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March 29 2013 | ISSUE NO 1,819 | www.travelbulletin.co.uk

UK & Ireland Ireland highlights bright outlook for 2013 tourism growth from UK

this week puzzle bulletin 11 play Su Doku for a chance to win ÂŁ50 in Hotel Chocolat vouchers

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W-AITO-Go! how goal setting (and a sprinkle of good fortune) helps pave the way to positive year-end results

canada

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win dinner for four courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission & Atlantic Canada Tourism

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cruising new cruise options for 2013 plus a focus on river cruising


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Cover Pictures: Main - Downhill Strand Londonderry, Tourism Ireland

Inset - Exshaw, Alberta, Great Rail Journeys

ABTA calls for increased airport capacity

DIVING IN....To celebrate the launch of Leeds Bradford Airport’s (LBA) newest route to Sharm el Sheikh with Thomson and First Choice, TUI owned dive school, Ocean College, is offering aspiring Yorkshire scuba divers 20% off a Discover Scuba Diving course, which can be booked at www.ocean-college.com, using the offer code LBAOC. Pictured marking the new partnership are keen drivers, Rosie Hebdon and Angela Wadsworth (centre), with LBA's James Broughton (right) and Rhys White.

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news

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puzzle bulletin

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W-AITO-Go!

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notes from normanton

this week’s latest industry updates & reports

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uk & ireland

agent bulletin Prestige teams up with Canadian Tourism Commission to launch new agent incentive play Su Doku for a chance to win £50 in Hotel Chocolat vouchers

how goal setting (and a sprinkle of good fortune) helps pave the way to positive year-end results

Sandy experiences a busy week attending events

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a round-up of the latest hotel developments & deals win dinner for four courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission & Atlantic Canada Tourism Ireland highlights bright outlook for 2013 tourism growth from UK

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operators highlight new tour itineraries

new cruise options for 2013 plus a focus on river cruising

ABTA HAS submitted its response to the Government’s Airports Commission on criteria to be used to identify the most effective and practical options for future airport capacity. The Airports Commission is seeking views on how the aviation connectivity of the UK may best contribute to the economy as a whole. ABTA believes that the UK urgently needs additional airport capacity in the congested South-East of England and also that the mix of aviation models, including business and leisure, must be properly recognised as they are interdependent, often sharing the same aircraft. An additional ABTA demand is improved and additional surface connectivity, including the availability of good public transport access to airports and the speed of journeys from central London and other towns and areas around the country. Almost half [45%] of respondents to the ABTA 2012 annual consumer survey said that a journey time to the airport of under an hour is ● continues on next page

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acceptable with a further three out of ten [33%] saying between one and two hours, showing a majority in favour of reasonable journey times. Six in ten [62%) prefer to fly from their local airport and nearly a third [29%] of people are not happy to take a connecting flight, highlighting the importance for the UK of having an increased and wide range of direct flight options throughout the regions. Only one in ten respondents said they do not travel by plane. The association's chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “It’s essential that when the Government looks at airport capacity particularly in the South East, it recognises the interdependence of business and leisure travel and does not prioritise one over the other. It also needs a coherent policy on improving surface access to the airports. Passengers want short journeys to the airport and many are not willing to take connecting flights. "The Government needs to invest in efficient, fast public transport connections which will also help restrict the impact of flying on the environment and local residents. The extension of HS2 to run via Heathrow would be a firm declaration of intent and would undoubtedly prove a great success with passengers both from the UK and overseas.”

BESIDE THE SEASIDE...Following on from last week's English Tourism Week, South Tyneside Council is highlighting reasons to visit the coastal town, and is asking anyone who lives in the borough to invite family and friends to stay and see what the area has to offer. Pictured are ice-cream boss Michael Minchella (left) with deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, Cll Alan Kerr, who are hoping that the combination of scenic coastline, beaches and parks, plus an established programme of free events running during the South Tyneside Summer Festival, will bring more visitors to the area. For details see www.visitsouthtyneside.co.uk

Superbreak announces packages for Park in Progress experience

The Park in Progess

THE PARK in Progress experience will open to the public today (March 29) and Superbreak has packages on sale for agents to promote. The tour offers the chance of a behind the scenes sneak preview and witness how the former Olympic Park will transform to become Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Prices start from £134 per family of four including one night’s accommodation and tickets to the park. Tours start at the visitor centre at Pudding Mill Lane (a station on the Docklands Light Railway) with a bus journey into the Park. The buses will pass through the south of the park, taking visitors close to the Stadium and the Aquatics Centre. Guests then take lifts to the top floor of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, some 80m above the attraction. From here

London’s skyline is revealed, including St Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard, Canary Wharf, and the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. Descending to the lower viewing platform, visitors are given an insight into the history of the park and how it is evolving into London’s newest space Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as well as the ArcelorMittal Orbit itself. The energetic can then descend its 455 steps winding around the structure to ground level, or opt to take the lift. Available at weekends and school holidays, prices start from £134 based on a family of four (two adults and two children) sharing a room at the Travelodge Docklands including breakfast and a ticket to the park for all. For details see www.superbreak.com/agents or call 0871-221 4444.

Sandals, Beaches & Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts offer group promotions SANDALS RESORTS, Beaches Resorts and Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts have announced new booking promotions and incentives for group travel. Through the exclusive Group Promotion, groups will receive one room free of charge for every five rooms booked and paid for at Sandals and Beaches Resorts. This offer is valid for all new bookings made between now and April 12, for travel through to December 2015. The offer is also available on any room category and can be combined with savings of up to 35%, plus one free night and airfare credits. Groups will also receive additional complimentary benefits including upgrades for VIPs,

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private cocktail receptions, gala dinners, conference space, boardrooms, and equipment. Agents can also benefit from group bookings through Sandals’ ‘Sell & Go’ scheme. Agents booking ten rooms will receive a minimum of one free week for two in a concierge room at a Sandals, Beaches or Grand Pineapple Beach resort, £75 worth of Love2Shop vouchers and £150 towards a team night out. For more information call 020-7590 0228, email groups@sandals.co.uk or visit www.sandals.co.uk/groups/meetings

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newsbulletin Tweets of the Week Who’s saying what on Twitter... @MagicalKenya 7th Annual Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will be held in Nairobi, Kenya on Sept 24-27 http://ow.ly/jeLRE @LondonCityAir BA introduce 8 additional flights to #IsleofMan from London City during the TT Races, book now from £77 one-way http://bit.ly/VfM5ng @WaltDisneyWorld Fun Fact: Several benches in Disney's Animal Kingdom park are made from recycled plastic milk jugs. @IsraelTourism Tel Aviv on the cheap! Here's a great list of free things to do around the city.... http://fb.me/FpFvLwYf @CosmosHolidays Do your kids love to travel or need a bit of encouragement? Here are some top books to inspire a love of Spain http://bit.ly/Z1Nfkc

Follow us on Twitter! http://twitter.com/ TravelBulletin

LITTLE SECRET...Pictured marking the launch of BVI's Nature's Little Secret Agents training programme and welcoming the new director of tourism, Sharon Flax-Mars, (centre) to the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board are, from the left: Andrew Marshall, Luxury Travel Factory; Roz Webster, Cream Travel; Sharon Flax-Mars and Ginny Hawksley, British Virgin Islands Tourist Board; and Natalie Odenbright, Virgin Limited Edition. For details on the new training programme email lburgess@bvi.org.uk

Exclusive honeymoon offers from Cyplon CYPLON IS highlighting a range of exclusive honeymoon offers, with no book-by or use-by dates. As examples, honeymoon offers at Kanika Hotels' Olympic Lagoon in Agia Napa, the Elias Beach in Limassol and Alexander the Great include a room upgrade (subject to availability) Champagne on arrival, honeymoon balloons and a welcome card, luxury bath amenities and free use of the sauna and Jacuzzi. Prices lead in at £1,589 per couple based on a seven-night allinclusive stay. Alternatively, at Contantinou Brothers' properties in Paphos (the Athena Beach Hotel, Athena Royal Beach and Asimina Suites), prices start from £1,270 per couple based on seven nights' breakfast stay, including a room upgrade to the next category (subject to availability), complimentary wine and fruits on arrival. Other highlights include a candlelit dinner for two and four health club vouchers per person at selected Amathus properties and a romantic dinner for two (excluding drinks) at selected Thanos Hotels. The operator is also guaranteeing 2013 prices for 2014 weddings at a selection of hotels. For more information visit www.cyplon.co.uk

Monarch launches BIG 25 sale MONARCH HAS launched its largest promotion with five million seats on sale. All passengers will benefit from a £25 saving on return flight bookings, to any scheduled destination, valid for any date of travel. The BIG 25 sale is applicable from any one of the airline's six UK bases Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands and Leeds Bradford, and agents must enter the discount code BIG25 in the promotional box when making a booking. With the saving, prices to Rome lead in at £99 return, to Madeira from £180, to Sharm el Sheikh from £299 and to Friedrichshafen from £57. Also included in the sale is the carrier's newly launched routes to Malta from £135 return and Split from £88. To book or for further information visit www.monarch.co.uk

Discover Egypt issues combined Egypt & Jordan brochure with new holiday options DISCOVER EGYPT has issued a combined Egypt and Jordan brochure for the first time, which includes new cruise options, unique packages, new hotels and resorts, plus a range of discounts. The brochure offers Nile cruising on vessels exclusive to the operator, including the relaunched long cruise that takes passengers on an 11-day journey from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan; the beach resorts of the Red Sea, including new sections on Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh; the cities of Luxor, Aswan, Cairo and a new section on a classic Jordan private tour that takes in Amman, Jerash, the Dead Sea, Petra and Wadi Rum. New packages include an eight-night Legendary Egypt escorted tour that includes three nights in Cairo, two nights in Alexandria and three nights in the desert oasis of Siwa. It costs from £1,199 per person and includes flights. The company is also one of a few operators that features a new Spectacular Egypt and Jordan itinerary that allows holidaymakers to combine a seven-night Nile cruise with two nights in Cairo, plus four nights in Jordan for the chance to see the legendary Rose City, Petra and Wadi Rum. The 13-night package leads in at £1,999 per person. For more information or to book call 020-7407 2111 or visit www.discoveregypt.co.uk

