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HIGH JINKS The reasons for visiting Peru are spreading far beyond its tourism icon, magical Machu Picchu

how to sell...

Korea Mauritius Seychelles Hong Kong South Pacific Cruising Asia/Pacific and more...

Plus programmes, incentives, competitions and prizes from our online training partner


this issue - we travel further to bring you more FEATURES 8 South Pacific: Dreamy


beaches and tropical appeal 30 Abu Dhabi: The 'new' regional powerhouse 34 South Florida: Sunshine State's natural side 56 Peru: Culture, adventure and great food


79 34

TALKING SHOP 17 News, competitions,




42 56

QUICK READS 54 Visit USA News: 69 Introducing: Algiers 79 Six of the Best: Korea 94 The Final Word THE REVIEW 61 Top news stories



Andy Hoskins

Julie Baxter

will be flying on Cathay Pacific's inaguaral Gatwick to Hong Kong flight aboard the carrier's new A350.

is travelling to Carcassonne, France, to explore the Medieval citadel's famous and iconic fortifications.


Steve Hartridge

will be hiking the rainforests of the Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis and riding the sugar train.





incentives & fam reports

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



network and win! Great prizes are up for Grabs at this year’s networkinG party. SEPTEMBER 26, aT ThE gRangE ST. Paul'S hoTEl


Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2016 © 2016.

Suffolk House, George St, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1SR, UK T 020 8649 7233 | F 020 8649 7234 Publishers: Steve Thompson & Sally Parker Commercial Director: David Clare Editorial Director: Steve Hartridge Journalists: Andy Hoskins, Julie Baxter & Laura Gelder Junior Journalists: Ben Coren & Cameron Roberts Contributing Editors: Alan Orbell Jo Austin

Business Development Manager: Craig McQuinn Advertisement Manager: Lisa Merrigan Creative Director: Matt Bonner Designers: Louisa Horton & Ross Clifford Junior Designer: Zoë Tarrant Production Manager: Clare Hunter Circulation Manager: Cheryl Staniforth Managing Director: Martin Steady We are members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Visit USA Association, LATA, PATA, MENATA, SATOA, the Foreign Airlines Association and the Institute of Travel & Tourism. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, BMI Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. ISSN: 2056-9319. Cover image:

welcome – dedicated to those who love selling travel –


t is that time of the year when we invite our readers to tell us their top-performing trade suppliers by participating in our Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards. We want to know which companies provide you with the best service and go those extra miles to guarantee your business. That could be your choice for the best city break destination, the best tour operator to North America, the best airline to Africa or the best hotel or resort for families – to name just a few of the categories we are asking you to judge. For those of you who can make it to London of an evening, why not come along to our special networking event on September 26? You’ll have the opportunity to meet face to face with many of our nominated finalists, Steve Hartridge which just might sway the way you vote! EDITOR As an incentive, many finalists will be giving away prizes on the night. For details of how to join us take a look at pages 18/19. Talking of prizes, we have some fabulous options lined up for agents who vote via our online form at These include six nights in South Africa, courtesy of the five-star Shamwari Game Reserve, and two nights at Kurland Hotel, a stunning country estate set in the heart of the popular Garden Route. Also up for grabs are hotel nights in Thailand and Cambodia along with some cases of premium wine. As always, we are extremely grateful to our supportive sponsors for lining up such fabulous incentives for you to vote. Cast your votes by October 16 and, as you do so, remember this: the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards really are the only travel industry awards nominated and voted for solely by travel agents. In the meantime, we have another packed issue and have lined up some of the top writers in travel – who have been travelling the globe from India to the South Pacific to Mauritius to Abu Dhabi - to bring you the very latest news from these popular destinations. Enjoy!


INDUSTRY COMMENTS... “The UK travel trade is instrumental to our strategy. As one of our biggest international source markets it is vitally important that we continue to work hand in hand with agents, helping to educate them and keeping Mauritius front of mind."

“With the Gatwick to Hong Kong route from Cathay Pacific starting this month we are optimistic for continued growth in 2016. We will be highlighting Hong Kong’s varied experiences, through a number of exciting trade campaigns"

Kevin Ramkaloan, Director of Tourism, Mauritius Tourism

Dawn Page, Director UK & Northern Europe, HKTB.

Promotion Authority. See feature, page 83

See feature, page 74


events & festivals

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


ALI ATIHAM Taking place in Kalibo, Philippines, Ali Atiham (January 8-17 2017) is a nine-day celebration that commemorates the country's tribal history. It includes several days of dancing in the streets, with locals dressed in colourful headdresses and faces painted in garish bright colours. A masquerade ball and dancing competition cap off the festivities.


Iconic images of thousands of lanterns from Thailand’s Yi Peng festival floating into the sky are sure to grab clients’ attention. Yi Peng celebrates veneration for Buddha and brings together thousands of locals and tourists alike, all seeking spiritual cleansing (or just an amazing photo). The next Yi Peng takes place this November.

JUNKANOO PARADE The Junkanoo Parade in The Bahamas – a night-time affair – involves plenty of bright costumes, a pulsating catchy beat and a multitude of West African influences. The festival also serves up mouthwatering food, so for a taste of the Caribbean head to the Bahamas for the next staging of Junkanoo, (December 26–January 1 2017).

Throwing a festival in one of the most unforgiving environments in the world is no easy feat, but each December the International Festival of the Sahara does just this. Held in Douz, Tunisia, the celebrations include camel racing, wrestling, craft markets, dancing and plenty of food.

GURU NANAK JAYANTI One of the most important events on the Sikh calendar, Guru Nanak Jayanti is held in honour of the founding father of Sikhism, Guru Nanak. Staged in Amritsar, India, the festival involves a light show at the Golden Temple, singing, a fireworks displays and, after the 22-hour-long festivities, a well-deserved rest. Join in the fun on November 14, 2016.


south pacific

Barefoot in the sand

The South Pacific is surely the most romantic destination in the world. It takes a while to get there but the islands repay you many times over, says Anna Selby

Above: The South PaciďŹ c is an ideal destination for honeymooners

south pacific


itutaki, the second-most visited of the Cook Islands, has for my money the most beautiful lagoon in the world. In fact, it is mostly lagoon, a perfect turquoise triangle bordered by coral reef. As I come in to land on the 34-passenger Air Rarotonga plane, it is so breathtaking, it doesn’t seem quite real; a magical image painted on the surface of the dark blue Pacific Ocean. In fact, it has two luxury resorts as well as more budget options but it’s still a place where it’s easy to get away from it all. Spending the day with Teking Tours, I find myself walking on a new, emerging sandbar – my footprints the first on the sand. This is after a morning on an open boat, snorkelling with the dazzling tropical fish, spotting a turtle and finding bright blue starfish sitting on the sand beneath the waters of the lagoon.

Lunch is a semi-submerged affair, with table and chairs arranged so you can eat waist-high in the water to keep cool. It’s a local feast – mangoes and coconut, taro and (oops!) fish. But it’s delicious tuna, fresh from the ocean and not those pretty guys I was snorkelling with earlier.

Worth the wait The South Pacific is unmatched when it comes to allure and romance. Yes, it takes a long flight to get there, but all those hours on a plane are rewarded by a string of beautiful islands, crystal-clear lagoons, perfect beaches and a year-round warm tropical climate. There are no crowds and islanders welcome visitors with genuine warmth and share their truly laid-back lifestyle with you. Noone can get stressed in the South Pacific. It all makes for a perfect honeymoon or wedding destination. Weddings are easy


south pacific

to arrange and most resorts will pull out route offers lie-flat beds in business class all the stops to create a truly magical day: as well as increased capacity in economy. there will be garlands of scented flowers, a The islands ceremony on the beach, local dancers and The question is, which one of these beautiful music, and other little touches – perhaps the islands do you choose? For some French flair bride carried in on a throne by local warriors. and the most dramatic There are some very scenery in the South luxurious resorts, too, that make the “The Cook Islands are a perfect Pacific, Tahiti and the South Pacific an stopover destination for clients other Society Islands are hard to beat. Think ideal honeymoon returning from an extensive super-luxury resorts destination. In French itinerary in Australia or New and French cuisine Polynesia and in Zealand. Rarotonga is a great with a tropical twist. Aitutaki in the Cook Fiji has some very Islands, you can place to unwind before the luxurious resorts find the ultimate in journey home” too and it’s a great romantic rooms – TUI DAVENPORT, SALES AND MARKETING place for anyone over-water at the end MANAGER, ANZCRO who wants a bit of of a boardwalk with adventure in their steps straight down tropical paradise. You can parasail, jetinto the lagoon. Some even have a window ski, go white- water rafting, hand feed in the floor so you can look at the tropical sharks and trek through the rainforest. fish swimming around the coral below. The most truly Polynesian culture can be Stopover option found in Samoa and you can balance a stay The South Pacific also offers an exotic in a luxury resort with one in a local village. stopover for long-haul clients. Tonga has traditional Polynesian culture in abundance and is one of the Tui Davenport, Sales & Marketing Manager at ANZCRO, says: “The Cook Islands are a best places for sailing in the Pacific. It’s perfect stopover destination for clients the only place I know where you can returning from an extensive itinerary in swim in the ocean with the whales. Australia or New Zealand. Rarotonga is a great The Cook Islands are very place to unwind before the journey home.” unspoilt, too, and as well as Air New Zealand offers this as a free stopover the beautiful volcanic island on its route via Los Angeles and its new of Rarotonga it’s easy to visit Atiu aircraft on this where beaches outnumber visitors or that wonderful lagoon in Aitutaki. There are many less visited islands, too, for the adventurous traveller. Papua Guinea Vanuatu, New Guinea, Caledonia the New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and even little Pitcairn (home of


VOTE NOW! Which is your top destination for beaches or soft adventure? Above from left: Fiji is a relaxing retreat; experience native culture in New Caledonia; the clear waters of the South Pacific are perfect for snorkelling; wildlife like the gecko are just waiting to be discovered


south pacific

the Bounty mutineers) are all emerging destinations. Many of these are most easily reached by cruise ship and cruises are a growing phenomenon in the region.

“In Fiji most visitors enjoy culture and adventure on the Cruise to it main island of Viti Levu and Smaller local cruise lines are also extending travel on a cruise or choose a combination of islands. It is very their itineraries. In French Polynesia, Paul Gauguin cruises has trips around the Tahitian easy to island hop” islands, longer ones to the Cook Islands JANE WEST, REGIONAL DIRECTOR UK/EUROPE, TOURISM FIJI

and is introducing a 17-night cruise to Bali. While in Fiji Captain Cook cruises visit the exquisite Yasawas and have longer cruises to the outer Fijian islands and an 11-night one to Lau, one of the most remote and unvisited places with a landscape of mushroom-shaped islands, crystal lagoons, waterfalls and untouched reefs.

Perfect ten Walk on the wild side: Samoa’s Falealupo rainforest is not just a pristine tropical environment it can also be a challenge. Visitors can take the treetop canopy walk between the giant banyan trees and get a bird’s eye view 40 metres above the ground. Try the local tipple: In Fiji kava is not a sparkling wine but a ceremonial drink served in a communal bowl with great ceremony in the local villages. Friday night fever: In the Cook Islands Friday night is Island Night. Expect lots of drumming and wild dancing from the locals. Encourage your clients to join in. Island hopping: The islands of French Polynesia are much closer together than those of the other Pacific nations, making this a great place to island hop. From Tahiti it’s a short flight to Bora Bora and Moorea is just a ferry ride away. Raiatea is one of Polynesia’s most sacred islands with the ancient shrine of Taputapuatea at its heart. Literary legend: Visit Robert Louis Stevenson’s home, Vailima, in Samoa, now a museum. The creator of Treasure Island

and Jekyll and Hyde lived here until his death in 1894 and was known here as ‘the teller of tales’. One of Samoa’s favourite adopted sons his home gave its name to the popular local beer. Sunshine drive: It doesn’t take long to circumnavigate the almost-round island of Rarotonga and the best mode of transport is the sunshine yellow bus (there’s one in each direction, clockwise and anti-clockwise). There are bus stops but if visitors give the driver a wave he’ll let them onboard anywhere. Dive in: The South Pacific is fantastic for divers with bright corals and colourful ecosystems to explore. Then there is the opportunity to visit the S.S. President Coolidge in Vanuata, which is a world-class wreck dive. Flying high: Seaplane rides aren’t just great ways to connect but also put Fiji’s numerous islands into their true context. Distant pasts: Clients headed to the Soloman Islands should take a look at skull shrines from the islands’ headhunting past (long gone now, of course). Thirst for adventure: New Caledonia is the place to be when it comes to adventure. Clients can experience trekking, surfing and kite-surfing on the island.

What’s new �Cruises: Paul Gauguin Cruises ( has

a new 16-night cruise from Fiji to Bali from April 2017 with calls including Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Lombok.  Accommodatins: Le Meridien Bora Bora ( reopened in April after extensive refurbishment and is one of the most luxurious properties in French Polynesia. Moorea Beach Lodge ( en), a chic and friendly hotel, recently opened. There are thatch-roofed bungalows, a beautiful beach and a crystal-clear lagoon. Ikurangi ( is Rarotonga’s new eco-retreat. Guests can choose from a Above from left: Villa deck dining on The Cook Islands; Aitutaki, a drop in the vibrant blue ocean; traditional boat trips and cultural dance shows add plenty of local colour

Paradise Awaits Discover the South Pacific and Fiji’s stunning 333 islands. With connections direct to Fiji, it’s closer than you think. SAN FRANCISCO











A330 Economy



A330 Business

With a route network that spans 21 destinations in 12 countries, our airline provides unequalled access to the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand through our hub in Nadi, Fiji. Travellers from Europe will find convenient flights departing to Fiji and beyond from Singapore, Hong Kong and Los Angeles with up to 11 flights per week using Airbus A330 aircraft, offering world-class service in both Business and Economy class. Fiji Airways is also a partner in the Qantas Frequent flyer, American Airline Advantage and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan programs and members can earn and redeem points

For more details and the latest fares and schedules, contact us on or call +35623981111. For Fiji Airways Reservations, call +6793304388.

118 remote islands flung across the vast southern Pacific. Endless skies, infinite hues of blue and countless untold stories. Whatever the occasion, the Islands of Tahiti are the perfect place to celebrate life and love. Find out why – visit our website: or download the latest edition of our Digital Travel Planner:

Travel Nation are offering a classic Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora two-week holiday from just £2,699pp inc all flights and accommodation. All holidays can be completely tailor-made to suit your clients. To book, call 01273 320 580 • T A H I T I

Tahiti_v2.indd 1







8/24/16 02:36 PM

One Name. Many Stories.

Your Tahitian experience starts right from boarding

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

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

south pacific

Polynesian-style studio or a luxury safari tent – one has an open-air clawfoot bath for star-gazers. Bikes are complementary and the world-famous Muri Beach is a short ride away. Fiji has some superb resorts opening this year including Double Tree Hilton Viti Levu ( and Six Senses ( in the Mamanucas, Kokomo on Kadav, Vatuvara – the first-ever resort in the remote and pristine Lau group.  Airlines: Air New Zealand is upgrading to a Boeing 777-200 for its flights from Los Angeles to Rarotonga – 38% more

Clockwise from top left: Te Manava Luxury Villa’s romantic setting in the Cook Islands; the friendly face of a local welcome in Papua New Guinea; tradition on the water in Tahiti;and the elaborate tribal costumes of Tahiti

enthusiastic about new gateways opening up.” capacity. In November a Saturday departure Jane West, UK Director, Tourism Fiji from Heathrow to LAX (and on to Rarotonga “This year we started the first quarter for Sunday morning) will begin. The new with a 50% rise year-on-year.” aircraft brings the first lie-flat beds in Eve Gardiner, Samoa business class to the South Pacific. Tourism (Representation Plus) Fiji Airways ( has added three new routes from Fiji to San Where to book it Francisco and Vava’u in Tonga in June  PREMIER HOLIDAYS – 08444 937 531 and seasonally to Singapore in April. The operator has a seven-night break to Virgin Australia ( is now offering a non-stop flight to Rarotonga from Tahiti in November from £2045pp, staying in a Christchurch (as standard room at the well as Auckland). Manava Suite Resort (two adults sharing “The Cook Islands are a  Events: For a taste of Fiji culture close room-only). The deal great stopover destination to home, visit the Fiji: includes flights from for clients returning from an Art and Life in the London to Tahiti. extensive itinerary in Australia Pacific exhibition in or New Zealand. Rarotonga is  AUSTRAVEL – 0800 Norwich’s Sainsbury 988 4834 Centre for Visual the pefect place to unwind Arts, UEA, between A nine-night Fiji before the journey home” October 15 2016 Islands Adventure TUI DAVENPORT, SALES & MARKETING holiday in November MANAGER, ANZCRO and February this year starts 12 2017. from £1,995pp  Tour operators: Travel agents can benefit from – saving up to £260 per couple. It includes Premier Holidays’ agent incentive, earning five nights’ B&B at the four-star Musket £25-£150 for every inclusive Tahiti booking. Cove Island Resort, followed by four nights at the three-star First Landing Resort. Tourism talk Transfers and return flights from London. “With Air New Zealand’s new larger  PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES – 0800 848 6172 aircraft on the route, the Cook Islands A seven-night Tahiti and Society Islands will be the only South Pacific Island voyage starts from $3,995pp, based on double destination offering premium economy and lie-flat occupancy. Port, security, and handling fees of business class seats on one airline all the way $119 - $129pp are additional. Economy flights from London. Getting to our little paradise is between Los Angles and Tahiti are included. becoming a little more comfortable!”  Ian Griffiths, Cook Islands, UK “Many of our visitors are flying via the Middle East and since April Singapore WHO FLIES THERE as well as the US, Australia and New;;;;;; fijiairways. Zealand. And we’re seeing new and interesting com;;;; combinations such as China/Hong Kong/Fiji or;;; qantas. Japan/Korea/Fiji and US/Hawaii/Fiji. We have fam; trips planned for October and November and are


Take a walk

. e l s i a e h t n w do


talking shop


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

Kimptinis and karaoke night SPOTLIGHT ON...

KIMPTON Hotels & Restaurants hosted a fun night at The Ham Yard Hotel in London during its summer UK sales mission. The Kimpton team welcomed UK trade partners and the media to a networking evening that included prizes, 'Kimptini' cocktail and even karaoke and bowling! From left to right: William Brownlee, Virgin Holidays; Betsie Barr, Travelbag; Emilie Audiot, British Airways Holidays; David Powell, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants; Rachel McAnemy, British Airways Holidays; and Remy Bryce, Virgin Holidays.

Contents 18 Agents Choice Awards 20 Barbara Charlton 22 On Location 25 Been There Done That


GOLD Medal is offering agents the chance to win a nine-night holiday to California. To be in the frame agents must make a booking that includes return flights and three nights' accommodation to the USA by September 18. Email booking references

180 years of P&O NEXT YEAR P&O cruises will celebrate 180 years of company history and will mark the anniversary with a '180 competition' that rewards agents with 180 prizes. These range from afternoon tea to a West End show with dinner to a day at the races. To enter agents must make a new 'Select Price' booking

e Serenity incentiv

between August 5 and September 30 and enter their booking reference and information at uk/r/POCruises180.

There's no limit on the number of entries, so the more holidays sold the more chances of winning. Customers also benefit from the anniversary, with the

SERENITY HOLIDAYS has an agent booking incentive across its six specialist travel brands. To be in with a chance of winning a timely fridge full of Christmas goodies, agents must book a package between September 1 and November 30 from any Serenity brand. Two agents will be selected during a prize draw and the winners will be announced on December 5.

'come celebrate with us' promotion offering them extra onboard spending money on bookings made by September 30. Holiday options include a Mediterranean fly-cruise from £799pp, departing April 2017.

VOTE NOW! Who is the most agent-friendly tour operator?

Keep in mind...


-15 SEPTEMBER CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION ROADSHOW Join the CTO and Selling Travel in Chester (14th) and Birmingham (15th) to meet CTO partners, network and win some great prizes. Meet British Airways, Barbados Tourism, Elite Island resorts and many more all in one room!



September SELLING TRAVEL DESTINATION DIALOGUE Make contacts and meet industry colleagues at Selling Travel's Oman event in Newcastle. Discover more about the destination and its new products over some nibbles and drink. Some great Oman prizes will be up for grabs on the night. More online at



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On the shortlist are...


t's time for our annual awards, so get involved and reward your favourite suppliers with a Selling Travel Agents Choice Award. Ours are the only travel awards nominated by and voted for solely by travel agents. And if you would like to get to know our finalists better, be sure to RSVP and attend our annual speednetworking event on September 26 in London, and you could win some top prizes

Meet the finalists.... and be a winner! SPEED - NETWORKING HYATT HOTELS & RESORTS: Will provide five SEPTEMBER 26, LONDON nights accommodation for two at the Hyatt The Travel Agents Choice Awards speedRegency Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Austin, networking event is a fantastic opportunity to Texas. meet many of our 2016 finalists, get to know CATHAY PACIFIC: Will give away a Cathay Pacific goodie bag filled with various treats that will their products and representatives better and clarify those who deserve to be winners. include a bottle of Champagne. NORTH AMERICAN The event will give TRAVEL SERVICES: Will you time to meet up provide a chocolate to 40 finalists face to tasting adventure at face in a relaxed social Hotel Chocolat, Covent setting at The Grange, St Paul, London. Garden, London. HARD ROCK HOTELS: THE EVENT: Building Will turn up on the on the success of night with a Hard Rock last year's event, the Hotels merchandise speed-networking goodie bag, plus a format will allow Hard Rock Hotel all agents to move STEVEN THOMPSON inclusive collection between tables to PUBLISHER Cheeseboard set. gather insights and SELLING TRAVEL AIR EUROPA: Will be product updates handing over a £150 from attending voucher for the Argentinian-themed restaurant, finalists. The more tables you visit, the more Gaucho, in London. chances you will have to win a prize from one OTHER PRIZES: Additional giveaways are of the suppliers. Then take a break from the networking and enjoy a drink and some canapés. expected to include bottles of bubbly, fam trip places, hotel stays, gift vouchers, confectionary, TO WIN ON THE NIGHT: Many suppliers and cosmetics. attending the speed-networking event will be RSVP: handing out prizes on the night including:

“Agents love the format of the evening. It gives them a chance to speak to many of the finalists and, of course, to win brilliant prizes!”


