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Rio within reach

Travel industry insights / May 2019

A new route from Gatwick has made the coastal Brazilian city and its multitude of iconic sights, sounds and celebrations easily accessible

Riviera in focus

Getting the basics right has led to success for the tour operator

Check in, switch off How wellness has spawned a multi-billionpound global industry

Off-piste

Once the preserve of skiers, the Alps are now open year-round


Rio within reach

Travel industry insights / May 2019

A new route from Gatwick has made the coastal Brazilian city and its multitude of iconic sights, sounds and celebrations easily accessible

Riviera in focus

Getting the basics right has led to success for the tour operator

Check in, switch off How wellness has spawned a multi-billionpound global industry

Off-piste

Once the preserve of skiers, the Alps are now open year-round

SING SUN

luding the Meiji shrine, Omotesando Street, Akihabara electronic town Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi and the hot-spring,

rable high-speed bullet trains roshima’s Peace Park and museum periencing the former imperial capital and the

T

panese tea ceremony with its huge bronze Buddha, on a guided tour mmodation, with breakfast and three meals ur manager

here are few more iconic city views than Christ the Redeemer sat on Mount Corcovado looming above Rio de Janeiro, the Copacabana in the distance. It’s the image that graces this month’s cover of ABTA Magazine, but the Brazilian city has even greater wonders at ground level, such as its stunning art-deco architecture, beautiful beaches, sublime food and, of course, breathtaking Carnival. With Norwegian, the low-cost carrier making moves into South America, joining British Airways in providing a direct link from London to the city, Rio is more accessible than ever for British holidaymakers. We sent our roving reporter James Litston to explore the city in depth – you can read his feature on page 48. Elsewhere in the issue, Karl Cushing explores the rise of wellness travel, now a multi-billion-pound market, taking us across the world on yoga-themed cruises and to digital-detox retreats (page 60), while Nicky Holford takes a closer look at the Alps outside of the ski season. She explains how inventive marketing, new affordability and glorious scenery mean these mountainous regions are busier than ever in the summertime (page 54). We also visit Margate (page 38); Osaka, Japan’s second city (p44); plus we check in with Riviera Travel in our regular Spotlight On feature (page 34). Elsewhere, Noel Josephides, the outgoing ABTA Chairman, looks back over the past six years in the travel industry (page 20). We’ve also got all the latest travel industry news (from page 11), all things ABTA (starting page 24) and much more. Share your thoughts on the magazine at info@ABTAmag.com.

ber 2019

AM:

gencysales@rivieratravel.co.uk

EK: www.rivieratravel.co.uk/agents

me of going to print.

ABTA No. V4744

17/04/2019 16:30

2019 with ABTA

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From Rio to Margate

See p29 for the full list of ABTA events

May 15

June 19

June 25

Delivering Customer Service Excellence, London

Future Skills in Travel and Tourism, London

Advanced Complaints Seminar, London

May 2019

ABTAmag.com


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May 2019

The colour of dreams The many highlights of Rio are easier to reach than ever before

54

FEATURES

The hills are alive in summer Alpine holidays branch out to offer activities for all

Check in, switch off Wellness travel is a multibillion-pound industry

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

ABTAmag.com 6 May 2019

Sales manager Emily Norris emily@waterfront-publishing.com 020 3865 4815

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With thanks to: James Litston, Cathy Adams, Nicky Holford, Karl Cushing

Sales manager Bryan Johnson bryan@waterfront-publishing.com 020 3865 9338

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

Head of design Billy Odell billy@ABTAmag.com

ABTA 30 Park Street, London SE1 9EQ

Business travel editor Jenny Southan jenny@ABTAmag.com

Chief executive Mark Tanzer

Sub-editors Emily Eastman, Nathaniel Cramp, Alice Snape

Chairman Noel Josephides

January ABTAmag.com 2019 6


®

GIVE US YOUR BODY FOR A WEEK AND WE’LL GIVE YOU BACK YOUR MIND.

Please contact your preferred travel agent or tour operator to book, or call 0203 096 1629 www.thebodyholiday.com


ABTA Magazine

In the May issue

11

34

44 Contributors Jenny Southan is an awardwinning freelance travel journalist, and editor and founder of trend forecaster Globetrender. Of all the crazy experiences that roving travel reporter James Litston has sought out, a heli-selfie in Rio de Janeiro could well be the maddest. Cathy Adams is head of travel at The Independent and the Evening Standard and formerly an editor for Cathay Pacific’s in-flight magazine Discovery. After many years as a news reporter, a passion for travel and skiing has taken Nicky Holford to mountains and slopes around the world.

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May 2019

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Editor’s letter This issue we take in iconic city views and reinvigorated seaside destinations

10

On trend Stats from the Easter bank holiday plus the rapidly rising figures from adventure cruise

11

News All the latest travel industry news, plus an interview with the Hong Kong tourism board

18

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

20

Interview: Noel Josephides The outgoing chairman of ABTA shares how the industry has changed during his tenure

24

ABTA section All the latest news, campaigns and events from ABTA

30

Business travel Jenny Southan deep dives into the swathes of improvements in long-haul business class

34

Spotlight on… Riviera, the operator whose success stems from guaranteeing memorable experiences

38

UK holidays Kent seaside town Margate has reinvented itself. Sam Ballard checks out the irresistible blend of ultra modern and super kitsch

44

City guide: Osaka Cathy Adams takes in the culture, nightlife and street food of Japan’s playful second city

64

Gamesroom Play games, plus win one of two places on the inaugural sailing of Saga’s Spirit of Discovery

66

Final word Trudie Drake shares the challenges and rewarding aspects of her role as director of ABTA LifeLine, ABTA’s charity arm

ABTAmag.com


COCOCOLLECTION.COM +960 664 6600 | reservations@cococollection.com


On trend

On trend

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

7.4million

An estimated 7.4 million Brits took an overnight holiday trip in the UK over Easter, bringing an estimated £1.8 billion boost to the economy, according to VisitEngland’s “Trip Tracker” survey. Jet Airways, which was forced to ground all its flights in April, is India’s second-biggest airline, with a fleet of 120 aircraft. It suspended its Manchester-Mumbai service in March, then cancelled its entire international flight schedule, including its HeathrowDelhi and Heathrow-Mumbai routes.

A national survey of 2,000 people, conducted by Ipsos Mori and released by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has revealed what members of the public feel should happen if they have to cancel a trip:

89 per cent believe they should get all,

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or most, of their money back if they cancel and the business resells their booking. 85 per cent feel that it is unfair if they have to pay part of the cost of a booking when they cancel. 66 per cent say that travel and holiday businesses do not always make it as easy as they should to cancel a booking.

aircraft grounded

Of those with experience of cancelling a booking, 1 in 5 felt that they had been treated unfairly. See p15 for more.

138% Through analysing customer bookings for 2019 departures compared with 2018, Cruise 118 has noted a 138 per cent increase in bookings for the Far East, a rise of 127 per cent for the Polar regions and an 87 per cent increase

10 May 2019

RISE

for routes throughout the Middle East. Alan Williamson, marketing director of Cruise 118, said: “These adventurecruise packages have been designed for people interested in exploring a variety of destinations and immersing

themselves in the local culture.” The cruise agency found that travellers in their thirties are booking into exotic destinations, with Middle East bookings by solo travellers increasing by a huge 293 per cent year-on-year.

ABTAmag.com


News May 2019

All the latest headlines from the world of travel

TRAVEL ADVICE

TOURING

Sri Lanka ‘open for business’ Intrepid climate bid By Emily Eastman

By Emily Eastman Sri Lanka’s tourist board has said the country is “open for business” following the Easter Sunday bomb attacks, which killed at least 350 people – including eight Britons – and wounded a further 500 in churches and at hotels. The five-star Shangri-La, The Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in Colombo were among the locations targeted by the bombers. The country has recently experienced a surge in popularity for tourists, hitting a record high of more than two million in 2018.

This year was set to be the biggest yet for visitor numbers, with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority hoping to see numbers double by 2020. In a statement, the tourist board said: “Sri Lanka Tourism would like to reassure the world that the country is open for business and all possible measures have been taken to ensure the safety and security of tourists. Our world-famous tourism sites, hotels, resorts and other tourist attractions will remain open as usual. There are no road closures or restrictions on movement anywhere in the island.” ABTAmag.com

Intrepid plans to become the world’s first climate-positive travel company by 2020. The company has been carbonneutral since 2010, but it now plans to take steps to remove additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Darrell Wade, co-founder of Intrepid, said: “Climate action has to be a priority for anyone who loves travel. We believe that we have a responsibility to make a positive difference and help to preserve the planet for the next generation of travellers.” Intrepid’s carbon-offsetting activities since 2009 have resulted in more than AU$2 million for environmental projects around the world. ABTAmag.com

Meet the tourist board What’s new in Hong Kong? Hong Kong has seen a number of new luxury hotels open within the past few years, including Kerry Hotel in 2017, The Murray in early 2018, Page148 in February, the Rosewood Hong Kong, which opened in March, and the St Regis in Wan Chai, which opened in April. We have also seen more new mid-range hotels open, including Soravit on Granville and Hotel VIC on the Harbour in 2018. Looking ahead, the Hotel Alexandra, a property inspired by Alice in Wonderland, is scheduled to open this autumn. Then there’s the Xiqu Centre, Avenue of Stars and Victoria Dockside, which represent the culture and heritage of Hong Kong, allowing visitors a glance into the city’s history, art and traditions, while giving a refresh to the iconic harbour front.

ABTAmag.com

Is the bridge to Macao resulting in more tourists combining city breaks? The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge only opened in October 2018, so it is a bit early to tell how much of an impact this is having on twin-centre holidays to Hong Kong and Macao. However, one of the aims of the Greater Bay Area project, which includes Hong Kong, Macao and nine municipalities in Guangdong Province, is to make travel between these cities easier, which opens up the possibility of combined city breaks and wider China itineraries for British visitors. What else can you tell us about the HK Specialist club programme? The HK Specialist Club is the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s online training programme and loyalty club providing agents with an in-depth

Dawn Page, director of the UK and Northern Europe at Hong Kong Tourism Board understanding of our attractions, events and festivals. The training programme includes three modules, which agents can complete to unlock rewards such as exclusive trade discounts on their visits to Hong Kong, as well as the chance to take part in our annual HK Specialist Club fam trip, which is scheduled to take place this year in October. Visit the HKTB Trade Portal, PartnerNet (partnernet.hktb.com) or call our office to speak with one of our trade marketing team on 0207 321 5380.

May 2019 11


News

TOUR OPERATOR

HOTELS

Preferred Hotels adds 25 new Trafalgar agent guide members to global portfolio By Emily Eastman

By Emily Eastman

Trafalgar marked Earth Month, which ran throughout April, with the launch of The Agent’s Guide to Making a Difference, detailing the importance of selling sustainable travel. The guide, providing information on the fundamentals of sustainable tourism, is a useful tool for agents. It aims to equip them with the tools needed to be responsible travel ambassadors and to help customers make the right choices. The guide is part of a broader action from the operator on environmental issues. ABTAmag.com

Preferred Hotels & Resorts has welcomed 25 new member hotels to its global portfolio. New member highlights include The Fullerton Hotel Sydney, which resides in the city’s landmark Victorian-era General Post Office building; Sea Containers London on the South Bank of the River Thames; Wave Resort in New Jersey, a luxury beachfront resort opening this month; The Hotel Kitano Tokyo, an intimate, family-owned property; the award-winning Narcissus Hotel & Residences in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and New York’s Hotel Henri, a newly independent hotel with interiors evocative of the backstage ambience on Broadway.

The other new members are Yoo2 Rio De Janeiro by Intercity; The Diaoyutai Mansion Frankfurt; Fortune Park JP Celestial (Bengaluru, India); River Hotel & Spa (Florence, Italy); Villa Marina Capri Hotel & Spa (Naples, Italy); Palazzo Dama and D-O-M Hotel (Rome, Italy); Hotel Tyrol (Selva Val Gardena, Italy); Hotel Montecatini Palace & Spa and The Sense Experience Resort (Tuscany, Italy); Atelier Playa Mujeres (Cancun, Mexico); Living Cefiro by Stara (Mexico City, Mexico); 26 SUNSET VILLA (Cape Town, South Africa); Resort Hotel Alex (Zermatt, Switzerland); Oatlands Park Hotel (Weybridge, UK); Hotel Casa del Mar and Shutters on the Beach (California, USA); Inn at Perry Cabin (Maryland, USA); and Hotel Rock Lititz (Pennsylvania, USA).

