Nothing says Travel Weekly staff are officially doing bugger-all quite like a half-arsed Agent photo round-up, does it?
Agents Hit Hollywood!
12 lucky travel consultants won their place on an exclusive Helloworld Travel and Qantas incentive famil, that included three nights in West Hollywood staying at the Ramada Plaza West Hollywood and three nights in Los Cabos staying at the ME Cabo. The group flew Qantas Airways from various Australian cities into Los Angeles, where the adventure began with highlights including a VIP Universal Studios Hollywood full day tour and Halloween Horror Nights experience, tour of Flora Farm and cooking class in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, as well as a luxury sailing experience with Cabo Adventures.
Participating in the famil were: Shelley-Marie Dobson, Melissah Missio, Ashley Heald, Nicholas MacDonald, Belinda Paul, Craig Mathieson, Rebecca Lucanus, Mary Paronis, Kristina Stewart, Kathleen Cosford, Julie Goodsell, Amy Taylor and Amanda Hillard from Helloworld Travel, Sarah Thornton and Tristan Freedman from Gate 7 and Brigitta Tolic from Qantas.
Five ways to revive your spirit on Fitzroy
Sometimes we wonder at how to describe the Aussie culture. And yet here in the top end, if you asked a local I reckon they’d say simply “look around, this is it.” It’s where you wouldn’t pack more than swimmers and a few loose t-shirts, where you’d sit in a bush clearing on plastic chairs having lunch and the nearby crunching of dry leaves would be the sound of a bush turkey. It’s where after a dip in the ocean you don’t even bother with a towel and where a cup of Bushell’s tea in the afternoon is just perfect. Yup, it’s just how I’d describe Tropical North Queensland and it’s about as down to earth as culture can get.
That’s why Fitzroy Island, where the rainforest meets the sea off the far North Queensland coast makes for a perfect Aussie escape. Fitzroy is part of a stretch of islands adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef with all the colour and vibrancy of tropical sea life. Even in springtime the waters are warm and the sea breezes balmy. There are bush trails, beach walks and hideaways that stretch the length of the beach. As the ferry pulls alongside the jetty, people are splashing about in the shallow waters and bright orange kayaks are zig zagging the waters of aptly named Welcome Bay. With only one resort on the island Fitzroy quickly feels like a cozy home away from home, only with a lot more to do.
- Great Barrier Reef tours
- Water sport activity hire
- Nature trails and beyond
- Snorkeling and Diving
- Resort living
Reps on the Road
After a week of intensive training at the Bunnik Tours head office in Adelaide, the three new BDMs are out on the road this week.
Their wealth of industry experience and existing trade relationships means their calendars are filling up already!
Keep an eye out for Lisa Hunt (VIC), Zoe Francis (VIC/TAS/SA), Lachlan Burnet (NSW/ACT), Walter Delorie (NSW/ACT), Dan Zadow (QLD) and Adam Dickson (WA/SA), working to promote the small group touring revolution!
Pre-Registration now open for Club Med’s 2019 Sun and Ski Seasons
Club Med is pleased to announce that pre-registration is now open for its 2019 snow and summer seasons, offering amazing travel deals of up to 30 per cent* on the brand’s infamous premium all-inclusive packages.
Pre-registering will give Aussie agents and travellers the first chance to book Club Med’s Early Bird Offer from 31 January – the guaranteed best price Club Med will offer all year on its premium all inclusive holiday packages, for departures between November 2018 – April 2019. Booking early will secure the resort and date of your clients’ choice before it sells out including peak times, your clients preferred room type, and a spot at the Kids Club for little ones. The early bird offer is limited and the discount will reduce as the resort fills, so it’s important to get those bookings in as soon as you can!
In addition, those who register will receive exclusive access to Club Med’s ‘Unlimited Offer’, only available between 31 January and 2 February, 2018. For three days, Club Med won’t change the offer or restrict what can be booked, meaning your guests can book any resort, any time with any room type and upgrades without restriction – and the offer price will never change!
