MARCH 2017 â€¢ SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK
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Malta Florida Sri Lanka Caribbean River cruising African safari lodges and more...
How to make grand plans for little people - the sky's the limit for family holidays in 2017
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this issue - we travel further to bring you more FEATURES 10 African Lodges: Immersive experiences
16 Malta: Mediterranean 30 40 46 52 65 69
cultural mix Flights to Asia: Who flies where from the UK Family Holidays: Value for money memories Caribbean: The latest news from the region Croatia: Top ten treasures Abu Dhabi: focusing on culture and heritage River Cruising: Seasonal cruising plus North America and At a Glance
37 10 45
is flying to Dubai to attend Arabian Travel Market and get up to speed with all the latest travel trends
is hitting the road in Ireland to explore its beautiful south and taste the local stew
is flying to Thailand to enjoy the beaches of Phuket and taste the best of Thai culture
QUICK READS 25 Travel Alberta: Itinerary 26 City profile: Las Vegas 36 Introducing: Val d'isere 37 Fam trip report: Sri
45 Six of the best: Buenos Aires
M A LT A
50 How to Sell: Tennessee 62 My Journey: Nevis THE REVIEW 55 Top news stories plus hotel reviews
CA R I B B E A N
C R O AT I A
TALKING SHOP 19 News, competitions, incentives & fam.
REGULARS 07 Reasons for Seasons 28 Travel Uni 38 Visit USA News 82 Final Word Please note that Selling Travel, owned and published by BMI Publishing Ltd., is not connected in any way to Selling Travel e-magazine published by SMP Training Co. and based in British Columbia, Canada. The latter online publication focuses exclusively on sales skills and all aspects of professional selling within the travel and tourism sectors. To benefit from this travel industry sales training resource visit www.sellingtravel.net
Travel Trade Publication of the Year
Travel Trade Publication of the Year
welcome – 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 Junior Designer: Zoë Tarrant Production Manager: Clare Hunter Managing Director: Martin Steady We are members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Visit USA Association, LATA, PATA, MENATA, SATOA, the Foreign Airlines Association and the Institute of Travel & Tourism. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, BMI Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. ISSN: 2056-9319. Cover image: istockphoto.com
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hese words come to you from Reno, Nevada, on the first day of the Go West Summit, the annual travel trade show that brings together destinations, hotels, attractions and other tourism industry players from the 15 westernmost U.S. states – from Texas to Hawaii to Alaska. If, in the light of Donald Trump’s barnstorming and often bewildering ‘first 100 days’, there is any sign of nervousness about what the immediate future of U.S. tourism might hold, there is little sign of it here. Business is brisk and the appointments schedule full, as ‘suppliers’ and ‘buyers’ seek that perfect match between tourism provider and tourism seller. The host state Nevada estimates that the deals struck Steve Hartridge and contracts signed from this show will eventually be worth up to $175 EDITOR million in tourism dollars. Shows such as these, with their targeted regional focus, offer the chance for some of the smaller towns and villages or more niche products, to put themselves in the spotlight – often for the first time. Take the state of Oregon, for example, which has 20 or so exhibitors here. Among them are places with a thriving tourism sector, such as Eugene, the Oregon Coast and Corvallis, which nevertheless remain mostly unfamiliar to the UK traveller. As is often the case as such shows, Selling Travel is the only UK travel trade magazine in attendance out here. Why do we bother? Because attending tour operators are exposed to a great range and diversity of holiday products and experiences – and many expand their programme and brochure options based off the back of these meetings. It is an agent’s job to keep on top of these new products and, in turn, it's our mission to keep you informed. The future of tourism seems in good hands with shows like Go West - you can read my report in the April issue of Selling Travel. If you need a USA fix now, read up on Las Vegas (p26) and Tennessee (p50). And don't forget the rest of the world - we've got it covered, from Croatia (p52) to the Caribbean (p46).
LOOK OUT FOR THIS Florida Official Travel Guide This 2017 guide from Visit Florida is a comprehensive selling tool covering every corner of the Sunshine State. Discover the laidback north, fun-filled central Florida and the American Riviera in
the south. Learn about the best of the state's nature and adventure options, beaches, arts and culture attractions, sports and activities, shopping, theme parks, festivals and romantic escapes. Plus, selling tips and essential facts covering cruising, accessible travel, LGBT travel and driving holidays. It's all you need to sell Florida successfully.
Let us make your day. We like to do things differently at Air New Zealand. We’re so proud of these differences, that we’re giving you the chance to WIN a real-life taste test of what your customers experience when they fly with us. Just make as many Air New Zealand bookings as you can between 31 January–31 March 2017, and log them at our website. Each booking will put you in the running to win some (frankly amazing) prizes, like round-the-world flights, Business Premier™ flights to LA, a trip to New Zealand for two, and more!
littlebetters.airnewzealandtrade.com #LittleBetters Legal stuff applies, of course — all the details are on the website.
Your chance to
events & festivals
reasons for seasons
- events and experiences to shape a booking -
Cowes week Cowes Week has been wowing crowds with displays of nautical prowess since 1826. Taking place July 29 to August 5 this year the event, set in Cowes, includes yacht races, regattas, parties and the chance for ﬁrst timers to get their sea legs. cowesweek.co.uk
Rocket Festival Celebrated in Laos and Thailand throughout April and June, the Rocket festival focuses around, rockets, funnily enough. The bamboo ﬁreworks are meant to encourage rain for the season, can be seven metres long and travel several kilometres into the air. tourismlaos.org; tourismthailand.org
Cheung Chau Bun Festival This street festival sees thousands of people gather around three giant pillars covered in buns. It takes place in Hong Kong on May 3 2017 and the main event is the climbing of the 60-foot towers for the ‘bun snatching’.They are given out to bring good fortune. discoverhongkong.com
Wine fight If you like wine you might think The Wine Fight in Haro, Spain, is a bit silly. Taking place June 27–30, the event sees thousands of locals climb a mountain in La Rioja to throw vino tinto all over each other and in the streets of Haro people use buckets, boots and water pistols to soak each other in the Rioja! wine-ﬁght.com
Pompidou 40th anniversary The famous Paris building, Centre Pompidou, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and will be holding exhibitions in 40 cities across France - including a collection of Francis Bacon’s work on display in Montpellier. See the full list of events: centrepompidou.fr/en
african safari lodges
wild A really
A 4WD safari and a sundowner is no longer enough, now lodges must provide experiences which inform, immerse and amaze, says Karl Cushing
african safari lodges
still, pre-dawn hush hangs over the South African concession I am staying on near the conﬂuence of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers. We set out in our fully-laden Land Rover in pursuit of the African wild dog, part of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (ewt.org.za) ongoing efforts to help rehabilitate numbers of Southern Africa’s most endangered large carnivore. The ranger’s gun is set to stun but the morning’s task is to merely tranquilize one of the painted dogs before tagging it. I’ve been on a good number of game drives but nothing has gripped me quite so much as this lengthy game of cat and mouse, pursuing these cunningly elusive hunters. Up kopje and down dale we go, as the ranger performs miraculous feats of driving skill over the pockmarked, sun-baked, terrain. The dogs eventually succumb to the rising heat of the day, whereupon we spy a weary pack kicking back under an acacia tree. A mass scarpering soon follows but not before the ranger has squeezed off his carefully aimed
shot. Having caught up with the dog it is then a race against time to ﬁt the radio-tracking collar before the dog is back to his former self. And then it is time for us to shift our aim to a celebratory mid-day bush cocktail.
Beyond the Big Five African wildlife adventures have moved on from simply ticking off ‘The Big Five’. For example, The Lodge at Feline Fields in Botswana opened for bookings this January, featuring six suites and activities such as exploring the Kalahari by sand-bike (felinefields.com). Family-friendly specialists include Ker & Downey Botswana, whose Okuti and Kanana camps are supported by the Young Explorers programme at its Footsteps bush camp. High-end walking safari specialists include Zambia’s Robin Pope while Ranch Rider is among the horseback safari specialists. Then there’s the ‘Walking with Elephants’ experience, offered at Sanctuary Retreats’ Stanley and Baines’ camps. Countries on the up include Malawi, where
african safari lodges
options include Tongole Wilderness Lodge, with its new pool, and Ntchisi Forest Lodge, whose recent events’ calendar included a music festival and birding and mindfulness weekends. Another lodge offering wellness stays is Kenya’s Campi Ya Kanzi (maasai.com), whose 2017 Yoga Safaris include August’s ‘Wellness in the Wild’ Meanwhile, the 22-room Kwandwe Private Game Reserve (kwandwe.com) in South Africa claims to offer a ‘guiltfree carbon neutral experience’.
Above: A gorilla in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. Right: Lupita Island resort on Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania
Surf ’n’ safari: With advisories lifted and a new train link from Nairobi to Mombasa opening in March, Kenya’s classic beach and safari combo is back on the radar. Migration nation: Zambia’s Liuwa Plains National Park offers Africa’s second biggest wildebeest migration. Well, well: From Yoga safaris in the Masaai Mara to mindfulness weekends in Malawi wellness breaks are becoming popular. Snap that: Expert guided photography safaris are offered by the likes of Acacia Africa and Rainbow Tours.
Namibia Awaits! Onguma Game Reserve, a 35 000 hectare private reserve bordering Etosha on the East offers discerning guests an option of 5 stunning lodges – ranging from the dramatic, The Fort to child friendly Bush Camp and rustic Tree Top. Onguma offers guided drives into Etosha Park as well as guided walks and sunset drives on the private reserve. Each lodge overlooks a waterhole, ensuring game-viewing opportunities at each meal. The newly established Onkolo Hide is a water-level hide that is a photographer’s dream!
Flock together: Tourism boards are increasingly targeting twitchers with their feathered offerings and migratory birdlife.
What’s new Lodges: Ship Wreck Lodge in Namibia’s Skeleton Coast National Park opens this February, with its shipwreck-themed rooms. Opening June is the 12-room Bisate Lodge, the ﬁrst of two planned openings in Rwanda’s gorilla-rich Volcanoes National Park from
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african safari lodges
“Lodges are usually small so availability is challenging. Book in advance, have some flexibility in the itinerary and don’t set your clients’ hearts on one lodge” KATHERINE TERRY, SENIOR TRAVEL SPECIALIST, KNIGHTON REEVE
Above, left to right: Lion-spotting at Kwande Private Game Reserve and Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge, both in South Africa
Wilderness Safaris (wilderness-safaris.com). Miavana (timeandtideafrica.com/miavana) is an ultraluxury lodge on the private island of Nosy Ankao off the northeast coast of Madagascar. Opening in April, it will consist of only 14 villas strung along pure white beaches. New offerings from African Pride include King Lewanika Camp — Norman Carr’s new camp in Zambia’s Liuwa Plain National Park — which opens April, and Saruni Rhino camp, set to open February featuring Kenya’s ﬁrst rhino tracking experience. Recently-opened Tanzania product includes Asilia’s Highlands Ngorogoro and Nomad Ngorogoro, plus the private, fully-staffed six-bedroom Mawimbi Villa, which overlooks Tanzania’s Ushongo beach (mawimbivilla. com). September will see the opening of Asilia Africa’s new Jabali Ridge in Ruaha National Park, backed by an inﬁnity pool. In Botswana, African Bush Camps will open its new Khwai Tented Camp and family-focused Khwai Leadwood Camps in May (africanbushcamps.com). New product in Zimbabwe includes andBeyond Matetsi River Lodge, near Victoria
LUXURY AS NATURE INTENDED
Mowani Mountain Lodge and Camp Kipwe lie nestled in the dramatic granite boulders of Namibia’s Damaraland. These intimate camps offer spectacular mountain views and are ideal bases for seeing desertadapted elephant and rock art of the Twyfelfontein UNESCO Heritage site.
www.mowani.com Contact us on email@example.com
Falls, which emerged from a comprehensive refurb last September (andBeyond.com). Transport: SA Airlink’s new Phinda to Vilanculos service means clients can easily couple a Phinda safari with some R&R on a Mozambique island. Proﬂight’s new Zambia services include Kalabo, for Liuwa Plain, and ﬂights connecting South Luangwa to Lower Zambezi. Singita Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe has a new seasonal, weekly ﬂight option from Harare to Victoria Falls operating Thursdays from May 4 to September 28 (singita.com). Operators: Gold Medal has added Kenya for the ﬁrst time with options including the recently updated Mala Mala Game Reserve (malamala.com) and Fairmont Mara Safari Club (fairmont.com/masai-mara-safari). Sister brand Travel 2 has added Londolozi Private Game Reserve, on the edge of South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park, to its Simply Luxury offering (londolozi.com/en/).
Where to book it NATURAL WORLD SAFARIS – 01273 691 642 The nine-day Great Parks of Zambia Luxury Safari, from £7,150pp, is centred on Liuwa Plains. Guests stay at the new King Lewanika Lodge, Chinzombo Safari Camp and bush camp. naturalworldsafaris.com RANCH RIDER – 01509 618 811
The seven-night African Explorer Safari features four nights at Camp Davidson, South Africa, and three nights at Tuli Block Camp, Botswana. From £1,779 departing June 23. ranchrider.com
Mediterranean Malta offers North African temperatures, Italian and Arab influenced food and British pints, says Jeannine Williamson
t’s just a 25-minute ferry ride from the main island of Malta, but as our tour bus starts to wind through Gozo’s narrow village streets it’s like taking a step back in time. Fishing and agriculture are the main industries on Malta’s sleepy green sister island, and sea salt has been produced for centuries at the coastal village of Marsalforn. We stop to buy a bag, wrapped in hessian, and photograph the salt pans glistening in the sun. Gozo’s just nine miles long and half as wide, so it doesn’t take long to reach the landmark UNESCO-listed Ggantija Temples, one of Malta’s most important archaeological sites. Our guide tells us they are the world’s oldest freestanding structures, pre-dating Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids by more than 1,000 years. Outside we buy inexpensive scarves and woollens knitted by villagers and home-made cactus jam.
Safe and sound Maltese history has been shaped by many inﬂuences, including Roman, Greek, Arab, French and, lastly, British. Familiar trappings red telephone boxes, driving on the left and beer sold in pints are part of the Mediterranean island’s appeal among UK travellers. With the capital Valletta gearing up to becoming European Capital of Culture 2018, there’s no better time for agents to sell the destination. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the death of diver Jacques Cousteau, and Phil North, Brand Manager, Dive Worldwide, predicts 2017 will see a lot of interest in diving, for which Malta is renowned. The operator offers seven-night learn to dive trips from £745pp. Classic Collection Holidays says that Malta sales are running at more than 40% up yearon-year. Peter Cox, Purchasing Manager, said: “Malta may be small, but it’s packed full of
sights. UNESCO describes Valletta as one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.”
Perfect ten Sunny days: Averaging 12 hours of daily sunshine in summer and six in winter, Malta is a year-round destination. St John’s Co-Cathedral: Valletta’s ornate cathedral is home to two of the Italian artist Caravaggio’s most important works. Marvellous Mdina: Malta’s ﬁrst capital has imposing fortiﬁed walls leading to a labyrinth of medieval and baroque streets. Religious tourism: One of the oldest centres of Christianity, with around 356 churches, Malta welcomes plenty of spiritual seeking and religious tourists. Set sail: Recommend an inexpensive harbour cruise on a dghajsa, a traditional wooden boat once used to ferry sailors ashore.
Glorious food: Maltese cuisine is a tasty melting pot created by the many nationalities that have occupied the island. Dive down: Malta offers some of the best diving in the Mediterranean with warm waters, excellent visibility, wrecks and caves. Charming Comino: Sandwiched between Malta and Gozo, Comino is famous for its Blue Lagoon, a natural inlet with clear, azure waters. Sensational spas: Malta’s spa legacy goes back to the rejuvenating baths of Roman times and most hotels have spas. Step out: One of the best ways of discovering Malta is on foot and ideal walking seasons are spring and autumn.
What’s new Tour operators: Kirker Holidays (kirkerholidays. com) has added the four-star Palazzo Consiglia to its programme. The 15-room boutique property, with a rooftop terrace and swimming pool, is within walking distance of Valletta’s main sights. Single travel specialists Solos (solosholidays.co.uk) has introduced Malta to its SunPlus programme with featured excursions including a city tour, boat trip and wine tasting. The seven-night package, with B&B and some meals, leads in at £1,119pp with flights and single occupancy accommodation. Superbreak (superbreak.com/agents) has launched a new fully commissionable excursion package. Ultimate Malta, priced at £99pp when added to stays of three nights or more, includes an excursion to Mediterraneo Marine Park, jeep safari and harbour cruise, including transfers. Accommodation: The iconic five-star Phoenicia Malta (campbellgrayhotels.com) reopens at Easter following a 16-month, €15m renovation. A recent addition to the CampbellGray Hotels portfolio, the relaunch will herald a new era for the 136room property in Valletta, with a new health club and spa being added later this year. B&B rates start from around £217 per room, per night.
Events: Savvy agents can start selling packages to coincide with the host of celebrations and special events taking place during Valetta’s 2018 reign as European Capital of Culture (valletta2018.org).
Tourism talk “UK visitor numbers last year increased more than other country, with 28,588 more people visiting than in 2015. With the relaunch of the Phoenicia Hotel in the spring and new seat capacity planned from various UK regions, we expect tourism to the island to continue at a rapid pace. Our focus is on families with teenagers, the young generation interested in the music scene, the LGBT community and Valletta as a city break destination and we will continue to drive these throughout 2017 and beyond.” Peter Vella, Director UK & Ireland, Malta Tourism Authority
Where to book it
Previous page: The Blue Hole and Azure Window in Gozo. This page, clockwise from top left: The historical town of Mdina; the structures of Mnajdra megalithic temple are some of the best preserved of Malta’s historic sites; cruising into Birgu
KIRKER HOLIDAYS – 020 7593 2288 The three-night stay at the Palazzo Consiglia is priced from £566pp, including flights from London (regional departures also available), B&B accommodation and the Kirker Concierge service to book expert local guides or a restaurant for dinner. kirkerholidays.com SAGA – 0800 074 8021 The seven-night special interest Discover Art History in Malta itinerary is priced from £979pp, with all-inclusive accommodation and a free bar at the four-star Seashells Resort at Suncrest Hotel, 11 visits to attractions including the Grand Master’s Palace and St Paul’s Shipwreck Church, three lectures, flights and transfers. travel.saga.co.uk
“Malta may be small but it’s packed full of impressive sights. UNESCO describes Valletta as one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world” Patrick Millar, marketing manager kirker
TA L K I N G S H O P
-INSPIRED BY YOUThe stuff that happens when agents get involved...
Premier has more of Canada SPOTLIGHT ON...
PREMIER HOLIDAYS' latest Canada Brochure has a number of new tours and excursions across the country. Options in Alaska, USA, have also been added. Valid until March 2018, the operator’s latest Canada offering also introduces Yukon, with new self-drive tours showcasing Canada's Gold Country, twinned with time in Alaska. The brochure features more comprehensive destination information to help agents better sell each of Canada’s regions. Premier's Dave Kneale and Carly Charteris are pictured launching the new brochure. trade.premierholidays.co.uk
Visit Orlando's big
Contents 20 Face to Face 22-23 On Location 24 Been There, Done That
Titan support TITAN TRAVEL
THREE new executives have joined Titan’s agent support team. Richard Wilson will work with Scottish agents and Michelle Halsey will cover south-west England and South Wales. Based in Titan’s head ofﬁce, Alana Jones will liaise with other agents nationwide and will visit those in London and Berkshire. titanagents.co.uk
Where am I?
VISIT Orlando's 2017 roadshow will be its largest programme to date, visiting 10 cities across the UK and, for the ﬁrst time, Dublin. The events, held in association with partners Walt Disney World in Florida, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Universal Orlando Resort, will feature
one-stop training sessions on the destination for travel agents. The roadshow kicks off on March 6 in Manchester and concludes on March 30 in Dublin. The evenings will update agents on some of the largest expansions the parks have ever undergone, including Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando and Pandora – World
hts y Nevis nig Free luxur
Paradise Beach in Nevis is offering travel agents the chance to earn one free night’s stay for every booking of four nights or more they make to the luxury resort. The promotion is valid from now until May 31 2017 and for travel up to November 30. The incentive is accumulative, so agents are rewarded with a complimentary night for each booking they register.
of Avatar at Animal Kingdom. Agents attending will also have the chance to land a place on Visit Orlando’s VIP Superfam in the autumn, the 10th anniversary of the fam, along with other prizes. For further information and to attend the event visit: visitorlandoevent.cvent.com/roadshow17
THE Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) has a current digital campaign for the UK market entitled ‘Where Am I?’ The campaign showcases Ontario’s icons with the aim of driving trafﬁc to whereami.com and increasing awareness of the Canadian province.
