Big Fat Agent Wrap

Big Fat Agent Wrap

It’s FriYAY! Sorry that was terrible. How about, TGIF! Better? Ok, enough of this, let’s get stuck into this detailed wrap, and get you on your merry way out towards the weekend.

Agents Excite-d in Fiji

Diane Yates from Travel Managers, Stelios Missikos from MPS Travel & Tours, David McMahon from Tourism Fiji, Lisa McDonald from Lifestyle Travel Ballarat, Jacquelyn L'hostis from New England Travel Armidale, Emma Seymour from Patterson Lakes Travel & Cruise, Tina Lazell from Helloworld Everton Hills, and Astrid Martin from Traveledge Holidays

Diane Yates from Travel Managers, Stelios Missikos from MPS Travel & Tours, David McMahon from Tourism Fiji, Lisa McDonald from Lifestyle Travel Ballarat, Jacquelyn L’hostis from New England Travel Armidale, Emma Seymour from Patterson Lakes Travel & Cruise, Tina Lazell from Helloworld Everton Hills, and Astrid Martin from Traveledge Holidays

In collaboration with Tourism Fiji and Virgin Australia, Excite Holidays was thrilled to treat a group of its agents to a culturally rich and authentic experience in Fiji earlier this month.

Jetting into Nadi, the group were transferred to the beachfront Radisson Blu Fiji Resort on Denarau Island by Tourism Transport Fiji, before enjoying a relaxing dinner and a good night’s sleep ready for the week’s activities.

Over the next few days, the group enjoyed scenic tours of the rugged coastline and stunning waters. Chauffeured to and from their lavish accommodation, the group stayed at the 5-star Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort on the Coral Coast, the popular DoubleTree by Hilton Fiji – Sonaisali Island, as well as the Mamanuca Group’s Sheraton Resort & Spa on Tokoriki Island, Mana Island Resort, and Castaway Island Resort, all of which boast the perfect mix of traditional and modern luxuries.

China-Australia relationship strengthens with CAYOT

Mr Li Jinzao

The China-Australia Year of Tourism was launched at the Sydney Opera House this month by the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo, and the Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration, Dr Li Jinzao.

The China-Australia Year of Tourism is a decision made by the leaders of both countries. It promises to bring the two countries closer together and provide more opportunities for further engagement at every level – economic, commercial, social, and academic.

China and Australia will organise “Year of Tourism” jointly in 2017, which is an important decision made by both governments focusing on the developing relations between two countries, and fully reflects both governments’ emphasis and expectations on tourism exchange and cooperation of two countries.

In 2015, according to the statistics issued by China National Tourism Administration, tourist arrival from Australia to China totalled 637,300 person times, ranking the 13th among the tourist-generating destinations to China. For the first 9 months in 2016, tourist arrivals from Australia amounted to 484,600 person times, registering a growth of 5.4 per cent.

According to the statistics by Australian Statistics Bureau, from July 2015 to June 2016, Australia received 1.06 million Chinese visitors with a 23 per cent growth, and  the expenditure of Chinese visitors is totalled $8.9 Billion,  up 27 per cent.

CNTO would like to acknowledge the travel industry supporters for their great efforts in organizing Australian tourists to China. Helen Wong’s Tours, Wendy Wu Tours, China Best Tours, China Holidays and China Travel Service (Australia).  Special thanks to Shangri-La Hotel Group.

New high-speed rail lines set to make European travel easier

Inbetriebsetzung Nordportal Gotthard-Basistunnel, Erstfeld, Zentralschweiz / Commissioning Nordportal Gotthard Base Tunnel, Central Switzerland

With multiple new high-speed rail projects now under construction across Europe, exploring some of the world’s most popular destinations by train is set to become even faster and more comfortable in 2017.

Rail Plus today updated Australian travel agents on a selection of the exciting new rail projects currently underway in Europe, including:


Paris-Rennes: Scheduled to open in mid-2017, the new Paris-Rennes route will reduce travel time between Paris and Rennes, in northwest Brittany, to just 85 minutes – 30 minutes faster than the current journey.

Paris-Bordeaux: The Tours-Bordeaux leg of the route is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in mid-2017. Once complete, the trip between Paris and Bordeaux in southwest of France will be cut from three to two hours.


