Travel Agents

Big Fat Agent Wrap

We started our weekend early and went on a bender last night, so please be kind of spelling errors and appreciate that we showed up to work at all.

Bentours and Hurtigruten talk future direction

Ryan Bennett, William Harber, Damian Perry

William Harber, the president of China & the Asia-Pacific market for Hurtigruten visited the Bentours and Hurtigruten offices last week in Melbourne. In discussion was the joint venture between Bentours and Hurtigruten and the growing market of Australia and New Zealand.

The focus of the meeting was on the arrival of the new ship, Amundsen, the safest, greenest and most advanced expedition ship that has ever been created.

A new video showcasing the Amundsen, which has been dubbed ‘the incredible base camp at sea’, has been released to educate the market ahead of its debut in Oct 2018. Click here to see the footage presented by Hurtigruten Field Operations Manager, Karin Strand.

Also a focus was Hurtigruten’s 125-year history and their direction as the world leader in exploration travel. Hurtigruten will continue to offer guests interactions with nature and wildlife, unlike anything they have seen before, with a sense of exploration and adventure at the core of their business.

New itineraries and improved solutions for travellers and agents were discussed, as well as promising a bright future for the already successful partnership between Bentours and Hurtigruten.

Hurtigruten are available direct in Australia and New Zealand.

UMI in the Jungle Winners Announced 

After three nail biting and exhilarating months G Adventures has announced the winners heading to Uganda and Rwanda as part of their Uber Massive Incentive, UMI in the Jungle.

G Adventures switched things up this year, giving away 12 coveted places on a once-in-a-lifetime trip through Uganda and Rwanda – plus some sweet weekly prizes.

Without any further ado, the lucky agents – consisting of both top sellers and random winners from Australia & New Zealand –  heading to the jungle are:

  • Gerry Tillson
  • Julie Maina
  • Steph Jones
  • Phil Feldman
  • Steph Horrell
  • Meaghan Hussey
  • Annette Vazquez
  • Julie Wood
  • Ashlea Weller
  • Ethan Halliday
  • Sarah Browning
  • Tammie Frew

They’re the hardworking agents who spend their days making their customers’ dreams come true – but now these 12 travel champions will have their own African jungle adventure, with flights included and all.

Travellers Choice members savour the mesmerizing Mekong

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Travellers Choice Gold Choice Award winners enjoy a ‘Cook & Dine’ cooking class at Luke Nguyen’s Grain Restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City: (L-R) Chris Petrie (APT), Brian Slater (Maria Slater Travel), Lucy Bellamy (Savenio), Christian Hunter (Travellers Choice), Dave Hulsman (Ucango Travel & Cruise Centre), Grain Cooking School Chef, Leonie Ivey (Windsong Travel), Lesley Shepherd (Select World Travel), Michelle Everson (Jamison Travel), Denis Collins (Discover Travel & Cruise), Tania Allen (Oliver Travel), Scott Ellis (APT)

From mounds of tasty tarantulas in a Cambodian market to the sophisticated fare created in celebrity chef Luke Nguyen’s Ho Chi Minh cooking school – the 2017 Travellers Choice’s Gold Choice Award trip had a unique culinary flavour.

APT hosted this year’s Gold Choice trip – an exclusive famil reserved for Travellers Choice’s top 10 agents – with the itinerary based around a seven-night cruise along the Mekong on AmaLotus.

Travellers Choice Managing Director Christian Hunter says the voyage allowed agents to get an authentic taste of life along the river, with ox-cart rides past rice fields, small boat excursions to floating villages, and encounters with snake wine and scorpion snacks in rural markets.

“We also toured the Khmer Rouge’s Killing Fields and, at the end of the cruise, visited the Viet Cong’s tunnels at Cu Chi near Ho Chi Minh, which really brought home how gruesome and grisly a lot of the region’s recent history has been,” says Hunter. “In that sense, both experiences were fascinating because they really pushed us out of our comfort zones.”

The trip finished with a cooking class at Grain, a restaurant owned by SBS chef Luke Nguyen, who is also a brand ambassador for APT.

Each year Travellers Choice presents Choice Awards to its top 30 members, based on support for preferred partners. As well as reward trips, winners also benefit from exclusive sales incentives and service grants, which can be used towards any of the network’s member services, including the Travellers Choice Cruise Club and local area marketing activities.

