Travel Agents

Big Fat Agent Wrap

Vanessa Bussoletti

Thank God it’s Friday so we can have one too many champers and spend the next two days recovering before doing it all again. Oh and read our Agent Wrap.

Ski New Zealand with Bonus Free Ski Hire 

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Coming into the snow season Topdeck are offering FREE SKI HIRE on their Ski New Zealand trips! Only for a limited time, this includes snowboards, skis, poles and boots from $179 per day.

This offer includes 10% off the trip. Accommodation looks onto the world famous Remarkables Ski and only a 5-minute walk from town. The trip includes a 4-day Superpass for both Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.

Travel hassle-free with knowledgeable Trip Leaders. Stay in central accommodation with 6 breakfasts and 2 dinners provided. Experience the trip of a life with like-minded, adventure seeking 18 to 39’s.

Living it up in Queenstown for the 7-day trip for only $179 a day! Offer available between the 9th of May and the 25th of May.

Insight Vacations Launches Russian Christmas Markets for 2017-18 Seasons Collection

Russia Christmas Markets - Insight Vacations

Insight Vacations is bringing together the magic of Autumn, Winter and Spring with its Seasons 2017-18 escorted journeys brochure and the launch of a brand new Easy Pace Russia with Christmas Markets winter itinerary, to showcase the Christmas Markets of St Petersburg and Moscow during December and January.

A collection of traditional European Christmas markets, as well as Italy, Spain, Portugal and Morocco plus the Eastern Mediterranean delights of Greece and Egypt are also available for departures from October through to March.

For a limited time guests who book a European Seasons itinerary can fly from $999* to Europe or take advantage of Insight’s Early Payment Discount of 7.5%* per person across the collection.

Insider Journeys China Private Travel Range Reinstated

China 3 (46)

Due to the growth of interest in China as a destination for Australian travellers particularly in the area of cultural and off the beaten track experiences, the wholesale division of Helloworld Travel has responded by reinstating a range of select FIT product offers that will be serviced by Insider Journeys, its specialist Asia wholesaler and tour operator.

While Insider Journeys plans to release its new China brochure later this year, the product is loaded and available to the agent network to sell.

Bush Tucker Journeys launches at Ayers Rock Resort

Bush Tucker Journeys at Ayers Rock Resort

Ayers Rock Resort has announced the launch of Bush Tucker Journeys, the most comprehensive program of native flavour experiences and tastings celebrating Indigenous food and culture in Australia today.

‘Bush tucker’ is the Australian term for the huge variety of native herbs, spices, fruits, seeds, insects and wildlife that Indigenous Australians have been eating for tens of thousands of years.  To most non-Indigenous people the plants are a mystery, the ancient cooking methods unconventional and they are at a loss as to how to incorporate these ingredients into everyday cooking.

The program launches officially on 10 May with the inaugural Uluru Feastival Tasting Dinner, presented by Bush Tucker Journeys ambassador Mark Olive.

The key elements of the program are:

  • A new free daily Bush Food Experience where guests learn about native Australian ingredients, ancient food preparation techniques and a demonstration of how these ingredients can be used in modern cooking as they learn to make wattle seed shortbread.
  • Each of the Resort’s 10 restaurants now feature menus that celebrate bountiful bush ingredients.
  • The ancient flavours take centre stage at each of Uluru’s under the night sky dining experiences. Taste dukkah seared kangaroo loin on quandong cous cous with native mint yoghurt at the magical A Night at Field of Light or try house-smoked crocodile on mini dampers with desert lime preserve at the award-winning Sounds of Silence.
  • The pinnacle of the outdoor dining experiences is Tali Wiru; the open air gastronomic experience offers a magical evening of fine dining on a remote sand dune overlooking Uluru limited to just 20 people per evening.
  •  The celebration of food and culture culminates with Uluru Feastival, a quarterly weekend culinary event celebrating Australia’s native flavours. This year the Uluru Feastival Weekends will be held on 18-20 August and 3-5 November.
  • Guests can learn about native food gathering daily– with Bush Yarns explaining the skills of the hunter, or learn the gatherers ways on one of the Garden Walks, as they explain how Indigenous people traditionally lived by using the bush for food and medicinal purposes, both daily free to guests.
  • A wide range of bush tucker ingredients are available for sale at the Resort so that guests are able to take home the unique tastes of Australia and incorporate them into their daily cooking.