AUGUST Voting opened! There's still time to get online and ensure your votes count.



SEPTEMBER OCTOBER Join the speedVoting closes networking and the event at The Grange, St Paul's, count begins to identify London, and meet our finalists. our 2016 award winners.


OCTOBER The winners will first be anounced online and will then appear in December's Selling Travel.


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


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


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Barbara Charlton

  01403 2766684

All change as Sussex agency calls “What I have missed over the years is the personal contact of reps coming in”

Having been a Travel Counsellor for the last 13 or so years I have taken the decision to move on from working endless hours from my own home. So, in order to get a better work/ lifestyle balance, I am now at a small (but perfectly) formed independent agency in Horsham, West Sussex, called The Sussex Travel Company. It was a big step to take, but I am now back in a role I did for 10 years before Travel Counsellors, working with two other ex-TCs who I have known for years. It has been a bit strange for me, after so long not having 'walk-in' customers, but it is just like riding a bike and I soon got used to dealing with enquiries and customers who want immediate information. I have been overwhelmed by good wishes from my many contacts in the industry. Travel Counsellors' directors and many TC's have been

in touch to wish me the best of luck, and I have to admit to shedding a few tears. But at certain times in our lives we all have to make changes.

WORKING FACE TO FACE What I have missed over the years is the personal contact of reps coming in. Although, as regular readers will know, I have spent a lot of time supporting training events and building up industry contacts, it is lovely when reps pop in to see us. We get to build up a great one-toone relationship directly with those suppliers – and we all know how important that is these days. As an agency, we are getting involved with the local community and building awarenes, which is vital when you are a relatively young agency. Our owner-manager, Tanya Pace, recently got a group of suppliers together (thanks to Classic Collection, Titan and If Only) for a coffee morning at a retirement

apartments development. The event was well attended and the reps and Tanya spoke to everyone about their future travel plans and explained what we can do to make life easier for them.


tinue to was a sellas I con As long y dreams come out event, olida py make h be hap ill with w I e tru some interesting properties and updates from Air Canada which now offers premium economy. Its smaller affiliate, Air Canada Rouge, flies Gatwick to Toronto, a great alternative suggestion to Heathrow for southern travellers. This month my long-awaited three

Although the agency opened in December, we've not yet had an official opening event, but plans are in motion to have one at a lovely local hotel, and with the help of more supportive “This month my long suppliers I am sure it will awaited three-island be very well Greek odyssey attended and beneficial to trip happens” all. Training invitations certainly seem to come thick and fast as an island Greek odyssey independent. Between us we have trip happens. I am greatly 65 years' experience in travel – but looking forward to my first visits to there is always something new to Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonyssos. learn. I feel sure that these islands will My first training evening with endear themselves to me as much as The Sussex Travel Company was the other Greek islands I have visited the Whistler and British Columbia have. event held at Canada I wishing you all a sunny and House, near prosperous September! I'm really excit ed to be Trafalgar travelling to Gr eece Square in this month! London. It

ssential COLLECTION NEW! The ‘Essential Collection’ In July 2016, we launched a brand new ‘Essential Collection’. As the name suggests, these new itineraries focus on the standout highlights of a country or region. They are generally shorter in duration, and have slightly fewer inclusions - there is no VIP door-to-door travel service, for example.

• Focusing on the highlights of a country or region • Shorter in duration • Fewer inclusions

But ‘Essential’ doesn’t mean no frills! Just lower prices - perfect if holiday time or budget is limited.

essential Menorca


essential Deep South

8 days from £729pp

10 days from £1,599pp

essential Japan

essential Eastern Canada

10 days from £2,599pp

8 days from £1,099pp

Titan’s full brand new ‘Essential Collection’ is featured in our Worldwide brochure, OUT NOW!

For more information, please visit


talking shop



What they said... “For me the best bit was the Civil Rights tour in Birmingham led by an expert guide. He brought everything to life and was so good that we are now including private guides with our individual travellers on their tours to Birmingham.” Maggi Smit, MD, America As You Like It “It was great to visit the main cities like Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile to understand how many nights we would recommend to clients who were visiting the area. These are not-to-miss inclusions in any Deep South itinerary so it was good

THE HOSTS The UK and Ireland Office for Alabama Tourism escorted a fam trip to the state which included visits to the key cities of Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile. The trip was accompanied by Alabama Tourism's Della Tully, Vanessa Alexander and Grey Brennan.

THE TRIP This year’s pre-IPW fam invited six tour operators to experience some southern hospitality first hand and discover what the 'Yellowhammer State' has to offer.

VOTE NOW! Who is your favourite North America tour operator?

On the trip were Jayne White (Titan Travel), Nicola Hollihead (TUI Specialist/Hayes and Jarvis), Dee Burdock (American Holidays Ireland), Maggi Smit (America As You Like It), Liz Wright (TourAmerica Ireland) and Andy Dowdall (Worldwide Motorhome Holidays). The group biked their way around Birmingham, touring key city sights such as the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. They also experienced the new 'Mega Zip' at Red Mountain Park, located just 15 minutes from downtown Birmingham. Travelling on to Montgomery, the group enjoyed a U-Go Montgomery Electric Car tour. A city tour of the state capital also included a visit to Martin Luther King Junior's church on Dexter Avenue. Then it was on to the port city of Mobile and a visit to the brand-new Gulf Quest maritime museum. Dinner in Mobile was courtesy of Felix Fish Camp, overlooking the water. There was also time for the Wild Native ‘Gators After Dark’ tour – which left everyone ready for a drink in Mobile's Lo-Da entertainment area! Before taking a road trip from

Mobile to New Orleans, breakfast was at ‘Spot o Tea’ . The group then got into the mood for Mardi Gras at Mobile’s Carnival Museum, before a final lunch in Bay St Louis, (MS).

to experience the various aspects of each destination.” Dee Burdock, Product Manager USA & Canada, American Holidays “As Titan’s Southern Sights and Sounds tour includes Montgomery this was an


essential visit. My highlight was the

Della Tully, Account Manager UK and Ireland for Alabama Tourism said: “As the rep in the UK and Ireland for this great state we were thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase the state capital, Montgomery, Alabama's largest city, Birmingham, and Mobile, its port city on the Gulf Coast to product managers from six key tour operators prior to their business meetings at IPW. "Our intention was to allow the group to experience some of the best attractions in the state and provide them with some great memories such as breakfast with a Civil Rights 'Foot Soldier' in Birmingham, a 'singing' tour of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's church in Montgomery and seafood overlooking Mobile Bay.”

Birmingham Civil Rights Museum.” Jayne

White, Product Manager, Titan Travel “The trip really opened my eyes to Alabama as a destination and it was great to be able to share my experience with our sales team here to help them sell Alabama.” Liz Wright, Product Manager, TourAmerica

Untitled-1 1

26/05/2016 11:14


TRAVEL AGENTS CHOICE AWARDS! We are delighted to be shortlisted in the Escorted Tours and River Cruise categories! 1. More UK customers chose us for their overseas Escorted Tour holiday last year than any of our competitors 2. The highest rated River Cruise line, according to Which? Magazine independent survey 3. We look after our agent partners – we never discount so you don’t have to 4. We will source bookings back to you and pay you the commission if customers call us to book direct. You deserve it, you’ve done the hard work! 5. Professional and refreshingly human Agency Sales Team. We’re nice to work with

For more information or to speak to agency sales

01283 744307

Call: Email:

Vote for us online (before the 16th October) at


talking shop

done that

LATA's 'Rio' ce

China tour full of wonders



THE Latin American Travel Association hosted an Olympics opening night party at the Brazillian Embassy in London to mark this summer's Olympic Games in Rio. Pictured are Jake Stavrinides, Talking Stick Marketing and Communications, and Alice Duckett, Audley Travel.

Titan fam trip TEN travel agents joined Titan for a Wonders of China escorted tour. The highlights of what all agreed was an amazing trip were Beijing and the Forbidden City, Xi'an and the Terracotta Warriors, the bullet train to Shanghai and the Great Wall of China. Pictured back row from left: Lucy Avery, Hays Travel, Durham; Elizabeth Braceknbury, Lincs Co-op, Boston; Karen Smith, Dawson & Sanderson Morpeth; Ruaridh Wilson, Barrhead Travel, Glasgow; Paul Carter, Carrick Travel. Pershore and Jessica Adams, Midcounties Co-op, Gloucester. Front row from left; Emily Parkes, Titan; Kim Nichol, Titan; Lisa Gilham, Central England Co-op, March; and Liz Watts, Deva Travel, Chester.



Luxury in Antigua SEVEN agents enjoyed an Antigua luxury fam trip. From left to right is Laura Simpson, Elegant Resorts; Sophie Walker, ITC Classics; Joel Henry, Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority; Declan O'Shea, Carrier; Louise Gray, Caribtours; Roray Williams, Dial A Flight; Anna Shaw, Turquoise Hoildays and Christopher Hamlin, Abercrombie & Kent.

RIVER Cruise line Emerald Waterways is celebrating its third birthday by giving out 'Birthday Parties in a Box' and oversized pass the parcels out on the road. The parcels included a top prize of a Marriot Spa voucher for two in each. B AGENTS selling Celebrity Cruises have been earning Celebrity Rewards points. The 100 top- performing agents each won ÂŁ250 worth of bonus Celebrity Rewards points, plus a trophy, flowers, a modern luxury hamper and more. Pictured left to right; Judy Watts, Thomson Wolverhampton and Helen Green, Celebrity cruises. A

SUPERBREAK, Myriad Travel in Liverpool and Liverpool Airport teamed up to host an in-store afternoon tea event. Pictured left to right are Tiffany Woodley, owner of Myriad Travel; Freya McCann, sales executive at SuperBreak; and Ashley Morgan, account manager at Liverpool Airport. C



winter sun

spots hot

From Egypt to Malta to South Africa, there are plenty of irresistible suggestions for some guaranteed winter rays, says Clare Walsh


he haunting call to prayer echoes through the balmy night air. Clothed in darkness the Nile, from where I have disembarked my cruiser, whispers in the stillness, its mysterious waters holding ancient secrets. I make my way to Kom Ombo Temple for a night visit. An ethereal golden glow engulfs the building, serving only to enhance its majesty against the black night sky. A living memory of this ancient time, this temple was dedicated to the crocodile and sun gods. Renowned for its healing powers, it was a place of pilgrimage. On entering I discover some of the secrets of

the ancients. Advanced medical tools are recorded by inscriptions in the walls showing dental equipment, birthing chairs and medicine bottles. This trip introduces me to some of the most dazzling sites of world history. What is sorely evident, however, both along the Nile and in Cairo, is the lack of tourists.

Confidence trick Tourism in Egypt has been in steady decline since 2011, and like many North African destinations, conďŹ dence among potential visitors has been tested by political unrest and terrorism. That is why it is important for agents to stress to clients unfamiliar with the geography

of a country the areas unaffected that are still superb choices for winter sun. For example, the FCO advises against travel to the North and South Sinai areas in Egypt but clearly states that this does not include areas along the Nile River or Red Sea resorts such as Hurghada. With the government working to build conďŹ dence, the Egyptian tourist board has also re-launched its Red Sea Riviera logo. This now extends to cover other popular beach resorts such as El Gouna, Somabay and Sahl Hashish. Morocco and Israel are further options for winter sun, their enduring allure being that they sizzle year-round.


winter sun

“South Africa has long been a popular destination for UK travellers as it offers guaranteed sunshine during the dark winter months” TAM STANLEY, SALES EXECUTIVE LEEU COLLECTION

VOTE NOW! Which destination is tops for Soft Adventure ?

Previous page: An evening felucca ride on the Nile, Egypt; this page from left: The Masca Valley, Tenerife, attracts hikers; Valletta, the capital of Malta, is famed for its beautiful harbour; the Red Sea is popular for thrill seakers.

Ryanair has launched a new service operating from Liverpool to Marrakesh between November and March, while a direct route between London and Eilat was introduced by Monarch last year. Seats are now being sold for direct travel from early December through to April 2017. The Canary Islands are a safe bet for beach-worthy temperatures, which sit in the 20s during the European winter. Tenerife receives 1.7million British tourists for winter holidays every year, while Gran Canaria offers 128 beaches for fly and flop holidays. The dramatic terrain of the islands offers excellent options for climbing and cylcling holidays, and the balmy temperatures are ideal for active stays. Malta and its sister island Gozo can be reached in just over three hours from the UK and experiences highs of 20C in November. The gorgeous fortified city of Valletta is European Capital of Culture for 2018 and clients can experience several events in the run-up. Any client looking for a change of pace will love Gozo, which is perfect for a day trip or longer stays. Thirty minutes away by ferry, lush green landscapes dotted with farmhouses and Baroque churches greet visitors. Clients looking for an active break can enjoy some of the best dive sites in the Mediterranean, while walkers have plenty of choice around its rugged coastline. Quad bike tours enable visitors to enjoy an alternative tour of the island. Highlights include the Ggantija Megalithic Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site drenched in history. Great snaps can be taken at the Azure Window, while the Ta’Mena Estate will treat visitors to wine tasting and a traditional Gozitan lunch. A range of hotels on the island offer accommodation for a variety of budgets. For an alternative stay, clients could consider a traditional Gozitan farmhouse, many of which have been converted into luxury villas. For clients looking for balmy but not scorching temperatures, destinations in the Southern Med such as Cyprus, Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica are all strong contenders.

Sicily is a comfortable 18C in November and with its rich historical and archeological treasures, its ideal for clients wanting to sightsee and explore. Similarly, walking in the Troodos National Forest Park in Cyprus can be enjoyed in temperatures of around 17°C, or clients can enjoy skiing on clear bright days on Mount Olympus. Further afield, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are reachable in seven hours while South Africa offers huge appeal for a winter break. Whether safari, a cool city break or exploring the beautiful winelands, visitors can avoid jet lag and take advantage of the still-strong pound-rand exchange rate.

What’s new  Hotels: The Cove Rotana Resort in Ras Al Khaimah ( is undergoing expansion. Due to be completed in 2017, 112 rooms, 10 junior suites and 21 executive suites will be added, a restaurant, outdoor pool and kids club. The Orchid Reef Eilat Hotel (www.orchidhotels. has reopened after refurbishment. It features 79 rooms and offers a pool, beach access, spa complex and fitness facility.  Flights: Thomson Airways ( flight/) will launch a weekly service from Humberside – Tenerife South on November 7 2016. The flight will run every Monday.

Where to book it  RIVIERA TRAVEL – 01283 888 207 The eight-day Undiscovered Malta tour is priced from £799pp for selected departures up to October 2016 and May-October 2017. It includes accommodation in St. Julian’s, a guided tour or Valletta and and atour of Gozo. rivieratravel.couk

 CYPLON HOLIDAYS – 0800 074 8888 Three nights’ B&B at Les Borjs de la Kasbah, Marrakech, starts from £209pp. The deal includes return flights from Gatwick and private transfers and is valid for travel from November 30December 3 2016. 

company profile



Riviera Travel S

elling Travel talks to Joseph Grimley, Head of Agency Sales for Riviera Travel, about the company’s journey to become one of the UK’s largest escorted tours specialists... What sets Riviera apart from other tour operators?

How important are travel agents to Riviera Travel?

We offer the best price-to-quality ratio. Also, at Riviera the focus is always on the front line and not the bottom line. We are a very profitable business so we don’t need to cut corners to save money. Our customers are very loyal which is reflected in our higherthan-average repeat booking rate.

Travel agents are extremely important to us. We believe the high street is still very much alive and kicking and we have some fantastic relationships with agents.

What are Riviera’s topselling products and holidays? Our top-selling European tours are Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples, along with Lake Como, St. Moritz and the Bernina Express. We take more Brits on South African tours than any of our competitors and India is also a huge seller for us. Our European river cruise product is growing at a rate of knots. We have had to order four new ships for 2017 to cope with growing demand.

Is there anything new in your current programme agents should be aware of? New tours for 2017: ‘Helsinki, Tallinn and Riga’ and ‘Malaysia, Borneo and Singapore’. We are also launching tours to Slovenia and Ireland.

What support does Riviera Travel offer to travel agents? We pride ourselves on ticking the ‘agentfriendly’ boxes, including not discounting and sourcing commission back to the agent if their client does call us direct to book. It’s always great making that phone call to an agent to advise their clients have booked direct and we are sending them the commission. We’ve recently expanded our agency sales team, which now numbers five, including myself.

Finally, could you tell us about a fabulous and memorable experience from your own travels? That has to be getting married at The Little Chapel of the Flowers in Las Vegas. No Elvis, but a fabulous experience. nonetheless! *According to PWC independent sector study

“We pride ourselves on ticking the ‘agent-friendly’ boxes, including not discounting and sourcing commission back to the agent if their client does call us direct to book”

YEAR FORMED: 1984 COMPANY HISTORY: Riviera Travel started by taking coach tours to the South of France and has now grown to become the largest overseas UK escorted tours operator, and the second-largest provider of river cruises in the UK. SPECIALIST AREAS: Escorted tours and river cruises designed for British travellers - by highly-regarded tour managers.*



abu dhabi

Racing ahead

Host to the ABTA Travel Convention in October and appealing to a range of travellers, Abu Dhabi is far more than just a stopover destination, says William MacIntosh


’m luckier than Lewis Hamilton, I think to myself, smugly. After all, he can’t pull over to the side of the track and marvel at the sunset when he’s racing round the Yas Marina Circuit during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But I am on a bike, not in an F1 car, and rather than having Nico Rosberg on my tail the most I have to contend with are a few lycra-clad Bradley Wigginswannabes hogging the racing line. That’s because this is a Tuesday night, when the track opens to walkers, joggers and cyclists free of charge. It’s an incredible atmosphere and spirits lift as the fierce heat of the day begins to ebb away. Friends and colleagues catch up on gossip at water stops and families enjoy quality time together. The sun sets quickly as I watch from the track’s edge. As the light show fades in the sky another comes alive and 4,898 LED lights on the Yas Viceroy’s futuristic roof canopy switch on. The only hotel in the world to straddle an F1 racetrack, the Yas Viceroy is an icon of Abu Dhabi and riding beneath its track-spanning bridge is an experience I’ll never forget.

abu dhabi


Ticking all the boxes Riding the track is a sensation that many in the UK travel industry can anticipate enjoying themselves at this year’s ABTA Travel Convention, which will be held at the Viceroy from October 10-12. It’s the first time ABTA’s annual shindig has taken place in the Middle East and destination partners Etihad Airways and TCA Abu Dhabi are hoping it will give the industry the confidence and desire to sell more of Abu Dhabi. It’s certainly a destination that ticks many boxes. Around a seven-hour flight from either Heathrow, Manchester or Edinburgh, the UAE capital is easy to reach. And with year-round sunshine, an equally warm local population and a security record that’s second to none, it makes for a very safe and very welcoming winter-sun retreat. Remember, too, that Abu Dhabi is far more than just a city. With over 400km of coastline, there’s no shortage of glorious beaches. Many, like Saadiyat, Yas and those along the Corniche are within easy reach of the airport and an ever-growing range of world-class hotels. Others are on Maldives-like islands such as Zaya Nurai (, or adorn the coast of wildlife-rich Sir Bani Yas (, where open-top jeeps take guests on safari in What’s new search of cheetah, giraffe and Arabian oryx. �Cruising: Guests cruising the Gulf aboard MSC There’s wildlife to be seen in the city too, with Fantasia ( will be able to spend speedboat rides regularly offering glimpses a day at Abu Dhabi’s desert-island paradise, of dolphins and turtles along the Corniche, as Sir Bani Yas, home to many endangered and well as out in the desert, where camel rides indigenous species. The ship’s first seven-night, and falconry shows are offered alongside round-trip cruise more adventurous departs Abu Dhabi pursuits like ‘dune bashing’, ‘fat biking’ “At just seven hours’ flying time on December 4, with prices starting at and sand-boarding. from the UK Abu Dhabi is Half- and full-day perfect for a week of winter sun, £899pp including flights with Etihad. desert excursions can a stopover en route to Asia or Clients visiting easily be booked for Australia, or as part of an Abu Dhabi aboard clients through Hala Abu Dhabi ( Arabian twin-centre with Oman, Celebrity Constellation (celebritycruises. and Arabian Adventures Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah” will be able ( There’s family to enjoy desert fun at Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World Abu excursions designed by celebrity adventurer Dhabi, whose rollercoasters now hold two Ben Fogle. The ship is homeporting in Abu world records: the fastest and tallest loop. Dhabi from November to mid-January. A Meanwhile, shoppers won’t struggle to put nine-night fly-cruise starts from £799pp. their credit cards through their paces and �Hotels: Abu Dhabi’s first Four Seasons hotel ( opened in May next golfers can tee off on championship courses. to The Galleria mall on Al Maryah Island. Perhaps the most surprising of all the boxes The 677-room Bab Al Qasr (babalqasr. ticked is that of history and culture. Anyone com), set on a private beach on the looking for a historical fix should head to Corniche, will be one of the largest hotels Al Ain, an oasis city brimming with forts, in the city when it opens in August. palaces and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The 428-room Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Culture vultures, meanwhile, can bask in the Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl (abudhabi. beauty of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque while will open at the end of they wait for the Louvre Abu Dhabi to open next the year opposite Emirates Palace. year – an event that won’t just tick the cultural The towering open archway of the box but will likely re-draw it completely.