Keep in mind...
& 26 April AMAZING THAILAND ROADSHOWS Tourism Thailand will be bringing together hotels, airlines, DMCs and tour operators on two April evenings that will include workshop-style speed-dating, Thai food and drinks and the chance to win a fam trip to Thailand. Spaces for the Manchester and Chester events are limited. firstname.lastname@example.org
COMING UP & ENDING SOON
March SELLING TRAVEL DESTINATION DIALOGUE Make contacts and meet industry colleagues at Selling Travel's Botswana event in Bristol. Discover more about the Southern African destination and its attractions over some nibbles and drink. Some great Botswana prizes will be up for grabs on the night. sellingtravel.co.uk
More online at sellingtravel.co.uk/events
FA C E T O FA C E 20
Barbara@thesussextravelcompany.co.uk 01403 276684
'February was a record breaker' Australia was big for us in February. It is such a huge continent that unless “We like to welcome you have visited several our friends from the times you generally need to call upon others in the trade to the office to industry for help. But hear their updates” luckily we had some great help from Gabriella at JTA on a Christmas and New Year IT took us just 10 days booking, as well as the girls from of February for us to smash our ANZCRO and First Class Holidays. 2016 sales ﬁgure for the month - and These tailor-made multi-centres can I don’t think we were the only ones. sometimes send us slightly round We have had a cracking two the twist, but they are always worth months, although we still had plenty it and I for one usually learn new of issues with ﬂights being dropped, things by doing them. changed or cancelled. Still, the true Again, this is an area where agents value of booking with a travel agent come into their own and where comes into its own when these things consumers start to realise that happen. After all, we are, in effect, also maybe there is more to having a crisis managers. We just need to keep travel adviser than they thought! telling the ‘DIY public’ that.
CAPE VERDE AND OZ We have seen a resurgence of bookings for Cape Verde as an alternative to the Canaries for some winter sun. For the beach ﬂoppers it is perfect, with two charter airlines ﬂying there during the winter months from Gatwick. It is just a shame that Thomas Cook has pulled its summer route as we had to re-book some prebooked May clients.
DAY TRIP TO BRIGHTON My two colleagues and I recently took a trip down to Brighton one cold winter evening and were transported (sort of!) to the Caribbean by Andrew Hillier and Debbie Walker of Destination Representation. As always with these two hosts, the training went well. The prize draws were based on a series of game shows and after all the lovely prizes had gone there
was just one left: a pair of mangoes. You guessed it, it was my name that was drawn out for the booby prize! Still, I had just started a healthy eating plan so they didn’t go to waste!
COME SEE US! We always like to welcome our friends from the industry to the ofﬁce because they give us great updates on their product. Tanya and I were treated to a lovely lunch by Gary from Travelpack, for all the bookings we put their way over the last year. It was quite handy having Ami Neve from Red Carnation Hotels popping in to see us, not least because I have booked an anniversary stay for my husband and I at its glorious Summer Lodge in Dorset. I'm looking forward to relaxing and being wined and dined at this Grade II-listed rural property. We also welcomed Kelly and Costandinos from Columbia Heights in Cyprus, to tell us how they are combining their two hotels. I am looking forward to seeing the ﬁnished property when it opens later in the year. Craig from Cape Verde Funway is a great alterna tive to popped in the Canaries! to say hello
and update us on the company’s products, in particular its bigger-than-ever Caribbean programme, which now has its own brochure with a variety of properties (not just Sandals). Last but not least, the lovely Kobi from Ethiad also made a ﬂying visit! have to say I would love to ﬂy with this airline to Australia. I really hope that I keep going long enough to retire and spend a lot of it travelling the world!
selling well Australia is and her for Barbara team
FANCY A JOB? It is now six months since I returned to working in a face-to face-environment after 14 years of working from home, and the return to an independent shop has been wonderful. We have got busier and busier and are looking for another part-timer to come and join us in Happy Horsham. So, if you are experienced and want to work just three days a week to regain that work/life balance, we would love to hear from you. Spread the word as we are very nearly frazzled here!
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.
O N L O C AT I O N
Bush and beach combine in South Africa WHAT: EDUCATIONAL VISIT TO DURBAN, KWAZULU - NATAL WHEN: NOVEMBER 16-25 2016 WHO: EZEMVELO KZN WILDLIFE, AMG REPRESENTATION, ETIHAD AIRWAYS WHY: SHOWCASE UNIQUE AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS AND VIEW LOCAL WILDLIFE
THE HOSTS AMG, in association with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Etihad Airways, hosted an educational fam to KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province in South Africa.
THE TRIP At Sodwana Bay, L-R: Rhona Finch, Tracey Hunter, Alex Roberts and Grainne Sheffer
Four UK tour operators visited the province on a week-long trip that introduced them to properties
managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, an organisation entrusted with the long-term conservation of the region's rich diversity, wildlife and natural resources. The group comprised a selected group: Dive Worldwide, 2by2 Holidays, Barrhead Travel and Travel Nation, together with the Ezemvelo KZN representative in the UK, Natalie de la Porte of AMG. Following their ï¬‚ight with Etihad, via Abu Dhabi, to Durban the group stayed for one night at the aha Gateway Hotel in Umhlanga, near Durban, followed by six nights at three of the most popular Ezemvelo KZN Wildife resort properties. The week-long itinerary included the opportunity to explore a range of the adventure activities EKW
O N L O C AT I O N
offers in KZN, including a stay at the Hilltop Resort and a safari in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park safari, the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa; game viewing in Ithala Game Reserve, one of the area’s most unique and undiscovered gems; and the chance to dive in one of the world’s top dive locations, Sodwana Bay on the north coast.
excellent-value accommodation. The game viewing at both Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park and Ithala Game Reserve was exceptional and extremely diverse. "It is rare to ﬁnd such a wild and unspoilt beach with excellent diving so close to a prime safari area, but Sodwana Bay offers exactly this."
What they said... “Sodwana Bay is a beautiful unspoilt jewel four hours' north of Durban. It is famous for its diving and whether you are an experienced diver or want to do your PADI course, this is the place for it.” Grainne Sheffer, Travel Nation “Hilltop accommodation was wonderful: nice rooms with a small lounge area and good bathroom facilities which did not
"SODWANA BAY IS A BEAUTIFUL UNSPOILT JEWEL NORTH OF DURBAN"
detract from being in the bush but did
Natalie de la Porte commented: “This educational was a fantastic opportunity for these specialist operators to experience a taste of the exceptional wildlife and game-viewing opportunities on offer with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife – and all the reserves were easily and conveniently accessible from
provide a decent level of comfort.” Alexander Roberts, Dive Worldwide “The scenery in Ithala Reserve was spectacular, with ancient rock formations surrounding the reserve. We saw rhinos, giraffes, buffalos, zebras and impalas.” Rhona Finch, 2by2 Holidays
A South Beach Icon, Reimagined… Experience elevated comfort and sophisticated style at the newly redesigned Loews Miami Beach Hotel! Located in the heart of South Beach’s vibrant Art Deco District, the renowned, oceanfront resort recently completed an exciting $50 million renovation. From the spectacular new lobby showcasing commissioned works of art, to beautifully transformed guestrooms, an enhanced pool deck with direct beach access new dining options, a state-of-the-art Kids Club and more, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy. loewshotels.com
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BEEN THERE done that
Up for the cup p
Making the most of Miami
TO promote its free afternoon tea offer, SuperBreak’s sales team have been taking in afternoon tea to selected agents around the UK. Pictured are Donna Smithson, Business Development Manager at SuperBreak (left) and Jessica Lucas, Sales and Marketing Manager at Cannon Travel, Hoddesdon. superbreak.com
Mammoth effort for Air Europa AIR Europa, along with the Miami Tourism Office, organised a recent fam trip to Miami visiting different properties and discovering the city to promote sales to the destination. Attending the trip, and pictured from left, are Brian Morris (BM Crescent), Patricia Sandall (PS At Work), Max Campos (Air Europa UK), Evelyn Lane (First PR), Jade Poole (Banka Sadler), Paul Ratcliffe (Conference Contacts) and Neville Julien (Reed and Mackay). aireuropa.com A
SeaWorld sounds great BECKY Cooley (left) from Thomas Cook Wallasey won a pair of Beats By Dre Powerbeats Wireless earphones by completing the SeaWorld Parks Training Course and becoming a SeaWorld Parks Expert. The training course is hosted on the SeaWorld trade website, agents can sign up at seaworldagents.co.uk
RIVIERA Travel has announced the godmothers for two new ships following a competition open to agents in the UK and Ireland. Christina Astill (pictured) from Go-Cruise has been selected as Godmother to the MS Emily Brontë and Tracey Scales from Travel Counsellors takes on the role for MS Thomas Hardy. The winners will christen the ships in Amsterdam. agents.rivieratravel.co.uk B LOS Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LAT&C), along with sponsor Air New Zealand, hosted a private screening of La La Land at The Soho Hotel to mark the release of the modern musical. Key LAT&C partners A
were in attendance in well as trade including Trailfinders, Quintessentially Travel and Discover North America. Pictured are, from left, Jules Maury Scott (Scott Dunn Private), Sophie Wynn Williams and Sam Mullen (both Quintessentially Travel) and Francine Sheridan (LAT&C). discoverlosangeles.com/lalaland C TO celebrate the launch of Qatar Airway’s route form Doha to Auckland, the carrier created a 3D artwork at Brent Cross shopping centre, London. Pictured are, from left, Shereen Fada (Qatar Airways), Ataraiti Waretini (Tourism New Zealand) and Angela Muteanu (Qatar Airways).
∩ Badlands & the beautiful south - Let the Albertan adventure begin -
AT H A B A S CA G LA C I E R
D AY F O U R : DRUMHELLER BANFF
D AY O N E & TWO: LA K E LO U I S E
C AL GARY
D AY T H R E E : CANMORE
Alberta’s landscapes lend themselves effortlessly to a soft adventure itinerary. Recommend a motorhome or highlight the province’s range of comfy camping and O-TENTik (pre-pitched) options.
ROCKING IN THE ROCKIES DAY ONE & TWO: With a ﬂight into Calgary, a short one hour 30 minutes drive will put clients almost instantly at the heart of the Rockies, in Banff. Here they can explore the UNESCOranked Banff National Park, ride the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain for panoramic views, take the challenge of the Via Ferrata soft adventure climb or cruise away on Lake Minnewanka. The drive onwards leads towards the quintessential village of Lake Louise (40 minutes), renowned for the stunning lake views and nearby Moraine Lake before turning onto the iconic Iceﬁelds Parkway for excursions aboard the Athabasca Glacier Ice Explorer Bus and on to Jasper.
IMAGES COURTESY OF TRAVEL ALBERTA IMAGE LIBRARY
OUTBACK OR DOWNTOWN DAY THREE: Just 25 minutes from Banff is Canmore for rock-climbing tours and canoe trips, the Yamnuska Wolf Dog Sanctuary and the chance to have a go at ice hockey with Pinnacle Hockey. Alternatively, visitors can head straight to Calgary (one hour 30 minutes) for the city buzz, food or brewery tours, and time in the Heritage Park Historical Village or Winsport Olympic Parks.
DINOSAUR DAYS DAY FOUR: Out of the city or beyond Canmore (an hour and a half) canyons and wind-scraped
DINOSAUR PROVINCIAL PA R K
LANDSCAPE AND CULTURAL DISCOVERY
D AY T E N : HEAD SMASHED I N B U F F A LO JUMP
D AY S E V E N : LETHBRIDGE
D AY F I V E : M E D I C I N E H AT D AY S I X : CY P R E S S H I L L & P R OV I N C I A L PA R K
D AY E I G H T & NINE: WAT E RT O N
hoodoos come into view and visitors ﬁnd themselves in Drumheller in the Canadian Badlands. Here they can check out the Royal Tyrrell Museum and Dinosaur Provincial Park for a look back to pre-historic times, hunting and casting fossils.
MEDICINE TIME DAY FIVE: Canada’s sunniest city, is set on a lush river valley and offers historic sites and unspoilt trails to explore. Time it right and visitors can also join the World Professional Chuckwagon Races or the Medicine Hat Stampede held here annually.
HEAD TO THE HILLS DAY SIX: Cypress Hills rises 600 metres above the plains in southeastern Alberta and is home to the province’s ﬁrst Dark Sky Preserve. Stop here and visitors can hike in untouched landscapes,
star gaze at clear wide skies and camp out or book in for some home comforts in the Elkwater Lake Lodge.
BLACKFOOT INSIGHTS DAY SEVEN: Two and a half hours on is the Writing on Stone Provincial Park where visitors can see ancient rock art and explore the stories of the Blackfoot people before heading on to Lethbridge for a peek at Fort Whoop Up, once an infamous American trading post.
LAKELANDS DAY EIGHT & NINE: Waterton Lakes National Park is Alberta’s smallest Rocky Mountain park but it is big on scenic splendour, with impressive lakes and waterfalls, easy trails and canoe hire, canyons to hike and boat cruises
SMASHING SITES DAY TEN: On the three-hour drive from Waterton to Calgary, recommend a stop at Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, an historic First Nations heritage site.
Las Vegas – the city that doesn’t sleep or stand still –
Be a high roller The Linq Promendade, on The Strip, has over 30 dining, entertainment and shopping experiences, anchored by the world’s tallest observation wheel, the High Roller. caesars.com/thelinq
Time for tee Over four levels with 108 hitting bays, two pools, bars and a concert venue, Topgolf is a fun, interactive golﬁng experience, plus food and cocktails to power your swing. topgolf.com
Come fly with me Take a ﬂight over the Strip with Maverick Helicopters, before heading to the Mojave Desert and Hoover Dam, and landing in the awesome Grand Canyon for a champagne picnic. maverickhelicopter.co.uk
It’s showtime From Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE to the intimate cabaret experience of Baz: Star Crossed Love, Las Vegas really puts on a show like no other city. palazzo.com; cirquedusoleil.com
Set your motor Feel the need for speed? SPEEDVEGAS on South Las Vegas Boulevard, is the place for an adrenalinpumping ride in the supercar of your choice. Mine’s a Ferrari 458 please.
rom the dazzling lights of the Strip to sunrise over the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas keeps visitors entertained from dusk ’til dawn, says Lauren Jarvis
Big, brash and bold… the travel advisory for visitors to Vegas should deﬁnitely include ‘sleep before you go’ because snoozing is way down the priority list in the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’. Since its golden Rat Pack days, this shimmering 24-hour Mecca in the middle of Nevada’s Mojave desert has been a hedonistic playground; its casinos, bars and nightlife attracting high-rollers, dreamers, writers and musicians, many so entranced by ‘Sin City’ they never leave. But while many still come for the retro charm of the roulette wheels and wedding chapels, Vegas is always evolving, offering world-class resorts, Michelin-star chefs, Broadway-worthy shows, stylish nightclubs and unique experiences. “Las Vegas appeals to a whole range of demographics, due to the pace that the city evolves when reacting to new travel trends,” says Russell Meara, UK Senior Sales & Marketing Account Director for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. “It’s drawing the millennial market, with its burgeoning EDM (Electronic Dance Music) scene, and shifting away from the casinos. It’s also drawing an adventurous crowd, who enjoy the city’s proximity to national parks, wide open spaces and adrenaline-fuelled activities, both on and off the Strip.”
USAIRTOURS – 0800 0350149
A four-night stay includes direct ﬂights from Gatwick with norwegian and accommodation at the Four Seasons Las Vegas, based on two people sharing. A Maverick ‘wind-dancer’ Grand Canyon helicopter tour costs an additional £484pp. usairtours.co.uk
WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT? Already boasting over 150,000 hotel rooms, Las Vegas recently added several new luxury resorts to its portfolio, including W Las Vegas (wlasvegas.com), while old favourites such as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (hardrockhotel.com) and Tropicana (troplv.com) have both recently unveiled multimilliondollar renovations. “Last year we set a new all-time visitation record, welcoming 42.9 million visitors to Las Vegas,” says Meara. “With new hotel openings like Lucky Dragon Resort & Casino (luckydragonlv.com), Resorts World (genting.com) and Alon Las Vegas (crownresorts.com.au), plus the rebrand of the Monte Carlo into Park MGM and NoMad Hotel (lasvegas.com/UK), it certainly doesn’t look like visitor numbers will slow anytime soon.” And with 30 direct ﬂights a week, it’s never been easier to get there, making it a great destination for a mini-break with the girls, your Wolf Pack (ED: please see cult Las Vegas-set ﬁlm The Hangover for explanation) or your partner. Norwegian’s ﬂeet of brand-new Boeing 787 Dreamliners now ﬂy twice-weekly to Vegas from Gatwick, offering the cheapest fares to the destination with a choice of premium or economy class.
Grand Canyon Seeing is Believing!
go Downtown The Downtown district is in the midst of a $350 million transformation. This is where ‘Old Vegas’ originally boomed, and the boulevards around buzzing Fremont Street will appeal to lovers of classic Americana, with their über-kitsch flashing signs and Victorian-era casino-hotels. The accessibly hip Downtown Grand hotel (downtowngrand.com) makes guests feel distinctly local and offers the chance to play some slots, take a rooftop dip in the retro pool, and stroll to neighbourhood eatery, Glutton (gluttonlv.com) for a Vegas-style, burstyour-breeches brunch. Nearby, the Mob Museum (themobmuseum.org) features interactive exhibits and iconic films from its criminal underworld days while the Neon Museum ‘boneyard’ is where Las Vegas retires its legendary lightbulb-laden signs. Container Park (downtowncontainerpark.com) has independent boutiques, bars and galleries hosted in shipping containers.
Grand Canyon National Park • Hoover Dam • Indian Country Grand Canyon West • Grand Canyon Overnight Packages • Group Charters • Grand Canyon Overnight with the Grand Canyon Railway +1 702 361 7628 www.grandcanyontourandtravel.com email@example.com
Grand Canyon.indd 1
THE MOST FUN DRIVING ADVENTURES ANYWHERE!
Up all night Mariah, Britney and Jennifer Lopez all currently have residencies in town while Gordon Ramsay has opened his fourth Vegas restaurant at The Linq (gordonramsayrestaurants. com). Japanese master chef Masaharu Morimoto is wowing guests at the MGM Grand’s Morimoto Las Vegas (mgmresorts.com) – So don’t forget: sleeping’s cheating!
AMAZING GROUP EVENTS FOR UP TO 1,000 PEOPLE! FREE SHUTTLE
Working in partnership
GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS
Training, competitions, events March 2017
THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES
Get your thinking cap on with Thailand EVENT
Quick Quiz Are you a Hawai'i Expert?
1. Kaua‘i is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands. TRUE / FALSE
TOURISM Thailand will be joining PATA UK this month for a selection of quiz nights. The fun evenings provide agents with the opportunity to network with tourism boards. Food and drink is provided and agents have the chance to win some fantastic prizes. The events are in Guildford on March 29 and Southampton on March 30. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. training.tourismthailand.co.uk
Fancy a visit to a Caribbean jewel?
2. O‘ahu is an ideal choice for the first-time visitor. TRUE / FALSE
Answers: 1: True 2: True
LAS Vegas welcomes a new attraction this month with the Guinness Perfect Pint Experience. The attraction, which is housed in the newly renovated Guinness Store, informs visitors about the history of the beverage. As the name suggests it also shows guests the six steps to pouring a perfect pint of the black stuff. It is the only official Guinness store of its kind outside of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. Ticket prices start at $20pp.
Jewel Resorts I Modules: 1 JEWEL Resorts, in association with the Jamaica Tourist Board, is giving one lucky agent the chance to visit Jamaica on a fam trip! The winner will get to experience the entire Jewel portfolio, including: Jewel Dunn's River, Jewel Paradise Cove, Jewel Runaway Bay and Hilton Rose Hall. To be in with a chance of winning agents must register their bookings to any Jewel property at jewelagents.com. The top-selling agent will grab the place. The competition closes on March 30. Visit the training programme to gen up on Jamaica – make a push on those island sales and secure your spot on this fam trip of a lifetime! jewelresortstraining.com
Fancy a pint?
Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!
