Be an 'armchair travel agent'
APRIL 2020 â&#x20AC;˘ SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK
GREEN NEW WORLD Coronavirus has put world travel on pause, but could this be a chance to plan for a more sustainable future?
Keep the conversation going It's essential to keep in contact with your clients and helping them to be 'armchair travellers' is one way to do it.
Inspire, inform, connect We've started a new library of armchair travel features content which is suitable for you to share with your clients. Turn to page 4 or visit the link below to ďŹ nd out more...
sellingtravel.co.uk/armchair-travel-library Cover_Armchair ad Apri-final.indd 1
how to sell...
South American cruises Responsible travel Active Maldives and more...
4/7/20 01:41 PM
Travel media unites to support Travel media to support support #OneTravelIndustry Travel media unites unites to #OneTravelIndustry #OneTravelIndustry
Shareyour your positive positive stories stories and and include Share include both both the the hashtags hashtags #OneTravelIndustry #OneTravelMedia Share your#OneTravelIndustry positive stories and #OneTravelMedia include both the hashtags
#OneTravelIndustry One Travel Industry advert.indd 2
#OneTravelMedia 07/04/2020 17:17
this issue ALL AROUND THE WORLD FEATURES 08 Active Maldives: From
kayaking to kickboxing 39 Cruising South America: Nature, wildlife & adventure
QUICK READS 13 How to sell: Svalbard 15 Six of the best: South
24 Introducing: Cultural
26 Six of the best: Alternative Thai islands
28 How to sell: Multi-
generational cruising 35 48 hours in: Doha, Qatar 38 Six of the best: Tips for selling all-inclusive holidays
NEWS 32 COVID-19 round-up plus news from Unite Indian Ocean & Middle East, Unite Pacific & Australasia and Unite Visit USA
CRUISING SOUTH AMERICA
RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL 44 What's trending 48 Trekking in Nepal 50 New products 52 Sustainable safaris in Zambia
54 Europe by rail
13 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 sellingtravel.net
Contents April final LGNEW.indd 3
4 / welcome
EditorIAL EDITOR Laura Gelder firstname.lastname@example.org
journalists Jessica Pook & April Waterston
Contributing EditorS Andy Hoskins & Julie Baxter
To our readers...
PUBLISHING PublisherS Steve Thompson email@example.com Sally Parker firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising Manager Lisa Merrigan email@example.com
Circulation manager Shani Kunar
MANAGING DIRECTOR Matt Bonner
CEO Martin Steady
DESIGN & PRODUCTION SENIOR Designer Louisa Horton
Designers Caitlan Francis & Zoe Tarrant
Production & STUDIO Manager Clare Hunter
e are living through the single most challenging time in the era of mass travel. The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and we are yet to fully understand its impact on our personal and professional lives. I, like many of you I’m sure, feel as if I am living in a Hollywood movie and for the travel industry the devastation wrought by coronavirus is already clear. Nearly all companies – large and small – working in the sector are facing enormous threats to their very existence. None of us yet know when and how this will end. All we Laura Gelder Editor know for sure is that one day – in the hopefully not-toodistant future – we will return to the normality we now realise we all took for granted, at work and at home. In the meantime, all we can do is help our loved ones to stay safe, healthy and happy and to offer understanding and help to our friends, colleagues and partners.
Never give up (Print) ISSN 2056-9319. ©BMI PuBLISHING LTD 2020.
Selling travel is published by BMI PUBLISHING Ltd: Suffolk House, George Street, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1SR, UK. T: 020 8649 7233 E: firstname.lastname@example.org bmipublishing.co.uk • sellingtravel.co.uk 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. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, BMI PUBLISHING LTD cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. COVER image credit: istockphoto.com This publication is printed on Revivew 100 Media and Revive recycled coated, recycled paper grades that are FSC® Recycled certified and Carbon Balanced.
Selling Travel has been supporting and informing agents for nearly 30 years and we are determined to continue doing just that. Never has there been a year like this, but one thing we are sure of is that one day the travel industry will emerge on the other side, albeit markedly changed, just as every one of us will be. In the meantime, agents are coming together to support each other through this crisis and I've no doubt there will be plenty more inspiring stories to come. We know that the travel industry is populated by kind, hard-working, determined, resolute and brilliant people. We know that holidays are not just an important part of our lives but an essential one – a way to spend quality time with loved ones and take a break from the stresses of everyday life. And we know that tourism can be an effective tool in improving the lives of people around the world less fortunate than ourselves. Let’s use these tough times to envision how we can work towards a new travel industry which will be better than ever before. We will get there together! sellingtravel.co.uk
4/7/20 01:42 PM
WHAT ARE WE DOING? Our promise to you We know that you are grappling with a crisis. that's why this fast-changing situation requires us to make changes to our content over the coming weeks. We will continue to publish the Selling Travel magazine you love â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but in a digital-only format. this way, we can ensure we reach all of you working from home. In addition, we have upped the frequency of our e-newsletter to twice a week, on tuesdays and thursdays. if your oďŹ&#x192;ce is shut or you are furloughed, please sign up using your personal email and encourage all your colleagues to do the same. We will, of course, cover the impact of CovID-19 but we will also continue our usual content, covering destinations and travel trends. We hope this will continue to inspire and inform you over the coming tough weeks. We want every tourist board, airline, cruise line, hotel group and any other tourism player to have an outlet for their news and updates and be able to reach their most important audience - you!
The big question CovID-19 has impacted every facet of the travel industry, but for agents it begs the question: how do you sell travel at a time when no one is allowed to travel? It's essential to keep in contact with your clients, now more than ever. We think helping your clients be 'armchair travellers', transporting them to an exotic, exciting location through the power of words, is one effective way to do it.
Carrying on We will continue to publish Selling Travel in a digital format.
Giving you more We are sending out our e-newsletter twice a week, on tuesdays and thursdays.
Listening Please tell us what we can do to help you through this - email editorial@ bmipublishing.co.uk
How to be an armchair travel agent We've started a new library of armchair travel features - inspiring travel articles which are suitable for you to share with your clients. the features can be found online in their usual format but a pink 'download for client' button takes you to a PDf version with no Selling Travel branding - perfect for sharing with customers. let's keep the magic of travel alive and take it to people's living rooms! Connect, inform and inspire your clients to book for future travel.
Download the PDF 4/7/20 01:43 PM
VIP door-to-door on every holiday Hassle-free door-to-door transfers
Private transfers available Ask our travel consultants for more details
From your front door to the airport and back again at no extra cost
No single supplements
Solo travelers can enjoy the same service as couples
No matter where you live in the UK
Award-winning service Unlimited mileage Included with every holiday
Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just take our word for it our hoildays have won awards
The original and still the best!
Untitled-2 Untitled-4 1 008933-TT Selling travel ad.indd 1
4/1/20 12:18 PM 19/03/2020 07:56 18/03/2020 16:26
the big picture /
Svart Norway’s Arctic Circle
Positively perfect The world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel will perch on the crystalline Holandsfjorden fjord at the base of the Svartisen glacier. Inspired by the local Fiskehjell (a fish-drying structure) and Rorbue (a fisherman’s seasonal home), Svart is set to host 99 rooms, four restaurants, a spa, a sustainable farm, an education centre and a laboratory and still produces more energy than it uses! It aims to be off-grid, carbon neutral and zero waste within five years. svart.no/en
v2-Big Picture-LG.indd 7
4/3/20 05:57 PM
8 / active maldives
4/3/20 03:24 PM
active maldives /
When it comes to a tropical beach break the Maldives is hard to beat, but there’s more on offer than sun, sand and palm trees don’t just fly and flop, says Lauren Jarvis
wade into the ocean and strike out into the blue, barely needing a mask to see to the bottom, or the damselfish that scatter as I snorkel over the clusters of corals below. Shimmering under the watery morning sun, butterfly fish hide demurely behind blushing pink fans, and feisty ‘Nemos’, or clown fish. mock-charge as I pass, defending their anemones before snuggling back into their alien-like arms. Spotting a turtle, I swim by its side, lifting my head in synchronised motion as it rises to take a gulp of air, before propelling ahead, as I try to keep up. Suddenly, the floor disappears and I’m suspended above
an abyss, the coral wall fading away, as I peer down into the depths and a reef shark swims languidly beneath my fins. The house reef surrounding Kurumba Maldives resort is my playground every day of my stay, with 1,200 species of fish to discover and the regular thrill of spotting sharks, turtles and rays. I came here to switch off, but on this little island in the North Malé Atoll, there is too much happening to be still, and too much that is new to ignore. Lunch, paddle boarding and yoga lure me away from the reef, and at sunset I set sail in search of dolphins, on an offshore cruise during which they ride the bow.
4/3/20 03:24 PM
10 / active maldives
family action Although known for luxury and romance, many Maldives resorts cater for active families too, with kids clubs offering adventures on the beach and in the ocean. For Little mermaids: The family-friendly Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Maldives’ Mermaid Programme introduces children aged six to 12 to diving in a safe setting, while parents can sign up to free dive or join a group or private dive to sites around the atoll, from reefs to open water. Join the club: Finolhu, located in the UNESCOprotected Baa Atoll, offers children the chance to become ‘Oceaneers’, with exciting Kid’s Club excursions above and below the water plus pirate face painting and treasure hunts. Something fishy: The Dolphin Club at the new Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa has a playground with a pool, splash park, trampoline, slides, climbing frames and a zip-wire, for children aged four to 12.
baros maldives at sunset
The next day with no plans, the beach and a beanbag beckon, but I struggle to close my eyes. I pick up my snorkel, pull on my fins and swim back out to the blue.
Fly and fit Floating in the midst of a vast, turquoise sea, the Maldives is perfectly placed for ocean adventures above and below the waves. But despite the diminutive size of some of the 1,200 islands in the archipelago, they manage to pack in the action on land too, offering activities from cooking to kickboxing and kite surfing to kid’s clubs. “The Maldives is not only the ultimate relaxation destination, it offers an abundance of experiences for those looking for more than a beach break,” says
the maldives’ clear water is perfect for snorkelling
John Poulton, Assistant Product Manager: Indian Ocean at long haul tour operator, Travel 2. “This collection of paradise atolls is one of the most unspoilt destinations on earth. Coral reefs and a wealth of marine life, including manta rays, sharks and turtles, make it a diver’s or snorkeller’s dream destination. But many resorts also offer a range of activities such as fitness classes, yoga, badminton, golf, local island tours, dolphin and whale shark cruises, and water sports such as water-skiing, kayaking and windsurfing. These are great selling points for agents to utilise when recommending the Maldives to their customers.” Perceived as a luxury destination, the Maldives also has options for those looking to connect with local culture and travel responsibly. “Despite being viewed as a honeymoon destination for those seeking quiet luxury, the Maldives has much to offer beyond the exclusive resorts,” explains Julie Fitzgerald, General Manager, Asia, for travel adventure company G Adventures. “We’re always looking for ways to connect our travellers to local people, and the Maldives is no different. We offer a selection of culturally-focused tours, from trips on traditional dhoni boats, where travellers sleep on board at night and explore the atolls by day, to the Maldives Island
4/3/20 03:24 PM
active maldives /
Discover more features on the Indian Ocean at sellingtravel.co.uk/articles
Hopping Tour, which brings travellers together with local people, including the chance to cook and dine in their homes.” The islands have lots to keep families entertained, too. “From snorkelling the house reefs, to canoeing or exploring the islands by bicycle, the Maldives is a great choice for families who are looking for an active escape,” says Sheena Paton, Kuoni’s Senior Product and Purchasing Manager. Here’s a look at some of the exciting experiences on offer across the archipelago…
Underwater adventures Whether you’re snorkelling from the shore, or doing a night dive in the middle of the Indian Ocean, marine life is easy to find in the Maldives. Raffles Maldives in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll offers guests access to a ‘Marine Butler’, who guides them on bespoke reef adventures to see baby sharks, turtles, rays and more.
dive with turtles at kurumba maldives
Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa has collaborated with an environmental consultancy, Reefscapers, to develop a coral propagation programme with guest activities to help save the surrounding reefs. Baros Maldives has direct access to 30 of the world’s best diving spots, and offers guests access to Diving by Design programmers and a Diver Valet Service.
boat trip with The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi
Six Senses Laamu is the first resort to introduce blackwater diving in the Maldives, where divers are guided by LED lights, drawing micro marine creatures up from the depths.
Fit to travel Get pumped in paradise, or chill out to the sound of the ocean – whatever ‘wellness’ means to your customers, the
DIVING WITH PARK HYATT MALDIVES HADAHAA
Located at the heart of one of the largest and deepest natural atolls in the world, the waters surrounding our secluded island is every divers’ haven. Come discover Huvadhoo and explore the pristine dive sites of this lost atoll with your Blue Journeys personal guide. Discover more at maldiveshadahaa.park.hyatt.com The Park Hyatt™ trademark and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt International Corporation. © 2020 Hyatt International Corporation. All rights reserved.
Maldives-LG-3rd.indd Untitled-2 1 11
16/03/2020 4/3/20 03:24 08:55 PM
12 / active maldives
kite surfing with six senses
yoga session, Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi
Maldives probably has it covered. The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort offers a changing wellness focus each month, with specialist workshops on the Westin brand’s ‘Six Pillars of Well-Being’. The 50-villa Kagi Maldives Spa Island opens in the North Male Atoll in September 2020 with a gym, sound and yoga studio, lifestyle coaching and ‘Wellness Sabbatical’ mindfulness retreats. Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi has revamped its ‘Fairmont Fit’ programme, which includes complimentary workout gear, tennis lessons, beach volleyball and training in the state-of-the-art gym.
