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

Read on for this week’s travel news that Travel Agents need to know:


1. CONGRATULATIONS to the winner of the Brand USA incentive

Zoe Meathrel

Brand USA Australia has revealed the winner of its popular trade incentive, Five Badge Fun.

Designed to celebrate the introduction of five new specialist badges on its official training site – the USA Discovery Program, Brand USA asked agents to complete all five new badges for the chance to win a two night Mystery Break™ package for two people.

Out of some 2,000 Agents, the lucky winner is Zoe Meathrel from The Infinity Group.


Click here to learn more about the USA Discovery Program.


2. CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of SureSave’s ’12 Days of Christmas’

Nathan Huynh, Ocean Travel Service with Samsung Galaxy Note 8

SureSave is delighted to announce the winners of its ‘12 Days of Christmas’ promotion who were drawn each business day from the 1st December, with the last winner selected yesterday.

Shanna Murray, helloworld Green Hills with iPhone 8

The winning consultants chose from 12 incredible prizes, including Dyson appliances, iPhones, Bose headphones, ghd hair tools, a GoPro camera plus many more.

Cameron Wright, TIOTN with iPhone 8

The winners are: Annette Christensen, Helloworld Travel Toowoomba Ridge; Shanna Murray, helloworld Green Hills; Madison Roberts, helloworld Shellharbour; Shelley Dodds, Travel By Design- Brighton East; Cameron Wright, TIOTN; Nathan Huynh, Ocean Travel Service; Karen Unsworth, Impact Organisation (Travel); Sandra Bucknell, Getaway Travel & Cruise; Jane Celis, Tripaway Cruise and Travel Elanora; Kim Beers, The Perfect Travel Group; Carmen Ward, Helloworld Gladstone Central; and Nick Lowes, Bunnik Tours.


3. AFTA announces new payment partner for AICS


The AFTA Insolvency Chargeback Scheme (AICS) has announced that SecurePay has become the newest payment partner for AICS through its Secure Online Payments service.

AFTA CEO Jayson Westbury said; “AICS is proud to welcome our newest payment partner SecurePay, who has unprecedented experience in providing safe and efficient payment products to all businesses in the Australian economy.

SecurePay General Manager, Michael Luddeni said SecurePay was delighted to partner with AFTA and its members to facilitate AICS payments.

““We understand that reliability, security and the ability to offer a broad range of payment options and features specific to a given travel agency’s own needs is important.  We are really excited about deepening our relationship with the Australian Travel Agency community and partnering with AFTA to add even more value to its members,” said Mr Luddeni.

Click here for more information on applying for AICS.


4. Pre-registration for Club Med’s 2019 sun & ski season opens

CM.Pre-Reg-18-19.Facebook Tile

Club Med has opened pre-registration for its 2019 snow and summer seasons, offering deals of up to 30 percent on the brand’s premium all-inclusive packages.

Pre-registering will give Aussie Agents and travellers the first chance to book Club Med’s Early Bird Offer from 31 January – the guaranteed best price Club Med will offer all year on its premium all- inclusive holiday packages, for departures between November 2018 – April 2019. Booking early will secure the resort and date of your clients’ choice before it sells out including peak times, your clients preferred room type, and a spot at the Kids Club for little ones. The early bird offer is limited and the discount will reduce as the resort fills, so it’s important to get those bookings in as soon as you can!

In addition, those who register will receive exclusive access to Club Med’s ‘Unlimited Offer’, only available between 31 January and 2 February, 2018. For three days, Club Med won’t change the offer or restrict what can be booked, meaning your guests can book any resort, any time with any room type and upgrades without restriction – and the offer price will never change!

Pre-registration will be available from now until 31 January 2018 for both Club Med ski and sun resorts.

Click here for more information.


5. Qatar Airways boosts capacity to Perth with A380

Qatar Airways A380

Qatar Airways will add an extra 300 seats on flights between Perth and Doha by moving its double-decker A380 aircraft on the route from 1 May 2018.

Qatar Airways Senior Manager Australasia, Mr. Adam Radwanski, said the move meets demand for travel between the two destinations, which has grown since the carrier commenced flying on the route in 2012.

