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JANUARY 2017 • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2015 & 2016

LIGHTS, ACTION With Vietnam leading the way, 2017 looks like being a banner year for tourism to Indochina

how to sell...

Jordan Denmark Indonesia Indian Ocean Golf Holidays and much more...


contents

this issue - we travel further to bring you more FEATURES 8 Indochina: The perfect touring destination

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34 New Zealand: Natural

37

wonder Down Under

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42 Indian Ocean: Romantic 52 55 69 73 77

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52 29

hideaways Jordan: World of myths and legends Golf holidays: The best places to tee off Indonesia: Looking beyond Bali and Java Texas: Big adventure in the Lone Star State Cruise: Expedition cruises

QUICK READS 14 Country Profile: Denmark 28 48 hours in: Macao 29 Six of the Best: Sharjah 30 Visit USA: Association

32 28 8

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69

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80 34

Steve Hartridge

Steve is checking out the snow conditions on the slopes of the Tyrolean village of St. Anton

INDIAN OCEAN

Sally Parker

Ben Coren

Is flying to the Sunshine State to attend Florida Huddle and meet the region's top tour operators

Travelled up to Scotland to visit Edinburgh, exploring its hidden history and experiencing Scottish culture

N E W Z E A LA N D

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34

members' news

32 Ten of the Best: Kentucky 37 How to Sell: Alberta 40 My Journey: Maldives 49 Introducing: Martin County, Florida 50 How to Sell: Bermuda 59 Country Profile: Colombia 80 My Journey: South Africa 82 The Final Word: The quirky side of travel

INDOCHINA

INDONESIA

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69

THE REVIEW 63 Top news stories plus hotel reviews

TALKING SHOP 17 News, competitions, incentives & fam trips

TEXAS

JORDAN

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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

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Win a £500 shopping voucher, 2 VIP tickets each week to see Take That or a Michael Kors designer handbag! We’re celebrating the launch of our new brochures and announcing an amazing prize draw! From epic African safaris to river cruises on the world’s greatest waterways, award winning ocean cruises to relaxing hotel holidays throughout the UK and the Med, you’ll find plenty of inspiring experiences to tempt your customers. And with the chance to win one of these amazing prizes with every holiday or cruise you book between December 26, 2016 and January 31, 2017, there’s plenty to entice you too. Plus, we’ll give you shopping vouchers worth £20 for every holiday you book, and worth £100 for every cruise you sell – you can’t lose!

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Worldwide Holidays 2017/18 Europe & The Mediterranean Holidays 2017/18

The British Isles 2017/18

Cruises 2017/18

River Cruises 2017 January 2017-March

March 2017-June 2018 February 2017-January

2018

March-October, 2017

2018 March 2017-March 2018

*To claim your vouchers and be entered into the draw, simply email incentives@saga.co.uk with booking details. Applicable to bookings confirmed between December 26, 2016 and January 31, 2017. For full details visit saga.co.uk/agents. Terms and conditions apply. Saga holidays are for anyone aged 50+. A travel companion may be 40+. NHA-GH6376. January 2017.


welcome

2016 Travel Trade

Travel Trade Publication of the Year Publication of the Year

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2017

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welcome

– dedicated to those who love selling travel –

© 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 Circulation Manager: Cheryl Staniforth Managing Director: Martin Steady We are members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Visit USA Association, LATA, PATA, MENATA, SATOA, the Foreign Airlines Association and the Institute of Travel & Tourism. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, BMI Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. ISSN: 2056-9319. Cover image: Paper lanterns in Thailand. istockphoto.com

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! sellingtravel.co.uk/subscribe

A

nd so, another New Year begins to roll steadily forward. By general consensus, significant changes are ahead in 2017, although few so-called ‘experts’ seem to have any defining ideas as to what shape these ‘changes’ will take. Fuelled by the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, 'difficult’, ‘unpredictable’, ‘uncertain’, ‘fluctuating’ are just some of the usual watchwords, but there is little agreement on any likely consequences, particularly for travel. At this stage, the safest call is perhaps an unpredictable and fluctuating pound which will see the cost of many holidays rise. And then there’s Donald Trump. I was in Arizona last month, fortunate enough to be invited to a week Steve Hartridge of trade networking that showcased golf and other attractions in that EDITOR beautiful state, and one of the most oft-mentioned questions I found myself answering was how tourism from the UK to the U.S. will be affected by Trump taking over the White House, which he’ll do on January 20. My answer was the same each time: the country’s wondrous natural and ever-popular man-made attractions; its fabulously eclectic cities; its charming small towns and seaside villages; its highways and byways; its cuisine, music and sporting scenes, and numerous other ‘pull factors’ will remain the same whoever is sending out tweets from 1600 Pennslyvania Avenue. Certainly the transatlantic carriers are not anticipating any fall-off in demand, if planned new routes from British Airways, Icelandair, Virgin Atlantic, ambitious Norwegian and even Aer Lingus are any yardstick. And the UK-based tourist boards certainly won't be reducing their trade activities. Inside this issue you will learn what Visit USA Association, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Vietnam and Indonesia, amongst others, already have lined up for agents this year. 2017 may well turn out to be that game-changing year many predict - but that might just make a long haul holiday or weekend short break more essential than ever.

INDUSTRY COMMENTS... “Last December marked the 15-year anniversary of the first Lord of the Rings movies. As a result of years of heavy marketing around these films we are still seeing high growth from mature markets like the UK (with numbers up 11%)."

“Indonesia has great appeal for those seeking new experiences, particularly experiential trips. We will be running a series of fam trips this year, including an 'out of home' campaign in association with Garuda Indonesia."

Pip Casey, Regional Manager, Tourism New Zealand

Richard Hume, Wonderful Indonesia UK

See feature, page 34

See feature, page 69

sellingtravel.co.uk


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events & festivals

reasons for seasons - events and experiences to shape

a booking -

NORTHERN LIGHTS, ICELAND Witnessing the Northern Lights is a rare and unique experience. The natural phenomenon is best seen from September to April, months which offer the longest hours of darkness. Iceland is perhaps the most convenient Aurora destination from the UK. visiticeland.com

SURF SEASON, HAWAI‘I Hawai'i is well-known for big – and bigger – waves, sandy beaches and a large surfing scene. Until May O'ahu's North Shore is a great place to catch some big-wave surfing. Swells of up to 10 metres tall host some of the world's most dramatic and iconic surfing competitions. Beginners will also enjoy great conditions – for surfing, swimming and snorkelling. hawaiitourismauthority.org

CHERRY BLOSSOM JAPAN

WHALE-WATCHING SRI LANKA

Spring in Japan is associated with cherry blossoms and the ideal time to witness the colourful pink spectacle is from late March to early May. There are many locations to see the floral displays, from Hokkaido in the north to Fukuoka in the south. seejapan.co.uk

The whale-watching season runs from November to April when the warm Indian Ocean attacts humpback and blue whales. Locations where excursions set out from include Dondra Point in the south and Trincomalee in the north. srilanka.travel

TURTLE HATCHING MALAYSIA The Malayasian island of Pulau Tioman is home to turtle nesting sites and research centres working to conserve eggs prior to hatching. From March to October, clients can witness hundreds of hatchlings making their perilous journey towards the waves. tourism.gov.my

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TREAT YOURSELF. Travel in Economy Privilege on our intercontinental flights. economyprivilege.brusselsairlines.com or your travel agency.


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indochina

Colourfully-dressed Hmong (an ethnic minority hill tribe) children in Mucangchai, Vietnam

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indochina

pretty Sitting

A trinity of culture, culinary delights and adventure activities, Indochina is the perfect touring destination, says Neil Murray

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t’s my first night in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, and I’m sitting nursing a beer on a balcony in a friendly bar overlooking the Mekong River. Below me, locals are parading the river banks and stall holders are preparing for the night market as the sun sets on what will become a highly colourful scene. When the market does get going, I’m spoiled for choice, with a vast array of clothes, bags, shoes and jewellery to choose from. But with so many selling the same or similar items I wonder how they all make money. Not that the locals are slow to buy, and the clamour of bargaining gets louder as the evening progresses. Later, I dip into a local restaurant, where two of us eat sumptuously for less than a tenner. The following day I view the Presidential Palace and visit the first of a series of

glittering temples and stupas that will give me a fascinating insight into the culture, religion and people of Laos.

Local flavours Indochina combines the names of India and China and was once used to describe the countries that lie between these two great states, or what is now known as ‘Southeast Asia’. Today, the name usually refers to the old French Indochina, or Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Growing steadily in popularity over the last decade, the area’s star is without doubt Vietnam, which has the largest selection of luxury product, followed by Cambodia, thanks to its famous ancient temples, and lastly by land-locked Laos, whose tiny cities and beautiful landscapes

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indochina

have escaped mainstream tourism. Access is better than ever due to Vietnam Airlines now flying direct from Heathrow into Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, while several airlines (such as VietJetAir, Lao Airlines and Cambodia Angkor Air) fly internally. However, many of the region’s roads remain a test of stamina. Indochina offers a wealth of cultural attractions and tours cover themes ranging from the culinary to the historical. More adventurous types can juggle the temple trail with more off-beat adventures in the jungle and quirky experiences such as TransIndus’s Vespa tours of Ho Chi Minh City or Wendy Wu’s Tuk-Tuk tours of Angkor Wat. With five-star resorts such as Song Saa in Cambodia and Fusion Maia near Danang, Vietnam, travellers can add on a beach stay to their tour without having to venture into neighbouring Thailand. Cruising is on the up, with Halong Bay or the Mekong River between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap top choices and interest in the Upper Mekong, through Laos, increasing. Shivjit Bagga, Product Manager for TransIndus, commented: “The new Pandaw cruises in Laos are generating

Clockwise from top left: a monk sitting on the steps of Angkor Wat; the mysterious pre-historic Plain of Jars in Laos; steamed dim sum

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quite a bit of interest in the area. Cruises valley surrounded by limestone karts at the have boosted the area’s reputation as a safe confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan destination. There have been very few incidents rivers and gilded by its many temples. concerning travellers’ safety and the area is well Cambodia has UNESCO World Heritage developed for tourism. The quality of cruises Angkor Wat and its surrounding complex of on the Mekong is generally quite good.” temples, floating villages, a historical capital Vietnam, ideal and river cruising. as a starting Matt Spiller of InsideAsia “Highlight the Vietnamese New Tours thinks that visa point for a twoYear (known as Tet) which centre holiday, restrictions for Indochina, is celebrated on the same has extended its which have all been visa exemption eased fairly recently, date as Chinese New Year, programme, which have made a difference. with firework displays, covers visits up “Vietnam still remains parades and colourful to 15 days, until steady,” he says, “but we decorations” July 30, 2017. think there is more interest BEN BRIGGS, HEAD OF MARKETING, Vietnam’s biggest from people wanting to WENDY WU TOURS attractions are explore Cambodia and the bustling Laos. Often people who dip cities of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, the palace and their toe into these countries recognise there is tombs of Hue, the crumbling lantern-lit Hoi An far more to these places than they first thought.” and the picturesque beauty of Ha Long Bay. Laos, less developed than Vietnam, offers Perfect ten Cu-Chi Tunnels: Experience the temples and buddhas galore, along with claustrophobic tunnels the Vietnamese exotic river, mountain and jungle scenery. used in the war against the US. Its ancient capital, Luang Prabang, lies in a

Luxury Travel is an award –winning specialist in Vietnam and Asia Visit: www.luxurytravels.asia

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indochina

“Suggest travelling beyond the main sights of Laos and Cambodia to explore Laos’ riverside communities and countryside or the jungle and beaches of Cambodia” MATT SPILLER, AGENTS SALES MANAGER, INSIDEASIA TOURS

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Fishing boats in Mui Ne beach, south Vietnam

Bamboo Train: Unique ‘train’ trip near Battambang, Cambodia, on open-air, bamboo ‘platforms’ which once transported rice. Religious experience: Rise early for the Tagbat (alms-giving) ceremony in Luang Prabang, Laos, or visit a local house to take part in the ancient spirit-calling Baci ceremony. Historic location: In Ho Chi Minh City, visit the Rex Hotel, where the Five O’Clock Follies (military briefing of cynical US journalists) took place during the Vietnam War. Bargains: Check out the night markets in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Siem Reap. Head to the beach: Try Cambodia’s Sihanoukville or Vietnam’s Nha Trang, Mui Ne or Phu Quoc Island. Set sail: A night or two on a boat is a great way to see Indochina, with life built up around its great rivers. Killing time: Cambodia’s Killing Fields, Killing Caves and Genocide Museum are all harrowing but important experiences. How the other half lives: Take a trip on Cambodia’s Sangker River to see the amazing floating village.

TO SELL

Big name: Singapore isn’t the only place with a Raffles. Call in to the one in Phnom Penh for a drink.

What’s new  Operators: Wendy Wu (wendywutours.co.uk) is offering free flight upgrades on Air China, Cathay Pacific and Etihad Airways flights when customers book tours to Vietnam and Cambodia in January.


indochina

InsideAsia Tours (insideasiatours.com) has a new InsideVietnam/InsideBurma brochure featuring several new, fully-tailored trips. Exotic Voyages (exoticvoyages.com) has a new tour that recreates Top Gear’s Glory Days by tracing a 2008 journey by the Top Gear trio with a 15-night itinerary that spans the length of Vietnam. It is also launching the Spiritual Journey tour which includes a number of sacred experiences, including a week’s stay at the Plum Village monastic centre in Thailand, a visit to Tu Hieu Pagoda in Vietnam and a Baci ceremony in Laos (not normally available to tourists).  Resorts: The Anam (theanam.com) in Cam Ranh, a ‘luxurious, all-villa five-star resort’ on the southeast coast of Vietnam, opened in September, offering ‘colonial-era charm and service with 21st-century design and convenience’, as well as more than 300 metres of beach. The Ananatra Ho An Resort (hoi-an. anantara.com) has teamed up with Active Adventure Tours to invite guests to explore Vietnam’s more off-the-beaten track sights with a range of open-jeep countryside tours.

Tourism talk “We are planning an agents’ fam trip to Vietnam in May, and will soon announce a competition for places. “We will also be promoting some summer tours to Indochina. It’s a place that people don’t think of much as a summer destination but because Vietnam has such a varied climate, parts of it are very good in the summer, especially the Central Highlands. Danang is relatively dry during the summer so it is

possible to have a very good beach stay then. While summer tours will be primarily to Vietnam, there will be possible extensions to Laos and Cambodia. Admittedly, there is more rain in these two, but there are places to visit which aren’t directly affected by the weather. Like Siem Reap, which has a very good infrastructure and a lot of excellent hotels, or Luang Prabang.” Shivjit Bagga, Product Manager, TransIndus

Where to book it  INSIDER JOURNEYS – 01865 268 941 The 19-day Indochina Explorer small-group (maximum 16 people) tour starts from £3,500pp and takes in Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Saigon, Hue, Hoi An, Halong Bay and Hanoi in Vietnam and Vientiane and Luang Prabang in Laos. Insiderjourneys.co.uk

 WENDY WU TOURS – 0800 1445 618 The Indochina Delights’ 17-day tour (from £2,990pp) flies to Ho Chi Minh City, followed by visits to Hoi An, Hanoi and Halong Bay in Vietnam; Luang Prabang in Laos; and Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) in Cambodia. wendywutours.co.uk

Pictured, clockwise from top left: Smiling hill tribe child, Laos; locals giving alms to monks in Vientiane, Laos; Bayon Temple, part of the Angkor Thom ancient capital, Siem Reap Cambodia; Buddhist temple, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

 INSIDEASIA TOURS – 0117 370 9758 The 14-night Indochina Conservation tour heads into jungle areas across Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to see impressive wildlife including rare river dolphins, bears, gibbons and elephants, get involved with conservation partners and experience local cultures. It is priced from £3,620pp. insideasiatours.com 

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“Emphasise the fact that travel to Vietnam now is particularly good because of the country’s no-visa policy. If a family of four or five are travelling, that’s quite a significant saving” SHIVJIT BAGGA, PRODUCT MANAGER, TRANSINDUS

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country profile

Denmark - The home of hygge, Lego and plain good living Legoland The original (and best) Legoland in the country, and where the ubiquitous brick was invented, is two hours and 40 minutes by train from Copenhagen. Visit to see more than 60 million Lego bricks Oyster Hunting The Wadden Sea National Park is one of the world’s most important wetlands and a feeding grounds for migratory birds – and you can collect all the oysters you want! Cycling on Fyn With more than 1,000km of tracks through beautiful, unspoilt and largely flat landscape, Denmark’s second-largest island, Fyn, is perfect for a cycling holiday. There’s plenty of accommodation. Get Arty The Louisiana Musuem of Modern Art is set on the North Sealand coast in a large park with lovely views across to Sweden. Its collection is a mixture of art and architecture. Copenhagen Jazz Festival For a week at the start of July, the Jazz Festival takes over the city, with big names in jazz and blues often playing intimate gigs. The atmosphere is electric!

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ichelin-starred cuisine, a wonderful capital city, a beautiful outdoors and now ‘hygge’ – a trendy word which encapsulates well-being and comfort – Denmark has everything you could want from a short break. Adam Coulter finds out more Denmark, like fellow ‘Scandi’ neighbours Sweden and Norway, is one of those places that other countries look at and thinks: ‘Why can’t we be more like that?’ Progressive and welcoming with a worldclass capital, Copenhagen, virtually nonexistent crime (except on TV), outstanding cuisine, breathtaking scenery and enjoying long, hot summers and cold winters – but not bitterly cold – Denmark is invariably near the very top of the best countries in the world in which to live. Denmark is made up of 406 islands – the main one being Zealand (or Sealand) – and is connected to Sweden by a bridge (the same one featured in the hit crime drama The Bridge). The country also shares a land border with Germany. With more than 7,000 kilometres of coastline, Denmark is about the size of Scotland and has 5.7 million inhabitants, a fifth of which live in Copenhagen. The majority of visitors will fly into the city and will likely spend all their time in one of Europe’s more fascinating capitals, however, low cost airlines such as Ryanair operate to other smaller airports. Like the U.K. it has retained its currency,

NYMINDEGAB, SOUTHWEST JUTLAND

the Krone, of which you get around eight to the pound. The Danish word hygee (pronounced hooga) seems to be popping up in magazines, books and TV programmes across the UK at the moment and is turning more eyes towards the archipelago. Loosely translated it means ‘cosiness’, but broadly speaking it means enjoying the good things in life and creating a convivial atmosphere. Much like the meditative/mindfulness culture of the Far East, hygee is fastbecoming a buzz word for Scandinavian good living and an example that stressedout Brits look to capture themselves. Now, more than ever, is the time to take advantage of this cultural trend and sell your clients the hygge dream!

CAPITAL ATTRACTION

“Copenhagen is small but perfectly formed, packed full of things within easy walking or cycling distance. Like Amsterdam, the city is crisscrossed with canals and taking a boat tour is a good idea” PRET TY AALBORG

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Copenhagen is small but perfectly formed; packed full of things within easy walking or cycling - distance. Like Amsterdam, the city is criss-crossed with canals and taking a boat tour is a good way get your bearings and see the sights. Perhaps the most famous is Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid statue, which sits rather forlornly at the edge of


country profile

the water, and is, close up, a bit underwhelming. Instead wander around the streets and neighbourhoods, stopping for a coffee or a drink, to soak in the atmosphere. Right in the city centre, Tivoli Gardens is a delight at all times of year and for all ages. A kind of funfair, it dates from the mid-19th century and is the second-oldest amusement park in the world, with roller coasters as well as plenty of gentle rides for younger children. Copenhagen is (in)famous, too, for the alternative community of Christiania, which you won’t find talked up in the tourist blurbs. It’s perfectly safe to walk around and people who live there are very welcoming, and it gives a good, alternative take on modern urban living.

OUTLYING ISLANDS For a small country, there’s a lot to see and do. Framed by seemingly endless, unspoilt coastline, with beautiful beaches and wetlands, Denmark is wonderful to visit in the summer months, when your client – and their families – can jump on a bike in this most cycle-friendly of countries. Routes are clear, drivers respectful and the country is almost completely flat. There are plenty of small hotels en route. Denmark and its neighbours have become synonymous with a particular kind of ‘Scandi noir’ in film, TV and novels, and you can book a ‘Noir Tour’ in Copenhagen that visits some of the scenes made famous in The Killing and The Bridge. If you fancy exploring further afield, hire a car and head out into the countryside – there are numerous self-drive tours available, for example a Viking tour, or a quick trip across the famous bridge to Sweden.

STEVNS LIGHTHOUSE

A TIVOLI RESTAURANT

Note that Denmark is not cheap, and you should advise your client accordingly. Eating out, going to bars and visiting attractions can all be expensive compared to the UK (a pint of local Carlsberg beer can cost up to £6.50 in Copenhagen).

NORDIC NIBBLES Not so long ago, Danish food – if known at all – was mainly associated with pickled herring and black bread. All that has changed drastically in the past few years, culminating in the tiny ‘backto-basics’-style restaurant, Noma, winning Best Restaurant in the World in 2010 – and holding that title for three years. Under the banner of ‘New Nordic Cuisine’, Noma is more of a return to traditional cuisine – that is local ingredients and classic recipes – brought up to date. This led to a rediscovery of traditional Danish dishes, which are now commonplace – and with a modern twist – at many of the Copenhagen’s top restaurants. Prices may be higher than southern Europe but your clients don’t have to eat Michelin-starred food every night. Danes still love their very traditional foods like porridge, open sandwiches and roast pork with parsley sauce – served with a glass of Danish beer.

