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All about the November 2011

December 2011

Your one-stop guide to all the latest news and developments in the Indian Ocean

Produced by

www.travelbulletin.co.uk


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The Seychelles Islands... complete luxury Among these secluded isles - which host two UNESCO World Heritage sites and numerous world-class beaches - await the exepriences of a lifetime. Against a backdrop of luxurious 5* accommodation, we invite you to embark on a journey you will never forget!

Seychelles Tourist Office 222 Regent Street, Liberty House, Room 407, London W1B 5TR 020 7297 2127/28 seychelles@uksto.co.uk www.seychelles.travel


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INDIAN OCEAN All about the

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t’s hard to imagine a tougher economic climate than the one we are experiencing at the moment. There is no doubt that every part of the travel industry is feeling the pinch as Britons cut back on their holiday budgets. No longer tempted by the early-booking deals, lack of job security is forcing people to leave it later and later to book their annual summer holiday. Fortunately, hotels and resorts in the Indian Ocean have adjusted to the current climate and have been passing on competitive prices to operators, which have made destinations, such as Sri Lanka, the Seychelles, the Maldives and Mauritius more attainable for people who would have considered such a holiday out of their reach. There is a lot of activity on the islands in the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka has put the unrest with the Tamil Tigers well behind it and is investing millions in new tourism developments to attract new visitors. While Mauritius and the Seychelles have been grabbing the headlines for all the wrong reasons this year, new hotels and great deals have helped these islands bounce back from negative stories over the summer. Over in the Maldives, Middle Eastern and Asian hotel groups are making their presence felt with new hotels opening this year and next. With so much to say on the subject, this year’s All About the Indian Ocean supplement is crammed full with all the latest news agents need to ensure you convert those enquiries into sales. In our What’s new section, we spoke to operators to find out what they have included in their programmes for 2012. Also, for our Weddings and Honeymoons, Ecotourism and Nice and Niche features, we caught up with some Indian Ocean specialists to find out which islands and resorts they would recommend for couples looking to tie the knot, holidaymakers who like to go green and active types who find it hard just to relax and enjoy the sun. Hotel hotline includes all the latest news from the hotel industry, from new resorts to refurbished properties and The knowledge is a round-up of all the latest developments from the tourist boards. So make sure you are in the know for 2012 and ready to sell your clients their dream holiday to the Indian Ocean.

CONTENTS 4 What’s New

7 Weddings and Honeymoons

9 Ecotourism

Angela Cronin Supplements editor Travel Bulletin

11 Hotel Hotline Published by

Lower Ground Floor, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London SW1W 0EX Tel: 020-7834 6661 Publisher: Jeanette Ratcliffe Written and researched by: Angela Cronin Email: angelacronin2003@yahoo.co.uk Design/Layout: Ranganath GS & Prashanth AP Printed by: Wyndeham Grange Limited Cover Picture: iStock ISSN: 0956-2419

All about The Indian Ocean

14 Nice and Niche 17 The knowledge 3


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What’s New

What’s new An increase in flight frequencies, new hotel openings and authentic tour experiences have given operators a great excuse to add to their programmes for 2012

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endy Wu Tours Escorted tours specialist has introduced group tours to Sri Lanka in its new India, Sri Lanka and Nepal brochure. The new-look brochure comes equipped with Quick Response (QR) codes, enabling prospective customers the opportunity to access additional

information including a tour dossier featuring more detail about each of the new itineraries. The 15-day Highlights of Sri Lanka itinerary takes in temples, the UNESCO World Heritage site of the rock fortress at Sigiriya and the cities of Colombo and Galle.  Prices lead in at £2,690 per person and includes flights, local

The rock fortress at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka features in Wendy Wu’s new Highlights of Sri Lanka tour Angie

transportation, accommodation, meals, excursions, entry fees and visas for UK passport holders. Enchanting Holidays Mauritian specialist operator Enchanting Holidays says a combination of trade support, a demand for luxury product and hotels and airlines reacting quickly and positively to market conditions have helped it to see “tremendous” growth this year. Shafique Cockar, head of product, contracting and marketing, said: “This year has proved to be a major success for us largely thanks to all the support from the travel agent partners. “Despite the lack of confidence in the economy, our sales have not been affected, and have increased, largely due to the fact that we offer a predominantly luxury product, which does not really have any effect on our targeted upmarket clientele.” Cockar added: “Another reason is that all the hotels and airlines have reacted very quickly and positively to market conditions and have regularly come up with some stunning offers.” For 2012, Enchanting Holidays has added new resorts to its Mauritius brochure, bringing the total featured to 42. These include the Sofitel So Mauritius, Shanti Maurice and Anahita the Resort. “Our average selling price for a holiday to Mauritius has been £4,200 per couple. So, with our 13% base commission rate that we provide to travel agents, there are great opportunities for the travel agents to make some decent money.” Cockar also confirmed that they shall be hosting another fam trip in June 2012. Cosmos Cosmos has launched its first ever

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All about The Indian Ocean


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What’s New dedicated Indian Ocean brochure featuring a range of resort stays, tour and stay, two centres and cruises in the Maldives, Dubai, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. Two new five-star properties have been added to the Maldives programme and a new all-inclusive property is offered in Mauritius. Early-booking offers include a deposit of £100 per person and savings of up to £1,000 per couple on holidays to the Maldives. Extra value offers include a food and beverage credit of $US100 per person per stay on selected dates at the Zitahli Kuda Funa Faru in Maldives. Dream weddings are available in Mauritius and Sri Lanka and Renewal of Vows ceremonies are available in the Maldives. Cosmos has added to its Sri Lankan offering, with the addition of three new properties in Galle, including Jetwing Lighthouse, Era Beach and Tangalle Bay. The operator has also doubled its tour portfolio with its new three-night Cultural Triangle tour, which includes three nights at the Sigiriya Hotel. The three-night tour plus four nights’ all-inclusive at the Club Hotel Dolphin lead in at £1285 per person. The new nine-night Discover Classical Ceylon is a mix of the Splendours of Ceylon and the Wild and Scenic tour and includes more leisure time. Prices lead in at £1,899 per person. Gold Medal Gold Medal has added the ‘Anahita the Resort’, Mauritius to its Pure Luxury brochure for 2012. The property, which offers a combination of suite and villa accommodation, is well suited to families as both the suites and villas offer flexibility with separate bedrooms, private plunge pools (swimming pools at the villas), living rooms and full kitchens, giving guests the option of cooking for themselves. 