TravelManagers’ Charity Golf Day Raises $10,000 for Love Your Sister  

The TravelManagers charity golf champions! First place winners (left to right) Wolfgang Wicher, PTM Mark Devers, Samuel Johnson (Love Your Sister), George Lowrie, Ben Taplin
The TravelManagers charity golf champions! First place winners (left to right) Wolfgang Wicher, PTM Mark Devers, Samuel Johnson (Love Your Sister), George Lowrie, Ben Taplin

Now in its third year, the TravelManagers’ charity golf day was without doubt, it’s most successful yet.  The spectacular Mornington Golf Club on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula was again centre stage, showcasing another fantastic event this year with just over $10,000 being raised in support of Samuel and Connie Johnson‘s charity Love Your Sister.

Love Your Sister is a not for profit organisation founded by the Johnson siblings in support of breast cancer research. Connie is 35 years old and has terminal cancer. Driven by Samuel for the love of his sister, he has a goal to raise ten million dollars to support the funding of the Connie Johnson Breast Cancer laboratory at the Garvan Research Foundation and general cancer research.

Personal travel managers, their clients, preferred suppliers and the national partnership office team all participated in the golf day.

The tournament consisted of teams of four playing Ambrose style golf over 18 holes. The golf day was very relaxed and enjoyed by 76 participants – 19 teams of four.

Escape to Tahiti like a pop star

Intercontinental Thalasso Bora Bora Villa

Tahiti Tourisme is offering Australian travellers the chance to relax like a rock star or take time out like a talk show host with a series of star-studded holiday packages now on sale.

Proving it’s the world’s pre-eminent island destination, some of the most famous people on the planet have chosen The Islands of Tahiti as their ultimate getaway in recent weeks.

Once owned by Marlon Brando, The Brando – an exclusive eco-resort on Tetiaroa – has been a playground for celebrities on “spring break”, hosting a former president and talk show host on its idyllic shores.

A rock star and Oscar-winning actor have also taken advantage of the privacy of a luxury yacht to sail around the Society Islands, anchoring in the crystal clear lagoon of island paradise Huahine.

Tahiti Tourisme is inviting holidaymakers to experience the Islands of Tahiti like a VIP with a range of great packages:

  • Indulge in a babymoon like a pop star with a seven-night package including five nights in an overwater bungalow at the Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso Resort, return economy flights with Air Tahiti Nui from Australia and transfers throughout including inter-island flights, from $5799* per person twin share.
  • Sail around the Society Islands like a movie star onboard the 24-passenger luxury small ship Island Escape, which offers the ultimate comfort as guests explore coves and islands that are inaccessible to larger ships. Prices start from $7199* per person twin share including the seven-night cruise, two nights at Manava Suite Resort Tahiti, return economy flights with Air Tahiti Nui from Australia, transfers throughout and inter-island flights.
  • Escape like some of the most famous couples in the world with a five-night package including three nights in a luxurious private beachfront villa at the Brando on Tetiaroa, two nights at Intercontinental Tahiti Resort, return economy flights with Air Tahiti Nui from Australia and transfers throughout including inter-island flights, from $8799* per person twin share. The all-inclusive resort offers all meals, beverages, excursions and a spa treatment.

Agents inspired by South Pacific destinations at ‘Treasures’ events

Left to Right: Jayne Kinghorn, Iririki Island Resort & Spa; Julie Bowles, Bokissa Private Island Resort; David Callan, Travel Representation Service for The Havannah Vanuatu; Raumati Wikaire, Coconuts Travel Marketing for Ramada Resort Port Vila; winner Alexandra Bell from Flight Centre and Jessica Luxton, Vanuatu Tourism Office Australia

‘Treasures of the South Pacific’, a series of events designed to educate and inspire Australian travel agents about the variety of tourism product and experiences available across the South Pacific, began its 2017 schedule of events last week in Melbourne and Adelaide, with both nights drawing strong attendance.

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) hosted over 120 travel agents in Melbourne on Tuesday, 11 April, 2017 and another 60 agents on Wednesday, 12 April, 2017 at the Adelaide event.

Travel agents heard from representatives of the tourism offices of Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Vanuatu and from hidden treasures including: Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Tuvalu and American Samoa

Alexandra Bell from Flight Centre, Collin’s Square was the lucky winner of a twelve night trip to Vanuatu at the Melbourne event. The fantastic prize includes flights with Air Vanuatu and accommodation at Iririki Island Resort & Spa, Ramada Resort Port Vila, Bokissa Private Island Resort and The Havannah Vanuatu.

In Adelaide, Erin O’Neill of Phil Hoffman Travel won an incredible ten nights in Vanuatu staying at Iririki Island Resort & Spa, Moorings Hotel, Hideaway Island Resort and Bokissa Private Island Resort.

