TB 0212 2016 Cover 29/11/2016 11:15 Page 1
December 2 2016 | ISSUE NO 1,993 | travelbulletin.co.uk
Tourist board highlights emerging trends in eastern regions
notes from normanton Sandy reports back from her trip to Egypt
conference update news from AITO’s conference in Jordan
13 london life a look at what’s new in the capital this month
activity & adventure new experiences to satisfy your clients’ adventurous side
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affordable luxury BERMUDA Hamilton Princess & Beach Club B&B
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Silversea Sailing... AS WINNERS of a recent competition, eight agents recently joined Silversea on a fam trip on Silver Shadow to take in the sights and sounds of Singapore and Bangkok. The winners experienced Club World comfort courtesy of British Airways, a stay in the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore and the all-inclusive lifestyle on Silver Shadow. Pictured are, from the left: Hannah Vincent, Select Travel; Louisa Maynard, The Cruise Line; Marie Ratcliffe, Go Cruise Travel; Abigail David, Caribtours; Helen Bonner, Hays Travel; Julie Nunes, Silversea Cruises; Juan Giraldo, British Airways; Moyra O Donoghue, Roscrea Travel; Linda Bellis, Lusso Travel; Telina Lawrence, Preferred Travel; and Jennifer Vandewiele, Silversea Cruises.
Brits draw the purse strings on holiday spending as budgets tighten
Cover Pictures: Main - elxeneize
Inset - The View from The Shard
HOLIDAY BUDGETS are under pressure as consumers cut back on non-essential spending, according to new research from business intelligence research consultancy Future Thinking. More than a quarter of families (26%) have attempted to cut back their holiday spending in the last 12 months, while only 9% of families have managed to fully ringfence their holiday budgets. The findings come from the company's annual Shopper Barometer study, which surveyed more than 2,000 respondents from across the UK. Despite the pressures on budgets, holidays were more important than paying down debt if consumers received a boost in income. With an extra £17 a week of income, respondents said they would rather put that money into holidays (30%) than pay down their debt (20%). However, some people are also taking more radical steps to keep costs down and emptying their holiday budget altogether. Some 12% of the total population and 7% of families said they would not take any holidays in the coming year. Other findings from the research included: we spend on
average nine nights a year staying at hotels for leisure and seven nights a year for business; two in five (42%, up from 31% last year) were concerned about the state of the economy over the next 12 months; only 19% of respondents felt positive about the state of the UK economy, dropping from one in three (35%) Brits last year; and one in three of us (37%) are pulling back from clothes shopping and eating and drinking out. Noreen Kinsey, head of retail and leisure at Future Thinking, said: “With economic uncertainty on the horizon, it’s no surprise that people are seeking out better deals, cheaper options and more opportunities to save. Holiday budgets have clearly been put under pressure, with a quarter of families cutting back on their holiday spending in the last year. “However, while families are being forced to cut back, holidaymakers are still keen to put more money back into their holiday budgets – to the point that nearly a third of us would rather put a small boost in income into holidays than pay down debts. Travel companies planning their holiday packages for the New Year would do well to adapt to these cautious yet eager holidaymakers.”
03 08 09
news a round-up of this week’s industry developments & announcements
notes from normanton Sandy reports back from her trip to Egypt
agent bulletin this week’s booking incentives, agent offers & competitions
11 12 13
puzzle bulletin play Su Doku for your chance to win a £50 M&S voucher
conference update Adam Potter reports from the AITO conference in Jordan
london life a look at what’s new in the capital this month
14 16 19
bulletin briefing news and views from ANTOR
germany tourist board highlights emerging trends in destination’s eastern regions
activity & adventure new experiences to satisfy your clients’ adventurous side
December 2 2016
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Escape Lounge access at OAK for Norwegian's Premium passengers NORWEGIAN WILL give Premium passengers travelling to Gatwick from Oakland International Airport (OAK) free access to the airport’s new lounge from this month. Passengers flying in the carrier's Premium cabin on its low-cost flights from the Bay Area are offered complimentary access to the new Escape Lounge operated by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) USA, subsidiary of the largest UKowned airport group. Access to the Escape Lounge will complement the
existing free access to No1 Lounges at Gatwick for all the airline's Premium passengers. The new Escape Lounge at OAK will be the first to open on the west coast and will offer stylish and contemporary furnishings, an extensive complimentary locally inspired menu, unlimited free alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages and free highspeed Wi-Fi, in addition to a selection of newspapers and magazines. The carrier's Economy passengers and customers of other airlines will
also be able to purchase access to the lounge. Premium passengers can check in two 20kg bags, receive priority boarding and are welcomed on board with complimentary soft drinks. Passengers also receive spacious leather reclining seats with 46-inch legroom, premium meals and unlimited soft and alcoholic beverages – all on the new 787 Dreamliner. For further information see norwegian.com/uk and escapelounges.com
bmi regional boosts Milan route from Bristol Airport following demand FOLLOWING THE success of its existing seven routes out of Bristol Airport, bmi regional has made changes to its Milan schedule – increasing the route to a total of five weekly departures. The new schedule adds a flight from Bristol every Wednesday evening, returning on a Thursday morning, to the existing rotations on Mondays and Fridays. In addition, for summer 2017 there will be departures every Saturday and Sunday. All fares include 23kg hold luggage allowance, complimentary in-flight drinks and snacks, allocated leather seating and 30-minute check-ins.
CLIA launches Cruise360 in Europe
CAB CALL…Texas Tourism has introduced branded black cabs in London. Pictured donning their cowboy hats are the tourist office’s Brad Smyth (left) and Tommy Woods.
December 2 2016
CLIA (CRUISE Line International Association) has announced the launch of Cruise360 in Europe for the first time in 2017. The event is already a regular part of the travel industry in North America and Australasia and attracts cruise lines, travel agents and media to a single immersive event which focuses on giving delegates practical advice and support to grow their cruise sales. The inaugural three-day European event will be held in Copenhagen on September 9, 2017 and will combine multiple ship visits with organised local excursions in Copenhagen. The event will also feature keynote conference sessions, two evening events and new for this event, the ‘Cruise Sales Masterclass’ learning programmes. The Masterclass courses will provide information and new skills for agents to enhance their cruise sales. The course themes will include selling destinations, marketing and sales techniques. An optional ship visit is available on September 8 for agents arriving in Copenhagen the day before. Registration is now open at cruiseexperts.org
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Youtravel.com adds new property in Turkey’s Bodrum LABRANDA HOTELS & Resorts (owned by FTI Group) has signed a tenyear rental agreement with the owners of the previously called Sensimar Hotel located in Turgutreis, Bodrum. The hotel will be renamed to LABRANDA Bodrum Princess & Spa and Youtravel.com will add the property to its portfolio from spring 2017. Located just 1km from Turgutreis city centre and 20km from Bodrum, the hotel features 255 guest rooms divided between 34 swim-up rooms, 101 suites and 120 standard rooms all with complimentary Wi-Fi. Offering a beachfront location, visitors have direct access to the Aegean Sea along with a variety of activities including water aerobics, pool, tabletennis, darts and aerobics, plus evening entertainment. Guests will also stay on an ultra all-inclusive concept that includes all meals, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages and two a-la-carte restaurants. Other amenities include a spa, fitness centre, Turkish bath (hammam), heated indoor pool and a Jacuzzi. For more information see youtravel.com
VENICE VENTURE...Returning to its Italian roots, earlier this month saw Kirker Holidays celebrate its 30th anniversary in Venice, where the team enjoyed a formal dinner at the Ca’Sagredo Hotel. During the visit, the City of Venice officially recognised the operator with the presentation of a special award for its Outstanding Contribution to Cultural Tourism. Pictured is the team setting out on their Venice trip from the company's central London offices.
