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CALLING ALL foodies, travel lovers, social butterflies and everyone in between. Sir Richard Branson is inviting you to dinner.

For one night only, Virgin Voyages is throwing open the gangplank to its newest ship, Resilient Lady, to give Aussies a taste of her six signature restaurants and onboard experience.

The night kicks off with a multi-course, Michelin-inspired culinary treat and live shows before attendees paint the town red during Virgin Voyages’ signature Scarlet Night.

The curated menus were designed by acclaimed chefs including New York City’s Brad Farmerie (of PUBLIC), along with Sohui Kim (of Gage & Tollner and Insa), who helped bring to life the world’s first Korean BBQ at sea.

The evenings take place on December 5 in Sydney and December 10 in Melbourne. Tickets are $99 per person – inclusive of food, cocktails and entertainment – with all proceeds benefiting Citizens of The Great Barrier Reef.

“We’ve been excited about coming to Australia for over a year now and the time has finally arrived,” said Nirmal Saverimuttu, Virgin Voyages’ Chief Executive Officer.

“Before we kick off our first sailing season, we wanted to find a way to give Aussies a little taste of what they can expect onboard.”

Guests will be able to journey to the vibrant streets of Mexico City on an immersive odyssey of local cuisine at Pink Agave or be transported to the classic steakhouses of the mid-20th century at The Wake.

Diners will be dazzled with daring, veggie-forward dishes at Razzle Dazzle or can try their hand at Korean BBQ grilling at Gunbae. Indulge on regionally inspired Italian food at Extra Virgin or expand their palette with an Insta-worthy, molecular gastronomy experience at The Test Kitchen.

On deck for the night is the first Australian performance of the acclaimed show, Persephone, a larger-than-life retelling of the classic Greek myth. The night concludes with the exclusive Scarlet Night party.

“Our hope is that they step aboard in Sydney and Melbourne, fall in love with the spaces, the food, the vibe and the undeniable energy Virgin Voyages creates, then paired with the incredible scenery of Australia and New Zealand, find their new favourite way to vacation.”




THE SEASON is barely underway but already records are being broken across the board.

October’s Cruise Month initiative generated record levels of engagement among consumers and the wider cruise community, helping to steer business towards travel agent members of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

“We’ve achieved more online impressions and reached more people than past campaigns, which has combined with huge amounts of cruise coverage in major media outlets,” said Joel Katz, CLIA Managing Director in Australasia.

“Importantly, we put a spotlight on the value of booking through an expert CLIA travel agent.

“As a result, visits to CLIA’s website surged by 162 per cent during October and more than 13,000 people used our search function to find a CLIA-certified agent in their local area.”

The initiative brought together cruise lines, travel agents and the wider CLIA community to celebrate the start of the summer cruise season and help inspire travellers to book their future cruise.

Under the theme ‘More Reasons to #LoveCruise’, the promotion included CLIA’s most extensive social media campaign yet, targeting cruise-friendly audiences on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn while encouraging travellers to book their next cruise via a CLIA-certified travel agent.

Mr Katz said excitement around cruising would continue through the coming summer, with around 70 ships scheduled to operate in Australasian waters between now and the end of April. 

“Cruising is more popular than ever and so we will continue to share the message that the best way to plan a cruise is by taking advantage of the specialist insight of a CLIA travel agent.”


A VISIONARY roadmap for the future of European tourism.

That’s how a new strategic planning document drawn up by the European Travel Commission (ETC) is being described.

The ESF 2030 reflects the ETC’s commitment to shaping a more sustainable and inclusive future for Europe’s tourism industry.

Tourism sustainability and the ESF were both keen topics for discussion at the inaugural Visit Europe & Britain 2024 Roadshow, designed to update travel agents on developments across various tourism bodies and Rail Europe.

Tourism Ireland revealed that sustainable travel would be a key focus in 2024 across different regions and in different seasons.

Activities available include staying at eco-friendly properties near eateries that hero locally sourced food, to a host of environmentally friendly interests including hiking, cycling, surfing and swimming.

