JUNE 2017 â€¢ SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK
how to sell...
Israel Florida Cook Islands River Cruising Mediterranean Islands Johannesburg/Durban and more...
TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2015 & 2016
LEAPS AND BOUNDS Why the countries of South America are seeing big increases in UK visitors
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 6th, 2017. For more information and to register go to traveltrade.visitcalifornia.co.uk
this issue - we travel further to bring you more FEATURES
08 South America: A continent of extremes 25 Florida Multi-Centres: Putting beach, city and nature together 32 Mediterranean Islands: From Sardinia to Sicily 53 Goa: India's relaxed side
13 35 36 38
How to sell: Israel How to sell: Lisbon Ten of the best: Cyprus City Profile: Johannesburg/Durban 42 Six of the best: Alberta's wildlife 56 My Journey: Med cruise 61 Six of the best: Cook Islands
F LO R I D A
43 Top news stories and show reports from Arabian Travel Market, Indaba and FIT Cuba
15 News, competitions, incentives & a Kenya fam trip
S O U T H A M E R I CA
M E D I T E R R A N E A N I S LA N D S
CY P R U S
65 Luxury on water 69 Asia options 74 My Journey: The Chindwin river 76 At a glance
53 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
ASIA RIVER CRUISING
Travel Trade Publication of the Year
Travel Trade Publication of the Year
– dedicated to those who love selling travel – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org bmipublishing.co.uk sellingtravel.co.uk Publishers: Steve Thompson & Sally Parker Commercial Director: David Clare Editorial Director: Steve Hartridge Deputy Editor: Laura Gelder Staff Journalists: Ben Coren & Cameron Roberts Contributing Journalist: Jo Austin Group Editor: Andy Hoskins Contributing Editor: Julie Baxter Business Development Manager: Craig McQuinn Advertisement Manager: Lisa Merrigan Creative Director: Matt Bonner Designers: Louisa Horton, Monica Notarnicola, Ross Clifford, 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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any in the UK travel industry with an interest in selling U.S. holidays headed off to Washington D.C. at the end of last month to attend the annual trade show, IPW. Most would have done so with a sense of trepidation mixed with plenty of curiosity. A week or so before the show, U.S. newspapers reported that Brand USA, the federally funded organisation that promotes the country overseas as a tourist destination, was slated for elimination as President Trump moves to reduce the country’s deficit over the next decade while at the same time shifting funding to border security. Since it was unveiled in the UK at World Travel Market in 2010, the organisation has had its problems, and at times frustrated some in the trade. But its UK office, fronted these past seven years by representation Steve Hartridge company Black Diamond – who itself is now out of the Brand USA picture EDITOR after not having its contract renewed last month - has taken large and at times imaginative strides to engage both its trade partners and the UK's consumers. And it did a pretty good job: the Brand USA UK team won several awards for several of its campaigns and can claim its share of the credit for the record numbers of UK visitors to the U.S. that were recorded during its tenure. And changing its UK representation office – if indeed Brand USA has any kind of future – seems particularly untimely during what is an uncertain time for all those involved in U.S. travel. Throw in the shaky-looking future of Visit Florida (see story on page 44) and the anti-tourism noises coming out of the White House, Washington D.C. seems the perfect city to host what will likely be a highly-charged and politicised IPW. Read all about the show in next month’s issue. In the meantime, in this issue, we again tour the world, bringing you feature updates on South America, the Mediterranean islands, Goa, Johannesburg and Durban, to name just a few. And don't miss our special river cruising section. Enjoy!
INDUSTRY COMMENTS... “LATA is thrilled that South America continues to grow in popularity as an expedition and adventure destination and we will continue to work closely with the industry to drive this type of tourism in the region."
“Our annual Cruise Review revealed that a record number of passengers are opting to cruise with one of the ultra-luxury brands, a near nine per cent rise year on year-year growth."
Tony Mason, CEO, Latin American Travel Association
Lines International Association) UK & Ireland
See page 08
See feature, page 65
Andy Harmer, SVP Membership & Director, CLIA (Cruise
NON-STONPO ACTIO W N OPEN
AND THE CHANCE TO CHILL TOO
A Discovery Cove Ultimate Package is like 2 holidays in 1. Scream for pulse-racing coasters, exhilarating water rides and new thrills like Mako at SeaWorld and Cobra’s Curse at Busch Gardens. There’s also the chance to make new friends with amazing animal encounters, and then relax on white sand beaches, lazy rivers and more. It’s Florida like you’ve never experienced before. Experience all four parks with the Discovery Cove Ultimate Package. Includes an all-inclusive day at Discovery Cove (dolphin swim or non-dolphin swim), 14 days unlimited admission to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Aquatica. Free unlimited parking too!
For more information contact your preferred ticket provider or visit www.seaworldagents.co.uk Package includes one all inclusive day at Discovery Cove and unlimited admission to SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens for 14 consecutive days from ﬁrst use. Guests must be at least 6 years of age to swim with the dolphins. Guests aged 6-12 must be accompanied by a paying adult who is also participating in the dolphin swim experience. Children aged 3-5 must purchase the non-dolphin swim package. Free bus transportation is available to Busch Gardens on the Busch Gardens Shuttle Express. Unlimited free parking at SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens is only valid for the duration of the ticket. This oﬀer can be withdrawn or changed at any time. © 2017 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
events & festivals
reasons for seasons - events and experiences to shape a booking -
Galway Oyster Festival This oyster-themed festival includes the Oyster Shucking World Championships, cooking classes and plenty of opportunities to slurp down shellﬁsh. The next festival takes place Did September 22–24, 2017. galwayoysterfestival.com
Hamilton Island Races
The Great U.S. eclipse
On August 21 this year 12 U.S. states will witness a total solar eclipse. The states, stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, will each be holding viewing events. Check out greatamericaneclipse.com for a complete list of states, events and details on where to get protective eyewear.
August 21 will be the ﬁrst total solar eclipse in the U.S. this millennium.
Mid-Autumn Festival Held in a number of Far Eastern countries, including China and Vietnam, the Mid-Autumn Festival centres on moon worship. Expect ﬁreworks, food and spectacular lion dances. The next festival takes place on October 4. Beijing and Hong Kong host great examples. cnto.org
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands host dozens of yachts during the Hamilton Island Race Week. The event features plenty of on-shore fun, including wine tastings and dining. The next race will take place August 19-26, 2017. hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au
Drachenstich Festival Based on Germany’s oldest folk play, Drachenstich, the festival tells the tale of a wicked dragon. It takes place in the town of Furth im Wald, in Bavaria from August 4-20, 2017. Though the play is more than 500 years old, the festival is brought up to date with a giant hi-tech ﬁre-breathing robot. drachenstich.de
Stretching from the Amazon to Antarctica this vast continent has 12 countries with countless opportunities for adventure, says Ben Lerwill
lean my body against the wind and struggle towards the little lighthouse. “Welcome,” says the Chilean naval ofﬁcer, shaking my hand as I reach the door. It’s a ﬁrm handshake – exactly the kind you might expect from a man who lives virtually alone on an island at the bottom of the world. From his window, we have a front-row view of the Atlantic meeting the Paciﬁc in a fury of waves. His nearest neighbours, he explains, live 75 miles away. Welcome to Cape Horn, where more than 800 ships have been dashed on the rocks offshore over the centuries. The Chilean naval ofﬁcer is on a year-long posting on the island, with his wife, son and dog. But I’m here for just a couple of hours, calling in as part of a four-night expedition cruise through the remote waterways of Tierra del Fuego. We set sail three days ago from Punta Arenas in Chilean Patagonia, and we’ll be disembarking tomorrow in Ushuaia, Argentina. The voyage has taken us through an unpopulated region of sharp mountains, wild islands and calving glaciers. We’ve seen seals, penguins, dolphins and albatrosses – even the gargantuan tail of a southern right whale. This is not the South America of street carnivals and football stadiums, but it’s an astonishing place to spend time. One of the biggest assets of the continent, in fact, is that it has so many different faces.
Adventure central “South America as a continent is truly a one-stop shop for adventure travel,” says Jo Rolls, Head of Product at KE Adventure. “With the Andes as its backbone, the largest expanse of tropical rainforest in the world, iconic hiking routes and fascinating indigenous cultures, it serves up adventure in all its various forms. And due to its diversity, size and climate, it’s also somewhere that can be visited year-round.” Stretching almost 7,500 kms from tip to
“One of South America’s bestkept secrets has to be the coffee region in Colombia, where travellers can embark on an incredible six-day mountain trek in Los Nevados National Natural Park” DAN JACKSON, UK SALES MANAGER, EXODUS TRAVELS
toe and packing in astonishing range of natural and cultural variety, South America comes with a guarantee of adventure. Twelve countries make up the continent, ranging from tourism heavyweights such as Brazil and Peru and fast-rising destinations like Colombia and Chile to lesser-known gems such as Paraguay and Guyana. Worries about the Zika virus had an impact
on travel to the continent last year but some countries still recorded marked increases in UK visitors, with Colombia and Chile announcing year-on-year rises of 17.6% and 11% respectively. A 2015 study noted that the adventure travel market in South America experienced an average yearly size increase of 65% since 2009 – although for a region that showcases everything from steamy jungle and hulking mountains to volcano-topped deserts and remote ice-ﬁelds, perhaps the real wonder is that it took so long. Expedition cruises, multi-day hikes, horseriding tours, wildlife-spotting, mountaineering and family-oriented adventure are among the activities on offer, with specialist operators like Journey Latin America and Rainbow Tours among those offering themed adventure holidays. With the continent’s food, drink and history being further selling points – not to mention its rainbow array of different cultures – it’s a destination that rewards lengthy exploration.
Perfect ten Islands of wonder: A trip out to the fabled Galapagos Islands, part of Ecuador but located 600 miles off the mainland coast – offers a world-class and unprecedented wildlife experience. The big match: South America is football mad and the atmosphere at big club matches in Argentina, Brazil and elsewhere is usually electric. Tickets can often be arranged at short notice.
The colourful costumes of Rio’s famous carnival
Explore the wilds: Patagonia occupies a vast swathe of wilderness at the very south of the continent, ranging across parts of Chile and Argentina. The hiking and climbing potential is superb. Visit the lost city: A visit to Peru’s ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is a must and totally unforgettable – whether arriving by foot or by tour bus. Head off the beaten track: The three lesser-visited countries on South America’s north coast – Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana – are great for virgin rainforest and tropical adventure. See the falls: The Iguacu Falls sit on the border between Argentina and Brazil and are an astounding sight, with hundreds of waterfalls spread over three kilometres. Cross the salt flats: Take a 4WD trip to the world’s largest salt ﬂat – Bolivia’s mind-bending Salar de Uyuni, a desert of white earth covering thousands of square kilometres. Feast on meat: Carnivores are in their element in Argentina, where the beef is of the highest quality. The red wine’s pretty special too.
Head into the Amazon: Sprawled across nine different countries, the Amazon rainforest is a bona ﬁde natural wonder, and packed with options for tours and activities. Feel the fiesta: Brazil is lively at any time, but Rio’s Carnival (usually mid- to late- February) is one of the world’s best festivals.
What’s new Airlines: British Airways (ba.com) began direct ﬂights to Santiago, the Chilean capital, in January, ﬂying four times a week from Gatwick. This follows the airline’s introduction of direct ﬂights to Lima in Peru last year. Avianca (avianca.com) now utilises a 787 Dreamliner on its daily direct ﬂights between Heathrow and Bogota, Colombia, and from this month (May) will increase its ﬂights between Bogota and Cusco in Peru to a daily service. Air Europa (aireuropa.com) has a new fourtimes weekly service from Gatwick to Cordoba in Argentina, via Madrid. Attractions: The spectacular Inca site of Kuelap in Peru is now accessible by cable car. Belmond (belmond.com) has launched
Latin America closer than ever.
Fly from London Gatwick to Caracas, Bogota, San Pedro Sula, Guayaquil, Salvador de Bahia, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Sao Paulo, Lima, Asuncion, Cordoba, Montevideo and Buenos Aires.
ASU COR MVD BUE
All flights are via Madrid. Cordoba is via Madrid and Asuncion For more information visit us at: www.aireuropaexperts.com or call: 08714230717
its new Belmond Andean Explorer luxury sleeper train, running two-night journeys between Cusco and Arequipa. Tax: As of January, foreign visitors are exempt from paying tax (21%) on hotel stays in Argentina. Tour Operators: KE Adventure (keadventure.com) has a new 14-day Walks and Waterfalls itinerary in northern Argentina and a new 13-day ‘Best of Chile’ walking holiday incorporating the Atacama Desert and Torres del Paine National Park. Journey Latin America (journeylatinamerica. co.uk) has unveiled its ﬁrst Paraguay holiday, the 12-day Signature Paraguay: Mission and The Chaco, and has also introduced a new self-drive holiday in Chile, the 14day Lake District & Southern Patagonia. Luxury boutique cruise company Aqua Expeditions (aquaexpeditions.com) has announced new Amazon cruises for 2018 hosted by Jean-Michel (son of Jacques) Cousteau. Tucan Travel (tucantravel.com) has a new ‘Jungle to Andes’ tour that includes a one-day trek to
Top, from left: A Caribbean beach hut in the San Andres region of Colombia; the Iguazu Falls, which straddles the Brazil and Argentina border; Atacama Desert in Chile
Machu Picchu. Andean Trails (andeantrails.co.uk) has introduced a new eight-day Colombia tour. Cox & Kings (coxandkings.co.uk) has a new 11-day Wildlife & Waterfalls holiday in Brazil, with time in the Brazilian Highlands and Rio, and has also revamped its Peru In Luxury tour for 2017. It includes a trip on the Belmond Andean Explorer sleeper train.
Tourism talk “LATA is thrilled that South America continues to grow in popularity as an expedition and adventure destination and we will continue to work closely with the industry to drive this type of tourism in the region. UK tour operators have launched new adventure tours and the launch of direct British Airways ﬂights to Chile has brought South America closer to Britain. The region has beneﬁted from Rio 2016 and television programmes such as David Attenborough’s Jaguars: Brazil’s Super Cats, and new tourism infrastructure such as the new cable car in Kuelap in northern Peru and boutique hotels are also expected to fuel interest.” Tony Mason, CEO, Latin American Travel Association lata.travel
Where to book it JOURNEY LATIN AMERICA – 020 3811 7378 Atacama Desert to Patagonian Glaciers is a 13-day tour of Chile priced from £4,118pp, excluding international ﬂights. journeylatinamerica.co.uk
G ADVENTURES – 0344 272 2040 The nine-day Colombia Express trip is from £1,099pp, not including ﬂights, with time in Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena and the coffee region. gadventures.co.uk
RAINBOW TOURS – 0203 131 6135
A 13-day ‘Eco-Friendly Peru’ holiday is from £3,470pp, including ﬂights and transfers. Highlights include Machu Picchu and a stay in an Amazonian lodge. rainbowtours.co.uk
how to sell
Israel by Jeannine Williamson
ith its ancient history, melting pot of cultures, religious heritage and diverse cities, Israel is a unique destination, says Jeannine Williamson. Why sell it Year-round sunshine and a ﬂight time of less than ﬁve hours from the UK are a good start, but now this fascinating cultural destination is even easier to sell with an increase in airlift and the Israel Government Tourist Ofﬁce’s 'Two Cities. One Break' campaign. The marketing initiative, again showing on UK channels including Sky, offers incentives to see Israel’s contrasting cities on the same twincentre trip: buzzing and cosmopolitan Tel Aviv and historic and cultural Jerusalem. Clients booking at least two nights in selected hotels in both cities receive a beneﬁts card with free entry into top attractions such as the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and Jerusalem’s Israel Museum, the country's largest cultural facility. Israel's unique experiences include wellknown Biblical sites, modern city cultural
TEL AVIV'S GOLDEN BEACH
attractions, beaches and much more. And its small size means you can pack plenty into a short stay. Transfer time between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is only an hour, and on the way visitors can embark on a 4WD jeep desert adventure or take a dip in the famous Dead Sea.
Who to sell to
A RELIGIOUS SCHOLAR
With more than 3,000 years of history, Jerusalem is the spiritual centre of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Not surprising then that it is a huge draw for religious travellers. But don't get the impression Israel is a country stuck in the past or transﬁxed by tales of the Bible – there’s plenty for families, who can enjoy Tel Aviv’s sweeping beachfront and the goodvalue Red Sea holiday resort of Eilat, on the country’s southern tip. Vibrant Tel Aviv, with its 24-hour nightlife and cool UNESCO-listed Bauhaus quarter, will appeal to younger clients. Foodies will also love Israel, known as 'the
Israel Essentials T I M E: +2 GMT V I S A S: None C U R R E N CY: Israeli Shekel LA N G U AG E: Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages and English is widely spoken and used on street signs. F L I G H T T I M E: Five hours
GETTING THERE Flights to Tel Aviv are available from Arkia (arkia.com) from Stansted (starting June 2); British Airways (batraveltrade.com) from Heathrow; easyJet (easyjet. com) from Gatwick, Luton and Manchester; El Al (elal.com) from
Heathrow and Luton, Monarch (monarch.co.uk) from Luton and
Manchester; Wizz Air (wizzair.com) from Luton (starting June 24). OT H E R TO U R O P E RATO R S rivieratravel.co.uk el.com intrepidtravel.com
land of milk and honey'. Its culinary offerings range from colourful street food stalls selling Jaffa orange juice and hummus to gourmet restaurants. And when it’s time for bed there’s a wide choice of accommodation, from laid-back kibbutz communities to upmarket properties in the Dan Hotels portfolio, Israel’s oldest and most prestigious chain.
Top sellers A likely high spot - or to be technically correct, low point – of any trip to Israel is ﬂoating in the salty Dead Sea, where it’s impossible to sink. The lowest place on earth, 320ft below sea level, is easily reached on day trips from both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Many tours also take in Masada, the impressive ruins of King Herod’s mountaintop fortress. A guided walking tour of Jerusalem is a must, and it’s also the easiest way to navigate the maze of streets making up the three distinctive religious quarters. Spend time at the Western Wall, the most important Jewish shrine where worshippers push prayers written on pieces of paper into cracks. Afterwards drop by at one of the many falafel stalls for a cheap and tasty lunch.
Book it Leger Holidays’ seven-night Highlights of the Holyland escorted tour, visiting Tel Aviv, Caesarea, Nazareth and Jerusalem, is priced from £1,499pp for travel on November 2 2017 and includes half-board accommodation, excursions, ﬂights and transfers. leger.co.uk
TA L K I N G S H O P
-INSPIRED BY YOUThe stuff that happens when agents get involved...
Kissimmee partners on UK tour Contents SPOTLIGHT ON...
EXPERIENCE KISSIMMEE and its partners at Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, Visit Tampa Bay and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment recently undertook their UK roahshow. The regions updated agents on accommodations, attractions, shopping and dining and ran training sessions for agents. The roadshow visited agents in Scotland, Preston, Newcastle and London. Pictured from left is Jo Piani, Experience Kissimmee; Josephine Ando, Visit Tampa Bay; Nicholas Parr, SeaWorld Parks and Sirin Huffam, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater. experiencekissimmee.com
16 18 21 22
Barbara Charlton Been There Done That On Location: Oregon Kenya Fam Trip
Scratch 2 win DUBAI INCENTIVE
TRAVEL 2 and Dubai Tourism partnered to offer agents the chance to win a scratch card with prizes including cinema vouchers, designer handbags and luxury holidays. To win, agents must make ﬁve qualifying bookings to Dubai by November 30 this year. For more information visit travel2.com
Titan savings EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNTS
Learn and earn AGENTS completing the Voyages to Antiquity Expert (VTAExpert) online training course and conﬁrming a new 2017 booking can win up to £35 worth of Love2Shop vouchers from now until the end of June. Agents making a new booking in June will be entered into a prize draw to win a cruise for two to
d Balkans Revisite
Cuba, including ﬂights, transfers, gratuities and shore excursions. Agents completing the online training become Luminary Agents and have access to exclusive offers, VIP fam trip invitations and advance notice of new programmes. New agents signing up to VTAExpert will receive a £5 Love2Shop voucher, agents
MARTIN BELL, OBE, the former BBC war reporter and former independent politician, escorted his sixth Balkans Revisited tour for Prestige Holidays. Later this year he will be accompanying more tours to Croatia in a ‘special guest’ capacity, with other destinations in the pipeline. Martin is pictured with Julia Berg, Prestige’s Regional Director for the Balkans,.
completing and earning Luminary status receive a £10 Love2Shop and Luminary agents completing the updated winter modules can earn a £5 voucher. If they make a new Cuba and Caribbean booking departing from November 20, 2017 to April 8, 2018 they will gain an additional £20 voucher for every new booking. vtaexpert.com
ESCORTED tour specialist Titan has launched its ‘Early Booking Bonanza’ brochure with its lowest-ever deposit – just £49pp. The guide is for bookings made before June 30 for travel in 2018. Agents can still earn a £10 lifestyle shopping voucher for bookings made throughout April, May or June. titanagents.co.uk
Keep in mind...