For younger guests, the resort offers a programme of activities within the Our space kids’ club. There are specific activity schedules for the different age groups which include water skiing, windsurfing, tennis and golf lessons, boat trips and treasure hunts. Looking at the operator’s performance in the Indian Ocean, product manager Kristie McGovern said: “The Maldives has performed extremely well for Gold Medal this year, with bookings up significantly for 2011. This can be attributed to the destination becoming more affordable as the number of allinclusive options offered by hotels has increased. We have found the highest demand has been for the three and four-star properties. ”Some properties that stand out for me in the Maldives are the three star deluxe Kuredu Island Resort for its value for money and the five-star deluxe Diva Maldives for luxury,” she added. Thomas Cook Signature The operator is offering reduced rates on bookings made before the end of February at four of Sun Resort’s properties in Mauritius – Le Touessrok, Sugar Beach, La Pirogue and the newly opened Long Beach. Seven nights at La Pirogue lead in at £1,499 per person and seven nights at Long Beach start at £1,595 per person. Both prices include half-board accommodation, flights and transfers.

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All about The Indian Ocean

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What’s New

Gold Medal has added the Anahita resort in Mauritius to its Pure Luxury brochure

Hayes and Jarvis The operator has added to its allinclusive collection in the Maldives with the introduction of the five-star Constance Moofushi Resort in the South Ari Atoll. Prices lead in at £2,599 per person for five nights at the resort. In Mauritius, Hayes and Jarvis has added the newly-refurbished threestar plus Emeraude Beach, close to Belle Mare on the east coast. Featuring thatched-roofed bungalows, five nights at the property lead in at £1,159 per person. In Sri Lanka, a new three-day add-on tour to Yala National Park has been introduced with prices from £299 per person. The tour is recommended for clients looking for safari options that are cheaper than in Kenya or South Africa. Describing the east coast as Sri Lanka’s “hottest new destination”,

Travel 2’s on Be the first to find out about the new launches by following Travel 2 on Twitter – @T2News – the feed provides updates on all news, views, incentives, offers, competitions and FAMs, as well as interesting images from fun days in. 6

Hayes and Jarvis is also featuring a five-day East Coast Sri Lanka tour, priced from £429 per person, which it recommends adding to its existing Classic Ceylon itinerary to provide a broader exploration of Sri Lankan highlights. Kuoni The operator has launched its Indian Ocean brochure with a wide range of hotels to suit all pockets that are exclusive to Kuoni. The hotels include the four-star Jetwing SEA and the three-and-a-halfstar Club Bentota, both in Sri Lanka and the romantic Maafushivaru in the Maldives. New hotels also feature, including the five-star, colonial-style Le Telfair resort in Mauritius, the stylish Niyama in the Maldives with its underwater nightclub and the tranquil Adaaran Hudhuranfushi, Maldives. New authentic experiences include elephant trekking in Sri Lanka’s Habarana Woodlands, a private dining experience on an uninhabited private island in the Maldives and a day experiencing the botanical gardens in Mauritius There are free night offers at Coco Palm, Dhuni Kolhu, and at the Oberoi in Mauritius, a discount of up to £160 per couple per night in a deluxe room and an upgrade to a junior suite on

minimum five-night stays for honeymooners at Le Touessrok, Mauritius. Prices for the programme lead in at £869 per person based on two sharing for five nights at Club Bentota in Sri Lanka in a standard room on an allinclusive basis. 2by2 Holidays The southern and east Africa specialist 2b2 Holidays has added three hotels on Mauritius to its 2012 programme. These include the three-star Emeraude Beach, Le Recife and La Palmiste. Sales and marketing director said market demand had promoted the operator to feature the lower-priced properties. The operator has also introduced a new wheelchair adapted mini-coach to enhance transfers and excursions for disabled clients. 2by2 also features the Seychelles and Madagascar in its Indian Ocean programme. Rainbow Tours The specialist operator has added the tiny Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues to its programme as an add-on to a Mauritian holiday. Twin-centre packages with nine nights in Mauritius and three nights in Rodrigues lead in at £2,995 per person. ■ All about The Indian Ocean


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Weddings and Honeymoons

Love in paradise

When it comes to romance, where better to get married than in the Indian Ocean?