Rail Europe announced they will be appointing a third Account Manager for Australasia in 2024 to help keep advisors informed, updated and upskilled with the brand’s expanding suite of products.

Agents can also expect more high-value incentives as well as further improvements to their user experience across the brand’s systems technology, customer service, payment options, training platforms and product updates.

Train travel was a key topic for VisitBritain, who highlighted the ease of rail connectivity across the country, while Switzerland Tourism also promoted the panoramic journeys available on the ‘Grand Train Tour of Switzerland’.

Tapping into the estimated 1.2 million Australians of Italian descent, the Italian National Tourist Board will promote ‘roots’ tourism in 2024, encouraging the Italian diaspora to visit smaller municipalities across the country.

This will encourage travellers to explore small villages and lesser-known regions to learn and help preserve local traditions and regional economies.

Gastronomy was on the mind of Visit Portugal with a Michelin guide dedicated to the country publishing in 2024. Austria will be the focal point of the European Capital of Culture in 2024, highlighting the picturesque Salzkammergut region.

Sport also got a mention with Monaco set to host three Grand Prix events, France is gearing up for the Summer Olympics while the 37th Americas Cup will take place in Spain.

• A train famil through one of Europe’s most picturesque countries is up for grabs in a new sales incentive for travel agents.

Rail Europe has just launched its latest promotion where top selling advisors of Swiss Travel Passes will be in for a chance to join a famil to Switzerland in early 2024.

To qualify, advisors must sell at least five Swiss Travel Passes by January 31. The top selling advisor of each month will also take home a special edition Bucherer watch.


A $25 GIFT card is up for grabs in a new travel agent incentive running throughout November.

The “Spring into Summer” promotion from Designer Journeys offers the reward for every qualified travel enquiry submitted.

“At Designer Journeys, we understand the value of a strong partnership with travel agents,” said Matt McCann, CEO of Designer Journeys.

“We believe that travel agents deserve to be rewarded for their dedication and hard work, and we are excited to offer them this opportunity to earn while delivering unforgettable travel experiences for their clients.”

Designer Journeys have a network of local experts in more than 70 countries around the world, creating bespoke travel experiences that are tailored to the clients’ exact requirements.

The company has a gallery of more than 2,000 sample itineraries to choose from, a dedicated travel concierge team to help tailor any itinerary, quick turn-around times, custom-designed itineraries, locked in AUD pricing and access to thousands of experiences.

The custom itineraries are then presented back to the agents branded with their agency details, making it look like they’ve done all the work themselves.

More than 40 countries heading Down Under in 2024

HUGE NEWS for one Australian state with a major international tourism conference heading Down Under next year.

The World Travel & Tourism Council have announced they are bringing the 2024 WTTC Global Summit to Oceania for the first time.

The most influential travel and tourism event in the calendar, the gathering was attended by more than 45 countries and 1,200 delegates at this year’s conference in Kigali, Rwanda.

At the end of the event, it was announced the 24th Global Summit will be taking place in Perth, in partnership with Tourism Western Australia.

“We are so excited to be heading ‘Down Under’ next year,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO.

“Western Australia and the beautiful city of Perth have always been popular destinations and we’re sure attendees will enjoy a real taste of quintessential Australian hospitality.”

Carolyn Turnbull, Tourism WA Managing Director, said hosting the Summit presents a significant opportunity for the state to demonstrate its growth ambition and investment opportunities to WTTC’s members, which includes the CEOs of key travel businesses such as airlines, global hotel operators and investors, and cruise lines.

“The effect of hosting this event goes far beyond the immediate economic impact generated from delegate spend; this event will open avenues for conversation around inbound trade and product investments, new inbound aviation routes and the development of high value tourism product business opportunities.

“Business delegates attending this event will be encouraged to extend their stay and explore further afield, so they can experience our dreamlike landscapes, world-class experiences, and expert tourism operators firsthand.”