Can you fathom it? WINNER
THE Cayman Islands Academy celebrated its 1500th user this month by handing the agent a very special gift! Congratulations to Joanne Maunder of Thomson Travel, Newton Abbot, who won a bottle of Seven Fathoms Rum. Seven Fathoms is made in white oak barrels and anchored underwater 42 feet (exactly seven fathoms) deep at a secret location off the Cayman coast. The academy is a great place to learn about the alternative but distinctly Caribbean experience offered by the Cayman Islands. caymanislandsacademy.com
New Puerto Rico Pros win big
Puerto Rico Pro I Modules: 4
Qatar flies to the Seychelles FLIGHTS
THE Seychelles is looking forward to welcoming a rush of visitor arrivals thanks to a new service from Qatar Airways. The daily flight, which departs Doha at 02:40, helps cement Qatar's place as a premium stopover destination. It lands at 08:50 local Seychelles time. For more on the sunny East African island retreat that is the Seychelles, or Qatar, one of the Middle East's rising stars, check out their training programmes.
PUERTO Rico Pro doled out 20 bottles of Bacardi Carta Blanca (70cl) rum to agents who signed up to its training programme on launch. The winners included agents from Virgin, Thomson, Cosmos and Travel 2, who all nabbed themselves a tasty sip of the island's culture and heritage! More rum is on oﬀer to those agents who sign up – take the programme today and you will be automatically entered into the next prize draw. Puerto Rico Pro is the number one place to gain knowledge on the destination and its four modules cover: key facts, locations, holiday types and how to sell the destination. Sign up today to be in with a chance of winning! puertoricopro.co.uk
A-Z of available courses AMResorts Alaska Anguilla Antigua & Barbuda Aruba Avis Car Hire Beachcomber Tours Beaches Resorts Botswana Boucan Butlins California Caribbean Cayman Islands Centara Hotels & Resorts 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
flights to asia
Travelling to Asia has never been easier, says Benjamin Coren, who highlights the best-connected destinations
flights to asia
emand for ﬂights to Asian destinations F1 fans can see the Chinese Grand Prix in is growing and the number of ﬂights to early April and must-see sites include the the region from the UK is immense. In Oriental Pearl Tower, and a walk along the fact, wherever your clients are travelling there Bund, with it’s excellent views of the city. is likely to be a range of options to consider Hong Kong for both getting there and around the region. Hong Kong is probably the bestPopular destinations such as China, connected city of any in Asia, with Singapore, Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong numerous services from the UK. have long been blessed with excellent nonFollowing last year’s launch, Cathay Paciﬁc stop services from the UK, but new routes now makes the journey four times a week from from regional airports have been added in London Gatwick (LGW) and Manchester (MAN), the last year and capacity has grown too. and a staggering ﬁve times a day from Heathrow. Singapore Airlines, for example, has From June 2017, Cathay’s Gatwick route will begin ﬂying non-stop between Manchester become a daily operation, while ﬂights between and Singapore, while Cathay Paciﬁc is Manchester and Hong Kong will increase to increasing capacity from both Manchester ﬁve per week. Currently, the Gatwick route and Gatwick to Hong Kong this summer. exclusively features the new A350 and the The regional networks of Asian airlines are aircraft will serve the Manchester route in June. vast too, making more off-the-beaten-track Additionally, British Airways operates a destinations easy to get to and multi-centre twice-daily service from trips easy to plan. Heathrow to Hong Kong Recent ﬁgures have while Virgin Atlantic also shown rising “It’s a great time for agents to be makes the journey visitor numbers selling Korea with Pyeongchang from Heathrow daily. from the UK to Asian destinations and Winter Olympics just around the Elsewhere, Tianjin Airlines operates two tourist boards are corner. This puts agents in a working to further perfect position to recommend ﬂights a week (rising to three this summer) from boost these numbers Korea to their clients” Gatwick to Chongqing with increased SEUNGHYUN HWANG, DIRECTOR OF KOREA TOURISM and on to Tianjin, and marketing presence ORGANISATION, LONDON OFFICE is set to launch ﬂights and tax-free shopping. to X’ian in May. China Japan, for Southern operates a example, is now daily service from Heathrow to Guangzhou. considered more affordable. The recent Bustling Hong Kong is packed with attractions Post Ofﬁce Travel Money Report reinforced and excursions. First-timers can get their this point with the addition of Tokyo in its bearings with ﬁne views from Victoria Peak, top ten best value destinations for 2017. accessible by riding the Peak Tram; take a Asia is brimming with culture, fabulous trip on the Star Ferry across the harbour; cuisine, fascinating history and hospitable or journey up to the Po Lin Monastery and people. With so many bucket list locations see the giant Tian Tan Buddha statue. spread across the vast continent, travellers Families will enjoy days out at Hong Kong will certainly want to return. Disneyland or Ocean Park Hong Kong.
One of the largest countries in the world, China is home to a number of major tourism destinations, many of which are served by direct ﬂights from the UK. British Airways operates a daily service to Beijing (PEK) from London Heathrow (LHR). Additionally, Air China ﬂies from Heathrow to Beijing 14 times a week and Hainan ﬂies four times a week from Manchester (MAN). Virgin Atlantic and China Eastern Airlines operate daily services to Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG) from Heathrow and British Airways operates nine ﬂights a week. Visitors ﬂying into Beijing can experience sites such as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and also enjoy excursions to the iconic Great Wall of China. In Shanghai,
Main picture: Lotte World amusement park in Seoul, South Korea; Above: Samcheong Dong Street, Seoul
JAPAN’S ONLY 5-STAR AIRLINE
ANA is Japan’s largest airline and one of only nine airlines to have been awarded a 5-star rating from Skytrax. ANA flies daily from London Heathrow’s Terminal 2 to Haneda, Tokyo’s most central airport.
From Haneda, a hub for 40 of ANA’s domestic routes and 21 of its international routes, ANA also connects you to Sydney with a daily non-stop flight.
And it’s all By Design.
flights to asia
There are a large number of daily ﬂights from Heathrow to both Tokyo Haneda (HND) and Narita (NRT) airports. All Nippon Airways (ANA), British Airways and Japan Airlines each operate a daily service to Tokyo Haneda. British Airways additionally operates a daily service to Tokyo Narita. Japan Airlines also work with British Airways, Finnair and Iberia, connecting 65 European cities to Japan. Japan Airline’s direct and indirect ﬂights depart Heathrow morning, noon and night. The Rugby World Cup will be held in Japan in 2019 and is sure to be a draw for UK visitors. Two new luxury sightseeing trains, both commencing in Tokyo, are due to come into service this spring. Visitors to the capital city should take a trip up the Tokyo Skytree and visit the Meiji Jingu Shrine. The Tsukiji Fish Market will reward early risers with a unique glimpse at the morning ﬁsh trade.
South Korea From left: The Star Ferry regularly travels between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island; Hirosaki Castle in the Cherry blossom, Aomori, Japan
Korean Air operates a daily service to Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN) from London Heathrow with
connecting services throughout Asia. British Airways currently ﬂies to Seoul ﬁve times a week and Asiana operates a daily service – both carriers operate from Heathrow. First time visitors to Korea should consider visiting Seoul, Busan and Gyeongju, collectively known as Korea’s Golden Triangle. Seoul is an alternative stopover destination to Hong Kong, Singapore and a number of other Asian destinations.
flights to asia
At the time of printing, tickets are currently on sale for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games taking place in Pyeongchang.
“Haneda is located almost in the centre of Tokyo so it’s convenient to start your day. Fly by Japanese national carriers ANA or JAL and you are eligible to purchase special domestic fares” YUMI TAKAKUBO, HEAD OF TRADE PARTNERSHIPS AND MARKETING, JNTO
Clockwise from top left: Statue of a god in a traditional Chinese temple in Taiwan; Bangkok’s famous Khao San Road; Zongzi Chinese rice dumplings; the Rainbow Mountains in the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, China
There are plenty of direct ﬂights to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) from Heathrow. Currently, Thai Airways, British Airways and EVA Air offer direct services from the airport. Thai ﬂies twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening. British Airways and EVA Air both operate daily services ﬂying seven times a week. Bangkok also operates as a hub for onward journeys to Cambodia, Vietnam and Bali. Many UK visitors to Thailand ﬂy into Bangkok and will travel south to Phuket or Koh Samui for sun and sea, or head north to Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai. Those stopping in Bangkok should consider embracing the bustle of the city and seeing some of its top attractions including Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), The Grand Palace, Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and a visit to the peaceful Jim Thompson House.
Taiwan From Heathrow, EVA Air ﬂies to Taipei (TPE) via Bangkok. This is the only route that operates from the UK itself, but the airline offers connections onwards from Asia. From Taipei, travellers can connect onwards on 132 ﬂights throughout Southeast Asia and
155 in Northeast Asia. EVA Air codeshares with a number of international airlines, including Air Canada, Air China, ANA, Hainan, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines. Taiwan is a diverse country with stunning natural attractions and plenty to do in its capital, Taipei. Taroko Gorge and Taroko National Park are well worth taking a day out to visit too. In Taipei visitors should consider visiting Longshan Temple, the National Palace Museum and a trip to the top of Taipei 101.
Singapore Singapore Airlines operates 28 weekly ﬂights from London Heathrow to Singapore Changi Airport (SIN). It additionally operates ﬁve ﬂights a week from Manchester. Singapore is a great stopover for onward travel to numerous Asian destinations, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. If customers are including a stopover in Singapore, some of the top attractions worth recommending include the lush Gardens by the Bay, the National Gallery Singapore and China Town. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is also a popular attraction and families may enjoy a visit to Universal Studios Singapore and the S.E.A. Aquarium. Even visitors transiting at Changi airport will have plenty to occupy their time as the airport has its own rooftop pool, the world’s tallest airport slide, nature trails and an entertainment zone with a cinema.
FLY TO THE
AND TO THE Palawan, Philippines
Enjoy daily flights from London Heathrow to these exciting destinations via Manila. We make each travel moment more special with the warmth of our smile, our unique hospitality and the Heart that is truly Filipino. Enjoy a comfortable flight with delicious inflight meals and 2-piece baggage allowance of up to 46kg. Plus, enjoy movies, TV shows and music for FREE on your own device with myPAL Player*. Travel with the airline that celebrates the Heart of the Filipino. Download before you fly:
*Bring your own headphones and fully charged gadgets for myPAL Player.
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Val d’Isere - A French favourite with a broad appeal -
amed for its popularity among the wealthy, Val d’Isere actually has slopes and facilities to suit all abilities and a wide range of budgets. And its long and reliable season will help secure a sale, says Julie Baxter Val d’Isere town is located in the heart of the French Alps. With pistes up to 3,456 metres reliable conditions are likely. The associated Espace Killy ski area is the oldest skiing region of the Savoie Alps and hosts many wintersports' competitions. With an average 300 days of sun, there's the bonus of a goggles’ tan along with top-quality restaurants and good nightlife.
SKI DETAILS There are 156 prepared pistes kept in peak condition by over 800 snow canons and served by 90 lifts. This season saw the addition of a state-ofthe-art 10-person gondola with 91 cabins, complete with heated seats and wiﬁ, which increased capacity by 40% and ended peak-hour queues in high season. A new day lodge has also been added along with a new beginners' area supported by a beginners area-only pass for €35 a day. For those looking for an adrenalin rush the Face de Bellevarde is renowned as one of the most challenging slopes in the Alps; while snow parks and bordercross areas add further interest. Full lift passes covering Val d’Isère and Tignes are priced from €55.50 a day or a six-day pass is from €278. A one-day Discovery pass covering Val d’Isère (but not Tignes) costs €49 and clients who
book a week of lessons with a recognised ski school get a six-day Val d’Isère –Tignes pass for €139. To cut the hassle of equipment hire, Snowberry Ski Hire offers in-chalet ﬁttings and equipment deliveries/pick-ups.
OTHER ACTIVITIES Val is renowned for its lively and diverse après-ski scene, from the jumping beats of the Folie Deuce or Coco Rico to quieter pubs and cafes offering beers with tapas snacks, vin chauds and hot chocolates loaded with mountains of Chantilly cream. Toffee vodka and genepy are warming local tipples while crepes, wafﬂes and piping hot bowls of frites help skiers refuel day and night. Numerous restaurants line the main street and range from simple stonebaked pizzas to Michelinstar ﬁne-dining or fun social fondue, hot stone and reclette experiences. For those on a budget, the supermarkets are well equipped for self-catering but encourage clients to at least sample some of the delicious bakery breads, pastries, quiches and tarts. Beyond the slopes, there is ice-skating, an icedriving rink, dog sledding in nearby Tignes and an Olympic swimming centre and spa.
WHERE TO STAY Accommodation is spread along the length of the town and the options range from self-catering studios to ﬁve-star hotels. Those in the centre of town, such as the Alpina Lodge (skifrance.co.uk) with fully-equipped self-catering apartments, offer easiest access to most shops, restaurants and slopes. While properties at either end of the town – Le Fornet or La Daille – also have facilities nearby and easy access to connecting slopes. Recently refurbished, The Balcons de Bellevarde residence (pierreetvacances.com) in La Daille offers south facing apartments with panoramic mountain views. All locations are linked by a free and frequent bus service. For true luxury, ski in-ski out chalet properties or chef catered chalet hotels, as offered by VIP Ski (vip-chalets.com) are also an attractive option.
GETTING THERE The closest airport for Val d’Isere is Chambery, with Geneva and Lyon also good choices. Clients should factor in transfers of around £100 and taking about three hours. Ben’s Bus or Alti Bus usually offer the best value.
my experience in sri lanka
From cuisine to elephants plus a helicopter ride, Karl Cushing provides his Sri Lanka highlights
aving hungrily watched the chef ﬁre dish after delectable dish on his trusty hob, each fresh tempting aroma competing for my attention in the open-sided ﬁeld kitchen, when the opportunity ﬁnally comes to taste his wares I do not need asking twice. I greedily reload my groaning banana leaf until both it and I are ﬁt to burst.
I take from Kandy to Hambantota on the south coast I get to do just that (cinnamonair.com). A whale watching trip out of Mirissa aboard one of Sail Lanka’s (sail-lanka-charter.com) luxury catamarans offers another perspective of the country, peppered by a few brief ﬂeeting glimpses of whale backs.
From visiting the turtle hatchery at Hikkaduwa to bouncing around on a jeep in Yala National Park and swinging by Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, wildlife encounters ﬁgure highly. For some, the experience on offer at Pinnawala is somewhat ‘moribund’, however, Red Dot Tours (reddottours.com), my excellent DMC, recommends clients instead visit the Millennium Elephant Foundation
Sri Lanka’s cuisine, like the country itself, is enjoying a renaissance and this traditional cooking class with Village Rider (villagerider.lk) near Galle, bookended by either a bike or tuk tuk ride, is pure food heaven. It proves a highlight of my November tour, which takes me from Colombo to Kandy down to Hambantota and Yala on the south coast before looping back through Galle and Bentota to Colombo, where gourmet standouts include a crustacean-crammed feast at Ministry of Crab (ministryofcrab.com) and an artisanal tea tasting with TeaELI, ‘Sri Lanka’s ﬁrst designer tea brand’, at Bay Leaf Tea Salon — both unmissable (teaeli.com).
From above The country’s lush mountainous interior cries out to be viewed from the air. Thanks to the seaplane
Kandy break In Kandy, a day tour of major sites such as the Temple of the Tooth make up for the rather touristy Kandyan dancing display I sit through in the rundown Oak Ray Hotel, which was preceded by a salesy visit to the nearby gem museum. Another rare lowpoint was my stay at the surprisingly poorly conceived and badly designed Shangri-La (shangri-la.com/hambantota) in
Hambantota, although golfers will appreciate the adjoining 18-hole Golf & Country Club.
All the Galle More fruitful are my stays at the 53-room Fortress in Galle (thefortress.lk), with its charming boutique stylings and Vivanta by Taj (vivanta.tajhotels.com) in Bentota with its wonderful JIVA Spa where I enjoy a lovely sunset dip after watching the local stilt ﬁshermen at work. Despite its ‘out of the way’ setting, I also enjoy my night at OZO Colombo (ozohotels.com). It’s great value for money, sports a crisp modern look and the rooftop pool and bar are just ace!
Taking shape Being an architecture nerd I am excited to tour Lunuganga, former base of the island’s famously proliﬁc architect Geoffrey Bawa (geoffreybawa.com). Framed by 15 acres of playfully manicured grounds the buildings, near Bentota, are a triumph. As ‘peacetime Sri Lanka’ goes from strength to strength it seems Bawa’s artful vision for the country’s future is ﬁnally taking shape — and by steering clients towards the new breed of exciting excursions and experiences being offered you can help turn a great trip into an unforgettable one.
visit Usa news marCh 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 operator
Virgin has cruise add-on ViRGin Holidays has a three-night pre-cruise stay at the edgewater hotel, Seattle, included in its 10-night Alaska adventure option. Guests then board Ruby Princess for a seven-night cruise. Prices from £1,599pp for departures on May 3 and 10 2017. virginholidays.co.uk theme parK
Roll with it in kissimmee THE only wooden rollercoaster in the Southeast U.S. to include a 'barrel roll' is set to open this summer at Fun Spot America, a theme park in Kissimmee, Florida, The 2,256 ft, 82 ft high ride will reach speeds of of 48.5mph. fun-spot.com; experiencekissimmee.com
The power of rock in Dc OnE of Washington D.C.’s main visitor attractions, newseum, has a major new exhibit: ‘Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics’. Created in partnership with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the exhibit explores how the power of rock has changed attitudes about patriotism, peace, equality and freedom. Through artefacts, images and multimedia experiences, the exhibit examines how music has influenced issues from political campaigns to civil rights. Among the exhibits are John Lennon’s acoustic guitar from his 1969 Montréal and Amsterdam ‘Bed-Ins for Peace’ with Yoko Ono; Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’ jewellery; the Fender Stratocaster Jimi Hendrix used to perform ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock; stage costumes worn by the Village People; and original handwritten lyrics to Bob Dylan’s ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’. Louder Than Words will be on display until July 31. capitalregionusa.co.uk
Tapestry new from Hilton HilTOn'S new 'Tapestry' brand, described as an independent upscale option, will debut in seven U.S cities: Syracuse, Chicago, nashville, Warren (nJ), Hampton, (VA) and two hotels in Indianapolis. Their conversions should be complete later this year. hilton.com
THE USA in brief... hotels THE dualbranded AC Hotels by Marriott and Le Meridien is set to open in the heart of downtown Denver this summer. The 18-story hotel tower, the first new U.S. property to open under the recent Marriott and Starwood merger, will feature a 233-room AC Hotels by Marriott hotel and a 272-room Starwood-branded Le Meridien Hotel. It is due to start welcoming guests in August. achotels.marriott.com
airlines ViRGin Atlantic has become the first UK airline to offer the U.S. TSA Precheck scheme that lets passengers skip security queues when leaving the U.S. With 'TSA Pre' there's no need to remove shoes, jackets or belts and laptops and compliant liquids can remain in the hand luggage. To be eligible UK customers must join the US Global entry Service, which costs $100 plus a £42 fee to the Home Office. virginatlantic.com
attraCtions THE Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in nashville is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017. One of the most visited museums in the U.S. features more than 2.5 million artifacts. On June 26 the museum will open an exhibit devoted to Shania Twain, who has sold more than 90 million albums worldwide. Her hits include 'That Don’t Impress Me Much' and 'Man! I Feel Like a Woman'. countrymusichalloffame.org
Look out for our Visit USA Association online travel Update for the pick of members' news
members spotlight introducing...
