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Why, like its Bullet trains, Japan is bang on schedule as travel's rising long haul star

how to sell...

India Colorado Caribbean City Breaks River Cruising Weddings and Honeymoons and much more...


Package Pal has evolved again More hotels than ever, improved maps, dynamic filters and much more‌

Perfect for Paris

Romance in Rome

Amazing for Amsterdam

Brilliant for Barcelona

To check out the new trade only Package Pal visit EVERY BOOKING FULLY BONDED



this issue - we travel further to bring you more FEATURES 08 Japan: Still affordable 15 City breaks: Europe's finest urban escapes


32 Weddings &



Honeymoons: In the Indian Ocean 42 Caribbean round-up: Looking forward to 2017






65 64 32


QUICK READS 50 Six of the best: New Caledonia

Ben Coren

63 How to sell: Panama 64 City profile: Singapore THE REVIEW 69 Top news stories plus Jamaica's Travel Market

TALKING SHOP 19 News, competitions,

Laura Gelder,

enjoyed an autumn sojourn in the Big Apple, mixing seasonal colours with some of the city's iconic sights



Steven Thompson

our Deputy Editor is travelling Down Under this month. She'll bounce from Sydney to Canberra to Adelaide

will be revisiting a favoured destination when he enjoys the pristine beaches of The Gambia this month



incentives & fams. 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




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Hangzhou. The first Chinese city to host the G20 Summit

To Book: 01737 646416

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welcome Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2016 © 2016.

Suffolk House, George St, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1SR, UK T 020 8649 7233 | F 020 8649 7234 Publishers: Steve Thompson & Sally Parker Commercial Director: David Clare Editorial Director: Steve Hartridge Deputy Editor: Laura Gelder Staff Journalists: Ben Coren & Cameron Roberts Contributing writers: Alan Orbell and Jo Austin Group Editor: Andy Hoskins Contributing Editor: Julie Baxter Business Development Manager: Craig McQuinn Advertisement Manager: Lisa Merrigan Creative Director: Matt Bonner Designers: Louisa Horton & Ross Clifford Junior Designer: Zoë Tarrant

– dedicated to those who love selling travel –


he Selling Travel editorial team will be walking the floors of London’s Excel this month meeting with destinations that range from Antigua to Zimbabwe. World Travel Market, which each November brings together the who’s who of global tourism, presents an under-one-roof opportunity to catch up with those destinations already well-established in tourism terms and to discover more about others that might be less familiar to most UK travellers. Most destinations come armed with news of forthcoming new hotels, attractions, flights, trade campaigns and much more and we will be rounding up the most important and relevant news in our What’s Hot in Steve Hartridge 2017 feature, scheduled for our next issue (December). EDITOR And several tourism boards will be hosting their own agent initiatives, for example the Caribbean Tourism Organization, which will be staging a dedicated training event on the show’s final day (November 9). For those agents who can spare the time out of the office or home, World Travel Market should prove an invaluable resource. In other matters, I am delighted to announce that at the Travel Media Awards in London late last month we were named Travel Trade Publication of the Year – for the second year running. The UK is unusually blessed with high-quality travel trade publications – I am sure you read most of them - so to retain the title we won in 2015 is an achievement we are very proud of. The accolade is a fabulous tribute to everyone here who works on the magazine, from our creative designers who make it look the way it does to our production department that ensures all its many elements – photos, adverts, etc – come together in the right order and that Selling Travel arrives on your desks on schedule each month. Enjoy this award-winning issue! desert luxury midd



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delights luxury e Eastern nding The Middl ever-expa sector is an ulter looks at Co one. Adam pments elo dev the latest

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

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OMAN – Dusit canyons, deserts with milder, wetter, 2017 ( rocks and  Hotels: Muscat in seasons Palm Mall It also has the capital Resort Salalah coastline. open dusitD2 Muscat is the first pened Al Baleed the south. Ocean winters in The newly-o ly is a luxury villa resort, the Indian ng, placed for ins large of Oman. and is ideally dolphin-watchi , in the south “Oman rema (salalah.a scuba diving, a great in Salalah hotelgroup. anditsiskind coastline for kite surfing. Doha (morgans ns an scovered of desti , sailing and Mondri natio regular Oriental – undi in by turtle nesting QATAR , Mandar Doha, is served e to aother . It boasts y ha), Centara Grand drian/mondrian-do nativ Airways Qatar’s capital, on Qatar com/monluxur alter g With includinn. f the UK regio names Waldor (mandari big The the flights from Doha with in and ing at very luxury hotels, the way. 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There Naseem (jumeirah is gradually Dhabi once Jumeirah Al , Bulgari (bulgarih eing, but tourism high-end openings of of sightse (theroyalatlantisre hotel l ing handfu ra, – Upcom with a Abu Dhabi st them, Ananta developing ABU DHABI Grand Hyatt i.grand. g up, among 428-room Banyan Tree. s Pearl (abudhab hotels springin include the and Emirate ces & Resorts opposite Hilton Hotels Hotel & Residen under construction which is nt Marina, and the Fairmo nine-kilometre Perfect ten Emirates Palace, ces (fairmontmarinaresidences. Islands: This is a Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi Resort & Residen in 2017. white sand will open ill turtles. archipelago ribbon of com), which a stunning ered hawksb for endang Marjan Island, square r of hotels, nesting site RAK – Al gs: A numbe of 2.7 million area to openin an due Qatar the sea, nces are encompassing 4.5 km into and experie the Mall extending activities , including metres and ed. 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ut througho pastime Towers is a popular bashing top): Etihad Zayed Left: Dune East. Above (from racing; Sheikh the Middle Palace; camel Emirates Dhabi and the Abu Grand Mosque,



INDUSTRY COMMENTS... “The luxury market will always be an important one for Abu Dhabi. The choice of high-end hotels is forever growing... and the new Louvre Abu Dhabi will be a huge draw for discerning travellers."

“Colorado offers adventure, arts, heritage, distinctive cuisine and world-class skiing. Its landscape includes four national parks, seven national monuments, plus mountain peaks."

Nabeel Al Zarouni, UK Country Manager, TCA Abu Dhabi.

Jim Odoire, Director, Colorado Tourism, UK and Ireland

See feature, page 54

See feature, page 60


events & festivals

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


LOSAR FESTIVAL, TIBET This is Tibet's biggest event of the year and is a chance to watch age old ceremonies that commemorate the struggle between good and evil. The Tibetan people come out onto the streets of Lhasa and beyond to chant, pass fire torches, dance and sing, while monastries are decorated and local homes are freshly painted. The festival marks the start of the new year February 27, 2017 and runs for five days.


The weird and wonderful Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival) takes place in Menton France from February 11 - March 1, 2017. During this time sculptures and floats are made out of, you guessed it, lemons and other citrus fruits to bring the town to life! Numerous performances, including musicals and dances take place during the festival, of course with a very citrusy backdrop.

MARDI GRAS, USA A festival known across the world for it's colourful costumes and lively antics, Mardi Gras most famously takes place in New Orleans, February 28, 2017. Complete with parades, performances and plenty of raucous parties Mardi Gras transforms the 'Big Easy' and adds a vibrant additional dimension to any trip to Louisiana.

Two million visitors descend on the Japanese city of Sapporo for this wintertime spectacle which sees snow sculptures large and small line the paths of three parks. There are snow slides, an ice bar and colourful lights shows set up for the event too. The festival takes place February 1 - 12, 2017.

PINGXI SKY LANTERN FESTIVAL, TAIWAN Floating lanterns illuminate the night sky at this festival in Taiwan taking with them the prayers and promises of the people as they make a fresh start. On the ground, more lanterns – upto 10 metres long – are displayed while folk performances and carnivals add to the vibe. Held February 11, 2017.



Japan on a


The land of the rising sun is also a rising long haul star. There’s plenty to see and do and the country is shrugging off its ‘expensive’ tag too, says Benjamin Coren



am ridiculously excited about my first journey on the Shinkansen, or bullet train, the star of Japan’s network of high-speed railway lines. I’m no train buff, but there is something alluring about whizzing through the countryside at speeds of up to 300 kmph (186 mph) on this futuristic and remarkably timely service, a pleasant change from my usual commute with the dreaded Southern Rail. There are a number of points to note about the Shinkansen that really make it a special and unforgettable experience. Firstly, it really is the most efficient service you can imagine. In my experience, the trains simply do not run late, they arrive on time almost to the second and even the slightest delay warrants fervent apologies from platform staff.

The trains themselves are beautiful and incredibly well-kept; onboard comfort certainly rivals many aircraft and in some cases surpasses them; the trains are clean and tidy and the service I rode between Kyoto and Tokyo felt brand new. Staff on board are immaculately dressed, in striking uniforms, and incredibly polite, always turning to bow before exiting the carriage. Finally, these trains really are fast: you feel it on board and, glancing out of the window, the countryside passes in a blur. Someone tells me that the trains used to come out of tunnels so quickly they would create a sonic boom, damaging nearby wildlife and even property – fortunately this problem has been resolved.



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.



Affordable options

“If clients are planning to visit several cities during their trip, suggest the Japan Rail Pass which offers excellent value for money and includes travel on Japan’s famous bullet trains” CLIVE BUCKINGHAM, JTB EUROPE

Inbound tourism to Japan is on an upward curve, with UK numbers recording a 13.6% rise between January and August this year on last year’s figures. The word is spreading, it seems, that Japan is an affordable destination. In fact, for the second year running, Tokyo ranks as one of the top three cheapest long-haul holiday destinations for UK travellers to visit, according the Post Office’s Long Haul Report. Tokyo’s third place standing puts it above the likes of Phuket, Orlando and Cancun, to name a few, and once visitors venture outside the neon capital they will find goods, meals and accommodation at even better value. The price of flights has also remained reasonable, with indirect flights as low as £409 and direct flights around £629 with ANA. Japan’s southern islands of Okinawa are becoming more popular among UK travellers. With a sub-tropical climate, coral reefs and sandy beaches, the islands offer a complete change of scenery and atmosphere from the sights and cities of mainland Japan. Reached by internal flight from Tokyo or Osaka, the Okinawa islands are ideal for


relaxing (making it a popular stop for honeymooners) but also have a unique culture to explore and excellent scuba diving. Major UK long-haul tour operators offer package trips to Japan, which are a great introduction to the country, and best

From left: The dominant Mount Fuji as viewed from the high-speed Shinkansen; Kinkaka-Ji, also known as the golden temple, is a striking site in Kyoto



during the most comfortable seasons of spring and autumn. But for clients wanting more tailor-made arrangements, there are several specialist operators ready to match your clients’ precise requirements, including requests for more traditional accommodation.

From top: The 16th-century Osaka Castle is a famous Japanese landmark and houses fascinating feudal-era artifacts; the Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine features over 5,000 torii gates along the trail to the top of Mount Inari; sushi

estimated 2,000 throughout Japan. Skiing and Snowboarding: Japan’s world-class ski resorts are no longer a secret. They receive a huge amount of dry, powdery snow which make them among among the best and most reliable in the world. The season runs from December to April. Most Perfect ten resorts are family-friendly Castle capers: and several have been “For the second year running, built around hot springs, Travel back to the old world of feudal Tokyo is one of the top three which are a key part of lords, weaponry and the experience. cheapest long-haul holiday Play ball: war at one of Japan’s destinations for UK travellers Baseball is the preserved castles. to visit, according to the Post most watched sport in There are hundreds Office’s Long Haul Report.” Japan and will feature in across the country the 2020 Olympics in offering a peek into YUMI TAKAKUBO, HEAD OF TRADE PARTNERSHIPS AND MARKETING, JNTO Tokyo. The season runs the past. On the trains: from March to October Most will get a thrill from riding the and tickets can be purchased from around 1000 high-speed Shinkansen bullet train which yen (£7.60). Traditional temples: Eye-catching connects most of Japan. A JR pass, allowing rail temples and shrines and iconic torii travel all over Japan, can be purchased online arches are everywhere, and a sure-fire photo before travel. Culinary culture: Sushi, sashimi, ramen, stop for tourists. Theatre and music: See Geisha perform shabu-shabu and udon are just a handful traditional arts in Kyoto or Tokyo and of some of the culinary delights awaiting don’t miss a show at a Kabuki theatre. visitors to Japan. Manga: Japanese comics read by all ages have a history dating back to the late 18th century, and are popular worldwide. Kyoto International Manga Museum is a must for fans, while visitors can see the manga culture in Tokyo’s Akihabara district. Hot spring onsen: The perfect way to relax and relieve fatigue, Japanese hot springs are very popular and can be found all over the country. There are over an

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

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Free baggage allowance of 2 pieces at 23kgs each







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





“Agents should be sure to keep the cherry blossom season in mind when selling Japan to clients. It runs from late March to mid-April and is one of the most stunning times to visit Japan” MARK MALLINSON ASSISTANT PRODUCT MANAGER ASIA, TRAVEL 2

Shopping: Japan is perfect for finding electronic bargains, and there are plenty of tax-free shops. Almost all tastes are catered for, from the luxury to the bizarre and just about everything inbetween.

What’s new  Airlines: Japan Airlines ( operates a daily direct flight from Heathrow Terminal 3 to Tokyo Haneda. JAL also has codeshare flights with British Airways daily to Tokyo Narita and a twice-daily service to Tokyo Haneda. JAL has released new autumn menus in all classes, with business class meals prepared by Londonbased Chef Hayashi and economy and premium economy menus created in collaboration with the famous Japanese restaurant Yoshinoya.  Cruising: For 2017/2018 Celebrity Cruises ( has added new ports of call in Japan including Aomori, the home of the iconic Hirosaki Castle. To allow agents to offer truly immersive holidays, Celebrity has enhanced its offering of cultural experiences in Japan. Guests can savour a traditional Kaiseki meal while enjoying a

traditional Geisha performance in Tokyo.  Operators: Coach tour specialist Europamundo has joined the JTB Europe ( group of companies and has developed a range of coach tours in Japan. Some small traditional towns and villages of cultural interest are now included in tours. Battered Suitcase (battered-suitcase. com) has introduced a 16-day bespoke heritage tour of Japan which takes in Tokyo, Nikko, Takayama, Kyoto and Nara and uses the bullet trains. The tour is priced from £3,857pp including return flights from London, 15 nights’ B&B, a guide and admission to some sites.  Hotels: Conrad Hotels & Resorts’ ( new hotel in Osaka is expected to start welcoming guests in summer 2017. Next year GHM Hotels ( will unveil its first Japanese property in Hokkaido. Fujita Kanko ( opens the Hotel

From left: The bamboo forest of Kyoto; the Akihabara shopping district in Tokyo is a major centre for electronics, games and anime; large colourful Nebuta floats star at the Aomori Nebuta Festival, one of the largest of its kind in Japan



coach tour has an English-speaking guide Gravery Kyoto Sanjo North in May 2017. throughout and departs the UK on January The hotel will feature a traditional 13, February 10 and March 10, 2017. Prices kabuki-themed room. are from £3,020pp including flights.  Attractions: The first Moomin theme park ( outside of Finland will � ON THE GO TOURS – 020 7371 1113 open at Lake Miyazawa in 2017. The park The 12-day Land of Samurai tour starts from will be located in the city of Hanno. £2,745pp. The deal includes 11 nights in Universal Studios Japan ( will be opening an all new three-star hotels, seven Godzilla-themed breakfasts, one dinner, attraction in 2017, “Japan is a very safe destination guided sightseeing probably in January. to travel in, with an excellent and walking tours in Legoland Japan Tokyo, Kamakura, Lake contemporary infrastructure. Kawaguchi, Kyoto, (, is due to A trip can be anything from open for business in Himeji, Hiroshima Nagoya on April 1, 2017. visiting ancient attractions like and Miyajima Island, historic Kyoto and the UNESCO a cable car to the Tourism talk Nijo Castle, or experiencing the top of Mt Mise and “In 2015, we many transfers. high-tech capital, Tokyo” had TERHI MILLAR, JAPAN SPECIALIST, � GREAT RAIL 19,737,409 GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS JOURNEYS visitors from around the – 01904 527 180 world resulting in a The 16-day Grand Tour of Japan is priced year-on-year increase of 47.1%. JNTO has been recording these statistics since 1964 and it marked from £4,995pp, with an exclusive departure on April 15, 2017. Absorb ancient history and the largest ever growth rate. The UK was no exception, making a record of 258,488 and it was a tradition travelling by Shinkansend (bullet train). Sample Japanese whiskey, see Mount 17.5% increase from the previous year. Fuji, experience an authentic tea ceremony Despite the falling value of the pound in recent and explore Tokyo and Hiroshima. months, local costs within Japan have continued to decrease, meaning the country remains � JALTOUR – 020 7850 4409 fantastic value for UK visitors. As a host country The 13-day semi-escorted World Heritage tour for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the Tokyo encompasses a variety of different traditions, 2020 Summer Olympics, we hope people will be enabling clients to see Japan in a different light. inspired to visit Japan. The range of products are The tour is priced from £2,850pp with departure expanding and there is a trip to suit all tastes, dates from January 4 to July 21. The tour visits including cruising calling at ports in Hokkaido various traditional villages and explores the and Okinawa, themed package tours such as cultural and historical heart of Japann. skiing, gastronomy and stays in Japanese houses.”  Yumi Takakubo, Head of Trade Partnerships and Markteing, JNTO From left: Regular events are held at Tokyo Tower observatory; Macaques can be found in in hot springs in Japan’s chillier climates; the old sector of Kurashiki city features traditional architecture; Phoenix in Kyoto International Manga Museum

Where to book it � JTB EUROPE – 0208 237 1605 JTB’s ‘Treasures of Japan’ escorted group


city breaks


trails urban

With the range of European city break options expanding savvy agents can sell on special events, quirky new hotels and immersive tours, says Jeannine Williamson


nhale deeply and tentatively raise my baton, as conductor Michael Zehetner instructs from the sidelines. Ten pairs of eyes are fixed firmly on me and 10 pairs of hands are poised on assorted instruments. This is very different from my last hands-on musical experience – playing the recorder at primary school. I’m on stage with the Vienna Supreme Orchestra in a city that echoes to the strains of Strauss, Schubert and Mozart – and I’m in charge. I breathe out and bring down the baton, trying to remember Michael’s advice on counting the one, two, three timing of


city breaks

Perfect ten

“An agent’s ability to add value with pre-booked tickets or special events helps the trade stand out from the crowd” PATRICK MILLAR, MARKETING MANAGER, KIRKER HOLIDAYS

the beat. As one, the musicians strike up, and the instantly recognisable sound of the Reve de Printemps waltz by Johann Strauss fills the grand Palais Eschenbach hall. Fortunately, the only people in the audience are other participants in the new ‘Conduct Your Own Orchestra’ experience being launched in 2017 as part of Avalon Waterways’ Active Discovery programme. A river cruise is an alternative way for agents to sell city breaks, as many itineraries feature overnight stays in Europe’s grand capitals. With Michael’s tips I manage a full run through more or less as Strauss intended, with the help of the very understanding orchestra. To applause from the musicians and fellow rookie conductors I leave the stage on a high note. Sir Simon Rattle has nothing to get rattled about as I won’t be giving up the day job, but the memories of my magical musical afternoon will never fade away.

Adding value

Previous page: Tallinn, Estonia. This page, clockwise from top left: Vienna is known for its horses; one of Budapest’s famous spas; a food market in Florence; Michelangelo’s David

City breaks can be a tough sell for agents who can be out-quoted by last-minute package deals online or even customers risking separate flights and accommodation from low-cost airlines and bed banks or Air BnB. But, as Patrick Millar, Marketing Manager at Kirker Holidays says: “An agent’s ability to add value, with pre-booked tickets or special events, helps the trade stand out from the crowd. Vienna is the perfect example, with its atmospheric Christmas markets, New Year concerts, world-class museums and galleries, and music and opera performances almost every night of the year.”

Amsterdam: This cultural and colourful city is home to 600,000 bicycles, hundreds of canals, a fair few tulips and is the 2016/17 European Capital of Innovation. Overlooking the River IJ waterfront, the 108-room Sir Adam Design Hotel ( opens this winter. Munich: It’s not just about Oktoberfest, the Bavarian capital hosts a programme of colourful celebrations throughout the year, such as the ‘Strong Beer’ season which starts in March. The BMW Museum ( is hosting a special exhibition which runs until September 2017. Florence: The Tuscan capital boasts more art per square foot than anywhere else in the world. The Uffizi Gallery has 60 halls filled with masterpieces from the 12th to the 16th century including Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. The Uffizi ( now hosts live music concerts every Tuesday evening. Copenhagen: The once-humble fishing village is now a world-class capital. See what inspired storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, and explore Tivoli Gardens, the world’s oldest amusement park. Copenhagen Contemporary (, a new centre for international installation art, has opened on the waterfront. Belgrade: The Serbian capital has been transformed in recent years. In addition to wonderful museums and designer shops, it’s famous for dusk-to-dawn nightlife don’t miss its floating nightclubs. Belgrade at Night ( offers VIP entry to the coolest clubs. Balkan Helicopters (balkanhelicopters. rs) has launched Belgrade’s first aerial sightseeing tours.

city breaks

Lisbon: One of Europe’s few capitals with a river and a coastline, Lisbon has a new Museum for Art, Architecture and Technology (, boutique five-star property Memmo Príncipe Real (, plus a Jewish Museum opening in 2017. The new 37-apartment family-friendly Martinhal Chaido ( has a Pyjama Club and baby concierge. Budapest: Set over the River Danube, the Hungarian capital is a city of two distinct halves. The landmark Gresham Palace hotel ( recently partnered with the Lumas Gallery to showcase artwork. Budapest Spring Festival ( from April 8-24 2017 is Hungary’s largest cultural event. Vienna: Austria’s first city is renowned for architecture, classical music, dancing white horses and the Museums Quarter (, one of the world’s largest art complexes. Restaurant Figlmuller ( has served Vienna’s signature Wiener Schnitzel dish since 1905. Opening in 2017, the 107-room Ruby Hotel ( occupies a former 13th century monastery and will offer laid-back luxury. Stockholm: Built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, Sweden’s cool capital is described as the Venice of the north, and is big on cultural appeal with one of the world’s highest concentrations of museums and art galleries. Nordic Hotels & Resorts’ 343-room At Six ( lifestyle property, the city’s largest event hotel project, opens in March 2017. Tallinn: One of northern Europe’s oldest cities, the Estonian capital has a perfectly preserved medieval old town of cobbled streets lined with 11th century buildings and towering church spires and offers great value for money. Jazzkaar (, from April 21-30 is the Baltic’s biggest jazz festival, with international artistes.

