History of the Express Travel Group

1983: Orient Express Travel was opened in Melbourne by Thomas Ou.

Not long after it was identified that there were a large amount of non-IATA agencies who needed assistance with ticketing, in addition to the provision of a service to specialise in promoting and marketing airlines’ products to independent agencies.

As a result, the Orient Express Travel Group (OETG) consolidation & operation service (now referred to as Express Ticketing), was formed.


1988: A S.T.A.R was born

A small collection of OETG agency affiliates, saw the need for the formation of a membership network. These agencies were the founding members of the group - Select Travel Agent Representative (STAR)


1995: Orient Express Travel Group grew

As the consolidation service continued to grow a need to provide more ticketing support across the country was identified. This culminated in the opening of our Sydney office, where 7 staff were hired to help support our NSW agencies with their ticketing.


1997: Orient Express Travel Group moves into QLD

Further expansion across the Eastern seaboard saw the opening of our Brisbane office


2000: Tom Manwaring joins the group

In February 2000, Tom Manwaring joined OETG as Managing Director with a 15% shareholding of the company

Before joining, Tom was with Cathay Pacific Airways for 29 years, initially based in Australia and thereafter in Hong Kong. During this time, Tom held various senior sales, marketing and management roles, including the role of Global Tactical Marketing Manager.


2003: Ownership change

In November 2003 Tom and his wife Julie, became sole proprietors of OETG.  

Tom had a strong vision and commitment to the company and saw the growth in the Asia & Australian market and the opportunity to diversify the business.


2007: Further expansions

Company growth continued with the opening of an office in Adelaide, with 4 staff, to provide further ticketing support as well as the purchase of Chung Pak Travel in Sydney CBD & Chatswood.


2008 & 2009: Go West & Partnership creation

To service the West, our Perth operations office was opened by Jonathan Nelson 

In 2009 50% of the business was purchased by CT Investments, with Tom`s family company retaining the other 50% and management control.


2010: The creation of Independence

More diversification within the business occurred,  with the creation of another agency membership network, the Independent Travel Group. 

This new network was established to provide another network stream, enabling travel agencies to grow their business and increase their profits by utilising a single, focused and relevant marketing distribution system to achieve incentive targets and increase productivity.


This new network provided the introduction of relationships with new carriers, outside the Asian network


2014: Welcome Franchising and a company name change!

The creation of a fully branded franchise option became reality with the first italktravel franchised stores opening:

  1. italktravel Maitland,
  2. italktravel Newcastle West
  3. italktravel Rutherford

The italktravel franchise model offers Independent Travel Group members a fully branded option.


2014 also saw a company  name change to remove the word ‘Orient’ from Orient Express Travel Group, to better reflect the nature and focus of the business and its future strategic direction. Having grown from the initial 100 Agent members to more than 750 Agents across 3 Brands Australia wide.


NOW:  Express Travel Group (ETG) is Australia`s largest fully integrated independent family owned travel group.