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OCTOBER 2016 • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR

SHIFTING SANDS Harsh but beautiful with unique safari options, Namibia is an emerging Southern African star

how to sell...

Israel Slovenia Morocco Thailand Australia Latin America and more...


contents

this issue - we travel further to bring you more FEATURES 8 What's new in cruising 18 Namibia 24 Australia's north 27 Israel 46 California 52 Morocco 62 Weddings & Honeymoons 70 Thailand 76 Latin America 80 Anguilla

46 80

70 76

QUICK READS 44 Visit USA News 17 Six of the best: Slovenia 69 How to sell: Lisbon 82 The Final Word THE REVIEW 55 Top news and reviews TALKING SHOP 17 Just for agents Please note that Selling Travel, owned and published by BMI Publishing Ltd., is not connected in any way to Selling Travel e-magazine published by SMP Training Co. and based in British Columbia, Canada. The latter online publication focuses exclusively on sales skills and all aspects of professional selling within the travel and tourism sectors. To benefit from this travel industry sales training resource visit www.sellingtravel.net

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Laura Gelder

Steve Hartridge

will be gazing at QuĂŠbec's autumn foliage, spotting some moose and beavers and tasting the terroir

is travelling to Kentucky to sip bourbon, ride horses (maybe) and marvel at some classic corvettes

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Andy Hoskins

is just back from amazing Abu Dhabi, where he was dazzled by the city's iconic Sheikh Zayed Mosque

WEDDINGS & HONEYMOONS

A U S T R A L I A' S N O RT H

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62

CA L I F O R N I A

46

Vote and win! your opinion really counts with us. vote online and you'll be in the draw to win a holiday to thailand and other great prizes

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welcome

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

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 enquiries@bmipublishing.co.uk bmipublishing.co.uk sellingtravel.co.uk Publishers: Steve Thompson & Sally Parker Commercial Director: David Clare Editorial Director: Steve Hartridge Deputy Editor: Laura Gelder Staff Journalists: Ben Coren & Cameron Roberts Contributing Journalists: Alan Orbell and Jo Austin Group Editor: Andy Hoskins Contributing Editor: Julie Baxter Business Development Manager: Craig McQuinn Advertisement Manager: Lisa Merrigan Creative Director: Matt Bonner Designers: Louisa Horton, Ross Clifford & Monica Notarnicola Junior Designer: Zoë Tarrant Production Manager: Clare Hunter Circulation Manager: Cheryl Staniforth Managing Director: Martin Steady We are members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Visit USA Association, LATA, PATA, MENATA, SATOA, the Foreign Airlines Association and the Institute of Travel & Tourism. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, BMI Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. ISSN: 2056-9319. Cover image: Sossusvlei dune, Naukluft National Park, Namibia Courtesy of www.istockphoto.com

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! sellingtravel.co.uk/subscribe

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welcome

– dedicated to those who love selling travel –

T

his month we are delighted to announce a new groundbreaking partnership for Selling Travel, one we feel confident in claiming is the single most exciting development in the relatively short history of online training for the travel trade. That sounds like – and admittedly is – quite a claim, but delve into the contents of our special section in this issue and you might just agree with us when we say that e-learning for agents has just got bigger, better and bolder than ever before. We want you to 'unwrap' what we believe is a gift to any agent serious about increasing their destination and product knowledge and maximising their earnings in the process. Steve Hartridge Without spoiling…. the two biggest names in travel trade training have EDITOR joined forces to offer one unbeatable new training platform. For readers, over 80 unique training courses are now available at one new and improved website, so check out the brand-new traveluni.com for all your training needs including information on rewards and incentives. That’s all I can say for now, but before you begin turning the pages and start genning up on all the latest news, comments and product updates from destinations such as Namibia, Slovenia, Israel, Morocco, Thailand and Latin America (to mention just a small taste of what’s on offer inside) turn first to those special pages I mentioned by clicking on this button to the right. Have you taken a peek yet? I told you so… the face of e-learning has changed forever! Before I go, it was good to see so many of you at our Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards in central London last month. Did chatting to some of our nominees help you decide who to vote for? If so, don't delay - voting closes on October 16.

e-learning

THAT'S GOING PLACES CLICK HERE

INDUSTRY COMMENTS... “The UK accounted for more than 701,000 visitors to California in 2015 and that looks set to increase with the major growth in airlift in 2016. The state now has 116 weekly non-stop flights to Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland."

“Next year is set to be a fantastic year for travel to and around Latin America. The latest LATA Trends Report identified a growing demand to the region and this is supported by tourism statistics showing strong year-on-year growth."

Emma Westman, Visit California UK & Ireland

Byron Shirto, Chairman, LATA

See feature, page 46

See feature, page 76

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events & festivals

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

TAPATI RAPA NUI Easter Island's biggest event of the year is made up of a mix of sports, traditional dancing and scantily-clad men competing for local fame and honour. Dating from the 1970's, the festival recognises the island's traditions with spearfishing, boat races, dancing and a triathlon among the many events. The next festival takes place January 27 - February 12, 2017. easterislandspirit.com

SKI SEASON Late-November to early-May form the traditional season for Europe's ski season, so look out for a clutch of recent brochure releases from specialist operators in anticipation of clients looking to pop on their goggles. From the Three Valleys to Jungfrau to Verbier to Vanoise Massif to Madesimo, Europe's high places could see you knee high in commission.

THAIPUSAM

QUÉBEC WINTER CARNIVAL

Celebrating the Hindu god of war, Thaipusam is prominant in India, Malaysia and Singapore. The festival allows attendees to take part in a procession, prayer and various self-harm rituals in the eternal search for spiritual enlightenment. Thaipusam next takes place on February 10, 2017 tourism.gov.my

If your clients are the types who really want to embrace winter, this iconic Canadian carnival could be for them. Complete with snow sculptures, winter sports and an amusement park, the Québec Winter Carnival is an homage to all things sub-zero. It takes place January 27 - February 12, 2017. carnaval.qc.ca

VIAREGGIO CARNEVALE See giant (sometimes four storey high) floats made of papier mâché parading in the streets of Viareggio, Tuscany, watched by up to a million spectators. The 142-year-old event, one of Italy's most popular, kicks off one month before lent (February 5-28, 2017) and is open to locals and visitors alike. viareggio.ilcarnevale.com/en

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What’s new in cruising

Fresh on the

Water

for 2017

There is growing anticipation amongst the trade as 2017 shapes up to be the biggest yet for cruising. Jo Austin takes a look at the latest brochure releases from both river and ocean cruise lines

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What’s new in cruising

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hether your clients want to take to the open seas in an ocean liner or meander the gentler waters of the world’s waterways, their cruise choices in 2017 include opportunities for adventure, family time, fine-dining, culture and even a bit of relaxation.

River cruising River cruising is seeing a surge of interest as operators entice passengers with an increasing range of ways to sail into the heart of every city combined with fine dining and escorted excursions. As multi-generational holidays grow across the board, so cruise companies are responding with excursions and activities to suit all ages as well as more inter-linking cabins

and family suites. In addition to a range of upgrade offers are good incentives for agents to encourage clients to book early.

What’s new  River cruising: APT: The new brochure for 2017 features a return to Russia after two years and new itineraries along the Danube and Douro. Classification of the cruises has also been simplified in response to agent feedback into two categories: Luxury and Premium. Agents have the chance to familiarise themselves with the 2017 brochure through an online training course. Angela Waite, UK Sales Manager APT commented: “2017 is our most extensive programme thanks to growth from UK trade

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sales and we are excited to return to Russia and add some new itineraries.” aptouring.co.ukagents Avalon Waterways: New suite-styled staterooms are 30% larger than the industry standard together with wall-to-wall panoramic windows. Included in the price is a privately-chauffeured home pick-up service and full-board dining served with regional wines. avaloncruises.co.uk Belmond: Next year sees the launch of luxury barges Belmond Lilas and Belmond Pivoine which are set to cruise the canals and rivers in Alsace and Champagne. Bringing the Belmond Afloat in France fleet up to seven barges, six-night itineraries will feature private visits to familyowned vineyards and châteaux.


5* MS Thomas Hardy

What’s new for 2017? • • • • •

Three brand-new five-star all-suite ships for 2017 including the MS Oscar Wilde, MS Thomas Hardy and MS Emily Brontë Brand new five-star ships launching on the Douro in 2017 - MS Douro Elegance and MS Douro Serenity 14 night ‘Cruise the Heart of Europe’ itinerary now includes Bratislava Manchester departures now available on all of our river cruises 2017 selling fast, book now to avoid disappointment

5* MS Thomas Hardy Standard Suite

Superb fine dining on board

VOTE FOR US! in the Travel Agents Choice Awards!

Call: 01283 744370 (Mon - Fri 9am - 7pm, Sat & Sun 10am - 4pm) Book online, visit: rivieratravel.co.uk/agents Subscribe to our agents newsletter! Email: agencysales@rivieratravel.co.uk

Full Riviera Travel booking terms and conditions apply. *Source - PwC Independent Survey,


What’s new in cruising

Prices start from €5,200pp on an allinclusive basis. belmond.com/afloat-in-france Crystal: An exciting start to 2017 sees the launch of Crystal’s two new luxury river cruise vessels, Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler, which are set to embark on their maiden voyages along the Rhine, Main and Danube. The river yachts will accommodate 110 guests in all-suite cabins, with butler service, bringing a new level of luxury to the river cruise market. crystalcruises.co.uk French America Line: The world’s newest river cruise line, French America Line, was created to introduce a new era of U.S. river voyages with the launch of the flagship Louisiane. Accommodating 150 guests in 75 staterooms, there will be 48 river cruise tours beginning March 2017 on America’s most iconic rivers, including the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Red rivers. New for 2017 are the Illinois and Arkansas rivers and itineraries will include overnight in ports such as Chattanooga, Louisville and Pittsburgh. frenchamericaline.com Hebridean Island Cruises: Next year the line will head into its sixth season on European rivers, promising high standards and fullyinclusive prices on The Royal Crown. Itineraries feature the Main, Rhine and Danube rivers as well as the Dutch and Belgian Waterways, with all shore visits fully included in the cruise price. Architecture, history, music, food and art are the features of these cruises. hebridean.co.uk The River Cruise Line: More regional options, excursions and a new itinerary for 2017 feature. The ‘Best of the Rhine & Moselle’ on Lady Anne has a guided tour of Mainz, wine tasting in Cochem and a trip to the Saar Valley and Open Air Museum. The nine-day Rhine & Moselle Explorer itinerary on MS Serenity sails from Koblenz to Cologne and through the Rhine gorge. Agents can also complete

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online training modules and access online brochures, competitions and incentives through Online Travel Training. rivercruiseline.co.uk Saga: Intimate river barges with up to 12 cabins introduced by Saga will offer a new way to see Paris, the Champagne region and Provence. The three- and six-night holidays on MS Raymonde and MS AnneMarie are designed with the waterways of Paris and the narrow waterways of northern France and Provence in mind. saga.co.uk Shearings Holidays: Fourteen new itineraries include three sailings on the four-star MS Serenade 2, an expanded range of minicruises, a tour of Russia’s imperial waterways and new tours on partner cruises along the Adriatic Coast, Douro River and Baltic Sea Coast. Shearings also features a 14-day ‘Elbe Amsterdam to Berlin’ cruise along the Dutch and German Waterways and a 12-day ‘Beautiful Berlin to Wonderful Copenhagen’ cruise, sailing Havel, Oder, and The Baltic Sea on the Mona Lisa. shearings.com Tauck: Has doubled its number of family river cruise departures offering greater flexibility and a balance of shared activities, downtime, culturally–immersive experiences and sheer family fun. A brand new eight-day family river cruise on the Seine from Paris to Normandy will be Tauck’s fourth river cruise designed specifically for families, along with itineraries on the Danube, Rhône and Rhine. tauck.co.uk Uniworld: Golf excursions are included in the 2017 Europe and Russia brochure for those aboard the new S.S. Joie de Vivre. Featuring 28 luxury cruise itineraries across Europe and Russia, the programme introduces a 10day Paris and Impressions of the Seine plus a 10 day Rhine-Main Discovery & Munich – a themed cruise exploring Germany’s Jewish heritage from the oldest European Jewish settlement in Cologne to a new

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“From the vineyards of Burgundy to the spectacular Scottish Highlands; from the waterways of France to the storybook Alsace region, creating memories is our business” DEREK BANKS, MANAGING DIRECTOR, EUROPEAN WATERWAYS

Clockwise from top left: A paddle steamer in Chattanooga, on the Tennessee River; the Pont-du-Garde, a Roman viaduct on the Gardon River in Provence; the Lido Deck on a Hebridean cruise; traditional felucca sailing boats on the Nile


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What’s new in cruising

synagogue in Munich and a visit to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial. Uniworld has also introduced six new ‘Generations’ cruise departures aimed at families. uniworld.com Viking Cruises: Viking christened six new longships earlier this year, bringing its river fleet up to 65 vessels. Details for 2017 have not yet been released but we expect more elegant voyages to Europe, the Caribbean and the Far East. vikingcruises.co.uk

Room with a view: Avalon Waterways’ prices for 2017 include a stateroom upgrade from £1945pp on the eight-day ‘Paris to Normandy’ cruise to £2399pp for an 11-day ‘Legendary Danube’ cruise. avaloncruises.co.uk Treasures of Russia: APT’s new 11-day Premium cruise departs from St. Petersburg following a three-night stay visiting Mandrogi, Kizhi Island, Goritsy, Yaroslavl and Uglich before arriving in Moscow for a three-night stay. The cruise includes a visit to the Hermitage

Perfect ten

Above: Saga’s Anne-Marie river barge. Right: Uniworld’s new ship, the S.S Joie de Vivre

Carmague Cowboys: Saga’s Secrets of Southern France cruise through Provence and Langeudoc-Roussillion sails on the Canal du Rhone-à-Sete and includes a ranch visit to see how the Camargue cowboys preserve herds of black bulls. Six nights start from £1,799, departing Gatwick in April. saga.co.uk/rivercruises Tulips of Amsterdam: Titan will sail the Rhine and Danube on MS Serenade for the entire year in 2017, leading in with a six-day ‘Dutch Waterways and the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens’ itinerary. titantravel.co.uk

EUROPE & RUSSIA 2017 BOOK FOR BUBBLY! To celebrate the launch of our brand new Super Ship, the S.S. Joie de Vivre, for every 2017 Europe & Russia booking made between 08 Sep and 31 Oct 2016* you will receive a bottle of champagne and a Uniworld champagne cooler!

EARLY BOOKING OFFERS BOOK BY 31 JAN 2017 AND SAVE UP TO £2,300 PER COUPLE^

ORDER YOUR BROCHURES ON WWW.TRADEGATE.CO.UK

0808 168 9110 | uniworld.com Uniworld Trade UK | @UniworldTradeUK *Free bottle of champagne and cooler applies to new bookings departing in 2017 only. Must be booked and deposited by 31 Oct 2016. Agent must be over 18-years of age. Exclusions apply. ^Saving of £2,300 per couple is based on the Ultimate European Journey in a Suite, twin share. Must be booked and deposit paid by 31 Jan 2017. For full terms and conditions, visit www.uniworld.com ABTA No.Y6200

ABTA No.Y6200


MS Serenade 1,

Titan’s exclusive charter for 2017

Castles and Cathedrals of Germany

From Beautiful Budapest to Stunning Vienna

Aboard Titan’s exclusive 2017 charter - MS Serenade 1

Aboard Titan’s exclusive 2017 charter - MS Serenade 1

8 days from £1,499 Save up to £50pp

11 days from £1,649 Save up to £100pp

Basel - Breisach - Strasbourg - Speyer - Mannheim Rüdesheim - Lorelei Rock - Koblenz - Cologne - Dusseldorf

Budapest - Esztergom - Bratislava - Melk Passau - Linz - Wachau Valley - Dürstein - Vienna

Departs 17 April 2017 (other departure dates available)

Departs 27 May 2017 (other departure dates available)

SE2

Featured in Titan’s NEW river cruise brochure Includes Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service† For more information please visit www.titanagents.co.uk k †Excludes Scottish islands and Sark, where vehicle access is restricted. Home transfers are not included on Titan’s ‘Essential Collection’ holidays. Terms and conditions apply on some offers.

SR3


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What’s new in cruising

Museum and a vodka tasting from £1,695pp. aptouring.co.uk/agents

Wilderness Rivers: A nine-day Appalachian Elegance cruise sails from Louisville, to Chattanooga, departing August 23 2017. It is priced from $3,999pp/double occupancy. frenchamericaline.com

Above: Cochem on the Moselle River. Right: St. Petersburg

Castles and cats: River Cruise Lines’ Rhine and Moselle Explorer on MS Serenity sails from Koblenz to Cologne, visiting quaint wine towns, magnificent castles and Zell (legendary for its black cat). Prices from £999pp full-board, departing June 4 2017 and including return coach travel. rivercruiseline.co.uk Temples and tombs: The lead-in price for a seven-night Nile cruise on the MS Mayfair with Discover Egypt is £899pp, full-board with 10 guided excursions, return flights from Heathrow to Luxor and transfers. discoveregypt.co.uk Golf and hike: Uniworld’s new golf excursions for 2017 are part of the company’s ‘Go Active’ programme which offers guests a range of onshore excursions focussed on fitness and wellbeing. Prices for the eight-day Paris an Normandy cruise aboard the all-new S.S. Joie de Vivre start from £2,489pp. uniworld.com

Paddle and music: The all-suite 166-guest American Duchess will join the American Steamboat Company’s fleet in June 2017. The first purpose-built boutique paddlewheeler, it will offer overnight stays in Nashville along with round-trip itineraries from the ‘music city’ and New Orleans. americansteamboatcompany.com Barges and canals: European Waterways features hotel barge cruises on the canals, rivers and lakes of mainland Europe and the British Isles. gobarging.com


What’s new in cruising

Ocean cruising There is a wide range of exciting new initiatives on the ocean cruising front for 2017 including new destinations, excursions and ships. Agents should look out for some fabulous value-added options as well as all-inclusive opportunities. Here are just some of the experiences your clients can look forward to.

What’s new  Ocean cruising: Cruise & Maritime Voyages: CMV has added Greenland and Cuba for something different in 2017, with two new itineraries onboard Marco Polo. The cruise line’s newest ship, Columbus, will deliver new experiences for its youngest guests for the first time as it operates two specific family cruises in August (with no age restriction). A cruise to the Norwegian Fjords for seven nights features child fares from £99pp, or the Canary Islands and Madeira for 14 nights with child prices from £199pp. New Itineraries for 2017 include Spain, France, Portugal and Gibraltar. The maiden Columbus season includes a Grand 46-night voyage to Cuba, Central America and the Caribbean, with fares from £3,069 for the first passenger and £1,539 for the second. cruiseandmaritime.com

Fred. Olsen: A new programme entitled ‘Discover the Norwegian Fjords’ features 16 unique itineraries. The ‘Five-Night Fjords’ cruise, departing Newcastle on May 25 2017, is designed as a ‘taster break’ for those new to cruising, and the eight-night ‘Scenic Fjords & Waterfalls of Norway’ trip departs Southampton on July 8 2017. Clients can create ‘Exotic Fly-Cruise’ options

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with extensions of two, four or five nights’ duration, pre- or post-cruise. fredolsencruises.com Oceania Cruises: New is a South African Holiday, with a round-trip from Cape Town. Nautica will sail around South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia. Cruising from December 21 2016 to January 5 2017 for 15 days, the starting price of £3720pp for a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom includes all meals. A three-night, post-cruise, Winelands and Wildlife safari land tour can be added for £149pp. oceaniacruises.com Princess Cruises: Free balcony upgrades are available on over 400 cruises on selected voyages in Europe, Alaska, Japan, South East Asia and all Americas for 2017-2018. Guests booking a balcony stateroom between September 1 and October 18 2016 will be able to do so at the price of an oceanview stateroom. The cruise line is also offering 50% off for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom. The newest ship in the Princess fleet, Majestic Princess, will depart from Rome on her maiden voyage in April 2017. It will then spend six weeks in the Mediterranean. The ship has been built specifically for the Chinese market and in May 2017 will reposition from Barcelona to Shanghai, where she will sail around Japan and Korea. princess.com SeaDream: SeaDream Yacht Club is targeting the special interest market with seven new Wine Voyages for the 2017 season. Showcasing the most picturesque yachting ports of the Mediterranean on seven- to eleven-day sailings, each itinerary pairs the ultimate wine experience with the most

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From top: a couple on deck at sunset; tropical Mauritius; the dramatic coast of Tenerife.


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What’s new in cruising

scenic backdrops in the world. seadream.com Swan Hellenic: Minerva will be heading eastwards for its winter 2017-2018 season – with renowned guest speakers onboard. Maiden calls include Mina Salman in Bahrain, Sir Bani Yas Nature Reserve in Abu Dhabi, and Kinabalu National Park in Borneo and the Old Town of Galle in Sri Lanka, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. swanhellenic.com

“Agents wanting to pre-book excursions for their cruise passengers and earn extra commission should check out cruisingexcursions.com which features around 12,000 excursions from more than 700 ports worldwide”

cruiseandmaritime.com  FRED. OLSEN – 020 7931 8888

A 21-night ‘South American Expedition’ flycruise departing February 5 2017 on Boudicca starts from £2,199pp (cruise only) or £3,499pp (fly-cruise package). fredolsencruises.com  HOLLAND AMERICA – 0843 374 2300 A 29-night cruise taking in the Caribbean and Brazil, and including free four nights at a hotel in Rio de Janeiro, sets sail from Florida on February 2 2017. Carnaval Explorer starts from £2,799pp, with regional flights. hollandamerica.co.uk �SHEARINGS HOLIDAYS –0844 209 7143 Voyages of Discovery: The winter 2017- 2018 Next year sees the inclusion of a new Rhine, season features cruises to Madagascar, Mauritius, Strasbourg and Scenic Switzerland 10-day cruise Sri Lanka, Seychelles and the Maldives, South Africa on MPS Da Vinci. From £1194pp. shearings.com �TITAN TRAVEL – 0800 988 5873 and Dubai. RHS Garden Holidays has partnered A new partnership with Star Clippers adds two with Voyages of Discovery on a 15-day Flora Mediterranean tall ship cruise experiences to and Fauna cruise from Cape Town to Mauritius, the range. The 10-day trip aboard Royal Clipper with calls at Reunion Island and Madagascar. takes in the Amalfi Coast, Sicily, the Pontine Highlights on the cruise, which departs January and Aeolian Islands plus two nights in Rome. 3, are the Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens Prices start from £2,299pp. titantravel.co.uk  in Port Louis, the chance to see the ‘Big Five’ on safari and the active Piton de la Fournaise volcano on Reunion Island. voyagesofdiscovery.co.uk Viking Cruises: With 15 months to go until departure, Viking Cruises’ inaugural World Cruise is 80% sold out. Passengers have spent up tp £78,000 for 141 days at sea, visiting five continents, 35 countries and 66 ports. With the average commission touching £12,000 it’s a profitable opportunity for the trade. Viking now has three identical ocean-going vessels, with a free excursion in almost every port. vikingcruises.co.uk

Where to book it

Clockwise from top left: looking out to sea from the ship; SeaDream is offering cruises for wine lovers; Fred Olsen’s Boudicca; a Star Clippers ship

 CRUISE & MARITIME VOYAGES – 0845 430 0274 CMV’s Marco Polo departs Rosyth July 12 on a 20-night cruise visiting the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland. The cruise provides the opportunity to enjoy some of the world’s most stunning and natural landscapes. Save up to 20% plus the second passenger goes half-price.