BUSINESS

50 years of Broadbent In 1969, Geoffrey Broadbent opened the first Broadbent Travel shop on St Mary’s Road, Garston, near Liverpool Airport. This year the company celebrates 50 years of serving the North West, having remained an independent and family-run business. Speaking to ABTA Magazine, Geoffrey Broadbent and his daughter Jane put the success down to not being “target driven”. “Being independent, we are impartial and not target driven, so people can walk through the door and know they are not going to be pressurised into a sale. Nowadays, travel has become so competitive with all the online companies and just about everyone else selling holidays, from banks to supermarkets. As our store is located in a village, we can’t really rely on passing trade in the same way that some of the bigger stores on the busy high streets can. For us, repeat business is absolutely vital, so we work hard on gaining the trust from our clients and their confidence in the fact that we will only sell them something that we feel is suited to them. We offer a very personalised service and we make sure we see their booking through from the start of the booking process to the end of their holiday. We pride ourselves on this.” ABTAmag.com

12 May 2019

ABTAmag.com


Promotion

A warm welcome

D

esigned to guarantee complete relaxation and a world-class wellness experience, TRH Hotels is a great match for clients, whether they are travelling on business, as a couple or with young children. Providing first-class facilities, equipped with the latest technology and offering personal attention to guests, TRH Hotels’ three- and four-star establishments are found in Majorca, Menorca, the Canary Islands and Andalusia. From the TRH Ciudad de Baeza, which was built in a former 16th-century Carmelite convent, to Majorca’s TRH Jardín del Mar, situated on Santa Ponsa bay and offering stunning views of the Mediterranean, the group’s eight hotels are unsurprisingly popular with British guests looking for sun, relaxation and luxury.

14 May 2019

The 182-room TRH Taoro Garden offers a unique experience in one of the most beautiful areas of Tenerife Norte. Found above the Parque Taoro and about half a mile away from Puerto de la Cruz, it is surrounded by more than 1,070 sq feet of subtropical gardens. The cosy hotel, which was completely restored in 2017, is the ideal place to experience Canarian culture and gastronomy, dive into the Atlantic Ocean and swim in an outdoor, temperature-controlled pool. The Palmanova Suites by TRH in Magaluf is designed for groups and couples. Boasting live music, DJ sessions, a solarium terrace and multiple swimming pools, it is the perfect accommodation for a fun-packed and sun-kissed holiday. The 176-room TRH Paraiso is a design hotel with four-star services in El Paraiso,

Estepona, and is a fantastic location for relaxation, golfing and family trips. It has authentic gastronomy, a sauna and indoor and outdoor swimming pools, plus suites and rooms with sea views. The adjacent El Paraíso Golf Club is one of the most established courses on the Costa del Sol. In fact there are 60 championship golf courses on this sunny stretch – four of which are ranked in Europe’s top ten. The 200-room, four-star TRH Mijas caters for couples, business travellers or groups of friends and is located in the centre of Mijas, a charming Málaga town nestled in the mountainside. An example of elegant Andalusian architecture, it has panoramic views of the Mediterranean. For more information about TRH Hotels, contact salesandmarketing@i-travelsolutions.com

ABTAmag.com


CAMPAIGNS

Competition and Markets Authority calls on travel industry to give customers clearer T&Cs By Emily Eastman The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a new campaign to help holiday and travel businesses improve the clarity of their terms and conditions. The “Small Print, Big Difference” campaign is being run in partnership with the lead associations representing the holiday and travel industry, including ABTA – The Travel Association, UKHospitality and the Specialist Travel Association (AITO), among others. The campaign calls on holiday and travel businesses to “check in” and make sure they are using fair terms and conditions in their customer contracts. It also encourages

businesses to be upfront and clear with their customers about charges and fees, especially in the event of a customer cancellation. Holidays can be an expensive outgoing with people in the UK spending an estimated £81 billion on them in the 12 months to April 2018. Under consumer law, businesses may be entitled to ask customers to pay a cancellation fee to cover their losses, but the amount they keep must be in proportion to what they are losing. Cancellation terms that don’t follow this approach are likely to be unfair and businesses cannot rely on them to resolve claims or disputes with customers. Paul Latham, the CMA’s director of strategy and communications, said: “Fair terms are a

legal requirement as well as helping to reassure customers that they’re dealing with a company they can trust. Unfair terms can’t be enforced so they also won’t protect businesses if challenged. The small print really can make a big difference.” Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, said: “ABTA has discussed its model terms and conditions with the CMA, and along with the ABTA Code of Conduct, I am confident they provide our members with a strong framework to ensure they are compliant with the regulations and are fair for customers.” Visit fairterms.campaign.gov.uk for advice and information. Detailed guidance from the CMA is available at gov.uk/government/ publications/unfair-contract-terms-cma37.

AT TRAC TIONS

Danish forest tower opens A sustainable 45-metre observation tower has opened in Denmark’s protected Gisselfeld forest, situated just under an hour’s drive from Copenhagen. The hour-glass-shaped tower rises to 20 metres above the tree line, offering uninterrupted 360-degree views of the area. The structure is made of sustainable, untreated, compostable wood. Architect Tue Hesselberg Foged said: “The whole idea is to bring lots of people into the forest for a completely unique forest walk.” ABTAmag.com

ABTAmag.com

May 2019 15


News

EVENTS

Solo travel in focus at June conference

ABTA will hold its second annual Solo Travel Conference this June, as the sector continues to go from strength to strength with promising figures By Sam Ballard The ABTA Solo Travel Conference 2019 will deal with emerging trends within the solo travel sector, look at how to facilitate group solo travel and teach delegates how to build a portfolio of solo product. Victoria Bacon, ABTA’s director of brand and business development, said: “This is ABTA’s second annual Solo Travel conference and is an opportunity for delegates to get an understanding of what inspires a solo traveller, as well as the marketing channels they respond to most. The trend for solo travel has grown significantly over the past few years – with the majority taking a holiday by themselves so they can do what they want. The surge in this market can be

16 May 2019

attributed to the incredible choice of holidays and destinations available to people, as well as how much easier it has become to explore the world. Solo travellers have also benefitted from travel companies offering a diverse range of options for people booking by themselves.” According to ABTA data, one in six people went on a solo holiday in the past 12 months, an increase from one in nine people back in 2011. Speakers at this year’s event include James Clarke, the general manager of Travelzoo; Alastair Campbell, managing director of Travelsphere and Just You; and Jon Bezalel, digital strategist at Accord. Josie Tucci, vice president of sales and marketing at Sunsail and The Moorings,

who is also speaking at the conference, said: “At our two international yacht charter brands, The Moorings and Sunsail, we have seen an increase in solo bookings, as customers seek out more unique travel experiences but may not have a group of friends or family to fill a full yacht. “For those attending the conference you’ll learn about how we have turned a traditional full yacht charter into ‘by-the-cabin’, making it much more accessible to the solo traveller. The Moorings now offers all-inclusive luxury options and Sunsail offers social sailing with cabins on flotilla.” ABTA’s Solo Travel Conference will take place on June 5 in London. Register at abta.com/events

ABTAmag.com


Alpbachtal Seenland Tourismus

Experience the Alps and true Alpine charm

Don’t Miss Alpbach with its unique timber buildings, known as Austria’s prettiest village.

Go off-the-beaten-track in a picture-book setting. Alpbachtal is perfect for anyone looking for crowd-free Alpine experiences and great value for money. Need to Know

A Winter Day in Alpbachtal

A Summer Day in Alpbachtal

• In the summer, explore 900 km of marked hiking and walking trails for every ability and partake in adventurous outdoor activities for families and groups.

Morning Spend the morning skiing and enjoy the stunning views from the Schatzberg mountain, right next to the top station of the Alpbachtal gondola. For lunch, stop off at the Böglalm Hut, the most traditional hut in the valley.

Morning Take the gondola or try a onehour hike up the Wiedersbergerhorn mountain and soak up spectacular views over some of Austria’s highest peaks. Two huts offering refreshments and a fun mountain-top playground for kids await. The “Lauser Sauser” coaster offers a fun way to whizz back down the mountain – reaching speeds of up to 42 kmph.

• In the winter, enjoy relaxed skiing for every level on 109 km of pistes and a variety of off-piste activities. • The Alpbachtal Seenland Card (available free of charge at your accommodation) opens the door to numerous benefits such as free bus services, entry to bathing lakes and mountain lifts in the summer and guided snow-shoe or torchlit walks in winter.

Afternoon Choose from 19 panoramic winter walking routes, 14 cross-country trails and 4 snow-shoe hiking routes. Soak up the peaceful snowy scenery and walk past rustic wooden mountain huts. Evening Thanks to the floodlights, you can go tobogganing by night in Reith/ Alpbachtal two nights a week.

Afternoon For a more challenging walk, follow the trail from the Wiedersbergerhorn up to the Standkopf (2,239m) for the most spectacular views. Evening Enjoy a delicious dinner in the cosy Gasthof Rossmoss in Alpbach.

Best Time to Travel

Getting There & Around

Summer: May to October Winter: December to March

Airports: Innsbruck (50km) Munich (150km) Salzburg (150km)

Find out more on b2b.austria.info

Railway: Jenbach (10km) for international trains, or Brixlegg for local trains

Germany

Alpbachtal Italy


News Events

Out and about Pictures from the latest travel industry events 1. Agents from Iglu, Ski Solutions, Interactive, Snowfinders, Baldwins, Skiline, Travel Time World and Born 2 Ski hit the slopes in Ischgl, Austria on a fam trip with skitour operator Inghams – and some of its reservations team members – to celebrate its 85th year in operation. 2. Shearings Holidays hosts 11 agents from across the UK on board the newly refurbished A-ROSA Donna on the Danube. The group sailed from Vienna to Linz and enjoyed time in both cities, as well as experiencing all that the ship has to offer. 3. Travel advisers enjoy the first-ever Virtuoso fam trip to Barbados, entitled Extraordinary Barbados. Representatives from Almont Travel, BTMI, Colletts Travel, Beaver Travel, Cobblers Cove, LWC Holidays, Black Tomato, Quintessentially Travel and Brown and Hudson joined the trip. 4. More than 100 travel agents at Co-operative Travel don togas for the last night of the company’s seventh annual conference, themed Destination Future. Held at the luxury Constantinou Bros Asimina Suites Hotel in Paphos, the final night saw agents, suppliers, sponsors and the head office team enjoy a traditional Cypriot feast and a firework display. 5. Sunvil welcomes agents to its Cotswolds workshops. From left to right: Philip Mannion, Holiday Inspirations; Suzanne Warren, Sunvil Holidays; Jayne Chapman, Your Holiday Bookings; and Neil Basnett, Holiday Inspirations.

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

ABTAmag.com


6. The Travel Franchise celebrates its 14th Millionaires Retreat at Club Med in Portugal – training the next generation of entrepreneurs. More than 100 travel consultants learnt the secrets to growing and developing their businesses during the intensive five-day workshop at Club Med Da Balaia in Albufeira on the Algarve. More than 450 people have now attended these retreats, which have been held in Marbella, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, Majorca and Bordeaux, among other destinations. 7. George Kefallinos, travel expert at Original Travel; Natalie Jushinski, director of international tourism at Visit Seattle; Kate Bloomer and Abigail Harness, travel experts at Original Travel; Oliver Rodwell, sales manager for the Americas at Original Travel; John Boesche, vice president of international tourism at Visit Seattle; and Will Boocock, head of Region Americas at Original Travel, gather at London’s Kew Gardens for the latest news from Seattle. Airline partners, tour operators, travel agents and media were told of a new glass art experience – Refract – which will open in the Washington State destination on October 17-20, 2019. 8. The Brazilian Luxury Travel Association hosts an event at the Brazilian Embassy in London for Brazilian representatives from luxury hotels and DMCs in the country. 9. Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ Mike Evans and his wife, Karen (centre), celebrate with friends and colleagues from the travel trade at his retirement event in London.

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ABTA Magazine

Noel Josephides Outgoing chairman, ABTA Anthony Pearce learns of the major changes ABTA has experienced during Noel’s tenure

E

ven in six years the travel industry has changed a great deal,” Noel Josephides, the outgoing ABTA chairman, tells ABTA Magazine. Noel, who is also the chairman of Sunvil Holidays, has headed up ABTA’s board of directors since 2006. Sunvil Holidays is a representative member of ABTA with principal turnover less than £50 million. Noel’s term comes to an end this summer, when a new chair will be selected. Looking back over his term, he cites the “dramatic growth of Jet2Holidays”, the rise of the adventure market, consolidation and the “enormous rise of homeworkers” as some of the biggest changes the travel industry has experienced during his tenure. Homeworking in particular is continually evolving, he says. “Now we’ve got InteleTravel, which has joined ABTA, bringing another 1,800 homeworkers into the market.” Noel says he has been “very proud” to serve as chairman for the past six years, noting that ABTA has continued to grow and evolve during that time. “The biggest strength of ABTA is its in-depth knowledge of the industry and the ability to challenge government on legislations and its reach into Europe, again to determine what regulation is going to look like. A lot of the regulation that has gone into the latest Package Travel Directive has been shaped by ABTA. I would say that ABTA has matured and is now the go-to place for anything to do with regulation, legislation and the threats the industry faces. “I also think the development of TravelLife has been very hard work but is coming to fruition and is well established internationally. A lot of hotels are coming on board,” he adds. “I think it will continue to grow and provide a good service.”