Berlin-Munich: This new high-speed connection between two of Germany’s ‘magical cities’ is set to be completed in December 2017. With trains travelling along the route at 300km per hour the journey will take just under four hours, compared to the current six.


Madrid–Asturias: Work is now underway to extend the Madrid-León high-speed line to the northern region of Asturias. The project includes construction of the complex Variante de Pajares tunnels, which when completed will be the fifth largest in the world, the third deepest and the second most complex after the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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

Brand USA says ‘How Far Can You Go?’

Brand USA has unveiled a new consumer campaign and website,, as the organisation works to increase inbound tourism to the United States.  Through this new interactive campaign, “See How Far You Can Go,” Brand USA illustrates the diversity of the United States and invites travellers to share their own unique experiences.

The “See How Far You Can Go” consumer campaign spans a variety of advertising and media platforms including, online videos, out-of-home signage, high impact online display ads, and social media posts that will drive awareness of the new campaign and inspire visitation to the USA.

The campaign launches with an innovative social-first approach, concentrating on shareable and relatable imagery and video content whose first person viewpoint will draw consumers into the frame, and make them feel like they could have captured the shots themselves.

The campaign, which will run across Facebook, Instagram, and various digital networks, will help potential travellers discover the variety of experiences, hidden gems, and off-the-beaten-path destinations available throughout the USA.

The new website features vibrant videos, loads of content and cutting-edge mobile functionality. Travellers can swipe through to explore itineraries that start in gateway cities, such as New York, New York or San Francisco, California and end up to five hours away.

These expanded itineraries help travellers understand how many unique destinations and attractions they can experience in a single trip to the United States.

Free cruise incentive for agents

MV Reef Endeavour in Remote Fiji

Captain Cook Cruises Fiji is offering agents and their partners a free cruise holiday aboard small ship, MV Reef Endeavour, for simply booking clients on any Captain Cook Cruises accommodated Fiji Cruise.

In return for booking a client on a 3, 4, 7 or 11-night Fiji cruise, agents will receive one free night per adult booked, for themselves or their partner sharing an Ocean View Stateroom aboard the MV Reef Endeavour.

Agents can accumulate their credits and have until 31 March 2019 to go on their Captain Cook Cruises Fiji cruise holiday. Additional nights not yet earned, can also be booked at a special rate of only FJ$160 per person per night.

This agent offer is valid on Captain Cook Cruises Fiji’ s current ‘Three Nights Free Sail’, offering three nights free for bookings on any 11 night Lau and Kadavu Discovery Cruise, 7 night Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands cruise and 7 night 4 Cultures or Colonial Discovery cruise.

The ‘Three Nights Free Sail’, offers savings of up to AUD$1495.00 per person, twin share and is on sale until 31 March 2017 with travel up to 31 March 2018.

Damian Perry says agents should stop selling boring mass tourism widgets


Damian Perry, CEO of Cox & Kings Australia, describes his company’s new style of brochure as a ‘Bro-zine’, in which aspirational editorial content is combined with product embedded in the destination stories, to create a one-stop-shop for travel ideas and incredible journeys.

According to Perry, this new magazine responds to the trend in specialist print publications; and is packaged with a customer focused downloadable digital subscription format and website, that will complete the customer experience and personalise the travel industry again.

The new magazine will transform the way clients and agents research and engage in the sales process, with the idea of replacing the traditional itinerary brochure with a publication that focuses on the destinations themselves.

The new 2017 brochure / magazine, is out now for select agencies. Click here to download a digital copy or call your specialists on 1300 836 764 for more information.

Travel Counsellors mark IWD


Travel Counsellors was a proud sponsor of an International Women’s Day event organised by Helene Taylor and her team from JITO.

Joined by a range of other sponsors including Intrepid Group, Air New Zealand, The Travel Corporation and Brown Brothers, the event celebrated the significant achievements of women working within the industry and encouraged more women to take up future opportunities for leadership within the sector.

Agent incentive for regional UK 

Tempo Holidays and Visit Britain are offering agent incentives as part of their #OMGB campaign launched last week.

For the duration of March any agent who makes a booking on one of the 11 new regional UK rail packages with Tempo Holidays will receive $50 per booking!

For the complete Birmingham experience, Heart of England & Shakespeare independent package spends four nights in the heart of the city and includes visits to Stratford Upon Avon – including entry into Shakespeare’s House – Warwick, Royal Leamington Spa and Shrewsbury. Prices for this package start from A$680 per person.