Agents wanting to pre-book excursions for their cruise passengers and earn some healthy commission should check out cruisingexcursions. com which features around 12,000 excursions at more than 700 ports worldwide. New excursions for 2017 include a half-day 4WD mountain tour of Tahiti, costing £76pp, and a three-hour tour of Tauranga, New Zealand, for £51 or a half-day tour of Skagway, Alaska, from £75pp. Those signing up will explore the White Pass while looking for wildlife.

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six of the best

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SLOVENIA 1 LAKE BLED

5

1

6

3

SLOVENIA

2

4

Small but perfectly formed, cornflake-shaped Slovenia combines the Alps and the Med, forests and plains in a green, welcoming destination of classic highlights, says Julie Baxter

2POS

Sheltered by picturesque mountains, Lake Bled is a stunning natural attraction with Slovenia’s only island at its heart. This island has been the symbol of Bled, a lakeside town, for centuries and features widely in the brochures. The town found fame at the beginning of the 20th century as the most beautiful health spa of the then Austrian Empire, and is now a great base for walking, boating and relaxation. A trip to St Mary’s Church, now on the island, is a must.

Created by the Pivka River, this incredible karst cave system near Postojna in southwestern Slovenia stretches for over 24,000m. A mini-train takes visitors deep inside to explore a network of stalactites, stalagmites and caverns. It is the most-visited tourist attraction in the country and can be visited on a day tour in combination with nearby Predjama Castle. The castle, complete with secret passages and historic tales of knights and sieges, is perched on a cliff high above the Inner Carniola region.

WHERE TO BOOK: Balkan Holidays includes a range of three-, four- and five-star hotels at Lake Bled. A week’s half-board at the Park Hotel is priced from £535pp balkanholidays.co.uk

WHERE TO BOOK: Full-day tours operate to the caves from Ljubljana and Bled and include the castle or time in the wine-growing areas from around £100pp.

2

LJUBLJANA

Slovenia’s capital is small, pretty and easy to get around. Much of its central area is pedestrianised and visitor attractions include the remains of the Roman city of Emona; the old city centre with its medieval castle and beautiful Baroque façades, decorative portals and uneven roofs; the picturesque bridges which cross the river Ljubljanica, and the vast Tivoli park. FLIGHTS: Urbana is the Ljubljana Tourist Card, a combined ticket which gives access to 15+ attractions, travel on city buses, a guided city tour and 24-hour internet access. Priced from €20.70pp.

5LAKE BOHINJ

While Lake Bled is Slovenia’s star attraction, Lake Bohinj is the country’s largest lake and many rate it higher for its peace, serenity and authentically natural attractions. The combination of the still water and steep mountain faces that rise from its northern side create a brooding, eerie calm. It’s a top spot for hiking and boating and is located close to the town Ribcev Laz, 26km west of Lake Bled. WHERE TO BOOK: The Alpine Lakes Of Slovenia tour by Explore! is an eight-day day trip that allows clients to spend a whole day marvelling at the beauty of Lake Bohinji. Prices start at £1,059, including flights and accommodation. explore.co.uk

4WINE-GROWING AREAS 6ŠKOCJAN CAVES Slovenia has a perfect climate and soil conditions for wine-growing and produces up to 100 million litres of wine each year. Almost 70% of the output is ranked as ‘quality’ and ‘premium’ wine so they are well worth a try. The key wine-growing areas are Podravje and Primorska, with Posavje a smaller region renown for its special wine, cvicek, which is of a lower quality and low strength but is thought to have beneficial medicinal properties.

WHERE TO BOOK: Intrepid Travel has a Real Food Adventure – Slovenia & Croatia tour from £1,530pp. including accommodation. Clients can visit vineyards and taste Slovenian wine (refosk). intrepidtravel.com

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This underground cave network, one of three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Slovenia, includes astonishing natural halls. The Martel Hall is one of the largest in Europe at 16 metres high, 120 metres wide and 300 metres long. There are also natural bridges and windows and various stalagmite shapes.

WHERE TO BOOK: A guided tour of the underground canyon is available via the park’s website. Prices start at €16pp but travellers can pay an additional €5 to follow the Reka River underground for stunning views of hidden waterfalls. park-skocjanske-jame.si/en


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namibia

contrasts stark

With beautiful and extreme environments and unique safari options, Namibia is a Southern African option with a difference, says Stuart Forster

D

usk causes the azure sky above the NamibRand Nature Reserve to glow golden before burnishing everdeepening tones of salmon then purple. Only the merest wisps of cloud scar the otherwise flawless evening sky. No wonder this location, midway between Windhoek and Lüderitz, is so loved by ‘astrophotographers’. Africa’s first International Dark Sky Reserve is sufficiently distant from Namibia’s cities to be free from light pollution. The heavens above us soon turn as dark as the black stripes of the resident Burchell’s zebras, which kick-up red-tinted sand as they roam this private game reserve sprawling more than 2,000 square kilometres. Should I ever film a sci-fi movie that’s set on some distant planet I’ll keep this desolate yet beautiful place in mind as a potential location. The sparse, sun-parched grass that manages to survive here is pocked by craterreminiscent patches, known as fairy circles.

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namibia

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UFOs or meteorites were rumoured to be their cause until a scientist pinned the blame on something distinctly earthier – sand termites. Balloon flights, I’m told, are the best way of viewing the remarkable circles. Out in the darkness to the west we’re bordered by Namib-Naukluft National Park, the world’s oldest desert. In the opposite direction the Nubib Mountains rise from the plain. The clarity of the night sky and panoramic views of the horizon make NamibRand— which translates from German, the language of this country’s colonial settlers, as ‘Edge of the Namib’ —ideal for photographing night skies. Like elephants herding round a waterhole a small group of us huddle together, learning how to capture images of the twinkling cloud of celestial bodies up in the Milky Way. I look on at an experienced astrophotographer’s hefty tripod, complete with a tracking device for following stars as the earth turns on its axis. Perhaps it would have been simpler just to view the night sky from the comfort of my bed while listening to distant animal calls? After all, sleeping under the stars is an option in NamibRand and elsewhere in the country.

Free to roam Arid dunes in the vast Namib Desert contrast with the waterways and lush vegetation of the Zambezi Region in the country’s north. Dramatic, markedly varied landscapes and a rich diversity of wildlife count among Namibia’s key draws. To gain a cross-section of impressions, travellers should plan at least two to three weeks in Namibia. Though it’s a year-round destination, the temperate dry season, from May to October, is best for viewing wildlife. Visitor numbers from the UK are currently experiencing double-digit annual growth. Namibia Tourist Board’s (travelnamibia.co.uk) online Travel Uni training platform, Namibia Know It All (namibiaknowitall.com), incentivises agents

Above (clockwise from left) a giraffe family; the Epupa Falls in the Kunene Region; Namibia’s famous dunes. Above: Zebra.

to get to know this sparsely populated country, and the minimal medical requirements. which is roughly four times the size of the UK. She says: “Namibia also satisfies the Self-drive holidays are proving increasingly adventurous and the romantic, with its starlit popular and pre-planned routes make skies and stylish accommodation. It is home exploration easy. The Arid Eden Route provides to some of the most iconic species of Africa opportunities to spend time with bushmen and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the north-east and to view legacies of on the planet and is one of the few countries German colonialism in and around Lüderitz. in Africa accessible to be explored by selfThe Omulunga Palm Route skirts the border drive: witness vast landscapes, the oldest with Angola while the Four Rivers Route snakes sand dunes in the world, towns overtaken by through the greenery of the Zambezi Region. nature and special desert-adapted wildlife.” Says Samuel Hancock, Perfect ten Sales and Marketing Cool cat: Director at the Namibia “Namibia has fantastic Contribute to Tourist Board: “Namibia infrastructure, making it safe the conservation and is a safe destination to and popular for self-drive rehabilitation of travel around itineraries. Its diversity of cheetahs, leopards with a good landscapes is usually the main and wild dogs at the quality of AfriCat Foundation in tourism draw for visitors” infrastructure Okonjima Nature CANDICE BUCHAN, AFRICA PRODUCT MANAGER, and it offers Reserve, which RAINBOW TOURS an authentic, doubles as a popular exclusive birding location. safari experience. “That said, a Namibia Mountains of sand: Climb to the top of holiday can be more than just wildlife. ‘Big Daddy’, the world’s highest sand dune, at Sossusvlei, then explore the everAdditional itinerary options could shifting forms of the Namib Sand Sea, in incorporate hiking in the Fish River Namib-Naukluft National Park. Canyon, exploring the stunning sand Track rhino: Join tracking excursions in dunes of Sossusvlei, adventure in the Damaraland to learn about the sea or on land at Swakopmund or starendangered black rhinoceros and successfiul gazing at the NamibRand Nature Reserve.” Namibia specialist at Natural World Safaris, efforts to conserve it. Look up: 114 species of mammal Arabella Worthington, thinks it’s well suited inhabit Etosha National Park, making to families because of its variety of activities

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namibia

“Despite its vast size Namibia makes for an ideal self-drive holiday with many of the most popular attractions within striking distance of the capital, Windhoek” DAVID SUTCLIFFE, TOURS CONSULTANT, AFRICAN PRIDE

Right: A Himba child clings to its mother

Luanda

it one of Namibia’s most rewarding destinations for game drives. It’s also home to more than 300 bird species. Go deep: Hike for up to five days, to a depth of 550 metres, in the vast Fish River Canyon, the second-largest in the world after the Grand Canyon, then unwind in the naturally-heated springs at Ai Ais. No joke: Why did the elephant live in the Namib Desert? Because it successfully adapted to the arid climate. View desert elephants roaming in the Kunene Region. Hooked on Windhoek: Spend a day exploring the capital. See German colonial era landmarks, such as the Christuskirche church and Reiterdenkmal monument, then join a guided tour of Katatura township. Take off: Flights from Swakopmund give a perspective of the exposed rocks of the Spitzkoppe Mountains and the Skeleton Coast, famed for its bleached whalebones and shipwrecks. View art: Twyfelfontein, in the Kunene Region, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with around 2,000 rock engravings and paintings. The animal etchings are at least 2,000 years old.

Head into the bush: Join a three-day Bushman and Batswana Tribe Tour to spend time with San Bushmen. Learn about tribal traditions and life in the Kalahari Desert.

What’s new  Flights: A lack of direct flights from the UK – Air Namibia flies via Frankfurt – is no longer a barrier to travellers reaching Namibia. Qatar Airways (qatarairways.com) launched a direct Doha-

to Frankfurt and beyond Lusaka

Ondangwa Rundu

Windhoek

Katima Mulilo

Victoria Falls Harare

Walvis Bay

Our modern fleet of Airbuses A330 has a total passenger capacity of 244

Luderitz Oranjemund

Air Namibia operates a daily service from Frankfurt to Windhoek with connections available from UK regional airports with airline partners

Johannesburg

seats in a two-class service (economy and business). Air Namibia also operates regionally with onward connections from Windhoek to Johannesburg, Cape Town,

Cape Town

Victoria Falls, Luanda, Harare and Lusaka

Carrying the spirit of Namibia

tel: 0844 482 2317 | email: info@airnamibia.uk.com | www.airnamibia.uk.com


namibia

Windhoek service, with flights four times a week, on September 28. From October 4, Ethiopian Airlines (ethiopianairlines.com) introduces flights between Addis Ababa and Windhoek. And from October 30 KLM (klm.com) will start a threetimes-weekly Amsterdam-Windhoek service, with a 75-minute stopover in Luanda, Angola.  Accommodation: Sixteen boutique Chobe Water Villas (chobewatervillas.com) have opened in the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, which guests can explore via land and water safaris. Shipwreck Lodge (skeletoncoastlodge.com), featuring family-friendly chalets in the style of wrecked ships, is set to open early next year between the Hoarusib and Hoanib rivers in Skeleton Coast National Park. Namibia Exclusive (namibia-exclusive.com) has opened the luxury, eco-friendly Xaudum Lodge in the remote Khaudum National Park, which is known for its herds of elephants, red hartebeests and kudus. Omatendeka Lodge is set to follow and will feature nature walks and cultural visits to tribal areas as well as game drives.  Attractions: Walking tours are now offered on the game reserve near the recentlyrenovated Etosha Village (etosha-village.com), providing opportunities to view wildlife at the waterhole from hides and a lookout deck.

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Tourism talk “The luxury market continues to grow in Namibia but we are also seeing the three- and four-star market making a comeback, assisted by a number of new hotels opening in Swakopmund. The average length of stays is also rising and now stands at 17 nights. “For 2016-17, the Nambia Tourist Board will continue to work closely with the trade. A key event will be our Network Namibia roadshow in March 2017 [with events in London, Edinburgh and Chester], along with a number of trade fam trips. “The future is looking bright for Namibia, with the country appearing in an exciting television opportunity this winter which we are sure will ignite interest in the country. Running alongside this will be a large-scale campaign which the trade will not want to miss!” Samuel Hancock, Sales and Marketing Director, Namibia Tourist Board

Where to book it  RAINBOW TOURS – 020 7666 1266 The operator’s 14-day Classic Namibia SelfDrive Holiday provides B&B accommodation on a route taking in Etosha National Park, Swakopmund and Sossusvlei. Guests also have the opportunity to see big cats and go rhino tracking. Priced from £2,499pp, the deal includes flights and car hire.

“Agents should recommend this destination for anyone seeking adventure, spectacular scenery, traditional culture, and, of course, the famous wildlife of lions, leopards, cheetahs and elephants, to name just a few” LOUISE HEATLEY, HEAD OF PRODUCT AND CONTRACTING, GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS

rainbowtours.co.uk

 GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS – 0800 240 4470 The 16-day Namibia and Pride of Africa escorted tour departs on May 2 2017. It includes six nights aboard the luxury Pride of Africa hotel train, game drives in Etosha and Sossusvlei, and a guided tour of Windhoek. From £5,995pp including flights. greatrail.com

 EXPERT AFRICA – 020 8232 9777 Starting and ending in Windhoek, the 14-night Caracal self-drive safari takes in a variety of landscapes in norther and southern Namibia, including four nights viewing the wildlife in Etosha. From £1,229pp excluding flights. expertafrica.com 

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Clockwise from top left: safari at sunset; Fish River Canyon; Christuskirche in Windhoek; a petrified tree in the desert.


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Sydney Harbour

F

ly from London to Sydney via vibrant Tokyo with ANA, a five-star airline which offers famous Japanese hospitality and premium comfort en-route to this world-famous city. Start your clients’ journey to this must-see city from London Heathrow with ANA and they will experience the exceptional service and style of a five-star airline. For those looking to continue in style, in Sydney there is no shortage of luxurious places to stay, dine and explore. Plus, continue the journey into wider New South Wales and they will see what more the state can offer the discerning traveller.

Food & Wine Sydney is home to some of Australia’s best restaurants, including Quay, which overlooks the stunning Sydney Opera House, and Bennelong, which offers modern Australian cuisine beneath its iconic sails. Visitors can stay in the city centre for five-star properties with fantastic harbour views or try new luxury accommodation in the city’s neighbourhoods, such as The

Old Clare Hotel in Chippendale or the Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay. Just a two-hour drive from Sydney is the Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine region. A number of guided day tours are offered from Sydney, including Gourmet Getaway Tours, which are accompanied by an experienced guide and a chef who cooks on location and serves matching wines. Visitors can also hop from vineyard to vineyard by helicopter tour, enjoying local wines, private tastings and decadent meals along the way.

Coastal Experiences For a unique coastal experience, book your customers a trip to Lord Howe Island, a World Heritage-listed enclave situated 630km off the NSW coast. Less than a two hour flight from Sydney, only 400 visitors are allowed on the island at any one time, offering a truly relaxing paradise. Guests can dive on pristine reef in crystal clear waters or admire the scenery from the summit of Mt Gower – at only 11km long, it’s easy to explore the whole island.


advertorial

Pretty Beach House, Bouddi Peninsula

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Lord Howe Island

Hunter Valley

Boeing 777

Business Class service

Nature & Wildlife Those looking to immerse themselves in the natural NSW scenery, can escape to Paperbark Camp near Jervis Bay to stay in luxury safari-style tents amongst soaring Eucalyptus trees in quiet coastal bushland. Alternatively, just 20 minutes north of Sydney by seaplane is the ultra-luxe Pretty Beach House. With just four rooms, this luxury lodge offers guests an exclusive retreat on the beautiful Bouddi Peninsula.

Five-star style ANA - All Nippon Airways – is Japan’s only five-star airline and Japan’s largest airline too, operating a daily service from London Heathrow to Sydney via Haneda Airport, Tokyo’s most central airport. ANA is one of only eight airlines in the world to have been awarded the five-star rating from Skytrax.

Five-star service ANA’s renowned service is all by design. The ethos of ’OMOTENASHI (Japanese Hospitality)’ brings care and attention to detail into everything

In-flight meal by ‘The Connoisseurs’

it does, and has led ANA to prevail over its 5-star competitors, receiving ‘World’s Best Airport Services’ and ‘Best Airline Staff in Asia’ at the 2016 World Airline Awards.

Discover true comfort ANA’s business class is thoughtfully designed for premium comfort. Staggered seats with direct aisle access provide 50% more space than conventional layouts and recline fully into a horizontal bed, ensuring business class passengers get the relaxation that they deserve. Premium Economy customers can access Business Class Lounges at Heathrow, Haneda and Sydney airports.

Connoisseur dining ANA provides an exclusive inflight dining experience. A team of famous Michelin-starred chefs and culinary experts, titled The Connoisseurs, join with ANA chefs to provide menus from both eastern and western origin. All served with five-star service to revolutionise dining at 30,000ft. Find out more at www.ana.co.uk/sydney


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northern australia

spots top

Spanning two states and one territory, Australia’s far north is packed with adventures and memorable experiences, says Mark Stratton

W

heel-spinning along the ochre dirt track my Landcruiser exits the dense eucalyptus bush and splash-lands in Cockatoo Creek. Rainbow lorikeets ascend from their perches in a squawking frenzy and a saltwater crocodile stirs on the riverbank to provide several anxious moments as I plough through the deep murky water. This would not be a good time to break down. During a 10-day 4WD excursion up northern Queensland’s remote Cape York peninsula, I bush-camp by waterfalls, listen to the dreamtime myths of Aboriginal elders, eat fresh barracuda and pose by lamppost-sized termite mounds. For those craving adventure, northern Australia doesn’t disappoint. Yet these days it’s no longer the rough uncut diamond of tourism it was several decades back. Finesse

has been added to Australia’s northern outback in the form of extra comfort without compromising on adventure and wilderness. Travellers can now traverse the red centre on the first-class Ghan train; experience ancient rock-art interpreted by professional Aboriginal guides and luxuriate at five-star properties like the £950-per-night Berkeley River Lodge.

Covering the distance “Self-drive is certainly important to our market and we’ve highlighted it in past campaigns,” says Steven Balderston, Marketing Executive of Tourism Northern Territory, recalling its recent sponsorship of a Top Gear episode. “The commitment by the NT government over time means we’re left with all main roads being sealed, which means our natural beauty and world-class facilities are easily accessible,”

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he adds. “Driving is a great way to experience NT and helps economically by encouraging length of stay and regional dispersal.” Complementing self-drive’s success has been cruising’s popularity, particularly along the Kimberley seacoast between Broome and Darwin. The Kimberley is a sun-baked range of spectacular gorges and desert backed by a craggy wildlife-rich coast. “Cruising is a massive growth area,” comments Elen Thomas, PR Manager for Tourism Western Australia. “ WA leads the rest of the nation in terms of growth in the cruise sector, with visiting ships generating more than £158million last year.” Simmering above the Tropic of Capricorn, Australia’s Far North region encompasses north Western Australia, Northern Territory’s Top End and Queensland’s Tropical North. Visitors come


northern australia

seeking ancient mountains, 40,000-year-old Perfect ten All at sea: Kimberley cruises are making Aboriginal cultures, coastal rainforests, deserts, waves as this untamed coastline wows coral-rich reefs and national parks alive with with whale and dolphin sightings. spring-heeled marsupials and exotic birdlife. Dreamtime dances: The bi-annual There are a number of gateways. Cairns is Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival returns the hub for the northern Great Barrier Reef in 2017. It showcases dance and song from Cape and 4WD expeditions up Cape York; Alice York’s best indigenous dancers. Springs and Darwin offer access to NT’s iconic The other reef: Overshadowed by the Uluru and superb national parks; whilst WA’s Great Barrier Reef, WA’s coral equivalent coastal resort of Broome is a staging point is World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef: for cruises and self-drive into the Kimberley. 260km-long and the premier place to dive with “Our top tip is to remind clients that Darwin whale sharks. is the closest gateway to Australia from Kakadu & Katherine: NT’s most the UK,” says Tourism NT’s Balderston. famous national parks offer bushTravelling around is doable by buses and walking, kayaking and aboriginal rock paintings. low-cost internal flights. For example, Skytrans Island life: Bearing no resemblance to flies all over Cape York, linking it to Cairns; mainland Australia, the Torres Strait while Kings Canyon Resort recently introduced Islands nestle above Cape York, with a Pacific a new daily bus transfer from Uluru to the Island culture and fascinating WWII history. unmissable Kings Canyon from £39 one-way. Bush tucker trials: Forget Ant ‘n’ Dec’s But northern Australia’s true magic lays platters and sample lean cuts of kangaroo, off-the-beaten track so encourage clients ostrich or crocodile. Uptuyu Aboriginal Adventures to self-drive or join guided 4WD tours. (uptuyu.com.au) runs bush “For those food tours. wanting to get Cargo cruise: back to nature, a “Cape York possesses some of Experience camping trip allows Australia’s most exciting fourCape York’s remote you to experience Pacific coastline on a incredible scenic wheel drives taking in UNESCOdiversity,” enthuses listed rock art in Quinken Country three-night cruise with SeaSwift’s Rebecca Turner, and freshwater waterfalls where cargo-passenger ship Product Manager you can swim free from between Cairns and for Gold Medal. crocodiles” Torres Strait Islands “Over the last KARLINA SEE KEE, ISLAND GIRL DISCOVERY (seaswift.com.au). year we’ve seen a Red rails: rise in the number The Ghan of people joining touring programmes catering to all group sizes,” train is a classic 2976km adventure through the Red Centre from Adelaide to Darwin via Alice she adds. Gold Medal’s ‘Untamed Kimberley’ group tour features crocodile-spotting, diamond Springs (greatsouthernrail.com.au). Northern limits: Leave behind the Great mines and visits to Aboriginal communities. Barrier Reef’s honeypot areas for the Three weeks is ample to ‘do’ northern über-exclusive Lizard Island with its world WA and NT together. From Broome to Alice famous ‘Cod Hole’ dive. Springs the route cuts across the Kimberley Field of light: Illuminating Uluru (Ayers range via an old cattle drover’s track, the Rock), British artist Bruce Munro’s Gibb River Road, and into NT where drivers projected Field of Light installation continues can explore fabulous birdlife and wetlands in until March 31 2017. Kakadu National Park and Katherine Gorge. Thereafter NT offers well-signposted What’s new driving routes like the Explorer’s Way  Airlines: Philippine Airlines (philippineairlines. running south from Darwin to Alice Springs com) now operates a twice-weekly arrival through Australia’s so-called ‘Red Centre’. from Manila to Cairns, connecting Few UK tour operators feature the thrilling with daily flights from Heathrow. 4WD epic I undertook from Cairns to  Accommodation: Part of WA’s ‘Camping with Australia’s northernmost tip of Cape York. Custodians’ initiative has seen a new campsite The drive follows coastal rainforest into open on the Gibb River Road, owned by the Cooktown, a historic gold-mining town, aboriginal Imintji community (imintji.com.au). before tracing compacted dirt roads through  Attractions: This year’s popular addition to WA’s vast eucalyptus stands, where roadhouses Ningaloo Reef has been swimming with humpback and bush campsites provide food and whales tours, running July-October. accommodation. Crocs lurk in the creeks Multi-million dollar Cairns Aquarium and wallabies bound across roads.

