TravelManagers reveals annual conference destinations for 2020 and 2021

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

Home-based travel agent network TravelManagers has chosen Hamilton Island and Christchurch as the next two destinations for its annual conference.

Announcing the destinations at the 2019 TravelManagers Conference at Crown Towers Perth on Sunday, executive general manager Michael Gazal said he had been wanting to take the annual event to Hamilton Island for a number of years.

“It is a great island. The Oatley family have absolutely changed that part of the world,” he told TravelManagers Conference attendees.

Hamilton Island only late last year completed a multi-million-dollar refit of its conferencing facilities.

TravelManagers will also host pre- and post-famils for agents with Whitsundays Tourism, showcasing various sites and attractions in the region, including Daydream Island, the new InterContinental Hotel and Airlie Beach.

Gazal said the decision to host the conference in Christchurch in 2021 – the first time it will be held in New Zealand – instead of next year was due to its new convention centre not opening until October 2020.

“Christchurch has gone through a massive amount of reconstruction – she’s not ready,” he said.

Michael Gazal at the 2019 TravelManagers Conference
Michael Gazal at the 2019 TravelManagers Conference

The Christchurch conference will comprise educational sessions, workshops, a tradeshow and community events. Local tourism operators will also have the chance to be involved in an activity afternoon and famil programs.

Loren Heaphy, general manager of destination and attraction at ChristchurchNZ, said: “We are delighted to partner with Tourism New Zealand and Christchurch International Airport to bring this conference to Christchurch, and it is a well-deserved endorsement for the future of tourism in our region.”

“Australia is a key international market and our city is ready to welcome Australian tourism buyers. We want to show off our innovative city and stunning region and ensure our travel partners and visitors have a memorable experience while here.”

Tourism New Zealand’s general manager for Australia, Andrew Waddel, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome the TravelManagers Conference to Aotearoa in 2021.

“Many Australians book their holidays with agents, so they’re an incredibly important audience for Tourism New Zealand.

“We see travel agents as key destination storytellers for New Zealand. Hosting this group of agents give us the opportunity to showcase our breath-taking landscapes, unforgettable experiences and warm and welcoming locals.”