20 May 2019

Of ABTA’s evolving role in the industry, Noel comments that “we’ve made enormous steps in the right direction. What members want is help; in the past two years, the big increase in training, which ABTA has put in place, has been extremely successful and I’m very proud to have been chairman during this time. “A lot has been achieved and the organisation has grown, matured and become more accessible. It’s a well-funded association and is far more visible, and that increases year by year. It’s a tightrope, but it has succeeded in not only being good for the members but also very beneficial for the travelling public.” Noel notes that the ever-changing industry still faces many challenges. “The traditional way of doing things is being threatened by large American companies that are unregulated,” he says. “You’ve got the increasing power and domination of Google in the online marketplace.” But, he remarks, the biggest is issue we face is the challenges surrounding environmental

issues and sustainability. “It’s something I’m very interested in and something I’ve been involved with for a long time. I’ve been in travel since the 1970s and I’ve certainly battled on environmental matters since the mid-1980s – that’s an enormous issue that the travel industry must get to grips with.” Does he have advice or words of wisdom for the incoming chair? “Keep the association relevant to the membership, drive forward the accessibility of the association to the membership and, more than anything else, make sure that ABTA continues to be there to help and understand the problems and concerns the members have. It’s very, very important that we continue that great work.” And what are his plans after his ABTA chairmanship comes to an end? “I’m now 71 and I’m coming to the end of the more energetic part of life but I’m not thinking, ‘Oh, it’s time to stop’ – there are enormous issues we still have to tackle!”

DON’T MISS The Travel Convention October 7-9, Tokyo

ABTAmag.com


Five of the best: new architecture projects VESSEL, NEW YORK CITY Designed by Heatherwick Studio, New York’s Vessel has already been turning heads, dividing opinion and flooding Instagram feeds. The 150ft-high steel structure is the centrepiece of the recently opened Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side. Dubbed “New York’s Staircase”, the structure comprises 154 “intricately interconnecting flights of stairs – almost 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings” and is open to the public, though you’ll need to book in advance (for free) to climb it. The nearly one mile of vertical climb offers great views of the city, river and beyond.

KISTEFOS MUSEUM, NEAR OSLO This twisted bridge by BIG will span a river and host an art gallery in Kistefos Sculpture Park. BIG’s Bjarke Ingels calls it an “experiment with social infrastructure – a building that serves as a bridge or a cultural institution that serves as a piece of infrastructure”.

ACADEMY MUSEUM OF MOTION PICTURES, LOS ANGELES Located on the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax along LA’s Miracle Mile, this 300,000-sq-ft complex, opening in late 2019, has been designed by Renzo Piano (of The Shard fame). It features a 130fthigh glass dome and provides a view of the Hollywood sign.

1000 TREES, SHANGHAI Another Heatherwick Studio project, this mixed-use complex in China is, as the name suggests, a tree-covered development. “It is,” according to the studio, “a piece of topography in the form of two tree-covered mountains, populated by hundreds of columns.”

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF QATAR, DOHA Fresh from designing the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Jean Nouvel was tasked with creating the National Museum of Qatar. Opened in April, the building is made up of interlocking discs inspired by a local crystal formation called “the desert rose”.

ABTAmag.com

May 2019 21


ABTA News

ABTA news May 2019

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

Exploring a Brave New World in Tokyo

This year’s Travel Convention in the Japanese capital will focus on the challenges of tomorrow By ABTA Magazine staff The Travel Convention, ABTA’s flagship event for the UK travel industry, will take place in Tokyo, Japan from October 7-9, coinciding with the country’s hosting of the Rugby World Cup and ahead of next year’s Summer Olympic Games in the capital. Alongside a popular range of social activities, excursions and sporting events, delegates will hear advice and attend inspirational seminars based around this year’s theme: Brave New World. The dynamic Japanese city of Tokyo, almost 6,000 miles from London, offers an opportunity to explore a new setting, culture and way of thinking. From its pioneering work in technology

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and science, including its advances in robotics and artificial intelligence, to its unique popular culture, such as manga (Japanese comics) and anime (Japanese animation), the country is a leader in innovation and has introduced the world to cuttingedge products and ideas. Tokyo therefore provides the travel industry with the ideal location to explore what it can learn from the East and what it could do differently – both as an industry and as individuals – to adapt, grow and prosper. Our world is constantly altering due to geopolitical, social and economic transformations. Globalisation and competition are accelerating the speed of change, while technological advancements are changing the whole consumer

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experience. We are increasingly seeing the rise of the conscious traveller, as people’s environmental concerns influence their holiday choices. Though we may be confident upgrading our smartphones and our systems, updating our core habits, attitudes and beliefs is harder. Yet as the world changes, so must we. Going forward into 2020 and beyond, it is paramount that the industry broadens its horizons and dares to be bolder, braver and open to new possibilities. This is why this year’s sessions are based around the theme of Brave New World. At the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in the centre of Tokyo, up to 600 attending travel professionals will hear from companies and individuals, including those listed below, who are adopting new and exciting approaches to travel while pushing boundaries and driving change.

Confirmed speakers

Dr Gabrielle Walker A strategist, writer and broadcaster, Dr Gabrielle Walker works with businesses to address global challenges, with a focus on sustainability, energy, mobility, finance, land use, plastics and climate change. She has taught at Cambridge and Princeton Universities, served as climate change editor at Nature and features editor at New Scientist, and has presented programmes for BBC TV and radio. Gabrielle has published four books, including co-authoring the best-selling The Hot Topic: How to Tackle Global Warming and Still Keep the Lights on. Described by Al Gore as “a beacon of clarity”, the book looks at the realities of, and potential solutions to, climate change. Walker has also written for, among others, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

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As a consultant, she advises businesses on future investment, manufacturing and the circular economy, and the impact that strategy in these sectors can have on public perception of a business. Her work has enabled her to travel to the North and South Poles, climb trees in the Amazon, extract lava from an active volcano, swim with piranhas and experience zero gravity. Walker’s session is titled “Protecting our Planet and our Industry”. From rising sea levels and acidic oceans ruining natural landscapes to hotter temperatures threatening to shorten winter sport seasons, climate change is set to transform the travel industry. This session will explore the key threats our industry faces, the shifting flows of tourism and the exciting new technologies and initiatives starting to emerge. Marcel Theroux Novelist and broadcaster Marcel Theroux was born in Kampala, Uganda. He studied English Literature at Cambridge University and International Relations at Yale, where he specialised in Soviet and Eastern European Studies. He is the award-winning writer of six novels, including The Paperchase, Far North and Strange Bodies. He has written numerous screenplays and presented more than a dozen documentaries ranging from the Japanese aesthetic principle of wabi-sabi to climate change. Theroux is also a frequent reporter on Channel 4’s popular TV show Unreported World. Theroux’s session is titled “Lost in Translation”. Japan is famed for its complex etiquette – from knowing when to bow and take your shoes off to how to exchange business cards, the nuances of its culture can appear mystifying to an outsider. This will be an intriguing session on these unique

customs as Theroux shares his experiences travelling throughout the country in search of the wabi-sabi. Andy Duncan Unveiled as the CEO of Travelopia in March 2018, Andy Duncan has previously delivered significant growth, market leadership and strategic change in a variety of industries, including both commercial and commercially orientated public purpose companies. His prior CEO roles include Channel 4, Camelot and HR Owen. He was also a board director at the BBC and Unilever, and was the first chair for Freeview. Duncan’s significant nonexecutive positions include president of the Advertising Association from 2014 to 2019, chair of the Media Trust from 2006 to 2014, and various commercial NED and charity trustee roles, including for Children in Need. In his session “Face to Face with Andy Duncan” he will draw on his experiences 18 months into his role as the CEO of Travelopia to share his travel-outsider vision for the business and give his perspective on this year’s theme – Brave New World. ABTA.com Other sessions at the Travel Convention 2019 will address the following topics: • Thinking differently • Our changing world: sustainability and the rise of conscious travellers • New and exciting approaches to technical and creative innovation • How travel companies can push boundaries and drive change • What we can learn from the East • Globalisation and adapting to different markets • Geopolitical, social and economic transformations • Plus a range of expert and inspirational guest speakers

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ABTA Advice

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

What should we do in response to litigation? Luckily, none of our customers have ever taken us to court, but I am very conscious of the fact that one day this could happen. What should my staff and I do if this ever were to happen? Anon

My congratulations on never having had to deal with litigation! However, you are right to prepare. It is always a possibility as unfortunately legal action is fairly common in the travel industry, particularly against tour operators due to their responsibilities under the Package Travel Regulations. First things first, make sure that whoever deals with your post can recognise court documents and it is very important that they keep the envelope in which they came, as you may need to prove the date that the forms were sent. Once the forms have arrived, they should be passed immediately to your legal department if you have one, or if you do not, a designated member of staff. You should be certain that you fully understand “the deemed date of service”, because you must respond with an acknowledgement, or your defence, within 14 days of the forms being served. This is why the postage date on the envelope could prove useful at some stage as the “deemed date service” is two days after the forms were posted. If you file an acknowledgment, you then have another 14 days to file your defence. Depending on your insurance policy, you may be required to notify your insurers – they may want to be involved before you respond. You may at this point decide that it would be appropriate to make an offer to your customer to settle the claim. Sometimes companies will decide to do this simply to avoid the costs that come from legal action, which can be substantial. Even if you do make an offer, the client may not accept it or you also may feel that you have a strong case and want to defend yourself in court against the claim. Check the claim forms carefully and make sure that you answer every point that is being raised, however trivial they may seem to you. Your defence will need to be evidence-based. Expert reports, witness statements and records in destination are all very helpful in mounting a successful defence. Never miss any deadlines set by the court, as this could result in you losing and having to pay the full amount of the claim even if you have a strong case. Lastly, we in the law do like our obscure language and terminology, so the ABTA legal team have put together a “Litigation Jargon Buster”, which should help demystify the process. We’re also happy to deal with any queries you may have, though we won’t be able to conduct your defence for you.

Susan Deer Senior solicitor, ABTA

Got a question? Email: info@ABTAmag.com 26 May 2019

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ABTA comment

Where the land lies with Brexit

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imagine that I wasn’t the only person in the travel industry who breathed a huge sigh of relief when the Brexit extension was confirmed on April 11. The extension provides much-needed certainty for holidaymakers over the summer season that nothing will change until at least October 31. During this period travellers going to a destination in the European Union can continue to travel exactly as they do now – EHIC will still be valid, they won’t need a driving permit or Green Card to drive abroad, and they can continue to use the EU passport gates. This should give people total confidence to book their holidays or business travel plans, knowing that nothing will change in the short term. To help get this message across, we have updated our Brexit advice for travellers at abta. com/Brexit and have been briefing national media about what the extension means for travel, as well as highlighting the great range of holidays available for the summer. Although the UK could leave earlier if a deal is agreed, the extension removes the threat of no-deal in the short-term. MPs have already approved the legislation for European Parliamentary elections to take place, which is the prerequisite to avoid the possibility of no-deal on June 1. The only feasible route to leaving the EU before October 31 is to do so with a deal. The prime minister would prefer a quick deal. If the withdrawal agreement passes a vote in the House of Commons before May 22, this enables the cancellation of those European elections and delivers an orderly departure from the EU before the end of June. However, with talks between the government and Labour Party stalling, and no clear movement among MPs towards support for the

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prime minister’s deal, this outcome is looking extremely unlikely. What happens in the absence of a cross-party deal will be critical. Something has to give in order to break the current political impasse. Keeping in mind the political deadlock, it is worth recognising that the possibility remains of leaving the EU without a deal on October 31. There are plans in place to ensure flights will continue to operate and holidaymakers won’t need a visa in the event of a no-deal exit. Although this does offer some reassurance for both holidaymakers and travel businesses, there are still some outstanding issues that need to be addressed in the event of a no-deal – including reciprocal healthcare and posting workers abroad. We will continue to work closely with the government, and officials in Europe, on the outstanding policy issues the industry faces. ABTA’s position remains that securing a deal is very much the preferred outcome and we encourage parliamentarians to explore all options to avoid a no-deal. As the no-deal scenario remains a possibility later in the year, we are also recommending that members continue with contingency planning. We will continue to update our advice regularly in the coming weeks.

