Selling Travel Magazine - October - 2019

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California • Christmas Markets • Florence • New York City • New Zealand • Seychelles • South Africa • Winter sports • Adventure & Activity Holidays


Drive between ocean, forest, mountains and desert along California's heavenly highways

how to sell...

Seychelles New Zealand South Africa Christmas Markets

Be inspired


and more...

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Flying you direct onboard our upgraded aircraft



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For more information: Tel: +44 (0) 20 8834 5800 Email: Web: Trade web: Air Mauritius Training Site:

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this issue

WE TRAVEL FURTHER TO BRING YOU MORE FEATURES 08 Christmas markets: Top destinations for some festive cheer 27 Seychelles: Not just for honeymoons 43 California: Roadtrips in the Golden State 62 South Africa: City and safari - perfect partners

08 43




74 27

QUICK READS 31 How to sell: Wyoming 36 Destination Profile:




New York

42 48 hours in: Florence 57 How to sell: Western Australia

59 48 hours: Krakow TALKING SHOP 15 Interviews, columns,





incentives, a Mauritius fam report and more

THE REVIEW 47 News, hotel reviews and show reports

ADVENTURE & ACTIVITY HOLIDAYS 70 Trending now 74 Indochina: Beyond the





ancient temples

76 New Zealand: The capital of adventure

80 Winter sports 82 Take 5: Alternative European breaks





Please note that Selling Travel, owned and published by BMI Publishing Ltd., is not connected in any way to Selling Travel e-magazine published by SMP Training Co. and based in British Columbia, Canada. The latter online publication focuses exclusively on sales skills and all aspects of professional selling within the travel and tourism sectors. To benefit from this travel industry sales training resource visit

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Too many broken hearts



Jessica Pook, Sasha Wood & April Waterston CONTRIBUTING EDITORS:

Andy Hoskins & Julie Baxter EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge


Steve Thompson Sally Parker ADVERTISING MANAGER

Lisa Merrigan


Louisa Horton DESIGNERS

Ross Clifford, Caitlan Francis & Zoe Tarrant PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter


Matt Bonner CEO


Shani Kunar



ast month the subject of this column was the collapse of Super Break and this month I can scarcely believe that Thomas Cook has joined it. My social media feed is filled with broken yellow hearts as the travel trade unite in sadness for the loss of this venerable brand. Thomas Cook is as British as baked beans and, for me at least, synonymous with travel agents. Like many, my very first holiday as an adult was booked in a branch of Thomas Cook – I’m oddly sad to say it was to France rather than Faliraki! I’ve also learnt that there is barely anyone in the travel trade Laura Gelder that doesn’t know someone who worked for Thomas Cook and EDITOR so many that started their career in travel under its guidance. There are many reasons to be worried, even angry and certainly regretful. The package holiday that was the hallmark of Thomas Cook is not dead but tastes and trends are fastchanging; today's agents are trading under exceptional economic circumstances; and then there's the internet. But we’ve heard it all before... What this has shown, as an agent told me this week, is that booking through an ATOL-protected agent really does work - Thomas Cook’s demise sparked the biggest repatriation in peacetime history. And while the national media is filled with horror stories of stranded travellers, it's also filled with heart-warming ones; of stoic Thomas Cook employees still showing up to help customers, and of agents helping each other - with sympathy but also with practical advice on finding a new job. The yellow heart may have stopped beating but the heart of the travel industry is still the travel agent, and when the dust settles I'm sure more consumers will realise that.

With this issue Selling Canada


snow show GET READY FOR A


Don't ski, won't ski? There's a wide array of activities away from the slopes


From Indigenous-themed activities to wildlife to the Northern Lights


This publication is printed on Revive 100 Media and Revive recycled coated, recycled paper grades that are FSC® Recycled certified and Carbon Balanced.

How Canada's cities and wild places refresh the mind, body and soul



24/09/2019 11:45

Read about Calgary, New Brunswick, national parks, winter sports and top musesums

Oman explore

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From the desert to the Gulf, Muscat's souks to the wadis of the south - learn how to sell Oman

Smile all the stay. LUXRESORTS .COM Welcome - Oct Untitled-5 1 2019.indd 4 LUX_Ad_SellingTravel_1/4_Oct19.indd 1

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An offering beyond your wanderlust A 40-minute journey to an oasis of otherworldly beauty – a premier all-inclusive resort with a choice of secluded villas that blend with the serenity of the ocean. Immerse, indulge and invigorate in a destination tailored just for you. Heritance Aarah, Aarah Island, Raa Atoll, Maldives T: +960 6640375 | E :


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lifestyle voucher for every USA or Canada booking Whether it’s a Californian adventure, a tour of the Deep South or maybe even a trip on the famous Rocky Mountaineer train, book one of our USA or Canada holidays this October and we’ll send you a £30 Lifestyle voucher to say thank you.

Or receive a £10 Lifestyle voucher for any other Titan booking To claim your voucher please email The nitty gritty: Terms and conditions apply. Valid for new bookings made between 1 - 31 October 2019. Please claim within 7 days of confirming the booking. Agents responsible for any tax implications. No cash alternatives. For more details, please see

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the big picture


Tel Aviv Israel

Mazel tov! Virgin Atlantic’s new service to Israel’s cosmopolitan Mediterranean city should establish Tel Aviv as a city break for everyone. With its trendy dining scene and fun, gay-friendly nightlife, Tel Aviv is ready to take its place alongside Barcelona or Berlin. It has that coveted combination of city and beach and blends old and new the ancient port of Jaffa’s bougainvillea-smothered streets and the Bauhaus curves of its white city.

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christmas markets

Yarn yuletide

Whether it’s a traditional market selling gingerbread or a vegan-friendly Christmas break, there’s a holiday out there to bring festive cheer to your client, says Jeannine Williamson

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christmas markets


ould you like six, eight, ten or 12?” asks the waiter as I place my order for the most famous dish in Nuremberg. To an uninitiated diner, like me, his question is a little alarming as he’s referring to the number of sausages I want to eat. But, unlike Germany’s traditional bratwurst, I soon discover the Nuremberg sausage is much smaller. The local adage goes: “In der kurze liegt die wurze” (the shorter the spicier) and the small fried sausages, traditionally served with sauerkraut and horseradish, turn out to be a tasty alternative to some of their oversized cousins. Although I wimp out and go for the smallest option, the hearty meal sets me up to head out into the crisp winter air for an evening wandering around the Bavarian city’s Christkindlesmarkt, which dates back to the 16th century and is one of the oldest and most traditional festive markets in Germany - a country of many. I wander through atmospheric streets of half-timbered buildings and arrive at the Hauptmarkt, the central square in Nuremberg’s old town. I browse around the 180-plus stalls laden with decorations - many of them homemade - and traditional toys and games

that don’t need batteries or an applied degree in rocket science to turn them on or make them work. Nuremberg’s passion for toys goes back to the 14th century and by the turn of the 20th century there were 243 factories catering for the young and young at heart. The tin cars made by Schuco and the Fleischmann miniature train sets are now valuable collector’s pieces. I opt for some affordable gingerbread and spicy almond biscuits, buying double the quantity I need for presents just in case I won’t be able to resist the temptation of opening some before I get home.

Stocking fillers Festive market breaks will fill your clients with Christmas cheer and although Germany is the heartland of the yuletide market scene, there are plenty of other destinations to choose from and different ways to experience them. “Christmas markets remain one of the most popular reasons to visit Germany,” said Beatrix Haun, Director of the GNTO UK and Ireland. “While the festive markets are one of the country’s oldest and most famous traditions, some trends have definitely arrived more recently. Across the country we now have more than 15 vegan Christmas


markets, alcohol-free mulled wine is on the rise and in Frankfurt and Munich there are ‘pink’ Christmas markets for LGBT visitors. “Every town hosts its own Christmas market; there are thousands of them, so no matter where travellers go they’ll be enchanted by the special atmosphere - and less than two hours )from home.” At Shearings Holidays, Managing Director Jane Atkins said there is a growing demand for shorter duration tours and holidays, combining several markets in one break, such as Shearings’ Cologne, Dusseldorf and Aachen itinerary and the Three Countries Christmas Markets tour which includes Liege (Belgium), Aachen (Germany) and Valkenburg (Netherlands). “We also offer a selection of drinksinclusive Christmas market tours which are proving popular as they provide some added value,” she says. “River cruises are also popular and we feature them with A-Rosa. They’re a great way to combine a journey along the rivers, taking in towns and villages all decorated for Christmas, with the opportunity to get off the ship and visit the local markets. And of course you only need to unpack once.” John Fair, UK Sales Director at CroisiEurope, said festive sailings are an ideal way to introduce new-to-cruise clients to river cruising.

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Crystal_RIV_SellingTravel_Ad_Sep19.qxp_Crystal_RIV_SellingTravel_Ad_Sep19 10/09/2019 17:22 Page 1



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christmas markets


Salzburg in the snow

“They combine a relaxing cruise through stunning scenery with a city break, numerous shopping opportunities and delicious local delicacies such as gluhwein and lebkuchen,” he commented. “Not only will clients find a treasure trove of unique decorations and gifts to take home, but the sights, sounds and scents of the season are guaranteed to get everyone into the festive spirit. “Our Christmas market itineraries take in destinations such as Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava, as well as lesser known cities such as Strasbourg, which is the birthplace of Christmas celebrations and has one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe.” Other lesser-know options include Denmark. In Copenhagen there is a magical festive market in Tivoli Gardens and a smaller market on the cobbled harbourside in Nyhavn, which opens in the second week of November. One of the country’s largest markets is held at Elisnore in the dramatic setting of Konborg Castle, which was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Inntravel offers a trip combining markets in Finland’s Helsinki and medieval Tallinn in Estonia. Other more unusual options include the Flemish city of Ghent and art-

rich Lecce in Italy, often called the ‘Florence of Puglia’. For a pre-Christmas break with a difference, Arena Rail Holidays has combined a three-night German Christmas market tour with an exclusive concert in Cologne performed by Aled Jones of The Snowman fame. Departing on December 11, prices lead in from £1,095pp.

Top Markets Frankfurt: One of the largest Christmas markets in Germany, the market on Romberberg and St Paul’s Square is dominated by a huge Christmas tree and

shopping in vienna

surrounded by historic timber-framed buildings. Things to try include quetschemannchen figures made out of prunes and nuts. Strasbourg: Founded in 1570, Strasbourg’s market, set against the backdrop of the city’s distinctive one-spired cathedral, is the oldest in France. Look out for food stalls selling Alsace three-meat baeckeoffe stew, a local speciality made with mutton, beef and pork. Salzburg: Birthplace of Mozart and one of the most famous carols of all time, Silent Night, you’re guaranteed music on a festive break in Salzburg.

hand-crafted Christmas decorations

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christmas markets

A festive ghent, belgium

frankfurt in fairy lights

The Christkindlmarkt on Cathedral Square is the oldest in Austria and the windows at Hellbrunn Palace are turned into a huge advent calendar.

“Combine a relaxing cruise through stunning scenery with a city break, numerous shopping opportunities and delicious local delicacies such as gluhwein and lebkuchen” John Fair, UK Sales Director, CroisiEurope

Prague: The capital of the Czech Republic’s cobbled streets, ornate bridges and huge castle add up to a perfect festive setting. One of the main markets is in Wenceslas Square, named after the ‘good king’ Svaty Vaclav, the country’s patron saint and subject of the carol. Budapest: Divided in half by the Danube, Hungary’s first city is a beautiful winter destination. The market on St Stephen’s Square, in front of the beautiful the basilica of the same name which is one of the biggest churches in the country, sells traditional crafts made by skilled artisans.

Hot chocolate in the snow

Riga, Latvia’s capital, in festive flow

What’s new Tour operators: Shearings ( offers new four-day Christmas market breaks by air to the Croatian capital Zagreb and Slovenian capital Ljubljana starting from £522pp. Accommodation: Opened this september, the Nobu Hotel Barcelona ( is well-placed to explore the Market of Saint Lucia, the oldest in the city, and the traditional Fira de Nadal de la Sagrada Familia. The five-star Jumeirah Frankfurt (jumeirah. com) has introduced the Advent Brunch, every Sunday in December and including live cooking stations and a kids’ corner. Offering affordable hostel accommodation for clients on a budget, a&o ( has opened a&o Warshau Wola in Warsaw, its first Polish property, and a&o Wolfgang, the second Salzburg property. Cruise: Cruising: AmaWaterways (amawaterways. has a new seven-night Christmas Markets on the Danube sailing between Vishofen and Budapest that includes cruises on the recently launched AmaMagna featuring the largest staterooms on the Danube and four dining venues. The River Cruise Line’s (rivercruiseline. new ship, MS Arena, launching next spring, will cruise to the German Christmas markets in 2020, with four-night breaks leading in at £499. Adante Travels ( has two new four-night archaeological-themed Christmas itineraries with A-Rosa: Christmas Market and Festivities on the Danube and Medieval Cathedrals at Christmas. Amadeus River Cruises ( recently launched Amadeus Star, which includes an all-new


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Untitled Selling

christmas markets

sunken wine bar. It will spend its first winter season sailing festive market cruises on the Danube. Excursions: Eating Europe (eatingeurope. com) has a new pre-bookable three-hour Strasbourg Christmas Market Tour, running from November 22 to December 23, including food tastings and a workshop to design a festive ornament. Flights: For Danish festive markets, this year Ryanair ( launched flights to Copenhagen from Liverpool and Southend and to Billund from Manchester and Edinburgh. Transport: Copenhagen Metro’s ( new City Ring metro line opened in September and connects to the three existing lines, including the airport line.

Where to book it SHEARINGS - 0844 824 6359 A four-night Cologne, Dusseldorf and

France’s oldest christmas market

Aachen trip includes three nights at the Mercure Dusseldorf Kaarst Hotel. The tour has two departures, on December 1 and December 8. Priced from £399pp, the tour includes four breakfasts, three dinners and coach travel from several regional pick-up points across the UK.


budapest parliament

Crystal cruises - 020 7399 7601 A seven-night Budapest to Passau Christmas markets-themed cruise departing on December 8 is from £3,403pp if booked by October 31. The cruise, aboard Crystal Mahler, also stops at Bratislava in Slovakia and Vienna and Linz in Austria. 

Selling fast!

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Flying direct to Pajala airport from Birmingham | Bournemouth | Cardiff | East Midlands | Exeter | Gatwick | Glasgow | Humberside – SOLD OUT Leeds/Bradford | Liverpool | Norwich – SOLD OUT

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Talking Shop INSPIRED BY YOU T h e i n s i d e t ra c k o n t ra v e l

A better way to win

We're nt going on a dodoeahduhow in Mauritius... rs on travel one agent's viewrever on changed fo page 27

Win return Economy flights for four from London to LA, Auckland, or Rarotonga in Air New Zealand's latest incentive, plus more prizes like noise-cancelling headphones. Book as many flights as you can between September 25 and October 31, for travel December 1 to March 31, log it on the site and play a game to see if you won:

Win Little Mix tickets To mark the launch of the new Orlando Travel Academy, Visit Orlando is offering tickets to see Little Mix perform on November 14, 2019 at the Manchester Arena. To win agents need to complete the training programme by October 27.

Contents 22



Experience the new Varu ÂŁ100 with Paul Gauguin

Throughout this month (October) agents booking any 2019 voyage with Paul Gauguin Cruises will earn a ÂŁ100 Lifestyle voucher. There is no limit to the number of bookings, so the more cruises agents book the more money they will earn.

Agents can win a sevennight stay at the new Varu by Atmosphere in the Maldives, set to open on October 17. To win agents must book the resort with If Only by December 22, 2019.




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The Perfect Winter Holiday at A Perfect Price LON


Round trip

£ from




Round trip

£ from


Book your Flight now!

Contact your travel agent or call us at 020 7624 9708 or go online at *Travel Period starts 1.11-31.3.2019 Round trip includes a meal and Hand luggage Untitled-3 Untitled-2 1

9/27/19 04:40 PM 22/08/2019 16:40







Just a few days left to have your say!


Here are five voting tips you may want to consider when you're choosing the best in travel for 2019...






A stay at Reef Villa & Spa

Is your loyalty rewarded?

Brands that champion the trade always give back to loyal agents. It doesn’t have to be huge cash prizes (although that’s always nice!). Perhaps they offer generous trade discounts on their product which allow you to test it out yourself. Do they run regular fam trips for top-sellers? Or always pop into your work to tell you about their new product - and bring cup cakes too! Perhaps they simply send a note to say thank you for a big booking. It’s nice to feel appreciated.