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Main image: Kakadu National Park; Above from top: the natural attractions of a Northern Terrritory watering hole; indigenous rock art and Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef

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northern australia

“To avoid backtracking the same road to Cape York’s tip from Cairns, take a ferry to spend several days on the Torres Strait Islands before freighting your vehicle back south onboard the weekly Trinity Bay vessel” MARK STRATTON

(cairnsaquarium.com.au) opens April 2017 providing a world-class facility showcasing Tropical Northern Queensland’s incredible marine diversity.  Operators: French cruise company Ponant (en. ponant.com) adds Kimberley cruises in 2017 on the 132-cabin vessel, L’Austral. Down Under Cruise & Dive (downunderdive.com.au) has a new luxury 300-passenger vessel, Evolution, out of Cairns for trips to the outer barrier reef. Native Torres islander, Karlina See Kee’s Island Girl Discovery (islandgirldiscovery.com. au), offers Cape York 4WD adventures and bespoke Great Barrier Reef diving trips. Helispirit (www.helispirit.com.au) has begun a mega-luxurious six-day helicopter safaris exploring the Kimberley, priced from £9600.

Tourism talk “Up to March 2016, UK arrivals to WA showed a 10.6% increase on the previous year. The self-drive market is key to WA. Each year approximately one million visitors take camping or caravanning road trips around WA. New car hire firms such as Crikey Campers offer 4WD vehicles with high-end safari trailers for those wanting a luxury camping

T A H I T I

L O S

A N G E L E S

P A R I S

experience on their driving holiday. Importantly they don’t charge one-way drop off fees. “The WA government has committed £23 million in recent years to introduce and upgrade 450 campgrounds and visitor facilities along popular drive routes, including working with aboriginal communities to develop facilities on indigenous lands. We plan to run fam trips in 2017. To keep abreast of opportunities travel agents should sign up to the Aussie Specialist Programme” (aussiespecialist.com/en-gb). Elen Thomas, PR Manager, Tourism WA

Where to book it  GOLD MEDAL – 0800 0147777 The 11-day Untamed Kimberley group tour from Darwin to Broome crosses the Kimberley into the NT. It is priced £3,899 (May 7 2017 departure) including flights and many meals and excursions. goldmedal.co.uk  SILVERSEA – 0844 251 0837 A 10-day voyage onboard luxury expedition ship, Silver Discoverer, sailing between Broome and Darwin, focuses on zodiac trips into the Kimberly. The April 6 2017 departure costs £6,050pp, International flights not included. silversea.com 

T O K Y O

A U C K L A N D

S Y D N E Y

One Name. Many Stories.

Your Tahitian experience starts right from boarding

Contact us on 0844 482 1675 or resa@airtahitinui.co.uk Weekly departures to Papeete (PPT) from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Los Angeles (LAX) with connecting flights available from London with partner airlines.

w w w. a i r t a h i t i n u i . c o . u k


israel

two time for

Twin Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for a trip that combines modern city vibes with ancient and biblical history, says Jeannine Williamson

D

r Shakshuka may deal in meals rather than medicine but as the namesake dish arrives at the table it is just what the doctor ordered. Eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce are a typical Israeli breakfast dish, but shakshuka is equally good for lunch or any time of the day. In our case the bustling Tel Aviv eatery, with a plethora of pots and pans suspended from the ceiling, is a perfect place for brunch after a late night spent at the city’s regenerated old port where the wide wooden boardwalk leads to modern bars, restaurants and shops. It hadn’t taken us long to discover Israel’s coastal city is a vibrant 24-hour metropolis packed with contrasting sights and experiences. On our first morning in Tel Aviv our guide takes us to the Bauhaus district, characterised by the functional, clean lines of the modernist architecture built between the 1930s and 1950s. The afternoon is spent meandering through Carmel Market, stopping to sample slivers of the delicious sweet confection, halva. In historic Jaffa, overlooking the Mediterranean on the tip of Tel Aviv, cats fed by local nuns languished contentedly on the sunny doorsteps of craft

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israel

NOAM CHEN FOR THE ISRAELI MINISTRY OF TOURISM

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“With the buzz of Tel Aviv, visiting Bedouin communities and floating in the Dead Sea, there’s a growing interest from younger, active travellers who want to explore history and culture in a fun way” BRIAN YOUNG, MANAGING DIRECTOR, G ADVENTURES

Opening page: The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem. This page (from right): Looking towards the old port of Jaffa, Tel Aviv; The Western Wall, Jerusalem; the Dead Sea.

workshops. At the Wishing Bridge we find our respective zodiac signs and gaze across the golden beach curling into the distance. Legend has it that dreams come true if you put your hand on the symbol and make a wish. After two days in Tel Aviv it is time to move on, and within an hour we arrive in Jerusalem ready to experience more than 3,000 years of history in Israel’s capital and largest city.

Two cities, one break A big selling point is Israel’s relatively small size: it takes seven hours to drive north to south and only one hour east to west – so it’s easy to pack a lot into a visit. It offers a host of diverse and unique experiences, from famous Biblical sites to modern city culture. Visitors can explore one of its two main cities in the morning and be out on a desert adventure or floating in the iconic Dead Sea in the afternoon. Known as ‘The Land of Milk and Honey’, Israel’s food is fresh and tasty: from Jaffa oranges and cheap falafel stands to gourmet restaurants. Similarly, there’s a wide choice of accommodation, from kibbutz communities to upmarket properties such as Jerusalem’s landmark King David Hotel, operated by Dan Hotels, one of Israel’s oldest chains. The Israel Government Tourist Office’s (IGTO) new Two Cities, One Break initiative means there’s never been a better time for agents to sell Tel Aviv – the airline gateway with a flying time from London of less than five hours –as a twin-centre with Jerusalem. Offering incentives to see both cities on the same trip, clients booking at least two nights in selected hotels in each city receive a special

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benefits card with free entry into six attractions including the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, a tasting tour in the city’s Sarona Market, Jerusalem’s Israel Museum and the spectacular evening sound and light show at the Tower of David. Already popular with culture vultures and religious tourists – Jerusalem is the spiritual centre of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths – Israel is equally attractive to families and younger clients. G Adventures has seen a 70% increase in sales for its Israel Explorer itinerary, which includes a night in a kibbutz, lunch with a local family and visit to a Bedouin community, along with time in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Managing Director, Brian Young, said: “We attribute this to growing interest from younger, more active travellers who want explore history and culture with like-minded travellers. Israel is a fun destination, as well as being educational.”

Perfect ten Panoramic viewpoint: Overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City, the Mount of Olives provides panoramic views of all the landmarks and is the ideal starting point for a city tour. Western Wall: Prayers written on pieces of paper are pushed into the wall which is all that remains of Jerusalem’s Second Temple. Via Dolorosa: Latin for ‘the way of suffering’, the route follows the path that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. It ends inside the Church of Holy Sepulchre. Swim without sinking: A float in the salty Dead Sea - actually an inland lake that’s around an hour’s drive from Jerusalem - is a ‘must do’ experience. Climb a mountain: King Herod’s mountaintop fortress, Masada, is available as an excursion from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and accessible by cable car or the winding ‘snake path’. Note Neve Tzedek: Tel Aviv’s first Jewish quarter is one of the city’s most beautiful neighbourhoods. It has a village-like feel with streets lined with boutique shops and art galleries. White City wonders: Rothschild Boulevard is Tel Aviv’s elegant main


israel

thoroughfare with the world’s large concentration of distinctive Bauhaus buildings that led to Tel Aviv being called the ‘White City’. Spectacular sunsets: Watch the sunset in Jaffa, the ancient Arab port nestling at the southern end of the golden beach of Tel Aviv. Haggle for bargains: Open daily except Saturday, Carmel Market is Tel Aviv’s biggest marketplace with one long, narrow street lined with colourful stalls piled high with spices, food, clothes and souvenirs. Paint the town red: Tel Aviv’s nightlife is legendary. With many bars staying open until sunrise, you can part all night.

NOAM CHEN FOR THE ISRAELI MINISTRY OF TOURISM

What’s new

29

and Manchester, Israel is truly an easy-to-get-todestination. Year on year, we have seen a 7% increase on visitor arrivals to Israel from the UK. “This year a large focus of our marketing campaign has been geared towards promoting twin-city breaks to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Our latest campaign, Two Cities. One Break has seen us launch twin-city holidays to Israel, which can be enhanced with dinners for two, attraction entry and concert or theatre tickets, with tourism partners such as BA Holidays, Superstar Holidays, Travelink and more.” Naama Oryan-Kaplan, Director of the UK and Ireland, Israel Government Tourist Office

Where to book it

YONATAN SINDEL FOR THE ISRAELI MINISTRY OF TOURISM

 ON THE GO TOURS – 020 7371 1113. The seven Marketing: The IGTO has partnered with night guided Biblical Lands tour, taking in Tel selected tour Aviv and Jerusalem, operators for the starts from £1,299pp “Travel agents should never Two Cities. One for travel in 2016/17, underestimate the appeal of this including half-board, Break (citiesbreak.com) campaign, promoting hotels, flights and unique country. Visitors can Tel Aviv and combine world-class history and transfers. onthegotours.com Jerusalem as twinheritage in Jerusalem with 21st  BATTERED centre destinations. century city style in the SUITCASE– 0800 Clients receive cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv” 689 1586 a benefits card TED WAKE, JOINT MANAGING DIRECTOR, A bespoke four-night worth £100, which KIRKER HOLIDAYS B&B break in Tel Aviv includes free entry and Jerusalem, which into six attractions. can be tailored to clients’ requirements, is priced  Hotels: The 40-room Poli House (thepolihouse.com) design hotel has opened from £1,085pp, including flights, private transfers in a restored Tel Aviv Bauhaus building. and entrance fees. battered-suitcase.com The 250-room five-star Isrotel Residence  LEGER HOLIDAYS – 01709 787 463 Jerusalem (isrotelresidence.com) is scheduled The seven-night half-board escorted Highlights to open by the end of 2016. of the Holyland itinerary, including stays in Tel Situated in a former convent and hospital Aviv and Jerusalem, is priced from £1,299pp in Jaffa, the W Hotel (wtelavivresidences. com) opens in May 2017 and will feature departing November 3, including flights. a restaurant in the vaulted basement. leger.co.uk   Tour Operators: Monarch (monarch.co.uk) has added the four-star Dan Boutique Jerusalem Hotel to its programme. For 2017 Cox & Kings (coxandkings. co.uk) has revamped its five-night Journey to Jerusalem itinerary to stay in fivestar accommodation throughout. Battered Suitcase (battered-suitcase. com) has introduced optional visits to Tel Aviv’s Olympic Experience Museum as part of its bespoke tour programme.  Tourist information: An English language virtual tourist office (virtual.goisrael.com) has been launched. Accessible via email, Facebook and WhatsApp, it includes information on hotels, transport, attractions and events.

Tourism talk Above, from top: the Church of Mary Madga, Jerusalem; colourful kippah hats on a market stall; studying the Tanakh (Hebrew bible). Right: A Dead Sea mud spa session

“With El Al, easyJet, British Airways and Monarch Airlines offering regular, direct flights to Tel Aviv from London

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ITAMAR GRINBERG FOR THE ISRAELI MINISTRY OF TOURISM


TA L K I N G S H O P

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

Saint Lucia showcase SPOTLIGHT ON...

THE Saint Lucia Tourist Board enjoyed a week-long series of events during the fifth annual Saint Lucia Showcase in London. Hosted by Dominic Fedee, Saint Lucia's Minister of Tourism, the week was attended by over 150 key members of the UK travel trade. Those guests attended a number of events including a cocktail and chocolate evening at Hotel Chocolat, a two-day operators' convention and a gala awards event at the Hilton London Syon Park Hotel. Pictured is Dominici Fedee (left), with Tony Plummer from Tropical Sky and carnival dancers. stluciauk.org

Contents 32 Barbara Charlton 34 Been There, Done That 42 On Location: Mozambique

Training days AUTUMN AGENT TRAINING

UNTIL November members of The Global Travel Group can sign up for free training days across the UK. The events provide an opportunity to undergo one-onone sessions with suppliers. Two luxury themed events are set to take place in Leeds (22) and Crawley (23). globaltravelgroup.com

Ama Rewards

Gold Medal prizes GOLD MEDAL is giving agents the chance to win a Golden Treasure Chest of prizes worth up to £25,000 through its latest incentive. The chest contains a three-night holiday to Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, for two with business class flights, a gold iPhone 6S, £1,000 Goldsmiths jewellery voucher, gold bullion bar worth

t vely cricke Cricket, lo

AMAWATERWAYS AGENT REWARDS

£850, six bottles of gold leaf champagne and more 'gold prizes'. Agents must collect golden keys (one per qualifying booking) to be in with a chance of winning. Bookings must be made between September 1 and October 31 and booking references emailed to GoldenTreasureChest@goldmedal.co.uk to claim golden keys. Aditionally,

THE Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority held a media versus trade cricket tournament in September at Richmond Cricket Club. The match was followed by an Antiguan BBQ with dancers and a steel band. Pictured with the trade team are Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority's Cherrie Osborne (right) and Jean Marc Flambert (centre). visitantiguabarbuda.com

agents can receive up to £20 Farebank Rewards on selected Dubai packages to spend in high street shops. At the end of the incentive four agents with the most keys and one wildcard will be invited to a Michelin-starred dinner where the grand prize winner will be revealed. goldmedal.co.uk

THE popular agent loyalty scheme rewarding agents for bookings from AmaWaterways will run for another 12 months. Agents should obtain their loyalty card to log booking references and claim prizes at various booking levels. amawaterways.com

Keep in mind...

7-

9 November WORLD TRAVEL MARKET 2016 The UK's leading global event for the travel industry is back for 2016 at ExCel London. It provides an opportunity for the trade to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business. Over 50,000 trade professionals attend the unmissable event. wtmlondon.com

COMING UP & ENDING SOON

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November - 3 October SEYCHELLES ROADSHOW Four events are pencilled in for London (October 31), Stratford-upon-Avon (November 1), Oxford (November 2) and Bath (November 3). The London event includes lunch and a training session, the others a dinner and presentations. Register at info@destination-events. More online at sellingtravel.co.uk/events

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FA C E T O FA C E 32

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Barbara Charlton

 Barbara.Charlton@the sussextravelcompany.co.uk.  01403 276684

Islands in the sun Weekly updates straight to your inbox!

“The perfect light, as the sun creeps above the horizon, makes me wish I could paint watercolours” I HAVE written this column in many places over the years but never anywhere quite as peaceful as next to a beautiful villa pool, high in the hills of pine-clad Alonyssos – until this column, that is. I arrived in this Greek haven via Skiathos and Skopelos, two charming, quiet islands. I would love to be able to carry on island hopping indefinitely, but alas will be back in Blighty all too soon.

GROWING CLIENT BASE Last month I mentioned that the Sussex Travel Company is getting a growing number of clients from a retirement development in Horsham, and many have already booked their third and fourth holidays with us since we opened in January. Soon after joining the team I had a U.S. National Parks enquiry from one of my long-standing clients. I had to do a lot of research for the couple, for whom I have booked three previous trips over the years. This one was for a three-week trip in June next year. The team at Travelpack were brilliant in getting the accommodations I wanted, including some small inns in the clients' ball park budget. The couple were very happy and the booking was a good one so early into my new job.

client asked me about doing an RV road trip in the USA with their eight-year-old daughter. They really had no idea where they wanted to visit, but I had a head start from my recent work. Travelpack were again my first port of call and the fabulous Julie Mullin there got me a quick quote. But my client then wanted to compare my suggestion to doing a similar thing with car hire and accommodation instead. So it was back to route planner for me to work out what was feasible time wise – and most of it was [feasible], except for a big day or two driving through the Nevada desert to get to Lake Tahoe. So I suggested instead that they return their car to Salt Lake City and fly to Reno where they could spend a few days relaxing at Zephyr Cove by Lake Tahoe. With lots of lake-based activities to do there it was an ideal solution. Julie took the extra work in her stride, contacting her ground handlers. My client is very happy with the quote and is even considering extending by another week, adding the Pacific Coast Highway down to San Diego. Bear with me Julie! Whilst I have been here in Greece my colleagues, Tanya and Helen, attended the annual Caribtours brochure launch and awards at Claridges in London. I was sorry to miss it as Caribtours is a great supporter of the trade. As I write this I have five more days here followed by another three back on Skiathos. Time for another dip, I think!

USA TRIP PLANNING That enquiry and all the research I put into it paid repeat dividends when another

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British style; worldwide reach

We visited Manchester this summer for a Selling Travel Dialogue with Riviera Travel. This escorted tour and river cruise specialist prides itself on its close relationship with the travel trade and was on-hand to explain what it can offer. Agents took home a host of prizes including a place on a fam to India!

second-biggest river cruise provider in the UK, with the highest repeat booking ratio in both sectors. Agents can browse product from six brochures covering European and worldwide escorted tours, holidays for solo travellers, European river cruises, Asian river cruises, tall ship cruises and Dalmatian yacht cruises.

THE FACTS

RIVER CRUISING FOR BRITS

restaurants. A bottle of wine onboard is about 18 Euros. There are no surcharges on a Riviera cruise but tipping is not included. Ccustomers can tip what they wish and staff provide a guide on request. Wifi is also included. Next year Riviera will launch four new all-suite ships: the Emily Bronte, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde and the Douro Elegance in Portugal.

Riviera Travel started out in the 1980s by selling holidays through newspaper travel club offers; it began selling through the trade in 2012. Since then the company has fully embraced agents and is committed to helping independent agents. Riviera doesn’t sell through multiples, promises never to artificially inflate prices and will never offer lower prices online. “There is only one price per product," says Joseph Grimley, Head of Agency Sales at Riviera, “meaning your customers will never speak to a fellow traveller and discover they paid more for the same holiday”. Riviera is the UK’s largest overseas escorted tour operator and the

Riviera’s fleet of river cruise boats are all five-star, with the exception of one four-star vessel. A unique selling point is that the boats and service on offer are designed with British customers in mind. Itineraries are slowed down (compared to whistle-stop tours typically enjoyed by American and Australian travellers) and the food and drink is tailored to British tastes – including being able to enjoy a cup of PG Tips in your cabin! There is also free dinner seating and a smartcasual dress guide. Drinks are not included in Riviera packages, purely because river cruises most often dock in the centre of the cities they visit, giving cruisers access to a plethora of local bars and

Top European escorted tours include Classical Spain, Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian coast and Montenegro and a short break to Rome. Further afield, South Africa is a top seller, with Riviera taking more Brits to the country than any other operator. One of Riviera’s greatest USPs, according to Grimley, is its tour leaders.: “Our tour managers are well paid, so they won’t sidetrack you into a local factory, plus they are incredibly knowledgeable and go

TOURS THAT IMMERSE

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above and beyond to keep customers happy, even dining with solo travellers when it’s welcome.” A new brochure for solo travellers will offer six tours for 2017, including South Africa, Sri Lanka and India, and offer tailored details such as a welcome dinner on the first night to get the group acquainted. New European destinations for 2017 include Helsinki, Tallin, Slovenia and Ireland. riveratravel.co.uk


BEEN THERE

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done that

Scenic's 1980s birthday bash

EXPERIENCE Kissimmee and Delta Airlines co-sponsored a spa day with Jetset Holidays for 20 top-selling independent travel agents. Pictured from left are Bettina McCue, Baldwinds Travel; Alison Armstrong, Jetset Holidays; and Lesley McCugh, Westway Travel.

Cruise operator goes back to the future LUXURY river cruise operator Scenic saw in its 30th birthday in style with an 80s-themed birthday bash at Hotel Football, overlooking Manchester United's Old Trafford home ground. Staff and suppliers were invited to the celebration which featured 80s-style entertainment including a live band, bouncy castle, fairground stalls and 'The Price is Right' gameshow. The event was the first outing for the newly-expanded sales team, headed up by National Sales Manager, 0Angela Sloan. A Scenic river cruise for two worth £8,000 was the event's top prize. Scenic.co.uk

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Top sellers pam pered

Experiencekissimmee.com

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JA Resorts dialogue THIS September we travelled to Newcastle for a Selling Travel Dialogue with JA Resorts & Hotels. As well as hearing all about JA’s six properties, four in Dubai, one in the Seychelles and one in the Maldives, the agents answered spot-quiz questions and walked away with some amazing prizes, including stays in JA’s Dubai and Indian Ocean resorts! jaresortshotels.com C

THIRTY SIX independent travel agents from 22 agencies along with several homeworkers attended BRIGHT's (Bringing Real Information and Guaranteed High Quality Training) autumn workshop in Bristol. Pictured is chairman of BRIGHT, Hisham Mahmoud, serving wine to Vikki Coe, Travel Counsellors and Elaine Ferry, Robins World Travel. Brightconsortia.com B TAHITI Tourisme UK hosted a roadshow last month with a series of events for tour operators and trade folk. Trade agents could find out more about the island and experiences on offer. There was also a Tahitian dance lesson and a number A

of prizes that included three nights at the Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort. Tahiti-tourisme.co.uk C SUPERBREAK has formed a new partnership with National Express, opening up the operator's coach network to the trade. Graham Balforth (left), National Sales Manager at SuperBreak, is pictured with Tony Taylor, National Partnership Manager at National Express.

Superbreak.com/agents

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

A night in Manchester with Oman

THE EVENT Selling Travel partnered with the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism and Oman Air for a Selling Travel Dialogue event at the Renaissance City Centre hotel in Manchester. Agents met with representatives from Oman and received the latest updates on new routes and products, and won some terrific prizes. The event was hosted by Kel Patel, Oman Air’s District Sales Manager, and Rob Wilson, Head of Sales and Marketing UK and

Ireland for Oman Ministry of Tourism. Each gave a presentation designed to educate and inspire agents to sell the destination and flights to their clients.

OMAN AIR Oman Air shared exciting news about its expanding route network, with a focus on a new daily service from Manchester that will open up the destination to those living in the north. Julie Cliffe-Jones, Your Holiday Booking, said: "Destination events are a must for any travel agent’s agenda, not only do you gain first-hand and invaluable information from passionate

representatives, it provides for a great networking opportunity too." Kel Patel said the UK is seen as a legacy market from Oman and over the last few years there has been key developments on routes out of the UK. A second daily flight to Muscat from Heathrow started in April 2016. A new daily service from Manchester will be starting in April 2017. The new route will add connectivity options to around 80% of Oman Air destinations beyond Muscat. A new sales team is also being set up to service the north and the new route will be operated by a brand-new Dreamliner aircraft with two-class cabins. The fleet currently consists of 40 aircraft and Oman Air currently has 20 new Dreamliners on order which are expected to arrive between now and 2020. The agents were also able to find out more about Oman Air's onboatd product, including wifi, First Class (which currently is available on one

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of the Heathrow services and has just six seats), the airline's award-winning Business Class product and its Economy product. The premium classes also come with a chauffeur service which operates within a 50-mile radius of Heathrow. Oman Air says it is looking at including it in Manchester and increasing the radius.