Universal Orlando Resort’s ‘Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon’ is set to open on April 6. It will give guests the ‘Tonight Show’ and New York experience as they throw themselves into some of the show’s most popular segments before taking off on a ‘flying theatre’ on a ‘race’ through the Big Apple against Jimmy Fallon. On the way they will encounter landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. universalorlando.co.uk ⊷
THE Museum of the American Revolution, which will tell the story of America's founding, is due to open in Philadelphia in April. Located in the historic heart of the city, it will feature four floors of galleries. With artefacts and various theatres designed to appeal to visitors of all ages, the museum will take visitors on a journey from the roots of conflict to the outbreak of fighting to the Declaration of Independence through the years of warfare to the creation of a new nation in 1776. amrevmuseum.org
Anderson Retail Tourism Marketing Kathy Anderson
BA drinks in New Orleans British Airways is shaking things up ahead of the launch of its new route to New Orleans this month. From March 27 the airline will fly four times weekly between Heathrow and 'The Big Easy' and to mark the occasion it has teamed up with stylish London cocktail bar NOLA to create a New Orleans-inspired cocktail and Creole food menu which will be served to all customers on flights between the two cities from the launch date until April 27. Executive chef Brett Milligan has collaborated with British Airways’ in-house chefs to create courses which blend authentic Deep South flavours alongside traditional cooking techniques. Customers will be able to try drinks such as a Hurricane cocktail, which mixes rum with passionfruit and citrus, and the official cocktail of New Orleans, 'The Sazerac', a distinguished mixture of rye whiskey, sugar, absinthe and bitters. batraveltrade.com; capitalregionusa.co.uk
premier combines alaska and Yukon
Dirty Dancing weekend mountain Lake Lodge in Virginia is offering Dirty Dancing fans the chance to stay on the set of the movie. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the resort has a series of summer themed weekends that include a tour of Baby’s cabin and the fictional Kellerman Resort. Dance lessons are also on offer. mtnlakelodge.com
ALASKA features for the first time in Premier Holidays 2017 Canada brochure. Valid until March 2018, the state is combined with The Yukon, with self-drive tours that showcase how the two destinations can be combined. The 13-night Yukon and Alaska Explorer, priced from £2,899pp, starts in Whitehorse before visiting Alaska’s dramatic landscape. Several hotels in Alaska are also featured. trade.premierholidays.co.uk
When did you become a Visit USA member? The Shops Buckhead Atlanta and River Oaks District Houston became members in 2016, as they launched new tourism programmes for international travellers. Tell us about The Shops Buckhead Atlanta and River Oaks District Houston? Both are luxury shopping destinations surrounded by four- and five-star hotels. They feature a curated collection of iconic designer boutiques such as Dior, Hermes, Tom Ford, Stella McCartney, Brunello Cucinelli, Dolce & Gabana, Harry Winston, Cartier, Roberto Cavalli and more. They also have signature restaurants. What do you offer international visitors? Both offer visitors a Global Access programme, with special offers, complimentary champagne or Prosecco, hotel transfers or valet parking, personal shopping assistance, package delivery to hotels, fittings and expedited alterations, beauty treatments and make-up application and dining discounts. Do you work with UK travel agents? Yes, absolutely! Some agents even create shopping packages with our properties, along with promotions, to win a shopping spree when booking to our destinations. I have been told these initiatives increase bookings by double digits. retailtourism.com
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Travels with my
As the debate rages over whether parents can take their kids away during termtime, value-for-money family holidays have never been more topical, says Clare Walsh
Main picture: More families are looking for enriching, immersive and eco-friendly holidays. Opposite page: A family walk down the Siq towards Petra, Jordan
he icy waters of the Atlantic crash over Closer to home According to the ABTA Travel Trends Report my shoulders as I am propelled forward domestic holidays are expected to further and sent on a thrilling ride across the increase in 2017 and young families waves. The salty spray skims my face as the were found to be the most likely group current bounces me further towards the shore. I may only be body boarding – I’m far too much to take a holiday on home shores. But just a short hop away is fairytaleof a wimp to surf – but the thrill is addictive. I themed Efteling (efteling.com), the largest theme emerge from the water invigorated and excited park in the Netherlands. It saw a substantial to wade back out and experience it all again. increase in UK visitors last year and is looking I’m in one of Europe’s favourite surf to build new relationships with the travel spots: North Cornwall. Having experienced trade. The park will soon open its new indoor countless happy holidays here as a dark ride, Symbolica: Palace of Fantasy. It will child it had always stuck me as a place take guests on a thrilling adventure through with a special aura, a different feel. magical hidden rooms of a royal palace. Maybe it comes from the beautiful quality However, the one thing that Britain and of its evening light that produces electric red northern Europe in general can’t guarantee is sunsets. Or perhaps it’s the magniﬁcent Cornish the weather. Evercoast path and vast popular sunny resorts ocean views that in Spain, Portugal and stretch so far you are “As well as family-friendly Cyprus are expected to sure you can see the perform well again in curve of the earth. Or accommodation Tenerife has 2017, while Tenerife is maybe it’s walking activities to offer the entire back at night under family year round – from theme planning to promote the beneﬁts of its skies strewn with parks to blue flag beaches to leisure credentials stars, where if you whalewatching and stargazing” and year-round sun. look up at the right RICHARD HUME The Hotel Gran time you might just TENERIFE TOURISM CORPORATION Melia Palacio de catch a shooting one. Isora in Tenerife Tintagel, our base (melia.com) recently for the week, is an introduced their ‘Premium Red Level Rooms’ ideal bolt hole for families. Known as the for families, a new service for guests to land of King Arthur, the children in our party enjoy leisure activities and exclusive loved exploring the castle and ‘Merlin’s Cave.’ access to certain areas of the resort. Stories of smugglers added further mystery And the ﬁve-star GL Victoria Suite Hotel and we paid a visit to Jamaica Inn – the setting (victoriasuitehotel.com) is set to open this spring, for Daphne Du Maurier’s famous book. offering 242 luxury suites designed speciﬁcally The author is one of many great for families, plus ziplines and a children’s buffet. writers that England has produced, However, world events last year caused and the theme of VisitBritain for 2017 resorts in the Western Mediterranean to is ‘The Year of Literary Heroes.’ buckle under the pressure of extra bookings, Several family-friendly events around this meaning that alternative destinations have theme are planned across the UK to celebrate emerged now as options for families. anniversaries for cult children’s authors like Cape Verde, for example, offers year-round Enid Blyton, Arthur Ransome and J.K Rowling. sun, spacious beaches and activities like quad biking through dunes. Flight times are less than six hours and those with younger children can beneﬁt from off-peak prices.
Off-track adventures With more families looking to enjoy enriching, immersive and eco-friendly holidays, another key trend of this year is ‘microadventures.’ Africa Collection offers a holiday on a working eco-ranch in Kenya while Andrean Trails has a four-day Amazon Kids Holiday. Alternative desert experiences are available in Jordan, where families can trek into the Wadi Rum desert, stay in a Bedouin camp and explore the landscape that served as a backdrop to the new Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ﬁlm.
Seychelles: The place for families The beauty of the Seychelles Islands is legendary – all 115 of them. Accessible and affordable as never before, Seychelles is a great place to spend quality time with the family. Firstly, there are no visas required from any nationality and you can stay up to a month without extending your visit. Then there’s the fact that Seychelles is considered as the ‘land of perpetual summer’, providing day after day of balmy weather with temperatures rarely descending below 24° or rising above 32° centigrade. A good time for the family is waiting around every corner. The range of accommodation is vast and if you go for the ultimate in tropical pampering at any one of our 5-star resorts or exclusive island hideaways, no effort will be spared to cater to your every whim, including those of your children, as most top hotels offer Kiddies Clubs and programmes of entertainment for the young. The Seychelles Secrets portfolio has now expanded to take in a total of 67 properties spread among the islands, making a Seychelles holiday accessible in terms of budget, authentic in terms of the diverse experiences it offers... and the adventure of a lifetime. Even many smaller hotels and self-caterings offer adjoining rooms and other amenities that are convenient for families. Seychelles also offers excellent swimming and snorkeling in the crystal, welcoming waters just offshore and where you can discover the beauty which lies just beneath the waves. There is also great ﬁshing to be enjoyed in the waters around the island or even a cruise aboard a traditional schooner, catamaran or motor yacht from where you can discover the real beauty of Seychelles – by sea. When it comes to meal time, there is a host of hotels and restaurants to tempt the family palate, with many offering special menus for the young and Seychelles is just the place to indulge in some of the freshest seafood you will ﬁnd anywhere. Far as it is from the madding crowd, Seychelles is just the place to treat your family to a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, where welcoming, friendly smiles, a safe, pristine environment and entertainment galore will give you memories that will never leave you.
Seychelles Tourist Ofﬁce - UK & Ireland 4th Floor, 130-132 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9SA Tel: +44 (0) 207 730 0700 email@example.com www.seychelles.travel Images: © Constance Hotels and Resorts, Seychelles
Celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, Canada is offering visitors free entry into its national parks – from British Columbia to Newfoundland. Kids can hear stories about Indigenous cultures, learn to camp and paddle and solve puzzles on a treasure hunt. Alberta, meanwhile, offers ranch stays, bear spotting and wolf watching in its wildlife parks. Eco tours (ecotours-bc.com) has added a new Glamping with Grizzlies experience in Canada’s Cariboo Mountains. A ﬂoating glamping lodge provides a 360-degree view of the Canadian wilderness and families can enjoy kayaking the world’s deepest fjord lake, walking safaris and awesome mountain scenery.
All for one and one for all All-inclusive holidays are predicted to fare well in 2017, with 35% of young families expected to book one. While short-haul destinations are popular for those with babies and toddlers, many Caribbean and Indian Ocean destinations such as Mauritius now showcase exceptional premium offerings for families. Attention in the UAE is also shifting from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Ras Al Khaimah. This year sees the tourist board unveiling its new ﬂagship adventure product the Via Ferrata (Iron Path) on Jebel Jais, the UAEs highest mountain peak. The low-key emirate has several family-friendly resorts. Latin America has also become more accessible with new ﬂight routes from British Airways to San Jose, Costa Rica, Lima, Peru and Chile. The latter picked up the award for most desirable adventure tourism in the 2016 World Travel Awards and showcases 36 national parks, incredible biodiversity, deserts, fjords and sub-polar islands. These sorts of destinations are great for teens who become ‘inﬂuencers’ among their peers as they share their authentic experiences on social media.
Clockwise from top left: hiking in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile; eco-friendly microadventures are popular this year; snowtubing will tempt family dare devils
Perfect ten Little chefs: The Little Chefs Brunch at the Cove Rotana Resort in Ras Al Khaimah is a chance for kids to take part in a cooking experience where they learn to prepare their own tasty meals. R&R: The all-inclusive Heritage Le Awali in Mauritius features the Timono and Friends Club which is tailored to speciﬁc age groups from babies to teens. Authentic experiences: Africa Tours has a Kenya trip on which families can learn about medicinal plants from a Samburu warrior, enjoy beading with mamas at a workshop and visit a local Samburu homestead. Indiana exploring: Suggest Petra in Jordan, where kids can channel their inner Indiana Jones and explore the ancient 2,000 year-old city Horse whispering: A trip to Homeplace Ranch in Alberta, Canada, will enable families to take a Horse Awareness Programme: guides teach visitors how to better communicate with their animals.
“This year sees Canada celebrate its 150th anniversary, and with free entry to our stunning National Parks it’s a brilliant opportunity for adventurous families to explore British Columbia’s unspoilt wilderness” LISA COOPER, DESTINATION BRITISH COLUMBIA
“In 2016, Latin America was catapulted to the top of the list of desirable family holiday destinations. The region has seen a flurry of new hotels open, tourism infrastructure develop and new tours in the destination being launched” TONY MASON, CEO, LATA
Adrenaline junkies: Suggest snowtubing at Mt Norquay’s new tube park. The ski resort on the edges of Banff in Alberta also tempts real dare devils to try some night tubing! Magic adventures: Taking its inspiration from Hans Christian Anderson, Efteling, a fantasy-themed amusement park in Holland, features a fairytale forest with stories that come to life. It showcases thrilling rides suitable for all age ranges. Bird’s eye view: Get a view like no other of the haunting landscape of the Atacama Desert over the salt lakes in Chile by taking a trip in their newly-launched hot air balloon rides. Starry, starry night: Ever seen the Milky Way with your naked eye? Impress tots and teens with a cable car ride up Mount Teide in Tenerife and experience a breathtaking sunset followed by a tutored stargazing lesson. Mini Tarzan: An Amazon Kids Holiday with Andrean Trails takes kids into the rainforest to learn the traditions and culture of the people who live here, including preparing tattoos made with fruit paste.
Above, left to right: La Playa el Ancón, Tenerife; a country track on Bryher, Isles of Scilly; feeding a blue and gold Macaw. Right: On safari in Africa
“In 2016, Latin America was catapulted to the top of the list of desirable family holiday destinations. “In the last few years, the region has seen a ﬂurry of new hotels open, tourism infrastructure develop and new tours in the destination being launched. We believe that this, combined with the new ﬂights from BA, will have a direct affect on how families perceive the destination and will naturally increase families’ interest to holiday in Latin America. “Furthermore, the diversity of landscapes from the towering Andes, white sandy beaches, volcanoes and shimmering lakes, the variety of cultures, and the number of experiences to be shared appeal to all ages and interests”. Tony Mason, CEO, LATA
Where to book it FRONTIER TRAVEL – 0208 776 8709 Ten nights in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, start from £2,749 per adult and £949 per child. Includes ﬂights, three nights in Kananaskis, two nights in Waterton, a night in Fernie, a night in Radium Hot Springs, a night in Banff and two nights in Calgary, car hire, a cruise of Waterton Lakes and day tour to Drumheller in the Albertan Badlands from Calgary. frontier-travel.co.uk
THE CAPE VERDE EXPERIENCE – 01489 866 969 Seven nights in Hotel Morabeza on Sal in Cape Verde starts from £874pp based on a family of four sharing. Includes ﬂights, private transfers, visas and use of a UK airport lounge. capeverde.co.uk
GEODYSSEY – 0207 281 7788 Two weeks in Costa Rica is priced from £7,180 for a family of four (excluding ﬂights) Highlights include rainforest trekking, white-water rafting and cowboy life at Rincon de la Vieja. geodyssey.com
six of the best
BUENOS AIRES BUENOS AIRES
Argentina’s capital is increasingly drawing a cosmopolitan crowd. Neal Baldwin reveals why it’s more than just Evita
1 BORN FREE
Packed with history and culture, Buenos Aires has plenty to see and do for free. El Caminito in La Boca district offers a glimpse of life as it was for 19th century Genoan immigrants, with many original colourful wood and corrugated iron buildings still standing. A stroll around the extravagant family tombs of the Recoleta Cemetery offers an alternative look at public art, with superb statues highlighting the grandeur associated with the city’s most famous former residents. The 350-hectare riverside nature reserve is the city’s largest green space and is perfect for a bike ride or picnic. It is also one of the country’s top birding sites. DID YOU KNOW? The Buenos Aires tourist board runs a programme of free walking tours in English. There are seven tours (a different one each day, starting at 10am).
Traditional porteño (the Spanish name for the people of Buenos Aires) cuisine bears the legacy of the city’s Spanish and Italian influences and can be found on every corner. Don’t miss the gastronomic hubs of Palermo, Las Cañitas, Recoleta, San Telmo and Puerto Madero, where you can sample Argentina’s famous beef cooked in the asado (barbecue) style, morcilla (blood sausage) and empanadas (savoury pastries with various fillings).
DID YOU KNOW? To eat like a local don’t miss out on the merienda trend. This late afternoon café snack consists of coffee and cake – the whole city slows down to indulge.
Football is a religion for most Argentines and if you visit Buenos Aires during the national championship (February-December) you might have the chance to witness one of the world’s most enthralling sporting spectacles – the Superclásico. The match between Argentina’s two biggest clubs, River Plate and Boca Juniors, divides the city and has been described as “the most intense sporting experience in the world”. SELLING TIP: Buenos Aires boasts six professional clubs so matches are plentiful during the season. The best way to acquire tickets is from local agencies or recognised sites.
Sensual, passionate and nostalgic, tango is part of porteño identity. If you want to dance head to a local ‘milonga’, traditional tango dance halls that can be found across the city, or to one of the many ‘tanguerías’ featuring live orchestras and dancers. Buenos Aires is probably South America’s most prolific city for theatre. Among its 300-plus theatres is the Colón, a beacon of opera, ballet and performing arts for over a century.
SELLING TIP: The city hosts the International Tango Festival and World Cup every August. There are free classes for beginners across Buenos Aires.
5 BUY THE WAY
Buenos Aires is Latin America’s best shopping city, offering everything from designer goodies to leather and silverwork. For those seeking a bargain – and an authentic Buenos Aires experience – the traditional shopping streets of Florida, Córdoba and Aguirre are a must. The historic San Telmo district, one of Argentina’s oldest, has a bohemian flea market full of vintage treasures. Palermo Soho and Recoleta are best for high fashion and modern malls. DID YOU KNOW? Tourists can claim VAT refunds on purchases of domestically-manufactured goods with a value over ARS $70 from stores displaying the Tax Free logo.
6 PARTY TIME
To blend in with the city’s party-goers, try a glass or two of Fernet, a bitter, aromatic spirit usually served with coke. Restaurants, bars and clubs abound – but to be at the heart of the action, head to Palermo, San Telmo and Puerto Madero. Buenos Aires is a city for night owls – bars often don’t get going until 10pm and many clubs don’t even open until 1am! SELLING TIP: Locals don’t drink as much as many Europeans, which explains why the party goes on so late are generally safe and (or early!). Clubs and bars trouble-free.
be happy Don’t worry,
After a mixed 2016, the Caribbean is looking forward to a year of adventure. Laura Gelder finds out the latest from across the region
peaking at Caribbean Marketplace this February, Karolin Troubetzkoy, President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, said the Caribbean’s future success and growth relies on collaborative partnerships between the region’s public and private sectors. The private sector is certainly optimistic, with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association stating that “more than four out of ﬁve (81%) hoteliers have an encouraging outlook for tourism in 2017”. The region saw overall growth in 2016 and it was Europe that recorded the highest rate, with UK visitors up 4.1%, although lagging behind those from Germany. This, observed Troubetzkoy, was challenged by a number of factors: “An unusually warm winter in some originating markets, a weak Canadian currency, Brexit, travel patterns affected by the
Olympic Games, the U.S. election, political uncertainty around the globe, Zika and, ﬁnally, our most unwanted visitor, Hurricane Matthew.” The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has designated 2017 ‘The Year of Adventure’ for the region, while the United Nations World Tourism Organization has dubbed it the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
Hot spots Ever popular with Brits, Jamaica achieved a record breaking 210,000 visitors from the UK & Ireland in 2016 and with news that British Airways is adding a fourth weekly ﬂight to Kingston and Thomson Airways will operate more ﬂights too, this looks set to rise further. The Aruba Tourism Authority says a booming growth in UK visitor numbers to the island shows the lure of the ‘alternative Caribbean’. Its statistics
show a near 50% rise in UK arrivals last year over 2015, no doubt aided by weekly direct charter ﬂights from London and Manchester, as well as good scheduled airline connections. “We have consistently pitched ourselves as an alternative Caribbean destination,’ explained Joanna Walding, UK director for the Aruba Tourism Authority. “The island offers amazing beaches, consistent year-round weather and top-quality accommodation, food and activities. But with our geographical location close to Venezuela, there is a strong South American vibe, curiously mixed with our Dutch colonial heritage.” The Caribbean has had its fair share of TV coverage over the last few months, including a sixth series of the comic murder mystery series Death in Paradise, starring Kris Marshall as a tropical ‘Mr Marple’ and set on the ﬁctional island
of Saint-Marie, although ﬁlmed on the French island of Guadeloupe. Also drawing in viewers was An Island Parish, a documentary focusing on a church community on Anguilla. With over two million viewers each episode, Google searches from the UK for holidays to Anguilla increased by 50% since the show began on January 4 – showing the power of the box. Carolyn Brown, Director UK & Ireland for the Anguilla Tourist Board, said: “I think the beauty of the island really captured the UK’s attention during an icy-cold January. I have received a ﬂurry of consumer enquiries since the show and tour operators are reporting strong booking ﬁgures.” Cuba also looks set to boom following the end of the Fidel Castro era, as the scramble begins to see a country ‘frozen in time’ before it changes forever. Saga’s Viva Cuba tour was created exclusively to explore the cultural highlights across the island. Part of Saga’s Discover tour selection, the itinerary includes time in Havana, a two-night stay at the all-inclusive seaside resort of Memories Paraiso Azul Beach and an overnight at the Villa Rancho Hatuey for visits to historic Trinidad and the famous La Canchanchara Bar.