Indulge in some spa treatments or find your zen practicing yoga while staying at the peaceful Reef Villa & Spa in Sri Lanka.

Are they top of their game?

Whether you’re deciding on the top airline, destination or tour operator, you need to consider where they stand against the competition. They may be a real specialist or they could have a diverse range of product but really excel in this region or arena, but what matters is the confidence you have in this brand or destination. You could consider how they contribute to the travel industry as a whole – are they champions for diversity in hospitality or are they committed to sustainable tourism?

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Who makes your job easier?

Think about the experience you have with this brand. If something goes wrong or you have an urgent query do you spend half an hour waiting on the phone, tearing your hair out, or can you get hold of someone quickly? How efficient are they when you do get there? Is there a dedicated team for trade sales? Do they have a special trade area on their website where you can download marketing collateral or access brochures? And is their website or booking system easy to navigate?


A stay at Ness Walk Be treated to a luxurious onenight stay (worth £400 – £800) at the new five-star Ness Walk Hotel in Inverness, Scotland. You'll enjoy Champagne and canapés when you arrive.


Food tour tickets Eating Europe is offering food tours (worth £180) with a choice of locations in London, Amsterdam, Prague, Paris, Rome, Naples, Lisbon, Strasbourg or Florence.

Do they offer you training?

Travel brands often offer some kind of training or education, whether it’s a flash online training programme with a certificate for you at the end, or a face-toface session with one of their sales team. Do they invite you to events where you can meet the team and learn more about the brand and its products? Or perhaps they are always out and about, taking part in various trade events and roadshows and making sure they get face-time with agents.

Do they leave your customers happy?


Aussie travel essentials Destination New South Wales is providing a bag of the ultimate travel accessories, including a Vivid Sydney iPad case and a lightweight Sydney-themed beach towel.

Having said all that, who cares what you think (sort of). A happy customer means a repeat customer, in theory, so their joy is your joy! What have your clients reported back to you? It could be outstanding service and staff or little touches which weren’t asked for but topped off the experience they had. Perhaps they reported impressive valuefor-money or just downright quality. If your customers took the time to gush about something, the chances are they were seriously impressed!

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Ma u r i t i u s

A hitchhiker's guide to Mauritius BY TRACEY FORDHAM, TRAVEL CONSULTANT NOT JUST TRAVEL I knew that my trip to Mauritius would be a journey of discovery, but I never guessed how one afternoon on the island would change my view on travel completely. I get to go to some amazing destinations but I was really proud to be one of 27 Not Just Travel consultants invited to this exotic island by Beachcomber Tours thanks to a huge increase in Mauritius sales. Although it's a 12-hour flight, just a threehour time difference meant no jetlag so we were ready to visit all eight Beachcomber hotels. They range from luxurious golf and spa resorts to family beach hotels surrounded by white, sandy beaches and turquoise seas. We got our blood pumping with a hike up Le Morne, a beautiful mountain with stunning views across the island; experienced a touch of luxury with a catamaran cruise; and then enjoyed cocktails on the beach whilst watching the sunset. It really is a picture-perfect romantic destination.

But it was our afternoon treasure hunt which proved the real eye-opener. Without using our own money or the power of Google, we had to undertake 10 tasks and collect three items from around the island. As the Not Just Travel team told us to switch off our phones, looks of horror were exchanged amongst the group. Although intimidated by the idea of travelling unassisted in an unknown place, our competitive side got the better of us! The tasks included: finding a box of matches with a Dodo on, acquiring a newspaper, having our photo taken with the Buddha statues at a local bazaar and 'behind bars', snapping a picture of a Mauritian chilli cake, and making a cocktail on the beach. We rushed the cocktail, managing a mouthful or so each before racing off to finish more tasks – losing was not an option! As we had no money we hitch-hiked, something I'd never do at home. But everyone was so kind and friendly and a lovely lady took pity on us as we trudged along in the rain, and gave us a lift in her BMW.


We arrived at our final destination feeling emotional. We didn’t win, but the people of Mauritius were amazing – so kind, generous and happy to assist. They all wanted us to succeed. I was surprised at how safe I felt travelling around with nothing. There are now many reasons that I love Mauritius, but my afternoon ‘Dodo hunting’ reminded me that we all really can get by with a little help from our friends. •

Clockwise from top: team photo with the Buddha statue; a creative interpretation of 'behind bars'; all dressed up after the treasure hunt; beautiful views of La Morne

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Tra i n i n g , e v e n t s a n d f a m t r i p s

Dinner at Downton

Visit Detroit and Pure Michigan hosted the trade and media at Highclere Castle, setting for the autumn's hottest cinema ticket, Downton Abbey. Donning their finest dinner attire, guests enjoyed a Champagne reception, tour of the house and a four-course dinner whilst admiring the Ford Model T cars featured in the film, which were built in Detroit. The do was hosted by Visit Detroit staff: Larry Alexander, President and CEO; Renee Monforton, Director of Marketing and Comms; David Beachnau, Senior VP Sales, Marketing and Sports; and Jennifer Ollinger, Manager, International Marketing.;

Three’s a charm at Not Just Travel

A holiday to Canada, a trip to Thailand and a stay at The Atlantis The Palm in Dubai were among the prizes won by three Not Just Travel agents at a company charity event in Bourmouth. Nicky Pegram won a £5,000 holiday to Canada, including a trip on the glass-topped Rocky Mountaineer train, donated by Canadian Affair; Nicola Pugh won a tenday holiday to Thailand donated by Best Western Premier Bangtao Beach Resort Phuket and X10 Khao Lak Resort; and Sabina Clay won a family holiday from The Atlantis The Palm in Dubai. The event raised over £5,000 with 100% of the event’s proceeds going to the mental health charity Mind.

If Only offers a taste of Mexico

From Tequila tasting to cooking classes, ten agents fully immersed themselves in Mexican culture in a recent fam trip with If Only. The group stayed in a range of five-star properties throughout Playa Mujeres, Cancun and Riviera Maya, experiencing some of Mexico’s most luxurious accommodation, many of which offer easy access to key attractions such as the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Chichen Itzá. On the trip were agents from the UK and Ireland, many of whom secured their spots through the operator’s ‘win a fam a day’ incentive in peaks 2019.

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Have you enjoyed an interesting trade event or been on a trip or fam that you would like to see featured on this page? Email


local encounters


Travel Specialist, The Turquoise Holiday Company


Incredible India hits the road

Agents were treated to a cultural dance performance and traditional cuisine at India Tourism's travel trade roadshow in Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin. Delegates from the Ministry of Tourism, New Delhi, gave agents from Flight Centre, Colours Travel, Howard’s Way Travel, Mina World Travel and The Travel Portfolio an insight into India's diverse offering, from wellness and spiritual tourism, to adventure, wildlife, cuisine and cruise.

Along for the ride with Visit Orlando

An action-packed Superfam took place this September in the theme park capital of the world. Fifty agents visited new attractions like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort. New resorts experienced included Disney’s new Port Orleans Resort - Riverside and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. The agents also took met 30 further Orlando exhibitors at a trade show.

St. Kitts may only be a small island but the change in scenery is palpable as you travel around. I'm on a tour with the St. Kitts Tourism Authority and can't help but notice a kaleidoscope of colours flashing past. For much of the journey we enjoy expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean merging into the Caribbean Sea to one side, and on the other side colourful pastel houses with a backdrop of the dense rainforest. We're about halfway through the two hour tour when we come to an abrupt stop. I peer out to see what the hold up is and realise that our driver O'Neil is trying to manoeuvre around two locals engaged in a tense game of chess in the middle of the lane. They pause to chat to us and nonchalantly move aside before getting back to the game at hand - It's a comical insight into the laidback pace of life here. We also pass kids playing in the streets, groups of friends watching the cricket in porchways and women selling medicinal plants or fruits that have been homegrown in their back garden. And what's more, our driver seems to know them all personally!

LURE OF THE KITTITIANS St. Kitts still feels relatively undiscovered when it comes to tourism and as a result maintains its authenticity. But it's the warmth of the locals and their passion for the island that leaves a lasting impression on me. Although the Caribbean is well-known for its friendly people, Kittitians really can't do enough for you and want you to experience the island as they do.

. e for your bookings New £50 incentiv Visit StKittsRewar

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Our columnists

Following TUI's recent decision not to go paperless we ask our columnists: Are brochures still integral to selling travel?


Ibiza backstreets

Sandy making friends in Ibiza James had great views at the cricket

Nothing beats flicking through a brochure at the first stages of planning WE have two shops and find that a lot of our clients still love to look at brochures. There's something about fantastic images and detailed information printed out that makes a holiday feel more real and tangible. When arranging tailor-made itineraries, whenever possible we post the proposal so we can include maps and brochures – it helps clients visualise their holiday and aides decision making. We can all look online but nothing beats flicking through a brochure at the first stages of planning, to spark the imagination! In the era of Instagram, we all know how powerful images are for selling holidays, and brochures work in the same way – just without the screen! I’ve just returned from a week in Québec, hosted by Québec Original, Air Transat and regional tourist boards (there are 21 regions). Our hosts were so friendly and we spent time at a fishing outfitters once visited by Churchill and Roosevelt; dipped in the Nordic Spa hot pools; flew over Mt Tremblant in a helicopter (and ziplined back down it!); swam in a lake; ate maple syrup on everything at Chez Dany’s Sugar Shack; and watched Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria. I love my job! Québec is beautiful and has lots to offer for an outdoor and active holiday. Most tour operators focus on Montréal and Québec City but the tourist board is keen for them to diversify. It's a fantastic place for repeat visitors and with my new first-hand knowledge and enthusiasm for all things Québecois, I'm confident I can sell it all!

I THOUGHT the latest topic would be a doddle, and yet the more I thought about my daily work, especially how I give clients the confidence to make the vital purchase decision (very vital when you are commissiononly!), the more I realised that the answer was not so straightforward! It's easy to argue that we no longer need brochures. After all, it's 'all on the internet' now and we all have to make every effort to cut down on waste and 'go green'. It's also undeniable that I use brochures less and send out far fewer than I did five years ago. However, when I am researching a new product, I often find that a brochure allows me to learn faster than clicking through a website with constant pop-ups, chat

A brochure allows me to learn faster than navigating a website reminders, sign-up requests and variable broadband strength. So, putting myself in my clients' place, there are many who prefer to be able to look in detail through the printed page. The days of the blockbuster brochure – the size of an Argos catalogue – have gone, but for niche products brochures continue to be a integral selling tool. And once booked, clients are more likely to refer friends and neighbours to the hard copy, encouraging referral bookings. There's been no travel for me in August, so I avoided all the strikes, but I did enjoy a day of cricket at Lords – despite the score!



Southern Cross Travel, East Sussex

Go Cruise, Cruise specialist, Worcestershire

Anneka Desrosiers

James Hill

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Our columnists

These brochures go to waste and they don't help increase sales AS AN online travel agency you can already guess my stance on brochures – that they are not needed at all to sell a holiday. In fact, if a customer asks for a brochure we inform them we are a paperless company and do not stock or send out any brochures. We have three main reasons for this: firstly, in an industry that is already a high contributor to carbon emissions, becoming paperless is a small way we can help the environment. Secondly, storing brochures from numerous different suppliers and for different locations takes up a lot of space, which in our office is very limited! Thirdly, do they actually lead to better sales? When we first launched we would send out brochures to customers but they often have so many options that customers would get confused and if anything it would actually hinder the booking process. I would suggest that suppliers offer an opt in/ opt out on all paper materials, which when you sign up presumes you wish to be sent materials online. We still get sent brochures from suppliers on a regular basis, despite trying numerous times to opt out. These brochures go to waste, they don't help suppliers increase sales, nor do they help the environment. I would encourage all agencies to try going paperless for a few months and see the impact this has on sales. Paperless businesses are only going to become more popular in the coming years.

I AM one of those people that prefers to read from a page rather than from a screen, so yes, I'm pro brochures. I especially love those luxury ‘coffee table’ brochures that make you feel better just by looking at the pictures. But I think a few improvements could be made. For example, as prices change so frequently a guide price is all that's needed listing individual costs can be confusing. Also, I think it’s useful to have information on the different resorts, especially coach transfer times, at the start of each country. I had a feeling TUI might change its mind on brochures. Over 20 years ago, I remember when many agents stopped racking Thomson brochures because of commission cuts, and it wasn’t long before the operator amended its decision. Thinking about this inspired my quote of the month: ‘Never live in the past but always learn from it.' In other news, I was very lucky to win a fivenight holiday at the Grand Palladium White Island Resort & Spa in Ibiza, thanks to Joanne Roberts at Palladium Group. It had been over 20 years since I last went to Ibiza and I experienced excellent food and attentive staff on this trip. I especially want to thank Jordi and Naomi on reception, for locating my lost camera. Jordi was also a mine of information about the area. I flew with Jet2 and even though we were sitting on the tarmac for three hours (flight is only two and a half!), Captain Rich Stanley chatted and apologised to every row. Now that is excellent customer service.

I love those inspiring ‘coffee table’ brochures



Venture Travel, Mold, North Wales

Sandy's Travel Escapes


Sandy Murray

Anneka in Quebec...

... and flying over Mt. Tremblant in a helicopter

NEXT MONTH: Thomas Cook ceased trading last month, leaving 9,000 UK staff without jobs. Our columnists will discuss what went wrong, what lessons can the industry learn and what opportunities could come from this?

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agents talk


S e l l i n g Tra v e l l i s t e n s

This month #agentstalk about... Get social with us:




Agents overheard

Travel Agent rants & raves This month: Jenny Jackson rounds up some of the comments the trade left on her Facebook group following the collapse of Thomas Cook Jenny Jackson Founder of Luxury Travel Guru

"A customer who had never flown before wanted a day return to Frankfurt just to have a cup of tea. He was surprised when the next day fare was £752 return - now that's an expensive cuppa!"

"So annoying! It would have been a lot less expensive for the banks to bail TC out." "It's heartwarming to see all the support for us Cookies in our darkest hour. It reminds us that the travel community is a family and we all look after each other." "The German government has bailed out their part of Thomas Cook for a lot more money than the the British part needed. Shocking."

"We are completely and utterly devastated, but tomorrow is a new day. I hope we all have a bigger and brighter future ahead!"

Thomas Cook bosses have all had massive pay outs and left staff to pick up the pieces. He seemed concerned and is going to take it further."

"The amount of kindness shown by local businesses to those who have lost their jobs is really outstanding. There are certainly some truly good people out there."

“I spent eight years at Thomas Cook. It gave me the perfect foundation for my career.”

"At times likes this it makes you realise that it doesn't matter which company you work for – travel agents are a family and we all pull together."


"I wrote an email to my local MP about the fact that

Experience the Best of Sri Lanka



7nts, Glimpses of Sri Lanka

Bandaranaike • Minneriya National park • Kandy • Nuwara Eliya • Udawalawe • Induruwa Travel : 1 Jul 20 - 11 Jul 20



13nts, Sri Lanka Offbeat

Negombo • Anuradhapura • Jaffna • Dambulla • Kandy • Nuwara Eliya • Beruwala • Colombo Travel : 1 Nov 19 - 9 Dec 19

"Client asked: 'Can you tell me how much I owe my sister for the holiday we've just been on?'" "A woman rang today asking for our MD to help with her Indian visa application. I looked up her name and she hadn't even booked with us!"

0208 585 4020



7nts, Ceylon Cultural & Yala Park Kandy • Dambulla / Habarana • Nuwara Eliya • Katargama • Colombo Travel : 20 Sep 19 - 31 Oct 19

Package includes flights, accommodation & transfers. Untitled-8 1

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w i t h O a s i s Tra v e l

Making cruising sales a virtual reality Having recently opened Cruise Beyond, the first cruise-only store in Belfast, Oasis Travel is using the latest in VR technology to tap into this lucrative market. Jessica Pook met Managing Director, Sandra Corkin. "The popularity of cruising is on the rise and it's now one of the fastest expanding sectors of our business. From luxury river cruising to ultra-modern mega ships, it's clear that for many a cruise holiday is hard to beat. With the rise in demand, I felt that there was a gap in the market to provide holiday-makers in Northern Ireland with a high-quality, innovative cruise centre that would have the latest offers, views, knowledge and technology. "We've created an experience for our customers that encourages online interaction, as well as engaging with those who wish to sit down face-toface and discuss their ideal cruise. For us, Cruise Beyond represents a blend of passion, talent and inspiration, to help our clients find the perfect cruising holiday.

implementing virtual reality into our offices, we were very enthusiastic about creating a unique interactive space that gave customers the chance to experience the product themselves. These immersive experiences would then serve as a modern sales tool. "We were really excited about this prospect and believed it could provide us with a competitive edge, enabling us to present our clients with their travel options in a totally new and innovative way.

latest ship, Celebrity Edge. The feedback from the show was fantastic and this was reflected in the record number of bookings for Celebrity Edge over the course of the show. "Following a successful introduction, we set up the VR facility in our Cruise Beyond store, where we welcome appointments and invite people to experience the technology. "Last month, at our Cruise & Touring Show, we incorporated the VR, creating two different experiences for people to enjoy using the portable headsets. "The show was a resounding success and the VR definitely helped us to increase our sales. We now hope to install the technology into another store and create additional VR experiences for our customers through these portable headsets. "The key to selling a cruise is ensuring your product knowledge is exceptional and that you have the ability to match the needs of your customer with the cruising holiday that's right for them."

