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FEBRUARY 2017 • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2015 & 2016

MAKING WAVES

From New South Wales to Tasmania, great activities and experiences abound in Australia

how to sell...

Japan Dubai South Tyrol Escorted Touring Great Train Journeys Weddings and Honeymoons and more...

Take a snap and win some great prizes in our New South Wales promotion. Pages 14/15


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contents

this issue – we travel further to bring you more – FEATURES 8 Australia: Adventures and excursions down under

77

16 Escorted Touring: Not 32 39 48 56 72 78

hand-holding; exploring Train Journeys: On the rails around the world USA: Gulf of Mexico: One coast, five states Weddings & Honeymoons: Caribbean, Indian Ocean Dubai: Emirate update Japan: Top destinations Cruise Inaugurals: New ships and ports of call

QUICK READS 21 My Experience: South 38 46 54 55 77

54

Tyrol, Italy Introducing: St. Anton City Profile: Los Angeles Itinerary: Alberta, Canada How to Sell: Morocco How to Sell: Helsinki

38 21

46 39

72

55 56

8

Steve Hartridge

Julie Baxter

is visiting the 'biggest little city in the world' – Reno, Nevada, for the Go West trade show profiling the westernmost U.S. states.

is enjoying the slopes of exclusive Val d'Isère, testing her ski skills and après–ski endurance in this French favourite

Laura Gelder

Is off to Japan on an All Nippon Airways fam trip visiting Tokyo and the sub-tropical islands of Okinawa.

AUSTRALIA

8

WEDDINGS & HONEYMOONS

TALKING SHOP 25 News, competitions,

48

incentives, Tanzania fam report, Barbara Charlton

J A PA N

72

THE REVIEW 63 News stories to use, hotel

DUBAI

56

reviews from the UK and Thailand and our show report from Florida Huddle

REGULARS 6 Reasons for Seasons 36 Travel Uni 44 Visit USA News 82 Final Word 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 www.sellingtravel.net

E S CO RT E D TOURING

G R E AT T R A I N J O U R N E Y S

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NON-STONPO ACTIO W N OPEN

AND THE CHANCE TO CHILL TOO

A Discovery Cove Ultimate Package is like 2 holidays in 1. Scream for pulse-racing coasters, exhilarating water rides and new thrills like Mako at SeaWorld and Cobra’s Curse at Busch Gardens. There’s also the chance to make new friends with amazing animal encounters, and then relax on white sand beaches, lazy rivers and more. It’s Florida like you’ve never experienced before. Experience all four parks with the Discovery Cove Ultimate Package. Includes an all-inclusive day at Discovery Cove (dolphin swim or non-dolphin swim), 14 days unlimited admission to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Aquatica. Free unlimited parking too!

For more information contact your preferred ticket provider or visit www.seaworldagents.co.uk Package includes one all inclusive day at Discovery Cove and unlimited admission to SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens for 14 consecutive days from first use. Guests must be at least 6 years of age to swim with the dolphins. Guests aged 6-12 must be accompanied by a paying adult who is also participating in the dolphin swim experience. Children aged 3-5 must purchase the non-dolphin swim package. Free bus transportation is available to Busch Gardens on the Busch Gardens Shuttle Express. Unlimited free parking at SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens is only valid for the duration of the ticket. This offer can be withdrawn or changed at any time. © 2017 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


welcome

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2017 © 2017.

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

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! sellingtravel.co.uk/subscribe

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welcome

– dedicated to those who love selling travel –

A

month into 2017 and the political fireworks show no signs of abating. We still have no clue on Brexit. Will it be 'hard' or 'soft'? It’s certainly not over-easy, that’s for sure. After Theresa May was beaten by the High Court the markets wobbled again, but what does it all mean for the travel industry? UK Aparthotel brand Roomzzz reports a 17% increase in bookings and claims it shows that staycations are on the up postBrexit. Personally, I can’t see many Brits swapping Marbella for Margate. It’s all happening across the big pond too, although here things are a bit more decisive – too decisive for some. Will President Trump affect UK travel to the USA? According to a Sun-hat Villas & Resorts’ study it’s the number six concern for travellers, behind factors like terrorism and Zika. Laura Geldar Visit Florida, however, is confident stoic Brits won’t be put off our favourite DEPUTY EDITOR U.S. destination and won’t stop travelling because holidays are seen as ‘a right’ (see our Florida Huddle show report on page 70). I agree with the latter! It’s always helpful to have hard evidence to hand when it comes to persuading your clients to part with their hard-earned cash, so thank goodness for the Post Office which published its 2017 Travel Money Report in January, picking out those destinations which are easiest on the purse strings. Out of the 44 destinations surveyed on the cost of typical holiday purchases like meals, drinks and sun cream, Portugal’s Algarve was the cheapest for Brits. But most surprising was Tokyo coming in at number eight, the only long-haul destination to make the top ten. Read our feature on the best of Japan on page 72. One thing's for sure, currencies and travel trends will both fluctuate. Perhaps the best way to gain some control in these uncertain time is to be armed with knowledge. If you haven't signed up to attend our Selling Travel Dialogue events on Botswana this February and March in Liverpool and Bristol, then please do (sellingtravel.com/events). For many, Botswana will be a once-in-a-lifetime destination but it could earn you some serious repeat commission! Knowledge is power - and we all need more of that in 2017!

INDUSTRY COMMENTS... “We will be introducing Dubai Expert, a new game that engages agents selling Dubai. It will also provide updates on our tourism products and events. Ultimately, it is a training tool for agents keen to learn how to sell Dubai to even more of their clients."

“Germany offers travel professionals yearround opportunities for inspiring and highly popular escorted tours... a superb transport infrastructure, coupled with fascinating cities, beautiful countryside and picturesque towns and villages."

Shahab Shayan, Manager UK & Ireland, Dubai Tourism

Klaus Lohmann, Director, German National Tourist Office

See feature, page 56

UK and Ireland. See feature, page 16

sellingtravel.co.uk


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events & festivals

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

Arena di Verona Festival Opera is a cultural staple of Italy and this festival draws thousands to an ancient Roman amphitheatre in Verona. From June 23 to August 27 the arena will showcase a variety of tenors and sopranos and usually sees the 'sold out' signs go up each night. So secure your clients' tickets well in advance. arena.it/arena/en

Songkran Thai New Year, or Songkran as it is known there, will be celebrated on April 13 this year. Don't wear your best outfit though because an event highlight is the water fights in the streets! However, it's also a time to visit temples and pay due reverence. tourismthailand.org

The sardine run During May, June and July millions of sardines spawn in the waters of Agulhas Bank, South Africa. Intrepid divers can swim through the shoals, which can stretch as far as seven kilometres wide! Sharks and dolphins can also be spotted eyeing the fish. uk.southafrica.net

Las Fallas From March 1-19, the Spanish town of Valencia celebrates its artistic and cultural history with a variety of events, the highlight being La Cremà, meaning 'The Burning'. Large sculptures, oversized effigies and artworks are flamed in the streets. visitvalencia.com

Festival Internacional de la Trova Pepe Sánchez Santiago de Cuba will celebrate Pepe Sánchez, hailed as the father of Trova (an iconic genre of Cuban music), on March 19. The musician died almost 100 years ago but the city of his birth recognises his contribution to Cuban music by partying on his birthday. travel2cuba.co.uk

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Let us make your day. We like to do things differently at Air New Zealand. We’re so proud of these differences, that we’re giving you the chance to WIN a real-life taste test of what your customers experience when they fly with us. Just make as many Air New Zealand bookings as you can between 31 January–31 March 2017, and log them at our website. Each booking will put you in the running to win some (frankly amazing) prizes, like round-the-world flights, Business Premier™ flights to LA, a trip to New Zealand for two, and more!

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australia: adventure & excursions

out Far

It has great beaches but Australia is no place to drop and flop. Instead suggest some of the many activities and experiences on offer, says Ben Lerwill

sellingtravel.co.uk


australia: adventure & excursions

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have no idea what time it is, and I couldn’t care less. I’m midway through a six-day hike along Tasmania’s fabled Overland Track, a 40-mile wilderness trail through the island’s impossibly beautiful Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Sharp dolerite peaks tower on all sides; mobile reception evaporated an hour after I set off – and that was three days ago. I haven’t so much as glanced at a watch, clock or phone ever since. The escape feels exquisite. Australia has no shortage of epic walks, but this multi-day yomp through jagged mountains and temperate rainforests is up there with the best of them. What’s more, I’m making the walk with an outfit called Cradle Mountain Huts, which lays on nightly accommodation in comfortable private huts, complete with cooked meals and hot showers. Call me soft, but it’s a mighty fine alternative to lugging a tent along the trail. Tasmanians are fond of referring to mainland Australia, tongue-in-cheek, as ‘the North Island’”.

Spending time here, it’s easy to see why they’re such a self-confident lot. The air is fresh, the views are dramatic and the sparkling wine is world class. It’s a fantastic all-round destination, particularly where adventure is concerned. On the sixth day I arrive at journey’s end, on the shores of Lake St Clair. I am weary but utterly elated. I cast an eye back behind me at the alpine plateaus and hill passes. Then for the first time in almost a week, I hear a phone beep. It’s a bittersweet moment.

‘A’ for active “Australia is the perfect adventure travel destination,” says Alison Zacher, Retail Managing Director at Flight Centre. “From scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, outback camping under the stars and skydiving over Melbourne to whitewater rafting in Cairns or learning to surf in Byron Bay, it has countless outdoor activities to get pulses racing.” For many of us, simply reaching Australia is an adventure. Heading down under is

sellingtravel.co.uk

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Denpasar / Bali Christmas Island Islan Cocos Islands

PORT MORESBY MORESBY DARWIN Kununurra Kununurr

HONIARA APIA / SAMOA

PORT VILA Cairns Townsville Whitsunday Coas Coastt Hamilton Island Mount Isa Cloncurry Mackay y Rockhampto ockhampton ockhampto Moranbah Gladstone Emerald Alice Coas Bundaberg Fraser Coast Springs Spring Sunshine Coast Coast BRISBANE Gold Coast Coast Ballina / Byron Bay Ba Coffs Harbou Harbour Tamworth Port Macquarie Macquarie Newcastle Mildura ADELAIDE SYDNEY Albury Albur y CANBERRA CANBERR A

Nadi / Fiji

Broome Broom Port Hedland Uluru Karratha (Ayers Rock) Rock Onslow Paraburdoo Newman Geraldton PERTH H

Kalgoorlie

NUKU’ALOFA

Auckland

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Launceston Launcesto n HOBART

Christchurch

Queenstown

Dunedin

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Experience the flexibility and benefits of our improved air pass Access fares to over 55 destinations within the VA network in addition to extended ticketing time limit and a total of 2x23kg checked baggage allowance.

Issue the international long-haul ticket* separately then simply: • Enter passenger type code VAC in the GDS • Add the international long-haul ticket* number to the VA PlusPass endorsement box • Enter OSI VPASS to apply a 30 day before travel TTL • VA PlusPass ticket must be issued on VA795 ticket stock

For more information: international.sales@virginaustralia.com. Terms and conditions apply, refer to fare rules for full T&C’s. *Some international airline exclusions apply, refer to fare rules for a list of excluded airlines.


JAMES FISHER

never just another holiday, partly because it requires travelling halfway around the world. The country’s far-flung location, however, is a large part of its appeal. Its climate, its terrain, its wildlife and its overall scale are all thrillingly different to the British norm. And because Australia is such a huge place, it offers a similarly large range of adventure and excursion options. Whether clients are super-fit adrenaline nuts, family travellers or just keen to try something new, the activities on offer are incredibly broad in scope. UK operators sell packages that take in croc-spotting, koala-petting and dolphin-feeding and excursions ranging from hot-air ballooning to wine-tasting and transcontinental train rides. Take Australia’s oldest state, New South Wales, which has a huge choice of activities alone. Within Sydney itelf clients can embark on the Harbour Bridge Climb, join a dinner cruise from Circular Quay, take surf lessons on Bondi Beach, visit Taronga Zoo, tour the Sydney Opera House (overnight camping stays in the iconic building are now available) or head out to the stunning Blue Mountains on a day trip. Elsewhere in the state, top activities to suggest include wine-tasting tours of the Hunter Valley, dolphin-watching cruises from Port Stephens or simply taking the time to unwind on the miles of sandy beaches around Byron Bay. Scuba diving, hiking, skydiving and even skiing (July and August are the peak times for downhill action) are among the countless other options on offer in New South Wales. The state is also drawing attention due to its booming food and drink scene. The England cricket team will arrive in Australia at the end of the year, offering fans of the sport good reason to make that once-in-a-lifetime trip. Ashes test matches will be played in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney between November 2017 and January 2018.

Clockwise from top left: hiking in Kakadu National Park; the Indian Pacific train which travels between Sydney and Perth; cage diving with sharks off the Nepune Islands, South Australia; an aboriginal tour near Uluru

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GREAT SOUTHERN RAIL

australia: adventure & excursions

The latest stats for UK visitors to Australia (up to October 2016) show a healthy 5.2% year-on-year rise, up to 712,600. While the exchange rate has been volatile of late, the number of different carriers that now fly the ‘Kangaroo Route’ has resulted in more competitive prices for air tickets. In short, from Tasmania to the Northern Territory Australia serves up the kind of hard-to-replicate experiences that travel memories are all about. Moreover, with so many activities bookable through UK tour operators, setting up a holiday packed with adventure potential is relatively straightforward.

Perfect ten See the Rock: Towering over the flat desert landscape of the Red Centre, Uluru is one of the world’s great natural spectacles. View it at sunset, walk its perimeter or enjoy dinner under the stars. Go coast to coast: The Indian-Pacific rail journey between Perth and Sydney is one of the world’s great train rides, a threenight epic across the entire country. Swim with giants: Dive with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. The creatures, which can grow up to 12 metres, are harmless. Get sporty in Melbourne: Melbourne plays home to a series of big-name sporting events, from the Australian Tennis Open to an annual Formula One Grand Prix.

sellingtravel.co.uk

“The Australian spring September to November - is an ideal time to visit as the temperatures are comfortable and you’ll avoid the busy summer crowds” BEN BRIGGS, HEAD OF MARKETING, WENDY WU TOURS


australia: adventure & excursions

QUEENSLAND RAIL

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“The Kimberley region is Australia’s last frontier, with amazing hikes, ancient rock art, stunning gorges, refreshing waterholes and some of the country’s most phenomenal wildlife” ANGELA WAITE, UK SALES AND COMMERCIAL MANAGER, APT

Clockwise from top left: Hikers on the Overland Trail in Tasmania; camel riding on Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia; train through Queensland; Chapel Hill Winery, South Australia

Take to the skies: Australia is breath-taking when seen from above – try joining a scenic helicopter tour of the beehive-shaped domes of the Bungle Bungle Range. Go Top End: The tropical city of Darwin is situated in Australia’s so-called Top End, a region of raw character and home to the astounding Kakadu National Park. Get to know the locals: Aussie wildlife is a huge draw. Visit one of the country’s dedicated sanctuaries for up-close encounters with koalas, kangaroos, wombats and more – or spot them in the wild. Dream a little dreamtime: Rich, mysterious and often misunderstood, Aboriginal culture stretches back tens of thousands of years. Take the chance to learn more about Australia’s traditional landowners. Catch some waves: Surfing and Australia go hand in hand. If you’re new to the sport you can learn the basics at one of the many surf schools around the coast. See the Reef: Last year’s BBC series with David Attenborough highlighted the diversity of the extraordinary Great Barrier Reef. Cruise, snorkel or scuba dive.

What’s new  Flights: Qantas (qantas.com.au) will be launching direct London to Perth flights in

sellingtravel.co.uk

2018, marking the first ever non-stop regular passenger service between the UK and Australia. The flight, which will use a 787-9 Dreamliner, is expected to take around 17 hours.  Attractions: The iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (mcg.org.au) will stage an Ashes Test in December, but before then is developing a new ‘roof walk’ which will allow visitors not only to walk on the roof but to ride a zipline from the scoreboard down to a landing area. Australia’s first Legoland Discovery Centre (legolanddiscoverycentre.com.au) opens this year in Melbourne. Also in Victoria, there’s a new self-guided canoe trail along the Loddon River (loddon.vic.gov.au). South of Melbourne, Arthurs Seat Eagle (aseagle.com.au) – a new gondola above the Mornington Peninsula – is now up and running. In Cairns, Queensland, a new aquarium (cairnsaquarium.com.au) will open in May. It will offer the chance of a sleepover experience, where visitors bed down surrounded by a lagoon of hammerhead sharks. In the Red Centre, the spectacular Field of Light installation at Uluru (brucemunro. co.uk) drew lots of attention last year, thanks to its 50,000 ‘light stems’, and has now been extended until March 2018.  Hotels: Sydney will welcome its first new five-star hotel in 15 years when the Sofitel Darling Harbour (sofiteldarlingharbour.com.au) opens in September. In Melbourne March will see the unveiling of the Four Points by Sheraton Melbourne Docklands (starwoodhotels.com/fourpoints). In Brisbane, a new 305-room W Hotel (starwoodhotels.com/whotels) is scheduled to open by the end of the year. In Western Australia, last December saw the opening of the 500-room Crown Towers hotel (crownperth.com.au), while the Aloft Perth (starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels) is scheduled for an August unveiling. Tasmania has two new luxury properties: Thousand Lakes Lodge (thousandlakeslodge.com.au) in the Central Highlands and the soon-to-open MACq 01 (macq01.com.au) on the Hobart waterfront.


australia: adventure & excursions

ROBBURNETTIMAGES

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Tourism talk “This a great year to be heading Down Under. We’ve got the Ashes cricket coming up, which will be enormous. We’ll be partnering with Qantas to run some promotional activity in the market – and we also think that a lot of people going to New Zealand for the Lions rugby tour (in June) will think about pre- and post-touring in Australia. “And 300 days of sunshine is also a pretty compelling reason to visit Australia! And then there’s our worldclass beauty and iconic experiences. “Corroboree, a six-day specialised training event for agents, will take place in October on Queensland’s Gold Coast. We’ll be taking 200 agents down from the UK and Europe. “In 2017 we’ll be promoting our beaches and aquatic experiences, as well as continuing to try to attract people under 30 on Working Holiday visas.” Denise von Wald, Regional General Manager, Tourism Australia

Where to book it  GOLD MEDAL – 0800 014 7777 A package to Western Australia, with flights from Gatwick with Emirates, three nights at the

four-star Crown Towers Perth (de-luxe room) and six nights at the four-star-plus Seashells Fremantle (studio apartment) is from £1,174pp, with car hire. Valid for travel May 1-27 2017. goldmedal.co.uk

 BATTERED SUITCASE – 0800 689 1586 A bespoke 18-day self-drive tour that takes in Kakadu National Park and the stunning Kimberley Region is priced from £5,547pp and includes hire of a large 4WD, 17 nights’ accommodation, most meals and selected guided tours. The holiday is available from May to October. battered-suitcase.com

 AUDLEY TRAVEL – 01993 838 810 A 13-day Classic Tasmania self-drive holiday is from £3,895pp, including international flights to and from Hobart. The itinerary also visits the Gordon River, Cradle Mountain, Launceston and Freycinet National Park, home to the famous Wineglass Bay.

“For a real adventure, head to the ‘Top End’ on a self-drive tour. From the biological wonderland of Kakadu to the cliffs of Katherine Gorge, it’s a great region to explore” KATIE WARBURTON, DESTINATION MANAGER, AUSTRAVEL

audleytravel.com  WHO FLIES THERE qantas.com.au; batravetrade.com; malaysiaairlines.com; emirates.com; etihad.com; singaporeair.com; qatarairways. com; cathaypacific.com; thaiairways.com

From left: Bungle Bungles National Park, Western Australia; koalas on Magnetic Island, Queensland; local produce in Tasmania

Experience the beauty from the sky The incredible rock formations of Uluru and Kata Tjuta are a must-see from the air. Our helicopters are available for scenic flights and private charter.

P +61 8 8956 2077 E arhelis@flyuluru.com.au W www.flyuluru.com.au Untitled-3 1

ULURU AUSTRALIA 25/01/2017 22:05


Discover Sydney &

New South Wales Destination NSW has teamed up with Selling Travel to give you all the tools you need to sell Sydney and the diverse experiences of New South Wales. Join us for an informative and fun night...

11 April Glasgow

12 April Leeds

Register to attend:

sellingtravel.co.uk/events

#SydneySnaps


W

D N N IA I IN UG M M G! D A UR A IP YO E M N A ET T H G

CREDIT: THE LEGENDARY PACIFIC COAST

IN

A koala at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, North Coast

N

ew South Wales offers everything your customers are searching for on an Australian holiday, from native wildlife and World Heritage-listed landscapes to vibrant cities and laid-back beaches.

THE LEGENDARY PACIFIC COAST Make the most of all that New South Wales has to offer by driving the Legendary Pacific Coast touring route. Head north from Sydney and take in beautiful coastal towns, including golden beaches in Port Stephens, the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie and the rainforest near Coffs Harbour. Finish up in laid-back Byron Bay and enjoy year-round wildlife experiences with turtles and dolphins.

abundant eucalyptus forests, which are a haven for Australian wildlife.

HUNTER VALLEY Delve into Australia’s oldest wine region and sample top wines from more than 120 wineries. At just a two-hour drive from Sydney, the Hunter Valley is easily accessible, offering a place to relax and indulge with rolling countryside views and wild kangaroos hopping through the vines.

BLUE MOUNTAINS

LEARN MORE

This World Heritage-listed landscape is an adventure-lover’s paradise, offering spectacular bush-walking, cycling, kayaking and climbing. Visit Katoomba to marvel at the stone pinnacles known as The Three Sisters and enjoy panoramic views across the Blue Mountains’

Keep an eye on Selling Travel over the coming months to learn more about Sydney and NSW, including key selling points, new product and how to build a NSW itinerary to meet your client’s needs. NSW has a range of resources available for agents, including a dedicated Facebook page with regular updates from the UK team featuring product news, incentives and events – join the fun and never miss out on the lastest updates: facebook.com/DestinationNSWTrade

Ballooning over the vines of the Hunter Valley CREDIT: DESTINATION NSW

GET A TASTE OF SYDNEY The sun sets over the Three Sisters, Katoomba in the Blue Mountains CREDIT: RA STANLEY LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY

Selling Travel and Destination NSW are hosting two Destination Dialogues dedicated to helping you learn more about selling Sydney and New South Wales. Join us in Glasgow on 11 April and Leeds on 12 April to meet with Destination NSW and hear more about what Sydney and NSW have to offer your clients. It will be a fun, relaxed evening featuring a Q&A session with Destination NSW, plus a chance to sample New South Wales wine and Australian-inspired food to give you a little taste of Sydney. All attendees will take home a New South Wales goody bag, so sign up to join us at sellingtravel.co.uk/events

POSE AND WIN WITH NSW! Snap yourself in front of Sydney's iconic cityscape for a chance to win an iPad Mini or one of five cases of delicious New South Wales wine! Simply pose for a picture in front of the stunning Sydney Harbour poster included in this month’s issue and upload it to our website (details below) to enter the draw. To gain an extra entry, share your photo on Facebook and tag New South Wales and Selling Travel. The best entries will go into a gallery on our website. So get creative and get snapping! Enter here: sellingtravel.co.uk/sydneysnaps


16

escorted touring

act Support

Once limited to European coach travel, escorted touring is now offered from Austria to Australia, providing agents with multiple sales opportunities, says Jeannine Williamson

T

ravel agent Neil Jones admits he initially had doubts about joining an escorted touring fam but after taking up Titan’s offer to join their 15-night California and the Golden West itinerary he saw things in a completely new light. “I was a bit apprehensive, as I always assumed coach touring appealed to more middle-aged and older clients,” said Jones, who works for Westgate Travel Worldchoice in South Wales. “However, now it is definitely something I totally recommend, more so than self-drive, as you have experienced drivers and tour guides ensuring you see the best of the destinations and pointing out small facts you wouldn’t ever know or see on a self-drive.” The tour, a long-time favourite among Titan clients, takes in glittering Las Vegas and a Grand Canyon helicopter ride. “Everything was organised, with room keys already allocated at hotels, so no time was wasted checking in,” he said. “Optional extras, which are very reasonable, can also be booked

sellingtravel.co.uk


escorted touring

17

and on a coach trip you meet fellow travellers and make new friends you wouldn’t do if travelling independently. Escorted touring is an easy way to experience a destination, with everything taken care of, and it’s an easy, efficient and fun way to travel.”

