Flavour of the Week

Flavour of the Week

There’s big news all along the travel industry food chain today. Not that it involves any sharks or lions, however.

Gina Fernandez New BDM for Wendy Wu Tours

Gina Fernandez

Australia’s leading Asia tour operator, and recent winner of the NTIA Best Speciality Wholesaler 2017 is delighted to announce the appointment of Gina Fernandez to the role of Business Development Manager for NSW.

Gina joins the Wendy Wu Tours team with broad travel industry experience, including travel technology (Sabre and Tramada), Travel Insurance (SureSave) and Corporate Travel (Corporate Traveller).

Gina also spent many years running her own travel agent in the retail and online space. On the appointment, Gina said “As a Business Development Manager for Wendy Wu Tours, I am excited to call on my first hand experience to effectively support our valuable customers and be a part of their success stories.”

Head of Sales, Vara Glover said of the appointment, “Gina’s vast experience in the sector, combined with her firsthand understanding of travel agent needs, will give her travel agents the support they need to help grow their business.

“Wendy Wu Tours is committed to supporting our trade partners, as evidenced by our recent Early Birds Priority Access. My sales team and I look forward to rolling out further tools for the trade.”


Petra Nemcova and Alangalang students, Happy Hearts Fund

U by Uniworld, the new brand from Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection offering immersive, authentic and adventurous travel for 21-45-year-olds, has selected Petra Nemcova, model and noted philanthropist, as the brand’s ‘Guardian Angel.’

Nemcova will join competition winners on the invitation-only “Sneak Peek” U sailing this October.

Commenting on the selection of a ‘Guardian Angel’ for the brand, Fiona Dalton, Managing Director of Uniworld Australia said it simply proves U by Uniworld as a game-changer.

“Rather than following the traditional ‘Godmother’ path for each ship, we’ve decide to pave our own way and it’s a concept that will make history. Petra is the perfect representative of our new brand; she’s smart, ambitious and has a kind adventurous spirit. As a former Victoria’s Secret model, Petra is, of course, well-versed as an ‘Angel’.”

With a Paris to Paris itinerary and invitation-only guest list featuring top social influencers, media and contest winners, agents lucky enough to join the debut celebration launch in October will fully experience U, with a mix of the best onboard and onshore “U Time” experiences.

To enter, travel agents ages 21-45 must create and post a 30 second video to the U by Uniworld Facebook page sharing how they are going to sell U, tagging #ImGonnaSellU to their post.  Uniworld’s internal Advisory Board will vote on the final winners from entries with the most likes on Facebook. For more information, visit www.ubyuniworld.com/au/ta-contest/

Ahead of its launch and in celebration of its new Guardian Angel, U by Uniworld will also support the Happy Hearts Fund, an organization founded by Nemcova following her harrowing experience during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to rebuild safe, resilient schools in areas impacted by natural disasters.

The non-profit is now active in 10 countries around the world and has helped rebuild more than 160 schools and assisted nearly 100,000 students in getting back to school following natural disasters.

Dubai Tourism Announces Newest Local Appointment 

The Dubai Tourism, Australia and New Zealand Office has today announced the appointment of its newest Regional Sales Manager, Beth Scott.

Scott is based in Melbourne and will spearhead the Victorian, Tasmanian, and New Zealand territories, and manage a portfolio of trade relationships in these markets, including but not limited to Airline, Retail, Wholesale, OTA’s, Corporates and MICE.

As an e-commerce, digital marketing and travel sales professional, Scott joins the team with over 15 years of experience in the airline and travel and tourism sector across the Australia and New Zealand region.

Starting her career at Qantas before moving to Emirates Airlines for five years, both in New Zealand looking after a trade and corporate portfolio, followed by a national e-commerce role based in Melbourne, Scott then spent two years with the Lufthansa Group Australia as Manager for Marketing and Online Sales for Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines.

She also recently completed a short term with Qatar Airways based out of Doha looking after Global Markets in an E-Commerce management role.

Scott’s experience has seen her manage corporate and trade portfolios, TMC’s, OTA’s, MICE and managing Tourism Board relationships.