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SCOTT DUNN has launched two new Explorers children's clubs at the Anassa and Almyra hotels in Cyprus for Easter. The clubs are available for children aged four months to 13 years, six days a week. See www.scottdunn.com TRAVELPORT HAS announced an agreement with Aegean Airlines for the distribution of ancillary services to Travelport connected agencies worldwide. The company has also announced a new multi-year agreement with Gray Dawes, a leading travel and expense management company, and member of the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC), in the UK. In addition to the renewal, Gray Dawes also intends to integrate Travelport Universal Desktop into its roadmap. CITYJET HAS launched a 'Fab Four' frequent flyer promotion on its London City - Luxembourg route, aimed at frequent business travellers. THE MULTI-BUY loyalty offer will see anyone booking four return flights (or the equivalent of eight single flights) by June 30 receive a fifth flight free of charge for use on the airline's European point to point network. For details see www.cityjet.com/freeflight Aeromexico has announced an additional route between Heathrow and Mexico City. MADRID-BASED ELBA Hotels (www.hoteleselba.com/en) has launched a new Facebook Customer Service app for the UK market. See www.facebook.com/elbahoteles/app_266888773328455 AIR MALTA has launched a new website that offers a major overhaul to both the flight selection process and user experience, and takes advantage of the latest cloud technology. See www.airmalta.com

SELLING SEYCHELLES...The Seychelles Discovered roadshow, in partnership with Destination Representation, completed a tour of the North of England earlier this month visiting Preston, Wetherby and Newcastle to train more than 100 agents on how to sell the Seychelles. Agents were invited to meet the tourist board, Etihad and hotel partners and sample a traditional Seychelles meal. Hotel partners included Banyan Tree, Hotel Coco de Mer, Denis Island, Desroches and Constance Resorts, and one agent per evening won a six-night stay to the Islands. Pictured are, from the left: Tinaz Wadia, Banyan Tree; holiday winner from Preston, Clare Owens from Co-op Travel; Ash Behari, Hotel Coco de Mer; and Bessie Etienne, Denis Island.

Seven-night adventure breaks from £288 from Sail Croatia FOR CLIENTS looking to explore the islands between Split and Dubrovnik, Sail Croatia is offering a sevennight cruise from £288 per person. In addition to snorkelling, socialising and sunbathing on a Navigator cruise, travellers can take advantage of a range of activities on offer. These include kayaking adventure for £12 for 90 minutes, river rafting for £29 for three hours and a buggy safari for £35 for two hours. There is also the option for guests to take a discovery

dive from £36, venture around the vineyards of Hvar on a wine tasting tour from £18, take guided day trips to neighbouring Balkan States including Mostar, Bosnia and Montenegro from £45 and join a Dubrovnik walking tour from £11. Prices are based on departures in May and include accommodation in a twin cabin, breakfast, lunch and a tour guide. For more information or to book see www.sail-croatia.com or call 0800-193 8289.

Iceland & Greenland brochure from Regent Holidays offers city breaks & fly/drive options REGENT HOLIDAYS has launched its latest brochure dedicated to breaks to Iceland and Greenland, which features a range of city breaks, tailormade and fly/drive holidays plus escorted tours. Included are options ranging from stylish hotels in Reykjavik and classic highlights such as the Blue Lagoon, to adventures in the remote Westfjords region and voyages along the coast of Greenland. Newly added to the programme of accommodation options for city breaks in Reykjavik is the Radisson Blu 1919 hotel, a historic four-star hotel located in the 101 District. The hotel is close to Reykjavik’s harbour and a short walk from many of the city’s attractions. Prices are from £599 per person for three nights. A 16-night fly/drive itinerary that

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travels from Iceland’s most western tip at Látrabjarg to the fishing villages of the Eastfjords is also being promoted. Guests can discover glaciers, remote towns and villages, lakes and mountains, and obscure museums, with prices from £1,935 per person including car hire and accommodation in hotels and farmhouses. A ten-night Iceland Deluxe Escorted Tour invites visitors to travel through Iceland’s scenery staying in the best hotels, sampling fine dining and experiencing private cultural treats. Highlights include a gourmet tasting tour in north Iceland and a chance to join a Geysir chef to sample geothermally cooked delicacies. Prices are from £5,295 per person for departures on June 23, July 14 and August 11. The tour departs with a

maximum of 16 guests and includes many meals and sightseeing tours with an English-speaking guide. All prices include flights to Reykjavik with Icelandair, transfers and breakfast accommodation. Meanwhile, the operator has launched several new escorted tours, aimed at introducing visitors to the culture and variety of experiences available in destinations across the Balkan peninsula. As an example, in Kosovo, an eightday Kosovo in Depth small group tour travels from the capital Prishtina to the Ottoman town of Prizren and the dramatic Rugova Gorge. Prices start from £1,295 per person for May 23 and September 19 departures. For more information visit www.regentholidays.co.uk or call 020-7666 1290.

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newsbulletin Sunvil Discovery launches 2013 real Italy & Sicily brochure SUNVIL DISCOVERY has launched its 2013 real Italy & Sicily brochure, featuring a range of handpicked accommodation, flexible fly/drives, rail and tailor-made holiday options. For the first time, the operator is offering three themed itineraries designed to soak up the unique and the unusual in Sicily: a seven-night Norman Trail, encapsulating the Norman monuments and architecture on the island; a nine-night Wine Trail, showcasing the diversity of wine making in the region and, for Inspector Montalbano fans, the chance to follow in the intrepid footsteps of the detective on a seven-night tour of the scenic south-east. Two new seven-night guided walks - a Panoramic Circuit of Cortina and Autumn Colours in the Dolomites also capture the best of the dramatic autumnal alpine scenery in the Veneto. Highlights for this year include a seven-night Norman Trail in Sicily from £741 per person, based on two sharing and including flights, breakfast accommodation, transfers and five days' car hire; a ten-day Wine Trail in Sicily which offers a fly/drive itinerary and leads in at £919 including flights, breakfast accommodation and ten days' car hire; and a sevennight Autumn Colours in the Dolomites guided walk, which costs from £1,627 and departs on September 29. Regions covered in the new brochure include Veneto and the Lakes, Umbria, Tuscany, Lazio (Rome), Puglia, Campania and Basilicata in Italy; Messina, Catania, Syracuse, Ragusa, Enna, Palermo, Trapani and Agrigento in Sicily, and Lipari and Vulcano in the Aeolian Islands. For more information call 020-8758 4747 or see www.sunvil.co.uk

New Finnish Lapland adventure holiday from Taber Holidays TABER HOLIDAYS has launched a new four-night Finnish ‘Lapland Adventure’ holiday, based in Kakslauttanen. The itinerary, which offers price reductions for children under the age of 14, includes a visit to a reindeer farm, a snowmobile journey in search of the Northern Lights and snowshoeing in the Arctic Taiga Forest. Accommodation is the Muotkan Maja Wilderness Lodge bordering Finland’s Urho K Kekkonen National Park, and highlights include wildlife sightings (including bears, wolverines and golden eagles) and evening excursions in search of the aurora. Prices, which are based on two sharing, start from £1,777 per person including flights from Heathrow via Copenhagen, transfers, full board accommodation and activities. The tour departs every Wednesday until April 24. For more information call 01274-875199 or visit www.taberhols.co.uk

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WEBSCLUSIVES

WEDDING BELLS...Destination Representation held a wedding training event at Gatwick recently. Partners included Silversea Cruises, Sandals, Hard Rock Hotels and the Seychelles Tourist Office. Pictured with the blushing bride, Debbie Walker of Destination Representation, is Steve Finch of Travel Counsellors. The training event will be heading to Manchester later this year.

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Enter our new competition from Canadian Tourism Commission, featuring Atlantic Canada, for your chance to win one of two great prizes. 1) Win a fantastic lobster dinner for 4, delivered direct to your door! 2) Entrants are also encouraged to complete the Canada Specialist training module for the further chance to win a £50 Amazon Gift Voucher. Go to: www.travelbulletin.co.uk/competitions

Make sure you complete this week’s Crossword, sponsored by Jet2holidays, for the chance to win £50 in Love2Shop vouchers. Just fill in the crossword on Page 11 of this edition, and then submit the mystery location along with your contact details via our website on www.travelbulletin.co.uk/competitions

All this and more at:

www.travelbulletin.co.uk The home of the web savvy travel agent www.travelbulletin.co.uk


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agentbulletin Booking incentives PRESTIGE HOLIDAYS has teamed up with the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) to launch a new incentive. Any agents making a Canada booking worth more than £4,000 between now and the end of April will be put into a prize drawer to win an iPad 2. The operator is also running an agent's roadshow in conjunction with the CTC on April 30 in Bournemouth plus a roadshow with Bermuda Department of Tourism and the Bermuda Hotel Association on April 18. For details email epine@prestigeholidays.co.uk

Did you know...? RECENT RESEARCH from MyVoucherCodes.co.uk has revealed the top countries where Brits never leave their resorts, with Mexico topping the chart followed by Tunisia and Turkey in second and third place respectively. According to the results, the most popular type of accommodation Britons choose while on holiday abroad were resorts (54%), hotels (43%), apartments (31%) and camping (19%). When the respondents were asked why they decided not to leave the resort during their holidays, more than a third, 36%, said they usually had ‘everything they needed’ in the resort whilst one in four, 25%, mentioned the fact that they ‘already knew’ the place so they didn’t need to explore outside the resort. Some 13% admitted feeling ‘unsafe’ outside the resort while 18% claimed that they didn’t want to spend ‘more money’.

A NIGHT AT THE RACES...The Jamaica Touris t Board treated 100 Essex-based travel agents to a night of Jamaican hospitality at the Coral Romford Greyhound Stadium recently. Pictured is May Swan-Easton (left) from Travel Counsellors, who won a place on the Jamaica Touris t Board fam trip in April, with Elizabeth Fox from the Jamaica Touris t Board. For details on Jamaica see www.visitjamaica.com

Fancy a fam? BRAND USA is encouraging agents to make bookings to win a place on its inaugural megafam, which will take 100 agents and a range of UK and Ireland operators to experience multiple destinations across the US. Seven itineraries covering 19 states have been created in conjunction with partner airlines, British Airways, who will be

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hosting all international flights, and American Airlines, who is partnering on all domestic flights within the US. Agents can win a place on the megafam by entering BA's and American Airlines flights sold to and within America and logging sales at www.usamegafam.co.uk by April 5. The fam will take place from May 9-16.

