Big Fat Agent Wrap

Big Fat Agent Wrap

TGIF, readers. We truly could not be more ready for the weekend. But before you run off into the sunset, make sure you’re equipped and ready for anything with our bite-sized agent wrap.

Travel Counsellors on Fiji famil


A group of Travel Counsellors agents from all over Australia recently experienced the multifaceted wonders of Fiji on a familiarisation trip that provided ample opportunities to experience the varied reasons Australian travellers head to (and keep returning to) Fiji.

Travelling to Fiji on the Matai Mega Famil organised by Tourism Fiji and a range of hotel, cruise and tour partners, the group enjoyed plenty of quality time with Fiji on this trip that ran from March 6 – 12.  David Phillips, Sharon Wood, Lani Symons-Vaughn, Vivienne Smith, Carol Mills, Deborah Bartolo, Gaury Balayasoderan, Simone Neal, Suzanne Watson and Mihaela Gale all represented Travel Counsellors on the trip.

Split into several different groups, the itineraries covered diverse facets of Fiji travel including adventure, cruising and family travel. While the itineraries varied, each had many things in common – namely Fiji’s warm hospitality, rich cultural traditions, fresh seafood cuisine, luxury accommodation and balmy weather.


Agents farewell Azamara in glam event


VIP guests, including agents and local trade media, gathered on Wednesday night at an exclusive White Night Party to farewell Azamara Journey following her maiden Aussie season.

The stylish event was held at the Park Hyatt Hotel overlooking Sydney Harbour, and there were even glimpses of the gorgeous ship as she sailed out from White Bay Terminal and off into the night.

Special guests on the night included Captain Johannes Tysse – who regaled fascinating stories about his time on board and his efforts to make guest’s experiences special – and Adam Armstrong, managing director of Azamara Club Cruises.


Agents up close with Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast Screening

Disney Parks & Resorts treated five agents to a special advance screening of the highly anticipated remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the iconic State Theatre in Sydney over the weekend.

As avid readers of Disney Destinations’ popular travel trade e-newsletter, Word of Mouse, the lucky agents, and their guests, travelled from around Sydney (and as far as Newcastle) to be amongst the very first to watch the movie.

The exclusive Sydney screening of Beauty and the Beast, helped kick-off an array of year-long celebrations to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Disneyland Paris.

As part of the celebration, Disneyland Paris will debut a new parade, featuring a Fire-Breathing Dragon; a spectacular new Night-Time Extravaganza featuring fireworks, lasers, dancing fountains and stunning projection effects; as well as new Star Wars inspired experiences including Star Tours:  The Adventures Continue, and Hyperspace Mountain (launching in May).


Bench Africa famil

Pictured in Thornybush Nature Reserve, from back left: Lara Behrens (Bench Africa), Rebecca Forster (Flight Centre Newmarket), Bob Andrews (RAC Travel Midland), Lauren Roby (Cross Country Tours), Grace Beale (Escape Travel Toronto), Kate Bredyk (My Adventure Store, Victoria), Rachel Xiberras (Helloworld Richmond), Stuart McAlpine (Flight Centre Fountain Gate).

Pictured in Thornybush Nature Reserve, from back left: Lara Behrens (Bench Africa), Rebecca Forster (Flight Centre Newmarket), Bob Andrews (RAC Travel Midland), Lauren Roby (Cross Country Tours), Grace Beale (Escape Travel Toronto), Kate Bredyk (My Adventure Store, Victoria), Rachel Xiberras (Helloworld Richmond), Stuart McAlpine (Flight Centre Fountain Gate).

Hosted by Africa travel experts, Bench Africa these lucky agents have been snapped on an 11-day famil in South Africa. The group of seven agents first headed out to experience some of the safari highlights that the rainbow nation has to offer.

They stayed at some ultra luxurious properties in the Greater Kruger Area – Camp Jabulani, Shumbalala Game Lodge and Thornybush Game Lodge and were extremely fortunate to be offered up some fantastic game viewing, including all of the ‘Big Five’, several times over. They stayed at Makutsi Safari Springs and spent a day exploring Blyde River Canyon.

The trip concluded at Sun City where they sampled the huge array of activities, restaurants and shops before they had to hop on a plane home! Their activities included game drives, bush sundowners, a boma dinner and (for the braver members of the crew) zip lining at Sun City.

