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Travel industry insights / September 2018

Soak up the colour, culture and energy of Argentina’s pulsing capital – an unforgettable introduction to the sensual appeal of Latin America

Stepping lightly

Give back with trips that support the local host communities

• Traditional British cruise experience • Discover the world from the UK • Smaller to mid-sized classic ships • Half price single offers • Discounted and free places for groups

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Buenos Aires Roam Russia

Discover the grand delights of St Petersburg and Moscow year-round

New routes

Low-cost carriers are mapping their way in long-haul airspace


ON BOARD GRATUITIES INCLUDED – BOOK BY 30 SEPTEMBER 2018 2019 RIVER CRUISES Portugal’s River of Gold 10 days, 8 guided tours Departing March to December 2019

From £1,645pp Elegant Elbe 10 days, 7 guided tours Departing March to November 2019

From £2,345pp Rhine Getaway 8 days, 6 guided tours Departing March to December 2019

From £1,595pp Romantic Danube 8 days, 6 guided tours Departing April to December 2019

From £1,345pp Châteaux, Rivers & Wine 8 days, 7 guided tours Departing March to November 2019

From £1,995pp Waterways of the Tsars 13 days, 10 guided tours Departing May to October 2019

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on sale now – prices from £1,345pp With the world’s largest fleet of innovative river ships – including our multi award-winning Viking Longships – only Viking can promise you more. More comfort, more quality, more style and more choice of cruises across Europe, Russia and Asia. Relax in spacious, contemporary surroundings. Indulge in fabulous, freshly cooked food and thoughtfully selected wines. Explore the cultures, customs and cuisines of the places you visit on expertly led tours. And discover a unique and exciting new view of the world.

From £3,045pp Passage to Eastern Europe 11 days, 7 guided tours Departing March to November 2019

From £2,245pp Imperial Jewels of China 15 days, 11 guided tours Departing March to November 2019

From £3,345pp Lyon & Provence 8 days, 7 guided tours Departing March to November 2019

From £1,895pp Magnificent Mekong

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To find out more call now on 020 8780 7985 or visit vikingcruises.co.uk Prices correct at time of going to print but are subject to availability and change. From prices are per person and based on two people sharing the lowest grade stateroom available, departing on selected dates in 2019. Prices valid until 30 September 2018. Single supplements apply. *Restrictions apply. Please note on selected cruises a visa may be required and is at the passengers own expense. Gratuities included on board ship only. For more information please visit vikingcruises.co.uk/terms-conditions or call us.


Buenos Aires

Travel industry insights / September 2018

Soak up the colour, culture and energy of Argentina’s pulsing capital – an unforgettable introduction to the sensual appeal of Latin America

Stepping lightly

Give back with trips that support the local host communities

Roam Russia

Discover the grand delights of St Petersburg and Moscow year-round

New routes

Low-cost carriers are mapping their way in long-haul airspace

To Buenos Aires and beyond

N

ow connected by direct flights, Buenos Aires is not only a vibrant, bustling city, but also the gateway to some of South America’s most fascinating sights. The capital of Argentina links travellers to the mountains and fjords of Patagonia, the vineyards of Mendoza and beyond its borders – to Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and the pristine wilderness of Antarctica. In this issue of ABTA Magazine, we invited travel writer and sommelier Sorrel Moseley-Williams to describe the sights of the city she has called home since 2006. She offers her insider’s tips – to both those travelling there and those selling holidays there – on page 48. Elsewhere in this issue, the third since the spring relaunch, we explore the phenomenon of community tourism. Daniel Allen looks at how, as travellers become more conscious of the footprints they are leaving, a once-niche holiday has gone mainstream. Turn to page 54, where he considers the best destinations – from Rwanda to Mexico – to experience holidays that truly give back to the community, while ABTA expert Nikki White shares her thoughts on page 30. This issue, we also check in with Javier Piñanes, director of the Spanish Tourist Office, who discusses overtourism, ‘cosmopolitan’ tourists and Brexit (page 24), while Paul Carter, CEO of Hotelplan, also shares his thoughts on how Britain’s exit from the European Union in March 2019 will affect seasonal staffing (page 22). We’ve got news from across the industry, beginning page 10, our Business Travel Report on page 34, plus features on Vienna (page 46), Moscow and St Petersburg (page 60) and the unstoppable growth of low-cost long haul (page 62), meaning ABTA Magazine is your one-stop publication for industry insights. We hope you enjoy reading.

Tell us your thoughts

We would love to hear your thoughts about this issue of ABTA Magazine, the third created by Waterfront Publishing. The magazine has a new look, fresh editorial focus, and an increased and improved distribution, meaning it now spans the breadth of the travel industry, reaching from frontline agents to the boardroom. We want the magazine to reflect the thoughts and interests of those working in the holiday business, so please send your thoughts to letters@ABTAmag.com.

2018 with ABTA

See p32 for the full list of ABTA events

September 19

October 17

November 29

Essential Guide to Travel Marketing, London

Complaints Handling Workshop, Manchester

The Over 50s Holiday Market, London

ABTAmag.com

September July 2018

3


SEPTEMBER 2018

FEATURES

48

Gateway to Latin America Buenos Aires and beyond

Competition Win afternoon tea for two with Attraction World

Stepping lightly The rise of community tourism

60

65 54

Roam Russia Enjoy its cities year-round

Industry Insights Low-cost long haul

4

September 2018

62 ABTAmag.com


th ntil 30 Now u e er sav b m te Sep

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24/7 Agent Hotline: 0344 272 2200 gadventures.com *T&Cs apply. For full booking conditions please visit gadventures.com/terms. †T&Cs apply.

Need more reasons to book G Adventures? › A tour for every traveller › Lifetime Deposits™ › No Single Supplements › Private Groups option › Up to 70% Agent Discount† Included with every Golden Triangle booking, observe a different perspective on the youth-led walking tour through the streets of Delhi with the G Adventures supported project, City Walk.

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FALKLAND ISLANDS

Visit the Falkland Islands Imagine a place that is so far off the beaten track you have miles of stunning landscape, beaches and magnificent bird life all to yourself. Imagine a silence that is only broken by the call of the birds, and your own footsteps as you explore these beautiful islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. This is the Falkland Islands, one of the last great wilderness destinations where your trip becomes an adventure. Four wheel drives are our mode of transport, and our little planes will take you to islands abundant with penguins, albatrosses and petrels that are there for you alone to discover and enjoy. At the end of each day you can look forward to traditional cosy Falkland Islands hospitality in the hotels, lodges and guesthouses scattered around the islands.

Escape on a holiday like no other.

@FITB Tourism ilovethefalklands info@falklandislands.com +500 22215 falklandislands.com


In the September issue

34

03

Editor’s letter The inside track on authentic travel experiences around the world

09 10

Readers’ letters Readers share their views on industry issues

11 40

46 Contributors Gary Noakes is a writer and editor specialising in travel and the nuts and bolts of the industry, particularly aviation. Rose Dykins is a freelance travel journalist and editor who has written for The Telegraph, Lonely Planet and The Sunday Times Travel Magazine. Based in Argentina since 2006, sommelier Sorrel MoseleyWilliams writes about food, travel and wine, focusing on Latin America. Daniel Allen is a UK-based writer and photographer whose work has featured in National Geographic, The Sunday Times and CNN Travel.

ABTAmag.com

On trend The fall of the Turkish lira, Edinburgh Airport’s boom, plus the economic impact of tourism News The latest travel industry news, including cruise, aviation, hotels and touring

23

Out and about Our round-up of images from the latest industry events

24

Interview: Javier Piñanes The Spanish Tourist Office director discusses how Spain is welcoming more Brits than ever

27

ABTA section The Travel Convention in Seville, ABTA’s CEO on Brexit, plus all the latest ABTA news and campaigns

34

Business travel Rose Dykins looks at the evolution of businessclass offerings as airline competition hots up

38

Spotlight on… AccorHotels. The hospitality giant is coupling decades of experience with a start-up mentality to disrupt customer-centric travel

40

UK holidays Joe Zadeh reveals why Newcastle tops a list of destinations to visit this year

46

City guide Vienna has something for everyone, from a rich cultural heritage to relaxed café culture

64

Gamesroom Play games and win prizes

66

Final word Nikki White on destination management September 2018

7


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Your letters

Star letter wins a bottle of prosecco

ABTA Magazine is created by Waterfront Publishing on behalf of ABTA Waterfront Publishing 12-18 Hoxton Street London N1 6NG waterfront-publishing.com 020 3865 9360

Director Sam Ballard sam@waterfront-publishing.com Director Anthony Pearce anthony@waterfront-publishing.com Head of sales Simon Leeming simon@waterfront-publishing.com 020 3865 9337 Account manager

ABTAmag.com

Star letter

“I was interested to read Clare Jenkinson’s column on the issue of overtourism (Integrated destination management is the answer to ‘overtourism’, ABTA Magazine July 2018). While every situation is unique to each country, it’s our responsibility as a sector to take the time to learn from these issues, ensuring that we collectively focus on the long-term risks and how this can be avoided through a focus on sustainable tourism. As an island, this is something that is very much at the forefront of the Mauritian tourism industry and we are working closely with our tour operator, airline and hotel partners to ensure that we are committed to investing in the future of the island’s infrastructure, environment and communities in a positive way.” Matt Littlechild, senior account manager, Mauritius Tourism

Technology is the future of travel

“I was interested to read your article about artificial intelligence in travel (Rise of the Robots, ABTA Magazine July 2018). It’s not just business travel where this is a growing trend; at Royal Caribbean we see huge potential for AI to further boost the exceptional service our crew provide. Bionic Bartenders on our Quantum Class ships are just one example of this, while the recently launched SoundSeeker software transforms holidaymakers’ most memorable photos into an original, shareable soundtrack.” Ben Bouldin, associate vice president and managing director, Royal Caribbean International UK

Working together

I enjoyed Clare Jenkinson’s comment piece on overtourism in the last issue (Integrated destination management is the answer to ‘overtourism’, ABTA Magazine

July 2018). At Intrepid Group, we believe tour operators have a vital part to play in tackling this issue. This year, we introduced a range of new trips to hidden gems such as Moldova or North Cyprus and doubled our off-season departures in Europe. As an industry, it’s essential that we work hard to tell travellers that there are lesserknown destinations that are just as fantastic to visit – in some cases even better. It’s a win for people and the planet. Aaron Hocking, managing director EMEA, Intrepid Group

Top tweet

“I’m currently onboard Norwegian Star. I can’t praise the crew onboard highly enough, it was a long day yesterday & they were fab. I have never felt unsafe onboard or worried about my children, barriers are high & security is tight @cruisenorwegian” Caroline Jenkins, cruise specialist, Travel Counsellor

Let us know your thoughts on ABTA Magazine and travel industry issues. Email: letters@ABTAmag.com We reserve the right to edit letters for brevity and clarity. Please include a name, job title and company. These will be withheld if requested. Other comments taken from ABTAmag.com

Emily Snipe emily@waterfront-publishing.com 020 3865 4815

With thanks to: Karl Cushing, Gary Noakes, Rose Dykins, Sorrel MoseleyWilliams, Daniel Allen, Joe Zadeh

Media sales executive Bryan Johnson bryan@waterfront-publishing.com 020 3865 9338

ABTAmag.com info@ABTAmag.com Twitter: @ABTAMagazine Facebook: ABTAMagazine

Head of design Billy Odell billy@ABTAmag.com

ABTA 30 Park Street, London SE1 9EQ

Business travel editor Jenny Southan jenny@ABTAmag.com 020 3456 7899

Chief executive Mark Tanzer

Sub-editors Emily Eastman, Nathaniel Cramp

Chairman Noel Josephides

July 2018

9


News On trend

On trend

Every issue we reveal the numbers behind the biggest stories in travel

TURKISH LIRA CRASH GBP £ 0.155

0.140

0.125

TRY

0.110 Aug 6

The total contribution from tourism to New Zealand’s economy was worth NZ$47.5 billion in 2017, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). At 18 per cent of GDP, this puts New Zealand among the countries most reliant on tourism, ahead of Malta (14.2 per cent), St Lucia (15 per cent) and Cape Verde (17.8 per cent). WTTC’s annual analysis of the global economic impact of travel and tourism found that it accounts for10.4 per cent of global GDP and 313 million jobs, or 9.9 per cent of total employment in 2017.

Aug 16

TOURISM SECTOR MAKES UP

18% OF NEW ZEALAND’S GDP

British holidaymakers flocked to buy Turkish lira after it crashed last month. Tourists were able to change £100 for 785 lira, compared with 460 lira in 2017. The Post Office later revealed it was running low on the currency following high demand. Thomas Cook has reported a 60 per cent rise in bookings to the country this year, with Ingo Burmester, chief of UK source market, saying it will overtake the Canary and Balearic Islands combined. The lira effect will have the most positive impact on holidaymakers going self-catering or bed and breakfast, but all-inclusive still offers value for money, the operator said.

DRUNKEN INCIDENTS RISE

200

incidents about disruptive passengers reported The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has called for more prosecutions after revealing incidents between January and July. CAA director Richard Stephenson said: “Drunken and abusive behaviour on an aeroplane is totally unacceptable.”

EDINBURGH AIRPORT BREAKS 1.5M PASSENGER BARRIER Edinburgh airport recorded its busiest ever month, handling more than 1.5 million passengers in July – a rise of 6.3 per cent on last year. Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “That growth is

10 September 2018

something we should be proud of as it delivers wide-ranging benefits for the country through job creation, tourism spend and business growth, but it also means we need to keep growing our infrastructure.”

ABTAmag.com


News September 2018

All the latest headlines from the world of travel

Big-spend Brits flock to Spain By Sam Ballard More higher-spending Brits are travelling to Spain than ever before, according to the Spanish Tourism Office. Research suggests that 30 per cent of packages are now booked by 'cosmopolitan' tourists. The average amount Britons are spending has also increased, from €120 per day to €130 per day. Javier Piñanes, director of the Spanish Tourism Office, said: “Our strategy is to focus on a group of tourists we have

labelled as ‘cosmopolitan’. We define them as those people who are focused on cities, culture and gastronomy. They enjoy learning more about the lives of local communities. This group of influential tourists sets the trend for everyone else travelling to Spain.” The number of Brits travelling to Spain increased to 18.7 million in 2017, up from 17.7 million in 2016. ABTAmag.com Read the full interview with Javier Piñanes on page 24.

New revenue stream in group travel “Group travel is a fantastic new revenue opportunity for agents,” Brian Young, managing director for EMEA at G Adventures, has said ahead of ABTA’s second annual Group Travel and Escorted Tours Conference. The event, which takes place on September 26, focuses on how to market, sell and deliver holidays and tours of all sizes. This year the conference brings together tour operators, travel agents, GTOs and the wider travel industry. There are huge opportunities to sell group travel, and delegates will learn about product trends and the growing demand for experiential and adventure travel, themed and cultural tours, immersive experiences and more. Young said: “Group travel and adventure group travel in particular is a high touchpoint product, which requires the knowledge and expertise of agents to be able to connect travellers to the right tours and experiences.”

ABTAmag.com

He added: “The solo travel market is booming, and group travel presents a fantastic opportunity for independent travellers to visit destinations and meet new people while having the added bonus of a group. “Travellers as a whole are increasingly seeking diverse and transformative travel experiences and group travel offers the perfect opportunity for agents to be able to meet this demand.” The event will decode the latest legislation that affects the group travel and touring market, including the Package Travel Regulations, GDPR, accessibility, coach access, driving hours, tour guiding regulation and more. Young said there remained many misconceptions about group travel. “There is still the idea that travellers will be restricted by long, inflexible itineraries. In our case, it’s quite the contrary – we want our travellers to be explorers still and so make sure there is plenty of free time for them to go off and

discover a destination in their own way,” he said. “That might be going for a hike or sitting reading a book in a local cafe.” Speakers at the event include Young; Wendy Wu, founder, Wendy Wu Tours; Giles Hawke, chief executive, Cosmos; Wendy Hartley-Scarff, CEO of the Association of Group Travel Organisers (AGTO); Miles Morgan, managing director, Miles Morgan Travel; Andy Squirrell, managing director, Titan Travel; and speakers from Exodus. ABTA Magazine is the official media partner of the Group Travel and Escorted Tours Conference.

