Broome and Darwin. It showcases the landscapes of the Kimberley on board PONANT’s Le Lapérouse or Le Soléal, both of which will be sailing throughout the season.
AAT Kings is announcing its 2022-2023 season with an interactive brochure, aimed at helping agents working in varied environments enter a new era of travel. The new season brochure gives agents and customers a multi-sensory experience including embedded videos, pop up animations and immersive timelines designed with the user in mind. It also retains the brand’s customisable call to action (CTA) technology, allowing agents to create personalised brochures to suit customers’ needs, including the ability to add wish-list tours and travel agent details (including logos) before sending to clients.
Tourism Australia is reminding New Zealand agents about the relaunched Aussie Specialist Program.
The programme, which is run in conjunction with Australia’s State and Territory Tourism Organisations, has been given a new look and feel in its 32nd year with greater personalisation, faster qualifying times and shorter, more interactive training modules.
Tourism Australia managing director, Phillipa Harrison says the investment comes after many frontline travel sellers turned to the Aussie Specialist Program over the past 18 months to learn and position themselves as champions for Australian travel once borders re-open.
Wendy Wu Tours has released a dedicated Australia and New Zealand brochure, with two new programmes complementing its existing range of tours.
The Australasian collection has a new seven-day Tasmanian Highlights tour, focusing on the eastern coastline including Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay as well as Cape Pillar. Clients will also visit historical Port Arthur and sample Tasmania’s local produce, including a visit to Freycinet Oyster Farm. The tour is priced from $5600 per person, twin share.
Tourism Australia recently appointed Daniel Wright as Aussie Specialist Program trainer for New Zealand, based in Auckland.
Wright’s most recent role was senior marketing executive at South Australia Tourism Commission, based in London since January 2018. He brings more than 10 years of experience working in the travel industry, working for brands such as Flight Centre and Jucy Rentals, along with other luxury and specialist our operators.
Our Pacific has a small group tour to Norfolk Island, created for those seeking a foodie experience on an island that relies heavily on self-sustainability.
It also provides some active outdoor activity events, ensuring the group participants get to enjoy the outdoors and scenery that Norfolk Island offers.
Luxury lodge The Louise, in South Australia’s Barossa wine region, has been acquired by Baillie Lodges, adding to the company’s growing collection of properties from September 2021.
This is the second luxury lodge to join the group in South Australia. Southern Ocean Lodge, situated on Kangaroo Island, joined the fold in 2008. The lodge was destroyed in the bushfires in January 2020 and the property is now closed. However, Baillie Lodges is rebuilding the lodge and anticipates this will reopen in late 2022 or early 2023.
Queensland’s Southern Great Barrier Reef gives New Zealand travel agents something different in the state to sell, with opportunities now to convert the interest that was steadily rising pre-Covid, says Mary Carroll, chief executive officer of Capricorn Coast.
‘We regularly visited trade and consumer shows in recent years and we were really starting to see great interest. Now is the time to convert that to real life bookings through the trade.’
Carroll says a key message for the market is that they can fly into Brisbane and then take a one-hour domestic flight to Rockhampton.
TIME (Travel Industry Mentor Experience) NZ has a new partnership with Tourism Australia’s Aussie Specialist Program. This includes the inaugural Aussie Specialist Scholarship.
The development was announced at a TIME event at Crown Institute of Studies on in July, which celebrated graduates from recent intakes and also announced four new mentees and their mentors.
The scholarship covers full TIME programme fees for six months of dedicated, tailored mentoring from a strategically selected senior industry professional plus on-going benefits including the TIME to Learn programme and additional one-off mentoring with a mentor of choice (subject to availability).
Our Pacific says the levels of enquiry around Norfolk have definitely increased with the launch of the AKL to NLK service on Air Chathams last week.
As a result the company has reviewed its product offers on the island, especially as the intention is for the airline increase to the service to two flights per week from the beginning of August.
