MC side lock up
MC side lock up
Home Travel Industry News

STAY UP TO SPEED: Rolling Travel Industry Updates

With travel industry updates changing rapidly, we've set up a go-to hub for the latest industry news minus the hysteria and fake news.

With travel industry updates changing rapidly, we’ve set up a go-to hub for the latest industry news minus the hysteria and fake news.

We’ll be updating this story as news comes to hand so please keep checking back for all you need to know.

Got info or news to share from what you’re experiencing? Please email us at

Want to join our #togetherintravel initiative? Click here for more.

Friday, 3 April: Cruise ships in Australian waters stand off ends


Ship locations as of 2 April, 2020

The controversial stand-off between cruise ship companies, the New South Wales government and Border Force appears to be over, with two ships (Carnival Splendour & P&O Pacific Explorer) departing overnight and another five expected to leave after refuelling and restocking this weekend.

In a press update this morning, NSW Police commissioner Mick Fuller confirmed that two Carnival ships (P&O Pacific Explorer & Carnival Splendor) departed overnight and five Royal Caribbean ships will depart after refuelling and restocking over the weekend to head back to their ports of origin.

“We will continue to take anyone off those ships who requires NSW Health assistance. We’re waiting for an update in relation to the Ruby Princess and the condition of the crew. However, again, I can say that after their initial inquiry, no additional crew members needed to come off.”

On Wednesday, President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia, Sture Myrmell, said in a video announcement posted on YouTube that the order to force its flagship liner Pacific Explorer to set sail – despite Sydney being its home port was “a particularly sad and disappointing day.”

Today, Friday, 3 April, there are still six cruise ships off the coast of NSW and 19 across Australia.

Watch the full video here.

Friday, 3 April: 3700 people now in hotel quarantine in New South Wales alone

Intercontinental Sydney

Intercontinental Hotel, Sydney

Accoring to NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller, 3,700 people are in hotels in NSW in quarantine after flying back to Australia with a further 400 expected, today.

All of the people in quarantine have to stay in their allotted hotel for 14-days in self-isloation with all costs covered by state governments.

Friday 3 April: Australians on cruise ships in Florida to fly home


Holland America MS Zaandam

Thursday, 2 April: Carnival Australia President Sture Myrmell posts response to ships stand off

Thursday, 2 April: NSW extends lockdown laws to 90 days

In an ABC News update today, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has announced that the state’s tough coronavirus lockdown laws won’t be lifted for another 90 days. That means, extebnding it until the end of June.

Speaking to the ABC, Fuller said: “When is the turn-off period for these health orders? It is 90 days,”

“I certainly won’t be seeking an extension, people will have gotten the message by then, hopefully.”

Wednesday, 1 April: Air New Zealand Makes Tough Decision To Stand Down Australian Sales Team

Karry On - Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand has made the hard decision to stand down its entire Australia-based sales team until at least the end of May in hopes of preserving as many jobs as possible in the longterm. Around 50 employees are affected.

It comes after the COVID-19 pandemic saw Air New Zealand forced to cut its international network by 95 per cent.

In Australia, they have transitioned from an airline that operated a significant number of international flights to a minimal trans-Tasman service to enable essential travel and to keep air freight moving.

During the stand-down, employees will be able to draw down on annual and long service leave

You can read the full story here: Air New Zealand Makes Tough Decision To Stand Down Australian Sales Team

Wednesday, 1 April: Australians on Greg Mortimer cruise ship still stuck in South America


Hundreds of Australians travellers trapped in South America were flown home on charter flights this week, but some weren’t so lucky.

The Sydney Morning Herald has confirmed that Australians onboard the Greg Mortimer cruise ship Montevideo in Uruguay were barred from leaving their ship.

It comes after Greg Mortimer reported it had passengers with fever meaning that Uruguay authorities denied passengers permission to disembark.