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SAMPLE DEAL

TABER HOLIDAYS 01274 875 199

THE NINE - NIGHT MARCH OF THE VIKINGS FLY- DRIVE IS PRICED FROM £1,550PP AND TAKES IN COPENHAGEN, ROSKILDE ( WHERE VIKING KING HARALD BLUETOOTH IS BURIED ), ODENSE ( BIRTHPLACE OF HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN ), RIBE ( DENMARK’S OLDEST TOWN ) AND DENMARK’S SECOND CITY, ÅRHUS. taberhols.co.uk

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TA L K I N G S H O P

talking shop

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

New villa programme for Jet2 VILLAS FOR JET2

PACKAGE holiday specialist Jet2holidays has introduced a villa holiday programme, available from summer 2018. On sale from this April, the programme includes more than 600 properties across popular destinations that include Majorca, Menorca and Greece. Customers will be able to book package holidays that include a villa stay and car hire or a villa transfer with a £60pp deposit. The new villas programme announcement was made at the company’s annual trade conference, attended by 240 travel agents. Jet2holidays.com

ig year

Travel 2's b

TRAVEL 2 is offering agents 28 incentives on bookings made between January 1 and March 31. Goodies include a holiday to South Africa, a luxury UK minibreak for two, a Cruise Plus trip worth £3,000, a holiday for two to New Zealand and 55 places on 2017 fam trips

ket promo Golden Tic

to Queensland and the USA. In addition, agents can get their hands on six cases of Champagne, four GoPro HERO cameras, two designer suitcases and two sets of £500 shopping vouchers. Those confirming Simply Luxury bookings will be rewarded with luxury gifts. The operator's 'Every Day's a Pay Day' incentive is also continuing

Newmarket Holidays is inserting 50 Golden Tickets into its new agent brochure packs following the success of the competition last summer. And the prizes are better this time around with two places on an India fam trip, a Samsung Galaxy Tablet and 47 £20 Love2Shop vouchers. The new air brochure includes five new holidays to India, USA and Burma. Newmarketholidays.co.uk

with agents having the chance to earn up to £220 per booking on their T2 Rewards card. 'Turn of the year survival kits' will be distributed to topperforming agents. To win a prize, agents must secure new bookings to selected destinations. Further information can be found on the Travel 2 website. travel2.com

Contents 18 Face to Face: Barbara Charlton 20 Been There, Done That 23 On Location: Canada

A BRIGHT 2017 CONSORTIA

BRIGHT (Bringing Real Information & Guaranteed High Quality Training) has announced details of its 2017 roadshows. Workshops and dinners will be held throughout the year in a number of UK locations including, Bath, Manchester, Edinburgh, Ipswich and Portsmouth. Brightconsortia.com

Aus fam prize GOLD MEDAL INCENTIVE

AGENTS booking any Gold Medal Queensland package that includes Qantas flights between December 7 2016 and February 15 2017 could win a place on a fam trip to the east coast Australian state. The 10 agents with the highest revenue sales will secure a place. Goldmedal.co.uk

Keep in mind...

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January SELLING TRAVEL DESTINATION DIALOGUE Selling Travel is pleased to present a London evening with Chile. Agents will learn more about the country's line-up of products. Make new contacts and meet industry colleagues over drinks and food – and go home with a great prize. Sellingtravel.co.uk

COMING SOON........

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March UNITE INDIAN OCEAN & MIDDLE EAST Meet with hoteliers, representation companies, tourist offices, airlines and ground handlers in pre-booked one-to-one meetings for the Indian Ocean and Middle Eastern regions. A must event for tour operators and specialist agents. Unitepromotions.co.uk More online at sellingtravel.co.uk/events

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FA C E T O FA C E 18

talking shop

Barbara Charlton

01403 276684   Barbara.Charlton@travelcounsellors.com  Barbara@thesussextravelcompany.co.uk 01293 737290 

E

Start a dialogue for more bookings

or more bookings “A lady enquiring about Vietnam asked us: 'Will I get there faster if I travel n business class!'"

A very happy and prosperous New Year to all Selling Travel readers!

event we attended. The format of these evenings really are terrific. We enjoyed a wonderful presentation, which was followed by DECEMBER IN A NUTSHELL an open floor for those agents and What I like to do each December is tour operators present to ask the plenty of product and destination questions that are relevant to their training. There are so many online clients and plug the knowledge is have about this destination. direct service between Gatwick Rica we options, which we all did here inild the gaps ta os C "W w e os ho some people may be a little and San Jose. Our team all thought office, but the ones that we prefer great for th Whilst " Afritocastart that Costa Rica has so much to are the personal training evenings. shy off, there are always a e' have 'don I was pleased that Selling Travel few of us happy to put our hands up offer, both for first-time visitors and those clients who have ‘done’ organised two of its Dialogue to get the ball rolling. evenings, both at The Hilton Gatwick As usual, it was quieter in December Africa, Borneo and Sri Lanka and are e between Gatwick minds. But then we had a single looking for a new destination that – which meant our team could drive but we still made a few lovely e. Our team all thought lady who came in and asked vaguely will satisfy their interest for wildlife there and not have to worry about bookings including a honeymoon to ica has so much to about ‘doing India’ but with no real and nature, perhaps with a beach the various train strikes. Florida, weekends to Budapest and or first-time visitors clue of what she wanted to do there. option also included. You may have spotted the other European cities, Scilly Isles, Sri lients who have ‘done’ Tanya put something together for The second Dialogue evening was excellent Costa Rica supplement Lanka, India and the Seychelles. eo and Sri Lanka and are her with, the help of Intrepid, but on Macau. Attendance by agents distributed with December’s issue a new destination that we didn’t think we would hear from COSTA RICA'S TIME HAS COME was hurt by yet more train strikes of Selling Travel. If not, do try to get heir interest for wildlife her again. So we were very surprised Cost Rica is definitely a destination but those who did make it enjoyed hold of a copy. perhaps with a beach when she came back to us to book that is more attractive after the a great evening of presentations And Costa Rica was the theme of included. it. The prices of the flights had gone introduction of a British Airways followed by a Q&A, with both Lesley that first Selling Travel Dialogue d Dialogue evening was up but we were able to grab the last from Macao Tourism and Alan from ttendance by agents but one seat on the trip and she was Cathay Pacific answering our queries. yet more train strikes happy to proceed with the new price. "With Citalia of fering There was a cracking top prize pr ice parity we' ho did make it enjoyed Here at The Sussex Travel Company re happy of Cathay Pacific flights and three ing of presentations we love niche and independent tour to use th em" nights at the Sofitel, but sadly none a Q&A, with both Lesley operators that offer the same service of the four of us were lucky enough Tourism and Alan from that we give to our clients, and I to win that – but Tanya's card did get fic answering our queries. would like to say thank you to Julie at pulled out of the hat for the third a cracking top prize Prestige Holidays, Sudeepto Banerjee prize: some leather bits and bobs. cific flights and three (Sid) and Kanika at Travelpack for e Sofitel, but sadly none their continued help and advice. CRUISE LOOKING GOOD f us were lucky enough Now that Citalia is offering price We have come to the conclusion – but Tanya's card did get parity we are happy to use them, safe that in the same way you cannot tell f the hat for the third in the knowledge that the company a book by its cover often you can't leather bits and bobs. will not be undercutting us by tell if a client is really serious about offering lower prices online. booking what they are asking for! OKING GOOD Stuart from Azamara also paid We have had a few lately that we me to the conclusion us a visit. Together with our online thought were definite bookings, ame way you cannot tell cruise training and the girls' but then they simply changed their s cover often you can't personal cruise trips, we are ready nt is really serious about for cruise enquiries in 2017. at they are asking for! sellingtravel.co.uk ad a few lately that we

Rica is "Wild Costa ose who th r fo great Africa" have 'done'

minds. But then we had a single lady who came in and asked vaguely about ‘doing India’ but with no real clue of what she wanted to do there. Tanya put something together for her with, the help of Intrepid, but we didn’t think we would hear from her again. So we were very surprised when she came back to us to book it. The prices of the flights had gone up but we were able to grab the last but one seat on the trip and she was happy to proceed with the new price. Here at The Sussex Travel Company we love niche and independent tour operators that offer the same service that we give to our clients, and I would like to say thank you to Julie at Prestige Holidays, Sudeepto Banerjee (Sid) and Kanika at Travelpack for their continued help and advice. Now that Citalia is offering price parity we are happy to use them, safe in the knowledge that the company will not be undercutting us by offering lower prices online. Stuart from Azamara also paid us a visit. Together with our online cruise training and the girls' personal cruise trips, we are ready for cruise enquiries in 2017.


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• Free Gourmet Society membership worth £69.95 (for bookings before 31 January) • New tours including gorilla trekking in Uganda and the natural wonders of Madagascar • New Essentials collection For more details please visit www.titanagents.co.uk

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BEEN THERE done that

Florida's six days of attractions

i trip

ELITE ISLAND RESORTS / Pierre & Vacances joined forces to host a 'Caribbean' Ski Trip back in December. A rich mix of industry folk including Selling Travel's Creative Director Matt Bonner enjoyed a few days in the French resort of Les Arcs courtesy of generous sponsors that included Transfers for Travel, World Travellers and WorldSki, C&M Travel Recruitment, Sun Group Hotels and TDG.

Agents enjoy top experiences FIFTEEN UK travel agents and tour operators joined a six-day Florida Attractions Collection fam trip which saw them experience some the region's attractions such as Gatorland and an Orlando Magic basketball game. The group also tried out indoor skydiving and quad-biking. Pictured from the left (back row); Sandy Sweatt, Margaret Campbell, Rachael Belshaw, Anne Young, Kevin Brett, Karl Hendrie, Emily Garrett, Matthew Bower, Joe Evans and Scott West. In the front row, from left. are: Carla Lilley, Margaret Larkin, Colette Hayes, Ged Lewis, Kirsty Rush, Darci O’Hagan, Ellen Condello, and Susana Alvarez. Attractionscollection.com A

'Caribbean' sk

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Sandals honours agents SANDALS and Beaches Resorts recognised its top-performing travel agency partners at the 15th annual STAR Awards at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort. UK winners included Leigh Anne Scarratt, Blue Bay Travel; Ryan Speakman, Got 2 Go Travel; Ava Coffin, Designer Travel and Paul Salisbury, The Holiday Guru. Sellingsandals.co.uk A SUPERBREAK teamed up with Newcastle Airport to run a month-long incentive with agents – who won an afternoon of cocktail making. Pictured from left; Samantha Heslop, Gazelle Travel; Laura Hartshorne, Newcastle International Airport; Karen Sreenan, Thomson Marske By The Sea; Katherine Auld, Travel Lounge; Kelly Giblin, SuperBreak and Jane Williamson, Travel Box Holidays. Superbreak.com B THE SOUTH Pacific Tourism Organisation held a series of days promoting the Cook Islands. Events took place in Winchester, Bath, Solihul, Pangbourne and Canterbury. Pictured is Bath

winner Steve Giles, director of 'C the World' receiving a black pearl from Kay Jackson, Cook Islands Tourism. spto.org C THOMAS Cook Airlines' inaugural Manchester-Tobago flight took off in November. It included a group of six travel agents. Pictured from left are: Patrick Alexander, Manchester Airport and Bruce Wilson, Ben Todd, and Jo Burke, Thomas Cook Airlines. thomascookairlines.com

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

A diverse night with Costa Rica

Selling Travel visited the Hilton London Gatwick Airport hotel for an educational evening with the Costa Rica Tourism Board. Around 40 agents joined us, all keen to discover more about this Central American country becoming known for its range of eco-tourism experiences.

THE EVENT The event was hosted by Costa Rica Tourism Board's Director and Head of Sales and Marketing, Rob Wilson, and Lesley Davidson, Account Director. Steven Thompson, Selling Travel's publisher, moderated.

THE DETAILS Agents welcomed the news of British Airways' new direct flights to Costa Rica from Gatwick. Helder Lemos, Gallivant Travel Agency, said: “The new service will definitely help me to sell Costa Rica, particularly to

older clientele. As these flights are direct, my clients no longer have to worry about draining transfers.” Agents heard all about Costa Rica's diverse environments: Pacific and Caribbean beaches, rainforest and mountains, as well as its cultural attractions, ranging from pre-Columbian archeological sites to indigenous tribes. The country's diverse landscapes are the backdrop to plenty of action activities, with scuba diving, surfing, trekking, white-water rafting and zip-lining just some of the options for adventurous types. A bird-lover's paradise, Costa Rica is home to colourful toucans and over 50 types of hummingbird. Other species to spot include monkeys, sloths, jaguars, turtles and whales. Lesley Davidson said: “Despite its small size, Costa Rica packs a huge punch in terms of what there is to see and do, and in terms of its quite

"IT’S GREAT TO HEAR SOMEONE WITH ENTHUSIASM AND PASSION TALKING ABOUT COSTA RICA. IT GETS ME VERY EXCITED ABOUT THE SELLING POTENTIAL" DENISE BENT, FABULICIOUS TRAVELS

incredible biodiversity. It’s a perfect destination for activity seekers and nature lovers –a country full of flora and fauna which you can’t experience to the same extent anywhere else in the world.” Selling Travel columnist Barbara Charlton, of The Sussex Travel Company, commented: “I think the destination is a good alternative for those who take safari holidays in Africa and Asia, particularly if they enjoy a variety of wildlife.”

THE CONCLUSION Costa Rica is positioned as a rich and diverse destination with different natural environments offering a range of experiences. Rob Wilson was keen to emphasise the 'winter sun' and potential for family adventures,

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highlighting its year-round mild weather and friendly (Englishspeaking) locals. Tom Seddon of On Your Travels, commented: “The event really helped to reaffirm the ideas I had about how to sell Costa Rica.” Lesley Davidson was pleased with the feedback agents provided, saying: “It was really valuable to receive so many good comments and get ideas on small initiatives we can do to help agents understand Costa Rica more and sell it better.”

THE PRIZE The grand prize was a seven-night holiday to Costa Rica for two, flights and transfers included. The itinerary will be tailor-made to suit the interests of lucky winner Chloe Robinson of Titan Travel.


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Journey into Alberta's cities and wild THE DETAILS WHAT: WESTJET CITIES FAM TO ALBERTA, CANADA WHEN: OCTOBER 3 – OCTOBER 9, 2016 WHY: TO SHOWCASE WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN ALBERTA IN THE 'OFF SEASON' MONTHS WHO: TRAVEL ALBERTA AND WESTJET

What they said... “Words regularly failed me sometimes during this trip at some of the beauty we encountered in a truly awe-inspiring country. The whole itinerary was put together with perfection; our hosts were absolutely out of this world. Alberta is Pictured left to right outside Chateau Lake Louise: Simon Fisher, Siobhan Russell, Emma Sternal, Nicola McKenzie, Catriona Telford, Gary Kirby

now right at the top of the best places I have visited in my life and there is no doubt I will be back.” Simon James Fisher, Hays Travel

THE HOSTS The trip was hosted by WestJet and various representatives from Travel Alberta that included Rhonda Reid and Lyn Naylor of Travel Alberta, Katherine Florence and Laura Sinclair of Edmonton Tourism and Estelle Stewart at Tourism Jasper.

THE FAM Six travel agents joined the fam to one of Canada's most scenic provinces: Siobhan Russell (Thomas Cook), Catriona Telford (MyCanadaTrips), Gary Kevin Kirby (Trailfinders), Nicola McKenzie (Canadian Affair), Simon James Fisher (Hays Travel) and Emma Sternal (All Leisure Holidays). They spent seven days exploring Alberta's parks, trying their hand at adventure sports and seeing all the region has to offer as well as experiencing WestJet's Plus cabin on both legs of the journey. From their base in Edmonton,

the group explored the city by Segway and toured the city's foodie neighbourhoods. An excursion out to Elk Island National Park to witness Canada’s unique wildlife was followed by an ice hockey game at Rogers Place stadium where local team the Oilers took on the Ducks from Anaheim. In Jasper highlights included a scenic raft tour down the Athabasca River, the Jasper SkyTram, Athabasca Glacier, the Glacier Skywalk and Columbia Icefield. South of Banff National Park is the majestic Chateau Lake Louise hotel, a Fairmont property. Banff is a great location for horseback riding, dogsledding and snowshoeing and

the group explored Johnston Canyon and went to a ‘Cowboy Cookout’. In Calgary a tour of Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, a trip to the top of the Calgary Tower and Heritage Park Historical Village provided the memories.

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to visit wonderful Alberta! Since my trip I have been able to offer my customers little extras, such as the Planetarium in Jasper. One of my personal highlights was the Athabasca Glacier – a must visit and once-in-lifetime experience.”

THE VERDICT Travel Albert's Lyn Naylor said: “The fam trip was a great opportunity to highlight WestJet's service from Gatwick to Edmonton and Calgary and to show that Alberta is a genuine year-round destination. "The agents discovered vibrant and welcoming cities and how their clients can experience the Rockies outside of the main summer season." The trip finished in Calgary with a visit to the new National Music Centre and Brewery tour before a Thanksgiving Dinner at Heritage Park Historical Village. "I think everyone on the trip fell in love a little with the destination and hopefully will be back in Alberta again soon,” added Naylor.

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Emma Sternal, All Leisure Holidays “The Jasper Sky tram, Banff Gondola and Glacier Skywalk are musts, with greatviews, and should be put on any bucket list. Exhilarating but also a very calming and perhaps life-changing experience!” Nicola Mckenzie, Canadian Affair


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O N L O C AT I O N

Oman: A tranquil taste of traditional Arabia

L-R: Jennifer Barlow, Kasia Jankowska, Martin Court, Kevin Coles, Liz Lanagan and Craig McQuinn

THE HOSTS Selling Travel’s Craig McQuinn travelled to the Sultanate of Oman on a fam trip hosted by the Oman Ministry of Tourism and Oman Air. The group were upgraded to Business Class and experienced Oman Air's Business Class lounge at Heathrow Terminal 4. Once in Oman, the agents stayed on the shore of the Arabian Sea, in Shangri-La’s Al Husn Hotel, and on the cusp of a great canyon 2,000 metres above sea level at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort.

THE CITY Oman is a vast country but over just three days this trip

concentrated on the capital city of Muscat and the contrasting coastal and mountain regions close by. In the city, the group got a taste of Oman's rich culture and wellpreserved past, visiting religious sites, forts and palaces. A tour of the Grand Mosque revealed a modern building with a traditional feel. Designed by a UK firm, carpeted by a team of highly skilled women from Iran and lit with magnificent chandeliers from Austria’s Swarovski, the impressive and opulent building is one of Muscat's must-see attractions. But it was the city's souks (or markets) that gave the group their biggest insight into the Omani culture. "The abiding memories I have from each souk we visited was the friendliness of the local people," said Craig. "Along with a sensory overload thanks to the vast array of frankincense and spices!" Other attractions on

the tour were Al Alam Palace, the official palace of Oman's current ruler, Sultan Qaboos, flanked by the 16th century Portuguese forts Mirani and Jalali. The group also visited the Round Tower Fort, built in the 17th century, and its souk, renowned for the Friday cattle auction, intricately hand-carved Khanjars (daggers) and ornamental silver jewellery. Everyone had time to enjoy the Shangri-La Al Husn Hotel, the most luxurious of three owned by the Asian hotel group and lying around 30-minute drive from the city, on the beach. Guests at Al Husn have access to 21 bars and restaurants. Although Muscat is a must, Oman's second city is not to be missed either. Nizwa lies on a plain surrounded by a thick palm oasis and some of Oman’s highest mountains. The agents visited its fort, built in 1650 and a formidable stronghold against raiding forces.

TO THE HILLS En route to Jebel Al Akhdar there was a chance to experience rural Oman. A stark contrast to the bustling souks of Muscat, the

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villages that dot the region of Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountains) have a cooler climate and a slower pace of life. The agents stopped at the pretty village of Birkat Al Mauz and took a walk through its oasis and dense date plantations. From here, a winding road delivered themp at Al Jebel Al Akhdar, famed for its fruit orchards laid out in terraces along the mountain slopes. The new Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort is the highest five-star resort in the Middle East and features three restaurants, a spa and an infinity pool with sweeping views of the dramatic rocky canyon.

DID YOU KNOW? The group was accompanied by tour planner and coordinator, Sumit Pruthi, who proved to be a fountain of knowledge on his country. Craig added: "He was entertaining, knowledgeable and passionate about all things Omani. Within minutes of meeting him he made us all laugh with his phrases: ‘Japanese Camels’ = Toyota Land Cruiser!' On a more serious note, the group learnt that in days gone by Zanzibar was the capital of


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FAM DETAILS WHEN: NOVEMBER 17-20, 2016 WHO: OMAN MINISTRY OF TOURISM AND OMAN AIR WHAT: MUSCAT & BEYOND FAM WHERE: MUSCAT, THE COAST, NIZWA, JEBEL AKHDAR WHY: DISCOVER OMAN'

What they said... “Oman doesn’t seem in a race to compete with its Arab neighbours; there is no hustle and bustle here just a sense of calm. It is a destination on the up, with increased UK airlift. You blend the city, a mountain retreat and beach resort into a single holiday.” Kevin Coles, Partnership Marketing, TravelBag & Netflights “What struck me was how calm and friendly the people were. Nothing was too much trouble and we were made to feel very welcome. The scenery is breathtaking

Oman; that the Portuguese built a number of forts trying to colonise the country without success; and what the colours of the Omani flag represent: white for peace, green for agriculture and red for monarchy and strength.

THE VERDICT Kasia Jankowska, Key Account Manager, Odigeo, commented: “Oman is a destination that has

exceeded all my expectations in terms of its natural beauty, cuisine, friendliness of the people and weather. I felt very safe travelling around Oman and would love to go back to experience other parts of the wonderful country”. "Everywhere we went we received a warm welcome," said Craig. "I was blown away by Oman and can’t recommend it enough. It offers a wide variety of options including

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all-inclusive accommodation, familyfriendly facilities, sandy beaches, breathtaking scenery, climbing, walking, caving, mountain biking, zip wiring, diving, kayaking and bird watching, to list just a few.

and contrasting, and it has history, stunning architecture and delicious food. ” Jennifer Barlow, Product Executive, Elegant Resorts “I have fallen in love with Muscat – the amazing scenery, beaches and mountains,

WHAT'S NEW?

the friendly people, the food and culture. I

Oman Air will begin a daily direct service from Manchester to Muscat in April 2017.

can’t wait to go back and explore more.” Liz Langan, Account Manager – Leisure, Oman Air

omantourism.gov; omanair.com

3:44 PM

HORMUZ GRAND HOTEL, MUSCAT A new oasis of tranquility The epitome of modern luxury Discover the Hormuz Grand Hotel, Muscat Explore www.hormuzgrandhotel.com 00968 243 50 500 Email reservations@hormuzgrandhotel.com

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Magical Macao is a stopover with style

THE EVENT We partnered with the Macao Government Tourism Office and Cathay Pacific for a Selling

Travel Dialogue on this tiny but exciting destination. Several prizes were given away including a three-night stay in Macao at the five-star Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16 with Cathay Pacific flights - won by Peter Foster, Those Travel Guys (main picture, above)

HOW TO SELL MACAO Macao lies 40 miles from Hong Kong on the Pearl River Delta. Most visitors from the UK arrive via a flight to Hong Kong followed by a one-hour fast ferry ride, but Macao also has its own international airport. Like its neighbour, it is a Special Administrative Region of China and it packs a lot into its 11 square miles,

offering the perfect two or three-night addition to a Far East holiday or stopover. This unique and vibrant destination with its colourful heritage is like nowhere else in Asia - see overleaf for 48 hours in Macao.