Tourism talk “Munich is one of Germany’s ‘Magic Cities’ - the country’s 10 tourism stars. Munich combines picturesque heritage with sleek contemporary style. It’s the home of BMW, the Allianz Arena football stadium, world-class museums and art galleries, chic shopping and majestic palaces. It’s easy to reach via Lufthansa and from many regional airports, with carriers including Flybe.” Klaus Lohmann, Director, German National Tourist Office UK and Ireland


“Copenhagen is one of the most modern cities in Europe. British Airways, SAS, easyJet, Norwegian and Ryanair offer regular services from airports across the UK, making it easy and affordable for visitors to enjoy a diverse set of experiences, including the city’s urban cycling culture, eco-conscious lifestyle, cutting-edge design and architecture and some of the best cuisine the globe has to offer.” Dennis Englund, Director of UK and US, VisitDenmark

Where to book it  SOLOS – 0844 371 8860 A three-night B&B Copenhagen break, new for 2017, is priced from £749pp, departing May 26 and August 18, including a welcome drink, one dinner, Tivoli Gardens visit, services of a Solos tour leader and flights.

 REGENT HOLIDAYS – 020 7666 1244 Three nights at the central L’Ermitage Hotel, close to Tallinn Old Town, leads in from £350pp for travel in March 2017, including B&B accommodation and flights.

 SUPERBREAK – 01904 717362 A three-night stay at the three-star Malsapina Hotel in Florence costs from £291pp on a B&B basis for travel in April 2017. The deal includes flights. 

“Built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, Sweden’s cool capital is described as the Venice of the north, and is big on cultural appeal with one of the world’s highest concentrations of museums and art galleries”

Clockwise from top left: Colourful houses in Stockholm, Copenhagen at night; Oktoberfest in Munich

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

ANZ highlights LA routes SPOTLIGHT ON...

AIR NEW ZEALAND and Santa Monica Tourism teamed up to host 55 agents for an evening that showcased its California stopovers. The 'Hold onto Summer' quiz night highlighted the airline's routing through Los Angeles and gave away great prizes from a Santa Monicathemed rooftop bar in central London. Agents also got to trial the new Premium Economy seat which will be onboard in 2017. Pictured left are the airline and destination teams together: Jorge Flores-Garcia, Camilla Lymalm, Jordan Gill, Nishi Prasad, Bethany Bond and Laura Hoole.;

Contents 20 Face to Face 27 On Location 28 Been There, Done That

California fam TITAN TRAVEL

AGENTS who book any Titan Travel USA holiday between now and December 31, 2016 will earn a £20 Love2Shop voucher and will be entered into a prize draw to win a USA hamper. Additionally, the top 10 USA bookers will win a place on Titan’s California and the Golden West fam trip in 2017.

Jersey quiz

Caribbean escape CELEBRITY CRUISES has teamed up with British Airways to give agents the chance to win one of three luxury Caribbean getaways for themselves and a guest. The incentive is part of celebrations to mark the launch of the cruise operator's film, 'A Different View', shot on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.

rts ks & Reso Dubai Par


The winning agents will be treated to a luxury experience combining British Airways' World Traveller Plus flights and a sevennight Caribbean cruise. The incentive runs until November 14. To be in with a chance of winning, agents can enter in the following three ways: share or comment on the

GOLD MEDAL is giving £5 worth of Farebank Rewards on every ticket booked for the new Dubai Parks & Resorts and bookings will also be entered into a draw to win £100 Farebank Rewards. A holiday for four to Dubai with tickets to the resort is also up for grabs. Bookings must be made by November 30 and booking references emailed to dubaiparksandresorts@

new Celebrity Cruises brand film and include the hashtags #CelebrityLovesAgents and #ADifferentView for one entry; book a Celebrity Cruises sailing and receive two entries; or book a sailing which is combined with British Airways flights to receive three entries.

T0 celebrate the launch of Premier Holidays' 2017 Channel Islands brochure the operator has three places up for grabs on next year's educational to Jersey. To be in with a chance of wining answer three questions by November 30. See:

Keep in mind...


November SELLING TRAVEL DESTINATION DIALOGUE We are delighted to be presenting an evening with Costa Rica Tourism at the Hilton Gatwick Airport. Learn more about the region, make contacts and meet industry colleagues over some drinks and food, plus the chance to win prizes!



November SELLING TRAVEL DESTINATION DIALOGUE Learn about one of the world's last great natural havens at Selling Travel's Botswana event in Edinburgh. Over nibbles and drinks you'll get all your questions on Botswana answered – and you could win a great prize too. More online at

FA C E T O FA C E 20

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Barbara Charlton

 01403 276684 

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

w Ne eb w si te

“We have welcomed a few reps into the shop this month – some old friends and some new faces too”

The Sussex Travel Company’s Facebook page and hope it might start a dialogue among our followers as they create their own lists. It generated some enquiries too, which we are currently working to secure.

BETWEEN us we managed to attend several training events in London, Brighton, Gatwick and Guildford during October. We took a trainee along with us to a couple of them and we think she already has her own set of ‘lucky knickers’ as she was a great help to our quiz team at a Wendy Wu evening and won shopping vouchers. She was the only person in the room who had actually been to China, and considering the rest of us were all older and have been in travel most of our lives beating us at our own game was a great achievement. In fact, our team won a series of unusually hard quizzes which was wonderful and now we await the final draw to see which teams gets a place on an exciting fam next year to further boost our knowledge and understanding.


Back in the office we have been busy with a variety of bookings starting with a fabulous South Africa and Victoria Falls escorted Titan trip. We are also getting a lot of enquiries and bookings for river cruises. We've noticed the standards vary a lot so we offer a wide range to be sure we match the client to the right cruise. But the choice out there means there is a cruise for everyone. Did you notice the bucket list piece that ran in last month's Selling Travel? I saw it and thought it would make a great topic for

FRIENDLY FACES We've welcomed a few reps into the shop this month, some old friends and some new faces, too. Sue Rickets from Target Africa updated us on her African properties, and Kate from On The Go Tours gave us some training on selling their trips. We also had a visit from Georgia, from Carrier, who updated us on their many destinations. She told us their reservations staff have visited all of their featured properties. It is reassuring to know you are getting advice based on first-hand experiences. After all, we can’t all travel everywhere, no matter how hard we might try!

GEARING UP FOR 2017 Apparently it will soon be that ‘quiet’ time of the year, but here in the office we will still have plenty to do as we have next year's marketing to plan, and seeds to plant for January and February. I am looking forward to decorating our shop window as well as my own home this year. It will be simple and classy of course, no Poundland tinsel here in Horsham! As you read this, there is every chance I will be relaxing in the Mallorcan hills at the fabulous Hotel Gran Son Net. I look forward to telling you all about it next month.


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AWA R D S 2016

A night out with our finalists


ver 150 agents enjoyed the opportunity to meet the finalists in our Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards (STACA) at an annual networking event hosted by Selling Travel.

The event, held at Grange St. Paul’s, London, provided agents with the chance to discover all the latest news and product updates from the suppliers in a relaxed and social setting. The speed-networking format of the evening saw agents tour around the stands – and the more they visited the greater the chance of winning prizes from the suppliers. Attending finalists included hotel groups, tour operators and airlines, with all committed to working with agents to help them sell more. There was a huge number of prizes available on the night including spot prizes of shopping vouchers, Champagne, branded goodies, flight tickets, hotel stays and luxury days out.

The finalists Selling Travel visited the stands too, to hear all the news they were sharing with agents. Airline carriers such as Cathay Pacific, Copa Airlines, Korean Air, Delta Air Lines and Air Europa passed on details of fleet updates, network expansion and new lounge offerings for customers.

Meanwhile, destinations such as Thailand, Latin America, Fiji, Canada and Abu Dhabi used the opportunity to stress the selling potential of their destinations, highlighting new hotels and attractions and incentives for agents. Each table agents dropped by represented another chance to win a prize – all they had to do was leave their business cards for the big prize draw that wrapped up the evening.

Philippines Airlines' David Cochrace commented: "This event was amazing and a great opportunity for agents and suppliers to come face-to-face and share knowledge and experience." Among the prizes agents took home were return flights to Bangkok, Thailand; accommodation at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines in Texas; a £150 voucher for Argentine restaurant, Gaucho, and tickets to watch rugby at Twickenham.

Discover more about those finalists who attended our Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards 2016 evening by checking out their details below. Each is standing by to help you sell more of their destination or product.

AMResorts is a collection of luxury resort destinations. Featuring Endless Privileges®, UnlimitedLuxury® or Unlimited-Fun®, offering sun-soaked beaches, elegant accommodations, spa, gourmet dining, unlimited drinks, and more. ; 

Copa Airlines is the flag-carrier of Panama and member of Star-Alliance. From its hub in Panama, it offers over 300 daily flights to 76 destinations in the Americas and Caribbean. For general enquires contact:; UK Trade Sales Support: 

Today's Abu Dhabi is a 'must-see' destination with guaranteed sunshine, pristine sandy beaches, affordable luxury hotels, family attractions, shopping, championship golf, great cultural credentials and the allure of the desert. ; 

Aisa’s Boutique Airline, Bangkok Airways flies to 26 exquisite destinations across Thailand and Asia and the experience offers first class Thai hospitality including complimentary lounge access for all guests. ; 

Cruise & Maritime Voyages is Britain’s leading independent cruise line featuring a traditional British cruise experience on board small to mid size ships sailing from 11 UK ports. Trade Sales:  agents@; 

Air Europa, the award-winning Latin American specialist, has for 30 years delivered the very best in inflight experience, with connections from London Gatwick via Madrid to some of the key cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. ; �08714230717

Cathay Pacific flies 43 times a week from Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester to Hong Kong and then onwards, beyond to 70 cities in Asia and Australasia. ; 

Delta and Delta Connection serve 321 destinations in 56 countries. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs over 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 800 aircraft. ; Trade website: 


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“This event is alwys a great opportunity for agents to learn about potentially-lucrative products and meet face to face with suppliers in a mutually beneficial setting" STEVE HARTRIDGE, EDITOR, SELLING TRAVEL


Top prize winners Anna Davies, TravelMania, won the grand prize of two return flight tickets to Bangkok from Selling Travel. Josh Perry, Flight Centre, won a voucher for two worth £150 for Argentinian restaurant Gaucho, provided by Air Europa. Jenny Jackson, Luxury Travel Guru, won five nights' accommodation for two at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa, Austin, Texas from Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. Victoria Tapp, Flight Centre, won two tickets to England V Fiji at Twickenham and a Fiji goody bag froom Tourism Fiji. Chrissy Mackenzie-Cooper, Darrell James Travel, won two nights at the Yas Viceroy hotel in Abu Dhabi and two Yas Park passes giving access to Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld from Abu Dhani Tourism & Culture Authority.

Destination Canada is Canada's national tourism marketing organisation. It leads the Canadian tourism industry in marketing Canada as a premier four-season destination where travellers can enjoy extraordinary experiences. �02073899985; 

Fiji’s 333 islands are home to the friendliest people and their Bula smiles. Whether it's pure relaxation you seek or adventure, it’s the perfect stop over and where happiness finds you. Contact: Jane West- Regional Director UKEurope ; 

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 12 premier brands and 667 properties in 54 countries. For more information visit ; or contact: Julie York, Senior Director of Sales 

Rooted in Thai culture and tradition, Dusit International creates a personalised welcome for all guests, fulfilling its brand promise of delivering an ‘experience that enlivens the individual spirit no matter the journey’.  +44 208 649 7461; 

The Greek National Tourism Organisation’s main role is to encourage travellers to visit Greece all year round and further raise awareness for Greece as a holiday destination around the world. ; �

IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts is a resort hotel chain based in Palma de Mallorca (Spain). It was founded by the Fluxá family in 1986 and has about 100 hotels around the world. ; 

A collection of six award-winning beachfront hotels in Barbados. All share a passion for gracious Bajan hospitality, superlative services and unrivalled attention. Each guest receives a variety of complimentary services. �; 

Hard Rock has four luxury All- Inclusive hotels in Cancun, Riviera Maya, Vallarta and Punta Cana. All Day, All Night, All Included! Owned and managed by RCD Hotels. All together Awesome! 

As the UK’s No.1 specialist in travel to Latin America, Journey Latin America has been creating awardwinning holidays to every corner of the region for over 36 years. From Mexico to Antarctica they'll show you the places they know and love. ;  020 8747 8315




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“Agents lo of the e ve the format ve them a ning. It gives ch to man ance to speak y of the finalist and, of s course, t o w brillian i t prizes n ! ST P U B L IS


Vision: To be a respected leader in the world airline community. Mission: Excellence in flight. Main areas of business: Passenger, cargo, aerospace, catering, hotel, in-flight sales and limousine transfers 

As a true specialist of the USA and Canada North America Travel Service's team knows the best places, the best hotels and the best way to get you the best of added value for your clients. ; 

Titan, the UK’s number one escorted tour operator, is renowned for its VIP door-todoor travel service and a comprehensive range of travel adventures developed through over 38 years’ experience. ; 

Celebrating its 60th year, Melia Hotels International is one of the largest hotel companies in the world with more than 370 city hotels and resorts in 40 countries. Global Account Manager Leisure Sales UK & Ireland: �+44 (0) 207 391 3094; 

Philippine Airlines offers direct daily flights from Heathrow to Manila. This service provides connectivity for UK departing travellers to destinations beyond Manila such as Bali, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin or Auckland ; 

Tourism Thailand supports the UK and Irish travel trade by providing resources through trade events and a revamped online trade training programme. Its Amazing Thailand Road Shows have visited 51 cities. 

Monarch is one of the UK’s longest established travel companies offering fully ATOL bonded package holidays, a wide range of accommodation options and flights to over 40 short haul destinations. 

Currently celebrating its 56th anniversary, THAI operates double daily direct services on A380 and B777 from London to Bangkok and beyond into Asia and Australasia. 


Travelpack has been established since 1981 and is a member of ABTA, and IATA with full ATOL protection. It sells flights, hotels, car-hire, transfers, excursions and holidays to destinations worldwide. ; �0208 585 4002

The new jAMbo KENYA traiNing programme

register online for a chanCe to win prizes WIN


Two tickets to the Lion King

Two tickets to Woburn Safari Park Off Road Safari Adventure

£ 200 Spa Voucher

Dinner for two at Haandi

The best place to go on safari in the world Whether your clients are looking for a tropical beach paradise, world class game viewing or a cultural encounter, look no further than Kenya. With over 500km of beautiful Indian Ocean coastline, over 50 National Parks and Reserves and home to 42 different tribes boasting an eclectic mix of cultures and traditions, there are so many reasons to explore Kenya. Book your way to a number of exciting prizes! Experience the famous Kenyan hospitality, learn more about traditional ways of life with a visit to a local village and pick up some traditional hand crafted jewellery. The home of safari, Kenya boasts over 50 National Parks, bursting with wildlife. Head to the famous Maasai Mara for a chance to glimpse the Big 5 or the lakes of the Great Rift Valley, teaming

with birdlife. Even Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi has its own National Park where you can see four of the Big 5 against the backdrop of the city. For those after a little more adventure, visitors to Hells Gate National Park can ride, walk, cycle, rock climb and more or for the ultimate challenge, climb to the summit of Mount Kenya, Kenya’s highest peak. With a number of different coastal areas to choose from there is something for every beach lover in Kenya. From the historical town of Mombasa and the bustling resorts on the southern coast to the Northern beaches of Malindi and Watamu, which offer unparalleled scuba diving, kite surfing and deep sea fishing - the coast is the perfect end to any break in Kenya! ©

How to Enter To enter, simply register your details at Visit for more information on Magical Kenya! Competition terms and conditions including any blackout dates All entrants must be over the age of 18 (eighteen), be UK residents and work within the travel trade industry. Competition commences 24th October and closes 10th of December. The prize will be drawn and winners notified by the 20th of December and must be booked by the 31st of January. The winner will be selected at random. Registering for the competition gives you one entry into the draw. Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash or any other prize. The promoter reserves the right to substitute the prize or any part of the prize (due to unavailability or for any other reason) with a different prize or part of the prize of equal monetary value. The promoter assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorised access to or alteration of entries.


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What they said... "What a revelation! Ottawa is a unique city of international standing with amazing museums, entertainment, food and accommodation and is surrounded by pristine wilderness." David Marriott, Canada Product Manager, Left to right pictured at Parliament Hill: David Marriott, Rachel Buckman, Ergeta Mali, Emma Watts, Lucy Fuller and Simon Ellingworth

Bridge & Wickers "Since returning from Ottawa, I am able to capture the essence of the city and its

THE HOSTS Ottawa Tourism’s Nicole Graves and Axis Travel Marketing’s Ergeta Mali escorted five agents on an eye-opening trip to Canada's capital that was full of new insights and fun experiences.

THE TRIP Staying in the heart of the city at the Westin Ottawa for four nights gave the group easy access to the city’s key attractions. To kick off their exploration, Lucy Jane Fuller (Saga), Simon Ellingworth (Thomas Cook), Emma Watts (Virgin Holidays), David Marriott (Bridge & Wickers) and Rachel Buckman (Specialist Holidays) took a stroll to

Parliament Hill, home to the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament, then cycled the Rideau Canal before making a stop at Dow’s Lake. As a political and historical centre, Ottawa is home to the Canadian War Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the Canadian Museum of Nature, as well as the Diefenbunker, an historic nuclear bunker. Further trip highlights included cruising along the Ottawa River and a night at TD Place to see Ottawa Fury FC play football against FC Edmonton. Breakfast at Fulton’s Pancake House provided a chance to sample typically Canadian fluffy pancakes and maple baked beans!

Before heading home, the group also had time to visit one of Canada’s most recognised landmarks, the Fairmont Château Laurier hotel, and make the most of an Ottawa Attractions Passports, a useful discount-ticket product which gives visitors included access to a wide range of tourism highlights.

diverse and eclectic culture in the content I write for our website and brochures. Ottawa really is an incredible city! It is a beautiful destination and there is something for everyone to enjoy." Emma Watts, Canada Content Executive, Virgin Holidays "The trip has opened my eyes to the wide choice of activities on offer in


Ottawa. I was already aware of its

Ergeta Mali, Account Manager for Axis Travel Marketing said: “Our summer fam trip showcased the rich and wonderful diversity of Canada’s capital. We learned about Ottawa’s fascinating history and many worldclass museums. "We also enjoyed the city’s adventurous side on the bike tour and white-water rafting on the Ottawa River. "The group were impressed with Ottawa’s great cultural, gastronomic and nightlife offering. "We look forward to welcoming their clients to the capital next year for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations – it is going to be a great time to be in Ottawa."

reputation for great museums, and when

you add rafting on the Ottawa River or cycling along the Rideau Canal it really does have a huge amount to offer." Simon Ellingworth, Product Manager, Thomas Cook


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BEEN THERE done that

Agents enjoy Dom Rep trip

The cool gang

INGHAMS took agents from Thomas Cook and Freedom Travel Group on a 'learn-to-ski' lesson at the Chill Factor in Manchester. Pictured is the winning team: Charlotte Dalle, Ellie Walker and Andrew Earle from Andrew Earle's Travel and Rona Pownell and Sarah Oakes from Thomas Cook in Ashton under Lyne.

Dominican Republic fam trip THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Tourist Board (DRTB) and British Airways took six travel agents on a fam trip to the Dominican Republic, visiting Punta Cana, La Romana and Santo Domingo. The group inspected the island nation's array of accommodation and attractions. Pictured from left: Ann Mitchell, Travel Counsellors; Tiffani Cave, Ponders Travel; Gustavo Candelario, DRTB; Gayle Chase, Travel Counsellors; Kirsty Maclennan, Saga Holidays; Martyn Jones, Hayes & Jarvis; Shuban Kotwal, Southall Travel; Carlos Romero, DR Ministry of Tourism.



Alberta coffee morning TRAVEL Alberta recently held a series of coffee mornings at over 41 offices across the UK. Reaching out to over 550 agents and reservations staff, Travel Alberta ensured they all got a taste of Canada. Pictured from left are Emma-Louise Bond, Giota Kanellopoulou, Doug Kington, Dawn Evans and Liz Lunnon - all from tour operator Discover the World. A SUPERBREAK'S sales team headed over to Disneyland Paris for its national sales meeting and managed to fit in some fun too! Pictured are Jane Atkins, Sales Director (second left) and Graham Balmforth, National Sales Manager (far right) with the team. B HOLLAND AMERICA LINE took 14 lucky staff members from Cosmos Tours to Amsterdam to experience the newest addition to its luxury fleet – MS Koningsdam. Pictured from left in front of the ship are Jackie Wray and Arshana Nurkoo from Cosmos.

C QUÉBEC hosted five travel agents and Selling Travel's Laura Gelder last month, who arrived in time to see the province's spectacular autumn colours. The group stayed in the trendy W Montréal, toured quaint Québec City, caught a train across the gourmet Charlevoix region and spotted beavers and bears. Pictured from left is Caroline Maincent, Tourism Québec; Jess Heaney, Flight Centre; Frank Kelly, Travelopia; Laura Gelder, Selling Travel; Rachel Finney and Danny Paines, Flight Centre; and Laura Thomson, Barrhead Travel.


