Selling Travel December 2019

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Australia • Bavaria • Caribbean • Jordan • Kentucky • Mediterranean • Mexico • Movie Locations • Thailand • Travel Trends for 2020


SELLING TRAVEL • December 2019


december 2019 •









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WHAT’S YOUR VIBE? We’ve grouped our hotels into categories, so it’s easier to find your match. We’re good like that.

O U R S TA N D O U T COLLECTION World-renowned (and for good reason), these are the tour slots A-list acts are after. Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel, Ibiza Rocks, Hard Rock Ibiza, BH Mallorca and Noa Glamping Resort, are your ears burning? This famous five need no introduction, well, they’re hotel royalty after all.

BUDGET HQ, U N B E ATA B L E L O C AT I O N Stay in a basic base, play in an upbeat place – welcome to PARTY VIBE. You’re more about the strip than paying top dollar for a place to kip. These hotels plonk you right in the buzz of town, but still allow you to keep the costs down. We’re talking less of the frills, all of the thrills.

G R E AT P O S T C O D E , EVEN BETTER HOTEL Staying in is the new going out with PURE VIBE. Why leave the hotel when pool parties, daytime DJs and live stage performances are right here, right now? Ready to head out? You won’t have to step far to find the nearest bars. For the ultimate VIBE experience, PURE VIBE’s your guy (or gal).

NIGHTLIFE OPTIONAL, VIP-FEEL GUARANTEED If luxury’s your thing, then CHILLED is your VIBE. We’re talking poolside lounging with the hum of house tunes, rooftop cocktails and the sparkle of four or five stars. These hotels are a cut above the rest with exclusive extras and sophistication as standard – they’re an Insta story waiting to happen.

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SAFE HARBOUR Why the Mediterranean is still a safe sell and how to craft fresh experiences from an old favourite


Be inspired

2020 TRAVEL TRENDS Page 79

how to sell...

Caribbean Thailand Mexico and more...

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23 Years Running

1 35 MINS






1 Sandals Grande St. Lucian


2 Sandals Halcyon 3 Sandals Regency La Toc

S an dals R egency La To c Golf Cl u b at San dal s Reg ency La Toc

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this issue

WE TRAVEL FURTHER TO BRING YOU MORE FEATURES 08 Thailand: Why its a best 40 47 54 67 72

seller for adventure, luxury and food tourism Caribbean: The region is putting eco-tourism at the forefront Mexico: A rising star for 2020 Mediterranean: The love affair continues with new product Movie locations: Why set-jetting is a top trend Australia: The latest on this vast country

30 46






90 08



QUICK READS 30 How to sell: Bavaria 46 Six of the best: Small towns in Wyoming

52 My Journey: Kentucky 66 How to sell: Caribbean cruising

70 Celebrity interview: Sir Trevor McDonald

AWARDS 13 Presenting the winners of the Selling Travel Agents Choice awards 2019









TALKING SHOP 31 Opinion, incentives, industry news and more

2020 TRENDS 80 What's trending 84 87 88 90

for 2020 My Journey: Jordan Interview: Travel 2 New product Take 5: Dubai

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





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Jessica Pook, Sasha Wood & April Waterston CONTRIBUTING EDITORS:

Andy Hoskins & Julie Baxter EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge


Steve Thompson Sally Parker ADVERTISING MANAGER

Lisa Merrigan


Louisa Horton DESIGNERS

Ross Clifford, Caitlan Francis & Zoe Tarrant PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter


Matt Bonner CEO


Shani Kunar


Taking it slow


eople are always telling me to slow down. I have a tendency to rush around – even in the office I run from desk to desk and half the time there is no urgency required. So it's with great interest that I note one of the coming year's biggest travel trends - slow travel. I’ve seen this term pop up in several end-of-year trend reports, Kuoni’s, ABTA’s and’s for starters. It sounds like a passing trend, a phrase that is destined to join the buzz word cemetery along with hygge, but I suspect it’s something which we should actually be taking notice of. Laura Gelder As an editor, and naturally a lover of words, one thing I’ve EDITOR noticed creeping into the travel vernacular is ‘doing’ rather than ‘seeing’. “I really want to do Sri Lanka,” a friend told me recently. So persistant is this turn of phrase amongst both my work and social circles that I've caught myself using it too. But it's horrible because a destination doesn't exist to be 'done'. Slow travel feeds into several travel trends - sustainability, responsible travel and wellness. Slow travel can mean taking the train or bus instead of a series of domestic flights, therefore reducing carbon emissions; it can mean choosing to linger longer in a community so that your tourist dollar makes a difference; or it can mean simply taking the time to see, hear and smell a destination, rather than giving yourself a heart attack trying to reach all the classic Instagram spots. So, as we approach the most manic period of all Christmas, but also the peak booking period - perhaps we should all try to embrace this new trend. Merry Christmas and I wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous and much slower New Year!

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To enter, visit Premier Holidays, your tailor made Faraway experts 08444 937 444 Untitled-5 - Dec.indd 1 Welcome 4

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the big picture


Vienna Austria

Facing the music Vienna’s attractions don’t just sparkle at Christmas. Next year the city will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. He was just one of many great composers, like Mozart, Schubert and Brahms, who called the city home but this year-long celebration, with many concerts, makes it a great time to book a city break for music lovers. And if they really love the sound of music, it’s also The Salzburg Festival Centenary...

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does it

With its family-friendly attractions, luxury hotels, adventure sports and eco-friendly initiatives, Thailand goes way beyond the beach, says Jo Gardner

Khao Na Nai Luang Dharma Park

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he Big Boss loves bananas, I’m told. I take a bunch and tentatively hold them out for her to grab. Within a few seconds the entire lot has gone, skin and all. I don’t think she even chewed. We are at Samui Elephant Haven, the first sanctuary to be established on Koh Samui. Set on forested land, it offers a safe retirement home for elephants who have worked in tourism all their lives. “We opened Samui Elephant Haven just over a year ago and have already rescued 14 elephants from across Thailand and the tourist-trekking industry,” says founder Maew Suriya. “With their stressful lives now behind them, the elephants are free to spend time with each other in natural surrounds, foraging on plants and playing

in custom-built pools and mud pits. The facility costs £38,850 a month to run – but we do it for love, not money.” The elephants range from seven to 52 in age and, after a glorious hour feeding them, watching them play and laughing as they wash themselves, I can see how happy they are – their hardships seemingly erased through nurturing and love. As I tuck into a delicious Thai meal after my morning tour I wonder what life would be like without these beautiful creatures – with places like Samui Elephant Sanctuary in place, maybe I won’t have to.

Have your Thai and eat it Responsible travel continues to be at the heart of the country’s offering, with this year’s Thailand Responsible Awards


crowning a number of hotels dedicating to banning plastic. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is planning an Amazing Thailand Week in May 2020. The campaign, which will raise awareness of the destination amongst trade and consumers, will see TAT working with trade partners, airlines and restaurants across the UK. “We’ve seen growth in twin-centre holidays this year,” said Chiravadee Khunsub, Director of Tourism (UK & Ireland) at the Authority of Thailand (TAT). “Visitors are combining Chiang Rai with lesser-known Pai in the north and Ranong with Chumpon in the south. “Last year we launched ‘Eat Thai Visit Thai’ to highlight the country’s culinary offerings” he continued. “We then rolled

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Bird watching in sam roi yot

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out our new Distinctly Thai campaign to highlight the country’s high-end products, which are selling well. “The concept of ‘island hopping by design’ has seen an increase in tour operator sales too, with the coastal resort of Khao Lak – with its long stretch of beach and slower pace of life – continuing to rise in popularity,” he concluded. The beaches have been selling well for Travel 2, with Senior Product Manager for Asia & Oceania Rebecca Turner reporting a 34% rise for Krabi and 27% rise for Koh Samui in the last three months alone. “Family holidays to Thailand are ever increasing, with some good kids’ clubs, dedicated water-parks and family rooms readily available in the country,” said Turner. “Bookings for the family market are up 27% in the last three months.” In the hotel market, ONYX Hospitality Group has signed an agreement to manage a further three properties in the

Pattaya region. Slated to open between 2022 and 2025, the expansion will add a further 773 rooms to the group’s portfolio.

Holiday styles Twin centres: As most clients heading to Thailand will fly into Bangkok, why not suggest they stay a couple of nights before moving onto the islands? Years of investment has seen Bangkok morph into a fun, family-friendly and funky city that could easily rival parts of London. There’s plenty of green spaces to explore, the novelty of taking boats, tuk-tuks and sky trains and Chatuchak Weekend Market is a destination in itself, as well as family attractions like Kidzania. And when city fatigue sets in, hop on a boat to an idyllic island and relax. It’s a twin win-win. Food tourism: Whether it’s a crunchy Pad Thai or a zingy green curry, Thai food is well-loved the world over. You can join a cooking course just about anywhere in

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a resident at samui elephant haven

the country – from a locally-run school in Bangkok to taking part in a kitchen experience at a five-star island hotel. Food varies hugely between regions so there is always more to taste and learn – with fish dishes in the islands and cuisine influenced by neighbouring countries like Laos and Myanmar in the north. Eco-tourism: The TAT used this year’s World Travel Market to reveal the winners of its Responsible Tourism Awards, designed to recognise organisations in the tourism industry that have made an outstanding contribution to sustainable tourism developments. Winners and runners up included Poppies, a resort that went plastic-free in February 2018, Soneva Kiri, an eco-hotel that has developed its own carbon calculator to monitor its footprint; and Tongsai Bay, a resort that banned plastic an impressive 15 years’ ago, is a leader in sustainability. The country has plenty more options for those looking to be more green, from elephant sanctuaries to exploring national parks like Khao Sok. Adventure travel: While many people visiting Thailand are after a luxury fly and flop, the country – with its gushing rivers, tropical rainforests and surrounding seas - is also an adventure-lovers’ dream. Visitors can try stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, white-water rafting, diving, surfing, hiking, mountain biking, rock

one man and his longtail boat

climbing, horse riding, snorkelling, sky diving or bungee jumping. Pai, in the northeast, is a centre for sports like white-water rafting and trekking, while the Similan and Surin Islands in the south, reached from Phuket or Khao Lak, are famous for liveaboard diving trips. Luxury spa breaks: No hotel or resort is worth their salt these days without the presence of a spa, and Thailand is no exception. Whether your clients are stressed out, wishing to relax or wanting to be pampered there’s a massage, facial or hot tub waiting for them. Head to a five-star hotel or resort and the spa is likely to be world-class, with several saunas, hot tubs and infinity pools to wallow in, as well as an overwhelming choice of treatments, often using local ingredients. Try the Lancaster Hotel in Bangkok, which has an entire floor dedicated to Wellness, or the Six Senses Spa at the Evason Hua Hin on Ko Samui.


Street food at its best

“Recognised in the TAT’s Responsible Tourism Awards were Poppies, a resort that went plastic-free in February 2018; Soneva Kiri, an eco-hotel that has a carbon calculator to monitor its footprint; and Tongsai Bay Resort, which banned plastic an impressive 15 years’ ago”

Where to book it Intrepid Travel – 0808 274 5111 A 12-day Hike, Bike and Kayak tour is priced from £1,104pp including train travel, 11-nights’ accommodation, some meals, a two-day cycling tour, a three-day hill tribe trek and a two-day kayaking trip. 

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Thank you

to all our trade partners for voting for us as best Tour Operator for Short Haul Escorted Tours. We value your continued support. From the Agency Sales Team.

CONTACT OUR AGENCY SALES TEAM: Call for support: 01283 744307 | Email:

CALL RESERVATIONS 7 DAYS A WEEK: Call to book: 01283 744370 | Book online: Prices are based on two people sharing and are correct at time of print. Single supplements may apply. Operated by and subject to booking conditions of Riviera Travel, ABTA V4744 ATOL 3430 protected. Subject to availability. Additional entrance cost may apply. Images used in conjunction with Riviera Travel.

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Airlines & Airports

The w inners are...

Airline to the Far East: Singapore Airlines Highly Commended - Cathay Pacific

Airline to North America: Delta Air Lines

Destination for Beach – Short Haul: Cyprus Destination for Wildlife & Nature: Costa Rica Destination for Soft Adventure: Canada

For Solo Travellers: Saga Holidays Cruising Ocean Cruising – Short Haul: Cruise & Maritime Voyages

Highly Commended - New Zealand

Ocean Cruising - Long Haul: Silversea

Airline to Latin America & the Caribbean: Virgin Atlantic

Destination for Spa & Wellness: Maldives

River Cruising - Short Haul: Crystal River Cruises

Highly Commended - LATAM Airlines

Highly Commended - Thailand

Airline to the Middle East: Qatar Airways

Destination for Weddings & Honeymoons: Barbados

Highly Commended - Emirates

Airline to India & the Indian Ocean: Air Mauritius Airline to Europe: Jet2 Highly Commended - Air Malta

Airline to Africa: Ethiopian Airlines

Highly Commended - Mauritius

Destination for Eco Friendly: Australia Highly Commended - Nicaragua

Favourite Training Event/Roadshow: Caribbean Tourism Organization Highly Commended - Visit USA

Highly Commended - South African Airways

Airline to Australasia & the Pacific: Qantas Airways

Tour Operators Tour operator to Africa: African Pride

Airline for Business Class: ANA - All Nippon Airways

Tour Operator to Australasia & the Far East: G Adventures

Highly Commended - Etihad Airways

Highly Commended - Premier Holidays

Airline for Premium Class: Air New Zealand

Tour Operator to Europe & North Africa: Jet2 Holidays

Highly Commended - British Airways

Highly Commended - Shearings

Airline for Economy Class: Thai Airways

Tour Operator to India & the Indian Ocean: Osborne & Ebel

Overseas Regional Airline: Bangkok Airways Overseas Airport: Singapore Changi

Hotels Hotel/Group in Africa: Hilton Hotels & Resorts Hotel/Group in Australasia & the Far East: Dusit Hotels & Resorts Highly Commended - Shangri-La Hotel & Resorts

Highly Commended - Korean Air

Highly Commended - EL AL Israel Airlines

River Cruising – Long Haul: Scenic Cruises & Tours

Highly Commended - Travelpack

Tour Operator to Latin America & the Caribbean: Journey Latin America

Hotel/Group in Europe & North Africa: Iberostar Hotels & Resorts Hotel/Group in North America: Hyatt Hotels & Resorts Hotel/Group in Latin America & the Caribbean: AMResorts Hotel/Group in India & the Indian Ocean: Beachcomber Highly Commended - Lux Hotels

Hotel/Group in the Middle East: JA Beach Hotel Hotel/Group All-Inclusive: Sandals Highly Commended - Hard Rock Hotels All Inclusive Collection

UK Airport: Manchester

Tour Operator to the Middle East: Emirates Tours


Tour Operator to North America: North America Travel Service

City Break: Abu Dhabi

For Long Haul Escorted Tours: Titan Travel

Rail: Great Rail Journeys

For Short Haul Escorted Tours: Riviera Travel

Car Hire: Alamo Rent A Car

For Senior Travellers: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

UK Holidays: Shearings

Highly Commended - Tel Aviv

Destination for Beach – Long Haul: Mauritius Highly Commended - Cook Islands

Best of the rest Ticket Provider: Holiday Extras

Highly Commended - Flexible Autos

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ffor voting for us

Everyone at Titan is thrilled that we’ve been voted as the best Long Haul Escorted Tour Operator at the Selling Travel Agent Choice Awards 2019. To win for consecutive years is a huge compliment, and we thank everyone who took the time to vote for us. We look forward to working with you all through 2020.

Book online:

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Me e t t h e 9 1 0 2 s t ar s of

Congratulations to all the winners and those Highly Commended in the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards. Across 50 categories, covering destinations, accommodation, cruising, air travel, tour operators and more, here's who you voted for in 2019...

Airline to India & the Indian Ocean AIR MAURITIUS

City Break - ABU DHABI Pictured: Saeed Al Saaed and Husain AlHashmi. Saeed said: "We are delighted to have collected the award for the best city break destination– huge thanks to the agents who voted. Abu Dhabi is a brilliant city break option with sun, attractions and beaches for all."

Pictured: Jalloud Fakeermahamod and Ian Nash. Ian said: "We are delighted with our award and want to say thank you for voting. It’s a great achievement for the UK Air Mauritius team, clearly illustrating the positive impact our new onboard product is having in the UK market."

Airline for Premium Class AIR NEW ZEALAND Joanna Copestake said: "This award is especially meaningful given it’s voted for by agents who are crucial in selling Air New Zealand. It also reflects the dedication of our team who are committed to providing the uniquely Kiwi style of service for which we are renowned."

Tour operator to Africa - AFRICAN PRIDE Pictured are David Holland and Liz Hall. David said: "A huge thank you for voting African Pride best tour operator to Africa. We look forward to supporting you in 2020 with a fantastic new brochure and new products to deliver memorable holidays in Africa and the Indian Ocean."

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Crystal_SellingTravel_Winners_Ad_Nov19.qxp_Crystal_SellingTravel_Winners_Ad_Nov19 01/11/2019 12:17 Page 1


T HA N K YOU FOR VOT ING C RYSTAL R IVE R C R UISE S AS YOUR B E ST FOR R IVE R C RUI SI NG – S HOR T HAUL IN T HE 2019 AGE N TS C HOIC E AWA R DS. We are delighted to be your winner and your support is very much appreciated. Stay tuned in 2020 for even more of what you love from the World’s Best.

Mick Dupont

Head of Sales Tel: 07921 949469

Natalie Read

Regional Sales Manager South Tel: 07896 971316

Jon Schofield



Regional Sales Manager North & Scotland Tel: 07841 921533

Nan Short

Representative Northern Ireland & Eire Tel: 02890 642252

Megan Saunders

Trade Sales Support Executive Tel: 020 7399 7602


020 7399 7604

ABTA No.V8548

©2018 Crystal Cruises, LLC. Ships’ registry: The Bahamas.

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Hotel/Group in Latin America & the Caribbean - AM RESORTS

Car Hire - ALAMO RENT A CAR The Alamo team said: "Thank you to all the trade partners who took the time to vote for Alamo Rent A Car. We appreciate all your support and are looking forward to another great year working with you!"

Kieron Sellens said: "We're absolutely thrilled to win this award again. A massive thank you to all the agents who voted and have supported us throughout the year. We look forward to an amazing 2020!"

Airline for Business Class ANA - ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS

Destination for Eco Friendly AUSTRALIA

Pictured: Julie Murphy and Tatsuya Endo. Tatsuya said: “With the Olympics next year we will be building on the success of Japan’s growth in 2019, thanks to events like the ABTA Convention and Rugby World Cup. Our new leisure account executive will support agents to build on this.”

Pictured: Pete Mills and Silvija Bradford. Pete said: “Visitors love our natural environment, so we’re delighted for Australia to be recognised as the best eco-friendly destination. Huge thanks to the agents, our loyal Aussie Specialists and Selling Travel for their support!"

Overseas Regional Airline BANGKOK AIRWAYS

Hotel/Group in India & the Indian Ocean BEACHCOMBER

Pictured: Komkrit Ngamwongwirot and Andrew Hoskins. Andrew said: “We are delighted to be recognised for this award. It recognises that Bangkok Airlines is a unique carrier operating across Asia and Indochina.”

Pictured: Francois Venin, Samantha Ford and Nicolas Staub. Samantha said: “Thank you for your votes. We have lots planned for next year – we’re undertaking a huge renovation of the Shandrani hotel, which has been closed from October and is a tourist favourite.”