Santa’s splashdown at Outrigger Fiji begins a day of family celebrations and entertainment
Pre-registration will be available from now until 31 January 2018 for both Club Med ski and sun resorts.
Santa’s arrival on the beach aboard a traditional Fijian bamboo raft marks the beginning of a day of exciting kids’ activities and adult Christmas celebrations for 2017 at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort.
Fiji is the beginning of Santa’s journey around the globe and the kids at Outrigger Fiji will be among the first to receive gifts when he hands out presents at the resort’s Kids Club.
Children’s activities continue throughout the day while in the evening there are events such as a talent quest and Christmas movie while older children are entertained with limbo dancing and a disco. Adults are invited to share the Fijian Christmas experience by joining in a special morning church service held in the resort ballroom.
In the evening all of the resort’s four restaurants offer Christmas cuisine ranging from a traditional buffet to classic fine dining Christmas favourites with a five-course menu designed by Executive Chef Shailesh Naidu served in the award winning Ivi Restaurant.
Personal Travel Managers’ wow’ed by the Northern Territory
TravelManagers’ personal travel managers (PTMs) were recently reminded you don’t have to travel overseas to enjoy a wonderfully diverse holiday destination. A total of 20 PTMs enjoyed a three day famil in Australia’s Northern Territory experiencing Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks hosted by Marcel Mafli, National Sales Coordinator for AAT Kings.
Participants included New South Wales based PTMs Alma Araullo, Dana Brown, Lana Kanchik, Michelle Schulze, Tanya Tyler, Teresa Reyes; PTMs Bev Fitzsimons, Sharon Wright, Nicole Edgar, Luky Wilson, Daniel Price from Victoria; Queensland based PTMs Timo Bohlender, Simon Tinkler, Sarah Harington, Kylie Gretener, Deborah Davies, Cassandra Zayonce; PTMs Kathy Millett and Carolynne Cannon from Western Australia and John LaBella from South Australia.
TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, believes the ability for personal travel managers to experience famils both domestic and overseas is important.
Travel agents explore Kyushu: the land of fire and water
A group of eight travel agents from Australia returned from a six-day familiarisation tour to Japan’s southern island of Kyushu flying with Japan Airlines. The tour was the second of two, fully hosted by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) to allow top scoring agents of the Japan E-Learning to experience the country’s regional charms.
Kyushu is the land of fire and water; rich in natural beauty, active volcanoes, and some of the nation’s best onsen (natural hot springs).
The agents stayed in a traditional ryokan (Japanese-style inn) in Kagoshima and experienced the therapeutic benefits of sunaburo, sand baths with heated volcanic sand. In Kumamoto, they visited the ancient samurai district of Chiran and one of Japan’s best loved castles, Kumamoto Castle.
Their tour ended in the island’s transport hub and largest city, Fukuoka. They enjoyed a punt cruise down the Yanagawa River and admired the late autumn colours. They shopped at department stores in Tenjin and explored the Christmas Markets.
Webjet customer engagement soars with new in-app mobile messaging powered by LivePerson
LivePerson, Inc. a leading provider of cloud mobile and online business messaging solutions, has announced the launch of its in-app mobile messaging technology within Webjet’s customer service business, resulting in a 54 per cent uplift in text based service engagements with the app.
Webjet utilises LivePerson’s LiveEngage web chat technology on its website for pre and post sales support, and the launch of mobile messaging now allows customers to communicate with the brand simply and efficiently through its mobile app. With usage of Webjet’s app growing daily, Webjet recognised the opportunity to deliver an additional way for customers to easily and conveniently engage with Webjet to answer questions and provide in-app support.
Messaging enables consumers to communicate in a convenient way, on their terms using a medium they prefer to speak with family and friends. It allows for multiple conversations to take place over time within one message thread; and reduces the inconvenience and frustration of being placed on hold, as wait times are replaced by push notifications.