CATO Holds First Focus Group with Tourism Offices


The Chairman of CATO, Dennis Bunnik, General Manager of CATO, Peter Bailey and CATO Committee Member Julie King, held the first Tourism Office focus group meeting. The meeting was to obtain input for CATO’s strategy to provide more value to this important membership category.

From left to right is Anne Lee – GTI Tourism; Marc Humphries – ATOUT France; Danielle Tuffield – Gate 7; Peter Baily – CATO; Sonia Starr – Catalonia Tourism; Dennis Bunnik – CATO; Mark Wettstein – Switzerland Tourism; Julie King – Dubai Tourism; Jennifer Gaskin & Juliette Herault – Abu Dhabi Tourism. Also present but not in image was Donna Campbell – Destination Canada.


Aqua Expeditions Announce Agent Incentive

Jean Michel Cousteau 8_Credit © Carrie Vonderhaar

Aqua Expeditions has announced an incentive prize to Fiji for the first agents to book a 7-night Jean-Michel Cousteau charter on Aqua Mekong or Aria Amazon for 2017 and 2018. The first agent to book a 7-night full charter cruise hosted by Cousteau in 2017 and 2018 will each be rewarded with a week-long holiday for two people at the 5-star Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji.

Due to increased demand, Aqua Expeditions has also announced it will now offer 3 and 4-night itineraries for those people wishing to take up a shorter duration on their Mekong or Amazon cruises.

Visit the website for the full schedule of special-edition Jean-Michel Cousteau voyages, including  Aqua Mekong and Aria Amazon.  Rates for 3-night night itineraries start at USD4350, per person, based on double occupancy, and USD5600 for 4-night departures. Rates for 7-night voyages start at USD11,150. Each departure is available for individual travellers or as a buyout for full charters.


Contiki launches Australia & New Zealand 2017/18 brochure

Rotorua Bay of Islands

Contiki has launched its Australia and New Zealand programme showcasing a brand new trip to New Zealand’s South Island that includes Queenstown and VIP admission to a two-day music festival in Cardrona.

Contiki Australia wants young adventurers to experience these familiar destinations in a unique and memorable way.

Clients can take advantage of Contiki’s Early Payment Discount and save up to 7.5% on trips paid in full before 11 April 2017.

Final week to enter G Aventure’s UMI in the Jungle

thumbnail_UMI in the Jungle # 2

Closing on 31 March, 2017, G Adventure is encouraging Australian and New Zealand travel agents to register and book before time runs out.

This year’s major prize will see 12 winners heading on an African Jungle adventure with flights included, where they will experience a trip through Uganda and Rwanda. The 12 places will be given to the six top sellers as well as six randomly picked agents.

To be one of the top sellers agents must earn incentive points by booking travellers on G Adventures trips. One incentive point will be awarded for every G Adventures passenger booked on a trip, five points for every passenger booked on a Jane Goodall Collection trip and ten for every G Expedition Polar booking valued over $10,000.


Last chance to save on G Adventures Central American tours 

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‘Uncover Central America’ is the opportunity for travellers to save on some of the most popular destinations the region has to offer, such as Cuba, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico.

The offer will be available until 31 March 2017 and includes departures up until 31 December 2017.

The most popular trips have included Cuban Rhythms (sale price $934, save $165), Mayan Sun – North Bound ($1274, save $225), and Central American Journey ($2549, save $450).

G Adventures will be hosting a Facebook Live event where Travellers and agents can ask travel based questions to a tour leader and CEO Ronny Alvarado Vargas. See event page for further details.


Hop, skip and jump to the Greek Islands!

Eclipse and Santorini

Tempo Holidays escorted Greek Islands Explorer takes you through Athens and then to the islands of Santorini, Mykonos and Paros. For a limited time, this unique escorted package has 10% off.

It includes 10 nights of accomodation, half day Athens sightseeing tour including the Acropolis, fast ferry tickets, walking tour in Mykonos and Paros and a half day Santorini tour with wine tasting.

The tour departs on 10, 24 May, 21 June, 19 July, 30 August, 27 September, 11 October 2017. Bookings must be made before 30 April to secure the discount. Prices now starting from $1700A per person.


