S E L L I N G T R A V E L • j uly / au g u s t 2 0 1 7
july/august 2017 • sellingtravel.co.uk
TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2015 & 2016
Argentina • Costa Rica • Diving worldwide • Falklands • Gulf States • Jersey • Nicaragua • Singapore • Thailand • Uganda
Into the deep Selling diving holidays means knowing your wrecks from your reefs. Get savvy on scuba
how to sell...
Costa Rica Uganda Thailand Argentina Nicaragua Gulf States and more...
Now ďŹ‚ying from Gatwick to Kigali and beyond 3x weekly at unbeatable fares.
01293 874922 firstname.lastname@example.org
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this issue - we travel further to bring you more FEATURES 08 Diving the World: What lies beneath
31 Uganda: Gorillas in the 38 41 56 74
mix in East Africa Argentina: Glaciers, beaches, desert, jungle... Gulf States: The heart of the Middle East Costa Rica: Going green Thailand: Southern stars
86 87 90 92 94 95 96
38 G U L F S TAT E S
THE REVIEW 61 Top news and reviews
incentives & fam trips.
Express In Person: Jersey Island Profile: Jersey How to Sell: Singapore My Journey: Nicaragua Six of the Best: St. Kitts
TALKING SHOP 15 News, competitions,
QUICK READS 33 Visit USA 36 My Journey: Orient 49 53 54 80
SELLING CANADA 82 Show report: From Rendez-vous 2017 Six of the Best: New hotel openings Indigenous Canada Introducing: St John's Winter sports Introducing: Atlantic Canada In Person: Air Canada My Journey: Rocky Mountaineer
C O S TA R I C A
T H A I LA N D
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
CA N A DA
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Travel Trade Publication of the Year
Travel Trade Publication of the Year
Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2017 © 2017.
Suffolk House, George St, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1SR, UK T 020 8649 7233 | F 020 8649 7234 email@example.com 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 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 & Zoë Tarrant Production Manager: Clare Hunter Managing Director: Martin Steady We are members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Visit USA Association, LATA, PATA, MENATA, SATOA, the Foreign Airlines Association and the Institute of Travel & Tourism. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, BMI Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. ISSN: 2056-9319. Cover image: bigstockphoto.com
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welcome – dedicated to those who love selling travel –
had the pleasure of visiting Thailand in June, initially for the annual Thailand Travel Mart but also to join a post-fam designed to experience some of the country's southern islands. It was a hectic but hugely enjoyable few days that saw our group zip from island to island and from property to property. If it was Thursday, it had to be Phi Phi Island! Few tourist boards court and invest in the trade as creatively as the Thailand Authority of Thailand (TAT). Its Head of Marketing, Chris Lee, has a background in tour operating and knows that the most effective way to get the word out about the country’s diverse products is by coming up with as many imaginative initiatives as he can to keep tour operators and agents enthused about the destination. His philosophy Steve Hartridge is simple: show those who are selling Thailand, and those who want EDITOR to sell Thailand, as much of the country as possible, and as often as possible – and mix in a little fun along the way. For agents whose time is more limited, there’s a raft of road shows, support collateral, training programmes and much more to draw upon. Such initiatives create devoted ambassadors that will most probably be lauding the virtues of the country for as long as they remain in travel. There is no substitute for seeing or experiencing a destination, hotel or attraction first-hand but the next best thing is to gain more knowledge vicariously through the eyes and anecdotes of those who have been there. So brush up on Thailand, and read how the destination is promoting its southern islands, by turning to my feature, on page 74. Elsewhere in this issue, we list the finalists in this year's Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards. Once again, we invite you to choose those you consider to be the best in the business when it comes to making your job easier and more profitable! So get voting!
MAKE YOUR MARK! VOTING FOR THE SELLING TRAVEL AGENTS CHOICE AWARDS OPENS JULY 28. IT'S THE ONLY INDUSTRY AWARDS DECIDED BY YOU - GET INVOLVED!
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stands today as St. Luciaâ€™s most unique and luxurious resort and the only resort situated on a UNESCO World Heritage site. From the jaw-dropping views at The Villa or our more intimate suites, Ladera offers a dramatic backdrop for your vacation. The setting is breathtaking and unlike any other, on a volcano ridgeline 1,000 feet above the deep, blue Caribbean Sea, with stunning views of the Pitons. At every moment our attentive staff are available to meet any need. Resort amenities are designed with ultimate relaxation in mind, from authentic St. Lucian culinary experiences at Dasheene to indulgent treatments at The Spa.
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the big picture
Durdle Door Dorset, UK
When the sun is beating down at home there’s surely no better place to be than the UK. So here’s a little staycation inspiration all the way from Dorset’s quite epic Jurassic Coast. This is a land of rolling green hills, craggy cliffs, emerald waters and plentiful ice cream. Tell your clients to forget Dubrovnik and instead drool over Dorset’s Durdle Door! visit-dorset.com
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diving the world
something deep blue
Selling scuba doesnâ€™t always come easy for landlubbers but diving holidays can provide a healthy revenue stream, says Laura Gelder, who picks her top dive destinations
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diving the world
bove us a rosy dawn is breaking over the tiny Filipino island of Malapascua. The light is slowly ﬁltering down to where we sit on the seabed, a few metres back from the dropoff and the abyss beyond, accompanied by the collective sound of our ragged yogic breathing. We’re waiting for a rarely-seen species to emerge: the thresher shark. Usually residing in depths of 60 metres or more, they come here to enjoy a spa treatment at the local ‘cleaning station’. Straining our eyes, we can see large, dark shapes begin to emerge out of the blue. I have to be careful to stay ‘neutrally buoyant’ as my lungs ﬁll with excitement and the shimmering bubbles streaming from my regulator like ﬂying saucers begin to zoom faster upwards. The silver sharks are just a few metres in front of us, gliding smoothly and stealthily though the water, their long, dangerous tails waving
ceaselessly behind them. They use this unique weapon to corral and whip schooling ﬁsh but it’s temporarily disabled for the trip to Monad Shoal. An army of cleaner wrasse await: small ﬁsh wearing a business-like stripe, who swarm around each spectral customer, working diligently to nibble parasites from their lustrous hides. It’s a beneﬁcial, symbiotic relationship so there’s no chance of anyone becoming breakfast – including us. Still, you wouldn’t catch me turning my back on those over-sized mercury eyes. Scientists believe that Southeast Asia is where most of the Paciﬁc’s marine organisms evolved before they spread out to colonise other oceans, hence the incredible bio-diversity. But diving is big business all over the world. Specialist operators offer everything from luxury resort-based dive holidays to intrepid ‘liveaboards’, ﬂoating hotels of varying standards which trawl remote archipelagos and facilitate
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dawn ‘til dusk diving for scuba addicts. As ever, knowing what ﬂoats your client’s boat is the key.
Belize “Renowned for exceptional reefs and biodiversity, along with a number of fascinating shipwrecks, Papua New Guinea is one of the most exciting and remote dive destinations on earth. Frontier diving at its very best!” PHIL NORTH, MANAGER, DIVE WORLDWIDE
The second-smallest Central American nation has more than 400 islands and the longest unbroken barrier reef in the western hemisphere. The destination is also lauded by divers for its opportunities to see whale sharks between April and June at Gladden Spit on the southern section of the reef. Ambergris Caye, the largest of the 200 cayes that dot the coastline, is just a 20-minute plane ride from Belize City and the closest you can get to the barrier reef, so is the most popular base for divers. Outside the reef are three of the four true coral atolls found in the Western Hemisphere - Turneffe, Lighthouse and Glover’s – a quieter base for divers who want to get away from here. The Great Blue Hole is a sink hole measuring 1,000 feet across, 400 feet deep and almost perfectly round. More experienced divers (Advance PADI holders) can venture down to 40 metres to see the giant stalactites which Costeau ﬁrst explored in the 1970s. Did you know? Original Diving (originaldiving.com) offers tailor-made packages to Matachica Beach Resort on Ambergris Caye. Rooms are set in individual private air-conditioned cottages. There is an onsite spa, the Mambo Restaurant and the Cinema-Martini Lounge.
Above, from left: Belize’s Great Blue Hole; Egypt’s Red Sea in full cartoon-like colour; a manta ray blocks out the sun in Mozambique. Above: a green spotted puffer ﬁsh
The Red Sea has long been a draw for British divers, thanks to its fantastic visibility, warm waters, diverse marine and a high standard of quality accommodation – and all just a four-hour ﬂight away. Resorts like Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab and Marsa Alam are all popular bases from which to access the abundant reefs. Popular dives include strong currents of the Straits of Tiran off Sharm El Sheikh, popular with larger ﬁsh like jacks, barracuda and sharks and Pharaoh’s Island off Taba for its tiny, ugly-looking frog ﬁsh, which walk the ocean ﬂoor on their ﬁns.
Did you know? Dahab’s Blue Hole plunges to depths of 130 metres and has claimed many lives. Only technical divers can attempt the sink hole’s most famous dive but advanced recreational divers can safely do The Bells dive. This descends through a chimney down to 27 metres, turning into a wall drift dive which affords opportunities to peek out into the deep blue of the open sea for larger creatures, before entering the Blue Hole itself.
Indonesia The choice here is between a liveaboard cruising remote islands suited to hardcore divers or a more relaxed diving holiday based in a resort with more attractions above the water. Liveaboards are popular around Komodo Island, famous for its prehistoric-looking komodo dragons and its national park of 132,000 hectares holding popular dive log entries ranging from the huge sunﬁsh down to the pygmy seahorse. Resort-based diving for all levels can be found around Bali, which has wrecks, reefs, walls and volcanic muck diving for small critters. Sulawesi, just east of Borneo, has more varieties of coral than anywhere in the world. Its north offers a dramatic volcanic sub-aqua landscape and the chance to see dugongs, while on land divers can learn about the region’s unique tribal culture. The up-andcoming Raja Ampat archipelago off West Papua is a dreamy landscape of karst islands surrounded by emerald water. Here, manta rays are ten-a-penny. Stay here: Misool Eco Resort in Raja Ampat is a private island surrounded by white beaches and protected by clear lagoons and abundant reefs. With just nine guest cottages and a staff-to-guest ratio of three to one, this is the only luxury offering in this dream dive destination. Original Diving (originaldiving.com) offers commissionable packages.
Maldives A great choice for divers who want a little luxury, the Maldives are some of the most nutrient-rich waters on the planet. Deep channels cut between the atolls, teaming with plankton
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Located just north of Australia, Papua New Guinea offers some of the most incredible diving in the world. With hundreds of dive sites to choose from, your clients will discover atolls, passages, lagoons, wrecks and world famous Muck diving. Itâ€™s no wonder PNG is an underwater photographerâ€™s paradise. For more information: www.papuanewguinea.travel/UK or email email@example.com for help in selling PNG to UK divers.
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and larger pelagic creatures like manta rays, whales and sharks. There are also swimthroughs, caverns and overhangs to explore. Inside the atolls are gentle reefs, sandbars, islands and lagoons which have evolved over millennia forming the habitat and nurseries for many colourful inhabitants. December-April is the driest time in the Maldives, when visibility on the eastern sides of the atolls is excellent but less so on the western sides, although divers are more likely to encounter manta rays and whale sharks during this period. May to December shifts the diver’s focus on to the western sides of the atolls.
Home of mega-beasts, Mozambique’s planktonrich waters attract whales, whale sharks and manta rays. Beach town Tofu is a great base for seeing these. The region is home to one of the world’s largest manta ray populations – both reef and giant varieties. Further offshore is one Stay here: Park Hyatt Maldives (maldiveshadahaa.park. of the best chances to see the world’s biggest hyatt.com) sits at least 10 kilometres away from any other ﬁsh, the whale shark. These gentle spotted inhabited island, on an untouched atoll, surrounded by one giants can reach up to 19 metres in length, of the region’s most beautiful reefs just 50 metres from the weigh over 34 tonnes and can have a mouth 1.5 shore. The onsite dive centre metres wide! Also also offers a unique à la popular is the carte diving programme, Primeiras and “Outside the main arc of the Segundas Marine enabling guests to customise their dive experience with a Protected Area (MPA), Windward Islands unique private instructor and private the largest on the Barbados has snared – boat as an option. continent. It comprises literally and figuratively – rich coral reefs and wayward ships for centuries mangrove forests Malta If your diving clients and has a portfolio of about which act as a nursery have to stay in Europe for reef ﬁsh and ﬁve 200 wrecks” then they won’t do breeds of turtle. PADI.COM much better than Malta, which is renowned for Sell it: Dive Worldwide (diveworldwide.com) offers a its clear seas. Reefs, 13-day Kruger Safari and Mozambique diving package wrecks and caves are all waiting to be explored. including UK ﬂights, three nights in a safari lodge with two Top dives include the wreck of HMS Maori, which game drives and seven nights at a beach lodge with 10 sank in Valletta Harbour in 1942 and is now 16 dives, from £3,765pp. metres below, guarded by conger eels and other sea creatures. Gozo is home to another ‘Blue Hole’, New Zealand which gives access to an impressive underwater Although not as famous for diving as its larger, archway and cavern. hotter neighbour, New Zealand has some more unusual marine environments which attract Sell it: Regaldive (regal-diving.co.uk) offers St. Patrick’s Hotel in Xlendi Bay on Gozo from £328pp for seven nights more experienced divers. In the South Island, B&B including ﬂights. You can add a dive pack from £133 popular dive destinations include Kaikoura, for six guided dives. where they have the chance to see playful
Clockwise from top left: Divers wait to go out in Borocay, Philippines; a clown ﬁsh peeps out from its anemone home; turtle-spotting in Belize; a thresher shark
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marine environment which is great for repeat visitors. Multiple dive destinations offer very different thrills. Hot spots include the wreck-dense Coron region and dramatic limestone cliffs of El Nido, both around the island of Palawan Island; Puerto Galera, which is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve at the heart of the Coral Triangle region; and the Visayas which covers multiple islands including Apo Island off Negros, which is a marine sanctuary teaming with everything from schools of jack ﬁsh numbering 2,000 to tiny neoncoloured nudibranchs (a type of mollusc). Sell it: Dive Worldwide (diveworldwide.com) offers its Island Hopping Dive Safari in the Visayas from £2,145 for 17 nights, including ﬂights, 14 nights’ accommodation and 22 dives. Departing and leaving from Cebu, the safari takes in Moalbaol on Cebu Island, Malapascua or Dumaguete, and Bohol (home of the Chocolate Hills) and Panglao Island.
Tahiti dusky dolphins and fur seals, and Stewart Island, with its famous kelp forests hiding seals, sea lions and seahorses. Further north are the Poor Knights Islands, located three kilometres off the tip of the North Island. This sub-tropical dive destination is famous for its underwater arches, often patrolled by stingrays, as well as caves, kelp forests and sponge gardens. Top spot: Milford Sound and the surrounding Fjordland area is home to giant black coral trees (actually white in appearance) which are rarely found at such shallow depths but thrive thanks to a tannin-stained layer of fresh water which protects them from the light above.
Philippines Clockwise from right: a yellow seahorse; the rich water of Raja Ampat, Indonesia; an inquisitive turtle
The world’s second-largest archipelago – 7,000 islands no less – means a diverse and exciting
EXCLUSIVE BAREFOOT LUXURY UNPARALLELED DIVING AND SNORKELING ULTIMATE PRIVACY AND RELAXATION DEDICATED AND PERSONALIZED SERVICE
Also known as French Polynesia, this collection of ﬁve archipelagos covers an area of the Paciﬁc the size of Europe and has an astounding choice of dives. The abundance of lagoons make ideal areas for novice divers while steep drop offs and passes swept by strong currents provide thrilling challenges for more advanced divers. Tiputa Pass in Rangiora is a shark fanatics’ paradise, where fast currents sweep divers along with hoards of grey reef sharks. Tuheiva Pass in Tikehau is home to vast schools of barracuda, tuna, manta rays, grey sharks and lemon sharks. Sell it: Regaldive’s (regal-diving.co.uk) French Polynesia Master liveaboard cruises several islands. Prices start from £3,209pp for a seven-night trip, boat-only and full-board (including local beer and soft drinks). The price includes transfers between the internal airports and boat, 18-20 dives (weather permitting) and a land visit.
Fall in love with the beauty of a barefoot luxury getaway at Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa. Located at the heart of one of the largest and deepest natural atolls in the world, the waters surrounding our secluded island is every divers’ haven. To learn more, visit maldiveshadahaa.park.hyatt.com
The Park Hyatt™ trademark and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt International Corporation. © 2017 Hyatt International Corporation. All rights reserved.
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TA L K I N G S H O P -INSPIRED BY YOUThe stuff that happens when agents get involved...
Jet2 plans Tenerife double bill for agents SPOTLIGHT ON...
JET2'S VIP travel agent conference 2017 will be held at the Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife in November and December. The details were revealed by Head of Trade, Alan Cross, at a series of launch events in Newcastle, Manchester and London. The package holiday specialist will whisk 240 independent travel agents out to two conferences: the ﬁrst will take place from November 27-29, with the second from November 30 to December 2. trade.jetholidays.com
17 AITO chooses Evora in 20 THE Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) has announced Evora in Portugal as the host location for its 2017 conference. Medieval Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage city, is a two-hour ﬂight from London.
A taste of
Contents 20 Barbara Charlton 23 On Location 24 Been There, Done That
Rwanda route GATWICK WELCOMES FIRST RWANDAIR FLIGHT
GATWICK welcomed the touchdown of the ﬁrst direct ﬂight between Rwanda and the UK. RwandAir’s London to Kigali service is operating thrice-weekly between the two capital cities. The route is served by a new Airbus A330-200, with ﬂights from £368. rwandair.com
Sell 2, sail free REGENT SEVEN SEAS
AITO Chairman, Derek Moore said: “We’re delighted to have been invited by the Portuguese National Tourist Ofﬁce and the Alentejo Tourism Promotion Board to the delightful Alentejo region in mainland Portugal.” The main conference location will be the Hotel Vila Gale Evora.
LONDON - BASED travel professionals enjoyed a unique opportunity to participate in Brasil Junino at the Embassy of Brazil. They discovered some of Brazil’s lesser-known destinations and were treated to music performances, dances and some Latin cocktails. The seminars were part of the Brasil Junino cultural programme.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to stay at the Pousada do Loios in the heart of the old city. Sessions will be held on Friday, November 24 and November 25. The conference is expected to be a sell-out event. TAP Air Portugal will offer ﬂights from Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester. aito.com
Keep in mind...
REGENT SEVEN SEAS Cruises new booking incentive ‘Sell 2 & Sail Free’ gives agents booking any two Seven Seas Voyager Mediterranean cruises, which sail from June 28 to September 28, a free luxury suite. Bookings must be made from June 16 and prior to July 31. rssc.com
COMING UP & ENDING SOON
2 & 5 September SELLING TRAVEL AGENTS CHOICE AWARD NETWORKING PARTY Selling Travel is pleased to present two evenings in London and Manchester for agents to meet and network with our STACA ﬁnalists. Make contacts and meet industry colleagues over drinks and food.
12 & 13 September AMAZING THAILAND ROAD SHOWS Thailand Tourism will bring hotels, airlines, destination management companies and tour operators together for workshops in Edinburgh and Newcastle. There will be prize draws with the chance to win a trip to Thailand.
More online at sellingtravel.co.uk/events
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AWAR D S
The 2017 Selling Travel Agents Airlines & Airports Airline to the Far East: ANA, Cathay Pacific, Garuda International, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways. Airline to North America: Air Canada, Air Transat, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic. Airline to Latin America & the Caribbean: Air Europa Lineas Aereas, Avianca, British Airways, LATAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, United Airlines. Airline to the Middle East: Emirates, Etihad Airways, GULF AIR, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Virgin Atlantic. Airline to India & the Indian Ocean: Air Mauritius, Air Seychelles, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways. Airline to Europe & North Africa: Brussels Airlines, easyjet, Jet2, Monarch Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle. Airline to Africa: Emirates, Ethiopian, Etihad Airways, Kenya Airways, South African Airways. Airline to Australasia & the Pacific: Air New Zealand, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Philippine Airlines, Qantas. Overseas Regional Airline: Bangkok Airways, Copa, Gol, Liat, Virgin Australia. Overseas Airport: Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam Schiphol, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Dubai International, Singapore Changi. UK Airport: East Midlands, Edinburgh, London City, London Gatwick, Manchester. Favourite Fam Trip: Abu Dhabi/Etihad Airways, Jet 2, Philippine Airlines, Westjet, Thai Airways.
Cruising Ocean Cruising: Celebrity Cruises, Cruise & Maritime, Crystal Cruises, Fred Olsen, Hurtigruten, Royal Caribbean. River Cruising: AMA Waterways, Avalon, Riviera Travel, Tauck World Discovery, Uniworld, Viking.
Tour Operators Tour Operator to Africa: African Pride, The Gambia Experience, Kuoni, Somak Holidays, Visions of Africa. Tour Operator to Australasia & the Far East: AAT Kings, APT, Cosmos, Jetset Holidays, Premier Holidays, Travel 2. Tour Operator to Europe & North Africa: Jet2 Holidays, Monarch Holidays, Prestige Holidays, Titan Travel, Thomson. Tour Operator to India & the Indian Ocean: If Only..., Kuoni, Osborne & Ebel, Sunset Faraway Holidays, Travelpack. Tour Operator to Latin America & the Caribbean: Caribtours, Cox & Kings, Journey Latin America, Latin Routes, Travel 2. Tour Operator to the Middle East: Emirates Tours, Gold Medal, If Only..., Sunspot Tours, Travel 2. Tour Operator to North America: Cosmos, Funway Holidays, North America Travel Services, Insight Vacations, Trek America. For Escorted Tours: Newmarket Holidays, Riviera Travel, Saga Holidays, Titan Travel, Wendy Wu Tours. For Solo Travellers: Contiki, G Adventures, Just You, Riviera Travel, Sag Holidays.
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Choice Award finalists list Destinations
City Break: Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, New York, Singapore, Tel Aviv Destination for Beach: Greece, Jersey, Mauritius, Philippines, St Kitts, Thailand. Destination for Wildlife & Nature: Botswana, Costa Rica, Malaysia, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago. Destination for Soft Adventure: Australia, Dubai, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa. Destination for Spa & Wellness: Bali, Maldives, Oman, Saint Lucia, Thailand. Destination for Weddings & Honeymoons: Barbados, Cyprus, Mauritius, Mexico, Seychelles. Destination for Winter Sports: Austria, Canada, Italy, France, Switzerland. Agent-Friendly Tourist Office: Barbados, Cook Islands, Fiji, Malta, New South Wales. Favourite Fam Trip: Brand USA, Canada, California, Kenya, Philippines. Favourite Training Event/Roadshow: Canada, Caribbean Tourism Orgainzation, Visit USA, Thailand, Destination New South Wales.
Hotel/Group in Africa: One & Only, Sun International, Taj Cape Town, Tsogo Sun, Thanda Private Game Reserve. Hotel/ Group in the Australasia & Far East: Anantara, Dusit, Centara, Meritus, Shangri La. Hotel/Group in Europe & North Africa: Hyatt, Iberostar, Melia, Maritim, nh Hotels. Hotel/Group in North America: Fairmont, Loews, Hyatt, Kimpton, Marriott. Hotel/Group in Latin America & the Caribbean: AM Resorts, Barcelo, Belmond, Elegant Hotels, Elite Island Resorts, Iberostar. Hotel/Group in India & the Indian Ocean: Crown Cham, Beachcomber, Four Season, JA Resorts & Hotels, Lux Hotels. Hotel/ Group in the Middle East: Anantara, Atlantis, Dusit, JA Resorts & Hotels, Ritz Carlton. Hotel/Group All-Inclusive: AM Resorts, Club Med, Hard Rock Hotels, bodyholiday Saint Lucia, Sandals.
Best of the Rest Bed Bank: Bedsonline, Bookabed, Getabed, Medhotels, roomsXML Ticket Provider: Attraction World, Do Something Different, Holiday Extras, Superbreak Mini Holidays. Rail: Belmond, Blue Train, Eurostar, Great Rail Journeys, Rocky Mountaineer. Ferries: Brittany, DFDS, Irish Ferries, P&O, Stena line. Car Hire: Avis Budget Group, Affordable Car Hire, Alamo, Flexible Autos, Hertz, Your Car Hire. UK Holidays: Bourne Leisure, Hoseasons, Shearings, Superbreak Mini Holidays. Theme Parks: LEGOLAND, Dubai Parks & Resorts, IMG, Worlds of Adventure, Walt DisneyWorld Resort Florida, Universal Parks and Resorts.
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Did you know..... votes win prizes?
ach reader who votes in the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards will be put into a draw to win one of our fabulous prizes! How do you fancy jetting off to the Philippines with a friend? Then get voting! You have to be in it to win it! More prizes will be announced soon...
ALSO UP FOR GRABS...
A spa experience
THE STAR ! PRIZE
Fly to the fabulous Philippines!