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Thank you for voting for us ‘Agents Choice for Ocean Cruising - Short Haul 2019’ • Britain’s leading independent cruise line • Specialists in no fly cruising holidays • Sailings from 15 UK and Ireland ports

Book online at: Call: 0844 414 6161 Agency Sales: 0844 414 6140 Brochures: Terms & conditions apply. Offered for sale in the UK by South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd trading as Cruise & Maritime Voyages. Calls cost 7p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge. ABTA V9945. 5648

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Fly Ethiopian From

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Favourite Training Event/Roadshow CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION

Destination for Soft Adventure - CANADA Adam Hanmer said: “Whatever the season, Canada offers all ages a range of adventure activities, from snowshoeing to whitewater rapids. Whatever agents choose they’re bound to leave customers with memories of a lifetime and glowing hearts.”

Pictured: Florian Valmy-Devillers, Carol Hay and Ann-Marie Brooks. Carol said: “Partnerships and training are key and we will continue to make sure the trade know and understand the Caribbean and how to position it to British travellers.”

Destination for Wildlife & Nature COSTA RICA

Destination for Beach – Short Haul - CYPRUS

Pictured: Juan Carlos Borbon and Ireth Rodrigues Villalobos. Juan said: “Thank you to all the agents for voting for us. We’re so pleased to see the industry sees Costa Rica as a wildlife destination of choice”

Stelios Constantinides said: “We want to thank everyone for being so supportive during this year and for giving us this award. It means a lot to gain recognition like this from the trade. Watch out for our new branding in 2020.”

Airline to North America DELTA AIR LINES

Tour Operator to the Middle East EMIRATES HOLIDAYS

Nadia Clinton said: “Thank you for your votes and support! We are overwhelmed and humbled to win. The award is very important to us, given that it’s voted for by agents in the industry.”

Victoria Robinson said: “A massive thank you to all, and we look forward to working with you closely next year.”

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Tour Operator to Australasia & the Far East G ADVENTURES

Airline to Africa - ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES Pictured: Timothy Bettney, Adele Cutler, Michael Yohannes and Mohammed Ali. Mohammad said: “This is the second year in a row that we have been voted best Airline to Africa. We now offer 10 flights from Heathrow and four from Manchester, which we are looking to increase.”

Pictured: Leah Whitfield and Brian Young. Brian said: "Thank you to the agents who voted and help us to connect travellers with the right adventure for them, helping to change the lives not only of those on our trips but also of the local communities in the destinations we visit."


Ticket Provider - HOLIDAY EXTRAS

Lindsay Dixon said: "This shows that the work we are doing with our trade partners is effective. We look forward to another great year in 2020 and in particular working with the trade to shout about our new River Cruise & Rail Tour combinations on the Rhine and the Danube."

Pictured: Kelly Parfitt, Hannah Loveit, Cassie Goodwin, Lindsay Garvey-Jones and Laura King. Lindsay said: “The trade is integral to what we do and the support from our business partners means the world to us. We’re always innovating so do let us know what your clients want!”

Hotel/Group in the Middle East JA BEACH HOTEL

Hotel/Group in Europe & North Africa IBEROSTAR HOTELS & RESORTS Oscar Luis Gonzalez said: "This award not only bolsters our leadership in customer satisfaction but also in building a responsible tourism model. Sustainability is at the heart of our business and our commitment to preserving the environment is consolidated through Wave of Change."

Thomas Grundner said: "With the newly refurbished JA Beach Hotel and new JA Lake View Hotel, there are now three amazing choices at JA The Resort. Over 40 experiences and 20-plus outlets means there's something for all! Thank you for voting and here's to a mutually successful 2020."

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Airline to Europe & Tour Operator to Europe & North Africa - JET2 & JET2 HOLIDAYS

Tour Operator to Latin America & the Caribbean - JOURNEY LATIN AMERICA

Alan Cross said: “There’s never been a better time for agents to capture customers because travellers need reassurance and the best way to get that is from a professional travel agent. For 2020, we will make sure we have the infrastructure and training in place to support them.”

Pictured: Jenny Powles and Luke Blezard. Jenny said: "Huge thanks to everyone who voted for us in this year’s Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards – we were absolutely delighted to win! It's our 40th anniversary next year and we are set to focus on responsible tourism."

Thank you for voting for Scenic as best for River Cruising – Long Haul in the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards 2019

Your support means so much to us. E2225 Selling Untitled-4 1 Travel December Dual Ad.indd 1

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Destination for Beach - Long Haul & MAURITIUS

UK Airport - MANCHESTER Pictured: Nico Spyrou and Olivia Bussey. Olivia said: “We are delighted to be awarded UK Airport of the Year for the third time. Next year we are spending one billion on projects with further development in terminal 2. We also expect many new long and short haul flights."

Pictured: Tim Henshall and Arvind Bundhun. Tim said: “We are honoured to win this award as it supplements our reputation as a leading romance and beach destination.” Mauritius was also highly commended as a destination for weddings and honeymoons

Tour Operator to North America NORTH AMERICA TRAVEL SERVICE

Tour Operator to India & the Indian Ocean OSBORNE & EBEL

Andy Chaplin said: “We just want to say a massive thank you to the trade for the votes. We have an amazing relationship with the trade and have done for years – we really appreciate it!”

Kalami House said: "Many thanks to all our agents and partners! We are looking forward to a positive 2020– look out for some exciting agent incentives!"

Airline to Australasia & the Pacific QANTAS AIRWAYS

Airline to the Middle East QATAR AIRWAYS

Stephanie Seymour said: ‘From advancements to the services available on Qantas Agency Connect and the evolvement of the Qantas Distribution Platform, we’ve got many great things in the pipeline for 2020. We’re also celebrating our centenary year too."

Gary Kershaw said: “We’re really grateful for the win - thank you for all your support.”

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For Short Haul Escorted Tours RIVIERA TRAVEL

For Solo Travellers - SAGA HOLIDAYS

Joanne Lynn said: "We would like to say a big thank you for voting us for to get this award, it really does mean a lot to all of the team at Riviera Travel who work so hard to deliver excellent customer service and a quality product."

Makala Thomas said: “We’re always looking for new and exciting ways for our solo travellers to see the world. Our new brochure will launch in 2020 with new products for those going solo.”

River Cruise - Long Haul SCENIC CRUISES & TOURS

Hotel/Group All Inclusive - SANDALS Pictured: Emily Smith, Simon Foster and Annabel Edney. Simon said: “We’ve had a multi-awardwinning year, so thank you for your support – both this year, and for the past 30.”

Joseph Grimley said: "We are so proud to have won the award for River Cruising – Long Haul. There are exciting times ahead for Scenic & Emerald Waterways in 2020, with a brand new product being launched early next year – watch this space!"

Ocean Cruising - Long Haul - SILVERSEA

UK Holidays - SHEARINGS Pictured: Lucy Osbourne and Jo Collins. Lucy said: “We work hard to make sure our UK programme offers agents all the latest products, events and themes that we know will drive demand into their shops – and there’s lots more to come for 2020.”

Peter Shanks said: "This is an award for our entire team and I will share it with everyone in the company, including the teams onboard our ships. Travel agents are invaluable to us because they bring first-time cruisers to Silversea."

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Airline for Economy Class - THAI AIRWAYS

Airline to the Far East - SINGAPORE AIRLINES Pictured: Louise Petter and Alexander Griggs. Louise said: “We are delighted to win! We really pride ourselves on service and hospitality. We love working with the UK travel industry and look forward to the year coming.”

Pictured: Sunata Trai-Ukos and Serena Kelly. Sunata said: “Our industry is competitive, but we need to work as a team and keep going. Travelling is important – people will always want to keep travelling and as an industry we need to adapt.”

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T Looking ahead... Thank you to all our readers who got involved in the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards. We were excited to add new categories this year to reflect the changing industry, including Destination for Eco-friendly Holidays. We have more exciting plans for next year's awards but rest assured, it will still be travel agents who are at the centre of it all."

For Long Haul Escorted Tours TITAN TRAVEL Ben Davis said: “ We’re really proud of the close relationship we hold with the trade and knowing that this award was voted for exclusively by agents means the world to us. Thank you again to everyone who voted for us, here’s to another successful year ahead!”

Laura Gelder, Editor, Selling Travel

H i g h ly Comme nde d





1. Destination for Beach – Long Haul: Cook Islands - Kay Jackson 2. Airline for Economy Class: El Al Israel Airlines – Nishi Caulleechurn, Robert Caudle and Malu Monenegro 3. Airline to the Middle East: Emirates – Robert Spencer 4. Airline for Business Class: Etihad Airways – Jeremy Pollock

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Thank you for helping us soar even higher. With your support, we’ve been named the Best Overseas Airport. You motivate us to deliver the best. Thank you for believing in us.

Sky Nets Jewel Changi Airport Singapore


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5. Destination for Soft Adventure: New Zealand – Kate Fenton 6. Destination for Eco-Friendly Holidays: Nicaragua – Ricardo Carioni and Anasha Campbell 7. Tour Operator to Australasia & the Far East: Premier Holidays – Clare Crowson 8. Destination for City Break: Tel Aviv – Oded Grofman and Michelle Roberts 9. Tour Operator to India & the Indian Ocean: Travelpack – Heena Bhudia, Vishal Patel and Suzanna Barrow 10. Favourite Training Event/Roadshow: Visit USA Roadshow - Pamela Newman 11. Hotel/Group All-Inclusive: Hard Rock Hotels All Inclusive Collection – Kelvin Dunk, Hilda Pinto and Graham Brooks 12. Hotel/ Group in India & the Indian Ocean: Lux Hotels – Sarah McGlynn 13. Airline for Premium Class: British Airways – Juan C Giraldo

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W hat you Won

Thanks for voting in our Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards and congratulations to all our worthy winners. Here's what you won just for taking part...

Travel essentials

Megan Stepney from STA Travel won a funky Vivid Sydney-themed iPad case and a lightweight Sydney beach towel courtesy of Destination New South Wales.

Two Eating Europe tickets

Nick Marks from Baldwins Travel won two tickets for a food tour with Eating Europe. The tour focuses on authentic food in local neighbourhoods. eatingeuropecom

One-night with dinner at Ness Walk, Scotland Patricia Rickerby from Cumbria Travel won a one-night stay at the newly-opened five-star Ness Walk in Inverness. Included is a fine dining experience in the hotel's Torrish restaurant.

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how to sell

Bavaria Next year Oberammergau, a small town in the Bavarian Alps, will host its once-a-decade Passion Play, but there are other reasons to sell this destination, says Stuart Forster Why sell it now? From May to October 2020, Oberammergau will host the once-a-decade Passion Play first performed in 1634. Combine it with Alpine walking, wellness treatments or driving between Bavaria’s historic landmarks — including Neuschwanstein, which inspired Disney’s Cinderella Castle.

Who to sell to History buffs will enjoy exploring the medieval centres of Bamberg and Regensburg. They are UNESCO World Heritage sites, as is the restored Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth, a city whose summer festival celebrates Wagner operas. Fans of outdoor activities may enjoy the Alpine hiking around GarmischPartenkirchen while the Danube Cycle Path is a flatter alternative for cyclists. For wine aficionados, a short break in Würzburg can be combined with one of the wine festivals held from May to September.

What to sell With world-class museums, beer halls and quality restaurants, Munich is an attractive year-round city break destination. The Linderhof and Nymphenburg palaces are good suggestions for day excursions. The Romantic Road, a scenic driving route between history-rich towns like Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl, is ideal for tasting local heritage and regional cuisine.


When to sell it Summer is the time for enjoying Bavaria’s mountains, lakes and outdoor activities. Autumn, though, can be unpredictable, particularly on high ground in the south. Once the ski season begins, pistes on the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain, remain open into April. Finding a room in Munich during the Oktoberfest can be tricky (and expensive). Beer lovers might enjoy the city’s Starkbierfest (March 13 to April 5) or Frühlingsfest (April 24 to May 10) instead. Nuremburg is home to the world’s biggest Christmas market. Augsburg and Regensburg host attractive alternatives.

How to sell it


Munich is Bavaria’s principal point of entry but flights to Nuremburg or Frankfurt can save clients time on the ground when visiting cities such as Würzburg, Bamberg and Bayreuth. Germany’s reliable rail network offers a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery between urban hubs.

Fly-drive breaks offers the chance to explore scenic routes like the German Alpine Road, Castle Road and the Limes Road (the frontier of the Roman Empire).

What’s new? From February 3, Lufthansa will operate a new direct service, six days a week, between Newcastle and Munich (but the Glasgow to Munich summer flight will reduce to twice). Leger Holidays has a new seven-day Chiemsee, Bavaria and Salzburg Winter Wonderland tour, departing February 10. 

BOOK IT WITH... FRED HOLIDAYS Fred Holidays offers a four-night Explore the Romantic Road fly-drive, landing in Frankfurt and departing from Munich. Priced from £999pp, the package includes flights, economy car rental and fourstar accommodation with breakfast. The route includes Würzburg, ob der Tauber, Neuschwanstein and Oberammergau. - 0800 988 3369

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Talking Shop INSPIRED BY YOU T h e i n s i d e t ra c k o n t ra v e l

Win a Singapore fam place Agents that identify three distinct areas in Singapore could win a place on a fam trip with Premier Holidays and the Singapore Tourism Board, taking place in March 2020. Or the runner up prize, a luxury afternoon tea for two at The Shard in London. To be in with a chance of winning visit premier and correctly identify the three destinations pictured.

Despite it being ty plen Ramadam, there's bay on to keep hunger at habi a fam to Abu D

Shop with Malaysia Airlines Agents can earn up to ÂŁ100 in shopping vouchers for every booking made with Malaysia Airlines. The incentive is valid for bookings logged before December 9, 2019 for travel until 2020. The airline has also partnered with Tourism Malaysia to help promote the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign.

Contents 39



Ticket to ride Webinars from Intrepid

Intrepid Travel has created webinars to support its 2020 brochures launch. The 13 brochures include: 18-29s Worldwide Adventures, Family Adventures and Adventure Cruising. The webinars can be found at the Intrepid Loves Agents Facebook page.

Book a luxury trip to India with Exsus Travel by March 31, 2020, to win a holiday – the operator's new India trip, featuring a train journey aboard the Deccan Odyssey. The prize is for two people and travels from Delhi to Mumbai.




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Our columnists

A new year is nearly upon us, but what lies in store? Our columnists talk about what they expect from 2020 and their predictions for travel trends

Yukon is Anneka's pick for lovers of Canada

The Nile will make a comeback, says James

I hope we'll sell more sustainable holidays that give back WE’VE HAD a good year – relatively steady – buoyed by our loyal customers as well as some new ones gained through advertising, client evenings and recommendations. So fingers crossed for a busy start to the year, as usual! We've seen a surge in winter sun requests already – Morocco, the Middle East and Sharm El Sheikh. South America enquiries have increased, as well as Japan, China and South Korea, showing that clients are keen to explore further afield. I hope we'll sell more sustainable holidays, and ones that give back to the community. I believe we all have a social conscience and want to enhance the places we love to visit. We now support Starfish Malawi, a charity run by one of our customers which supports education, health and agriculture in the country. We're also partnered with WaterToGo filtered drinking bottles, in an attempt to reduce plastic. I just saw a client for a debrief on their Rockies trip. They had a lovely time but were surprised by how busy some areas were compared to 2017. I sometimes struggle to balance sending clients to places on their wish-list and being mindful of over-tourism. But this was a chance to encourage them to visit other areas of Canada. They love driving and open spaces, so I recommended Yukon as a stunning, less populated area. Hopefully 2020 will see us promote new destinations, encourage sustainable practices and create unique holidays. Merry Christmas and have a positive, healthy, busy New Year!

NEXT YEAR may continue to be dominated by uncertainty and the travel-related downsides of Brexit, such as people putting off travel to Europe (which affects me as a river cruise specialist) or deciding to have a staycation, a cruise from UK shores or even a long haul trip. Expedition cruising is set to grow. The San Juan Islands off the Seattle coast, the Black Sea, and the Northern Australian waters are all on the hot list. And as for the rivers, I predict the Nile with make a comeback and Indian rivers and inland waterways of the USA will all show increased demand. Hopefully there will be no news to match the collapse of Monarch or Thomas Cook, but I fear that the number of people

Expedition cruising is set to grow and the Nile will make a comeback travelling either without travel insurance or booking through 'middle men' who have no bonding are all disasters waiting to happen. The legitimate experienced agent with extensive knowledge of the destinations they focus on will become more valuable. I'm just back from a few nights on the Seine, onboard the AmaLyra - a 144-passenger ship with a sundeck, fitness room and a fleet of onboard bicycles for passengers to use. With lovely November weather and stops in France, Austria and Budapest, it made for an excellent short break only marred by another horrendous arrivals experience at Birmingham Airport.



Southern Cross Travel, East Sussex

Go Cruise, Cruise specialist, Worcestershire

Anneka Desrosiers

James Hill

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Our columnists

Sporting events and TV have a huge influence on customers' holiday choices OUR FINANCIAL year ended in October so we had a good team catch up to discuss trends, figures and opportunities for 2020. Japan was a popular destination this year, with many holidays sold for rugby fans, all of whom came back loving the country. International sporting events and TV have a huge influence on customers' holiday choices, whether it’s a cruise documentary or a specific destination. The Silk Road and iconic rail journeys have been in demand following popular TV programmes. We are lucky to work with specialist tour operators who can help package some amazing itineraries. Recently we were asked to arrange a holiday to Chernobyl, another destination that's been on our screens, and found a great itinerary for them. It's been a busy November, and feedback from clients showed they had delayed booking to see what happened with Brexit. With snow already falling in some European mountain resorts, we’ve seen quite a few ski bookings and some amazing cruise deals for Summer 2020. Cruising is a very competitive market, with so many new ships and itineraries, so it’s a great time for first-time cruisers to get a good deal. We have a number of training events coming up before Christmas, an opportunity to refresh knowledge, make new contacts and find out what's happening in 2020. Last, but not least, I'm finalising plans for our Holiday Show in January. More about that, next time!

I CERTAINLY hope the travel industry doesn't suffer from as many natural and financial disasters as it did this year. In terms of trends, I think TV will continue to influence where people holiday in 2020. We as consumers seem to be inundated by programmes involving travel. Rail journeys and river cruising seem to be featuring more and, of course, David Attenborough is back on our screens with his new series Seven Worlds – One Planet. I'm sure a lot of people would like a taste of the places covered in these programmes. I certainly think Borneo will be a rising star. I was very lucky to go to Borneo many years ago, to visit the orangutans, and didn’t want to leave. These programmes certainly seem to inspire people to think differently about travel and do something a bit different to a fly and flop - although they are still very much in demand. Thank you to Tasmin Bishop, the new Business Development Manager for Sandals, who hosted a dinner to introduce herself and tell us more about the wonderful properties that Sandals have. I also attended the Yorkshire ABTA meeting in Leeds and was lucky to win a bottle of Champagne donated by Travelpack in the ABTA Lifeline raffle. I would encourage tour operators to show the love by getting (or sharing) a table at the Love Travel Party on February 13, 2020 at the Village Hotel, Leeds. Alongside raising money for animal charities, we also aim to raise £1000 for ABTA Lifeline, who do so much for the trade. Email:

Borneo will be a rising star, thanks to David Attenborough



The Travel Team, Brampton, Cumbria

Sandy's Travel Escapes

Liz Beaty

Sandy Murray

Liz and Sandy agree that TV, including nature documentaries will influence bookings

Sandy won Champagne from Travelpack Next month our columnists talk about... How to get through the 2020 peak bookings season in style

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agents talk


S e l l i n g Tra v e l l i s t e n s

This month #agentstalk about... Get social with us:




Agents overheard

Travel Agent rants & raves This month Jenny Jackson asked: "Which is the best consortium to join when opening a new travel business?"

