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SMALL STEPS Kenya Tourism is ready for a healthy 2017 as operators report rising interest in bush and birding holidays

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Turkey Argentina Queensland Georgia, USA What's Hot 2017 and much more...

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ABTA No.Y6393



this issue - we travel further to bring you more features 8 What's hot: 2017 trends 12 Queensland: Tropical Oz 18 Kenya: Beach & safari 28 Turkey: Courting agents 65 Georgia: Deep south soul 72 Argentina: the highlights

53 70



quick reads 53 Introducing: Aurice-en-

18 12

Oisans 69 Six of the best: Atlanta 76 My Journey: Arizona


Ben Coren

Steve Hartridge

went all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic and got his kicks zip-lining the jungle and partying in Punta Cana.

TALKING SHOP 23 News, comps, fam reports Awards 35 The 2016 Travel Agents

k e n ya


Choice Awards in full

Julie Baxter

will be getting sporty in Tucson and Scottsdale, Arizona, on a trip based around mountain biking and golf.

saw Southeast Asia in style, aboard the Eastern and Oriental Express between Bangkok and Singapore.

q u e e n S la n d


The Review 55 Top news and reviews 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



It's a win win! Selling travel is travel trade publication of the year – again! read our award - winning travel writing online too:

2016 Travel Trade Publication of the Year


2016 Travel Trade Publication of the Year Travel Trade

Publication of the Year

Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2016 © 2016.

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




– dedicated to those who love selling travel –


as 2016 a good year for you? There’s been a lot of hysterical chat about it being “literally the worst year ever”, for reasons ranging from celeb deaths (David Bowie, Victoria Wood, Prince to name but three) to Brexit (depressingly divisive whichever side you were on). If you prefer to look on the bright side, take some comfort from the news that pandas came off the endangered list this year. That’s right, the human race has coaxed an essentially frigid animal into saving itself from extinction! Personally, I won't be too sad to see the back of 2016. Perhaps my year felt so rough because it took me until November to have a holiday! Never before have I so appreciated the force for happiness that a holiday holds – and I urge you to remember that too. After all, you're in the business of selling Laura Gelder packages of joy! DEPUTY EDITOR My trip took me Down Under for a 10-year backpacking reunion. I reacquainted myself with hostel bunk beds and remembered, once more, why my childish desire to be on the top bed is not compatible with drinking the local beers. Some things, such as my taste in accommodation, had changed but the grandeur of sunny Sydney Harbour blew me away just as much as it did ten years ago. I visited new places too, including the much derided Canberra. An Aussie travel agent was just one of the people who scoffed at it, in front of my friend who lives there! This taught me two things: think before you speak and never write off a destination until you experience it. Canberra may not have the icons of Sydney or the beaches of Perth but where else can you cycle from Parliament to fields filled with kangaroos in just half an hour? T Wisdom certainly comes from experience so thanks Tropical to our readers who took the time to vote vote in the Selling d beaches, -drenche e, With sun Travel Agents Choice Awards ck adventur ies, outba vibrant cit ts and the world’s res nd nfo rai f, Queensla a ree s (see p35). ou e with most fam alian escap is an Austr s Lauren Jarvis , say If we can take anything difference from 2016 it's that nothing is certain except change. So, enjoy Christmas, read our What's Hot in 2017 (p8) feature over your box of chocolates and look forward to another exciting year in travel! australia:








al North, er the Tropic joins togeth says Waite. “Queensland ine Coast,” and Sunsh tour.” Gold Coast g a longer those wantin eastern tip Kakadu for lia’s norththe hill, is the from Austra the New South Gold Coast rumbles up Running Gold Coast just above es Landcruiser with slope of Brisbane, Gold Coast, ne stretch he Safari a party town the muddy Lying south down to the sland’s coastli gripping ary ainment hub: world’s potholes. the legend border, Queen titanic tyres and re lies the ravenous s, state’s entert Wales and offsho rocks parks, beache offers epic sky, while Barrier Reef. miles, while pitted with ine Coast amusement for 4,350 : the Great soar to the se. The Sunsh med ‘Crocodile reef system ancient trees us and birds and the late Surfer’s Paradi largest coral ne have blosso Overhead, n beside and Brisba Zoo. hiking trails our path. sidle shotgu culture, s Australia ys across While Cairns beach drives, butterflies wonderful Irwin’s, famou defying displa and reef ed, fourg cities with , it’s in its rainforest Hunter’, Steve into excitin perform death- Track offers a fun-siz and cuisine you’ll find towns field shopping ng and sliding North of Cairns laid-back coastal The Bloom like the reef nightlife, ture, bumpi the l wonders trip tion and adven road natura A Tribula tures ss, Cove. adven timele wheel-drive magic lies. sland’s Cape the as and Palm sland’s real Tablelands, from Queen Peninsula, of Port Dougl that Queen Atherton 20 miles Cape York to the lush routes and whose wn on the to Cookto James Cook is a inland leadsalls, crater lakes, cycling the gateway of Captain re reef. d cruise with waterf beyond lies sleepy refuge d on the offsho we day Islan elds, and outback. ran agroun “A Whitsun Queensland. historic gold fi field River, frontier: the Endeavour ned great, wild track’s Bloom n visiting inal nightlife, to Australia’s ing, triggered by the combichange, Crossing the to the Aborig must whe e enjoy the Wujal, home Coral bleach and climat Airlie nts of the reach Wujal Visitors can urants of day warming effects of El Niñonorth of Cairns. Divers i people, reside before resta years Kuku Yulang and of the s nds twoshop travel. d reefs to for thousa joining a before they has affecte rainforest lia in 1770. situation h, before white ered’ Austra Beac check the the falls, ore should Cook ‘discov sacred expl the nearby d days” cruise to We trek to h croc-inhabite the Whitsun MANAG ER beats a ten of on throug quite s ect g car. r splash sand CT Perf anothe then s: Nothin PRODU SENIOR t glimpsing Queensland’s Sail the island GOLD MEDAL TURNE R, us: driving creeks withou REBECC A AND AUSTR ALIA, cruise around stay at the two of ASIA live-aboard a blissful Here it’s just Islands, or , Whitsunday of the world. island resorts stunning to the end region’s luxury n. UNESCO World one of the and Hayma ure t al North, one Hamilton wonders the ancien including In the Tropic Timeless iconic landmarks and signat another as hitsunda meets to tourismw cricket: where onto the golden Heritage site With so many choosing Catch some rest slopes ne in on offer, helming. Daintree Rainfo the reef. ning in Brisba onwealth experiences overw Begin be g lia can is Comm isles of beaches fringin go in Austra 2017, the Queensland d e visitors, g white-sand November see Englan many The dazzlin “For first-tim Series will it ticks so a Mecca for Bank Ashes to start, as UK ndays are , te for sport’s the Whitsu sun lovers a great place lia compe t Angela Waite, divers and and Austra t’s bigges boxes,” says tic for APT. and cricke sailors, scuba must-see ful Magne Manager tiniest trophy wildly beauti Commercial k, luxury while the Sales and playgrounds rugged outbac l islands ze. ecb.c Islands are beaches, Beautiful and Fraser unspoilt tropica ence. excursions, diving and heel-drive experi for four-w resorts, great Australian e watching. and wildlif guests a truly sland alking tee bushw guaran ne Queen easy to combi as Uluru and “It’s also ations such destin with other




.uk .uk

INDUSTRY COMMENTS... “Turkey has many reasons to be optimistic and hopeful for 2017. We are planning activities with tour operators and travel partners, as well as roadshows and fam trips in April/May 2017 to Bodrum, Dalaman, Alanya and Izmir."

“The biennial Corroborree for the international travel trade will take place on the Gold Coast in October 2017, while campaigns and PR activities throughout the year will drive consumers to our trade partners."

Irfan Onal, General Director, Ministry of Culture and

Jane Nicholson, International Director, UK, Ireland and

Tourism, Republic of Turkey. See feature, page 28

Nordic Tourism and Events Queensland. See feature, page 12


events & festivals

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

ST. PATRICK’S DAY, USA CITIES St. Patrick’s Day (Friday March 17, 2017) celebrates the bringing of Christianity to Ireland by the saint of the same name but the day is embraced just as heartily in the U.S – in cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Savannah and New York, for example. Street parties, parades, music and late nights are the order of the day – in Chicago they even put dye in the city's river to give it an emerald green tint.

DINAGYANG, PHILIPPINES Dinagyang is a four-day festival in Iloilo showing the city’s undivided devotion to Christianity. The highlight of the event are tribes in traditional garb trying to outperform one another through dancing, costume preparation and drumming, but there is also food aplenty and a colourful parade. The next Dinagyang will take place on January 22, 2017.

BELTANE FIRE FESTIVAL, SCOTLAND What better combination than fire, demons, a huge bonfire and a warm night in Edinburgh? The night-long Beltane Fire Festival is a procession involving all of the above that culminates in dancing, eating and laughing around a fire as the night wears on. The event marks the beginning of summer on April 30.

HOLI, INDIA A blaze of colour is the common holiday snap from Holi, a celebration which sees participants hurl heaps of coloured dye at one another. The Hindu celebration is practised worldwide but is most prominent in India and Nepal where both major cities and small towns put on a riot of colour. The festival ushers in spring on March 13, 2017. /

NATIONAL GRAPE HARVEST FESTIVAL, ARGENTINA Mendoza is Argentina's leading winegrowing region and its people are extremely proud of the fact. Starting March 2017, the National Grape Harvest Festival has it all: dancers, theatre, a beauty pageant and, of course, wine – and all to celebrate the picking of the grapes!

Need to brush up on your Canada knowledge? Want to sell Canada more effectively? Want a chance to take part in the Canada Mega FAM?

© Niagara Parks Commission

© Banff Lake Louise Tourism/Paul Zizka

Check out our NEW Canada Specialist Program, where you can become a certified expert on Canada and take advantage of exclusive benefits.

© Tourism Saskatchewan/Greg Huszar


Untitled-1 1 to become a certified Canada Specialist! #ExploreCanada

16/11/2016 12:19


what’s hot


The World in

With significant anniversaries, new flights and major sporting events to look forward to, destinations around the globe are feeling confident about a bumper 2017, says Ben Lerwill

what’s hot

Canada Canada is celebrating a landmark birthday in 2017, with July 1 marking the 150th anniversary of the country’s confederation in 1867. To tie in with the occasion, there will be free admission to national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas for the entire year. The destination was granted considerable exposure in late 2016 by the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who visited parts of the Yukon and British Columbia. Elsewhere in the country, Air Canada Rouge began flights from Gatwick to Toronto in 2016, while this winter WestJet starts year-round direct flights, three times a week, from Gatwick to Calgary.

tour of the country between early June and early July. The showpiece matches will be the three Tests against the All Blacks, taking place in Auckland (twice) and Wellington. Emirates recently began using A380 superjumbos for through-travel between London and Auckland, via Dubai. Elsewhere, the remote coastal region of Taranaki was named by Lonely Planet as one of the top places to visit in 2017. Book it: Packages for the British & Irish Lions tour had not been released at the time of writing, but ITC Sports Travel sells through the trade and is taking a note of advance enquiries. Aside from the Tests, the Lions will also play matches in places such as Christchurch, Dunedin and Rotorua.

Book it: Western & Oriental has a 13-day fly-drive tour of Western Canada from £2,595pp, beginning in Vancouver and taking in Whistler, Jasper National Park, Yoho National Park, Banff and Calgary, among other places. Flights, lodgestyle accommodation, car hire and private transfers are all included.

Chile When British Airways begins direct flights to Santiago in January it will mark the first non-stop BA service from the UK to Chile in more than 20 years. It’s a long flight: 14 hours 40 minutes on a 787-9 Dreamliner. It should significantly boost the number of UK travellers to the South American country, famed for its mountains and glaciers. Caution is provided by Peru, which hoped for the same visitor influx when BA introduced a Lima service from London, but passenger numbers to date have fallen below expectations. However, the momentum is already there: the first half of 2016 saw a 20% increase in British visitors, and the tourist board is hoping the new flight will see a further 20% jump. Fam trips and a new online training tool are in the pipeline.

Azores Until relatively recently the Portuguese archipelago of The Azores – a strip of volcanic islands 900 miles off the Atlantic coast – was an under-the-radar holiday destination. Things are changing. Tourism has grown by more than 30% in the last year, thanks in part to a growth in awareness of the Azores’ choice of family-friendly activities: whale-watching, hiking, diving and horse-riding are all on offer, and the islands themselves provide a dramatic mountain backdrop. There’s plenty of good accommodation too. The Azores are less than four hours by direct flight from the UK, while Tap Air Portugal recently doubled the number of services between Lisbon and the Azorean capital of Ponta Delgada. The ABTA Travel Convention heads to the island of Sao Miguel in October 2017. Book it: Sunvil offers bespoke trips to The Azores. A tour taking in the islands of Sao Miguel and Faial, including international and internal flights,

Book it: Rainbow Tours has a 14-day Chile Lakes & Volcanoes itinerary, making use of the new direct flights, priced from £5,170pp, The programme begins and ends in Santiago and includes a stay in a rural hacienda, activities on the Trancura River and a trip to the Osorno Volcano in the southern Andes.


New Zealand New Zealand was left reeling last month after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the northeastern coast on South Island. However the appeal of the country – epic outdoor adventure, Tolkien-esque landscapes and clean, attractive cities – is well known and 2017 should still see a sharp spike in arrivals when the British & Irish Lions rugby team embarks on a 10-game

From left: Chile, famed for its mountains and glaciers; fun at Fundy National Park, New Brunswick, Canada



what’s hot

Bhutan Next year has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, so where better to visit than the one of the world’s eco-friendliest country and, as of this year, the world’s first carbon negative country. That’s a big achievement for a place that bases its political decisions on the happiness of its people and that declared environmental protection is integral to GNP (Gross National Happiness). Book it: Adventure travel specialist G Adventures has a 10-day Bhutan Adventure option priced from £1,999pp (not including flights).


seven nights’ accommodation and various attractions and excursions starts at £1,403pp.

Northern California and New Orleans From late March, 2017, British Airways will begin a direct flight between Gatwick and the Californian city of Oakland, which sits across the bay from San Francisco. Often described as a West Coast version of New York’s Brooklyn, Oakland is home to a lively arts scene and also serves as an excellent gateway for exploring northern California’s wine country – including the Napa Valley and several other less-visited wine regions. Elsewhere in the U.S., Delta Airlines will kick off flights to Portland, Oregon, in May in partnership with Virgin Atlantic, while British Airways will launch four weekly flights to New Orleans in March. The service will be the only direct flight from Europe to the Big Easy. Meanwhile, Brand USA has announced a MegaFam trip for May 2017, incorporating seven different itineraries that all culminate in Chicago.

Abu Dhabi Aarhus Accustomed to being overshadowed by Copenhagen, Denmark’s second-largest city, Aarhus, is readying itself for its moment in the spotlight. Named European Capital of Culture for 2017 (along with Paphos in Cyprus), the destination will be serving up a packed calendar of arts events, among them a Festival of Fire regatta and a major exhibition combining two of Scandinavia’s best-known artists: Asger Jorn and Edvard Munch. The city is a fine place to visit in its own right, with cobblestoned streets, endless cycle paths and a much-heralded food scene. Ryanair flies direct to Aarhus from London Stansted, with a travel time of one hour 40 minutes.

The capital of the United Arab Emirates doesn’t tend to do things by halves, so when the long-awaited Louvre Abu Dhabi finally opens in 2017 it’s fair to expect the results to be impressive. The museum – created through an intergovernmental agreement between Abu Dhabi and France – will showcase a permanent collection of Eastern and Western artworks set across 6,000sqm of gallery space. Elsewhere, Abu Dhabi International Airport is scheduled to open a spectacular new terminal building at some point over the next 12 months, while still in the pipeline is the Guggenheim Museum, which will host a colossal range of modern art. Book it: Kuoni offers three nights at the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi in a Marina Room, including breakfast, return economy flights on British Airways fom Heathrow and transfers in resort. he price for May 2017 is from £728pp, based on two sharing

Book it: Osprey Holidays can provide a tailor-made package to Aarhus. A two-night break including breakfast and flights from Stansted, staying at the four-star Scandic Aarhus City Hotel, costs from £170pp.

For the first half of this year Bermuda recorded its highest number of tourist arrivals for close

Book it: Audley Travel offers a 14-day Northern California self-drive itinerary priced from £2,970pp, including flights. The holiday includes time in San Francisco, hiking at the iconic Mount Shasta, wine-tasting in the Sonoma Valley and visits to both Crater Lake National Park and Redwood National Park.

Anti-clockwise from top left: Auckland silhouetted against the night sky; the sacred Paro Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan; Bermuda, host of the America’s Cup in 2017;


what’s hot


China A deal struck between the UK and China that could allow thousands more flights between the two countries each year was announced in October. It was designed principally to allow more Chinese visitors to Britain but will also make China itself ever more accessible. Cruise passengers arriving in Shanghai are now eligible to stay in the country visa-free for up to 15 days. Elsewhere, Thomas Cook has announced travel packages to the island of Sanya, billed as ‘the Chinese Hawaii’.

to a decade. The popularity of the British overseas territory isn’t too hard to fathom – its mix of sand, sea and unrushed elegance has long made it a favourite with beach lovers, golfers, yachtsmen and others looking to combine upmarket accommodation with Atlantic sunshine. From London the flight time to the Mid-Atlantic island is just shy of eight hours. Attention will fall on the destination in June, when the prestigious America’s Cup yachting event is held there for the first time. British ex-Olympian hero Ben Ainslie will be among those involved at the helm. Book it: Travel 2 has seven nights at the five-star Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa, in a Garden View Room on a B&B, priced from £1,639pp. Including flights the deal is valid for travel from November 1 to December 12 2017 .

Lapland Bolstered by centenary celebrations in Finland – which marks 100 years of nationhood in 2017 – and helped further by the BBC’s

recent Arctic Live series, Lapland and northern Scandinavia look set to enjoy a busy year among adventure travellers. The Northern Lights and unique wildlife opportunities are among the selling points. The Norwegian cruise company Hurtigruten plans to operate the world’s first electric expeditionary ships in the Arctic and Antarctic, with the first vessel expected to enter service in 2018. The new technology will cut carbon emissions on each voyage by around 20%. Book it: Diamond Rail Holidays has a new six-day Lapland and Arctic Circle Railway trip for 2017, costing from £1,399pp. Beginning in the Norwegian coastal town of Narvik, the itinerary continues on by train to Kiruna, the northernmost town in Sweden. The price includes flights and experiences such as husky-driving and a traditional Sami (Laplanders) feast.

Book it: Wendy Wu has a new 21-day Land of the Dragon itinerary priced from £3,290pp. Highlights include exploring Beijing, cruising the Li River, seeing Giant Pandas and a breakfast walking tour of Shanghai. The trip includes plenty of free time and optional excursions. 