Or book you clients on a trip to see The Beatles hometown with Discover Lakes, Liverpool & Leeds. Based in Manchester, a 60 minute train ride to Liverpool will have you visiting the famous locations of The Beatles such as, the Beatles Story museum and the world famous Caver Club.

Further rail travel is available within the region on days 2-5 and includes tickets to Mersey Ferries, Open Top Bus Tour in Liverpool and Chester Boat. Prices start from A$840 per person.

&Beyond launches Snow Leopard Expedition in Himalaya

Snow leopard in winter scene

&Beyond has launched a set departure 13-day winter expedition in India’s Himalayan region of Ladakh that searches for the elusive snow leopard.

The majestic region of Ladakh, situated on the northern border of India, boasts a stark natural beauty. Known as Little Tibet or the Roof of the World, that area has its own culture and identity and has never ceased to enchant travellers. The Snow Leopard Expeditions set out in search of rare and endangered animal species in a setting that features the snow-capped Himalaya Mountains, clear cobalt lakes and ever-changing sand dunes.

The wildlife the guests can expect to encounter includes not only the elusive snow leopard, but also ibex, Tibetan antelope, blue sheep, shapo, marmot and Tibetan hare. Guests can also expect exceptional birdwatching opportunities, with snow partridge, golden oriole, snow cock, golden eagle, horned lark and red billed chuff.

The Expedition is headed by one of the region’s most experienced guides who is an authority on snow leopards and also knowledgeable about the fascinating cultural heritage of the region. The first Expedition departs on 05 April 2017.

Click here to read the full itinerary.

Contiki responds to travel trends


A survey by Contiki and independent travellers in 2016 revealed that the USA and Canada ranked in the top three regions to travel to in 2017 for 18-35 year olds. In response to this destination trend, Contiki’s 2018 USA and Canada product offering has been expanded to include a new trip to Canada and say Aloha to Hawaii, a new introduction for 2018.

The brochure will also see the exciting addition of two limited edition trips – Munch and Snap – focusing on food and photography.

Ticked off the Big Apple and Big Sur? How about The Big Kahuna, Contiki’s NEW 9-day Hawaii island hopper trip visiting Oahu, Hawaii (The Big Island) and Maui.

Highlights include down time on the beaches of Waikiki, visiting the USS Arizonian Memorial and Punchbowl Cemetery to learn about the historic events of Pearl Harbour and mountain biking down the 3055m Mt Haleakala Volcano.

Also new for 2018 is Northwest Passage, an In-Depth Explorer trip through Vancouver, Victoria, Tofino and Whistler with a visit to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and the chance to spot bears in the wilderness.

The 2018 USA and Canada programme also sees the exciting addition of two Munch and two Snap departures. Informed by 2016 research, 57 per cent of Contiki and independent travellers ranked food as one of the most important travel experiences, whilst a desire to see natural beauty motivated 53 per cent.

TMS Talent opens Melbourne office

Due to the great success of TMS Talent across Sydney & Brisbane, Melbourne is the latest office addition headed up by Managing Director John Terry.

“Melbourne is such a large hub for the travel industry, making it an ideal city for TMS Talent to expand into,” he said.

“With us having grown a large number of national accounts the need for a local office to service the market across Victoria is essential to fulfill our client’s needs.

“Over the past few years TMS Talent has transformed, introducing innovative technology and dedicated brands for both the executive and graduate markets. This is all down to client demand and we will continue to innovate and tailor our solutions to remain the leading recruitment supplier to the industry.”

Agent incentive from International Rail


Europe rail specialist International Rail is offering agents the chance to earn a $50 Visa pre-paid gift card for Eurail Passes of $2000 or more made online before March 31.

International Rail is currently running a Eurail offer for your clients to receive free ‘rail travel days’ when a Eurail One country, Two country, Select or Global Pass is purchased before March 31.

Passes can be validated up to 11 months after the issue date and are available in adult, youth and saver categories. The popular Eurail Global Flexi Pass is available for 10 and 15 days over two months- all will receive two extra free travel days.

Alternatively, agents can sell the one month consecutive Global Pass and the client will receive five extra travel days. There is a maximum one gift card per booking.

More details from  or email


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