Luke Petherbridge

Head of Public Affairs, ABTA

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ABTA Campaigns

ABTA campaigns Laying waste to throwaway tourism ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ summer initiative continues ABTA’s commitment to Make Holidays Greener

By ABTA Magazine staff The theme of this year’s Make Holidays Greener (MHG) initiative, the annual summer campaign led by ABTA in partnership with Travelife for Accommodation, is “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. The theme was chosen as a follow-up to MHG 2018’s “Say No to Plastic” initiative. This year’s campaign will continue to address the use of plastic but it will also focus on managing waste, including food waste, from a broader perspective. The 2019 campaign also reflects growing consumer awareness of, and industry action on, sustainability issues. ABTA’s latest research shows that more than a third (36 per cent) of people would now choose one travel provider over another if it had a better environmental/sustainable record. This compares with a fifth of people saying the same thing in 2011. This year’s campaign will launch on June 5, World Environment Day, and will run until the end of September. ABTA and Travelife for Accommodation will be supporting the industry in the lead up to the launch and during the campaign, offering advice and guidance. A campaign support pack has been developed and shared with travel agents, tour operators, destinations and accommodations to help them participate. It includes advice on how to engage customers, as well as suggested social media activity and example case

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studies for inspiration. Travel companies can contact sustainabletourism@abta.co.uk to sign up and request a support pack. ABTA also recently launched new guidance on plastic, as part of a wider approach to waste management, to support travel businesses in taking a long-term strategic approach to their use of the material. Sustainability is essential for the industry’s long-term viability, and waste management is one of the main environmental issues alongside savings in carbon and water. ABTA members and destinations have been working on areas such as recycling in destination, managing waste in the supply chain, cutting food waste and finding credible alternatives to plastics as part of their sustainability strategy. Nikki White, ABTA director of destinations and sustainability, says: “By testing out new initiatives and sharing best practice according to what has worked, businesses can move towards achieving ‘the circular economy’ – one in which resources would be in use for as long as possible to minimise waste or pollution.” ABTA’s sustainability programme, “Better Places”, supports its members in adopting the sustainability policy that works for them. The Travelife for Accommodation sustainability certification scheme also works with more than 1,500 hotels around the world to help them improve their social, economic and environmental impacts. ABTA.com

Brexit broadcast To help provide reassurance to the public that they will still be able to travel after Brexit, ABTA ran a radio advertising campaign on Heart and Classic as well as a wave of digital advertising on Facebook. The campaign emphasised that deal or no-deal, the travelling public can continue to book with confidence. The advertising launched on March 2 and ran until March 25, reaching 2 million people on Facebook and 2.8 million people via radio, resulting in about 90,000 clicks to the Brexit advice page on abta.com. In total, this page has now attracted about 260,000 views to date and it is leading Google’s ranking by search for “Brexit travel advice”. ABTA’s advice is also being extensively referenced and quoted on websites such as the BBC, Which, travelsupermarket.com and Caxton FX. The advice page has been updated following the Brexit extension.

Youth message By ABTA Magazine staff In June, ABTA will launch its first campaign specifically targeting young travellers following a series of serious incidents in recent years involving younger travellers. The campaign aims to raise awareness among 16-23-year-olds of how to have a fun and enjoyable holiday, safely. ABTA is working with the Foreign Office on the campaign. ABTA has put together a selection of top tips on abta.com, which gives sensible advice in an accessible way. The advice will be published this month and covers everything from looking out for your friends to being aware of alcohol measures when abroad. ABTA will also be developing a short video for Instagram, working with relevant influencers to take these messages directly to the target audience and launching the campaign to national media.

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Events May 21, London Improving Health and Safety in Tourism Accommodation Gain guidance on how to meet obligations as a provider and tackle new threats. Sessions cover approaches to risk management and reputation management, among other topics.

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/abtaevents to learn more about our upcoming events and register your place

May 22-23, London

June 5, London

June 6, London

The Travel Law Seminar Hear the latest developments in travel law from a line-up of expert speakers at this must-attend event for anyone who has a legal responsibility in travel. Focus topics include complaints handling and upcoming changes to the ATOL regulations.

New Opportunities in the Solo Travel Market With the trend for solo travel on an upward curve, this solo travel conference delivers insights and tools to help develop your product portfolio and appeal to a wider audience.

PR in Travel Equip yourself with essential information on how to plan effective, strategic PR campaigns and optimise tools to promote and protect your travel brand. Learn about successful campaigns and how to strike a balance between digital and traditional PR.

June 18, London

June 27, London

July 11, London

Delivering Sustainable Travel Forty-five per cent of holidaymakers cite sustainability as an important element when booking a trip. Attend this seminar to learn how to implement sustainable practices, appeal to a broad customer base and safeguard your reputation.

Instagram for Travel ABTA’s new training day focuses on how to engage current customers and potential travellers across Instagram. Learn how to boost brand awareness, effectively plan posts and work with influencers, and tap into the platform’s one billion active users.

New to Travel Marketing Get an introduction to the latest consumer trends influencing marketing techniques and take away top tips and practical marketing guidance for companies large and small. Hear the latest trends and case studies, and network with industry peers.

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May 2019 29


Business travel New business class seats

New business class seats Business Travel Report Comfier seats, Michelin-star food and bigger in-flight entertainment screens, there’s a host of improvements in long-haul business class...

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assengers flying business class may only make up around 12 per cent of an airline’s ticketholders but the cabin can often generate up to 55 per cent of its turnover, according to trade body International Air Transport Association (IATA). For this reason, constant investment in the premium experience is essential if carriers are going to keep hold of high-paying customers and stay ahead of the competition. Here’s a look at new longhaul business class seats that have been announced in recent months… BRITISH AIRWAYS There has been much talk about when BA would unveil its new business class seat and now it has finally been revealed. The 56 “Club Suites” will be installed on the airline’s new A350 aircraft that will begin flying long-haul in October. Unlike its existing Club World product, seats will be arranged 1-2-1 allowing all passengers unrestricted aisle access and a view towards the front of the plane (some Club World seats face backwards). There

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will also be a door to the suite for privacy, 40 per cent more storage space, wifi and 18.5-inch in-flight entertainment screens. As with all good airlines today, the seat converts to a fully flat bed – in this case upholstered in smart navy fabric.

by Jenny Southan, business travel editor

VIRGIN ATLANTIC Not to be left behind, Virgin Atlantic revealed a new version of its Upper Class product in April, which will be fitted on its forthcoming A350-1000 aircraft that will begin flying in late summer. The most obvious difference will be the lack of a bar – instead, there will be a social space called The Loft where cocktails and an afternoon tea by master pâtissier Eric Lanlard are served. The new seats (arranged 1-2-1) have been designed according to feedback from frequent flyers. All face the windows and convert into 82-inch flat beds. Screens are 18.5 inches and can be controlled by passengers’ smartphones. AIR FRANCE Air France released images of its forthcoming business class product

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in February, which is part of a global investment totalling €140 million. The wider seat (measuring 22.4 inches) will be retrofitted to all 15 of the airline’s existing A330s by 2020. Unlike BA, they will remain in a 2-2-2 layout. When fully extended, the bed will measure two metres in length. Designed by Stelia Aerospace, the 36 Equinox 2D seats have larger entertainment screens (18.5 inches) and also provide access to a selfservice bar. TURKISH AIRLINES Coming this summer will be Turkish Airlines’ new B787-9 and A350-900 planes, which will feature a smart new business class concept called Aurora, also designed by Stelia Aerospace. Arranged 1-2-1, the seats will have full-length privacy screens between the centre pairs, 18-inch touchscreens and Alcantara padding, a material used in the interiors of sports cars. When upright, passengers will have 44 inches of legroom, but the seats also turn into horizontal beds. SWISS Thompson Aero Seating is responsible for Swiss’s new-look business cabin, which arrived in March on the first of five refreshed A340s. Similar to the offering on its B777s, each of the 47 seats (1-2-1/22-1) have wooden tables and surrounds (solo seats have the most surface space), as well as an upgraded entertainment system. The product first appeared on the Zurich-Tokyo route, and will be followed by Shanghai, Johannesburg, Boston and Tel Aviv by the summer.

The headlines Business travellers are spending more with digital brands

A report from expense management company Certify has shown that US companies are spending more of their budgets with digital brands such as Uber, Amazon and food delivery apps Seamless and Grubhub. With meals the most commonly expensed outgoing, Certify says that spending on fooddelivery services increased 118 per cent between 2017 and 2018. Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify, says: “Sharing economy vendors have rapidly adopted offerings to target the business traveller.”

Virgin Hotels set to open new property in Dallas

By the autumn, a third Virgin hotel will have opened in Dallas’s Design District. It will have 200 rooms, a restaurant called The Commons Club, a roof terrace with a pool and numerous meetings spaces. Virgin Hotels also has properties in Chicago and San Francisco. Seven more are expected for the next two years, in locations including New York, Silicon Valley, New Orleans, Washington DC and Las Vegas.

Etihad Airways reports $1.28 billion revenue plunge

Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad has reported a $1.28 billion loss for 2018, slightly less than the $1.52 billion it was down in 2017. Unprofitable routes that were discontinued last year include Tehran, Jaipur, Ho Chi Minh City and Perth. The airline is hoping to turn things around with its ongoing “transformation programme”, which will help streamline its cost base, improve cash flow and strengthen its balance sheet.

Millennium Hotels creates new guest reward scheme

My Millennium is a new guest reward scheme from Millennium Hotels and Resorts. With 136 properties around the world, it will give out perks such as room upgrades, free stays, exclusive rates and vouchers via partners such as Spotify, Apple and Uber. Loyal travellers will also benefit from experiences through tie-ups with Chelsea Football Club and the Hudson Theatre on Broadway.

KLM is ending duty-free sales

Dutch airline KLM will stop selling duty-free products in the air this summer because of competition from airport retail and online shopping. Duty-free sales for European flights will end in July, followed by long-haul services in January 2020.

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May 2019 31


Business travel New business class seats

Previous page: British Airways’ fully flat beds; Swiss’s new-look cabin; Brussels Airlines’ innovative seats; right: Air France’s revamped business class section

LATAM LATAM Airlines Group has opted for the Thompson Vantage XL seat, which has been customised by London-based design firm PriestmanGoode and is being installed on 200 of LATAM’s existing planes, as well as new B787s and A350s. Highlights include a granite-effect cocktail table, red leather headrests, neat storage areas for personal items such as headphones, and “Do not disturb” indicators for passengers who don’t want to be woken up for meals. BRUSSELS AIRLINES Described by the airline as a “boutique hotel in the air”, this carrier makes a point of serving eight Belgian beers and five-course

meals by Michelin-star Belgian chefs in its new A330 business class cabins. Conceived by London’s JPA Design, the seats began flying in April 2019. Innovative features include settings for the bed so you can adjust it to firm or soft and ambient lighting to help with jet lag. Solo “throne” seats stand out for the generous work surfaces on either side, where passengers can spread out laptops, drinks and documents. AIR EUROPA Spanish airline Air Europa is launching a new business class seat in a 1-2-1 arrangement that will be found on three B787-9s being delivered in the last few months of 2019, as well as other new

planes in the years to come. The 32 grey, leather-upholstered seats will have 17inch touchscreens and more privacy than the previous version. There will also be free wifi, new amenity kits and menus by Spanish chef Martín Berasategui. WESTJET The Canadian carrier has upped the ante with its new fully flat Super Diamond business class product by Rockwell Collins. It can be found on the new B787-9 Dreamliner that began flying internationally from London to Calgary in April 2019. Seats are in a 1-2-1 layout with completely extendable privacy screens between middle pairs. ABTAmag.com

Retro-style TWA Hotel launches at JFK Making its debut this month, the new TWA hotel at JFK may well become the best airport hotel in the world. Named after the iconic (now defunct) US airline TWA, the hotel is taking over the transformed TWA Flight Centre, Eero Saarinen’s “masterpiece of expressionist architecture” that was built in 1962. There will be 512 rooms in the old terminal featuring Knoll furniture, vintage aviation posters, Mad Men-style bars and collectable TWA-branded bathing amenities. There will also be a vast 200,000-sq-ft lobby, a rooftop observation deck with a pool and a 10,000-sq-ft gym. Whereas most airport hotels are places you check into as late as possible and leave as soon as you can, this one is different. Entertaining will take place in eight bars and six restaurants, including Jean-Georges, from French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Inspiration for food has been taken from historic TWA in-flight menus, which listed dishes such as Champagne chicken, short ribs jardiniere and American caviar. Guests will also find a function space for 1,600 people, a museum devoted to the Jet Age and a TWA Lockheed Constellation “Connie” plane on the tarmac that has been turned into a bar. twahotel.com

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Are you prepared for the needs and desires of Generation Z? How about Generation Alpha?

Travel is one of the world’s biggest industries – and it’s only going to get bigger. Globetrender offers bespoke trend forecasting and research services to inspire, inform and guide you in your decision-making. If you would like an individual consultation on how to ready yourself for the next decade, email editor and founder Jenny Southan jenny@ globetrender.com. For news and features check out our online magazine globetrender.com and sign up for our newsletter.