Clockwise from top left: The Chongqing gorges in South West China; a rural view across to San Francisco; could this Lapland reindeer be a new recruit for Santa?


australia: queensland

queen Tropical

With sun-drenched beaches, vibrant cities, outback adventure, rainforests and the world’s most famous reef, Queensland is an Australian escape with a difference, says Lauren Jarvis

australia: queensland


he Safari Landcruiser rumbles up the hill, titanic tyres gripping the muddy slope pitted with rocks and ravenous potholes. Overhead, ancient trees soar to the sky, while butterflies sidle shotgun beside us and birds perform death-defying displays across our path. The Bloomfield Track offers a fun-sized, fourwheel-drive adventure, bumping and sliding 20 miles from Queensland’s Cape Tribulation to Cooktown on the Cape York Peninsula, the sleepy refuge of Captain James Cook whose Endeavour ran aground on the offshore reef. Crossing the track’s Bloomfield River, we reach Wujal Wujal, home to the Aboriginal Kuku Yulangi people, residents of the rainforest for thousands of years before Cook ‘discovered’ Australia in 1770. We trek to the nearby sacred falls, then splash on through croc-inhabited creeks without glimpsing another car. Here it’s just the two of us: driving to the end of the world.

Timeless wonders With so many iconic landmarks and signature experiences on offer, choosing where to go in Australia can be overwhelming. “For first-time visitors, Queensland is a great place to start, as it ticks so many must-see boxes,” says Angela Waite, UK Sales and Commercial Manager for APT. Beautiful beaches, rugged outback, luxury resorts, great diving and unspoilt tropical islands guarantee guests a truly Australian experience. “It’s also easy to combine Queensland with other destinations such as Uluru and

Kakadu for those wanting a longer tour.” Running from Australia’s north-eastern tip down to the Gold Coast, just above the New South Wales border, Queensland’s coastline stretches for 4,350 miles, while offshore lies the world’s largest coral reef system: the Great Barrier Reef. While Cairns and Brisbane have blossomed into exciting cities with wonderful culture, nightlife, shopping and cuisine, it’s in its timeless, natural wonders like the reef that Queensland’s real magic lies.

“A Whitsunday Island cruise is a must when visiting Queensland. Visitors can enjoy the nightlife, shops and restaurants of Airlie Beach, before joining a two-day cruise to explore the white sands of the Whitsundays” REBECCA TURNER, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER ASIA AND AUSTRALIA, GOLD MEDAL

In the Tropical North, one UNESCO World Heritage site meets another as the ancient Daintree Rainforest slopes onto the golden beaches fringing the reef. The dazzling white-sand isles of the Whitsundays are a Mecca for sailors, scuba divers and sun lovers, while the wildly beautiful Magnetic and Fraser Islands are playgrounds for four-wheel-drive excursions, bushwalking and wildlife watching.


“Queensland joins together the Tropical North, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast,” says Waite.

Gold Coast Lying south of Brisbane, Gold Coast is the state’s entertainment hub: a party town with amusement parks, beaches, and the legendary Surfer’s Paradise. The Sunshine Coast offers epic beach drives, hiking trails and the late ‘Crocodile Hunter’, Steve Irwin’s, famous Australia Zoo. North of Cairns you’ll find rainforest and reef adventures and the laid-back coastal towns of Port Douglas and Palm Cove. A road trip inland leads to the lush Atherton Tablelands, with waterfalls, crater lakes, cycling routes and historic gold fields, and beyond lies the gateway to Australia’s great, wild frontier: the outback. Coral bleaching, triggered by the combined warming effects of El Niño and climate change, has affected reefs to the north of Cairns. Divers should check the situation before they travel.

Perfect ten Sail the islands: Nothing quite beats a live-aboard cruise around Queensland’s stunning Whitsunday Islands, or a blissful stay at one of the region’s luxury island resorts, including Hamilton and Hayman.

Catch some cricket: Beginning in Brisbane in November 2017, the Commonwealth Bank Ashes Series will see England and Australia compete for sport’s tiniest trophy and cricket’s biggest ze. ecb.c


australia: queensland

Snooze under the stars: Spend a night in a portable sleeping bundle on a floating pontoon over the Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsunday’s Reef Sleep experience. Hold tight: Take the kids to ride the roller-coasters at Australia’s biggest and best amusement parks on Queensland’s Gold Coast, or splash down in its wet and wild water parks. Meet a koala: Hop on the SeaLink ferry from Townsville to Magnetic Island for a wild, close-up koala encounter, then soak up the sun on one of its 23 beautiful bays and beaches.

Join the party: Queensland’s known for its quirky festivals, try melon ‘skating’ at the world’s largest (and messiest) melon fest.

Watch the whales: Hervey Bay in southern Queensland is one of the world’s best whale-watching spots. Catch the humpback migration from July to November.

Dive in: Board a dive boat from Townsville, Cairns, Airlie Beach or Port Douglas to explore the underwater wonders of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Explore the rainforest: Northern Queensland is home to the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree. Take a river cruise and look out for crocodiles, cassowaries, and tree Go off-road: Join a four-wheel-drive adventure on Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, and discover freshwater lakes, ancient rainforests and a 75-mile beach.

What’s new Opening spread; Dynamic Brisbane; This page: Daintree Rainforest; whales frequent the shores of Queensland; take a walk on Fraser Island; see koalas at a sanctuary like Lone Pine. Next page: diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

 Hotels: The boutique Mantra Richmont Hotel ( has opened in Brisbane. The five-star Pullman Brisbane Airport and

3.5-star ibis Brisbane Airport ( development will open in October 2017. BIG4’s Rivershore Resort ( has opened on the Sunshine Coast featuring 80 glamping, camping and caravan sites. The new Heart Hotel and Gallery ( is in Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays. Kinnon & Co’s new Homestead Stables ( in Longreach offer an authentic heritage outback experience. New Art Series Hotel, The Johnson ( has opened in Brisbane with 83 guest suites and an Olympic pool. The five-star Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas ( on Four Mile Beach has completed a $43 million refurbishment.  Attractions: Great Beach Drive ( 4WD Tours offer escorted trips along the Great Beach Drive on the Sunshine Coast, a 70km stretch of Pacific coastline. Red Cat Adventures ( offers a new two-night Ride to Paradise Whitsundays experience in a high-speed catamaran, staying at Paradise Cove Resort. Escape to Whitehaven Beach on the refurbished Lady Enid (, a private sailing boat, departing from Airlie Beach, where Airlie Beach Skydivers also offers beach-landing skydives ( The Bundaberg Rum Distilling Company ( has opened a new visitor experience following an $8.5 million upgrade. Visitors can now enjoy half-day snorkelling on the Outer Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas with Tropical Journeys ( The Sunshine Coast ( is launching a new online Food Trails itinerary planner to help visitors indulge in the region’s culinary delights which include a variety of seafood (prawns, crabs and mackerel caught fresh off the coast), fruit and nuts .  Restaurants: Airlie Beach Treehouse (, offers modern Australian cuisine overlooking the lagoon.

australia: queensland

“Queensland is a fantastic destination for families, with its amazing beaches and action-packed theme parks along the Gold Coast” RACHEL MCMURDO, ASSISTANT PRODUCT MANAGER, OCEANIA, TRAVEL 2

Tourism talk

Where to book it

“Queensland welcomed 2,481,000 international visitors during the year ending June 2016 – an 11.3% increase – and forward bookings are looking good. “The state offers all the key experiences a UK traveller wants from an Australian holiday – weather, beaches, islands, nature and outback – it’s like no other place on earth! “We work alongside Tourism Australia and the Aussie Specialist Program and encourage agents to complete the Queensland module, which helps with selling the destination, and also provides opportunities to join us on fam trips. “The biennial Corroborree for the international travel trade will take place on the Gold Coast in October 2017, while campaigns and PR activities throughout the year will drive consumers to our trade partners. “We’re currently promoting Australia’s stunning Nature Coast (incorporating the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast) with multiple retail partners, and we’ve got some exciting activity coming up.” Jane Nicholson, International Director, UK, Ireland and Nordic Tourism and Events Queensland

 APT TOURING – 0800 046 3002 The new Premium 17-day East Coast Adventure tour takes travellers from Sydney to Cairns. Included are return international flights, accommodation, meals and the services of a tour director. The deal is from £4,295pp, based on a twin share.

 GOLD MEDAL – 0800 014 7777 Enjoy Queensland’s key attractions with four nights in Cairns, two nights at Airlie Beach and a two-night Whitsunday Catamaran Cruise for £1,199pp, based on a family of two adults and two children with international return flights.

 TRAVEL 2 – 020 7561 2244 Stay three nights in Brisbane, three nights on the Gold Coast and three nights on Moreton Island - where you can feed wild dolphins at sunset and visit Honeymoon Bay - including three days’ car hire and international return flights from £1,049pp, based on two adults and two children sharing. 



in conversation with....

Tourism Thailand – Chris Lee, Head of Marketing UK/Ireland – There are few stronger supporters of the trade than Tourism Thailand, which this month is running a major incentive for agents. How was World Travel Market 2016? It was a very good show for us. The Thailand stand was very busy. I thought the new three-day format worked well and we attracted plenty of interest on each of the days.

Is Tourism Thailand still a strong supporter of the trade? Absolutely. I have been passionate about the trade for the past 20 years and that position hasn’t changed at all. Thailand is exactly the sort of destination that needs the trade to help sell it. It is not a point-to-point destination; Thailand is a country where you can combine several different places and regions during a single holiday, and that has its complexities. We know that the best way to get this message across is via our travel agent friends. Our relationship with the trade is as good as it has ever been.

What do you have planned for 2017? We will be spending more money with the trade than we have ever done. We have some strong partners but one of our key activities will be our Friends of Thailand Club travel agent road shows. Next year we will be doing seven of these in the UK and Ireland. We will be visiting Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Manchester, Chester, Edinburgh and Newcastle. The dates and times are still to be decided.

You are known for taking your road shows to cities around the UK... Yes, we started running road shows six years ago and have now been to around 45 cities in the UK and Ireland – north as far as Aberdeen, west as far as Plymouth, and east to Canterbury and Ipswich. What we find is that the more ‘remote’ the location the bigger the welcome we get from travel agents. It really is heart-warming when agents say ‘thanks for coming to our town as destinations do not usually visit our areas’.

“We are running a December incentive. By the time those phones start ringing in January agents will be filled with plenty of fresh knowledge and in a position to convert interest in Thailand into more bookings” Tell us about your new online training programme for agents. We have operated an agents' training programme for several years but it has undergone a serious upgrade and will be re-launched this month (December). We appreciate that most agents do not have a huge amount of time on their hands, and the Thailand (training) course has been designed with this in mind. It comprises seven modules, with each module taking around 20 minutes to complete. We know that December is probably the best month for agents to commit to training.

And you have a major agents' initiative linked to the refreshed programme? Yes, the relaunch is linked to a major promotion we are running throughout this month that gives agents the chance to win weekly prizes and the opportunity to win a fam trip place in 2017. Each week an agent can win seven nights’ accommodation in Thailand, with a different

hotel giveaway every week. All they have to do to be eligible is complete Module One (of the training programme) at training.tourismthailand. Those who finish all seven modules will be entered into a draw to win a place on a fam trip in 2017. We are running the incentive throughout the month so by the time those phones start ringing in January agents will be filled with lots of fresh knowledge and in a position to convert client interest in Thailand into the maximum number of bookings.

Does the very diversity of Thailand present challenges in terms of getting the trade to understand the depth and breadth of what it has to offer? Yes, the challenge is always getting across the message of just how much product we have, but equally this also presents big opportunities for travel agents. We know, of course, that the general challenge agents face is that more customers are increasingly first going online, to research and see price comparisons, and then coming to agents. But with Thailand the more complex the itinerary the more destinations, regions and experiences can be included, perhaps featuring multi-centres, various themes and experiences, etc. The customer will struggle to put that together themselves, which is why they still need travel agents. When it comes to selling Thailand, agents are well positioned to make a healthy margin. 

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Over the Rift

It’s been an uncomfortable few years for Kenya’s tourism industry but operators’ forward bookings for 2017 suggest interest is building, says Karl Cushing


aving awoken at dawn to the smell of fresh coffee and breakfast being brought to my sumptuous safari tent I am soon Jeeping it to the rendezvous in the Mara where, as first light hints, the sudden roar of the burners tears into the pin-drop quiet air, thrusting life into the balloon’s twitching envelope. As a vertigo sufferer and first-time balloonist my anticipation of the flight ahead is tinged with trepidation as the time comes to climb into our allotted sections of the basket. Indeed, much of the flight will be spent hunched low on wobbly legs, yet the feeling of calm and peacefulness I experience as we rise with the sun and glide noiselessly over the waking plains is immense. With the insouciant animals oblivious to our presence the journey varies from fiery ascents to the silent skimming of treetops below which elephants below gather as if debating the day ahead — even passing over some lion jealously guarding a fresh kill. Our hushed, awestruck somnambulance is broken only by the bumpy

white-knuckle landing, holding the in-basket handles for dear life as we are dragged sideways through the bush. An indulgent bush breakfast with our affable hosts from Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp ( soon has us back in our comfort zone though, with and the air heavy with excited chatter and observations.

Great Migration The lifting of travel advisories has rekindled interest in Kenya and its classic safari and beach stay proposition. G Adventures is one operator that has already seen sales recover to 2014 levels after 66% growth year-onyear. “Looking ahead we already have twice as many bookings for next year as we did a year ago for 2016, which means Kenya is not only recovering but growing,” says Chris Duncan, Africa Product Manager. Abercrombie & Kent is also up, with Africa Specialist Kay Durdan commenting: “Kenya has certainly had a good strong year and clients are already securing their accommodation for the Great Migration in 2017, which is

encouraging.” Rainbow Tours also notes an upturn in bookings, although client confidence in the coastal areas is still not 100%. July to December is peak season but Kenya is a year-round proposition. ”November to June offers superb ‘non-migratory’ game viewing in the Mara’s rich eco-system including lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant, buffalo, hippo, giraffe and zebra as well as over 300 bird species,” says Renette Hartridge, UK Director of Sales for Sanctuary Retreats. Big Five safaris and the annual Great Migration remain the big draws but they’re not the only game in town. “Our clients are increasingly interested in the country’s birdlife,” says Candice Buchan, Africa Product manager for Rainbow Tours. “Our photographic trips are also proving popular, providing expert guidance and the incredible wildlife of the Masai Mara.” Moreover, as Acacia Africa’s Sales & Marketing Manager Arno Delport notes, low season is ideal for keen photographers due to the better air and light conditions and fewer competing safari vehicles.


Operators offering hikes up Mount Kenya include Exodus and KE Adventures, which also twins it with Kilimanjaro on a 15day tour. Somak Holidays’ comprehensive offering even includes packages around the annual Tusk Safaricom Marathon at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

Perfect ten Be flexible: Perfect your downward dog and sun salutations while on a ‘yoga safari’ in the Masai Mara. Get high: Float above the Mara unnoticed as you observe the wildlife at the break of day from a hot air balloon. Get higher: Gaze out over the plains during a guided hike ascending Mount Kenya having enjoyed wildlife encounters in the forests encircling its lower reaches. Astral sleeps: Ogle the wildlife by day and the spectacular dark skies by night from your ‘glamptastic’ star bed. Savour sun down: Celebrate the remains of the day with a classic

sundowner such as a refreshing G&T or traditional Dawa cocktail (vodka, honey and lemon served over ice) high on a scenic bluff. Migrate timing: Catch the annual Great Migration by booking July to October. This ‘buket list’ sight is one of the great marvels of nature and definitely one of my most enduring wildlife encounters. Take your best shot: Go in pursuit of the perfect wildlife snap and perfect your technique on a guided photographic safari. Mix it up: Take in other interesting wildlife havens such as Kakamega Forest or diverse watery habitats such as Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru, which are great for birdlife. Life’s a beach: Kick back aftr time in the bush and swap memorable safari stories in a Kenyan coastal resort such as Lamu, Mombasa or Watamu. More is, well, more: Operators such as Intrepid Travel and Exodus twin Kenyan safari adventures with Tanzania or fuse it with Uganda and Rwanda, gorillas being the big added draw.


What’s new �Hotels and resorts: Sixteen new hotels are scheduled for the next five years, adding 2,900 rooms and expanding the accommodation capacity by 14%. Garden Inn Hotel (, Hilton’s second Nairobi property, opened earlier this year near the airport. The recently opened Loisaba Tented Camp ( now offers its ‘star beds’ in two locations, with a new four-hour guided night-time ‘star safari’ available on foot or horseback. The currently-closed Hemingways Watamu ( will open as a 39-room luxury boutique property in late 2017.  Tour operators: Abercrombie & Kent ( clients can witness its new initiative to provide local students with e-readers packed with learning materials. Sanctuary Retreats ( is offering year-round discounted long-stay rates of up to 40% at its riverside Olonana camp, with no single supplements in January, April, May or June.

The new jAMbo KENYA traiNing programme

register online for a chanCe to win prizes WIN


Two tickets to the Lion King

Two tickets to Woburn Safari Park Off Road Safari Adventure

£ 200 Spa Voucher

Dinner for two at Haandi

The best place to go on safari in the world Whether your clients are looking for a tropical beach paradise, world class game viewing or a cultural encounter, look no further than Kenya. With over 500km of beautiful Indian Ocean coastline, over 50 National Parks and Reserves and home to 42 different tribes boasting an eclectic mix of cultures and traditions, there are so many reasons to explore Kenya. Book your way to a number of exciting prizes! Experience the famous Kenyan hospitality, learn more about traditional ways of life with a visit to a local village and pick up some traditional hand crafted jewellery. The home of safari, Kenya boasts over 50 National Parks, bursting with wildlife. Head to the famous Maasai Mara for a chance to glimpse the Big 5 or the lakes of the Great Rift Valley, teaming

with birdlife. Even Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi has its own National Park where you can see four of the Big 5 against the backdrop of the city. For those after a little more adventure, visitors to Hells Gate National Park can ride, walk, cycle, rock climb and more or for the ultimate challenge, climb to the summit of Mount Kenya, Kenya’s highest peak. With a number of different coastal areas to choose from there is something for every beach lover in Kenya. From the historical town of Mombasa and the bustling resorts on the southern coast to the Northern beaches of Malindi and Watamu, which offer unparalleled scuba diving, kite surfing and deep sea fishing - the coast is the perfect end to any break in Kenya! ©

How to Enter To enter, simply register your details at Visit for more information on Magical Kenya! Competition terms and conditions including any blackout dates All entrants must be over the age of 18 (eighteen), be UK residents and work within the travel trade industry. Competition commences 24th October and closes 10th of December. The prize will be drawn and winners notified by the 20th of December and must be booked by the 31st of January. The winner will be selected at random. Registering for the competition gives you one entry into the draw. Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash or any other prize. The promoter reserves the right to substitute the prize or any part of the prize (due to unavailability or for any other reason) with a different prize or part of the prize of equal monetary value. The promoter assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorised access to or alteration of entries.