"Client asked: 'What time do they turn the Northern lights on usually?"

Jenny Jackson Founder of Luxury Travel Guru

“Can you find me a hotel in Spain where they don’t speak Spanish?”

“The Travel Network Group has a range of options and leaves you to manage your own business. It's not a franchise, so if anything happens you still have your business.” “I'm with Brilliant Travel and highly recommend them, especially for direct product." "I recently moved to the Travel Trust Association. It’s the best business decision I have ever made." "Advantage Managed Services are fabulous, I'm so glad we made the decision to go with them."

"I'm now with Hays and can't believe how many companies we can use compared to Thomas Cook"

"Protected Trust Services does what it says on the tin. They are the only firm who could get me an ATOL licence... but no consortium is perfect."

"Global Travel Group have my vote. I like the support and the ethos of the company, everyone is so friendly, and the agents support each other."

"Travel Network Group are superb. Very supportive and really care for your agency. Excellent with marketing too"

"Advantage are brilliant. I'd really recommend."

"Midcounties Co-operative is owned by its members."

"Client requested a high floor at her hotel as there had been shark sightings. I couldn't resist reminding her that they don't walk on dry land"

"Client asked: 'When you go on a plane, do you see your dead relatives sitting on the clouds?"

0208 585 4020





7nts, UNICO 20N 87W - Riviera Maya Board Basis : All Inclusive Travel : 16 May 20


13nts, Chicago to the Golden State

Chicago • Mt. Rushmore • Yellowstone • Bryce Canyon Grand Canyon • Los Angeles - Santa Barbara & more Travel : 10 Jun 20



19nts, Aloha Discovery

Los Angeles • San Diego • Palm Springs • Zion Monument Valley • San Francisco • Hawaii & more Travel : 30 Apr 20

Package includes flights, accommodation & sightseeings. Untitled-15 1

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11/27/19 04:05 PM



w i t h Tra v e l Ma t t e r s

Travel agents make a go for green As London-based agency Travel Matters celebrates its 20th anniversary, Jessica Pook speaks to Karen Simmonds about its sustainability initiatives and how she plans to make travel matter in 2020. "As travel professionals it is our responsibility to inform clients about how they can make better choices. Being on the frontline means we can educate and influence clients about how they reach a destination and what they do once there. Our Make Travel Matter campaign ( is an awareness initiative that does just that. "It's part of our booking process to spark up a conversation about getting to a destination, perhaps encouraging train journeys where possible. We'll also question why they choose a particular place over another, highlight certain conservation practices, local employment provision or talk about social and environmental impact as well as expose potential problems around overcrowding, animal welfare, fair trade or employment. "The industry has truly woken up to the fact that the environment is of upmost importance – hoteliers, accommodation providers, transport companies and airlines are all now playing their part in the conversation on sustainable travel - and it's about time too.

with the charity Trees for Cities (treesforcities. org), which means that for every holiday booked through Travel Matters the charity will plant a tree and maintain it for a year. "We are a supporter of The Galápagos Conservation Trust (galapagosconservation. org) and help with awareness of their work in the region. We also support the Travel Foundation (, a business that benefits local communities and protects the environment.

Training tools A new age of traveller

"It's great that some countries are banning single-use plastics – hurrah for David Attenborough and his Blue Planet series. Our understanding of travelling sustainable has changed and there's no longer a danger of being called a hippy, soap dodger or tree hugger if you choose to go back to nature and escape the slog of urban demands. "More travellers are expecting to see hotels make a concious effort to recycle, use low-energy bulbs, water-saving devices and smart tech where possible and get rid of single-use plastics. "As a business, we are currently working

"I've recently returned from the Azores and a Connections Way networking trip, a training formula which works very well for me. Connections Way is a global networking platform for senior decision makers to create long-lasting business relationships by sharing an experience together. It’s a very different way of doing a conference but one that I would recommend."

nding of a t s r e d Our un g sustainably travellin changed has

0208 585 4020






9nts, Tour of Taj, Raj to Sacred Amritsar

4nts, Kenya Safari Short Break

Delhi • Kalka • Shimla • Chandigarh • Amritsar • Agra

Nairobi • Lake Nakuru • Masai Mara

Travel : 1 Oct 19 - 9 Dec 19

Travel : 30 Dec 19 - 2 Feb 20



5nts, Abu Dhabi - Emirates Palace Board Basis : Half Board Travel : 11 May 20 - 11 Jul 20

Package includes flights, accommodation & sightseeings. Untitled-15 1

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BEEN THERE, DONE THAT Tra i n i n g , e v e n t s a n d f a m t r i p s

Adventure, luxury and romance in Saint Lucia

The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority hosted three separate fam trips in 2019, centered around dive and adventure, luxury, and romance. Ziplining, a hike to Gros Piton, kayaking, biking, diving and a Segway experience kept nine agents busy on the dive and adventure trip. Meanwhile, those on the luxury trip enjoyed a slower pace with a Bean to Bar Experience at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, a body scrub workshop at Marigot Bay Resort, Spa and Marina and spa treatments at BodyHoliday. Those on the romance-themed fam took to the waters for a sunset cruise with Carnival Luxury.

Maldives brings the ‘Sunny Side of Life’

Agents were encouraged to ‘Journey to the Sunny Side’ as part of a three-city roadshow held by Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC). Agents met with 17 hotels and resorts from the Maldives in Dublin, Manchester and Glasgow and heard of the latest developments, including the new Gulf Air five-times-weekly flight from Heathrow to Malé, via Bahrain. At each event agents had the chance to win prizes that included five nights at Reethi Faru Resort on a full-board basis.

Mega fam takes in the best of Abu Dhabi

Agents from London, Dublin and Manchester converged in the United Arab Emirates capital during a five-day mega fam conducted by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and Etihad Airways. As well as touring some of Abu Dhabi’s top-selling hotels, the group spent time admiring the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, lounging in the various cabanas at the luxurious Zaya Nurai Island Resort and zipping around the Warner Bros. World theme park.

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Have you enjoyed an interesting trade event or been on a trip or fam that you would like to see featured on this page? Email

Festival fever


Director at Sackville Travel Services Ltd.


Visit Seattle offers the best of both worlds

Visit Seattle and Norwegian Air combined city living with the great outdoors on a fam trip to Washington's Olympic Peninsula and Seattle. The group of agents spent three nights exploring the Pacific Northwest, which included a stop at the Mountain Ridge viewpoint overlooking Olympic National Park. The remaining three nights were spent in Seattle, one of the highlights being a Savor Seattle Food Tour which led the group through the Pike Place Market in the heart of Seattle’s downtown.;

It’s only the first night at the St. Kitts Music Festival but already the energy is electric as we all dance along with the local artists. I’m so in awe of the woman on stage. Trinidad-born Nadia Batson is fierce, sassy and full of female empowerment and she’s getting me in the mood to party. Ranging from local Caribbean artists to international stars, I'm amazed at how diverse the line-up is. One minute I'm listening to Kittitian artists, proudly playing in their home town, and the next I'm rapping along to French Montana’s top hits, singing along to Ella Mai's pop tunes and swaying to Smokey Robinson's classics.


Travel training with a twist

The Travel Franchise and its sister travel arm Not Just Travel took over 80 travel consultants to Marrakesh as part of its annual Millionaire’s Retreat training. It was a case of 'work hard, play hard' as the agents took part in entrepreneurial training before enjoying shopping in Marrakesh and quad biking in the desert. Jodie Stuart, Key Account Manager for the South East with Gold Medal and Travel 2, described the trip as: “the best training I’ve seen homeworkers get!”

By the third day I feel like a festival pro. I’ve found the best spot in the VIP area, with unobstructed views of the stage, located all the seating areas for when I need a rest inbetween acts, and I’ve even brought one of those light-up drinks to wave around in the crowd. When it's time for the headline act I can hardly contain myself. Buju Banton - one of the most popular reggae artists of the decade - is the closing act at this year's festival and puts on an hour-long set to a packed-out arena. I can't help but smile as I watch the crowd around me all singing in unison thoroughly enjoying the final performance. As fireworks erupt to mark the end of another successful event, I'm relieved to find taxis readily available at the exit to take us home. And as I replay genres, from reggae, soca and calypso to jazz, rap and pop, in the car I'm already thinking about what the line-up will be for next year's festival.

at for your bookings Get cash incentives uk

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Abu Dhabi

Old traditions meet modern thrills BY TRACY LAWFORD, SENIOR SALES CONSULTANT, CO-OPERATIVE TRAVEL, BROWNHILLS When I was first told I would be visiting Abu Dhabi during Ramadan (when Muslims fast during sunrise and sunset for a month), I couldn’t help but think of my stomach. Knowing that food and drink may be limited was a concern, but I needn’t have worried. Whilst some restaurants were closed during the day, food and drink was readily available at the hotels, and it wasn’t long before our group of top-selling Co-Operative agents were tucking into a 'suhoor', an authentic Arabian morning meal served in a traditional Al Andalus tent. Only 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi airport and 10 minutes from downtown, The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort provided the perfect base for our trip. Meaning ‘happiness island’, Saadiyat is surrounded by soft sand and warm sea, creating the perfect conditions for nesting turtles and dolphins. We visited many of Abu Dhabi’s most luxurious hotels, but none more so than the W Hotel on Yas Island, which is built half on land and half over water. We enjoyed Champagne and canapés in the Presidential Suite overlooking the F1 racetrack. The splendour continued with every hotel visit. The Park Hyatt was a favourite of mine, with amazing views spanning out

to sea; but the Emirates Palace undoubtably wowed with its grand entrance, award-winning dining experiences and private marina; and Jumeirah Al Wathba, a desert hotel and spa, was the perfect place to relax. Infrastructure is impressive throughout the Emirate, from ABU DHABI awe-inspiring mosques to ultramodern theme parks. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is home to Formula Rossa, the world's fastest roller coaster, but more kidsfriendly was Warner Brothers World, with its rides starring Scooby Doo and Bugs Bunny. Those looking for culture will find it at the The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a must see. As well as being the largest mosque in the UAE, it also demonstrates the balance of traditional and modern new that makes this country an easy-sell.

Main: Co-op agents outside Emirate Palace. From top, clockwise: Warner Brothers World; Trackside at Ferrari World; The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque; Fairmont Marina

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Travel people on the move

K e lv i n D u n k

k at e r i na l at i m e r

TO: Business Development Manager South, RCD Hotels

TO: Head of Trade and Homeworking, Not Just Travel

Kelvin will be visiting agents from across the region to provide oneon-one training on the RCD Hotels portfolio of properties across Mexico, the USA and the Caribbean, highlighting their different brand USPs.

Katerina is tasked with recruiting homeworkers for the company's new trade homeworking division. Not Just Travel expecys its growth will accelerate further and faster by recruiting top experienced agents.

MEET... Margaret Fuqua Kentucky Tourism

Introducing... Kentucky Why book Kentucky?

J e s s i c a C ar n e y

Am y D r u m m o n d

TO: Product Manager for Asia and Austalasia, Elegant Resorts

TO: Account Manager for Scotland and Ireland, Newmarket Holidays

Jessica’s role is key in developing product in Asia and Australasia. For 2020, she will work on increasing the operator’s presence in Thailand while also growing destinations such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Fiji.

Amy has previous experience working for Cara Hotels Marketing, Funway Holidays and Barrhead Travel. She will grow partnerships in Scotland and Ireland by sharing Newmarket's range of tours.

Kentucky has a knack for surprising people. Its close proximity to Nashville (under a three-hour drive) makes it the perfect add-on to a Southern multi-centre trip, and with cities such as cosmopolitan Louisville, arty and musical Owensboro and horse capital of the world Lexington, there’s certainly enough to keep you here.

What sets it apart from other states? We’ve got a secret ingredient: bourbon. With barrels outnumbering people 2:1 there won’t be a dull party any time soon. Enjoy it in an Old Fashioned cocktail or as a sauce drizzled over fried chicken. We have our own sound in the form of Bluegrass music, this plucky genre can be discovered at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. We also have a love for horses and host one of America’s most famous races: the Kentucky Derby.

What would surprise readers?

M ar k M u r e n

M ar i a E r s m ar k e r

TO: Head of Global Sales, British Airways

TO: Business Development Manager for the South East & Channel Islands, AmaWaterways

As part of the Commercial team, Mark will be overseeing the airline’s relationships with agents, with the aim of strengthening them, building new ones and increasing the value for customers and trade partners.

Maria's appointment marks the completion of AmaWaterways' sales team expansion. With another ship due to join the fleet next summer, Maria will help to support existing partners and widen trade distribution.

Not to brag, but some pretty talented people originate from Kentucky. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was born in Louisville and the museum there dedicated to his legacy is a must-see. Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th President, spent his early years here and visitors can take in his humble beginnings at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgensville. And let’s not forget Hollywood golden girl Jennifer Lawrence, who is also a proud Kentuckian.

WIN A BOTTLE OF BOURBON! Answer one question to be in with a chance of winning.



Getting the

green light With the preservation of the planet at the forefront of everyone’s minds, Jo gardner takes an eco-friendly tour of the Caribbean

maho beach, sT. maarTen


fisherman, guyana

an endangered blue iguana, cayman islands

eden roc, sT barTs

cycling in belize

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The pitons of St. Lucia

s my catamaran nears the tiny island of Nevis, I have a horrible feeling I may have boarded the wrong boat. In my imagination the Caribbean is made up of sprawling resorts and rum bars pumping out reggae, but as I stare out at the green volcano rising majestically out of the sparkling sea, just birdsong fills the air. Covering just 36 square miles, Nevis is one of the smallest islands in the Caribbean and is all the better for it. Vervet monkeys – originally from Africa but left by the French 300 years ago – outnumber humans two-toone; the rainforests are lush, verdant and largely undisturbed. “Ecotourism is more than just a buzzword here,” says my guide as we walk through towering trees in the rainforest, stepping aside for bleating goats and watching birds soar high above us. “Construction 1,000 feet above sea level is forbidden,” he continues. “And sea turtles frequent the shores each year.” But it’s not just nature that attracts visitors to Nevis: the oldest British colony in the Caribbean was the most important export crop for sugar in 1655. Many of the plantations have fallen by the wayside but a handful have been converted into charming places to stay, with many of the original features lovingly restored, including traditional wooden shutters, large ceiling fans and verandas perfect for a refreshing evening G&T. If you can tear yourself away from your colonial crib, there’s snorkelling, sailing, sipping rum at a beachside shack or reading a book on a hammock strung between swaying palm trees on offer. At breakfast the next morning, a bird flies onto my table and begins tweeting as if to say “told you so,” but I’m already converted. Nevis, you have my heart.


Climate change is to blame and flying is the number one culprit... It’s a bleak picture, especially for places at the front line, like the Caribbean. It’s a destination which is hugely dependent on the tourist dollar but also heavily affected by climate change, evident in the increasing frequency and crushing might of the hurricanes which visit its shores, the latest being Dorian that devastated islands in the Bahamas. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the Caribbean is the most tourism-intensive region in the world. So, short of stopping travelling altogether, what can be done to prevent further damage to the places we love? This is where responsible tourism comes in. For the aviation industry this means more sustainable fuel sources; for governments it’s restricting development and introducing laws which incentivise green practices; and for businesses on the ground, it’s changing the way they run – from a complete ban on plastic to sourcing local produce for restaurants or giving back to communities. Travellers must also think carefully about their travel, from how often they fly to what they do when they are there – quad biking on the sand dunes may be on offer but is it environmentally friendly? “It’s about balancing the enjoyment and benefits of today’s assets against the

The race against time Some scientists predict that by the end of the century coral reefs could disappear, safari destinations be plagued by drought and Venice will be fully immersed in water.

beach walk, grenada

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kayaking in nevis

goat, curacao

“It’s about balancing the enjoyment and benefits of today’s assets against the duty that we all have to ensure their ability to be enjoyed for future generations” Hugh Riley, CEO, Caribbean Tourism Organization

Dominican Sisserou parrot

A cocoa pod

Belize’s famous blue hole

duty that we all have to ensure their ability to be enjoyed for future generations,” said Hugh Riley, CEO of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. He adds: “The sheer volume of enhanced aircraft operations, cruise passengers and international visitors takes a toll on any destination, and as a region that is all too familiar with devastation caused by natural disasters, sustainable tourism is more crucial than ever in the Caribbean. Riley says that many Caribbean countries are already implementing more sustainable practices to reduce the impact on the natural environment. “The goal is to create a carbon-neutral environment,” he says. “A space in which we can lead the world in demonstrating how to reduce our carbon footprint. And that doesn’t mean stopping the planes from coming, but finding creative ways to engage in responsible tourism.” Among the nations making great strides towards an eco-friendly future is Belize - 27% of its landscape is dedicated to national parks; tiny St. Eustatius has made sure there are minimum diving pressures introduced, despite this being its biggest draw; and Guyana is making tourism sustainable through job creation. So Nevis has the right idea: keep buildings low, don’t create new hotels when you can convert old sugar plantations and let the rainforest rule. As for the rest of the Caribbean: watch this space.

What’s new? Rum crunch: St Lucia’s luxury Cap Maison resort has launched a new Chasing Food and Rum tour to enable guests to learn more about the rum trade on the island. The package includes a food and rumtasting experience with an expert ‘rummier’, a visit to a distillery and a Creole cooking class taken by a local in their home. New lift: Virgin Atlantic has introduced

new flights into Barbados from Gatwick and Manchester for the winter 2019/2020 season. Operating on Boeing 747 and Airbus A330-200 aircraft, a third-weekly flight will fly from Manchester to the island as part of the airline’s expansion at Manchester airport. Passengers travelling from Gatwick to Barbados will be able to choose from up to nine flights a week over the winter period. Boutique chic: Caribtours has launched a new boutique hotels brochure to coincide with its 40th anniversary. ‘Our Boutique Collection’ features small, privately owned luxury properties all over the Caribbean, including St Lucia’s Jade Mountain, Antigua’s Curtain Bluff, Nevis’ Montpelier Plantation and Cotton House in Mustique.

Experiences Guilt-free chocolate in Grenada: Dating back to the late 1600s, Grenada’s Belmont Estate is the oldest working plantation on the island with an organic farm, pristine gardens and a heritage museum. See how chocolate is made in the factory, watch the drying process known as ‘walking the cocoa’ (employees use the soles of their feet to dry the beans) and have lunch on the organic farm before touring the museum to learn about the history of chocolate in the area. Turtle watching in Tobago: From March to early September, turtles gather in their hundreds on the Western side of Tobago – an experience that nature lovers will never forget. Watch as experts track and release the turtles in order to gain important information about their habits and whereabouts. The information is used to help preserve the species and is passed to children at local schools so that they can learn more about where they live. Horse riding in the Bahamas: Saddle up for a tour of Grand Bahama on horseback, a two-hour guided trail ride


5 f

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BW_Se Untitled


flamingo, bahamas

from the top of the island through forest and around the castle. The horse will then take riders over the sand dunes and for a canter along the beach. The tour ends with a swim in the ocean – let your steed guide you into the water for the swim with a difference! Stay in an eco-lodge in Guyana: There are numerous eco-lodges and campsites in Guyana’s rainforest interior including Iwokrama River Lodge, where clients can boat, fish and swim in

natural waters and Atta Rainforest Lodge, at the base of a canopy walk of suspension bridges 33 metres above the forest floor. Jaguar sightings are not uncommon. Rainforest walk in Guadeloupe: The Guadeloupe National Park covers huge swathe of the island BasseTerre and together with the Grand Culde-Sac Marin Nature Reserve makes a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Visitors can trek some 300km of trails, some leading to the summit of La Soufriere, the volcano


Puerto rico

which marks the highest point of the Antilles. Waterfalls, vibrant tropical flowers and a wealth of bird life are other draws.

