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. Become a Latin America expert with Unique Latin America

Unique Latin Experience

Unique Latin America (formerly RUTAS) has launched a new monthly educational newsletter for Travel Agents keen to become Latin America experts.

Delivered straight to Agents’ emails, the monthly newsletter will focus on a different aspect of Latin America each month as well as provide basic travel and destination information as well as quirky insights and recommendations.

According to the group, the newsletter comes after finding room to improvement on general knowledge about the region among Australian consultants.

Contact [email protected] for more information on the newsletter and hands-on destination training currently offered in Chile, Peru and the Galapagos.


2. Heads up, a supplier has been removed from AFTA insolvency


AICS has advised that Darwin Airline SA flying under the brand name Adria Airways Switzerland, has been excluded from the Supplier Failure Benefit by reason of insolvency.

Any bookings accepted after 12 December 2017 12:01am will not be protected by AICS and members should not accept credit or debit card payments for this supplier.

AICS Members are requested to notify AICS of any bookings they have made with Darwin Airline SA flying under the brand name Adria Airways Switzerland for which travel has not been availed immediately via email to: [email protected]


3. Viking Cruises’ Christmas opening hours

Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises will be open for business during the holiday period.

From Wednesday 20 December until Tuesday 2 January, the Viking office opening hours will be 9.00am to 5.00pm AEDT. Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Closed on weekends.

The cruise line returns to regular opening hours of 9.00am to 6.00pm AEDT from Wednesday 3 January.


4. DriveAway supports Agents throughout peak seasons

DriveAway Holidays feature

DriveAway Holidays announced it will be providing Agents with last minute support during the Christmas and summer booking period.

National Sales Manager for DriveAway, Nathan Baber said, “this is in response to the overwhelming last minute requests from the Christmas period of 2016, where 23 percent of domestic cars were collected within seven days of booking”.

If you’re an agent in need of urgent assistance in securing a car hire booking between now and 25 January 2018, contact [email protected] and the self-drive specialists will do everything they can to assist. Alternatively call the reservations department on 1300 363 500.


5. Travellers Choice Pateman Award goes to…

Travellers Choice

Travellers Choice announced Ucango Travel & Cruise Centre as the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Brian Pateman Agency Award for Excellence, capping a remarkable year for the Sunshine Coast agency.

The annual Pateman Award recognises outstanding performance by a Travellers Choice member across a range of categories, including marketing strategy, preferred suppliers’ sales and support of fellow members.

Ucango Travel & Cruise Centre owner Dave Hulsman said he was “over the moon” to receive the honour 10 years after Travellers Choice took a chance on his agency.

As the 2017 Pateman recipient, the agency – which now operates stores in Maroochydore and Pelican Waters – receives a $3,000 service grant, which it can put towards any of Travellers Choice’s member services, including the group’s Digital Managed Services.


6. Club Med & Snowscene create a ski holiday experience in Sydney

Club Med

In Brisbane, iconic holiday operator Club Med opened its first Queensland in-store boutique and its eighth around Australia at Snowscene in Woolloongabba.

Club Med Australia & New Zealand’s General Manager Madeleine Clow-Suares said, “The concept of the In-Store boutique is one that is unique to Club Med, and offers partners a win-win opportunity to grow mutual business and exposure together”, continued Mrs Clow-Suares”.

The other major announcement was the launch of Snowscene’s exciting new Summer brand, Sunscene, a campaign that takes the “business to new places”.

Snowscene and its new Club Med instore boutique are located at 743 Stanley Street, Woolloongabba, Brisbane.


7. APT cruises to PNG in a Small Ship in 2018

Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 4.19.50 PM

APT has announced a brand new, one-off departure cruise to Papua New Guinea in partnership with Noble Caledonia.

Departing 2 October, 2018, hosted by APT CEO Steve Reynolds, this bespoke cruise is a unique opportunity to discover this exotic country in APT comfort.