Unique Eastern European holidays in demand
As holidays in eastern Europe, especially The Baltic’s, Poland and The Czech Republic, continue to gain popularity with Australian travellers eastern Europe specialists Beyond Travel have identified a growing trend towards more off-the-beaten-track countries and in turn are offering a more comprehensive selection of suggested tailor-made holidays in countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Poland in its 2018 Eastern Europe brochure.
General manager of marketing and sales Bryce Crampton said that whilst the popular trio of Prague-Budapest and Vienna are constantly in demand there has been an increase in enquiries for further areas in the region, steering away from the mainstream hotspots from those looking for more local immersive experiences.
Beyond Travel are well set to capitalise on the growing trend for tailor-made packages such as rail tours, with substantial growth in bookings from seasoned travellers who appreciate the value and convenience of pre-booked services combined with the freedom to customise their holiday and the independence to explore destinations at their own pace.
FCM celebrates seven years as World’s Leading TMC
FCM Travel Solutions offices around the world are celebrating after being named the World’s Leading Travel Management Company at the 2017 World Travel Awards. This is the seventh year in a row that FCM has been named the top global corporate travel management company.
The title was announced at the World Travel Awards Gala Ceremony held over the weekend at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay, Vietnam.
During 2017 FCM was also named:
Africa’s Leading Travel Management Company
Asia’s Leading Travel Management Company
Australasia’s Leading Travel Management Company
Europe’s Leading Travel Management Company
Mexico & Central America’s Leading Travel Management Company
Middle East’s Leading Travel Management Company
North America’s Leading Travel Management Company
South America’s Leading Travel Management Company
World Travel Awards celebrates its 24th anniversary this year and is acknowledged across the globe as the ultimate travel accolade. Awards are voted for by travel and tourism professionals worldwide and these accolades recognise the commitment to excellence FCM has demonstrated over the past 12 months.
Travel news: New ways to do the Red Centre from Tourism NT
- Mayu Wiru, meaning ‘beautiful flavour’ in the local Pitjantjatjara language, puts the fine into outback dining with a spiritual open-air experience in the heart of the Red Centre.
- Australian Walking Holidays has launched a new walking tour, Classic Larapinta Trek in Comfort – a six-day, five-night walk across the high ridge lines of the Tjoritja/West MacDonnell Ranges led by an experienced guide.
- Some of the world’s oldest fossil remains will be re-homed in Alice Springs in 2018.
- NT artist Kathleen Buzzacott is offering a guided tour of her studios and property.
- Alice Springs Expeditions has launched personalised four-wheel drive tours with a focus on remote and lesser known areas in the region including Finke Gorge, East MacDonnell Ranges and the Simpson Desert.
- Voyages Ayers Rock Resort is making it even easier for families to reconnect and explore the spiritual heart of Australia with the release of a great value family holiday package.
- SEIT Outback Australia has rescheduled its popular Patji tour to mornings, to allow it to run year-round.
- If you like the idea of venturing off the beaten track, but would like the reassurance of someone finding you if you got lost, then GPS-tracked independent bush walks offered by wilderness lodge Ooraminna Station Homestead could be the thing for you.
- Perfect for night owls, carve out your own adventure through the Red Centre sands with a personalised night mountain bike tour of Alice Springs.
- If day adventures are more your thing, try the newly launched ‘velotour’ of the Todd River bed and highlights of Alice Springs, including the Telegraph Station and Yubu Napa Aboriginal Art Gallery.
Agents get a taste of local favourites with Globus family of brands’ Day of Discovery
Berry picking at Chappies U-Pick, chocolate sampling in the Yarra Valley and wine tasting at Dominique Portet Winery – that’s how 23 lucky Victorian agents got to spend a day recently.
Designed to showcase Globus family of brands’ ‘local favourites’ offering, which allows its guests to experience a destination like an insider with access to hidden gems and behind-the-scenes activities; but in this case, in their own backyard.