‘We have created air plus land packages for couples, families, holiday homes, long weekends, golfing and fishing adventures as the destination is now starting to attract a wider range of holiday makers than in the past,’ says Lindy Christian, head of strategic development. ‘Shelley Gutry, Our Pacific’s product manager, visited the island prior to Covid-19 , so we have a good working knowledge of the destination within the company.’
Maher Escorted Tours says its first sold out Aussie tour since the trans Tasman bubble opened will depart for Western Australia and Northern Territory early next month.
Away for the Winter 2021 visits Ayers Rock, Alice Springs, Kakadu, Broome and Perth amongst other places and includes experiences such as lunch at Daly Waters outback pub, Lake Argyle and Ord River wildlife cruise, and a sunset harbour dinner cruise in Darwin.
Maher’s business manager, Emily Newrick, says a tour to Tasmania on 10 October is close to selling out as well, with 25 passengers confirmed so far.
Tourism Australia is set to appoint an Aussie Specialist Programme (ASP) trainer in the New Zealand market. The recruitment process is underway now. For all non-ASP related business the contact will be TA’s Sydney-based general manager domestic and New Zealand Andrew Hutchinson and his team.
Phillipa Harrison, TA’s managing director, says the move reflects the importance of personal meetings now that the trans Tasman bubble has opened.
Tourism Tasmania is pleased with the start of the Air New Zealand flight between Auckland and Hobart, and the office is hearing from New Zealand trade that there is plenty of interest in the destination.
Chief executive of Tourism Tasmania, John Fitzgerald, says Air New Zealand is also reporting to be happy with how things are tracking.
‘We are tracking where we thought we would be and the holiday periods of July and October are looking strong. We’re super confident about the market long term.’
The New Zealand market into Queensland is showing the patterns that the domestic Australia sector did when state borders opened, according to Tourism & Events Queensland.
Michael Branagh, group executive global marketing at TEQ, says both started slowly while confidence built up.
‘We are starting to see a pick-up from New Zealand and we are optimistic of that continuing. Once it gets colder we’ll see more interest.
Newcastle Airport has its sights set on a resumption of services to Auckland this year, hopefully for an extended season and probably with a new carrier.
NTL-AKL services were successfully launched for the 2018-19 summer and then showed further growth in the 2019-20 summer before being disrupted by Covid last summer.
Stephen Crowe, executive manager corporate affairs with Newcastle Airport, says the early experience proved a trans Tasman service to and from the region is ‘more than sustainable’ and discussions with airlines are ongoing.
The New Zealand travel trade is being urged to think again about Canberra and promote it as a food and wine destination with new experinces not usually associated with the city.
Nicole Casey, partnerships events officer with Visit Canberra, was at ATE this week and says that among other things, clients will now find Bell tent and (since about a fortnight ago) a Tiny House accommodation at Mount Majora.
The guest experience typically starts with a wine tasting, and includes a hamper dinner and lunch.
The work done last year to increase Queensland connectivity for the domestic market will have a positive spin-off for New Zealand trade and clients now that the state is open to Kiwis, says Gareth Williamson, general manager aviation business development with Sunshine Coast Airport.
Air New Zealand starts its three times weekly Auckland to Sunshine Coast seasonal service 28 June, running through to the end of October. Williamson says the destination is working on having the season extended.
Putting together packages with experiences clients can not find in the average brochure and connecting with small businesses that don’t necessarily have a strong presence on this side of the Tasman are among the aims of 17 New Zealanders with face to face appointments at Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE21) in Sydney this week.
Buyers were also checking out high end accommodation and activities, plus adventure options for families and couples.
ANZCRO Australia Package Collection 2021/2022 is an ideal starting point for planning a client’s holiday across the Tasman, says the company’s managing director Nick Guthrey.
The collection, produced in print and online, features 46 packages that are ready to sell, fully comissionable and can be customised to suit a client.
‘The sights of Australia are so vast and varied it can be hard to know where to start planning a holiday. That’s why we created the Australia Package Collection.
By Stu Freeman
Yesterday I was on Flight QF166 to the Gold Coast – Qantas’ inaugural between Auckland and Coolangatta and an early opportunity for me to experience travel in the trans Tasman bubble.
