Big Fat Agent Wrap

Big Fat Agent Wrap

We’re back with a big fat agent wrap. Get all your essential goss and catch up here.

Travellers Choice thanks “true partners” for key role in 40-year journey

TC_40_MCA_8444 TC_40_MCA_8422

Travellers Choice marked its 40th anniversary last night by throwing a stylish party in Sydney for the industry partners that have helped it grow from a small WA-based cooperative to Australia’s leading national network for independent agents.

Managing Director Christian Hunter told more than 75 guests at the Museum of Contemporary Art that since being formed by a handful of agencies in 1977, Travellers Choice had “come a long way”.

He said the group’s unique culture, its support services and its focus on returning all profits to its member shareholders were essential to its success, but just as vital were the “true partnerships” forged over four decades with its broad stable of preferred partners.

“In the early days, when we were very small, some of the companies here tonight took a punt on us,” Hunter told the gathering.

“Across the decades, as we grew, others came on board. And throughout our 40 years we have developed long-standing and highly-valued relationships with all of the businesses represented here tonight.

“We know we cannot do what we do, as successfully as we do it, if it wasn’t for your unwavering commitment and enduring support. So please, on behalf of all Travellers Choice members, accept our thanks for your past, present and future efforts.”

Travellers Choice members from across Australia will come together in Perth in November for their own 40th birthday party.

The celebrations will be a highlight of the group’s Annual Shareholders’ Conference, which takes place this year at the six-star Crown Towers, Australia’s newest luxury property.


TravelManagers Participate in Industry Leaders Symposium


The Australian Travel Careers Council hosted its 2017 Industry Leaders and Educators Engagement Symposium in Sydney this week with an extensive two-day agenda. With an overall theme of Connectivity Creates Opportunities, the objective of the Symposium was to connect Australia’s top educators and industry leaders to share knowledge and stimulate views on education, training and career development initiatives.

Australian Travel Careers Council CEO and host Rick Myatt invited TravelManagers’ Chairman Barry Mayo to address the Symposium.

“Rick suggested an ideal topic in keeping with the Connectivity Creates Opportunity theme would be how an effective connectivity can create opportunities for customers, staff and organizations. With the internet and related technology enhancements having created the opportunity for TravelManagers and the personal travel manager concept to be born, it was an easy decision to focus my speech on the internet and ask the question is it a competitor or facilitator?” says Mayo.

Mayo initially set the scene by highlighting how the internet enables the company’s 500 plus personal travel managers to operate efficiently and effectively.

Mayo provided an audience of 70% educators, 25% industry business practitioners and 5% of government and other authorities some context to the business environment the travel industry works within, particularly in relation to TravelManagers business philosophy.

“Mobile home-based travel consulting has undergone enormous growth over the last 10 years. Of critical importance is the internet in enabling our personal travel managers to operate with a powerful focus on delivering superior service and tailor-making individual experiences.”


Contours Travel launches new series of free agent webinars on Mexico

Mexico - Popocatepetl volcano

Contours Travel has launched a new series of free webinars on Mexico to help travel agents sell the colourful country’s culture, history, beaches, cuisine and diverse scenery to more Australians.

Beginning Friday, March 31, the six-part program will feature 15-minute webinars every second Friday (second Thursday in April due to Easter) at 11.30am, beginning with a focus on the capital Mexico City. For every five webinars agents join, they will go into a draw to win a place on a Contours Travel-hosted famil to South America in late 2017.

Contours Travel’s series of Mexico webinars includes:

  • Friday, March 31:       Mexico City,
  • Thursday, April 13:     Oaxaca and Puebla, Mexico
  • Friday April 28:          Chiapas, Mexico
  • Friday, May 12:          Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
  • Friday, May 26:          Colonial Circle, Mexico
  • Friday, June 9:            Natural Mexico

To register for the webinars, click here.


Lindblad Expeditions Celebrates a milestone – 50 years of exploring the Galápagos 

Lindblad Expeditions 2018 Galapagos Brochure Cover

Lindblad Expeditions has reached a new milestone with 50 years of travel to the Galápagos Islands; and to celebrate, the award-winning company has unveiled its newest brochure for Galápagos, as well as the launch of a new ship and 2018 pricing.