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ITH THE AVERAGE cost of a wedding in the UK rumoured to be around £21,000, couples already feeling the pinch due to the recession are rethinking their budgets for their big day. Getting married overseas is undoubtedly a more more affordable option, and while many agents may dismiss the Indian Ocean as out of most people’s financial reach, they will be surprised to know that hotels in the Seychelles, the Maldives, Mauritius and Sri Lanka are very competitive on price, with some hotels offering free wedding packages. Whether it’s weddings on a shoestring, or blow-the-budget-style nuptials, the resorts in the Indian Ocean are guaranteed to deliver on all fronts. We spoke to a few operators to get their thoughts on getting married in the Indian Ocean. Getting married on a shoestring For couples watching every penny, Travel 2 suggests they consider looking at Mauritius as it has a large range of

All about The Indian Ocean

affordable hotels that offer weddings. One in particular that ticks all the right budget boxes is Veranda Paul & Virginie. The resort offers a classic wedding package that is free if the couple are accompanied by 12 paying guests. Alternatively, it costs £331. The package includes the ceremony, decoration of the wedding location, wedding planner, bridal bouquet and button hole, harpist during the ceremony, 45-minute couple’s massage, a 45-minute cruise in a traditional sailing boat, gala dinner and champagne breakfast in room. The hotel has two restaurants, a bar, a water sports centre and a spa. Sample product: Travel 2 features a seven-night stay from £1,359 per person including flights, transfers and a 10% discount on meal plan. Second-time around Couples getting married for the second time are often looking for exclusivity and luxury touches over 100-plus people weddings and mobile discos when it comes to the wedding day. For the ultra-luxury experience, Frégate Island Private delivers on all fronts, particularly if privacy and intimacy are high on the couple’s agenda. Frégate’s wedding planners can arrange a civil service at its own on-island chapel; a photographer; floral arrangements; and entertainment, while complimentary extras for couples getting married include a wedding cake and bottle of champagne; in-villa bath; champagne

delivered to the villa the morning after the wedding; a la carte Creole dinner with wine at the Plantation House restaurant; a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach or in the tree house; chocolate dipped, island-grown fruit with champagne; and a special honeymoon/wedding high tea on the island’s highest point, Glacis Serf, with iced rose tea and rose-scented friandise. Sample product: Africa Travel offers six nights at Frégate Island Private, including all meals, non-motorised activities, private wedding ceremony, helicopter transfers and flights from £9,425.00 per person. Taking the whole family along: Located in the unspoilt south coast of Mauritius, the romance of its wildbeachside setting combined with its outstanding facilities make the allinclusive Shandrani Resort and Spa for couples who want to get married and take their family along too. The resort’s family suites are ideal for families young and old. Opening directly on to the beach and ocean and set within their own private garden complete with children’s sand pit, each suite has been especially designed with families in mind. The top floor of the suite is dedicated entirely to children, each bathroom is equipped with large round-shaped bathtubs and all guests staying in Family Suites have a reserved straw umbrella on the beach throughout the stay. 7


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Weddings and Honeymoons The Bob Marlin Mini Club welcomes children aged 3-12 years old, while their parents chill out in La Source Spa and get ready for the big day. As part of the classic and luxury packages, the resort guarantees couples that there will only be one wedding ceremony per day and there will be a wedding co-ordinator on hand to help them every step of the way. The classic package includes a separate room for the bride before the ceremony, a decorated wedding location, celebration breakfast in room, bridal bouquet, groom’s button hole, hair and make-up for the bride including a trial session, a wedding cake and recorded wedding music. The extras in the luxury package include BMWX5 transfers to and from registrar, bride and groom’s spa treatments, champagne and canapés after the service for two, a special four-course wedding dinner in a private location, chilled

The legal stuff While it is possible to get married in Mauritius, the Seychlles and Sri Lanka and the marriage is legally binding, it is not the same in the Maldives. Couples can have a ceremony but weddings can not be legally registered in the Maldives.

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Guests renewing their vows at Kurumba Maldives can enjoy an intimate dinner for two anywhere in the resort

champagne, candles, petals on the bed and luxury bubble bath, framed congratulations wedding certificate and 50 wedding photographs and album Sample product: Beachcomber Tours offers a classic wedding package and accommodation for seven nights from £6,055 per family of four (two adults, two children) including flights and transfers. Renewing vows Kurumba Maldives, the country’s first private island resort, has a selection of three renewal of vows packages, that aims to cater for every couple’s budget. Starting at £320 per couple, the renewal of vows package provides a professional blessing ceremony including, a traditional Maldivian Bodu Beru dance performance, a master of ceremonies to preside over the vows, a renewal of vows certificate or carved wood plaque, photography, a bridal bouquet, wedding cake, and a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine. For £607 per couple, guests can also have the choice of a champagne breakfast, or three-course dinner with wine, at the beachfront Ocean Grill. The premium package, which starts at £1,087 per couple, includes an extra bottle of champagne, canapés for sunset, a Maldivian local sarong (Feyli) each, a 90-minute spa treatment at the resort’s Veli Spa. Just when it seems impossible it could get any better, they will be tempted with Kurumba’s romantic signature Sounds of the Sea five-course dinner menu with fine wine. This bespoke dining experience includes, a private evening on the beach, with a butler on hand to their every need. The resort offers eight different styles of accommodation, two swimming pools, tennis courts, a brand-new kids’ clubs and a water sports centre. Sample product:Kuoni offers seven nights’ bed and breakfast including flights and transfers £1,274 per person. ■

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Ecotourism

The green factor The Indian Ocean’s breathtaking environment is what attracts visitors to this part of the world, but are the hotels in this region doing their bit to protect it?