Denpasar / Bali Christmas Island Islan Cocos Islands



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

Nadi / Fiji

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





Launceston Launcesto n HOBART






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VISIT USA Roadshows

Visit USA tours the country

LE N E WC A S T BRISTOL BRIGHTON HITTING THE ROAD Visit USA’s autumn Roadshows, staged over three nights in October in Newcastle, Bristol and Brighton, brought together agents and 30 exhibitors. Tracey Spuyman, CEO, Visit USA (UK) said: “Events like this are a fantastic benefit of membership of Visit USA. They provide a great opportunity for members and agents to meet face to face – and it’s all about education and training. "Each agent gets to see every exhibitor as we use a speed-networking format. I think it’s been very positive for the exhibitors this year – they were very impressed by the quality of the agents who attended and pleased with the way Visit USA organised the three events.” There was a quiz with 10 goodie bags up for grabs and holidays to the U.S. were handed out to three agents. The lucky winner in Newcastle was Sharon Tate of Courtney Travel who won flights with United to New York and two nights at the Grand Hyatt. In Bristol, Tony Smart of Cannon Travel took home flights with Aer Lingus to Boston and two nights at Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel. In Brighton, Paul Thayre of Virgin Holidays picked up flights with British Airways to either San Francisco or Denver and a seven-night RV rental courtesy of Cruise America. EDUCATING THE TRADE Exhibitor feedback was highly positive. Jim Odoire, representing Colorado said: “If we tried to arrange something like this ourselves it would take weeks! At these events we can see between 60 and 100 agents in one evening. We still need to educate the UK trade but we’re seeing a growing demand for something different. It’s important we have time with the agents to show all the state has to offer.” Georgina Evans-Phillips, representing Michigan and Bloomington said: “These events are an opportunity to promote our destinations together as fly-drive options, and we can highlight top areas in both. It’s great to meet agents from all over the country and to spend time with all of them. "The agents want to learn: they all come along because they want to know more, and we can help expand their knowledge base.”

Agents and exhibitors meet in a speed-networking style at the Brighton roadshow event


N D A F 35





weddings and honeymoons

name the

day Dreamlike settings and bright sunshine are virtually guaranteed but choosing to wed with the Indian Ocean as a backdrop can also keep costs down, says Clare Walsh


aking up on their wedding day to the drizzle of rain and faceless grey skies was never a serious option for Nicola and Tobin Joyce. “Travelling and holidays had played such a huge part in our lives when we were dating that it seemed only natural to spend the most important day of our life in one of the most beautiful places on earth,” says Nicola. And that’s why their vows were exchanged on the paradisiacal island of Mauritius at luxury hotel Lux Belle Mare. Standing barefoot in the sand with their closest family and friends, they became man and wife surrounded by coconut palms, sparkling waters and stretches of sugar-white sand. “Of course some people back at home were disappointed that they couldn’t spend the day with us but they understood our decision and knew there’d be a party to look forward to,” said Tobin.

Easy decision The decision to marry overseas is one more and more Brits are choosing to make. According to research from ABTA, around 1.5 million people travelled to a wedding abroad in 2014

weddings and honeymoons

either as a guest or part of a wedding party. The benefits are obvious. Not only is the dreamlike setting and spectacular weather attractive but choosing to say ‘I do’ abroad can really keep a lid on costs. According to Brides magazine, a UK wedding costs on average a hefty £24,000. A wedding overseas meanwhile is substantially less, with the average spend being around £6,500. Fewer guests and less catering mean a smaller venue can be hired, and hotels offer a variety of packages to suit different budgets. ‘Light’ packages consist of a basic ceremony and reception, while indulgent packages include everything from spa preparation to rose petals and champagne in the bridal suite. Guests travelling to an overseas wedding pay on average £564, making it a costly event to attend, according to Therefore, the job of the agent is to ensure that resorts are suggested that will suit both the couple and their guests – for example balancing a romantic secluded island that also offers watersports and activities. Every country has different legalities for marriage so agents should have a comprehensive knowledge to reassure couples that they are in expert hands. For example, weddings in Mauritius require couples to apply for a certificate of nonresidency at least one month before marriage. On arrival they need to travel to the Registrar of Civil Status, taking along original documents such as passports and birth certificates. Notice of intent to marry will then be posted and clients can marry the following day. They will also need to swear an affidavit before the Supreme Court’s chief registrar.

Wedding planners Fortunately, most wedding packages will include a dedicated coordinator who will be able to organise the legalities, along with planning the ceremony and any extras. Indian Ocean destinations have been leading the way in destination weddings and honeymoons for years,and as such are well established and

experienced in providing expert services. “The Indian Ocean is the perfect place to celebrate a wedding or a honeymoons as it has a range of destinations, from sandy beaches in the Maldives to action-packed tours in Sri Lanka,” says Deborah Wadhams, Senior Product Manager at Travel 2. “Mauritius particularly caters for newlyweds with some hotels offering huge discounts – up to 50% for honeymooners – although all Indian Ocean hotels really push the boat out with many offering options such as special turndown services, relaxing baths with candles, dinners on the beach and couples massages.” And push the boat out they do. The luxury five-star Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa on Dhonakulhi Island in the Maldives, for example, not only features over-water villas and personalised butler service but also offers a range of special touches for loved-up couples. This can be anything from a private picnic on a secluded beach or sunset cruise on a dhoni boat to a personal fireworks display. Meanwhile, 2017 will see the luxury Maldivian resort Gili Lankanfushi celebrate its fifth birthday by offering couples the chance to sleep under the stars on a roof terrace, dine on a deserted island surrounded by hundreds of candles or enjoy a private outdoor film screening experience. Extraordinary options exist for those with serious money to spend. The brand-new Thanda Island, off the east coast of Tanzania, gives couples the opportunity to hire an entire island for their wedding party. The beach residence accommodates up to 26, features a glass-rim pool, boathouse full of watersports and private coral reef. Booking a wedding abroad is going to be the single most important holiday a couple books and agents can secure clients for life if they get it right. Commission can be increased with large group bookings and


“All Indian Ocean hotels really push the boat out with many offering options such as special turndown services, relaxing baths with candles, special dinners on the beach and couples massage” DEBORAH WADHAMS, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER, TRAVEL 2

Opposite page: Newly-wed in Mauritius. This page, from top: Velassaru Maldives; snorkelling in the Indian Ocean is unbeatable; romantic Sri Lanka, at Bakers Falls

Island getaways for WARMER WINTERS

Build a snowman with sand in the Maldives Escape to an idyllic island full of festive cheer, surrounded with turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Indulge in an array of water sport activities and relax on the pristine white beach. Discover paradise at JA Manafaru. For bookings or more information, please call 0800 0159 708 or email



weddings and honeymoons



upselling opportunities are available when clients see what they are saving.


Perfect ten Underwater magic: Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa in the Maldives has launched a semi-submarine excursion for an intimate marine adventure exploring the reefs. In expert hands: Planning a wedding is stressful enough, so a specialist’s package deal removes the hassle and ensures small detials are all taken care of and covered by one bill. Multi-hued wonders: Newlyweds can witness natural beauty together on a day trip to Chamarel village in Mauritius, which features multi-coloured volcanic surfaces and the highest waterfall on the island. The four elements: Hilton Seychelles offers a selection of wedding and renewal of vows packages based around the four elements. Every package includes a bottle of sparkling wine, cake and romantic in-villa breakfast. Vast vistas: Take in ethereal views together atop Adam’s Peak, one of Sri Lanka’s most revered pilgrimage sites. Dine with a view: At Four Seasons Anahita in Mauritius the honeymoon package includes a candlelit dinner which for a small supplement can be arranged on the jetty, the beach or in their villa. Island Castaway: JA Resorts in the Maldives offers ‘castaway island’ wedding options. Couples say their vows on one of its secluded islands, Medhafushi or Govvafushi. Beach baby: Indulge in pre or postwedding relaxation on Anse Source D’argent in the Seychelles, one of the most photographed beaches in the world. All in the detail: It is the little extras that brides share on social media, which could create opportunities for further agent business. Extra-sensory: Park Hyatt Maldives offers a ‘blind dining’ experience. Guests dine blindfolded at a private beach location experiencing a three-course banquet crafted from their favourite ingredients.

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weddings and honeymoons

What’s new

“According to Brides magazine a UK wedding costs on average a hefty £24,000. A wedding overseas meanwhile is substantially less, with the average spend being around £6,500”

 Resorts: Scheduled to open in November 2016, Milaidhoo Island ( in the Maldives will be offering a stargazing honeymoon package. Newlyweds will be gifted their own star while staying in one of the resorts 50 private villas set atop the Baa Atoll’s UNESCO Biosphere reserve. Time + Tide on Nosy Ankao ( is scheduled to open in late December 2016. The first five-star offering in Madagascar will feature 14 villas and will have a large conservation focus offering guided marine and wildlife experiences. Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa ( has 16 new Grand Ocean view Pool Villas, each boasting a private infinity pool and panoramic vistas of the Indian Ocean. Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa, Mauritius ( is undergoing a soft renovation that is nearing completion.  Packages: From November 1 2016, the free Classic Wedding Package at Veranda Pointe Aux Biches ( will include a discount voucher for the bride at the hotel’s spa, in-room sparkling wine and a fresh fruit platter upon arrival. On the wedding day, the couple will enjoy a ceremony and candlelight dinner on the beach.

Tourism talk

From left: Luxury chocolates at Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives; chilling out on a perfect Maldives beach; the pool at Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

“Mauritius is among the best locations for weddings and honeymoons thanks to its stunning scenery, warm tropical climate and the friendly hospitality of the Mauritian people. Many hotels offer extensive wedding and honeymoon packages and have their own experienced wedding coordinator who will organise every last detail of the wedding. “With an increase of 8.7% in arrival figures for 2016 it is clear that Mauritius is a destination

that is on the forefront of travellers’ minds. Many are now choosing to combine their wedding and honeymoon to create an unforgettable wedding experience and what better place to do this than the beautiful island of Mauritius.” Kevin Ramkaloan, Director of Tourism, MTPA “The Maldives is one of the most romantic destinations in the world and we are proud to be able to offer newlyweds a truly unforgettable honeymoon experience. With an incredible 41% of British travellers arriving in the Maldives for their honeymoon, this is an extremely important market for us and one which we will continue to strongly focus on going into next year.” Mohamed Adam, Deputy Managing Director at Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC)

Where to book it  HAYES AND JARVIS – 01293 762415 Seven nights for the price of five at the new five-star OZEN By Atmosphere at Maadhoo on an all-inclusive basis costs from £2,749pp, a a saving of up to £720pp. The offer includes speedboat transfers and return international flights from Heathrow with Etihad, based on departures on May 21 2017.  TRAVEL 2 – 0800 0224 182

Seven nights’ all-inclusive at the Veranda Paul et Virginie in Mauritius is priced from £1,259pp. The deal includes return transfers and flights from Gatwick. The adults-only hotel has direct access to the beach and features double hammocks for couples.

 GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS – 0800 240 4470 For adventurous honeymooners, the two-week Sri Lanka, Temples and Tea tour starts from £2,29pp, with three departures across March-November 2017. Tour highlights include Colombo, Kandy, Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, Polonnaruwa, Lion’s Rock Fortre, Nanu Oya Tea Plantation and Yala National Park. 

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Beachcomber Tours, Direction House, 186 High Street, Guildford, GU1 3HW, 01483 445 610,


The Dolomites – an undiscovered winter wonderland Sun, snow and the dolce vita on the slopes of South Tyrol.

South Tyrol, Italy’s most northerly region, is set amongst the jaw-droppingly beautiful mountains of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Dolomites. It boasts some of the best ski and snow sport runs in the world, add to this 300 days of sunshine a year and a snow guarantee from December to April, and it really is the place to be for discerning snow enthusiasts. However, it’s not just the snow and landscape that makes visiting worthwhile. South Tyrol’s joint Alpine and Mediterranean cultural heritages influence everything from the region’s food and wine, to its spa tradition – all adding to its eclectic and unique nature. With only 2% of its visitors coming from the UK, South Tyrol is a secret ski spot waiting to be discovered, and the perfect place to avoid crowded slopes. Home to the famous Dolomiti Superski and Sellaronda, the region offers excellent downhill and cross-country options for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, and there are 63 ski schools on hand for beginners. After a day on piste visitors can enjoy an après ski in a cosy log hut, or tuck into the gourmet food which the region is famous for – it boasts an amazing 19 restaurants with a Michelin Star rating. South Tyrol also has a strong spa tradition, with many spas and thermal baths offering traditional treatments such as milk, honey and hay baths – the perfect way to relax at the end of the day.

The Dolomiti Superski is the world’s largest ski network with a staggering total of 1,200km of perfectly snow covered slopes taking in 12 different resorts. Each area has direct access to this impressive network which is covered with just one ski pass, making it an adventurous and affordable ski holiday option. The size of the network means that there is a huge range of skiing available from beginners and kids runs to championship level slopes, as well as great cross-country and off-piste skiing terrain. South Tyrol also offers access to the mighty Sellaronda, a 26km merry-go-round for skiers around the dramatic Sella Massif Peak with well-groomed pistes and modern, efficient lift systems. The Sellaronda is one of the most exciting routes in the Alps. In roughly five hours, skiers can complete the circular tour around the impressive rock formations of the Dolomites and are rewarded with some of the world’s most spectacular scenery. It is a must do for any keen skier or snowboarder. South Tyrol is a fantastic destination for all things snow related – not just skiing! Adrenaline junkies can go ice climbing up frozen waterfalls, or why not enjoy the landscape on a pony ride or horse drawn sled? In South Tyrol’s winter wonderland, the possibilities are endless. 04.indd 1

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HOW TO GET THERE Getting to South Tyrol is easy as the region is just a short distance from a number of airports – Verona, Milan-Bergamo, Milan, Venice and Treviso as well as Innsbruck and Munich. Flights are available with BA, EasyJet, Ryanair and Monarch from a range of UK airports including: London 4 Villach Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Leeds, East Midlands, Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. Lots of people travelling to South Tyrol hire a car at the airport, but there are also quick and convenient bus transfers from Milan, Malpensa, Bergamo, Verona, Innsbruck or Munich airports, starting from €48 per person – make sure you book at least 48 hours in advance though.

To contact the South Tyrol team with general enquiries, and also to list Tour Operator packages on the South Tyrol website (for free!) please use: 03/12/15 07:37


state profile

The Gambia – West Africa’s ‘unmissable’ winter break – est Africa’s popularity as a winter bolthole took a beating with the outbreak of the Ebola virus, but after being given the all clear Gambia is now bouncing back, says Gary Noakes

Discover treasure Hand-made jewellery from colourful local beads is a cheap but good-quality gift. Haggling is a must but unlike some countries there is no aggressive hard sell.

The last few years have certainly not been easy for Gambia’s tourism industry, with the Ebola virus threat in neighbouring countries and the attempted coup at the end of 2014 causing visitor numbers to crash. Hotels that normally saw almost full occupancy were running at around 30% during the Ebola scare, despite no outbreak actually ever recorded in the country. Last year saw just over 33,000 Britons visit Gambia, a big fall from 58,000 in 2012, but the picture is changing for the better: after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office amended its travel advice, Gambia welcomed 22,500 visits from Britons in the first six months of this year – which has encouraged the Ghana Tourist board to be much more proactive this year. “We are adding more activities and targeting new markets,” said Lisa Jarra of the GTB’s London office. One initiative was the country’s first-ever bird-watching festival in October. Gambia is home to more than 550 species and bird-watching holidays there are already very popular. Gambia will also stage a food festival in February. Another aim is to extend the ‘season’ beyond the normal winter sun period. “Our season usually starts in October so we are trying to start in September and we are pushing to increase flight availability,” added Jarra.

Get twitchy You might not be too interested in birdwatching before you arrive but a pre-breakfast walk offered by many hotels to see some of Gambia’s numerous species may quickly change that. Back to school Many hotels work with local schools to arrange visits, but advise clients to ask how useful to the children the visit actually is. And advise them to take pens, books and other materials to the school. Eat your fill West African cuisine, as you would expect, is on offer in Gambia, but a surprise may be the numerous restaurants featuring Italian and Lebanese food. Many are run by immigrants.



Just chill Gambia’s beaches are the stuff of dreams and hawkers are controlled on the popular ones. The ocean is not for the timid, but any reasonably competent swimmer can enjoy a refreshing dip.




SAGA CRUISES 0800 50 50 30


Gambia Experience Product Manager Karen Durham concurs with suggestions that the country is bouncing back. “The country went through a very difficult time due to Ebola, even though it never had a single case of the virus,” she said, “but the country’s climate (year-round temperatures are in the low-30s) means it is unbeatable for a winter break. “Compared with other mid-haul destinations, it has to be among the the best winter sun choices,” she added.

GAMBIA EXPERIENCE Gambia Experience has not picked up as many new customers switching from Egypt and Tunisia as anticipated, says Durham, but the luxury side is starting to take off, especially now that a safari in neighbouring former French colony Senegal is offered as an add on. The operator’s Titan Airways charter offers a Star Class cabin, similar to premium economy, which has proved popular on the six-hour flight and adds to the luxury-selling proposition. New visitors may be attracted to the refurbished Sunbeach Hotel & Resort in Cape Point, a four-star property that is now run on an all-inclusive basis.

state profile

Gambia Experience hopes the property may appeal to firsttimers apprehensive about the destination. “Some people going to Africa for the first time will want this sense of security,” said Durham. The operator is also poised to introduce its first villa properties in the country, which should be available from early 2017 and is increasing its range of tailor-made excursions with personal drivers. “We’re trying to appeal to those who don’t want to go with the crowd,” Durham said.

IN THE BROCHURES As well as Gambia Experience’s own charter from Gatwick, Thomas Cook offers a flight from the same airport and others out of Manchester and Birmingham. Cook has tweaked its package offering for this winter, with the reinstatement of the Sunbeach


Hotel and Resort to the programme. “This is proving a popular hotel as it’s all-inclusive - many of our hotels are on a bed and breakfast basis,” said a company spokeswoman. Cook has also added the Footsteps Eco Lodge in Gunjur, a kilometre back from the coast. Another indication that Gambia is on the up is the return of Saga, which is again programming the country after pulling out in November 2014 following FCO advice. The operator had offered two stay-put packages as well as several cruise calls and will take its first steps back in 2018 with a ship call at the capital Banjul. Saga pairs the Banjul stop with another in Dakar, capital of Senegal. The itinerary also takes in Cape Verde, The Canary Islands, Madeira and Lisbon. A Saga spokeswoman said there was more to come. 

The Gambia

Winter sun with the specialists • Christmas and New Year availability including gala meals • Tailormade and multi-centre holidays • No hidden extras; all packages include direct flights, transfers, in-flight meals and 20kg luggage allowance Call our knowledgeable reservations team today on 01489 866 939

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Caribbean round-up


Highlights of the

Puerto Rico Tourism Company

Caribbean After strong growth from the UK this year, and with a raft of new hotels and attractions on offer, the Caribbean is looking ahead to 2017 with optimism, says Peter Ellegard

Caribbean round-up


he suspense is palpable as our Caribbean was largely spared its ravages. The region is now looking ahead to 2017 tethered, shallow-bottomed boat gently bobs against a mangrove with optimism after strong UK growth branch in the Caroni Swamp. this year saw arrivals up 5.2% while those from Europe as a whole rose 10%. Other boats are moored by mangrove treeCountries seeing the strongest growth from covered islands in this vast wildlife haven near Trinidad’s capital, Port of Spain. All await Europe were the Turks & Caicos, up 67%, Cuba (38%), Puerto Rico (36%) and Haiti (35%) the scarlet ibis, Trinidad’s national bird. while destinations such as Barbados and Some 18,000 ibis live here, returning to roost each night in one of the Caribbean’s Antigua as well as smaller islands including St Kitts have also seen increased bookings. most colourful natural spectacles. Armed with cameras, my fellow New airlift from the UK in 2016 is being hunters and I snap a tropical screech owl “For clients travelling between augmented by increased and peregrine falcon services on some Caribbean islands, smaller before someone spots airlines often have far better existing routes as well a formation of our as new links in 2017. connections than some of the More hotel inventory vivid prey, resembling bigger airlines, and can reduce is also being added the Red Arrows. Flocks soon appear clients’ waiting times by hours Caribbean-wide. from all directions, Sterling’s recent or even a day” turning the trees plunge and issues such Rebecca Burgess, Head of Sales, bright ed in the as the Zika virus pose Caribtours fading dusk light threats but, for now before squadrons of bats escort us back. at least, the outlook seems good. Trinidad has other magical bird experiences, Anguilla too. Yerette is a residential garden where you Tiny Anguilla is a Caribbean gem with 33 can get up close and personal with dazzling white-sand beaches and accommodation that hummingbirds, while the forest-covered Asa ranges from luxury spa resorts to villas and Wright Nature Reserve boasts exotic birds galore. guesthouses. It has over 100 restaurants. In the Twitter age, Trinidad is a real tweet

Good prospects While parts of the USA are still recovering from October’s Hurricane Matthew, the

What’s New: Seabourne Airlines ( is linking Anguilla with San Juan, Puerto Rico, with up to six flights per week from November 1, connecting with the





Caribbean round-up

Norwegian Air Gatwick-San Juan flight on Saturdays. Hotel openings include Small Luxury Hotels of the World ( members The Reef by CuisinArt, with 80 suites, and The Manoah, with 25 suites, both in November, and the Four Seasons Anguilla (, rebranded from the Viceroy, in October.

Antigua & Barbuda Famed for its 365 beaches – one for every day of the year – these islands are just 45 minutes apart. Antigua is rich in colonial history and is the sailing fraternity’s winter capital, offering action aplenty, while laidback Barbuda is just made for relaxing on. What’s new: Antigua Sailing Week ( celebrates its 50th anniversary from April 29-May 5, 2017, with races, music events, food and drink. The 60th Antigua Carnival ( runs from July 28-August 8, 2017. Antigua’s luxury Hodges Bay beachfront resort ( opens in early 2017, while all-inclusive Curtain Bluff resort ( has reopened for the winter season after renovations and improvements.

“Our online training programme – Caribbean Travel Guru – acts as a fantastic central resource for agents and has a rewards scheme linked with My Booking The Bahamas Rewards to recognised logged Comprising 16 main islands and many smaller ones stretching across 14,000 square kilometres, Caribbean bookings” carol hay, uk and europe director of marketing, caribbean tourism organization

Clockwise from top left: swimming pigs in The Bahamas; reggae singer Bankie Banx, Anguilla; St. George’s, Grenada; Victoria Falls, Dominica

The Bahamas suits everyone from beach lovers to watersports fans, golfers, romantics and sophisticates – and those who just want a dip with its famous swimming pigs.