Where To Book It Elegant resorts – 01244 897 000 Elegant Resorts offers a seven night-stay in a Premier Room at Montpelier Plantation Beach, Nevis from £840pp, based on two sharing, including breakfast and transfers. 

V i l l a C o l l e C t i o n at B l u e Wat e r s

50% saving on Villas & Cove Penthouses for stays 7th January – 27th March 2020 BW_Selling_Travel_Ad_210x146mm.indd 1 Caribbean.indd Untitled-4 1 43

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NYC's Always welcome

Nashville New Year Bon Voyage has a four-night New Year’s Nashville package. Priced from £1,235pp it includes flights with British Airways, leaving Heathrow on December 29, and


accommodation at the Preston Hotel, near the airport. Alternatively, the centrally located Indigo Hotel is available from £1,599pp.

Hyatt, whose brands include Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Andaz, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Thompson Hotels, Hyatt House and Hyatt Place, have several new U.S. openings planned for 2020. These include Andaz Palm Springs, Hyatt Centric 39th & 5th New York, Hyatt Place, Tulsa, and Thompson Washington D.C.

Atlantic City Loop! Atlantic City is promoting its Orange Loop!, which takes its name from the U.S. version of Monopoly. A block back from the famous Boardwalk, the ‘orange’ streets in the game – Tennessee Avenue, St. James Place and New York Avenue –

NYC & Company has launched a refreshed version of its 'Famous Original New York City' campaign. The promotion, which has the tagline, 'Welcomes You. Always', will be rolled out in 22 global markets, including Ireland for the first time. New for this year is a toolkit designed to help promote New York City, with trade resources such as images and video, showcasing the five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. NYC & Company, which expects to break a record for annual visitors in 2019 (14 million), has partnered with tour operators and airlines to offer packages and flight-only deals in the first quarter of the year. The tourism body is also launching a more personalised experience on, the official guide for attractions across NYC. The hub will allow users to plan a visit and navigate the destination by offering ‘favouriting’ tools as well as recommendations.

comprise three blocks of restaurants,

bars, live music, yoga and more.

Brewing in Denver Denver, Colorado, is one of

the craft beer centres of the U.S. with more than 100 brewpubs, breweries and tap rooms in the metro area alone. To help visitors discover some of the best, Visit Denver has set up the Denver Beer Trail which includes self-guided and escorted tours.

BLOG From a Pow Wow in North Dakota

to the battlefield at Little Big Horn in Montana to the Crazy Horse Monument, – the world's largest mountain carving – in South Dakota there is a multitude of events, attractions and landmarks that offer the chance to learn about Native American history and culture. See Blog content at Look out for our Visit USA (UK) online Travel Update for the pick of members' news

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Then Check out these Visit USA UK members

For a complete list of Visit USA tour operator members see

What are the main benefits of membership? It offers us the chance to attend Visit USA's events and to connect with the UK Travel industry. Why should a travel agent sell an EagleRider itinerary? They offer a unique way for clients to see the USA. We have over 250 locations so can cover any area a client wishes to visit.


• America As You Like It • AmeriCan Worldwide Travel • Amtrak Vacations • Complete North America • Frontier America • Grand American Adventures • North America Travel Service • Premier Holidays • Purely America • Travelsphere • TrekAmerica • Vacations to America • Vacations By Rail

When did EagleRider join the Visit USA Association? We have been a member since the early 2000’s

Are they for experienced motorcycle riders only? No, our tours are suitable for all levels of rider - although we recommend 12 months' experience on a largecapacity motorcycles. There is an itinerary to suit all levels.

See The Light show in Chicago Visitors to Chicago this December will be able to take their seats at the city’s newest stage production. The Light in Piazza, a six-time Tonyaward-winning musical, will open at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on December 14 and run until December 29. The show, about ‘the thrill of first love’, stars soprano Renee Fleming, Alex Jennings of Netflix’s The Crown and Solea Pfeiffer. Fleming stars as Margaret Johnson in a tale set in a sun-drenched Florence in the summer of 1953. As Johnson and her daughter Clara (Pfeiffer) take in the city's wonders, a fateful gust of wind whisks Clara's hat into the hands of local dreamer Fabrizio Naccarelli – and it's amore at first sight. The New York Times describes the show as having ‘the most intensely romantic score of any musical since West Side Story’.;

What are the ‘classic’ U.S. routes popular with clients? Route 66 is our gateway tour but our Wild West, Pacific Coast Highway, Alaskan Adventures and Canadian Rockies tours are also hugely popular choices. How can travel agents learn more about EagleRider? Travel agents can visit our website or call me on 01604 300 011 or email:

Subscribe to the Visit USA (UK) online Travel Update at

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six of the best

Small western towns of


With Wyoming it’s all about the journey, and calling in at small towns is the best way to soak up the culture of the Cowboy State Buffalo Tucked away between the rolling plains of the Old West and the towering peaks of the Bighorn Mountains, Buffalo prides itself on its Western hospitality. Check into the Occidental Hotel, where famous guests have included Butch Cassidy and the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill and a young Teddy Roosevelt. There are even original bullet holes in the saloon!

Casper If clients are looking for an outdoor adventure, friendly Casper makes a brilliant base. Visitors should stop in at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, which evokes the journeys of 1800s pioneers. Afterwards they can search for waterfalls at Casper Mountain, kayak down the North Platte River, look for local wildlife at Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park or rock climb in Fremont Canyon.

Cody This atmospheric cowboy town has streets wide enough for wagons, and while most ranch owners roll into town in SUVs these days it still accommodates rodeos and horse markets. Visitors who stay the night should book in at the Irma Hotel - built by Buffalo Bill himself and oozing Old West charm, it’s the best place in town for prime rib. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is an impressive museum and not to be missed.

Laramie Get a taste of what it was like to be an inmate back in 1872 at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site. Don’t worry, you’ll be let out of your cell to explore the various artifacts and exhibits onsite. Laramie is also the home of the University of Wyoming, which hosts regular college football games. With reasonably priced tickets and a great atmosphere, a game is well worth seeing.

Riverton Part of the Wind River Indian Reservation, Riverton is home to the Northern Arapaho community which celebrates their native heritage through song, dance and storytelling between June and August. Other than enjoying the natural attractions of the Wind River Mountains, visitors can stop in at the Wind River Heritage Center to see exhibits on the fur trade, western exploration, wildlife and more.

Sundance Named after a Native American ceremony, Sundance then gave its name to horse thief Harry Longabaugh, dubbed the Sundance Kid after spending 18 months in its jail and then immortalised in the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The town acts as a great base for Devils Tower National Monument - an iconic rock formation which starred in another film Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

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mexico mexico




Spectacular wildlife, stunning beach resorts, immersive cultural experiences and increasd airlift make Mexico a hot prospect for 2020, says Lauren Jarvis

Vivid colours for day of the dead


n ethereal song floats up from the depths, as the boat dances on gentle waves rolling over a deep-blue sea in Mexico’s Bay of Banderas. While I’m not well-versed in whale, the haunting call is answered from somewhere within, as happy tears rise and run down my face. Up to 60% of our bodies are water and some believe we evolved from the sea, so perhaps unconscious connection isn’t surprising after all. The humpback whales migrate here each winter to mate, give birth and nurse their young in Riviera Nayarit’s warm, Pacific waters. My guide draws the hydrophone back onto the boat and we head to land, as the giants breach and fall around us and dolphins ride the bow. Later, we drive on winding roads into the

Sierra Madre Mountains and eat enchiladas in the colonial town of San Sebastián del Oeste, while real-life cowboys clip clop by on cobbled streets. The evening sees us sipping margaritas on the sand at boho surf town, Sayulita, and dining in style at the not-so-hippy Iberostar Selection Playa Mita, which stands right on the shore of a beautiful bay. Just one day a world away – a world of memories in a day.

remote mountain villages in Oaxaca, join the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico City, or take a dip in a cenote (underground cave) in Yucatán, there are plenty of holiday styles to suit every type of traveller,” says

Big player Like Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit, many of Mexico’s key tourist destinations offer a dazzling mix of diverse attractions and experiences with broad appeal. “Mexico is a huge country and whether you ride the rails of El Chepe through Chihuahua’s Copper Canyon, trek to

Valladolid, Yucatán peninsula

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mexico mexico


Alebrije, or Mexican folk art sculpture

puerto vallarta

The Homun cenote, or sink hole

Rafe Stone, Product Manager for Mexico at Journey Latin America. The oldest capital in the Americas, Mexico City frequently features on holiday destination hotlists, with ancient Aztec ruins like the Templo Mayor sitting alongside spectacular Spanish-era cathedrals, exciting museums and galleries to explore, and a vibrant gastronomical scene offering everything from sizzling street food to world-class restaurants like Mexican chef Enrique Olvera’s Pujol. The evocative Mayan temples of Chichén Itzá, Uxmal and Tulum, and the colonial charm of Mérida, draw culture lovers to the Yucatán Peninsula, while the offshore Mesoamerican reef is a paradise for divers, and families and honeymooners will enjoy the sandy beaches of Riviera Maya. “Cancún and Riviera Maya have become a consolidated destination in the UK market because of their great connectivity via BA and TUI,” says Lupita Ayala, Regional Sales Manager for Europe at Velas Resorts, which has three properties in Mexico. “Meanwhile, Los Cabos is an up-and-coming destination due to its stunning coastline and good connectivity via AeroMexico and American Airlines, plus a new weekly TUI flight from Gatwick that launched in November.”

Oaxaca is also a rising star, with three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, vibrant cultural festivals, notable cuisine, a Mezcal discovery route and top-quality beaches at Huatulco and Puerto Escondido on the Pacific coast. “We’ve seen a real increase in bookings from customers wanting to travel extensively through Central America,” says Sam Dance, Sales Manager at Tucan Travel, which offers multi-country itineraries. “Customers are booking Mexico, Belize and Guatemala and, if they have more time, travelling on to Costa Rica or Cuba.”

“Mexico is a huge country, and whether you trek to remote mountain villages in Oaxaca or take a dip in a cenote in Yucatán, there are plenty of holiday styles to suit every type of traveller” Rafe Stone, Journey Latin America

A Luxury stay: “For the ultimate in luxury, I’d recommend booking a five-star, all-inclusive property such as The Grand at Moon Palace in Cancún,” suggests Heather Owen, Product Executive for The Americas and Caribbean at Travel 2. “With all guests’ food and drink catered for, there’s plenty of time to enjoy Mexico’s spectacular beaches, history and culture.”

birthplace of cultural treasures including tequila and mariachi, while Oaxaca hosts the La Guelaguetza festival in July, one of Latin America’s most important cultural celebrations. A fitness or spa Break: Mexico’s resorts offer some excellent spas and wellness programmes, and sporting holidays are popular too. “Up-skill retreats, where guests hone a current skill or learn a new one, are a growing trend in Mexico,” says Lupita Ayala at Velas Resorts.

A cultural escape: “Mexico is a fabulous cultural destination, rich with history, ruins, food, music and more,” says Amanda Dunning, Brand Manager for National Geographic Journeys. Jalisco is the

A family holiday: “Riviera Maya is one of Latin America’s most popular beach destinations. For those in search of a quieter alternative, car-free Holbox island, a couple of hours from Cancún, offers

Selling solutions

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Untitled AMR-ST


CONTEMPORARY ROOMS AND SUITES This resort boasts all-ocean view rooms & suites luxuriously equipped with a private balcony or terrace, tablet, coffee machine, 55” Smart TV with complimentary streaming access and a wealth of amenities.




Adults will love the Dreams Spa by Pevonia®, Preferred Club adults-only rooftop pool, tequila tastings and live entertainment. Kids can enjoy the surf pool and Explorer’s Club for kids with a mini theatre and climbing wall whilst teens hang out at the Core Zone Teens Club boasting social events, a movie room and a snack bar.


LIMITLESS DINING OPTIONS Guests can enjoy limitless access to four gourmet à la carte restaurants including Pan-Asian and Mexican cuisine, a buffet, an international food court with six different stations, a snack bar and a coffee & ice cream parlour. There’s also a choice of 6 bars and lounges ranging from swim-up to a music lounge.




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mexico mexico

a wild iguana, Jalisco state

Mestizo women, of mixed european and indigenous descent

pristine beaches and low-rise hotels – a great option for families,” suggests Journey Latin America’s Stone. An active adventure: “Mexico caters for a huge variety of demographics, offering a wide range of exciting adventure activities,” says Heather Owen at Travel 2. From swimming with whale sharks in La Paz to snorkelling with turtles in the Caribbean; to speeding through the desert in Los Cabos to surfing on the Pacific coast, thrill seekers will never be bored in Mexico.”

What’s new? Flight: Tui has added new flights to Los Cabos for winter 2020, making it easier for families to escape during the Christmas and February half-term school holidays. Accommodation: A new Hard Rock Hotel has opened in Los Cabos, featuring a kids’ club and music lab. Eco-hotel Awakenings will open in 2020 in San Manuel in the Yucatán Peninsula, offering wellness programmes that also support the local Mayan community. Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort and Spa and TRS Coral Hotel in Costa Mujeres opened with a Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre and luxury spa in early 2019. The 200-room Nobu Hotel Los Cabos has opened with a golf course and spa. AM Resorts will open Dreams Vista Cancun Resort and Spa and Now Natura

Riviera Cancun at the start of 2020. Four Seasons Tamarindo will open in Jalisco’s Costalegre in 2020 with 160 rooms. Four Seasons Resort and Residences Cabo San Lucas at Cabo Del Sol will open in 2022 with a private beach club, spa and mountain adventure park, La Montaña. Located in the UNESCO World Heritage blue agave fields of Tequila in Jalisco, La Cofradía’s Matices Hotel de Barricas is opening 20 new accommodations set in giant tequila barrels. Tours and packages: Andante Travels is launching its Mexico – The Maya archaeological tour in 2020, exploring remote ruins and jungle sites by river and 4WD with archaeologist David Drew. National Geographic Journeys and G Adventures have added a nine-day Cultural Wonders of Mexico tour to its portfolio, visiting Mexico City, Puebla and Oaxaca.

Where To Book It

isla espititu, Baja California Sur

musician, oaxaca

whale watching off Puerto Vallarta

JOURNEY LATIN AMERICA – 020 3553 9647 The 14-day Signature Mexico: Cultural Heartlands to Caribbean Coast tour includes stops at Mexico City, the Teotihuacan pyramids, the ancient city of Monte Albán, Oaxaca, the Mayan site of Palenque and the Yucatán Peninsula. Priced from £3,059pp B&B, it includes international flights, transfers, excursions and hotels. 

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48 hours in


Banff National Park Whether its gazing at frozen waterfalls in Johnston Canyon or snowshoeing in Lake Louise, winter in Banff National Park is magical. Try this action-packed itinerary Day 1: Hot and Cold in Banff

Day 2: Lake Louise

Surrounded by rugged peaks, the town of This iconic scenic wonderland is a Banff has all the amenities your clients need. protected mountain destination offering Banff Avenue offers superb shopping and the purest of alpine experiences. With nightlife, with restaurants featuring some of world-class hotels, postcard-perfect lodges, the top chefs in the country. fine and casual dining options and a huge Morning: Start your day with one choice of activities, Lake Louise is the of Banff National Park's most quintessential Canadian mountain town. famous and beautiful hikes. Morning: Experience the Johnson Canyon Icewalk delivers stunning exhilaration of dogsledding with views of a canyon carved through the eons, Kingmik Dog Sled Tours, the only and a series of frozen waterfalls that tumble company which can offer this inside Banff through it. Luminous ice sheets cling to the National Park. Tours range from half-hour walls and spill out over the canyon’s edges. mushing lessons, to full-day dogsledding Next, journey to the top of the Banff and snowshoeing. Gondola to see a whole new side of Lunch: Dine at Fairmont Chateau Sulphur Mountain and the Rockies. The Lake Louise, one of Banff National Banff Gondola experience includes new Park’s most iconic settings. The restaurants and resort is interactive exhibits, a surrounded by multi-sensory theatre soaring mountain Stroll Banff Avenue and and a breathtaking peaks and the pick one of the amazing 360-degree rooftop Victoria Glacier. As restaurants. Top chefs observation deck well as fine dining 2900 ft. above Banff. create menus that focus on there is a spa and Take a stroll along the bringing local produce from activities like ice ridge-top boardwalk skating and horse farm to fork and then enjoy lunch drawn sleigh rides at Sky Bistro with around the lake. incredible views. Afternoon: Snow tubing at Lake Afternoon: Capture the magic of Louise is fun for all generations winter in the Rockies on a while thrill seekers will love Sunny horse-drawn sleigh ride with Banff Tube Park, with runs groomed daily for Trail Riders. Snuggle under a blanket and maximum speed and safety. Or get take in the epic mountain scenery of Bow warmed up by starting on the beginner River Valley, gliding through a snow-draped slope. Non-skiers can explore Banff wonderland on a private or group tour. National Park’s winter landscapes on a Next visit Banff Upper Hot Springs. guided snowshoeing tour at Lake Louise Discovered in 1883 and among the top Ski Resort. Choose from easy two-hour attractions in the Canadian Rockies, this introductory trips, suitable for all abilities, splendid historic bathhouse overlooks Banff to full and multi-day adventures with a National Park and offers the chance to relax professional certified guide.  in naturally steamy hot mineral water, with the cold, fresh mountain air on your face. BOOK IT WITH... INGHAMS Evening: For dinner tonight, stroll Banff Avenue and pick one of the A family of four can stay seven nights at amazing restaurants. Top chefs Caribou Lodge in Downtown Banff from create menus that focus on bringing local £984pp with flights. Inghams recommends produce from farm to fork. Dine on wild adding on the Ski Big 3 pass, to access Lake game, Alberta beef or delectable vegetarian Louise, Mount Norquay and Sunshine Village. fusion options in a chic contemporary bistro – 01483 938 326 or mountain lodge.