June SELLING TRAVEL DESTINATION DIALOGUE Selling Travel is pleased to present an evening with Global Hospitality Services in London at the Grange Tower Bridge. Make contacts and meet industry colleagues over some drinks and food. There will also be a chance to win some great prizes on the night. sellingtravel.co.uk
COMING UP & ENDING SOON
-15 June CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION ROADSHOW Join the CTO's partners for an evening of networking, fun and a chance to win prizes that include BA ﬂights to the Caribbean. Events will be held on June 14 in London and June 15 in Bristol. For further details email RSVP@aribtourism.co.uk More online at sellingtravel.co.uk/events
FA C E T O FA C E
Barbara@thesussextravelcompany.co.uk 01403 276684
Africa calling – and a big bunch of lillies! joys the Barbara en Table om fr s w vie Town pe Ca , Mountain
“The European ‘lates’ market is going to be a tough one... with prices in Europe so much higher than last year"
Enquiries for Africa have really picked up recently and these have resulted in some amazing bookings. Both Tanya and I have visited many regions of the Dark Continent and can talk with ﬁrst-hand knowledge, experience and conﬁdence, which deﬁnitely pays off in terms of getting the bookings. But although between us we have seen much of what South Africa, Namibia and Kenya can offer our clients, neither of us have visited Botswana, Tanzania, Mozambique or Zambia and we rely on specialist suppliers to help us with these. This past month saw us get some excellent advice and support from a number of Africa operators, but special mention goes to Jamie at Africa and Beyond whose help and suggestions proved priceless. I also secured a couple of big bookings with African Pride, whose team always show both
skill and patience as these bookings are rarely secured on the ﬁrst quote and need a lot of ﬁne tuning. Meeta at Somak was another who went above and beyond for a nice £24k Kenya booking. Last month I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days in Cape Town and Sun City in South Africa. Whilst there I kept our company Facebook page updated every day with short summaries of all I was getting up to and posted pictures. I am sure that this helped attract some of those Africa enquiries.
GET OUT AND ABOUT It is really important to welcome suppliers into your shop (if you have one) or attend as many training evenings as possible – particularly if you are a homeworker. We attended a couple of events in May – the Azure dinner and the Selling Travel Riviera Travel evening – and picked up many useful tips.
Dassies on Ta ble M and ﬂowers se ountain nt in by happy custom ers
Ours is an ever-changing industry and you have to keep up or sink. I always keep in mind that our very existence relies on our knowledge, but even when this falls short there is nothing wrong in saying you are not 100% sure on something as long as you can back that up with ‘but I have a great relationship with someone who does’.
we could hardly carry on working once they opened fully as they blocked our view of clients! Along with several home-made chocolates, cakes and sweets we are really feeling the love at the moment. Long may it last. Our business is ever-growing and we are looking for another staff member with at least three
IN THE SHOP Over the last “We are a fairly new company month we have had visits of just 18 months' standing but from Fiona are now reaping the rewards of Malan of Sun International repeat and referred business" and Royal Livingstone; Iain and Rosie from Emirates Holidays; and Louisa from years of well-travelled Coco Resorts. We also met with experience, preferably for Graham from Blue Waters. three days a week. So if you know Our shop seems to have become of anyone looking to reduce their a bit of a part-time ﬂorist lately, as working week and they live a very happy clients have been ﬁlling commutable distance to lovely it with ‘thank you’ ﬂowers. Such Horsham in West Sussex, please gestures are really lovely. pass on our details. An exacting client who had just Happy Selling! returned from a fantastic time in Ozen in the Maldives sent us the biggest arrangement of lillies I have ever seen; they were so huge that
BEEN THERE done that
Touring the Golden Triangle
Intrepid India fam INTREPID TRAVEL invited nine agents to experience one of its top-selling India trips, the 'Golden Triangle'. Pictured in front of the Taj Mahal are (front row from the left): Sophie Baker, Oyster Travel; Chelsea Mills, Travel House Swansea; Rachel Seidel, Student Universe; Emma Stokes, Travelux. In the back row is Chetan Jha, Intrepid India tour leader; Melanie Hill, Flight Centre Romford; Emma Casburn, Infinite Travel; Matthew Griffiths, Chelmsford Star; Christ Castle, Intrepid Travel; Joanne Payne, Janaway Travel and Rita Hughes, Global Travel Bamber Bridge.
BRIGHT heads north
28 independent travel agents from 13 agencies and home-based workers attended BRIGHT’s recent workshop at Lumley Castle near Durham. Pictured from left is Alastair Ruffman, Managing Director of Norseman Travel and Jenny Wade from Viking River Cruises. Brightconsortia.com
Mauritius on the Tyne THE Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) hosted an interactive networking evening for travel agents and trade partners in Newcastle. Pictured is the night’s winning team. From left: Carol Dunbar, Direct Travel; Donna Tweddell, Ponteland Travel; Nicola Morland, East Durham Travel; Sharon Tait, Air Savers; Nikki Pylous, Air Savers and Natalie Lindsey, Air Savers. Tourism-mauritius.mu
A BARRHEAD Travel’s Glasgow Oswald Street store welcomed more than 500 prospective holidaymakers to its spring Cruise Show weekend. Members of the team, pictured from left are Louise Donegan, Lyndsay Donaldson, Emma Brown, Louise Bradley and Shauneen Curran. Barrheadtravel.co.uk/cruises B HELEN Sanders (left) from Carrick Travel was the winner of Inghams first prize draw rewarding The Academy training graduates. Hannah Eldridge (right), Inghams Agency Sales Executive, handed Helen the prize of a holiday for two in Lake Garda, Italy. Over the next five
months agents who register on The Academy and complete at least three training modules will automatically be entered into a monthly draw. Learning.inghams.co.uk C TOP Flight Dublin’s Jonathan Howitt won a Fortnum & Mason hamper as the winner of Silversea’s Advocate of the Month incentive. Each month 10 winning agents are chosen from a shortlist provided by Silversea’s regional sales managers. Agents are selected based on sales performance, marketing promotions or events. Silversea.com
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 five-star Centara Grand Hotel Doha in October, set in the city’s West Bay Area. For more information visit our dedicated trade website centarahotelsresorts.com/b2b email@example.com 01474 872727
O N L O C AT I O N
Operators driven to distraction in Oregon THE DETAILS WHAT: MULTI-COUNTRY FAM TRIP WITH PARTICIPANTS TOURING IN SEVERAL VEHICLES WHEN: APRIL 2-8, 2017 UK/IRISH ANGLE: FOUR OPERATORS AND AGENTS WHY: TO SEE AS MUCH OF THE STATE AND GATHER NEW PRODUCT IDEAS
What they said... “Oregon really does have it all, from dramatic coastline and amazing coastal drives to vast sandy beaches and the stunning Crater Lake National Park. Then there are mountain ranges offering skiing, outdoor activities in abundance and breathtaking scenery. JAYNE WHITE, CIARA FOLEY, ANDREW BIRD AND LISA CHAMBERLAIN AT CRATER LAKE
"Delta's new direct Portland service makes this beautiful State even more accessible. Portland is a hip, vibrant, exciting city.
Travel Oregon hosted 40 international tour operators from 11 different countries on the state’s second Oregon Road Rally. The participants were introduced to new or improved Oregon product in order to enhance their programmes – and to take advantage of Delta Air Lines’ new non-stop ﬂight from Heathrow to Portland, which started on May 27.
THE TRIP The week kicked off in trendy Portland before heading out along the spectacular Columbia River Gorge to Hood
River. From here it was a scenic drive around Mt Hood, with a stop at the famous Timberline Lodge and Smith Rock State Park before arriving in Bend. The highlight of the next day, if not the week, was the magniﬁcent Crater Lake National Park in the Cascades Mountains. With a depth of 1,943 feet, the lake is the deepest in the U.S. and one of the most beautiful. Next stop was Klamath Falls in Southern Oregon. The city beneﬁts from geothermal heat, which
keeps its municipal swimming pool open year-round. The operators also explored Ashland and Grants Pass, as they headed to Eugene. The Oregon Coast featured Florence and an overnight in Newport, before the group continued up Highway 101 to Astoria and ﬁnished back in Portland for the ﬁnal night.
"With great food, wineries, breweries, museums, golf, hiking, skiing, rock climbing, scenic drives, wildlife, enchanting forests and dramatic landscapes, a holiday to Oregon will suit any age, any interest; singles, couples and families.” Andrew Bird, Director, Purely America “Oregon is a very special destination. There is the stunning Crater Lake, Mount
THE VERDICT Lisa Chamberlain, Director UK & Ireland, Travel Oregon said: “The Oregon Road Rally, in partnership with Delta Air Lines, gave those participating the time to discover and explore some of the key highlights of Oregon. The intention was to allow them to ﬁnd their own way from A to B at their own pace, with just a little guidance, some suggested stops and a Sat Nav! “As with last year, the touring format was a tremendous success with the participants feeling like they had genuinely enhanced their knowledge of the state and experienced it as their clients would.” traveloregon.com
Hood, Smith Rock and the beautiful Oregon Coast– all wonders that take your breath away. Yet for me it was the small, untouched places that made this trip a truly memorable one: Ashland, with its annual Shakespeare festival; The Old Mill District and beautiful town of Bend; Newport, with its mouth-watering Dungeness local crab, and the artistic town of Troutdale." Ciara Foley, Director, Platinum Travel “Oregon exceeded my expectations in so many ways. The scenery was immense, from the heights of Multnomah Falls to the depths of Crater Lake; we enjoyed the most amazing wines, craft beers and incredible breakfasts; and the adventure and activities ranged from sand dune rides, glass-blowing, kayaking and cycling to name just a few. Oregon is a gem and I am looking forward to creating new Titan tours there." Jayne White, Product Manager, Titan Travel
O N L O C AT I O N
Kenya showcases top beaches and wildlife
Kenya Tourism Board welcomed 26 UK agents on a mega fam that took in the sights, sounds and smells of the country. Three groups followed different itineraries, visiting game parks and some of Africa’s best beaches. The ﬂights were provided by Kenya Airways (Kenya-airways. com) and Nairobi transfers handled by Gamewatchers’ Safari (porini.com). Selling Travel's Benjamin Coren was on the trip.
TRIP HIGHLIGHTS Flying overnight from Heathrow we arrived early in Nairobi and transferred to Wilson Airport for a ﬂight to the Maasai Mara. Regional carrier Safarilink provide scenic ﬂights from Wilson Airport to several airstrips around Kenya.
We landed at the dirt airstrip of Mara Ol Kiombi, and transferred to Ashnil Mara camp. Although weary from a night ﬂight, I was still struck with amazement on seeing the wildlife for the ﬁrst time. For many of us it was the ﬁrst time we'd laid eyes on Africa’s iconic wildlife. Maasai Mara is home to Africa’s Big Five: elephants, buffalo, lions, leopards and rhinoceros and we were lucky enough to spot all ﬁve. Those on safari should be prepared for early mornings with game drives starting around 06.00. One of Kenya’s oldest camps, Governors’ is located in Maasai Mara, along with sister sites Il Moran and Little Governors’. Our group had a close encounter with some big animals at Little Governors', when a herd of elephants that regularly visit the nearby marsh plodded through. We then ﬂew to Diani Beach, which has been voted as one of Africa’s most beautiful stretches of sand. Most accommodations here are luxury resorts, with the chance to try a range of watersports or just relax beside the pool and sample some of Kenya’s ﬁnest culinary offerings.
“Kenya encompasses the magic of Africa, discovering the big five and the chance to encounter one of the world's most stunning beaches is an opportunity not to miss” We took another air transfer to the coastal town of Malindi and enjoyed a sneak peak of the ﬁve-star Hemingways Watamu in the Marine National Park. A ﬁnal ﬂight returned us to Nairobi's Wilson airport where my group journeyed into Nairobi National Park. This conservation area is a stone’s throw from the airport, meaning visitors can be on a safari within an hour of landing. Here we had an evening game drive and spent the night at the luxury Emakoko Lodge.
ACCOMMODATION The fam group undertook numerous site visits, checking out a mix of Kenya's well-known properties and exciting new developments, resorts and lodges. These included: Ashnil Mara Camp: Ashnil is located in the heart of Maasai Mara National
Reserve, one of Africa's greatest wildlife sanctuaries. The 56-tent camp has a pool, bar and restaurant. I fell asleep to the sound of grunting hippos. ashnilhotels.com/ashnilmara Governors’ Camp: This timeless camp has a traditional feel to it. The site is made up of 37 tents and, being unfenced, we welcomed some friendly warthogs. They regularly visit guests in the communal areas. governorscamp.com
Governors’ Il Moran Camp: This intimate site has 10 tents with the emphasis on total privacy. They have their own patios where you can dine privately under the stars. governorscamp.com
Little Governors’ Camp: The river crossing to this private camp may make access tricky for some, but
O N L O C AT I O N
THE DETAILS WHAT: KENYA TOURISM BOARD MEGA FAM WHEN: APRIL 27 - MAY 3 WHO: KENYA TOURISM BOARD, KENYA AIRWAYS WHY: TO DRIVE AWARENESS OF KENYA TO THE UK TRADE
What they said the intimate location beneﬁts from regular visits by a herd of elephants who are fond of the saline marsh.
The hotel is expected to open in October, with the apartments due in December. hemingways-watamu.com
Swahili Beach Resort: Located on Diani Beach the hotel mixes Middle Eastern, Indian and Swahili styles. The resort has executive suites, superior rooms and standard rooms. There are regular events and pool parties for guests. swahilibeach.com Baobab Beach Resort & Spa: Set in 80 acres of tropical gardens on Diani Beach, overlooking the Indian Ocean, the all-inclusive property has 500 metres of golden beachfront.
Turtle Bay Beach Club: The greenfocused all-inclusive resort has 145 rooms and enjoys direct beach access. Daily eco-activities are available at the family-friendly resort. turtlebaykenya.com Emakoko Lodge: The luxury boutique lodge on the edge of Nairobi National Park offers games drives and the chance to spot over 400 species of birds. The owners enjoy meeting guests to share stories of the park.
different itineraries that took in parks, the Indian Ocean coast and capital (Nairobi). The itineraries provided a valuable opportunity for the agents to experience Kenya’s diverse tourism offering ﬁrst-hand combined with the warm hospitality of the Kenyan people. "As a result, we hope they will be able to relay their experience of Kenya to their clients and sell the destination with passion." Daniela Resenterra, Kenya Tourism Board UK & Ireland
Hemingways Watamu: Still under construction, Hemingways will features 39 rooms and 21 apartments (which are for sale).
passing through. The next time I go to Nairobi I will extend my stay and spend a night at Emakoko Lodge in Nairobi National Park.” Sarah Ahern, Product Manager, Exodus “A highlight was seeing baby lion cubs cleaning one another. Joining this trip gave given me the opportunity to experience a safari for the ﬁrst time. It is a truly amazing experience and something everyone should do.” Alex Bennett, Destination Merchandiser, Flight Centre “I’d never been on safari so the whole
fam really turned a light switch on for me.
Diamonds Dream of Africa: The peaceful boutique beachside property is all-inclusive and has gym facilities and a pool. Guests can also access The Mvua African Rain Spa. dreamofafrica.diamondresorts.com
“Little Governors' was made memorable by the daily visits from elephants
THE VERDICT "We are delighted with how our Kenya mega-fam trip went and the feedback has been fantastic. Many of the agents were surprised by how much wildlife we saw, especially in Nairobi National Park. The agents visited eight locations across three
A fam trip like this is invaluable.” Susan Brown, Personal Travel Expert, Kuoni “It’s so much easier to sell somewhere when you’ve been there and clients can see the passion in your face and hear it in your voice. Getting a feel for any place is so important when selling it.” Angie Watson, Director, Experience Holidays
ON THE ROAD Canada Roadshow
Southern agents Keep Exploring Canada
“It’s great to come out en masse as Team Canada with our destination partners, to meet with so many agents and also have a fun night” ADAM HANMER, TRAVEL TRADE MANAGER, DESTINATION CANADA
“It’s good to learn about new and lesser-known destinations for second - and third-time visitors to Canada” BETH JUDSON, FLIGHT CENTRE, WESTERN ROAD, BRIGHTON
WIN - WIN NIGHT FOR AGENTS Over 100 travel agents, home workers and tour operators attended Destination Canada's Keep Exploring Quiz in Brighton last month. They met with 18 of the tourist board's destination partners, networked with industry peers and took part in a fun Canada quiz – with a trip to Canada as the top prize. Roseanne Buckler from Trailfinders was the delighted winner of a competition which landed her Business Class flights with British Airways, four nights in Vancouver
with Fairmont Hotels, Gold Leaf on the Rocky Mountaineer and four nights with Fairmont in the Canadian Rockies. Those destination partners in attendance were: British Airways, WestJet, Air Transat, Air Canada, Destination British Columbia, Tourism Whistler, Sun Peaks Resort, Tourism Alberta, Tourism Manitoba, Ontario Tourism, Ottawa Tourism, Tourism Québec, Tourism Montréal, Atlantic Canada Travel Partnership, Destination St Johns, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Rocky Mountaineer and Insight Vacations. keepexploring.ca
usa: florida multi-centres
Theme parks, beaches, wildlife, history and a wide choice of gateway airports make Florida perfect for a family multi-centre break, says Jeannine Williamson
he solders attired in bright blue-andred 17th century uniforms step forward towards the canon as the ofﬁcer barks out orders in Spanish. Fortunately he calls out ‘cover your ears’, for our beneﬁt rather than his men, before shouting fuego, or ﬁre. The explosive sound echoes around Castillo de San Marcos and fades over the Atlantic Ocean. I am stepping back in time in Florida, a state best-known for its theme parks and more modern attractions. We learn that St. Augustine fort was built between 1672 and 1695 from 400,000 coquina stone blocks, all crafted and set by hand. It was impenetrable to outside attackers – and thwarted British forces led by General Moore who burned the surrounding town in 1702 but couldn’t inﬁltrate the fort’s walls. Afterwards we stroll down pedestrianfriendly George Street, ﬁlled with small shops, galleries and restaurants, many selling Spanish specialities such as empanada pastries ﬁlled with beef or cheese that make
a great lunchtime snack. That evening we embark on a spooky ghost walk through the narrow streets of the historic quarter.
Well-rounded Founded by the Spanish in 1565, culturerich St. Augustine is America’s oldest continually inhabited city and one of many diverse destinations that showcase a very different side of the Sunshine State. Clients can enjoy the best of both worlds, with a twin-centre or multi-destination break combining Orlando’s famous theme parks – the draw for most ﬁrst-time visitors – with a beach-based stay. Plus, Orlando’s central location between the Gulf and Atlantic coasts makes it an accessible ﬂy-drive destination. Viable and appealing areas include the Florida Keys, south of Miami. Lauren Sycamore, UK Sales and Marketing Director, Florida Keys and Key West, said: “While Orlando is all about the theme parks, the Keys offer visitors a very natural, genuine set of experiences.