Hit the waves If there’s a water sport your client’s always wanted to try, the Maldives’ calm lagoons are the place to do it, while surfers can catch great waves here, too. All-inclusive ROBINSON Club Noonu has 64 sports and activities on offer, including water skiing, catamaran sailing, wakeboarding and mono-skiing. LUX* North Malé Atoll is introducing new wave and kite surfing experiences on the resort’s own surf break. An ‘Instagram Butler’ is on hand to take action shots, too. Take an island-hopping Jet Ski Safari on low-emission, low-noise vehicles at Kurumba Maldives, for the chance to
snorkel a hidden reef and visit a private sandbank. Anantara Dhigu is working with Planet Kitesurf Holidays to offer a range of kitesurfing courses at the resort, while the Surf School by Tropicsurf welcomes beginners and pros. The all-inclusive Outrigger Maldives Resort offers a range of water sports including sailing, canoeing, jet skiing, parasailing, kite surfing and windsurfing.
Cast away Cruising the archipelago on a live-aboard boat is an exciting way to explore, while shorter boat trips offer the chance for dolphin-spotting and more. Atmosphere Kanifushi’s Adventures Beyond the Lagoon excursions include picnicking on a desert island and taking a journey through Maldivian history on local island, Kurendhoo. MY Vittaveli from Jumeriah Vittaveli is the first luxury private floating villa in the Maldives. This 85-foot super yacht accommodates up to eight guests and has 24-hour butler service. Guests of Angsana Ihuru in the North Malé Atoll can enjoy dolphin excursions and a private overnight cruise on a catamaran with a chef and butler. Dream Yacht Charter offers seven and
paddleboarding at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
“Visit Maldives has launched its first VFam, a digital learning platform offering travel agents a virtual fam trip of the Maldives, at spinningglobe.com”
10-night cruises around the Maldives on its fully-crewed catamarans, with the chance to snorkel, kayak to unihabited islands and swim with manta rays.
Where to book it If Only – 0141 955 4000 Guests can stay at OZEN at Maadhoo by Atmosphere from £3,689pp, including international flights, complimentary speedboat transfers and seven-nights’ accommodation in an Earth Villa on the Indulgence Plan. ifonly.net •
4/3/20 03:24 PM
how to sell /
Svalbard Thrill-seekers, outdoorsy types and nature lovers will be blown away by the world's northernmost destination, as Lynn Houghton finds out Why sell it David Attenborough’s inspirational BBC series Frozen Planet showed off the vastness and beauty of the Arctic and for the adventurers and wildlife lovers who were inspired by it, Svalbard is a dream come true. This remote and rugged Norwegian archipelago is located about 1,200 miles north of its capital, Oslo, and well within the Arctic Circle.
Who to sell to Sell to outdoorsy and adventurous types primarily - it's rugged and there are no Michelin-star restaurants or luxury spas around the corner! Animal lovers will be in their element and have the chance to spot white beluga whales, orca, minke whales, Svalbard reindeer, Arctic foxes, seals and walruses, not to mention polar bears. For active types, winter is an optimum time to trek over glaciers, snowmobile, kayak, enjoy dogsledding, experience caving and try out snow shoeing. Skiing expeditions, four-day trekking and camping expeditions and short cruises are popular during the summer months.
What to sell Longyearbyen is Svalbard’s main settlement and located on the
houses in longyearbyen
archipelago’s largest island, Spitsbergen. Lying alongside the enormous Isfjorden, this former coal mining town has a bit of a wild west feel about it. There is only one main street and here you will find a cinema, shops, and cafes. It is from Longyearbyen that trekking, snowmobiling, dogsledding, skiing trips and mini-cruises depart. Though a protectorate of Norway, the archipelago is an International Zone and also has Russian settlements. Pyramiden is a fascinating abandoned Russian mining town that can be visited on a cruise. The settlement is still owned by a soviet mining company and there is an archive of over 1,000 well-preserved soviet films on site and a fully functional theatre where visitors can request a screening. Ny Ålesund claims it's the world's northernmost permanently inhabited civilian community and is home to 30 to 130 scientists, depending on the season.
caving excursions, snowmobiling trips and dog sledding, plus the polar nights means Northern Lights viewing is at its optimum. Late spring into summer is the best time for birdwatching, when sea cliffs are full of gannets, northern fulmars, Atlantic puffins and many other bird species.
How to sell it Throughout the year Norwegian offers weekly flights to Longyearbyen from Oslo and SAS has daily flights to Longyearbyen via Tromsø. In peak season, March to August, the number of flights increases. Cruises are the easiest way to visit the archipelago and operators offering one include Audley Travel, Azamara, Fred Olsen Cruises, G Adventures, Hapag Lloyd Cruises, Hurtigruten and Ponant. •
Book it with... Hurtigruten A 12-day Circumnavigating Svalbad is from
When to sell it Dog sledding
Winter is a truly exciting time to visit. The fjords are mostly frozen and there are
£5,765pp and has three June 2021 departures. It includes Longyearbyen and the Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserve. hurtigruten.co.uk
HTS Svalbard LG 2nd.indd 13
4/2/20 03:05 PM
Paul_Gauguin_Selling_Travel_Ad Mar20.qxp_Paul_Gauguin_Selling_Travel_Ad Aug19 06/03/2020 13:20 Page 1
Paradise is closer than you think
m/s Paul Gauguin
Visit islands beyond the ordinary – Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine and Taha’a – in comfort and style on this award-winning luxury small ship. With heartfelt hospitality always on board, every destination feels like home. • Spacious oceanview accommodations • All meals, plus complimentary room service • All onboard beverages, including beer and select wines and spirits • All onboard gratuities for room steward and dining staff • All shipboard entertainment
For further information or to make a booking, please call 020 7399 7691 Untitled-2 Untitled-1 1
4/1/20 12:20 PM 09/03/2020 09:03
Want to learn more about the Pacific region? sellingtravel.co.uk/ articles
six of the best /
South Pacific islands How do you pick an island in a region with thousands of options? Laura Gelder selects six islands with stand-out natural attractions Upolu
Formed by a huge basaltic shield volcano, Samoa’s main island has plenty of naturebased adventures. Try the natural waterslides of Papase’ea Sliding Rocks (pictured); the turquoise water of the Sua Ocean Trench, a natural swimming pool surrounded by lush vegetation; or some of the region’s best surf spots. You can also visit Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson’s 400-acre estate at Vailima.
This is the largest of the atolls in French Polynesia’s Tuamotu group of islands, and the second largest in the world. It’s so huge that it has the Blue Lagoon within its lagoon, where you can feed the circling sharks from the beach and wade between motus. Divers are drawn here by Avatoru Pass and Tiputa Pass, both of which produce currents that are ideal for drift diving or snorkelling and attract large schools of wild dolphins.
This French territory is better know to its western neighbour Australia and presents a fascinating mish-mash of landscapes that vary from turquoise lagoons and palm-fringed beaches to the aptly-named Isle of Pines; the west coast’s wide and grassy savannas covered with paperback trees and roamed by cowboys, to the Great South with its outback-like red earth, blue river and green hills.
The Cook Islands’ second biggest island, Aitutaki, claims to have the world’s most beautiful lagoon and was the location for reality TV show, Shipwrecked. Just 45 minutes by air from its main island, Rarotonga, it’s a different world, with uninhabited motus you can visit by boat for snorkelling, fishing and beach barbeques and small villages with postcard-perfect churches built from coral and limestone.
Fiji’s third-largest island is known as its ‘Garden Island’ and is home to Fiji’s highest peak - the cloud-shrouded Mount Uluigalau. There’s also a dense jungle home to the elusive Kula, or orange dove, huge ferns and wild tropical flowers like the scarlet Tagimoucia which is unique to the island. Bouma National Heritage Park makes up more than a third of Taveuni and the marine park at Waitabu has some bucket-list dive sites.
Part of French Polynesia’s remote Marquesas archipelago, 932 miles northeast of Tahiti, this mystical island is home to various archeological sites. Hiva Oa was the home and inspiration for French painter Paul Gaugin and its lush, rugged coast is lined with black sand beaches and sharp cliffs diving into the Pacific Ocean. Don’t miss its moss-covered tiki statues (pictured) and unexplained ancient petroglyphs.
6otb-south pacific-6th.indd 15
4/6/20 01:29 PM
The world of travel is closed thanks to coronavirus. We ask our columnists what it's like to be a travel agent during this unprecedented time
Travel is currently off-limits
Getting clients home is the number one priority
It's beyond comprehension for everyone, not just those of us in travel THE global impact of COVID-19 on us is colossal. The enormity of the crisis is unlike anything we have ever experienced before and the implications are beyond comprehension for everyone, not just those of us in travel. The pace that the situation has evolved at has meant a steep learning curve. As an agency, our priority is clients stuck in resort. It’s a scary and stressful time being thousands of miles from home, reading reports and headlines about borders closing and flights being cancelled. It is our job to try to be a calm voice and provide guidance as to the best course of action. Our emergency hotline is the go-to number for these stranded clients and we endeavour to work beyond what is expected. The time and care we are taking with every client is unprecedented, just like the situation. For existing bookings some clients are happy to postpone, but many are uneasy about travelling at all and wish to cancel due to the fear of travelling – even into 2021. The world is now an uncertain place and the travel industry will fundamentally change post-COVID-19. The number of airlines and operators may diminish and I think it will have an adverse impact on customer confidence, especially when it comes to booking holidays far in advance and paying balances three months before departure. I do foresee a boost to the UK holiday market, but only time will tell if we return to the same levels of international travel.
I CAME to travel late in life but I have had 15 wonderful years as a cruise agent – with a focus on small and river cruise ships. Having previously run care homes, frankly, selling travel was a pleasure with great perks! However the past three weeks have and continue to be very challenging and stressful, with COVID-19 affecting virtually every booking – even into 2021. We agents seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Our clients want to extend final payment dates as long as possible because they are not confident in travel and want to keep cash in the bank. Meanwhile, if their holiday has been cancelled they read that by law they are entitled to a cash refund within 14 days. But in many cases they're
Agents seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place only being offered a voucher, since operators are desperate to hang onto as much cash as they can in order to survive, and if they do offer refunds it's often with no commission protection for agents. It's a lose-lose situation and there are very few new enquiries which would help bring in some commission in the short term. I usually comment that being in travel is not as stressful as running care homes – travel's not a matter of life and death, after all. Tragically, that isn't the case at the moment. We all hope that there will be an end to the current crisis – but I may well be moving into a care home for some respite by then!
THE INDEPENDENT AGENCY
THE CRUISE SPECIALIST
Southern Cross Travel, East Sussex
Go Cruise, Cruise specialist, Worcestershire
TS- Foursight-LG-6th.indd 16
4/6/20 01:27 PM
There is determination to re-book once the world settles down THIS March I spent 10 amazing days in South Africa, having travelled out just as things were starting to change from the impact of coronavirus. On the day we landed home, Donald Trump banned UK travellers from entering the USA. Then, just when we thought the news couldn't get any worse, Boris advised the UK not to travel anywhere. At first, what seemed a clear message was confused by ever-changing rules from cruise companies, airlines and tour operators. The rule book has not only been torn up it's been ripped to shreds! Like everyone else we are encouraging people to re-book but that isn’t always an option. But the overall message from clients is their genuine concern about our team and how we are coping. And there is determination that they will re-book as soon as the world settles down. I'm confident that people will still want their holidays. I've worked for 30 years to build my business up and I'm certain it will still have a future – especially with my great team and all our loyal customers behind us. As I write this, we have a locked door policy in the office and we're setting up to work from home. I've had a risk assessment with each staff member, discussed their personal circumstances and put a working plan together but things will certainly change. South Africa now seems a distant memory but for now I feel lucky that I may be one of the few to have had a holiday in 2020.
I CAN’T wait for they day that this is all over and we can go back to doing what we love, but for the rest of 2020, at least, it looks like a staycation is on the cards for everyone. For agents that have travel booked it is worrying and I would certainly try and persuade customers to re-book at a later date rather than cancel, this also gives them something to look forward to. Most tour operators are being very helpful. I have been very impressed with Jet2, which is responding well and extremely active on Facebook, providing updates, tips and advice on new admin procedures. ABTA has made some changes to help travel agencies too – changes which could help to save travel businesses across the country. Agents will remember those that were helpful and those that were not once this is over. Now that we are all at home we can get on with all those jobs that we were too busy to do. The most important thing is to stay positive, there's simply no point in stressing about something that is beyond your control and remember: 'yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win.’ On a more cheerful note, thank you Darren Phillips for a great Geordie Ball back in March. The ‘C word' was hardly used as people were too busy having their photo taken with Peter Andre! I'm hoping that my Yorkshire Travel Ball will still be held on July 16. If it is, we will certainly be ready to celebrate the end of this. If you are interested, contact me at s.murray922@ btinternet.com.
It looks like a staycation is on the cards for everyone
THE HIGH STREET AGENCY
THE HOME WORKER
The Travel Team Brampton, Cumbria
Sandy's Travel Escapes, Leeds
Sandy (pre-social distancing measures) at the Geordie Ball Staycation is the buzz word for 2020
Next month: How can agents keep going and how can they bounce back from COVID-19?
