Festive roundup: it’s Christmas parties, reunions, and celebrations galore!

Festive roundup: it’s Christmas parties, reunions, and celebrations galore!

We’re kicking off the end of year celebrations with a wrap up of all the festivities, reunions and get-togethers our readers have sent in over the past few weeks.

At Travel Weekly, the only thing we love more than a business class upgrade is celebrating the fantastic bunch of people that make the travel industry so great, particularly given the year we’ve all just endured.

We can’t wait to see what you lot have in store for 2022!

CATO brings members together for Christmas parties in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane

Lisa Pagotto Crooked Compas, Dennis Bunnik CATO Chair and Katrina Barry MD of Trafalgar and Contiki at CATO Christmas party in Sydney

The CATO board and members came together for its annual Christmas party at the Harbour View Hotel in Sydney on 8 December and at the Juliet Bar in Melbourne on 14 December.

Over 60 members in Sydney and 35 members in Melbourne attended the AlUla sponsored event, where members were given an insight into AlUla.

In addressing members, Brett Jardine, managing director of CATO took the opportunity to acknowledge the CATO Board who have been incredibly supportive and involved, given their time and energy whilst dealing with their own COVID related challenges.

Dennis Bunnik, chairman of CATO also thanked the board for their commitment during these last two challenging years and talked with cautious optimism about 2022.

The Brisbane CATO event will be held in Brisbane on 22 December sponsored by tech platform Tour Atlas.

Tourism Authority of Thailand appreciation lunch 26 November 2022

The TAT Australia team have curated a beautiful pre-Christmas gathering at Blue Ginger restaurant in Balmain, Sydney to celebrate two important things – Thailand reopening and our freedom from lockdown just before December arrived.

The exclusive event was attended by TAT friends from the Royal Thai Consulate, Thai Airways, Luxury Escapes, Planetdwellers, Flight Centre, Helloworld, Travel Zoo, Hoot Holidays, My Overseas Wedding, Play by Afterpay and Complete Travel Marketing.

Everyone dressed in Christmas colours, some even brought their own Christmas lights for a neck-piece. Champagne and gift vouchers were rewarded to agents playing trivia and festive games. Best dressed award was handed to Stephanie Jones from Hoot Holidays.

Another NSW member for CT Partners to close out the year

CT Partners has closed the year on a high note with another new member signing in NSW. BTA Travel (formerly Trans Turk Travel), a well-established family-owned and operated business specialising in group, leisure and corporate travel is the 9th agency to join CT Partners in 2021.

Owners Yekta and Dilek Gokyildirim commented that with their recent shift in focus to corporate travel, CT Partners membership provides them with the support and expertise they need to be successful in their transition, adding that CT Partners’ core value of transparency echoes their own business approach.

Explorers reunited

The founders of The Explorer Society, Martin Edwards and Cameron Neill, finally met in person for the first time since the company launched in September.

Thanks to lockdowns and travel restrictions it had been over a year since they last caught up.

They are spending a few days together in Melbourne talking all things travel and working on their plans to make people’s travel dreams become reality in 2022, including some brand new and exciting destinations to be announced in the New Year.

Cook Islands Tourism training winners take home tropical paradise prizes!

Luke Mitchell, Insider Journeys

Run over two weeks in November, an impressive 40 agents completed the latest incentivised Cook Islands Tourism training programme, entering the draw to win one of five branded Hammamas Turkish towels.

The five lucky winners were:


Luke Mitchell, Insider Journeys – pictured below right

Tanya Patterson, TravelManagers

New Zealand

Tania Paull, Flight Centre (Johnsonville) – pictured below left

Rochelle Evans House of Travel (Barrington)

Margaret Rouse, MondoTravel (Mt Eden)

Nara, Japan product development famil 

Forest aerial adventure park, Kuuchuu no mura, from left to right: Seiho Fukui (Nara Visitor’s Bureau), Mika White (co-founder, Tourism Exchange Japan), Jolan Ferreri (CEO of Kuuchuu no mura (Village in the air)), Shoko Fujii (luxury department manager, AYABEX Inc.), Yuki Honda (reservations executive, DISCOVA), Andrew Sinclair (customer relations, Inside Japan Tours)

Tourism Exchange Japan and Nara Visitors Bureau hosted Inside Japan Tours and DISCOVA Japan in Nara prefecture last week on a product development trip, showcasing highlights of the region.

The famil, organised by Sydney marketing agency Gate 7, included many of Nara’s undiscovered gems such as the retro hot spring town of Dorogawa Onsen, the isolated samurai mountain village of Totsukawa and the World Heritage Listed Kumano Pilgrimage Route, Kohechi.

The group have been busy visiting fascinating shrines and temples, scaling Indiana-Jones style suspension bridges, cruising through ancient gorges and even trying out a riverside ‘tent sauna’!

Featured image: Tourism Authority of Thailand appreciation lunch

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