WHY CHOOSE MACAO? The destination is shaped by a unique mix of Chinese and Portuguese culture and a rich history demonstrated by its UNESCO-protected buildings which range from the iconic 17th century Ruins of St Paul’s to Chinese temples wreathed in incense smoke. Alongside this is a modern city packed with exciting attractions, world-class entertainment, nightlife and acclaimed dining.

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TOP AT TRACTIONS The UNESCO World Heritage Historic Centre of Macao incorporates 30 buildings and locations, all of which tell the story of Macao. Highlights include Senado Square’s cobbled pavements, surrounded by pastelcoloured neo-classical buildings. A more modern icon is the Macau Tower. At 1,109-foot it features a revolving restaurant and there are great views of the South China Sea from its Observation Deck. Big attractions on the ground include Macao’s Giant Panda Pavilion, where visitors can watch the cuddlylooking creatures lumbering around in natural surroundings, including its newest residents, panda twins, born in June 2016. There is also the Macao Museum of Art, the Grand Prix Museum and the Macao Museum,


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“WHAT AN AWESOME DESTINATION MACAO IS! WORLD CLASS ACCOMMODATION AND A FASCINATING BLEND OF CULTURES. IT'S PERFECT AS A STOPOVER”

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BILLY LYLE, NOT JUST TRAVEL

WHO: MACAO GOVERNMENT TOURISM OFFICE, CATHAY PACIFIC WHAT: LEARN HOW TO SELL MACAO WHERE: HILTON LONDON GATWICK WHEN: DECEMBER 12, 2016

Q&A How expensive is Macao? Macao caters for all budgets across all aspects of a stay, from eating out to evening entertainment. There is also a wide selection of three and four-star properties, Portuguese-style pousadas and a fantastic range of luxury hotels. Can you pre-book the Macao ferry and how easy is it for clients to take? Yes you can pre-book the Hong Kong to Macao ferry through selected tour operators and DMCs or directly through the TurboJET and Cotai Water Jet websites. Your clients can check in for the ferry as soon as they reach arrivals at Hong

housed in a 16th century fortress. By night, Macao’s sparkling skyline comes into its own and entertainment venues light up, from glittering resorts to nightclubs including Pacha Macau, stylish rooftop bars and theatres. The must-see House of Dancing Water is a 90 minute water-based production featuring breathtaking high dive acrobatics and highwire stunts. The destination also hosts many international music and entertainment acts. Coloane in the south provides a stark contrast to the city, with its beaches, rolling hills, golf courses and leafy streets of pastel-coloured houses. Macao's dining scene is worldrenowned and offers everything from Michelin-star restaurants to Chinese

street food and Portuguese bakeries. Unique to the destination is Macanese, one of the world's first fusion-style cuisines, mixing Chinese, Portuguese, African, Indian and South American flavours and styles.

WHAT'S NEW? 2016 saw the opening of two luxury resorts. The Wynn Palace incorporates a performance lake of dancing fountains which can be viewed from the resort's own cable car; while The Parisian Macao has its own half-size replica of the Eiffel Tower as well as a Frenchthemed shopping boulevard. In 2017, planned openings will include the retro 1950s-style Macao Roosevelt and The 13, an ultraluxurious hotel with a fleet of 30 Rolls-Royce Phantoms (the largest

order in history), and the MGM Cotai, MGM’s second venture in Macao.

WHY CATHAY PACIFIC? Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific flies direct to Hong Kong from the UK and onwards to over 70 destinations in Asia, China and Australasia. Fly from Heathrow five times a day, from Gatwick four times a week (daily from June) and from Manchester four times a week (five from June). Cathay Pacific offers Economy, Premium Economy and Business, as well as a First Class Suite on its Boeing 777-300 out of Heathrow and will operate new A350s on Manchester and Gatwick routes from June. It's the fastest way to get to Hong Kong and offers downtown check-in and direct links to the Macao Ferry.

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Kong airport, or they can take it from Downtown Hong Kong instead. How do you get around Macao? As it's such a small area (just 11 square miles) it's a very walkable destination. and there are some great walking trails. Tell your clients to download the free app Step Out, Macao. Public transport in Macao is efficient and taxis are cheap and convenient.


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48 hours in

Macao Just 40 miles from Hong Kong, Macao may only be 11 square miles but don't underestimate how much there is to do! The territory has a bustling urban metropolis as well as traditional villages, so it makes sense to put together an itinerary which takes in these contrasting sides.

DAY ONE To really understand the history and culture of Macao the ideal place to start on day one is in The Historic Centre of Macao, which shows the eclectic cultural influences at play in this Special Administrative Region of China. One of the most popular sites is the Ruins of St. Paul’s, the dramatic remains of a 17th Century Jesuit church which was ravaged by fire in 1835, leaving just its towering façade. Representing a slice of Chinese culture and predating the arrival of the Portuguese is the crimson A-Ma Temple, a Taoist place of worship dedicated to the goddess of the sea. Build in time for lunch; after all Macao has a legendary food scene. Macanese, one of the world’s first fusion cuisines, is a must. Not just a blend of Chinese and Portuguese, it draws on influences from Africa, India, Malaysia and South America. African chicken, made with coconut and spices, comes highly recommended. Offering a bird’s eye view of Macao is the tallest building in the city, the Macau Tower. At 1,109 feet high its observation deck looks out over the South China Sea as well as the city. If your clients are the thrill-seeking kind, book them into one of the many adrenalin-

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inducing activities which include the chance to dangle from the top of the tower or jump off it. The revolving restaurant is a great spot for dinner as the neon lights up the luxury hotels, bridges and glitzy casinos across the city. Few Asian destinations can beat Macao for sheer entertainment value. Two very popular evening options include the acrobatic stunts of the multimillion-dollar production The House of Dancing Water or the grand-scale trickery of The House of Magic at Studio City.

DAY TWO By day two, your client will be ready for a leisurely morning walking the cobbled streets and shaded squares of Coloane, in the south. Pastel- coloured houses and pastoral vistas must be complemented by a pastel de nata (custard tart) from the famous Lord Stow’s Bakery. Animal-lovers should schedule a visit to the Giant Panda Pavilion in Seac Pai Van Park. Lunch could be a lazy long affair in one of Coloane's laid-back cafes or a tasting crawl in Rua do Cunha (food street) in Taipa Village. The latter has plenty of atmospheric alleyways dotted with traditional shops and classic villas. The final afternoon is a good time to wander the shops, which range from designer malls to traditional markets. Popular buys are jewellery (particularly gold), brand label clothes and Chinese antiques - The Historic Centre of Macao is lined with antique shops. If your clients aren't big shoppers there are plenty more sightseeing or cultural options, such as museums dedicated to art, history, wine and the Grand Prix, or they can take in a round of golf. For the last supper, suggest one of Macao's many Michelin-starred restaurants. Robuchon au Dôme, at the top of the Grand Lisboa Hotel, serves French cuisine with a choice of 7,000 wines, while The Eight offers over 50 varieties of dim sum. Finish with a visit to one of Macao's rooftop bars. Sky 21 offers live music to accompany the dizzying views from its roof deck.  0845 498 9983  macao@humewhitehead.co.uk  macaotourism.gov.mo

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ooking for a buzzing Far East stopover full of cultural flavour? Laura Gelder looks at what you can pack into 48 hours in Macao

Pictured: The Historic Centre of Macao; pastel de nata, or custard tarts; the glittering skyline of Macao in all its neon glory


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SHARJAH Emerging as a cultural hub, and now with too many musuems to mention, tiny Sharjah has plenty of outdoor§ options too, discovers Laura Gelder

1 QANAT AL QASBA

A hub of activity this area is a great place to hang out and home to some of Sharjah’s most exciting tourist attractions, most obviously the Eye of the Emirates. Standing 60 metres tall, the ferris wheel presents views from its air-conditioned capsules over the whole of Sharjah and is one of the emirate’s most visible landmarks. There’s also a Family Fun Zone, the Al Qasba Musical Fountain and the Maraya Art Centre. The latter is curated by famous Italian artist Giuseppe Moscatello and houses three floors of exhibitions, ranging from canvases to multimedia projects and installations. DID YOU KNOW? Qanat Al Qasba is also a handy jumping-off point for city sightseeing bus tours and boat tours via traditional abra.

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SHARJAH DESERT PARK

This one-kilometre-square site actually comprises several attractions: Arabia’s Wildlife Centre, The Natural History and Botanical Museum, the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife, two botanical gardens (one Islamic-themed) and a Children’s Farm for hands-on fun. The wildlife centre is the place to see species indigenous to the UAE and Arabian Peninsula and the museum has exhibits explaining the area’s flora and fauna both on-land and at sea, as well as exhibits covering geology and science. DID YOU KNOW? Animals indigenous to the area include the critically-endangered Arabian leopard, Arabian oryx, honey badger, baboon, Nubian ibex, mongoose and a host of other fascinating mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and freshwater fish.

SH AR JAH H E R I TA G E 3 AR EA

Here, visitors can wander at will around a neatly restored Bedouin village. The historic buildings on site include the Al Midfa house, a property with its own large wind tower. The on-site museum, via photographs and exhibits that include pottery and jewellery, tells the story of the city’s past before oil was discovered. DID YOU KNOW? Also in the city centre is Bait Al Naboodah, one of the city’s oldest and most opulent houses with intricate, traditional designs.

4 SOUK SHOPPING

Whether you’re looking for gold, spices or art, Sharjah has a souk to please. Souk Al Arsah is thought to be the oldest market place in the UAE and was once the meeting point for traders from across Arabia and the Indian Ocean. Now air-conditioned, its restored corridors with their coral brick walls and heavy wooden doors, are the best place to find souvenirs, handicrafts, jewellery, textiles and antiques.

HIGHLIGHT: The Blue Souk shopping mall is probably Sharjah’s most photographed building. It comprises six buildings embellished in blue tiling, with more than 600 shops inside.

5 KHALID LAGOON

Consisting of 1.7 million square hectares of water, this vast lagoon is located on Sharjah city’s corniche. The fountain is the third-tallest in the world and shoots jets of water to heights of 100 metres during fantastic, freeto-watch displays. If visitors can handle the heat there is also a walking track around the lagoon, used for running and cycling. HIGHLIGHT: Al Jazeera Park covers 250,000 square metres at the centre of Khalid Lagoon, offering great views, retail therapy options and plenty of greenery. Families can use pedal boats or a small train to get around.

6 NATURAL HIGHS

With coasts on both the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, Sharjah has beaches galore. In the city there are resorts offering watersports and relaxation. Further afield on the east coast there are long empty stretches of sand at Kalba and the crescent sands of the town of Khorfakkan, whose curving cornice is filled with bustling shops and eateries and crowned by a royal palace. DID YOU KNOW? The east coast offers the peaks of the Hajar Mountains, beaches and mangroves, with activities ranging from kayaking to hiking.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

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VISIT USA NEWS JANUARY 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 DESTINATIONS

New England rising

 "Visit USA continues to show that it has a coherent strategy for the future, making membership even more attractive for all who operate in this sector"

Visit USA

Visit USA gears up for 2017

Tracey Spuyman CEO, Visit USA UK

VIST USA (UK) is thriving and heading into 2017 in “a very positive position” says the organisation’s CEO, Tracey Spuyman. “Our membership is buoyant and growing….we had 18 new full and 14 new associate members join us in 2016, all united by the goal to promote travel and tourism to the USA. “And with the publication of the new Visit USA Travel Planner to satisfy the needs of travellers looking to explore beyond the gateways of the USA, the organisation continues to maximise its visibility in conversation with the travel trade and direct to the UK holidaymaker,” Spuyman added. Early-year initiatives include both Destinations shows in Manchester (January 19-22) and London (February 2-5), where the Visit USA Pavilion will be in place, and The Holiday World Show in Belfast (January 20-22). In March (16), Visit USA members will get the chance to present their latest news and ideas to UK travel operators and buyers at the popular annual Unite Visit USA. Any buyers not yet registered should email info@visitusa.org.uk for more information.

MASSACHUSETTS hopes to build on rising interest from UK visitors in 2017. New airlift includes a VirginBoston service, from March, and Thomas Cook increasing its Manchester-Boston service to four times a week. In 2015, 243,000 Brits visited the state, up 30% on the previous year. massholiday.com OPERATORS

Cosmos hits right notes COSMOS Tours and Cruises 2017 North America programme includes tours based on the USA's musical heritage. A nine-day Elvis and the Southern Sounds tour is priced from £2,048pp, with a 14-day New Orleans, the Old South and Florida option from £2,134pp. trade-gate.co.uk DESTINATIONS

Ticket to ride in Pensacola VISITORS to Pensacola in northwest Florida will be able to ride two new double-decker ferries this summer. The 45-minute crossings will link downtown Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island. visitpensacola.com

THE USA in brief... AIRLINES BRITISH Airways has forged closer ties with Alaska Airlines, meaning customers can now book seats on Alaska flights to several destinations across the U.S west coast and Hawaii. These include Honolulu, Kona and Kahului in Hawaii (from Los Angeles), Portland, Oregon (from Seattle, San Francisco and San Jose), and Salt Lake City, Boise, Fairbanks and Spokane (from Seattle). British Airways now sells flights to 29 destinations in North America. batraveltrade.com

EXPERIENCES EVENT MULTIPLE Grammy awardwinning artist Ricky Martin will kick off a Las Vegas headlining residency at the new Park Theatre at Monte Carlo on April 5. The show will feature both Martin’s greatest hits and more recent releases. Park Theatre is the first step in the transformation of Monte Carlo taking place over the next two years. The changes will feature two distinct hotel experiences including a luxury hotel named Park MGM. montecarlo.com

EVENT HOTELS A NEW Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant will open in downtown Denver in early 2017. The 200room Kimpton Born will feature an outdoor patio, rooftop space, a fitness centre and two locally-inspired, chef-driven restaurants and bars. The hotel's design promises 'a mix of modern mountain décor and urban edge' and will showcase works from local artists. Denver's Union Station is home to boutiques, a farmers’ market, public squares, courtyards and restaurants. kimptonhotels.com

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


MEMBERS SPOTLIGHT introducing... THE Museum of the City of New York has opened 'New York at Its Core', billed as the first-ever museum show to present the story of New York’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s global city. Occupying the entire first floor in three galleries of the museum’s building on New York’s Museum Mile, New York at Its Core captures the human energy that drove New York through characters such as Alexander Hamilton, Walt Whitman and Jay-Z. The exhibition features more than 400 objects and interactive options. mcny.org

Visit Tampa Bay JOSEPHINE ANDO International Rep, UK & Ireland

ATTRACTIONS

Maverick’s new heli-yoga MAVERICK Helicopters has introduced a new HeliYoga experience that combines a luxury helicopter flight with a yoga session. The two-and-a-half hour excursion includes limo coach transportation from the Las Vegas Strip to Maverick Helicopters’ Las Vegas terminal, where up to six guests depart with a yoga instructor to the Valley of Fire. The helicopter descends and lands on one of the highest peaks of Valley of Fire, considered one of the most remote destinations in the southwest U.S. and accessible only via helicopter. Each class teaches 'balance', 'discipline', 'focus', 'determination' and 'strength of mind'. The day concludes with a flight over downtown Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip. Maverick Helicopters, a division of Maverick Aviation Group, flies more than 200,000 guests annually out of four locations: Las Vegas, Grand Canyon South Rim, Grand Canyon West Rim and Maui, Hawaii. maverick@ttmworld.co.uk.

THE Motown Museum in Detroit is planning a $50-million-dollar expansion which will begin later this year. It will deliver interactive exhibits, a state-of-theart performance theatre, recording studios and more retail experiences. The ‘new’ Motown Museum will be built around the current museum space and the Hitsville U.S.A. house. Major Motown artists included Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight And The Pips. michigan.org

FLORIDA HYATT ADDS WATERPARK

AIRLINES

Virgin’s third to L.A. VIRGIN Atlantic will operate a third non-stop daily service between London and Los Angeles next summer. From May 2017 it will fly three times a day between Heathrow and LAX, a move made in conjunction with its joint venture partner, Delta Air Lines. In 2017, the airlines’ joint summer schedule will includes 40 peak daily nonstop flights across the Atlantic. virgin-atlantic.com; delta.com

THE Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs, between Naples and Ft. Myers in southwest Florida. has opened a new waterpark. The $7.1 million facility features three three-story waterslides and a 1,095-ft heated lazy river. Built among more than 5,000 native Floridian plants and trees, the park joins the resort’s existing 2,700sq ft waterfall pool with its cool water cascades, heated adventure pool with a 140-ft corkscrew slide and a free-form lagoon-style pool. coconutpoint.regency.hyatt.com

When did Visit Tampa Bay join Visit USA? In 2016. What do you see as the main benefits of your visit USA membership? Membership provides an opportunity to improve our brand recognition through an organization that is wellrespected and well-known in the UK market. Will you participate in Visit USA’s 2017 trade activities? Yes, we will be at the annual ball in July and probably one of the upcoming roadshows. What makes Tampa unique among Florida's holiday destinations? Tampa Bay is the hip, urban counterpoint to a Florida beach vacation. Its combination of Cuban culture, craft beer, creative chefs, water-based fun, and city activities makes Tampa Bay an authentic and unique Sunshine State experience. And for the beach, the Gulf of Mexico’s sugar-sand strand is a short drive away. Tell us something about Tampa a travel agent might not be aware of ? Visitors can set foot in Cuba without leaving the U.S. Ybor City is home to José Martí Park, honouring the poet and revolutionary who inspired Cuban’s 19th Century fight for independence from Spain. Describe one of your own Tampa Bay moments. Few things match the fun and zany excitement of Tampa Bay’s Gasparilla Pirate Festival, starting each January – eight weeks of festivals, parties and parades that run until late March. visitstampabay.com

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


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ten of the best kentucky

kentucky Bourbon, horses, a classic car, a sporting legend and an oversized recounting of a Biblical tale - Steve Hartridge recalls 10 experiences that prove the Bluegrass State is one of the USA’s most diverse destinations

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Muhammad Ali: Kentucky’s favourite son was born and raised in Louisville. A visit to the Muhammad Ali Center, with its boxing memorabilia, exhibits, videos and interactive displays is now more poignant after the death last year of the ‘Louisville Lip’. For a more intimate peek into Ali’s early life, visit the Muhammad Ali Childhood Home and Museum, set in an unassuming neighbourhood. If you are lucky, as I was, you might even get to meet the legendary boxer’s brother, Rahman, who sometimes drops by to meet visitors. alicenter.org; alichildhoodmuseum.com Going Underground: Mammoth Cave National Park was set aside to preserve the extensive labyrinth of caves, the scenic Green River Valley and the lush hill country of central Kentucky. Guided tours of various durations are available including an hour-long introduction that sees you descend 150 feet, past limestone walls and gypsum formations in various crystalline shapes, looking out for bats and crickets that live on the ceilings. nps.gov.maca


ten of the best kentucky

Horsing around: Horse farms and stables, with their white picket fences and barns, are an iconic Kentucky sight and there are several ways visitors can experience the equestrian vibe. Several horse farms, like Runnymede near Lexington, offer tours – but you must book in advance. Or watch as vets treat horses at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. To see some of the thoroughbred stars of yesteryear living out a pastoral retirement, visit Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm near Georgetown. Here you can meet previous Kentucky Derby winners Silver Charm and War Emblem. runnymedefarmky.com Two by two: A homage to the tale of Noah’s voyage and animal pairings, the Arc Encounter, a Christian theme park near Williamstown, has been a huge hit since it opened last summer. Fake animals and accompanying sound effects fill the 510 feet long, 85 feet wide ark, the largest wooden structure in the world. There is a zip-line and other non-Biblical activities are planned for the future. arkencounter.com

On the water: Step aboard the Belle of Cincinnati, built in the style of an old paddlesteamer, at BB Riverboat Landing in Covington, northern Kentucky, for a two-and-a-half -hour cruise. Enjoy a jazz brunch as you ply the waters of the Ohio River that separates Kentucky and Ohio. bbriverboats.com Mob rules: Before Las Vegas took its crown in the 1960s, Newport in northern Kentucky was the gambling centre of the USA. Learn about its history, its underworld characters and the night clubs and dance joints they owned on a guided gangster tour. The Old Topicana, once a haunt of mobsters like Lucky Luciano, recently opened as a craft brewery. americanlegacytours.com Iconic wheels: In Bowling Green, in south central Kentucky, the National Corvette Museum honours a true Americana icon, the Chevrolet Corvette. It tells the story of the sports car that first rolled off the production line in 1953. See the huge sinkhole that opened up in 2014, swallowing eight vehicles. corvettemuseum.org

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Make mine a bourbon: Northern Kentucky is bourbon country! Sip an ‘Old Fashioned’ cocktail in Jockey Silks Bar in the Galt House Hotel in Louisville. At Jim Beam Stillhouse, bottle your own whiskey; at Evan Williams join a character in period dress on a history tour before ending in the tasting room; at Corsair sample one of the state’s artisan ‘craft bourbons’. kybourbontrail. Southern charm: Kentucky is dotted with charming and appealing small towns. Stroll along Georgetown’s picturesque main street surrounded by Victorian-era buildings and discover antique shops, art galleries, boutiques and coffee and pastry shops. Then visit Berea, Bardstown, Paducah and Greenville. georgetownkentucky.com A day at the races: If you are in Lexington in April or October see the state’s latest crop of thoroughbred horses by spending a day at beautiful Keeneland Racecourse. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, most of the scenes of the 2003 movie Seabiscuit were filmed there. keeneland.com 


34

new zealand

adventure worlds of

New Zealand is a showcase of natural wonders. Clare Walsh finds out what’s happening in the other down under

W

ild mountain vistas, geothermal mud pools and glacial landscapes – few places in the world are blessed with such a unique and diverse environment as New Zealand. This remote island nation – one of the last places in the world to be settled by humans – has always exuded a mythical, promised-land magnetism over its Northern Hemisphere counterparts. And rightly so, for these isolated islands in the southwestern Pacific present some of the most extraordinary landscapes in the world. The majestic Fjordlands showcase spectacular glaciers and waterfalls, while ancient rainforests and thermal springs sit only an hour outside Auckland. Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough are just two of the country’s wineland destinations,

while sublime big-sky beaches decorate New Zealand’s 90,000 miles of coastline. Arty capital Wellington its packed with galleries and boutiques, while attractive Auckland’s two harbours are a gateway to the Haruki Gulf and its beguiling islands. The Maori soul can be found in Rotorua, where visitors can experience aboriginal culture. It’s not surprising therefore, that the tourist board has focused on promoting New Zealand’s extraordinary diversity and beauty. The Lord of the Rings film trilogy immortalised New Zealand’s ethereal landscape and has become a key driver of tourism to the country. For die-hard fans, a stop at Hobbiton – the village set created specially for the films on the North Island – remains a must-do. The attraction recently celebrated its 500,000th visitor. Many clients choose the country for their

Main picture: Cruising in the beautiful waters around Milford sound on South Island

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once-in-a-lifetime trip and tour operators can capitalise on this. It offers a playground for those looking for adventure and discovery. New Zealand specialist Silver Fern Holidays, for example, is looking for more independent agents to work with having developed a programme of escorted small-group journeys to plug the gap between traditional escorted coach tours and adventure travel experiences. “Each tour – for no more than 16 travellers – is packed with great experiences such as a guided walk in the Kauri forest or an underground river trip; our guests see New Zealand closeup, not through the windows of a coach”, says Managing Director, John Lightwood. Its most comprehensive 21-day tour of both islands includes Auckland, the Bay of Islands, the Coromandel, Rotorua, Napier and Wellington on North Island. Nelson


new zealand

and the Abel Tasman National Park, Glacier Country, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Dunedin and Mount Cook are also included. In 2016 Emirates launched a service from London to Auckland via Dubai, while Air New Zealand launched a London to Auckland via Houston flight. Accessibility will build this year. Pip Casey from Tourism New Zealand commented: “Growth has been supported by new direct airline routes to New Zealand, and February will see Qatar launch a non-stop Doha to Auckland flight. “Emirates will operate its single-stop service to Auckland with an A380 at the end of October.” The figures reflect this growth. Bookings for travel via Emirates from the UK to Christchurch have seen an annual increase of 10%, while those to Auckland from Gatwick between October and March were up by 113%.