Wednesday, 1 April: Royal Caribbean Group Extends Cruise with Confidence Policy

Karry On - Explorer Of The Seas

Royal Caribbean Group is extending its Cruise with Confidence cancellation policy through 1 September, 2020. The updated policy enhances planning flexibility by allowing cancellations up to 48 hours prior to sailing for any reason.

Guests will receive a full credit for their fare, usable on any future sailing of choice in 2020 or 2021.

“Guests are reacting positively to our Cruise with Confidence policy,” says company chairman and CEO Richard Fain, “because it enables them to make informed decisions and to better manage complicated travel plans during this unprecedented time of

The extension applies to both new and existing cruise bookings. In addition to easing concerns of booked guests, Fain says the policy enhances consumer confidence to schedule new bookings, knowing last-minute travel adjustments will incur no penalty.

Wednesday, 1 April: Six Qantas baggage handlers at Adelaide airport tested positive to COVID-19

Flights in and our of Adelaide were grounded yesterday after six Qantas baggage handlers tested positive to COVID-19.

Anyone who may have had contact with the six testing positive will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Passengers who traveller through Adelaide airport in last 24 hours should disinfect their luggage and monitor themselves for symptpms.

Tuesday 31 March: Cunard Announces Pause to Voyages Until May 15


Cunard has made the decision to take the preventative measure of extending the suspension of all voyages an extra month from April 11 up to and including May 15, 2020.

Cunard will continue to monitor government guidelines and travel restrictions in ports of call around the world, and this may mean there are further changes to the timing of when each of the ships returns to service.

Cunard guests who were due to sail between April 11 and May 15 will automatically receive a 125% Future Cruise Credit. This can be redeemed against any new booking, on any voyage sailing before the end of March 2022, providing the booking is made by the end of December 2021.

Tuesday 31 March: MSC extends fleet-wide suspension


MSC Cruises has decided to further extend the halting of all its new cruise departures fleet-wide through to 29 May.

The Company previously announced the temporary halting of all its ships globally through to 30 April.

MSC Cruises said they were “working tirelessly with all guests and their travel agents to address the impact of this necessary decision to their bookings on ships up to 29 May” and it is “genuinely sorry for the inconvenience that this will cause them”.

MSC Cruises is offering guests affected by this extraordinary measure the opportunity to transfer the full amount paid for their cancelled cruise plus an additional onboard credit benefit to a future cruise of their choice at any point through the end of 2021.

Tuesday 31 March: Princess Cruises’ Senior VP for Asia Pacific releases video about Ruby Princess

As Ruby Princess passengers consider legal action for the spread of COVID-19 on board the ship Princess Cruises’ Senior Vice President for Asia Pacific Stuart Allison has released the above video to try and set the record straight.

It comes after nearly 300 passengers who disembarked the ship in Sydney’s Circular Quay on Thursday, March 19, have tested positive for COVID-19.

Stuart Allison commented that Ruby Princess “fully reported its health status using the official federal and state maritime reporting system”.

“We take these obligations very seriously and strictly adhere to them,” he said.
“Tests for COVID-19 are not conducted on cruise ships and that’s part of the protocol that applies the world over. Shoreside public health authorities do the testing as part of their surveillance measures,” he said.

“Our guests could disembark Ruby Princess because that was the official health clearance process that existed at the time”.

Mon 30 March: A plea to the Prime Minister

Mon 30 March: Keeping the flavours of Thailand alive

The Tourism Authority of Thailand together with Chat Thai are hosting Virtual Cooking Classes to keep the flavours of Thailand alive during this difficult period.

The Thai cooking classes will be live-streamed on Facebook every Friday afternoon, at 4pm Sydney time.

Each recipe will then be shared with viewers and there will be a prize to be won each week.

Try the recipe out for yourself, take a photo of yourself with your creation and share to the Hug Thailand Facebook page for your chance to win a $50 Coles voucher.

