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Avis Scholarship winner announced

Agent claims prestigious first prize

Avis Budget Group Pacific MD Kaye Ceille & Avis Scholarship winner Nakita Byrne, TravelManagers


NAKITA BYRNE from TravelManagers has been named the winner of the 2017 Avis Travel Agent Scholarship at a gala dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney.


Nakita beat off competition from fellow mobile travel consultants Amber Halleday, Brigitte Kempf and Kim Mason in the final. It was the first time four mobile consultants had filled the final spots in the 21-year history of the retail travel industry's most prestigious award.


“I feel really honoured and blessed to win this award," said Nakita.


This year’s Scholarship adopted a fresh focus on innovation, with judges looking for travel agents who were finding new or novel ways to deliver exceptional customer service. At the same time the celebrated award program was expanded to include New Zealand.


"We knew that travel agents on both sides of the Tasman were constantly looking for new ways to engage and serve their customers, but the creativity and level of innovation we encountered has exceeded our expectations," said Kaye Ceille, Managing Director Pacific Region, Avis Budget Group


"Whether conceiving and implementing a new approach, or re-imagining an established practice, each of our finalists has shown how their efforts have strengthened their connection with customers and generated tangible financial rewards for their businesses."


This year's finalists were:

  • Amber Halleday, MTA Travel (Mt Gambier, South Australia)
  • Brigitte Kempf, New Zealand Travel Brokers (Timaru, New Zealand)
  • Kim Mason, TravelManagers Australia (Sydney, New South Wales)
  • Nakita Byrne, TravelManagers Australia (Mount Arthur, New South Wales).


This year’s recipient will travel on Qantas to the United States, Europe or Asia next year to attend a Phocuswright conference, where they will hear from some of the travel industry’s most visionary leaders. The Scholarship's winner’s prize package also includes:


  • 12 months’ individual membership of Cruise Lines International Association Australasia (with exclusive access to the CLIA Accreditation Program and unlimited access to the CLIA Learning Academy) and free registration to attend Cruise360, the industry’s largest professional development event of the year, in Sydney in 2018
  • a Polonious Resources Personal Profile, Feedback Session and on-call personal/professional coaching for 12 months
  • full tuition for two units of a Graduate Certificate of Business degree from Australia's Southern Cross University (completed entirely online and over a two-year period, providing maximum flexibility and convenience)
  • two tickets to the 2018 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards (including return flights and overnight accommodation).


Written by: Jon Underwood
Published: 13 November 2016

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