In brief: catch up on the news from May 2021

TTC opens up DMC network

TTC opens up DMC network

The Travel Corporation (TTC) is one of the world’s largest travel companies, and last month reflected its determination to stay that way with the launch of an initiative opening up its global Destination Management Company network to other travel companies.

The project is being led by Trafalgar CEO Gavin Tollman, who now has the title of TTC President. The move reflects the likely reality of industry consolidation, and makes sense given the extensive resources available to TTC. “During the uncertainty of the pandemic, we spoke to a number of our partners who were looking for an operational solution with the quality, knowledge, infrastructure, consistency and financial resilience to deliver on the ground in a new-post pandemic world,” Tollman said.

“They were excited when they realised we could provide that solution across multiple destinations worldwide, affording them deeper access to the award-winning expertise and service for which our brands are well recognised,” he added.

The portfolio includes operations in Australia (AAT Kings), North America (Destination USA), Africa (Cullinan, Thompsons and Grosvenor Tours), Greece (Siva Travel), Scotland and Ireland (Brendan Vacations) and TTC’s operations right across Europe, the UK and eastern Mediterranean.

MEANWHILE TTC has also launched a new TTC Groups division, offering agents portfolio-wide access to over 450 trips in 70 countries to power their scheduled groups business.

AFTA seeks new CEO

THe Australian Federation of Travel Agents has launched a formal recruitement program for a new CEO, following the shock departure of incumbent Darren Rudd on 1 April. Someone with at least five years of travel industry experience is being sought, with key responsibilities including “creating a financially sustainable organisation focused on delivering value to all members”.

Applications close in early June, with AFTA Chairman Tom Manwaring telling travelBulletin a significant number of “excellent quality candidates” have already applied. “The Board is enthused by the response,” Manwaring added.

ACCC denies QF/JL

A JOINT Business Agreement proposed between Qantas and Japan Airlines was last month knocked back by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which cited “significant public detriments” that would likely flow from allowing the carriers to coordinate flights on the Australia-Japan route.

“Granting this authorisation would seem to eliminate any prospect of Qantas and Japan Airlines competing for passengers as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims.

The carriers vowed to respond to the draft ruling, with Qantas issuing a statement saying the international market was likely to look very different post-COVID. “It’s our job to convince the ACCC of the merits of this partnership ahead of their final determination,” QF said.

New Express Tickets

EXPRESS Travel Group has unveiled a newly branded “Express Tickets” platform for its member agents, based on the company’s previously announced partnership with the Russell Carstensen-led Aeronology travel technology provider.

The new platform offers a user-friendly point-and-click interface, allowing consultants to confidently shop and book tickets as well as complete reissues, undertake refunds and revalidate flights all in the same environment.

The system promises full NDC capability as well as the ability to implement extensive API connectivity to a range of suppliers including rail, with ETG CEO Tom Manwaring saying “we have taken the COVID period to implement best-in-class ticket and product solutions for our member agents and advisors. It’s becoming clear NDC access and flexibility will win the day, and Express Tickets is well-positioned to take full advantage,” he said.

TMC consolidation

THE corporate travel space is beginning to look slightly less crowded at the top end, after two significant acquisition deals announced over the last few weeks.

The biggest is an agreement between American Express Global Business Travel and Expedia, which will see the online giant’s corporate arm Egencia become part of GBT. The transaction will also see Expedia take a stake in the TMC, and includes a long-term commercial agreement between the organisations.

The other “clicks and bricks” deal is the acquisition of London-founded Reed and Mackay — which also incorporates the former Concierge Travel Group business in Australia — by online business travel and spend management platform TripActions. Both of the transactions highlight the key role technology is likely to play in managed business travel in the post-pandemic future.

Vale Mary Rossi

A TRUE doyenne of the Australian travel industry died last month. 95-year-old Mary Rossi had many achievements including founding Sydney-based Mary Rossi Travel, now run by one of her 10 children, Claudia Rossi Hudson. She was also a TV personality and hosted cruise/tours to Europe which opened the eyes of many Aussies to the joy of travel.


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