Group Travel and Escorted Tours Conference Date: September 26, 2018 Venue: Japan House London Location: 101-111 Kensington High Street, London, W8 5SA Visit abta.com/events to register

September 2018 11


Promotion

Dreams come true Latin American specialist Air Europa is renewing its long-haul fleet for with a huge order for brand new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners

A

ir Europa, the Latin American specialist, has delivered the very best in-flight experience for over 30 years. It is Spain’s secondlargest scheduled airline and a full member of the SkyTeam alliance. Proud to be one of the world’s most punctual airlines, it feeds into the longhaul network hub in Madrid from London Gatwick Airport and flies to the key cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Committed to the environment and with state-of-the-art technology, Air Europa has the highest quality and safety standards. Recently, a $3.5 billion investment was made in order to upgrade its fleet, which included an order for 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Ten are already in service with the remainder being gradually delivered by 2022. The Dreamliner is used on long-haul routes and already Miami, Bogotá, Santo Domingo, São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Lima are benefitting from everything the ultra-modern plane offers, with Montevideo next in line. The airline has now commenced phase two of its programme with the introduction of its first two 787-9 series Dreamliners,

12 September 2018

confirming its position as having one of the youngest and most efficient fleets in the airline industry. Delivering the very latest in aviation technology, the aircraft offers a more comfortable flying experience for its passengers with sleek and contemporary interiors. The 787-9 has an exceptional environmental performance with a 20 per cent reduction in both fuel consumption and emissions and a 60 per cent reduction in noise. It is also manufactured with 50 per cent compound materials, which make it lighter and more resistant, and its 30 per cent larger windows allow for adjustable brightness and a more comfortable flight for our passengers. In addition, the Dreamliner’s lower cabin pressure helps the body absorb eight per cent more oxygen, reducing headaches, sickness and tiredness, while the filter system purifies 100 per cent of the air, eliminating bacteria and odours and reducing dryness with increased humidity. Longer at 63m long and with a wingspan of 60m, the new Boeing 787-9 has a greater passenger and cargo capacity. It offers 333 seats, 30 of which make up the business

class cabin. The modernity, efficiency and advanced technology of the 787-9 is complemented by excellent on-board products and service. Onboard wi-fi, the latest in audio-visual entertainment, and a menu offering healthy and organic meals promise a comfortable and enjoyable journey. Business class passengers can also benefit from fully reclining seats and a tasting menu prepared by the prestigious Michelin star chef Martín Berasategui. Launched in March, the new plane now operates the existing route to Buenos Aires, together with a second 787-9. The second phase of the upgrade will see 15 Boeing 787-9s added to the long-range fleet. Air Europa’s UK Managing Director Colin Stewart commented: “It’s very exciting to see Air Europa commence the second phase of the modernisation plan. The Boeing 787-9 is an excellent aircraft that will promise both leisure and business travellers a sleek and comfortable journey. Buenos Aires is a great primary destination for this new aircraft and we are looking forward to offering the benefits of this Dreamliner to more of our flight routes as the renewal plan progresses.”

ABTAmag.com


Aviation news Round-up of which airlines are flying where and how often

Heathrow hotels grow By Karl Cushing

Manchester airport expansion takes off The northwest hub is undergoing major development work By Karl Cushing The first phase of Manchester Airport’s £1 billion transformation is on track to open next spring. The first pier, where planes pick up and drop off passengers, will open next April with the expanded Terminal 2, which is set to more than double in size and is on course to open to passengers in 2020. Meanwhile, work is due to start on two hotels at the airport early next year – a 280-bedroom Holiday Inn and a 262-bedroom Ibis Budget. A 375-bedroom Hilton Garden

Inn and a 245-bedroom Hampton By Hilton are also planned for the airport. The properties, part of the wider Airport City Manchester development, are all due to open in 2021. Manchester Airport, which celebrated its 80th birthday in June, saw the number of passengers increase by half a per cent in July year-on-year. At Manchester Airport Group’s two other airports, Stansted saw passengers increase by 7.4 per cent for the month to a record 2.8 million, while numbers at East Midlands airport were down by 2.1%. ABTAmag.com

Arora Group is edging closer to the October opening of its two linked hotels at Heathrow Terminal 4, which will add 761 rooms to the airport’s room stock. The company has announced it is in the final stage of construction on the project, which comprises the 304-bedroom Crowne Plaza London Heathrow Terminal 4 and 457-room Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4. The Crowne Plaza London will also feature five meeting rooms, catering to the MICE sector. Andrew Brown, who joined the Arora Group in 2014, will be the opening general manager for the two hotels. Both hotels are connected to the airport and boast transport options such as the Heathrow Express rail service by a link bridge. The two hotels will operate under a franchise agreement with IHG and will be managed by Arora Hotels, a division of the Arora Group. Kaushal Niraula, group strategy director, Arora Group, said: “The two new Terminal 4 hotels will be superbly positioned to cater to the leisure and business travel market.” ABTAmag.com

Gatwick hails Shanghai and record July Gatwick Airport has capped a record July for long-haul flights by announcing details of a new direct service to the Chinese city of Shanghai. The new thrice-weekly service to Shanghai’s Pudong Airport, which begins on December 7, 2018, will be flown by China Eastern and will offer more than 70,000 seats per year.

ABTAmag.com

The airport saw passenger numbers on its long-haul routes grow by 20.8 per cent year-on-year for the month of July, helped by popular routes such as New York and Boston, up by 67.5 per cent and 58.7 per cent respectively. US traffic is set to increase further next month when Norwegian launches its Gatwick-Tampa service on October 31,

flying to the coastal Florida city twice a week. Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: “July’s traffic figures demonstrate that Gatwick’s long-haul network is driving the airport’s growth. These connections to China and other non-European countries will take on extra significance in a post-Brexit Britain.” ABTAmag.com

September 2018 13


News Touring

Touring news Round-up of the current stories affecting the touring sector

TTC ups product mix for 2019 Customisable extras are now available in its luxury range of tours while its youth and sister brands expand their offerings By ABTA Magazine staff The Travel Corporation’s upmarket brand Luxury Gold (LG) has expanded its Worldwide Collection for 2019 and made it easier for agents to personalise the products to meet clients’ needs. The collection of 55 tours features six new guided tours, including the 22-day Remarkable Russia with Trans-Siberian. Customisable extras available include a choice of experiential Your Way activities such as the option to dine with locals in their home, offered through TTC’s partnership with Eatwith. Its Your Choice programme offers different areas of choice, such as evening dining options. LG’s tours, which also include an exclusive selection of 12 Chairman’s Collection itineraries, can be further customised during the trip using the Travel Concierge service.

Meanwhile, TTC’s budget youth brand Contiki has added Africa for 2019 – its first new destination launch since adding Latin America in 2010 – and included a new supporting module in the ContikiU section of its online training site, TTC Agent Academy. The move sees the brand add four new trips for 2019, taking in South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Kenya, backed by five optional extensions such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and tracking gorillas in Uganda. Sister brand Trafalgar has added three new tours to its 2019 USA & Canada programme, having reported a 15 per cent growth in sales to the region in the year to July. The new options are the nine-day Five Epic National Parks (from £2,095pp); eightday Cape Cod Delights (from £2,195pp); and 14-day Alaska and the Yukon (from £4,050pp). ABTAmag.com

News in brief Jet2CityBreaks launches Efteling offer Jet2CityBreaks, the city breaks arm of Jet2Holidays, is offering free tickets to Holland’s largest theme park, Efteling, on packages featuring the four-star Efteling Hotel. The park, located just over an hour outside Amsterdam, was the third most visited theme park in Europe last year.

14 September 2018

Dnata acquires German tour op By Karl Cushing Parent company of Gold Medal and Travel 2 dnata has acquired the German tour operator Tropo. The acquisition of hotel provider and low-cost and last-minute holiday provider Tropo from ProSiebenSat.1 Group marks the company’s entry into the lucrative German market. Iain Andrew, dnata’s divisional senior vice-president, travel services, said: “We see potential for significant synergies between Tropo and our other travel businesses around the world to provide very attractive and unique offerings to inbound and outbound travellers to and from Germany.” ABTAmag.com

G Adventures adds new Galapagos vessel Small group tour specialist G Adventures has increased capacity in the Galapagos Islands by adding a fifth chartered yacht to its fleet. Tours on the new 16-passenger yacht, Eden, will commence in January 2019 with a choice of six different itineraries on offer, with durations ranging from seven to 17 days. The operator said its Galapagos tours were completely sold out for the year to July 2018.

ABTAmag.com


Great Rail Journeys thinks small

On the Beach snaps up Classic for £20m The deal will see On the Beach build Classic’s online presence to expand its product portfolio and offering By Karl Cushing On the Beach Group (OTB) is to provide luxury short-haul specialist Classic Collection Holidays with an increased online presence, having snapped up its fellow ABTA member in a deal worth £20 million. OTB’s plans for the company include building a trade-only online booking portal, Classic Online, to enable travel agents to access more mainstream beach holiday products and expand Classic’s product portfolio. OTB said the launch of Classic Online would enable agents to keep many of the benefits of dynamically packaging

holidays themselves, but without the risks, as Classic Online would be the package organiser. The move has also given OTB a slice of the lucrative UK market for offline short-haul beach breaks, which it said accounted for five million breaks a year. The company’s board said it believed the acquisition would be earnings-enhancing in the first full year of ownership. Classic Collection’s management team continues to be led by managing director Nick Munday, who owned the business along with a group of directors and private shareholders until its acquisition by OTB last month. ABTAmag.com

Operator launches new tours for small groups By Karl Cushing Great Rail Journeys has launched a new small-groups offering with a choice of eight new tours in the UK and Europe. With a maximum group size of 20 and prices from £695pp the operator said the new exclusive small-group tours would feature more off-the-beaten-track locations than its standard offerings, with the first departures on April 7, 2019. The new tours feature in GRJ’s new 2018-19 brochure, which contains 28 new tours and selected departures with no single supplement. As with Rail Discoveries’ new 2018-19 brochure, which features 11 new tours, customers can save up to £100pp by booking selected 2019-20 tours before October 31, 2018. York-based GRJ has also responded to record sales to India in 2018 by increasing capacity for 2019. Departures for its three new tours – the 11-day Spirit of the Himalaya, the 14-day To Kerala on the Konkan Railway and the 14-day Spectacular Southern India, operated by sister brand Rail Discoveries – begin on February 17, 2019. ABTAmag.com

Riviera grows agency sales team By Karl Cushing Escorted touring and river cruise specialist Riviera Travel has reacted to strong agency sales growth by recruiting a sixth member to its agency sales team. The new sales development manager, Emma Rodgers, will be field-based, supporting agents in the North of England and Scotland – a new role within the company. Last month saw Riviera launch its new For Solo Travellers collection featuring new destinations such as China and Morocco. ABTAmag.com

ABTAmag.com

September 2018 15


News Cruise

Cruise news Looking at the latest launches, innovations and destinations

Celebrity reveals $500m fleet upgrade

By Karl Cushing Celebrity Cruises is to embark on a fouryear, $500-million ‘reimagining’ of its fleet to bring all its ships up to the mark of its latest vessel, Edge, launching November. This ‘Celebrity Revolution’ has seen the line partner with British designer Kelly Hoppen to enhance its suites offering as it takes The Retreat – its ‘exclusive sanctuary’ space for Suite-Class guests, being debuted on Celebrity Edge – fleet-wide. Dining areas such as Main Restaurant and Oceanview Café are being overhauled with restaurant concept Qsine also going fleetwide. Other focus areas include wellness with the SEA Thermal Suite offering, introduced on Edge, being installed on every ship. Celebrity Millennium will be first up for a makeover under the programme, which will run from 2019 to 2023.  Celebrity has also revealed more details of Edge’s entertainment options,

backed by the line’s most hi-tech, immersive theatre space and biggest programme of productions to date, including five new shows. The main ‘immersive’ theatre space, one of four venues on the vessel, will feature four stage areas, headed by a main stage area extending into the audience, backed by massive moving projection screens; laser projectors; and rising and rotating platforms and staircases. Edge’s other entertainment spaces include its day and night space, The Club, and the Rooftop Garden area, which will host a series of concerts and underthe-stars cinema shows. Meanwhile, its enhanced Camp at Sea programme for younger passengers features separate areas for kids and teens. Changes are also apace in the office, where four new members have been appointed to the Celebrity Cruises UK trade sales team. ABTAmag.com

NCL overhauls three ships By Karl Cushing Norwegian Cruise Line has followed the April launch of its latest ship Norwegian Bliss with a refit of three of its existing vessels – Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Star and Norwegian Breakaway – during recent dry dockings. New offerings on Breakaway include Syd Norman’s Pour House, a new American style rock ‘n’ roll lounge bar concept, which replaces the former Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club. Other enhancements include new carpeting in cabins and public areas and new furniture for Bliss Ultra Lounge. Norwegian Sun has been given three new venues including Mexican restaurant Los Lobos Cantina, a Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spinnaker Lounge during its three-week renovation in Canada. It also received a spruce up of its cabins and public spaces. Norwegian Star has gained a Bliss Ultra Lounge, too, along with a Sky High Bar and Spice H2O, the line’s adult-only space, in its three-week dry dock in Barcelona. Other features include refurbished cabins, remodelled three-bedroom garden villas and new artwork. Andy Stuart, Norwegian’s president and chief executive officer, said the moves were part of its ongoing project, The Norwegian Edge, designed to help the line “remain consistent, relevant and exciting”. ABTAmag.com

Azamara in naming-ceremony first By ABTA Magazine staff Azamara Club Cruises, the high-end brand owned by Royal Caribbean, has christened its new ship at a ceremony in Southampton. Azamara, which was founded in 2007, launched with the Azamara Quest

16 September 2018

and Azamara Journey, two of the eight R-class ships operated by the now defunct Renaissance Cruises. The Azamara Pursuit, the line’s third ship, is another R-class ship. The line made headlines earlier in the year when it announced that it would be refurbishing the ship – which was formerly

P&O’s Adonia – at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Larry Pimentel, the line’s CEO and president, said that the ship has proved popular with Brits on bookings so far. The UK market represented double-digit growth for Azamara last year. ABTAmag.com

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Hotel news Checking in on the latest happenings in the world of accommodation

Sandals expands luxury portfolio The Caribbean specialist is upping its high-end offering with new travel options and additional room categories

New buyout AccorHotels acquires shares in upmarket American chain By Karl Cushing AccorHotels has acquired a majority stake in high-end US chain 21C Museum Hotels. The $51-million deal saw the French hotel giant acquire an 85 per cent stake in 21C, which has eight hotels and three more under development. Accor has also been suggested as a potential buyer for luxury hotel group Belmond, whose board announced last month that part or all of the company is up for sale. Earlier this summer Accor announced it was to drop its plans to acquire a stake in the airline Air France. ABTAmag.com See Spotlight On: AccorHotels, page 38

By Karl Cushing All-inclusive Caribbean expert Sandals is to introduce a new luxury airport transfer service at its two Jamaica properties for guests in its top-tier accommodation. The round-trip BMW transfers from Sangster International Airport, near Montego Bay, will be open to guests

staying in its Club and Butler room categories. They will launch at Sandals Montego Bay on October 15 and Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island on November 15. Sandals is also set to open an over-thewater wedding chapel – the brand’s third – at its Montego Bay property later this year, backed by a branch of its over-the-water bar concept, Latitudes.

News in brief Universal Orlando’s Aventura opens Visitors to Universal Orlando Resort in Florida now have a new staying option: Universal’s Aventura Hotel. Features at the family-friendly 600-room hotel include Kid Suites and a rooftop bar and grill. Hilton in triple first Hilton has opened its first ever tri-branded hotel at

18 September 2018

Meanwhile guests at the operator’s Beaches Negril property now have the option of choosing from nine additional room categories. The new options, which are already available to book online, include Negril Luxury Double Suites; Tropical Beachfront Concierge King Suites; and Tropical Beachfront Two-Bedroom Grand Butler Family Suites, which include Butler Elite services. ABTAmag.com

Chicago’s McCormick Place, the largest convention centre in North America. The property features a 184-bedroom Hilton Garden Inn, 187-bedroom Hampton Inn and 95 Home2 suites and is connected to McCormick Place via a skybridge. Millennium in Chelsea tie-in Millennium Hotels & Resorts is planning to offer guests a range of unique football-related experiences and travel packages after signing a three-year partnership with Chelsea Football Club.