VR gives us a competitive edgoef and a new way selling

Virtual tools

"As travel agents, we must continually strive to encourage customers to come into our high street stores and engage with our salespeople. So, when we partnered with a digital company about the concept of


0208 585 4020

Experience the Best of USA




7nts, Western Trails

Reap the rewards "We launched our virtual reality experience at the Holiday World Show in January 2019, presenting features of Celebrity Cruises’

Los Angeles • Palm Springs • Monument Valley • Page/Lake Powell • Las Vegas & more Travel : 15 May 20


6nts, Cowboys And Canyons

Las Vegas • Grand Canyon • Williams • Antelope Canyon • Page • Monument Valley • Bryce Canyon • Zion Travel : 19 May 20



16nts, New York To Hollywood

New York - Washington, D.C. - Yellowstone - Grand Teton - MT. Rushmore - Los Angeles & more Travel : 5 Jun 20

Package includes flights, accommodation & sightseeings. Untitled-8 1

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T h e re s i l i e n t re g i o n h i t s t h e ro a d

The CTO proved, once again, that the region is united in its approach to tourism as it concluded its annual UK roadshow in London, having journeyed from Jersey to Edinburgh and visited many other cities across the country. Agents heard from various CTO members, including destinations and operators, about the latest product and news from the islands, which included a poignant message from the Bahamas Tourist Board in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. Speaking about the category five storm, Anthony A. Stuart, Director – Europe, Bahamas Tourist Office said: “While The Bahamas remains in recovery mode, we want people to know that only two islands were affected, the others remain very much open for business.” He continued: “Hurricane Dorian was the strongest storm ever to hit a populated area and its 220mph winds devastated the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama. But thanks to the support from our Caribbean friends we will rally together and rebuild stronger than ever.” He finished: “We have launched a campaign to inform consumers that the other 14 islands are ready to welcome them with open arms. We also ask agents to help to support us by continuing to send business to The Bahamas.” Other suppliers present included Nassau Paradise Island, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Nevis, Resort Marketing, Sandals, Sun Group Promotions and Atlantis.

Luck of the draw

It’s important now more than ever to make sure that agents are kept up to date and feel confident about selling this region"

Agents were given a raffle ticket from each supplier, which amounted to one entry into the prize giveaway. On offer were goody bags, rum, gin and Love2Shop vouchers, while a three-night fam with Group Promotions and two British Airways tickets to anywhere in the Caribbean were both won by Denise Simpson from Inteletravel.


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Sprinkled off the east coast of Africa, the 115 islands that make up the Seychelles are primed for many kinds of traveller, says Clare Walsh

raFFLes seyCheLLes


he Seychelles are naturally blessed with striking good looks but left unchecked such immense beauty can lead to downfall. That’s why the Seychelles Tourist Board’s focus has been on growing tourism sustainably - recognising that this in itself can offer a destination a unique competitive edge. The islands have committed to the Nature Needs Half vision that will ensure over 50% of the total land area is protected along with 30% of its marine environment. It is developing systems to produce energy from renewable sources and has banned single-use plastic straws and the import of plastic bags, cups, cutlery and Styrofoam. This focus also saw an embargo placed on hotel building from 2015 for projects of 25 rooms or more. Recently lifted, agents should keep their eyes peeled for new developments, such as the restoration work that has started on Beachcomber

Seychelles Sainte Anne Resort & Spa. This will transform the 87-room hotel into a fivestar resort of 295 rooms. It’s set to re-open in 2020 and it is hoped the development will help the resort tap into new revenue streams, such as the last-minute market, for which demand has outstripped supply in recent years. Along with famous names such as Hilton, Kempinski, Savoy, Banyan Tree and Four Seasons, increasingly clients now have the option to pick from smaller hotels and guesthouses in the Seychelles. The islands have seen a growing demand for eco-lodges and eco-boutiques, while the inner islands create a safe harbour for yachts and other floating accommodation.

“The Seychelles has committed to the Nature Needs Half vision that will ensure over 50% of the total land area is protected along with 30% of its marine environment”

For couples The honeymoon destination of choice for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Seychelles exudes romantic getaway. Many resorts offer tailored

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experiences for loved-up couples. The Four Seasons at Desroches Island is set on its own coral island and offers a romantic dinner on its private beach, relaxing couples massages and a private boat trip to neighbouring islands. Meanwhile, Banyan Tree Seychelles offers more unusual activities for couples to enjoy together, such as a traditional fishing trip, cooking class or an organic farm tour. The sparkling waters of the Seychelles are part of the archipelago’s magnetism, and Dream Yacht Charter is a way of combining a hotel stay with a three-, seven-or 10-day cruise. With bases at both Mahe and Praslin, couples can expect to relax on deserted beaches, snorkel the reefs around Cocos Island and spot giant tortoises in Curieus. A secluded retreat is on offer at Raffles Seychelles. Nestled on the stunning island of Praslin, the resort’s villas are tucked away, each with their own private outdoor pavilion and plunge pool. Kayaking and hiking around its many scenic trails are just some of the activities available, while the resort also offers signature experiences such as a scenic helicopter ride over neighbouring islands. Cerf Island Resort offers a rare allinclusive option in its collection of rustic hillside villas and suites. For couples looking to practice their swing, Lemuria is the only resort in the Seychelles with an 18-hole golf course that features beach views Clients who are apart from their partner whilst on holiday could consider

Constance Lemuria, Praslin

posting a special underwater letter! The ‘Unlock the Sea’ programme by Le Méridien Fisherman’s Cove and The Marine Conservation Society Seychelles invites visitors to post a letter home in an underwater letterbox via a guided snorkelling tour! Sell it: Turquoise Holidays’ Ultimate Seychelles Itinerary is a 10-night B&B trip priced from £5,295pp. It explores four different islands: Four Seasons on Mahe, Constance Lemuria on Praslin, Le Domaine de L’Orangerie on La Digue and Six Senses Zil Pasyon on Felicite Island. The deal includes flights and transfers.

For a wellness and relaxation break The icing sugar-white sands and picture perfect beaches of the Seychelles promise the ultimate destination for some blissedout R&R. Mahe offers no less than 60

postcard-perfect beaches, with plenty of private spots to drape a towel and get lost in a book. For some serious pampering, AVANI Barbarons Seychelles Resort offers decadent spa treatments and features the only Laurent-Perrier Champagne lounge in the Seychelles. Clients can indulge their inner wellness warrior at Six Senses Zil Pasyon, which features a yoga and meditation pavilion overlooking the ocean and a range of wellness therapies. Beautiful nature trails, kayaking and island-hopping trips offer further opportunity for relaxation, while in the evening they can settle down and watch a film at the outdoor cinema. Self-care spa treatments are a feature of Banyan Tree Seychelles resort in Intendance Bay. The first oriental spa to focus on non-clinical approaches to traditional Eastern healing therapies,

Banyan tree Seychelles

Denis Island

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Image: © Torsten Dickmann

The Seychelles Islands... another world Image: © Gerard Larose

Image: © Chris Close

Image: © Alphonse Island

Image: © Ennio Maffei

Seychelles Tourist Office - UK & Ireland Ground Floor, 130-132 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9SA Tel: +44 (0) 207 730 0700

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St. Roch Church, Beau Vallon, Mahe Island, Seychelles.

options include the Indian Chakra head massage, Indonesian Lulur Purifier and Thai Herbal Heat Treatment. Hikers can get off the beaten track at the Mangrove Forest at Port Launay. This is one of the few remaining mangroves in the Seychelles and taking along a camera is essential to snap rare wildlife in this ethereal part of the world. Then there are the Curieuse and Praslin islands – the only place in the world where the rare Coco de Mer tree grows naturally. Sell it: Elegant Resorts offers seven nights from £6,500pp (20% off, saving £6,000 per couple) at Six Senses Zil Pasyon in a Hideaway Pool Garden View Villa. The price includes flights, private helicopter transfers, UK lounge passes and a complimentary upgrade to full-board.

For Family time

meeting a giant tortoise

chef’s hat and bake in the hotel kitchen, or to join the housekeeping team and learn how to make swans and crabs out of bath towels. The resort also offers families the opportunity to make savings – children 12 years and under stay free in-room with parents or grandparents while children four years and under eat free. Kids between five and 11 receive 50% off meals. The waters of the Seychelles are a natural playground: families can enjoy snorkelling in impossibly clear waters alongside new friends such as giant sea turtles. At Denis Island, hawksbill and green turtles nest on the protected shoreline and children can explore the farm that supplies the food for the island. Another great experience for kids can be enjoyed at one of the most exclusive island resorts in the Seychelles. Car-free North Island features a tree planting experience

that allows guests to plant endemic flora from a nursery as part of its Noah’s Ark programme. As well as offering family spa treatments, Banyan Tree Seychelles gives kids the opportunity to become immersed in nature. The resort’s onsite Wildlife Conservation and Rehabilitation Centre hosts Wetland Tours to the largest freshwater wetland on Mahe, home to terrapins, yellow-bellied mud turtles, grey herons and Seychelles sunbirds. Alternatively, parents can take the kids out for a nature walk on the hiking trail at Morne Seychellois, Mahe, to search for the tiny Gardiner’s Tree Frog that is just 11 millimetres in length! Sell it: If Only has a seven-night stay, B&B, at Banyan Tree Seychelles, priced from £2,869pp including flights and transfers. 

Once considered the preserve of couples and honeymooners, the Seychelles is growing in popularity as a family destination. Tempting factors for those with kids include direct British Airways flights, toasty temperatures of between 24 – 32 degrees and no visas to worry about. An ever–widening choice of affordable accommodation such as guesthouses and self-catering chalets allow an authentic insight for children into Creole life. Alternatively, many of the larger hotel chains have adapted their offer to ensure it is attractive to families looking for a chilledout holiday. The kids club at Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa offers educational activities such as Creole lessons and visits to the neighbouring school along with arts, craft and dance. Its new Little Island Hoteliers Programme invites children to put on their

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Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa

9/27/19 05:15 PM

how to sell


Wyoming This is where the Rockies and the Great Plains collide, a tough and weathered land steeped in pioneering Western history - but it's warm and welcoming too, says Laura Gelder Why sell it Wyoming is a great fit for those who’ve experienced the 'classics' like California or the Deep South. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West recently bought a ranch in Wyoming which may tempt some and repel others, but there’s no denying its all-American appeal.

Who to sell to Outdoorsy people will relish Wyoming’s empty, rugged landscapes. The state is the size of France with a population of around 600,000 and the stage for activities like hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, fishing, hunting, rock climbing, kayaking and river rafting, as well as winter sports. Wildlife lovers will be spoilt for choice with national parks, state parks and vast areas of national forest hiding iconic wildlife like bears, bison, cougar, moose, wolves and birds of prey including eagles and osprey. Wild West buffs will find genuine historic attractions, not least the town of Cody, founded by ‘Buffalo’ Bill Cody and home to the atmospheric Irma Hotel he built and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Wyoming's western culture isn't all in the past and it has many dude ranches where guests can ride and rope until sundown.

What to sell Yellowstone is the biggest draw. The U.S.’s first national park is truly unique thanks to its position on a volcanic caldera which



means its natural attractions are enhanced by geothermal features like hot springs and geysers, including the famous Old Faithful. Yellowstone overshadows its neighbour Grand Teton National Park, but the snowcapped peaks of the Tetons are arguably more beautiful and the park has the same wildlife, as well as rafting on the Snake River and the cosmopolitan town of Jackson. Wyoming’s other stand-out natural attractions include Devil’s Tower, a rock formation which was the first national monument and is an oft-used film location; eight national forest areas, including the Bighorn National Forest, between Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone; and 12 state parks, protecting mountains, lakes, rivers, desert, hot springs and wildlife. History buffs will want to drop by state capital Cheyenne to learn how the railroad pushed settlers west into Wyoming; see Oregon Trail stops used by early pioneers in wagons, like Fort Bridger and Independence Rock, where many carved their names; and delve into Native American history by visiting the Wind River Reservation, home to the Northern Arapaho tribe.

How to sell it With its wide open roads and numerous scenic by-ways, Wyoming is primarily a selfdrive destination. It has more than enough to stand alone but also works well in an itinerary with neighbouring states Colorado, Montana and the Dakotas.

When to sell it Rodeo season is mainly July to August. The parks are great to visit year round but winter sees very low temperatures and heavy snow, making large areas off-limits to vehicles - although snow shoe trekking is an option. The ski season is largely late November to early April. 

BOOK IT WITH AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT A 14-night Utah and Wyoming by RV selfdrive is from £1,693pp including return flights to Salt Lake City, one night's roomonly accommodation and 13 days' RV rental. – 020 742 8299

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a dv e r t or ia l

InVIte Your cLIentS to eXPLore further


ourney Beyond is focused on bringing Australia’s most unique and iconic experiences to life. Australian-owned and with a growing footprint, it’s fast positioning itself as one of the country’s largest experiential tourism businesses. At Journey Beyond, we know this land and how to bring the best of it to life. From voyages across oceans to expeditions into Australia’s core, we invite travellers to touch, taste and discover.

on Land, at Sea and In the aIr

If you’re visiting World Travel Market, come and visit us at stand AS940 this November 4-6.

Our luxury train journeys criss-cross the vast desert of the Red Centre, hug the rugged coast, pass through mountains and rainforest and connect vibrant cities and cultural centres. Journey Beyond also takes its guests up in air, with a seaplane flight over Western Australia’s dramatic canyons, rivers and waterfalls, and out on the water, exploring icons on both the Pacific and the Indian Ocean – from the epic Great Barrier Reef to Rottnest Island with its unique marsupial residents, quokkas. Our unique accommodation options range from underwater rooms where fish swim past the windows, to a beachside eco camp under the stars, and our carefully-curated tours immerse travellers in the destination, from the tastes of its famous coffee culture, wine and cuisine to the wonders of its 40,000-year-old indigenous culture and unique flora and fauna.

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a dv e r t or ia l

Artists impressions


It’s an Australian first – underwater accommodation located on the world’s most famous underwater attraction – the Great Barrier Reef. Guests with Cruise Whitsundays can now stay overnight in one of two underwater Reefsuites, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows onto the reef itself. Each private Reefsuite showcases spectacular panoramic views of vibrant marine life. Guests can choose between premium king or twin-single accommodation below sea level, complete with private glass en-suite. The full Reefsuite experience includes a return cruise out to the reef, all meals and beverages, a selection of marine activities and overnight accommodation.

LocatIon, LocatIon. LocatIon

Reefsuites is the centrepiece of the $8 million redevelopment of Reefworld pontoon, meticulously reconstructed after 2017’s Cyclone Debbie at Hardy Reef (39 nautical miles from Airlie Beach). Two overnight all-inclusive options will be offered: the exclusive underwater Reefsuite accommodation and the renewed Reefsleep

experience, which will allow up to 24 guests at a time to sleep under the stars on the pontoon’s top deck. The pontoon also accommodates day visitors for a range of reef activities including underwater observatory access, semisubmersible tours, snorkelling and, at an extra cost, scuba diving.

SuStaInabLe adVantaGe

The relaunch of the Reefworld pontoon was a major project, supported by the Queensland Government, and involved the largest natural coral transplant ever achieved on the Great Barrier Reef - over 4,000 pieces of coral were sustainably removed from old moorings and replanted onto the existing reef wall to rejuvenate the Hardy Reef environment.

cruISe controL

Award-winning Cruise Whitsundays is the region’s largest and most experienced marine operator, offering island connections and day cruises visiting sites including the pristine Whitehaven Beach. For pricing and product information:

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a dv e r t or ia l

All aboard... Great Southern

A new train is set to launch onto Australian tracks later this year, linking Adelaide and Brisbane and exploring the diverse landscapes of Australia’s south-eastern corner. Linking culture-focused Adelaide and laid-back Brisbane, this rail adventure embraces Aussie culture, with the option of a three-day northbound itinerary or a four-day southbound itinerary. There will be 16 departures in its much-anticipated inaugural season, which runs from the start of December to the end of January. The two-night, three-day journey from Adelaide to Brisbane offers the chance to step off the train and experience the spectacular Grampians National Park; the nation’s capital and foodie haven, Canberra; and the stunning northern New South Wales coast beaches. The four-day southbound journey features an atmospheric beachside dining experience, an immersive day amongst the vineyards of the Hunter Valley and Newcastle region and a stop at Victoria’s rugged coast including its famous Twelve Apostles.