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arlier this year, Thomson Airways launched the UK’s first flight powered by a mixture of standard fuel and biofuel made from waste cooking oil, while Virgin Atlantic recently announcement plans to use low-carbon aviation fuel on selected routes by 2014. Whatever side of the fence you sit, there is no denying the fact that responsible tourism is a key driver in the travel industry in the 21st century. Kuoni believes people care so much more about their enivornment these days that it has launched the Ananea brand, a dedicated programme for customers who want to travel ethically. And The Travel Foundation’s chief executive Sue Hurdle says that in these tough economic times, acting ethically can give travel firms that competitive edge over their rivals who may not be so concerned about their green credentials.  With this in mind, we spoke to a number of operators that specialise in

the Indian Ocean to find out which resorts they felt are leading the way when it comes to putting the environment first. Six Senses, Maldives Sustainability is high on the agenda at Six Senses’ two properties in the Maldives – Soneva Fushi and Soneva Gili. The hotel chain is committed to the SLOW LIFE policy – Sustainable, Local, Organic, Wholesome, Learning, Interesting, Fun Experiences – which it applies to all parts of its business, ensuring it provides sustainable tourism options for consumers, suppliers and partners. These include everything from the use of building materials and finishes from sustainable and local sources wherever possible, to the origin of the food that is offered, and to the innovative experiences that heighten guest’s knowledge.  Such activities include giving guests the opportunity to read the Little Green Book, a compendium with

information on various aspects of green holidays. This includes sections on sustainable experiences, Six Senses’ sustainability policy, responsible behaviour in the reefs as well as several sections on the local flora and fauna. Guests are also given presentations by the marine biologist to draw attention to the unique environment the hotels are located in, and garden tours by the permaculturist to highlight organic gardening approaches. North Island, Seychelles When it comes to promoting responsible tourism, North Lodge has certainly been ahead of the pack in establishing its eco credentials. The founders of the private island resort set about reversing the island’s decline after it was abandoned in the 1970s following the collapse of the coconut industry and the growth of a invasive weed on the island threatening to destroy any other form of plant and bird life.

The Olhuveli Beach and Spa Resort

All about The Indian Ocean

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Ecotourism The owners on the island teamed up with ecologists to embark on what became known as the Noah’s Ark concept, gradually reintroducing tortoises and certain species of birds back to the island along with the legendary coco-de-mer palm. Three indigenous species of bird, all of them on the danger list, have been returned to the island and breeding programmes continue including the Seychelles Magpie Robin – one of the world’s rarest birds. Many years of research and planning were also undertaken in the design and building of the eco-sensitive lodge, which involved the preservation of historical sites and the installation of ecologically sensitive sewerage. The on-going process of conservation is at the very heart of North Island’s philosophy and the design of the resort – using local wood, stone, glass and thatched roofs – ensures that guests really do get that Robinson Crusoe feel when they arrive. Fregate Island Private, Seychelles Conservation is also high on the agenda on another exclusive, private island resort in the Seychelles. Frégate Island’s ongoing conservation efforts have focused on the island’s oldest indigenous residents – the tortoise.  As a consequence of the efforts of the team at Fregate, the island is now home to the second largest wild herd of the Aldabra giant tortoises. On the island, there is a preservatory where the young

tortoises are cared for in the first two to three years of their lives, until they are ready to live securely on their own in the island’s jungle. For a fee, guests can ‘adopt’ a baby tortoise, and by doing so, safeguard its care until such time as it is ready to join the herd and fend for itself. Continuously, young tortoises are released back into the wild after leaving the nursery, taking the island’s steadily growing population beyond 600. From an ecotourism point of view, Frégate Island Private continues to be a pioneer of Seychelles conservation. Earlier this year, the island hosted a field study by the invertebrate conservation unit of the Zoological Society of London, to observe the extremely rare Frégate Beetle and Enid Snails in their natural habitat.  Currently, turtle nesting season is underway and, having begun a monitoring programme last season, the island’s ecology team are carrying out daily patrols to monitor this season’s nesting hawksbill – and occasionally green - turtles to learn more about population sizes and nesting habits, record nest sites, and where possible to tag turtles for future monitoring purposes. Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives Shangri-La has responded to growing interests from guests about responsible tourism and  has developed a set of corporate social responsibility guidelines that “aim to help educate its

North Island in the Seychelles

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The Aldabra giant tortoises on Fregate Island

stakeholders, inspire and engage its employees, enjoin its business partners and align with local community initiatives so that corporate social responsibility can be used as a platform for social development”. At its resort in the Maldives, ShangriLa works with 50 local farmers who supply produce to be used in dishes for the guests. It has also invested in a bottling plant with reusable glass bottles leading the resort to cut its consumption of 240,000 plastic bottles a year, and solar energy panels that provide hot water in all guests’ villas. The hotel also has insulation material installed that allows cooled air to be kept in the rooms, thus preventing heat gain and reducing the need for air conditioning. Micro switches are also installed in the rooms so when doors and windows are left open, micro switches automatically turn off the air conditioning system. Olhuveli Beach and Spa Resort, Maldives With 99% of the low-lying coral islands in the Maldives covered by sea water, climate change and the natural environment are of great concern. The resort of Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort  on the tip of the  South Male Atoll has set up a number of initiatives to protect its coral reefs and wealth of endangered sea creatures – from manta rays to turtles. Located on the South Male Atoll, Olhuveli has added six artificial structures to the natural reef, which has helped to increase the existing underwater ecosystem. ■ All about The Indian Ocean


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Hotel Hotline

To infinity and beyond Blink and you could miss a luxury hotel opening in the Indian Ocean

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s if there weren’t enough luxurious resorts to choose from in the Indian Ocean, hotel groups, such as Centara, Dusit, Jumeirah and Per AQUUM are raising the bar with a number of new properties, boasting underwater wine cellars and discos, marine biology lab and 24/7 limousine boat services. Let’s take a look at the new kids on the block. Maldives The 112-villa Ayada Maldives resort has opened in the Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll. The resort has seven restaurants, bars and cafes, an AySpa, the only private hammam in the Maldives, a kids’ club, a scuba diving centre and a range of water sports. Sample product: Travel 2 features seven nights’ half-board from £1,819 per person including flights and transfers. Centara Hotels and Resorts The Asian hotel group has expanded its brand to the Maldives with the acquisition of Giraavaru Island Resort, which it will both own and manage. The resort has 140 land and water villas, three restaurants and

