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Tigers, luxury train journeys, the Taj Mahal, palm-fringed beaches ...India overloads the senses

how to sell...

China Florida Germany Philippines New Zealand Hong Kong and Macao and more...


this issue – we travel further to bring you more – FEATURES 10 India: A vibrant treat for 16 29 38 43 59 63 67


the senses Philippines: Stunning scenery and seclusion Florida: More fun in the Sunshine State Sri Lanka: Touring in luxury and style New Zealand: A world of adventure Cruising South America: Culture and adventure China: Walking through an other-worldly world Hong Kong & Macao: Lively twin destinations

20 33 63

29 10

33 36 46 52 55


38 59 15


Steve Hartridge...

Julie Baxter...

Travelled to Reno, Nevada, to hear all about the latest news and products from the westernmost U.S. states.

Lisa Merrigan...

Is flying over to Hamburg to see the best of Germany's second largest city and sample a few regional menus.

Is heading to Dubai to attend this year's Arabian Travel Market and find out the latest from the Middle East.


QUICK READS 15 How to sell: The fabulous 20



city of Santiago Introducing: The Netherlands Country profile: Germany on a budget Visit USA: Association members' news Six of the best: Iceland UNITE: The latest news from a trio of trade events Go West: Review of the U.S. regional show





THE REVIEW 47 Top news stories plus hotel review N E W Z E A LA N D


TALKING SHOP 21 News, competitions incentives & fam



Please note that Selling Travel, owned and published by BMI Publishing Ltd., is not connected in any way to Selling Travel e-magazine published by SMP Training Co. and based in British Columbia, Canada. The latter online publication focuses exclusively on sales skills and all aspects of professional selling within the travel and tourism sectors. To benefit from this travel industry sales training resource visit






Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

– dedicated to those who love selling travel – Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2017 © 2017.

Suffolk House, George St, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1SR, UK T 020 8649 7233 | F 020 8649 7234 Publishers: Steve Thompson & Sally Parker Commercial Director: David Clare Editorial Director: Steve Hartridge Deputy Editor: Laura Gelder Staff Journalists: Ben Coren & Cameron Roberts Contributing Journalist: Jo Austin Group Editor: Andy Hoskins Contributing Editor: Julie Baxter Business Development Manager: Craig McQuinn Advertisement Manager: Lisa Merrigan Creative Director: Matt Bonner Designers: Louisa Horton, Monica Notarnicola, Ross Clifford Junior Designer: Zoë Tarrant Production Manager: Clare Hunter Managing Director: Martin Steady We are members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Visit USA Association, LATA, PATA, MENATA, SATOA, the Foreign Airlines Association and the Institute of Travel & Tourism. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, BMI Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. ISSN: 2056-9319. Cover image:


don't know how long most readers of Selling Travel spend each day checking their email inboxes but it's a task that is certainly eating up a growing percentage of my daily work hours. The flip side to this heavy consumption of time is that hours spent digesting, filtering, categorising and archiving all the various travel-related press releases, reports and statements, etc, I receive saves time that would have previously been spent researching and on the telephone. I can remember the time – not so long ago it feels – when I had to step out to a library to track down the address of a hotel in Manchester or ring International Directory of Enquiries for a phone number in the USA. And being abroad was even worse! Once, on a week-long coach ride that took me from Paris to Athens - with various stops along the way - I spent most of Steve Hartridge my only afternoon in Venice queuing up at the post restante desk in the city's EDITOR central Post Office just to collect an aerogramme that included details of my kibbutz placing in Israel. How times have changed. Information, of course, is now not just instant but comes in a deluge from multiple channels – but how to register, process and maybe use it one day is the challenge for all of us. For agents, this big, wide world of destination information comes from a range of sources that multiplies daily - but nothing comes close to first-hand knowledge. Committed agents should be positioning themselves as travel experts by posting articles, blogs, videos, photos, etc, about the various destinations, resorts and experiences they have had, whether gained from their own holidays, on an educational or even by attending information workshops. A line from one of those many emails I receive each day – I didn’t chronicle from whom – struck me: "Travel agents are now the most significant force in travel marketing and the value and experience they can provide is best communicated using long-form content marketing." Exactly! Alternatively, tell us your fam trip and travel experiences and we will feature them in Selling Travel for other agents to share. Enjoy this issue.






A Bluetooth travel speaker your smartphone for courtesy Destination of Canada. our WordsearchComplete

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150 not out

ROOMS WITH A VIEW Overnight choices with windows on Canada's unrivalled natural beauty


Explore the country's highways and national and provincial parks in an RV


From grizzlies to the Rocky Mountaineer, 10 'unmissable' experiences


Become a destination expert Look out for the Spring/Summer edition of Selling Canada which was distributed with this issue of Selling Travel. The biggest issue yet of our three-times-a-year review of Canada's many unique destinations

and tourism products is packed with features and news designed to help you sell more Canadian holidays. Look out for two extended pieces on (a) special hotels and resorts that offer a window onto the country's unrivalled scenery, and (b) how to see the wildlife and nature unfold from the comfort of an RV. And there's much, much more!

Titan’s Luxury River Cruise 2018 brochure is OUT NOW! Including 16 brand new 5* river cruise itineraries Introducing a unique collection of handpicked river cruise partners

Scenic | AmaWaterways | Uniworld | MS Volga Dream | Spirit of Chartwell

Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service included free on every Titan luxury river cruise

For more details please visit


events & festivals

reasons for seasons - events and experiences to shape a booking -

Tanabata Taking place on July 7 this year, Tanabata is a Japanese festival that encourages attendees to write wishes on paper and hang them on bamboo in the streets. The celebration takes place across Japan, but in the regions of Sendai and Hiratsuka the practice is especially revered.

Tour De France 2017 The world’s most famous cycling event takes place from July 1-23, starting in Düsseldorf in Germany (where else?) and concluding on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. Spectators can watch top athletes and take in the French scenery at many points in between, including the Pyrénées and Provence.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Calgary Stampede This nine-day event celebrates the Albertan capital's Wild West heritage. The Stampede involves musical performances and a variety of competitions, the most famous of which is its rodeo, which has $2,000,000 on the line. This summer's staging takes place July 7-16 2017.

Calling itself 'the world’s greatest platform for creative freedom', the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is unique due to the fact that its organisers have no effect on the programme – individual acts arrange their own times at venues, making it truly varied! August 4-8, 2017.

Festa de São João do Porto Portugal’s second-largest city will pay homage to John the Baptist on June 23-24, in a festival that combines holy reverence with partying. The event is capped off with fireworks at midnight, after which locals and visitors alike eat and drink until sunrise.



Seychelles in style


ly from four UK airports to the Seychelles via Qatar Airways’ hub in Doha and enjoy the perfect twin-centre holiday.

Start your clients’ journey with an unforgettable experience on Qatar Airways. Awaiting clients on board is award-winning service, comfortable seats and up to 3,000 in-flight entertainment options.

Food & Drink The Seychelles cuisine features an array of exciting and exotic flavours. Being an island nation, the key ingredient in most cooking is fish. Visitors can also experience Creole cooking on the Seychelles, and taste the tropical, coconut-infused cuisine. Some must-try local dishes include the barbecued red snapper or a delicious curry. Round off the day sampling some of the local drinks such as a dark Takamaka rum, or Calou a drink made from coconut sap used in many local dishes.

Beach life White sandy beaches and clear blue waters await visitors to the Seychelle’s glorious beaches. Those who love watersports will be at home with plenty of options available; divers and snorkellers may want to visit Aldabra, the world’s largest coral atoll. Guided dives are also available around the coral reefs. Alternatively, water sports range from island hopping cruises to jet skiing and water-skiing, or for a slower pace head out for a spot of fishing.

Nature & leisure On dry land there are numerous activities visitors can partake in including tennis, hiking and cycling. There are several well-marked hiking trails on the main island of Mahe and on Praslin. A visit to Vallee de Mai is also worth undertaking; the national park and UNSECO World Heritage site is home to a huge variety of flora and fauna and the largest plant seed in the world – the coco de mer.

Qatar Airways

Seychelles, Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove 5* 7 nights, Room & Breakfast From £1859 per person (Travel applies to selected departures in September & October 2017) SAVE UP TO £1492 PER COUPLE Tour Ref: IO0264 Flights based on Qatar Airways from Heathrow ***Book by 30th April*** ***Departures from Manchester, Birmingham & Edinburgh also available at a supplement***

Qatar Airways

Seychelles, Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa 5* 7 nights, Room & Breakfast From £1749 per person (Travel applies to selected departures in October 2017) SAVE UP TO £1494 PER COUPLE Tour Ref: IO0381 Flights based on Qatar Airways from Heathrow ***Book by 30th April*** ***Departures from Manchester, Birmingham & Edinburgh also available at a supplement***

Shopping in style

Luxury & comfort

There are various shopping outlets across the islands and most hotels have their own boutiques, but the best place to go shopping is the capital of Victoria. The city centre market is full of traders selling trinkets and locally made souvenirs such as jewellery or the well-known Coco de Mer - make sure the vendor provides an export certificate with the nut.

Qatar Airways Business Class is recognised as the world’s best, as awarded by Skytrax in 2016. It features a roomy cabin with plenty of space to work and relax, and a lie-flat seat to catch some sleep and wake up fully refreshed at your destination.

World-class service Passengers with Qatar Airways can enjoy a luxurious, world-class travel experience with Middle Eastern hospitality. Whether travelling in Economy, Business or First Class, passengers will enjoy spacious seats and personal space.

Exclusive dining The new age of airline dining revolves around you. Relish sumptuous cuisine designed by the best chefs in the world and savour expertly served exclusive vintages. An on-demand à la carte menu lets you enjoy mouth-watering dishes whenever you like in Business Class.

To book, please visit or call 0800 072 4454



sight and sound

show India is a land which serves up sensory overload ‘wow moments’, ranging from tiger spotting in the jungle to luxury train journeys fit for a king. It’s all there if you look, says Ben Lerwill



e were 90 minutes into a two-hour game drive and the afternoon sun was pounding down on the jungle ridges of Ranthambore National Park. Our jeep had stopped to spot a kingfisher in the canopy. We craned necks and mopped brows. Then it all happened. A nearby monkey call, a crash of branches, a crunch of tyres, a few seconds of hurtled acceleration, a whipped-up cloud of red dust. And finally, emerging through a mist of light in cinematic beauty, an adult tigress. Seeing a big cat in its natural environment is always a heady, visceral thrill. And when the creature in question is no more than 15 metres away – her jaws loose and her black-and-orange coat impossibly vivid against the pale mottled trunks of the scrubland – the experience is trip-defining. Ranthambore is one of India’s best known and most frequented wildlife parks, thanks largely to its proximity to the so-called Golden Triangle in the north of the country. It’s also at the forefront of tiger conservation efforts, regulating visitor numbers and splitting its reserve into different zones to limit overcrowding. It can still feel busy at times, but its crumbling temples, high cliffs and croc-patrolled waterholes make it a hugely atmospheric place to visit. We stick with the tigress for five minutes, following a parallel dirt track as she pads slowly down a dry river bed. Then the track runs out, and we watch as her powerful hind legs gradually melt into the hills. The smiles on the faces of my fellow jeep occupants say it all.

The wow factor The country’s kaleidoscopic onslaught of sights and sounds is rightly noted for its colour and intensity, and this year in particular gives good reasons to be putting the destination forward to clients. “The spotlight really is on India at the moment,” says Sue Livsey, Product Manager at Cox & Kings. “There are new films and TV series being shown – Viceroy’s House, Lion, Real

“Suggest something different to clients, like the family-friendly India volunteering trips offered by Volunteering Journeys. The company pays 10%commission” Ben Lerwill, Travel Writer

Marigold Hotel and Good Karma Hospital – and it’s also the 70th anniversary of independence. “People are drawn here by the vibrant cities, stunning scenery and national parks,” she continues. “You can take a luxury train journey, search for tigers, live like royalty or just enjoy the food. There’s something for everyone.” This diversity is a major part of India’s overall appeal. The country is the seventh largest in the world, and plays home to a cool 1.3 billion

people. From the Himalayan peaks of the north to the dreamy beaches of the south and from the heaving whirl of Delhi to the lake palaces of Udaipur, its sheer scale makes it notoriously hard to pigeon-hole as a destination. The introduction of tourist e-visas in late 2015 has made it far simpler to arrange a trip to the country, and resulted in an almost 12% leap in overall international tourist arrivals in the first year of its implementation. India tours with Wendy Wu are running at plus-50% year-on-year, with the most popular trip the classic nine-day Golden Triangle tour, visiting Delhi, the Taj Mahal and Jaipur. But the operator says the start of the year saw a spike in demand for Kerala with the Kerala and Southern Highlights tour running at 100% for bookings in 2017. Rob Goodwin, Cosmos Tours’ Head of Product commented: “With public awareness of India at an all-time high at the moment, we’ve seen a huge demand from customers wanting to experience the colour, culture and incredible wildlife of this amazing continent themselves.” Put simply, India is a country with countless faces. Package holidays to the palm-fringed beaches of Goa have become common, while elsewhere there are endless options for clients in search of heady travel thrills, from mighty temple complexes and thronging bazaars to ear-shattering festivals and heart-soaring mountain views. There’s arguably nowhere else on the planet to rival India’s renown for sensory overload – and it’s a reputation well deserved.




Perfect ten

“Highlights in South India include visiting the Brihadeshwara Temple in Tanjore and witnessing a Kalaripayattu performance in Thekakady. It’s believed to be the most ancient martial art form” MARK MALLINSON, ASSISTANT PRODUCT MANAGER ASIA, TRAVEL 2

See the Taj: It’s up there with the Pyramids and the Eiffel Tower as an instantly recognisable travel icon. And the Taj Mahal more than lives up to the hype – its grace and scale are exquisite. Visit the Pink City: Jaipur is a swarm of activity, full of camels, rickshaws and magnificent historical sites. As such, the capital city of Rajasthan is an essential stopover. Go to the cricket: Whether you’ve snagged tickets for a big Twenty20 match or you’re watching local hotshots smacking balls around a dusty park, try to make time for the country’s most popular sport. Eat and eat: Everyone’s tried Indian food, of course, but it’s only when you taste it at source that you grasp how vast the regional variety is. Drift through Kerala: Join a houseboat cruise along village-lined backwaters in the laid-back southern state of Kerala. Explore Varanasi: The so-called City of Light is one of the most colourful places in the country – which is saying something. It’s famous for its pilgrim-thronged ghats (steps) on the banks of the Ganges. Go camel crazy: Visit the Pushkar Camel Market, which takes place each November and draws some 200,000 Rajasthani herders in traditional dress. Unwind in Goa: Famous for everything from its long beaches to its yoga retreats, the one-time Portuguese enclave of Goa is a whirl of sun, sand and spicy seafood. Hit the heights: Venture to India’s far north to experience the valleys, monasteries and dizzying peaks of the mighty Himalayas.

Experience Mumbai: Home to Bollywood and India’s largest metropolis, the country’s most westernised city is a mass of showpiece landmarks, atmospheric bazaars and relentless crowds.

What’s new  Airlines: National carrier Air India (airindia. in) moved its operations at Heathrow to

Terminal 2 in January. It was announced in February that restrictions are to be eased on the number of flights between India and the UK. The move, which makes it possible for more flights to arrive into cities such as Chennai and Kolkata, is partly designed to boost tourism.  Hotels: This spring sees the full opening of the new Oberoi Sukhvilas Resort and Spa ( in 8,000 acres of protected natural forest in the foothills of the Outer Himalayas. Also new for 2017 are three Taj (tajhotels. com) properties: the Taj Swarna, which opened in Amritsar in January, the Taj Theog Resort & Spa, which is due to be unveiled in Shimla over the summer, and the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, which will open on

Above, left to right: The luxurious Maharajas’ Express train; Dusit Devarana hotel in Delhi; Alila Diwa Goa. Above: Diwan-i-Am, or Hall of Public Audience, at Agra Fort.. Left: Indian spices



the Andaman Islands in the autumn.  Operators: Travel 2 ( has a new Royal Retreats of South India tour, journeying overland from Chennai to Cochin. Great Rail Journeys ( has a 14-day Deccan Odyssey and Amritsar itinerary, including seven nights on board a luxury train. Cox & Kings ( has a new ninenight private tour, In The Viceroy’s Footsteps, to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian independence. Wendy Wu Tours ( has added three new India tours after reporting a 200% rise in interest in group tours to the country. Contiki ( has returned to India after 40 years with the 12-day Eternal India tour. Explore ( has launched a new 14-day Tribes & Wildlife of Gujarat itinerary, which gives the chance to spot Asiatic lions.  Events: India’s tourist board has announced the launch of a new international tourism fair. The four-day Incredible India Global Tourism Mart ( was originally planned for this, but has been postponed awaiting new dates.

