Trade Information


Imagine a world where like-minded business owners come together under cooperative principles and create a transparent business model that drives exceptional value for shareholders and suppliers alike.

Imagine a world where this transparent business model bucks the trend and sees the cheques being written to you, as opposed to you writing the cheques.


Imagine a world where you have the freedom to focus on delivering great products and services to your clients, unencumbered by “Head Office” politics and demands.


Imagine a world where your business is truly your business, and you once again have control.


A group of visionary travel business people imagined all of this back in 1999 when they formed FIRST Travel Group – a “Family of Independent Retailers Specialising in Travel”, a group that has now become unquestionably New Zealand’s leading independent travel alliance.

With core values of independence, partnership, profitability, passion, integrity and trust, FIRST now has 50 members, who collectively employ more than 700 staff, and have a combined annual turnover of over $500 million. This turnover enables the best deals to be negotiated with key suppliers around the world.



A core part of the FIRST Travel co-operative principles is each member has a shareholding in the Group itself. With the income generated in FIRST Head Office driven off support of key preferred suppliers, this shareholding is a powerful tool that drives support of these preferred suppliers to levels that are unprecedented in the New Zealand market. Suppliers enjoy working with FIRST – as they know that they are dealing with a Group that has influence, loyalty, commitment, and integrity; being a preferred supplier guarantees them a great level of support.



FIRST has a very lean, but strong management team, who are very well respected across the industry. Chief Executive Officer Malcolm MacLeod has held many senior executive positions in the industry in a career spanning 30 years and John Willson who is also a TAANZ Board member and has 33 years travel industry experience all in senior management.



FIRST are very focused on assisting our members to achieve their goals, with a particular emphasis on preferred supplier relationship management. Jacquie McLennan brings over 25 years of experience across many aspects of the travel industry to her role as Membership Manager.

Kylie Oyler has over 25 years in the industry and covering a cross-section of Wholesale, Corporate and Retail. Kylie has a wealth of knowledge to assist our members with any aspect of their business and is invaluable in her business development role.

Alison Mackie has been with FIRST since its inception, and her knowledge of the business and the model we operate is invaluable in her role as Supplier Administration Manager.



FIRST also has its own internal airfare consolidation unit, which provides airfare advice and ticketing services to members. Led by Paul Smith, this team has an enormous amount of experience in the industry, and provide members with the best advice on airfares. In an industry first, FIRST launched “FareFinder” in 2011 – an online based airfare search tool that displays both published and net fares enabling our members to provide their customers with the most up to date unbiased airfare information.

Express Tickets also licences the Quikticket software, Quikticket is an automated ticketing system that enables the user to issue tickets on the applicable IATA plate without human intervention. Ninety percent of all tickets issued by Express Tickets can be issued via Quikticket.


YOU Travel (Retail)

YOU Travel launched 01 April 2016 and provides the retail arm to the FTG Group. YOU Travel offers a variety of locations nationwide, where members provide a wealth of knowledge and experience within each store and work tirelessly on customising clients travel requirements. Their passion for the industry is infectious.


The Group’s internal wholesale unit, Lifestyle Holidays is also led by Paul Smith and continues to go from strength to strength. The 2008 launch of LARY – Lifestyle’s online agent booking tool has given FIRST members access to an enormous array of the most competitively priced product in the marketplace.

Preferred relationships with global wholesalers such as TourEast (Qantas Holidays), GTA and Hotelbeds are in place, and dynamic feeds of these companies’ rates and product are housed with LARY. It is this combination with the locally sourced direct contract rates that is giving FIRST members access to over 60,000 hotels and many more sightseeing products around the globe. 



First are proud to have developed key technical systems in-house, which are tailor-made solutions unique to our Members. In 2012, FIRST launched a new Extranet – FIN (First Information Network). FIN provides members with instant access to a huge range of information, from preferred supplier agreements and remuneration rates, information on campaigns and special deals, as well as a personalised performance Dashboard.

This dashboard provides owners with up to date information on both their own and the group’s performance against preferred supplier targets, enabling them to understand their income streams in detail.


For more details on FIRST, and to discuss the virtues of becoming a member, please confidentially contact Malcolm MacLeod on 09 524 1614 or John Willson on 09 524 1610