New horizons Escorted tours are now available to virtually every corner of the globe and more adventurous tours or ones catering to special interests are attracting younger clients and more active clients and giving agents a wider market to sell to. Mark Henderson, Senior Product & Commercial Manager - Touring, Travel 2, said key areas of expansion include New Zealand, which is hosting the British Lions rugby tour this year, North America, India, Asia and South America. Other milestone events this year include the 70th anniversary of India’s independence. “We alsoavnticipate growth in destinations that have recently seen restrictions soften such as Burma and Cuba,” he added. “We also expect core destinations such as Canada and Australia to perform well, and have increased the product offering in both by adding new tours.” For clients that want to let the train take the strain, there is a notable increase in escorted rail tours for 2017. Alex Roberts, Group Marketing and Sales Director of Rail Discoveries, said: “The sociable atmosphere of an escorted group tour with Great Rail Journeys is perfect for people who want to take the stress out of travelling. They are able to be as involved or as independent as they want, knowing that all the logistics and problem solving is in the competent hands of our experienced tour managers.” Peter Liney, CEO of sister company Great Rail Journeys, added: “The tour manager helps the group to bond by finding out common interests and sharing insider knowledge of the destination.” Escorted tours are an excellent option for solo travellers and Cosmos Tours caters for the

Main picture: Escorted touring still offers opportunities for independent exploration. This page, clockwise from top left: pizza in Venice with Shearings; the Taj Mahal, India, and Great Wall of China - big destinations for escorted touring; Rome

market with a wide range of single rooms with no supplement in destinations including Croatia, Northern Cyprus and Morocco. It is also one of few operators to offer ‘single share’, the option of sharing a room with another single traveller at the normal price of a twin share. If there is no other person to share with, the client enjoys a single room at no extra cost. Keesia Samuels, Product & Commercial Manager, said: “Single travellers can enjoy exploring a destination with the reassurance of being part of a group. Customers have told us that our tour directors make the holiday and bring the destination to life. As they are on hand for the entire holiday, travellers benefit from their advice, knowledge and company.” Final word to Caroline Brown, Shearings Holidays’ Commercial Director, who said: “Take time to speak to your customers when they enquire about a holiday. Find out about their hobbies and interests and then use this knowledge to cross sell.” Whether it’s walking part of the Great Wall of China, cycling through France, the thrill of attending a major sporting event or taking a leisurely river cruise, rail or coach tour, when it comes to escorted itineraries there’s a wealth of opportunity to sell a trip that will enable your clients to travel in good company.

sellingtravel.co.uk

“Escorted coach tours offer an unforgettable holiday. Instead of a single destination you experience the many highlights of a particular country or region in a convenient way” SIMON EDWARDS, PRODUCT MANAGER EUROPE, TITAN TRAVEL


2017/18 brochure OUT NOW! • The very best range of escorted holidays ys • UK-only holiday makers • The best home transfer service • Multi award-winning holidays

Brand NEW small group tours! Great Apes of Uganda

Land of the Lemur

In search of the mountain gorilla and chimpanzee

Natural wonders of Madagascar

ARY FEBRU T AGEN E TIV INCEN

£50 lifestyle vouchers £10 lifestyle vouchers for USA bookings

for ‘rest of the world’ bookings

For more details please visit www.titanagents.co.uk F Terms and conditions apply. Valid for bookings made between 1 – 28 February 2017. To claim you must email agentincentives@titantravel.co.uk with your name and booking reference within 7 days of making the booking. No cash alternatives. Agents are responsible for their own tax implications.


escorted touring

Perfect ten

Escorted tours range from sedate sightseeing to more sporty or active trips which appeal to younger travellers

Flexibility: Escorted tours provide a range of travel options to suit all clients and budgets including coach, Eurostar, fly-rail and air, with some operators offering door-to-door transfers and regional pick-up points. One-stop holiday shop: Travel, accommodation, meals, itinerary planning and entry to featured attractions are all taken care of, leaving clients to relax and enjoy their chosen destination. Go it alone: Escorted itineraries are a no-stress travel option for single travellers to travel with like-minded people, and some companies run dedicated solo tours. Follow a theme: The annual spectacle of Holland’s dazzling bulb fields, insightful wartime battlefield tours or Japan’s cherry blossom are among many themed itineraries to suggest to clients. All-inclusive cruise: River cruises provide a high level of inclusions from wine with lunch and dinner, unlimited tea and coffee, bottled water and free Wi-Fi to an open bar and all tips.

Let off steam: Classic rail tours offer a culture-rich journey that will appeal to more mainstream travellers as much as steam enthusiasts. Comfort: Clients new to escorted touring may have rigid preconceptions about coach travel, so point out that modern vehicles are spacious and air-conditioned, with facilities like reclining seats, coffee machines and toilets.

Our award winning tours are more than just holidays - every detail has been hand-picked by a team of dedicated experts with over 30 years experience. We offer a wide selection of European and Worldwide fully escorted tours with something to suit everyone’s taste and budget. ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Iconic and off the beaten track itineraries Outstanding value for money Highest repeat booking ratio in the sector More customers would recommend us to a friend than any of our competitors ✓ The industry’s finest tour managers

To make your clients trip as special as it can be, we now offer additional unique experiences. Pre-book these optional excursions today: Arts & Culture Night at the ballet in Russia, The 'Sound of Music' in Salzburg, Classical concert in Vienna, The Verona Opera Festival... Travel with a Twist Helicopter flights over the Alps, Trabi safari in Berlin, Barcelona or Tuscany in a hot air balloon, Venetian rowing lessons, Tour Florence in a Fiat 500... Food & Drink Food tour in Rome, pasta-making demonstration in Apulia, evening of tapas in Seville, wine tasting in Tuscany ...plus many more

To book, call:

01283 744370

visit:

www.rivieratravel.co.uk/agents

Riviera Travel booking terms and conditions apply. Source - Independent Survey by PwC.

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escorted touring

Knowledge and expertise: Escorted itineraries have a dedicated and knowledgeable tour manager who stays with the group for the duration and gets to know clients on a personal basis. See the sights: Touring by rail or river throughout uninterrupted scenery – or on a coach with a vantage point above other traffic – is the best way to enjoy land and cityscapes. Festive fun: Europe’s Christmas markets, mainly held in historic locations, are a highlight of the festive season: it’s easy for clients to bring presents back from a coach or rail trip.

What’s new �Europe: Shearings’ (shearings.com) 2017 Grand Tourer Collection brochure features five new itineraries including a nine-night Flavours of Italy tour and special interest breaks such as the Monaco and Monza Grand Prix. Cosmos Tours (cosmostoursandcruises.co.uk) has launched new culinary and religious tours that include the seven-night Spiritual Highlights of Poland tour, from Warsaw to Zakopane, and the seven-night Gourmet Tuscany option with cookery classes, wine and food tastings.  Rail: Saga (saga.co.uk/travel) has launched a new 10-night Grand Tour of Portugal by Rail. Golden Eagle Luxury Trains (goldeneagleluxurytrains.com) has a new 11-night Sicilian Odyssey, said to be the first cultural tour of Sicily by hotel-train. Ffestiniog Travel (ffestiniogtravel.com) has new European itineraries, including the 15-night Danube from Sea to Source rail and river tour, plus new Connoisseur Tours for clients with a passion for railways. Diamond Rail Holidays

(diamondrailholidays.co.uk) has introduced a welcome is assured and Germany also offers great four-night Winter Magic in the Hartz value for money. Mountains tour. “Escorted accessible travel is another area where  Long haul: Titan (titantravel.co.uk) is featuring we provide wholehearted advice and support and Madagascar for the first time with a 14-night we look forward to hearing from anyone who Land of the Lemur escorted tour. Other new tours wants to take advantage of the great potential that include the 14-night Canadian Rockies Grand accessible travel presents.” Circle, featuring the Rocky Mountaineer train, to Klaus Lohmann, Director, German National Tourist mark Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017 Office UK and Ireland Saga (saga.co.uk/travel) will debut a 13-night, 2,792-mile Great Canadian Train Journey plus a Where to book it 10-night Californian rail tour with a drive  TITAN – 0800 988 5166 along the iconic Highway One to San Francisco. The 14-night Land of the Lemur small group  Trade: New Zealand tour, taking in national specialist Silver Fern parks and wildlife “A basic understanding of Holidays (silverfernholidays. reserves, is priced from what’s available will go a long £3,699pp for travel in com), which formerly sold groups tours, has way to selling more holidays. April 2018, including re-invented itself as a For escorted tours it’s key to most meals, flights and tailor-made operator Titan’s VIP door-to-door understand the location and travel service. selling through the what’s included in the price, titanagents.co.uk trade. such as excursions”  RIVIERA TRAVEL –

Tourism talk

Clockwise from top left: A Shearings tour guide; a Saga tour in Bostwana; a scene from Titan’s new Madagascar tour; a Madagascan lemur

CAROLINE BROWN, COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR,

01283 888 439

SHEARINGS HOLIDAYS “Germany A six-night Classical offers travel Spain tour for solo professionals year-round opportunities travellers, featuring Seville, Granada, Cordoba for inspiring and highly popular escorted tours. and Ronda, is priced from £949pp for travel in “With a superb transport infrastructure, coupled June, including a welcome dinner, B&B with fascinating cities, beautiful countryside and accommodation and flights. rivieratravel.co.uk picturesque towns and villages, there are events  RAIL DISCOVERIES – 0800 240 4470 and highlights to visit at any time and to suit all The new four-day Paris & Versailles tour is tastes and budgets. priced from £315pp, including Eurostar and B&B “Travelling by train and coach offers the perfect accommodation, for travel in August. vantage point to explore Germany ‘off the beaten raildiscoveries.com  track’ and to go where the locals go; a warm


my experience in south tyrol

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Breathtaking moments in

SOUTH TYROL Martin Steady criss-crosses the peaks and valleys of South Tyrol in northeast Italy, discovering a balance between nature and nurture

I

must confess, before I visited South Tyrol I had to swot up on the region – and I’m glad I did because it has a rather complicated history. Part of Italy since 1919, this autonomous region of the Dolomites borders Austria and has three official languages: Italian, German and Ladin. The latter is apparently derived from Vulgar Latin (in this context vulgar meaning common rather than un-couth). It’s a language which has survived since Roman times, even resisting Fascist Mussolini’s fierce campaign of Italianisation, no doubt thanks in part to the mountains themselves which are an imposing barrier to change. Two hours after flying into Verona I’m sitting in the first of many ‘huts’, ready to sample the local cuisine. I put hut in inverted commas because the word doesn’t do it justice. Writing this, I can’t remember what I ate, perhaps because I was distracted by the astonishing view, but I do know that it prompted one of my few Italian phrases “La cucina e eccelente!” My hosts tell me there are ‘huts’ all over this mountain region, some quite remote, but all taking enormous pride in providing their customers excellent cuisine.

I soon learn that our hosts are not only amazing ambassadors for the region but, as we whizz along South Tyrol’s dizzying roads, also possess the skills of rally drivers. This is just the start of our ascent and we screech to a halt at the bottom of our first cable car. Up we go to La Crusc/Santa Croce with its iconic Holy Cross Church, perched high up in the clean air and looking down on alpine meadows and snow-capped mountains.

Electric avenue Following a hearty lunch in another hut we set off to explore on bikes. Thankfully, they are electric and I zoom effortlessly along the pathways and power my way up inclines as gracefully as Chris Froome! The cycle tracks (ski tracks in the winter) are fun and exhilarating and the pain-free e-bike lets me fully appreciate the epic 360-degree views. I feel a slight fraud as we decamp to another hut to refuel after our assisted exercise, but once ensconced in the warmth of Kifugio Bioch Huette my guilt is replaced by hunger. The food at these huts is ridiculously brilliant! You can have Italian pasta dishes, juicy grill platters, fish

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dishes and local specialities that are always delicious. This diversity, we are told, reflects the fusion of Austrian and Italian influences. And did I mention the wine? We decamp to the hill outside for a tasting (many of the country’s award-winning wines are produced here). It’s not all mountain huts in South Tyrol though, and those who are accustomed to a little more luxury wont be disappointed by the five-star La Perla (hotel-laperla.it). On arrival at this cosy but contemporary establishment we are greeted by a very smart welcoming line of chefs and staff that make us feel a little bit special and ever so slightly scruffy after our mountain exploits. We enjoy a memorable dinner of fresh valley produce at La Perla’s sister establishment, Hotel Ladinia (hotelladinia.it), and finally bed down in comfort at the friendly Hotel Antines (hotelantines.it), located on the hillside in the heart of La Villa in Alta Badia. Holidays spent in this region swing between fresh mountain air and exercise and the comfort and sustenance of the huts and hotels. After a night in town the next morning we are up and away to Alta Pusteria. A highlight amongst


South Tyrol seeks explorers who like to discover new terrain. South Tyrol seeks you.

lients our c er side y e k Ma to e oth ver th subscribe o c s i d d r. ly an lette of Ita 2B-news our B /b2b l.info o r i t .sued www

Between Mediterranean landscapes and the impressive Dolomite Alps – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – lies Italy’s best-kept secret: South Tyrol. Make your clients explore this stunning mix of nature and culture, and revel in an experience beyond the usual. Bike and hike, and then wine and dine. Only in South Tyrol. www.suedtirol.info/b2b


my experience in south tyrol

highlights, this is where the most famous mountains in the Dolomites are found,:the Three Peaks Of Lavaredo (three-peaks.info). Donning our hiking boots and backpacks we set off on a two-and-a-half hour circular walk. Soon, the number of fellow trampers starts to dwindle and we are rewarded by a path which feels more and more remote and vistas intensifying in beauty with every step.

Magical moments

Cooling off Feeling invigorated we head to Lago di Braies, the largest natural lake in the Dolomites. According to legend, the south end of the lake is where the entrance gate to the underworld can be found. It’s also the filming location for one of Italy’s most famous TV soaps and puts Albert Square to shame. I sidestep the option to swim in the freezing water, no doubt an even more invigorating experience than our hike, and instead spend a tranquil half an hour rowing over the lake’s cool blue surface. But, as is the way here, we must balance our exertions with a spot of pampering. The range of

wellness choices in South Tyrol is vast and of superior standard. A hotel stay here is a holiday in its own right – if, that is, the fresh-airopportunities weren’t quite so seductive that is. And so, hours after visiting the lake, I finally submerse myself in alpine waters – albeit the tempered ones of a spa. Floating weightlessly, I quickly feel restored in body and mind. Our last evening is spent at Hotel Ciasa Salares, in San Cassiano (ciasasalares.it), where we are seated in the immaculate Michelin Star restaurant, La Siriola, and informed with friendly gravitas that “this isn’t just food – it’s art.” I wouldn’t dare argue and what follows excites all the senses. The wines are like nectar and they have a Chocolate Room, no less, where they make their own speciality creations. We finish with a blast of that fresh air, sitting around a blazing open fire, wrapped in blankets, suppressing a Kum ba yah rendition and sipping local liqueur. suedtirol.info/en  Clockwise from top left: Martin’s group gulp in the mountain air; awe-inspiring views of the Dolomites; beautiful Lago di Braies; e-biking is all about pure pleasure and no pain; superb South Tyrol cuisine

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Free-wheeling Care-free and with modest effort, whizzing around the astonishing Dolomites on e-bikes is an experience that will stay with me Food glorious food From ‘huts’ to Michelin-starred restaurants, the food and wines are quite excellent. There are 23 Michelin-starred restaurants in South Tyrol – the highest density in all of Italy.

The verdict

South Tyrol is well known to the skiing fraternity – which doesn’t include me, sadly – but less well known as a summer holiday destination. For me, it delivers all the essentials for the latter: unbeatable scenery, high-quality accommodation, excellent food and wine and a healthy mix of relaxing spas and pulse-raising outdoor pursuits. You’ll go home a better, fitter, happier and healthier person. I certainly did.

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TA L K I N G S H O P

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

From travel agent to TV star! SPOTLIGHT ON...

FLIGHT Centre has released its first-ever advert featuring its employees. All those starring in the advert are consultants with the company. The 12 chosen to star in the ad were picked from 580 consultants across 84 UK stores. The consultants are Lucy Rosa, James Thomas, Lizzie Kempson, Abraham Christi, Tara Wood, Natasha Brown, Colin Fraser (pictured), Emily Stickland, Ruth Ringwood, Amar Lall, Tess McMinn and Samantha Norris. The advert has gone far and wide and received over 250,000 impressions in the first week it was aired. flightcentre.co.uk

Contents 26 27 28 29

Selling Travel Dialogue: Chile Face to Face: Barbara Charlton Been There, Done That On Location

Icelandic prize OSPREY HOLIDAYS

AGENTS making an Osprey Holiday booking by February 28 will be entered into a draw to win two nights in Reykjavik, return flights with Icelandair, entrance to the Blue Lagoon and a Northern Lights or South Shore tour. Send the booking reference in an email titled ‘WIN’ to marketing@ ospreyholidays.com

Win flights

eak? Virgin's make or br VIRGIN ATLANTIC is encouraging travel agents to photograph their New Year's resolution journey with special packs and is offering holiday prizes to those who 'make it' as well as those who 'break it'. The airline has dropped over 250 #BREAKITINSTYLE packs to travel agencies across the UK and

ost St. Kitts bo

AIR NEW ZEALAND

Ireland, each containing selfie sticks and other props to track resolution progress. Whether agents choose to soldier on with ther resolution or fail on 'dry January', Virgin hopes they do it in style. Agents can upload their photos to the website (listed here) and from the entries Virgin will pick

THE St. Kitts Tourism Authority has doubled its cash incentive for agents registered on its My Booking Rewards Programme to £10 per booking. Agents who register and log qualifying bookings for the first quarter by March 31 will also be entered into a draw to win a pair of return flights to the island with British Airways. The winner will be chosen in April. stkittstourism.kn

two winners, one 'making it' and one 'breaking it'. The 'maker' will win a luxurious holiday to the Caribbean and the 'breaker' will win a wild trip to Las Vegas. There will also be a number of runners-up prizes available tailored to the resolution the agent is 'making or breaking'.

AGENTS making an Air New Zealand booking between January 31 and March 31, with flights to Los Angeles or New Zealand, (ex-UK) could win some great prizes including round the world flights for two. They should log their entries online at:

Vsflyinghub.com/breakitinstyle

littlebetters.airnewzealandtrade.com

Add to the diary...

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- 23 February AMAZING THAILAND ROAD SHOWS Tourism Thailand is bringing together hotels, airlines, DMCs and tour operators for networking, food, drink and the chance to win a fam trip place. The events are in Belfast, Dublin and Cork. Spaces are limited. To register, email: marketing@tourismthailand.co.uk

COMING UP & ENDING SOON

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February SELLING TRAVEL DESTINATION DIALOGUE Learn more about Botswana at our Selling Travel Dialogue in Liverpool this month. Discover how to sell this top safari destination over some nibbles and drink. And pay attention – some great prizes will also be up for grabs! sellingtravel.co.uk/events More online at sellingtravel.co.uk/events

sellingtravel.co.uk


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talking shop

S E L L I N G T R AV E L D IA L O G U E

Chile: the land of contrasts

Selling Travel invited agents along to the Doubletree Hilton Hotel, London, in January for an educational evening focused on Chile. With a new direct flight now heading into the capital, Santiago, Chile is a hot destination – and 60 agents turned up to find out why.

THE EVENT Hosts for the evening were Elisa-Maud Tersou, Turismo Chile, Eduardo Patta and Marcelo Ohanessian, LATAM Airlines account managers, luxury hotel operator Explora’s Michelle De Klerk and expedition cruise line Australis’ Silvia Vizzoni. Selling Travel’s Steven Thompson moderated.

THE DETAILS Agents heard about Chile as the 'Land of Contrasts' and discovered selling points ranging from the glaciers and penguins of Patagonia to Santiago and more far-flung highlights like hiking volcanoes and exploring Easter Island's imposing Moai statues. Chile's diversity comes from its unique shape, which spans the length of the southern hemisphere (it is 2,700 miles top to bottom). Turismo Chile's Elisa-Maud said: "Chile is a great destination for those wanting to enjoy life outdoors but still stay at a beautiful hotel at the end of the day.” Chile is increasingly accessible for UK travellers. Major airlines flying from the UK to Santiago include LATAM (daily service from London to Santiago via Sao Paulo as well as flights via Madrid), Iberia, Air France and now British Airways.

PRODUCT INSIGHTS Australis, which offers cruises through the fjords of Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia and Cape Horn, is currently building a new ship which will be in service from January next year but bookings are being taken now. Explora's Michelle stressed to agents the importance of advising customers on how to pack for its cruises. Waterproof cap, jacket, gloves, trousers and boots or trekking shoes are essential! Explora shared details of its luxury, eco-conscious and experiential-focused properties located across Chile, in Patagonia, Atacama and Easter Island, and in neigbouring countries. LATAM spoke about its extensive regional network and the benefits of its South America Airpass (SAA) for domestic travel: "Competitive rates, biggest flight availability and

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a baggage allowance equivalent to an international ticket." Flyers can also earn LATAM Pass kilometres, LATAM Fidelidade points or oneworld frequent flyer rewards on SAA.

THE PRIZES Several bottles of Chile's quality wine were given away on the night: three bottles of Chilean Cabernet to David Samuels from Flight Centre Business Travel, courtesy of LATAM, and another from Tourismo Chile to Gregory Jama from Brightsun. LATAM also handed an Amazon Kindle to Amanda Marks of Tribes Travel. But Ella Thomson of Audley Travel walked away with one of the star prize: she can look forward to a four-night stay for two at Explora Atacama. Maria Dawson from Nigel Dean Travel won an Australis cruise.