Auckland Airport yesterday (apart from a couple of slightly busier bursts during the day) was quiet to the point of being eerie – a boon for clients travelling just outside peak who want to get through the airport quickly with no hassle.
Globus family of brands reports immediate interest and bookings through the trade for its Globus and Cosmos Australian tours following the announcement of the trans-Tasman bubble.
Brett Simon, head of New Zealand at GFOB, says the Red Centre, Northern Territory tour was the biggest seller on Thursday out of New Zealand, while Tasmania and West Australia’s Kimberley also continue to be popular.
Visit Sushine Coast (VSC) has developed strategies and activities for its market re-entry to New Zealand which commenced this week in anticipation of the first services to Australia.
VSC CEO Matt Stoeckel says the activity includes a “For real” multi-channel campaign which follows the successful first phase of the campaign that was rolled out earlier in the year in anticipation of the borders opening during 2021.
Tourism Australia is kicking off its first international campaign in more than a year today to remind New Zealanders of the experiences that await them across the Tasman.
Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison says she hopes New Zealanders will make the most of the two way bubble that starts on 19 April and enjoy being the first international travellers back to Australia. That theme is evident in the campaign theme - 'Be the First'.
Clients can save up to $600 per couple on AAT Kings’ 13-day Perfect Tasmania guided holiday. The tour has a foodie emphasis – meeting local producers and winemakers throughout the journey. Highlights include meeting a fitfh generation farmer who shows guests around his property before they taste his ethically raised meat and garden produce at lunch.
There is free time exploring Hobart and Launceston with insider knowledge and help from a travel director.
Rottnest Island Authority has released a new trade guide. It contains useful information about Rottnest Island including new products, how to get around, maps, accommodation, dining, refreshments, tours, activities and attractions.
Located less than 20km from Fremantle, Rottnest Island is a nature reserve with 63 beaches and bays, coral reefs, a
casual atmosphere and the world’s ‘happiest’ animals – the quokka.
Globus family of brands (GFOB) has added a new date for Globus’ Contrasts of the Kimberley itinerary. Priced from $5561, the 10-day trip in the Top End, beginning in Darwin and ending in Broome, is close to selling out on all dates in 2021, so a new departure date of 19 September has been added.
The itinerary is part of GFOB’s new collection of New Zealand and Australia tours launched in October 2020 and created specifically with local travellers
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park (Tjapukai) will not be reopening.
The Cairns attraction has experienced significant financial challenges for many years, made worse through the Covid-19 pandemic when it was forced to go into caretaker mode.
The venture is largely reliant on international visitors and is not financially able to continue operating with the continued restrictions and uncertain future for international inbound travellers and increased
A new campaign just launched by Tourism Australia aims to lure young New Zealanders across the ditch by showcasing the adventures and experiences they can have while working and travelling in Australia. The young Kiwis are being urged to take a working holiday and gain employment in sectors such as agriculture, tourism and hospitality.
Australia's Tourism Minister, Simon Birningham, says with travel from across the Tasman back in play this is an opportunity to entice New Zealanders to take a longer stay in Australia and
APT has released details of its Private Jet Air Tours 2021 itineraries in Australia using privately chartered aircraft. The tours fly across vast distances in a fraction of the time it would take for traditional touring, allowing more time on the ground to explore each destination. Agents can order copies of new APT’s Private Jet Air Tours Australia 2021 brochure by clicking here.
Queensland has a line up of major tourism developments next year.
In Tropical North Queensland, Silky Oaks Lodge is undergoing a facelift to reopen on 1 October 2021 under the Baillie Lodges brand. Influenced by its Daintree Rainforest surroundings, the
New website data has revealed that in a post-pandemic world, city dwellers are looking for outdoor escapes with an off-the-grid sense of remoteness.
SATV, the digital platform curated by the South Australian Tourism Commission is giving Kiwis a taste of those remote experiences ‘virtually’.
The first thing Australia needs to do for its tourism recovery is reopen the country’s state borders where it is safe, says John Hart, executive chair of the Australia Chamber of Tourism.