This momentous year will celebrate the pioneering voyage of the first organised group of citizen explorers to the Galápagos Islands in 1967 by Lars-Eric Lindblad, regarded as the father of ecotourism; and emphasise Lindblad’s continued focus on the importance of wildlife and the environment.

With an acclaimed expedition team of expert naturalists guiding guests on in-depth itineraries, clients can gather insight on the island’s extraordinary wildlife and unique fauna with up-close encounters to optimise their experience. Lindblad Expeditions also ensures that visitors have plenty of up-to-date equipment to make exploring easier; with snorkelling gear, zodiacs, kayaks and under-water camera’s all outfitted to discover the islands and undersea.

Lindblad Expeditions also added the National Geographic Endeavour II to its fleet in 2017, having successfully launched in January with an all new forward lounge, library, gym and spa along with new fixtures and furniture in cabins, new suites and other amenities throughout. Accommodating 96 guests in 52 cabins and suites to this unique tropical paradise, the impressive ship caters to a sociable mix of families, friends, couples and solo travellers.

Guests can celebrate this anniversary through an early booking offer with all 2017 prices guaranteed for all 2018 departures, if booked by June 1, 2017. 

Cycle the world with Explore and save!

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The Lake District, England

Explore Worldwide are offering A$1/NZ$1 deposits on all small group and self-guided cycling trips departing in 2017, as well as A$85 // NZ$90 per person off the price of the trip.  

Valid for sale on new bookings made until 01 May 2017, booking a cycling adventure is an ideal way to see the sites and immerse yourself in the landscapes through which you pass.  

Included in the deal is Explores’ 4 day journey ‘Cycling Coast to Coast’. On this cycling trip, cross the breadth of England on two wheels from Whitehaven on the Irish Sea to Tynemouth on the North Sea. 

This classic “Cycling Coast to Coast” (C2C) challenge cycles through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in the north of England; discovering the dramatic beauty of the Lake District, Eden Valley and the rugged North Pennines. Prices start from A$516/NZ$546 and departs selected dates May – Oct 2017. 

Or try Explore’s popular cycling holiday visiting Germany and Austria, ‘Self-Guided Danube Cycling – Passau to Vienna’ (CSBD). This 8 day trip, cyclists will ride the most famous section of the mighty Danube River, between Passau in Germany and Vienna in Austria, passing through many iconic sites along the way. Highlights include the wine-growing region of Wachau, the medieval city of Krems and Wilhering. 

Prices for this self-guided trip start from A$980/NZ$1036 and departs selected dates Apr – Oct 2017. 

This sale is valid for phone bookings only. Please quote “Cycling Offer” at the time of booking. Call Explore on (AU) 1300 439 756 (NZ) 0800 269 263 to lock in this deal. 


Japan National Tourism Organisation takes MasterChef Australia to Japan

MasterChef Australia will head to Japan for the first time, exploring the nation’s capital and regional areas as part of Japan Week, sponsored by Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) Sydney Office in partnership with Qantas.

The contestants will face a new series of culinary challenges set against the backdrop of vibrant cities and stunning natural landscapes alongside judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preson and George Calombaris, with guidance from prominent international Japanese chefs.

Japanese cuisine has exploded in popularity around the world. Food preparation in Japan is an art form. In traditional Japanese cuisine, only the freshest seasonal ingredients are used, and dishes are crafted using expert techniques. It’s no surprise that washoku, Japan’s traditional dietary culture, is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

“Food is a highlight of travel for so many people, and we hope the show will inspire more people to visit Japan and experience our excellent food for themselves” said JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director Kana Wakabayashi. The special Japan Week of episodes will air as part of the highly anticipated ninth season of Australia’s premiere cooking competition, MasterChef Australia, coming soon to TEN and WIN Network.


Platinum network growth underway with opening of Albury office to service local business travel needs

Platinum Travel Corporation Director Sarah Szubanski has announced the opening of a new office in Albury to service corporate travel and event management requirements of the rapidly growing business travel market in Albury and the surrounding region.