What’s new: British Airways ( has cut direct flights to Nassau from five a week to four but has increased capacity after switching to larger Boeing 777-200 aircraft. A new fast ferry service operates between Miami and Bimini ( Adult-only, four-star all-inclusive resort Warwick Paradise Island ( has opened after a $40 million revamp, with a private harbourfront beach and a snorkelling lagoon.


Barbados Ever-popular Barbados offers a mix of tranquil resorts fronting white-sand beaches to a host of exciting activities and adventures, both on land and above and below its crystal waters. What’s new: Thomas Cook Airlines (thomascookairlines. com) launches weekly seat-only flights from Gatwick on December 16, running until March 17, 2017. The all-inclusive Waves Hotel & Spa by Elegant Hotels ( opened in August on the west coast. Sandals Barbados ( will have added 220 rooms by the end of 2016. Sugar Bay Barbados (, formerly Amaryllis, and The Sands (, formerly Sandy Beach, have opened as all-inclusive resorts, adding 300 new rooms.

Cayman Islands A trio of islands, cosmopolitan Grand Cayman serves up the sands of Seven Mile Beach, Stingray City and luxury resorts; Cayman Brac offers nature and adventure and Little Cayman is a diver’s delight with palm-fringed beaches. What’s new: British Airways increased capacity with the introduction of Boeing 777 aircraft in July. Grand Cayman’s international airport is currently undergoing expansion. Kimpton Hotels opens its first property outside the U.S. with the November debut of the 266-room Seafire Resort and


Caribbean round-up

Spa ( on Seven Mile Beach. The Margaritaville Grand Cayman Beach Resort is due to open in 2017 (

Dominican Republic With its historic capital, Santo Domingo, and beach resort destinations on its north, east and south coasts, plus world-class golf and whalewatching among attractions, the Caribbean’s second-largest country is a firm holiday favourite. What’s new: The Sosua Bay Rejuvenation Project is an initiative to improve coral reefs on the north coast for divers. Hotel openings include the five-star Real InterContinental Santo Domingo (, AMResort’s adult-only, all-inclusive Onyx Punta Cana ( in November and the Excellence El Carmen Resort (, another adult-only, all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, by the end of 2016. The country’s second Hard Rock Hotel ( will open in Santo Domingo in late 2017.

Dominica Above: Horseriding in lush Jamaica. Right: Ladera Resort, Saint Lucia

Largely covered by mountains and rainforest, Dominica is a natural paradise that offers

some of the Caribbean’s best hiking and diving. It is also known as the whalewatching capital of the Caribbean. What’s new: British Airways and Winair ( now offer same-day routes from London to Dominica via Antigua. Liat ( operates 39 flights a week between Antigua and Dominica after expanding in June. Inntravel (inntravel. and Ramblers Holidays ( have new Dominica-only tours.

Grenada The co-called Spice Island is a taste of the authentic and unspoilt Caribbean. Along with sister islands Carriacou and Petite Martinique, it welcomes visitors with beautiful beaches, natural rainforest, a friendly capital and a plethora of activity options including superior diving on reefs and wrecks. What’s new: The Grenada Tourism Authority undertook a series of sales calls in September, presenting agents with Grenadian spices, chocolate and rum. Similar sales calls are planned for 2017.



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Caribbean round-up

Jamaica Jamaica woos visitors with everything from its reggae music and heritage to relaxing beach resorts, sports and action-packed adventures. What’s new: British Airways will add a fourth weekly flight to Kingston from Gatwick next summer, while Thomson Airways ( is adding extra flights from Gatwick and Manchester this winter and a new Stansted service next summer. The first direct flights from Scotland, run by Thomson and First Choice, will operate from Glasgow to Montego Bay from June 2017. The Jamaica Tourist Board ( hosted its first-ever Jamaica Travel Market, featuring an interactive agent workshop at Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa in September (see page73). Jewel Resorts Jamaica (jewelagents. com) is planning a spring 2017 mega-fam as part of its programme of agent promotions. The Caribbean’s first-ever over-water villas open at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Offshore ( Island on December 1.

Puerto Rico A commonwealth of the US, Puerto Rico combines glorious beaches and a rugged mountainous interior offering adventure activities, water sports


and the cultural appeal of the historic colonial city of Old San Juan. What’s new: Norwegian Air resumes flights from Gatwick to Puerto Rico this month with more capacity from Boeing’s 787-9 Dreamliner. La Bestia, a 7,590- foot-long zip line at ToroVerde Ecological Adventure Park ( has been declared the longest in the world by Guinness World Records.

St Kitts & Nevis Spectacular but laid-back siblings St Kitts and Nevis charm visitors with their natural beauty, unspoilt beaches and mountains. There’s lively nightlife and white sand on St Kitts and largely black sand and a quieter feel on Nevis. What’s new: A combined roadshow in the UK worked to counter the weakening pound and maintain steady growth and surging cruise passenger numbers. The 125-room Park Hyatt ( is due to open in March 2017, followed by several more hotels in 2018. Key focuses for growth in 2017 are heritage tourism, golf and island-unique attractions such as the St. Kitts’ Sugar Train (see page 74).

Dreams Resorts & Spas are spectacular beachfront resorts located in exciting tropical destinations, perfect for couples and families. Guests will enjoy all the inclusions of Unlimited-Luxury ®, reservation free à la carte dining, premium top shelf spirits, 24-hour room service and more. It’s everything the holiday of their Dreams should be.



Caribbean round-up

Saint Lucia One of the most picturesque islands in the Caribbean, dominated by its twin Piton Mountains covered in lush rainforest, Saint Lucia is a long-time holiday favourite, thanks to its mix of relaxing beach resorts, boutique hotels, activities and its friendly welcome.

“Winter 2016/2017 is looking good, but we will need to work very hard to ensure growth in summer 2017” carol hay, uk and europe director of marketing, caribbean tourism organization

What’s new: TUI will fly its Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Saint Lucia once a week from summer 2017. The 361-room Royalton Saint Lucia ( opened in Smugglers Cove in autumn as an all-inclusive resort. Freedom Bay (, opening this winter, will offer 100 beach and hillside villas on a 65-acre site within the Pitons UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Harbor Club hotel ( opens next March in Rodney Bay with 115 rooms including eight swim-up rooms.

St Vincent & Grenadines A chain of 32 islands stretching down the eastern Caribbean, this is a tropical island getaway for romantics and honeymooners, avid divers and snorkelers, and yachties. What’s new: The much-delayed Agyle International Airport, originally slated to open in 2011, is due to be operational by the end of this year. Once opened, it will boost the destination’s tourism, particularly for diving, with a capacity of 1.5 million passengers per year.

Trinidad & Tobago Beguiling Tobago and its larger twin, Trinidad, offer a complete contrast. Tobago is a more laid-back, beach-based experience with resorts plus birdlife-rich, rainforest-covered mountains. Trinidad is more upbeat thanks to vibrant capital Port of Spain but with its own natural splendours.

Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board

Grenada Tourism Authority


Turks & Caicos Diversity is key in this archipelago, a British overseas territory comprising two groups of islands. Exquisite beaches, gin-clear waters and destinations from Providenciales to away-from-itall escapes appeal to families and couples alike. What’s new: The $100 million Shore Club (theshoreclubtc. com) opens next month on Long Bay, Providenciales, with 106 rooms and six beachfront villas.

Tourism talk “Winter 2016/2017 is looking good, but we need to work very hard to ensure growth continues in summer 2017. Caribbean destinations have been very proactive in highlighting preventative measures regarding Zika. The CTO recently completed its successful UK and Ireland roadshows. More roadshows across England, Scotland and Ireland will continue into 2017. The Caribbean Tourism Organization currently has a successful online training programme – Caribbean Travel Guru ( This acts as a fantastic central resource for agents. Additionally, Caribbean Travel Guru has a rewards scheme linked with My Booking Rewards ( so that agents are rewarded for making and logging their Caribbean bookings. The programme has been growing tremendously.” Carol Hay, UK and Europe director of marketing, Caribbean Tourism Organisation

Where to book it  CARIBTOURS – 020 3733 7298 A new St Martin and Anguilla twin-centre combination, flying via Paris to St Martin and a ferry to and from Anguilla, costs from £3,565pp for 10 nights including flights, transfers and breakfast.

Clockwise from top left: The Scarlett Ibis in Trinidad; a waterfall stop in Grenada; Turks & Caicos from above; the wonders below the warm Caribbean Seas

What’s new: This month (November) sees the launch of a new, weekly winter Manchester-Tobago flight from Thomas Cook ( For 2017, Trinidad is looking to further realise its untapped tourism potential with new twin-centre tourism initiatives with Tobago focusing on eco-tourism and nature tourism.

 TRAVEL 2 – 0800 0224 182 Seven nights’ all-inclusive in the four-star Waves Hotel & Spa by Elegant Hotels costs from £1,679pp, with flights and transfers. The Barbados property is set on Batts Rock Bay. 

six of the best


NEW CALEDONIA This French Pacific territory is often called a microcosm of Australia – but it combines red earth and tropical beaches in a much smaller area, says Laura Gelder





The capital city merges multiple cultures and styles: Art Deco cottages of the 1930s mix with Chinatown and its colourful shops and the Latin Quarter’s old wooden houses, ironwork decorations and colourful, flowering gardens of hibiscus and bougainvillea. It’s a cosmopolitan smorgasbord of museums and art galleries displaying local art and Kanak culture. MUST DO: Restaurants in Noumea, along with the rest of New Caledonia, far outstrip offerings in other Pacific islands. With French, Asian and Oceanic cuisine all represented, the food is both unique and of top quality. Local cellars stock the best wines,– from Bordeaux to Burgundy.





New Caledonia’s southernmost isle is reached via a flight from Noumea. Today it is famous for its spectacular pine trees and fine powdery-sand beaches but the island was a penal colony in the nineteenth century and the last stop for many dissidents from the Paris Commune in the 1870s. Visitors can still see the ruins of former jails.

MUST DO: The New Caledonia Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the second longest of its kind in the world. It surrounded the main island of Grand Terre as well as Ile des Pins. Not surprisingly, it’s renowned for scuba diving and is home to a huge array of marine life, including the endangered dugong.




The main island’s west coast runs from dry and almost luna-like land where wild horses graze, in the far north, to wide grassy plains and savannas covered with paperback trees where stockmen herd their cattle. Less than a half-an-hour away from Nouméa, two hiking trails criss-cross Mount Koghi and offer panoramic views across the primal forest of New Caledonia.


MUST SEE: The west coast is dominated by mangroves. The ‘Heart of Voh’ is a famous and spectacular natural phenomenon where the mangroves have grown to create a heart-shaped design in the sea. Taking a helicopter flight above the mangroves is the best way to see it.



Blue, red and green are the dominating colours of this region of Grand Terre. Scorched red earth, green rainforest and blue skies and sea. The biggest park in New Caledonia, the Blue River Provincial Park, is home to the drowned forest. Hike, kayak or just relax in the clear waters of the Blue River. MUST DO: Capn’Dua at the tip of Grand Sud is a nature reserve crowned by a white lighthouse. Rising starkly from a russet hill, it provides stunning views out to sea where humpback whales pass between July and September.



Lying just a 30-minute flight from the main island, Ouvéa is only 35km long and in places just 40 metres wide. Crossed by a single road winding through coconut palms, it features sugary white sand, a clear lagoon and extraordinary diving sites, particularly around the Pléïades Reef. MUST DO: The Shark Nursery sits at the northern end of the island and is where lemon sharks come to birth their young. It’s a popular spot reached by a scenic beach walk.



New Caledonia has a diverse culture shaped by immigrants from all five continents. Visitors will hear multiple langauges being spoken besides French. The indigenous Kanak people’s culture is based around story-telling, art, animist myth and legend and the sacred cultivation of yams.

MUST SEE: Visitors can immerse themselves in local culture by staying in a Kanak village. Here they can learn local dances, wear the traditional hula skirt, examine tribal carvings and taste the authentic dish ‘bougna,’ which is cooked in a pit oven.



Corée du Sud Japon Osaka




Europa Japan Wallis & Futuna





Port Vila



New Caledonia




Sydney Aircalin Partner airlines


Auckland New Zealand +44 (0) 1293 874978

*From the UK to Noumea, Aircalin and its partner airlines offer through fares valid on the entire itinerary via its Japanese or Australian gateways.

©NCTPS - M.Dosdane


Working in partnership


Training, competitions, events November 2016


Gurus gain prizes this month NEWS

Quick Quiz Are you a Seychelles expert?

1. Mahé is the largest island in The Seychelles TRUE / FALSE

Hot News

2. Vasco da Gama was the second person to land on the Seychelles

Jambo Kenya is back in style


CARIBBEAN TRAVEL GURU is giving away a Christmas hamper this month to one lucky agent who achieves 'Guru' status. To reach this level agents must take tests, complete spotlight quizzes, make bookings and attend one of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation's events. Celebrate the festive season this month by learning all about the the destinations of the Caribbean – and be in with a chance of winning to boot! Don't delay, train today!

Merry Christmas from Newmarket

Jambo Kenya I Modules: 4

Answers: 1: True 2: False

JAMBO KENYA has relaunched with a new design and all-new training content. Agents can learn more about Magical Kenya and also can win a number of prizes just by signing up to the programme before December 10. These include two tickets to The Lion King on stage, two tickets for Woburn Safari Park Off Road Safari Adventure, a £200 spa voucher and dinner for two at Haandi, London. Learning about the unique wonders of Kenya has never been so rewarding, so train now!


NEWMARKET HOLIDAYS is offering agencies the chance to win an exclusive Christmas hamper for the entire office! To be in with a chance of the seasonal goodies agents must book a Christmas holiday in Europe that includes air travel, a UK Christmas market break and a Lapland Santa experience day trip. Agencies must then take a selfie with their clients and send it through to the Newmarket Holiday's facebook page (@nic. newmarket) before November 30. The winner will be announced in early December.

WIN an Amazon Fire tablet We are giving tablets away in November! Simply sign-in to, look around and register for courses

Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

Celebrate christmas with PATA

Visit Florida bags up gifts for agents



PATA will host its Christmas party this year on December 15, so agents should get their singing voices ready and don their santa hats to celebrate the festive season in style. The party, which will include a charity auction, will be attended by partners such as Air China, Tourism Thailand, Qantas and many others! The party will be held at the Grand Connaught Rooms, London. Agents wanting to attend should contact:

VISIT FLORIDA is offering the first 100 agents who sign up to its new e-learning programme the chance to will an amazing Visit Florida goody bag! Agents can learn all about the home of Key Lime Pie and put themselves on the way to earning valuable points towards gaining new levels and perks on their Travel Uni profile. Agents should check out the website below for the chance to win a fabulous prize and gain a new destination to their portfolio.

Awards winners

New rewards for Trinbago

Top training awards

Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards

Fancy a Mark Warner ski holiday for two? COMPETITION


LEARN TRINBAGO has a new My Booking Rewards earnings structure focused on Trinidad and Tobago. The new facility allows agents to book flights and accommodation to Tobago to earn £10, and add Trinidad as a twin-centre option to increase the reward to £20. The new rewards structure gives agents even more reasons to sell Trinidad and Tobago, alongside it's beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, unique wildlife and romantic appeal. So get training, start selling and begin earning today!; training.

WIN! Caribbean Travel Guru landed the Best Travel Uni Training programme in this year's Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards. The Thailand's Treasures programme was also rewarded on the night by receiving a Highly Commended award, which recognised its impressive content and standout interaction with agents. Readers who haven't yet signed up should take a look at these two award-winning programmes. Congratulations to both the teams at Caribbean Travel Guru and Thailand's Treasures!

MARK WARNER is giving away a ski holiday for two to any agent who makes a ski booking before November 30. Mark Warner boasts a range of specialist ski holidays and agents can learn all about its selection of destinations and resorts by making their way through the operator's six-module training programme. It is designed to give agents all the tools they need to sell a ski holiday. Agents must send their booking reference in an email to with the subject line 'Win a Ski Holiday'.

COURSE LIST A-Z of available courses AMResorts Alaska Anguilla Antigua & Barbuda Aruba Avis Car Hire Beachcomber Tours Beaches Resorts Botswana Boucan Butlins

California Caribbean Cayman Islands Centara Hotels & Resorts Chile Colombia Elegant Hotels of Barbados England Flanders Florida GDS

Gambia Grenada Half Moon Hotel Hawaii Heritage Resorts Hoseasons Insider Journeys Jamaica Jewel Resorts Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Kenya Leeds Beckett University

Macao Las Vegas Malaysia Malta Mark Warner Miami New York Namibia Newmarket Holidays Norway Ocean Holidays PATA (Pacific Asia

Travel Association) Puerto Rico Qatar SAGA Saint Lucia Sandals Resorts Seaworld Serenity Holidays Seychelles Sri Lanka St Kitts Trinidad and Tobago

Tenerife Thailand Travel 2 Turks & Caicos US Airtours Veranda Resorts Virgin Limited Edition Voyages SNCF Warner Leisure Hotels Windjammer Landing Hotel Your Car Hire

powered by


luxury middle east


delights The Middle Eastern luxury sector is an ever-expanding one. Adam Coulter looks at the latest developments


remember quite clearly the feeling I had as the Toyota Landcruiser reached the top of the near-vertical sand dune we’d been driving up. My stomach dropped as I looked down this vast dune and even though I knew I was in safe hands, with an experienced driver, I felt terrified. The car paused, Mohamed turned to me and said: “Ready?” I gulped and whispered: “Yes.” He turned to my companions in the back and asked the same question. A barely audible response from them. “OK let’s go!” The 4x4 teetered at the top for a moment then… straight down the dune, just like a rollercoaster with everyone screaming in the back, me still terrified, but thrilled at the same time. I’d heard about

“dune bashing,” as this crazy activity is known as in the Middle East, but the descriptions don’t do it justice; nor the thrill of hurtling down a sand dune, your life in the driver’s hands. We spent the afternoon in the deserts just outside of Dubai, urging Mohamed up everhigher dunes and thrilling at the drop once we’d reached the top. It’s also good to get out of town for a few days; much as I love Dubai and its attractions and sights, realizing that there is more to the emirate than the biggest or the tallest or the newest, and to reconnect with the land, adds another dimension to a trip. Next stop: Hatta Fort, an oasis which lies a couple of hours from the city, and is also home to the gorgeous hotel of the same name.

Unprecedented growth The United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman lie seven to seven-and-a-half-hour flight time from the UK, and are served by a number of direct daily flights. The UAE comprises seven emirates – Dubai and Abu Dhabi being the best known, with Ras al Khaimah up-and-coming; Oman and Qatar are separate states. Combining two emirates in a short break is possible, and Oman and Qatar are both an add-on option, with regular flights, or an exciting drive across the north of the UAE into Oman’s Musandam Peninsula. The region has some of the highest service levels and most luxurious hotels in the world;

luxury middle east

unspoilt beaches and world-class attractions; Mutrah Souq : One of the oldest markets diving, driving, hiking, sailing, camping, duty in Oman dates back about 200 years. Cruising: New cruise terminals have free shopping and excellent cuisine. It is opened in Abu Dhabi and Dubai; also extremely safe and child-friendly. Norwegian Cruise Line will make its first stops in In the past 20 years Dubai has witnessed the region later this year. unprecedented growth and a massive increase Monsoon winds: From June to December in tourist numbers. It has a number of world in Salalah in southern Oman, the khareef firsts, including the tallest building in the monsoon winds blow in heavy rains that see the world, Burj al Arab; an indoor ski slope; manmountains covered in lush green vegetation. made islands; and some of the largest and The Empty Quarter: or ‘Rub Al Khali’ in most opulent hotels in the world. In October Arabic, is the world’s largest desert and it added two new attractions: Legoland shared by Oman, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Dubai and the 400-acre Dubai Safari Park. Dubai Parks and Resorts: The Abu Dhabi is the capital of the U.A.E., and the multi-gate theme park complex is the seven emirates. Its approach to development emirate’s latest multi-attraction and is ideal for has been more measured, with an emphasis on first timers to Dubai. cultural institutions such as the opening of the Qasr Al Muwaiji museum in the second city of Al Ain last November; and the opening of the world’s What’s new  Airlines: British Airways ( is first outpost of Paris’ Louvre Museum, next year. Oman is a diverse country, with high mountains, launching a new direct flight from Heathrow to Muscat this month. Oman Air ( will rocks and canyons, deserts and 10,600 km of start direct flights from Manchester in 2017. coastline. It also has seasons with milder, wetter,  Hotels: OMAN – Dusit International is set to winters in the south. Muscat is the capital open dusitD2 Palm Mall Muscat in 2017 ( and is ideally placed for the Indian Ocean The newly-opened Al Baleed Resort Salalah coastline for scuba diving, dolphin-watching, “Oman remains largely ( is a luxury villa resort, the first turtle nesting, sailing and kite surfing. undiscovered and a in great of itsis kind Salalah, in the south of Oman. Qatar’s capital, Doha, is served by regular QATAR – Mondrian Doha (morganshotelgroup. flights from the UK on Qatar Airways. It boasts alternative to aother destinations com/mondrian/mondrian-doha) , Mandarin Oriental number of luxury hotels, with big including With innames the region. luxury Mondrian, Melia and Westin on the way. Upcoming Doha (, Centara Grand accommodation at very Doha ( and The Waldorf attractions include the Mall of Qatar, Doha attractive prices,Astoria it isDoha a great ( Festival City and the National Museum of Qatar. winter sun destination for Dubai (, Palazzo DUBAI – St Regis The little-known emirate of Ras al Khaimah Versace Dubai (, The Westin provides a glimpse into how Dubai and Abu families” – Dubai2AlOMAN Habtoor City (, Dhabi once were. There is little in SIMPLY terms LUXURY BY TRAVEL Wyndham Dubai Marina (, of sightseeing, but tourism is gradually Jumeirah Al Naseem (, Royal Atlantis developing with a handful of high-end (, Bulgari ( hotels springing up, amongst them, Anantara, ABU DHABI – Upcoming hotel openings Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Banyan Tree. include the 428-room Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Perfect ten Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl (abudhabi.grand., which is under construction opposite Saadiyat Islands: This nine-kilometre ribbon of white sand in Abu Dhabi is a Emirates Palace, and the Fairmont Marina nesting site for endangered hawksbill turtles. Resort & Residences (fairmontmarinaresidences. com), which will open in 2017. Qatar openings: A number of hotels, activities and experiences are due to RAK – Al Marjan Island, a stunning archipelago open in the next 12 months, including the Mall encompassing an area of 2.7 million square of Qatar, Doha Festival City and the National metres and extending 4.5 km into the sea, Museum of Qatar. is currently being developed. Hotel groups Mountain hiking: Trek up to the summit building properties on the island include of Jebel Jais, in RAK, the UAE’s tallest peak, Anantara, Crowne Plaza and Marriott. which stands 1,934m high.  Attractions: DUBAI – The first phase of Water sports: Ras Al Khaimah is a Dubai Opera (, a 2,000-seat venue hotspot for thrilling water sports – take for opera, theatre, concerts, art exhibitions, your pick from scuba diving, sailing, jet skiing, orchestra, film, sports events and seasonal wakeboarding, parasailing, flyboarding and more. programmes opened in September. RAK's Saqr Park: The park is great for Dubai Park and Resorts (dubaiparksandresorts. com) new Land of Shrek opened in October. families with lush greenery and scenic ABU DHABI – The new Louvre Abu Dhabi views, amusement rides and arcade games.


