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Helloworld Q&A: Three awards are better than one

Traveltalk speaks to a pair of Helloworld high flyers, who picked up two prestigious prizes at NTIA 2019 to go along with Helloworld’s other major gong.

Debbi Ashes (r) with her award


Who: Debbi Ashes, Helloworld Travel, Lane Cove, NSW

Award: Best Travel Agency Manager/Leisure Single Location


It obviously means a lot to win this award?  It means everything. It means I am doing my job correctly as a manager and that I’m teaching and looking after my staff. I’m obviously doing something right.


And to do it two years in a row?  The fact I won it last year as well is just amazing. Sometimes you doubt yourself: you wonder am I doing this right, should I change something, am I missing something? But I don’t think I am.


The NTIA evening is clearly important to the travel trade.  The evening is amazing and it is the best night of my life – apart from my daughter’s weddings!


What kind of support do you get from Helloworld?  Amazing support. I’ve been there 23 years now. If I need them I ask and they always come back straight away with the answers. 


Can you imagine not working in the travel industry?  Never. I’m passionate about it and getting clients to have these amazing experiences and the holidays they have dreamed of.

We have a lot of clients, both low-end and high-end, and many of them have saved a long time for their holiday. What I get the biggest buzz out of is when I call them when they are back from a holiday – and I personally call every client – to see how the whole trip went.

Just hearing their experiences and making an appointment to come in and go through it, is just amazing. And I learn – you never stop learning.


How about three in a row next year?  I want it desperately.


Laura Jago (r) speaking at NTIA


Who: Laura Jago, Helloworld Travel, Kotara, NSW

Award: Emirates Travel Consultant Scholarship


It looks like your win hasn’t quite sunk in yet?  I’m so excited and still a bit shaky. It was a lot of hard work, passion and dedication but I’m so grateful that that has paid off and I’m able to experience this.


What did the judges see that tipped it in your favour?  The main thing I focused on was my empathetic nature and how I use that in my role, but also my dedication and my passion towards my customers and towards our preferred suppliers.


What will the Scholarship mean to you professionally?  I really just figured that out tonight because it was quite broad when they were talking about it. I’m so excited to get to know Dubai in such a luxurious way but also the networking opportunities and getting to meet so many incredible people who are involved with both Emirates and Dubai Tourism.


Was it daunting getting the award in front of 1,300 people?  I cry at the drop of a hat so I was really expecting that but I held it in and my eyes are dry. Coming into travel, I’ve found my home here.


Making it a trifecta for the group, Helloworld Travel Mackay & Mt Pleasant also picked up the NTIA gong for Best Travel Agency Leisure - Multi Location


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Written by: Traveltalk Magazine

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