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News UK travel

UK travel news The latest industry developments closer to home

VisitBritain targets Chinese tourists VisitBritain has ambitions to double Chinese visitor spend by 2020 as part of a drive to boost inbound tourism to the UK By Karl Cushing VisitBritain is targeting Chinese tourists as part of a drive to boost inbound visits to the UK. It hopes to double spend from Chinese visitors to £1 billion annually by 2020. VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe said: “By showcasing the diversity of incredible experiences across our nations and regions, from shopping in our worldclass boutiques and department stores to touring the countryside and visiting iconic locations from film and literature, we want to inspire even more Chinese travellers to put Britain at the top of their list as a ‘mustgo-now’ destination and book a trip to come and discover their own amazing moments.” According to figures from VisitBritain, tourism is worth more than £127 billion to the UK economy. Last year was the best on record, with 2017 seeing 39.2 million

inbound visits to the UK. This represented an increase of four per cent year-on-year and generated a nine per cent rise in visitor spend at £24.5 billion. China is a key market in plans to grow these figures further. Current focuses include forging close ties with an airline partner with “strong links” in the country after a tender for a £6 million contract to that effect expired on July 31. This follows a similar tender aimed at OTAs, issued by VisitBritain earlier in the year, which it awarded to China’s largest online travel agency, Ctrip. Chinese tourists account for some of the highest-spending visitors to Great Britain. The number of inbound Chinese visitors passed the half million mark for the first time in 2017, according to figures from the UK China Visitor alliance (UKCVA). ABTAmag.com

ABTA EVENT The UK Holiday Market Nov 13, Birmingham

Heathrow Express offers agents new online tools By Karl Cushing Heathrow Express is to introduce a new travel agent portal, multilingual website and app in October. Work was ongoing on the new technology as ABTA Magazine went to press and further details of the move, which will be accompanied by a new pricing structure, were unavailable. To date more than 100 million passengers have travelled with Heathrow Express, which provides a fast link to Heathrow Airport’s Terminals 2 and 3 from London’s Paddington Station and features a popular Business First offering. The operator estimates that around 60 per cent of its passengers are business travellers. ABTAmag.com

British tourism set for cycling boost By Karl Cushing British tourism providers are set for a September bookings boost with two of the UK’s Tour de France winners due to take part in this year’s Tour of Britain (tourofbritain.co.uk). Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome and this year’s winner, his Sky teammate Geraint Thomas, will both take part in the race, which runs September 2-9. Operators along the route are expecting a surge of interest, including

20 September 2018

The Coppermines Lakes Cottages Company, an accommodation provider in Cumbria that features more than 80 self-catering cottages. “To have two of the country’s greatest sportsmen here will be a real thrill and will also help to shine a spotlight on Coniston and the surrounding area as a great place to visit,” said company spokesperson Rebecca Forsman. “It’s also a great chance for tourism businesses like ours to showcase ourselves as a bike-friendly county.” ABTAmag.com

ABTAmag.com


Promotion

Treasure islands M

Why the Philippines is the perfect destination for the ethical traveller

ade up of more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is a destination that has it all, from natural wonders – white sand beaches, azure waters and sprawling rice fields – to bustling cites and incredible food and culture. With holidays to suit everyone, it’s no wonder that the archipelago is welcoming more tourists than ever, drawing in those seeking luxury, relaxation, activity and adventure. Visitors can dive to explore more than 500 species of coral, while getting up close and person to whale sharks; zipline over beautiful cays; wander through rice paddies; enjoy incredible nightlife; and, of course, kick back on pristine beaches. What’s more, the country is leading the way when it comes to sustainable travel. By promoting a tourism that engages with and gives back to local communities, holidaymakers can be safe in the knowledge that they are having a positive impact on the places they visit. Here we pick three destinations that are revolutionising the way we travel.

SAMAR

The third largest Island in the archipelago, beautiful Samar boasts some of the region’s most dramatic

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landscapes, with towering cliffs, turquoise coasts and dense, impenetrable forests. The caving capital of the Philippines, it is home to one of Asia’s largest caves, the Langun-Gobingob, as well as the Samar Island Natural Park, the largest land-based protected site in the country, which protects some 3,000 square km of forest. Visitors to the Samar can kayak along the river at the Sohoton Cave Natural Park, learn the traditional art of mat weaving, as well as new cookery skills with local people. The Department of Tourism’s Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour forms a part of the Madrid Fusion festival, an annual event that celebrates the shared history and culinary heritage of Spain and the Philippines.

PALAWAN

Palawan, an archipelagic province of the Philippines, is the country’s most sparsely populated region. With its abundance of natural beauty and many opportunities to delve deeper into island life, it’s also a perfect destination for the adventurous and eco-conscious traveller. Tao – which means human in Filipino – is a social enterprise with island communities as partners (taophilippines.com). Travellers who join the tours are taken on expeditions

to experience Filipino culture with local families. Highlights includes a five-day sailing taking in the paradise that is Northern Palawan or an island stay with a different – the Camp Ngey! Ngey! resort is built using the reclaimed typhoon-wrecked buildings and old furniture.

ZAMBALES

A province in the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region in the island of Luzon, Zambales. Home to Mount Pinatubo, an active stratovolcano found in the Zambales Mountains, the region provides endless opportunities for adventurers. Visitors can trek around the volcano, mingle with tribespeople (learning cooking and archery), plant new trees, surf and much more – all while having a positive impact. With Mad, a social enterprise that works with marginalised communities across the Philippines, the food guests eat and the bed they sleep generate income for the local community (madtravel.org). All this and more is why the Philippines in the perfect destination for the ethical and ecoconscious traveller. For more, visit itsmorefuninthephilippines. co.uk or download the Visit Philippines App

September 2018 21


News Comment

Comment

Paul Carter, CEO of Hotelplan UK, whose brands include the ski operators Inghams, Ski Total and Esprit, plus Santa’s Lapland, Explore and Inntravel

W

hile the impact of Brexit is a cause of uncertainty and worry for the industry, I expect pragmatism to prevail in most areas. The government will simply have to deliver on visa-free travel and open-skies access, which I’m confident it will do. However, without freedom of movement of labour, significant challenges and risks lie ahead for both inbound and outbound travel in terms of a potential industry skills shortage. Restrictions to posting British workers overseas poses a serious problem for the ski industry. British skiers are today welcomed in resort by mostly British reps, cooked for by British chefs and generally looked after by British chalet staff. When I was working as a rep in the Alps 30 years ago, I was part of a much more cross-cultural team. Today, our industry is currently working on ‘what if scenarios’ should freedom of movement no longer exist. I have no doubt Brexit will have an impact on the product mix overall – meaning more hotels and apartments and reducing the number of chalets offered. Hotelplan UK employs more than 1,000 British staff overseas and we’re one of the founding members of SBIT (Seasonal Business in Travel, sbit.org.uk), an association of more than 100 British-owned businesses in the travel industry. Their aim is to increase awareness of the potential impact of Brexit on the UK outbound travel industry by lobbying the government to protect the concept of the ski chalet holiday. Many of the larger companies are developing contingency plans to manage in a situation of restricted workforce availability. In certain cases, employing European workers will increase costs and therefore potentially add to prices, making these types of holidays less affordable to some guests. The clock is ticking and it’s alarming there are still no political or commercial agreements in place. In order to best prepare for Brexit as a whole, it’s key for the travel industry to continue strong partnerships

22 September 2018

with suppliers to keep costs low despite the financial challenges ahead. A transition or implementation period would definitely help everyone’s preparations, rather than if we crash out at the eleventh hour. We need time to adapt business models and, in particular, develop more advanced resource planning and robust training opportunities where skills shortages are expected. But to ensure holidays combine high quality and good value, we need to future-proof our industry and we need to prepare by planning for a worst-case scenario. On the flip side, I’m also a firm believer that the public’s desire to go on holiday and to continue skiing will remain strong and, in a postBrexit world, it won’t only be about finding the lowest price. Because we increasingly value experiences shared together, and we share our experiences with our peers immediately on social media, I strongly believe that people will require memorable experiences from their holidays, meaning it’s not necessarily always about finding the lowest price. The weaker pound has delivered a quick fix to inbound tourism, but outbound travel operators have always adapted to rapidly changing consumer travel behaviour and expectations. In a restricted immigration scenario, some specialised and diverse skill sets will become harder to fulfil. But in these increasingly insular times, I’m proud to be part of an industry that serves as a force for good in breaking down cultural barriers and broadening the minds of travellers. In uncertain times, travellers always look to trusted brands – tour operators and travel agents – with experience, knowledge and a good track record in delivering value for money. I’m confident that people will still choose to book their holidays with Hotelplan’s long-established brands. Our businesses have always been customer-centric in their approach, delivering quality products and getting high customer repeat rates as a result. ABTAmag.com

ABTAmag.com


Out and about Pictures from the latest travel industry events 1. Sixty of Balkan Holidays’ highest-performing agents join the operator on a fam trip to the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. 2. Agents join the Las Vegas Sales Mission at Gleneagles, where they experienced falconry and whisky-tasting. Stewart Baird and Mhairi McGuinness from Travel 2 both won holidays to the Nevada city. 3. Operators attend a networking lunch hosted by the ambassador of the Maldives to the UK, Ahmed Shiaan, in The Coral Reef Room of Sexy Fish, a bar and restaurant in London’s Mayfair. Left to right: Renée Dyson from Best at Travel, Sarah Salord from GEC PR and Dipshaa Patel from Kenwood Travel discuss tourism developments in the Maldives with the ambassador. 4. Staff at Ascot Travel House in Berkshire receive the luxury hamper the team won for simply signing up and logging in to DriveAway. Left to right: Lisa Fuller, senior travel consultant and Sarah Busby, branch manager. 5. Jo Bayley, branch manager at Newell’s Travel in Kingsbridge, is named the lucky winner of SuperBreak’s June competition to win a holiday for two to Madeira. To enter, agents had to promote the operator’s packages to Madeira via various marketing channels and submit their booking references, screenshots and photos to be entered into a prize draw to win. Pictured receiving a visit from SuperBreak is Jo Bayley (left) and Bryony White, sales executive for the South West at SuperBreak.

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5 Send your travel industry pictures to info@ABTAmag.com and we’ll print the best

September 2018 23


Interview Spanish Tourist Office ABTA Magazine

Javier Piñanes

Director, Spanish Tourist Office Sam Ballard hears how Spain’s tourism industry is adapting as Brexit looms

T

o many people, Spanish holidays are as British as fish and chips. It’s one of the reasons why there are few countries that have as much skin in the game as Spain when it comes to Brexit. And, given that the country is hosting this year’s ABTA Travel Convention, it’s a point that they are keen to remind the British travel industry about, too. For Javier Piñanes, director of the Spanish Tourist Office, it is arguably the biggest issue he faces in a role that incorporates everything from dealing with ‘overtourism’ in the country’s major hubs and coastal areas to the resurgence of popular destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean. “The comeback of countries such as Turkey and Tunisia could affect the trend of tourism in Spain,” Piñanes admits. “Some of the almost 19 million people from the UK that travelled to Spain last year were people whose first intention would have been to travel to Turkey but in the end came to Spain. However, we are not stressed

24 September 2018

about this. This summer the number of British tourists will slightly decrease, but we cannot sustain the increases we’ve seen over the past few years.”

“Our strategy is to focus on a group of tourists we have labelled as ‘cosmopolitan’” Those increases have indeed been massive. The number of Brits travelling to Spain was 17.8 million in 2016, rising to 18.7 million in 2017. That’s all the more impressive given that Spain’s recent history has been turbulent. Terrorist attacks, a vitriolic independence campaign in Catalonia and a change in government after a vote of no confidence in former prime minister Mariano Rajoy have all made headlines around the world. Despite all of that, Spain received

82 million tourists in 2017, according to Reuters. When you dive deeper into the statistics for British tourists they tell an interesting story about the trend of Britons travelling in Spain. “Our strategy is to focus on a group of tourists we have labelled as ‘cosmopolitan’,” Piñanes explains. “We define them as those people who are focused on cities, culture and gastronomy. They enjoy learning more about the lives of local communities. This group of influential tourists sets the trend for everyone else travelling to Spain.” The strategy is working. According to a study that the Spanish Tourist Office commissioned, which looked at booked packages, the number of cosmopolitan tourists increased from 22 per cent of the overall pie in 2016 to 30 per cent in 2017. Even more interesting is the fact that the average amount a tourist spends per day has increased from €120 a few years ago to €130 a day now. It is this high-spending cosmopolitan group that the Spanish Tourist Office director and

ABTAmag.com


ABTA Magazine

Pictured his bosses in the Spanish government want to focus on. “I would like to make it clear that those tourists who are looking for beach and sun are still massive for us,” says Piñanes. “They represent the majority of our market and we won’t forget this, but we’ll also be looking at growth among the cosmopolitan tourists.” The strategy ties in to wider ideas that the Spanish government has about fighting problems around overtourism, which Piñanes concedes is an issue in some destinations. “We are conscious that in certain places there are problems,” he adds, citing Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia as examples. That “congestion” has led to the closure of 2,000 illegal apartments in cities such as Barcelona in the last year alone. It has also meant that the city has worked more closely with the wider province and coastal areas to improve the spread of tourists flocking to the city. In the Balearics, work has been done to extend the summer season and reduce the number of tourists visiting in peak months. The issue of Brits flocking to the

ABTAmag.com

same destinations year after year – and because Piñanes is trying to hone in on cosmopolitan tourists – is another reason why the Spanish Tourist Office wanted to host this year’s ABTA Travel Convention in the Andalusian city of Seville, which was ranked by Lonely Planet as the number one city in its 2018 list. “This is the moment to push our other destinations,” he adds. “Seville is well known, but not as well known as we might think. We thought that we should make an additional effort to push Seville and put it on the map with all of the British tour operators. It’s a fantastic opportunity. “For us it’s very important, especially given Brexit. Our message to British tourists is that you are going to continue to be welcomed in Spain. We are very honoured to have the ABTA Travel Convention in Spain. It’s to give continuity to the good relationship we have had with the sector. ABTA for us is key.” As many industry analysts have commented, Spain is having a moment right now. So, given that tourism represents about 12 per cent of Spain’s economy, how worried is Piñanes about Brexit? “We are concerned about Brexit,” he

Above: The Plaza De España is one of Seville's main tourist spots Left: Average tourist spend per day has increased in the past few years

admits, “but at the end of the day we have common interests.” Piñanes identifies “three main problems” arising from Britain's exit from the European Union: visas, the health insurance card and regulations concerning air space. “Open skies is the main problem and the one to solve now,” he says. “I know that ABTA is pressing the government, the destinations are worried and so is business. It could be the biggest issue to affect tourism.” Whatever the future may hold for Spanish tourism, it appears that companies and government bodies on both sides are keen for nothing to get in the way of British tourists being able to continue to travel unimpeded to Spain. Only time will tell if they get their way. ABTAmag.com

September 2018 25


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ABTA news September 2018

All the latest reports, comment, campaigns and events from ABTA – The Travel Association

Travel for everyone ABTA has launched a refreshed version of its Accessible Tourism e-learning tool By ABTA Magazine staff

Five tips for gap year volunteers ABTA shares practical advice on how to have a safe, enjoyable and ethical year out By ABTA Magazine staff Volunteering abroad is a popular choice for many ‘gappers’. To help volunteers find a project that is a positive experience for them and, most importantly, the host community, ABTA has published five tips for planning a volunteering trip: 1. Do your research. Thoroughly research activities, projects and companies. Ensure that volunteering projects provide a genuine benefit to the local host communities and activities are tailored to your skill set. 2. Use your skills. Appropriate placement training will not only provide gappers with enhanced skills for the rest of their life but will ensure they make a real and valuable contribution to the project. 3. Expect a background check.