OMAN TOURISM The Oman Ministry of Tourism's Rob Wilson said: “The new Manchester service opens a lot up for us.” He gave all those in attendance an update on the new experiences, products and itinerary ideas to sell to clients. “Experiential is key in Oman, such as speaking to locals and trying local food and drink, such as Omani Coffee." The destination is perfect for adventure, honeymoons and families, with plenty to see from the wide sand dunes of Ramlat Tawq to Jebel Akhdar in the mountains, one of Oman’s most spectacular areas. Activities for more adventurous clients including dolphin


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“THERE'S SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS TO INTRODUCE MY CLIENTS TO OMAN, FROM A SHORT STAY ARABIAN ADVENTURE DURING A STOPOVER TO A LUXURY HONEYMOON”

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WHO: OMAN MINISTRY OF TOURISM, OMAN AIR, SELLING TRAVEL WHAT: EDUCATE AGENTS ON NEW OMAN PRODUCTS AND ROUTES FROM MANCHESTER WHERE: RENAISSANCE CITY CENTRE HOTEL, MANCHESTER WHEN: SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 WHY: MAKE CONTACTS, LEARN MORE, WIN PRIZES.

JULIE CLIFFE-JONES, YOUR HOLIDAY BOOKING

What they said... “We sell some of Oman already but this event gave us more good news. With flights out of Manchester coming soon it’s a good opportunity for us to sell and expand our business as a Middle East specialist. We are in a good high street location and will display on our windows that we are selling Oman Air.” Mary Philobbos, Director Mina World Travel “I’ve been to Oman so I’m familiar with the destination. This event helped to fill some of the gaps in my knowledge. The fact that you will soon be able to fly from Manchester opens up some great multi-centre holidays that may not be in

watching, camel trekking and mountain and road biking. Customers can also meet with local Bedouin tribes and experience their culture. The city of Salalah is a huge producer of Frankincense and the city is filled with its aroma. Julie Cliffe-Jones added: "Oman was not on my travel radar; I had no idea just how stunning and diverse the country is but it’s definitely a visual land of contrasts. "I’m inspired, there’s so many different ways to introduce my clients to Oman, from a short stay Arabian adventure during a stopover to a luxury honeymoon or holiday in one of their world-class hotels like The Chedi and Zighy Bay." Customers looking for a holiday that includes some golf have a selection of world-class golf courses to choose from in Oman.

Two notable courses include Almouj Golf in Muscat, an 18-hole PGA Championship course, and Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club, located close to the airport. Mark Little from BCD Travel said: "Rob painted a vivid picture of the sultanate and highlighted the wide variety of things to do, from activity-based holidays to relaxing on the beach. The event gave me a great understanding of what to sell in Oman as well as allowing me to network with key representatives."

Manchester to Muscat for two, with three nights at The Chedi, Muscat. The winner of the night's second prize, two return flights to Muscat with three nights at the Grand Hyatt and three nights at the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhda resort, was Alan Wright of Failsworth Travel.

people’s minds, for example Oman and Zanzibar!” Mark Bratt, Homeworker, Mark Bratt Travel “The level of interaction you get at these events is great and you learn a lot that you may not elsewhere. It’s inspired me to sell Oman and its destinations beyond Muscat. The country is cultural and personable. " Paul Smith, World of Transport Travel “We all gained a wealth of information at the event and the presentation was really inspirational. I am

THE PRIZES There were some great prizes on offer – and two very lucky winners. The first prize, which was taken home by BCD's Little, was a short break with return flights from

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now hoping to sell much more of Oman!” Elisabeth Cretu Colours Travel, Manchester


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AWA R D S

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2016

Every vote counts...

T

here's still time to vote in our annual awards - but hurry! Get involved and reward your favourite suppliers with a Selling Travel Agents Choice Award. Ours is the only travel awards nominated by and voted for entirely by travel agents. Voting will be open until October 16 and to help inspire you to get involved we have made voting simple and have a great line-up of prizes. Log on to sellingtravel.co.uk, and complete the survey under the Awards tab.

Vote today!

VOTING: Visit sellingtravel.co.uk, complete the voting survey under the Awards tab and you will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win one of the following prizes: PRIZE ONE: South African Safari Stay. The five-star Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa's Eastern Cape will host one lucky winner and their companion for a FOUR-NIGHT stay. Included are game drives and meals. Then, for a perfect Garden Route experience, the luxury Kurland Hotel, set on a 700-acre estate, will host you for two nights, including all meals. PRIZE TWO: Hotel stays in Thailand and Cambodia. This prize will give you three nights at Navutu Dreams Resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with breakfat for two and a yoga pass PLUS two nights with breakfast at the Furama Silom hotel Bangkok, Thailand, for two. PRIZE THREE: Cases of wine. A dream prize for wine connoisseurs or those who just like quaffing it, enjoy a case of premium wine.

FINALISTS 2016   FINALISTS 2016

City Break Destination: Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Budapest, Hong Kong, New York; Destination for Beach: Antigua, Greece, Maldives, Philippines, Seychelles; Destination for Golf: Dubai, Mauritius, Portugal, Scotland, Spain; Destination for Soft Adventure: Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa; Destination for Spa & Wellness: Bali, Maldives, Mexico, Saint Lucia, Thailand; Destination for Weddings & Honeymoons: Barbados, Cyprus, Maldives, Mauritius, Thailand; Destination for Wildlife & Nature: Botswana, Costa Rica, Falkland Islands, Kenya, South Africa; Destination for Winter Sports: Austria, Canada, France, Switzerland, USA; Agent-Friendly Tourist Office: Australia, Canada, Dubai, Fiji, Jamaica; Tour Operator to Africa: African Pride, Kuoni, Somak Holidays, Travelmood, Visions of Africa; Tour Operator to Australasia & the Far East: AAT Kings, APT, Premier Holidays, Travel 2, Wendy Wu; Tour Operator to Europe & North Africa: Classic Collection Holidays, Monarch, Prestige Holidays, Thomson Holidays, Titan; Tour Operator to India & the Indian Ocean: If Only, Kuoni, Osborne & Ebel, Sunset Faraway Holidays, Travelpack; Tour Operator to Latin America & the Caribbean: Caribtours, Cox & Kings, G Adventures, Journey Latin America, Travel 2; Tour Operator to the Middle East: Emirates Tours, Gold Medal, If Only, JTA Travel, Travel 2; Tour Operator to North America: Cosmos Tours & Cruises, Funway Holidays, Insight Vacations, North America Travel Service, Trek America; Escorted Tour Operator: APT, Great Rail Journeys, Insider Journeys, Riviera Travel, Titan Travel; Agent-Friendly Tour Operator: Gold Medal, Jetset Holidays, Premier Holidays, Travel 2, Travelpack; Airline to Africa: Emirates, Ethiopian Airways, Etihad Airways, Kenya Airways, South African Airways; Airline to Australasia & the Pacific: Air New Zealand, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways, Qantas; Airline to the Far East: Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Philippine Airlines, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines; Airline to Europe & North Africa: British Airways, easyjet, Monarch, Norwegian, Turkish Airlines; Airline to India & the Indian Ocean: Air Mauritius, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways; Airline to Latin America & the Caribbean: Air Europa Lineas Aereas, British Airways, TAP Portugal, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways; Airline to the Middle East: British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways; Airline to North America: Air Canada, Air Transat, British Airways, Delta Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways; Domestic Airport: Belfast International, Birmingham, Edinburgh, London Gatwick, Manchester; Overseas Airport: Amsterdam Schiphol, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Dubai International, Hong Kong International, Singapore Changi; Overseas Regional Airline: Bangkok Airways, Copa, Jetstar, Liat, Virgin Australia; Hotel/Group in Africa: One & Only, Shamwari Game Reserve, Sun International, The Table Bay Hotel, Thanda Safari; Hotel/Group in Australasia & the Far East: Anantara, Banyan Tree, Dusit Thani, Mandarin Oriental, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts; Hotel/Group in Europe & North Africa: Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, Kempinski, Maritim, Melia Hotels International, Riu; Hotel/ Group in India & the Indian Ocean: Beachcomber, Jebel Ali Resort, Jumeira Vittaveli, Maldives, One & Only, Taj Hotels; Hotel/Group in Latin America & the Caribbean: AM Resorts, Belmond Elegant Hotels, Hard Rock Hotels, Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas; Hotel/Group in the Middle East: Atlantis The Palm, Burj Al Arab, Jebel Ali Resort, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Shangri-La; Hotel/Group in North America: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Resorts, Loews Hotels, The Venetian/Palazzo; Hotel/Group All Inclusive: AM Resorts, Club Med, Hard Rock Hotels, bodyholiday Saint Lucia, Sandals; Ocean Cruising: Carnival Cruise Lines, Cruise and Maritime, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean; River Cruising: Avalon Waterways, Riviera Travel, Titan Travel, Uniworld River Cruises, Viking River Cruises; Ancillaries/Accommodation Providers: Attraction World, getabed.co.uk, Holiday Extras, Rooms XML, Superbreak Mini Holidays; Rail: Belmond, Blue Train, Great Rail Journeys, Rocky Mountaineer, Voyages SNCF; Travel Uni Training Programme: Amazing Thailand, Caribbean Travel Guru, Las Vegas Virtuoso, Seychelles Superstar, Tenerife Expert.

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EVENTS

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Unite Middle East

Operators and suppliers Unite in London who: Unite Promotions, JA Resorts & Hotels, Alpha Destination Management, Selling Travel what: Unite Middle East Where: Lancaster Hotel, London When: September 6, 2016 why: Providing tour operators with a chance to meet suppliers

Did you know? Unite Middle East welcomed over 70 attendees representing airlines, hotels, tourist boards, tour providers, DMCs and tour operators.

UK tour operators and Middle East suppliers met up at the first Unite Middle East event at the Lancaster Hotel, London, on September 6. The event was sponsored by JA Resorts & Hotels, Alpha Destination Management, with Selling Travel as the media partner. Those in attendance enjoyed 20-minute meeting sessions – speeddating style. During the lunch break David Thomson, Chief Operating Officer of JA Resorts & Hotels, gave a presentation highlighting the uniqueness and benefits of the various Unite trade events.

What’s happening? Located on the Jumeirah Beach Residence on The Walk, The RitzCarlton Dubai shared details on a new private beach onsite that enhances the guest experience. The Jumeirah Al Naseem is due to open in Dubai on December 1, making it the fourth property in the collection located there. It will feature 430 rooms and no less than 14 restaurants. Jumeirah has also launched its online training programme, Jumeirah Beacon. Those who complete the online training are entered into a prize draw every two months. From left; Deevesh Joshi, Planet Destinations; Debbie Flannagan, Unite; Lisa Merrigan, Selling Travel; David Thomson, JA Resorts

The new Dukes Dubai property is getting ready to open during the first week of December. It will feature a 'contemporary classic' interior and a female-only 'Duchess floor'. The property, located on the trunk of The Palm in Dubai, will be home to several restaurants. Rotana has a number of new openings worldwide as well as corporate and leisure properties in the Middle East on the radar. More Abu Dhabi openings are expected in 2017 as well as a new property in Muscat and two more in Dubai. Rotana will also be opening properties next year in Iran and Iraq.

Jordan rising Jordan Tourism Board says that overnight figures from the UK are up 5% with the first half of this year showing growth. A new campaign features TV and London Underground advertising. Jordan offers a diverse selection of experiences from birdwatching to cultural and historical tourism, taking in the Dead Sea, Petra and the ancient city of Jerash. The country will be hosting the five-day AITO conference in November. The popular Kempinski property,

Hotel Soma Bay, Egypt, has seen a drop in demand, although it continues to welcome repeat business, and demand from overseas is on the rise. AMG is gearing up for the opening of Dubai Parks and Resorts on October 31. From December the UK trade will be able to sell tickets for the sprawling development that will feature three theme parks. It will also include the retail, dining and entertainment area of Riverland Dubai and the Polynesian themed Lapita Hotel. Oman Air will launch a new daily service between Manchester and Muscat starting in April 2017. Oman is looking forward to a number of new hotels opening soon, with over 10,000 hotel rooms being built in the next 12 months.

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The Middle East is made up of 17 countries and around 60 different languages are spoken in the region. Middle East destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman, Jordan and Egypt are all promoting a variety of experiences to suit different travellers, from families to adventure travellers to couples and the honeymoon sector. Tour operator Cox & Kings has a new group tour to Iran which takes advantage of British Airways' new service to Tehran, which launched last month. The 14-day Treasures of Persia itinerary takes in all the highlights of the country including its Islamic architecture and monuments and is priced from £10,995pp. Accommodation is in four- and five-star hotels in Shiraz, Yazd, Isfahan and Tehran. coxandkings.co.uk/middle-east


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O N L O C AT I O N

Ethos reveals the magic of Mozambique THE DETAILS WHAT: SEVEN-NIGHT FAM TRIP TO MOZAMBIQUE WHEN: APRIL 12-19, 2016 WHO: MACHANGULO BEACH LODGE, THE POLANA SERENA AND TURKISH AIRLINES WHY: SHOWCASING EASE OF TRAVEL AND AFFORDABILITY TO MOZAMBIQUE

Book it... Feedom Africa offers a week’s holiday in Mozambique from £1689pp (sharing) including flights from Gatwick on Turkish Airlines, airport and boat transfers, three nights on the beach at Machangulo beach Lodge and two nights at the Polana L-R; Ashleigh Reed, Grant Anderson-Saville, Nigel Curtis, Amanda England, Enes Bayrak, Rachel Hunt, Lucy George, Christine Duke, Amy Holliday and Amy Scott

Serena in Maputo. 0333 234 3667 freedomafrica.co.uk

THE HOSTS Ethos Marketing’s Amanda England escorted the educational to Mozambique on behalf of Machangulo Beach Lodge and The Polana Serena, showcasing how easy and affordable it is to get to Maputo for a unique luxury African beach and city experience. Turkish Airlines provided flights for the agents, who enjoyed their flights in business class.

THE TRIP Transiting at Istanbul after flying from Birmingham, the group were taken to Turkish Airlines award-

winning Business Class Lounge before the flying on to Mozambique. Upon arrival, the agents were driven to Maputo Marina where they hopped onto the Machangulo boat for a transfer to the lodge. After a fruit cocktail the group was shown the property's rooms, which ranged from ocean view rooms sitting above the trees to rooms nestled in the forest just a stone’s throw from the beach. Over the next couple of days the group visited the local fishing village, took a dune walk over virgin sand, snorkelled off Inhaca Island, kayaked through the mangroves and tried their hand at paddle boarding.

The second half of the trip took the group to Mozambique's capital, city of Maputo, where they stayed at the Polana Serena Hotel. The agents visited the arts and crafts market for souvenirs, the fish market, took a city tour to enjoy the botanical gardens, and joined a tour into Mafalala township. The trip rounded off with the Maputo Night Safari, also known as a pub crawl.

Rainbow Tours offers a beach honeymoon option, flying from London to Maputo on Turkish Airlines in economy and staying three nights at Machangulo Beach Lodge in an ocean view room followed by two nights in a deluxe Room with an upgrade subject to availability. This special price includes international flights, accommodation and all meals at Machangulo Beach Lodge plus a sunset Dhow cruise, a spa treatment and a snorkelling trip with a picnic lunch, boat transfers to and from

THE VERDICT

Machangulo, transfer from Maputo Marina

Rachel Hunt from Holiday Architects said: "Our trip to Mozambique with Ethos was a real treat. It started with a bit of luxury flying business class on Turkish Airlines then we had a real adventure staying at Machangulo Lodge. The lodge itself was just what I wanted it to be as it is perfect for our clients and I am now so much happier recommending it to them. "We ended with a couple of nights in Maputo, staying at the majestic Polana where we spent time exploring the vibrant city and being pampered in its spa.”

to The Serena Polana Hotel and B&B

ethosmarketing.co.uk

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and dinner at The Serena Polana. From £2,550pp. 0203 131 4845; rainbowtours.co.uk


pick of six

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JA RESORTS & HOTELS 1 4 32

5

This Dubai-based group now extends into the Indian Ocean. Discover what each unique property has to offer, says Laura Gelder

6

JEBEL ALI BEACH 1 JAHOTEL

3JA OCEAN VIEW

USP: For active clients there is an unsurpassed array of activities: horse riding, shooting, tennis, volleyball, squash, football, badminton, watersports like sailing and an inflatable water park!

USP: Foodies and shopaholics will be in heaven, with access to seven restaurants and bars within the property, as well as The Walk’s many restaurants and boutiques selling everything from clothes to home ware and jewellery from international brands and local designers.

2JA PALM TREE COURT

4JA OASIS BEACH TOWER

Priding itself on being ‘the only true all-inclusive resort in Dubai,’ guests have the run of 12 restaurants serving everything from Italian to Tex Mex. Premium drinks and a range of activities and non-motorised watersports are included. On-site there is an Elemis spa, dive centre and kids clubs and crèche catering for ages four months and up. The resort offers Family Rooms which are guaranteed inter-connected with garden or ocean views.

Located next to JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel, this resort shares its 12 restaurants but offers more, such as the signature White Orchid restaurant serving Asian fusion cuisine. The luxurious low-rise property’s lead-in room category is the 54-square-metre Garden View Junior Suite, leading up to the luxurious Residence twobedroom suite, which comes with extras like a round a golf, a dinner cruise and access to the exclusive Signatures Lounge and Pool. TOP TIP: If your clients have young children they can pay a small supplement to guarantee a ground floor room with a terrace and direct access to the gardens.

This four-star hotel is located in one of Dubai’s most buzzing spots, The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residences. It has access to Dubai’s most popular public beach, or take the shuttle to JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel to use the private beach. Facilities include an infinity pool, spa, gym, kid’s playground and kids clubs for those aged three to 12. All 342 rooms and suites have sea views from their balconies.

Just down The Walk from JA Ocean View and within the trendy Dubai Marina, it’s comprised of two- three- and four-bedroom apartments with marina or palm views. Guests can dine in or out as the tower is home to five F&B venues, including the Italian bar and grill Frankies by Marco Pierre White, a Wagamamas and in-house Mediterranean restaurant Thyme, with many more options a short walk away. There are also two pools.

TOP TIP: This is great for independent clients or families on a budget. Apartments come with a full kitchen plus a welcome pack of essential supplies. There’s a supermarket on-site.

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5 JA MANUFARU

A stunning 75-minute seaplane journey will transport your clients to this Maldivian atoll. Accommodation ranges from beach bungalows with private pools to 110-square-metre water villas (sunrise or sunset) with private infinity pools. Kids, from babies up to teens, are catered for and there’s activities like volleyball, tennis, sailing and a dive centre. USP: Guests can enjoy excusive experiences like a Maldivian cooking class, beach golf, fishing trips, a local island tour or a castaway experience on a private island.

6ENCHANTED ISLAND

This boutique Seychelles resort is made up of 10 creole-style colonial villas set in a National Marine Park. There are eight lead-in villas of 130-square-metres with a private pool and two two-bed villas with direct beach access. On-site is a spa, yoga pavilion, gym, pool and watersports centre, plus a bar and international eatery.

TOP TIP: Every villa comes with butler-style service, a private pool, French bathtub, wifi and TV. Couples won’t want to leave!


Visit USA news october 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 airlines

Virgin's new aromas

Event

Trade embraces Insight OvEr 200 travel industry professionals came together at the IMAX in London on September 15 for the inaugural Insight: USA Travel Showcase. Created by a partnership between Brand USA, Visit USA (UK) and the U.S. Embassy, the evening combined an open networking event at which agents interacted with a number of exhibitors – including 35 Visit USA (UK) members such as Icelandair, North America Travel Service, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Kansas/Oklahoma Travel & Tourism in the Visit USA Member Pavilion – with a private screening of the film America Wild: National Parks Adventure. A panel of industry experts, including Sarah Lax, Vice-Chair of Visit USA (UK), took part in a Q&A session offering their views on U.S travel trends. Tracey Spuyman, CEO at Visit USA (UK) said “This event is an example of collaboration between three organisations which all share the goal of promoting travel and tourism to the USA. It has enabled our members to gain an additional opportunity to present their latest news and ideas to the travel trade, while engaging in useful debate with their peers.” Pictured from left: Jody Hanson, Visit USA; Chris Ellis, Brand USA; Chrystal Denys, U.S. Commercial Service; Gerry Boyle, Brand USA; Pamela Newman, Visit USA.