TS- Foursight-LG-6th.indd 17
4/6/20 01:28 PM
Selling Travel listens
This month #agentstalk about... Get social with us:
Agents overheard "Just had a customer wanting to move their holiday to 2021. Apparently they've booked to go to the Custard Del Sol..."
“Does anyone know of any UK cottages that accept a family of four with their pet alpaca?”
via social media Venture Travel's Ben Owen and Hugh Bourne have utilised Facebook and Instagram to create their successful independent online travel agency. Here, they offer their top tips on how agents can make the most of social media during the coronavirus crisis.
Tip 1: Do something nice & document it
While it's probably best to avoid using social media to sell holidays at this time, there are still ways you can use these channels to communicate with clients and inadvertently promote your business. A good way to do this is to help your local community and document it on your social media – it's not only a nice thing to do but also helps build your reputation. In these uncertain times we're seeing the good and bad of companies (Home Bargains offering £30 million to help their staff versus Sports Direct wanting all employees to continue commuting as 'key workers'). Once things start to calm down customers will remember the good and bad of these companies - make sure you're in the good category.
Tip 2: Experiment with new platforms
Now is the perfect time to try new things on social media. We have recently created a TikTok account - a video-sharing social networking site - to test different videos and grow an organic following. TikTok has now hit over 1 billion users worldwide and seems to be following in the footsteps of Facebook and Instagram. Knowing how to use the app now will give you a competitive advantage in the coming years and could create a new customer base.
Tip 3: Address the situation
Posting updates from the FCO about your customers' holiday destinations (particularly if they aren't going for a few months) is the perfect way to keep them updated without having to deal with calls and emails. We are aiming to provide an update to our customers every few days, which hopefully reduces the amount of calls and emails we get so we can focus on customers currently away or due to depart in the next few weeks.
"Monday morning equiry: 'Hi, I'd like to go to Bora Bora for two nights please, it's only a four-hour flight isn't it?'"
“A customer asked repeatedly if I would ring the captain to ask if he would divert the ship to pick her friend up in Amsterdam on the way to Spain” "Client asked: 'Do you think I should change the date of my holiday? I'm going Easter 2021'" "I’m still working on bringing Sydney closer to the UK. My clients want to sail from Southampton to Sydney but only have two weeks' holiday..."
TS-Social Media final26th.indd 18
4/6/20 03:58 PM
2021 cruises are on sale now! Saga’s full season of 2021 all-inclusive boutique cruises aboard Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure will go on sale on March 23, 2020. With itineraries showcasing the Mediterranean, Norway, the Baltic and the Canary Islands, your customers can explore classic and lesser-known destinations in boutique-cruise style.
All-inclusive boutique cruises from £965pp including Return chauffeur service up to 250 miles I Speciality dining All-inclusive drinks I Wi-Fi I Gratuities I Optional travel insurance Book with confidence thanks to our Cruise Price Promise
Book online at sagaagents.co.uk or call 0800 074 8021
Cruises on sale to Britannia Club members only March 23; on general sale from March 24, 2020. Saga’s holidays and cruises are exclusively for the over 50s, but a travel companion can be 40+. NTA-SC4119
Untitled-2 Untitled-4 1
4/1/20 12:16 PM 19/03/2020 16:46
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT Training, events and fam trips
Caribbean comes to the UK The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s UK office hosted a series of peak season roadshows in the Southeast of England, accommodating 250 travel agents from Cambridge, Windsor, Winchester, Bristol, Brighton and Oxford. Agents were able to learn more about the Caribbean destination from resorts including Royalton Antigua, Starfish Jolly Beach Resort and Spa and Blue Waters Resort and Spa. Throughout the events agents had the opportunity to win a holiday to Antigua and Barbuda for themselves. visitantiguabarbuda.com
And the award goes to…
Easter bunny delivers
Gold Medal invited ten agents and their colleagues to join them in a VIP hospitality box for The BRIT Awards 2020 as a thank you for their support during the peaks season. The agents enjoyed prime viewing of the show as well as entrance to a 70s-themed after-party, complete with face paint and drag queens. Some of the agents were lucky enough to meet musical celebrities, including Fleur East, Rag 'n' Bone Man and Dizzie Rascal. goldmedal.co.uk
Louise Tansey, Bourne Leisure National Sales Manager, congratulates Eryl Mogbo of Polka Dot Travel, Longton, by presenting her with a luxury chocolate-filled hamper. Mogbo is the first weekly winner in Bourne Leisure’s ‘Easter Hamper Giveaway’. Agents are entered into the prize draw when they register either a Butlin’s, Haven or Warner Leisure Hotels booking bourneleisure.co.uk
Newmarket hits the road The team at Newmarket offered a sympathetic ear as the COVID-19 crisis reared it head and made the most of the initial quiet time to train agents in Hornchurch, Humberside, Workington and Maidstone. The team educated agents at Hays Travel, Hornchurch, on how to use the marketing tools on Newmarket’s agent site. They also popped in for training sessions at Hays Travel in Maidstone, Hays Travel in Workington, Craig Travel in Cockermouth and Humberside Airport Travel. newmarketholidays.co.uk
Have you enjoyed an interesting trade event or been on a trip or fam that you would like to see featured on this page? Email email@example.com
4/6/20 04:10 PM
talking shop /
Meet... GEORGINA KEEPING
Trade Sales Representative, St. Kitts Tourism Authority
A FRIENDLY FACE FOR THE TRADE
Canada here we come
Canadian Affair has rewarded its 30 top-selling agents with a place on one of three Canadian Affair fam trips. Agents will have the chance to visit Montréal and Québec City, Northern Ontario, including Toronto, or journey on the Rocky Mountaineer. The competition was part of Canadian Affair's peak season travel trade incentive and ongoing Agent Incentive Programme, which was set up after the operator launched sales to the trade in October 2018 with a price parity promise. canadianaffair.com
The trade is very important to us here at St. Kitts Tourism Authority, which is why we have appointed Georgina Keeping as the new Trade Sales Representative. Georgina will act as the face of St. Kitts to travel agents and frontline sales teams. As part of her new role she will be travelling around the country doing destination training sessions, answering any questions which agents or clients may have and hosting St. Kitts events throughout the year. Do not hesitate to get in touch for any support you may need at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HAPPY HOUR Fancy connecting with us over cocktails? We invite you to join our weekly virtual ‘happy hour’ sessions to give you a well-deserved break. Catch up with the team and destination partners on island time and bring a taste of St. Kitts to your home. We’ll be making an iconic St. Kitts drink which you’ll be sure to love. Dates and details to come.
TIME TO TRAIN
A-ROSA promotes new partnerships Simon McDermott, Business Development Manager at A-ROSA River Cruises, hit the road with Zoe Holt from JTA Travel, visiting agents in the Lancashire region to promote a new A-ROSA/JTA partnership for 2020. Needacruise by JTA Travel now offers A-ROSA product, including Rhine Enchanting Christmas Markets and Seine Rendez-vous with Paris. arosa.com; jtatravel.co.uk
Now is the perfect time to brush up on some destination training. We have refreshed StKittsSpecialist.com to give easy access to destination updates, as well as a new ‘agent toolbox’. Here you’ll find key hotel information and contacts, as well as image galleries and videos. We also invite you to join us for webinars. Please email email@example.com to register and receive details. Stay safe and healthy. We will get through this together.
30. incentive until June g in ok bo 0 £5 rn Ea uk stkittsrewards.co. SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK
TS-BTDT-LG-3rd.indd St kitts final2.indd 22 21
4/6/20 04:09 04:10 PM PM 4/6/20
F re n c h P o l y n e s i a
Picture-perfect Polynesia BY TOLA AROGUNDADE - LUX TRIPPER Ask people to describe their dream destination and, more often than not, they’ll paint a picture of the islands of French Polynesia. So when I discovered that I would be headed to this far-ﬂung paradise in the Paciﬁc, it was a dream come true. After my 24-hour ﬂight I enjoyed a muchneeded sleep in Tahiti before embarking on a short 55-minute ﬂight to Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort in the glistening Tuamotu Archipelago. A hidden gem, Tikehau is a true paradise with its rustic Polynesian charm making it all the more alluring. As I settled into my tropical beach bungalow, equipped with its own outdoor shower and hammock, I couldn’t wait to explore this remote coral atoll. I spent the next day wandering through lush coconut gardens, leaving footprints on pink sand beaches and spotting manta rays in the shallows of the blue lagoon. I didn’t want to leave this paradise but we headed back to the Society Islands to ﬁnd another. Moorea is Tahiti’s sister island, a 15-minute boat ride away. The lush, tropical surroundings and soaring peaks are very diﬀerent to the ﬂat desert islands of the Tuamotus, more akin to a scene from Disney’s Moana, or the Garden of Eden. At Hilton Moorea’s overwater crepe bar I watched sharks swimming in the surrounding water as I ate. I spent the
night at Soﬁtel Moorea, the only resort on the island with direct views across to Tahiti. With the twinkling island lights of as a backdrop, I feasted on sumptuous local dishes whilst enjoying a spectacular Polynesian show. Eager to learn more about the island, I visited Moorea’s Culture Centre where I learnt about authentic Polynesian traditions, from leaf braiding and opening coconuts to dancing and playing the drums. Last, but not least, was the island of Bora Bora and I was itching to to see if it was as magical as TAHITI everyone had told me. I enjoyed a delicious tropical lunch at the St Regis Bora Bora and felt like James Bond as I travelled in style to the Four Seasons on the Lady Pearl speedboat. Nothing could compete, however, with watching the sun dip below the picturesque Mount Otemanu from my overwater villa at The Intercontinental Thalasso. Except perhaps, jet-skiing across the turquoise lagoon to the Conrad Bora Bora Nui! As I was given my shell lei, to signify my departure, I looked back in awe at beautiful Bora Bora. I can't wait to one day return to this Polynesian paradise.
From top, clockwise: The Tuamotos from the plane; the clear waters of Bora Bora; overwater bungalows at Soﬁtel Moorea; basket-making at Moorea’s Culture Centre
TS-On Location 3rd.indd 22
4/3/20 03:23 PM
IN THE OFFICE
with Not Just Travel
Agent turns to armchair travel Having ﬁnished her training with Not Just Travel in February, the same month the coronavirus crisis took hold, Gill Matthews tells Jessica Pook how she's using this time to build her contact base and ensure she's fully prepared once the travel ban is lifted. "I ﬁnished my training with Not Just Travel on February 28 and less than two weeks later the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic and the travel industry came to a stand-still. To say the timing wasn't great would be an understatement – but that hasn't stopped me from being productive in my new role.
Armchair travel only
"I decided early that there’s no point putting holiday oﬀers on social media as we just don’t know when things will get back to normal, so I'm putting my eﬀorts into marketing my business by creating 'armchair travel' posts instead. "I've started by posting about places I know well and my most recent post included a virtual tour of Las Vegas featuring where to stay, where to eat and top attractions to see." The response has been really positive. I’ve had people tell me I've inspired them to go to Las Vegas and to get in touch once the crisis is over. I’m hoping that my content will help build
"Even though I've not had much experience as a travel agent, I've learnt a lot from other established NJT franchisees who are having a really tough time at the moment, dealing with lots of unhappy customers wanting to cancel or reschedule holidays. On the bright side, we're expecting another peak booking period once the lock-down ends – so at least I’ll be very prepared when the time comes to make lots of bookings.
my contact base and put me at the forefront of people's minds when the time is right. I’m also thoroughly enjoying writing them and it takes me back to all the amazing experiences I’ve had – it's like a form of escapism to me. "I think that writing original content from my own experiences oﬀers that personal touch and it also builds that expert image that will help me generate future bookings. It's strange to think that a matter of weeks ago money was the main barrier for people booking Vegas, but now all the money in the world wouldn’t get you there!
I’m hoping that my content will help build my contact base
"While it hasn't started quite the way I thought it would, I'm still feeling positive that becoming a travel agent was the right decision and every day we get one day closer to being able to do what we love again. I’m so looking forward to making people’s dreams come true and booking those holidays that people have been waiting and saving for. "I think the main thing is to keep engaging
"Before becoming one myself, I didn't realise home-based travel agents existed. I've always loved travel and enjoy nothing more than planning holidays so I decided that this would be the perfect job for me. I chose Not Just Travel (NJT) because I knew they could give me the support and training I needed. "I completed my training at the end of February and met some great friends through the course who are now an essential support network for me. "Every day the management team release a webinar for franchisees, to keep everyone up to date on what’s going on in the travel industry and to keep everyone connected. It’s all very accessible and I’m really impressed with how NJT have dealt with the COVID-19 situation, despite so much uncertainty." We can access information through NTJ's Hub alongside destination marketing materials and training.
with people and be seen to be accessible so that when we get over this we've made connections with potential customers. "People will be desperate to get away as soon as they can and are more likely than ever to book through a travel agent that they know they can trust, rather than the internet. "In the meantime, I'm going to continue to generate my armchair travel posts, getting inspiration from old holiday photos and transporting myself and others to my favourite beach in Corfu or a countryside retreat in the Cotswolds. But mostly I can't wait until the travel industry comes out of the other end of this, ﬁghting ﬁt, and I can get stuck into my dream job!" gillmatthews.notjusttravel.com
TS-In the office LG-3rd.indd 23
4/3/20 06:09 PM
24 / introducing
Florida Fun-loving Florida is bursting with creativity, from muralpainted urban districts to artsy beach towns and air conditioned galleries, says Jessica Pook
best place for... ART galleries: Jacksonville architecture: St. Augustine murals: Punta Gorda Ethnic culture: Ybor City, Tampa performing arts: Sarasota home-grown art: Daytona Beach
st. augustine architecture
art studio at the hub, new smyrna
Ormond Beach art walk
Mural in St petersburg
dmittedly, if you think about art and Florida it's more likely that a cartoonish pair of Mickey Mouse ears pop into your mind than a Salvador Dalí painting, but those that like a little culture mixed in with their roller coaster thrills don’t have to venture far from the theme parks to find everything from gritty street art to fine art galleries. Research from Visit Florida shows that its UK visitors tend not to spend their entire holiday in the parks and instead search out alternative attractions to keep stimulated. Some of Florida’s big art destinations include the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, which houses the largest collection of Dalí's works outside Europe; colour-drenched streets with larger-thanlife murals in Mural Town, Punta Gorda; art deco and Spanish-style architecture in Miami and St. Augustine; Jacksonville’s 18 museums and galleries; and Sarasota, known as 'Florida’s Cultural Coast'.