Our star prize is a pair of return Economy class tickets to Manila with Philippine Airlines! It's the only airline that flies non-stop daily from London-Heathrow to the Filipino capital Manila, connecting to 30 points in the Philippines and onwards to 44 international cities. Onboard the airline's brand-new Boeing 777, you can lose yourself in hours of entertainment: choose from over 300 hours of movies, TV shows and music whilst you fly with the new myPAL eSuite. Enjoy a vibrant mix of Asian, Spanish and American dishes offering a mosaic of flavours â€“ and all passionately prepared. Arrive refreshed in Manila to explore its rich cultural heritage before relaxing on the tropical warmth of the country's white sand beaches.
Love2Shop vouchers, wine & more added daily
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AWAR D S
Time to party with the best of them THIS YEAR WE'RE HEADING TO LONDON AND MANCHESTER!
We're throwing two huge events to celebrate our 2017 finalists and to help you decide on the lineup of winners. This time we're taking our speed dating event to London and Manchester, giving agents north and south the chance to meet some of our finalists, network and enjoy a night of fun, food, drinks and prizes. The Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards are the only industry accolades nominated and voted for by travel agents alone â€“ surely that's worth celebrating with us?
OCTOBER 2 The Banking Hall, 14 Cornhill, London, EC3v 3ND
OCTOBER 5 The Mcdonald Manchester, London Road, M1 2PG
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FACE TO FACE w i t h B a r b a ra C h a r l t o n
Having our cake from Midhurst to Malaysia Being an agent is a bit like working in a cake shop! The vanilla sponge regulars know what they like and do it repeatedly. The rich chocolate clients want to indulge their senses whilst the exotic cardamom clients want a taste of something different. Then there are those that want the cake yet to be created – calorie-, fat- and glutenfree yet full of ﬂavour! These are the clients that want a Champagne holiday on a tap water budget! This season’s ‘Flavour of the Month’ is still Africa, closely contested by summer family holidays for 2017/18. I've also had to create a new folder for 2019, having booked Celebrity Cruises for two couples celebrating their 25th wedding anniversaries – great for the future commissions pot!
“As of the end of May, we are up 167% on passenger numbers and 155% on gross sales year on year"
RECENT ADVENTURES My hubby and I recently visited the lovely historic town of Midhurst, staying at the old Spread Eagle Hotel & Spa. We were fortunate enough to be upgraded to the Queen’s Suite, where Queen Elizabeth 1 visited in 1591. I slept so well in the enormous four-poster I couldn’t say whether we had any ghostly visitors! The hotel has a beautiful spa area with a pool opening onto a darling courtyard – perfect respite during that heatwave! Clients who appreciate history will ﬁnd it all here in Midhurst, a fascinating town. In June, Tanya went on a fam to Malaysia with Travelpack and Indepth Tours. During their two nights at The Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur the group climbed to the Batu Caves where the skyline views are reportedly worth the 272 steps. In beautiful Langkawi the Danna Hotel was Tania’s favourite. It has a
l in d Eagle Hote The Sprea elcome w l ya ro a rs Midhurst offe
true colonial feel despite being only ﬁve years old and offering all the modern comforts. There is plenty to occupy the cardamom clients here, including jet-skiing around local islands. Tanya faced her fears at UMGAWA Ziplines, as she abseiled down to safety with a smile.
TRAINING & TREATS We recently attended an evening hosted by the lovely ladies at Azure Holidays, with inspiring presentations and a lovely dinner. Thanks, as always, to the reps who take the time to visit us, including
Greta from Insight Vacations, Georgia from Carrier, Pru from Lusso, Stella from Classic and Gary from Travelpack, who brought John from Emirates with him. Thanks also to Africa & Beyond for the John Lewis Hamper and Macao Tourism for the Alentejo wine. Now for that diet! Happy Selling!
Barbara@thesussextravelcompany.co.uk 01403 276684
Experience Polynesia in the heart of Dubai Parks and Resorts. Step into an exciting world of curiosity with an unforgettable stay at Lapita, a unique gateway to the endless fun and enjoyment on offer at Dubai Parks and Resorts. Create moments to treasure with friends and family when you stay at Polynesian inspired rooms, bond over a meal at amazing restaurants or unwind at the Lapita lazy river. Exactly like nothing else. Book now at lapitadubaihotel.com Tel +971 4 810 9999
Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection Hotels Dubai Parks and Resorts, Sheikh Zayed Road, P.O. Box 334221, Dubai, UAE LapitaHotel | LapitaHotel | @lapitahoteldubai
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SUPERFAM CELEBRATES 10 YEARS!
Visit California are offering 100 agents the opportunity to experience the FAM of their dreams! Register all your British Airways and American Airlines bookings to California between May 1st and August 18th, 2017 for the chance to WIN a place on 1 of 10 California Dreaminâ€™ itineraries. FAM departs on October 5th, 2017. For more information and to register go to traveltrade.visitcalifornia.co.uk
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Ma s s a c h u s e t t s
UK operators discover Massachusetts Saga, Destinology and Carrier International experienced the beautiful green landscapes and adventures on offer in the state.
Massachusetts Ofﬁce of Travel and Tourism and Delta Airlines hosted six UK tour operators on a group FAM trip. Product teams from Scott Dunn/Imagine Travel, Hayes & Jarvis, Virgin Holidays,
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THE TRIP The group became Boston experts, experiencing the newly renovated Boston Park Plaza hotel and historic touring Fenway Park baseball stadium. They also visited Harvard University, and visited numerous hotels including the Envoy Hotel and Four Seasons. From here it was into Western Massachusetts and the Berkshires. Highlights included the Zoar Outdoor Park for ziplining (opposite) and a visit to MassMOCA.
THE VERDICT Sara Ellis, UK Account Manager for Massachusetts Ofﬁce of Travel and Tourism said: “This trip will beneﬁt them when selecting product for their programmes, enhancing digital content and selling the destination with passion."
What they said... “The highlights for me were all the cultural gems and outdoor adventures in the Berkshires. I absolutely loved MassMoCA and the Clark Institute, and the Hancock Shaker museum was a great ﬁnd.” Nikki Trailor, Scott Dunn “Boston is more historic than I imagined and holds plenty of interest for visitors. Travelling by car is easy with clearly signposted roads and little trafﬁc. The beauty of the countryside is stunning – I’d recommend hiking, outdoor activities and living museums.” Mary Croasdale, Destinology
07/07/2017 10:07 7/19/17 10:48 AM
BEEN THERE DONE THAT
Tra i n i n g , e v e n t s a n d f a m t r i p s
Travel Counsellors are going for gold
A A GROUP of over 70 Travel Counsellors celebrated their 'Gold' status on an exclusive trip to the five-star Half Moon resort in Jamaica. Travel Counsellors work with the non-profit organisation Pack for a Purpose that 'gives back' to local schools on the island. The company hosts two trips a year for its top-performing Gold Travel Counsellors. travelcounsellors.co.uk
Mauritius with Attitude
AS part of its in-house training programme, Funway staged a Great Lakes of the USA training event, which took place at the company's offices in Bromley. Funway's Reservations Team received training on the region while the format of the day included supplier presentations and a training quiz. B
ATTITUDE Hotels hosted a fam trip to Mauritius in partnership with Lux Resorts and Thomas Cook UK. The trip was made up of Thomas Cook Stores’ sales agents from across the UK. Olivia Knight hosted for Attitude Hotels while Emma Prichard was the Thomas Cook representative. hotels-attitude.com
Vote for Cruise & Maritime Voyages the Agents Choice for Ocean Cruising • Britain’s leading independent cruise line • Scenic cruising holidays from 11 UK ports • Traditional British cruise experience • Smaller to mid-sized classic style cruise ships • Great deals for singles and groups
12.5% Enhanced Basic Commission+ • Promotional support • No book direct discounts
Book Online at: www.cruiseandmaritime.com Call: 0844 414 6161 Agency Sales: 0844 414 6140 Brochures: www.trade-gate.co.uk *Buy One Get One Half Price applies to selected 2018 cruises. +Applies to sales achieved over £5k for 2016/17 cruises. Subject to availability. Terms & Conditions apply. Offers may be withdrawn without notice. Offered for sale in the UK by South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd trading as Cruise & Maritime Voyages. ABTA V9945. ATOL 4619. Calls cost 7p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge. 3702
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ENJOY A MEAL OUT ON US! PRIZE DRAW EVERY FRIDAY IN JULY
- PLUS Â£10 LIFESTYLE VOUCHER FOR EVERY BOOKING IN JULY
To enter and claim for vouchers please email firstname.lastname@example.org Valid for new bookings made between 01-31 July 2017. Prize draws will take place on Friday 7th, 14th, 21st July and Monday 31st July 2017. Please claim within 7 days of making the booking. No cash alternatives. Agents are responsible for their own tax implications.
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Ma y 2 4- 2 6 , S o u t h a m p t o n
Cruise industry all in it together Show Snippets Rudi Schreiner, President and co-owner of AMA Waterways, offered every agent attending the conference a fam trip place with AMA to experience a river cruise. amawaterways.co.uk The upcoming CLIA Cruise 360 event, taking place September 9-11, will explore the importance of destination knowledge in cruise sales and will look in depth at some of the major cruise ports. cruiseexperts.org Carnival’s new ship, Horizon, will begin BY BENJAMIN COREN
'Together' was the theme at this year’s Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) conference, where industry leaders stressed the importance of all arms of the cruise industry working together to raise cruising's proﬁle. Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line, said: “Collaboration between agents and cruise lines is critical for the future of the industry. There is great importance in understanding what
customers want, and also what ‘cruise rookies’ want. Travel agents play such a key role in making sure people pick the right holiday.” Stuart Leven, Chair of CLIA UK and Ireland, discussed Brexit's impact on the cruise industry, breaking down potential effects into three points: freedom of passage to cross borders, the freedom for crew to cross borders and the impact on what cruise lines may charge. “Those booking holidays for 2019 need to be reassured it’s business
as usual and the industry is doing the right things to ensure their holidays will not be affected.” CLIA President, Cindy D’Aoust on the opportunities to grow the UK cruise market, said: “We’re part of an industry that has grown by over 62% in the last 10 years. Yet we still have a big opportunity as we only make up two per cent of the global travel industry. Travel professionals need to understand the customer – if they get it right those customers will be cruisers for life.” cruiseexperts.org
cruising in 2018. The corporation has recently approved plans to build a second cruise terminal in Barcelona, which will be ready for Horizon in 2018. carnival.com October is Plan A Cruise Month, a campaign offering travel professionals the tools to build social marketing campaigns to sell cruises. Travel agent members of CLIA can showcase the advantages of booking a cruise with a CLIA certiﬁed agents. cruiseexperts.org
Aiming river cruising at a wider audience
River cruise conference sails in to Asia
Targeting special interest groups and experiencing river cruising ﬁrst hand are key tools in earning higher commission selling river cruises, agents were told at this year’s conference. President and Co-owner of AMA Waterways, Rudi Schreiner, said: “Agents must go on a river cruise in order to effectively sell it. "Try to focus on special interest groups. Around 50% of our business is groups and you will always ﬁnd customers wanting to pursue speciﬁc interests. These include those who want to cycle at each destination or join a winethemed cruise.”
CLIA’s Senior VP of Membership, Andy Harmer, unveiled a new campaign, agent incentives and exciting destination information on next year’s river cruise conference. For the ﬁrst time, the cruise association will hold a River Cruise Conference in Asia, in Ho Chi Minh City, followed by a sailing on the Mekong for travel agents. The event will kick off on April 10, with the sailing departing on April 12, 2018. Throughout June, agents and trade partners shared ‘ﬁrst time’ cruise experiences as part of CLIA’s ‘Do Something New’ campaign to show the range of activities a
Schreiner said its new, much larger cruiser, AmaMagna, will attract more ocean cruisers to river cruising. Twice the size of its current largest vessel, the new ship will be on the river in 2019. amawaterways.co.uk
cruise holiday can offer. The campaign is designed to encourage agents to sign up for CLIA events, online training, ship visits, CLIA webinars and reach out to customrers who have yet to experience cruising. cruiseexperts.org
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SELLING TRAVEL DIALOGUE
G ra n g e To w e r B r i d g e Ho t e l , L o n d o n
Agents get a lesson in luxury
BY BENJAMIN COREN & LUCY ALLEN
Selling Travel visited Grange Hotel’s Tower Bridge property in London for an educational evening with GHS (Global Hospitality Services). Over 40 travel professionals attended the evening to discover more about the services GHS offers and its vast and diverse portfolio.
THE EVENT The proceedings were hosted by Linda Bekoe, Vice President Global Sales and Marketing, GHS; Samir Bartake, Sales Manager at Grange Hotels; Amelie Stappe,
Sales at Hotel Kungsträdgården, while Selling Travel publisher Steven Thompson moderated. GHS is a hotel sales and marketing company specialising in independent hotels and chains. Linda Bekoe, said: “Clients always come ﬁrst for us; we champion independent hotels and we are the voice for the independent hoteliers. "We recruit people who have been in the industry a long time and who have a strong understanding of our business needs.” GHS shared information with agents about its growing portfolio including own brands such as The Collection and Inspire Me by GHS. Partner properties also presented on the evening to showcase to agents. Samir Bartake detailed Grange’s various London properties while Amelie Stappe shared details of the historical property in the heart of Stockholm. The feedback
feceived on the night was overwhelmingly positive with Uniglobe Travel's Amy Walton commenting: "Events like this are a great way to broaden our horizons in a more personal way. You get to put a face to a name rather than just picking up a business card."
The winners of future stays in GHS hotels were Dennis Jackson from Drifters Travel, Annette Beckford from Global Getaway, Barbara Thompson from Mintex Travel, Pete Foster from Those Travel Guys, Wendell Abraham from Gracetime Incentives and Meetings, Prakash
“I’ve learnt a lot about GHS and about different locations for leisure travel. It’s great to network with other agents” PRAKASH PATEL, HAYS TRAVEL
Steve Peca, Manager at Flight Centre Putney said: "It's great to chat to suppliers and representatives directly."
PRIZE WINNERS Catherine Panayotopoulos from Uniglobe travel won a trip to the Kungsträdgården Hotel. The family owned property is found in the heart of Stockholm close to Kungsträdgården city park, the central station and the old town.
Patel from Hays Travel and Darrel Toakley from Darrell James Travel.
THE VERDICT Prakash Patel said: I've learnt a lot about GHS and about different locaitons for leisure travel. It's great to network with other agents and learn something new" Linda Bekoe added: “We were aboslutely delighted with the turnout on the night and the engagement for the audience."
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ON THE ROAD
C a r i b b e a n To u r i s m O r g a n i z a t i o n R o a d s h o w
Islands of adventure
DESTINATION UPDATE Patricia Charlery-Leon has returned to the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (saintluciauk.org) to head up UK operations with a remit to grow
due for completion by 2018. The ﬁrst Kimpton (kimptonhotels.com) hotel outside the USA opened in the Cayman Islands in late 2016.
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HOT PROPERTIES A privately-owned luxury hotel, Silversands, is due to open in Grenada in March 2018. It will feature four hillside villas, ﬁve beachfront villas and 44 double rooms. Sandal Resorts’ (sandals.co.uk) Jamaica South Coast resort has built 12 new bungalows and a wedding chapel, all over the water. Meanwhile, the new Sandals Royal Barbados opens December 20, with its all-suite accommodation and butler service. Jewel Resorts’ Jewel Grand in Montego Bay (jewelresorts.com) will open this winter. The all-inclusive DA N A
BY JO AUSTIN
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) last visited Bristol and London on its country-wide travel agents roadshow. Selling Travel was the media partner and attended the London event at the Kensington Hilton, which attracted 13 exhibitors and 80 travel agents. Carol Hay, Director of Marketing UK and Europe for the CTO, said: “The Caribbean has got off to a good start this year and this dynamic event allows our key partners and trade to get together for an educational and informal evening... 2017 is the Year of Adventure for the Caribbean.”
“The evening was fantastic! I really enjoyed getting to learn about the smaller Caribbean islands. It's amazing how many are unspoilt” SARAH GARRET T, TRAVEL CONSULTANT, ROYALE DESTINATIONS
visitor arrivals and strengthen trade and consumer relationships. Dominica (discoverdominica.com) is running a marketing campaign to promote the island as a haven for adventurous couples. Nature-based honeymoons, or 'adventuremoons', are being featured by six properties working together to promote experiences including rainforest hiking, diving and canyoning. Agents were encouraged to download GoTrinbago, a travel app and guide which includes ofﬂine tools like maps and itineraries as well as guides to event, attractions and activities in Trinidad and Tobago. The Cayman Islands’ (caymanislands. co.uk) Owen Roberts International Airport is undergoing a massive expansion and redevelopment programme which will double its capacity with an extended runway
ﬁve-star resort and spa offers upscale luxury for families. Facilities will include butler service, an Italian villa-inspired spa, two oceanfront swimming pools and 299 rooms ranging from junior suites and villas to a penthouse. Save 50% on all bookings made by September 30.
AIRLINE ACCESS Virgin Atlantic (virginatlantic.com) is to launch the only direct ﬂight between Heathrow and Barbados on December 12. The twiceweekly A330 service (Tuesdays and Saturdays) will increase Virgin’s frequency into Barbados to 11 ﬂights a week, including Manchester. Air Europa (aireuropaexperts.com) is introducing the Dreamliner 787 on its daily service between Gatwick and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and Havana, Cuba.
DA NA E ST EW ART
Check out the full gallery online at sellingtravel.co.uk/gallery
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THE CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATIONâ€™S UK TRAVEL AGENT ROADSHOWS 2017 ROADSHOW LOCATIONS 13th September - Manchester 14th September - Peterborough Join the Caribbean Tourism Organization and partners for an informative evening of networking, fun and a chance to win great prizes including a pair of British Airways flights to the Caribbean.
We kick off the events at 6:00pm and close at 9.30pm.
Register now at www.caribbeantravelguru.com/reg-form.html
FOR FURTHER DETAILS AND RSVP Email: RSVP@caribtourism.com Call: 020 8948 0057 MEDIA SPONSOR:
7/19/17 10:52 AM
SELLING TRAVEL DIALOGUE R i v i e ra Tra v e l , B r i g h t o n & B i r m i n g h a m
Escorted made easy for agents
AGENTS ON EMILY BRONTE
SELLING TRAVEL AND RIVIERA, A WINNING COMBINATION
BY LAURA GELDER
Selling Travel and escorted tour specialist Riviera Travel hit the road in early summer to visit agents in Brighton and Birmingham, getting them up to speed on the latest product and doling out quite a few prizes to those with attentive ears. Joseph Grimley, Head of Agency Sales at Riviera Travel, and Tom Morgan, Key Account Manager, are familiar faces to many Selling Travel readers. The tour operator prides itself on its close relationship with the trade and has been on the road meeting agents since it began selling through them in 2012. Awarded ‘Best Travel Brand’ at this year’s Which? awards, Riviera Travel has over 30 years' of experience.
NEED TO KNOW Riviera Travel doesn’t sell through multiples and never artiﬁcially inﬂates prices or offers lower prices online. In short, it works hard to build and maintain agent relationships. Said Grimley: "If
ONE OF MANY PROSECCO PRIZES
someone calls us up to book direct we will always ask where they got their information from. We will then trace the original agent and pay them the commission – which often comes as a nice surprise!" Riviera's stock of brochures covers European and worldwide escorted tours, holidays for solo travellers, European and Asian river cruises, tall ship cruises, Dalmatian yacht cruises and small-ship Mediterranean cruises.
LEADING ON RIVER Riviera has one of the newest ﬂeets of river cruise vessels in the industry, with four all-suite ships launching this year: the Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde, the Douro Elegance in Portugal and the Emily Bronte, which 12 independent agents got a sneak preview of this June after being ﬂown to Cologne (pictured top right). Riviera Travel's ships and cruises cover Europe as well the Mekong in Cambodia and Vietnam. They are designed speciﬁcally for British customers: itineraries are slowed
BIRMINGHAM EVENT IN FULL SWING
“The mix of information and audience participation helped me learn a lot. It's good to know that Riviera is so UK-focused!” ABBEY LEWIS, TRAVEL COUNSELLOR
down (compared to whistle-stop tours typically enjoyed by American and Australian travellers) and the food and drink is tailored to British tastes – including tea-making facilities in every cabin. There is also 'free' dinner seating so your client won't be stuck dining with someone they don't want to be sat with! Because Riviera cruises are designed for guests looking for cultural;y immersive experiences, drinks are not included in packages. Riviera Travel believes its guests will want to take advantage of the fantastic bars which often lie just beyond the gangplank. And if they dont, a bottle of wine onboard is less than 20 Euros. There are no surcharges on a Riviera cruise and, while tipping is
not included, staff provide a guide on request. Wiﬁ is included.
EXPLORING AT EASE Destinations recently added to the Riviera portfolio include Namibia, Madeira and North Cyprus. New tours include a six-day holiday in Transylvania and Bucharest, an eightday Northern Croatia tour covering the Istrian Riviera and Zagreb and the return of a popular six-day Marrakech and Atlas Mountains trip. Top sellers include Classical Spain and South Africa. Grimley said: “Our tour managers are well paid, so they won’t sidetrack you into a local factory, plus they are incredibly knowledgeable and go above and beyond to keep customers happy." rivieratravel.co.uk
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Uganda The Pearl of Africa comes in from the cold
ourism can be a force for change and reversing trends, as has been proven in Uganda where an endangered gorilla population is enjoying a baby boom. Meeting this powerful but vulnerable species is just one of the many natural experiences on offer in the country, says Petra Shepherd
Gorilla Habituation is a new and truly unforgettable experience, only available in Uganda, and is a fascinating way to really get to know your distant ape cousins. I took an extremely challenging threehour trek into the Ruhija district of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, to ﬁnd the Oruzogo group, a family of 17 gorillas habituated to humans presence. Little did we know that this number would soon become 18. It is common for mother gorillas to hide a new-born for up to a week, but Nykeina revealed her precious cargo to us just after it had been born. Our accompanying rangers were astounded: they didn’t even know she was pregnant. The Bikingyi Gorilla Family, in the south of Bwinidi Impenetrable Forest, is the latest Gorilla group to be lined up for paying tourists who can now be part of their habituation by accompanying rangers to locate their 'nests', identify group members and spend time
Clockwise from top left: A contemplative gorilla; smiling children in the Ugandan capital, Kampala; the Murchison Falls; a cruise on the White Nile
throughout the forest long before you see them watching the typical behaviour. hanging from the trees. Tim Henshall, of the Uganda Tourist Board UK, Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale began in says the recent gorilla baby boom in Uganda is a 1991 when the ﬁrst family of apes had been direct result of tourism to the country: "The best way to help protect these precious creatures is to successfully habituated to the presence of humans. Back then the chances of a sighting go and see them," he says. were less than 20% And tourists are, with but now stands at over the majority of tour “Gorillas are without a doubt 90% – a big tick on any operators operating in the country reporting our greatest draw but Uganda adventurer's list. signiﬁcant increases in has plenty more to offer - from Wild places enquiries for Uganda. plains game to chimpanzees, Uganda is well known Monkey excellent birding, culture and as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ business mountain trekking that beats and has 10 national But Uganda is not all parks. These include that in Kilimanjaro” about gorillas. Chimp Bwindi Impenetrable COLIN MUHOOZI, trekking is also on offer Forest, with its much UGANDA TOURISM PROJECT MANAGER with Kibale Forest sought-after mountain National Park home to gorillas; Queen the greatest variety and concentration of primates Elizabeth National Park, rich in game and home anywhere in Africa: almost 1500 chimpanzees, to the tree-climbing lion; Murchison Falls including a community of 120 habituated chimps. National Park, where the mighty Nile squeezes Visitors can spend an adrenaline-fuelled hour through a narrow gorge before it falls over with them. 140ft; Kidepo Valley National Park and Jinja, the The chimps are highly mobile and active as adventure capital of Uganda and the source of they move around in their social groups, so the legendary River Nile. keeping up with them is no mean feat – as Mount Elgon, once the highest mountain in I discovered. You hear their distinctive cries Africa, is a stunning and undiscovered park
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near the border with Kenya. Its many feaures include the Sipi Falls, cave-dwelling elephants and some of the ﬁnest Arabic coffee in Africa (the Basigu tribe's most closely held secret). Meanwhle, the mystical Rwenzori mountains (the 'Mountains of the Moon') offer some of the most picturesque trekking in Africa. Rwenzori means 'Rainmaker' which is why its landscape is so beautiful – but also why should recommend clients pack a pair of wellies! Uganda is also arguably Africa's richest birding destination with an impressive 1,063 species identiﬁed. Dramatic, diverse and distinctly different, Uganda can satisfy most traveller's bucket list dream experiences.