Perfect ten Hiking heaven: Tackle one of the country’s nine ‘Great Walks’ such as the epic Milford track. Wine with a view: Sip a glass of wine overlooking the very vines it came from. Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Gisborne are among three of the country’s wine areas. Two-wheeled adventures: New Zealand’s national cycling network, Nga Haerenga, has 22 routes stretching 2,500 km. Try the Otago Rail Trail which rewards visitors with spectacular mountain vistas. Erupting geysers: Rotorua is known for its spectacular volcanic activity. A geyser erupts every morning at Wai o Tapu. Wildlife encounters: A whale-watching tour in Kaikoura might enable you to see the mighty sperm whale.

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Daring discoveries: Reachable only by boat or helicopter, daring visitors can get up close to the inner crater of the world’s only marine volcano on White Island. Maori history: Auckland Museum and Wellington’s Te Papa Tongarewa offer insights into the Maori traditions. Fantasy locations: Walk in the shoes of Gandalf as you explore mysterious Middle Earth in locations outside Wellington. Hobbit tours can include a visit to see the special effects experts at Weta Studio. Paradise found: The Bay of Islands is a tranquil archipelago of 150 undeveloped islands. Paihia has great budget accommodation and is good for water sports. Cruise life: Don’t miss a scenic cruise on Milford Sound. Aim for early morning or late in the day to avoid the crowds.


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new zealand

Clockwise: Bilbo Baggins’ Hobbit Hole at Hobbiton film set near Wellington; Kelburn Hill, Wellington

What’s new Thriller’ will be located at the site of the  Accommodation: New Zealand’s first-ever Nevis Bungee and Nevis Swing. (bungy.co.nz)  Flights: Emirates (emirates.com) is operating pod accommodation (jucyhotel.com/locations) has opened. It’s designed for backpackers, families, its flagship aircraft A380 on its Christchurch budget travellers and ‘baby boomers’. services. The airline flies between Dubai Located in Russell, Helena Bay (helenabay.com) and Christchurch five times daily. opened in November and is New Zealand’s Tourism talk first luxury lodge located on the beach. “December 2016 marked the 15-year Marlborough Lodge (themarlboroughlodge.co.nz) opened its doors in October. Sitting in 16 anniversary of the first of The Lord of the acres of parkland it offers 10 suites including Rings movies and as a result of years of a Premium Suite and Children’s Room. innovative marketing around these films we are still Wellington’s 108-room Thorndon Hotel seeing high growth from mature markets such as the (rydges.com) has had a multi-million dollar UK (+11%) and Germany (+16%). We are looking to refurbishment. build on this with the Eichardt’s Private British and Ireland Lions ”Tempt foodie clients with The rugby tour of New Zealand Hotel (eichardts.com) New Zealand Luxury Lodge will soon unveil its in June 2017, where we’re Gourmet Trail. The lodges are expecting 20,000 £5,000 per night penthouse extension. located in iconic locations so international visitors with It accommodates 15,000 from the UK. guests can not only revel in up to six people in “Seasonality and gastronomic delights but also regional diversity three bedrooms. visit some of the country’s most continues to be our  Tour operators: famous destinations” Silver Fern holidays key focus. By spreading (silverfernholidays.co.uk) the flow of visitors to PIP CASEY, REGIONAL MANAGER TOURISM NEW ZEALAND is now offering a New Zealand more number of tailorevenly throughout made touring itineraries to suit individual the year and across regions, we can help take clients’ needs. They include touring on a pressure of some of our busy summer hot spots Harley Davidson bike, walking holidays, and and give more stability to operator revenues.” wildlife and bird-watching itineraries. Pip Casey, Regional Manager, Tourism New Zealand  Adventure activities: Combine a scenic flight Where to book it and glacier landing with a guided walk in Mt  GOLD MEDAL – 0800 014 7777 Aspiring National Park. Take a helicopter over A 19-day New Zealand rail and coach holiday the mountains and glaciers of the Southern option that tours Auckland, Bay of Islands, Alps, landing on Isobel Glacier (Ecowanaka.co.nz) Queenstown has unveiled a new twilight Rotorua, Wellington and Christchurch costs zip-line tour through Alpine forest (ziptrek.co.nz). £4,881pp, departing September 5, 2017, A new extreme experience is under including flights with Emirates from Gatwick goldmedal.co.uk  development in Queenstown. The ‘Nevis


how to sell

37

Alberta A

lberta is a year-round destination with great snow and buzzing ski resorts in winter and endless, bluesky summers which set the scene for outdoor adventures and fun festivals. Now is the peak booking time for the province, so wise up to its appeal and prepare to sell...

TRAVEL ALBERTA/SEAN THONSON

for all seasons...

Why sell it Alberta should be an easy and rewarding sell! With the incredible, iconic Rockies at its heart it has scenic wonder and adventure opportunities by the bucket load. Famed for its world-class wintersport resorts – Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise – open until May, the mountains in fact create a year-round adventure playground and have a new appeal each season.

Who to sell to

Fishing on Maligne Lake

TRAVEL ALBERTA/HUBERT KANG

Wintersports fans will book Alberta for the added kudos of skiing in The Rockies, for its good-value friendly resorts and top-class snow conditions. Then beyond the snowy season, active adventures can inspire them including high octane mountain bike trips or heli-touring among the exciting terrains, or gentle hikes

among the expansive views and a memorable 'must do' trip on the Athabasca Glacier. Remember, too, that there is no provincial sales tax in Alberta (just Canadian GST on goods and services) which will appeal to bargain hunters, who can check out North America’s largest mall – in Edmonton – or cruise downtown Calgary for an eclectic mix of specialty stores.

What to sell

Skiers standing by the chairlift in Lake Louse

When Alberta’s snow melts and the iced-over lakes reveal themselves, kayaks or canoes set a gentle pace in the backcountry and the province's animal magic becomes its strongest draw card. Black and grizzly bears, moose and elk, big horn sheep, bison, wolves and cougar, all call the province home and can be spotted both in the National Parks and roaming free along the roadside. Calgary effortlessly pulls the crowds each July for the Calgary Stampede. Billed as The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth this is when the city

goes cowboy crazy with an extravaganza of rodeo, chuckwagon racing, parades and bareback riding. Beyond the cowboy heritage, the province also has a rich cultural heritage regularly showcased in colourful events and festivals. Alberta's capital city, Edmonton, for example has a hectic calendar which has earned it the title Festival City. Its annual International Fringe Festival each summer is the second biggest after Edinburgh's. Alberta is also increasingly at the heart of the culinary action. It has steaks to die for and farmers markets which inspire creative chefs province-wide to combine freshness and flair. Each September special foodie events abound in a massive ‘Dine Alberta’ celebration.

What's new Parks Canada is inviting visitors to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017 with free access to National Parks throughout the year – making this year an ideal time to go. �

Memorable Alberta... HOT SPRINGS: Set in stunning locations, Alberta’s naturally heated hot spring pools are rich in healing minerals and soaking while surrounded by majestic mountains makes this a pampering with a difference. Best known are the Banff Upper Hot Springs. hotsprings.ca

DINOSAUR DIGS: For a mindboggling moment or two visitors can check out the hoodoos (rock formations) in the Canadian Badlands, and then dig for dinosaur fossils in the UNESCO-ranked Dinosaur Provincial Park where dozens of species have been unearthed.

AURORA BOREALIS: With the world’s two largest dark sky preserves – Wood Buffalo and Jasper National Parks – Alberta is a prime spot from which to view the surreal natural phenomena of the Aurora Borealis. Optimal viewing is September through mid-May in northern Alberta.

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ADRENALIN RUSH: Alberta can set pulses racing with its zipline strung off the Olympic ski jump in Calgary; or along its white-water rapids. In winter, snowmobiles and dog-sledding set hearts racing; in summer there's ranch riding or the chance to dare the Via Ferrata on Mt Norquay, Banff.


Working in partnership

GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS

Training, competitions, events January 2017

THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES

Nicola a Jewel for Caribbean hotel group WINNER

Quick Quiz Are you a Trinbago expert? 1. Trinidad’s capital city, Port of Spain, is located on the west coast of the island. TRUE / FALSE

It's all right with Jamaica

Jamaica Specialist I Modules: 4

THE new Jamaica Travel Specialist training programme will show you just why the next visitor to this varied Caribbean island should be your client. Jamaica is a stunning country known for its beaches, mountains, culture, music and laid-back vibe. But what really makes Jamaica stand alone is its rich culture and the warmth of the welcome offered by those who live there. Learn about its cuisine, traditions, art, language, accommodation options and more and find yourself moving to the rhythm of the home of 'all right'! Qualifying as a Jamaica specialist should see you well equipped with all the tools you need to sell this iconic Caribbean destination. Train today, earn points and make your way up through the Travel Uni ranks. jamaicatravelspecialist.co.uk traveluni.com

2. Tobago is Trinidad’s little sister and sits 21 miles northeast of Trinidad TRUE / FALSE

jewelresortstraining.com

New flight option for Anguilla visitors FLIGHTS

learntrinbago.com

Answers: 1: True 2: True

Hot News

JEWEL Resorts offered agents the chance to win five nights at the company's all-inclusive adults-only Paradise Cove, located on Jamaica’s northern coast, close to Montego Bay. The winner was Nicola Leicester from Virgin Holidays, Trafford Centre, who was chosen at random from the 500 agents who completed the hotel group’s new online training programme. The Jewel Resorts training modules are a great way for agents to familiarise themselves with some top-notch all-inclusive resorts across the island.

ANGUILLA is set to receive a bost from new flights to the island operated by CHL Airlines. The timing of the flights, via Antigua, are timed to connect with arriving British Airways and Virgin Atlantic flights from London. The service will operate two return flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with prices starting from £169 one-way. Carolyn Brown, Director UK & Ireland, Anguilla Tourist Board, commented: “The new route is fantastic news for independent UK travellers and Anguillians traveling to and from Antigua. It means choice and flexibility beyond the current route options but is also an affordable option for those looking to take a last-minute trip from Antigua." anguillaexpert.com


Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

Will you be lucky number 1,500?

COURSE LIST

INCENTIVE

CAYMAN Islands Academy should achieve 1,500 users this month and to mark the number the destination is giving away a bottle of its special Seven Fathoms rum to lucky user 1,500. The rum, native to the islands, gets its name from the white oak barrels it is stored in, which are anchored 42 feet underwater (exactly seven fathoms) at a secret location off the coast. The online training platform will equip agents with everything they need to know about the Cayman Islands, helping them sell this enticing destination. Along with providing information about the islands themselves the training modules are also designed to help agents identify potential visitors from their customer base. caymanislandsacademy.com

A White Affair with Jamaica WINNERS

THE Jamaica Tourist Board invited five top-selling agents – from Thomson, Sackville Travel, Newmont Travel, Best at Travel and The Holiday Place – to the island last month (December 7-11) for The White Affair. The event, which is billed as the 'Ultimate Jamaica Reward', took place at the Hilton Rose Hall in Montego Bay. During their visit the agents got to experience some of the island's top attractions alongside their U.S. and Canadian counterparts. To win the trip the five agents had registered a combined total of 5,000 room nights, with a value of £1.5 million, on Jamaica Rewards. The annual event is exclusive to those best-performing agents who register their bookings on jamaicarewards.co.uk

New Programme

Pro choice for Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Pro I Modules: 4

BE A PRO: Puerto Rico Pro is your one-stop-shop for all things Puerto Rican! Check out the brand-new programme today and learn about this alluring Caribbean destination known as the ‘Island of Enchantment’. The programme has four fact-packed modules that provide all you need to know about Puerto Rico’s key areas, attractions, holiday 'types', some of the best places and experiences to suggest to clients, and much more! The four 'exams' are sure to test agents' knowledge and ensure they are fully prepared to sell this beautiful destination, with its local charms and stunning natural draw cards. Now served by direct flights with Norwegian, which relaunched on November 2 from Gatwick, starting from as little as £269 return, now is the time to get wired up on Puerto Rico. puertoricopro.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 Chile Colombia Elegant Hotels of Barbados England Flanders Florida GDS Gambia Grenada Half Moon Hotel Hawaii Heritage Resorts Hoseasons Insider Journeys Jamaica Jewel Resorts Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Kenya Leeds Beckett University Macao Las Vegas Malaysia Malta Mark Warner Miami New York Namibia Newmarket Holidays Norway Ocean Holidays 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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40

my experience

Feel like a celebrity in the ....

MALDIVES Lisa Merrigan travels to the Maldives, via Abu Dhabi, with JA Resorts and discovers luxury delivered with a smile. All in all, her own vision of paradise When Coldplay’s Chris Martin penned the lyrics to the hit song Paradise he was surely sat on the shores of the idyllic island of Manafaru! Surrounded by the crystal-blue waters of the Indian Ocean and the rich flora of the island, this JA Resorts five-star property is set on secluded Haa Alif, the northernmost atoll of the Maldives, 320km north of Male, the island chain’s capital.

ABU DHABI STOPOVER Our group of eight meets in the early hours at Heathrow and we quickly bond before we board our flight to Abu Dhabi, on Etihad’s impressive A380. After a comfortable seven-hour flight we transfer to JA’s sister hotel, JA Palm Tree Court in Dubai (a convenient and easy 45-minute drive from Abu Dhabi) for a two-day stopover. JA Palm Tree Court, in the Jebel Ali area off Sheik

gourmet restaurants! After some rest and relaxation

the depth of colour beneath us. It is a truly breath-

and time enjoying the resort’s extensive facilities

taking experience and one that even this nervous

and spacious garden suites, we are ready to leave

flier highly recommends.

Abu Dhabi and move onto the Maldives. A direct flight takes us to Male and, on arrival, we are whisked off to JA Manafaru’s private lounge for

“The team make the resort what it is. Within a couple of days you feel like part of the JA Manafaru family. Nothing is too much trouble and the smiles on everyone’s faces makes the whole experience extra special” NATALIA PISOVA – CARIBTOURS

and greet us with an exotic cocktail. I gulp in the fragrant smell of frangipani, which is mixed with the smell of the island’s damp vegetation. It feels like I have found my own personal paradise! My villa host, Chihiro, shows me to my own private Sunrise Water Villa, which comes with a private pool, deck and glass-panelled floors designed to let guests watch the marine life below swim by. Other accommodation options include Beach Bungalows, Sunset Water Villas, Beach Suites, a Grand two-bedroom Water Villa and two and threebedroom Royal Island Suites.

CASTAWAY ISLAND

Zayed Road, is set amongst lush gardens with waterfalls. Resident peacocks casually stroll among

JA Manafaru’s guest services team and senior management are waiting to meet us off the plane

refreshments ahead of our seaplane transfer.

With a full and exciting itinerary ahead of us there

The JA Manafaru team take care of our luggage

is just enough time to unpack and shower before

and we board our scheduled seaplane, operated by

heading to diner at Ocean Grill (one of the seven

swimming pools, a golf course, a riding centre, a

TMA (Trans Maldivian Airways). As we rise into the

restaurants on the island). The resident chef cooks

luxurious spa and – wait for it – no less than 11

clear-blue sky on our 75-minute journey, I marvel at

us up a selection of superb seafood and steaks.

the tropical flora. This five-star property has a private beach, several

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my experience

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Top tips

After a restful night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast at Kakuni we enjoy a fun day of activities put

Complimentary stops Ask about complimentary stopover stays in Dubai. And check out JA Resort’s comprehensive all-inclusive package that includes six dining outlets and an extensive mini-bar.

together by the resort’s wonderful Melania. Her team makes sure we experience all that Manafaru has to offer – including a deep-tissue massage among the tranquil surroundings of ‘Calm Spa’, a Maldivian cooking class by the resident chef, and a simply fabulous trip to Castaway Island. Your guests can enjoy an overnight stay here – and be

Flights Etihad flights to Male start from as little as £396pp, with a stopover in Abu Dhabi.

the only guests on this remote island. The cost is $900 per person. What sets JA Manafaru apart? For me, it’s the people. The staff are, at all times, genuinely friendly and totally professional and more than live up to JA’s mantra of ‘heartfelt hospitality’. Nothing seems too much trouble. For example, Sarah from Malantini was overhead commenting that she had a headache – so a member of staff quickly brought her some rehydration salts. And at every much-anticipated and delicious meal, whatever the resort restaurant one of our agents was always provided with their gluten-free

meal choice without once needing to be prompted. The homely feeling at JA Manafaru is real enough and allows you to just enjoy the most exquisite of locations whilst feeling comfortable enough to truly ‘let go’.

MY MAGICAL MOMENTS How do I choose from so many!? My first seaplane transfer. Snorkelling amongst turtles and vibrantlycoloured fish. �Enjoying the best sushi at White Orchid and top Italian food at Andiamo. Sipping prosecco on Castaway Island. �Sampling vintage wines in the wine ‘Cave’. �Partying at Horizon Lounge on Manafaru island way into the early hours. Watching a pod of spinner dolphins put on an amazing acrobatic display. Clockwise from left: The group relax on the beach; lunch at Captain’s Bar at JA Palm Tree Court; learning to cook Maldivian style; the TMA seaplane

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Information The best weather is between November and April. The high season falls between December and March, with the monsoon season running from May to October. However, even if you do encounter a rainy day JA Manafaru is well equipped with games rooms which include a mini-cinema. Room options At JA Manafaru there’s the option of booking a Sunrise or Sunset Villa on either side of the island - so ask your guests about their preference.

WHERE TO BOOK IT

�JA RESORTS – 0800 0159 708 Seven- night packages start from £3,400pp, all-inclusive, based on two adults sharing a beach bungalow with a private pool. Included are flights with Etihad Airways from Heathrow and return seaplane transfers. The deal is for travel in May this year. jaresorts.com


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indian ocean

heaven A patch made in

With its remote islands, white sands and sultry climate, the Indian Ocean is the archetypal setting for a romantic holiday. Heidi Fuller-Love selects some glamorous hideaways

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indian ocean

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ith political storms gathering across Europe and what increasingly feels like a forecast for doom and gloom across the Western world, the island havens of the Maldives, the Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka have never been so appealing. The Indian Ocean is a place to recalibrate and forget about day-to-day pressures but for couples it represents a chance to focus on each other, says Dinesh Bhaskar, Group Director for Sales and Marketing at the popular Maldives resort, Atmosphere Kanifushi. “When you travel to an island state in the Indian Ocean, you are investing quality time and energy into re-bonding with your loved one,” he says. “Life just settles down into a slow pace and you start enjoying the critical aspects of sharing time.” If romance is top of the menu in these four idyllic locations, there are also plenty of activities to satisfy those who find idleness hard to bear. Renowned worldwide for its fabulous seascapes, The Maldives is the only place in the world where guests can dive with whale sharks; The Seychelles’ Aldabra

atoll is home to a huge population of giant tortoises; Sri Lanka is a wonderland of hidden caves and nature reserves; and canyoning and rock climbing are just some of the thrilling activities on offer in Mauritius. The secluded nature of the Indian Ocean means that all-inclusive resorts are the norm and offers agents the chance to hit high commission, while the sheer range of luxury options and exclusive and romantic extras means that agents have a golden opportunity to up-sell.. And note that many destinations in the Indian Ocean run incentives for travel agents who focus and promote Indian Ocean Destinations

Maldives hideaways It’s hardly surprising that the postcard-perfect Maldives has been a best-selling destination for top tour operators, including Kuoni, for several years running. The islands are consistently voted the number one overseas wedding and honeymoon destination for British travellers too. Beautiful seascapes, powder white beaches and balmy temperatures extend to all

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The Deluxe room at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, Maldives

Indian Ocean destinations but the Maldives is special in that each resort is also its own private island – making it made for romance. “The Maldives is made up of 99% water and, as a result, we are fortunate enough to have over 120 luxury resorts located on private islands, ensuring couples and honeymooners are spoilt for choice when it comes to romantic accommodation,” says Haris Mohamed, Acting Managing Director at Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC). Carolina Svensson, Product and Purchasing Manager at Travel 2, points out that it doesn’t have to be ruinously expensive, either. “Staying in a beach villa is less costly than an overwater villa and can be an equally good, if not better, way to experience the Maldives,” she says. With 98 rooms and villas, several excellent restaurants and superb snorkelling and diving, Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu (cocopalm. com), in UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Baa Atoll, is idea for laidback couples who want a ‘no news, no shoes’ vacation. “Tour opperators who reach certain revenue targets for Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu are awarded commissions based on different percentage tiers. Coco Collection works very closely with a loyal sales network to ensure such mutually successful relationships,” says General Manager, Sandrine Kaiser. With its rustic-style deco, Padi-certified diving school and dazzling house reef, the newly opened four-star Oblu Atmosphere (obluhelengeli.com), on the tropical island of Helengeli, is an excellent option for cost-conscious couples seeking world-class water activities. Foodies will want to make a beeline for Amilla Fushi (amilla.mv), whose fabulous new overwater restaurant, Feeling Koi, offers authentic modern Japanese dining with a Peruvian twist. This smallscale resort, which has only 59 houses and eight stunning beach residences, also has a gourmet café deli and a well- stocked wine bar.

