I HAD lunch with two of Australia’s hardworking travel agents the other day.

Apart from being delightful company, they were able to give me an up-to-date assessment of where their profession sits and the state of the industry as a whole.

I’m pleased to report that both said that they had “never been busier” and at times were actually unable to deal with inquiries due to the volume of work coming in.

That was the good news…

We also talked a lot about the bad days when COVID forced them to deal solely with refunds and the worries of consumers who thought they might lose considerable sums of money.

You could see that these mental scars were still fresh, but thankfully both had emerged somewhat stronger, wiser and (relatively) unscathed from the ghastly experience.

“It was a learning experience – not one we really ever want to go through again – but an experience nonetheless,” said one.

I’ve written before about the resilience of the travel industry and those that work within it. It was good to see that two such dedicated, skilled and caring individuals were reaping the rewards of their persistence and endurance.

And talking about lunch and travel (yes, tenuous link, I know!), you’ll detect a definite flavour to the May issue of Traveltalk.


A recent study revealed that six in 10 holidaymakers go abroad purely for food and that ‘Culinary Tourism’ is on the rise.

With that in mind, we’ve whipped up a few tasty stories to whet your appetite.

We look at the top 10 foodie capitals of the world, as chosen by Panache Cruises, who did the original research mentioned above.

There are tips on how to find the best food trails in both America and Canada, plus news on a new culinary package that puts you in the company of a top chef on a tour of Singapore.

Back home we’ve got a report on Kakadu’s premier Indigenous food and culture festival and for those inspired to get into the kitchen we’ve got a delicious recipe from Susan Jung’s new cookbook.

All these plus features on Austria, Vietnam, Tahiti, Bali…and Airlie Beach.

That’s all in the delicious, chocolate-flavoured May edition of Traveltalk. Bon appetit!

Inside this month

Enjoy the Best of the Breast

SUSAN JUNG has travelled all over the world and has tried and tested every fried chicken recipe you could ever wish for. We’ve got one of her favourite recipes from her new book, Kung Pao & Beyond.

Why This Could be Travel’s Next Hot Spot

As Australians look for new and more varied destinations, Vietnam is gaining in popularity. As JENNY ROWLAND discovered, your taste buds will definitely thank you for paying a visit.

10 Top Foodie Capitals of the World

Culinary travel is on the rise with recent research revealing six in 10 holidaymakers go abroad purely for food. The travel experts at luxury cruise agent Panache Cruises share their top foodie capitals of the world.

Hope Grows in the Eye of the Tiger

AFTER SO many years of stories about animals becoming endangered there is at last some good news coming out of India…and it’s also a bonus for the travel industry.

Gently With the Bentley on Epic Trips

Fancy an epic road trip in the comfort of a Bentley? We look at a new package of carefully curated ‘Extraordinary Journeys’, plus some glam Aussie getaways and the luxury yacht that’s about to hit the small screen.

Are You Missing Out on Austria?

Seasoned traveller DANA BROWN has visited more than 80 countries but was saving Austria for her later years. Here she reveals that was a mistake and why you shouldn’t wait to visit this exceptional destination.

Beach Baby Grows Up to Become Seaside Star

Described as the “Heart of the Great Barrier Reef”, The Whitsundays is enjoying record visitor numbers. JON UNDERWOOD takes a trip to Airlie Beach and finds a town offering sophistication by the sea.

Top Tips to Boost Your Travel Smarts

Want to be more spontaneous when it comes to booking your next holiday? Travel expert JARROD KRIS has six tips to help you become more instinctive when it comes to going away.