Tourism talk “Visitor arrivals from the UK reached 941,550 last year – up from 867,601 in 2015 and we’re looking to further grow these numbers by inspiring return travellers. “Cultural heritage remains our strength, but we’ve also identified several niche products, including adventure tourism, wellness, MICE, cruising, eco-holidays and beach tourism. “India Tourism will be present at all of this year’s leading travel and tourism fairs, and we’ll also be organising business meetings, in the form of two road shows and five travel agent training seminars, focusing mainly on companies based in London, Birmingham, Dublin

and Manchester. We also hope to organise fam trips for the travel trade, and we’ll be exploring joint promotions with tour operators and trade partners. Our marketing initiatives will focus on showcasing authentic experiences, particularly the lesser-known destinations that are waiting to be discovered, such as North East India.” Mr C Gangadhar, Assistant Director, India Tourism UK

Where to book it  COSMOS TOURS & CRUISES –0800 440 2797 The 14-day Discover Southern India & Kerala itinerary is priced from £1,459pp, with highlights including a silk-weaving demonstration at Kanchipuram, a ‘Life of Pi’themed tour of Pondicherry, an introduction to Tamil cuisine, a Kerala backwaters cruise and a heritage tour of Kochi.

“Spotting a tiger is a huge attraction but choosing the right park requires firsthand ground knowledge – we’ve made it our mission to know how well each park is doing with respect to sightings” AMRIT SINGH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, TRANSINDUS  TRAVEL 2 – 0800 0224 182

A six-day independent tour of India’s Golden Triangle is from £929pp, valid for travel between May 1 and June 30 2017, including return flights from London and incorporating Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

 COX & KINGS – 020 3797 4936 The operator has a 13-day Indian Wildlife Odyssey small group tour from £2,595pp, with visits to the national parks of Satpura, Pench and Kanha as well as a sightseeing tour of Mumbai. Accommodation is four- and five-star throughout, and 10 wildlife safaris are included.  WHO FLIES THERE;;;;;;;;;;

Top Right: Tigers in Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh. Above: Dancing at sunset, Arambol beach in Goa Left: A colourfully dressed man in Pushkar, a prominent Hindu pilgrimage town in Rajasthan

how to sell


Santiago by Adam Coulter


antiago, Chile’s vibrant capital, is now more attractive than ever thanks to the recent launch of a direct British Airways flight. Adam Coulter checks it out. Why sell it? Santiago has just become a lot easier to sell, following the launch of British Airways’ direct flights (the first ever from the UK to Chile) in January. One tour operator is even offering the ultimate long weekend in the Chilean capital (See Book It below). Framed by the stunning backdrop of the Andes (on a clear day), Santiago is cheap, friendly and safe. The city's barrios (or neighbourhoods), each have their own distinctive character: funky Bellavista, where every doorway leads to a pub, bar or restaurant; trendy Larrastria, with its design hotels and shops; refined Barrio Londres-Paris, where you could be mistaken for thinking you are in one of those cities; bohemian Barrio Brasil, for great food; and bustling downtown, with its markets and street vendors. Culturally, it also punches above its weight with two of the best museums in South America –Museo Chileno de Arte Pre-Columbiano, which houses an impressive collection of artefacts from


ancient Central and South America; and the very moving Museum of Memories and Human Rights, which documents the abuses during General Pinochet's time as President. It's 40 years this since the publication of the book that revolutionised travel writing – In Patagonia, by Bruce Chatwin. Santiago lies less than three hours from Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego and Swoop Travel has launched a 14-night tour which retraces the author's footsteps.

Who to sell to?


Santiago is often overlooked for its more glamorous South American neighbours, Buenos Aires and Rio, and used mainly as a way of going up to the Atacama Desert or down to Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales in the south. But those who have ‘done’ other South American cities should love Santiago. And so will foodies: Chilean cuisine is finally getting the recognition it deserves with top restaurants including Boragó. Acclaimed Peruvian chef Emilio Peschiera, who also oversees cuisine

Santiago Essentials TIME ZONE: -3 hours VISAS: None LANGUAGE: Spanish but English is spoken in tourist areas. CURRENCY: Chilean Peso CONTACT: GET TING THERE: British Airways flies a B787-9 Dreamliner between

Heathrow and Santiago four times a week. BOOK IT: Last Frontiers has an ‘ultimate long weekend’ trip that takes advantage of Santiago's three-hour time difference with the UK. Hop on the 22.00 BA flight from Heathrow on Friday, arrive

at 09.40 (local time) on Saturday, leave at 18.45 on Monday evening, and return to Heathrow at 12.05 on Tuesday. The trip is priced from £1,295pp and includes flights, transfers, B&B, a guided city tour and private cookery class.

on Chilean cruise line Australis, is opening a restaurant in the city called Carneros. And try street food like the delicious empanadas (a bit like mini-Cornish pasties); Pastel de Choclo, a pie filled with beef, onions, chicken, olives and a boiled egg and covered with dough made of fresh corn; and Humitas, a typical Andean food made from fresh ground corn. Usually wrapped in corn husks, the Chilean version is normally baked or boiled. Anyone with even a passing interest in wine will love the wine tours on offer, including to the biggest manufacture of wine in the Latin America – Concha y Toro, which is accessible by metro and taxi from the city centre. Santiago is also perfect for a twin-centre with a number of other South American countries, Argentina being the nearest: the highway which leaves the city and crosses into Argentina's Mendoza Valley is spectacular.

Top sellers Take the funicular up to the top of Cerro San Cristobal, where you'll get a bird's eye view of the city – and the mountains beyond. At its foot lies local poet Pablo Neruda's house La Chascona, which he started to build in 1953. Today it is a museum and reflects the spirit of many of his poems with a fairy-tale like design. There's no better way to get the pulse of this city than by strolling the counters stacked high with glistening fresh fish then grabbing a lunch in El Mercado Central, Santiago’s most famous market situated in a neoclassical wrought-iron building. Its design was influenced by Gustave Eiffel. 



time island

Diving with whale sharks, exploring untouched whitesand beaches and touring local villages, the 7,000-strongislands that comprise the Philippines offer a wealth of memorable experiences, says Karl Cushing



t’s early morning and the sun is already East Product Manager, Cox & Kings. getting strong as I skim over the clear, Other strengths include a tropical climate calm waters of Bacuit Bay. I’m in an old yielding an average yearly temperature of outrigger heading from El Nido en route to around 26C. November-May marks peak the first of the day’s stops: Helicopter Island. season and June-October the rainy season. Excited chatter fills the boat, competing with Operators upping capacity include Intrepid the high-pitched whine of the disgruntledTravel which, on the back of rising demand, has sounding engine. The jagged limestone outcrops increased the number of departures of its two that characterise this archipelago unfold Philippines trips from 12 last year to 17 for 2017. before us as the driver seeks out the next While most aim to get out into the countryside idyllic cove to dole out the snorkelling gear. and islands as quickly as possible, those Enchanting names transiting through the such as Secret Beach and colourful capital Manila, Hidden Beach are a nod to “We recommend visiting with its iconic Jeepneys secluded locations which in April as there tends to and old Spanish-built bask beneath towering centre, Intramuros, would be the least amount of jungle-strewn outcrops, do well to linger a while. rainfall and temperatures and offer some of the most From Manila, many travel remain in the 30s” scenic swimming spots north by road to the ancient you’ll find anywhere. On lush-green, rice terrace-lined REBECCA TURNER, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER ASIA AND AUSTRALIA, GOLD MEDAL mountains around Banaue, Matinloc Island a steady climb reveals wondrous in North Luzon, hiking views back across the bay, home to everything or touring around local villages. Other Luzon from whales to sea cows and manta rays. highlights include the Cordillera Mountains, It’s no surprise that the laid-back resort of Mount Pinatubo and Sagada, while scenic Echo El Nido on the northern tip of Palawan Island Valley is famous for its Hanging Coffins. has gained an almost messianic following. To the south, Cebu City is a jumping-off point “For us it’s all about El Nido at the for travelling to Loboc and the popular Chocolate moment,” says Rachel Gleave, Asia Product Hills on Bohol Island. Bohol is also home to the Manager for Turquoise Holidays Philippines Tarsier Sanctuary which protects “There’s incredible limestone karsts, azure the local tarsier monkey, the world’s smallest. hidden coves accessible only by kayak and Boracay remains the best-known and powder-soft, and untouched white-sand beaches best-equipped resort island, with its mix which top the scale by miles for natural beauty of tourist-friendly nightlife, great choice of but without the tourists in comparison to the likes accommodation and paradisical sandy strips of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and Phang Nga Bay such as White Beach, the country’s most famous. in Thailand. Accommodation is not big and shiny The long and thin westernly Palawan has here, although Pangulasian Island is our favourite.” been rising in popularity in recent years. El Nido and Bacuit aside, Palawan is known Numbers rising for its jungly interior, stunning coastline With such a surfeit of stunning scenery, eyeand extensive coral reefs offering excellent boggling beaches and marine life-rich reefs diving and snorkelling. It’s even serviced by it’s a mystery why the Philippines doesn’t lure more Brits away from the well-worn charms of its South East Asian rivals – although UK visitor numbers did grow by more than 20% from January to March 2016. As Rebecca Turner, Senior Product Manager Asia and Australia for Gold Medal, says: “The Philippines are great for a beach holiday because there are more than 7,000 islands and a coastline twice the length of the USA, with bright white sands and warm seas.” Her recommendations include twinning the four-star Hotel Jen in Manila Bay with beach time at fellow Shangri-La properties Mactan Resort & Spa or the Boracay Resort & Spa. “When people think of the Philippines they often think of just a beach destination, especially Boracay, but there is much more to the country and we recommend visiting Above: the tiny tarsier is an odd looking primate but one of the most popular attractions in Bohol several islands,” said Neill Prothero, Far




Coron, Palawan

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airports, in El Nido and Puerto Princesa. Other popular Palawan stops include Sabang for hiking, mangrove tours and interactions with local Batak tribesfolk, although boat trips along its Underground River are the star draw. More watery wonders await at Lake Kayangan and Barracuda Lake on Coron Island, with its spectacular underwater rock formations, or the Twin Lagoons with their spectacular craggy outcrops and marine life. While many tourists give the southern island of Mindanao a swerve on account of security concerns, its small satellite islands remain popular. Siargao, for example, is a lively surfing spot with lessons freely available, and Camiguin lures in visitors with its excellent diving and nature hikes amid the unspoilt, lush volcanic interior. Exclusive getaway options include Huma Island Resort & Spa ( on Dicilingan Island, off Busuanga, while exclusive Ariara Island (, which is booked out on a private basis, caps occupancy at 18. The Farm at San Benito ( near Manila offers both spa and golf. Responsible tourism initiatives include G Adventures’ new G Adventures for Good community project in Maribojoc on Bohol Island, used on its Yolo trips.

Perfect five

Dusit International ( Products under Island life: Swim and snorkel as you development include dusitD2 The Fort, Manila; island hop around the Bacuit Archipelago Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort, on Kopiat off northern Palawan. Island, opening later Go green: Nail this year; and dusitD2 “Luzon is home to Spanish Resort, San Juan which the perfect picture while hiking colonial heritage, the Banaue will open in 2019 in around the spectacular rice terraces and Manila. The the new Waves Beach rice terraces of Banaue in Club development in the waters off Cebu Island are Northern Luzon. surfing hotspot of San great places to sport whales, Juan, in Northern Luzon. Monkey dolphins and whale sharks” business: Grab a Over on Boracay the selfie with a miniature big news is the recent NEILL PROTHERO, FAR EAST PRODUCT MANAGER, COX & KINGS monkey at the Tarsier opening of Aqua Boracay Sanctuary. Then gaze at by YOO ( the Chocolate Hills of Bohol. Festival frolics: Time your trip to take in Tourism talk “The Philippines offers a mix of idyllic the spectacular week-long Ati-Atihan beach resorts and fascinating heritage festival, a kind of Philippines mardi gras held each and culture, such as the UNESCO World January. Scale new heights: Hike or climb one of Heritage-listed rice terraces. Our 2017 Faraway the many lofty peaks such as Taal Volcano, brochure features several new Philippines hotels, Mount Caglago or the perfectly formed Mount with two on Panglao Islands. These are the Mayon. recently refurbished Bohol Beach Club, which resides alongside a private beach, and What’s new Henann Alona Beach Resort, which offers a  Hotels: New high-end openings in the relaxing vibe and is the biggest resort on the capital include the stunningly ship-shaped island. Conrad Manila ( “The others are located on Palawan. index.html) and Shangri-La Hotel at The Fort Club Paradise is an exclusive island resort hotel (,with Grand in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with exhilarating Hyatt Manila set to open in the second diving sites, while Two Seasons Coron is an ecoquarter ( friendly haven just a boat ride from Coron Town.” Hotel chains growing a presence include David Carlaw, Head of Faraway Product, Premier

Where to book it  TURQUOISE HOLIDAYS – 01494 678400 A 13-night tour which starts with three nights in Singapore followed by five nights at Shangri-La, Boracay, and then five nights at Pangulasian Island is priced from £3,999pp including flights from Heathrow and transfers.

 INTREPID TRAVEL – 0808 2745111 The 11-day Philippine Discovery costs from £1,195pp (excluding international flights) for departures from MarchDecember 2017. Highlights include a three-day trek through the rice fields, forests and local villages of Northern Luzon and a two-day trek to Mt Pinatubo. 

Clockwise from top left: Kayaking amongst the azure waters and limestone peaks of Palawan; the bright lights of capital city Manila; smiling local children; pork adobo is a classic Philippines dish



The Netherlands - Mini-breaks in Amsterdam and beyond -


asy to reach for a short break, the Netherlands has plenty to enjoy beyond Amsterdam, tulips and Holland, says Stuart Forster

Amsterdam, of course, has long been a popular city break destination. A survey conducted in 2014 revealed that 82% of UK travellers to the country visited the city. Delft and The Hague were the next most popular destinations. Ever-popular cultural attractions — such as the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Ann Frank House — play a role in Amsterdam being an evergreen city break option. Canal tours, along with a choice of cosy bars and restaurants (including those serving easy-to-share Indonesian rijsttafel feasts) make it a viable and easy-to-book romantic getaway. Thanks to good rail connections and short journey times to Amsterdam, nearby cities are an increasingly attractive option for overnights. For example, staying in Haarlem, just 15 minutes by train, means visitors can also stroll to the local De Adriaan windmill for a 45-minute guided tour, or stagger back after a tasting in the Jopen Brewery, a former church. Leiden, a city of canals and cobbled streets 35 minutes away, is regarded as the birthplace of the influential De Stijl art and design movement.



To celebrate De Stijl’s centenary, exhibitions and events are being held across the country as part of Mondrian to Dutch Design ( Artist Piet Mondrian’s

birthplace, the Mondrian House Museum (, reopened in Amersfoort last month, introducing state-of-the-art multimedia. Even the pavilions of the Keukenhof Gardens ( at Lisse have a De Stijl-inspired theme this year. Many Brits talk about heading to Holland, not the Netherlands. That’s correct if it’s a journey to Amsterdam (in the province of North Holland), or to Rotterdam (South Holland), the city whose iconic Markthal — a market hall whose arched ceiling bears the world’s largest artwork — is now instrumental in tempting visitors. The Netherlands itself consists of 12 provinces, just as the UK has four countries. If you take a weekend break in Maastricht, you’d actually be spending time in the province of Limburg not Holland. In Friesland, in the Netherlands’ northeast, many people communicate in Frisian, an officially recognised language. Linguists rate it as the closest in the world to English. Leeuwarden, Friesland’s capital, was the birthplace of Margaretha Zelle, who achieved infamy under her stage name, Mata Hari. The Fries Museum (meaning 'Frisian Museum') tells the story of the woman who was shot for spying a century ago and will unveil a major exhibition

about her on October 14. In the meantime, visit on King’s Day (April 27) a day marked by street fairs and live music.

GETTING THERE KLM ( flies to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol from airports around the UK. Rail travel with Voyages-sncf (, from London St Pancras, involves taking the Eurostar to Brussels then transferring to onwards services heading to the likes of Amsterdam (four hours 45 mins), Rotterdam (four hours) and Utrecht (five hours). 


KIRKER HOLIDAYS – 020 7593 1899

The five-night Art Galleries of the Netherlands tour includes visits to The Hermitage and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Maurithuis (home of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring) in The Hague, plus the Kröller-Müller Museum in Hoge-Veluwe National Park. Prices from £1,560pp, with flights, entrance fees, three dinners and the services of a lecturer.


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-INSPIRED BY YOUThe stuff that happens when agents get involved...

Qatar hits the road in the UK SPOTLIGHT ON...