Terms & Conditions Apply

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H U R AW A L HI - CA P T U R I N G T H E S O UL O F T HE M ALD I VE S A 5-Star, adults only island boasting a breath-taking undersea restaurant, a beautiful beach and some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Maldives. Hurawalhi’s stylish Ocean Pool, Ocean, Beach Pool and Beach Villas offer Bed & Breakfast, Half, Full Board and All Inclusive Plus packages. Enjoy three restaurants, three bars, which when combined with superb service makes this island paradise your best choice for an unforgettable holiday. We are now open, come and experience the peaceful beauty of a luxurious tropical island.

Hurawalhi Island Resort | Lhaviyani Atoll | Republic of Maldives | www.hurawalhi.com | info@hurawalhi.com


indian ocean

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Seychelles sanctuaries An archipelago of 115 islands, The Seychelles’ lush landscapes are attracting increasing numbers of UK couples. “The Seychelles, where a plethora of new luxury hotels are opening their doors, is a fantastic destination. With direct flights from the UK to Mauritius and the Maldives and an easy hop off in Dubai or Abu Dhabi for our Seychelles clients, we have seen a sizeable uplift in business,” states Jonathan King, UK Head of Sales and Marketing for Constance Hotels, an Indian Ocean hotel group with properties in the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius. With the only 18-hole golf course in the Seychelles, Constance Lemuria (constancehotels. com) is a top option for on-par couples. Accommodation is in 105 spacious suites and villas scattered over a secluded stretch of forested land on Praslin Island, and the resort has several restaurants serving Creole cuisine and a state of the art spa. For couples wanting to really get away from it all, Wilderness Collection offers a range of special wedding and honeymoon options on North Island (north-island.com). The exclusive atoll is situated 30 kilometres from the main island of Mahe and has just 11 luxurious villas overlooking powder-white beaches where couples can enjoy a host of activities designed for two, ranging from private beach dinners, to exclusive sunset cruises. “The combination of privacy and exclusivity makes North Island the perfect setting in which to pledge or renew your vows, or to begin a lifelong adventure together,” says the island’s General Manager, Nick Solomon. Four Seasons Seychelles (fourseasons.com/seychelles) is another resort that feels romantically remote. Dramatically positioned on a steep hillside surrounded by jungle, it has 67 secluded villas whose infinity pools have spectacular views to a white sand beach. The resort

Clockwise from top left: Lux Maldives; sunset cruise for two from Denis Island, Seychelles; a romantic setting for lunch in Mauritius; traditional entertainment in the Maldives

planter and a tea mixology masterclass. As Sri Lanka’s first sustainable design hotel, Tri (trilanka.com) celebrated its first birthday Sri Lanka for lovers by revamping an already extensive wellness Italian explorer Marco Polo once described offering. Couples who love to pamper should Sri Lanka as ‘the best island of its size in the make a beeline for this luxurious property world,’ a straightforward description which overlooking Sri Lanka’s Lake Koggala. doesn’t quite convey the beauty of this tearIts eight villas have private gardens and drop shaped nation. Here, the beaches are plunge pools, and Ayurvedic treatments, offset by mist-wreathed mountains, lush healthy food and yoga are on the menu. jungles and rolling tea plantations. For old-fashioned romantics, the blend of A colourful jumble Colonial-style elegance of ornate temples and and fantastic amenities “The east coast is a great beautifully-conserved at the five-star Jetwing introduction to the diverse colonial architecture Lighthouse (jetwinghotels. and the exciting, slightly landscapes of Mauritius, with com), will probably hit chaotic, atmosphere of fields of sugar cane, undulating the spot. High on a hillside overlooking southern Asia makes hills and valleys” picturesque Dutch this a great option for NICOLA SWEENEY, PRODICT MANAGER Colonial houses in Galle more adventurous CARIBTOURS port, the hotel’s deluxe couples who rooms and suites, want to explore renovated with exotic wood and handwoven and immerse themselves in local culture. fabrics, are a blast from the-Colonial-past. Tea for two is definitely on the menu at Tea Trails (resplendentceylon. com/teatrails), a tea bungalow resort Romantic pads in Mauritius belonging to the owners of Dilmah Less secluded than the Maldives but more tea, Sri Lanka’s only entirely homeresort-focused than Sri Lanka, Mauritius grown and home-managed tea brand. is a great option for those who want a Treats in store for couples who stay in hassle-free fly-and-flop holiday but want one of the resort’s five restored colonialeasy access to activities and attractions. “If you are travelling to Mauritius try to get era tea planter residences include a around the island to see the waterfalls, seven gourmet dinner with a local tea historian, a colours of the earth, botanical gardens, quad private night walk with the estates own tea also has a hilltop spa offering a range of sumptuous signature treatments.

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Family or Twin Centre Holidays? We’ve got it covered this ‘peaks’.

WIN A

biking and horse riding – this destination really has it all,” says Jonathan King, UK Head of Sales and Marketing for Constance Hotels. Couples on a budget will welcome affordable luxury options at the brand new four-star Maritim Crystal Beach (maritimcrystalsbeachhotel. mu) fronting a striking white-sand beach on the island’s east coast. Despite the lower price tag, 181 luxurious rooms and suites have Jacuzzi tubs and sea views, whilst two à la carte restaurants offer plenty of opportunities for intimate dining. Pick of the crop for luxury, the recently upgraded Royal Palm (beachcomber-hotels.com) on the sheltered north-west coast, where celebrities including Nelson Mandela and Phil Collins have spent time away from the usual glare, has 69 sumptuous suites overlooking a dazzling stretch of white-sand beach and three restaurants overseen by an award-winning chef. For an authentic bonding experience without kids, Attitude Resorts’ adult-only Hotel Tropical (tropical-hotel-mauritius.com) offers the ideal break. Overlooking the lagoon of Trou d’Eau, a typical fishing village on the island’s east coast, this small-scale ‘sleepery’ has 58 sea-view rooms with Creole decor and a laidback ambiance.

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A Beach Residence Central Villa at Dusit Thani Maldives

Seven nights at Jetwing Blue, Sri Lanka, costs from £945 (£1,465 in high season) and includes flights fom Heathrow and transfers. An allinclusive plan costs £48 per day. caribtours.co.uk 

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sponsored feature

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Martin County - Undiscovered Florida -

M

STEVEN MARTINE

artin County is an undiscovered slice of Florida on the state’s Treasure Coast, within two hours of four international airports and offering 22 miles of coast and countless charming towns to explore.

Years ago, the residents of Martin County successfully campaigned for major highways to skirt rather than cross their county and as a result, this charming region flies under the radar and retains an unspoilt, traditional feel. Just an hour from Fort Lauderdale and an easy two hour’s drive from Orlando, Martin County is open for discovery.

UNDISCOVERED HORIZONS Your clients will certainly not struggle to find a patch of sand to lay their towel in Martin County. There are 22 miles of pristine beaches, ranging from surf spots to protected swathes of sand perfect for families. Hutchinson Island is home to miles of sand where you can surf, boat, sail, kite surf, dive and snorkel - or just enjoy the view, which, thanks to strict regulations on building height, is unemcumbered by high-rise condos.

FLORIDA’S SCENIC ROUTE Each town has its own unique character in Martin County. Take Jensen Beach, with its porch-fronted cute cottages, trimmed with picket fences and carved pineapples (it was once the pineapple capital of the world). The town sports Key

THERE IS SOMETHING TO SUIT ALL TASTES AND BUDGETS. BOUTIQUE HOTELS, TO FAMILY OWNED BED AND BREAKFAST PROPERTIES; A MARRIOTT BEACH RESORT OR CONDO APARTMENTS ON THE BEACH; RIVERSIDE COTTAGES TO RENT AND OLD FLORIDA MOTELS THAT HAVE BEEN IN THE SAME FAMILY FOR GENERATIONS. discovermartin.com/places-to-stay WHERE TO STAY

are the St Lucie River and Estuary, a unique West-style Caribbean colour and offers five-star habitat for over 4,300 species of flora and fauna. dining and boutique shopping. Endangered creatures like manatees and Or suggest your clients drop in at historic peregrine falcons thrive here. Indiantown, a Seminole trading post established Nature lovers will find plenty more wilderness in the 1800s. The birth place of Betty Mae Tiger areas to explore, like Jonathan Dickinson State Jumper, the only female leader of the Seminole tribe, the town is situated in the heart of Florida’s Park. Crossed by the Loxahatchee River, paved cattle and citrus country and its old Seminole Inn and off-road bike trails, hiking paths and equestrian routes, it captures the twilight has woods, mangroves grandeur of ‘Old Florida’. “Watch the sun rise over the and swamps. The fishing village of Visitors can get up Port Salerno is a hub for Atlantic Ocean and set over Lake close to local wildlife artists and visitors can Okeechobee, the second-largest at the Hobe Sound browse galleries and airy freshwater lake in the USA. Start Nature Center, which studios before enjoying your day wearing flip-flops and offers presentations fresh local seafood in pull on your cowboy boots later” on native beasts with the waterfront eateries. Nicknamed the 'Sailfish NERISSA OKIYE, DIRECTOR, MARTIN COUNTY OFFICE OF its residents, including TOURISM AND MARKETING snakes, skunks and a Capital of the World', the crocodile. It also offers cute town of Stuart is at field experiences like kayaking on the Indian one end of Florida's only cross-state canal, River Lagoon. earning it comparisons to the Panama Canal too. Owned by the Nature Conservancy, Blowing The walkable streets are full of waterfront cafes, Rocks Preserve is a dramatic limestone antique shops and museums, as well as the outcrop on Jupiter Island. Breaking historic Lyric Theatre. waves spray plumes of water through NATURAL WONDERS erosion holes, sometimes reaching up to Martin County is home to the most bio-diverse fifty feet high. The preserve is home to lagoon ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere. mangroves and dunes teaming with life. Between the Atlantic and the Indian River Lagoon For more info, contact: gary@vvvglobal.com

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how to sell

Bermuda by Lauren Jarvis

O

ne of the world’s most photogenic destinations, Bermuda offers a stylish, sub-tropical island escape in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. The island’s candy-coloured confection of treats tempts travellers to return to its shores time and time again: soft pink beaches, pastel-hued houses, delicate hibiscus blooms and sparkling turquoise seas. Why sell it On its own, lying 600 miles from the east coast of the USA and 1,000 miles north of the Caribbean, Bermuda is made up of 181 islands (totalling 21 square miles) – and it is closer to the UK than you might think: just over seven hours' flying time, with British Airways flying direct from Gatwick. A warm climate makes it a great year-round getaway, whilst its colonial heritage renders the exotic isles reassuringly familiar. As a British Overseas Territory, residents drive on the left and even recognise the Queen’s birthday. In 2017, Bermuda has the added draw of

To infinity and beyond: Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club hosting the world-famous America’s Cup sailing competition. “All eyes will be on Bermuda this year, as Sir Ben Ainslie leads the mission to bring the trophy home, but there are plenty more reasons to visit,” says Andy Facer, Bermuda Tourism Authority’s UK Account Director.

Sell to whom

Stand-up paddleboarding

Secluded beach resorts offer romantic refuge for honeymooners and couples, with oceanfront dining under the stars and unique retreats like the stalactite-studded Prospero’s Cave at Grotto Bay’s Natura Spa adding an extra dash of magic. Golfers can enjoy unparalleled views across the islands’ beaches and bays from six world-class courses (more per capita than anywhere else on Earth), while newbie sailors can hone their skills with the new RYA Learn to Sail programme at Hamilton’s prestigious Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (rbyc.bm), and experienced-hands can let out their sails on the waters of the iconic Great Sound. Divers and snorkellers can explore over 300

Bermuda Essentials TIME: - 4 GMT FLIGHT TIME: 7/7.5 hours CURRENCY: Bermudian dollars (U.S. dollars also accepted) LANGUAGE: English BOOK IT: Official America’s Cup operator, Travel Places, is offering a Qualifier’s Package from £1,275pp or a Challenger

Package from £1,320pp, including five nights at the Fairmont Southampton(room-only). The operator's Finals Package (from £1,500pp) includes five nights at Coco Reef (B&B). All packages include transfers, two on-water spectator tickets and an America’s Cup baseball cap

(americascuptravel.com). Return flights to Bermuda with British Airways cost from £679pp (ba.com). TOUR OPERATORS classic-collection.co.uk hayesandjarvis.co.uk premierholidays.co.uk prestigeholidays.co.uk

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wrecks and reefs teeming with fish, turtles and rays. During March and April expect to see migrating humpback whales breaching offshore. There’s much for history lovers here too, and the excellent 'hunted history' tours of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St George’s – Bermuda’s oldest town – brings the islands’ fascinating past to life (hauntedhistorybda.com).

What to sell Although it's known as a playground for the rich and famous – Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have had a home here since 2001, and are opening their Ariel Sands Cottage Colony Hotel in Spring 2017 – Bermuda maintains an unpretentious, über-friendly vibe. Join the locals for the weekly summertime Harbour Nights party in the pretty capital of Hamilton, or catch the public bus around the island (tourists aren’t permitted to hire cars) and locals will happily volunteer insider tips on where to eat and what to do. The list is surprisingly long! “Try cliff jumping at Royal Admiralty Park, cycling the cross-island Railway Trail or swimming in an ancient limestone cave,” suggests the BTA's Andy Facer. “There’s no end of water sports, including HydroBikes and clear-bottom kayaks, but if it’s relaxation you’re after simply lounge on one of the pristine, pink-sand beaches while sipping a Dark ’n' Stormy or Rum Swizzle, made with Bermuda’s very own Gosling’s rum.” With the America’s Cup sailing into town


how to sell

“Many clients like to combine Bermuda as part of a twin-centre holiday with New York or Boston” HEIDI BLADES, HEAD OF TRAVEL SERVICES, PREMIER HOLIDAYS

Prospero's Cave at Grotto Bay's Natura Spa

51

in late May, Bermuda is seeing a host of new hotel openings and renovations, while cruise ships stationed in Hamilton and the Royal Naval Dockyard will provide novel short-term accommodation during the event.

What’s new “The America’s Cup has brought so much attention to Bermuda that even our traditional partners are looking at the destination differently and seeing additional opportunities,” says Pat Phillip-Fairn, Chief Product and Experience Officer for the Bermuda Tourism Authority. Hotels: Fred Olsen (fredolsencruises.com) has a 26-night Azores & the America’s Cup cruise from £3,299pp, departing from Liverpool on June 9. In Hamilton, the deluxe rooms at the boutique Rosedon Hotel (rosedon.com) have been upgraded. Fairmont’s elegant Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club (fairmont.com), the host hotel for the America’s Cup, has opened the new Mind Body Gym, a spa and fitness studio overlooking the harbour, offering barre, Yoga and cardio classes. The all-inclusive Grotto Bay Beach Resort & Spa (grottobay.com) at Bailey’s Bay has seen a revamp of its guest rooms, beach and pool.

Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa Adults-only Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa (cambridgebeaches.com) has refurbished its cottages

and water-view suites. The Loren at Pink Beach (thelorenbermuda.com) in the exclusive enclave of Tucker’s Town debuts in early 2017 with a hotel and private villas. A new luxury Ritz-Carlton Reserve Resort (ritzcarlton.com) opens in 2018. Gates Bay in historic St George’s will see a new 122-room St. Regis Resort & Casino (starwoodhotels.com) open in 2019.

Bermuda January 17.pdf 21/12/2016 14:14:13

PRESTIGE H O L I D A Y S

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BE RMU DA

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52

jordan

Myths and

legends Adam Coulter channels his inner Indiana Jones on a quest to discover why Jordan has been mythologized through the ages

I

had always had an impression of Petra drawn exclusively from that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where the iconic Treasury building doubles for the temple holding the Holy Grail. On horseback, Indy heads along the dark, winding path, cut straight through a canyon, when suddenly the scene opens up and there in front of him is a grand columned building hewn from the rock itself. I had a feeling I wouldn’t be able to hire a horse, but I did ask if it would be possible to recreate the path Indy took towards the Treasury. The guide turned to me with a wry smile as I showed him the YouTube clip and said: “But Mr. Adam – that is the only way into Petra.” And so it is. The beauty of the rose-coloured city – which dates from well before the birth of Christ, and was only rediscovered in 1812 – is that it is straight out of a fairy tale (or an action

adventure movie). It’s not on show, but hidden, with just one way in and one way out. And as you round the final bend, and the Treasury comes into view, it is quite simply jaw dropping. Petra is Jordan’s top tourist attraction and it’s not hard to see why – it’s a true wonder of the world; an outstanding archeological site where the buildings are perfectly preserved, and where you can wander at will while pretending you’re Indiana Jones on the hunt for the cup of eternal life.

Centre of attention Jordan is bordered by Iraq, Syria, Israel and Saudi Arabia but is considered the ‘Switzerland’ of the region, largely untouched by the political upheaval and conflict around it. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is roughly the same size as Portugal and has a population of more than six million people. For a country

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jordan

53

so small, Jordan is packed full of biblical, historical and cultural significance. There are a number of direct flights from London Heathrow to Jordan, a flying time of just over five hours. You land in the bustling capital of Amman, home to more than half the population. It is a city of fascinating contrasts – millennia old, with buildings and monuments predating Christianity and Islam. Downtown, modern buildings, hotels, smart restaurants, art galleries and boutiques stand beside traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans’ workshops. There is an excellent road network and you can get around Jordan quickly and efficiently. Nothing is far – the Dead Sea is just over an hour’s drive; Aqaba around four hours and Petra three. Around five days here is enough to get a feel for the country, while packing a lot in.

Perfect five Petra: A true wonder of the world, this perfectly preserved ancient city, hewn out of the rose-coloured rock, is a place of legends and Jordan’s number one tourist draw. Aqaba: At the southern tip of the country, and pointing into the Red Sea, Aqaba is a well-known scuba diving spot famous for the Yamanieh Reef. There is also windsurfing and snorkeling. Wadi Rum: Walk in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia in the aptly-named Empty Quarter. Enjoy a traditional lamb tagine, then bed down under a star-packed sky. Amman: It’s worth spending the night in Jordon’s capital, soaking up the sights and sounds of this vibrant Middle Eastern city. The Dead Sea: The legendary healing properties of this ultra-salty sea means people have been flocking here for years. Have a mud wrap after you’ve floated about.

Clockwise from left: View of Petra from entrance; Bedouin on a camel; unwind in The Dead Sea; The Royal Tombs at Petra; Exploring Wadi Rum

What’s new

Tourism talk

 Attractions: The Jordan Trail is expected ““We’ve had an overwhelming response to be completely finished in 2017, giving to our ExtraJORDANary campaign, which visitors the perfect opportunity to explore has been about showcasing our majestic previous unknown areas. It connects the country and inspiring people, and we have already length of the country from Um Qais in the had a significant increase in traffic to our website. north of Aqaba to the Red Sea in the south. “Our visitor figures are up 5% from this time last At Petra, digging continues for a new year and we are working hard to make sure we monument discovered some 800m south of the attract many more visitors into 2017 and beyond. Treasury in June 2016. Although the site has “We have some new operators this year including not been excavated fully, pottery found nearby Tots Too, specialising in family travel and Cazenove dates back 2,100 years. & Loyd offering tailor Hotels: 2016 saw made adventures. the opening of the Regent Holidays and “Head to one of the luxury Rotana Hotel The Beyond Tourism clearest spots in the world in Amman and many Country are set to launch for stargazing – The Empty new developments are packages in 2017.” Quarter. The Milky Way and already in progress, Dr. Abed Al Razzaq shooting stars can clearly be Arabiyat, Managing with launches set for 2017 including Director, Jordan seen from this desert” the five star Century Tourism Board Hotel Dead Sea Jordan, Where to book it W Amman Hotel, Fairmont Hotel, The St.  ABERCROMBIE & KENT – 01242 546 634 Regis Amman, Hyatt Regency, Al Manara The seven-day Classic Jordan tour is from and Jumeirah at Saraya Aqaba. £1,495pp including flights. Highlights include  Event: The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) will hold its AdventureNEXT the preserved Roman city of Jerash; tracing the Near East (ANNE) conference in Jordan. With old Kings’ Highway via Mount Nebo, Madaba support from the Jordan Tourism Board and and Kerak’s Crusader castle; traversing Wadi the Jordan Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Rum by 4WD; exploring Petra; and floating this first-ever adventure travel conference, in the healing waters of the Dead Sea. abercrombiekent.co.uk  supporting eco-tourism and active travel development in the Middle East and North WHO FLIES THERE Africa regions, will help grow environmental, batraveltrade.com; rj.com cultural and adventure tourism in the region.