Walk on the arty side
One of the best ways to enjoy Florida’s art scene is with an art walk. Many of the state’s small towns and cities open up galleries and studios to the public on a monthly basis as part of a combined effort to make art more accessible and fun. One such town is Ormond Beach, just north of Daytona Beach. On the first Saturday of every month seven galleries showcase work from different local talents, from handcrafted woodworks to fine art and thought-provoking photography each piece giving an insight into the local surroundings. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply looking for an evening out filled with interesting conversation and good food and wine, an art walk is the perfect introduction to Florida’s creative side. Similar art walks include St. Augustine's First Friday (of the month) Artwalk, which includes 15 member galleries downtown; Tallahassee's First Friday Gallery Hop, which offers live music, open galleries and a food truck fare; Jacksonville's First Wednesday Art
Introducing Florida final final final .indd 24
4/3/20 05:13 PM
Discover more unusual angles on tried and tested destinations at sellingtravel.co.uk/articles
Walk, which has over 40 venues; Bradenton Village of the Arts First Weekend Artwalk and Miami's Second Saturday Wynwood Art Walk.
A blank wall is merely an empty canvas in Florida. Across the state artists have taken to the streets to convey life-sized visual messages on buildings and blank public spaces. The Florida Mural Trail can be picked up state-wide and sees murals used as historical memoirs or dream-like fantasies. Wynwood Walls in Miami has transformed into a new tourist attraction thanks to an influx of murals. The arts district houses some of the world’s most famous mural artists, with dozens of eye-catching canvases to gaze at. Mural Town in Punta Gorda, between Fort Myers and Sarasota, showcases its history through nearly 30 murals in the downtown historic district. Beachside bliss is reflected in surf towns like New Smyrna Beach and St. Petersburg and the latter's Shine Festival brings international muralists to town to work alongside local artists every year.
There are no stuffy museums or dusty galleries in Florida. Jacksonville is one of Florida’s big city art centres - its Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens houses more than 5,000 works of art against the natural backdrop of the St. Johns River. The Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art in Daytona Beach houses the largest collection of Florida art in the world. A walk through the six smaller galleries offers a glimpse into Floridian life, from paintings reflecting the weather to an exhibition entitled ‘Gone Fishin’ - a favourite pastime in the state. The Hub on New Smyrna’s Canal Street houses a collection of working artists with easels and paintbrushes in hand. Displaying a range of mediums and styles, visitors can capture artists in full swing with a walk around the light and bright studios where the artists are also warm and welcoming. Tallahassee's LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts hosts three annual events (a Holiday Show, Chain of Parks Spring Festival, and Art and Soul Fall Art Auction), all showcasing contemporary visual arts.
Catch-up on culture
Florida’s Latin roots run deep, with Spanish, Cuban and Italian influences found across the state.
mural in st petersburg
Visitors can explore the region’s Spanish colonial past in Pensacola – one of Florida’s oldest cities – at historical sites like Fort Barrancas. They can also watch cigar rollers working at the Tampa Sweethearts Cigar Company, or explore Miami’s characterful Little Havana district. African American art is showcased at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg, with regular concerts performed by its resident choir. And to give some context to some of this art, visit Jacksonville's Kingsley Plantation. Built in 1798, it's one of the oldest and one of the last remaining in Florida. Visitors can tour the grounds with its slave quarters, and learn about the controversial life of the landowner and his free African wife. •
artist at work at the hub
Book it with... America As You Like It A seven-night trip including return flights to Orlando, three nights at the Hampton Inn New Smyrna Beach and four nights at the El Caribe Resort Daytona Beach, starts from £995pp. Car hire in Florida with Hertz.co.uk starts from £25 a day. hertz.co.uk/american-collection; americaasyoulikeit.com
mural in ormond beach
Introducing Florida final final final .indd 25
4/3/20 05:13 PM
26 / six of the best
Want to learn more about Thailand? sellingtravel.co.uk/ articles
Thai islands Laura Gelder picks six Thai islands which lie slightly in the shadow of their more popular neighbours but more than make up for it with unspoilt beaches and a slower pace Koh Tao
Turtle Island sits above package tourist favourite Koh Samui and backpacker party isle Koh Phangan and is famous for its diving scene. It’s where many people come to learn the sport and is a noted place to see whale shark. Top spots for non-divers include Shark Bay, where you can snorkel among dozens of black-tip reef sharks, and Koh Tao’s highest peak, Two Views, which looks across Ang Thong Marine National Park.
Ko Yao Yai
Sitting in the Andaman Sea between Phuket and Krabi, this island has spectacular views of the limstone karst islands of Phang Nga Bay, which starred in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. The quiet island is home to rubber and coconut plantations, mangrove forests and secluded beaches. Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort & Spa offers a slice of luxury with its ornately carved teak wood villas.
So far south it’s often reached by speedboat from Langkawi in Malaysia, Koh Lipe is part of the Satun Province and lies within Tarutao National Park. Although it’s not the undeveloped haven it once was, the island is further from the madding crowd and has beautiful beaches. Boat trips to neighbouring uninhabited isles are a highlight and offer the chance to see mischievous crab-eating macaques, wild boars and mouse-deer.
Laid-back Lanta is much bigger than neighbouring Koh Phi Phi and absorbs its visitors, who come for the mileslong beaches, much more easily. For those that tire of lazing on the sand, there is a national park which protects 16 islands, including the southern tip of Koh Lanta where a steep road accesses hiking trails, twin beaches and a lighthouse. Old Town is worth a visit to see its old teak houses on stilts and eat in a lantern-lit restaurant.
The closest island to Bangkok, Koh Samet has long been adored by Thais escaping from the city. Somehow, it has managed to avoid over development and has relatively quiet beaches, only low-rise hotels and a green interior criss-crossed by bumpy roads. It’s more luxurious resorts, like five-star Paradee, have a beach to themselves or share their stretch of white sand with only one or two other resorts.
Lying south of larger Koh Chang in the Gulf of Thailand and close to the Cambodian border, exploring beaches, kayaking, snorkelling and cooling off under the waterfalls are the main activities on Koh Kut. The island’s stand-out resort is Soneva Kiri, a sustainably-focused resort which is famous for its Treepods, bamboo balconies hidden amongst the trees where you can enjoy a bird’s eye view while the waiter serves your meal via a zip line.
4/7/20 01:27 PM
PATONG MERLIN HOTEL A Green Oasis in the Heart of Patong
Relax in a premium family-friendly resort with 4 stunning pools, swim-up bars and 10-acres of tropical gardens, located just a few steps from Phuketâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most famous Patong Beach.
patongmerlinhotel patong.merlin firstname.lastname@example.org www.merlinpatong.com
KHAOLAK MERLIN RESORT Where the Rainforest Meets the Sea
Immerse yourself in a jungle paradise and waterfall lagoons within our sustainable eco-resort, right in the heart of the green Khaolak hills.
khaolakmerlinresort khaolakmerlin email@example.com www.merlinkhaolak.com
Untitled-2 Untitled-3 1
4/1/20 12:25 PM 04/03/2020 09:47
28 / how to sell
Multi-generational cruising Children, parents and grandparents travelling togther is a rising trend and, as Sara Macefield finds out, choosing a cruise could be the ideal way to tick everyone's box Why sell it now Cruise ships are a dream fit for family groups thanks to the variety of attractions onboard and ashore easily spanning the generational divide. Add to that a rising tide of larger ocean ships and more modern river vessels and interest levels are ramped up for all ages. According to Cruise Lines International Association's (CLIA) Senior Vice President and UK & Ireland Director Andy Harmer, multi-generational cruising has increased significantly in recent years as more families recognise the wide scope of activities that cruises now provide. “This growing trend creates fantastic opportunities for agents selling cruise with the offer of an excellent mix of activities to suit all ages,” he explains. “The rise of multi-generational travel also gives agents the opportunity to introduce cruise to those who have not been on a cruise holiday before, with the likelihood they will then become repeat cruise customers.” River cruise line A-Rosa has been targeting the family and multigenerational cruise market for some years with its flexible approach to life onboard, led by anytime buffet-dining. “Flexibility is key, with different generations able to go off on very different excursions or choose to come together as a family and enjoy an
kids aboard disney cruise line
A-Rosa wants more families aboard
experience together,” said UK & Ireland Managing Director Lucia Rowe.
What to sell The Mediterranean is a favourite for family groups, especially as ex-UK sailings are easier for those travelling with older passengers and/or very young children. The variety of ports, from beach
destinations and water parks along the Spanish coast and French Riviera to the cultural lure of Rome (from Civitavecchia), Pompeii (from Naples) or Florence (from Livorno) add interesting diversions across the board. Miles Morgan, owner of miniple Miles Morgan Travel, praises the region’s good mix of ports that appeal to all generations. “Palma, for instance, is where grandparents can walk along the waterfront while the children go off to a nearby waterpark,” he explains. Morgan says demand is split between ex-UK and fly-cruise departures, adding: “Sailing from the UK is no hassle, though there are more sea days so families would be looking at a larger ship. Smaller ships, without so many onboard attractions, lend themselves to fly-cruises with more ports of call.” Alternative destinations include the Norwegian fjords, whose spectacular scenery is guaranteed to captivate all ages plus activities including powerboating, hiking and kayaking for more active family
HTS Multi gen cruising-LG-3rd.indd 28
4/3/20 03:41 PM
how to sell /
Discover more How to Sell features at sellingtravel.co.uk/articles
complexes on ships, such as NCL’s The Haven or MSC’s Yacht Club. Upscale lines such as Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Crystal Cruises also cater for family groups with older children and deeper pockets, who do not want as many onboard facilities. Marella Cruises has always been popular with families, but the line’s larger ships boasting more onboard attractions have given it added scope to cater for multigenerational groups. Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, which generally cater for an older clientele, tend to find demand for family groups is led by regular customers wanting to bring children and grandchildren onboard too. CMV offered its first multi-generational cruises during summer 2017 and they proved so successful it has repeated them ever since. On the rivers, lines such as Uniworld, A-Rosa and Tauck which already cater for families are a natural choice for extended family groups. royal caribbean's cococay
What's new members. Further afield, the lure of the Caribbean, with perfect sand beaches and cerulean seas along with the engaging West Indian culture is another good choice, especially as many sailings depart Miami and Port Canaveral, which are easy to combine with beach stays or visits to Florida’s theme park capital Orlando.