FA C E T O FA C E Barbara Charlton

talking shop

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 Barbara@thesussextravelcompany.co.uk  01403 276684

‘Wineuary’ took its toll on the office “Agents are never really on holiday because we're always looking for recommendations” I for one am glad that January is over as there was every chance I might have become an alcoholic by the end of what I rename ‘Wineuary’. February will no doubt bring the usual round of re-quotes for enquiries we initially received in January. Several clients contact us, wait until payday and are then disappointed to learn that many of the early booking discounts have disappeared. When will they learn? ‘January Sale’ means

‘January Sale’, not February and certainly not March!

I would love to explore the Nordic countries in summer and winter

TREATS IN STORE

I'm pleased to say that I have been selected as a finalist in a 'Cake-Off' competition with Inghams Ski. I shall be putting my ‘hobby baker’ skills to the test by re-creating my winter-themed cakes in Inghams' offices in Godalming, alongside two other agents. Let's hope I manage to stay calm in a competitive environment and strange kitchen!

TRAINING AND CHALLENGES We have been so busy it has been difficult to do much training, but thank you to Rosi and Ian from Emirates Holidays, Neil from If Only, Marcus from Select Representation, Dan from Exodus and Gary from Travelpack, who all made the trip to Horsham to wish us Happy New Year and offer their continued support. This month we will be off to sample the Caribbean in Brighton courtesy of the fun Destination Events team. Let's hope they bring the Caribbean sunshine along with the rum punch! Thankfully, we didn't have any clients affected by All Leisure's

collapse, but we did pick up a booking from a couple that had a Far East cruise confirmed but, just a fortnight before the departure day, needed an alternative. Many thanks to Tanya, who booked them a new trip with Travel2. These online-first clients now know the value of an independent agent they can trust!

NEW FRONTIERS I'm glad to see that lots more people are looking to travel to the Nordic countries and, thankfully, by booking early, we do find them some reasonable prices. Taber Holidays recently rebranded as Scandinavia Only, which should help agents book with them more confidence. I also

Welcoming you onboard with authentic Japanese hospitality and making your every moment with us an unforgettable experience. JAL JAL Premium Economy Class •

Industry-leading 42 inch seat pitch

Personal 12.1 inch screen monitor

On demand entertainment system with over 300 video and audio programmes

Complimentary business class lounge access

Free baggage allowance of 2 pieces at 23kgs each

Step aboard the 2015 Most Punctual Airline on our daily service between London Heathrow and Tokyo Haneda

uk.jal.com

recommend Nordic Experience, a company I recently used to book a surprise 50th birthday trip for a long-term client. I found the girls very helpful! Here in the shop, Tanya is looking forward to a three-centre Thailand trip and Helen is heading to Spain, for a short break to Jerez and a mission to find an authentic Flamenco. Me? I can't wait for my six-night break exploring Seville, Cordoba and the Andalucian countryside and fabulous food. Happy selling to you all!


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BEEN THERE

talking shop

done that

Se'C ycar ible hel bea n'mskof s fa i trfiip rsts

Touring Toronto with WestJet

HILTON SEYCHELLES Hotels, Turkish Airlines and the Seychelles Tourism Board joined foces on a UK tour operators' fam to the Indian Ocean islands. On the trip were representatives from Turquoise Holidays, Kuoni Travel, Trailfinders, Tropical Sky, Hummingbird Travel, Audley Travel and Sunset Faraway. seychelles.travel

On the job in Ontario ONTARIO Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation UK and WestJet took 10 travel agents out to the province. The group visited Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Toronto, where they are pictured above. From left: Leigh Di-Lauren (Kuoni), Claudette Goodwin (Canadia Sky), Rachel Brownrigg (1st Class Holidays), Joanne Moores (Frontier Travel), Ava Mehta (Ontario Tourism), Nishi Cauleechurn (WestJet UK), Nigel Murgatroyd (Gold Medal), Jonathan Dyas (Trailfinders), Lisa McDermott (Canadian Affair), Thomas Holdsworth (North American Travel Service), Stacey Hughes (Barrhead) and Chantal Howland (Flight Centre). ontariotravel.net A

B

ys Chile with British Airwa TURISMO Chile and British Airways hosted a fam trip on the airline's inaugural flight to Santiago. The group toured the capital's key buildings and visited the city's Central Market before heading to Valparaiso on the coast and vineyards in the Casablanca and Maipo valleys. batraveltrade.com; tourismochile.com/en

A AMERICAN Attractions Collection partners from Orlando visited DoSomethingDifferent on a sales mission, training call centre staff on its product on the eve of its new agent website launch. Pictured from left: Kevin Jowett, Danielle Rish, Sandy Sweatt, Kevin Brett, Michelle Davis, Guy Hamilton, James Brown, James Zachary, Annabel Cove, Cheryll Bisram, Natasha Bailey and Emma Carr.

dosomethingdifferent.com B SUPERBREAK sponsored the Fred. Olsen Travel Group management team meeting in London for those based in East Anglia and

the south coast. The day included seeing The Bodyguard musical, a flight on the London Eye and a visit to Madame Tussauds. Pictured from left are Nicola Atkinson, Zoe Adam, Justin Bieber, Paul Hardwick (front), Scott James and Michelle Thake. superbreak.com C APT chose Hull-based travel agent Lynne Hammond from Marion Owen Travel as the winner of its New Zealand fam incentive. Lynne can look forward to an eight-day trip to New Zealand in May. She is pictured receiving her great prize from APT's Laura Dawson. apt-experts.co.uk

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O N L O C AT I O N

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Agents meet Tanzania’s wilder residents THE DETAILS WHAT: BEACH AND SAFARI FAM TO TANZANIA, EAST AFRICA WHEN: NOVEMBER 26 – DECEMBER 4, 2016 WHO: ETHOS MARKETING, KENYA AIRWAYS AND KLM AIR FRANCE WHY: SHOWCASE TANZANIA AS A TWIN-HOLIDAY DESTINATION

What they said... “One of the best educational trips I’ve been on and superbly organised. The itinerary gave us the perfect balance between experiencing things at a relaxed pace whilst ensuring we covered plenty of Above: The group strikes a pose in the bush. Below: relaxing on the banks of the Rufiji River; flying to the remote Selous Luxury Camp

ground. I also felt lucky to have a lovely group of people to travel with – we do work in a wonderful industry!” Tom Blakey, Wayfairer Travel

THE HOSTS

ANIMAL MAGIC

high up on the banks of the Rufiji River. Here, the agents took a cruise on the river before lunch – and one of the boats just avoided being a resident crocodile’s lunch! Highlights at Rufiji River Camp included sipping sundowners while listening to the sound of local wildlife and enjoying the opportunity to track buffalo and learn about their natural habitat. A surprise waited for the group when they arrived at Stiegler’s landing strip for their departure to Zanzibar: sitting in the shade of the covered departure lounge, a large male lion was waiting to see off the group. After a small intervention from the camp manager, the lion trundled on and the group was able to board its plane.

The African adventure kicked off in high gear with a light aircraft flight to the remote Selous Luxury Camp, where the group spied hippos gathering in a nearby watering hole. The luxury glamping destination serves as a great base to head out on an all-day game drive and the group was lucky enough to spot animals that incuded elephants, lions and buffalo. Selous covers a wide array of various terrains including lakes and thick bush. Next was the Serena Mivumo River Lodge, located

The group's final hotel stop was the Zanzibar Serena in Stone Town. The boutique hotel provides an authentic sense of place and is filled with character and history. On the island a walking tour of Stone Town offers more insight into the island’s fascinating history. Zanzibar highlights include discovering the exotic spices and tropical fruits of the island and travelling to the beach club for a

Ethos Marketing, representing Serena Hotels, in partnership with Kenya Airways and KLM Air France hosted a fam trip to Tanzania prior to Christmas last year.

THE TRIP Caroline Britt (Angelfish), Tom Blakey (Wayfairer), Mark Young (Hayes & Jarvis), Mark Dixon (Trailfinders), Tom Moore (Audley), Joanne Staniforth (Kuoni) and Anne Cook (Travel 2) joined the trip with Serena Hotels representatives to see Tanzania and the exotic island of Zanziba, flying with Kenya Airways to Dar es Salaam via Nairobi.

ISLAND TIME

seafood barbecue, cocktails and terrific ocean views.

“This was truly a trip of a lifetime! It was a real adrenaline rush every day, from the

THE VERDICT

light aircraft flights to avoiding hippos and

The group ranged from ‘Africa firsttimers' to experienced safari experts but everyone was introduced to new experiences on what all agreed was a memorbale trip. Commented Ethos Marketing's Claire Roadley: "Already, we've seen a number of bookings as a result of the trip, as agents now better understand the destination and are fired up to sell it. "We showcased the remote Selous Luxury Camp as a safari destination, giving agents first-hand experience of the game viewing and boat safaris. "But we also wanted to show the agents how Tanzania twins with Zanzibar – which is the perfect place for those looking for a little history and culture as well as some truly stunning beaches.”

crocs on the river safari and getting up close

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and personal with lions. Just amazing!” Jo Staniforth, Kuoni, Sheffield


Gran

Canaria A ‘continent in miniature’ thanks to its sweeping dunes, lush forests and mountains this beautiful island offers beaches for relaxing, a capital brimming with history and culture and wild volcanic beauty beyond

Life’s a beach: Gran Canaria has 60km of beaches, ranging from golden sand in the south to secluded, sometimes stony spots in the north. The most famous beach is Maspalomas, a dune-backed stretch of sand which looks more like the Sahara than Spain. Other popular spots include upmarket Meloneras with its buzzing oceanfront promenade lined with hotels, bars and restaurants, the turquoise waters of Amadores Beach and Taurito resort, backed by a water park and fringed by palm trees. Those who are willing to work for their tan can hike to remote and virtually deserted beaches, like the stunning cliff-backed Gui Gui, accessed via a three-hour hike or a boat from Puerto Rico. Natural beauty: Half of Gran Canaria is protected from development, rendering its landscapes timeless. A journey into the interior reveals the island’s volcanic origins at the vast crater of Tejeda Caldera. Ever-changing vistas include a rugged coastline characterised by dramatic cliffs, volcanic gorges and sand banks.

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ten of the best - sponsored feature

Parque Natural de Pilancones boasts a blend of pine forests and cactus fields. Happy medium: There are no extremes of hot and cold on the island. Thanks to a fortunate location and generous trade winds, visitors can count on warm, even temperatures with an annual average of 24C. Capital gains: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a capital with character. Visitors can stroll through the cobbled streets in the historic neighbourhoods of Triana and Vegueta or dip their toes in the water at one of the world’s greatest urban beaches, Las Canteras. Family fun: For young ones, Gran Canaria has attractions aplenty. Families can go dolphin-watching at sea, join a donkey safari in the hills, splash out at a water park, marvel at exotic animals in the Cocodrilo Park Zoo or let off steam at the Wild West-themed Sioux City or Angry Birds Activity Park. There’s also a new 10,000-square-metre aquarium opening in the capital this June - Poem to the Sea.

Get off the treadmill: There’s no need for a gym in Gran Canaria! Outdoor sports are year round. Hikers can follow a network of trails which criss-cross the island; cyclists will be tested by steep climbs but rewarded with jaw-to-thefloor views. And the Atlantic’s offers mega-waves for surfers and a pristine marine environment for divers, snorkelers and keen fishers alike. History lessons: Gran Canaria’s pre-Hispanic heart continues to beat six centuries after the Spanish Conquest. The Aboriginal past is cast in stone in parks and museums like the Maipés Archaeological Park, which has a sacred site of nearly 700 tombs, is over 1,300 years old and hidden under a lava plain. Christopher Columbus stopped off at Gran Canaria in 1492 and left in his wake a Spanish heritage evident in grand churches and the island’s colourful annual fiesta. Savour the flavour: Nature’s bounty is generous in Gran Canaria, home to the most northerly coffee plantations in the world.

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The fertile volcanic soil yields superior fruit, vegetables and vines and the sea, fresh fish. Over the last 500 years many cultures have dropped anchor, resulting in an eclectic culinary scene with must-eat cuisine such as the famous three-milk queso de flor cheese. Then there’s the rum, made at one of Europe’s oldest distilleries. And relax: Gran Canaria has been an important health and wellness resort since the mid 19th century and warm weather and natural remedies make it the perfect spot for some R&R. A large range of spa and wellness centres offers treatments for mind and body, including Thalasso therapy and pampering with local ingredients like the ubiquitous aloe vera. Local lives : Each of the island’s 21 municipalities has its own identity. Artenara is the highest on the island, clinging to the mountainside, with many of its houses built in prehistoric caves. The picturesque fishing village of Puerto de Mogán offers a marina, beaches and Venice-like canals and bridges. 


rail journeys

track

S

On

unrise in the Australian outback and the first rays of the day are casting an orange glow over the plains. It would be a dramatic sight at any time, but given that I’m still lying in bed with a cup of tea it’s also a moment of sheer indulgence. I’m on The Ghan, the luxury long-distance train that travels along 1,850 miles of track between Adelaide in the south and Darwin in the north. The Ghan traces a journey through the boundless expanse of central Australia, giving a sense of the country’s epic scale. Getting from A to B, in this case, lasts no less than 54 hours. Such is the inhospitable nature of the terrain that it took more than 125 years for workers to complete construction on the line. To benefit from this toil first hand, tucking into three-course meals as mile after mile of gum-tree-studded desert slides by, is one of Australia’s most memorable travel experiences. Long stops at both Alice Springs and Katherine offer memorable excursions, but it’s the train that’s the real star. Whether Japan, Ireland, Russia, Peru, Canada or Switzerland, there are world-class rail journeys to enjoy. Fine food and slick service typically both feature, with private cabins on longer routes. It’s more than 130 years since the Orient Express first ran between Paris and Istanbul, but the pull of a rail-centred holiday has arguably never been greater. Here are some to suggest

Ben Lerwill takes a look at some of the railway touring options available around the world

Rocky Mountaineer Operating four different routes through the Canadian Rockies, the Rocky Mountaineer is one of the most celebrated luxury rail experiences. The best-known route winds through the mountains between Banff and Vancouver – a journey known as ‘First Passage to the West’ – while further options take in Jasper, Whistler and Seattle. Scheduled departures run from April to October. There are two classes of service, Silver Leaf and the premium Gold Leaf (as of 2016, the cheaper Red Leaf category was discontinued), and all carriages feature large panoramic windows. Overnights are at hotels rather than on board. rockymountaineer.com Sample Package: Canadian Affair has a ‘Rockies & Alaska Cruise Extravaganza Holiday’ from £2,545pp, including 17 nights of accommodation, international flights, a two-day journey from Banff to Vancouver on the Rocky Mountaineer and full board on a Holland America cruise.  020 3424 6326  canadianaffair.com

BRAND CANADA ROCKY MOUNTAINEER

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Trans-Siberian Now 100 years old, the Trans-Siberian remains the longest rail line in the world. Almost 6,000 miles of track separate the onion domes of Moscow from the Pacific port of Vladivostok, and making the week-long trip along the spine of Russia is a unique travel


33

PAUL EDAMUNDSON

rail journeys

experience. The line is still used year-round by standard sleeper trains, but for those in search of a five-star experience luxury choices include the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express, which has a number of different itineraries, and the Tsar’s Gold Private Train, which trundles across Russia and through the steppes of Mongolia before terminating in Beijing. Sample Package: Regent Holidays offers a 16-day ‘Luxury Trans-Siberian Moscow to Beijing’ trip using the Tsar’s Gold Private Train. On board guests stay in a Nostalgic Comfort Cabin and can enjoy caviar, wine-tasting and a ‘Tsar’s feast’. The itinerary includes time in Moscow, Irkutsk and Yekaterinburg, with English-speaking guides throughout. It is priced from £3,240pp.  020 7666 1244  regent-holidays.co.uk

Glacier Express Switzerland’s scenic Glacier Express has been making the 190-mile journey between St. Moritz and Zermatt since the 1930s, carving its way through the valleys and mountain passes of the country’s peak-filled south. It exists purely for tourists, which means all carriages have wraparound panoramic windows – and with the service being billed as ‘the slowest express train in the world’ there’s plenty of time to take in the views. Crossing 291 tunnels it clocks up an average speed of just 25 miles per hour. The journey takes seven and a half hours and can be done in either direction, but for those beginning in St Moritz and finishing in Zermatt the glorious sight of the Matterhorn makes a fitting end-point.

The Blue Train With its butler service, wood-panelled lounges and deluxe suites (some with full-sized bathtubs), South Africa’s Blue Train travels 994 miles between Cape Town and Pretoria, a journey of some 27 hours, and passes through a succession of sweeping African landscapes. The train is particularly renowned for its locallysourced fine dining: passengers can expect to be served anything from Karoo lamb to Knysna oysters. Meals, wines and even Cuban cigars are included in the price. There are off-train excursions to Kimberley (on the southbound service) or Matjiesfontein (on the northbound service). bluetrain.co.za

Sample Package: Virgin Holidays Worldwide Journeys has a six-day Blue Train tour from £1,885pp, including flights, three nights at the Twelve Apostles Hotel in Cape Town, one night on the Blue Train and a night at the Sheraton Pretoria Hotel. Based on a June 2017 departure.  0344 557 3859  virginholidays.co.uk/tours

Belmond Grand Hibernian Launched in August 2016, the Belmond Grand Hibernian is the first luxury rail experience of its kind in Ireland. It offers three different journeys: a two-night trip from Dublin to Waterford via Belfast, a four-night trip from Dublin to Cork, Killarney, Galway and Westport, and a six-night trip that combines the two itineraries. Features on board include en-suite private cabins, an observation car and live musicians. Very much an upmarket experience, all journeys include meals, drinks, sightseeing tours and guides.

glacierexpress.ch/en

belmond.com/grand-hibernian-train

Sample Package: Rail Discoveries has a nine-day ‘Glacier Express All Inclusive’ that’s priced from £1,935pp, based on a departure between May and October 2017. The deal also includes journeys on the Albula Line and the Bernina Express, as well as time exploring Basel and transfers from the UK by Eurostar.  01904 734 939  raildiscoveries.com

Sample Package: Ffestiniog Travel offers a seven-day ‘Grand Tour of Ireland itinerary on board the Belmond Grand Hibernian, from £7,175pp based on a departure in June 2017. Activity highlights include whiskey-tasting at the Jameson Experience, a visit to the Lakes of Killarney and a private tour of Blarney Castle.  01766 772030  ffestiniogtravel.com

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Opposite: Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer. Above, clockwise from left: Switzerland’s Glacier Express; the Belmond Grand Hibernian; the Flåm Railway in Norway; Moscow’s grand onion domes at the start of the Trans-Siberian; the Blue Train


34

rail journeys

The Flåm Railway

“Australia’s Indian Pacific is named after the two oceans it links. The four-day, three-night journey travels between Sydney and Perth, covering more than 2,700 miles. This year marks 100 years of the line”

World-famous rail journeys don’t always have to take several days or cover vast continents. Norway’s Flåm Railway traverses just 12.5 miles of track and can be travelled in under an hour, but the 864m altitude difference between its two terminus stations makes it one of the steepest railways on earth. The plunging panoramas of the mountain scenery give it a mass-market appeal. This region of Norway has various other spectacular rail options, and for real train fanatics the Flåm can be easily combined with the cities of Bergen and Oslo into a broader rail itinerary. visitflam.com/en/flamsbana Sample Package: Great Rail Journeys has a seven-day ‘Fjords Cruise & Historic Cities of Norway’ itinerary from £1,395pp, with six nights’ four-star hotel accommodation, sightseeing tours of Bergen and Oslo, two fjord cruises and rail travel, including a return trip on the Flåm Railway.  01904 521 936  greatrail.com

When it begins service this May 2017 the Belmond Andean Explorer will become the first overnight luxury sleeper train in South America. Running through the Peruvian Highlands, the train will travel from the one-time Inca stronghold of Cuzco to the UNESCO-listed city of Arequipa, also stopping off on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Double, twin and bunk-bed cabins are available – all with en-suites and showers – while two dining cars serve Andean-influenced menus. belmond.com/belmond-andean-explorer

Sample Package: Kuoni offers a two-night trip on the Belmond Andean Explorer from £1,076pp, based on two sharing a bunk-bed cabin, including full board on the train. Cabin upgrades are available on request.  0800 540 4843  kuoni.co.uk

Palace on Wheels

Spain’s oldest tourist train travels from the city of León to the pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela. Billed as a five-star ‘cruise on rails’, it journeys first up to Bilbao and Santander on the Basque coastline before calling into Gijon and Ferrol and tucking back down to Santiago de Compostela. Collectively, the stop-offs provide a range of different culture and food experiences, and the train itself uses original 1923 Pullman carriages. There are also departures from San Sebastián.

Offering week-long journeys through the royal Indian state of Rajasthan, the Palace on Wheels celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2017. It still ranks among the top luxury rail trips on the subcontinent. Beginning and ending in Delhi, the train stops off at classic heritage spots such as Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodphur before continuing onto Agra. Off-train highlights include a morning safari at Ranthambhore National Park, a grand dinner among the sand dunes of Jaisalmer and a visit to the birdlife-rich Keoladeo National Park. The 14 coaches are all designed to reflect the opulence of the maharajahs’ era.

renfe.com/trenesturisticos/eng

palaceonwheelsindia.org

Sample Package: Great Rail Journeys has a 12-night itinerary that includes seven nights on board El Transcantábrico, as well as time in Biarritz (at the start of the programme) and Madrid (at the end). The holiday is priced from £4,295pp.  01904 521 936  greatrail.com

Sample Package: Voyage Jules Verne has a nine-night itinerary with international flights, one night at the five-star ITC Maurya Sheraton and seven nights spent on board the Palace on Wheels, including meals and off-train excursions, from £3,695pp.  020 3130 6944  vjv.com 

El Transcantábrico

Clockwise from top left: the Belmond Andean Explorer; the pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela is the destination for Spain’s oldest tourist train, El Transcantábrico; food aboard the Rocky Moutaineer; service on India’s Palace on Wheels

Belmond Andean Explorer

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Working in partnership

GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS

Training, competitions, events February 2017

THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES

Earn with St. Kitts INCENTIVE

Quick Quiz Are you a Puerto Rico Pro?

1. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the USA. TRUE / FALSE

Hot News

Thailand on the road in 2017

2. Tourists can do a bar crawl of the most infamous salsa clubs in Old San Juan. TRUE / FALSE

Amazing Thailand I Modules: 7

traveluni.com

stkittsspecialist.com

Stopover in Qatar FLIGHTS

STOPPING over in Qatar just got a whole lot easier thanks to a new transit visa. Passengers on Qatar Airways flights stopping off at Hamad International Airport can now apply for a free visa to enter Doha for up to 96 hours, where they can explore the delights of this jewel of the East. The visa must be applied for seven days in advance but is pre-approved and completely free for customers travelling on Qatar Airways. Start selling Qatar today!

tawashqatar.com

puertoricopro.co.uk

Answers: 1: True 2: True

THAILAND Tourism will be touring around the country this year as it again unrolls its annual programme of agent roadshows. The shows will bring agents together with hotels, airlines and tour operators, all in a relaxed ‘speed dating’ style. The events take place in the following cities: Belfast, February 21; Dublin, February 22; Cork, February 23; Manchester, April 25; Chester, April 26; Edinburgh, September 12; Newcastle, September 13. Spaces are limited so to register your interest and guarantee your place, e-mail: marketing@ tourismthailand. co.uk. training. tourismthailand. co.uk

THE St. Kitts Tourism Authority has doubled the cash reward for agents on its My Booking Rewards programme. Any agent that books a sevennight package holiday to St. Kitts will now receive a £10 incentive each time. For those booking before March 31 there is even more reason to sell St. Kitts as agents booking before this date will be entered into a prize draw to win a pair of British Airways flights an island that offers an authentic taste of the Caribbean.


Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

Cash out with Jewel Resorts

COURSE LIST

INCENTIVE

JEWEL Resorts is now offering up to £25 per booking through its My Booking Rewards programme. The scheme, which is linked with the Jewel Resorts training programme, is offering £20 for the first 10 bookings at Jewel Paradise Cove Resort & Spa and Jewel Dunns River Beach Resort & Spa and £25 for more than 10 bookings. The bookings must be for at least seven nights and must be registered on jewelagents.com. The Jewel Resorts training programme is designed to give agents all they need to sell the two properties, as well as Hilton Rose Hall, so get selling the Jamaican properties to earn!

jewelresortstraining.com

New Programme

Hawai’i launches new programme

Go Hawai'i I Modules: 4

Win £100 with Hoseasons WINNERS

UK holiday provider Hoseasons is giving away a £100 lifestyle voucher to a lucky agent every week this month. Agents who confirm bookings with Hoseasons before February 26 will be entered into a prize draw. The winners will be announced each Monday. Hoseasons provides a great deal of UK-bound trips, from cottages and lodges to luxury yatchts. Agents should register bookings to agency.sales@hoseasons.co.uk.

hoseasonsexpert.co.uk

THE Hawai’i training programme, which launches this month, is packed full of everything agents need to know about the multi-island destination. Covering the main destinations of Kaua’i, O’ahu, Maui Nui and Hawai’i Island, the programme provides agents details on the key attractions and USPs of each island, as well as how to sell them. For example, did you know that Hawai'i was discovered nearly 1,500 years ago by Polynesians? The sheer variety of Hawai’i and its componet islands is one of the destination's biggest draw cards, so be sure to study hard to pass the final exam to become a certified Hawai’i expert. gohawaiiagents.co.uk

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

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38

introducing

St. Anton – New gondola creates Austria's largest connected ski area –

F

or most devotees of skiing in the Alps, St Anton will need little introduction, writes Steve Hartridge

The resort in Austria’s Tyrol is a long-time favourite among Brits looking for their annual snowy escape – they make up 22% of skiers there – but this winter there’s another compelling reason why it is towering over many of its European competitors. The brand-new Flexenbahn gondola that glides over the massif between the neighbouring Arlberg area resorts of Stuben/Rauz and Zürs has at a stroke created Austria’s largest inter-linked ski area and the fifth-largest in the world. This means St. Anton is now no longer connected to its neighbouring village resorts – others include the upmarket Lech and St. Christoph – by just its ski buses. Bad news for me – but good news for the resort – on the day I was there the season's most powerful snowstorm closed the Flexenbahn (complete with its heated seats) along with many of the mountain’s other chair lifts. But skiers heading to St. Anton for the remainder of this season look set to benefit from great snow conditions. They will discover a vast area of both marked and unmarked terrain, with slopes reaching 2,811 metres and more than 340 km of pistes and a massive 200 km of off-piste possibilities. Intrepid skiers with time on their hands can attempt the ‘Run of Fame’, a new circuit that starts in St. Anton and winds its way through the entire Arlberg ski area before reaching its furthest-flung resort, Warth-Schröcken. It's a stamina and skills set-testing total of 65 km of runs and 18,000 metres vertical. The Alberg area's ski map is criss-crossed by a blizzard of lines denoting ‘blue’, ‘red’ and ‘black’

INGHAMS – 01483 791 114 seven nights at the four- star Hotel Post, St Anton, on a half - board basis IS from £869 pp, including return flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck and transfers. A sixday lift pass for adults costs from €262 pp; €157 for children. inghams.co.uk/ski-holidays BOOK

IT

runs – but note that the skiing is challenging, with many of the supposedly ‘easier’ blues feeling suspiciously like reds in disguise.

If its wooden beams and quaintly creaking floors look and sound familiar that could be because the building featured in the movie Chalet Girl.

aprÉs-ski fun

FAMILY MATTERS

St. Anton has a reputation for offering some of the liveliest aprés- ski in the Alps – and for good reason. There are plenty of hopping, musicpumping places down in the village, but the rowdier crowds head a little way up the ski hill, to the MooserWirt bar, which has the look and feel a Bavarian hofbräuhaus. Here, as the beer and vodka shots flow, a DJ mixes singlong hits from the 80s and 90s with oompah Europop sounds. Around 8pm there's an exodus of skiers who attempt to negotiate their way down the short but tricky-enough-after-afew- Jagerbombs ‘blue run’ to the village. For something a little more sedate and cosy, establishments with regular live jazz or blues include the Post Hotel, smack bang in the middle of the village, and Underground on the Piste, tucked away in a candlelit wooden chalet. And for a dinner experience with a classy feel and the story of the town’s history thrown in, suggest The Museum restaurant. Once a meeting place for the town’s nobles, it now serves up delicacies like veal ragu and ‘tafelspitz’ local beef covered in apple-horseradish.

Despite its party-town reputation, the resorts of the Arlberg are increasingly gearing up to attract families. St. Anton has an outstanding Children's Ski School and at some mountainside restaurants, such as the atmospheric Hospiz Alm in St. Christoph, there’s not just a separate section but an entire restaurant set aside for the kids. Whatever your age, you won't forget the Käsespätzle (hearty macaroni & cheese à la Austria), and the mini-mountain of Kaiserschmarrn pancakes. It won’t be of interest to the little ones but Hospiz Alm also claims to have the world’s largest wine cellar. Suggest a horse-drawn sleigh ride around the village, ice skating or the town's indoor pool. For clients in town on a Wednesday, ‘The Snow Must Go On' is an evening show featuring the resort’s ski guides and instructors doing various synchronised tricks and stunts on one of the lower slopes. Tickets for a place in a warm corporate-style box at the Karl Schranz Stadium cost from €30pp and include a threecourse buffet.

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stantonamarlberg.com; visittirol.co.uk 


usa: gulf of mexico

coast

39

A

The third

hush falls over the audience in the softly-lit room as the band starts up, and I feel a breathy blast from the trumpet that’s swirling inches above my head, momentarily cooling the sweat clinging precariously to my brow. I’m cross-legged on the floor of Preservation Hall, which is, reassuringly, delivering snapshot after snapshot of my pre-dreamed New Orleans. Like New York or San Francisco, Vegas or L.A., we’re intimate with America’s great cities before we’ve even spent a day or night in them. Mash-ups of TV shows, movies and books render each metropolis familiar, leaving us with an internal inventory of the sights we’ll see, experiences we’ll have and people we’ll meet. For New Orleans, my checklist reads thus: the Steamboat Natchez paddle-wheeling on the misty Mississippi; crumbling Antebellum mansions with rusted, vine-strangled gates; stone mausoleums guarded by weeping angels in the cemetery Saint Louis; cobbled streets, plied by vampire dandies and voodoo queens; beads, skulls and carnival masks and this: a jazz band playing in a steamy French Quarter club, coolly capturing the irrepressible spirit of New Orleans. In the days and nights that follow, my imaginary boxes are ticked while wandering the balconied avenues behind Bourbon Street, snacking on choux-pastry beignets and sipping on Sazerak, America’s oldestknown cocktail, born in the Big Easy. Slowly, ‘NOLA’s’ rich culture and history is revealed, and by the time I leave, only the vampires have gone unchecked, but no matter: in this immortal city, there will always be a tomorrow.

Sultry, Spanish moss-swathed swamps and sun-baked beaches are just two characteristics that define the five U.S. states lining the Gulf of Mexico, says Lauren Jarvis

Southern state of mind

Louisiana Office of Tourism

Spanning 1,680 miles, the USA’s curving Gulf of Mexico shoreline is known as North America’s ‘Third Coast’, and the five U.S. states that border it – Florida, Alabama, Mississippi,

sellingtravel.co.uk

Left: Kayaking on Lake Martin in Louisiana. Above: crawfish boil in Alabama


usa: gulf of mexico

Louisiana and Texas – and each offer their own distinct brand of southern hospitality. Florida’s Gulf Coast is known for its miles of sand, huge range of activities and accommodation to suit every budget. But Alabama, too, stakes a claim on a stretch of the coast’s sugar-white sand, with laid-back Gulf Shores offering some wonderful waterside properties for an idyllic getaway, while neighbouring Mississippi’s mighty Ol’ Man River beckons to those with a passion for upmarket cruising. A self-drive is great way to explore, giving travellers a true taste of what these diverse states have to offer on and off the coast and yielding spectacular scenery along the way. Tim Greathead, Senior Travel Expert and Product Executive for the USA and Canada at Premier Holidays, says: “The route from the iconic party town of New Orleans in Louisiana to cool and quirky Austin in Texas is fantastic. Visitors can stop off at Houston, San Antonio and my favourite, Lafayette, the ‘Happiest City in America’, and enjoy sightseeing activities to break up the drive, such as a Cajun food tour.”

Oceans Edge Key WesT

40

Perfect ten

Above: Oceans Edge Key West Hotel and Marina, Florida; a parade in Fort Worth, Texas

MANTA RAY INN

www.mantarayinn.com

Make a splash: Stroll, shop and dine at The Wharf in Alabama’s Orange Beach before jumping on the Fun Boat and watching wild dolphins play in the waters of the Gulf. Make like Huckleberry Finn: Meandering 2,320 miles from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, don’t miss your chance to cruise North America’s mightiest river, the Mississippi, on an authentic paddle steamer. Remote refuge: Only accessible by boat or seaplane, the islets of Dry Tortugas National Park lie 70

miles off-shore from Florida’s Key West, providing a haven for birds and marine life and great for snorkellers and divers. All that jazz: Catch an hour of traditional jazz in New Orleans at the French Quarter’s iconic Preservation Hall. Meet a manatee: The natural warm springs of Florida’s Crystal River provide sanctuary for these gentle marine giants during the winter months. Let the good times roll: Check out the casinos on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast for 24-hour gaming in paradise. Spice it up: Louisiana’s Avery Island is definitely a destination with a kick: it’s where you’ll find the world-famous Tabasco Factory. tabasco.com Sweet home Alabama: Lay your hat in one of the condos at Gulf Shores Plantation and while away your days combing the sugar-white sands of the Fort Morgan Peninsula. gulfshoresplantation.com. Explore the swamps: Board a boat and cruise into Cajun country on southern Louisiana’s steamy bayous. Hit the studio: Step into one of the south’s legendary music spots at the historic Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Sheffield, Alabama, where artists including the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and Paul Simon recorded hits.

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

1715 S. SURF RD, HOLLYWOOD, FL 33019 | T: 001 954 921 9666 | F: 001 954 929 8220 | E: INFO@MANTARAYINN.COM


usa: gulf of mexico

What’s new  Resorts: Oceans Edge Key West Hotel & Marina (oceansedgekeywest.com) has opened on Stock Island, northeast of Key West in the Florida Keys, featuring six pools and an on-site marina. Opened in January 2017, the Wyndham Grand (wyndhamgrandclearwater.com) is the biggest resort on Clearwater Beach with 343 rooms, and a waterside bar and restaurant. Sheraton Bay Point Resort (sheratonbaypoint. com) opened in Panama City Beach, Florida, last November after a $30-million renovation. The hotel includes a luxury spa and a Jack Nicklaus-designed championship golf course. Bradenton in Florida sees the opening of the new luxury Zota Beach Resort (opalcollection. com), formerly the Hilton Longboat Key, early this year. It has 187 guest rooms and suites. The new luxury Waterline Marina Resort and Beach Club (waterlineresort.com) on Ana Maria Island, Florida, is accepting bookings from May 2017, offering 37 stylish two-bedroom suites. Opening in Sarasota this year is a Westin overlooking Sarasota Bay, plus the new boutique Hotel Sarasota and

Embassy Suites in the downtown area. The historic headquarters of the former New Orleans Public Service, Inc., (NOPSI) will reopen in spring 2017 as the luxury 217-room NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans (nopsihotel.com).  Tours: Brand USA has partnered with the Royal Horticultural Society (rhs.org.uk) to launch three new U.S. garden holiday tours including Wildflowers and Gardens of Austin, taking place in spring 2017. They are priced from £3,695pp. Bon Voyage’s (bon-voyage.co.uk) ultimate U.S. Motorbike Adventure will launch this year. The 14-night self-drive Harley Davidson adventure travels coast-to-coast through nine states, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Prices start at £4,255pp.  Attractions & events: Mississippi (mstourism.com) is celebrating its bicentennial in 2017 with events throughout the year, including the opening of the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson. A new inland surf lagoon, NLand (nlandsurfpark. com) opens in Austin, Texas, in early 2017, featuring waves for surfers of all levels.

“A self-drive will give your customers a real sense of freedom, and there are some great routes to check out across the Gulf Coast states” Tim Greathead, Senior Travel Expert and Product Executive, USA and Canada, Premier Holidays

Above from left: Austin, Texas, has a thriving street food scene; a seaside scene in Mississippi; traditional Antebellum architecture in Louisiana

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usa: gulf of mexico

Passes range from $60 to $90.  Cruises: American Cruiselines (americancruiselines. com) launched its largest boat, the 185-passenger

“To get the most from Texas, recommend combining a city break with a ranch stay. A visit to a national park and a live-music venue are also a must” Ross Sinclair, Senior Product Manager: Americas and The Caribbean, Travel 2

NOO16 50

Mississippi River paddle steamer, America, in 2016 while French America Line (frenchamericaline. com) launched its refurbished riverboat Louisiane last summer, offering luxury cruises for 150 guests from ports including New Orleans. Alabama’s Mobile saw its cruise business return in 2016. Carnival offers Caribbean departures from the new port. Galveston, Texas, has completed a $13-million renovation of its cruise port facilities. Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Disney currently depart from the port.  Airlines: British Airways (batraveltrade.com) will launch non-stop Dreamliner flights between Heathrow and New Orleans from March 27 2017, running four times a week. Icelandair (icelandair.co.uk) has announced a new twice-weekly route from the UK to Tampa via Reykjavik, launching September 7 2017.

and New Orleans, and 2017 is also looking good. We’d like to thank our travel trade partners across the UK and Ireland who have been critical to this success: last year we trained more than 1,500 front-line sales people through various activities including the VUSA Road Shows. “The big news in 2017 is the launch of the new direct flight with British Airways four times a week from Heathrow to New Orleans, making the region more accessible with more holiday options

Tourism talk LOUISIANA: “With an increase in international visitation of 36%, 2016 was another fantastic year for Louisiana

getaway should actually A full day starts with a get you away. wide-open schedule.

LOVERS KEY STATE PARK, FORT MYERS BEACH, FLORIDA

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usa: gulf of mexico

Wildcatter Ranch. The deal includes 13-days car hire and return international flights. trade.premierholidays.co.uk  HAYES & JARVIS – 01923 762 456

Cruise the Mississippi River for 11 nights from £3,499pp – eight nights full-board on the American Queen and three nights at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Includes flights. hayesandjarvis.co.uk  Oceans Edge Key WesT

including long weekends, touring and cruising. Neil Jones, Senior Account Manager, New Orleans CVB and Louisiana Office of Tourism in the UK and Ireland TEXAS: “As its largest overseas market, bookings from the UK to Texas remain strong and are expected to increase by 46.7% by 2020, with many tour operators extending their Texas inventories to include more fly-drive opportunities, hotels and experiences. “In 2017 we’ll continue our commitment to training, developing product itinerary ideas and assisting the travel trade, which is an extremely important partner in our future growth. Watch out for Texas Tourism’s travel agent/tour operator event in Manchester on March 14 to showcase the destination and promote Singapore Airlines’ new Manchester to Houston flight.” Julie Greenhill, Senior Account Manager, UK and Ireland, Texas Tourism

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Where to book it Opposite page: a pleasure boat in Houston, Texas; a more rural scene. Above: Lake Guntersville, northern Alabama; Opposite: Key West, Florida

 PREMIER HOLIDAYS – 08444 937 666 Take a 12-night Texas self-drive from £2,199pp, with two-night stays in Houston, Galveston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and

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VISIT USA NEWS FEBRUARY 2017

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

Las Vegas' record returns "Bookings to Alaska, the USA's great wilderness state, are up 36% in 2017. The 10-day Alaskan Denali tour starts from £945pp (not flights)"

Event

USA unites in London

trekamerica.co.uk

VISIT USA is inviting tour operators and buyers to sign up for the popular Unite Visit USA event. Taking place on March 16 at the Mermaid Conference Centre at Blackfriars in central London, the annual Unite day provides the opportunity for operators to set up face-toface conversations with key product suppliers for 2017 and beyond. Operators and buyers are invited to register free of charge. They will meet up to 50 USA product suppliers during a series of pre-arranged 20 minute appointments. Commented Tracey Spuyman, CEO, Visit USA (UK): “Unite Visit USA is a very efficient way of doing business and networking with key players in the USA travel and tourism community.” To register and receive further information contact info@visitusa.org.uk

THE popularity of Las Vegas knows no limits with the Nevada city welcoming a record 42.9 million visitors in 2016. "We will continue to aggressively market to set more records in 2017," said Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA. lvcva.com NEW ORLEANS

Carnival time in Big Easy PURELY America has a package to experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Priced from £1,749pp and departing February 24, it includes flights with American Airlines and seven nights at the Loews New Orleans, close to the French Quarter. purelyamerica.co.uk; loewshotels.com PALM SPRINGS

Desert hideaway PALM Springs, California, was the first port of call for the Obamas after they moved out of the White House last month. The former first family have paid several visits to a region known for its golf courses and atttactions such as the Aerial Tramway. visitgreaterpalmsprings.com

THE USA in brief... HOTELS W HOTELS Worldwide, now part of Marriott International, has made its Las Vegas debut with the opening of W Las Vegas. W transformed a 289-room tower of SLS Las Vegas, located on the emerging North End of the Vegas Strip. The 289 rooms were designed by Philippe Starck while the rooftop WET Deck includes private cabanas and a bar with views of the Stratosphere and mountains. wlasvegas.com

EVENT HOTELS KIMPTON Hotels is offering a Shinola watch butler service at its Mason and Rook hotel in Washington D.C. The initiative allows guests to borrow a handsomelycrafted Shinola watch during their stay, on a complimentary basis. Guests can choose from a rotating collection of eight styles. Those that get hooked can buy their own Shinola timepiece from the company's flagship store two blocks from the hotel. masonandrookhotel.com

AIRLINES EVENT BRITISH Airways is to increase flights between Heathrow and Phoenix, Arizona, for a limited period this year. The three extra weekly services to Sky Harbour International will add to the airline’s existing daily service on the route. From May 8 to July 2, the new flights will leave Heathrow at 09.40 on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday, reaching Phoenix at 12.25. The return journey will leave Phoenix at 14.35, arriving into Heathrow at 08.30. batraveltrade.com

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


MEMBERS SPOTLIGHT introducing...

PREMIER Holidays U.S. Peaks campaign, which runs until February 28, includes the 10-night Western Triangle, with three nights in Los Angeles, four nights in Las Vegas and three nights in San Francisco. From £1,599pp, it includes flights and transfers. Agents who book any of the offers during the campaign will be entered into a draw to win daily, weekly and monthly prizes that include fam trip places, concert tickets, a ladies’ Heritage bike and destinationthemed hampers.

trade.premierholidays.co.uk

HAYES & JARVIS has a seven-night deal in the Florida Keys priced from £1,599pp. Valid for travel on March 15 2017, the deal includes American Airlines flights to Miami, three nights in Key West, four nights in Islamorada and car rental. The price is based on two adults sharing room-only. Meanwhile, visitors to Key West can now sign up for new tours of the homes of former famous residents like Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway. hayesandjarvis.co.uk

New Smyrna Beach, Florida PHILIP BRITTON UK Account Manager

CAPITAL REGION

Jackie is a capital asset THE CAPITAL Region, comprised of Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland, is being showcased on the Silver Screen through a series of backdrops in a major new movie release. Jackie tells the story of First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy as she comes to terms with the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy (JFK). Directed by Pablo Larraín, it stars Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard and Greta Gerwing. The movie splices documented footage from the era with cleverly crafted scenes as Jackie struggles with her personal loss in full glare of the American people. Visitors to the Capital Region can visit locations and sites featured in the movie, such as The White House (note: foreign nationals must book tours through their nearest U.S. Embassy and should check its website for up-to-date information), downtown Washington DC, Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, and the Easton Newnam Airfield and Tred Avon Manor in Maryland. The movie also features beach scenes shot along Maryland's eastern shoreline, the 'Road to Nowhere, just outside of Baltimore. capitalregionusa.co.ukuk;bon-voyage.co.uk

KANSAS SUNFLOWERS

GREAT LAKES

Reverse par in Michigan MICHIGAN is claiming a world's first with the opening of a ‘reversible golf course'. The Loop at Forest Dunes in Roscommon, northern Michigan, has the regular 18 greens but 36 teeing areas. The work of renowned designer Tom Doak, It plays clockwise one day and counterclockwise the next day. forestdunesgolf.com michigan.org/golf

KANSAS has its 12th designated themed route, the Land and Sky Scenic Byway, which stretches 88 miles along US Highway 27. The byway is the only one in the state that focuses on agriculture and passes thousands of acres of rotating crops, livestock and wildlife. Stretching from Sharon Springs north to the Nebraska state line, a stop at Goodland reveals what claims to be the world's largest painting on an easel – representing Van Gogh's famous sunflowers. travelks.com

Where is New Smyrna Beach? Less than an hour’s drive from Orlando, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, is made up of 17 miles of undiscovered Atlantic coastline. We are new to Visit USA in 2017 and look forward to introducing the trade to the destination. What do you hope to gain from joining Visit USA? Joining the Visit USA Association offers us the opportunity to introduce the trade to Florida’s surf capital, historic arts scene, some tremendous restaurants, great surfing and boating. It is a great place for a relaxed few days by the ocean. How well do agents know the New Smyrna Beach area and its products? That’s our challenge! Florida, particularly Orlando, is familiar to many, of course, but its lesserknown component parts is where you find the 'real' state. Our aim is to make New Smyrna Beach a 'go to' beach destination. I am happy to train as many agents as I can on our destination – they just need to let me know! Tell us one of your own favourite New Smyrna Beach moments. The feel of pristine white sand under my feet and the sound of the waves crashing as I ran along the beach at sunrise is a great memory and one that can be experienced by any visitor. nsbfla.com

Subscribe to the Visit USA Association online Travel Update at visitusa.org.uk


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city profile

Los Angeles – A love letter to the City of Angels – History tour Soak up history in Pasadena, 10 miles from downtown LA. It has 1,000 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and Old Pasadena is a walkable, 22-block district. Peerless Built in 1909, Santa Monica Pier is home to the Pacific Park amusement park featuring the world’s only solar-powered ferris wheel. There’s also a market and restaurants. Art for art’s sake The J Paul Getty Museum is a $1.3 billion institution where you can view world-class art collections and exhibitions. Entry is free although you have to pay $15 to park.