Of her recent appointment, Scott said, “I am thrilled to take on this new role with Julie King & Associates, joining the regional sales team in Australia and New Zealand, looking after Dubai Tourism. I love Dubai; it’s a place where the modern meets the rich Arabic traditions and culture.

“My previous roles with airlines and in particular with Qantas and Emirates and my experience living and working in the Middle East will provide a strong foundation in my new role as we continue to further strengthen our partnerships with the Travel Trade throughout the Australian and New Zealand markets.”

Julie King, Director of the Australian and New Zealand office said, “Beth’s strong experience in both the retail, corporate and OTA sectors as well as her knowledge of Dubai as a destination will be an invaluable addition and asset to the company.

“We are thrilled to have her join the regional sales team in Australia and New Zealand as we continue to further strengthen and cement our partnerships with the trade, and continue to set high benchmarks in everything we do.”

Fijian Olympian joins Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji management team


Sisi (002)

High profile Fijian Olympian, Commonwealth and Pacific Games medallist, Sisilia ‘Cece’ Naisiga Rasokisoki has been appointed activities supervisor and gym Instructor at Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji.

Effective immediately Sisilia will manage all aspects of the Pacific Harbour resort’s activities program which includes yoga and Zumba classes.

A former Fijian ‘sportswoman of the year’, Sisilia needs no introduction to the local scene having travelled all over the world to represent her country in Judo at several major events.

These include the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games where she won a Bronze medal in the 70kg class.

In 2004 she represented Fiji at the Athens Olympic Games and has also won gold medals for her country competing in the South Pacific Games and Oceania and South Pacific Tournaments.

Welcoming Cece to the Nanuku Auberge Resort family general manager, Sascha Hemmann said she would play a key role in helping to enhance the resort’s overall client service delivery.

“We are extremely honoured to have Cece on the team,” Hemmann said.

”Having Cece on board has added another very strong dimension to what is already a very experienced and very service-oriented team structure.”

Aqua-Aston Hospitality Names Senior Vice President, Sales, Marketing, and Revenue

Aqua-Aston Hospitality Names

Ed Skapinok has been named senior vice president of sales, marketing, and revenue for Aqua-Aston Hospitality. Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, Aqua-Aston is a leading hotel and resort management and marketing group, with a portfolio of nearly 50 properties in Hawaii and the continental United States.

As senior vice president, Skapinok will lead the marketing, sales, revenue management, and reservations initiatives for the company. In this role, he is also responsible for negotiating key contracts, customer acquisition and retention, and driving revenue for the company.

“Ed has been widely recognized for his accomplishments as a sales and marketing leader with both global hotel operators and independent properties,” said Kelvin Bloom, president of Aqua-Aston Holdings.

“We are thrilled to welcome him to our team and look forward to seeing our business grow under his leadership.”

Prior to joining the company, Skapinok spent six years as vice president of sales and marketing at Hostmark Hospitality Group in Schaumburg, Illinois, where he oversaw a portfolio of 50 full- and select-service hotels, resorts, restaurants, and spas.

While there, he led efforts to recruit and develop top talent for the company’s diverse multi-brand portfolio, established new standards for pricing, and worked to continually improve the effectiveness of all promotional efforts.

Previously, Skapinok worked as vice president of national sales for boutique hotel operator Larkspur Hotels & Restaurants, where he directed sales for a portfolio of 23 lifestyle boutique and upscale extended stay hotels in top markets, including San Francisco, Manhattan Beach, Seattle, Portland, and Silicon Valley.

In addition, he has held senior positions overseeing sales and marketing for Sheraton Hotels and InterContinental Hotels Group in his home state of California, where he earned his M.B.A. in business strategy and management at the University of California, Davis.

Skapinok currently serves as chairman of the sales advisory board for Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI).

Six Senses Laamu Appoints Dr. Jitendra Varshney as Spa Director

Six Senses Laamu Appoints Dr. Jitendra Varshney as Spa Director

Six Senses Laamu is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jitendra Varshney as spa director. Six Senses Spa Laamu features four uniquely designed couple’s treatment nests, two secluded couple treatment champas plus two champas for Ayurveda and one for Thai massage.