Kudu Travel promotes new 16-night Ecuador & Galápagos itinerary KUDU TRAVEL is highlighting its new tour to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands, which last year sold out early. The operator’s trip to the remote pacific Galápagos Islands visits Fernandina Island, the youngest island of the archipelago and the very island featured on Planet Earth II, Islands. Guests will travel on a fully-crewed teak-decked sailing yacht, The Beagle - named after HMS Beagle, the vessel on which Charles Darwin visited the Galápagos Islands during the historic voyage that led to his theory of evolution - for a week of exploration. Guests can head ashore for daily walks on the islands with a naturalist guide, and there are also plenty of opportunities to swim and snorkel with turtles, sea lions, fur seals, eagle rays, Galápagos penguins and tropical fish. The tour also takes in mainland Ecuador, highlights of which include the colonial architecture of Quito and a fourday train journey on Tren Crucero, with excursions to see the Avenue of the Volcanoes and to discover Andean Indian culture. Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands: a Walking Tour across the Equator costs from £8,390 per person based on two sharing, and includes 16 nights’ full board accommodation (nine nights in four-star hotels and seven nights on the yacht); all land and rail transport; internal flights (Guayaquil/Baltra/Quito); entrance fees; sightseeing; and activities as per the itinerary, along with the services of a local naturalist guide during the cruise and a tour leader. International flights are extra and the walking grade is standard - between one and two-and-a-half hours per day. To book or for more information call 01225-436115 or visit kudutravel.com
Webjet partners with Routehappy WEBJET HAS announced its implementation of Routehappy Scores & Amenities and Routehappy Hub content, enabling Webjet to display airline rich content in flight search results. The integration will enable users to see targeted airline information and media when shopping for flights via a standardised content format called UPAs (Universal Product Attributes) from Routehappy Hub, alongside its Flight Scores and comprehensive Amenities like Wi-Fi, entertainment and fresh food. John Guscic, Webjet’s managing director, said: “For almost 20 years, we have been at the forefront of innovation with our online travel tools, focused on the goal of making flight shopping easier, more transparent and more informative for our customers. Routehappy’s one of a kind solution will provide a better customer experience through clear, compelling content that highlights airlines’ key differentiators and amenities people care about.”
December 2 2016
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Qatar Airways boosts capacity to Cape Town with Boeing 777 QATAR AIRWAYS has increased daily capacity to Cape Town with the introduction of a Boeing 777 to serve the popular family holiday destination. This means that an additional 158 seats per day to the city for passengers looking to enjoy South Africa’s holiday season. UK travellers can fly with the airline from Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham to Cape Town via the airline’s home and hub in Doha. The Doha to Cape Town route - which was previously served with the Boeing 787 offering 254 seats - will now be operated with the Boeing 777, which offers a total of 412 seats across its Business and Economy Classes. Passengers in every seat across both cabins will enjoy a fully interactive personal audio and video entertainment system with up to 3,000 options. For full timetable information or to book visit qatarairways.com
Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts set to expand by nearly 900 rooms in London THE CONTEMPORARY upper upscale hotel brand Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, operated in Europe by PPHE Hotel Group, is increasing its portfolio, revealing plans for a string of new openings and developments across London over the next few months. The multi-million pound investment will see almost 300 jobs created for the hospitality industry in the capital. The new openings and the completion of an extension and reconfiguration project will increase the brand’s room count to 3,158 within the M25, making it one of the largest international upper upscale hotel brands in the capital. Park Plaza London Waterloo, positioned as a sanctuary for those seeking a London adventure, will be the first new hotel to open and is located on the bustling South Bank. It will be closely followed by the launch of Park Plaza
London Park Royal, a centrally located property within one of London’s largest business hubs which will have convenient quality at its core. Furthermore, the completion of major refurbishments at Park Plaza London Riverbank and Plaza on the River will
see PPHE Hotel Group’s London portfolio grow to a total of eight properties. Greg Hegarty, regional general manager UK, PPHE Hotel Group, said: "We are delighted to announce these new additions to the Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts portfolio. It follows a strong development year for the brand, which has also seen investments in Croatia and Nuremberg in Europe, and marks a huge boost to the London market. "As London’s tourism industry continues to attract many visitors and business travellers are being drawn to the capital, we look forward to catering to popular demand while providing the contemporary design and exceptional service that is synonymous with the Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts brand.” For further information visit parkplaza.com
NEWS BITES ● TRAVEL SEARCH engine Skyscanner has teamed up with flight information provider OAG to provide flight status information up until the point of departure to offer passengers access to accurate flight status information. ● QATAR AIRWAYS Holidays is offering UK travellers the opportunity to add new experiences to existing travel plans, by stopping over in Doha on the outbound journey for up to four days. This holidaywithin-a-holiday is thanks to a new free transit visa scheme that allows visitors to break their outbound journey in Doha without impacting their total return ticket fare. ● LONDON SOUTHEND Airport is now offering flights to Gran Canaria with easyJet. Fares for the twice-weekly route start from £30.99 one-way. Details at southendairportcom
LOOKING FLY...SuperBreak has launched its new look Hen and Stag flyer offering ideas to inspire soon-to-be brides and grooms. The flyer opens up to reveal a selection of hen and stag breaks, plus overseas suggestions including the operator’s two most popular destinations Barcelona and Prague. With its own stamp space for agents to put their details, the operator is encouraging agents to send the leaflet to honeymoon bookers and use it at wedding fairs and exploit all other marketing opportunities. Pictured is the company's Graham Balmforth (left) and Tony Mann from Idle Travel in Bradford.
December 2 2016
● VIKING CRUISES is partnering with Garden Designer Sarah Eberle again this year to create a travel-inspired garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017. The Viking Cruises Garden of Inspiration will reflect the colours, art and culture of Barcelona, a source of inspiration for Sarah following her previous travel experiences and also one of the company's destinations.
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Extension of London’s river concerts EVENINGS OF musical merriment continue into this month as London’s leading river boat service, MBNA Thames Clippers extends its series of live acoustic performances from the capital’s top buskers. With the series’ first sessions met with great reviews, the additional River Lates sets will take place on the next three Thursday evenings this month. The two-hour floating festival sets from TfL accredited buskers will take place on selected MBNA Thames Clippers RB1 services. Joining the existing timetabled services, the musicians will join the 19:35 sailing departing Embankment pier on December 8, 15 and 22 and perform a two-hour set. For details see thamesclippers.com/offers /detail/riverlates/
WINTERS STORY…Four year-old Amber Winters from Birmingham has won a nationwide competition to become Thomson Airways’ first child ambassador. As part of the airline’s #NameOurPlane competition, the carrier asked youngsters between the ages of four and 11 to suggest a name for the airline’s new state-of-the-art 787-9 Dreamliner and to provide their ideas on how it could make the plane even better for children. Amber, who is pictured with one of the carrier’s captains, Stuart Gruber, was chosen for her suggestion to name the plane Pixie Dust and her idea to have a children’s area which includes bean bags and a reading corner at the back of the aircraft.