Onboard comfort

Comprising 28 carriages and two locomotives, the Great Southern will accommodate up to 214 guests per journey. Onboard accommodation comprises Gold Service Twin and Single cabins as well as the more exclusive Platinum Service cabins. As travellers have come to expect from Journey Beyond, exceptional food and wine and world-class hospitality will be at the heart of the Great Southern experience, along with many opportunities to explore beyond the tracks. Fares start from AUD$1,649pp for Gold Service single cabins, AUD$1,829pp for Gold Service twin cabins and AUD$3,899pp for Platinum Service twin/double cabins. All fares are inclusive of onboard dining, beverages and Off-Train Excursions. The Great Southern will be the newest addition to the internationally regarded suite of great Australian rail journeys from Journey Beyond, which includes The Ghan (Adelaide-Darwin), the Indian Pacific (Sydney-Perth) and The Overland (AdelaideMelbourne) – all combining adventure and exploration. For full itineraries and to book, visit:

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As owner and operator of The Ghan, Indian Pacific and Great Southern train journeys, Rottnest Express, Cruise Whitsundays, Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, Darwin Harbour Cruises, Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures and the ROTTNEST ISLAND, WA

Eureka Skydeck, we bring Australia’s most unique and iconic experiences to life. The Journey Beyond Specialist online training program tells you everything you need to know about our suite of incredible tourism experiences, including The Ghan, Indian Pacific and Great Southern rail expeditions, as well as Cruise Whitsundays and Rottnest Express.


Learn more about our unique selling points and how you


can curate the perfect Australian holiday for your clients. Access images and videos for your next campaign, including



New modules for Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef are now live. Find


out how your clients can have the ultimate nature and wildlife experience at Sal Salis, where the outback meets the reef.




Watch this space as new modules for Darwin Harbour Cruises are launched soon.




amazing 360 photography of our trains and destinations.



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destination profile

New York City The Big Apple continues to reinvent itself. April Waterston picks out some of its best bites Start spreading the news – New York City welcomed a record 65.1 million total visitors in 2018. It’s not difficult to see why. Few cities offer as diverse an array of attactions as New York. From catching a show on Broadway to walking back through time at the American Museum of Natural History, visitors from all walks of life can find something to suit their tastes in the city that never sleeps. In particular, NYC is a must-visit destination for art lovers and is home to some of the most valuable art collections in the world. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) is due to reopen in October 2019 folowing a renovation and expansion project which will expand its gallery space by a third. Next year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be celebrating its 150th anniversary with a variety of special exhibits and events. New York City is easy to navigate on public transport. However, even with its elaborate metro system and the novelty appeal of hailing a yellow cab, one of the best ways to take in the sights of New York is by foot. Its streets are lined with iconic architecture like the Flatiron Building, One World Trade Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. For those unable, hop-on-hop-off buses are another way to explore. There’s plenty of accommodation to rest your soles after a long day. The city has one of the most active hotel development pipelines in the country - there were more than 121,000 hotel rooms as of May 2019, but that number is expected to increase to almost 139,000 by the end of 2021.



Don’t miss... Botanical Garden Next May the New York Botanical Garden will debut its first large-scale exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s work, including new installations based on her ‘engagement with nature’ project. Chelsea Market This rustic market-comefood hall has enough options to satisfy any foodie craving. Its warm atmosphere and quaint shops make it the perfect place to escape the busy NYC streets.


A VIEW FROM ABOVE The iconic New York skyline is just as breathtaking in the daytime as it is at night, so it’s worth planning two viewing-deck visits at either end of the day. The 102-storey Empire State Building is a must: Make the most of its 8am opening time to avoid long queues and big crowds. Standard tickets take you to the 86th floor viewing deck but visitors can pay extra to reach the 102nd-floor observatory. At dusk, the Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center offers panoramic views of Central Park and Manhattan’s skyscrapers – with the added bonus view of the Empire State Building itself.

GOING GREEN A variety of green spaces can be found dotted throughout the concrete jungle. The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long public park that runs above the streets. Built on a historic, elevated freight line, the High Line is now adorned with 500-plus species of plants and trees, transforming Manhattan’s West Side. In Lower Manhattan, Battery Park has unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano Bridge. It’s also home to the Battery Bikeway which connects Hudson River Park Bikeway to the East River Esplanade and makes for a 31-mile, uninterrupted waterfront bicycle path that wraps around the Big Apple. 

Go Italian Carmine’s Italian Restaurant serves up some of the biggest portions in New York. One meal is enough to feed a family of four, and sharing meals is part of the restaurant’s charm. The Guggenheim Home to a vast collection of contemporary art, the Guggenheim itself is a sight to behold. Take the elevator to the top and then amble down the art-lined spiral corridor back to the ground floor. Luna Park In 2020, Luna Park on Coney Island will debut a new adventure section with a ropes course, zip line and log flume, as well as a new public plaza with open-air dining and an arcade.

BOOK IT WITH AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT A five-night break to New York is from £623pp including return flights on United Airlines from Heathrow to Newark and a five-night stay at the Row NYC, based on two people sharing. The hotel is in the heart of the theatre district, with a front row view of Times Square and a short walking distance to the Rockerfeller Center. - 020 8742 8299

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The Complete Alaska trip

Seattle cruising

The Port of Seattle has had its biggest cruise season to

date, with an estimated 1,204,170 revenue cruise passengers this year. In 2019 the port will host the three largest

UNITED DAILY TO DENVER – AND POLARIS United Airlines is to go daily on its Heathrow-Denver year-round service from November 2. The airline is also offering more Polaris Business Class seats on each of its five daily departures from Heathrow to New York/ Newark. The reconfigured 767300ER aircraft feature 16 more all-aisle-access business class seats, bringing the total to 46. on each flight

cruise vessels on the West Coast: Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Joy.

Seaworld coaster

Construction has started on SeaWorld San Diego’s new

floorless ‘dive coaster’. Expected to open next year, it will see riders climbing to 153 feet before dropping down a 143-foot vertical drop while accelerating to more than 60 miles an hour. The two-minute ride will also involve heart-pounding inversions, a

Complete North America has a nine-night Alaska option that showcases the raw beauty and wildlife of the USA’s largest state. The Grand Alaska Escorted Tour, which takes in both scenic wonders and offers the chance of sightings of grizzly bears and humpback whales, sees guests touring by sea, land and rail. The tour sets off from Anchorage, on a cruise on Prince William Sound, with visits to Fairbanks and Denali before a train ride on the Alaska Railroad back to Anchorage. Also featured are a cruise through Prince William Sound, to explore the three-mile face of the Columbia Glacier; a drive north to Fairbanks on the Richardson Highway, a sightseeing tour of the gold mining town of Fairbanks, a cruise on the Chena River aboard a classic Sternwheeler and a ‘safari’ in Denali National Park. The tour, which ends back in Anchorage, is priced from £3,459pp, including flights.

barrel roll and Immelmann loop, a hammerhead turn and a flat spin.

Native attraction

Palm Springs will welcome a major new cultural attraction

in 2020. The downtown Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza, which will convey the values and legacy of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, will feature a museum, art gallery, gardens, Spa and bathhouse.

BLOG It's the season when a riot of

spectacular natural colours blankets much of the USA. From Seattle, Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes out west to Georgia and the New England states in the east a sea of crimson, orange and gold awaits. There's even a Leaf Peepers Festival in Davis, West Virginia. More Blog content at Look out for our Visit USA (UK) online Travel Update for the pick of members' news

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SPOTLIGHT ON... Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau


DIRECTOR OF TOURISM What do you gain from membership of Visit USA? We appreciate the opportunity to increase awareness of Sedona in the UK market and put across our messages. Key current values that Sedona share are sustainability, wellness and responsible tourism. ABTA has identified that increasingly UK travellers share similar values. Tell us some of the highlights of Sedona Sedona is a destination where natural scenic beauty inspires wellness, outdoor adventures, arts and culture, and a place where visitors create lifelong memories. We tell visitors that Sedona will change them!

Check out these Visit USA UK members • Accor Hotels • Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn • Best Western Hotels and Resorts • Caesars Entertainment • Handlery Union Square Hotel • Hilton Worldwide • Hyatt Hotels and Resorts • Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants • LE Hotels • Manta Ray Inn • Marriott International • Nobu Hotel & Eden Roc Hotel – Miami Beach • North American Vacation Homes • staySKY Hotels & resorts


Macerich shops in Philly Macerich Shopping Centers & Fashion Outlets has opened a major new retail centre in Philadelphia. Fashion District Philadelphia combines flagship brands and designer outlets with dining options, entertainment, art and culture. Spanning three city blocks, it is connected to popular Reading Terminal Market, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and Jefferson Station on Market Street. It is also close to other areas popular with tourists such as Independence National Park and the Fashion District. Macerich Shopping Centers & Fashion Outlets are located in most major U.S. destination. Agents can take advantage of commissionable shopping packages and a Visitor Savings programme that offers significant discounts at most retail centres. They can request a customized, downloadable voucher to provide to their clients.

How does Sedona fit into a U.S. self-drive itinerary? Phoenix and Flagstaff are Sedona’s main gateways. It is easily combined with Tucson and Saguaro National Park, Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Kartchner Caverns State Park, the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Canyon de Chelly, Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley. Tell us a special Sedona experience you have had. I won't forget my sunrise hike on a New Year’s Day: the colours, the serenity, the connection with nature...a special Sedona moment.

Subscribe to the Visit USA (UK) online Travel Update at

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my journey

. . . n i ’ n i m li e n o G

s t t i K . t S

Fruit is on abundant n la the is d

s Music Festival is fast tt Ki . St , up elin e rs ve d ts and a di ica Pook joins the crow ss With international ac Je ts en ev ic us m p to ribbean’s becoming one of the Ca


ike a starstruck fan I have managed to worm my way up to the stage but, unlike the rest of the crowd, I’m unfamilliar with the words. I’m not sure I’ve ever come across soca music before – a genre that originates from the Caribbean but it’s impossible not to like it. The beat is infectious, the lyrics are cheerful and it’s getting the crowd in the mood to dance, something that seems to come naturally to everyone except me. I seek solace at the bar, in need of something that will loosen me up, and I’m handed a ‘ting with a sting’ – a grapefruit drink with a very generous slug of rum. I’m not sure whether it’s enhancing my rhythm or my selfconfidence, but either way this zingy concoction seems to have brought out my inner dancer. Now in its 23rd year, the annual St. Kitts Music Festival is providing a positive boost for this tiny island, nestled between Anguilla and Montserrat, showcasing local island talent and regional genres like reggae, soca and calypso, as well as music legends such as Goo Goo Dolls, 50 Cent, Patti LaBelle, Lionel Richie and this year’s headliners, Smokey Robinson and French Montana. “The festival has been ambitious and bold with its artists over the years,” says Racquel Brown, CEO of St. Kitts Tourism. “It’s enabled us to reinvent ourselves and has helped to put St. Kitts on the map. The mix of genres and artists means we now compete with some of the biggest festivals in the world.” But as excited as I am to see the big names, it’s the local artists that seem to really get the crowd going. “It’s important to represent the Caribbean and its home-grown talent,” says local artist Ras Valley ahead of his big performance. “I’m honoured to stand on stage in my home country along with so many artists from the region who are all making a stand to keep our music alive.”

As we move through the genres, from soca, calypso, and reggae, to jazz, mowtown, R&B and rap, it’s clear why the festival is fast becoming one of the most diverse music events in the Caribbean.

Rainforest adventures One thing that separates St. Kitts from other Caribbean islands is its dense rainforest. The canopy covers 25% of the island and provides plenty to see for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. O’Neil (his first name!) is my guide for the day and an expert on the flora and fauna of the island. He describes how every plant has its own medicinal purpose and shows me hangover cures, plants for regulating blood pressure and what he claims is a tried and tested remedy for wetting the bed! The walkway is a tangle of roots and foliage, with hanging vines thick enough to swing from, prehistoric-looking leaves and the menacing Kapok tree with its spiky trunk. We also dodge remnants of mango, discarded by the vervet monkeys that outnumber people on the island. It’s at this point that the pathway seems to come to an abrupt stop. As we turn to go

The festival competes with some of the biggest in the world

One of the many sugar plantations

WHERE T O BOOK I T Funway H olidays off ers night pac kage inclu a sevending flight with Britis s h A irways an accommod d ation Resort (m at Timothy Beach ountain vie w room) priced at £939pp. funway4a k

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my journey


ous mountain Views of St. Kitts

back, O’Neil walks to the front of the group and starts hoisting himself up the overgrown wall, indicating for us to follow him. He’s met with some hesitance but reminds us that he’s almost 70 years old and walks/ climbs this route everyday. It’s enough to convince me. That said, he also summits Mount Liamuiga, the 1,156-metre-high dormant volcano on the island each day, so he’s hardly your typical pensioner. Later that day I swap the canopy floor for the tree tops, harnessing up for the first of five ziplines on a Sky Safari zipline tour. Standing at the drop-off point for ‘The Boss’, the longest line at 1,320 feet long and 250 feet high above the valley floor, I allow myself to sink into the harness and, despite my better judgement, push off to hurtle through the trees. I’m rewarded with unobstructed views of the rainforest as it slopes all the way to the ocean and can’t help but let out a squeal of delight as the adrenaline takes over.

Sky Safari zipline

Formidable fortress Located in the north of the island, Brimstone Hill is recognised as one of the best-preserved historic sites in the Americas and has UNESCO status. The fortress sits atop a steep mound and offers impressive views of neighboring island Sint Eustatius, but it’s much more than just a viewing platform. Although now independent, St. Kitts was once a British colony, prospering in sugar production. The fortress was built to protect the island from a French invasion and is still heavily armed by cannons, all still poised as if ready to warn off invadors. The long-standing British connection is also demonstrated with a ride on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, which tours the many sugar plantations on the island and gives an overview of what was once the oldest and wealthiest English colony in the Caribbean. The trip ends in much the same way as it began, with a party. The Carambola Beach Club’s White Sands Party is the annual cool down event of the music festival. Adhering to a strict all-white dress code, locals and visitors alike gather on the bay to be entertained by DJs and this year’s host, the sassy Miss Kitty. She soon has the crowd ditching their shoes to dance barefoot on the sand. If anyone can teach me some moves before I leave this island, it’s Miss Kitty! •

Ital vegan food


Carambola White Sands Party

i Ella Ma the rocking stage A rainforest walk wth O’Neil

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48 hours in

Florence A truffle-scented city famous for its Renaissance architecture, aperitivo-soaked happy hours and fantastic food. Tamara Hinson explores Florence Day 1: Culture & coffee




Day 2: Truffles & topiary

Morning: Start with a stroll around Morning: No visit to Florence is Piazza della Repubblica, one of complete without a look inside Il Florence’s many elegant squares, Duomo di Firenze, otherwise known and a spin on its historic wooden carousel, as the Santa Maria del Fiore. Topped by a with its beautifully-painted horses. The huge dome, it’s the world’s third-largest square has a colourful past: it was a Roman church: 153 metres long, 90 metres wide forum before becoming Florence’s Jewish and 90 metres high. Clamber up the 463 ghetto in the sixteenth century. steps to the top of the dome, or tackle the For a caffeine fix, head to Caffè Gilli, which equally energy-sapping ascent to the top of dates back to 1733 and has always been a Giotto’s Campanile (bell tower) for meeting place for intellectuals and artists. unbeatable views over the Duomo itself. From here, it’s a short walk to the city’s Afternoon: Make time for an finest museums, such as the Museo unplanned wander about the city's Nazionale del Bargello, founded in 1255 labyrinthine streets – this is where and famous for its enormous collection its best bits are. Start at the Four Seasons of sculptures, many of which date back to Florence for an amble through its sprawling Roman and Byzantine grounds, Florence’s times; the Galleria biggest private dell'Accademia garden. It has “Make time for an di Firenze, home enormous of Michelangelo's sculptures (the unplanned wander about David sculpture; and tutu-wearing hippo the city's labyrinthine the Medici Chapels is my favourite), streets – this is where its and Church of San ancient beech trees best bits are” Lorenzo, the official and beautiful place of worship of fountains. Close by the Medici family, is the Museum of who were former rulers of Tuscany. San Marco, a former Dominican convent Afternoon: Enjoy a late, light lunch with renaissance architecture. at Caffè Rivoire, founded in 1872 by Evening: Florence’s NH Firenze’s Enrico Rivoire, a chocolatier to the Savini Tartufi restaurant is the Savoy royal family which ruled Italy between place for truffles. I recommend the 1861 and 1946. Don’t forget to try the café’s octopus, leeks and lemon infusion, finished unique twist on the negroni – the Campari, with either bianchetto truffle or precious gin and vermouth-based cocktail invented black truffle, before a truffle-drizzled steak here in 1919. The one at Caffè Rivoire comes and a truffle tiramisu, washed down with a with a tiny shot of negroni jelly. truffle beer. Even the décor is truffleAfterwards, enjoy some retail therapy. themed – the photo on the wall is of an Avoid the busiest squares – unless you Italian dog which discovered one of the crave an apron adorned with the nether world’s largest truffles.  regions of Michelangelo’s David – and head to smaller streets such as Borgo Ognissanti to stock up on hand-painted ceramics and BOOK IT WITH... INGHAMS brightly-coloured glassware. Evening: The negronis served at A three-night Florence break, with the Irene Bar at the Piazza della accommodation at the four-star Grand Hotel Repubblica’s Hotel Savoy are Baglioni, flights from London to Florence and legendary. Surrounded by colourful décor airport transfers starts from £549pp, based on from Italian fashion house Emilio Pucci, sip two people sharing. the signature Negroni Riserva, an orange agents-beta.inghams. peel and cardamom-infused blend.