Whether it’s snorkelling in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, kayaking through the mangroves of the Lower Keys or taking a ﬁshing trip in Islamorada, the Keys are all about getting out on and in the water, so there is great fun for every member of the family. She added: “And Key West, which is closer to Cuba than to Miami, has an atmosphere of its own. Laid-back, diverse, with beautiful architecture, colourful characters, great night life and excellent restaurants, it’s an island city with plenty to offer visitors.” Ross Sinclair, Senior Product Manager USA at Travel 2, said: “We suggest Florida for twin-centre holidays as it has a mixture of everything to offer, from great theme parks, cosmopolitan cities, beautiful beaches and bountiful wildlife. Florida also has a wide choice of arrival airports with great connecting cities, allowing for some amazing multi-centre stays.” Ruby Briggs, Managing Director, North America Travel Service, described Florida as “probably the best place on the planet for
usa: florida multi-centres
two-centre family holidays”, adding that a vast array of options can be combined with Orlando to suit all age groups, plus short distances between Orlando and many coastal resorts make for an easy ﬂy-drive holiday.
Orlando twin-centre options Miami: Trendy nightlife, beaches, art galleries and world-class hotels are all part of Miami’s appeal. From September the new high-speed Brightline train service will link the city with Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. St Petersburg and Clearwater: These neighbouring resorts near Tampa offer family-friendly beaches and cultural attractions including the Salvador Dali Museum which houses the largest collection of Dali’s work outside Spain. Fort Myers and Sanibel: Known as the Seashell Coast, the shallow waters of Fort Myers are a great choice for families. Sanibel Island, accessed via a causeway bridge, is a relaxing retreat with a network of cycle Above: Luxurious yachts and waterfront homes are the order of the day in Fort Lauderdale. Right: Florida’s crystalclear waters afford the chance to see turtles, manatees and many other marine creatures
paths and world-famous shelling beaches. Kissimmee: A 25-minute drive from Orlando and the theme parks, Kissimmee is the gateway to the Everglades, for exciting airboat rides and off-the-beaten track outdoor adventures, and well placed for trips to Atlantic Coast beaches. Naples: Upmarket Naples boasts chic shops, art galleries and golf courses and is close to the Everglades and unspoilt white beaches of Marco Island, the largest of Florida’s chain of 10,000 islands. Fort Lauderdale: This buzzing city is dubbed the Venice of America due to its 300 miles of navigable waterways. It’s a yachting and ﬁshing paradise with a fashionably retro atmosphere. Florida Keys: With new ﬂights into southern Florida the colourful Florida Keys, a 125-mile sub-tropical island chain connected by the Overseas Highway and ending at laid-back Key West, are more accessible than ever.
Go party: Experience Mallory Square’s sunset celebration before partying the night away on Duval Street in Key West. Mermaid magic: Watch the enchanting underwater mermaid show – and then meet one – at Weeki Wachi Springs State Park. Get fruity: Pick your own oranges – the symbol of the Sunshine State – at one of three U-Pick Citrus farms. Tree time: Stroll along the boardwalk at Audubon’s 13,000-acre Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, the world’s largest bald cypress forest. Cheers: Sip an artisan beer in St. Pete/ Clearwater where there are more craft breweries than anywhere else in Florida. Stylish SoBe: People watch in the ultra-cool Art Deco playground of Miami’s South Beach, or SoBe as locals call it. Fast track: Watch race day action at Daytona International Speedway or live life in the slow lane and drive along the beach. Rocket Man: Walk past towering rockets and prepare for lift off with thrilling virtual rides at Kennedy Space Center. Set sail: Take a boat trip along Fort Lauderdale’s waterways, home to the world’s highest number of yachts per capita. Meet manatees: Crystal River is one of the best places to spot manatees, Florida’s gentle state marine mammal.
What’s new Airlines: WOW air (wowair. com) has launched a service ﬂying from Heathrow to
Orlando - Lake Buena Vista • Spacious Family Suites • Free Breakfast • Near Walt Disney World® sborlando.com firstname.lastname@example.org 01-407-238-0777 Untitled-1 1
usa: florida multi-centres
Miami, via Reykjavik, three times a week. Norwegian (norwegian.com/uk) has scaled-up its service to Fort Lauderdale from one to three ﬂights a week year-round, four in summer. On July 6 British Airways (batraveltrade. com) launches a new servuce between Gatwick and Fort Lauderdale. From September 1 Aer Lingus (aerlingus. com) introduces the ﬁrst-ever direct Dublin to Miami service, ﬂying three times a week. Accommodation/Hotels: Marriott’s 114-room all-suite SpringHill Suites (marriott.co.uk) opens in August on central Flagler Avenue, New Smyrna Beach. Loews Miami Beach Hotel (loewshotels.com) in the Art Deco district has had a $50 million renovation with 790 upgraded rooms and new pool area with adult-only cabanas. The beachfront Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach (hardrockhotels.com) is scheduled to open late 2017. Attractions: Visitors over 18 can drive an iconic Florida airboat with the new experience at Boggy Creek Airboat Rides (bcairboats.com) that has initially gone on sale exclusively with Do Something Different (dosomethingdifferent.com). Daytona Lagoon waterpark (daytonalagoon. com) has undergone a $2.3 million renovation. The ﬁrst exhibition dedicated to the creative relationship between artist Salvador Dali and Parisian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli is on at St Petersburg’s Dali Museum (thedali.org) between October 18 and January 14, 2018. Completing Miami’s Downtown Museum Park is recently opened Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (frostscience.org) combining a planetarium, aquarium and science museum. Gatorland (gatorland.com) has a new outdoor adventure area marking the largest expansion since the alligator park opened in 1949. New for this summer, Electric Ocean is a spectacular sunset light show at SeaWorld Orlando (seaworldagents.co.uk).
Campaigns: Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB (sunny.org) has launched the world’s ﬁrst tourism campaign featuring transgender models to highlight its LGBT-friendly offer.
Tourism talk “With 825 miles of beaches, 150 state parks and dozens of natural forests, seashores, wildlife refuges and preserves there is so much more to Florida than most people think. With so much to see and do, a twin- or multicentre is most deﬁnitely the best way to get out on the open road and see what the Sunshine State has to offer. There are direct ﬂights from the UK
Clockwise from left: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is the home of a historic lighthouse built in 1825; the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg; the town of Celebration
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into four different cities and also now into neighbouring New Orleans, so the options for interesting and unusual itineraries are endless. “Getting behind the wheel gives clients independence and ﬂexibility, fuel is generally cheap, and with a bit of careful planning they can link their preferred resorts and attractions into their ideal itinerary. Whether they choose to mix theme park thrills with a beach stay, cross the Everglades on Alligator Alley, combine a city break with the great outdoors or indulge in the ultimate Florida ﬂy-drive from Miami to Key West, they'll ﬁnd interesting options at every point of the compass.” Gill Standeven, Account Manager, Visit Florida
NORTH AMERICA TRAVEL SERVICE – 0333 323 9033
The 14-night Florida Parks Beaches itinerary, with room-only accommodation at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Naples Grande Beach Resort, W Fort Lauderdale and Hyatt Centric South Beach Miami, starts at £1,699pp (£859 per child), including car hire and ﬂights into Orlando and out of Miami. northamericatravelservice.co.uk
Where to book it
Above: golf in Naples. Right: Miami’s Art Deco-styled Ocean Drive bathed in neon at dusk
CARRIER – 0161 820 9843 The new 14-night Family Favourites tour, with room-only accommodation at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney Resort, The Resort at Longboat Key Club Sarasota and The Breakers in Palm Beach, is priced from £9,090 per family (two adults and two children) including car hire and ﬂights into Orlando and out of Miami. carrier.co.uk
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North Lake Tahoe – America's destination for all seasons –
nown for its familyfriendly ski resorts and great snow record North Lake Tahoe in northern California and Nevada has activities aplenty to tempt visitors year round, says Steve Hartridge
Spanning two states – from Incline Village, Nevada, to Emerald Bay, California, on its southern shoreline – North Lake Tahoe has several small communities, a dozen ski resorts, hundreds of miles of trails and, at its heart, the largest alpine (and the second-deepest) lake in North America. Think jaw-dropping scenery, alpine forests, proud lakeside residential areas, state parks and resorts. And each season has its own characteristics: spring brings wildﬂower meadows; summer is the time for beaches, trails, golf and watersports; the fall is all about natural colours and winter sees a pretty snowy wonderland when familyfriendly resorts such as Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, Diamond Peak, Northstar and Mt. Rose come into their own. “Whatever, the season, we don’t want UK travellers to northern California to bypass North Lake Tahoe,” said Sarah Winters, Leisure Sales Director at Go North Tahoe. “Although we have a reputation for being a top winter resort, we are accessible year round and easy to reach on any ﬂy-drive, particularly in light of British Airways' new service to Oakland and Norwegians Manchester to San Francisco service. Both are little over a three-hour drive from us.”
The lake The lake forms the centrepiece of an area that is packed with adventure activities. In summer,
there are numerous ways to get out on the water to experience ‘The Blue’, as locals call the lake. Watersports include stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing – even jet-ski rentals. Or cruise the lake on a choice of vessels. Options range from classic wooden watercraft to river boats and sailboats. Tahoe Gal is a Mississippi paddlewheeler docked in Tahoe City that cruises into Emerald Bay. Alternatively, Tahoe Bleu Wave is an exceptional tour boat that measures over 70 ft long with room for up to 49 passengers.
Trailblazers North Tahoe’s many hiking trails take you to one of Tahoe’s highest peaks, Mt. Rose, at 10,778 feet. It is the perfect vantage point to admire meadows ablaze with wildﬂowers in the spring and the changing Aspen leaves in autumn. Added Winters: "Locals call autumn 'the secret season'. The weather is mild, the hiking is fabulous and the seasonal colours are stunning." Biking offers up some of the best views of North Lake Tahoe and visitors can choose from miles of road biking paths to nationally-rated mountain biking trails that offer panoramic views of the Lake. Whether they are biking or hiking, the new North Lake Tahoe Ale Trail rewards active types with an ice cold brew at the end of a day of recreation by pointing them in the direction of some of the region’s best breweries.
These include one of Tahoe’s coolest bars, Pier 111, the Hyatt Regency, Lake Tahoe’s ﬂoating bar, and Alibi Ale Works. When the North Lake Tahoe snow melts the run-off from the snowfall rejuvenates and restores the greens and fairways of six championship golf courses and four executive courses within the North Lake Basin. The courses snake through a glacially-etched valley, contours along Lake Tahoe itself, or winds links-style through the trees. Lake Tahoe’s beaches include secluded, hike-in spots, wide-open picnic areas with easy parking, sandy expanses hosting weekly concerts, and rocky shorelines with walking trails and unbeatable views of the summer sunset. No matter the season, North Lake Tahoe is the perfect meld of adventure and serenity – it's human nature. gotahoenorth.com
BOOK IT WITH GOLD MEDAL Gold Medal has ﬁve nights at the ﬁve-star Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa & Casino, in a deluxe room, ﬂights with British Airways. The lead-in price is £1,389pp, valid for departures September 1 and October 14 2017. The operator also features the three-star Squaw Valley Lodge. Five nights (room only) from £1,279pp. The deal, valid for travel September 1-21 2017, includes ﬂights with United and a six-day car rental. 0800 014 7777; goldmedal.co.uk
Visit Usa neWs JUne 2017
T H I S M O N T H ' S T O P S T O R I E S F R O M V I S I T U S A ' S M E M B E R S • V I S I T U S A .O R G .U K regions
napa pulls in the numbers
website aims to inspire
"Delta will be adding more regional flights from Boston this summer, including a non-stop service to Buffalo, New York State, the gateway to Niagara Falls"
VISIT USA’s new website is packed with information and ideas designed to inspire clients to travel to the USA this year. The portal includes a new Visit USA Blog that covers topics like Six Fun Things to do in Denver to Food to Try in the USA. There is also a wealth of specific ideas, offers and news from the circa 200-plus Visit USA members. Commented Tracey Spuyman, CEO, Visit USA (UK): “With its strong visual presentation, our new website offers plenty to whet the appetite for UK travellers – whether it’s a firsttime experience or a new adventure they are looking for. She added: “An interactive map aids planning multidestination holidays across all 50 states, and users can download a digital version of the Visit USA 2017 Travel Planner which is packed with ideas for those wanting to explore the exciting opportunities waiting the other side of the Atlantic." visitusa.org.uk
CALIFORNIA'S Napa Valley welcomed almost 3.5 million visitors in 2016, with 20% arriving from overseas. The UK ranked sixth in international visitors. Almost 73% of all Napa's guess enjoyed a wine tasting at one of its many vineyards. visitcalifornia.co.uk attraCtions
muscle Shoals is top THE newly-restored Muscle Shoals Sound Studio has been named Alabama's top attraction for 2017. The studio shot to fame in the 1960s and 1970s when it was a favourite base for acts including the rolling Stones, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. alabama.travel Cities
Visit austin makes it easy THE Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau (Austin CVB) has a new name: Visit Austin. “We wanted to make it easier for visitors to find relevant information when researching Austin as a destination,” said Tom Noonan, President and CEO of Visit Austin. visitaustin.org
THE USA in brief... attraCtions ELVIS Presley's Graceland in Tennessee has opened a new $45-million entertainment complex, 'Elvis Presley's Memphis'. Forty acres in size, the attraction sees visitors following the path that Elvis took by surrounding themselves with the things that he did and experiencing the sights and sounds of the city that inspired him. It includes a museum that celebrates Elvis' music, movies and live touring career. graceland.com
hotels THE Kimpton Cardinal hotel, located in an historic Art Deco building in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has opened. The boutique hotel is Kimpton's first venture into the Carolinas. The 74 guestrooms are housed in the former r.J. reynolds Tobacco Company headquarters building and is named on the National register of historic Places. All Kimpton properties are 'petfriendly'. kimptonhotels.com
airports eVent LOS Angeles International Airport (lAX) completed what it described as a ‘historic realignment’ last month. The airport's largestever airline terminal relocation saw 15 airlines switch terminals. Twenty eight airlines – nearly onethird of lAX's 70 airline partners – are involved in the move, which began in January when American Airlines swapped four gates in Terminal Six for four gates held by Delta in Terminal Five. visitcalifornia
Look out for our Visit USA Association online travel Update for the pick of members' news
members spotlight introducing...
DETROIT'S reputation as the ‘Comeback City’ is gathering pace. The Michigan city has attracted $11 billion worth of investment in recent years and new hotels under construction include the Foundation Hotel, the first hotel from the worldwide luxury lifestyle brand Shinola which, based in Detroit. Over 100 new restaurants, breweries and coffee shops have opened in the last three years, and on May 12 the city's QLine opened. michigan.org
CAESARS Entertainment is to launch a $90-million overhaul of 1,270 of 3,500 guest rooms and suites rooms at Flamingo Las Vegas. The work will begin in late August 2017 with the final rooms expected to be ready early next year. Located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, Flamingo Las Vegas celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2016. The property features a15-acre pool and wildlife habitat complete with waterfalls, mature island vegetation and tropical wildlife. caesars.com
Kennedy Space Centre Complex Philip britton Account Manager, UK and Ireland
Staten Island's big push DESTINATION St. George, the tourism marketing coalition for Staten Island’s North Shore in New York City, has launched its biggest-ever major campaign to attract international tourists. The move, part of a major drive to re-brand the area as a must visit destination when in the Big Apple, includes a new logo, an expanded website and social media presence, and new digital information kiosks at St. George (Staten Island) and Whitehall (Manhattan) ferry terminals. The campaign highlights existing attractions like the Staten Island Yankees and the St. George Theatre (pictured) and looks ahead to the future development of the area. Across the North Shore, more than $1 billion is being invested to transform the neighborhood over the next three years, including the New York Wheel (the world’s largest observation wheel), up to100 retail stores at Empire Outlets, a Westin Hotel at Lighthouse Point and more. nycgo.com
santa monica's new courtyard
Utah's dark skies UTAH, known for its abnormally clear skies, now has nine International Dark Sky Parks (IDSPs) – more than any other state – after Antelope Island was designated. Located under an hour’s drive north east of Salt Lake City the park is known for activities like hiking, mountain biking and horse-riding. visitutah.com
THE Greater Los Angeles area’s newest hotel is now welcoming guests after the Courtyard Santa Monica opened this spring. Located steps from Santa Monica Pier the beach-themed hotel has 136 rooms, a pool, spa, fitness centre and an on-site restaurant, Waterman’s. The new Metro Expo train, adjacent to the hotel, connects guests to the rest of the city and to downtown L.A. marriott.co.uk; santamonica.com
When did you become a Visit USA member? Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) has been a member for many years. We believe in its merits. It is a great body that brings the USA together in the UK. Why should Kennedy Space Centre be on everyone’s Florida trip? It is a very unique attraction. It is the only place in the world where you can see a live rocket launch. It is where we sent 12 men to the moon from! There are some legendary names associated with KSC, including astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. There are lots of rocket launches planned so if you are in Florida you might catch a launch, which is a fantastic experience. Do you recommend a full day there? Definitely! Those who leave Orlando early can be looking at Space Shuttle Atlantis an hour later. See the Saturn V rocket, head to the launch pads, have lunch with an astronaut – there is so much to cram in. What are your own Your own favourite memories of KSC? Two things spring to mind: the hairs on the back of my neck stood up when the curtain went back and I was standing there looking at Space Shuttle Atlantis: it did 33 missions into space and travelled 17 million miles. Secondly, standing under the nose cone of the Saturn V rocket. Awesome! kennedyspacecenter.com
Subscribe to the Visit USA Association online Travel Update at visitusa.org.uk
am strolling through the little picturepostcard village of Savoca, which is perched on a hillside near Sicily’s eastern coast. This tranquil place featured in the original Godfather ﬁlm and was where, in Bar Vitelli, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) courts and proposes marriage to Apollonia, played by Simonetta Stefanelli, who was born in the village. Like me, you can take the walk Michael and Apollonia made in the ﬁlm, from the church they were married in to the bar. Numerous other scenes from the Godfather trilogy can be explored on the island. If following in the footsteps of Godfather doesn’t appeal, Sicily has so much more to offer the visitor: for example, impossibly picturesque Taormina, the island’s premier resort that’s just south of Savoca. With views of both the sea and imposing Mount Etna, Taormina is full of pretty cobbled alleyways housing homely bars and restaurants as well as a splendid Greek theatre, cathedral and churches, mansions and an exhilarating cable car which whisks you down to the beach. Palermo, Sicily’s capital, has great art, architecture, nightlife, lush gardens, and a sandy beach, and the island offers much more: fabulous walks, wonderful beaches, historical sites, charming hill towns and wine country.
The islands of the Mediterranean - Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, Corsica, Crete and others – will be as popular as ever this summer, says Ben West sellingtravel.co.uk
What is it about Mediterranean islands that make them so eternally popular? Maybe they seem less overwhelming to discover than a sprawling mainland destination. Or perhaps it’s the idea of being surrounded by sea or the idea that you’re never far from a beach. The islands of the Med will always be a very popular holiday choice, with the huge number of inexpensive direct ﬂights from the UK and ferries making accessibility a doddle, excellent infrastructure and plenty of accommodation choices on the bigger islands, and a guaranteed lenghty season of sun and a great choice of beaches. Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, Corsica and Crete (the top ﬁve in size), lead the way, and have product to appeal to solo travellers, couples, families, budget travellers and those wanting wall-to-wall luxury. The above destinationsare more proving popular than ever this year, as holidaymakers avoid previous favourites like Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt due to terrorism fears. Thomas Cook reports a nine per cent rise in package deal bookings alone, with the Greek Islands amongst the more popular destinations. Being featured in a TV series or ﬁlm certainly does wonders: think how Captain Corelli’s Mandolin put Kefalonia on the map, and this
year it’s Corfu’s turn, the location for ITV series The Durrells, primarily ﬁlmed in the regions of Perama, Kontokali, and Criseda. The stars of the series stayed at the ﬁve-star Corfu Imperial Luxury Resort while they were ﬁlming. In January, ABTA identiﬁed Sardinia as the ‘hot’ Mediterranean island for 2017 and recommended heading east to the unspoilt and quiet beaches of Orosei Gulf and Cala Gonone. Malta’s economy is booming and the island is enjoying record numbers of tourists. According to EU estimates, tourism is expected to grow by 3.7 per cent this year, compared to 1.6 per cent for the EU overall. Last year almost two million tourists holidayed there. Interest is growing in Valletta, now a vibrant cultural destination. Renzo Piano has refurbished the parliament and historic city gate, several new art galleries are on the horizon and MUZA is a new National Museum of Fine Arts.