What's new On a peninsula above Lake Mulehe in the shadows of the Virunga Mountain Range, the new Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge from Churchill Safaris (churchillsafaris.com) will open its doors in September. The Rezidor Hotel Group (rezidor.com), in partnership with AYA Investment Group, has acquired The Pearl of Africa Hotel Kampala and added it to the Quorvus Collection. The 296-room hotel will open later this year with facilities including a wellness spa and two outdoor and one indoor swimming pool. Several exisiting properties are being upgraded. Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge's (volcanoessafaris. com) main building has undergone a total upgrading and redecoration of the interior. The bedrooms are also being revamped and redecorated and were due to be completed by the end of June. The changes see it join the ranks
of Africa's top safari lodges. Wildwaters Lodge (wildwaterslodge.com) is currently undergoing an eco-refurbishment, with greenfriendly composite decking replacing over a kilometre of wooden decks. The Kampala Serena Hotel (serenahotels.com) has spent eight million dollars on a new main lobby, remodelling its Pearl of Africa ﬁne-dining restaurant (including a new Champagne bar) and adding 36 additional guest rooms.The ﬁrst phase of a 10-year 'masterplan' was completed in in April. The Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa (serenahotels.com) has a new Golf Academy with a putting green, pitching and bunker area and netted driving range. Nine new holes will be completed in 2018. Mahongany Springs (mahoganysprings.com) has opened a new Honeymoon Suite – guests can bathe in a candlelit bath tub whilst looking over Bwindi Forest. They may even get a special visit from a family of gorillas – the animals can wander into the camp for a snack. Tour operators continue to add Uganda product, among them Africa Excel (excelafrica.com), Rainbow Tours (rainbowtours.co.uk) and Titan Travel (titansafaris.com), which has a new trip offering games drives, nature walks and river boat rides. Nkuringo Walking Safaris (nkuringowalkingsafaris. com) has a trekking itinerary that follows in the footsteps of Dian Fossey. The company is represented in the UK by Africa-Reps.
THE DETAILS Time Zone: GMT +3 Capital: Kampala Curency: £1= 4,658 Ugandan shillings Visas: British nationals can apply for an e-visa online, and pay at the point of entry (US$50). Getting there: No direct ﬂights. Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya
Airways and Turkish Airlines serve Uganda. Languages: English is the ofﬁcial language Climate: Tropical except in mountain areas. Hottest December to February. Rainfall highest March-May and October and November. visituganda.com
Clockwise from top left: a sunset safari in Murchison Falls National Park; jungle trekking; Uganda's tree climbing lions are found in Queen Elizabeth National Park; a cheeky chimpanzee
7/19/17 06:51 PM
VISIT USA ROADSHOW A M E R I C A H I T S T H E R O A D • V I S I T U S A R O A D S H OW.C O M
Edinburgh 2 United Airlines Economy return tickets from Edinburgh or Glasgow to New York 2 nights at Hyatt Regency Jersey City
Liverpool THE VISIT USA 2017 ROADSHOWS will take place in Edinburgh, Liverpool and Reading, early evening on October 3, 4 and 5. The popular, fun and informative events have been designed to maximise the networking opportunities for agents and exhibitors alike. The format will include speed networking - which will see agents visiting all exhibitors - and the chance to
win some great prizes. Goody bags will be distributed and a holiday to the USA will be up for grabs at each location (see opposite for prize details). All three roadshows are being held in selected premium hotels where over 30 Visit USA exhibitors and agents can exchange information and discuss business development opportunities. Food and drink will be provided too!
7 nights Cruise America RV Rental picking up from Orlando
Early evening, from 6pm onwards
Register now to attend
2 Virgin Atlantic Economy return tickets from Manchester to Orlando
Tuesday October 3
Wednesday October 4
Thursday October 5
The Principal (formerly The George)
A pair of Club World tickets on British Airways from London Heathrow to New Orleans 3 nights at Hyatt Regency New Orleans and 3 nights at Hyatt House New Orleans
visitusaroadshow.com 2017 EXHIBITORS... CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT • AER LINGUS • AMTRAK VACATIONS • APOLLO MOTORHOME HOLIDAYS • THE BEACHES OF FORT MYERS & SANIBEL • BLOOMINGTON CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU • BRAND USA • CHOICE HOTELS • COLORADO TOURISM OFFICE • CRUISE AMERICA MOTORHOME (RV) RENTALS • EL MONTE RV • FLORIDA KEYS & KEY WEST • GRAND CANYON TOUR AND TRAVEL • GREATER MIAMI CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU • HANDLERY HOTELS • IDAHO TOURISM • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER VISITOR COMPLEX • LOS ANGELES TOURISM & CONVENTION BOARD • MASSACHUSETTS OFFICE OF TRAVEL & TOURISM • MAVERICK AVIATION GROUP GRAND CANYON & LAS VEGAS • NEW ORLEANS CVB & LOUISIANA OFFICE OF TOURISM • PAPILLON GRAND CANYON HELICOPTERS • PURE MICHIGAN • SANTA MONICA TRAVEL & TOURISM • SCOTTSDALE CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU • STATE OF VERMONT TOURISM • TEXAS TOURISM • TRAVELBEAT • UNITED AIRLINES • UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD • VISIT NORTH CAROLINA
Register now to attend one of the Roadshows by visiting visitusaroadshow.com
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VISIT USA NEWS
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 HOTELS
Loews makeover in Seattle "I am totally surprised and grateful to win this prestigious award. To have my passion for the U.S. recognised by the Visit USA association is just fantastic"
Visit USA's media night
Neil Murray Travel Writer
THE Visit USA Association held its annual Media Awards night on July 4, U.S. Independence Day. Staged at the St Ermin’s Hotel, London, the event, created 17 years ago, was sponsored by VisitDallas and Fort Worth CVB. Fifteen travel journalists/organisations were honoured for their ‘exceptional contribution to U.S. media coverage’ over the past year. Among the winners on the night was freelance journalist Neil Murray, who landed the Travel Writer of the Year award for his ‘endless commitment to producing quality features on the U.S.’. The Digital Influencer of the Year Award was won by Ella Buchan and Sarah Lee from Captivate, for their U.S. Route 1 campaign while Billy Connolly’s Track Across America for ITV, which saw the presenter visit 26 states, won Best Broadcast. The awards were judged by the Visit USA PR Committee, headed by outgoing chairman, Jonathan Sloan. visitusa.org.uk
HOTEL 1000 in Seattle is now officially a Loews hotel and will undergo a major renovation 'to enhance the overall guest experience'. The multi-million dollar 'remastering' of the guest rooms and restaurant will be completed in September. loewshotels.com EVENTS
Pulling together in Florida SARASOTA-BRADENTON in Florida will play host to the World Rowing Championships from September 30 to October 1, the first time the event has been held in the U.S. for over 30 years. America As You Like It has a 10-night package priced from £1,585pp. bradentongulfislands.com CITIES
New York has rooms NEW York City will grow its inventory of 113,000 hotel rooms to 137,000 by 2019. Major new openings include 50 Bowery (opened in May), the MOXY NYC Times Square (coming in August), and the Hoxton Brooklyn (late 2017). nycgo.com.co.uk
THE USA in brief... IPW 2017 SEVERAL Visit USA Association (UK) members were in Washington D.C. in early June for IPW, the annual showcase of the U.S. tourism industry. The Association again held its Brits and Irish party, with tour operators, rep companies and media attending the event at Capitol View at 400, with its impressive views over the iconic Capitol Building. visitusa.org.uk
ATTRACTION UNIVERSAL Studios Hollywood will be marking Xmas at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Hogsmeade Village will roll out the festive décor and serve up holiday-themed food and beverages including hot Butterbeer. Each evening, a colourful 'projection mapping' will illuminate Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. universalstudioshollywood.com
ATTRACTION THE Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida is inviting guests to enjoy its Summer of Mars promotion. Guests ‘meet’ the newestconcept vehicle designed for navigating the demanding landscape of Mars: a high-tech mobile laboratory similar to the Rover pictured. They can also view Mars in 3D 4K resolution through the eyes of a Hubble Space Telescope. kennedyspacecenter.com
Look out for our Visit USA Association online Travel Update for the pick of members' news VUSA_JulyAugust.indd 34
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MEMBERS SPOTLIGHT introducing...
BRITISH Airways will launch its direct three-days-a- week service between Gatwick and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 6. Less than 28 miles north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale is known for its miles of golden-sand beaches It also has a vibrant arts scene and a full calendar of events and festivals. This summer hosted moonlight sea turtle walks are being offered by the city's Museum of Discovery and Science. sunny.org
GRAND Canyon Helicopters, part of the Papillon Group, is now offering tours from its new Hoover Dam heliport that offer guests the chance to enjoy a bird's eye view of the world-famous Arizona dam. The four new tours range from a blinkand-it-will-be-over three-minute flight, with prices starting at $39pp, to a two-hour adventure. Papillon's other brands include Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines and Grand Canyon Coaches. papillon.com
Daytona Beach Area CVB KEVIN BRETT HAT Tourism Marketing
Alabama golf trail is 25 ALABAMA'S visionary network of golf courses, which stretches from the northern to the southern extremes of the state, turns 25 this year. From Florence near the Tennessee border to Mobile on the Gulf Shores, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail features 11 locations and 26 golf courses – that is 468 holes of top-class golf. Several of the locations also have Marriott or Renaissance hotels linked to them. The trail was the idea of Dr. David G. Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, who canvassed that the best way to invest in the future of Alabamians was to construct the network of courses that would attract golfers from across the USA and around the world. Since it opened in 1992, nearly 12 million rounds of golf have been completed and more than 500,000 individuals play the courses each year. To celebrate its 25th, several of the RTJ Trail courses are offering a round of golf for $25 (including cart) on selected days. Special golf packages are also available throughout 2017. rtjgolf.com; alabama.travel
VIRGINIA PLAYS THE HISTORY CARD
More tax free in Philly PHILADELPHIA will welcome another major tax-free shopping location in 2018. The Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia promises bigname retail brands, dining and entertainment outlets all in a downtown setting. Spanning three city blocks, Fashion Outlets will connected to the colourful Reading Terminal Market. discoverPHL.com
VIRGINIA Tourism visited the UK and Ireland last month for a series of trade events billed ‘VA Loves Jamestown’. The state’s Governor, Terry McAuliffe (pictured), fronted the mission to celebrate the release of the Sky1 period drama series, Jamestown. “Jamestown is a great showcase of Virginia’s importance in the early settlement of the US and illustrates the historic nature of many attractions that are popular with modern-day tourists,” said the Governor. capitalregionusa.org
What are the advantages of being a Visit USA member? Visit USA offers us great connectivity and access to events, networking and trade shows such as the annual Unite show. We take part in as many activities as we can. Why should travel agents be selling Daytona? Daytona is only an hour from Orlando, Disney and the other parks and makes for a great beach outing for the day or the perfect Florida twin- or multicentre stopover. What is new? Plenty! Daytona has spent two billion dollars in upgrades, with new flagship hotels shopping, dining as well as One Daytona, which has been built outside Daytona International Speedway. One million square feet of development, it has retail, shopping, dining and a Marriott Autograph hotel. I first visited Daytona about 20 years ago and it is a very different destination now. Tell us one of your own Daytona highlights? Driving on the beach, along hard-packed sand, chasing seagulls at five miles an hour is great fun. You can’t do that in too many places! How well do agents know the destination? They can always know more! We have our own online training programme, we visit call centres and we have a concession programme for agents that offers great deals when they visit Daytona. daytonabeach.com
Subscribe to the Visit USA Association online Travel Update at visitusa.org.uk VUSA_JulyAugust.indd 35
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my experience on Eastern & Oriental Express
Asian adventures and feasting with
EASTERN & ORIENTAL Julie Baxter joins Belmond’s Eastern & Oriental Express on a tropical journey filled with stunning scenery and fabulous food as she travels by rail between Bangkok and Singapore
he shining brass and polished teak of the observation car frame vivid lush landscapes as I’m whisked through a veritable colour chart of greens created by sugar cane and rice ﬁelds, cashew plantations and pineapple farms. Scored through their centre, stretching behind me like an immaculate well-oiled hair parting, is a single railway track, a long and steady constant marking the Eastern & Oriental Express rail route I’ve travelled, with only the occasional gentle curve off the straight and narrow.
All aboard Leaving the frenzy of city life behind in Bangkok, I am making my way – in some style – south to Singapore. It’s a 2,038km trip, with three nights spent on a train that is dripping in tradition. Launched in 1993 the train follows the lead
of its glamorous European sister, the Venice Simplon Orient Express. The only luxury train in southeast Asia, it embodies the same spirit of excellence and passenger pampering. Decorated in elm, cherry, teak and rosewood, with lavish use of marquetry, the train carries 60 passengers and there’s no risk they’ll go hungry. There are stops at ‘The Bridge Over the River Kwai’ and the Malaysian royal town of Kuala Kangsar, for excursions, but the main event on this trip is the dining and a chance to sit back in elegant comfort and watch the wonders of tropical Asia pass by from your well-appointed cabin, the bar carriage, library or restaurant car. My favourite spot is the observation car at the rear where you’re open to the environment, can feel the steamy heat of the tropics, smell its fragrances – and occasionally its ﬁlth – just a step from the reﬁned air-conditioned comforts of the train if a sudden downpour descends.
The itinerary A rail journey through Asia gives insights into the region you rarely glimpse if you ﬂy. We pass cattle and coolie-clad farmers, a lush abundance of fertile palm plantations and mopeds piled with local families. We travel through neatly painted and highly-manicured stations and, in Thailand, see vast images of the King swathed in black and white drapes, as part of the national mourning. Occasionally we glimpse the sea. The train departs early evening and not long after our ﬁrst sumptuous dinner is served before we park up for a stationary night in our cosy and elegant cabins. A sofa and armchair are cleverly ﬂipped and clicked by our charming attendant, Woody, who converts our cabin into a twin-bedded room complete with white cotton sheets, E&O-branded slippers and dressing gown and an evening gift of ﬂowers or boxed soap. The ensuite bathroom is a miniature
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my experience on the Eastern & Oriental Express
marvel of wood and marble with a compact but hot and powerful shower, mirrored sink unit and toilet, complete with plush white towels, lush amenities, hairdryer and store cupboard.
The museum and cemetery here tell a salutary story of the price paid for the bridge; of dark times which sit in stark contrast to the opulence and comfort of the E&O Express now using the track.
River Kwai insights
The night passes quietly and the reason we don’t travel through the night becomes obvious next day. We are just a short ride from our excursion to the Bridge over the River Kwai, where we learn the tragic history of the rail line we have travelled. Built by POWs and immigrant labour at the behest of the Japanese, it was designed to provide a supply line in its war effort in 1942. Construction challenges, harsh conditions and stringent deadlines put heart-breaking pressures on the men involved, with over 100,000 said to have died connecting Thailand and Burma.
The second two nights are both spent in motion. The rocking of the train, clacking on the tracks, ﬁlls my dreams with both a sense of soft adventure and scares the life out of me as a sudden unexpected jolt shakes me awake. In Malaysia the road infrastructure and housing seem to step up a notch and we stop for an excursion to the Ubudiah Mosque. This mosque, which adorns most holiday brochures promoting Malaysia, sits close to the nation’s oldest rubber tree so we learn of trading history too and see ancient heritage properties built intricately from bamboo.
Views of and from the Eastern and Oriental Express
Most passengers seem content simply staying on the train, soaking up the style and service and awaiting their next meal! Breakfast and afternoon tea are served, quite elegantly, by Woody in our cabin; long lunches and lavish dinners are taken in the stylish restaurant cars. We’re encouraged to dress formally for dinner and each evening are treated to a little light piano music or some local musicans and dancers. This is soft adventure at its best. Even the most nervous of your clients will be cosseted and chaperoned by a loyal cabin steward. There’s no risk, no danger and absolutely no pre-trip training required – except perhaps some stomach-stretching moves to make room for the abundant menus about to come their way.
Sell it Unique selling points The train itinerary and its glamorous style will appeal to many but the culinary offer is undoubtedly the star attraction. Culinary appeal Chef Yannis is a traditionally trained French chef who once cooked for President Mitterand. But for the past nine years, in a tiny kitchen with six supporting chefs, he has developed a passion for Asian interpretations, designing and delivering fine dining which reflects this rail route.The menus are incredible. A shimmering tiger prawn sits atop a green mango salad served with chilled, gentlyspiced tomato soup; sumptuous curries are complemented by pumpkin or jasmine rice; hot chocolate sauce melts the chocolate ball in my bowl to reveal lush coconut ice cream; and moulded mousse cakes are drizzled and dressed like culinary works of art. I eat my way through masala chicken with watercress veloute and aromatic cod fish with fresh leek salad served with egg tofu and shitake mushroom. Then there’s Tom Yum cappuccino – actually a crab foam topped soup. I also nibble valiantly on homemade mignardises and petit fours. Are you getting the picture?! belmond.com
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The ending of sales tax on hotel nights is one more factor making Argentina attractive to tourists. This vast country, from glacier to desert, has all the ingredients for a great holiday, says Adam Coulter
id you know that Buenos Aires has the most demonstrations of any city in the world?” asks KayleeAnn, my guide on a bike tour of the city. I did not, I tell her, as we sit lazily in the Plaza de Mayo, the political centre of the city, observing three (demonstrations) converge: a protest against Clarins, a farmers union march and a third, which we can’t ﬁgure out. It’s a daily inconvenience and one which Porteños, as the locals are called, are well used to as streets close and trafﬁc is diverted. But street demonstrations are also part of the character of this city, where on the surface all seems calm and well-ordered but boiling just under is barely disguised chaos. Type ‘Best way to see Buenos Aires’ into Google and your answer, near the top, is: by bike. So, with four days in Argentina’s capital on my own, I book a tour with Biking Buenos Aires and it turns out to be a highlight of my brief visit (apart of course from the wine tasting). It gives this newcomer a real feel for this vast, but mercifully ﬂat, metropolis. We start off in gritty La Boca (literally ‘The Mouth’ of the Rio Plata), birthplace of Tango and a traditional working class area. Images of its brightly-coloured wooden houses adorn every tourist brochure and guidebook, and hordes of tourists are bussed in here daily: couples Tango for pesos and a Maradona impersonator with a bad curly wig plays keepy uppy. Our next stop is Puerto Madero, which borders
Main picture: Ice trekking in Patagonia. Above, left to right: the colourful barrio of La Boca in Buenos Aires; the Bodega Colomé winery near Salta; Argentinian tango in action
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the Rio de la Plata, the old docklands which has been transformed into marinas and smart apartments. We stop for a drink and a bite to eat and admire the view. It’s quiet here. To the west lies Plaza de Mayo, our last stop.
Get your bearings Argentina is a vast country – the eighth largest in the world. Eleven times bigger than the UK, its population of just 43 million makes it one of the least densely populated countries on earth. In 2016 Argentina welcomed 69,216 UK visitors, up from 42,000 in 2015, according to ﬁgures released by the Argentina Tourist Board. Says Laura Rendell Dunn, Destination Specialist, Journey Latin America: “We have seen a 10% rise in bookings to Argentina, which we attribute in part to a new law which means foreign visitors no longer need to pay sales tax on their hotel stays, making holidays to Argentina much better value for money.” To get from its southernmost town, Ushuaia, to the far northeast of the country, not far from the border with Brazil, takes around eight and a half hours – about the same distance as London to Nairobi. But to make planning simple, all roads (and ﬂights) lead to Buenos Aires, the best place to start a visit to the country. At ﬁrst glimpse, the capital might seem like a larger version of European cities such as Paris or Milan. An astonishing 95% of the population has European heritage, unlike
other South American countries which all have signiﬁcant indigenous populations. It’s deﬁnitely worth spending a few days here – watch a Tango show, visit gritty La Boca and funky San Telmo, and the Recoleta cemetery, where Eva Peron is buried, before striking off to visit the rest of the country. Salta, famous for wine and architecture, lies about two hours’ ﬂight time to the north west. Ushuaia, in the deep south, is the gateway to the Chilean fjords and Antarctica and is about three hours’ away. Cordoba resides some 430 miles northwest of Buenos Aires. Founded in 1599 the city preserves an extraordinary Jesuit legacy (inspiration for the movie The Mission). The centerpiece is the Jesuit Square, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is also the Jesuit Church and Private Chapel, the Maximum School and the University.. If you’d prefer to drive, the famous Route No. 40, which bisects the country, goes right through the heart of Argentina’s wine-growing region, including the city of Mendoza close to the border with Chile.
Perfect ten Visit the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires and ﬁnd many famous names, including Eva Peron Go on a bike ride around bustling Buenos Aires to get a feel for the city.
Take in a Tango in the birthplace of the dance – either in a traditional milonga (dance hall), or a Tango show. Visit Ushuaia, the most southerly town in the world and gateway to the Antarctic, for whale watching, penguin colonies, elephant seals and winter sports. Australis has four-night cruises around the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn, the continent’s most southerly tip. Step back in time by visiting Tigre, a town in the Delta of the Rio de la Plata, an hour from Buenos Aires. Kayak to private islands, have a lazy lunch and enjoy the sleepy vibe. Salta lies in the far northwest of the country and is stunningly situated in the Valle de Lerma. It is most famous for wine, but also has beautiful architecture. Many estancias (Argentine farms) in the province of La Pampa allow visitors to join the cowboys (or gauchos) on their daily duties, such as cattle driving, cow milking, shearing and cattle marking. You can also stay the night and gorge on steak and ﬁne wine. Iguazu Falls, in the far northeast, borders Brazil. Its 250 separate cascades stretch for several kilometres and form part of Parque Nacional Iguazu. See Parque Nacional Talampaya for its weird and wonderful towering cliffs and precarious rock formations dating back to when dinosaurs roamed this land.
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Right: Cycling through the Familia Zuccardi vineyards in Mendoza. Above: a Gaucho in colourful traditional dress
Where to book it
Air: Norwegian (norwegian.com) established Norwegian Air Argentina earlier this year and is waiting for regulatory approval for ﬂights to Buenos Aires, which could launch in December. Currently, from the UK the country is served by just one direct daily British Airways ﬂight. United Airlines (united.com) has announced a new year-round daily, nonstop service between New York and Buenos Aires, starting this October. Accommodation: A new lodge, Awasi Iguazu (awasiiguazu.com), located on the Argentinian side of the Iguazu Falls, is due to open in December. Fourteen suites will each feature their own private plunge pool and living room. There will also be a bar and restaurant serving local delicacies. Each room will be assigned a private guide and vehicle offering guests a tailor-made experience. Tours: South American Tours (southamericantours.com) has a 20-day gourmet journey in Argentina and Chile. Highlights include a barbecue in Buenos Aires and a visit the Norton winery in Mendoza to enjoy a local cooking class.
TRAVEL 2 – 0800 0224 182 The 11-day Spirit of Argentina costs £3,399pp, based on travel between September 1 and December 11 2017. It includes return ﬂights from London and all domestic ﬂights in Argentina. travel2.com COX & KINGS – 020 3811 0608 A private tour to Argentina, which takes in Buenos Aires, Iguazu, El Calafate and Mendoza, is priced from £3,395pp. The 13-day/11-night trip includes ﬂights, private transfers, excursions and accommodation with breakfast daily. coxandkings.co.uk
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strength tower of
The Gulf States may be surrounded by sand but a cultural desert they are not. Ben West looks at a region which is fast diversifying
y foot is hard down on the accelerator. I’m in the driving seat of a dune buggy, in the seemingly endless desert surrounding Dubai city. It’s completely exhilarating, careering up and down the huge sand dunes under a hot, hot sun. There is not a moment to relax as I career along wide sandy thoroughfares which swiftly morph into the top of perilously thin dunes. The desert can be very deceptive: often all you see is a huge expanse in front of you and no other vehicles, but that
can change in an instant. You have to be on your guard the whole time. At a couple of points I ﬁnd myself stranded on a monster dune, the tyres buried in the sand at what seems to be an impossible angle. However, the guide soon ﬁxes a rope to his 4WD, dragging my vehicle back down the dune. I’ve tried dune-bashing in Qatar and 4WD racing in Oman and each were overwhelmingly exciting. Visiting the desert is such a great contrast to the city and all the Gulf States offer dune buggy and/or dune-bashing excursions.
Typically, you stay in a tented camp furnished with more rugs than the Glasgow branch of Allied Carpets, enjoying traditional dances and feasts, camel rides and falconry displays. Sitting by a bonﬁre watching shooting stars in the vast Arabian sky is an awesome end to an adrenaline-charged day. Desert day trips are also widely available.
