Hi everyone! It’s my first time bringing this weekly update to you – and there’s certainly been a lot happening.
The travel appointments carousel continued, with yesterday’s announcement that Tourism Tasmania Chief Marketing Officer Emma Terry has been named the South Australian Tourism Commission’s (SATC) new Chief Executive Officer. Terry will take on her new role early next year, after five years at Tourism Tasmania. It’s all change within the organisation where Intrepid’s Sarah Clark was announced as taking over as CEO last week.
Another major industry move saw the surprise resignation of Journey Beyond Chief Revenue Officer, Peter Egglestone. The respected Egglestone is taking a well-earned break and it will be intriguing to see where he turns up in the industry again after a bit of down-time.
Almost as common as a new industry appointment this year is a new ship heading to the Kimberley, with Ponant announcing Le Jacques-Cartier will join Le Laperouse in Western Australia’s sparsely settled north in 2024. Le Jacques-Cartier is Ponant’s newest Ponant Explorer vessel, with the move a huge commitment which will be overseen by the company’s new local chief Chris Hall. With burgeoning deployments, the coming Kimberley cruise seasons are beginning to look a little crowded.
One of the cruise lines joining Ponant in the Kimberley will be Swan Hellenic, which doubled down on the Australian market this week, announcing former local Dream Cruises Vice President Sales & Marketing Brigita Devries will lead the brand’s expansion Down Under.
In other news, Bonza Chief Commercial Officer Carly Povey answered some of the questions posed in this column last week when she reconfirmed travel advisors will play a key role in the airline’s distribution strategy. Povey told travelBulletin that Bonza will work with advisors, particularly those in the regional ports where it plans to operate, to define what their service fee will be – which will be music to the ears of many in the sector – but also confirmed it would not be a “traditional commission model”.
Service fees were also a hot topic for Express Travel Group chief Tom Manwaring, who chatted with travelBulletin about this subject earlier this week during what to all accounts appears to have been a very successful post-pandemic conference for the network. The longstanding relationship between airlines and travel advisors in Australia is, in the case of some carriers, clearly currently on life support so a model involving fee for service is increasingly vital.
Lastly, it was differing fortunes for certain corners of Australia’s outbound and inbound sectors this week. Travel at 60 received a renewed commitment from Seven West Media, which became the main shareholder of the agency’s parent company, baby boomer-focused brand Starts at 60 – at the same time seeing the departure of founder Rebecca Wilson.
The business’ successful capital raise will see Seven “focus on deepening its relationship with the over-60s audience through unique content, curated news and exclusive member deals”, doing so with Wendy Harch heading up the travel operation.
In sadder news, Tour East Australia, the inbound business once partly owned by Qantas Group, will cease operating at the end of the year. Tour East is currently owned by Japanese travel giant JTB, and informed clients and industry partners this week it had now ceased taking any new bookings or quotation requests. Citing the pandemic as a chief cause for the decision, Tour East said the resolution had not been made lightly, and committed to working with those holding a booking for next year.
The news is perhaps an unwelcome reminder that no matter how you view the pandemic from a medical standpoint, it is certainly not over from a fiscal standpoint.