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Full Page Type

THE HIGHEST RATED RIVER CRUISE SHIPS S

277x190

ABTA No.Y6393


55

excellence Par

For those agents with the dedication to sell golf holidays, there is plenty of commission potential, says Peter Ellegard

A

ccording to global golf tourism industry organisation IAGTO, international golf package holiday sales are worth around two billion pounds annually, with 87% of packages sold worldwide being sold by its member golf tour operators, who carried 1.9 million golfers in 2015. Many specialist operators sell direct. However, some golf operators do work with the trade, offering commission or a net rate for agents. Several general tour operators also offer golfbased holidays and many feature golf resorts. But golf bookings need not necessarily be dedicated golf trips. They can also be holidays to golf destinations where golf is an add-on. North America Travel Service Managing Director Ruby Briggs said: “Arizona ticks all the boxes for the golfer as well as those looking for other outdoor activities such as hot-air ballooning, hiking and 4x4 trips and it’s all complemented by the amazing shopping, dining and spa opportunities too. It’s a great destination for everyone. The same is true of other destinations such as California.”

IAGTO golf operator A Golfing Experience is also an AITO member. Director Steve Frewin said: “We have been providing travel agent commissionable golf packages for the past eight years to many fantastic destinations, such as Dominican Republic, Mauritius, Bermuda and St Kitts & Nevis. We provide agents with all the

“Check whether tee times can be pre-booked as golfers usually like to choose when and where to play in advance of travelling” necessary golf booking service, information and quality high-end products to ensure satisfaction and retain the golf clients business that might otherwise be lost to online competitors.” Here are some top commissionearning golf destination.

sellingtravel.co.uk

Arizona More than 300 golf courses and a year-round golf climate make Arizona a golfing Mecca. Scottsdale has a host of resorts with golf on-site, among them newly-renovated golf and spa resort The Boulders, with two courses in a desert setting. Tucson, America’s first UNESCO World City of Gastronomy for its food and wine scene, also has impressive golf resorts, like the Westin La Paloma, with 27 holes amidst mountains and saguaro cacti. Book it: North America Travel Service – 0113 246 1466 A seven-night break with four nights at the new Andaz Scottsdale and two rounds of golf (at SunRidge Canyon and Eagle Mountain) and three nights at the Loews Ventana Canyon, Tucson, with one round at Dove Mountain (room-only) including British Airways flights to Phoenix and a week’s fullsize car rental, costs from £1,839pp. northamericatravelservice.co.uk

Abu Dhabi Taking a cue from its neighbour Dubai, Abu Dhabi has developed into a golf destination

ABU DHABI TOURISM & CULTURE AUTHORITY

golf holidays


golf holidays

in its own right and makes an ideal shortbreak winter golf escape. Besides its uber-luxury hotels and attractions, the emirate offers three championship golf courses in the UAE’s capital city, including the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, part of a Westin resort, and Yas Links, next to the Yas Marina Circuit, home of the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Book it: Etihad Holidays – 0345 600 8118 Five nights’ B&B hotel accommodation and three rounds of golf, at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Yas Links Golf Club, costs from £819pp, including return Etihad Airways flights. eyholidays4agents.co.uk

South Africa

Previous page: Yas Links, Abu Dhabi; this page: Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Abu Dhabi; the first hole at South Africa’s Durban Country Club

Golfers in South Africa can combine championship golf with a touring holiday that takes in some of the country’s wonders such as Cape Town and Table Mountain, a safari, Johannesburg or KwaZulu-Natal’s Zulu and Boer War battlefields. The country’s golf resorts are world-class and include Western Cape’s Fancourt, Mpumalanga’s Leopard Creek and the North West’s Sun City resort, with two Gary

Swing by Abu Dhabi

Golf, sun, sea and just the right amount of sand. Year round sunshine, Arabian hospitality, world-class dining and three championship golf courses are just some of the things that make Abu Dhabi a dream destination for every golf enthusiast. 3 nights from £599 per person, including flights, accommodation and 2 rounds of golf.

Golf clubs fly free with Etihad Airways.

eyholidays4agents.co.uk | 0345 600 8118 |

Player courses. Luxury train operator Rovos Rail has two golf-based rail itineraries. Book it: Chaka Travel – 028 9023 2112 Golf holiday packages include the 10-day Rovos Rail Golf Safari starting and ending in Pretoria, offering return Johannesburg flights, eight nights aboard the train including meals and drinks, and five rounds of golf on courses including Sun City’s Lost City Golf Course, Leopard Creek and Durban Country Club, with non-golf excursions such as safaris and battlefield tours. Prices from £4,700pp. chakatravel.com DURBAN COUNTRY CLUB

SAADIYAT BEACH GOLF-CLUB

56


golf holidays

Golfers have been crossing the Channel to play in France for over a century. Among popular regions to tee off in are the Pas de Calais, Normandy, Brittany, Bordeaux, Provence and around Paris, where Le Golf National’s Albatross course will host the 2018 Ryder Cup. Close to Bordeaux, Golf du Medoc Hotel & Spa has two designer courses set among the region’s vineyards. Book it: France Golf Tours – 00 33 1 41 22 00 81 The IAGTO inbound tour operator offers an eight-day Paris and Bordeaux Golf & Wine tour with five rounds of golf in both areas, including on Le Golf National’s Ryder Cup course, plus city and chateau tours and wine tasting activities. Prices, commissionable for agents at 10%, are €2,590pp self-drive or €2,890pp in a chauffeured minibus, and include bed and breakfast accommodation but not flights (into Bordeaux, return from Paris). france-golf-tours.com

Mallorca For a small island, Mallorca punches above its weight as a golf destination, serving up 20 courses close to the capital Palma, in the

north and on the east coast. Golf can be played year-round. The new Park Hotel Mallorca, on the island’s quiet north-east, offers guests a complimentary shuttle service to three island courses and has a range of discounts for the trade. mallorca.park.hyatt.com Book it: Classic Collection Holidays – 01903 836673 Seven nights at the Park Hyatt Mallorca, which has four golf courses close by, start from £1929pp on a B&B basis, with return Gatwick-Palma flights and private transfers. Golf green fees are not included. classic-collection.co.uk

PENATI GOLF RESORT

France

57

Thailand Thailand is attracting increasing numbers of UK golfers, thanks to offering some of Asia’s best golf courses, great-value green fees and hotel rates and high service levels on and off golf courses. The main golf centres are southern resort areas Pattaya, Hua Hin and Phuket, capital Bangkok and Chiang Mai in the north. Stay and play at Hua Hin’s Black Mountain and Banyan golf resorts or Chiangmai Highlands Golf & Spa Resort, among others.

Above: Penati Golf Resort, Slovakia, featured on AmaWaterways 10-night Danube cruise

The Park Hyatt® trademark and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. © 2016 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

SUITE 14 F I VE - N I GH T STAY B R E A K FAST IN CLU DE D T W O DI NNE R S IN CLUDED C O MP LI M EN TARY SHUTT LE SE RV IC E 2 0 % D I SCO UNT ON AP RÈS G O LF M ASS AG E

BOOK YOUR GOLF EXPERIENCE for stays until 30 April 2017. Travel trade discounts are also available. Offer is subject to availability and not applicable from 30 January to 18 February 2017 and 10 April to 21 April 2017. Complimentary shuttle service to Canyamel Golf (18 holes, 2 min), Capdepera Golf (18 holes, 5 min), Pula Golf (18 holes, 10 min) and Son Servera Golf (18 holes, 15 min). More information at mallorca.park@hyatt.com or +34 871 81 1234


golf holidays

EXPERIENCE SCOTTSDALE

VINPEARL GOLF

BLACK MOUNTAIN GOLF RESORT

58

Vietnam Fast-growing golf destination Vietnam offers top-quality golf amidst stunning scenery along more than 2,000 miles of coast. Danang is spearheading the golf push and now boasts four nearby courses by top names, including the Nick Faldo-designed Laguna Lang Co, with two on-site hotels. Other golf resort developments include The Grand Ho Tram Strip and adjacent Greg Norman course The Bluffs, two hours from Ho Chi Minh City, and the Vinpearl Phu Quoc Resort on Phu Quoc Island, in the far south-west. Book it: Bamboo Travel – 020 7720 9285 The operator’s 13-day guided Highlights of Vietnam tour includes three nights close to Danang in Hoi An, with time to play golf on the area’s courses, plus Hanoi, an overnight Halong Bay cruise, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City. Prices start at £2,095pp including international flights, road transfers and tours. bambootravel.co.uk

Mauritius The Indian Ocean island is a golfers’ paradise. It already has nine 18-hole golf courses with another three set to open by the end of 2018, and several form part of luxury resort developments. Among them are the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita with its Ernie Els course, the Heritage Le Telfair where a second course is being added, the Constance Belle Mare Plage with two courses and Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort with Bernhard Langer’s Ile aux Cerfs island course.

Book it: Your Golf Travel – 0800 193 6629 The golf specialist offers seven nights half-board at Anahita The Resort with unlimited rounds at Ile aux Cerfs and Anahita from £1,449pp, including flights. yourgolftravel.com

Dominican Republic Known as the Golf Capital of the Caribbean and offering 19 international-standard courses, the destination kick-started the region’s golf revolution over 40 years ago with the opening of the formidable Teeth of the Dog course by design guru Pete Dye at Casa de Campo resort. Today, Casa de Campo has four Dye courses, three of them open to guests, while other resorts include Puntacana, with two hotels and 45 holes of golf on two courses. Book it: A Golfing Experience – 01494 875164 Seven nights at the all-inclusive Barcelo Bavaro Beach resort including three rounds of golf on the Barcelo the Lakes course costs from £1,375pp, including transfers and direct flights from London. The compulsory golf buggy is payable locally. agolfingexperience.co.uk

Golf along the Danube Sit back and watch the heart of Europe drift past on a Danube cruise, playing some of the region’s top golf courses along the way. AmaWaterways has introduced luxury golf cruises for 2017 in association with golf specialist LGT Golf. The cruises include golf on five courses in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary where European Tour events are staged. Book it: AmaWaterways – 0800 954 0063 A 10-night Danube cruise between Prague and Budapest or in the opposite direction, playing five courses, costs £1,845 per golfer in addition to the cruise price, which starts at £2,431pp. Golf club rental is available for an extra £110 pre-booked. amawaterways.co.uk 

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PETER ELLEGARD

Book it: Golf Breaks – 0800 279 7988 Seven nights’ B&B in a villa at Black Mountain Golf Club & Resort, in Hua Hin, with four rounds of golf costs from £415pp net including caddy fees and transfers, but not flights. Agents can add their own commission. golfbreaks.com

“If your clients are pushed for time suggest Scottsdale’s new high-end Short Course at boutique resort, Mountain Shadows. The 18 top-class parthree holes can be played in just

a couple of hours – and the course is close to the airport” PETER ELLEGARD, TRAVEL WRITER

Top from left: Villas at Black Mountain Golf Resort, Hua Hin, Thailand; The boulders in Scottsdale, Arizona, offer two unique course set among a rocky desert landscape; Vinpearl. Phu Quoc Resort on Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam; the famed Teeth of the Dog, Dominican Republic


country profile

59

Colombia - Magical realism, Caribbean colour, Latin rhythms Get arty Bogotá is a great place for an art fix. It’s awash with cool galleries such as Neebex, Galería Baobab and Galería MÜ. Or check out its vibrant street art scene. Shop till you drop Local specialties include emeralds and handcrafted leather goods. In Bogotá shop for bargains at Usaquén’s Sunday flea market. Cartagena is a great place for local art. Flesh sale Carnivores should not leave Bogotá without having taken a taxi to nearby Chia for an evening at Andres Carne de Res: it’s one part restaurant and 10 parts party hub. Make it eventful Cultural events such as Cartagena’s classical music festival and its version of the Hay Literary Festival, both in January, are popular. As is Barranquilla for Carnival. Get lost For pre-Columbian culture suggest clients journey to Tayrona’s ‘Lost City’ or southernly Archaeological Park, with its collection of megalithic statues.

“Some will be attracted by Cartagena’s connections to the celebrated magic realism writer Gabriel Garcia Márquez but all will be seduced by the city’s sensuously sultry and languid Caribbean atmosphere”

W

ith Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, quaint colonial cities and archaeological wonders and a landscape that lurches from lush Amazonian rainforest to the arid Tatacoa desert, Colombia is an impressive prospect, and it’s never been easier to get too, says Karl Cushing Since national carrier Avianca launched the first direct flight routes from London to Bogotá in June 2014 others from KLM and TAP to Air Europa has rushed to add services from their respective European hubs. At the same time, an impressive flowering of high-end openings from the likes of Four Seasons, Marriott, Starwood and Hyatt has helped attract a wider range of UK tour operators and visitors, including older, more well-heeled travellers whose previous experience would likely have been confined to a cruise call in Cartagena.

CAPITAL PLEASURES Most will begin their journey in the capital Bogotá. Its historic Candelaria district, home to boutique hotels such as The Orchids and Hotel de la Ópera, is one of the more established draws. Here you can soak up the history and culture in the fascinating Museo del Oro (gold museum) and Museo del Botero, touring sites such as the Plaza de Bolivar before catching a show at the recently renovated Teatro Colón. That said, districts such as Usaquén and leafy

MOMPOX

La Cabrera increasingly vie for visitors’ attention while Starwood chose Santa Bárbara’s Business Centre as the base for its funky W Bogotá. Exploring the culinary scene is an attraction in itself. Pioneering eateries like Harry Sasson, Criterión and Matiz have helped transform the country’s foodie scene far beyond traditional hearty staples such as bandeja paisa. Popular side trips from the capital include La Chorrera Adventure Park, Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral and Lake Guatavita.

CARIBBEAN QUEEN

TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK

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Coastal Cartagena, a hugely popular cruise call, features highly on most visitors’ wish lists. Some will be attracted by Cartagena’s connections to the celebrated magic realism writer Gabriel Garcia Márquez but all will be seduced by the city’s sensuously sultry and languid Caribbean atmosphere, which Marquez captured so brilliantly in his works such as One Hundred Years of Solitude, which turns 50 next year. To meander within the old city walls, exploring its historic, cobbled streets and bougainvillea-lined colonial buildings, is


60

country profile

a real pleasure. Many have been masterfully refurbished in recent years and transformed into boutique hotels and restaurants. By way of contrast the neighbouring Getsemani district affords an altogether less polished, more bohemian experience, while regions such as Bocagrande take a more highrise touristic approach. Popular excursions from the city include boat trips to Playa Blanca’s beaches and the Rosario Islands. Hikers and adventurers head to historic Santa Marta, a growing cruise centre, to strike out for Tayrona National Park with its fabled La Ciudad Perdida (or ’Lost City’).

FURTHER AFIELD Other potential entry points to Colombia include Rionegro and Cali. The former’s attractions number Parque Recreativo Comfama (a family-friendly water park) and the recreated paisa settlement of Tutucán, with its colonial churches, taverns and coffee farm. Primarily though it’s a handy jumping off point for exploring the department of Antioquia, the capital of which is Colombia’s second city, Medellin. The region is also popular for beautiful Zona Cafetera, the coffee-growing area focused within the cultural triangle of Pereira, Manizales and Armenia. It is possible to tour the coffee zone by day from Bogotá but to truly enjoy the region’s earthly delights you should stay on one of the coffee farms. There are now a host of delightful haciendas and fincas to choose from and the region is a big hit with foodies and active travellers. The latter are drawn by the stunning scenery and wide choice of pursuits such as biking, horse riding and hiking – although true

BLOOMING CARTAGENA

LA CANDELARIA, BOGOTÁ

adrenalin sports fans would be better served further north in the Andean city of San Gil. Jeep tours are a coffee triangle staple but a balloon flight is invariably unforgettable. Meanwhile, to the north of Manizales lies the stunning Los Nevados National Park and Valle de Cocora, both magnets for nature lovers. Cali, meanwhile, is the ‘go to’ place for salsa fans, being home to myriad dance schools, salsa clubs and dance festivals, not to mention a whole host of world champions. Don’t leave town without having a few dance lessons and shaking your tailfeathers in one of the many local clubs — skimpy sequinned outfits are optional. The second-largest city of Medellín is known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’, as well as being the home of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar. These days, the all-powerful cartels have relinquished their hold over the city and tourists can even take educational tours that give an insight into life under their grip. Surrounded by mountains, Medellín has numerous parks and plazas and an impressive arts scene. A cable car ride to the Santo Domingo neighbourhood offers panoramic views and the award-winning architecture of the Spanish Library. At the night, the salsa bars open. 

sellingtravel.co.uk

SAMPLE DEAL

AMAKUNA – 020 7193 7582

THE COLOMBIA SPECIALIST’S NEW 10- NIGHT IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ PACKAGE INCLUDES BOGOTA, BARRANQUILLA, TAYRONA, THE COLONIAL TOWN OF MOMPOS AND CARTAGENA. THE PRICE, FROM £3,245PP AND DEPARTING JULY 2017, INCLUDES ACTIVITIES, PRIVATE TRANSFERS AND DOMESTIC FLIGHTS. amakuna.com


Fly Air Europa and discover Colombia. LONDON – BOGOTA Daily service from Gatwick. On board our new DREAMLINER. Baggage allowance 2X23Kg.

The Latin American specialist.

All flights are via Madrid. For more information call: 08714230717 or visit us at: www.aireuropaexperts.com


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

65

S A N D A L S : Jamaica village resort reopens with new development to come

66

DUBAI FESTIVAL Groundbreaking show GET ONLINE

64

KIRKER Italy programme grows

68

CHECKING OUT Avani Riverside, Bangkok

R E A D A L L O U R M A G A Z I N E S A N D C H E C K O U T O U R D A I LY S E L L I N G T I P S AT S E L L I N G T RAV E L.C O.U K

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64

the review

T O U R I S M U P D AT E

Kirker has more of Italy

Kentucky guides the way to Bluegrass state LOOK out for the great new Kentucky Holiday and Travel Guide,

CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organization

distributed this month with your copy of Selling Travel. The comprehensive 44-page

TRAIN AND WIN, WIN, WIN IN 2017

publication offers a fascinating

THE Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)

look at what makes the Bluegrass

would like to wish you all a happy and

State so unique – from its proud

prosperous 2017!

traditions as a centre of horse

Winning the Best Agent Online Training

breeding to its most famous

Programme category of the Selling Travel

product, bourbon.

Agent Choice Awards was definitely one of

Find out more about Bluegrass

the highlights of 2016 for the CTO and its

and Country music, delve deep into

Online Training Programme, Caribbean Travel Guru.

Mammoth Cave National Park, KIRKER Holidays has expanded its Italy

Also new is Italian cultural tours and

What were your highlights and greatest

programme to include a wider choice of

music holidays options. Combining

Museum

achievements in 2016? Did you make plenty

hand-picked hotels in city, coast and

Venice’s great galleries, museums and

Louisville shaped its ‘Greatest’ son,

of Caribbean bookings and win lots of prizes?

countryside locations.

churches with secret gardens and other

Muhammad Ali.

Did you attend a Caribbean roadshow? Did you go on a Caribbean fam trip?

Anyone wanting further copies should call 01462 440766 or email

Veneto costs from £2,669pp.

info@kentuckytravel.co.uk.

the CTO’s award-winning training programme

Churchill; the five-star deluxe La

Caribbean

www.

Meridiana in Alassio, on the Ligurian

Kirker has also launched its ’s first-ever

caribbeantravelguru.com. There’s much to

Riviera; the five-star Relais dell’Orologio

dedicated Sicily brochure and has

learn and great prizes to be won. If you’re

in Pisa; the four-star deluxe La

doubled its offering there, adding the

already signed up, look out for the latest news

Fiermontina in Puglia’s Locorotondo;

UNESCO World Heritage Site of Noto, the

and updates in the bi-monthly newsletter.

and the historic four-star deluxe Torre

wine-producing region of Menfi and the

Mozza, in the relatively unknown beach

seaside town Cefalù.

resort of Punta Ala in Tuscany.

kirkerholidays.com

roadshows in the UK and Ireland throughout

how

Venice and The Palladian Villas of the

favourite summer retreat of Sir Winston

The CTO will be holding training

out

include the Grand Hotel Imperiale in the lakeside village of Moltrasio, a

at

find

lesser-known attractions, the six-night

The CTO has lots in store for you in 2017

Guru

and

New additions to the 2017 brochure

so if you haven’t yet done so register and join Travel

speed to the National Corvette

The brochure also suggests several sample self-drive itineraries

2017. If you’re based in Ireland, the CTO and its partners will be visiting from May 9-11, in Belfast, Dublin and Cork. If you’re in Scotland, we will be there from May 22-23, in

PREMIER’S NEW YEAR TREATS FOR AGENTS

Edinburgh and Glasgow. For those in the London area, our roadshow will take place on

PRIZES that range from long-haul

June 7, with more locations announced at a

fam trips to theatre tickets to

later date – so watch this space!

destination-inspired hampers to a

And the fun won’t stop there! We are also

free ‘team lunch’ delivered to the

planning Courses in the Caribbean fam trips

office on a Friday are up for grabs

for those who have completed the Caribbean

during Premier Holidays 2017

Travel Guru Training Programme.

turn-of-year agents’ campaign.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up now,

Agents making Premier bookings

or continue to work through the programme

during January and February will

to gain both prizes and fam trip places.

be automatically entered into

If you have any questions or queries

draws to win a monthly star prize,

regarding the programme, please contact

weekly prizes and daily spot prizes.

Ann-Marie Brooks on 020 8948 0057 or

The promotion coincides with a

email abrooks@caribtourism.com

series of special offers to a number of core destinations such as Thailand, South Africa, Singapore, USA and the Channel Islands. Agents will also benefit from the operator’s

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

ongoing

booking

incentive of £5-£150 for every inclusive booking made. trade.premierholidays.co.uk

sellingtravel.co.uk


the review

Sandals’ new Jamaica village

Qantas plans nonstop UK-Oz flights

65

Weird is wonderful, says G Aventures

QANTAS is to introduce the first

G ADVENTURES says the growing

non-stop service between the UK

trend for holidaymakers to seek

and Australia in 2018 by deploying

out ever-more unique and quirky

B787 Dreamliner aircraft on flights

experiences inspired its expanded

from Heathrow to Perth.