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Spotlight on Riviera

Spotlight on

Riviera With a philosophy of simplicity and creating memorable experiences, Riviera is prospering, as MD David Clemson tells Sam Ballard

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hen it comes to running a tour operator, it’s important to get the basics right. Product, service and logistics are all key, as is identity. Once those are all in place, it’s quite simple, really. Or at least that’s how David Clemson, the managing director of Riviera Travel makes it sound. “Fundamentally it’s down to creating experiences that people will enjoy,” explains Clemson, who joined Riviera Travel in 2008. “It doesn’t matter if it’s on land or on water, whether it’s ocean or river. That’s irrelevant. It’s all about getting the best possible travel experience for the customer. “If someone is visiting a part of the world, how can we ensure that they are

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seeing the right things? If you’re visiting India for the first time, you will want to see the Taj Mahal – but it will be the local life that will give you a talking point when you see your friends at home. It’s those memories, that you’re not necessarily expecting, that people talk about the most. That’s what we consider when we’re designing a product.” Riviera Travel, which was founded in 1984, operated for years through reader offer collaborations in newspapers, giving consumers the opportunity to visit farflung destinations that were seemingly approved by their newspaper of choice – be it The Guardian or The Telegraph. The company launched its first river ship in 2013 and capitalised on what has been one of the fastest-growing trends in the

industry. It now also repackages ocean cruises with land tours and charters smaller ocean ships in some regions outside of Europe. Its land offering has substantially grown, too. You can now take a Riviera holiday on any of the world’s continents. That growth is built on the experience of its staff. Clemson proudly tells me that the company has never used a DMC to put its tours together and that its youngest product manager has at least 12 years of experience. Some of his team have been in the industry for 20 years. “We aim to deliver what we know our customers will like,” he adds. “Our success has come because we deliver great products.” It’s that philosophy of simplicity that has helped the company grow

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and develop customer loyalty – an achievement that is even more impressive when you consider the fact that Riviera holidays were often also badged by a national newspaper. In 2012 Riviera began selling through the trade after a competitor bought up their space in the printed press. Faced with the decision of what to do next, they decided that they had no interest in going direct yet – so looked at shifting their distribution to travel agents. The effect was immediate. “We work with any independent travel agent that wants to work with us,” Clemson explains. “That has done phenomenally well and the trade now accounts for 25 per cent of our overall business. It really captured the imagination of agents.” While trade business grew rapidly (Clemson: “we always knew there was an undercurrent of business there”), the company still had a lot to do to convince agents to send their customers away with what was a relatively unknown brand to them. The Riviera boss admits that there was some initial nervousness from agents during the period between booking and customers experiencing the product for the first time. “Once we got to the point where people were seeing and appreciating the quality of what we offer it started to mushroom. We now have a really good relationship

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with the trade and long may it continue – agents are very good at driving new customers for us.” The success of Riviera’s business model is simple, according to Clemson: “We’re not greedy with our pricing.” Fundamentally that means that the company is rooted in the “concept of driving value to the consumer”. Riviera says it finds the highest-quality product that it can and offers it for the bestpossible price: the company’s river ships, for example, are created by the same builders as Tauck – however, the price point is about a third of the luxury operator. Unsurprisingly, it’s a way of doing business that has attracted its fair share of admirers. In 2014, Phoenix Equity Partners acquired a majority stake in the company – bought from Michael Wright, the company’s founder. Last year, the company was bought by Silverfleet Capital in a deal thought to be worth around £200 million. With a turnover of £165.2 million recorded in its latest set of accounts, Riviera has gone from strength to strength. When it comes to headwinds, however, there is one thing on Clemson’s radar: “Our first, second and third biggest challenges are all about consumer confidence,” he says. “Frankly, that’s all about the political situation in this country right now.”

Pictured

Left: Riviera Travel offers escorted tours to the likes of India, as well as river cruises, many of which are on European rivers, such as the Rhine (above)

For Riviera, as with many other travel companies, the impact of Brexit has meant a proportion of customers are holding off booking this year’s holidays. “You can see it very clearly when it comes to European destinations,” he adds. “But, it’s not affecting long-haul for us at all. Despite that, we’re having a great year – I just know that we would be doing better if it wasn’t for all this turmoil.” As Riviera continues to ride the wave of its equity investment, the question arises of what the company’s future will look like. For Clemson, as with the way he runs his business, the answer is simple. “We’re going to continue to drive an expansion of our product range. That’s in terms of new destinations and categories – although I can’t say too much about that, but we’ve got big plans to grow out our business in that way. “We see us continuing to focus entirely on delivering great travel experiences to customers. We don’t plan to go beyond that.” Why fix what isn’t broken? ABTAmag.com

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Promotion

Fall in love with Costa Cálida

YEAR-ROUND SUNSHINE

Two seas, more than 300 days of sunlight a year and a whole bunch of beaches make the Costa Cálida in the region of Murcia a destination with almost endless possibilities. The area of La Manga and Mar Menor – the region’s tourist icons – is a vacation paradise where great hotel complexes coexist with bohemian areas and hidden, crystal-clear-water beaches. The next relevant spot is Mazarrón, a day and night destination: it is perfect for a day on the beach, as well as for partying until dawn. Águilas is the southernmost town of the region – its shores invite you to discover bays, harbours, rocky headlands and finesand beaches, and to get the most out of nautical and underwater tourism. The region of Murcia has four

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must-see cities: Murcia, the capital city, is both exciting and comfortable, perfect for wandering the streets and enjoying its terraces; Cartagena, a port with more than 3,000 years of history which today is, ironically, one of the most striking examples of a contemporary city; Lorca, the monumental place par excellence and a medieval, renaissance and baroque city; and Caravaca, one of five Holy Cities in the world and a site of pilgrimage, a past base for the Knights Templar.

PERFECT FOR FAMILIES

With soft sandy beaches, shallow, safe waters and a host of kid-friendly activities, this lesser-known region of Spain is ideal for families seeking a budget-friendly, fun-packed holiday. Families who want to

see what the region has to offer from the water should hop on one of the boats that cruise out of Cartagena to visit forts and historic buildings along the coast, or join a thrilling dolphin-spotting cruise from Mazarrón led by a marine biologist. Back on dry land they can also meet the local marine life face-to-face in Murcia City’s’ well-stocked University Aquarium. Five degrees warmer than the Mediterranean, Mar Menor’s shallow waters are ideal for toddlers, while older kids will love trying their hand at kayaking, windsurfing and other water sports in this buoyant lagoon. Murcia’s vast stretches of coastline are also dotted with family-friendly beaches, including Playa de la Colonia whose sheltered, sandfringed waters are surrounded by play areas, and Cala del Pino with its delightful

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picnic areas shaded by dense pine forests. For families who can tear themselves away from the region of Murcia’s sparkling seaside charms, Terra Natura is a conservation-focused animal park where kids can get up close and friendly with monkeys and wolves as well as lions, giraffes and boa constrictors. And when the little ones get hot and fractious they can cool down on the slides and rides of Terra Natura’s water park, which is the largest in the region. There’s no shortage of family-friendly outdoor activities in this region – families with active kids should head for Casa La Pedrera, a glorious rural centre where they can saddle up for a day of pony trekking,

get muddy on a quad bike or try their hands at archery. Most kids start yawning when you mention museums, but Cartagena’s superb Roman Theatre – where they’ll don special goggles for an enhanced-reality tour – is sure to keep them enthralled, as will the medieval tournaments and other gripping re-enactments that take place at Lorca Castle – Fortress of the Sun. Murcia city also has some exciting family-friendly cultural attractions, including the Science and Water Museum where hands-on activities include telescope training and robotics workshops. Older kids will also enjoy the Parque Minero de La Unión mine museum, a 20-minute drive from Cartagena, where

they’ll ride on a miniature train and learn all about the thrilling – and sometimes terrifying – history of the region back in the days when the Romans mined gold and silver here.

It is easy to fly to the Murcia City and enjoy the newly opened airport (Corvera-RMU). Flights are available from London Gatwick, Luton and Stansted, Manchester, East Midlands and Bristol (and, from May, Bournemouth). Youtravel offer over 46 properties in the region ranging from towns, to costal areas including Mar Menor and La Manga. The region is well known for its sports interests and several properties including golf courses. Visit youtravel.com for our latest offers

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May 2019 37


UK holidays Margate

UK holidays

Margate The seaside town has reinvented itself with an irresistible blend of the ultra modern and super kitsch, writes Sam Ballard

S

itting on Kent’s pretty coast, and known colloquially as Shoreditchon-Sea, Margate is arguably one of the best examples of a British seaside town reinventing itself. From kitsch Dreamland to the ultra-modern Turner Contemporary art gallery, Margate has an abundance of culture, not to mention some great pubs and restaurants, while retaining many of the eccentricities that made it popular in the first place. There’s little wonder more and more Londoners are calling it home. Enjoy breakfast at the Turner Contemporary (or Fort’s Café, if you fancy a trendy greasy spoon) where you can sit in the huge café overlooking Margate Sands through its gigantic picture windows, or on the terrace if it’s warm. The food is sourced locally so you can enjoy the spoils of the local Windmill Community Gardens and sourdough bread from the Modernprovider bakery. After breakfast, wander at leisure

38 May 2019

through whatever exhibition is currently showing. Margate has a fine art tradition – JMW Turner came here to paint some of his most majestic pieces and Tracey Emin grew up in the town. There is also an Antony Gormley statue just off the coast. After getting your fix of high culture, take a walk into Margate’s Old Town where you can pop in and out of the independent shops (there is a main high street a little further away) and feel the full grandeur of the place. Stop off at the Old Town T Stall, which has been around for more than 100 years, if you fancy something hot and wet or, if it’s a little later in the day, for a swift one in The Bulls Head – where a blue plaque tells passersby that Eric Morecambe held his wedding reception here in 1952. A number of businesses have set up home in Margate – including Haeckels, a skincare brand which makes its environmentally friendly products out of seaweed that washes up on Margate’s beach.

Great hotels Budget

Walpole Bay Hotel is a wonderful place to soak up a bit of vintage Edwardian glamour. While it might be a bit tired, it’s still worth checking out – especially for those who like the grand old seaside hotels.

Mid-range

The Sands Hotel, which sits right on the beachfront, offers great views across Margate Sands – with the dining room offering some of the best – within a very boutique setting. Not a bad way to start your day.

High-end

The Reading Rooms hotel, which sits within a converted Georgian townhouse on the beautiful Hawley Square, is luxurious right the way through. With its dark wood floors and freestanding baths, you won’t want to leave.

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For the afternoon head over to Dreamland, the vintage theme park, which was first opened in 1880. The park ran into serious decline towards the end of the 20th century and was shuttered in 2005. A campaign group was launched – Save Dreamland Campaign – to turn it into a heritage amusement park, full of vintage rides. Wayne Hemingway, founder of Red or Dead, led the design work and it was reopened in 2015 packed full of helter skelters, roller coasters and dodgems. You can now even get married there – with the reception held in the roller disco and guests given wristbands to get on as many rides as they want. Margate’s resurgence has meant that there is no shortage of restaurants – many taking advantage of the traditional seaside offering. Hantverk & Found is one of the best examples of this, with everything from oysters to bream on the menu. The Post Office restaurant – just off Hawley Square with its the handsome town houses – offers more gastropub fare, including burgers and fish pie (although there are more gourmet options, too). Margate’s tourist offering is pretty limited in terms of geography. Visitors tend to stick to the narrow, charming streets of the Old Town and coastal areas around the Turner Contemporary gallery. Those staying for a few days are equally as likely to jump in a car and head over to neighbouring Broadstairs, Margate’s more upmarket cousin. However, if you like your seaside towns full of kitsch – a mixture of cool east London and vintage fun – then head down to Margate. You won’t regret it. ABTAmag.com

Pictured

Opposite page: Turner Contemporary on the seafront (credit: Benjamin Becker); Above: Dreamland, Margate’s vintage amusement park (credit: Jason Pay)

Shell grotto Deep under Margate’s streets you’ll find the famous Shell Grotto – a passageway and “alter room” where millions upon millions of shells have been used to decorate the underground space to dazzling, if somewhat puzzling, effect. Why is it there? An oftenasked question, and the answer is that no one knows. This hasn’t stopped people speculating though – with theories ranging from it being a meeting place for pagans to simply the folly of a Regency gentleman.

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Discovered in 1835, the Shell Grotto has been baffling visitors ever since and remains one of Margate’s most famous attractions. Rebecca Welby, manager of the Grotto, says: “Is it a pagan temple? A meeting place for some secret cult? Nobody can explain who built this amazing place, or why, but since its discovery visitors have been intrigued by the magnificent shell work and the unsolved mystery.” Well worth a visit, but just don’t expect to find out why it was created.