All about The Indian Ocean

bars, a Spa Cenvaree, pool, fitness centre, activity centre and diving centre. Sample product: Kuoni offers seven nights’ all-inclusive in a beach suite, including flights and transfers in May from £2,295 per person. Dusit Hotels and Resorts The hotel group has opened a 100-villa property on Mudhdhoo Island in Baa Atoll. Some 35 minutes from Malé by seaplane, the new hotel has three restaurants, two bars and an underground wine cellar. Key features include a tree-top spa and the largest infinity pool in the Maldives, complete with Cypress tree in the middle. Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts The Dubai hotel group has extended its first-ever property in the Maldives. A cluster of water villas, called Ocean Pearls, have opened 800 metres from the resort’s main island, suspended on platforms above the sea. Each Ocean Revive and Ocean Sanctuary villa have tall living rooms with unobstructed views out over the ocean,

Jumierah’s second property in the Maldives, Jumierah Vittaveli, opened earlier this month.

including sunken bathtubs on the decks with direct access to private pools, or sun decks with a few steps leading them directly into the Indian Ocean. There is also a shared infinity pool, bar, restaurant, in-house dining, library and spa treatment rooms. Guests who wish to explore the main island and the region have also full access to the facilities and a 24/7 boat limousine service at their disposal. Jumierah’s second hotel in the Maldives, Jumierah Vittaveli (pictured above), opened earlier this month. A 20minute boat ride from Male, the 91-villa resort has three restaurants, a bar, a spa, a gym and two kids’ clubs. Sample product: Abercrombie and Kent features seven nights’ bed and breakfast at the Jumierah Vittaveli for £2,785 per person, including flights and transfers. Niyama by Per AQUUM Resorts This latest addition to the super-deluxe Per AQUUM portfolio, Niyama, is due to open in January 2012, and will be located on two islands in the southwestern Atoll of Dhaalu. The resort will have 87 beach and water studios and pavilions, most with private pools, an underwater disco, an outdoor cinema, a 24-hour spa and a marine biology lab where guests can gen up on the resort’s coral. 11


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Hotel Hotline Sample product: Seasons offers seven nights from £2,485 per person, including two free nights, a free meal plan upgrade from breakfast to half board, 5% earlybooking discount on the accommodation, international round-trip economy flights and return seaplane transfers.

Amari Addu The Asian hotel and resort group has opened the Amari Addu in the Addu Atoll, the southernmost atoll of the Maldives. The hotel has 271 villas in beach and ocean locations, three free-form outdoor swimming pools, fully-equipped fitness centre, dive centre and a spa. The resort’s Meeraa restaurant and lounge offers à la carte dinner selections including fresh seafood, Mediterranean dishes and grilled specialities, while Kilhi and Keimaa restaurants feature all-day dining buffet style. Sample price: £144 per night for an ocean beach villa.

Viceroy Maldives Due to open in the Shaviyani Atoll in January 2012, the Viceroy Maldives is a 61villa island resort with interiors

designed by world-famous design company Yabu Pushelberg. The hotel will have a ‘treehouse’ beachside lounge in a Moroccan-inspired setting, a water sports centre and five dining options. Mauritius, Long Beach Occupying the longest and widest stretch of white sand of any of the island’s resorts, the Long Beach resort combines Miami chic with its lush Mauritian surroundings. It also has an urban-style piazza packed with buzzy restaurants, shops and bars, which are just steps away from a coral-filled lagoon that’s the ideal spot for snorkelling. Sample product: Seasons offers seven nights’ half-board from £2,130 per person including flights and private transfers. Centara Hotels and Resorts The Asian hotel group has signed a management contract for a four-star resort property in Mauritius, marking the company’s sixth international location. Due to open in October 2012, Centara Poste Lafayette Resort and Spa Mauritius is set on a 500-metre stretch of white-sand beach on the north-east coast of the island, and will have its own diving reef. The resort will have 92 guestrooms, all with their own private balcony with seating

or hammocks. Other facilities include an all-day dining restaurant and bar, a beach bar and snack deck, spa, kids’ club, recreation room and meeting rooms. Sri Lanka Uga Resorts (the group behind Ulagalla) are opening two new properties: one in Kuchchaveli, Trincomalee planned for May 2012 called Jungle Beach, and another called Uga Bay opening in October 2012, situated next door to the new Malu Malu resort in Passekudah. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts will be opening two new properties – one in Colombo in 2014 which will overlook Galle Face Green; and a beachside resort in Hambantota in the southeast of the island is due to open in 2013. A new Six Senses Resort and Spa will be opening in Ahungalla about 30 minutes north of Galle. It will be set on a 10.5 acre plot next to Heritance Ahungalla as well as a 27-acre island nearby and is due to open in 2012. Six Senses Group are opening another resort in Kalpitiya (details above). ■

The beach at the Amari Addu in the Maldives

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Hotel Hotline Beachcomber offers savings of up to 60% The hotel chain is celebrating its 60th anniversary by offering discounts of 60% off accommodation at its flagship hotel, Royal Palm in Mauritius. The offer applies to half-board accommodation for a second guest when staying in June 2012. Beachcomber opened its first hotel in Mauritius back in

1952 and now has right on the islands along with the Sainte Anne Resort and Spa in the Seychelles. Beachcomber Tours features seven nights’ half-board from £2,390 per person based on two sharing a junior suite. The price includes economy class flights and hotel transfers.