Along with the signature Six Senses treatments, locally inspired and Ayurvedic massages are also available. Guests can opt for wellness classes such as Mindfulness Meditation, Pranayama and Aerial Yoga or for tailor-made Integrated Wellness programs.

Doctor Jitendra (or Dr. J) joined Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives as a wellness practitioner and spa manager in June 2015 and was promoted to spa director in June 2017. In this role, Dr. Jitendra is overseeing the Six Senses Spa’s daily operations, the Integrated Wellness programs and the Visiting Practitioner programs.

With his holistic approach to wellness and people-driven personality, Dr. Jitendra believes in spending time with guests to help them understand the real meaning of balance and how to achieve it and leading them on the path of wellbeing.

Dr J. is a highly motivated postgraduate in Ayurvedic medicine and certified Yoga and Reiki master, with extensive experience in both the hospitality and the health industry. He specializes in Ayurvedic and Integrated Wellness consultations, guest treatment plans and Reiki therapies.

He has spent the past 11 years in India managing spas and wellness centers, such as Leo Juventa Medi Spa, Three Graces by Amatraa Spa and Ananda in the Himalayas. During the past few years he has been focusing on lifestyle consultations, therapeutic yoga and nutritional advice.

Marteyne van Well, general manager of Six Senses Laamu said, “”We are very happy to have Dr. J leading Six Senses Laamu Spa team.

“His commitment towards our core value of Pioneering Wellness along with his extensive experience and skills, he drives inspiration for our guests to lead a healthier lifestyle and at the same time offers them a unique Spa experience.”

Tjapukai promotes Traditional Owner to senior role

Shirley Hollingsworth

Djabugay descendant Shirley Hollingsworth of the Buluwai Clan has been appointed Tjapukai Deputy General Manager after two decades of working at the Aboriginal cultural park in Cairns.

Tjapukai General Manager Bryce Madgwick congratulated Hollingsworth who joined the tourism operator as a casual junior retail assistant in 1997 with the goal of acquiring the business knowledge necessary for a successful career as an artist.

“I couldn’t do what I do without Shirley. I never make a decision without referring to her first because the cultural and operational knowledge she holds is phenomenal,” Madgwick said.

“I hope to one day step aside for Shirley as the long-term goal is to hand the operation of Tjapukai over to the Traditional Owners.

“Appointed Performance and Retail Manager in June 2016, Shirley’s previous roles included Visitor Experience Manager, Guest Services Manager and Gallery Manager.

“She undertook her Certificate 1, 2 and 3 in Retail, a Certificate 4 in Frontline Management and a Diploma of Management through Tjapukai.

“In recent years, Shirley has undertaken conflict and resolution training and one-on-one management training which involved mentoring with an external coach brought on-site.

“Djabugay people have been the backbone of the Tjapukai business since it was launched in 1987 as a vehicle to share their culture and create employment for their people.

“Currently 72 per cent of our 63 staff are Indigenous and 11 of them work in management roles.”

Hollingsworth said she was motivated by the Djabugay elders who helped create Tjapukai especially her late mother Ruth Hollingsworth who was born and grew up on Mona Mona Mission on the outskirts of Kuranda in the rainforest of Tropical North Queensland.

“My other inspiration has been my mother’s father Cecil Brim and her brothers and sisters as well as the extended families within the broader Djabugay community,” she said.

“It was their resilience, vision, wisdom, knowledge and guidance that encouraged me by saying it’s okay to be Aboriginal and to be proud of who we are as a people.

“Djabugay people have been the backbone of this business and it has helped preserve their connection to country, identity, language and culture in an evolving world.

“Working at Tjapukai gives you the opportunity to be proud of who you are as a people. I feel I have a responsibility to ensure we maintain this so Tjapukai is still around for future generations and continuing what our elders started.

“It is very important to understand and maintain the balance between business and culture to keep our mob engaged so I always include other Djabugay descendants in the workplace if any cultural issues arise.


“I am humbled to take on this senior role and look forward to the challenge of playing a part in re-establishing Tjapukai as the premier Indigenous cultural experience in Australia proudly sharing the rainforest culture of the Djabugay people with visitors from around the world.”


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