Travel Counsellors add range of fresh features to new, improved myTC app

myTC App v2.0 travel

The Travel Counsellors myTC app continues to grow with the latest launch phase including a wide range of new features to help clients and Travel Counsellors communicate when planning, organising and booking business and leisure trips.

With improved functionality providing a raft of new features, the myTC app has been developed in-house by the talented Travel Counsellors team. Providing customers with a way to collate and house all their quotes, bookings, documentation and even travel inspiration in one, handy place, the latest release of the app includes the following updates and new features:

  • New enquiries section to request and view travel quotes
  • Travel imagery and videos to provide trip ideas and inspiration
  • The ability to request an appointment or booking directly with a Travel Counsellor
  • New functionality to enable secure payments to be made through the app

Rail Plus unveils European summer rail schedules

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Rail Plus is pleased to advise that rail networks in seven European countries have now released their northern hemisphere summer schedules, enabling travel agents to secure seats on key point-to-point rail journeys.

Schedules are now available for rail services in France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and England, along with Eurostar and the OBB Night Trains, which traverse a number of popular European countries.

In addition, more than half of summer schedules have been released for Italy, with the remainder due for release over the next six weeks.

Agents are reminded that tickets are distributed via Rail Plus, Rail Tickets and Infinity Rail in Australia. See for more details.

Agents wrap up at Oregon Road Rally

Oregon Road Rally

Twenty-seven travel agents and tour operators from nine countries, including Australia, gathered in Oregon at the beginning of April for a 7 day road trip of the state.

The fam was an opportunity for the group to gain further knowledge of the destination in hopes of expanded itinerary development beyond the traditional USA gateways as consumers look to new destinations to travel to.

The trip began and ended in Portland with agents testing the famous Portland craft beer, coffee tours and experiencing the Maker Community Portland is known for.   Agents then continued exploring the state including a visit to the mountain regions of Mt Hood and Bend, the famous Crate Lake National Park as well as the Oregon Coast before ending in the Willamette Valley and returning to Portland.

Australian trade included Matt Owers from Excite Holidays and Matt Thompson  from Infinity Holidays.

TIME mentoring launches partial schorlarship

The Travel Industry Mentor Experience (TIME) is seeking applications from employees of small businesses with big career ambitions to join the 27th intake of its renowned mentoring program.

The upcoming 27th TIME Intake commences on 28th June 2017, and interested employees of small businesses are encouraged to apply for a partial scholarship sponsored by the (former) Travel Industry Careers Association (TICA).

The successful applicant will receive a $1,000 contribution from TICA towards TIME’s participation fees, and will join the program’s 27th intake commencing on 28 June 2017.

The TIME Program’s fee of $2,000 (Plus GST) covers six months of dedicated, tailored mentoring from a strategically selected senior industry professional.

Download the scholarship application form and an expression of interest from the TIME Website.

TTC donates for Earth Day

The Travel Corporation (TTC) globally will be donating US$1 to Wildlife SOS–India for every booking made on Earth Day (April 22) across all of the brands through the TreadRight Foundation.

Each dollar donated by TreadRight to Wildlife SOS as part of the Earth Day campaign will go directly towards supporting the organisation’s land fund for the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, India with the goal of expanding the existing rescue centre in order to provide space to house 50 more elephants that are in need of rescue.

TTC Weekly deals

Easter continues…

Youth Travellers can save a total of $325 off Contiki’s 25-day European Quest with Contiki’s latest Easter Sale when they book and pay in full by 27 April 2017. Coast to coast, city to city, the European Quest is el perfecto! Summer days by the Spanish beaches of San Sebastian, cultured nights bar hopping in Prague, and crystal clear waters of the breathtaking Cinque Terre.

Priced from $2,540 *per person (discount included) and available for travel between 31 March 2017 – 30 December 2017. For more information visit or phone 1300 266 845. *Conditions Apply

Don’t hibernate this Winter

Travellers booking with Busabout can SAVE up to 20% off Asian trips when they pay in full between 1st May – 31st of May 2017, quoting the promocode LATE DEAL. On the 9-day Cambodian Adventure, travellers can save a total of $188 per person on their adventure from Phnom Penh through Kampot to Siem Reap.

Priced from $751.20 (including discount) per person, departing 6 & 20 June 2017. Deposit of $100 must be paid at time of booking and full payment due 45 days prior to departure. For more information and a range of other Europe trips on sale visit or call 1300 287 226

‘Airffordable’ Deal

Guests of AAT Kings can receive a discounted return airfare to Tasmania (departing from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth or Brisbane) when they book the 10-day Tasmanian Wonders guided holiday. Time for your clients to tick Tassie off their bucket list! They won’t leave without getting amongst the idyllic scenery or sampling local cheese, wine and delicious fresh picked berries.