ABTAmag.com

Companies should carry out background checks on people who want to work with children or vulnerable adults, and provide support when you are abroad. 4. Be aware of orphanages. There is growing evidence orphanages can negatively affect the children who are in this environment and by working in orphanages, volunteers can inadvertently cause harm to children. ABTA supports child safeguarding and advises its members to move away from volunteering in orphanages. 5. Look into animal sanctuaries. Be aware that a genuine sanctuary should have a no breeding policy and that physical contact should only take place for essential management or veterinary purposes. ABTA.com

Designed to help travel industry staff expand their knowledge of accessible tourism and meet customer needs, the tool was developed in consultation with the Equality and Human Rights Commission. It incorporates updated guidance in accordance with new regulations and offers support on a range of accessibility issues, including overcoming fear of asking the wrong questions, non-visible

disabilities, legal obligations and how to handle complaints. The updated training supports industry staff in dealing with issues related to disability equality and awareness. ABTA aims to equip staff with the knowledge to offer consistent and clear information at each step of a holiday. The e-learning training is free for ABTA members, with discounts for ABTA partners. Non-Members can purchase the training for a small fee. ABTA.com

Warning over fake claims New advice follows ABTA’s campaign By ABTA Magazine staff The Solicitors Regulation Authority has issued new warnings to law firms over false holiday sickness claims, following ABTA’s Stop Holiday Sickness Scams campaign. Paul Philip, SRA chief executive, said: “This issue is still very much a concern. While the number of claims has fallen, it’s important that solicitors are aware of the pitfalls, especially at peak holiday season.” “Anecdotally, ABTA Members are reporting a drop in the numbers of holiday sickness claims,” said Luke Petherbridge, ABTA senior public affairs manager. “This is a tribute to the success of the Stop Sickness Scams campaign launched in 2017 by ABTA and our Members, and there is now much greater public awareness about the scale of the problem and the severe penalties that can result from pursuing a false claim.“ Earlier in the year, Jadeep Singh, 34, of Salford, was fined £10,000 after falsely claiming he fell ill on a Tui holiday in Mexico. Roy Eccles, 23, of Eccles, was fined £6,000 after his fake sickness claim against Jet2. ABTA.com ABTA’s Claims Handling in Travel seminar takes place in Manchester on October 31

September 2018 27


ABTA News

A warm welcome awaits delegates in Andalusia A visit to Seville without exploring all this city has to offer would be a missed opportunity By ABTA Magazine staff Welcoming 500 travel industry professionals spanning the full breadth of the mainstream and specialist travel industry, this year’s Travel Convention will take place from 8 to 10 October 2018 at the five-star Barceló Sevilla Renacimiento hotel in Seville. Located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, the hotel is close to all the historic sights of interest in Andalusia’s largest city. Andalusia is a modern region with a well-developed infrastructure. While conscious of the need to modernise and move forward with the times, it is also careful to take care of its roots and maintain its important cultural heritage and monuments, which are a legacy of the region’s founders. Rich in history and renowned for its flamenco, tapas bars and orange trees, Seville dates from around the first millennium BC, coinciding with its settlement by the Phoenicians and the Tartessians. Its location at the confluence of river and land routes favoured rapid economic growth in the valley and surrounding areas. For modern-day visitors, a hot climate means plenty of sunshine to enjoy the city and various outdoor activities. With its combination of old-world glamour and sophistication, incredible heritage and contemporary art, music, food and fashion, a visit to Andalusia’s capital without exploring would

28 September 2018

be a missed opportunity. Seville’s historic landmarks, culture, nature and cuisine are the pillars of the tourism offering in towns throughout the province, with roughly 300 monuments recognised for their cultural significance. These include the breathtaking Unesco-listed Alcázar palace; La Giralda, the spectacular cathedral with its Moorish bell tower; and the lively Triana and Alameda districts. Excursions and sporting activities will be available to delegates on Monday 8 October, and the business sessions will close no later than 4pm on Wednesday 10 October to provide them with the opportunity to explore Seville in their own time.

At a Glance: The Travel Convention 2018 in Seville • •

• • •

The Travel Convention 2018 will be held at the Barceló Sevilla Renacimiento from Monday 8 to Wednesday 10 October 2018 The registration fee grants delegates full access to the three-day programme of business sessions and networking events. See the Convention website for further details and applicable group discounts Delegates will stay at the Barceló Sevilla Renacimiento and the recently opened Eurostars Torre Sevilla A number of airlines operate direct flights to Seville from the UK To view the full programme and 2018 Convention Delegate List, visit thetravelconvention.com

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Ask the expert Do you have a burning question you can’t find the answer to? Be it travel trends, a regulatory riddle, or destination dilemmas, send us your query for an expert response

How do I advise on animal welfare issues? As a travel agent, I find that it’s increasingly common that customers want to see wildlife when they travel, be it on safaris, cruises, scuba diving trips, sanctuaries or animal parks. This seems to be more common with big holidays – honeymoons, anniversaries, longer trips. The truth is that I’ve not had much training on animal welfare in tourism, and the recent news stories about animal attractions have got me thinking about how I respond to questions from customers. Anon

Got a question? Email: asktheexpert@abtamag.com ABTAmag.com

Most of us have an interest in, or even love of, animals, be they our pet or in the wild. So it is no surprise that these attitudes lead to customers wanting to see animals on holiday. Businesses in destinations have grown to cater to this demand. Some of these actively contribute to the welfare of animals, but others can cause suffering to the animals concerned. It’s helpful to talk customers through the following considerations. Viewing animals in the wild can promote conservation, but it’s important to minimise disturbance to the animals. Reputable safari, whale and dolphin watching companies will always make a point of keeping their distance, letting animals come to them – meaning the choice will then be theirs. When it comes to animals in captivity, it’s important that they are in a good state of welfare in terms of food, housing, health, social behaviours, and absence of boredom and fear. Wild creatures are not like domesticated animals – they can often find interaction with humans highly stressful. Tell your customers to think about what kind of creatures they are approaching and whether what they are doing is appropriate. You should ask questions as to whether there is contact with dangerous wild animals, such as tigers, crocodiles or elephants. They should also be aware that opportunities to have your photo taken with a wild animal can involve bad practice, such as animals being taken away from their mothers at a young age, or being drugged or mutilated to make them safer to handle. Think about whether an animal is behaving in a natural way. If customers are tempted to go and see shows where animals display ‘unnatural’ behaviours – such as tigers jumping through hoops of fire or elephants doing head stands – advise them to steer clear. This is because to get an animal to perform that sort of behaviour would have most likely required harsh training methods. The rapid destruction of natural habitats has led to many animal sanctuaries being set up around the world, and visiting a genuine sanctuary can have a positive impact on animals. However not all are so well intentioned and in a genuine sanctuary you should see no touching of animals and certainly not be encouraged to do so. Also, there should be no breeding, so you’re unlikely to see baby animals when you visit a genuine sanctuary. With working animals, such as camels, donkeys or horses, look out for how the animals are looked after, whether they are fit enough and whether the work is appropriate. So if the animal is clearly mistreated, don’t ride it and certainly don’t ride on a pregnant or injured animal. Lastly, tell them never to buy souvenirs made from wildlife products or other threatened natural materials including turtle shells, feathers and ivory. Clare Jenkinson Senior destinations & sustainability manager, ABTA

September 2018 29


ABTA Comment

Brexit: time remains to do a deal

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rexit has been a big focus of ABTA’s work over the past three years, and mine in particular. We’ve spent a lot of time meeting with ministers and officials in the UK government, the EU and destination countries talking about the value of outbound travel, and highlighting the main priorities for the industry in the negotiations. The response we’ve had has been encouraging: a recognition of the important contribution UK travel makes to EU economies – which ABTA research demonstrates is worth more than €37 billion a year and supports more than 870,000 jobs – and a clear desire to maintain the conditions that enabled the industry to flourish. Many of the main policy priorities that ABTA has been highlighting as essential to preserve a successful tourism industry – such as maintaining access to aviation markets, ensuring visa-free travel and keeping the EHIC system – are featured in the UK government’s Brexit white paper, which was published in July. What is less clear are the future rules around employment within the EU, including posted workers and VAT arrangements. The government’s white paper outlines an ambition to agree flexible employment arrangements, on a reciprocal basis, for identified sectors but there is no detail as to which sectors this refers, and no direct reference to posted workers either. There is also no detail on VAT for services, which we know is a very important issue for many UK travel businesses using the Tour Operators Margins Scheme (TOMS). Following the publication of the white paper, I wrote to chancellor Phillip Hammond to raise this issue with him and to ask for clarity on the government’s plans.

It is hoped that the exit agreement between the UK and the EU will be finalised at the European Council meeting on October 18-19. However, there is still a lot to cover within the negotiations before a deal, and time is tight. As negotiations progress – and intensify – there are three things we need to bear in mind: 1. The white paper gives a better understanding of what the government is seeking, but we are still lacking detail on many important areas. 2. The white paper only represents the views of how the UK government wants the future relationship to work. The EU and member states will have their own ideas. 3. A no-deal scenario is a possibility. The European Commission has issued advice to member states on contingency planning, and the UK government is publishing its own ‘technical notices’ on what a nodeal means for businesses and how the government might react in such a scenario. As the process moves forward, ABTA will continue to engage proactively, and to call for a pragmatic approach to the negotiations from both sides – seeking a deal that prioritises the needs of the travel industry and travelling public. ABTA is also carrying out contingency planning work, to help Members and customers be prepared, as far as possible, for a “no-deal” exit. Mark Tanzer, chief executive, ABTA

ABTA online The latest travel advice

The latest on visas, health requirements and destinations. See abta. com/tips-and-latest/ latest-travel-advice

30 September 2018

ABTA campaigns

The full list of ABTA’s campaigns, which raise awareness of important travel issues. See abta. com/tips-and-latest/abtacampaigns

ABTAmag.com


ABTA campaigns Action on green travel

Millions of tourists at risk by hiring mopeds and quad bikes on holiday By ABTA Magazine staff

By ABTA Magazine staff There’s still time to get involved in ABTA’s Make Holidays Greener (MHG) 2018 campaign, in partnership with Travelife for hotels & Accommodations. The campaign shines a spotlight on environmental and community matters and the work being done in this area by the travel industry. There are 15 pledges available that cover all aspects of a holiday. So far, over 600 sustainability pledges have been made by holidaymakers and more than 60 travel companies have taken part in sustainability initiatives. There has been a big drive to reduce single-use plastics thanks to MHG’s ‘say no to plastic’ theme. Every action counts. For those looking to take sustainability further, ABTA’s sustainability programme, Better Places, supports members to adopt the best pledge for them. The Travelife sustainability certification scheme works with travel businesses worldwide to help them improve their social, economic and environmental impacts. There are now 1,400 hotels that meet the Travelife sustainability criteria, which includes acting to minimise waste and packaging use. Almost 70 per cent of consumers think travel companies should ensure their holidays help the local people and economy. Holidaymakers can make a pledge via makeholidaysgreener.org.uk/ holidaymaker. Register a pledge by 30 September 2018 to be entered into a prize draw to win a GoPro camera with waterproof casing. Travel companies can contact sustainabletourism@abta.co.uk to sign up or share what they’re doing. Follow activity on social media using #MHG18. ABTA.com

ABTA strongly advises travellers to think twice before hiring these vehicles abroad. Figures reveal as many as 4.5 million Britons have hired a quad bike or moped while overseas, with younger adults most likely to put themselves at risk. Every year, many people have serious accidents while on holiday when using quad bikes and mopeds. Some accidents have been fatal. ABTA is advising anyone travelling abroad that there are always safer alternatives to hiring mopeds and quad bikes, including car hire, taking a taxi or using public transport, and to only ride quad bikes as part of an organised excursion. It is also reminding holidaymakers of the limitations and exclusions of standard travel insurance policies; many will not cover accidents from quad bikes and mopeds, leaving seriously injured holidaymakers facing unaffordable medical bills. ABTA.com

ABTA.com ABTA Knowledge Zone

ABTA’s online training tools, which complement ABTA’s conference and events programme. See abtaknowledgezone.co.uk

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Partner offers

ABTA Partners provide promotional offers, specialist helplines or free services to ABTA members. See abta.com/memberzone/business-services/ partner-offers-listing

September 2018 31


ABTA Events

Events ABTA conferences and events deliver practical training for the travel industry and help keep you and your staff up to date on the most important, business-critical issues, with a focus on practical learning. Visit ABTA.com/events to learn more about our upcoming events and register your place

September 20 Advanced Social Media in Travel, London Learn how to set yourself apart from your competitors online. Hear industry examples and learn the importance of strategy. Discover how to find influencers who are a good fit for your brand.

October 2

October 16

October 30

A Beginner’s Guide to Travel Law, Bristol The travel industry is undergoing major regulatory changes. This workshop provides a comprehensive, introductory-level overview of key legal issues to help you protect your business.

Data Protection and Management in Travel Post-GDPR, London Improve your understanding of data protection, management and security post-GDPR. Learn how data protection affects different departments and how to manage potential security breaches.

Health and Safety Auditing in Travel, London This workshop covers supplier auditing and assessment around accommodation, transportation and excursions. Understand how to effectively manage the auditing process.

October 30

October 31

November 8

The Package Travel Regulations: Preparing for 2019, London Take stock, ask the experts and raise any common issues on the new regulations ahead of the 2019 sales period. There will be guidance for tour operators, OTAs, travel agents and TMCs.

Crisis Management Communications, London If a crisis happens tomorrow, are you prepared? This seminar offers practical guidance to help you plan, update and execute your crisis communications strategy.

Consumer Law in the Marketing and Selling of Holidays, London A walk through of what the law says, how it applies to the travel industry and examples of compliant selling and marketing practices. Expert speakers will cover a range of topics.

32 September 2018

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Business travel Business Artificial Intelligence class

The sky is the limit Business Travel Report

Business class offerings continue to evolve as airlines vie to stay competitive in the growing work-travel segment

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rom anti-jet lag lounges to dedicated WhatsApp hotlines for premium customers, airlines are constantly announcing modifications to their business class products. But where is left to go for business class travel? And how can airlines innovate to add real value, rather than empty gimmicks? When it comes to business class seat design, most recent innovations are more evolutionary than revolutionary. “I think it is fair to say this is probably a reflection of how far the business class seat product has come in recent years,” says Sheldon Hee, general manager for UK and Ireland for

Singapore Airlines. Besides, small tweaks can really add up – an extra couple of inches of seat width, clever stowage space, larger privacy screens – and make the overall experience feel more intuitive. Among the most groundbreaking developments of late have been the debut of suites in business class, with the launch of Delta Air Lines’ Delta One Suites and Qatar Airways’ QSuites, both earlier this year. Available on selected long-haul routes, Delta’s business class suites each have a full-height door, offering complete passenger privacy. Meanwhile, Qatar’s A350-900 aircraft each has six QSuite “quads” – groupings

by Rose Dykins of four seats – two facing backwards and two directed forwards. Dividers slide open to connect each quad, so four passengers can dine, relax and even have a business meeting together. In addition, Singapore Airlines’ couple beds on its A380 aircraft – launched in March – became the first seats that can be converted into double beds outside of first class (also offered by Qatar’s QSuites).

Hands-free travel – the new norm? Oliver Ahad, chief marketing officer of AirPortr – a service that collects an air passenger’s luggage from their home and transports it to their destination. WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM? Our CEO was a regular commuter, often taking overnight trips where he would traipse around with his bag all day, taking it with him from meeting to meeting. And he thought: “There must be a more logical way of doing this.”

34 September 2018

HOW ARE YOU REFRAMING THE TRAVELLER’S JOURNEY? AirpPortr effectively extends an airport out into the city it serves. We’re saying that your journey from Point A to Point B doesn’t start when you check in at the airport, it starts when you leave your

doorstep. And that’s a different way of thinking. We’re saying to the airlines: “Help us to improve that part of the customer life cycle that nobody has improved since air travel began.” It also means we can take the strain away from the airport and increase its capacity

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The headlines Heathrow scanner trial could end liquid ban

DON’T MISS ABTA’s Business Travel Risk Management Seminar bringing together corporate travel managers, TMCs and experts in travel security and risk 3 October, London

“We chose to do this to offer more privacy options, greater comfort and flexible use of space, which we know are what our customers are looking for when they travel with us,” says Hee. So what’s next? In the very near future, we will see the launch of the smart seat, where passengers can control their onboard experience with their smartphones. The Waterfront business class seat – developed by Teague, Panasonic, B/E Aerospace and Formation Design – was inspired by the rise in personal smart devices, and incorporates them into the seat environment. Not only will passengers be able to control their seat’s recline, lighting and climate, order refreshments, and create entertainment playlists from their phones, but the system will remember their preferences from

New security scanners are being tested at Heathrow that could end the hand luggage liquid ban. According to the Department for Transport (DfT), trials will last between six and 12 months, with some passengers being asked to leave their liquids in their hand luggage at Heathrow’s security checks. A DfT spokesperson said: “If successful, this could lead in future to passengers no longer needing to remove items from hand luggage for screening.”

