The finalists in this year’s Australian Avis Travel Agent competition have been named. The six contestants, who come from across four different travel agency groups, will compete in what organisers have claimed is the most competitive year in the 14 year history of the scholarships.

The representatives come from American Express, Jetset Travelworld, Travelscene, CT Partners and, for the first time in the competition’s history, Flight Centre. The Avis Travel Agent Scholarships, which recognise outstanding displays of customer service through career development and international travel opportunities, have a total prize value of an estimated $40,000 AUD.

This year’s nominees include:

- Kelly Spinks, Jetset Travel Albany, Western Australia (JTG), Marica Salpietro, Globetrotter Corporate Travel, Victoria (CT Partners), Nigel Rodighiero, Phil Hoffmann Travel, South Australia (TSAX), Louise Brown, Spencer Travel, New South Wales (TSAX), Leanne Downie, Spencer Travel, New South Wales (TSAX) and Paul Mirabito, FCm Travel Solutions, New South Wales (Flight Centre).

Commenting on the awards, Russell Butler, the Avis Travel Industry Manager, said the incentive provided by the growing educational component of the program had encouraged unprecedented levels of interest, adding that consultants from across Australia had made applications, backed by both corporate networks and leisure industries. The upshot, he said, was an exceptional range of diverse and strongly talented finalists.

The six finalists will appear at the National Travel Industry Awards in Sydney on July 10, then in front of the Avis Travel Agents Advisory Board on August 5. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner at the Four Seasons in Sydney that night.