Alongside an experienced local guide, agents discovered, and in some cases, rediscovered local hotspots and attractions, gaining a deeper understanding and new insights into the destination.
To qualify for the chance to experience Globus family of brands Day of Discovery firsthand, agents were required to book six or more guests on one of Globus family of brands’ escorted tours, during a defined period.
Thanda Island and Thanda Safari take home top accolades at the World Travel Awards Grand Final Gala Ceremony 2017
Following the fabulous success at the World Travel Awards Africa Gala Ceremony 2017 in October, both Thanda Island and Thanda Safari have gone on to triumph again at last night’s prestigious World Travel Awards Grand Final Gala Ceremony 2017. Located off Southern Tanzania, the exclusive Thanda Island was awarded the title World’s Leading Exclusive Private Island whilst Villa iZulu, Thanda Safari’s majestic safari villa situated in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province, was named World’s Leading Luxury Private Villa 2017.
Bringing together leading figure-heads and VIPs from across the globe the World Travel Awards Grand Final Gala Ceremony 2017 was held at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa, Vietnam. It was during this prestigious international black-tie event that the stage presentation and formal announcement of Thanda Island’s and Villa iZulu’s victory took place.
The personal bush and beach retreats of Christin and Dan Olofsson of Sweden, owners of Thanda, both villas offer absolute exclusivity for families and friends to also enjoy on a sole-use basis. Furthermore, they are each located within their own private reserves and feature just one magnificent five-bedroom villa and helipad. Together with a strong community and conservation commitment they offer their discerning guests a wide variety of expert led wildlife and marine based activities, including the opportunity to partake in their respective conservation initiatives.
VisitorPoint, the ‘silently awesome’ company behind tourism brochure distribution
In today’s digital age, you’d be forgiven for assuming that printed tourism brochures are a thing of the past.
That’s where one thriving and growing New-Zealand based brochure distribution company has the facts and figures to prove otherwise. VisitorPoint is New Zealand’s only national distributor of tourism information, having distributed brochures throughout New Zealand for more than 30 years.
Formerly known as Jasons, in December 2013 the company was bought by New Zealand businessman Geoff Spong of Bennetts Group. Spong took a long, hard look at the business and in June 2015 ceased publishing to concentrate on its core business of distribution.
It fully re-branded as VisitorPoint in early 2016 and invested heavily in systems, a new mobile data collection app and a brand-new website and trade website. It now boasts an unrivalled, measurable network that operates the length and breadth of the country. It has over 2000 physical display outlets nationally, and 30 staff including 19 high-profile merchandisers who are constantly on the road supplying its 36 distribution circuits.
Ray Martin and Weekend Sunrise on Norfolk Island
Celebrated Australian television journalist, Ray Martin will be one of the carriers of the baton in the Queen’s Baton Relay on Norfolk Island this Saturday (16 December).
Australian audiences will be able to watch the 5-time Gold Logie Award Winner and Norfolk Island Tourism Ambassador accepting and carrying the baton live on Channel 7’s Weekend Sunrise program on Saturday morning when James Tobin will be presenting weather crosses at various locations throughout the program from 7.00am – 10.00am.
James will also be joining a number of specially selected island residents participating in the Baton Relay which continues the journey onto its final destination and Opening Ceremony of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (GC2018) next April.
Having previously travelled to Norfolk island on assignments for 60 Minutes, Ray has been working with NIT for the past 18 months on a destination campaign promoting the diversity of experiences available at the popular short-haul holiday destination for Australians encompassing the unique culture and fascinating history of the island paradise.
Be sure to tune into Weekend Sunrise on Saturday for the Queen’s Baton Relay and on Sunday when Norfolk Island will again be the focus for the weather crosses.
Join in the Summer Fun at Scenic World in the Blue Mountains
Unleash your inner child this Summer and experience nature and adventure like never before at Scenic World in the Blue Mountains.
Whether you’re after thrilling adventures or a relaxing rendezvous, Scenic World has something for everyone these school holidays. Reconnect with nature on a peaceful rainforest walk, experience the thrill of the world’s steepest passenger train, and soak up stunning views stretching as far as the eye can see from the new Scenic Skyway.