May 2019 39


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NEWS

London outperforms UK regions for Accor in Q1

HOTELS

Second Nobu next spring By Emily Eastman

By Emily Eastman French hospitality group Accor saw revenue rise by more than a third in first-quarter trading, with London performing well despite a decline in the UK’s regional markets. Total revenue was up 34.2 per cent, bringing in €987 million. Total revenue per available room (revpar) across the group was up 1.6 per cent. Europe remained “resilient”, with revpar up 3.3 per cent, although the UK was down 0.9 per cent. Despite the wider UK trend, the group reported a “highly contrasted situation” between London and UK regional cities, with London revpar up 5.8 per cent. Accor said “persistently strong inbound tourism” was behind this concentrated growth, which offset the decline

in regional markets. The group blamed “weak corporate demand amid Brexit uncertainties” for the four per cent regional decline. Elsewhere, Asia-Pacific revpar fell by 0.6 per cent. The Middle East and North America also experienced declines (0.7 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively), while South America was up 11.2 per cent. Sébastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of Accor, said: “In a turbulent macroeconomic environment, the group’s first-quarter revenue performance highlights the effectiveness of our transformation and the soundness of our strategy… We achieved sustained business development over the period, in line with our medium-term objectives, and continued to strengthen our pipeline.” ABTAmag.com

Nobu Hospitality will open its second London hotel in spring 2020. The group, co-founded by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and film producer Meir Teper, said that the new hotel will be sited in Marylebone’s Portman Square. The location is close to the city’s other Nobu London properties, which include three restaurants. Guests will have easy access to vibrant Mayfair – an area close to London’s West End and renowned for its culinary scene and boutiques. The new hotel marks a return to the area for Nobu, which opened two highend Japanese-Peruvian restaurants in the capital in 1997 and 2005. Nobu Hotel London opened in Shoreditch in 2017. The 239-room Marylebone hotel will house a Nobu restaurant – one of more than 40 worldwide – a ballroom and meeting facilities. London-based architecture and interior-design firm David Collins Studio will work with Make Architects on the aesthetics of the hotel. It is one of several new residences for the group, which has hotels in development in Barcelona, Riyadh, Chicago, Toronto, São Paulo, Atlanta, Tel Aviv and Warsaw. ABTAmag.com

NoMad to open in London By Emily Eastman Sydell Group has announced plans for a NoMad hotel in London’s Covent Garden. It marks NoMad’s first presence outside the United States, where it has residences in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The hotel will take residence in the grade II-listed 19th-century Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station, which is situated in the heart of Covent Garden.

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The luxurious NoMad London will feature 91 rooms thoughtfully designed around the original architecture. The original Magistrates’ Courtroom will be transformed into a private-event space, while a museum will host rotating exhibitions that honour the history of the Met Police. It will follow in the footsteps of its American sister hotels for food and beverage, with expansive menus created under the direction of Swiss chef Daniel Humm and American restaurateur Will Guidara. ABTAmag.com

May 2019 41


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THEATRE UK TOUR

A Thousand Splendid Suns May 2-July 6 Khaled Hosseini’s novel will this year enjoy its European stage premiere, beginning at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre from May 2-18 before runs at the Hackney Empire (May 22-25), Newcastle’s Northern Stage (May 30-June 15) and NST City, Southampton (June 25-July 6). Adapted by Ursula Rani Sarma and directed by Roxana Silbert, A Thousand Splendid Suns follows the lives of two women against a backdrop of war, brutality and upheaval in Afghanistan from the 1990s, and explores love and resilience in times of hardship.

UK TOUR

Motown The Musical May 21-Jan 4 Heard it on the grapevine? Motown the Musical is going on tour. From May 21, it opens at the Regent Theatre in Stokeon-Trent, before stints in Milton Keynes, Woking, Liverpool, Sunderland, Glasgow and Oxford. The story follows Berry Gordy’s founding of Motown Records, which launched the careers of legendary artists including Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and The Temptations. Featuring more than 50 classic hits, Motown the Musical is an uplifting tale of a man who created something much more than a record label.

LONDON

The Lehman Trilogy May 11-July 20 Stefano Massini’s three-act play comes to the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre following a sold-out run at the National Theatre. The critically acclaimed production tells the story of a family and a company that changed the world. Beginning on a cold September morning in 1844, the play charts the formation of the Lehman Brothers bank, covering its establishment and following the trajectory which led to the biggest global financial collapse in history. The Lehman Trilogy is adapted by Ben Power and directed by Sam Mendes.

BRISTOL

The Remains of the Day May 21-25 Touring theatre company Out of Joint brings its exquisite adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day to the Bristol Old Vic. Set in 1930s England, the play follows faithful butler Stevens as he serves his employer at Darlington Hall. Meanwhile, England teeters on a precipice as fascism builds in Europe. Twenty years later, Stevens travels to find an old friend and remembers choices made and paths untaken. The play has received wide praise, with WhatsOnStage calling it “brilliantly paced, impeccably performed”.

LONDON

The Starry Messenger May 16-August 10 Hollywood star Matthew Broderick makes his West End debut in this limited-season run of Kenneth Lonergan’s The Starry Messenger. Broderick plays Mark, a lonely astronomer working at New York City Planetarium – a man who feels a closer connection to the infinite than to his job or wife. Mark doesn’t believe in fate, but after a chance meeting with Angela, he’s forced to re-evaluate his life, his faith and his place in the universe. Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey) also stars in this bittersweet, comic drama at Wyndham’s Theatre.

MANCHESTER

The Book of Mormon June 6-July 27 The smash-hit Broadway musical comedy from the creators of South Park comes to Manchester’s Palace Theatre this summer. Written by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez, the musical follows two young Mormon missionaries sent to spread the word of the Latter Day Saints to the locals of a small Ugandan town. With rave reviews calling it “foul-mouthed, funny and wild”, the show has been performed on three continents and won more than 30 international awards, smashing longstanding box-office records.

SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2019

London, May 30-June 2 CORPORATE ANIMALS

Starring Demi Moore, The Hangover favourite Ed Helms and Jessica Williams, Corporate Animals tells the story of the egotistical megalomaniac CEO of Incredible Edibles, an edible cutlery company, who takes her long-suffering staff on a corporate team-building trip to New Mexico. Disaster strikes, forcing the mismatched and disgruntled group to pull together to survive. Highly anticipated, the film is described by Polygon as “a wicked, wacky survival story that’s nothing short of a miracle”.

ABTAmag.com

ANIMALS

After a decade of partying, Laura and Tyler’s friendship is strained by Laura’s new love and her focus on her novel. Animals is a female-centric drama/comedy that gives a snapshot into the life of a modern woman with competing desires – at once a celebration of female friendship and an examination of the choices we make when facing a crossroads. Lead actors Holliday Grainger and Arrested Development star Alia Shawkat (right) are described by IndieWire as, “wonderful together, conveying the depth of a ten-year relationship with affection and honesty”.

May 2019 43


City Guide Osaka

City Guide

Osaka Japan’s second city is coming into its own with a heady mix of high culture, thriving nightlife and the tastiest street food, writes Cathy Adams

Three ways to see Osaka Foodie tour

O

saka is a classic second city. Less sprawling than megalopolis capital Tokyo, this lively and playful city in Japan’s central Kansai region mixes historic castles and temples with thrusting, high-tech modernity. The city has traditionally been used as a springboard to central Japan (the cities of Kyoto, Kobe and Nara are within easy reach), but will come into its own as a city break destination with the recent launch of direct British Airways flights from London. Osaka is a host city for this autumn’s Rugby World Cup, which will also help shine a light on Japan’s thirdlargest city. For visitors, Osaka’s crown jewel is its spectacular tiered castle and gardens. Buried amid Osaka’s downtown skyscrapers, Osaka Castle dates back to the 16th century, although it was

44 May 2019

actually rebuilt after the Second World War. The surrounding 106-hectare park has apricot flowers and around 600 cherry trees, which flower beautifully in spring. Other historical landmarks include what some consider to be Japan’s oldest Buddhist temple, Shitennō-ji. The quiet complex includes a five-storey pagoda, a Zen garden and a monthly flea market. The city’s rich industrial heritage, today borne out by Osaka’s tech companies and carpet of skyscrapers, is also evident at ground level in the covered Kuromon Market, known anecdotally as “Osaka’s kitchen”. This lively century-old market has fresh sushi, sashimi and standing-room-only ramen joints, as well as stalls selling everything from T-shirts and shoes to homewares and tourist trinkets.

Abercrombie & Kent’s 11-night Sushi & Sashimi tour takes in Tokyo, Takayama and Kyoto before finishing in Osaka with fugu or pufferfish – toxic if not prepared by an expert. From £5,175pp, abercrombiekent.co.uk

Cultural cities

This 13-day tour whizzes across the historical and cultural hubs of central Japan – Tokyo, Takayama, Shirakawago and Kanazawa – before finishing in Osaka with a trip to Dotombori and the castle. From £5,290pp, wendywutours.co.uk

Lost Japan

Intrepid Travel’s 11-night Southern Japan Experience explores the area southwest of Osaka, including the islands of the Seto Inland Sea and Shikoku prefecture. From £3,183pp, intrepidtravel.com

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Pictured

Above: the Osakan skyline filled with skyscrapers; below: the spectacular Osaka castle and gardens

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Not far from Kuromon is ground-zero for Osaka’s cosplay scene: the Nipponbashi district, which hosts an annual cosplay festival. Visitors can walk Ota Road to find “maid cafes” and department stores dedicated to all things anime and cosplay. Nipponbashi is also known locally as “electric town” thanks to its electronics stores. This second city is quietly becoming a cultural hub, too. On the sandbank island of Nakanoshima in the business district is the subterranean National Museum of Art, with rotating exhibitions and a cluster of

contemporary Japanese art pieces, visible by its twisted metal antennae outside. Nearby are the twin buildings of Festival City, the tallest twin structures in Japan, inside which are the Kosetsu Museum of Art, with a thatched-roof Japanese tearoom, and a remodelled concert hall. Festival Tower West also houses one of the city’s highest hotels: the art-and sculpturefilled luxury Conrad Osaka, which opened its doors in 2017. Many visitors will be well-acquainted with Osaka’s transit hubs, and the best

March May 2019 45


City Guide Osaka

Pictured

Above: Takoyaki, or octopus balls, originated in Osaka and are one of Japan’s bestknown street foods; left: Kuromon Market, dubbed “Osaka’s Kitchen”

place to catch the sunset over this megacity is right on top of one. On the 14th floor of the North Tower of JR Station City there’s a hidden city farm with killer views over western Osaka, with the blocky Umeda Sky Building glinting in the foreground, which has its own “floating garden” observatory on the 39th floor. But it’s after dark that Osaka comes alive. Dotombori, which stretches along the canal, is one of the most energetic (and colourfully gaudy) parts of the city. Thousands of Osaka’s iconic neon signs flash above street-food vendors selling local delicacies, izakayas (informal pubs) and shops. Visitors should keep an eye out for the 20-metre-tall Glico Running Man sign, best seen during one of the regular 20-minute cruises up and down the canal.

46 May 2019

OUT FOR A GOOD TIME

Osaka has long been considered Japan’s tastiest city, and there’s even a motto to prove it: kuidadore, loosely translated as “eat until you burst”. Some must-try regional specialities include okonomiyaki, a type of savoury pancake typically filled with pork, octopus and shrimp and slathered with a type of Worcestershire sauce, known fondly as “Japanese pizza”. Another common street-food snack is takoyaki balls – a chewy, pan-fried doughball filled with slices of fresh octopus – that are widely available, although Dotombori’s street vendors are a good place to start. Osakans’ love of partying is legendary in Japan. The best nightlife is found in the Ura Namba district (particularly in the micro bars hidden in the Misono Building)

and along izakaya-studded alleyway Hozenji Yokocho just off Dotombori.

DAY TRIP

Osaka’s plum location makes it the ideal launching pad to explore central Japan. The typical day and night trip is to Unesco World Heritage Site-filled Kyoto, Japan’s former imperial capital and home to familiar sights including the orange torii gates of Fushimi Inari-taisha and the bamboo groves of Arashiyama. Bullet trains run regularly from Osaka and take just 15 minutes. Forty-five minutes around the bay is Kobe, known for its signature marbled beef; and just over an hour away is Nara, where wild deer roam (and bow to visitors) in Nara Park. ABTAmag.com Cathy Adams is head of travel for The Independent and the Evening Standard

ABTAmag.com


Features Rio de Janeiro

The colour of dreams With Norwegian’s new route from Gatwick putting Rio de Janeiro within easy reach, James Litston heads to the home of Carnival to check out its many highlights

48 May 2019


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May 2019 49


Features Rio de Janeiro

N Pictured

Below: the opulent Belmond Copacabana Palace is considered the pinnacle of places to stay in the city; right: the famous Christ the Redeemer statue

50 May 2019

ot for nothing is Rio known as Cidade Maravilhosa – the Marvellous City. As well as being home to legendary Carnival and New Year’s Eve celebrations, it’s been blessed by geography, climate and a generous share of global icons, from Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer to the great, sandy sweep of Copacabana – and from up here, I can see them all at once. We’re hovering way above the golden curve of Copacabana looking towards where Sugarloaf Mountain towers over the Atlantic. In the other direction are forested peaks and, at Corcovado, their highest point, the statue of Christ gazing down benignly in all his oversized, art-deco glory. It’s a phenomenal sight: but things are about to get even more marvellous still, for this is no ordinary helicopter tour.