Limited Edition programme. The

The 14,500km, 17-hour flight

small

group

specialist

will become the first regular

operator has added a Halloween

passenger service to directly link

party at Bran Castle in Romania, a

Europe and Australia and is set to

chance to run the Serengeti half-

become

marathon,

the

third-longest

Jamaica’s

Reggae

Sumfest, the Haitian Carnival in

passenger flight in the world. Seats go on sale from April 2017,

Jacmel and Pizzafest in Italy to its

with the airline’s Dreamliners

existing collection of authentic but

carrying up to 236 passengers

somewhat unusual experiences. The Limited Edition programme

across Business, Premium Economy

now features 32 options in 20

and Economy cabins. “When

Qantas

created

countries.

the

Vice-President

of

Kangaroo Route between London

Product, Jeff Russill, said: “As

and Australia in 1947 it took four

travellers venture to more new places

days and nine stops. Now it will

and

become

more

take just 17 hours, non-stop,” said

SANDALS Resorts has relaunched its

The building-on-stilts theme will

adventurous, they are pushing the

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce.

Sandals Whitehouse European Village

continue later this year with the opening

boundaries further. Bucket lists are

and Spa in Jamaica after a multi-million

of 12 overwater bungalows arranged

getting more sophisticated.”

pound refit.

around a heart-shaped pier.

gadventures.co.uk

“When we designed the interior of our 787s we wanted to make sure

passengers

be

Reopened as Sandals South Coast, the

Similar villas are planned at other

comfortable on the extended

property now features four new dining

Sandal resorts. “With this relaunch, we

missions the aircraft was capable

options, a floating swim-up bar, an over-

have brought our most innovative ideas

of, added Joyce.”

the-water wedding chapel with glass-

and concepts to absolutely re-imagine

“That’s why we have features in

floor aisle which couples can reach by

the guest experience,” said Sandals

our Economy seats that other

boat, and an over-the-water bar called

Chairman, Butch Stewart.

airlines

Latitudes (complete with hammocks).

sellingsandals.co.uk

reserve

would

for

Premium

New hotel for Riviera Maya

Economy...and our Business Suite

RCD Hotels Group will open

has been tagged ‘mini-First Class’

UNICO 20°87° in March. The

by many of our frequent flyers. “ qantas.com

On the Go to lesser-known China

property in Riviera Maya, Mexico, will be an adults-only, all-inclusive

ON the Go Tours has rolled out four

between Shanghai and Beijing. Prices

resort. The 448-room hotel will

China tours designed to give visitors

for the eight-day Backroads to Beijing

feature three pools, five gourmet

the opportunity to experience lesser-

tour start at £755pp, and includes a

restaurants, two in-pool bars and a

known parts of the country.

guided tour of Shanghai, the city of

spa. Guests will be offered local

The small-group tours range from

Suzhou, a visit to the Confucian

‘hosts’ who will help them get the

eight to 12 days, with two options

temple at Qufu and Mount Tai Shan

most out of their stay. Local trips

going off the beaten track in southern

before time in Beijing.

may include mescal tastings in a

China and two others exploring

onthegotours.com

Mayan village, Full Moon beach parties and excursions to little known spots in Riviera Maya. RCD Hotels Group operates properties

NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF

in Mexico and the Caribbean, including nine Hard Rock Hotels.

Icelandair will begin its first-ever

Air Portugal will boost services to its

Regional carrier CHL Airlines has

service from Belfast with the launch of

Lisbon hub from June with 11 weekly

launched a new service between

a year-round thrice-weekly operation

flights from Gatwick and two daily

Anguilla and Antigua, specifically

on June 1, operated by sister carrier Air

services from Manchester. The airline

aimed at UK visitors. The service, twice-

Iceland. Connections will include

will expand its international network

daily on Tuesday and Wednesdays, is

Icelandair’s North America routes such

this summer, with new services from

timed to connect with British Airways

as New York, Washington DC, Denver,

Lisbon to Toronto, Budapest, Bucharest,

and Virgin Atlantic arrivals from

Orlando, Toronto and Montréal.

Las Palmas, Alicante and Stuttgart.

London. Prices start at £169 return.

Icelandair.co.uk

Flytap.com

flychl.com/airplanes

unicohotelrivieramaya.com


66

the review

Cosmos peaks in February

Thomas Cook takes off to Cape Town

Ottawa puts winter on ice with key events

THOMAS Cook Airlines hosted a

OT TAWA’S

South African themed party at

‘Winterlude’ festival next month

Gatwick to mark the launch of its

will form part of Canada’s 150th

three-times a week Cape Town,

anniversary celebrations in 2017.

biggest-ever

The annual winter extravaganza

South Africa, service. The direct route – which departs

– which takes place over the first

every Thursday, Sunday and Monday

three weeks of February – will

– aims to cash in on strong winter

mark its 39th year with snow-

demand among holidaymakers and

themed events taking place in

South African expats fuelled by a

downtown locations.

still advantageous pound-rand

Ottawa’s Confederation Park will

exchange rate. It will run until

host the opening ceremony on

March 21, 2017.

February 3, with a winter party and upgraded

fireworks. A host of live events such

Thomas Cook Airlines A330, the

as ice-carving contests and DJs will

service includes Premium cabin

feature throughout the month.

Operated

by

an

The Rideau Canal Skateway –

and meals created by TV chef James Martin. Prices start at £669pp for

COSMOS Tours has launched what it

beach holidays giving a further £25 off

which stretches 4.8 miles through

describes as its “strongest ever Peaks

per person.

the city – will for the first time stage a winter version of Ottawa’s

Economy and £1,239 in Premium.

campaign,” with high discounts and extra

Early bookers can also take advantage

thomascookairlines.com

value across its touring and cruise

of a low deposit of £75pp on all holidays

annual dragon boat race.

brands as well as its biggest-ever fam

and a broad choice of tours with no

ottawa2017.ca

trip incentive.

single supplement. The operator’s VIP

Running until February 28, the Peaks promotion

Aussie partnership ready for Ashes TOURISM Australia and Qantas have gone into bat together in a

features

a

price-match

home pick-up service is included as standard with every holiday booked.

guarantee on all touring holidays with

In addition, the company is offering

flights. If an agent finds a cheaper

100 fam trip places, with potential

touring holiday from another company

destinations including China, India, the

Cosmos will match the price and offer

US, Canada, Italy and Spain. To be entered

the customer an additional £50 discount.

into a prize draw to win one of the

Extra fortnightly savings based on

places, agents need to confirm a Cosmos

individual destinations are also available,

Tours booking by January 31.

with a top 10 of selected tours, cruises or

cosmostoursandcruises.co.uk

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION ROLLS FOR DUBAI

bid to attract big-spending English cricket fans to this year’s Ashes

4, 2018.

DUBAI is claiming another world first with the opening of a giant multimedia show. Situated in the Festival Bay waterfront, the visual spectacular show combines video projection, lights, music, fire and 30 fountains. The project – which has taken three years to complete – is expected to become a major tourist draw as part of the Festival City leisure and retail development. The show features the world’s biggest permanent projection surface, which is five times the size of the largest IMAX cinema screen.

australia.com/ashes

festivalcentre.com

series down under. The

pair

significant

are

planning

UK

a

advertising

campaign in February and March highlighting

the

country’s

coastline, food, wine and wildlife in an effort to get fans to experience the country between matches. Tourism Australia’s Managing Director John O’Sullivan said typical

UK

visitors

spend

AUD$5,500 when on holiday – and cricket fans spend more. The first test match of the Ashes series

begins

in

Brisbane

on November 23, with the final game in Sydney starting on January

sellingtravel.co.uk


Scandi brand for Taber

TABER Holidays has relaunched

agents who aren’t so familiar with

under a new name – Scandinavia

the Taber brand. In addition, we have

Only – in what it says is an effort to

noticed more and more agents using

help agents better understand and

social media and we wanted to help

sell its products.

them by introducing a brand that

The Scandinavia specialist has

worked better both visually and in

switched its entire portfolio of tours

terms

to the new brand and introduced a

identification, something we believe

freshly redesigned website and

Scandinavia Only does well.”

reindeer logo.

of

instant

product

Scandinavia Only features year-

While Taber Holidays will still exist

round breaks throughout Norway,

as the company name, Scandinavia

Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland,

Only will be the face of its product.

Greenland and The Faroe Islands.

Taber Holidays Managing Director

A series of new tours are being

Suzel Taber-Shaw, said: “We are

introduced

aiming to make it easier for agents to

specialist

for

promote our products to their clients.

romantic breaks.

We also think it will benefit newer

taberhols.co.uk

2017

activity,

including

family

and

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!

H&J takes to the water with luxury yachts HAYES and Jarvis is offering sailing

trip to the BVI and Antigua starts at

trips for the first time after teaming

£2,995pp in June. The trip includes a

up with luxury yacht charter firm

four-night sailing trip plus a week at

The Moorings.

the four-star COCOs hotel in Antigua,

Options include a series of sailing

return flights with British Airways

options of between three and six

and internal flights. All packages

nights from the British Virgin

include a qualified skipper with

Islands, Grenada, Saint Lucia and the

some featuring private chefs.

Bahamas. An 11-night sail and stay

hayesandjarvis.co.uk

w Ne eb w si te

NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF Escorted tour specialist Titan

Onyx Hospitality Group will open

has unveiled the second edition

its first Amari resort property in Sri

of its Worldwide 2017 brochure,

Lanka In March. Amari Galle will

with new additions including

comprise 172 rooms and suites,

tours in Madagascar, Uganda,

two restaurants, spa, pool deck and

Canada and Sicily. Deposits from

fitness centre. Amari operates

£49pp are available on bookings

upscale properties in Thailand, the

made by January 31.

Middle East and Indian Ocean.

titantravel.co.uk

amari.com

sellingtravel.co.uk /subscribe


68

the review

Checking out...

HOTELS / RESORTS / TRAIN JOURNEYS / CRUISES / AIRLINE REVIEWS

S T A Y : AVAN I R I V E R S I DE – Bangkok, Thailand T H E V E R D I CT

BY JULIE BAXTER

THE BACKGROUND: Opened in August

last year, this Avani flagship property epitomises a brand that puts the focus on its guests by offering informal, goas-you-please facilities and services in a contemporary and user-friendly way. THE LOCATION: The hotel is set back from the bustling Chao Phraya River and connected to sister property the Anantara. A free shuttle boat links it to a central pier for connections to key sites, which means guests avoid the hassle of Bangkok’s congested roads and can discover a more relaxed side to this frenetic city. THE ROOM: All bedrooms and public areas have fabulous river views and high windows to make the most of them. The style is light and modern, with the view and the large bed making the biggest impression. The bathroom includes a large walk-in shower, while a storage area alongside the sink provides a kind of dressing area.

This is a contemporary hotel with a funky look and a great attitude. The brand concept is to offer casual, relaxed but amazing service and the staff are clearly onboard. No formal suits, but lilac and white uniforms or even shorts and colourful socks. Staff treat you like an old friend and formal hospitality has been KEY FACILITIES: Entering on the ground

floor, guests are referred immediately to floor 11, which is the ‘lifestyle’ hub of the hotel with a bright, open-plan reception lounge and F&B options. On the top floor there is an infinity pool looking out over the city, plus a gym and spa. THE RESTAURANTS/BARS: Avani is committed to ‘honest’ food which includes its own on-site hydroponics herb and salad farm, with any surplus

going to local good causes. Breakfast and lunch is served in the Skyline restaurant on the eleventh floor, where there is also a Long Bar for drinks, and the Pantry, for takeaway snacks, wraps and cakes. On the 26th floor the Attitude Restaurant and Infinity Bar offer expansive, spectacular views.

replaced with a genuine, smiley ‘can do’ approach which quickly makes you feel at home. RATES: A River View room starts from around £120 a night, including breakfast.

257 Charoennakom Road, Thonburi, Bangkok;  +662 431 9100;  avanihotels.com;  riverside.bangkok@avanihotels.com.

S T A Y : AN DA Z S C O T T S DAL E R E S ORT AN D S PA – Arizona, USA BY STEVE HARTRIDGE

THE BACKGROUND: After several soft

launches and trial evenings playing host to invited guests and groups, Scottsdale’s newest property opened last month. The 201 guest spaces – in a casita-style that is more private

villa than hotel room – are housed in bungalows located in a series of ‘blocks’ spread across 23 acres. The resort’s desert-inspired interior draws inspiration from some of the timehonoured architects and artists who helped shape Scottsdale, most obviously Frank Lloyd Wright. THE LOCATION: In Paradise Valley, about a 15-minute drive from the shops, galleries, bars and restaurants of Old Town Scottsdale. It is surrounded by desert landscape and mountains. Scenic attractions like Camelback Mountain and Pinnacle Peak are close by. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is 16 miles (23 minutes) away. THE ROOM: My Large King room was bright, airy, a little funky – and huge. There were folk artwork touches and fun elements like a box of kiddies’ crayons and a colouring pattern next to the bed. Other features included a 65-inch

flat screen TV, a couch, a walk-through closet, a large double-shower and a coffee-making area. The high wooden beams are a leftover from the previous property. At the front entrance there’s an outside terrace area with a couch and chairs, and at the back a private, walled patio space with two sun-loungers. WiFi, some snacks, water and soft drinks are complimentary. KEY FACILITIES: Three pools include the main Turquoise Pool, which has private cabanas. There’s a fitness centre and the Palo Verde Spa and Apothecary, with treatments featuring botanical products. RESTAURANTS/BARS: Guests see chefs at work as they enter the Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen. The glass-panelled restaurant features an open kitchen, plancha grill, and a chef’s table.

T H E V E R D I CT The Andaz immerses guests in Scottsdale’s past, present and location by providing a showcase for the region’s indigenous art, culture and cuisine. Many of the in-house art pieces are accrued via a partnership with a group, Cattle Track, that promotes local area artists. Andaz guests can to see live art demonstrations. The hotel takes cats and dogs, for $150 per stay – but only those weighing less than 50 lbs. RATES: A three-night stay in an entry Andaz Queen

6114 N Scottsdale Road,Scottsdale, Arizona, USA,

room in May 2017 starts

85253  +1 480 368 1234;

from £1,321.

 scottsdale.andaz.hyatt.com.

sellingtravel.co.uk


indonesia

Pandora’s box

Bali and Java are Indonesia’s tourism flag bearers but Wonderful Indonesia’s ‘10 Priority Destinations’ campaign could change that, says Mark Stratton

A

dragon’s’ bite can kill,” says my guide, Rafael, not referring to Peter Jones or Deborah Meaden berating some wannabe entrepreneur but to Komodo Island. We sail for four hours to see Komodo dragons from the up-and-coming resort town of Labuan Bajo on neighbouring Flores Island. Hot sunshine roasts the arid archipelago yet illuminates pristine coral reefs wriggling with clownfish and scarlet-red starfish. There are several ground rules to observing Komodo dragons. “Keep five metres distance and if they chase you run in zigzags,” advises Rafael. The dragons number around 5,600 in the wild and are prehistoric survivors that have evolved in isolation. “We encounter them basking in a dusty hollow. They’re no oil painting, inert and flabby, yet possessing dinosaurian wow

factor. The largest three-meter-long beast has a crocodilian physique with sandpaper skin with a forked tongue flickering in the air. “It uses the tongue to smell prey up to nine kilometres away,” says Rafael. “Their toxic saliva render bites fatal. They nip unsuspecting prey then stalk them until they succumb days later.” Have humans ever been consumed, I wonder? “Just a few,” says Rafael, nonchalantly.

as 10 new focus destinations, like Labuan Bajo,” explains Richard Hume, Country Manager for Wonderful Indonesia, UK. Hume says the campaign is designed to promote ‘new Bali’s’ with the expectation these less-heralded destinations will attract as many tourists as those visiting Bali. One of the 10, Mandalika on Lombok, is due to add 10,000 new hotel rooms and a golf course in the forthcoming years.

Wonderful Indonesia

Next logical step

Bali and Java remain Indonesia’s core market for UK travellers. Yet other far-flung corners of the country are gaining popularity and this is reflected by Wonderful Indonesia’s new ‘10 Priority Destinations’ campaign. “All campaigns aim to promote both the UK’s better-selling destinations as well

Indonesia is a Pandora’s Box and the British market has scarcely opened its lid. This vast seaborne nation hosts numerous cultures spreadeagled across 13,466 islands around the South Pacific Ocean. Its selling points are numerous: a warm tropical climate, great diving, luxurious

sellingtravel.co.uk

69


indonesia

beach resorts and spas, exotic cultural Park, to see critically endangered tigers diversity, rare wildlife encounters, and while Lombok is a popular alternative to lashings of Indonesian rupiah to the pound. Bali, whose beach hotspots get congested,” For clients familiar with, say, Thailand he adds. “Lombok now has the hotels and it’s the next step in exploring Southeast infrastructure to go with undisturbed beauty”. Asia while regional newbies will Perfect ten find Bali an easy introduction. Funeral Fun: An oxymoron? Not for the Indonesia remains internationallyToraja. Sulawesi’s greatest cultural known for Bali’s beach resorts and spa spectacle is their theatrical passage to the scene, which has matured to feature highafterlife during multi-day funerals, best seen class brands such as AYANA and SenS. June-August. A close second is Java where most Great Apes: In Bahasa-Indonesian visitors enter via Garuda Indonesia’s ‘orangutang’ translates to ‘old man of air-hub in Jakarta. Before the forest’. Indonesia hosts the two greatest Jetting onwards to Bali, clients should be remaining populations on Kalimantan-Borneo persuaded to spend time exploring the island’s and Sumatra. smoking volcanoes and All at Sea: World Heritage culture “Indonesia is becoming an Raja Ampat is like Borobudur’s a world-class centre magnificent eighthincreasingly good option for for marine diving. century temple. Twinfamily holidays. It’s in Silversea’s next cruise centred holidays to season in August and the to touch base with Java and Bali are ideal affordable family-friendly this Coral Sea gem for first-timers with resorts and culture on Bali and departs May 26. two weeks to spend. Stay at Home: For clients with Lombok, is ideal for kids” A strategic more time and craving SAM CLARK, EXPERIENCE TRAVEL GROUP focus for Indonesian trekking, diving, tourism is wildlife-watching establishing 100,000 homestays. Waturaka and remote cultures, Indonesia’s wilder islands Village, for example, on Flores Island, offers a are ever more accessible because of a growing unique opportunity to experience and network of internal flights and ferries. contribute to a local community. Destinations gaining popularity include Ring of Fire: Indonesia has more active Sumatra with its orangutang populations volcanoes than any other country. and striking Lake Toba; Sulawesi and its Suggest a sunrise excursion up Mt Bromo to a funeral-worshipping Toraja people, and tougher two-day epic up Lombok’s Mt. Rinjani. Lombok’s lovely beaches, which have made Pampered Bali: The spiritual home of it the rising star of Indonesian tourism. massage exports masseuses and “A general rule to follow when selling treatment all over the world. Bali’s standalone Indonesia is that you need at least one week Hindu culture brings Ayurvedic philosophy to per island and two or three destinations per the massage table. trip to showcase Indonesia’s real diversity,” says Puppet Masters: Java’s highest art form Sam Clark, MD of Experience Travel Group, is puppetry. Yogyakarta is famous for its “Indonesia is really taking off for us,” says wayang puppet shows backed by haunting Clark. “We’re getting plenty of requests for gamelan orchestras. Sumatra, in particular Way Kambas National

sellingtravel.co.uk

71

Clockwise from top left: Visiting a traditional village in West Timor; Tanah Lot, Bali; Waturaka village, Flores; Lombok ferry fisherman holds up his catch; at the summit of Mount Rinjani on the island of Lombok


72

indonesia

Surf-o-Nesia: Indonesia’s surf scene is fanning out from Bali to outposts like Sumbawa, with rip-snorting barrel waves. Coral Sea Hopping: Adventurous clients should discover the extensive Pelni Ferries network. A gentle introduction to sea-travel is a heavenly 4hour sailing watching dolphins from Bali to Lombok. Sunny stopover?: With Garuda Indonesia offering competitive services to Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, it’s worth suggesting a Bali stopover allowing travellers to soak in a sunshine beach break.

What’s new  Accommodation: Rebranded and opening spring 2017, Soori Bali’s (sooribali.com) 48 villas have been given a stellar makeover by renowned Singaporean architect, Soo K. Chan. The new 96 villa Waldorf Astoria Bali (waldorfastoria.com) is slated to open in 2017.  Operators: Premier Holidays (trade. premierholidays.com) is introducing a Star Clipper cruise around Indonesia’s Spice Islands starting April 2017.  Transport: Garuda International (garudaindonesia.com) is strengthening its internal network of 60 routings next year increasing connectivity to up-and-coming destinations like Flores from Bali’s Denpasar and Jakarta.  Tours: Experience Travel Group (experiencetravelgroup.com) launches a new tour tracing a volcano-hopping itinerary through Java, Bali, and Lombok.

Tourism talk “Last year we had extremely positive feedback with many of the trade citing Indonesia as a key focus destination. “We saw encouraging growth in UK arrivals with January–September’s figures showing an increase of 24% on 2015. We put this down to several

factors including the introduction of direct flights nine-night Indonesian Discovery Tour, which from Heathrow to Jakarta with Garuda Indonesia includes Mount Bromo and cultural Yogyakarta. and new visa-free access for UK citizens. The price of £1599pp includes four-star “With uncertainty in the economy post-Brexit, UK accommodation, breakfast and lunches, private travellers are seeking guide, and ferry to greater value and this Bali where clients plays to Indonesia’s can extend their trip “Garuda International’s strengths. Indonesia at a beach resort. Wonderful Indonesia travel pass premierholidays.co.uk remains less-explored is a great way to piece together  UNDISCOVERED than its neighbours multi-island itineraries of three- DESTINATIONS – 0191 but has great appeal for those seeking new eight flight segments. Customers 296 2674 A 15-day small group experiences, particularly save up to 30% on individual tour, Sulawesi Explorer, experiential trips. flights by purchasing the pass” which takes clients “We will be running RICHARD HUME, WONDERFUL INDONESIA to Sulawesi to see its a series of media and unique biogeography trade fam trips to and elaborate funeral Indonesia including a rituals of the Toraja is priced from £1895pp ‘out of home campaign’ with Garuda Indonesia”. based on two sharing. It includes all excursions, Richard Hume, Wonderful Indonesia UK transfers, guide, breakfasts and selected meals.