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newsbulletin Eurostar unveils new website EUROSTAR HAS announced the relaunch of eurostar.com, which features an enhanced layout to speed up the booking process. The new site offers users a simpler and quicker booking experience, with a reduction in the number of booking steps. A new ‘express check-out’ function also speeds up the booking process, while fares are displayed more clearly with an intuitive daily/weekly/monthly price view, making it easier for users to search for the best prices. Reflecting the increase in passengers travelling further afield by high-speed rail, the new site also features an enhanced booking process for connecting destinations. Travellers will be able to book their entire journey from more than 300 stations in the UK to hundreds of destinations across France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany in a couple of clicks. The site will also feature more destination content for popular cities such as Amsterdam, Cologne and Marseille, alongside practical information and maps to help passengers connect smoothly between Eurostar and other rail operators.

Las Vegas sets record for 2012 visitors LAS VEGAS welcomed a record 39.7million visitors last year, approximately a halfmillion more visitors than the previous high of 39.2million set in 2007. The record visitation generated more than $40billion in economic impact for the local economy last year and the year-end statistics, released by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), point to continued recovery for Las Vegas tourism with increases in all of the key core indicators. President and CEO of the LVCVA, Rossi Ralenkotter, said: "The record visitation is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our resort partners and every employee who works in the industry. Tourism is the economic leader for Southern Nevada and the entire state, so we are encouraged to see positive signs of continued growth for the industry. With more than $2billion of reinvestment in the destination, Las Vegas is well positioned for continued growth in 2013 and on the threshold of hosting more than 40million visitors." For more information see www.visitlasvegas.co.uk BONNIE LUNCH...In response to increased demand for character breakfasts, Butlins has introduced character lunches at its premium dining Yacht Club restaurants, where young guests can sit down for a carvery lunch with their favourite characters including Billy and Bonnie Bear. During the meal Billy and Bonnie Bear, sporting their specially designed chefs outfits, will parade around the restaurant with their friends interacting with the children and providing cuddles and photo opportunities. Character lunches are hosted once per break on Thursdays and Sundays, with prices from £16.95 per adult and £12.95 per child. For details see www.bourneleisuresales.co.uk or call 0845-070 4742.

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Mosaic launches Turkey & North Cyprus brochure MOSAIC HOLIDAYS has issued its 2013/14 Turkey & North Cyprus brochure which features an expanded selection of properties, plus the addition of the Aegean Sea resort of Alacati in Turkey. In response to growing demand for twin-centres and private tailor-made tours taking in cultural Turkey, the operator now offers a more extensive range of hotels in Istanbul and Cappadocia in eastern Anatolia, together with other, more undiscovered, classical regions of Turkey such as Pergamum, Troy, Ephesus and Pamukkale. Also new to the brochure are the “72 Hours in…” pages, offering inspiration to ensure clients opting for short breaks come away with memorable experiences. With “must see”, “must visit” “must do” and “must dine at…” recommendations, together with price guides, the “Cool Weekends” section provides those considering visiting Turkey with a flavour of the range of experiences the destination has to offer. Suggestions include The Old City, Bosphorus and Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; Hot air ballooning and underground cities of Cappadocia; temples and ruins in Izmir; and golf, beach and spa in Antalya. As an example of prices, a three-night breakfast stay at the Ottoman Park in Istanbul leads in at £559 for stays between May and October. The price includes flights with Turkish Airlines from Heathrow and private transfers. For more information see www.mosaicholidays.co.uk or call 020-8574 4000.

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puzzlebulletin Travagrams

Su Doku Win a £50 Hotel Chocolat voucher in the travelbulletin Su Doku prize puzzle Number: 105

Can you solve the following anagrams to decipher the destination & tour operator?

A Cornerwise Linguine

A➠

B➠ A cruise line named for a Scandinavian country, still ruled by monarchy

C➠

I've ace bench

D➠ Fill in all the squares in the grid so that each row, column and each of the 3 x 3 squares contains the digits 1-9. Once you have completed the puzzle, simply identify the numbers that relate to the letters, A, B, C and D then e-mail the solution, with your name, company name, and full postal address plus phone and ABTA number if applicable to:

Famous LA beach named after an Italian city with many canals

Where Am I?

competition@travelbulletin.co.uk Closing date for entries is Thursday, April 4th. Solution and new puzzle will appear next week. The winner for 15th March is Lindsey tidd, Virgin holidays in Essex. March 15 Solution: A=4 B=2 C=7 D=9

Crossword

Sponsored By

In Australia, my main railway station is Southern Cross.

Fill in the crossword to spell the mystery location highlighted by the blue squares and visit www.travelbulletin.co.uk/crossword to submit your entry. All correct entries will be placed in a free prize draw and one lucky winner will win £50 Love2Shop vouchers. Closing date for entries is Thursday April 4th. Across 1. Which Canary Isle is home to the volcanic Timanfaya National Park? (9) 5. Outspoken journalist and TV personality ___ Street Porter (5) 6. Currency of Japan (3) 7. Cinema chain (3) 8. Three-leaf clover, symbol of Ireland (8) 11. Turin is the capital of this region (8) 13. Get cash here, initially (3) 14. Major Indian tourist attraction, ___ Mahal (3) 15. Historic Normandy city (5) 17. Popular Lancashire seaside resort (9)

Down 1. Riga is the capital (6) 2. Avignon airport code (3) 3. Canadian province (7) 4. Nevada gambling resort, known as The Biggest Little City in the World (4) 5. She recently shaved her head for Comic Relief (6,1) 6. Peninsula separating the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico (7) 9. European principality (7) 10. Cake, popular Easter treat (6) 12. This volcano recently erupted in Sicily (4) 16. Monmouthshire town and river (3)

Number: 105

Congratulations to Franco Renzulli, Bowman Travel who won the 15th March crossword prize of £50 Love2Shop vouchers

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Jet2holidays offers flexible and great value package holidays for just £60pp deposit

The Where Am I and Travagrams solutions can be found on page 30 March 29 2013

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W-AITO-Go! by TED WAKE Deputy chairman, AITO Specialist Travel Agents and director, Kirker Holidays

How goal setting (and a sprinkle of good fortune) helps pave the way to positive year-end results... OW HAS it been for you so far in 2013? Personally, I have always liked 13s; my wife was born on the 13th, we married on the 13th… and, so far, 2013 has been an excellent year for business. Agent bookings have been particularly buoyant, showing a 13% increase on last year; many thanks and congratulations to our independent agent friends for their support. Before we get too excited about future predictions, however, we need to remember that it takes more than one good quarter to make a full year’s results. Although I am optimistic about the final results for the whole year, long experience teaches that Rome wasn’t built in a day. If we are to make a success of the next nine months, we need to pedal very fast to stay ahead. A target to aim at is useful when setting budget plans – so what goals should we set? One thing we’ve learnt over the last few years is that booking patterns are no longer consistent; predicting the future is trickier now than ever before. If we compare this year with 2012, it’s important to factor in last year’s one-off events - the Jubilee and the Olympics. If we look back to 2011 and add 10%, we’re comparing a peak Easter booking weekend that was exceptionally late (24 April) with this year’s early Easter. Looking back to 2010, that was much better than 2009 – and Easter was a more typical 4th April. As to 2009, that was the terrible year following the Lehman Brothers’ collapse in September 2008 - the catalyst for the worldwide downturn. The telephones stopped ringing on January 1, 2009, everyone became depressed about the government’s approach to the banks, and glamorous Gordon Brown’s reputation as the nation’s most prudent Chancellor was in tatters… The extraordinary results of the last few years have left no reliable pattern to enable us to predict what might happen next. So what has changed recently to give us such an excellent start and make us feel so much more confident about the future? Recent news of Thomas Cook’s decision to shut 200 shops isn’t at all cheery - but haven’t we heard that somewhere before? There’s a sense of déjà vu, methinks. The good news is that the travel business is, like all industries, cyclical – and the best news is that, whether using Ted’s Tea Leaves or Tarot Cards, there are clear signs that the consumer is frustrated with the internet and rediscovering the pleasure of dealing with an expert human being. The general increase in bookings and enquiries amongst AITO Specialist Agents and the wider

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independent travel agent community is a real sign that consumers value the service that expert specialists provide - the discerning traveller has learnt that DIY isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There is absolutely no room for complacency, however. Just because there are signs that there is, potentially, a bright future ahead for businesses capable of delivering excellent service is no reason to relax. Success will only come to those with a team of employees who are determined to exceed every customer’s expectations. Simply doing what is expected of us is not enough – we have to be more expert, more efficient, and more passionate about delivering exceptional service than ever before. But, make no mistake, the worm has begun to turn – and the soothsayers are beginning to predict good fortune to those independent specialist agents and operators who give customers expert advice and exemplary service. Is there a magic formula to help fast-track the journey along the pathway to success? The simple answer is, of course, no. But it is a great start if you are confident in your ability to deliver great service to consumers who value what you are doing for them. One of Ted’s ‘top tips’ might well be not to price match; it’s the start of a long, miserable road to hell…Instead, tell the client that yes, you are a little more expensive, but you have been in the business for more than 20 years and the service, expertise and advice you offer is well worth it. If they want a cheap holiday, customers should shop on the internet. However, if they need the reassurance of an expert human being, you are confident that, although the holidays you arrange are not cheaper, you do offer much better overall value for money. Even for the most optimistic fortune teller, isn’t life a bit too short to risk it..? Good luck!