Travelling aboard the luxury MS Caledonian Sky, guests will reach the remote coves of the Papua New Guinea’s islands in APT style. Recently awarded a ‘Star Performer – Top Ten’ rating in the 2018 Berlitz Cruise Guide Boutique Ship category, the small ship’s crew of 75 ensures personalised attention for the 110 passengers aboard.

Guest can rest assured that all the finer details of the cruise are catered to as all meals and beverages, gratuities, Wi-Fi and port charges are included in the price. Including a Superdeal, early booking saving of $1,000 per couple, prices start from $8995 per person, twin share.

Click here to check out the brochure.


8. Singapore Airlines & Air NZ boost cooperation

Air New Zealand

Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand will jointly launch a third daily flight between Singapore and Auckland from 28 October 2018, boosting capacity on the route by up to 40 per cent and adding more than 165,000 seats annually between the two cities.

The new service will operate daily during the peak Northern Winter season (28 October 2018 – 30 March 2019), and five times per week during the Northern Summer season (31 March 2019 – 26 October 2019). During peak months the airlines will jointly operate a total of 35 return services a week between Singapore and New Zealand, including Christchurch and Wellington flights.

Singapore Airlines will operate a mix of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777-300ERs, depending on the season. Air New Zealand will operate its new configuration 787-9 aircraft, offering more Premium Economy and Business Premier seats than its current 787-9 fleet.


9. Carnival names its new Vista-class ship…


Carnival Panorama has been chosen as the name of Carnival Cruise Line’s new 133,500-ton ship scheduled to debut in Autumn (US season) 2019.

It’s the third in the line’s highly successful Vista-class series, which are all named to reflect the connection between the vessels and the sea and highlighted by stunning indoor/outdoor spaces that create a truly unique seagoing vacation experience.

Carnival Panorama will join its sister ships – Carnival Vista, which entered service in 2016, and Carnival Horizon, set to debut April 2, 2018.  The three 3,954-passenger Vista-class ships are the largest ever constructed for Carnival Cruise Line.


10. Ray Martin & Weekend Sunrise head to Norfolk Island

Ray Martin

Celebrated Australian television journalist, Ray Martin will be one of the carriers of the baton in the Queen’s Baton Relay on Norfolk Island next Saturday (16 December).

Australian audiences will be able to watch the 5-time Gold Logie Award Winner and Norfolk Island Tourism Ambassador accepting and carrying the baton live on Channel 7’s Weekend Sunrise program on Saturday morning when James Tobin will be presenting weather crosses at various locations throughout the program from 7.00am – 10.00am.

James will also be joining a number of specially selected island residents participating in the Baton Relay which continues the journey onto its final destination and Opening Ceremony of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (GC2018) next April.

Having previously travelled to Norfolk island on assignments for 60 Minutes, Ray has been working with NIT for the past 18 months on a destination campaign promoting the diversity of experiences available at the popular short-haul holiday destination for Australians encompassing the unique culture and fascinating history of the island paradise.

Be sure to tune into Weekend Sunrise on Saturday for the Queen’s Baton Relay and on Sunday when Norfolk Island will again be the focus for the weather crosses.


11. Topdeck Travel closes out 2017 with another award win


Closing out 2017 on a high, Topdeck Travel has been named the Best Overall Escorted Adventure Holiday Company in the UK, receiving a gold award at a glamorous gala awards ceremony in London.

As a newcomer to the Escorted Adventure Holiday Company category for 2017, Topdeck is hugely excited to be awarded overall winner. Ben Ittensohn, APAC Regional Manager said, “Topdeck have had a huge 2017 and we are so excited to be awarded gold for the Best Adventure Holiday Company by BTA”.

Ben continues, “off the back of our win of Best Tour Operator – International at this years’ NTIA awards in June, we are closing out the year on a complete high. The BTA award shows our consistency across the globe while continuing to raise the bar to offer young travellers the opportunity to experience a truly life changing holiday”.

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