Choose your own adventure with unlimited travel on the Railway, Skyway and Cableway, and treat the kids to something different with our free interactive wildlife display.
Keep your camera handy as the kids hold friendly pythons, bearded dragons and curious owls in their own hands and learn how these incredible creatures survive in the wild. Led by the fabulous Feathered Friends team, roaming displays will be held daily between 11am-2pm from December 20-26 and January 2-7. There will be plenty of fun, guaranteed!
Scenic announces refresh of Scenic Club Loyalty Program
Scenic will introduce an updated loyalty proposition for its Scenic Club members on 1 January 2018, designed to better reward guests for their support.
The changes will see the rewards program move from a day-based loyalty structure to a points-based structure, whereby guests will be rewarded Scenic Status points based on the length of travel and their overall spend.
All guests on land tours across Scenic’s extensive portfolio of destinations will receive 100 Scenic Status points per day, for all tours of a minimum seven paid days. Guests on river cruises in Europe and South East Asia, will also receive a minimum 100 Scenic Status points per day for bookings of a minimum seven paid days (with additional points received depending on their category and deck of travel, up to 150 points).
From 1 January 2018, guests will now also be able to take advantage of an extended redemption period for Scenic’s Thank You and referral vouchers. A key benefit of the new program, the vouchers will now be valid for 24 months, from the current 12 months, allowing guests extra time to book their next handcrafted journey and reap the rewards of introducing family and friends.
Give the gift of travel with the new Contiki Gift Card
As Christmas is (way too quickly for some and not soon enough for others) approaching, Contiki has launched the perfect gift solution for millennials.
A Contiki Gift Card is a promise of adventure and the ideal present for any guy or girl with a long list of travel dreams. The card is perfect to kick-start the travel dreams of that special 18-35 year old in your life or to help them on their existing trip bookings. Available in any denomination of $100 and valid until the recipient turns 36.
Why travel with Contiki? As the original travel company for the young, fun and free, Contiki has perfected the art of travel for 18-35yos. The best team in the business, more included experiences and comfortable transportation is just the start of what guests get with Contiki. It really is the best gift for youth wanting to travel, with over 300 trips to choose from spanning 67 countries! After all, the best gifts in life are experiences.
Albatross Tours 2018 Europe & UK Early Bird Sale Ends Soon!
Albatross Tours are reminding agents that there is just one week left to save $200 per person on all 2018 Europe & UK Small Group tours. Must book and deposit by December 22, 2017.
Travellers can experience a European holiday for as little as $5,249 per person twin share on the 13 day Croatia & the Adriatic tour.
Albatross Tours is a European tour operator based in Brisbane, Australia. Albatross Tours has been designing, creating and operating European escorted tours for Australians and New Zealanders since 1995. Offering longer stays in each destination, small group sizes and genuine inclusions, Albatross Tours are jam packed with included excursions, entrances and feature dinners. As part of The Albatross Group the company manage in excess of 5,000 tour groups in Europe every year.