“OK,” says the pilot as he holds the aircraft in a stationary position, “now you can stick your feet out for a shoe selfie!” Yes, that’s right: a shoe selfie. Admittedly it’s not something I had ever considered before, but then I’d never taken in a tour in a helicopter with no doors. Fortunately, I’m attached to a double harness so there’s no risk of falling out, but even so it takes a moment before I’m brave enough to comply. As I dangle my feet over Copacabana and capture the one-of-a-kind, epic shot, I realise that normal sightseeing will never again be the same. This quirky and unforgettable tour with local company Vertical Rio is new this year for Abercrombie & Kent, whose business to Rio is booming. “Rio is one of Brazil’s must-see highlights,” says Graeme Bull, the company’s Latin America product manager. “The heli-selfie excursion is proving a big

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hit with our guests, as are boat trips on Guanabara Bay and behind-the-scenes tours at a samba school.” Beyond such signature experiences, Rio is in the spotlight this year thanks to Norwegian Airlines, which began operating non-stop flights from London Gatwick in March. The four-times-a-week service brings lower fares to a route long dominated by British Airways, which operates from Heathrow. And with Rio being nominated as next year’s inaugural World Capital of Architecture, the Marvellous City’s star will continue to rise.

AWESOME ARCHITECTURE

I get to appreciate some of the city’s architectural riches on a visit to Centro, the historic downtown district and former colonial capital. I exit the speedy, airconditioned metro in Cinelândia, one of

Centro’s main squares, and I am instantly blown away by the opulent buildings that surround it. Cobbled streets nearby are lined with faded, pastel-painted shopfronts sitting cheek-by-jowl alongside modernist masterpieces and 70s eyesores. It’s a skyline as chaotic as the energy in the streets, but it’s a fascinating area to explore. I pop into colonial churches to eyeball their over-the-top interiors, then continue to the futuristic Museum of Tomorrow on the waterfront. There’s more impressive architecture to be found in Parque Lage, a green space in the urban rainforest at the foot of Corcovado. Here, I find the historic School of Visual Arts, a classically elegant building with a courtyard pool that’s popular with Instagrammers. I watch, bemused, as people line up to snap the exact same shot

It’s a skyline as chaotic as the energy in the streets, but it’s a fascinating area of themselves; then I head up the road to the equally verdant but somewhat more peaceful Botanical Gardens. Here among the giant trees and stately avenues of palms, I soak up the ambiance while keeping my eyes peeled for local wildlife. It doesn’t take long to spot capuchin monkeys crossing one of the paths, followed soon after by a family of fluffy marmosets. Best of all though is a sloth – an unusual sighting even here that happens to catch my eye as it clambers slowly but purposefully through the branches.

Tours Abercrombie & Kent can tailor-make a nine-night Classic Brazil itinerary from £4,945pp including flights, transfers, accommodation and some experiences abercrombiekent.co.uk G Adventures has a six-day Carnival Experience package from £1,349pp, excluding flights gadventures.co.uk Kuoni’s ten-day Highlights of Argentina & Brazil escorted tour costs from £3,385pp kuoni.co.uk

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May 2019 51


Features Rio de Janeiro

I observe the sky turn from rosy to peach to vermilion, sipping on a locally brewed beer Such brushes with nature are a highlight of any trip to South America, so the Botanical Gardens work well for singlecentre clients or those with limited time. Most clients will, however, combine Rio with Iguazu Falls or a trip to the Amazon. Hayes & Jarvis offer a four-day add-on to the Pantanal to see jaguars, while those unwilling to travel so far can take beach breaks in Buzios or Ilha Grande. Both these resorts lie within a couple of hours’ drive of Rio and are favoured for their lovely beaches, leafy backdrops and encounters with dolphins and turtles.

52 May 2019

SIGNATURE SIGHTS

Moving on from the gardens, it’s time for a closer look at some of the icons that I’ve already glimpsed from the helicopter tour. Both Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain are worthy of a visit, so I plump for the latter and ride the cable car to its peak. The view from up here takes in Centro, boat-filled Guanabara Bay and the full length of Copacabana. Bear in mind that clients can pre-book such experiences: a convenience for them and a chance for agents to boost earning potential. But, of course, the main attraction in Rio de Janeiro is the beach. Clients certainly have a healthy choice of sandy shores, each with its own distinct vibe: from bustling Copacabana to laid-back Leblon and lively Ipanema. The hotel scene is no less varied. Perennially popular is Belmond Copacabana Palace,

a landmark hotel with a glamorous history and 239 contemporary rooms and suites. New properties for this year include Janeiro Hotel, a design-friendly, beachfront bolthole in Leblon, and Hotel Arpoador, an affordable option that’s right on Ipanema’s patterned promenade. Arpoador headland also happens to be the best place for catching the sunset. At the end of each day, crowds gather on the rocky promontory to watch the sun sink behind the twin peaks of Dois Irmãos – the iconic mountain at the far end of the beach. I join them and observe the sky turn from rosy to peach to vermilion, enjoying the buzz and sipping a cold and locally brewed craft beer. It’s a wonderful finale to a sun-filled Rio day. As the crowd disperses, I find myself thinking. Marvellous City? It’s certainly apt, but in all honesty, it’s a colossal understatement. ABTAmag.com

ABTAmag.com


Pictured

Above: Parque Lage; Cinelândia public square; James’s “shoe selfie” while dangling out of a helicopter; right: Theatro Municipal opera house

ABTAmag.com

May 2019 53


Features Alpine summer

The hills are alive in summer 54 May 2019

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Once the preserve of skiers, the mountains are now open to all year-round, writes Nicky Holford

S

ummer in the Alps has never been busier. Alpine summer holidays used to be a slow burner for sunstarved Brits desperate to get to the sea, but inventive marketing, new affordability and glorious scenery has literally turned the hills alive with the sound of music, activity and pampering. Lakes and mountain holidays have traditionally seduced an older market, but as cycling has grown in popularity and a ski-lift network has provided access to high paths and the dazzling scenery and extensive trails that come with them, the Alps have become a favourite destination for all age groups. Once considered the preserve of skiers and climbers, the mountains have now opened up to everyone.

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While the options of high-adrenalin activities such as canyoning, parapenting, climbing, testing out steep hairpin bend climbs on the Tour de France routes or dangling on the via ferrata (climbing routes) are in plentiful supply, those seeking relaxation are equally catered to. Try yoga overlooking fields of wildflowers, gentle hikes to mountain huts, golf, e-biking or some of the magnificent mountain railway journeys. Wherever you are in the mountains it seems there is a festival of something or event to celebrate. In Switzerland I’ve found a wrestling competition, yodelling festival and watched cow fighting. And this year celebrates 50 years since scenes in the Bond film, On her Majesty’s Secret

May 2019 55


Features Alpine summer

Service, were filmed at the top of the Schilthorn cable car in the Swiss resort of Mürren (schilthorn.ch). There’s also Verbier’s Classical Music Festival, now in its 26th year, which will host more than 60 concerts of top and up-and-coming artists from around the world this July (verbier.ch). Switzerland has some of the most iconic rail journeys in the world. The Jungfrau Railway, which connects to many resorts including Wengen, Grindelwald and Mürren, travels from Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch, the highest railroad station in Europe at 3,454 metres above sea level. You can reach the top via a tunnel through the Eiger mountain, an incredible engineering feat, with a stop where you may even see climbers scaling the North Face through viewing windows. The dramatic Aletsch Glacier – the largest ice body in the European Alps – is a spectacular sight, too. The Mont Blanc Express is another stunning journey from Chamonix in France to Saas-Fee in Switzerland. In the French Alps, the tour of Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain, is one of Chamonix’s best-known hikes, but there are countless shorter walks and excursions. The highest point of the Aiguille du Midi cable car goes to 3,842 metres, as close as you can get to the summit of Mont Blanc without hiking. It has a glass panoramic viewing area, reached by an elevator inside the mountain, which links to the ultra-modern Skyway Monte Bianco: rotating cabins that go across to the Punta Helbronner on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, which can be reached from Courmayeur. In Italy, for sheer mountain beauty, the Dolomite Mountains and national parks are magical. Watch sunset from the dramatically perched terrace at the Refuge Lagazuoi at 2,800 metres, and feel on top of the world. This is near the South Tyrol border, a strategically important location during the First World War where a network of tunnels was built by the Italians and Austrians. There is an open-air museum, and the opportunity to try the via ferrata, walking on ledges and in some of the original trenches. For the ultimate hiking tour take a hut-to-hut trip with a guide staying in refuges in stunning locations (dolomitemountains.com). This area, called Alta Badia, is also a foodie and cyclist heaven. Cycle to one of the three Michelin-starred restaurants or head to a

56 May 2019

ABTAmag.com


gourmet mountain hut. The tourist office provides maps with recommended routes for mountain bikers and e-bike riders and offers daily bike tours (altabadia.org/bike). For some of the most picturesque alpine villages, Austria is hard to beat, with Alpbach in Tyrol named as the country’s most beautiful village. Here, as in most Austrian resorts, the hiking is spectacular and varied. There are 900kms of marked trails including the famous Eagle Walk, a long-distance route of 256kms over the Alpbachtal province. There are also 250kms of mountain bike routes, e-bike guided tours, and lakes with arguably the warmest waters in the Tyrol. Surrounded by four valleys, Mayrhofen is another hiking heaven, boasting 1,700kms of walking routes. It is famous for many high-level routes such as the Berlin High Trail, a seven-day hut-to-hut trip. But equally it caters to well-signed, long, flatter walks in the Ziller Valley along the meadows and river to Zell am See. Experience yoga on the mountain or take a culinary hiking tour in Salzburgerland (salzburgerland.com) where a number of hotels including the Aqua Dome, InteralpenHotel Tyrol and Weisses Rössl provide spa treatments with mountain views. Another Austrian summer hotspot is St Anton am Arlberg, best known as Austria’s top international ski resort in winter. Named “Europe’s most beautiful village in bloom”, St Anton am Arlberg also has lots going on in summer. This year, it hosts E-bike Fest in June followed by a yoga festival, bike marathon and film festival (stantonamarlberg.com/sommer). And if you fancy skiing, Austria has some of the best summer skiing on the glaciers of Kaprun and Hintertux. Skiing in summer on a glacier is an excellent opportunity for beginners to learn. Les Deux Alpes in France has the largest skiable glacier in Europe. It has a dedicated slope for beginners and a ski pass that can also be used for bike trails. In Eastern Europe head to the resort of Poiana Brasov at the foot of the Postăvarul mountain in Romania or choose from the Pirin Mountains or the Seven Lakes of the Rila Mountains in Bulgaria. Then there is Kranjska Gora in the Julian Mountains in Slovenia and the beautiful Lake Bled, where a Baroque church is located right in the middle of the lake. Slovenia has an incredible 5,000kms of footpaths and 10,000kms of mountain hiking trails with waterfalls, canyons and glaciers along the way (balkanholidays.com). ABTAmag.com

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Pictured

Below: Lake Bled and its island in Slovenia; opposite page: the historic Jungfrau Railway and the breathtaking Swiss scenery

May 2019 57


Features Wellness

Check in, switch off From yoga-themed cruises to digital-detox retreats, wellness breaks have spawned a multi-billion-pound global industry, reports Karl Cushing

O

nce the preserve of specialists such as BodyHoliday St Lucia (thebodyholiday.com) and Como (comohotels.com), wellness tourism has smashed into the mainstream to create a global industry that was worth $639 billion in 2017 and is set to hit $919 billion by 2022, according to the non-profit Global Wellness Institute. From simple spa and yoga breaks to retreats focused on mindfulness, health diagnostics or nutrition, the options continue to evolve. Meanwhile, demand for detoxing has grown to incorporate digital detox escapes as consumers look to unplug from their increasingly techand social media-driven lives. Indeed, as analyst Euromonitor notes in its Megatrends Shaping the Future of Travel report, released in November, frazzled travellers are increasingly moving from a fear of missing out (FOMO) to the joy of missing out (JOMO). It’s not all about kicking back and finding inner calm though. Euromonitor also points to the rise of more demanding programmes such as Black Tomato’s Get Lost (blacktomato.com/get-lost).