What’s new Accommodation/Hotels: The long-delayed opening of the Bahamas Baha Mar hotel, described by The Independent as the ”world’s biggest white elephant,” is now pegged for April 2017 and the ﬁrst and central property to open on the mega-resort site will be a Grand Hyatt. Hyatt’s 1,800-room hotel features an 18-hole golf course, two spas and a casino. Gold Medal is one of the operators featuring it. New for Travel 2 and several other operators is the new Royalton Negril in Jamaica. Guests can look forward to a modern hotel, more than six restaurants and an “exceptional personalised service,” according to the operator. The resort will also
JAMAICA TOURIST BOARD UK
have an on-site waterpark and spa. Elegant Resorts’ The Hodges Bay Resort and Spa (elegantresorts.co.uk) opens this autumn on Antigua. Previously just Hodges Bay, the redesigned hotel will appeal to families, in particular the multigenerational market, as well as couples. Facilities will include a spa with a state-of-the-art Swiss technology hydro-pool. The 122-room resort’s accommodations include oceanfront town homes, villas executive suites and penthouses, many with outdoor Jacuzzis. Guests will also be able to enjoy a range of indoor and outdoor ﬁtness classes. Opening in Belize this year is The Great House, Itz’ana Resort (itzanabelize.com) in Placencia. An ode to the Caribbean estates of its colonial past, The Great House will feature luxurious suites, a rum tasting room and roof deck for yoga. Accommodation ranges from one-bed cottages to a ﬁve-bedroom lagoon villa and guests will also be able to escape to Itz’ana’s private island. The True Blue Bay Resort (truebluebay.com) in Grenada has launched a special Villa Family package that includes free dining for children, dinner cooked by a private chef and car hire. The offer must be bookede by March 31 for stays between May 24 and December 15. Operators: Yacht charter company, The Moorings (moorings. co.uk) is now sailing in Cuba. Available weekly between March and May 2017, the seven-day holiday combines ﬁve-star accommodation on a yacht (with private captain, chef and host) with private touring on land. The trip
“When in Jamaica, Travel 2 recommends trying surfing on Boston Beach at Port Antonio, which is particularly good for beginners, rafting on the Martha Brae River and hiking the Blue Mountain at sunrise for amazing views” ROSS SINCLAIR, PRODUCT MANAGER AMERICAS & THE CARIBBEAN, TRAVEL 2
Opposite page: Looking for adventure in Grenada. This page (from top): local scene in Jamaica; happy hour in Anguilla
Above: Kitesurﬁng in the Cayman Islands
sails around the northern tip of the island Grenada welcomed its ﬁrst British Airways ﬂight between Havana and Varadero. Guests disembark and the Grenada Tourism Authority has teamed up the yacht to meet their local guide and driver, with the airline on a booking incentive. Agents with highlights including a tour of a tobacco farm. can enjoy incentives on sales to Grenada through Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island MyBookingRewards, including the chance to win a (virginlimitededition.com) has added more Celebration seven-night holiday for two to the island’s Coyaba Weeks in August, September and October, Beach Resort. meaning individuals can enjoy a stay without Tourism talk booking the whole “The Year of island. Seven-nights is “2017 is the year of adventure. Adventure is about from a cool £25,246, getting to know all-inclusive. We want everyone to know Cruising: Norwegian that the Caribbean is not just the people, visiting lesserCruise Line has known destinations, trying about ‘fly and flop’!” extended its weekly new foods, new experiences, CAROL HAY, DIRECTOR, CTO round-trip cruises from diving, snorkelling, sailing, zip Miami to Cuba aboard lining, horse riding, hiking, Norwegian Sky, the largest vessel sailing to Cuba, rainforest trekking and getting creative through through December 2017. The 25 additional cruises singing, dancing, steel pan playing, jumping in local start in June 2017 and all feature an overnight carnivals, or creating your own masterpieces! stay in Havana with a selection of 15 half- and “Whether it’s by an aeroplane, cruise ship, yacht or full-day shore excursions, including a farm-toferry the Caribbean is ﬁlled with adventure and we table dining experience and seeing modern are urging agents to explore it for themselves and to Havana in an American Classic Car. share their favourites with their clients!” Agent news: April 1 marks 30 years since Carol Hay, Director, CTO
YOUR LUXURY VILLA HOLIDAY SUPPLIER GREAT COMMISSIONS - PERSONALISED SERVICE - NO CALL CENTRES - ATOL PROTECTED
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“We will continue to reward our travel agent partners in 2017. While we are especially going after the romance market we have agent fams and roadshows planned that will give agents the chance to see our diverse offering and visit some of the six new hotels that have opened in the last year.” Torrance Lewis, District Sales Manager, Jamaica Tourist Board
Where to book it
Above: The Moorings sailing in Cuba. Right: Hodges Bay Resort & Spa in Antigua is new for Elegant Resorts
THE MOORINGS – 020 3733 1004 A seven-night Moorings 5800 private charter in Cuba costs from £3,038pp (based on 10 sharing) including the services of a captain, chef, host and all meals, snacks and beverages on the yacht , plus all tours and attractions and a private local tour guide and driver. The 5800 ﬂagship catamaran is air-conditioned and features ﬁve guest cabins, all with private en-suite bathroom. themoorings.co.uk �TRAVEL 2 – 0844 826 2600 Seven nights all-inclusive at the new ﬁve-star Royalton Negril hotel, Jamaica, in a Junior Suite Deluxe is £1639pp (saving £240pp), including return economy ﬂights with Virgin Atlantic from
Fly Air Europa and enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.
All flights are via Madrid. For more information call: 0871 423 0717 or visit us at: www.aireuropaexperts.com
Gatwick and return shuttle transfers. Valid for travel September 1 to October 24 and based on two adults. travel2.com �SAGA – 0800 414 383 The 15-night Viva Cuba tour is from £2,299 based on a June 22, 2017 departure, with ﬂights from Edinburgh, London Gatwick and Manchester, including most meals, a tourist visa, guide and excursions and guided tours. saga.co.uk/vivacuba
how to sell
Tennessee by Peter Ellegard
ust months ago wildfires devastated parts of Tennessee, but already – thanks to communities coming together and Dolly Parton starting a benefit fund and telethon to raise millions of dollars – the Volunteer State is back on its feet. The ﬁrestorm – prosecutors say it was arson – left 14 people dead and destroyed almost 2,500 buildings as it tore through parts of Gatlinburg and the scenic Great Smoky Mountains National Park late last year, threatening key attractions.
Why sell it? But with the opening of major new attractions, a huge expansion of Elvis Presley’s Graceland coupled with the opening of the largest new hotel in Memphis for almost a century alongside it and Elvis Week marking the 40th anniversary of his death, Tennessee’s tourism prospects are set to soar like a phoenix in 2017. The southern state offers up a host of reasons for people to
Downtown Nashville at night visit. It takes in America’s most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains, and is home to the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey distillery and numerous attractions. Other highlights include picturesque Chattanooga, Pigeon Forge (the home of Dollywood), outdoor adventure and lively cities. For many, , the main draw is its musical legacy. Graceland was Elvis’ home until his death in 1977 and today it has become a place of pilgrimage for visitors from all over the world. Expansion of its entertainment facilities and the new hotel will only enhance that, particularly with 40th anniversary events during this August’s Elvis Week. Memphis also draws visitors thanks to its reputation as being the Home of the Blues and the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll, while the state capital, Nashville, is known as Music City for its live music scene that includes the Grand Ole Opry and a host of other atmospheric venues.
Tennessee Essentials TIME: GMT -5 HOW TO GET THERE: One-stop options include flying with American Airlines via Charlotte, New York, Miami, Chicago or Dallas-Fort Worth, with United via Chicago, and with Delta or Virgin via Atlanta (two hours' drive) FLIGHT TIME: About 12 hours
CURRENCY: US dollar BOOK IT: Great Rail Journeys (greatrail.com) offers the 14-day Tracks of the Deep South rail tour, from £2,945pp, with flights. It visits Chattanooga, Nashville, Lynchburg and Memphis, before moving on to Mississippi and Louisiana.
TOUR OPERATORS goldmedal.com northamericatravelservice.co.uk travel2.com vacationstoamerica.com vaxvacationaccess.co.uk premierholidays.co.uk greatrail.com raildiscoveries.com
Who to sell to? “Our traditional visitors are repeaters who have travelled extensively in the U.S. and are looking for different and authentic destinations,” says Tennessee Tourism UK representative David Nicholson. “Tennessee sells well with neighbouring Deep South states and its unique musicality sets it apart."
What to sell? Elvis’s Graceland is the big draw for nostalgia lovers wanting to pay homage to The King. Music lovers can also indulge themselves in Memphis along Beale Street, famous for its early recording studios, and at the Memphis Music Hall of Fame and Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. Nashville’s legendary Music Row district is full of live music venues, as well as its Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry. Gatlinburg and Knoxville make excellent bases from which to explore the Smoky Mountains. Pigeon Forge also has notable attractions, such as the Dollywood theme park and nearby Titanic Museum, housed in a half-scale replica of the ship. For rail buffs suggest Chattanooga Choo Choo, the station and Pullman cars restored as a luxury hotel. They will also be chuffed by steam train excursions on the Tennessee Valley Railroad and the dramatic Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. And they can visit Casey Jones Village in Jackson, a museum dedicated to the railroad engineer legend celebrated in the 1950s TV series.
how to sell
“Only Tennessee can claim Elvis, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Justin Timberlake and Jack Daniel’s!” ROSS SINCLAIR, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER, TRAVEL 2
Zig Zag walkway in Chattanooga
A new British Airways (batraveltrade.com) service between Heathrow to New Orleans begins this month (March). The Big Easy is a welcome new gateway that can be esily combined with twin music cities Nashville and Memphis. Opening this month is Elvis Presley’s Memphis (graceland.com), a $45-million entertainment complex across from Graceland and the largest expansion to the attraction since it opened in 1982. It presents the life, career and legacy of Elvis through interactive and immersive experiences. In Nashville, Madame Tussauds opens this spring at Opry Mills. Themed as the 'Soundtrack of America', it will celebrate Nashville’s inﬂuence on today’s music and culture with wax ﬁgures depicting Johnny Cash, Taylor Swift and more. This month sees the opening of the Songbirds Guitar Museum (songbirdsguitars.com), alongside the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. It will feature a never-before-seen collection of almost 300 rare vintage guitars dating back to the 1920s. The new Alcatraz East Crime Museum (alcatrazeast. com) in Pigeon Forge takes an in-depth look at American crime history and includes artefacts
VISIT GRACELAND IN MEMPHIS
Featuring an All-New, Immersive Entertainment Experience NOW OPEN!
GRACELAND.COM • 00 1-901-332-3322 © EPE. Graceland and its marks are trademarks of EPE. All Rights Reserved. Elvis Presley™ © 2017 ABG EPE IP LLC
such as Al Capone’s rosary and Al Pacino’s submachine gun from the movie Scarface. The Southern Colonial-style Guest House at Graceland hotel (guesthousegraceland.com) opened in October with 450 rooms over seven ﬂoors including themed speciality suites designed by Priscilla Presley and a theatre for live performances. Looking ahead, the luxury, 82room Tennessean Hotel (thetennesseanhotel.com) opens in April in downtown Knoxville. Working closely with its partners in the Deep South USA marketing consortium (deep-south-usa. com), Tennessee’s UK tourist ofﬁce is collaborating with tour operators to offer joint training sessions tailored to Deep South ﬂy/drives and product. Travel 2 (travel2.com) has added the Guest House at Graceland for 2017. Gold Medal (goldmedal. co.uk) features several new Tennessee hotels in its 2017/18 brochure, including the Peabody Memphis and the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville. A 10-day Deep South 2017 rail-based tour from Atlanta to New Orleans and taking in Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis is new this year from Rail Discoveries (raildiscoveries.com). Prices start at £1,995pp including ﬂights.
ten of the best
Croatia Much-visited for its Mediterranean islands and Venetian cities, Croatia has lesser-known treasures inland, too. Laura Gelder counts them down
Sail away: No wonder Sunsail has two bases in Croatia. Its 6278 km of coastline, 1,244 islands, islets, rocks and reefs and 60 marinas beg to be explored by boat. Experienced sailors can charter a yacht and go off alone or in a ﬂotilla while those still ﬁnding their sea legs can join a skippered vessel – choose a party cruises or a romantic voyage. Island-hopping heaven: You don’t need access to a yacht to explore Croatia’s islands. Both Split and Dubrovnik are ferry ports which connect to popular islands like the glamorous celebrity hot-spot of Hvar. Other top choices include the beach bum’s favourite Brač and peaceful Mljet, home to a national park which houses saltwater lakes, pristine forest and a Benedictine monastery.
CROATIAN NATIONAL TOURIST BOARD
ten of the best
Historical treasures: At the heart of Europe and a strategic point in the Mediterranean, Croatia has a rich culture which includes being the origin of the cravat! Split’s Roman Walls contain churches from the 12th century, medieval forts and gothic, renaissance and baroque palaces, like the Diocletian’s Palace, the world’s most complete remains of a Roman palace. Other UNESCO World Heritage Sites include Dubrovnik Old Town and Trogir’s maze-like centre. Pula has the best-preserved Roman amphitheatre outside of Italy. The wild factor: Its islands range from the sun-scorched moon-like Pag to the vine- and olive-festooned Korcula. Inland are swamps, mountains and forest. Gorski Kotar is a 2,000-square-metre nature reserve near Rijeka
that’s home to wolves, lynx, boars and brown bears. Bird lovers can head to the island of Cres, which has colonies of the Eurasian Griffon vulture. City spoils: Dubrovnik is the most polished of cities, honed for the cruise crowd with high-end shops and trendy bars and restaurants. Split is smaller but its ancient walls contain plenty of buzz. The capital of Zagreb is gaining in popularity and is a year-round city with plenty of arts and culture to entertain. Other popular urban retreats include seaside Zadar, with its quirky art installations, and the photogenic hilltop town of Motovun in rural central Istria. Action-packed: Aside from the usual offering of watersports that include
kayaking, diving and ﬁshing, Croatia offers winter pursuits and adrenaline-pumping options like sky-diving. Skiing can be found just 10 minutes from Zagreb at the country’s highest peak, Sljeme. Croatia has an impressive system of caves full of stalactites and stalagmites. The dramatic karst and canyon landscape that hides these underground worlds is also spliced with rivers which are great for white-water rafting and the surrounding countryside can be explored on foot, wheel or horse. Go gastronomy: Each region of Croatia has its own culinary personality. There are Slavic, Hungarian, Viennese and Turkish inﬂuences in the hearty meat dishes, desserts and vegetable dishes of the continental regions and Greek, Roman and Illyrian Mediterranean
ten of the best
CROATIAN NATIONAL TOURIST BOARD
“Croatia’s islands range from the sun-scorched moonlike Pag to the vine and olivefestooned Korcula. Inland are swamps, mountains and forest”
ﬂavours in the ﬁsh delicacies and wines of the coast. In northern Croatia Istria is one of the world’s best trufﬂe hunting grounds while the island of Pag is famous for its eponymous sheep’s cheese. Wheels away: Biking is a fast-growing sport in Croatia. The Kvarner region on Croatia’s northern coast offers countless climbs between sea level and 1,400m above on a close-hugging coastal road. Other popular rides include the moon-like island of Pag, which has 14 cycling trails of over 115km and green routes through the National Parks of Krka and Plitvice to see spectacular waterfalls. Intrepid offers a Dubrovnik to Split bike trip. Total wellness: There are over 80 wellness resorts throughout Croatia and the Kvarner region and city of Opatija, in particular, is renowned as the country’s wellness centre. Hotels like Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Dubrovnik Sun Gardens offer a number of ﬁtness options like squash and tennis, along with detox treatments and therapies. Northern and eastern Croatia is liberally sprinkled with natural thermal spas.
Road tripping: Croatia has dramatic roads with hairpin bends on the coast and fairytale villages with bucolic views inland. A drive from Zagreb to Dubrovnik could take in the vineyards of Istria, the waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes and walled cities like Zadar and Trogir.
The True Specialists to Croatia 150 flights per week from all over the UK • The widest choice of holidays to Croatia since 1966 • Choose from over 120 hotels in 26 resorts & islands • Loyalty bonus for repeat clients • Baggage & transfers included • Early booking discounts • Prices from £318pp
Golden Horn, BRAČ ISLAND
020 7543 5555
balkanholidays.co.uk/agents The Trusted Travel Company
Brochures via BP Trade-Gate » Viewdata Istel: BAL / Fastrak: BAL » www.facebook.com/bhagents » www.twitter.com/balkanagents sellingtravel.co.uk
O N LY T H E T R AV E L N E W S T H AT R E AL LY M AT T E R S
D U E S O U T H : TrekAmerica expands to offer South America GET ONLINE
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C H E C K I N G O U T: PA R A D I S E B E A C H
T H A I LA N D S E T S UK RECORD
S I LV E R S E A’S O N L I N E P O RTA L
R E A D A L L O U R M A G A Z I N E S A N D C H E C K O U T O U R D A I LY S E L L I N G T I P S AT S E L L I N G T RAV E L.C O.U K
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t o u r i S m u p D at e
CLIA’s visual tool for trade
Thailand sets UK record
(Thursday June 15); Manchester (Wednesday
uk nationals visiting Thailand exceeded one million for the first time in 2016, with a yearon-year increase of 5.89%, according to figures released by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The average spend by UK visitors was up by 2.85% - even in the face of the significant weakening of sterling in the second half of 2016. “UK visitor length of stay was also up at a record 17.41 days and total tourism receipts amounted to 76.7 billion baht (£1.83 billion), a healthy increase of over 9%,” ’ said Teerasil Tapen, TAT Director, UK, Ireland and South Africa.
September 13) Peterborough (Thursday
CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organisation
WE’RE HIT TING THE ROAD ONLY two months until the Caribbean Tourism Organization holds its first Caribbean UK & Irish Roadshows for 2017! Come and meet with a great selection of Caribbean trade partners, all offering the latest news, updates and information on their destinations and Caribbean products. The events will run as follows: Belfast (Tuesday May 9); Dublin (Wednesday May 10); Cork (Thursday May 11); Edinburgh (Monday May 22); Glasgow (Tuesday May 23); London (Wednesday June 14); Bristol
September 14.) If you haven’t done so already, please don’t
By Laura geLder
forget to register for our award-winning
cLia has added a new selling tool to its
Andy Harmer, CLIA SVP Membership &
online training programme – Caribbean
online training programme’s Agent
Director UK & Ireland said: “We’re
Travel Guru (caribbeantravelguru.com). And if
Toolbox in partnership with Full Picture,
delighted that Full Picture is offering this
you’re already on the programme, make sure
a visual conversation tool.
technology free to CLIA members as
Voyages to Antiquity new cruise guides
International Vacations, won a rum and
As well as content from 30 cruise lines,
with their own, upload additional, private
chocolate Hamper for completing the most
CLIA has curated picture galleries
content and present their own cruise-
quizzes and exams.
designed to help agents switch-sell onto
and-stay packages, and enable features
The March prize is a £70 Love2Shop
cruise by explaining the benefits of
like the creation of bespoke photobooks
cruiSe specialist Voyages to Antiquity has introduced a series of online guides. The 24-page guides cover six of the cruise line’s most popular itineraries and can be accessed via VTAExpert.com or the Voyages to Antiquity website. Michelle Daniels, the line’s head of groups and partnerships, said: “We hope creating online guides tailored to each of our cruises will ensure agents have all the information to hand to offer our immersive cruising.”
voucher for the agent who makes and logs
different types including ocean, river,
and agency-branded emails.
the most Caribbean bookings and two luxury
luxury and small ship cruising.
you continue to log bookings and complete tests - there are great prizes up for grabs.
The specifically designed resource will enable CLIA member travel agents to
recognition of their importance in the distribution of cruise holidays.”
In January, Zoe Tupman, Thomson won £50
send photos, videos and other assets to
Olly Wenn, Managing Director, Zolv, the
of Love2Shop vouchers for completing the
their customers’ screens in real-time. The
travel technology developers behind Full
most tests and quizzes and Lindsey Hayes,
technology is available free of charge
Picture added: “Over the coming months
British Airways won £100 of Amazon
and is exclusive to CLIA member travel
Full Picture will be adding a host of
vouchers for logging the most Caribbean
agents at cruiseexperts.org.
premium features for agents to access
bookings. For February, the top booker was
Full Picture claims its service converts
Lucy Armstrong, British Airways, who won a
into bookings 30% more than calls and
£50 Love2shop Voucher and Yve Joseph,
has a sales value of up to 22% higher.
for a nominal, monthly subscription.” The premium subscription will allow agents to replace Full Picture branding
Easter Eggs for the two agents who complete the most quizzes and exams. If you have queries regarding the
newS to uSe in BrieF
programme or wish to RSVP to the Caribbean
anDaZ, Hyatt’s ‘luxury lifestyle
British Airways is to launch new
BoutiQue hotel El Retablo is the
roadshow, please contact Ann-Marie Brooks
brand’, has opened Andaz Delhi, its
routes this summer. From May the
newest hotel to open in Cusco, Peru.