A hub for innovation Twenty years ago few Brits holidayed in the Middle East. However, rapid expansion of
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Previous page: Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Above, from left: wild ﬂamingos in Oman; a 4WD desert safari in Dubai. Above: Arabian oryx.
regionally-based airlines such as Etihad, Emirates, Oman Air and Qatar, coupled with massive infrastructure development, widespread hotel, mall and resort development and the introduction of major sporting events and cultural initiatives, has completely transformed the region. Once a small trading hub, Dubai is now a major entertainment destination, known for its huge shopping malls, highend hotels and restaurants, and numerous resorts and malls. Abu Dhabi has been positioning itself as a cultural centre, with notable projects including the upcoming Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum, as well as a family destination, with attractions such as Yas Waterworld. A relative newcomer on the tourism scene, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is focusing itself as a centre for heritage and culture. In one day in one of the smaller emirates, you can experience deserts, beaches, mangrove swamps and spectacular mountain ranges. RAK is seeing an increased uptake of adventure tourism, not least thanks to the Jebel Jais Via Ferrata (jebeljais.ae) in the Hajar Mountains range. Sustainability underpins the emirate’s Destination 2019 strategy, which aims to attract a million tourists a year. Without the gloss of spanking new
skyscrapers and shopping malls, Oman has the laid-back feel of a more traditional Middle Eastern destination. There are numerous historic buildings, souks and outstanding natural features including dramatic wadis, canyons, mountains and lush greenery. With a growing reputation as a sporting destination and a more proactive airline, Qatar is attracting those looking for stopovers and short breaks. It is less ‘bling’ than Dubai and, without an overwhelming choice of things to do, very manageable. There are numerous museums, galleries and souks, an impressive range of luxurious hotels and restaurants, a dazzling skyscraper skyline and superb watersports. Superbreak has seen increased visitor numbers to the region overall and Dubai remains just behind New York as its second most popular mid-haul destination. Chris Hagan, Head Of Propositions at Superbreak says: “We don’t expect the ongoing diplomatic issues [concerning Qatar] to have any effect on numbers although we may see small increases in airfares with Qatar Airways capacity into the UAE removed from the market for the time being. In response to growing demand from agents for content-rich, unique, experiential, mid-haul short breaks we have enhanced our Dubai programme to coincide with the launch of our newlyrebranded Overseas Short Breaks brochure which features two brand-new packages.”
E l t p
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Call our specialists on 0141 955 4000 and visit agents.ifonly.net to win in our Oman quiz! From left: A market trader measures up in Dubai’s atmospheric Spice Souk
Abu Dhabi mangroves: Kayak tours provide a guide to explain the eco-system. Bed down like a Bedouin: Authentic reproductions of Bedouin life in Ras al-Khaimah’s desert include The Bedouin Oasis Camp and Bassata Desert Village, where you can live in the desert amongst the camels. Theme park central: Dubai is awash with theme parks, including Wild Wadi, IMG Worlds of Adventure, Aquaventure, Legoland, Motiongate, Al Nasr, Wonderland, Fantasy Kingdom and KidZania. Monster mosque: Abu Dhabi’s huge Sheikh Zayed Mosque has 82 domes, more than 1,000 columns and extravagant gold-plated chandeliers. All faiths are welcome. Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort: This new art-inspired luxury resort is nestled amongst the hidden valleys of the Al Hajar Mountains in the coastal region of Dibba, the second largest town in the emirate of Fujairah. Shoppers’ paradise: Qatar’s impressive range of malls include Villagio, Landmark and City Center Doha, one of the biggest in the region. Or try Souk Waqif for traditional craftwork. Wildlife wonderland: Get close to the region’s animals in Oman, with whale-, bird-, turtle- and dolphin-watching. Culinary delights: Ras al-Khaimah has a wide range of culinary experiences, from international ﬁve-star cuisine to Arabic cafes for local specialities accompanied by a sheesha. Cultural Qatar: Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art is not to be missed. Culture vultures will also love the modern art museum and recently-built opera house and ampitheatre. Crystal clear waters: You’re never far from water in Oman, whether a glorious empty beach, a refreshing wadi or luxury pool. If Only… (ifonly.net) offers the six-night Wonders of Oman tour which includes a visit to the deep blue waters of Wadi Bani Khalid.
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Our Magical Middle East,
Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan Hotel
90 HOTELS AND RESORTS
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What’s new “Send clients with an appetite for culture and design to Abu Dhabi at the end of the year, when the Louvre Abu Dhabi will open. Its 600+ artworks will tell the story of shared human experience from ancient times to the present day” NABEEL AL ZAROUNI, UK COUNTRY MANAGER, TCA ABU DHABI
Clockwise from top left: Qatar’s world-class Museum of Islamic Art; mountain biking in rugged Oman; relaxing in Ras Al Khaimah; falconry is the national sport across the Gulf States
Accommodation: Coming up in Dubai: the 304-room Aloft Dubai City Centre Deira (starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels), the region’s ﬁrst cinema-themed hotel; the quintessentially British Dukes Dubai (dukesdubai.com) is synonymous with sister property Dukes London and offers a golden sandy beach with views over the Dubai Marina skyline; and The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Soﬁtel, which describes itself as the ﬁrst holistic welling resort in the Middle East. Centara Hotels and Resorts recently opened a new 152-room hotel in Muscat, Oman. Located in the bustling Ghala Heights business district it features three restaurants, a spa and a rooftop pool and terrace. Centara is also opening a new hotel in Qatari capital, Doha, later this year. Airlines: Qatar Airways (qatarairways.com) and Qatar Tourism Authority have a free Doha stopover initiative until September 30, giving transit passengers free hotel stays and complimentary transit visas. It’s part of a bigger campaign called +Qatar, seeking to encourage transit passengers to add Qatar to their itineraries. Emirates will be introducing a second daily A380 service between Dubai and Birmingham, beginning October 29. Attractions: The foundations have been laid for The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour, the world’s tallest building, set to become an iconic landmark when it opens in 2020. It will feature The Pinnacle Room and VIP Observation Garden Decks. Cruise: Luxury lines Celebrity Cruises and MSC Cruises are seeing record-breaking demand for cruises originating in Abu Dhabi. The emirate is forecast to welcome more than
300,000 passengers from 148 calls made by 18 ships from 15 different cruise lines during the 2017/18 cruise season – around 10% up on last year. Oxford Economics predicts that Abu Dhabi cruise tourism will see 450,000 passengers by 2020, rising to 808,428 in 2025.
Tourism talk “The UK was the second biggest source market for international visitors to Abu Dhabi last year, with more than 238,000 Britons checking into the emirate’s hotels, a three per cent increase year on year. This year has started just as positively, with 86,529 Brits staying at Abu Dhabi’s hotels in the ﬁrst four months, a four per cent year-on-year increase. “Forging strong relationships with the trade is hugely important to us, and we’re constantly looking for new ways to assist UK agents and tour operators. We have joint marketing programmes planned with 17 different tour operators. “In September we will ﬂy 36 agents from London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin to Abu Dhabi to explore the city, desert and attractions of Yas Island. We also plan to tour the country delivering destination training. “As an incentive to agents, we’ll be giving away tickets to Manchester City home games, as well as Yas Island theme park passes.” Nabeel Al Zarouni, UK Country Manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority
Where to book it LUSSO – 01625 591111 Lusso offers ﬁve nights at The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, from £1,215pp based on two people sharing a Superior Room on a half-board basis, plus private transfers and ﬂights with British Airways. This is a saving of £255pp. Valid until September 20 2017.
ETIHAD HOLIDAYS – 0345 600 8118, A week at the ﬁve-star Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel, Dubai, ﬂying economy from Heathrow, is from £1569pp half-board. etihadholidays.co.uk
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Visit Jersey Keith Beecham,CEO Steve Hartridge catches up with Visit Jersey during its trade mission to the UK
What are you hoping to achieve from this UK visit?
A: Visit Jersey is over as part of the Jersey Government. We travelled with politicians, 'Digital Jersey' and 'Jersey Finance'. The aim is to show off all that Jersey has to offer – both as a premier place to visit and invest.
STUNNING COASTAL WALKS
In its most recent reincarnation Visit Jersey has existed for just over two years. What have you achieved?
A: Visit Jersey was formed on March 30, 2015 and we have done a lot differently. We have launched a new brand: The Island Break, which is working well, with some of our commercial partners taking this forward. We have gone out there with short break holiday ideas. Now, it is not just about promoting Jersey in the summer months, which historically was the case, but Jersey for all seasons: summer, autumn, winter and spring. That is one of the big differences from the past. And we have re-launched our website, which has made a massive difference to the number of people that are now ﬁnding Jersey and interacting with us.
How are visitor numbers looking?
A: The data is encouraging. For the ﬁrst ﬁve months of 2017 our holiday visitors were up 16%. That is globally, but in that period it was mostly from the UK, although we have seen a
bounce-back from our French visitors and our German market is looking good too. The picture should get better as we enter our busy season.
Are you trying to change oldfashioned perceptions of Jersey?
A: We are, but I think changing perceptions is the difﬁcult bit. I have been in this business 30 years and have learned that all you can really do is nudge this along a little bit. What we are attempting to do, with our partners and though our PR and the many bloggers that come to our island, is to show Jersey as a place that is uplifting, fresh, vibrant and exciting. Our message is that if you have a zest for life, whatever your age, come to Jersey and you will enjoy yourself.
SEE DOLPHINS ON A REEF VISIT
Are visitors staying longer?
A: The data for the ﬁrst ﬁve months of 2017 suggest that 4.2 nights is the average length of stay, but we are expecting that to extend to seven days this summer. More importantly, we are now getting people visiting Jersey outside of the summer. That means our hotels and restaurants can become more sustainable over the longer term.
Does the trade remain important to Jersey's tourism efforts?
Tell us about some of your own favourite Jersey experiences.
A: It remains very, very important. We have not reduced our budgets for what you might call the traditional channels, that is operators and agents. We work very hard with them, in the UK and Germany, and rely on them a lot, but we have supplemented these efforts with a digital marketing campaign. We probably do not focus as much as we once did on traditional brochures, but we still know the importance of agents and operators.
A: I have lived all over the world but Jersey is truly a special place to live. We have some reefs, Les Ecrehous and Les Minquiers, that are just 15 minutes by a rib vessel. On the way, you will likely see dolphins. You can have a barbecue and swim. Secondly, there is walking. Jersey is a great place for it. We have green lanes where the speed limit is 15 miles an hour and horses and pedestrians have right of way. Visitors can be very comfortable and conﬁdent walking around our island. And, before I go, the food is outstanding across the island. visitjersey.com
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Jersey Rich heritage and seaside charm Animal Magic Founded by world-famous author and naturalist Gerald Durrell, whose childhood featured in the hit ITV drama The Durrells, Jersey Zoo is committed to saving endangered species from extinction.
Go underground The Jersey War Tunnels tell the story of the islanders and foreign prisoners involved in the construction of the concealed labyrinth that housed a Second World War hospital.
Capture the Castle Well-preserved Mont Orgueil Castle was built in the 13th century to protect Jersey against a French invasion. The dramatic fortress towers over the harbour at Gorey.
Past times Uncover stories of the island’s colourful history, from the Ice Age to the German occupation, at the Jersey Museum & Art Gallery Merchant’s House in the capital, St Helier. Step out The island is a walker’s paradise with themed trails, guided walks and a spring and autumn Walking Week featuring rambles and walking events for all ages and abilities.
BOOK IT WITH PREMIER HOLIDAYS The seven-night Discovery Break starts from £489pp, for two adults (August 19-September 8). It includes travel, accommodation and admission to the War Tunnels and La Mare Wine Estate. trade.premierholidays.co.uk
f your clients are searching for the simple bucket and spade home holidays of their childhood, but with slightly more reliable weather, then Jersey could be perfect. Jeannine Williamson looks at the Channel Island’s unique Anglo-French charm
“A piece of France fallen into the sea and grabbed up by the English” was how French writer Victor Hugo described Jersey, the largest and most southerly of the Channel Islands. Lying 14 miles off the coast of France, Jersey has a special character and continental feel with a fascinating cultural heritage and extraordinary natural diversity packed into a mere nine by ﬁve miles.
BEAUTY AND HERITAGE The island is renowned for its stunning gardens, including the Eric Young Orchid Foundation, and has an interesting World War Two legacy: the Nazis attempted to turn Jersey into an impregnable fortress, and left bunkers, towers, batteries and gun casements strewn across the island. The UK is its largest source market, and with the aim of achieving one million visitors a year by 2030 Visit Jersey has launched a new fourpronged social media and website initiative, Find Your Freedom (jersey.com/find-your-freedom), showcasing the diversity of the island. Adam Caerlewy-Smith, Head of Marketing at Visit Jersey, said: “The four-part content series is an example of the steps we are taking to encourage Brits to rethink the way they see Jersey and consider their next escape to our beautiful island.”
APPEALING TO ALL Featuring a foodie ﬁre-ﬁghter, hiking hipster, cycling cabbie and surﬁng grandpa, the campaign challenges perceptions of the island and shows it offers many experiences that appeal to all ages and interests. A new trade-facing website (business.jersey.com) reinforces the message and is aimed at stimulating customer
JERSEY CAN REVITALISE AND RE-ENERGISE
demand year-round. Clare Dudley, from Ponders Travel, says: There are so many wonderful things to say about this delightful island. Being so small you can easily drive everywhere, there’s a great bus service and a bike is a wonderful way to enjoy the island’s hidden beauty spots.” New developments include Saga Holidays introducing a ﬁve-night break in St Helier in its July brochure, while Premier Holidays has launched a selection of new packages, including seven-night Discovery Breaks, plus gourmet food and spa breaks. Premier also has a late deals incentive for agents selling last-minute summer deals, which includes free meals, afternoon tea and wine for clients. The promotion runs until the end of July. A 91-bedroom Premier Inn in St Helier is due for completion in November. Bedroom refurbishments and upgrades have been completed at Longueville Manor, and a Bushcraft for Kids programme has been launched at the hotel in partnership with Wild Adventures Jersey. A new airline, Waves, now runs services between the Channel Islands that can be booked at just 30 minutes notice by using an Uber-style app. It has plans to extend to Southampton by 2018. The Casual Dining Group is investing £1million in food outlets at Jersey Airport.
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Working in partnership
GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS
Training, competitions, events July/August 2017
THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES
New Jewel Resort opens in Jamaica Quick Quiz Are you an Anguilla Pro?
1. When did Anguilla's Heritage Trail open? 1975 / 2010
THE NEW Jewel Montego Bay Resort & Spa had its soft opening in July. The all-new resort is set between Jamaica’s hills and the Caribbean Sea. The resort will offer personal butler service, a spa, two oceanfront swimming pools and 299 rooms. Guests can golf at the local championship course, experience first-class shopping at Shoppes of Rose Hall, or dine out at a multitude of local restaurants. jewelresortstraining.com
Become a Hawai'i specialist
2. What is the capital of Anguillla? THE RIVER / THE VALLEY
Answers: 1: 2010 2: The Valley
THE GREATER Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau has announced the launch of its ‘Found in Miami’ campaign highlighting the city’s authentic cultural experiences. The campaign aims to attract culture-seeking travellers by focusing on the uniqueness of the city thanks to its eclectic neighbourhoods and the diverse people who live there. You can learn more here: foundinmiami.com and miamiandbeaches.com. Don’t forget to check out the online training at miamiuncovered.com
Hawai'i I Modules: 5 HAWAI'I Tourism Europe is urging agents to sign up to its online training initiative, the recently launched Hawai'i Destination Specialist Program so watch this space for upcoming changes and incentives. There's no place on earth quite like the Hawaiian Islands. Discover more about the six uniquely diverse islands and extend the aloha welcome to your customers. Register, complete the training online and become a clued-up Hawai'i specialist today!
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Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!
Puerto Rico summer NEWS
THIS Summer in Puerto Rico is a seasonal campaign to promote summer offers to the destination. A multitude of tour operators have already submitted UK offers as part of the campaign including Barrhead Travel. In addition, agent rates are available now at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, the birth place of the Pina Colada. Don't forget to sign up to Puerto Rico Pro, the UK's online training programme which has four modules covering Puerto Rico's key areas and attractions. You can sign up online at puertoricopro.com
Qatar positions as stopover hotspot
Tawash Qatar I Modules: 5
Win with Seychelles INCENTIVE
TRAVEL 2'S latest agent incentive offers five places on a Seychelles fam trip to brush up on the island destination. To be in with a chance of winning, agents must complete the Seychelles module on the tour operator's online training portal, T2 Academy, before August 31. Only agents who have not visited the Seychelles before but are already selling the Indian Ocean are eligible for a fam place. Sign up to the training programme at seychellessuperstar.co.uk to improve your destination knowledge further.
QATAR is oﬀering a number of new initiatives to promote itself as a stopover destination including a new free transit visa launched by the Qatar Tourism Authority in partnership with Qatar Airways. The visa allows transiting passengers of all nationalities to enter Qatar for up to 96 hours between ﬂights. Over the summer months, Qatar Tourism also announced a free Doha stopover for all Qatar Airways passengers. This is part of the broader Qatar+ campaign which includes free stays at some of Doha’s ﬁnest hotels and includes opportunities to explore Doha with a range of tours.
A-Z of available courses ABTA Alaska Anguilla Antigua & Barbuda Aruba Beachcomber Tours Beaches Resorts Boucan Hotel Chocolat Bourne Leisure Butlins Caribbean Tourism Centara Hotels & Resorts Cirque du Soleil Corsican | Sardinian Places Cruise Adviser Elegant Hotels Essential Detail Flanders Florida Fort Myers Sanibel GDS Gambia Goa Experience Haven Hotels Hawaii Heritage Resorts Insider Journeys Jamaica Jerusalem Jewel Resorts Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Kenya Macao Las Vegas Miami New York City New York State Namibia Newmarket Holidays Ontario Puerto Rico Qatar SAGA Saint Lucia Sandals Resorts Serenity Holidays Seychelles Simon Malls St Kitts Tenerife Thailand TIPTO 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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how to sell
Singapore by Rowena Marella-Daw
ingapore’s dynamic culinary, arts and culture scenes will suit visitors of all ages
Lying just one degree (137km) north of the equator, Singapore’s humidity starts to cloy the moment you leave the airport. But it’s not just the climate that’s hotting up: there is much to indulge the senses in a city where gastronomy, culture, art, architecture and nature work in total synergy. The Lion City is nicknamed the ‘little red dot’ on the map, but what it lacks in size it compensates for by ﬂexing its ﬁnancial muscle as one of Asia’s bonaﬁde economic ‘tigers’ and the third-richest nation in the world, per capita.
Cultural & culinary hotpot Visitors are lured by Singapore’s exciting culinary scene, including hawker stalls, trendy cafés and ﬁne-dining establishments, serving up Malaysian, Indian, Chinese and Peranakan specialities. Chinatown sizzles with energy, while Little
CURRY NOODLE SOUP
GARDENS BY THE BAY
India dazzles with colourful temples and regional delicacies. Savour the best of South East Asian cuisine at Makansutra Gluttons Bay, or hop over to Maxwell Food Centre, renowned for its Hainanese chicken rice. In the up-and-coming Jalan Besar and Balestier districts, hip cafes and patisseries occupy old shophouses restored to reﬂect original Art Deco and Chinese baroque features. A growing appetite for upscale dining options has spawned gastronomic ventures like Chef Justin Quek’s modern FrancoAsian restaurant, Sky on 57, at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, while local talent Chef Willin Low brings ‘Mon Sin’ or modern Singaporean to Wild Rocket in Mount Emily Park. Not to be missed is Rafﬂes Hotel, where the famous and inﬂuential fraternised while sipping Singapore Slings at the Long Bar.
Singapore Essentials TIME: +8 GMT. FLIGHT TIME: 14 hours VISAS: Not needed for stays of up to 30 days CURRENCY: SGD$1 = £0.56 LANGUAGE: English is an official language along with Mandarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil
BOOK IT Audley Travel offers a 10-night Datai and Singapore itinerary, with three nights in the city before heading for the jungle. Accommodation in Singapore includes Raffles Hotel Singapore. audleytravel.com
OTHER TOUR OPERATORS premierholidays.co.uk wendywutours.com.au abercrombiekent.co.uk
GETTING THERE batraveltrade.com virginatlantic.com singaporeair.com
Gardens of the future Singapore is a haven for green spaces, with 300 parks and four nature reserves. Gardens by the Bay is a 250-acre super-park featuring futuristic pavilions and gardens with views of the Marina Bay and city skyline. Enormous glass biodomes nurture two cooled conservatories. The Cloud Forest’s mist-shrouded 35m-high mountain is blanketed in dense vegetation typical of the tropical highlands and has the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, while the Flower Dome features ﬂora from the Mediterranean and semi-arid regions. Supertree Grove is an other-worldly vertical garden showcasing a spectacular Garden Rhapsody light and sound show.
Secret islands Beyond the city lies a quieter, rural setting known as Pulau Ubin, one of Singapore’s 62 islets and the last remaining ‘kampong’ or traditional farming and ﬁshing village. Day-trippers can catch a water taxi to this island untouched by time, strolling or cycling through coconut palm tree-lined lanes. Or head for Chek Jawa, a wetland nature reserve rich in marine wildlife, mangrove swamps and nature trails. The remote Sisters’ Islands has been declared Singapore’s ﬁrst marine park, while the notso-secret Sentosa island resort has everything from family beaches to leisure and nightlife.�
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am looking to find ‘the chosen one’ for the volcano visit,” announces my guide, Edgar, ominously. All eyes fall on his potential sacrifice, who has the audacity to correctly answer a question based on our introductory talk. So begins my March visit to Nicaragua. The Central American country’s climate is governed largely by its Central Highlands, which ensure the eastern Caribbean side is wetter than the western Pacific side. Meanwhile the lush, lofty north has gained an enviable reputation for coffee cultivation. Following a brief exploration of the capital, Managua, I am soon hotfooting it to the Coffee Route around Matagalpa. The area abounds with trails and waterfalls, and the higher altitude assures refreshingly cooler temperatures. My hotel, the basic, eco-style Selva Negra (selvanegra. com), sits on a plantation estate that can be explored on foot, jeep or on horseback. Touring the estate I learn all about the coffee production process. Also in the area is the city of Esteli, home of the country’s famed cigar industry, and the Miraflor natural reserve, which offers great birdwatching and hiking amid cloud and rainforest.
León’s colourful streets and cathedral are laid out before me on a walking tour. The city was also home to the poet Ruben Dario, Nicaragua’s most celebrated writer. His former house, now a museum, is well worth a visit. But it’s Granada, a short drive from León or Managua, that is the country’s undisputed colonial gem. Founded in 1524, it’s also one of the country’s best-supported touristic centres and home to a good spread of boutique hotels. As evening falls on Calle de Calzada, the street of bars and restaurants leading up to the cathedral come alive with enterprising food stallholders serving the crowds gathering in the cathedral square. Personal highlights include visiting the Granada cigar ‘factory’ of Doña Elba where, somehow, my ham-fisted attempt at rolling a cigar is transformed into something recognisable by the staff. Then, over at Mansion de Chocolate, my fun walk through the world of all things cocoa is topped off by getting to produce my own bar – a feisty chilli and sea salt dark chocolate number. Later, a tasting tour at Flor de Caña’s Chichigalpa distillery provides a squiffy glimpse into another of Nicaragua’s major exports – rum.
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Gre is k wi cil artur
M AG MO T • Per do n he ﬁ cer r May oc • Dis sen ri t lo of • Spon Gda Ló n ar M lo n hi omh oc
Cola g Descending to the colonial city of León the air changes to hot and dry, the land from lush to parched. León is the country’s intellectual, revolutionary and religious heartland. It’s also home to my charming hotel, El Convento, and the restaurant Al Carbon which delivered up a delicious steak and chimichuri dinner washed down with lashings of ‘Vitamin T’, the local beer named Tonya. León also sports some eye-catching political murals, a legacy of the Sandinista revolution of the 1960s and 70s.
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Voles Of Nicaragua’s panoply of volcanoes, 17 are still active – one destroyed the capital Managua in 1972. Boarding down the Cerro Negro volcano has become a must-do activity for thrill-seekers, as has hiking the active Concepción cone, one of two on Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua. I opt for a trip to Masaya volcano, where you can drive up to the lip of the crater. The panoramic views are startling and even in the daytime the fiery red molten lava can be seen swirling below, albeit through a curtain of steamy fumes. My hike on the crater trail around the bio-diverse Mombacho volcano produces further impressive vistas, including distant Granada and its nearby islets fanning out into Lake Nicaragua, a haven for boat tours and kayakers. There is also the crater lake of Laguna Apoyo, where I enjoy a swim at Apoyo Resort. Stealing the show, however, is the two-toed sloth I spot chilling and scratching in a treetop just metres into the trail.
Care r exr Ge
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Cosg Two of the country’s favoured options for beach breaks are the beguiling Corn Islands, off the Caribbean coast, and my choice, San Juan del Sur. Located on the Pacific coast, down near the border with Costa Rica, San Juan is prime surfing country and local operators offer trips to nearby surf beaches such as Playa Maderas. I choose an enjoyable fishing tour, where frigate birds buzz around the boat as patient pelicans slot in alongside. More famous visitors to San Juan have included the author Mark Twain, who chronicled his experiences in his book Travels with Mr Brown. Finding the Mark Twain Suite in my charming Victoriano hotel occupied, I have to make do with a snatched snap on a beachside bench bookended by statues of Twain chatting with Ruben Dario. Come the trip’s end I am assured of the validity of the tourism board’s slogan, ‘Nicaragua – Unique and Original’. Personally though, I prefer my guide Edgar’s verdict, based on the local slang for extremely cool. “Nicaragua – es deacachimba!”