"Visiting the Grand Canyon and taking an American road trip made it into the top 10 of bucket-list activities people are willing to spend up to £10,000 on" TotallyMoney.com user survey

virgin atlantic has introduced bespoke aromatherapy as part of a new package of relaxation products onboard. The airline has partnered with high-end brands ‘de Mamiel’ and ‘This Works’ to introduce a unique two-step aromatherapy kit to its Upper Class cabin. virgin-atlantic.com attractions

True west at Boot Hill BOOT HIll museum in Dodge City, Kansas, has been ranked in the top 10 visitor attractions in the US for its insights into the ‘Old West’. U.S. magazine True West annually ranks institutions that most effectively “keep the Old West alive”. boothill.org tours

Savannah adds app aid visitors to Savannah, Georgia, can now be guided to hotels, attractions and restaurants by a new app developed by the city’s tourism board. Free to download and use, it includes points of interest, maps and audio tours. VisitSavannah.com

the usa in brief... attractions seaworld California is to open a new marine adventure attraction next year which it says will ‘create a realm for ocean discovery’. Called Ocean Explorer, it will feature multiple aquariums, rides and digital technology to inspire guests to protect the oceans. Construction is now underway on the ride which will take guests on ‘an expedition across the seven seas where they will play marine biologist on a global mission of scientific exploration’. seaworldparksagents.co.uk

DINing event key west, Florida, is turning the spotlight onto its culinary credentials with its first-ever restaurant month, running to October 16. WineDine KeyWest sees visitors – culinary connoisseurs and those in search of a quick snack alike – enjoying multi-course fixed price meals at 30 restaurants on the sub-tropical island. The culinary celebration was ‘cooked up’ by the team behind the popular annual Key West Food & Wine Festival. fla-keys.co.uk

tours event washington, dc, the U.S. capital and venue for next year's IPW, reports growing demand from the UK with its latest visitor numbers up 4.6%. Some $9.6billion in development investment is underway, including at the Wharf, a 24-acre $2billion project along the Southwest Waterfront, and nearly 4,500 hotel rooms in the pipeline. There is now a Michelin Guide to its restaurants and enhanced attractions at its Smithsonian Institution and National Gallery. washington.org/IPW2017

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


members spotlight introducing... AMERICAN AIRLINES has partnered with British Michelin-Star chef, author, TV personality and restaurateur, Mark Sargeant, on its new menu for Flagship First Class passengers travelling from London to the U.S. The à la carte menu now features dishes inspired by Sargeant’s three UK restaurants, which specialise in ‘modernising classic British favourites’. Menu highlights include poached native lobster and roasted duck with hoisin barbecue sauce; slow-cooked pork belly and barbecue short ribs of Angus beef. aa.com

Discover Philadelphia Greg Evans The Greg Evans Consultancy Account Director, Philadelphia CVB, UK & Ireland

Destination

Missouri woos UK trade the missouri Division of Tourism is re-committing to the British market after a seven-year absence. Speaking during a recent UK sales mission, Dan Lennon, Director of the Missouri Division of Tourism, said: "We’re focusing back on the UK as it is our strongest overseas market and we have new openings and renovations across the state to promote." There are plans to develop online training and fam trips for UK agents. New attractions include the National Blues Museum, which opened in St Louis earlier this year, while the grounds of the iconic St. Louis Arch are being renovated to create a new entrance area and museum by 2017. Wonders of Wildlife will open in Springfield as one of the largest conservation attractions in the world with a 1.3million-gallon aquarium showcasing 35,000 fish, mammals, reptiles and birds, while the AnheuserBusch brewery, south of downtown St. Louis, has redesigned its tour programme to add new Historic Schoolhouse, Seed to Sip and Brewmaster tours. Entry to the brewery is free. visitmo.com

canopy by hilton is to open in Portland, Oregon, in the Pearl District on the city's Gallery Row. Set among cobblestone streets and stylish upscale boutiques and restaurants, the property is a newbuild property slated to open in autumn 2017. The hotel will include 153 guest rooms and will be located in an area which has undergone redevelopment to create a popular and lively shopping, dining and entertainment area. canopybyhilton.com

titan expands its 'essential' tours collection

attractions

Sunrise over NYC the empire state building has added a new Sunrise Experience offering an unprecedented opportunity to watch the sun rise over New York City from the building's world-famous 86th floor Observatory. No more than 100 tickets will be sold per sunrise, initially only from October 1 to November 20, and at a price of $100pp. esbnyc.com/sunrise

titan's 2017 USA and Canada & Alaska brochures include two ‘Essential Collection’ tours, plus a new autumn colours of New England and Canada tour. The 12-day Essential American West and 10-day Essential Deep South are slightly shorter in duration than the operator’s usual tour length, with fewer inclusions, and lead in at £1,799pp and £1,599pp respectively. The autumn itinerary starts at £2,999. titantravel.co.uk

When did Philadelphia join Visit USA? Philadelphia UK has been a member for five years. What are the main rewards of membership? We benefit from costeffective promotions and events that, as a member, we are able to participate in. These include the Visit USA Roadshows, joining Visit USA at the main consumer shows, taking a table at the Visit USA Ball and the Meet the Media events and awards nights. Also, the Association offers access to statistics and other useful information on all aspects of holidays and travel to the USA. What makes ‘Philly’ unique among U.S. cities? Philadelphia is probably the most underrated city in the USA. As the ‘birthplace of the nation’ it has the most historic square mile in the country. It has also been voted one of the country's best walking cities, the best city for shopping (tax-free on clothes and shoes), one of the top restaurant cities and has been named among the best beer towns and latenight capital cities. Tell us some of your own personal Philly highlights A visit to the top of City Hall, a tasty meal in Reading Terminal Market and the must-see Barnes Foundation, home to the world's largest private collection of impressionist, post-impressionist and early-modern paintings. discoverphl.com

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


46

california

times golden

With its must-see cities, coastal drives, national parks and beaches, California takes the breath away at every twist in the road, says Cathy Bartrop

I

’d read about it, seen pictures of it but nothing prepares me for the moment I drive into the Yosemite Valley for the first time. It takes my breath away. I can tell you about the enormous granite cliff faces looming above, the lush, greener-than-green meadows, the thunderous roar of the waterfalls in full flow (in late May), but the experience of actually being here is greater than the sum of its parts: Yosemite is literally giving me goosebumps! Heading out on the Mist Trail I am unsure what to expect. A 5.4-mile hike via two waterfalls with a 2,000ft incline sounds ood on paper – how hard can it be? The first part is easy enough, a steady 1.5-mile trek through woods up a steep hill to the base of Vernal Falls.

I catch my breath and admire the spectacular views to the falls above and then it dawns on me: that’s where I am heading! Up… and up… and up. The terrain becomes increasingly tough, uneven and vertical, forcing frequent stops to admire the view. The number of hikers decreases the higher I climb but the rewards increase in equal measure to the effort. Cooled by the constant fine mist from the thundering falls, I’m hiking through rainbows and, by the time I reachthe top, I’m soaked but… utterly jubilant. The prospect of the more distant Nevada Falls keeps me going through another couple of miles of glorious forest and across a rocky escarpment. Another, even steeper, climb up alongside the falls is followed by a welcome break for

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lunch. Could there be a more glorious spot for a picnic? I am in awe of my surroundings, privileged to witness the beauty of it all.

All-rounder It is perhaps impossible to ‘oversell’ California. Think desert, snow-capped mountains, forests, vibrant cities, a stunning coastline, music, arts, nature, wine, food, sports and adventure activities. So familiar to us through TV shows and movies, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego need little introduction, but how much do you know about the Shasta Wilderness region, with forests bigger than Belgium and a dam with a spill three times as high as Niagara?


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“Highway One, the classic coastal road trip from San Francisco to San Diego, is best travelled north to south as drivers are always on the same side of the road as the views”

Or Sacramento and Gold County, where James Marshall’s sawmill in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada sparked the Gold Rush? The appeal of the ‘big blue’ of Lake Tahoe should not be overlooked and new wine trails emerge almost every year. And, in the year that the USA celebrates the 100th birthday of its National Parks Service, California boasts no less than nine, including the Daddy of them all, Yosemite. For road trips or escorted tours, five different gateways offer plenty of flexibility for round- trips or one-way routes. With careful planning, the distances are manageable and

Opposite page: beautiful colours In Yosemite National Park. This page: the State Capitol building in Sacramento; Cyclists and walkers near Venice Beach, close to Los Angeles

plenty of variety can be packed into one holiday. But one trip will never be enough to see all that the Golden State offers.

SuperFAM Sixty agents participated in this year’s annual California SuperFAM. Hosted by Visit California, with flights sponsored by British Airways and ground arrangements by Trek America, this year’s five, week-long itineraries across the state had an ‘Outdoors’ theme. Next year will see the 10th anniversary of this hugely popular fam trip, which promises to be even bigger and better. Visit California’s Travel Trade Account Manager Brendan Croft confirmed, “with this year’s SuperFAM over, we are now immediately turning our attention to 2017 – and we plan to launch the incentive scheme much earlier than in previous years. “Places are based on flight sales, so now is the time to get trained up and promote California.” Keep an eye on Selling Travel and www. traveltrade.visitcalifornia.co.uk for full details, launch dates and other details.

Perfect ten Happy 100th Birthday: The U.S. National Parks Service is celebrating its centenary and California has more than its fair share. In Spring 2017 the famous Mariposa Grove in Yosemite – home to some of the tallest trees in the world - will re-open. Feel the love in San Francisco: 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the infamous ‘Summer of Love’ – one to highlight to music-loving (or (former hippie) clients. Go car free in LA: The long-awaited opening of three Exposition Line stations in Santa Monica now connects the beach directly with Downtown LA and beyond to Hollywood (for Universal Studios) and Pasadena. Family fun: Combine an LA beach holiday with Universal Studios’ new Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Legoland California’s latest ride NINJAGO. Hit the beach: California’s coastline possesses dazzling beaches – take your pick from hidden coves, long sweeps of soft sand and some of the world’s best surfing spots. Go big, Go Mammoth: Olympic Gold medal snowboarder Shawn White is


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california

Above: Los Angeles Farmer’s Market. Opposite page: Santa Monica is a favoruite haunt of both UK tourists and expats

part owner of Mammoth Resorts and is instrumental in raising the ski bar for Mammoth Mountain in Northern California as well as Snow Summit and Bear Mountain in the South. The cultural centre: The Central Coast is a hub for contemporary arts. As well as historic sites like Monterey’s Cannery Row and Salinas’ National Steinbeck Center, there’s a ton of museums, galleries, performance venues and theatres from Santa Barbara down to Carmel. Wine Tourism: Napa Valley steals the limelight but surprisingly only produces 4% of California’s wine. Also consider wine trails in Sonoma County and Paso Robles. Where the cool kids go: Palm Springs, famous as the holiday hangout for Hollywood celebs back in the 1950s is still a hot favourite with 21st century hipsters. Coachella festival is the music magnet and now complimented by Desert X, a contemporary celebration of art and visual culture. The F word: F for Food that is, and Farmers markets, Farm to Fork restaurants, Fusion, Family Friendly, Funky Fast Food. Sacramento, the state capital, is fast becoming the next foodie Mecca.

What’s new  Airlines: Low-cost airlines, Wow (wowair. co.uk) and Norwegian (norwegian.com) are driving down fares to both LAX and San Francisco (Oakland). British Airways (batraveltrade.com) has a new direct route to San Jose while Aer Lingus has restarted its service from Dublin to LAX.  Accommodation: This year has seen a raft of new hotel openings across the state. Three trendsetters Andaz (andaz.hyatt.com), V (vpalmsprings.com) and ARRIVE (arrivehotels. com) have opened in Palm Springs. Rush Creek Lodge (rushcreeklodge. com) is the first new-build resort in the Yosemite region for over 25 years. On the coast, in Santa Cruz both Brookdale Lodge (santacruz.org) and the Chaminade Resort & Spa (chaminade.com) have undergone multimillion dollar renovations. The oceanfront Pasea Hotel (paseahotel.com) opened in Huntington Beach in June and The Ranch at Laguna Beach (theranchlb.com) has been re-envisioned as a premier boutique coastal ranch resort. San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter now has the ‘hip and healthy’ Pendry Hotel (pendryhotels.com). Frank Sinatra’s historic North Lake Tahoe

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california

hotel, CalNeva (calnevaresort.com), has been restored to its former glory. In San Francisco, the Hotel Zeppelin (viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/ zeppelin) is a welcome addition of contemporary accommodation in a historic building just two blocks from Union Square. For top-end clients travelling to LA and looking for home comforts, check out the glamorous private homes on offer through Onefinestay (onefinestay.com). Homes are vetted by four separate inspectors and have to pass 132 quality standards to be featured. These ‘des res’ are especially suitable for large groups or longer stays.

Tourism talk “For clients wanting to tick off multiple National Parks, at $80 the America The Beautiful, National Parks Annual Pass offers unlimited access and amazing value for money”

“In 2015 the UK accounted for more than 701,000 visitors to California and that looks set to increase even further with the major growth in airlift in 2016. The state now has 116 weekly non-stop flights into California across five gateway cities; Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland. Couple that with the vast number of new hotels opening across the length of the state, from five-star luxury resorts to hideaway hotels in National Parks, and there has never been a

49

better time to visit the Golden State. The key focus for Visit California for the coming year is the family market and promoting our luxury offering.” Emma Westman, Senior Account Manager, Visit California UK & Ireland

Where to book it  HAYES & JARVIS – 01293 762465 A Golden California self-drive tour taking in the top sights from San Francisco to San Diego, starts from £1229pp. Included are 11 nights’ accommodation, flights and car hire. www.hayesandjarvis.co.uk

 TRAFALGAR TOURS – 0207 468 4335 An eight-day Northern California fully-escorted tour is from £1950pp, twinshare. New for 2017 is an eight-day California’s Great National Parks tour (from £2095pp, twin share). A 10% discount applies on bookings made before 25 Nov ‘16. Flights not included. ww.trafalgar.com

 SKI INDEPENDENCE – 0131 243 8097 A sun and snow combo, with three nights in LA at the five-star Loews Santa Monica and seven nights at the four-star Mammoth Village, is from £1,999pp, BA flights and car hire included www.ski-i.com 

TRUE TO FORM

TAHOE TRUTH #13 North Lake Tahoe is home to the largest concentration of ski resorts in North America.

True North is often referred to as the internal compass that guides you through life. So why not let True North guide you to the ultimate year-round destination?

STAY TRUE | GoTahoeNorth.com Untitled-3 1

16/09/2016 16:01


50

six of the best

Alternative

SOUTH AFRICA 6 SOUTH AFRICA

1

3

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NEIGHBOURGOODS 1JOHANNERSBURG MARKET The once run-down neighbourhood of Braamfontein has been turned into a pioneering creative hub crawling with hipsters. Housed in a modernist building with spectacular views of the city from the roof terrace, the market takes place every Saturday and has over 100 local speciality stalls. There’s gourmet food, cocktails from jars, craft beers, vintage clothing, jewellery and live music. SELL IT: Riviera Travel’s 16-day South Africa tour is its biggest seller and kicks off in Johannesburg before heading to Kruger National Park, Swaziland, Rorke’s Drift, Knysna, Hermanus, the Winelands and Cape Town. From £1799pp.

BOURKE’S LUCK 2POTHOLES

It might look like an otherworldly sculpture from a progressive artist, but this site is entirely carved by nature. At the confluence of the Blyde River and the Treur River in the province of Mpumulanga, thousands of years of water erosion has created a collection of potholes connected by tunnels. The swirling pools can be gazed on from the top of the cliffs, which drop dramatically down in richly-coloured layers of soil. SELL IT: Rainbow Tours offers the Kruger Safari, Swaziland & KwaZulu Natal Coast self-drive holiday for 14 days from £3499pp. The first few days are spent in the small town of Hazyview, an ideal base for exploring the Blyde River Canyon and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.

2

What if your client has seen or strolled up Table Mountain, driven the Garden Route and been on safari in Kruger National Park? Here are some alternative suggestions in the Rainbow Republic, says Laura Gelder HOLE AND OPEN 3BIG MINE MUSEUM

This water-filled hole in Kimberley looks like a giant meteor crater but is the result of a diamond rush which began in the 1870s. The hole, claimed to be the largest hand-dug excavation in the world, was mined to a depth of 240 metres with a perimeter of about 1.6 km. Adjacent to the Big Hole is the Kimberley Mine Museum, where you can see original buildings and take a guided tour of the mine which descends a staggering 840m bneath the surface. SELL IT: Great Rail Journeys’ 22-day luxury rail tour, Dar Es Salaam, Victoria Falls & The Pride of Africa, is from £11,795pp. Starting in the Tanzanian capital and ending in Cape Town it includes 11 nights on a five-star train and makes a stop at Kimberley.

BEACH 4 BOULDERS PENGUIN SANCTUARY

This beach, and its towering granite boulders, protect 2,000 endangered African penguins. The site is one of the few mainland penguin colonies in the world and visitors can see the comical birds hopping between rocks and belly-flopping onto the white sand. The penguins are actually best viewed from nearby Foxy Beach, where boardwalks take visitors much closer. SELL IT: Africa Collection’s semi-escorted Cape Highlights combines Cape Town with the Garden Route and a safari in the Eastern Cape. Travellers can choose from a variety of excursions from Cape Town. From £1,995pp for 14 days.

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5 BO KAAP

Informerly known as the Malay Quarter, Cape Town’s Bo Kaap township has been home to multiple cultures over the years. Its history goes back to the 16th century, when the Dutch brought thousands of people (mainly Muslims) from Malaysia, Indonesia and other African countries to the cape as slaves and kept them segregated. These days all are welcome to wander the cobbled streets, which weave between houses painted in true Rainbow Nations colours. SELL IT: African Pride’s Classic South Africa fly-drive starts in Cape Town before travelling through the Winelands and onto Mossel Bay, Plettenberg Bay, Tsitsikamma Forest and the Sibuya Game Reserve. From £2,218pp for 16 days.

OF MANKIND 6CRADLE MUSEUM

Visit the site where the oldest hominid fossils on earth were discovered. Northwest of Johannesburg, the 180-square-mile site was discovered in 1947. The Maropeng Visitor Center has a museum that explores the timeline of mankind with fossils, photographs and artifacts from the area. Also on-site are the Sterkfontein Caves, which contain an underground lake that is still to be fully explored. SELL IT: Cox & Kings’ Cape to Kruger self-drive starts in Cape Town and takes in Stellenbosch, Oudtshoorn Plettenberg Bay, Port Elizabeth and Johanneburg, before ending in Kruger. The 16-day trip is from £2,375pp.


52

morocco

charmer A real

The spiced air of exotic Morocco is enticingly close and, being out of the Eurozone, it’s a great place to spend the pounds, says Rupert Parker

D

jemaa el Fna is the great square in the centre of the Marrakech and never fails to disappoint, particularly in the early evening. As the day begins to cool, huddles of musicians, acrobats and snake charmers converge here and strut their stuff. Every time I visit I worry that it might have been cleaned up, but the same magic is always there. It’s difficult to get photos without donating money but the opposite is true of the foodstalls forming a large open-air

dining area in the North East of the Square. They’re only open at night and, atmospherically lit by gas lanterns, the tantalising smells make then a magnet for anybody interested in food. When I first came here 20 years ago the arrangement was rather ramshackle but now the counters and chairs are far more permanent. You can see the food being cooked in front of you so the hygiene is probably far better than in hidden restaurant kitchens. The vendors have

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developed a wonderful line in English banter to try and attract you to their restaurants “Ah, Starvin’ Marvin, you are too skinny, you must eat!” I look out for those stalls where locals are eating and wander past piles of couscous, strings of spicy merguez sausages, even a few sheep’s heads. The easy option is to go for a few lamb kebabs or some fried fish, but the exotic beckons. On one stall I spy individual terracotta bowls of meat stew, known as


morocco

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Tajines, sizzling away on glowing charcoal, and their aroma is so tantalising that it’s impossible to resist. I take a ramshackle seat and tuck into gloriously tender pieces of lamb, dunking Moroccan flat bread in the spicy juices. Surrounded by the sights and sounds of the most wonderful square in the world, this is the quintessential Moroccan experience and, even better, is an absolute bargain.

Rock the kasbah “Morocco is the most visited country in Africa, and for good reason,” says Terhi Miller, Product Manager at Great Rail Journeys. “Agents should recommend this destination for clients looking for a combination of culture, history and adventure.” Just over three hours’ flying time from the UK, Marrakech is Morocco’s main destination and rivals Paris, Barcelona and Rome for city breaks. It’s one of four Imperial Cities, along with Rabat, Fes and Meknes. They were all capitals of Morocco during different eras and UNESCO recognises them as World Heritage sites. Start with the living museum that is the Fes medina, the most complete medieval city in the Arab world, then move on to the city of Meknès with its lavish Sultan Moulay Ismail palace (you can also visit the astonishing mosaics of the Roman city of Volubilis nearby). Next there’s the Art Deco city of Rabat, on the Atlantic coast, while exotic Marrakech is best saved for last if you want to shop. Many operators offer linked tours to all these cities, along with stays in Morocco’s unique riads – traditional homes and palaces of the wealthy but now converted into hotels. “It’s fascinating to take a journey through history in this way, combining boutique riads with a wealth of cultural sights.,” says Michael Fleetwood, Middle East Product Manager for Cox and Kings. Morocco is a land of huge geographical contrasts, which makes it perfect for all kinds of outdoor adventures. From the Mediterranean the coastal plains rise through four mountain ranges

to the peaks of the High Atlas before descending to the great empty sands of the Sahara Dessert. The mountains offer trekking, mountain biking and even skiing. Ourouzatate is the perfect base to explore the dramatic desert scenery of the abandoned Kasbahs (fortified towns) of the Dades Valley, or follow a circuit of the oasis towns of the Sahara. Even better, climb on a camel and enjoy spectacular sunsets in the dunes. Agadir, in the south, has safe sandy beaches and more than 300 days of sunshine.

Perfect ten Snakes and monkeys: The great Djemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech is home to snake charmers and monkeys during the day but at night musicians, acrobats and storytellers take over and food stalls turn it into a giant open-air restaurant. Medieval mysteries: Fes is the most complete medieval city in the Arab world, and everyone gets lost in its back alleys, but there’s always a friendly local to show you the way. No cars are allowed so you’ll have to make way for donkeys, carts, and motorbikes. Wind up: The breezy Atlantic coast around Essaouira is one of the world’s great destinations for windsurfing, kitesurfing and parasailing. The walled town’s narrow streets are filled with red-and-blue painted houses and were once a favourite haunt of Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix. Play it again, Sam: In Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city, have a drink at the bar in the reconstructed Rick’s Club – and send your requests to the piano player.

sellingtravel.co.uk

“It’s easy to get to Morocco. There are direct flights from the UK to many Moroccan cities and flying time is around three hours. Transfers are usually short and there’s a good rail network connecting the major cities” NICKY SHAFE, MARKETING MANAGER PRESTIGE HOLIDAYS

Opposite page: Desert trek at sunset. This page (clockwise from top left): Arabic lanterns in a souk; fishermen mending their nets in Essaouira; the High Atlas Mountains; the fortified city of Aït Benhaddou.


54

morocco

Fortify yourself: The Dadés Valley is known as ‘the Valley of the Kasbahs’, and dozens of deserted fortified citadels line its sides, evidence of a long vanished civilisation. On location: Ouarzazate has been welcoming Hollywood directors since the 1960s. You can take tours around the sets and locations of famous blockbuster hits like Cleopatra, Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Lawrence of Arabia and even Game of Thrones. Mountain highs: The Atlas Mountains offer fantastic trekking opportunities. It’s a challenging climb to reach the snow-covered summit of Jebel Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak at 4,167 metres, but the spectacular views are well worth the effort. Riads: Marrakech has over 800 on offer and you’re guaranteed an historic and atmospheric stay. They range from chic luxury to simple B&Bs. Get the hump: The Erg Chebbi dunes in the Sahara rise to over 150 metres. Take a camel to the Berber camp, sleep under the stars and watch the sunrise. Spa time: Fes is reputed to have over 250 Hammans but you’ll find them all over the country. Join the locals for a long, relaxing hot soak and a good scrubbing. Don’t miss a massage with the famous argan oil.

What’s new  Operators: Cox & Kings (coxandkings.co.uk) has a new seven-night private journey, Riads of Imperial Morocco, priced from £1,795pp. It takes in Rabat, Meknes, Fez and Marrakech.  Accommodation: Four Seasons (fourseasons.com) opened in Casablanca in January and Banyan Tree (banyantree.com) opened in September in Tamouda Bay. Future openings in 2017 include a 181-room Park Hyatt (parkhyatt.com) in Marrakech and a 186-room Marriot (marriott.com) in Rabat,  Airlines: Ryanair (ryanair.com) will introduce Dublin to Marrakech and Liverpool to Marrakech In 2017. Easyjet (easyjet.com) has Luton to Essaouira and Royal Air Maroc (royalairmaroc.com) Gatwick to Rabat.