Acacia Africa releases list of 2017 destination hotspots WITH AUTHENTIC and experiential travel gathering momentum, Africa is set to be one of the top continents for travel in 2017 according to Acacia Africa, and the operator has identified destinations that it predicts will be trending - and why. The company's sales and marketing manager, Arno Delport, said: "Namibia secured second place on Lonely Planet’s Best Value travel list with its currency pegged to the South African rand. Brexit means budgets will be stretched in 2017, so we would also expect Lesotho and Swaziland - the country being tipped as Southern Africa’s next adventure capital - to be key destinations next year, the value of the Loti and Lilangeni also tied to the rand." As an example of prices, an 11-day Cape Desert Safari leads in at £755 per person (with no single supplement) including transport, camping accommodation, 27 meals and the services of a tour leader/guide. Kenya has also started to make a comeback since travel advisories were removed according to the operator. Delport said: "The 50th anniversary of the film
adaption of Born Free heightened interest in Kenya. The country - and more specifically multi-destination overland travel - will undoubtedly benefit from the tripartite agreement between Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, which was signed in October: the objective being to boost African tourism, increase the number of visitors and indirectly help the economy of each of the three countries." An 18-day Mountain gorillas to the Mara itinerary, covering Kenya and Uganda, leads in at £1,405, with an Adventure Pass costing an additional £510 and a Gorilla & Chimp Trek permit from £540. Prices include transport, camping accommodation, 50 meals and the services of a tour leader/guide. Meanwhile, in a recent Long Haul Holiday Report, South Africa’s Cape Town emerged as the cheapest of 34 resorts and cities surveyed for Brits - and following the launch of British Airways' new flights from Gatwick three times weekly, the destination is expected to gain popularity. To book or for more information call 0207706 4700 or see acacia-africa.com
Priority Pass grows to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide PRIORITY PASS has announced that it now provides access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide following a year of strong growth. The company has worked with new partners in key regions around the world to add 130 new lounges within the last 12 months. In the Asia Pacific region 32 lounges have been added, including 11 lounges in China. New lounges have also opened in the growing economic hubs of Indonesia, Taiwan, Myanmar and Cambodia, as well as in New Zealand and Australia. Across Europe, the Middle East and Africa the company has expanded its network with 69 new lounges, a 19% growth on the same period in 2015, while 18 lounges are now offered in South America including new additions in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil – and in the US a further six lounges have been added.
December 2 2016
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CONDOR FERRIES has appointed Daniel Swan as marketing assistant. ● ÞORSTEINN GUÐJÓNSSON has joined Icelandair as general manager for Western Europe, which includes the UK. ● HAHN AIR has appointed Ralf Masermann as vice president TMC (Travel Management Companies). ● DEBBY NEWMAN has joined Sea Life Brighton as marketing manager. ● MONARCH HAS appointed Ian Chambers as chief commercial officer. ● AIR NEW ZEALAND has appointed Jo Copestake as general manager UK and Europe. ● THE LOS ANGELES Tourism & Convention Board (L.A. Tourism) has appointed Ashlee Ciora as senior director, tourism. ● KEVIN DALLAS has been appointed CEO at the Bermuda Tourism Authority, effective from January 2017. ● HRS HAS appointed Andy Besent as managing director and Ian Blackie as sales director. ● ROYAL CARIBBEAN has appointed Sophie Wilson as regional sales manager for the North East of England. ● JORGE QUIBELL has joined If Only... as sales executive. ● FLEXIBLE AUTOS has promoted Andrea Elwell to the role of national sales manager. ●
Notes from . . . n o t n a m r No
URGHADA IS SAFE! Yes I am shouting it from the rooftops! I lost track of the amount of people that asked ‘will it be safe?’ when I told them I was going to Hurghada for a week. Security is excellent at the airport, both in and out, and I can’t understand why there were so few British people - there were plenty of Germans and French. When they knew we were English they were so pleased we had gone - and nothing was too much trouble. I feel sad for the Egyptians; it must be tough trying to survive in this situation. We stayed at the 4* Siva Grand Beach hotel on AI which was excellent. It has a lovely clean beach and big pools, and our rep (Ahmed Sharkawye) was brilliant. He is an Egyptologist and is a mine of information on Egypt and its history. He has been with Red Sea Holidays for 5 yrs but in the past mainly as a tour guide - I do hope things improve so that he can go back to doing that again. On the day we were leaving he was moving to Makadi Bay to look after the Red Sea Hotels. I am sure he will be a great success there too. We went on a couple of boat trips and a city tour which were excellent and we managed to do some snorkelling. Again, I was well looked after by the Red Sea rep that was on the excursion. It was also nice to see that the cats were well looked after at the hotels. If you have clients wanting to go somewhere warm this winter send them to Hurghada/Makadi Bay. You won’t regret it when they come back and say what a great time they had and there’s nothing to worry about. The people we met on the boats from other hotels and Makadi Bay all said the same - great hotel, great food and well looked after. I also found out that those people that want to go to Sharm can fly to Hurghada and get a ferry across to Sharm with Direct Ferries. The return fare is £58.20 and the ferry takes about 2 hours each way. I hope the Government hurry up and allow flights back to Sharm. The FCO have said it is ok so what’s the problem? Also, it is not necessary to take Egyptian pounds - they love English pounds or euros! ‘A smile is happiness right under your nose’ and ‘If you lack the courage to start you have already finished’.
• NEW: Check out the latest videos from the WTM with the launch of TBTV • Prague Tour for two, PLUS bottles of Champagne & Wine to be won with Prague Eventery! • Last chance to WIN a two-night stay for two people with Melia Hotels International • POLL BULLETIN: discover which topical issues we are asking you the agent, this month
Visit www.travelbulletin.co.uk/ for details on the above websclusives.
by SANDRA MURRAY in Normanton, Yorkshire To respond to any of Sandy’s comments email email@example.com
December 2 2016
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Booking incentives ●
Until December 9 Funway Holidays is running a 'Quote Me Happy' promotion where agents have the chance to win a seven-night, allinclusive holiday for two with Elegant Hotels, Thomas Cook Airlines & SunTours Caribbean. For a chance to win, agents need to call the reservations centre on 020-8290 9754 for a quote on a Caribbean holiday and they will be entered once into the prize draw (quote promo code HAPPY). Agents making a booking (with accommodation at Elegant Hotels or flights with Thomas Cook Airlines) will receive two entries. New bookings made with Crystal Cruises and paid in full between now and December 15 on select Crystal Symphony, Crystal Serenity, Crystal Mozart and Crystal Esprit voyages will officially qualify agencies to win a balcony stateroom on Crystal’s 2017 ‘Southern World Cruise’. The top ten agencies with the most qualifying bookings and revenue will each earn one stateroom on the 94-night intensive journey through South America’s most majestic destinations. The voyage sails round-trip from Miami from January 10, 2017. To qualify, travel partners must generate a minimum of $25,000 in cruise revenue on select voyages. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020-7399 7602 for details.
Agent competitions TO GET agents in a festive mood, Attraction World is offering the opportunity to win one of 12 exclusive Walt Disney World Resort Pandora charms. For the chance to win, visit attractionworld.com to answer a fun, Christmas-based question by December 12. THE CUNARD and P&O Cruises’ Partnership Team is giving away £20,000 to agents in its Partnership Payout, a new competition which is now live. Open to those who have completed the training modules and reached Commodore status in Academy Online, agents need to make a Select Price or Cunard Fare booking between now and December 4 and enter the booking reference online to win one of 20 shopping vouchers worth £1,000 each. See completecruisesolution.com/academy to complete the modules.
Agent offer In May 2017, Tunbridge Wells’ tour operator, Pettitts, enters into its 30th year as an independent, specialist travel company and, to celebrate, is offering agents an increase in commission from 12.5% to 15%, for any new bookings with a travel date between May 1 and September 30, 2017. For details see pettitts.co.uk or email email@example.com
VISIT CALIFORNIA is preparing to launch its 'California Star' platform in the UK in March 2017. Designed to better equip agents to promote California to their clients, the new app offe rs an upgrade to the Californian expert programme. Pic tured showing off a beta version of the new tool at WT M last month is the tourist office’s Alex Vigil.