To respond to any of Ted’s views email jill.sayles@travelbulletin.co.uk

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newsbulletin Masai Mara voluntour from Acacia Africa ACACIA AFRICA reports that customers are increasingly opting for itineraries that offer the opportunity to experience various African cultures, which it says is due to a growing interest in responsible tourism and volunteering. In line with this trend, the company is offering a 26-day Masai Mara Conservation & Wildlife Safari voluntour on a yearround basis. The trip includes a visit to a Kenyan game reserve, learning from Masai guides about life in the African bush and assisting the local tribal communities through conservation education. Game drives in the Mara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater and a stay on the island of Zanzibar are also included in the holiday, which costs from £1,995 per person based on two sharing, plus a local payment of £755 per person. The tour starts in Nairobi and ends in Dar es Salaam. For details call 020-7706 4700 or visit www.acacia-africa.com

Santa Cruz unveils new logo and brand FOLLOWING A year of planning, the Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Council (CVC) is set to unveil a new logo and brand to increase the destination's exposure. The new brand was established after a year of gathering feedback from locals and visitors, and its launch coincides with the CVC’s newly redesigned website, Visit Santa Cruz app and mobile access site. The brand campaign, which is undergoing a soft launch this spring, will be formally unveiled during National Tourism Week in the US, from May 4–12. The campaign will carry the brand across multiple channels, including social media outlets, enewsletters, print ads in the Visit California travel guide in the UK and other international markets, targeted online advertising and a debut of a new commercial to air in select domestic markets. The launch will focus on engaging prospective visitors in ways that emphasise the relaxed, California lifestyle that Santa Cruz embodies. For more information see www.visitsantacruzca.co.uk

Notes from . . . n o t n a m r o N HAT A busy week! I find it is either all or nothing, you hardly go out or you are out a couple of times in one week. I attended a good presentation by Debbie at Destination Events in Wetherby - All About The Seychelles. It really made me want to go back. I think I was last there about 15 years ago on an educational. Every time I see anything about Etihad Airways I’m so impressed - flying with them looks truly amazing and they have great agent rates at certain times of the year, so you never know – fingers crossed, one day. The next night it was onto the A1 again and up to Newcastle for the Geordie Ball, another great night organised by Darren Phillips and the team and I was on Mark O’Neill’s table from Gold Medal. It was great to catch up with so many people and money was raised for Nicola Graham’s Reubens Retreat charity. She is doing an amazing job of raising money for this very worthwhile cause and never lets up for a second. Thanks Darren for a great night! ‘Don’t put your life on hold so that you can dwell on the unfairness of past hurts’ and ‘We easily become trapped in the ‘someday’ mentality.’ Someday I’ll have all the money I need to enjoy life. Someday I’ll be able to spend more time with family. Someday I’ll have time to relax and do what I love doing. Do it now!

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Four-night Lisbon & the Palaces of Sintra break from Inntravel INNTRAVEL HAS added a four-night Lisbon & the Palaces of Sintra option for this year. The two-centre walking break combines Lisbon and the ‘Garden of Lisbon’ – Sintra, and delves into the region’s rich past, culture and cuisine. Guests will spend a full day discovering the sights and culture of Portugal’s lively capital, before moving onto Sintra which features a range of palaces, mansions and castles. These include the Pena Palace and the Quinta de Regaleira, famed for its outstanding gardens. Prices lead in at £355 per person based on two sharing and include four nights' breakfast accommodation, walking notes and maps. For more information or to book call 01653-617000 or see www.inntravel.co.uk

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by SANDRA MURRAY in Normanton, Yorkshire To respond to any of Sandy’s comments email jill. sayles@travelbulletin.co.uk

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hotelbulletin NOBU HOTEL has opened its doors to the public in Las Vegas following a collaboration between Caesars Palace, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Nobu Hospitality primary shareholders, actor Robert De Niro and Hollywood film producer Meir Teper. The 181-room boutique hotel, located at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, also offers a 327-seat restaurant and lounge. For details see www.visitlasvegas.co.uk

Hotels.com reports UK travellers could face further price hikes this year ACCORDING TO the latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI), a biannual report based on actual prices paid in 2012 compared with 2011, UK travellers faced price hikes in more than half of the international destinations last year, despite a strong pound sterling. Of the 116 cities included in the report, prices were up in 63, flat in six and down in 47. Hotel rates overseas now look set to rise higher this year as the pound is weakened by the strengthening euro and US dollar, and the downgrading of the country’s AAA credit rating by ratings agency Moody’s. However, UK travellers found money went further in many major European cities in 2012, as the Euro Crisis caused prices to fall. Athens suffered the biggest drop, with prices paid down by 10% to £72, with visitors put off by protests across Greece. Italy, which entered its fourth recession since 2001 last year, saw hotel rates in the capital of Rome fall by 9% to an average of £106 per night. With the Spanish economy shrinking by 1.4% in 2012, prices in Madrid fell by 8%, with UK travellers spending an average of £82 per night to stay in Spain’s capital city. The Netherlands also saw prices fall, with prices in the capital city of Amsterdam dropping by 8% to £106, as the country entered its third recession since 2009. Hotel prices in London also dropped for domestic travellers, despite the summer of celebrations. With many Brits choosing to watch the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and Games at home and international visitors staying away due to concerns over inflated hotel prices and transport problems. UK travellers paid 7% less to stay in the capital in 2012 at an average £110 per night. The USA was one of the big winners in the 2012 HPI, with UK travellers paying more in all 15 US destinations included in the report. The west coast saw some of the biggest rises, with prices in San Francisco growing by 20% to an average of £136. Seattle and Los Angeles both reached £125 following respective increases of 14% and 13%. Elsewhere, big rises were seen in Orlando, where prices gained 18% to £73, and New Orleans where the average price per night rose to £106, up by 16% on 2011. The company's Nigel Pocklington said: “While the Eurozone crisis translated into better value city breaks for UK travellers in 2012, the euro’s growing strength against the pound could drive up UK prices this year. Although a weakening pound is bad news for British holidaymakers wanting to travel abroad, the UK’s travel industry will welcome the news. A weaker pound will make the country more appealing to overseas visitors, while boosting the number of Brits holidaying at home."

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Sandman Signature teams up with Fenwick to treat guests GUESTS AT the 170-room Sandman Signature Hotel in Newcastle's Tyneside can treat themselves at Fenwick with a special, spring, shopping package. The hotel has teamed up with the department store to offer residents a gift bag, which includes a £50 gift card along with a range of his and hers fragrance and beauty treats. Also included are discount vouchers for some of the store’s cosmetic brands and for the in-store Regis Hair and Beauty Centre, along with invitations for complimentary consultations or pampering treatments at the store’s Jo Malone boutique, Clarins Skin Spa or Trueskin Medispa and Advanced Skin Clinic. The shopping package costs from £130 per room and is subject to availability. Guests can purchase additional goodie bags for an extra charge. For further information visit www.sandmansignature.co.uk or call 0191-229 2600.

InBrief ● HILTON WORLDWIDE has announced the expansion of its Waldorf

Astoria Hotels & Resorts brand into Latin America with the opening of Waldorf Astoria Panama. See www.waldorfastoria.com ● ROTANA HAS opened its first property in Bahrain. Majestic Arjaan by Rotana is located in the Busaiteen district on the island of Muharraq, a few minutes from the city of Manama. The property offers 128 suites, consisting of spacious studios and one-, two- and threebedroom apartments. ● REGAL HOTELS has announced the signing of a hotel project with He Nan Yuhong Real Estate Company Limited to open a five-star hotel, Regal Yuhong Hotel in Zhengzhou, China. Scheduled to open next year the new hotel will be conveniently located close to the Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport and 5 minutes’ drive to the city centre. ● THE ST. Regis Mauritius Resort is celebrating its opening earlier this month with two new offers. Guests booking before June 30 will receive three complimentary nights on a week’s stay or guests booking 14 nights will pay for eight nights. The offer includes halfboard dining and is valid for stays up to September 30. For details see www.stregis.com/mauritius ● HYATT HOTELS has announced that it has entered into a management agreement to develop a new property in Mallorca. Scheduled to open in 2015, the 142-room luxury resort hotel will be built in the style of a traditional Mallorquin hilltop village, and facilities will include two restaurants, a lounge bar, poolside bar, beach club, meeting and event space, and a spa and fitness centre.

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Marmaris Turkish Culture and Tourism OfďŹ ce Tel: 020 7839 7778 | www.gototurkey.co.uk

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IN AN effort to provide its trade partners and preferred travel agents with a richer understanding of the Rocky Mountaineer experience, the company has launched TRACKS, its first online training programme, to provide representatives with the knowledge to sell holidays with confidence while achieving higher commissions. Over the next four months, TRACKS will roll out additional modules. For details see agent.rockymountaineer.com

Ottawa to host Rendezvous Canada RENDEZVOUS CANADA (RVC), an event which introduces international buyers to Canadian sellers of tourism products, is this year taking place in Ottawa. Led by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) and managed by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), the event, which is held in a different Canadian city each year, gathers figures in the industry for timed pre-scheduled 12minute appointments. This year marks the 37th edition of the event, with 31 British operators already signed up to take part. The event will take place at the Ottawa Convention Centre from May 12-15 and pre- and postfamiliarisation tours are available to registered attendees. For more information call 020-7389 9985, email fournier.nicolas@ctc-cct.ca or see www.rendezvouscanada. travel

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Win dinner for four from the CTC & AC Tourism THE CANADIAN Tourism Commission (CTC) and Atlantic Canada Tourism are offering agents the chance to win a lobster dinner for four delivered to their door. To enter, visit www.travelbulletin.co.uk/competitions and submit your entry. Agents who also complete the Canada Specialist Programme by April 30 are in with a chance of winning a £50 Amazon voucher. To learn more about Canada, agents can register to attend one of the tourism commission’s roadshows taking place on April 30 and May 1 by emailing visitcanada@dial.pipex.com

Win an iPad 2 with Prestige and CTC PRESTIGE HOLIDAYS, in collaboration with the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), is entering all agents who make a Canada booking worth more than £4,000 between now and the end of April into a prize draw to win an iPad 2.

Québec highlights new hotels, restaurants and attractions QUÉBEC IS increasing its offering to visitors, with a variety of new hotels, restaurants and attractions opening this year. In Montréal, new hotels include the Courtyard Marriott, which will open in spring, and the ALT Hotel in Griffintown, which will open in the autumn. Meanwhile, the Ritz-Carlton re-opened in the second half of last year after a period of renovation. There are also a variety of new restaurants in Montréal, with new additions including Maison Publique, partly owned by Jamie Oliver; the Furco, a bar in Quartier des Spectacles (the Show Quarter); and the Evoo, a French restaurant in Saint-Henri district.