Left: Dune bashing is a popular pastime throughout the Middle East. Above (from top): Etihad Towers and the Emirates Palace; camel racing; Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi


luxury middle east

( will open next year on Saadiyat tour operators in the north west to promote Island. Its permanent collection will comprise the new Manchester to Muscat direct flight more than 600 pieces of art, from Oman Air launching next year.” displayed across 23 galleries. Asma Al Hajri, Deputy Director General, Int. Tourism Warner Bros. World Promotions, Oman Ministry of Tourism Abu Dhabi ( is to “Compared to the same period in 2015, open on Yas Island in 2018. the number of hotel nights that Brits RAK – A five-star luxury mountain camp, stay in Ras Al Khaimah’s hotels has zip line and a via ferrata climbing route along increased by nearly 26%. Ras Al Khaimah has a Jebel Jais, the UAE’s tallest peak is opening soon. growing portfolio of five-star hotels and resorts at QATAR – The National Museum of Qatar four-star prices, whether guests are looking for a ( will showcase Qatar’s past family stay, pampering retreat or indulgent luxury.” and future when it opens in 2017. Haitham Mattar, CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Training: Since its launch more than 900 Tourism Development Authority British agents have signed up to the Qatar Where to book it Tourism Authority’s online destination training � GOLD MEDAL – 0800 014 7777 programme ‘Tawash’ ( Three nights at the five-star Ritz Carlton Abu �Shopping Malls: ABU DHABI – Al Maryah Dhabi, Grand Canal, in a Deluxe Room on a B&B. Central on Al Maryah Island will feature the first Price from £679 per international Macy’s person (saving £420 department store, “It’s not too late to book tickets per person). Travel and Abu Dhabi’s first for the Formula 1 Etihad Airways dates are 4 January Bloomingdale’s. The 29 March 2017, book second, on Reem Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Island, will boast Marina Circuit (November 25-27). 90 days prior to travel the world’s largest Etihad Holidays has packages � TRAVEL2 – 0800 indoor snow park. that include flights and 0224 182 Both are scheduled race tickets” Five nights at the to open in 2018. five-star Chedi QATAR – Mall of NABEEL AL ZAROUNI, UK COUNTRY MANAGER TCA ABU DHABI Muscat, Serai Room Qatar, a shopping and with bed and retail destination, breakfast with return private transfers is priced is currently under construction. from £1,299 per person. Travel includes return Tourism talk flights from London Gatwick, and valid for "The luxury market will always be an travel between 3 January – 8 April, 2017.  important one for Abu Dhabi. Flagship events like the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix attract a high-end WHO FLIES THERE clientele, and Louvre Abu Dhabi will be a huge;;;; draw for discerning travellers looking to add some; culture to their stay. The choice of high-end hotels is forever growing." Nabeel Al Zarouni, UK Country Manager, TCA Abu Dhabi. “The Oman Ministry of Tourism's strategy has always been to attract the premium tourist. We are working hard to educate the trade about our premium product offering. During WTM we will be sharing our stand with some of our premium accommodation partners and groundhandlers. We are also developing a marketing campaign with luxury tour operator If Only and will develop a specific training Top left: Omani boys and a traditonal Omani village in the programme mountains. Left: Falconry is the most popular sport in the Middle East. Above: Abu Dhabi’s Guggenheim, opening in 2017 for luxury

A studio instead of a seat. That’s flying reimagined.

Discover the difference between a conventional seat and an actual studio in Business Class on the new Etihad A380. Both spacious and private, our Business Studio provides a unique environment for guests to work, rest and play. It’s a do anything space where they can enjoy a ‘Dine Anytime’ menu, with expert guidance from our onboard Food & Beverage Manager. Or they can simply relax in the fully-flat bed. When was Business Class ever like this?

#Reimagined | | The Etihad A380 flies daily from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi and onwards to Sydney, Melbourne and Mumbai.

Flying Reimagined

Visit USA news November 2016

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 attractions

Kentucky ark's visitor flood

 "It’s great to meet so many agents from all over the country and spend time with them. They all want to know more and we can expand their knowledge"


Visit USA's UK road trip

Georgina EvansPhillips, Michigan and Bloomington

Travel Agents met with over 30 exhibitors at the autumn Visit USA Roadshow, three events that provided an excellent opportunity to network and find out more about several U.S. destinations. They were staged in Newcastle, Bristol and Brighton. Paul Thayre of Virgin Holidays said: “Tonight's been really good and really informative. My best part of the evening was meeting with Aer Lingus and learning about how you can pass security and immigration in Dublin – that's probably going to help my sales quite a lot.” Paul also won the grand prize at the Brighton event – a trip to San Francisco or Denver. Tracey Spuyman, CEO, Visit USA (UK) said: “It's a great training opportunity for agents if they want to learn more about the USA. You can learn so much about what the USA has to offer.” Jim Odoire, representing Colorado, said: “If we tried to arrange something like this ourselves it would take weeks! At these events we can see between 60 and 100 agents in one evening. It's important we have face time with agents to show them all that the state has to offer.”

THE Ark, a Christian fundamentalist theme park in Williamstown, Kentucky, drew over 400,000 visitors in its first three months after opening in July. The 51-foot-high and 510-feet-long ark is the world's largest timber structure. It tells the biblical tale and comes complete with reproduction animal exhibits and sound effects. states

Grape escapes in Idaho Idaho is emerging as one of the USA's wine-producing success stories. The industry has exploded throughout the state and there are now over 50 wineries. Visitors can taste varietals like Chardonnay, Riesling, Vognier, Syrah and Merlot. hotels

W Seattle gets makeover W HOTELS, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, has unveiled a multi-million dollar renovation of its W Seattle. All the property's 415 guest rooms and nine stylish suites have been transformed.

the usa in brief... DESTINATIONS

EXPERIENCE Scottsdale is the new name of the tourism body charged with bringing more visitors to the Arizona desert city. Formerly the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, the new branding “better reflects traveller expectations while communicating the value offered by our organisation,” said Experience Scottsdale President & CEO, Rachel Sacco. The change coincides with the launch of Experience Scottsdale’s new website,

LGBT event DRIVE VIRGINIA Tourism Corporation (VTC) has launched its new LGBT tourism marketing efforts. Initiatives include a brand new landing page for LGBT travellers and Virginia is for Lovers PRIDE merchandise. “Virginia is proud to be an open and welcoming destination for every visitor attracted by our scenic mountains and beaches, as well as our restaurants, wineries and breweries,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe.

event HOTELS KIMPTON Hotels and Restaurants has announced plans to expand its presence in Florida with the opening of two new hotels in 2018: Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach in Miami (pictured) and a new, luxury lifestyle boutique hotel in Tampa. These two additions will join Kimpton Angler’s Hotel, Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel, Kimpton EPIC Hotel, Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, Kimpton Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa, and Kimpton Hotel Zamora in Florida.

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

members spotlight introducing... FOR clients looking to get a head start on their Christmas shopping, the USA is the perfect choice in November. Thanksgiving (November 24) and Black Friday (November 25) are the two biggest retail days of the year in the U.S. with some of the biggest bargains. Hayes and Jarvis has a six-night trip that combines New York and Boston, priced from £819pp. Clients stay three nights at the four-star Redbury New York and three nights at the four-star Westin Copley Place, Boston, based on departures on November 22.

California Tours Inc attractions

Prince still rocking on

FANS of pop star Prince can pay homage to their idol after his home, Paisley Park in Minnesota, opened to the public last month. The flamboyant showman, born in Minneapolis, sold more than 100 million records, won seven GRAMMYS and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio in 2004. Paisley Park was Prince's private estate and production complex and he recorded 30 albums there between 1987 and 2016. On the tours visitors see artefacts from Prince’s personal archives, including concert wardrobes, accolades such as his GRAMMY Awards, a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain, musical instruments, artwork, concert memorabilia, cars and motorcycles. Both Minnesota and Ohio are members of the Great Lakes USA organisation, a region with a rich musical heritage: Minnesota’s other favourite son, new Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan, celebrated his 75th birthday this year. The 'Electric Blues' started in Chicago, Illinois, and the 'Motown' sound was created in Detroit, Michigan. Cleveland, Ohio, is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.;

BRITISH Airways’ First and Gold Executive Club customers will have access to a new ‘First Wing’ at Heathrow's Terminal Five from April 2017. Located next to BA's First check-in area, an enhanced private check-in zone will see customers guided to two new security lanes designed to speed up the process of passing through the airport. The First Wing is part of an investment agreed with Heathrow to improve Fast Track entry in Terminal 5.

Visit Savannah's new experience app


KOP has more in store THE King of Prussia Mall (KOP), 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia, has completed an expansion that makes it one of the largest retail sites in the U.S. KOP, a Simon Shopping Destination, now has over 400 stores with luxury retailers and high street names that include Cartier, CH Carolina Herrera, Gap, Jimmy Choo and Superdry.

VISIT Savannah has released a new 'Savannah Experiences' app that includes points of interest, maps and audio tours in several languages. Around 10% of Savannah’s 13.7 million visitors each year are from outside the U.S. “With more foreign travellers to our city than ever before, providing tools like these only helps to make their experience the very best that it can be,” said Visit Savannah President, Joseph Marinelli. Savannah Experiences includes a GPS Auto Play feature which starts speaking as the visitor gets close to a point of interest.

William Kim General Manager

When did you become a Visit USA member? We joined in June 2016. What do you hope to gain from your membership? Through our content marketing efforts we have been getting online requests from UK-based travel agents, tour operators and consumers. We hope to reach the next level of exposure in the UK through our Visit USA UK membership. Will you be participating in Visit USA’s events? Yes. Tell us more about California Tours Inc We run scheduled holiday packages to major destinations in the U.S. but our specialty is customized holiday packages for groups – leisure, corporate and student – and individual travellers. We get first-hand direct knowledge of those destinations we service and are selective in choosing local partners. Travel agents and consumers come to us with expectations of knowledgeable/expert advice.We strive to meet and exceed their expectations. Do you work with UK travel agents? Yes, agents and operators. Tell us one of your own USA travel memories. On a family trip to Kauai, Hawaii, several years ago we took a Napali Coast boat tour. The coastline was beautiful, with emerald green pinnacles, and we saw several passing whales and dolphins.

Subscribe to the Visit USA Association online Travel Update at



On a

high Mountain vistas, desert canyons and enough activities to satisfy any adrenalin junkie, Colorado towers above most states, says Chris Coplans


greedily inhale the invigorating, crisp dry air as I’m mesmerised by the panoramic landscape of distant snowcapped peaks and bucolic valleys far below dappled in the afternoon sunlight. We have climbed several thousand feet to the 11,539 ft Hoosier Pass on Colorado’s wide and excellently maintained mountain roads, unchallenging for even the most nervous of drivers and a dream for motorcyclists. We have arrived at the Continental Divide, the spine of the Rockies that stretches from Canada down to New Mexico, splitting much of the U.S. in two. I’m still suffering from a mild touch of SBS (sore bum syndrome) from yesterday’s climb to over 11,000 by the traditional western mode

of transport: horseback. I rode – or rather my horse chauffeured me – up steep trails through thick alpine, tree-filled slopes before emerging on a sun-drenched hidden meadow. Earlier, attached to a zip line, I whistled through the spectacular tree line at breakneck speed. Like an eagle with kryptonite eyes I scanned the gorges and waterfalls below. Throw in mountain biking, white water rafting, kayaking and fishing and I find myself in an adventure wonderland. Colorado is no place for couch potatoes.

Get high in the Rockies And I don’t mean smoking the plant that Bill Clinton never inhaled, which is now legal in parts of Colorado. No, I mean getting high up in ‘dem towering Rockies to explore their grandeur.



Facing page: The Rocky Mountains make for stunning vistas. From bottom left: Colorado cowboys; horse-riding is a popular pastime for visitors; hiking near Telluride; golf in Denver is especially beautiful in autumn.




Colorado is the eighth-largest state in the U.S., with a population of just over five million, but it never seems crowded. The Rockies pretty much cut the state in two and Denver is the gateway to the state. ‘The Mile High City,’ with its clear mountain air and wide downtown city streets, is a walker and cyclist’s paradise. The Denver Art Museum, with its stunning 2006 Daniel Libeskind extension is a must see. Stroll down Larimer Street, browse in the western stores and hipster boutiques and eat al fresco in one of the many excellent restaurants. Within easy reach of Denver is liberal laid-back Boulder, while to the south is the supposedly more conservative Colorado Springs, with its magnificent red rocks jutting out of the landscape. A four-hour, 225-mile drive south of Denver is the extraordinary 334-square-kilometre Great Sand Dunes National Park, which is best known for its 30-square-mile sand dune fields which rise to 750 feet, making them the largest sand dunes in the world. Most clients will want to experience the mountains and include some ranch time. Breckenridge is a superb base for mountain activities and, like many Colorado towns, safe cycle lanes are plentiful and cyclists have priority over motorists. In the north of the state, Estes Park is another excellent choice for outdoor activities which include rock climbing, 4x4 off roading, golf, hiking biking, fishing and paddleboarding. On a recent trip to Colorado, Sandra Potter, founder of Frontier Travel, was more than impressed. “I was surprised with the variety that Colorado has to offer. I expected fabulous mountain scenery but not desert canyons, so many experiences, activities, food, hotels and cultures.” Unless clients choose an escorted tour, a motor vehicle or motorbike is essential. The highways are good, with little traffic. The quality of the sweeping curvaceous mountain roads, breathing


in clean dry air and admiring the stunning vistas, will delight motorcyclists. Eagle Riders (eagleriders. com) has branches in Denver and Grand Junction.

Grand Junction, voted one of the 10 best places for ‘solitude’ in the US. Include the 23-mile scenic Rim Rock Drive in the itinerary.

Perfect five

What’s new

Postcard perfect tiffen: Take afternoon  Attractions: Jet Boat Colorado ( has launched with adventure and scenic boat trips tea or a cocktail on the terrace of the on the Colorado River Garden of the Gods Club from Grand Junction. in Colorado Springs for “Colorado’s climate can really Take in Colorado’s views of the Garden of the Gods Park with its vary. Denver sits at 5,280 feet, breathtaking mountains and canyon country. 300ft sandstone rock whereas the highest peak, Colorado Riverfront formations framed by a Mount Elbert, is at 14,440 feet. Trail (riverfrontproject. snow-capped Pikes Peak In spring and autumn there can org) has completed the backdrop. be big temperature differences” eight-mile Fruita section Race to the clouds: You of the 30-mile Riverfront CHRIS COPLANS, TRAVEL WRITER don’t need to be a Trail System. The trail petrolhead to enjoy the offers recreational Pikes Peak Challenge in late June. Cars and opportunities for walkers, bikers, motorcycles race up the 12.42-mile course that skaters, joggers and fisherman. climbs from 9,390ft to an elevation of 14,115ft, This summer Ouray (canyoningcolorado. com) has introduced a new adventure tour with 156 bends. There’s a museum dedicated to company, Canyoning Colorado, offering visitors the race at the nearby Broadmoor Hotel. Back to the caves: West of the Rockies is and adventure seekers the opportunity to one of America’s most important ancient experience canyoning in some of the most site, Mesa Verde. It was the home of the Ancestral Pueblo people for over 700 years. Today the park protects nearly 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. Bike it: When the snow melts, Colorado’s 25 ski resorts turn into perfect mountain biking terrain. A new 25-mile loop opened in Snowmass this summer. Peace and panorama: Visit the Colorado National Monument near



exciting and approachable alpine canyons in the U.S. (from $89). The 22.8-mile A line commuter rail that opened in April connects downtown Denver with the airport in just 37 minutes. The cost is $9.  Hotels: The Halcyon Hotel ( ) opened in Cherry Creek this summer 2016. The independent luxury property feature a roof-top pool.

Tourism talk

“Encourage clients to take the scenic Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, but to do it one way. While the train journey takes around four hours the motorcoach will get you back in an hour” KAREN FARRAR, PRODUCT MANAGER, NATS

“Colorado offers adventure, arts, heritage, distinctive cuisine and world-class skiing. The state’s scenic landscape includes four national parks and seven national monuments, plus mountain peaks and natural hot springs. “Though it is perhaps best known for its 25 ski and snowboard resorts, Colorado’s vast landscape is set with vibrant, active cities and wholesome American towns amidst rolling prairies, red-cliff mesas, roaring rivers and towering mountains – a piece of the old west with modern urban enclaves.” Jim Odoire, Director, Colorado Tourism, UK and Ireland

Where to book it.  AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT – 020 8742 8299 A 12-night fly-drive to Colorado starts from £2,388pp, including British Airways flights out of Heathrow to Denver, fullyinclusive car hire and all accommodation. Featured properties include Grand Hyatt, Denver; Garden Of The Gods Resort in Colorado Springs; and nights in Breckenridge, Estes Park and in Alamosa, close to Great Sand Dunes National Park.

 FRONTIER TRAVEL – 020 8776 8709 Fourteen nights, including flights on British Airway and inclusive car hire, start from £3,329. Accommodation features The Curtis in Denver, the Broadmoor or Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes, Grand Junction, Aspen, Breckenridge and Estes Park. 


how to sell


Panama by Laura Gelder


his narrow ithmus connects Central and South America and is crossed by 14,000 ships from across the globe every year. This makes its capital surprisingly multi-cultural, but outside the city Panama is a collection of different worlds - Caribbean islands, thick jungle, temperate highlands and dramatic Pacific beaches are all waiting to be discovered. Why sell it Panama's incredible variety is impressive alone, but add to it the fact that the country is compact and easy to explore, and you have a great selling point. Like its neighbour Colombia, Panama has colonial history, beaches, coffee plantations and wildlife, but the distance between these different experiences is much more manageable. Idyllic Guna Yala

Who to sell to The range of experiences on offer in Panama lends itself to touring. Although the beaches are fantastic, you're unlikely to sell a straight beach holiday because the quality and variety of resorts isn't up to the same standard as many other Caribbean destinations. Panama is

Local children in Bocas del Toro

relatively safe but will still appeal more to seasoned travellers looking for adventure.

Top sellers All itineraries start in the capital, Panama City, which offers an irresistable juxtaposition with its charming colonial quarter, Casco Viejo, and the modern city, where Donald Trump's Ocean Club Hotel dominates the high-rise skyline. Top attractions include the Frank Gehrydesigned Biomuseo, which explores the country's unique biodiversity, and the ruins of Panama Viejo, the original city which was ransacked by Sir Francis Drake and destroyed by the pirate Henry Morgan in the 1600s. Make sure your clients add in a visit to the Panama Canal, which snakes past the western edge of the city. Miraflores lock affords a great vantage-point for watching giant containers stuffed with cars, washing machines and goodness knows what else pass in and out of the canal. There's a museum close by which is

Panama essentials TIME ZONE: GMT -5 hours VISAS: Not required CAPITAL CITY: Panama City LANGUAGE: Spanish CURRENCY: Panama Balboa but US$ is widely used. R E L I G I O N: Roman Catholic S E E:

BOOK IT: Cox & Kings has launched the new Natural Wonders of Panama and Costa Rica tour which marries the best of both countries including a stay in the Panamanian rainforest and a cruise on the Panama Canal. The 14-day, 12-night holiday is priced

from £3,195pp.


well worth visiting to understand the human cost of this engineering feat, as well as the work involved it keeping it tamed. Gatun Lake, just inland from here, is popular for wildlife tours to see sloths, toucans, capybara and other iconic Latin American beasts. It's home to an eco hotel, Gamboa, and there are a couple of national parks between here and the city. Beach lovers can head to the indepedent Guna Yala or San Blas province, home to myraid white sand, palm-festooned islands and owned by the culturally proud idigenous Guna people. There's also the north east archipelago of Bocas del Toro, which has Caribbean vibes, stunning beaches and a choice of chilled out eco lodges or party-time resorts. The Pacific coast has wilder beaches and great surf. Book a flight to Boquete in the verdant Chiriquí Highlands if your clients want to explore Panama’s coffee region and the area's misty volcanoes, abundent flowers and cosy boutique hotels.