How to sell
family freindly msc cruises
TUI's Marella has always been for kids
Like most aspects of cruising, it’s about picking the right ship and sticking with the main cruise companies that already cater for families. Lines such as Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line and MSC Cruises all have ships packed with facilities ranging from waterslides, zipwires and climbing walls to spas, stylish restaurants and adult-only areas. Other lines, like P&O Cruises or Celebrity Cruises, may not offer such high-energy attractions, but with their mix of swimming pools, kids’ clubs and entertainment they still cater admirably for all ages. Many newer ships have family accommodation aimed at larger groups, whether it is inter-connecting cabins for up to 10 passengers or larger suites with two or three bedrooms and a general living area or self-contained private
For family thrills, Carnival Cruise Line’s new ship Mardi Gras, which is due to launch this November, leads the way with the first roller-coaster at sea along with Family Harbor staterooms that have access to their own family-friendly lounge. Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas is another, arriving around the same time with bumper cars, a skydiving simulator and the North Star viewing pod that extends up to 300 feet above the waves. Other new ships that lend themselves to multi-generational groups include P&O Cruises’ Iona, the largest ship built for the UK market and Celebrity Cruises’ stylish addition Celebrity Apex. On the rivers, A-Rosa is planning an innovative new vessel in 2021, designed specifically for families and multigenerational groups with its family cabins, plus a kids’ playroom and separate children’s pool. • Book it with... Royal Caribbean A one-week round-trip Eastern Caribbean sailing from Miami that includes calls at its private island Perfect Day at CocoCay, as well as Puerto Rico and St Thomas departs on October 24 and costs from £512pp based on two adults and two children under 12 sharing an interior stateroom. Flights cost extra. cruisingpower.com
HTS Multi gen cruising-LG-3rd.indd 29
4/3/20 03:41 PM
30 / the review NEWS
March: The month that changed travel Laura Gelder, Editor
What a difference a month makes. When I wrote this page for the March issue it was February 26 and the FCO had just advised against travel to Italy because of COVID-19. A sobering piece of news, but life here in the UK went on as normal, with people going to work, the pub and ﬂying off on holiday. Six week later and the UK’s travel industry, the UK in general, is unrecognisable. In some ways the transition has been gradual, at other times it has felt rapid and shocking. The first grim milestone was the first British person to die from the virus, a man onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, on February 28. On the same day the annual travel trade show ITB Berlin was called off after much speculation. By March 1, COVID-19 had been reported in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. On March 2 a group of British tourists stuck in a Tenerife hotel were finally given the all-clear to ﬂy home with Jet2. The next day, as British Airways announced it was cutting hundreds of ﬂights for the coming weeks, the Prime Minister declared the outbreak a ‘level four incident’. For the rest of the first week of March, bookings began to slump and airlines and operators scrambled to offer ﬂexible policies to encourage them back. Coronavirus took its first casualty when the already troubled airline Flybe collapsed. On March 11 the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic
and Boris Johnson held a press conference saying that anyone with a continuous cough or a fever should self-isolate and that many more families would “lose loved ones before their time”. News of cancelled events, including the World Travel and Tourism Council’s annual summit, and cuts to ﬂight schedules rolled in. Gold Medal and Travel 2 were among the many operators to waive cancellation fees. On March 11, as the Brits on another stranded Princess Cruises ship were finally ﬂown home from the U.S., a British passenger on a Viking cruise ship in Cambodia tested positive for coronavirus. The next day Fred Olsen cancelled a Caribbean cruise after passengers and crew tested positive, Princess Cruises suspended all of its sailings for 60 days, CLIA postponed its 2020 conference and the Government advised the over-70s not to go on cruises. Over the weekend of March 14-15, life for British people continued relatively normally but the travel industry was in turmoil. More cruise lines suspended operations, the Foreign Oﬃce added Malta and Vietnam to its ‘advise against all travel’ list; G Adventures, Intrepid and APT were among the operators to announce a suspension of all tours; Inghams closed its ski programme for the year; and President Trump extended his travel ban on Europeans entering the U.S. to citizens of the UK and Ireland. The next week (March 17) agents no longer had to keep up with the FCO’s everchanging advice as Britons were advised against all non-essential travel for 30 days. The Foreign Oﬃce has now updated this to advise against all non-essential travel ‘indefinitely’ and in the weeks in-between we have seen the travel industry fight for survival from every corner. Agents across the country are working from home and, between helping clients still stuck abroad or cancelling imminent trips, are left wondering how they will carry on. All we know is that this will continue to change and that the industry must ride it out together.
GOOD NEWS • ABTA launches Save Future
ABTA is calling for the individuals in the travel industry to exert grassroots pressure on the government by emailing their local MP and appealing for urgent intervention to protect businesses and jobs. A new website with an automated system to make contacting your MP easier is here: savefuturetravel.co.uk
• Travel media unites Selling Travel is uniting with travel trade media in the UK and Ireland behind the #onetravelindustry movement during the coronavirus crisis. Titles including ABTA Magazine, Cruise Adviser, Cruise Trade News, Selling Travel, Travel Bulletin, TravelMole and TTG will be using #onetravelindustry to showcase best practice, tips and experiences from across the travel industry to share how companies large and small are dealing with the impact of the coronavirus.
• Advantage’s ‘Wellness
As well as launching daily videos for its members the consortium has partnered with start-up Live More Offline to offer agents wellness tips during this stressful time. advantagemembers.com
• TUI cabin crew help NHS TUI Airways cabin crew will be utilised across hospitals nationwide as the operator supports a new St John Ambulance scheme to help tackle coronavirus by relieving pressure on the NHS. More than 2,400 cabin crew are grounded. tui.co.uk Please sign up to our twice-weekly newsletter for the latest news: sellingtravel.co.uk/subscribe
4/7/20 01:43 PM
the review /
Travel goes virtual during COVID-19 crisis With countries locking down the world over, tour operators and tourist boards have been sharing what they have to offer virtually and offering respite from the COVID-19 crisis in the process. Virtual content ranges from museum tours to cocktail classes and ship showcases, with inspiring videos being used to ensure that agents continue to expand their destination knowledge and inspire their clients from the comfort of their own homes. Agents can experience Israel highlights including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Jaffa and Akko through a variety of virtual tours at citiesbreak.com. Footage of Jerusalem’s old city showcases famous historical sites like the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Mount of Olives. You can brush up on a different Swedish region or product each week with the newly-launched Sweden Session webinars. The 45-minute videos will be hosted every Wednesday at 2pm on Zoom from April 8 onwards and will offer agents a virtual insight into top destinations including Swedish Lapland on April 8; Skåne on April 15; Göteborg on April 22; Malmö on April 29 and a session called ‘Sweden: The Edible Country’ on May 6. See: visitsweden.com/ sweden-for-travel-professionals Culinary highlights, sporting stars,
bluegrass music, horse farms, bourbon distilleries and more come alive with a series of educational videos from the Kentucky Department of Tourism (kentuckytourism. com). Each attraction is covered by content ranging from short documentaries to interviews and it’s available on the tourist board’s website. Meanwhile, Caribbean island Saint Lucia is hosting ‘seven minutes in Saint Lucia’ throughout April. The Instagram videos will be broadcast live from instagram.com/ travelsaintlucia and will feature everything from yoga and meditation classes with a view of the Pitons to how to make a tropical cocktail with the island’s locally-produced Chairman’s Reserve Rum.
Brand USA is asking agents to check out its library of films (visittheusa.co.uk/gousa-tv). Cruise lines are also taking advantage of new ways to showcase product. European river cruise specialist Viva Cruises (vivacruises.com) has launched a virtual 360° tour to showcase the look and feel of its newest ship, Viva Tiara, and Linbad Expeditions (world.expeditions.com) is going virtual with everything you’d normally experience on its cruise ships, from the morning wake-up call to wildlife captured on camera and cocktail recipes from its lounge happy hour. Finally, re-launched classic English touring route the Great West Way (greatwestway. co.uk) is helping agents to explore its top attractions on YouTube.
Industry puts agent training at the focus Travel companies have been updating and expanding their training programmes to ensure agents are primed and ready to make bookings once the travel ban has been lifted.
The Algarve Tourism Bureau has reactivated its Online Travel Training (onlinetraveltraining.com) course to keep agents up to date on the Portuguese region. Agents will learn about the hidden gems as well as its best beaches and local cuisine, with a set of questions to test their knowledge after each topic. The Japan National Tourism Organization has launched a new e-learning platform (japantravel-ott.com) designed to educate agents about its growing product base. The five modules explore everything from Japanese food and traditions to viewing Japan’s futuristic cities. Agents who complete the training in April will also be in with a chance to win a prize. Agents can now expand their knowledge
on L.A’s West Hollywood region with the Travel and Tourism Bureau’s first online training platform (uni.visitwesthollywood. com). The first 200 graduates will be entered into a draw to win a two-night stay at a West Hollywood hotel. Meanwhile, Sales Representation company Target Africa (targetafrica.co.uk) had a novel idea – child-friendly training to help agents who are working from home with kids. Sue Rickets of Target Africa said: “I have created a family friendly presentation to keep the kids entertained whilst I update Mum/Dad with the news from the properties that I represent in Southern Africa. It includes African-themed music and fun facts on wildlife.” Agents can sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
4/7/20 01:43 PM
32 / the review unite Indian Ocean & middle East
Uniting the world Selling Travel was the media partner at three of the annual Unite events. Here’s the latest news from the Indian Ocean & Middle East, Pacific & Australasia and Unite Visit USA events
Sponsored by Secrets of Ceylon
NEWS IN BRIEF • Heritage hideaways Sri Lanka is developing its luxury villa offering and Taru Villas is stepping up the promotion of its clutch of luxurious colonial heritage properties with private chefs in Bentota. taruvillas.com
• New Asian trails Luxury DMC Emotions, which currently operates tailor-made tours in Mauritius, is starting a sister DMC – Asian Trails – this year, bringing its expertise to East Asia, getting local talent onboard and working with UK tour operators. emotionsdmc.com
• All-inclusive addition The Seychelles will welcome a new Club Med resort to its shores this October, which will be the islands’ largest and only all-inclusive, taking over the plot from Beachcomber. clubmed.co.uk
• Nikki Beach bargains Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai is offering visitors the chance to get a free upgrade to a palatial cabana with private pool, when they book a luxury cabana for 10 people or more. nikkibeach.com
• Residence revamp The Residence Mauritius is currently revamping the resort, including adding a new barefoot beachside grill. elegantresorts.co.uk
4/6/20 01:28 PM
the review /
See more photos of the events at sellingtravel.co.uk/gallery
unite PACIFIC & AUSTRALASIA
sponsored by Tourism Fiji
NEWS IN BRIEF • Trendy Tribe Created for the ‘tech-savvy, and active traveller’, newly-opened Tribe Perth in West Perth markets itself as an affordable, stylish hotel for a younger generation. mantra.com.au
• Sofitel’s facelift The entrance and arrival foyer is the latest area to transform as part of Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa’s $30 million refurbishment. An additional wing with 66 rooms and a nightclub will complete the renovations. sofitel-fiji.com
• Room with a view Sequoia at Mount Lofty House, a new $15 million luxury lodge, will open in September 2020. The six-star private retreat has 14 suites views overlooking South Australia’s Adelaide Hills. mtloftyhouse.com.au
• Fleet expansion Fiji Airways has added two new Airbus A350s to its fleet. The modern aircrafts will operate flights from Nadi in Fiji to Sydney and L.A. fijiairways.com
• Luxury in Melbourne Sofitel’s Hotel Chadstone Melbourne, MGallery is the latest five-star property to open in Melbourne - the 250-room resort is touted as the only premium hotel in the city’s southeast. hotelchadstone.com
4/6/20 01:28 PM
34 / the review unite VISIT USA
sponsored by Broadway Inbound / made Tourism Marketing
NEWS IN BRIEF • Free ticket to space Agents that complete the Kennedy Space Center agent training module at onlinetraveltraining.com and become a KSC Expert will qualify for free entry to the Florida attraction. kennedyspacecenter.com
• New hotels in Palm Beaches Golf-focused Banyan Cay Resort & Golf, West Palm Beach, Florida is due to open late 2020. The luxury five-star Mandarin Oriental in Boca Raton, Florida will open in 2021. thepalmbeaches.com
• Epcot updates Disney’s Epcot is undergoing an extensive transformation. In 2020, several new shows will be introduced, including ‘Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along.’ disneyworld.co.uk
• Free day in Hollywood Clients can take advantage of a second-day-free with every day ticket purchased for Universal Studios Hollywood in California, to use between now and March 2021. universalstudioshollywood.com
• New educational content The Kentucky Department of Tourism has created a series of educational videos for agents, available at: kentuckytourism.com
4/6/20 01:28 PM
48 hours in /
Discover more 48-hour itineraries at sellingtravel.co.uk/articles
Once a centre for pearl diving, Doha is now one of the world’s richest and friendliest cities, filled with souqs, stunning architecture and more, says Martin Steady Day 1: Coasting along Morning: Doha’s Corniche consists of five miles of landscaped waterfront overlooking the Arabian Gulf and it's the best place to get your bearings, take a stroll with the locals and watch the world go by. An excellent hop-on, hop-off bus service covers most of the main tourist sites in the Qatari capital and a great place to start it from is the famous Souq Waqif. Here, stalls are laden with spices, jewellery, cakes, clothing – even birds of prey. There are plenty of authentic Arabic cafes to take a break for some refreshing aromatic tea or bitter Arabic coffee and, of course, dates from the surrounding desert. Afternoon: Head north to The Pearl, an island attached to the Qatari
peninsula that was built on reclaimed land but is now almost a city in itself. Packed with designer stores and deluxe apartments (available to foreign nationals) it is divided into twelve districts. Find Porto Arabia, which is the primary harbour with an almost two-mile-long seafront promenade - La Croisette. Blend in with the locals and sip from the seemingly endless options of soft drinks and mocktails. Evening: Dine aboard a traditional Qatari dhow. A cruise on one of these traditional wooden boats is the best way to take in the impressive, glittering Doha skyline, which includes iconic buildings like the cylindrical Burj Doha with it intricately patterned steel facade.
the corniche and a dhow
Book it with... Premier Holidays Three nights at St. Regis Doha is from £875pp. Next to Pearl Island, it has eight restaurants, four bars, a spa, private beach and tennis courts. Fly direct to Doha with Qatar Airways. premierholidays.co.uk; qatarairways.com
Day 2: Soak up cultural Qatar
national museum of qatar
Morning: Katara Cultural Village is the largest and most multidimensional cultural project of Qatar (Katara being the ancient name for Qatar). This sleek, open-air complex has a huge amphitheatre, plenty of restaurants, shops and cafes and a beach to relax on. Afternoon: At the end of Doha’s famous Corniche, built on a projecting peninsula, is the unmissable Museum Of Islamic Art. Designed by the famous I. M. Pei, the striking building contains the world’s most complete collection of Islamic artefacts from three continents over the last 1,400 years. Process the wonder of all you see in one of the workshops, libraries or its park area. If you’re peckish, its IDAM restaurant by
chef Alain Ducasse (who has a restaurant at London's Dorchester hotel) offers the best of French Mediterranean cuisine. Evening: Everywhere is safe in Doha so the evening options for wandering are endless. People watching in parks or souks is a favoured pastime. The government says it’s committed to be ever-greener and environmentally sensitive so more parks, trees and cycling tracks will soon be in place as well as a new tram system from November 2019, with four lines connecting the three stadiums built for the 2022 World Cup. Finish with a meal in what is considered by many to be the best restaurant in Doha – the chic Nozomi with its array of classic Japanese dishes with a modern twist. •
Doha - 48 hours LG-3rd.indd 35
4/3/20 06:09 PM
GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS
Training, competitions, events April 2020
THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES
Haven's web revamp NEWS
Quick Quiz Are you a USAirtours Expert?