Southern Ocean Lodge Offers Off-the-Grid Coastal Glamour with 4-for-3 Remarkable Retreat Package

Southern Ocean Lodge

Southern Ocean Lodge is offering the perfect opportunity to escape the everyday and enjoy the coastal frontier of Kangaroo Island this cool season, with its popular Stay 4–Pay 3 Remarkable Retreat package.

From May 1 to September 30, 2017, guests who book the Remarkable Retreat package can stay four nights for the price of three at the luxury lodge and experience the drama of the island’s wild beauty first hand.

Priced from $3600 per person twin share, the package includes all dining, an open bar with premium beverages, an in-suite bar, signature guided experiences and airport transfers.  As part of the package, guests can also enjoy an epicurean hamper of Kangaroo Island’s gourmet treats, a $50 credit towards a treatment at the magnificent Southern Spa and a $50 Bespoke Experience credit to use towards a specialty adventure.

Mozambique’s Visa Changes Spell Good News for Aussie Travellers

According to Africa specialist, Acacia Africa, Mozambique’s recent announcement of tourist visas now being available on arrival will boost the popularity of the country with travellers looking to head overland this summer.

With the 30-day tourist visa now being available at borders for all visitors, Mozambique is expected to be an even more enticing destination for travellers in search of world class diving on a budget.

The tour operator makes various stops along the country’s southern coastline on its 14 day Mozambique & Zimbabwe Explorer camping overland northbound and southbound itineraries. The list of locations includes the laid-back, hippy resort town of Tofo — famous for its large whale shark population and sightings of rare marine creatures such as dugongs and turtles, and Vilanculos, the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago – both sites offering excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities.

In light of the visa changes, Acacia Africa is discounting selected northbound and southbound departures on its 14 day Mozambique and Zimbabwe Explorer camping overland tours by 15%, if booked before 31 May.

SAVE AUD $423pp (15%) 14 day Mozambique & Zimbabwe Explorer camping overland northbound tour is priced from AUD $2,402pp (no single supplement) + Adventure Pass from AUD $350pp including transport, camping accommodation, most meals and services of a tour leader/driver. Departing 08 June and 06 July.   Starts Johannesburg – ends Victoria Falls. Excludes return flight. Full tour price AUD $2,825pp.

Discover L.A. welcomes Aussie plane in #EveryoneIsWelcome Stunt

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Australians travelling on Virgin Australia flight VA23 to Los Angeles were given a unique warm welcome over the weekend with Discover Los Angeles showing the world that #EveryoneIsWelcome in the City of Angels.

Over 1,000 Angelenos came together to address the anti-welcome sentiment that is coming out of the USA, creating one of the world’s largest, human-powered “welcome” signs, sharing a warm message of love, support and inclusivity.

Synchronised volunteers, including L.A. based Australian actress Tammin Sursok (Pretty Little Liars) and TV personality, Jason Dundas, spelt out “welcome” in four languages: English, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic in a spectacular, stadium-style show. Check out the aerial footage here.

Australia is the second overseas market to Los Angeles with over 430,000 Aussies visiting in 2016. Tourism Economics, an independent research partner, re-evaluated Discover Los Angeles’ forecast and projected that L.A. County could suffer a potential three-year loss of 800,000 international visitors.

These visitors typically spend USD$920 each while in L.A., totalling a potential loss of USD$736 million in direct tourism spending.

Los Angeles announces tourism and visitor spend milestones

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Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (L.A. Tourism) has announced that Los Angeles County’s record-setting 47.3 million visitors injected an all-time high USD$21.9 billion into the local economy in 2016. The new visitor spend milestone is USD$1.3 billion more than 2015’s total, an increase of 6.3 per cent.

Traveller spending generated USD$33.6 billion in total economic impact for Los Angeles County (including the induced and indirect benefits). Tourism contributed more than USD$2.65 billion in state and local tax revenues in 2016.

A key economic driver in Los Angeles, tourism supports 510,500 jobs within the Leisure & Hospitality sector – one of the county’s largest and strongest sectors. The industry contributed to the addition of 21,400 new jobs last year, a 4.4 per cent year-over-year increase.