Naide Hotels rebrands to LUX* The Indian Ocean hotel chain has rebranded five of its resorts into a new Naide Luxury Resorts called LUX*. The five hotels that have been rebranded into the new LUX* portfolio include LUX* Belle Mare, Mauritius (formerly Beau Rivage); LUX* Le Morne, Mauritius (formerly Les Pavillons); LUX* Grand Gaube, Mauritius (formerly Legends); LUX* Maldives (formerly Diva) and LUX* Ile de la Réunion (formerly Grand Hotel du Lagon). The rebrand is inspired by the ‘Island Light’ concept, inspired by the changes in the global economy that have forced people to reconsider what luxury means. As part of the new identities for these hotels, LUX* comprises more than 50 scenes of custom-made experiences that make the ordinary extraordinary. These includes freshly-roasted organic coffee, retro-styled icecream parlours, libraries of cool magazines, on-the-beach film screenings, inter-guest games, integrated wellness and spa programmes, art shows, pop-up dining, secret honesty bars, and world-beating beds. Chief executive officer Paul Jones is confident that this new brand of simpler luxury, underpinned by good service, will appeal to holidaymakers of all types keen to escape the “sea of sameness” on offer at most resorts. The remaining properties previously operated by Naiade Resorts will be part of the ‘produced by’ LUX* Island Resorts portfolio. These resorts will continue to be known as Tamassa, Bel Ombre, Mauritius; Merville Beach, Grand Baie, Mauritius and Hôtel Le Récif, Ile de la Réunion as well Ile des Deux Cocos, Mauritius, a private paradise island.

The LUX* rebrand will seek to differentiate Naide resorts by offering a simpler form of luxury

All about The Indian Ocean

News in brief ●

Baros Maldives has added five new pool villas and introduced a new category of Baros premium pool villa with dedicated sun loungers on their own beach.

The Angsana Balaclava, managed by the Banyan Tree, has opened in Turtle Bay in Mauritius. The all-suite hotel offers relaxation pools or jet pools in most of its room and a spa with hammam and hydrotherapy pool.

Coco Palm Bodu Hithi is launching a new global ‘chef in residence’ programme with Michelin star chef Tom Aikens, who will be serving bespoke dishes in the hotel’s Aqua restaurant, running master-classes and demonstrations for guests. Aikens will be on the island between 19 and 26 March.

The 174-room St Regis Mauritius is due to open in spring 2012 in the southern tip of the island.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island has renovated 28 water villas and two premier water villas. The property now also owns a three-seater submarine which offers guests the chance to explore the underwater world.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa has launched a night spa. The treatments include a choice of four 150-minute, open-air lunar rituals.

The all-inclusive Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa has relaunched following a refurbishment that includes a new Vidhun Spa.

Vilu Reef Beach and Spa Resort has launched its six new water villas with pools. Situated on stilts over the water, the villas have infinity plunge pools. 13


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Nice and Niche

No time to stand and stare From tracking down lemurs in Madagascar to learning to cook Maldivian style, resorts in the Indian Ocean are pulling out all the stops to attract new guests and encourage repeat visitors

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hink that the Indian Ocean is all about sun, sea, sand and expensive spa treatments? Well, think again. Yes, it’s true there is plenty of time to laze around on the beach, take a dip in your infinity pool, or enjoy a hot-stone therapy treatment or two, but for those who prefer to keep themselves occupied, even when they are on an island in paradise, there is plenty for them to do. We asked some of the specialist operators

to suggest some islands and resorts that have a range of activities to help their guests while away their days in the sun. Time for tee Mauritius has carved out a reputation over the years as a golf lovers’ paradise with a number of world-class courses, including the Bernhard Langer-designed course at Le Touessrok Golf Club to the 18-hole Heritage Golf Club in the South. For golfers who want to take a day off from

the course to spend with their partners, most hotels have plenty of other activities to offer, including diving centres, which alongside diving courses, also offer a wide range of alternative water sports. Over in the Maldives, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa is due to open a nine-hole golf course in early 2012 – the first golf course in the Maldives. Sample product: Travel 2 features seven nights’ half-board at the five-star at Les Pavillons, two golf courses close by, for £1,729 per person, including flights and transfers. Anyone for cricket? The England cricket team head to Sri Lanka in 2012 for a tour of the country from 26 March to 7 April. England won the 2011 Test Series at home and will want to retain its lead ahead of Sri Lanka in the ICC Test Rankings.

Image Credit: Getty

Golf courses at luxury resorts such as Le Touessrok make Mauritius a popular haunt of keen golfers

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Nice and Niche So, if your clients would love nothing more than to follow the England cricket team to warmer climes, then the tour of Sri Lanka presents a great opportunity. During the days off from the test matches, visitors can enjoy Sri Lanka’s beaches, coral reefs, inland mountain peaks and picturesque plantations. Sample product: Sport Abroad offers six nights’ bed and breakfast at the Mount Lavinia Hotel from £1,412 per person, including tickets for the second Test in Colombo from 1-9 April, return flights, transfers and the services of a Sport Abroad tour manager. For both tests (Galle and Colombo), prices start at £2,187 per person. Mini-tineraries The Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita is offering guests an alternative to the traditional island sightseeing. With a tailored route preprogrammed into the hotel’s convertible Mini Cooper’s sat nav, guests can embark on their own mini adventure. There are a choice of four Mini-tineraries, including adrenaline, a culinary, and family, all of which have been carefully created to offer tailored insights into the island. For those looking to experience the natural beauty of Mauritius, the Scenic Mini-tinerary is a descent from 2,000ft to sea level in just 45 minutes, and captures the island’s most diverse terrain, from the valleys of Black River National Park in

The Adventure Company’s Land of Lemurs 14-day tour gives visitors the chance to see these creatures that are unique to Madagascar

the south west to the island’s famous World Heritage site of Le Mourne. Adrenaline seekers can burn off with mountain quad bikes before climbing to the peak of Mauritius’ second highest mountain, Corps de Garde; while food-lovers can take in the most authentic culinary hotspots, including Bois Cheri tea plantation and Port Louis’ China Town. Family fun includes a beach picnic watching kite and wind-surfers, followed by a trip