Tourism talk “Morocco is a very stable and safe destination and just three hours away from the UK. The Imperial Cities tour really represents one of the best ways to experience the country. It offers a unique experience of Morocco’s history, style of life, architecture and heritage. “Three other cities that should be discovered for culture are the amazing city of Tangier, the Moorish city of Tetouan and the beautiful Chefchaouen. One of the newest developments in Morocco, Tamuda Bay on the Mediterranean coast has golden sand, crystal-clear waters and highquality hotels with golf, watersports, shopping and scuba diving. After Brexit we believe that Morocco represents a genuine value destination.” Faical Alaoui, Information Officer, Morocco Tourism

“The souks in Marrakech are a shopper’s paradise with gorgeous rugs, embroidery, brassware, ceramics, leather and exotic spices. Government shops even have fixed prices” NICKY SHAFE, MARKETING MANAGER PRESTIGE HOLIDAYS

Where to book it  GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS – 01904 521 936 A 10-day Imperial Cities of Morocco tour is from £1,495pp, with two departures across March to September 2017. If you book before October 31 2016 there’s a saving of up to £40pp. greatrail.com

 PRESTIGE HOLIDAYS – 01425 480 400 Seven nights’ B&B at Ksar Anika in Marrakech starts from £433pp, including Easyjet flights. prestigeholidays.co.uk

 ABERCROMBIE & KENT – 01242 547 760 A seven-night Classic Morocco tour which includes Casablanca, Fes, Rabat, the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech is from £2,295pp, including international flights. abercrombiekent.co.uk  INNTRAVEL – 01653 617 001

The Flavours of Morocco seven-night walking holiday, visiting Marrakech and Tizouit, is from £955pp including a private Berber guide. inntravel.co.uk 

WHO FLIES THERE royalairmaroc.com; batraveltrade.com; airarabia.com; easyjet.com; ryanair.com; thomsonfly.com

sellingtravel.co.uk

Top (from left): the blue hues of Chefchaouen; Jamaa el Fna square in Marrakech; camels in the desert. Above: the Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech.


o nly the travel news that really matters

56

C H I M U A D V E N T U R E S : SPECIALIST TEAMS UP WITH ADVANTAGE PARTNERSHIP

57

ALBIDA TOURISM EARLY-BIRD DEALS get online

59

O N T H E GO T O U R S NORWAY’S FJORDS

60

C hec k in g o ut PROPERTIES IN THAILAND

read a l l o ur ma g a z ines and chec k o ut o ur D ai ly se l l in g ti p s AT s e l l i n g t rav e l.c o.u k

sellingtravel.co.uk


56

the review

t o U r i s m U P d At e

Chimu’s trade advantage

All-in autumn from Royal Caribbean royAl Caribbean International has an autumn promotion, offering

CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organization

savings on new bookings made until November 8 on selected ex-UK and European 2017 sailings.

THE Caribbean Tourism Organization

Guests taking advantage of the

(CTO) would like to thank everyone who

promotion will benefit from the

supported Caribbean Month and helped to

cruise line’s ‘best-ever’ all-inclusive

increase bookings to the Caribbean.

drinks offer. A new deluxe package

Thank you to those agents who attended

is worth the equivalent of £50pp

the CTO’s Chester and Birmingham roadshows.

per day and includes unlimited

Both were well attended and offered a great

soda, wine, beer, spirits, cocktails,

opportunity for all attending agents to meet

mocktails, bottled water and

with the CTO’s Caribbean partners and to learn

premium tea and coffee up to the

more about what the Caribbean has to offer.

value of $12 each (or a classic soda package for under 18s).

SOME OF OUR PRIZE WINNERS

by STeVe HarTrIdGe

In Chester, Charlotte Newman of Elegant

lAtin

Antarctica

pyramids of Mexico or trekking to the

deal means the second adult

Resorts won seven nights at Magdalena Grand

specialists Chimu Adventures has

heart of Patagonia, clients see the

sharing

Beach and Golf Resort and a pair of British

joined forces with The Advantage

destinations through the eyes of a

receives 50% off the full adult

Airways World Traveller Tickets to Tobago.

Travel Partnership.

native,” added Evans.

cruise fare price paid.

America

civilisation of the Incas, exploring the

and

A

buy-one-get-one-half-price the

same

stateroom

On the same evening Lisa Mousley of

“Advantage members now benefit

John Sullivan, Head of Commercial at

Agents can also pass on savings

Caribbean Boutique Luxury Holidays won a

from the expertise of Chimu staff on the

Advantage said: “This partnership offers

of 25% per person on third and

pair of Virgin Atlantic tickets to the Caribbean;

ground as well as having access to the

members access and benefits to Chimu

fourth guests.

and Kenneth Garrity of Ken Garrity Travel

full range of our charters and the best-

Adventures, enabling them to sell tailor-

walked away with a seven-night all-inclusive

value Antarctic cruises,” said Simon

made journeys to Latin America.”

stay at The Pineapple Beach Club, Antigua.

Evans, Chimu Adventures’ UK Manager.

In Birmingham, Paula Frost of RedRoute

“Chimu Adventures specialise in

The autumn promotion features a range of European itineraries

South

including Northern Europe, ex-UK

America tour, which includes Lima,

sailings on Independence of the

Chimu’s

21-day Best

of

Travel Ltd was our lucky winner, taking home

tailor-made

small-group

Cusco, Machu Picchu, an Amazon

Seas and Western Mediterranean

a pair of British Airways World Traveller

itineraries to Latin America, as well as

jungle lodge, Buenos Aires, Iguazu

sailings starting from Rome on

Tickets to Tobago.

expedition

Falls and Rio starts from £3,975.

Jewel of the Seas and from

chimuadventures.com

Amsterdam on Vision of the Seas.

During September agents logging their

and cruises

to

Antarctica.

Whether it’s discovering the ancient

Caribbean bookings on Caribbean Travel Guru Training Programme had the chance to win some great prizes. Our September winner is Helen Cox of Tropic Breeze, who is now

royalcaribbean.co.uk/cruise-deals/all-in

Princess Cruises has free balcony upgrade

enjoying £100 worth of Love2Shop Vouchers.

PrinCess CrUises is offering

up-scale room for the price of an

For October, agents on the training

cruisers free balcony upgrades on over

oceanview stateroom. The cruise line

programme can win a L’Occitaine gift set, and

400 worldwide cruises for 2017 and

is also offering 50% off for third and

next month (November) a Christmas hamper

2018. The deal applies to selected

fourth guests in the same stateroom.

if they complete the Caribbean Travel Guru

voyages in Europe, Alaska, Japan,

Offers include a balcony stateroom

www.caribbeantravelguru.com programme

South East Asia and the Americas.

from £799pp for a seven-night Spain

during those months. If you have any queries regarding the

Guests booking a balcony stateroom until October 18 2016 will get the

and France cruise, sailing round-trip from Southampton. princess.com

Caribbean Travel Guru online training programme, please contact Ann-Marie Brooks on 020 8948 0057 or by email at abrooks@

neWs to Use in BrieF

caribtourism.com W&o adds Canada: Western &

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

will

rainbow’s Kenya: Rainbow Tours is

Oriental is now selling city breaks,

welcome a new festival this autumn.

giving clients the chance to see some

self-drives, rail journeys and luxury

Livin in the Sun (November 11-13) will

of Kenya’s 400 bird species on its new

escorted tours in Canada. A 13-day fly-

showcase some of the world’s top DJs

eight-day ‘Birding and Wildlife in the

drive around western Canada starts

in a range of island destinations. These

Great Rift Valley’ tour. Stops will include

from £2,595pp. A seven-day tour of

include Sandy Island, a remote stretch

Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru and

Toronto, Niagara Falls, Montreal and

of sand in the middle of the ocean only

three nights at Governors’ Camp in the

Québec

reachable by helicopter or boat.

Maasai Mara. Prices from £2,850pp.

ivisitanguilla.com

rainbowtours.co.uk

City

westernoriental.com

is

from

£1,875pp.

Anguilla

sellingtravel.co.uk

rocks:

Anguilla


the review

57

Wendy Wu’s China week SPECIAL OFFERS

RENETTE HARTRIDGE

SHANGRI LA’S VILLINGILI MALDIVES

Wendy WU toUrs has partnered

Forbidden City, and to walk along the

with Hainan Airlines to offer a ‘Wall

city walls in Xian, which date back to

and Warriors’ tour, departing from

the Ming Dynasty, are also available. “The ‘Wall and Warriors’ tour is the

Manchester. Priced from £1,199pp, the seven-

perfect trip for those who thought

day private tour will visit two of

China was out of their reach. The

China’s most popular destinations,

week-long tour offers incredible

the Great Wall and the stunning

value and allows travellers to tick

Terracotta Warriors (pictured).

two of the most iconic Chinese sights

The trip has selected departure

off their bucket list,” said Laurence

dates between October 2016 and

Hicks, Managing Director of Wendy

March 2017.

Wu Tours.

Additional optional excursions

Hainan Airlines launched the first-

giving visitors the opportunity to

ever direct flights from Manchester

explore the sights of Beijing,

Airport to China in June 2016.

including Tiananmen Square and the

wendywutours.co.uk/Hainan

Book by 30 Nov 16 and receive: Complimentary Domestic Flights PLUS Complimentary Upgrade from BB to HB Valid for stays between now – 30 Nov 17 PLUS REDUCED RATES :Valid for all stays between 10 Oct – 17 Dec 16

ANANTARA KIHAVAH VILLAS MALDIVES

Complimentary Upgrade from BB to HB Valid for stays between now – 19 Oct 16 and 29 Oct – 19 Dec 16 OR Book 45 days prior to arrival and receive 10% Discount COMBINABLE WITH FREE NIGHTS : Stay 4 Pay 3 / Stay 7 Pay 5 Valid for stays between now – 27 Dec 16 PLUS Rates now available until 2018

CENTARA GRAND RESORT MALDIVES Book by 30 Nov 16 and receive: 25% Discount on Seaplane Transfers Valid for stays between now – 31 Dec 16 PLUS Book 60 days prior to arrival and receive 15% Discount on Room Rates Valid for stays between now – 24 Dec 16 and 17 Apr 17 – 02 Jan 18

Early-bird deals with Africa Albida lUXUry sAFAri operator Africa

in Botswana. Until December 20

Albida Tourism (AAT) is offering

2016,

early-bird booking deals across its

incorporating stays at AAT’s luxury

properties

Falls,

Victoria Falls properties – Victoria

Zimbabwe and the Chobe region

Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls

in

Victoria

all

new

bookings

Safari Lodge and Victoria Falls Safari Suites – benefit from a 15% discount off all B&B rates for a stay of two nights or more.

DUSIT THANI

Rates released for 2017-18! Book 90 days prior to arrival and receive 15% Discount on Room Rates Valid for stays between 24 Dec 16 – 09 Jan 18 Pure Indulgence with Dine Around meals at Dinner at any of the restaurants! PLUS Fantastic Complimentary Amenities and add ons for all Honeymoon Couples Valid throughout 2016 and 2017

Guests staying at Ngoma Safari Lodge, Botswana, for three nights will pay the price of two during

ALSO FIND EXCLUSIVE DEALS FOR TRAVEL TRADE PERSONNEL ONLY ON OUR WEBSITE

November and December 2016. All activities, food and drinks, national park fees and return road transfers are included for stays at the lodge, which has uninterrupted views of the Chobe River.

OVER 200 HOTELS AND A SELECTION OF TOURS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE MALDIVES - SRI LANKA - MAURITIUS - SEYCHELLES INDIA - UAE – CARIBBEAN- GREECE- NEW CRUISING AND SAILING. INCLUDING EXCLUSIVE OFFERS FOR WINTER 2016/17 SUMMER 2017 & WINTER 2017/18 RATES ARE NOW ONLINE

africaalbidatourism.com

www.osborneandebel.com All above offers are subject to availability.

Terms & Conditions Apply

sellingtravel.co.uk OE-OCTOBER.indd 1

21/09/2016 15:44


58

the review

Shearings puts focus on events and tours

AmaWaterways prizes loyalty

If Only... heads Down Under with new deals

by Laura Gelder

Trade - only tour operator If

Shearings Holiday’s 2017 Grand

Only…

Tourer Collection brochure features

destinations’

new destinations and escorted

Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

now

features

‘new

Australia,

New

A 200-page brochure covering

tours and event-based holidays. its

the region has been delivered to

premium Grand Tours product

agents and a new team of

range with five new European

destination experts has gone ‘live’ .

Shearings

has

updated

itineraries including a 10-day

Last month If Only… had six

Flavours of Italy tour offering the

regional business development

chance to taste signature dishes

managers on the road, visiting,

(from £1,249); a 15-day Portugal &

training and incentivising agents

The Algarve tour (from £1,369); and

across the UK, as well as hosting a number of evening events, to

a 10-day Loire, Provence & The French Riviera option (from £1,089).

by Laura Gelder

Stuart Perl, Managing Director of

highlight the new destinations.

The Grand Tours range is

AmaWaterways has relaunched its

AmaWaterways said, “The feedback that

Brendan Maguire, If Only…’s

designed as a luxurious escorted

trade loyalty scheme, which rewards

we received from agents last year was

Founder and Managing Director,

touring experience, with added

travel agents and homeworkers for

fantastic. Because the rewards were so

said: “We’ve been working on the

extras including the free Home

each booking made. The loyalty scheme

desirable and achievable it motivated

launch of our Australia, New

Connect Service, minimum four-

will run for the next 12 months and

agents to continue booking with us.”

Zealand and the Pacific Islands

star hotel stays and a personal

offer 10 prizes that range in value and

audio guide on all itineraries.

are linked to the booking value.

Agents receive a loyalty card to log booking

reference

numbers.

portfolio for over a year.

Each

“We offer underwater tours of

A new range of short-haul

They include a bottle of Champagne

booking made gets the participant to the

the Great Barrier Reef, stunning

holidays, to destinations such as

for one booking, a FitBit for four

next reward level. Agents can cash in

train journeys across the dusty

Malta,

Madeira,

bookings, a £100 shopping voucher for

after one booking or wait until they earn

outback

Dubrovnik and Costa del Sol,

six bookings, a luggage set for eight

higher-value prizes. To receive a card,

helicopter flights over a live

include private transfers, return

bookings and the top prize, a cabin for

agents

volcano in Rotorua.”

flights from over 25 regional

two on one of the AmaWaterways top-

amawaterways.com or call Georgia Mae

airports, sightseeing excursions,

rated river European river cruise ships

Tarrant on 0800 520 2251

Bora in French Polynesia, the Cook

and three- or four-star resorts.

for 10 bookings.

amawaterways.co.uk

Islands and Fiji in the Pacific.

Majorca,

should

email

rewards@

The new Special Interests & European Events breaks covers famous festivals and sporting

Cuba Holidays ready to welcome the trade

event tours to the Monaco Grand

CUBA Holidays is offering its range

Featured are beach resorts and

Prix, priced from £999pp and to

of specialist product to the travel trade

‘cultural cities’, along with ‘casa

Monza Grand Prix, from £1019pp,

for the first time. Alan Meadows, Trade

particulars’ (or ‘homestays), a product

and a six-day garden tour to

Sales Development Manager said: “Our

Meadows says will be “central to the

Berlin and the International

key agents will have access to some of

development of Cuba as a major

Garden Show, from £499pp.

the best prices to one of the hottest

holiday destination”.

shearings.com

destinations of 2016.”

cubaholidays.co.uk

breathtaking

The brochure also includes Bora

Ifonly.net

events. Options include 10-day

and


the review

Regions key to NSW growth

Avalon Waterways has active in mind

59

On The Go to Norway on The Go Tours has a selection of

AVAlon

WAterWAys’

new

new tours in Norway, a destination

2017 brochure features a ‘new

the operator says is benefitting

type’ of Danube river cruise.

from an increasing number of affordable air options.

‘Active Discovery on the Danube’ active

The operator has developed six

excursions and local authentic

itineraries including two group

experiences and are available on

guided

the Linz to Budapest stretch of

adventure and three short stays.

cruises

include

more

Krems,

one

self-drive

From a journey on the scenic

the river. Stops include Grein, Durnstein,

tours,

Flam Railway to a self-drive holiday

Vienna,

through Norway’s fjords, weekend

Bratislava and Visegard. The nine-day ‘Active Discovery

breaks to Oslo and Bergen and an

on the Danube’ cruise from Linz to

encounter with wildlife in Svalbard,

Budapest (and reverse itinerary) is

Norway’s northern Arctic region,

priced

the new options show off the best

from

£2,483pp

and

of the country. A four-day weekend

includes a selection of activities. Those wanting to be active can

stay in Olso, including an Oslo Pass

by STeVe HarTrIdGe

join guided mountain climbing,

entiCing visitors to attractions and

muster’ and ‘blue singlet count’. The

which provides entry into 30

hiking, paddling a canoe or

experiences in the regions beyond

two-day event also features music

museums, is offered from £415pp.

cycling alongside the picturesque

Sydney is one of the key aims of

concerts - Keith Urban was among the

The eight-day Arctic Experience

River Danube. Local experiences

Destination New South Wales, says its

performers at last month’s event - bull

group guided tour starts from

on offer include the opportunity

Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase.

rides, trade and catering stalls, whip

£1,675pp and includes a whale-

to ‘conduct’ an orchestra, learn the

In the year ending June 2015, around

cracking, wood-chop demonstrations,

watching cruise, the Northern

Viennese waltz, explore an ice

54% of UK travellers to Australia spent

helicopter rides, camel rides and more.

Lights and a Hurtigruten cruise

cave or visit a local farm to help

some time in the state but Sydney was

Other sectors being pushed are food

with the apricot harvest.

by far the most visited spot (90%).

and wine trails – New South Wales has

David Binns, Avalon Head of

The North Coast region attracted

52 of them – Aboriginal tourism

Product commented: “Our sales

20% of those visitors followed by the

experiences, youth and adventure

team will be working hard to

Hunter Valley with 8%, but other areas

activities, geology tours, star-gazing and

offer agents advice and training

of the state saw relatively tiny numbers.

sporting events across the state like

That imbalance has resulted in an

next year’s first Women’s Rugby Sevens

about selling this new type of river cruise and we will organise

additional

fam trips.”

earmarked for regional promotions,

avaloncruises.co.uk

particularly events, said Chipchase.

A$1.5

million

being

from

Harstad

to

Tromso.

onthegotours.com

New city break getaways for Monarch

tournament in Sydney (February 3-5). “We have to keep creating new content

monArCh has added Porto,

and fresh New South Wales’ stories,”

Stockholm and Zagreb for next

“We have a dedicated promotion

added Chipchase, who pledged that the

summer and plans to base

kicking off soon and will be putting

trade will be vital in helping the state

additional aircraft in Manchester

more funding towards getting our

reach its goal of increasing the spend of

to accommodate the new routes.

regional products ready for international

international visitors from A$18.3 billion

Agents can now book flights for

markets,” added Chipchase.

to A$36.6 billion by 2020 (with UK

travel from April 28 2017, with

arrivals spending $669 million a year).

early offers starting from £33.

These include quirky events like Denny Ute Muster, one of Australia’s

“You ignore the trade at your peril. In

premier rural events. Played out on

fact we need more trade partnerships

Portuguese

some of the largest, flattest plains on

as these will help us amplify our

Monarch’s network, joining Lisbon

earth, at the core of the festival is the

calendar of events,” said Chipchase

Faro and Funchal. The coastal city

Guinness World Record-breaking ‘Ute

visitnsw.com

will be served by three weekly

Porto

will

be

the

fourth

destination

on

flights, from Luton and Manchester.

neWs to Use in BrieF

monarch.co.uk

eastern promise: Representation Plus

thomas Cook to tobago: Thomas

Paris hotel reopens: Le Méridien

is the new UK office for South Africa’s

Cook’s new Manchester-Tobago service

Etolie in the 17th arrondisement in

Eastern Cape. “Our aim is to attract

begins on November 13 and will run

Paris is welcoming guest once more

visitors beyond Cape Town and  Port

until March 19. It will leave Manchester

after a multi-million-euro makeover.

Elizabeth to discover the nature reserves,

on Sunday morning at 09.40 with the

The Starwood property, located close to

scenery, coast, culture and heritage of the

return flight departing Tobago on

the Arc de Triomphe and Champs

Adventure Province,” said Alison Cryer,

Sunday afternoon, arriving back into

Élysées, has upgraded all its guestrooms

Managing Director, Representation Plus.

Manchester at 07.15 the next morning.

and suites.

representationplus.co.uk

thomascookairlines.com

lemeridien.com

sellingtravel.co.uk


60

the review

Checking out...

HOTELS / RESORTS / TRAIN JOURNEYS / CRUISES / AIRPORT REVIEWS

S T A Y : PAT H U M WAN P R I NC E S S HO T E L – Bangkok, Thailand T H E V E R D I CT

BY STEVEN THOMPSON

THE BACKGROUND: The Pathumwan

Princess hotel, a haven in the heart of Bangkok’s buzzing shopping, entertainment and arts district, offers a sophisticated ambience and plenty of traditional Thai hospitality. THE LOCATION: This multi-awardwinning hotel towers above the city’s popular MBK Centre. A comfortable commute from both of Bangkok’s airports and with easy access to the Skytrain and a skywalk, the Pathumwan Princess is conveniently situated for those wishing to explore the city. THE ROOM: My superior room with ultra-comfortable king-size bed was tastefully decorated and spacious with a large desk and seating area. The outer wall comprised of an enormous window offering views over the city. Wardrobe and luggage space was plentiful and the decent-sized bathroom with a bathtub and shower was clean and stocked with complimentary toiletries.

With its fantastic location in the heart of Bangkok, the Pathumwan Princess combines a relaxing atmosphere with amazing amenities – just perfect for any holidaymaker looking for an ultra-comfortable stay and a memorable visit to Bangkok. RATES: The hotel offers an KEY FACILITIES: The hotel has a state-

of-the-art gym and Olympic Club with running track, tennis courts, badminton courts and a number of other facilities. The Desheli Diamond Treasure Spa offers anti-ageing luxury spa treatments and Thai massages. There is a large outdoor pool and Jacuzzi. RESTAURANTS/BARS: The buffet breakfast in the CiTi Bistro offered a fabulous selection of morning foods

from around the world. Tasty cocktails were served in the chilled atmosphere of the Studio Bar which featured live music. The lights on the outdoor pool area provided a beautiful backdrop for dinner at The Loop Restaurant, with its excellent choice of tasty Italian dishes.

excellent choice of

Pathumwan Princess Hotel, 444 MBK Centre, Phayathai

a night.

accommodation styles, ranging from a Superior Room from around THB 3,040 (£80) to the Pathumwan Horizon Terrace Suite from THB 8,640 (£200)

Road, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand  pprincess.com  +66 2 216 3700;  ppb@pprincess.com

S T A Y : AM AR I P H U K E T – Phuket, Thailand BY KARL CUSHING

THE BACKGROUND: Alhough it

opened more than 30 years ago you wouldn’t guess the resort’s age from its impeccable look and feel. Billed as a four-star it’s a solid example of ONYX Hospitality’s great-value Amari brand, a proven hit with British guests, backed by regular offers such as ‘buy five nights, stay for seven’.

THE LOCATION: The resort occupies an enviable, sheltered spot at the other end of Patong Bay to the resort town of Patong Beach which, while easily accessible, could be light years away. Complimentary shuttles run to Kata Beach or Jungceylon Mall for retail fans. THE ROOM: Mine was a one-bed suite in the Ocean Wing, which opened in June 2015. This collection of 183

one- and two-bed suites is serviced by golf buggies, a FIT gym and the classy Clubhouse. The property is a great bet for couples and families. The room was spacious and classily bedecked and offered kitchen and dining facilities. KEY FACILITIES: Nice touches in the main resort include the open-sided Breezes Spa, and the Voyager Lounge (08:00 to 24:00 daily), a chill-out space complete with showers and lockers. The Kids Club for four- to-12s (from 10:00 to 19:00 daily) offers in-room babysitting. RESTAURANTS/BARS: Dining highlights include La Gritta, a contemporary Italian restaurant, while Rim Talay offers more international fare. For cocktails and tapas with a view, The Jetty is a nice informal spot. Samutr Bar is one of the main hosts for evening entertainment.