For clients looking to explore Montréal as part of a group, Amphi Tours offers visitors the chance to travel on the amphibian bus, the ‘Amphibus’, which drives through the streets of Old Montréal by road then cruises into the St Lawrence River. Meanwhile, in Québec City the Hôtel Manoir Victoria has undergone a £2million refurbishment which included the addition of the ‘boreal bistro’ restaurant, Chez Boulay. Other city highlights include a performance by Cirque du Soleil from late June to early September at its Les Chemins Invisibles show in Québec City, with dates to be confirmed. For more information call 020-7924 8030 or email dquk@destinationquebec.co.uk

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canada CLIENTS CAN follow in the footsteps of William and Kate on an 18-day ‘The Rockies & Western Canada’ tour from Great Rail Journeys. The itinerary, which explores many of the places visited by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their first official trip to Canada, costs from £3,625 per person. It includes flights, 11/13 nights’ hotel accommodation; three nights’ sleeper touring class rail travel on The Canadian from Toronto to Jasper in twin cabins; two days’ daylight rail travel in RedLeaf on the Rocky Mountaineer from Banff to Vancouver; porterage for certain sections of the tour and the services of a tour manager. For further details see www.greatrail.com

Ontario invites visitors to join in with maple syrup festivities THE PRODUCTION of maple syrup will be celebrated across Ontario, the world's fourth largest producer of the syrup, at more than 20 festivals this year. Events include the Fulton Pancake House and Sugar Bush festival in Pakenham (www.fultons.ca), which takes place from February to April. Fulton's Farm, founded in the 1840s by Scottish immigrant John Fulton, was opened to the public in the 1900s as the Fulton's Pancake House and Sugar Bush. Guests can experience a self-guided maple tour to discover how the 3,000 maple trees onsite are tapped,

and then head to the Maple Shop for some mapleinspired spa products. Alternatively, guests can visit the Moon Shadows Estate Winery in Haliburton, Ontario's first maple winery (www.moonshadowswinery.com), located less than two hours north of Toronto. In 2005, the winery began introducing maple syrup in the fermentation process and it now offers more than 20 varieties of maple and fruit wines. For further details about Ontario visit www.ontariotravel.net/uk

Intrepid offers up to 20% off small group tours in North America

COSMOS HAS launched a new tour of the Canadian Maritime area, including New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, as well as Prince Edward Island. The ten-day tour starts in Halifax and includes visits to Peggy’s Cove; the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg; Cape Breton Highlands National Park; the Cabot trail; Charlottetown; Prince Edward Island National Park; and Fundy National Park (plus a whale-watching cruise of the Bay of Fundy). Prices start from £1,729 per person including flights, transfers, eight nights’ room-only accommodation, guided sightseeing and a tour director. Extensions include a two-night stay in Halifax from £156 per person or the Ocean Train to Montreal from £366 per person for four nights.

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INTREPID TRAVEL is offering up to 20% off small group adventure tours in North America for bookings made by April 15 for travel by July 31. For example, a 21-day ‘Explore Canada’ tour now costs from £1,488 per person (saving 20%) and visits locations such as Banff, Jasper, the Rocky Mountains and the Revelstoke rainforest. The price includes entry fees and camping in the National Parks. Meanwhile, a 12-day ‘Classic Canada’ tour costs from £1,706 per person (saving 10%) including hotel accommodation. Locations visited include Banff, Glacier, Yoho and Jasper National Parks, Whistler and Vancouver. Both tours include transport in a 13-seater wi-fi enabled minivan and the services of a local tour leader. Flights are excluded. For more details visit www.intrepidtravel.com/ north-america-sale

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LOCATED IN the upper Northwest corner of Canada, the Yukon is popular with visitors wanting to view the Northern Lights. NASA is predicting that the Northern Lights will shine at their brightest levels seen for the past 50 years this forthcoming winter, an ideal opportunity to capitalise on trips to the destination, which is also home to the Northern Lights Space & Science Centre. Airlines flying to the Yukon include KLM (www.klm.com); Air Canada (www.aircanada.ca); Air North (www.flyairnorth.com); and Westjet (www.westjet.com). For more information call 020-8339 6152 or see www.travelyukon.com

Experience Canada with DoSomethingDifferent.com DOSOMETHINGDIFFERENT.COM IS offering a selection of day trips in Canada suitable for families. A Toronto CityPASS is available for £45 for adults and £27 for children (aged four-12), which includes entrance to the CN Tower, the Casa Loma, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Ontario Science Centre and Toronto Zoo. With the CityPASS booklet, guests will save 43% on admission fees and will skip most entry queues. Meanwhile, a Grouse Mountain & Capilano Suspension Bridge tour includes a skyride gondola to the summit of Grouse Mountain, a guided visit to a salmon hatchery, admission to the Capliano Suspension Bridge and a Treetops adventure, along with hotel pick-up/drop-off and the services of a tour guide. Prices are £92 for adults and £59 for children (up to 11 years). The Niagara Falls from Toronto trip costs £97 for adults and £79 for children (up to 12 years) and offers pickup/drop-off from downtown Toronto hotels, free time to explore Niagara Falls, Maid-of-the Mist (May to October) or Journey Behind the Falls (November to April) boat ride, buffet lunch, a visit to the Whirlpool Rapids observation deck and the Floral Clock, a stop’n’shop in Niagara-on-theLake and a winery stop and tasting. For further details see www.dosomethingdifferent.com/experiences

Self-drive Québec tour by Wildlife Worldwide WILDLIFE WORLDWIDE has introduced a ‘Whales, Bears & Moose in Quebec’ self-drive tour. The trip includes visits to the Reserve des Laurentide, Saguenay fjord and Tadoussac, along with a trip on a sea kayak in the Saint Lawrence River. Prices start from £2,390 per person based on two sharing and include flights, car hire, seven nights’ accommodation, most meals and guided activities. Flexible departures are available between June and September. For more information call 0845-130 6982 or see www.wildlifeworldwide.com

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uk&ireland Ireland highlights bright outlook for 2013 tourism growth from UK

by LAURETTA WRIGHT

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ITH ST PATRICK'S Day festivities still ringing in the air from earlier this month and a number of famous sights opting to 'go green', in a bid to boost Ireland's tourism (including the Pyramids, Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue, the Sydney Opera House and South Africa's Table Mountain), Tourism Ireland has a lot to celebrate this year. Last year the destination welcomed around 7.3million visitors and for 2013 the tourist office is targeting a growth of 5% to boost visitor arrivals to 7.6million, spending more than €3.6billion and supporting around 200,000 jobs. While the tourist board reports a decline in visitors figures across 2009/10, last year saw the start of an upturn in visitors and the destination is pushing for further growth this year. A competitive market CEO of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons, believes that a number of factors are helping to contribute to a further growth in visitors in 2013. He said: "Ireland is much more competitive than it was before, particularly for the British market. The general feeling in 2008 and 2009 was that Ireland was an expensive destination to visit and we're now working hard to create a strong value for money proposition that challenges current value perceptions and leverages positive word of mouth. "We have been working very closely with the market on producing a new strategy called the GB Path to Growth, which aims to deliver an additional 200,000 holidaymakers to Ireland between now and 2016." The primary focus of the project is on winning market share from GB domestic destinations and top European competitors, and three distinct segments have been identified as being the best prospects for growth: Social Energisers - younger consumers who seek shorter, high-energy, urban breaks; Culturally Curious - slightly older travellers who seek landscapes, history and culture; and the Great Escapers who are looking to take time out and to re-connect with their partners and with nature.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland

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Marketing initiatives The campaign has been introduced on the back of a marketing initiative called The Gathering 2013, an Irish government initiative launched on St Patrick's Day last year, which encourages people with any Irish connection to 'come back to Ireland' during the course of this year. Gibbons said: "There's 70million

people around the globe that claim Irish heritage; 40m in the US that tick the Irish box, 6m in Britain, 5m in Canada and 5m in Australia; these are our big four target markets. On top of this, there are large Irish networks and communities across Europe and this is what we see as our big calling for this year." Meanwhile, the announcement of Derry~Londonderry as the ‘UK City of Culture 2013’ also provides the tourist office with the opportunity of a year-long focus on the city and its environs, as it showcases a diverse range of cultural programmes and events, aimed at both cultural tourists and general visitors. Gibbons said: "The primary aim is to drive increased interest in Northern Ireland and create a sense of urgency to visit in 2013. The event will remain at the forefront of all our marketing activity throughout the year, including co-operative marketing with key industry partners." Emerging trends Although Dublin continues to remain a popular destination for city breaks, Tourism Ireland is keen for Brits to discover more of the island's regions and has recently been in talks with coach operators to look at attracting more visitors to discover the different regions and explore the real Ireland. Meanwhile, one of the biggest initiatives in helping boost visitor figures has been the reduction in VAT on the tourism sector from 13.5% to 9%, which Gibbons says has played a major role in the regeneration of tourism to Ireland. He said: "We are changing our approach to how we market Ireland to Britain. We see ourselves competing primarily with domestic British markets such as Scotland, Devon and Cornwall and the Lake District, because the outbound British market is flat at the moment. If we want to win share, we have to win share from within." New developments Meanwhile, Tourism Ireland has stayed ahead of the game when it comes to online innovation. A new website domain (www.ireland.com) has been launched for consumers, which ● continues on next page

