Martin Keating – Managing Director
Born and brought up in the UK – I escaped to Australia when I was 21… on a working holiday and never went back! Coles Myer Ltd sponsored my application for residency but several years later I ended up living and working in Papua New Guinea. Back in Australia I undertook Commercial Pilot training but ended up flying a telephone and have done ever since. I have many passions and usually I am split between all of them – My family, France, England, Australia and Africa, helping people, great hotels, comfortable seats on great airlines, nice staterooms on awesome ships and great food throughout! This all sounds a bit contrived but I am what I am and inspite of (maybe because of) all of the above I’m never happier than when I’m playing with planes, wooden trains and railways with my young Son.
Michelle Keating – Director & Financial Controller
Born in Melbourne, grew up in the Riverland of South Australia on a vineyard, I completed my Bachelor of Business Degree with Deakin Uni by studying remotely whilst living in Berri and Mount Gambier. My studies towards Certified Practicing Accountant qualification then took place whilst studying remotely in Leigh Creek, Cairns and the Torres Strait (Mabuiag, Warraber, Poruma and Dauan). My first overseas holiday was to the USA and I have been fortunate to go back there since – I’ve even seen snow in the Grand Canyon twice! Other travel highlights include walking through the chateaus in the Loire Valley and driving through Merlin’s forest in Brittany in France. My Dad was born just north of Paris during WW2 of Slovenian parents and I have been fortunate enough to visit both the village where he was born and the village where his grandparents were born near Loz in Slovenia. My greatest achievement to date has definitely been my son who is already 5 years old!
Holger Homann – Director of Cruising
Over the years I have found my passion for cruising which includes now over 44 Vessels ranging from European barges, river cruises, and expedition ships through to ocean and mega liners. Travelling twice around the world and remote destinations does help to pass on information to my clients. I am lucky that my wife is also passionate about cruising and joins me on my trips. I was a nominee twice for Best Cruise consultant Australia wide and was nominated 3 times for Best Travel Agent, also listed with CLIA as one of the top 10 Cruise Consultants Nationwide. Having a fantastic relationship with the cruise companies, recently I received a private invitation from MSC cruises to be part of the Christening Ceremony of the new MSC Seaview in Italy. I have been fortunate enough to be invited on more than 75 ship inspections over the years and on many occasions I could take my customers along with me. I enjoy working for an award winning travel agency and have also written my own Worldwide Cruise Guide for you to collect at any of our BLT Stores. My second language is German. Come and talk to me on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday’s if you are planning your next Cruise adventure.
Andrea McNamara – Travel Specialist (Cairns)
I am a language nut. I spend my free time conjugating verbs and enjoy it. Does that sound really boring? I can order a drink and sing a song in five languages, including Chinese. That’s a great ice-breaker! Having studied martial arts for most of my life and my love for travelling has seen extensive travel in Europe and Asia. Escorting groups from Cairns each year has been fantastic and I enjoy putting all types of groups together.
Suzanne Kienzle – Travel Specialist (Cairns)
I live and breathe all things travel. Spent the better part of 15 years in the industry in some way shape or form. My family routes travel through Germany, Fiji, Samoa & Papua New Guinea. Most famously my Grandfather Captain Bert Kienzle is the Architect of Kokoda also a book written by Robyn Kienzle (my mother). So I have strong family history along the Kokoda Trail PNG. Worked on Islands around Australia, crewed on the Luxury Superyacht in the Mediterrean. Qualified African Field Guide trained in South Africa. Swam with Great White Sharks & lived to tell the story, hugged an Orangatan in Borneo to caretaking a French Chataeu in Loire Valley. I love animals and the top of the Bucket list is to see the Gorillas in the wild. I love the road less travelled and adventures one can reach. Cruising background from small barges to large Oceanliners. Travelled for work & personal around Australia, PNG, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, Bali, Borneo, Brunei, Western Europe & Med, East & West Coast USA, Hawaii, West Coast Canada. I love to live through my clients itineraries & understand the importance of time and stepping through each event. One can only dream to win lotto….one day….
Kate Williams – Townsville Manager
Something most people will notice about me is that I have “Double Creative Energy” which means I will always have more than one project on the go, be it holiday adventures, or some arty/ garden project at home. In 2005/06 I was fortunate to live in Canada on a working holiday, where I participated in a program called WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) where I travelled from East to West experiencing the best of the local people & landscapes. Most of my holidays are down to earth rather than city scapes & include adrenalin activities or a good theme park. Something you don’t know about me – I love Whisky, Cheese & Costume parties – My favourite places that I have travelled are Canada, NZ Cycling holidays & Artic Circle twice.
Annwen Rowe – Travel Specialist (Townsville)
My family is spread all over Australia and the world, so I’m very lucky to have travelled from a young age. I always wanted to work in travel, I studied tourism and have been in the industry for over 6 years now. The world is such a big place and there’s always so much to learn. You can never know everything in this industry, it’s always changing and evolving and that’s exactly what I love about it. My favourite destination so far has been Turkey, it’s stunningly beautiful, has rich history and the people are so friendly. My bucket list destinations are Russia and Oman.