1. USAirtours doesn't sell Canada or Mexico TRUE / FALSE
HAVEN has revamped its agent-friendly website portal to offer improved booking functionality and simplify the way agents research, view and book Haven Holidays. The site features at a glance prices that are in line with direct site sales and easy to retrieve bookings. Agents can access an interactive map which showcases the areas of the UK which are home to Haven Parks. Notable dates are also highlighted. bourneexpert.co.uk
Win a place on a Mexican fam!
2. USAirtours works directly with Sandals and offers product across the Caribbean TRUE / FALSE
TIPTO I Modules: 20
Find more questions at usaexpert.co.uk
SAINT LUCIA is launching a botanical trail across the island to help visitors discover plants traditionally used in Caribbean medicine. The herbal trail links gardens and parks across Saint Lucia, where guides are able to show visitors some of the most important plants in Caribbean medicine. Included in the trail are The Eden Herbal Gardens, Latille Waterfalls and Gardens, Lucian Country Life and Lotus Chi Gardens, which includes a herbal tea in the entry price. stluciaexpert.co.uk
Answers: 1: True 2: True
PALLADIUM HOTEL GROUP is giving away a spot on its 2020 Mexico fam trip as part of an exclusive TIPTO training incentive. The seven-night trip plans to take in the hotel groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s properties in Costa Mujeres and Riviera Maya, as well as allowing agents to explore the area on selected excursions. To win, agents need to complete the new Palladium Hotel Group training module at tipto.co.uk, as well as register tipto.co.uk at Palladium Connect and complete all nine e-learning modules by April 30. Once completed, agents will be automatically entered into the draw and the winner informed directly once the incentive closes.
Traveluni April-LG-2nd.indd 40
4/2/20 03:04 PM
Working in partnership
Training courses to help travel agents sell more!
Slow travel focus from St. Kitts
COURSE LIST A-Z of available courses
THE ST. KITTS Tourism Authority has launched an hour-long video of the country’s Scenic Railway to offer travel agents a true sense of the Caribbean island. The Tourism Authority wants agents to understand more about the slow pace of life in St. Kitts, and to share the video with their clients to help them understand what makes the destination unique. The video is also intended as a form of escapism, transporting viewers to a calmer space with coastal views and relaxing sounds. It's available to watch on its YouTube channel: youtube.com/ StKittsTourism; stkittsspecialist.com
Alaska Anguilla Aruba Beaches Resorts Hotel Chocolat Bourne Leisure Butlins Cirque de Soleile Costa Rica Cruise Adviser Elegant Hotels Essential Detail Fiji Finland Flanders Fort Myers & Sanibel Haven Hotels Hawaii Heritage Resort Jerusalem Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Macao Melia Hotels & Resorts
Bookings with a bonus
New York state Newmarket Holidays Ontario Oman Qatar SAGA Saint Lucia
Essential Detail Expert I Modules: 5
Sandals Resorts Seychelles Simon Malls
City & state stays News
NEW YORK STATE has launched a new programme of itineraries to encourage UK visitors to add nearby New York State destinations on to their next New York City visit. NYC+ is launching initially with four itineraries that will be sold by tour operator partner Funway Holidays, with the intention that additional tour operators can sell these and other itineraries going forward. The four launch itineraries combine New York City stays with short visits to Long Island, the Hudson Valley, the Finger Lakes region and the Greater Niagara region. ilovenewyorktraining.com
ESSENTIAL DETAIL is encouraging agents to book one of its boutique hotels in the Caribbean by oﬀering trade-only beneﬁts including complimentary nights. To reap the rewards, agents must complete training on each of the eight properties and become an Essential Detail Top Agent. These specialists will enjoy beneﬁts such as Amazon vouchers and fam trip invites as well as two complimentary nights with every booking made as part of the ‘Come & Stay’ programme. Essential Detail will also put a complimentary bottle of wine and a note in your client's room when you send the booking to salessupport@ essentialdetail.co.uk caribbeanboutiquehotels.co.uk
St Kitts Thailand TIPTO US Airtours Veranda Resorts Warner Leisure Hotels Yas Island traveluni.com
Traveluni April-LG-2nd.indd 41
4/2/20 03:04 PM
38 / six of the best
search ‘trends’ to find more selling tips and industry insights: sellingtravel.co.uk/articles
tips for selling
all-inclusive holidays Selling an all-inclusive break can be great for agents’ commission pots but some customers need convincing. Debbie Ward shares some plus points It’s budgetfriendly
Knowing your costs upfront is a big plus, especially when the pound is weak. It also makes sense in one-resort destinations, like the Maldives, where guests are captive to hotel prices. Besides meals and drinks they can cut spending on activities. Free wedding packages are common in the Caribbean from chains like Sandals and Superclubs, and kick in when couples stay a certain number of nights or bring guests.
Pampering is cheaper
Spas can be a costly luxury so booking an all-inclusive package lets your client budget upfront and really relax. It’s also a good sell for solo travellers. The most famous all-in wellness option is The BodyHoliday, St. Lucia which offers free daily 50-minute treatments. Fusion Maia near Hoi An, Vietnam offers at least two therapies a day and pioneer spa resort Chiva Som in Thailand has allinclusive packages from three days-plus.
Great for nervous types
For unadventurous travellers who fancy going long-haul but are nervous about safety or unfamiliar food, all-inclusives offer reassurance and most offer day trips off-site. Senegal, Brazil and Japan (for sun and ski) are some of the more far-flung places offered by Club Med. Mexico has many all-inclusives close to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and there are many individual all-in resorts in exotic places, like Andilana on Madagascar.
Choice on sports
Many all-inclusives offer an array of activities on-site, from tennis to trapeze, rock climbing to watersports, with others available at extra cost. Some chains, like Mark Warner, are particularly sportsfocused and offer the likes of free group golf lessons or learn to sail courses. Diving can be particularly cost effective – Couples, Sandals and Beaches offer free group dives plus full PADI courses for a charge.
Easy for families
All-inclusives help reign in spending for families, with treats like ice-cream often complimentary and an array of inclusive activities to suit all ages. Free childcare, even for toddlers, makes others stand out. Beaches has a Kids Camp programme for newborns upwards and Kuoni recommends Turtle Beach Resort in Barbados, which has a kids club for three to 12 year olds. First Choice has its own purpose-built family-friendly resorts.
Despite their reputation for ghettoizing tourists, some resorts are responsibly minded. Attitude Hotels on Mauritius gets guests to explore with an app and to eat with local families. Ikos Andalusia’s Local Discovery programme offers free museum tickets and a Dine Out option for inclusive meals in local restaurants. And Spice Island Beach Resort in Grenada uses local ingredients and is Green Globe-certified.
6otb All inclusive-LG-2nd.indd 38
4/2/20 02:57 PM
cruising south america /
the earth Cruising around the tip of South America, from Chile’s Punta Arenas to Ushuaia in Argentina, is truly extraordinary, says Jeannine Williamson
walk up the smooth rocks and pause for breath against the backdrop of snow-covered mountains glistening pale blue beneath the bright afternoon sun. Suddenly there’s a deep creaking and groaning sound, followed by an explosive crack and a couple of seconds of silence. then, almost in slow motion, a shardlike piece of ice nearly 100 feet high breaks loose and crashes into the water below. i watch, spellbound. The mirror-like surface of Pia Fjord is turned into a churning maelstrom as the ice creates large waves and shatters into smaller pieces, which our guide tells us go by the rather wonderful names of bergy bits (the larger chunks) and growlers (their smaller frozen cousins). The rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) that carried us over here half an hour before bob around on the swell
and ice knocks against them. Extending from the mountaintops down to the sea, Pia Glacier is one of the largest and most active in Patagonia and it’s more than likely you’ll witness the spectacle known as calving, when fragments of the ever-moving ice mass plunge into the Chilean Fjords in the area known as Glacier Alley. We speak of little else as the RIBs transport us back to our expedition vessel Ventus Australis which bobs on the now tranquil water. I’m aboard the only ship - along with its sibling Stella Australis - that sails on this remote itinerary around the tip of South America from Chile’s Punta Arenas to Ushuaia in Argentina, or in reverse. It’s an extraordinary journey to the southernmost part of the globe, navigating pioneering maritime routes such as the Strait of Magellan. This year marks
the 500th anniversary of the namesake Portuguese explorer traversing the outwardly impassable corridor of icy peaks from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean; opening up trade routes and proving
hiking ainSworth bay
South America Cruise-LG-3rd.indd 39
4/7/20 11:14 AM
40 / cruising south america
more Iconic cruises... The Galapagos: Unlike anywhere else on earth, this volcanic archipelago off Ecuador is the ultimate cruise for wildlife lovers, with an abundance of animals including sea lions, penguins, tortoises, marine iguana and blue-footed boobies. Visited by scientist Charles Darwin in 1835, his observations inspired his ground-breaking theory of evolution. Antarctica: The world’s most isolated continent. Many itineraries include a stay in the vibrant Argentinian capital Buenos Aires before sailing through glacial waters into a frozen landscape that can be explored on daily Zodiac excursions or, for adventurous types, kayaking expeditions. Brazil & the Amazon: Set sail against the backdrop of Rio de Janeiro’s dramatic Sugarloaf Mountain and visit Brazilian coastline ports before crossing the equator to reach, South America’s largest river. Cruise deep into the Amazon rainforest to the ‘jungle city’ of Manaus, the river’s furthest navigable port 1,000 miles inland. South Georgia & the Falklands: These remote islands lie 300 miles off South America’s Patagonian coast. Sailings to the wildlife wilderness are typically from Argentina to Chile, with visits to the Falklands’ capital Port Stanley where people are outnumbered by around one million penguins and half a million sheep.
heading back to Stella Australis
that the world is round. The next day Ventus Australis sails through the Murray Channel to reach UNESCO-listed Cabo de Hornos National Park. We board the RIBs and land on Hornos Island, discovered in 1616 by Dutch captain Willem Schouten, who named it Kaap Hoorn after his home port of Hoorn. As we gaze at the 1,394ft rocky promontory dominating the infamously turbulent Drake Passage, our guide explains that various incorrect translations led to it becoming known as Cape Horn. We’re lucky to be able to land - it’s never guaranteed - and on this excursion we keep on our life jackets in case the mercurial body of water suddenly turns rough and we have to make a hasty return back to the ship.
Call of the wild For anyone in search of totally unspoilt, rugged natural beauty in this far corner
the author at cape horn
of the world certainly won’t disappoint. Suited to clients with a sense of adventure and reasonable level of fitness that are not looking for a ‘traditional’ cruise experience, these sailings are on smaller vessels where the accent is on marine life, birds and the natural surroundings. Excursions are aboard RIBs with passengers either staying on board or landing on the shore and islands for guided walks. Onboard entertainment is low-key and focused on in-depth lectures by experts in wildlife and geography along with documentaries about the region. Highlights on our sailing included getting close-up views from the RIB of some of the 4,000-strong colony of Magellanic penguins that inhabit Tucker Islets, before seeing nesting cormorants and a mighty condor, the world’s largest flying bird. From Ventus Australis there were sightings of dolphins and whales.
Anniversary cruises Australis is the only line to offer cruises into the fjords of Patagonia and the islands of the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago. The cruise season runs from September to April, when the area is navigable, on vessels which have been specifically built to sail in the sometimes shallow waters. In October and November, Australis is scheduled to offer a series of special itineraries to mark the 500th anniversary of the crossing the Strait of Magellan. The sailings will include music and song from the time performed by international sopranos and other artistes, as well as historical talks by world-leading experts.
South America Cruise-LG-3rd.indd 40
4/7/20 11:15 AM
cruising south america /
Discover more cruising feartures at sellingtravel.co.uk/articles
penguin spotting from the rib
Other lines, including Aurora Expeditions, Crystal Cruises, G Adventures, HapagLloyd Cruises, Lindblad Expeditions, Seabourn and Silversea take in Punta Arenas and Ushuaia coupled with sailings to Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and other parts of South America. Some are designated National Geographic cruises offering greater levels of immersion.
