By KarryOn @karryontravel06 Mar 2017Skill 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. Guess which country has the least powerful passport in the world? Did you guess an Arab speaking country? You’d be wrong. Did you guess a Middle Eastern country? Wrong again. Did you guess a country the US BEGAN invading over the last decade? Sorry, still wrong. You wouldn’t be completely to blame for believing those three things to be true for Afghanistan (if that was the country you guessed) because let’s be honest, most people associate Afghanistan with terrorism and we’re led to believe terrorists come from the Middle East and speak Arabic. The Central Asian country, where citizens speak Persian-based languages (SURPRISE although they both stem from Aramaic, Persian is totally different from Arabic), continues to suffer from the US invasion, which started in 2001 (well over 10 years ago) but this time it’s by having the least powerful passport around the world. Read on 2. Emirates cuts Agent commission in India ‘Volatile’ trading conditions has resulted in Emirates cutting Travel Agent commission in India from three percent to one percent, Business Standard reported. Coming into effect from 1 April this year, the airline’s Vice-President for India and Nepal, Essa Sulaiman Ahmad said that as the “world economy and industry changes” so too much the airline. “Our trade channel will continue to be our prime strategic distribution channel. However, volatility has become the new normal in global aviation.” KARRYON has contacted Emirates to see whether a similar change will be introduced in the local market. 3. Girl power! Air India sets a record with all-female crew Step aside Spice Girls, move to the back All Saints and Fifth Harmony… well, ya’ll never really had it so never mind. There’s a new group reppin’ that Girl Power and this time they’re doing it at 32,000-feet in the air. They’re Air India’s all-female crew who set a new world record this month by operating the first entirely female flight around the world. Read on 4. Jimmy Fallon loves Travel Agents & this is why… He may be a comedian but Jimmy Fallon wasn’t joking when he said he’s an avid fan of Travel Agents and the reason why will make you laugh (in an ‘I told you so’ way). Online bookers pay attention – it’s that they give him the good deals! Speaking to media at Orlando, the late night host admitted that he couldn’t even book his own trip if he tried because he’s been using consultants his whole life, Travel Market Report reported. Read on 5. All eyes on millennials as Intrepid hails a new chief Exciting changes are afoot once again at the Intrepid Group as the company named James Thornton as its new chief executive, a plan that has been on the bubble since splitting from its partnership with TUI 20 months ago. The company has reported record sales growth of 15% across the group since the two parted ways, making it the perfect time for a “smooth” transition, Thornton told KARRYON. “The Intrepid Group’s future will be more of an evolution than a revolution,” he said. Read on 6. Wendy Wu Tours sets up a dedicated special groups department Wendy Wu Tours is meeting demand for customised private group tours in Asia of 10 or more people with the establishment of a dedicated special groups department. Headed up by Sonia Orrego as the special groups manager, Sonia brings more than 10 years’ experience developing and managing groups, the MICE market, major events and occasions, sports group travel and private touring. Ms Orrego the department will assist Agents and clients in tailor-made product and unique itinerary requests. This expansion comes with the recent appointment of Ms Vara Glover as head of sales, responsible for the reservations and the BDM teams. 7. Blue Mountains sculpture exhibition recognised as a flagship tourism event Scenic World is pleased to announce that its iconic art exhibition, Sculpture at Scenic World 2017, has been recognised as a regional flagship event after receiving a $20,000 grant from the NSW Government’s 2017 Flagship Event Fund. Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said: “The Flagship Event Fund is a terrific NSW Government initiative and part of our renewed commitment to boost regional economies through tourism and major events.” Scenic World’s Head of Marketing & Events Amanda Byrne believes that since its inception in 2012, Sculpture at Scenic World has been changing the way people relate to sculpture by taking it out of the white walls of a gallery space and placing it in within the natural world of one Australia’s most iconic tourist attractions. The $20,000 grant will assist Sculpture at Scenic World in marketing the event to a broader audience, and will help boost visitation to the Blue Mountains for day trips and overnight stays. 8. G Adventures’ Great Expedition Sale is here G Adventures has discounted all of its Expedition itineraries, including Norway, Arctic and Antarctic trips as part of its new Great Expedition Sale. Through March, travellers can save 10 percent on Arctic Tours like the ‘Realm of the Polar Bear’, which offers close-up encounters with icebergs and glaciers as well as the opportunity for observing polar bears, seals and reindeer in their natural environment. There’s also 15 percent off Norway trips such as the 15-day ‘Norwegian Fjords & Arctic Discovery’, which include glacier explorations and tours through UNESCO-protected historical sites; and there’s 10 percent off Antarctic tours including the 11-day Antarctica Classic expedition during which guests can see huge icebergs, large whales, penguins and stunning landscapes. 9. INCENTIVE: $30,000 worth of wellness holidays up for grabs Health and Fitness Travel has launched its first Agent loyalty program and incentive, whereby the first 10 consultants to sell 10 international holidays with the operator will receive a five-night stay including an exclusive Fusion Fitness program. To register their interest Agents should head to the Health and Fitness Travel agent incentives page by clicking here, and submit their details. They’ll receive an email about the program and online brochure containing information about the company’s top 10 best-selling retreats and top tips to boost sales. The program runs from the 6 of March and closes when all places are filled or on the 31 of December 2017. Click here for more information. 10. Travellers Choice Agents Wu-ed in Maroochydore Travellers Choice agents on the Sunshine Coast gathered together in Maroochydore recently for some informal networking and a product update from Wendy Wu Tours. The event – organised by Travellers Choice BDM for Queensland and Northern NSW, Kim Tomlinson – took place at Ucango Travel & Cruise Centre’s agency in Maroochydore, with Wendy Wu Tours’ James McMillan providing details on the company’s latest destinations, along with its current agent incentives. Tomlinson described Travellers Choice consultants as a “close knit group” who see the benefits of catching up with their peers and receiving up-to-date production information. What are your thoughts on today’s travel news? Other stories you may like Emirates cuts flights to USA by 20% and blames Trump The Daily Travel Agent Bite: Tues 11 Apr Which airline did TripAdvisor users vote in as the ‘best’ worldwide?