Marriott loyalty scheme launches

On August 18, Marriott combined its three loyalty programmes – Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and the Ritz Carlton Rewards – into a single platform. The Marriott Rewards, Ritz Carlton Rewards and SPG brands will continue to exist until early 2019, when a new name will be announced for the new scheme.

EasyJet adds five Manchester routes EasyJet is expanding its Manchester operation with five new routes. The carrier will now fly from the British city to Barcelona, Bordeaux, Faro, Innsbruck and Lanzarote from November 2. It will add five A320neo aircraft to its fleet at Manchester Airport to carry the projected 1.5 million extra passengers per year.

IHG confirms brand UK locations

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) has revealed the British launch cities of its boutique Kimpton Hotels and Resorts brand and its new upscale brand, Voco Hotels. The first UK Kimpton properties will open in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Manchester, while Voco will make its British debut in Cardiff. Rather than new-builds, each hotel will be a rebrand of a Principal Hotels property – IHG acquired the hotel group in May.

Norwegian introduces slimline seats without any additional infrastructure, while creating a fantastic customer experience. COULD DOOR-TO-DESTINATION LUGGAGE DELIVERY BECOME PART OF AN AIRLINE’S BUSINESS CLASS OFFERING? We very much hope so, and there are discussions happening with airlines around the world to try and make that happen. I can’t be specific, but absolutely, it’s on our radar.

ABTAmag.com

Norwegian has received its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with new slimline seating. The new seats have 76cm of legroom, are 44cm wide and are designed to add space at kneelevel to increase passenger comfort on longhaul routes. The new 737s will be used on the low-cost carrier’s transatlantic routes to New York and Providence (near Boston) from the UK and Ireland.

Jenny Southan is away

September 2018 35


Business travel Business class

Previous page: Singapore Airlines now has couple beds on its A380 aircraft; right: Delta’s business class suites offer full privacy

flight to flight. There are reports that airlines have expressed an interest in the Waterfront seat, and that it will debut next year, although it hasn’t been confirmed which airlines are keen to incorporate the seats into their fleet. Business class food and drink has become increasingly refined and creative thanks to airline partnerships with celebrity chefs, flagship restaurants and culinary brands. Pre-booking meals from an increasingly varied menu in business class – guaranteeing that customers get to eat their first choice – has been available for some time with certain airlines, including Qatar Airways, Qantas and Singapore Airlines. Over the next few years, it seems likely that this will be much more widely adopted, enabling other airlines to remain competitive.

Furthermore, we’re likely to see more healthy, organic and sustainable meal options emerging in response to consumer trends. For example, from July to October this year, Air New Zealand is serving the Impossible Burger in business class on its Los Angeles-Auckland route. Created by Silicon Valley start-up Impossible Foods, it’s a burger made from plant-based ingredients that’s designed to taste, smell, look and even bleed like beef. Other service-orientated innovations in business class travel involve evolving beyond the status quo. For example, British Airways, American Airlines, Finnair and EasyJet now partner with AirPortr – a company that offers door-todestination luggage transport. AirPortr collects passengers’ luggage from their homes and checks it in, allowing people

to travel to the airport baggage-free and eliminating the need to queue at bag drop. The service currently starts from £30, but could become something airlines incorporate into their perks for business class passengers (see page 34). All in all, the capacity for connectivity, the push for personalisation and the collaborations taking place between the aviation industry and external tech and logistics companies means we will start to see innovations we didn’t know we needed over the coming years. Those that stand the test of time will be the ones that hone in on the core things business travellers value. “Features that provide more choice, control, comfort or space are generally best received by customers and this is true whether they are flying for leisure or business,” says Hee. ABTAmag.com

Johan Wilson, UK and Ireland country director for Carlson Wagonlit Travel, one of the world’s largest corporate travel management companies You live in Stockholm with your family, yet live and work in London during the week. How do you find the commute? It almost doesn’t bother me at all. Although I have a long commute at the beginning and end of each week, when I’m in London, I live in an apartment that’s a 10-minute walk from the office. So I probably actually commute less now than I did before.

Where have you been recently (apart from Stockholm)?

The last trip I took was a family holiday to San Marino (that’s where I watched the England vs Sweden match…). For business, if you include domestic travel to all of our offices across the UK, I travel more than once a month.

36 September 2018

What trends are you observing?

I’m amazed how much food people carry on to the plane these days. I also see that people are bringing all of their luggage into the cabin. Of course, these are both because of airlines’ changing approaches to luggage and serving food on the plane.

What are you working on at the moment?

Our aim is to become a digital travel management company. We’re developing global apps and finding new ways of helping customers when they’re on the road and when they book their travel.

ABTAmag.com ABTAmag.com


Spotlight on AccorHotels

Spotlight on

AccorHotels Sam Ballard learns how the hospitality giant is coupling decades of experience with a start-up mentality to disrupt customer-centric travel

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ith 4,300 hotels in 100 countries across 32 brands, AccorHotels is, by anyone’s standards, a hospitality giant. The firm, which was founded in 1967, is relatively young compared to its major competitors (Marriott was founded in 1927 and Hilton in 1919) – however, in recent years the company has taken that youth and steered itself in a bold new direction. In 2016, AccorHotels’ management made the decision to become an “assetlight business”. Fundamentally, this meant selling off a majority of its large portfolio of properties, which are now either operated under management or franchise agreements with AccorHotels and retain their brand flags. The billions raised will help accelerate the company’s growth into exciting new areas, where it has

38 September 2018

developed three clearly defined verticals in which the company now operates: hotels, private-home-sharing platforms and new businesses. AccorHotels has already acquired luxury hotel brands such as Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel, not to mention the €630 million worth of travel start-ups it has bought into in the past four years alone, such as luxury private rental firm onefinestay and Jean Paul, a concierge service provider. They were even considering taking a minority stake in Air France-KLM – one of Europe’s biggest airlines. For all intents and purposes, AccorHotels is adopting the mindset of a start-up business with the backing of a multibillion-dollar company. “Start-ups have a very different mentality,” says Thomas Dubaere, managing director of the AccorHotels

FAST FACT In a drive to reduce food waste, AccorHotels has introduced more than 600 urban vegetable gardens at its hotels around the world. The gardens are part of significant investment into sustainable food systems across the firm’s entire global portfolio. By 2020, it intends to create 1,000 vegetable gardens and reduce food waste in its restaurants by 30 per cent. Dubaere says the scheme is vital to cut waste and foster sustainability in the firm’s supply chains.

ABTAmag.com


ABTA Magazine

UK and Ireland operation. “They are innovative, creative, and it’s all about trying and doing. “When we started with the online travel agents, we wondered what was next and then came Trivago and TripAdvisor. After that? Airbnb and Uber. What’s the next one going to be? The next generation keeps reinventing itself.” Much of AccorHotels’ strategy comes down to the company not wanting to be caught napping when that next trend does come along. Dubaere predicts that the next hospitality disrupter will be rooted in bettering the overall customer experience. When pushed on specifics, he says data and mobile payments are the big areas to watch out for. “We’re getting behind the start-ups because they have another way of looking at the experience in general,” he explains. “I’ll give you an example: about eight years ago a very good competitor of ours decided to invest in a new welcome experience that meant guests could check themselves in and out. It was innovative. But we used a start-up mentality for our solution. When you arrive at one of our hotels now there is no check-in desk. Instead, there is a member of staff with a mobile phone who will check you in within five seconds – or half a minute if you have questions. “We have invested in great technology and then taken it away from the customer to personalise the service.” It was a similar move that made AccorHotels buy the luxury homesharing platform onefinestay for £117 million in 2016. The hospitality giant has also got either major or controlling stakes in Squarebreak, a home-sharing platform in France; and Travel Keys, a company that specialises

ABTAmag.com

in renting luxury villas around the world. For Dubaere, being able to offer a luxury apartment on onefinestay means product diversification for his well-heeled customers. Put simply: if a customer’s favourite room in the Sofitel or Savoy is unavailable, they can stay in a luxury apartment instead. Also, while AccorHotels’ loyalty scheme doesn’t stretch to cover the home-sharing platforms yet, Dubaere hinted that it won’t be long until this is rectified. Every time AccorHotels picks up a new brand it fundamentally alters the way in which the business operates. The plan, with any acquisition, is to not just pick up a brand name, but gather all of the years of experience that goes along with that. In the case of luxury hotels that could be years of heritage. With start-ups, it’s the fresh thinking that comes from being a disrupter.

Take Mama Shelter, which was founded by the ex-owners of Club Med. The concept, according to Dubaere, is to create an incredible restaurant, anchored around an amazing social space, and then construct hotel rooms on top. “We are used to building a hotel and adding a restaurant,” he says. “It’s a totally different way of looking at it.” The conceptual change is symptomatic of a number of decisions AccorHotels has taken across its brands regarding public spaces. The ground floor of the ibis hotel in Cambridge is now a coffee shop where 80 per cent of revenues are generated from people not staying in the hotel. Today, the company has four coffee shops, five bars and two hamburger restaurants, which are pioneered by a new retail chief. The Novotel in Canary Wharf is another example, Dubaere says. Previously they would have added a restaurant to the ground floor. Instead, Bokan is perched on top of the 39-floor hotel – offering excellent views and boasting the accolade of being London’s highest gin bar. “It is a destination in itself,” says Dubaere. He explains: “We want to be innovative. To use the technology to create new experiences and daring to invest in new businesses. Whatever experiences those companies have we will incorporate them into our brands. “Will that affect our DNA? Yes. Not fully, but yes. Our core business is still our 32 brands. We will continue to invest and, if you were to ask me if we were to have more brands in the future, then I would say very possibly.” ABTAmag.com

September 2018 39


UK holidays Newcastle

UK holidays

Newcastle

Its vibrant arts scene and gritty industrial heritage have seen the city emerge amid global competition as the place to visit in 2018, writes Joe Zadeh 40 September 2018

ABTAmag.com


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or many years, Newcastle was known as a ‘party city’. A place for stags and hens to spend their weekends, or football fans to enjoy a few beers. It’s easy to see where that party reputation came from: at any given time the city is bristling with energy and activity, with an abundance of pubs and clubs that create an infectious and jubilant atmosphere. But to call it a ‘party city’ also criminally undersells this Northern beacon, because it is brimming with culture, arts, adventures, cuisine and creativity that just begs to be explored. Last year, Rough Guides named Newcastle the top destination to visit in 2018, ahead of New Orleans, Chile and Valletta (one of the 2018 European Capitals of Culture). It may have surprised the world, but it didn’t shock the Geordies. To get your bearings in Newcastle, the best place to start is on the Quayside, down by the River Tyne. Over the years, these river banks have been wonderfully modernised, transforming the area from its proud

Great hotels Budget

Sleeperz: This might be a budget hotel, but its modern and eccentric decor and location in the centre of Newcastle makes up for anything it lacks in luxury.

Mid-range

Grey Street Hotel: For all the talk of beautiful Georgian buildings in Newcastle, here’s the opportunity to go one further and sleep in one. This is a well-kept boutique hotel on one of the most famous streets in the city.

High-end

Jesmond Dene House: Tucked away in a wooded area away from the city centre, this luxury independent hotel is all about tranquility and style. Expect modern art, velvet sofas and fine dining.

ABTAmag.com

September 2018 41


UK holidays Newcastle

industrial past while still retaining much of the Georgian architecture of its heritage. Here you will get your first glimpse of the famous seven bridges of Newcastle, ranging from the iconic Tyne Bridge to the more futuristic Millennium Bridge. They are quite the vision when seen at night. Cross over the Millennium Bridge to the Baltic Centre, an old flour mill that has been transformed into a hub of contemporary arts. Over the years, it has hosted exhibitions with huge art names such as Nan Goldin and Chris Burden, and hosted the Turner Prize in 2011. Next door is the curved steel monolith that is Sage Gateshead, a prestigious live music venue where you can catch everything from Norwegian classical to art rock.

When you’re down on the Quayside, neither art, food or drink are ever far away. Beneath the Tyne Bridge on the Gateshead side there is the newly opened By the River Brew, a “shipping container village” that hosts 15 independent street traders selling everything from pizza, oysters, tacos and burgers, to ice creams, cakes, crêpes and waffles. But if you’re looking for something a little more luxurious then try House of Tides, a family-run Michelin-starred restaurant that prides itself on using local ingredients. No matter where you walk in Newcastle, the history leaps out at you – in the 12thcentury castle that gives the city its name and the 1930s Tyneside Cinema in the city centre. One of the best ways to see this is on one of the many walking tours. Iles Tours provide a trip to remember, taking visitors

Pictured: the Georgian architecture of Newcastle’s Quayside is dwarfed by the Tyne Bridge, seen illuminated here

to the castle, up Grey Street and past the many churches, while telling the story of how Victorian entrepreneurs turned this city into an industrial powerhouse. For the past few months, Newcastle has been celebrating The Great Exhibition of the North, a summer-long feast of activities that encourage pride and appreciation for the creativity, ingenuity and authenticity of Northern England. When you spend a holiday in this city, you can see just why. ABTAmag.com

Victoria Tunnel The streets of Newcastle might have an electric atmosphere, but if you want to see one of the city’s best-kept secrets then you will need to go underground. Victoria Tunnel is a subterranean wagonway built in the 1800s that runs beneath the city, from the Town Moor down to the River Tyne. A rich part of the city’s industrial heritage, the tunnel was constructed to transport coal from the collieries to the riverside staithes where it was loaded onto ships. During the Second World War, it was converted into an air raid shelter. After undergoing restoration by Newcastle City Council, a 700m section of the tunnel was opened to the public in 2010 for guided tours. Armed with a torch and a hard hat, you can wander into the eerie but fascinating experience of a wartime shelter, and get an understanding for how the rules of gravity informed the transportation of coal in 19th-century England. The tunnel is accessed in Ouseburn Valley which is also worth exploring after your visit, for this is a calm and youthful corner of Newcastle full of craft ale pubs, artists’ studios and even an urban farm.

42 September 2018

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ABTAMAG.COM ABTAmag.com is the new home of ABTA Magazine. The website hosts digital versions of the bi-monthly magazine, as well as additional news, comment, analysis and competitions. ABTAmag.com will also host ABTA Golf, the ABTA Magazine Guides and the ABTA Handbooks.

New beginnings

Travel industry insights / May 2018

After a difficult few years, Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt are back on the map for British travellers. Katherine Lawrey welcomes the return of old favourites

King of the north How Belfast became one of the world’s most exciting cities

ABTA Magazine

Generation game

Why business travel has been reshaped around the needs of millennials

Royal Caribbean

Waterslides, robotic barmen and the world’s largest cruise ships

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RESPO

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Turning the plastic tide

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Sustainability guru Dr Catherine Wilson explains how the industry can cut plastic waste

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n July 11, 1907, the chemist Leo Baekeland wrote in his diary: “unless I am very much mistaken, this invention will prove important in the future”. If anything, Baekeland, a pioneer of plastic, was underplaying his hand. Soon, plastic was king and today an estimated 300 million tons are produced each year – just 10 per cent of which is recycled. Production is expected to double in the next 20 years, but about 50 per cent of all plastics, from miniature hotel toiletries to disposable coffee cups, are used just once, sometimes only for a few seconds, and then thrown away without a second thought. The main benefit of plastic – its durability – has become its greatest environmental threat: a plastic bottle takes a whopping 450 years to decay. The result is an estimated eight million tons of plastic waste entering the ocean every year. Over time, the plastic degrades and fragments into microparticles, which absorb toxic chemicals in ever greater

Clare Jenkinson concentrations as they travel up the food chain, ending up on our dinner plates. Roughly 75 per cent of litter in the sea is plastic and this is having a direct impact on wildlife – from turtles suffocating on plastic bags and litter islands affecting ecosystems, to fish consuming fatal amounts of microparticles. With as much as 80 per cent of tourism connected to coastal areas, the impact of ocean plastic is a huge concern. Plastic waste is a visual eyesore, reducing beach use, wildlife sightings and well-being. The logical conclusion is fewer visitors, revenue and jobs. Sadly, travel and tourism is a major contributor to the problem. Between 2011-2013, researchers monitoring litter on 23 beaches across Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Latvia, found that an estimated 33 per cent of the waste was generated by leisure or tourism. More than half of this rubbish was plastic. It’s clear that plastic has become a global problem; no part of the world has been left untouched.