Mon 30 March: Solomon Airlines scheduled International Passenger Flights Suspended

Effective immediately Solomon Airlines is suspending all scheduled international passenger services up to 31 May in support of Solomon Islands Government’s COVID–19 action plan.

Domestic services within the Solomon Islands are still operating and special charter and cargo services may still operate.

Mon 30 March: Authorities will now quarantine all international arrivals in Australia

Authorities are now quarantining all arrivals into Australian airports following concerns some travellers were refusing to follow the self-quarantine rules.

The defence force will oversee the operation, making sure arrivals are quarantined in set accommodation

Scott Morrison said these were the most important actions to be taking right now as international arrivals are where “the most critical concern is”.

Fri 27 March: Qatar expands flights to Australia to help get people home


Qatar Airways is expanding operations to Australia to help get people home amid the COVID-19 travel restrictions. It is currently one of the only major airlines still flying people home and from 29 March, will add an extra 48,000 seats to the market to help stranded passengers get back to Australia.

There will be an additional 28 frequencies to the main gateways of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane – marking the first time Qatar Airways has operated services to Brisbane.

Fri 27 March: New Zealand officially enters full lockdown mode

Under new rules from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand is now in full lockdown mode with the entire population (aside from essential workers) in self-isolation for the next month.

“Success won’t be instant. The benefit of what we do today won’t be felt for many days to come,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said during a moving address to her nation.

“You may not be at work, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a job. Your job is to save lives, and you can do that by staying home and breaking the chain”.

“Finally, if you have any questions about what you can or can’t do, and you’re looking for answers, apply a single principle. Act like you have COVID-19. Every move you make could be a risk to someone else. That is how we must all collectively think now.

“Remember to be calm, be kind, stay at home.”

Fri 27 March: Sydney Airport brings in temperature checks for all travellers

Sydney International airport is now conducting temperature checks on all incoming passengers.

Biosecurity staff and NSW health department nurses were previously only told to take the temperatures of passengers arriving from Covid-19 high-risk countries and randomly test others.

The new procedures have been causing tension at the airport with many complaining that the testing space is too small for all passengers, causing chaos to the social distancing rules.

Fri 27 March: Australia confirms chartered flights for Aussie travellers stranded in South America

Karry On - Intrepid Family

The Australian government has confirmed it will be chartering commercial flights to fly home Australians stranded in Peru and Uruguay.

It comes after Australians travelling in the region have complained about being abandoned by the government.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said flights would be departing Cusco and Lima in Peru and Montevideo in Uruguay “in the coming days”.

More than 260 standed Australian nationals and permanent residents are expected to be on a fully booked flight.

Thu 26 March: FCTG stands down more staff globally to protect long-term


Following earlier and rolling global contingency plans including a current share trading halt, the announcement of store closures and senior leadership salary cuts, FCTG has today announced a further raft of company-wide changes.

In a lengthy and detailed statement to the ASX this morning and a video update to staff, the group outlined its immediate ‘three-pronged’ plan to overcome the evolving challenges posed by the coronavirus.

Key changes announced include:

  • Temporarily standing down around 6,000 global support and sales roles or in some instances making them redundant.
  • Temporarily standing down 3800 people in sales and support roles in Australia in the near term.
  • Retaining up to 70% of its global workforce with the company saying they will assess the timing and nature of further reductions.
  • Short term opportunities available for impacted employees – access up to 10,000 roles in Australia.

Read the full story here.

Thu 26 March: Eiffel Tower lights up in solidarity with healthcare workers

France’s most famous monument lit up on Monday 23 March in a sparkling tribute to medical workers treating coronavirus patients.

In such a challenging time where medical staff are working tirelessly amid the coronavirus outbreak, Paris’ Eiffel Tower has put on a 10-minute tribute as a sign of solidarity with healthcare workers and everyone on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.