December 2 2016
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New eight-night 'rail & sail' breaks from £1,849 with Star Clippers STAR CLIPPERS is offering new eight-night `rail & sail’ holidays that combine rail travel from London to Cannes, a one night pre-cruise stay on the French Riviera and a week’s full-board sailing on the fully-crewed tall ship Royal Clipper. Departing between May and October 2017, the cruise includes a choice of scenic itineraries that includes port calls along the French Riviera and in Corsica, Sardinia, Elba and the Italian coastline. Prices start from £1,849 per person for the eight-night holiday including rail travel from London St. Pancras to Cannes (Eurostar & TGV), transfers between rail/hotel and ship, a seven-night full board sailing on Royal Clipper, plus port charges and taxes. To book call 0808-231 4798 or visit starclippers.co.uk
Agia Napa’s Olympic Lagoon Resort to undergo major renovation IN A bid to further enhance the luxury experience for its guests, Kanika Hotels & Resorts has unveiled plans for major renovation works to take place on its hotel, the Olympic Lagoon Resort in Agia Napa. Work is scheduled to commence when the resort closes for the winter in November 2017 and will be completed in time for the re-opening on April 1, 2018. The hotel was first launched in 2011 with a total investment of 16 million euros and continues to prove a popular all-inclusive resort in Cyprus, purpose-designed for both couples and families. At an estimated cost of 11 million euros, the property will undergo a
series of upgrades. All standard rooms in the main building will be completely renovated to become more spacious, luxurious and modern and, in order to provide larger rooms and bathrooms, a number of existing rooms will be demolished.
Interior décor, services and amenities will also be upgraded to match the recently launched Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos, while new rooms will be constructed in various areas without increasing the footprint of the hotel, boosting the property’s total room capacity from 301 to 319. The current outdoor entertainment space will also be replaced by a new custom-designed indoor entertainment venue, while all existing restaurants will be upgraded and two new restaurants introduced to raise the number of dine-around restaurants from four to six. All indoor and outdoor areas, including leisure facilities, will also see a refurbishment.
Dubai Parks and Resorts is celebrating the opening of Bollywood Parks Dubai following last month's opening of LEGOLAND Dubai and Riverland Dubai. The new theme park showcases rides and attractions based on some of Bollywood’s biggest blockbusters. Themed attractions and rides are spread across five zones: Bollywood Boulevard, Mumbai Chowk, Rustic Ravine, Royal Plaza and Bollywood Film Studios, and the park also offers six themed restaurants and eight retail outlets. For details see dubaiparksandresorts.com
December 2 2016
● OAG, AN air travel intelligence company, has been selected by American Airlines as a founding partner of the airline’s new Official Source programme, a first-of-its-kind initiative focusing on the quality and integrity of flight information. As a founding partner, OAG’s flight tracking properties – flightview.com and flightview mobile travel apps – will display the Official Seal of American Airlines Data, allowing travellers to easily identify approved flight information services of American Airlines. For details see oag.com ● THE AMADA Colossos Resort on the Greek island of Rhodes is currently undergoing a major new development. Operated by Louis Hotels, the new resort will offer 699 rooms and suites, villas and swim up rooms, 16 restaurants and bars, six swimming pools, childrens clubs and a water park. The project will be completed in two phases with the first phase to be completed in June 2017 alongside the resort’s launch. Τhe second and final phase will be finished in May 2018. ● AÉROPORTS DE Lyon has installed a new piece of security equipment in Terminal 3 for a three-month trial period. The Advanced Cabin Baggage Systems (ACBS) is able to detect both liquid and solid explosives in cabin baggage, as well as electronic equipment without the passenger having to remove liquids or electronics from their luggage. ● AFRICA ALBIDA Tourism (AAT) has announced the opening of the new $150million Victoria Falls International Airport, which has the capacity to handle 1.5 million passengers per annum, tripling its previous volume, and capable of landing some of the world’s largest aircraft.
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Where Am I?
Win a £50 M&S voucher in the travelbulletin Su Doku prize puzzle Number: 046
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Closing date for entries is Thursday, December 8th. Solution and new puzzle will appear next week. The winner for 18th November is Richard Peacock, Travel Your Way in Cheshire. November 18 Solution: A=5 B=3 C=1 D=6
Wedged in a mountain crevasse, this boulder is accessible without any climbing equipment and is a popular spot for daring hikers to stand on with a drop below of 3,228ft.
Fill in the crossword to reveal the mystery location highlighted by the green squares.
Across 1. Regional airline with HO at East Midlands airport (3) 3. Popular Majorca resort (7) 6. River between Devon and Cornwall (5) 7. Children's toy and building block of a Windsor theme park (4) 9. Capital of Poland (6) 10. One of the Great Lakes (4) 12. First name of 2016 F1 world title winner (4) 14. State capital of Montana (6) 17. South American country (4) 18. Self-catering holiday accommodation (5) 19. Privately-owned independent tour operator, ___ Holidays (7)
20. Taipei, Taiwan International airport code (3) Down 1. Country location of the film, A United Kingdom (8) 2. Turkish city on the Aegean (5) 3. Brothers who both triumphed at the recent ATP tournament (6) 4. National carrier of Bahrain, ___ Air (4) 5. Escorted tours operator (5) 8. Dover is the state capital (8) 11. State capital of Colorado (6) 13. Greece's largest island (5) 15. Popular resort on the Red Sea (5) 16. The highest mountain in Japan (4)
For the solution to the Crossword and Where Am I? Please see page 22 December 2 2016
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conferenceupdate “This is an industry that's not just surviving; our travel agents, along with tour operator support, are very much thriving” reported Gemma Antrobus, agents chairman from the AITO conference 2016. With a theme of ‘Perception Versus Reality’, the conference was held fittingly in Jordan last week in a dual centre itinerary that saw agent members stay in the Movenpick Hotel Dead Sea & Petra, with the chance to explore some of the country’s most iconic sights and to participate in business sessions. ADAM POTTER reports on some of the key points raised…
Jordan partners with Tracy Edwards MBE & redefines image INITIALLY CONCEIVED 30 years ago, Jordan has renewed its partnership with round-the-world yachtswoman Tracy Edwards and her iconic boat, Maiden. In 1990, Edwards made history by leading the first all-female crew to the finish line of the Whitbread Round the World Race. Supported by His Majesty, King Hussein, who believed in Edwards’ vision and displaying the royal crown of the Jordanian family on her sail, Maiden helped to inspire women to take up sailing and challenge the perception of what women were capable of. In 2017 the yacht will be restored to its former glory, Jordanian colours and all, to embark on a new venture called The Maiden Factor which will work with and raise funds for charities and sail the globe promoting the agenda of education for girls. Dr. Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, managing director of the Jordan Tourism Board, said: “When Tracy Edwards MBE told us of her new mission we were only too delighted to help. She has helped to inspire so many people and her new vision is something that aligns perfectly with our own in Jordan. Empowering women, championing girls education and inspiring a generation is such a powerful message; it is an honour to be involved in her project and we look forward to welcoming Maiden and her inspirational crew to Jordan in 2017.” In tandem with this, the tourism board has also embarked on a new strategy, identifying its key products and redefining them for today’s consumers. Dr. Arabiyat said: “The trends and behaviours of tourists have changed in the past five to ten years - from sightseeing to ‘sightdoing’ - and the need to live the experience. We identified the unique and authentic experiences that Jordan can offer tourists and have redesigned our campaigns accordingly. We believe the UK market to be one of the most important and resilient markets to Jordan.” For more details visit themaidenfactor.org or for more destination information go to visitjordan.com
Boutique business booming says Bailey RETAIL CHAMPION Claire Bailey discussed the polarisation effect amongst today’s consumers. Taking to the stage Bailey said: “Specialists in the retail environment are growing almost exponentially - we're seeing an explosion of 'boutique business'. This is linked to the fact that people will polarise their behaviour and shop low-end for the basics but spend high-end on the things that matter. They trust independents and when we look at the price/service relationship, people are willing to spend a good deal more if the product meets their needs or exceeds their expectations.” Stressing that when it comes to customers less is most definitely more, Bailey advised agents to channel their efforts towards those customers who are actively engaged in the process (as opposed to the ‘time wasters’), as it is they who can recommned the business to their peers and succesfully amplify a travel agency’s reach.