Perfect ten Menorca: Ideal for a watersportsfocussed holiday. The large, sheltered harbour at Fornells Bay provides calm waters and gentle winds ideal for tuition. Crete: With scattered remnants of the ancient Minoan civilisation, a great choice of accommodation at all price levels, beautiful beaches and wonderful walks including following old shepherds’ trails and through dramatic gorges, this island has all-round appeal. Sardinia: Note its top-notch hotels, posh bars and boutiques, 1,000 miles of beautiful beaches and sailing options aplenty. Formentera: This small island has white, sandy beaches, turquoise waters and tiny coves to explore. Corfu: A great Greek island for kids, family-friendly attractions include safe beaches, horse-riding and a water park. Sicily: Historical sites include extensive Roman mosaics, Phoenician ruins and ancient Greek cities like Selinunte and Syracuse.
Santorini: With its panoramas, dreamy walks, charming accommodation and exciting bars and restaurants, this volcanic island is a must for romantics. Ibiza: The Med’s party central destination, with an unrivalled choice of high-energy nightspots, from cheap bars to upmarket restaurants and world-class clubs. Hvar: Technically in the Adriatic, but with a mild Med climate, terracotta tiled houses cling to the lush hillside. Enjoy an afternoon in one of Hvar’s many open-air cafes. Malta: There’s a great choice of cheap accommodation and eateries, year-round sunshine and plenty of historic sites, romantic marinas and crystal waters. And Malta is a top diving spot.
What’s new Hotels: The Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay is taking shape on Ibiza. Set on Talamanca beach, it will feature 152 Balaric-style bedrooms, three restaurants, two beachfront, saltwater swimming pools, and a spa operated by Six Senses. Reservations from June 30. Menorca’s farmstead-turned-luxury hotel Torralbenc (torralbenc.com) has introduced new horse riding experiences. Guests can tour the island’s famous Cami de Cavalls astride a Menorquin horse, indigenous to the island. Operators: Thomas Cook (thomascook. com) is opening its ﬁrst own-brand hotel in Sicily, the 100-room SENTIDO Acacia Marina, located at Marina di Ragusa. It will offer a private beach area, traditional Sicilian cuisine and spa facilities. Thomas Cook’s second Casa Cook hotel opens on the Greek island of Kos this summer.
“Palermo, Sicily’s capital, has great art, architecture, nightlife, lush gardens, and a sandy beach, and the island offers much more: fabulous walks, wonderful beaches, historical sites, charming hill towns and wine country”
Main picture: Sunset over the Old Town of Bonifacio, Corsica. This page, the Ruins of Taormina Theatre, Sicily. Left: The white sands of Cala Luna, a beach in Orosei Bay, Sardinia. Above: Mount Etna in Sicily
Thomas Cook’s Sunwings (thomascook.com/
Airlines: Norwegian Airlines (Norwegian.
sunwings) brand is opening new hotels in
com) begins a new weekly Gatwick-
Mallorca, Cyprus, Gran Canaria and Rhodes this summer, while its Sunprime arm, geared to adults travelling without children, will be launching in Cyprus and Rhodes.
Rhodes service on June 17.
Tourism talk “Booking trends for Europe seem to be changing: customers are holding back and waiting for special last-minute deals, which could be related to the current Euro exchange rate. With paradisiacal beaches, maquis-covered mountains, wildlife, hiking trails and superb cuisine, the French island of Corsica offers something for every traveller. From authentic hillside bergeries (farm) to luxury villas and hotels, and whether a beachside escape, an outdoor adventure or a fun-ﬁlled family holiday, Corsica is perfect.” Amandine Blanchard, Corsican Places
Where to book it
The whitewashed streets of Ibiza. Right: Savoca, Sicily, was the location for scenes in The Godfather movie.
SIMPLY LUXURY BY TRAVEL 2 – 0800 0224 182 Seven nights at the four-star Hotel Costa dei Fiori, which dates from the 16th century, start from £769pp, including ﬂights from London, return private transfer and lounge access in the UK. The hotel is on the southern coast of Sardinia, close to
the beaches of Nora, Chia and Teulada. Travel2.com
CORSICAN PLACES – 01489 866931 Le Home, a short stroll from Calvi town, has selfcatering apartments in luxuriant grounds with two shared pools. Seven nights are from £399pp, based on two sharing a studio apartment. Flights, transfers and welcome pack are included. corsica.co.uk
how to sell
Lisbon by Jools Stone
ne of the Eurozone's more affordable coastal cities, Lisbon packs a considerable punch, thanks to a unique culinary scene, riotous nightlife and no shortage of historical and cultural attractions. Why sell it The Portuguese capital is ideal for a weekend getaway or even as one half of a twin-centre break combined with Porto. Many visitors will also want to take in the historical hilltop town of Sintra, which can easily be done in an afternoon, being just a 40-minute train ride from the central Rossio Station. Sintra’s main attractions are the Pena Palace and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Quinta de Regelaria. The Quinta is a palace with beautiful, sprawling grounds, complete with intricate towers, grottos and waterfalls to explore. Pena Palace is one of Europe’s most striking and colourful castles, an eclectic mishmash of architectural styles built in the 1840s by King Ferdinand as a tribute to the Portuguese Empire.
ROSSIO TRAIN STATION, LISBON
LISBON IS OFTEN REFERRED TO AS THE CITY OF SEVEN HILLS
Perched 500 metres above sea level, the palace can be reached via a hair-raising tuk-tuk ride from the town.
Who to sell to Gastronomes will feel comfortable here, thanks to the abundance of fresh ﬁsh, seafood and other culinary delights. One of Lisbon’s newest foodie attractions, the Time Out Market is also among the best. This huge covered food hall in the revitalised riverside area of Cais do Sodre is fringed with over 30 food stands and leading restaurants on a self-service basis - so you can sample a starter, main and dessert from three different outlets in one sitting. You may have to ﬁght for a seat at one of the communal benches here, but it is well worth doing so. One of the city’s essential sweetmeats is natas cakes, delicious caramelised custard tarts familiar to anyone who frequents Nandos. You’ll ﬁnd these in pastelerias all over the city, but
Lisbon Essentials TIME: +1 GMT. FLIGHT TIME: 2 hours 40 minutes VISAS: None CURRENCY: Euro LANGUAGE: Portuguese BOOK IT: Broadway Travel offer a six-night, twin-city break, pairing Lisbon with Porto, including
the best place to sample them is the Pasteis de Belem, a bakery that’s been residing over the secret recipe since 1837. Customers routinely queue around the block for the puff pastries. History buffs will appreciate the medieval architectural treasure that is the Tower of Belem. Nearby is the more modern but equally colossal Discoveries Monument, on the banks of the Tagus River. It memorialises centuries of Portuguese exploration and seafaring. Late-night party-goers and revellers will welcome Lisbon’s lively nightlife, which doesn’t really get going until around midnight. Trek uphill to the Bairro Alto, where among undulating alleyways are several tiny bars. Those of a more cultural bent will be attracted to the Bairro to experience the music of fado, a type of folky Portuguese blues dripping with melancholy. The Portuguese have their own word which sums up the spirit of fado – ‘saudade’ which roughly translates as a feeling of sad, wistful nostalgia for the ways of yesterday.
train transfers, from £379pp.
OT H E R TO U R O P E RATO R S
GETTING THERE Portugal’s national airline, TAP, and budget carriers Monarch, Easyjet and Ryanair serve the city from many UK airports.
rivieratravel.co.uk cosmos.co.uk travelsphere.co.uk intrepidtravel.co.uk titantravel.co.uk
Lisbon is a hilly city, but the variety of urban transport doubles as one of its key attractions. The extravagantly ornate Art Deco Santa Justa Elevador in Chiado is no ordinary lift, and there are furniculars and numerous trams, many packed with tourists like the proverbial sardines. The most iconic is the vintage, yellow No. 28, which rattles its way up through streets so narrow you can almost reach out and touch the walls.
ten of the best
Cyprus The Cyprus Tourism Organisation predicts that 2017 will be a recordbreaking year for the island. Laura Gelder discovers there’s plenty to explore on this ancient island
Life’s a beach: Visitors have a choice of 57 blue ﬂag beaches in Cyprus, all offering myriad opportunities to enjoy total relaxation as well as thrilling activities. Those who want fun and sun can head to the turquoise Coral Bay which has a strip of lively bars and restaurants to keep sun-worshipers entertained for all hours, while the more wild Blue Lagoon Akamas is a popular day trip for snorkelling. Lovely Limassol: Visit the newlyrenovated old section of Limassol, including the castle and new marina. This is the heart of the city, where narrow streets reach out from the old ﬁshing harbour. The medieval castle was built in 1,000AD and was where Richard the Lionheart allegedly married Queen Berengaria of Navarre. Explore Akamas: This rugged and wild peninsula stretches from Paphos to the north of Cyprus and is home to the island’s most unspoilt coves and secluded beaches. Explorers will be rewarded with natural springs, caves and
ten of the best
the impressive Avakas Gorge. The coast is a breeding area for green and loggerhead turtles, with a conservation project at Lara Beach. Walk on by: There are 850km of walks in Cyprus. The 52 walking trails are well signposted so you can’t get lost! Many cut through the Troodos Mountains, a cool pine-scented refuge in summer, punctuated by quiet villages and lonely monasteries and the chance to spot the rare Bonelli’s eagle and the Cypriot mouﬂon (a wild sheep). Top events: Yearly events showcase food and drink, music and culture and sports and ﬁtness. Recommend the Limassol Wine Festival (August/September) which lets visitors sample Cypriot wine, nibble local delicacies and listen to traditional Greek music. Music fans can also try Fangaros Music Festival, an eclectic programme of rock, traditional folk and jazz, with 25 taking over the pretty village of Kato Drys. Great grapes: Cyprus proudly lays claim to the world’s oldest wine still in
production – the sweet dessert wine of Commandaria. Ancient grape varieties are still cultivated and visitors can visit charming wineries along seven wine routes, trailing the sun-kissed southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains as well as the stunning coastal stretch between Limassol and Paphos. Art attack: The Leventis Gallery in Nicosia opened in 2014 and houses a collection of over 800 paintings from European artists with special collections of Greek and Cypriot artists as well as works from famous European painters like Canaletto, Chagall and Monet. The building is also notable, having been designed by the winner of an international architectural competition launched by the Royal Institute of British Architects. Passage of time: Cyprus has one of the oldest civilisations in the Mediterranean and its location, at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, has ensured a turbulent history and rich culture. Visitors can see Greek temples,
Roman villas, early Christian basilicas, Byzantine churches and monasteries, Crusader castles, Gothic cathedrals, Venetian fortiﬁcations, Ottoman mosques and British colonial buildings. Larnaca’s two faces: Beautifully compact and easily accessible, Larnaca is the longest continually-inhabited region of Cyprus and seamlessly blends its historical centre with a tourist-friendly resort. From the bustling promenade of Foinikoudes, lined with palm trees and ﬂanked by beach, eateries and entertainment, visitors can wander to the old fort and the Kamares Turkish aqueduct. A taste of paradise: Sharing good food is integral to Cypriot culture. From hearty meat dishes and speciality cheeses to desserts of carob and grape, the cuisine is an exotic blend of Greek and Middle Eastern, sprinkled with remnants of ancient civilisations – indigenous Roman root vegetables or old Phoenician delicacies. Visitors must try meze – a host of small dishes combining to create a moreish feast.
Tale of two cities
Johannesburg & Durban - SA’s culture capitals JOZI’S HIGH FIVES Apartheid museum: The journey from racial oppression to freedom and integration is documented in 22 exhibits comprising photographs, ﬁlm footage, artefacts and text panels. Neighbourgoods market: Foodies ﬂock to this Braamfontein car park for global culinary delights. Jazz buskers provide the tunes as a mural of Nelson Mandela smiles with approval.
Soweto: The colourful township was home to gold miners before it became a refuge for black Africans prohibited from living in the city. Tours take in Vilakazi Street and Mandela ’s former home. mandelahouse.com
South African Lipizzaner Centre: Based in Kyalami the centre breeds and trains noble white Lipizzaner stallions. Choreographed dressage displays take place on Sundays. lipizzaners.co.za
Constitution Hill: Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi served time in this former prison and military fort. The Constitutional Court moved here in 1994 with the arrival of democracy.
Everywhere you go in South Africa you are reminded of its painful, tumultuous past. But times have moved on. Racial integration and a renewed sense of pride have paved the way for enterprise and creative expression, most apparent in the burgeoning art, culture and gastronomy scenes. Nowhere is this more evident than in Johannesburg, where new exciting dining establishments and the downtown district’s regeneration are catching the attention of visitors from around the globe. Durban, on the other hand, is not too fussed about its image. As a major coastal destination, the country’s third-largest city attracts more families, surfers and free spirits to its shores and beaches. Part of Kwazulu-Natal province, Durban serves as the gateway to discovering the native Zulu history and culture, and the region’s amazing natural wonders. Between these two cities – one enigmatic, the other laid-back – visitors are assured an experience that enlightens the mind and touches the heart.
GOOD VIBES The Maboneng precinct on the east side of Johannesburg’s Central Business District is now a hip destination. A new breed of artists and entrepreneurs is spearheading
ORLANDO TOWERS, JOHANNESBURG
the community’s transformation from ‘no-go’ area to a bohemian hotspot replete with bars, restaurants, galleries, boutique shops, and a quirky art-inspired hotel. On the main hub, Fox Street, the Canteen adjacent to Arts On Main (a converted loft for studios and ofﬁces), is buzzing with ‘millennials’. On the edge of downtown ‘Jozi’ (as the locals call it), 44 Stanley is a cosy haven with a courtyard, olive trees, speciality shops and alfresco eateries, while the afﬂuent enclaves of Sandton, Sandhurst and Westcliff are home to new luxury hotels. During the spring months of October and November, Johannesburg’s suburbs are blanketed in a lush canopy of purple jacaranda blooms. Best viewed from the hilltops, the perfect spot for this is the Four Seasons Hotel The the Westclif’s Flames restaurant, which has panoramic vistas of the cityscape and the zoo down below.
ESCAPING THE CITY
“A new breed of artists and entrepreneurs is spearheading Johannesburg’s transformation from ‘no-go’ area to a bohemian hotspot” NELSON MANDELA MURAL, JOHANNESBURG
ohannesburg and Durban are two very different destinations, despite being just 566km apart. Rowena Marella-Daw discovers how these South African cities compare and contrast.
When Jozi’s high energy takes its toll, take a break at Pilanesberg National Park (pilanesbergnationalpark.org), set atop an ancient volcano. The game reserve is home to the ‘big ﬁve’ of lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino as well as hyena, hippo, crocodile, wild dog, sable antelope and over 360 species of bird.
Tale of two cities
DURBAN’S BIG FIVE uShaka Marine World: Check out the shipwreck-themed aquarium and ocean walker underwater experience, which enables guests to safely glide among sharks and rays. . ushakamarineworld.co.za
Phezulu cultural village: Learn about Zulu dance, tribal beliefs and rituals, make a spear and shield, and take a peek at thatched huts. The tour includes a visit to the crocodile and snake parks. phezulusafaripark.co.za
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve: The oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa was once the Zulu kingdom’s royal hunting ground. It is home to the world’s largest population of white rhino.
DURBAN’S GOLDEN MILE
Or make tracks for Mpumalanga Province between Johannesburg and Kruger National Park. The Blyde River Canyon, with its 33kmlong gorge, is the largest ‘green canyon’ in the world, and the best viewpoint is God’s Window, aptly named for its stunning views. Take a dip in Mac Mac Falls’ crystal-clear pools, then learn about the 1870s gold rush era at the historic Pilgrim’s Rest village.
Natal Drakensburg: A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Zulus named these mountains ‘Ukhuhlamba’ (barrier of spears). It features six reserves, forests and ancient rock art. nature-reserve.co.za
Natal battlesfields route: Take in 82 battleﬁelds, fortiﬁcations and museums underlining the power of the Zulus. Routes are themed based on eras, including the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879.
COASTAL CRAVINGS Durban was given a new lease of life when it hosted matches during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Along with the Moses Mabhida Stadium came the sprucing up of prime tourist spots, notably the fourmile beachfront from South Beach to the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World. Golden sands, warm breezes and the wild waters of the Indian Ocean are popular with
WARRIOR NATION Durban’s heritage harks back to the days of the kingdom of Zululand, when mighty warriors ruled, fought each other, and defeated foreign foes. Today their hospitable descendants take pride in sharing their heritage and the beautiful coastlines and landscapes of Kwazulu-Natal. Must-visit landmarks include the Phezulu Cultural Village, Zulu battleﬁelds and the Natal Drakensberg range.
SNOW & ADRENALIN
BOOK IT WITH AFRICAN PRIDE A 13-day package from african pride includes a stay in Johannesburg, a tour around Kwazulu-Natal, and a stay in Umhlanga Rocks. The package cost of £2,298pp is based on a minimum of two people and includes economy ﬂights and taxes, accommodation, tours and car hire. 01904 619428; african-pride.co.uk
surfers and bathers, while those who prefer to stay dry have the promenade to peruse. A popular attraction is the uShaka Marine World in South Beach, an entertainment hub replete with restaurants and shops. Durban has its own arts and culture scene, but most visitors linger only one or two nights before heading into the great outdoors. Encounters with Zulu culture, wildlife, cycling, trekking, and driving the ‘Midlands Meander’ all the way to the Drakensberg Mountains are on offer.
Snow is not something you’d associate with South Africa, but at Sani Pass, it’s almost guaranteed, even in October – a contrast from Durban’s warm coastal climate. Only vehicles with four-wheel drive are allowed to drive through the gravel pass, which reaches the summit at 2,876m above sea level.
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Deluxe Stateroom with Verandah (B2 Grade) from £3,191 per person Itinerary Highlights:
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Fares are per person, cruise only in UK sterling based on double occupancy in an outside stateroom and include port, security and handling charges, which vary by departure. All fares, offers and itineraries are subject to change and availability and can be withdrawn at any time. Special offer fares are valid until 30 June 2017. Fares may fluctuate and should be used as a guide only. Prices may go up or down. You should contact us on 0207 399 7601 before booking, or visit our website www.crystalcruises.co.uk. The fares are available to new bookings only and are only available to UK & Eire residents. Restrictions apply. See crystalcruises.co.uk for complete terms and conditions of all offers. ©2017 Crystal Cruises, LLC. Ships’ registry: The Bahamas.
Calgary, Alberta - Rendez-vous Canada city lays on some tasty treats National Music Centre The new, architecturally stunning Studio Bell complex is home to a museum, performance hall, music centre and exhibition dedicated to Canadian music. nmc.ca/ Winsport Home to the Canada Olympic Park packed with sporting nostalgia, here you can also ride a bobsleigh, zipline off the ski jump, mountain bike, take the gravity ride (Skyline Luge) and play mini golf. winsport.ca Calgary Tower This iconic landmark of the city allows you to stand in downtown and view the majestic Rocky Mountains. Stand on the glass ﬂoor and you get a bird’s-eye view of the streets below. calgarytower.com
Heritage Park Canada’s largest living history museum, offers the chance of a total immersion in the history of Western Canada with over 180 exhibits and 50,000 historic artifacts.
River Valley Park Head to the river and visitors can explore the natural assets of the city by bike, on a hike or with a Segway tour. Hire a kayak or canoe and they will get a whole new perspective on the city too.
ast month Calgary opened the doors on the biggest Rendez-vous Canada trade show for over 40 years. Julie Baxter found a few delicious surprises there as she joined 50 UK tour operators exploring the city
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and that might be the best way to secure your next booking to Canada too. You’ll know for Canada maple syrup and perhaps poutine (chips with cheese and gravy), and in Alberta AAA beef and Saskatoon berries are signature staples, but if we’re talking food, we need to talk about something new that is happening too. You might not expect it at the heart of Canada’s cowboy country, but Alberta’s foodie scene is moving centre stage and it’s no longer just about campﬁre cookouts and toasted marshmallows.
