Bitter little brouhaha over in New Zealand, where the local travel agents association has decided to back an Australian awards ceremony over one started in its own country. “I think it is an insult to the NZ industry to include them as part of the AUS awards,” Adrian Caruso, founder of the New Zealand Travel Industry Awards, wrote in an email.

Four NZ categories have been included in this year’s Australia’s National Travel Industry Awards with the approval of the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand.

“They are both two very different industries operating in very different landscapes.

“Also why have Australian judges, judge an NZ business? The NZ Awards is judges by high profile NZ people who know the business scape in the NZ.”

Mr Caruso added: “It is insulting to the NZ travel industry to think that stapling these 4 categories to the back of the Australian NTIA brochure recognises the breadth and excellence of the NZ Travel Industry.”

New Zealand did not have a travel industry awards until Mr Caruso, an Australian, started them last year.

He achieved broad industry support, although put a couple of parties offside, including TAANZ, which did not support the event.

Nor did major agency group Flight Centre, an Australian owned company.

But Flight Centre NZ executive GM Mike Friend is now happy to support an Australian based event, run by the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, that recognises the NZ industry.

Mr Friend told Travel Daily yesterday: “We look forward to participating in an industry awards run by the relevant industry associations on a tried and tested voting and judging and run on a not for profit basis.”

But these awards are run to make a profit. It’s a major revenue earner for AFTA.

The difference is that the money goes to an industry lobby group rather than a private individual.

The National Travel Industry Awards are being held in Sydney on July 20.

Two months later the New Zealand Travel Industry Awards are being staged in Auckland on September 14.

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