Still time to save with Insight Vacations

Sistine Chapel - Insight Vacations

For a limited time until 12 April 2017 Insight Vacations are offering savings of $500 per couple on flights when booked in conjunction with any 2017 Europe, USA or Canada tour. If flights have already been booked guests can still take advantage of this offer with the discount being applied to the tour instead.

Agents can also combine this with Insight’s five per cent Early Payment Discount available on many 2017 Europe, USA or Canada tours to save even more for their clients.


The Lonely Planet founders and their new driving adventure


Tony and Maureen Wheeler, who founded, wrote, operated and recently sold the “Lonely Planet” travel publications are on their next big adventure.

Tony will shortly be driving his especially prepared MG from Bangkok to London, via almost everywhere. He propped by the office of Hawthorn Travel to show Trevor Jones and staff the surface sector BKK – LON. Amongst the numerous challenges ahead are the visas required, and the minimal luggage space available only for essentials.

Maureen is a smart lady and joining Tony on only part of the trip.  He will update his blog if he can on what will take over 3 months to achieve.




In collaboration with Discover Los Angeles, Excite Holidays treated a group of its agents to exclusive yoga events on the Gold Coast and in Melbourne to celebrate their EAT. STAY. LOVE. L.A. campaign.

Against the backdrop of the city and complete with customised Excite Holidays and Discover Los Angeles yoga mats, the Gold Coast agents woke up with the sun and enjoyed a relaxing yoga session on Mermaid Beach, followed by an LA inspired breakfast, a Hip Hop yoga session at The Glasshaus, and in the evening the opportunity to listen to Carolyn Nightingale, the Travel Trade Manager from Discover Los Angeles, who gave insider knowledge to this incredible city.


Travellers Choice agents celebrate Norfolk Island Century

Travellers Choice_Bantoft 100_Norfolk famil glass bottom boat

David Bantoft, owner of Norfolk Select, was surprised by locals with a special honorary dinner on his 100th visit to the Pacific paradise. Nine Travellers Choice members were also there to help celebrate.

Bantoft says many of his 100 visits to the island have involved tour groups or agent famils, and the most rewarding element of any trip is seeing first time visitors experience the destination’s beauty and the warmth of the local culture.

After 100 trips he feels more enamoured than ever with Norfolk Island.

Helloworld Agents on Safari in Africa 

helloworld on safari in Africa 3

Courtesy of Qantas Airways and partnered with The Africa Safari Co, the agents of Helloworld’s itinerary included Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, The Chobe National Park in Botswana, and a tour of Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Award winners and participants on the Safari included (pictured in images): Daniel Beard (helloworld Bankstown), Pip Smith (Experience Travel & Cruise), Corinne Ellis (helloworld Strathpine), Breeanna Perez (Globenet Travel), Emily O’Shea (Hunter Travel Group), Angela Kaluzyn (Skilled Travel), Ellie Buchhorn (helloworld Albury), Zoran Panzich (helloworld), Susie Potter (The Africa Safari Co) and Michael Poes (Qantas).


Red Shark and Victoria Cross Hero at TravelManagers Conference

Red Shark Naomi Simson from the TV series Shark Tank will be a key speaker at this year’s national conference, accompanied by this generation’s most decorated serving soldier in the Commonwealth, Benjamin Roberts Smith.

Naomi Simson

Simson is an entrepreneur, author, blogger, innovator and founder of the brand success story Red Balloon, an online gift retailer having sold over 3 million experiences since 2001 when she started with just $25,000 and a second-hand computer.

Ben Roberts-Smith

Roberts-Smith is an Australia business man, former Australian Army solider, and a recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia. He was awarded for his actions during a helicopter assault into Tizak on 11 June 2010 in Afghanistan. As a former commander and key planner for special operations missions, Robert-Smiths has insight into processes and protocols that are critical in producing success in competitive environments.

The TravelManagers 2017 national conference will be held 7 – 9 September in Darwin.

French flavours of the South Pacific brought to Sydneysiders

On Monday night New Caledonia Tourism cohosted Good France dinner to celebrate the destination’s famous French-influenced food.

Over 160 people gather at the Sofitel Wentworth Garden Court Restaurant hosted by New Caledonia Tourism, Tahiti Tourism and Atout France. It featured distinguished chefs Nicolas Bourgois and Sebastien Prevel, and was attended by key trade partners including New Caledonia Travel Connection, Excite Holidays and Helloworld.

