Today, Travel Leaders Network (TravelLeadersNetwork.com) has formally announced the destination and agenda for its 18th Annual International Summit, which will convene at The Langham Auckland in New Zealand, this March 17-19, 2017. As with all previous Summits, this year’s prestigious event will immerse its participants in VIP cultural and culinary experiences starting with the five-star host property and featuring extensive exploration of the host city, including a variety of pre- and post-meeting tours that will take Travel Leaders Network travel agents across the beautiful North Island and South Island from sponsor Travel2 and In-Country Partner Southern Crossings.
“Given New Zealand is the highest-ranked destination for affluent travelers interested in visiting the top destinations on the 2016 Global Peace Index, according to our Fall 2016 survey, it is very timely that we offer this exclusive opportunity for our agents to become better acquainted with this stunning gem of a destination,” said Roger E. Block, CTC, President of Travel Leaders Network. “The primary focus of our annual International Summit is to immerse Travel Leaders Network Members in a world-class destination. By attending this year’s International Summit, our Travel Leaders Network members will enjoy very unique and exclusive VIP experiences so that they can enhance their knowledge on New Zealand. In turn, they will be able to provide truly informed counsel to their customers, particularly their luxury clientele.”
This year’s International Summit in New Zealand will offer countless opportunities for Travel Leaders Network owners and managers to enjoy networking with their peers, headquarters executives and select supplier partners in an opening event at Ōrākei Marae in Auckland, where the people of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have had a presence for 400 years. The tribe has worked hard to maintain a presence in Auckland and preserve the history of these indigenous people. In this very special and unique evening hosted by Tourism New Zealand and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Travel Leaders Network Members will go through a traditional ceremony on sacred grounds of the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, including a ceremonial tree planting.
“This is a Marae that is not open to the public for tours, so this is a most extraordinary opportunity for our Travel Leaders Network Members to receive a formal welcome in New Zealand,” added Block.
Auckland – also known as Tamaki Herenga Waka: the gathering place of canoes – is especially desirable because of its harbors and natural beauty of its landscapes. Travel Leaders Network Members have several opportunities to explore this great city and the surrounding area through several tour options included, along with optional pre- and post-tour events.
The agenda for the 2017 Travel Leaders Network International Summit offers the following:
- Matakana Coast Wine Country: Attendees will have the opportunity to drive north of Auckland city, over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, to view the Waitemata Harbour and the North Shore areas before entering the tranquil countryside of the Rodney District. Upon arrival at Brick Bay Wines, they will enjoy a shared platter style lunch at the Brick Bay café overlooking the sculpture exhibits and vineyard. They will also participate in a guided tour of the sculpture trail with the Arts staff. It will be a unique outdoor gallery experience framed by native trees, majestic palms, abundant birdlife and green pastures.
- Hobbiton Day: Guests will have the opportunity to participate in a privately guided tour of Hobbiton, located in Matamata, to discover the real “Middle Earth,” which is a working sheep and beef farm most known as the picturesque private farmland that was the movie setting of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” film trilogies. The tour includes stops at Hobbit Holes, the Green Dragon Inn, The Mill, the double-arched bridge, and other structures and gardens from the films.
- Waitomo Glow-Worm Caves: Participants have an opportunity for a private tour of the famed Waitomo Glow-Worm Caves to marvel over the ancient underground labyrinth of limestone caves and grottos. This includes a stop at the magnificent “Cathedral,” a world-renowned cave.
- Yachting in the Viaduct Harbour: A private 90-minute sailing excursion aboard a 50-meter monohull sailing yacht – from the Viaduct Harbour out into the beautiful Auckland Harbour – will be an adventure for participants to remember.
- Auckland Museum and Brick Bay: This visit to the Auckland Museum, which stands in the Auckland Domain on the rim of an ancient volcano, will be a moment Travel Leaders Network attendees will want to share with their clientele interested in the region. From here there are spectacular views of the city and Waitemata Harbour. Participants will arrive prior to the museum opening to the public in order to enjoy a private tour of Maori Taonha and South Pacific artifacts. Here, they will also learn about the Aotearoa people and the remarkable flora and fauna.
- South Island Sea Sky & Road Adventure: Members have the opportunity to participate in an optional 6-day post-tour FAM in Christchurch and Queenstown. The opportunity is perfect for Active and Adventure Travel specialists. The tour includes views of glaciers and the mountains, as well as choices of a high-speed jet boating excursion or a slow-speed option, and a heli-glacier flight. There will be a stop at the national Kiwi Centre and Glacier Hot Pools, as well as overnight stays at Te Waonui Resort and St. Moritz in Queenstown.
- Spectacular Northern Adventure: Another post-tour FAM available to members entails a 6-day exploration of the best of the North Island, which includes a visit to Waitomo Caves, enjoying the cultural experiences of Rotorua; a tour of Te Puia – a place of Maori culture and a thermal wonderland – and exclusive tours of Taupo, Napier, and Wellington. In addition, there will be stops at the Agrodome Sheep Show and at Rainbow Springs Nature Park for a chance to marvel at the native flora and fauna.
- Skydive in Queenstown: Adventurous attendees who seek an adrenaline rush can partake in an optional 9,000-foot or 15,000-foot skydiving adventure with NZONE Skydive.
- Australia, Tahiti, Fiji, Cook Islands Extensions: A visit to New Zealand can be coupled with other stops in the South Pacific, including FIT booking options to Australia, Tahiti, Fiji or the Cook Islands for those wishing to extend their visit.
“Our sponsors are dedicated partners, who not only want to increase the value of the experience for our Travel Leaders Network Members, but are also committed to making every adventure a wonderful experience for our agents’ clients,” added Block.
In addition to Tourism New Zealand, ATEED, Travel2 and Southern Crossings, sponsors of the 2017 International Summit include: AIG Travel, Enterprise Holdings, Globus family of brands, Travelport and Viking Cruises.
Travel Leaders Network Members may register here for the 2017 International Summit in New Zealand. New Zealand joins an impressive roster of enchanting world cities that have hosted a Travel Leaders International Summit. Previous Summits have been mounted on every inhabited continent in the following cities: London (2000), Hong Kong (2001), Paris (2002), Barcelona (2003), Budapest (2004), Dublin (2005), Rome (2006), Dubai (2007), Berlin (2008), Santiago (2009), Jerusalem (2010), Sydney (2011), Dubrovnik (2012), Cape Town (2013), Istanbul (2014), Edinburgh (2015), and Shanghai (2016).
Travel agencies interested in learning more about the award-winning programs and diverse offerings that Travel Leaders Network offers agencies in leisure and luxury travel, business travel, destination weddings and honeymoon travel – as well as active and adventure travel – may visit TravelLeadersNetwork.com or call 877-404-4172. Led by the flagship Travel Leaders-branded Associates, the nearly 7,000 travel agencies of Travel Leaders Network combined enjoy more than $17 billion in annual sales volume.