Fiji Sevens versus the travel trade at FTE

On May 4, Fiji’s national rugby sevens team got ‘in touch’ with international travel trade media and buyers at the fourth annual Fijian Tourism Expo (FTE) hosted by Tourism Fiji.

The friendly game of touch-rugby held at sunset on the beach at Sheraton Fiji Resort was an undoubtedly a highlight of FTE 2017, complete with Fijian warrior referees and Denarau Island holidaymakers cheering on both teams.

Although the Olympic gold medal-winning Fiji Men’s sevens team ultimately won the match, spirits were high as the underdog team of international buyers and media made a break through when Australian journalist, Richard Bunting (Travel Monitor and Luxury Travel), scored an impressive try against the Olympic gold medal-winners.

The Fiji sevens faced-up against buyers and media from Australia, Sweden, France and India in the friendly match, which provided a great warm-up before the Fiji sevens left for Paris the next day (5 May), for the HSBC World Rugby sevens Paris leg.

With a record number of international buyers and travel trade media attendees, FTE 2017 has been hailed a great success.

Gold Coast agents welcome Hong Kong update

Lisa Lee, HKTB; Darren Smyth, CX; Mary He, HKTB; Howard Field, CX; Louise Lyon, CX; Carla Orbell, CX
Lisa Lee, HKTB; Darren Smyth, CX; Mary He, HKTB; Howard Field, CX; Louise Lyon, CX; Carla Orbell, CX

The Hong Kong Tourism Board and Cathay Pacific Brisbane hosted over 80 retail agents at a cocktail event on the Gold Coast on the 19th of April to update the trade on Cathay’s new A350 aircraft services from Brisbane to Hong Kong.

The event was held at the beachfront Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort and included agents from Flight Centre, Helloworld and other independent agencies.  The Hong Kong Tourism Board updated guests on the latest self-guided walking trails in Central as part of the new ‘Old Town Central’ program, highlighting the city’s unique heritage and cultural experiences.

The organisation also provided an overview of new hotel openings and infrastructure for 2017 and 2018, while Cathay Pacific discussed their expanding routes this year, including Barcelona, Gatwick, Manchester and Tel Aviv.

Up the Fiji creek – with a paddle!

Mobile Travel Agent Sandra Di Benedetto

Pictured above paddling her way along Fiji’s mighty Navua River, MTA – Mobile Travel Agent, Sandra Di Benedetto recently visited the destination with fellow Member Michelle Edwards as part of a Tourism Fiji ‘Matai’ specialist Fiji sales agents’ familiarisation.

Their program included a high-speed Sigatoka River Jetboat Safari and a visit to a traditional Fijian village in the picturesque Sigatoka Valley.

Catch of the Day – ‘Escape with ET’ returns to the Solomon Islands

Andrew ET Ettingshausen

Putting the Solomon Islands squarely on the international travel map and giving the destination’s fishing related tourism a massive boost, Australian rugby league legend Andrew ‘ET’ Ettingshausen and his ‘Escape with ET’ film crew arrive in Honiara.

ET is an avid fisherman and is visiting the Solomon Islands to record footage for his ‘Escape with ET’ show which, televised on national TV Channel Ten, has an audience of an estimated 350,000 Australian anglers every weekend.

While in the Solomon Islands ET’s fishing schedule will include a visit to Santa Isabel, staying at Papatura Island Retreat, and Guadalcanal and the Florida Islands. While in Honiara he will stay as a guest of the Coral Seas Resort & Casino.

This is the second-time ET has visited the Solomon Islands as a guest of the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau and Solomon Airlines.

MTA team out in force at 2017 ‘Cruise 360’

MTA - Cruise 360 team May 2017 1A

Pictured (from left to right) MTA – Mobile Travel Agents’ Cruise & Wholesale Product Manager, Rhona Rodgers with MTA Members Valma Herb, Kylie Duncan-Tiver and Julia Black attending the world’s largest official cruise industry event, Cruise Lines Industry Association’s ‘Cruise 360’ in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A packed program across seven days saw Rhona and the MTA Members hard at work participating in key product seminars while also taking the opportunity to go face to face with representatives from several national tourist offices, cruise lines and international hotel chains attending the event.