Fairmont Marina Resort & Residences ( will be a sight to

behold when it opens on the breakwater in 2017.  Attractions: The hotly-anticipated (and much-delayed) Louvre Abu Dhabi looks on track to open next year. Its permanent collection will include more than 600 pieces of art, complemented by loan pieces from key French institutions. These will include works by da Vinci, Monet, Manet and Matisse. At the other end of the artistic spectrum, Batman and Bugs Bunny will appear under the same roof when Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi opens on Yas Island in 2018. The one-billiondollar park will bring together characters from DC Comics and Warner Bros. cartoons. There are plans to include 19 rides, multiplex cinemas and the world’s first Warner Bros. hotel, and to increase visitors to Yas Island from 25 million in 2015 to 30 million in 2018. �Taxes: New municipal fees on hotel stays in Abu Dhabi came into force on June 1. The fee amounts to 4% of a guest’s bill for the hotel stay, plus AED 15 per night/ per room.  Tour operators: Etihad Clockwise from left: Diverse attractions range from the Yas Marina Circuit to religious sites to thrilling rollercoaster rides to dune bashing and wildlife spotting (both creatures great and small)


abu dhabi

“The Louvre Abu Dhabi will finally open for business in 2017 with works drawn from civilisations from all around the world”

VOTE NOW! Who should win best Tour Operator to the Middle East?

Holidays ( is offering unlimited free access to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld, plus free transfers to Yas Beach, with all its Yas Island holidays taken before October 31. Agents get 12% commission on all holidays sold when they register at

Perfect five Symbol of a nation: Able to accommodate more than 40,000 worshippers, the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque came second in TripAdvisor’s list of the world’s top 25 landmarks. Get on track: Book clients on a behind-the-scenes tour of Yas Marina Circuit or get them driving the track themselves in an Aston Martin or Mercedes AMG. Star tours: Follow in the footsteps of Han Solo and Chewbacca with a trip into the Empty Quarter where the desert scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens were filmed. Gulf pearls: Cruises through the mangroves in traditional wooden boats teach visitors about Abu Dhabi’s pearl diving history. Clients get to shuck their own oysters and keep any pearls they find.

Tee time: Golfers can choose from six fabulous pay-and-play courses, including the only links course in Arabia, Yas Links.

Tourism talk “We’re thrilled to be welcoming delegates to ABTA’s Travel Convention to Abu Dhabi this October. Hosting the 2016 convention is testament to the great efforts Abu Dhabi has taken to establish itself as a world-leading and progressive hub for tourism, sport and culture. Welcoming the leaders of the UK travel industry is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase our diverse and hospitable home.” Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director of Tourism Sector, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority

Where to book it  ETIHAD HOLIDAYS – 0345 600 8118 A five-night stay at Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi Yas Island costs from £549pp including flights with Etihad Airways, breakfasts, unlimited access to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld and free access and transfers to Yas Beach. Kids stay and eat for free. Valid until October 31 2016.

In a Fabled City, A Serene Oasis Awaits Discover the allure and enchantment of the grand golden-white building. Your senses are bewitched by the hotel's impressive architecture, with its fine Arabic décor and full of warm tones. The hotel is connected by a winding waterway featuring Arabic traditional boats, known as abras.You lie back, utterly relaxed, while the abra slowly meanders throughout the verdant garden scenery. A day like this lingers forever. And it all begins at Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi.

For any enquiries please call (971 2) 509 8630 or email


south florida



Year-round sunshine, beautiful beaches, laid-back islands and pristine national parks, it’s no surprise that Brits are flocking to southern Florida, says Lauren Jarvis


t’s our first meeting and he’s eyeballing me intensely, small, star-like eyes trying to figure me out, wondering what kind of a thing I could possibly be. Inspection complete, I expect my curious companion to move away, but instead he moves in closer, nuzzles my shoulder and I feel wiry whiskers tickling my neck. It’s a bold approach by a stranger, but one that I don’t mind a bit, as the whiskers belong to a baby Florida manatee and this is the cutest animal encounter ever. Even more special is the fact that this is happening in the wild. My new manatee mate hasn’t been trained to perform for tourist selfies, he’s one of the hundreds of wild manatees that find refuge in the year-round balmy waters of Kings Bay in Crystal River. As ocean temperatures drop elsewhere in the world, manatees head to Florida’s Gulf Coast, just like the millions of visitors who come to soak up the winter sun. Crystal River is one of the few places on the planet where humans can interact with these giant, gentle marine mammals Carefully controlled, with no splashing, chasing or (sadly) cuddling allowed, snorkelers float in the water and if the manatees come, they come.

Pictured: Head into the blue from the great beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel

south florida


Unique wildlife experiences like this abound throughout southern Florida – from swimming with wild dolphins in Key West to kayaking with alligators in the Everglades. And as my little buddy finally swims away to join his mum, it’s clear that while the man-made marvels of Orlando undoubtedly create magic, Florida’s natural miracles are also pretty hard to beat.

Beyond the theme parks For many visitors a holiday in Florida means one thing: theme parks. But while Orlando offered thrills and spills to over 66 million tourists in 2015 – it’s now officially the mostvisited destination in the U.S. – the Sunshine State has plenty more delights to discover. South of this entertainment Mecca, Florida reveals its flip-side, with cosmopolitan cities, countless beaches and wonderful wildlife of the real rather than cartoon kind. “South Florida’s an incredibly diverse destination that appeals to a broad range of travellers,” says Julie Lovell, Reservations Manager at Vacations to America. “It really does have it all: fantastic weather, glorious beaches, great dining, superb golf courses, exciting watersports and so much more.” On the eastern Atlantic side, The Palm Beaches offer sun-lovers miles of golden sand and chic coastal cities like Boca Raton. The elegant Palm Beach has gourmet dining and designer boutiques on Worth Avenue, the ‘Rodeo Drive of the East Coast’, while The Flagler Museum displays textiles and paintings in a magnificent Beaux Arts mansion from America’s Gilded Age. Vibrant Miami boasts upscale beach resorts and fantastic nightlife, with South Beach currently booming thanks to the revival of the Art Deco Historic District. Further south, the beautiful coral islets of the Florida Keys provide opportunities to relax, snorkel or kayak the days away, while in quirky Key West every night’s a party.

“The Florida Keys is one of the most popular sunshine destinations in the U.S. Visitors should book early if they plan to travel from December to April” LINDA DIXEY, PRODUCT MANAGER, USAIRTOURS

Luxury and style There’s some wonderful accommodation on offer, too. “From luxury villas to five-star hotels, contemporary condos to cosy apartments, South Florida has something to suit every budget, and standards are generally high,” says Lovell. On the western Gulf of Mexico side, visitors can swim with manatees at Crystal River in the morning and shop for Manolo shoes in super-chic Sarasota in the afternoon, before heading to the awardwinning Siesta Beach for a sundowner. And if a laid-back tropical isle’s their style, the dazzling white-sand barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva, lying just across the bridge from family-friendly Fort Myers, will tick every beach bunny’s box.

MiroMar outlets


voted the Best shopping Mall and Best Factory outlet Mall in southwest Florida over 140 toP Designer anD BranD naMe outlets incluDing saKs FiFth avenue oFF 5th, neiMan Marcus last call, BlooMingDale’s the outlet store


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south florida

An hour’s drive south, upmarket Naples is the place for de luxe boutiques and restaurants, and the gateway to South Florida’s greatest treasure, the Everglades National Park. Who needs a roller coaster when there’s the largest sub-tropical wilderness in the U.S. to explore?

Perfect ten

“South Florida is perfect for winter sunshine. Suggest customers travel in November or early December for lower hotel rates” CATH PUSEY, PRODUCT DIRECTOR AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT

Ocean safari: Dive in and explore the only living coral barrier reef in the continental U.S. at Biscayne National Park, south of Miami. And spot turtles, dolphins and rays, plus six shipwrecks, along the Maritime Heritage Trail. Island life: Cycle through Sanibel’s birding paradise, the J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Reserve, then collect seashells on the sandy beaches of neighbouring Captiva. Wet and wild: Stomp through a swamp in the Big Cypress National Preserve, part of the larger Everglades ecosystem and home to alligators, black bears and the Florida panther. Shop ’til you drop: Indulge in some retail therapy at Miromar Outlets in Estero. With over 140 designer and brand-name outlets it is one of southern Florida’s best malls.

Sleep over with the stars: South Florida is home to some super-stylish hotels. Follow in the fancy footsteps of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Bill Clinton, Judy Garland and Liberace with a stay at The Colony, a Palm Beach favourite for over 60 years. Take a hike: Walk a section of the Scenic Trail around Lake Okeechobee, ‘Florida’s In-land Sea’, and your clients could see manatees, bobcats and deer.



Why Alamo’s the No.1 for USA car hire: l U p to 30% off fully inclusive packages for Travel Industry professionals l O n-airport locations & award-winning customer service l No hidden extras or credit card fees l Free 24 hour roadside assistance l No cancellation charge

Get inspired: Terms & Conditions: Travel Industry Staff ID will be required at time of rental to qualify for the discount and the rental does not qualify for frequent flyer programmes or cashback schemes. Examples of Travel Industry ID include Company ID card, business card, letter of employment or payslip. Standard rental terms and conditions apply. Full T&Cs found at ©2016 Alamo Rent-A-Car. All rights reserved 17-UR001

south florida


Culture quest: Stroll through Sarasota’s Ringling Museum of Art and roll up for the Circus Museum before browsing downtown. Time for tee: Get into the swing of things Florida-style, with a round of golf on one of the state’s championship courses. Hit the gas: For an iconic road trip sell the Overseas Highway (Miami to Key West) in a Mustang convertible. Sail into the sunset: Cruise the backwaters of Fort Lauderdale, the ‘Venice of America’, on a Riverfront Gondola Tour.

Facing page: Expect romantic sunsets on Marco Island; catch of the day in Mallory Square, Key West. This page from top: Sandhill crane in Myakka State Park; kayaking in Sarasota


Gale Boutique Hotel late this year. Fort Lauderdale’s TRYP Maritime by Wyndham ( is scheduled to open in March 2017. Le Méridien Dania Beach ( at Fort Lauderdale Airport opens in September 2017. Four Points by Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port will be open in January 2017, followed by Four Points by Sheraton Miami Airport in April ( Opened in February, the stylish Aloft ( is the first 100+-room hotel in downtown Sarasota. Aloft Miami Airport will open in December, Aloft Coral What’s new Gables will open in April 2017 and Aloft  Resorts: The contemporary 183-room Hyatt Aventura will open in December 2017. House Naples/Fifth The Westin Sarasota ( opens Avenue ( com) opened in downtown in April 2017 and “Encourage clients to Naples in March. The Westin Daytona combine Orlando with other Beach Resort & Spa A new 99-room hotel has been built at Florida areas such as Miami, opens in July 2017. the Seminole Casino Playa Largo Resort Naples, Marco Island, Sanibel Hotel Immokalee & Spa (, the or the Florida Keys” (seminoleimmokaleecasino. first new-build resort JULIE LOVELL, RESERVATIONS MANAGER com) near Naples. to open in Key Largo VACATIONS TO AMERICA W Miami in 21 years, will open ( in late summer 2016. opened in downtown in June.  Attractions/ The stylish East hotel ( has opened Activities: The world’s first underwater art gallery in the heart of Miami’s Brickell District. has opened off Greater Fort Lauderdale (sun-ny. Marriott’s Residence Inn Miami Airport West/Doral org), based around the sunken tanker, Lady Luck. ( will open this month (September). Everglades Area Tours (evergladesareatours. com) now offer multi-day Base Camp Kayak The Plymouth ( Miami Beach has undergone a glamorous transformation Tours, with campsites on the beaches and will be opening its doors in October. within the Everglades National Park. Hotel Miami Northeast ( All In Watersports ( has opened com) opens in February 2017. in Islamorada, offering a five-hour all-inclusive Fort Lauderdale is the location of the ‘Day of Fun’ from Smugglers Cove Resort. new 3014-bedroom Melia Costa Hollywood  Travel: The Hertz Gold Plus Rewards (hertz. programme offers member discounts, Beach ( resort. The Escape Hotel ( at Fort free additional drivers and no queuing Lauderdale Beach will reopen as the luxurious when collecting the car from any of

The MANTA RAY INN is a home away from home! With one- and two-bedroom oceanfront apartments, this charming inn offers panoramic views of South Florida's best sandy beach Recommended by Fodor’s - winner of the acclaimed White Glove Award and Number one on TripAdvisor

1715 S. SURF RD, HOLLYWOOD, FL 33019 | T: 001 954 921 9666 | F: 001 954 929 8220 | E: INFO@MANTARAYINN.COM

the 300+ locations across Florida. Brightline (, a new express train service, will launch in mid-2017, connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Direct Ferries ( is working with Balearia Caribbean to offer seven sail-ings a week from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. From £95.99pp.

Tourism talk “The UK remains the largest overseas market to Florida and the Sunshine State welcomed 1.7 million UK visitors in 2015, up 5% on the previous year. The trend for 2016 is up, and 2017 was also looking good until the Brexit result, so we’ll see what happens next. “The glorious year-round weather, language, great value, and diversity of accommodation, destinations and attractions are all huge draws for Brits, while the availability of direct flights from the UK also appeals to travellers. “Home to some of America’s best beaches and great shopping and dining, southern Florida is the perfect multi-generational destination, while couples love the vibrancy of Miami and romance of the Florida Keys, also popular with LGBT travellers. “Our weekly e-newsletter, Florida Friday, is a helpful tool for operators and agents, and we’re also launching our VISIT FLORIDA Expert e-learning programme to the trade this September.” Sue Marshall, Account Director, Visit Florida

Where to book it �AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT – 020 8742 8299 A 10-night fly-drive to Florida’s Gulf Coast is from £1,409pp including flights from Gatwick to Tampa, car hire and accommodation along the route. �USAIRTOURS – 08000 350 149

A seven-night break in the Florida Keys is from £1,039pp (room-only) with return flights from Heathrow to Miami and fully-inclusive car hire.

Above: Clear, warm waters make diving a key drawcard

WHO FLIES THERE;; thomascookairlines.;

my cruise experience


The Vikings are


Viking has pushed the boat out with its new ocean cruiser, suggests Alan Orbell, who joined agents on a taster cruise The luxurious 930-guest Viking Sea, the second of three identical vessels, took to the seas earlier this year before spending the summer months in Scandinavian and Baltic waters.



The 47,800-ton ship is ideal for clients wanting to discover destinations and spend fewer days at sea, says Neil Barclay, Viking’s Head of Sales. “Of course, there are opportunities to relax on board, spend time in the LivNordic Spa and enjoy the restaurants, snack outlets, lounges and bars,” he added. “We have made as much as possible all-inclusive, but what’s not included is very affordable. There’s been no ‘nickel and diming’”. For example, no corkage is charged if passengers take their own wine on board.


�Viking’s inclusive package extends to return scheduled flights from the UK, a guided excursion in almost every port, all meals (plus wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner), free use of the ship’s spa facilities, 24-hour room service and free wifi. But It was the impressive spa facilities – including a Snow Grotto – that appealed to several of the agents on my two-night taster cruise from Lisbon to A Coruna in Spain.


�Yvonne Wintour, Assistant Manager of


�“The ship is absolutely wonderful, very

well appointed and so much thought has gone into its construction,” said Hannah Burford, Managing Partner of Travelworld in Exmouth. “I like Viking Sea because it’s a bit more individual, personal and informal than other luxury cruise lines.” Hannah’s colleague, Senior Travel Consultant Yvonne Bickley, added: “It never felt busy and was always peaceful and relaxing. I liked the extra touches in the cabins – plugs by the bed, different compartments for jewellery under the dressing table, wardrobe lights and the automatic hand sanitisers outside the restaurants.” She added: “All staterooms are spacious, extremely well appointed and include a king-size bed. There’s a verandah designed for two.”


Connoisseur Travel in Edinburgh, thought both the spa and the onboard food were ‘fantastic’.

“The ship offers so much space and it has never felt busy... there’s clearly been a lot of attention to detail,” she said. The ship is being marketed as four-star/fourstar-plus but Yvonne feels she’ll place it as a fivestar. “All the state rooms have verandahs (there are five categories plus 14 Explorer Suites) and I like the informality and relaxed feel of the ship. The décor is very subtle and I have a lot of clients who’d enjoy this.” “Viking Sea doesn’t have the glitz or glamour but I’d call it a five-star ship,” agreed Sean Goodwin, Branch Manager of Hays Travel in Westbourne. “It would certainly appeal to clients if I can get them to fly from Gatwick or Heathrow.”


�Dining and drinking venues are plentiful. The heart of the ship is the ‘Living Room’, a place to take coffee or a drink from the bar with its numerous seating areas and where a pianist, guitarist or string quartet entertains. The theatre has talks and entertainment while The Torshavn has cabaret and dancing. Movies are shown under the stars. The Explorers’ Lounge and Mamsen’s Norwegian-style gourmet deli offer sweeping views through double-height windows. The Wintergarden is the place for clients to enjoy afternoon tea. Fine dining is available in The Restaurant with the World Café serving international and regional options while intimate dining is on offer at The Chef’s Table with a multi-course tasting menu and wine pairings. Manfredi’s is the Viking Sea’s taste of Italy. Finally, The Kitchen Table focuses on regional dishes from market to table – guests can go to the local market with the executive chef and eat their purchases for dinner. VIKING OFFERS – 0800 298 9700 An eight-day Secrets of the Southern Mediterranean cruise is from £1,790 and includes five guided tours across five countries. Starting in Rome, the cruise also visits Malta’s capital Valletta, the North African cities of Tunis and Algiers and Valencia in Spain. Departure is on January 15, 2017. SAMPLE PACKAGE

Inspiration. Incentives. Bookings September 2016


New properties to open in Macao HOTELS

Quick Quiz Are you a Gambia Guru?

1. The Gambia is home to 500 species of bird TRUE / FALSE

Hot News

2. The nickname for the country is 'The grinning coast of Africa'

Make a date with Jamaica

Namibia's winners know it all

THE JAMAICA Tourist Board (JTB) will host its first UK Jamaica Travel Market on September 29-30. The interactive workshop will take place at the Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa, in Bedfordshire. In a fun and engaging format the agents event will aim to highlight the destination's selling potential prior to a summer BBQ and the chance to network with Jamaica suppliers. Secure your place by emailing: mail@visitjamaica. com;


Answers: 1: True 2: False

Boucan Caribbean Travel Guru Cayman islands Chile England The Gambia – NEW Grenada


Jamaica I Modules: 2

COURSES Anguilla Antigua & Barbuda Aruba Barbados Belmond Botswana

MACAO is looking to raise its profile among agents with the opening of three new properties in the destination by the end of this year. The Roosevelt Macau Hotel, The 13 and Legend Palace Hotel extend accommodation options in Macao and join other newcomers, The Parisian Macao and Wynn Palace, which opened earlier this year. Just 40 miles from Hong Kong, Macao is one of the region’s fastestgrowing and most exciting destinations and makes a perfect two- or three-night addition to a Far East holiday or an extended stopover.

Guadeloupe Hotel Extras Jamaica Jewel Resorts – NEW Kenya Las Vegas Macao

Malaysia Miami Namibia – NEW Nassau Norway Norwegian Cruise Line Poland

NAMIBIA Tourism has rewarded agents who train on its Namibia Know It All programme with an Amazon Kindle eReader and £50 worth of Love2Shop vouchers. Seven runners up also won a lower-spec Kindle, £30 worth of Love2Shop vouchers and a crate of Windhoek lager (all the way from Namibia). Congratulations to Michael Gurrey, Danielle Clews, Jessica Flitter, David Convery, Ann Roberts, Diane Burnage, Lizzie Adamson-Brown and Andrew West. All of whom won a prize.

Qatar Samoa Selling Cruising Seychelles St Kitts Tenerife Thailand

The Crane Trinidad & Tobago Tunisia

Destinations • Cruise • Tour Operators • Hotels & Resorts • Rail

Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

Top rewards for top Jamaica agents



JAMAICA Tourist Board (JTB) is offering agents the chance to earn a fam trip place through its White Affair incentive. Top-selling agents will join the fam trip and training conference to enjoy first-hand stunning beaches, mountains, luxury accommodation and world-class hospitality. To be in with a chance of joining the trip agents should log their bookings, as only the best sellers will earn a place on the exclusive trip running at the end of the year.

 Tour Operators

Your incentive

Pre-WTM shows for the Seychelles

Earn with Trinidad and Tobago

 Hotels & Resorts

Learn Trinbago I Modules: 6


EARN! A new Trinidad and Tobago incentive running through My Booking Rewards allows agents to earn when they book flights and accommodation to Trinidad and Tobago. The challenge: Agents who book flights to Trinidad earn £10, and then by adding on a stay in Tobago to create a twin-centre holiday they will earn a further £10. Where to earn: Learn more about the appeal of these destinations at: and

AGENTS can meet up with the Seychelles Tourist Office and its partners at four events taking place over the coming months. The first event will be in London on October 31 and will offer a daytime educational session with an official training certificate for attendees. Roadshows will also take place on November 1, 2 and 3 in Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford, and Bath respectively.