The 517-seat capacity is spread across twin decks in a tri-class configuration of eight seats in First Class, 48 seats in Business Class and 461 seats in Economy Class, featuring world-class amenities and first rate services that set it apart from other aircraft and airlines.


6. Aranui Cruises’ inaugural Pitcairn Cruise sells out in weeks


Aranui Cruises has revealed that its first voyage to Pitcairn Island has sold out within weeks of going on sale in Australia and New Zealand.

The one-off 13-day roundtrip cruise from Papeete to Pitcairn Island was released as part of Aranui’s bumper 2019 cruise program at the end of November and Aranui’s Regional Representative Australia New Zealand Laurent Wong said the local allocation was exhausted within a few weeks.

It was the first time the Tahitian adventure cruise line offered a different itinerary from its regular roundtrip voyage from Papeete to the Marquesas, Society and Tuamotu islands, prompting the cruise line to consider more special voyages in the future.

Mr Wong said there were still cabins available on other 2019 cruises including a special 14-day voyage to the Marquesas Arts Festival departing December 14, 2019, from $6,975 for an ocean view Stateroom.


7. Changes to South African Airways’ domestic schedule

South African Airways A320

South African Airways (SAA) together with its low cost carrier Mango (JE) have revealed changes to flights schedules between key South African cities, which will mean greater efficiencies by better utilisation of aircraft and more competitive pricing offered to international visitors from Australia and New Zealand.

The revised schedule will take place from 15 January 2018 and will see Mango operate 132 return flights on the Johannesburg – Durban route and 116 return flights on the Johannesburg – Cape Town route each week. SAA will operate 68 return flights between Johannesburg and Durban and 162 return flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Members of Voyager, SAA’s frequent flyer program, will continue to earn Miles on Mango-operated flights if booked on the SAA code and will continue to enjoy the SAA baggage allowance, lounge access and a seamless transfer on to the regional and international network services of SAA. Voyager members can also spend their Miles on Mango-operated flights, by utilising Miles or a combination of Miles and a range of payment options.


8. Back-Roads Touring launches first app


 Back-Roads Touring have launched its first mobile app, available for free on Google Play and through the Apple App Store.

The Back-Roads Touring app has been designed for Back-Roads customers and tour leaders alike, allowing travelers to load passports, personal information and access a group chat to connect with fellow passengers before, during and after their trip.

Key features of the app include a pre-loaded tour itinerary available when Back-Roads customers enter their booking reference. The app also includes weather predictions and budget functionalities to ensure guests have all the essentials right at their fingertips. In addition, the app will provide an opportunity for passengers to supply direct feedback at the conclusion of their tour.


9. A&K wins two World Travel Awards

A&K 3

Abercrombie & Kent has won two prestigious World Travel Awards for the first time – World’s Leading Tour Operator 2017 and World’s Leading Luxury Safari Company 2017.

Considered “the Oscars of the travel industry” by the Wall Street Journal, winners are judged on their ability to satisfy visitor needs; undertake enterprising product expansion and development; foster innovation and creativity; and consistently deliver a superior product.

A&K has been voted Africa’s Leading Luxury Tour Operator for the past eight years but this is the first time that both of the top global awards have been won.


10. Dream Cruises takes Tiffany out to sea

Dream Cruises

Luxury and duty-free retail have been redefined on World Dream, the newest ship of Dream Cruises’ fleet, where guests can enjoy a privileged shopping experience at some of the most exclusive luxury outlets on board a cruise ship, including Asia’s first Tiffany & Co. and the first-ever Dior jewellery and watches boutiques at sea. In addition, guests can indulge in an exclusive Tiffany & Co. High Tea Set – the first tea set at sea of its kind and only available on World Dream.

With the introduction of new, innovative and engaging features, such as an interactive Scents & Spirits experience wall and MAKE UP BAR, shopping has been reinvented as a personalized journey of self-discovery and inspiration.

As a special treat, guests can also enjoy the acclaimed Tiffany & Co. High Tea Set exclusively on World Dream, which is also Tiffany’s first high tea at sea. A set menu showcasing exclusive Tiffany treats and authentic British delights will be served.

What are your thoughts on this week’s news? Share your thoughts below.