We spoke to ABTA’s senior destinations and sustainability manager, about the Better Places programme – and how businesses are using it to tackle plastics What is the Better Places programme?

It is a series of tools and guidance designed to help ABTA Members implement a sustainability approach or improve on their current sustainability performance.

What’s the thinking behind it?

ABTA believes sustainable tourism is essential for the industry’s long-term viability and profitability – and Better Places addresses the environmental, social and economic impacts of tourism. We’ve focused on the actions we know have a material impact and made the process simple.

How does this relate to plastics?

The programme helps Members adopt the sustainability policy that works for them and – as we know plastics is a hugely important topic for the industry – we can offer guidance and support on how businesses can address this issue in their wider policy.

What’s been your best achievement?

Thousands of employees in the travel sector have now been trained on child protection and accessible tourism. Also, in the past 18 months we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of Members engaging with the programme as sustainability rises up the agenda.

How can Members get involved?

Contact sustainable tourism@abta. co.uk or visit Better Places on the Member Zone for more information.

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May 2018 57

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Promotion

Adventures start here GWR’s Intercity Express Trains are now serving routes to Devon and Cornwall, meaning more seats and more trains

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WR’s Intercity Express Trains (IET) are being introduced on the operator’s routes to the southwest – meaning that the beautiful coastlines and countryside of Cornwall or the glorious beaches of Devon are now a more comfortable train ride away. The IETs will be rolled out on the route from the end of summer 2018, the final part of the largest fleet upgrade in a generation, which will see 93 of the new trains replacing the old rolling stock by 2019. More seats and more trains First introduced on GWR’s routes to Bristol, South Wales and the Cotswolds in October 2017, the innovative new IET trains have been designed and built by Hitachi using bullet train technology. They are ergonomically designed with

44 September 2018

air-conditioning in all areas; and window blinds throughout. Plus there are more tables, at seat plug sockets and wi-fi available throughout the train, and there’s extra floor storage. Lean green machines IETs are not just green on the outside: whether they’re running on electric or diesel power, state-of-the-art engineering means emissions and noise pollution are always kept to a minimum. Where to go and what to do Your travellers can now sit back and relax an enjoy the beautiful and vibrant cities of Exeter, with its impressive cathedral, and Plymouth, with its rich maritime heritage. There are also the beaches and year-round attractions of Torquay and Paignton and the rugged landscapes of Dartmoor.

Connecting GWR services can take them on to Exmouth and further afield on the Tarka Line to Barnstaple. The IETs will travel right to the end of the main line in Penzance so, as they venture further into Cornwall, they can ride the waves in Newquay, climb St Michael’s Mount, follow in the footsteps of King Arthur, Daphne du Maurier or Poldark, or dine in one of the county’s five Michelin starred restaurants, or just indulge in a cream tea or a pasty. Whatever adventure they choose, GWR will take them there, more comfortably than ever before.

BOOK AT GWR.COM

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THE FAMOUS FIVE © 2017, Hodder & Stoughton Limited. All rights reserved.


City Guide Vienna Talinn

City Guide

Vienna Beneath this ornate Baroque cityscape exists a rich cultural heritage and some of the greenest urban space in the world, writes Anthony Pearce

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hen cities are ranked by their ‘liveability’ – that is, the quality of life of residents as determined by factors such as stability, culture, green spaces and public infrastructure – Vienna is consistently towards the top. The pretty Austrian capital, which combines the grandeur of Paris and culture of London with the cleanliness of Copenhagen, came in first and third respectively in The Economist and Monocle’s most recent annual surveys, and financial consultant Mercer has named it in top place for nine consecutive years. And the qualities that make Vienna such an enjoyable city to live in also make it a fine one to visit. The well-connected Vienna International Airport is served by a number of direct flights from the UK, and is just 16 minutes from Wien Mitte (the city centre) by train. A manageable size, the city is served by an excellent public transport network, made up of the U-Bahn (subway), S-Bahn (local train), Straßenbahn (tram) and Autobus (bus). The city centre, where most tourists focus their attentions, is remarkably compact: the Old Town, a Unesco World Heritage site, covers three square kilometres, of which 82,000 square metres is pedestrianised. Given the array of stunning architecture on display, it’s a city best enjoyed on foot. The city’s construction boom, which followed destruction caused during the Turkish Siege of 1648, coincided

46 September 2018

with the Baroque period, meaning Vienna offers some of the most striking examples of this architectural style. There are more than 50 preserved Baroque palaces, churches and landmarks, such as the Schönbrunn Palace and Belvedere Palace. These are accompanied by beautifully arranged Baroque gardens – an enjoyable feature of a city that ranks among the world’s greenest. In fact, more than half of Vienna’s metropolitan area is made up of green space; or, to put it another way: there are 120 square metres of green space per resident. The immaculate Volksgarten, in the Innere Stadt first district of Vienna and part of the Hofburg Palace, may be the pick of the bunch.

CULTURAL POWERHOUSE

With more than 100 museums and over 140 art galleries, Vienna is one of Europe’s cultural powerhouses: an entire district, the MuseumsQuartier, is dedicated to culture and contains no fewer than nine institutions. Among these are the Mumok, the Museum of Modern Art, containing works by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Yoko Ono and Gerhard Richter; Leopold Museum, which houses 42 paintings and 187 original graphics by Egon Schiele; and the Kunsthalle Wien, which is known for its temporary exhibitions. The breathtaking Belvedere houses one of Austria’s most valuable art collections, with works by Gustav Klimt, Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka.

Operators Train adventure

G Adventures’ Glacier Express trip begins in Paris and ends in Budapest with an overnight in Vienna, staying in the Magdas Hotel. £2,199pp. gadventures.com

Coach tour

Touring specialists Shearings offers a six-day coach itinerary taking in Vienna, Prague and Budapest. Guests will stay in the Arcotel Wimberger in the centre of the Austrian capital. £673.50pp shearings.com

Cruise

Viking’s Danube Waltz calls at Linz, Krems and Vienna in Austria. In the latter there’s the chance to take in a Mozart and Strauss concert. vikingrivercruises.co.uk

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The Republic of Austria turns 100 this year. Its centenary will be marked by the opening of the House of Austrian History on Heldenplatz on November 12, 100 years to the day since the republic was declared. As it is also 80 years since Austria’s “Anschluss” (annexation) into Nazi Germany, a sound installation – ‘The Voices’ by Susan Philipsz – on Heldenplatz will recall the horrors of the 1930s and 40s. Through a series of events in 2018, Vienna also marks 100 years since the deaths of Klimt, Schiele, architect Otto Wagner and craftsman Koloman Moser, four of the eminent protagonists of modernism – a style that remains visible across the city, from its architecture to its exhibitions (see wien.info/en/sightseeing/ vienna-2018). No visit to the city that Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner called home would be complete without experiencing a classical concert. The Vienna Philharmonic’s Summer Night Concert, an open-air event

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for 100,000 visitors with free admission and set against the backdrop of Schönbrunn Palace, is the highlight of the classical music calendar, but opportunities to enjoy the city’s music are numerous (see wien.info/ en/music-stage-shows/city-of-music).

CAFÉ CULTURE

It’s often said that the Austrians have elevated coffee drinking to an art form: the city’s historic grand cafés, and modern equivalents, help make up the fabric of Viennese life. Café Central – which was opened in 1876 and counts Trotsky, Freud, Stalin and Hitler among its former patrons – is perhaps the city’s most famous, but Café Landtmann (1873) and Café Sperl (1800) are just as striking. It would be wrong, however, to paint Vienna as a city that lives in the past: Austria’s most liberal metropolis, it is a distinctly modern capital, with a vibrant arts, bar and restaurant scene,

borne from a large student population and creative industries based in the city. For Austrian fare, visitors can choose between the likes of the Michelin-star Zum Schwarzen Kameel (Bognergasse 5) and the rustic, low-key Gasthaus Pöschl (Weihburggasse 17). In summer head to the Spittelberg area, with its Biedermeier buildings, ivy-covered lanes, cosy bistros, lively student bars and Schanigärten options (outdoor dining areas). Spend just a few hours in the city and you’ll realise why Vienna is the perfect city to call home. ABTAmag.com

Pictured Above: Attractions poke above Burggarten (WienTourismus / Lois Lammerhuber). Below: Café Central dates back to 1876 (WienTourismus / Christian Stemper)

September May 2018 47


Features Argentina

48 September 2018

ABTAmag.com


Gateway to Latin America Sorrel Moseley-Williams samples the architectural, cultural and epicurean experiences in Buenos Aires and beyond

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uenos Aires is a microcosm of wider Latin America – elegant architecture harks back to a colonial past, while vivid bursts of colour, music and tango in the streets remind you that you’re far from Europe. BA – an English moniker for the capital – is one of the region’s most vibrant cities. Its also a transit hub, positioned as a gateway to the rest of the continent. Getting to BA is straightforward if lengthy, at close to 14 hours. Direct flights from Gatwick with Norwegian launched in February 2018, while British Airways’ daily direct flight from Heathrow is longstanding. The cruise ship terminal regularly receives transatlantic visitors from Fred Olsen and Celebrity Cruises, among others, that dock on the west bank of the River Plate, a 10-minute drive from downtown

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and the upmarket Recoleta neighbourhood, where the famous cemetery is located. Cheaper flights have made the city more accessible, while a weak Argentine peso is making it more affordable. In August, the pound was up 53 per cent against the peso year-on-year, meaning visitors get more bang for their buck. Meanwhile, the city’s attractions are a constant. BA commands huge kudos for its cultural, sporting, foodie and arts scenes. The capital has been selected for the debut Art Basel Cities Week from September 6-12 and is set to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in October, as well as Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants awards in 2019. The annual SúperClásico match between football legends Boca Juniors and River Plate is a given, as is the Argentine Open polo tournament in spring.

September 2018 49


Features Argentina

Pictured

Previous page: La Boca neighbourhood is famed for its colourful buildings Above: BA’s Obelisk commemorates the city’s 400th anniversary

Great hotels Budget

A stone’s throw from Congreso, the Bauen (bauenhotel.com.ar) is a curiosity given it’s one of the world’s few recuperated businesses and cooperative-run hotels. Its lobby screams 1970s and decor might be mismatched but a stay with a cause is a unique scenario.

Mid-range

Close to Palermo Hollywood’s nightlife action, the Fierro (fierrohotel.com) is a food and wine aficionado’s dream stay given that its list is curated by top sommelier Andrés Rosberg. Book into on-site restaurant Uco for a delectable paired menu.

High-end

Step back in time at the Belle Epoquestyle Palacio Duhau at the Park Hyatt (buenosaires.park.hyatt.com) located on Recoleta’s exclusive Avenida Alvear. Luxurious suites overlooking the palace gardens want for nothing; also book into Ahín spa.

50 September 2018

Aesthetes will love the mélange of art deco, brutalist and Belle Époque buildings. Strolling up Avenida de Mayo from Plaza de Mayo to Congreso showcases a cluster of design hits including Palacio Barolo, inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy. The city boasts a strong cultural scene, and many attractions are free to enter. Gratis museums include Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts): head there for a collection starring El Greco, Manet and Dalí. For a look at Latin American artists such as Mexico’s Frida Kahlo and local masters Antonio Berni and Xul Solar, the MALBA is fantastic – and the entrance fee is a snip at AR$150 (£4). Besides Art Basel Cities Week, Argentina’s capital also hosts arteBA every May, the continent’s largest annual contemporary arts fair. Collectors should note that legislation regarding art exports was considerably relaxed this year, creating new opportunities for galleries such as Del Infinito, Rolf Art and Galeria Mar Dulce to raise the profiles of local artists and photographers. And that weak peso means you can snag a bargain. Other BA bucket-list musts include a night at the opera at Teatro Colón (performances for the remainder of the year include Puccini’s La bohème and

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SIDE TRIPS

Mendoza

A 90-minute flight from Buenos Aires, Malbec lovers should spend at least two nights in Mendoza, Argentina’s most extensive wine-producing region tucked at the foot of the Andes. Luján de Cuyo is the emblematic red’s heartland, home to a cluster of bodegas open to visitors for tours and lunch. Lagarde and Nieto Senetiner both date back to the 1890s and you can peg on vineyard horseback excursions at the latter. Serious aficionados should book into De Angeles Viña 1924 and Matías Riccitelli Wines for tastings. Stay at boutique vineyard lodging Finca Adalgisa (fincaadalgisa.com).

Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite) and losing your inhibitions at a tango class – naturally aimed at beginners with two left feet – at La Viruta milonga (dance hall). Since the gay marriage and equal rights law was passed in 2010, gay milongas such as Tango Queer have also formed part of the genre’s circuit. Once that fancy footwork has been mastered, reward yourself with a dinner-and-dance show at Café de los Angelitos. At La Recoleta cemetery, wander the labyrinthine rows containing thousands of lavish mausoleums. Free to enter, the cemetery is the resting place of Argentina’s most famous figures. Recoleta itself is worth taking a walk around, home to buildings with elegant Parisian-style façades. Two doors down from the cemetery is Centro Cultural Recoleta, where a breathtaking aquatic acrobatic show – Fuerza Bruta – is performed. Booking ahead is recommended. Also within walking distance is Floralis Genérica, an enormous aluminium and steel flower that reacts to light, and the brutalist-style National Library. Wandering north alongside Parque Tres de Febrero towards the city’s largest neighbourhood, Palermo, reveals a

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Valdés Peninsula

Take a morning flight to Patagonia and you could be spotting whales by the afternoon. From June to November, embarcations depart from Puerto Pirámides, a tiny village on the Unesco-protected Valdés Peninsula, to observe the impressive southern right whale – among the world’s largest mammals, weighing in at 23 tons. Wildlife lovers can also spot orca, Magellanic penguins and sea lions at other times of the year. Fly into Puerto Madryn or Trelew in Chubut province, gateways to the peninsula. Stay at eco lodge Océano Patagonia (oceanopatagonia.com) in Puerto Pirámides.

miniature version of the capital. Here, mechanics’ workshops rub shoulders with trendy bars, pubs, street-food joints and fine-dining restaurants. Check out how the other half lives in Barrio Parque and, in the spring, grab a cheap ticket to one of

Aesthetes will love the mélange of art deco, brutalist and Belle Époque buildings the polo matches at the Palermo grounds. Soho’s cobbled streets offer up a plethora of boutiques and cosy cafés – Felix Felicis & Co is a highlight. Further south is the colourful La Boca neighbourhood. Step down Calle Caminito to take photos of the brightly painted buildings, watch local artists and, if you’re lucky, catch a street performance of the tango. La Boca is also home to La Bombonera, Boca Juniors’ home turf. No visit to Buenos Aires would be complete without gorging at a parrilla

Jujuy

This northwestern province that borders Bolivia is home to the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a fascinating Unesco cultural heritage site that’s a two-hour flight from BA. This vibrant canyon was conquered by the Inca, and its adobe houses and Inca influence is still obvious today. The Siete Colores (Seven Colours) hills in Purmamarca are best seen in the morning, while llama trekking in Tilcara makes for a great afternoon activity. Stay at boutique lodging and spa El Manantial del Silencio in Purmamarca (hotelmanantialdelsilencio. com). The valley is also an up-and-coming wine region.