FOODIE ASSETS Calgary is fast becoming a city of foodie mavericks, of hip and happening food entrepreneurs with strong bonds to the province’s top-class farmers and the slow food movement. Together they are creating a culinary head of steam that now make food a key asset in the tourism mix. Rouge Restaurant, in Calgary’s trendy Inglewood district is now on the top 100 restaurants of the world list, and that list’s strong following have brought ﬁne diners to the city to discover more. And more there is. Much more. From the 60 burgeoning micro breweries in the city and boutique gin distilleries to artisan bakers and on-trend chefs or award-winning cheese
Fort Calgary Fort Calgary National Historic Site is built on the conﬂuence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers and offers the chance to understand, touch and experience the birthplace of the city and its heritage. fortcalgary.com
makers. And for those who don’t have time or, more likely, the inside knowledge, to discover the best tastes in town on their own, there is a burgeoning culinary tours product to tap into.
INSIDER KNOWLEDGE Leading the pack is Alberta Food Tours with 17 tour guides running tours six days a week in peak season into four Calgary neighbourhoods; plus two foodie tours in Edmonton and one in Canmore. But there are others too. Each aims to introduce visitors to local foodies with stories to tell and some sumptuous specialities to sample. Chefs such as Andrew Moore at contemporary bistro Ten Foot Henry’s serving largely gluten free veggie dishes, plus indulgent vintage puds. Or, Pam Fortier, a passionate baker running the well hidden Decadent Brûlée popular for its artistry and its coconut cake. Or Richard Harvey who owns Metrovino Fine Wines and has been forging connections between his passions for wine, art and literature for years and now employs one of just 330 wine masters in the world in his Calgary store. And I could go on. A culinary tour combines tasty treats with local insights. Mine focused particularly on the designer district where commercial art galleries showcase Alberta’s thriving arts community too. It all really was a revelation.
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CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organisation
tHE Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) would like to thank all those agents who turned out for our Irish and Scottish Roadshows in May. Some fabulous grand prizes were won, including gift bags, bottles of rum, fam trip places and airline tickets courtesy of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. But don’t worry if you missed out on these events, there are more Caribbean Roadshows taking place this month and during September. Keep the following dates in mind: • June 14: London (this event is fully subscribed, but you can add your name to our waiting list) • June 15: Bristol • September 13: Manchester • September 14: Peterborough Register to attend at caribbeantravelguru. com/reg-form.html or RSVP at RSVP@ caribtourism.com
If you do you’ll have the chance to experience an informative evening of networking, fun and a chance to win some great prizes!! Selling Travel is the trade media partner for these events. Further details on events can be found on our online training programme Caribbean Travel Guru: caribbeantravelguru. com. If you’re not already a member, register now. The May winner of the CTO’s Caribbean Travel Guru Prize Draw was Maria Sabolova from Best of Travel who won £100 Love2Shop vouchers for making and logging the most Caribbean bookings. The agent who makes and logs the most Caribbean bookings in June will be in with a chance of winning £100 Amazon vouchers, while £50 Love2shop vouchers will be awarded to one agent who attains their Caribbean Travel Guru Certificate during the month. For any questions or queries please contact Ann-Marie Brooks at abrooks@ caribtourism.com or call 020 8948 0057.
Caribbean Tourism Organization 22 The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1BP Tel: 020 8948 0057 Fax: 020 8948 0067 caribbean.co.uk
By STEVE HARTRIDGE
UK reps working for Florida’s regions have vowed to take up the baton of promoting the Sunshine State after Visit Florida’s future was thrown into doubt by the state’s own lawmakers. The tourist board’s funding has been cut by more than two-thirds, from $76 million to $25 million, with UK officials fearing the future is bleak for its London office. The state’s Governor, Rick Scott, who favours an enlarged not reduced budget, must decide whether or not to veto the budget bill that passed through the state legislature. In addition to the allowance being slashed there are now stringent disclosure conditions in place over how any money should be spent. “If the budget is set at the level that is proposed, it will barely keep open Visit Florida’s domestic offices and sustain its U.S. activities” a veteran Florida travel spokesperson said.
Patrick Harrison, Chief Marketing Officer of Visit Tampa Bay, told Selling Travel: “The cuts to Visit Florida’s funding have been dramatic and something we have fought fiercely against. We know the great work Visit Florida does across the globe, especially in the UK and Ireland. “However, we want to reassure the UK travel trade that no matter what happens to the state budget Visit Tampa Bay will continue to expand its efforts in the UK and Ireland.” Kevin Brett, Managing Director of Hat Marketing, which represents Daytona Beach and other Florida interests in the UK, commented: “The funding cut is a blow but whatever is thrown at it Florida always remains a favourite of British holidaymakers. History has proven that. We will weather this storm and continue to promote the destination... and have lots of activities planned in 2017.”
Premier’s Channel Islands campaign PREMiER HOLiDAyS has launched a major Channel Islands summer campaign in response to what it says is strong demand since this month’s general election was announced. The operator’s bookings for the Channel Islands have increased by 18% since the election date was set on April 18. Offers in Jersey include a three-night stay at the four-star Pomme D’or Hotel, priced from £299pp and seven nights with free half-board at Norfolk Hotel, from £499pp. In Guernsey, seven nights at the three-star Hogue Du Pommier with free half-board is from £485pp while four nights at the fivestar Old Government House is from £465pp. Travel agents earn five pounds in shopping vouchers for every inclusive Channel Islands booking. Download posters and images showcasing the range of activities and sights on Jersey and Guernsey here: trade.premierholidays.co.uk Pictured: Premier’s Dave Kneale launches the campaign.
NEWS tO USE iN BRiEF thomas Cook has axed Sharm El
Wendy Wu Tours latest Big Asia Sale
Princess Cruises is offering up to a
Sheikh from its winter 2017/18 and
offers savings of up to £1,000 per couple
$350 onboard credit on its 2018
summer 2018 holiday and flight
across the operator’s most popular tours
Mediterranean and Northern Europe
programmes and will instead add two
to China, Southeast Asia, India and Japan.
sailings. The offer applies to sailings
flights per week to the Red Sea resort
Customers have until June 30 to book a
on the 2,670-guest Sapphire Princess,
of Marsa Alam from November. The UK
2017 departure at the discounted rates.
with 16 sailings in total, and runs from
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The offers can be combined with Wendy
now until July 31, 2017. Next year will
continues to advise against travel to
Wu Tours’ loyalty discounts, which offer
see Sapphire Princess embark on her
Sharm El Sheikh airport.
maiden season in Europe.
Brits do business in Calgary
EXCLUSIVE SONEVA JANI MALDIVES
LAST CHANCE INCREDIBLE OFFER FREE NIGHTS – Stay 4 Pay 3 / Stay 7 Pay 5 PLUS Complimentary Half Board Valid for stays between now – 30 Jun 17
By JULIE BAXTER
Fifty UK tour operators joined Selling Canada, Destination Canada, Travel Alberta and other provincial partners for a Brits Night trade party following the opening of last month’s Rendez-Vous Canada trade show in Calgary. RVC is a gateway to tourism experiences across Canada and runs annually over four days. With over 1,840 international delegates, this year’s show broke all attendance records in its 41-year history, with some 565 buyers registered to attend from 28 countries. The 50-strong UK delegation helped make it the biggest RVC event to date with 30,000 appointments taking place between Canadian sellers and international buyers. CEO David Goldstein unveiled ambitious new tourism targets and targeted 22 million visitors spending CAN$22 billion by 2020.
A collaborative ‘Team Canada’ approach aligning the promotional activities of all key partners will be at the heart of the strategy going forward, promised Goldstein. Canada enjoyed a bumper 2016, and the UK posted some of the strongest results with visitor numbers up 17%. Destination Canada’s Regional Managing Director Europe, Rupert Peters, said he expects the UK market to significantly outperform the four per cent (UK) increase officially being targeted for this year. Baby boomers, he said, continue to be the UK’s strongest market (42%), with millennials also a growing market sector being actively wooed. Encouragingly for travel agents, Peters said research showed that 70% of all UK bookings to Canada come through the travel trade. keepexploring.ca
NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is to launch
Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat,
a new direct flight from Amsterdam to
Nicaragua’s first luxury countryside
San Jose, Costa Rica, in October. The
resort, has opened close to the colonial
flight will operate twice a week, on
city of Granada. The eight-room
Tuesdays and Fridays, and will leave
property, located on a 1,300-acre nature
Amsterdam at 15.25, arriving in San
reserve, offers activities like hiking,
Jose at 20.00. The return flight will
tennis, horse riding, mountain-top yoga
leave San Jose at 22.05 and will arrive
overlooking the Mombacho Volcano
in Amsterdam the next day at 15.10.
VIVANTA BY TAJ CORAL MALDIVES
AMAZING OFFERS STILL AVAILABLE PREMIUM ALL INCLUSIVE 40% Discount on Room Rates PLUS Complimentary Return Transfers Valid for stays between now – 05 Jan 18
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Book by 08 Jul 17 and receive: Complimentary Half Board – Dine Around Combinable with 35% Rate Reduction AND Kids Go Free Offer Valid for selected stays between now – 20 Dec 17
ALSO FIND EXCLUSIVE DEALS FOR TRAVEL TRADE PERSONNEL ONLY ON OUR WEBSITE OVER 200 HOTELS AND A SELECTION OF TOURS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE MALDIVES - SRI LANKA - MAURITIUS - SEYCHELLES INDIA - UAE – CARIBBEAN- GREECE- NEW CRUISING AND SAILING. INCLUDING EXCLUSIVE OFFERS FOR SUMMER 2017 WINTER 2017/18 RATES AND SUMMER 2018 ARE NOW ONLINE
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Kenya has UK in its sights
Rwanda now direct from Gatwick RWANDAiR launched the first non-stop flight from the UK to Rwanda on May 26. The three-times-a-week service from Gatwick to Kigali is operated by the airline’s new Airbus A330-200. Rwanda is known for its mountain gorillas, found in Volcanoes National Park, and big game safaris. Akagera in eastern Rwanda is home to all of Africa’s most sought-after game animals with the recent re-introduction of black rhinos adding to elephants, African buffalo, leopards and lions. Tour operators such as Expert Africa and Wild Frontier offer bespoke holidays and tours in the country. RwandAir return fares start from £372. rwandatourism.com; rwandair.com
See the UK by rail
New trips from Cape Verde Experience By CARLy HACON
By BEN COREN
tHE Kenya Tourism Board’s new CEO Dr. Betty Radier was in the UK to meet with members of the trade who are at the sharp end of driving business to the East African country. “It’s always important that we meet with travel agents, she said. They are an integral part of our business and it’s crucial to thank them and ask them what programmes and support they need from us.” Radier reported a rise in visitor numbers from the UK of around 12% in the last quarter and expects that the tourist board’s recent trade initiatives will help to build on this growth as the year rolls on.
“We hope that after trips such as the recent mega-fam to Kenya – attended by Selling Travel – the UK trade will continue to be strong and positive about our destination.” The UK visit coincided with a new agent incentive to drive bookings: retailers have the chance to win an iPad by logging onto kenya-promos.co.uk. Radier added: “We’re going to focus significantly on the UK in the coming months. We are looking at the market, our beach product and the air strategy alongside Kenya Airways. “We are looking at partnerships and putting together packages to promote value.” ktb.go.ke
tHE Cape Verde Experience has added two island hopping options – the Barlavento Trio and Sao Vicente Carnival. The Barlavento comprises five islands, grouped together as the Northern or Windward Islands, which have an array of attractions, activities and different landscapes. The seven-night tour visits three of Barlavento and Cape Verde’s most diverse and rewarding isles, taking in vibrant streetlife, verdant landscapes and the soft sands of São Vicente, Santo Antão and Sal. Prices start from £1,310pp including return international flights from the UK. The four-night carnival package see clients staying on Sao Vicente and includes Carnival Mindelo. The carnival happens during March, 40 days before Easter, and offers an explosion of colour, music, dancing and festivities. The carnival package can be added to any Sal Island booking. Prices start from £740 including internal flights. capeverde.co.uk
HF HOLIDAyS HAS WALKING TOUR IN COLOMBIA
Abbey tour of Highclere Castle.
WALKiNG and outdoor holiday specialist HF Holidays has ﬁve new worldwide tours for 2018, including a Colombia option. ‘Andes, Coffee and Coast Walking in Colombia’ stops off in the country’s capital Bogota, the historical port Cartagena, and the Zona Cafetera coffee region. Also on the itinerary are the coastal city of Santa Marta, South America’s oldest city, and Los Nevados National Park. Activities will include a local cooking class, a coffee plantation tour and a game of Tejo, Colombia’s disc-throwing game. Prices for the 14-day tour start from £4,559, with ﬂights.
SUPER Break has launched its new-look
brochure featuring new rail breaks. Explore by Rail packages see customers provided with three- or four-star accommodation in a base city before embarking on flexible rail-based travel in the region. Destinations span the regions, from
(staying in Inverness) to Devon and Cornwall (staying in Exeter), as well as
Cotswolds. Ninety new hotels are also featured along with new attractions such as Drayton Manor Theme Park breaks and a Downton
Inghams’ early snow business
COSMOS COMES OUT EARLy WITH RIVER CRUISES
iNGHAMS has an early Buy One Get One Half Price lift pass offer for the Winter 17/18 season, valid on limited departure dates to the French resorts of Tignes and Val d’Isère. The deal applies to adult-only, whole area six-day lift passes and is pre-bookable up to two weeks prior to departure. Departure dates in 2018 where the offer is valid include: January 20, January 27, February 3, March 10, and March 17 (all Saturdays). For guests who book Inghams’ flagship Chalet Hotel, the five-diamond platinum Chalet Hotel & Spa Le Savoie, located in Val d’Isère, departure dates fall on the corresponding Sundays. The offer applies to those who have already booked.
COSMOS launched its complete 2018 A-ROSA river cruise programme two months earlier than usual, a move it says was designed to help agents capture the earlybooking river cruise market. Agents can book Cosmos’ fully-packaged A-ROSA cruises with ﬂights, overseas transfers and a VIP private home pick-up service included. With a choice of six ships on four rivers, the programme features 37 cruise itineraries with 297 departures. Prices lead in from £649pp for the ﬁve-day Mini Cruise Romance on the Rhine itinerary, visiting Cologne, Mannheim, Strasbourg, Mainz and the chance to cruise the Middle Rhine. It departs on March 14 2018.
HOtELS / RESORtS / tRAiN JOURNEyS / CRUiSES / AiRPORt REViEWS / AiRLiNES
F LY : AL L N I P P ON AI RWAY S – Business Class, Heathrow to Tokyo Haneda By LAURA GELDER
t H E V E R D i Ct
PRE - DEPARtURE: ANA’s Star Alliance
membership meant I got to use the United Lounge, which is conveniently just opposite ANA’s gate at T2. The lounge has a big bar looking out on the tarmac, seating areas varying from high tables to armchairs, a magazine room, soft drink station and buffet. tHE SEAt: ANA’s staggered seats are very private and all have aisle access. Seat controls let you go straight from upright to ﬂat, or play with the tracking, recline and lumbar support to ﬁnd the perfect ﬁt. A generous side table is brilliant for laying out my belongings. There’s a USB charge point under the TV. The sleep set includes a springy and very comfortable mattress, although it’s not full length. The duvet comes folded into a useful extra pillow and unfurls into a light but cosy silky-feeling cover. A pillow and slippers are also provided along with a Neal’s Yard-branded amenity kit containing eye mask, ear
ANA’s Business product is very well thought out and very comfortable. The staff were absolutely brilliant and very helpful. Not all the cabin crew’s English was up to conversation which strayed too far from the basics of service but I did ask lots of difficult questions about ingredients on the
plugs, toothbrush and paste, ‘Bee Lovely’ hand cream, white tea facial mist and shea nut and orange organic lip balm. The IFE comes from Skychannel, which has a fairly average choice of movies, videos, news, audio and games. tHE CAtERiNG: There was a choice of a Western or Japanese menu. I went for the latter and, after an amuse bouche, received a beautifully-presented set of dishes: sashimi, soy-simmered
vegetables and dressed clam, followed by a deep-fried ﬁsh main course with steamed rice and miso. The dessert trolley came with four tasty options. A menu of light dishes was available at any time after the main service. The Donburi N7 – a fresh and light seafood dish – was the culinary highlight. My western breakfast was a rich omelette with smoked cheese sauce, plus yoghurt, fruit and bread. ana.co.uk
menu and the staff went out of the way to answer them. RATES: All Nippon Airways flies daily between London Heathrow and Tokyo Haneda. Return business class fares start from £3,503.
Region starts to roll T H E countries of Latin America are riding the crest of a popularity wave. Last year Chile saw international passenger numbers grow by 26% year on year, with UK visitors up by 11% (51,000). The country’s tourism board is confident this number will continue to rise in 2017, thanks in part to the new British Airways service between London and Santiago. Peru also saw a hefty growth in tourism arrivals for 2016, with Foreign Trade and Tourism Ministry (Mincetur) figures reporting 3,744,461, up 8.4%. Numbers from the UK increased by 9.6% year-onyear (69,302 in 2016). Colombia is also in vogue with an 11.4% increase in visitors – a 14.1% rise from the UK. The positive trend is continuing into 2017, with numbers during the first three months of the year up by almost 13%. And Brazil saw an increase in visitation last year, thanks in part to the Rio Olympics which accounted for 4.8% of all international visits. The UK has jumped a place, from ninth to eighth, in the table of top visitor markets, with 202,671 visitors last year. In Central America, Belize saw its UK tourism arrivals grow by over 5% (with a 4.9% overall increase), with cruise passenger arrivals to the tiny country exceeding one million visitors for the first time.
ELA goes for perfect dozen
E LA E X H I B I T O R N E W S LATAM will launch a direct flight from Lima, Peru, to Tucumán, Argentina, in September. The following month it will launch a direct service from Santiago, Chile, to three cities in Argentina: San Juan, Neuquén
AUSTRALIS has confirmed that a new expedition cruise vessel will take to the water in January 2018. The 210-passenger Ventus Australis will ply the waters of Patagonia, including the Strait of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn. australis.com
designed eco-hotel Tierra Chiloé is doubling in size from 12 rooms to 24. The extension will continue the sustainable design which reflects
BY STEVE HARTRIDGE
TOUR operators, airlines and hoteliers will be out in force for the twelfth running of Experience Latin America (ELA) this month. Taking place in Canary Wharf, London, from June 12-14, ELA is Europe’s largest dedicated B2B travel event focused on the Latin America region. This year’s show will be bigger than ever, with a record level of exhibitors. ELA will feature 130 exhibitors, a 10% increase compared on 2016. These includes 61 new exhibitors and 69 returning exhibitors including tourist boards, airlines, tour operators, local DMCs, cruise and transportation companies.
Tony Mason, CEO of Latin America Travel Association (LATA) commented: “The strapline for ELA 2017 is Vida la Vida, meaning ‘live life’, which really puts across the vibrant spirit of Latin America. “ELA is a really unique event and our intention at LATA is to really bring the spirit of Latin America to London. The growth of ELA shows a real appetite for travel to the region and we are excited to announce a whole host of tourism development including new flight connections, new hotels and new areas opening up to tourism,” he added.
stilts over the water and will ‘reflect the ever-changing views of nearby islands and the distant mountains
AWASI Iguazu is set to open on the Argentinian side of the Iguazú Falls by the close of the year. Its 14 suites will be located in a private reserve on the edge of the River Iguazú. Each standalone room will be built on stilts for minimal environmental impact. The lodge will offer private excursions to the
falls and jungle excursions.
See our South America feature on page 8.
AIR EUROPA HEADS TO HONDURAS
AIR EUROPA is now flying between Madrid and Honduras, the first service to connect Europe directly with the Central American country. The weekly flight to San Pedro Sula leaves Madrid at 01.35 on Thursdays, arriving at 04.40. The inbound flight lands in Madrid on Fridays at 05.15. UK travellers can connect from the 17.20 Gatwick flight to Madrid on Wednesdays with a total travel
traditional local houses build on
time of just over 18 hours. The the return connection is two and a half hours, a total travel time of just under 16 hours. Connecting via Madrid sees UK travellers avoiding U.S immigration controls currently required with other flights departing from Europe. The Honduras route is Air Europa’s 19th destination in the Americas. airduropa.com
HOLGUIN, CUBA • MAY 3-6, 2017
Cuba in from the cold Hosted by Mintur (Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism), FIT CUBA 2017 attracted 2,600 travel professionals from 41 countries. Karen Penlington reports
Moving on from Havana
THE historic city of Holguin and its
southeast of Havana showed off to
combination of unspoilt beaches, and
SHOW SNIPPETS UNITED Airlines has applied to
Holquin shows off
the U.S. Government to increase to daily its current weekly flight between Houston and Havana, starting
American Airlines, Southwest and
including an intriguing Aboriginal
‘Aruacan’ cultural centre at Bariay.
increase frequency to Havana.