Acacia Africa ( has Tourism talk “Air traffic to Kenya is up by a record introduced ‘Accommodated Overland’ options, 14.9% with visitor arrivals from the UK featuring stays in lodges or tented camps, showing positive year-on-year growth on many of its East Africa tours, including with August up by 17.9% compared to 2015. its 13-day Kenya & Tanzania Adventure. “The government’s focus is a full recovery by G Adventures’ ( 2017 Kenya tours, including its new eight-day Kenya Safari June 2018 and its budget for tourism marketing Experience adventure, will stop at Ubuntu and promotion doubled from six million dollars to Café, which helps support marginalised $15 million this year, with a focus on improving local women ( security, infrastructure and marketing to invigorate Rainbow Tours’ ( new eightthe industry. Furthermore, to promote Kenya as day Birding and Wildlife in the Great Rift Valley an appealing and affordable destination the launches January 2017. It features feathergovernment has introduced a number of incentives friendly sites such as Lake Naivasha and including the waiver of visa fees for children under Lake Nakuru and is priced from £2,850pp. 16 years and the reduction of park entry fees. Youth brand Geckos Adventures’ (geckosadventures. “Kenya’s tourism strategy for 2017 includes a com) new 12-day Amazing East Africa trip, which focus on driving visitors to the Kenya coast.” sees its first departure Rosina Williams on March 20 2017, Account Director promises camping “Our customers are still showing Kenya Tourism Board near Lake Naivasha some caution about visiting the Where to book it: and visiting Maasai Kenyan coast, so teaming a  ABERCROMBIE & at Loita Hills. Prices Kenyan safari with beach time KENT – 01242 547 702. A start from £1,475pp. in Zanzibar is becoming a more seven-night Highlights Travel 2 (travel2. com) has introduced of Kenya tour is from common request” the five-star Serena £3,655pp, including CANDICE BUCHAN, AFRICA PRODUCT MANAGER RAINBOW TOURS Beach Resort & flights and stays at Spa in Mombasa. Kicheche Mara Camp Kenya is a brand-new and Kicheche Laikipia destination for sister brand Gold Medal (goldmedal. Camp. Highlights include joining the Lion for 2017, with new product including threeTracking Programme at Ol Pejeta. day Massai Mara ‘fly in’ packages, Mombasa beach  INTREPID TRAVELS – 0808 274 5111 options and the seven-day Kenya Classic, priced The Kenya Wildlife Safari costs from from £1,472pp for January-December 2017. £715pp based on a July 1 2017 departure, �Transport: The opening of Isiolo International Airport in January 2017 will help service the north and includes six nights’ camping, one in a hotel and an overnight village while Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International will see a further terminal and runway added by 2018. visit in Loita Hills.  RAINBOW TOURS – 020 7666 1266 A new rail link from Nairobi, expected by Three Big Cat Photographic Safari tours in 2017, March 2017, promises a journey time of four led by BBC Cameraman Warren Samuels, follow hours to Mombasa where the high-end English in the footsteps of the Big Cat Diary film crews. Point Marina development opened earlier The tours are priced from £6,650pp for a June in the year ( and a new cruise ship terminal is due for August 2017. 30 departure, including flights and seven nights at Governors’ Private Camp. 

Clockwise: Swimming with whale sharks is an option in Kenya with several companies offering open-water dive opportunities; spot a leopard on safari; Maasai Warriors; zebra (and wildebeest) in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve


ANA is Japan’s largest airline and one of only nine airlines to have been awarded a 5-star rating from Skytrax. ANA flies daily from London Heathrow’s Terminal 2 to Haneda, Tokyo’s most central airport. From Haneda, a hub for 40 of ANA’s domestic routes and 21 of its international routes, ANA also connects you to Sydney with a daily non-stop flight. And it’s all By Design.



talking shop


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

Golden event on the Danube SPOTLIGHT ON...

TRAVEL Counsellors were hosted onboard the river-cruise ship Scenic Jewel for their Gold weekend event over a three-night Danube sailing. The trip saw 120 top-selling Travel Counsellors hosted on a cruise that took in Budapest and Vienna. Scenic has launched an exclusive Travel Counsellors incentive which sees agents qualifying for a free eightday European cruise when they make five bookings with either Scenic or sister company Emerald Waterways by February 28 next year.

Contents 24 Barbara Charlton 25 Been There, Done That 26 On Location


PREMIER Holidays is awarding fam trip places to Singapore to its top-booking agents. The incentive is part of a destination campaign with the Singapore Tourism Board. Agents can also benefit from another Premier incentive: they earn £25-£150 for every inclusive Singapore booking.

Home training

Cruise moments CRUISE LINES International Association (CLIA) has unveiled its 'Cruise Moment' campaign giving agents a chance to share their top cruise moments and win a selection of cruise prizes and experiences. The 'Cruise Moment' refers to the exact 'moment' a travel agent fell in love with cruising or realised

Cruises Celebrity


it was the perfect choice for a customer's next holiday. Andy Harmer, VP of Operations & Director of CLIA UK & Ireland said: "The campaign is a great opportunity to champion 'only-incruising' experiences and celebrate cruise advocates in the UK travel trade. It's also a chance to find out what it is that people find so

CELEBRITY Cruises delivered point-of-sale toolkits to consortia member agents around the UK to support them in selling holidays with the cruise line. Over 100 agents from the consortia portfolio have received the collateral. Pictured from left are Rebecca Twomey from Lee Travel and Mandy Burrie from Celebrity Cruises.

particularly special about cruising." To enter, travel agents must submit a paragraph of under 200 words or a short video describing the moment when cruising clicked for them. All entries must be sent via email to brightideas@cruising. org with the subject line 'Cruise Moment'. Deadline for entries is Wednesday, December 14.

UNIWORLD has launched a training initiative called 'Uniworld - In Your World' geared towards homeworkers. The network offers exclusive incentives, special event invitations, ship visits, FAM trips and more. For more information visit: uk/homeworkers

Keep in mind...


DECEMBER SELLING TRAVEL DESTINATION DIALOGUE Make contacts and meet industry colleagues at Selling Travel's event at Gatwick Airport with Macao Tourism Office and Cathay Pacific. Discover more about the destination and its new products over some nibbles and a drink.



- 14 December SOUTH AFRICA TRAINING Visions Holiday Group and South Africa Tourism will be holding South African Tourism Training Days at Cockermouth, Richmond and Liverpool. Learn all about the destination and find out more about South Africa's many attractions. More online at



talking shop

Barbara Charlton

 01403 276684 

One year on and looking good! the original artwork around the property is varied and interesting. Nothing is too much trouble and the food is wonderful. Its restaurant, Oleum, has a terrific taster menu. We were greeted on the terrace with a welcome glass of cava and fresh olives then enjoyed a couple of lovely sunny days. The view in the November sunshine was breathtaking. I'll certainly recommend this hotel for a relaxing break in a large estate, where the resident white donkeys had just delivered a pretty white foal. A one-hour, 40-minute flight from Gatwick and a 25-minute drive from Palma airport, this excellent property hits the right spot for relaxation and a real sense of being away from everyday stresses.

“If there were an award for the highest increase in enquiries Sri Lanka would win hands down” ONE -YEAR ANNIVERSARY Here at The Sussex Travel Company we'll soon be celebrating our first year of trading. We've enjoyed an excellent 12 months and now have a standard in sales to grow for 2017. We've all had to learn new systems and adjust to walk-in clients again after years of being homeworkers, but have happily adjusted to our lovely new surroundings. We have forged terrific personal relationships, both with local clients and the vast array of excellent suppliers still supporting independent agents. There are many more we have yet to meet and we look forward to those specialists making contact and arranging to pop in to see us in 2017.


WINTER LUXURY BREAK In November, my husband and I took a late short break . We normally hide out in the Cotswolds in a cottage with log fires, but this year headed to the hills of Mallorca. As we've been a number of times, staying in small rural properties and farmhouses, we thought we'd try a Small Luxury Hotel, which guarantees an excellent standard. After much research to find nice properties open in November, and with restaurants open nearby, we decided on the Gran Hotel Son Net, set on a hillside overlooking the small village of Puigpunyent, in the southwest of this beautiful island. The hotel is stunning, the grounds well kept and the staff delightful. The rooms are all different and

WHAT’S HOT? If there were an award for the destination with the highest increase in enquiries in 2016 I reckon Sri Lanka would win it hands down. With easy flight options to twin it with the Middle East and the Maldives Sri Lanka has become a hot destination for first-time visitors. Much more than just a beach destination – although many still visit for just that – other options include national parks, tea plantations, temples and wildlife – more than enough to keep everyone happy. Over the past month or so, we have had (Sri Lanka) enquiries from families, middle-aged couples and honeymooners. None of us at the shop has visited, but with each enquiry we are learning more. It looks like an ideal destination for a fam trip to increase our knowledge!

As we are into a period of relatively quieter months, I'm looking forward to a couple of evenings training and learning more. Selling Travel held a couple of its Destination Dialogue evenings at The Gatwick Hilton, just a few miles from our shop in Horsham, so we signed up for the Macau and Costa Rica evenings. It's a rare event where you come away NOT feeling you've learnt much, made new contacts and generally had a nice evening.

GOOD TIDINGS AND BOOKINGS! I hope you all enjoy a peaceful Christmas and that 2017 is a great year for us all. This past year was challenging at times, but we are all excellent crisis managers – which is just as well these days!

BEEN THERE done that

Secret islands in the sun

talking shop


Three days in Guernsey

PREMIER HOLIDAYS took 22 travel agents to Guernsey and Herm Island for a three-day fam trip. They stayed at St Pierre Park Hotel and enjoyed a variety of activities and site inspections at several properties as well as a number of gourmet meals along the way.

Surprise Caribbean FAM GOLD MEDAL and Travel 2, part of the dnata B2B UK group, escorted several agents on their first joint 'FAMtastic' trip to the Caribbean. The 26 agents were split into three groups and sent off to explore three different Caribbean islands: Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbados. The locations were kept tightly under wraps and were only revealed to the agents when they arrived at the airport on the day of their departure.;

OVER 80 travel agents attended Dubai Parks and Resorts' Official Travel Agent Launch Party. Those present were invited to take part in quizzes and games to win a selection of goodie bags. Two lucky winners – Jackie Prats, Co-operative Personal Travel Advisors (left) and Annette Beckford, Global Getways (centre) both won a three-night trip for two to Dubai, staying onsite at the resort's own Lapita Hotel, with entry to the parks and return flights provided by Emirates. They are pictured with Ian Scott, Dubai Parks and Resorts.

Untitled-1 1

Prestige in Canada PRESTIGE HOLIDAYS and Air Transat hosted six key travel agents on a tour of Toronto and Niagara Falls. Pictured from left: Rhys Morgan; Tanya Farrer; Stacey Gallagher; Sharron Young; Lucy Greenfield; Denise Hunn (Prestige); Melanie Harper; Tracey Garner; Ian Barton; and Jenni Wright.

23/11/2016 23:56


talking shop



What they said... “Its fascinating history, beautiful landscapes, iconic sights and great choice of hotel options make Peru an incredibly appealing place to visit! This really is a country that has it all and it is well geared L-R: Emma Durkin, Jacqui Brooks, Konrad Jan Mludzinski, Rebecca Ward, Simon Hunt, Byron Shirto and Rebecca Wright

to suit every kind of traveller.” Konrad Mludzinski, Travel Consultant, Journey Latin America “I was blown away by The Sacred Valley!

THE HOSTS Talking Stick Marketing’s Byron Shirto and British Airway’s Rebecca Wright escorted five agents on an exciting trip to Peru where they experienced the country's rich culture, cuisine and fine hospitality.

THE TRIP A quick pit-stop in Lima kicked off the trip before Emma Durkin (Rainbow Tours/Regent Holidays/ITC Holidays), Jacqui Brooks (Original Travel), Konrad Jan Mludzinski (Journey Latin America), Rebecca Ward (Exosphere) and Simon Hunt (Imagine Travel) flew to Cusco. Based in the Sol y Luna hotel in the Sacred Valley between Cusco

and Machu Picchu, the agents visited Ollantaytambo, a small town built around an Inca fortress. At the heart of Inca culture and history, Chinchero is a great place to see the country’s 2,000-year-old weaving techniques. Other highlights included the archaeological site of Moray, the Urubamba mountain range and the Maras Saltpans. From the Sacred Valley, Inca Rail offers scenic rail experiences between Ollantaytambo and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu. On this leg of the journey the group took in the region's lush vegetation and Incan ruins. The agents stayed at the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel, located on the shores of the Vilcanota River right at the foot of Machu Picchu Archaeological Park – the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ is one of the world’s most recognised historic sites. After their Andes exploration the group transferred to Lake Titicaca to unwind and enjoy some of the activities on offer. Before heading home, there was time to stop off in the capital city

of Lima to visit the Larco Herrera Museum. Housed in an 18th century colonial mansion, the museum holds the most extensive collection of pre-Columbian art in Peru.

There is something for everyone, from whizzing around on a bike to soaking up the authentic culture of the local villages – and all with the ever-present and stunning backdrop of the Andes!” Simon Hunt, Latin America Specialist,

THE VERDICT Byron Shirto said: “With British Airways operating direct flights to Lima since May, this trip was an opportunity to provide agents with first-hand knowledge of this most iconic Latin American destination, which will hopefully give them confidence to sell and promote it more effectively. "Whilst Machu Picchu was the highlight, we also visited Lima. With its world-class cuisine, museums, galleries and more Lima is no longer just a stopover, but a destination in its own right. Lake Titicaca and the Sacred Valley offer a deep and real cultural experience of Peru." British Airways and Iberia provided flights for the agents, showcasing BA’s direct flight to Lima and Iberia's route via Madrid.

Imagine Travel “Whilst Machu Picchu is certainly the star of the show, Peru offers so much more. I fell in love with the striking Spanish colonial city of Cusco and the Inca ruins of Moray. Peruvian cuisine is exceptional and no visit is complete without sampling ceviche - the country's signature dish.” Emma Durkin, Rainbow Tours




2017 Tourism Thailand is looking ahead to 2017 with revamped ways to interact with agents, teach the trade and promote the diversity of the destination.

Over the next 12 months Tourism Thailand hopes to further educate agents on the selling potential of Thailand, along the way agents have the chance to win some amazing prizes, including a fam trip place to Thailand, when they train with Tourism Thailand.

Gain while you train 2017’s trade focus includes the relaunch of Tourism Thailands online training programme Thailand’s Treasures with TravelUni. The programme has over 1,000 users and is a great way to acclimatise both new and experienced agents to the selling potential of Thailand. To celebrate this relaunch Tourism Thailand will be giving away hotel nights every week until the end of December, agents only have to register to be entered into the prize draw. It will also give away one place on a fam trip to Thailand to agents who complete the seven module programme. To register and complete the training, visit:

Fam trips Agents will have access to more fam trips to Thailand than ever before in 2017, with no less that 10 groups expected

to be taken to the destination over the next year. The high number of fam trips is to encourage community based tourism to Thailand, to make the destination even more diverse. Each fam trip will include a visit to a local project to both give back to the communities and educate agents on how they can sell similar experiences to clients. To keep up to speed with all incentives, events and online training make sure to like Tourism Thailand’s trade Facebook page TATsawasdeeclub.

On the road Tourism Thailand will also be bringing back its Amazing Thailand roadshows in 2017. The roadshows are designed to educate agents in a fun setting, and can be opportunities to gain valuable contacts through the informal networking segments of the evenings. The roadshows will have a presence all over the country and will visit cities including: Belfast (February 21), Dublin (February 22), Cork (February 23), Manchester (April 25), Chester (April 26), Edinburgh (September 12) and Newcastle (September 13). Agents should book their places well in advance to avoid disappointment, register interest now at:




turkey A slice of

Agents will hear plenty about Turkey in 2017 as its tourism board woos them with roadshows and fam trips, says Karl Cushing


he still and sleepy air hits me as soon as I step off the jetty at Büyükada. Even the Phaeton drivers reclining in their ageing horse-drawn carriages seem loath to fight over the diminished pool of visitors and the loudest noise over the hushed chatter of a handful of daytrippers is the occasional crunching of gears as a few hardy tourists tackle the hill out of town on oil-starved rental bikes. While winter on Istanbul’s Princes Islands sees some seasonal businesses close up shop, I am having a fine time pootling along the car-free roads and paths on my late-January visit, admiring the faded flakey grandeur of the once palatial wooden homes and mansions under crisp, crystal clear skies. Büyükada, largest of the islands, is often taken as a day trip from the capital — and is

sold as such by the likes of On The Go Tours ( — but I’d opted to overnight.

This afforded ample time to see the sites and hike up to the Monastery of St George, the crystal-clear sunshine skies affording stunning views over the twinkling sea. The visit would prove a highlight of my stay in Istanbul where, from my base near Taksim Square, I spent a fascinating week exploring the city, from Beyoğlu and hipsterish Kadıköy to the historic Old Town. Crossing the fisherman-lined Galata bridge, I’d load up on tasty fish sandwiches from the nearby boats before tackling the refreshingly crowd-free big draws such as the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, often pausing for the occasional coffee or street vendor cay to warm the cockles.