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Nice and Niche to Casela Nature and Leisure Park for a Segway Safari or a visit to feed the Aladabra tortoises. Sample product: A full day’s rental starts at £100. Kuoni offers seven nights’ half-board including flights and private transfers from £2,226 per person.  Water lovers Olhuveli Beach and Spa Resort in the Maldives is popular with adrenaline junkies who like to indulge their passion for water sports. The hotel boasts worldclass diving facilities as well as an kite-surfing school.  The resort is located on the edge of the South Malé Atoll and therefore benefits from the ideal wind conditions for kite-surfing, windsurfing and sailing, plus its shallow lagoon is perfect for beginners. The resort has tennis courts, spa facilities and a selection of restaurants. Sample product: First Choice offers seven nights’ all-inclusive from £1,629 per person, departing on 24 June. The price includes return flights and transfers.   Culinary delights One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives is urging guests to cook up a storm with its new culinary school.  Classes will be available in a range of culinary styles from around the world including Maldivian, Chinese, Italian, Indian, Arabian, Japanese Washoku, Thai cuisine or French desserts and pastries. The experience starts with a guided visit to the chef’s garden where the culinary team will demonstrate how to select the finest and freshest products while guests handpick organic ingredients for their chosen course.  Upon return to the culinary school, One&Only Reethi Rah’s master chef will guide pupils through a selection of cooking products and condiments. Then guests can prepare dishes with expert guidance and enjoy their own creations in a sumptuous lunch. They leave the course with a certificate, recipe card and their own One&Only Reethi Rah apron and chef’s cap.  Sample product: courses run daily for between two to four people and cost £115 per person. Pure Luxury offers seven nights’ bed and breakfast at the One&Only Reethi Rah and includes transfers. This price is valid for departures between 1 May and 30 June. 16

England cricket team are doing a tour of Sri Lanka next year and cricket fans will be able to follow the players to the Indian Ocean with Sport Abroad

Walk on the wild side Coinciding with the release of the third instalment of the Dreamworks Animation film Madagascar in June 2012, The Adventure Company has introduced the first family adventure tour in Madagascar. This 14-day Land of Lemurs trip will take families on a night walk through Andasibe National Park to seek out lemurs which are unique to Madagascar. Families will also get a chance to explore Antsirabe by rickshaw, soak in the hot springs in Ranomafana National Park, plant saplings with local school children, explore the grand canyon of Isalo National Park, see the production of blue sapphire gems, enjoy 900 species of plants in the Antsokay Arboretum and relax at Itafy beach resort. Sample product: The Adventure Company features the 14-day Land of Lemurs tour for £2,279 per adult and £1,739 per child including flights, 11 nights’ accommodation, transport, most meals and an experienced local group leader. Sailing Liveaboard cruise operator Silhouette Cruises has unveiled a new calendar of special cruise departures aimed at niche travellers seeking new experiences. The new niche, week-long cruises on offer for 2012 and 2013 will incorporate activities such as swimming with whale sharks, sea kayaking between islands and studying the species of one of the world’s most ancient archipelago. The programmes will run on limited fixed dates on early 1900s schooners and modern, custom-built yachts. There is a

two-to-one, guest-to-crew ratio and full capacity is 18 passengers. Marketing manager Nick Watson says: “In addition to our successful seakayaking programme, we have developed a whale shark programme in conjunction with the Marine Conservation Society of the Seychelles. We also have an ecosafari dedicated to nature enthusiasts as well as an expedition to Aldabra, the world’s second largest coral atoll. Snap happy The Adventure Company has put together a 16-day Elephant Paradise Young Photographers’ adventure which offers families the opportunity to discover their inner photographer by taking photos of steamy jungles, tropical beaches and elephants. The tour takes families through tropical woodland near Habarana on the back of a jumbo, on a jeep safari into Uda Walawe National Park to spot them in the wild and to the home of orphaned baby elephants during feeding time. As well as improving on photography skills the action-packed itinerary includes dolphin watching, canoeing on the Kelani River, jungle treks, a visit to a turtle hatchery and the opportunity to help a fishing community haul in their catch at sunrise, all mixed in with beach relaxation. Sample product: The Adventure Company offers this 14-day tour for £1,919 adult and £1,789 child including flights, 14 nights’ B&B accommodation, transport, expert tuition from Sam Oakes and an experienced local group leader. ■ All about The Indian Ocean


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Regional Round-up / Travel Essentials

The knowledge If you are going to improve your sales of holidays to the Indian Ocean, you need to know what’s happening in 2012. We spoke to the tourist boards to get the lowdown

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ri Lanka The Sri Lanka Tourist Board is looking to build on the 34.2% increase in visitor numbers to 667,569 for the first ten months of this year, with plans to quadruple visitor numbers by 2016 to 2.5 million tourists. The number of Britons visiting Sri Lanka was up 1.3%. It aims to do this by doubling the number of hotel rooms to 45,000 as well as by developing new areas of the island, in a sustainable manner. Some of the key areas that are earmarked for development under the project include: ■ The east coast with plans for up to 5,000 extra hotel rooms, a selfcontained village for tourists, including a theme park and land and water-based hotels. ■ Nilaveli in the northwest, which has a beach with safe swimming, good diving nearby and excellent snorkelling around Pigeon Island. ■ Trincomalee: the fifth largest natural harbour in the world, the beach is huge and is scattered with low level buildings but there is still scope for development. ■ Passekudah: this shallow bay has some of the safest swimming in Sri Lanka. The first new hotel to open here in

May 2011 was Malu Malu. The beach has been split into large plots most of which are still to be built on. Uga Resorts who own the stunning Ulugalla will be opening a property in Pasikudah late 2012. ■ Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka’s best surfing beach and only a short 4x4 drive from the buffer zone of Yala National Park with excellent wildlife sightings. At present all accommodation is basic but this will change fast especially as many luxury travellers are keen on surfing options. ■ Kalpitya on the west coast will be the tourist authority’s largest and most ambitious project and will consist of 5,000 rooms. There are 14 islands in the area that have been selected for development. In addition to building 17 resorts (many along the lines of those in the Maldives) there are also plans to build an 18-hole golf course, underwater amusement park, camp sites, observation towers and domestic airport. The first new property to be named in Kalpitiya was Dutch Bay Resorts, an 80-villa luxury resort recently under development which will be managed by Six Senses Group. An underwater visitor centre has also been proposed.