The foursome also had the opportunity to inspect several vessels including Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Harmony of the Seas and Holland America Lines’ new ‘Vista-class’ MS Zuiderdam and ‘Royal-class’ Royal Princess.

Magellan Corporate in Chicago

The delegation enjoying some of the many architectural delights of Chicago from a cruise on the “chilli” Chicago River. L-R: Brent Frazer Cairns Business & Leisure Travel, Michael Schischka Mary Rossi Travel, Nicole Curtis Maxims Travel, Sarah Szubanski Platinum Travel Corporation, Deidre Parkes-Finch United Airlines, Connie Roos Worldwide Travel, Scott Darlow Magellan Travel Group, Kathleen Nicholson TTFN Travel and Damian Brennan PBT Travel.
L-R: Brent Frazer Cairns Business & Leisure Travel, Michael Schischka Mary Rossi Travel, Nicole Curtis Maxims Travel, Sarah Szubanski Platinum Travel Corporation, Deidre Parkes-Finch United Airlines, Connie Roos Worldwide Travel, Scott Darlow Magellan Travel Group, Kathleen Nicholson TTFN Travel and Damian Brennan PBT Travel.

In partnership with United Airlines and Accor Hotels, Magellan Travel Group’s National Manager Corporate & Business Development, Scott Darlow, recently hosted a business delegation to Chicago.

Amongst other things, the delegation spent a day at United Airlines’ impressive Head Office in the imposing Willis Tower where they learnt the finer details in managing a global corporation such as United’s. Precise planning, forecasting and crisis management were just some of the topics showcased at the state of the art Network Operations Centre.

A key highlight of the trip was a personal audience with Dave Hilfman, United Airlines Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales who outlined United’s vision for the Asia Pacific Region as well as discussing and cementing a closer relationship between United Airlines and the Magellan Travel Group.

Sabre Reports First Quarter 2017 Results

Global travel technology leader Sabre Corporation reported its first quarter 2017 financial results this week. Sabre president and CEO Sean Menke said Sabre got off to a solid start in the first quarter, with stronger than expected revenue growth.

Global highlights as follows:

  • First quarter consolidated revenue increased 6.5% to $915.4 million, compared to $859.5 million the year prior.
  • Airline and Hospitality Solutions revenue grew 8.2% to $258.0 million compared to $238.4 million for the same period in 2016. This was supported by 7.1% growth in passengers boarded and a strong increase in hotel transactions.
  • Travel Network revenue increased 6.1% to $663.5 million, compared to $625.5 million for the same period in 2016, supported by robust bookings in all major regions of the world

Regional and business highlights:

  • Travel Network global bookings increased 5.8% in the quarter, driven by 9.6% growth in Asia-Pacific, 8.6% growth in EMEA, and 3.2% growth in North America. Bookings increased 8.4% in Latin America in the quarter, the strongest growth seen in that region since 2013.
  • Hospitality Solutions saw several wins including new customer Grand Hotels and an expanded agreement with Two Roads Hospitality. Successful CRS implementations included Oak Hotels and Resorts and Hospitality International.
  • Travel Network signed its first-ever full content agreement with Hertz rental cars, and renewed Corporate Travel Management (CTM), to a new long-term agreement in APAC.
  • Airline Solutions also had a number of new wins, including the SabreSonic passenger reservation win  at PAWA Dominicana, a Caribbean carrier.  LATAM Airlines also signed up for Sabre’s data-driven platform, Intelligence Exchange, while Thai Lion and Malaysia’s Malindo Airlines completed the implementation of Movement Manager.

TTC Travel Specials 

Flavours and Fortunes of Spain and Portugal

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For a limited time only guests of Insight Vacations can fly to Europe from only $999 when they book a 2017/18 autumn, winter or spring tour. On the 15-day Best of Spain and Portugal escorted journey guests will explore stupendous landmarks such as the Holy Fatima basilica and the Alhambra Palace, plus savour local flavours in Valencia learning the authentic recipe of paella at a cooking demonstration.

Priced from $5,024 per person twin share (flights included, non-combinable with Early Payment Discount) departing 11 November 2017, 20 & 27 January, 10 March 2018 (subject to availability). For full terms and conditions visit insightvacations.com or call 1300 727 767.