Ranking fourth in popularity for
tourists in the country, after Havana, Varadero and Jardines del
MELIA is to take over the running
Rey, Holguin is winning over UK
of eight state-run hotels from
visitors, whose numbers rose by
November, adding 931 rooms in
25% in 2016.
Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Camaguey.
H o l g u i n ’s Guardalavaca
resorts will be augmented with a
CLASSIC CARS OUTSIDE HOTEL INGLATERRA, HAVANA
substantial multi-purpose tourism
FIT CUBA 2018 will return to Cayo Santa Maria in Villa Clara,
complex being built on the nearby
CUBA’S burgeoning appeal as a ‘new’
‘outstanding reputation for safety and
with the UK as ‘guest VIP country’
peninsula of Ramon de Antilla,
tourism destination was reflected in a
security’, according to the country’s
and ‘Sun Sea and Beach’ as the
which will add 19,000 rooms.
record number of visitors in 2016.
Minister of Tourism.
main theme. For more information
Equally historic Gibara in East
Attracting 4.2 million tourists last
Manuel Marrero Cruz, who predicts
Holguin was unveiled as a new
year – a 13% increase on the previous
an increase of a further 100,000 visitors
‘tourist destination’ and delegates
year – Cuba is now the second-most
in 2017, said proactive promotion of
A NEW tourism board website
attended the official opening of
popular destination in the Caribbean
the country would focus on regional
that showcases the destination
Cubanacan’s boutique 12-room
after the Dominican Republic.
leisure destinations and provincial
and includes general and specific
conversion Plaza Colón Hotel and
Of these, 614,433 were from the US,
cities (such as those in the host
information and maps plus links to
the new Gibara Nautical Club
an increase of 34% on 2016, despite
province, Holguin), extended stays,
useful YouTube videos, Facebook
(which runs catamaran tours of
ongoing visa restrictions with American
more high-end visitors, diversified
and Twitter portals is due to be
visitors still unable to officially visit
A scooter and bicycle rental
Cuba as tourists. British arrivals
services and amenities.
scheme to encourage independent
increased by approximately 14% to
travel on the island’s largely well-
180,000 last year.
There would also be a strategy “to alleviate congestion in Havana,” he said.
A key factor in the growth was Cuba’s
Capital’s hotel scene goes high end HAVANA’S first five-star hotel, the
features a spa, three restaurants, four
246-room Gran Hotel Manzana
bars (including a cigar lounge), a
Kempinski La Habana, opens this
spectacular rooftop terrace with
month (June). Co-managed by the
infinity pool and free wifi in all rooms
Gaviota Group, the property overlooks
– a rarity in the IT-challenged city.
El Capitolio, the National Capitol
Elsewhere in Havana, Starwood’s
Building and the seat of government
Luxury Collection will take over the
until the Cuban Revolution in 1959,
management of Havana’s Santa
near Parque Central.
Isabel and Inglaterra Hotels (the
The conversion incorporates the GAVIOTA’S BLAU COSTA VERDE HOTEL
city’s first luxury shopping mall and
latter by November this year). kempinski.com; starwoodhotels.com
“Everyone should enjoy the benefits of tourism without crime, casinos, beggars and drugs, but with peace, health, culture and security... viva peace, viva humanity” FIDEL CASTRO AT THE OPENING OF THE PLAYA PESQUERO IN 2003
Karen Penlington travelled to FIT Cuba 2017 as a guest of MINTUR, the Ministry of Tourism Cuba.
the review: show report DUBAI • APRIL 24-27, 2017
Doing the business Jane Wilson reports from the Middle East’s leading travel trade show
There’s a theme THE UAE is now the world’s fastest-growing
Going local gets real
SHOW SNIPPETS LA PERLE, a 1,300-seat purpose-
build theatre, will open in Dubai
market, with spending in this
later this year. To be located at the
sector predicted to grow sixfold
newly-launched Al Habtoor City, it
to $637 million by 2020.
will host up to 450 performances a
IMG Worlds of Adventure and
year. Last year saw the opening of
Dubai Parks and Resorts opened
the Dubai Opera.
in Dubai last year while Abu
Dhabi is set to welcome the $1 QATAR is the fastest-growing
billion Warner Bros. theme park on Yas Island in 2018. In
destination in the region when it futuristic
comes to visitor arrivals. Its Hamad
$120-million Majarat Oman is on
track for a soft opening some
passenger traffic jump 20% in
time this year. The state-of-the-
2016, handling some 37.3 million
art waterpark is being built on
passengers, an increase of 7.3
the Al Sawadi Resort.
million from the previous year.
Sharjah’s big plans
CULTURAL and experiential tourism
THE 279-room Dukes Dubai
were key themes in Dubai with the
museums, four UNESCO World Heritage
hotel has opened on the Palm
THE Sharjah Investment and
demand for enriching travel experiences
Sites, the Royal Opera House Muscat
Jumeirah. The sister hotel to Dukes
Development Authority (Shurooq)
and authentic tastes of the region’s
and Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
London, it features the GBR
unveiled plans for a five-star
history and culture being increasingly
desert resort at the Mleiha
met by new attractions.
Archaeological and Eco-Tourism
Contemplating the trend for ‘real Al
restaurant, Dukes Bar and a
will be home to Guggenheim Abu Dhabi,
Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Zaha Hadid
designed, Zayed National Museum.
Project. Scheduled for completion
in 2019, the resort will combine
Assistant Director General Tourism
Last year Dubai experienced a 127%
BAHRAIN is working with tour
luxury villas modelled on classical
increase in the number of visitors to its
operators, cruise lines and hotels
desert marquees with the history
working closely with the trade to
popular museums and galleries and
to deliver its plan to welcome 15.8
and heritage of the region. HE
develop products which both showcase
over the coming months will welcome
million annual visitors by 2018.
Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO
our history and culture and complement
the opening of the Museum of The
Plans include the opening of the
Shurooq said “We aim to expand
Future (this year) and Mohammed Bin
the scope of the emirate’s tourism
offered by neighbours.”
Rashid Library in 2018.
In Abu Dhabi, by 2020 Saadiyat Island
cultural experiences being
sector and this new resort has marked
development efforts”. sharjah-welcome.com
Emaar has global expansion DUBAI’S Emaar Hospitality Group
The group has 26 upcoming
announced six new hotel projects in
projects pencilled in as part of its
Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Egypt.
regional and global expansion plans;
The Address Dubai Creek Harbour
The Address Boulevard and three
and Residences will be a six-sq km
Rove Hotels have opened in Dubai
hospitality and leisure hub which
during the last nine months.
will offer views of The Tower at
Emaar’s CEO, Olivier Harnisch, said:
Dubai Creek – scheduled to become
“Our focus is to create distinctive
the world’s tallest building when it
brand experiences that appeal to
opens in 2021 – as well as
millennials and the next generation of
Downtown Dubai and the waterfront.
“Expo 2020 will enable Dubai to display its diverse offerings beyond the glitzy five-star hotels and shopping malls” ISSAM KAZIM, CEO, DUBAI CORPORATION FOR TOURISM AND COMMERCE MARKETING
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA MAY 16-18
All signs point to Africa Indaba, the annual showcase for the African tourism industry, drew 1600 exhibitors and 7000 delegates. Jo Austin rounds up the news
‘SA: We Do Tourism’
Newbies are ‘hidden gems’
SHOW SNIPPETS TSOGO SUN is building two
INDABA hosted 90 small tourism
hotels in the foodie Brie Street
businesses, drawn from each of
district of Cape Town. The 200-
South Africa’s nine provinces
under the billing ‘Hidden Gems’,
300-bedroom new StayEasy Cape
Town City Bowl will open in
emerging players in adventure,
September 2017. tsogo.com
cultural, affordable and luxury tourism, are part of a SAT initiative.
Meanwhile, the Lap of Luxury
Manor House, next to the Queen
Pavilion initiated by the Tourism
Grading Council of South Africa
Waterfront in Cape Town, has four
showcased 27 high-end brands in
luxury suites and a butler service.
a bid to promote quality and value-
for-money. All 27 were holders of the Lilizela Tourism Award for
FORDOUN Hotel and Spa in
outstanding businesses in tourism.
KwaZulu-Natal has added the selfcatering
Springbok’s low-season rates SPRINGBOK
Safaris has launched low-season
TOURISM has been earmarked as the
strategy outlines plans to increase
‘driving force of South Africa’s economy’,
tourism numbers by five million in the
development aimed at families.
supporting over 1.5 million jobs and
next five years from both the domestic
with the potential to grow substantially
and international markets.
over the next decade, South African
SAT’s new CEO, Sisa Ntshona said:
NEW for the UK market, Cape St
President Jacob Zuma (pictured centre)
“Tourism has a ripple effect. Each
Francis Resort near Port Elizabeth
enthused in Durban.
permanent tourism job created has
comprises five villas, 12 apartments
and 56 rooms. Activities on offer
rates for its guided small groups
Zuma, who launched South Africa
programme to encourage off-peak
Tourism’s (SAT) new campaign – ‘We Do
travel on its long distance tours.
Tourism’ – said the country saw an
In a move to expand tourism across
Three new day tours have been
impressive 13% increase in international
borders Zuma said: “We plan to soften
added to its Guided Tours 2018
tourism arrivals in 2016, attracting 10
our borders and improve rail and road
brochure including a safari option
million visitors. UK visitor numbers to
infrastructure to make travel across
from Port Elizabeth to discover
South Africa rose by almost 10% in
Africa simpler. A key project is new fast
re-branded Africa’s Travel Indaba
the ‘Big Seven’ at Addo Elephant
2016, to just under 450,000.
train linking the continent’s capital cities.”
until at least 2022. The show will
Park and a six-hour Maropeng, Cradle
SA Tourism’s new ‘Five in Five’ tourism
agriculture and other sectors.”
Sterkfontein Caves. Springbok’s Windhoek City Tour covers Namibia’s history, from the
include hiking trails, links golf and visits to a penguin rehabilitation centre. capestfrancis.co.za DURBAN
continue to take place each May . indaba-southafrica.net
Cradle of Mankind still unearthing secrets
THE luxury Cradle Boutique Hotel in the Cradle of Humankind
colonial era to the modern day.
Cradle of Humankind in
of Humankind launched its latest
has eight ‘hip-eco’ timber-and-
Gauteng, the home of Africa’s richest
‘Almost human’ exhibition on Africa
thatch rooms. cradlehotel.co.za.
Day (May 25). Exhibits include new
unearthing discoveries. In April, the
discoveries from the Lesedi and
attraction, which has fossils of
Dinaledi Chambers for the first time.
The Maropeng Boutique Hotel and
millions of years, found the remains
Spa is a short walk from the centre
of a child and the partial skeleton of
and 10 kms from the Sterkfontein
an adult male.
Caves, one of the key fossil excavation
Official Visitor Centre for the Cradle
areas of this World Heritage Site. thecradleofhumankind.net; maropeng.co.za
WIN a £250 red
letter day voucher* Palolem Beach lagoon © Val Shevchenko | Shutterstock
Luxury, Boutique and Unique
© f9photos | Shutterstock
Become an expert and complete our online training training.serenity.co.uk Trade Support: 01489 866 955 | email@example.com
New brochure out now – order your copy today!
*Book any package holiday to Goa by 18th June 2017 and you could be in with a chance of winning a £250 red letter day voucher. Winner will be selected at random on 20th June 2017.
More than just a beach destination, sprawling Goa is also attracting wellness tourists, wildlife enthusiasts and lovers of spicy regional food, says Stuart Forster
ould I like a massage? Yes, I suppose I would. But ever the sceptic I’m looking for the catch. The price seems too good to be true and, with so many luxury spas nearby, surely those offered here on the beach are ‘sub-par’? But I will give it a go. The masseuse indicates I should swing round and face the Arabian Sea. Holidaying families are enjoying the ﬁnal hour of daylight; sandcastles built by the water’s edge are unlikely to make it to darkness. Hopefully the tensions around my shoulder blades will be smoothed away by then too — the ﬁrst application of pressure feels surprisingly pleasant. I conﬁrm it’s good and she continues working.
Indian holidaymakers are now out for barefoot walks, meandering among the Brits and Europeans who’ve spent the lion’s share of the day out on the sand. A blue-and-white ﬁshing boat sails north parallel to the shore — maybe the captain landed some of the catch served for dinner last night? I shouldn’t be thinking of food already, not after a satisfying late lunch featuring prawn balchao and chicken xacuti — deliciously spiced Goan dishes recommended by locals. Maybe tomorrow I’ll head to Old Goa, once the grandiose capital of Portuguese India. Or perhaps I’ll simply head back here for another blissful massage.
Clockwise from top left: the golden swathes of sand at Arambol; Goa’s atmospheric night market is a bargain hunter’s heaven; Goan cuisine is one for spice lovers; a Portuguese colonial church
Beyond the beach Local operators offer excursions Many holidaymakers see Goa purely as a and reasonably priced taxis are beach destination but inland the Mhadei, also a way of getting around. Bhagwan Mahavir and Netravali wildlife The ornately sculpted Mahadeva sanctuaries, which run north to south Temple at Tambdi Surla can be visited along the border with Karnataka, reward while in the Western Ghats. visits by nature and wildlife lovers. The city of Old Goa is a key draw for Leopards and guar, the world’s largest bison architecture and history aﬁcionados. One species, inhabit Mollem National Park. Birders of the busiest days there is December have opportunities to see — and hear — species 3, the Feast of St Francis Xavier. such as the Malabar whistling thrush and The monsoon (June to September) is the low Malabar pied hornbills. season and deals Goa is keen to be can be found on seen making efforts “Goa is a gentle and rewarding accommodation. For addressing the some, Goa represents introduction to India. It is the an inexpensive winter sexual harassment that some female country’s smallest state – from sunshine destination. visitors have reported. the stunning beaches and dense And winter sees the Initiatives include a build up to Carnival, jungle to the striking Hindu taxi service, exclusively during February, temples and dramatic churches, arguably Goa’s most for women, and a helpline (1091) to deal colourful festival. nothing is too far” with issues faced by Chloe Goolden, KATIE BUSHNELL, PRODUCT MANAGER, female travellers. PR and Marketing THE GOA EXPERIENCE Rail enthusiasts Manager, Ampersand can ride the scenic Travel, adds: “The Konkan railway to Mumbai — 250 miles north chic W Goa is the place to be seen; it offers an of Panjim, Goa’s capital — or southwards electric atmosphere and cool design credentials to Mangalore, a stretch of line crossing while ae beachside retreat, Ahilya by the Sea, in numerous estuaries. Domestic airlines Panjim is an ideal place to relax and recharge” provide access to destinations across India. Perfect ten “There’s a great choice of day trips to Rumble in the jungle: Take a jeep safari spice plantations, Hindu temples and in Mollem National Park, in the Western Dudhsagar Falls, Goa’s most magniﬁcent Ghats, where Nilgiri blue robins ﬂit among natural phenomena,” says Katie Bushnell, foliage and sloth bears roam. Product Manager for The Goa Experience. sellingtravel.co.uk
Shopping trip: The night market at Romantic retreat: Dotted with colonial Arpora is a great place to pick up properties with easy access to beaches, souvenirs, including silver jewellery and block Goa makes for a cosy getaway. Summertime (summertimegoa.com), a luxury hilltop villa, was printed fabric. Reluctant shoppers can sip named Asia’s most romantic retreat at the 2016 cocktails and listen to live music. Instagram it: Colourful facades in Boutique Hotel Awards. Panjim’s Fountainhas quarter and the What’s new Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception’s white staircases count among urban Airlines: Thomas Cook Airlines (thomascookairlines.com) seasonal services scenery popular with photographers. Beachtastic: With 63 miles of coastline to Goa, from Manchester and Gatwick, Goa is home to several of India’s best resume between November and April. beaches. The sandy shores at Agonda, Palolem, Thomson (thomson.co.uk) will kick off its 201718 services to Goa in October, ﬂying from Mandrem, Arambol, Varca, Benaulim and Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester. Cavelossim feature in Tripadvisor’s Top 10. Take to the water: Try activities on water, Accommodation: India’s ﬁrst W Hotel, the from banana boat rides to parasailing, off W Goa (w-goa.com), opened at Vagator Beach in March. The luxury, 160-room designer the Goan coastline. Eat well: Goan cuisine is a delicious property has a Spa by Clarins, three restaurants blend of Portuguese and Indian plus an outdoor pool area overlooking a inﬂuences. In the UK vindaloos are renowned for sandy private beach and the Arabian Sea. their ﬁeriness but the For the 2017-18 original is far tastier, season, Cox and Kings (coxandkings.co.uk) is featuring meat “Slouching back in a sun introducing two luxury marinaded in vinegar lounger whilst watching villa collections aimed and garlic. See the ‘Sea of at groups of friends the sunset and sipping the Milk’: That’s or large families cool juice of a freshly-cut how the name of the travelling together. coconut after a long walk on Guests can choose Dudhsagar Falls soft sand is my idea of a translates into English. between self-catering The waterfalls, in the or the services of a relaxing holiday” Western Ghats, are a private staff. Ishavilas STUART FORSTER, TRAVEL JOURNALIST popular excursion and consists of three are at their most colonial Portuguese spectacular after the monsoon rains. villas in the quiet town of Siolim, in north Sunset cruise: Glide along the River Goa. Each of the four high-ceilinged colonial Siolim on a houseboat and see the sun style villas of Coco Shanbhala, near Coco setting beneath the palm trees. Overnighting on Beach, is set in a garden, has a private one of the boats means opportunities to view plunge pool and share a swimming pool. ﬁshing villages and landmarks such as Chapora Where to book it Fort, a legacy of Portuguese colonialism. Heritage haven: Spend a day visiting the AMPERSAND TRAVEL – 020 7819 9770 A seven-night tailor-made Goa holiday is churches and convents, including the priced from £1,750pp, including three nights impressive Se Cathedral and Basilica of Bom at the W Goa and four at Ahilya by the Sea, Jesus, at Old Goa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. on a B&B basis, with international ﬂights. ampersandtravel.com TRAVEL 2 – 0800 0224 182
A seven-night India Beaches holiday, staying in the three-star Colonia Santa Maria hotel in north Goa, is from £699pp, including international ﬂights, transfers and breakfasts. travel2.com
THE GOA EXPERIENCE – 01489 866 986 A 14-night holiday, staying in a terrace room at the deluxe Alila Diwa Goa hotel in south Goa, overlooking rice paddies 600 metres from the nearest beach, is priced from £1,629pp, including international ﬂights with in-ﬂight meals, 20kg of luggage and private transfers. goaexperience.co.uk
From top: A Grey Langur monkey; Goa’s ﬁshing industry is still thriving; the dramatic Dudhsagar Waterfall; sunset at a Goan temple
e is u r C d e M y M journey...
ip d-winning luxury sh ar aw an d ar bo on ces Greece to Sicily ry special experien Jo Austin sails from ve e m so es ur at fe er ports and that can call at small
his extraordinary fivestar-plus ship leaves port so seamlessly that I am totally unaware we are moving, something I only grasp in the early hours of the next day when I glance the open sea out of my window.
