May 24, 2016

Sure Travel Journey magazine Winter 2016

The Winter 2016 issue of our Sure Travel Journey magazine is now out! It’s a jam-packed issue bound to warm up your winter with some great travel ideas and inspiration.

Go big in Japan: Sarah Duff talks to robots, sips traditional tea and meditates in temples while in search of the old and new in Japan.

DIY adventure in the Seychelles: Will Bendix, associate editor of Sure Travel Journey, discovers it’s more affordable than you think.

Cheat the chill: Top 3 Western Cape hot springs

Don’t skype, fly! Why it pays to travel for business.

Pick up a copy of the Sure Travel Journey magazine at your nearest Sure Travel agency or in selected airport lounges. 

Our Sure Travel CEO, Vanya Lessing, shared a favourite travel memory in this issue’s CEO letter. Here’s what she had to say…

There's a world of sun and sand, full of
sky and far from land, where evening
breezes caress the shore like a gentle
comforting hand

Fragrant blossoms, honey bees, careless
laughter upon the breeze and lovers
fading to pools of deep purple
shadows among the trees

Listen to the ocean, echoes of a million
seashells, forever it's in motion, moving
to a rhythmic and unwritten music
that's played eternally

Listen to the Ocean, Nina & Frederick – 1960
(Nina Möller / Frederick Von Pallandt)

My grandmother used to play this song as she swayed to the music with a smile on her face, thinking of our next holiday to Durban.  Years later, I remembered the beautiful words of this familiar old song as I arrived in the Seychelles. I went on holiday with a group of friends, one of whom had spent time working there. We had the opportunity of meeting his local friends and experiencing the multi ethnic Seychelloise culture. We wore flowers in our hair and learnt to sega dance. I can fully relate to the “I Love Seychelles” campaign launched by their Tourism Board last year. For me, it truly was a love at first sight experience!

As island hoppers or bush trekkers, we must be responsible tourists. If the parks and reserves of Africa are to survive and thrive, they require the combined efforts of governments, investors, local communities and tourists, to work toward sustainable practices.  Cameron Ewart-Smith is a man with a mission to protect endangered species.  (See The 10 Great Parks of Africa, on page 45 of the magazine).

The earthquake that hit the southwestern city of Kumamoto-shi in Japan caused many travellers to seek facts relating to what causes an earthquake and whether it is safe to travel to Japan.  The Japanese archipelago is located in an area where several continental and oceanic plates meet. This is the cause of earthquakes and the presence of many volcanoes and hot springs across Japan. Centres of research have been established to study seismological activity and the government of Japan has enforced measures to make buildings more resistant to earthquakes in known disaster zones. Your Sure Travel consultant will provide you with updated travel warnings for all destinations, including Japan.

Tokyo is one of Richard Branson’s favorite cities. He has plans to build supersonic aircraft that could take you from New York to Tokyo in 1 hour. It currently takes more than 13 hours. If you’re an Olympics fan, it’s time to start planning for Japan 2020. In the article on Something Old, something New (page 27 of the magazine), Sarah Duff will inspire you to visit Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital.
My next BizTravel adventure is going to be on the railway track from Cape Town to Johannesburg. The idea of getting some work done on a choo-choo, watching the landscape go by, is very appealing.  You might want to try Premier Classe with the family (All Aboard with Richard Holmes, page 52)

No matter how big or small your next journey is, our Sure Travel consultants look forward to understanding your unique needs and providing you with amazing travel experience.

The pleasure is ours,

Vanya Lessing, Sure Travel CEO

Do you have a copy of the latest issue? You can win some wonderful prizes – check out page 52. 
Also, be sure to snap a pic of you somewhere cool with a Sure Travel Journey magazine, share it with us on social media and you could also win!

May 23, 2016

ASATA Awards Winner: Tomorrow’s Leader

Congratulations to Robyn Daneel-Spicer from Sure Stellenbosch Travel who took home the prestigious Tomorrow's Leader award at the ASATA Diners Club Awards 2016.

The Awards, held this weekend in Somerset West, are the Oscars of the South African travel industry. They strive to recognise those individuals who consistently exceed expectations, display great people skills, have strong travel knowledge, pay close attention to detail, offer superb client support and set exceptionally high standards.

Otto de Vries, CEO of ASATA, offered his "congratulations to all our very worthy winners and thank you to all those who took the time to nominate their colleagues, peers and employees.”

This is what they had to say about Robyn: “This nominee has the ability to analyse, create innovative solutions and lead in a way that ensures success; she can spot opportunities and ensure implementation. She takes the digital world seriously, keeps abreast of all developments that affect the future in general and travel specifically and is passionate about training the youth and assisting them to be leaders in the future.”

Tomorrow's Leader is one of only two special awards - congratulations Robyn for being a Sure Travel Leader!

Congratulations too to our Sure Travel finalists in this year’s awards and to all the 2016 winners.