Good France (or Goût de France) is an international effort to promote the excellence of French cuisine and bring people from all over the world together through their shared love of food.


One year anniversary of My Travel Group


My Travel Group agents recently gathered together to celebrate the one year anniversary of their successful launch.

Key initiatives were presented by David Padman, Head of Associate, Corporate & Affiliate Networks at Helloworld, including a new partnership incentive model. MTG members also heard from special guest Glenn Cooper AM (Coopers Brewery), Jayson Westbury (AFTA) and sponsors, Helloworld Wholesale, The Intrepid Group and Qantas.


DeNA Travel extends Amadeus partnership 

Amadeus and DeNa Travel

Amadeus and Japanese online travel agency DeNA Travel today announced an extension of its existing partnership making DeNA Travel the first Japanese online travel agency to have a global agreement with Amadeus.

Over the past 11 years DeNA Travel has achieved significant growth in the Japanese travel industry, and now Amadeus will help grow its business outside of Japan internationally. 

Travellers will be able to enjoy faster online search and more choice when making their online bookings with DeNA Travel, thanks to Amadeus.

TTC Weekly Deals

Mediterranean dream
Receive up to US$250 Onboard Credit* when you book Creative Cruising’s 25-night Adriatic and Mediterranean Dream cruise before 14 April 2017. This journey through Italy, Malta, Croatia and the Greek Islands includes a return Economy class airfare to Rome flying Cathay Pacific (flying Qatar Airways departing Perth only), one night pre cruise accommodation in Rome, a 24-night cruise onboard ms Westerdam from Civitavecchia (Rome) return, transfers in Rome and more!

Priced from $6,599* pp (departing Perth– other departure cities are available) cruise departs 15 August 2017.

Fly FREE to India

Book a carefully selected 2017 voyage with Uniworld’s You Deserve the Best Upgrade promotion by 15th April 2017 and receive a complimentary stateroom upgrade, PLUS FLY FREE to India in economy return with Etihad Airways. Take an adventure by land and river on Uniworld’s 13-day India’s Golden Triangle and the Sacred Ganges cruise that will touch all of your senses.

From New Delhi to Kolkata, wondrous sights rich in romance and intrigue come alive in the “Golden Triangle”—Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Including some meals and select beverages onboard a 12-night river cruise on the Ganges Voyager II, 11- days of hosted excursions, services of an experiences Uniworld Cruise/Tour Manager and more!

Priced from A$13,039 per person twin share (including economy airfare) departing 4, 13 & 23 Nov and 1 Dec 2017 (other departures available).


Youth Travellers can save up to $204 off Contiki’s 19-day European Impressions PLUS SAVE $400 off their flight when they book and pay in full by 27 April 2017. Perfect for travellers wanting a bit more time in all the best destinations on the Euro map, but can’t commit to a huge chunk of time.

Priced from $4,033*per person (including discount) and available for travel between 24 April 2017 – 25 September 2017. Savings applies to all new bookings made on select trips now until 27 April 2017.

From Cosmopolitan Cities and Medieval Towns

Guests of Insight Vacations can now SAVE $500 per couple on their flights to Europe, the USA or Canada when they book a 2017 summer escorted journey and pay in full by 12 April 2017. PLUS, they can combine this with a 5% Early Payment Discount on qualifying tours.

All journeys include an expert Insight Tour Director, travel in luxury coach, quality centrally located hotels and more. Departures available between 1 May – 31 October 2017.

Fly FREE to Tasmania

Guests of AAT Kings can receive a FREE return airfare to Tasmania (departing from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Adelaide) when they book the 12-day Perfect Tasmania guided holiday.

This package includes an experienced Travel Director & Driver Guide, quality accommodation, travel in luxury coach, airport transfers, and more! Priced from $4,995 with free return airfare, twin share and available on select departures between 01 September 2017 – 31 August 2018 (subject to availability).

Tomato Bloodbath

Once a year, the tiny Spanish town of Buñol becomes the stage of a tomato bloodbath, as thousands of people and 100 metric tonnes of tomatoes combine for the messiest food fight ever! Travellers can book with Busabout and save 8% off European Cultural festivals, including the 3-4 day La Tomatina Battle of the Tomatoes.

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