Jes tu inS a de S
KA SAL h of h H a d A 13tu t i g , Nicu £2,199p m o s Exo c ﬂigs ind t Mar (de tass . ex.co.uk ) 11, 2018
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Cemented as the most popular Central American country for Brits, eco-haven Costa Rica is a destination well worth discovering, says Nigel Tisdall
hat’s the most dangerous thing about whitewater rafting?” asks our gung-ho guide, Max. Surprisingly, it’s not the raging waters or those nasty-looking rocks. “Most injuries result from being whacked with a paddle by your neighbour,” he explains, prompting us to look warily at one other. As we set off on our 17-mile rollercoaster ride down the Pacuare, Costa Rica’s most scenic river, it seems inevitable there will be thrills and spills. My 14-foot-long, six-passenger inflatable raft feels woefully small for this three-day adventure paddling in and out of Pacuare Lodge, a remote eco-hotel buried in the rainforest near Bajo del Tigre. Pinball, Rodeo, Cemetery – the names of the Class I-IV rapids – say it all, but I’m far too busy to be scared as the waves smash
into us and we learn how to crouch down like a rugby scrum when the big drops come. Spliced between these adrenaline moments are interludes of astonishing serenity as we glide through 300ft-tall forests. Blue morpho butterflies flutter by in the thick heat. Yellow-throated toucans flap past, weighed down by their magnificent beaks. A machaca fish jumps, grabbing a quick and easy lunch of purple orchid blooms floating on the tea-coloured water. I feel like an explorer dreamily floating through an enchanted canyon of emerald trees and silvery waterfalls – until Max suddenly cries “Paddle now!” and we’re off again, bouncing around like a sock in a washing machine as the Pacuare roars and pours its way down to the Caribbean Sea.
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committed to sustainability. There’s It’s little surprise that this Central American also a ban on swimming with dolphins country is increasingly popular with British and whales. Wherever you look, this is a travellers. Over 70,000 of us went there in destination where nature comes first. 2016, a boom encouraged by the introduction Perfect ten of direct flights from Gatwick. In November Capital idea: Flight times can require 2015 Thomson launched a weekly service from an overnight in San José, which has its London to Liberia, in the north-west province charms despite appalling traffic and a of Guanacaste, then in April last year British dishevelled appearance. The Mercado Central Airways followed with twice-weekly (three and 1897 Teatro Nacional are worth a visit and in winter) flights to the capital, San José. Hotel Grano de Oro (hotelgranodeoro.com) is a highThe appeal of this tiny nation devoted to class heritage property. ‘Pura Vida’ (best translated as ‘full of life’) is Fired up: Costa Rica has 129 volcanoes instant. English is widely spoken, U.S. are dollars including Volcán Arenal, which erupted commonly accepted and the country feels safe unexpectedly in 1968 creating a spectacular and welcoming – in 1948 Costa Rica disbanded 5,480ft peak that is now one of the country’s its army and put the money into education most visited attractions. and healthcare. It’s been quiet since It may not have the 2010, but others are Mayan ruins, Spanish “Don’t discount the rainy active. As the Foreign colonial architecture season from May to November Office puts it: “the or rich ethnic culture – it can be quieter and possibility of eruptions that awaits in Mexico or Guatemala, but its cheaper and the countryside is always exists”. Hot spot: flora and fauna are green with the rivers full and Thermal springs world-beating. There whales passing by in October” are a happy spin-off of are more species of this volcanic action. birds here than in AMANDA MARKS, DIRECTOR, COSTA RICA SPECIALISTS After an exhilarating the whole of Europe, day of adrenaline and its 26 national activities and engaging encounters with nature, parks guarantee memorable encounters there’s nothing like relaxing in a 43°C pool with with wildlife ranging from howler monkeys a tico sour (the country’s answer to the and sloths to crimson-fronted parakeets caipirinha) from the swim-up bar. and over 50 species of hummingbird. Loved up: Costa Rica is ideal for the Crucially, travellers can see and do a lot adventurous honeymooners. At the quickly and easily. Similar in size to Denmark, adults-only Nayara Springs (nayarasprings.com) Costa Rica’s location on an isthmus where resort in Arenal all the suites come with a two continents meet has created a carnival four-poster bed, wraparound balcony and of bio-diversity. You can drive between private plunge pool framed in lush foliage. On the Pacific and Caribbean coasts in three the Pacific Coast, Arenas del Mar (arenasdelmar.com) hours, and in a week go from exploring the is a relaxing clifftop oasis overlooking the rainforest to admiring volcanoes to surfing mile-long Playa Espadilla Norte. off golden beaches. Hotels and eco-lodges Hanging on: Ziplining is big business are high-quality, guides are well-trained. with over 300 places to do it. At the Over a quarter of the land is protected and Ecoglide Park (arenalecoglide.com) in Arenal you can green thinking is a reality: recycling bins whizz along 13 aerial cables then face your are everywhere and hotels are genuinely fears on a scream-inducing Tarzan Swing. Be happy: Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world according to the 2016 Happy Planet Index which looks at wellbeing, life expectancy and ecological footprint. (The UK came 34th!). Golden bean: Coffee is the best souvenir to bring home and there are plenty of opportunities to visit farms and learn about the considerable effort that goes into making our daily fix. Eat well: Yes, there’s lots of gallo pinto (rice and beans), but also ample supplies of fresh fish and luscious tropical fruits. Pineapples, bananas, mangoes, papayas,
Main picture, opposite page: A green spiny lizard. Above, from top: white-water rafting on the Pacuare River; a traditional Costa Rican dance; mussels cling to driftwood on a Paciﬁc beach. Left: A farmer’s market in downtown San Jose
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avocados – welcome to juicing heaven. Wet and wild: The Osa peninsula in the south-west is the best place for a wilderness adventure – the Parque Nacional Corcovado is the country’s largest park and has luxury lodge, such as Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge (casacorcovado.com), offering high-class comforts. Open road: Self-drive is an option as distances are short and roads good – Geodyssey (geodyssey.co.uk) offers five itineraries while Journey Latin America (journeylatinamerica.co.uk) has a coast-to-coast adventure.
Above, clockwise from top left: Relaxing at Tabacon Grand Spa & Thermal Resort; the active crater of Poas Volcano; a family enjoy a yacht excursion; a dangling sloth
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Airlines: Airlines: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (klm.com) launch a twice weekly flight from Amsterdam to San José in October. Accommodation: In Arenal, the luxurious and much-lauded Nayara Springs (nayarasprings. com) has added 19 villas plus a new pool, yoga pavilion and rainforest trail. Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas (casachameleonhotels.com) is a new 21-villa resort in the car-free beach town of Las Catalinas, Guanacaste. Tours: Packages combining Costa Rica with its southern neighbour Panama are popular. KE Adventures (keadventures.com) has a new 15 day ‘Natural Wonders of Costa Rica and Panama’ group tour that visits both Caribbean and Pacific coasts with an emphasis on spotting wildlife from turtles and sloths to crocodiles and the resplendent quetzal bird. Great Rail Journeys (greatrail.com) is offering £150 discount on its 15 day ‘Enchanting Costa Rica and Panama’ tour, which includes a ride on the Panama Canal Railway, valid for 2018 bookings made by 15 August 2017.
Tourism talk “We've seen a huge interest in Costa Rica from both the UK travel trade and consumers. We think this is being fuelled by the thirst in the marketplace for off-the-beaten track, adventure options, as well as the unrivalled wildlife that Costa Rica offers. “In the ﬁrst quarter of 2017, 3,384 Brits travelled to Costa Rica, a 12.7% increase in UK visitor numbers on the same period for 2016. “This year has been a busy year one to date. We ran a signiﬁcant advertising campaign that included stunning out-of-home digital screens at train stations across London. We also ran a booking incentive for sales staff to win a place on a fam trip to Costa Rica and have these taking place in June, July and September. “Finally, we're planning a sales mission, with around 20 partners from Costa Rica signed up to visit the UK in the week after World Travel Market in November.” Rob Wilson, Head of Sales & Marketing, Travel & Tourism at Four Communications
Where to book it COSTA RICA SPECIALISTS – 01473 890499 A 13-day tailor-made ‘Active Costa Rica’ package costs from £2,660pp including canyoning at Rio Perdido and rafting at Pacuare Lodge. International flights are extra. costaricaspecialists.co.uk
EXODUS TRAVELS – 0203 811 3276 A nine-day guided group tour,‘Natural Highlights of Costa Rica’, costs from £1,939pp including international flights, breakfast and some meals. Stand-out experiences are a boat trip through the Tortugero National Park, a dip in the hot springs at Arenal and a hike in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. exodus.co.uk
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The isolated Falklands boast pristine wildlife and homely hospitality for hardy travellers and cruisers alike, says Mark Stratton
oaming Sealion Island’s tussocky moorland I’m royally entertained by an abundant fearless wildlife. Comedic rockhopper penguins sporting Mohawk quiffs hurl themselves off high cliffs and when I settle down for sandwiches on a golden sandy beach nosey gentoo penguins congregate around me. I photograph elegant albatrosses whizzing past on straﬁng winds and laugh at sealions irritated by their ﬁdgety pups. Yet topping the blubber stakes at 3.5 tonnes are the gargantuan elephant seals that groan and belch and belly barge each other with the panache of sumo wrestlers. I return later to the cosy 11room Sealion Island Lodge for a British roast lamb dinner fully convinced the Falklands are the Galapagos of the South Atlantic. There’s a faraway edge of the earth feel about the Falklands’ 776 subantarctic islands located in the South Atlantic. On East Falkland Island the capital Stanley exudes Britishness with Union Jacks aplenty, ﬁsh ‘n’ chip pubs, and red telephone boxes. Yet outside Stanley, the ‘camp’, as it is locally called, is a wild collage of windwhipped islands, moorland, mountains, and steely-cold fjords that scarcely experience temperatures above 10-15ºC during summer’s peak tourism sea-son (September to March). Clients may not be rushing here for a suntan but the abundant wildlife simply takes the breath away, with a million nesting penguins, huge colonies of cormorants and albatrosses, sealions and elephant seals, and killer whales patrolling the offshore waters.
End of the line The Falklands welcomed 55,000 cruise ship passengers last year season, most combining their voyage with a visit to the Antarctic Peninsula. Meanwhile, land-based visitors typically tour the Falklands’ outer islands by the local government’s small light aircraft service (FIGAS). A sample itinerary out of Stanley could include ﬂying to Bleaker Island to see its penguins; transferring to Sealion Island to marvel at elephant seals; then Carcass Island for albatrosses, and back to East Falkland for Volunteer Point’s King Penguins. Each island offers rustic full-board accommodation and hearty home-cooked meals. Visitors stay on average 10 days to marry in with a limited airlift of three ﬂights per week. The Chilean carrier, LATAM, arrives at Falklands’ Mount Pleasant airbase once weekly from Santiago. The route received a boost this year with British Airways’ ﬁrst direct ﬂight to Chile’s capital from Heathrow. Alternatively the MOD operates a twice-weekly more direct ‘air-bridge’ from RAF Brize Nor-ton. Yet at £2,200pp it’s a more expensive option than ﬂying via Santiago (roughly £1500).
Above: a parade of king penguins. Next page, from left: Bleaker Island’s gentoo penguins at Sandy Bay; an elephant seal on Carcass Island; spotting the striated caracara, a bird of prey, on Carcass Island
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Perfect ten Smoko’ Delight: The moreish wiles of a ‘smoko’ boasts mid-morning or afternoon tea with homemade cakes and diddle-dee jam. Albatross city: Visiting West Point Island’s nesting black-browed albatross is one of the world’s best birding adventures. Walking Weddell: Hikers will adore the Falklands’ largest off-shore island, Weddell, for its penguins and moody landscapes. Heavens Above: Flying has never been more scenic than experiencing the archipelago’s light aircraft F.I.G.A.S for island hopping by air. Lest We Forget: Military historians can relive 1982’s Argentinian conﬂict at numerous sites such as Mt. Harriet’s memorial. Killer Whales: Sit on Sealion Island’s cliffs spotting the ocean’s great-est predators intelligently stalking their prey. Hail the Kings: During nesting season a thousand pairs of King Penguins produce ﬂuffy chicks on a long beach at Volunteer Point. Bleating Brilliant: With a reputed 167 sheep per inhabitant, organical-ly farmed Falklands lamb melts in the mouth.
Falklands Cheer: Peaty notes burst out of the local craft beer, Rock Hopper, served in Stanley’s homely British pubs. Fishy Fun: Cast your line into fertile seas reel in sea trout from September to April.
“Let clients know this is the ultimate getaway destination away from the crowds. Imagine an area the size of Devon and Cornwall that receives just 1,600 visitors per year” KEVIN MILLINGTON, MARKETING MANAGER, FALKLAND ISLANDS TOURIST BOARD ( FITB )
scheduled ﬂight from Santiago or Brazil. “The peak season is November to January when the birds nest and the chicks hatch, but with just one lodge per island they can be a bottleneck and are always at full occupancy. However, bed capacity in Stanley is growing. The Malvina Hotel will open 37 new doublerooms by October and the Waterfront Hotel has rebranded as the Falklands’ ﬁrst boutique hotel with six rooms including free wiﬁ and mini-bar”. “With the smaller island lodges shutting down off-season (April-September) we are trying to boost the winter season by promoting travel to the more accessible East and West Falkland Islands for walking, ﬁshing, and war-based tourism.” Kevin Milligan, Marketing Manager, Falkland Islands Tourist Board (FITB)
Where to book it FALKLAND ISLANDS
HOLIDAYS – + 500 22622
“Numbers of land-based leisure visitors are increasing about 4% per annum but the market remains small, around 1,600 visitors per year. The weekly LATAM ﬂight is about to increase capacity by switching from A320s to A321s and there is rumour of a second weekly
A week’s itinerary starting in Darwin, ﬂying to Pebble Island, Sea Lion Island and back to Stanley includes penguins, birds, marine mammals, history and culture. From £1,600pp excluding international ﬂights. falklandislandsholidays.com
Tailor-made itineraries Wildlife, Walking, Photography, Fishing, Battleﬁeld and General Interest.
The longest established tour operator in the Falklands
Photographs by Allan White and Joe Lange
Individual and group travel Internal ﬂights, transfers, accommodation, guided tours and excursions. Offering a wealth of local knowledge of the Falkland Islands along with a personal, professional and friendly service, every step of the journey. For more information E: email@example.com T: (00500) 22622 - F: (00500) 22623 - W: falklandislandsholidays.com
7/19/17 07:02 PM
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
H O M E F R O M H O M E : Jet2 and Solmar Villas join forces
DANCING IN THE AISLES Advantage Conference
OUT & ABOUT Experience Latin America
SHOW REPORT Thailand Travel Mart
GET ONLINE â€“ 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
7/19/17 07:05 PM
Wendy Wu online for trade
Atta plans showcase BY LUCY ALLEN
CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organization
THE Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) would like to thank those agents who attended our London and Bristol roadshows – events with great prizes including bottles of rum, fam trip places, accommodation stays courtesy of Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort and Grafton Beach Resort in Tobago and tickets with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. We’re coming to Manchester and Peterborough on September 13 and 14 respectively for more networking fun and prize hand-outs. The trade media partner will be Selling Travel. Find out
BY LAURA GELDER
more at caribbeantravelguru.com.
WENDY Wu Tours has launched a new website for the trade, designed to enable agents to book its escorted tours online. The Asia specialist’s new booking portal allows agents to book Wendy Wu’s tours 24 hours a day – and in less than two minutes. The home-grown website does not replace the company’s reservations team, who remain on hand to talk agents through Wendy Wu’s programme, but is intended to help busy agents manage bookings more quickly and easily. Agents can ﬁnd all the latest prices, tour information and campaigns from Wendy Wu, as well as managing their Bambu points (the company’s agent reward scheme) and seeing individual commissions for each tour at the point of sale. The company plans to add more features
Jo Plummer of Tropic Breeze and Tony Gajic from The Holiday Place were both lucky winners of a pair of tickets to the CTO’s Caribbean Summer Ball this summer and Jo was also the June winner of £100 Amazon Vouchers for making the most Caribbean bookings! Look out for the CTO’s new Wedding & Honeymoon Guide. It is packed full of useful information to share with clients. Contact us if you want copies of this or Guide to the Caribbean, Caribbean Dive Guide, or Meeting and Incentive Guide. Contact Ann-Marie Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call her on 020 8948 0057.
to the mobile responsive website in the future, including add-ons such as ﬂights, transfers and cruises for agents putting dynamic packages together. Speaking at the trade launch event in London, the company’s founder Wendy Wu commented: “We want to be the one-stop shop for Asia and with our own technology we can achieve this.” Wendy Wu recently reported a rise in bookings for India of over 70% in the last 12 months. To meet this demand, the operator has launched the new 14-day Inspiring India classic tour which stretches from Delhi to Jaipur and Udaipur to Agra. It is the operator’s ﬁrst two-week India offering and is set to become its ﬂagship tour of Northern India.
THE African Travel and Tourism Association (Atta) is to stage its ﬁrst dedicated trade-networking showcase. Experience Africa 2018, a three-day event planned for June, will follow the successful format of the wellestablished Experience Latin America . Announced at the ﬁrst-ever Avis Atta Media Awards night on June 27, the event will comprise an awards evening with networking opportunities, meetings and seminars. Formed in 1975, Atta’s works to create platforms for business speciﬁc to the continent. It now has nearly 600 members in 22 African countries. BBC World News presenter, Peter Okwoche, who was moderator at the Avis Atta Media Awards evening, said “Atta has always been about telling the African story, not just stories of corruption and struggle, but stories of success.” Pictured is Brian Jackman, who was recognised for his “contribution to understanding African tourism”. atta.travel
Funway and AMresorts join forces for Caribbean special
Caribbean Tourism Organization 22 The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1BP Tel: 020 8948 0057 Fax: 020 8948 0067 caribbean.co.uk
FUNWAY Holidays and AMResorts have a new joint sales and marketing campaign, starting with a dedicated mini-brochure released in June. The 24-page brochure includes savings of up to 50% on holidays to the Caribbean, Mexico and Dominican Republic. Nick Talbot, Marketing Director for Funway Holidays said: “We are delighted to be partnering with AMResorts and the deals brochure is one of many joint
projects planned. It includes amazing savings on holidays to the Caribbean. Funway is a leading North American specialist but is now also recognised as an established Caribbean operator too. Working more closely with AMResorts will further strengthen our position.” Funway offers seven nights in Jamaica, staying at the all-Inclusive, adults-only ﬁve-star Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, priced from £1,249pp with ﬂights. funway4agents.co.uk
7/19/17 07:06 PM
Eurostar ski tickets lead to slippery slopes EUROSTAR has put on sale tickets for its winter 2017/18 ‘ski train’ services from both London and Ashford direct to the French Alps. The ski train services from St Pancras International and Ashford International stop at Moûtiers, Aime-la-Plagne and Bourg-St-Maurice, making it easy to access many of Europe’s top resorts such as Courcheval, La Plagne, Tignes, Meribel, and Les Arcs. The seasonal ski services will run weekly from December 22 2017 until April 7 2018, with fares starting from £75 each way. Trains depart on either Friday night (arriving in the Alps on Saturday morning),Saturday morning (arriving Saturday evening), or Saturday night (arriving Sunday morning). Returning trains depart the Alps Saturday morning, Saturday night and Sunday morning. The ski train’s luggage allowance means travellers can take their skis or snowboard as well as two suitcases at no extra charge. eurostar.com
CMV launches fifth ship
BY JOHN GORE
CRUISE and Maritime Voyages welcomed new ﬂagship, Columbus, to the ﬂeet this June, with her ‘godmother’ Angela Rippon CBE ofﬁciating at the naming ceremony in TIlbury, Essex. Columbus, with 775 cabins accommodating 1400 passengers, has ﬁve dining options, seven lounge bars (including a British pub), six entertainment venues (with an outdoor cinema), two pools, a wellness centre and gym, a maritime-themed observation lounge, bridge and card room, a library and a ‘crafters studio’. The ﬁfth member of the ﬂeet makes CMV Britain’s fastest growing independent cruise line, with a projection of 100,000 guests in 2018. Next year they will be sailing from nine British ports, with Marco
jet2 offers villas
JET2HOLIDAYS and Solmar Villas have joined forces, making hundreds of European properties available under a new brand called Jet2Villas. Under the new trading agreement, Solmar’s range of villas across a number of popular holiday destinations, including mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and Croatia, is now being marketed through Jet2Villas.com. Solmar’s range of villa rentals include family-friendly properties, luxury villas, remote hideaways and villas within hotel grounds. Solmar has seen its sales increase by more than 32% in the last two years. It is the ﬁrst time that the package holiday specialist has offered a dedicated villa rental proposition. Customers booking villas will also be able to take advantage of package beneﬁts like ﬂights and car hire. Julie Blake, Managing Director of Solmar Villas said: “We have over 20 years’ experience in this marketplace. All of our villas are hand-picked.” jet2villas.com
December start for Sandals’ Barbados luxury
Distinctive Africa unveils brochure TRAVEL retailers can now request Distinctive Africa’s new brochure. Packed with itineraries across Africa, the itineraries cover destinations thst include South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and more. The Explore Tanzania itinerary combines a safari and a stay in Zanzibar. It is priced from £2940pp. The Explore Botswana option start from £3100pp. distinctiveafrica.co.uk
Polo visiting The North Cape, Murmansk, The White Sea and Artic Greenland; Magellan on a Mediterranean Odyssey Voyage, and Columbus embarking on a 121-night Grand Round the World in January 2018. New for 2017, Columbus and Magellann are offering eight ‘multi-generational cruise’s which gives guests the chancebto cruise with their children and grandchildren. An eight night Majestic Fjordland cruise on Columbus in a standard twin cabin costs from £610pp, based on two guests sharing. An upgrade to a junior balcony suite on the same voyage costs £1890pp. The voyage leaves from Dundee or Newcastle and visits Bergen, Flåm, Eidfjord and Ulvik in Norway.
SANDALS Resorts International is to open the luxury-oriented Sandals Royal Barbados open on December 20. The resort, the group’s second property on the island, which will bring Sandals’ rooms on the island up to 502, will offer 222 all-concierge and butler-level suites. Situated next to Sandals Barbados, the new resort is set to be a “game changer” for Sandals, says Chairman Butch Stewart. It will feature Sandals’ ﬁrst-
ever rooftop inﬁnity pool, a beachfront glass inﬁnity pool, gentlemen’s only barber shop, Red Lane Spa, four bars, and ﬁve international restaurants. There will also be an entertainment pavilion with a bowling alley, living room and games room. Those staying in the top suites will be able to take advantage of chauffeured Rolls-Royce airport transfers. sellingsandals.co.uk
7/19/17 07:06 PM
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BY LAURA GELDER
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RIVIERA Travel’s new European and Worldwide Collection for 2017/18 includes new tours covering Thailand, Burma, Costa Rica and a new Nile cruise. The 16-day Burma, River Kwai and Thai Beach trip is priced from £2,399pp and visits Rangoon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake in Burma before guests take an excursion out to The Bridge over the River Kwai in central Thailand before enjoying a three-day beach stay in the Gulf of Thailand at an Anantara resort. Costa Rica – from the Caribbean to the Paciﬁc, is a 13-day trip that leads in at £2,539pp. It visits Costa Rica’s Caribbean coastline in Tortuguero National Park; the
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still-active Arenal Volcano; the remote Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, renowned for its incredible birdlife; the Monteverde Cloud Forest and a coffee estate tour. It ends with three nights at a ﬁve-star resort overlooking the Paciﬁc Ocean. A new 14-day Thailand-only tour splits its time between Chiang Mai, Bangkok and the Andaman beach resort of Khao Lak. it starts from £1,799pp. The Nile cruise comes in two packages: 11 days from the Pyramids to Luxor, for £1,895pp, and 15 days from the Pyramids to Aswan, for £2,469pp. Each starts out from Cairo and takes in the Pyramids. rivieratravel.co.uk
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7/19/17 12:10 PM
the review: checking out
HOTELS / RESORTS / TRAIN JOURNEYS / CRUISES / AIRPORT REVIEWS
S T A Y : DI AMON D S DR E AM OF AF R IC A – Malindi, Kenya THE BACKGROUND: A member of Small Luxury Hotels, the boutique beachside property has an Indo-Arab styled villa feel to it and draws inspiration from Malindi’s colonial Italian inﬂuences. The hotel has 35 rooms, the majority of which are junior suites. THE LOCATION: The resort is on a stretch of beach in Malindi, a two-hour drive from Mombasa Airport and 10 minutes from Malindi town. THE ROOM: I stayed in a Junior Suite with its own outside terrace and a garden view. Inside was a comfortable king-size bed, a sitting area, ﬂat screen TV and desk. There was a well-stocked mini-bar and fresh fruit in the room on arrival was a nice touch. The large bathroom had a Jacuzzi bathtub, walkin shower and double wash basins. Wiﬁ is available throughout the hotel (a seemingly uncommon luxury in Kenya) and I could access it from my room). KEY FACILITIES: The hotel has a swimming pool and gym facilities, not to
BY BENJAMIN COREN
"The villa-style feel to the hotel was refreshing and relaxing after the safaris and several internal flights. The welcome drinks upon arrival were greatly appreciated. The spacious and private rooms are very luxurious and the slower pace of things here makes it a great place to recharge
mention easy access to the beach from the terrace. The Myua African Rain Spa is on-site and available at an extra cost. Numerous tours and excursions can be arranged from the hotel including safari, watersports and cultural tours. RESTAURANTS/BARS: The main restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner at set times throughout the day. The property is all-inclusive. Dishes on offer
include freshly-caught seafood as well as a menu fusing local ingredients and styles with traditional Italian inﬂuences. There is also an a la carte restaurant and pool bar. The main bar serves some premium spirits at a charge alongside all-inclusive drinks.
