Skill up on all you need to know with bite sized travel news designed specifically to help you, the Travel Agent, be your best today and tomorrow.

1. Flight Centre, Helloworld OR Travellers Choice, which is the Best Travel Agency Group?

Mean Girls feature

Which is the ‘best’ agency group? Which is the ‘best’ corporate agency? Which is the ‘best’ online travel agency? Who is the ‘best’ consultant? AND who is the ‘best’ newbie?

The nominees for this year’s National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) are out, with a number of new nominees going head-to-head with a few classics.

Like for example, Flight Centre, Helloworld and Travellers Choice are battling it out for ‘best travel agency group (50 outlets or more)’; while Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin Australia fighting for the title ‘best domestic airline’.

Read on


2. Travel Agents are going all out to prove they’re ‘California Stars’

Bet Nasha from World Travellers in Hamilton never thought a screenshot of her California Star video would end up here, but that wig and those glasses were too good not to share.

The Kiwi Travel Agent is one of 90 consultants that have entered Visit California’s ‘STAR search’ to become the face of the tourist bureau in Australia and New Zealand.

The incentive, which commenced last month, requires Agents to create a 15-second video revealing their own top California travel tip.

Read on


3. Escape to paradise from $579 return

Dreaming of escaping to a French paradise? Here’s your chance to do it and save with Aircalin’s new ‘Escape to Paradise Sale’.

Flights to our closest South Pacific neighbour are on sale from tomorrow from just $579 return – including taxes.

In case you don’t know much about the little slice of paradise, it’s only two hours from Brisbane, less than three hours away from Sydney and less than four hours from Melbourne.

Read on


4. INCENTIVE: WIN a trip to Vegas & watch Cirque du Soleil for free


Can you hear the call? The roar of a man, sometimes a beast and sometimes a goofball. He stands impassively inside the shining, inviting canvass. Towering in the centre of this circus within a circus.

In other words!

Read on


5. Former ‘The Apprentice’ contestant joins Travel Counsellors

Travel Counsellors

Jim Eastwood has been appointed global sales director at Travel Counsellors, bringing with him a wealth of sales and management experience for an array of well-known brands across the globe.

He joins from Groupon, where he held a number of senior leadership roles, and was most recently the firm’s vice-president of sales for the UK and Ireland. In his five years at Groupon, he was instrumental in driving growth for the business, implementing and executing all aspects of sales strategies for leading countries in EMEA. He has a breadth of experience in global markets, having previously held positions across Europe as well as here in Australia and the US.

Jim also finished as runner-up on the seventh series of BBC reality show The Apprentice in 2011, with Lord Alan Sugar referring to him as ‘the world’s greatest salesman’.

In his new role, Jim will be responsible for driving Travel Counsellors’ leisure and corporate sales internationally, working across all areas of the company including marketing, business development and recruitment to identify opportunities for growth and improvement. He will also be working closely with the company’s Travel Counsellor franchisees to continue to improve the support it offers globally.


6. A&K appoints new Head of Product Strategy

A&K Sacred

Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) has appointed Alastair Scott in the role of Head of Product Strategy. A senior travel industry professional, Scott has 25 years’ experience in the industry predominantly in supply chain and operational management, most recently with Insider Journeys where he spent 14 years including four years based in Vietnam heading product development and the DMC side of the business.

Scott said: “I am delighted to join A&K. I have watched with admiration how the company has grown and diversified its business during a time where many others have failed to adapt to the market environment.”

“I am looking forward to making a significant contribution to A&K’s continuing success and to the next stages of the company’s evolution.”


7. Cebu Pacific & Tourism Philippines send Aussies on the ‘ultimate getaway’

Cebu Pacific competition Winner

Two Australians will have their dreams of experiencing the Philippines come true after winning Cebu Pacific and Tourism Philippines’ ‘Ultimate Philippine Getaway’ competition.

Hosted on Tourism Philippines’ Facebook page, the competition gave Australian travel enthusiasts the chance to win an adventure holiday in the Philippines. Sarah Gallagher, from Penshurst, NSW, was announced as the winner and will now be flown to the Philippines with her best friend, Lauren Cambitzi.

A passionate snorkeler, Sarah says she’s thrilled to have won and is most looking forward to fulfilling her dream of swimming with the whale sharks.

The prize includes return economy airfares from Sydney to Manila with Cebu Pacific, five nights’ accommodation, airport transfers, a daily meal allowance and all domestic inter-island flights.


8. Travel Agents turn to Isaac for royal assistance

Princess Cruises

Travel Agents are increasingly turning towards Princess Cruises’ online chat service called Isaac, which has now answered more than 84,000 queries since launching late 2015.

The service, named after Isaac from the long-running TV series ‘The Love Boat, is designed to give Agents access to assistance without interrupting their sales calls. They type in questions from clients and a Princess expert answers.

Princess Cruises Vice President Australia and New Zealand Stuart Allison said it was fantastic to see the service doing so well and the cruise line “couldn’t be happier with the award-winning service”.


9. British Airways says hello Adele! In VERY Britcool fashion.


How cool is this? 60 lucky Agents got see the phenomenal Adele concert in Sydney on Saturday night courtesy of British Airways and Visit Britain, whilst watching on from the indulged luxury of the Presidential Suite.

As a major sponsor of the Adele concert, British Airways also had a flight crew who’d just landed from Hong Kong get involved including two excited male pilots and three Flight Attendants.

Needless to say everyone had an incredible time (us included!) with Adele delivering a flawless performance to 95,000 gushing fans and the good times and chat flowing thanks to some wonderful British Airways hospitality. The special Hendricks Gin and Tonics, gourmet beef pies and Caramel wafers were especially delicious. Yum!

But the best bit? (Ahem, Adele aside) was the fun ride there and back to Olympic Park from Central on a London Double Decker bus! Aptly numbered ‘19’ (the name and age of Adele’s first album), this old Routemaster bus was headed for pop fandom instead of Clapham Junction this time – fuelled by Cabin crew serving up Tattinger Champagne with Adele playing all the way.

Well played British Airways, Well played!

Click here for more images.


10. Sydney gets a taste of Etihad Airways inflight chefs


Pic; Matt Leedham

Etihad Airways certainly know how to do things in style. As a major sponsor of the Taste of Sydney festival over the weekend in Centennial Park, the Abu Dhabi based airline hosted a very special cooking Master class with Etihad Airways Premium Cabin Class Inflight Chef Murray Reason and 14 lucky invitees.

The invitees, including Agents from Flight Centre in Brisbane got to work helping out with preparing and cooking a delicious ‘Seared scallops with mergeuz sausage, spiced carrot, buckwheat, hazelnut, prune and preserved lemon’ dish that the group then sat down to enjoy together.


Pic: Matt Leedham

KarryOn was of course there to catch all the action and sample some of the food – and we can tell you that it was out of this world! To think that Etihad actually has 100 classically trained Inflight chefs onboard their Premium cabin service cooking fresh, five-star restaurant cuisine in the sky is mind blowing.

Participating chefs at Taste also demonstrated their talents and abilities in a bid to be named a Taste the World winner throughout the weekend. Each dish in the competition was be judged by an independent panel including an Etihad Airways chef, Taste Festival expert and local food influencer.

The winner of the Taste the World competition from Sydney will compete in the global final at Taste of Abu Dhabi in November.

Read on to find out who won.

What are your thoughts on today’s travel news?