Where to book it

 EXPERIENCE TRAVEL GROUP – 0203 468 6268 The 15-day Java In-Depth with Borneo Rainforest Adventure costs £3495pp based on two sharing with quality hotels, most meals, private guides and transfers and return international and internal flights from Heathrow. The highlight is a three-night rainforest lodge stay in Borneo observing orang utang. experiencetravelgroup.com Clockwise from top left: Makassar, Sulawesi; a mosque in the port town of Sape, Sumbawa; a funeral in Sulawesi - home of some of the most complex and grand death rituals in the world; a komodo dragon; Toraja Misiliana Hotel, Sulawesi

 PREMIER HOLIDAYS – 08444 937 444 Java is the focus of this

sellingtravel.co.uk

undiscovered-destinations.com 


texas

T

Saddle up

Rent a car and set out for a BIG Texan adventure featuring horses, world-class museums, top cuisine and much more, says Peter Ellegard

hey say you never forget how to ride a horse. Yet I seriously doubt that as Clint West, the aptly-named head wrangler at Wildcatter Ranch, saddles up a giant Belgian quarter horse called Ted as my steed for a two-hour trail ride through desert scrub-covered hills. I last rode over 25 years ago, but Ted is as gentle as a lamb, responding calmly to the amateurish rein pulls and prods of my knees and heels as he surefootedly clambers up rock-strewn paths. At the summit we survey the 1,500-acre ranch, bisected by the meandering Brazos River, and Clint points out where an oil prospecting community thrived a century ago, long-since reclaimed by nature save for the ‘nodding donkey’ wellheads. During my short stay at Wildcatter, a wonderful resort ranch in the northern Texas Hills, I also try skeet shooting and help Clint feed the ranch’s small herd of longhorn cattle. Among them is Big Boy, named for his massive horns that span eight feet – the third-largest in Texas. The previous evening I feast on calamari and steak in the Wildcatter Steakhouse restaurant before retiring to my homely cabin with its sumptuous bed and crackling fire. In Fort Worth, 90 minutes east and known as Cowtown for its enduring Western heritage, I catch one of the twice-daily longhorn cattle drives through its historic Stockyards district. Stepping back in time, I dine in the H3 Ranch where drinkers at the bar sit on saddle bar stools then watch dancing fountains at downtown’s revitalised Sundance Square with its Chisholm Trail mural celebrating 19th century cattle drives. The spirit of the Old West is alive and kicking deep in the heart of Texas.

Texas overview Texas is big - very big. It is the secondlargest state in the USA after Alaska and the country’s 10 largest cities include three in Texas – Houston, San Antonio and Dallas.

This page: The spirit of the Old West is alive and kicking deep in the heart of Texas; outdoor pool, Wildcatter Ranch

73


74

texas

Western adventures abound at ranches across Texas

The UK is the largest overseas market Perfect five River Walk: Stroll or take a boat along for Texas, with British visitors staying an San Antonio’s extended River Walk average 10 nights and spending big bucks. (thesanantonioriverwalk.com), which now stretches for Visitor numbers are projected to grow by almost 47% by 2020, helped by a boost in air capacity. Last over 15 miles through the heart of the city, February British Airways introduced its new Boeing passing shops, restaurants, and landmarks including the UNESCO 787-9 Dreamliner on the London-Austin “Combine a city break in Dallas World Heritage-listed Alamo and the chic service, a route it with a ranch stay to truly enjoy Hotel Emma, formerly a began flying in 2014. the diversity of the state. The 19th century brewery. Singapore Airlines’ Hands on: The new direct Manchesternew Dallas CityPASS, valid for Perot Museum Houston flights, nine consecutive days, lets you in Dallas (perotmuseum. launched in October, explore the city’s famous org) is a natural history brings the number of attractions with ease” and science museum daily flights from the UK ASHLEY PILKINGTON, ASSISTANT PRODUCT MANAGER with interactive to 10, serving DallasUSA AND CARIBBEAN, GOLD MEDAL exhibits to delight Fort Worth, Houston and young and old alike. Austin, the state capital. Cattle drive: Don’t miss the twice-daily Ideal for fly/drive holidays, the appeal of Texas Fort Worth herd cattle drive (fortworth.com/ lies in its Western culture and modern cities the-herd) through Cowtown’s Stockyards, then get offering a vibrant music scene, great food and a grandstand view of the longhorn cattle shopping, world-class museums and outdoors returning to their pens from the elevated adventure experiences including ranches. visttheusa.co.uk/state/texas viewing platform.

the

ARTof

AMERICAN

style

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


TEXAS TOURISM

texas

Above: Riverwalk, San Antonio; opposite: Dining in River Oaks Shopping Centre, Houston; following page: Winspear Opera House and Sammons Park in the Arts District, Dallas; a ‘honky tonk’ bar in Fort Worth

Get with the beat: Known as the ‘Live Music Capital of World’, Austin has more than 250 venues where you can catch live music of all genres. Its Sixth Street District is more famous, but Rainey Street is less crowded and is lined with music-filled bars. Shop ‘til you drop: River Oaks Shopping Centre (riveroaksshoppingcenter.com), in Houston’s upscale River Oaks neighbourhood, features over 75 stores and restaurants. It incorporates the historic art deco River Oaks Theatre, still used to screen movies.

75

 Hotels: The 1,000-room, $370-million Marriott Marquis (marriott.co.uk/houston) opened in Houston in November ahead of the city hosting its third Super Bowl on February 5. The Fairmont Austin (fairmont.com/austin), also costing $370 million, will open in September with 1,048 guest rooms and 42 suites. Virgin Hotels (virginhotels.com) will open its fourth U.S. hotel in the hip Design District of Dallas in spring.

What’s new  Attractions: North America’s first surf park, NL and Surf Park (nlandsurfpark.com) opened in October in the Hill Country near Austin. San Antonio’s Battle for Texas: the Experience attraction (battlefortexas.com) in the downtown Shops at Rivercentre, features important artefacts from the Battle of the Alamo and multimedia re-enactments of the 13-day battle. The Star (thestarinfrisco.com) is a 91-acre campus that opened last August in Frisco, housing the indoor stadium home of NFL team the Dallas Cowboys.

RIVER OAKS DISTRICT

Houston, Texas

AKRIS | BRUNELLO CUCINELLI | CANALI | CARTIER | CHOPARD DIOR | DOLCE & GABBANA | ETRO | GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI HARRY WINSTON | HERMÉS | JOHN HARDY | JOHN LOBB KITON | PATEK PHILIPPE | ROBERTO CAVALLI | STELLA MCCARTNEY TOM FORD | VAN CLEEF & ARPELS | VINCE AND MORE...

RiverOaksDistrict.com

4444 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77027


texas

Where to book it

(traveltexas.com) and partners from the state

will be in London and Manchester for their annual sales mission in March.  Operators: New for 2017, Gold Medal’s (goldmedal.co.uk) Grand American Adventure – Texas Ranger Tour is a 10-day escorted tour of the state that includes a ranch experience and Big Bend National Park. �Sightseeing: Downtown San Antonio (celebrate2018.com) is undergoing a major three-phase renovation project ahead of its Tricentennial in 2018, including more park space, activities, restaurants and a new Civic Park. A series of events will lead up to its 300th birthday.

“Don’t misss the twice-daily Fort Worth Herd cattle drive through Cowtown’s stockyards” PETER ELLEGARD TRAVEL WRITER

 AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT – 020 8742 8299 A tailor-made 14-night fly/drive holiday flying into Austin and out of Dallas and featuring San Antonio, Corpus Christie, Houston, Fort Worth and ending with a two-night stay at Wildcatter Ranch costs from £2,027pp. the deal includes accommodation and hire car. americaasyoulikeit.com  TEXAS TOURISM

 Tourist board: Texas Tourism

TEXAS TOURISM

76

Tourism talk “UK visitation increased by 17% in 2015. Tavellers are becoming aware of Texas experiences like great food, music and sports such as NFL football and Formula 1 motor racing. More visitors are discovering our wines, craft beer, the great outdoors and tax-free shopping.” Julie Greenhill, Senior Account Mmanager UK & Ireland, Texas Tourism

WOW!

30% OFF YOUR USA CAR HIRE Agent Offer

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

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


expedition cruising

77

E

limits No

Gin & tonic on the deck; penguin on the rocks. Expedition cruises make adventure a tad more comfortable, says Jo Austin

xperiential’ remains the travel buzz word right now, meaning expedition cruising, and those who sell it, are well placed to nab some new customers. “Explore pelagic wonderlands, admire volcanic plateaus gushing with geysers, or enter the realm of the Polar Bear....but no matter where you go, you’ll enjoy a uniquely immersive experience, expanding your global perspective and prompting you to re-evaluate what really matters,” urgess Silversea, when referring to its extensive collection of expedition brochures. It’s probable that many cruise lines consider themselves ‘expeditionary’ as they respond to the increasing demand for action, adventure and experiences from holidaymakers across the board.

Perfect ten Get close to the circle: New for 2017 from Quark is the 17-night Arctic Circle Traverse, visiting Iceland, Greenland and Canada. quarkexpeditions.com

Northwest Passage: Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity is returning to the Northwest Passage for a 32-night expeditionstyle voyage traversing the Arctic Ocean via the route first completed successfully by Roald Amundsen over 100 years ago. crystalcruises.co.uk South Pacific: New Aranui 5 is known as the ‘freighter to paradise’ and is the only South Pacific vessel to travel the 2,200 mile trip from Papeete Tahiti to all six inhabited Marquesas Islands in the remotest archipelago in the world. aranui.com Celebrity status: Natural World Safaris has teamed up with TV presenter Steve Backshall, who’ll be leading 10-night cruises to Svalbard and will join guests on shore excursions and zodiac tours. naturalworldsafaris.com Close to nature: Aurora Expeditions’ 13-night Arctic Circle cruise from Aberdeen to Spitsbergen focuses on history

Left: Studying the local wildlife in the Galapagos Islands’ above: All aboard Metropolitan Touring’s La Pinta

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Voted the World’s Best more times than any other hotel, resort or cruise line in history, Crystal Cruises is more than just a luxurious way to explore the world. It is an adventure, opening up the globe just for you. Follow in the footsteps of intrepid explorers in 2017 and sail through the unparalleled landscapes of the grand glaciers and stunning fjords of the Northwest Passage. Welcome to the new Crystal. Where all-inclusive is All Exclusive.

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expedition cruising

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and archaeology in remote communities/ islands. aurora-expeditions.com Circling South America: Silversea’s new flagship, Silver Muse, launching in April 2017, will sail a 66-day South American circular voyage. silversea.com Mega yacht: Crystal is launching its first expedition mega-yacht in 2018, Crystal Endeavor, designed for expeditions in frozen and tropical climes. Iceberg Antics: Grand American Adventures’ 14-night cruise into Alaska’s Inside Passage features a kayaking excursion. grandamericanadventures.com

Back to origins: Last Frontiers’ recently launched 20-passenger motor yacht MV Origin for seven-night Galapagos cruises combined with Quito. lastfrontiers.com Exploration cruises: Fred. Olsen’s Black Watch will cruise the Fjords of the Arctic, including Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland and Norway. fredolsencruises.com

What’s new Ships: Crystal Cruises is re-branding Crystal Yacht Cruises as Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises, which will encompass three new-build expedition mega-yachts.The purpose-built polar class mega-yachts will cruise in the Arctic before following the route of migrating whales along the coast of the Americas and Europe to Antarctica during winter. Crystal Endeavor will be delivered in mid2019, with two more vessels to debut in the following years. It will hold 200 passengers and boast a one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio. Silversea launches ice-class expedition ship Silver Cloud in 2017, promising the highest space to guest ratio in expedition cruising. Starting from November, she will sail from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia via the Antartica Pensinsula and South Georgia to Cape Town

Clockwise from top left: Sea lions in the Galapagos; Silversea’s Silver Cloud; Hapag-Lloyd’s Hanseatic; birdwatching with the experts.

Metropolitan Touring’s (metropolitan-touring.com) and St Helena, ending in Lisbon in April 2018. Santa Cruz II has two enhanced itineraries this Quark’s new all-suite, all-inclusive Island year, a four-night exploration of the Western part Sky, is the only ship in Antarctica where the of the archipelago, home of penguins and the all-inclusive voyage price features flights from flightless cormorant, and a six-night trip to the Santiago or Buenos Aires as well as alcoholic Eastern Islands, where the albatross resides. beverages and all tips. This small but premium Quark’s newly expanded ‘Fly the Drake’ cruise ship features all suites, each with programme offers exterior views and travellers the best of premium amenities.  Destinations: “Expedition cruising has opened Antarctica in as little as seven days. With 12 Starting March 25 up destinations that are only fly/cruise departures 2017, Silversea’s accessible by sea, attracting both on offer, passengers Silver Galapagos will alternate new and seasoned cruisers who can skip Drake Passage two new sevenare looking for authentic travel sailings one or both ways, with itineraries night Galápagos experiences” from seven to 11 days. itineraries with San AKVILE MAROZAITE, SILVERSEA REGIONAL SALES Cristóbal as a new MANAGER, EXPEDITIONS, UK & IRELAND. Where to book arrival or departure  HAPAG LLOYD port for guests. CRUISES – 0800 0513 829 River cruise line Pandaw (pandaw.com) will venture into Borneo for the The 19-day In the Wake of Great Explorers first time this year, when it itinerary (August 21 to September 9, 2017) sails launches a pioneering round-trip from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. to cruise on the unchartered the heart of the Northwest Passage, stopping waters of the Kapuas River. at Baffin Island. Priced from £10,580pp.  Cruises: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Hapag-lloyd.com (hl-cruises.com) has announced 10 cold QUARK EXPEDITIONS - 0203 514 2712 and warm-water expedition cruises for Quark’s ‘Fly the Drake’ Antarctic Express the next two years. Itineraries on the fiveprogramme is from £6,000 for seven days, including charter flights between Santiago and star 175-passenger expedition ship, Hanseatic, Punta Arenas and on to Antarctica. feature Antarctica, the Arctic, the Amazon River, Quarkexpeditions.com  South Seas and South and Central America.

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my journey

My South Africa Journey

e Game Reserve, a ikw ad M to t es hw rt no Johannesburg tswana Jo Austin heads from to the border with Bo se clo a ric Af h ut So serve in malaria-free game re

M

adikwe has a reputation for its wild dog population (also known as the African painted dog) and I am excited about learning more about this endangered species during my three days in the reserve, as well as honing my spotting skills to see members of the ‘Big Five’. Formerly unproductive farmland, the South African government declared this impoverished area in the northwest of the country a reserve in 1991 and then of t one undertook one of the largest-ever game relocation nge a dges lu p e th ivate lo r Take operations – codenamed Operation Phoenix – bringing p ’s e Madikw in over 8000 animals over six years. To give direct benefit to the local communities, several of the s ome welc Lelapa Lodge reserve’s 31 lodges are community-owned and run children of all ages while others are private, smaller and more upscale. Running right through the reserve is the historic Mafikeng Road used by explorers, traders, hunters and missionaries over the centuries. It was also the path taken by King Mzilikazi of the Matabele tribe in the early 1800s on his way to expanding his Kingdom. Our first night is spent at Rhulani, a Swiss-owned luxury safari lodge. Rhulani means ‘relax’, and after our overnight flight this was exactly what we do. The lodge sleeps 20 in seven individual ‘chalets’ with their own plunge pool and dining is al fresco under the stars around the boma. A couple I meet My Magic had celebrated their al Momen Driving ar ‘bush wedding’ at the ts ound a co rner in th after an e Madikw early mor lodge the day before. e R n e in se g game dr rve excellent ive with R guide, Ria An early morning an, to see hulani’s cooked al our break fresco by game drive with our fast bein a team of have bee g smiling ch n a great efs. It mus excellent guide, Riaan, effort to the bush t carry eve and we e rything in in this quiet part of njoy every to delicious m orsel. the reserve reveals the success of Operation Phoenix. Over the course

of three hours we encounter lion, elephant, rhino, jackal, hyena, giraffe, kudu, oryx and a magnificent ground snake eagle. The game is calm and seemingly quite used to vehicles – so we are able to get some great photos.

Family-friendly activities

Our time is limited but we manage to visit three lodges that make up Madikwe Safari Lodge, part of the magnificent family-owned MORE Collection. The General Manager, Alan Bailes, gives us a guided tour of the family-friendly Lelapa Lodge where we see delighted children playing in the pool and others returning from various safari-type activities. A highlight at Lelapa is the educational Eco House where children learn to draw, study and touch a variety of animals, plants and insects with the help of a qualified zoologist. One member of our group holds a Royal Python. I am impressed by the great attention to detail at all three of the Madikwe Safari Lodge properties and I particularly like the rooms at Dithaba Lodge which come complete with your own ‘work out’ kit. A star deck is a special feature of Dithaba for guests who enjoy sleeping in the open. Kopano Lodge has a slightly more ‘earthy’ feel with pygmy stools, an open fire and carved tables strewn with highly crafted Arabic combs and huge wooden beams.

“Our early-morning game drive in this quiet part of the reserve reveals the success of Operation Phoenix”

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Luxury tent

Our next stay is at the community-owned Thakadu River Camp (meaning ‘aardvark’), which is buzzing with activity when we arrive just before the evening game drives begin heading out. Recent heavy rains have played havoc by almost destroying two of the stunning canvas tents but apparently this is just “one of those things that happens in the bush”. There is a wet and a dry season in Madikwe and the rains generally fall between October and March, which is the best time for spotting birds. The animals are more difficult to spot in the wet season but as they do not migrate the game viewing is good at most times of the year. I am visiting in early May. My tented suite has a viewing deck overlooking the


my journey

Wild dogs ar e a signatu re animal of M adikwe - bu t their numbe rs have be en ravaged by rabies

Education at the Eco Hous e, Madikwe Saf ari Lodge

Elephants are regularly spotted in Mad ikwe

Break fast a lfresc o Marico River and a sense of total privacy. However, it is quite a trek from the main lodge and I am very glad to have my torch as it quickly gets very dark. I enjoy another evening of dining around the boma, with local musicians and dancers entertaining us as we enjoy barbecued chicken, steak and boerworst (spiced sausage) – South Africa is not the best place for vegetarians, particularly when in the bush! I go to bed smelling pleasantly of fire smoke.

Beating around the bush

The priority on our next early-morning game drive is trying to find the reserve’s wild dog. Word has it that a pack has been spotted on the other side of the park and we head at speed through the bush – but to no avail. Instead, we are shown some collared wild dogs in a large pen and are told the sad tale of the recent rabies epidemic in the area that has decimated the wild dog population. While the reserve is malariafree it has been difficult to control the spread of rabies. Wild dogs are very sociable animals and highly susceptible to disease. However, every step is being taken to protect the remaining ‘clans’ and off-road driving is restricted over the entire 75,000 hectare Madikwe Reserve. But we return to the lodge pleased to have got very close to huge male kudu, waterbuck and a stunning lilac-breasted roller (bird). My Madikwe adventure has been busy, wild and made more enjoyable by great company. I am leaving with a promise that the wild dogs will be ‘back in packs’ for my next visit and I can’t wait. My final stop is at Pilanesberg Game Reserve, another malaria-free area near Sun City, just two hours from Madikwe. I stay at the five-star Shepherds’ Tree Game Lodge, a very modern-looking property that is perhaps a little out of place in the bush. But it is designed in a way that allows guests unrestricted views of the surrounding wilderness. Within easy access of Johannesburg it is a good suggestion for a final night before heading back to the UK.

81

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Attention to detail at Lelapa Lodge

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ganised et). Flights to was or a.n Airways My trip m (southafric Africa Touris g with South 621. Host rom £ esbur Johann a.com) start f Safari Lodge i la u (flysa h R n afari Lodge S were: lodges adikwe ). Thakadu M ). i.com za (rhulan safarilodge.co. akadu) and e /th (madikw e (aha.co.za e Lodge odg am River L rds’ Tree G dge.info) e Sheph rdstreegamelo e (sheph

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the final word

the quirky side of travel – Scottish spirt, work ethic, one-nighters –

V

isit Scotland is asking for a New Year pledge from potential visitors - it wants them to embrace '21 days of kindness' leading up to Burns Night on January 25. The tourist board is fronting an initiative that encourages small acts of generosity for 21 days this month. But never fear – it only kicked off on January 5 so you still have time to put aside any January blues and sign up to this outpouring of goodwill north of the border. Participants are asked to a commit a deliberate act of kindness each day until January 26. Perhaps, finally, make a colleague a cup of coffee or donate a pair of those Christmas socks to the homeless shelter – in fact, get involved any way you can. Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, commented: “It's because of Robert Burns that we promise, every Hogmanay, to 'tak a cup o' kindness' with our neighbours." Just don't mention Brexit or the next Scottish referendum when you're sharing your whiskey. visitscotland.com

OUT OF OFFICE What’s the perfect work/life balance? Many would say 'all play and no work', but where do Brits stack up compared to other nations?

*

Titanic on top The Titanic Belfast, an interactive experience and museum in the port city, has been crowned the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction, according to the ‘Tourism Oscars’, beating the likes of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and the Las Vegas Strip. titanicbelfast.com

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Madagascar

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Middling, in the centre of the road, is the short answer, according to Expedia, with Brits spending an average of 26% of their time away from work. But this figure is partly skewed by almost 20% of Brits not taking their full holiday allowance, due to work pressures, says Expedia. Famous for being industrious, the Germans actually spend the largest percentage of their time not working (33%), while South Koreans spend a depressingly meagre eight per cent of their time trying to forget all about work. expedia.co.uk

Kiwi Hirsuta

5 6

Indonesia

Sunda Colugo

Indonesian Islands Babirusa

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ONE NIGHT IN PARIS Just under a third of would-be travellers think that Paris is the ultimate one-night-stand destination, says Hotels.com. Of those surveyed, 29% picked 'The City of Love', with 'The Big Apple' coming in a close second with 26% of the votes. Respondees were determined to do both cities in style too, with 33% likely to request the chef's table of a Michelin-star restaurant and 32% wanting to party with a celebrity. hotels.com

Australia

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THE FEBRUARY 2017 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • Dubai • African Luxury Lodges • Australia - Adventures and Excursions • Japan • North Africa • Flights to Asia • USA: Gulf of Mexico States •USA: Phoenix/Scottsdale • Escorted Touring • Italy: South Tyrol • Great Rail Journeys • Gran Canaria 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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Book with confidence ACCREDITED AGENT


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TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2016 JANUARY 2017 • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK SELLING TRAVEL • JANUARY 2017

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