TTC’s Weekly Deals:
UNIWORLD: Tulips and Windmills
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has returned their Best Offer Ever. Save up to 40% off select 2018 voyages when you book before 31 December 2017. Combine this unbeatable offer with Uniworld’s 10-Day Tulips and Windmills itinerary and SAVE 40% off. From the canals of Amsterdam to the belfry of Bruges, you’ll discover the best of the Netherlands and Belgium. Stroll through colourful acres of tulips at Keukenhof Gardens to get a sense of the Netherlands’ extraordinary connection to these blooms. Priced from $2,799 per person twin share, 10 days of captivating escorted excursions, services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager, all transfers, all gratuities and more! Price reflective of select departure dates on 22 and 26 Mar 2018. (Other departures available at alternate price) For more information call 1300 780 231 or visit uniworld.com
AAT KINGS: Ancient Waterways
Your clients can now discover more of their own backyard and lock in an Early Bird Offer when they book any 2018 Australian guided holiday or Inspiring Journey before 13 February 2018. Guests can save up to $527 off per couple on AAT Kings 11-day Untamed Kimberley guided holiday from Darwin to Broome. Travellers will cruise ancient waterways through the Katherine Gorge, hike to magnificent waterholes, visit the world’s largest source of coloured diamonds and discover the rich Ord River Valley, where they will exclusively dine at the Kununurra’s fragrant sandalwood plantation to taste the regions gourmet produce. This package includes an experienced Travel Director & Driver Guide, quality accommodation, travel in luxury coach, airport transfers, and more! Priced from $5,012 per person (including early payment discount) and available on select departures between 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019 (subject to availability). For more information or to book call 1300 556 100 or visit aatkings.com. Conditions Apply
CONTIKI: Welsh Charm
In celebration of the royal wedding, Contiki have introduced a Royal Flush, where travellers can save $150 off select summer 2018/19 European adventures on top of the current 10% Early Payment Discount, valid until 14 December 2017. Millennials ready to experience The Best of Britain can save $388 off the in-depth explorer hitting up the UK’s most iconic cities. With a kick off in London, travelling through Oxford, Bristol, Cardiff, Warwick, and a final stop in Liverpool. Whether your clients are history buffs, a muso, or a big fan of sports, this trip has a little something for everyone. Priced from $2,001*per person (including discount) and available for travel between 13 May 2018 – 27 May 2018. For more information visit www.contiki.com or phone 1300 266 845. *Conditions Apply
TRAFALGAR: Curious Children
For those wanting to lock down their 2018 holiday plans with the family before the new year, Trafalgar is offering families the chance to save up to 7.5% when they book any Family Experience and pay in full before 28 February 2018. Guests can combine this deal with the 11-day European Wonderland Family Experience that has 100% guarantee of definite departure. They’ll see Europe through the eyes of their ever-curious children as they embark on a family road trip from Rome to London filled with lashings of lion fights, carnival masks, chariot racing and cheesy pizza they’ll learn to make themselves. This is an unforgettable, hands-on exploration of Europe that will bring the destination alive for all ages. Priced from $3,925 per person (discount included) reflective of select definite departure dates available between 12 July – 2 August 2018 (Other departures available for alternate price). For more information or a further selection of Trafalgar’s authentic, fun and effortless guided holidays visit www.trafalgar.com or call Trafalgar on 1800 002 006(toll-free).*conditions apply
ADVENTURE WORLD: Machu Picchu By Rail
Travel to Machu Picchu by Rail and receive FREE night in Lima + Colonial & Modern Lima City Tour – valued at $153* per person. Discover Machu Picchu by Rail through a 5-night itinerary with Adventure World Experience the magical ancient empire of the Incas as you explore the colonial city of Cuzco which was built on the foundations of former Inca palaces; discover the best of the Sacred Valley in Yucay; uncover the monumental architectural complexes of Ollantaytambo. Priced from $1,858. Adventure World are currently offering a FREE night in Lima + Colonial & Modern Lima City Tour – valued at $153* per person (*Terms and Conditions Apply) For more information and full terms and conditions visit Adventure World at www.adventureworld.com or call 1300 295 049
BUSABOUT: Greek Island Hopper
10% OFF Greek Island Hopper flexi – WAS $649 NOW $584. The perfect option for those who prefer to explore the islands at their own pace. Departing from Athens, you’ll get a fantastic Busabout guide, all transport to and from the islands and transfers to our recommended accommodation options. How long you spend on each island is totally up to you! The suggested itinerary below, based on 2 days per island, is the minimum amount of time to get around. Available on departures starting 14 May 2018 until 29 Sep 2018. Valid for bookings from December 22nd 2017 until February 28th 2018 For more information and a range of other European and Asian trips on sale visit http://www.busabout.com/ or call 1300 287 226.