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highways to


What better way to discover the star attractions of the Golden State than on a road trip? Lauren Jarvis puts the pedal to the metal on California’s Pacific Coast Highway


dusky sheen of rose and gold dusts the dark-chocolate mound of Morro Rock, as two squeaking streaks of quicksilver break the surface of the glass-smooth sea. They twirl and play, back-float and groom, cuddle and crack clams, before slinking towards my kayak, nibbling at my paddle, and diving with a splash between the yachts moored in San Luis Obispo’s Morro Bay. Magical experiences, like this close encounter with these impossibly cute sea otters, abound along California’s Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Stretching over 600 miles, Highway One was established in the 1930s and is one of the world’s most famous scenic drives, taking in stylish beach towns like Carmel-By-The-Sea and Santa Barbara, rugged cliffs and towering redwood forests at Big Sur, wildflowercovered coastal trails at Point Lobos State

Reserve, surfing meccas like Huntington Beach, and two of the U.S.’s most exciting cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Travelling straight through, the PCH is a 10-hour drive, but you’ll need at least six days to stop and take it all in, staying at a choice of historic inns, luxury beach resorts, Spanish colonial residences and hip urban hotels along the way. An iconic road trip deserves iconic wheels so I pick up a convertible Mustang at San Francisco International – one of the new Hertz American Collection cars – and prepare to drive the American dream with a playlist of American classics to match (nothing says ‘road trip’ like Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run). But whether you’re cruising California’s west coast in a camper van, a Honda or on a Harley, an unforgettable journey through epic landscapes, fascinating history and authentic Americana awaits.

making smores, huntington beach

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kayaking, slocal

South of San Francisco, Santa Cruz buzzes with surf and skate culture, and I explore the classic boardwalk of The Lost Boys vampire-movie fame, with its mighty Giant Dipper wooden rollercoaster and the historic Looff Carousel. Driving on to the fishing town of Monterey, boat tours offer thrills of the wildlife-watching kind, with grey and humpback whales, orcas, bottlenose dolphins, turtles and harbour seals flourishing in the marine-protected waters and off-shore kelp forests of the bay. Summer fog rolls in as I drive Big Sur and cross the famous Bixby Creek Bridge, adding intrigue to a place already steeped in bohemian, Beat-author legend. Its wild cliffs, waterfalls and beaches have lured artists and authors including Henry Miller, Hunter S. Thompson and Jack Kerouac, who honoured one of America’s

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longest stretches of untamed coast in his 1962 novel, Big Sur.

Take it slow In San Luis Obispo County, or ‘SloCal’ as it’s known thanks to its laid-back vibe, the sun reappears to drench the adobe walls of Mission San Miguel Arcángel, one of 21 Spanish missions established by Franciscan priests in California and aimed to convert the indigenous Native American Indians to Christianity. Founded in 1797, the restored mission is now a U.S. Historic Landmark and serves as an an emotionally charged stop between exploring SloCal’s accessible elephant-seal rookery at Piedras Blancas, ziplining over vineyards at Santa Margarita, exploring the historic, arty towns of Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande, and kayaking with the sea otters of Morro Bay State Park.

Redwood National Park

Sundowners overlooking the sweeping strand of SloCal’s Pismo Beach tempt me to stay, but on a road trip you keep rolling – and the PCH has plenty more shores to surf, swim and strut. This is the stomping ground of The Beach Boys, after all. In the City of Angels, I stroll Malibu, one of the world’s most famously sought-after stretches of sand, and choose the gazilliondollar beach house I’ll buy when I’m famous (everyone’s an actor in L.A., right?). Heading south, I roll into Huntington Beach, California’s ‘Surf City’, to catch a wave and try a yoga session overlooking the sea, before joining a sunset cruise around Huntington Harbour, and roasting S’mores (a marshmallow and chocolate biscuit sandwich) around a fire pit overlooking the ocean. On the last night of my road trip I return to Los Angeles, take the car back up to

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hariesh rajagopa

retro signs by the sea

sea otter antics

Mulholland Drive and look down on the twinkling lights of La La Land, as a light rain falls from an inky sky. California is home to myriad stars; drive the PCH and you’ll find they’re not all found in the mansions of the Hollywood Hills.

Californian Road Trips Desert Escape – Los Angeles to Palm Springs: After exploring LA, head out to the desert oasis of Palm Springs, just a couple of hours from downtown. Soak up the pool-party vibe and check out the mid-century modern architecture, then drive on to explore the magical landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park and the wild west movie-set of Pioneertown. Alpine Adventure – Sacramento to Lake Tahoe: Breathtaking mountain vistas and gold rush treasures await on

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur

this drive. In Tuolumne County, wander historic Groveland and Jamestown’s bygone-era shops and cafes, then celebrate the golden age of steam at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. Stay in Sonora and walk the alpine trails around Hetch Hetchy reservoir and Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park, before driving on to North Lake Tahoe for a tranquil cruise on the lake from Tahoe City. Northern Explorer – San Francisco to Crescent City: Head north from the ‘City on the Bay’ to discover a wonderfully wild coastline and solitude. Stop at Point Reyes National Seashore to see whales, wildflowers and rare Bishop pine forests. Next, enjoy the galleries and cafes of Mendocino, then drive the 31-milelong Avenue of the Giants, lined with

2,000-year-old trees, before hopping in a kayak to spot marine life around Trinidad Bay. Explore the Redwood National and State Parks, which protect half the world’s tallest trees, and search for gems on the beach at Crescent City, home to California’s northernmost lighthouses. For more ideas, see road-trips or

“The PCH is a 10-hour drive, but you’ll need at least six days to take it in, staying at historic inns, luxury beach resorts, Spanish colonial residences and hip urban hotels along the way”

B b

Dream beneath a desert sky. Famed for its chill poolside culture and more than 300 days of sunny skies, Southern California’s most storied destination turns vacation dreams into wild adventures. Find your oasis.

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surFer oFF santa cruZ

What’s new Travel: LAX is undergoing a multibillion-

dollar modernisation programme, including a new 12-gate concourse and improved connectivity and transit services. Accommodation: Los Angeles will see 11 new hotels opening in the next two years, including The Hoxton, The Godfrey Hotel, and The Wayfarer DTLA. In Huntington Beach, the Hyatt Regency, The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton hotel and The Kimpton Shorebreak Resort are all completing multi-million-dollar expansions and renovations. Greater Palm Springs has two new hotels opening in 2020 – The Andaz in Palm Springs and Hotel Indigo in Indigo. San Luis Obispo’s first spa hotel, Hotel Serra, opened this year with 65 rooms, a pool deck and edible garden, while Vespera on Ocean, a Marriott Autograph

Collection Hotel, opened on Pismo Beach. The Westin Anaheim Resort opens in summer 2020, close to Disneyland Resort, with four restaurants and a rooftop lounge bar. The new luxury Santa Monica Proper Hotel opened in June with 271 rooms. The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco recently opened a new Wellness Center and Spa, with state-of-the-art cosmetic technology. Attractions: Jurassic World – The Ride opened this summer at Universal Studios Hollywood, complete with groundbreaking tech and larger-than-life dinos. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened this August at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, with themed shopping and dining and the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run ride. Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood now offers the chance to go behind the scenes

morro rock beach

of The Big Bang Theory with three sets from the TV show. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will open on L.A.’s Miracle Mile in 2020, with six storeys of galleries, exhibition spaces and film theatres.

Where to book it AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT 020 8742 8299 One night at San Francisco’s Hotel Kabuki, one at Monterey’s Spindrift Inn, one at the Shore Cliff Hotel in Pismo Beach, one at Santa Barbara’s Harbor View Inn, two at The InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown and one at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, with convertible Mustang car hire and flights from Heathrow to San Francisco and Los Angeles to Heathrow, from £1,640pp. 

THE HISTORIC SONORA INN California Hotel Outside of Yosemite National Park The Sonora Inn is proud to be the UK's premier hotel partner for travellers to California's Yosemite National Park and the Gold Country. Located outside of Yosemite and only a couple of hours' drive from San Francisco, a top destination for fly/drive, FIT, and tour and travel groups. Please contact JEFF MICHELS - or +1 415 786 7586 to set-up wholesale rate plans, for enquiries into group travel and codes for individual travel. We are more than happy to provide general information on the region and insight for travel in Northern California.

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9/27/19 04:22 PM 27/09/2019 16:12


N EW S: New Zealand gives agents a local insight with new videos


C H E C K I NG OU T Harbour Rocks Hotel, Sydney


C AR I B B E AN N EW S The Bahamas needs bookings



UNITE MIDDLE EAST New hotels abound


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the review

New itineraries from Ramblers Walking Holidays The 2020 programme from the walking holiday specialist features over 180 journeys in 60 countries, with 55 new itineraries including Armenia, Everest, Ethiopia and Iran. Highlights of the new programme in Europe include following in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims in Turkey on the St Paul’s Trail and the Taurus Mountains tour. Further afield, new additions include Walking and Wildlife in Costa Rica and Yellowstone Snowshoeing and Winter Wildlife in the U.S. There are two new holidays in China, an expanded range of UK itineraries, including three to the Lake District, and dual destination trips to Armenia and Iran, Guatemala and Mexico, Thailand and Myanmar and Vietnam and Cambodia.

UK’s most iconic brand bows out


With news that Thomas Cook ceased trading this week, agents and operators across the country showed their support for the 9,000 UK staff who lost their jobs. The travel trade took to social media to offer commiserations, share job opportunities and tell stories, of ex-staff still working hard to get customers home, and of their own history with and affection for Thomas Cook. Peakes Travel Elite, whose Shropshire-based team of 13 is half ex-Thomas Cook, tweeted: “We send a big hug to industry friends and colleagues whose livelihoods are affected.” Director Claire Moore said on the day: “The customers have been great, led by our team of course, and we’ve managed to re-book most of our passengers.

We’ve taken details from local agents out of a job.” Bethanie Prosser from Travel Nation said: “I worked for Thomas Cook and the support and buzz you get from working there words cannot describe. It’s extremely sad but I do think this has shown why it’s important to book with an ATOL-protected company.” Travel Counsellor Gwyneth Prosser said: “I was so sorry to hear that Thomas Cook had gone. Travel Counsellors are reaching out to TC employees, inviting them to come and talk about future employment.” Ex-Thomas Cook agent Emma Oldroyd said: “It’s early days but I have three calls from recruitment agencies. I feel really proud to work in an amazing industry – everybody has been fantastic!”

Arena responds to trends for 2020 Arena Rail Holidays has an expanded programme for 2020, with new UK tours, cruise and tour packages and itineraries with guided walks. New destinations amongst its 36 tours in 13 destinations, include Portugal and Transylvania. New cruise and tour packages are Venice and Croatian Coastal Cruise by Rail and Milan and the Magic of the Venice Carnival Cruise: Reflecting demand for escorted short trips in the UK are two new five-day tours: Historic Railways and Medieval Durham (pictured below) and The Lake District by Steam. Train and walking tours are offered in the Yorkshire Dales, Pyrenees, Germany’s Rhine Valley and Tuscany

Win a stay aboard Rocky Mountaineer

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Rocky Mountaineer has an incentive for agents that book 2020 rail journeys or packages before December 4, 2019. Agents can win prizes like Ray Ban sunglasses, wireless headphones or two days onboard Rocky Mountaineer for two. For a chance to win agents must email the details to competition@ and complete Rocky Mountaineer’s TRACKS agent training.

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the review


Latin Routes groups

SONEVA JANI MALDIVES Robinson Crusoe Luxury like no other Offering huge selection of unique experiences Book early for 2020 to receive great offers including: Stay 4 Pay 3 or Stay 7 Pay 5 Plus 25% Off when taking a larger villa Valid for various dates throughout 2020 BY STEVE HARTRIDGE

Latin Routes invited UK agents to the London launch of its first-ever escorted group tours programme this September. Product and Operations Manager Valeria Garibotti, who announced an initial nine itineraries, said the project was 18 months in the making and was the result of ‘a lot of research and requests from clients’. Between May 2020 and March 2021 the operator will run 29 departures, with nine different itineraries covering six countries (Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Costa Rica, including multi-country tours. Local guides with specialist knowledge will be employed. Prices range from £2,699pp

for the 12-day Journey to Rio tour to £6,199pp for the 22-day Peru and Galapagos tour. Prices include flights and agents can save £200pp if they book before October 18. Garibotti said all the adultonly tours, which will have a maximum of 16 people, were ‘guaranteed to depart’. The company recorded sales of £7.78 million in 2018/19 (46% through agents). Director Martin Johnson said: “We are absolutely committed to the trade and will support our agents, who increased their sales of our product by 101% in 2018/19, in any ways we are asked.” The operator has increased its trade team to four.

AYADA MALDIVES Fantastic 5* in the remote Huvadhoo Atoll Incredible value for money for Autumn and Winter Book by 31 Oct 19 and receive: Between 30 – 45% Discount on Room Rates PLUS Up to 2 children STAY and EAT for FREE! Valid for various dates between now – 05 Jan 20



Make five bookings and

One of the closest islands to Manta Point In the UNESCO Biosphere Baa Atoll Book by 15th October 2019 and receive 45% Discount on Room Rates! Valid for stays between 01 Nov 19 – 31 Mar 20

receive £50 in Love2Shop Vouchers. Make 10 bookings and receive 5 FREE NIGHTS in Maldives. OR - Make 15 bookings and receive 10 Free Nights.


Book by 31/10/19 for travel between 01/10/19 – 30/04/20 Agent Free Nights based on 4* hotel - AlI for 2 people. T&C’s Aply For details contact:


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the review

SAUDI ARABIA SELLS FESTIVAL Tickets have been been released for the Winter in Tantora Festival – a music event held in historic AlUla, Saudi Arabia. The concert series, starting December 19 this year and running until March 7, 2020, is the latest initiative to attract visitors as the country works towards becoming a ‘top tourism destination’. Guests will see highprofile acts like Lionel Richie and Enrique Iglesias while staying in five-star luxury and enjoying spa facilities, Michelin star meals and access to the AlUla region. AlUla includes ancient forts, older than Egypt’s pyramids, and Mada’in Salih Saudi Arabia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by the same civilisation as Petra’s Treasury in Jordan.

New Zealand on film


Tourism New Zealand’s latest brand campaign, 100% Pure Welcome – 100% Pure New Zealand, launched this September, comes with a raft of new selling tools for agents. The tourism board has 26 new educational videos designed for the travel trade as well as themed itineraries and interactive content to enable UK agents to sell New Zealand more confidently. Local guides and operators from across the country have recorded a “Good Morning World” video, giving a glimpse into their lives, sharing their local knowledge and showcasing experiences on offer. The trade videos are showcased on an interactive map on Tourism

New Zealand’s trade website, with further detail on the products and inspiration for similar experiences clients can have. The trade campaign debuted in early September and the consumer one on September 23. “Around 80% of Europeans book their New Zealand holiday through a travel agent, so we view the trade as our most powerful destination advocates. These videos help illustrate the welcoming spirit Kiwis show our visitors,” says Pip Casey, Tourism New Zealand’s Regional Manager for UK & Europe. Tourism New Zealand has also created a hub for agents:

More Middle East from Cox & Kings New tours to Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Egypt and Israel are included in Cox & Kings’ 2020 Middle East programme. The tour operator has seen a 50% increase in visitors to the region compared to last year, which it attributes to continued confidence in the region’s security. Jordan is Cox [&] Kings’ most popular destination for the second year running and the operator has added three new private tours. Kyrgyszstan has been reintroduced with a 10-day group tour, from £1,995pp. A new Oman & Zanzibar private tour retraces the legacy of Omani rule on the island and the countries’ spice trade history. Egypt tours will include visits to the new Grand Egyptian Museum due to open in Cairo in 2020.