Sri Lanka has also introduced changes to its visa legislation. From January 2012, visitors to Sri Lanka must apply for travel authorisation online prior to arrival, replacing the current ‘on arrival visa’ system. This new electronic travel authorisation will be granted within 24 hours and the $50 fee is payable online.

Maldives The Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation has revealed a new slogan and logo as part of an overhaul of the destination’s brand identity. The new slogan ‘Always Natural’ plays on the country’s unique natural characteristics and its environmental theme is designed to support multiple industries, including fisheries, which accounts for the country’s second largest source of revenue after tourism. ■ Visitors to the Maldives have increased by 17% from January to September 2011 over the same period in 2010 with arrivals reaching 669,172 tourists. Of this figure, 78,772 (11.8%) of these were from the UK – the second-biggest contributing nation to the Maldives tourism industry. ■ Etihad Airways has launched a new service from Abu Dhabi to Male. The daily flight will operate on a twoclass configuration Airbus A320, departing Abu Dhabi at 9.20am, arriving at Male at 2.30pm. The return flight will leave Male at 8.35pm, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 12.05am. ■

A number of coastal regions have been earmarked in Sri Lanka for tourism development

All about The Indian Ocean

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Regional Round-up / Travel Essentials The Seychelles Air Seychelles is to cease operating flights out of Heathrow to Mahe via Rome and Milan from January 2012. The airline has blamed increased competition on the route and slow market demand for the decision. Flights from Paris will also stop on March 25. Etihad has agreed to fly passengers already booked on Air Seychelles flights out of Paris, London and Milan at the rates already ticketed by Air Seychelles and via Air France to Paris. Meanwhile the airline has launched a new livery and logo based on the nature and ecosystem that the Seychelles has. ■ Emirates is to increase its flight frequency to the Seychelles from Dubai from 12 a week to 14 by the end of this year. As part of its winter schedule, this will mean there will be two flights a day to Mahe from Dubai. ■ Qatar Airways has also boosted the number of flights it operates to the Seychelles. The airline now operates seven services a week from Doha to Mahe, which means the airline now flies daily to the islands – previously, it was four. ■

Mauritius ■ Emirates has introduced two extra flights between Dubai and Mauritius, taking the total number of flights between the two destinations to 11. The two additional flights will operate on Tuesdays and Fridays and will leave Dubai at 10:15am, arriving in Mauritius at 4.55pm. It will depart the island at 6.20pm, arriving back in Dubai at 1.10am. ■ British Airways has changed the timetable for its return Mauritius flights from November 1, flying back 12 hours later than at present, effectively giving travellers an extra day on the island. ■ Plans for a new development in Mauritius have been brought forward. Azuri is a joint venture between Haute Rive Holidays and Indian Ocean Real Estate Company and Flacq United Estates that will lead to the development of a new village close to the capital of Port Louis. The village, which is being built with both yearround residents and holidaymakers in mind, will provide education, hospitality, leisure and commercial facilities alongside luxury residences. Azuri will be devoted to celebrating

Mauritian lifestyle and will aim to provide the ultimate experience for anyone in search of a better way of life. One&Only Le Saint Géran has teamed up with Annabel Karmel, the UK’s best-selling author on feeding babies and children, to create a menu of nutritious meals for its young guests, including Yummy Hidden Vegetable Bolognese to South of the Border Chicken Fajitas. The brand new kids’ menu, which is available at all the resort’s restaurants, was devised during a visit to the resort by Annabel earlier this year. She spent time with the resort’s executive chef, handpicking fresh herbs from the Chef’s Garden and scouring food markets to identify local produce that could be used. Younger children have also been considered, with a dedicated section of the menu for babies. The Residence Mauritius has revamped its Sanctuary Spa with a new design using deep purples and rich browns and bespoke lighting. New treatment lists have also been introduced, including a range for children. ■

Children's food expert Annabel Karmel hands out some of her tasty treats to some keen young chefs at the One&Only Le Saint Geran in Mauritius

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All about The Indian Ocean


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A WINNING FORMULA

Centara Hotels & Resorts was awarded the 2011 ‘Far East Hotel Group of The Year’ in the Travel Agents Choice Awards by Selling Long Haul and Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives is proud to have won ‘Golden Award 2011 for Best Hotel - Indian Ocean’ by a leading UK travel company. 2011 WINNER

This truly stunning resort is popular with couples and families alike, as different parts of this beautiful island have something to suit everyone. Two bedroom pool villas are particularly suitable for friends and family while overwater villas suit couples who only have eyes for each other. Centara Hotels & Resorts is Thailand's largest hotel group with properties in all the best destinations not only throughout Thailand but in an ever-expanding portfolio of amazing destinations spanning Asia and the Indian Ocean. Look out too for more Indian Ocean Centara properties with the opening next year of several four-star resorts in the Maldives, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.

For more information please take a look at our dedicated trade section on www.chr.co.th and for travel agent rates and offers go to www.centarahotelsresorts.com/sib


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Indian Ocean Supplement 2011  

Indian Ocean Supplement 2011