Casaurina Road, Malindi, Kenya
season, all-inclusive is $380
per night and half-board is
+254 720 607075
RATES: Low season all inclusive per room per night rates are $230. Half-board is $173. During the high
S T A Y : W E S T HOU S E HO T E L – New York City, USA BY BENJAMIN COREN
THE BACKGROUND: The Art Deco-style boutique hotel has 172 deluxe bedrooms and suites in the upmarket heart of Manhattan. THE LOCATION: The WestHouse hotel is located on 55th Street West in Midtown. The 57th Street and 7th Avenue Subway stations are a quick stroll away. JFK International
Airport is a 45-minute train journey. THE ROOM: I stayed in a twin room, which had two double beds. The mid-sized room was bright with a large window offering city views. The room was divided into the main bedroom area and the bathroom. In-room amenities include a desk, large TV, chair and an entrance hall with cupboards and drawers.
The bathroom had a marble ﬁnish, with a glassfront rain shower. KEY FACILITIES: Guests are required to pay a nightly resident’s fee of $42 plus tax to cover hotel services and amenities. The breakfast lounge features a barista bar and tea is served during the afternoons. The tariff also includes light food and snacks in the evenings served in the downstairs bar as well as covering some alcoholic drinks. There is high-speed wiﬁ throughout the hotel. A small ﬁtness centre on the third ﬂoor is open around the clock. RESTAURANTS/BARS: The hotel lacks a traditional restaurant although there is a breakfast buffet served every morning covered by the resident’s fee in The Terrace on the 23rd ﬂoor. There is a fully-stocked bar in the lobby.
T H E V E R D I CT The hotel’s central location, with good connections to the city and surrounding boroughs, is excellent for travellers wanting to stay in Manhattan. The casual breakfast and evening snacks covered by the resident’s fee gives the hotel a more informal, relaxed feel. With New York City on the doorstep guests are spoilt for choice with dining and entertainment options. RATES: From around £276
WestHouse Hotel, 201 W 55th St, New York,
per night, along with a daily
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Checking out FINAL_July-August.indd 66
7/19/17 07:24 PM
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7/19/17 12:12 PM 17/07/2017 09:27
the review: show report
FRANCE – MAY 12-15, 2017
Man and machine
The future of travel tech is in the spotlight, reports Benjamin Coren
What is Advantage? WE sat down with Advantage’s head of Business Development, David Moon, to discuss The Advantage Travel Partnership and what it does for leisure travel companies. The Advantage Partnership is the UK’s largest independent travel agent group, made up of leisure and business agents. “The partnership is member owned, this means all of our members are shareholders in the business. So, in terms of driving proﬁts, it beneﬁts the members and that’s quite unique. Our members have their destiny in their own hands.” Advantage provides numerous beneﬁts to its members. David added: “Most members have to tick the commercial boxes, we ﬁnd out what make them more proﬁtable. This means people joining from other consortia can be conﬁdent the commercial terms are strong. “We offer huge assistance in marketing and engaging with customer for our partners and we provide support in terms of business planning and review, we are able to work with our members in a lot of different ways.” Advantage offers two forms of membership; the standard membership encompasses the previously addressed points. The other is Advantage Managed Services, which is a bit like a franchise scheme. “We provide agents with an infrastructure with our managed services and we manage supply payments on their behalf so they can concentrate on sales and marketing. ” To join the consortia, members can get in touch with Advantage who will in turn go through their business with them and highlight growth points. advantagemembers.com
Agents must embrace tech
IN BRIEF VOICE recognition technology is still a long way from having the ‘common sense’ to deal with complex bookings, Clearleft’s User Experience Strategist Ben Sauer, told delegates. “From a customer service perspective, voice AI will be capable of dealing with people’s basic requests. “However, you would still need someone to deal with more complex requests. While voice search is getting better, it is not good at presenting people with choices.” PA D DY Power’s Féilim Mac An Iomaire advised independent travel agents on how risk taking can benefit marketing efforts. “Being different in your approach to marketing can pay off, find your own brand purpose and remain true to it.
BY BENJAMIN COREN
RAPID technological change is afoot and will continue to impact on the travel industry – and travel agents need to embrace it rather than ignore or fear it, Deloitte’s Alistair Pritchard told the Advantage Conference. Pritchard said: “Travel agents need to evolve faster to keep pace with the changing face of business and consumer preferences.” He added that technology would disrupt the way travel is planned and executed: “Technology is evolving and travel companies are ever-experimenting with
new tech as travellers look for greater central and seamless connectivity.” Pritchard also demonstrated to delegates the risks of being hit by a cyber-attack by showing a short ﬁlm showing the risk and potential damage businesses face. However, he said specialist advice and upto-date anti-virus software are satisfactory preventative measures. “Travel agents need to be experts in not only providing inspirational offerings but also in providing up-to-date and real-time travel advice.” advantagemembers.com
Princess Cruises’ Medallion has personality PRINCESS Cruises’s new wearable Ocean Medallion disc is to debut on Regal Princess in November and will replace the current key cards. The 10pence-sized disc is sent to passengers pre-trip and allows access to rooms, shopping, food and drink ordering and will create a far more personalised experience for customers. princess.com
Search the news agenda for daily opportunities”, he said. “Choose your targets wisely and don’t be afraid to fail. If there’s something travel-related or scandalous, you can piggyback that.” DELEGATES seemed delighted to discover that the 2018 Advantage Conference will be held in Miami, Florida. The event, to be held on May 10-13, will be hosted at the Trump National Doral Miami Hotel.
“Exponential growth will see technology advance hugely over the next decade. We are going to see 1,000 years worth of innovation” JASON BRADBURY, KEYNOTE SPEAKER
7/19/17 11:14 AM
the review: show report
LONDON, JUNE 12-14
For the Latin lovers Julie Baxter checks out all the news from Experience Latin America
Inkaterra Amazon move
UK market remains strong
INKATERRA announced the launch of a new hotel in the heart of the Tampobata National Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon called the Inkaterra Guides Field Station. Guests will have the option of staying in one of four ‘cabanas’ (small cabins) or, one of two large ‘pavilions’ featuring eight rooms that sleep up to four guests. The Inkaterra Guides Field Station includes a restaurant serving local delicacies and an eco-centre designed to educate guests on the local ﬂora and fauna. One night’s stay is priced from £60pp. inkaterra.com/guides-field-station
LATA successes LATA Achievement Awards went to the Nicaragua Tourist Board, Aqua Expeditions, Belize Tourist Board and Darius Morgan Jr of Crillon Tours. Announced at Experience Latin America, the awards recognised sustainable and responsible tourism in Nicaragua; Aqua Expeditions’ customer service levels; an innovative virtual expo being run by Belize (June 29-30) and promotional activities by Crillon Tours, particularly for its focus on Bolivia. CEO of LATA, Tony Mason says: “Latin America has had an outstanding year in terms of tourism growth from the UK and Europe and this has been in part thanks to the commitment, innovation and enthusiasm of these teams and businesses.” lata.travel
SALES to Latin America are holding up well with over 80% of tour operators reporting growth in bookings to the region in the ﬁrst quarter of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Despite political and economic uncertainty in the UK, a LATA survey of travel professionals and consumers revealed that more than 62% of tour operator respondents reported a growth in bookings in 2016 (vs 2015) – although worryingly for agents 76% of bookings were made direct with operators.
The most popular type of bookings were multi-destination trips, tailor-made holidays and highlights tours, with wildlife and nature, culture, history and heritage and luxury products most in demand. The over55s accounted for a signiﬁcant 43% or those travelling from the UK. The survey details were unveiled at Experience Latin America in London where 130 exhibitors, including tourist boards, airlines, operators, local DMCs, cruise and transportation companies, met key suppliers. experiencelatinamerica.travel
Air lift on the up INCREASED air access to Latin America is helping to raise the destination’s proﬁle and build sales. Aeromexico increased ﬂights between Heathrow and Mexico City to daily non-stop service in May. Air Europa has launched services from Madrid to San Pedro Sula in Honduras departing weekly (from £405 from London). Iberia has conﬁrmed that it will raise capacity on its Madrid–Lima route this July and August, offering three additional ﬂights each week. The extra overnight ﬂights will take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, facilitating connections at both ends. In September, LATAM will launch a new direct ﬂight from Lima, Peru, to Tucumán, Argentina, and in October will also start operating a direct service from Santiago, Chile, to three cities in Argentina – San Juan, Neuquén and Tucumán – opening up the region further for international visitors. United Airlines has announced a new year-round daily, non-stop service between New York and Buenos Aires, Argentina, starting in October. In addition, the airline has increased its year-round, daily service to Bogota, Colombia, from New York, with an additional daily ﬂight until August 14. iberia.com; aireuropa.com; latam.com; united.com
CATA pulls together for growth THE Central American Tourism Association is targeting growth in multi-centre travel. A third of UK visitors already take multicentre trips and this is predicted to rise to 75% of all trips by 2020. The seven countries of the region will focus on promoting their shared Mayan culture, wildlife credentials, UNESCO sites, volcanoes, lakes and adventure activities. visitcentroamerica.com
“Latin America has had an outstanding year in terms of tourism growth from the UK and Europe” TONY MASON, CEO, LATA
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the review: show report
WASHINGTON D.C. USA, JUNE 3-7
U.S. puts on a show Steve Hartridge hears encouraging sounds from the nation’s capital
D.C. shows many sides THE nation’s capital expects a tourism boom after hosting IPW for the ﬁrst time in the event’s 49-year history. Washington D.C., which showed off its new ‘MyDCcool’ brand to delegates, expects to attract more than one million additional visitors to the region over the next three years, Elliott Ferguson, President and CEO, Destination DC, told Selling Travel. “IPW is a ﬁve-day advertisement of Washington, D.C.,” he added. “Delegates got to see what we offer beyond our iconic buildings like the White House, the Capitol Building and the Lincoln Memorial... such as our diverse neighbourhoods, our thriving arts and restaurant scenes, how the city looks from the water and the many museums and monuments that tell our country’s history.” D.C. has plenty that is new: last September saw the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, a $2-billion wharf development in the city’s southwest district is taking shape, and 2018 will see the opening of the Museum of the Bible. Added Ferguson: “Our #MyDCcool campaign shows the personal connection visitors and locals have with our city, whether that’s sharing a meal, shopping or simply a sunset photo from an iconic landmark.”
Welcome mat out for tourists
SHOW SNIPPETS A NEW high-speed rail service will link Miami’s downtown with Orlando by 2019. The first phase, which will connect Miami and West Palm Beach (one hour), with a stop in Fort Lauderdale (30 minutes), is expected to start running this summer. The plan is to add Orlando in 2019. The Miami-Orlando journey will take
gobrightine.com THE Cave of the Winds, an attraction at Niagara Falls in New York State that sees visitors get up close (and wet) with the spectacular cataract, will be open year round from this autumn. In previous years the attraction has been shut
THE U.S. Travel Association and Brand USA offered ‘One Big Welcome’ to all guests attending IPW in Washington, D.C. The annual travel trade show took place against a backdrop of President Trump’s proposed ‘travel ban’ and his threat to eliminate Brand USA, the body charged with promoting the country overseas – but organisers were keen to strike positive notes. “Our message is that the U.S. is open to business from the rest of the world and remains as welcoming as it has always been, said Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. Dow noted that the perception that the U.S. is limiting entry to travellers (since Trump took ofﬁce) doesn’t match the reality:.
“There has been little change in travel policy and we are busy communicating this,” he said. On the threat to Brand USA’s existence, Dow told delegates: “I promise you, Brand USA is here to stay. With all that’s going on in the world, unilaterally disarming the marketing of the U.S. as a travel destination would be to surrender market share at the worst possible time.” Visitor numbers to the US were up 4% year on year in April, surprising those who thought tourists would be deterred by President Donald Trump’s attempted travel bans. However, numbers from the UK are down 6% over the last year.
tourism numbers. nyc.gov
caveofthewinds.com THE 50th IPW will be held in Denver, Colorado, from May 19-23, 2018. The city has pencilled in after-hours events at the Denver Performing Arts Complex and Mile High Stadium. The final-night party will be held at Red Rocks Park and Ampitheatre, where U2 recorded Under A
Blood Red Sky in 1983. denver.org; colorado.com; NEW York City welcomed 60.7 million visitors in 2016, the City’s seventh consecutive year for record-breaking
Increased airlift should see Sacramento get the trip SACRAMENTO, California’s capital, expects to feature on the radar of more visitors after both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways started new services into the Bay Area in March – from Manchester to San Francisco and Gatwick to Oakland respectively – and Thomas Cook launched a new ﬂight between Manchester and San Francisco on May 14.
The state capital, an easy 90-minute drive from the Bay City, “is San Francisco’s edgy, cool little brother,” said Lucy Steffans of the Sacramento CVB. “With its exciting gastronomy offerings, hip city centre and gold rush history, Sacramento is a destination that does not feature on everyone’s California trip, but it should do!” she added. visitsacramento.com
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the review: show report
CHIANG MAI, THAILAND, JUNE 14-17
Northern exposure Steve Hartridge rounds up the news from TTM in Thailand’s hill country
Talking TTM CHRIS LEE, TOURISM THAILAND, UK How was Thai Travel Mart this year? I think this TTM was probably our best ever. The group of UK and Irish tour operators we had here from the UK and Ireland was exceptional. Not just the biggest and best-producers – although we had some of those with us – but also a nice range of specialist operators as well. The contracting, from what I understand, went extremely well, and I think there is a very positive feel about Thailand going forward this year. What did you think about what your Minister of Tourism and Sports, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, said at the show? I have had the pleasure of meeting the minister on several occasions and during my time with TAT she is by far the most passionate Minister of Tourism we have had. She has an obvious commitment and a genuine wish to help the people of Thailand achieve better lives and believes tourism can help with that. One particular statement struck me: when she talked about tourism being the bridge that closes the gap between the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Several UK tour operators at TTM told Selling Travel that TAT lends them some of the best support of any tourist board. How do you work to achieve this? Well, that is good for me to hear! I am passionate about the trade and its part of my own background. Tour operators are right at the centre of our campaign strategy. Despite being competitors, they come together to help me plan activities as a group rather than in isolation.
Chiang Mai ends on a high
IN BRIEF THAILAND is to grow the number of villages qualified to become members of a nationwide tourism scheme designed to ensure a more equal spread of tourism income. Currently the country has 264 community-based tourism projects but will be adding another 99 over the next year. THAILAND is targeting ‘niche’ tourists with an interest in wellness, spa and health breaks. Muay Thai (Thai boxing) is another growing sector with one UK operator, with Muay Thai Holidays already taking up to 800 clients out for this activity, said TAT’s Chris Lee. A M I C H E L I N guide coming to Thailand later this year will increase the
THAILAND Travel Mart ended a two-year run in Chiang Mai last month, with tourism ofﬁcials and buyers hailing the tourism show as one of the best in recent years. The annual showcase of the country’s tourism products saw over 15,000 business appointments staged between 419 buyers from 56 countries and 360 sellers from Thailand plus neighbouring countries Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The number of buyers was up over 21% on 2016, the best turn-out in over six years. An estimated 1.441 million baht ($41.2 million) worth of business transactions were made, according to a survey by the
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Among a large delegation of UK tour operators was Gavin Dixon, from Freedom Destinations, who commented: “Tourism Thailand is the most active tourist board of any of the destinations we work with. It pushes the boat out to get all the main tour operators, and many smaller ones, out to the country for Thailand Travel Mart, and provides all the necessary support in terms of sponsorship. “It was a great show this year and has become an essential mark in the diary for any product manager as it keeps our knowledge fresh and bang up to date.”
culinary appeal of the country and its reputation as a place for great food experiences, ranging from fine dining to street food, Mason Florence, Chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Academy, told TTM delegates. THAILAND recorded international visitor arrivals of 14.6 million in January-May 2017, up 3.2% over the same period in 2016. THE next Thailand Travel Mart will take place in Pattaya, June 13-15 2018.
Five countries join forces for a regional edge UNDER the banner ‘Moving Towards Shared Prosperity’ ﬁve regional neighbours – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand (the ‘CLMVT’ nations) shared the TTM stage to promote common tourism experiences, shared cultural attractions and values, cruises that venture through two or more of their countries and growing opportunities for cross-border travel.
“Our aim is to tempt more tourists out to our regions, to see Thai people in their communities and in their places of work” PATARAPORN SITHIVANICH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND
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84 Moo 5, Bo Phut, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320, Thailand For reservation E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: + 66 (0) 77 913 750 Fax: +66 (0) 77 425 462
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Thailand remains an enduring favourite but operators are still adding and combining â€˜new regionsâ€™, as Steve Hartridge discovers on a tour of some of the southern islands
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he sun is slowly sliding behind the sensory overload of sounds, fragrances and shadowy limestone karsts that sprout sights in Bangkok one day, be trekking among from the seabed like sentinels guarding dense foliage in the north of the country entrance to Thailand’s southern islands. the next and be lying on the most idyllic There are no signs of the dolphins that of deserted beaches a few days later. are often spotted bouncing along in the David Kevan of Chic Locations enthused: Andaman Sea, but some jumping ﬁsh are “Thailand is a great destination for repeat doing their best to keep up with our luxury visitors and, for us, the easiest destination speedboat as we hurry to get deep among the to build multi-centre, tailormade itineraries. islands in time for our Champagne sunset. We customise everything and even for There is not another sailing boat in sight clients who have been here ﬁve or six as the uneven vertical shapes that surround times it is very easy to come up with us – actually dissolved layers of ancient coral another new Thailand itinerary for them.” bedrock that have been lifted out of the sea In northern Thailand, Chiang Mai, the host of by plate movements and formed into cliffs this year’s Thailand Travel Mart, offers a wealth and caves – take on their dramatic twilight of experiences inside its historic walls: you can form of charcoalbrowse touristy night coloured silhouettes. markets, stroll among This is Thailand local food stalls “I went into a bar in Koh Lak more at its most dazzling, – sensitive Brits might and there was a guy singing. want to turn a blind eye away from the night spots, the beach The bar had a bandstand all to bags of live frogs, or, parties and the set up with five mikes and a as we did, buy the whole ‘Elvis bars’; Thailand ‘army’ and set them free drum set. I asked ‘when do the in the nearby Ping River as it deserves to be discovered; a band come on’ and the barmaid - explore gold-covered place of spectacular temples with names said: ‘high season’” natural beauty. such as ‘The Temple with DAVID KEVAN, CHIC LOCATIONS I am on a twilight Important Buddha’ and cruise offered by ‘The Huge Stupa,’ watch Cape Kudu, a new property that opened earlier saffron-robed monks collecting alms from this year on the island of Koh Yao Noi. This is passers-by and even ﬁx any broken teeth in one of a plethora of smaller islands that the one of the many excellent but bargain dentists Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pushing that seem to found in almost every ‘soi’ (road). as an alternative to Phuket or paired with Along with Chiang Rai, the town is the starting the popular island as a ‘twin-centre’ option. point for activities such as visits to hill tribe Far too soon we are zipping back to our villages, jungle trekking, elephant interaction hotel, and those ghostly limestone gargoyles experiences and rafting (on bamboo craft). recede behind us. But our evening is far But it is the string of southern islands, from over: as we arrive the hotel staff are and their greater accessibility after an setting up the tables for our beach barbecue inﬂux of new airlift into Phuket, that – more fabulous lobster, prawns, Yam Woon attracted the attention of a group UK Sen seafood soup and green curry.
Hopping to it For the tourist – and for agents - Thailand is a veritable land of plenty. More than a million UK nationals visited in 2016 and despite some recent challenges – a price-busting offer from Malaysian Airlines, with fares as low as £299, saw consumer and trade interest temporarily divert to other regional destinations like Malaysia and Bali during the key booking period last November, December and January – the destination remains the leading light for Asia-specialist tour operators. Thailand can also point to a repeat visitor rate of around 65% from the UK – and it is not hard to understand why the numbers of returning visitors are so high. The diversity of destinations and experiences on offer means you can be soaking up the
Main picture: Limestone-formed shapes rise from the sea in Phng Ngay Bay; above: the spa at The Racha, a luxury property on Ko Racha Yai
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Above: Cooling off at Paradise Koh Yao on Koh Yao Noi; . kayaking is an activity offered by most island resorts
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tour operators who zipped around several islands on TAT’s post-TTM fam, billed ‘Island Hopping by Design’, last month. These islands – perhaps still best known for the Leonardo Di Caprio movie The Beach and James Bond’s The Man With The Golden Gun, which were ﬁlmed around Phang Nga Bay – are easily accessible from ever-popular Phuket and are a current focus for Premier Holidays, which has added several (islands) to its 2018 programme, which was released in July. Says the operator’s Head of Faraway Product, David Carlaw: “We have introduced a spread of island-hopping tours for the ﬁrst time. These feature Islands such as Koh Racha, Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai. We have also added boutique properties like Cape Kudu on Koh Yao Noi and Santhiya on Koh Yao Yai. Also new are combinations of Phuket, Phi Phi and Koh Yao Yai and Koh Samui, Ko Pha Ngan and Koh Tao. According to Gavin Dixon of Freedom Destinations the smaller southern islands are helping to keep Thailand’s product “fresh and moving forward’. “Phuket has become really busy and Samui is over-commercialised now…the time is right to
consider some of these lesser-known islands. For example, I really liked Paradise Resort on Ko Yao Noi, and we already feature it.” These islands can easily be incorporated into one multi-centre trip, says Chic Locations’ Kevan. “We do a lot of business that takes in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and then down to Phuket for a couple of nights. Our clients are looking for something that gives them an authentic feel. They want to be adventurous during the day but come back to a room that has the
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look and feel of the destination rather than just anywhere in the world – and Thailand’s off-the-usual-track islands ﬁt this bill.” Along with promoting its lesser-known islands, and beaches such as Kha Nom, Ranong and Chumphon, other ‘niche segments’ being pushed by TAT include Muay Thai (boxing), spa and wellness, community-based tourism, luxury, gastronomy and animal welfare experiences.
Phang Nga Bay. Both properties are reached via a 55-minute speedboat ride from Phuket. New on Khao Lak, less than an hour north of Phuket’s airport, is the new ﬁve-star La Vela. Open since early July, the resort is ultra-sleek and full of glass and modernistic angles. It has an enormous swimming pool with swim-up areas almost up to the doors of the poolside villas. It’s beach-facing bar and restaurant might just offer the best seafood barbecue in Thailand. What’s new Tour operators: Gold Medal/Travel 2 Hotels and Resorts: Tongsai Bay (tongsaibay. (goldmedal.co.uk; travel2.com) is planning a Megafam co.th) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year in November across the two brands, with 36 with a special offer. The Tongsai Bay Celebratory agents split into four groups visiting Phuket/ Package is a four-day, three-night deal priced Kao Lak, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai and Krabi from THB 38,000 (£865, including 7% VAT & respectively. The emphasis of the fam will be 10% service charge). to show the agents the For two people sharing, proximity of several it includes three islands to Phuket and nights in a Seafront “Stay on one of the smaller how easy it is to put Cottage, a bottle of islands like Koh Yao Noi and together a twin centre, Iron Balls Gin, the 1 says Rebecca Turner, take a speedboat to Phuket or Senior Product Manager Year One: ‘A Taste of Yesteryear’ dinner for a ferry to Krabi to see more of for both brands. two, a complimentary Travel 2 had added the local area” cocktail per person per Cape Kudu, on Koh Yao DAVID CARLAW, PREMIER HOLIDAYS stay, daily breakfast Noi, to its programme. and round-trip Travel agents can airport transfers. For offer customers reservations, email: email@example.com free room upgrades to a pool villa Layana Resort Koh Lanta (layanaresort.com) in for stays until October 31 2017. Krabi province is an adults-only resort that is Turquoise Holidays (turquoiseholidays.co.uk) and TAT have published a children’s storybook about undergoing some refurbishment work until a child who falls asleep and dreams of meeting September. Three Ocean Deluxe Villas are an elephant and embarking on a journey being converted into two-storey Jacuzzi villas, through Thailand. Around 25,000 copies will with 100 sqm living space on two levels and be distributed to Turquoise clients, with Family featuring newly built en-suite bathrooms. Traveller magazine and elsewhere. Designed Also planned is a new modern lounge area. to highlight family travel to Thailand and the Paradise Koh Yao (themccollection.co.uk) on Koh Yao Noi is building a sister property. Located destination’s suitability for children of all ages, on the same stretch of beach but high in the proceeds from the book will go to a Thai charity. rainforest, Treehouse Villas will consist of Airlines: Middle East carriers Etihad (etihad.com), Emirates (emirates.com) and Qatar 25 units, each with their own inﬁnity plunge (qatarairways.com) now all ﬂy to Phuket, which pools and accessed via their own private has opened up more options for travellers suspension bridge. Due to open later in the to Southern Thailand. Turkish Airlines year they will offer uninterrupted views of
Clockwise from top: Tree House Villas will open on the tropical island of Koh Yao Noi later this year; cooking classes and demonstrations are offered by many resorts; breathtaking views are aplenty in Thailand’s islands; Inﬁnity pool at Paradise Koh Yao; A UK fam at Zeavola, Phi Phi Island
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(turkishairlines.com) also started a four-times-weekly direct ﬂight (from Istanbul) to Phuket on July 17. Tourist board: TAT UK (tourismthailand.co.uk) is planning up to 10 agent fam trips this year and next. A series of Friends of Thailand roadshows, involving agents and operators, is scheduled for early next year, taking in cities that include Belfast, Cork, York, Shefﬁeld and Cardiff.