PETER ELLEGARD

Muscle in A visit to Venice Beach wouldn’t be complete without taking in the beef and brawn on show in its worldfamous Muscle Beach outdoor gym. See street entertainers and stalls. Mansion house Enjoy these botanical gardens at the 18-acre Greystone Mansion & Gardens in Beverly Hills. The Italianate gardens have featured in numerous films including Spider-Man.

T

here’s a song and dance being made about Los Angeles, a city with several different faces, says Peter Ellegard

The City of Angels takes the leading role in the dazzling movie musical La La Land, which is wowing UK cinema audiences after sweeping the board in the Golden Globes and looking set to repeat that in this month’s Oscars. The film, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, features 40 locations throughout Greater Los Angeles and is a ‘love letter to the city’, according to producer Marc Platt. Places featured in key scenes include Cathy’s Corner on Mount Hollywood – where the film’s poster image with LA and the mountains as a backdrop is set – Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory, Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge and Rialto Theatre, the Chateau Marmont hotel in West Hollywood, downtown landmark Grand Central Market, Hermosa Beach and its pier, Warner Bros Studios in Burbank and downtown’s Angel Flight funicular, closed since 2013 but reopened just for the movie. Such a variety of locations underlines the diversity of the city. In fact, Greater Los Angeles is the secondlargest urban region in the U.S. and includes well-known neighbourhoods with their own identity and visitor appeal, such as Orange County, Disneyland home Anaheim, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Santa Monica and Pasadena.

“To avoid the traffic problems, suggest a twin-centre Los Angeles visit. Clients can base themselves in downtown LA and visit places like West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, before staying at the beach in Santa Monica” ROUTE 66 ENDS IN SANTA MONICA

sellingtravel.co.uk

GRAUMANS CHINESE THEATRE

Visitors find surfing beaches, mountains, desert and history galore, quite apart from its plethora of attractions, restaurants, shopping and activity options. So next time a prospective client tells you that Los Angeles doesn’t have a soul, tell them they must be in La La Land…

LOS ANGELES OVERVIEW Los Angeles saw UK arrivals rise by 2.3% over 2015 to 362,000 in 2016, out of a record 7.1 million international visitors. Transatlantic air services were boosted last spring with the launch of two new direct routes by Thomas Cook, from Manchester, and Aer Lingus, from Dublin, and improved services by Norwegian Air, from Gatwick. And 2017 year will bring additional airlift still. The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board (LATCB) is putting a premium on the luxury market (it exhibited at the International Luxury Travel Market in Nice last December) and to the LGBT audience. Trade activities in recent months have included a sales mission last October with delegates from key LA hotels and attractions and hosting the trade at the London NFL game between the LA Rams and New York Giants. And. Last month LATCB hosted two private screenings of La


city profile

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La Land for trade partners in London and Dublin. For 2017, it will undertake tour operator product updates and sales agent training, with workshops at events such as UNITE and attendance at trade shows. It is launching a consumer digital-only Awards Season promotion campaign imminently.

WHAT’S NEW  Attractions: California’s tallest open-air observation deck, OUE Skyspace LA (skyspace-la. com), opened in downtown LA last summer featuring an enclosed exterior glass slide 1,000 feet up from the 70th to the 69th floor. This summer 2017 will see the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction debut at Disneyland (disneyland.disney.go.com), while work on its new Star Wars-themed land began last year. Knott’s Berry Farm (knotts.com) will open six new slides in two towers, opening in May. LEGOLAND California (california.legoland.com) opens its new LEGO NINAGO Ninjaland in 2017.  Hotels: The 900-room InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown (ihg.com) will open this summer in the tallest US building west of the Mississippi River. It will feature a 70th floor ‘sky lobby’.  Tourist board: Six trade fam trips from the UK and Ireland are planned for 2017. discoverLosAngeles.com

 Operators: Travel 2 (travel2.com) has added the boutique luxury Dream Hollywood Hotel (dreamhotels.com), which opens with 179 rooms in Hollywood this month, and the 12-storey Waldorf Astoria (waldorfastoriabeverlyhills.com), the first for the brand in the LA area, which opens in Beverly Hills in June.

‘MUSCLE BEACH’, VENICE

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD

Premier Holidays (premierholidays.co.uk) has expanded space for Los Angeles and other cities in its 2017 America brochure and has added an eight-night self-drive tour from Las Vegas to LA.  Flights: Virgin Atlantic (virginatlantic.com) is boosting its Heathrow-Los Angeles route with joint venture partner Delta to offer a third daily service from May. United (united.com) will add a second daily service to its Heathrow-LA route in April. Thomas Cook (thomascook.com) is increasing its twice-weekly LA flights to three a week from May. American Airlines (aa.com) recently introduced a menu created by British Michelin Star Chef Mark Sargeant for its Flagship First Class Menus on both its Los Angeles services out of London.  Transportation: Last May saw the opening of the new Metro Expo Line (metro.net) that connects downtown Santa Monica with downtown Los Angeles.  Museums: LA’s Exposition Park is to be the home of George Lucas’s planned, futuristic $1 billion museum that will include ephemera from his Star Wars franchise as well as his personal collection of art.

sellingtravel.co.uk

TOURISM TALK “Los Angeles is a trend-setting global metropolis known as the Entertainment Capital of the World, but it is also home to renowned museums and 75 miles of glorious coastline. The best way to discover LA is by exploring its multicultural neighbourhoods. “We have a partnership with Lionsgate promoting the release of the Oscar-contending movie La La Land. The Los Angeles product shown in the film is showcased on LA’s official visitor site, discoverLosAngeles.com.” Francine Sheridan, Europe and Middle East director, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

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The operator’s 11-day, selfdrive Pacific Coast Explorer features flights from London to Seattle and back from Los Angeles, with the final two nights in LA and three days exploring the area. Prices start at £1,389pp including flights, car hire and 10 nights’ room-only accommodation. goldmedal.com


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weddings & honeymoons

love For the of…

The Indian Ocean and the Caribbean have an enduring and dreamy appeal for romantics.Lisa James looks at the crème de la crème from both

Above: Caribbean marriage. Opposite: Amari Havodda Maldives Beach Pool Villa

sellingtravel.co.uk


weddings & honeymoons

W

49

ith sharks circling off the beach, Caribtours, says: “A wedding overseas can be a mountain of shrimp to feast on, achieved for a range of budgets and many photos on the sand and a bridal hotels offer special savings on wedding golf buggy, the Bahamas wedding of my friends packages including complimentary wedding Paul and Sophy was most memorable – and ceremonies, discounts for honeymoons certainly nothing like the dreaded clichéd as well as bride-stays-free offers. ‘conveyor-belt’ Caribbean marriages that “Weddings in the Caribbean are more have in the past left couples disappointed. popular than ever. In Saint Lucia, for example, They chose Hope Town in The Abacos the rules have been relaxed for getting – a 120-mile-long chain of islands married and there are plenty of options, from in the Bahamas to tie the knot. lighthouses to yachts and even underwater. Fifty friends and family travelled over “The Indian Ocean is renowned for its from the UK, with 50 more from the US. romance and seclusion so, for an intimate The ceremony was in the beautiful Methodist ceremony, we highly recommend the Maldives. church on the beach, officiated by the pastor, To really make it a trip to remember, we suggest Vernon, who is also the local grocery shop owner. combining the stay with a stop in Dubai.” A short five-metre Since Funway stroll to the white Holidays expanded its “A successful wedding can sand provided a Caribbean programme win agents a customer stunning backdrop last year to feature for wedding photos. 16 new destinations, for life, and the happy couple With no cars allowed including a selection of is likely to recommend them on the island, the to friends. Weddings are also an smaller islands, more newly weds and guests honeymooners are ideal opportunity to book groups choosing multi-centre hopped into golf and gather great commission” Caribbean trips and buggies to the hotel reception at Harbour travelling for longer MALCOLM DAVIES, PRODUCT DESTINATION MANAGER, FUNWAY HOLIDAYS Lodge. There they were periods of time. The greeted by a feast of Caribbean is also ideal freshly-caught shrimp, lobster and conch; plus for couples who want to bring family and friends. steak, champagne and a coconut wedding cake, Sharon Bernstein, Grenada Tourism all beautifully set out around the pool, which Authority Director UK and Ireland, agrees: had been under-lit with twinkling lights. “Increasingly we see larger wedding groups, While everyone tucked in and enjoyed friends who will join the couple for a week the junkanoo dance band, there was only or so, and more ‘second timers’ marrying one thing they had to remember. abroad to make their day truly special.” The bar man, Gary, had a warning: Honeymooners, meanwhile, are spoilt for Don’t go in the sea. Lemon sharks choice in the Indian Ocean, according to Tricia were lazily feeding off the reef. Birmingham, Product Manager at Gold Medal. “All Indian Ocean hotels really push the boat The extra mile out for honeymooners with many offering Couples opting to get hitched in the services such as special turn down services, Bahamas can get close to sharks and other relaxing baths with candles, special dinners on marine wildlife at Atlantis, Paradise Island, the beach and couples massages,” she says. which has a huge selection of marine For winter honeymooners, Deborah habitats and aquarium exhibits – plus a Wadhams, Product Manager for Indian range of different places to say “I do”. The resort’s latest wedding venue, Ocean’s Edge, lies atop a white-sand dune, just steps from the crystal-blue Bahamian waters and, with wedding packages prices from £2,480 and seven-night room-only accommodation from less than £1,800 including flights, an unforgettable Caribbean wedding is within most budgets. Options elsewhere in the Caribbean are becoming increasingly varied as more people opt to get married abroad and the region looks to offer alternatives to the Indian Ocean, which has long been synonymous with weddings and honeymoons. Brydie Boulton, Product Manager at

sellingtravel.co.uk


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weddings & honeymoons

Ocean at Travel 2, suggests the Maldives. “The best time to go to the Maldives is during the UK winter, when you can expect little rain, low humidity and blue skies. Many hotels set up special romantic dinners in private locations for people celebrating a honeymoon or someone looking to pop the question.”

What’s new  Operators: Funway Holidays (funway4agents. co.uk) has added the newly-opened Secrets Cap

Above: Pool life with Beachcomber Hotels. Right: coconut cocktails at Palm Island Resort, St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Opposite: Pineapple Beach Club, Antigua; Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Jamaica

opened an overwater fusion restaurant, Feeling Koi, offering modern Japanese dining. This October Baglioni Hotels (baglionihotels. com) will open its first resort, Baglioni Resort Maldives, on the unspoiled private island of Maagau in the Dhaalu atoll, with 96 villas and no other resorts in sight. ONYX Hospitality Group has an exclusive agent deal of $159 per night, full board, in a beach villa for frontline sales staff at the Amari Havodda Maldives (amari.com/Hotels/

Cana in the Dominican Republic, which offers weddings on the sugar-sand Juanillo Beach, one of the most beautiful on the island Caribtours (caribtours.com) is offering 40% off plus free wedding packages at the Colony Club by Elegant Hotels, Barbados, where prices start at £2,705pp for seven-night stays from March 1 to December 18 2017, and on 10-night stays at Turtle Beach Resort by Elegant Hotels, Barbados, where prices start at £2,379pp.  Hotels: Round Hill (roundhill.com) in Montego Bay, Jamaica, now offers private dining for lunch and dinner in one of its 27 cottages, so guests can enjoy freshly-prepared Caribbean dishes. Amilla Fushi (amilla.mv) in the Maldives has

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weddings & honeymoons

Tourism talk

Maldives). To book contact: reservations.havodda. maldives@amari.com and quote DISCFAMIL

 Airlift: Qatar Airways (qatarairways.com) now provides access to the idyllic white-sand beaches and turquoise waters of the Seychelles with daily flights to the destination from Doha, launched in December 2016. The new flights link up with Qatar’s services out of London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham, with UK-Seychelles return prices from £870.

“Anguilla is an ideal location for those looking for the perfect beach wedding destination – couples are able to get married on any of the beaches on the island and there is an outstanding selection of impressive, large villas available to host family and friends. “We have seen significant growth in tourism figures in Anguilla from the UK in 2016/2017. This is partly due to new flight routes, including a new service by CHL Airlines from Antigua to Anguilla, meaning easier and cheaper access to the island. “There have also been a series of highprofile luxury resorts opening over the past year, such as Zemi Beach House, Four Seasons and CuisinArt’s The Reef, offering the perfect piece of paradise for honeymooners.” Carolyn Brown, Director UK & Ireland, Anguilla Tourist Board

51

“What each package includes is key in selling and guest satisfaction. While some may not include all meals and drink they may include activities or childcare” HANNAH WHEELER, HEAD OF UK SALES, YOUTRAVEL.COM

“The Maldives is a unique and special destination – perfect for a romantic getaway. It is no surprise that honeymooners are a very significant composition of our visitor profile. Boutique weddings are our speciality, especially on the white sandy

LIVE IT UP – SAVE MORE WITH CLUB ROOM UPGRADES Want your clients to Live It Up and enjoy additional benefits and services? Why not book them into a Preferred Club Room where they will enjoy exclusive access to private lounges, pools, beach areas, and restaurants; personalised check-in and check-out, upgraded amenities and more*? There has never been a better time, because with our Live It Up campaign we are offering an additional discount on all Preferred Room Categories, and better yet, this offer is combinable with all other offers and early booking discounts. *Preferred Club inclusions may vary by property

VALID FOR ALL BOOKINGS MADE FROM 16 DECEMBER 2016 TO 28 FEBRUARY 2017, FOR TRAVEL 01 MAY TO 22 DECEMBER 2017 Live It Up is valid for all brands within the AMResorts Collection. For more information and to book please contact your preferred tour operator today! EXPERIENCE UNLIMITED- LUXURY® FOR ALL- ADULT ROMANCE IN COSTA RICA | DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: CAP CANA • PUNTA CANA JAMAICA: MONTEGO BAY | MEXICO: AKUMAL • CANCUN • COZUMEL • HUATULCO • LOS CABOS • PLAYA MUJERES • PUERTO VALLARTA • RIVIERA CANCUN


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FEBRUARY PROMO Book by 28 Feb 17 and receive 10% Discount on Room Rates PLUS Reduced All Inclusive Rates Children Stay Play Eat for Free For kids under 12 sharing with parents Valid for stays between 01 Mar – 31 Oct 17

beaches of resorts and secluded hideaways, making the Maldives one of the best of places to exchange or renew vows. We are currently expanding Velana International Airport to cater for better services and more flights and passengers. Gan International Airport in the far south has just opened with renovations and an expansion, enabling long-haul operations and direct connectivity. We soon hope to connect the accommodation in the south with seaplane operations, making the traveller’s experience more meaningful and special.” Moosa Zameer, Maldives Minister of Tourism

BANDOS ISLAND RESORT MALDIVES

LAST MINUTE OFFERS STILL APPLY FOR TRAVEL IN MARCH! Book any category and receive Complimentary Mealplan Upgrade From BB to HB or HB to FB PLUS Complimentary Return Boat Transfers Valid for stays between 01 Mar – 31 Mar 17

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Where to book it

AUTHENTIC RUSTIC MALDIVES Book 90 days prior to arrival and receive 15% Discount on Room Rates! Valid for stays from now until 31 Oct 17 PLUS FREE NIGHTS –7 for 6 and 14 for 12 Valid for stays between 15 May – 15 Jun 17

 ELEGANT RESORTS – 01244 897598 A honeymoon offer at The Residence, Mauritius, is valid for nine months after the wedding date, with prices starting at £5,350 per couple for seven nights in a garden view room. The offer includes flights, lounge passes and private transfers, beach bag, champagne and catamaran cruise with lunch and drinks. elegantresorts.co.uk

ANGSANA IHURU MALDIVES

 CARIBTOURS – 020 7751 0660 A seven-night honeymoon package at Paradise Beach Nevis starts from £4,489pp and includes yoga classes, a spa treatment, dinner and choice of activity such as a catamaran excursion, a rainforest or Nevis Peak hike, or a horse ride.

FEBRUARY PROMO!! Book by 28 Feb 17 and receive: Discounted Room Rates + Complimentary Return Boat Transfers + 60 Minute Spa Treatment! Valid for stays between 01 May – 30 Sept 17 DISCOUNTS FOR STAFF TRAVEL

caribtours.co.uk

 BEACHCOMBER TOURS – 01483 445 610 Seven nights, full board, at the Beachcomber Seychelles Sainte Anne Resort and Spa costs from £1,880pp, including flights with Emirates and private transfers. Wedding packages start at £445 and the operator guarantees just one wedding a day.

BRAND NEW WEBSITE LAUNCHED FOR 2017 WITH NEW DESTINATIONS INCLUDING CARIBBEAN! 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 2016/17 SUMMER 2017 & WINTER 2017/18 RATES ARE NOW ONLINE

www.osborneandebel.com All above offers are subject to availability.

beachcombertours.uk

Above: The Moorings Seychelles offers luxury yacht charters

 HAYES & JARVIS – 01293 762 456 Seven nights, all inclusive, at Pineapple Beach Club by Elite Island Resorts in Antigua starts at £1,339pp, including flights and transfers. hayesandjarvis.co.uk 

Terms & Conditions Apply

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54

travel alberta

∩ Northern Circle Tour - Looking for itinerary inspiration? This classic tour starts and ends in Edmonton, Alberta D AY T H R E E & F O U R : GRANDE PRAIRIE

This itinerary will see your clients walking on a glacier, climbing down into mountain canyons, riding river valley trails by bike or Segway and digging deep for ancient dinosaur fossils. Here are the highlights to recommend…

START IN EDMONTON DAY ONE & TWO: With more than 30 annual festivals, the largest shopping and entertainment complex on the continent and lots of green space, Edmonton is a popular cultural destination and a great place to start a tour. Recommend Kitchen by Brad: A private culinary experience with one of Edmonton’s top chefs, or Edmonton Food Tours for the inside story on the city’s foodie scene; plus time at the Art Gallery of Alberta or a drive out to Elk Island National Park to see the free-roaming plains bison. A guided Segway Tour alongside the city’s North Saskatchewan River will be a memorable experience too.

ALBERTA

WHITECOURT

NORTHERN CIRCLE TOUR D AY F I V E : GRANDE CACHE

D AY E I G H T & N I N E : EDSON

D AY O N E & T W O :

E DMO N T O N

D AY S I X & S E V E N : JASPER

A T H A B A S C A G LA C I E R COLUMBIA ICEFIELD INTERPRETIVE CENTRE

IMAGES COURTESY OF TRAVEL ALBERTA IMAGE LIBRARY

GRANDE PRAIRIE BOUND DAY THREE & FOUR: A six-hour drive from Edmonton, the route crosses the peaceful prairie and can include stops at the photogenic Rochfort Bridge – one of North America’s longest train trestle bridges; and the Fort Assiniboine Friendship Museum which showcases the fur-trading, pioneer days and gold rush heritage of the region. Once in town there’s local art at the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie; craft beers to sample at the GP Brewing Company and the Phillip J Currie Dinosaur Museum (Canada’s newest dinosaur museum) to check out. Nitehawk Adventure Park offers a chairlift to the mountain bike park for an adrenalin rush; or for more tranquil activities why not visit Mirage Holistic Spa?

EXPLORE GRANDE CACHE DAY FIVE: Two hours and five minutes from Grande Prairie, this mountain town sits on a

plateau surrounded by turquoise lakes, rushing rivers, mountain peaks and wilderness hiking trails. A photo-op must is the confluence of two powerful rivers where the spinning whirlpools deposit swirls of bluegreen minerals into the water.

ENJOY JASPER DAY SIX & SEVEN: An easy two hours 30 minutes on is Jasper, gateway to adventure. This authentic mountain town welcomes visitors with luxury lodges and charming cabins. Top stops are the Jasper SkyTram, the longest and highest guided aerial tramway in Canada for stunning views; the Maligne Canyon for a great hike past waterfalls, wildlife and streams; and a trip to the Athabasca

sellingtravel.co.uk

Glacier Skywalk Experience. There are also motorcyle tours, lake cruises and great star-gazing opportunities.

ONWARD TO EDSON DAY EIGHT & NINE: Set in a river valley among vast boreal forest, cool lakes and sandhills, Edson is a small town a two-hour drive from Jasper. Halfway between Jasper and Edmonton, it’s a great stop for time to explore the Bench Creek Brewing Company and the Galloway Station Museum which tells the story of the town’s bootlegging past. Once back in Edmonton, there should be just enough time to explore the independent boutiques in historic Old Strathcona and the fine art galleries on 124th St. Flag up the fact that with no provincial sales tax in Alberta your clients’ money should go that bit further.


how to sell

55

Morocco by Stuart Forster & Laura Gelder

N

orth Africa is approached with caution by both agents and travellers but there are plenty of reasons to be selling Morocco. Easy to get to, offering excellent value and providing a slice of the exotic close to home, the country has much to offer. Why sell? FCO advice puts the terrorism threat for Morocco as 'high', but that is a designation shared by the UK, France, Germany and many other countries in these troubled times. "There is a misconcepetion about Morocco when it comes to safety," says Amine Boughaleb, the Moroccan National Tourist Office's Director for UK & Ireland. "There are many examples of how safe we are: we are a magnet for international events, most recently hosting 50,000 for a climate change conference organised by the UN; we continue to be a top location choice for the film industry and we are seeing a huge number of international hospitality brands investing in Morocco. These are a significant vote of confidence."

Who to sell to? This depends on what you are selling. Marrakech is the obvious choice for city break lovers, offering a mix of cultural sightseeing, shopping,

Village in the Dadès Valley hamam and spa/wellness experiences and a good choice of boutique hotels and riads (local Arabic-style homes). A classic add-on is a trip into the Atlas Mountains for a chance to sample Bedouin culture and hospitality. Those with a more adventurous spirit or a real interest in culture should be offered a multi-centre trip. Other destinations to add include seaside Essaouira, the ancient walled city of Fez, blue-hued Chefchaouen and Aït Benhaddou, a fortified desert village which has starred in numerous blockbusters including Gladiator.

What to sell?

Essaouira's harbour

Sunshine, culture, cheap shopping, pampering and desert adventures. Activity Terres d’Amanar, 30 minutes from Marrakech, offers mountain biking, trekking, zip-lining and archery. Surfing is becoming increasingly popular on the Atlantic coast. Camps line the beaches around Tagazhout and Essaouira and Agadir also

receives plenty of 'good waves'. Luxury hotelbased holidays are also a great sell and can be recommended as a closer alternative to Dubai. David Beckham stayed at the five-star Amanjena in Marrakech, with its views of the Atlas Mountains, for his 40th birthday.