Seasonal delights

winter consider Cappadocia — its spectacular You wouldn’t recommend a beach holiday mushroom rocks and fairy towers look even outside April-October, which marks the more magical under a dousing of snow, its limits of the resort-focused programmes cave hotels the more cosy and romantic. for the likes of Simpson Travel and Classic Out of season Goreme, with its open-air Collection, but if tanning isn’t your primary museum, makes a good base. Meanwhile, objective then much of Turkey can be enjoyed Mt Erciyes, served by Kayseri airport, over the low season, even the resorts. offers snowsports and heli-skiing while “After the heat, hustle and bustle of the high flights to northeastern Erzurum service season summer months it’s a pleasure to holiday Palandoken Winter Sports Centre. out of season,” says Jane Baxter Gerçeksöz, Perfect ten Turkey Product Manager for lios Travel. Explore more: Plant yourself in lively “October can generally be regarded as Antalya or Bodrum and use the time fairly warm, and while November may not you’d typically spend bronzing on the beach to be a time to bare all on the beach it is a explore the region’s many historical sights and time to sit in a beach-side or pavement natural wonders. café and enjoy the heat of the sun.” Quieter approach: Explore fascinating Key centres such as Izmir and Bodrum on Istanbul on foot, spending more time the Aegean and Antalya on the Med, served enjoying the sites and less time queuing. year-round by Turkish Airways, Pegasus Savour the good life: Kick back on the Airlines and Atlasglobal, offer ample yearterrace of your boutique hotel or villa round facilities, plus sea temperatures and drink in the views out over Kalkan bay. take longer to cool than the air. Play a round: Luxuriate in the To the east of Antalya lies Belek, a golfing sumptuous spas of five-star properties paradise – another good low-season bet and such as the Maxx Royal a top pick for Simply after searching for Luxury by Travel 2 birdies on some of which recommends “For winter breaks I’d Belek’s excellent golf the five-star Titanic recommend the Antalya region. courses. Deluxe Belek with its The weather tends to be warmer Feast your five outdoor pools, than other holiday destinations eyes: Embark private beach and spa. Bodrum, meanwhile, in Turkey and it’s one of the few on your own personal culinary tour sampling makes a good base beach destinations you can Turkey’s for exploring sites travel to directly from the UK mouthwatering like Ephesus and during the winter season” regional foods and Pamukkale. Its LAUREN ROSS, EUROPE PRODUCT & COMMERCIAL wines, or take an wellness facilities such MANAGER, SIMPLY LUXURY BY TRAVEL 2 option such as Intrepid as Life Co Detox Centre, Travel’s ten-day Real and swanky spa hotels Food Adventure, which such as the Ada Hotel and Grand Yazici, offer another low-season draw. runs until mid-October. Grab some culture: Take in one of And Ilios Travel features cosy private villas on Turkey’s unique cultural events such as the Bodrum peninsula with fire places, such as the Mevlâna festival of whirling dervishes held the Cream House in Gökçebel which sleeps six. in Konya each December. Smaller options worth considering Best foot forward: Hike the Lycian or include laid-back Kalkan and Alacati, a Carian Way in late autumn as the personal favourite. Easily accessible via showers and sun revive the local plantlife. Izmir, and featured by the likes of Mosaic Away with the fairies: Head to Holidays, it’s a culinary powerhouse Cappadocia to explore the snow-topped replete with boutique hotels and inviting fairy towers, underground cities and mushroom restaurants renowned for its windsurfing. rocks by day before snuggling up in your cosy Istanbul is also widely offered in winter cave hotel. by the likes of Classic Collection. TwinSlope off: Ski down the imposing Mt centre options include On The Go Tour’s Erciyes or try another winter resort such five-day Istanbul & Gallipoli, which also as Palandoken or Uludag, home to reputedly the takes in historic Troy (from £699). world’s longest gondola ride. Walking tours are particularly well suited for Return revitalised: Detox away your spring and autumn. Top picks include the Carian festive excesses at one of Bodrum’s Trail, Turkey’s longest, and the fabled Lycian Way, with trade-friendly operators including Inntravel, five-star spa hotels or wellness centres such as the new Canyon Ranch. KE Adventures and Sherpa Expeditions. In

Clockwise from left: Tourists enoy the sunset from a mountain-top in Cappadocia’s Red Valley; beachlife – it’s pentiful in Turkey; Belek, visited for its beaches, spas and golf courses; the outskirts of Bodrum, gateway to beach towns and resorts



What’s new

Clockwise from left: Pootling along in a Phaeton horse-drawn carriage; wellness on the shore at Kaplankaya’s Canyon Ranch; Istanbul – a gem round every corner; a great Turkish tradition – and not a latte in sight!

Tourism talk

 Tour operators: Trading conditions remain “The number of British travellers visiting tough for Turkey. Thomas Cook and Tui have Turkey this year from January to scaled back their programmes while others that September decreased by 30%, totalling include Sunvil, Ramblers Worldwide and Mark 1,481,200 compared with 2,166,642 in 2015. Warner have withdrawn completely for now. “However we have many reasons to be optimistic Neilson now has just one Beachclub property and hopeful for 2017. We are giving importance to in Turkey, the Phokaia our global image Beachclub in Foca, campaign and will work “Stunning historical attractions closely with all our having closed its Seaside Beachclub in such as the Grand Bazaar and sector stakeholders in Ortakent in October. Topkapı Palace are better visited 2017. We are planning One operator growing during the winter months, with advertisement and its Turkey programme, marketing activities with fewer crowds and a cooler having bought tour operators and travel climate. And the city has the ashes of Elixir partners, as well as Holidays, is Discerning numerous events at this time” roadshows and Collection, although its familiarisation trips. The PHILIPPE KRONBERG, GENERAL MANAGER wintertime offerings roadshows will take SHANGRI-LA ISTANBUL are limited to Istanbul place in various UK city breaks or twin cities, including London, centres with Cappadocia ( Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. The  Hotels: Choice Hotels International will familiarisation trips in April/May 2017 will feature launch its first Ascend branded hotel in Turkey visits to Bodrum, Dalaman, Alanya and Izmir. early next year, in Alacati, while The Peninsula Anyone interested in attending should Hotels brand is planning a high-end spa hotel contact the Turkish Tourism Board in for Istanbul’s Galata district. Recent highLondon at” profile openings include Canyon Ranch Irfan Onal, General Director, Ministry of Wellness Resort, which opened in July Culture and Tourism, Republic of Turkey in Kaplankaya, Bodrum (, and Tui launching its all-inclusive Where to book it Tui Blue brand in May with  EXODUS TRAVELS – 020 811 3518 two new properties An eight-day Turkish Winter Wilderness — Tui Blue guided tour that walks and snowshoes Sarigerme Park clients around Cappadocia and the Taurus Mountains starts from £899pp for a and Tui Blue Palm Garden February 4 2017 departure, including flights ( from London to Kayseri and transfers. Shangri-La Istanbul Bosphorus, which recently  MOSAIC HOLIDAYS – 020 8574 4000 launched a new Lobster Brunch, A five-day Explore Istanbul tour is from £549pp, promises festive ‘daily surprises’ in the including flights, four nights’ accommodation in a standard room at Sirkeci Mansion hotel lobby from December 1 and special Christmas chocolates. Meanwhile Swissôtel Resort Bodrum on a B&B basis, private airport transfers, some entrance fees and two half-day guided tours. Beach, which opened last year in Turgutreis,  has a new Honeymoon Package (

ten of the best

St.Kitts Steve Hartridge picks out ten of his unforgettable island experiences Scenic Drive: Driving down to St. Kitts’ most southern point the scene becomes ever-more dramatic. Leaving the Frigate Bay roundabout, the curving road climbs to a point where, from Timothy Hill, the island’s spectacular Southeast Peninsula was laid out before me, with views of the point where the Atlantic and Caribbean seas meet. I timed it right for sunset over Salt Plage.

St. Kitts Scenic Railway: My three hours aboard the Caribbean’s only working railway took me alongside picturepostcard coastline, villages and ex-sugar plantations. As the double-decker train trundled over tracks that until 2005 moved sugar cane around the island, a gospel trio sang island folk tunes.

Brimstone Hill: Standing next to one of many cannons and enjoying views of St Kitts and the nearby islands of St. Eustatius and Saba, I paused to imagine British soldiers scanning the seas for the French navy. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, this former fort was abandoned in the mid-19th century after the Napoleonic Wars. It is one of the best-preserved fortifications in the Caribbean.

Dolphin Experience: In a sea pool near Bird Rock Hotel I swam with, stroked and fed Guilya and Inya, two dolphins. To end a memorable hour I was gently pushed through the water by both mammals, their bottlenoses planted into the soles of my feet.

Island tastes: At El Fredo’s on the coastal road in Basseterre I enjoyed creole fish served with local vegetables like green mashed banana, yams and breadfruit. At the roadside Cooper’s on the island’s main road I tucked into grouper and coconut dumplings.

Royal St. Kitts Golf Club: Opened in 1976 and redesigned in 2014, Royal St. Kitts offers three sets of tees (so fun for all players), refreshing sea breezes and ocean views. I was distracted by the rolling waves on the two holes along the Caribbean and the three holes that play next to the Atlantic.

Reggae Beach Bar: At this laid-back beach bar in Cockleshell Bay I enjoyed a fish sandwich and a local Carib beer as the familiar tunes of Bob Marley filled the air. The afternoon ended with a glass-bottom kayak out onto reassuringly gentle waters.

Frigate Bay Happy Hour: ‘The Strip’ is the place to be as sunset approaches. At the popular Boozie’s I enjoyed butter shrimps and rice. I slipped further down into my beach sofa just as the velvet sun also slid into the sea somewhere beyond the horizon.

St. Kitts Eco Park: I was introduced to St. Kitts’ colourful flora and invited to taste a variety of exotic fruits before marvelling over displays of orchids in the Caribbean’s largest greenhouse.

YU Lounge: My air-side VIP Porsche transfer from the lounge to the aircraft was a first! This private lounge at Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport is also a first in the Caribbean. It offers drinks, canapés, WiFi and a Duty Free shop.


Visit usa neWs December 2016

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

Train links denver to slopes

 "The Statue of Liberty is the symbol of everything America is about: freedom, hope, possibility and resilience..." Cruise

duchess an American dream AMERICAN DUCHESS, the first all-suite paddle-wheeler on American waters, will make its debut cruise on June 4 2017, sailing from new Orleans to Memphis. The 166-guest riverboat, the third for the American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) – the others are American Queen and the American Empress – will operate 16 similar cruises on the Lower Mississippi in early summer and then again in the autumn and early winter. Duchess’ schedule will include four cruises between nashville and Memphis and two seven-day nashville round trips in December. All AQSC cruises are themed and the Duchess will feature ‘Chicago Blues’ and ‘Music of America’ cruises, celebrating the region's musical heritage. new AQSC cruise themes specifically chosen for Duchess include an Architecture and the Arts St. Louis to Ottawa (Illinois) cruise and a Cultured Culinary Cruise from St. Louis to Memphis. Prices for the Memphis-new Orleans cruise, departing June 25 2017, lead in at £3,195pp. The deal includes seven nights onboard, flights from Heathrow and one night pre-cruise in a hotel.

Dianne von Furstenberg, Chair of the fundraising committee for the new Statue of Liberty museum, due to open in New York in 2019.

A TRAIN service from Denver Union Station to the ski slopes of Winter Park will commence when the Winter Park express train starts running on January 7. Running until March 2017, the train will allow visitors to twin a city break in Denver with a ski holiday in the Rockies. attractions

The South's new history A NEW American Civil War Museum will open in Richmond, Virginia, in 2018. The world’s leading collection of Confederate artifacts at the Museum of the Confederacy and the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar will combine to form the new facility. airlines

delta totally connected DELTA has completed the roll-out of inflight WiFi across its international fleet. now those crossing the Atlantic can stay in touch via email, streamed content or access Delta's on-demand entertainment system. A 24-hour global day pass costs $28.

THE USA in brief... airlines BRITISH AIRWAYS will introduce three new U.S. services in 2017. It will begin a fourtimes-weekly Heathrow-new Orleans service on March 26, the only direct operation between europe and the Louisiana city. Two days later it will launch a four-times-weekly operation between Gatwick and Oakland, followed on July 6 by a year-round threetimes-a-week Gatwick-Fort Lauderdale service. A fourth weekly flight will be added during the peak summer months.

eVent cities LoS ANGELES and Portland were named in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017 outlook. The report concluded that LA "has been gaining steam as a cultural city while becoming more accessible than ever....and with 50 new hotels under development." Portland was referred to as "America's city of the future – a friendly, sustainable, ethical place that values good living and leisure". Coastal Georgia was named a top 'Region' for its "coastline, quirky towns, historic treasures and wilderness-covered islands".

theme eVent parKs GUESTS staying at Seaworld Orlando on December 31 will ring in the new Year with entertainment and a spectacular fireworks display. Other festivities will include interactive DJ stations, craft beers and various food stalls. The best value ticket for visiting SeaWorld Parks in Florida is the 3-Park SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens Ticket or the Discovery Cove Ultimate Package. All three include free parking at all parks for 14 consecutive days.

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

members spotlight introducing... VISIT Utah has added a road trip planning tool to its website, designed to help users plan trips around its Mighty Five National Parks: Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion. Called 'The Road to Mighty', the tool helps visitors map their ideal route around the state, based on length of stay and interests such as historic attractions, cycling, hiking and solitude. As well as the Mighty Five National Parks Utah is home to 27 scenic byways and features like valleys, red-rock cliffs and volcanic landscapes. ↸

Fort worth is the latest U.S. destination to celebrate its brewing heritage by launching a beer trail. The Ale Trail, featuring 10 breweries, shows off the best of the city's craft beer culture. Visitors can collect a special Ale Trail Passport from breweries and Fort Worth Visitor Centers and have their document stamped at each venue they visit. Those who collect five stamps earn themselves a bottle opener; while all 10 stamps earns a t-shirt at the Visitor Center.

Austin CVB Melina Collie Account Director


Brits are loving Philly BRITISH visitors are flocking to Philadelphia and now comprise the City of Brotherly Love’s largest overseas market. Around 109,900 UK visitors travelled to ‘Philly’ in 2015, an increase on the previous year of 4.5%. Globally, the city attracted 638,000 overseas visitors, a growth of 3.2 % on 2014. They were most interested in shopping, sightseeing or visiting the city’s many top-rated art galleries and museums, as well as seeing national parks and monuments and historical locations. The top-spending categories for overseas visitors (excluding food, lodging and transportation) were shopping, gifts and other purchases, with an average spend of $434 per visitor per trip, followed by entertainment and recreation, with an average of $200 per visitor. “As the first World Heritage City in the U.S. we are proud to have visitors from across the globe experience our rich history, cultural attractions and diverse neighbourhoods," said the city's mayor Jim Kenney. The city received a boost in early November when Icelandair announced the launch of a non-stop service from Reykjavik to Philadelphia that will begin in May 2017.

Heroic welcome new at Kennedy Center


2017 Travel Planner THE new Visit USA 2017 Travel Planner is now available to download online. The popular annual guide provides agents with a wealth of ideas and inspiration for planning a trip to the USA. The 68-page publication includes a map, state profiles and articles on topics ranging from the Great Outdoors and Live Sport to Classic Cuisine, Wildlife and the Old West.

FLORIDA's Kennedy Space Center has opened a Heroes & Legends attraction that features a U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. The new facility at the Cape Canaveral attraction is separated into four experiences beginning with the 360-degree What is a Hero? discovery bay. Then comes the custom-built Through the Eyes of a Herotheatre and the interactive A Hero is... exhibition, and culminates with the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

When did Austin become a Visit USA member? Austin, Texas, became a Visit USA member in July 2016. What do you hope to gain from your membership? We want to extend the reach of Austin’s presence in the UK, both in the consumer and trade markets. We will increase our trade activity in 2017 in order to educate UK agents and tour operators on the activities and events available in Austin. Such as? These include music festivals such as Austin City Limits, Levitation and SXSW, and Formula One at the Circuit of the Americas track where you can even have your own driving experience. What else makes Austin unique among U.S. cities? Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World® with over 250 live music venues across the city. We live and breathe music but there’s so much more to experience. We have an incredible gastro scene, from food trucks and BBQs to fine dining, and just about every outdoor activity you can imagine. How important are travel agents in selling Austin? It’s the expertise and knowledge of agents that brings destinations alive for customers and we’re grateful for all the visitors they send to Austin. Which Visit USA events in 2017 will you participate in? We will be involved in a number of events including trade events and roadshows.

Subscribe to the Visit USA Association online Travel Update at



Alberta – Enjoying Edmonton’s rich cultural mix –


nown for its great food, shopping and fabulous festivals, a new 'ice age' will soon transform Edmonton, Alberta's thriving capital, says Arnie Wilson. EDMONTON’S NEW 'ICE AGE'

It may be famous as the location for North America’s largest shopping mall but there’s so much more to Edmonton than great retail options. There’s plenty for history buffs and sightseers, but the city on the North Saskatchewan River isn’t standing still: a $2.5 billion Ice District is being developed on 25 acres of land in the downtown area which is destined to become Canada's largest mixed-use and entertainment complex. The district’s main attraction is Rogers Place, both a concert venue and the new $480 million home arena for the Edmonton Oilers, a team in the National Hockey League. Opened on September 8, it seats 18,500 fans. A luxury JW Marriott hotel is set to open in 2018.




Fort Edmonton Park is a living history museum with an 1846 fort and streets dating back to 1885, 1905 and 1920. The Royal Alberta Museum highlights Aboriginal-culture and natural history galleries, and the Art Gallery of Alberta celebrates First Nations art.

This lively year-round cultural and sportsorientated city has a compelling line-up of 48 colourful festivals and events. Visitors would be unlucky to choose a week when there wasn’t one! There are celebrations of blues, jazz, folk and rock, along with festivals of comedy and film. In early February there’s even a “Flying Canoë Volant” – a free interactive, cultural event loosely based on the legend of The Flying Canoe and on French, First Nations and Métis traditions.

Edmonton has a vibrant culinary scene, along with fashionable craft breweries: you can book a variety of Edmonton food tours. There’s even a list of the “Best Bars for a Woman to Enjoy a Drink Alone” – for those occasions when 'a girl feels like getting out for a glass of wine and a nibble but the thought of downing a beer and a plate of nachos at the local sports bar simply doesn’t appeal.

Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy Edmonton’s River Valley and Elk Island National Park, a camping location where summer visitors can take a Bison Discovery tour – a VIP “backstage pass” to discover the secrets of how the plains bison was brought back from near extinction. In winter, there’s snowshoeing, stargazing and Bison Watch tours. A popular new product is Lens On Nature, between Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan, where guests can try snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice fishing and with any luck get to see the Northern Lights – and enjoy photographs of their exploits taken specially for them en route. An impressive assortment of wildlife is also available when they embark on a Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventure or a Peace River Canoe and Kayak Adventure.





It may not have the Rockies quite in its backyard, but you’ll never tire of what Edmonton has to offer. Yet if you do want to flee to the mountains for a breather, the city is a natural rail gateway to Jasper, its national park, and 'the North'. Those who choose to drive could stop at Bench Creek Brewery, near Edson. The charming community of Jasper has a brewery too, the award-winning Bearhill Brewing Company. Jasper is a “dark sky preserve” and a wonderful place to stargaze. Or you could get even closer to the stars by trying ice climbing!


2016 T H E



xxx xxxx xxxx


Thank you to all readers who voted this year and made the Selling Travel Travel Agents Choice Awards our best ever. We collected over 1,000 votes across the 42 categories. Read on to see your favourite suppliers and their latest news...