Yai to the New England seaside village-style décor of Cape Kudu on Koh Yao Noi, we really have got such a range now – that is great for us and great for the product managers too.” Chris Lee, Head of Marketing, Tourism Authority of Thailand
Where to book it
PREMIER HOLIDAYS – 08444 937 444 The operator has a new island-hopping package “This was the second year TAT ran an priced from £1,495pp for 13 nights, including Island Hopping by Design itinerary. It is four nights in Phuket (Centara Villas), ﬁve nights one way we can show the incredible in Phi Phi (Holiday Inn Resort) and four nights diversity that we have got. Obviously, Phuket and in Koh Yao Yai (Koh Yao Yai Village), with the Koh Samui will continue option to extend with to dominate in terms of a stay in Bangkok. The the numbers they attract, deal includes four-star “The more complex and but I believe the smaller accommodation with complicated the logistics of a breakfast, transfers and islands hold one of the keys to keeping things multi-island destination are return ﬂights. The deal new and exciting. is valid for travel in the more likely it is the client October 2017. “We are seeing a trend will book through the trade” trade.premierholidays.co.uk where even those clients TRAVEL 2 – who want a beachCHRIS LEE, HEAD OF MARKETING TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND 0800 0224 182 centric holiday do not Seven nights at the want to stay in just one ﬁve-star Cape Kudu resort for two weeks. “The smaller islands, which are less crowded and on Koh Yao Noi, staying in a pool villa on a B&B basis, is priced from £929pp. Return very authentic, combine very well with the larger ﬁghts are from Gatwick and the deal islands. Also, the hotels we looked at this week includes land and sea transfers. Valid for (on the fam) are very different from each other. travel September 1 and October 22 2017. “There was a time when I had a concern that travel2.com each new hotel that opened was not really RIVIERA TRAVEL – 08444 937 444 distinguishing itself from the others; they were all A new 14-day Thailand-only tour splits beautiful Thai-style hotels. But that is changing its time between Chiang Mai, Bangkok – from the barefoot luxury of Zeavola on Phi Phi and the Andaman beach resort of Khao Island to the stunningly chic The Racha on Ko Lak. It is priced from £1,799pp. Racha Yai; from the ultimate in Thai traditional rivieratravel.co.uk wood-dominated suites at Santhiya, on Koh Yao
TRAVEL ADVICE FOR OCTOBER Tourists should look out for any official travel advisories for October 25-29, during the royal cremation ceremony of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangul has already advised tourists to stay outside Bangkok during the cremation period “to alleviate traffic congestion”. It will mostly be business as usual in other areas of Bangkok. Tourists have also been requested to wear ‘polite clothing’ during this time.
Clockwise: Sign up for a yoga or Thai boxing class, offered at many resorts; a speedboat, catamaran or luxury yacht tour is the best why to see the islands; colourful boats at Zeavola
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DISCOVER THE BEST THAI HOSPITALITY IN EXOTIC DESTINATIONS
#BookCentara Centara’s gracious Thai hospitality is ever present in all of our hotels and resorts in Thailand including Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Phuket, Samui, Krabi and beyond in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Your clients can choose from our city hotels with rooftop bars or luxurious beachfront resorts in top tropical destinations. Whether looking to party, relax on the beach or uncover a little culture, at Centara Hotels & Resorts, we bring ‘the land of smiles’ to all our destinations, along with divine dining, award-winning spas and a thousand ways to enjoy city or sea. The brand new Centara Muscat Hotel, in Al Ghala, the Oman capital’s business district is now open and will be followed by the luxurious Centara Grand Hotel Doha later this year, set in the city’s West Bay Area. For more information visit our dedicated trade website centarahotelsresorts.com/b2b firstname.lastname@example.org 01474 872727
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six of the best
Farm to table From fine-dining restaurants to colourful beach shacks there are numerous ways visitors can sample organic and just-picked or caught local flavours in St. Kitts
The Kitchen at Belle Mont Farm With a passion for sustainable living, The Kitchen at Belle Mont Farm truly embraces farm to table dining using only the freshest and seasonal ingredients grown on its extensive farms. Here, guests are encouraged to forage from the edible landscape and, later, enjoy an authentic culinary experience enhanced by the imagination of the chefs.
Arthur’s Bar & Restaurant Dieppe Bay Beach, in the island’s north, is the home of this addition to Belle Mont Farm’s culinary offerings. At Arthur’s, diners enjoy a Sea to Fork at the Beach’ experience where local fishermen show off their catch before it’s paired with produce from the farm. Expect mahi mahi, snapper, ceviche and lobster.
Spice Mill Restaurant Food, people and culture meet at this beachside restaurant at Cockleshell Bay where owner Roger Brisbane personally selects the ‘catch of the day’ at the local fish market. Freshly-caught fish prepared with local flavours and spices are the hallmarks of the Spice Mill’s seasonal menus, which feature dishes such as mahi mahi and coconut rice washed down with exotic cocktails.
Ital Creations at Fari Organic Farm With an ethos on clean eating and yoga, Ital Creations, run by Judah and Yaya, has put vegetarianism on the map in St. Kitts. At this roadside shack, under a mango tree, enjoy a legendary moringa shake and fire-roasted breadfruit and lentils from its organic farm. Then take a farm tour.
‘We only eat the ones we catch’ is the motto at Spratnet where fishermen brothers Mark and Jack have brought the sea to table concept to this island hot spot. This no-fuss restaurant offers freshlycaught lobsters and snapper – one of the Caribbean’s favourites – served up with Johnny Cakes, potatoes and corn. And visitors can expect a dash of live Caribbean music on the side.
Reggae Beach Bar & Grill Popular for seafood favourites and fruit punches, Reggae Beach Bar’s family- run Coconut Farm produces tropical fruits, seasonal produce, organic eggs and rich amber-coloured honey (available from Summer 2017). On Fridays, all roads lead to this lively beach spot for the weekly Lobster Fest.
GET TING THERE British Airways operates a twice-weekly (Saturday and Wednesday) Gatwick-St. Kitts service. Although ‘direct’, the ﬂight makes a brief stop in Antigua. batraveltrade.com
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Y O U R
G U I D E
RUPERT PETERS, MD EUROPE FOR DESTINATION CANADA SPEAKING AT RVC2017: “AS Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary throughout 2017 it is very in vogue in the UK market – and that feels good. Demand has never been stronger but we know we are in a very competitive market so intend to work smarter and more closely with regional partners to do all we can to ensure we stand out from other destinations. “We have seen huge, unprecedented growth of 17% in the past year and while we are targetting a modest 4% in the coming year we will actually be disappointed if we don’t achieve nearer to 9%. “Some 70% of our UK leisure business comes through the trade. Brits want to deal with those who have expert knowledge and it is our role to ensure they understand our ‘wow’ factors and actively sell on our behalf. “The UK has unrivalled air access to cities across Canada and it is exciting to see that increasingly our cities are being viewed as cool, standalone destinations. “We have also seen growing demand for the fantastic food tours offered across Canada and believe our somewhat untold food story will gain growing proﬁle in the months ahead. “Our strongest market is the good old Baby Boomers (43%) but interest from UK Millennials is also rising.”
Pictured: Let the celebrations begin! Canada kicks off celebrations for its 150th anniversary in Ottawa
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Rendez-vous 2017 Canada’s stock is rising and it’s planning ahead for growth, reports Julie Baxter
Canada shows vision THE Canadian Government and Destination Canada’s new ‘Tourism Vision’ aims to see international overnight visitor numbers climb by 30% by 2021 and place Canada as a top 10 international destination by 2025. Speaking at Rendez-vous 2017 in Calgary, Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, unveiled a plan backed by a signiﬁcant increase in government funding and focused on marketing, access and products. Destination Canada will receive CAN$95.5 million a year to promote the destination globally, but with a speciﬁc focus on the neighbouring American and millennial markets. The emphasis will be on digital technologies and partnerships with regional partners. Improved and expanded air, cruise and disability access will all be targetted and speciﬁc product support will be given to developing indigenous tourism, LGBTQ2 tourism activities and product suited to the burgeoning Chinese market. National Parks, culinary attractions, Francophone heritage and Canada’s arts and culture communities are at the heart of the strategy as key tourism assets with strong potential pulling power. Minister Cheggars said: “Tourism is a key driver for our economy and after our best year for visitors yet we know the world is watching us. We have a tendancy to be modest but we must be more proud, share our success with the world and be sure it notices. We know they have identiﬁed Canada as the place to visit in 2017 and our Tourism Vision is designed to keep them coming back for years beyond.”
Royals kick off 150 fun
BY JULIE BAXTER
A YEAR of celebrations kicked off on July 1 as Canada started a year marking the 150th anniversary of its confederation with a royal visit by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and the launch of a nationwide programme of events. The royal tour took in Canada’s capital region, with the eyes of the world turned to the capital Ottawa, for the opening festivities on Canada Day. World leaders, A-List celebrities, rovk band U2 and vast crowds joined the festivities across Ottawa, with the focus on the historic Parliament Hill and live music from some of Canada’s top performing artists.
Ottawa has used the anniversary year to host a once-in-a-generation, year-long programme of big, bold, immersive and moving experiences, events and festivals. The 150th celebrations are being marked around the nation with special events and commemorative investments in infrastructure which will all add interest and opportunities for tourists too. Among initiatives supporting the celebrations is free entry to National Parks throughout 2017. The royal visit also took in Iqaluit, Nunavut, close to the Arctic Circle, where they met local communities. ottawatourism.ca; canada150.ca
Rocky rolls out a feast ROCKY Mountaineer has combined its best-selling routes with new culinary experiences and soft adventures for its 2018 itineraries. Two new packages are available to book now. Both include the luxury train journey through the Canadian Rockies, with three-course dining and freeflowing Okanagan Valley wines, but now there are additional activities beyond the train based on two new themes. The Journey through the Clouds Outdoor Adventures package takes in water and mountain activities such as guided hiking in Jasper and voyageur canoeing on Lake Louise. Foodies and wine connoisseurs are targeted with culinary walking tours in Vancouver and pairing menus on the First Passage to the West Culinary Exploration package. The train tours can be combined with a post- or pre-trip cruises. rockymountaineer.com
Air Transat ups its trade support AIR TRANSAT has appointed two sales managers and a team member dedicated to travel trade sales support. Malcolm Aldcroft has joined as Sales Manager for Southern England, with a key focus on the London market, and Gail Kerr joins as Sales Manager for Northern England, Scotland and Ireland. Both have extensive airline experience, and will be supported by Tony McSorley, appointed
as Travel Trade Sales Support for UK and Ireland. Lesley Kane, Sales Director for UK and Ireland at Air Transat, says: “Our relationships with the travel trade sector are incredibly important, and we understand the integral role their support plays in driving Air Transat’s longterm growth plans.” airtransat.com
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Yellow Dog looks up YELLOW Dog Lodge, a Canadian Signature Experience, is pushing the Northwest Territories as Canada’s secret destination, ideal for soft adventures and a true escape experience. Close to seven well-stocked lakes, the lodge has traditionally offered fishing tours but is now broadening its reach to offer aurora borealis (Northern Lights) viewing tours. A two-and-a-half-hour flight from Calgary and a 20-minute charter flight northeast of Yellowknife, Yellow Dog Lodge sleeps up to 24 people in three cabins and a main lodge building. The move comes as the Science of the Aurora project has shown Yellowknife is a key destination for aurora viewing opportunities. Other activities at the lodge include sport fishing and various outdoor adventures guided by knowledgeable and friendly staff. The lakes and streams offer the finest lake trout, northern pike, walleye, whitefish and arctic grayling in the region. yellowdoglodge.ca
Signature Experiences start to make their mark
NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF V I CTO R I A CO N N E CT I O N: Those seeking a more leisurely point-to-point sea trip between Vancouver and Victoria can now consider bookings on the V2V Empress, British Columbia’s newest marine transportation service. the 254-seat luxury catamaaran now offers daily departures and the crossing takes about three hours. v2vvacations.com ELK
PA R K
D I N I N G:
entrepreneur Brad Smoliak, known for his culinary tours and cooking school in Calgary and Edmonton, has added dinner experiences in Elk Island National Park. Some 45 minutes from Edmonton, Elk Island NP offers hiking, biking, canoeing and golf opportunities. The new dinner options run every three weeks for up to 24 people and can be combined with a day visit to the park. kitchenbybrad.ca NEWS FROM RVC2017
DESTINATION CANADA has added two new members to its Canadian Signature Experiences collection. The first is the Agawa Canyon Tour Train which sees visitors board a heritage train for a tour of Ontario. The second is the Canyon Sainte-Anne in Québec, explored by Air Canyon and a via ferrata. The train tour follows in the footsteps of seven iconic Canadian artists. During a two-day trip it takes in the landscapes that inspired them during an immersive trip which includes galleries and live theatre events, historic sites and some hands on art instruction and practise.
Visitors to Canyon Sainte-Anne in Québec get to explore the Giant’s Pothole geological feature and take in the rock and water panoramas as they ride the Air Canyon. At times the ride sees them dangling 90 metres above the canyon’s gorge and its raging waters. After the ride, participants are put on a harness to follow the via ferrata to explore the canyon’s sheer rock walls. The Canadian Signature Experience collection now includes 199 members, all offering authentic and typical Canadian experiences. keepexploring.ca
I C E LA N DA I R A D D I T I O N: In response to demand for Vancouver, Icelandair will increase its current seasonal service to the city to a full year-round
this winter. icelandair.co.uk E D M O N TO N CO N N E CT S: A new funicular will improve connections between Edmonton city centre and the River Valley parklands area from
NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF BIG
A DV E N T U R E S:
Manitoba Tourism is working with a
UNESCO ranking for Newfoundland’s Mistaken
New itineraries for Jacques-Cartier
new operator to promote tours to see the caribou migrations in the north of the province. The high-end operator takes clients to a cool lodge close to the Nunavut border. travelmanitoba.com G R E E N G A B L E S U PG RA D E: Work is underway to dramatically upgrade facilities at Prince Edward Island’s iconic attraction, Green Gables Heritage Place National Park. Some CAN$95m will be spent on the park in the next three years including a new visitor/ interpretive centre. tourismpei.com H A L I F AX S P LA S H: The new Halifax SPLASHDOME is a state-of-the art 4D cinema set on the Halifax Waterfront, neighbouring the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. It takes visitors
NEWS FROM RVC2017
MISTAKEN POINT, a fossil site on southeastern tip of Newfoundland, has become Canada’s latest UNESCO ranked site. The wilderness site consists of a narrow, 17 km-long strip of rugged coastal cliffs dating to the Ediacaran Period (580-560 million years ago), and represents the oldest-known large fossils area anywhere. These fossils tell tales of the earth’s early history when large, biologically complex organisms first began to appear after almost three billion years of microdominated evolution. Mistaken Point is located about a 90minute drive from St. John’s and there are several small hotels in the towns of
immersive experience called Bluenose:
The Legend Lives. The 15-minute film includes special effects to showcase the coastline and maritime heritage. splashdome.ca N OVA S COT I A reports record visitor numbers for a third successive year. Of the 2.2 million visitors to the province, 56,400 travelled from Europe. Growing UK figures are partly thanks to direct flights from London and Glasgow to the capital, Halifax (six-hour flight). novascotia.com
Trepassey, Biscay Bay, and Portugal Cove South nearby. It is also possible to visit Mistaken Point on a day trip from St. John’s. As the region’s profile starts to grow, access is also improving. St John’s International Airport will double in size and significantly extend its facilities through a $40-million investment programme in the coming year. Westjet has added Gatwick and Dublin departures to the province and the tourism authority has made it a top priority to encourage more capacity. Its goal is to see a daily flight from the UK year round (there are currently three a week. newfoundlandlabrador.com
THE newly-refurbished M/S JacquesCartier has unveiled three new Quebec itineraries. The newly refitted vessel will offer adventure cruising combined with state-of-the-art amenities following investments of $6.6m. The new itineraries will include Lighthouse Hopping, focused on the maritime stories of the St Lawrence river; St. Lawrence Islands and Saguenay Fjord taking in local wildlife and plant life, accompanied by specialists; and Majestic St. Lawrence, a sightseeing itinerary joining the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario via, a systems of locks. The ship overhaul is designed to ensure the 68-passenger vessel offers 34 top class cabins and onboard activities include introductory workshops, awareness-raising presentations, culinary tastings featuring regional products and specialist insights. msjacquescartier.com
VISIT US AT NIAGARAPARKSTRAVELTRADE.COM
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Owl Rafting adds new options OWL RAFTING has added two new accommodation options to its Canadian Canoe Route touring itinerary in the Ontario Highlands area. The paddling experience follows heritage canoe routes and explains the significance of the canoe to Canadian history. For those looking for a touch of comfort as they go, the company has partnered with Calabogie Luxury Lodge and has also added two ensuite private wood cabins at its own Madawaska Kanu Centre resort site. It is also now possible to pair the canoe route with motorhome hire and prebooked camping sites. Owl Rafting’s owner Claudia Van Wijk says: “The RV itinerary allows those independent travellers to tap into our soft adventure route at their own pace and in their own way. By partnering with Ontario Parks, OWASCO RV rentals is able to pre-book campsites, which is particularly important now Canada is such a hot destination and the risk campgrounds being full if not pre-booked is more of an issue.” owlrafting.com
Inuvik gets connected
NEWS FROM RVC2017
A NEW road is set to open up the tourism potential of Canada’s Northwest Territories and bring new travel opportunities to the province. The Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway will open in November this year, making it possible for the first time in history to drive to the top of Canada’s mainland all year round. It will allow travellers to drive from the border to the coast, or coast to coast, as it connects Inuvik, which is the end of the famous Dempster Highway, with Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean. The Dempster Highway is already recognised as one of North America’s most adventurous road trips but previously
tourists could only reach the Arctic Ocean by taking an onward flight. The community of Tuktoyaktuk has approximately 800 predominantly Inuit/ Inuvialuit residents and the driving route’s attractions include spectacular jagged peaks scenery, crowds of caribou, the Arctic Circle line, Aboriginal communities and the supersized Mackenzie River. The gravel road will cost around CAN$300 million to complete but is expected to generate strong economic value as well as making life make considerably easier for residents with access to goods and services guaranteed all year round. spectacularnwt.com
Manitoba gets crafty with its beer
WINNIPEG’S brew scene is booming with new breweries opening and new tasting rooms for visitors added to existing favourites. The PEG Beer Co. in Winnipeg’s Exchange District now offers free weekly brewery tours where visitors sample six full-flavoured brews. Meanwhile, the newly-opened Little Brown Jug Brewing Company offers a 1919 Belgian Pale Ale speciality. Barn Hammer Brewing offers five signature beers along with an experimental and seasonal brew that changes frequently. And the Torque Brewing Co. has won the “Best New Brewer” in Manitoba title. Half Pints Brewery is an independent microbreweries with Saturday tours, while Winnipeg’s oldest microbrewery, Fort Garry Brewing Company, highlights the nine-step brewing process whilst also acting as the departure point for the Winnipeg Trolley Ale Trails, a tasting tour that explores different neighbourhoods. manitobahot.com
A view to thrill
Niagara Helicopters Flightseeing Tours
Niagara Helicopters 905 357 5672 niagarahelicopters.com
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six of the best
Open doors New hotel options are opening across Canada, offering diverse styles and opportunities. Julie Baxter discovers a handful worth watching
Skywatch Lodge & Spa
Azuridge Estate Hotel
Abbot Pass Hut
YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES Canada’s first five-star aurora experience will be nestled in the boreal forest beyond Yellowknife when t opens in August next year. It will offer stylish contemporary accommodation combined with immersive cultural and nature-based activities. The property will include a main lodge for dining, lake views and rooftop aurora viewing around a fireplace; while guestrooms include skylights and private screened-in porches for skywatching. The spa will include indoor and outdoor infinity pools. solsticedestinations.com
ALBERTA Some 20 minutes from Calgary, in the foothills of the Rockies, this luxury boutique hotel claims to be the only one in Canada with a team of butlers trained by a guilded butler. The property design was inspired by the historic architecture of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s train stations and each of the hotel’s 12 guestrooms has floor-to-ceiling windows with great views. It offers top-class dining, easy access to the city and to the attractions of the Rockies. azuridgehotel.com
ROCKY MOUNTAINS Said to be one of the most unique mountain huts in North America, this property offers all hikers need for a night-stop on a choice of classic Rockies routes. The hut was first built in 1922 and sits at an elevation 2,926 metres. Located near Lake Louise, on the Continental Divide between Mts. Lefroy and Victoria, it is open only in the summer, for $40 a night. It is a wellequipped alternative to the campgrounds where hikers can cook and eat in front of the fireplace before continuing their hike the next day. alpineclubofcanada.ca
HAIDA GWAII, BRITISH COLUMBIA This floating 12-room lodge overlooking Peel Inlet is located on Haida Gwaii’s extremely remote west coast and can only be accessed by helicopter from Vancouver. Positioned as the ‘Galapagos of the North’ the surrounding area is made up of 450 islands and offers natural beauty and cultural interest, with the memorable sense of living on the edge of the world. haidahouse.com
The Broadview Hotel
EAST END TORONTO An historic 125-year-old iconic heritage building in Toronto has been restored to create a 58-room boutique hotel. The Broadview Hotel features a rooftop terrace and a lobby café and bar, and is set to become a local gathering spot. It will “bring together the contemporary culture of the community and the old world grace of the building’s past”. thebroadviewhotel.ca
Holiday Inn Express
SASKATOON Now under construction on the grounds of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon is a new, nine-storey development which will combine a Holiday Inn Express and a Staybridge Suites in one building. The 123-room Holiday Inn Express will target those on shorter stays, while the 97-room Staybridge Suites will offer kitchen facilities. It will be open by April 2018. usask.ca
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Canada’s indigenous people are moving into tourism with a new confidence and significant government backing. Julie Baxter discovers how
ight First Nation chiefs take to the stage. A powerful drum beats and the distinctive chants of an indigenous song ﬁlls the room. It’s a dramatic spectacle for sure, but this is so much more. This is surely the coming of age of aboriginal tourism in Canada. As an array of tourism big guns stand back, the imposing chiefs of the Blood, Siksika, Piikani, Wesley, Chiniki, Bears Paw and Tsuut’ina First Nations speak. Each one eloquent in his wishes for a successfully Rendez-vous 2017 (RVC 17); each with his own invitation to the travel trade to connect with his culture; each with a clear message that they and their people are engaged and ready to do business. They are earnest, humorous and thoughtprovoking and a symbolic visual statement that shows something signiﬁcant has shifted in the way Canada’s tourism industry does business. Five years ago inclusive, respectful engagement with First Nation culture was on the ‘to do’ list but was undeniably challenging. Some provinces, notably British Columbia, had begun to see the
potential but in quiet conversations most in tourism agreed that there were few aboriginal tourism experiences that were ‘export ready’.
Aboriginals come of age And then something changed. The Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada was formed and slowly but surely the indigenous people of Canada have found their tourism voice. Led by Keith Henry, from the First Nation community, they have organised themselves more coherently, established codes of practice and reliability standards, recognised their strengths and weaknesses – in short, they made a plan. It’s a highly-professional plan too and one that has found favour with Destination Canada and the Canadian government – to the combined tune of $CAN13 million, for investment in the marketing, partnerships, training and leadership. RVC 2017 saw professional aboriginal tour operators attend in their greatest numbers yet - from those operating interpretative tours to others running hotels and casinos.
The breadth of their offering is growing fast and their commitment to a serious role within Canada’s ambitious tourism growth plans can no longer be doubted. All credit to the current leaders in Destination Canada who have helped bring those chiefs to the Rendez-vous stage. It has taken signiﬁcant time and commitment to build the necessary conﬁdence and trust between the established tourism hierarchy and the indigenous communities. A commitment which has seen Destination Canada’s own CEO, David Goldstein, himself learning the protocols of aboriginal culture, sitting with them in their lands, hearing their stories ﬁrst hand and coming to fully understand their anxieties – and their potential – from the grassroots up. Now it just remains for international markets, including the UK trade, to give that aboriginal product portfolio a try and help ensure aboriginal insights become a must-do part of any authentic Canadian holiday experience.