What's new? There are now more than 75 direct flights a week between the UK and Morocco. Ryanair (ryanair. com.com) added a twice-weekly service between Liverpool and Marrakech. Royal Air Maroc (royalairmaroc.com) starts flying between Manchester and Casablanca on March 28, with three flights a week over the summer. Hyatt Place Taghazout Bay (taghazoutbay.place.hyatt. com) and Sol House Taghazout Bay (melia.com) are new coastal resorts close to Agadir. The new Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay (banyantree.com), a 45-minute drive from Tangier, offers luxury villas. The Oberoi Marrakech (oberoihotels.com) opens later this year. 

Morocco Essentials TIME: +1 GMT. FLIGHT TIME: Three hours. VISAS: None required for stays of up to three months. HEALTH: Travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK. CURRENCY: Moroccan Dirham (MAD). £1.00 = 12.61 MAD.

LANGUAGE: Arabic, but French is also widely spoken. BOOK IT: A nine-night Family North African Adventure which includes camping in the Moroccan Sahara at Erg Chebbi, a guided tour of Marrakech and visits to Berber villages in the Atlas Mountains. Tailor-made tours are priced from £2,995pp and include

international flights to Marrakech and transfers. abercrombiekent.co.uk OTHER TOUR OPERATORS: prestigeholidays.co.uk reatrail.com inntravel.co.uk coxandkings.co.uk onthegotours.com intrepidtravel.com

sellingtravel.co.uk

titantravel.co.uk cosmostoursandcruises.co.uk thomson.co.uk kuoni.co.uk GETTING THERE: Ryan Air – ryanair.com easyJet – easyjet.com Royal Air Maroc – royalairmaroc.com Thomson Airways – thomson.co.uk


56

dubai

proof Future

Dubai’s exhaustive list of attractions and hotels keeps growing. Adam Coulter looks at the latest developments in the pioneering emirate C

T

M

hanks to my father’s job I lived in Dubai from the mid- to late-80s and I can quite clearly recall walking along Jumeirah Beach, from the main mosque right down to where the Chicago Beach Motel once stood (now the site of the Burj Al Arab hotel), and encountering just the odd fisherman. There were no major hotels, attractions or buildings, just a long, pristine beach. Fast-forward almost 30 years and Dubai has changed beyond all recognition. However, there is one area where if you look hard enough you’ll find traces of old Dubai: Deira. This is the lesser-known sibling of Dubai, an area which grew up in and around the creek and borders

the Gulf. It has historically been the commercial hub of Dubai, where pearl fisherman traded their wares, gold changed hands and all forms of commerce and barter took place from the vessels plying back and forth to Iran. Although being rapidly developed, this is an area well worth recommending to any client in search of a little history or authenticity in a city which has little of both. I took a day out from my business trip and wandered the gold souks, the electronic stores, the tailors and the jewellers, the fish market and the spice market, losing myself in the endless winding lanes and comparing prices in my head to back home, marvelling at

Camel ride on the beach at Dubai Marina

sellingtravel.co.uk

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CM

MY

CY

CMY

K


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dubai

the endless hustle and bustle. Come the evening, as the searing heat of the day wears away, I’d recommend a cruise on an authentic dhow – the same style of fisherboats used all those years ago. Many offer dinner cruises and it’s a perfect way to marvel at the city.

Clockwise from top left: Al-Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood; family on the beach; The Green Planet., a tropical rainforest-themed attraction; the city’s iconic Jumeirah Emirates Towers in the business district

hub and endless building projects to create superlative structures ranging from the tallest building in the world (Burj Al-Khalifa) to the world’s only seven-star hotel (Burj Al-Arab). But it’s also down to constantly evolving the product offering – you could visit Dubai three times in one year and enjoy new attractions Still rising each time. As Rebecca Burgess, Head of Enjoying year-round Sales, Caribtours, sunshine and being said: “Experiences, just a seven-hour flight “Twin a trip to the Maldives restaurants and hotels from the UK makes or Seychelles with Dubai for a opening are up all the Dubai a top mid-haul time – the choice of couple of days. Clients love holiday spots for hotels and restaurants having a foodie weekend or Brits. From January to is second to none. quick shopping trip in the November last year “It is also an ideal Dubai welcomed more destination for those emirate before heading than 1.12m visitors wanting some winter on to the beach” from the UK – a 4% sun, with hot weather REBECCA BURGESS, HEAD OF SALES, increase on the same year round and, CARIBTOURS period in 2015. being just a short The emirate has flight away, there achieved this in a little over 20 years – is no jetlag to contend with. transforming itself from a sleepy trading port “Emirates and Etihad are now seen as two to one of the top tourist destinations in the of the best airlines to fly with, and flights to world (in October last year it celebrated its Dubai are becoming more and more regular, 100,000th hotel room milestone with the particularly on the new Airbus A380.” opening of The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City). Dubai is also set for a record cruise How it has done this? Well, mainly thanks season – welcoming 150 cruise ships and to its ruler Sheikh Mohamed, who put down 620,000 passengers, up from 134 ship a tourism blueprint in the 1990s which has and 500,000 passengers the previous seen the airport expand into an international year, a growth of 29% year on year.

sellingtravel.co.uk

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dubai

Perfect ten Get high: Gaze down at the desert city from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, or take a helicopter ride over the world-famous Palm Jumeirah. Cool off: Try a watersports activity at Kite Beach or visit Wild Wadi water park, which offers thrilling water rides and a lazy river. Join the Bedouin: Just a 20-minute drive away from the city you can take part in a desert safari, riding camels, dune bashing and star gazing. Hit the slopes: Go indoor skiing at the Mall of the Emirates Shop and dine: The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residences is a great place to browse and graze, with multiple boutiques and restaurants to stroll past. Go back in time: Discover the fascinating historical part of town, Al Fahidi, and visit the Dubai Museum to see the dramatic changes the emirate has been through. Downtown show: Marvel at the Dubai fountain system and its symphony of light and movement. Meet an Emirati: Head to the snappily titled Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding for a traditional Emirati breakfast, or lunch in the wind tower house and ask locals about life in Dubai. Super fun: IMG Worlds of Adventure has super hero-themed worlds and 5D entertainment. Sing star: The city’s latest architectural masterpiece and jewel in its cultural crown is shaped like a futuristic dhow and hosts the biggest names in opera, ballet, theatre and classical music.

What’s new  Hotels: Rotana Hotels & Resorts (Rotana. com) is opening two new hotels in the third quarter of this year. Al Bandar Rotana will be set in the heart of Dubai’s business district, a short distance from Dubai Creek and high-end shopping malls. It will feature 190 rooms, four dining outlets, swimming

pool, Bodylines Fitness and Wellness Centre, sauna, steam rooms and massage room. Al Bandar Arjaan is next to the Creek Rotana and will have 90 rooms, conference facilities, a fitness centre and four dining outlets.  Attractions: Bollywood Parks Dubai (bollywoodparksdubai.com), a first-of-its-kind theme park that showcases rides and attractions based on some of Bollywood’s biggest blockbusters, opened in November. Also from Dubai Parks & Resorts is Legoland Dubai, open since October. The Green Planet (thegreenplanetdubai.com) opened in September at City Walk, in a biodome high above a giant aquarium. Housing 3,000 species of plants, animals and birds, the Eden-like attraction brings the rainforest to the desert. The first phase of Dubai Safari Park, a 119-hectare park with 10,000 animals, will open later this year. Phase One will see lions, antelopes, elephants and creatures from

“Some of the attractions of Dubai Parks and Resorts will sell themselves, so send an e-shot to your previous Dubai or theme park bookers and get on YouTube to show them some official behind-the-scenes videos – they’re impressive! Offer ticket prices in the itinerary” DEBORAH WADHAMS, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER MIDDLE EAST, INDIAN OCEAN AND AFRICA, TRAVEL 2

Clockwise from top: Downtown Dubai; the Dubai Fountain; children experiencing a Bedouin camp in the desert. Opposite page: Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo in Dubai Mall; falconry is one of Dubai’s most popular sports

sellingtravel.co.uk


dubai

Australasia into the park, while phase two will feature animals from the Americas.  Restaurants: Award-winning, Michelinstarred British chef Nathan Outlaw is setting out on his first international venture at the helm of the recently refurbished Al Mahara restaurant at the world famous Burj Al Arab.

Tourism talk

“Dubai is great for families, with attractions like Aquaventure and Wild Wadi waterparks, KidZania, Sega Republic, the Dubai Aquarium and now Legoland” TRICIA BIRMINGHAM, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER, MIDDLE EAST, INDIAN OCEAN AND AFRICA GOLD MEDAL

“This year looks set to be another exciting year. The UK remains a key market for us, consistently in the top three source markets and continuing to show growth in visitors to Dubai. We have lots of trade roadshows and various incentives planned for 2017 and look forward to sharing more information over the coming weeks. “We will also be introducing Dubai Expert, a new game that engages agents selling Dubai. It will aslo provide updates on our tourism products and events. Ultimately, it is a training tool for agents keen to learn how to sell Dubai to even more of their clients. Full details will be released in February and the UK is one of the first markets where it will go live.” Shahab Shayan, Manager UK & Ireland, Dubai Tourism

Where to book it  CARIBTOURS – 0207 751 0660 Five nights at the Anantara Palm Dubai Resort is from £829pp, based on two adults sharing a standard room on a half-board basis. caribtours.co.uk

 GOLD MEDAL – 0800 014 7777 Three nights at the five-star Viceroy Palm Jumeirah, half-board, is from £599pp, including return flights from Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic. Valid for travel June 1-23 2017. goldmedal.co.uk 

It's a win win! Selling Travel is travel trade publication of the year – again! Catch our award-winning coverage in print, online and in person at our fun, informative events

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o n ly t h e t r av e l n e w s t h at r e al ly m at t e r s 68

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C h e c k i n g o u t: sopwell house

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s h ow r e po rt: F lo r i d a h u d d l e

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64

the review

t o u r i s M u p d at E

gambia gets back on track

new adventures for superbreak nEW adventures, experiential tours, the Faroe Islands and more hotels

carol HaY uk manager, caribbean tourism organisation

are some of the key developments in SuperBreak’s 2017 Europe & Worldwide brochure.

so, 2017 is up and running and i hope the

The 188-page tome also features

year is treating you well. with the days

the operator’s biggest-ever range

getting colder it is definitely time to start

of excursions, live performances

pushing the caribbean destinations for some

and experiences.

guaranteed sunshine and warmth!

The south coast of Iceland is

if you need some tips on how to sell the

featured for the first time, along

region then look no further than the

with Midnight Sun and Northern

caribbean tourism organization’s caribbean

Lights breaks in Tromso, Norway.

travel guru online training programme.

In

addition,

two

new

you’ll find the latest news, tips and offers

Scandinavian mini-cruise packages

from our fantastic destinations. register to

have been introduced including a

join at caribbeantravelguru.com.

three-night break featuring one

there are great monthly prizes to be won

night in Stockholm and two nights

if you do! in december, lucky lindsey hayes,

onboard a Viking Line ship

a caribbean specialist with British airways

exploring Stockholm’s islands and

holidays, won a spa day for two for logging her amazing caribbean bookings.

Helsinki. Prices start from £229pp By Neal BaldwiN

demand had “already returned strongly”

so, are you feeling lucky? the February

opErators to The Gambia have

and added: “We will be operating a

Three-night theatre breaks in

prize is a lovely rum and chocolate hamper

praised the Foreign & Commonwealth

Tuesday and Friday flight from Gatwick

Paris to see shows such as Cyrano

and will go to the agent who completes the

Office for a swift and positive assessment

from now until the end of April, and then

de Bergerac and Oliver Twist,

most quizzes and exams on the programme.

of political uncertainty in the country.

switching

(featuring a new subtitling system

you could also win a £50 love2shop

UK visitors were last month ordered to

voucher for lots of caribbean bookings.

quit the West African nation amid rising

save tHe Dates

to

a

weekly departure

throughout the summer.” operator’s

that makes them accessible to Relations

English-speaking audiences for the

tensions over disputed Presidential

manager Gill Synnuck added: “We’ve

first time) are priced from £146pp.

caribbean roadshows are coming to a

elections. Travel businesses rushed to

been inundated with messages of

They include a two-night stay at

town near you soon. may 9-11: Belfast,

evacuate around 3,500 Brits before the

support from the trade. It is times like

the three-star Avalon Hotel and

dublin and cork; may 22-23: edinburgh

scheduled handover of power on January

these that make me proud to work for

theatre tickets in early April.

and glasgow; June 7: london.

19. But in just a matter of days, the FCO

such a wonderful company, with the

superbreak.com/agents

neW guiDe

changed its advice, an appreciaton that a

support of so many lovely agents whose

request a copy of our new 2017 guide to

lasting calm had been restored after

patience and understanding over the

selling the caribbean by contacting ann-

outgoing leader Yahya Jammeh agreed

last week has been overwhelming.

marie Brooks on 020 8948 0057 or email

to step down.

abrooks@caribtourism.com

The

including flights.

Trade

“The safety of our visitors is of the

Serenity Holidays, an ABTA and AITO

upmost importance and we look forward

member which trades as The Gambia

to continuing to welcome them,” said

Experience, had a 10-strong team in the

Adboulie Hydara, Director General for

country helping

the Gambia Tourism Board.

clients. Managing

Director Chris Rowles said the FCO had

The

Gambia

has

popular

become

an

winter

sun

worked constructively with the trade and

increasingly

“acted swiftly” to amend the advice when

destination in recent years.

the situation became clear. He said that

gambia.co.uk; visitthegambia.gm

nEWs to usE in briEF

caribbean tourism organization 22 the Quadrant, richmond, surrey, tw9 1Bp tel: 020 8948 0057 Fax: 020 8948 0067 caribbean.co.uk

rEGEnt Seven Seas Cruises is

inGhaMs has released its winter

rouGh Guides has named Detroit

offering discounts of up to 25% on

2017/18 Ski Preview programme,

as its top travel destination for 2017.

selected sailings in 2017 to mark its

offering discounts of up to £800 per

The travel publisher said the city’s

25th anniversary. Deals are available

couple, free lift passes and deals on

regeneration, plus funky mix of

on itineraries of seven to 40 nights,

equipment hire for early bookers. The

restaurants, live music venues and

booked

to

brochure features 91 resorts across

shopping meant it was now a major

destinations that include Alaska, the

nine countries, with departures from

draw. Rough Guides also noted the

Mediterranean and Caribbean.

25 UK airports.

city was ‘relatively affordable’.

rssc.com/celebrate

inghams.co.uk

roughguides.com/bestplaces

before

March

31

sellingtravel.co.uk


the review

Finnair heads to Lapland

Mauritius arrivals are up

65

ANZ begins $100m upgrade

Finnair is to introduce a non-

Air New Zealand begins a $100

stop flight from the UK to Finnish

million upgrade of its B787

Lapland this winter.

Dreamliner and B777 fleets this

The direct service will link

month

(February)

with

the

Gatwick and Ivalo twice a week

introduction of new seating and

from mid-December and operate

the expansion of the premium

until the end of March 2018.

cabins. New-look interiors will

The ski and holiday resorts in

include refreshed Business Premier

and around Ivalo are gaining the

and Economy seats as well as new

attention of international travellers

luxury leather Premium Economy

and the area is also well-known for

seat across all aircraft.

its scenery and nature, other winter

Work on aircraft operating the

activities and opportunities to

London–Los Angeles–Auckland

experience Aurora Borealis (the

route will start in August and is

Northern Lights).

expected to be completed by

Finnair will fly twice a week

November. Upgraded

between Gatwick and Ivalo, on

entertainment

will

Thursdays and Sundays, with the

included in the revamp.

flights operated by Airbus A320

airnewzealandtrade.com

in-flight also

be

and A321 aircraft. The airline is extending its

Germany’s EuropaPark proving popular

network in the UK with new

By steve hartridge

engaging with agents and other trade

codeshare services on Flybe flights

Mauritius saw an 11% increase in

partners across a series of events.

between UK regional airports like

worldwide visitor arrivals for 2016 with

It has revamped the format of its road

Birmingham, Cardiff, Southampton

cruise tourism significantly contributing

shows and will instead be hosting eight

and Doncaster-Sheffield and key

to the improved numbers.

regional events for sales agents up and

Europa-Park, Germany’s largest

down the country.

theme park and the second-most

European cities. finnair.com

The UK market increased by nine per cent, a rise the Mauritius Tourism

Each event will include an interactive

popular theme park resort in

Promotion Authority (MTPA) in part

quiz with rounds on trade partners and a

Europe after Disneyland Paris,

attributes to targeting low-season travel

host of prizes.

welcomed a record-breaking 5.5

through its Mauritius 365 campaign and

Elsewhere, the MTPA will be hosting

the recent upgrading of many island

its first-ever tour operator social media

Investments in 2016 included

products and services.

fam trip in March, designed to provide

more than 20 million euros in a

The rise in numbers means two years

social media content managers with the

new themed area, Ireland –

of double-digit growth with 2015 also

chance to source images, ideas and

Children’s World.

having

MTPA’s

experiences in order to share first-hand

This year visitors to the park,

cruise tourism

content from across the destination with

which opens on April 1, will be

their own customers.

able to enjoy Europe’s largest

out-performed

expectations. Notably,

the

was a key player accounting for over 28,000 arrivals. The MTPA is again planning a busy year of trade initiatives and will be

Your chance to WIN… Premium New Zealand wine, plus other awesome prizes! SEE PAGE 7

million visitors last year.

Agents can get more information on

Flying Theatre, another double-

Mauritius at mauritusexpert.com.

digit million Euro investment.

tourism-mauritius.mu

europapark.de

Top of the class. Would it surprise you to hear that our Premium Economy is awardwinning? Ultra comfy leather seats with up to 43" seat pitch. Inflight menus by celebrity chefs. Premium check-in, premium headphones, premium amenity kit. Perhaps not so surprising after all. Award-winning Premium Economy. Just one of our #LittleBetters

littlebetters.airnewzealandtrade.com


66

the review

Japan’s star is rising

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

dEMand for Asian destinations is

feature) in the report’s Worldwide

soaring, with bookings up 33% on

Holiday Costs Barometer.

the same period last year, says and

resorts the Post Office surveyed,

Vietnam are growing but the star

with tourist staples working out

performer is Japan, with numbers

18% cheaper than Phuket, 28%

significantly up in January – both

cheaper than Penang and 43%

for 2017 and next year – on 2015.

less than in Beijing.

Sales

for

both

China

“Bookings for Japan, particularly

Other

around the cherry blossom season,

Japan’s

grew by 30% in January – so much

sparked by the Joanna Lumley’s

so that we have added three new

Japan TV show and gathering

departures for spring 2017,” said

momentum surrounding Japan

the company’s Managing Director,

hosting the Olympics in 2020.

factors rise

attributed

include

Japan bookings for 2018 are

availability on its 11-day Jewels of

also outpacing previous years, a

Japan tour, departing March 16.

trend the operator puts down to a

Prices start from £4,490p.

growing appreciation that Japan

The tour will provide a glimpse of

has become affordable. This was reinforced by the most

how locals celebrate during

the cherry blossom season, added

recent Post Office Travel Money

Hicks.

Report, released last month, that

wendywutours.co.uk

saw Tokyo enter the top ten (the

Read about Japan’s top spots in our

only long haul destination to

feature on page 72.

nEWs to usE in briEF GEorGia Tourism (USA) has

EXpEriEnCE Travel Group

appointed destination marketing

has added four tours in southern

specialist kbc to promote the

India for 2017 – just a year after

state in the UK. The firm will

offering the country for the first

oversee trade relations, PR and

time. New itineraries take in the

consumer marketing, with the

southern states of Kerala, Tamil

aim of increasing awareness of

Nadu, Goa and Karnataka. Prices

the region beyond Atlanta.

lead in at £2,534pp, with flights.

exploregeorgia.org

experiencetravelgroup.com

sellingtravel.co.uk /subscribe

to

interest

Wendy Wu says it still has some

Laurence Hicks.

w Ne eb w si te

Tokyo is now by far the cheapest of eight Far eastern cities and

specialist operator Wendy Wu.

sellingtravel.co.uk


the review

New ships for Riviera

Be a Silversea Advocate this year

67

TOURIS M TALK Elisabeth Hakim, UK & north American Markets Coordinator en PROMPERÚ

Silversea Cruises is running a special recognition programme for agents in 2017, culminating in 10

Sum up Peru’s appeal. Colourful

top-performing members of the

Andean cultures, rich history and

trade joining a VIP fam trip.

diverse landscapes teaming with

Each month, Silversea’s Regional

wildlife. Peru is home to vibrant

Sales managers will submit three

cities, modern arts, ancient

agents they consider should be

traditions, friendly local people and

recognised as a ‘Silversea Advocate’.

world-famous cuisines, as well as a

Selection will be based on sales

geography that ranges from

performance, successful marketing

highlands to deserts and rainforest.

promotions or events, or just being a patron of Silversea. Ten

agents

shortlisted

by

What makes Peru unique? As the

will

then

be

heart of many pre-Columbian

The

Advocate

civilizations, Peru offers unrivalled

Committee and each will receive

heritage sites. The new Kuelap

an

Cable Car will give easier access to

Advocate

gift

and

‘congratulations certificate’.

a ‘second Machu Picchu’ and signals

By the close of this year the 10

the opening of a new archeological,

agents that have been nominated

cultural and adventure destination

the most throughout 2017 will be invited on the VIP fam trip.

in Amazonas, northern Peru. By Neal Baldwin

To launch the new and improved

RIVIERA Travel reports sales growth of

Joseph

is

What’s been the impact of the

Silversea Advocates Programme,

more than 30% for 2017 as it gears up to

booming, with independent agents

British Airways service to Lima?

the cruise line will be presenting

launch two of four new ships.

getting behind the operator’s unique

Very positive. We saw double-digit

product. “Sales are outstripping what

growth between January and

we expected,” he explained.

November 2016 and we’re sure

the first 10 Advocates in 2017 with

The five-star river cruise specialist

Grimley says

business

an Apple Watch.

which prides itself on catering for the

silversea.com

British market will take 40 UK and Irish

“Retailers like the fact that we are a

agents to the christening of new all-

British line, which means we have a

suite vessels MS Thomas Hardy and MS

majority of British clients on board and

Emily Bronte, taking place in Amsterdam

cater British tastes.

on February 24.

this will rise as more UK travellers use the BA service. What

trade

activities

are

“Because guests are flying short-haul

planned for 2017? We’re dedicated

Both ships are due to begin operations

we can afford to operate cruises that are

to increasing awareness of the

in April, with a sister ship – MS Oscar

much more relaxed. Other operators

destination and the BA route. We’re

Wilde – expected to join the fleet in

cram in excursions for clients who are

also working with tour operators

August. Meanwhile, MS Douro Elegance

arriving from all over the world; but we

via co-op marketing and three-

will also debut this year.

can afford to sail more and take things

party marketing actions. For UK

easier,” Grimley added.

travel agents we offer the ‘Sales

The three literary-named ships have been on sale since March 2016, offering a selection of European itineraries. Riviera Travel’s Head of Agency Sales

Your chance to WIN… round-the-world flights for two, plus other awesome prizes! SEE PAGE 7

Agents wanting more information can call agency sales on 01283 744307.