T H E V E R D I CT Set on an island no stranger to beachfront hotels the four-star Amari Phuket delivers on all the main criteria. Set in a cracking location on a beautiful stretch of beach, it’s near the main Phuket sights and hubbub yet secluded enough for quality kicking back time. The new exclusive Ocean Wing offers guests extra staying options. RATES: Accommodation options range from Superior Rooms from around 3,959 THB (£88.36) per night.

Amari Phuket, Phuket, 83150, Thailand

Ocean Wing rooms start

 www.amari.com/phuket  +66 (0) 7634 0106-14;  phuket@amari.com

from 4,859 THB (£108.45).

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how to sell

61

Ethiopia by Gary Noakes

E

thiopia offers evidence of the birth of humanity itself plus astonishing ancient religious sites and national parks with some of the continent’s most breathtaking landscapes – quite literally, as most of the country is over 5,000 feet.

Landlocked Ethiopia is probably not for first-time visitors to Africa but fans of the continent should place it high on their list. Forget any perception you have about Ethiopia, because today it is home to Africa’s most successful airline, with one of the world’s most modern fleets, and a fast-developing tourism industry that can point to nine UNESCO World Heritage sites plus some archaeological discoveries that have yet to be understood. Add wildlife that includes many unique species and you have a destination geared up for attracting more visitors. Blue Nile Falls, known as 'Great Smoke'

Addis Ababa At around 7,500 feet, Addis is one of the world’s highest capitals but a night or two here upon arrival will acclimatize you. The city is among Africa’s more safe and manageable capitals and boasts the continent’s first light rail system,

which opened in 2015. Among the growing high-rise buildings there is obvious poverty, but Addis is no different to any other African city in this respect. A brief visit is enough to see the sites and enjoy the cuisine – excellent Italian food harks back to the colonial days, while Yod Abyssinia restaurant, despite looking touristy, offers locals and foreigners alike authentic food and traditional entertainment. A must-see is the National Museum, which provides evidence that Ethiopia really is the cradle of civilization in the shape of ‘Lucy’, a skeleton, which at 3.2 million years old is probably related to each of us.

Why sell it

Unique look and feel

Egypt has the pyramids and Kenya the animals, but Ethiopia can point to ancient sites and landscapes. Its wildlife might not include the Big Five but the Nile Crocodiles, hippos and zebra give it a distinct African feel. And tribal

Ethiopia Essentials TIME: +2GMT. FLIGHT TIME: Around seven hours direct. VISAS: Obtainable on arrival for $50. HEALTH: Vaccinations are advised, particularly Yellow Fever, while areas below 2,000 metres are malarial.

POPULATION: 94.2 million CURRENCY: £1 = 30 Ethiopian birr. Hotels accept most credit cards. ATMs are plentiful in Addis. LANGUAGE: the official languae is Amharric but English is widely spoken in shops and hotels. Visitors to rural areas will hear a multitude of languages.

BOOK IT Rainbow Tours (0203 733 6894) has a new 13-day People of Southern Ethiopia and Rift Valley trip, from £3,135pp. It includes encounters with the Mursi, Karo and Hamer tribes and two nights at Sabana Beach Resort, with its tranquil lakeside views. Rainbowtours.co.uk

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settlements mean 80 dialects, different styles of dress and cuisines make no single day the same for any visitor. With around 20 domestic airports – Ethiopia claims more than any other African country – getting around is easy.

What to sell Lalibela’s rock-hewn churches in the north of the country head the top three must-sees for first timers. These Christian churches date from the twelth century and are cut from a single piece of rock. Tourism officials name the source of the Blue Nile at Lake Tana and nearby Tis Issat falls, where the river becomes a spectacular cascade, as being the most popular natural attraction. Gondar, which houses the remains of a fortress city dates back to the 17th century. The south of the country is lower and warmer and the place for relaxation and animal viewing.

What’s new Ethiopian Airlines (ethiopianairlines.co.uk) is the first African carrier to add the Airbus A350 into its fleet, placing it on the London route. The airline’s new 25-minute flight from Addis to Awassa replaces a six-hour drive and opens up Lake Langano’s eco-lodges, which are the place to view Columbus monkeys.

When to sell The rainy season is mostly from mid-June to early October, but this varies further south, while the north is much drier. September and October see wild flowers bloom. 


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weddings and honeymoons

romance destination

Quirky weddings and action-packed honeymoons are stealing a march on traditional do-nothing couples packages, says Heidi Fuller-Love

B

each weddings and honeymoons might still be the most popular options for UK travellers but increasingly adventurous couples are seeking active weddings or honeymoons. Take Clare Hope-Dunbar and her husband Charlie, who plumped for a safari honeymoon in Botswana. Says Clare: “We were looking for an active honeymoon but wanted some relaxation time beforehand. “The 05.30 safari starts were completely worth it but much easier to deal with because we had had some chill time before. Also, at a time when you’re looking to completely unwind, it’s worth paying a little bit extra to ensure that everything is catered for in advance – that’s why we chose luxury experiential travel company andBeyond. “In Chobe National Park we saw a pride of six lionesses beginning to stir. We followed them deeper into the park. Suddenly there

was a charge to the left and we witnessed a lone female buffalo being taken down by the pride. This and the host of other wildlife we saw (including on our Pangolin Photographic Water Safari) were definite highlights. “Everything ran so smoothly, from our transfers to information shared about pick-up times to the little touches – including knowing that my husband won’t touch tomatoes!” According to a recent report by Destination Weddings Travel Group, in 2016 brides and grooms alike are seeking new-to-them locales to share and there’s a growing demand for lesser-known destinations, exciting activities and funky venues. With resorts like Manatai in Thailand offering a Traditional Thai Wedding Ceremony Package, Olympic Holidays doing weddings in a converted Greek windmill on Santorini and The Saffire Freycinet boutique resort in Tasmania organising unique

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weddings and honeymoons

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weddings and honeymoons

or as part of a longer honeymoon in France or Scotland,” says Chris Gant, PR Manager for European Waterways.

Perfect ten

From left: Increasingly couples want to include activities within their honeymoon in exotic destinations such as Polynesia; spa opportunities also appeal to this market; making a splash in Bali

local spa and gourmet experiences, there’s certainly plenty to choose from. “Experiential travel is on the rise for destination weddings and honeymoons,” says Kelly White, Marketing Director of Malawi Travel Marketing Consortium. “Malawi has always been the perfect place for hands-on, authentic experiences. The Malawians are the friendliest people in the world and a cultural experience in Malawi is one of interaction with local people. “There is also a growing trend for couples who have destination weddings to bring their families on honeymoon with them, too,” says Joss Kent, andBeyond’s CEO. Many South Pacific destinations are currently marketing themselves as wedding or honeymoon destinations, but Fiji and the Cook Islands have been the most successful because weddings can be arranged locally with little fuss. Exotic Indian Ocean island groups, the Seychelles and the Maldives, are two other destinations where weddings can be organised easily. “We have an expert resort team in place that can tailor-make a wedding to suit the needs and requirements of the bride and groom,” says Ricardo Leal the General Manager at Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa at Dhonakulhi Maldives. For couples who don’t want to go far afield, or who are worried about cost, Greece is a good option. “There are more requests for lesser-known islands and another big growth area is venues that cater for families because many couples choosing to get married already have children,” says Mathilde Roberts, Managing Director of Planet Weddings. River cruises are also growing in popularity, with experienced companies like Gobarging offering intimate cruising experiences on luxuriously renovated barges. “Agents can sell one of our barge holidays as a single experience

Underwater love: Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa has launched the world’s first compact semi-submarine excursion aboard the Penguin, which couples can hire. Clearly beautiful: Sandals Resorts recently unveiled it’s new wedding location, the Overwater Serenity Wedding Chapel at Sandals Grande St. Lucian. The new venue is an open-air, glass chapel with panoramic views of Rodney Bay. Barefoot bliss: Wilderness Collection’s North Island, in the Seychelles, has a range of special wedding and honeymoon offers. Made for romance: AMResorts’ Secrets Resorts and Spas in Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are adults-only and have romantic wedding, honeymoon and even anniversary packages available. Pump up the adrenalin: From hot air ballooning in East Africa to scuba diving at Benguerra Island or white-water rafting at Victoria Falls, andbeyond has a range of adrenalin activity packages. Go for gourmet: Built in traditional Puglian style, five-star resort Borgo Egnazia has several gourmet restaurants and can arrange wine tasting sessions for honeymooners. The height of romance: The team at sumptuous Cristallo Hotel Spa and Golf in Cortina d’Ampezzo in northern Italy can arrange for the happy couple to soak with a glass of champagne in a hot tub on top of the Cinque Torri Mountains. Classics in Sri Lanka: Lavishly restored, The Galle Face Hotel, Sri Lanka’s grand dame at over 150 years old, has eight one-of-akind luxury suites and offers Edwardian pastimes ranging from croquet, to afternoon tea. Try it in Tenerife: Adrián Hoteles has an original ‘à la carte honeymoon package’ that newly-weds can create via its


Tropical escapes for a

WHITE SAND CHRISTMAS

Swap a Christmas tree for a palm tree in the Seychelles. Enjoy the holidays on a private paradise island that offers you a haven of luxury and discover a whole new meaning to festive celebrations. Try the delicious authentic cuisine and relax at the spa. For bookings or more information, please call 0800 0159 708 or email eir.seychelles@jaresorts.com jaresortshotels.com

/enchantedislandresort

@eirseychelles


THe

Big day? Think little


weddings and honeymoons

online shop. The trade can book all hotels. Join the big fish: In Vancouver’s stunning aquarium couples can wed surrounded by whales and other marine life.

What’s new  Airlines: British Airways (batraveltrade.

choice through annual joint marketing campaigns with mainstream and niche tour operators. Through these we are targeting not just consumers but also the trade, educating travel agents on all that Greece has to offer.” Christina Kalogera, Greek National Tourism Organisation

com) has new routes to Costa Rica, Doha and

“Grenada exudes romance, from the Capetown. WOW Air (wowair.co.uk) has £99 one-way tickets to Boston and Washington floral wonders in the rainforest to the DC. Closer to home, easyJet (easyjet.com)has deserted white-sand beaches at sunset. increased services from regional airports, Over the past three years we’ve seen an increase in including from Bristol and Manchester. second marriages and vow renewals, which our  Tour operators: Planet Weddings hotels can organise on the beach, in the rainforest, (planetweddings.co.uk) has a new website and will on a yacht or even underwater. For agents, it’s key be add Greek beach to remember that Grenada weddings and stands out from other character venues romantic destinations for including castles “Let the company know that its food – not least the and wineries. spices and chocolate – the the guests are on honeymoon diversity of landscapes so and you may get some Tourism talk close together – beach to “As the added-value. We always ensure rainforest in 10 minutes number of honeymooners are given some – and the ease of wedding luxury and planning. We’re one of a extra surprises during boutique hotels handful of Caribbean their stay” continues to rise, this island that grants licenses JOSS KENT, CEO, ANDBEYOND will give agents more in one day.” choice on where they Sharon Bernstein, can send couples, Director UK & Ireland, ensuring that Greece Grenada Tourism Authority continues to grow its wedding market. New hotels Where to book it include the boutique Domus Renier hotel and the  ANDBEYOND – ENQUIRY@ANDBEYOND.COM adults-only five-star Domes Noruz hotel, both If your clients are of the platinum credit card located in Chania, Crete. In the Cyclades islands, kind, suggest the 17-day Ultimate Romance Paros has welcomed the Seven Santa Maria Hotel, of Africa Safari itinerary. It travels through which is perfect for couples and Naxos has the Southern Africa by train and jeep, and includes new Naxian Utopia resort, where newlyweds can excursions and wildlife safaris. It’s priced charter a helicopter or private jet. The Greek from $89,000 (£67,791pp), all-inclusive. National Tourism Organisation is continuing to andbeyond.com help improve and widen the tourism product  HIDEAWAY BEACH RESORT AND SPA – +(960) 650 15 15

A seven-night Perfect Moments wedding package, including pre-wedding pampering for bride and groom, traditional Maldivian wedding ceremony and romantic five-course candlelit dinner, is from $6,280 (£4,214) per couple, including return speed boat transfers. hideawaybeachmaldives.com

 EUROPEAN WATERWAYS – 01753 598555

A six-night charter of the boat Nymphea, including gourmet meals, fine wines and champagne, one Michelin-starred dinner ashore and visits to romantic chateaux, from £11,800 for two people. gobarging.com 

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Clockwise from top: Increasingly couples want to put themselves in new locations for new experiences together: joining a safari, learning to dive and putting themselves in the picture in Rio may fit the bill

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introducing

Alberta – Skiing the Canadian Rockies –

TOP TIPS WESTJET NOW FLIES NON STOP TO CALGARY FROM GATWICK (£157PP ONE - WAY ). westjet.com SKI ‘N' STAY PACKAGES ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT SKIBIG3, WHICH COVERS THREE RESORTS: BANFF, LAKE LOUISE AND SUNSHINE A THREE - RESORT LIFT PASS NOW GIVES FREE ENTRY TO THE HISTORIC BANFF HOT SPRINGS. SkiBig3.com BOOK

IT

BANFF LAKE LOUISE TOURISM/ PAUL ZIZKA PHOTOGRAPHY

PAUL ZIZKA PHOTOGRAPHY

Alberta also offers the rare opportunity to ski in a UNESCO World Heritage site, in Banff and Jasper.

BANFF NATIONAL PARK Three resorts sit within Banff National Park. Mt Norquay is just 10 minutes from the town of Banff and is popular with families; while the Lake Louise Ski Area, 40 minutes from Banff has 'wow' factor appeal (set to open November 10). The layout here allows beginners, intermediates and experts to all set off from the top of every chairlift. Sunshine Village (open November 11) offers ski-in, ski-out accommodation right on the mountainside with the added excitement of Delirium Dive, one of the Top 10 off-piste destinations in the world. The resort opened the first heated chair-lift in Canada last season. It JEFF BARLETT TOURISM

Relaxed, well-equipped resorts and relatively few crowds ensure the hills of the Albertan Rockies make a compelling wintersports choice for families, beginners and experts alike. With 65 ski hills across the province, there is plenty of choice and although some clients may think a long-haul wintersports holiday is financially beyond their reach, the Canadian slopes have become increasingly competitive. Euro-zone destinations are no longer a cheap option when you add in the costs of après-ski and dining out, but the value of the Canadian dollar, competitive airfares and many added-value offers on passes, lessons and equipment really can make Alberta doable without breaking the bank. The province does not charge any sales tax which also helps keep in-resort costs down. Skiing the Rockies is a 'must-do' for many, with considerable kudos. The fact that there are many activities beyond the slopes – from dog-sledding to ice walks – gives Alberta broad appeal to mixed-generation and mixed- ability groups.

JEFF BARLETT

A

lberta has one of the longest ski seasons in North America with resorts open from November to May. All have a fabulous reputation for their powder snow and the reliabity of the conditions. Wise up to what's on offer and prepare to sell, says Julie Baxter

moves 1,200 people per hour uphill at speeds of 1,000ft per minute – more than double the speed of the previous lift.

JASPER NATIONAL PARK Jasper National Park is a well-known wilderness destination of lakes and mountains with the friendly town of Jasper at its heart. The wintersports scene is based around Marmot Basin where there are 86 marked trails. The ski and snowboard runs are split evenly between easy, intermediate and advanced so its a great choice for mixed ability groups. It's famed for its large snow-filled bowls.

CASTLE MOUNTAIN For those looking for somewhere less well known, Castle Mountain is a resort area two-and-a-half hours drive from Calgary with two mountains offering over 3500 skiable acres with 78 trails, eight alpine bowls, six lifts and three terrain parks. The mountain summit sits at 7463 feet, with panormaic views of the Rockies.

BEYOND THE SLOPES Alberta's hills have plenty for non-skiers too from snow-shoeing hikes, dog-sledding adventures and snow-mobiling to ice-skating, ice walks and sleigh rides (pictured left in Jasper). They’ll love the mountain town shops, cafes and spa opportunities too and, of course, the historic Banff Upper Hot Springs. Regular winter festivals add further fun!

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how to sell

Lisbon by Debbie Ward

P

ortugal’s historic capital enjoys a dramatic location, sprawled across seven hills. It overlooks the river Tagus and the country’s west coast, which is within easy reach. Why sell it

Lisbon works as both a city break and a longer stay in tandem with nearby beach areas. It holds its heat well into autumn, making it great for 'shoulder season' getaways. The average day temperature is between 15C and 18C in winter, while the dry summers rarely exceed 28C. It’s good value too, consistently ranking among the most affordable cities in the Eurozone, according to the Post Office’s annual City Costs Barometer. Lisbon’s mix of old and new attractions means it can appeal to a wide range of ages and interests.

What to sell Lisbon is famous for its monuments relating to the Age of Discovery between the 15th to 18th centuries. The tomb of great overseas explorer Vasco da Gama is in Jeronimos Monastery, which also features carved plants, animals and

Padrao dos Descobrimentos

Lisbon's low-slung skyline faces from other lands in its brickwork. The famous Discovery Monument, with explorers looking out from a stylised prow of a ship, is at the river’s edge nearby, as is the 16th century fortress Belem Tower – an icon nowadays surrounded by tourists with selfie sticks. Among hundreds of antique Cinderella-style golden carriages in the Coach Museum are some with elaborate ornamentation relating to world exploration. There is much more to Lisbon, however, with fashionable modern areas now among the best reasons to visit. You can see work from the likes of Picasso, Dalí and Warhol for free in the Berardo Collection Museum and up-to-date free street art on the official graffiti wall in the Boho district of Bairro Alto. The Príncipe Real quarter has a glut of stylish shops and pop-ups including an emporium in a former palace. Elsewhere, the site of an old printing works has been regenerated in recent years to create LX Factory – a fashionable hang out with restaurants, cafes, bars and

boutiques and fun public artwork on the sides of buildings. Another relative newcomer is ‘Pink Street’ at Cais do Sodre (named for the colour the ground has been painted). The area, like London’s Soho, is a cleaned-up red light district, so visitors could find themselves having a cocktail in a former brothel.

Who to sell it to Classic city-breaking couples will find plenty to enjoy in Lisbon. Traditionalists will love the old architecture, cobbled streets and vintage trams (Number 28 follows a particularly scenic route), while young people will appreciate trendy hangouts like LX factory and Pink Street. Lisbon is close to nearby beaches, so families can stay on the coast around Cascais and Estoril, take dolphin-watching trips and make forays into the city – about a 20 minute drive away. Children will also enjoy riding the trams, exploring the castle battlements and the modern aquarium Oceanario de Lisboa that is the second largest in Europe and features sea otters and colourful tree frogs alongside fish and sharks.

Lisbon essentials TIME: Portugal maintains Greenwich Mean Time. FLIGHT TIME: London-Lisbon flights take around two hours 45 minutes. VISAS: None needed for UK citizens. HEALTH: For the time being at least, UK citizens can obtain a refund of most medical costs by using form E111, which are available from Post Office.

BOOK IT: Classic Collection Holidays offers three nights’ bed & breakfast at the Altis Avenida Hotel, Lisbon, priced from GETTING THERE: £549pp and based on two sharing Direct flights operate from London, with Gatwick flights and private Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh transfers. Other hotels featured by the and Bristol with TAP Portugal, British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and Monarch. operator include Lapa Palace, Porto Airlines offering a service to Lisbon via Bay Liberdade, Tivoli Lisboa and Bairro Alto Hotel. connecting flights include Air Europa Classic-collection.co.uk and Iberia. CURRENCY: The euro

DIALLING CODE: +351

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OTHER TOUR OPERATORS: travelsphere.co.uk kirkerholidays.com prestigeholidays.co.uk sunvil.co.uk iliostravel.com MORE INFORMATION: visitlisboa.com visitportugal.com

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northern thailand

chiang! Chiang,

With its lush mountain landscapes, the history and culture of its cities and hill-tribe villages, Thailand’s north feels a world away from the rest of the countty, says Peter Ellegard

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northern thailand

M

ost people visiting Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai go by road, a three-hour journey. However, perhaps the best way to arrive in Thailand’s most northerly city is by a long-tail boat – if you don’t mind it taking all day. After a 180km minibus ride to Tha Ton village and lunch, we board the sleek craft for an exhilarating afternoon trip on the picturesque Mae Kok River. I feel like a Bond movie extra as we speed between jungle-clad riverbanks pushed along by an outboard engine with an outrageouslylong propeller shaft. Along the way we stop at a riverside hill tribe village to see elephants, shop for bangles and photograph fellow travellers having a monster python draped around their necks. Touristy, yes, but there are villages in the region that offer visitors a more authentic interactive experience. In Chiang Rai I visit the fascinating night market, eschewing the food stalls’ wriggling delicacies, and play golf at scenic Santiburi Country Club before our minibus return to historic, walled Chiang Mai.

The north’s main hub, it is awash with coffee shops, restaurants, bars and temples. I take a cable car up to the golden Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, the most spectacular temple of all, perched on a mountain overlooking Chiang Mai, then haggle for

“Nimmanhaemin Road is the place to go for coffee lovers in Chiang Mai. Numerous coffee plantations have replaced opium grown by hill tribes in the Golden Triangle” bargains at its night-time Sunday Walking Street Market, larger than Chiang Rai’s. Rising early, I witness an amazing annual procession of 12,000 saffron-robed monks, collecting alms from crowds lining the city’s main street. I join a group excursion to the Chiang Dao Elephant Training Centre

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for a show featuring elephants painting pictures followed by an elephant ride through the rainforest and along a shallow river, where we transfer to bamboo rafts. The long-tail boat was fun, but gliding serenely past the verdant scenery trailing my fingers in the water beats it hands down.

Northern exposure Northern Thailand, with its mountains, hill-tribe villages where age-old traditions endure, and opportunities for outdoor adventures and wildlife experiences feels a world away from the south. And good air access to both Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai means both cities buzz with tourists. Chiang Mai’s lively nightlife, temples – there are over 300 in and around the city – and numerous other attractions, and Chiang Rai’s position as the gateway to the Golden Triangle region, where Thailand meets Burma and Laos, underpin their popularity. Yet many come to escape mass tourism, seeking adventure options such as jungle trekking or visiting remote villages.


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northern thailand

The towns of Mae Hong Son, Mae Sariang and Pai offer slower-paced alternatives to the larger cities as bases for exploring the rainforest. Erica Moore, Product Manager, Far East, Australasia and South Pacific for Western & Oriental, says that interaction with local culture is a high priority for its luxury-end clients. “Northern Thailand is well-known for its exotic hill tribes,” she adds. “Travellers can drive through beautiful landscapes to the villages of the Akha and Yao hill tribes, visit Mae Sai, the most northern town of Thailand on the border with Burma, and continue on to the famous Golden Triangle.” Western & Oriental features the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, where guest experiences include walking with elephants, ‘elephant yoga’, mahout training, jungle treks and cycling. Premier Holidays Head of Faraway Product, David Carlaw, says clients often combine northern Thailand with a southern beach resort, with activities including rafting, kayaking, cycling and a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai, as well as visiting hill-tribe villages. Wendy Wu Tours offers the option of living like a local for a night in a hill-tribe village, its Thailand Highlights tour also including a boat ride from Chiang Rai and visiting the Chiang Dao Elephant Camp from Chiang Mai. Insider Journeys focuses on “experiental travel” with opportunities to visit hill-tribe lodges to learn about their culture on its private northern Thailand packages. Northern Thailand is also becoming increasingly popular for multi-centre tours, with neighbouring Burma and Laos as well as with Cambodia, operators say. Burma is seeing particularly strong growth, both twinned with Thailand and on its own.