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my journey

Southern charm in

Kentucky Bourbon, Bluegrass and boxing champions, Jessica Pook discovers why Kentucky is so much more than its famous fried chicken


t’s mid-afternoon and from a distant paddock a handsome silvery-white steed makes his way to the gate, as he does every day. With his tongue lolling and hankering after his daily dose of carrots, he looks slightly comical. But Silver Charm was once a celebrated Kentucky Derby winner and at the time the wealthiest racehorse ever to retire, worth a cool $7 million! These days he spends his time grazing in his private paddock within the tranquil grounds of Old Friends, a 136-acre thoroughbred horse retirement facility in Georgetown, Kentucky, that is home to 217 horses and one plucky Shetland pony. It’s no secret that Silver Charm is favoured by founder Michael Blowen, who opened the farm in 2003 in a bid to prevent Derby winners from ending up in slaughterhouses. “Horseracing is a $63 billion industry here in Kentucky and Lexington is considered the horse capital of the world, but when they can’t make any more money the horses are considered worthless," Blowen tells me. "We’re proving that horses past their prime can still be valuable. Thanks to Old Friends people flock to see these former champions and movie stars." Mike is referring to the horse who played Seabiscuit in the Oscar-nominated film. Silver Charm buries his nose in a large bucket of carrots, lovingly prepared so that minimal chewing is required; it’s clear to see just how devoted this place is to giving these creatures a comfortable

retirement – with the support of visitors and donations from the local community. Kentucky born & bred But even these stately stallions don't have the stature of Kentucky’s most celebrated sporting champion, the legendary exboxer Muhammad Ali. The man's own words – “I'm young; I'm handsome; I'm fast. I can't possibly be beat” – blast out during a poignant presentation at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, a reminder of the unbridled confidence of 'Cassius Clay', who went on to become Olympic gold medallist and a three-times heavyweight champion. As the museum recounts his life, from his sporting achievements to his religious beliefs, it also unearths the racism he endured, including being refused entry into a white-only restaurant having just won his first Olympic Gold medal. We also learn how he became an important but controversial civil rights activist and served five years in jail for abstaining from the Vietnam War. With 2020 marking 60 years since his Olympic win, plans are in place to host Ali Week 2020: The Greatest, from June 3-6, with a line-up of events honouring his life. From one influential figure to another, our next tour is of the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville. Here we get an insight into the humble roots of the 16th president. Born in a one-room log cabin, Lincoln went

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my journey


r With ove ies, ler 70 distil roduces p Kentucky% of 95 d's the worl n bourbo on to abolish slavery but had to win a Civil War to do so. Today the site attracts over 200,000 people a year. Home of bourbon It soon becomes clear that Kentucky, a worthwhile stop on any Deep South itinerary, favours one taste above all others – and it’s not fried chicken! Bourbon is a Kentucky staple and can be found in everything from a traditional Old Fashioned cocktail, to a dressing on salads and even an ingredient in cakes. Bourbon originates from Kentucky and the state produces 95% of the world’s supply – in fact, there’s said to be two barrels for every person in the state. On an Even Williams Distillery Tour on Louisville’s Whiskey Row, I’m told that all bourbons are a whiskey but not all whiskeys are a bourbon. I'm none the wiser, but three tastings later it’s explained that to become a bourbon the whiskey needs to be 51% corn and aged in a new charred oak barrel - I have finally got it, I think. I experience my first 'Kentucky hug', the warm, comforting sensation when the liquor runs down your throat. It’s strong stuff and during the Prohibition period when alcohol was banned its perceived medicinal qualities allowed those in need to be prescribed a pint every 10 days! For me it’s a bit eye-watering taken straight, but I find it goes down easier in a bourbon bloody mary, served to me at the historic Brown Hotel in Louisville. Accompanied with its famous dish the 'hot

brown' – an open turkey sandwich with bacon, tomatoes and a cheesy mornay sauce – it’s an indulgent breakfast. The hotel mixes traces of English Renaissance with southern charm and its guests have included Barack Obama and Elizabeth Taylor. It's especially busy during the week of the Kentucky Derby in May, which attracts 165,000 visitors. Bluegrass state Our last stop in Kentucky is Owensboro, home to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum which hosts weekly concerts. We stop off in Rosine to learn more about the genre from the Bill Monroe Museum, but it’s at The Rosine Barn Jamboree venue that we get a real education from the Jerusalem Ridge band. Using acoustic string instruments with quick plucking and high-pitched tones, the band have us clapping along to their catchy songs. Three members turns to four and four to seven, and it's not long before we're all on stage, banjos in hand, ready for our Bluegrass debut. Where to book it... Vacations to America (01582 469777) arranges tailor-made road trips in Kentucky. A seven-night itinerary, staying three nights in Lexington at the Hyatt Regency, two nights in Owensboro at the Best Western Plus and two nights in Louisville at the 21C Museum Hotel, including flights with United Airlines and car hire, costs from £1,399pp.

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med sun Whether it’s a quick city break or a two-week villa-based sojourn, Brits are still in love with the Mediterranean and there are still ‘new’ spots waiting to be discovered, says Sasha Wood

F “We’ve had phenomenal demand for Greece from customers and agents and have launched four new destinations – Lesvos, Peloponnese, Skiathos and Preveza” Alan Cross, Head of Trade Sales, Jet2Holidays

or many Brits, summer holidays are synonymous with the coveted blue hues and sugar cube villas of the Med and this spiritual home of package holidays has seen an upsurge in popularity of late. It’s a summer holiday staple, and although the collapse of Thomas Cook was a blow to many resorts in the region, tour operators are scrambling to increase their capacity in these classic destinations as well as increasing tours, offering fresh ways to see familiar places and lesser-known spots.

Timeless classics Greece is the word on many tour operators’ lips, with a flush of new destinations and tours on sale for 2020. Leading the way is the UK’s second-largest tour operator, Jet2holidays, which has put a twist on a timeless classic by adding a handful of less familiar Greek destinations. According to Head of Trade Sales, Alan Cross, Jet2holidays flights and package

holidays to Greece have experienced “phenomenal demand from both customers and independent travel agents alike.” He added: “On the back of this demand, we have launched four new Greek destinations for Summer 20 – Lesvos, Peloponnese, Skiathos and Preveza. With 12 Greek destinations now on sale, including Corfu, Crete (Heraklion and Chania), Kefalonia, Kos, Rhodes, Halkidiki and Zante, we are offering holidaymakers more choice and flexibility in Greece than ever before.” In the same vein, TUI Fly has expanded capacity to Greece for summer 2020 with almost every third flight headed to the islands of Corfu, Crete, Kos and Rhodes, accounting for 30% of its total planned seats. It will also add more flights to Santorini and Skiathos from Newcastle and Bournemouth airports. In fact, TUI still sees the Mediterranean and southern Europe as a region for future growth, commenting: “Greece, Turkey, and

mediterranean mediterranean


Assos, Kefalonia, Greece

the Balearics will all see significant growth in summer 2021, as these beach hotspots continue to grow in popularity and prove to be a big hit with families and couples alike. Hundreds of hotels will be available to choose from, including the Thomas Cook favourites recently added.” Increased demand for Greek and Turkish destinations has also led British Airways to introduce new routes to Kos and Antalya.

Hidden treasures It seems familiar because it’s almost on our doorstep, but the Mediterranean still has secrets to reveal. Alongside Jet2holidays’ fresh destinations in Greece, a clutch of tour operators have turned their attention to unveiling these hidden treasures on small group tours for 2020. “We are noticing that even closer to home our customers are becoming more adventurous,” says Shearings Holidays’ Product Director, Matthew Herbert. “Our Go By Air tours in Europe address this

with exciting new touring itineraries to destinations such as Morocco and Cyprus.” On the Mediterranean’s far eastern shores, Lebanon has crept onto the radar as a hot holiday destination for next year, with FCO advice against travel to the destination being lifted at the end of 2018. Saga Holidays was one operator quick to seize the opportunity with its new Lebanon tour. Product and Purchasing Executive, Ellis Manning, said: “This modern country is bouncing back and guests will have the opportunity to experience the Mediterranean coastline, forested mountain ranges, local wine tasting and some of the finest examples of Roman architecture on our eight-night tour.” Explore has introduced a collection of exciting cycling holidays to the Mediterranean for 2020 which also includes an itinerary in Lebanon. Explore’s Programme Manager for Cycling, James Adkin, comments: “Our new trips for 2020 really go to show that cycling can

be the best way to see the landscapes of a country and really get under its skin.” Algeria, another largely unknown country, has a long Mediterranean coastline that’s ripe for discovery and small operators such as Wild Frontiers offer unique itineraries that include the sleepy town of Tipasa, its sandy shores strewn with ancient Roman ruins. Although the Mediterranean is still popular, travellers are looking for new ways to to see familiar places from a fresh perspective, says Adkins. The operator’s Cycle Bosnia and Montenegro trip includes exploring Sarajevo, which it describes as ‘the Jerusalem of Europe’, Lake Skadar National Park – Montenegro’s and the Balkans’ largest lake – and a stay in Virpazar, a traditional Montenegrin village. As well as its usual trekking itineraries connecting travellers to the lay of the land, Ramblers Walking Holidays has branched out to add more ‘well-anchored walking adventures’ to its product range –



Italy’s amalfi coast

“People are realising that by going on a cruise you can avoid the uncertainty and potential passport pitfalls of a ’no deal’ or unknown Brexit outcome and still enjoy a fantastic holiday around the Mediterranean” Salvatore Maniscalo, Ramblers Walking Holidays

St George Island, Kotor Bay, montenegro

offering cruise and walk holidays in collaboration with Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines. Exploring the Med coast from both land and sea, there are tours covering the Italian Riviera and the Amalfi Coast or classic itineraries stopping in the historic Greek ports of Athens and Heraklion, Crete. Ramblers’ Groups and Public Relations Manager for the Travel Trade, Salvatore Maniscalco, says the tour operator’s decision to introduce a new Mediterranean and Her islands tour was partly down to the growing demand for holidays in the region, but also due to an upsurge in travellers booking cruises, which is being fuelled by the Brexit situation. “People are realising that by going on a cruise you can to some extent avoid the uncertainty and potential passport pitfalls of a ’no deal’ or unknown outcome and still plan ahead to enjoy a fantastic holiday around the Mediterranean, exploring its coastline, with the added adventure

Valletta, Malta

of stepping ashore, in a small group, to explore some truly remote and fascinating destinations on foot,” says Maniscalco. “Offering a longer duration cruise also means our clients get to experience a lot more and make the most of their time island-hopping between a fascinating selection of destinations which would be complicated to do otherwise.” As a firm family favourite that shows no sign of stalling, tour operators are offering fresh ways for families to explore too. Families can trade in the bucket and spade cliché for a mask and snorkel on Explore’s new Turkish Coast Adventure, for instance. The tour includes a night inside Cappadocia’s famous ‘fairy chimneys’ and Mediterranean mountain strolls, letting travellers see the region’s stirringlybeautiful shores from all angles. As ABTA’s 2020 travel trends report points out, Europe was the number one choice for British holidaymakers in the year leading up to July 2019, with 84% visiting the continent, and 57% of the travellers the organisation surveyed saying they plan to take a trip there in 2020 too. And with Mediterranean giant Turkey showing double-digit growth, it looks like the region will be a strong seller in the next decade too.

Where to book it

an explore tour in sicily

octopus drying in greece

Jet2Holidays – 0800 408 0778 A seven-night self catering holidays in Lesvos, Greece (one of the operator’s new destinations in the northern Aegean Sea off Turkey) is from £539pp, departing in May 2020, and based on two sharing with flights and a 22kg baggage allowance. 




C L I A S HOW R E P OR T The latest from river cruising



C AR I B B E AN N EW S Win a trip to the Bahamas


CRUISE NEWS New training from A-ROSA


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the review

Regent expands small group tours Regent Holidays has added 16 new small group tours for 2020, ranging from Arctic short breaks to in-depth tours to Russia and Eastern Europe. With a total of 46 tours across 35 destinations, the small group tours are ideal for agents that have regular touring clients that are looking for some unusual alternatives. New ‘icy’ tours include Winter Adventures in Murmansk, Harbin Ice Festival Group and Svalbard Midnight Sun Adventure, while Icons of Jordan & Palestine, Korean War Anniversary and Azerbaijan & Nakchivan Uncovered are all new additions to the operator’s Far-Flung adventures. Group sizes range from five to 16, and there are no single supplements on several trips.

Jet2holidays’ new Vibe brand


Jet2holidays announced a newproduct at its annual conference this November - Vibe. Vibe appears to plug the gap left by the Thomas Cook-owned Club 18-30s but aims to target millennial holidaymakers who want to experience “much more than a typical 18-30s holiday”. Jet2holidays has taken a collection of hotels across almost 50 resorts and sorted them into four ‘Vibes’, making it easier for agents and customers to choose. The four vibes are: Iconic Vibe, encompassing renowned hotels such as Ibiza Rocks; Party Vibe, for those looking for good-value hotels in the heart of a party resort; Pure Vibe, for those who want to enjoy pool parties, live music and DJs at their hotel; and Chilled Vibe, for luxury lovers,

Sponsored content - OSBORNE & EBEL

looking to lounge by the pool. There will be a dedicated website and 76-page brochure for Vibe and the Jet2holidays Trade Team is rolling out a programme to help independent agents understand the brand, with sessions on the company’s Earn Your Wings training programme, webinars, trade emails, social media support, and branded merchandise. There will also be consumer campaigns across TV, radio, email and digital, plus dedicated social media channels. Zoe Towers, Head of Product at Jet2holidays said: “What really sets this exciting new brand apart is the amount of time we’ve put into helping independent agents choose a holiday that’s tailored exactly to what they need.”

‘Philausophy’ from Tourism Australia Tourism Australia invites the world to ‘Come Live Our Philausophy’ as part of its latest global campaign. The strategy, which encourages international tourists to experience the ‘informal Australian way of life,’ is part of a $38 million investment to be rolled out in 15 key tourism markets over the next three years. New creative assets have been developed as part of the campaign, including images, industry videos, social content and refresh of Phillipa Harrison, Tourism Australia Managing Director said: “Research shows that 82% of international tourists would like to travel to Australia to experience our lifestyle.”

Gambia Experience adds airlift from UK The Gambia Experience has secured three more flights to The Gambia, adding a further Gatwick departure and new Manchester and Birmingham flights. Clients can now fly from Gatwick on a Monday between November 11 to April 20 with Titan. Monday departures are also available from Manchester between December 16 to April 20 and Birmingham will oporate Wednesday flights from December 18 until April 22, 2020.

VOUCHERS / FREE NIGHTS Make five bookings and receive £50 in Love2Shop Vouchers. Make 10 bookings to receive five FREE NIGHTS in the Maldives. Make 15 bookings for 10 FREE NIGHTS. Book by 31 Dec 19 for travel between November 2019 and April 2020. Free nights based on four-star hotel for two. T&Cs apply. Contact:

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Saudi to grow tourism

CONRAD RANGALI MALDIVES EXTENDED RANGALI WINTER OFFER Book by 31 Jan 2020 and receive: 10% Discount on Room Rates PLUS Complimentary Half Board for entire stay Valid for stays between 07 Jan – 08 May 20 BY JESSICA POOK

Saudi Arabia is looking to position itself as a ‘top tourism destination’ with new tourist attractions and relaxed visa requirements. The initiatives follow Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan, which aims to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and increase international and domestic visits to 100 million a year by 2030. In September, Saudi Arabia expanded its visa programme to 49 countries, including the UK, making it easier for visitors to travel to the kingdom. To further encourage visitors, the country is developing Experience AlUla, a new campaign designed to showcase Saudi Arabia’s newest tourism destination, due to open to the public in October 2020.

AlUla is a culturally and historically rich site housing the remains of an ancient city with forts which are older than the pyramids of Egypt. It has previously only been open to the public for the annual Winter in Tantora music festival. To support the influx of visitors expected, hotel and resort brand Aman is to develop three luxury resorts in AlUla, with the first due to open in 2023. Kholoud Almanea, Royal Commission for AlUla, said: “We are excited for visitors to see what the destination has to offer. People will be surprised by the luxury offering, outstanding hospitality and spectacular scenery that will make their stay incomparable to anywhere else.”

JUMEIRAH VITTAVELI MALDIVES 2020 SUMMER LOVING OFFER - EXTENDED Book early for 2020 and receive an amazing: 40% OFF Room Rates PLUS Complimentary Upgrade to HB Valid for stays between now – 31 Oct 20

Corsican Places launches 2020 brochure The Around the Cap Corse walking tour and familyfriendly Villa Bleu Nature are among the highlights in Corsican Places’ new 2020 brochure. Featuring 160 accommodation options, the programme offers a range of villas, hotels and apartments with prices starting from £319pp. It also includes ideas on where best to explore and the top things to see and do on the island.

ANGAGA ISLAND RESORT MALDIVES Rustic Robinson Crusoe Island in the heart of Ari Atoll A wonderful house reef and several famous Dive Sites nearby Book now for Summer 2020 and receive: 15% Discount + Stay 7 Pay 6! Valid for stays between 01 Jun – 20 Jul 20 ALSO FIND EXCLUSIVE DEALS FOR TRAVEL TRADE PERSONNEL ONLY ON OUR WEBSITE OVER 200 HOTELS AND A SELECTION OF TOURS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE MALDIVES • SRI LANKA • MAURITIUS • SEYCHELLES • INDIA • UAE • CARIBBEAN • GREECE • NEW CRUISING AND SAILING. INCLUDING EXCLUSIVE OFFERS FOR WINTER 2019/20 SUMMER 2020 AND WINTER 2020/21 RATES ARE NOW ONLINE All above offers are subject to availability | Terms & Conditions Apply

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the review

Olympic Holidays offers winter sun savings Olympic Holidays is enticing agents to book a winter sun holiday with new destinations and savings of up to £150pp. The operator has added the Spanish islands and Egypt to its portfolio and increased product in Greece and Cyprus with more than 50 hotels. For winter 2019/summer 2020 the company is adding 120 products to a yearround sun programme in the Canaries and will be reintroducing Sharm El-Sheik. Agents can use the promotional code SPAIN60 to save an extra £60 on holidays to the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands and mainland Spain, code EGYPT60 can be used to save an extra £60 on holidays to Egypt and agents can save an extra £100 on all holidays when they use promotional code: SAVE100.

Nicaragua back in business


Nicaraguan tourism authorities have launched a campaign to reignite travel to the country following a period of civil unrest. The ‘Nicaragua is Open’ promotion comes after the FCO relaxed its travel advice to the country earlier this year following a failed coup. In 2017, the country was the second fastest-growing tourism destination in the Americas and visitor arrivals climbed to almost two million for the first time. “There are a lot of misconceptions about Nicaragua, but it is not a dangerous destination,” says Minister of Tourism of Nicaragua, Anasha Campbell. “We want to grow visitor numbers again and have made significant investments in roads, sustainable energy production and

tourism infrastructure.” Developments include the completion of a trans-Nicaraguan highway from Bluefields on the Caribbean coast to Managua near the Pacific coast. The 365km journey can now be completed in six hours and “exponentially increases the capacity for self-drive tours”. Well-educated 20- to 40-year-olds are the country’s biggest market, the minister explains, adding that 70% of visitors arrive overland on multi-country trips. As part of the campaign, Latin American Travel Association (LATA) is creating a Nicaragua training course within its introductory Latin America course. The module aims to highlight the diversity of the country’s tourism offering.;

Northern Ireland’s Giant Spirit is unleashed to trade Ireland’s two tourist boards have jointly launched a new destination brand with the aim to ‘change perceptions’ of Northern Ireland. Embrace a Giant Spirit, a collaboration between Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland, showcases 23 ‘authentic experiences’ that is being promoted to the travel trade and, from spring 2020, consumers. Experiences include traditional music trails in Belfast and whiskey-tasting on the Antrim Coast. Julie Wakley, Head of Great Britain for Tourism Ireland, said Embrace a Giant Spirit would provide agents with new ideas to sell to clients looking for an invigorating short break.;

European & UK Short Breaks focus for Osprey

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Osprey Holidays has expanded its UK and Reykajavik offering as part of its 2020 European & UK Short Breaks brochure. Included in the UK section is a Theatre Breaks programme and an additional page of London hotels. Stays in York, Bath, Cardiff and Loch Ness also feature. Following popular demand, a dedicated Reykjavik page has been added with experiences such as a hunt for the Northern Lights in a jeep.