QATAR Tourism Authority (QTA) hosted over 60 agents at its London Roadshow Event last month (pictured). The QTA has been out on the road with Qatar Airways and hotel partners, also visiting Edinburgh and Manchester. The evenings at each venue featured an interactive quiz event Following the launch of a new 96-hour stopover visa programme, visiting Qatar is more appealing than ever. The Gulf country is positioning itself as an exciting 'new' destination that has plenty to appeal to those looking for more than just a stopover.

lebrity A night out with Ce CELEBRITY Cruises' spring campaign provides agents with the chance to win £200 towards a team night out as well as Celebrity Reward points for every booking. The luxury cruise line is also sending out agent-dedicated selling guides to help maximise sales and rewards throughout the campaign. For a chance

to win agents need to post an ‘all-inclusive’ themed photo of their team to the Celebrity Travel Agents Facebook page. A winning agency was picked last month and another will be chosen in April. Claire Stirrup, Director of Sales, UK & Ireland, said: “As many people are now booking their 2017 summer holiday, we wanted

oducts llection pr o C la il V New

THE Villa Collection has added the Caribbean, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Director Andrea Lovering says: “We have a substantial number of properties on our website, but have access to many thousands more.” Additionally a £250 House of Fraser voucher is up for grabs for one agent to win a spring shopping spree. Agents receive one entry for bookings made during March and April.

to make sure our frontline agents are armed with top tips and all the information they need in one place with the new selling guide. "As always we are keen to reward agents for their continued support." Agents signed up to Celebrity Rewards earn up to 1,000 Celebrity Rewards points (£10) for each booking.

Contents 22-23 Idaho fam trip 24 Been There, Done That 26 Barbara Charlton 27 On Location: Turks & Caicos 28 Selling Travel Dialogue Botswana


PRINCESS Cruises’ sales team announced its 2017 ship visit programme will be its biggest ever with 23 day visits across nine UK ports. It runs between April 18 and September 22 and will see almost 800 agents experience onboard entertainment, lunch and a chance to explore. Sign up at


BARRHEAD Travel reports a 20% increase in bookings during the first six weeks of the year, compared with the same period last year. The company said the rise was down to ‘savvy holidaymakers’ on the hunt for early value-for-money offers. Barrhead’s chief executive, Sharon Munro says its new training academy also helped fuel the risinfg demand.

Keep in mind...




– 12 April SELLING TRAVEL DESTINATION DIALOGUE Learn more about New South Wales, Australia, at our Selling Travel Dialogues in Glasgow and Leeds. Discover how to sell this top Aussie destination over some nibbles and drink. And pay attention – some great prizes will also be up for grabs on each evening!

– 27 April DESTINATION CANADA ROADSHOW The Keep Exploring Quiz will stop in Brighton, Newcastle, Glasgow and Chester. Join Destination Canada and its Canadian partners like Rocky Mountaineer, Fairmont Hotels and Insight Vacations for a fun night. One lucky agent will win a holiday for two to Canada.

More online at


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O N L O C AT I O N Idaho

Idaho: jewels aplenty in the Gem State




Tucked away in the northwest corner of the U.S. – and with a capital city, Boise, whose name many struggle to pronounce – Idaho can get overlooked in favour of its better-known neighbours.

But that's something the state's tourism chiefs are intent on changing, starting with an enhanced programme of educationals under sales reps AVIAREPS UK. A recent fam trip for European and Australasian partners was designed to highlight the fabulous winter sports options available in the 'Gem State'. Participants headed to Boise (pronounced 'Boy-see') before heading up to the mountains for a chance to take on the slopes in one of America's rawest, most unspoilt wilderness areas.

TELL ME MORE Idaho is located in the northwest U.S. and is bordered by six U.S. states – Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada and Utah – as well as British

Columbia to the north.It offers a great variety of winter and summer outdoor activities for all ages – these include white-water rafting, ranching experiences, Native American culture, biking, golf, wineries and exciting winter sports. Access is easy from the UK. Onestop flights are available via San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, and Chicago. The state has six regional 'gateway' airports: Lewiston, Pocatello/Arbon Valley, Hailey (Sun Valley), Idaho Falls, Boise and Twin Falls.

WHAT'S GOING ON? "Idaho is a state to suggest to clients looking for an authentic American adventure far away from crowded places and all the well-known fast food chains," explained AVIAREPS UK Account Executive Nadia Falchi.

"It's still a hidden gem and there are many operators who are not familiar with the destination. Our first step to market Idaho in the UK is to create awareness among the operators and generate interest. "We're intent on offering our support to create itineraries so suppliers can help their clients discover the destination. "Experiencing the destination firsthand is the best way to understand why we love Idaho so much! We are included in Brand USA’s Mega Fam trip this spring, where travel agents will enjoy some of the best activities the state offers."

THE TRIP After a night at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, the fam guests headed to the mountain resort town of Sun Valley, enjoying a whirlwind of winter sports, outdoors activities and pampering.


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Did You Know?...


Idaho's nickname is the Gem State, because of the abundance of different stones found there. The state produces 72 types of precious and semi-precious gems; some cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Boise has the largest Basque population in the U.S. with more than 15,000 who claim Basque ancestry. Learn about their history


and traditions at the Basque Museum and Cultural Center. The city hosts a large Basque festival, known as Jaialdi, every five years. Got clients who love to relax? Idaho has 340 hot springs, of which 130 are 'soakable' . Hells Canyon, which straddles Idaho's border with Oregon, is the deepest river WINE TASTING AT COILED WINES, GARDEN CITY, BOISE

Memorable experiences on the fam included a night at Sun Valley Lodge – a favourite of author Ernest Hemingway and Hollywood A-listers Clark Gable, Errol Flynn and Marilyn Monroe – an elk feeding tour and sleigh ride in Donnelly; snowshoeing at Brundage Mountain; tubing at Bogus Basin; a soak in the hot springs at Idaho City; and sampling locally-produced wine in Boise (Idaho is home to more than 50 wineries, with more on the horizon).

THE PARTICIPANTS Pam Roper, The Unpackaged Travel Company, said: "I knew very little about the destination but the range of activities and the stunning scenery took me by surprise. "I loved Sun Valley, it was upmarket yet low-key and quiet. "One of my best memories is of


bathing in the outdoor thermal pools at Idaho City. "All my trips are tailor-made and many are to less well-known destinations. Idaho is perfect for older active clients, but also suitable for families with teenage children, and honeymooners." Dominic Hodson of Purely America suggests Idaho would suit any client interested in the 'real America' and the great outdoors. "Yellowstone is always the most frequently asked-for attraction in the area and it would be very easy to include Idaho in a Wyoming/ Montana itinerary, " he said. For Dominic skiing at Brundage and tasting some of Idaho's wines provided the highlights of his trip. "At Brundage we had great powder snow. I enjoyed sampling products from different wineries in the same building, in downtown Boise. "

gorge in North America. (2,436m).

Shane Nelson of America Travel Australia said: “Idaho has never been on my bucket list, however after seeing Sun Valley/McCall and the proximity of the local airport at Ketchum I have educated our staff to recommend Idaho as an alternate destination to the 'traditional' ski/ summer season U.S. destinations.” Carly Gordon of Sky Travel Company Australia said: “Idaho is a beautiful state and has many things to offer. There is something for everyone." * For information on Idaho email Nadia at: NFalchi@ See also: ID AH O TO




Shoshone Falls on Snake River are often called the 'Niagara of the West' – but at 65 metres they are actually higher than their better-known counterpart. Idaho has more than 3,000 miles of whitewater rivers, making it perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Only Alaska has more. U.S. magazine Golf Digest named the Coeur D’Alene Resort Golf Course as 'America's most beautiful'. It features the world's only floating green.




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BEEN THERE done that

Riviera goes Dutch with ships

Riviera christens two new ships RIVIERA TRAVEL welcomed its two new five-star river cruise ships for 2017, the MS Thomas Hardy and the MS Emily Brontë, at a ceremony in Amsterdam. Christina Astill from Go-Cruise and Tracey Scales from Travel Counsellors - pictured with the ship captains and Riviera management – officially christened the ships in their roles as the two godmothers, following a competition for travel agents. Both agents were flown out to Amsterdam to carry out the time-honoured tradition of smashing Champagne bottles against the ships’ hulls, before enjoying a three-course meal and entertainment on board. Each of the new ships accommodate up to 169 passengers with 44 in-house trained staff. A

BRIGHT start fo

r 2017

FIFTY independent travel agents from 18 agencies and homeworkers attended the first 2017 workshop of BRIGHT, (Bringing Real Information & Guaranteed High Quality Training) in Bath. New BRIGHT members African Pride and Exodus are pictured meeting independent agents from Wotton Travel.


Scenic rewards agents SCENIC Cruises rewarded agents who went the extra mile in promoting Scenic holidays. Scenic arranged an office pizza delivery and also handed out 'pamper packages' and double River Rewards points. Pictured from left: Rosie Weir, Poppy Ellis, Gemma Wyncoll, Lucy Hone (Scenic Cruises), Lee Mulligan, Caroline Pickles and Lauren Welton. THE Destination Canada and Destination Québec fam trip group are pictured in Saint Sauveur, hosts of Tourisme Laurentides in the Laurentians region of Québec. Pictured are: Adam Hanmer (Destination Canada), Nick Edwards (Snowfinders), David Smith (Crystal Ski Holidays), Denise Scott (Skibound Limited), Tomos Cross (Trailfinders), James Williamson (Inghams), Karen Moodie (Ski Independence) and Boyd Duczynski ( B MAURITIUS Tourism and Promotion Authority (MTPA) hosted its Mauritian United Members event at All Star Lanes in Holborn, A

London. Pictured from left: Caroline Maincent (MTPA), Claire Hughes (Lotus Group), Pete Brudenell (Kenwood Travel) and Sarah McGlynne (LUX Resorts). C STACEY Turland (left) from East of England Co-Op Travel, Burnham on Crouch, Essex, won a three-night break to Iceland through a SuperBreak incentive. To enter agents needed to show 'proactive promotion of SuperBreak products'. SuperBreak’s Business Development Manager Donna Smithson presented Stacey with a bottle of bubbles.



FA C E T O FA C E 26

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Barbara Charlton

  01403 276684

From Dorset to Cordoba “Córdoba's Jewish quarter has many places to enjoy tapas, wine and sherry"

WITH spring in the air and the hectic peak booking season behind us, I've been taking the time to explore new places and hotels at home and away. It is not just me that benefits from these trips, my colleagues and clients do too. My first excursion was to the Red Carnation-owned Summer Lodge in Dorset. We arrived at this beautiful hotel in the tiny village of Evershot, south of Yeovil, just two hours after leaving Sussex – the perfect driving time for a short break. The staff were amazingly helpful, especially the valet, Peter. The hotel is a short stroll to the Acorn Inn and we enjoyed walking to Deer Park for great views over the countryside. It’s not too far to the Jurassic Coast either. If you have discerning clients who want a village setting but don't want to be tied to driving around sightseeing, Summer Lodge is perfect.

MY NEW LOVE Then my husband and I set off to what is now my favourite short haul city destination: Córdoba in Andalucía. We flew into Seville, picked up a car and drove just over two hours on empty and easy roads. But if your clients don’t want to drive, suggest they fly into Malaga and take the train, which takes 75 minutes. Córdoba has a wonderful historic centre which is largely traffic free, flat, potted with cobbled streets and looked over by the magnificent Mosque Cathedral and Alcázar of Córdoba. We stayed at the immaculate Hospes Palacio del Bailío, a former palace which is quirky in design and even has its own Roman ruins under the glass floor of the restaurant. The staff were all superb and very friendly. From the hotel it's a 15-minute walk to the Mosque Cathedral and the river, with its Roman bridge

Beautiful Cordoba bed. Not all rooms have balconies, and riverside cafés. After a day of so recommend the fourth floor if exploring we returned to enjoy your clients want rooms with a the hotel’s Roman baths followed view. We had the opportunty to by a fabulous massage by the see a show at the Royal Andalucian outdoor pool, in a courtyard of real School of Equestrian Art in Jerez tranquillity, with birdsong and the delicious scent of orange trees which well worth the 200-mile round-trip are everywhere in the city and feature in local drinks “Sadly, I didn't win and desserts.


the Inghams Cake Off, but I had a great day”

Our second destination was the unique Parador de Carmona, an historic hilltop fort 30 minutes from Seville. It looks out over the plains, which seemed to change colour as the sun rose, moved and set. Carmona is a hillside white town and the Parador is set right on the edge of it, with plenty of bird chirps and goat bells filling the air. We ate at local tapas bars for lunch and the Parador’s excellent restaurant in the evening before My Matterhor n cake for Inghams retiring to - five tiers; three fl our antique avours! four-poster

from Carmona and an excuse to cruise onto Cadiz for lunch by the seaside. At this time of year there are not that many shows each month, so if your clients would love to see these amazingly trained horses and riders, check it out in advance for them. I have lots to tell clients about this month, so look out for my travel blogs on our Facebook page and website!


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EDEN Luxury Collection's Gaynor Atherton recalls some fabulous experience on a memorable fam trip to the Turks and Caicos (TCI).

WHY DID YOU GO? I joined Eden in October and my Caribbean knowledge needs improving, so when I was asked if I wanted to attend this fam trip I was over the moon!

HOW DID YOU PREPARE? I did a little bit of research on the TCI Tourist Board's website and read up on the hotels and the areas I would be visiting. Although the information on websites and in brochures is good, as we all know in the travel industry, there is nothing like experiencing a destination first hand!

ANY TIPS? Make sure you sell the right hotel to your clients – a lot of the properties have an Americanised feel to them so if you have anyone looking for traditional Caribbean you need to be careful what you recommend.

WHO TO SELL TO? Couples and families, and perhaps clients who love Florida but would like an alternative beach destination with a little history and culture.

FAVOURITE PROPERTY? Grace Bay Resort is a fantastic property with something for everyone. It has the main hotel which is adults only, villa suites which are family focused, private standalone villas and The Estate for a luxurious experience!



TRIP HIGHLIGHTS? Rum tasting, seeing the 'super moon' at Parrot Cay and stargazing at Amanyara after the most delicious seafood and steak BBQ in one of the villas were just a few!



I really knew nothing about the T&Cs so this trip has given me the confidence to talk to my clients and make the right recommendations. Experiencing a destination first hand enables you to talk about it truthfully and with confidence.

FINAL VERDICT? The trip was very well organised and gave the group a good mix of hotel visits, from boutique to five-star luxury. We were very well looked after by the tourist board. It was a great group and we all had a lot of fun on the trip – I always find that helps you remember the destination so much better!





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Botswana goes wild in Liverpool

The Malmaison Liverpool hotel played host to a Selling Travel Dialogue evening with Botswana Tourism earlier this month, an event that saw Botswana Tourism interacting with over 40 agents. The Southern African destination, with its unique wildlife-watching opportunities, is the perfect place for travellers to discover their wild side.

THE EVENT Hosted by Dawn Wilson, UK Representative at Botswana Tourism, the evening included an in-depth presentation on Botswana’s key areas and attractions as well as an informative Q&A session. THE DETAILS Agents discovered more about Botswana’s prolific wildlife and game reserves – from Chobe National Park, which has the largest elephant population in Africa (60,000) and big herds of Cape buffalo, to the Okavango Delta with its 40 species of large mammals. Most of Botswana's unique

wildlife draws are aimed at the luxury end of the market but the premium prices do not put off dedicated wildlife lovers, said John Walker of Trailfinders. “Our feedback shows us that those who visit the country experience a high percentage of memorable animal sightings and experiences." For a country with such diverse fauna, it is no surprise that game drives or walks are the most popular activity, but the country’s indigenous populace also provides unforgettable cultural experiences, while its ultra-private five-star lodges are a dream for star-gazers. Agents learned 'insider tips' about Botswana. For example, although the easiest way to get around is by air, visitors should be reminded to pack light due to weight restrictions on the light aircraft. Teresa Williams of Hays Travel, said: “It was lovely to see Dawn's passion and enthusiasm for the destination, and to gain her insight into Botswana's key areas.” The evening's Q&A session impressed the tourism board. Said

Wilson: "For me the best part of the evening is when those present ask questions. It is always a challenge as you never know what they will ask - and it also shows me if I have shared as much knowledge as I could.”

THE PRIZES Prizes were handed out throughout the evening, including Botswana goody bags and 10 Hotel Chocolat gift boxes. To win a prize, agents had to answer spot questions THE CONCLUSION Botswana is not only one of the world's top wildlife-viewing destinations but is also one of the safest. Added Wilson: "I was very happy with the engagement from agents. "Everyone was switched on and it was good to see so many participating in the the spot questions. "I think these kept them all awake!”







From St Augustine to the Keys Florida’s touristfriendly destinations are still reinventing the ‘fun factor’ says Jeannine Williamson

he large sign states a 10mph limit, but as I pedal into the warm headwind and the tyres on my bright-yellow bicycle dig into the sand there’s no danger of being caught for speeding. While the notice is meant for cars sharing the same stretch of beach, it’s such a novelty to be cycling along the shoreline and I can’t help but smile, even when I’m overtaken by early-morning power walkers. A drive or cycle on the sand is a ‘must-do’ attraction in New Smyrna Beach, a quiet, less-explored corner of Florida. Even though Mickey Mouse and his cartoon chums are little more than an hour away, I feel as if I have stepped into a completely different world. Centred on the 13-mile sweep of unspoilt Atlantic coast and Indian River, and despite what its name might imply, New Smyrna Beach is Florida’s second oldest city after St Augustine. Our hotel is on Flagler Avenue, New Smyrna Beach’s main street lined with pastel-coloured buildings, small shops

and independent restaurants. The next day we walk over the bridge leading to the barrier island forming the other half of the city, where the focal point is Canal Street. We stop for a coffee at the Little Drug Company, another time-warp setting with its retro soda fountain. This is a destination where the majority of experiences are natural rather than manmade, and on a tranquil boat trip along the Indian River lagoons we pass flocks of pelicans perched in trees and dolphins carving a graceful arc past dense mangroves. At Dunes Park, where a two-mile boardwalk circles 250 acres of sand dunes, we spot a large gopher tortoise, the only breed native to North America. Later, all that remains are tracks. New Smyrna Beach was recently added to Funway Holidays’ offer and Malcolm Davies, Destination Product Manager, said: “We have already taken bookings, so it’s a hot prospect for us. It’s also a very convenient destination for the Kennedy Space Center as a local side attraction.”