What’s new For true explorers, add on a tour into Parque Nacional Darién, the wild frontier between Panama and Colombia which is recommended for wildlife, trekking and indigenous culture. Slightly less remote but no less coveted by those looking to stray off the beaten track is Parque Nacional Coiba, a group of islands off the Pacific coast of Panama. The ex penal colony is famous for whale watching, world-class diving and snorkelling, fishing and surfing and offers the chance to spot sought-after birdlife like scarlet macaws. 


city profile

Singapore - The Lion City is roaring Singapore River Generations ago the waterside of the river was a throng of bumboats and traders. Now Boat Quay and Clarke Quay come alive each evening with atmospheric bars and restaurants. Raffles Hotel A quintessential part of the Singapore story, Raffles Hotel opened in 1887 and is still every inch the colonial showstopper: call in for high tea or a Singapore Sling cocktail. Sentosa Island Home to a Universal Studios and a Madame Tussauds – as well as some great beaches – lively Sentosa is connected to mainland Singapore by a causeway bridge. Gardens By The Bay A brilliantly ambitious bio-development reminiscent of Cornwall’s Eden Project, with two huge plant-filled conservatories and a spectacular grove of metallic ‘supertrees’. Marina Bay Sands The defining sight on the Singapore skyline is this three-towered resort, with its theatres, celebrity-chef restaurants and the 150-metre long infinity pool on its roof.



ulti-cultural collides with traditional and a more recent injection of wacky modern architecture just makes Singapore all the more interesting, says Debbie Ward

For a relatively small island Singapore has a big reputation. The country is only around half the size of London, but its mix of colonial history, slick infrastructure and big-city energy makes it a perennial magnet for visitors. More than 285,000 Brits visited Singapore in the first seven months of this year, a figure that places the UK as the Lion City’s number one source of European visitors. Much of its appeal is down to its location. Sitting some 13 hours by direct flight from London or Manchester, it’s well placed not only as a stop-off on the way down under but also as a citybreak to be paired with elsewhere in the region, with Bali, The Philippines and Thailand all viable twin-centre options. The size of the city, and the range of different attractions pitched at everyone from families to art buffs makes it ideal for a stopover stay or as a destination in its own right. Expect to be pleasantly surprised by Singapore’s dynamic mix of influences. A blend of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western nuances has resulted in a city known as much for its hawker stalls and colourful public festivals as it is for its designer malls and luxury hotels.

EAT WELL One of Singapore’s most obvious selling points is its food: it has serious culinary

TRAVEL 2 – 0800 0224 182


Singapore City

clout. No less than 29 eateries were awarded Michelin stars in 2016, while the far-frompricey dishes available at the city’s many hawker centres (essentially permanent street-food markets) are legendary. The island’s diverse ethnic make-up is reflected in its cuisine, so across Singapore you can expect to find restaurants serving everything from modern European to Asian fusion. Classic dishes include Hainanese chicken rice, char kway teow noodles and the messy but delicious chilli crab.

DIARY DATES Singapore Grand Prix (late September/ early October). Formula One’s only night race comes to Singapore once a year, with Lewis Hamilton and co speeding around a tight course that takes in all the big city-centre sights. The Great Singapore Sale (June to mid-August). After food, shopping is arguably the single biggest obsession in Singapore. This huge annual promotion sees discounts offered everywhere from department stores to boutiques. Singapore Biennale (until February 26 2017). Held every two years, this large-scale contemporary art exhibition showcases work from dozens of different artists from across Asia. The theme for the next edition is ‘An Atlas of Mirrors’. 




t’s one of the rarest animals on earth but there it is, sitting right in front of me in all its splendour. The only sounds that can be heard for miles around are its gentle panting. The royal Bengal tiger, with its magnificent orange-and black striped coat, arrived in India around 12,000 years ago. But it has been driven out of its natural habitat or hunted to the point of extinction with just over 2,500 estimated to be living in the wild today. I’m in the 170-square mile Bandhavgarh National Park in central India, which is one of the best places for viewing these majestic creatures up close in their natural environment. Stood on the back of an open-topped jeep in the middle of a vast plain, I have an experienced driver and guide by my side. Having picked up a trail of fresh paw prints, we pull up in a clearing by some trees, cut the engine and listen intently for the monkey calls to confirm a tiger is near. And sure enough it, here’s one emerging slowly from behind the nearest tree to survey its kingdom before it takes up a position in the long grass directly behind the jeep. I daren’t move a muscle in case I disturb this terrifying yet magnificent creature. Suddenly something catches its attention, its ears prick up, and it’s off into the undergrowth. It was a fleeting glimpse but one that will stay with me a lifetime.

A cultural feast

tigers the land of

From staying in a centuries-old palace on a lake to looking for tigers on a game drive India is a land of extremes, says Alex Wright

Rich in culture, food and history, a visit to India is likely to be one of the most eyeopening experiences of your life. Interest in this awe-inspiring subcontinent is at an all-time high, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visiting on a royal tour and the release of Disney’s The Jungle Book film earlier this year. Almost 900,000 e-visas have been issued since the scheme making it easier to visit India was launched last year, according to the India Tourism Office London, key sponsors of World Travel Market 2016. And with preparations starting in earnest to mark the country’s 70th year of independence in 2017, this is the time to suggest a visit. From the splendour of the Taj Mahal in the north to the golden sands of Goa in the south, there is something here for every traveller. Other must-sees include the tranquil backwaters of Kerala, bustling Delhi, the bright lights of Bollywood and the holy temples of Varanasi. For the perfect trip, start in the capital with a visit to the ancient Mogul Red Fort in Old Delhi before hitting the maze of bazaars for a bit of retail therapy. In the evening, sit back and watch the sun setting on Humayun’s Tomb, the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. The next day catch the Rajdhani Express to Agra. Get there early and head straight to the Mehtab Bagh gardens



to watch the magical sight of the Taj Mahal emerging from the morning mist. And wait until the crowds have dispersed at 17.00 before enjoying the full splendour of the palace itself. Then it’s off to Rajasthan, staying overnight in Jaipur to see the tigers at the Ranthambore reserve before heading to Jodhpur for a tour of the medieval Mehrangarh Fort. The next port of call is the Golden City of Jaisalmer, rising from the Thar Desert like a huge sandcastle. Here you can explore the magnificent fort and the Jain temples at your own leisure. Consider camping overnight in a luxury tent at the Khuri Oasis Desert Resort before rising early to visit the lake city of Udaipur. Then it’s time to hit the coconut palm fronted beach of Mararikulam in Kerala for some RnR. No trip would be complete without a houseboat cruise around the state’s backwaters, sitting back and drifting past the riverside villages and fishing boats along the way.

Perfect five Live like a Raj: Stay at the 250-year-old Lake Palace in Udaipur, an 83-room floating hotel with white marble walls, accessible only by boat or speedboat. It was once used as a summer palace for kings. Holy ground: Make the pilgrimage to Varanasi to watch priests perform their colourful rituals and floating cremation ceremonies on the banks of the River Ganges. Beatlemania: Pay a visit to Rishikesh, home of yoga and where the Beatles found enlightenment. Get your palm read or have a tarot reading. Mine’s a cuppa: Sample the delights of the world-renowned Darjeeling tea in the peaceful Himalayan town of the same name. Curry favour: Taste the flavours of Kolkata, India’s foodie capital, where you can get everything from traditional stuffed paratha flatbread to spicy fish curry.

What’s new  Attractions: Dubbed the new Taj Mahal, the Qutb Shahi Heritage Park ( is being restored as part of a 10-year conversation project in Hyderabad. There are 106 acres to explore, more than double the size of the Taj Mahal, with 40 mausoleums and 23 mosques. One of the most significant historic medieval necropolises in the world and nominated for UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the park also includes a hammam. The first phase of work is expected to be completed by early 2018.  Events: To find your path to enlightenment, head to the Siddaratha Festival in Bohgya. Marking the life and teachings of the Buddha, the festival will be held under the Bodhi Tree – the place where he attained enlightenment. Among the activities on offer are prayers, talks, meditation, chants, shadow puppetry, storytelling and dance, as well as offerings to the Buddha himself at the Mahabodhi Temple. Amersand Travel ( runs tours to the festival as part of a sevennight itinerary, staying in Delhi, Varanasi and Gaya, from £2,890pp, including B&B accommodation and internal flights.

“India is a real feast for the senses, with so much to take in. If your clients have the time, three weeks is better than two and it represents much better value to take a longer tour” STUART DOUGLASS-LEE, HEAD OF PRODUCT, SAGA

Tourism talk “Tourism in India is growing and evolving at a rapid pace. It’s easier than ever to obtain a visa and once you’re there the range of experiences on offer is extraordinary. “India’s incredible and vast range of everincreasing tourism products, from adventure tourism in the Himalayas, wildlife tourism and

Clockwise from top left: The grand City Palace in Udaipur; houseboat in Kerala; sunset offerings to the gods in Varanasi; an auto-rickshaw



yoga to its 32 UNESCO world heritage sites attracted 870,000 UK visitors in the last year. “British holidaymakers continue to be drawn to India’s strong cultural offering and beautiful natural surroundings. India is now also at the forefront of responsible tourism with eco-tourism in the northeast currently receiving a dedicated focus from the Indian government, with heavy investment in tourism infrastructure developments. Due to its myriad unspoilt national parks, waterfalls and temples, the region is described as ‘paradise unexplored’. “India’s continuous tourism growth from the UK has been testament to the great job travel agents and tour operators have done in promoting India. In 2017, as we look to share new areas of India to new audiences, we will look to further support our travel trade relationships by inviting partners on fam trips.” Raj Sunani, Assistant Director, India Tourism Office UK

Where to book it  WILDFOOT – 0800 195 3385 On the 11-night ‘Tigers and Leopards in India’ tour you will see leopards in the foothills of Rajasthan’s Aravali mountains and walking past your window at the Bera Safari Lodge in the Jawai Leopard Conservation Reserve. Starting from £2,420pp, the tour, which runs from October to June, includes most meals, accommodation, internal flights and trains.

A taste of the exotic

Holidays with the Goa specialists • Tailormade and multi-centre holidays • India Tours – including the golden triangle

 INTREPID TRAVEL – 0808 274 5111 The seven-night Golden Triangle tour begins and ends in New Delhi, taking in Jaipur, a rural heritage stay in Karauli, and Agra. Running year round, and including some meals and accommodation, prices start from £500pp.

• No hidden extras; all packages include direct flights, transfers, in-flight meals and 20kg luggage allowance

Call our knowledgeable reservations team today on 01489 866 986

 THE GOA EXPERIENCE – 01489 866986 The ‘Glimpses of Goa’ day tour begins at the Shri Mangeshi temple in Ponda, starting from £35pp. The tour continues with a short drive south to the Shri Shantadurga Temple and a guided tour of Goa’s oldest spice plantations. After an authentic Goan buffet lunch, it’s off to Old Goa to see the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral before finishing at the capital Panjim.  The travel partner you can depend on Yoga in Hampi Temple, Karnataka

Image © Lysogor Roman / Shutterstock



boutique Bangkok A

s Asia’s boutique airline, Bangkok Airways offers a highly personalised service to passengers travelling on its ever-growing network of exotic and cultural destinations across India, the Far East and Australasia. Operating over 100 flights a day from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok Airways flies to 26 destinations in 11 countries, including 12 domestic services within Thailand and 14 international routes, as well as maintaining 22 codeshare partnerships. Your customers can be assured of a modern fleet, consisting of 35 aircraft including 15 ATR72 turboprops, eights A320s and 12 A319s. Award-winning Bangkok Airways has a long-term goal to be the best regional airline in Asia and is implemeting this through five ‘pillars’: its Boutique Lounge, Boutique Airport, Appetising Menu, Exclusive Service and New Aircraft. The impact of this mission is already being felt, with


Bangkok Airways winning the Skytrax Award for the World’s Best Regional Airline and Best Regional Airline in Asia 2016. Unlike many competitor carriers in the region, Bangkok Airways is a full-service airline. All Economy Class passengers can enjoy the benefit of complimentary access to Bangkok Airways’ lounge and enjoy a hot or cold meal service on board and access to a selection of alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and juices. Passengers who fly in Bangkok Airways’ Premier or Blue Ribbon class benefit from separate check-in counters, an increased baggage allowance and access to the Blue Ribbon Lounges which feature a shower room, massage seats, meeting rooms and a library. Onboard, Premier and Blue Ribbon passengers are offered an increased seat pitch and width, as well as higher mileage awards with the frequent flyer programme.

If your clients are travelling around the region they can take advantage of Bangkok Airways’ Discovery Airpass, which enables seamless travel between cities on the network, plus Lao Airlines destinations, with prices starting from USD88 before tax. Customers of Bangkok Airways can also join the frequent flyer programme, FlyerBonus, for free. Enrolment is instant at and members can then enjoy a number of benefits including an extra 10kg in baggage allowance. In addition, 15 bonus points are awarded for enrolling and members can claim their first reward after earning just 100 points. For more information and to book your clients a boutique flying experience, contact Bangkok Airways general sales agent, Network GSA. �01293 813961 � 

Boutique Lounge at Suvarnabhumi Airport

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


n e w f l i g h t : Getting to the Big Easy just got easier, thanks to British Airways


C a r i b b e a n c l e a r- u p Hurricane Matthew update get online


More South America &Beyond expands


Jamaica travel show The full report

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

the review



The Bahamas cleans up

Fred puts agents in Christmas spirit F R E D.\H O L I DAY S’


Christmas Markets & Winter

CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organization




handpicked festive short breaks in





Germany, Switzerland, Austria,

WE hope you will join the Caribbean

Belgium and Italy.

Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Travel Agents

In addition to the ever-popular

Training Day at World Travel Market London,


on November 9 (CA235).

Bremen, Leipzig and Frankfurt,

You’ll meet Caribbean industry partners


Cologne, Berlin,

Fred has also added Milan,

and gather the latest news from our region.

Bruges, Rome and Salzburg. Christmas Market breaks start

from partners including event sponsors

from £239pp for three nights in


The day will start at 10.00 with presentations Sunrise Marketing and Exclusively Villas. You will also be able to participate in the Caribbean Treasure Hunt, with the chance to win





complimentary all-inclusive stays at Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain, fam trip

Bremen, departing December 7 2016 and staying at a four-star hotel, including return flights from Stansted. The operator is also running an agent incentive.

places and more. Register now at www.


PARTS of the Caribbean are still

Bahama Island. Several hotels on Andros


recovering after being battered last

also closed temporarily for repair work.

2016/17 winter holiday before









Sandals Emerald Bay, on Exuma, will

December 19 will qualify for a

reopen on December 15 after repairs,

box of luxury chocolates, while

as a category four hurricane, it left a trail


two bookings wins a bottle of

Chastanet & Jade Mountain, Bahamas Tourist

of destruction with whole communities


Office, Discover Dominica Authority, Elite

obliterated and towns in eastern Cuba

reopening was put back to October 25.

Island Resorts, Grenada Tourism Authority,



Joy Jibrilu, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism



Group Promotions, Mustique Island, Villas

Bahamas, Grand Bahama Island and

director general, said: “For The Bahamas,



and The Cotton House, Saint Lucia Tourist

Andros were hardest hit.

the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

period will earn themselves a

month by Hurricane Matthew.

Other Caribbean partners joining the CTO

Striking The Bahamas, Haiti and Cuba

Travel Agents Training Day include: Anse


damage. In




Bahamian’s October


Board, Sun Group Hotels and Sun Group Inc.

Most Grand Bahama hotels closed for

Register to join the Caribbean Travel Guru

repairs after roof, structural or water

training programme at www.caribbean

damage. Among them, the Grand

“Thankfully, the tourism infrastructure There’s lots of information,

Lucayan is due to reopen on November 7,

in Nassau, Paradise Island and our other

news and updates, as well as some great

the Viva Wyndham Fortuna expects to

major island destinations came out of

prizes to be won, every month! Last month’s

reopen on November 14 and Memories

Hurricane Matthew relatively intact.”

prize draw winner is Laraine Drage of Travel

Resort anticipates a December 10

Jibrilu added: “Grand Bahama Island

Counsellors who won a L’Occitaine Gift Set for

reopening. The Port Lucaya Marketplace

and Andros were not so lucky. But the

making and logging her October bookings on

tourist centre was also damaged.

people of Grand Bahama and Andros are

wine and three bookings secures a bottle of Champagne. run the




presents a rare opportunity to rebuild,

luxury hamper. Agent line: 01473

tweak and refine our tourism product.


Caribbean Travel Guru. In November, win a £50

Major cruise lines have been reviewing

Love2Shop voucher for completing the most

Bahamas itineraries but Nassau cruises

“Tourism is our business, and we invite

quizzes and exams on Caribbean Travel Guru

are operating normally and Bahamas

the world to book their vacation this

as well as a Christmas hamper if you make

Paradise Cruise Line is still carrying

winter to the Islands Of The Bahamas.”

and log your Caribbean November bookings.

passengers to Freeport, on Grand

at work, repairing and rebuilding.

For enquiries about Travel Guru training please contact Ann-Marie Brooks on


020 8948 0057 or by email at abrooks@

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

Moon Palace: New luxury resort Moon

Cosmopolitan penthouses: Las Vegas

Gorilla experience: Bisate Lodge, a

Palace Jamaica Grand is offering clients

hotel The Cosmopolitan is to introduce

Wilderness Safaris property next to

$1,500 credit to spend on any non-

21 exclusive Boulevard Penthouses

Rwanda’s renowned Volcanoes National

included extras in-resort such as spa

which will be designed to maximise the

Park, is on track to open June 1 2017.

treatments, excursions and premium

sweeping views of the Las Vegas skyline.

Comprising six forest villas, the luxury

dining options. The hotel, which opened

The hotel is rare among Las Vegas

lodge will offer guests a gorilla

in July after a major refurbishment,

resorts in that it features hotel windows

conservation experience that will

reports strong demand from the UK.

that open and balconies.

include morning gorilla treks.

the review



BA adds The Big Easy

BRITISH AIRWAYS is to launch a

The service will operate on


Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and

Heathrow Airport to New Orleans

Saturdays, departing Heathrow at

next spring.

15.40 and arriving at Louis Armstrong



Taking off on March 26, the route

New Orleans International Airport at

will become the only direct service

19.40. The return flight will depart

between Europe and Louisiana’s

New Orleans at 21.10 and arrive in

Mardis Gras city.

London at 12.00 noon the following

Jody Hanson, Sales & Marketing


Director for the UK office of New

Flights will be operated by a three-

Orleans CVB & Louisiana Office of

class Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with

Tourism said: “The British Airways

return fares starting from £599 in

service to New Orleans is fabulous

World Traveller (economy), £899 in

news and we look forward to filling


the flights. This iconic city is ready,


willing and waiting to welcome many

World (business class).

more visitors in 2017.”




and £1,749pp in Club

Aeroflot’s new Gatwick-Moscow link RUSSIAN carrier Aeroflot begins




a new service between Gatwick

include Saint Basil’s Cathedral


and the new Federation Tower


(November 15).



within the Moscow International Business Centre, the highest skyscraper in Europe which was completed this year. Gatwick






Stephenson said: “Moscow is a fantastic




Gatwick’s route network and joins an impressive line-up of new destinations



including China, Peru, Canada, Costa Rica, Nigeria, South Africa and the United States.”


the review

andBeyond has more of South America

Selling Travel is a top title

Exclusively Villas aims to fill a gap

ANDBEYOND is expanding its


South American business to Peru

Exclusively Villas has pledged to

and Ecuador.

make booking long haul villa

representation company

holidays easier for UK agents.

The operator, which already features Chile and Argentina, is

Acting as a go-between, linking

adding Machu Picchu in Peru and

villa owners and the UK trade, the

the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador

company aims to capitalise on the

as well as lesser known areas of


the two countries, says Joss Kent,

seeking ‘independent’ villa breaks

&Beyond CEO.

and bring a growing portfolio of







villa options to the attention of


tour operators and agents.

adventures such as spending the night in the world’s only hanging

The portfolio currently includes

lodge, suspended high above the

properties such as Fern Hill Resort and Hamilton Beach Villas in Nevis

Sacred Valley, catch and release fishing from a traditional canoe on


receive this recognition from our

and C’est la Vie in St Lucia, with

the Amazon River and a range of

IT’S official, Selling Travel is the UK’s

industry peers two years in a row is a

more being added. The group

culinary and cultural experiences

leading travel industry magazine after

significant achievement.

intends to hold a series of

in the cities of Lima and Cusco.

being named Travel Trade Publication

“We were up against some high-

of the Year at last month’s prestigious

quality publications, including our sister

Travel Media Awards, held in London.

title The Business Travel Magazine, so to

In Ecuador travellers can interact with indigenous tribes in the Amazon, shop for leather, wool and

It was the second year running that

Panama hats in craft villages,

Selling Travel landed the coveted trophy,

snorkel with penguins and sea

decided by three judges drawn from the

lions or enjoy a variety of wildlife,

travel industry.

dedicated training sessions.

come out top of the pile feels extremely rewarding. “This award will spur on the entire Selling Travel team to keep producing

Norwegian makes Iceland more affordable

from giant turtles and blue-footed

Collecting the award for the magazine

the best-looking and most useful

boobies or frigate birds in the

were publisher Steven Thompson

magazine that we can – and hopefully

LOW- COST airline Norwegian

Galapagos to condors.

(pictured above left) and editor Steve

we will make it three in a row in 2017”.

began flying from London Gatwick

Hartridge (right), who commented: “To

to the Icelandic capital Reykjavik

The seven-day Peru Family Adventure starts from $4,850pp ($4,420 per child), based on a

this month, with fares starting

Olympic Holidays celebrates 50 years

from £34.90 one-way.

opportunity to meet local villagers,



which will not be affected by market

departing on Tuesdays, Thursdays

interact with llamas and alpacas

specialist Olympic Holidays has

fluctuations. Clients pay nothing until

and Saturdays. The new route will

and indulge in a variety of optional

unveiled a 2017 Gold Collection

10 weeks prior to travel.

be operated by Norwegian’s new

outdoor adventures across Peru

brochure, with special offers to

including biking, horse-riding and

celebrate its 50th anniversary.

family sharing on a fully-inclusive basis. Families will have the

river rafting.


The airline is operating a threetimes-weekly service to Iceland,

The New Gold Collection brochure features three new island destinations

186-seat aircraft which comes with free inflight wifi.

The operator offers 50 islands from

– Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia – and

Norwegian has also launched

Guests can also visit the Sacred

27 UK airports and celebratory 50th

there are additional hotel options for

flights from Manchester to both

Valley, hop aboard the panoramic

anniversary deals will be offered

the Peloponnese, Kefalonia and Corfu

Gran Canaria and Tenerife and will

Vistadome train to Machu Picchu

throughout 2017, available from a

in Greece and in Zante and Chania.

add flights from Gatwick to

and discover the bustling markets

dedicated page on the website.

and beautiful architecture of Cusco.