 Rail
































FIND: BLENHEIM • TATE • BRONTE • BATH • KEW • TO ENTER: Complete this wordsearch inspired by the England Expert programme and provide us with your details. Send to Selling Travel Magazine, Suffolk House, George St, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1SR.





















EMAIL: ...............................................................................................................................................











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CONGRATULATIONS to Michelle Taylor who won our Wordsearch on the Namibia training programme last month. Now it's your turn!











NAME: ................................................................................................................................................


The prize comes courtesy of Hotel Chocolat. Learn all about the company's beautiful Saint Lucian cocoa plantation hotel, Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, at:

Courses • Articles • Quick Quizzes • Rewards • Prizes



found Paradise

For a long time a luxurious once-in-a-lifetime escape, the Seychelles is now offering more affordable alternatives alongside it’s exclusive beach retreats, says Laura Gelder



he Seychelles manages to maintain more of an aura of mystique compared to its more well-known neighours Mauritius and the Maldives. This exclusivity is what gives the islands such great appeal for honeymooners. And while high-spenders will always be lured by the promise of secluded private island resorts, families are now being attracted by a swathe of value-led accomodation too. Frequent services with Emirates and Etihad from the UK to the Seychelles make the option of a two-centre holiday with Dubai or Abu Dhabi increasingly accessible, but the average length of stay in the Seychelles is a healthy 10.1 nights.

The word paradise is used far too often in travel marketing speak, but the Seychelles certainly aims to protect its natural assets. This year it was found to have the world’s cleanest air by the Environmental Performance Index. The islands are home to the world’s largest population of giant tortoises, some of the rarest species of birds in the world and some of the largest seabird colonies on the planet. It’s the native land of the coco de mer, the largest and heaviest seed in the world, and the first country to protect over half its land with national park and nature reserve status. Seychelles’ 115 coral and granite islands






From left: Six Senses Zil Pasyon; the clock tower in Seychelles’ capital Victoria; meeting a giant tortoise.

are known for their exclusive, often single visitor arrivals compared to the first quarter island luxury resorts. The Seychelles has of 2015. The UK remains an important source always targeted the upper end of the market, market for the Seychelles’ tourism industry – particularly honeymooners but recently, the after all it was a British colony until 1976. islands have tried to drive a less wealthy Tour operators report strong bookings for audience to book a the Seychelles. Gold Seychelles escape. Meda has launched a In today’s travel industry Seychelles Secrets is dedicated Indian Ocean a Seychelles Tourismmini-brochure which people want more than a operated website private plunge pool and butler, has specially-selected which has details of deals for the Seychelles. they want to explore, discover small, more affordable Currently, the and create memories that will Seychelles Tourism properties such as last a lifetime and that’s exactly Board and Seychelles guest houses, villas, self-catering chalets what Alphonse Island offers” government is and small hotels pushing a strong KEITH ROSE INNES, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ALPHONSE ISLAND which might appeal sustainability agenda, to families or couples with new goals for on a budget. With the the conservation and strength of the pound uncertain this could sustainable use of the islands surrounding be a valuable source of accommodation for sea and natural resources. savvy agents willing to package creatively. The country has plans to limit the The Seychelles relies on tourism for over number of tourist beds per island so 20% of its GDP. A total of 73,262 visitors it can retain its ‘authentic ambiance arrived in the islands during the first quarter and environmentally-friendly feel.’ of 2016, representing an 11% increase in The Seychelles has also implemented

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Discover the Seychelles with the elegant all-suite boutique yacht Crystal Esprit™ which is redefining the luxury yachting experience for curious, adventure-seeking travellers.



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E X C LU S I V E D E E P E N S YO U R S E N S E O F A DV E N T U R E Untitled-1 1

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The ball rises in to the air, with the azure sky and turquoise sea providing the perfect backdrop. It’s a magical moment. Next it rolls towards the hole - Eagle! You will always remember these golf course gems, designed to perfection in the Indian Ocean.





the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL), an eco-tourism management and certification programme designed specifically for use by Seychelles hotels. Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa has already been awarded the SSTL, for everything from its efforts to recycle, to its rules on only growing local plants on the island.


whale sharks, plus warm and clear water make the Seychelles a great scuba diving hub. Life’s a beach: There are plenty in the Seychelles you won’t have to share! The most famous white-sand strip is Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue. Its dazzling powder-soft sand is protected with dramatic boulders and lapped by turquoise water. Get to the heart of it: World HeritagePerfect ten listed Vallée de Mai is one of two places in Amongst the world where the giants: Meet the rare coco de mer palm islands’ oldest residents, grows in its natural “Carnaval International de the giant tortoises. Visit Victoria has come to be known state (the other is Aldabra Atoll where nearby Curieuse Island). as ‘The Carnival of Carnivals’. Twitcher’s over 100,000 of them Held every April in Victoria it heaven: The roam, very slowly, Seychelles is a birding amongst 400 endemic invites the countries of the species and subspecies world to showcase themselves hot spot. Watch out for the endemic Seychelles of flora and fauna. and celebrate their unique Shop ‘til you bulbul, the blue pigeon, cultures side by side” drop in the Seychelles warbler SCOTT MCDONOUGH, PR MEDIACO (REPRESENTING Victoria: Mahé, the and the endangered SEYCHELLES TOURISM BOARD) capital, offers botanical black parrot. Hole-in-one: gardens, tea plantations The Constance Lemuria Resort is home and local markets full of flavour and colour to a championship par 70 18-hole golf course, – great for buying some local produce like lying on north-west coast of of Praslin vanilla and spices. Local flavour: Seychellois Creole Pampered in paradise: There are some cuisine is influenced by African, Chinese, sumptuous spas in the Seychelles, with French and Indian traditions, with frgarant therapies incorporating local ingredients like spices, chillies, coconut milk and breadfruit all vanilla and coco de mer. staple ingredients. Fresh fish is often the order of the day. Trek to the top: It’s a 2,700-foot hike up Morne Seychellois, Mahe’s tallest peak. For an easier introduction, the Morne Seychellois National Park has many trails through luxuriant jungle and it’s just 45 minutes to the summit of Morne Blanc, with spectacular views of the surrounding area. Sub-aquatic fun: Vibrant reefs, canyon-like terrain, exciting shipwrecks, granite outcrops and colourful coral gardens hiding everything from juvenile fish to giant

Clockwise from top left: a Hindu temple in Victoria; Intendance beach in southern Mahé; La Digue at sunset; a colourful parrot fish









Sailing the most beautiful archipelago on earth

IT HAS OFTEN BEEN SAID THAT GOD DESIGNED SEYCHELLES WITH THE SAILOR IN MIND AND THERE IS CERTAINLY NO BETTER WAY TO EXPLORE THE SEYCHELLES ISLANDS THAN BY CRUISING YEAR-ROUND IN CRYSTAL WATERS OUTSIDE THE CYCLONE BELT. Today, more than ever, the Seychelles archipelago’s 115 sparkling islands offer a refreshing new cruising horizon for yachts and a reassuring world of safety, diversity and purity that is a far cry from overcrowded and over-commercialised destinations elsewhere. Good moorings and easy sailing distances between the main islands facilitate the discovery of a wide selection of islands and secluded bays while the pristine atolls and virgin waters of the ‘Outer Islands’ offer a last frontier of adventure together with extraordinary opportunities for snorkelling, diving and fishing in places where few have gone before. Seychelles remains, quite literally, a ‘breath of fresh air’ and a powerful antidote to the stresses and strains of modern living. Its long-standing

Images: © Gerard Larose

reputation for stability and social harmony make for a friendly society in which the visitor will instantly feel welcome and secure. Seychelles is already home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the fabulous ‘Vallée de Mai’ on the island of Praslin and ‘Aldabra’, the largest raised coral atoll on earth. The islands also provide spectacular opportunities for safe swimming, snorkelling and diving in warm, crystal waters fringing beaches of powder-soft sand, framed by age-old granite boulders and lush palm forests. Seychelles has long been recognised as the jewel in the Indian Ocean’s crown, and represents a last exotic frontier for vessels wishing to escape the congestion and convention of the more common ports of call. An unsurpassable sailing experience for today’s discerning traveller, Seychelles truly remains a jewel in the crown of the Indian Ocean. BY G.S. BURRIDGE

Seychelles Tourist Office - UK & Ireland 4th Floor, 130-132 Buckingham Palace Road SW1W 9SA Tel: +44 (0) 207 730 0700 · ·







What’s new? for the Island’s tortoises and turtles. Children  Accommodation: Alphonse Island Seychelles under the age of 17 stay for free at North Island. ( has undertaken a significant Six Senses Zil Pasyon ( will open refurbishment of its 22 beach bungalows and on Félicité this month (September) with 28 onefive beach villas. Set on the only inhabited island and two-bedroom villas, all with private pools. in the Seychelles’ most remote island group and Prices start from €1200 (£64) a night B&B. famous for its fly fishing, the resort has taken The luxury Constance Lemuria Resort steps to transform its appeal to the luxury sector, ( on Praslin is undergoing an $11-million including updating renovation that is the beach bar and due to be completed restaurant. Alphonse “Visitors flock to the island Island is hoping paradise for its white sands, by November.  Airlines: Turkish to attract families crystal-clear waters, lush Airlines (turkishairlines. as well as couples tropical scenery, the warmth com) is to launch a and honeymooners and hospitality of the new three-timesand has added a range of activities Seychellois people and a rich weekly service to the Seychelles, from October including snorkelling, biodiversity” 31, 2016. Seychelles diving and nature SCOTT MCDONOUGH, PR MEDIACO (REPRESENTING will be the third conservation walks SEYCHELLES TOURISM BOARD) island in the Vanilla to the uninhabited islands group to be neighbouring served by Turkish, following the success of islands of Bijoutier and St Francois. operations in Mauritius and Madagascar. The resort re-opens on October 1. Seychelles’ Minister for Foreign Affairs North Island, Seychelles (, has introduced a range of new activities to its Beach and Transport, Joel Morgan, aims to increase Buddy programme for children, who can now direct non-stop Air Seychelles flights search for buried pirate treasure, learn to scuba between the islands and Paris from three dive or join the Environmental Team looking to a possible five or seven flights a week. Tourism talk “Seychelles will always be at the top of the list for travellers seeking to escape to a paradise of warmth, colour and unspoiled beauty. Accordingly, the STB is fully focused on improving tourism in the Seychelles even more, while preserving its natural beauty – from its gorgeous beaches and deep-blue waters to the abundant biodiversity and endemic wildlife that call it home. “One of the Seychelles’ key selling points is its natural beauty, which sells itself. The country is commonly ranked as having the world’s best beaches by international news outlets, including

VOTE NOW! Where’s your favourite destination for beach?

Clockwise from top left: Killer views on the Anse Major Trail; a traditional ox cart; the white sands of Denis Island; diving with spotted sting rays



EARLY BOOKING OFFER Book 60 days prior to arrival and receive discounted room rates Valid for stays between 01 Sept – 24 Dec 16 and 17 Apr – 24 Dec 17 RATES NOW AVAILABLE UP TO APRIL 2018


EARLY BOOKING OFFER Book 45 days prior to arrival and receive 15% Discount on room rates PLUS FREE NIGHTS STAY 7 PAY 6 / STAY 14 PAY 12 Both Offers combinable Valid for stays from 01 Nov 16 – 31 Oct 17 CNN and The Guardian, and it is regarded by many as one of the most beautiful places on earth. Every year visitors flock to the island paradise for its white sands, crystal-clear waters, lush tropical scenery, the warmth and hospitality of the Seychellois people and a rich biodiversity. Scott McDonough, PR MEDIACO (representing Seychelles Tourism Board)

THE RESIDENCE MALDIVES Book by 10 Nov 16 and receive: HEAVILY REDUCED RATES PLUS COMPLIMENTARY ROOM UPGRADE – Beach Villa to Water Villa Valid for stays beween now – 21 Mar 17 Combinable with FREE NIGHTS : STAY 7 PAY 5 Valid for stays between now – 21 Dec 16 and 01 Apr – 21 Dec 17

Where to book it  ABERCROMBIE & KENT – 01242 547 760 Stay for seven nights and pay for six at North Island, Seychelles. Prices from £7,125pp, based on a family of four, with two children 16 years of age or below, staying in Villa 10 on a fully-inclusive basis. The price includes international flights and helicopter transfers, a 60-minute spa massage per person for stays of seven nights or more, villa upgrade at check-in (subject to availability) and welcome champagne in the villa.


Book by 30 Sept 16 and receive – Discounted Rates – Valid for stays between 01 Oct – 23 Dec 16 PLUS – EXTENSIVE HONEYMOON ADDED VALUE OFFERS 2017 – Book 90 days prior and receive 15% Discount on room rates! Valid for stays between 24 Dec 16 – 09 Jan 18  GOLD MEDAL – 0800 0224 182

Seven nights half-board (free, as part of an offer) at Constance Ephelia is from £1,199pp. The package includes a Junior Suite and return flights with Etihad Airways from Heathrow. The deal is valid for departures between May 15 and June 6, 2017.


 JUST SEYCHELLES – 01342 547 001 The specialist has a reopening offer and an early booking discount of up to 40% for Constance Lemuria Seychelles. Seven nights’ B&B is from £2089pp, staying in a junior suite between November 16 and December 22. The price also includes flights from London, inter-island flights and private car transfers.


Anse Coco Beach 

Terms & Conditions Apply OE-July.indd 1

25/08/2016 11:05


flow Go with the

With castles, gorges, medieval villages, vine-clad slopes and cities such as Frankfurt, Koblenz and Cologne, ‘Romantic Germany’ makes the perfect short break, says Jeannine Williamson


icture postcard manufacturers are spoilt for choice in Germany’s RhinelandPalatinate region, better-known by its nickname Romantic Germany. With more than 500 fairytale castles and palaces, charming half-timbered medieval houses and Europe’s longest river running through its heart, it’s a photographer’s dream. Add eight nature parks, and UNESCO heritage sites such as Roman Trier - Germany’s oldest city - to the mix, not forgetting some of Germany’s best wine and popular Bitburger beer, and it’s the perfect recipe for a destination with a far-reaching appeal. Located around the Rhine and Moselle rivers, Germany’s westernmost state shares its borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. Frankfurt, Cologne-Bonn, Karlsruhe/ Baden-Baden and Luxembourg are among the airline gateways served by scheduled and budget carriers, and for independent travellers the region is easily reached by road and rail.

Cultural riches Romantic Germany is packed with cultural riches for clients interested in history, architecture, food and wine, along with unspoilt acres of river landscapes and mountainous countryside waiting to be explored by walkers and cyclists. Daring visitors can step out on Germany’s longest rope suspension bridge which opened last year. The breathtaking




1,200ft bridge hangs 300ft above the Geierley canyon, but for visitors who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground, the region has scenic four-mile hiking trails. In Mainz the Gutenberg museum is named after the city’s native son Johannes Gutenberg who invented printing with moveable type. It has examples of his 15th century bibles, early books and printing presses.

Capture the castle

From top: Bars of the old quarter, Rhineland; Kaub Pfalzgarfenstein Castle; and Neustaadt Haardt

cruise season is between April and October, with many lines offering festive cruises that take in Germany’s famous Christmas markets. Agents can also book cruises to coincide with other annual events, such as the Rhine in Flames firework spectaculars held on five dates between May and September, the new Summer Lights of Mainz music, fireworks and laser shows, taking place from July 28 to 30, 2017, or autumn celebrations marking the Riesling grape harvest.

The Rhine has more castles along its length Get active Rhineland-Palatinate is also a fantastic than any other river in the world, and they don’t destination for active clients who enjoy the come much more dramatic than Heidelberg. great outdoors. It has made a name for itself Situated on a rocky hilltop, and built between as a cycling destination, and there are many the 13th and 17th centuries, it’s turbulent past scenic well-marked cycle trails. They include the includes being plundered by the French army. German Wine Route trail, connecting Worms and Marksburg Castle is the only fortress on the Speyer, which is also Middle Rhine to have close to the city of remained unscathed “The Rhineland-Palatinate area Mannheim celebrating by enemy attacks. the 200th anniversary Visitors experience features a treasure trove of the upstairs and hidden gems. It is easy to get to: of the bicycle in 2017. downstairs of castle just 90 minutes by air, four hours Similarly, it’s a hiking paradise with a choice life, from the knight’s by rail and also accessible sailing of long-distance walks, hall and its extensive from Hull and Dover” short walks and loop wine cellar to the trails. They include dungeons with grisly the award-winning instruments of torture. seven-mile Pyrmonter Felsensteig trail with its Koblenz, at the confluence of the Rhine and waterfall and ‘Devil’s Chamber’ cliffs, 68-mile Moselle, is overlooked by the imposing 19th AhrSteig trail, characterised by panoramic views century Ehrenbreitstein hilltop fortress. The of the Ahr Valley and the plains of the Rhine, and best way to get there is on the cable car that the 194-mile Eifelsteig trail running through an runs across the river. Once there, visitors can evolving landscape of volcanic crags and crater enjoy the views from the flag tower and explore lakes, moorlands and flowering meadows. For a multi-media museum relating the history independent clients, several specialist operators of one of the largest strongholds in Europe. offer self-guided biking and hiking tours with River runs through it baggage transferred from hotel to hotel. With an ever-changing scenery of towering And when it’s time to take a rest and ease any castles, sweeping gorges, medieval aching muscles, the German wellness tradition villages and steep vine-clad slopes, means there are plenty of spa hotels offering one the Rhine is Europe’s most popular off treatments or spa packages, such as the Art Nouveau Bellevue Rheinhotel in Boppard, which river for cruising. A highlight is is well situated for walking and cycling tours. the UNESCO-listed Upper Middle Rhine Valley with the enduring legend of the Lorelei rock, a 433ft Where to book it  INNTRAVEL – 01653 617001 slate cliff where a beautiful The seven-night Meanders of the Moselle siren was said to lure passing self-guided walking tour, taking in Trier sailors to their doom. and the Moselsteig footpath is priced Ships moor right in the from £825pp, for departures between centre of towns and villages September 24 and October 9, including and itineraries feature return rail travel, breakfasts, two dinners, beautiful locations along baggage transfers and maps. the lesser-known stretch of the Rhine between Mainz  FRED HOLIDAYS – 0808 250 8175 – the capital of Germany’s The operator offers Christmas market breaks biggest wine-growing to towns in the region such as Koblenz, region, Rheinhessen, Mainz, Bad Neuenahr, celebrating its 200 years’ Trier and Worms. anniversary in 2016 – and  Strasbourg. The main river

Romantic Germany


Christmas is coming so it’s time for surprises! Did you know? The oldest city. The longest rope suspension bridge. The most beautiful hiking trail. The biggest wine-growing region. More than one reason to stay longer in this region! Find out more about it:

Christmas Market, Trier Š Trier Tourismus und Marketing GmbH



Magical fare in Orlando


USA insight for agents

"America Wild: National Parks Adventure takes audiences on the ultimate off-trail adventure into the nation’s awe-inspiring great outdoors and untamed wilderness"

TRAVEL agents and tour operators are invited to a special event on Thursday September 15 to commemorate 100 years of the USA's National Park Service. Insight: USA Travel Showcase, a collaboration between Brand USA, Visit USA (UK) and the U.S. Commercial Service, will take place at the BFI IMAX theatre near Waterloo Station in London. Open to agents, suppliers and destinations of the USA, the event will provide an opportunity for networking and conversation with over 25 Visit USA members and other exhibitors. The evening will also include a private screening of the inspiring new film America Wild: National Parks Adventure, narrated by legendary Hollywood actor Robert Redford. To reserve your place at the event visit In October the Visit USA 2016 Roadshow will be visiting Newcastle/ Gateshead, Bristol and Brighton on October 4, 5 and 6 respectively. To sign up to attend, go to

OVER 90 restaurants have signed up to Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month which kicked off on August 29 and runs until October 2. Threecourse dinners are on offer for $33, an average saving of 33% a meal. The eateries include old favourites and 'hot' new arrivals to Orlando's culinary scene. HOTELS

Caesars is 50 not out CAESARS Palace is celebrating 50 years of welcoming guests to Las Vegas by offering a free, self-guided walking tour. Guests get to see some of the most memorable moments and notable celebrities – such as Donny Osmond and Celine Dion – in the history of the hotel. HOTELS

Hilton heads to Portland HILTON will introduce its Canopy by Hilton brand to Portland, Oregon, in autumn 2017. The new-build property will reside on Gallery Row, in the city's 'Pearl District', once home to abandoned warehouses and rail yards. canopybyhilton

THE USA in brief... SHOPPING CHICAGO'S largest retail centre, Chicago Premium Outlets, has added several new stores this summer. Among the new names making up over 140 spaces are Versace, Forever 21 and Solomon. Other big-brand names to be added before the end of the year include Victoria's Secret, Pink, Geox Breathes, Steve Madden and Bath & Body Works. Chicago Premium Outlets is located 28 miles (around 40 minutes) west of Chicago.

HOTELS EVENT STARWOOD Hotels & Resorts has taken its Aloft brand to Syracuse in Upper New York State. Aloft Syracuse Inner Harbor – a keynote property in the city’s revitalised waterfront area – is a $350million redevelopment with 132 spacious, loft-like rooms that feature SPG Keyless, Starwood’s keyless entry system that enables guests to use their smartphone or Apple Watch as a room key.

AIRLINES TRANSATLANTIC flyers are enjoying a major makeover of British Airways’ aircraft. The airline has given 18 of its Boeing 747s a fresh look, with each Jumbo jet now featuring a redesigned interior and state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system as well as extra seats for customers flying in Club World. U.S. cities served by the revamped jumbos include Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington D.C.

