Destinations

What Aussie travel professionals learnt at the Rendez-vous in New Caledonia

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

New Caledonia Tourism has welcomed more than 100 travel professionals from Australia, New Zealand and around the world for its annual Rendez-vous in New Caledonia workshop.

Marking its fifth birthday as an annual rendez-vous, this year’s event was hosted in Bourail on the West Coast of New Caledonia to the tune of 122 travel professionals, including agents and wholesalers, who were largely visiting from Oceania.

“New Caledonia is an island really different from others in the South Pacific,” New Caledonia Tourism general manager Jean-Marc Mocellin told attendees. “There is fantastic potential in New Caledonia.”

Hosted all day yesterday by New Caledonia Tourism at the Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Spa & Resort, the event was an opportunity for agents and wholesalers to meet local suppliers from across the nation.

Among those in attendance was Jessica Quinlan, senior sales manager at TripAdvisor South Pacific, who shared her experiences of the day.

“I really enjoyed the workshop today,” she said. “I met mostly with the regional tourism officers and learnt about how they sell the destination, and about all of the experiences and hotels in the regions, which I thought was really inspiring.

“I met with every region, so now I have a good idea and understanding of New Caledonia as a destination.”

The workshop serves as a key event in the calendar for foreign tourism professionals to help boost the destination’s visibility and attractiveness internationally.

Here’s what a few other travel professionals had to say about it:

“We started six years ago and we have seen a constant increase in bookings to New Caledonia,” New Caledonia Voyages product and marketing manager Jeremie Jezequel said, who has been attending the workshop since it started five years ago.

“It was great to catch up with suppliers that we already know … because we don’t really have the opportunity to hear about updates.”

Flight Centre product manager Tom Gallagher found the workshop to be invaluable.

“Being able to discuss the destination with suppliers face-to-face allowed for much richer conversations in comparison to communicating over email, and being able to visit and experience hotels and excursions, has significantly increased my knowledge of New Caledonia,” he said.

“Today was an excellent opportunity for Oceania Expeditions to discuss the diversity of experiences on offer in New Caledonia for our customer base,” Oceania Expeditions director of marketing and product design Felicity Callanan said.

“I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the range of cultural and environmental tours on offer and the passion the suppliers displayed when discussing their products.

“For us, we place significant importance on sustainable, environmentally aware tourism that endeavours to ensure the benefits are felt by the local villages and community.

“I was pleased to hear many suppliers share similar values and some already had developed initiatives to protect the fragile ecosystem in which they operate.”

Expedia Group market manager Ben Massi said the workshop was really successful for the online travel giant.

“We have met some of our hotel partners and new and potential partners,” he said.

“The workshop is really important for Expedia to maintain our partnerships and to know more about New Cal and how we can have this destination more visible and attractive for our international travellers.

“I really enjoyed my time in New Caledonia. The island has a lot of character and is very different from the other islands. The pines, the brousse, the French and Kanak cultures make the island the gem of the Pacific.

“I think this island has a lot of potential and could become a great destination.”

To discover more about what New Caledonia has to offer in 2019, click here.

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