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has been fully integrated with social media and has also been cleverly designed to be viewed on smart phones and tablets. More specifically for travel agents, the tourist office has recently unveiled its Shamrock Agents' website, which features a selection of modules (including information on The Gathering and Londonderry Capital City of Culture) for agents to complete. A range of benefits and incentives have also been added to encourage users to become a Shamrock Agent, which includes receiving preferential invitee status for activities and fam trips, plus the chance to complete specialised partner modules for additional prizes. New innovations and developments on the island itself are proving increasingly beneficial to agents highlighting the destination's attractions and reasons to visit. As an example, a new motorway network has made it easier for visitors looking to selfdrive or hire a car to explore the destination. Gibbons said: "The new motorway network,

of which more than 700miles has been added in the last five years, has increased accessibility for visitors. Holidaymakers arriving in Dublin by car can expect to travel to both Cork and Belfast within two hours, halving the journey times to what it was previously and opening up a lot more regions." Meanwhile, Gibbons' advice to agents selling the destination is to first and foremost highlight the friendliness and warmth of the people, alongside the destination's natural appeal, its range of accommodation options and stunning scenery. The overall sentiment for travel to Ireland this year is a positive one and with initiatives like The Gathering and Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 presenting significant opportunities for agents to highlight the island of Ireland to their clients, the celebrations look set to continue for the rest of the year. For more information see www.shamrockagents.com and www.ireland.com

SHEARINGS IS promoting a 12-day Best of Enchanting Ireland break, which costs from £889 per person. Highlights of the Grand Tourer break include visits to the Giant’s Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher, as well as trips taking in Belfast, Galway, Cork, Dublin and Killarney. The price includes 11 nights’ half-board accommodation, eight excursions and luxury coach travel, and departures are available from May to September. An 11-day by air option is also available. For details call 0844-824 6351 or visit www.shearings.com

Visit Cornwall launches trio of new marketing campaigns FAMILIES, EVENT goers and dog owners are the target of three new marketing campaigns being rolled out by Visit Cornwall, in a bid to attract new visitors and raise the profile of Cornwall as a holiday destination. The campaigns are part of a three-year investment project called 'Growing Tourism Locally' which has been funded by £400,000 from the Government's Regional Growth Fund (RGF) and is led by the national tourist board, VisitEngland. Capitalising on Cornwall's strengths, the thematic campaigns aim to appeal to visitor groups with an existing affinity with Cornwall yet have the potential to grow, and have been devised to encourage year-round visits and boost short breaks. Recently launched, Kids Love Cornwall is the first of the three new campaigns and sets out to promote visits during school term times by targeting families with pre-school aged children. As well as its own website (www.kidslovecornwall.com), the campaign will be supported by a printed guide which will be available later in the summer which covers information on family-friendly accommodation through to the top ways to entertain children. Under the banner of 'Cornwall Celebrates' the second campaign will support three events taking place this year, commencing in May with the Fowey Festival of Words and Music, and will continue throughout the year by supporting the Newlyn Fish Festival and Padstow Christmas Festival. Autumn sees the launch of the third campaign, Dogs Love Cornwall, which aims to raise awareness of the wide range of experiences available for visitors with four-legged members of the family in tow. For more information see www.visitcornwall.com/industry/kids-love-cornwall-2013

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Hoseasons urges agents to push late Easter break bookings HOSEASONS IS urging travel agents not to miss the opportunity to sell late availability breaks during the school Easter holidays – and is offering a range of savings, with breaks starting from £54. The company is stressing the ‘weather-proofed’ nature of the holidays on offer – with a range of activities and cosy, warm accommodation, some with features such as log fires and hot tubs. The operator's head of marketing and creative services, Rebecca Harris, said: “We can't predict the weather, but we can guarantee that agents’ customers will have a fantastic time on a break from our collection this Easter, come rain or shine. “With plenty of weatherproof activities to keep them entertained, from splashing around in the indoor pool to visiting local attractions, there are still plenty of opportunities for agents to sell UK holidays for the Easter break. “Whilst most agents realise that a holiday cottage is likely to be cosy and warm, we are keen to point out that even caravans on holiday parks are wellinsulated and heated, making them ideal for an early spring break." An example of the offers available is a four-night break at the two-bedroom Sycamore caravan at Ashvale in Paignton, Devon for £99 for a family of four, based on an April 8 arrival. The price offers a saving of £274 and local attractions include Paignton Zoo, the model village at Babbacombe and historic Dartmouth. For details or to book see www.hoseasons.co.uk/agen ts or call 0844-847 1144.

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uk&ireland Warner Leisure Hotels upgrades range of luxury lodges WARNER LEISURE Hotels is upgrading several of its properties. New for this year are the luxury Clifftop Lodge Rooms at Corton Coastal Village. The lodges are designed to look like a beach hut and have been hand designed and crafted in the UK. The 15 lodges all have a luxury nautical themed lounge complete with portholes. At Gunton Hall Coastal Village, 25 new Garden Lodge Rooms are set to open for Easter. The lodges feature a private lakeside patio and an eco-friendly feel. The company has also added 14 new rooms at Alvaston Hall Hotel in Cheshire called Fairways. The development includes five Royale Suites and nine new Signature rooms. Breaks lead in at £165 per person for a two-night break at Corton Coastal Village on April 29, based on two adults sharing a Clifftop Lodge Room. For details see www.bourneleisuresales.co.uk or call 0808-141 1111.

Great Rail Journeys promotes Castle Highlands Tour GREAT RAIL Journeys is promoting a new seven-day Castle in the Highlands tour, which costs from £645 per person based on two sharing. The tour includes two nights' hotel accommodation in Glasgow with breakfast and dinner; four nights' accommodation at Glenborrodale Castle with breakfast and dinner; three journeys on the West Highlands Line, including one on the Jacobite Steam Train (aka “Hogwarts Express” in the Harry Potter films); an excursion by ferry to the Isle of Mull including a visit to Tobermory; a tour of the Tobermory Distillery; a tour of Duart Castle; and a cookery demonstration by

Glenborrodale Castle

Glenborrodle Castle’s head chef. The price is based on an April 21 departure and includes the services of a tour manager. For details see www.greatrail.com

Earn a £10 Love2Shop voucher with CI Travel Group's new route THE CHANNEL Islands Travel Group is operating a first time direct GlasgowGuernsey route this summer. The route will run from Glasgow to Guernsey every Saturday between June 29 and September 14 and will be sold exclusively through Guernseytravel.com and Airways Holidays using a 46-seat Blue Islands ATR-42 aircraft with a flying time of two hours. Previously, holidaymakers based in the north had to fly via Southampton. Travel agents can earn £10 Love2Shop vouchers on bookings made for the new route. The holidays can be booked at www.citravelgroup.com

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Fantastic Savings!

Up to £150* off Spring Bank Holiday 4 Nights from

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See booking conditions for full details of our ABTA membership

*Up to £150 off applies to selected park/lodge locations and selected accommodation types – accommodation only, to new bookings only, is subject to availability and can be withdrawn at anytime. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer or discount. Applies to stays taken between 25/05/13 and completed by the 01/06/13. Booking terms and conditions apply – see main brochure or website. #Price based on a 4 night stay commencing 27/05/13 sleeping 4 (based on maximum occupancy) applies to selected accommodation – accommodation only. Subject to availability. Booking terms and conditions apply. ^Lowest price guarantee – we’ll match the price of any like for like accommodation for the same locations for the same number of people. Proof of booking required in all cases. Proof required within 7 days of confirming the booking. The lowest price guarantee rate must be available on the day you make the booking. We reserve the right to withdraw this guarantee at anytime – see main brochure or website.


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GREAT RAIL Journeys has launched a 17-day 'Kerala & Exotic Southern India’ tour on the new Golden Chariot hotel train, which is fully air-conditioned and offers two restaurants, a lounge coach and a spa/gym car. The tour visits the cities, temples and tea plantations of the Tamil Nadu region before exploring Kerala. Prices lead in at £3,498 per person including flights, rail and coach travel in India, 12 nights’ hotel accommodation with breakfast and dinner, three nights on the train including all meals, six restaurant lunches, a selection of guided tours and the services of a tour manager. For details visit www.greatrail.com

Insight Vacations highlights eight new mini-tours in 2013 brochure INSIGHT VACATIONS has added eight new mini-tours to Mumbai, Amritsar, Kathmandu, Shimla, Kerala, Sri Lanka, Kanha and Bhutan to its latest India 2013 brochure. Examples include a six-day ‘Call of the Jungle’ tour, where travellers search for wildlife including tigers, leopards, sloth bears and wild boar at the Bandhavgarh National Park, famous for its Bengal Tigers, and the Kanha National Park, which inspired Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book. The trip costs from £1,599 per person based

on two sharing and includes accommodation, transport, most meals, a one-way flight to Jabalpur from Delhi, transfers and game drives. The services of a tour director and guides are also included, while international flights are excluded. The itinerary can be connected to a number of longer tours such as ‘Splendours of the Taj’, ‘Imperial Rajasthan’ or ‘Essence of India’. For more information or to book call 0800-533 5622 or see www.insightvacations.com

THE NEWLY launched ITC Grand Chola in Chennai will complete its refurbishment in spring as the world's largest LEED Platinumrated Green hotel. The 600-room property is based on South Indian temples and is run on renewable energy. A new Kaya Kalp Spa also offers treatments that focus on the pomegranate fruit (the first fruit to be brought into India), together with Ayurvedic rituals and additional signature treatments. For more information visit www.itchotels.in

Alila Diwa Goa adds tailor-made detox breaks

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ALILA DIWA Goa, a resort set between the Majorda beach and the rice terraces of Southern Goa, is now offering sevenday tailor-made detox breaks that incorporate cooking classes, cycling tours, beach walks, yoga, healthy cuisine and Ayurvedic treatments. From this winter, the Spa Alila will also launch a range of Ayurvedic treatments, including Udwarthanam, a treatment involving dry herbal powders being massaged into the skin and said to be effective at reducing cellulite and improving circulation. The spa offers five double treatment rooms, two of which have a Jacuzzi and Chill Shower for couples, five single treatment rooms, individual sauna and steam rooms and an outdoor patio with a day bed. A seven-night Ayurveda Detox Package staying in a Terrace room costs from £1,320. For further details see www.alilahotels.com/diwagoa

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india Taj Safaris offers cultural experiences with lodge breaks TAJ SAFARIS is offering clients a range of cultural experiences at its four luxury wildlife lodges in Mahua Kothi, Baghvan, Banjaar Tola and Pashan Garh. For clients interested in a culinary experience, a ’50-Mile Meal’ package is available at all lodges and gives guests the option to create a meal from produce grown within a 50mile radius from the lodge they are staying in. After planning a menu with the chef, guests will head to the local market and then attend a cookery lesson before sitting down to eat the meal they have prepared. Prices are 5,000 INR per vehicle (approximately £58). Meanwhile, there is the opportunity to witness the local wildlife at each of the lodges. For example, the Baghvan Pench offers a day trip in the jungle at Rukhad wildlife sanctuary. Here, visitors have the opportunity to spot paw prints of tigers as well as gaur, deer, wolves and four-horned antelopes, with prices leading in at approximately £116.