16th property worldwide. Located in
airline will begin summer-only flights
The 17-room art-themed boutique
Aerocity, the hotel is within easy reach
from Manchester to Alicante, Malaga,
hotel was converted from a historical
of downtown. It opened a partial
Ibiza, Palma, Mykonos, Nice and London
building and celebrates the area’s
inventory of its 401 residential-style
City Airport. New flights will also
cultural heritage. Highlights include
guestrooms, including 45 suites. The
launch from Stansted to Florence,
hotel will also offer 129 serviced
Geneva and Nice and there will be
throughout the interior and a spacious
apartments, expected to open later this
increased frequency on routes to Ibiza
garden patio. One night in a standard
year. Features include a heated pool
and Palma. Flights to Malaga and Faro
double room is priced from £73pp
and sun deck, a gym and a spa.
will also resume for summer.
based on two people sharing.
Caribbean Tourism Organization 22 The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1BP Tel: 020 8948 0057 Fax: 020 8948 0067 caribbean.co.uk
TrekAmerica heads to the south TrekAmerica, known for its overland USA adventures, has a new South America programme that guides small groups of 18-38 year olds around Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. The tours, which range from 12-49 days, include the 12-day Argentina to Brazil option. Featuring hotels and a sleeper bus, the trip starts in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and takes in stops in Uruguay before ending in Rio de Janeiro. It is priced from £1,459pp (excluding flights). The 28-day Andes to Rio tour features camping, budget lodging and hotels as guests make their way from La Paz, Bolivia to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with highlights including the ‘witches markets’ of La Paz, Rio’s beaches, the world’s largest salt flats, Argentina’s wine country and Iguazu Falls. It is priced from £1,699pp. trekamerica.co.uk
Shamwari’s fairer safari
G Adventures acquires Swan Hellenic Group adventure travel tour operator G Adventures has acquired the 60-year-old UK cruise line Swan Hellenic. “We know how beloved Swan Hellenic is to its loyal customer base and the respect it has in the British travel community. Our long-term aim is to re-launch Swan Hellenic and re-establish the award-winning values that make it so loved”, said John Warner, Vice President of Global Sales for G Adventures. The tour operator plans to restart the operation of Swan Hellenic in 2018 with itineraries to be announced this summer. The acquisition follows G Adventures’ recent purchases of Travelsphere and Just You. gadventures.co.uk
By Steve Hartridge
Shamwari Game Reserve, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, has marked its 25th anniversary this year by achieving Fair Trade Tourism certification. The property’s six five-star lodges: Eagle’s Crag, Bayethe Tented Lodge, Long Lee Manor, Riverdene Family Lodge, Lobengula and Sarili, its wilderness bush camp, Explorer Camp, and volunteer programme, Shamwari Conservation Experience, were all awarded the certification. Set on 25,000 hectares of reclaimed farmland, Shamwari is known for its wildlife conservation initiatives and commitment to surrounding communities.
Your chance to WIN… round-the-world flights for two, plus other awesome prizes! SEE PAGE 6
In addition to the usual wildlife experiences, the reserve incorporates the Ian Player Rhino Centre, the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary and its own Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre with a team of vets. The certification should help Shamwari attract more ‘conscientious travellers’, said Shamwari Group General Manager, Joe Cloete. The reserve already offers its guests the Shamwari Conservation Experience, a behind-the-scenes add-on for guests to get involved with the conservation efforts.
Canada on the road Destination Canada (DC) and its partners will be out on the road this April visiting agents across the UK. Tourist boards, airlines, trains, hotel companies and ski resorts, will be stopping in Brighton (April 24), Newcastle (25), Glasgow (26) and Chester (27). The evenings will include DC’s Keep Exploring Quiz, with one winner at each show winning a holiday for two to Canada. Agents should email Destinationcanadatrade@gmail.com to secure their invite.
Eeny, meeny, miny, mo. We fly more routes to New Zealand than any other airline, so there’s a huge range of free stopovers to choose from. We’ve buddied up with partner airlines to whisk passengers from London to their gateway point, then we get them to New Zealand.
More stopovers than you can shake a stick at. Just one of our #LittleBetters
Avani opens in Europe
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By steve hartridge
ATMOSPHERE KANIFUSHI MALDIVES
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The property is located in the city centre, 15 minutes from Lisbon International Airport and within easy walking distance of the Rossio underground station. AVANI’s 17 properties feature in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Seychelles, Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia and the UAE. minorhotels.com/en/avani/lisbon
Turquoise makes roads to California The Turquoise Holiday Company has made its first foray into the USA by unveiling a new collection of luxury holidays to California. Featured is a range of quirky, contemporary accommodation, and an eclectic choice of
boutique and unusual properties and experiences. A two-week road trip through California starts from £2590pp (a family of four can plan a two-week holiday from £6500) with flights. turquoiseholidays.co.uk/california
NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF
BRAND NEW WEBSITE LAUNCHED FOR 2017
All above offers are subject to availability.
AVANI Hotels & Resorts will debut its first European property with the opening of AVANI Avenida Liberdade Lisbon Hotel. The 119-key hotel will launch on April 1 following the completion of a 1.5 million euro refurbishment. Key features will include balconies for all guest rooms, a restaurant featuring Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and a gym.
Terms & Conditions Apply
UK visitors are on the up in the
WALT Disney World in Orlando is
Maldives, with 2016 figures showing a
offering additional discounts that see
9.8% increase on the year, equating to
UK British visitors receive 25% off on
the ’14 for 7’ ticket option. The discount
developments taking place in 2017
applies to bookings made before
include a number of new hotels and
March 29 2017 and for travel from
the creation of a new Trans Maldivian
now until December 16 2017. Most
Airways (TMA) seaplane base at Gan
major ticket brokers and tour operators
are supporting the offer in-market.
Silversea education online
Hong Kong travel mission returns T h e Hong Kong Tourism Board’s (HKTB) annual UK ‘travel mission’ returns on March 6 for its 27th running. The mission is a one-day event for UK product and contracting managers to make new contacts and meet the Hong Kong trade. Dawn Page, Director, UK & Northern Europe for Hong Kong Tourism Board, said: “Last year we saw an increase of 4% in UK visitor figures to Hong Kong, very encouraging given the current economic climate. By fostering long-lasting relationships between our valued UK trade and Hong Kong hotel industry partners at events like the Hong Kong Travel Mission to the UK, we hope this growth can continue.” The HKTB welcomes four new partners on this year’s mission; Great Ocean Tours & Travel, HolidayKraft Vacations, PMQ and Silvermine Beach Resort. discoverhongkong.com
Foodie Superbreak SuperBreak has introduced a range of food-themed short breaks under the ‘MasterChef Travel’ brand. The trips combine accommodation in cities such as Liverpool, York, Edinburgh and London with a three-course dinner experience at either Jamie’s Italian of Marco’s New York Italian or Steakhouse. Budding chefs can also book on one of SuperBreak’s new ‘Jamie Oliver Cookery School Breaks’ led by a team of Oliver’s own trained chefs. superbreak.com/agents
Dine with monks on a Maritim break
By Laura Gelder
Silversea has launched its new online training portal for the trade with an incentive to train this March and win a 12-day cruise. The Silversea Academy allows agents to become experts on the luxury cruise line via a series of training modules, a news section and other resources and is designed to assist agents in selling Silversea’s extensive global itineraries. Agents are currently able to complete two modules: Silversea Graduate and Silver Muse, with more to be released as the cruise line’s products grow. Those who achieve 100% on the
Silver Muse module before March 31 will be entered into a prize draw to win a cruise onboard the new flagship, due to launch this April. Embarking in Rome on July 27, the winning agent will enjoy the Silversea experience on a 12-day voyage to Venice with return flights included in the prize. Elsewhere, Silversea has also revamped its travel agent portal MySilversea. The site allows agents to view and manage bookings, review marketing material and access promotional flyers which they can add their contact details to.
G e r m a n-based Maritim Hotels has a series of cultural breaks designed to offer visitors a glimpse of the cities away from the tourist hordes. Dining with monks in Fulda; learning to waltz and rumba in Timmendorfer Strand; and walking in the steps of Martin Luther during the year of the reformation jubilee in Magdeburg are among the experiences on offer. The ‘Wappensaal’ package in Fulda is priced from €133pp for one night‘s accommodation, participation in a medieval murder-mystery and monks’ dinner. Departures are from September to December. maritim.com
SEE PAGE 6
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Daily direct flights to LA. Just one of our #LittleBetters
HOTELS / RESORTS / TRAIN JOURNEYS / CRUISES / AIRPORT REVIEWS
S T A Y : AL P I NA L OD G E – Val d’Isere, France BY JULIE BAXTER
This is a four-star traditional-style mountain property with 44 fullyequipped apartments all with balcony looking out to the Face de Bellevarde, the resort’s most famous run. The property is focused on recycling, energy saving and Eco Label accreditation and accommodation ranges from studios to three bedroom apartments. THE LOCATION: Great! Right in the heart of the town and an easy walk from the Solais and Olympic lifts and key slopes, shops and restaurants. A regular free bus departs every ﬁve minutes at peak times from closeby and also connects to slopes at either end of the resort. THE ROOM: My one-bedroom apartment had a large living room, bathroom (with double sink unit, bath and great shower), separate toilet and well-equipped kitchen. The living area
included dining table and two truckle beds as sofas that convert to three additional single beds.
“This is a well-located, user-
resort and with all the
There are two entrances, one via a welcoming reception, the other via the boot room for off-loading of skis etc in a secure and numbered storage cupboard.
T H E V E R D I CT friendly home-from-home in the heart of the Val d’Isere
wintersports travellers require. Traditional style with great views and just minutes from access points to 300km of slopes for all abilities, plus free ride routes and snow park.”
THE RESTAURANTS/ BARS: The property has no restaurant – as all rooms include self-catering facilities – but is surrounded by many restaurants and bars, a fabulous bakery and wellstocked supermarket. There is a small comfy lounge area (open only when the reception is open 8.30-12am and
RATES: A week’s stay costs from £291pp (£581 total) for a self-catering studio apartment sleeping two
3-7pm) with a library where a light breakfast can be ordered for those who do not wish to self cater.
Address Rue Principale, 73150 Val d’Isere skifrance.co.uk; Call Ski France on 02034754756
S T A Y : HO T E L J E N OR C H AR D G AT E WAY – Singapore BY JULIE BAXTER
THE BACKGROUND: Opened two years
ago, this was the first of the Jen hotels, a contemporary brand with friendly staff informally dressed in jeans and red teeshirts and a smiley ‘here to help’ attitude. THE LOCATION: In the heart of the Orchard Road shopping district, the hotel is a 25 minute taxi ride from
Changi Airport. It has easy access to the MRT via the hotel lift to the mall. THE ROOM: My Club Room had expansive views of the city and was bright and airy with a contemporary style. A hallmark of the brand is its informal, fun interactions with guests and these included cushions with slogans and post-it-note-style room
information, all with a friendly, chatty tone. A separate toilet and large shower unit (both marble) sat alongside the sink. The room had a small desk, tea/ coffee making facilities and complimentary water and iced-gem snacks. Beyond the big bed was a cushioned window seat with great views. Club Rooms come with access to the Club Lounge on floor 19, a relaxed space with free refreshments and a range of added privileges. THE FACILITIES: The floor 10 hub includes a cafe, main restaurant Makan@Jen, the Lounge@Jen bar and touchscreen information boards. Floor 19 also includes a gym, outdoor Sky Terrace with workout bikes and loungers and the rooftop infinity pool with cabanas and bean bag beds. Address 277, Orchard Road, Singapore. hoteljen.com +65 6708 8888 email email@example.com
T H E V E R D I CT A contemporary hotel with all the service and facilities of a traditional business hotel but with a fun, informal vibe and great customer service. Great location! RATES: Club rooms are priced from £190 a night and come with a range of added privileges including high speed wifi, exclusive check-in/out, complimentary refreshments all day, lounge breakfast buffet and evening cocktails, plus one piece of laundry done each day.
HOTELS / RESORTS / TRAIN JOURNEYS / CRUISES / AIRPORT REVIEWS
S T A Y : PAR ADI S E BE AC H B OU T IQU E R E S ORT – Nevis, West Indies BY STEVE HARTRIDGE
THE BACKGROUND: Re-opened in early 2015 after a major makeover, this upscale property consists of seven oversized two-, three- or four-bedroom steep-thatched roof villas, built in a style that fuses airy Caribbean chic with Balinese accents. An additional ﬁve two-bedroom ‘pole houses’, elevated over the sand, are due to open in November. They will put guests closer to the Caribbean Sea than any other property on Nevis. THE LOCATION: Paradise Beach is just north of Pinney’s Beach on the island’s sunset-facing west coast and a short, 10-minute drive from Oualie Beach, where the speedboat drops guests after a private transfer from St Kitts. THE ROOM: Our villa, with its 2,900 sq ft of ‘island’ living space, felt more like a lavish private home than a holiday retreat. It had high ceilings, four bedrooms (two king bedrooms and two queen bedrooms) with four-poster beds and ﬂoor-to-ceiling 180-degree glass walls that opened to capture those refreshing tropical breezes. In its centre, was a large open-plan kitchen, ﬁtted with all mod cons. The marble bathrooms were replete with Bose speakers and Hermes toiletries. The alfresco rain shower
THE VERDICT A private and discreet island hideaway, Paradise Beach adds a touch of class to the Caribbean’s hotel stock – and is just the latest reason why Nevis feels like one of the region’s more exclusive islands. I loved the exquisitely lush landscaped gardens that were overflowing with hibiscus, frangipani and ‘birds of paradise’, and the way the villas seem to blend seamlessly into the natural landscape. Other lasting memories include a sunset walk on
was big enough for two. The private outdoor relaxation area is expansive, with a sun terrace and entertainment deck featuring a cabana, and a poolside dining area with a Weber gas barbecue. We made good use of our large, heated swimming pool, and separate plunge pool with a fountainhead feature. There’s a concierge service and spa treatments can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own villa.
KEY FACILITIES: The resort’s beach bar is open only to resort guests. Don’t miss having an expertly-crafted Pina Colada from the comfort of a hammock or plush lounger whilst watching the sun set over the Caribbean. A range of watersports are available from the property’s beachfront. Paradise Beach can also arrange activities such as a guided hike to the top of Nevis Peak, horse riding on the beach, cycle hire, a catamaran sail, tennis and golf. RESTAURANTS AND BARS: There’s no on-site restaurant but guests can arrange to arrive to a fridge full of their favourite goodies. They can also book a private chef to cater for them or ask to be taken to one of the many nearby restaurants. HOW TO GET TO NEVIS: British Airways operates a twice-weekly (Saturdays and Wednesdays) ﬂight between Gatwick and St Kitts, with a short touchdown and stop in Antigua. Paradise Beach can arrange for a taxi and speedboat transfer to Nevis. CONTACT: Paradise Beach, Paradise Estates, St Thomas’ Parish, St. Kitts & Nevis; +1 869 469 7900; paradisebeachnevis.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
the property’s sugar-fine sandy beach, spotting turtle tracks and, completely alone, swimming in calm waters, with St. Kitts across the water and Mount Nevis rising from the centre of the island behind the property. Paradise Beach is the perfect choice for couples, a family or group of friends.
WHERE TO BOOK IT: Elegant Resorts has seven nights in a two-bedroom Garden Villa, priced from £2,325pp. The deal is based on four adults sharing and includes economy flights, complimentary transfers and UK lounge passes and is based on a departure on June 10 2017. 01244 897518; elegantresorts.co.uk. Other operators featuring Paradise Beach include: Tropic Breeze, Cox and Kings and Caribtours.
My Nevis journey...
is, an island that ev N to t vis a on ce fa tural rs the Caribbean’s na ve co dis ge its many attributes rid g rt on Ha am ve y er Ste en sc y m ea ife, great food and dr can count history, wildl
hey emerge slowly, one by one, from a pile of crushed eggs and wet sand and are placed carefully in a T-shirt.
We make notes, counting the broken shells, recording the still-born embryos and registering the number of leatherback turtle hatchlings that make it up to the top of the deep hole. It is almost midnight and, under a mercury moon, I am out on patrol with Lemuel Pemberton, founder of Nevis Turtle Group, and two of his volunteers. They are hling e hatc here on Lovers Beach most A turtl evenings, recording turtle an activity and monitoring the ibbe Car the in ng mmi Swi excavated nesting sites, part of Sea, close to Paradise Beach Resort a Caribbean-wide programme to collect information about the movement of turtles and the number of nests they make. When the eggs have been counted, and 40 hatchlings – moving like miniature clockwork toys – have been ‘rescued’, we tread carefully to the water’s edge, stepping over the tangled roots and piles of seaweed that are barriers for the turtles, and gently release the tiny, fidgeting creatures. They quickly disappear beneath the foamy water, beginning a journey that few of them will survive. Nevis is also home to green turtles and hawksbill turtles and, as we make our way back along the beach by torchlight, we are startled by a large, shadowy shape: an adult Green turtle shuffling its way to the ocean. The two-hour evening turtle watch is an activity offered by the Four Seasons Nevis. Turtles were a recurring theme during our time on the island. The previous My magic day, on near-deserted al momen Seeing ba Pinney’s Beach that leads ts by turtle hatchlings sandy ne emerge fr away from the luxury sts. Enjoyin om their g a round Four Seas of golf on ons Golf hotel, we had seen the Course, w the Caribbean ith its vie and neigh flipper imprints of turtles ws of the bouring S Nevis cour t. Kitts. Ar tesy of a riving on gently moulded into the private sp beauty of eedboat tr the island ansfer: th dawns on soft sugary sand. the appro e you slowly ach. A laid as you mak -back lun Dreamy beaches abound e among lush ch at Ban anas Bistr tropical ra inforest an o, in Nevis, an island that d birdsong is part of the inner arc of
the Leeward Islands chain of the West Indies. At just 36-square miles its unspoiled beaches fringe an island with a striking verdant interior that peaks with the volcano-shaped Mount Nevis. It’s easy to skirt around the foot of the rainforest, on a 26-mile-long main road that circles the island and flirts with the ocean before heading up into hills - and there are plenty of reasons for taking the whole day to drive it. On the edge of the lush apron of Nevis Peak, Nevisian Heritage Village is overseen by enthusiastic and passionate curator Pat Thompson. She shows us around grounds that tell the story of the island’s history by showcasing housing through the centuries. Its starts with reproductions of Carib Indian dwellings - thatched-roof huts built a few years ago by some of the last remaining descendants, who live in Dominica but travelled to Nevis to ensure authenticity. Then there are the wattle-and-daub slave quarters, traditional wooden West Indian homes and furnishings and buildings left from former grandiose estate houses. The village sits on the Fothergills Estate, a former sugar plantation and cotton-ginning station. There’s an impressive collection including the remains of stone buildings and rusty old machinery that once powered the island’s sugar industry. The grounds are large but this is no canned theme park attraction, just a collection of somewhat melancholy buildings and ruins and staff committed to preserving the story of Nevis.
“We tread carefully to the water’s edge, stepping over tangled roots and piles of seaweed, and gently release the tiny, ﬁdgeting creatures”
For a small island, Nevis certainly has a lot of history to relate. In its tiny capital, Charleston, office workers and tourists take shade on benches on the site of what, in the 1670s, was a slave market. In the Museum of Nevis History I learn about the island’s indigenous peoples. And just outside of Charleston, next to the once-opulent Bath Hotel which when it was built in 1787 was probably the first tourist hotel in the Caribbean, I find myself being dunked in a thermal pool by a larger-than-life lady called Ella Jones. She sells drinks, jams and various creams and hands out towels to those who want to refresh themselves in mineral-laden waters that, due to underground volcanic activity, stay constantly around 107 degrees. For those, like me, who hesitate, she is happy to provide
Nevisian Heritage Village
Pinney’s Beac h
an encouraging hand, and, gently pushing me to my knees, laughs as she tips a bucketful of hot water over my back. Today the hotel is home to government offices. The life and times of Captain Horatio Nelson’s involvement with Nevis is told just down the road from the Bath Hotel, at the quaint Nelson Museum. Born on Anguilla, Nelson was stationed on Nevis long enough to meet Fanny Nisbett – although her story, particularly after Nelson’s death at the Battle of Trafalgar, is thinly told.
