There's never been a better time to visit Down Under, as Goway recently showed the travel agent community in Toronto.
Yesterday afternoon (Aug. 21), Goway held its 2019 Downunder Corroboree, which allowed travel agents to network with 38 suppliers from Australia and New Zealand to learn more about the diverse product offerings (spoiler alert - it's not just about safari), as well as exclusive agent deals that are too good to miss.
"The focus is to train any of our travel agent consultants who are interested in specializing in Australia and New Zealand," explained Shirley Rourke, VP, South Pacific, Goway. "It's also a time for us to remind agents that Down Under is on everybody's bucket list, however as a dream destination, everybody always says that they'll wait, and 'do it some other day'. We want to remind people to take it off the bucket list, and put it on the 'to do' list."
Why it's time to go Down Under
There was a time, not so long ago, that a trip to Australia or New Zealand meant you'd be getting quite acquainted with the plane you sat down on. Flights were long and tiresome, and a direct flight out of Canada was unheard of.
Now, that's simply not the case, though those misconceptions sometimes still linger, Rourke explains.
In 2017, Air Canada launched its Vancouver to Melbourne service, marking the first-ever direct, non-stop flight from Canada to one of Australia's most popular cities. Air New Zealand also launched its inaugural flight between Auckland and Chicago via O'Hare International Airport back in December 2018. Chicago is a popular hub for Canadians heading Down Under who don't want to fly out of YVR.
"It's cheaper now than ever before, and there are great airfares and lift for getting down there," Rourke said. "Houston and San Francisco are also great connecting points, and we've also got Virgin, which has a great relationship with Air Canada, connecting through to L.A."
One thing travellers heading Down Under for the first time overlook, Rourke says, is the type of aircraft used.
"Because these are long-haul flights, these are larger, wide-bodied aircraft and they're very comfortable," she explains. "People tend to think of the charter aircraft and they get very scared about spending all those hours on an aircraft. "I always say, it's a couple of meals, a couple of movies, and a snooze, and you're there!"
Why not both?
Because it's quite literally an ocean away, those who make the trek to Australia and New Zealand often come Down Under with the mentality that they have to tackle both countries, in order to make the trip "count," Rourke explains.
"For many, Australia or New Zealand are once in a lifetime experiences, but it doesn't have to be done like that," Rourke said. "They maybe think that they need six weeks to see it all, so they wait until they're retired, but you can easily do a 10-day or a three-week package. All of our packages can be completely customized."
Australia and New Zealand don't always have to be packaged together; they can be sold as separate trips, which helps to alleviate some of the pressure for agents trying to create that "once in a lifetime, dream trip" that packs too many experiences in for the sake of their clients being able to say they did it all.
Similarly to the ways in which people used to travel all over Europe and see as many countries as they could, Australia was usually done in the same way.
"People are starting to go back and visit destinations [they've already seen] and take different regional trips, and that's the trend we're starting to see for Australia, and that's what we're reminding people to do," Rourke said. "It's OK to do the east coast of Australia the first time, and then go to the Outback the next time!"
According to Rourke, a trip to Sydney or the Great Barrier Reef continue to be favourites with the Canadian crowd, and the tour operator has many different packages that allow for just that, like the 10-day Melbourne, Sydney & Reef Explorer.
Any air or land booking an agent makes automatically earns them dollars on their Goway rewards card and the company also has their 'Passport to a free FAM' incentive; when an agent makes a booking within each of Goway's divisions, or six bookings, earns them a free spot on a Goway FAM.
Goway also has an exclusive offer for agents right now, letting them save more than $925 CAD on a trip Down Under. Three departure dates are available from September through December 2019.
For more information, visit www.goway.com.
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