‘There seems to be the attitude that keeping people safe is about locking them down, rather than allowing safe travel. While that happens there won’t be a recovery.’
Saltwater Eco Tours, operating from Mooloolaba, is using a century-old timber sailing vessel, Spray of the Coral Coast, to showcase the Sunshine Coast’s Indigenous heritage and marine beauty.
Each tour has an Indigenous story-teller on board to share the stories, traditions and culture of the Sunshine Coast’s original inhabitants and first eco custodians, the Kabi Kabi people (originally known as the ‘Saltwater People’).
A key operator in Western Australia says the state is ready and waiting for the New Zealand market when a 'bubble' between the two destinations opens.
Agents can join John Daw to learn about Australian Wildlife Journeys on Thursday 13 August from 5-6pm. As part of the Signature Experiences of Australia program, Australian Wildlife Journeys is a group of Australia’s top wildlife travel operators that have come together to showcase their commitment to conservation, passion for nature and interpretation of wildlife in natural habitats. The operators of these wildlife experiences see themselves as guardians of the native fauna as well as expert guides.
Go to www.aussiespecialist.com/en-nz and register via the training section of the site.
Tourism Australia is promoting a number of ways agents can encourage their clients to experience different sides of Australia while travel is restricted.
‘Storytelling is embedded in Australian culture. Thanks to our creative industry, there are many different means of soaking up our rich culture – even from the comfort of your couch,’ says Phillipa Harrison, managing director of Tourism Australia.
The Surf House in Byron Bay opened yesterday. It includes Byron Bay’s only rooftop bar, The Rooftop, and is the third Byron Bay property from Millett Group which owns boutique hotel Lord Byron and the hostel Wake Up!
Sports Travel and Hospitality (STH) Group has signed a long-term agreement to be the official partner of Rugby Australia.
The move signals the establishment of Sports Travel and Hospitality Australia, trading as Wallabies Travel. On this side of the Tasman, Sports Travel and Hospitality New Zealand has a high profile trading as All Blacks Tours and New Zealand Cricket Tours.
The departure of Tourism Australia’s New Zealand country manager Jenny Aitken will not in itself significantly change the relationship the organisation has had with the general travel trade here for the last five years.
Since 2015, Aitken’s official brief has been almost entirely business events focused (with some exceptions such as working with wholesalers on the Australian Tourism Exchange).
The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) and Adelaide Airport have thrown their weight behind the trans Tasman travel bubble with plans to welcome Kiwis who are ready to travel once it is safe to do so.
For the year ending December 2019, record numbers of Kiwis travelled to South Australia to enjoy the state’s food, wine and destinations such as the Murray River and Kangaroo Island, spending more than $45 million in their travels.
Destination NSW has launched the next phase of its tourism recovery campaign, Now’s The Time To Love NSW.
This is spearheaded by TV, social and digital creative which utilises New South Wales’ diverse landscapes and experiences to inspire travellers.
The commercial debuted in New Zealand over the weekend.
ANZCRO Connect has already generated considerable interest amongst the trade in New Zealand but this is set to increase with the current focus on domestic and, as a next step, trans Tasman travel, says the company’s managing director Nick Guthrey.
The specially designed agents’ portal allows travel agents to search, quote and book all of ANZCRO’s product from one platform. It can also be used to create an entire New Zealand itinerary.
The travel and tourism industries of both Australia and New Zealand should be working together to create a ‘runway’ towards reopening trans-Tasman travel, an industry webinar heard this week.
Speaking at the Tourism Temperature digital event, organised by the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ), various speakers felt the trans Tasman travel bubble could fly if the countries’ governments and health authorities also worked together to create safe and highly monitored gateways.
The Aussie Specialist Team has moved the monthly Talkabout webinar series to a weekly schedule through to early June.
The new series kicked off with Annabelle Sweetman from Tourism Tasmania last week, informing agents on the sights of Tassie. Those travelling the island can taste produce straight from the farm and ocean, and meet the makers at cellar doors, farm gates and local markets.