Window on the rainforest
One of the most unspoilt and relaxing islands in the Caribbean, Nevis is vividly and shockingly green. The island’s resident wildlife includes green vervet monkeys and a host of tropical birds. I hoped to see both by is ct Nev -perfe heading into the hills above Charleston. First stop was Picture Montpelier Plantation, one of the island’s premier accommodations built on the site of an old sugar estate. It is where where Nelson and Fanny married in 1787. Close by, on Hamilton Estate, which is submerged by tropical vegetation and fruit trees, is the bright and breezy Bananas Bistro. This wooden plantation-style house, with its large balcony and resident hibiscus and poinciana flowers, provides an al fresco window on the rainforest. In the distance, through the palm fronds, I can see the Caribbean Sea. I don’t spot a monkey but as I sip a bahama mama, made with three types of rum, orange and pineapple juice, and feast on grilled red snapper Veracruz, hummingbirds drink in nectar from allamanda flowers. There’s just time for a browse in the small on-site boutique with its colourful sandals, bags and beach cover-ups. Our final hours are spent strolling on Pinney’s Beach. is’ history of We stop at Turtle Time, a lively beach shack selling Signs of Nev long since g, sugar makin Carib beers for just $2, before enjoying a sunset meal across the d un fo e ar over, in Mango, Four Seasons’ island open-air Caribbeanfacing restaurant. We arrive in time to ook it see jumping fish re to bnights at the e h W putting on an n d s seve Nevis, price urs ha ocean show for Caribto asons Resort eason. The s e Four S 89pp in low sharing a diners and the om £1,7 sed on two r f a room silhoutted outline ba deal is side Room on British in s of St. Kitts fading Mounta and include , water itts sis in the distance. only ba hts to St. K a use of d ig ﬂ n a s y is a Airw nevisisland.com to Nev atwick. G ansfer taxi tr e lounge at k urs.co.u th caribto 37616; 5 5 3 020 sellingtravel.co.uk
Four Seasons Nevis, with Mount Nevis in th e background
cultural abu dhabi
Treasures of Arabia
he doctor picks up his patient, puts a conical chamber over its head and releases the gas until it goes to sleep. Better this way than dealing with the ﬂapping and squawking that would ensue with the talon-clipping and ﬁling otherwise. This happens every day at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (falconhospital.com), a delightfully bizarre place that gives an insight into the Emirati love of falconry. In the United Arab Emirates, falcons are treated as family members rather than pets – they have their own passports and are often ﬂown in their own ﬁrst-class plane seats. But the hospital is where they all come for their annual check up. The waiting rooms is full of men in traditional dress stroking the wings of their loved ones and scooping up droppings that will be analysed as part of the examination. And inside the operating theatre, dozens of the birds are perched on little green benches with hoods over their eyes to keep them calm. The doctor runs us through some of the procedures. Fixing a broken wing is usually a case of taking a wooden stick bought from a supermarket and gluing replacement feathers to it. But for most, it’s a case of a quick once over and a trim of the sharp bits. Post-snip, the groggy falcon wakes up and begins to stomp around with possibly justiﬁable grumpiness. But she’s passed the check and can again go off hunting with her doting owner.
Beyond the city Abu Dhabi ﬁrst muscled its way on to the scene as a stopover. With Etihad ﬂights connecting the UK to much of Asia and Australasia, the Gulf carrier’s home base is a handy place to break the journey. Much like Dubai, it has the lavish resorts and malls that make for a thoroughly pleasant day or two in the sun. That image is both perfectly valid and out of date. What makes Abu Dhabi interesting
Once just a sun-drenched stopover, Abu Dhabi is now a cultural hub that’s rich with an ever-growing line-up of atttractions, says David Whitley Left: the dreamy reﬂection of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Above: Emiratis love falconry
cultural abu dhabi
is how its tourism offering has diverged from both this start point and those of Dubai. There’s a particular emphasis on the cultural offerings – exempliﬁed by the impressive museums on Saadiyat Island. This will be home to the ﬁrst international outpost of the Louvre, which is due to open later in 2017, plus the Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim, both set to follow closely behind. But the embrace of cultural tourism is not just a case of opening up a few headline attractions. Many day tours and excursions are designed to have some sort of educational element – whether that’s the customary sharing of tea and dates or watching camel races. There has also been a deliberate push to go beyond the city, with desert tours, and the opening of a curated visitor experience at Al Ain, the historic oasis city around 90 minutes’ drive from downtown Abu Dhabi. There’s a gradual shift from Abu Dhabi being the tag-on second centre of a holiday to having a viable, culturally-focused twin centre break within Abu Dhabi itself.
What’s new Attractions: At Al Ain, the World Heritagelisted oasis has been packaged up as a visitor experience. Visitors can now start at the purpose-built Eco-Centre, then head through a series of exhibits demonstrating how the oasis has traditionally been farmed, irrigated and maintained. But it’s not just dry information; the shady pathways are as they’ve always been, and the date farmers are still shimmying up palm trees to collect their produce. Since November, the Qasr Al Muwaiji (qasralmuwaiji.ae) – a historic fort that was the birthplace of the UAE’s founder, Sheikh Khalifa, has been turned into a museum. It mainly tells the stories of the sheikh and the nation, but there are also raised walkways providing views of the fort’s remains, towers and ramparts.
Cruises: Abu Dhabi has seen a boom in cruise tourism: cruise passenger numbers increased by six per cent from October 2015 to June 2016, with the emirate receiving 100 ship calls for the ﬁrst time. The Gulf region’s only dedicated desert island cruise beach opened in late 2016 at Sir Bani Yas. The island, around 170km along the coast from the city, has set aside a 1.3km stretch of beach with more than 2,000 sunbeds, a spa, sports facilities and beachside barbecues. The MSC Fantasia was the ﬁrst ship to dock there. Accommodation: As always, there has been a sprinkling of new hotels, with the big ﬁve-star options being complemented by the new Four Seasons Abu Dhabi (fourseasons. com/abudhabi) next to the Galleria shopping mall. With rooftop pool, a 300-square-metre garden and several innovative restaurants, it has 190 rooms and 54 serviced apartments. The other big new arrival is the 677-room Bab Al Qasr Hotel (millenniumhotels.com) on the Corniche, which has its own private beach, large standard rooms and an Arabic spa spread over two ﬂoors.
This page, clockwise from top left: The Al Ain Oasis; pearls are the emirate’s oldest export; Louvre Abu Dhabi; dates; camel riding. Opposite page: Al Jahili Fort
Past blast: The Abu Dhabi Heritage Village clusters together craft studioshops, while traditional Bedouin homes are reconstructed and photos of pre-development Abu Dhabi are on display. Sneak preview: The Manarat Al Saadiyat exhibition centre
(saadiyatculutraldistrict.ae) has scale models of the big
new museums to come, plus large temporary art exhibits and a restaurant selling camel dishes. Mega-mosque: Open to visitors of all faiths, the 82-domed Sheikh Zayed Mosque features approximately 1,000 columns, 24-carat-gold-plated chandeliers and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. Movie magic: The dramatic Abu Dhabi desert provided the backdrop for large chunks of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The mirage-like fantasy resort Qasr Al Sarab (qasralsarab.anantara.com) is nearby and carries off the same vibe. Market mooching: The Al Mina markets offer a taste of time-warp traditionalism, with a fabulous sense of retro chaos amongst the fruit, vegetables, ﬁsh and carpets. Desert detour: Hala – Etihad Holidays’ ground tour wing – runs evening tours into the desert that include Arabic coffee, dates, a barbecue and belly dancing from £64. Catamaran cruise: Hala also sells catamaran cruises that offer the opportunity to take in the city skyline and
cultural abu dhabi
admire the architecture (from £55). Oasis option: Day tours to Al Ain take in the oasis, traditional irrigation systems, Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum, hot springs and a drive up Jebel Hafeet, the UAE’s highest mountain. Mangrove meanderings: A precious mangrove system lies just east of the city. Sea Hawk is one of several operators that head out there in kayaks, with a guide explaining the eco-system as you paddle. Cycle the circuit: The Formula One Grand Prix track at Yas Island opens up en masse to cyclists on Tuesday nights. Bikes can be hired on-site.
Tourism talk “Many day tours and excursions are designed to incorporate an educational or cultural element, whether that is the customary sharing of tea and dates or watching camel races” QASR_Selling Travel March_AW.pdf
“Forging strong relationships with the trade is one of our top priorities, especially here in the UK, which remains our second-largest overseas market and the biggest in Europe. “Over the last 12 months or so we’ve run roadshows in Edinburgh, Manchester and Dublin – these are the cities outside of London that offer ﬂights to Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways. “We’ve also helped over 1,000 frontline staff with 2:33 PM
destination training, worked with 20 different tour operators on joint marketing campaigns, proudly hosted ABTA’s annual Travel Convention – the ﬁrst time the event was held in the Middle East – and taken 105 agents to Abu Dhabi on fam trips.” Nabeel Al Zarouni, UK Country Manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi)
Where to book it ETIHAD HOLIDAYS – 0345 600 8118 A week’s stay at the three-star Park Inn by Radisson in Yas Island, ﬂying economy from Manchester with Etihad, costs from £541pp. Add on Hala’s Oasis Story, a full day tour of Al Ain including lunch, for £83pp. This includes stops at the Al Ain National Museum and the Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum, visits to the camel race track, livestock market and a date palm grove and a photo stop at Jebel Hafeet, a mountain overlooking the city. etihadholidays.co.uk
LUSSO TRAVEL – 01625 591111 A high season trip, staying at the iconic ﬁvestar Emirates Palace for a week and including return British Airways ﬂights from Heathrow, costs from £2,065pp. lussotravel.com
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River Cruising CONTENTS • 70 North America • 74 Seasonal river cruising
• 80 At a glance •
ANDY HARMER SENIOR VP MEMBERSHIP, CLIA UK & IRELAND. “The diversity of river cruise destinations has been a factor in the growth of the industry in recent years and for those looking for somewhere new or wishing to explore a country rich in culture, stunning scenery and great hospitality, the US should appeal. Learn itineraries and points of interests when aiming to grow your sales. ”
North America’s rivers are as vast and timeless as the landscapes they pass through. Jane Archer looks at the river cruise options for UK travellers
y tour of Graceland, the grand Memphis house where Elvis lived from 1957 until his death in 1977, has reached the Racquetball Room where he sang for friends just a few hours before being found dead in his bathroom. It’s a poignant moment in a tour that has elicited mixed emotions. I smiled at the kitsch Jungle Room and the stained glass peacocks in the music room, and was wowed by the Trophy Room’s gold records, stage costumes, movie posters and more. Graceland draws more than 600,000 visitors a year, but there is a lot more to see in Memphis. I took in Sun Studios, where Elvis made his
ﬁrst record in 1953, and visited the Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was shot in 1968, before joining the American Queen paddlewheel boat to cruise the Mississippi down to New Orleans.
Rivers run through it The Mississippi is the most-cruised river in the US, but few clients will be aware of the breadth of cruises American Queen Steamboat Company (americanqueensteamboatcompany.com), American Cruise Lines (americancruiselines.com) and new company French America Line (frenchamericaline. com) offer on this river and its tributaries. Cruises between Memphis and New Orleans
are the big sellers but there are also epic voyages that visit Nashville and Chattanooga on the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. Between them, they deliver everything from Mark Twain, Elvis, the Grand Ole Oprey, the American Civil War, slavery and alligators. The Columbia and Snake Rivers in the U.S. Northwest Paciﬁc are offered by AQSC and American Cruise Lines and take passengers from the rainy west coast city of Portland, Oregon, through canyons, forest and wine country and on to desert in Washington. Victory Cruise Lines sails the Great Lakes between Toronto and Chicago, while St Lawrence Cruise Lines has voyages on the St Lawrence River round-trip from Kingston that visit Montréal.
Perfect ten Fighting talk: Learn how Union forces beat the Confederates at Vicksburg during the U.S. Civil War on a tour of the front line. Snap happy: Tour Louisiana’s swamps out of Baton Rouge for alligators. Walking in Memphis: Beale Street is the home of the blues. Don’t miss its music, bars and restaurants. Animal quackers: Ducks in the lobby? That’ll be the Peabody Hotel, Memphis. All that jazz: The famous French Quarter of New Orleans has fabulous music and eye-catching architecture. Pioneering spirit: Follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark’s 1803-06 expedition in search of the Paciﬁc Ocean along the Columbia/Snake rivers. Cheers: In the 1980s Washington State had 20 wineries – now there are more than 800! Planes and trains: Fly over Oregon’s Mount Hood or ride the historic railroad from Hood River into the mountains. Wet, wet, wet: Get close to the Niagara Falls on the Hornblower Voyage of Falls. Driving force: The Henry Ford Museum in Detroit has the car John F Kennedy was travelling in when he was assassinated.
What’s new Airlines: British Airways (batraveltrade.com) is launching the ﬁrst direct ﬂights between London and New Orleans on March 26. �Cruising: American Queen Steamboat Company (americanqueensteamboatcompany.com) is launching a second vessel on the Mississippi in June. Former casino boat American Duchess has been rebuilt with an extra deck and all-suite accommodation including four two-storey Loft Suites. It will accommodate just 166
passengers and is small enough to navigate the Cumberland River to Nashville and the Illinois River to Ottawa, about 80 miles from Chicago. American Cruise Lines (americancruiselines. com) has launched a longer cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Options on the 11-day Northwest Pioneers Cruise include a ride on the Mount Hood Railway and tours to Mount St Helens and Pendleton, a town famous for weaving and woollen mills. French America Line (frenchamericaline.com) has added seven-night cruises on the Red River in Louisiana to its 2017 programme. There are departures in March, November and December, round-trip from New Orleans with calls in Baton Rouge.
Where to book it
“Our Pittsburgh departures on the Mississippi are just a day from Washington D.C. or New York and sailings from St Louis allow guests to begin with a few nights in Chicago before joining the ship by rail” KEVIN GRIFFIN, DIRECTOR, FRENCH AMERICA LINE
AMERICAN QUEEN STEAMBOAT COMPANY - 01223 568904
A seven-night Memphis to New Orleans cruise on American Duchess with a one-night pre-cruise hotel is from £3,195pp including ﬂights departing November 5 or 12 2017. lightbluetravel.co.uk AMERICAN CRUISE LINES – 001 800 460 4518
An eight-day cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers from Portland to Clarkston is from $3,535pp cruise-only departing May 13. americancruiselines.com
Opposite page: The bright lights of Minneapolis on the Upper Mississippi. Above, clockwise from left: service with a smile on the American Queen (AQSC); sailing the Columbia River Gorge; Main Street in Hannibal, Missouri
2018 RIVER CRUISE PROGR AMME ON SALE 4TH MARCH 2017 For the 2018 season Riviera Travel will be operating a fleet of 12 five-star and 1 four-star superior ships along the iconic rivers of Europe. Our river cruise programme goes from strength to strength with more passengers from the UK now choosing Riviera Travel’s European river cruises than any of our competitors. We are committed to expanding our fleet and our horizons and are delighted to announce the introduction of another brand new five-star ship for 2018, the MS Robert Burns. We will also be taking passengers on a brand new exciting journey from Budapest to the Black Sea.
New for 2018: • Another brand new ﬁve-star ship, the MS Robert Burns • Brand new 14 night itinerary - Budapest to the Black Sea - from just £2,299pp • Optional drinks package
Included with lunch and dinner: Draught beer, non-alcoholic beer, soft drinks and juices, red, white and rose house wine and the wine recommendations from the menu. 4 nights - £59 7 nights - £99 14 nights - £199 Bulk supplies of our brand new Cruise Compendium brochures will automatically be sent to independent agents w/c 20th March. In addition to our new 2018 River Cruise itineraries they will include for the ﬁrst time all of our Cruise Collection including Mekong and Ganges River Cruises, Tall Ships cruises, Ocean Cruise and Tour and Dalmatian Coast Yacht cruises.
For more information on our extensive river cruising range contact:
OUR STUNNING COLLECTION CRUISING THE RHINE, DANUBE, MOSELLE, MAIN, RHÔNE, DOURO & SEINE INCLUDES... The Blue Danube
Vienna, Budapest & Salzburg Departures April to October 2017 • Guided tour of Vienna • Live classical quartet recital on board • Visit to baroque Bratislava, capital of Slovakia • Cruise through the scenic Wachau, Austria’s premier wine region • Visit to medieval Dürnstein where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned • Visit to Melk Abbey, central Europe’s most spectacular baroque monastery • Tour of Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart and one of Austria’s most beautiful cities • Explore the amazing basilica at Esztergom, Hungary’s oldest cathedral • Tour of Budapest, Pearl of the Danube
Rhine & Moselle
Departures from May to October 2017 • Guided tour of historic Koblenz • Visit to Boppard, the picturesque ‘Pearl of the Rhine’ • Time to explore the hillside town of Rüdesheim - the most famous of the Rhine’s wine towns • Cruise through the spectacular Rhine Gorge • Stop in Cochem – the historic centre of the Moselle wine trade • Take a romantic stroll in the town of Bernkastel • Tour of Trier – once a key capital of the Roman Empire • Guided tour of Cologne – and see the stunning Gothic Cathedral
Rhine Cruise to Switzerland Departures from May to October 2017
• Explore medieval Koblenz • Visit to the pretty, romantic town of Rüdesheim - centre of the Rhineland wine trade • Cruise through the spectacular Rhine Gorge • An evening in Speyer - dominated by the imposing basilica • Guided tour of Strasbourg - amazingly rich in a wealth of sights • Visit to the old walled town of Breisach • Tour of the beautiful Black Forest and lakeside town of Titisee • Tour of some of the ﬁnest Swiss Alpine scenery, seeing the Jungfrau and the Eiger, Interlaken and the stunning lakeside town of Lucerne
Cruise the Heart of Europe Departures April to October 2017
• Admire the stunning scenery of the Rhine Gorge, Main and Danube • Guided tour of 2,000 year-old Koblenz • Stop in picturesque Boppard • Rüdesheim - a true Rhineland wine town • Visits to Mainz and the amazingly preserved medieval city of Regensburg • See Miltenberg - one of Germany’s best preserved medieval towns • Experience Wertheim - one of the most attractive medieval towns in Germany • Guided tours of baroque Würzburg, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest • Walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bamberg • Tour of Nuremberg, with visit of the site of the Nuremberg Trials and Nazi rally grounds • Stop in Passau - the conﬂuence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers • Visit Melk Abbey - the majestic Benedictine monastery
Burgundy, River Rhône & Provence Departures April to October 2017
• Visit to Beaune, centre of the Burgundy wine region and wine tasting • Cruise the spectacular Rhône valley • Guided tour of Lyon, second city of France and its gastronomic capital • Visit to charming Vienne • Tour of the astonishing Ardeche Gorges • Guided tour of Arles, with its extraordinary Roman remains and home of Vincent Van Gogh • Visit to the Pont du Gard • Tour of superbly preserved, medieval Avignon and the stunning Pope’s Palace
01283 744370 Visit: www.rivieratravel.co.uk/agents
Riviera Travel, New Manor, 328 Wetmore Road, Burton on Trent, Staﬀs, DE14 1SP. ABTA V4744 and ATOL 3430 protected. Prices are based on two people sharing a twin cabin. Additional entrance apply. duration dependent on selected itinerary. Prices correct as of 21-2-17. Riviera Travel booking terms and conditions apply. costs Pricesmay correct asCruise of 21-2-17.
Seasonal river cruising
All in the
timing Many river cruises operate year round but others are reliant on seasonal flows, dodging inclement weather or coinciding with local events. Jo Austin provides some reasons for seasons
ravellers often have a set idea of where and when they want to go but in order to offer expert advice and sell the best river cruise possible it’s essential that agents understand which rivers ‘work best’ at what times. “With the popularity of river cruising rapidly increasing, the huge choice of itineraries and destinations can be bewildering, says Tim Fleming, Sales and Business Development Manager, The River Cruise Line.
“Agents who take the time to get to know the river cruising seasons will ensure they are best placed to advise their clients on when to enjoy the various waterways at their best. And being aware of the booking periods means clients won’t risk missing out on the most popular cruises.” It is common sense to follow the natural weather patterns of the northern and southern hemispheres when booking your clients on a river cruise – after all, the River Nile is not the place to be in the middle of August, unless you are a monitor lizard! It is also worthwhile checking out booking patterns and water levels to make sure your boat will ﬂoat. River cruises have peaks and troughs in
Main picture: Spring is the best time to see the landscapes of The Netherlands; Opposite page, clockwise from top: Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar; an A-Rosa cruise on the Rhine; Uniworld operate various European cruises with shore excursions; the Temple of Hathor, Aswan, Egypt
Seasonal river cruising
booking patterns and not all operate on a year-round basis. Some cruises tend to book up faster than others and if your clients are determined to catch those stunning Dutch tulips in bloom they should book up at least six months ahead, especially if they want a particular cabin. Some clients might want their river cruise to coincide with a festival such as the annual ‘Rhine in Flames’ or an open-air concert while others will not want to miss the Christmas Markets. So if your clients insist on a certain date or destination it does pay to plan ahead.