South Georgia Wilderness

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Your clients can SAVE $1000* per person and receive a complimentary flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia when they book Lindblad Expeditions South Georgia and The Falklands expedition and pay in full before 31 July 2017. The ultimate Southern Ocean experience, this expedition takes guests into majestically spectacular wilderness, observing enormous elephant seals, a thriving fur seal population, macaroni penguins and the mysterious albatross.

Priced from $18,910*per person, including 14 nights cruise accommodation in a category one cabin, one night hotel accommodation, meals as indicated, transfers as specified, excursions and services of a veteran expedition leader, a team of naturalists, an undersea specialist and National Geographic photographer.

Available for select departure 24 October 2017. For more information and full terms and conditions visit Adventure World at www.adventureworld.com call 1300 363 055 *Conditions Apply  

Japan Odyssey

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Book your clients on Creative Cruising’s 33-night Japan Odyssey cruise travelling from Australia through to Papua New Guinea, Japan, China and Hong Kong before 30 June 2017 and they’ll receive a FREE stateroom upgrade. This package includes a 33-night voyage onboard Queen Elizabeth from Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide & Perth to Hong Kong, 2-night post cruise accommodation in Hong Kong, one-way economy class airfare from Hong Kong flying Singapore Airlines and more!

Priced from $8,229* per person (based ex Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide & Perth) cruise departs 28 February 2018. *Conditions apply please visit www.creativecruising.com.au or phone 1300 362 599 for more information.

Majestic NZ

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Guests of AAT Kings can receive a discounted return airfare to New Zealand (departing from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth or Brisbane) when they book the 17-day New Zealand Magic guided holiday.

Your clients will travel through almost every type of natural landscape you could imagine, as they make their way from Christchurch in the South Island to Auckland in the North Island. This package includes an experienced Travel Director & Driver Guide, quality accommodation, travel in luxury coach, airport transfers, and more!

Priced from $4,999 with discounted return airfare* departing Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, twin share and available on select departures between 1 October 2017 – 30 September 2018 (subject to availability).For more information or to book call 1300 556 100 or visit aatkings.com *

Legendary Waterways

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Book your clients on a 13-day Legendary Rhine & Moselle river cruise before 30th June 2017 and they will receive a complimentary stateroom upgrade, PLUS SAVE $1,000 per person on these sailings as part of Uniworld’s You Deserve the Best Upgrade Promotion.

Guests will explore five nations rich in art, history and culture from Amsterdam to Basel and enjoy an all-inclusive 12-night cruise in a riverview stateroom onboard the regal River Queen, including all meals and unlimited beverages onboard, 11 days of hosted excursions, services of an experiences Uniworld Cruise Manager and more!

Priced from A$7,599 per person twin share (including upgrade and saving) departing on 10 October 2017 (other departures available). For more information call 1300 780 231 or visit uniworld.com

Busabout Thai Island Moon Party

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Travellers booking with Busabout can SAVE up to 15% off Asian trips when they pay in full between 1st May – 31st of May 2017, quoting the promocode MAYASIA. The 7-day Thai Islands Moon Party  includes highlights such as watersports & jungle trekking in the day and a rave at one of Koh Phangan’s famous moon parties at night, snorkelling in Koh Tao & Ang Thong National Marine park & enjoying the buzzing nightlife of Koh Samui.

Priced from $458.15 (including discount, excluding accommodation) per person, departing between 1 June – 31 December 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 http://www.busabout.com/ or call 1300 287 226

Winter Wanderer

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Travellers can save a total of $308 off Contiki’s 24-day Winter Wanderer trip with Contiki’s latest European Autumn, Winter and Spring brochure discount when they book and pay in full by 14 June 2017. Christmas markets, hot mulled wine, open fires & overcoats – unlike many places, Europe comes alive & fills with magic during the months of Winter. Guests of Contiki will sip coffee in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral, warm up over Ravioli in Rome, & visit a traditional beer hall in Germany. 

Priced from $3,807 *per person (discount included) and available for travel between 15 October 2017 – 16 March 2018. For more information visit www.contiki.com or phone 1300 266 845. *Conditions Apply


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