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Helloworld celebrates first OMC in two years and reveals 2023 host destination

The first Helloworld Travel Owner Managers Conference since 2019 was held at The Star Complex and Convention Centre on the Gold Coast from April 29 to 1 May 2022 and has been declared a resounding success.

The first Helloworld Travel Owner Managers Conference since 2019 was held at The Star Complex and Convention Centre on the Gold Coast from April 29 to 1 May 2022 and has been declared a resounding success.

Attended by over 250 Helloworld Owner-Managers, the event was a welcome opportunity for members to reunite in person while getting updates from over 100 suppliers in a spectacular plenary format.

Not to mention informative and often entertaining presentations from key Helloworld people including a passionate opening and closing from Andrew Burnes AO, Chief Executive Officer, Helloworld Travel.

Andrew Burnes AO, Chief Executive Officer, Helloworld Travel

In addition to the event formalities, there were two evenings of big celebrations.

Starting with a welcome reception held at The Star hosted by major sponsors Tourism & Events Queensland and Virgin Australia, delegates enjoyed the hospitality and the chance to catch up with friends and colleagues they hadn’t seen in over two years.

The welcome event hosted by Tourism & Events Queensland and Virgin Australia
Saturday night’s Gala dinner sponsored by World Leading Cruise Lines
(L-R) Steve Brady General Manager Sales – Viva Holidays, Kim Gibson Helloworld Travel Blackwood, Jason Sacriz Trade Partnerships Manager – Australia, Penny Brand Senior Account Manager Gate 7

The Gala Dinner sponsored by World Leading Cruise Lines on the second night was a spectacular affair with fabulous food and flowing drinks topped off by a fantastic performance by the 100% Kylie Show that saw the room up on their feet dancing the night away.

The last day of the conference was bittersweet.

Exhausted from a hectic couple of days, attendees were looking forward to the final presentations, a ‘special presentation’ and the iconic closing speech which always precedes the announcement of where next year’s OMC will take place.

Drum roll please for the 2023 OMC destination… And the winner was…

Sunday Conference Day 2023 Announcement – Julie Primmer General Manager Branded and Associate Networks and Nic Cola Group General Manager – Retail

After a cultural performance by Auaha, brought by Tourism NZ and Air New Zealand to tell the story of Matariki, which left everyone with goosebumps, it came as little surprise to the room when Nic Cola, Group General Manager Retail and Julie Primmer, General Manager Branded and Associate Networks announced in unison that OMC 2023 will be held in… Auckland!

Not surprisingly, everyone was excited, especially the hosts for 2023.

Andrew Waddel, General Manager Tourism New Zealand, Australia said, “Being able to reconnect with Australian travel sellers in person this year has been a warming experience – especially seeing them excited about travel to New Zealand. We’re looking forward to welcoming our Helloworld whānau again next year, in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

“It’s great to be able to reignite the trans-Tasman relationship and make a positive step forward to continue building and supporting travel trade and industry.”

(L-R) Melissa Warren General Manager – Marketing Helloworld Travel Limited, Andrew Waddel General Manager Tourism New Zealand – Australia, Cinzia Burnes, Executive Director Helloworld Travel Limited, Paul McLean, Air New Zealand, General Manager Australia and Sarah Gerrand Partnerships Manager Helloworld Travel Limited

Meanwhile, Paul McLean, Air New Zealand, General Manager Australia said, “We couldn’t be more excited to be welcoming Helloworld managers and members to Auckland in 2023. Re-establishing these events allows us to connect in person which as we all know is so important in our industry.

“As our industry recovers there is no better place for our strategic partners to visit than Aotearoa where we are building back better together.”

An equally excited Auckland Convention Bureau Manager, Ken Pereira, said that Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland was thrilled to welcome the Owner Managers Conference and Helloworld for Business Travel Summit in 2023.

“Auckland has seen some exciting transformations over the past 12 months, with new dining, entertainment, and shopping precincts, along with several venue refurbishments and international hotels to add to our offering,” he said.  

“We are excited to share all of these and more with the Conference and Summit delegates, and are confident the new experiences, networks, friends and learnings will make for an unparalleled event in 2023.”

Yesterday, Helloworld Travel reported a 60 per cent rise in turnover from Australian and New Zealand sales in the January to March quarter, despite heavily impacted January sales due to the Omicron outbreak.