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TUI expands winter 2020 flights TUI will increase long-haul airlift in early 2020 to satisfy demand for winter sun. The company will operate flights from Manchester, Gatwick and Doncaster Sheffield to winter sun spots including Goa, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Barbados for 2020. From February TUI will also return to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. From summer 2021, flights will increase from Manchester, Gatwick, Glasgow and Newcastle to Florida and short-haul destinations such as Greece, Turkey, the Canaries and Balearic are expected to see significant growth in arrivals.

Funway goes Latin in 2020


NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF Agents can earn up to £100 in shopping vouchers for every booking they make with Malaysia Airlines. The incentive is valid for bookings logged at malaysiaairlinesgiveaway. before December 9, 2019 for travel until 2020. The airline has also partnered with Tourism Malaysia to help promote the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign, which aims to boost visitor numbers to 30 million in 2020.


New product in the Caribbean and Mexico feature as part of Funway Holidays’ new 2020 brochure. The long-haul tour operator has expanded its portfolio to include Belize, Costa Rica and Dominica, each featuring a range of hotels and excursions in the destination. The brochure highlights the following soon-to-be-opened allinclusive AMResorts: Breathless Cancun Resort & Spa, Mexico (opening 2020), Secrets St. Martin Resort & Spa in the Caribbean (opening March 2029), Now Natura

Rivieria Cancun, Mexico (opening January 2020), Sunscape Akumal Beach Resort & Spa, Mexico (opened October 2019), as well as 13 new hotels including: Hammock Cove, Antigua, South Beach Hotel, Barbados, Royalton in Grenada and Atelier Playa Mujeres, Mexico. Malcolm Davies, Product Destination Manager for Funway Holidays, said: “Both the Caribbean and Mexico are performing extremely well for us with bookings up 10% year-on-year.”

Tall stories are on the horizon for Dubai Dubai is preparing to welcome the newest tallest building in the world next year in Dubai Marina. Towering even higher than the Burj Khalifa, the Creek Tower is set to open in October in time for Dubai Expo 2020, which will run for six months. Among new hotel openings are the all-suite Royal Atlantis, a sister-hotel to Atlantis the Palm, and the new Corinthia Meydan Beach Dubai, the brand’s first property in the Middle East. The emirate has also just launched its Stopover Campaign in collaboration with Emirates Airlines, promoting the destination as the ideal stopover spot en route to destinations further afield. As part of the campaign, the airline and tourist board have put together recommended itineraries for stopovers from six to 48 hours.

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe is offering discounted stays for the trade in celebration of its 25th anniversary. Valid for travel until March 31, 2020, agents can stay in the luxury lodge on a B&B basis from £55pp, per night, with a plus one paying £62 per night. Reservations must be made through saflodge1@saflodge. by quoting VFSEAS/02. Visit Guernsey will launch a new trade website in the new year which will give agents access to marketing collateral which they can tailor to their own brand. The destination’s 2020 strategy is to concentrate on its core market of more mature travellers but to target sectors within this which they have identified as fun loving families (aged 4055), affluent adventurers (4065) and traditional retirees (sixty-plus). CLYMB on Yas island, Abu Dhabi has opened featuring the highest indoor climbing wall in the world, at 43 metres, plus the world’s biggest flight chamber.

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the review

Flybe adds routes ahead of Virgin rebrand Flybe’s 2020 summer schedule will feature 104 routes across the UK and mainland Europe, including seven new routes – six from Southend and one from Manchester. Passengers will be able to fly from Southend to Belfast City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Isle of Man and Jersey, plus a new route from Manchester to Stuttgart. From next year, Flybe will become part of the extended Virgin family as Virgin Connect. The rebrand will see the airline focus on business and visiting family and friends.

ABTA’s 2020 predictions

NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF will offer flights to Innsbruck, Austria, for the first time from Summer 2020. The carrier will operate twice-weekly services (Wednesday and Sunday) from Manchester, running from May 23 through to September 19, as well as weekly Wednesday services from Birmingham from June 3 through to September 16.


ABTA’s Travel Trends 2020 report reveals that nearly nine out of 10 Brits took a holiday this year, with package holidays proving an enduring choice despite the demise of one its biggest exponents in 2019. This was also the year when sustainability issues and concern for the environment started to influence bookings, with 62% of people wanting to book a holiday that helped the local community. The report said that 2019 was notable for a range of excellent-

value package holidays to destinations including Turkey and Egypt - which both saw doubledigit growth – Mainland Spain, the Balearics, Greece and Italy. ABTA also noted that the ability to tailor-make an experience is key to the continued popularity of the package holiday. The travel body also released 24 destinations to watch in 2020, including Grenada, Chicago, Morocco, Namibia, Singapore, South Korea and Uruguay.

Touring offers from Cosmos and Globus BY JESSICA POOK

Cosmos and premium sister brand Globus are offering early booking discounts of up to 10% on escorted tours, when booked before January 28. Agents can book a Cosmos 10-day Hightlights of Morocco tour-only trip from £699pp. The tour includes a visit to Fez and Marrakech with the following 2020 departure dates: January 2, February 21, March 6, May 1, July 10, September 18, October 16 and November 13. Agents that book a flight-inclusive holiday to the USA or Canada before February 21, 2020 will receive a £150pp discount by quoting: NA150 when booking. Agents will earn a £5 Love2shop voucher for every Cosmos booking made and £10 for every Globus booking.

Air Transat will expand its services to Toronto and Montreal next summer. The airline will offer twicedaily flights from Gatwick to Toronto and increase its Gatwick to Montreal flights from three to five times weekly. Many will be operated by the new Airbus A321neo LR aircraft. From Glasgow and Dublin Air Transat will operate a five-times-weekly service to Toronto. Clients will benefit from a complimentary room upgrade and a free night’s stay when they visit the newly opened Il Palazzo Experimental in Venice and Menorca Experimental in Spain. Agents willl also be rewarded with the chance to win a two-night stay for two at either of these hotels when they book by December 25, 2019. Lufthansa is to double its daily service from Bristol to Frankfurt from March 30, 2020. The new service will operate twice daily, six days per week and once daily on Saturdays. Flights depart from Bristol at 09.35 and 17.50 with return flights at 08.20 and 16.30. Economy fares start from £105 return.

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the review: cruise

Cruise Update

A-ROSA’s trade website

CRUISE NEWS IN BRIEF Explore Europe from Barcelona, Italian Adventures from Venice, and British and Baltic Exploration are some of the itineraries agents can expect from Royal Caribbean summer’s 2021 line-up. The latest additions ensure that 70% of the cruise line’s itineraries are new.

ANDY HARMER, CLIA UK & Ireland Director

Looking ahead to 2020 we can expect a busy and exciting year for the UK cruise sector. Next year will see the launch of 25 ocean ships and 16 river ships, with four new ships being christened here in the UK. CLIA has lots in the pipeline too. Our annual CLIA Conference – the UK’s largest travel agent conference - will be returning to Southampton from April 26-28. The event includes a full day of business sessions, a gala dinner with entertainment, a trade fair and the opportunity to visit two ships in port – P&O Cruises’ Britannia and MSC Cruises’ MSC Meraviglia. New for next year will be our first ever nationwide ‘New to Cruise’ workshops, aimed at agents who are looking to increase their cruise sales. The first workshops will take place on May 27 and 28 and will offer practical advice and selling tips from industry experts. As always, keep your eyes peeled for even more CLIA events and initiatives which will be announced over the coming year. From myself and the team at CLIA, we wish Selling Travel readers a prosperous and happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you in 2020.



A-ROSA has developed a new website, designed to support the UK trade in selling river cruises. Broken down into five sections: Rivers, Cities, Experiences, Why A-ROSA?, and Contact Information, the website details all the destination and cruise information needed to sell an A-ROSA cruise. Throughout the website, agents will learn about the rivers A-ROSA sails on. Key cities and towns visited are highlighted, listing what there is to do there, which itineraries visit them and why a river cruise acts as the ideal city break. The ‘Experiences’ section details all the optional excursions available to book onboard for each cruise, plus ideas for independent exploration. The site also allows

visitors to search for special family cruises with an onboard kids club. Under the ‘Why A-ROSA?’ tab, USPs explored include: sustainability, flexibility, premium all-inclusive options, multigenerational river cruising, family friendly product, spacious cabins, and spa and wellness. Lucia Rowe, Managing Director of A-ROSA River Cruises UK and Ireland comments: “Agents have been asking for a dedicated website for the UK market for some time and I am delighted that we have achieved this. Our product is designed to be different and we hope that going forward agents will use it as an information source when researching our products.”

Clients can now include a deep sea submarine adventure when onboard selected Scenic Eclipse cruises. Scenic Neptune, a submarine that can dive to 300 metres, will be available on Antarctica In Depth cruises, and Antarctica, South Georgia and Falkland Islands cruises, both departing in February and March 2020. River cruise specialist Viva Cruises is entering the expedition market with its new ship MS Seaventure launching in May 2021. Seaventure will sail on 13 different itineraries covering the Baltic Sea; Iceland and Norway’s polar island Spitsbergen; Iceland and Greenland; Iceland and Canada; and a Transatlantic to South America.

New training programme from AmaWaterways Agents could win a 2020 river cruise when they complete AmaAcademy – a new interactive training programme from AmaWaterways. The portal has been designed to help agents sell the line’s luxury river cruise holidays, with tools including an online booking engine, extended marketing collateral and a new social media toolkit. Those that complete AmaAcademy’s first course by December 16, 2019 will be

entered into a prize draw to win an AmaWaterways cruise for two sailing next year. In addition, all Course One graduates who make a new booking within 90 days of completing the course will earn a £25 Love2Shop voucher. Agents also benefit by qualifying for reduced rates starting from £651pp and will receive an ‘AmaWaterways Certified



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Discover Dominica Authority has developed Dominica’s official Trail Hiker’s Logbook and Passport to encourage visitors to hike around the island. Hikers that log their walks will be recognised for their achievements, based on the number of trails logged. Each trail is listed in the passport along with details on the level of difficulty. Passports can be obtained at Tourist Information offices.




TELL us about your company. Readers will often see us working on behalf of the Tobago Tourism Agency, or the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board. We also represent Coconut Court in Barbados, Starfish Jolly Beach in Antigua, Calabash Cove in St. Lucia, and most recently Playa Resorts in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.


WHAT are the benefits of being a CTO member? Having access to collective opportunities that we, or the clients we represent, would not otherwise be able to do on our own. It’s a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.


WHAT CTO activities do you get involved in? The travel agent roadshows in 2019 have been fantastic. The networking events are great for catching up with contacts and colleagues in the industry and are the element that make us feel part of this very warm community.


WHAT top Caribbean tips do you have? Each island has its own unique character, places and activities, so you can really match the right one to the right client.

Support the Bahamas and win a place on a fam

Bahamas fam incentive


HIGHER VOLUMES Travel agents can win a fam trip to the Bahamas by BUT PRIZES VALUE completing the islands’ new online training modules. The Bahamas Academy allows agents to become a UK visitor arrivals in the South destination expert with a focus on the islands, hotels, American nation of Guyana grew activities and how to sell to different clients. 17% in the first months of 2019. Those that complete the training by December 30 Nearly 5,000 UK travellers and sell the Bahamas will have the chance to win one visited the country from January of two places on a 2020 Open Arms fam trip, courtesy to September this year, while of the Bahamas Tourist Board. The more bookings visits are forecast to rise 14% registered the better the chance of winning. over the next six months. Agents will also be rewarded with a £20 Red Letter The GTA’s latest initiative is the Day voucher for each booking made and the Guyana Rum Route which first 20 agents to finish the training will showcases the role of rum and receive a Bahamas-branded beach sugarcane in the country’s towel. Winners will be announced in development. Attractions January 2020. include plantations, n a bbe ill Cari w h Agents can sign up at: distilleries and cane fields. t e 8 c 3 tpla The Mar, arke a M h l a e the B Trav ary ld in om Janu e h fr be 20. mas Baha 1 - 23, 20 2 THE Great LUXURY villa


House Antigua is the latest property to open on the island and offers clients the chance to stay in a 350-year-old Plantation style in Antigua former plantation house. Now an eight-bedroom boutique hotel, with four suites in the Great House and four garden cottage suites, guests can enjoy 26 acres of garden complete with a preserved sugar mill or take a dip in the refurbished pool.


company has added 80 Barbados properties to its portfolio. Standout Luxury stays in Barbados features include floodlit tennis courts, cinemas, panoramic sea views and private butlers and chefs. Agents can book an 18th century villa set on a coral ridge, an 11 bedroom mansion, or a selection of high-end one-bedroom accommodations. Sign up to the CTO’s training programme at

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the review: trade show report



Rivers on a current roll The ninth staging of CLIA’s River Cruise Conference noted a sector on a growth curve and offered selling trips for agents. Steve Hartridge reports

Ready for growth River cruising is at the beginning of a journey that will see it become a “phenomenal sector,” Walter Littlejohn, VP and MD for Crystal River Cruises, told delegates. “River cruising is currently where ocean cruising was 30 years ago, but the sector is fast changing. Even 10 years ago river cruising was in its infancy… smaller ships, just a single lounge, fixed dining times and set seats – the experience was very egalitarian but we have seen tremendous growth and evolution since then.” Littlejohn said he expected to see ‘greater segmentation’ as the industry moved forward. “We don’t all want to offer the same product; cruise lines need more points of difference. As the industry matures you will see more of these”. He drew parallels with the hotel industry, saying: “Whereas Mövenpick is different to Ibis and different again to Waldorf Astoria it will be increasingly the same with river cruising when it comes to the ships, hardware and onboard product.”

Sector ebbs and flows





between an ocean and a river cruise is that an ocean cruise takes you to countries while a river cruise takes you through countries.” Stuart Perl, UK MD, AmaWaterways “River cruising is perfect for packaging: add a pre- or post-cruise break in Cologne, Vienna or Berlin for a trip tailor-made for that client.” Jessica Shelton-Agar, Head of Sales APT UK “The overall cost of a river

CLIA’s River Conference returned to Amsterdam (November 10-11). Under the theme ‘Next Generation’, delegates heard how the sector, which will welcome another 16 new river ships in 2020, hopes to build on the double-digit growth of river cruises in 2018. British and Irish holidaymakers took 232,300 river cruises last year, an increase of 10.4%, and river cruise lines are hopeful of recording numbers approaching 250,000 by the close of this year. Among the 250 or so delegates in Amsterdam were agents from around the UK, including a strong delegation from Northern Ireland. They were hosted in Amsterdam by two ships: A-Rosa’s Flora and CroisiEurope’s Douce France. The other cruise lines with ships in port for agent visits were Amadeus (Silver II), AMA Waterways (AmaKristina) and Crystal Cruises (Crystal Bach). AmaWaterways’ Stuart Perl, who is also Chair of CLIA’s River Cruise

Working Group, said ‘Next Generation’ was an apt tag to describe the ‘new types’ of river cruisers the industry hopes to attract – such as multi-generational family groups, active travellers, couples, history buffs, wine lovers and even ‘city breakers’. The Next Generation tag also applies to new-build ships and the trend for more technically advanced and more sustainable ships, plus new itineraries and new rivers to explore, he added. Kristin Karst, Executive VicePresident of AMA Waterways, told agents that families would be the ‘river cruising customer of the future’. “Whenever we have children onboard, the magic of Europe, with its castles, palaces and fairytale-like buildings, keeps them occupied,” she said.” Next year will see Tui launching its first river ships, with a debut sailing in March 2020, and Saga introducing its first river ship, also in spring. Spirit of the Rhine will sail on European waterways.

cruise can seem higher but that’s because prices are front-loaded. There is very little





onboard – and the higher the fare the higher the commission for agents.” Janet Parton, Sales Director Cosmos/Avalon Waterways “Crystal




European rivers but if our guests want us to sail in other parts of world and we can do that to the Crystal standard we will go there.” Walter Littlejohn, VP and MD, Crystal Cruises “Guided tours are still very popular; we only see a small number of people taking off on their own. People want someone to tell them about the history, culture and stories of the region. ” Kristin Karst, Executive VicePresident, AMAWaterways

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how to sell

A Caribbean cruise Unpack just the once but visit four or five islands in a week – a cruise is the only way to go when it comes to holidaying in the Caribbean, says Jane Archer Why sell it Whether clients are first-time cruisers or seasoned veterans of the high seas, island hopping in the Caribbean is a great fit. Holidays can be relaxing or high action on big or small ships, and with new happenings all the time, agents are never short of something great to sell. For 2020, it could be a voyage on Marella Explorer 2 – the Marella Cruises ship launched this spring that’s for adults only – or dodgems and skydiving on Royal Caribbean International’s new Odyssey of the Seas, which will start sailing in November next year.

Who to sell to The Caribbean is an easy sell when it comes to a fun-in-the-sun cruise for couples and families, but dig a bit deeper because the West Indies have something to suit everyone, whether they're aged eight or 80. Foodies can taste their way around the islands - with locally-made rum and chocolate highlights. There’s colonial history in cities like Old San Juan in Puerto Rico and Willemstad in Curaçao or well preserved forts in St Kitts and Haiti. Adventurers can scuba dive in the Bahamas or the Grenadines, or ride a highspeed bobsled in Jamaica. Wellness seekers can indulge in mud baths in St Lucia.


What to sell One-week Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale or Miami on big resort-style ships that tick off the big five – St Maarten, Bahamas, Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Cozumel in Mexico – are perennially popular. British lines P&O Cruises and Marella Cruises call into the likes of Grenada, Antigua, St Vincent and Dominica on voyages from Barbados, St Lucia or Jamaica. Marella’s Pride of Panama cruise visits Columbia and Costa Rica. Beaches, history and diving are the draw with small ship lines Star Clippers and SeaDream Yacht Club, which add lesser-known islands like Nevis, St Barts and Guadeloupe to the mix.

When to sell it


The Caribbean is tropical, with daytime temperatures averaging 28C all year. High season is winter, when the islands are busiest and prices at their peak. Summer brings hurricanes (the season is officially June 1 to November 30) and more chance of rain, but is a popular time among families

as children are on the long school break. Festivals including Crop Over in Barbados (July/August), Carnival in Trinidad (February) and Antigua Sailing Week (April/May) are fun – and colourful – times to go.

What's new? Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has an overnight in Havana, Cuba, on a 13-night Classic Caribbean sailing from Barbados to Dominican Republic on December 10 2020. Carnival is offering alternative Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral on new ship Mardi Gras, which has the first roller coaster at sea, starting November 2020. 