AITO imparts results and trends from its Travel Insights survey 2016 AITO HAS shared key findings from its consumer research project; AITO Travel Insights 2016. Compiled in association with data insight specialist Spike Marketing, 40 AITO companies emailed the survey to their client databases in September, with more than 18,000 surveys completed and returned. Kate Kenward, executive director for the association, said: “As last year’s survey proved to be so invaluable, we decided to provide the service again and we will continue to do so annually. As special interest operators, our members need to fully understand their customers’ travel requirements to enable them to tailor their holiday programmes even better. This survey is crafted to capture customers’ key travel considerations, intentions and buying habits, as well as holiday preferences and important decision trigger points.” Respondents were primarily aged over-55 (62%) - a sector which is believed to increase over the next few years due to pension pot flexibility. It was noted that in comparison to last year there has been a small decrease (2.8%) in the number of people saying they will spend more on their holidays in the next 12 months, however more respondents were willing to spend the same amount. From the survey, 47% spend more than £1,500 per head and 15.5% spend more than £3,000.
December 2 2016
In terms of travel intentions, 93% of respondents plan to take at least one short break in the UK next year and 85% are going to take at least one short break abroad. Some 77% also cited a desire to take at least one longer break of six nights or more abroad (with almost 40% saying they will take two and almost 30% saying they will take three). When asked if they had any special interests or hobbies that they like to spend time pursuing whilst on holiday, city beaks and trips with a strong focus on culture, arts and history were the most popular. Walking breaks also received a strong response. When asked if there was a special interest that wasn’t adequately catered for by travel organisers, the top hobby mentioned – for the second year running – was photography, followed by cycling and then fishing. When it comes to the most important sources of information available to consumers to help them decide on a particular holiday, browsing travel websites was still top at 42%, but 10% less important compared to last year. In contrast, advice from agents and travel companies saw a small increase. Visit aito.com for more details.
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londonlife ● HOTEL
UPDATES Celebrate Christmas in style at the five-star boutique hotel, The Arch London, with the Winter Wonderland package available until January 2, 2017. The package costs from £325 and includes an overnight stay for two guests in a double or twin room with a complimentary welcome drink or cocktail on arrival, an extra bed or cot (in Executive rooms or higher) and a Archie bear toy for children. The hotel’s restaurant, Hunter 486, is also offering a three-course Festive menu for £35 per person until December 30 (excluding Christmas Day).
Guests at Hilton London Metropole can now check in their luggage for their flight directly from the hotel lobby with a new service AirPortr + Bag Check-In, exclusive to British Airways. The service allows travellers flying with the carrier to check in their luggage direct from the hotel; the next time they see their bags is on the carousel at their destination airport. The service costs £30 for a single bag and £10 for each additional bag from the hotel to Heathrow, Gatwick or London City Airport, with guests of the hotel also receiving an AirPortr reward rate.
Attraction news The View from The Shard has unveiled a programme of Christmas wonder - from carol singing to Champagne and even a cinematic classic. The open-air Skydeck on Level 72 has been transformed into a serene winter hideaway – 800ft above the capital featuring winter plants, pine trees and twinkling lights. Visitors can warm-up with a drink from The View from The Shard's 'design your own' Hot Chocolate Bar, plus on Level 69, visitors can sample a glass of Lanson23 gold flake Champagne and enjoy Christmas carols next to London's highest Christmas tree. The choir will perform every Sunday in December from 15:00. Movie fans can enjoy Miracle on 34th Street (the original) with a one-off screening in the stars, on December 14 including a free glass of bubbly. Finally, the Kids Go Free offer will return for one week between Saturday December 17 and Christmas Eve. Details at theviewfromtheshard.com KidZania London is hosting the UK’s first Christmas market run by kids for kids. In addition to more than 60 role play adventures, children can visit the popup Christmas market and create gifts which they can wrap up and take home to loved ones. The market runs until January 6. See kidzania.co.uk
This month (until December 31) the London Dungeon is inviting visitors to get into the Christmas spirit as the real life house burglar, John Smith, gets ready to receive his fate. Based on the true story of hapless London criminal John Smith, who was infamously half hanged at Tyburn Tree, visitors will now have the chance to join the baying crowd. Back in 1705 after 'hanging around' for a staggering 15 minutes, incredibly the crowd and his wife began calling for a reprieve. But this time the power is in your hands; guests who successfully liberate John can then celebrate his second chance with a tot of Christmas spirit in the Dungeon's Victorian Tavern experience with a free festive drink. There are plenty of surprises in store this December as the attraction reveals 1,000 years of London's dark history throughout the experience in 19 shows, featuring some of history's greatest rogues and villains, two thrilling rides and edge-of-the-seat surprises. Details at thedungeons.com/london/
December 2 2016
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Industry Insight by... There’s no crystal ball in sight as ANTOR celebrates its 65th anniversary by TRACEY POGGIO, chair of ANTOR
S WE approach December most tourist boards will have been reviewing their budgets for 2017 in line with events that have happened recently, currency fluctuations and feedback from head office. Travel agents will no doubt begin to be contacted with last minute Christmas and winter sun requests, advance summer bookings, as well as being in the height of the ski and short break season. In the midst of all of this we have experienced the US Presidential election results and most recently French presidential primaries with the final election on May 7, 2017 and the German elections anticipated in the last quarter of 2017. Both of the latter will have a consequence on Brexit. If article 50, Lisbon Treaty, is triggered before the end of March 2017, the UK will be out of the EU by the summer of 2019. However, although the legal challenge to force the government to give MPs a say before Article 50 is triggered was approved by the High Court, the government has appealed and the case will be heard in the Supreme Court in December. Former Conservative politician and TV presenter Michael Portillo joined ANTOR member Egypt’s delegates to endorse tourism to the country at WTM. He said: “Egypt remains one the most impressive places I have been to. It has always been open for business; you’ve always been able to fly to Cairo and Luxor and enjoy the ancient wonders.” Tunisia and most other European countries have also called for the FCO to lighten their travel advice. The pound fell dramatically after the Brexit vote at the end of June and declined to a three-year low against the euro. On November 28, the pound was worth $1.25, up slightly since Donald Trump's election victory, while against the euro was worth about 1.18 euros - a year earlier it was worth 1.42 euros. The currency's continuing weakness has been accentuated by the cut in interest rates and the Bank of England's economic stimulus measures. The fall in the pound helps exporters and has increased visitors to the UK (and arguably staycations), but it makes foreign holidays more expensive for British tourists. It should also help the budgets of ANTOR members. So have consumers shrugged their shoulders and moved on to continue spending? Retail sales have been rising for the past three years and in August they were up 6.2% from the
December 2 2016
same month last year: “Overall the figures do not suggest any major fall in post-referendum consumer confidence," the ONS reported. As the winter sets in for a cold end of November, the winter holiday season is well underway. Further evidence of consumer spending is borne out by winter holiday bookings up 16% year-on-year according to the latest industry figures from ABTA’s research, which also shows that three in ten people (29%) are planning to take a winter break, with winter sun the most popular holiday type. Winter bookings appear to be following a broadly similar pattern to the summer according to ABTA, with growth in popularity for the Western Mediterranean in particular. According to GfK’s Travel & Leisure Monitor, bookings to the most popular winter holiday destination, ANTOR member Spain, are up 33% year-on-year and ANTOR member Cyprus is up 34%. Meanwhile, bookings to long-haul destinations are up across the Caribbean in the winter by 21% - good news for ANTOR members Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago. And bookings to Asia are up by 17% -good news for ANTOR members Korea, Japan, India, Macau, Malaysia and Taiwan. If this is where demand is heading agents need to prepare themselves for customers enquiries by attending roadshows, undertaking online training programmes and keeping up with social media alerts on new products to remain ahead of the game. Links to many online training programmes can be found on the ANTOR membership page and roadshow diary dates in the calendar. Having said that, the winter sun, ski and short breaks market is still at the luxury end of the market and the increases do not yet reflect where the summer sales will go; it will be interesting to see the results of the Black Friday summer sales. Trend predictions for 2017? If only ANTOR had a crystal ball! But even though we celebrate our 65th anniversary next year we still don’t know what will happen; who could have imagined the changes we have experienced in the last 11 months? Even most of the polls got many of those wrong. Remaining positive, 2017 has to be a good year for us all. One thing is for sure we know who the President of the US will be and we know we will still be in Europe.