Easy sell The thrill of Orlando’s theme parks remain a key draw for many of the one-million-plus Brits who visit Florida every year, and the ever-evolving destination has plenty of new reasons for agents to warm to the Sunshine State. This year’s hot news includes May’s opening of Volcano Bay, Universal Orlando’s third theme park. Spanning 30 acres, the water park includes sandy beaches, a peaceful winding river and white-knuckle water slides dropping from the top of the centerpiece volcano. Agents can provide clients with great deals by selling money saving cards such as the Florida Attractions Collection. It offers meal deals and discounted experiences like airboat rides and dolphin trips, and can be purchased through Do Something Different, Attraction World and other add-on suppliers. Away from family-orientated theme parks, there are historic towns and interesting places that provide the opportunity to sell to couples


A South Beach Icon, Reimagined… Experience elevated comfort and sophisticated style at the newly redesigned Loews Miami Beach Hotel! Located in the heart of South Beach’s vibrant Art Deco District, the renowned, oceanfront resort recently completed an exciting $50 million renovation. From the spectacular new lobby showcasing commissioned works of art, to beautifully transformed guestrooms, an enhanced pool deck with direct beach access new dining options, a state-of-the-art Kids Club and more, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy.


001 800 235 6397


Chain Code: LZ

UK_Selling_Travel.indd 1 Untitled-1 1

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1/26/2017 3:49:43 PM 06/02/2017 08:48

A full day starts with a wide-open schedule.


Islandology is our way of life. It’s a peaceful morning hunting seashells under a blue sky. It’s an afternoon sunning on smooth white sand and spotting dolphins. It’s everything that leads from one refreshing island to another. Let our Islandology be your clients’ satisfaction. Learn more about Southwest Florida at

Register for our new online training course at



and adult groups. Daytona, famous for its race track, has opened a new chapter in its history following a multi-billion dollar investment in hotels and tourism. It has also launched the Daytona Beach Expert agent training programme, a first in the UK for the destination. The Florida Keys, a 125-mile-long island chain, is continuing to unveil new accommodation options and is an ideal recommendation for repeat clients. Andrew Bird, Director at Purely America, said: “The Florida Keys is an easy sell as it has something for every age and interest, from diving and swimming in the crystal clear waters with dolphins to partying the night away in Key West. This unique destination is rich in arts and culture, and it’s great for a relaxing, laid-back getaway.”

Perfect ten Lift-off lunch: Dine with an astronaut at the Kennedy Space Center, listen to their stories and have your photo taken. Get sporty: In Tampa watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers American football team, Tampa Bay Rays baseball team or Tampa Bay Lightning ice hockey side. Scottish heritage: Discover a wee corner of Scotland in Dunedin. Each April there’s a Celtic festival and highland games. Winning form: Do a behind-the-scenes tour at a stud farm in the horse county of Ocala. Many national champions start life here. Shell seekers: Get up early and adopt the ‘Sanibel stoop’ to hunt for glistening shells washed up daily at Sanibel, renowned as one of the world’s best shelling beaches. Go Greek: The sponge diving town of Tarpon Springs is home to the largest number of Greeks in the U.S. and the streets are lined with tempting tavernas. Marvellous murals: Street art has exploded in St Petersburg and the Saturday morning Mural Walking Tour takes in


more than 30 amazing works, including one depicting British 60s style icon Twiggy. Paddle through history: Rent a canoe or go out with a guide in the lush tropical forest of Hillsborough River State Park, one of Florida’s first state parks. Winterland: A trendy winter getaway in the 1880s, Winter Park is a culturepacked city where the Charles Hosmer Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Tiffany glass. At the Seaside: Pretty pastel-coloured homes and a whitewashed post office are some of the sights in this picture postcard New Urbanist beach town on the Gulf Coast.

What’s new  Airlines: From July 6 British Airways ( will operate three weekly Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale flights. On September 1 Aer Lingus (aerlingus.

com) launches its first-ever Dublin-Miami

route with three weekly flights.  Attractions: Walt Disney World’s ( new Avatar-inspired land, Pandora, opens this year, the largest expansion in Animal Kingdom’s history. New for the popular Legoland Florida Resort ( is the interactive Ninjago ride. This summer Kissimmee’s Fun Spot America park ( unveils the only wooden rollercoaster of its kind in the southeast U.S., while SeaWorld ( debuts its Kraken, a virtual coaster experience.  Tour operators: Carrier ( has a new 14-night Florida Family Favourites fly-drive itinerary taking in Orlando, Sarasota and Palm Beach. Previous page: Jumping for joy at New Smyrna Beach on the east coast of Florida. Above: Viewing Shamu the killer whale underwater at SeaWorld Orlando

The MANTA RAY INN is a home away from home! With one- and two-bedroom oceanfront apartments, this charming inn offers panoramic views of South Florida's best sandy beach Recommended by Fodor’s - winner of the acclaimed White Glove Award and Number one on TripAdvisor

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Funway Holidays ( has launched its biggest-ever Florida Beaches programme with over 32 new hotels. North America Travel Service ( is offering new Florida Parks & Beaches and Miami & The Keys fly-drives. New to Travel 2 ( is ChampionsGate Resort Platinum Homes near Walt Disney World.  Accommodation: The new 343-room Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach ( is the first beachfront property in the group’s portfolio. Fairfield Inn and Suites ( opens this summer in Daytona followed by the exclusive Marriott Autograph Collection property, The Daytona, in 2018. Kissimmee’s Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Centre ( has a new $4.2-million waterpark with Florida’s tallest slide. The 184-room Hutchinson Shores Resort and Spa ( is Hutchinson Island’s first new resort in two decades. Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa ( has undergone a $40-million refurbishment. South Florida’s second Mandarin Oriental property ( is one of five hotels opening in the Palm Beaches. Fort Lauderdale’s new laid-back Plunge Beach Hotel ( is ideal for watersports enthusiasts.  Transport: The Brightline ( train, connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando, launches mid-2017.

Tourism talk

Above, from top: The Rip Ride Rockit coaster at Universal; Wild Florida Everglades Airboat Tours & Wildlife Park

“Florida welcomed nearly 1.7 million UK travellers in 2015. We are still awaiting final numbers but 2016 looks to have been another strong year. This year there is increased capacity from nearly all the airlines, with new routes into Fort Lauderdale with British Airways and Miami

with Aer Lingus. And British Airways’ New Orleans service opens up the northwest region and fly-drive itineraries ending in Orlando. “Florida’s theme parks are always evolving, and its nature-rich and varied landscape offers endless outdoor activities and 825 miles of beautiful beaches. It’s really not just for families. “Agents should complete our online training course and become a Visit Florida expert ( It will give them a comprehensive overview of all the Sunshine State has to offer.” Gill Standeven, Account Manager, Visit Florida

Where to book it  PURELY AMERICA – 0844 804 4480 An eight-night room-only stay in the Florida Keys is priced from £1,479pp for travel in September, with four nights at the new-build Playa Largo Resort & Spa and four nights at the recently-opened Oceans Edge Key West Hotel & Marina, including Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow to Miami and economy car hire.

 GOLD MEDAL – 0800 014 7777

A seven-night room-only stay in a one-bedroom resort view suite at the newly opened 878-room Grove Resort & Spa (six-acre Surfari waterpark on-site and five minutes from Walt Disney World) is priced from £799pp including flights from Heathrow. goldmedal. 

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country profile

Germany – Travel options and city breaks expanding The Hamburg Elbphilharmonie The Elbphilharmonie opened in January in Hamburg. Concerts and events will be held throughout the year at the new venue

The Reformation Celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the culmination of the Luther decade and experience Luther’s identity along the Luther Trail.

Flying theatre Europa-Park will launch Europe’s largest flying theatre, Project V. Learn about the story of German aviation on a thrilling ride through a special ‘flyover’ film.

Babelsberg Palace The Neo-Gothic style palace is due to reopen this month (April) after several years of restoration work. The palace will also feature an all-new exhibition.

Documenta 14 From June to September in Kassel, 300 artists will showcase exhibitions, installations, lectures and performances. The contemporary and modern art event has been held since 1955.


here’s plenty to experience in Germany for travellers looking to contain costs, says Benjamin Coren

There are so many reasons to visit the diverse and romantic landscapes of Germany – and UK guests are visiting in greater numbers, whether for its world-famous Christmas markets, its cities, food, heritage, football, or popular beer festivities. Incoming tourism is continuing to grow with international visitors in 2016 registering more than 80 million overnight stays for the first time. The latest figures from the Germany National Tourist Board (GNTB) on British travellers registers an annual growth of 2.3%, with an ambitious 6.9 million UK visitors forecast for 2030. Germany enjoys 5% of the UK market share for trips abroad and is ranked as number six in the top destinations among UK visitors. Most visitors travel to Berlin, which accounts for 27.6% of all overnight stays – however the GNTO is focusing on promoting destinations ‘off the beaten track’ for the coming years.

ALTERNATIVE CITY BREAKS Germany is a great destination for travellers on a tighter budget and those looking to see what the destination has to offer away from traditional city break favourites like Berlin, Munich and Cologne. Outside of these major cities,


“Germany is a great destination for travellers on a tighter budget who are looking to see what the destination has to offer ‘off the beaten track’” FREIBURG


increasingly popular destinations include Bonn, Aachen and Lübeck, which have all recently been added to Historic Highlights of Germany, a city association that is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Outside of Berlin’s city centre, the Brandenburg region is packed with cities and villages to explore. Just 40 minutes by train from Berlin is Potsdam, known for its many castles. Visitors in the area may also want to spend a few days exploring Brandenburg am der Havel, a collection of three timeless island towns filled with historic sites and also home to Europe’s largest interconnected inland watersports area. Nature lovers may consider Spreewald, a traditional natural area with plenty of traditional activities to try. In central Western Germany, Wiesbaden hosts a large number of events and festivals throughout the year. Highlights include Theatrium in June, the biggest and oldest street festival in Germany, August’s Rheingau Wine Festival and the popular Twinkling Star Christmas Market, which is held over a four-week period.

COST- EFFECTIVE GERMANY A cost-effective way to explore Germany is by using the Deutsche Bahn rail network. A service operates from London to


country profile


Cologne and takes around four hours, via Brussels, and is priced from €59 one-way. Various other fares are available within Germany. The Saver Fare Germany enables discounted one-way travel between two cities, starting at €29 for second class – or upgrade to first for €39. A German Rail Pass is available to visitors from outside Europe, for travel on all DB trains for three-, seven- or 10 days. The Black Forest National Park was the very first national park in southwest Germany and it attracts nature lovers seeking camping, hiking, cycling and traditional Bavarian culture. Various guest cards are available when exploring the region, one of the most popular being the SchwarzwaldCard ( The card provides free access and free rides at more than 135 adventure and thermal water parks, museums, mountain gondolas and more and is usually valid over three electable days from April 1 to March 31 the following year. Additionally guests in the Black Forest can claim a Konus Guest Card ( for free upon arrival at more than 10,000 hosts in over 140 destinations. The card provides free rides on all public transportation.



Attractions: Five hundred years of salt mines – an experience underground with lakes, swimming and tours in Berchtesgaden ( Discover 360-degree views from the new viewing platform at the top of the Fernsehturm Stuttgart ( In Garmisch-Palatinate ( Bavaria, a new cable car to the Zugspitze



is due to go into operation by December. It will feature the world’s longest free span covering 3213 metres in Events: The International Garden and Lifestyle Show ( in Berlin takes place from April 13 to October 15. The Tour de France Grand Départ 2017 will be held in North Rhine – Westphalia’s state capital of Düsseldorf, from June 29 to July 2 ( Operators: Crusader Holiday’s (crusader-holidays. popular 2017 bookings include Christmas Market tours to Cologne and the Rhine.

EXPERT OPINION “Germany offers outstanding quality and value for money and there has never been a better time for agents to sell it as a year-round destination. “We saw more than 80 million overnight stays by international visitors in 2016, and interest in ‘Destination Deutschland’ is at an all time high. “The GNTO runs specific annual themed campaigns, which can help agents add something new each year to their portfolio. “This year we have included Berlin’s International Garden and Lifestyle Show (IGA), which offers a terrific hook when suggesting a city break. Agents can contact us at any time for free online training”. Klaus Lohmann, Director, GNTO 

“Germany offers outstanding quality and value for money and there has never been a better time for the UK’s travel professionals to sell the country” KLAUS LOHMANN, DIRECTOR, GERMANY NATIONAL TOURIST BOARD


SHEARINGS HOLIDAYS – 0844 209 7143

A six-day guided tour of the capital, Berlin, takes in the main sights, with the highlight being a visit to the International Garden Show. Prices start from £484 for two people and includes coach travel, accommodation and some meals.

Experience the buzz of the big city. Take in a modern shopping centre before turning a corner to

cities have all this and more. Discover the ultimate in urban destinations:


Munich City View Š

discover the medieval streets of the old quarter. Go a few steps further for cultural highlights and then launch yourself into the pulsating nightlife. Captivating contrasts and a magical appeal. Germany’s

Visit Usa neWs april 2017

T H I S M O N T H ' S T O P S T O R I E S F R O M V I S I T U S A ' S M E M B E R S • V I S I T U S A .O R G .U K airlines

Norwegian on a roll "We found the day exceptional value for money and had a fairly full schedule with both old and new contacts” Greg Evans Pennsylvania Tourism


Visit uSA unites trade SUPPLIERS and buyers hailed the largest-ever Unite Visit USA event last month as the ‘best ever’. Held once again at the Mermaid exhibition Centre in Blackfriars, London, almost 60 exhibitors – a record number – benefited from face-to-face meetings with a similar number of buyers and tour operators. Among those destinations participating on the day were Colorado Tourism Office, Visit Austin, kansas/Oklahoma Travel and Tourism, Visit north Carolina and Travel Portland. Product suppliers included Grand Canyon Tours & Travel, kennedy Space Centre, Caesars entertainment and Simon Shopping Destinations. nadia Falchi, Account executive for Visit Idaho commented: “This was my first Unite event and I found it really productive. The length of the meetings were just right and the day was very well organised. I will definitely recommend this event to my client for next year.”

NORWEGIAN will launch 10 new USA routes from five cities in the Uk and Ireland this summer, comprising 38 weekly flights from edinburgh, Belfast, Cork, Shannon and Dublin to smaller airports in the greater new York, Boston and new england areas. hotels

loews' San Diego views CROWN Landing has opened at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, San Diego. Serving dishes inspired by Mexican and Baja influences, the al fresco restaurant provides diners with exceptional views of San Diego’s marina. hotels

west Hollywood opening KIMPTON’S La Peer Hotel will open in West Hollywood’s celebrated Design District this summer. It will feature 105 rooms and suites, a rooftop deck with 360-degree views, a pool, fitness centre and a restaurant created by celebrity chef Casey Lane.

THE USA in brief... airlines BRITISH Airways new service to Oakland, San Francisco Bay, took off on March 28. The route is the airline’s first from Gatwick to California, and its fifth service from London to the 'Golden State’. Oakland offers close connections to popular tourist hot spots like napa Valley, Carmel and Yosemite national Park while San Francisco is just a 30-minute ride by train or a 35-minute car ride away from Oakland International Airport.

shoWs LEGENDARY rock band The Who will launch their exclusive Las Vegas residency this summer at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, beginning July 29. The first run of six shows will end on August 11. Tickets went on sale last month (March) and can be purchased at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Box Office by calling +1 866 320 9763 or online at Caesars Palace features 3,980 hotel guest rooms and suites.

Cities WASHINGTON DC'S hotel scene is set to be transformed with 17 new hotels in the pipeline for 2017 and beyond. There are currently 17 hotels with 3,994 hotel rooms on the cards for the U.S capital city. Hotels set to open include the POD hotel, which is yet to announce an opening date but is being built in the hip Penn Quarter, and The LIne Hotel, which is due to open later this year in a 110-year-old neo-Classical church.

Look out for our Visit USA Association online travel Update for the pick of members' news

members spotlight introducing...

PALM Springs is gearing up to welcome some of the biggest names in music for The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Artists due at the festival, taking place over two weekends (April 14-16 and 21-23), include Beyoncé, Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar. The music takes place on six stages, usually under desert blue skies. Coachella also features art shows and a retro funfair. Palm Springs sits 100 miles east of Los Angeles.