Funway Holiday’s new agent campaign uses 360-degree views Funway has announced a sixmonth campaign, Hotel360, aimed at giving its travel agent partners up-to-date tools for selling hotels. Hotel360 gives agents access to 360-degree photos of selected partner hotels, which agents can use to give their clients a virtual tour with accompanying explanations and content. “One of the key objectives of the ‘Hotel360’ new campaign is

to further give our travel agent partners the edge,” says Malcolm Davies, Product Destination Manager at Funway Holidays. Davies added: “We want to help agents give their customers a richer experience of the product they’re selling rather than just handing out a flat brochure or a flyer - maximising the power of moving imagery vs flat.” Funway Holidays will be starting with Hotel360 for selected

AMResorts properties throughout the Caribbean, including Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana and Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay. Other hotel partners will follow. This follows Funway’s recent three-month sales and training campaign ‘Florida Unlocked’, which enabled agents to adapt campaign materials for their own marketing and distribution - creating their own campaign.

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the review

Downton Abbey with Shearings Shearings Holidays is urging agents to capitalise on the Downton Abbey film. The operator has a five-day Highclere – Home of Downton Abbey coach tour for 2020. The four-night half-board tour departs between May and August 2020 and has a visit to Highclere Castle, access to its Egyptian exhibition and a trip to Purbeck Dorset, from £309pp. Shearings has also launched its Europe escorted tours brochure for Spring/Summer 2020, with 20 new tours, including Discover Corsica and Sardinia, and more focus on themes like movies, sport and cuisine.

Trade first for Sandals


NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF Agents can win a pair of return flights to Sydney and two weeks’ Apollo Motorhome hire in If Only’s latest incentive. Agents must make a booking including a minimum three-night stay in New South Wales between October 1 and January 31 to be automatically entered into the draw. If Only has partnered with Destination New South Wales to promote its campaign Artisan Australia, outlining its unique experiences


Sandals and Beaches Resorts’ UK tour operator, Unique Caribbean Holidays, has launched its first dedicated UK trade-facing brochure: Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours. The brochure has a selection of the company’s most popular island tours in destinations including Jamaica, Barbados, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Antigua, Grenada and Saint Lucia, with prices from £59pp. Agents can get 10% off tours for their own holidays by emailing

Tours include a Snorkel Sunset Cruise in Barbados from £75pp and the Hiking the Pitons in St. Lucia tour from £129pp. Agents can earn full commission on every tour and on Sandals extras like spa treatments, airport lounges and candlelit dinners. Every luxury room booked at a Sandals or Beaches Resort equates to one free night as part of the Sell & Go rewards programme. Club level bookings earn two and Butler level bookings three.

Jet2 has 3.3 millions seats to winter sun and Jet2holidays has released details of its winter sun programme 2020 to 2021 with over 3.3 million seats from nine UK bases. The new programme is ‘in response to the continued popularity of the Canary Islands, Turkey, Cyprus and Spain’. Highlights include over 1.6 million seats to Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura (up to 160 weekly services); over 220,000 seats to≠≠ Antalya (up to 22 weekly services) and an extended season to Larnaca as well as flights to Paphos in Cyprus. Other destinations include Alicante, Malaga and Majorca in Spain, Faro in Portugal as well as Madeira, and Malta.

Accor has announced the launch of GREET – a new community-based, responsible, economy hotel brand. The first GREET hotel has opened in Beaune, in the heart of France’s Burgundy vineyards. Explore has launched three new family trips for 2020. Parents and kids can stay with a Peruvian family on a homestay in Lake Titicaca with Peru in Depth; raft on the Koprulu river in Cappadocia and Turkish Coast Adventures; or search for exotic birds and sloths in the cloud forests as part of Costa Rica Highlights. Malaysia Airlines has launched Bonus Side Trip, which allows passengers to break their long-haul flight to Australia or New Zealand and explore the country at minimal extra cost. Passengers booking a flight to Australasia from the UK can add a return flight from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, Langkawi, Terengganu or Alor Setar and only pay taxes. bonussidetrip

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the review: cruise

Cruise Update

New Arctic cruises from A&K

Throughout October, agents can earn £50 with every Crystal Cruises booking. Agents can earn cash for any Crystal Serenity, Crystal Symphony or Crystal Esprit sailings (Crystal’s Ocean and Yacht brands) departing between January 1 and June 30 and for Crystal’s river sailings departing between April 1 and June 30.

ANDY HARMER, CLIA UK & Ireland Director

As we come to the final few months of 2019, we’re setting our sights on the next year. With so much happening in the UK cruise industry in 2020, there is certainly a lot to look forward to. Next year will see new ships entering the market, bringing 41,864 capacity. This includes P&O Cruises’ new ship Iona, the largest ship built for the British market; Princess Cruises’ Enchanted Princess, to be christened in Southampton; and Virgin Voyage’s first-ever ship, the Scarlet Lady. Looking ahead, recent research into UK cruisers conducted by CLIA showed that our preferences are changing when it comes to where we want to cruise. As adventure travel continues to thrive, so do adventurous ports. The top bucket list cruise destination for Brits in 2020 is Australia, followed by Hawaii, Alaska and the Greek Islands in joint third and then the Panama Canal. This illustrates how we are increasingly looking further afield, as our desire to explore new places continues to rise. We no longer want a ‘fly and flop’ holiday; we are seeking cruises in long-haul and far-flung destinations that offer authentic and enriching experiences.


Abercrombie & Kent has introduced a Luxury Expedition Cruising brochure for 2020/21, including cruises to Antarctica, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The 12-night Ultimate Iceland and Greenland Cruise, from August 13-27 2020, aboard Le Boreal sails to the Lindenow Fjord and Prince Christian Sound in Greenland and visits remote communities such as Qaqortoq and Narsaq to learn about Viking history while tracing the steps of Erik the Red. From £13,555pp. The Grand Arctic Voyage sets sail for 48 days on the Le Boreal, departing July 31. With capacity limited to 199 people, passengers can take advantage of the onboard expedition team, including a dedicated photo coach, historian,

geologist, ornithologist, botanist and marine biologist, as well as a team of field naturalists and Zodiac guides. The cruise takes in arctic wildlife habitats, including the polar bear haven of Svalbard and follows in the footsteps of Arctic explorers. Prices start at £46,165pp. For city lovers, the Cruising the Baltic Sea: Copenhagen to St. Petersburg itinerary visits Copenhagen, Gdansk, Klaipeda, Stockholm, Tallinn, Helsinki and St. Petersburg. The 148 Passengers onboard the Le Dumont d’Urville will visit a former Soviet nuclear missile base in Lithuania and World War II remembrance sites and museums. From £11,380pp.

European Waterways has added e-bikes to its French hotel barges in addition to traditional bikes The company has also made its biking maps more detailed and easier-to-follow, for selfguided tours along the barging routes. E-bikes can be pre-ordered at £440 for the first bike and £220 for each additional. Regent Seven Seas Cruises has eight new enrichment experiences for its 2020 voyages. Culinary and wine lovers, garden enthusiasts and floral artists, Broadway fans, genealogy explorers, war historians and those interested in journalism are all catered for in the European and U.S. cruises.

Carnival refines its booking engine for agents Carnival Cruise Line’s new GoCCL Navigator booking engine now has a dashboard that enables agents to quickly view and support existing bookings. Located on the homepage, the dashboard displays an individual agent’s booking activities. “For travel advisors time truly is money, and our goal is to create the most user-friendly and efficient booking engine in

the business,” said Adolfo M. Perez, Senior VP of Global Sales and Trade Marketing. “With this new dashboard agents have a powerful tool that will enable them to be more productive and sell more Carnival cruises.” The dashboard is the first of a series of enhancements that f which will include payment, group bookings and other features to make reservation servicing easier.

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The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority has launched a Cool Card offering discounts of up to 50% off at local restaurants, hotels and island tours. Highlights include discounts on horse riding, rainforest canopy tours and adventure hikes. The card is available to download from and is valid until October 30, 2019 as part of the destination’s #WhatCoolLooksLike campaign.

Director at Group Promotions


TELL us about your company.We’ve been one of Europe’s premier resort sales and marketing companies for over 30 years! First established by my father in 1986, since then we’ve innovated and expanded to offer clients procurement and supply chain distribution services, legal and financial advice, and cutting-edge IT solutions.


WHAT are the benefits of being a CTO member? Coming together as a group gives us access to sales and training opportunities with operators that would be otherwise difficult to get to, in markets that are hard to break into alone. It definitely has its benefits.


WHAT CTO activities do you get involved in? Along with agent events across the country, we participate at regular chapter meetings and award ceremonies, as well as media and social events the CTO is very active!


WHAT top Caribbean tips do you have? Leave the beach and explore! Every island has wonderful things to try - authentic restaurants, markets, heritage centres and more - don’t miss out.

The Bahamas is on the road to recovery following Hurricane Dorian

Bahamas responds post-Dorian


BOOKING The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is urging INCENTIVE travellers to continue to visit the parts of the island that were unaffected by Hurricane Dorian and continue to be St. Kitts has increased its usual very much still open for business. £10 incentive to £50 for agents In Northwest Bahamas, unaffected areas include the that book during October. In capital Nassau and neighbouring Paradise Island, as well addition to the cash reward, the as Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Andros, Bimini and The two agents that log the most Berry Islands. The Islands in the Southeastern and Central bookings will also win a pair of Bahamas are also unaffected, including The Exumas, Cat flights from Gatwick to visit the Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Long Island, Acklins/ island. Bookings must include Crooked Island, Mayaguana and Inagua. All three Sandals flights as well as a minimum properties were unaffected. seven-night stay at a St. Kitts The Jamaican-based Global Tourism hotel – including Belle Mont Resilience and Crisis Management Farm, Ocean Terrace Inn, Park Centre has been assisting the Abaco Hyatt St. Kitts and Sugar Islands and Grand Bahama, which Bay Club. Agents must log to uide ive were badly affected. sales at: g t s ent late The s and inc ean, b ting arib or mee in the C f s a e l d trave d with i lay acke k and p p OUR THANKS to Brexit wor Caribbean uncertainty, is the latest Marigot Bay addition to Resort and Marina Caribtours’ 2020 has taken the brochures stock, ‘unprecedented’ with destinations move to retain its including lower summer New look Our Caribbean 2020 Marigot Bay just got cheaper Barbados, Antigua, rates up to the Saint Lucia and Grenada, as well as Mexico. start of the festive season. The Saint Lucia This year the brochure has expanded its resort’s lead-in rate, including breakfast, is portfolio to include Anguilla and St Barts, as now US$295 per night excluding 10% tax well as Dominica, which will welcome the and 10% service charge in a Resort View Kempinski Dominica resort this year. Junior Suite.




miss Sign up to the CTO’s training programme at

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the review: unite events


An audience with Arabia The popular annual Unite Middle East meet and greet at Leonardo Royal London Tower Bridge Hotel offered invaluable facetime for more than 100 suppliers and buyers

Product news JA Hotels debuted its newlook JA Beach Hotel in Dubai’s Jebel Ali district on September 1. Meanwhile, sister-property JA Lake View Hotel opened in the same area, with extensive sports facilities, including a golf course and horse stables, marina and private beach. Oman announced several new hotel openings including W Hotel Muscat in August, and Jumeirah Bay Muscat due to open in November. New desert glamping experience Magic Camp has also pitched up among Sharqiya Sands.


The world’s-tallest building , the Burj Khalifa, now serves visitors the world’s highest highballs at its new lounge, Drinks at the Top. It’s located over the 152nd to 154th floors, with a glass-walled terrace and panoramic views. Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, and Oman have both gone live with online agent training portals that offer incentives including fam trips and vouchers.

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the review: checking out

Checking out...




THE BACKGROUND: The hotel has been a staple in downtown Sonora since it was built in 1896 and now replicates the California Mission style of the 1920s. It hosted the likes of Grace Kelly during the filming of High Noon and, more recently, Drew Barrymore. THE LOCATION: Situated in the heart of California’s Gold Rush Country, the surrounding areas are all rich with history and recreational activities highlighting that era. The hotel overlooks the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which can be fully appreciated from the pool. In the town there are a number of saloon-style bars and restaurants. Guests also benefit from being within 45 minutes of Yosemite National Park. THE ROOM: There are seven different rooms types, ranging

THE VERDICT This historic hotel has maintained its charm of days gone by but has mostly modern amenities. Part of its appeal is that you feel you’ve gone back to the Wild West - and the neighbouring saloon adds to that illusion. Located in the heart of Gold Rush Country and close to Yosemite National Park,

from King Suite to Two-Queen rooms. All rooms are spacious, with the décor reflecting a bygone era, a theme that runs rather too strongly into the bathrooms, which are an acquired taste. Rooms are air conditioned and have a coffee maker, fridge and microwave. There’s free wifi throughout.

KEY FACILITIES: All rooms come with a complimentary continental breakfast. The outdoor rooftop pool provides a welcome break from the rising temperatures but can only accommodate a small umber of people at a time. W: E:

it’s an ideal base for history and nature lovers. RATES: One night in a Historic Queen room starts from £97.


THE BACKGROUND: A member of the MGallery Collection, this unique property was Sydney’s first hospital in 1887 but is now a boutique hideaway offering 59 rooms and a penthouse suite. Quirky design reveals original

brickwork and exposed beams to give a real sense of history and a conducive atmosphere. THE LOCATION: In the heart of the historic Rocks area with its shops, market, restaurants and bars. A stone’s throw from Circular Quay’s ferries and train station and a

short walk to the Opera House. THE ROOM: The terrace of six historical buildings features five room types. Our spacious Harbour View Suite had a private entrance via a concrete staircase and huge windows. All modern amenities including a super-sized bathroom, small kitchenette, writing desk, flatscreen TV and iPod docking station. A sofa bed in the lounge area can accommodate an extra guest. Best of all, we had a private rooftop terrace with views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. RESTAURANTS/BARS: Breakfast is served on the airy ground floor and there is a popular bar and creperie that opens onto the street. The Middle Eastern cuisine of Tayim is exceptional for in-house dining. W: E:

THE VERDICT A real gem in this bustling area. The hotel’s staff were welcoming and helpful and as long as guests appreciate quirky heritage buildings and are happy to climb stairs, then this unique property could not be more entertaining. Bundles of atmosphere and I loved the colourful library reception area with sofas for relaxation. RATES: Harbour View Suite is from £415 a night for two.

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the review: trade show report


Into the Indian Ocean Hummingbird Travel, a B2B Indian Ocean specialist, hosted the eighth Uncover Maldives training event for 150 agents. Laura Gelder reports A first from IHG InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort opened this September on the Maldives’ Raa atoll. The property has a first-ofits-kind-in-the-Maldives accommodation type in its Lagoon Suites, which offer water access at the back and beach access at the front. It’s the first and only all-Club InterContinental resort. Club InterContinental offers a higher level of luxury through access to exclusive benefits and a more personalised service. Examples include tea selected by an in-house tea sommelier and refreshments by the pool or beach all day. The resort has the AVI Spa,

with six overwater treatment villas, steam rooms, ice fountains, a yoga pavilion and a fitness centre. A leading traditional Chinese medicine practitioner is on hand for treatments like anti-ageing facial acupuncture. There are six restaurants and bars, including the adultsonly Retreat, with a private bar and infinity pool and The Lighthouse, with 360-degree views.

Online improvements

Hummingbird Travel hosted a Maldives-focused day in London this September, bringing 71 hotels and 150 agents together. The Indian Ocean specialist, which provides room bookings and ground handling to the trade, announced a new online booking platform. The new system is now able to be integrated with other tour operator systems, offers agents access to all its offers and rates and includes more comprehensive details about the hotels on its books.

Virtual reality is also employed on the new platform and Tom Chambers, Co-CEO of Hummingbird, commented: “We are excited to have many of our partners here to launch the longawaited upgrade to the online booking system, along with VR maps of the Maldives, strengthening our brand as a travel and tech company.” The evening was rounded off with a prize draw of 40 Maldives holidays worth over $200,000.