Refined luxury and attention to detail are the outstanding features of German cruise company Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, and especially Europa 2, ng! which in its short existence since launching in 2013 are goi re we e h has achieved a coveted ‘five-star-plus’ ranking w Look each year from the revered Berlitz Cruise Guide. I am on a section of the ship’s summer itinerary of top the to it e mad I ‘Island Hopping in the Mediterranean’ from Piraeus Mount Etna - I hope it doesn’t erupt! in Greece to Palermo in Sicily, and am admittedly a little daunted at being one of just 50 non-German nationals amongst the ship’s 500 guests. However, within 24 hours I realise how pleasant it is to be among a sophisticated and well-groomed bunch of people who appear very content and highly sociable. They are mostly blissfully unaware that I have no clue what they are saying. The few families on board appear elegant and well-tailored and children are made to feel very welcome, with their own club and exclusive excursions. This is cruising at its very best with a highly attentive and immaculate crew from Germany, Austria and Switzerland that all Wanderin g the speak English, with many in the com corridors of Europ a 2 pany of hotel trained. Back-up is onboard a the ship rti provided by a wonderfully spectacula st and learning a ’s bout the r 8 efficient bilingual team at sea... F 90 individual piece s of art acing the from the Philippines. harsh an elements d windy The crew-to-passenger a volcanic M s I ascended an ratio is an impressive 370 to active ount Etna dog that led by a 500. Nothing seems too much our m faith
trouble and everything is at hand, from the laptop in my cabin to daily English newspapers and Champagne on demand (though not included). The ship has a contemporary, spacious feel with huge glass windows, classic teak decks and cream and chrome furnishings. Guests are invited to inspect ‘one of the world’s most expensive art collections at sea’ or relax in the discreet library. A cigar lounge and gin tasting add to the experience. ‘Discreet informality ’ sums up my onboard experience – what else would you expect from a leading German-run operation? I take breakfast al fresco in the Yacht Club Restaurant and read the ‘Programme of the Day’ that has been slipped under my cabin door. Some optional shore excursions include bike tours, wine tasting and hiking. I have a fresh fruit overdose of papaya and cherries from Catania.
“Santorini has earned a reputation as being the most beautiful of Greek Islands, with its huge Caldera (volcanic feature) and cycladic architecture”
My magic al momen ts
ful ounta roaming on in guide had foun d the moun tain.
Blue domes of Santorini
In Santorini we take a small launch to the base of the volcanic cliff and follow the winding road to the famous blue-domed churches of the village Oia, where crowds fill the narrow alleyways amongst the colourful souvenir shops and buzzing tavernas. Santorini has a reputation as being the most beautiful of the Greek islands, with its huge caldera (volcanic feature) and cycladic architecture. It certainly looks picture perfect to me. Then it is back to the ship to freshen up – the Captain’s Welcome and Pool Party starts at 10pm and most guests can’t wait to get onto the dance floor! Our next stop is Zakynthos, with its colourful port and fishing boats. We spend the morning onboard with Captain Zwamen who talks about navigation, rescuing boat people and the joys of being at sea on average three months on (and three months off) a year. With an almost 360-degree view of the sea from the bridge, where else would he want to be? Tenders to and from the island run until 02.00 and my fellow guests take full advantage of the picturesque town’s fun-packed bars and restaurants. It’s no surprise some of the staff look a little jaded the next day.
Europa 2’s resident sommelier ce rtainly know s his grapes
That should be enough for a day or two
Ornate founta ins in Palermo, Italy
Gourmet casual dining
But there is every reason to stay onboard when sailing on this elegant ship – one of them being the excellent inclusive wining and dining, or there is the spa and fitness classes, or yoga if you prefer. With an eye on an international clientele, Europa 2 offers guests the chance to choose from an impressive seven gourmet restaurants, and with no set mealtimes or seating plans. Casual dining is the name of the game and many tables are set for couples. Filling my day at sea, I enjoy a wine tasting with the resident sommelier who takes me through my paces with his offering of no less than 400 worldwide varieties. Waffles poolside follow at 15.00. The extra calories are quickly accounted for as I take an excursion up the harsh black lava slopes of Mount Etna on the island of Sicily. Our guide tells us Delicious pa the volcano remains very active and I am glad to be stries come in man y colours wearing my running shoes! Early next morning as I sit in the decktop Jacuzzi, Europa 2 sails seamlessly into Palermo, my final port of call. And for those of you wondering, then yes, it’s true... German guests really do like to get there first with their towels on the sunbeds! Fortunately for us shy Brits, Europa 2 has more than enough fluffy towels and sunbeds for everyone!
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Working in partnership
GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS
Training, competitions, events June 2017
THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES
New properties for Jewel Resorts NEWS
Quick Quiz Are you a Qatar expert?
1. Al Zubarah is a UNESCO World Heritage Site TRUE / FALSE
THE Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa is due to open this autumn. Jewel Resorts’ latest property is inspired by Italian villas and will include its own spa, swimming pools and 299 rooms. Guests will be spoilt for choice when it comes to food as the hotel will include seven culinary venues, as well as private chef table demonstrations and in-room and beach dining. jewelresortstraining.com
Roadshows for Thailand
2. The Qatar peninsula dates back 50,000 years.
ARUBA Academy is giving agents who complete the training programme the chance to win a place on a fam trip to the Caribbean island. Agents must complete the programme before June 30 to qualify for entry. The trip takes place from September 9-14, 2017 with flights, accommodation, meals and activities all covered by the Aruba Tourism Authority. In addition to the fam trip place, 10 runners up will also recieve an Aruba goody bag.
Answers: 1: True 2: True
marketing@ tourismthailand. co.uk Train now: training. tourismthailand.co.uk
TRUE / FALSE
Amazing Thailand I Modules: 7 AMAZING THAILAND is hosting two roadshows in Edinburgh and Newcastle this September. The events will bring agents from the surrounding areas together with representatives from airlines and hotels and tour operators from various regions within Thailand. Agents in attendance will also be in with the chance to win some amazing prizes including a place on a fam trip to Thailand. The evenings will be in a speeddating format, with Thai food, beer and wine on oﬀer to attendees. To register email the team:
Fancy a fam?
Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!
Go under the sea in the Cayman Islands NEWS
THE Cayman Islands is famed for its great diving spots. But now non-divers can see the colourful reef without even getting their feet wet! The company behind The Atlantis Submarine has introduced a new boat charter service taking Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort and Spa transporting guests to its vessel every Thursday afternoon for the 14:30 underwater trip. The comfortable vessel takes tourists 100ft below sea level in air-conditioned comfort. caymanislandsacademy.com
Win hotel nights with Jumeirah
Jumeirah Beacon I Modules: 10
Earn with St.Kitts INCENTIVE
ST. KITTS is giving agents the chance to earn up to £20 per booking this year. Agents who book a minimum seven-night package holiday to the Caribbean island will earn £10 on their booking Those who make bookings including Sugar Bay Club or the boutique Ocean Terrace Inn will be eligible for an extra £10. Register to the My Booking rewards programme (mybookingrewards.com) to log bookings and earn rewards. Learn more about how to sell a St. Kitts itinerary here:
SIGN UP to the Jumeirah Beacon Agent training programme this month and you could be in with the chance to win some amazing prizes. On oﬀer for those who enrol are four sets of hotel nights at the following properties: Jumeirah Port Soller, Mallorca; Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Knightsbridge, London; Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, Belgravia, London; and Jumeirah Living, Park Lane, London. Each prize is for two nights and includes breakfast. On top of these hotel night prizes ﬁve runners up will win a £50 Love2Shop voucher. Start training at Jumeirah Beacon now for your chance to win!
A-Z of available courses AMResorts Alaska Anguilla Antigua & Barbuda Aruba Avis Car Hire Beachcomber Tours Beaches Resorts Botswana Boucan Butlins California Caribbean Cayman Islands Centara Hotels & Resorts Colombia Elegant Hotels of Barbados Flanders Florida GDS Gambia Hawaii Heritage Resorts Hoseasons Insider Journeys Jamaica Jewel Resorts Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Kenya Macao Las Vegas Malaysia Malta Mark Warner Miami New York Namibia Newmarket Holidays Norway PATA (Paciﬁc Asia Travel Association) Puerto Rico Qatar SAGA Saint Lucia Sandals Resorts Seaworld Serenity Holidays Seychelles Sri Lanka St Kitts Trinidad and Tobago Tenerife Thailand Travel 2 Turks & Caicos US Airtours Veranda Resorts Virgin Limited Edition Voyages SNCF Warner Leisure Hotels Windjammer Landing Hotel Your Car Hire traveluni.com
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six of the best
Cook Islands The reasons for suggesting the Cook Islands to clients are numerous – here are six to remember, says Steve Hartridge
The Cook Islands offers a wide variety of dining options. Buffet meals feature favourite local dishes like ika mata (marinated raw fish) and umu kai (food cooked in a traditional earth oven). Fresh-from-thePacific Ocean produce is a staple, with superb game fish like tuna, mahi mahi or broadbill simply prepared and served with delicious local ingredients from nutrient rich volcanic island gardens. SELLING TIP: Recommend eating dinner at the Muri Night Market, from 17.00-21.00 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Market food stalls sell a variety of fresh local food, often accompanied with live music.
Islanders are hugely proud of their Polynesian culture and celebrate it in their everyday lives. Head to the vibrant Punanga Nui markets for music, dance and local cuisine, and browse for beautiful local crafts like Tivaevae (colourful quilts) or hand-made ukuleles. No visit is complete without an ‘Island Night’ cultural show for an unforgettable experience. Available at a number of resorts and cultural centres on Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Atiu, these evenings see locals sharing their history and traditions through music, song, dance and food.
Te Vara Nui Village is Rarotonga’s leading cultural attraction with stunning entertainment, located in Muri Beach of Rarotonga. Here visitors will meet local Maori people who will share their stories, knowledge and heritage during a Cultural Village Tour. SELLING TIP: On a village tour visitors will get to examine historical artifacts like farming tools, weapons and traditional dress. Demonstrations include cooking and weaving techniques – for huts, bags, hats, mats and fans.
There are a multitude of different tours, underwater, on the water or deep among the lush tropical landscape. Lagoon cruises, fishing, diving, guided mountain hikes, cave tours, storytelling tours, buggies, quadbikes or 4WD trips inland – the Cook islands has them all. SELLING TIP: See the real Rarotonga from the comfort of a quality bike on a relaxing Eco Tour. Storytellers will immerse you in the local culture and even tailor storytelling to each group’s particular interest. storytellers.co.ck
Weddings & Honeymoons
The Cook Islands are an increasingly popular wedding destination. Resorts hold their receptions in luxury venues with picture-perfect lagoon views, while newly-weds exchange vows in lush tropical
SELLING TIP: A highlight of the cultural calendar is the annual Te Maeva Nui Festival in August. It is a celebration of Cook Islands’ culture featuring spectacular dance and music performances at the National Auditorium.
gardens or take the plunge barefoot on the beach, with fragrant fresh flowers adorning the wedding arch and white sand washing their toes. LEGALITIES: Applicants need to be over 21 years of age and apply for a licence in person to the Registrar of Marriages in the Cook Islands at least three days prior to marriage. However, a fast-track option, where the formalities are completed in one day, is also available . You will need your passport and birth certificate when filing the Notice of Intended Marriage. Marriages are legally binding worldwide.
What to take home? Rito hats are intricately woven from stripped coconut fronds, and the pareu is a colourful fabric printed in a variety of colours and patterns and used like a sarong. Both are a vital part of everyday life on the islands. Wooden carvings such as clubs, spears, canoes, different drums (pate) and ukulele are popular, while hand-stitched quilts known as tivaevae are highly valued. Like the rest of the Cook Islands, the most romantic souvenir is small but perfectly formed. Manihiki in the north exports cultured black pearls to Rarotonga, where they are set into high fashion jewellery. SELLING TIP: The Punanga Cui Cultural Market is a ‘mustdo’ for visitors to the Cook Islands as it is a cultural representation of all the islands. The market is open Monday to Friday (08.00-16.00) but Saturday is the main market day with all the stalls, shops and huts occupied with vendors and the bonus of a live show on stage.
Cook Islands There’s a Pacific Island destination that is so small and welcoming that the ‘island is the resort’, explains Ian Griffiths, Cook Islands Tourism Corporation UK How would you sum up the appeal of the Cook Islands? Your island is the resort.
evening introducing the destination and also listening to the needs of their clients.
There are no high-rise buildings, no trafﬁc lights, no fast food chains, no international brands – just locally-owned and operated properties and restaurants.
How can agents learn more about the Cook Islands? They can come to one of our
Several Pacific Islands claim they offer an authentic taste of Polynesian culture. What is different in the Cook Islands? Those destinations in the Polynesian Triangle – such as Hawaii, New Zealand or Easter Island – share similar cultural backgrounds – and tourism has helped keep the culture there for tourists to see. Our visitor numbers are small compared to our larger neighbours; our properties are also small – anything over 25 rooms we class as a large hotel! Our excursions are operated by a handful of people, so we are able to bring visitors closer to the Polynesian and Cook Islands culture.
How well do you think travel agents know the Cook islands? We still have some work to do with getting the destination known to travel agents, and we have been doing this by hosting Cook Islands dinners, where we are able to spend an
dinners or invite us in for training. In July we will be launching a dedicated online training programme for travel agents, who will then become our ‘Kia Orana Agent Ambassadors’
What makes the Cook Islands the perfect weddings/honeymoon destination? It is a very romantic destination. You can arrive in the morning and can marry that afternoon. Couples can have their own private ceremony on a beach or be married on the lagoon and then have their own private island for the honeymoon night.
Explain how the Cook islands work as an add-on to a NZ or Australia trip. It works particularly well with New Zealand as there are up to three ﬂights a day to IAN DA Q ©Z H A N G Auckland, which is only four hours away. At the end of an active touring trip, you not only get to relax in the Cook Islands you also cross the International date line, so you get an extra holiday day! When you arrive, you can be on the beach within the hour.
©K I R K LA N D P H
What key annual events would appeal to visitors? There is always something going on and in typical Cook Islands style will involve lots of colour, lots of dancing and plenty of smiles. The Round Raro Road Race, which takes place in September, will this year celebrate its 40th anniversary. It involves both a 32km race around the island and also a race across the middle. Next February our ﬁrst-ever marathon will take place in Aitutaki. It is being promoted as the world’s most beautiful marathon. If those sound too active, we have the Te Maeva Nui, the biggest cultural event in the Cook Islands.
What’s new on the hotel front? There are no new hotels as such, but several of our existing properties have been busy upgrading. Small Luxury Hotels have now put their sign on the door of a second hotel in the Cook Islands: Little Polynesian in Rarotonga. There has also been investment at Tamanu Beach in Aitutaki. Tell us a couple of your own favourite Cook Islands experiences/memories. From July through to November, humpback whales come into the waters of the Cook Islands – and you can sit on the beach and watch them. Last year I was on an hotel inspection when a pair simultaneously breached in front of everybody on the beach... it was just awesome! Also, during the Christmas holiday season, the islands take on a whole different feel – think decorated palm trees with spray snow! Santa Claus arrives on an ocean-going canoe! cookislands.travel
Y O U R
G U I D E
River Cruising CONTENTS • 65 Luxury • 69 Asia
• 74 My Journey, the Chindwin • • 76 At a Glance
ANDY HARMER, UK & IRELAND DIRECTOR, CLIA “River cruises in Asia explore the region’s incredible countries in style and comfort, with great food and service, in areas often difﬁcult to reach by land. The smaller vessels have a more intimate atmosphere, while that sense of sailing off the beaten track means these holidays appeal to luxury buyers, the more adventurous and culturally aware. ”
Inspired by the Destination On Tauck river cruises, deep destination knowledge and longstanding local relationships create exclusive cultural experiences ashore. Delivering truly inspirational travel experiences has defined Tauck for 90+ years... and Tauck river cruises connect you with people, places and daily life along Europeâ€™s great rivers â€“ with your clients at the very heart of it.
DISTINCTIVELY INCLUSIVE RIVER CRUISES Call Tauck on 0800 810 8020 or visit tauck.co.uk for all of our 2018 itineraries
The vessels that sail the waters of Europe and beyond are embracing rarefied levels of luxury which have never been seen before. Jo Austin is impressed
hatever happened to those threestar boats of old? It seems there is no limit to the lengths that some of today’s river cruise operators are prepared to go to ensure that their passengers experience the very best in on board facilities, ﬁne dining and privileged educational itineraries. Thirteen new river ships have been launched this year and with the arrival of each new ship the bar seems to climbe ever higher. They come equipped with state-of-theart cinemas, pools, spas, ﬁtness centres and even cookery schools, offering no end of high-end opportunities for travel agents to suggest to their customers. And ‘privilege passes’ offer passengers access to places that could otherwise be difﬁcult to visit, with culture and history generally high on the agenda.
Says Jamie Loizou, Sales, Marketing & Digital Director for AmaWaterways UK: “Luxury is very subjective. For some it is about high levels of personal service from attentive staff, for others it is having a beautifully appointed stateroom or suite. It can also be the inclusion of immersive shore excursions which can range from cycling and hiking tours to wine-tasting on a private cellar tour at a local vineyard.” Whatever it is, it is certainly working. The number of luxury river cruise companies is on the increase and there is no shortage of demand or innovation. Andy Harmer, SVP Membership & Director, CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) UK & Ireland, said: “Our annual Cruise Review revealed that a record number of passengers are opting to cruise with one of the ultra-luxury brands, a near nine per cent rise year on year.”
Generations together: Uniworld’s ‘Generations’ itineraries feature fantastic excursions, onboard activities and dedicated ‘family hosts’ to ensure the children are entertained while the adults relax. High ambitions: Tauck River Cruising is climbing to new heights with an excursion on its Rhine, Swiss Alps and Amsterdam itinerary to Europe’s highest railway station. The Jungfraujoch, which stands at 11,332ft. Electric wheels: Wherever they moor, Crystal River Cruise guests can reserve electric bikes on the ship for independent touring. Curated artwork: Carefully curated artwork, antique furniture and bespoke design schemes are a hallmark of Uniworld’s top-tier ships, which are designed to emulate the artistic inﬂuences of the destinations they visit. Freedom of choice: APT offers a ‘freedom of choice’ concept in certain locations, enabling guests to choose an activity to suit their preferred interest, thus tailoring their holiday to suit.
What’s new Cruising: Viking River Cruises (vikingrivercruises.
“We believe that our luxury travellers should have everything taken care of for them and we even include tipping, transfers and port charges” ANGELA WAITE, HEAD OF SALES AND COMMERCIAL, APT
Previous page: AmaWaterway’s custom-designed AmaReina. This page, clockwise from top left: a classical concert in Vienna offered by Uniworld; Crystal Cruises Crystal Mozart; APT customers on an immersive excursion
The good news for everyone is that many of the luxury river cruise lines are offering room upgrades, premium drinks packages, shore excursions and VIP transfers as part of the experience. Added to this is the beneﬁt of the ships being able to dock in the very heart of every destination, giving guests easy access to excellent sightseeing and in small numbers.
Perfect ten Private mooring: Viking Cruises own all of its moorings: guests get to prime locations in all destinations quicker and easier. Two for one: AmaWaterways’ staterooms feature two private balconies: a French balcony and a full outside balcony to provide a unique panoramic view. Michelin-dining: On each Crystal Mozart voyage guests are treated to a complimentary culinary event at a Michelinstarred restaurant in Vienna or Budapest. Space matters: Scenic’s ﬂeet of ‘Space Ships’ offer some of the most spacious suites of any European vessel each suite. Signature experiences: APT gives guests special VIP access and experiences that they couldn’t arrange for themselves, such as an exclusive dinner in a German Royal castle.
co.uk) has announced details of its all-suite Viking Ra, which will begin sailing on Egypt’s Nile in March 2018. Tailored to take just 48 guests, the Viking Ra will feature a 12-day ‘Pharaohs and Pyramids’ itinerary including an 8-day round trip from Luxor to Aswan. In Asia APT (aptouring.co.uk) has recently refurbished the AmaLotus and has also built its own exceptional luxury rivership, for its cruises on the Myanmar River. Riviera Travel (rivieratravel.co.uk) has added the ﬁve-star all suite MS Robert Burns to its luxury ﬂeet as well as two new cruises for 2018. Budapest to the Black Sea – Gems of Eastern Europe’will highlight cultural heritage while Amsterdam, Kinderdijk and the Dutch Bulbﬁelds will appeal to ﬂoral entusiasts. Titan (titanagents.co.uk) has launched its ﬁrst
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Crystal Mozart | 23 November 2017 | 10 nights POLAND GERMANY
Nuremberg Regensburg Passau Vilshofen an der Munich Donau
curated shoreside discoveries designed to surprise, enrich and fascinate. And complimentary butler service in each and every suite will make you feel like royalty each and every day. Welcome to the new Crystal®.