Platinum’s newest location is the result of a strategic partnership with Albury based travel professional Jacqui Nelson, with the new business office centrally located for ease of access by clients.

Last month Platinum confirmed that business growth would be a key undertaking for Platinum in 2017 with a much-expanded distribution footprint in Australia and New Zealand a priority.

In addition to quality business travel and travel management services, Platinum Albury clients will benefit with regular information events, seminars and networking opportunities and presentations. Representatives from leading airlines, hotel groups, technology providers, etc. will travel to Albury to provide details of the latest updates and developments in their respective fields.


HOT Australia Celebrate HOT NZ’s 30th Birthday ‘Baywatch Style’

Baywatch TravelManagers’ style! From left, Joe Araullo, Jodie Banbury, Michael Gazal, Tanyu Cilek, Barry Mayo, Prue Gallagher, Grant Campbell

Baywatch TravelManagers’ style! From left, Joe Araullo, Jodie Banbury, Michael Gazal, Tanyu Cilek,
Barry Mayo, Prue Gallagher, Grant Campbell

Members of the House of Travel Australia leadership team swapped their business attire for beach attire last weekend, travelling across the ditch to celebrate House of Travel New Zealand’s 30th Anniversary.

Over 700 past and present House of Travel employees were treated to a sit down 80’s themed dinner event at Auckland Viaduct Events Centre on Saturday 25 March. The first House of Travel New Zealand retail outlet opened in Timaru in 1987. Thirty years on and the company is the largest privately owned travel agency in Australasia and one of the largest travel distribution companies in the Asia Pacific region.

Over the past few decades House of Travel has grown to include 74 retail outlets throughout New Zealand and has representation in every state in Australia, employing more than 1,900 staff.

In theme, the Australian contingent dressed as surf lifeguards from the popular 80’s American television series ‘Baywatch’.


Dubai Tourism gets fashionable partner


Dubai Tourism and leading Australian fashion label CAMILLA have announced a partnership with a collection that is inspired by the cultural melting pot of Dubai, available online and in Australian stores late April 2017.

Inspired by the Arabian Desert and the bustling souks of inner city Dubai, the new CAMILLA capsule collection, My Dubai Dream, features the iconic kaftan and other fashion items as well as several travel accessories including a passport holder, beach bag, beauty bag and scarf, all in a matching print reflecting the colours and designs of Dubai.

In late 2016, Camilla Franks travelled to Dubai for a four-day ‘printspiration’ trip. Here she wandered the souks of Dubai’s Old Town, discovered the courtyard cafes and art galleries of Al Fahidi District of Bastakiya, dined with Emiratis, marveled at the architecture of the mosques, learned Arabic calligraphy with a master, rode camels at sunset across the dunes and experienced the beauty of the desert at dusk.

The collaboration also cements the city’s fashion credentials, with many international designers opening stores or attending fashion shows in Dubai, highlighting the city’s position as an emerging fashion destination.

My Dubai Dream hits stores late April.


TTC Weekly Deals 

Your clients deserve the BEST upgrade

Book your clients on Uniworld’s 10-day Highlights of Eastern Europe river cruise before 15th April 2017 and make sure they receive the You Deserve the Best Upgrade and receive a complimentary stateroom upgrade, PLUS fly to Europe from $499 economy return with Etihad. Guests will follow a path forged by crusaders, kings and conquerors through Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. 

They’ll enjoy an all-inclusive 7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom onboard the River Beatrice, including all meals and unlimited beverages onboard, 2 nights in Bucharest at the Radisson Blu Hotel, 7 days of hosted excursions, services of an experiences Uniworld Cruise Manager and more!

Priced from A$7,199 per person twin share (including economy airfare) departing on 9 October 2017 (other departures available). For more information call 1300 780 231 or visit

River Beatrice - Uniworld

Snap and Fly

Youth Travellers can save up to 25% off Contiki’s European Limited Edition Summer Series, PLUS SAVE $400 off their flight when they book and pay in full by 21 April 2017.

Contiki’s ‘Snap’, is dedicated entirely towards aspiring photographers combining their love for travel with their love for capturing life through the lens. Travellers will save $632 and visit the likes of Berlin, Salzburg, Prague, and Venice, with throw in perks of walking tours in the coolest neighbourhoods, wine tasting, foodie famous lunches, and cosy sleeps in sweet hotels!