Furthermore, amid a lockdown, French residents organised on social media to applaud healthcare workers from their balconies, thanking doctors and nurses fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

Using the hashtags #OnApplaudit (We Applaud) and #TousAlaFenêtre (All at the Window), French people were asked to start applauding at 8pm and to continue doing so at the same time every night in a collective act of solidarity.

Merci to all the nurses and doctors all over the world!

Thu 26 March: Air New Zealand cuts international capacity by 95 per cent

Karry On - Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand is adjusting its international network to match demand and government travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline will operate a limited international network from 30 March to 31 May 2020 to enable essential travel and to keep air freight moving through key cargo corridors to North America and Asia.

Overall, international capacity will reduce by 95 per cent from pre-COVID-19 levels.

Domestic services into Auckland will be scheduled to allow travellers to connect onto Tasman and Pacific routes.

Click here for Air New Zealand’s dedicated COVID-19 information hub.

Thu 26 March: Vasco da Gama denied disembarkation at Fremantle

Vasco da Gama

Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ vessel Vasco da Gama which is carrying 798 Australians and 109 New Zealanders has been denied disembarkation at Fremantle.

According to Cruise & Maritime Voyages there are no health concerns among the passengers or crew, who have not left Vasco da Gama/Columbus since 14 March 2020 and have therefore not visited any destination since then.

On 27 March, it will be the passengers’ 13th day at sea. CMV’s 552 crew members will remain onboard.

Any friends, family or travel agents wishing to contact passengers on board should email so that CMV can ensure quick delivery of information to those travelling on Vasco da Gama.

Managing Director of Cruise & Maritime Voyages Australia Dean Brazier said “the Premier of Western Australia has decided to reverse the prior approvals granted to Cruise & Maritime Voyages to disembark passengers from Vasco da Gama in Fremantle on Friday 27 March”.

“On behalf of CMV, we would like to express our disappointment that the WA Premier did not inform us of this decision before sharing this news with the public, and that we were unable to inform our passengers before it appeared in media reports”.

“At this stage, we have been advised that all passengers with an Australian residency, will be transported to Rottnest Island to spend 14 days in self-isolation before being allowed to continue with their onwards journey”.

“At this time, passengers with an international residency will need to remain onboard Vasco da Gama until they can travel directly to their country of residence”.

“We are in the process of confirming details of the WA Premier’s decision, and the CMV team are working with the state and federal Australian Government, including Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Australian Border Force (ABF), as well as Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) to resolve this”.

Thu 26 March: Travel Counsellors Postpones 2020 Conference

Travel Counsellors has announced that its 2020 conference scheduled to be held in Perth in June has been postponed.

Regional Managing Director Kaylene Shuttlewood made the announcement earlier today saying, “With the current climate and ongoing uncertainty, regrettably, we have made the decision to postpone the Travel Counsellors Australia conference that was scheduled to take place in Perth”.

“The decision to postpone our conference was not taken lightly” she said.

“At this moment our focus on caring for people, their welfare and safety, has never felt more important. We have diligently followed the latest advice and measures announced by the Australian Government, and we must continue to take appropriate action. Without a doubt our industry is struggling through a very challenging time, and it is important that we support each other and our supplier partners to get through to the other side together.”

A new date for the conference will be announced just as soon as it is feasible.

Wed 25 March: P&O & Carnival extends voluntary suspension until 15 May

Carnival Spirit

Carnival Spirit

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, both P&O and Carnival Cruise Line have made the decision to take the preventative measure of extending its voluntary suspension of all Australian & NZ sailings, with a plan to resume operations on 15 May 2020.

The decision has been made after discussions with the Australian government and in support of management and containment efforts for the region.

Wed 25 March: Australians banned from going overseas from midday today

The Australian government raised its do not travel overseas warning one step further last night by banning all Australians from leaving the country to travel overseas.

There will be a small number of exceptions for people providing aid work in the Pacific, compassionate travel and essential work travel.

The ban comes into place at midday today.

Wed 25 March: Virgin Australia is cutting its domestic capacity by 90 per cent.