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THE FRANKFURT Christmas Market is one of the oldest in Germany and stretches from the Hauptwache across St Paul’s Square and the Römerberg all the way down to the banks of the River Main. Here visitors can find Germany’s largest Christmas tree, set in front of the Römer, Frankfurt’s time-honoured town hall or take part in a guided ‘Stories, Sweets & Savouries’ Christmas market tour, organised through the Frankfurt Tourist and Congress Board on all four advent weekends.
Tourist board tells of the travel stories in Germany’s eastern regions THE GERMAN National Tourist Board (GNTB) recently showcased the ‘East Side Stories’ and new travel trends for 2017 from Germany’s eastern regions. From the previous open cast mines that now make up one of Europe’s largest man-made lake districts, to tranquil islands and exciting cities, to reclaimed industrial museums, picturesque palaces and castles, eastern Germany is one of the country’s most innovative and diverse areas for travel. The six states that comprise the former GDR include (east) Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. New trends include an increasing interest in towns and cities such as Brandenburg an der Havel, Dessau, Dresden,
Erfurt, Eisenhüttenstadt, Leipzig, Magdeburg, Potsdam, Weimar and Wismar - all of which are discovery destinations in their own right – not forgetting Berlin and bases from which to head off-the-beaten-track. Klaus Lohmann, director of the tourist office for UK and Ireland, said: “Even as a native (west) German, the sheer diversity and choice of where to go and what to explore in the east is exciting and inspiring. It’s not just the well-known cities such as Berlin and Dresden, but the coastline and Islands, the historic Hanseatic ports and the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz. This is Germany’s Cultural Heart and 2017 is the year to explore the east’s countless opportunities for new and rewarding travel experiences.”
Kirker expands escorted Music Holidays programme to meet demand in 2017 NEW TO its Music Holidays programme for 2017, Kirker has added new escorted itineraries to three of Germany’s leading music festivals/events. For the Dresden Music Festival prices are from £2,725 per person, based on two sharing and departing on May 17, 2017. It includes BA flights from Heathrow to Berlin, transfers to Dresden, seven nights’ breakfast accommodation at the four-star Steigenberger Hotel de Saxe, two dinners, three lunches, sightseeing, the services of a local guide and tour leader, all gratuities and entrance fees, plus tickets for five concerts including performances by the Philharmonia Zurich, the Prague Philharmonia and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. A four-night ‘Music & Opera in Hamburg’ tour marks the long-awaited opening of Hamburg’s new concert hall, the Elbphilharmonic, with departures on February 4, March 30 and June 26 and prices from £1,497 per person. Meanwhile, departing on April 10 for Berlin’s fabled Easter Festtage, the operator has put together a package from £2,289 which includes six nights’ accommodation at the five-star Ritz-Carlton located two minutes’ walk from Berliner Philharmonic, where the majority of the festival’s performances take place, with tickets for the three concerts/two operas featured in the itinerary. For more details call 020-7593 2288 or visit kirkerholidays.com
December 2 2016
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New look for MARITIM TitiseeHotel
BOOSTED BY strong sales in 2016, Railtrail has strengthened its offering in Germany for next year. Of the new products, the ‘Rhine Valley Rail Roamer’, which leads in at £555 for five days, features a steam excursion, a heritage diesel line, a mountain cog railway and a scenic line through the vineyards of the Ahr Valley. Alternatively, ‘Saxony Seven Steam & Rail Explorer’ leads in at £1,395 for nine days, with seven steam and rail experiences, plus a ride on the world’s oldest paddle steamboat fleet and the only tramway through one of Germany’s National Parks to the Lichtenhain Waterfall. For more information email email@example.com
Battered Suitcase explores Germany on new heritage tours BATTERED SUITCASE has introduced a new collection of five private tours discovering Germany’s heritage and culture, including a journey following in the footsteps of Martin Luther to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017. The operator is also offering a four-day tour to ‘Bremen and Bremerhaven’ in Northern Germany where guests can experience 1,200 years of history. Once part of the Medieval Hanseatic League, Bremen has the only town hall in Germany still in use after 600 years, now a World Heritage Site for its outstanding architecture. The Royal Tour discovers some of the former German monarchs on a Royal Heritage Route that visits places where they lived and travelled including Hannover, Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, the North-Rhine Westphalia and Baden-
Wurttemberg taking in castles, parks and gardens, museums and galleries. Other tours include a discovery of Berlin which also takes in the nearby city of Potsdam and the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, the largest World Heritage Site in Germany, and the summer home of Frederick the Great, former King of Prussia. Finally, there is a tour of Munich, famous for its architecture, culture and the annual Oktoberfest beer celebration, with an option to spend a few days exploring the Bavarian landscapes and forests. Prices start from approximately £399 per person for the four-day ‘Bremen and Bremerhaven’ tour including flights from London, three nights’ breakfast hotel accommodation, selected lunches, guided tours and admission into attractions. For more details call 0800-689 1586 or visit battered-suitcase.com
Group flights to Germany with German Travel Centre AGENTS LOOKING to offer their clients a way to kick-start the New Year (and any resolution to get fit) might suggest taking part in the Berlin New Year’s Day Run and enjoy a city break at the same time. The 2.5-mile run starts at midday by the Brandenburg Gate and goes past many of the famous sites in Berlin. No registration is required, so visitors can just turn up and kids are also welcome to join in. German Travel Centre is offering group fares to Berlin as well as Munich, providing retailers with an easy way to access ski resorts that suit their clients, from all ages and abilities. Return flights to Munich start from £140 per person including taxes flying from Heathrow, Birmingham and Manchester. Call 020-8429 2900 or visit germantravelcentre.co.uk for more details.
MARITIM HOTELS has completed its extensive refurbishment programme at the MARITIM TitiseeHotel. The Black Forest property now offers a fresher and lighter new-look lobby, while all corridors have been re-decorated, enhancing the experience for both business and leisure guests. Mark Spivey, director of international sales for the hotelier, said: “The renovation and modernisation works are extensive and a significant investment for the company. The elegant new lobby is very welcoming and perfectly showcases the exceptionally high standards of all our properties. A popular hotel with business and leisure guests alike, it is essential that as Germany’s largest privately owned hotel operator we retain our leading position within the global hotel industry and continue to re-invest in our properties to ensure they remain desirable with our German and international guests.” The hotel features 129 bedrooms and suites with views of the lake or forest, two restaurants and two bars, a collection of six conference rooms, a beer garden and a 5000sq.m lakeside meadow with private sun terrace. For details visit maritim.com for details.
December 2 2016
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germany New Berlin & Saxony trip by Diamond Rail DIAMOND RAIL Holidays' new 2017 brochure includes a number of new Germany itineraries, including an eight-day ‘Berlin & Classic Saxony Steam’ itinerary. As well as exploring the country’s capital city, travellers can step back in time with journeys along the Weißeritz Valley, Lößnitz Valley and Zittau Mountain steam railways, before visiting Colditz, the Second World War prisoner-ofwar camp. The trip costs from £1,049 per person based on two sharing on a bed-and-breakfast basis, with Eurostar travel from London to Brussels, transfers, accommodation throughout in Berlin and Dresden, plus the services of a tour manager. For more information visit diamondrailholidays.co.uk or call 0844-544 7581.