36 Winners’ List 38 Winners’ Gallery 44 Winners’ News



The winners and highly commended

Airlines & Airports

Airline to the Far East Cathay Pacific Highly Commended: Thai Airways Airline to North America Virgin Atlantic Airways Highly Commended: Delta Air Lines Airline to Latin America & the Caribbean British Airways Airline to the Middle East Etihad Airways Highly Commended: Emirates Airline to India & the Indian Ocean Emirates Highly Commended: Etihad Airways Airline to Europe & North Africa British Airways Airline to Africa South African Airways Airline to Australasia & the Pacific Qantas Overseas Regional Airline Virgin Australia Highly Commended: Bangkok Airways Overseas Airport Singapore Changi Airport Domestic Airport London Gatwick Highly Commended: Manchester


City Break New York Destination for Beach Maldives Highly Commended: Greece Destination for Golf Portugal Destination for Wildlife & Nature South Africa Highly Commended: Costa Rica Destination for Soft Adventure New Zealand Highly Commended: Peru Destination for Spa & Wellness Thailand Highly Commended: Bali Destination for Weddings & Honeymoons Mauritius Destination for Winter Sports Canada Agent-Friendly Tourist Office Tourism Australia Highly Commended: Tourism Fiji

Tour Operators

Agent-Friendly Travel 2 For Escorted Tours Titan Travel To Africa African Pride To Australasia & the Far East Wendy Wu To Europe & North Africa Classic Collection Holidays To India & the Indian Ocean If Only Highly Commended: Kuoni To Latin America & the Caribbean Journey Latin America To the Middle East Gold Medal To North America North America Travel Service Highly Commended: Funway Holidays


Ocean Cruising Royal Caribbean International River Cruising Riviera Travel


Hotel/Group in Africa One & Only Hotel/Group in the Australasia & Far East Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts Highly Commended: Dusit International Hotel/Group in Europe & North Africa Melia Hotels International Highly Commended: Iberostar Hotels & Resorts Hotel/Group in North America Hyatt Hotels & Resorts Hotel/Group in Latin America & the Caribbean Elegant Hotels Hotel/Group in India & the Indian Ocean Beachcomber Highly Commended: JA Manafaru Hotel/Group in the Middle East Atlantis, The Palm Hotel/Group All-Inclusive Sandals Highly Commended: bodyholiday Saint Lucia

Best of the Rest

Ancillaries/Accommodation Providers Attraction World Rail Rocky Mountaineer Highly Commended: Belmond Travel Uni Training Programme Caribbean Travel Guru Highly Commended: Amazing Thailand


the winners’ gallery



The cream of the crop 4




the winners’ gallery



8 1



AIRLINE TO MIDDLE EAST: Etihad Airways. James Harrison (left) and Jeremy Pollock


OVERSEAS REGIONAL AIRLINE: Virgin Australia. Michael Fletcher


DESTINATION FOR WILDLIFE AND NATURE: South African Tourism. Nina Farrimond




HOTEL GROUP IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Elegant Hotels (from left) Sunil Chatrani, Glynis Jeffery, Jayanne Young, Gayle Talma


DESTINATION FOR BEACH: Maldives. Geela Ali, Hassan Shifau, Haris Mohamed, Ambassador Shiaam, Aishath Zaifa











HOTEL GROUP ALL- INCLUSIVE: Sandals. Katherine Hilton (left) and Beau Limbrick

AIRLINE TO INDIA AND THE INDIAN OCEAN: Emirates Airlines. Vicky Robinson and Laren Camilleri TOUR OPERATOR TO AFRICA: African Pride. Liz Hall ESCORTED TOUR OPERATOR: Titan Travel. Ben Davis

Turn over to see more winners from our Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards 2016


the winners’ gallery

1 1



TRAVEL UNI TRAINING PROGRAMME: Caribbean Tourism Organization: Lorraine Grant and Carol Hay


HOTEL GROUP IN EUROPE AND NORTH AFRICA: Melia Hotels. Vicky Brown and Stephen Nunan


DOMESTIC AIRPORT: London Gatwick Airport. Josie Shepherd


AIRLINE TO AFRICA: South African Airways. Gary Kershaw


DESTINATION FOR WINTER SPORTS: Destination Canada. Nim Singh


AIRLINE TO THE FAR EAST: Cathay Pacific. Alan Rogers, Ian Wilkinson, Cheun-Yin Tran















the winners’ gallery









Thank you for voting us Best Airline to the Far East 2016 We’rethrilledyouhavechosenusasBestAirlinetotheFarEastforthethirdyearinarow.


andfourflightsaweekfromManchestertoHongKongandbeyond,ourextensivenetwork intheFarEastandAustralasiaiscloserthanever.

TofindoutmoreaboutourpremiumserviceandtowinapairofEconomyClassticketsto HongKong*,

Life Well Travelled *P rizewinnertobechosenatrandomfromUK&IrelandtravelagentswhosuccessfullycompletetheCathayPacificAirwaysOnline Training Course before 31 December 2016. For full terms and conditions, visit

the winners’ gallery




7 3





HOTEL GROUP IN NORTH AMERICA: Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. Julie York and Karen Roberts


RAIL: Rocky Mountaineer. Craig Upshall and Patrick Ryan


AGENT FRIENDLY TOURIST OFFICE: Tourism Australia. Ricky Dunn


HOTEL/GROUP AUSTRALASIA AND THE FAR EAST: Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts. Luc Genest


TOUR OPERATOR TO NORTH AMERICA: North America Travel Service. Mike Coombs


OCEAN CRUISING: Royal Caribbean International. John Wilson



Congratulations to all the winners at this year’s Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards


winners’ news

s w Ne

F R O M T H E S TA R S O F 2016


“THIS is the first time we’ve taken part and we are hoping next year we can get the top place. But we’re very happy to be highly commended for the first time. We want to thank the trade for taking the time to vote for us and it’s nice to be recognised.” Nadia Clinton, Tania Rosales-Sobreuilla, Delta Air Lines

★ M A N C H E S T E R A I R P O RT

“It’s great recognition, a fantastic achievement. It’s great we are recognised in the travel industry as a top tour operator to North America. Thank you for voting for us, we really appreciate the trade’s ongoing support as we are an independent family run operator. It’s great to be recognised for our product and the services we provide.” MIKE COOMBES, NORTH AMERICA TRAVEL SERVICE

★ D U S I T I N T E R N AT I O N A L “WE are delighted to be highly commended as it’s not every day you receive this recognition. We’ve had a strong relationship with the trade for many years and we thank them for the continued support.” Anita Skibiel, Dusit International

★ R I V I E R A T R AV E L “AS we try to constantly engage and build relations with the travel trade it’s brilliant to be recognised, especially by such an important publication in the industry.” Nico Spyrout, Manchester Airport

“WE are consistently offering great products for value in the UK and our award from Selling Travel is a reflection of how well it has been received by the trade.” David Clemson, Riviera Travel

winners’ news


★ B A L I ( S PA/W E L L N E S S )

“WE are very nicely surprised. First I’m grateful the voters consider Peru as a soft adventure destination, this is the country to go to where you will find the softer options. The agents selling our destination know Peru.” Elisabeth Hakim, Peru Prom Peru

“I would like to thank the trade so much. I believe Bali deserved the recognition; it is very popular with tourists. Thank you so much for this and I think Bali will not disappoint your clients.” Idge Pitana, (spa/wellness) bali

★ A F R I CA N P R I D E “IT’S fantastic that the trade has seem us worthy of recognition,– especially since we are going up against stiff competition. We will continue to focus on the strength of our product and our team to make sure we win next year too.” Liz Hall, African Pride

“I feel very proud on behalf of the hotels and it’s a nice reflection of the good support we have from the trade. A huge thank you from Shangri-la for the continued support.” LUC GENEST, SHANGRI-LA HOTELS AND RESORTS

c★ K U O N I “WE are, as always thankful, and never underestimate the support we receive from agents. It is always great to win an award and all the more so when it is agents that decide we are deserving of it.” Derek Jones, Kuoni

★ W E N DY W U “TO be recommended by the very people who sell our products is the ultimate accolade from a tour operator’s point of view. We encourage the trade to come along to our roadshows and events next year as we are always looking for new ways to engage with agents.” Ben Briggs, Wendy Wu Tours



winners’ news


“After merging with Gold Medal it’s fantastic to see that Travel 2 is still recognised individually. As we have won for being agent friendly we’ll just keep doing what we are doing to appeal to the trade.” GORDON MCCREADIE, TRAVEL2

★ SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS “WE’RE delighted to be recognised as the winner and grateful for the support of readers. A large bulk of our business comes from the trade – we don’t forget that and we look forward to a healthy relationship with the trade in 2017.” Gary Kershaw South African Airways

“WE’RE very proud of the award because there are so many very competitive carriers. Thank you to all the agents who voted for our service and product in the market. Thai Airways will continue to improve its service and its efforts to be trusted as a leading brand in the UK.” Wit Kitchathorn, Thai Airways



c “WE work very hard with travel agents

“BODYHOLIDAY is a one-off hotel and to be recognised in this field is superb. I’m a firm believer in travel agents selling luxury. Thank you very much for the support. It’s nice to be seen as a brand that puts an emphasis on wellness.” Andrew Hillier, Body Holiday St. Lucia

to work out exactly what they want from us, so to get their vote of confidence as the best destination to recommend for nature and wildlife is wonderful. Wildlife and nature are one of the key pillars we are pushing to the trade and this award shows those efforts are paying off.” Nina Farrimond, South African Tourism

★ H YAT T H OT E L S “NORTH America is a very important region and we are so proud we have won – especially because of the competition we faced for the award. We didn’t think we were going to win as this will be the fourth year in a row we have done so. “This is great as over 50% of our hotels are in North America, and is a really good sign for some of our new 2017 openings in Scottsdale, which will be very unique and something to look forward to in 2017.” Karen Roberts & Julie York Hyatt Hotels


winners’ news



“WE are thrilled agents have recognised us as a tourism board they can really rely on. I know our head office will be delighted! We rolled out our new training platform in 2016 and have already had a great sign up. I hope I am here next year picking up the same award.” Stephen Banks, Group Commercial Director Tourism Australia

“WE’RE very grateful to the agent community for the support they continue to show Emirates. In the challenging climate we are in, the trade are more important than ever for converting sales.” From left: Vicky Robinson, Laren Camilleri, Emirates

★ N E W Z E A LA N D “I’m absolutely thrilled! A massive thank you to the trade for voting for us. The trade is of huge value to us. I would also like to extend thanks to the friends of Thailand for their continued support.”

“WE are delighted to have won. New Zealand is a varied and diverse destination. It’s great we have been recognised for the many adventure opportunities that we make accessible to everyone. So, a massive thank you for all the support from the trade, which is a big player in sending visitors from the UK to New Zealand. Every day in New Zealand is a different journey.” Marc Mulcahy, Destination New Zealand


c ★ J O U R N E Y LAT I N A M E R I CA

“It’s amazing to be recognised by our partners and it ensures the business keeps striving to maintain high levels of customer service, product offerings and ensure our strong partnerships continue. A huge thank you to the trade for their continued support and we will endeavour to increase agent engagement in 2017.”

“IT’S fantastic to be recognised by the trade as being the top Latin America tour operator. Journey Latin America is one of the oldest specialists in the region and it’s great our agent partners work with us in creating the right itinerary for customers. We’re always reaching out to travel agents who haven’t tried working with us before. Please get in touch, we’re here to help you and your customers.” Stuart Whittington Journey Latin America



To make a booking, please call

01283 744370

or visit:

Subscribe to our agents newsletter, email Holidays organised by and subject to the booking conditions of Riviera Travel, New Manor, 328 Wetmore Road, Burton on Trent, Staffs, DE14 1SP. ABTA V4744 ATOL 3430.


winners’ news

★ G ATW I C K A I R P O RT “WE are delighted to win this award! I would like to say a big thank you to those agents who voted for us. These are exciting times for Gatwick and agents certainly have an interesting range of new long haul destinations to suggest from the airport. British Airways started flying to Cape Town in November; Thomas Cook will do the same from December 15; Norwegian started a service to Las Vegas last month and next year British Airways will start operating to Oakland, in northern California, and Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Westjet is another carrier expanding its services to Canada.” Josie Shepherd, Gatwick Airport

c ★ RO C KY M O U N TA I N E E R “I am delighted to receive this Selling Travel Award on behalf of Rocky Mountaineer. It is extremely satisfying knowing that our agents have voted for us, and I would like to thank everyone for their continued support. Next year promises to be a huge year for Canada as it celebrates its 150th anniversary and we look forward to making even more life-changing experiences for our guests over the coming months.” Patrick Ryan, EMEA, Africa, India and Middle East Rocky Mountaineer


★ CAT H AY PAC I F I C “IT’s fantastic – third year on the trot winning, so we are very happy! Thank you very much for all the support, we really appreciate it.” Alan Rogers, Ian Wilkinson, Cheun-Yin Tran, Pacific. Cathay Pacific

c “REALLY happy to hear travel agents

“For us the reward reflects the product of a great deal of work. The Middle East is one of our biggest selling regions so it’s great to be recognised for that growth.” GORDON MCCREADIE, GOLD MEDAL

trust us as they have selected funway for this award, and it’s an honour to be here to accept it. It shows how well recognised we are after 25 years in business. We’ll continue this profile by running several trade events next year! We have a lot of plans for our 25th year in the industry including a push for Florida in early 2017, and we’ll obviously be at quite a lot of events getting out to meet the trade." Rebecca Evans funway


2016 Travel Trade Publication of the Year

N A T I T G N I T O V THANK YOU FOR WINNER ‘Tour Operator for Escorted Tours’

x s e l a S y Agenc


winners’ news



“WE’RE really proud, all the hard work has paid off – the agents have really warmed to Caribbean Travel Guru and we are pleased our efforts have been recognised. We want to thank them very much and keep supporting the Caribbean.” Lorraine Grant, Carol Hay, Caribbean Travel Guru

“IT reinforces the fantastic relationship we have with the trade. It’s an extremely important award for us. It’s great to be rewarded for something that demonstrates the relationship we have with agents. A massive heartfelt thank you from everyone at Titan, the agents are so important to our business.” Ben Davis, Titan Travel

c ★ C LA S S I C CO L L E CT I O N


“AGENTS are always the focus for us, and while we may do things that many people would perceive as ‘the old way’ we know it’s the best way to appeal to high end customers, and that is reflected in this award. 90% of our business is sold through the trade, and we intend to keep it that way by focussing on trade events and roadshows as well as generally engaging with the trade in the future.” Vanda Bauer, Classic Collection

“We are delighted to accept the award for Hotel/Group in Europe and North Africa as those are key growth areas for us in the coming year. We hope to strengthen our portfolio in these areas with new openings in Glasgow and Morocco in the future.” Stephen Nunan and Vicky Brown, Melia Hotels

★ D E S T I N AT I O N CA N A DA “WE are delighted to be voted best destination for winter sports! Canada has a fabulous line up of resorts that are geared up to all levels of skiing. They are also very family friendly. We put a lot of effort into ensuring our training efforts for agents are as effective as they can be and this award is recognition that these initiatives are appreciated and paying off.” Nim Singh, Destination Canada

★ I F O N LY “B2B is key to us as the trade are our only clients, so to be recognised by them is fantastic. We’ll be continuing our work getting out there and meeting agents in 2017, putting faces to names and interacting with the trade.” Kevin Preston, If Only



Auris-en-Oisans – A family-friendly, up-and-coming resort in the French Alps –


olden by name, golden by nature, the south-facing village of Auris-enOisans is a veritable sun trap, yet its enviable snow conditions and new snowmaking facilities ensure that even the lower slopes stay open until late spring, says Pippa Twigg Situated at 1600m, Auris-en-Oisans lies in the Grandes Rousses mountain range. It is one of five interconnected resorts that make up Alpe d’Huez grand domaine Ski where 250km of pistes are waiting to be explored. Each of these five ski resorts has its individual charm and can all be accessed via a series of chairlifts and varied pistes. Skiers looking to explore more of what the area has to offer can easily do so regardless of their ability. A brand-new accommodation complex – the four-star Les Balcons d’Auréa - welcomed its first guests in Auris en Oisans last winter. The newly built residence introduced 500 beds in 2015-16 and will add a further 250 beds for 2016-17, extending capacity even further this season. For the first time, Crystal Ski Holidays introduced the resort to its winter programme. As well as terrain suiting all abilities, alternative winter activities are available for those looking to try something new. Parents and grandparents have a range of easy and more advanced runs but can also opt to sit back and spectate from the terrace of La Bucherie, a restaurant which overlooks the lower slopes.




Ahead of the 2015-16 winter season, Auris-enOisans underwent a significant makeover to make it even more beginner-friendly and familyoriented. In addition to re-profiling the beginners’ area and adding new beginners’ lifts, the resort launched a new beginners’ lift pass (15€ per day). It allows access to the two magic carpets: Bauchet and Bambins and the Piégut drag lift. But the resort is certianly not restricted to beginners. Aside from the three black runs in Auris itself, more confident skiers can venture towards the other villages in the grand domaine: Oz-enOisans, Vaujany, Villard Reculas and the lively Alpe d’Huez. Here, skiers will find the legendary après-ski venue, La Folie Douce, and the notorious Sarenne, known for being the longest black run in Europe, starting at a dizzying 3330m. Plans are underway to connect Alpe d’Huez grand domaine to nearby Les Deux Alpes, which will create one of the largest ski areas in the world. Charming and tranquil, Auris-en-Oisans is an excellent choice for serious skiers and families looking for a quieter but value-for-money resort.

Aside from the traditional French hotel options in the village and further down the valley, the new Les Balcons d’Auréa residence provides self-catered apartments with access to an on-site restaurant, indoor swimming pool, fitness room, sauna and hammam. Operated by a number of companies, the residence is within 100m of the restaurants, mini-market, ski hire shops, tourist office, ski school and chairlifts.

OTHER ACTIVITIES Dog sledding rides can be booked via the tourist office from December to April, priced from £28 for adults and £20 for children. Electronic 'fat biking' is also available via the tourist office. Brief tuition is given on how to ride the fat bikes uphill and on the snow ( £28 for a two-hour session).

WHICH CLIENT Auris-en-Oisans is nowhere near as heavily populated as its neighbour, the lively Alpe d’Huez, and remains quiet in the village after dusk. This, along with the great value-for-money and pistes for all abilities, makes the resort well-suited to families or to anyone striving to improve their ability and confidence.

GETTING THERE In the heart of the French Alps, Auris-en-Oisans can be reached from four airports: Grenoble (103 km), Chambéry (122 km), Lyon (151 km) and Geneva (207 km). All four airports are served by British Airways while easyJet flies to Grenoble, Lyon and Geneva. A range of transfer services are available from the airports to the resort. Eurostar also has a new direct train service from London to Lyon available on Saturdays. For more information on Auris-en-Oisans visit auris-en-oisans. com/en and 















the review

T o U r i s m U P d AT E

Acacia’s African hotspots

Israel gets break from UK visitors THE Israel Government Tourist Office is to continue its “Two

CAROL HAY UK Manager Caribbean Tourism Organisation

Cities. One Break” campaign in 2017 after its success this year helped





numbers by seven per cent.

THE CARIBBEAN Tourism Organization

The initiative, which is being

(CTO) would like to thank those readers

featured by several tour operators,

who voted for ‘Caribbean Travel Guru’ to

promotes Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

win the Selling Travel Agents Choice Award

on the same break and offers

for the Best Agent Training Programme.

discounted dinners and theatre

The CTO would also like to thank those

and attraction tickets.

of you who participated in the many

“This year has been a very

Caribbean events and activities that have

exciting year for us and we’d like to

taken place throughout 2016, including

thank the UK trade for helping us

the most recent Agent Training Day at

achieve an increase of tourists,”

World Travel Market. Well done to everyone

said Naama Oryan Kaplan, Director

who took part and won prizes.

