Travel Agents

Big Fat Agent Wrap

Kate Webster

It’s Friday and hopefully for most of you, a long weekend. We wrap up the week that was for agents, so grab a cuppa, take a break and enjoy the read.


Treasures of the South Pacific kicks off

Treasures of the South Pacific

Treasures of the South Pacific 2016 kicked off this week with the first two events of six being held.

More than 120 travel agents from Melbourne and 60 from Hobart attended the two events, gaining knowledge and insights from tourism offices representatives including: Cook Islands; New Caledonia; Norfolk Island; Papua New Guinea; Samoa, Solomon Islands; Tahiti; Vanuatu and some Hidden Treasures (Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Tuvalu, American Samoa, Niue).

Four more events will take place across Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast throughout the remainder of the year.

Full event dates for 2016:
• Sydney: 2 August, 2016
• Canberra: 3 August, 2016
• Brisbane: 11 October, 2016
• Sunshine Coast: 12 October, 2016

Travel agents can also sign up and complete the South Pacific Tourism Organisation online training platform to become a South Pacific Specialist at

For more details visit


STA Travel celebrates all things American with Brand USA


Last month saw STA Travel fly the ‘Red, White and Blue’ at six USA-themed events right around the country.

As part of its push to promote its great portfolio of tours and packages to the United States, the travel operator recently partnered with Brand USA, the destination marketing organization of the United States, to host Festivals at popular student venues in each of Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Channelling the U.S. Indie festival vibe, event goers were treated to performances by some of Australia’s best upcoming musical talent, while chowing down on traditional American burgers, tacos and Budweisers.

Each venue was dressed up à la one of the USA’s biggest music festivals Coachella, with face painting and costumes on hand for those really wanting to throw themselves into the spirit of the occasion.

Sensational give-aways, plus a chance to book some of the hottest student travel deals around and a fantastic competition with prizes including flights to The USA and a California Campervan holiday for two people, saw thousands of students flock to each event, with many subsequently taking advantage of STA Travel’s $100 travel handed out to everyone who attended.

Escape the winter blues and experience some of the States’ biggest upcoming musical festivals first hand in the northern hemisphere summer. Visit an STA Travel Store to book your flights to The USA for just a $99 deposit!


G Adventures and roomsXML take agents on a Shark Dive

Agents GAP

Travel agents were encouraged to use their imagination last week when G Adventures and roomsXML introduced them to marine destinations around the world, with ‘Microfamils’ in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane

Galapagos expert and Ecuador CEO (Chief Experience Officer), Omar Medina was on hand to guide over 30 agents around their home cities, sharing insights into his home country and G Adventures’ marine style adventures along the way.

A naturalist, Omar knows all there is to know about the rich geography of the Galapagos Islands and the wildlife that inhabit it and agents were asked to use their imagination and immerse themselves in an overseas destination like the Galapagos.

The microfamils came as G Adventures announced the addition of a new vessel for its Galapagos sailing itineraries in 2017, after the company’s sailing style trips experienced a 26 per cent increase year on year.

For Melbourne and Sydney based agents, the day started at the aquarium, eating lunch surrounded by marine life, and one lucky agent in each city won the chance to dive with the sharks after a hotly contested quiz on G Adventures’ Marine Style adventures.

Sydney Winner Shirley Mai, from STA Sydney University, took the plunge and Robert Sztormowski, from Emma Whiting Travel was the Melbourne Winner.

The agents were treated to cocktails and canapes courtesy of roomXML at luxury hotels afterwards and many were impressed with the new style of training that the two companies’ had introduced.

“This has been easily the best destination training session we have had since I have been here on the Coast,” said Deb Davies of Travel Managers, Sunshine Coast.


Agents spend night in a 14th century castle

APT’s Asia Ambassador Luke Nguyen captures the unforgettable event at Namedy Castle.
APT’s Asia Ambassador Luke Nguyen captures the unforgettable event at Namedy Castle.

APT and Travelmarvel hosted a glittering awards event at Germany’s 14th century Namedy Castle on the banks of the Rhine River on Sunday night to celebrate its top performing VIP Diamond travel agencies from across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The party of APT and Travelmarvel’s highest performing agents were invited to explore the stunning castle and grounds at their leisure and were personally greeted by its owner, Princess Heide von Hohenzollern, who welcomed guests to the special event.

APT’s Asia Ambassador, the celebrated chef and author Luke Nguyen, oversaw proceedings as MC, announcing the winners and keeping the guests entertained as they dined in the castle’s ballroom.

Phil Hoffmann Travel was triumphant, winning APT’s award for Most Outstanding Sales 2015 Multi Location.

Most Outstanding Sales 2015 Single Location went to Geelong Travel, with Managing Director Stuart Coffield collecting the award on behalf of the team.

He said, “APT is very much a partner to our business. We are able to achieve strong sales because they consistently deliver outstanding holidays, exceptional service and the very best industry sales support.”


Register now for a one-of-a-kind Spain Webinar

SPTC_ Webinar_Bilbao

Spain & Portugal Travel Connection is pleased to announce a 30 minutes webinar titled “Basque Region of Spain: Destination, culture, Tours, Accommodation.”