UNITED Airlines is to increase frequency of its flights from Heathrow to Newark this summer to sixtimes daily. The airline will operate an additional sixth daily non-stop service from April 5 to October 28. The additional flight will depart Heathrow at 11:40, arriving in Newark at 15:05 on the same day. The return flight will depart Newark at 21.30, arriving Heathrow at 09.40. From Heathrow, United operates up to 17 flights a day to six U.S. hubs.

Caesars Entertainment Henika Patel Regional Sales Manager


New Smyrna Beach on up ONE of Florida’s lesser-known beach destinations has got off to a fast start in its efforts to court the UK trade and consumers. Since appointing both a UK representation and PR office last October New Smyrna Beach on Florida’s northeast coast (just south of Daytona Beach) has already welcomed two trade fams and a media group. “We know we need the UK market, and plan to work closely with agents, operators and the media,” said Debbie Meihls, newly-appointed Executive Director of the New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau. Aside from its 14 miles of white, sandy beach, New Smyrna Beach is one of the ‘top 10’ surf town in the U.S. and home to plenty of marine, bird and wildlife that inhabit the intra-coastal waterway and nest among the Indian River’s mangrove islands. Visitors can take a twohour cruise to spot bottlenose dolphins, manatees and sea turtles, or head out to Ponce de Leon Inlet lighthouse, the second-tallest lighthouse in North America.

Hilton Doubletree in new york


Dr Seuss Museum THE Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum is scheduled to open in June in Springfield, Massachusetts. The facility, with interactive displays, will honour Springfield native Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr Seuss) an American writer, cartoonist and animator best known for his Cat in the Hat tale.

DOUBLETREE by Hilton has opened in Times Square West, New York. Located in the heart of Manhattan just steps from the Broadway theatre district, the 37-story property features 612 rooms, each with locally-inspired artwork and with many offering great views of the city or the Hudson River. Features at the newly-built hotel include a rooftop bar and Magnolia Restaurant, an American bistro.

How long have you been a Visit USA member? For the past six years. What are the key benefits? Membership is great for networking. At events such as Unite Visit USA, and the Association's roadshows, we get to meet so many people in the industry. Tell us about Caesars Entertainment. Caesars is an American company. We have properties in Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe and Atlantic City. In Las Vegas we have properties from three- to five star including Caesars Palace, Flamingo Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas. In Atlantic City we have three three- or fourstar hotels: Caesars, Bally’s and Harrah's, and in Reno/ Tahoe we have a Harrah’s Reno, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and Harvey’s Lake Tahoe. What’s your latest news? We are doing lots of room renovations at several of our hotels. In terms of shows, in Las Vegas we have the Back Street Boys at Planet Hollywood and, excitingly, The Who will be in residence at Caesar’s Palace this summer. We now have Gordon Ramsey restaurants at four of our hotels. Tell us one of your best Caesars experiences? That is hard, but has to be the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace. It's amazing, with 500 dishes from all over the world. I sat there for four hours!

Subscribe to the Visit USA Association online Travel Update at


sri lanka

tracks Making

From wildlife experiences to ancient cities and tea tasting to new developments in the country’s north and east, Sri Lanka offers plenty from top to bottom, says Karl Cushing


s I criss-cross Yala National Park on a jeep safari with one of the eagle-eyed naturalists from Chena Huts, it seems the local leopards are toying with us, leaving a teasing trail of tell-tale tracks yet steadfastedly eluding our gaze. Even with the park’s spotted star prize proving AWOL, however, it is still a wonderful experience, yielding all manner of other sightings framed against stunning backdrops. Having opened in December 2015 the excellent Chena Huts by UGA Escapes, a property featured by operators such as Audley Travel and Premier Holidays, is one of a growing number of lodge or tented camp outfits which cling to Yala’s wild beachfront, offering exclusively secluded coastal stays backed by scenic wildlife safaris and excellent food and beverages. Resplendent Ceylon will open its own opulent version, Wild Coast Tented Lodge, in October, featuring 28 domed, tented suites. More affordable options include Cinnamon Wild Yala and Jetwing’s recently-opened Tented Villas Yala.

Hot spot Thanks to the recent spike in high-end tourism developmenst, backed by the reintroduction of domestic flights, sales have really taken off and Sri Lanka features prominently on many operators’ 2017 travel hotlists. Year-on-year Southall Travel and Premier Holidays report that bookings for this January were up 32% and 43% respectively, while Gold Medal saw a 22% boost in room nights. “The majority of these nights are to the coastal hotels, however we are seeing more and more customers looking at our private car and driver itineraries too, mixing touring with a relaxing beach stay,” says Tricia Birmingham, Senior Product Manager, Indian Ocean, for Gold Medal. Sri Lanka has always been a touring country. Previously though the scope was largely limited to first-timer favourite the ‘Cultural Triangle’, linking the ancient cities of Kandy, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa and taking in sites such as Sigiriya Rock. However, the end of hostilities in 2009 slowly opened up the north, including Jaffna and the region’s star attraction, Trincomalee. On the northeastern coast, ‘Trinco’ and its marine park boasts some of Sri Lanka’s best beaches and snorkelling and, along with southerly Mirissa, has excellent whale watching. Another rising star of the east is former laidback surfer and backpacker centre Arugam Bay. Resort development was previously focused on centres such as Bentota on the south westernly strip stretching down from Colombo to Galle, with its fort and lively Unawatuna beach nearby. It now continues to spread along the south coast through places such as Tangalle to Hambantota. Even the oft-bypassed capital, Colomb,o is getting a makeover. Dining developments such as

sri lanka


the Old Dutch Hospital and swanky rooftop bars at hotels such as the OZO and Kingsbury have transformed the social scene while the massive, ongoing Chinese-backed waterfront transformation will add a Hyatt and Shangri-La.

Perfect five Spot the leopard: See leopards in Yala after an indulgent night spent in a luxury beachside tented camp or lodge. Be rail adventurous: Goggle at the stunning scenery as you ride into hill country from Kandy to Ella, a great base for activities like rafting, hiking and biking. Get some air: See iconic Cultural Triangle sites such as Sigirya Rock from the air on a sunrise balloon flight or helicopter tour. Make a trunk call: Each summer Minneriya National Park plays host to a unique gathering of around 300 Asian elephants Twin to win: Sri Lanka’s close proximity to the Maldives has long made it a hit with twin-centring couples and honeymooners. December saw SriLankan Airlines ( add a service from Colombo to Gan Island.

What’s new


 Tour Operators: Operators driving the move to more ‘experiential’ and interesting excursions include the fast-growing DMC Red Dot Tours ( and Khiri Travel ( whose latest additions include Cricket and Highballs, a fun afternoon playing six-a-side cricket at Galle Fort while drinking gin and tonics, and a northern train journey on the Queen of Jaffna from Anuradhapura. Another interesting rail option is Great Rail Journeys’ ( 15-day Sri Lanka, Temples and Tea tour. New bolt-ons worth a look include Premier Holidays’ three-night privately escorted tour of Gal Oya National Park and Travel 2’s four-day Highlights of Sri Lanka (from £315pp) and six-day

Previous page: Golden Temple in Dambulla. This page, clockwise from top left: Wild Coast Tented Lodge by Yala Hotels; yoga at Tri Sri Lanka; climbing Monkey mountain in Gal Oya: Cape Weligama resort

Tourism talk Scenic and Wildlife Tour (from £495pp). Like Gold “The UK remains the third largest market Medal, Travel 2 also offers the option of a private for Sri Lanka, with 188,000 arrivals in car and driver. 2016, a growth of 16% year on year. Tours taking in the country’s national parks – “Our tourism offering is based upon authenticity, from biodiverse Sinharaja Forest to elephant-rich uniqueness and diversity and we cascade the Udawalawe and Minneriya – include TransIndus’ ( 12-day Wildlife of Sri Lanka. country’s offerings along the eight themes of Pristine, The excellent year-round diving, meanwhile, Bliss, Thrills, Wildlife, Heritage, Essence, Scenic and can be explored through Dive Worldwide Festivals – promising eight wonderful experiences in ( which has added 10-day tours on eight wonderful days. the island’s first proper “Looking ahead we will liveaboard, Sri Lanka focus on our wildlife and “Agents should think about the the east coast, including Aggressor, backed by a distances for getting from one the surfers’ paradise of four-day safari extension option. place to another. When visiting Arugam Bay.  Hotels: Having “Visitors enjoy a very the cultural area and tea recently opened OZO high encounter rate of plantations, journey times hotels in Kandy and both elephant and whale. between locations can take Colombo Onyx The island is also home several hours” Hospitality ( to 92 species of will open its 172-room indigenous mammals, NIKKI HAIN, SRI LANKA PRODUCT MANAGER PREMIER HOLIDAYS Amari Galle in March along with 10% per cent Kahanda Kanda of the entire Asian ( has opened both KK by George in elephant population and the highest density of Galle and a new beachfront boutique property, KK leopard in the world. Beach, in Habaraduwa. Nalin Perera, Sri Lanka Tourism UK Jetwing’s ( latest offering is Where to book it Sunrise by Jetwing in Passikudah, a coastal resort  WENDY WU – 0800 902 0888 20 miles north of Batticaloa The 15-day Spirit of Sri Lanka guided tour, Resplendent Ceylon ( has announced plans to open two more properties, departing October 12 or 23, 2017, includes leopard including one near Sigiriya, and introduced a spotting in Wilpattu, paddling the Mahaweli River whale-watching experience aboard its new and exploring Colombo in a World War Two jeep. It catamaran at its Cape Weligama hotel near Galle. is priced from £3,190pp including flights, Available for private hire is the 15-room Ani accommodation and most meals.  Villas ( on the south-central coast.

Working in partnership


Training, competitions, events April 2017



Quick Quiz Are you an Anguilla Expert?

1. Anguilla is an 11-hour flight away from the UK TRUE / FALSE

TENERIFE Expert is giving agents a reason to get out there and get active this month. It has 10 Be Fit Activity Trackers up for grabs for those agents who complete the programme. The incentive is designed to highlight the destination's outdoor credentials, with hiking, cycling and watersports being key draws for travellers. Agents have until April 30 to complete the programme and be in with a chance of winning.

Chance to win!

Want to win a bottle of rum?

2. Anguilla's Capital is called The Valley TRUE / FALSE

Answers: 1: False 2: True


VIRGIN Limited Edition is giving snap-happy agents the chance to win a three-night stay at Kasbah Tamadot, Morocco. To win agents must take a picture of themselves with a Virgin rubber duck (each Virgin hotel has its own unique one). Entries must be received by April 28. Agents should share their photo on Instagram with the hashtag #giveaflyingduck. To claim your duck please email katherine.beach@ and include your name and address.

Puerto Rico Pro I Modules: 4 AGENTS who complete all four modules of Puerto Rico Pro by May 5 will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win a bottle of Bacardi Carta de Oro (70cl), courtesy of Casa Bacardi Puerto Rico, all the way from Puerto Rico. A U.S. territory, Puerto Rico is an island getaway where visitors can find stunning beaches, adventurous outdoor activities and plenty of luxury options. Puerto Rico Pro's four information-packed modules are filled to the brim with all you need to know about its key areas, attractions, touring options and much more, to help you sell this Caribbean destination with renewed confidence.


Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

Brews are on Namibia



THE Namibia Tourism Board is giving away 10 cases of Windhoek lagers, each containing six of the country's famous beers. In order to put themselves in the frame, agents must complete all four modules of Namibia Know It All by April 14. The programme offers agents updated information on attractions and accommodation options in the West African destination, as well as insider tips to help them sell it. Sign up and complete the course today, then take the four 'exams' to see if you truly know it all.

Key incentive

Earn your place on a Tobago fam trip

Learn Trinbago I Modules: 6

Fancy a swim? EVENT

THE Cayman Islands will host its annual Flowers Sea Swim on June 12. The event pits swimmers of all skills against each other in a onemile swim alongside Seven Mile Beach. This year the event has two new races of five and 10 kilometres. If your clients are looking for something new to do in the Caribbean, the race might be the thing for them! Learn all about the Cayman Islands on the destination's programme – and add this Caribbean gem to your portfolio.

LEARN TRINBAGO is giving away tickets to the Peaks Performance Awards and an all-inclusive holiday for two to the island of Tobago! The Peaks Performance Awards congratulate agents on making it through the peak booking period. Those agents attending the event will have the chance to win some amazing prizes including and all-Inclusive seven- night holiday at Le Grand Courlan, Tobago, with flights! All agents have to do to be in with a chance of winning is log a booking on tobagorewards. com to anywhere in Tobago by April 18. As an added bonus, all bookings logged will also net agents up to £20 guaranteed. Sign up to learntrinbago. com today to learn how to sell the destination to win prizes.

A-Z of available courses AMResorts Alaska Anguilla Antigua & Barbuda Aruba Avis Car Hire Beachcomber Tours Beaches Resorts Botswana Boucan Butlins California Caribbean Cayman Islands Centara Hotels & Resorts Colombia Elegant Hotels of Barbados Flanders Florida GDS Gambia Hawaii Heritage Resorts Hoseasons Insider Journeys Jamaica Jewel Resorts Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Kenya Macao Las Vegas Malaysia Malta Mark Warner Miami New York Namibia Newmarket Holidays Norway PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Puerto Rico Qatar SAGA Saint Lucia Sandals Resorts Seaworld Serenity Holidays Seychelles Sri Lanka St Kitts Trinidad and Tobago Tenerife Thailand Travel 2 Turks & Caicos US Airtours Veranda Resorts Virgin Limited Edition Voyages SNCF Warner Leisure Hotels Windjammer Landing Hotel Your Car Hire

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new zealand

active pursuits

Whether kayaking on crystalclear waters, jet-boating through a gorge or hiking a glacier, New Zealand is the ultimate outdoors destination for adventurers and thrillseekers, says Karl Cushing



aving injected a quick burst of speed it is now up with the paddle so the kayak can drift past the unmistakable Split Apple Rock and I can admire the enticing scene unfolding before me. Compared to the earlier kayaking I’d done on my overnight cruise in the craggy, powerful waterfall-lined fjordland of Milford Sound, this scenic, sun-splashed foray off the tree-lined beaches bordering South Island’s Abel Tasman National Park, cutting through the crystal-clear waters of Tasman Bay, is as if in another country. New Zealand epitomises all that is active and outdoorsy and the options are as endless and varied as the scenery, especially during October to May. While others choose to take their views from the air with an operator such as Skydive Abel Tasman, the kayak suited me just fine and, combined with some restful beach time, proved a fitting finale to my active south island adventure.

Sales hooks “We find travellers want to sample as much as possible in one trip,” said Angela Waite, Head of Sales and Commercial at APT, whose luxury tours include key highlights like Mount Cook and Franz Josef Glacier, backed by additional Freedom of Choice options like jet boat rides along the upper Waiau River and tall ship sailing in the Bay of Islands. Sporting events such as the DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017 this June-July and the Rugby League World Cup 2017 in October offer yet more sales hooks.

North Island Most UK visitors start their journey in Auckland, where options include G Adventures’ fourday, action-packed circular tour of the Bay of Islands, incorporating sailing, kayaking and hiking (£269pp). Some tours swing

Left: Kayaking of Rangitoto Island, near Auckland. Above: The Routeburn Track is a world-renowned tramping (trekking) route 32km long in the South Island

new zealand

by Waitomo, which promises ‘black water’ rafting through glow-worm lined caves, en route to Rotorua, which is awash with Maori interactions, family-friendly activities and relaxing geo-thermal pools. Active highlights include Rotorua Canopy Tours and Skyline Rotorua, with its skyswing, night luge and ziplines, while nearby Agroventures features a fun skydive simulator, ‘Shweeb’ duelling cycle pod race and jet boats. Over at Taumarunui’s Forgotten World Adventures attractions include jet boat tours and its RailBike experience along a decommissioned railway line.