Spring The Dutch Bulbﬁelds ﬂower but once a year and the season is short so it’s good to get your dates right. All the major river cruise lines feature itineraries on the Northern Rhine to the iconic Keukenhof Gardens and Floralia ﬂower exhibition, which is open between March 24 and May 16. There are many other gardens in the Netherlands and Belgium which look their best at this time of year. Portugal’s Douro offers some excellent vineyard and port cellar cruises before the heat of mid-summer. Some cruises run out of Oporto between March and December. Further aﬁeld, a new Ganges and Himalaya cruise/rail holiday is being featured by Great Rail Journeys on the Hooghly River. Running in March, as well as September and December, the seven-night cruise has been made possible by the building of the Farakka Barrage which brought the river to life again.
..Sell it.. COSMOS TOURS AND CRUISES – 0844 544 6625 An A-Rosa cruise departing April 14 on A-Rosa Brava is from from £1299pp. The cruise includes a full day in Amsterdam and the chance to visit Keukenhof from £1299pp, including all
“More operators are extending the traditional river cruise season. ‘Shoulder months’ such as March and November do well with short break cruises that target the city break customer” LUCIA ROWE, CHAIR OF CLIA RIVER CRUISE COMMITTEE AND HEAD OF UK SALES A-ROSA
drinks onboard and return ﬂights from Stansted to Cologne. cosmostoursandcruises.co.uk NEWMARKET HOLIDAYS – 0808 168 9231 The four-day Amsterdam & Bulbﬁelds Spectacular Cruise is from £539pp departing April 2017. It includes return ﬂights to Amsterdam and is full-board including afternoon tea, coffee and cake and late-night snacks. The cruise calls at Hoorn and Zaandam and has a half-day excursion to Keukenhof. newmarketholidays.co.uk
Summer The summer months not only bring the best weather for river cruising in central Europe but also the most favourable river ﬂow and tidal conditions – a double thumbs up! The scenery along the Danube, Rhine and Main is at its most beautiful at this time of year – although Titan will sail the Rhine and Danube on
MS Serenade for the entire year in 2017. The wine-producing areas of France are particularly popular at this time of year, as is Paris. Rhone/Saone cruises only operate from March to October as the rivers’ locks do not operate during the winter months. The Garonne and Dordorgne rivers offer the chance to explore the south-west region of France. A river cruise is a great way to soak up Russian history and culture and sailing from St Petersburg to Moscow on the Volga River and the Moscow Canal is how to do it. Russia’s Neva, Svir and Volga rivers have a short season during the summer months as does the Eastern Danube, also covering an historic slice of Europe. Croisieurope is opening up its Volga cruises to the UK market with eight-day cruises between Moscow and St Petersburg between May and September. They will feature onboard classes in Russian language and dancing! An 11-day Russian river cruise aboard the MS Surikov is a new addition for APT in 2017 and includes a visit to Kizhi Island and the St Petersburg Palace. This is also the time to experience Canada’s St Lawrence River or America’s Mississippi. The all-suite,166-guest American Duchess joins The American Steamboat Company’s ﬂeet in June 2017. It’s the ﬁrst purpose-built boutique paddlewheeler and will offer overnight stays
THE HIGHEST RATED RIVER CRUISE SHIPS
The AmaWaterways Experience Family-owned and operated, AmaWaterways has been a passion project for its founders since its creation fifteen years ago. AmaWaterways staff share this passion to provide our guests with genuinely life-enhancing journeys…
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Any cruise line can take you from here to there. AmaWaterways takes you even further with exceptional staff, award-winning cuisine, enriching themed cruises and an array of complimentary active excursions and on board amenities. An AmaWaterways river cruise is not just a holiday, but a collection of unforgettable experiences.
For more information or to book a river cruise call our team of specialists on: 0800 520 2250 | email@example.com www.amawaterways.co.uk
Seasonal river cruising
in Nashville along with round-trip itineraries from the ‘music city’ and New Orleans.
..Sell it.. CROISIEUROPE – 0208 328 1281 The art-themed Impressionist View of the Seine cruise sails from Paris to Honﬂeur. It is priced from £1270pp including
all drinks and excursions on May, July and August departures on MS Seine Princess, Renoir and Botticelli. croisieurope.co.uk THE RIVER CRUISE LINE – 0844 544 6625 The Rhine and Moselle Explorer cruise on MS Serenity sails from Koblenz to Cologne, visiting quaint wine towns, magniﬁcent castles and Zell (legendary for its black cat). Prices start from £999pp full-board, departing June 4 2017 and including return coach travel. rivercruiseline.co.uk
Autumn The Douro, one of Europe’s most unspoiled rivers, is still incredibly popular during the late summer months. Sailing along the Douro valley between Portugal’s second largest city, Porto, and Barca d’Alva on the Spanish border takes guests through lush vineyards and sleepy ﬁshing villages as well as its many ‘Quintas’. Autumn colours are particularly spectacular on the Rhine, Main and Danube. Further aﬁeld, the Amazon’s dry season
From left: The River Victoria travels the imperial waterways of Russia; APT’s RV Samantha explores the wonders of Myanmar
Book with Confidence
European River Cruising Rhine | Moselle | Danube | Neckar | Main | Dutch Waterways
Flexible joining options
Order your brochure: www.trade-gate.co.uk To book call: 0330 160 7999 Agency Support Team: 0330 160 4799 email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org Online Training: www.training.newmarketholidays.co.uk
Could not fault the crew and staff on anything. They were so kind and cheerful. The whole atmosphere was the same from morning to night Mr & Mrs B, Birmingham
*Price quoted is for The Betwixtmas River Cruise, cruise-only travel option. Alternative travel options available at different prices, price is subject to change.
Seasonal river cruising
starts in June but runs throughout autumn and into December. This is good time for those that like warmer weather and want to explore off the boat on foot. It also sees more migratory birds in ﬂight and the ﬁshing is better. The downside is less mammals and less access to smaller offshoot waterways.
..Sell it.. TITAN – 0808 252 0619 The seven-night all-inclusive A Week on the River Douro cruise is from £2,699pp including six excursions. titantravel.co.uk
UNIWORLD – 0808 168 9231 An eight-day cruise along the Seine aboard Uniworld’s brand new S.S Joie de Vivre starts from £2,249 and includes unlimited beverages onboard and excursions. uniworld.com
Winter While high waters on some European rivers make it impossible to get under some low bridges, this is the time to venture far aﬁeld. It is also the time to book that European summer river cruise as popular cabins sell fast and there might be some attractive early-booking deals. River cruises in South East Asia make the perfect winter break between January and April. The Mekong and Myanmar’s Irrawaddy are ideal destinations post-rainy season and Egypt’s Nile is perfect between October and April as there is little shade during the summer months. For a truly cultural experience, India’s Ganges is open for business at this time of year. China’s Yangtze River has a slightly longer season and is featured by Viking River Cruises from February to November. The Amazon’s wet season starts now and runs until April. This is when the rivers are most navigable and cruises can access tributaries
which take vessels deeper into the jungle, with cruisers likely spotting more wildlife from the boat. Tropical fruits and blooms are at their most colourful at this time too. Now is a great time to soak up the festive atmosphere as Europe’s Christmas markets come alive. Germany, France and Austria feature some of the best. After the ‘turkey and tinsel’ cruises in November operators on the Rhine and Dutch waterways run cruises over Christmas and New Year in some of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
..Sell it.. RIVIERA TRAVEL – 01283 888 485 The 15-day Journey on the Mekong includes seven nights full-board aboard RV Mekong Prestige II and costs from £2,799pp. The price includes all shore excursions plus guided tours of Saigon and Angkor Wat.
“Our summer departures remain the most popular thanks to the variety and volume of cruises, but spring is when guests can enjoy the wonderful gardens of Holland in all their glory. Our festive cruises have certainly seen an increase in interest” KATHRYN BEADLE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, UNIWORLD BOUTIQUE RIVER CRUISE COLLECTION
AMAWATERWAYS– 0800 520 2250 The 14-day Golden Treasures of Myanmar starts with two nights in Yangon before transferring to Pyay for a 10-night cruise to Mandalay and ends with a short ﬂight back to Yangon. The 2017 price for a January departure was £3,893pp. amawaterways.co.uk
Clockwise from top: The Dutch bulbﬁelds ﬂower once a year in spring; the island of Philae in Egypt; scenery along the Rhine in the summer; the waterways of Moscow
E G N UAR A
THESE CRUISES WILL NOT BE SOLD FOR LESS
FREE EXCURSIONS & DRINKS PACKAGE WORTH £520 PER COUPLE
RHINE CRUISE & SWISS DELIGHTS MS SERENITY
N E •
C PR I
OUR 4 STAR SHIP
FABU LOUS JOU R N EYS BY R IVER 2017
Departs 21 May 2017 9 days from just £899 + commission Uplifts available – call now
FREE EXCURSIONS PACKAGE
If you want to discuss any aspects of supporting our river cruises please call Rebecca today on 07824 337 290
WHY BOOK WITH US: Small friendly agency team focused
on your easy booking experience and full back up on any queries prior to booking for individuals and groups
Price guarantee for all your passengers, that confirms that our cabins will not be sold for less (they may rise!)
RHINE & MOSELLE EXPLORER Departs 4 June 2017 9 days by air or rail from just £999
UP THE RHINE & DOWN THE DANUBE
Departs 12 June 2017 NEW 16 days rail from just £1799 Also available by air from LHR
H E R E ’ S M O R E S PE C IA L C RU I S E S : • TOP SELLER – Cruise the Danube to Vienna & Budapest available from just £999 – June to October 2017 • Bavaria & the Romantic Rhine in June – now by air or rail from £899 • Or try the Rhine in Flames on our 3 star ship mps Lady Anne – we are in the flotilla! From only £819
More regional flights now available to join the ship Commission paid on all grades booked on all cruises – includes excursions and drinks packages when pre-booked Our cruises create a loyal and high level of repeat bookings from both individual and groups. Lead-ins from as little as £299 and average spend per booking over £1,500
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TO SEE OUR FULL COLLECTION REQUEST A BROCHURE TODAY
IT 15 IN N ER EW AR IE S
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F RO M B E D F O R DS H I R E , B U CK I N G H A M S H I R E , B R I S TO L , C A M B R I D G E S H I R E , CO R N WA L L , D E R BYS H I R E , D E VO N , E S S E X , G LO U CE S T E R S H I R E , G R E AT E R LO N D O N , H E R E F O R DS H I R E , H E RT F O R DS H I R E , K E N T, L E I CE S T E R S H I R E , N O R F O L K , N O RT H A M P TO N S H I R E , N OT T I N G H A M S H I R E , S H RO PS H I R E , SO M E R S E T, SO U T H WA L E S , S TA F F O R DS H I R E , S U F F O L K , S U R R E Y, WA RWI CK S H I R E , W E S T M I D L A N DS , WI LT S H I R E , WO RCE S T E R S H I R E & YO R K S H I R E
Prices are per person, based on two people sharing the lowest category cabin – cabin upgrades are available at a supplement – please call for details. Reservations are subject to availability and our booking conditions which are available on request or online at www.rivercruiseline.co.uk. Offers cannot be used in conjunction with any other unless otherwise stated. All prices are correct at the time of going to print.
BY R AIL
F E AT U R I N G C L A S S I C R AI L TO U R S | R E S O RT- BA S E D E XPLO R E R S | S H O RT B R E A K S | L A K E S & M O U N TAI N S A L L F U L LY E S CO RT E D F RO M LO N D O N S T PA N C R A S I N T E R N AT I O N A L
Moselle, France, lux, Germany
rhine, switzerland to the netherlands
Amadeus River Cruises
0800 035 6411 amadeus-rivercruises.co.uk
£867pp, 7-night Classical Danube cruise. Cruise-only and including wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
A-ROSA River Cruises
0049 381 202 6001 arosa-cruises.com
£760pp, 7-night Danube Classic cruise, cruise-only incl. all meals, drinks, and a 15% spa discount
0800 954 0063 amawaterways.co.uk
£1,599, 7-night Enchanting Rhine cruise with flights, non-UK transfers, port charges, meals and wine
APT River Cruises
0800 012 6686 aptouring.co.uk/agents
£847, Reflections of the Rhine & Main Premium River Cruise
0800 668 1865 avaloncruises.co.uk
£1,465pp, 8-day Taste of the Danube cruise (incl. UK transfers with personal chauffeur & flights)
0845 077 2222 Belmond.com
£990pp, 2-night cruise aboard Belmond Road to Mandalay with transfers, wine with lunch and dinner and excursions
CMv Signature River Cruises
0844 963 0000 cruiseandmaritime.com
£749pp, 5-night Magical Rhine cruise with flights and transfers (no drinks included)
£281pp for a four-day mini-cruise in Paris
Crystal River Cruises
020 8328 1281 croisieurope.co.uk 020 7399 7604 crystalcruises.co.uk
£2,410pp for a 10-night cruise round trip from Vienna
0800 270 7017 emeraldwaterways.co.uk
£1,295pp, 8-day Secrets of the Douro or 8-day Sensations of Southern France
01753 598555 europeanwaterways.com
£2,450pp, 6-night all-inclusive hotel barge cruises in France, Italy, Holland, Ireland, England, Scotland
Far Horizon Tours & Cruises
01252 714 477 perlrivercruises.com
£1,579pp, 7-night Brahmaputra cruise. Cruiseonly with excursions and international transfers
0808 159 5256 fredrivercruises.co.uk
£599pp, 7-day (no-fly) Dutch Towns & Spring Gardens, including return coach transfers, fullboard and entrance to Keukenhof Gardens
Great Rail Journeys & Rail Discoveries
0800 240 4470 greatrail.com/raildiscoveries.com
£795, 5-day The Path of the Seine, Paris to Normandy including rail, 11 meals and allinclusive drinks on MS Seine Princess
01865 268 944 insiderjourneys.co.uk 0808 168 1458 ewaterways.co.uk
£3,093, 16-day Mekong & Beyond small group journey. (7 nights’ cruise, 8 nights’ hotel)
Mekong River Cruises
01252 714 477 perlrivercruises.com
£650pp, 5-night Luang Prabang roundtrip cruise. Cruise-only with excursions and international transfers
Pandaw River Expeditions
020 3287 6113 pandaw.com
£2,620pp, 7-night Chindwin Monywa – Homalin cruise
01283 744 370 / 744 390 rivieratravel.co.uk/agents
£1,099pp, 8-day Blue Danube. Includes direct return flights, transfers, full board and all guided excursions
0800 074 8021 saga.co.uk/rivercruises
£599pp, 5 nights Through the Rhine Gorge, all-inclusive with return coach travel
+44 (0)1242 546609 sanctuaryretreats.com
£714pp, 3-night cruise on sanctuary ananda from Bagan to Mandalay in 2016, based on two people
0800 566 8777 scenic.co.uk
From £1,495pp, 8-day ultra-all-inclusive Iconic Danube cruise in spacious suite accommodation
0343 309 0030 shearings.com/rivercruises
£529pp, 4-night Tulips & Windmills fullboard cruise, includes coach transfers and two nights’
Tauck River Cruises
0800 810 8020 tauck.co.uk
£2,440pp, 8 day ‘Holland & Belgium in the Spring’ sailing including flights and a category one cabin
0800 988 5800 titanagents.co.uk
£999pp, the 8-day Beautiful Rhine cruise, full-board and including VIP transfers
The River Cruise Line
0330 134 4087 rivercruiseline.co.uk
£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
0844 288 2733 wendywutours.co.uk
£2,490pp, 14-day fully-inclusive Majestic Yangtze tour with flights, meals, accommodation and guided touring
Mekong Prestige River Cruise
Your official guide to river cruising
Danube, Central europe
Main Danube Canal, Germany
At a glance
elbe, Czech republic to Germany
£1,149pp, 8 night cruise only between Saigon and Siem Reap, full board basis including drinks
ALL INClusive OPTION
Murray River, Australia
Irrawaddy/ CHINDWIN, Burma
Mekong, Cambodia, Laos, and/or Vietnam
Selected Luxury Cruises Pre-paid drink packages
Rail - local station only
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w Ne eb w si te
Selected dates Pre-paid drink packages
Part of upgrade
the final word
the quirky side of travel – Trump, Mountain Gorillas (sort of), 50 Shades –
onald Trump’s tenure in the White House IS considered a travel 'concern' among many potential holidaymakers. According to Sun-hat Villas & Resorts, the divisive president comes in sixth on a list of 'issues' put to 1,300 would-be tourists. Over 16% of those surveyed considered Donald J Trump as a concern, although he came in behind unstable economies and the threat of natural disasters (22%); the exchange rate (29%); illnesses and diseases such as the Zika virus (45%); and, we're sure he'll be pleased to know, the threat of terrorism (82%). Following Trump’s attempted executive order to exercise a travel ban on refugees arriving from seven nations, many more Brits are at least considering boycotting the US and looking at alternatives, according to Holiday Extras. Ant Clarke-Cowell, Communications Director Holiday Extras, said: "It seems the passion felt by Brits opposing the new restrictions could actually lead to shifts in travel trends, with up to a quarter of those asked reconsidering their US holiday as an act of protest." sun-hat-villas.com; holidayextras.co.uk
UGANDA GOES APE Passers-by in Trafalgar Square last month may have spotted a rather unusual visitor: a
British Airways makes the day British Airways surprised a young cancer survivor, Hannah Smith, and friends with the trip of a lifetime. They were treated to First Class seats to Las Vegas as well as rooms in Caesars Palace and much more! ba.com
TOP 10… Deadly creatures Ever worry about meeting dangerous wildlife on your travels? Look out for these. travelsupermarket.com 1 2 Poison dart frog
Central and South America
'mountain gorilla' being paraded by the Uganda Tourism Board. But they did not need to worry – it wasn't a real beast or even a reshoot of King Kong. The animatronic gorilla was designed to promote wildlife tourism in Uganda, particularly its mountain gorilla treks in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Mountain gorillas are increasingly rare but there has been a baby boom this year, and numbers are now approaching 900.
Tropical and subtropical seas of the world
4 3 Deathstalker Scorpian
North Africa and the Middle East
India and South East Asia
Humboldt Squid Eastern Paciﬁc
IBEROSTAR’S NAUGHTY SIDE Chains and whips might not be everyone’s idea of a fun holiday but all of the above will be available in one room at Iberostar Grand Hotel Portals Nous, Mallorca. The room, dubbed the ‘Naughty Suite’, will come with a circular bed, mirrored ceilings, a dancing pole and 'a box of tricks’. Created to celebrate the release of Fifty Shades Darker, it will be one of five themed rooms at the hotel when it opens this spring. iberostar.com
8 7 Wandering Spider
Blue ringed octopus
10 9 Bullet Ant
South America rainforests
Giant japanese hornet Asia
THE APRIL 2017 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • Worldwide all-Inclusives • China • South America cruising • Florida • Germany • Hong Kong & Macau • India • Ireland • Maldives • New Zealand • Philippines • Santiago • Scottsdale, Phoenix • CONTACT US firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com PLUS, ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni
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firstname.lastname@example.org Malaysia Airlines
Very special Travel Industry fare from
direct to KL from LHR
Onward destinations in Malaysia from £ including Langkawi, Penang & Borneo.
Australia & New Zealand from £
Business Class fares to KL available from
ALL confirmed seats, return & including taxes Valid for outbound travel until November'17 Call for prices and availability. T&C's apply
The Datai; Langkawi
FREE Night Offer applies, valid for selected dates
114 BB £
Furama Bukit Bintang; Kuala Lumpur
FREE Night & FREE Room Upgrade offers apply, valid for selected dates
37 BB £45 BB £48 BB £49 BB £55 BB
Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-La; Penang £ Traders Hotel; Kuala Lumpur Pangkor Laut Resort; Pangkor Laut Eastern & Oriental Hotel; Penang Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai; Boreno NEW to Touchdown
Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa; Langkawi £ FREE Night Offer applies, valid for selected room types & dates
More hotels available throughout Malaysia - call for details.
A unique collection of hotels in Barbados: Almond Beach Resort & Sugar Cane Hotel & Spa on the West Coast and Time Out Hotel & Worthing Court Apartment Hotel on the South Coast.
p rtle swim tri nd safari, tu Includes isla e or m us pl
52 RO / £98 AI
Óleo Cancun Playa; Mexico
Fantastic opening offer rate
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
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Published on Jul 18, 2017
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