Seven nights B&B at the five-star

Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland on

San Domenico Palace Hotel in Sicily is

December 2.

on a low deposit option (£49 to


secure a booking), with a price-

travelling and including return flights.

guarantee at the time of booking

All holidays are available to book

£1,599pp, based



Monarch heads to Porto MONARCH is offering new city break

be starting flights from Luton and

options to Porto for next summer,

Manchester airports to Porto on April

with prices starting at £159pp for a

29 2017. Porto will be Monarch’s

two-night stay at the three-star-plus

fourth destination to Portugal after

Da Bolsa Hotel on a room-only basis,

Lisbon, Faro and Madeira.

departing June 4 2017. Monarch will

the review

Jamaica Travel Market



Jamaican tourism officials, hotels and attractions found quality time for agents and operators at the Caribbean nation’s first UK dedicated travel event. Julie Baxter rounds up the news

Jamaica goes it alone

New flights boost island growth

Luxury ups its profile LUXURY properties in Jamaica are




working together to raise the




profile of top-end accommodation

announced additional flights to

options and remind the trade that

Jamaica, as figures reveal that the

the island is not just about all-

number of British and Irish

inclusive resorts.

holidaymakers visiting the island

Leading the way is Round Hill

has increased by nearly a third

Hotel and Villas, which is working

(31%) in the last three years.

with Half Moon, Jamaica Inn and

Thomson’s additional flights

Island Outpost’s three properties to

will include a third weekly flight

showcase boutique options and

from Manchester and a fourth

classic choices across the island,


properties that have been attracting




the rich and famous for decades.

(November – April). The carrier

Josef Forstmayr, Round Hill MD,

will also introduce a service from Stansted



said: “Great names like Noel


Coward, Ralph Lauren and JFK have

(running May –October). British Airways will add a fourth

stayed on the island and high-end

weekly flight from Gatwick to

clients are drawn by the culture,

Kingston next summer (April to

history music and food which

October) with flights operating

sometimes gets overlooked in the promotion of all-inclusives.”

on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays THE


level with a dedicated event giving

The properties are running UK

The UK & Ireland is now

partners have turned their promotional

partners quality time to conduct

trade roadshows and agent events.

Jamaica’s third-biggest market,

push in the UK away from World Travel

business but combined with agent

with 201,364 visiting in 2015. .

Market (WTM) in favour of their first

training and a thank-you dinner. The

dedicated Jamaica Travel Market.

response has been very positive and we

and Fridays.

Thomson is investing heavily in the






hope this will become an annual event.”


Held in Luton over two days, the

expanding resort range and

event showcased over 20 island

The JTB will continue to have a small

cruises in Jamaica.

suppliers. It attracted more than 40

presence at WTM. Jamaica recorded

Karisma Hotels and Resorts

buyers, including tour operators and

200,000 visitors from the UK for the

says it is investing in a one-

airlines, and provided opportunities for

first time in 2015 and is anticipating

billion-dolalr mega-hotel project.

over 40 agents to join interactive

further growth this year thanks to;


increased air access and 2,000 new





weddings, and



Pictured at the gala awards night are

presentation of travel awards to Kuoni,

(left to right): Paul Pennicook, Director

FOLLOWING the sell-out success

Sackville Travel, Expedia and TUI UK for



of its first over-the-water villas

showing the largest growth in Jamaica

Sackville Travel; David Burling, TUI;

Sandals Resorts is to open 12

sales out of the UK.


additional similar bungalows at

bed stcock in the next six months.

destination knowledge. A


rooms due to be added to the island’s







Gatt, Kuoni, Hon. Edmund

Paul Pennicook, Director of Tourism

Bartlett, Jamaica Minister of Tourism,


JTB, said: “Jamaica has developed a

Elizabeth Fox, Regional Director UK/

Jamaica, on a private island off

strong brand presence over the years at

Northern Europe JTB; and Andrew van

shore of its resort. These are now

WTM but we felt the time was now

der Feltz, Expedia

on sale for arrivals beginning

right to take our activities to a new

February 1 2017.





my journey

My St. Kitts Journey...

inforest, climbs aboard ra h lus ’ tts ki t. S e rienc site several ways to expe ds fin ge sted World heritage rid -li rt CO Ha ES ve UN Ste a at r fo and enjoys views to die the Sugar Express


his is one of the most historically significant estates in the entire Caribbean and a place that is inextricably tied to English history,” says Maurice Widdowson, the enthusiastic owner of Wingfield Estate, which is tucked into the foothills of a rainforest on St. Kitts.

“St. Kitts is exotic but few who live here realise just how exotic it is,” he adds. But as we walk up a small path, to the site of his shop selling brightly coloured batik garments and accessories, I can’t fail to appreciate just how lush and tropical St. Kitts is. The surrounding rainforest is an explosion of foliage, with ferns, giant palms, yellow heliconias, breadfruits and bunches of the flaming red petals of the poinciana (or flamboyant) tree. We emerge out into the stunning grounds of the Romney Estate which for 200 years was the home to successive Earls of Romney. The original manor house burnt down several years ago but has been rebuilt among beautiful terraced gardens. Part historic estate, part botanical wonder and part manufacturing workshop, we visit the workers of Caribelle Batik making cotton dresses, shirts, sarongs and bags. Visitors get to see the whole process, from the application of hot paraffin wax and then the dyeing. The material is drawn with the wax then colours are individually added during different stages. On the grounds is a huge saman tree that is more than 350 years old. Its girth alone measures 25ft and was, says Maurice, the initial reason he fell in love with the estate. “I love it so much I got married under it.” On the estate’s terrace Rainforest Bar, overlooked by majestic mahogany trees, we look across the rainforest, a natural baize of a dozen shades of green, hoping to spot vervet monkeys.

“There’s a much faster way to experience the rainforest and that is by ziplining through and down it with Sky Safaris”

We are crouching together under an umbrella, waiting for ght on one of the Caribbean’s brief or thou ress f e s u Pa xp ugar E September showers to pass, as the S he explains how the spot we are standing on was the site of the Experienced rainforest guide O’Neil Mulraine first land grant in the Caribbean offered by an English king (King Charles), in 1625. It was given to Samuel Jefferson, the great, great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the US. We chat as we walk, around a collection of centuriesold ruins that include a smokestack, the remains of an aqueduct, an engine house and three large, sunken copper cauldrons that were used to boil sugar. An expat Yorkshireman, Maurice is slowly but surely revealing more and more secrets about the estate. It is a work in progress and has been since he bought the land in 1988 – but the more he digs the more he finds. He is particularly excited by the handful of tobacco seeds he uncovered that had laid dormant for centuries. “We found them when we were excavating and as they stopped growing tobacco here in the late-1600s when sugar became more profitable some of these seeds must be 300 years old!” He points out the pipes My magic of a one-time rum al momen Learning ts distillery, probably the about the medicinal plants oldest in the Caribbean. propertie the coolest s of rain was the curls up forest “The rum would have sh y lady, a when you flower th touch it. P below from at been given to soldiers of e e ri n g Brimstone at the co ast far Hill and im slaves wh an English garrison here agining th o hauled e African up every smiling fa as part of their rations, but last stone ces of villa . Seeing gers who the Sugar the as the pipes are made of still get e Express xcited wh rolls by. T Kitts gain en lead they were poisoning the he many ed throug insights on h the en dless stor St. soldiers to death, he laughs.” from the ies and an owner of ecdotes Wingfield Estate

All aboard the Sugar Express

The next day I discover more about the island’s sugarproducing past aboard the Sugar Train, officially called the St. Kitts Scenic Railway. Described as ‘the last train in the West Indies’, the narrow-gauge train once moved sugar cane from around the island to a processing plant in the capital, Basseterre, but after the final sugar harvest in 2005 it fell into the hands of private investors and these days carries tourists on a scenic tour of the north-eastern part of the island. We board close to the island’s airport, at the delightfully named Needsmust station, for an 18-mile journey that takes close to three hours. The double-decker train, which is powered by a Romanian engine, chugs along high above the north-eastern coast to the island’s most northern point, Dieppe Bay, then turns down the other side of the

Cannons still keep watch at Brimston e Hill

‘face’ of the fish-shaped island. The views are always spectacular, with the tracks initially hugging rocky cliffs which perch above the Atlantic coast, with sister island Nevis visible out to sea. As we head more into the interior, farmland that was once covered in sugar cane but now produces melons, breadfruit and pumpkins blends into the foothills of Mount Liamuiga and that ever-present rainforest. When we pass occasional settlements villagers and their dogs run towards the tracks. We catch a glimpse of Kittian Hill, one of the island’s newer accommodations, set back in the hills and built in the style of old sugar plantation cottages. We are served rum cocktails while an onboard narrator tells us about the island’s history and points out places of interest that include the crumbling chimneys of once grandiose sugar plantations.

Beating around the bush

I am soon back in the rainforest that covers almost a third of the island, on a walk with O’Neil Mulraine who has 25 years’ experience of guiding tours in St. Kitts. Sixty next year he is a well-known herbalist and has an encyclopedic knowledge of bush medicine as well as seemingly being able to name every one of the almost 1,400 different trees and plants in the rainforest. As we climb into the hills, stepping over tangled tree roots and shafts of fluorescent sunlight piercing the forest canopy, O’Neil points out trees carrying tangerines, mangos, and almonds. There’s a much faster way to experience the rainforest and that is by ziplining through it. Sky Safaris offers a series of four long and fast ziplines that sees you shot out of the trees into clearings high above foliage-rich gullies, with uninterrupted views of the Caribbean.

Brimstone Hill

my journey

Acapella Islan d tunes on th e Sugar Exop ress

My final stop of the day is at Brimstone Hill, a fort built by the British in the late 17th century and abandoned in the mid-19th century after the Napoleonic Wars. After being ignored for years, restoration efforts in the 1970s and 1980s led to it being declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. There’s a short film in the visitor centre that tells the fort’s story but for a true feel of the fort I walk around the ex-parade ground and long-deserted barracks of the Royal Engineers, peer in at the restored Warrant Officers’ Quarters and explore the central Fort George Citadel. Then the denouement: a fabulous view from the top, out to the islands of St. Eustatius and Saba.

All aboard!

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‘MS SERENADED’ by one of the Titan team to be in with a chance of winning £200, £150 or £100 Love2shop vouchers!

Titan look forward to seeing you at the CLIA River Cruise Conference in November Ellie






river cruising


River Cruising CONTENTS • 78 River cruising for families • 82 Excursions

• 84 Interview: Tauck • 85 Focus on: Russian Waterways • 86 Introducing: Barge holidays • 88 At a glance •

ANDY HARMER OPERATIONS VICE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR, CLIA UK & IRELAND “We have seen a quiet revolution in river cruising. Innovations in dining, itineraries, onboard activities and services, along with excursions and amenities have made river cruising more open and accessible to all holidaymakers – including families and multi-generational groups.”



river cruising

For families

crew Motley

Taking children on a river cruise used to be unthinkable but thanks to a select number of lines it’s now a growing trend, says Sara Macefield


riving through Austria’s gently rolling green hills, their lush slopes dotted with chocolate-box chaletstyle homes, the unmistakeable voice of Julie Andrews suddenly fills our coach with song. We are nearing the city of Salzburg, where iconic film The Sound of Music (or The Sound of Mucus, as leading man Christopher Plummer apparently dubbed it) was shot and our guide clearly wants to remind us that these hills are, indeed, alive by playing the movie’s distinctive title track. It certainly catches the imagination of my 13-year-old twin daughters, Dani and Holly, who are keen to see sites from the film. These include the church in the pretty village of Mondsee, where the wedding of Maria and Captain von Trapp was filmed and the fountains and flowers of Salzburg’s Mirabell Gardens where Maria skipped with her young charges as they famously trilled Do Re Mi. This is one of the excursion highlights on our first family river cruise with AmaWaterways, which takes us along the Danube from Hungary’s

For families

river cruising


capital Budapest to Vilshofen in Germany. Once the girls recover from their initial shock of cruising on such a tiny vessel compared to the ocean ships they’re used to, we soon settle into a routine of morning walking tours and afternoons relaxing on deck. Luckily our vessel, AmaSerena, has a small swimming pool and for Holly and Dani this, along with copious amounts of ice cream, put the winning seal on this trip.

Changing tack River cruises are no longer no-go areas for those with kids and some companies are actively courting families. Most family-friendly river cruise vessels have a small swimming pool on the top deck. Another popular option are in-cabin movie libraries which allow youngsters to chill out happily with a good film while parents watch organised evening entertainment in the main lounge. The Walt Disney Corporation has got in on the act following a tie-up with AmaWaterways for its Adventures by Disney sailings along the Danube and Rhine. Sadly, these are targeted at the U.S. market with no news yet on when they might be extended to the UK. Uniworld and Tauck, however, have family departures that tie in with British school holidays. Uniworld UK Managing Director Kathryn Beadle points out that while many activities on these sailings are geared towards children, the entire family could enjoy them. “There is a big opportunity for the UK trade to embrace family and multigenerational river cruising,” she stressed. German line A-Rosa has children’s clubs and youth activity programmes on two of its vessels during Easter and summer school holidays and offers free sailings for under-15s, while small ship specialist eWaterways also offers family river cruises on various lines. AmaWaterways does not offer specific family-friendly departures, though Marketing Manager Augustus Lonsdale said it had seen a rise in multi-generational families aboard, which had prompted the line to add interconnecting staterooms to its newest vessels.

Perfect ten City slickers: Riverside hubs such as Vienna, Cologne, Paris and Lyon offer attractions to appeal to all ages. Pedal-power: Many river vessels have their own fleet of bikes for cycling excursions or self discovery along riverbank paths.

“Some river cruise lines include excursions in the price, which can prove to be extremely cost-effective for parents travelling with children” Thrills and spills: Take a white-water rafting trip along the River Ilz in Bavaria on a Danube cruise. Wartime history: Learn about the WWII Normandy D-Day landings by allied forces while cruising the Seine. The hills are alive: Follow in Julie Andrews’ footsteps to see where The Sound of Music was shot in and around Salzburg, on a Danube cruise. Haunted houses: Head off the beaten track in Venice on a ghost walking tour during a Po River cruise. On the trail of old masters: Search out some of the world’s most famous works of art in Paris’ Louvre on sailings through France. Food for thought: Sample a pastamaking workshop in Italy’s culinary capital Bologna on a Po river cruise. Knights of old: Explore medieval castles standing guard along the Rhine and hear the legend of the Lorelei siren.

Get your motor running: On a Danube cruise get revved up with a visit to the BMW or Audi car factories near Regensburg, a city in south-east Germany situated at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen rivers.

What’s new  Cruising: New itineraries and more varied family activities are making their mark on the river cruise scene. Tauck is doubling the number of child-friendly departures in 2017 to 20, and this includes the introduction of its fourth dedicated family itinerary. The one-week Paris to Normandy ‘Family Fun along the Seine’ cruise starts with a two-night hotel stay in Paris and five-night sailing where more active diversions include hiking to a medieval chateau and cycling through Marie Antoinette’s farm at Versailles. Tauck has also bolstered its family sailings along the Rhone with more activities that include a special chocolate art demonstration and a guided bike ride in Paris. Uniworld has added a 10-day sailing exploring Germany’s Jewish heritage with a voyage along the Rhine and Main rivers, departing on July 14 and 23, 2017. The Rhine-Main Discovery & Munich cruise is aimed at children interested in history and includes a visit to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial.


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…

AmaWaterways – leading the way in...



Active Excursions

River Cruising

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 |



ABTA No.Y6393

For families

Tourism talk “We have seen a quiet revolution in river cruising. Innovations in dining, itineraries, onboard activities and services, along with excursions and amenities have made it more open and accessible to all – including families and multi-generational groups. Family ocean cruising has been on the rise for some time and river cruising should be considered as equally open to families. A river cruise takes in some of the most incredible cities, towns and areas of countryside. It’s not just a relaxing and enjoyable way to travel but it can be a hugely cultural and educational experience too. Take time to explain the destinations and places visited, and the opportunities to explore as a family from the comfort of the ship. And remember that these smaller ships are perfectly built to be sociable and enjoyable spaces for all guests. River cruising isn’t just a fabulous

river cruising


holiday for families to spend quality time together, it’s also a great chance to visit fantastic places in Europe and beyond.” Andy Harmer, Operations Vice President and Director, CLIA UK & Ireland

Where to book it � A- ROSA – +49 (0) 381 202 6001 There are free places for under-15s if sharing a premium cabin on an all-inclusive basis with an adult. A seven-night Rhine sailing from Basle to Amsterdam departs on August 20, 2017, and costs from €1,749pp.

� UNIWORLD – 0808 168 9110 A 14-night Splendours of Northern Italy trip includes hotel stays in Milan, Florence and Rome and a one-week cruise through Venice from £5,259, with a 50% discount for children aged four to 18. 

Opening page: Salzburg, Austria. Previous page (clockwise from top left): Family cruising with A-Rosa; AmaWaterways cruising past Passau, Germany; the author’s two girls enjoying themselves onboard AmaSerena. This page: child-friendly fun with Tauck.

THE WORLD’S ONLY AUTHENTIC BOUTIQUE CRUISE LINE ™ Uniworld takes a bold step forward in 2017, offering a host of enhancements that make our award-winning, all-inclusive boutique river cruises in Europe more enticing than ever, such as 24 hour room service, and the introduction of our brand new ship, S.S Joie de Vivre.



Book your clients 2017 European river cruise by 31 January 2017 & save up to £2,300 per couple*

We have waived the solo supplement on a selection of our most popular departures in 2017^

Order your brochures on today @UniworldTradeUK |

Uniworld Trade UK |

Uniworld Trade UK ABTA No.Y6200

*Early-Booking Saving of £2,300 per couple is based on Ultimate European Journey itinerary, twin share in a Suite if booked by 31 January 2017. ^No Solo Supplement offer not combinable with any other offer except River Heritage past passenger discount. Available on select departures only. For full terms and conditions visit

ABTA No.Y6200



river cruising


immersion River cruise excursions are evolving, with action-packed tours for sport lovers and more exclusive experiences, says Jeannine Williamson


t’s still only 10.00 as I catch my breath outside Vienna’s grand Greco-Roman parliament building. I’m halfway round the landmark Ringstrasse boulevard, and have already spotted the Lipizzaner horses stabled at the Spanish Riding School, admired the imposing twin facades of the art and natural history museums, and seen Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud’s favourite cafe and the modest house where Beethoven lived. With a limited amount of time in the Austrian capital, and a long list of ‘must see’ sights, I have hit the ground running, quite literally,

alongside Florian Tischler from Vienna Sight Running. As we jog, Florian chats about his home city and is, thankfully, happy for me to set the pace. Next stop, St Stephen’s Cathedral. Back onboard my river vessel, with, six kilometres under my belt, I enjoy a cup of coffee and a well-earned piece of apple cake. By now most passengers on a walking excursion will probably only have reached their first stop.

What’s new Avalon Waterways is among the lines that realises many clients want to go the extra mile

and experience more than just traditional city tours. In 2017 the line is offering eight Active Discovery cruises on the Danube, sailing from Budapest to Linz, with running, kayaking, hiking and cycling in the included and extra options. In the past river cruise shore excursions have been fairly staid. Although daily tours are generally included in the fare and passengers can book for-fee options onboard, the addition of exciting and immersive tours provides agents with the opportunity to sell to younger, active clients who might not have considered a river cruise before, and switch-


sell to customers who usually take city breaks. A tour of D-Day landing sites in genuine army vehicles is part of Vantage Deluxe World Travel’s ( special familyfriendly Seine cruise, departing July 7, 2017. Celebrity gardener Charlie Dimmock will accompany passengers on a trip to Aalsmeer Flower Auction, the largest in the world, which is a new addition to The River Cruise Line’s ( Amsterdam & Bulbfields Spectacular itinerary departing April 25, 2017. CroisiEurope ( is launching a Discovery Package in 2017 which includes a helicopter ride in the Loire and Medoc regions, a tour of Paris in a classic Citroen 2CV and Segway tours in various destinations. A small boat wildlife tour in the naturerich Danube delta has been added to Saga’s ( river programme.

Opposite page: Budapest from the Danube. This page (left to right): celebrity gardener Charlie Dimmock will be a guest of The River Cruise Line next year, talking about Holland’s Aalsmeer Flower Auction; Antwerp’s Great Market Square

river cruising


Tauck ( now offers a full-day excursion into the Bernese Alps and Europe’s highest railway station, the Jungfraujoch, on its Rhine, Swiss Alps and Amsterdam cruise. Emerald Waterways’ ( passengers can take a walk in the Black Forest as part of the 2017 EmeraldACTIVE programme which also includes a guided bike tour along the banks of the Danube from Melk to Durnstein.

Perfect ten Get on your bike: Many lines carry complimentary bikes for exploring. Follow a theme: Golf, gardens, wine appreciation, gastronomy and music are among the themed cruises now on offer. Map it out: Ships provide maps and sometimes GPS devices, so passengers can discover ports of call independently. Meet the locals: Recommend homehosted tea excursions in destinations like Russia and Slovakia for an authentic experience. Lasting souvenir: Follow in the brush strokes of Van Gogh with an art class that provides a permanent keepsake. Cheers!: Passengers can blend their own Cognac on an optional excursion on Viking’s ( Chateaux, Rivers & Wine Bordeaux itinerary. Book it: Do Something Different ( offers commissionable excursions for agents. On the town: Recommend itineraries that overnight in cities such as Vienna so passengers can check out the nightlife. It’s a family affair: Look out for multi-generational itineraries with family-friendly activities like treasure hunts.

Go at your own pace: Cruise lines grade excursion levels so clients can pick one that’s right for them.

Where to book it  AVALON WATERWAYS – 0800 668 1801 The eight-night Active Discovery on the Danube cruise, including the Vienna running tour and activities such as kayaking and hiking is priced from £2,483pp with flights. 