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Cruise Only Fares From
Suite with Fixed Window (W1 Grade)
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Vienna ( ), Melk, Linz ( ), Passau ( ), Vilshofen an der Donau, Krems, Bratislava, Vienna ( ).
( ) = Overnight stay
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A BOOKING, PLEASE CALL:
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Fares are per person, cruise only in UK sterling based on double occupancy in a W1 stateroom and include port, security and handling charges, which vary by departure. All fares, offers and itineraries are subject to change and availability and can be withdrawn at any time. Fares may fluctuate and should be used as a guide only. Prices may go up or down. You should contact us on 0207 399 7604 before booking, or visit our website www.crystalcruises.co.uk. The fares are available to new bookings only and are only available to UK & Eire residents. Restrictions apply. See crystalcruises.co.uk for complete terms and conditions of all offers. (c) 2015 Crystal Cruises, Inc., Ships' registry: The Bahamas.©2016 Crystal Cruises, LLC. Ships’ registry: The Bahamas.
Clockwise from top left: Vienna’s Art History Museum is a stop with Uniworld; sundeck yoga with Uniworld; APT’s RV Samantha on the Irrawaddy River; a cabin onboard Crystal Mozart; a Uniworld butler
dedicated luxury river cruise brochure. Where to book it APT – 0800 046 3002 Featuring ﬁve of the best river cruise A fully-inclusive 15-day Vietnam and operators, the programme offers the ﬁnest Cambodia Highlights river cruise from Saigon cruise experiences on the rivers they cruise. to Siem Reap on the AmaLotus – Ho Chi Crystal River Cruises’ (crystalcruises.co.uk) four new-build river yachts will be Europe’s only Minh City, Cai Be, Sa Dec, Tan Chau, Phnom all-balcony, all-suite ships. All four river Penh, Koh Chen, Oudong, Kampong Tralach, yachts will offer butler service in every room Kampong Chhnang and Angkor where guests category, plush king-sized beds, Nespresso disembark – is priced from £3,690pp, twinmachines and Apple® iPad devices. share. It departs the UK on August 11 2017. aptouring.co.uk Viking’s (vikingrivercruises.co.uk) Culture AVALON WATERWAYS – 0800 6681801 Curriculum is an exclusive onboard programme A seven-night Normandy cruise on Avalon with lectures on history and art as well as Tapestry II out of Paris, departing July 1 2017, destination performances featuring folkloric costs £1449*pp. The price includes private shows and musicians. Destination-focused home pick-up service dining uses highly ﬂights, seven nights’ trained chefs who “We are committed to Egypt, full-board with wines are passionate about and with the introduction of and beers served with food and committed to providing authentic Viking Ra we look forward lunch and dinner, guided excursions, all transfers regional specialties or to giving our guests the and on-board gratuities. American classics. opportunity to experience Discounted* by 40% and Uniworld’s (uniworld. com) brand new S.S. Joie this culturally rich region in aboard one of Avalon’s de Vivre is a step back Panorama Suite Ships. the Viking way” avaloncruises.co.uk in time, designed with TORSTEIN HAGEN, CHAIRMAN, VIKING CRUISES CRYSTAL RIVER the artistic inﬂuences of CRUISES – 020 7399 7604 20th century Paris. The A 10-day Danube Christmas Markets cruise, company’s farm to table philosophy for meals round-trip from Vienna on Crystal Mozart to served on board shapes the dishes served as Melk, Linz, Passau, Vilshofen an der Donau, well as the ingredients used. Guests can join Krems and Bratislava, is priced from £2,410pp, the chefs on their shopping trips to explore the departing the UK on December 3 2017. culinary culture in destinations across Europe. crystalcruises.co.uk Tauck River Cruises (tauck.co.uk) is featuring SCENIC LUXURY CRUISES – 0800 566 8777 an exclusive cowboy experience on a familyAn 11-day Beautiful Bordeaux all-inclusive owned ranch in the Camargue on its ‘Bon river cruise on the Scenic Diamond, sailing Voyage! Family River Cruise’ programme. around the Gironde, Dordogne and Garonne, APT’s (aptouring.co.uk) exclusive Golf & Sail itinerary combines luxury river cruising region is priced from £2,645pp departing and the opportunity to indulge in some from up to 15 UK airports on July 19 2017. scenic.co.uk of Europe’s leading Golf courses.
flowing to the east
Bookings for Asia’s most popular waterways are strong, and ‘lesser-known’ arteries are also starting to appear in programmes, writes Sara Macefield
s I scramble up the sheer steps to the top of the Pyathetgyi Pagoda in the fading golden glow of evening light, I know this is going to be sunset to remember. I’ve arrived at the ancient Burmese capital Bagan, the beating heart and undeniable highlight of cruises along Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River. Bagan is famous for its vast collection of temples and stupas scattered across a tropical plain as far as the eye can see. Tourists are permitted to climb a handful of temples for a better vantage point though as I soon discover, you need to be nimble-footed and unafraid of heights. The beautiful views of the sunset amid the peace of the surroundings make it
worthwhile as I watch the sun’s dying rays illuminate the terracotta hues of the temples spread in front of me The silence is broken by a softly tolling bell as the sun disappears over the horizon amid a chorus of clicking camera shutters that forever capture this special split-second. But this Irrawaddy sailing, aboard Sanctuary Retreats’ luxurious and stylish vessel Sanctuary Ananda, is full of memorable moments, though it is the striking landscapes and friendly people that are the real stars of the show. Rudyard Kipling famously wrote of the country: “This is Burma. It is quite unlike any place you know about.” And his words still ring true today.
new vessels and sailings on the Mekong, in response to healthy demand. “Mekong sales have been very strong, making up a higher than expected percentage of our overall business,” explained Jamie Loizou, Sales, Marketing and Digital Director at AmaWaterways. Boutique operator Pandaw arguably offers the most innovative itineraries in Asia, having introduced Vietnam’s Red River, the Upper Mekong through Laos and into China, and the most comprehensive programme of voyages along Burma’s Chindwin River into the tribal territories of Nagaland.
Rising demand featuring the region, where cruises China accounts for a large percentage of business operate year-round on different rivers. with sailings along the Yangtze while Mekong Demand for Wendy Wu’s Mekong Odyssey cruises through Vietnam and Cambodia and tour has jumped by 50% over last year, its Irrawaddy voyages in Myanmar (Burma) make Hidden Treasures of Burma itinerary rose up the dominant triumvirate of this region. by 35% and Yangtze bookings are 25% up, “Asia offers so many contrasts and authentic according to Ben Briggs, Head of Marketing. experiences and we are seeing a huge lift in Amadeus’s new Exotics programme features the British travellers keen to sample the breadth Mekong, Irrawaddy and India’s Ganges River, while of what is on offer,” Wendy Wu has a debut said Angela Waite, programme to Myanmar, “For customers looking to Head of Sales and with voyages on the Commercial for APT. learn about new cultures, see Irrawaddy and Chindwin “River cruising offers rivers, plus the Mekong different yet beautiful scenery and Brahmaputra River, privileged access to and have an adventure, some of the more which runs through the difﬁcult-to-reach Indian state of Assam. an Asia river cruise is the regions, yet travellers do Viking River Cruises perfect choice” not have to compromise reports increased BEN BRIGGS, HEAD OF MARKETING, WENDY WU on comfort and quality. demand for its Imperial “For customers Jewels of China package, who have tried river cruising in Europe, which includes a ﬁve-day Yangtze sailing. a river cruise in Asia can be an easy sell, Myanmar continues to shine with cruises though the infrastructure and pace of the along the Irrawaddy to the ancient temples cruise will be different,” she explained. of Bagan and historic Mandalay. After seeing an impressive uptake by UK AmaWaterways is looking to return to Myanmar customers in 2016, APT is boosting its Asia after its Irrawaddy sailings ﬁnished in March. product with extra itineraries and a new vessel. The line hopes to resume operations in 2018/19 Wendy Wu Tours and Amadeus River with a new purpose-built luxury vessel. Cruises have unveiled river cruise brochures Several companies are introducing sellingtravel.co.uk
Temples galore: Take an early-morning hot-air balloon ride over the vast collection of temples and stupas at Bagan on the banks of the Irrawaddy in Myanmar. Chinese wonders: Peer behind China’s bamboo curtain to the cliffs of the Three Gorges and the Three Gorges Dam on a voyage along the Yangtze. Unesco treasures: Discover the ancient temple complex of Angkor near Siem Reap in Cambodia on a Mekong cruise. Turbulent past: Take a history lesson on the Vietnam War in Ho Chi Minh City where American forces were driven out by the Viet Cong on a Mekong sailing. Wet and wild: Look out for tigers and rhinos on an elephant-back safari in the Kaziranga National Park during a cruise along the Brahmaputra through India’s Assam region. Cultural cornucopia: Breathe in the sights, sounds and experiences of India’s holiest of rivers, the Ganges, on a sailing that brings to life its cultural riches.
Clockwise from top left: a gourmet spread on AmaWaterway’s AmaLotus; Amadeus River Cruises’ Mekong Navigator; riverside sunset in Burma; a sumptuous Grand Suite on the Mekong Navigator
2017 DEPARTURES STILL AVAILABLE 4 nights from £549pp 7 nights from £1,299pp 14 nights from £2,499pp
Don’t forget: If your clients want a River Cruise in 2017, we have selected cabins and suites available through until December 2017*. Cabins and suites for Sole Occupancy WITHOUT a supplement are available on selected departures.
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Clockwise from top left: A view of the Yangtze from a riverside pagoda; a Burmese shopkeeper; the beautiful ancient city of Bagan, Burma; a cabin on the Sanctuary Ananda; Cambodia’s most famous temple, Angkor Wat
Local life: Explore the caves and waterside villages of Vietnam’s Red River, which stretches from the ethereal beauty of Halong Bay to the French- accented city of Hanoi. Buddhist rituals: Watch the atmospheric dawn alms-giving on a cruise along the Upper Mekong in Laos as saffron-robed monks queue along the streets of the former ancient capital of Luang Prabang. Ancient and modern: See the contrast of Xian’s Terracotta Warriors and the skyscrapers of Shanghai: some of China’s most famous sights are bolted on to Yangtze cruises. Off radar: Venture to the edge of remote tribal lands in Myanmar on a Chindwin voyage to Homalin on the Indian border, where tourists rarely go.
Mekong, where it will sail 11-day cruises between Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City. Revamped riverboats: Sanctuary Retreats (sanctuaryretreats.com) has unveiled the new-look Yangzi Explorer following a comprehensive reﬁt which combines contemporary style with local Chinese inﬂuences. The boat has 38 deluxe cabins and 20 suites and offers three- and four-night sailings on the Yangtze. Experiences: Belmond (belmond.com) is injecting spiritual enrichment to its cruises along Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River with two mindfulness cruises featuring yoga and meditation. Passengers can choose from a seven-night voyage from Bagan on October 7 or a three-night ‘taster cruise from Mandalay on October 11.
Itineraries: Pandaw (pandaw.com) has introduced
River cruises in Asia explore the region’s incredible countries in style and comfort, with great food and service, in areas often difﬁcult to reach by land. The smaller vessels have a more intimate atmosphere, while that sense of sailing off the beaten track means these holidays appeal to luxury buyers, the more adventurous and culturally aware. “Having knowledge of the main Asian rivers, the attractions and cruise operators will help agents grow their business. Clia’s website has resources and learning modules to support member agents wanting to do this.” Andy Harmer, UK & Ireland Director Cruise Lines International Association
a new itinerary through the Irrawaddy Delta in Myanmar. From next March round-trip sailings start from Yangon and will spend a week exploring the delta’s labyrinth of waterways. Emerald Waterways (emeraldwaterways. co.uk) has unveiled its debut programme to Asia for 2018, with three Mekong itineraries, ranging from 14 to 21 days, which explore Vietnam and Cambodia. AmaWaterways (amawaterways.co.uk) has added a new Charms of the Mekong sailing on AmaDara from Prek Kdam to Hanoi. Wendy Wu (wendywutours.co.uk) has introduced two-night Irrawaddy voyages this year as part of its tours to Myanmar. New riverboats: APT (aptouring.co.uk) is debuting the luxury purpose-built riverboat RV Samatha in the UK this year. It will offer two new 17- and 20-day Hidden Wonders of Myanmar itineraries. This August sees French line CroisiEurope (croisieurope.co.uk) add the RV Indochine II to its four-strong ﬂeet of vessels on the
Where to book it WENDY WU – 0800 902 0888 A 14-day Majestic Yangtze tour from Shanghai to Beijing, which features a four-night Yangtze sailing, is priced from £2,790pp. This includes ﬂights, hotels, excursions, all meals and visa fees. wendywutours.co.uk
£49pp deposit - ENDING SOON Book a 2018 holiday by 30 June to make the most of our lowest deposit yet!
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India’s Golden Triangle
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For more information, please visit titanagents.co.uk Prices are per person. Spaces are limited at these prices, subject to change and will be confirmed upon enquiry.
my river cruise
The Chindwin Known for its shallow waters, the near-empty Chindwin River in Burma guarantees memorable encounters with locals, says Sara Macefield
t’s easy to daydream cruising along Burma’s Chindwin River, looking at glinting golden domes of Buddhist temples scattered like precious jewels across the tropical terrain. But on this particular afternoon, as we sail north from the town of Monywa (a three-hour drive north of Mandalay) to Homalin on the Indian border, such tranquillity is interrupted by a harsh jolting clank. Have we hit a sandbank? The Chindwin is famous for its shallow waters and running aground is a real possibility. Thankfully, we haven’t – not this time – though our boat’s propeller shaft has taken a pounding, which necessitates an urgent patching job.
Away from the crowds Our vessel, the Zawgyi Pandaw, limps to the town of Kalewa, but ongoing repairs by the crew mean we can’t depart the following morning. This turns out to be a bonus as we go ashore to explore a bustling hub rarely visited by tourists – not that there are many of those on the Chindwin. Unlike the Irrawaddy, which is becoming increasingly busy, this northern tributary remains remarkably off the beaten track; just a handful of vessels can navigate its waters. I’m sailing with Pandaw
Expedition Cruises, the only company to offer departures eight months of the year. During our week-long sailing we don’t see another tourist boat – or any tourists for that matter.
Life onboard As we ply on further north, the river gets busier. Cargo boats piled high with giant oil drums and noisy, packed passenger boats chug past us, I can’t help but feel relieved at the calm, peaceful surroundings of our own ﬂoating haven. There are just 12 passengers on Zawgyi Pandaw, which combines the best of natural rusticity with modern comforts and a very cosy lounging area on the top deck. Our mealtimes are highly social house-party type affairs: we tuck into bread, freshly-baked on board, and four-course feasts of delicious fresh ﬁsh, stir fries, creamy soups and curries, served with the gentle smiles of our friendly Burmese crew. Whenever we step ashore, our group becomes a tourist attraction for locals who whip out mobile phones to take pictures or pose alongside us for inevitable selﬁes.
People power Admittedly, once you’ve seen a few villages, with their dentikit muddy tracks and paths lined with wooden stilted houses, they all tend to blend
into one. But It’s the people who really stand out: farmers driving oxen carts laden with crops, women balancing impossibly large baskets on their heads, children careering along on battered old bikes, and locals smoking large cheroots or chewing betel nuts, a popular stimulant that stains their teeth blood red. We enjoy heart-warming encounters in schools as we hand out pens and sweets to youngsters, and there are fascinating encounters with octogenarians who recall invading Japanese troops sweeping through their villages during World War Two. The riverside town of Mawlaik, near the border with India, makes for an interesting stop as this former hub of British rule prior to Burmese independence in 1948 still carries traces of colonial times, with its distinctive clock-tower and golf course – just one more example of a country that left me wanting to return to experience more.
BOOK IT WITH AUDLEY TRAVEL A 13-night package that includes a one-week Pandaw sailing from Monywa to Homalin, two nights in Mandalay, pre-cruise, and two nights in Yangon post-cruise, with overnight ﬂights on Thai Airways via Bangkok costs from £4,250pp for 2017 departures. 01993 838000; audleytravel.com
Small Ships, Remote Rivers Explore the mighty rivers of Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, China and India Pandaw is Asia’s pioneering river cruise specialist. Founded in 1995, it owns the largest specialised fleet in Asia, with 16 beautifully crafted colonial-style steamers offering travellers unique, off-the-beaten-track expeditions. Travellers love the informal and friendly “Pandaw spirit” - a relaxed on board atmosphere that extends to our adventurous excursions - supported by deep cultural understanding of our destinations. Pandaw passengers get to witness some of the finest views in Asia while enjoying the largest passenger-to-deck ratio of any ship afloat. Encounter these gorgeous panoramas with superlative cuisine and charming, efficient service.
For further information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)208 326 5620 W W W. P A N D A W. C O M
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CMv Signature River Cruises
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Crystal River Cruises
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£1,295pp, 8-day Secrets of the Douro or 8-day Sensations of Southern France
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US$1,796pp 7-nights Mandaly to Bagan
01283 744 370 / 744 390 rivieratravel.co.uk/agents
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From £1,495pp, 8-day ultra-all-inclusive Iconic Danube cruise in suite accommodation
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£2,440pp, 8-day ‘Holland & Belgium in the Spring’ incl. flights & category one cabin
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The River Cruise Line
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£999pp, 9-day Danube to Vienna & Budapest cruise on the four-star Serenity, full board
0808 168 9231 uniworld.com/uk
£2,089, 8 day all-inclusive Castles Along the Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam
viking River Cruises
020 8780 7985 vikingrivercruises.co.uk
£1545pp, 8-day Romantic Danube including wifi, all meals, wine and beer with lunch and dinner, one daily excursion and UK transfers
Wendy Wu Tours
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Amadeus River Cruises
Your official guide to river cruising
Danube, Central europe
Main Danube Canal, Germany
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the quirky side of travel – Four-legged friends, Advantage and toilets – Fantastic furry flyer Joey the guide dog is the ﬁrst ofﬁcial member of easyJet’s Furry Flight Club. The Labrador, who will be seven this year, undertook his 35th ﬂight in April alongside owner Jan Gibson. Joey has been with Jan for ﬁve years. Along with husband Roger, she frequently takes ﬂights between Luton and Paphos, Cyprus, with their four-legged-companion in tow. Jan said: “Joey enjoys ﬂying and will usually sleep at my feet through most of the ﬂight, although he does get up for a walk mid-way through the ﬂight." The Furry Flight Club focuses on rewarding frequent canine ﬂiers with doggie treats for their loyal service.
TOP 6… Shopping cities
The first round's on us! Selling Travel's Andy Hoskins and Ben Coren look like they pulled out all the stops – and their wallets – at the Advantage Conference, which took place in Provence, France, last month. Until they submit their expenses claims we won't know if they were responsible for this mega-round or just took advantage of a little pre-pouring by the staff at the newly revamped Club Med Opio en Provence.
Here are the top six most affordable shopping cities in the world – according to marbles.com
Toilet Tourism Awards MyTravelResearch.com is holding its inaugural Toilet Tourism Awards this year. The awards recognise attractions that go above and beyond to provide great facilities for its guests– such as the one pictured opposite at Petra, Jordan. “It’s time for destinations to smell the roses – great toilets drive visitation," said Bronwyn White, Tourism Strategist and co-founder of mytravelresearch.com
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Call for details for other Centara properties worldwide. Offers are available for selected dates & properties.
Singapore Airlines; to Singapore & beyond from
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 8.30am-6pm; Sat 9.30am-1.30pm
Hotel prices are “from” per person per night and based on 2 adults sharing unless otherwise stated. Terms & conditions apply. www.touchdown.co.uk
Book with confidence ACCREDITED AGENT
2019 ON SALE NOW
VOTED THE WORLD’S LEADING ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE WORLD’S LEADING ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS Call Agency Sales 020 7590 0210 | Email email@example.com | Visit sellingsandals.co.uk
OR TO BOOK
Call 0808 164 3459 | Visit sandals.co.uk/agents
21 Years Running
Half price holidays are valid on air inclusive packages for travel up to Spring 2019. Offer varies depending on resort, room type and travel date. Minimum stay 5 nights. Additional £55 Booking Bonus will be applied automatically. This offer cannot be combined with any other promo code offers. Free wedding can be applied. Offers subject to availability. Terms and conditions and blackout dates apply.
Published on Jul 17, 2017
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