Berlin tops German city breaks for SuperBreak SUPERBREAK HAS reported that Berlin is currently its top selling German city and is urging agents to maximise earning potential on each booking. With a range of flight options and add-on attractions that can be prebooked with hotel accommodation in and around the city, all elements are commissionable to agents. The operator recommends a visit to the Brandenburg Gate Museum which opened earlier this year and which is now proving to be very popular. The museum tells more than 300 years of Berlin’s history in a multimedia show; visitors can journey through time with 87 high-tech screens that show the revolution, the Fall of the Wall and the 2014 football World Cup. A package in February 2017 costs from £194 per person including flights from Manchester to Berlin, three nights at the four-star Leonardo Hotel Berlin City West and entrance to the Brandenburg Gate Museum. For more information call 0190-443 6000 or visit superbreak.com/agents
Ffestiniog Travel steams into 2017 with new tours DESIGNED TO appeal to those with a passion for railways, Ffestiniog Travel has added new itineraries to its 2017 Connoisseur Tours programme to Germany. Now in its ninth year, travellers can enjoy Dresden’s annual steam festival in the company of like-minded rail enthusiasts on a seven-night tour which also includes journeys on the Loßnitzgrundbahn narrow gauge steam line, a day excursion by paddlesteamer to Saxon Switzerland and a visit to Mortizburg Castle. Departing on April 5, the price is from £910 per person based on two sharing including Standard Class rail travel throughout, one evening meal, two-day entry to the festival and excursions, bed-and-
breakfast, plus the services of a tour leader. Alternatively, 'Trams & Trains of Northern Germany’ takes a comprehensive look at the tramways and trains of Germany’s industrial heartland, visiting Düsseldorf, Essen, Hamburg and Bonn. This 13-night tour includes free time to explore and ride the local tram and rail systems, as well as an InterRail pass, making independent exploration a must. Departing on September 9 next year, prices are from £1,560 including entrance to the museums and Miniatur Wunderland and excursions on the Wuppertal Schwebebahn and Drachenfels Rack Railway. For more details call 01766-772030 or visit ffestiniogtravel.com
Saga explores the magic of the Rhineland Christmas markets SAGA IS embarking on a ‘Rhineland Festive Markets’ river cruise offering guests the chance to soak up the festive atmosphere of a trio of historic cities. Regina Rheni II departs from Arnhem in The Netherlands on December 16 and sails to Düsseldorf for Christmas shopping in the city. In the Marktplatz, stalls echo the style of the Renaissance city hall and craftsmen demonstrate their skills in glass-blowing and wood carving ornaments; wrought iron angels adorn huts in Little Angel Market and, on Flinger Strasse, stalls resemble the city's old town houses. Little Star Market is in the Wilhelm-MarxHaus courtyard and the Schadowplatz is home to a wintery Scandinavian-style village and elegant shops. The 154-passenger ship then sails on to Bonn for an afternoon and morning in the former capital of West Germany. Twinkling lights on Münsterplatz lead to the colourful market with music, fairground rides and delicious specialty food and drinks. Cologne is next on the itinerary, where there are seven markets to discover. The Gothic cathedral creates an impressive backdrop to the main market while St Nick's Village Market and the Angel Market offer a selection of stalls. The Harbour Christmas Market has a maritime theme and is close to the Chocolate Museum, which has a riverside café and shop filled with sweet treats. Four nights cost from £449 departing on December 16 with coach travel from Folkestone via Eurotunnel or P&O Ferries. Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet is also available at a supplement. Guests can enjoy full-board accommodation, while wine, beer and soft drinks are served with lunch and dinner. For details visit travel.saga.co.uk/river-cruises
December 2 2016
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Abu Dhabi launches ‘Extraordinary Stories’ campaign THE ABU DHABI Tourism & Culture Authority has launched a new worldwide promotional campaign aimed at encouraging travellers to experience Abu Dhabi’s ‘extraordinary stories.’ “It tells the extraordinary story of Abu Dhabi, from its ancient past to its modern wonders, guiding audiences through breathtaking natural environments and exhilarating experiences,” said His Excellency, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the TCA: “Every filmed moment, every photograph and word evokes the poetic beauty and authenticity of the emirate, which invites travellers to become a part of its story.” Following an eight-month development process, the campaign comprises commercials and videos which capture a range of authentic moments, landscapes and emotions shot across 40 locations throughout the emirate. These include UAE capital cityscapes and landmarks, nature reserves and island resorts, forts and palaces in Al Ain, as well as the deserts and coastline of Al Gharbia. The campaign has been aligned to prioritise key source market channels according to travel booking preferences, and will be run heavily in the UK after seeing in the New Year when traveller’s minds turn to sunshine breaks. The UK remains the leading European market for the destination with arrivals jumping 3% year-on-year to 164,757 – the third highest overall. UK guests are also among those that stay the longest four nights on average. In other news, following the opening of the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal last December, Celebrity Cruises will be homeporting its ship Celebrity Constellation there until January 2017. Included in its programme of shore excursions ‘Abu Dhabi Adventure’, crafted by the British adventurer Ben Fogle, includes a trip to a local camel farm, 4x4 dune bashing in the desert, sandboarding, camel riding and an Arabian-themed torch-lit desert barbecue. Also from this month, guests cruising the Arabian Gulf on MSC Fantasia will be able to spend a day at Abu Dhabi’s Sir Bani Yas Island, home to the region’s largest wildlife reserve, the Arabian Wildlife Park. To find out more about the campaign and to watch the new TV commercial go to visitabudhabi.ae
Mall of America announces opening of SMAAASH CHOOSING MALL of America in the Great Lakes as its first US location and opening this month, SMAAASH is to offer a new level of active entertainment with a multi-level go-karting track and virtualreality experiences. Shripal Morakhia, chief imagination officer for SMAAASH Entertainment, said: “SMAAASH is the best place for friends and family to gather and get their pulses racing with our unique offerings. The triple 'A' in Smaaash stands for
'America's Adrenaline Arena,' and we look forward to providing thrilling entertainment to Mall of America's 40 million visitors per year.” The venue will feature more than 30 gaming experiences, including a virtual reality 'Walk the Plank', and immersive sports simulators where visitors can test their skills in ice-hockey, basketball and football. For more information about the opening visit smaaashusa.com
Lost Earth Adventures launches Heli Biking trips DESIGNED TO satisfy any adrenaline junkie’s appetite for action, Lost Earth Adventures has introduced helicopter accessed mountain bike tours in Nepal. During a seven-day helibiking trip, guests can experience the highest mountains and the longest rideable descent on earth. Small groups have a privately chartered helicopter, pilot and mountain guide at their disposal and once in the air, can choose the face or ridge they want to run, from miles of untouched downhill biking terrain. Top of the range full suspension mountain bikes are provided and are fully serviced each day. Accommodation is in luxury spa hotels when in Kathmandu and Pokhara, and in teahouses whilst cycling. The trip runs year-round and costs from £5,000 per person depending on the group size. This includes all accommodation, helicopter travel, transfers and transport for the duration of the tour, all equipment, flights from Kathmandu to Pokahara, three days’ mountain biking, a fully qualified leader, porters and support staff. For more information go to lostearthadventures.co.uk or call 01904-500094.