Virgin Australia has this morning confirmed via that ASX that it has been forced to suspend 90 per cent of its domestic flights as a result of states closing their borders.

This will see the airline stand down 8,000 of its 10,000 staff until at least May.

125 of its aircraft will be grounded.

“There has never been a travel environment in Australia as restricted as the one we see today and the extraordinary steps we’ve taken have been in response to the federal and state government’s latest travel advice,” Virgin Airways CEO Paul Scurrah said

Wed 25 March: Royal Caribbean Extends Global Suspension of Cruising

Karry On - Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean Cruises has decided to extend the suspension of sailings of its global fleet.

“We are working with our guests to address this disruption to their vacations, and we are genuinely sorry for their inconvenience. We are also working with our crew to sort out the issues this decision presents for them,” they said.

“We expect to return to service on May 12, 2020. Because of announced port closures, we expect to return to service for Alaska, Canada and New England sailings July 1, 2020”.

Tues 24 March: Virgin Lounges Closed


The Virgin Australia Group has announced a temporary closure of its lounges network in accordance with new social distancing laws implemented by the Australian Federal Government.

Virgin sincerely apologises to passengers affected and will continue to keep guests and Velocity members updated on when the lounges will re-open.

Click here for more information.

Tues 24 March: Norwegian Jewel passengers on their way home

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jewel, which arrived in Honolulu on Sunday, 22 March 2020, is scheduled to disembark guests beginning 23 March 2020, when they will board chartered flights home.

Despite there not being any confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 associated with the ship, all guests will undergo enhanced medical screening prior to disembarkation.

Approximately 1,000 crew members will remain aboard.

“We are so very thankful to our Hawaiian partners and friends, especially Governor David Ige, Attorney General Clare Connors and Hawaii Department of Transportation Director Jade Butay and Deputy Director Derek Chow for their assistance in developing a coordinated disembarkation plan which keeps both guests and Hawaii residents safe and secure,”

Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Norwegian Jewel was the last vessel in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet with guests aboard at sea. All ships will soon be berthed in ports around the world until the temporary sailing suspension is lifted.

Click here for more information.

Tues 24 March: Intrepid Travel suspends tours until 31 May

Nepal, Annapurna Basecamp

Nepal, Annapurna Basecamp

Intrepid Travel has suspended all tours until at least 31 May 2020.

Given the unprecedented impact of coronavirus (COVID-19, the company has updated its Booking Conditions and suspension policies to adapt to the constantly evolving nature of this pandemic. The most recent update took immediate effect on 14 March 2020.

Click here if you are a customer currently travelling.

If you have booked a tour departing between 16 March 2020 and 31 May 2020 you will receive a credit of 110% to put towards an alternative tour with a departure date before 30 April 2022 (excluding flights and insurance). This travel credit will be automatically applied to your Intrepid booking.

At this stage, all tours departing from 1 June 2020 will continue as planned. If there are changes, or if your trip is suspended, you will be notified directly by our customer care team or your travel agent.

If you choose to suspend your tour departing from 1 June 2020, you will receive a credit of monies paid to use towards an alternative tour with a departure date before 30 April 2022. For future travel full payment is due 21 days prior to the departure of your trip.

Click here for more information.

Tues 24 March: GFOB suspends travel until 30 June 2020


The Globus family of brands – consisting of Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways – has announced that it is voluntarily suspending travel, across all destinations, through to 30 June 2020.

For travellers affected by the suspension, the company has extended its Peace of Mind plan. The plan provides travellers booked on affected holidays from now through to 30 June 2020, the freedom to reschedule their holiday in 2020, 2021 or 2022, to any destination, on any brand, without incurring cancellation fees. The plan also offers travellers a credit of up to $300 per person, redeemable on future holidays.