Spain & Portugal Travel Specialist, Gill, will be running the webinar and share his knowledge on the industry.

The webinar will run between 4 pm and 5 pm on Monday 16th May 2016.

For full details and bookings contact Spain & Portugal Travel Connection on 1300 858 795,

email or visit

Scoopon partners with new lifestyle television program, Postcards.

Postcards team
Postcards team

Scoopon has added lifestyle television program Postcards to its prime time line-up.

Coinciding with their sixth birthday celebrations, Scoopon has announced a new exclusive partnership with the popular Channel Nine show, providing all travel and lifestyle deals for the program.

The Postcards partnership, which launches in tomorrow’s episode, is in addition to Scoopon’s existing relationship with Nine travel stablemate Getaway, giving the deals provider unprecedented exposure across two and a half hours of television on a major network.

Scoopon Head of Travel Gordon Bayne said Scoopon was pioneering cross-platform partnerships with its focus on television programming.

“We’re thrilled to be part of a resurgence of quality Australian travel television, with these exclusive partnerships breathing new life into lifestyle programming. It’s a match made in heaven – we strive to connect Australians with inspiring and enriching lifestyle and travel experiences and this ethos aligns perfectly with Postcards, as well as Getaway,” Mr Bayne said.


Cook Islands study tour a treat for MTA Members

MTA - Cook Islands Famil April 2016 2

MTA Members recently visited the Cooks Islands as guests of Cook Islands Tourism and Air New Zealand.

Chelsea Barratt, Kathy Wilson and Fiona Cross took part in an intensive seven-day study tour, which included the opportunity to inspect and update on the huge range of accommodation available across the destination.

The trio’s busy itinerary also gave them the chance to sample several experiential and culturally-based tours including lagoon cruises, cultural performances, a progressive dining experience, a 4WD tour and even an Eco Cycle Tour.


Cook Islands Tourism welcomes new Marketing and Communications Manager

Justine White

Justine White has been announces as the new Australian Marketing and Communications Manager for Cook Islands Tourism Corporation.

Justine will join the Gold Coast based team, effective immediately, implementing communications and marketing projects such as tactical rollout of campaigns, management of industry events and roadshows, and maintaining communications with wholesalers, trade and suppliers.

Justine brings over 15 years of travel industry experience having worked in the United States for major tour operators such as Rocky Mountaineer and Trafalgar, and Hong Kong Tourism Board and Trafalgar in Australia.

“We are thrilled to have Justine on board with us at Cook Islands Tourism Corporation,” says Kerryn Cook, General Manager of Cook Islands Tourism.

“With the growing awareness of the Cook Islands in the Australian market and our new global campaign, it was essential that we continue to build our team here. Justine brings a wealth of knowledge and a great understanding of how important the travel trade market is so it is a terrific time to have her on board!”


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


86 tigers die three years after rescue from notorious Thai tourist attraction

by Christian Fleetwood

Over half of the 147 tigers rescued from a well-known Thai tourist attraction have died, allegedly as a result of inbreeding.




Air New Zealand backs down on ‘Kia Ora’ trademark attempt following uproar

by Ali Coulton

The airline has turned its gaff into a campaign to call for a government crackdown on trademarking Māori language… which it tried to do last week.




REVEALED: The ‘chicest’ countries in the world

We admit we’re a bit confused as to what ‘chicness’ actually is, but all of the destinations on the list look very pretty.




Cruise Wrap: Destination NSW joins CLIA, Hurtigruten launches hybrid ship, Aussie cruise season kicks off + MORE!

Tired of your colleagues outsmarting you when it comes to the latest cruise brochures and deals? Get the upper hand right here.




Tourist boat crash sends passenger through floor, onto lap of another in toilet

If being involved in a boat crash on the Brisbane River wasn’t enough, one passenger had the misfortune of landing on someone who was using the loo at the time.




Qantas, Virgin bosses accuse airports of financially squeezing consumers, airlines dry

by Christian Fleetwood

The spat between airlines and airports over whose to blame for the high-price of domestic tickets continues. Pull up a seat and read what Qantas and Virgin have to say about it.




Missing woman finds herself in Iceland after joining her own search party

A missing person story from 2012 is having a moment on Twitter and, as you can imagine, the responses are mixed.



Travel Agents

Five reasons why you should apply for the Avis Travel Agent Scholarship

This list of reasons why has got Travel Weekly’s editor keen on applying for Avis’ scholarship, and he’s not even a travel agent.



Midweek Interview

Midweek interview with TMS Talent’s Ed Hewitt

This week, TMS Talent’s NSW state manager told us his grand plan for fixing Brexit. Unfortunately, we forgot to turn on our voice recorder.




Hotel review: Hoshinoya Tokyo

by Harriet Morris

Hoshinoya Tokyo is an ode to ancient Japan located in the heart of its most modern city. Here’s our verdict.




All the winners from the 2019 AHA National Awards for Excellence

Australia’s very best of the hospitality sector have been crowned. Find out who can now claim bragging rights here.




Qantas boss tops list of Australia’s highest-paid CEOs

by Christian Fleetwood

Do you hate reading about industry CEOs with huge pay packets? Well, it might be best to skip this story.