By Nahrain John @karryontravel20 Apr 2017We all know someone that wants to travel to South America and it looks like this year may be they year they actually do it – or at least book it. According to TravelManagers’ latest figures, emerging destinations have generously contributed to the company’s record breaking first quarter, which saw sales increase 13 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2016. Managing Director Michael Gazal attributed the spike to a number of reasons, but highlighted notable growth in leisure bookings to up and coming spots such as South America and Africa. Gazal explained that while traditional destinations – Asia, Europe, the Pacific and USA/Canada – experienced their own impressive growth, there was an obvious increase in demand for the two up and comers. “Consumer interest has renewed for Africa with increased competition and accessibility via Middle East gateways and the new airline routes to South America has definitely assisted to increase consumer awareness.” Michael Gazal, TravelManagers Managing Director The increase in South American bookings for TravelManagers is on trend with Australia’s blossoming fascination with the continent, which recently prompted Chile-based carrier, LATAM to launch direct flights between Melbourne and Santiago, Air New Zealand to commence services to Argentina and tour operators to expand their product into and around the destination. Meanwhile, TravelManagers’ first quarter figures also saw escorted tour bookings jump by 29 percent while cruises continued on the upward trend with an 18 percent increase. The period also saw Denise Dean, personal travel manager representative for Hendra in Queensland, achieve her personal best month commission since joining TravelManagers three years ago. “We’re expecting these sales figures to further cement our standing in the industry and we are also expecting more interest in our business model from travel agency owner and managers looking to lower their operating costs and improve their income,” Gazal added. “Travellers are aware of the success of the personal travel manager concept so we’re going to need more people to meet demand.” Is anyone you know going to South America or Africa this year? Other stories you may like Brazil’s e-visas go live TODAY for Australian travellers Brazil’s e-visas are coming & they’re SO CHEAP (a quarter of the current cost) The 2017 Avis Travel Agent Scholarship goes to… a TravelManager!