December 2 2016
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EVER WANTED to swim like a mermaid? Dive BVI on Virgin Gorda of the British Virgin Islands has launched Mermaid Experiences to teach guests the basics of swimming with a mermaid tail and show off to the camera with cool tricks. Personalised and group sessions are available and as long as the mer-conditions are favourable, Mermaid instructors can teach anywhere with chest-deep water levels to ensure both a fun and safe experience. Prices are from £62 for a one-and-a-half hour session. Visit mermaidbvi.com
Brits opt to venture further afield for ski holidays according to Club Med report CLUB MED’S latest winter ski report, ‘Today’s Snow Hunters: 2016/17’, reveals skiers are defying Brexit and spending on winter holidays. The annual report, which maps the latest ski trends, reveals how many skiers are discounting any exchange-rate fears and following the snowfall instead. One in five ‘snow hunters’ now book far-flung destinations outside Europe; top of the wish-list for 61% of British skiers is America and Canada. Others are putting more unexpected winter holiday locations on their wish lists such as Japan for 20% and China at 17%, with the latter set to host the Winter Olympics in 2022. The desire from British skiers to venture further afield is also reflected in the all-inclusive holiday provider’s plans, with further expansions in the Far East including Tomamu in Japan and the recently opened Club Med Beidahu in China. Traditional European destinations still remain top of the list, which is reflected in the opening of the brand’s new resort in Samoëns in the French Alps in 2017, but up-and-coming countries like Croatia and Bulgaria are also reported to be gaining prominence. Report findings also show that today’s skiing is very much a holiday for all ages, with modern resorts catering for the 3G family; children, parents and grandparents. Some 48% of those considering skiing are aged over 45, while 25% are aged over 55. With this in mind it’s unsurprising that 68% of respondents also describe ski holidays as now more accessible to a wider demographic. Reflecting the rising popularity of wellbeing and fitness trends, British skiers today describe a ski holiday as a way for them to switch off to escape everyday life (93%) and clear the mind (86%). More than two thirds also view skiing as relaxing, and two thirds say the availability of spa and wellness facilities is important to them. With 59% of ski parties in the last two years holidaying with at least one non-skier, the report proves that today’s winter ski holiday offers more than just ski. To find out more go to clubmed.co.uk/o
Trafalgar launches new 13-day South Africa family adventure from £4,425
NEW FOR 2017, Tucan Travel has introduced a nine-day trek through the Romanian countryside. Departing once a month from May and priced from £699 (plus flights from £50 with Blue Air), ‘Hike Romania’ will see travellers stay in local guesthouses and discover rural villages as they hike through Bucovina and Maramures. Both regions have a defined style of architecture with painted monasteries in Bucovina and woodwork in Maramures. The price includes accommodation, eight breakfasts, seven lunches, seven dinners and the services of a local guide. Visit tucantravel.com
December 2 2016
TRAFALGAR IS expanding its multi-generational travel offering for 2017 with the launch of a new destination and family itinerary in South Africa. Beginning with a family safari tracking the ‘Big Five’ in Kruger National Park, and finishing in Cape Town, the operator’s new 13-day ‘South African Adventure’ will venture to the southernmost tip of Africa with the chance to see ostriches, monkeys, penguins and perhaps even a glimpse of the Southern Right Whale. Guests also have the opportunity to meet and speak to children in a Cape township and see how the Amy Biehl Foundation (a ‘Join Trafalgar’ charitable initiative) is working to make a difference to their future. Prices start from £4,425 per person, with a Young Traveller Discount of £440 per child under 11 years, including 12 nights of four- and five-star hotel accommodation, 12 breakfasts, 12 dinners and nine lunches, sightseeing, a travel director, coach transport with complimentary Wi-Fi and transfers. Departures begin in February and run until August 2017. The operator is also giving families the chance to save up to 10% when they book early and pay in full by January 27, 2017 for Europe and South Africa itineraries. For more information visit trafalgar.com or call 0800-533 5619.
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Activities 'a la carte' with Nira Alpina THIS WINTER Nira Alpina in Switzerland is allowing travellers to choose from a menu of adrenaline-fuelled activities - on and off piste. A new ‘A La Carte’ package allows guests to practise their sun salutations and snow angels on the mountain with the ‘Yoga on Snow’ activity, ski along the frozen lake being pulled by a horse with the ‘Skijoring Experience’ and sail off a 2,468m ledge and paraglide over the lakes and forests of the Engadin Valley. Nocturnal guests can sledge down Switzerland's floodlit Preda-Bergün sled run, while thrill-seekers can try their hand at snow-kiting on Lake Silvaplana - an adrenaline-fuelled activity using kite power to glide across the frozen lake. Visit niraalpina.com/en for details.
Ranch Rider capitalises on Colorado’s adventure campaign WITH THE Colorado Tourism Office recently announcing the launch of its Year of Summer Adventure campaign, Ranch Rider’s new 2017 brochure will be introducing the Elk River Guest Ranch and a new tented camp at Zapata Cattle & Bison Ranch, both properties situated in the Centennial state. Located just outside of the resort town of Steamboat Springs, Elk River Guest Ranch backs onto the Routt National Forest. Daily rides and all day horseback adventure are complimented by archery, hiking, fly fishing and kayaking. There is also an optional weekly pack trip where guests can camp out under the stars, experience white-water rafting and visit the Steamboat Rodeo over the summer months. Tony Daly, managing director for the operator, said: “This latest addition to our Colorado collection is ideal for multigenerational groups. Authentic family travel is booming and there’s definitely been a conscious move by those with kids in tow to experience the less familiar locations as opposed to more famous sites within their chosen destination. “From that perspective, ranch holidays are in vogue: kayaking on Pearl Lake with local guides and saddling up on the all day ride to Floyd Peak with expert wranglers are popular pursuits at the Elk River Ranch. Cookouts, campfires under the stars, live country music and line dancing also appeal to families in search of the real Western experience.” Six nights from £1,759 per person and from £1,580 for those aged seven to 12 including accommodation, meals, most ranch activities and taxes departing between May and October. This excludes transfers (available from Steamboat Springs), gratuities left to discretion and flights. Located on the eastern wall of the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado, Zapata Cattle & Bison Ranch is also offering the chance to stay at a new tented camp in the middle of the ranch’s 50,000 acre wild bison pasture next year. Call 01509-618811 or visit ranchrider.com for more information.
WE’RE BRINGING SEXY BACK. New DSD website coming soon - it’s pretty!
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G ADVENTURES HAS added a new ‘Volcano Adventure and Panama Highlights’ tour to its portfolio of holidays for 2017. The 28-day tour includes coffee plantations in Panama, rainforest hikes in Costa Rica, cooking classes in Guatemala, local villages in Nicaragua and the white-sandy beaches of Honduras. The trip costs from £2,599 per person excluding flights. Visit gadventures.co.uk for more information.
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: Buxton Press Subscriptions are £125 p.a. £195 overseas ISSN: 0956-2419
Crossword: Across: Across: 1. BMI, 3. MAGALUF, 6. TAMAR, 7. LEGO, 9. WARSAW, 10. ERIE, 12. NICO, 14. HELENA, 17. PERU, 18. VILLA, 19. PREMIER, 20. TPE. Down: 1. BOTSWANA, 2. IZMIR, 3. MURRAY, 4. GULF, 5. LEGER, 8. DELAWARE, 11. DENVER, 13. CRETE, 15. EILAT, 16. FUJI.
Highlighted Word: MUSCAT Where Am I?: Kjeragbolten, Kjerag Mountain, Norway
We asked our staff the following question this week:
What's your favourite comedy movie? Jeanette Ratcliffe Publisher firstname.lastname@example.org The Life of Brian
Lauretta Wright Editor email@example.com Coming To America.
Adam Potter Editorial Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org Ghostbusters.
Paul Scudamore Contributing Editor email@example.com The Life of Brian
Simon Eddolls Sales Director firstname.lastname@example.org Planes,Trains & Automobiles
Bill Coad Account Manager email@example.com
Matt Gill Senior Account Manager firstname.lastname@example.org Meet the Fockers
Matthew Weinreb Sales Executive email@example.com Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
December 2 2016
Kathryn Frost Sales Executive firstname.lastname@example.org Gemma Reeve Events & Sales Administrator email@example.com Meet the Parents
Nicky Valsamakis Design Team Leader firstname.lastname@example.org The Nice Guys
Miriam Brtkova Designer email@example.com Fantomas
Lucia Mathurin Design Apprentice firstname.lastname@example.org The Nutty Professor
Nelly Mendes Production email@example.com Dumb and Dumber
Happy Birthday ! Tim Podger Account Manager - Far East firstname.lastname@example.org Hanging up his hammock for a city life in Bangkok, this Thailand trickster’s return to the London office is always a welcome surprise. The Life of Brian
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