The country’s undisputed adventure sport capital remains Queenstown. It’s a magnet for adrenalin junkies and local operators peddle everything from bungee jumps to tandem paragliding. Skydive outfits include Glacier to jet boat rides and heli-skiing. NZONE while Activity-backed rail tours such as Great offers a skydive jump from 9,000ft above Rail Journeys’ 22-day Grand Tour, priced the nearby Wakatipu basin (from £201). from £4,995pp, and APT’s new ‘Premium’ The town is also home to another Skyline 18-day New Zealand Rail Adventure (from centre while the nearby, iconic Shotover £4,845pp) are also good options. Jet boat ride turns 50 in November. Perfect ten Franz Josef and Greytown are jumping-off Sky high: Skydive outfits include NZONE points for the unmissable Franz Josef and and Skydive Abel Tasman while the Fox Glaciers, which you can either hike up or skydive simulator at Rotorua’s Agroventures offers take a helitour to the top for added pizzazz. a fun introduction to the sport. Autumn is ideal for New Zealand’s ‘nine great Paddle power: Kayaking is a great way to walks’ such as The Kepler and Routeburn, explore other parts of the stunning with a tenth, the Pike29 Memorial Track from coastline from the craggy Blackball to Punakaiki, fjordland highlights such launching next year. “With the Lions rugby tour this as Doubtful Sound and Tours such as summer we expect to see New Milford Sound to the Bay Ramblers Worldwide’s of Plenty up north. 21-night South Zealand pick up in terms of Leaps of faith: Island Adventure, bookings and passengers – in Queenstown’s which departs fact we have seen a surge in bungee options include November 5, are a interest due to coverage in the the new Nevis Thriller. good bet for tackling press and on TV” Surf’s up: On the popular hikes such North Island head as the Milford Track, MARK HENDERSON, SENIOR PRODUCT & CCOMMERCIAL MANAGER – TOURING, TRAVEL 2 to Mount Maunganui in while sister brand the Bay of Plenty or Piha Chapters Experience Beach, west of Auckland, to catch some waves. On Holidays’ 23-night North and South Islands the South Island Dunedin and Tauranga Bay are tour, departing November 2, features an good bets. optional Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Ice to see you: Hike the spectacular Franz Exodus’ top picks include its 22Josef Glacier on the South Island, throwing day Trails of New Zealand and 23in a helicopter ascent for that added ‘wow factor’. day Trekking in New Zealand. It takes tube: Tekapo Springs near Lake Silver Fern Holidays, which caters primarily Tekapo is the place to go to for some to the 45-plus market, is currently shifting high-octane snow tubing action in a dramatic its focus for the active elements on its mountainous location. small group journeys towards Wanaka. Hard raft: Grab some adrenaline“This is where New Zealanders come for pumping white-water rafting on North their own recreation, which speaks for itself,” Island’s Tongariro or Wairoa rivers or try some said Managing Director John Lightwood. ‘black water rafting’ in the Waitomo Caves, with Options range from guided walks around their famous glow worms. Mou Waho island and hikes on Rob Roy


South Island

From top: Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula; SUP yoga on Lake Wanaka; getting down and dirty at Rotorua’s Mud Festival

new zealand

Walk this way: New Zealand’s ‘10 great walks’, such as the Milford Track, make for excellent holidays in their own right. Get some Alp: For clients lacking the time to do one of the ‘10 great walks’ suggest a day tackling the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Ship out: Sail the The Bay of Islands in a tall ship or a chartered yacht.

What’s new  Hotels: New opening include luxurious Helena Bay ( in Russell which accommodates 10 in three waterfront villas. December saw the opening of Mahu Whenua Ridgeline Homestead & Eco Sanctuary (mahuwhenua., near Wanaka. It offers onsite experiences such as horse trekking and heli-skiing. The new five-star Marlborough Lodge (themarlboroughlodge. is a stylish reworking of a former convent on 16 acres of grounds featuring 10 suites and offering experiences such as heli-fishing. The former Museum Art Hotel in Wellington From left: Tasman’s Great Taste Trail starts from Nelson and offers panoramic coastal and mountain views over Tasman Bay, Waimea Estuary and the Western Ranges; snowboarding in Otago; Forgotten World’s rail bike tour

has emerged from a NZ$12 million refurb with a new look and a new name, The QT Museum Wellington ( A new 204-room Crowne Plaza ( crowneplaza) will open in May in Christchurch. Experiences: In Queenstown the new extreme bungee experience, ‘Nevis Thriller’ (, has opened on the nearby site of the Nevis Bungy and Nevis Swing. January saw local operator Real Journeys ( launch a new group tour, The Walter Peak Electric Trail Bike trip, combining a Lake Wakatipu steamship cruise with a scenic electric bike ride. Watery options include Fiordland Discovery’s ( new overnight Milford Sound cruises aboard Fiordland Jewel and Auckland Sea Kayaks’ ( waiheke) Waiheke Island Coastal Sea Kayak Tour Other new experiences include Redwoods Nightlights, a nocturnal version of the Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua ( A new full-day Glacier Discovery Tour (ecowanaka. will combine a scenic flight and glacier landing with a guided walk in Mount Aspiring National Park to Rob Roy Glacier, from £286pp.


Tourism talk “The UK market is growing at 11% year on year. Part of the country’s appeal is its adventure activities: from hiking a volcano or braving the highest bungee to kayaking through a glacier you can literally experience a new terrain in a different way every day. “In March, Tourism New Zealand held training roadshows in London, Manchester and Glasgow to showcase the country’s latest adventure activities. This includes new world-class cycling and walking tracks which have opened recently such as the epic Old Ghost Road mountain bike track, the Hauraki Rail Trail cycle track in The Coromandel and breath-taking helibiking experiences in the Southern Alps. Pip Casey, Regional Manager - UK & Europe, Tourism New Zealand

Where to book it  APT – 0800 046 3002 The 26-Day New Zealand Splendour, which costs from £6,945pp including flights, features 10 ‘Signature Experiences’, from a Milford Sound cruise to a TranzAlpine train ride. 


six of the best



Is there a trendier place on Earth than Reykjavik? Rows of brightly-painted wooden buildings give Iceland’s capital a small-town, cosy feel, yet its inhabitants and businesses are effortlessly cool and modern. Cafés, bars, nightclubs and hip stores thrive, especially around the revitalised Old Harbour area. Its old pier is the place to go to join one of the many whale- and puffin-watching tours. DID YOU KNOW? More than 20 different species of whale live in Icelandic waters. Whale-watching tours are best in the summer, with humpback whales and whitebeaked dolphins most often spotted.



Ok, so it’s on all the must do lists when in Iceland but the Blue Lagoon really is a top draw card. These striking hot springs are famed for their restorative mineral-rich waters and milky blue colour. The attraction certainly gets busy and with prices starting from around £40 it isn’t cheap, but it has to be done. Slip into the warm water, cover yourself in mud and disappear in the steam. There’s nowhere like it on the planet! SAMPLE PACKAGE: Superbreak offers a three-night Ultimate Iceland summer package from £827pp, departing July 1, 2017. The deal includes a hotel stay in Reykjavic with breakfast, tickets to the Blue Lagoon and a whale-watching tour.

Majestic landscapes crafted by ice and fire and a creative vibe make Iceland a hot (or cool) destination, says Neal Baldwin



When they weren’t plundering and pillaging the Vikings were being sensible and creating the very first democratic parliament. They did it in what is now the Thingvellir National Park, a protected UNESCO World Heritage site. Little remains of the ancient settlements, but Thingvellir is a beautiful place thanks to its spectacular geology: it’s where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet. Adventurous types can snorkel and dive in the crystal-clear waters at Silfra, the deep rip between the continents. SELLING TIP: Diving and snorkelling trips into the Silfra gorge can be booked locally. Waters are around 4C but clear.

The powerful geological forces that continue to shape Iceland have left behind many noteworthy attractions. Gullfoss Waterfall, which plunges 105ft into a chiselled gorge, is a favourite place for walkers, while the Geysir Geothermal Field is the mother of all springs (so much so it gave its name to them). Alternatively, head deep underground into the heart of the dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano, where multi-coloured rocks create dazzling other-worldly patterns. DID YOU KNOW? The Thrihnukagigur volcano’s deep magma chamber is so tall you could easily fit the Statue of Liberty inside.



With over 1,000 years of civilisation, Iceland has plenty to talk about. Yet its musuems are far from stuffy. The National Museum in Reykjavic charts the country’s history from the 10th century, while there are fascinating interactive museums that concentrate on Viking culture in the capital and Borganes. Elsewhere in the country, museums focus on an eclectic mix of subjects – the herring trade (in Siglufjordur); sorcery and witchcraft (in Holmavik); elves and trolls (in Stokkseyri); and even penises (the Reykjavik museum has 200 different types!) DID YOU KNOW? Visitors should respect Iceland’s elves and always speak about them positively. The country is fiercely protective of its ‘hidden people’ and in many towns residents believe elves can bring good or bad luck.

To really live like a local there’s only one place to go at the weekend in the capital – the Kolaportid flea market. Reykjavik’s trendiest residents flock to this indoor bazaar, held in an old industrial building, to snap up vintage clothes, antiques, books and toys. Food plays a major part of the day out, with traditional favourites such as dark rye bread (usually cooked underground by a hot spring), brauoterta (a deep sandwich with mayo) and hakarl (fermented shark) all on offer. DID YOU KNOW? Reykjavic is located just two degrees south of the Arctic Circle, meaning its shortest winter day is just four hours long. In the height of summer the city is light for almost 24 hours.

the review














the review

T o U R i s m U P D AT E

Rock on with Alberta

California popular for Gold Medal An increase in California bookings for Gold Medal has prompted the operator to launch a standalone

CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organisation

mini-brochure to the state. Numbers to the Golden State are up 9% and the 12-page-brochure


showcases city breaks, self-drives,

THE Caribbean Tourism Organization is very

escorted tours and twin/multi-

much looking forward to welcoming the

centre holidays. As well as advice

travel trade to its roadshows in Ireland,


taking place from May 9-11.

itineraries the brochure includes




We’ll be visiting Belfast, Dublin and Cork,

tips on particular areas and ‘hidden

so if you haven’t registered to attend, what

gems’. It also includes offers priced

are you waiting for? To book your place email

from regional airports.

Michelle Ryan from TravelMedia at

A nine-night, 10-day self-drive Don’t worry if

taking in LA, San Francisco and

you’re not based in Ireland though, there are

Oakland is from £1,339pp, with

plenty of roadshows taking place across the

By laUra gEldEr

UK this year too, with our media partner,

TRAVEl Alberta’s new online training programme is now live and agents who complete all six modules by May 31 will put themselves in the frame to win a 10-night ski holiday to the Rockies and flights from British Airways. The Alberta Specialist Programme is an interactive, multi-platform learning tool that engages and entertain users as they learn about the Canadian province. Modules include an overview of Alberta along with an in-depth look

Selling Travel. • MAY 22 – EDINBURGH • MAY 23 - GLASGOW • JUNE 14 - LONDON • JUNE 15 – BRISTOL • SEPTEMBER 13 – MANCHESTER • SEPTEMBER 14 – PETERBOROUGH Registering for these events is simple. Email apply online at Further details can be found on the CTO’s online training programme – Caribbean Travel Guru. If you’re not already a member, register now and start reaping the rewards!

DOUBLE DELIGHT Someone who has already done that is

return flights from Manchester.

at its urban centres, an exploration of the Canadian Rockies and a look at niche and specialty experiences across the province. Alberta Specialists will have the opportunity to join fam trips to the western province, receive special invites to Alberta events and get access to incentives and deals from industry partners. By completing the programme, each travel professional has the potential to earn continuing education credits.

Agents can order the guide by emailing See

Sandals opens over the water in Jamaica sAnDAls Resorts has opened 12 over-the-water bungalows in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The butler-serviced suites have glass-floor panels with underwater lighting, an outdoor soaking tub

and over-water hammocks. The

Discover Europe’s cities and mountains by rail





Sandals Royal Caribbean’s private island, Sandals Cay, which now has

Darren Liddle of British Airways – the March

EsCoRTED group specialist Rail

featuring Bath and Bristol. The

a redesigned pool, a pool-bar and

winner of our Caribbean Travel Guru Prize

Discoveries has added four new tours

brochure also showcases a selection


Draw. Darren is a double winner because as

to its Winter and Spring programme

of all-inclusive and fly-rail tours.

well as picking up a £70 Love2Shop gift

for 2017/18.

All tours include the services of a

voucher for making and logging the most

New itineraries include a winter trip

Caribbean bookings he also wins a lovely

to the Harz Mountains, a cruise to


luxury Easter Egg for completing the most

Paris, a trip to Saxony’s Ore Mountains,


quizzes and exams on the Caribbean Travel

and a Christmas Markets tour




product direct to the trade under


the banner of Unique Caribbean

manager, and


Meanwhile, from April 10 Sandals will sell all Sandals and Beaches



Holidays Limited.

Guru training programme. Start working now to be one of the April winners! If you have any questions or queries regarding this programme, please contact Ann-Marie Brooks on 020 8948 0057 or email at

Caribbean Tourism Organization 22 The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1BP Tel: 020 8948 0057 Fax: 020 8948 0067

nEWs To UsE in BRiEF has

Viceroy Hotels has opened its second

superbreak has launched a series of

launched its first programme to


property in the United Arab Emirates.

packages to the new Diana: Her Fashion

Malaysia. It takes in the country’s

New lifestyle resort Viceroy Palm

Story exhibition at Kensington Palace.

tourist highlights, culinary heritage and

Jumeirah Dubai boasts 477 beachfront

The deal includes a night at the four-

wildlife and nature. Options include

rooms overlooking the Arabian Gulf

star Copthorne Tara Hotel London

The 18-day Flavours of Malaysia

and the Dubai Marina, 10 restaurants

Kensington plus entrance to the new

Singapore, the


and bars and a luxury spa. Superior

exhibition with prices starting at

Wildlife and Nature Encompassed and

rooms start from £219. All suites come

£69pp. The exhibition opened in

the 17-day Highlights and Beyond.

with complimentary private transfers.

February and runs until 2018.





By laUra gEldEr

PRinCEss Cruises’ 2017 ship visit programme will be its biggest ever and give agents across the UK the chance to step aboard a vessel. The programme will run between April 18 and September 22 and will include 23 day visits across nine UK ports – Belfast, Dover, Dublin, Edinburgh, Falmouth, Glasgow, Invergordon, Liverpool and Southampton) – hosting almost 800 agents in total. Each visit will include a presentation by a member of the Princess sales team followed by onboard entertainment, a threecourse lunch and time to explore. New to the programme this year and hosted over the summer holidays are ‘family days’, when agents will be invited to bring their children along with them to experience activities including pizza on the top deck, decorating

cookies and a treasure hunt. Also debuting is Falmouth, included as a port stop. Agents will get a first glimpse at the new-look 2,700-guest Caribbean Princess, which will head to the UK immediately following a refit in the Bahamas. The majority of visits will be on the 3,140-guest ship. Other ships in the programme are the 3,560guest Regal Princess, the 3,080guest Crown Princess and the 670guest Pacific Princess. Meanwhile, the cruise line has announced its 2018 Japan programme will be its largest yet. More than 60 sailings on the Diamond Princess are scheduled, from four to 23 nights, with itineraries solely in Japan, and others combining Japan with South Korea, Taiwan, Russia and Vietnam.


VALID FOR SELECTED STAYS BETEWEEN 01 MAY – 31 OCT 17 Terms & conditions apply

nEWs To UsE in BRiEF Visit Sweden has launched its

Royal Jordanian Airlines has begun

first online catalogue for the travel

a same-day connecting service to

trade. Aimed at operators and

the resort of Aqaba to Heathrow via

agents, the directory lists 600

Amman. Travellers to Aqaba, the



access point for ancient Petra and

destinations around Sweden, along

the Wadi Rum Desert, previously had

with all the latest updates and

to stop overnight in Amman. Flights


operate once a week, with prices






activities and museums.

from £399 return.


Terms & Conditions Apply

Cook Islands getting hotter as profile rises

Weekly updates straight to your inbox! Subscribe to Selling Travel Digital today and receive your weekly quick read features, news round-up, incentives and more!

w Ne eb w si te

By stEVE hartridgE

A DElEGATion from the Cook come through. He has been doing Islands was in the UK last month this for 40 years.” to spread the word that the Pacific Eggelton added: “Our current Island destination’s popularity is growth in numbers can also be on the rise. put down to several factors, mainly In 2016 the country welcomed a increased air capacity and new record 146,473 visitors, an increase product from Air New Zealand – of 17.1% from 2015, with UK and the airline has introduced new Irish numbers up four per cent. aircraft on direct flights from Los “Through our UK marketing Angeles, Sydney and Auckland, efforts the word is now getting out with increased capacity - more about our crystal-blue waters, competitive fares and a new brand white sandy beaches and all-year- capturing the essence of the Cooks round warm weather,” said Karla under one evocative tagline: ‘Love Eggelton, Director of Sales & a Little Paradise’.” Marketing for the Cook Islands The 15 islands that comprise the Tourism Corporation. Cooks are spread over two million “There is an authenticity to the sq kms, situated halfway between islands that is evident by the Hawaii and New Zealand. welcome visitors receive from the The destination’s new website moment they arrive. For example, lists 52 restaurants and cafés, one chap visits the airport every tours, accommodation options and day to personally welcome every general information. It features 50 incoming visitor – and he doesn’t videos showing off its people, leave until the last plane has culture and visitor experiences. landed and its passengers have

Oceania lines open for its grandest tour oCEAniA


Bermuda. Guests can join the

bookings for its 180-day round the

Insignia in New York on January 11,

world sailing in 2019.