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

MEMBERS SPOTLIGHT introducing... TREKAMERICA'S new 'Plus Tours' include a 22-day cross-country New York to Los Angeles option. The ‘Cities + Soul’ itinerary starts in New York and Washington D.C. (above) before moving on to the southern cities of Asheville, Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. Texas is next up, with Austin and Amarillo on the schedule, while other stops include Monument Valley (complete with a Navajo-guided 4x4 jeep tour of a Reservation), Las Vegas, San Diego and Los Angeles. Tour-only prices start from £2,699pp. There are 13 planned departures in 2017.



Maverick's Jurassic flight MAVERICK Helicopters has a new air and landing tour in Maui, Hawaii. The 75-minute helicopter and rainforest landing excursion along the north coast ventures into remote Hana Rainforest landscape, which has been untouched for decades, and introduces guests to the island’s waterfalls, streams, shorelines and lush vegetation. They will also see Jurassic Rock, which featured in the original Jurassic Park movie, along with views of distant Haleakala, Maui’s dormant volcano; the beach town of Ho’okipa’s north shore, known for its great surfing; Paia, a charming beach town; and the Road to Hana with its scenic sea cliffs, waterfalls and lush vegetation en route. A rainforest landing spot, exclusive to Maverick guests, allows passengers to explore the remote landscape by foot and take in those waterfalls and streams along with wild-growing bananas and coconuts. Hana Rainforest Experience tours leave from Kahului Heliport in Maui and cost $299pp.

HAYES & Jarvis has a seven-night holiday to the Florida Keys from £1,499pp, departing on November 7 2016. The deal, based on two adults travelling, includes a two-night stay at the four-star Hilton Key Largo; a two-night stay at the four-star Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key, and three nights at the four-star Southernmost Beach Resort Key West, all on a room-only basis. Also included are car hire and flights from Heathrow to Miami with Virgin Atlantic.



Killington all downhill ONE of Vermont's leading ski resorts will this winter host the first Women's World Cup Ski event to be held in the eastern states of the USA for 25 years. Killington, one of the largest ski and snowboard destinations in the country, will stage the alpine event from November 26-27. Killington, nicknamed the 'Best of the East' is featured by several UK operators.

EXPERIENCE Kissimmee has signed up with Premier League team West Ham United, becoming the team's official Destination Partner. "With West Ham's move to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford this season the timing could not be better to reach the club's new fan base," said DT Minich, Experience Kissimmee President and CEO. The Florida destination features on LED boards surrounding the playing surface and on two giant indoor digital screens.

What do you hope to gain from your Visit USA membership? The key focus for Idaho in 2016/2017 is to create awareness among the trade, and being part of Visit USA will provide us with the tools to communicate with US specialist agents and operators through direct contact or at Visit USA events. What attributes make Idaho unique among U.S. states? Idaho is second to none with its ideal mix of adventure and relaxation. It has an outstanding amount of wildlife and more than 3,000 miles of white-water rivers. The state is home to the beautiful Hells Canyon – deeper than the Grand Canyon – and the spectacular Shoshone Falls are higher than Niagara Falls! How well does the UK trade know Idaho? Idaho is still an undiscovered destination for many agents and operators. We know that there is room for improvement in this sense and we believe that Visit USA will provide us with the support to achieve our aim of spreading knowledge about Idaho’s wonderful product. Do you have a memorable Idaho experience? This would have to be travelling to the Hells Canyon in a jet boat. The rapids of the Snake River are incredible and make the trip a thrilling experience. I definitely advise any adventure lover to try it!

Subscribe to the Visit USA Association online Travel Update at




high Machu Picchu remains its top draw card but the word is getting out that Peru is no one-trick destination, says Ben Lerwill


n our eighth day in the mountains, the lost city appears in the distance. We’ve just spent a week hiking through the Andes – trekking up to high passes, snaking down to frothing rivers, camping under snow-capped peaks – and our end destination is finally in sight. Washed in golden sunshine and perched on a far-off ledge of land, Machu Picchu is now less than a day’s walk away. The afternoon is still, and the countless green valleys around us are near-silent. We, on the other hand, are suddenly as giddy and excitable as children. I’m one of a group of seven walking the Choquequirao Trail, one of the many ancient hiking routes through the Peruvian Andes. It’s a far longer prospect than the classic three-day Inca Trail and far quieter too – we’ve had a week where the hulking mountains, bamboo forests and star-filled night skies have felt ours and ours alone.

Our trip had begun in the old Incan capital of Cusco, a warm and compact city still packed with sturdy pre-conquest architecture. Chatter and colour filled the streets. Out on the trail, meanwhile, the only signs of other life are hummingbirds zipping through the tree canopy, condors on the high currents and pack-mules trudging slowly up the slopes. It makes the head-rush of Machu Picchu, when it comes, all the more special. Some of the world’s greatest travel icons can underwhelm when they’re seen up close. but Machu Picchu is not among them. On the morning we set foot in the ruins, we watch the first rays of sun strike a temple altar and wander awestruck around the buildings. I must have seen a thousand photos of the site before now, but as rumpled folds of mountains course off to the horizon, it strikes me that none of them capture just how breath-taking the wider setting is.

Broad band Looking at the wider picture is what travel in Peru is all about these days for the South American country is much more than just a one-trick destination. “Machu Picchu still tends to be what hooks in the first-time visitor but travellers soon realise there’s a great diversity of landscapes and experiences that can be added to that for an unforgettable trip”, says Amanda Sweeney, Latin America Product Manager for Rainbow Tours. Interest in the destination has been heightened by the launch earlier this year of new direct British Airways flights between London and fast-evolving capital city, Lima – the first non-stop route from the UK since 1982. And while Peru has traditionally been seen as somewhere ideal for backpackers and active travellers, greater awareness twinned with improvements to its infrastructure mean that it’s now drawing the attention of everyone


“The best time to visit is June to September, when the weather is perfect for hiking. A top tip would be to stop in the Sacred Valley prior to Cusco to acclimatise to the altitude” EMILY UNDERHILL, PRODUCT MANAGER LATIN AMERICA, TRAVEL 2

Opposite page: Magnificent Machu Picchu, the 15th century citadel that is Peru’s top visitor attraction; this page, clockwise from top: floating on Lake Titicaca in the Andes; a traditional fire dance; remote treks are a popular option

from luxury-seekers to serious foodies. It’s hassle free to visit too, with no visas needed. “It has some of the top restaurants in the whole continent,” says Sweeney. “There’s great biodiversity countrywide, and regions such as the Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and the Amazon all offer exciting contrasts to the landscapes and archaeological attractions of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.” Colin Stewart, Director UK, Air Europa, concurs: “Peru is a destination that stimulates each and every one of your senses – what has made it the most attractive destination in Latin America is the quality of its hotels and service.” The country itself is a large one – more than twice the size of France. And while there’s a comprehensive road and bus network – and even a handful of slow but spectacular rail journeys which will soon include the new Belmond Andean Explorer – internal flights are the most efficient way of visiting the nation’s different regions, with all major hubs are within a two-hour flight of Lima. The cultural legacy of the once-mighty Inca Empire, of which Machu Picchu and countless other ruins form a part, is still central to Peru’s magnetism as a tourist destination, but it’s important too to stress how scenically varied the country is, from its dense rainforest to its Pacific beaches. It’s perhaps also incumbent to mention the Zika virus, which has seen a few confirmed cases in Peru over the last few months.

Perfect ten Eat well: Peru’s culinary scene is winning foodie admirers. The citrus-marinated fish known as ceviche is the star of the show, but there are delicious dishes nationwide. Delve into history: The Inca Empire was once the largest of its kind in the Americas, reaching a peak of wealth and glory in the late 1400s. It left a magnificent legacy. Sip a sour: If there’s one drink synonymous with Peru it’s the pisco sour,


which combines the pale local brandy – pisco – with lime juice, syrup and other ingredients. Beach break: Best known for its high mountains and ancient ruins, Peru’s Pacific coastline also has some great powdery beaches. Into the jungle: The Amazon rainforest sprawls across much of South America, with some pristine swathes of wilderness in Peru. The river port of Iquitos is the main Amazon hub for travellers. Bucket list: Peru’s best known attraction is one of the ultimate bucket-list sights – and you don’t need to hike to get there: Machu Picchu can also be reached by coach. Capital attraction: Lima draws few headlines but the Peruvian capital has several selling points, among them some top museums and an excellent food scene. Life on the lake: Lake Titicaca is a great place to explore highland culture. It’s also the birthplace of the sun, according to local belief. Mystery lines: The famous Nazca Lines, enigmatic hieroglyphs carved into the ground some 2,000 years ago, are best viewed on a scenic flight. Active adventure: As well as the hike along the Inca Trail, Peru also has a whole world of outdoor adventure, from surfing and sandboarding to rafting and remote treks.

What’s new  Airlift: British Airways’ ( direct flights from Gatwick to Lima began in May, flying three times weekly (Wednedays, Fridays, Sundays) over the summer months before switching to twice weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) in October. The flight time is around 12 hours 30 minutes. Air Europa has a daily flight to Lima from Gatwick.  Hotel news: The Yavari (, a 150-year-old Victorian British gunboat, now has B&B accommodation on Lake Titicaca. The luxury Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel ( has completed a major refurb, while the remarkable Skylodge Adventure Suites – transparent cliff-side pods fixed 1,000ft above the Sacred Valley – are now being offered by Rainbow Tours (


“Peru is relatively compact and can be easily combined with the neighbouring countries of Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador to ensure a trip of a lifetime” LLOYD BOUTCHER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SUNVIL LATIN AMERICA

 Attractions: Big news for rail fans: the Belmond Andean Explorer (, a luxury high-altitude train journey between Cusco and Lake Titicaca, launches in May 2017. This autumn will see the opening of a cable car to the Incan ruins of Kuelap, dubbed ‘the second Machu Picchu’ ( �Tour operators: Journey Latin America ( has launched a new birdwatching holiday in Peru, taking in the Sacred Valley and an Amazonian national park.  Tourist board: Promperú ( has developed a new travel app to tie in with its ‘Peru, Country of Hidden Treasures’ marketing campaign.

Tourism talk “Last year we launched our ‘Peru: Land Of Hidden Treasures’ campaign, showing all that our country has to offer, and we are already seeing results. The UK is the fourth largest source market of tourists from Europe to Peru, representing 1.8% of all arrivals. In the period from January to May 2016 there were 26,583 arrivals from the UK, a growth of 9% over the same period last year. It’s also one of the markets that spends the most and

Discover Peru with Air Europa Fly daily from London Gatwick to LIMA with further connections to Cuzco, Arequipa and Piura. Baggage allowance 2X23 Kg.

All flights are via Madrid. For more information call: 0871 423 0717 or visit us at:


stays longest in the country. We are aiming to double our tourism numbers by 2021. We will be developing new routes and more infrastructure for high-quality tourism, including new hotels and attractions. The new Kuelap cable car, for example, is a major infrastructure project aiming to boost tourism in the northern regions.” Sandra Doig, Deputy Director of Tourism Promotion, Promperú

Where to book it  GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS– 0800 240 4470 A 14-day ‘Machu Picchu & The Andes’ trip is from £3,695pp, including return flights from London, transfers, hotels and two nights aboard the new Belmond Andean Explorer. Various excursions are also included, among them a Lake Titicaca cruise and a guided tour of Machu Picchu.  TRAVEL 2– 0800 0224 182 A seven-day ‘Wonders of Peru’ independent tour is from £1,929pp, valid for travel until December 12 2016. The package includes return flights from London, six nights’ accommodation, selected meals and shared touring and sightseeing and all transfers. 











the review


T o u r i s m u p D aT e

Cox & Kings highlights Iran

CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organisation

VOTE NOW! for your best Travel Uni Training Programme

WE WANT YOUR VOTES! THE Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is very pleased to have been selected as a finalist in the Travel Uni Training Programme

category of the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards! The CTO would be honoured to win this prestigious award, so please vote for us by visiting the awards site at www.sellingtravel. Voting closes on October 16.

Wilderness on a high


or more at Wilderness Safari

During September the CTO and its partners

camps in Kafue National Park in

will be celebrating Caribbean Month. The

Zambia can claim a complimentary

guesTs staying for three nights

purpose of Caribbean Month is to create

hot air balloon safari with a

greater UK trade and consumer awareness


for the Caribbean region.

CoX & Kings’ new 2017 Middle East

Also in Iran, Heart of Persia aboard

Through partnerships with national

brochure features a programme of

the Golden Eagle is a 14-day, 13-night

Shumba and Busanga bush

tourist offices, travel agents, tour operators,

escorted tours and tailor-made options

luxury train journey. Prices start from

camps, open annually from June 1

airlines, cruise lines, hoteliers and other

to the Middle East, North Africa, Central

£10,795pp (not including flights).

to October 31, are located on an

trade partners with an affiliation with the

Asia and the Arabian Gulf.

Caribbean, we aim to increase winter sales

champagne breakfast. The offer

Riads, Souks & Kasbahs is an eight-

The operator’s group tour to Iran,

day, seven-night tour staying in riads or

Treasures of Persia, will utilise British

boutique hotels throughout Morocco.

During Caribbean Month the CTO and its

Airways’ new direct flight to Tehran,


partners have lots of activities and events

and generate early bookings for 2017.


£1,015pp, highlights

runs until October 31 2016.

exclusive 28,000-hectare private concession in a remote location. Other activities at the camps include guided walking safaris,

which launches this month (September).

include Marrakech, Casablanca, Rabat,



Priced from £2,495pp, and with 10

Fez and the town of Meknes – once

boating. Kafue is known for its and click on

departures in 2017, the 11-day, 10-night

known as the ‘Moroccan Versailles’.

huge concentration of varied

Events, to keep-up-date. These include two

tour includes all Iran’s highlights.

antelope and tree-climbing lions.





Caribbean Agent Training Roadshows, taking




place in Chester on Wednesday September 14 and Birmingham the following evening. Register





Premier expands faraway experiences or

neW tours and excursions have been

guided full day trip to the national


added to Premier Holidays’ Faraway

park – and a three-hour cycling tour

Agents can win some great prizes by

brochure, valid for travel until

through Kyoto’s back streets.

completing the Caribbean Travel Guru online

December 2017. Clients booking a trip

Sri Lanka tours have a new wildlife


( www.

to China can bolt on a visit to see

focus, with Gal Oya National Park and by logging

pandas while those travelling to Japan

added along with a boat safari and a



can sign up for two new excursions:

swimming with elephants experience.


Hakone and Mount Fuji – a self-

programme Caribbean



become a ‘Guru’ during September could win a £50’ Love2Shop voucher and a bottle of Caribbean rum! Contact Ann-Marie Brooks on

neWs To use in BrieF

020 8948 0057 or email abrooks@

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

Celebrate at sandals: Sandals

pitcairn islands: Ocean Marketing

new nassau hotel: The new adults-

Resorts is giving couples celebrating

has been appointed as the UK office

only Warwick Hotel will open next

their wedding anniversary a free

for the Pitcairn Islands. The South

month (October) in Nassau Paradise

night’s stay at any Sandals or Beaches

Pacific Ocean destination is blessed

Island, Bahamas. The four-star resort,

resort. The offer is available for travel

with untouched subtropical island

the first new hotel in Paradise Island

until December 26 2018. To redeem

environments, pristine waters and

since 2007, will feature 250 guest

the free anniversary night, visit sandals.

endemic flora, bird and marine life.

rooms, several restaurants and bars and


a large terrace overlooking the harbour.


upload clients’ marriage certificate.





Untitled-1 1

25/08/2016 07:37

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

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

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

ABTA No.Y6200


the review

Adventures in Nepal

Savings with Great Rail Journeys greaT Rail Journeys’ new Europe, UK & Ireland brochure offers savings





holidays that are booked before


October 31. The promotion applies to over

for the most Agent-Friendly Tour Operator

100 itineraries departing next year, including a new 12-day tour of Switzerland and Lake Como, from £2,495pp.

The trip will take in the scenic Swiss




Grindelwald and perhaps Italy’s most famous lake, on a single

Ethiopian’s quiet route

first-class rail holiday. All tours include the services of

eTHiopian Airlines rolled out its

a UK tour manager, quality hotel

new Airbus A350 XWB on the

accommodation, local guides, a

Heathrow-Addis Ababa route last

programme of excursions and a

month. Ethiopian says the aircraft

large proportion of meals, both in

By CaMerON rOBerTS

hotels and at local restaurants.

aDVenTure travel company Lost Earth

above the magnificent Annapurna. The

service has more spacious seats,



daily non-stop

Solo travellers can also benefit

Adventures has launched a new multi-

tour, aimed at all skill levels and abilities,

wider windows, the lowest-possible

from an early-booking offer, with

activity tour exploring the Seti Gandaki

is available on set departures, or as a

twin-engine noise level, advanced

single supplements waived on

Valley in Nepal.

private expedition if there are six or

air conditioning technology and

more in the group.

full LED mood lighting.

over 20 itineraries in 2017 when

The 15-day trip ‘Yetis Among The Seti’

booked on or before December 9.

trip combines the spectacular scenery of

Prices start from is £1,400pp (land

And the latest HD touchscreen

It gives single travellers savings

the Himalaya with activities like trekking,

only), with one per cent of this going to

personal monitors showcase a

of up to £485pp off the various

white-water rafting, canyoning, abseiling,

Lost Earth Adventure’s charity Share the

wide selection of movies, television

tours included in the offer, such

kayaking, mountain biking, bungee

Load Foundation.

series and audio channels.

as the 12-day Grand Tour of

jumping and paragliding.

Switzerland, from £2,995pp.

The company says there is still

The A350 XWB’s technology also

availability on the November 12 and

improves performance in operation;

houses, markets, temples and hilltop

December 3 2016 departures.

its airframe and simplified systems

villages, and to see the stars and sun rise

optimise fuel burn, and its engines

There’s also the chance to visit tea-

have the lowest carbon dioxide

Saga has new tour to Little Spain

CO2 emissions of any in the wide body category.

saga has a new 15-night Dominican

all-inclusives: Dreams PuntaCana

Michael Yared, Ethiopian Airlines

Discovery group tour. Those who sign

Resort & Spa and Gran Ventana Beach

Country Manager UK, said: “We are

up will learn all about the island’s

Resort. Priced from £2,599pp, the tour

proud to be the only airline in

history – named Hispaniola or ‘Little

departs on November 15, 2016,

Africa operating the ultra-modern



January 3 and 31, February 14, March 7,

Airbus A350. My UK team look

Columbus in 1492 – will taste the

April 27, May 25, June 22, September 7,

forward to showcasing the product

local rum and dance to the music of

October 5 and November 14, 2017.

to our valued customers, industry

merengue. Accommodation is at two

colleagues and partners.’.



neWs To use in BrieF a380 to new York: Etihad Airways is

all-pool resort in morocco: Banyan

Blue Train’s safari option: South

to double its A380 service between Abu

Tree Hotels & Resorts has opened

Africa’s luxury Blue Train has revealed

Dhabi and New York’s John F. Kennedy

Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay, the first all-

times for its one-way departures

International Airport. Beginning June 1

pool villa resort in Morocco. In Tamouda

between Hoedspruit and Pretoria in

2017 the airline will upgrade its second

Bay on the northeast coast, the 92-villa

2017. It will leave Pretoria at 15.00 on

flight between the two destinations to

resort is a 20-minute drive from

March 17, July 7, and August 11, arriving


Tetouan. International visitors can arrive

in Hoedspruit, a gateway to safaris in the

Residence, a three-room suite.

via Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier.

Greater Kruger/Sabi Sands area, at 10.00.


aircraft, which

features The

the review

Peru’s app for agents promperu




agents to download its new Peru Agent Sales Companion. “The app is a fun, dynamic sales companion




designed for agents to enhance their knowledge and improve their sales,”





spokesperson. “They can explore Peru at their own pace, in their own space, through this comprehensive training experience.” The free platform showcases new and shareable content, insider tips, videos, itineraries and brochures. To download the app visit peruagent. com – or scan the below QR code to

access the programme.

THe Mekong Delta and the island of Phu Quoc are the focus of Vietnam’s ‘National Tourism Year 2016’, an initiative from the Vietnamese Government to promote culture and tourism in the region. Known as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, the watery world of the Mekong Delta features both bustling towns and rural idylls. Phu Quoc attracts visitors to its beaches and tropical jungles and is home to several recent new luxury hotels and resorts. Experience Travel Group has a two-week package that includes time in the Mekong Delta and Phu Quoc, priced from £2700pp.



the review

Cosmos sails on oceans and rivers

SIA crosses Atlantic out of Manchester

By laura gelder

Singapore Airlines is to begin

Cosmos Tours & Cruises’ first cruise

services between Manchester and

brochure combines ocean and river

Houston this autumn and start


flying non-stop between Singapore and Manchester.

Teaming up with a number of cruise


lines, including Holland America Line,


MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line,


Avalon Waterways and Croisieurope,


Cosmos has cruises in Europe, Asia and

October 30, with the latter sector

North and South America.








The tour operator has introduced new

between the UK and U.S. It will

rivers to its portfolio, including the Elbe

depart Singapore at 02.35 and

(from Prague to Berlin), and South East

arrive in Manchester at 09.00

Asia’s Irrawaddy and Mekong Rivers.

before taking off again at 10.15 and arriving in Houston at 15.35.