“River cruise excursions have changed vastly, helping agents sell suitable cruises to a broader range of clients such as younger, more active customers or those seeking a more immersive cultural experience” ANDY HARMER, VICE PRESIDENT OPERATIONS, CLIA EUROPE

Earn £20 Love2shop^ vouchers with every Avalon booking, plus your customers save £1700* per couple Active Discovery on the Danube - Prices from £1,964pp

WHY CHOOSE AVALON • Private home pick-up service** • Flights from up to 27 UK regional airports • Full board à la carte dining with wine and beer included at lunch and dinner • On board gratuities • A choice of daily Active Discovery excursions

C A L L U S F R E E O N 0 8 0 0 0 4 9 9 0 6 2 O R V I S I T W W W. AVA L O N C R U I S E S . C O . U K To claim your vouchers email with your name, agency details and booking reference ABTA No.V3031 COSMOS TOURS LTD

We are a member of ABTA and our flight-inclusive holidays are protected by the CAA’s ATOL scheme. Earn £20 worth of Love 2 shop vouchers with every Avalon booking, vouchers need to be claimed by 30 November 2016. Vouchers cannot be exchanged for money. A range of savings are available on new 2017 European cruise bookings made before 19 December 2016. See website for details. **Free private home pick-up service is available within 100 miles of departure point. All offers are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time. All details and pricing are correct at time of publishing (21 October 2016).


river cruising


Talking Tauck...

Jo Austin talks Tauck with Steve Spivak, VP Global Sales for Tauck as the family-owned operator enters its 91st year A leading operator of escorted travel and river cruises worldwide,Tauck gets more than 90% of its UK business through the trade. Outline Tauck’s vision and ethos. We focus on the destination, choreographing the cruise experience so that guests leave feeling their journey helped them understand the region and culture more completely. Our cruises are fully inclusive and guests literally can’t buy anything from our staff except a massage. The river ships are luxurious with the largest cabins and the fewest number of guests.

Since you opened your first UK office in 2014 what tools have you developed for the UK travel trade? We offer traditional training tools such as sales guides and webinars, and we’ll be launching online training soon. Twice a year we offer hand-selected agents the opportunity to attend our Tauck Academy. This all-expenses paid certification programme is held over three days either at the Langham Hotel in London or onboard one of our river ships. Upon completion of the programme, agents become 'Tauck Certified', entitling them to exclusive sales and marketing support and travel benefits.

Main picture: A Tauck ship in Koblenz. Above: Steve Spivak and Celia Sandys

“Our cruises are fully inclusive and guests literally can’t buy anything from our staff except a massage. The river ships are luxurious with the largest cabins and the fewest number of guests" What do agents get from Tauck that they don’t from other river cruise companies? All agents can participate in the Tauck Agent Rewards scheme which gives points for every passenger booked. These can be redeemed for travel savings on their own trips. Twice a year our sales team hand-select advisors to travel with them as guests onboard our river cruises. Experiencing the product first hand is far and away the best training we can ever offer. We also believe in supporting our industry partners and will be hosting the inaugural River Cruise Excellence Awards prior to the CLIA river cruise convention in Amsterdam this month aboard our newly christened MS Grace. Agents will also participate in an abbreviated Tauck Academy programme.

Tell us about your new Brand Ambassador and their role. Celia Sandys, the granddaughter and biographer of Winston Churchill, has been appointed as Tauck’s UK Brand Ambassador. The most important factor to a consumer when selecting a brand is trust. As an ambassador, Celia’s endorsement validates in the eyes of the consumer that Tauck is synonymous with integrity, care and strength. Celia shares this reflection on her grandfather: "He said: 'I am a man of simple tastes easily satisfied by the best,"'and I certainly think he would have been satisfied by Tauck. That certainly says something about who we are and what we aspire to be to our guests."  GUESTS ON SELECTED 2017 DEPARTURES OF TAUCK'S A WEEK IN LONDON AND PARIS WILL GET TO MEET CELIA SANDYS. THE EPIC 23-DAY TRIP TAKE IN THREE COUNTRIES, TWO CAPITAL CITIES AND THREE OF THE MOST SCENIC RIVERS IN EUROPE, THE SEINE, RHÔNE AND SAÔNE RIVERS. PRICE FROM £8,295PP AND INCLUDES 18 CRUISE NIGHTS, 2 NIGHTS AT THE SAVOY AND 2 NIGHTS AT THE FAIRMONT MONTE CARLO. SAMPLE DEAL

Focus on

river cruising


Russian Waterways – Grand, artistic, timeless –


or many, Russia still seems a somewhat impenetrable destination – which makes it perfect for a river cruise that presents a leisurely way to access its imperial and modern mysteries, says Laura Gelder Lake Onega This runs into the Svir River and then the larger Lake Ladoga, where ships call in at the small village of Svirstroy, a popular place for handicrafts shopping. From here, ships head onto St. Petersburg. Culture galore Museums and art galleries, churches and palaces, ballet and opera – there’s much to entertain and educate. It’s a civilisation with many twists and turns which has preserved its history.

A VAST nation, Russia has long relied on its waterways, which enable ocean-going ships to travel from the Mediterranean to the Arctic. Despite being surrounded by land for hundreds of miles, the capital, Moscow is linked by waterways to the Aral Sea, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, and the Sea of Azov. Russia’s River Volga is Europe’s longest river and flows from its source, a lake northwest of Moscow, 2,293 miles to the Caspian Sea. A number of canals connect the Volga with the Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Moscow. The River Neva is home to St. Petersburg, which is built on the islands of its delta, with a canal system similar to Venice. Another major river is the Don and the UNIWORLD'S 13- DAY IMPERIAL WATERWAYS SELL IT NOW OF RUSSIA CRUISE FROM MOSCOW TO ST. PETERSBURG STARTS WITH THREE DAYS IN THE CAPITAL AND TOURS OF THE CITY, KREMLIN AND METRO SYSTEM. THE CRUISE HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE A WALKING TOUR WITH LOCAL PICNIC LUNCH IN MANDROGI VILLAGE AND A BALLET PERFORMANCE AT ALEXANDRINSKY THEATRE, ST PETERSBURG. FROM £4,739PP, DEPARTING IN MAY 2017.

Volga–Don Canal which provides a link between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Need to know A journey between Russia’s current and former capitals is the most popular river cruise in Russia but others take place during the summer from Ukraine’s capital Kiev, Yakutsk or the Siberian town of Tiksi (on the White Sea), on the mighty Dneiper River (although most non-Russian operators have pulled out of this region). Ships aimed at the local market can be somewhat dilapidated. Well-known cruise companies operating in Russia include APT, Saga Cruises, Viking, Uniworld and Scenic. The river cruise season runs from May to October.

Interesting scenery From pine and birch trees in the north to flowery river banks as the cruise floats south, the Don river goes from narrow strips to canals to expansive lakes and passes simple villages and millionaire's homes. Off the beaten track On a Russian river cruise your clients will find themselves in traditional areas and small villages, like Mandrogi, which specialises in local crafts like Matryoshka dolls, lace and ceramics.

Moscow to St. Petersburg The 400-mile journey takes seven to 10 days and passes through 10 different rivers, canals, lakes and reservoirs, giving cruisers a fascinating insight into both Imperial and Soviet Russia, starting with the Red Square and the Kremlin in Moscow and ending with the colourful orthodox domes and grand palaces of St. Petersburg. In between is a glimpse of rural Russian life. A typical cruise from Moscow will first alight at the city of Uglich, with its monasteries, churches, museums and the Palace of the Uglich Princes. Second is Kostroma, where excursions leave for the Ipatyevsky Monastery or Yaroslavl, a major port and university city with great markets.

After an overnight crossing of the Rybinsk Reservoir and Beloye Lake, cruises call at the farming village of Goritsy on the Sheksna River. Six locks on the Volga-Baltic Canal takes ships into Lake Onega, and at 254 miles long and around 50 miles wide the passage feels like a sea cruise. The lake holds 1,650 islands, including Kizhi Island, site of the world’s biggest wooden church, with 22 onion domes. Lake Onega runs into the Svir River and then the even larger Lake Ladoga, where ships call in at the small village of Svirstroy, a popular place for handicrafts. From here ships head into the Neva and onto St. Petersburg. 


river cruising


Barge holidays Barging has gone upmarket and these boutique hotels-on-thewater are a great alternative to river cruising, says Jane Archer


otel barges are an intimate, informal and very inclusive way to cruise the rivers and canals of Europe. Vessels are small, often for just eight passengers, and the pace is slow. European Waterways ( has the largest fleet and pays agents 10% commission. Other barge operators that sell through the trade include Belmond Afloat in France (belmond. com) and CroisiEurope ( New for 2017, Saga ( and Titan Travel (titantravel. have packaged a few departures on CroisiEurope’s barges.

Barging destinations Most barges operate in France because it has an excellent network of canals. Favourite routes include the Canal du Midi in the south where highlights includes a staircase with seven locks, and the River Marne, which runs through the Champagne region and is ideal to pair with Paris. European Waterways offers six nights on the Canal du Midi from £2,990pp in 2017. The price applies to the eight-passenger Anjodi and includes overseas transfers, unlimited drinks (including Champagne), excursions and wifi where available. Travel from the UK is excluded. A charter on the same vessel costs from £22,000,

“Barges operate mostly on canals rather than rivers and travel at just three mph – way slower than even the most leisurely cyclist! Those who want to go cycling can get off when the barge is in a lock" based on eight people travelling. The company also runs barge holidays in the Holland, Belgium, Italy and the UK.

What’s different from river cruising?

Main picture: CroisiEurope's jeanine barge in France. Above: Cycling is a popular pastime for bargers, who can hop on and off when the vessel is in a lock

And you thought river cruise vessels were small! These are giants when compared to hotel barges, which hold anything from six to 24 passengers. They have a lounge and dining room inside but the real joy is to be able to dine outside on the open deck if the weather is good. Barges operate mostly on canals rather than rivers and travel at just three mph – way slower than even the most leisurely cyclists! Those who want to borrow a bike and go cycling can get off when the barge is in a lock and rejoin the vessel later. European Waterways offers Biking Plus tours – passengers are given a map with a marked

route, usually covering 10-20 miles. If they get lost, a crew member will come and rescue them!

Who to sell to This is a perfect break for couples with deep pockets who fancy a holiday in the slow lane. Note that their small size means that barges are also ideal to charter for families or groups celebrating a special birthday or anniversary. Most barges can be booked by individuals but some of those sold by Afloat in France are available for charter only. They include two new barges, Belmond Pivoine and Belmond Lilas, which are launching in summer 2017. Despite - or possibly because of – its slow pace, this is an appealing holiday for all ages although a high price tag means it sells more to older clients. 


SAGA – 0800 096 0082




ELEVEN STUNNING CRUISES Riviera Travel are pleased to announce the release

Rhine & Moselle

of our brand new all-suite ships for 2017, operating

Eight days from only £1,199pp Departures from May to October 2017

alongside our luxurious and elegant selection of five-star vessels including the MS Lord Byron, MS William Shakespeare, MS Jane Austen and MS Charles Dickens, all boasting superb cuisine and the most comfortable surroundings possible.  The UK’s leading river cruise company  Five-star quality at unbeatable prices  Award winning service  Three brand-new five-star all-suite ships launching in 2017, the MS Emily Brontë, MS Thomas Hardy and the MS Oscar Wilde  Honest pricing with no discounting  Highest repeat booking ratio in sector  Carefully designed itineraries

Burgundy, River Rhône & Provence Eight days from only £1,199pp Departures from May to October 2017

The Douro, Oporto & Salamanca Eight days from only £1,399pp Departures from April to October 2017

The Blue Danube Eight days from only £1,199pp Departures from April to October 2017

Rhine, Strasbourg & Heidelberg Eight days from only £1,299pp Departures from May to October 2017

01283 744370

To make a booking, please call or visit:

Subscribe to our agents newsletter, email Holidays organised by and subject to the booking conditions of Riviera Travel, New Manor, 328 Wetmore Road, Burton on Trent, Staffs, DE14 1SP. ABTA V4744 ATOL 3430. Prices are based on two people sharing a twin cabin. Additional entrance costs may apply.

RHINE, Switzerland to the Netherlands

DUTCH Waterways

FRENCH Waterways

0800 035 6411

£795pp, 7-night Classical Danube cruise. Cruise-only, wine with dinner

A-ROSA River Cruises

0049 381 202 6001

£760pp, 7-night Danube Classic cruise, cruise-only incl. all meals, drinks, and a 15% spa discount


0800 954 0063

£1,599, 7-night Enchanting Rhine cruise with flights, non-UK transfers, port charges, meals and wine.

APT River Cruises

0800 012 6686

£847, Reflections of the Rhine & Main Premium River Cruise

Avalon Waterways

0800 668 1865

£1,465pp, 8-day Taste of the Danube cruise (incl. UK transfers with personal chauffeur & flights)


0845 077 2222

CMV Signature River Cruises

0844 963 0000

£990pp, 2-night cruise aboard Belmond Road to Mandalay with domestic flights, transfers, wine with lunch and dinner and excursions £1,259, 7-night Magical Rhine cruise with flights, transfers, selected drinks with lunch & dinner & two half-day excursions


020 8328 1281

£281pp for a four-day mini-cruise in Paris

Crystal Cruises

020 7399 7604

£2,410pp for a 10-night cruise round trip from Vienna

Emerald Waterways

0800 270 7017

£1,295pp, 8-day Secrets of the Douro or 8-day Sensations of Southern France

European Waterways

01753 598555

Far Horizon Tours & Cruises

01252 714 477

Fred.\River Cruises

0808 159 5256

Great Rail Journeys & Rail Discoveries

£2,450pp, 6-night all-inclusive hotel barge cruises in France, Italy, Holland, Ireland, England, Scotland £1,579pp, 7-night Brahmaputra cruise. Cruiseonly with excursions and international transfers £599pp, 7-day (no-fly) Dutch Towns & Spring Gardens, including return coach transfers, fullboard and entrance to Keukenhof Gardens

0800 240 4470

£975pp 8-day Romantic Rhine including rail, all meals and all-incl drinks on MV A-Rosa Viva

Insider Journeys

01865 268 944

Mekong Prestige River Cruise

0808 168 1458

Mekong River Cruises

01252 714 477

£2,395, 14-day Saigon to Angkor Mekong journey (8 nights’ cruise, 4 nights’ hotel) & flights from the UK £1,149pp, 8 night cruise only between Saigon and Siem Reap, full board basis including drinks £650pp, 5-night Luang Prabang roundtrip cruise. Cruise-only with excursions and international transfers

Pandaw River Expeditions

020 3287 6113

£2,620pp, 7-night Chindwin Monywa – Homalin cruise

Riviera Travel

01283 744 370 / 744 390


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£1,099pp, 8-day Blue Danube. Includes direct return flights, transfers, full board and all guided excursions

0800 074 8021

£499pp, 4 night Rhineland Festive Markets cruise, full-board with return coach travel

Sanctuary Retreats

+44 (0)1242 546609


0800 566 8777

Shearings Holidays

0343 309 0030

Tauck River Cruises

0800 810 8020

£714pp, 3-night cruise on Sanctuary Ananda from Bagan to Mandalay in 2016, based on two people From £1,495pp, 8-day ultra-all-inclusive Iconic Danube cruise in spacious suite accommodation. £529pp, 4-night Tulips & Windmills fullboard cruise, includes coach transfers and two nights’ £2,440pp, 8 day ‘Holland & Belgium in the Spring’ sailing including flights and a category one cabin


0800 988 5800

£999pp, the 8-day Beautiful Rhine cruise, full-board and including VIP transfers

The River Cruise Line

0844 544 7580

£849, Danube Discovery Cruise & Stay on the four-star Serenity, full-board. Includes three nights in Budapest 4-star hotel


0808 168 9231

£2,089, 8 day all-inclusive Castles Along the Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam

Viking River Cruises

020 8780 7985

Wendy Wu Tours

0844 288 2733

£1545pp, 8-day Romantic Danube including wifi, all meals, wine and beer with lunch and dinner, one daily excursion and UK transfers £2,490pp, 14-day fully-inclusive Majestic Yangtze tour with flights, meals, accommodation and guided touring

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CHOBE, Botswana

MOSELLE, France, Lux, Germany

Amadeus River Cruises


DOURO, Portugal


Your official guide to river cruising

DANUBE, Central Europe



At a glance

RUSSIAN Waterways

river cruising

PO, Italy

Quick reference

ELBE, Czech Republic to Germany


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 in Europe

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Selected cruises

Selected Luxury Cruises

Pre-paid drink packages

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KAPUAS, Borneo





NILE, Egypt


INDIAN Waterways

MEKONG, Cambodia, Laos, and/or Vietnam

river cruising

Upgrade onboard

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

Rail - local station only

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Selected cruises

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 Coach/ Air/Rail

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Selected dates Pre-paid drink packages

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

In Europe

Selected cruises

Coach/ Air/Rail

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Part of upgrade


when to sell

river cruising


he river cruising calendar is dictated not only by commercial reasons but by the ebb and flow of rivers throughout the year. Understanding the mechanics of the river cruise calendar will help agents tap into this lucrative market and present their clients with a topical and relevant selection of river cruises.





In November and December the focus is on Christmas markets cruises and festive breaks, particularly on the Rhine but also on the Douro. Short Christmas cruises are an ideal introduction to river cruising and those on the Douro also offer a chance for pre-Christmas winter sun. January to March sees the attention turned to the Mekong, the Yangtze and the Nile. On European waterways, this is a period when unfavourable tidal conditions and water flow and less attractive weather makes travelling further afield for a dose of sunshine more compelling than ever.

In March and April the Dutch waterways come into their own, with the chance to spend time exploring the beautiful blooms of the bulbfields or to join romantic Paris cruises. On the Rhine, singles cruises run to fulfil cabin commitments.

May to September brings the best weather for visiting Central Europe, as well as the most suitable river flow and tidal conditions. The rivers of Germany, including the Rhine, Moselle, Neckar and Main, as well as Portugal’s Douro are popular, although for those who want to stay closer to home, July to October is best for cruises in the Scottish Highlands. Late summer is the peak time for cruising the rivers of France including the Seine, Saone and Rhône. It’s also a good time to sail the Russian waterways.

In early autumn (September), the weather is generally at its best for cruising The Danube and the Yangtze. Scottish Highland cruising continues to be good too, through to October.


the final word

the quirky side of travel – Odd reasons for flight delays, over-50s, luxury jets –


delayed flight can be one of the most frustrating experiences a passenger can face, especially when it's caused by incidents as peculiar as these! Flight compensation company EUclaim has collated some of the weirdest reasons a flight has been delayed or cancelled. Incidents range from the still-too-common classic of smoking in the toilets (which recently caused no little chaos on the runway for Jet2) to a 'weird smell' that saw passengers delayed on their flight between Ibiza and Gatwick. Creepy-crawlies in the cabin caused a 24-hour wait on a Ryanair flight from Malta to Eindhoven, with the airline citing 'insects on the plane' as the reason for the disruption. But an unaccounted fork is perhaps the oddest reason to be kept off the flight! Adeline Noorderhaven, UK Manager of EUclaim said: “I kept re-reading the claim form to make sure I was seeing it right, but our client was spot-on! In August a Thomas Cook flight from Cancun to Stanstead really was delayed because of ‘missing cutlery”.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME Most over-50s take their favourite home comforts with them when travelling abroad,


Augmented Oxford Experience Oxfordshire is bringing it’s Bodleian Library to life with augmented reality. The technnology promises to bring life and excitement to the county's historic library!

TOP 10… Banned foods Perhaps it's no surprisee that poisonous fish are absent from European menus but no Kinder Surprise Eggs in the USA??



Kinder Surprise Eggs

Jelly cups



according to a report by Saga Travel Insurance. A travel kettle is the most popular item to make the suitcase, with one in five of those surveyed evidently unable to get through their holiday without a good 'cuppa' . Other items that regularly accompany their owners overseas include jars of marmite – and who can live without a big dollop of the yeast spread on their French baguette? – and pictures of the family pet.



Raw Milk


USA and Australia





Chewing Gum





HOW THE OTHER HALF FLY The rich and famous travel in style, but what about their belongings? Luxury jet charter service Volenteus has highlighted some of the strangest items to fly alone on a private jet – from phones and bags heading back to their owners to Indian takeaways being flown 6,000 miles from Cardiff to New York. Pets are also regularly afforded the luxury of a private jet, with Serena Williams’ dog (Chip) and Karl Lagerfeld’s cat (Choupette) just two of our well-connected four-legged friends to travel in style.

Kangaroo meat

Horse Meat


California and Illinois



Poppy seeds

Singapore and Taiwan


Europe and China

THE DECEMBER 2016 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • Argentina • Georgia, USA • Indochina • Kenya • Movie Locations • Nevada • New Zealand • Queensland • River Cruise Convention • Turkey • What’s Hot in 2017 • CONTACT US; PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni


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Discount on Travel Insurance

Additional 20% discount on our travel insurance for industry staff ● Kids go FREE - up to 3 kids insured free per insured adult ● Selection of adventure sports covered as standard ● Additional add-ons available such as cover for winter sports or travel disruption

(Additional fees may apply, please see terms & conditions for more details)

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Must book by 30 Nov'16.



Use promo code: TDNOV when booking in November

Touchdown is a trading style of Travelbrands Ltd. Travelbrands Ltd travel insurance is arranged and administered by Insure & Go Insurance Services Ltd. Travelbrands Ltd is an introducer appointed representive of Insure & Go Insurance Services Ltd for Travel Insurance. Insure & Go Insurance Services Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Reference Number 309572) with registered address: 1 Victoria Street, Bristol Bridge, Bristol, BS1 6AA. Registered in England and Wales (Company no. 04056769).

Malaysia Airlines






£ direct to KL to Australia & New Zealand

Onward destinations available in Malaysia, call for details. Valid for travel until Jun’17.

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-5.30pm; 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.

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Selling Travel November 2016  

The World in one Magazine Cover Story: Japan Read more features on... India • Colorado • Caribbean • City Breaks • River Cruising • Weddings...

Selling Travel November 2016  

The World in one Magazine Cover Story: Japan Read more features on... India • Colorado • Caribbean • City Breaks • River Cruising • Weddings...