Weekly wrap – 18th November

Associate Editor MYLES STEDMAN wraps the week in the travel industry.

Good morning – or perhaps afternoon if you were at one of last night’s National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) primers.

TravelBulletin, as well as our sister publications Travel Daily and Cruise Weekly, will bring you all the winners and excitement from the NTIAs tonight, both as it happens, and throughout next week in our daily issues.

This year, the travel industry’s night of nights kicked off with a networking function at InterContinental Melbourne, an IHG Hotel, open to all who made their way to Melbourne for tonight’s main event – the first time they have been held in the city since 2006.

Meanwhile, the NTIA finalists got together at one of the most popular golf clubs in the Victorian capital – no, not Royal Melbourne or Kingston Heath, or anywhere in the Sandbelt – but Holey Moley Golf Club on Little Bourke, where nominees enjoyed 27 holes of mini-golf, with plenty of mirth.

The events were a perfect taster for tonight’s NTIAs, however the Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA) was making plenty of other news this week too, as it on Friday exclusively revealed to TD the 10 newly appointed members of its ATAS Advisory Committee.

Brett Mitchell (Intrepid Travel), Chad Carey (Chimu Adventures), Deb Fox (Abercrombie & Kent), David Walker (Sno’n’Ski/ITC), Ken Morgan (ATAC), Scott Darlow (Link Travel Group), Steve Hui (iflyflat), Gina Norman (RAA Travel), Brett Dann (Hunter Travel Group) and Lauren Gray (1000 Mile Travel) will proudly oversee the Australian Travel Accreditation Scheme.

ATIA Chief Executive Officer Dean Long told tB the Association had made a “concerted effort to reflect the dynamic and multifaceted nature of the travel industry” with its Advisory Committee choices.

Meanwhile, Journey Beyond – not content to let ATIA hog the spotlight all week – launched its 2025 season, which includes a new itinerary for the Indian Pacific.

The new, extended service will operate year-round from January 2025, departing Perth, and stopping for immersive Off Train Experiences in Kalgoorlie, Cook, the Barossa Valley, Broken Hill, and the Blue Mountains, before reaching its final destination of Sydney.

The new itinerary also introduces a signature dining experience at Seppeltsfield, paired with local wines, which will be curated by Executive Chef Owen Andrews.

Journey Beyond’s other iconic train journeys, The Ghan and Great Southern, can also be booked, with a selection of holiday packages available and some exciting new pairings, connecting the train journeys with Outback Spirit’s (OS) all-inclusive, small-group tours.

Meanwhile, OS’s first release for 2025 is a selection of the small-group touring company’s most popular itineraries, which are fully inclusive of meals, beverages, attraction fees, and activities.

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef Safari Camp, also now open for 2025, provides guests with availability across both humpback and whale shark seasons.

It was a big week for Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) too, in more ways than one, with the company announcing a $6 billion TTV result for its first quarter – the second-strongest result in its history, behind 2019.

The impressive numbers did not stop Chief Executive Officer Graham Turner warning about a lack of air capacity between Australia and Europe via the Middle East.

“One of the biggest impediments to recovery so far has been a lack of airline capacity and competition; the good news is that conditions are improving gradually which is expected to benefit travellers as the year progresses,” he said.

The monster turnover saw FCTG’s Luxperience event this week act as somewhat of a victory lap for the company, particularly given the impressive contribution of its luxury brands to the result.

This year’s Luxperience is the first under FCTG ownership, and the first face-to-face event since 2019, with more than 120 travel professionals and 75 travel suppliers descending on ICC Sydney for the event.

Luxperience consisted of three jam-packed days of business meetings and social gatherings with the aim of driving luxury travel sales – which FCTG is clearly very well-versed on, if this week is anything to judge by.

It’s best I log off now, as I have a flight to pack for – I am one of very few lucky guests to be heading on a Malaysia Airlines famil tomorrow – another storyline to watch out for in tB and TD next week.

While this means I will unfortunately miss out on this year’s NTIAs, please say hello to my colleagues Adam Bishop, Damian Francis, Nicki Harford, Sean Harrigan, Anna Piper, and of course Bruce and Jenny Piper; the entire team will be ready and waiting to snap a photo and grab a sound bite from the night!

TB and our sister publications are once again proud to be the official media partner of the NTIAs, and the only place to bring you all the news first from the Australian travel industry.

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