Av is ben­e­fits tassie mta mem­ber

The lat­est Avis Travel Agent Schol­ar­ship win­ner Belinda van Tholen talks to Nathalie Craig about how this pres­ti­gious award is giv­ing a re­gional Tassie travel agent in­cred­i­ble in­dus­try ex­po­sure.

Travel Bulletin - - ISUES & TRENDS -

A lit­tle girl from Tassie doesn’t have those con­nec­tions with­out these sort of in­dus­try sup­port­ing awards’ Belinda van Tholen, MTA Avis Travel Agent Schol­ar­ship win­ner

Launce­s­ton-based MTA con­sul­tant Belinda van Tholen was “blown away” when her name was called as the win­ner of the 2015 Avis Travel Agent Schol­ar­ship in Novem­ber last year. “There’s an in­cred­i­ble photo of me with my head in my hands which just ex­plains ev­ery­thing I felt in that mo­ment,” she told trav­elbul­letin when speak­ing about scoop­ing the sought-af­ter prize val­ued at $45,000. Van Tholen re­ceived two re­turn Qan­tas busi­ness class tick­ets to New York with six nights in Man­hat­tan, a tour of the Avis World Head­quar­ters and a schol­ar­ship from South­ern Cross Univer­sity to­gether with 12 months pro­fes­sional coach­ing from Polo­nious Re­sources and more perks from CLIA Aus­trala­sia and AFTA. The award is given to an out­stand­ing travel agent who is se­lected through a de­tailed writ­ten ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore an­swer­ing ques­tions in front of a panel of judges about the way they run their busi­ness and deal with their clients. “To have the back­ing of that award means peo­ple recog­nise my name,” van Tholen smiles. “It’s a con­ver­sa­tion starter and an amaz­ing leg up”. For her, one of the most ex­cit­ing as­pects is serv­ing on the board of Avis this year with “in­dus­try greats”. The board dis­cusses the big is­sues af­fect­ing both Avis and the travel in­dus­try as a whole. “It’s my first ex­pe­ri­ence on a cor­po­rate board and it’s just amaz­ing to see how it works at that level,” she says. Van Tholen said the op­por­tu­nity wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble with­out the back­ing of her com­pany MTA which pro­vides her with the sup­port to work from her home in Tas­ma­nia. “I’d never even heard of the schol­ar­ship in my pre­vi­ous agency. It’s just a very for­ward think­ing agency”. The award isn’t the only ma­jor accolade the ris­ing star has re­ceived re­cently ei­ther. She was also se­lected as a fi­nal­ist for Vir­tu­oso Most In­no­va­tive Ad­vi­sor world­wide in 2015. “In July I wasn’t even go­ing to Vir­tu­oso Travel Week but the nom­i­na­tion landed in my in­box in June and it was in Au­gust. Sud­denly I’m go­ing to Ve­gas,” she re­calls. “A lit­tle girl from Tassie doesn’t have those con­nec­tions with­out these sort of in­dus­try sup­port­ing awards.” “You don’t usu­ally get the op­por­tu­nity to make these con­nec­tions liv­ing ru­rally”. She says the recog­ni­tion re­ally feels like “the start of some­thing” and is us­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties it brings to fur­ther her knowl­edge, con­nect, build re­la­tion­ships and see where it lands her.


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