A number of community initiatives also allow guests to encounter the local life. As an example, at Banjaar Tola guests can experience a day in the life of the Baigas (the local tribe), with a visit to their settlement to learn about their history and culture, which leads in at approximately £116. At all four of the lodges guests can also join an excursion to a local school to distribute supplements for the pupil’s midday meals, as well as school bags and solar lanterns, plus contribute to conservation lessons. Lodge rates lead in at approximately £246 per person, per night on a full jungle plan basis. For clients who prefer the hotel experience, Taj Hotels opened a new Vivanta property in New Delhi earlier this month. The hotel offers a range of room categories including 18 suites (including a Presidential Suite) along with a spa, swimming pool and fitness centre. A night's breakfast stay costs from £200 plus taxes.

ON THE Go has launched a 12-day ‘Golden Triangle and Kashmir’ tour available year-round, offering clients the chance to experience Delhi, the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Pink City of Jaipur. The tour then moves from Delhi to Srinagar where the first three nights are spent on a houseboat on Nageen Lake, part of Dal Lake. Prices start from £1,399 per person based on two travelling (single supplement of £449) including accommodation in threeand four-star and heritage hotels, three nights on a houseboat, a selection of meals plus transfers. Flights are excluded. For details call 020-7371 1113 or see www.onthegotours.com

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THE OBEROI, Mumbai has launched a ‘Suite Surprises’ offer, which offers up to 67% savings on executive suite rooms. Until September 30, guests can stay in one of the suites for £218 per night, including complimentary limousine transfers, internet and breakfast. The suites offer spacious bedrooms, separate living rooms, marble bathrooms with a free-standing bathtub, two 40-inch high-definition LCD TVs and views of Mumbai’s Marine Drive. Located on Nariman Point, the hotel is close to shopping bazaars and a variety of monuments. For details see www.oberoihotels.com

Hotel Clarks Shiraz exceeds Check Safety First hygiene standards HOTEL CLARKS Shiraz has become the first hotel in India to exceed health and safety standards by qualifying for a listing on the Check Safety First website. Across a period of three months, the hotel had to receive consistently high scores on the health and safety company’s ECristal risk management system in order to qualify. Debasish Bhowmik, senior vice-president of the hotel, said: “Since we started working with Check Safety First, we have worked hard to improve our levels of hygiene and are thrilled that this has been recognised by the company’s thorough system. The challenge now is to maintain these high standards, as this recognition is a valuable indicator of safety and quality of service.” For more information see www.checksafetyfirst.com

Jet Airways sees profits take off INDIAN AIRLINE, Jet Airways, has reported a profit of US$16.9million (approximately £11.2million) for the third quarter of its financial year, which ended on December 31, 2012. This contrasts to the same time last year, when the airline recorded a loss of US$23.1million (approximately £15.3million). The airline reports that higher yields and lower costs have resulted in the lowering of the breakeven seat factor levels, making an impact on operating margins for the quarter. The company has also discontinued loss-making routes in recent months, redeploying aircraft on to profitable routes. The airline has also revealed that international operations of US$433.7million (approximately £287million) accounted for 56% of total revenues. And although international traffic decreased by 5.1% and seat factor dropped from 79.2% to 78.0%, the average gross revenue per passenger increased by 13.5% year-on-year. On the domestic front, traffic dropped by 13% for the quarter but the average gross revenue per passenger rose by 19.6%. Lydia Nazareth, the airline's general manager for UK and Ireland, said: “The outlook for Jet Airways is positive. Passenger bookings for the fourth quarter show encouraging trends and international operations continue to achieve impressive seat factors. “At Jet Airways we remain committed to consistently delivering an in-flight service second to none based on the warmth, reliability and courtesy of our staff and this remains our top priority.”

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Viking completes naming ceremony for ten ships ON MARCH 20, Viking River Cruises completed its largest ship naming ceremony. Hosted by the line's chairman, Torstein Hagen, at the Port of Amsterdam, eight new ships were officially named - Viking Atla, Viking Bragi, Viking Forsetti, Viking Jarl, Viking Rinda, Viking Skadi, Viking Tor and Viking Tor and two, the Viking Aegir and the Viking Embla. The line's managing director Wendy Atkin-Smith said: “We were thrilled to make history and the scale of the launch reflects our commitment to investing in innovation, growth and spearheading the way for the river cruise industry. "The debut of our Longships in 2012 changed the face of river cruising and completely resets the benchmark of the quality river cruise customers should expect." The new Longships will sail the Danube and the Rhine rivers and will begin welcoming customers at the start of the 2013 season. For further information call 020-8780 7995 or visit www.vikingrivercruises.co.uk and www.vrc.co.uk

AMAWATERWAYS HAS announced new developments for its 2013/14 seasons, including new itineraries, new ships, new themed cruises and an expanded beverage service. The company will launch two new ships in Amsterdam and Portugal this year. The 164-passenger AmaPrima (sister ship to the AmaCerto - pictured) will make its maiden voyage on April 3 in Amsterdam, while the 106-passenger AmaVida made its debut this week in Porto, Portugal and sails four different itineraries and cruise-and-land programmes on the Douro river. Two additional ships, AmaSonata and AmaReina will debut in Europe next year. The line is also offering complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with every lunch and dinner on its European fleet (except AmaVida and AmaKatarina, which serve complimentary drinks for dinner only), and the company has also expanded its themed cruise options by adding In Celebration of Wine cruises, Harvest Wine cruises, Jewish Heritage cruises and Gourmet cruises. For details call 0808-223 5009 or see www.amawaterways.co.uk

PSA research reveals river cruise bookings grow by 14% in 2012 THE NUMBER of British passengers taking a river cruise rose by 14% in 2012 with numbers reaching 130,000, according to new research by the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA). Britons took a record 90,000 European river cruise holidays, a 12% increase on 2011, reflecting an ongoing upward trend, with Europe representing 69% share of the market compared to 50% in 2009. The association reports that the overall increase in demand for river holidays was driven by new capacity on European rivers and partly by greater political stability in Egypt. Investment in new tonnage last year was also strong, with an additional 12 river vessels, while 2013 will see more than 30 new itineraries and more new ships, including two each for Avalon Waterways and AmaWaterways, together with new vessels for CroisiEurope, Lüftner Cruises and Scenic Tours. The research also found that the most popular destination for British river cruises was The Nile, which was booked by nearly 22% of the market and experienced a 12% year-on-year increase in passengers, followed closely by the Rhine/Moselle and tributaries (20.7% of bookings) and the Danube (11.6%). According to the research, British river cruisers were most motivated by “value for money” last year, with 77% citing it as one of the principle reasons for their booking (up from 54% in 2011). The “all-inclusive nature of cruise packages” was the second key factor, referenced by 42% of river cruisers. For more information see www.discovercruises.co.uk

Cosmos Tours & Cruises expands Rhine options on Luftner’s Amadeus fleet COSMOS TOURS & Cruises has launched a range of Rhine river cruises for 2013 offering a premium river cruise experience on the Amadeus fleet operated by Luftner Cruises. The new cruises are in addition to the cruises already featured

with CroisiEurope and Trans River Line. An eight-day ‘Classical Rhine’ cruise from Zurich to Amsterdam costs from £1,419 per person including flights, transfers, seven nights' full board cruise, selected guided sightseeing

and taxes. Cruise highlights include Basel, Strasbourg, Speyer, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Rudesheim, Koblenz, Cochem, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Volendam and Amsterdam. For details call 0844-573 0668 or visit www.cosmostoursandcruises.co.uk

Avalon Waterways gets set to christen two new suite ships AVALON WATERWAYS is gearing up for the christening ceremonies of its two new Suites Ships; the Avalon Artistry II due to take place in Middleburg, Holland on April 11 and the Avalon Expression in Cochem, Germany on May 6. A range of guests, travel agents and the appointed

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godmothers have been invited to the special ceremonies to celebrate the launch of the ships, which will sail on European waterways. Expression’s godmother will be Patricia Schultz, US author of the bestseller ‘1,000 Places to See Before You Die’ while Artistry II’s godmother will be

Marilen Sandejas-Yaptangco, president and CEO of Baron Travel, Philippines. With the delivery of the two new vessels, the fleet will feature five ‘suite’ ships to meet the increasing demand for higher category staterooms. Following the christening ceremony, the 443ft, 166-

passenger Avalon Expression will sail the Legendary Danube, the Blue Danube Discovery and Magnificent Europe itineraries, while the 361ft 128-passenger Artistry II will sail the Romantic Rhine itinerary. For details call 0800-668 1801 or visit www.avaloncruises.co.uk

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cruising Star Clippers refurbishes two ships

Cruising is

by Andy Harmer, chairman of ACE HERE’S MUCH excitement in the cruise industry as the coming months bring a whole spectrum of new ship launches, revitalisations, shows and changes that will once again remind holidaymakers that cruising is the ultimate holiday choice. By December we will have seen new ocean cruise ships from MSC Cruises, Hapag Lloyd, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Compagnie du Ponant, and not to be over shadowed, there are plenty of new river cruise vessels being launched by among others Avalon, AmaWaterways, CroisiEurope and Lüftner Cruises. And what a collection of new ships they are, demonstrating the huge array of experiences and choices available to customers. Taking just two of the new ships launching this year allows us to see the tremendous variety offered by a cruise holiday - from the 224-guest Le Soleal, offering yacht-style cruising around the world, to the innovative Royal Princess that will be home to more than 3,600 guests. Innovations on Royal Princess include the SeaWalk with views stretching 128-feet down to the ocean, and Princess Live – the first TV studio at sea! Multi-million pound revitalisation programmes will see enhanced dining, entertainment and relaxation facilities on board many ships around the world. Meanwhile as European river cruising continues to attract record numbers of British passengers, it’s great to see new vessels being launched with new features and options to entice holidaymakers to not only the waterways of Europe but beyond. Whilst the Nile and the Rhine continue to be our most popular choice, rivers offthe-beaten-track are flourishing too, an example of which is the new AmaVida which will be based on the Portuguese Douro. So I would urge travel agents to take advantage of the exciting activities taking place this year to showcase our great industry and the value and variety offered by a cruise holiday. These events are an incredible opportunity to talk to non-cruisers about the diversity and holiday experiences a cruise can offer. Meanwhile ACE is also undergoing change this year – joining with ten other cruise associations around the world under the Cruise Lines International association (CLIA) umbrella. ACE will become CLIA UK & Ireland from May 1 and this change will undoubtedly bring additional benefits to all members of our Association. We look forward to continuing to work with the leading cruise lines, travel agents, associated partners and other CLIA Associations across the globe to grow cruise sales.

