TRISH Shepherd has stepped down as General Manager Australia and New Zealand of Ensemble Travel Group, to be replaced by Kayt Muyt.
Shepherd has led the Australian and New Zealand business since Ensemble made its move into the local market (TD 28 Oct 2014).
Her departure, which is effective immediately, comes just three weeks after the organisation’s Australasian members’ forum in Sydney (TD 04 Apr), attended by the group’s US-based Co-President, Libbie Rice.
Muyt steps into the role after three years as the organisation’s local Senior Director of Sales and Supplier Relations.
Rice acknowledged the contribution of Shepherd since she established Ensemble locally, saying her “knowledge and perseverance have been instrumental in the growing presence of Ensemble Travel Group in Australia”.
Ensemble describes itself as a “leading global member-owned international network of approximately 850 selected top-tier travel agencies that offers travellers special benefits and savings”.
Local members include South Australia’s Phil Hoffmann Travel and the TravelManagers network of home-based consultants, with representatives of both among 70 members at the recent forum.
According to Australian Securities and Investments Commission records, Shepherd remains a Director of Ensemble Australia Pty Ltd which is a wholly owned subsidiary of New York-based Ensemble Travel Inc.
Ensemble in North America also recently appointed David Harris to the newly created position of CEO (TD 18 Mar).
AMERICAN Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has today announced a significant expansion of its accommodation offering, boosting inventory available through its existing partnership with Booking.com.
The move gives companies and business travellers access to more than two million properties worldwide, available through GBT’s online booking tool (OBT).
Options include major chain hotels, independent properties, extended stay options and non-traditional lodging, while GBT said its relationships with major groups and third party travel partners provided clients access to loyalty member rates and additional rate discounts across a range of inventory sources.
“With the expansion of the accommodation program, they can now also access special Booking.com discounts at thousands of properties worldwide,” the firm said, including Booking.com “Genius” rates which offer savings of at least 10% on every booking.
Amex GBT Vice President of Global Supplier Relations Wesley Bergstrom said “we are determined to give clients and travellers access to the widest range of accommodation choices, with a vast range of properties and property types, all bookable through OBTs”.
Bergstrom said the expansion meant business travellers now had no reason to search for accommodation anywhere else.
“They can find everything they want in one place, and confirm their accommodation and transportation in a single booking.
“It means more choice and convenience for the traveller; more value and improved compliance for the client,” he said.
AUCKLAND Council has approved the construction of two temporary dolphin moorings at Auckland’s Queens Wharf, which will allow the port to cater for vessels of all types.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia said the move would allow the cruise industry to continue to grow.
“As the international gateway to New Zealand, Auckland’s current berthing restrictions are hampering cruise operations and threatening to limit economic growth both locally and in other regions,” CLIA Australasia MD Joel Katz said.
“The decision to increase the capacity of Queens Wharf will mean larger ships can safely berth in Auckland and make onward visits to ports all over the country, bringing enormous economic benefits.”
Katz noted that the solution planned for Queens Wharf was a relatively common technique used in ports around the world “and provides for an increase in capacity without having to extend the pier.
“It will allow Auckland to join other cities internationally in welcoming all types of cruise ships and ensures New Zealand’s cruise tourism sector continues to thrive while long-term facilities are developed.”
Queens Wharf is currently unable to accommodate cruise ships longer than 294m.
Vessels up to 330m in length are forced to berth at Princes Wharf, but this is dependent on wind conditions and does not involve a dedicated terminal.
Ships longer than 330m are unable to berth in Auckland and must anchor in Waitemata harbour and transfer pax & crew to shore aboard tender boats.
ALBATROSS Tours is offering a $250 Coles gift card for agents who book clients on its Italian Lakes & Tuscany trip departing 12 Aug.
Bookings must be paid in full before 21 May to qualify.
To find out more see page six of today’s issue of Travel Daily.
REGISTRATIONS are now open for Japan National Tourism Organization’s Japan Roadshow 2019, taking place next month in Melbourne, Sydney & Auckland.
Register HERE for the Melbourne event, which will be held on 20 May at the Intercontinental Melbourne The Rialto.
Click HERE to register for the Sydney event, which will take place on 21 May at the Hyatt Regency, and HERE for the Auckland session on 23 May at the Pullman Auckland.
JASON Starling has joined Leisure Group Travel as part of a significant expansion plan for the business, which is parent company to Discover Queensland, Hightide Holidays and Global Explorer.
Starling moves into his new role from Express Travel Group, which has also welcomed Leisure Group Travel as a new member of its Independent Travel Group.
In his new role Starling will develop the newly launched Global Explorer brand as the private equity-backed business expands into the international market.
THE Northern Territory Government has pledged an additional $62.8 million to boost tourism in the territory over the next two years.
Following the success of the Turbocharging Tourism campaign, the government has launched Turbo2, allocating an extra $27.7 million to promote the NT over the next two years, with an additional $20 million to be used for major events, and $15.1 million to improve visitor experiences.
EMIRATES is set to add six new destinations to its network, pending government approval of its Memorandum of Understanding with Indian carrier, SpiceJet.
The reciprocal codeshare deal would give Emirates access to Amritsar, Jaipur, Pune, Mangalore, Madurai and Calicut, while providing Emirates passengers with seamless domestic connections from the airline’s existing Indian gateways.
The agreement will also provide SpiceJet passengers with connectivity to Emirates flights.
THE international brand of Ctrip Group, Trip.com, has launched a new rewards program “TripPLUS”.
Trip.com members will be able to accumulate loyalty points called “Trip Coins” whenever they book flights and hotels or write a review on Trip.com platforms.
With the TripPLUS rewards program, members can now earn 25 Trip Coins for every US$100 spent on flight bookings, 80 Trip Coins for every US$100 spent on hotel bookings, and up to 120 Trip Coins for every hotel review.
Trip Coins can then be used to gain discounts on purchases.
“We want our customers to feel that they are making the right choice for their online travel needs,” said VP of Product & Marketing Lynn Qu.
FOUR Seasons Hotels and Resorts has unveiled plans for a new Four Seasons Private Jet that will take flight in early 2021.
A new A321LR aircraft, part of the Airbus NEO family, is being fully customised by Four Seasons.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts President Worldwide Hotel Operations Christian Clerc said the move built on the success of the Private Jet program.
“Our drive to continuously innovate and push the conventional limits of travel has led to this new opportunity to experience Four Seasons like never before,” Clerc said.
Key features include 48 custom seats and a new lounge area, which also becomes a space for interactive workshops with mixologists, chefs, and wellness experts – watch a video HERE.