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Around the nation Spirit Bear Lodge, Klemtu: Offers guided, interpretive wildlife tours. Horseback Adventures Ltd: Ride traditional trails through the Rockies. Wanuskewin Heritage Park: Tells the stories of the Northern Plains people. Manito Ahbee Festival: Join in Winnipeg’s colourful native pow wow. Great Spirit Circle Trail: Canoe traditional routes learning bush craft. Tourism Wendake: Visit a Huron village set beside a chic luxury hotel. Abadak Wilderness Adventures: Fish for salmon and explore with a local. Metepenagiag Redbank Lodge: Try aboriginal fusion cuisine and see art. Destination Membertou: Join a Mi’kmaw guide on a personal history tour. Micmac Productions: Explore local ceramics and traditional designs. Shakat Tun Adventures: Hands-on experiences of aboriginal beading, trapping, drum making, and camp cooking. Tundra North Tours: Follow in the footsteps of reindeer herds, see the northern lights and stay the night in an igloo. Arctic Bay Adventures: Learn the nomadic ways of the Inuit at a ﬂy-in hamlet near orca waters and polar bear habitats.
What’s new Learn more: The Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada has produced a new guide to over 50 aboriginal tourism businesses developed and ready to received international visitors. Explore it at aboriginalcanada.ca/en
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Alberta hiking Year-round trails Lake Agnes Teahouse This famous teahouse near Lake Louise has been serving tea to hikers since 1905. A number of trails call here, with a day forest hike to the top of Big Beehive a popular option. Sentinel Pass Skirt the vivid blue waters of Moraine Lake before hitting the gold of Larch Valley on this autumn trail. The view towards Valley of the Ten Peaks is famed as Banff National Park’s best. Jasper Skyline Trail Renowned as a backpacker’s dream, this 47km route offers majestic Rocky Mountain views, with more than half either at or above the treeline. The full hike takes two to four days. Ha Ling Peak Canmore The three-kilometre hike to the summit of Ha Ling Peak rises a steep 737m – it is a stiff challenge but the effort is rewarded with incredible views over Canmore. River Valley Edmonton Edmonton makes a feature of its North Saskatchewan River Valley with extensive trails offering the chance to walk, skate, segway or cycle.
hen it comes to putting your best foot forward, visitors to the Canadian province of Alberta are in hiking heaven with wide-open spaces and trails to explore year round, says Neal Baldwin
If Alberta is a land of inﬁnite skies, it’s probably fair to say that it has even more hiking options. This spectacular landscape – forged over millions of years – seems to have been purpose-designed for discovery on foot and pulling on the walking boots will give your clients new insights into the destination. Thousands of miles of trails criss-cross the province’s protected parks, mountains, alpine meadows and river valleys, with everything from easy strolls, classic hikes and more challenging multi-day treks offering something for walkers of all abilities. But it is perhaps Alberta’s yearround appeal that really sets apart. During the peak summer season, the landscape bursts into life, beckoning visitors with opportunities to get up close to nature. Wildﬂowers and birdlife are in their prime, and heading out into the national park areas offers the perfect opportunity to spot Alberta’s ‘all-stars’: black bears, moose, bison, elk and bighorn sheep. Head into the lofty heights of the mountains, perhaps around Jasper or Banff, and you may even catch a glimpse of the elusive wolf, wolverine, cougar or bobcat. Summer also offers the chance to explore landscapes rarely seen, as glaciers open up for the briefest of windows. Accompanied by a guide, hikers can don crampons and ropes to pass by crevasses and look on in awe at the towering shards of ice that reach skywards. Another visual treat
“Hiking in Alberta is the ultimate experiential holiday activity, putting visitors at the very heart of the landscapes and indulging all their senses”
only best appreciated on on foot is the glacier-fed Moraine Lake. As it ﬁlls the lake takes on an incredible neon blue colour – and that’s well worth the walk!
BEYOND SUMMER Shoulder-season hiking serves up a whole new world of delights. In the spring, the mountains are still fringed in white as trumpeter swans arrive in force. The melting snow brings freshness and clarity to the many waterways, so this is the perfect time for walks along river valleys and around the lake shores. In the autumn, the trails offer a visual treat. Alberta’s famous larch trees get ready to drop their needles, taking on a tremendous golden hue. It’s a spectacle loved by locals and rivals the more famous fall foliage of New England. Head to Kananaskis Country to appreciate the change without the crowds – here the glistening Chester Lake appears touched by Midas as it is bathed in yellow from the trees beyond. Outdoor pursuits continue in the winter, with ice canyon walks showcasing the landscape at its most raw. Suggest the frozen waterfalls of Maligne Canyon, Jasper. In winter many of the hiking trails are used for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
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Newfound adventure UK representative extols the charms of St John's charms
'm super excited to be working for Destination St. John's in the UK and Ireland. It’s crazy that you can get there in less than five hours – especially when you realise what the destination has to offer”, says Lyndsey Thomas. Main appeal "Who'd have known that a holiday in Canada was so close? What I love is that there are so many amazing experiences to be had there. "First off, the scenery is on par with what you'd expect to see in New Zealand. Nature lovers will love the fact that the world's largest population of humpback whales can be seen from the shores of St. John's. And the enormous icebergs always leave me speechless – and that takes a lot! I'm talking icebergs the size of cruise ships. "This is a great destination for a long weekend away for those who want to combine the city and the great outdoors. "St. John's is perfect for a short break, especially for those wanting somewhere with lots going on in the evening. For those with a little longer to spare, it's an ideal ﬂy-drive destination – easy driving with lots to cram in. "I love the idea of a hike and ﬁne-dining weekend in St. John's. Among the many amazing places to eat is Raymond’s, ranked as Canada's best restaurant. Breathtaking coastal walks are right on the city's doorstep.
Agent support "We are trying to put the region into context and explain how agents can sell it. St. John's is cool, a bit like Reykjavik in Iceland, but a lot cheaper. And Newfoundland and Labrador has the look and feel of New Zealand, but is a lot nearer. "St. John's is the provincial capital. It's a city, but not in the New York or London sense of the word. But it has all the key components of a great city – amazing restaurants (the foodie scene is bursting at the seams with all sorts of great places to eat), and great nightlife (George Street in downtown St. John's is a carbon copy of Dublin's Temple Bar). "The arts scene is apparent all over the city, from the colourful rows of houses to the huge murals on the sides of the city's buildings. "There are buskers on street corners, live music and some fantastic festivals and events. It also goes against everything that one associates with a city. You certainly can't kayak with whales off the coast of New York or hike 30 minutes from central London and be surrounded by wilderness. "I'm based in Leeds but more than happy to travel if any Selling Travel reader wants some training or would like to discuss product.
“The enormous icebergs always leave me speechless – and that takes a lot! I'm talking icebergs the size of cruise ships” Hidden gems "If money is no object and clients want some true experiential luxury then Fogo Island Inn is just fantastic! "It is a ﬁve-hour drive from St. John’s and sits on stilts over the Atlantic Ocean. The place really is an architectural wonder and throws everything that we usually associate with luxury on its head. Lyndsey Thomas is Director, Travel Trade UK & Ireland for Destination St John's, the marketing organisation representing tourism operators in the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. She was previously UK Account Director for Ontario Tourism Marketing. Contact her by email on email@example.com
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how to sell
Early birds for skiing by Benjamin Coren
ore skiers are booking their holidays earlier in a bid to make a saving on their holiday – and in Canada they can take advantage of some great early-booking deals and experience some of the world’s finest skiing. Why sell it
Despite at the time of writing being in the throes of a heatwave, now is the time to start thinking about booking a break in the mountains. There are numerous strong early-booking offers on winter sport holidays running throughout the summer, but most of these come to an end towards the end of August. Skiers in Canada have plenty of resort options to choose from, each with stunning views and vast pisted ski areas. The high slopes of Alberta and British Columbia, with skiing in the shadows of the Canadian Rockies, are known for light powder snow and excellent back-country opportunities as well as a fair share of luxury hotels and plenty of activities on and off the piste. Elsewhere, Québec offers a touch of French ﬂair.
RED MOUNTAIN RESORT, BC
What to sell Banff and Lake Louise are both located around 90 minutes from Calgary, which is well served from the UK by ﬂights from WestJet, Air Canada and British Airways. Keen skiers to these Alberta regions may want to consider purchasing the tri-area lift ticket that offers access to Mt. Norquay, Lake Louise and Sunshine Village. Skiers have access to almost 8,000 acres of terrain made for carving. British Columbia is home to Whistler, which is regularly voted as the best ski area in North America and hosted the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Other top resorts in B.C. include Sun Peaks, Big White, Kicking Horse and Revelstoke.
Where to book it Ski Independence – 0131 243 8097 Seven nights at the fourstar Panorama Upper Village Premium Condos start from £968pp, based on four sharing, with Air Canada ﬂights and shared transfers. Six-day adult Panorama lift tickets start from £149pp. Bookings by August 31 2017.
Ski Safari – 01273 224 060 Save up to 50% and get a double free room upgrade at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler for 10 nights. From £1565pp, based on two sharing including British Airways flights and transfers. Book by August 31, 2017.
Ski-i Selling Canada Advert 2.qxp_Layout 1 05/06/2017 12:02 Page 1
Save up to 50% on Panorama lodging, lift passes & transfers Book by 31 August
0131 243 8097 www.ski-i.com
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“Canada is the ideal choice for a ski holiday in winter 2017/18, owing to the excellent exchange rate, super snow and friendly locals” NICK LAVER, NORTH AMERICA PRODUCT MANAGER, SKI INDEPENDENCE
Skiing takes on a different feel in the Laurentian mountains of Québec. The main resort of Lake Tremblant has been voted as one of the best resorts in Eastern North America by Ski Magazine readers and its French-Canadian charm and stunning views of the lake make it a truly memorable location in which to ski. Stoneham is located half an hour's drive from Québec City; Mont Saint-Anne is 40 minutes and Le Massif, which offers dramatic scenery across the St Lawrence River, one-and-a-half hours. Tailor-made specialist Ski Independence is reporting strong forward sales to Canadian ski resorts for the upcoming season, with customers being able to take advantage of early booking offers including up to 55% off lodging in Whistler, 50% off lodging, lift tickets and transfers to Panorama Mountain Resort, and 'kids ski free' offers in numerous destinations including Banff Lake Louise, Sun Peaks, Tremblant, Whistler and Panorama. Many offers expire on August 31.
What’s new LAKE LOUISE, ALBERTA
Nick Laver, North America Product Manager, Ski Independence said: “Canada is the ideal
how to sell
choice for a ski holiday in winter 2017/18, owing to the excellent exchange rate, a superb snow record, friendly locals and truly amazing value for money. We have boosted our capacity in Whistler, with a broader range of accommodation, as well as exclusive availability over certain dates, backed up by incredibly strong early booking offers, which also apply to many other resorts. For the most adventurous clients we’re also promoting our heli-skiing packages and multi-centre itineraries.”
Take me to the top
Enjoy the #1 ski resort in Eastern North America Enjoy complimentary lodging privileges Starting from • First Tracks
• Sliding Evenings • Skate Loan Available through your favourite tour operator.
*Taxes and royalty extra. Rate per person, per night, in double occupancy, in a hotel room at the Holiday Inn Express starting January 3, 2018. 1-bedroom condo also available starting at £85. Source – Banque du Canada. Exchange for CAD to GBP on Jul 05, 2017: 0.5962. See you tour operator for more details. sellingtravel.co.uk
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Atlantic Canada goes wild Animal attractions are the perfect sell
tlantic Canada is home to a vast array of wildlife – along with a fantastic choice of operators dedicated to promoting and preserving its diversity. Ask your typical British holidaymaker to name something they love about Canada and you are pretty much guaranteed the same answer – the chance to get out in the great outdoors. When it comes to using nature to nurture client loyalty, the wildlife-spotting opportunities available across Atlantic Canada are world-class. And since New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are little more than a ﬁve- to six-hour ﬂight away, it’s easier than you think to get on the trail of whales or walk in the paw prints of bears. With over 43,000 km of coastline, it's no surprise that sealife plays a signiﬁcant part in Atlantic Canada's tourism offering. Quality whale-watching tours are available across the region – in Newfoundland and Labrador from June to early August; in the Bay of Fundy between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia from July to September; off Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia between May and October; and off the coast of Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick from July to September. These giants of the deep hold an enduring appeal and there are a range of species to spot: humpback, minke, ﬁn, pilot and even rare North Atlantic right whales. Options for whale-watching include zodiacs, tall ships, catamarans, yachts, converted ﬁshing boats,
and even land-based trips. Guided tours often yield other marine life too with sharks, dolphins, seals and seabirds all on a spotter's tick-list. From the land visitors can spot pufﬁns among many seabirds, moose, black and brown bears, deer, caribou, polar bears (in Newfoundland and Labrador) and more – all in their natural habitat. All four provinces offer quality viewing excursions – ideal for nature lovers and photographers.
Nova Scotia Cape Breton's famous Cabot Trail and the Bay of Fundy offer ample opportunity to join organised whale-watching tours. Both areas are feeding grounds for whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and seabirds, so trips typically are rich with animal encounters. Listen to whales 'sing' via a hydrophone, and learn what the sounds mean at Pleasant Bay's Whale Interpretive Centre.
Prince Edward Island
The black bear is one of North America's most common native species, yet these elusive creatures are happiest in their forest homes. Local operator Little, Big Bear Safari (bearsafari.com) offers visitors the chance to view and photograph them from the safety of a treetop tower and learn from the experts how the bears communicate.
Visitors can wade into the warm waters of Tranquility Cove to search for lunch on a clam dig. Here, they learn about and sample lobsters, rock crabs and mussels and stop to admire the local seals. Alternatively, a trip to Boughton Island in Georgetown Harbour is a must-do. Uninhabited for 60 years, the island has been reclaimed by nature with bald eagles, seals, beavers and many birds calling it home.
Newfoundland & Labrador Local specialist Bird The Rock (birdtherock.com) runs bird-watching and nature tours ranging from one day to a week. With more than 22 species of marine mammals, North America’s largest concentration of humpback whales and 400 bird species, bespoke itineraries can be created to take in the best sealife experiences, four UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the 7culinary highlights!
For more information on Atlantic Canada, visit: AtlanticCanadaHoliday.co.uk
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Celebrating Air Canada Anniversary, new look and a commitment to growth As Air Canada marks its 80th anniversary, we speak to Stephen Gerrard, GM Sales UK & Ireland It’s an exciting year for Air Canada. Not only are we celebrating our 80th birthday but Canada is also marking its 150th anniversary of confederation. To mark our evolution we have introduced a new livery across our 300-strong ﬂeet and revitalised our uniforms. We are also continuing the expansion of our global route network with 11 new international routes launched this summer and a further seven new services already announced for later this year.
Tell us about the new livery?
A: Inspired by Canada’s proud national heritage, vastness and contrasting seasons, we have created a bold new black-and-white livery with each aircraft now proudly displaying the Air Canada rondelle. And, in a nod to the facial markings on Canada’s indigenous birds and early wildlife representations in its native culture, all our cockpits now display a distinct black ‘mask’.
What about the passenger experience?
A: We have completed the reﬁt of our Boeing 777 and A330 aircraft and both now feature the much-desired Premium Economy cabin. We are going to continue to modernise our international ﬂeet and have 12 additional Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners on order.
NEW UNIFORMS AND TAIL FIN
FLEET INVESTMENT IS ONGOING
What are Canada's key sales' USPs?
A: Not only was Canada named Lonely Planet’s number one country to visit in 2017, but Air Canada was honoured to receive the prestigious Best Airline in North America award at the 2017 Skytrax World Airline Awards. We are offering more choice and comfort than ever before.
How does Air Canada differentiate itself?
A: Air Canada has a proud history of serving the UK. Our ﬁrst ever transatlantic journey was to Prestwick, Scotland, in 1943. From Heathrow we operate more non-stop ﬂights than anyone else to Toronto and the only non-stop services to Ottawa, Halifax and St. Johns. Our leisure airline Air Canada Rouge also offers seasonal services from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Gatwick to Toronto and Gatwick to Vancouver. From our hubs, we offer customers seamless connections to our extensive route network. Our Premium Economy service – with seating that offers generous personal space, greater recline and enhanced service – is now available on services from Heathrow to Toronto, Montréal, Calgary and Vancouver.
How are UK sales performing?
How do you support the UK trade?
What are your growth expectations?
What are the goals for the next 80 years?!
A: Today the UK is Air Canada’s largest international market. We have a robust schedule from the UK and continue to perform well in the market.
A: Our UK Sales team has long-standing, trusted working relationships with our travel agency partners– in May alone the team visited over 4,500 agents in Manchester and London. We also share updates in our trade mag, Check In.
A: We have recently seen a great deal of expansion at Air Canada including the launch of Air Canada Rouge’s Gatwick- Vancouver service this June. We continue to monitor demand in all of the markets with a view to developing new opportunities and providing greater choice.
A: We have a proud history! We are known for our innovation and great Canadian hospitality. Customers can expect to see more of this as we continue to aim higher and reach further as a global customer-focused organisation.
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Peeking at the
PEAKS The Rocky Mountaineer train offers guests a luxurious route through Canada’s wildest frontier, says Stuart Forster
ufts of vegetation sprout among sparse grass on the sun-parched hills close to Ashcroft, British Columbia, one of the driest places in Canada. This is cattle ranching country and from my shaded position on the open vestibule at the back of the Rocky Mountaineer the wind-eroded landscape reminds me of the Badlands in Western movies. A shrill whistle comes from the hillside to the left. Of course, it’s not a masked bandit signalling the onset of a horseback raid — though the location would be ideal to ﬁlm such a scene. The shriek comes from a chubby groundhog standing up on its hind legs, as if to get a better view of the smart blue-and-gold livery on the glassdomed, double-decker carriages. As we sweep around a curve in the Thompson River I spot a couple of bighorn sheep giving us the once over from the copper-red rocks. The wild animals look more like heavy-horned ibex than the woolly coated farm animals I know from ﬁelds back home. Added to the sighting
of a bald eagle soaring over the Fraser River, where gold miners once panned, it’s been a good day for viewing wildlife. Members of the train’s guest experience team have already told me that tomorrow will be the big day for spotting animals – moose, elk and bears roam the mountainous countryside approaching Banff National Park.
How the west was won
I’m travelling on the First Passage of the West, from Vancouver to Banff, one of four routes covered by Rocky Mountaineer’s trains. The 375mile journey takes two days. We’ll disembark to spend the night in the four-star Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel (sandmanhotels.com) then roll on through the Selkirk Mountains into the
Canadian Rockies. This trip is about embracing a ﬁrst-class experience with outstanding scenery rather than dashing to our destination. Guests can opt between two classes of service, SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf. The latter means access to double-decker carriages and attentive service. Food and drink, including alcohol, are part of the package. Even at six feet and four inches I have ample legroom in my reclining seat. Breakfast and lunch are served at tables downstairs. Earlier, I took a quick peek inside the kitchen. Despite the very limited space, the team of chefs manage to create gourmet dishes with ingredients drawn from across western Canada. The taste, texture and presentation of my lunchtime salmon ﬁllet is exquisite.
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At points of interest, and when wildlife is spotted, members of the guest experience team provide well-delivered snippets of information. They give us fair warning of sights such as Hell’s Gate, where the Fraser River surges through its narrowest point, and the Cisco Crossings, the country’ s longest single-span railway bridge. Railways played an important role in unifying Canada. Confederation, 150 years ago, marked the birth of the nation and the promise of a railway link with the east helped persuade British Columbia to become the country’s sixth province. Tomorrow we’ll pass the memorial cairn at Craigellachie, where in 1885 the ﬁnal spike was driven into the Canadian Paciﬁc Railway line. That same year tourists started heading to Banff, where railway workers had discovered a geothermal spring on Sulphur Mountain. Several of my fellow guests are combining this journey with an Alaskan cruise but I’m looking forward to spending a couple of days in Banff National Park at the end of my trip. In the meantime, I’ll continue enjoying the scenery.
Louise and give guests a choice between a Zodiac tour of the Howe Sound or a cycling tour of Vancouver. It includes four experience tours, with a panoramic helicopter ride over Banff National Park. The nine-night First Passage to the West Culinary Exploration tour introduces opportunities to sample the six-course tasting menu at Eden Restaurant (banffeden.com) at Banff’s Rimrock Resort Hotel and to participate in food tours of Vancouver and Calgary. Discover Banff Tours (banfftours.com) has introduced Western Canada Explorer tours for small groups, priced at CAN$699 (£405). Led by guides in luxury mini-coaches, the two-day tours depart Vancouver and Banff three times a week. Stops include the spiral railway tunnels cutting through the mountains, Glacier National Park and Fraser River gold rush sites. ACT Ventures (actventures.com) has introduced themed evening walking tours in Kamloops. The Ales and Wines plus Arts and History tours combine heritage with sampling local ﬂavours. The tours cost CAN$75 plus tax (£49).
The Canada 150 Maple Leaf cocktail, developed to mark the nation’s 150th birthday, is being served in the Fairmont Vancouver’s (fairmont.com) Notch 8 lobby bar (notch8-dining.com). Made with bourbon, maple syrup, lime and apple juice, it is priced at CAN$16 (£9.50).
Two new Rocky Mountaineer
(rockymountaineer.com/travel-trade) packages will
be available in 2018. The 10-night Journey Through the Clouds Outdoor Adventures will feature hiking in Jasper, canoeing on Lake
A hop on, hop off summer bus service now runs between locations within Banff National Park, including the town of Banff, Johnston Canyon, Samson Mall, the Lake Louise Gondola, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. HopOnBanff (hoponbanff.com) tickets cost CAN$50 (£29) a day. The service runs until October 2.
Where to book it PRESTIGE HOLIDAYS – 01502 567666 A tailor-made 14-night holiday is priced from £4,400pp, including GoldLeaf travel on the Rocky Mountaineer’s First Passage to the West, car rental for seven days, three nights in Canmore plus two in Field, Vancouver and Victoria, and international flights. prestigeholidays.co.uk FRONTIER TRAVEL – 020 8776 8709 A tailor-made 14-night holiday, with SilverLeaf travel on the Rocky Mountaineer is from £3,600pp, including accommodation in Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Vancouver, Whistler and Victoria, with a floatplane transfer to Victoria, seven days’ car hire and international flights. frontier-canada.co.uk
Clockwise from left: Rocky Mountaineer cutting through the Rockies, scenery on route, onboard staff and local colour along the way
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the final word
the quirky side of travel – Work experience - Tahiti - Converted beer kegs – Put it down to experience This summer beleaguered train operator Southern ﬁnally gleaned some positive publicity and it was all down to a 15-year-old work experience lad called Eddie. He more than doubled 'positive sentiment' towards the operator, which has risen to 40% from around 16.9% since he was handed the reins on the struggling train company's Twitter account. In just two days he increased 'likes' by over 8,000% and retweets by over 1,000%, all by responding to pivotal questions like: "Would you rather ﬁght one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? And "Shall I have chicken fajitas tonight or chicken Thai green curry?" For posterity he went for 100 duck-sized horses and fajitas. Good choices, Eddie!
TOP 6… Wonders of the World
Embraced by Mana Coming soon with Selling Travel will be a Tahiti-dedicated supplement following the adventures of seven travel agents and Selling Travel's Laura Gelder (pictured left, 'working'). The group visited four islands: Tahiti, Moorea, Tikehau and Rangiroa. They swam with sharks, shopped for black pearls, ﬁshed for their lunch and searched for the islands' elusive 'mana', the life force and spirit that connects all living things. That's 'mana', Laura, not 'man'.
Number one use for kegs The Atlas Brew Works in Washington D.C. has an imaginative use for its expired beer kegs. A neighbourhood production brewery located in the northeast of the capital, it produces hand-crafted artisanal beers and is a 100% solar-powered facility. Enjoy a pint, ﬂight or 'growler' of brews such as District Common, Rowdy and Silent Neighbor and then, well, just go with the ﬂow. atlasbrewworks.com
These are the main Wonders of the World, according to Instagram hashtags. onthegotours.com
Eiffel Tower Paris
Big Ben London
Grand Canyon Arizona
London Eye London
Empire State Building New York City
Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco
THE SEPTEMBER 2017 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • Cape Verde & The Gambia • Falklands • Iceland • Korea • Malta • Mauritius • Oman • Phuket • Seychelles • Southern Florida • Washington & Seattle • Touring Victoria, Australia • CONTACT US firstname.lastname@example.org; editorial@ bmipublishing.co.uk PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni
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Around here, not all flights require boarding passes.
It’s 5 hours from London Heathrow to St. John’s direct. And you get 31/2 of them back. Year-round flights. Visit aircanada.com, call 0871 220 1111, or contact your travel agency.
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210mm x 297mm
Published on Jul 20, 2017
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