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AS PART of an ongoing programme to keep Star Clippers’ classic tall ships looking fresh and bright, Royal Clipper – the line’s flagship – and Star Flyer recently underwent refurbishments to replace all of the soft furnishings and give the vessels a renewed look. The 227-passenger Royal Clipper underwent a two-week dry dock in Trinidad in January, during which the dining room received new carpeting and seating upholstery and the corridors received new carpet. Guest cabins were also given an update with new paint and a bathroom rejuvenation. The 170-passegner Star Flyer recently underwent a dry dock, in which the ship’s soft furnishings were replaced, including new carpet in most public areas and new seating for the dining room and library. All of the cabins and public areas received fresh paint and new artwork in a nautical theme, which is found in the décor throughout the vessel. Royal Clipper will be sailing in the Mediterranean this summer and Star Flyer in the Baltic. To book call 0845-200 6145 or visit www.starclippers.co.uk

MSC offers seven-night Dukan-themed cruise FOLLOWING THE success of last year’s Dukan Diet cruise, MSC Cruises is offering guests a second chance to shed the kilos, tone up and tan whilst cruising the Mediterranean alongside weight-loss guru Dr Pierre Dukan. Prices for the seven-night full board cruise on the new MSC Preziosa start from £559 per person and include a welcome kit, a personal health analysis, a designated Dukan buffet and special menu, a physical activity programme, group talks and discussions, a cooking demonstration, an evening group meeting with Pierre Dukan and exclusive discounts on daily slimming coaching at www.dukandiet.co.uk The cruise departs from Genoa on May 19 and calls in Italy, Tunis, Spain and France. Flights from London or from regional airports are available on request. A team of expert nutritionists, dieticians and a specialist physicians trained in the Dukan Method will be on board to provide guests with professional advice and care throughout the cruise, culminating with the chance to meet Dr Pierre Dukan at a private on-board party. For further information visit www.msccruises.co.uk or call 0844-561 1955.

Dutch river cruise from Swan Hellenic SWAN HELLENIC is offering a cruise on the Dutch Waterways from £2,250 per person, based on two sharing a deluxe cabin. Ideal for clients seeking art and culture, The Golden Age of the Dutch Waterways cruise visits cities in the Netherlands, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Delft and Antwerp, and passengers can also enjoy calls to off-thebeaten track towns and villages that reveal iconic Dutch landscapes, local traditions and the achievements of the Dutch Golden Age. Art historian, Professor William Vaughan, will be focusing on the rich artistic heritage of the Netherlands and Belgium on a programme of talks throughout the cruise. The price is based on a July 6 departure and includes flights or rail from London, transfers, a tailor-made programme of shore excursions, a programme of talks, all meals and entertainment on board and all gratuities. For details visit rivercruises.swanhellenic.com or call 0843-316 1715.

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cruising Crystal offers three days in St Petersburg on summer Baltic & Northern European cruises WITH CRYSTAL Serenity spending three consecutive days in St Petersburg on each of five summer 2013 Baltic and Northern Europe cruises, Crystal guests now have ample time to take in the destination. The cruise line recommends a range of shore excursions depending on whether guests are first-time visitors, veteran visitors or those looking for off-the-beaten-track adventures. The line's vice president of international sales & marketing, Philip Ordever, said: “St Petersburg is one of the world’s most fascinating cities so we have designed our cruise itineraries to offer more overnights. Guests can spend a full three days exploring in whatever fashion suits them best, with the comfort and luxury of Crystal as their home and tour guide throughout.” As an additional offer, if the line arranges the land itinerary for guests it will also handle guests' Russian visa requirements for time ashore. Crystal Serenity’s St Petersburg cruises of ten nights depart on June 15 and 25, July 20 and 30 and August 9 from either Stockholm or Copenhagen. Ports visited include Warnemunde, Helsinki, Tallinn, Visby and Dover depending on the departure. All-inclusive fares start from £2,890 per person if booked by April 30. Meanwhile, the company is adding 17 voyages to its ultraluxury line’s “Kids Sail Free” programme. With the promotion, kids age 17 and under can sail for free when sharing a third berth stateroom with two adults. Previously offered on four luxury European cruises during June and July, families can now choose from seven- to 15night voyages in the Mediterranean, Western Europe, North Cape, Baltic, British Isles, Canary Islands and across the Atlantic from May-December on Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. New Magic Castle at Sea “junior cruisers” shows and classes will also be offered on-board during summer cruises, in addition to all-ages shows on every cruise. Fares lead in at £2,437 per person, based on a nine-night cruise from Athens to Istanbul departing on May 9, if booked by April 30. For more information or to book call 020-7399 7601 or visit www.crystalcruises.co.uk

Set sail on a National Trust themed cruise with Voyages of Discovery GUESTS CAN join Voyages of Discovery on a themed National Trust cruise around the UK coastline. Prices start from £849 per person, based on two people sharing an inside cabin on a Saver Fare price, departing on June 2. The itinerary visits some of the National Trust’s most treasured sites including Plas Newydd House on Anglesey, Lindisfarne Castle in Northumberland and the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. The 10-day Heritage of the British Isles cruise departs from Portsmouth and calls at St. Peter Port (Guernsey), Holyhead (Wales), Liverpool, Belfast, Oban (Scotland), Port of Tyne and Portsmouth. For more information or to book call 0843-221 8499 or visit www.voyagesofdiscovery.com

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cruising Hurtigruten offers spring savings of up to £766 HURTIGRUTEN IS offering savings of up to £766 on selected departures this spring. The deals are available on various dates between April 15 and June 4 on the 12-day ‘Classic Round Voyage’, 11day ‘Norwegian Discovery Voyage’, seven-day ’Classic Voyage North’ and six-day ‘Classic Voyage South’, and are valid when booking an unspecified inside or outside cabin, which will be allocated on arrival. As an example, The Classic Round Voyage leads in at £1,423 and offers a saving of £766 per person. The cruise travels from Bergen to Kirkenes and the price includes full board, based on two sharing. Flights are extra and bookings must be made by March 31. Meanwhile, the line has added a selection of new voyages to its 2014 Explorer programme for agents to promote. New experiences include visiting the largest glacier in Europe, travelling from one hemisphere to the other visiting five countries along the way and island-hopping in Southern Europe. Due to demand, additional departure dates have also been added on some existing itineraries and a full expedition team is on board to ensure that customers get the most out of a voyage and learn more about the destination being explored. To help agents boost early sales, early bookers can take advantage of up to 25% savings. As an example of prices, a 12-day 'Best of the South West' itinerary, which explores the islands of Southern Europe, leads in at £1,643 per person. The island-hopping voyage, from Las Palmas to Lisbon, takes in the lesser-visited parts of the Canary Islands such as El Hierro and La Gomera, along with Madeira and the contrasting island of Porto Santo, plus three of the remote islands of the Azores - San Miguel, Pico Isla and Terceira. An expedition team will provide guests with lectures on the history and culture of the places visited. The cruise departs on April 1, 2014 and includes 11 nights' full board on the ship and lecture/landings programme. Flights are extra. For more information or to book call 0844-448 7601 or visit www.hurtigruten.co.uk

We asked our staff the following question this week: If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? Publisher: Jeanette Ratcliffe jeanette.ratcliffe@travelbulletin.co.uk Think I'd go for Shelley

Editor: Lauretta Wright lauretta.wright@travelbulletin.co.uk Jessie

Assistant Editor: Jill Sayles jill.sayles@travelbulletin.co.uk Contributing Editor: Paul Scudamore post@travelbulletin.co.uk Ken

Sales Director: Simon Eddolls simon.eddolls@travelbulletin.co.uk Symon

Advertisement Manager: Tim Podger tim.podger@travelbulletin.co.uk Rodger!

Online Sales Manager: Nick Boocock nick.boocock@travelbulletin.co.uk Lord. Just think of the privileges and perks!

Account Manager: Bill Coad bill.coad@travelbulletin.co.uk Highway or Morris

Sales Executive: Chris Gascoine chris.gascoine@travelbulletin.co.uk Bamber

Sales Executive: Matt Gill matt.gill@travelbulletin.co.uk Will, Bill or Fish

Senior Designer: Genaro Santos genaro.santos@travelbulletin.co.uk Marcus

Assistant Designer: Nicky Valsamakis nicky.valsamakis@travelbulletin.co.uk Galifianakis

25% off with Compagnie du Ponant

Production: Jeremy Walters production@travelbulletin.co.uk

COMPAGNIE DU Ponant is celebrating its 25th anniversary by offering 25% off its Atlantic/Mediterranean cruise departing on April 4. The ten-day cruise from Las Palmas to Malaga takes in the west coast of Africa and up the river Guadalquivir. Prices lead in at £2,288.25 per person based on double occupancy, cruise-only. For details call 0800-980 4027 or visit www.ponant.com

Genaro... what a name!

puzzlesolutions Travagrams: (top) Norwegian Cruise Line Where Am I?: Melbourne

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(bottom) Venice Beach

Circulation Manager: Jim Merchant post@travelbulletin.co.uk Travel Bulletin is published by Alain Charles Publishing (Travel) Ltd University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, Tel: 020-7834 6661 Printed by: Wyndeham Grange Limited Subscriptions are £105 p.a. £155 overseas ISSN: 0956-2419

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Travel Bulletin 29th March 2013