UK and Ireland for the IGTO.

If you are yet to sign up to the award-

“Tel Aviv is now one of the world’s

winning ‘Caribbean Travel Guru’ now is a

most dynamic cities and combines

great time to register at caribbeantravelguru.


com. Complete the CTO’s three training

ACACiA has named its top-trending

The operator expects Uganda to

scene with a host of annual events

module tests, five partner spotlight

African destinations for 2017 and the

benefit from increased wildlife tourism

and festivals,” says the city’s

quizzes, attend one Caribbean event and

reasons they will likely hold a special

due to a recent gorilla ‘baby boom’: the

Director of Tourism, Isaac Mizrachi.

make three Caribbean bookings to become

appeal over the next 12 months.

latest mountain gorilla was born in the

“Our fabulous beaches will be a

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park last

focus of future campaigns; we

month (November).

have not really promoted these as

a Caribbean Travel Guru.

beaches, nightlife and a culinary

The list includes Namibia, Lesotho and

And you could win £50 worth of

Swaziland, with Namibia placed second

Love2Shop vouchers per month, just for

on Lonely Planet’s Best Value Travel List

The six-day Troop To The Gorillas

well as we could. We will also be

being the most active agent!

and Lesotho and Swaziland both tipped

overland tour includes gorilla trekking

highlighting that historic Jaffa is

as ‘value’ destinations.

in Bwindi Impenetrable NP and chimp

changing. Several new luxury

viewing in Queen Elizabeth National

properties will open there over

As well as this great incentive you also have the chance to win a ‘Grand Prize’ every

The 11-day Namibia Cape Desert

month by making and submitting your



Park. It is priced from £605pp, plus

the next couple of years, including

Caribbean bookings on the Caribbean

includes stops at the Fish River Canyon,

a Gorilla & Chimp Trek permit of

a W hotel in 2017,” he said.

Travel Guru section of MyBookingRewards.

the Namib-Naukluft National Park, the


com. Remember, the more bookings you

adventure playground of Swakopmund,


make the greater your chance of winning

Spitzkoppe and the Etosha National

Cape Town was also listed for its

the Grand Prize for that month. December’s

Park. Starting in Cape Town and ending

urban vibes; Zimbabwe is expected to

Grand Prize is a spa day for two.

in Windhoek it is priced from £755pp

benefit from connections via its new



airport at Victoria Falls International

Laura Boudville of Virgin Holidays, who

accommodation, meals and a tour guide.

Airport (although no opening date has

won a Christmas Hamper for making and

With Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda

yet been confirmed); and Zanzibar’s

logging her Caribbean bookings on

having signed an overland travel

tourism figures could rise on the back

Caribbean Travel Guru, and Debbie Watkins

agreement, the three countries are

of millennials wanting to explore

of Thomson who won £50 worth of

expected to do well when explored

‘deeper destinations’.

Love2shop vouchers for completing the


The November prize draw winners are








most quizzes and tests. For details of Travel Guru contact Ann-

nEWs To UsE in BriEF

Marie Brooks on 020 8948 0057 or email

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

ritz-Carlton in nZ: Ritz-Carlton will

Ethiopian to sA: Ethiopian Airlines is to

Boutique Quito: A new boutique

open its first property in New Zealand in

increase its flights to Cape Town with a

property, Illa Hotel, is set to open in the

2019. With 300 rooms and suites the

new 10-times-weekly service beginning

artistic district of San Marcos in Quito,

Ritz-Carlton Auckland will be located

December 1. Using new Boeing 787


downtown with 360-degree views of

aircraft Ethiopian flies from Heathrow to

renovated colonial house will feature 10

the city’s twin harbours. Auckland is the

its Addis Ababa hub and then on to

rooms and suites, a gourmet restaurant

gateway for a cruise around the South

three cities in South Africa: Durban,

serving local and international dishes, a

Pacific or Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.


roof terrace bar and a spa.




capital, next

May. The


DECEMBER 2016 – LATE OFFER FREE NIGHTS : 4 for 3 / 8 for 6 PLUS: Complimentary Upgrade to HB PLUS: USD 100 Credit Per Room Valid for stays between 17 Dec – 26 Dec 16 Free Nights and Early Booking Discounts for 2017 and 2018 NOW AVAILABLE sErBiA is enjoying a surge of





popularity among UK visitors with

cultural holidays, adventure options,

numbers up 11% during the first nine

festivals and much more. Novi Sad – around a 60-mile drive

months of this year. While




from Belgrade – is a gateway to the

majority of those visitors on a city





break the focus of the country’s

farmhouses and rustic country

promotions for the next three years

homes that welcome visitors for a

will be on increasing awareness of

taste of authentic Serbia.

what Serbia offers beyond the capital.

New developments in Belgrade

Novi Sad, best known as the host

include a major new waterfront

of the annual Exit festival each

project on the river Sava – the

summer, will become the European

Danube also runs through the city –

capital of Culture in 2021, the first

featuring five-star hotels and a new

city outside of the EU to be given

promenade with cafes, restaurants

the accolade, and Serbia will

and bars.

leverage off this designation to

Elsewhere in the city a Radisson

promote destinations and products

Blu and Marriott have opened and

throughout the country, said Marija

Hilton will open its first five-star

Labovic, Director of the National

hotel in the country in 2018.

Tourism Organisation of Serbia.


REDUCED RATES 30% Discount on Room Rates PLUS: Free Nights Stay 7 Pay 6 PLUS: Complimentary Return Transfers Valid for stays between now – 20 Apr 17 2018 Rates now available!


Complimentary Meal Upgrade : BB to HB Valid for stays between 20 Dec 16 – 26 Jan 17 FREE NIGHTS : 7 for 5 / 14 for 10 Valid for various dates through 2017 PLUS: Now offering Luxurious All Inclusive Book min 3 Nights on All Inclusive and receive Complimentary Return Transfer

Hong Kong shows its best sides THE Hong Kong Tourism Board


has launched a new campaign

experiences that the city offers.








‘Best of All, It’s in Hong Kong’ features four videos presented by local personalities that show off the city’s skyline and scenery. They put the spotlight on four areas: Gourmet Dining, Fashion and




Rates released for 2017-18! Book 60 days prior and receive 20% Off Book 30 days prior and receive 15% Off PLUS: FREE NIGHTS : 4 for 3 / 10 for 8 Valid for stays now to 22 Dec 16 and 04 Jan – 31 Oct 17 EXCLUSIVE TRAVEL TRADE DISCOUNTS FOR STAFF TRAVEL

Adventures by Land, Sea and Sky, and the Great Outdoors. “We want visitors to see, feel and have a taste of the best Hong


Kong can offer through the eyes of locals through this campaign,” said Hong Kong Tourism Board Executive Director Anthony Lau.


Terms & Conditions Apply


the review

New UK and Irish breaks from Cosmos

Air Canada’s new Gatwick link

Cosmos Tours has introduced UK Air Canada Rouge – described

short breaks for the first time, with a

as the carrier’s ‘leisure airline’ –

range of luxury themed breaks to

will introduce a three-times-

coincide with famous events and


special experiences during 2017.


service next summer. Bookings

The breaks include unique or VIP

are already open for the flights

‘behind the scenes’ experiences and

which take off on June 8.

guided sightseeing with special

The route will be serviced by Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft and feature








accompanied by a local expert guide. The four-day ‘Edinburgh Festival & Royal Military Tattoo’ is priced from

economy cabins. The flights will leave Gatwick

£739pp, with accommodation at the

at midday on Tuesdays, Thursdays



festival entry and premier seating at

Saturdays, arriving


Vancouver at 14.10.




the Royal Military Tattoo.

The return flight will depart

There’s also a guided tour of the

Vancouver on the same days at

city and visits to Edinburgh Castle

16.45, landing at Gatwick the

and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society,

Travel-CS5.pdf following 1 21/09/2016 13:04 morning at 10.25.

with a tasting session included.

Air Canada Rouge will also

An eight-day ‘Scotland – the Old

operate a Gatwick-Toronto service

and the New’ tour is priced from

next summer.

£1,429pp, and a nine-day ‘Irish

Explorer’ tour starts from £958pp.

the review

Ani Villas ready to reward agents

Canada’s special agents

ANI VILLAS, the private resort

Thomas Cook links Manchester and Tobago

group with properties in Anguilla,

THOMAS Cook Airlines’ new route

Thailand and Sri Lanka has

between Manchester and Tobago

launched a new rewards incentive

kicked off to a backdrop of island

for agents that could benefit the

music and colours. The direct

entire office.

service departs every Sunday

Agents who achieve a total of

until March 19, 2017, with fares

five bookings a year are entitled

starting from £409 return in

to a three-night stay for up to 10

Economy and £699 in Premium.

staff members of their choice in


any of the three countries.




passengers checking in were

Ani Villas opened its first

treated to a steel band and

property, a 10-bedroom clifftop

carnival dancers.

complex on Anguilla, in 2011 and

Stephen Turner, Commercial

earlier this year unveiled two new

Director at Manchester Airport,



said: “Tobago is a beautiful island

enclave in Koh Yao Noi, Thailand,



and the ideal destination for

and a 15-room estate on the

those looking for winter sun.”

central south coast of Sri Lanka

(pictured below). Ani Villas accommodation are Rupert Peters, Regional Managing

clustered around swimming pools


and feature fully- staffed spas,

CANADA is setting its sights on a 15%

Director, Destination Canada, added: “Our

fitness centres, yoga pavilions,

growth in UK visitor numbers next year

Canada Specialist programme for agents


on the back of a strong bookings boost

is key. We are creating ‘super specialists’,

as 2016 drew to an end.




Anantara’s first hotel in Europe

a club of agent ambassadors who will

ANANTARA Hotels, Resorts &

Air capacity to Canada is up over 16%

pass on their expertise, knowledge and

Spas, the hotel group known for its

out of the UK and carriers are forecasting

enthusiasm in many ways to their peers.”

luxury properties in the Middle

These super specialists will be

East, Indian Ocean and Africa, will

Meanwhile, the autumn Royal Tour,

empowered through fam trips (including

unveil Anantara Vilamoura Algarve,

in summer 2017.

recognition by Lonely Planet as the top

a planned mega fam for 150 in

its first Anantara in Europe in April.

destination to visit in 2017 and recent

September 2017) and digital skills

exposure provided by the recent BBC

training to create video blogs and share

International Airport, the 280-

Arctic Watch programme have all helped

their experiences through social media

room property (pictured below) is

push Canada top of mind.

and roadshows.

currently operating as Tivoli

outdoor bars and more. Each private resort caters to groups of between 15 and 30. Ani Villas will open its next resort in the Dominican Republic

a further 10% increase for 2017.





Emmanuelle Legault, VP International

“The UK is leading the way in this

Victoria. With views over the

for Destination Canada, said in London:

regard. The market is savvy so it needs a

Arnold Palmer-designed Oceânico

“Recent momentum is coming to fruition.

different level of engagement, innovation

golf course, it is close to the

We kept investing in the UK market, right

and trailblazing,” added Peters. “We are

ocean, marinas and the beaches



doing that by making agents true

of the Algarve.

consistent positive message aligned to

‘influencers’; helping them create their

those of our partners is now reaping its

own digital content and portraying their

rebrand, parts of the resort will

results. More and more we are taking a

own ‘Signature Experiences’.”

receive a soft refurbishment, and

united approach, which is working.”

a newly-rebranded Anantara Spa


recession, and






will include a Turkish hammam.

NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF Hondurus in touch: Air Europa is to

Oasis Hotels gets UK office: Cancun-

Air Europa’s new Boston option: Air

introduce non-stop weekly flights

based hotel company, Oasis Hotels &

Europa will operate flights to Boston

between Madrid and San Pedro Sula in

Resorts, which owns 12% of the beds in

between June 14 and September 8

Honduras from next April. The new

Cancun, has appointed Resort Marketing

next year. Operated by an Airbus 330-

route will open the gateway for

International Ltd to front its first

200, the three-times-weekly flights

Europeans not just to Honduras but to



will take off at 15.30 from Adolfo

connecting destinations throughout

reservations operation. Oasis operates

Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport on

Central America.

10 resorts in Cancun and Tulum.

Wednesdays, Friday and Sundays.





the review

Antigua milestones AnTiGUA will be marking 2017 with





celebrations throughout the year. The annual Antigua Sailing week is now in its 50th year and Carnival

Sri Lanka has genuine star appeal sri LAnKA proved a ‘hot’ destination for UK travellers in 2016, with numbers from its leading European source market up around 17.5% on last year.

will celebrate its 60th staging.

By the time 2016 closes around

Both these major island draws

200,000 British tourists would have

coincide with Antigua celebrating


35 years of independence.

accounting for around 10% of all the

Nelson’s Dockyard is the first site in Antigua to be granted UNESCO




country’s tourist arrivals, according to Sri Lanka Tourism.

World Heritage status.

Since the end of the country’s war in

2019 Sri Lanka has become one of the world’s most sought after destinations, due to its compactness, diversity of attractions and mixture of


wildlife and cultural attractions. ” “Sri Lanka is known as the Wonder of Asia due to its diversity and authenticity,” commented Mr Withana, Chairman of the


Tourism Promotion Bureau at World

wonderful days,” he added.



trekking and cycling; exploring the remains of ancient cities, top-rated

Due to two different weather zones

health and wellness programmes, and

“The aspects that set the country

either beach holidays on both sides of

game drives and wildlife viewing (the

apart are its nature, heritage and

the island are possible year round.

country has 15 national parks).

culture combined with sun, sea and

Other activity options include sports

sand. Visitors can literally enjoy eight

like golf, surfing, rafting, air-ballooning,

Travel Market last month.

Fresh look for Tap


Sri Lanka is hot. See Barbara Charlton on page 24.

iLLinois-mAdE ProVidEs A LoCAL AnGLE

the U.S. and Africa.

THE Midwest state of Illinois is working to get UK guests off the beaten path ‘and experience the state as locals do’. Cory Jobe, Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism said: “Next year we will be pushing the concept of ‘Illinois-Made’, offering visitors a unique series of opportunities to experience the state through the eyes of local traders. “They are unique and authentic experiences and a great way to showcase small business owners throughout Illinois.” Experiences include watching hand-crafted beer and small batch bourbons being made, tasting dishes crafted by a chef who personally harvests the ingredients by hand and visiting a canoe-maker steps from the Mississippi. Meanwhile, new developments in Chicago include the Chicago Riverwalk, Navy Pier renovations and The Joker at Six Flag Great America, due to open in the spring.

Air PorTUGAL has launched a new product range of six distinct fare types each with different benefits and inclusions. From Discount to Top Executive fares all include a meal service but come with varying levels of ticketing flexibility, baggage and benefits. The launch is being supported in the UK via a new TAP agents trade website which fully explains the structure and options. TAP launched services to Boston and JFK (New York) this summer and has a big and growing presence in Brazil. A cabin renewal programme for mid-haul services is underway introducing new re-branded red and green interiors, leather seats with adjustable headrests and enhanced passenger services. The programme will be rolled out throughout 2017. Next year will also see TAP add 14 new Airbus A330s to its fleet, flying long haul Lisbon to Brazil,

the review

United’s new Polaris is the business UniTEd AirLinEs unveiled its

Dubai Parks and Resorts is ready for grand opening

Orlando lines up a host of attractions VisiT Orlando is to host its tenth

new ‘re-engineered’ Business class

annual agents super-fam Orlando

product to an invited group of

next autumn. Additionally, VisitOrlando will be

media in Dublin, writes Steve

running roadshows in UK cities

Hartridge. ‘Polaris’ – named after the North

next year to educate the trade on

Star - is the airline’s first major

new products and the latest


updates from the destination.




These include a new football

offering since it merged with

stadium that is due to open in

Continental in 2010.

early 2017.

A new seat – exclusively customdesigned for United – and a

Next year will also see a number

completely re-conceived in-flight

of major developments at the city’s

experience designed to give flyers

theme parks.

more control over when they eat

At World Travel Market Universal

and sleep will be rolled out from

Orlando Resort announced plans

December 1.

to open a sixth on-site property, Universal’s Aventura Hotel. The

“We have totally overhauled our

16-storey property will feature a

Business product and can now offer


a total sleep-enhancing, departure-

dUBAi Parks and Resorts will fully open

Hollywood’s most beloved characters

roof bar and terrace overlooking

to-landing experience which rates

this month with the grand unveiling due

from DreamWorks, Sony and Lionsgate.

the park and will add 600

with the very best in the skies,” said

to take place on December 16.

Fam trips for the trade are planned in

Bob Schumacher (pictured below),

VP Sales, Julien Munoz, said: “We’re

collaboration with Dubai Tourism and

Managing Director UK & Ireland at

ready and looking forward to the first

are expected to begin in the first quarter

United Airlines.

ticket sales from the UK.”

of 2017.

additional rooms to the resort, bringing the total up to 6,200. Volcano Bay will be opening at Universal Orland Resort; the Avatar

Highlights of the individual pods

The three resort parks had a staggered

Munoz added: “Dubai Parks & Resorts

expansion, Pandora, will open at

include forward-facing, all-aisle-

beginning with Legoland Dubai and

gives Dubai a stronger grip on theme

Disneyland, marking the largest

access suites; 180-degree lie flat

Legonland Water Park opening on

park tourism. We are hoping


beds with 6’ 6’’ of bed space;



travellers will want to experience the

undertaken; and SeaWorld is

16-inch high definition screens

Bollywood Park (pictured) on November

resort after enjoying similar experiences

adding a new virtual reality

with gate-to-gate entertainment;

15 and Motiongate on December 16, a

around the world.”

experience to its existing Kraken

mood lighting; and electronic

unique park showcasing some of





privacy dividers between seats. New inflight comforts include custom bedding designed by Saks Fifth Avenue and amenity kits




Washington guide launched for agents

featuring Soho House and Co’s

LooK out for your copy of the new

Pacific Northwest destination. The

Cowshed spa.