Sarah Polderman – Travel Specialist (Weipa)
I absolutely love travelling and that’s probably why I’ve worked in the travel industry for quite awhile now. I have skied the slopes of New Zealand and Japan and can highly recommend it. My adventurous family includes my husband and two boys. Together, we’ve also experienced the friendly hospitality of Fiji and can recommend some great places there.
Keri Williams – Travel Specialist (Weipa)
Recently married and have lived in Weipa for 3 years which has allowed me to travel A LOT! I love being a travel specialist because I get to book all these exciting trips for clients. My favourite destination is Bali, I absolutely love the people, weather and the freedom Bali gives you! My dream destination is Bora Bora – an overwater bungalow would be absolute bliss! One thing I won’t travel without is my travel pillow. A travel tip I could give is always travel somewhere with an open mind, that way you will never be disappointed! All cultures are different and that is what I love about travelling.
Katrina Scholefield – Travel Specialist (Weipa)
A true adventurer at heart, we were on a 4WD holiday around Australia when we discovered the beauty of Weipa. My husband and my two boys are my mates in this big adventure of life. Having worked in hotels in the UK and travelling throughout Europe, I just love travelling and discovering. We’ve skied in Japan and New Zealand, cruised to New Caledonia and relaxed in Tahiti. As I’m a sports fanatic, I especially love organising my customers’ holidays which revolve around sporting events!
Margaret Perazza – Corporate Travel Specialist
The first 24 years of my life was in South Africa and Zimbabwe. I came to Australia for a 2 year working holiday and have been here ever since. My wonderful husband of 40 years and I have raised a family of 4 children and now have 10 grandchildren. Although I still love Africa, I feel very strongly that Australia is the very best country to raise a family. I love working with the Torres Strait people and after flying in and out over the last 12 years know many of them personally. My strong connection with the TSI people certainly makes my job very pleasant.
Lesley Sykes – Corporate Travel Specialist
I travel on a Kiwi Passport but have called Cairns home for the last six years. The climate and lifestyle here is amazing and there is always something to do – whether it be snorkelling at the reef, a fun day out at the Cairns Amateur races, browsing the Port Douglas Markets or sampling the foodie delights of the Tablelands. The majority of my working career has been in the travel industry, so travelling has always played a big part in my life. At BLT I work in the Corporate division alongside Margaret and Brent.
Brent Frazer – Corporate Travel Specialist
Originally from New Zealand, I have been in Australia for 20 years now. Most of this time has been spent in Cairns with a 2 year stint in Townsville and up until recently a 2.5 year stint on Horn Island. I have travelled across Canada and have completed an overland trip in Africa from Nairobi to Johannesburg. While in Africa I was lucky enough to experience the mountain gorillas in Uganda. More recently my travel has been to South-East Asia and Papua New Guinea. Photography is a passion of mine and when travelling you are never short on subjects!
Kepai Keane – Torres Reservations
My best experience was travelling to USA for the first time; standing in Times Square in New York and being at Disneyland in Los Angeles were both such amazing experiences. I love to travel, learn different languages and cultures, love to dance socially and culturally and learning about my family’s origins. I’m very family orientated and I enjoy socialising with my immediate and extended families and friends.
Barbara Robson – Torres Reservations
I started my journey in the travel industry as a flight attendant with Ansett Australia in 1969. I worked in reservations and at the airport. I was with them until the end in 2001 except for 6 months when I lived in Fiji. I then worked with Aero Tropics, Regional Pacific and Airlines of PNG. I then retired, but only for 18 months. I found I needed an outlet, so returned to work at BLT. I have travelled to Hong Kong, Japan and around the world twice with many trips to USA. I have two children, a son and daughter and one grandchild.
Andrew Bowes – Commercial Manager
An avid football fan who fell in love with Papua New Guinea. Andrew travels regularly to PNG and the Solomon Islands and promotes both these countries as ‘undiscovered jewels’ in the Pacific. He explains that tourism is in its infancy here and it’s best to go now to see experience it all before it becomes too commercialised.
David Fortune – Graphic Designer
Living the Dream. I have travelled around Australia twice. Once with my mates and once with my girlfriend, who is now my wife. In the trip around Australia with my girlfriend, we lived in Cairns for 6 years. During this time, we had our first travel around the world. We then returned to Perth and got married. We did another world trip and fell in love with Mexico, Peru and Bolivia. When we returned to Australia, we studied Spanish for 3 years to be ready for our next adventure which was 3 months through Central America. Wow – that was an eye opener back then. We now have 2 beautiful boys, who we have returned to Cairns with in 2013. After all our travels, Cairns is one of the most beautiful places in the world.