Miami on January 14, or Los



The mega-trip will visit Hawaii,

Angeles on January 30. Prices start

the South Pacific, Australia, New

from £32,199pp and guests can

Zealand and Asia, before sailing to

choose from 72 shore excursions, a

the Mediterranean and back to

beverage package or a $7,200


shipboard credit.



and /subscribe

the review


First Ethiopia road cycling holidays

Cosmos spreads out across the Balkans

TRADE - Friendly


Cosmos Tours has expanded its

based Ethiopia specialist Tadele

Balkan programme to include a

Travel is offering the first-ever

range of escorted tours in Croatia,

organised road cycling holidays to

Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro,

Ethiopia. Three eight-day trips are

Albania and Serbia.

available with three levels of

The new tours complement the

challenge, taking advantage of the

existing longer range of 13- and

country’s unique landscape and

15-day tours through the Balkan

newly-built tarmac roads. The holidays are set in the

states and include the eight-day (from

country’s northernmost province of

£1006pp) tour, a round-trip from

Tigray, taking in the ancient city of

Dubrovnik that visits key sites like

Axum and the Gheralta Mountains.




Kotor and Cetinje in Montenegro,

June prices start from £1,975pp,

Shkodër and Tirana in Albania and

with a £100 launch discount and



include accommodation in three-

Macedonia. Other trips also take in

and four-star hotels and lodges, all

popular cities like Mostar in Bosnia

meals, airport transfers in Ethiopia,

and Sarajevo in Serbia.

ground transport, luggage transfers,




Each tour includes half-board

support vehicles, mechanics and

accommodation in mostly four-star

guides. Tours are led by Tadele

hotels, excursions, entrance fees to

Travel co-owner Richard Nerurkar

attractions, overseas






flights and a home pick-up service.

competitive cyclist in Ethiopia.

QASR_Selling Travel March_AW.pdf



2:33 PM

the review: Unite show report



Unite tours the globe

March is the month of Unite’s series of trade workshops. Selling Travel was the media partner of three of the industry’s most valuable networking events





SIX Senses Zil Pasyon on the Seychelles island of Felicite is now fully operational after opening at the end of 2016. The company says the UK is its number one market.

DUSIT Thani Maldives has a new General Manager and has launched its new luxury yacht programme, The Azimut, for groups and couples.













DUKES Dubai is slated for an April opening. The hotel is complete and fully operational.



M A L D I V E S;




AIR Mauritius is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It will launch a new flight from Heathrow in July, bringing the service up to four frequencies a week.





S M I T H,

QATAR is positioning itself as a stopover destination. Qatar Airways has removed transit visa fees when visitors stop for betwen five and 96 hours.


“This year we’ve seen growth from the UK, which is our biggest market. 30% of our business in winter is from the UK” PRITI BHUDIA, SALES MANAGER, SHANGRI - LA HOTELS & RESORTS

the review: Unite show report






SHOW SNIPPETS SEIT Outback Australia is one of 12 operators in Tourism Australia’s new Wildlife Collection, a curated selection of wildlife-based experiences from small, owner-operated companies which agents can search by season, animal, landscape or destination.



BORA Bora has its first new opening in 10 years: Conrad Bora Bora Nui (formerly Hilton Bora Bora Nui). The five-star resort has 85% over-water rooms, French and Asian restaurants and a hillside spa.


























PAPUA New Guinea specialist Trans Niugini Tours has a new property: Lake Murray Lodge. Set on the country’s largest lake, a birdwatching paradise, the remote property has 12 cabins.

AAT Kings has a new tour, Inspiring Australia. The Cairns to Sydney trip visits Uluru, Kings Canyon, Alice Springs, the Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains.

“New Zealand is seeing more openings in the luxury sector, including coastal Helena Bay Lodge and Mahu Whenu homestead and ecosanctuary ” KATE FENTON, PREMIUM TRADE MANAGER – EUROPE, TOURISM NEW ZEALAND

the review: Unite show report







SHOW SNIPPETS MAVERICK Helicopters has partnered with Las Vegas culinary tour company Lip Smacking Foodie Tours to offer a new five-hour experience. It includes dinner at ARIA Resort and Casino and a flight over The Strip.


PHILADELPHIA welcomes The Museum of the American Revolution on April 19. Close to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell it will tell the story of the founding of a nation.




M E R E D I T H, B




















VACATION rentals in the Outer Banks in North Carolina can now be booked via UK and Irish tour operators. A variety of vacation rentals, from oneto 15 bedrooms, are available.












NORWEGIAN is to start flying between Edinburgh and Stewart International Airport, New York, in June. It will add flights to the same airport, from Belfast, Dublin and Shannon later in the summer.

“Driving on hardpacked sand, chasing seagulls along the beach at five miles an hour is is great fun. Yo can’t do that in too many places” KEVIN BRET T, DAYTONA BEACH AREA CVB

the review: Go West Summit



Go West Summit The annual trade show brought together destinations and tourism suppliers from 15 western U.S. states and 200 buyers from 25 countries. Steve Hartridge reports

Washington tracks

Colorado’s hot new loop

Boise on the march

A NEW scenic train ride, the Mt.

BOISE, Idaho’s capital, is to



welcome three new hotels. Inn at

Museum, starts operations in May.

500, a luxury boutique hotel




An hour and 45 minutes from




Seattle, the steam train will head

packages’) opened in January,

through a forest and across a

while due to start welcoming

glacial-fed river before stopping at

guests in the spring is a Hyatt

a museum where guests will

Place and a Residence by the City. “Our

explore steam logging locomotives




and hear the stories behind the

unrecognisable from even a

pioneers of railroad logging camps

decade ago. Our culinary scene is

from the early mid-1900s.

now one of the most sophisticated in

The attraction is run by American





Heritage Railways, operator of the

microbrewery scene is also taking

Durango and Silverton Narrow

off,” said Melissa Cleland of Boise

Gauge Railway in Colorado.

and Southwest Idaho Tourism.

A San Diego star

COLORADO is promoting its new

mineral hot springs (in Glenwood

historic Hot Springs Loop, a self-drive

Springs) and intimate private baths.

THE retired USS Midway Museum,

premier hot springs attractions.

route which links some of the state’s


The 19 hot springs facilities en route include vapour caves, hot pots, terraced pools and aquatic centres.

THE scenic coastal Highway

the U.S. Navy’s longest-serving

Setting out from Denver, the 720-

aircraft carrier of the 20th century,

mile drive takes riders along four

is now the most-visited floating

designated Colorado Scenic byways –

Manager for Ouray Chamber Resort

Lion Caves. Visitors take an

ship museum in the U.S.

often framed by Rocky Mountains

Association, said: “The Hot Springs

elevator down 200 feet to visit

The San Diego attraction features

scenery – to the communities of Buena

Loop offers visitors the chance to relax

the colony of over 300 sea lions.

self-guided audio tours, from the

Vista, Salida, Pagosa Springs, Ouray,

in our natural springs, stay in historic

engine room to the bridge, with


small towns, learn about our western

Midway veterans as narrators. .

before ending in Steamboat Springs.





Pankow, Public

101 in western Oregon is home to


and Native American heritage and eat


in unique one-off restaurants. Great

northwest Washington State

in western Colorado and the loop takes

food is an art form in our region!”

is promoting new spring whale-

drivers to both the world’s largest

watching tours that leave out of

“Entry is just $20 and visitors can

Thermal hot springs flow abundantly

explore galleys, sleeping quarters, the flight deck and the bridge and see 25 restored aircraft from World War Two to Desert Storm. There are also

optional flight simulators,”

said Joseph R. Wagstaff, the museum’s



America’s largest sea cave, Sea

Everett and Edmonds and summer

Natural history a must do in Salt Lake City

tours from Edmonds to the San Juan Islands.

THE Natural History Museum of

experiences for kids, who can play at

Utah should be the first stop on any

being a paleontologist by searching

visit to the state capital, Salt Lake

for real bones or bits of broken

Sanctuary, located on an Indian


pottery on a dig site,” she added.

Reservation seven miles from





The traditions of Utah’s eight

museum’s Event Manager.

THE new Wind River Wild Horse

Lander, Wyoming, offers the chance

“It is a world-class facility. Among

native people are featured in a

to see over 100 wild mustangs.

the displays is the world’s largest

special circular gallery. Added Smith:

display of horned dinosaur skulls and

“We work closely with Indian tribes

a Gryposaurus (duck-billed) dinosaur

like the Ute, Navajo and Apache, to

made of original fossil material.

ensure their stories are fully told.”

Salt Lake City, Utah, January 16-19.


“There are lots of interactive

GO West 2018 will be held in


the review

Checking out...

Hotels / Resorts / Train journeys / Cruises / Airport reviews

S T A Y : P r i nc e G al l e ry T ok yo Kioic ho – Japan T h e v e r d i ct

By laura gelder

The Background: Prince Hotels is

a prestigious Japanese brand that is over 60 years old. It has 50-plus hotels, mostly in Japan (nine in Tokyo). The Prince Gallery opened in 2016 and is part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection. The location: In the central Chiyoda ward in the Tokyo Garden Terrace, a slick skyscraper with retail and F&B spaces 45-minutes from Haneda Airport. THE ROOM: My 42-square-metre Club Deluxe King room had a two-metrewide bed, wide-screen TV and, best of all, a huge window seat with a breathtaking city vista. The decor is light and mixes warm and neutral tones. The shower and large bath are housed in a glass cube which can be clear or opaque

at the touch of a button. The Club rooms give acccess to the Club Lounge, an exclusive and calm space with allday complimentary food and drinks.

If you, like me, dream of being Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation during your stay in Tokyo then book this hotel. It’s worth it for the window seat alone, where you can lie in your

Key Facilities:

kimono and watch the

Indoor pool and hot bath, the Swiss Perfection Spa Kioi, a gym.

glittering city laid out before

The only drawback is SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK/COMPETITIONSyou. the iPad-controlled lights – Restaurants/Bars: The all-day

dining Oasis Garden serves up an impressive breakfast buffet and Italian pasta and grill the rest of the day. Washoku Souten is a fine-dining

Japanese restaurant with plenty of theatre. There is also a sushi bar and sake bar. The cool Sky Gallery Lounge Levita has cathedral-like windows.

but that’s just because I am

1-2 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8585, Japan

42,500 JPY per night (£307).

hopeless with technology. Rates: Club Deluxe from



SKI THE ROCKIES WITH ALBERTA To celebrate the launch of its new trade training programme, Travel Alberta is giving away a 10-night ski holiday to the Rockies and flights with British Airways

COMPLETE THE TRAINING BY MAY 31 FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN The Alberta Specialist Programme is an interactive, on-demand, multi-platform learning tool that aims to engage and entertain you as you learn.


Ÿ An overview of Alberta Ÿ Insights into the province’s urban centres Ÿ An exploration of the Canadian Rockies Ÿ Sales tips on niche and specialty experiences


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Latin America closer than ever.


Fly from London Gatwick to Caracas, Bogota, San Pedro Sula, Guayaquil, Salvador de Bahia, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Sao Paulo, Lima, Asuncion, Cordoba, Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

All flights are via Madrid. Cordoba is via Madrid and Asuncion For more information visit us at: or call: 08714230717

how to sell


Cruising South America by Jo Austin


cruise around South America ticks just about every box in terms of the complete travel experience. The sheer vastness, diversity, and exoticness of this mighty continent takes you from the steamy jungles of the Amazon basin to the rich cultures of great civilisations and the untouched wildlife of the Galapagos. Why sell it? Cruise operators have been quick to respond to the renaissance in tourism interest in South America, from those looking for a sense of adventure to those in search of a hugely rich culture. Added to this is growing demand for a break in the sun during our cold winter months and visitors are assured long days and plenty of sunshine between November and April. And for those with time on their hands, a Holland America Grand South America Voyage plans to circumnavigate the entire continent in just 68 nights.

Who to sell to From Argentina to Venezuela, from the Amazon to the Galapagos and Machu Picchu, South America has something for everyone. For clients with a concern about increasing ‘traffic’ in the Caribbean and the Med, assure them there is plenty of room for ships of all sizes in these seas and no port congestion.



What to sell Buenos Aires, Rio de Janiero and Santiago are major departure ports with a good choice of direct flights from the UK. Silversea’s new flagship, Silver Muse, departs Buenos Aires to Bridgetown on a 19-day voyage on November 17 2017. It will calling at Itajai, Paraty, Rio, Buzios, Salvador de Bahia, Natal, Fortaleza and Devil’s Island before arriving at Bridgetown. Fares are from £8,450pp. Princess Cruises sails from December to March visiting Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina and Uruguay. On some itineraries passengers can stay in port until at least 9pm, which offers the chance to get a better feel for the place. Excursions include a walking tour in the La Boca district of Buenos Aires, a performance of dancing horses in Lima and even a visit to a crocodile colony on the Tarcoles River. During 2017/18 there will be four MSC ships visiting South America: MSC Magnifica, MSC Musica, MSC Poesia and MSC Preziosa will call at ports across Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. MSC is offering all inclusive cruise packages on 22 ExSouthampton sailings from April to October 2018 on board MSC Magnifica. A six-night Carnival Cruise on MSC Musica departing Feb 11, calling at Rio, Salvador and Ilheus starts from £779. Crystal is offering two South America

“Crystal Serenity’s Amazon Escape offers a opportunity to combine the Caribbean with the Amazon plus the chance to experience our Wine and Food Festival, with world-renowned chefs and wine experts” MICK DUPONT, DIRECTOR OF UK SALES, CRYSTAL CRUISES


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Oceania Cruises has launched a Voyage Atlas tempting guests to all corners of the globe whilst enjoying ''the finest cuisine at sea'. A port-intensive cruise on Sirena sails March 21 2018 from Buenos Aires to Rio (with overnight stay in both ports), visiting Montevideo, Punta Del Este, Rio Grande, Porto Belo, Sao Paulo Parati, Ilha Grande and Buzios. Prices start from £3,959pp including return flights from London and shore excursions. �Wildlife: No place on earth compares to the Galapagos Islands for wildlife. Metropolitan Touring, South America’s pioneer in the Galapagos, has enhanced its itineraries on its newest vessel, Santa Cruz II. Guests can choose from a week in the Eastern islands or five days for both Northern and Western itineraries. Only Santa Cruz II offers 100% of the Galapagos' Big 15 (the 15 most iconic Galapagos animals as compiled with leading naturalist guides) when combining the Eastern and Western itineraries.


itineraries on Crystal Symphony in 2018: the 13-night Incan Echoes from Valparaiso to Colon departing April 6 and the 24-night Amazon Discovery round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, departing November 8.

“Our 46-night South America with Rio Carnival voyage has been created around one of the world’s most lively and awe-inspiring festivals. This cruise gives guests a holiday of a lifetime and enables the trade to benefit from a higher average booking value” JUSTIN STANTON, SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR, FRED. OLSEN CRUISE LINES

Themed Cruising �Amazon: There are plenty of ways to explore the Amazon basin and Hurtigruten’s MS Fram departs Manaus for a tropical jungle adventure including hiking and canoeing before sailing south along Brazil’s coastline. Seventeen days start at £4332pp including a specialist lecturer. �Gourmet: Silversea’s Silver Muse will visit South America on a circumnavigation of the continent. The ship has more dining options than any other ultra-luxury ship, with its La Dame the only Relais & Chateaux restaurant at sea. Crystal Serenity’s 24-night Amazon Escape round-trip from Fort Lauderdale on October 27 2017 calls at Alter do Chao, Parintins, Manaus, Boca de Valeria, Santarem and Macapa. This Wine & Food Festival sailing features regional dishes with expert culinary insights from masters who know the areas’ delicacies. It is priced from £5,332pp.

Ex UK Fred Olsen’s Balmoral will embark on a 46-night South America with Rio Carnival cruise, departing Southampton January 23 2018. Ports of call include: Funchal, Santa Cruz, Praia, Fortaleza, Maceio, a three-night stay in Rio, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Punta del Este, Sao Paulo, Salvador, Mindelo, Arrecife and Lisbon, returning Southampton March 10 2018. Prices start from £4,399pp. 


South America Essentials GETTING THERE LATAM flies direct from Heathrow to Rio de Janiero and Buenos Aires from £629 return. British Airways flies direct to Rio from £844 and Buenos Aires from £946 return. Air Europa flies from Gatwick to 11 cities in South America via Madrid. These include Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Lima, Bogota and Montevideo.

"Our South America Passage itineraries taking in the tip of the continent start from £1,299pp. The experience can be extended into a 22-night South America & Antarctica cruise with five days cruising "The White Continent", close to colossal icebergs and penguin colonies.” Wendy Lahmich, UK and Ireland Sales Director, Holland America Line

“We are delighted that travel agents are able to offer their customers exciting and adventurous Silversea cruises to South America. Our new flagship Silver Muse will explore this beautiful region of the world in more comfort and luxury than ever before.” Lisa McAuley, Silversea Managing Director, UK and Ireland



China syndrome

Vast and still largely unknown outside its main tourist areas, China is a land rich in immersive cultural experiences for those willing to explore, says Adam Coulter


’d made a point of watching Lost in Translation on the flight over to Shanghai. Although it is set in Tokyo I thought it might prepare me for the same sense of dislocation, jet-lag and otherworldliness experienced by Bill Murray in the film. I was not wrong. I speed by mag-lev (magnetic levitation) rail at 220 km/h from the airport to the city centre and on to my hotel, the Grand Hyatt (once the tallest in the world). The hotel, on the ultra-modern Pudong side of the city, begins on the 56th floor and goes up to the 88th. The inside is hollowed out, so when you look up from reception you have an uninterrupted view up 30 storeys, which creates its own feeling of vertigo. And on the 87th floor is the wonderfully-named Cloud 9 Bar, which could virtually be in Lost

in Translation, so similar was it to the bar frequented by the Scarlet Johannson character. The hotel looks out over the river to The Bund, largely unchanged since the 1920s, when Shanghai was at its peak of sophistication and international influence. Brits, French and Americans all wanted a piece of it – and got it, in the form of concessions – pieces of the city that were handed over to other countries. The best-known and best preserved is the French Concession, which astonishingly has not been pulled down or built over and is kept largely as it was in 1941. I made my way over there the following evening, and it was as if I had left the modern city behind – the colonial buildings, pretty squares and cobbled pedestrian streets take you back to the pre-war years.