Washington State International Guide

destination has also launched a new

The Polaris Business Class seats

that was distributed with this issue of


will debut on the airline’s Boeing

Selling Travel. The guide has been

British Airways operates daily flights

777-300ER aircraft and will begin

written and designed as a selling tool

from the UK to Seattle and Virgin

appearing next year and beyond

for agents and to help the trade at

Atlantic launches a new UK-Seattle

on 787-10 and A350-1000 aircraft

large more effectively market the

flight in March.

as well as 767-300 and 777-200 retrofits.

nEWs To UsE in BriEF

Big on Broadway: Over 319,000

Hilton in rAK: Ras Al Khaimah, the

Peru agent app: A new app, Peru

visitors to New York City attended

fourth-largest United Arab Emirate, is to

Agent, has been developed as part of

shows on Broadway over the last 12

welcome a new property in the first

the tourism board’s ‘Peru Land of

months, according to the latest figures

quarter of 2017. Hilton Garden Inn is

Hidden Treasures’ campaign. The app, a

from Broadway Inbound. The total

located in the heart of the city, within

sales companion and training tool to



walking distance from Al Naeem Mall

enhance knowledge and improve sales,

earnings of £4.3 million to the UK trade.

and with easy access to key attractions.

is available on desktop and tablet.




the review

River cruise rising


CLIA’S River Cruise Conference last month attracted over 350 delegates who were hosted overnight by CroisiEurope, Emerald Waterways and Tauck. Jo Austin reports

We are in ‘launch position’

CLIA encourages ‘cruise moments’

Crystal in Amsterdam EDIE Rodriguez, CEO & President

ANDY Harmer, Europe VP of

of Crystal Cruises, together with

Operations, launched CLIA’s latest

Walter Littlejohn, Vice President

trade initiative inviting agents to

and Managing Director, celebrated

highlight their most memorable

the opening of Crystal’s new river

cruise experience. The campaign

cruise headquarters in Amsterdam

is designed to show what really

on November 21.

makes cruising so special and

Following the launch of Crystal

how to convert their customers to

Mozart in July this year, the


Agents are invited to

operator plans to introduce six

write 200 words or send in a

more luxury river yachts on the


Danube, Rhine and Main over the




next few years.

memorable cruise ‘moment’ to before

Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler

December 14, after which they

will be its first new builds

will be judged by the CLIA team.

launching in June and August

next year respectively.

AGENTS need to be clear why people

they want to sail on but are not so sure

consider taking a river cruise and then

which operator to book with.”

differentiate what each river cruise line

Hawke also added: “River cruising is 10

has to offer, urged Giles Hawke, Chief

years behind ocean cruising and the

Executive, Avalon Waterways and CLIA

trade has plenty of time to catch up, but

UK & Ireland Deputy Chair.

should be selling river cruising as more


“There is so much investment being made in new, innovative ships and diverse itineraries that it is no surprise that more UK passengers than ever are opting for river cruises as their holiday choice” ANDY HARMER, VP OPERATIONS CLIA EUROPE




than just good food and service.”

Cruises, saying: “Viking has done a

“There are many opportunities for

fantastic job in raising awareness of

everyone on a river cruise – whether

river cruising through its recent

families, those wanting a city break or

marketing campaigns and our job is to

those looking for an active or cultural

take it to the people. The majority of

holiday,” he urged.

river cruise clients know which river

CLIA NEWS IN BRIEF Riviera: Riviera Travel, which claims to

Uniworld to Paris: Uniworld will be

Beer-cruise: CroisiEurope is launching

be the UK’s second-largest river cruise

sailing the Seine on Paris to Normandy

four river cruise ships on the Rhine,

operator, will have three new all-suite

itineraries on its new Joie de Vivre vessel,

Danube, Douro and Mekong in 2017 and

ships on the Rhine, Main and Danube in



another on the Chobe and Zambezi

2017 and another (not all-suite) on the

All river cruises are all-inclusive and

rivers in 2018. A new five-day beer-

Douro. Vessels will accommodate 169

24-hour room service is now available

themed cruise will set sail out of

passengers and feature a complimentary

in all staterooms and suites through

Brussels in 2017 with visits to several

speciality restaurant and splash pool.

Uniworld’s European river cruises.

breweries and an excursion to Bruges.






the review


CLIA hands out its inaugural river cruise awards

UK office for AmaWaterways






Excellence Awards was hosted in

its first dedicated UK office. Based

Amsterdam onboard Tauck’s Grace.

in Guildford, the trade-facing team





is headed up by Stuart Perl, who

winners who were: CLIA River Cruise

told delegates in Amsterdam:

Agent of the Year: Juliet Archer,

“Travel agents are the lifeblood of

Bluewater Holidays; River Cruise

our business and it is our goal to

Ambassador of the Year: Margaret

build closer relationships with

McCorriston, Planet Cruise; Best River

those who are interested in the

Cruise Newcomer: Reader Offers Ltd;

luxury end of the river cruise

Best Marketing Promotion of River


Cruise Online: The Cruise Village; Best

The team is made up of five

Marketing Promotion of River Cruise

names familiar to most in the


cruise industry: Jenny Wright,

Marketing Promotion of River Cruise

Jamie Loizou, Amanda Elgie,


Augustus Lonsdale and Georgia

Overall Performance North: River

Mae Tarrant. AmaWaterways has

Voyages; Best Overall Performance

a fleet of 22 custom-designed

South: Iglu Cruise / Planet Cruise.

ships sailing on 12 rivers in



Best Best

The awards were conceived after an

Europe, Asia and Africa.

excellent year for river cruising with

UK passengers rising by 8%.

OUR BEST OFFER EVER If your clients have ever dreamed of being treated like royalty while cruising Europe’s legendary waterways, turn their travel fantasies into reality with Our Best Offer Ever, an exceptional new promotion on select 2017 itineraries*.

0808 168 9110 | @UniworldTradeUK |

Uniworld Trade UK |

Uniworld Trade UK

*Our Best Offer Ever is for new bookings on select 2017 departures only, made by 31 Dec 2016. Offer is not combinable with any other promotional offer or programme, ABTA No.Y6200 except River Heritage Club savings/amenities. Offer is capacity controlled and may be modified or withdrawn at any time. Other restrictions may apply. For complete details visit ABTA No.Y6200


the review

Checking out...


S T A Y : OU T R IG G E R L AG U NA P H U K E T BE AC H R E S ORT – Thailand T H E V E R D I CT


THE BACKGROUND: Set on Bangtao

Beach, this luxurious property is perfect for families, couples and groups offering a relaxed ambience with an abundance of Thai hospitality. THE LOCATION: The resort is set within a modern resort complex conveniently close to Phuket with an airport transfer time of approx. 35 mins and costing no more than 900 THB. The hotel is found on 1,000 acres of lush tropical parklands and boasts access to spas, golf, shops and other activities. Guests can take the boat to Canal Village to pick up some souvenirs as well as luxury goods. THE ROOM: Ours was a deluxe sea view room (43 square metres), which was refurbished in November 2013 to a good standard. The room comprised of a king-size bed, a cute built in window bed and a sunken Roman bath – both of which were very popular with my four year old! The resort’s 255 rooms also include suites and a two bedroom

If it is important to have a hotel/resort that is fun for the family without compromising on luxury then Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort is your place. From the exceptionally friendly staff to the amazing amenities, the resort promises a relaxing and memorable stay.

villa. It’s worth noting that if you book a club room your clients will have access to the Voyager 47 Club Lounge, which provides a delectable array of drinks and snacks throughout the day. KEY FACILITIES: Three restaurants, a swimming pool with water slide, tennis and fitness centres, a games room and a fantastic kids club (Koh Kids) which is handy for the odd rainy day. There is also a wellness spa offering affordable

treatments. For golf lovers there is an 18 hole course and a training academy. RESTAURANTS/BARS: Metzo’s fuses Levantine and Mediterranean cuisine in a stylish setting. Signature restaurant Locavore has nightly entertainment. The fantastic Edgewater bar is an informal setting for cocktails with a day menu.

RATES: The hotel offers an excellent choice of accommodation styles starting from THB 4985 (£115 per night).

323, Moo 2, Srisoonthorn Road, Bangtao Beach, Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand  +66 76 360 600


THE BACKGROUND: International chef

Ms Vy has set up three restaurants in historic Hoi An, Central Vietnam. Two include cookery schools, giving a handson approach to the subtle mysteries of Vietnamese cuisine. Ms Vy has also produced this boutique hotel. THE LOCATION: The hotel is about ten

minutes’ walk from the city’s historic centre. Cua Dai beach is within 4km, and An Bang beach 6km. The historic Cham temple site of My Son is an hour away. The hotel is 24km from Da Nang airport, with a limousine service available. THE ROOM: The rooms are newlyfurnished in modern minimalist style, with some repro Oriental furniture in

dark wood. Our Deluxe double room had a comfortable bed and great shower but no bath. All rooms have air conditioning and balconies. Footbaths containing soothing herbs are supplied every night along with therapeutic herbal teas. KEY FACILITIES: Complimentary afternoon tea is provided from 3pm to 5pm, including delicious sandwiches, pastries and out-of-this-world banana fritters! Free bikes are provided for guests to cycle into town or to the beach. There is a pool and poolside bar. RESTAURANTS/BARS: The breakfast room trebles up as a tearoom and dining room. The breakfast is fabulous, with a choice of noodle dishes and palm-leaf wraps, Vietnamese breakfast platters, eggs to your choice, pastries, cold meats and cheeses, plus a juicer with a choice of fruit and vegetables. Maison Vy, 544 Cua Dai, Hoi An, Quang Nam, Vietnam ;  +84 (0)510 3862231

T H E V E R D I CT This is a well-run boutique hotel with some interesting personal touches. The footbaths sound quirky but are also great for footsore explorers. The food is handprepared and very special. The service is smiley and pretty sound. It is good value for money. RATES: Standard room from £67, Deluxe twin £85, Deluxe family suite £132.


on my mind Georgia

Southern charm meets skyscrapers and big-city life in Georgia. It’s a peach of a state, says Peter Ellegard


he Peach State has enjoyed strong growth from the UK and a higher profile in tour operators’ programmes in recent years, helped by Virgin Atlantic launching direct London-Atlanta flights in October 2014 and augmenting services on the route operated by partner Delta and British Airways. Sandwiched between Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, and both North and South Carolina, Georgia is a true taste of the South that’s ideal for exploring on its own or combined with one or more of its neighbours on a fly/drive tour. It has everything from cosmopolitan Atlanta

and stately, historic Savannah to the forested Appalachians in the north, glorious Antebellum architecture throughout the state, scenic driving trails, outdoor activities galore and 100 miles of coast that encompass genteel barrier islands boasting unspoilt beaches where your clients can get away from it all in gracious style. Golfing clients might not be able to play on the ultra-private Augusta National Golf Club, where the Masters – one of golf’s four ‘Majors’ – is played each spring, but there are top-rated courses open to visitors close to Atlanta and Savannah, on St Simons Island, Sea Island




and around Lake Oconee, just south of Athens, among other areas. After celebrating the Georgia Year of Music in 2016, the theme for 2017 will be the Georgia Year of Film – fitting, as the state has a long association with films and film production, with recent hits including The Hunger Games movies and TV series The Walking Dead. A series of trade promotions will be undertaken by Georgia’s tourist office in 2017, including set location-related fam trips.

through to its role in the Civil Rights Movement at museums like the Atlanta History Centre and the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site. The city is a shoppers’ delight. One of its newest complexes, The Shops Buckhead Atlanta (, opened in 2014 on the central thoroughfare of Peachtree Street and spans six city blocks. It offers sophisticated shopping and dining with over 50 upscale fashion retailers, featuring the likes of Dior,


Previous page: Tybee Island Beach Pier and Pavilion, Savannah; This page: one of Savannah’s famous squares, with Spanish-moss covered oaks; World of Coca-Cola, one of Atlanta’s leading visitor attractions

Southern charm meets skyscrapers and fast-paced big city life in Atlanta, but it offers visitors far more than just its gateway airport. At the New World of Coca–Cola, the world’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium, you can swim or dive with whale sharks. Other attractions include the CNN Studio Tour, Centennial Olympic Park with its Fountain of Rings music and light show, and a multitude of cultural institutions that include theatres, museums, art galleries, concert halls and other entertainment venues. Atlanta also dishes up world-class dining and vibrant nightlife. Your clients can delve into the city’s darker past from the Civil War





A distinctive outdoor shopping and dining district in one of America’s most popular travel destinations.


Jimmy Choo, Hermes and Christian Louboutin, plus restaurants. Out-of-area visitors are entitled to receive a Global Access Card, featuring special offers, amenities and experiences by participating retailers and restaurants.


“Georgia is perfect for those wanting more than just a beach holiday. It combines southern hospitality, cuisine, history, charming towns and coastal scenery” CATH PUSEY, PRODUCT MANAGER, AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT

Georgia’s oldest city was founded in 1733 and retains a stately Southern Belle feel, thanks to its well-preserved historic buildings. Its pedestrianfriendly historic district is one of the largest National Historic Landmark districts in the US, complete with numerous Spanish moss-draped parks and timeless squares filled with statues and fountains – and its friendly Deep South welcome. But that doesn’t mean it is stuck in the past. Savannah also has a lively nightlife scene and a host of restaurants where you can sample local favourites such as peach cobbler as well as a multitude of other dishes and cuisines. Recommend clients tour some of its elegant mansions and stroll along River Street, where former cotton warehouses now house boutique stores, pubs and eateries. They should also explore its atmospheric cemeteries, one of which featured in the popular book and subsequent


movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Fans can take a walking tour based on the novel.

Coastal delights Georgia’s coast is a world away from the bustle of Atlanta. Just across the border from Florida, Cumberland Island is its largest and southernmost barrier island and is a protected National Seashore reached by ferry with pristine beaches and maritime forest. The Golden Isles comprises the four barrier islands of St Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St Simons Island and Jekyll Island, as well as the mainland gateway Brunswick. Your clients can pamper themselves at historic, luxury golf resorts, or catch the spirit of the once-exclusive hunting community on Jekyll Island that drew the likes


Atlanta, Georgia


3035 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30305 Developed and Graciously Managed by



of the Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt and Pulitzer families. Nature lovers can kayak or paddleboard through wildlife-rich marshes or ride horses on the beach, while Tybee is a beach town with Southern appeal bordering South Carolina.

Scenic drives

Previous page: Atlanta is the gateway city to the entire U.S. ‘South’; the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is the largest indoor aquatic attraction in the western hemisphere; This page: the sun sets over Jekyll Island

Take roads less travelled to discover some of Georgia’s scenic glories. The 56-mile Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway goes through Chattahoochee National Forest and several charming towns in the north, while the Russel-Brasstown Scenic Byway winds 41 miles through the southern Appalachians in the north-east. From Georgia’s highest point, Brasstown Bald peak, you can see Atlanta 100 miles away on a clear day. Other scenic routes include the Enduring Farmlands Scenic Byway, visiting historic towns that still produce peanuts, pecans, cotton and sorghum, and the Woodpecker Trail running 200 miles along Route 121, passing through Augusta and the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, home to endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers and many other bird species.

Hidden gems Suggest clients should try to get off the highways and enjoy the backroads, visiting characterful rural towns such as Madison, Milledgeville and Macon. In Atlanta, they can explore the Beltline, a growing redevelopment project putting cycling and walking tracks on disused railway lines. The world-class Booth Western Art Museum (, in Carterville, is the only museum of its kind in the South East US. The Whistle Stop Café (thewhistlestopcafe. com), in Juliette, is where the blockbuster movie Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed, and where you can still enjoy the dish.

Where to book it  AMERICA AS YOU LIKE– 020 8742 8299 The tailormade specialist’s 14-night Southern Charm and Coastal History fly/drive, costing from £1,580pp, starts in Miami and ends in Atlanta and includes Virgin Atlantic flights, car hire and Georgia accommodation in Jekyll Island, Tybee Island, Savannah, Charleston, Madison and Atlanta. 



Why Alamo’s the No.1 for USA car hire: l U p to 30% off fully inclusive packages for Travel Industry professionals l O n-airport locations & award-winning customer service l No hidden extras or credit card fees l Free 24 hour roadside assistance l No cancellation charge

Get inspired: Terms & Conditions: Travel Industry Staff ID will be required at time of rental to qualify for the discount and the rental does not qualify for frequent flyer programmes or cashback schemes. Examples of Travel Industry ID include Company ID card, business card, letter of employment or payslip. Standard rental terms and conditions apply. Full T&Cs found at ©2016 Alamo Rent-A-Car. All rights reserved 17-UR001

six of the best


ATLANTA The state capital of Georgia is a city on the up – urban regeneration, new attractions, and a good sprinkling of star appeal. In Atlanta, Southern hospitality has never tasted so good FOR CIVIL AND 1 CENTER 3IN-TOWN MARKETS HUMAN RIGHTS Completed in 2014, this thought-provoking museum has become a must-do attraction for visitors to Atlanta. Inside the strikingly modern building you’ll discover artifacts and exhibits that tell the tale of America’s Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s along with a broader look at the fight for equality around the world. Permanent fixtures include the personal archives of leading activist Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, an interactive gallery detailing the fight against segregation in the U.S. and a wider look at freedom campaigns through history. WHERE TO BOOK: America As You Like It offers an 11-night fly-drive tour of Georgia starting and finishing in Atlanta. Prices start from £960pp including car hire and accommodation.

Atlanta is leading the way when it comes to urban regeneration. Ponce City and Krog Street Markets are leading examples – both have created modern and stylish hubs in former industrial buildings, mixing artisan food vendors, office space, retail and housing. Meanwhile, the Atlanta BeltLine project, which aims to create a 22-mile circular park and open space around the city, continues apace. A number of sections have been opened, offering trails to jog, cycle and stroll away from the traffic.

USP: The Atlanta BeltLine scheme will eventually create 1,300 acres of park, more than 5,000 affordable homes and an integrated light rail system.

Forget Hollywood – the biggest stars and hottest shows are now being filmed in Atlanta. Want to check out the spots where Rick has battled zombies in The Walking Dead? Or maybe walk in the footsteps of Hunger Games’ star Jennifer Lawrence? With over 800 filming credits to its name the city has plenty of locations to explore. WHERE TO BOOK: Atlanta Movie Tours offers a selection of guided coach tours for TV and movie buffs, covering everything from superhero movies to Gone With The Wind. Prices from $65pp.

USP: You don’t just get to drive fast at the Porsche Experience Center! Special ‘low friction’ track areas have been created to school guests in the art of controlling oversteer and skids.


Built as part of infrastructure improvements for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, Centennial Olympic Park has proved the catalyst for the rebirth of downtown Atlanta. The restful green space sits at the heart of a host of major attractions including the World of Coca-Cola (a museum to the city’s most famous business), Georgia Aquarium, and the CNN Center (the TV station offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour). Work to expand the park is now underway and is set to finish in 2018. WHERE TO BOOK: Funway Holidays has seven nights in Atlanta from £1,455pp, departing July 2017. The deal includes flights and accommodation.

EXPERIENCE 4 PORSCHE CENTER 6 STADIUMS AND TEAMS Petrolheads can find out what makes the German manufacturer’s vehicles so special with a trip to this hightech museum-cum-raceway. Get behind the wheel for a 90-minute track-driving lesson in your favourite Porsche model, race friends in the simulator lab or take a guided tour to explore the history of the luxury brand. And if you’ve really got the bug, dig out your wallet and place an order for your next car at the on-site dealership.