This package includes an experienced Travel Director & Driver Guide, quality accommodation, travel in luxury coach, airport transfers, and more! Priced from $3,199 (departing Melbourne) with discounted return airfare, twin share and available on select departures between 1 September 2017 – 31 August 2018 (subject to availability). For more information or to book call 1300 556 100 or visit *

Northern Lights

Guests of Insight Vacations can save 7.5% on tours from the 2017/18 Seasons brochure when booked and paid in full by 24 August 2017. On the 7-day Scenic Iceland and the Northern Lights escorted journey guests will save $600 per couple  and experience Iceland’s world of natural phenomena.

They’ll witness nature’s most spectacular show on earth – the Northern Lights in Reykjavik. Priced from $3,695 per person (including 7.5% early payment discount) on select departure dates between 12th November 2017 and 18th March 2018 (other departures available). For full terms and conditions visit or call 1300 727 767.

Prague is Perfection

Guests of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection who book their 2018 river cruise early and pay in full at the time of booking will enjoy 10% savings on all voyages booked before 30 June 2017. Your clients can SAVE $600 off per person on Uniworld’s 10-day Delightful Danube & Prague luxury river cruise & tour from Budapest to Prague visiting the countries of Hungary, Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic.

They’ll enjoy 2-nights at the Art Deco Imperial Hotel Prague, an all-inclusive 7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom onboard the River Beatrice, including all meals and unlimited beverages onboard, 7 days of hosted excursions, services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager and more! Priced from A$5,399 per person twin share (including discount) departing on 2 May 2018 (other departures available). For more information call 1300 780 231 or visit

Caribbean Quest

Book your clients on Creative Cruising’s 12-night Panama Canal & Costa Rica cruise package before 31 May 2017 and they’ll receive a BONUS of US$60 onboard credit per stateroom twin share. This package includes a return Economy class airfare to Miami flying Delta Airlines, 2 nights pre-cruise accommodation in Miami, private transfer from hotel to port, a 10-night cruise onboard Caribbean Princess from Fort Lauderdale return and more!

Priced from $3,959 pp (price ex Sydney), cruise departs 30 November 2017 (other cruise departures available, pricing upon request). *Conditions apply please visit phone 1300 362 599 for more information.


Travel Agents

Big Fat Agent Wrap

by Vanessa Bussoletti

It doesn’t get more jam-packed than this, readers. Unless you count our jam sandwich because that’s overflowing all over our desk.




“We’re all getting robbed”: Vic tourism hit by scam

by Hannah Edensor

At least nine Victorian tourist attractions have been hit by a credit card scam. We too were busted for buying clothes under our boss’s name but only to avoid buyers shame in the office.




What can you actually take from hotel rooms?

We could tell you this was an exclusive insight into what you can get away with stealing from hotels, but we’d be lying. We nicked it off an online forum.




At last, Qantas inflight Wi-Fi takes off

by Hannah Edensor

As 56% of travellers get stoked about Qantas’ inflight Wi-Fi, our concern lies with the other 44% who clearly hate looking at cats on YouTube.




Travel warnings for Gallipoli after terror threats

by Hannah Edensor

New updates on Smart Traveller have upgraded warnings for Turkey with news Anzac Day commemorations could be a target of terror attacks.



Travel Agents

Flavour of the Week

Find out who won new roles & who fell on their swords in this week’s Flavour of the Week. Yes, we added that sword bit for effect.




Cruising for young travellers is finally here

This first of its kind cruise brand had us at ‘Wine & Paint Classes’ because it combines two of our favourite things. Well, one, we hate painting.




52% of travellers swayed by Facebook photos: study

All of our Facebook friends’ photos inspired us to travel. And by ‘friends’ we mean the public profiles we stalk because we only have 4 friends.




Is your boss the Executive of the Year?

We tried to nominate ourselves for this award, but apparently ignoring the boss and pretending to be your own boss doesn’t actually make you CEO.



Travel Agents

Final week of LAX agent incentive kicks off

We’re re-running this again from Monday (minus the typos). You get déjà vu & we do less work. A win-win, we say.




A world of special Sunshine Coast Deals

by Vanessa Bussoletti

Visit Sunshine Coast has partnered with Escape Travel to launch a major new campaign offering a wide range of activities […]




Big Fat Hotel Wrap

by Vanessa Bussoletti

If you read one thing today make sure it’s Travel Weekly’s hotel wrap. Actually, your medication instructions and train timetable probably take priority.