60 May 2019

With the tagline “you need to get lost to find yourself”, the programme promises journeys into the unknown, backed by a watchful but distant support team. The wellness trend mirrors the recent surge in demand for active and adventure breaks. It is fitting then that October saw G Adventures (gadventures.co.uk) launch a new Wellness collection of more than 80 tours in ten destinations, ranging from seven to 13 days. Meanwhile, Intrepid Travel’s (intrepidtravel.com) focuses include India, where the nine-day Mind, Body, Spirit Journey from Bangalore to Kochi, priced from £1,020pp, is brimming with Ayurveda (a holistic science of health), yoga and meditation experiences. Of course you don’t need to venture so far afield. This year’s hot openings include the adult-only, five-star Longevity Health & Wellness Hotel (longevitywellnessworldwide.com), set to open on Portugal’s Western Algarve in June. THAILAND Many of Thailand’s world-class wellness retreats can be found on its idyllic

islands. Top picks include The Sanctuary (thesanctuarythailand.com), set on Koh Phangan’s secluded Haad Tien beach, and Soneva Kiri (soneva.com) on Koh Kood, with its “slow life” philosophy. On Phuket, Akyra Beach Club (theakyra.com/phuket) has launched a new Unlimited Wellness programme, offering clients a guaranteed complimentary spa, fitness or wellness experience per stay lasting at least an hour, with additional hours subject to availability. Options range from SUP (stand-up paddleboard) yoga and tai chi to beach meditation backed by its Ayurah Spa. Also new for 2019 are its Train and Sustain Bootcamps featuring voluntourism aspects such as beach clean-ups. From £150pppn in a Sea View Villa. Mainland stalwarts include celeb favourite Chiva-Som (chivasom.com) in Hua Hin, where Elegant Resorts (elegantresorts.co.uk) has a seven-night, full-board break in an Ocean Deluxe Double Room from £3,650pp, including flights from Heathrow with Thai Airways departing November 4, 2019 and a variety of treatments.

ABTAmag.com


ABTAmag.com

May 2019 61


Features Wellness

Heading up north it’s hard to beat Dhara Dhevi (dharadhevi.com) with its picture-perfect setting near Chiang Mai and offerings including Ayurvedic and Shirodhara warm-oil treatments. MAURITIUS AND THE MALDIVES The big news in Mauritius – home to a personal wellness favourite, the Shanti Maurice (shantimaurice.com) – is November’s launch of the 59-room SALT of Palmar (saltresorts.com). Stand-outs at this east-coast gem include the SALT equilibrium spa with its five treatment rooms and salt room – a first for Mauritius – backed by a range of holistic activities such as The Sunrise Run Club and meditation. It will offer yoga at the SALT Farm opening in May 2019, which is run in conjunction with a local NGO. Angsana Balaclava Mauritius (angsana. com), a Banyan Tree property set on Turtle Bay, boasts a stunning Angsana Spa and 55 suites, including three luxuriously secluded Spa Sanctuary Suites. Last year saw the property appoint an Ayurvedic Doctor who guides guests through its spa’s five dedicated wellness programmes – detox; de-stress and rejuvenation; weight management; pampering; and fitness and discovery – following a private wellness consultation. Retreats run for five, seven and 14 nights. Wellness is also central to the latest resort offerings of the Maldives such as Westin Maldives Miriandhoo (opened October; marriott.com); MÖvenpick

62 May 2019

Resort Kuredhivaru (opened November; movenpick.com); and Residence Maldives, Dhigurah (opened January; cenizaro.com). Eco-luxe JOALI Maldives (joali.com), which opened in December, encourages guests to support its local corporate social responsibility projects while a walking track and fitness centre are among the offerings at 200-guestroom Saii Lagoon Maldives (saiiresorts.com/maldives/ lagoon), opening in August. SRI LANKA AND SEYCHELLES Alongside top-notch Ayurveda resorts such as Siddhalepa (siddhaleparesort.com) and yoga retreats such as Ulpotha (ulpotha. com) sit welcoming wellness havens such as Cape Weligama (resplendentceylon. com/capeweligama). Options at the latter’s newly refurbished spa range from Hatha yoga and wellness clinics to hot lava shell massages and treatments featuring Thémaé products including its detoxifying “four teas elixir”. The property also partners with neighbouring Barberyn Ayurveda Resort on its wellness programme, offering everything from Ayurvedic immersions to dedicated fitness, surfing and yoga-based packages. Over in the Seychelles, solid wellnessbacked options include Maia Luxury Resort & Spa, as featured by the Inspiring Travel Co (inspiringtravelcompany. co.uk), and the Four Seasons Resort (fourseasons.com/seychelles/spa). For those truly looking to get away from it all, November saw the opening of Blue

Safari Seychelles’ Cosmoledo Eco Camp (bluesafari.com) on remote Wizard Island in the pristine Cosmoledo Atoll. Based around a cluster of eight “eco pod” rooms, made from repurposed shipping containers, it’s an energising slice of eco-luxe heaven. AFRICA Wellness is a byword for properties such as Karkloof Safari Spa in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal (karkloofsafarispa.com) and it’s an increasing focus at lodges such as Ntchisi Forest Lodge (ntchisiforestlodge. com) in Malawi, where regular features include mindfulness weekends. Regional rising stars include Madagascar, where stand-out properties include Miavana Private Island, featured by the likes of Rainbow Tours (rainbowtours.co.uk). Properties specialising in yogaand wellness-backed safari packages include Kenya’s Campi Ya Kanzi (maasai.com), whose holistic wellness offering incorporates traditional Maasai approaches. Coastal options include the romanceful Indian Ocean enclave of Zanzibar. Here, tantalising options include Fruit & Spice Wellness Resort, with its restful Jungle Spa (fruitandspiceresort.travel), and andBeyond’s (andbeyond.com) Mnemba Island – sister property to the equally rejuvenating Benguerra Island and Vamizi Island down the coast of Mozambique. Morocco’s excellent range of wellness offerings includes five-star Es Saadi

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Marrakech (essaadi.com/en). Set in 20 acres of tropical gardens, its healthful 360-degree approach rests upon on five pillars of wellness – well-being, beauty, fitness, nourishment and culture – aided by a slow food philosophy, three pools, three spas and a beautifying Dior Institut. New for 2019 is a 60-minute Kobido anti-ageing facial treatment (£90). Junior Suites start from £270pn, with Villas leading in at £800pn. COSTA RICA From meditation and mindfulness to nutrition and surfing, wellness is hardwired into the DNA of Costa Rica, known for its pura vida approach to tourism. Key wellness centres in the country, which aims to become the world’s first carbonneutral country by 2021, include the area around Arenal Volcano, with its thermal hot springs and spa resorts such as Nayara Springs (nayarasprings.com) and Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa, featured by the likes of A&K (abercrombiekent.co.uk). The region also features on G Adventures’ (gadventures.com) eight-day Wellness Costa Rica, a round trip from the capital San Jose, priced from £1,249 departing October 26, 2019. The itinerary also includes time in Rincón de la Vieja for yoga and therapeutic mud baths; beach time at Playa Carrillo; and a visit to Mi

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Cafecito Community Coffee Plantation, one of the operator’s G for Good projects. Set amid its own nature reserve on Nicoya Peninsular, and featured by operators such as Sunvil (sunvil.co.uk), Lagarta Lodge offers everything from yoga and spa treatments to hot tubs and massage, alongside invigorating views overlooking the Pacific, while wellnessbacked all-inclusive options include Westin Golf Resort & Spa on Playa Conchal (westinplayaconchal.com). CRUISE Wellness is an increasing focus in cruise with a new US wellness-focused line, Blue World Voyages (blueworldvoyages.co.uk), set to launch in May. For 2019, Star Clippers (starclippers cruises.co.uk) has more than 10 yogathemed sailings including an eight-night package from Thailand. Priced from £2,499, it includes a seven-night fullboard round-trip cruise from Phuket aboard Star Clipper; a one-night precruise stay at The SALA Phuket Resort; and flights from Heathrow departing October 31, 2019. Celebrity Cruises and Regent Seven Seas (rssc.com) partner with wellness specialist Canyon Ranch for their on-board offerings while MSC Cruises (msccruises. co.uk) joined forces with Weight

Pictured

Above: the pool and restaurant at Lagarta Lodge in Costa Rica; opposite page: relaxation and meditation at ChivaSom International Health Resort, Thailand

Watchers to create its Voyage to Wellbeing programme. Options include a week-long Med cruise aboard MSC Seaview sailing from Barcelona (July 20-27, 2019). Crystal Cruises (crystalcruises.co.uk) offers healthy on-board dining, wellness seminars and complimentary classes such as yoga stretching, while select cruises feature experts from bodies such as the Tai Chi Cultural Center. A 14-night Mind, Body & Spirit Caribbean cruise sailing from New Orleans to Fort Lauderdale aboard Crystal Symphony costs from £3,270pp for cruise-only. Hapag Lloyd’s (hl-cruises.com) Europa 2 offers programmes such as In2Balance and the more physical Be.You while its next-generation vessels such as Hanseatic Inspiration, launching in October, will feature wellness decks. ABTAmag.com

May 2019 63


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ABTAmag.com


ABTA Magazine

Where in the world? Each of these four images is of the same city. Can you name it?

Competition time WIN! A trip on Saga’s Spirit of Discovery

Here’s your chance to win a place on the inaugural trade sailing of Spirit of Discovery, Saga’s first ever newbuild vessel. The ship sets sail from Dover, with a call at Bruges, on July 2-4. There are two balcony cabins available – with the winners able to choose whether they want to stay on their own or share their cabin with a colleague. To be in with a chance of winning, answer this question:

The Club by Jools, a restaurant and bar on Spirit of Discovery, is named after which pianist and TV presenter? Please send your answers with the subject line “Saga competition” to info@ABTAmag.com before May 31. Terms and conditions, see abtamag.com/2018/11/01/terms-2

March’s answer was: Prague

ABTAmag.com

May 2019 65


Final word Trudie Clements

Final word

Each issue we speak to an ABTA employee about their work. This time, it’s Trudie Clements, director of ABTA LifeLine, ABTA’s charity arm

I

’m the director of ABTA LifeLine, ABTA’s charity arm, which was launched back in 1988. At the time, someone approached ABTA because there was a colleague in the industry who was seriously ill and needed some financial help, and from there the ABTA Benevolent Fund was set up. It was based on members contributing to this fund to help people, and it grew from there: in the past 30 years, we’ve awarded more than £1 million in grants. In 2012, we rebranded and relaunched as ABTA LifeLine. We’re here to help people who have worked for, or are currently working for, an ABTA member, ABTA itself and people who are engaged in the sale of ABTA products by granting financial awards. We tailor every award to the individual, and our LifeLine stretches far and wide – we provide a range of support to people who might need help with dayto-day living costs, utility bills, rent or mortgage arrears and essential household items. Sometimes things happen that we aren’t expecting. We are able to help with basic funeral costs, help set up home again, or help with training to get you back into work. And we also help with those life-changing events, such as an accident, health condition, or a sick child. We can help with purchasing disability aids, respite breaks, special equipment or even help get you to your hospital appointment. Poverty really hits our industry. Last year, we gave out £4,000 in food vouchers, but in the first few months of this year we’ve already given out £2,250. We help with priority bills, too, if someone is at risk of losing their house, and we help out with bankruptcy if necessary. We’re already up on applications this year; we’re seeing a lot of people who need help financially. I think that’s down to the economic climate and because our profile is growing. We’re also working directly with members and we want to do that more, by speaking with HR teams. My role is very varied, no two days are the same. The first thing is raising funds but the second is raising our profile, making sure people in the industry know we’re here and can help if they need. One side of my job is dealing with the applications that come in, but

66 May 2019

DON’T MISS Manchester Dinner July 3, The Lowry Theatre

there’s also the fundraising and the business development sides. For example, I’ve just been up Snowdon with the Freedom Travel Group; there were more than 45 of us walking and we managed to raise more than £6,000, so that was brilliant. We have lots of events throughout the year. On May 3 we have our Big Charity Day where we are asking everyone to Go Troppo for LifeLine; put on your best tropical outfit and donate £1. You can host a tropical bake sale, hold a hula-hooping competition or host a mocktail- or cocktail-making class. It’s about getting our members involved in raising awareness of the support LifeLine can give their employee community as well as raising vital funds. On July 3, we’ve got our Manchester dinner at the Lowry Theatre – a night of dinner, music, dancing and fundraising. Then we’re taking part in the Travel Trade Crusade, a mad road trip across Europe. It’s great fun and raises a lot of money. On July 11, we are doing a charity regatta in partnership with the Family Holiday Association, then we’ve got a break before our London dinner on September 19 and the Travel Convention In Tokyo. This year, we are charity partners with the Freedom Travel Group, who have raised almost £10,000 for us already, and Avis Budget Group, who are supporting us with a number of events. In Japan we will together be hosting a charity cycle ride around the Imperial Palace and Gardens. It’s the most rewarding job you can do when you see the results and the difference you can make. We have come a long way but I often say we’re the industry’s best-kept secret – we don’t want to be; we want to do more than ever before to support our travel community. We care for the people who care about travel. To find out more about ABTA LifeLine, including how to donate, raise funds or apply for grants, see abtalifeline.org.uk

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Venture east with the experts. For 23 years, Indus Experience has been creating bespoke travel experiences for discerning travellers who want to see and understand Asia through local eyes. Contact us and we will create unforgettable experiences for your clients.

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ABTA No. V4744

Profile for ABTA Magazine

ABTA Magazine May 2019  

With Norwegian, the low-cost carrier making moves into South America, joining British Airways in providing a direct link from London to the...

ABTA Magazine May 2019  

With Norwegian, the low-cost carrier making moves into South America, joining British Airways in providing a direct link from London to the...

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