GFOB has also announced a new policy offering travellers who have booked a Globus, Cosmos and Avalon Waterways holiday to see the Oberammergau Passion Play performances, which were scheduled to take place in 2020 and have been postponed until 2022, to be the first to reserve their spots for 2022 at the current price.

See individual links above for more information.

Tues 24 March: BridgeClimb Sydney Closed


BridgeClimb Sydney will be ceasing operations from close of business Monday 23 March 2020 for an, as yet, undefined period.

As the situation develops, and on advice from the State and Federal Governments, BridgeClimb Sydney will keep you updated in relation to when Climb operations will recommence. In the interim, the company requests that you remove all BridgeClimb product from sale, effective immediately.

Email for more all booking enquires:

Mon 23 March: Oberammergau postponed to 2022

Rolling Updates

The Oberammergau Passion Play has been postponed to 2022.

Please take a minute to watch this short video from Collette’s President, Jaclyn Leibl-Cote, for an important message addressing your concerns and giving some insight into the options being afforded to your clients.

Mon 23 March: UAE bans all passenger flights and airport transits



This week, the UAE will suspend all passenger flights into and out of the country, along with the transit of airline passengers.

This means Emirates and Etihad are suspected to be grounded for at least two weeks.

We will keep you updated when we know more…

Click here for Emirates and click here for Etihad

Mon 23 March: Helloworld makes emergency changes


In an ASX release this morning, Helloworld Travel Limited (HLO) has announced an additional range of actions in what the group says is “to mitigate the impact of the unprecedented and rapidly evolving COVID-19 landscape”.

As of Tuesday 24 March, at 5pm 1,300 or 65% of the Helloworld Group workforce across all countries will begin to be stood down.

As part of the changes, 275 redundancies will be made in various countries at an estimated cost to the business of AU$1.4 million.

The group says the stand-down of the workforce will continue for an initial period of ten weeks to 31 May.

READ MORE: Helloworld to stand down 65% of workforce and make emergency changes

Mon 23 March: SIA reduces capacity by 96%

Karry On - Singapore Air New Zealand

Singapore Airlines will be cutting 96% of the capacity that had been originally scheduled up to end-April, given the further tightening of border controls around the world over the last week to stem the Covid-19 outbreak.

This will result in the grounding of around 138 SIA and SilkAir aircraft, out of a total fleet of 147, amid the greatest challenge that the SIA Group has faced in its existence.

The Group’s low-cost unit Scoot will also suspend most of its network, resulting in the grounding of 47 of its fleet of 49 aircraft.

Click here for more information.

Mon 23 March: CATO goes into crisis planning

Brett Jardine CATO

CATO’s Managing Director, Brett Jardine.

The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) has held crisis planning talks with its members to support their short and long term needs.

“We need to take a unified approach and work together to ensure the survival of our industry so we are ready to help travellers with their plans when the timing is right.”

Brett Jardine, CATO MD

A three-point action plan resulted from the meeting, click here to read more.

Mon 23 March: “We will survive”

A wonderful production sent into us by Maggie Eddie of Helloworld.

“These are trying times in the travel and tourism industry. My hours have been cut down to 3 days a week starting next week. I’m trying to stay positive so made this music video to encourage my fellow travel friends and colleagues. WE WILL SURVIVE!!”
Maggie Eddie
“I got a very good reception on my personal Facebook so decided to upload it to YouTube last night,” She continued.
Thanks for lifting our spirits, Maggie!

Mon 23 March: SAA suspends all flights until 31 May 2020

South African Airways (SAA) has announced it has suspended all international and regional flights with immediate effect until 31 May 2020, in response to the government travel ban aimed at stopping the transmission of the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Tim Clyde-Smith, Regional General Manager – Asia Pacific, said “In response to measures taken by the South African government to deal with this pandemic and in the best interests of our crew, passengers and the public, SAA has decided to suspend all international flights until 31 May 2020.