On the rise China is a vast and still largely unknown tourist destination outside of the main population centres of Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu (for the giant pandas) and the Yangtze River. English is not widely spoken, infrastructure is poor and the country is so huge it can be hard to know where to start. China is the secondlargest country in the world and the UK could fit into it 40 times. It’s also the most populous, with 1.3 billion, and coping with crowds is often one of the big challenges when visiting the more popular tourist destinations. Despite these challenges, China is in fact the third-most visited tourist destination, welcoming almost 68 million tourists in 2016. The 2016 figures were up almost four per



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sunset at the Simatai Great Wall section. cent year on year, and if this growth continues Old times: Discover quaint charm in China will claim the number one spot in 2020, Pingle Ancient Town near Chengdu. according to the World Tourism Organisation. Pedal it: Cycle along the ancient city walls The UK sits in 15th spot with 580,000 in Xian. visitors in 2015, says the China National Cuddly: Come face to face with the Giant Tourism Administration, but this number Panda at Dujiangyan. is likely to rise, says Ben Briggs, Head Wake up: Join Shanghai locals on a of Marketing at Wendy Wu Tours. tasting tour of the city’s breakfast joints. “Bookings to China with Wendy Wu Tours Cruising: Take a two-day cruise along the grew strongly in January with a year-on-year mighty Yangtze River visiting the Ghost increase of 20%. We also noted a large rise City of Fengdu. in interest for active and adventure travel to Get high: Drink a cocktail in the sky in China, with 2017 departures on our Discovery Cloud 9 Bar, on the 87th Floor of the Tours up 70% compared to last year. Grand Hyatt Shanghai. “Our tip to agents would be to go beyond the Timeless: Stand on the Bund (old main attractions when discussing China with their Shanghai) and marvel at the futuristic customers and to highlight more off-the-beatenbuildings in Pudong track cultural sites and (new Shanghai). active experiences. “China is becoming a more Picture it: Have The Great Wall, the popular starting and finishing dinner in the Terracotta Warriors and point for cruises. Travel 2 has French Concession and the giant pandas are without doubt must-see seen an 88% increase under its imagine yourself in pre-World War Two attractions, but the dedicated Cruise Plus Shanghai. modern traveller also programme this year to date. wants to experience Many passengers will tie this in What’s new local culture and with a tour of Japan”  Airlines: In February, authentic activities.” China introduced Infrastructure is MARK MALLINSON, ASSISTANT PRODUCT MANAGER: ASIA, TRAVEL 2 fingerprint checks of also catching up – the all foreign arrivals, network of bullet beginning at Shenzen Airport. The checks are trains has been expanded and more quality a bid to improve security and will gradually hotels are being built outside of Shanghai roll out at other airports across the country. and Beijing. A staggering 544 first-class and  Hotels: The Sanya Marriott Hotel luxury hotels with 164,400 rooms are currently ( Dadonghai Bay, is Marriott’s third under construction, in Beijing and Shanghai hotel in Hainan. With views of mountain, as well as other Chinese cities like Changsha, ocean and beach, the 458-room resort Chengdu and on the Chinese tropical island of hotel is surrounded by tropical gardens. Hainan, says the China National Tourist Office.  Attractions: Shanghai Disneyland Perfect ten ( celebrates its one-year Take a hike: Climb up Longevity Hill in anniversary in June. The resort expects to welcome the Summer Palace, Beijing, for stunning up to 10 million visitors in its first year. It features vistas over Kunming Lake. Disney’s tallest castle, two hotels, a pirateWall to wall: Walk the winding Great Wall themed park, shopping, dining and a 40-hectare fortifications of Jinshanling and see the ‘Wishing Star Park’ with natural scenery.


Opposite page: The Summer Palace in Beijing. This page, clockwise from top left: A snowy Great Wall of China; the Longmen Grottoes; a sleepy giant panda; Chengde Mountain Resort; the ancient water town of Zhujiajiao, near Shanghai



Above: The Moon Embracing Pavilion on the Black Dragon Pool in Jade Spring Park, backed by the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, in Lijiang, Yunnan province.

 Cruising: Star Cruises ( is £3,190pp. Highlights include the Summer Palace, adding a number of longer cruises from Shanghai, hiking the winding Great Wall fortifications allowing passengers to include Tokyo and Mount of Jinshanling, cycling along the ancient city Fuji in their itineraries. The new cruises will walls in Xian, a two-day cruise on the Yangtze begin on July 6 and un until November 30 2017. River and time in Shanghai. International Carnival Corporation flights are included. ( will “Recommend visiting China  GREAT RAIL – 08002404470 build two cruise in the spring and autumn, The 17-day Grand Tour of ships in China for China 2017, combining the Chinese market avoiding the extreme heat ancient cultures, history, for launch in 2023. of the summer and cold scenery and urban The new ships will of the winter, although landscapes, starts from establish the first being such a huge country this £2,995pp with departures in domestic Chinese varies regionally” 2017 scheduled on April 6 cruise line, with an and 20, May 18, September option for four more. REBECCA TURNER, SENIOR PRODUCT MMANAGER: ASIA AND AUSTRALIA, GOLD MEDAL 14, and October 12, 19 and Norwegian Cruise 26. Included are flights Line ( is to send another purpose-built ship to China in from London to Beijing and Shanghai to London, 2019, joining sister ship, Norwegian Joy. 12 nights in four- and five-star hotels, a tour manager, high-speed rail travel, a three-night Where to book it five-star cruise on the Yangtze, tours in Beijing,  WENDY WU TOURS – 0800 988 8209 Xi’an, Suzhou and Shanghai and excursions to the The 15-day ‘China Explorer’ trip (part of the Terracotta Warriors and the Great Wall of China.  Discovery Tours collection) is priced from

hong kong & macao

two a tale of


Hong Kong’s latest campaign showcases experiences through the eyes of locals, while twocity neighbour Macao is starting to hit the heights, says Judith Baker


am at the summit of MacaoTower, one of Asia’s tallest buildings, where someone is being strapped up to perform the world’s highest bungee jump from 338 metres above ground. I have no head for heights and no intention of joining him. I can get my thrills with my feet firmly on the ground, merely gazing at the breathtaking view stretching across the city below. I can see the top of the Eiffel Tower in Macao’s Parisian hotel and the curve of the world’s largest Skytop wave pool. Even from up here, the buzz of the place is tangible. The ‘kerching’ of the casino’s ‘one-armed bandits’ (the locals call them ‘hungry tigers’) is the sound track to the city for some but from this spot, but I can also see the tips of Chinese temples and the spires of Portuguese churches. It might be known as ‘Asia’s Vegas’, but Macao’s

colonial charm, found in its pretty squares, sleepy outlying islands and great food, is gaining ground.

Perfect pair A host of attractions, old and new, are fast-making Macao Asia’s most exciting destination, and its location makes it a great short-stay destination as a twin-centre holiday with Hong Kong or as a two- or three-night addition to a Far East holiday or Australia route stopover. Enter Macao by a 50 minute turbo jet ferry journey from Hong Kong – which has weekly flights from London and Manchester – and combine the two for an Oriental experience with a difference. Former British colony Hong Kong has the vibe of a modern 21st century hot spot and although it still retains some of its Britishness, it has a cosmopolitan energy found in new




hong kong & macao


“Hong Kong is a joyous destination for the senses, from its breathtaking iconic skyline to its delicious cuisine. Thanks to direct ferry links, Hong Kong and Macao make a perfect, contrasting double-act” BEN BRIGGS, HEAD OF MARKETING, WENDY WU TOURS

Previous page: Macao’s impressive skyline at night. This page, clockwise from top left: the 17th Century Ruins of St. Paul’s in Macao; a buzzing neon street in Macao; Macanese cuisine is the ultimate fusion food

bars, art galleries and an exciting calendar of events, with everything from Chinese New Year celebrations to sports tournaments. Hong Kong is a convenient gateway for South East Asia and is a great add-on to China itineraries for those looking to extend their trip. Both Hong Kong and Macao attract British travellers drawn to their combination of colonial history, luxurious hotels and the adrenalin of 24-hour entertainment. Cathay Pacific’s increased flights to Hong Kong from Gatwick, adding to its five-timesdaily service from Heathrow and four times a week from Manchester (alongside three daily flights from British and Virgin Atlantic) mean the destinations are easier to reach than ever.

Perfect ten East Meets West: It’s not everywhere that you see Buddhist temples and Catholic churches side by side, or Chinese and Portuguese architecture on the same streets, but Macao is unique. Bigger is better: See the world’s biggest outdoor sitting Buddha on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Sizzling nightlife: Macao’s includes awe-inspiring shows like the House of Dancing Water and recently-opened Parisian Macao’s nightly light show, as well as bars, clubs and casinos. Shop till you drop: Hong Kong is retail paradise. Apple products sell at about 20%

less than the UK, while fashion addicts can indulge at designer malls. Natural and manmade thrills: Visitors to Macao can experience the world’s highest bungee jump ( or meet the cuddly-looking residents at the Giant Panda Pavilion ( Junk it: Hong Kong’s iconic skyline and Victoria harbour is best viewed from a traditional junk like the Aqua Luna. The Symphony of Light show happens every evening at 20.00. Celebrate good times: Macanese events range from traditional celebrations to big budget extravaganzas, whether it’s the Feast of the Drunken Dragon or the thrills of the Macao Grand Prix. Take a peak: The Peak is the highest point in Hong Kong Island and offers great views across the skyscrapers to the hills of the New Territories. Rural bliss: Just minutes away from the adrenalin of the Macao peninsula are the sleepy islands of Taipa and Coloane. Themed fun: The young at heart will love the rides at Hong Kong’s Disneyland in Lantau (

What’s new  Accommodation: In Macao, MGM Cotai ( will open in 2017 with around 1,400 rooms and diverse offerings ranging from Asia’s first dynamic theatre,

the Spectacle, to innovative culinary, retail, and family-friendly offerings.  Attractions: Recent developments in Hong Kong include an expansion of the city’s thriving arts scene with a wave of new galleries and exhibition space as sites including the old Central Police Station are converted into homes for cultural heritage and art Macao has been further confirmed as one of Asia’s most exciting food destinations, with three restaurants receiving Michelin stars for the first time in the 2017 Michelin Guide to Hong Kong and Macau, making a total of 19 Michelin-starred restaurants in Macao. In Hong Kong, 16 food trucks showcasing Chinese, Western and international cuisine will travel around the city to enhance its reputation as a culinary paradise.  Transport: New world-class transport links are also making it easier for visitors to get around Hong Kong. These include the brand new MTR South Island Line (East) which now connects Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang, Lei Tung and South Horizons to the centre of Hong Kong, thus creating a new tourism district.

Tourism talk “Last year was another great year for Macao, which welcomed more UK visitors and exciting developments, including an international film festival, new luxury hotels and the birth of baby panda twins! “Our trade partners remain an important part of our plans for 2017 and we will be operating a whole range of promotions, events and fam trips throughout the year to help support continued positive growth. Agents can sign up for the Macao Specialist programme:” Sue Whitehead, Macao Tourist Board, UK epresentative “For 2017, Hong Kong Tourism Board will be highlighting the rich diversity and quality of experience that the city offers


hong kong & macao

to visitors from around the world as part of its global marketing campaign titled ‘Best of All, It’s in Hong Kong.’ As part of the campaign, visitors are encouraged to venture off the beaten path, get under the skin of the city and explore Hong Kong like a local. This includes lesser-known areas of the city itself such as the up-and-coming neighbourhood, Kennedy Town and Old Town Central, a compact area that is a true chronicle of how heritage, art, lifestyle, dining and entertainment evolved in the city. In addition, we are looking to increase awareness for the areas outside of the city hub. Hong Kong is 70% green – a fact that many are unaware of – and also has sandy beaches, mountain trails and over 200 outlying islands for visitors to discover.” Dawn Page, Director, UK and Northern Europe, Hong Kong Tourism Board

Where to book it  TRAFALGAR – 0800 533 5619 The Hong Kong and Macao Experience is a four-day mini stay, visiting Victoria Peak, Stanley Market, the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong and the A-Ma Temple, Ruins of St.Pauls and Grand Emperor Casino in Macao. Prices start from £1,175pp based on twin share, including airport transfers, accommodation, a local specialist and transport.

Clockwise from top: The Macao Grand Prix; the Tian Tan Buddha, Lantau Island, Hong Kong; Lou Lim Leoc Garden in São Lázaro, Macao

 WENDY WU TOURS – 0800 902 088 The two-and-a-half-day Hong Kong & Macao tour is from £410pp. Highlights include taking a Hydrofoil across the Zhujiang River to Macao’s Old Town. The price includes four nights’ accommodation, airport transfers, coach tours, a local English-speaking guide, entrance fees and some meals. 

“In Hong Kong, don’t miss the view from Victoria Peak and soaking up the atmosphere in Victoria Harbour” MARK MALLINSON, PRODUCT MANAGER, TRAVEL 2



the final word

the quirky side of travel – Women, Instagram, Virgin Trains –


nternational Women's Day was celebrated early last month with airlines across the globe joining in the 'festivities'.

On a day devoted to equality for females, airlines paid homage to the fairer sex. An all-female crew operated an easyJet flight from Gatwick to Madrid, led by Kate McWilliams, who at 27 is the world's youngest female commercial captain. The journey took place aboard a A320 aircraft named after the most famous female aviator of all, Amy Johnson, who, among other achievements was the first female pilot to fly solo from Britain to Australia. Royal Brunei Airlines also had an all-female cockpit crew, on a flight from Brunei to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Women were at the controls despite the fact females are not allowed to drive a car in Saudi Arabia.

TOP 10… Asian up-and-comers Here are Asia's top 10 fastest-growing destinations, and why they are popular, as ranked by 1


Niseko, Japan Skiing;

INSTA-FAMOUS Princess Cruises teamed up with Instagram photographer Paperboyo for a unique look at its Mediterranean routes. Paperboyo (real name Rich McCor) has just shy of 250,000 followers on Instagram and is known for 'playing with perspective' and paper


Each year, usually in February, the Yosemite Fire fall takes place. This Californian natural phenomenon makes Horsetail Falls (pictured left) appear as though it is on fire. In fact it is the light from the sunset changing the appearence of the waterfall.



Fire Fall

Banaue, Philippines Rice terraces

4 cut-outs in his work. On his trip the photographer visited several cities, casting odd silhouettes in Rome, Florence and Barcelona. Those wanting to see more of Paperboyo's work can check out his Instagram @paperboyo.

3 Koh Kood, Thailand Island charm

Koh Lanta, Thailand

Khao Mai Kaew Caves


HAPPY BIRTHDAY VIRGIN Virgin Trains celebrated the 20th birthday of its west coast service last month. Since starting up in 1997, the train company has clocked up nearly 335 million combined miles on the route – and served over five million fry-ups. To celebrate the milestone, passengers were given red velvet cupcakes, while the Virgin Trains BEAM app was updated with five films also celebrating their 20th birthday, including Men in Black, Titanic and The Full Monty. Given the operator has in the past been named as being one of the UK's worst performers for punctuality, perhaps Planes, Trains and Automobiles might have been more appropriate. •

6 Koh Rong, Cambodia

Harbin, China



Tangalle, Sri Lanka Turtle watching


Khao Lak, Thailand Natural beauty

Ice festival


Siquijor Island, Philippines Witchcraft


Koh Lipe, Thailand Pattaya Beach

THE MAY 2017 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • Thailand: Beyond Bangkok • Maldives • Ecuador • Singles Holidays • Korea • Premium All-Inclusives • Ireland • Oman • USA": Capital Region • Mediterranean Cruising • Lands of the Midnight Sun • CONTACT US; PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni


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Touchdown is a trading style of Travelbrands Ltd. Travelbrands Ltd travel insurance is arranged and administered by Insure & Go Insurance Services Ltd. Travelbrands Ltd is an introducer appointed representive of Insure & Go Insurance Services Ltd for Travel Insurance. Insure & Go Insurance Services Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Reference Number 309572) with registered address: 1 Victoria Street, Bristol Bridge, Bristol, BS1 6AA. Registered in England and Wales (Company no. 04056769).

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Selling Travel April 2017  

The World in one Magazine Cover story: India Read more features on... China • Florida • Germany • Philippines • New Zealand • Hong Kong and...

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