In brief: top stories from Jul 2021

ADVENTURE World goes global

Adventure World goes global

The Travel Corporation is making the most of the post-COVID travel boom which is starting to appear in much of the rest of the world, announcing that its Adventure World business would launch its extensive product range in the USA this month. The move is the outcome of a huge amount of work by Adventure World MD Neil Rodgers and his team, and was always on the cards even pre-pandemic. Rodgers told travelBulletin that TTC’s owners, the Tollman family, had suggested debuting the product in the USA, followed by Canada and then the UK.

Product for 2022/23 has now been loaded into reservation systems, with Rodgers hoping to capture some of the demand already being seen by sister brands such as Trafalgar and Uniworld in the USA. The genius move will also help keep Adventure World’s local res team busy, with the Genesys Global Contact Centre platform allowing the Australia-based team to manage overseas reservations.

Aeronology marches on with NDC

Australian travel technology platform Aeronology has begun rolling out NDC connections, with direct links going live with Qantas and Singapore Airlines last month and a number of other airlines expected to be added in the coming weeks. The company, which has been certified by IATA as one of a handful of Level 4 NDC Aggregators across the globe, claims to be “shaping the next paradigm of doing business for travel advisors,” with productivity through the simple point-and-click interface said to be about three times that of conventional travel industry booking systems.

“Aeronology provides the NDC ability to search, shop, book, ticket, rebook, reissue, revalidate, void and refund all NDC and GDS/NDC transactions on one screen,” said the company’s CEO Russell Carstensen.

While the cloud-based industry booking platform is easy for advisors to use, it’s also a key breakthrough for airlines which can utilise the NDC technology to showcase more than just a simple seat to a destination, allowing “significant product differentiation and customer offers,” he added.

CT Partners adds Magellan members

It’s been a big month for the CT Partners travel industry buying group, which has added two Victorian agencies to its ranks, as well as appointing a new General Manager. Matt Masson takes on the leadership role more than half a year since the untimely death of Ian Edwards, who had led the organisation since 2008 and sadly passed away just a few days before Christmas 2020. Masson’s career has included roles at Buffalo Tours, Trails of Indochina and McLachlan Travel Group, and he will be supported by Nicole Boyer who is CT Partners GM Supplier Partnerships.

News of his new role came just a few days after former Magellan Travel Group members from Victoria, Benalla Travel and where2travel, announced they were switching camps to CT just over three years after Magellan was acquired by Helloworld Travel Limited. Both said they were “motivated by the simplicity and transparency of the CT Partners business model, with 100% of supplier payments distributed through to members”.

New Fiji chief

Brent Hill, long-time Executive Director of Marketing for the South Australian Tourism Commission, has been named as the new CEO of Tourism Fiji, seven months after the departure of Matt Stoeckel who became head of Sunshine Coast Tourism in December 2020.

Hill will take a “critically important role not just for Fijian tourism, but for the Fijian economy,” according to the organisation’s Chairman, Fiji Airways CEO Andre Viljoen. “His proven expertise, experience and ideas for the industry’s revival are a perfect fit for Fiji’s current requirements,” he added, with the resumption of travel set to see Fiji market itself as an attractive, aspirational and safe destination.

Fijian Tourism Minister, Faiyaz Koya noted that post-COVID restoration of tourism activity will ensure jobs for hundreds of thousands of Fijians and help the revival of the country’s economy.

Brent Hill, CEO, Tourism Fiji

Takeovers on agenda

There’s been plenty of prospective merger and acquisition activity among some of Australia’s key listed travel and tourism businesses over the last month, with both Sydney Airport and hospitality and gaming giant Crown Limited in play.

Perhaps opportunistically, a private consortium of infrastructure investors lobbed a $8.25 per stapled security offer for SYD, valuing the airport at more than $22 billion. A week later the airport’s Board formally rejected the offer, saying it undervalues the “strategic and irreplaceable nature of Sydney Airport which is a world class airport and one of Australia’s most important infrastructure assets”.

A May bid for Crown Limited by rival Star Entertainment also fell over, but not for quite the same reason. Star had initially proposed a merger with Crown, seeking to create a combined $12 billion gambling behemoth, and had “limited engagement” with its target. However ongoing uncertainty due to investigations of Crown’s activities in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia had the “potential to materially impact the value of Crown,” according to Star, which said it remained open to exploring potential value enhancing opportunities.

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