Priced at $1,897 *per person (including discount) and available for travel 9 September 2017. Flight savings applies to all new bookings made on the select trips, including the limited series now until 27 April 2017. For more information visit or phone 1300 266 845. *Conditions Apply

 Contiki Snap

Exotic lands

Guests of Insight Vacations can now SAVE $500 per couple on their flights to Europe when they book the 17-day Treasures of Spain, Portugal and Morocco and pay in full by 12 April 2017. PLUS, they can combine this with a 5% Early Payment Discount off their tour.

Guests will visit the southernmost tip of Spain and see glimpses of a Moroccan Kingdoms former opulence. Priced from $4,418 per person (discount included) as well as $500 off any flights ($225 per person). A total savings of $964 per couple. All journeys include an expert Insight Tour Director, travel in luxury coach, quality centrally located hotels and more.

Departures available between 24 June – 19 August 2017. For full terms and conditions visit or call 1300 727 767.

Seville - Insight Vacations

Fly FREE to Western Australia 

Guests of AAT Kings can receive a FREE return airfare to Perth (departing from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Adelaide) when they book the 16-day Western Wonderland guided holiday. Combining their trip with cosmopolitan cities and crystal clear water, travellers will get the chance to explore ancient forests, and see Kangaroos at Esperance Beach.

This package includes an experienced Travel Director & Driver Guide, quality accommodation, travel in luxury coach, airport transfers, and more! Priced from $5,495 with free return airfare, twin share and available on select departures between 1 April 2017 – 31 March 2018 01 (subject to availability). For more information or to book call 1300 556 100 or visit *Conditions Apply.

esperance-beach- WA - AAT KINGS

Solo Travellers
Solo Travellers can save 30% off a solo cabin
when they book Lindblad Expeditions 16-day Norway’s Fjords and Arctic Svalbard cruise and pay in full before 30 APRIL 2017. Guests will visit remote islets and experience island communities along Norway’s stunning glacially carved coast, and search for Svalbard arctic wildlife. Priced from $20,710 (discount included).

This price includes complimentary 2-days aboard the National Geographic Orion travelling between Copenhagen and Bergen, services of a Lindblad Expeditions leader, naturalist staff, a guest speaker, a National Geographic certified photo instructor, and more. Available for departure between 17 May, 30 May 2017 (subject to availability).

For more information and full terms and conditions visit Adventure World at call 1300 363 055 *Conditions Apply

Calm reflected waters in Svartisen National Park, Melfjord, Nordfjord, Norway

Calm reflected waters in Svartisen National Park, Melfjord, Nordfjord, Norway

Western Mediterranean

Clients will receive a reduced cruise fare* when they book Creative Cruising’s Western Mediterranean & Italian Holiday cruise, PLUS save up to $222 on a guided holiday ‘Italian Holiday’ before 27 April 2017. Guests will cruise through the likes of Rome, Nice, Barcelona, Ibiza and more! This package includes a return Economy class airfare to Rome flying Cathay Pacific, 1 night pre cruise accommodation in Rome, an 11-night cruise onboard Celebrity Reflection from Rome return, a 6-night Italian Holiday Guided Holiday with Trafalgar, and more!

Priced from $6,199 pp (discount included, airfare departing Melbourne) cruise departs 11 September 2017. *Conditions apply please visit or phone 1300 362 599 for more information.

cinque-terre-near la spazia - CREATIVE CRUISING

Ultimate Balkan Adventure

Travellers can book with Busabout and save 8% off European Adventures, including the 15- day Ultimate Balkan Adventure, saving $130. To book call 1300 287 226 and quote promocode EB3, valid until April 30 2017.  Travellers will go further east through the Balkans and seek out the path less travelled.

This trek encompasses the iconic cities of the Balkans – Sarajevo, Belgrade and Skopje – and touches on many cultures, old and new. Priced from $1,490 (including discount) per person, departures available between 20 May – 7 October 2017. For more information and a range of other Europe trips on sale visit or call 1300 287 226.

Bosnia Mostar - Busabout

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