Things are looking up on Atlanta’s sporting scene. The NFL ‘s showpiece final the Super Bowl will be held in the $1.4bn Mercedes Benz Stadium in 2019. Currently under construction, the stadium will become the new home of local favourites the NFL Atlanta Falcons as well as fledgling MLS soccer side Atlanta United, who launch next season. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball side Atlanta Braves are also getting a new home – SunTrust Park will open in early 2017.5. Stadium tours are available.

TOP TIP: Big stadiums and regular games mean tickets for U.S. sports are relatively easy to come by. Book in advance direct online for the best deals.


state profile

Nevada’s desert lands – so close yet so far from Las Vegas’ razzmatazz – Away from it all The remote Nevada section of transcontinental highway US Route 50, which starts in California and ends in Maryland, is known as the ‘The Loneliest Road in America’.


raggy sandstone cliffs tower above me like sentinels, between weathered crags, their rich burnt ochre hues brilliant against the deep blue sky, says Peter Ellegard

Burn baby burn Each August sees 70,000 people descend on Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for the Burning Man festival (burningman. org), involving the burning of effigies and structures. Racy Bizarre events in Virginia City (visitvirginiacitynv. com) include Camel Races in September and World Championship Outhouse Races, featuring toilets on wheels, in October. Crafty drinks Las Vegas is flying the craft brewing flag high with the October opening of the Sin City Brewing Co’s fourth bar in the city at the Grand Bazaar Shops.

Space oddity Nevada town Rachel is regarded as the world’s UFO sightings capital and lies on the ’Extraterrestrial Highway’, otherwise known as State Route 375.




Black Rock Desert

Spiky plants and gnarled bushes stunted into submission by the brutal, arid climate dot the valley floor and mountainsides, like designer stubble on the face of a tortured land. It feels like the middle of nowhere. Yet I’m just a 25-minute drive from Las Vegas. The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area makes a wonderful escape from the Strip’s non-stop razzmatazz and neon lights. The 13-mile Scenic Drive takes in panoramic lookouts and trailheads where you can park your car to explore gentle hour-long loops or strenuous half-day hikes that rise up through canyons to unseen peaks beyond. You can lose yourself in the Valley of Fire State Park. Nevada’s oldest and largest state park, it spans over 40,000 acres of magnificent Mojave Desert scrub and mountain scenery, red sandstone

“New to the Gold Medal USA brochure, the Blue Man Group performance combines comedy, dance and music in a multi-sensory performance like no other” ASHLEY PILKINGTON, USA AND CARIBBEAN ASSISTANT PRODUCT MANAGER, GOLD MEDAL

formations and ancient petrified woods. Forget the gaming tables and enjoy the beauty of the desert parks on their doorstep.

STATE OVERVIEW While Las Vegas has more than enough attractions to keep its 40 million-plus annual visitors fully occupied, there are plenty of other sights and attractions around the Silver State. It is, surprisingly, America’s most mountainous state and its seventh largest, yet besides Las Vegas, the only other major metropolis is Reno, in the north. Nevada’s huge expanses of mountains, desert, forest and lakes offer an array of adventure options like kayaking and whitewater rafting on the Truckee River, some of the best fishing in the US at Pyramid Lake, rock climbing, mountain biking and skiing. Known as ‘The Biggest Little City in the World’ Reno has casino hotels, numerous restaurants, bars and bistros, and is also the gateway to the ski resorts and summer activities of Lake Tahoe. There are also small pioneering towns, natural splendours that include Great Basin National Park and man-made wonders such as the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.

state profile

Visit the

Grand Canyon Seeing is Believing!


TOURISM TALK “UK visitation to Nevada in 2017 is looking very positive. We are delighted that Norwegian Air is now operating twice-weekly flights into Las Vegas, meaning Nevada has never been more accessible for UK travellers. With up to 30 direct weekly flights from London, Manchester and Glasgow on Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines and Norwegian, the UK remains Las Vegas’ number one overseas source market, with over 725,000 UK travellers annually. Virgin Holidays and North American Travel Service have introduced Nevada whilst Bon Voyage, US Airtours and Discover North America are continuing to develop their product throughout the state.” Rosanna North, UK Marketing Senior Account Executive, Nevada Commission of Tourism

Grand Canyon National Park • Hoover Dam • Indian Country Grand Canyon West • Grand Canyon Overnight Packages • Group Charters • Grand Canyon Overnight with the Grand Canyon Railway

NEW OPENINGS The new $30-million SPEEDVEGAS ( racetrack offers visitors the chance to drive some of the world’s most exotic supercars. Lake Tahoe will see the opening of the lakeside Edgewood Tahoe (, focused on health, recreation and ecology and offering 154 rooms and 10 cabins, in June 2017. In Las Vegas, there are December openings for Asian-themed Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino, with 206 rooms and a spa, and the W Las Vegas (, which opens in the Lux Tower at SLS Las Vegas with 289 rooms. A new Nevada Specialist badge was launched in the summer for the USA Discovery Programme online travel agent training scheme ( by Brand USA. Papillon Helicopters ( has introduced four new tours to experience the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, with a new heliport by the Hoover Dam Lodge Hotel & Casino. 

Untitled-5.indd 1


Burning Man Festival Untitled-2 1

28/11/2016 14:44



argentina fall for

The eighth largest country in the world is packed with mustdos and must-see sights. Adam Coulter lines them up


atch a tango in Buenos Aires? Go on a wine tour in Mendoza? Trek through the national parks of Patagonia? Or perhaps visit the breathtaking Iguazu waterfalls and Jesuit missions in the north? Ride with the gauchos and spend the night under the stars on the pampas? Or go whale watching off the coast of the most southerly town in the world, Ushuaia? Argentina is 11 times larger than the UK and home to just 43 million inhabitants, making it one of the least densely populated countries on earth, a land of vast expanses and mountains, unspoilt coasts and pristine wilderness. But where do you start when planning a trip for your clients? That’s easy: the cultural, political and beating heart of this land – the capital, Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires The majority of visitors will fly into Buenos Aires, which is the most ‘European’ of all South American capitals with its wide boulevards, sophisticated cafes and designer shops. Don’t be deceived by appearances, however – there are huge disparities in wealth but it’s just not so immediately obvious as in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Buenos Aires began life as a port city, and is bordered to the north by the Rio de la Plata. It’s still a working port, but as with a lot of modern cities many of the warehouses and docks have been developed into designer flats. The area also includes an eco-reserve, Costanera Sur, which is a great place to get away from the craziness of the city. Buenos Aires is large but manageable, with



Wine time Route 40, which bisects the country, runs through the heart of Argentina’s wine-growing region, including Mendoza. The Uco Valley, framed by volcanoes, is home to vineyards, farms and hills.

an excellent bus network and a five-line plenty of bars, clubs and restaurants. underground (the “Subte”), which is cheap and It’s where the city dwellers escape to in frequent and connects to all the main parts midsummer and lies an hour away by plane or of the city. You’ll find most of the key sights in five hours by bus. the centre, which combines a business district What’s new with a historic legacy, focused on the Plaza de  Airlines: The Argentine Ministry of Tourism Mayo, scene of innumerable protests and the has signed an agreement with KLM Royal Dutch Presidential Office. Airlines for a joint marketing plan to promote The city is bisected by the enormous Avenida Argentina as a destination in the Netherlands 9 de Julio; to the north lies Recoleta, where next year. The announcement comes on the back you’ll find those designer boutiques and cafes of a fifth weekly flight that as well as the Recoleta KLM will be adding to the cemetery – the final resting Buenos Aires-Amsterdam place of the legendary “Buenos Aires is Eva Peron, along with the most ‘European’ of route, which started on almost every rebel, hero South America’s capitals, October 31, 2016 – an increase in seat capacity of and revolutionary in the with its wide boulevards, 25%. country’s history. sophisticated cafes and  Ecotourism: Earlier The south is grittier, with this year the Argentine the highlight the gorgeous designer shops” Government and the barrio of San Telmo, all province of Corrientes cobblestones, wrought iron implemented an ecotourism development plan balconies and a famous Sunday flea market. If you’re on the hunt for the origins of Tango, head for 700,000 hectares of wetlands in the Esteros del Ibera. The area is the largest and has the west to Boasto and Abeda. most biodiversity of any protected area in the A great way to discover the city is via themed tours, including a foodie or photographic tour, or country. The project involves environmental follow in the footsteps of emblematic characters restoration, as well as the reintroduction of species that will add to the more than 4,000 of Argentine culture, like Gardel, Peron or Jose varieties of flora and fauna already living and Luis Borges. growing there. Beyond Buenos Aires The idea is to position the park as the The capital could keep you occupied for number one nature destination in the country, offering rural tourism, walks, bike rides, horse weeks but if your client is keen to explore riding, or carriage rides, trekking, mountain the Argentina beyond there are a number of bike, 4x4 rides, photographic safaris, and day trips worth doing. The most popular and easiest to get to is Tigre, a small town an hour nature sightseeing. or so upriver from the capital. Situated beside Where to book it the river, Tigre has a slow, sultry feel to it and  JOURNEY LATIN AMERICA makes a wonderful contrast to Buenos Aires. 020 3131 5186 Tigre also acts as the gateway to the Delta del The 13-day ‘Value Argentina’ Parana, a maze of streams, inlets, tiny islands tour combines the sights of Buenos Aries, and waterways. Mar de la Plata, which lies about 400km south including a bike tour, with Patagonia. Prices start from £1873pp. of the capital, is a bit like the Blackpool of  Argentina: brash and tacky, but a lot of fun, with

Join the cowboys Many estancias allow visitors to join the gauchos as they go about their daily routine, and lay on activities such as horseback rides, trekking, carriage rides and a gaucho asado or BBQ. Prime cuts The chefs of Buenos Aires experiment with flavours and cuisines, so you might find influences from Japan or Chile mixed with typical Argentine dishes. and Spanish tapas. Cordoba Founded in 1599, Cordoba, 430 miles north-west of Buenos Aires, is known for its Jesuit legacy. The Jesuit Square is a much-visited UNESCO World Heritage site. Patagonia A vast area of wilderness, Patagonia spans the entire lower half of South America. Ushuaia, the most southerly town in the world, is a starting point for trips to Antarctica.

Opposite page: Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfalls system in the world; this page fom left: Laid back in Cordoba; Diego Maradona still looms large in the neighbourhood of La Boca, Buenos Aires; don’t miss a tango show, either on the street or in a dinner club.

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my journey

My Arizona journey...

lls, d hiking Havasupai Fa an g itin vis by m ea dr d a bucket-list Debbie Johnson fulfille Lands on on Havasupai Tribal ny Ca nd ra G e th in hidden


ocated in northern Arizona, Havasupai Falls is known for its challenging hiking, beautiful waterfalls and turquoise water.

The Havasupai, known as the ‘people of the blue-green water,’ are intimately connected with the water and the land, considering it sacred. Havasupai Falls itself is a lush and unexpected oasis deep at the bottom of the Grand Canyon; the emerald blue-green water flows not only across the land, the of but also through the m to bot galore! at the mind-set of each tribal Deep anyon - falls C member. Grand I am told that when a It’s tough terrain you enter their land, you ladder can help enter their home, their place of origin. It is an honour to visit this sacred and wondrous place, right here in my home state. Getting to the falls requires a 10-mile hike one way, so you must be physically prepared. It is not easy to obtain permits and camp sites are limited to protect the land and the waterfalls. However, with some perseverance and persistence you will experience the trip of a lifetime - and test your mental and physical endurance along the way! Our group hiked more than 30 miles in four days, experiencing the beauty of Arizona in a way I could have never imagined. I had seen many pictures of the Falls but was not truly prepared for the spectacular blue reality. After nine miles of hiking, to walk around a trail bend and see the most beautiful and stunning My magic turquoise water falling al momen Relaxing from the canyon walls ts at AOA’s co mfortable hikes to camp. Th is a scene that is almost Havasu Fa e daily gu lls and th ided - Beaver e other m unimaginable. Falls, New ajor waterf Navajo, Roc alls Falls. Lear k Falls an ning all ab d Mooney ou t th native his e flora, fa Phoenix days tory of th una, geolo e Grand gy and crystal-cle Canyon. S Our adventures begin in ar, cobalt wimming pool at th in a e base of Phoenix, as we start our a red sands towering tone cliff. drive north through the Sonoran Desert and into

the high-elevation plateaus and red rock canyons of north-central Arizona. We meet our trail guides from Arizona Outback Adventures at the trailhead at Hualapai Hilltop, about 5,200 feet above sea level. The first two miles of the trail are steep switchbacks and as we make our way down into the canyon and negotiate the turns with careful steps, I can’t help but think that this isn’t so bad. However, hiking back up this way will be the real challenge! When we reach a dry streambed where the trail begins to level out, it’s a welcome relief. After a trailside lunch, we continue on our journey. The canyon walls seem to grow around us as we descend deeper into the red sandstone. At mile eight, the canyon begins to widen and the vegetation turns lush as we enter the village of Supai, the most remote village in the U.S. where mail still arrives by packhorse!

“Havasupai, the ‘land of the blue-green waters’, is a lush and unexpected oasis deep at the bottom of the Grand Canyon”

Lulled to sleep by the flow of water

Here at 3,200 feet, after a brief rest stop, the Cottonwood tree-lined path leads us through the village and into the canyon’s backcountry. A little further down the trail, we encounter our first two waterfalls, the 50 ft. New Navajo Falls and the 35 ft. Rock Falls (Little Navajo Falls). Next we arrive at the most photographed falls, the 100 ft. Havasu Falls. From here, it ‘s just minutes to our campsite. AOA provides delicious and freshly prepared threecourse meals on all their trips, high-quality camping equipment, and options for including all the amenities to make your trip smooth and easy. That night, we sleep next to Havasu Creek and I love listening to the flow of the water as it lulls me to sleep with promises of more adventures to come! The next morning, after a delicious breakfast, we embark on one of the most exciting adventures of our trip. Mooney Falls is the tallest waterfall, at almost 200 feet, and Beaver Falls is the last waterfall in the chain of five major falls in Havasu Canyon. To get to Beaver Falls, there is a series of challenging steps, ropes, chains and ladders alongside Mooney Falls. This trip, although tough, is probably the most

‘These falls are testament to the power of w ater to shape the canyons’

my journey

Another impressive waterfall

stunning as we cross tropical blue streams and wade through lush meadows of wild grapevines. While this hike is not for the faint of heart, at the end we take the time for a welldeserved 16-foot jump into the falls! On day three, we hike up Carbonate Canyon and look for fossils, learn about the history, explore the area, and then swim and relax at Havasu Falls. Over the past several million years, Havasu Creek has carved out a natural amphitheatre for itself, 150 feet high and maybe 600 feet wide. We take the afternoon to hike with our tour guides up to two ‘new’ waterfalls and one ‘extinct’ one for some swimming, relaxing and exploring. These waterfalls are a testament to the power of water to shape the canyons. We spend time swimming in the deep pool of Rock Falls, jumping through a sparkling sheet of water, and exploring the emerald pools below. Both these waterfalls have wonderful afternoon-sun exposure, which is perfect for our late-day dip.

A ringside vie w as the falls gush down below

The Colora do R the G iver flows rand Canyo through n

merald g an e Explorin goon la

I’d absolutely do it all over again!

We are all up early on our last day in order to beat the afternoon sun knowing the last two miles will be the steep switchbacks to reach Hualapai Hilltop. We leave camp at 5:30 a.m., just in time to witness the sun’s morning light breaking over the ridge of the canyon walls. On the way out of the canyon, our group is split up in pairs as we each maintain our own pace. I can’t explain the feeling of achievement when reaching the top. In total, it is 2,400 feet to the rim and I am proud to say it takes me just about four hours to reach the trailhead. More importantly, I would absolutely do it all over again! Without question, the memories from my Grand Canyon trip will live with me for a lifetime.


Cliffside cam ping

pids in Dramatic ra action

tion Informares offer a Gratrndip.

Adventu se-supported on Outback , hor ortati Arizona imate six-day round transp al Ult ation ll g Canyon rom $2,195, a ut not intern re a f b Costing r is included, r-day options 5 a 4 ou 1,2 $ d n and ge hree- and f a T $1,395 ground . ts om h r f ig fl d se and , price available vely, with hor vailable. A 10% ti a c e s p s on e ti r agents op travel ortation transp is available to om ion es.c commiss aoa-adventur


the final word

the quirky side of travel – Sunny Christmas, British smells and Donald Trump –


lmost half of Brits are 'considering' dumping the traditional Christmas at home in favour of a sunny escape this year. Never mind winter wonderlands, according to it's sunshine and not Santa that is the strongest pull for prospective Christmas travellers. The USA, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Australia, UAE and South Africa were all popular getaways for Brits. Londoners are the most likely to go abroad this year, with 60% of stressed-out capitaldwellers ready to spend Christmas abroad, compared with just 32% of East Midlanders. Andrew Shelton, Managing Director at Cheapflights, said: “It really does seem to be a case of ‘brrrrr, humbug’ for Brits this year. Our search data indicates a 60% increase in demand for Christmas travel, year-on-year, suggesting more Brits than ever are ready to swap sherry for sangria this festive season.”

SOMETHING FISHY Britain will welcome hordes of Christmas tourists in the coming weeks, but what memory will they take away from the UK? The taste of tea perhaps? Or the sight of our rolling


Mythical creatures

Travelodge has released its 2016 weird requests log, which includes gems such as “Can you get a Unicorn to carry my engagement ring to my girlfriend?” and “What time do the dinosaurs come out on the Jurassic Coast?”

TOP 10… Filming road trips For clients wanting to follow in the footsteps of their favourite TV show or movie, has the top 10 locations for you to suggest:



The Walking Dead

Harry Potter UK


patchwork hills? Well according to a survey conducted by, over 40% of 5,000 tourists who have already visited Blighty said that the smell of fish and chips made them remember their trip most vividly. In second place was the scent of freshly-cut grass, followed by the perfume of an English rose and the smell of a Sunday roast. Try bottling that, Chanel.

Georgia, USA


Downton Abbey

Gilmore Girls New York




Breaking Bad

Game of Thrones

Croatia & Northern Ireland


New Mexico


USA COMING UP TRUMPS? Donald Trump's election win has caused plenty of people to speculate on the ramifications for the U.S tourism industry, but those onboard a Delta flight waiting to take off from Atlanta late last month got an immediate taste of how divisive the President-elect is. The airline had to issue a public apology for failing to boot off a passenger from the flight who went on an extended and unprovoked foul-mouthed pro-Trump rant. A video captured by a passenger garnered over two million hits.

The Hobbit

Star Trek

New Zealand

California & Arizona



Star Wars Tunisia



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Selling Travel December 2016  

The World in one Magazine Cover story: Kenya Read more features on... Turkey • Argentina • Queensland • Georgia, USA • What's Hot 2017

Selling Travel December 2016  

The World in one Magazine Cover story: Kenya Read more features on... Turkey • Argentina • Queensland • Georgia, USA • What's Hot 2017