Ports of call Ports of call in Patagonia are not your average cruise destinations and give a real feeling of being somewhere very different. The remoteness of Punta Arenas, the southernmost town in Chile and gateway to Antarctica, is lyrically described in Bruce Chatwin’s travel book In Patagonia where he writes about his journey to “the uttermost part of the earth”. Passengers with time to spare after flying in from Santiago can explore the vast cemetery which has become one of the main tourist attractions with its grand mausoleums including the tomb of the Indio Desconocido or unknown Indian. Contrasting Ushuaia is Argentina’s most southerly town, sandwiched between mountains and the Beagle Channel. For clients keen on the outdoor life it’s worth
wulaia bay, chile
recommending a pre- or post-cruise extension or packaging an itinerary with guided hikes and kayaking expeditions offered by local providers. The town’s Museo del Fin del Mundo is an interesting museum on the birds and nature of Tierra del Fuego and the Museo Maritimo y Presidio de Ushuaia, housed in an old military prison, charts the area’s seafaring history. Visitors can also board the Tren del Fin del Mundo, or End of the World Train, and follow the route that once transported prisoners to cut wood in the surrounding area.
Where to book it JOurney latin america - 020 3733 6773 The 13-day Patagonia Cruise starts in the Chilean capital Santiago with a guided city tour followed by a guided excursion into the Maipo valley with wine tasting. After this is a four-night all-inclusive cruise aboard Ventus Australis. Travellers then fly to Trelew in northern Patagonia for two days at leisure to seek out wildlife before ending with three nights in the Argentinian captial Buenos Aires, with a guided tour and a day at leisure. journeylatinamerica.co.uk •
Jeannine Williamson An award-winning travel writer specialising in cruising, Jeannine’s other recent cruises include Lake Kariba in Africa plus a safari with CroisiEurope, a Mississippi sailing from Memphis to New Orleans with American Cruise Lines and a journey down the Douro in Portugal aboard the Spirit of Chartwell.
“Excursions are aboard RIBs with passengers either staying onboard or landing for guided walks. Onboard entertainment is low-key and focused on lectures by experts in wildlife and geography”
South America Cruise-LG-3rd.indd 41
4/7/20 11:15 AM
Do you wish to sail or drive around, dive and swim, have fun, meet people, enjoy the local food or just relax and spend time together? You are looking for a romantic getaway or an inspiring family holiday in Mauritius? Attitude welcomes you in one of its hotels of contemporary Mauritian charm.
Untitled-2 Untitled-4 1
4/1/20 12:23 PM 19/03/2020 14:07
Be inspired by...
What is trending now? • Trekking responsibly in Nepal • New products • Sustainable safaris in Zambia • European holidays by rail
4/6/20 11:47 AM
Making travel matter Could the coronavirus lockdown could be a chance for the world to reset, and for travel to bounce back stronger – and greener – than ever before, asks Lauren Jarvis
learer skies, cleaner rivers, wildlife venturing into urban areas, a drop in carbon emissions and suggestions of Earth ‘healing’ itself – we may be clutching at (compostable) straws, but could this be a slither of a silver lining in the corona tragedy that’s unfolding around the world? “We dearly hope that some long-term good will come from the current agonies surrounding coronavirus,” says Martyn Sumners, Executive Director of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. AITO’s office is under the flight path to Heathrow and its staff have all noticed the reduction in air traffic since COVID-19 took hold. “That has got to translate into muchreduced carbon emissions,” says Martyn. “But will this improvement be merely a temporary blip on the horizon? “We all need to reassess our travel plans once this crisis is over. One long-stay trip is far better – for the environment and us – than several weekend trips and a one-week holiday – it’s just one take-off and one landing, which are the most polluting parts of any flight.”
Even prior to the pandemic, the tide was turning. With irrefutable evidence of climate change upon us - Australia burning and the UK flooding – many travellers had already begun to tread more lightly, opting for staycations over long-haul escapes, or choosing to travel with companies that have responded to the call and opted to put responsibility centre stage. The ABTA Travel Trends report for 2019 found that 45% of holidaymakers listed sustainability as an important factor when booking a holiday, compared to just 20% in 2011 – a significant attitude shift. “All travel businesses are at risk unless we work hard to adapt,” says AITO’s Sumners. The Specialist Travel Association is helping its members, affiliates and agents to choose and implement sustainable tourism activities through its Project Protect online and live training sessions. “It’s key to the survival of the industry – and the planet,” adds Sumners.
Focus on your footprint While the UK’s aviation industry has pledged to reduce its net carbon emissions
to zero by 2050, a recent report from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows that global transport-related emissions from tourism are predicted to increase 25% to 1,998 million tonnes between 2016 and 2030. “Alternative biofuels still produce carbon dioxide and we forecast that over 125 million passengers will fly to and from UK airports by 2023,” says Ben Cordwell, Associate Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData. “An increase of over 16 million passengers from 2018 will bring an enormous increase in carbon emissions.” ‘Offsetting’ is one of the practices employed by airlines or travel companies to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, and involves calculating their carbon emissions, reducing them where they can, and offsetting the remainder by investing in environmental projects. Gold Standard certification ensures that offsetting schemes make genuine, measurable contributions to sustainable development. ClimateCare works with travel organisations and airlines to develop
4/6/20 01:28 PM
Clockwise from top left: Cycling holidays are eco-friendly; endangered species like orangutans can benefit from tourism; kayking is emission-free; some tours support communities
4/6/20 01:28 PM
ABOVE: Low-impact travel can include camps rather than hotels, but it doesn't have to be basic
bespoke offsetting schemes. “The ideal option is not to fly at all and the most desirable outcome for the climate would be that we restrict growth in aviation or even retard it,” says CEO, Vaughan Lindsay. “However, that’s unlikely to happen within the necessary timescale, so emissions need to be offset, preferably by airlines or travel companies, or by consumers themselves.”
Travel slower and smarter With airline fleets currently grounded, travellers have been staying local and exploring the natural wonders on their doorstep by bike or on foot (while adhering to social distancing of course). Human-powered travel is a perfect way for clients to lighten their environmental footprint, with many specialist companies offering walking, cycling and canoeing holidays for all fitness levels. Cycling tour operator, BSpoke Tours, host trips in many European destinations that can be reached by train, which immediately reduces customers’ carbon footprint by up to 90%. Harvey Downard, Head of Cycling,
says: “Taking the train to your destination adds a whole new dimension to your trip. Not only is it relaxed and sociable, but you can also enjoy wonderful scenery as you go – making your journey part of the holiday.”
Cut plastic waste While many of us have switched to reusable coffee cups and water bottles at home, airlines and many resorts have been slow to make a change, meaning our single-use plastic tally can soar during a week away. Every year, a staggering eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean, and it’s estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. With tourism a major contributor, Radisson Hotel Group is one of 100 travel businesses that has committed to the International Tourism Plastic Pledge, which aims to reduce plastic pollution in holiday destinations around the world. “Plastic pollution is one of the current major global issues and our group is proud to play a leading role in driving plastic reduction across the travel and tourism
industry,” says Federico J. González Tejera, President & CEO of Radisson Hospitality AB. By 2022, all mini bathroom products will be replaced with bulk dispensers, removing 57 million miniatures from circulation, while access to filtered water is being rolled out across Raddisson’s hotels.
Give back to communities For customers keen to travel with purpose, many companies now invest a proportion of their profits into environmental or community projects, with some offering travellers the chance to see them in action. Now the world’s largest adventure travel company, G Adventures was one of the first to sell itself on sustainable, culturallyfocused tours. The company started the non-profit Planeterra Foundation, which contributes to social enterprise, healthcare, conservation and emergency response projects in the destinations it operates in. “We measure our success as a company through local benefit and positive impact,” says Founder, Bruce Poon Tip. “Our travellers are funding projects around the
4/6/20 01:28 PM
Clockwise from top left: Travelling by train reduces carbon emissions; reducing plastic is a focus for travellers; reef protection programmes operate in resorts around the world
world to alleviate poverty, create jobs and boost the local tourism economy. lt isn’t just about being a travel company anymore.”
Contribute to conservation With nature and wildlife under threat around the world, tourism can play a huge part in protecting species and preserving ecosystems. Travellers looking to safari in Africa can choose to travel with a company with conscience, such as Great Plains Conservation. Established by National Geographic photographers, film makers and explorers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, Great Plains acquires former hunting lands and converts them for conservation tourism, funded by a collection of luxury camps offering safaris. “Through paying to stay at our camps, our guests become agents of positive change and ambassadors for conservation around the world,” says Dereck. Meanwhile in Europe, The European Nature Trust (TENT) offers wildlife holidays that help to fund ‘re-wilding' projects in Spain, Romania, Italy and Scotland,
protecting landscapes, planting thousands of native trees, and trying to rebalance ecosystems impacted by human habitation, industry and agriculture. “Our impact on the planet is immense and we need to treasure the wild, unpopulated places that are left,” says Founder, Paul Lister. “We must give nature a chance to come back.” With so many trips focused on being beside or on the ocean, it’s no surprise that tourism organisations are looking at ways for visitors to help contribute to protecting our seas and marine life. Many Indian Ocean resorts have on-site marine biologists and coral-regeneration programmes to help restore reefs affected by climate change and pollution. Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts have two resorts in the Maldives, Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru, which both have Marine Conservation Labs where guests can learn about the reef, help with coral cleaning and planting, and take part in beach clean-ups. Their 6to6 initiative sees the resorts switch off all overnight electricity once a month on the full moon to save power, offering
clients candlelit dinners and snorkels by moonlight. In the Seychelles, the Hilton Northolme Resort & Spa’s own Marine Conservation Society has launched a coral nursery and a monthly ‘sustainable day’ to involve guests in its eco-programmes. Meanwhile in Australia, travellers can enjoy environmentally conscious escapes on the Great Barrier Reef at Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, which offers daily marine workshops and reef walks, plus the chance to swim with wild manta rays. “I’m a firm believer in hope,” says its Custodian, Peter Gash, who has implemented award-winning sustainability initiatives on the island. “We humans do belong on the planet but our brains evolved dramatically and we got overconfident. Now it’s obvious we need to rethink — and thankfully there’s a big movement of people rethinking and pushing for change.” As international borders reopen and the flight bans lift, perhaps it will be time for the travel industry to resist returning to ‘business as usual’ and start working together to create a green new world.
4/6/20 01:28 PM
Mind over mountains The trek to Everest Base Camp is an astonishing personal journey, says Lauren Jarvis, but community & environmental welfare is key
ou’ve got this!” says my trainer, Lucie Cowan, as I huff and heave on the climber machine at the Third Space health club in Soho. I’d love to say this is part of my daily routine, but I’m here on a get-fit-quick kick, before I attempt one of the world’s greatest challenges: hiking to Everest Base Camp. I’m not a natural-born trekker, but this mystical mountain and its tales of triumph and tragedy have captivated me since childhood: finally, I have the chance to go. Straddling the border of Nepal to the south and China/Tibet to the north, Sagarmatha – the ‘head or brow of the sky’ as Mount Everest is known in Nepal – rises a (literally) breathtaking 8,848 metres (29,029 feet) above sea level.
Leading the way Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay famously first reached Everest’s summit in 1953 as part of a British expedition team. A stream of adventurers have since attempted the climb, with over 300 people sadly losing their lives on the mountain. In May 2019 – the month of my trek – Everest would claim 11 more. As the 2020 climbing season approaches, tighter new regulations will allow only those with previous highaltitude experience to attempt the summit, accompanied by expert Nepalese guides. While just over 5,000 people have reached the ‘top of the world’, between 30,00045,000 visitors a year trek to Nepal’s Base Camp. At 5,364 metres – higher than most mountains – the air contains only 50% of
the oxygen at sea level, putting all who make the trek at risk of Acute Mountain Sickness. This is not your average activity holiday. Third Space is one of the few UK fitness centres with a hypoxic chamber, which simulates the atmosphere at high altitude. “I’m going to die,” I gasp, after my first training session at ‘3,000 metres’. I didn’t even mean in the mountains: I meant right there, in sea-level London. The way to Nepal’s Base Camp is on foot – two weeks of human-powered endeavour. On the Tibet side, Base Camp can be reached by car, although the site is currently closed for a clean-up. But for Everest, I didn’t want an easy path. I wanted all that comes with taking on an extreme physical and mental challenge.
EXT Nepal-LG-2nd.indd 48
4/6/20 04:00 PM
clockwise from left: Prayer flags are a colourful marker; our beast of burden; Base Camp triumph; meditation-inscribed ‘mani stone’; celebrating with the team
It’s a challenge that adventure travel companies like G Adventures, which leads my 15-day tour, have made increasingly achievable, arranging flights, booking accommodation and hiring the best guides. Still, it’s not to be taken lightly.
Heaven’s ascent “Altitude sickness can be fatal, so it’s important to ascend slowly and drink lots of water,” explains my G Adventures Sherpa guide, Shanker Bhattrai, at our hotel in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, before what will be his 99th trek to Everest. “But it’s also important to believe you can make it to Base Camp, or you won’t.” Our trek starts in Lukla, perched at 2,845 metres amidst the soaring peaks of the Himalayas. Stepping down from the small plane into the cold, thin air, I pick up my trekking poles and take the first of many ‘steps to heaven’ on the 80-mile round-trip. The route leads through stunning pine and rhododendron forests, and across vertiginous suspension bridges fringed with
prayer flags, as milky, glacial rivers rumble below. We pass Buddhist temples, colourful prayer wheels, mule trains and meditationinscribed ‘mani stones’. We meet other groups, but footfall is light, while regular bins keep the path litter-free. G Adventures ensures that its Everest Base Camp tour only uses Nepalese suppliers. It also supports global social enterprises through its Planeterra Foundation. In Kathmandu, we learn to make traditional momos (dumplings) at the Sisterhood of Survivors, which works to combat human trafficking by training survivors and at-risk women as paralegals and tour guides. Sherpa-owned ‘teahouses’ offer a basic bed, communal bathrooms and restaurants serving hearty meals that vary little, except in price which increases the higher we climb. Early breakfasts offer plenty of fuel: pancakes, porridge and piles of potato with egg. We lunch under cobalt-blue skies on dal bhat (a traditional Nepalese thali of rice, lentils and curry), resting before the afternoon treks. After dinner, as the night
fills with stars, we crawl into sleeping bags in icy rooms, and an inner battle begins. “You can’t breathe; you’re not fit; give up. You can do this; believe in yourself; sleep.” The final push gifts us 10 hours of trekking through a mythical realm carved by ancient glaciers. The first glimpse of Base Camp brings elation: yellow tents of summiting mountaineers scattered like blossom. At this altitude, day-trippers cannot linger for long. Photos, high fives, smiles, tears and we’re done. I add a string of prayer flags to those in camp and thank Shanker for his help. My guide was right: the trek to Everest is about the mind as well as the body.