BOOK IT WITH... TUI The seven-night Pride of Panama cruise on Marella Discovery 2 visits Jamaica, Santa Marta and Cartagena in Colombia, Colon in Panama and Puerto Limon in Costa Rica before returning to Montego Bay. From £757pp with flights from Manchester. – 0203 636 1862

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Setting the


From experiencing the elite English aesthetics of Downton Abbey to hanging out in Hobbiton, set-jetting – that’s visiting locations popular with filmmakers – can inject a little movie magic into any trip, says Jessica Pook


magine having your Saturday afternoon interrupted by a knock on the door, only to find a film location scout asking if it’s ok to recreate one of the best selling books of all time, right here on your modest sheep farm. That’s exactly what happened to the Alexander family and they agreed to transform their land near Matamata, New Zealand, into the Shire for The Lord Of The Rings film trilogy – a decision that resulted in one of the country’s top tourist attractions. As a result, New Zealand has successfully marketed itself as ‘the home of MiddleEarth’ for the last 15 years, with

nearly one in five visitors citing J.R.R. Tolkien’s creation as influencing their interest in the country. And there’s no sign of these numbers dipping. Like many tourists before me, I can’t resist the chance to recreate the perilous journey trod by Frodo and Samwise. As we wind through New Zealand’s famous rolling green hills, at some point we leave reality behind and enter the fantasy world of Hobbiton, brought to life with child-sized round doors peaking from beneath perfectly

preened grass mounds, and picket fences hiding manicured vegetable patches. It’s quaint, cute and exactly like the film. Pip Casey, Regional Manager UK & Europe for Tourism New Zealand says: “The legacy of Middle-Earth continues to impact New Zealand’s tourism industry to this day, eighteen years after the first of Sir Peter Jackson’s films was released. The films brought New Zealand’s stunning landscapes to big screens, along with a setting unlike anywhere else in the world!”

hobbiton, neW ZeaLand

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Magic of the movies New Zealand’s not the only destination to cash in on its big screen debuts. Set-jetting – which sees people visiting the set of their favourite movie or TV show – is a top travel trend and a great selling hook for agents. “We’ve definitely witnessed an increase in enquiries about visiting film and TV locations.” Says Hannah Marwood, Senior Land Product Trading Executive at STA Travel. “I think this is because the quality of movies and TV now means that destinations can be showcased like never before. This inspires people to travel to destinations that they may not have considered in the past.” A recent study from Travelzoo revealed that film-related tourism in the UK alone amounted to £600 million in 2016. The growing popularity of shows such as Poldark, Peaky Blinders, Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones is causing a welcomed boost in UK visitor figures as well as inbound income. The survey found that in 2018, one in six holidaymakers were influenced to visit Northern Ireland because of Game of Thrones.

In the same year, Visit Cornwall noted that Poldark brought an estimated 14% of visitors to the area. The West Midlands attracted a record 1.8 million visitors between January and September, 2017 (the period between seasons three and four of Peaky Blinders). Marwood adds: “We find that it’s a great way to engage with our customer base. TV series and movies can be hugely successful and take on a cult following, especially with young people, so it’s an exciting opportunity you don’t want to miss out on.” Tour operators are capitalising on this pique in interest by packaging tours and themed experiences. Shearings Holidays has a five-day ‘Highclere – Home of Downton Abbey’ coach tour for 2020, on the back of the Downton Abbey film, released in September. Jane Atkins, Managing Director at Shearings Holidays comments: “We all know the power that film locations can have on driving holiday demand. Downton Abbey is such a popular show with customers of all ages. I have no doubt the new film will drive interest in visiting Highclere. On our tour

“TV series and movies can be hugely successful and take on a cult following, especially with young people. We use this to engage with our customer base” Hannah Marwood, STA

the tickets are pre-booked and all of the arrangements are made for guests.” Gary Clark, Assistant Product and Commercial Manager: Touring Australasia, Travel 2, says that nostalgia has a big part to play in the set-jetting trend, saying: “Movie themed tours can certainly encourage bookings for specific destinations, as guests are eager to experience the story for

Jordan’s Wadi Rum features in Star wars

Lake Lure, North Carolina, setting for dirty dancing

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themselves and evoke those same emotions.” Travel 2’s New Zealand-based movie tour includes a visit to Wellington’s Weta Workshop, going behind-the-scenes to meet the designers and craftsmen responsible for props and costumes in movies like The Hobbit, District 9 and Thunderbirds Are Go. Malta is also a favourite of film-makers and The Malta Tourism Authority has released a map of the islands which pinpoints filming locations for Gladiator, The Count of Monte Cristo, Troy, Captain Phillips and many other films. Iceland is selling itself as the inspiration for Disney’s Frozen 2, highlighting the geysers, black-sand beaches, volcanoes and waterfalls which apparently inspired the makers of the animation sequel.

Top locations Northern Ireland – Game Of Thrones Ireland’s dramatic coastline played host to some of the most famous Game of Thrones locations, from the Battle of the Blackwater to the Iron Islands. Clients can try their hand at archery at Strangford Lough,

better known by GOT fans as Winterfell, drive the Causeway Coast, the backdrop for many a bloody scene, and visit the spooky Dark Hedges Road which doubled as the Kings Road in the show. Georgia, U.S – Stranger Things The hit series was shot in and around Atlanta, meaning fans of the show can get their Americana fix of small-town 1980s. Picture opportunities include the Hawkins National Laboratory (a former psychiatric hospital), the neon palace arcade and a spooky Hawkins Library. North Carolina – Dirty Dancing Until recently North Carolina was a big hit when it came to film locations. Along with blockbusters such as I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Hunger Games, it’s famously the home of ‘that’ lift in the romantic comedy classic, Dirty Dancing. Johnny and Baby created the movie magic in Lake Lure in the foothills of North Carolina and the Lake Lure Inn Resort & Spa hosts an annual Dirty Dancing festival. Jordan – Star Wars Location scouts have been drawn to the burnt-coloured sands and lunar-like


sandstone formations of Wadi Rum for blockbusters such as The Martian, Laurance of Arabia, Aladdin and most recently Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Due for release December 2019, the famous desert landscape will once again feature in the latest and last film in this Star Wars trilogy. Italy – No Time To Die Filming for the 25th installment of the James Bond franchise, the fifth and final for Daniel Craig, took place throughout 2019. Scouts chose Matera in the South of Italy, this year’s European capital of culture, for the iconic Aston Martin car chase scenes. The neighbouring region of Puglia, with its iconic Trulli huts, is also said to feature in the film, expected for release in April 2020,

Where to book it travel 2 – 0800 50 50 30. The nine-day North Island Movie Experience includes three-nights in Auckland ,with a trip to Hobbiton, two nights in Rotorua and three nights in Wellington, visiting the location for the Gardens of Isengard, From £1,899pp, the price includes all flights and guided touring. 

northern ireland’s moody scenery proved perfect for Game of Thrones

downton Abbey, or highclere house

Matera, italy, features in the next bond film

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celebrity travel talk

Sir Trevor McDonald: “I'm from Trinidad so I was used to seeing the odd skirmish outside the rum shop” News veteran and journalist Sir Trevor McDonald loves balmy Caribbean evenings, hates airports, and describes himself as a coward in a conflict zone, writes Sasha Wood


s the leading newscaster of his generation, Sir Trevor McDonald has been responsible for many landmark TV moments and has interviewed key historical figures ranging from Saddam Hussein to Peace Prize winners such as Nelson Mandela and Benazir Bhutto. Born in Trinidad, McDonald worked as a local news reporter before moving to London to join the BBC in 1969, and has since travelled far and wide professionally. He says he travelled like a king for his most recent documentary, Indian Train Adventure, covering his eight-day journey between Mumbai and Jaipur aboard the legendary Maharajas' Express. “India overwhelms the senses. It’s such a large country, so populous, so crowded and the driving is utterly mad. It’s something you have to do once,” says McDonald. But it has not always been plain sailing. When he joined ITN in the 1970s he was sent to Northern Ireland during the height of The Troubles. “There were people being shot and bombs going off all the time,” he says. “I was from Trinidad and used to seeing the odd skirmish outside the rum shop on a Friday night, but I’d never heard a bomb explode before. I must admit there were times when I was scared out of my wits. I am very cowardly by nature so I learned to run.” He reported from Beirut during the Lebanese civil war, and went to Baghdad

before the first Gulf War to interview Saddam Hussein. In fact, he lists Beirut among the most surprising places he’s visited, partly because it managed to remain so civilized in the midst of a raging civil war. “People were fighting and killing each other during the week and on Sunday morning people they came out and set up little stalls selling the finest French perfume and Champagne. I turned up to a fine restaurant and I couldn’t believe all the tables were full,” he explains. McDonald doesn’t always get the chance to explore when he’s on assignment, so he frequently revisits places where he’s worked: “The west coast of America is one – I love San Diego and Santa Monica. You discover new things every time you go.” One of the places McDonald has returned to often, after working there for many years, is South Africa. He was the first person to interview Nelson Mandela when he was released from prison in 1990 and again when he became president in 1994. The two subsequently met on many occasions and became firm friends. “It was fascinating to watch the country go through all the traumas of what it was to what it wants to be. I saw a lot of changes, but frankly, on my last visit about a year ago, I was a little distressed that some of the changes have not been greater... and quite shocked to see some of the same slums that were there 25 years ago,” he says. As a journalist, he has always been

fascinated with meeting world leaders. He was friends with Benazir Bhutto and interviewees have included notorious despots such as Libya's Colonel Gaddafi. He has also been invited to the White House on several occasions, interviewing President Clinton and the younger President Bush. McDonald has travelled extensively in the Caribbean, to Barbados, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis. “My father was born in Grenada and he always boasted that their beaches are better than in Trinidad,” he says. “What I like about the Caribbean is that it’s always warm. Even on summer evenings here you feel you need a light sweater, but in the Caribbean you put on a short-sleeved shirt, pour yourself a large rum punch, and sit out on the verandah forever.” Barbados is also one of his go-to places for a relaxing holiday, along with Cape Town. “The waterfront area in the city is very nice,” says McDonald. Between travelling for work and sojourns in South Africa and the Caribbean, the broadcaster says he has spent far too long in airports, which are his least favourite aspect of his globe-trotting exploits: “I approach them with dread,” he laughs. That said, his time spent working in troubled destinations around the globe has nurtured a certain warmth for British aviation: “I must confess that it was always nice to get on to a British Airways flight and hear the captain’s voice – you always felt you were heading home and out of trouble.”

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celebrity travel talk


PROFILE Sir Trevor McDonald's career spans ďŹ ve decades at the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. He became a household name on ITV's News at Ten in the 1990s and now fronts travel documentaries - the latest on Indian train journeys. He has more awards than any other news broadcaster.

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australia australia

View to a new

lifestyle With a new campaign to stand out in a crowded market, Australia is looking to lure travellers with the promise of its unique people and way of life, says Laura Gelder

the kimberley


perth lake house

here the bloody hell is everyone? I thought to myself, echoing the famous line from Tourism Australia’s 2006 multi-million dollar ad campaign. Playing a game of ‘spot the person’ is harder than it sounds in Canberra and walking the wide streets, at certain times you could be forgiven for thinking that you were the only one that didn’t get the end-ofthe-world memo. But this much-derided capital is packed with plenty of the key ingredients that make Australia popular with Brits – accessible wildlife for starters. Later that day we ‘nip’ up Mount Taylor, a ten-minute drive from the suburb my friend lives in and a bit of after-work exercise for her. For me, a wannabe David Attenborough, it’s a magical mystery tour. What kind of a city is this?” I shout to her, as we weave through silvery gum trees in

the gloaming, stamping exaggeratedly to put off any lurking brown snakes. It’s a question that’s never answered because we pop out into a clearing and there, its little paws poised uncertainly by its muscular chest, is a red wallaby. He/she stares at us. We stare back, ever so slowly reaching for our cameras in a parody of a Wild West stand-off. The wallaby considers us curiously for a few seconds before lolloping calmly into a thicket of trees. We also come across yellow and white cockatoos, strutting in the long grass; spy the red flash of a lorikeet above; and on reaching the summit, are met by a reception party of serious-eyed grey kangaroos. Canberra is often accused of being too planned, modern and therefore soulless. But, as a Brit, I didn’t come to Australia for the history. I’m in it for the weird and wonderful wildlife, the endless sunshine and the relaxed, enviable outdoor lifestyle.

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australia australia


Wilsons Promontory

sydney harbour bridge

A new ‘phil-aus-ophy’ Tourism Australia’s research shows I’m not alone and its new campaign - the first major brand over-haul since the one mentioned earlier – aims to sell the lifestyle too. The ‘Come Live our Phil-aus-ophy’ campaign shows Australia is serious about standing out in the market and was launched to the trade during its first Australia Marketplace this October. Designed to replace its presence at World Travel Market, the new event included two days of pre-scheduled appointments between UK operators and agents and Australian destination and product reps.

State round-up Queensland: The state was badly hit by Cyclone Debbie in 2017 but, in true Aussie style, has made the best of a bad situation by using it as an excuse to upgrade resorts. The most notable is the Intercontinental

Hayman Island Resort, now open on a 400-hectare private island in the Whitsundays. The 168-room resort offers secluded beach coves, jet ski adventures or seaplane rides over the Great Barrier Reef. The Reefworld pontoon at Hardy Reef now has two overnight all-inclusive options: the Reefsuite accommodation in an underwater room with floor-to-ceiling windows onto the reef, or the renewed Reefsleep experience, which allows up to 24 guests to sleep on the pontoon’s top deck, but now sees guests in raised cabana-style beds which can be left open for star gazing or closed for comfort. Brisbane has undergone significant investment and seven hotels have opened in the city in the last year, including Adina Hotel, which is set in an old bank building. South Australia: The state is promoting its capital Adelaide as a green, clean city, hoping to attract those looking to travel sustainably, or as sustainable as you can be

a cassowary, queensland

after a 24-hour flight. The city’s botanical gardens offer a foraging for food experience and travellers can take advantage of free bikes and public transport to get around. The state will see some new hotel openings next year including a Crowne Plaza and Sofitel in Adelaide and Sequoia Lodge, a new high-end boutique property in the wine region of Adelaide Hills. With 14 contemporary, luxurious suites it has uninterrupted views across Piccadilly Valley. The state is promoting the Southern Ocean Walk. Ninety minutes south of Adelaide, it’s a four-day, three-night adventure that showcases Fleurieu Peninsula coastline, with scenery including sandy beaches, rugged cliff tops, stringybark forests and secluded waterfalls. New South Wales: New product for agents to get their teeth into includes the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga Zoo – hotel-style premium accommodation at the zoo to

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add to its ‘roar and snore’ programme. Sydney is still selling itself on its exciting dining and nightlife, with new additions including the Coogee Wine Room for pairing experiences and cocktail bar Maybe Sammy, located in the Rocks. BridgeClimb has teamed up with two of Australia’s most celebrated restaurants, Quay and Bennelong, for a new package. Open to couples and groups of up to 80, the partnership will allow guests to book a climb, then dine in style overlooking the arches from either restaurant. Outside the capital, the state has recently suffered wild fires but positive news

“Victoria is selling itself on its compact diversity and wants agents to remind their customers that most of its stand-out attractions are no more than four hours from Melbourne”

a tasmanian devil

includes a new glamping experience due to open at Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary; a new tasting cellar door experience at Brokenwood Wines in the Hunter Valley; and a new boutique hotel – Circa 28 in Albury on the Murray River. Victoria: Melbourne is now number two as a gateway into Australia. The state is selling itself on its compact diversity and wants agents to remind their customers that most of its stand-out attractions are no more than four hours from Melbourne. Up and coming areas include the Yarra Valley for food, wine and beer experiences, and Wilson’s Promontory, where a new cruise is exploring the surrounding marine park to search for whales. Opening soon is the second half of the Grampians Peaks Trail. Western Australia: Responding to the demand for authentic experiences, WA is pushing The Kimberley region, including the Gibb River Road drive. Elsewhere, Rottnest Island has opened a new eco retreat, the Western Australia Museum is to reopen next year after a refurbishment, and Jetstar is to launch new flights from the Margaret River to Melbourne next year. Tasmania: The big hook for agents in

Tasmania, says the tourist board, is that it offers guaranteed wildlife year-round and wildlife that you cant see anywhere else in Australia – including Tasmanian devils. The state is promoting its diverse coastline, which is some 3,000km and varies from white sand beaches to rocky mountains. It tips Stanley as a hidden gem. The town sits on Tasmania’s northwest coast, just 30 minutes from ancient rainforest, west coast beaches and harbour villages in the north. Northern Territory: Artist Bruce Munroe has a new light installation project in Darwin, Tropical Light. It will run throughout the CBD until April next year. Glamping is popular in NT, with a new glamping village at Cooinda Lodge and Camping and new site Dreaming@Home Billabong opening its 20 tents in July - both in Kakadu. The established Kings Canyon Resort also has new, luxury tented rooms.

Where to book it Intrepid Travel - 0808 274 5111 A 15-day Kimberley Trail, Broome to Darwin group tour is from £2,355pp and includes exploring Mitchell Plateau in a 4WD and seeing the red domes of the Bungle Bungle Ranges in Purnululu National Park. 

Windjana Gorge National Park El Questro Station, western Australia

adelaide from windy point

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SAVE THE DATE Say g'day to Sydney & New South Wales at the


UK & Europe ROADSHOW 2020

LONDON: 24 March 2020 Manchester: 25 March 2020 Glasgow: 26 March 2020 (Venues and timings to be announced)

An invitation will follow

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Training, competitions, events December2019


New links to Ontario NEWS

Quick Quiz Are you a Alaska Expert?

1. Alaska is the smallest state in the USA TRUE / FALSE


Thailand's four ways for 2020

2. A third of Alaska's visitors have been before

AS of March 29, 2020, Air Canada will begin operating its Heathrow-Ottawa route, which will increase capacity by 20%. Ontario is also set to welcome a spate of new luxury hotels. A 13-story Ace Hotel located in Toronto’s Fashion District is coming early 2020, and the city’s first W Hotel from Marriott International will open in summer 2020 in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood.


Thailand Expert I Modules:8 Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is planning an Amazing Thailand Week in May 2020. The campaign, which will raise awareness of the destination, will see the TAT working with trade partners, airlines and restaurants across the UK. TAT has four aims for its marketing in 2020: ‘Go high’, to target luxury and niche markets like wellness and gastronomy; ‘go low’, to generate more visitors in Thailand’s shoulder seasons such as May, June, September and October; ‘go local’ which will help the trade to promote local experiences; and ‘go digital’ which will see its site offering more diverse digital content for trade use.

Yasawa upgrades News

Find the answer at:

Fiji's Yasawa Islands are going upmarket. Jane West, Regional Manager UK and Europe, said: "This region is going through a renaissance, with many backpacker resorts upgrading to offer great value three-star experiences.” West also said that Fiji is focused on offering more local, experiential activities, such as fruit tasting with local farmers.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of The Islands of The Seychelles

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Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

Train with Brainz

Working in partnership



A-Z of available courses

BOURNE Leisure is offering all agents the chance to win a 2020 break at one of its three brands: Butlin’s, Haven or Warner Leisure Hotels, upon completion of the new 'Train with Brainz' courses. The winning agent can choose from an off-peak Butlin’s or Haven break for a family of four or a Warner Leisure Hotels break for two adults aged 21 and over. The new modules provide flexible training across all three brands by using the latest product information, developments, videos and images. The training ends with a multiple-choice questionnaire that ensures all information is easily retained. The winning agents will be chosen at random.

ABTA Alaska Aruba Amtrak Vacations Beaches Resorts Bourne Leisure Butlins Centara Hotels & Resorts Cirque de Soleile Costa Rica Elegant Hotels Essential Detail Fiji Finland Flanders Fort Myers & Sanibel Haven Hotels Hawaii


Casino slump for Vegas

Heritage Resort Jerusalem Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Journey Beyond Las Vegas Macao

Las Vegas Virtuoso I Modules:5

Trains trending News

Tapping into the ‘slow' travel trend predicted for 2020, Australian specialist Journey Beyond launches (on December 6) its Great Southern rail journey, linking Adelaide to Brisbane. The inaugural season will run from the start of December until the end of January, with 16 departures and both three-day and four-day experiences available to book.

Gambling has now fallen to seventh place in the top 10 things to do in Las Vegas, according to its Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). The tourism body said that shows, including Shania Twain and Lady Gaga, gastronomic attractions such as Gordon Ramsey’s five restaurants, and outdoor adventures like kayaking and hiking in the Grand Canyon are all outstripping the casinos and slot machines as reasons to visit the Nevada city. The popularity of sports is also on the up in the city. The Las Vegas Raiders football stadium will open in 2020 and will also serve as a much-needed venue for large concerts.