Looking for an ASATA approved travel consultant? All Sure Travel agencies are members of ASATA – find your nearest Sure Travel agency here

May 20, 2016

10 Reasons to fly Qantas

Are you dreaming of or planning a trip to Australia, New Zealand or North America? Here are 10 reasons to choose to fly Qantas, the flag carrier airline of Australia, when you’re heading to any of these destinations…

Thinking of booking a Qantas flight? Here’s another reason – you could win R10 000! Check out our Sure Travel competition running until end May 2016

1. Regular flights

Qantas operates direct flights 6 times a week between Joburg and Sydney. There are daily flights during 27 June – 31 July 2016 and 14 Dec 2016 – 25 Jan 2017.

2. Connections within Australia

Qantas has the best domestic connections within Australia – they fly to over 55 towns and cities across the country.

3. Safety record

Qantas has been named the world’s safest airline for the third year in a row.

4. Stopover fares

Qantas offers special multi-stop fares which let you make 2 stops (one in each direction) within Australia. Conditions apply – ask your Sure Travel consultant about these fares for more info.

5. Heading to New Zealand?

Qantas lets you connect to New Zealand via Sydney and if transit is less than 8 hours, no Australian visa* is required.
* Visa regulations are subject to change at any time – check with Qantas and the Australian embassy before booking and travelling.

6. A foodie delight

Qantas is serious about food.  They're constantly innovating their food experience and economy passengers can now enjoy "tray-free" dining - meals arrive in custom-made boxes which mean faster food delivery and more space on your tray table. Economy passengers can also choose from an extended menu, enjoy 50% bigger meals and “continuous grazing” –more refreshments offered by the crew and a self-serve snack bar available throughout your flight. Neil Perry, an Australian chef, restaurateur, author and television presenter, consults with Qantas on their dining so you can really expect restaurant quality. There's also an award-winning beverage and wine selection that will please the most sophisticated South African palate. Read more about the Qantas food experience here.

Photo credit

7. Free reading material

Download the Qantas app with the Press Reader app and you’ll get access to thousands of magazines and newspapers from around the world. These can be downloaded 12 hours prior to departure so you’ll be all set when you arrive at the airport.

8. Generous baggage allowance 

Qantas’ International Baggage allowance in economy is 30kgs and in Premium Economy and Business is 40kgs.

9. Connect to North America

Most people, when planning a trip to North America, imagine flying via Europe or the Middle East. Do you know that you can also fly west to east? Hop on board Qantas and you could fly via Sydney to Dallas, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver (Canada), Honolulu (Hawaii) and Japan! Qantas often has special airfares on selected routes too so there’s a good chance you could save even more on your airfare.

The flying time is also good. See the example below:

Flying time Joburg-Los Angeles:
Qantas = 28h15 hrs
Airline “A”= 27h40 hrs
Airline “B”= 27-28 hrs
Airline “C”= 24h25

* Based on total flying time (incl. transit) Connections dependent.

10. They’re cool 

Sometimes it’s just nice to have some fun experimenting with innovation and creativity. Check out this video from earlier this year when Qantas raced their Boeing 737-800 aircraft against a Tesla Model S P90D electric car! More fun stories on the Qantas website here.

Photos credit (unless specified otherwise): Qantas Airways

Have you flown on Qantas? Comment below – we’d love to hear about your experience.

May 11, 2016

No changes to child visa rules... yet

Travelling in or out of South Africa with children? Make sure you go armed with all the right papers, because the new immigration regulations requiring unabridged birth certificates and other documentation are still in full force.

This is despite an announcement by the South African government last October that it would be relaxing the rules following recommendations by the Inter Ministerial Committee set up to assess the fallout of the controversial immigration regulations.

Many family holidays have been ruined by South Africa’s controversial immigration rules. Don’t let yours be – ask your Sure Travel consultant for the latest updates.

The new regulations are reported to have caused an almost 5% drop in foreign arrivals in 2015, while there was a 50% decline in the number of children travelling in and out of South Africa between June and December 2015, according to a report by the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa.

“The damage to our tourism industry – and to South Africa’s image in general – has been catastrophic,” says David Frost, chief executive of the South African Tourism Services Association, who recounts scenes of crying children and traumatised parents being turned away at airport check-in counters in South Africa and across the world.

The local tourism industry was therefore jubilant when, after months of intense lobbying, Cabinet announced it would be phasing in changes to the immigration regulations within “one to three months.” These were to include, among others, the allowing of visa applications by post in countries where there is no South African embassy and the requirement for an “unabridged birth certificate” to be changed to “birth certificate containing parental details.”

But six months later there has been little meaningful change to the regulations, which Frost says could be amended “with the stroke of a pen.”

Repeated attempts to gain comment from the Department of Home Affairs on the reasons for the delay in implementation have failed.

Meanwhile, an average of around 40 people are being turned away at airports every day due to the stringent regulations, according to Frost. “And that’s not counting the hundreds or thousands of people who look at these regulations and decide it’s all too much hassle to come to South Africa, they’d rather go elsewhere. It’s an untenable, depressing situation.”

Article written for the Sure Travel Journey magazine by Melany Bendix. 

Pick up a copy of Sure Travel Journey in selected airport lounges and at your nearest Sure Travel agency.