(steakhouse). Argentine bife de chorizo (New York strip) steak and a portion of chips slathered in spicy chimichurri sauce has turned more than one vegetarian over to the medium-rare dark side. Don Julio rules the parrilla roost after ranking in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2017, but you can’t go wrong scoring some beef at La Carnicería (hipster), Le Grill (business lunch), Cabaña Las Lilas (swanky) or La Brigada (authentic yet pricey). These are among the ‘must sees’ for visitors to Buenos Aires before they take off to explore the rest of this diverse region. Having lived in the city for 12 years, I’m adamant about two things: first, it’s the perfect city to wander around and get lost in, because it’s flat, it’s charming and the weather is usually dry; and second, if you have any kind of ‘in’ with a porteño (resident of BA), let them know you’re coming so they can show their characteristic warm hospitality at an asado – a shared meal where everyone contributes. It usually starts in the afternoon and invariably lasts long into the evening; friendships are cemented over several bottles of Malbec or Cabernet Franc, and you’ll get to enjoy an authentic taste of the city. ABTAmag.com

September 2018 51


Promotion

Discover Argentina with Journey Latin America From sub-tropical jungle and desert canyons to frozen ice-caps, wherever your clients choose to go in Argentina it will be an unforgettable experience

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rgentina is a vast country where so much of the natural landscape is on a huge scale, ranging from sub-tropical jungle and desert canyons to frozen icecaps. The tumultuous waterfalls cradled in rainforest at Iguazú are probably the most dramatic and awe-inspiring on the planet, attracting visitors from all over the world. No matter how your clients want to spend their time, a holiday to Argentina is an unforgettable experience. Beyond the infinite skies, shimmering glaciers and horizon-bending pampas, this is the home of the tango and a

52 September 2018

producer of fine wines. Its capital, Buenos Aires, is one of Latin America’s most stylish; its people, cultured and welcoming. This heritage, forged by waves of immigrants (including Italians, English and Welsh), is unique. Argentina’s tourist infrastructure is comprehensive: the accommodation, transport and excursions are of a high standard. There’s a well-organised network of national parks for adventure in the open air and the wildlife is striking – mammals, reptiles and birds abound in marshes, rainforest, windswept plains and along the Patagonian coast.

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At Journey Latin America, we have a fantastic selection of Argentinian holidays to suit all travellers. Whether your client is a solo traveller, looking for their dream family holiday, or wants to join a small escorted group tour, we’ll help you find the perfect holiday. Get a real taste of Argentina on our Signature Argentina: Patagonia, Lake District and Iguazú Falls holiday. Visit cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, explore the wilderness of remote Patagonia, and admire the incredible Iguazú Falls. Travel in a group with like-minded travellers on our Gaucho: Vintage Argentina escorted group tour and see the highlights, including the winegrowing regions of Mendoza and Cafayate and sophisticated Buenos Aires. Combine Argentina with Chile on our Family Patagonia: Glacial lakes and mountains holiday. Explore the wilderness of Los Glaciares National Park and wildlife-rich Torres del Paine National Park together with the whole family. Don’t miss the opportunity to sit back and savour the country life so beloved of the Argentinians. Retreat to a rustic wine lodge, or one of the cattle ranches of the flat pampas around

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Buenos Aires, with sun-weathered gauchos, roaring log fires and delicious barbecued meats. Take a short cruise around Cape Horn or embark on an expedition cruise to Antarctica, whatever your clients’ preference, we have almost 40 years of experience in organising awardwinning trips to Central and South America, so you can trust us book an exciting trip for them. Journey Latin America is the UK’s leading specialist in travel to Latin America. For nearly 40 years we have been creating imaginative holidays to all of Central and South America as well as Antarctica and Cuba. By dedicating

ourselves exclusively to this part of the world, over time we have built up a huge bank of knowledge and experience. From suggested tailor-made holidays to small escorted group tours, we offer practical advice based on personal experience. Journey Latin America, it’s all about the experience.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ARGENTINA, SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MONTHLY E-NEWSLETTER DEDICATED TO TRAVEL AGENTS, SIMPLY EMAIL AGENTS@JOURNEYLATINAMERICA.CO.UK VISIT JOURNEYLATINAMERICA.CO.UK OR CALL 020 8747 8315

September 2018 53


Features Community tourism

Stepping lightly Sustainable travel is taking off among holidaymakers, promising an authentic experience that supports host communities, finds Daniel Allen

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ommunity-based tourism (or CBT) is part of responsible tourism, providing holidays that benefit both the traveller and the destination. “CBT is tourism owned or managed by the local community, with the aim that the community directly benefits from that tourism,” explains Clare Jenkinson, ABTA’s senior destinations and sustainability manager. “An example could include a homestay run by the community in a rural location that normally wouldn’t attract many tourists.” It is all about treading lightly on homes and cultures, positive interactions between guests and their host countries, and a growing awareness of our impact on the wellbeing of the places where we take holidays. As an increasingly popular alternative to traditional mass market offerings, CBT essentially seeks to minimise the negative effects of tourism while empowering local people at a grassroots level.

54 September 2018

The philosophy behind CBT is applied by operators on a range of scales. Individual projects may help a village of 50 people or fewer, while in 2017 TUI sold more than one million TUI Collection excursions that all seek to benefit local communities. According to the 2018 ABTA Travel Trends Report, value for money and increased awareness of responsible tourism are proving influential in people’s decisionmaking over holiday destinations this year. The report found that seven out of 10 people believe travel companies should ensure their holidays help local people and economies. “The demand for authentic, local experiences is growing,” says Jenkinson. “The industry is responding to that by learning from CBT and developing new tourism products in partnership with local people.” “It is important to remember that there are always increased risks of exploitation when you work with poorer or marginalised communities,” says Jenkinson. “Guidance such as ABTA’s international volunteering

guidelines (launched in 2016) sets out how companies can ensure they are not contributing to such exploitation.” ABTA’s own sustainability programme, Better Places, supports members in adopting the best approach toward sustainability, offering comprehensive guidance and support for businesses looking to develop tourism that creates better places to live and to visit. It provides a step-by-step process, with tools and guidance covering the business case, action planning, working with supply chains, engaging customers and measuring impact. ABTA’s sustainability team can offer further advice and support.

CASES IN POINT

While the growing number of CBT offerings are more typically based in less-developed countries, the concept of local communities taking a leading role in developing their own tourism products is now taking hold across the globe. Here are a few examples.

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Costa Rica Costa Rica has been famous for its nature-based tourism since the early 1990s. Most Costa Ricans share the vision of promoting the country as a “green” destination, with one quarter of all Costa Rican territory protected through national parks and reserves. Costa Rica’s pioneering excellence in environmental conservation has often come at a cost to the preservation of its local cultures, however. Around 60,000 indigenous Costa Ricans still live in largely traditional communities in isolated rural areas. They depend on forests and rivers in their daily lives, gathering fruit, fishing and using forest materials for traditional medicines and home construction. There are now a number of organisations that promote rural and community tourism in Costa Rica, including ACTUAR (Costa Rica Association of Community-based Rural Tourism) and ATEC (Talamanca Association of Ecotourism and Conservation). Rickshaw Travel offers a number of community-based experiences in Costa Rica, including stays with the Bribri tribe near the Panamanian border and in the Juanilama community in the north of Costa Rica, as well as pineapple farm tours.

Always make sure that customers are made aware of Foreign Office advice, which covers essential information such as local laws and customs, visa requirements, medical advice and safety and security

Rwanda The small East African country of Rwanda has put its turbulent history firmly in the past and is becoming an increasingly popular tourism destination once again. It boasts a rich natural and cultural heritage, with attractions including gorilla and chimpanzee trekking and safari experiences in the recently restocked Akagera National Park. In 2005, the Rwandan government initiated a tourism revenuesharing scheme, whereby five per cent of the annual income from the country’s national parks is disbursed to communities. Since then millions of pounds have been distributed to hundreds of communities across the country, funding projects involving road and bridge construction, beekeeping, water and sanitation, small- and medium-sized enterprises and handicraft production. Worldwide Experience offers an ecotourism programme in Akagera National Park that supports local communities and environmental conservation, while offering participants the chance to be immersed in the area’s fascinating local culture. The only wilderness refuge left in Rwanda for savannah-adapted species, Akagera is a conservation success story, with black rhinos and lions having been recently reintroduced from South Africa to make it the country’s only “Big Five” park. Volunteers in the programme engage with local communities on the outskirts of the park, with projects including beekeeping, aquaculture, English teaching and environmental education.

ABTAmag.com

September 2018 55


Features Community tourism

Morocco With its historic kasbahs and medinas, rich culinary and handicraft traditions, and stunning wild nature and landscapes, Morocco has long been a favourite destination for world travellers. The tourism sector is the country’s top earner of foreign exchange and secondlargest provider of jobs. Community tourism is an increasingly important part of Morocco’s national tourism make-up, especially with regard to socio-economic development outside of urban areas. Visiting rural tourism destinations diversifies and spurs growth in local economies and creates jobs. Education for All Morocco Limited (EfAM) is a charity established in 2006 by Discover Ltd and partners in Marrakesh. EfAM was set up to build boarding houses near to secondary schools in Morocco, providing accommodation and care to girls from remote mountain communities in the High Atlas Mountains, enabling them to further their education through the Moroccan state system. While primary education in Morocco is readily available to children aged between seven and 14 years old, it is unusual for girls in the High Atlas Mountains to continue their education beyond primary level because of the distances they need to travel. Many families do not have the financial resources to support their daughters through secondary education. Education for All and Discover Ltd organise community work and service projects through which international visitors can make an essential contribution to the provision of secondary education for Moroccan girls.

Indonesia Renowned for its beaches, volcanoes, Komodo dragons and orangutans, the hugely diverse Indonesian archipelago – the fourth most populous country in the world – is home to hundreds of ethnic groups speaking myriad languages. Indonesia’s communities typically welcome visitors with open arms, with villages offering visitors the perfect exposure to authentic Indonesian life and culture. Indonesia’s booming tourism industry provides jobs and a reliable income for many Indonesian people. However, the country’s growing number of international and domestic tourists has not been completely beneficial, with many popular destinations suffering from negative environmental and socio-cultural impacts as a result of mass tourism. This has recently led to a rise in small-scale community tourism, both as a result of government initiatives and the efforts of tour operators. On the Indonesian island of Java, for example, the Planeterra Foundation – a non-profit organisation that supports numerous projects around the world in areas of social enterprise, healthcare, conservation and emergency response – is working with partner G Adventures to build capacity and provide catalyst grants for infrastructure development for the Tengger people in Ngadas Village. By working with the Tengger tribe, they are creating a homestay and community tour programme owned and managed by the Tengger people for G Adventures travellers.

56 September 2018

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Mexico Mexico is often portrayed as a beach holiday destination, with a focus on soaking up the sun, eating tacos and drinking tequila. Today, with the rise of Mexican CBT, it is possible to experience a more authentic, culturally immersive and rewarding stay by spending time with local people who are now taking an increasingly active role in tourism. Thomas Cook now offers 61 “Local Label” excursions in 30 destinations. An example of this is their “100 per cent Mayan” excursion in Mexico, which gives participants an opportunity to spend time with a real Mayan community situated near the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a protected area rich in biodiversity. During the excursion a local guide brings the colourful stories of the village to life, while participants can also experience some fantastic wild nature on a boat trip through the reserve and taste locally grown food. Funds from the excursion contribute to the purchase of food for the villagers and provide access to an organic gardener who teaches them how best to cultivate the land to make the most from the natural produce grown there. Funds are also being put towards developing more robust housing capable of withstanding hurricanes.

Myanmar As it steadily opens up to the outside world, Myanmar is one of Asia’s most intriguing cultural tourism destinations. From north to south, east to west, the country offers a rich tapestry of cultures, environments and ways of life ripe for exploration. Developing rapidly in Myanmar, community tourism can foster skills and confidence and create jobs and income for local people, thereby contributing to the alleviation of poverty and preservation of natural and cultural heritage. Between 2014 and 2017 the number of community tourism destinations grew from six pilot projects to more than 30 destinations. Behind successful initiatives is a step-by-step process to build the capacity and confidence of rural villagers, as they work with responsible public and private-sector partners to develop memorable introductions to Burmese community life for visitors. Developed in partnership with international NGO ActionAid, Intrepid Travel is running a community-based tourism project in the township of Myaing, in one of the poorest and least developed regions of Myanmar. Benefitting more than 1,150 community members living in a cluster of four villages less than two hours’ drive north of the ancient city of Bagan, visitor numbers are highly restricted in order to limit the impact on the community (currently it is only possible to visit as part of Intrepid’s Best of Myanmar tour). Intrepid has also formed a collaborative partnership with Australian Volunteers International and the Australian government to support 10 Burmese small businesses as they develop tourism products to take to market. Successful products include bags and jewellery made from recycled materials, a demonstration of traditional tea-making and cooking classes run by housewives. For more destination features, ABTAmag.com/category/features

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September 2018 57


Promotion

Mindful travel Immerse yourself in a slower pace of life at a lush forest retreat, getting back to nature and giving back to the community

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art of a working tea plantation, and set on the edge of the Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda’s mountainous southwest, One&Only Nyungwe House is a resort with a difference. With an emphasis on indoor/outdoor living and sustainable tourism, the resort puts nature and the conservation of its stunning environment at the heart of its offering, encouraging guests to give back to local communities during their stay. Visitors are encouraged to participate as much as they like, and in whatever ways they feel comfortable, be it getting their hands dirty – working the land, building a fence, or tending to animals – or bringing resources or toys, or simply passing on knowledge, knowing that their stay is having a positive impact. A stay at One&Only Nyungwe House is about immersing yourself in Rwandan life, meeting local people and learning more about their unique ways of life, discovering secrets of their crafts, cuisine and more.

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Spending time with expert local guides and visiting international specialists means every trip is illuminated by first-hand stories. Thrill seekers can go mountain biking, kayaking and trekking, or get up close and personal with wildlife, from rare primates and reptiles to butterflies and exotic birds. The Nyungwe Forest National Park is an area of incredible biodiversity, boasting more than 1,000 plant species, 13 species of primates, more than 275 species of birds and 120 species of butterflies.

ACCOMMODATION

Every room and suite has been architecturally designed to blend seamlessly with the unique landscape, to respect the environment, and perfectly frame the best aspects of Nyungwe Forest’s natural beauty. Spacious furnished balconies open up to the lush flora, with mesmerising forest views and aspects over the fascinating working tea plantation.

Made up of 22 rooms and suites and six stunning wooden villas, all accommodation features exceptional views of the forest, open fireplaces and private decks. One&Only Nyungwe House’s restaurants offer an array of local and international cuisine in a variety of special dining venues. Employing fresh local ingredients, chefs offer guests nutritious and indulgent options.

WELLNESS

Those looking to enhance a healthy lifestyle or get in touch with their spiritual side will have ample opportunity at One&Only Nyungwe House, the perfect location to unwind and connect with nature. Here, guests will be able to savour mouthwatering, organic, garden-to-plate menus designed with exceptional nutritional value; unwind with al fresco yoga before inspiring vistas; work up a sweat in a gym carved from nature’s own landscape; and indulge in Rwandan-inspired spa treatments, offered in the warm open air.

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Relax and rejuvenate in ultra-luxury as you take in the majestic, unspoilt landscape surrounding this environmental sanctuary

K

angaroos and wallabies run free at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, a private 7,000-acre carbonneutral wildlife reserve, where guests can truly reconnect with nature. Located 190km northwest of Sydney, the resort is situated on Australia’s Great Dividing Range between two national parks: the Wollemi National Park and the Gardens of Stone National Park in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritagelisted region. Located a scenic twoand-a-half-hour drive from Sydney, the resort benefits from a temperate climate year-round and boasts remarkable scenery, where steep cliffs contrast with the gentle curve of the valley floor. Guests can discover the best of the Wolgan Valley with inclusive, signature and private experiences. These include horse riding, where guests can explore the region’s beautiful hills, creeks and ridgelines on horseback; journeys of discovery to the Glow Worm Tunnel, a disused railway tunnel on the Newnes Plateau famed for its bioluminescent larvae; and wildlife safaris and nocturnal tours, which offer a chance for botanists, bird watchers and naturalists to discover an area abundant with intriguing species.

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Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley’s Conservation Activity also provides guests the opportunity to give back. Visitors can contribute to preserving the valley with activities including tree planting, animal and plant surveys, water testing and animal observation. Binoculars and mountain bikes are available for complimentary use in all villas, allowing guests to experience the beauty of Wolgan Valley at their leisure. Situated within a tranquil natural setting, the One&Only Spa is surrounded by majestic cliffs and canyons. Guests can relax in six double treatment rooms with majestic valley views, a steam room, sauna and beauty salon. There is also a fitness centre, yoga sessions and a swimming pool.

ACCOMMODATION

The resort boasts 40 free-standing villas, each lavishly appointed and featuring their own private pool and spacious verandah, allowing guests to experience Australia’s most substantial mountain range in absolute luxury and comfort. There are 36 Heritage Villas providing stunning views of the surrounding landscape and beyond. Reminiscent of traditional homesteads, the Heritage Villas

take inspiration from Australia’s Federation period – constructed from wood and stone and featuring warm, earthy tones. The style is complemented by furniture crafted by local artisans. Relax by the double-sided fireplace or on the expansive verandah. For those looking for an ultra-luxury hideaway, there are three two-bedroom Wollemi Villas boasting spectacular views of the surrounding Blue Mountains. Thoughtfully designed, the villas provide both a social space as well as a peaceful retreat where you can relax and unwind. A private heated swimming pool is the perfect finishing touch.