Companion’ app downloadable at peruagent.com

rivieratravel.co.uk

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo. We fly more routes to New Zealand than any other airline, so there’s a huge range of free stopovers to choose from. We’ve buddied up with partner airlines to whisk passengers from London to their gateway point, then we get them to New Zealand.

More stopovers than you can shake a stick at. Just one of our #LittleBetters

littlebetters.airnewzealandtrade.com


68

the review

Sandals has Saint Lucia ambitions

IT’s Play time with Rocky Mountaineer

largest operator on Saint Lucia.

UK travellers can receive up to £350 per couple in added value on selected Rocky Mountaineer journeys, as part of the luxury rail operator’s Stay & Play offer. Until March 3, new bookings are eligible to receive the credit to spend on dining, cruises, sightseeing and more. The maximum credit of £350 is exclusively applicable to qualifying 2017 Rocky Mountaineer packages of eight days or more in GoldLeaf or SilverLeaf Service on select dates between April and October this year. One of the packages the offer applies to is the Canadian Rockies Getaway, travelling between Vancouver and Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff. The eight-night trip includes four nights on the train.

sellingsandals.co.uk

rockymountaineer.com

Sandals has announced that it will begin work on its fourth property in Saint Lucia this spring. The property, named Sandals LaSource Saint Lucia, will feature 350 rooms and suites and be situated on a 19-acre site close to its existing Sandals Grande Saint Lucian Resort. It will host nine restaurants, a Butler Lounge, Red Lane Spa and a European-style shopping plaza. Sandals Chairman, Butch Stewart said: “We pride ourselves on continuously raising the bar and Sandals LaSource Saint Lucia will completely re-energise the tourism market in Saint Lucia.” When

completed

the

new

property will take Sandals’ room count on the island beyond 800 – reinforcing its position as the


the review

new York is in demand

guide to capital region usa

69

on the go gets wild in greenland

With the eyes of the world on the

tailor-made operator On The Go

U.S. what better time to book a

Tours

holiday to its Capital Region?

programme with four Greenland

Distributed with this month’s

has

grown

its

Arctic

tours. Aimed at those who want to

Selling Travel is the new Capital

see

Region USA Holiday Guide – a glossy

midnight sun, the trips see clients

58-page magazine on all that’s

staying in the small settlements of

unmissable in Washington, DC,

Kangerlussuaq or Ilulissat and

Maryland and Virginia.

feature activities such as glacier

As well as outlining what makes

the

Northern

Lights

or

walks, dog sledding and guided

each of these diverse neighbours

4WD excursions.

so intriguing, you’ll find plenty of

Options are: Aurora Borealis

tips to help you create the perfect

Hunter (four days from £1,685pp);

itinerary for clients.

Aurora and Polar Circle (five days

Discover

more

about

from £1,835pp); Greenland Ilulissat

Washington’s

rich

cultural

Adventure (five days from £2,785pp

highlights, such as the Lincoln

and Western Greenland Explorer

Memorial

(eight days from £3,565pp).

and

Smithsonian

Institution; Maryland’s maritime

onthegotours.com

traditions; and Virginia’s place at the heart of American history. Chow down on amazing culinary experiences, learn

about

sicilian offers places

the

boutique and designer shopping,

Friday and half-term breaks. In total

By laura gelder

and how to explore the region’s

FolloWinG ‘phenomenal demand’

there are more than 6,800 holidays for

siCilian Places has boosted self-

small towns with big hearts.

Jet2.com

sale across a range of three- to five-star

catering and hotel options and

hotels in top New York locations.

expanded flight choices with the

and

Jet2CityBreaks

are

For extra copies of the Capital

offering a record number (30) of trips

Region USA Holiday Guide, call

direct to the New York this winter from

020

seven UK airports.

8339

6048

or

email:

tmp.uk@btinternet.com

These include the popular Yotel New

launch of its 2017 brochure.

York at Times Square and Wellington

The specialist now offers a

All winter 2017 options are on sale

Hotel. Featuring among the 20 new

choice of charter, low-cost and

and include a repeat of the sell-out

additions to the programme are the

scheduled flights from six UK

New Year’s Eve breaks from Leeds and

Hilton Times Square, Sofitel New York

airports that include a new

Manchester, as well as a new Christmas

and Loews Regency.

scheduled flight from Birmingham

in New York offering from Manchester.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and

Belfast International and Birmingham

Jet2CityBreaks, said: “Our New York trips

Airport departures are new for 2017.

have enjoyed phenomenal demand this

New York breaks run over four nights, bar the five-night Thanksgiving trip to

into Comiso, which is ideally placed for holidays to the south of Sicily. New

self-drive

itineraries

winter, with sell-out trips and load

include a UNESCO World Heritage

factors exceeding all expectations.”

Sites route. Child discounts are

the Big Apple that leaves from Glasgow.

Packages with Jet2CityBreaks start

This winter’s New York programme

from £739pp and can be secured now

lead in at £510pp.

includes specialist shopping breaks

for a £60pp deposit.

sicilianplaces.co.uk

coinciding with Christmas and Black

trade.jet2holidays.com

available at selected hotels. Prices

SEE PAGE 7

Your chance to WIN… Business Premier™ flights to LA, plus other awesome prizes!

LA, all the way. Don’t be fooled by the name — we fly daily direct to LA. Flights leave late afternoon from London Heathrow, and arrive in Los Angeles early evening... conveniently, just in time for dinner and drinks.

Daily direct flights to LA. Just one of our #LittleBetters

littlebetters.airnewzealandtrade.com


70

the review: show report  ORLANDO, FLORIDA, JANUARY 9-12

Florida Huddle Sally Parker reports from the Sunshine State

Brits will ‘stay loyal’ in 2017

Keys to Florida

H U D D L E S H O RT S

THE Florida Keys has welcomed

VISIT ORLANDO is planning a

several new properties recently,

series of agents training roadshows

including the 144-room Playa

which will visit 10 UK cities plus

Largo Resort & Spa in Key Largo,

Dublin for the first time. The events

which has a pool, spa, 6,000-sq ft

kick off on March 6 and run through

beach and a children’s activity/

to March 20. In addition, the 10th

nature centre.

annual Superfam later this year will

Also new is the 22-room boutique

H2O

Suites

see 50 agents experience the state.

Hotel,

visitorlando.com

featuring luxury one-bedroom suites, a rooftop deck and pool

DISNEY Springs shopping and

and 11 plunge pools; the Hotel

entertainment district at Walt

Key West at Stock Island Marina

Disney Resort, Bay Lake, near

with its 100 water-view rooms

Orlando, has expanded to include

and suites; and the 175-room

brands new to Florida and eateries

Oceans Edge Key West Hotel and

run

Marina which has six pools.

ANY concerns travelling Brits might

and anticipated a “slight increase” in

fla-keys.com.com

have over Brexit and the new resident of

numbers over the coming year.

by

award-winning

chefs.

disneysprings.com

the White House are not expected to

Alfredo Gonzalez, Executive Vice

deter them from travelling to their

President of Sales for VISIT FLORIDA

the first digitally enhanced ride

favourite U.S. destination in 2017,

said: “The UK market is extremely loyal

in Florida when the remodelled

according to Florida tourism chiefs.

and Brits believe their holiday is a right.

Kraken rollercoaster becomes a

Gill Sandeven of VISIT FLORIDA’S UK

Even with the current exchange rate

virtual reality experience this

office reported that 2016 had been “a

operators are reporting growth in 2017.”

summer. Guests will be taken on

Icelandair will begin a twice-

year of two halves”, with initial early

With more visitors looking for value-

weekly service to the city on

demand and good sales but a slow

deals, several Florida suppliers will be

September 7, prompting mayor

down as the year progressed. The drop-

offering extras like ‘kids eat free’ offers

Bob Buckhorn to comment: “This

off was caused primarily because of the

and value-added cards in 2017 “to

LEGO NINJAGO opened in January

new flight is one more example of

initial uncertainty caused by Brexit and

ensure that Florida continues to be

at LEGOLAND Florida. Guests on the

Tampa’s growing prominence as an

an unfavourable exchange rate.

good value”, added Gonzalez.

ride learn how to be a Ninja and

Tampa is connected TAMPA welcomes a clutch of new transportation options in 2017.

Although the year finished “flat’”

Huddle attracted 721 attendees from

Meanwhile a new ferry service

Florida still outperformed its U.S.

15 countries, including 223 buyers, a

connects Tampa to St. Petersburg

competitors, noted Gill, who said she

six per cent increase on 2016.

via a 40-minute ride, giving

was “cautiously optimistic” about 2017

visitflorida.com

international gateway.”

New hotels opening in Tampa in 2017 include AC Hotel by Marriott. visittampabay.com; visitflorida.com

a ‘deep sea mission’. seaworldparks.com

score points by blasting fireballs, lightning and ice with their hands. Meanwhile, LEGOLAND Beach Retreat will open in April close to

access to the city’s beach and to its Dali Museum.

SEAWORLD Orlando will debut

the theme park in Winter Haven. It will include 83 single-story duplexes,

Martin County is making waves in the UK

a themed pool, a sandy play area and a restaurant where guests dine

MARTIN County is one region of

experience, and to relax and unwind.

Florida determined to ‘punch above

“With 22 miles of coastline and 77

its weight’. It already has a UK office

parks we are a nature lover’s dream.

and plans to increase its profile

Visitors can surf, sail, dive, snorkel and

among the UK trade and consumers.

fish – all within two hours of four

unveiled both new branding and a

below the new LEGO lighthouse. legoland.com/florida

EXPERIENCE

Kissimmee

Nerissa Okiye of Discover Martin

airports, including Orlando and Miami.”

logo, which the tourist board says

County said: “The UK traveller is very

The 184-room Hutchinson Shores

‘better conveys the destination’s

independent and therefore the

Resort and Spa opens this April, the

dynamic spirit’. Kissimmee is also

perfect market for us. We are an

first

using a new positioning statement:

ideal destination for those looking

Hutchinson Island in 20 years.

‘We Make Vacations’.

to

discovermartin.com

experiencekissimmee.com/uk

discover

an

authentic

U.S.

sellingtravel.co.uk

new

resort

to

open

on


the review

Checking out...

HOTELS / RESORTS / TRAIN JOURNEYS / CRUISES / AIRPORT REVIEWS

S T A Y : ANAN TAR A H UA H I N R E S ORT – Thailand T H E V E R D I CT

BY JULIE BAXTER

THE BACKGROUND: A favourite escape

for Bangkok residents, Hua Hin was first made popular in the 1920s when the country’s royal family built a palace there. A three-hour drive from the city, the town has a modest beach, championship golf course and its own wine-growing area. THE LOCATION: Just outside the town, the hotel is by the sea but its main attraction is its lush gardens. THE ROOM: Mine was a Club Lagoon room in one of the traditional Thai buildings within the resort. Each looks out onto a pretty lagoon and guests have access to an infinity pool close to the resort’s biggest, most tranquil lily-clad lagoon. The traditionally styled room combined high ceilings and tall windows with teak furnishings, an expansive bed and a wide balcony with sofa. The marble bathroom had a double sink, shower and deep bath and had slide back walls that let me gaze

This is a lush tropical resort in a traditional Thai style with excellent facilities. It is ideal for a relaxing break after time in Bangkok, or as a base from which to explore Hua Hin and the surrounding area. The staff are friendly and the focus is on quiet relaxation – although the buzz of Hua Hin is just a 10-minute drive

on the gardens from the tub! KEY FACILITIES: Beyond the public pool area, beach and lounges, Club Lagoon guests receive a range of benefits which include exclusive access to the quieter Lagoon Pool and Bar, discounted spa treatments, a complimentary laundry service (four items a day), free cocktails each evening, a yoga class each morning, a free shuttle to town and late check out.

RESTAURANTS/BARS: A lavish buffet

breakfast is served in Issara Café and there is Italian dining at Baan Thalia, or Asian and lighter meals at Rim Nam restaurant, Sala Siam bar and around the pools. Themed evenings include a beach BBQ while the Spice Spoons garden kitchen offers cookery lessons.

from the resort. RATES: Club Lagoon room rates start at £141 a night, midweek in March (for advanced purchases), including breakfast and privileges (described left).

Address: 43/1 Phetkasem Beach Road Hua Hin  huahin.anantara.com �huahin@anantara.com  +66 32 520 250.

S T A Y : S OP W E L L HOU S E – St. Albans, England BY STEVE HARTRIDGE

THE BACKGROUND: This bright-white

Georgian manor house, with 128 guest rooms and 16 mews suites (which sit removed from the main building) reside in 12 acres of rolling gardens that are surrounded by Hertfordshire countryside. With over 300 years of history, the rooms have evolved in a variety of quirky

shapes and sizes. But all the guest rooms were recently refurbished, in a style that is To the Manor Born meets London boutique hotel. THE LOCATION: A 10-minute drive to St Albans town centre, the hotel is also easily reached by train (20 minutes from London St Pancras). THE ROOM: Generously sized, my Superior room was decorated in engaging light and modern pastel colours. The creaking wooden floor that hinted at the building’s long history added to its charm. Modern extras included a large Art Deco round mirror and a headboard with built-in contemporary reading lights. The super-king-sized bed came with a duck-feather duvet. There was a 23inch TV and toiletries were by ESPA. KEY FACILITIES: The Spa, with its 14.5 metre swimming pool and gym, was very busy – filled with guests of two

wedding parties and a 90th birthday celebration. With its glass surrounds, the Conservatory, a lounge and reading room with comfy couches and arm chairs, floods with natural light and has views of the patio terrace (a lovely spot in summer) and expansive gardens. RESTAURANTS/BARS: Sophisticated but informal, the main restaurant holds an AA rosette for cuisine that combines ‘classic’ English dishes with European flavours. The emphasis is on seasonal and locally produced ingredients. A second restaurant, The Brasserie, serves an all-day carvery buffet from its openplan kitchen. The hotel has two bars: the Conservatory, a quiet and peaceful retreat where guests were drinking more tea than Guinness, and the more bustling cocktail lounge.

T H E V E R D I CT Close to one of the country’s most historic towns (St Albans) and one of its busiest railways lines, Sopwell House pulls off the trick of presenting itself as a timeless rural retreat but with all modern comforts. It is the perfect suggestion for couples looking for an escape – or clients wanting a stay-at-home UK wedding. It’s a busy hotel, but the many nooks, crannies, enclaves and couches offer plenty of ‘private spaces’. RATES: Check the hotel’s

Address: Sopwell House, Cottonmill Lane, St Albans,

website for short break

Herts, Al1 2HQ  sopwellhouse.co.uk �enquiries@

offers and package specials.

sopwellhouse.co.uk  01727 864 477

sellingtravel.co.uk

71


72

japan

Cities of style

Demand for Japan is on the rise. Benjamin Coren takes a look at its top destinations and what they can offer

sellingtravel.co.uk


japan

E

73

merging from Shinagawa Station in the closely with the UK trade. A spokesperson for metropolis that is Tokyo, the frenetic pace the JNTO commented: “In 2017 we’ll start of the city hits me like a sumo slap. I’m working on the Rugby World Cup, giving ever so slightly jetlagged but I have a few hours seminars introducing the 12 venues and what to spare and I need to explore as much of the city there is to do in the surrounding areas.” as I can. Thank goodness for the Metro system! The JNTO also reports an increase in I have time for a peaceful walk around the popularity for cruises and luxury travel. outer grounds of the Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo before being completely overwhelmed by the As one of the world’s most populous and vibrant contrast of bright lights and noise in the cities, Tokyo will be on everyone’s itinerary. Akihabara district, famed for its countless Packed with culture, history, museums, theme electronics stores and clamorous video arcades. parks, technology, restaurants, bars, parks and A few more metro stops take me to Shibuya, a landmarks, the city could fill a holiday on its own. major commercial district famous for its Most travellers coming from the UK can fly to pedestrian crossing. It’s said to be the busiest Tokyo Narita or Haneda airports; both have good scramble intersection in the world, where millions of people cross in all different directions. rail connections into the city. Once in the city, the rail infrastructure is the most cost-effective way It’s time to sample Japanese dining and the to explore. A JR Rail Pass can be purchased for eatery I choose, like many others around here, clients before travelling and allows transportation requires me to place my order at a vending on all JR trains within the city as well as machine. After choosing my dish the machine Shinkansen (bullet trains) throughout the country. dispenses a ticket. I take a seat at the bar, hand Springtime, the cherry blossom season, is it over and watch the chef get to work on my without a doubt the busiest time in Tokyo (and bowl of ramen. It’s fresh and delicious. virtually everywhere in It’s experiences like Japan). Ueno Park is one this – normal life for “Visit Tokyo between of the most famous the Japanese but a fun September and November. places for viewing the novelty for foreigners pink blossoms. – which make Japan so The autumn is beautiful, The city’s various fascinating. Its cities temperatures are more districts act almost like are full of life and each comfortable and visitors can city centres in has its own enjoy a city with less crowds” themselves and each is personality; its own REBECCA TURNER, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER ASIA different. For nightlife hook for various kinds AND AUSTRALIA, GOLD MEDAL Shinjuku is packed with of travellers, be they bars, restaurants and families looking for clubs; Shibuya has plenty of shops with the latest entertainment or tech geeks on the hunt for fashions and trendy brands; Akihabara is packed gadgets. What they all have in common is the sheer range of culture waiting to be discovered. with electronics shops and video arcades and is the hub for Japanese pop culture. Looking ahead Top sights in the city include the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo ranks an impressive eighth in the Post Tokyo Tower, the Meiji Jingu Shrine and the Office’s holiday costs barometer - the only long Senso-ji Temple. Early risers should not miss a haul destination to feature in the ‘most affordable’ visit the Tsukiji Fish Market. list. The study claims the capital is 18% less costly Kyoto than Phuket and 43% cheaper than Beijing. It’s a selling point to pass on to clients as Japan is often The former capital of Japan is just over two hours from Tokyo by Bullet Train and is famous for its perceived as ‘expensive’. plethora of temples and shrines and the The country plans to welcome 40 million traditional Gion district, home of the Geisha. visitors by 2020 and is well on track after The Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine (pictured left) is recording over 24 million visitors in 2016 – made up of thousands of red torii arches and is a that’s a 21.8% increase on 2015. The UK is the leading European source market favourite snapping stop in the city. Equally popular is the Kinkakuji Temple, also with an increase from 258,488 to 292,500, a known as the golden temple, still serene and number that will likely rise further still with Japan hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and beautiful despite the crowds. In the city centre clients can take a tour the 2020 Olympic Games. Other pull factors around the Gion district, where they can watch include an increasing number of international Geisha at work, join a tea ceremony and see hotels, new train services, theme parks, people in traditional kimono dress walking the museums and a favourable exchange rate. narrow streets flanked by wood-fronted The Japanese National Tourism Organization Japanese houses. (JNTO) has said this year it will be working

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JAPAN’S ONLY 5-STAR AIRLINE

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

www.ana.co.uk

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Y

CM

MY

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CMY

JAPAN’S ONLY

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japan

UNESCO World Heritage Nijo Castle is another historic monument not to be missed.

Osaka

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hours drive from the city. Odori Avenue Park stretches from east to west in the city and in winter is the location for a fabulous snow festival featuring ice statues and sculptures. If skiing isn’t a draw, in summer Odori Avenue Park is full of beer gardens and features art, fountains, and many colourful plants and flowers.

The second-largest city in Japan was recently named as one of the top cities to visit in 2017 by Rough Guides. There is plenty to see and do in Osaka including Osaka Castle and it’s surrounding park and the colourful Dotonburi district, which is Hiroshima full of bright lights, shops and restaurants and has Infamous for being blitzed by an atomic bomb at the end of the Second World War, this city is now a a vibrant nightlife. world centre for peace. The Peace Memorial Families should be pointed to the nearby Museum is its most important attraction, located Universal Studios Japan, home to rides based on next to the Peace Memorial Dome, the only popular movies such as Harry Potter and Jurassic Park. The Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum will also structure to survive above ground zero and now a UNESCO World Heritage keep families and fans of Site and a ‘must-see’. Also manga entertained. “Encourage first-time visitors rated by UNESCO is For great views of Osaka, take a trip up the to choose travel to Japan by Itsukushima Shrine on Umeda Sky Building. highlighting how ‘foreign’ and Miyajima Island, one of the picture-postcard therefore culturally exciting icons of Japan. Okinawa this destination is, but that Not a city but a group of travel is made very safe by What’s new islands stretching  Hotels: A second southward from Japan, booking with a known and sub-tropical Okinawa has trusted agency/tour operator” Han-na Hotel, or ‘Robot Hotel’ (h-n-h.jp/en) will a unique indigenous SHARON SMITH, HEAD OF SALES AND DISTRIBUTION, open near Tokyo Disney culture and is distinctly GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS Sea in Spring 2017. different from the of the The Gran Hyuri Miyako rest of Japan in terms of language, cuisine and arts. The main draws are its Jima will open in Okinawa in September. Also in Okinawa, the Grandvrio Resort Ishigaki Villa on beautiful beaches and marine wildlife inclusing Ishigaki Island opened in January. whales. The islands are considered to be among Hakone Kowakien Ten-yu (hakone-tenyu.com), a the world’s top diving spots. stylish new ryokan is set to open in April. Sapporo Ascott (ascott.com) will be bringing its luxury Sapporo is the capital and largest city on the serviced apartments to Tokyo in 2017 with the northern island of Hokkaido. It serves as a opening of Ascott Marunouchi Tokyo. gateway to the island’s ski resorts but also  Flights: Finnair (finnair.com) will increase its functions as a base for skiing in its own right, with Tokyo service this summer with an extra four flights per week from June 5 until October 27, good access to nearby ski resorts like Sapporo from Helsinki. Teine, Sapporo Kokusai and Kiroro, all around an

From top: Osaka Castle in Spring; Kabira Bay, Ishigaki Island, Okinawa


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 Attractions: In March a new Karate museum will open in Okinawa, famed as the ancient home of karate. The Okinawa Karate Kaikan will have a training room, seminar room, dining space and a karate equipment store. (pref.okinawa.lg.jp). �Trains: Two new luxury sightseeing trains are due to begin service in Spring. JR East will operate the Train Suite Shiki-shima in May from Tokyo to Hokkaido. JR West will introduce the Twilight Express Mizukaze, travelling through the West of Japan. (Seejapan.co.uk)  Events: The Rugby World Cup 2019 pool draw (rugbyworldcup.com) will be held In Kyoto in May. Tickets for the event itself are expected to go on sale in September 2018.

Tourism talk “Japan is one of the top 10 best-value holiday hotspots for 2017, according to the Post Office’s Holiday Money Report. The report surveys the costs of eight popular items that UK tourists are likely to purchase in 44 destinations. According to the report, Japan’s appeal has increased in leaps and bounds in recent years as the yen has fallen in value against the pound - by a whopping 24.7% over the past five years. “Consequently, prices for commodities such as meals and drinks have dropped sharply, turning a country once regarded as a luxury destination for the few into a now affordable option for many. “Tour operators are realising that clients are more open to new ideas to enjoy Japan fully with an individual itinerary and not only the standard Tokyo and Kyoto by bullet train. “Tohoku is a hidden gem of nature and tradition and Kyushu treats visitors with hot springs and sand baths generated by heat from the volcanoes.”