Melia Hotels & Resorts New York state Newmarket Holidays Oman Ontario Qatar Railbookers SAGA Saint Lucia Sandals Resorts Seychelles Simon Malls St Kitts Thailand TIPTO US Airtours Veranda Resorts Windjammer Landing Hotel Yas Island

Untitled-5 1

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the final word

the quirky side of travel Fams are good for the fam

Those that regularly work away on business have a happier relationship, according to research by Travelodge. The survey found that 40% of those who work away from home would describe their relationship as “extremely happy”, compared to 28% of couples who never go away on business. While most couples cited having time apart as the main reason, 34% admitted they relish the opportunity to have a break from household chores, 27% take advantage of getting a good nights' sleep in a hotel and 19% confessed they enjoyed the break from childcare duties. The survey concludes that five nights away a month is what's needed to maintain a happy relationship. Time to enter more fam trip incentives?

Time for wine?

The UK may have a boozy reputation, but when it comes to drinking wine it seems we're flagging behind. According to Accor Hotels, the UK is the 17th biggest wine-drinking nation. Portugal comes first, consuming 71.5 bottles per person every year, France comes second (naturally) and Italy third. But if you want to go to the source, apparently the USA produces the highest quality wine.

Top 5... biggest travel fears in the UK With the Christmas Holiday period fast approaching, surveyed 2,424 people to find out what they fear most about travelling over the festive period. Here's what topped the list... 1 2 3 4 5

Who's a good boy?

Cleanliness of accommodation Lost luggage Losing their passport Getting ill A language barrier

When British Airways heard that ex-US Secret Service dog, Hurricane, had been awarded a PDSA Order of Merit, the airline pulled out all the stops to fly him in style to the awards ceremony at The House of Lords. Cane and his owner were surprised with Club World seats for their journey to London, as well as a number of special canine touches such as a bed and dog bowl.

THE JANUARY 2020 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: Australia - New South Wales • Bermuda • Canada - Quebec • Colombia • Cruising - what's new? • Dominican Republic • Escorted touring • Greece • Israel • South Africa • USA - Philadelphia • Spa & Wellness CONTACT US; PLUS ONLINE Features library • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Blogs • Reviews

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Be inspired by...


A new era in travel • Jordan • Talking to... Fred. Olsen Travel • Trending places • Take five: new Dubai hotels

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A NEW ERA IN TRAVEL As a new decade beckons, Ben Lerwill looks at some of the trends that may define it, from burgeoning destinations to changing consumer attitudes to travel


en years is a long time in travel. At the start of 2010, travel trend reports focused on everything from the after-effects of the financial crisis to a likely rise in Stateside bookings on the back of – anyone remember this? – Jamie Oliver’s American Road Trip. As a new decade begins, today’s industry is facing up to a fresh set of factors, with tech, climate change, over-tourism and Brexit among the multitude of issues. But some things appear clear. As a nation, we’re travelling as much as ever. ABTA’s Holiday Habits report in October showed that 88% of Brits took a holiday in the past 12 months, up from 86% the year before. There was an increase too in the average number of times people went away (3.9 trips a year) and, for the first time since 2011, the number of foreign holidays came close to matching the number of domestic breaks. Domestic bliss In fact, England took second spot on Lonely Planet’s high-profile Best In 2020 list, drawing praise for its “timeless treasures and “spectacular natural beauty.” These

assets might equally apply to the UK as a whole, which holds new selling points such as the Great West Way – a touring route linking London with Bristol – the soon-toopen England Coast Path, and Scotland’s 2020 Year of Coasts & Waters celebrations. In Ireland, meanwhile, the city of Galway is embarking on a 12-month stint as European Capital of Culture. A 2019 Post Office report pointed out city breaks are now the most popular type of overseas holiday, but there is a marked shift away from over-visited European hotspots. Lesser-known but easy-to-reach spots such as Italy’s Bari, Poland’s Katowice and Lithuania’s Kaunas are among those growing in popularity as a result. Meanwhile, ABTA's Travel Trends Report for 2020 highlighted Euro hot spots as the Basilicata region of Italy, including the city of Matera, Lucanian Apennines and the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea; Madrid and its neighbouring cities; the Netherlands (not just because Rotterdam is hosting Eurovision Song Contest 2020); and Vienna, which will mark Beethoven's 250th birthday. ABTA also said big influences on travel in

2020 would be an increased focus on the environmental impacts of tourism. “There is a great emphasis now on responsible travel, sustainability and animal welfare,” echoes Tricia Birmingham, Product and Commercial Director at Gold Medal and Travel 2. “These topics are very much at the forefront of peoples’ minds. It’s important that we give travellers the opportunity to embrace local cultures, give back to communities and protect the environment, to ensure these destinations remain available for future generations.” Being mindful, keeping green For Explore’s Deputy Managing Director John Telfer, the impact could be significant. “I foresee that there will be a gradual shift in terms of people deciding to travel less frequently, instead choosing to stay longer overseas rather than taking multiple short breaks, in response to the climate crisis and the desire to fly less,” he says. This fits with ABTA's prediction for the rise of 'slow travel', too - which could mean reducing the carbon footprint by taking a train or staying in communities

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The Cotswolds is in focus thanks to th new Great West Way; Japan is still going strong; Egypt is bouncing back; Italy's Bari and surrounding area is on the up

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Zimbabwe is expected to show significant growth in 2020

longer to give something back and make meaningful memories. This could indicate that mid-haul and long-haul markets will become even more competitive, but there are countless destinations giving good reasons to be considered. Egypt, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Lebanon – all of which are recovering from tough setbacks – are being tipped to attract higher visitor numbers in 2020. What’s more, they all hold potential for adventure, which is good news for agents. “Travellers are certainly becoming more adventurous, and with that they are looking to book holidays which are more complicated to self-book,” continues Explore’s Telfer. “We expect these types of trips to show stronger growth, as customers look for support from experts.” Longer time away might also mean a further rise in the number of twin-centre holidays being taken, and Gold Medal and Travel 2’s Birmingham agrees they are proving extremely popular: “Customers are

taking advantage of stopovers, with some free options en route to destinations. Flying via Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Doha and New York have all been popular with our agent bookings.” New travellers, new horizons Of course, a holiday isn’t just about where you go and what you do – increasingly, it’s also about who you go with. G Adventures has developed a new set of family tours in partnership with National Geographic and Managing Director Brian Young says: “One of the big findings for us was how people identified as a family - it’s no longer just the nuclear family but is multigenerational, extending to grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.” So which other destinations are set for a strong year in 2020? Tokyo will draw plenty of attention, thanks to the Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place between July and September. The same can be said of Dubai, which hosts a World Expo beginning

in October, and Marrakesh, which has been named Africa’s first ever Capital of Culture for the year ahead. And Egypt's Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza will finally be unveiled. Egypt offers a cultural experience like no other, says Phil Ellis, Product Manager at Titan. "But this $1 billion project has been 10 years in the making and is sure to be a highlight for anyoe visiting Cairo." British Airways reports that new routes to Kos and Antalya are drawing plenty of bookings, while Virgin Atlantic is launching flights to Sao Paulo in March. Incidentally, parts of South America are due to experience a rare solar eclipse on December 14. This date may seem far off, but as G Adventures’ Young explains, advance planning is far from unusual: “Brits continue to want to travel despite Brexit, (but) we are seeing increases in the lead time for bookings,” he says. "They’re pushing holidays further out, to allow for Brexit uncertainty and more time to save.”

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Going Indiana Jones in…


Sasha Wood finds the holy grail of Arabian travel destinations in the compact and action-packed Kingdom of Jordan


ipping sage tea beside a campfire at a cliff-edge Bedouin tent, I watch as the first light slowly casts the famous rock-hewn Treasury in a rosy glow. "Petra is the centre of mysticism; the result of a collaboration between man and nature,” my guide Ali says in a half-whisper as the mystical Arabia of my imagination finally materializes before my eyes. I’d risen before dawn to beat the crowds and make the steep pilgrimage to this viewpoint at the rim of the ravine, and my reward was silent, sacred awe. My journey had begun in Jordan’s thriving capital Amman, reminiscent of a Middle Eastern Athens. Ancient Acropolislike ruins are strewn across a peaceful hilltop and a stone amphitheatre rises from the bustling streets of downtown.

The echoing call to prayer casts a haunting air across the 26 tenement-studded wadis (valleys) and jebels (mountains) around which the city is crafted. Like their Nabatean ancestors in Petra, here the Jordanians chose to work with the land rather than try to master it, incorporating its curves and contours into the infrastructure. Hide and Siq In Petra, the Nabateans' ingenuity is mind-blowing. Approaching the Siq - a sliver-thin canyon into the site - there are eroded signs of the magnificence beyond, cave-like cubby-holes and Lycian-style tombs with triangular plinths peeking out from pastel-striped cliffs. My guide points out the ancient water system cut into the sloping marbled sides of the Siq. At points so narrow the rattling horseand-carts can barely squeeze through, the Siq meant the Treasury would have been easy to defend from marauders. As horses, camels and donkeys rattle past, whipping sun-baked dung and dust into the air, it’s a pungent reminder of Petra’s former status as a key trading post more than two thousand years ago. Today they ferry tourists instead of spices,

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Horses, camels and donkeys rattle past, whipping sunbaked dung and dust into the air

frankincense and other exotic goods. The site is much bigger than I expected, fanning out from the narrow canyon into a vast valley with winding trails to yet more marvels. Almost as awe-inspiring as the Treasury, the Monastery is not to be missed. It's tucked upon a mountain plateau, and I made the trek up a sloping path and found its strange beauty momentarily upstaged by a free-running local making a heart-stopping leap of faith between its high plinths. In Jordan a canopied and carpetted bedouin camp is never far away, and I find one and a promise of shade and ritual refreshment at Petra’s highest peak. With vertigo-inducing views in all directions, I sit sipping tea with friendly locals. Later that evening I visit a bedouin tribe at Petra’s Ammarin camp and bond with tribe chief Hussein over a complicated coffee ceremony, and a delicious traditional dinner of Biryani-style chicken, baba ganoush and flatbreads.

The next day I am treated to yet more tea and hearty hospitality at Sun City Camp in the mesmerizing desert of Wadi Rum. Desert dreaming Lawrence of Arabia’s stomping ground of Wadi Rum is sand-blasted pillars of rock and glittering silken dunes - a surreal cinematic beauty that’s been the backdrop for more movies than you can shake a lightsaber at. Scenes from Mars, Aladdin, and Star Wars flash across my mind as we safari across the UNESCO-protected desert in a convoy of 4WDs. We sail past the Seven Pillars that appear like a set of gigantic melting candles and a collection of ancient camel-shaped etchings that look like the archaic stocktake of a long-lost trading station. After all that adventure, the Red Sea and Dead Sea offer a welcome restorative break. On a gentle cruise along the languid sundappled shores of Aqaba, I snorkel among thriving coral gardens and sunken

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This little land of myth and legend delivers beyond all expectations"

wrecks, while the group stretch out on deck to top up their tans. Down at the Dead Sea it's sauna-hot but there's no need for sunscreen, the low altitude stops the UVA rays from reaching your skin. There’s also 8% more oxygen in the air, and storming upstream through Wadi Mujib my lungs are thankful for the extra help. On this wild canyoning adventure, I navigate tumbling waterfalls and fast torrents using ropes and ladders. But the ride back down is like a lazy river through Petra’s Siq. Floating on my back wearing a lifejacket, I let the current carry me, and it’s a serene moment. Floating is all you can do in the saline-rich Dead Sea, which is so dense that

swimming is ungainly. The mineral-rich mud on its shores is feted for its skinboosting properties. Taking great clods of mud from pots down by the water, I cover myself from head to toe and then take a dip in the water to wash it off. It doesn't make me ten years younger, but my skin definitely has an agreeable glow. Relaxing in this natural spa is the ideal way to top off an action-packed trip. From spiritual sites to mystical monuments, this little land of myth and legend delivers beyond all expectations. Add to that beach time in Aqaba, the natural Dead Sea spa, the delicious food and pleasant buzz of Amman, and you really do have a safe, friendly and compact portal into the best of Arabia. The details... Sasha was hosted by Insight Vacations ( on a sevenday Jordan Experience tour, priced from £1,850pp with flights, accommodation, luxury coach transportation, some meals and a travel guide.

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“There’s a lot of talk about tech trending in travel but we aren’t seeing it. For us, customer service is still king” River cruising is still growing exponentially and while many agents get enquiries about it they might not know how to answer them. At Fred. River Cruise, we're aiming to be a one-stop shop for agents selling it and we’re nearly there! "We offer cruises on most of the world’s navigable rivers, including lesser-visited ones like the Volga in Russia and the Ganges and Brahmaputra in India. "Destination is key now - lots of travellers have ticked off the classics and they are looking for the next ones. That word experiential is always popping up too. "After huge interest in Myanmar's Irrawaddy River, the Mekong seems to be back. There’s also lots of interest in America's Mississippi, thanks in part to Jane McDonald. "Even in Europe there are ‘new’ places to discover and the lower Danube River is getting more interest. Mostly between Budapest and the Black Sea, it accesses cities like Belgrade and Bucharest and is steeped in history and culture, with the chance to extend onto Istanbul. "The French waterways are also on the up, in particular the Seine. Customers are waking up to its

accessibility through Paris and selling points like food and wine and attractions like the Monet gardens.

STEVE WILLIAMS, MANAGING DIRECTOR, FRED. OLSEN TRAVEL YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY: 18 BEST HOLIDAY: Love cruising with the family but my personal retreat is the Lake District. TRAVEL DISASTER: Reaching the airport on the day I was made MD, without my passport.

Touring trends "Escorted touring is a natural extension of river cruising and since becoming the UK general sales agent for Collette, Fred. Olsen Travel has put that to the test. "Collette has always been a great product but lost traction with the trade. We’ve now got some great sales staff back on the road meeting agents – James Howlett, who has worked for Universal and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, and Bryony Smith, formerly of Super Break. "For the long haul escorted touring market which Collette represents, big trending destinations include Japan, the Canadian Rockies and Iceland. Agency-side "Our agencies, based in the east and south of England, say that people are tending to book one less holiday, which we put down to Brexit uncertainty. We've not been adversely affected by Brexit though. The market is certainly tougher and we’ve had to work hard in terms of marketing, but sales are four to five per cent up. "There’s a lot of talk about technology trending in travel but we aren’t seeing it. People want to know they can call in and see the same person and if you provide good customer service, customers keep coming back. "Our client demographic is largely older and we have a £4,500 average booking cost, but one thing is clear, even the mature market is changing and has clear aspirations. We’ve launched cooking holidays, because people want to take something away from their break. "Sustainability is a buzz word but it remains to be seen how it affects us. Our customers don’t tend to ask about it at the booking stage, but if they arrive in a hotel and it’s full of plastic, then they care. For us, customer service is still king.

Monet's gardens, a Seine River cruise stop

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2020 traveL trenDs

trenDing PLaces FOr 2020 east aFrica


african Pride expects a continued increase in demand for more active and adventurous holidays, in east africa and Kenya in particular, and pinpoints unique experiences like sleeping under canvas on its Kenya adventure.

the 250th anniversary of captain James cook’s arrival in australia lands next year, making it a top pick for austravel. the specialist is pointing its clients towards Queensland in particular, where a series of celebratory events will take place.

mOngOLia From 2020, scott Dunn will offer new off-grid tailormade tours to mongolia, calling it “one of the world’s true last frontiers.” the operator claims it’s a response to demand from families and groups seeking “remote adventures and eye-opening cultural experiences”. highlights in its programme will include horse and camel riding, hiking and biking through sand dunes, ancient petroglyphs and dinosaur fossils in the gobi Desert.

greece Kuoni says greece’s luxury credentials are on the up for 2020. new high-end properties in its greek programme include the angsana in corfu, which it describes as “cool, contemporary and mimicing a classic greek hilltop village".

LaOs abercrombie and Kent says Laos will no longer be under the shadow of its more famous neighbours in 2020. it cites its charm and authenticity as a draw and recommends the Plain of Jars, an area of ancient stone vessels left by a mysterious civilisation, and rosewood Luang Prabang for its tented suites and jungle villas.

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2020 travel trends


West virginia West Virginia now has representation in the UK through Travel and Tourism Marketing and wants to communicate its USPs to the trade - notably its charming small towns and vast natural areas perfect for activities like hiking, biking and white water rafting. The state is the third-most forested in the U.S. and famous for its fall colours.

north america Next year marks 30 years since the inaugural journey of the Rocky Mountaineer train - which Titan says has 50% more bookings in 2020. In the USA, rising stars for its customers include Alaska for its wild beauty and frontier history and Hawai’i for its beaches and dramatic volcanic scenery.

nicaragua Journey Latin America says Nicaragua is back on track for 2020, following the FCO ban being lifted. It says: “Less commercialised than Costa Rica, it has colonial charm, abundant wildlife, lush rainforests, volcanic landscapes and palm-fringed beaches.�

central asia Once made rich by trading travellers, the ancient cities, bustling bazaars and wild landscapes of countries like Uzbekistan are again drawing interest and Lonely Planet declared it the number-one region for 2020.

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5 NEW DUBAI HOTELS ADDRESS SKY VIEWS. Designed by the architects behind the Burj Khalifa, this 61-storey, two-tower hotel is soon to be the latest addition to the Address portfolio (, which includes Palace Downtown (pictured). Sky Views offers 360-degree views of Downtown Dubai from a viewing platform and has a spa, infinity pool and fitness centre.

1 5


JA LAKE VIEW. JA Resorts recently opened its third property in Dubai, JA Lake View ( The hotel offers 348 rooms and suites, three outdoor pools, a rooftop lounge, and signature restaurants. It joins JA Palm Tree Court and the newly renovated JA Beach Hotel to make JA The Resort, a destination in itself. ANDAZ DUBAI THE PALM. Situated on a 300 metre-long private beach on The Palm Jumeirah is the new Andaz Dubai The Palm by Hyatt ( Consisting of two 15-storey towers, the hotel has 217 guest rooms and 116 apartments. Guests can also enjoy an underground speakeasy bar.


TAJ JUMEIRAH LAKES TOWERS. Located 30 minutes from Dubai Airport in Al Thanyah is the Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers ( The hotel occupies the first 17 floors of the tower with 200 guest rooms and suites. Paros is its Mediterranean-themed rooftop pool bar and restaurant. RADISSON BLU. With views over the Marina and Downtown Dubai, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Canal View (, marks the group's seventh in Dubai and has 206 rooms, a fitness centre, spa and kids club.


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CLUB SUITE. IT’S THE BUSINESS. We might be celebrating our 100th year but, at British Airways, we’re always looking to the future. That’s why we’re delighted to announce the launch of our highly anticipated new business class seat. Available on selected flights from October 2019, Club Suite redefines business class travel. Luxurious bedding and fine dining are just the beginning. Business class passengers can now enjoy the convenience of direct aisle access and 40% more storage – as well as extra privacy with their own personal door.

To discover more about why Club Suite is in a class of its own, visit Untitled-2 1

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22kg baggage included

Transfers included*

For peace of mind


Everyone in a single booking

YOUR OWN ADVISOR To help tailor your trip

£60PP DEPOSIT * Yep, just 60 quid each

*On bookings made 10 weeks or more from date of departure

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2020 EDI TI ON




*On bookings made 10 weeks or more from date of departure.


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