The industry held its breath after a series of bomb attacks in August hit beach resorts Hua Hin and Phuket, but bookings to the country have not been affected, according to operators and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Chris Lee, Head of Marketing for TAT UK, said that after the incidents Thailand “appears to have bounced back well” and added: “It is a testament to the fantastic support we receive from the UK travel trade that we continue to be able to manage any UK customer concerns.” UK arrivals between January and July were up 8.3% on the same period last year, reaching 588,160.

Perfect ten Delve into culture: Delve deep into traditional Thai culture by heading north – it feels like another country.

Authentic Thailand: Northern Thailand is ideal for people looking for a more authentic and cultural holiday experience, especially if they visit some of its colourful hill-tribe villages. Watch local artisans: Thailand’s north is rich in cottage industries and holidaymakers can include a stop on itineraries to visit workshops and see artisans at work, such as at the Bo Sang Handicraft Centre near Chiang Mai, where they make and hand-paint umbrellas and parasols. Easy to explore: Chiang Rai is an ideal base for those seeking a peaceful and laid-back experience surrounded by mountains – and it’s easy to explore on foot. High tea: Doe Mae Salong, one of the highest mountains in northern Thailand, is known for its excellent tea, the lofty slopes creating the perfect environment for the high mountain oolong tea plantations. Escape the crowds: Northern Thailand is particularly appealing to second-time visitors to Thailand who want to experience the country beyond Bangkok and the beaches and escape the masses. Temples: Recommend clients allow time to visit the north’s beautiful temples, notably Chiang Mai’s stunning Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. If it is hot, advise clients to take the cable car up to the top, but they can walk Previous page: Sukhothai. Clockwise from top left: Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple, Chiang Mai; Chiang Dao Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai; a paddy field farmer; umbrella seller, Bo Sang village near Chiang Mai

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THAILAND

BALI

MALDIVES

SRI LANKA

VIETNAM


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northern thailand

“Direct flights between Chiang 1Mai 21/09/2016 13:04 makes a and Phuket northern Thailand and beach combination a great twin-centre option”

Travel-CS5.pdf

back down the 308 steps that are flanked by huge serpents. River deep: Adventurous clients will love a long-tail boat trip to Chiang Rai, but recommend they do so during the rainy season (July to October, and sometimes into December), particularly for groups of more than six, to ensure the river is deep enough. Animal magic: An up-close-andpersonal experience with elephants is magical, but if booking one for clients make sure the company involved is reputable and certified by animal welfare organisations. Bear in mind that the Tiger Kingdom attraction near Chiang Mai, where tigers are kept in cages and visitors are encouraged to lay on them for selfies and group photographs, might not be in line with every client’s sense of animal welfare. Tee time: Golf-loving clients can take time out to tee off on some of the dozen excellent golf courses around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Golf clubs can be rented and the helpful female caddies are obligatory, as are buggies. Courses include the top-drawer Chiang Mai Highlands Country Club, which now offers 27 holes.

What’s new  Tour operators: Premier Holidays’ (trade. premierholidays.co.uk) 2017 Faraway brochure

features two new northern Thailand excursions and introduced the five-star Shangri-La hotel in Chiang Mai. The full-day Chiang Mai City Safari, costing from £95, uses local transport to venture off the beaten track. Its half-day Chiang Rai Sightseeing by Rickshaw excursion costs from £45 and takes visitors through ancient streets to experience cultural highlights including the Wat


northern thailand

Phra Kaew Temple and the Hilltribe Museum. Insider Journeys’ (insiderjourneys.co.uk) dedicated Chiang Mai City Explorer and Chiang Rai City Explorer packages, introduced last year along with a Northern Thailand Hilltribes and Lodges package, are all proving popular. with clients.  Tourism board: A Thailand and Beyond marketing campaign launched by TAT in September in association with five tour operator partners, highlights packages combining Thailand with Burma, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. TAT is also helping to promote the new TUI weekly charter flights to Phuket from Gatwick and fortnightly flight from Manchester, both of which come into service in November.

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Where to book it  INSIDER JOURNEYS – 01865 268944 An 11-day Thailand Discovery small group tour of the country, costing from £1,605pp, starts in Bangkok and ends with a three-night stay in Chiang Mai, also including the River Kwai, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, with breakfasts and some other meals, local guides plus internal flights. Alternatively, a private travel Northern Thailand Hilltribes & Lodges fourday tour costs from £265, excluding flights. insiderjourneys.co.uk

 WENDY WU TOURS – 0800 902 0888 A 16-day Northern Thailand and Laos Adventure, is priced from £2,290pp. the package includes an overnight train from “There are excellent flight Tourism talk Bangkok to Chiang “We have been connections to Chiang Mai and Mai, for one night, with Chiang Rai from points across a visit to the Chiang running incentives Dao Elephant Camp Asia, allowing for holidays promoting our agents’ for an elephant ride combining Thailand’s north training programme and raft trip, a night with other countries in the throughout the year, via in a Hmong Hill Tribe region” regular e-newsletters and lodge, a long-tail boat our trade-only Facebook trip on the Mae Kok page. Agents can like us River and two nights on facebook.com/TATSawasdeeclub to keep up to in Chiang Rai. it is then on to Luang Prabang date with current incentives and also to get and Vientiane in Laos after a Mekong River updates on events throughout the year. cruise. All flights and meals are included. wendywutours.co.uk “By the end of this year, TAT will  PREMIER HOLIDAYS – 08444 937444 have hosted 10 agent fam trips. “In June, we welcomed 26 tour operators from the A 12-night twin-centre holiday to Thailand UK and Ireland at our annual Thailand Travel Mart, and Myanmar, costing from £2,399pp with flights and private transfers, includes two which was held for the first time in Chiang Mai. nights in Chiang Mai with breakfast, three “The show was a great success and as a nights room-only in Bangkok and a sevenresult of this trip we have already noticed a night privately-escorted tour of Burma with significant increase in the promotion of northern English-speaking guide and dinners. Thailand. For travel agents selling Thailand trade.premierholidays.co.uk  to first-time visitors, Chiang Mai is a must see, particularly as the soft adventure capital of the country. Jungle, city and beach combinations make the perfect introduction to the diversity of holiday experience Thailand has to offer.” WHO FLIES THERE thaiairways.com; batraveltrade.com; evaair.com Chris Lee, Head of Marketing, UK, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)

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Previous page (left to right): The White Temple in Chiang Rai; procession of Buddhist monks, Chiang Rai. This page (clockwise from top left): Long-tail boat on the Mae Kok River; a woman from the Akha hill tribe dancing; hot air ballooning; Sunday Walking Street Market, Chiang Mai


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latin america

gold the

standard

The Olympics put the spotlight on Brazil and its infectious Latin verve, so encourage your customers to consider a vast and varied continent beyond, says Benjamin Coren

D

espite plenty of early controversy surrounding the Olympics, most obviously over the zika virus then that lurid green diving pool, Rio’s hosting of the Olympic Games this summer will likely prove a triumph in terms of generating interest in the country and continent beyond. Few who watched the watersports or the cycling can now deny the visual impact of Rio’s iconic cityscape and seeing it as a global sporting centre surely helped remove some barriers in the minds of less adventurous travellers. Latin America itself is no longer the preserve of the adventurer, and with a luxury train, the Belmond Andean Explorer, launching next year there’s plenty of fresh opportunities for increased commission. Escorted tours are still the preferred type of holiday in Latin America, which offers healthy revenue for agents, and with the introduction of direct British Airways’ flights from the UK to Peru, Costa Rica and Chile in 2017 Latin America will be easier to reach than ever. Byron Shirto, Chairman of LATA, says: “Peru is seeing an increase of UK visitors following the launch of BA’ s direct Lima service. Sales of Peru’s sol currency are up 19% year on year

(Post Office Travel Money Survey), and the trend looks set to continue for the winter months”.

Perfect ten Ancient history: Visit Mayan Pyramids in Central America or the lost Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru. Weird and wonderful wildlife: Unique species abound, whether it’s three-toed sloths, burrowing penguins, soaring condors or startled-looking alpacas on the high plains. Feeling festive: There are plenty of excuses for a party! Book a trip incorporating the macabre but fun-filled rituals of the Day of the Dead festival or a high-octane samba-filled carnival in Brazil. Tasting tipples: The slopes of South America’s Andes in Chile and Argentina offer vineyards to keep any wine enthusiast happy. But don’t forget the coffee plantations of Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Beach time: Central America hugs both the Caribbean and the Pacific. Suggest the surf beaches of Nicaragua, Mexico and Ecuador or the Caribbean island idylls of Honduras, Belize and Panama. Colonial comfort: Hark back to a bygone age by booking a stay in an old

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latin america

mansion in colourful Cartagena, Colombia, or perhaps a ranch in Uruguay’s gaucho country. Extreme landscapes: Latin America has every environment you can think of – rainforest in the Amazon, stark deserts like Bolivia’s Atacama, the snow-capped Andes and lush grasslands of Brazil’s Pantanal region. Culture-rich cities: Low-rise, low-key cities like Antigua in Guatemala offer beautiful architecture and easy-to-wander streets, while mega0cities like Panama and Rio de Janeiro mesh crumbling colonial and rambling favelas with modern skyscrapers for dramatic effect. Gastronomic centres: The steak and red wine of Argentina is famous the world over, but don’t forget the ceviche bars of trendy gastro city Lima, Mexican street food and Brazilian curries. Test your limits: Dive the Blue Hole in Belize, zip line through the jungle in Costa Rica, walk on glaciers in Chile, or kayak into the jungle in Guyana.

What’s new  Flights: From November, Brits will be able to fly return to Belize City with American Airlines without an overnight connection in the U.S. or Mexico, making this Central American destination more accessible for the first time. Aeromexico (aeromexico.com) launches daily direct flights from Heathrow to Mexico City from April 2017. The flight time is approximately 11-and-a-half hours and return economy flights are priced from £479.  Tour Operators: Following its significant operating success and growth in Africa and South Asia, andBeyond (andbeyond.com) has

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expanded its portfolio to include a third continent. andBeyond South America’s first office opened in Santiago, Chile, and offers luxury tours in both Chile and Argentina, and has plans to move into Peru and Ecuador. Cascada Expeditions (cascada.travel) has introduced a new 12-day Big Cats of Latin America tour combining the best of the wildlife of Patagonia and Brazil’s Pantanal region.  Hotels: In November, luxury resort the Grand Velas Los Cabos (loscabos.grandvelas.com) will open on the Baja California, Mexico. The hotel is located on the corridor extending from Los Cabos to San Jose Cabo, offering enchanting views facing the merging waters of the Sea of Cortez and the Mexican Pacific. A new boutique hotel, Casa Republica (chimuadventures.co.uk), has opened in the buzzing Lima district of Barranco. The 17-room hotel is located in a 1920s mansion and is designed for travellers seeking a ‘more authentic and intimate accommodation option’. Brazil is also embracing the boutique. New openings include the eight-room Tutabel Hotel in the trendy town of Trancoso; the 19-room Vila da Santa in the fisherman’s village of Buzios; and Villa Amazonia in the Amazon city of Manaus, a 30-room rubberplanter’s house with an infinity pool.

Tourism talk “Next year is set to be a fantastic year for travel to and around Latin America. The recently-released LATA Trends Report identified a growing demand to the region and this is supported by recent tourism statistics showing strong year-on-year growth. Recently Latin America has been catapulted into the spotlight


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latin america

thanks to the Rio Olympics and Paralympics. This twinned with the new direct flight routes (including a new direct route to Santiago in Chile with British Airways in February 2017) is opening up the region to new audiences and making it even easier to visit.” Byron Shirto, Chairman, LATA

Where to book it

“Agents should recommend Ecuador for customers who want to visit a ‘new’ Latin American country. It offers dramatic landscapes, sunny beaches, friendly locals and some of the world’s most interesting wildlife” ALEX ROBERTS, GROUP MARKETING & SALES DIRECTOR, GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS

 GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS – 0800 240 4470 The 17-day Tren Crucero & the Galapagos Islands tour is from £5,995pp with an exclusive departure date of November 18 2016. This holiday combines the highlights of Ecuador with the renowned wildlife of the Galapagos Islands.

travellers from Santiago and then on to rugged Patagonia and the lakes and glaciers of the south/ Priced from £6,588pp it includes two nights in Santiago on a B&B basis, five-nights in Torres del Paine on a full-board basis, all transport and excursions in a private luxury vehicle, domestic air tickets with airport taxes and museum and national park entrance fees, where applicable. Andbeyond.com 

Greatrail.com

 COX & KINGS – 020 7873 5020 The Train to Machu Picchu tour starts again from May 2017 to coincide with the launch of the Belmond Andean Explorer overnight train. The 2017 itinerary will also include British Airways direct fl ights to the capital of Lima. The 16-day tour is from £2,795pp based on twin share. Coxandkings.co.uk

 ANDBEYOND – 01753 598555 The eight-day Wild Side of Chile itinerary takes

Left: Rio’s iconic Art Deco Christ the Redeemer statue is 30 metres tall, its arms stretching 28 metres wide; Church of Las Lajas, on the Guaitara River in Colombia

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sponsored feature

Anguilla - Charming. Refined. Relaxed Castaway isle The uninhabited Prickly Pear Cays are a pair of pristine islands just off Anguilla and one of its six protected marine areas. Unsurprisingly, the isles offer crystalclear waters perfect for snorkelling and diving. Crocus Bay Crocus Hill, the highest point on Anguilla, crowns this turquoise bay. It’s the site of a military invasion by the French in 1745 (who were fought off by the English in 15 minutes) and home to DaVida’s Bayside Grilll and fine-dining restaurant Tee time Anguilla’s championship 18-hole golf course at CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa was designed by Greg Norman and offers dramatic elevation changes. The club has a pro shop and the beautiful Italia restaurant. The best festivals Music festival Moonsplash takes place in March and has seen the likes of John Mayer perform. Or check out Festival del Mar, celebrating the island’s martime history over Easter, Anguilla Lit Fest in May and the huge Summer Festival in July. Island Harbour Anguilla’s quaint fishing town is on the East End of Anguilla. Sit on the pier and watch the colourful boats come and go, bringing in the catch of the day. From here, hop across to Scilly Cay for lobsters and rum punch.

T

his relaxed and stunning British Overseas Territory is much-loved by celebrities for its world-class food scene and huge range of accommodation, which means Anguilla has something to offer every kind of traveller.

Lying close to French St Barts and Saint Maarten/St Martin, the tiny British Territory of Anguilla is just 35 square miles, with six traffic lights and a modest population of 15,000. With an impressive food scene boasting some 120 restaurants, dining on Anguilla is a treat for visitors and locals alike, from relaxed Caribbean beachside bistros and BBQ shacks to fine-dining restaurants offering world-class menus and impressive wine choices. The CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa prides itself on taking its guests on an epicurean journey, using fresh ingredients from its hydroponic farm in its Italian and Japanese restaurants and even offering cooking lessons for hands-on foodies. Perhaps it’s this unassuming but subtly impressive vibe that attracts the jet set to the island. Millionaire author Dan Brown has a villa on the golf course owned by CuisinArt, while the Clintons and Liam Neeson have enjoyed dining at Trattoria Tramonto on peaceful Shoal Bay West. Justin Bieber saw the last New Year in on the island, along with Harry Styles and Kendall Jenner. With 33 beaches on the island, there’s plenty of room for publicity-shy celebrities as well as mere mortals. Anguilla boasts

“Anguilla has some 120 restaurants, many of which are highly acclaimed and have won international awards” Sailing Sloop Tradition at Little Bay

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Sailing paradise

some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, with beautiful fine-white sand.

OUT AND ABOUT While Rendezvous Bay is dotted with colourful beach bars the secluded Little Bay is a picturesque spot only reached by boat or a rope down the cliff and perfect for romantics who want to be marooned. Water-based activities abound in Anguilla. Sailing is the national sport and the island hosts a plethora of boat races thoughout the year, including the Anguilla Yacht Regatta in May. The island has long been a popular stop for the sailing fraternity, who seek its sheltered bays for a peaceful spot to anchor. For non boat-owners there is still a way. Tradition Sailing (tradition-sailing.com) offers day trips on its fabulous historic wooden sailing sloop. The island is also known for its kite surfing and is perfect for beginners, thanks to its shallow waters and light noon wind, as well as the more advanced, who can take advantage of the afternoon’s powerful trade winds for high speeds. If that seems like a lot of effort, stand-up paddleboarding is perfect for exploring the beaches and reefs which hug the island.


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Under the sea, divers and snorkellers will find vertical wall terrains, colourful corals, an abundance of tropical fish and nine wrecks, including the impressive Spanish galleon, El Buen Consejo. There are seven marine parks! Anguilla is an ideal spot to see wild turtles. From April to November many of Anguilla’s beaches become the nesting grounds for three of the world’s seven turtle species: leatherback, green and hawksbill turtles. Dolphins can be seen yearround in Anguilla and humpback whales swim close to the island in winter to breed, though they can also be seen in summer. Twitchers will also be in heaven, since Anguilla has over 20 wetlands which attract huge numbers of birds. At least 135 species have been recorded on the island, including flamingos, pelicans, owls and hummingbirds. Landlubbers will have no trouble getting around this low-lying island, where hire cars are recommended. The flat topography is also good news for bikers, who can amble along gently undulating roads. And horse riders can canter freely along the beach or explore in-land. Accommodation in Anguilla ranges from luxury resorts and boutique hotels to small local B&Bs – there is something to suit all visitors to Anguilla. The island has a great selection of luxurious villas, from modern, state-of the-art properties to more relaxed beachside retreats. Ani Villas Anguilla (anivillas.com) sits on top of a dramatic cliff with breathtaking views and comes with tennis courts, infinity pools, a gym and fully staffed. Anguilla is home to some charismatic boutique properties, such as the delightful La Vue, set in manicured gardens with sweeping sea views over Sandy Ground. For inspiration, scan the Charming

Sandy Island restaurant

Beautiful Rendezvous Bay at CuisinArt

Escapes Collection (charmingescapescollection.com) of hand-picked small hotels, inns and guest houses, which offer a more affordable way to experience the island. The Ferryboat Inn is an intimate, familyowned house located on the beach at Blowing Point. It has two studio apartments and four onebed apartments with views across to St Martin.

WHAT’S NEW? Debuting this October 20 is the new Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla (formerly Viceroy Anguilla). The accommodation ranges from one-bedroom suites to luxurious oceanfront five-bedroom villas. It has a choice of international restaurants and the stunning ocean view sunset lounge. The Reef by CuisinArt (TheReefbyCuisinArt.com) opens in November, set on Merrywing Bay. It will have 80 accommodations, with golf course or sea views as well as a fitness centre, library, boutique and The Yacht Club restaurant. Also opening in November is The Manoah (themanoah.com), a St. Tropez-style boutique hotel with an Ocean Beach Club and restaurant.

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The stylish 25-bedroom property is set on the stunning Shoal Bay East. Just along the beach, Zemi Beach House Resort and Spa (zemibeach. com) opened earlier this year and has 63 luxury rooms and suites, each with ocean views, plus a Thai Spa, two infinity pools, a ‘Rhum Room’ featuring hundreds of rums from all over the world and two restaurants. Starting November, 1 Seaborne Airlines will operate up to six flights a week from San Juan, Puerto Rico, connecting with Norwegian’s flight from London Gatwick on a Saturday.

FLIGHTS TO ANTIGUA WITH BRITISH AIRWAYS START AT £617. LIAT HAS A DAILY FLIGHT BETWEEN ANTIGUA AND ANGUILLA, FROM $269 RETURN. ALTERNATIVELY, CHARTER FLIGHTS WITH ANGUILLA AIR SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE. YOUR GUESTS CAN ALSO FLY TO ST. MARTIN WITH KLM/AIR FRANCE AND ON TO ANGUILLA VIA PRIVATE CHARTER OR A LOCAL FERRY GETTING THERE!

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the final word

the quirky side of travel – Nudity, happiness and out-of-office emails –

N

udist holidays are seeing a spike in popularity amongst the British travelling public, at least according to a survey by lastminute.com. The 'findings' indicate that 35% of men and 17% of women are prepared to get their kit off on a nudist beach. But although 59% of the British population would 'consider' going on a nudist holiday just 8% have actually stacked their clothes in a pile whilst on holiday. When asked why they liked the idea of baring all there were mixed results, with 'getting an overall tan' being the most popular reason mentioned (42%), and 'reconnecting with nature' and 'stepping out of comfort zones' being other motivating factors. For your clients looking to step out of their comfort zones and clothes, suggest Holkham, in Norfolk, the UK's most popular nudist beach. Lastminute.com

HAPPY GO TRAVELLING Stena Line has released research that suggests there’s no better happy pill than planning and then going on holiday. The research, conducted by Breda University of Applied Sciences on behalf of the ferry company, also showed that taking regular short

*

Please hold… Travel agents leaving generic hold music could risk losing business. A report by audio specialist PHMG says hold music could negatively imapct on the quality of 73% of sales because when clients become bored on the phone 'they have a less pleasent experience' experienc . Phmg.com

TOP 10… Bucket List Activities Research by Totallymoney.com has come up with the top 10 must-do-before-I-die activities and put an average price tag on each for UK travellers:

1 2 See the Northern Lights

Go on safari

(£572)

(£5,600)

4

3

breaks every year substantially increases happiness levels. The research studied links between holidays and happiness in 1,530 adults and Stena Line’s Route Marketing Manager, Alexandra Bradley, said: “There’s nothing better than sitting down with friends or family to plan and book a break away knowing that in a few short weeks or months you will be able to put your feet up and relax.” Stenaline.co.uk

Walk the Great Wall of China (£1,139)

(£1,181)

5

6

Go on a cruise (£1,338)

NO OFFICE, NO PROBLEM Qantas has a new take on out-of-office emails: its Qantas out of Office service replaces the usual standard, boring message with a photo stream of users’ holidays, The service sources pictures from the user's Instagram account and autofills the out-ofoffice responses with posted images attached to the hashtag #qantasoutofoffice. The hope is that the service will provide a more entertaining and memorable 'experienece' and provide the impetus to get back to the user upon their return. Qantasoutofoffice.com

Visit the Grand Canyon

See the Egyptian Pyramids (£1,112)

8 7

Go whale watching (£2,000)

Spend New Year’s Eve in New York (£1,103)

9 10 Gamble in Las Vegas (£1,109)

Take an American road trip (£3,365)

THE NOVEMBER 2016 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • Brazil • Bruges • Caribbean • City Breaks • The Gambia • Indochina • Japan • Luxury Middle East • New Caledonia • River Cruising Special • Singapore • Sri Lanka • Weddings/Honeymoons • Colorado CONTACT sales@bmipublishing.co.uk; editorial@bmipublishing.co.uk PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni

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Book with confidence ACCREDITED AGENT


Selling Travel October 2016  

The World in one Magazine Cover story: Namibia Read more features on... Israel • Slovenia • Morocco • Thailand • Australia • Latin America

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