Yumi Takakubo, Head of Trade Partnerships and Marketing, JNTO

Where to book it  WENDY WU TOURS – 0800 1445 610 As part of its first-ever dedicated Japan brochure, the new ‘Trails of Japan’ (from £4,890pp) is a 13-day itinerary allowing travellers to experience the quirky side of Japan visiting the sub-culture of Harajuku in Tokyo and visiting the Robot Restaurant.  BATTERED SUITCASE – 0800

Pictured (clockwise from top left): Itsukushima shrine, Hiroshima; Sapporo Snow Festival; Shisa lion in Okinawa

Trafalgar.com/uk  CONTIKI – 0808 281 1120

The 12-day City to Slope trip takes in some of Japan’s cities as well as time for skiing in the Hakuba mountain resort area. The 12-day trip starts from £2,790pp including 11 nights’ accommodation, breakfast , transport and been named one of airport transfers.

Wendywutours.co.uk

689 1586

specialist and entry into some major landmarks. The trip takes in seven cities from Osaka to Hiroshima and includes ‘Insider moments’ such as Udon noodle making and a onsen experience.

“Japan has the top-ten best-value holiday hotspots for 2017, according to the Post Office’s Holiday Money Report”

Contiki.com/uk/en

 GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS

– 01904 521 936 The 16-day bespoke Japan New for 2018, is Japan’s YUMI TAKAKUBO, HEAD OF TRADE UNESCO World Ice & Snow Monkeys. PARTNERSHIPS AND MARKETING, JNTO From £4,095pp for a Heritage tour takes in 10-day holiday. the coutry’s cultural Including visits to Tokyo, Kyoto and Sapporo, gems. It is priced from £3,857pp including bullet train journeys, and a visit to the return flights from Heathrow, 15 nights’ B&B fascinating Snow Monkey park, this itinerary accommodation, some main meals and selected allows customers to discover the winter beauty site admissions. Battered-suitcase.com that is Japan.  TRAFALGAR – 0800 533 5619 Greatrail.com  The 10-day Leisurely Japan trip starts from WHO FLIES THERE £3,260pp and includes nine nights Finnair.com; uk.jal.com; ana.co.jp; airfrance.co.uk; britisaccommodation, 16 meals and on-trip hairways.com; klm.com; emirates.com transportation and airport transfers, a local

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how to sell

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Helsinki by Gary Noakes

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elsinki is often overlooked in favour of other Nordic cities, but its twist of Russian influence lends it a unique appeal. Why sell it? This year Finland celebrates 100 years of independence from Russia and will be marking the anniversary with a series of events, with Helsinki at the forefront of celebrations. The capital is a manageable city with a good tram network that takes you places as diverse as a public sauna, a wetlands reserve or a few kilometres out of town to escape light pollution and see the Aurora Borealis. Moreover, the city is rapidly becoming known as a place for foodies and is so compact that one minute you can be in a hipster design district, the next an ecology park. Helsinki has affordable quality restaurants and there are plenty of cafes where a good hot lunch is around €9 and a coffee €3. More upmarket, the tasting menu at Michelin-starred Olio is a reasonable €52.

Who to sell to? Thanks to those Nordic TV dramas and growing awareness of the Northern Lights, the Nordics

A Helsinki winter scene

Pools and saunas in the heart of Helsinki are in fashion and those who have already 'done' Stockholm or Oslo will love Helsinki. The city is a good winter option despite the cold, as once the drab greyness of November passes the days are usually bright, the ground snow-covered and the air crispy dry. Potential clients may worry about the lack of daylight, but during my stay in November breakfast by candlelight was a novelty and sunset at around 15.30 not that far removed from the UK. And don’t get the idea that Helsinki is all stuffy neo-Classical buildings, dark nights and pickled herring. The city is really going for it on the design front, encouraged by a council which boasts probably the world’s first 'chief design officer'. It is a culture that appeals to the Ikea generation, with brands like Illia glassware and Arabica pottery being trendy and functional. Forward-thinking Helsinki has encouraged development of a district near the waterfront that now houses 200 design shops and galleries. These are interspersed with cutting-edge restaurants like Gron featuring organic, locally

Helsinki essentials TIME ZONE: + 2 hours VISAS: None LANGUAGE: Finnish, but English is widely spoken CURRENCY: Euro RELIGION: Lutheran Christian SEE: visithelsinki.fi/en BOOK IT: Superbreak has three

nights' B&B at the four-star Crowne Plaza Helsinki from £390pp, departing May 11 2017 and including return Finnair flights from Heathrow. Three nights' B&Bt at the four-star Holiday Inn Helsinki City Centre is priced from £384pp departing

November 21 2017 and including return Finnair flights from Heathrow. Superbreak.com

OTHER OPERATORS: ospreyholidays.com crestaholidays.co.uk kirkerholidays.com

sellingtravel.co.uk

sourced cuisine. If clients want a city break with a youthful feel and surprisingly reasonable Euro-based pricing, you have a winner with Helsinki. Also, if they want a twin-centre package, Tallinn in Estonia is just 80km by ferry across the Baltic Sea.

Top sellers Contrast attractions like the 1748 Suomenlinna Sea Fort, built on its own island, with the 25 streets of the Design District that centres on Dianapuisto Park. In the city centre, renovations of old buildings like Tori Quarters mean numerous restaurants, cafes and bars to hang out in, while the iconic SkyWheel is open (and heated) year-round. History buffs will enjoy the Russian influence on architecture and events, with gaudy Orthodox churches perhaps the clearest symbol. In contrast, take in nature with a walk through the 58-hectare Viikki-Vanhankaupunginlahti reserve.

What’s new? Don’t visit Finland without having a sauna! The recently-opened Loyly (€19pp swimming costumes needed) allows you to sweat and plunge into the sea (a numbing but energising 4C during my visit) via a stepladder. Finnair is mid-way through a fleet renewal and if you fly on the 10.20 Heathrow flight you can experience the new wide-body Airbus A350, complete with latest business cabin. On the accommodation side, Helsinki’s excellent Haven hotel has extended into the heritage building next door.


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owelling napkins that magically grow tall when hot water is added, lipstick casings that disguise a fruit-jelly palette cleanser – the celebrity-chef restaurants on board P&O’s Azura are certianly full of surprises, as is the abundance of nature that assaults my senses in Iceland and the Scottish islands. Minuscule puffins dart around the small islands off Reykjavik, their wings beating up to 400 times a minute; huge humpback whales ‘dance’ off our bows as we sail out of Eyjafjörður in northern Iceland. Iceland and the Scottish Isles are not new to cruise itineraries but the size of our ship – the 3,100-passenger P&O’s Azura – is. Ports such as Stornaway (Isle of Lewis) and Isafjordur had never received such a large P&O ship. And after waiting an hour for a tender to go ashore I can see why. A ship Azura’s size does have advantages though – like spacious cabins and two excellent celebrity-chef restaurants. Master Patissier Eric Lanlard’s afternoon tea is filled with tonguetingling novelties like candy-floss-topped pop cones; the lavender chicken korma at Atul Kochhar’s Sindhu is inspired and Epicurean’s Michelin-quality dishes are served with theatre. And all for less than £30 a time!

Cruise on the move Twenty-six ships will make their debut this year, representing a $6.8 billion investment in new vessels. And by 2026, a further 71 new ships have been pressed into service. This year, an estimated 25.3 million passengers are expected to sail– almost twice as many as 10 years ago, according to the 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, produced by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). European cruisers (28.4% of the global market) have risen 49% during this period with the UK accounting for 27% of this figure. The trade is cashing in on the cruise trend too, with the number of CLIA-member travel agents doubling to 25,000. The latest UK figures show that 1.78 million passengers cruised in 2015, that’s nine per cent more than the previous year. Andy Harmer, Senior Vice President Membership CLIA UK & Ireland, said: “It’s been yet another successful year for the cruise sector, which shows no sign of waning in 2017 and beyond. With a combination of new destinations and experiences available ashore, and plenty of new ships.” He added: Next year we predict there will be even more ‘new to cruise’ and younger generation customers, increased demand for river cruises and itineraries to private islands and adventure cruise options. As the market continues to grow, there are more diverse experiences available to agents selling cruise.”

sail Setting

This year sees more investment in ships and new, diverse destinations and itineraries. Kathryn Liston investigates sellingtravel.co.uk


cruise inaugurals

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Azamara Club Cruises is targeting such new-to-cruise passengers with a three-night taster voyage from Nice to Portofino and Saint-Tropez in June. The boutique cruise line has also introduced Cuba and extended its Mediterranean season to November. Managing Director Richard Twynam said: “It’s set to be another great year for Mediterranean sailings.” Cuba is also new for Norwegian Cruise Line (ncl.com), which is offering four-night cruises to the island out of Miami, and for Voyages to Antiquity, which includes it in its 2017/18 winter programme.

What’s new �Ships: AmaWaterways (amawaterways.co.uk) is

making sure multi-generational families are catered for by installing inter-connecting cabins on its new ship, AmaKristina, which launches on the Rhine next month. Also looking to attract a wider audience, Tauck (tauck.com) has doubled the number of family river cruises to 20 and introduced an eight-day cruise along the Seine from Paris. It has also waived single supplements and is refurbishing five of its ships. Other new river vessels include Uniworld’s (uniworld.com) new Super Ship, The S.S. Joie de Vivre, sailing the River Seine in April; Crystal River Cruises’ 55-suite Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler on the Rhine, Main and Danube. CroisiEurope’s (croisieurope.co.uk) deluxe boats sail on the Chobe and Zambezi in Africa, the Douro in Portugal and the Mekong in Vietnam. New ships will join the MSC (msccruises.co.uk) and Cruise & Maritime Voyages (cruiseandmaritime.com) fleets this year. The 5,700-passsenger MSC Meraviglia will become the largest ship in the

Opposite page: An Icelandic puffin. This page, clockwise from top left: Celestyal Cruises in Greece; MSC Meraviglia’s aft pool by night; Bangladesh is a new destination for Silversea; Hiroshima for Celebrity Cruises

sails to Canada’s Baffin Island and a nine-night world when it launches in May. A second ship is scheduled for 2019. Columbus joins the CMV fleet Pathways to Franklin – A Voyage of History cruise which focuses on early Arctic exploration. in June. Holland America Line’s (hollandamerica.com) second Pinnacle Class ship, ms Nieuw Statendam, Saga (travel.saga.co.uk) has introduced the 10-night From Luther’s Wittenberg to is due for delivery in November 2018. This year Amsterdam river cruise to commemorate the the cruise line has introduced two 14-night Asia 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his cruises onboard ms Volendam, visiting Japan, 95 theses to the church door. Flights are offered South Korea, China and Taiwan. The next five years will see new ships for from five regional airports. Hurtigruten (hurtigruten.co.uk) in 2018 and 2019; The Gota Canal Steamship Company (gotacanal.se) Hapag-Lloyd (hapag-lloyd. has a new three-day Gota com) expeditions in April “Encourage clients to extend Canal Highlights cruise, and October 2019; exploring the Swedish their stay. In 2017 Brits can Carnival Corporation waterway on the M/S explore more of the world’s top Wilhelm Tham, including (carnivalcorp.com) in 2020 and 2022; and P&O the city of Mariestad on cities with cruise and stay (pocruises.com) in 2022 – the shores of Lake Vänern. getaways in places such as its biggest-ever ship Buenos Aires (Argentina) and There is also a Grand (5,200 passengers), Sweden Cruise running Bangkok (Thailand)” powered by cleanbetween Gothenberg and ANDY HARMER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT burning Liquefied Stockholm. MEMBERSHIP CLIA UK & IRELAND Natural Gas. �Destinations:  Itineraries: Bangladesh will receive One Ocean its first-ever cruise ship Expeditions (oneoceanexpeditions.com) and Natural when Silversea’s (silversea.co.uk) Silver Discoverer World Safaris (naturalworldsafaris.com) have new calls there this month. The 16-day Colombo (Sri Arctic itineraries. Lanka) to Kolkata (India) voyage costs from The 12-passenger expedition ship, M/S £12,150pp and also visits the Andaman islands. Sjoveien, chartered by Natural World Safaris, will Cruise and Maritime will leave from Newport, circumnavigate Spitsbergen for the first time. Cardiff and Belfast this year and has new cruises Naturalist Steve Backshall will lead an 11-day to Greenland and Cuba. Arctic safari to Svalbard aboard its M/S Malmo P&O has introduced Fly-Med cruises out of on August 22. Malta with flights from seven UK regional One Ocean Expeditions has introduced a airports. New ports this year include Olbia and 10-night Labrador & Torngats Explorer which Trapani (Italy), Chania (Crete) and Sibenik

sellingtravel.co.uk


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(Croatia). More evening and overnight calls in destinations such as Barcelona, Boston and New York have been added this year. Celebrity Cruises (celebritycruises.co.uk) will have three ships in the Galapagos from March when Xploration and Xperience join Celebrity Xpedition. Hiroshima and Aomori are new ports of call in Japan and Celebrity Equinox now offers the Caribbean year-round. Celestyal Cruises’ (CelestyalCruises.com) seven-day Euphoric Aegean itinerary on Celestial Nefeli this summer includes two new ports – Nafplion in the Peloponnese and Chania in Crete.

“With many new ports of call and our first-ever no-fly cruises from the UK in 2017, it is key that agents have the knowledge and tools to make those all-important sales. Our online video-based training programme - vtaexpert.com – encourages agents to complete all modules. Gaining ‘luminary status’ unlocks exclusive offers such as fam trip invitations and advance notice of our new programmes.” Jos Dewing, Managing Director, Voyages to Antiquity

Tourism talk “Stress what’s included. Our guests enjoy great added value with house spirits, and wine – sourced from the region we’re sailing in – included” RICHARD TWYNAM, MANAGING DIRECTOR, AZAMARA CLUB CRUISES UK & IRELAND

“Silversea’s expedition ships are designed to take travellers to the most remote regions of the planet, while providing ultra-luxury service that is the hallmark of our experience. Expedition cruising has opened up destinations that are only accessible by sea, attracting both new and seasoned cruisers who are looking for an authentic travel experience.” Akvile Marozaite, Regional Sales Manager, Silversea Expeditions UK and Ireland

3343 Selling Travel 146x210 +3mm bleed.qxp_Layout 1 23/01/2017 12:02 Page 1

Welcome Columbus, June 2017! Dedicated to the British cruise market, the impressive Columbus will sail year round from London Tilbury commencing on 9th June 2017. Carrying about 1400 passengers, this mid-sized cruise ship enjoys an impressive reputation on the British market and will provide the popular, more traditional British cruise experience that CMV is known for.

Programme Highlights

SAVE UP TO

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Spain, Portugal, France & Gibraltar Grand Round the World Cruise 2018 Multi-Generational cruise to the Canaries Cuba, Central America & Caribbean Experience Scottish Highlights - Antique Legends theme cruise

Book online at: www.cruiseandmaritime.com Agency Sales: 0844 414 6140

Call: 0844 414 6161

Brochures: www.trade-gate.co.uk

Subject to availability. Terms & Conditions apply. Offers may be withdrawn without notice. Offered for sale in the UK by South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd trading as Cruise & Maritime Voyages. ABTA V9945. ATOL 4619. Calls cost 7p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge. 3343


cruise inaugurals

“Bookings for next year have already passed all our expectations. We are continuing our policy of incentivising people who book early and several cruises are already near waitlist. Passengers have until the end of April to take advantage of these great offers and get the cabin they want and not the one that is left.” Mike Hall, Head of Marketing, Cruise & Maritime Voyages

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Explorer train from Anchorage. hollandamerica.com  AMAWATERWAYS - 0800 320 2336 An Enchanting Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam onboard new ship AmaKristina departs May 6 and costs from £2,133pp (cruise only). The price includes all meals, wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner and daily tours. Flights are available on request. amawaterways.co.uk 

Where to book it  CRUISE & MARITIME VOYAGES 0844 998 3877

Big savings are offered to early bookers. Passengers who book before April 30 2017 will save £920 on a 12-night British Isles cruise onboard Magellan from London Tilbury on April 7 2018. Prices start from £899pp and include full-board accommodation in a twin inner cabin. cruiseandmaritime.com

Opposite page: Children jump for joy on a Tauck cruise in Paris; Sweden’s Gota Canal. This page: P&O and Celestyal Cruises have added Chania in Crete; Galapagos, where Celebrity Cruises will soon have three ships

 HOLLAND AMERICA LINE - 0843 374 2300 An 11-night Denali Land + Sea Journey starts from £1,049pp and includes a seven-night Alaska cruise, three days in the Denali National Park and a ride on the scenic McKinley

We are pleased to announce the release of our brand new five-star all-suite ships. These will be operating alongside our luxurious selection of five-star vessels, all boasting superb cuisine and the most comfortable surroundings possible. The UK’s leading river cruise company Five-star quality at unbeatable prices Award winning service Three brand-new five-star all-suite ships Honest pricing with no discounting - we don’t discount so you don’t have to! Highest repeat booking ratio in sector We hold options for 5 working days Online booking capability at: www.rivieratravel.co.uk/agents

To make a booking, call:

01283 744370

or visit:

www.rivieratravel.co.uk/agents

Riviera Travel booking terms and conditions apply.

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the final word

the quirky side of travel – Weigh-ins, teddy bears, holiday fears –

M

ost Brits would welcome weighing machines at checkin, according to a survey by Holiday Extras.

The findings come after Hawaiian Airlines won the right to weigh its passengers. Of those Brits questioned 61% (3,500) apparently concurred with the idea that flyers should be weighed whatever their chosen carrier, with most citing 'safety' as the main reason. And 15% of respondents said that heavier flyers should have to pay more for their tickets. In the other camp, those that disagreed (39%) said such a move was 'rude, intrusive and unnecessary' and 20% of respondents stated that they would go as far as boycotting any airline that chose to implement such a measure! Ant Clarke Cowell from Holiday Extras commented: "As more airlines look to introduce weight-based policies this issue will become more of a talking point. It’s interesting to note that public support (for the pre-flight weighins) has increased during the past year." holidayextras.co.uk

TEDDY TANTRUMS What is every parent's holiday nightmare? Forgetting nappies? A natural disaster? Flight delays? Think again. According to a survey conducted by PR firm Acceleris, for the average

*

Big Apple: big problem

New York is more stressful than London, says online business travel community, The Square. Its population density is 130% higher and people work an average 42.5 hour week compared to London’s 33.5! thesqua.re

TOP 10… Holiday fears Going on holiday can be stressful, but what's the ultimate 'fear' for British travellers? parkat.co.uk

1

2

54%

Diarrhoea

parent holidaymaker all such weighty problems pale in comparison to a lost teddy. In a survey of 1,000 parents, 45% concluded that forgetting or losing a teddy would cause the biggest headache of all, followed closely by 'tech troubles'. In an age where the average primary school child has a better phone than their parents, it’s comforting to know that a stuffed toy still retains such affection. acceleris-mc.com

COSTA OR COAST, WHICH COSTS LESS? What with the pound going through a rocky patch and inflation on the rise, there are probably a few Brits considering settling for a UK break this year. But not so fast! Lemon Tree Media research shows that Spain still offers more bang for your buck than you might think. For example, a boutique hotel starts from £155 a night in the UK but from £92 in Spain. Wine, coffee, restaurants and petrol are all still cheaper in Espana, too. So forget Margate, Marbella is just as appealing as ever! lemontree.media

39%

Bad accommodation

4 3 31% Losing travel documents

27% Bad weather

5 6 23% Getting lost

22% Body image

8 7 22% Delays

19% Missing family 10

9

11% Being mugged

9% Getting homesick

THE MARCH 2017 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • Abu Dhabi • Canada • Caribbean • Croatia • Family Holidays • Hong Kong & Macao • Las Vegas • Malta • River Cruising • Sri Lanka • Tennessee • Nevis b • CONTACT US sales@bmipublishing.co.uk; editorial@bmipublishing.co.uk PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni

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Palm Tree Court

£

Dusit Thani Dubai

OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli

from

Dubai

£

145 AI

2 children under 12yrs share FREE

199pp

from £

OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo from

264

£

based on

Atmosphere Indulgence Plan Speedboat transfer

182pp

from £

Winter rates now on sale for 2017 - call for more details

Fujairah Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort

£

2 children under 12yrs share FREE

Ras Al Khaimah Hilton Al Hamra Beach & Golf Resort

£

2 children under 12yrs share FREE

31 BB 78 AI

Rixos Al Bahr

£

Elegant Hotels; Barbados

FREE Suite Upgrade

to the next suite category, valid for stays until 18 Dec'17.

Experience the ultimate in premium all-inclusive ease at Turtle Beach, an all-suite enclave on Barbados’ lively and luminous South Coast. Located approximately 15 minutes from Barbados International Airport. from

120 AI

£

Must book by 08 Feb'17

from

Tamarind

£

86 BB

Colony Club

£

96 BB

1 child under 12yrs shares FREE, valid for selected dates Children under 12yrs share FREE, valid for selected dates

Waves Hotel & Spa

£

132 AI

Crystal Cove

£

146 AI

1 child under 16yrs shares FREE, valid for selected dates 1 child under 16yrs shares FREE, valid for selected dates

1 child under 16yrs shares FREE, valid for selected dates

87 AI

The House

Includes a 30 min Jet Lag massage, champagne breakfast, Afternoon Tea & evening canapes. Adults only hotel.

£

150 BB

Getting Married this year? We offer Wedding & Honeymoon offers in the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Antigua, Saint Lucia, Mexico & many more destinations. Call us for details and to book. Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 8.30am-6pm; Sat 9.30am-1.30pm

Hotel prices are “from” per person per night and based on 2 adults sharing unless otherwise stated. Terms & conditions apply. www.touchdown.co.uk

Book with confidence ACCREDITED AGENT


INTRODUCING

ARTIST IMPRESSION OVER-THE-WATER BUNGALOWS, COMING SOON

The new Sandals South Coast, formerly Sandals Whitehouse, is the perfect combination of European design, chic lifestyle, and a tropical resort on the stunning South Coast of Jamaica. Perfectly positioned along a two-mile stretch of unspoiled beach your clients can discover three authentic European Villages, each featuring its own unique personality. Experience la dolce vita in the Italian Village, the je ne sais quoi of the French Village, and the spirit of Holland in the Dutch Village. All three villages offer all beachfront accommodations where every room comes with a spectacular view. It truly is the best of Europe, perched along the tranquil seas of this Caribbean paradise.

OVER-WATER LATITUDES BAR

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE WORLD’S LEADING ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS Call Agency Sales 020 7590 0210 Email agencysales@sandals.co.uk Visit sellingsandals.co.uk

OVER-THE-WATER WEDDING CHAPEL

2016

21 Years Running

SUSHI ON THE SAND

Selling Travel February 2017  

The World in one Magazine Cover story: Australia Read more features on... Japan • Dubai • South Tyrol • Escorted Touring Great Train Journey...

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