Seychelles & Sri Lanka news Hummingbird announced that it has opened a new office in the Seychelles and alluded to bookings to Sri Lanka being on the up. Co-CEO Alex Chambers said: “It has been so encouraging to see Sri Lanka bookings on the increase and we look forward to launching Uncover Sri Lanka and Uncover Seychelles next year.”

SEPTEMBER 17, 2019

SHOW SHORTS Emerald Maldives opened in August, a fivestar platinum all-inclusive resort and member of The Leading Hotels of the World. The private island resort is on the Raa atoll and has 120 villas (some catering for families) – 60 over-the-water and 60 on the beach – and has the same board basis throughout. Faciltiies include a Spa with Asian therapies on offer; a kids club, free for four to 12 -year-olds; a diving centre; a gym and sports centre with tennis courts; and a watersports centre. Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives now runs tours of its waste disposal facilities for guests, who are increasingly interested in what happens after they flush! It’s also building its own desalination facility so it can produce bottled still and sparkling water and not be reliant on plastic bottled imports. Heritance Arah Maldives opened this April - the first Maldives property from the Sri Lankan hotel group. Located in the Raa atoll, the resort has both ocean and beach villas and offers a premium allinclusive plan.

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how to sell


Western Australia Australia's westernmost state can be both a brag-worthy trip for down under beginners or an off-the-beaten track option for repeat visitors, says David Whitley Why sell it? Western Australia, or WA, provides a series of genuine one-off experiences. The size of Australia’s largest state can be daunting to many, which means there is demand for expertise in sorting a workable itinerary that fits in everything from wine-tasting tours to animal encounters. Removing the planning headaches and packaging up car hire, accommodation, experiences and internal flights is where knowledgeable agents have a big advantage.


Who to sell to WA has traditionally been the part of the country sold to second- or third time visitors wanting something different. However, The direct Qantas flights from Heathrow to Perth have put WA into genuine twoweek holiday territory, with Perth providing the big city energy and the south-western corner the wines, beaches and wildlife. Those wanting epic outback scenery and the road trip of a lifetime can head north, where national parks such as Kalbarri and Karijini are magnificently rugged and offer extraordinary experiences like swimming with whale sharks – the world’s largest fish – on Ningaloo Reef.

What to sell Perth was once 'sleepy', but all that's changed radically in recent years. The city centre and neighbouring Northbridge are



laced with cool, restaurant and bar-packed laneways; Kings Park offers magnificent bushwalking overlooking the Swan River; and the port city Fremantle is all top-grade coffee, craft beer and colonial heritage buildings. Tours of the Old Fremantle Prison are fascinatingly evocative. Rottnest Island, a short ferry ride away, offers white-sand Indian Ocean beaches and adorably photogenic quokkas. The Margaret River region south of Perth is known for its premium wines and surf beaches, but in the last few years the offering has vastly expanded. Craft breweries have sprung up, nature-focused tours hone in on wildlife, river canoeing and the region’s caves, while the multi-day Cape To Cape Track is tailored to walkers. Elsewhere in the south-west, there’s a combination of great walking, sparkling wild beaches and forest activities, while Albany has a strong whaling industry and World War II heritage attractions. Key spots north from Perth include Shark Bay. Here, stromatolites – the oldest living things on earth – stretch into the water at Hamelin Pools and wild dolphins can be hand-fed from the beach at Monkey Mia.


It’s all small outback settlements, vast cattle stations, gorge-strewn national parks and mining towns until you get to tropical Broome, a resort town in the red dirt with a host of quirks. These include Cable Beach, which stretches for miles and is famous for sunset camel rides; several spots linked to the pearling industry; and hovercraft tours over the tidal flats to search for ancient dinosaur footprints. From Broome, day tours to Cape Leveque’s pearl farms and shell-covered outback churches give a taste of the vast north-western Kimberley region. But the full experience is best tacked on a multi-day road trip to Darwin, or expedition cruise along the coast. Star attractions include

BOOK IT WITH AUSTRAVEL The 22-day Wine and Wilderness Discovery itinerary combines Perth and the Margaret River with the Kimberley before heading up to Darwin. Highlights include Broome, El Questro, the remote Gibb River Road and Katherine Gorge. – 01293 832 114

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how to sell


the Horizontal Falls, where vast tides create a waterfall effect through sandstone outcrops, and the strangely-striped Bungle Bungle rock formations.

When to sell it Perth and the south-west make for a perfect winter sun destination, with hot, largely dry summers between December and March. Perth is at its liveliest between mid-January and mid-February when the Fringe World Festival takes over hundreds of venues, although prices go up in January as locals head to the beach in school holidays. The spring – September to November – is arguably prettier, as the south-west is carpeted in wildflowers. The far north of WA – Broome and the Kimberley – is tropical, and operates on wet/ dry seasons. Much of it can be impassable during the wet (November to April), so aim for the dry season. The outback between Perth and Broome can be uncomfortably hot in the summer. Whale shark season at Ningaloo is March to August.

How to sell it Although WA can be sold as a touring adventure, it works better as a self-drive odyssey. Operators do sell multi-day epic trips that hug the coast from the Perth to the Kimberley, while cruises and 4WD small group tours are arguably the best way to see the Kimberley. For shorter trips – and less adventurous clients – Perth, the south-west and maybe Ningaloo Reef can be combined. This can be sold as a city break with side trips or an Australian sampler, combining several aspects – urban, beach, nature, food and wine – of what makes Australia great. Perth and the south-west is a logical, easygoing touring loop, ideal for a self-drive.


What’s new? The direct Qantas flights started in 2018, but more recently there has been a drive to package in domestic flights elsewhere in Western Australia – particularly Broome and Exmouth for Ningaloo Reef – for relatively measly additional amounts on top. Perth’s regeneration has continued at a fast rate, with the new Elizabeth Quay development on the river designed to act as a focal hub. There’s also been a hotel room boom, bringing rates down in a city where stays were once scarce and the most expensive in Australia. The big-money redevelopment of Scarborough Beach means the city can legitimately sell itself as a beach destination. The biggest boom is on Rottnest Island, where new cruises and sailing tours, plus underwater scooter and diving helmet walk experiences have been added to the mix, while the new Discovery holiday park has provided much-needed on-island posh camping accommodation. The Swan Valley – just 20 minutes from Perth airport – is also getting heavy attention. WA's oldest wine region has new hop-on, hop-off buses to help those sampling the various wineries, cheesemakers, distilleries and chocolate makers of this underrated gourmet area. Further north, whale shark operators are also offering swimming with humpback whales between June and November. 

“Perth and the south-west make for a perfect winter sun destination, with hot, largely dry summers between December and March”


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48 hours in


Kraków, Poland Tamara Hinson discovers a wealth of historical gems in Poland's second-largest city Day 1: Subterranean fun

Day 2: Castles and communism

Morning: Kick off your day with a Morning: Get the blood flowing visit to Rynek Underground with a walk to Wawel Royal Castle (, a (wawel.Krakó The most subterranean museum beneath the main spectacular area of this sixteenth-century square. It provides a fascinating insight fortress is the Royal Private Apartments, a into medieval Kraków by allowing visitors network of wonderfully opulent rooms to explore an excavated section of the city. filled with priceless works of arts and It's incredibly hi-tech – there are dozens of enormous tapestries. Next door, holograms and touch screens galore. Back Wawel Cathedral is the burial site for on ground level, grab an obwarzanek Polish monarchs, and there are several Krakówski from a food stall. These sarcophagi on display. salt-dusted circles of bread date back to Afternoon: Take a bus, tram or the fifteenth century, when the royal family taxi to Nowa Huta, a sprawling lifted restrictions on baked goods. concrete suburb on Kraków's Afternoon: A 40-minute drive outskirts. Built in the 1950s by citizens from Kraków, the UNESCO-listed who'd been told it was their duty to Wieliczka Salt Mine (wieliczkaconstruct this symbol of Poland's dates prosperous back to the communist future, thirteenth century. It Nowa Huta is a “The enormous Chapel of comprises almost fascinating example St. Kinga, with its 200 kilometres of of Soviet sculptures, chandeliers and architecture. It's tunnels, three kilometres of which best explored on a replica of Leonardo da can be explored on Communism tour Vinci's Last Supper, is guided tours. The with Crazy Guides entirely made from salt.” mine has several ( chapels, carved in one of their entirely out of salt. The most impressive is vintage Trabants, although don't be the enormous Chapel of St. Kinga, with its surprised if you're asked to push-start sculptures, chandeliers and replica of your vehicle. Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper – all made Evening: Enjoy dinner at Szara from salt. Back on ground level, head to Gęś w Kuchni (, the mine's Graduation Tower. The in Kraków's main square, for constant flow of natural brine down its innovative takes on Polish classics. stone walls forms a fine mist which has Afterwards, for a final dose of communism, therapeutic properties. Whether your toast Kraków at the Jewish quarter's lungs are in need of a deep clean or not, its wonderfully quirky Pub Propaganda observatory is a great place to take in the (, with its framed view over the surrounding countryside. photos of Lenin and communist-era Evening: Head to Kraków's knick-knacks.  historic Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz, for dinner at Bazaar BOOK IT WITH TUI Bistro (, where the decor is inspired by a New York City loft, TUI has a three-night Kraków break, and the menu is filled with Polish including accommodation at the three-star specialities, such as venison tartare Hotel Wyspianski, flights from London and veal sweetbreads. For a nightcap, Gatwick and airport transfers, from £481pp. wander over to nearby Alchemia Departing on May 1 2020, based on two (, a candlelit Polish pub people sharing. 0203 636 1931 known for its live music.




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Training, competitions, events October 2019


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south africa

stripes earn your

Perhaps South Africa’s greatest selling point as a safari destination is how these wild spaces can be combined with cosmopolitan cities, says Laura Gelder

south africa


n alarm is going off but the leopard really isn’t bothered. A paw twitches slightly and her fashionably patterned belly rises and falls gently as she pants in the already stifling morning heat. The bird flies in front of our car screeching at the top its voice and flapping its wings in a mad panic. It’s as if it’s saying “what are you doing? There’s a massive leopard there, get out of here – save yourselves!” The drongo, our guide tells us, is one of the security guards of the bush. They are always on hand to let smaller animals know when a predator is about. It’s an unremarkable looking bird, small and black just like a blackbird, and not a bit as glamorous as the gloriously flashy lilacbreasted roller we spotted earlier. But I appreciate this plucky little bird’s efforts.

It was moments like this, and unexpected characters like the Drongo which really struck me. Of course, staring into the pale gold eyes of a young male lion perched imperiously above us on a termite mound, seeing a three-day-old elephant being proudly paraded by its mother and stalking a rhino across the sunbaked earth on foot were also amazing experiences. But I’ll never forget the little drongo or watching two hyenas in a standoff over a dirty bone. Another highlight was chasing African wild dogs through the bush. On the scent of a potential kill, they were also followed by loping hyenas, always on the look out for a free lunch, and we bumped over the rough ground in a thriling chase with the wind in our hair. I did the safari after the city and it was the right way round for me because even Cape Town would have been a let down after Sabi Sands.



This private game reserve is relatively small but the expert rangers managed to make it feel endless and never crowded. Simbambili Game Lodge provided sumptuous food and luxurious accommodation, with my private deck and plunge pool perched above a dry river bed where I spied kudu, warthogs and elephants whilst lazing in the midday heat. It was the perfect antedote to Cape Town - the restaurants and bars of Camps Bay and the V&A Waterfront, a boozy lunch at the historic Groot Constantia vineyard, trekking up Table Mountain and a day’s tour around the windy Cape.

Numbers game When it comes to city and safari, Cape Town and Kruger, like I experienced, is still top. Although there are direct flight from the UK to Johannesburg and Durban too. “Cape Town is the only city that sells in great numbers for us,” says James Westrip from Africa Collection. “I tell people, if you want to understand modern South Africa then go to Johannesburg, but it will never sell as well as Cape Town. Westrip adds that sales for Durban tend to be driven by the hotel rather than the destination, in particular the Oyster Box.


south africa


Cape Town connects to all three of Kruger’s airports and is Africa Collection’s most popular safari region. Says Westrip: “After Kruger, the Eastern Cape is the most popular, with lodges like Shamwari topping the list. “In Cape Town we recommend hotels in the V&A or waterfront areas for most but young people want to be in the city bowl for an authentic experience and night life.” Westrip also points out that Kruger safaris can be expensive and agents must have alternatives to offer. “We recommend Nedili in the Welgevonden Game Reserve, which lies north of Johannesburg in the Limpopo province. We often pair it with Mauritius.” Julia O’Connor from African Pride agrees that Cape Town is perennially popular: ”We often sell Cape Town with the Garden Route and an Eastern Cape safari,” she says. “This works particularly well for families as there is no malaria in this area.” African Pride has recently put together



some more off-the-beaten-track options for adventurous or repeat visitors, combining Cape Town with the Cederberg Mountains and ancient rock art, the Cape Winelands and Kruger. “With Durban, I recommend iSimangaliso Wetland Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has several lodges you can combine and pristine settings - a beautiful lake and unspoiled beaches.” African Pride is about to introduce a new hiking and biking tour from Johannesburg and has a variety of tours in the city. “We offer a Soweto tour taking in Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu’s houses as well as the Apartheid Museum and the Cradle of Humankind, an archeological site just outside the city,” says O’Connor. “In Durban we offer a segway tour on the promenade and recommend a visit to the Victoria Street Market and time on the beach at Umhlanga Rocks.” And while Cape Town’s sights, like the penguins at Boulders Beach, Table


“In Durban we offer a segway tour on the promenade and recommend a visit to the Victoria Street Market and time on the beach at Umhlanga Rocks” Julia O’Connor, African Pride

Mountain, the Cape of Good Hope and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, are well known, the city’s restaurant scene and nightlife is always changing, as new cultural attractions open and funky new hotels open their doors.

Where to book it AFRICA COLLECTION – 01403 256 655 Three nights at Nedile Game Lodge with all meals and game/safari activities, plus five nights in a luxury room at Four Rosmead Boutique Hotel in Cape Town, B&B is from £2075pp in low season (May-August). Includes return economy flights from Heathrow. AFRICAN PRIDE – 01904 619 428 The 12-night South African Explorer Safari takes in Cape Town, the Cederberg Mountains, Cape Winelands and a Kruger Safari from £3,360pp with flights. RAINBOW TOURS – 020 7666 1250 The 14-day Cape Town, Garden Route & Safari itinerary is from £3,555pp, including accommodation, car hire, meals as specified, domestic flights and return flights from Heathrow to Cape Town, returning from Johannesburg. 

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Be inspired by...

ADVENTURE & ACTIVITY HOLIDAYS Trends in this sector • Indochina in focus • New Zealand, adventure capital • New in winter sports • Take five: alternative European tours

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ADVENTURE HOLIDAY TRENDS As adventurous travel becomes the norm, agents must broaden their minds and ditch age boundaries and super-sporty preconceptions to get the most from the market, says Debbie Ward


he desire to be active and get off the beaten track is on the rise. “Explore has been in the adventure space for a long time, but we’re finding that UK travellers are more eager for adventure now than ever before,” says Caroline Phillips, its Programme Manager for walking and trekking. It’s a similar story from G Adventures, which in the last 12 months alone has seen a 20% rise in bookings for more active and adventurous product. Brian Young, Managing Director for EMEA, believes the increased level of fitness over the last 10 to 20 years has helped to widen the demographic. “The outlook of people is very different to a few years ago. They are a lot ‘younger’, they go to the gym and to fitness bootcamps… active is moving from young people to everyone - 50 and 60 are the new 40.” Over 50s don't want to be compartmentalised, he stresses. “People don’t see themselves in brackets any more. They see themselves as more active, more inquisitive.” They are also, he says, booking multi-generational adventure experiences

to create memories with their family – a lucrative sell for agents. Action has also been naturally filling some of the client demand for variety as the typical duration of a beach holiday has gradually reduced from two weeks to one. “They want one holiday to switch off, then they want a cultural or active tour or an achievement holiday,” says Young. What is adventure? Adventure is becoming more mainstream believes Phillips. “People’s perceptions of what ‘adventure’ means in terms of travel are definitely evolving. "In 2019, adventure doesn’t necessarily mean high octane activities like bungee jumping or rock climbing – things like cycling and walking holidays can be considered adventurous too.” She points out the ATTA (Adventure Travel Trade Association) has declared hiking to be the most in-demand active holiday type. Young agrees. “Adventure is a term that is now bandied about by everyone but to many it’s about getting under the skin of a destination and out of their comfort zone.”