Meeting demand from the growing

“The new Manchester-Houston

‘cruise and stay’ market, a range of new city and land extensions are featured

To satisfy demand for Douro River

made before October 31. Targeting a


under the ‘Enhance Your Experience’

cruises, Cosmos Tours has increased

younger market, a selection of ‘taster’

Airlines’ first ever transatlantic

banner, along with pre-bookable cruise

capacity with cruise line Croisieurope,

cruises has been introduced, with luxury

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adding the five-star MS Miguel Torga for

German cruise line A-ROSA. The four- and


hotels and up, the choice applies to both

the first time.

five-night European river cruises include

45-year history,” said Sheldon





Douro cruises can be combined with

flexible dining, all-inclusive drinks and a



tours of Galicia in Spain and the Oporto

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for Singapore Airlines.

Copenhagen, Dubrovnik, Porto, Seville, St

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upgrades are available on bookings

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the review

Upgrades with Avalon

Weekly updates straight to your inbox! BY BENJAMIN COREN

RIVER cruise line Avalon Waterways

this unique river cruise experience.

is offering stateroom upgrades for

Package prices for next year that

customers making a booking before


September 30 for 2017 departures

include the eight-day Paris to

on any ship in its European fleet.

Normandy cruise, from £1945pp; the-




The free upgrade is worth over

eight day Romantic Rhine cruise, from

£1,100 a person on all European

£1899pp, and the 11-day Legendary

river cruises and enables customer to

Danube cruise, from £2399pp.

enjoy the added benefits of an open-

Avalon’s suite-styled staterooms,

air balcony stateroom for the price of

sized at 200 square feet, are 30%

a deluxe stateroom.

larger than the industry standard and

David Binns, Head of Product at





windows open to transform the

staterooms with panoramic windows

entire room into an open-air balcony.

provide an additional feeling of

Beds in the staterooms face the

freedom, space and comfort, and we

panoramic window, giving guests the

are delighted to offer even more

best views of the passing landscape.

guests the opportunity to experience




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NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF Celebrity’s city break packages:

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Algiers - Where the Med meets the Sahara -


lgeria's many natural, cultural, and historic attributes make it a viable option for those with a sense of adventure, writes Malgorzata Toogood. With a Mediterranean coastline and the Sahara as its desert interior, Algeria is the second-largest country in Africa. Its troubled history, particularly the Civil War of the 1990s, put a halt to any tourism ambitions but currently in place is a government strategy called ‘Horizon 2025’ , which addresses the need for the development of tourism infrastructure, especially hotels. First conquered by the French 200 years ago, Algeria gained its independence from France in 1962 after a hard-fought war, but the French influence lives on in almost every walk of life: French is widely spoken and French perfumes, clothing brands, food – including some wonderful French pastries – abound.

WHITE CITY Driving from Algiers Houari Boumedienne International Airport visitors are greeted by a view of a white city spread across the slopes of Sahel Hills, which descends towards the Bay of Algiers' busy port. You quickly come upon the largest Mosque in Africa and the world's tallest minaret, which rises 265m skywards. The lower, modern part of the city, built by the French, is a pulsating, vibrant place, full of bustling streets, cars, smart restaurants, shops, offices and people going about their daily business. In this part of Algiers you see many colonial buildings decorated with blue-shuttered balconies, steep streets, arcades, passages, parks, squares, boulevards and monuments. The very heart of the capital is set between the Rue Larbi Ben M'hidi and Rue Didouche Mourad.

DRAGON BLOOD TREES Several gems awaits those who love architecture and history: Martyrs' Memorial, monument, commemorating the 'War for Independence'; Palais des Rais, an Ottoman complex of palaces and a fort set directly

on the edge of the sea; Bardo Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography; beautiful Grande Post, a great example of French-designed early 20th-century Moorish architecture; the Boulevard of the Republic; The Ketchaoua Mosque; and Notre Dame d'Afrique, a basilica built in Roman/Byzantine styles with beautiful views of Algiers. The basilica is seen by many as a symbol of tolerance and the inscription on the wall behind the altar reads: "Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and for Muslims". Once you have had enough of the hustle and bustle of modern Algiers make your way to the Jardin d'Essaito. This beautiful green area was established during the first years of the French occupation and is a great place to rest in the shade of the Dragon Blood Trees (above right) and many other stunning plants up to 200 years old. This 12-acre park is considered one of the most important botanical gardens in the world. The old part of the city is dominated by the Casbah, the old fortified Ottoman town and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is split into two parts (Ottoman and French) and slopes down toward the sea.

HIT THE HEIGHTS Wandering through the labyrinth of lanes you come across interesting traditional houses, Ottoman palaces, hammams (traditional baths), mosques dating back to the 1620s, museums and small artisan shops. To visit this part of city, sign up with a guide appointed by a city travel agency or police station. The upper part of the city, often referred to as the 'Heights of Algiers' is more serene than the lower French part and is home to foreign embassies, many ministries and universities. It has quaint neighbourhoods, highwalled white villas, hidden gardens, winding streets, parks and small food markets. Algiers will not be the first place that comes to mind for a Mediterranean beach break, but there are some excellent options close to the city. A 40-minute drive east is the white sandy beach of Ain Taya. On the way you will pass stalls selling freshly-caught fish and colourful pottery. West of Algiers, past fertile fields and vineyards, is another beach town, Tipaza, known for its sandy beaches and Phoenician, Roman, Palaeochristian and Byzantine ruins.



cruising asia & the pacific

waves making

With its intoxicating mix of the ancient and modern, the Asia-Pacific region is a popular choice for those wanting to see a spectrum of destinations on a single cruise, says Jo Austin


sia and the Pacific are two cruise destinations now firmly established as winter alternatives to the traditional Caribbean market – and often they can be combined on the same cruise. The season generally runs from December and March but some cruise lines – many of which are making huge investment in this region – are extending this traditional season to offer year-round itineraries. A multitude of cultures, unspoiled landscapes and amazing colours and flavours all play their part in attracting cruisers enticed to this exotic part of the world by the opportunity to see several countries over the course of one holiday. The region is vast and various with sailing opportunities to Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Japan and the Pacific Islands. Mick Dupont, Crystal Cruises’ Head of Sales for UK & Ireland, says: “Japan sailings continue to see a growth in sales. Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand are also increasing in popularity, particularly with overnight stays in Yangon, Ho Chi Minh City and Phuket providing our guests with the opportunity

cruising asia & the pacific


for greater exploration of the destination.” Whereas passengers can expect sophisticated facilities at the traditional ports of call, they should also be aware that Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma (Myanmar) still have some catching up to do in terms of infrastructure, which can only add to the sense of adventure. Some of the smaller ships do take their passengers into the less-developed ports to give passengers access to more authentic excursions.

Firm favourites Singapore and Hong Kong remain the standout cruise hubs in the region, but the development of harbours in China, Taiwan and South Korea is underway to meet the surge in demand. Passengers can join ships in any one of these areas and some may even choose to start their trip in Sydney or Perth, Australia. Says Andy Harmer, CLIA Europe VP Operations: ‘The number of ocean cruises offered in Asia continues to grow, with an increase of 43% over last year, and 1,560 sailing in 2016. “This year 60 ocean cruise ships will sail in Asia, compared to 43 ships in 2013, so there out of the Chinese market, operators are even are great opportunities for travel agents to tailoring their ships and onboard offering tap into this growing holiday destination.’ entirely to suit their particular tastes. The region has moved on from simply being Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas is the part of a world cruise first cruise ship and several cruise specifically built for companies now base the Chinese with “The South Pacific has been their vessels in Asia for selling increasingly well in the aspects of the foodç entertainment and an extended season. UK over the last 12 months. retail offering Seabourn is about to Tahiti specifically has seen a lot tailored to cater launch Seabourn Encore of interest recently, together for that market. in Singapore before Comments sailing on to Australia, with our Fiji itineraries” Ben Bouldin, and Seabourn Sojourn ELAINE GILLARD, SENIOR SALES & MARKETING MANAGER, PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES Sales Director is also to be based in Royal Caribbean the region. Seabourn International has rolled out 30 new Southeast Asian ports over the past three years. UK & Ireland: “Asia continues to represent a massive opportunity for the cruise industry Norwegian Cruise Lines is returning to and since we began home porting in the area for the first time in 15 years with China in 2008 we have seen our the renovated Norwegian Star operating annual passenger capacity out of Singapore and Hong Kong. increase on average by Ship-shape 65% year-on-year. ” Princess Cruises has announced that 2017 Meanwhile, will see its longest-ever Japan cruise Norwegian Cruise season, with a total of 39 departures. Lines ( has announced the Voyages range from five to 17 nights and appointment of will sail between April and November on the a Chinese artist to 2,700-guest Diamond Princess. Itineraries create custom artwork include famous landmarks such as Mount on the hull of Norwegian Fuji and the abandoned Hashima Island, used Joy, which will home port as the setting for films (including Skyfall). in Shanghai and Beijing. The increase in sailings reflects the fact that Asia is now the second-most popular Diversity draw card destination for Princess Cruises’ UK customers. For cruisers out of the UK the pull of Asia and Multiple other ships are based in the region the Pacific is the diversity of the region and year-round and with the huge surge of interest

Opposite page: Ponant cruises’ ships sail in waters worldwide; Ovation of the Seas was built with future Chinese passengers in mind; Norwegian Joy in open waters; Bora Bora is a popular Pacific destination for cruisers.


cruising asia & the pacific

the opportunity for adventure combined with great onboard service. There is no end of culture and tradition to discover and smaller expedition and adventure ships are playing their part, taking passengers into remote and sometimes untouched areas within the region. Silversea’s Silver Discovery will be the first ever cruise ship to visit Bangladesh when it departs on a 16-day voyage from Sri Lanka to Kolkata, India on February 11, 2017. It will visit remote villages, schools, watch locals weaving and take in an organic tea plantation on its way before sailing across the Bay of Bengal. The festival season is never far away in Asia and Chinese New Year is always a draw. Celebrity Cruises’ Managing Director, Jo Rzymowska is a fan: “I am especially excited about our new Pingxi Lantern Festival cruise which gives guests an unforgettable experience celebrating the Chinese New Year’s first full moon in Taiwan”. The cruise departs from Singapore on Celebrity Millennium in February 2018.

What’s new  Cruising: Paul Gauguin ( is the

Tahiti to all six inhabited Marquesas Islands in the remotest archipelago in the world. Dubbed ‘The Freighter to Paradise’, the Aranui combines comfort with cargo, delivering essential supplies to each port on its itinerary and is welcomed by islanders who view the ship as a lifeline to the outside world. On a larger scale, Oceania Cruises’

longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific and Elaine Gillard, the cruise line’s Senior Sales & Marketing Manager, says: "The South Pacific has been selling increasingly well in the UK over the last 12 months. Tahiti specifically has seen a lot of interest “Japan sailings continue to see a ( recently, together with newest ship Sirena our Fiji itineraries. growth in sales. Myanmar, Diving continues to Vietnam and Thailand are also offers a ‘Sparkling South Pacific’ itinerary be a real draw to the increasing in popularity, from Tahiti taking in region and we do particularly those with overnight the French Polynesia feature PADI dives and stays in Yangon, Ho Chi Minh islands of Moorea, certification onboard." Fakarava, Rangiroa, New voyages City and Phuket ” Huahine, Raiatea for 2017 feature a MICK DUPONT, HEAD OF SALES, UK & IRELAND CRYSTAL CRUISES and Bora Bora. The 16-night Fiji to Bali 10-day cruise departs voyage, departing April January 25 2017 and costs £3,719pp, including 29 2017 from Fiji. It will visit Vanuatu, Solomon flights and four free shore excursions. Islands, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia Ponant ( is featuring seven Pacific with cruise-only prices from £4,173pp. The Aranui 5 ( made its maiden itineraries in 2017/18 aboard small scale, luxury yacht L’Austral. voyage from Tahiti to the Marquesas Islands Sailing among the in the South Pacific at the end of last year. archipelagos and The ship sleeps 254 passengers and will make atolls of Polynesia 17 departures in 2016; the only vessel to and Oceania, the travel the 2,200-mile trip from Papeete in

cruises take in Bora Bora, Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands, Vanuatu, Papua, New Zealand and Australia. Stops include UNESCO World Heritage Sites and shore visits in zodiacs, in the company of naturalist guides, fand will feature encounters with traditional tribes. Princess Cruises ( has five ships sailing the South Pacific and Emerald Princess will be sailing her maiden season in the South Pacific from November 2016.

Perfect Ten Feel the benefit: Silversea is to run a series of wellness expeditions in Micronesia and the Solomon Sea. Silver Discoverer departs on a 14-day voyage from Koror, Palau to Honiara on October 4 2017 offering an on-board rejuvenation programme while exploring some of the world’s most remote places. Fares from £7,950pp. Turning Japanese: Princess Cruises will sail a round-trip out of Japan for seven nights, departing May 6, 2017, calling at Tokyo (Yokohama), Nagoya, Nagasaki, Busan in South Korea, Kagoshima and Kobe. Prices start from £859pp (based on two people sharing an inside stateroom). Nice and spicy: Azamara has a 13-night Spice Route voyage, departing

cruising asia & the pacific


VOTE NOW! Vote for your favourite Ocean Cruise Operator! April 9 2017 on Azamara Journey, sailing from Singapore to Mumbai via Kuala Lumpur, Phuket, Colombo, Kochi and Goa. Pices from £2,309pp.

Grand symphony: Crystal Symphony’s 99-night Grand Pacific Explorer from Melbourne to Tokyo departs January 5 2017. It will take guests through the Fjords of Kiwiland, the tribal cultures of Papua New Guinea, temples in Indonesia and Buddhas in Thailand and Vietnam. The cruise comprises seven segments, but guests can also book the entire Grand Cruise for £20,006pp. Overnight sensations: Holland America’s elegant Volendam and Zaandam follow several itineraries in Asia and the Pacific with a guarantee of no port repetition. The cruises feature several overnight stay options in Beijing, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney.

Big ovation: Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas sets sail from Hong Kong on November 14 2017 for a nine-day cruise via China, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam and finally to Singapore. It costs £2,036pp (two sharing an Ocean View stateroom). Europa exit: Hapag-Lloyd’s awardwinning, luxury vessel Europa 2 is operating three voyages in Asia (limited space remains). Departing April 3 2017 for 14 nights, a Singapore to Colombo cruise costs from £6,375pp, visiting Phuket, Havelock Island, Rangoon and Chennai. Typically tropical: Fred. Olsen’s Black Watch sails on a 33-night ‘Temples, Tombs & Tropical Islands’ fly-cruise from Singapore March 19 2017, returning to Southampton on April 21 2017. Ports of call include Kuala Lumpur, Phuket, Colombo, Maldives, Oman and Malta. Prices start from £3,999pp. Water based: Star Clipper returns to the Far East for the first time since March

2010. Departing December 8 2016, a 14 night sailing from Phuket calls into islands only accessible by water including Ko Butang, Ko Adan, Ko Rok, Nok Phang, Nga Bay and the Similan Islands The sailing costs from £2399pp including return flights. Monkey business: Regent Seven Seas is being sold through A&K for a cruise through Asia departing Hong Kong February 20 2016. It will sail through the Mekong Delta and feature stops to see the orangutans of Borneo, Borocay Island and the Buddhist monastery in the mountains of Fokuangshan, Taiwan. Fifteen nights fare priced from £6,250pp, including flights.;

Where to book

“I am especially excited about our new Pingxi Lantern Festival cruise which gives guests an unforgettable experience celebrating the Chinese New Year’s first full moon in Taiwan” JO RZYMOWSKA, MANAGING DIRECTOR CELEBRITY CRUISES

 CELEBRITY CRUISES – 0800 441 4054 The 14-night Pingxi Lantern Festival fly/cruise, on Celebrity Millennium, is from £2,551pp, departing February 18, 2018. Includes return flights from London Heathrow to Singapore and will call at Ko Samui, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh Hue Danang Hanoi and Taipei (returning to Hong Kong).  SILVERSEA CRUISES – 0844 251 0837 Discover remote villages, visit local schools and watch locals weave authentic fabrics on this inaugural Silversea expedition to Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal. Silver Discoverer departs on a 16-day voyage from Colombo to Kolkata on February 11 2017. From £11,350pp.

 PRINCESS CRUISES – 0843 374 2401

Emerald Princess departs November 28 2016 through Fiji and the South Pacific out of Sydney, Australia. It will visit Mare, New Caledonia, and several ports in and around Fiji. Prices start from £1,348pp. 

Opposite page: Vietnam is a must-see cruise stop; Ponant Cruises’ passengers experience a luxury lifestyle; Borneo is an Asian destination with a twist. This page: Milford Sound in New Zealand is hard to beat when it comes to scenery; the bright lights of Singapore.


hong kong

special something

Always exhilarating and with an ever-expanding range of experiences, Hong Kong offers so much more than a stopover option, says Adam Coulter


’m standing on a rocky outcrop, wind and mists whistling past; below me a valley thick with jungle; above, Lan Tau Peak and inbetween mountainous terrain. It is hard to believe just a few miles away lies one of the most densely populated places on earth: Hong Kong Island. I’d taken the ferry across (30 minutes from the mainland) after a few days among the hustle and bustle of downtown Hong Kong, with three aims: to see the huge bronze Buddha (once the largest outdoor seated Buddha in the world); to climb the peak – the second highest in all of Hong Kong’s islands – and to treat myself to a fresh fish supper at the floating market. Lan Tau is the largest of the islands that make up Hong Kong, yet is the least densely inhabited, despite two massive developments: Chep Lap Kok International Airport and Disneyland Hong Kong. It’s densely forested but easily accessible so, after admiring the Buddha, I set off along a section of the Lantau Trail, which is signposted from the Buddha. It takes me

through stunning natural scenery, thick jungle and stone steps which look as if they have been carved into the hillside but are natural. The weather in February is variable, and although I had hoped for clear views I see little but mist. I pass the summit (some three kilometres up), then head down towards the fishing village of Tai O, famous for its houses on stilts in the sea and its abundance of fresh fish. After a bit of pointing, I order a grouper cooked in soy sauce and chilli and a cold Tsing Tao beer. It is the best meal I have had during my time in Hong Kong.

Island nation Although many people think of Hong Kong as a single, hectic, island it is in fact made up of more than 200 islands – many of which are sparsely-populated – and two sections of mainland: Kowloon and the New Territories. A Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate, which means

it gets hot and humid in the summer and is prone to monsoons, but winter months are mild and a pleasant time to visit. Most visitors will spend four or five days in Hong Kong, often on the way to Australia or other destinations in the Far East. But there’s a wealth of things to do, and island highlights include taking a tram to the top of the Peak, hopping onto the iconic Star Ferry across the harbour to Kowloon, and exploring the Central business district. Hong Kong is a crazy, frantic, and exhilarating place and after a few days many visitors feel the need to discover some of the out-lying islands. One option is to visit another former European colony, run by the Portuguese from the mid-16th century until 1999: Macao. Macao is a complete contrast to Hong Kong, part UNESCO World Heritage Site and part gambling Mecca. Beth Greenall, Product & Marketing Executive at Premier Holidays, says: “Combining Hong Kong with Macao is a fantastic way to add variety to a holiday package for clients who’ve

hong kong

been to the area before. It’s easily accessible with ferry options from the harbour and the airport so you can easily incorporate a transfer to Macao with other travel arrangements. “I recommend adding a one- or twonight stay so clients can really feel the contrast between Macao and Hong Kong.” Hong Kong is one of the easiest (and cheapest) cities to get around, with a huge number of public transport options. The best known is the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), 10 lines that connect the whole of the area. Taxis are metered and cheap and available almost anywhere. There are also double-decker trams, and the Star Ferry.

Perfect ten Cyclothon excitement: A mixture of amateur and professional races and rides, this mega event is on September 25 this year. Formula E-Prix: The first-ever Formula E Championship in Hong Kong (October 8-9) will use a street circuit in Central district. Festival dining: The Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival (October 27-30) brings

world-class food, drinks and entertainment to the island plus masterchef demos and tasting. Fisherfolk: Lamma Island, a 30-minute boat ride away, is where you can experience life in a fishing village, taste local dishes and participate in craft-making activities. Military history: Located on the westernmost hill of Hong Kong Island, Mount Davis was a British World War II artillery depot. A four-hour hiking tour takes you into the fort ruins and a secret bunker. Tai Po Market: Take a four-hour foodie tour here for local eateries such as streetside Dai Pai Dongs. Traditional insights: Experience the changes in Hong Kong’s history with a stroll past colonial-era medical facilities, Chinese temples, traditional Chinese medicine shops and grocery stores in Central district. Shine a light: A spectacular 3D pulse light show with audiovisual effects takes place in the run-up to Christmas against the backdrop of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the Clock Tower at Tsim Sha Tsui. It coincides


with WinterFest and takes place nightly from November 25 to December 28. Great outdoors: Visit out-lying islands, with quaint villages, sandy beaches and undulating mountain paths. Don’t miss Macao: Just a jetfoil ride away, Macao makes for a great day trip option. Part of this former Portuguese colony is a UNESCO World Heritage area and a walking tour takes in the A-ma Temple and Mandarin’s House. Suggest lunch at the revolving restaurant at the top of the Macao Tower.