THE ULTIMATE SPACE

Nestled in a secluded corner of the resort is a spot for those wishing to truly get away from it all. Boasting panoramic views of Wolgan Valley, the three-bedroom Wolgan Villa serves as a completely selfcontained lodge. This expansive space features a beautifully landscaped garden with private terraces, a swimming pool and generous living and dining areas, making it the ideal place for a family break or getaway with friends. A private butler service is available to anticipate and accommodate every need and wish.

September 2018 59


Section SUBJECT Features Russia

Roam Russia The grand delights of St Petersburg and Moscow can be enjoyed yearround, underpinned by a dynamic cultural scene, writes Karl Cushing

A

s Russia basks in the afterglow of its successful hosting of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, St Petersburg and Moscow, two of its major host cities, are rolling out the red carpet to visitors as never before. Both enjoy direct flights from the UK, and the two cities are linked by rail to each other in under four hours, making them a logical pairing. Trips are offered by everyone from Regent Holidays and Cox & Kings to Intrepid Travel. Factor in the recent strength of the pound against the ruble and it’s a great time to visit.

ST PETERSBURG

Peter the Great’s grand and elegant St Petersburg gives many visitors their first taste of Russia. Often this will be on a cruise stopover – the city’s location at the mouth of the Neva River has made it a firm fixture on Baltic cruises. Passengers can stay visafree for 72 hours if they stick to the line’s group tours or book with an independent company that holds the right licence. Known for its bridges, rivers and canals, the former capital’s nickname ‘Venice of the North’ hints at its beguiling charms; boat tours offer a great way to gaze upon its Baroque façades. Back on land, the city is replete with major cultural sites such as St Isaac’s Cathedral, the Russian Museum and the spectacular Hermitage State Museum at the Winter Palace, with its daunting range of exhibits. Other attractions are

60 September 2018

given freely, such as strolling the banks of the Neva or the many landscaped open spaces such as Mikhailovsky Garden, Summer Garden and New Holland Island. The city truly comes alive with the thawing of the winter snow, the White Nights of late May to mid July triggering a city-wide wave of celebrations; Mariinsky Theatre runs its fabulous Stars of the White Nights programme, while outside under the midsummer skies outdoor concerts and events such as late June’s Scarlet Sails take place. Towards September end the Golden Autumn sees the turning leaves paint the city with another stunning backdrop. In winter, a snowbound St Petersburg takes on a magical quality, with its frozen canals and snowcapped buildings. There’s much to do, from ballet and classical concerts during the International Winter Festival to outdoors ice skating and Troika rides at Pavlovsk Palace. At Christmastime, experience local traditions with tours such as Insight Vacations’ Easy Pace Russia with Christmas Markets. Nightlife is centred on the Nevsky Prospekt district, where music plays from lively bars. Elsewhere, ornate old dame hotels such as the Belmond Grand and the State Hermitage Museum Official Hotel doff their caps to the city’s illustrious, imperial past, bolstered by five-star offerings such as the Astoria, Corinthia and Four Seasons.

River cruises From vast monasteries to magnificent churches, a Russian river cruise takes in the beating heart of the country’s famous twin centres, as well as the glorious rural life that runs in-between. With stops at Uglich, Yaroslavl and Kuzino, a journey sandwiched between stays in Moscow and St Petersburg is an incredible opportunity to see a more authentic side of the biggest country in the world. Even the many delights of the capital struggle to compare with beautiful Kizhi Pogost. The Unesco World Heritage Site is straight out of a fairytale – a vast 22-dome wooden church that was built without using a single nail.

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Don’t leave town without taking in some of the historic imperial summer palaces in their grandiose grounds in nearby centres such as Peterhof, known as the Russian Versailles, or the oft-combined palaces at Pushkin and nearby Pavlovsk.

MOSCOW

Served by the mighty Moskva River, Russia’s powerhouse capital is exemplified by Red Square and the Kremlin, the presidential seat of power and home to attractions such as the Armoury Chamber and Diamond Fund. Other visitor magnets gracing the square include the State Historical Museum, which offers a great insight into the nation’s history, and Lenin’s Mausoleum, its austere pyramidical stylings a marked contrast to the showily technicolour St Basil’s Cathedral with its telltale onion domes. It also houses a museum. Meanwhile, GUM shopping centre and the local street vendors make happy hunting grounds for souvenirs, another being Izmailovsky Market. Theatre Square on Tverskaya street is home to the famous Bolshoi Theatre (closed from late July to September 12, 2018) along with the Maly and Russian Academic Youth Theatres. Another attraction putting on a big show is the remarkable Moscow Metro, its elaborately designed stations a photogenic exercise in excess.

City tours take many themes, from gastronomy to exploring remnants of the Soviet era, with boat tours on the Moskva popular among visitors. Many also enjoy a riverbank stroll, taking in sights such as the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and spruced up Gorky Park. Or simply savour the various bars and cafés that spill out onto seasonal riverside terraces come the warmer weather. Sunshine also sees locals and visitors alike flock to the city’s green spaces, such as Alexandrovsky Sad. Over at Zaryadye Park, the ‘floating bridge’ jutting out over the Moskva offers incredible views towards the Kremlin. St Basil’s Sculptures are the main draw at Muzeon Park of Arts, while Patriarch’s Ponds (Patriarshiye Prudy) attracts fans of Russian literature, having enjoyed a central role in Mikhail Bulgakov’s classic The Master and Margarita. Families will appreciate the great selection of interactive attractions with a local flavour, such as the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines, Obraztsov Puppet Museum or the Cosmonautics Museum, near the equally child-friendly and quirky VDNKh museum. There’s also the Moscow Planetarium, near Moscow Zoo. For those wishing to escape the city for a day trip, Kolomenskoe is a sprawling museumreserve set in lovely nearby countryside replete with historic buildings and impressive churches. ABTAmag.com

UK operators the real World Cup winners Russia specialists are reporting a surge in interest in the destination following its hosting of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in June and July. The growth was expected, with Russian deputy prime minister Olga Golodets saying the World Cup had helped “destroy stereotypes”. Russia anticipates a boost to foreign tourism of 15 per cent next year. Regent Holidays product manager Andrea Godfrey said the company had almost achieved its level of 2017 sales for Russia in July alone after visits to the Russia pages on its website increased by “around 135 per cent” during the tournament. “After the success of the World Cup, Regent Holidays has seen a real boost for Russia enquiries and bookings,” Godfrey said. “Russia was previously one of our bestselling destinations and we’re projecting that sales in July 2018 will be at almost 90% of the level of the previous year, which is a great recovery.” The tournament offered a muchneeded boost to the country’s tourism industry, which had been hit by earlier events such as the Novichok nerve-agent incident in Salisbury, and Godfrey said she was confident the market would continue to grow. “The World Cup not only positioned Russia as a friendly and welcoming country, it also displayed less familiar destinations such as Kaliningrad and Ekaterinburg, which is encouraging people to explore beyond the iconic cities of Moscow and St Petersburg,” she said. Fred River Cruises saw enquiries for the ship Volga Dream, which it sells in the UK market, rise by 50 per cent during the tournament. UK sales manager Hannah Logan cited “the World Cup effect” as being responsible for the increased interest. Meanwhile, small-group tour specialist Intrepid Travel reported that bookings for the country were holding steady year-on-year, following earlier strong growth. “We saw a huge increase of about 78 per cent for Russia from 2016 to 2017, and from 2017 to 2018, globally, the bookings are almost level,” a spokesperson said.

September 2018 61


Industry Insights Low cost long haul

Industry insights

Low-cost long haul Gary Noakes highlights the no-frills carriers mapping routes previously the preserve of premium airlines, creating industry-wide competition as they go

L

ast year, when British Airways launched flights to Oakland, 21 miles east of San Francisco, it did so because, in the words of the airline’s chief executive, Alex Cruz, it had learned there were destinations that it “had no idea people wanted to fly to”. BA had followed budget long-haul carrier Norwegian, which pioneered the route from Gatwick in May 2016, by launching flights less than year later. However, BA will pull the plug on the route in October: Oakland is probably not BA territory – it already serves San Francisco proper and San Jose – and lack of demand persuaded BA that its Boeing 777 could be better used elsewhere.

62 September 2018

It’s an example of how Norwegian, with its fleet of new Boeing 787s – which burn around one-third less fuel crossing the Atlantic than comparable types – has shaken up the market. So much so that, in April, BA’s parent company IAG bought a 4.61 per cent stake as a shoe-in; now, it says it will not retain its share unless it can acquire full control of the group. In March last year, IAG launched Level, its own low-cost carrier at Barcelona, another Norwegian hub. Air France followed this with long-haul budget brand Joon last December and Lufthansa is expanding offshoot Eurowings into long-haul. If you want further proof of what budget long-haul brands are doing, BA now fits

10-abreast economy seating instead of nine across on its Gatwick 777s and many carriers offer ‘hand-bag-only’ fares. The traditional airline world is having to adapt. Speaking at this year’s Farnborough Air Show, Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada president and chief executive said: “Even the carriers that have a higher legacy cost structure, that have a unionised workforce and pension arrangements can compete quite well. I don’t think I’m ready to throw in the towel to the Norwegians of this world. Low cost can be lower cost and you modify your product accordingly.” Nevertheless, while Oakland might not be BA territory, destinations such as Denver, Austin and Buenos Aires,

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three former BA monopolies broken by Norwegian, are. Of course, while Norwegian is unlikely to entice as many business passengers as BA, it is attracting others previously deterred by high fares. Norwegian may yet become part of the IAG stable, but other disrupters are out there. Iceland’s Wow Air has proved that if fares are cheap enough, people will buy them. Reykjavik and Delhi may not seem the most obvious city pairing, but Wow launches this route in December. The airline’s hope is that its fares will persuade customers in 15 North American cities that Wow Air serves (including, new this year, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Detroit) that the near seven-hour layover in Iceland on the outbound leg is worth the saving; although flying to India via Reykjavik may be a hard sell in the UK. Wow Air will use a wide-body aircraft to serve India – a new-generation Airbus A330neo (new engine option), which promises a 14 per cent fuel saving over the current A330 model. Wow Air,

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The next stage of low-cost travel will revolve around new narrow-body aircraft unlike Norwegian, has until now built its long-haul network using narrow-body aircraft, but the addition of four of these 365-seaters move it up a gear and allow it to bridge the North America-Asia divide for the first time. The next stage of the low-cost revolution will however revolve more around newgeneration narrow-body aircraft, namely Boeing’s 737 MAX and the Airbus A321neo. Norwegian has again led the way, with the first of 110 737 MAXs on order already flying the Atlantic from Scotland and Ireland and with plans for them to operate to Asia from mainland Europe. Meanwhile Primera, a Danish/ Latvian travel group, is building a small

transatlantic network from Stansted and Birmingham using the new Airbus, two of which will be the LR (Long Range) version that flies, fully loaded, for around 10 and a half hours at a per seat cost 40 per cent cheaper than the old equivalent aircraft. There are no seatback TVs and meals cost extra, but price is king and these aircraft will give budget carriers a definite advantage, although some legacy airlines are already on their tails. Aer Lingus is one of them; it gains the first of 12 A321LRs next year and while it will equip them as full-service aircraft, it will use them to open transatlantic routes not economically possible before. All this would make the original low fares pioneer, Sir Freddie Laker, a little jealous. Laker tried to take on the big transatlantic airlines in the 1980s using gas-guzzling DC-10 aircraft. Fittingly, his image now adorns the tail of one of Norwegian’s less thirsty 737s that flies across the pond: Laker’s spirit is still aloft. ABTAmag.com

September 2018 63


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ABTAmag.com


ABTA Magazine

Where in the world? Name the city in these four images

Competition time

WIN!

Afternoon tea with Attraction World o world.com

Here’s your chance to win an afternoon tea gift experience for two with Attraction World, available nationwide. All you have to do is answer the simple question below:

What is the delectable sweet treat normally served with cream and jam when enjoying an afternoon tea? Please send your answers with the subject line ‘Attraction World competition’ to info@ABTAmag.com. Terms and conditions apply. See ABTAmag.com/2018/06/21/terms Valid for 11 months from date of issue.

July’s answer was Berlin

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September 2018 65


Final word Nikki White

Final word

Each issue we speak to an ABTA employee about their work. This time, it’s Nikki White, director of destinations and sustainability

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y role is incredibly varied: I work across operations, health and safety and crisis management – speaking to members, destinations and the Foreign Office (FCO). Sustainable tourism is also a critical part of my role, which includes looking at environmental issues, human rights, the modern slavery act, accessibility, child safeguarding and animal welfare. I travel a lot with my job, speaking at engagements, raising the profile of sustainability or meeting ministers on operational challenges. I feed back information from our members about challenges they are facing. Our peak season is out-of-season, working in preparation for future challenges that may arise in destinations. The hurricanes in the Caribbean last year are a good example. Having worked with Members and the FCO on the immediate situation we then, in the aftermath, liaised with the Caribbean Tourism Organization, FCO and people in the region to help with longer-term planning and getting back into the destination. It’s our role to reach out through those stakeholders. We need to be able to give members credible information to help them make decisions about returning to destinations, as there is a lot of misinformation at the time of crisis. Where there are gaps, we push hard to get that information on behalf of the industry. Many destinations get back on their feet very quickly; they are very good at recovery, and you wouldn’t want to exclude them as they need a boost at that point. Then there’s the matter of ‘overtourism’, although I don’t personally like that term, as it oversimplifies such a big issue. So much of it comes down to integrated destination planning. For one area, there might be too much tourism at one point, but another part

66 September 2018

might not have the tourism they need. It’s about looking at the much bigger picture, and looking at the individual destinations or resorts and the challenges they face there. More focus on the supporting infrastructure for locals and tourists is needed in many places. We also work very closely with our Members on health and safety matters, reviewing the incidents and evidence on an ongoing basis and exploring solutions to emerging issues. In some cases we decide to run public information campaigns to make customers aware of important information and any potential risks, such as balconies, quad bikes and mopeds and how to stay safe in the water. It’s very important that the travel industry is constantly looking ahead, and putting steps in place to make sure we’re leading the debate and working on emerging issues. When we launched our guidance on animal welfare back in 2013, there wasn’t anything like it out there. It’s been a very important source of information for our Members and the wider industry. Members raise issues, and customers bring issues up and then we’ll find a relevant NGO or charity, and look at academic work, to keep our thinking up to date. My team is also developing training to help our Members’ staff develop their skills and understanding of particular areas. So far this year we have launched a new module that helps frontline staff talk to their customers about the availability of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice, and we’ve updated our training on accessibility. Members can access this training at abta.com. No two days are the same, so I’m always ready for something new crossing my desk. ABTAmag.com

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ON BOARD GRATUITIES INCLUDED – BOOK BY 30 SEPTEMBER 2018 2019 RIVER CRUISES Portugal’s River of Gold 10 days, 8 guided tours Departing March to December 2019

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Travel industry insights / September 2018

Soak up the colour, culture and energy of Argentina’s pulsing capital – an unforgettable introduction to the sensual appeal of Latin America

Stepping lightly

Give back with trips that support the local host communities

• Traditional British cruise experience • Discover the world from the UK • Smaller to mid-sized classic ships • Half price single offers • Discounted and free places for groups

• Christmas & New Year cruises • New Africa & Indian Ocean Voyage • Grand Round the World cruise • Caribbean, Mexico & Trans Panama • Voyage to Australia & New Zealand • Land of the Northern Lights • Festive cruise breaks

Buenos Aires Roam Russia

Discover the grand delights of St Petersburg and Moscow year-round

New routes

Low-cost carriers are mapping their way in long-haul airspace

Profile for ABTA Magazine

ABTA Magazine – September 2018  

The September 2018 issue of ABTA Magazine is the third created by Waterfront Publishing. With an exciting new look, feel and ethos, the maga...

ABTA Magazine – September 2018  

The September 2018 issue of ABTA Magazine is the third created by Waterfront Publishing. With an exciting new look, feel and ethos, the maga...