He believes it could even cross over into the wellness sector – a boom area for travel that can include activities like stand up paddle-boarding. Cruising too, once seen as a genteel activity, is embracing the demand for more action. Bike tours feature on G Adventure’s small group river cruises. Trends on trends The wider trend of experience-led travel is also feeding into active holidays. Phillips says: “We have found that customers are yearning for experiences as well as adventure. There’s a growing interest in combining the primary activity of the trip - walking or cycling, for example - with other experiences, such as food, sightseeing or photography. "We’re also finding that, as new audiences enter the adventure market, they’re looking for comfort too. Adventure doesn’t have to mean roughing it!” Pacing is another issue. Though naturally fitter the under 30s, G Adventures finds, request elements like hiking “threaded through” a small group trip, leaving them

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Trekking in Nepal; walking the Amalfi Coast is a big seller; hiking Mount Kilimanjaro; kayking in Halong Bay, Vietnam

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Cycling through a California forest. Multi-generational groups want to be active too

energy for wider enjoyment of their holiday. Young explains: “Eighteen to 24-year-olds want moderate challenge activities… they want to enjoy a night out with like-minded travellers as well.” Cycling is a good sell for Exodus Travels. “We have all seen the huge boom in cycling since the London Olympics in 2012, which has generated interest and higher awareness of the health benefits, both physical and mental, of getting out into nature and doing exercise,” says Exodus Agency Sales Manager Dan Jackson. At the other end of the scale, people also want bucket list achievement-based holidays, like hiking up Kilimanjaro or to Everest base camp, says Young, and these are attracting people up to their 60s and sometimes beyond. Strong sellers Among Exodus’ best-selling trips are a Finnish Wilderness Week, which includes snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and

dogsledding; Cycling the Baltics; Walking the Amalfi Coast; and a 16-day Everest Base Camp Trek. An Amalfi Coast walking trip also sells well for Explore and comes with the option of pizza-making classes and visits to Capri and Pompeii. Everest base camp is also a G Adventures best-seller, along with hiking the Inca Trail and Vietnam tours which incorporate activities like kayaking. Agent tips Bucket list trips, in particular, can be big value but why else should agents be tapping into action holidays? Jackson points out the greater retention levels likely in this market. “Adventure and activity holidays are a growing sector. "Many of these clients are fit, healthy and affluent and will travel well into their 60s on active holidays. This results in higher levels of repeat bookings, which makes it a lucrative product to sell.”

Young has advice on reaching clients. “Start to educate yourself because your customers are doing this anyway. Work more closely with sales teams to understand what’s in the marketplace. "People are getting more active, so find out where – target cycling clubs and gyms and get them in to speak to you. Talk about achievement holidays.” Social media is also a valuable tool, particularly for pushing icons like Kilimanjaro, he says, and agents can share images from operators’ free asset libraries. “These are inspiring destinations – places that younger people are putting all over Instagram. It’s about bragging rights and agents have to tap into that as a voice of authority. These things are on their bucket lists, they just need a push to get them over the line.” The adventure sector may be wider than you think and intersects with other trends like experiential touring and multigenerational holidays.

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This is a country which proudly shelters approximately 6.5% of the existing biodiversity in the world, boasting an abundance of unique wildlife and landscapes. THERE ARE SO MANY REASONS WHY COSTA RICA SHOULD BE ON EVERYONE’S BUCKET LIST, HERE ARE JUST A FEW: NATURE AND WILDLIFE


Costa Rica is home to 6.5% of the world’s biodiversity. From sloths to monkeys to jaguars to frogs, wildlife is part and parcel of a holiday here.

With a marine surface that is 10 times bigger than the terrestrial, Costa Rica is the perfect place for diving fanatics.

VOLCANOES Costa Rica´s volcanoes are among the most mesmerizing in the world and there are more than 290 of them.

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BIRD-WATCHING There are over 900 species of birds in Costa Rica and around 220 migratory species.

SURFING It seems every surfer who visits the country agrees that Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world to surf; excellent year-round waves and warm water combine with friendly people and stunning landscapes.

BEACHES With two distinct coastlines, one on the Caribbean Sea and one on the Pacific Ocean and accommodation ranging from eco lodges to 5 star hotels, there is a beach holiday to suit everyone.

DIRECT FLIGHTS British Airways fly direct into San Jose and TUI fly direct into Liberia, making Costa Rica more accessible than ever before.

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13/08/2019 08:55


adventure & aCtIvItY HoLIdaYS

adventureS In IndoCHIna Beyond the ancient temples, Indochina offers adventurous pursuits ranging from cycling to rock climbing. Kathryn Liston rounds up the action Sea & rIver fun Who says beach holidays are boring? vietnam offers everything from kite-surfing in Mui ne in the southeast to kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding around Lan Ha Bay’s jungled karsts in the north and snorkelling among Phu Quoc island's vibrant corals. Kayaking at Ba trai dao beach and exploring the van Long nature reserve close to Hanoi by bamboo rowboat are included in national Geographic expeditions’ treasures of Indochina tour. Bioluminescent snorkelling tours to see the plankton glow at night are popular on the Cambodian islands of Koh rong and Samloem, off the coast of Sihanoukville. there’s also fishing, kayaking and swimming in the archipelago's turquoise waters and, as well as arriving by speedboat, exsus guests staying at Song Saa private island resort can enjoy diving, paddle-boarding, kayaking and snorkelling excursions. In landlocked Laos, kayaking tours and tubing (floating down the river in a rubber ring) are popular on the nam Song river from vang vieng. Bamboo travel offers kayaking tours on the Hin Boun river. Koh rong Samloem island, Cambodia

adrenaLIne & tHrILLS In vietnam, visitors will find steep rock climbs in da nang’s Marble Mountains, 300 challenging caves in Phong nha, off-road biking in Sapa’s mountains, motorbiking over the Hai van Pass, nocturnal climbing at tiger Caves and canyoning at dalat. Climbing is relatively new to Laos, considering its choice of limestone karsts, but is available in vang vieng and Luang Prabang. nong Khiaw in Laos is a jumping-off point for mountain treks and biking as well as zip-lining and bamboo rafting on the nam ou river. a zip-line arrival over racing rapids is offered at Shinta Mani Wild luxury camp in Cambodia’s South Cardamom national Park. Bungee jumping, skydiving, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, anti-poaching patrols and wild swimming also ramp up the action. Pettitts travel recommends jungle trekking in tatai and remote Ban Lung, Cambodia. Zip lining in jungle-clad Laos

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adventure & activity holidays

Soft adventure Cycling is a popular way to explore Indochina. Trailfinders’ 10-day hike, bike and paddle holiday in Vietnam visits Halong Bay and the Mai Chau valley. Exodus’ two-week Vietnam cycling tour from Saigon to Hanoi takes riders through colourful fishing villages, rolling rice terraces and mountains. In Cambodia, cycle and electric bikes are popular ways to explore Angkor Wat’s complex of temples. Guests staying at Anantara Angkor Resort, Siem Reap, can run around the temples pre-dawn (followed by a water-carrying tuk-tuk), or hike to sacred Mount Kulen. Laos' quiet rural roads are perfect for cycling. Guided tours - and bike hire - are available in Luang Namtha, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang. InsideAsia Tours is seeing demand for off-thebeaten-track trekking in north Vietnam and Laos, where Nam Et-Phou Louey presents challenging terrain. HF Holidays’ 17-night Laos and Cambodia trip includes daily walks of up to eight miles while a 15-night Vietnam package offers gentler walks with an optional, more challenging trek in the Sapa valley. Biking tours of Vietnam can be gentle and flat or steep and challenging

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Hiking through Hooker Valley, Mount Cook National Park

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NEW ZEALAND: CAPITAL OF ADVENTURE With its varied landscapes and a history of being first with thrilling attractions, New Zealand is THE place to go for adventure, says Jo Gardner


don’t seem to be able to move – my legs have turned to jelly and my breathing is beginning to resemble a woman in the throes of labour. I need to sit down. “It’ll be alright Jo; you’ll be so proud of yourself afterwards,” my inner voice says reasonably. Followed swiftly by: “you hate heights, what the hell are you doing?” By the time I’m strapped into my outfit and shaking my tandem partner’s hand I can hardly say my own name. The plane is tiny – just the pilot and 10 seats filled with other crazy Brits having second thoughts. I look for something to be sick in but there’s nothing. As the plane takes off tears fill my eyes and I suddenly want to call my mum. At 12,000 feet, the doors open and I’m soon teetering over the edge desperately wishing I could go back. “Nooooo,” I shout as the countdown begins. But I’m out, whirling and swooping around at lightning speed, 100mph winds filling my ears - I try to close my eyes but can’t. It’s ridiculously cold. A minute later, my partner pulls the shoot and we jolt upwards violently into the sky. But as the parachute opens we begin to drift more slowly. He asks, “Are you OK?” As I try to make sense of what has just happened, I muster, meekly, “I think so.” The feeling, not to mention the view, on the way down is incredible and I imagine it's what a bird feels like when it soars effortlessly through the air. “Put your knees up,” he says as we approach the landing strip, swooping onto the ground to a round of applause. I’m alive.

I'm undoubtedly relieved. But I'm happy. I did it; I did a skydive. Built for adventure With mountains, volcanoes, rivers, glaciers, forests and fjords, New Zealand is perfect for adventure. This is, after all, the country that invented the bungy jump, a high-thrill activity where participants dive head first off a precipice or bridge with just a piece of elastic rope attached to their ankles. Love it or hate it, there aren’t many countries that haven’t adopted the activity for themselves, with revellers now hurling themselves off famous landmarks the world over. But New Zealand didn’t stop there. The Kiwis then brought us Zegos (quad bikes on the water) and Riverbugs (heading downstream while strapped to an inflatable armchair), both bonkers activities certain to get your blood racing. “New Zealand is a fantastic destination for adventure,” says Paul Done, Audley Travel's Product Manager for New Zealand.

Sky diving above Queenstown

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Abseiling the Lost World Cave, Waitomo

“Clients can combine a leisurely self-drive trip with stunning scenery and heart-pumping activities in one holiday. We are currently receiving bookings for a wide range of excursions including sailing in the Bay of Islands, geothermal exploration and hiking on White Island - New Zealand’s most active volcano – as well as helicopter rides, jet-boating, hiking and cycling.”

beach (Abel Tasman National Park or the Bay of Islands). Invented by AJ Hacket and Henry van Asch in 1980s, the Bungy jump is as popular as ever. The highest is the Nevis in Queenstown but you can also jump off the original (Kawarau Bridge, Queenstown) or the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The AJ Hacket brand also offers swings and ziplines in Queenstown and the sky jump - a controlled descent off Auckland's highest building, 53 floors to the street. Making waves For something altogether more sedate, but no less adventurous, visitors can take to the water on a traditional Maori canoe and paddle to some of the coastline’s most iconic spots, learning about Maori culture on the way – including blessings and etiquette. Tours take place in Abel Tasman National Park. The jet boat was developed in the 1950s by New Zealand farmer William Hamilton, to navigate the shallow Canterbury rivers. Now a tried and tested activity, revellers try to stay dry as they power through narrow river gorges, narrowly missing the


Lord of the swings After three decades of planning and development, the Nevis Catapult was the first of its kind when it launched in August 2018 in Queenstown. The brave are propelled 150 metres out into the air on a rope across the Nevis Valley, reaching speeds of almost 100kms per hour before falling towards the valley floor in a series of heart-racing bounces. Throwing yourself out of a plane strapped to an instructor is still a popular activity for holidaymakers. The only difference in New Zealand is the sheer choice when it comes to the scenery you want to admire on the way down – be it a lake (Taupo), snow-capped mountains (Queenstown or Wanaka), glacier (Franz Josef or Fox) or a

The Shotover Jet experience, Queenstown

The new Paparoa track

sides, and skim across the surface of water channels. Queenstown, Lake Taupo and Rotorua are popular spots to get splashed. If white-water rafting is your client’s thing, suggest they head to Rotorua, home of the highest commercially rated waterfall. The wild West Coast, Queenstown and the Tongariro River near Lake Taupo are other popular raft spots. Terra firma The Paparoa Track, a collection of hiking trails created in the previously inaccessible Paparora Range, is set to open this December. Over three days, hikers will be able to enjoy views of alpine tops and rainforests as they hike across the 55km track. New Zealand in Depth ( has created a two-week itinerary with prices from £2,400pp including accommodation, car hire and access to the track. Featuring some of the most challenging and spectacular caving systems in the world, New Zealand is unsurprisingly top of the list for cavers. You can walk or float through the spectacular Waitomo Caves, spotting glow worms along the way, or enjoy guided underground adventures in Nelson, which is home to southern hemisphere’s deepest sinkhole. Another one for the Kiwi hall of fame, Zorbing was invented by kiwis Andrew Akers and Dwane van der Sluis in 1994. The concept: get inside a big plastic ball (orb) and roll down a hill. Silly but fun, it's Rotorua’s most iconic activity other than gazing at its geothermal geisers. But no doubt something more mad and thrilling will be invented soon enough.

Zorbing in Rotorua

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adVenture & actiVity HolidayS

neW on tHe SlopeS cluB Fritz Vip Ski is opening its first club chalet in austria's St anton this december. club Fritz is ideal for those who can't afford a whole chalet to themselves but want that all-in service.

FrencH-SWiSS connection an improved connection between France's Morzine-avoriaz ski area and the Swiss resort of champĂŠry-les crosets will open for the 2019/20 season. two six-seater chairlifts costing â‚Ź15million will allow seamless travel between the two.

leS airelleS this historic palace and now hotel will open in december in courchevel 1850, with 32 bedrooms, 15 suites, a spa in partnership with the la Mer skincare brand, a cosy bar and three restaurants - one with two Michelin Stars.

cryStal new to crystal's ski programme is the austrian resort of zell am ziller. it's home to the country's longest continuous downhill run, descending 1,930 metres in ten kilometres. it's a perfect ski area for intermediates, with over 60% of the slopes classed as red runs. there are also six snow parks.

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adventure & activity holidays


Woodward park city Utah ski area Park City’s new Woodward facility opens this November 27 miles from Salt Lake City. It's a year-round action sports resort and will combine a huge indoor freestyle hall and an outdoor terrain park and tubing area, complete with chairlift.

Six Senses Kitzbuehel Looking further ahead, Six Senses will unveil its first resort in the Austrian Alps in 2021. Located in the Kitzbuehel ski area and next to the largest protected habitat in Europe – Hohe Tauern National Park – it will have 77 rooms and offer unique expereinces like destination dining in igloos and tree pods and forest bathing.

train upgrade Book a Swiss ski holiday with Inghams before November 15 and your guests will receive a free first class rail transfer upgrade, saving up to £126 on Switzerland's famously efficient train service.

sapporo The capital of Japan's northern-most island Hokkaido is the latest long-haul route for Finnair. The twice-weekly seasonal service to ski hub Sapporo begins on December 15.

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FIVE ALTERNATIVE EUROPEAN TOURS HIKE THE ACCURSED MOUNTAINS OF ALBANIA. This eight-day tour from Wild Frontiers ( takes you to isolated mountain villages, on a boat ride through the Drin River Canyon, on a hike up to the Vabonë Pass and to Schkodër, one of the oldest cities in the Balkans. 5

CYCLE AN ANCIENT PILGRIMAGE ROUTE. Cycle on, and alongside, the Camino de Santiago with Intrepid ( Follow in the footsteps of Saint James on this sacred route over mountains and through the gorgeous Galician countryside, stopping at small villages along the way. CONQUER ARMENIA'S HIGHEST PEAK. Look out for petroglyphs in the unspoilt Geghama Mountains, discover Armenia's lonely monestries and experience life on the shores of Lake Sevan with this tour from KE Adventure Travel ( For a real challenge, hike to the Southern Summit (3,888m) of Aragats, the highest peak in Armenia.

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RIDE THROUGH TRANSYLVANIA. Get back to nature with a six-day horseback ride down the Transylvania Trail with In The Saddle ( Begin at the horse farm Equus Silvania and ride 180km through endless meadows, hills, and medieval villages. ATTEND INDEPENDENCE DAY IN A NON-EXISTENT COUNTRY. Visit the self-declared breakaway state of Transdniestr, technically in Moldova. on a six-day tour with Regent Holidays ( Celebrate the day in its 'capital' Tiraspol, one of the last living relics of the Soviet era, before exploring Moldova and sampling local wine.


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Manitoba, Canada


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Selling Canada - April Issue | Full Page Ad - 297mm (depth) x 210mm (width) x 3mm (bleed) | Travel Manitoba 2019

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