What’s new  Airlines: This month (September), Cathay Pacific ( will launch a new fourtimes-weekly service from Gatwick on its new Airbus A350-900. The service will complement the airline’s current five-times-daily service from Heathrow, combining for a total of 39 flights a week between London and Hong Kong.  Hotels: Madera Hotel ( opened earlier this year. The 38-room boutique hotel with pop art murals is just


hong kong

“Hong Kong is a vibrant city where the sophistication of the West meets the charm of the East. No trip to Hong Kong is complete without a trip to Victoria Peak where you can see spectacular views of the whole city” MARK MALLINSON PRODUCT MANAGER ASIA, TRAVEL 2

VOTE NOW! Tell us your favourite hotel or resort for couples Previous page, main pic: the imposing Tian Tan Buddha; The bright lights of Hong Hong at night; Nan Lian, a Chinese classical garden in Diamond Hill, Kowloon; This page: an Asian temple dragon; Chinese ship in Victoria Harbour

a few minutes’ walk from Hong Kong’s best restaurants and bars as well as cultural spots such as Man Mo Temple and PMQ. Also recently opened, the Olympian ( is a 32-room boutique hotel in the heart of Kowloon. Hotel Stage (, another Kowloon boutique hotel new this year, showcases local artists, whose works are displayed throughout the hotel.  Attractions: A new cultural hub, Tai Kwun, is due to open at the end of the year, with heritage, contemporary art and leisure programmes  Tourism Board: The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) will return to World Travel Market in November, to exhibit with trade partners.

exciting trade campaigns, training sessions, fam trips and events including our annual Hong Kong Travel Mission in March 2017.” Dawn Page, Director UK & Northern Europe, HKTB

Where to book it  PREMIER HOLIDAYS – 08444 937 531 A seven-night package to Hong Kong and Macao, using five-star hotels and flights from Cathay Pacific, is from £1449pp in May 2017.

 WENDY WU TOURS – 0800 902 0888 A three-night stopover in Hong Kong which can be combined with a longer tour in China or southeast Asia, is from £420pp. The stopover includes accommodation, transfers, and two tours.

Tourism talk “In this first six months of this year Hong Kong welcomed over 276,154 UK visitors, a 4.5% increase year on year. With the Gatwick to Hong Kong route from Cathay Pacific starting this month we are optimistic for continued growth in 2016. We will be highlighting Hong Kong’s varied experiences, through a number of

 TRAVEL 2 Four nights at the four-star Cosmo Hotel, Hong Kong, with room only, transfers and flights start from £679pp.  WHO FLIES THERE;;

1/4 Page Strip Type 69x190


advertorial: focus on


Cathay Pacific - Newly-renovated lounge at Heathrow Airport -


athay Pacific will open its refreshed First and Business Class lounge at London Heathrow Airport in the coming weeks as well as deploying its new London Gatwick to Hong Kong service later this month on the carrier's all-new fleet of A350s. LHR LOUNGE Located at Lounge C, in Heathrow’s Terminal 3, the renovated lounge provides a relaxing environment that embodies Cathay Pacific’s brand philosophy of a “Life Well Travelled”. Similar to the other updated Cathay Pacific lounges such as Taipei, Manila and lounges in Hong Kong, the Heathrow lounge also adheres to the principles of considered design. Studioilse, has created a welcoming, elegant and easy-tonavigate lounge, providing a refuge from the busy airport environment. Featuring warm and natural materials and special lighting, the lounge has been designed to make visitors feel at home. There are three individual workstations equipped with iMacs and printers and free Wi-Fi is available throughout the lounge. The First Class lounge includes the Dining Room with à la carte dining comprising dishes made to order by the chef. At the Pantry, graband-go delicacies are available with menu items changing throughout the day. The Business Class lounge features Cathay Pacific’s iconic Noodle Bar, where guests can enjoy a bowl of freshly prepared signature Asian noodles. A range of western-style light snacks, bakery items, cold cuts, fruit, salads, sandwiches and drinks are available at the Food Hall. A wide selection of wines and cocktails are available at The Bar.


comfort. The quiet cabin, panoramic windows, LED mood lighting and huge overhead lockers all contribute to a comfortable and relaxing journey in all cabin classes. Wi-Fi Connectivity will be available for the first time in a Cathay Pacific aircraft for a fee. Access to the Cathay Pacific website, partner websites and three live TV news channels is available free of charge. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the A350 is the quietest among the aircraft types in its class and is 25% more fuel efficient. As part of Cathay Pacific's ongoing support for the commercialisation of sustainable aviation biofuels, all the airline’s A350-900 aircraft are being flown from Toulouse using fuel containing a 10% blend of biofuel.

Cathay Pacific's A350 aircraft are designed to give passengers the best sleeping experience, the best entertainment and greater control over how they want to use the space. With its extra wide body, the aircraft offers more space and

Cathay Pacific now offers more choice and convenience than ever to and from the United Kingdom, with the non-stop London Gatwick to


Hong Kong service operated by the state of the art A350-900. Giving more choice and flexibility to its customers with five daily flights from London Heathrow and four weekly flights from Manchester non-stop to Hong Kong. From there passengers can connect to over 60 destinations in Asia, including 21 cities in China with sister airline Cathay Dragon as well as seven cities in Australia and New Zealand. Cathay Pacific will operate the new service from Gatwick’s South Terminal with its new Airbus A350-900 aircraft featuring Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class seats. With the premium service provided by Cathay Pacific’s cabin crew and state-of-the-art inflight entertainment in all classes, passengers will be assured of the best inflight experience when they travel between London and Hong Kong. Clockwise: Cathay Pacific's new A350 offers better comfort on board; fully-flat beds are available in Business Class; The Pier First Class Lounge, Hong Kong Airport

six of the best




South Korea’s modern mega-metropolis is perfect for a either a quick stopover or city break. Historic palaces and temples – including several UNESCO sites – jostle for space with state-of-the-art shopping malls and futuristic architecture. The energetic can even cycle Seoul and beyond, along the Han River, or enjoy stroller-friendly Insadong and old-style Bukchon Hanok village.

2 6


PROPERTY: Small Luxury Hotels of the World ( travel-agents) has opened a new boutique hotel, Hotel28 Myeongdong, in Seoul. Situated in the heart of the city’s shopping district, the hotel includes three bars, a cinema, gallery, library and a secret garden rooftop.



Korean cuisine has reached world-renowned status in recent years, and for good reason. Few countries can boast such wonderfully varied, healthy and downright tasty dishes to choose from. Seoul has plenty of excellent restaurants, but there are many regional dishes best sampled in situ, such as the rice dish bibimbap from Jeonju, excellent seafood along the coast and plenty of meaty dishes inland. FLIGHTS: Korean Air, British Airways and Asiana all have direct flights from London. Other carriers (such as Finnair) fly via European or Asian hubs.;;;

A mix of ancient history, modern cities, stunning national parks and mouth-watering cuisine, South Korea is replete with travel highlights, 4 says Anna Maria Espsäter UNESCO 3 WORLD HERITAGE


South Korea has 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – 11 cultural and one natural. These include Buddhist temples, Royal tombs, 18th century Hwaseong Fortress, the natural landscape of Jeju Island, of the south coast, and many other gems, most of which are easily accessible to visitors.


The border between the two Koreas – North and South – known as the De-Militarised Zone, makes for an unusual and interesting place to visit. The border area gives unique insights into South Korea’s troubled history and the peace efforts made since the Korean War (1950-53). Tours include visits to the Joint Security Area, tunnels dug by the North and the Military Demarcation Line.

PROPERTY: Opened 18 months ago, the Novotel Ambassador Suwon (, a five-star property only 20 minutes from the Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, is part of the Accor Hotel Group’s South Korea expansion.

RAIL TRAVEL: The Korail Pass allows visitors to make use of the Korean railway network to travel around the country for up to seven days (or four days within a 10-day period, if using the Flexible Pass). It can be used on everything from high-speed to tourist trains, including the DMZ train.



MARKETING: The London offices of the Korea Tourism Organisation, China National Tourist Office and the Japan National Tourism Organisation are co-promoting – to the trade and consumers – their destinations, and opportunities for visiting all three countries on one trip, under a campaign called Visit East Asia.

PACKAGE: The 15-night South Korean Discovery tour from Ramblers Worldwide Holidays visits Seoraksan, Yudalsan and Dadohaehaesang national parks. Prices start from £3,150 and include return British Airways flights between London and Seoul, all transfers, accommodation and tour guide.

South Korea has established itself as one of the leading sports tourism destinations in Asia. Korean martial art taekwondo’s headquarters, Kukkiwon, offers a range of experiential programmes for visitors. With the Winter Olympics taking place in South Korea in 2018, skiing looks set to be the next big thing and preparations are in full swing in Pyeongchang.

There are 21 national parks, including four marine parks, dotted across the nation. With 70% of the country ‘mountainous’, many of the protected areas are excellent for hiking. The oldest park, Jirisan, opened in 1967, while Mudeungsan, in the southwest, is the most recent addition, inaugurated in 2012.

Changgyeong Palace, Seoul, Korea Mount Fuji, Japan

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industry interview


Korean Air – Jong Rae Kim, UK & Ireland Regional Manager Describe your responsibilities at Korean Air As the Regional Manager for Korean Air in the UK & Ireland I have responsibility for both the daily passenger flight and the two weekly dedicated cargo freighters to Seoul and the teams charged with selling and servicing those operations. Since my arrival in June I also have made efforts to cement the relationship between Korean Air and the British Museum – Korean Air has sponsored its audio guide since 2009. I also reach out to corporates and the Korean community in the UK.

What kind of a year is the airline having? It has been a challenging year. The UK continues to be positive though there are some uncertainties after the Brexit vote, though these appear to be minimal so far. The security situation in mainland Europe has impacted some routes, especially on the leisure front for inbound traffic from East Asia.

Tell us about your services out of the UK? We currently operate a daily non-stop A380 service to Seoul Incheon from Heathrow's Terminal Four, with onward connections to destinations in Japan, China, Mongolia, South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. We also operate two freighter services a week to Seoul from Heathrow, via Paris. We like to play our part in the British export market by transporting many British made luxury goods to Asia.

Do you value travel agent bookings? Travel agents are a vital link in our distribution chain and nowhere more so than here in the UK. This is the case in both the leisure markets and the corporate markets. We would not be in such a strong position were it not for our strong commercial links with the travel trade.

How does Korean Air stay engaged with the trade, particularly agents? Travel agents are able to give us such an extended reach into the market that, as a small team, we would struggle to achieve on our own. The increase of homeworkers also makes it very difficult to reach areas of the market without good relationships with the parent companies. Moreover, the transnational nature of some large companies make it imperative

“As Regional Manager my goal is to contribute to build upon Korean Air's reputation in the UK as the prestigious carrier of choice to Seoul and beyond” that we engage with personnel from travel agents in as many countries as we can.

What USPs do you point to in terms of onboard services? As an Asian carrier we offer a high level of service onboard. On our A380s we have an allPrestige Class upper deck with 94 Business Class seats. There are two lounge areas on this deck, the Celestial Bar and the Prestige Class Bar Lounge, for the exclusive use of passengers on this deck. First Class also has its unique bar at the front of this cabin. In Economy class we offer a 34-inch seat pitch and access to a Duty Free Showcase. This is staffed and can be accessed from the upper deck also. 

What are the challenges in selling ‘Korea’ as a destination? Most British people like Korea when they go

there, but they know little about the country in general. The challenge is getting the message across that Korea is a vibrant, modern country that has a rich history dating back 5,000 years. Agents should be selling the warmth, friendliness and beauty of Korea. Also, many major sporting events in the country, including the coming 2018 Winter Olympics, serve to highlight Korea as a safe and organised destination with very high service standards.

Tell us about some of your favourite travel experiences in Korea. I am Korean so I have many! There is the beauty of Jeju Island, designated as a World Heritage Site. I enjoy travelling along the coastline by car, motorbike, bike or on foot, and looking out upon beautiful scenery. The legacy of the Korean War and the huge part that British and Commonwealth forces played in that conflict is a link between our two countries. It is always heartening to see the respect and gratitude expressed by all generations of Koreans towards these veterans and their families when they visit our country. The impact that they have made on the modern day Korea will never be forgotten.This partnership bodes well for the foreseeable future.



Alberta – Banff and Jasper National Parks –



Situated on the eastern side of the Canadian Rockies, Banff and Jasper National Parks border each other and were designated UNESCO World Heritage sites for their beauty and geological significance. Both support small, relaxed resort towns with a friendly vibe and plentiful opportunities to enjoy mountain cuisine, famously featuring Albertan beef and bison. Star of the show is the iconic Icefields Parkway which lies between the two - a stunning drive through the Rockies which features on every guided tour and independent itinerary to Alberta. But encourage visitors to go beyond the favourites like Brewster’s Athabasca glacier tours, to really get under the skin of this stunning destination.



n the heart of The Rockies and surrounded by dramatically rugged peaks, the towns of Banff and Jasper offer a welcoming gateway to Alberta’s great outdoors and the National Parks that bear their names, says Julie Baxter


experience on Mount Norquay which takes hiking to a new level. Guides lead visitors along an anchored system of cables and ladders, conquering the pitches and crossing a suspension bridge for spectacular views. In Jasper National Park, The Glacier Skywalk showcases Alberta’s awesome scale. Built into a natural bedrock with a glass floor that juts over the Sunwapta Valley, it overlooks the mountains and glaciers, some 280m (918 ft.) below.

The newly-renovated Banff Gondola offers rides to the top of Sulphur Mountain for bird’seye views of six mountain ranges. There are observation decks and a Summit Walk to put the location in perspective. Alternatively, the Via Ferrata is among Banff’s newest attractions – a unique climbing

Visitors can embrace the great outdoors with bike rentals, trail hikes and horse-riding in summer or ice cleats, skates and skis in winter. Suggest canoeing on the Bow River as a peaceful and quintessential Canadian activity in


Banff National Park. Banff Canoe Club hires the kit and offers a guided Voyageur Tour. No previous paddling experience is necessary. In Jasper, flag up Pyramid Lake, one of 20 small lakes left behind by retreating glaciers in what’s known as the Pyramid Bench area. The lake is popular for fishing and paddling and also has hiking and biking trails that connect the lake to the town and other attractions such as Pyramid Island and Patricia Lake. Highlight Jasper’s official dark-sky preserve status too which the locals celebrate with a special festival each October. Top scientists, astronomers, night photographers and story tellers come to the festival, when there is also a chance to see the Northern Lights.

AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCES Banff Trail Riders offers Alberta’s wild west heritage with horseback excursions, cowboy cookouts and backcountry stays. Or take a Maligne Adventures wildlife trip in Jasper NP with scenic cruises, hikes and whitewater rafting options. Rich in minerals and reputedly packed with healing properties, The Banff Upper Hot Springs offer soothing relaxation with great views all year.





Canada 150 celebrations mean all parks will be free to enter in 2017 making it a great time to sell both Banff and Jasper as well as Alberta's other national parks: Waterton NP and Elk Island NP.



excellence Par

The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius is blessed with fabulous beaches, year-round appeal and great golf too, as Steve Hartridge discovers


very golfer knows that the opening shot of any round can be fraught with anxiety and on this day my heart is definitely beating that little bit faster. “This is the 11.04 start time: Mithun Perera (professional). Stephen Hartridge, Lee Birkett, Ross Bousfield (amateurs),” reads the starter’s sheet for the ‘pro-am’, an event which sees hackers like me teaming up with professionals the day before the AfriAsia Mauritius Open begins. It’s a cloudless but breezy day and I am at the Four Seasons at Anahita Golf Club – and the moment has arrived.

I am ‘announced’ onto the first tee (shh, please don’t let the whole island know it’s my turn!). I sign my name on an electronic pad, shake hands with Mithun (Sri Lanka’s toprated player), turn to look at a video camera placed to film and analyse my ‘swing’, take aim and – thank you Lord - my ball soars up and away into the petrol-blue sky. As I stroll down the fairway, feeling a little proud of myself and contemplating my second shot – which I completely ‘duff’ – I am only too aware that despite being lucky enough to have played golf all over the world this is an experience I am unlikely to forget in a hurry.

Doing the rounds The excellence of its golf product – which the AfriAsia Mauritius Open helps to



“Consider your clients’ dining needs carefully. Depending on the resort, there’s an almost bewildering number of B&B, half-board, full board, allinclusive and premium allinclusive options on offer” James Bell, Turquoise Holidays

Top from left: Steve Hartridge and Sri Lanka’s top-rated professional golfer, Mithun Perera; ziplining at Casela World of Adventures; Once used as a shelter by runaway slaves, Le Morne Mountain is a World heritage Site; visit a private home or workshop to see craftsmen at work; sea kayaking

illustrate – is just one activity on the island the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) is keen to get the word out about through its current #Mauritius365 campaign. Designed to highlight the many attractions beyond its dreamy beaches on offer yearround, the campaign hopes to bump up visitor numbers in the quieter months, from May until the end of September (a time when humidity on the island is at its lowest). The initiative includes over 100 ‘deals’ on land-based, nautical and spa activities – such as quad biking, speedboat tours and horse riding – with discounts during this period ranging from between 15 and 30%. Golfers particularly are in for a treat. The Indian Ocean island has nine championshiprated courses, spread equally between the east and west coasts, with one in the central region and another course planned for the popular north end. The range of options – from the Heritage Club in the west, where at the 10th hole I am offered a coconut complete with straw – to the pretty but difficult Illes Aux Cerf Golf Club, which occupies a small island in the east (golfers arrive by boat ) is certainly impressive. “Mauritius is primarily popular among families and honeymooners but as a true golf destination the quality is definitely there and it ranks with any destination in the world,” says Turquoise Holidays’ James Bell. “The best thing is the golf is free for resort guests and often unlimited. For groups of say, two, four or six people prepared to be a

bit adventurous and look beyond Portugal and Florida, it is a fabulous choice.”

Value proposition Bell continues: “And Mauritius offers great value for money – I would say better value for money than the Caribbean. For around £1500 you can get a week half-board in a fabulous resort.” Deborah Wadhams, Senior Product Manager for the Indian Ocean, Travel 2, also stresses the island’s value proposition. “Mauritius has beautiful sandy beaches and a wide choice of resorts to suit all budgets, from moderate hotels offering great value and comfort to high-end luxury catering for your every need. Many hotels offer all-Inclusive packages with a range of dining venues included as well as extras such as watersports or spa treatments, making it great value for money, excellent choice and quality without having to worry about the bill at the end of your stay.” Also highlighted in the MTPA’s #Mauritius365 campaign are family-focused attractions such as those on offer at Casela World of Adventures. The park has invested over 40 million euros to bring in animals like lions, tigers, pygmy hippos, zebras and giraffes and build a series of zip-wires and a quad bike track. And Casela has plenty more planned (see what’s new below). Seeing wild animals in pens isn’t for everyone, but Casela, which bills itself as the leading zoo and activity park in the Indian Ocean, will appeal particularly to younger children who can let a giraffe munch pellets from their hand, stroke a lion and bottle-feed a goat. Many resorts are geared up for families and offer excellent kids’ clubs. Some, like Heritage Le Telfair, start from nought to six months, although most are aimed at four- to 12-year-olds. The activities often take on a local twist: for example, the Beachcomber Shandrani runs crab hunting among the reef. Other ‘off peak’ activities being pushed by #Mauritius365 include a morning hike on Le Morne Brabant Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; kitesurfing and windsurfing; and


“Mauritius should be one of the first destinations to offer honeymooners. Most hotels offer touches like petals on the bed, dinners on the beach, spa treatments, and so on” Deborah Wadhams Senior Product manager, Indian Ocean, Travel 2

helicopter trips over the coastline and an interior that features rainforest, lagoons and waterfalls. Rhys Powell, who heads the MTPA’s UK office, says Mauritius aims to be ‘more visible’ among the trade. He says: “We are looking to have some fun incentives and trade fam trips with a difference. One of these will be a ‘Learn to Kitesurf’ in Mauritius week. We will also run our usual roadshows, MUM’s the Word events, golf and spa trade days, online training and plenty more besides.” Mauritius’s early 17th century Dutch settlers plundered the island’s ebony forests and hunted its dodo population into extinction, but also planted the first sugar cane. Today those fields that line roads across the island are responsible for another popular activity: visiting a rum factory for a tour and tasting. White-sand beaches may not be the current focus of the MPTA but there’s no denying their dreamy appeal to UK visitors. The island is mostly surrounded by a coral reef and the blue waters fronting the many five- and four-star beaches are so blissfully calm that it comes as something of a surprise when you

do come across a stretch of crashing waves. Black lava stones are everywhere, from the beaches to the golf courses, but visitors need not be concerned: the last volcanic eruption took place several thousands of years ago.

Perfect ten Temperature control: Mauritius is a great choice during the UK summer months. It is hot and humidity is relatively low.


Book now, and you will receive a personal copy of our new cookbook ‘Aquacasia – Culinary Jewels of the Indian Ocean’. Please contact our Reservations Department on +230 603 7200, email or book online at *Terms & Conditions: 10% discount applies to starting prices of £300 per night, per couple, on a half board basis, in a Junior Suite. Rate is commissionable to tour operators and travel agents. Travel period valid until 30 September 2017 (excl. 26 December 2016 – 6 January 2017).