Book it with... G Adventures The G Adventures 15-day Everest Base Camp Trek starts from £1,049pp including internal flights from/to Kathmandu, porters, a G Adventures guide, 12 nights in teahouse lodges and two nights in hotels (international flights not included). gadventures.com; planeterra.org
EXT Nepal-LG-2nd.indd 49
4/6/20 04:00 PM
Responsible holiday ideas Finnair Cuts Back On Carbon
Hybrids Hit The High Seas
Nordic carrier Finnair has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by the end of 2025, increasing the use of sustainable aviation fuels, offsetting emissions and offering more vegetarian meals on board. finnair.com
Expedition cruise line Hurtigruten launched the first hybrid electric-powered expedition cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, in 2019, with two more eco-friendly ships to follow this year and in 2021. hurtigruten.com
Tread Lightly in tanzania The newest addition to the Selous Safari Company portfolio, Fanjove Island resort has 'eco bandhas' - villas woven from plant materials. The island off the coast of Tanzania also has reef restoration and turtle-focused conservation projects in place. selous.com
Guyana Goes Sustainable The Guyana Tourism Authority has created a unique sustainable and community-owned tourism model. Visit with specialist, Wilderness Explorers, on a customised, nine-day Guyana Exploration, shadowing caiman researchers and learning about indigenous heritage. guyanatourism.com
Choose Sustainability NOW NOW provides information and advice on sustainability for tour operators, agents, hotels and travellers. The NOW Offset Carbon tool helps to calculate and offset air travel emissions in four easy steps. itmustbenow.com
EXT-New products.6th.indd 50
4/6/20 03:57 PM
A Greener Route to Lapland Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) will launch a new, direct flight route from London Stansted to Luleå in Northern Sweden in December 2020, making the journey 18-20% more carbon efficient. visitlapland.com
Walks In Bear Country Steppes' six-night/seven-day conservation journey in Spain’s Cantabrian Mountains costs from £1,895pp, including accommodation, meals, guiding and a donation of £500pp to The European Nature Trust (TENT). steppestravel.com
Eco-friendly Safari in Kenya Nigel Archer Safaris has launched two luxury, seasonal eco-camps in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve – Migration Camp and Big Cats Camp – for guests to view the iconic wildebeest migration. nigelarchersafaris.com
Ramble Through Ancient Rainforest Great Walks of Australia has a new fiveday guided walking experience. The 30-mile Scenic Rim Trail leads hikers through the World Heritage-listed Gondwana rainforests of Queensland, staying at Spicers Retreats properties. greatwalksofaustralia.com.au
EXT-New products.6th.indd 51
4/6/20 03:57 PM
RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL 52
Protecting nature in
Safari is big business in Zambia but the wildlife is facing issues like climate change and poaching. Mark Stratton discovers how tourism is helping
or a moment the tables are turned on one of Africa’s most alert predators. Dozing in Kafue’s fierce heat under a decaying tree, a slumbering leopard fails to hear us drift towards the riverbank in an electric-boat until metres away. Our vessel is so quiet that even when she finally opens her hazel eyes, she is unperturbed, and merely yawns before slumping back to sleep. “It’s what we call a silent safari,” says captain Lex Munuma. It was a hot and dusty drive from the capital Lusaka to Kafue National Park. Some 40ºC in the shade, the savannah grasses are yellowing yet Ila Safari Lodge, operated by Green Safaris, is a riverbank oasis. It’s the first of several lodges I’m visiting which are outstanding examples of how tourism can embrace both conservation and rural self-empowerment, and enable local communities to live more sustainably. This Dutch-owned property consists of ten river-facing luxury tents and is one of Africa’s most eco-friendly lodges. It operates on 100% solar energy - no noisy gas-guzzling generators - and the walls of its elegant open-sided lounge area are built from sandbags to avoid bringing concrete into the environment. Vegetables come from a local organic farm providing employment to farmers and a fair-priced market, and water is filtered naturally through reeds. The kitchen will soon run on biogas from the guest’s toilet waste. “This is the future of safaris. We have to respect the environment we are in,” says its Manager, Malemia Banda.
Most innovative is the camp’s electricsafari vehicles and boat, charged by solar energy. Not only do they avoid emitting carbon, but cause less disturbance to animals. I enjoy several silent safaris at the lodge, mingling quietly with a thousandstrong herd of buffalo and floating close to a bathing herd of elephants joyfully hosing themselves with cool Kafue river water.
Blending in with nature A few hours away Green Safaris plans to open its new Chisa Bushcamp around June 1. Located on the pancake-flat Busanga Plains, it embraces the ethos of blending into the environment: its four spectacular treehouses are designed like bird-nests, woven from natural materials. They sit in the canopy and shield safari tents while offering wonderful views across the wildliferich plains. “The guests will be invisible to animals although they may have an eagle for company in the nest,” jokes Lex. After three days I return to Lusaka to take Pro-Flight’s light aircraft service to the outstanding Mwufe Lodge in South Luangwa National Park. It’s a more arid environment, which accentuates the need for safari operators to be low-consumptive users of precious resources in times of environmental duress. In my first game drive I see lions engaged in a stand-off with a crocodile while a luxuriantly-maned male narrowly avoids being trampled by elephants. The adventure doesn’t cease by night and a torchlit game-
My Journey Zambia-LG-3rd.indd 52
4/3/20 03:15 PM
Tourism can embrace conservation and rural self-empowerment and help locals to live more sustainably
drive with my guide, Masuzyo Zimba, reveals honey badgers and civets, so bizarrelooking, they could’ve been assembled by Dr Frankenstein. Run by the Bushcamp Company, Mfuwe Lodge’s 18 bungalows are ideal for safari novices – both comfortable and secure. I meet Manager Amy Alderman in their lounge area, furnished brightly with fabrics from the local community, and she outlines their outstanding commitment to conservation and community development. Guest revenue is used to contribute to local schools - school meals, teacher salaries and sponsoring pupils - as well as developing a local secondary school’s infrastructure. They run a clean water project to establish wells, plant trees with youth groups, and contribute to the anti-poaching capacity of South Luangwa. “We’re not here to pay lip service to such issues. We take our responsibilities seriously,” says Amy, handing me my own metal refillable flask that enables them to save using 50,000 plastic bottles each year.
the wildest animal encounters. The three-hour drive is punctuated by sightings of painted dogs and elegant Thornicroft’s giraffe, a species in peril and requiring the protection from poaching that national parks battle to provide. Bilimungwe Bushcamp is utterly remote. Lying between several waterholes under the shade of a mahogany tree it has four luxurious thatched chalets on raised platforms. The immersion is total. Elephant, baboon, warthog, hippo and kudu, come and go. To maintain self-sufficiency and create less impact on the local wildlife they run off-grid and with solar-heated power and borehole water, while furnishings are sculpted in-situ from deadwood. “Animals were here first. We cannot change their environment but have to be part of it and share with them,” says Manager, Alex Stewart, as I enjoy my sunset gin and tonic with the same relish as the nearby elephants slurping olive-green water from the bushcamp’s private lagoon.
Book it with... African Pride
Self-sufficiency and the need to harmonise with nature is never more apparent when driven by Masuzyo to one of six satellite bushcamps Mfuwe maintains. Bushcamps are smaller, quite often tented camps, that are more exclusive and thoroughly open to
11 nights full-board in Zambia is from £6,975pp including ﬂights with Emirates, three nights in Ila Safari Lodge and ﬁve at one or more of Bushcamp Company's camps, plus all transfers, game viewing throughout and park fees. african-pride.co.uk
My Journey Zambia-LG-3rd.indd 53
4/3/20 03:15 PM
FLIGHT-FREE FANCIES Travellers are increasingly carbon-conscious and train travel doesn’t just reduce that footprint, it can also be a highlight of the holiday, says Jessica Pook
LITTLE TRAINS & WALKS OF THE PYRENEES...
THE ORIENT-EXPRESS THROUGH EUROPE...
FRANCE'S ANCIENT PROVINCIA NOSTRA...
One of Arena Rail’s most popular ‘Little Trains’ itineraries, this eight-day group tour combines train journeys and guided walks from a base in the Catalan town of Roses, close to the French border. Take a ride through Cap de Creus National Park on the Roses Express – a road-train pulled by a tractor; ascend over 1,000 metres on the Núria Valley Rack Railway; and ride the Red Train from Rivesalets to Axat via French vineyards and castles. arenatravel.com
Recognised as one of the most famous trains in the world, the Venice SimplonOrient-Express escorts passengers on an opulent and scenic journey through Europe, starting in London and stopping at some of the continent’s most celebrated cities, including Paris, Venice, Budapest, Prague and Berlin. Accommodation onboard includes the Grand Suites, which boast en-suite bathrooms, large double beds and a private seating area. belmond.com
Travel by rail from St. Pancras on Inntravel’s new self-guided holiday through southern France, discovering Roman Gaul, where the Romans ruled for more than 500 years. Stay in Narbonne, Nîmes and Arles, travelling by train between. Highlights include the Roman Museum of Narbonne, set to open in September 2020; the Roman arena in Nîmes; and UNESCO World Heritage Arles' fascinating buildings, museums and galleries. inntravel.co.uk
EXT - Rail travel-LG-6th.indd 54
4/6/20 03:59 PM
EUROPEAN GASTRONOMY TRIP… A seven-night round-trip combines several culinary destinations into one epicurean epic. From London, take the train to Bordeaux for wine tastings, then on to Madrid for a dose of art followed by Seville to sample tapas. Then take the fast train to Barcelona for pica-pica (light bites). Next stop Lyon, the culinary capital of France, then whizz to Paris in time for one last bistro lunch before riding the Eurostar back to London. originaltravel.co.uk
ENGLAND'S GREAT WEST WAY BY RAIL...
THE SPLENDOUR OF CORSICA...
GET TO SCANDINAVIA BY TRAIN...
Take a step back in time as you journey on this classic touring route, recently re-launched, from Bristol to London with stops in Bath, Salisbury, Chippenham and Windsor, before heading back to London. Highlights include Bristol Cathedral, Bath's spa, a detour to the honey-hued cottages of the Cotswolds, a visit to Stonehenge, a boat trip along the River Thames and access to the Houses of Parliament. greatwestway.co.uk
Travelling from London by Eurostar, this tour visits the gastronomic city Lyon and then heads along the French Riviera by rail to spend two nights in Nice before sailing to Corsica. Here, alight in Bastia, a historic city close to scenic Cap Corse - Corsica's northern tip. But the highlight is the island's own railway - the line between Corte and Bocognano is ranked as one of the most scenic in the world, passing gorges and waterfalls. ffestiniogtravel.com
Copenhagen is known as the ‘green city’ and Sweden is leading the way in sustainable living, so why not visit this ecoconcious couple by travelling by train from London? Sunvil’s new two-centre itinerary starts from St. Pancras and travels to Brussels, then to Cologne for a night before wheeling, via Hamburg, to Copenhagen for a few nights in the Danish capital. The trip concludes with two nights in Sweden's Malmö across the water. sunvil.co.uk
EXT - Rail travel-LG-6th.indd 55
4/6/20 03:59 PM
Selling Travel - Disneyland Paris - FP April 2020_Layout 1 16/03/2020 10:14 Page 1
Disneyland® Paris For Groups Greatdays Holidays is proud to be the Top Performing Leisure Groups Operator for Disneyland ® Paris for the 5th year running! Our dedicated Disney team is here to help ensure that the booking of your group’s trip to the place where dreams come true is as easy as possible. Group rates are available for groups with a minimum of 12 passengers, whether it be family celebrations, school groups, performing arts groups, incentive travel and more! We offer tailor-made packages including Disney Hotel and Park Tickets, plus extras such as Meal Plans and Character Dining to make your group’s trip even more magical. We will be on hand throughout the booking process to help you every step of the way. With two parks to explore there is something for everyone at Disneyland® Paris from big thrills to family fun, and after a busy day the group won’t have far to go with a choice of six onsite Disney® Hotels each with magical Disney touches and prices to suit all budgets. Booking a group trip to Disneyland® Paris is easier than you may think with the award winning Disney team at Greatdays here to help you make magical memories that will last a lifetime. F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N P L E A S E C O N TA C T U S
T: 0161 928 3242 | E: email@example.com www.greatdays.co.uk/disneyland-paris-for-groups
Untitled-2 Untitled-5 1
4/1/20 12:27 PM 16/03/2020 10:25