“SAA deeply regrets the inconvenience this may cause for our industry partners and valued customers. Those with unused SAA tickets or partially unused SAA tickets are encouraged to make alternative arrangements to continue their travel at a later date on SAA. Customers who were trying to return to home are encouraged to contact their Embassy and/or travel insurance provider. “continued Clyde-Smith

Click here for more information.

Mon 23 March: Further global suspension of G Adventures tours

India - G Adventures - Change Maker

Bruce Poon Tip, founder G Adventures

G Adventures has taken the necessary decision to further suspend all tours departing up to and including May 31, 2020, with the exception of our May 29th ‘Norwegian Arctic Encompassed’ trip.

Any traveller booked and fully paid on a tour departing between March 16 and May 31, 2020 will receive a 110% travel credit on all booked tour services, including pre- and post-night accommodation and transfers, to be used on any tour departing up to two years from the end of the month of their tour’s suspension.

Travellers who haven’t yet made their final payment will have their lifetime deposit kept on file to put towards a future tour.

G Adventures is proactively notifying all travellers regarding their tour suspension and advising travellers with flight bookings to contact their insurance and air providers directly for details on compensation.

G Adventures would like to thank its global community of travellers, agents and partners around the world for their commitment in these times of uncertainty.

Travellers and agents with questions are asked to contact our sales team:
From Australia: 1 300 796 618

Click here for more information.

Mon 23 March: Showcasing the beauty of Africa

Thank you to Maggie from Helloworld for sharing this great music video, sure to pop a smile on your face.

“Thankfully I got back from a 6-day safari in Botswana on Sunday, 8 March, before travel restrictions and self-isolation rules had come into place.”

“My tour group (doing a Pangolin Photo Safari organised through The Africa Safari Co.) and I made a music video to “Africa” by Toto, which showcases the beauty of Africa (Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia). I figure those in the travel and tourism industry could use a smile.”

Mon 23 March: Agents soak up the Cook Islands before the last flight home

travel industry

Paul Morris – Flight Centre Chatswood, Eloise Moore Universal Traveller Indooroopilly, Olivia Gutensohn – Flight Centre Rose Bay, Afton Bockelberg – Port Lincoln Travel and Cruise, Natasha Melhuish – Holiday World Salamander Bay, Chelsea Doughman – Flight Centre Elwood, Kaylee Salzke – Helloworld Travel Revesby,
Cailtin Potts – Omniche Holidays, Matt Brookfield – Cook Islands Tourism, Chloe Vendt – Flight Centre St Kilda, David Evans – Universal Traveller Belconnen

A group of ten travel agents managed to enjoy a famil on the Cook Islands in the South Pacific, before border restrictions were put in place, soaking up six days of sunshine, whilst exploring both Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

The agents were hosted for six nights by Cook Islands Tourism sales ambassador, Matt Brookfield who guided the agents on a variety of island activities. Highlights on Rarotonga, the hub of the Cook Islands, included a Night Paddle Tour with Ariki Adventures snorkelling in Muri Lagoon and a cultural night out with Te Vara Nui’s over-water night show and buffet.

Expanding onto Aitutaki, the agents boarded Air Rarotonga for a scenic 45-minute flight from Rarotonga across to the outer island. Arriving with views over to the world’s most beautiful lagoon, agents continued out onto the waters of Aitutaki with Bishops Lagoon Cruise, for a full day exploring the outer motus including the famed One Foot Island.

Amid the COVID-19 global challenges, direct flights from Australia to the Cook Islands have been temporarily suspended. Cook Islands Tourism remains dedicated to the Australian travel trade and will continue with their travel agent hosting program once air access returns to normal. “At this time Cook Islands Tourism, would like to thank all the travel agents in Australia, for working so hard to see our bookings rescheduled vs refunded,” said Crystal Kranz, Marketing Manager Australia, Cook Islands Tourism.

Agents seeking trade support can reach out to Cook Islands Tourism at

Got info or news to share from what you’re experiencing?

Please email us at