“Air Mauritius offers the possibility of a two-centre holiday combining beach in Mauritius and safari in South Africa - I would suggest the safari first then beach second. We are also excited about the possibility of twinning Mauritius with Reunion Island, which is possible with Air Mauritius” James Bell, Turquoise Holidays

From left: Port Louis, the bustling capital of Mauritius; experience quad biking in the most natural of settings; high jinks at Rivére des Galet in the Flic en Flac region

All in: Accommodation options in Mauritius are surprisingly varied – the owner-run boutique options are widening – but all of them are of a very high standard. The all-inclusive option is excellent value. Suggest clients sign up for at least half board. Tee it up: Hotels and resorts linked to golf courses offer free golf and have arrangements with other courses to do the same. For example, guests at Le Touessrok and Sun Resorts Long Beach hotel can play on the Illes Aux Cerf golf course while those at Beachcomber Paradis get to tee off at the hotel’s own championship course. Go native: ‘Authentic island experiences’ such as visits to a basket-making workshop and a herb and spice garden can be organised by local ground handlers. Dolphin watch: Several west coast resorts offer free dolphin watching trips out to the pods that are often spotted offshore. You can jump in with your snorkel, but the MPTA stresses that this not an organised ‘swimming with dolphins-type interactive’ experience. Feeling good: Mauritius is known as a hotspot for Ayurveda treatments – there are even special hospitals on the island offering treatments – and many resort spas do the same. Unique feel: Mauritius’ cultural experience is best found in meeting the locals, sampling the island’s food or visiting a street market in Port Louis. Mussel in: For the best seafood buffet on the island – feast on local mussels, oysters, marlin, tuna and much more – suggest the Blue Marlin restaurant at Beachcomber Le Paridis. Water thrills: See the island flash by from the vantage point of a speedboat. Tours of the south east coast, including a more sedate cruise on a river out to a waterfall, are offered by local operators like Aquasoleil and bookable through tour operators or in-resort hotels.

Blooming great: Visit the Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens, whose 500-plus indigenous plant species include giant Amazon lilies.

What’s new  Resorts: Heritage Resorts ( has introduced two new wellness experiences that make use of the resort’s 1,300-hectare Frederica Nature Reserve. Guests at Heritage Le Telfair, Heritage Awali and Heritage The Villas can join a walk in the forest that incorporates yoga techniques or sign up for the more transcendental ‘forest bathing’ experience, which sees them performing a series of relaxing exercises among the pure air and luxuriant vegetation of the forest. These include walking barefoot in streams, embracing trees, breathing in the scents of the forest and a meditation session. Both activities cost around £30pp (RS 1,400). This summer saw the extensive renovation of the five-star Constance Belle Mare Plage (, on the north-east coast. The hotel’s rooms, suites, villas and main areas were all given a facelift. Nine holes at the The Legend golf course, one of two at the hotel, have also been reshaped. The remodelled Le Tousserok (shangri-la. com/Mauritius), a Shangri-La property since November 2015, has upgraded suites and has several new features such as a Japanese restaurant and a rum and cigar bar. One&Only Le Saint Géran (lesaintgeran. will close next February for a major renovation and will re-open in late 2017. The Tamarina Golf and Spa and Boutique hotel ( will introduce an all-inclusive Premium option in November that will include new options like a spa treatment per guest each day, and see prossecco and top-spirit labels included in the drinks options.  Airlines: Air Mauritius (airmauritius. com) is to invest in six new A350-900s which will be introduced in 2017.  Attractions: The Casela Nature Park



( is planning an expansion that

will include the addition of bears, sloths and a swimming with crocodiles experience.  Events: This December, Mauritius will host ‘Porlwi by light’ (, a festival of contemporary culture in Port Louis. The festival will showcase a variety of national and international artistic performances, light installations, music and literature.  Initiatives: The new Mauritius Golf Pass ( offers savings of up to 40% on some of the island’s best courses between May and September. It is priced from €100 per round (€80 for golf resort residents). But remember, many hotels and resorts offer free golf.  Tourism Board: The MTPA has launched a new website, although all features are not yet fully operational. See or

Tourism talk “The UK travel trade is instrumental to our strategy. As one of our biggest international source markets it is vitally important that we continue to work hand in hand with agents, helping to educate and keep Mauritius front of mind. The past three years have been phenomenal for us: in 2015 we saw 129,796 UK arrivals, marking a 12.5% year-on-year increase. And we ended July on a record-breaking 14,431 UK arrivals, an 18.4% increase. A lot of this comes down to the influence of the trade. We have several actions in progress to ensure this continues. “Following the success of our various trade focused events, we will again host our annual Mauritius Road Show and other fun agent events. We will also be running a series of trade incentives including a chance to win a place on a “Learn to kite surf FAM trip”, as first-hand experience counts for everything!” Kevin Ramkaloan, Director of Tourism, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority

Where to book it  Turquoise Holidays – 01494 678 400 Seven nights at Heritage Le Telfair, in a junior suite garden view, start from £1,599pp,

including daily half-board, return private transfers and flights with Air Mauritius from Heathrow. The operator is offering a free stay in Dubai when booking the Oberoi Mauritius.

 Chaka Travel – 028 9023 2112 The specialist golf operator has a 12-night twin-centre trip, staying six nights each at the Shangri-La Le Touessrok and Belle Mare Plage (both on a half-board basis). It is priced from £2,395pp (until September 30 2016). The package includes flights with Air Mauritius, private return airport transfers and unlimited free golf at both hotels.

 Gold Medal – 0800 014 7777 Seven nights at the four-star Le Ravenala Attitude, on an all-inclusive basis in a Couples suite, start from £1,599pp. The deal, which includes flights with Emirates from Gatwick and transfers, is valid for travel until September 22 2017. The all-suite hotel has a separate adult-only wing and 10 restaurants.

 Abercrombie & Kent – 01242 547 702

A seven-night stay at the five-star Royal Palm Mauritius is priced from £2,050pp based on two sharing a Junior Suite on a B&B basis, with flights and transfers. The price is valid for travel until December 19 2016.  Who Flies There;;;

vote now! Where’s the best destination to send golf-crazy clients? Clockwise from top: Beach at Heritage Le Telfair Golf and Spa Resort; beach wares on the west coast; Steve Hartridge offers a welcoming hand to a giraffe at Casela World of Adventures


lapland santa breaks

baby Santa,

For a winter break with Santa, reindeer and elves, consider snowy Lapland, says Anna Maria Espsäter



ravelling north by train from Stockholm, I am thinking ‘wow, there’s just nothing here but snow and trees, rivers and lakes; northern Sweden seems such a wilderness. From Kiruna it’s a short drive to the 400-year old village of Jukkasjärvi, with only a few souls to its name but home to one of the most astounding tourism success stories in the world: the original Icehotel. I’m here for an epic winter fix and can’t wait to head off exploring despite the 17-hour

train journey (distances are vast in Sweden). After settling into my frozen abode I take a quick tour of the hotel, constructed afresh on an annual basis from 3,000 tonnes of ice from the nearby Torne River. Do I want go for a snowmobile ride, a husky-sled ride or a quick search for the Northern Lights? Or do I want to meet Santa’s trusty helpers in the afternoon? In the end the reindeer win out and local herder Mr Nutti introduces me to his charges. Reindeer herding can be thirsty work but luckily the Icebar is open – after an amble on the frozen river I settle for a lingonberry vodka cocktail, wearing mittens to hold my ice glass.

lapland santa breaks


What’s new  Attractions: The new Icehotel 365 (icehotel. com), due to open in November, is a speciallydesigned 2200m² ice art hall housing 10 luxury suites and 12 art suites, an Icebar, sculpture gallery and an event hall. The space will be built adjacent to the Icehotel and will


be open 365 days of the year, partly running In Lapland the Santa break season can last as on solar power from the midnight sun. long as six months, starting in October/November  Tourism boards: Swedish Lapland Visitors and running as late as the end of April. Board ( and Visit Sweden ( are running The winter experience ‘up north’ is very varied, both in Swedish and Finnish Lapland. Finland has campaigns in the UK. Tour operators and been firmly marketing itself as the definitive Santa tagents interested in getting involved should contact destination for a number of years now and its offering includes a ‘Santa Park’ and plenty of elves.  Hotels: Opening in Santa’s home town Rovaniemi this season, the Arctic Treehouse The Swedish product, by contrast, is less Father Christmas-focused but still comes with an exciting Hotel ( is a short hop from the Santa Park (, home variety of Christmas and winter break options. to Santa’s workshop and elf school. Throughout the season there are Kakslauttanen resort ( is numerous activities from husky-sledding adding a 30-metre glass igloo tower, ready and snowmobile safaris to skiing, longspring 2017, to its collection of glassdistance ice-skating and ice fishing and-snow igloo accommodation. For those in need of a specific Santa and  Flights: Short weekend breaks are now Christmas fix there are several excellent available to Swedish Lapland’s Arvidsjaur Christmas markets such as Gammelstad market, airport with Flycar from Birmingham held in the UNESCO World Heritage part of airport. ( Luleå in northeastern Sweden, and the Arctic  Operators: SuperBreak ( Market in Rovaniemi, Finland, official ‘home’ of has added four itineraries to Lapland this winter, Santa. Distances are great in Lapland and the based around Kittila in Finland. These include weather can be very changeable so it’s essential a family ‘Wake Up Santa’ break (from £655pp) to brief clients about what to expect and to and a Northern Lights keep plans flexible. weekend (£693pp). Locals often rely “Remember you’re spoilt on snowmobiles for Tourism talk transport but trains and with a long winter season “Swedish buses are usually good. ‘up north’. Santa Park is open for culture, small Lapland is also a nearly two months (Novemberlodges, a spectacular place to January) and clients can get a genuine experience with catch a glimpse of winter fix as early as October the indigenous Sami the Northern Lights. people, joining locals in and right up until April/May” Perfect five small-scale activities, ANNA MARIA ESPSÄTER, FREELANCE WRITER Winter sports: snowmobiling, Lapland is the dog-sledding, skiing and place to really indulge sporty snow cravings like taking time to enjoy the company of family and snow-shoeing, sking, husky and toboggan rides. friends in the vast wilderness – these are all things Santa’s own home: At Rovaniemi’s Santa that make Swedish Lapland special. Park in Arctic Finland, Santa and the elves “Lapland is home to Europe’s ‘Big Six’ – elk, welcome a steady stream of visitors. bear, lynx, arctic fox, beaver and wolverine – Icehotel and bar: This impressive and an unrivalled choice of thrilling winter structure, rebuilt from scratch every year in activities. Swedish Lapland is featured by Jukkasjärvi, Swedish Lapland, has become an a wide range of UK tour operators and we international phenomenon. Sleep in palatial ice are constantly talking to new tour operators rooms at -5C or just indulge in a visit to the Icebar. whose clients want to move to smaller-scale, Arctic cuisine: Fine dining Lapland-style personalised destinations and packages where might include Arctic char, ptarmigan, forest you get to experience the destination more mushrooms and cloudberries. Not to be missed! as the friend of a local than as a tourist. “ Sami culture: Visit the local indigenous Graeme Richardson, Head of Marketing, people, the Sami, and find out about their Swedish Lapland Visitors Board culture, languages and traditions.


Snow business

Where to book it

 MONARCH – 0333 003 1779 A four-day Arctic Experience package to Finnish Lapland, with departures from London and Manchester, starts from £479pp for JanuaryFebruary departures and includes flights, accommodation options and multiple activities. 

Clockwise from left: Reindeer are synonymous with Lapland; dog sleds are a popular way to get around; the Icehotel’s stunning entrance; Christmas markets are a popular with families





Rich in experiences and an extreme test of the senses at any time, India’s 70th year of independence celebrations in 2017 provides agents with another reason to sell this colourful continent, says Alex Wright




he snake is heading right for me. Its opening experiences of head is bobbing menacingly up and your life. Interest in this down as it slithers through the murky awe-inspiring sub-continent green-brown water towards my boat. is at an all-time high, with But there’s no need for concern – this the Duke and Duchess of is not a real snake, rather a snake boat, a Cambridge visiting on a royal tour 30-metre long canoe-style boat used by and the release of Disney’s The teams of villagers competing in one of four Jungle Book film earlier this year. annual races that take part during the Indian And with preparations starting monsoon season between July and September. in earnest to mark the country’s I’m in deepest Kerala, known locally as 70th year of independence there’s God’s Own Country, on the Runnamada never been a better time to visit. Lake in Alappuzha for the Nehru From the splendour of the Taj Trophy boat race, in honour of the late Mahal in the north to the golden prime minister of the same name. sands of Goa in the south there really It’s also one of the many traditional events is something here for everyone. taking place up and Other mustdown India as the sees include the country gears up tranquil backwaters “India’s so easy and it doesn’t of Kerala, the for its 70th year of break the bank. It allows your hustle and bustle independence in 2017. clients to embrace excitement of Delhi, the bright These magnificent war boats date lights of Bollywood, and beauty within an back more than 400 and the holy temples unforgettable experience” years to the Kings of of Varanasi. NICK PARKER, HEAD OF INDIA AND MIDDLE EAST, Alleppey who used For the perfect VIRGIN ATLANTIC to do battle with trip, recommend each other for control clients start in the of the waterways. capital with a visit to the ancient Mogul Each boat is lined up under starters orders, Red Fort in Old Delhi before hitting the manned by a 100-strong crew decked maze of bazaars for a bit of retail therapy. out in splendid white turbans and robes, They can watch the sun set on Humayun’s and decorated with colourful garlands of Tomb, the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. marigold flowers across their bows. Next suggest they catch the Rajdhani The silence is palpable as they await the Express to Agra. if they get there early tell signal, the flag drops and then they’re off. them to head straight to the Mehtab Bagh The captain, standing under an ornate red gardens to watch the magical sight of the umbrella in the middle of the vessel, lets out Taj Mahal emerging from the morning mist. a yell and the cross-legged oarsmen, packed Once the crowds have dispersed (at 17.00) in back-to-back like sardines, are soon into the full splendour of the palace itself remains. their stride, rowing in synchrony to the rhythm Then schedule in Rajasthan, staying overnight of the Vanchipattu song of the boatmen. in Jaipur to see the tigers at the Ranthambore The huge roar from the crew drowns reserve before heading to Jodhpur for a out the commentary on the loud speaker tour of the medieval Mehrangarh Fort. hanging overhead as the two leading boats The Golden City of Jaisalmer should feature reach the halfway stage neck and neck. next, rising from the Thar Desert like a Then it’s an all-out sprint to the huge sandcastle, where you can explore the finish line, each team drawing on their magnificent fort and the Jain temples at leisure. final reserves in one last effort. Camping overnight in a luxury tent at the The wild celebrations that ensue are Khuri Oasis Desert Resort allows clients to even louder and more animated as the rise early to visit the lake city of Udaipur. winning crew holler and wave their oars Add-in time on the coconut palm fronted aloft to the delight of the dancing and beach of Mararikulam in Kerala or aboard screaming masses on the far shore. a houseboat cruise around the state’s backwaters for truly scenic R’n’R .

A cultural feast

Tourism to India is growing and evolving at a rapid pace. It’s easier than ever to obtain a visa and once you’re there the range of experiences on offer is extraordinary. Rich in culture, food and history, a visit to India is likely to be one of the most eye-

Perfect ten Fly and drive: To avoid the overcrowded buses and trains suggest From left: The Taj Mahal in Pradesh is not only a centre for tourists but also a site for stunning cultural displays



hiring a car and driver. For long journeys Easy rider: A rickshaw ride around connect by plane. Mumbai or Delhi is always memorable as Live like a Raj: The 250-year-old Lake the driver weaves in and out of the traffic. Mine’s a cuppa: Tea tasting is a must in Palace in Udaipur is an 83-room floating Darjeeling, a peaceful Himalayan town of hotel with white marble walls, accessible only by that gave its name to the world-famous tea boat or speedboat and originally used as a produced in the surrounding by tea plantations. summer palace for kings. Holy ground: Those who make the Curry favour: Kolkata is India’s foodie pilgrimage to Varanasi can watch capital. You can get everything from highly-decorated traditional stuffed priests perform paratha to a spicy fish “India is a real feast for the their colourful curry. Shopper’s rituals on the senses so allow three weeks if paradise: banks of the River possible. Airfares are not cheap Visitors can load up on Ganges. so the longer clients stay the High spirits: A colourful embroidered better value the tour becomes” shoes and textiles, A trek across the STUART DOUGLASS-LEE, Himalayas allows time antique jewellery and HEAD OF PRODUCT, SAGA to visit some of the paintings, semi-precious 15th century Buddhist gemstones, marble monasteries scattered between Kashmir and the ware, silk and saris. Chinese border. Walk on the wild side: To get close up to Beatle mania: Suggest a visit to tigers, rhinos and other wildlife suggest Rishikesh, home of yoga and where the the Kaziranga National Park with viewing from Beatles ‘found enlightenment’. stilted cottages at Diphlu River Lodge.


What’s new  Attractions: For an insight into the history of India’s presidents and the country’s struggle for independence, suggest the new Rashtrapati Bhavan museum (presidentofindia., which opens on October 2.  Tour operators: Tapping into all the excitement surrounding the release of The Jungle Book film, Cosmos Tours ( has launched its new 2017 programme, starting in March. Animal lovers and history buffs alike can enjoy the 10-day ‘India’s Golden Triangle and the Tigers of Ranthambore’ tour from £1,299pp, including accommodation, guided tours and transfers. The tour takes in the iconic sights of Delhi, Agra, the Taj Mahal and the ancient city of Jaipur, as well as Ranthambore National Park, where Rudyard Kipling drew his inspiration for The Jungle Book character Shere Khan.

Tourism talk “As well as the regular array of historic monuments, religious centres, wildlife parks and markets, there’s been a proliferation of small boutique guest houses and hotels providing unique experiences, often in

remote and distinctive locations. Whereas in the past people would stay at this kind of place for just a night or two, now they’ll pause for longer, taking the opportunity to visit local weavers and potters, go on horse or camel treks, and take excursions to remote temples and birding hot spots – activities crafted by the owners of the property. “Many also offer candle-lit suppers in romantic ruins or walks guided by local villagers where visitors learn about farming, herding and the landscape. “It’s a great way of getting to know India at a deeper level and is much more the experience that helps clients choose India as their next destination.” Amrit Singh, Managing Director, Trans Indus

Where to book it  CONTIKI – 0808 281 1120 Contiki’s 11-night ‘Eternal India’ trip starts in Delhi, takes in Agra, Ranthambore, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai before ending in Goa. Starting from £1,339pp, the tour, which runs from December, includes breakfast, accommodation and internal flights.


“While India does have a reputation for being chaotic, staying in luxury accommodation and having an experienced tour leader will ensure visitors experience India at its best” SUE LIVSEY, INDIA PRODUCT MMANAGER COX & KINGS’

 COX & KINGS – 020 3811 0851 The solo traveller 10-night ‘Mystical India’ trip will take you to see the elusive Bengal tigers in Ranthambore and the majestic forts and grand palaces of Rajasthan. Starting from £2,995pp, the tour, which runs from October to March 2017, includes accommodation and breakfast.

 SAGA – 0800 414 383 Saga has launched a 22-night ‘Grand Tour of South India’ to celebrate the Year of Culture 2017, starting from £2,399pp. The tour, which runs from October to June 2017, takes in ancient temples, royal palaces and bustling cities,as well as a cruise of the Kerala backwaters. It includes accommodation and most meals. 

From left: Camels are used for transport in regions such as Jaipur; Kerela’s lush green landscape is in stark contrast to much of India; Rajasthan is home to the Thar Desert; Ladakh is in the far north of India; Gadi Sagar temple in Rajasthan.


the final word

the quirky side of travel – Birmingham, Pokémon and misleading hotels –


couple who booked flights from the ‘wrong’ Birmingham are set to enjoy the American South. The pair, Richella and Ben, were meant to travel from Birmingham, England, to Las Vegas Nevada, but were shocked when they realised their flights had been booked from Birmingham, Alabama! Luckily for them their story went viral and grabbed the attention of Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, who gave them a pair of round-trip tickets from Manchester to Las Vegas. But not to be outdone, the good folk of Alabama's state capital clubbed together to offer Richella and Ben a visit to explore the truly Deep South city. So the couple are set to enjoy a twoday tour, that will include ziplining at Red Mountain Park and a Porsche Driving Experience. They will also get to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a Birmingham Barons baseball game. Tom Cosby, a local city 'booster', said: “Birmingham, Alabama, is in the midst of an astonishing rebirth, so this is a great time for Richella and Ben to visit us.”

THE SWEET SCENT OF TRAVEL Pokémon Go fever swept the nation this summer, with young Brits spending on average four hours a day on the app, according to a survey conducted by More than half of those surveyed considered


Ga-ga for video Video technology is the number one way to engage clients, according to the travel experts at Clicky Media. The company found 67% of people use video to help them choose a destination.

TOP 10… Travel hacks British Airways’ team of expert’s has put together a list of 10 gadgets that are apparently essential for the regular flier.

visiting New York, Tokyo, LA and Sydney entirely because of the high concentration of Pokémon and Pokéstops within the areas. Wifi also topped the list of needs at a hotel for budding Pokémon masters – in fact it was almost twice as popular as a free breakfast. Simon ‘Squirtle’ Matthews, official Gym Leader (Senior PR Manager) at, said: “It’s been lures over sun loungers and Pokéstops over restaurant hotspots this summer for many travelling Brits."

1. Google Translate App

2. Skype

3. Foldable Keyboard

4. Transit App

5. Tripadvisor App

6. Evernote

7. Go Pro

8. Garmin 310XT GPS

“FOUR-STAR HOTEL? HA, HA!” One in two Brits say they have been misled by hotel advertising, according to a survey by which revealed that as many as 50% of all travellers believed the reality of their chosen hotel did not match the mrketing puff. And 40% disagreed with its star rating. Alex Edwards, travel insurance spokesperson at, said: “All consumers really want is the holiday hotel they were expecting. If you book something which looks like the Sheraton you shouldn't end up in something that looks like a shed."

9. Playstation Vita

10. Portable wireless speaker

THE OCTOBER 2016 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • Australia's North • Ethiopia • Slovenia • Israel • Latin America • Morocco • Namibia • South Africa • Northern Thailand • California • Cruising 2017 • Weddings & Honeymoons • Alabama CONTACT US; PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni


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Selling Travel September 2016  

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